Good People:
Filmmaker Beth Dolan

Good People for the Resistance is a twice-monthly interview with people who give me hope. This week, meet Los Angeles-based filmmaker Beth Dolan, who is in the final stages of  finishing a documentary, Stranger At Home: The Untold Story of Military Mental Health. After working on TV situation comedies, NBC movies-of-the-week, and most recently, Los Beltran, an award-winning Spanish language comedy for Sony/Telemundo, Dolan has turned her attention to elevating awareness of the mental health crisis in the U.S. military.

(Personal note: This post is dedicated to my niece, Sergeant First Class Rosalind Atkins Green, who served 24-years in the military, including a year in combat in Iraq. Ros has taught me much about what it means to be a warrior – in every sense of the word. Years after retiring, she’s still there for any of her soldiers who need her).

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Filmmaker Beth Dolan

What a Piece of Work is Man!

Good News from the Resistance: Let’s consider for a moment all we’ve learned about the nuances of the U.S. Constitution since the Grifter-in-Chief moved into the White House. We’ve had one big fat lesson in How to Lie, Cheat, Abuse and Steal Your Way Into and Throughout the Presidency. It’s clear sailing with Moscow Mitch at the helm! Now, as  Pelosi, Schiff et. al. turn up the heat, we have much to learn from the latest chapter of the GOP playbook: Grace Under Pressure: What to do When the Vise Tightens. My favorite lessons learned (so far):

  • If you are a GOP Congressman asked an uncomfortable question about our Russian-Asset-in-Chief, avoid answering it by head-butting the reporter’s camera,
  • If you are a pre-verbal MAGA-hat-wearing goon who finds himself outnumbered at an anti-Trump protest (go figure!), whip out the bear repellent spray,
  • If you are a GOP lackey nominated for a judgeship, and during confirmation hearings you are confronted with your own homophobic statements, cry, baby, cry (warning: this is the most cringeworthy video I’ve seen in a long while),
  • If you are the president’s personal lawyer and his former cybersecurity expert, and you can’t remember the password on your iPhone, head to the closest Apple Genius Bar for help, and
  •  When losing your job becomes a real possibility, get a note from your podiatrist.

There will be no mention of the “I” word in this post. Instead, there will be stories that make me smile. Because no matter how dark the news, the daily reminders of our fellow humans’ creativity and ingenuity never cease to brighten my day.

Here we go …

In Massachusetts, local politicians are fighting for the right to see their neighbors’ nightgowns and underpants hanging on clotheslines; if you cut off someone in traffic and suddenly hear the sound of a loud fart or bleating goat, it’s the Tesla driver behind you;  grandmas are the new flower girls; when a middle school principal announced he would not stock bathrooms with free sanitary products, 7th grade girls said, “chew on this“; a black lab was sworn in at Chicago’s state’s attorney’s office (she has a real job); Rudy G. keeps butt-dialing an NBC reporter, and the messages captured are the stuff of political reporters’ dreams; there’s been a resurgence of witches!

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Good People:
Enrique Chiu

Good People for the Resistance is a twice-monthly interview with people who give me hope. Today, meet Mexican artist Enrique Chiu, who is painting an enormous “Mural of Brotherhood” on the Mexican side of The Wall.

How’s he do it? With lots of volunteers, from all over the world. Interested in traveling to Tijuana with  a group of Good News readers to help him? Send us an email. Read on to learn more ... Read more Good People:
Enrique Chiu

In Praise of Incompetence!

Good News from the Resistance:  Last week we learned about a new piece of Trump’s immigration policy — he dreamed of building a border moat, and filling it with alligators and snakes. His aides got cost estimates. The Good News? After three years, our Clown-in-Chief still has the ability to make me laugh so hard I fell off the couch. The Really Good News? This was just one of a litany of reminders of the childish ineptness of the current Administration. To quote my friend Billy Shore, who leads a national anti-hunger organization, “(their) incompetence has worked in our favor.” To which I say, Praise Ye Incompetence!

Our Reality TV star-in-Chief made a lot of campaign promises, yet after close to 1,000 days in the White House, he’s failed to deliver. Thanks to his stunning incompetence, and a bit of help from his loyal and corrupt henchmen and dangerously clueless family, he’s been unable to: ban all Muslims from entering the U.S.; remove Syrian refugees; create a Commission on radical Islam; build a wall (or a moat) and make Mexico pay for it; end birthright citizenship; cancel federal aid to sanctuary cities; expand fast-track deportation; add a citizenship question to the U.S. Census; change the vaccination schedule for children; or bring back waterboarding. Obamacare still stands, Mt. Denali has not be renamed Mt. McKinely, Medicaid is not funded through block grants to states, and $20 billion has not been invested in “school choice.” Praise Ye Incompetence!

But that’s legislation; our Grifter-in-Chief ran on a “this country needs a businessman who knows how to run things!” platform. How’s he doing with that?

Our  Bankrupter-in-Chief already — with a year to go —  holds the record for both Cabinet and White House turnover; he’s lost more Cabinet heads to ethics violations and corruption than any president in U.S. history, and underlings who don’t buy what he’s selling (Comey, Scaramucci, McCabe, Shulkin, Sessions, Omarosa, Bolton) are dismissed by the boss with his signature phrase, “You’re fired!” Which is why White House morale is so low (former WH chief-of-staff John Kelly said, “working for Donald Trump was the worst fucking job I’ve ever had”), that we, the taxpayers, are footing an $18,000 bill for a White House executive coach. (Good luck with that). Let’s hope the coach continues to be unable to control the gut-bustingly funny mistakes and retributive leaksPraise Ye Incompetence!

And yet. While our Baffoon-in-Chief continues to outdo his own mendacity, unlikely fixers are stepping up.  Auto manufacturers are fighting Trump’s relaxed air pollution and emissions rules. Walmart is filling a void on gun policy. Greta has mobilized young people across the world, and she will not stop. Cities like L.A. are out in front on electric vehicle adoption. Amazon just ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans; FedEx ordered 1,000 more.

Note to our National Clown: This is how you run a thriving business. Praise Ye Competence!

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Good People:
Billy Shore

Good People for the Resistance is a twice-monthly interview with people who give me hope. Today, meet Billy Shore, co-founder and executive chairman of Share our Strength, a D.C.-based organization that is well on its way to eliminating childhood hunger in the U.S.

Through the use of creative food events and the support of the nation’s top chefs, food industry executives, and Hollywood celebrities, Shore has raised hundreds of millions of dollars to feed millions of hungry kids in their schools and homes. How’s he do it? Largely by helping food insecure families connect with federal food programs that already exist, but which for a variety of reasons, they are not accessing.

Why do the Shake Shack, Williams Sonoma, Kevin Bacon, the Big Lebowski, and P!nk support Billy and Share Our Strength?  Read On …

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Billy Shore

Let’s Move the Statue of Liberty to Portland?

Good News from the Resistance: Maine has the oldest and second whitest (Go Vermont!) population in America. So when 400+ asylum-seekers landed in the state this past summer, mostly from the Congo and Angola, many — including Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling — recognized an opportunity. “If we have discovered the magic wand that will bring young families to Portland to help us build the next generation, why would we want to stop that, especially when it costs us so little money?” the mayor said.

Why Maine? No one knows exactly. Some recent arrivals said they’d heard through the grapevine that Portland was a safe, aging city that needed more workers. Others had heard there was a strong safety net.

After making their way by air to Brazil, then by foot and bus through Mexico to the Texas border, what the migrants found in Portland was a welcoming community. When the city set up hundreds of cots in the Portland Expo and school gyms, 1,200 residents volunteered to help. In Cape Elizabeth, there was a Welcome! 4th of July picnic. The Portland City Council voted to allocate $900,000+ of private donations for the new arrivals’ housing and basic needs. Non-profits like the New Mainers Resource Center helped find the migrants more permanent housing in Portland and nearby townsProsperity Maine – whose executive director Claude Rwaganje was born in the Congo — provides financial education, “the first step to achieving your American dream.”

Last week, Luc Mpangaje flew from his home in Texas to Portland, to thank members of the First Parish Church for helping him in 2010 when he’d been an asylum seeker fleeing Burundi, where he’d been jailed and beaten by police for his political views. He’d arrived in Portland with $80, speaking no English, without his family. Now a U.S. citizen living in Dallas, and reunited with his wife and 10-year old son Malcolm and 13-year old daughter Yasmine, Mpangaje works as an airport shuttle driver. He’s saving to move his family back to Portland.

“If you do something good for me, you’ll always stay in my heart,” Mpangaje said. “That’s why I keep coming back here – because I feel like I owe something.”

Mainers, listen up! Ditch Susan Collins, and you’ll soon be topping another list: Best State in the U.S. 

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Good People
Ezra Levin

Good People for the Resistance is a twice-monthly interview with people who give me hope during these dark times. Today, meet Ezra Levin, co-founder of Indivisible, the nationwide, pre-eminent anti-Trump resistance organization. 

In December, 2016, shortly after the election, Ezra and his wife Leah Greenberg wrote the Indivisible Guide, a Google Doc manual on how to create a grassroots movement to resist the GOP’s rule. As former Congressional staffers, Levin and Greenberg had witnessed the Tea Party’s rise, and its ability to stall and sometimes block Obama’s agenda. They knew that progressives had much to learn from the Tea Party’s tactics. With so many of us desperate to do something, the Indivisible Guide quickly went viral.

Remember all of those people showing up to challenge legislators at Town Halls, and flooding Congressional phone lines with calls? That was the work of Indivisible— now a national organization that supports 5,000+ Indivisible chapters across the U.S., with at least one chapter in every Congressional district. This year, co-executive directors Levin and Greenberg made Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Leaders.

What’s Indivisible’s plan to beat Trump and save Democracy? Read on…

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Ezra Levin

It’s Obama’s Fault!

Good News from the Resistance: Have you been keeping track of all the culprits the Occupant of the White House (OWH) has blamed for the recent mass shootings? Here’s a quick recap: the mentally ill (specifically, a shortage of institutions to house them), racist Hollywoodfake newsvideo games, the internet and social media.

And what about the looming recession? That’s a conspiracy between people who want to see the OWH lose in 2020, selfish Democrats, the media, and his own “clueless” Fed Chair– who said he won’t leave if the OWH fires him. Further demonstrating the boundless fantasy-based derangement of the party of Bullets & Blame, Ohio GOP state rep Candace Keller blamed homosexual marriage, drag queen advocates, legalized marijuana, parents who defend misbehaving students in school, and Obama for the Dayton mass shooting. And while we’re on the subject of Obama, guess whose fault it is that the White House air conditioning system isn’t up to par? Bingo! You got it!

Good News Trivia Quiz: Who remembers the 1970’s jazzy disco song, Pick Up the Pieces? It’s mostly instrumental, except for, “Pick up the pieces!,” being shouted a couple of times throughout it. Why is it that a song I never really liked, and certainly haven’t thought about in 40+ years, is now playing an infinite loop in my head? Because it so aptly explains what so many are doing in response to the non-stop barrage of OWH-created tragedies.

After the Mississippi ICE raid, a pizza shop, pastors, and several hundred outspoken Latinx marchers picked up the pieces. In Chicago, neighborhood volunteers are picking up the pieces by accompanying undocumented immigrants wherever they go. NFL players picked up the pieces in L.A., by posting $50,000 bail for a student who had been jailed by ICE for three months. Lady Gaga picked up the pieces in Dayton, Gilroy and El Paso; The King of Sitcoms, Chuck Lorre, picked up the pieces with yellow IMAG hats; California professors picked up the pieces with see-saws; Brunswick, Maine picked up the pieces by hiring a cultural broker.

Democrats, listen up! We’ve got a campaign slogan and theme song for our presidential nominee: Imagine this playing as thousands of balloons are released from the ceiling at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. The Good News? The band that sold over 1 million copies of Pick Up the Pieces is still touring. The Bad News? Average White Band is in serious need of a name change. Guys, you’ve got 11 months to do it. 

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Good People:
Errin Douglas

Good People for the Resistance is a twice-monthly interview with people who give me hope during these dark times. Today, meet Errin Douglas, Staff Assistant to Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley. Full disclosure: I’ve known Errin’s family for years. With a fierce, big-hearted mother and a brainy, indefatigable big sister as role models, it came as no surprise that Errin landed her Dream Job right out of college. 

What’s it like to work for a member of The Squad? What have been her “pinch me I can’t believe this is my job” moments on Capitol Hill? Read the Good News …

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Errin Douglas

We’re Still Showing Up

Good News from the Resistance: Take this quiz: Name 5 Trump-related dramas (typically Twitter-induced) that got extensive press coverage the first half of July. Hard to do, right? There are just too many stories, changing too quickly. Yet, there’s one sticky issue that won’t go away: immigration. Our Racist-in-Chief is relentless in his efforts to rid the U.S. of all non-white immigrants. The white ones? He’s okay with those. Our forward-thinking Sexual Predator-in-Chief doesn’t want to limit his dating pool once Melania leaves him.

Here’s the thing: Contrary to predictions made after the 2017 Women’s March, we have not become inured to “the new normal” of racism and hate. Spiteful Executive Orders and callow Tweets still rouse us to action. In a weird way, the object of our resistance is protecting us from resistance fatigue, by handing us such a diverse menu of options. Does the mental health crisis in immigrant detention centers get you to call your member of Congress? If not, then perhaps the spike in children being separated from their parents at the border will. Do the threatened ICE raids motivate you to have that conversation with your neighbor about why she should register to vote? If not, then maybe the vitriol he’s lobbed at The Squad will. Our resistance has not fizzled. Rather, it’s become more creative, targeted, and diverse. It’s now big enough and strong enough so that when some of us need to take a break to recharge, others are ready to jump in and carry the torch.

Yes, we’re still showing up. At the beginning of July, tens of thousands of us rallied across the U.S. to #ClosetheCamps, and two weeks later we showed up again, at 600+ Lights for Liberty events protesting ICE detention centers. Japanese-Americans who were interned during WWII and #JewsAgainstICE are showing up in force with the message, “never again.” Latter-day Saints are protesting poor treatment of immigrants, whom they consider like-minded “pioneers”; a 90-year old nun got arrested in D.C., along with 70 of her Catholic colleagues. And during the World Cup, a group of French soccer fans joined the resistance by chanting “F*ck Trump” during a live Fox TV broadcast.

In Iowa, 50 moms took over Senator Joni Ernst’s office to protest the treatment of immigrant kids. In Phoenix, an abandoned school was turned into a Welcome Center for asylum-seeking families.. In Nashville, when ICE showed up for a father and his 12-year old son, their neighbors formed a human chain to protect them. Kindness keeps breaking through.

What do we have to show for our work? A recent poll shows Mitch McConnell (R-KY) as the country’s most disliked Senator, followed closely by Susan Collins (R-ME). In 2020, McConnell will have a strong opponent, and Collins just announced she may be retiring. States are passing laws ensuring voting rights and immigrant rights. ICE’s highly publicized sweep that was intended to roundup 2,100 undocumented immigrants netted 35 people. Lawmakers representing the RNC’s host city passed a resolution condemning Trump’s “racist and xenophobic” language, adding that it will not be tolerated in the city. And critics of the Administration’s immigration “policies” are winning the on-line messaging fight.

At the same time, large swaths of Trump’s immigration agenda are being held up in courts. This week, a judge issued a preliminary injunction against new restrictions that would have stopped most asylum-seekers coming into the U.S. via Mexico. His attempt to deny bail to asylum-seekers who have been jailed was quashed. And don’t forget –  the Supreme Court ruled not to allow a  citizenship question on the 2020 Census. Trump was ready to fight that, too, but ultimately backed down. Public pressure is likely to have had something to do with his decision. That’s you, that’s me, that’s us.

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