I Thought He Came With You is Robert Ellison’s blog about software, marketing, politics, photography, time lapse and the occasional well deserved rant. Follow along with a monthly email, RSS or on Facebook. About 7,250,102,772 people have not visited yet so it might be your first time here. Suggested reading: Got It, or roll the dice.

The top four Petitions that will help to Impeach Trump

The top four Petitions that will help to Impeach Trump

Democrats are being rather lame about pushing to impeach Donald Trump. Sure, they don't have the votes. But maybe next year they'd stand a better chance of getting them if they did a little less cozying up on deals that won't happen and a little more talking up impeachment. It would be nice if Mueller wrapped things up and dropped an incontrovertible bombshell but that doesn't and shouldn't matter. It would be nice if the various Congressional enquiries did their job but again that should be viewed as icing on the cake.

Trump assaulted equal protection and religious freedom by banning Muslims from travelling to the US. It doesn't matter what else Mueller turns up. Trump violates the Emoluments Clause on a constant basis. We don't need anything more from Congress. It's hard to see the Comey firing as anything other than obstruction of justice. Democrats need to start beating the drum and get Trump out of office. They're not going to do it without a big push.

You should sign all of these petitions today:

Need to Impeach. Over a million signatures already.

Impeach Trump Now. Over 1.25M.

Impeach Donald J. Trump: The Million American Petition on change.org.

Impeach Trump on Care2.

After all that signing don't forget to call your Senators and Representative and make sure they know how you feel as well.

(Photo by Jacob Morch on Unsplash)

GGNRA Victory

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the National Park Service's effort to ban dogs from much of the GGNRA is dead:

"The National Park Service pulled the plug Thursday on a 14-year-long process for restricting dog access in the 80,000-acre Golden Gate National Recreation Area, 10 months after revelations emerged that agency officials had improperly corresponded about the process from their personal email accounts."

I've been fighting this for over six years. Some highlights from 2011, 2013 and 2016.

End the Electoral College: Amendment, Compact, or Supreme Court?

Lawrence Lessig and Richard Painter write about the possibility of the Supreme Court taking on the Electoral College in USA Today:

"The Constitution is not going to be amended to remove the Electoral College. It’s possible that states will agree to a compact to allocate their votes to the winner of the national popular vote. But right now, the court should recognize that there is no principle in American law that could justify the unequal reckoning of the votes of citizens of the United States for president of the United States. Call it proportionality, or simple equality: it is an idea that needs urgent legal recognition, now."

It's an intriguing possibility, but they're short on specifics. Who needs to file suit to get this question in front of the court? Should I do this as I live in California and may as well not bother voting for President? If so, please get in touch guys.

I'm a big fan of the The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Until another option looks plausible please follow that link and take one the actions listed to support it.

What do you get when you multiply six by nine? Brexit.

Brexit

“Good Morning,” said the Electorate at last.

“Er… good morning, O Electorate,” said Cameron nervously, “do you have… er, that is…”

“An answer for you?” interrupted the Electorate majestically. “Yes, I have.”

“There really is one?” breathed Cameron.

“There really is one,” confirmed the Electorate.

“To Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

“Yes, though I don’t think,” added the Electorate, that you’re going to like it.”

“Doesn’t matter!” said Cameron, “We must know it! Now!”

“All right,” said the Electorate, “The answer to Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? Is…”

“Yes…!”

“Is…”

“Yes…!!!…”

“Brexit.”

“I’m going to get lynched, aren’t I?”

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the Electorate, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”

“But it was Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” howled Cameron.

“Yes,” said the Electorate with the air of one who suffers fools gladly, “but what does that actually mean?”

“Well, you know, enjoy the benefits of the single market without being part of it, points based immigration here but still retire to Spain, restore the sovereignty of parliament without actually letting it vote…” said Cameron weakly.

“Exactly!” said the Electorate. “So once you do know what the question actually is, you’ll know what the answer means.”

“Look, all right, all right,” said Cameron, “can you just please tell me the question?”

“Tricky.”

“But can you do it?”

“No, but I’ll tell you who can,” said the Electorate.

“Who? Tell me!”

“I speak of none but the referendum that is to come next,” intoned the Electorate, “A referendum whose merest subordinate clauses I am not worthy to comprehend. A referendum that will actually tell us what Brexit is. A referendum of such infinite and subtle complexity that understanding ATM modernization under Single Sky and the medical implications of leaving Euratom shall form part of its introductory reading material…”

(Apologies to Douglas Adams)

(Previously, Previously)

Resist Report

Resist Report

My February resolution was to do something to #Resist Trump every day. Here's the breakdown:

Calls to Congress: 77

Non-profits donated to: 15

Failing media subscriptions: 4

Protests attended: 2

Advocacy sites launched and promoted: 1

I'll ease off a bit and try something else in March. But the routine of doing something every day has been really helpful. I've gone from saying I really should do something to actually getting in the habit of actively resisting.

#Resist

February resolution: do something to resist Trump every day.

Today I renewed my membership with KQED (which I had shamefully allowed to lapse after moving house) and for the first time ever subscribed to the failing, fake news New York Times.

Out of interest the signup flow for a LastPass devotee with a reasonable password policy is:

"Please provide a password that is between 5 and 15 characters in length."

Fiddle with settings...

"Passwords can contain only letters, numbers, periods, underscores, and hyphens."

Fiddle with settings...

"We're sorry, but we're having a technical issue right now. If you continue to have problems, please call Customer Care at 855-698-8545."

So my NYT password is a bit retro and easy to guess. Maybe Trump is on to something with this one...

Updated 2017-02-03 00:10:

Today I called my Senators (Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris) to oppose the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Updated 2017-02-03 21:00:

Donated to the ACLU.

Then doubled it via donation matching at work. And tripled it via matchingdonations.us. Satisfying!

(Turns out to not be a tax deduction and not eligible for matching, so only doubled. But no regrets.)

Updated 2017-02-04 21:53:

#Resist

No Ban No Wall

Updated 2017-02-05 20:41:

Donated to IRC, doubled with work donation matching.

Updated 2017-02-06 23:38:

Donated to Planned Parenthood. Again, doubled via the magic of work matching.

Updated 2017-02-07 21:07:

Called Representatives Matt Gaetz, Thomas Massie, Steven Palazzo and Barry Loudermilk to ask them to withdraw HR 861, a bill that would terminate the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Updated 2017-02-09 00:42:

Donated the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-09 15:52:

Contacted my Representative (Nancy Pelosi) to oppose HR634, the Electoral Assistance Commission Termination Act. Read more here.

Updated 2017-02-10 13:56:

Today's action is a little self serving, but they might just goad Trump into impeachment: purchased season 42 of Saturday Night Live.

Updated 2017-02-11 19:49:

Resist Trump - Now!

Resist Trump - Now! at Ocean Beach.

Updated 2017-02-12 23:55:

Donated to Let America Vote.

Updated 2017-02-13 21:14:

Donated to FairVote and doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-15 00:24:

Launched democracy.vision, an advocacy site for the National Popular Vote.

Updated 2017-02-15 21:13:

Via the magic of Fancy Hands called all the Republican members of the House Oversight Committee and asked them if they'd care to investigate  the circumstances leading to Michael Flynn having contact with Russia’s Ambassador and the Trump campaign’s alleged contact with Russia last year.

That's Representatives Jason Chaffetz, John Duncan, Darrell Issa, Jim Jordan, Mark Sanford, Justin Amash, Paul Gosar, Scott Desjarlais, Trey Gowdy, Blake Farenthold, Virginia Foxx, Thomas Massie, Mark Meadows, Ron Desantis, Dennis Ross, Mark Walker, Rod Blum, Jody Hice, Steve Russell, Glenn Grothman, William Hurd, Gary Palmer, James Comer and Paul Mitchell.

I was expecting and mostly got either a refusal to comment, or the party line that the Intelligence Committee should be the one to investigate. There were some more promising responses though.

Representative Rod Blum's office said "The Oversight Committee's priority is to investigate Michael Flynn. Since this is a fairly new occurrence in the last 48 hours, no statement has been released with details."

Representative Jody Hice's office said "A hearing will take place on the matter."

Representative Steve Russell's office said "It will be all over the news once it comes out."

This is my people talking to their people so third hand intel at best, but maybe something will happen.

Updated 2017-02-16 23:10:

Just donated to the Natural Resources Defense Council. And of course doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-17 21:08:

Called the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to oppose the appointment of Steve Bannon to the National Security Council.

Updated 2017-02-18 21:07:

Donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center. This is a good one as you can donate in honor of someone and have them mail a card. You might be able to guess where mine went. Also doubled via work matching.

Updated 2017-02-19 18:24:

Donated to the League of Women Voters.

Updated 2017-02-20 20:14:

Just donated to the Sierra Club.

Updated 2017-02-21 23:50:

Donated to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, and doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-22 22:59:

Donated to the International Refugee Assistance Project, doubled with work matching.

Updated 2017-02-23 23:45:

Donated to Trans Lifeline (and yes, doubled).

Updated 2017-02-24 21:00:

Called Representatives Bob Goodlatte, Jim Sensenbrenner, Lamar Smith, Steve Chabot, Darrell Issa, Steve King, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Ted Poe, Jason Chaffetz, Tom Marino, Trey Gordy, Raul Labrador, Blake Farenthold, Doug Collins, Ron Desantis, Andy Biggs, Mike Johnson, Ken Buck, John Radcliffe, Martha Roby and Matt Gaetz to ask them to support Jerrold Nadler’s Resolution of Inquiry into President Trump’s potential ties to Russia. Which apparently they're going to try and bury on Tuesday.

That's every Republican serving on the House Judiciary Committee. Thanks again to Fancy Hands.

Updated 2017-02-26 19:30:

This one is for yesterday, because sometimes you just drink too much Tannat and then forget to resist for one night. Subscribed to The Washington Post.

Updated 2017-02-26 19:35:

Donated to Human Rights Campaign.

Updated 2017-02-27 23:58:

Donated to NORML.

Updated 2017-02-28 11:00:

End of February finale - one more push to actually investigate Trump's ties to Russia. Representative Darrell Issa actually came through on this so the list is one name shorter. Called Representatives Bob Goodlatte, Jim Sensenbrenner, Lamar Smith, Steve Chabot, Steve King, Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Ted Poe, Jason Chaffetz, Tom Marino, Trey Gordy, Raul Labrador, Blake Farenthold, Doug Collins, Ron Desantis, Andy Biggs, Mike Johnson, Ken Buck, John Radcliffe, Martha Roby and Matt Gaetz to ask them to follow Representative Darrell Issa's lead and appoint a special prosecutor.

I didn't think I'd ever fall for fake news of Facebook

I seriously considered giving up Facebook as a New Year's resolution when it became clear that fake news was one of the many things that cost Hillary the election.

Not because of what other people might believe. The problem is me. I get my news primarily from the BBC and NPR. I cruise through RSS feeds and podcasts. I'm a savvy media consumer with a well honed bullshit filter. And then I fell for this:

I didn't think I'd ever fall for fake news of Facebook

It just continued to show up in my Facebook feed reposted from various friends and it wormed its way in as something totally Trumpian and plausible and, well, truthy. Which it isn't. I felt like I'd got as far as filling in the wire transfer form before stopping to think that the Nigerian Prince probably didn't need my personal help with expatriating his fortune. I didn't share it or quote it thankfully but it's like that study where everyone thinks they are a better than average driver. I'm vulnerable to this shit.

I keep reading articles about being a better Facebook user and always checking that the site hosting a story is reputable and written by people who have a footprint outside the site and reverse-searching any images to see if they've been used out of context etc etc etc. Which is implausible if you have more than one friend and comes across as victim blaming.

The horrible danger is that if you don't fact check every stupid quote on image meme the power of repetition lodges them somewhere in your subconscious where they become that thing that you read somewhere. Which is OK if you only read quality news but deadly if you want to catch up on old friends quickly.

What I really want is the friend part without the democracy ending bullshit part.

I tried Diaspora and App.net but they make Google Plus look lively. Facebook, I would pay you for an ad-free, brand-free experience. Also a ban on text on images.

I've been trying to block all the fake news sites that show up in my feed but for some reason that option isn't always available. Also that's probably an impossible task unless Facebook decides to offer shared block lists. Which is probably against their best interest.

I wrote this post to talk myself out of not using Facebook but I don't think I've managed to convince myself yet...

(Meme image grabbed from CNN).

(*on*)

Recount

Recount

I'm on a donation spree. This time to the Jill Stein recount effort. I believe that this will change the outcome of the election as much as I believe that there are real questions about vaccines and autism. But this is clearly making Trump mad. And the madder he gets the sooner he is likely to get himself impeached. Why not help out?

National Popular Vote

National Popular Vote

I just donated to the National Popular Vote campaign. The idea is that if enough states pass enabling legislation they will all throw their electoral college votes behind the popular vote winner. Electoral college neatly short-circuited without any constitutional amendment needed. California is already signed up for this. You can check your state here.

I'm with Her

I'm with Her

This blog has never endorsed a presidential candidate before. This isn't due to hundreds of years of editorial balance, it's because I only became a US Citizen in 2010. I became rapidly disillusioned with Obama (I voted Green in 2012). I'd prefer to have seen a candidate further to the left this time. But it's clear that there is only one way to vote this November and Hillary will have my wholehearted support.

To my Republican friends: Hillary is not going to repeal the 2nd amendment (as much as I'd like to see this happen). She's a moderate and you'll hate some of what she does but America will still be standing in four or eight years and you'll get your chance again. In your heart of hearts you know that Trump would be a disaster for the country and the world. Concede this one graciously and ease off with the desperate hateful last ditch attempt to smear Hillary with a perverted reflection of your candidate's reality.

Democrats: Please vote. I know that a Trump victory is looking increasingly remote but it's really important that Hillary wins the popular vote as well as the electoral college. So no fooling around with Stein or Johnson even if you're in a safe state. Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Hampshire, Indiana and North Carolina, a flip in the Senate would be great as well. I'd love Hillary to both win and be able to get something done as well.