Resist the incoming regime by calling Senator McCain.

Call, don’t write, the legislative offices of moderate Republicans who believe in the Constitution and its protections and who are in a position to resist the regime. A former Congressional staffer explains why to call rather than to write here. I called Senator McCain’s DC office yesterday and spoke with a nice young staffer. I explained that I have always thought of Senator McCain as a very principled man, and I requested that he stand up in the Senate for the Bill of Rights and its protections, rather than de facto siding with the new regime. Whatever you may think of the Senator you call, be polite, and ask for something they might grant, like protecting our rights and the rights of all citizens. McCain’s DC office number is (202) 224-2235. When prompted by the menu, choose to talk to a staffer. Don’t leave a message. Be polite. Call Senator McCain today. Call volume matters. His office needs to be flooded with calls from reasonable Americans. Only Republicans may be able to save us from the excesses of the new regime. The moderate ones will need to draw a line in the sand. Encourage them. My call took 5 minutes, the staffer listened, and it felt like constructive action. But it will only really be constructive if his office is flooded with calls.

I will identify other moderate Republicans that we can call in the future.

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Resist the incoming regime by breaking up with your big, corporate bank. Big banks hate regulations that keep the little guy safe. You know who is going to eradicate the regulations that prevent your bank from gambling with your savings? The regime is. Plus, your bank might already have taken advantage of you, like Wells Fargo has, by scamming its own customers for millions! Join a local credit union.

Your local credit union is a great deal! You are probably eligible to join one credit union or another based on who your employer is or on where you live. Credit unions are not trying to produce profits, like corporate banks are, and are owned by their members. So, they keep fees really low. For example, if you overdraw your checking account at a big corporate bank and they have to draw from your savings to cover the overdraft, they’ll charge you a fee typically between $35 and $50. That’s a ton! At my credit union, the same fee is 50 cents. 1/70th of what most other banks charge. And pretty much everything else is that good of a deal too. My credit union is super convenient and offers tons of perks, like non ATM fees ever, a minimum deposit of only $25, and tons of help with car and home loans, at competitive rates.

If you already belong to a credit union, try to convince one of your friend to join one and ditch their plundering corporate bank.

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Resist the incoming regime by spending money at local Mexican tiendas and other ethnic groceries such as Halal butchers, Asian family-run groceries, whatever local, ethnic stores are in your community. Doing so shows these communities that you–probably a white person, dear reader–support them, morally and financially. It’s also good to spend some money at these family run stores instead of big chain grocers, which don’t have your or the country’s best interests at heart. Those big grocers support harmful farming practices and whichever party is in power, which will soon be the regime.

In the area where I live there are lots of tiny tiendas run but Latino families and frequented almost exclusively by Latino customers. They stock basic grocery items, but they specialize in Mexican and Latin American ingredients. Tomorrow on my way home from work I will go to one, as I have a couple of times before, and buy tamale wrappers, and probably just some other stuff that I don’t usually see in my big, white person grocery store. I will especially try to buy anything that I might otherwise have purchased at a big chain grocer. It will be great, because it will encourage me to try some new things in my cooking. I will spend cash, so that not a penny from the transaction goes to credit card companies, and so that the tienda owners can even keep the transaction off the books if they so choose.

It’ll also be a little awkward though, because as a non-Spanish speaking white person, I’ll be a bit of an interloper, sort of stumbling into a zone where Latinos can usually relax a little, unpestered by white folk. But I’ll smile, be as kind as I possibly can be, and I’ll spend money in order to start sending the message that I welcome our immigrant communities, just as my family was welcomed here a mere two generations ago, and to signal that I want our Latino community to feel empowered in these dark times.

As the photo says, I would rather die standing than live on my knees. Take small, daily actions to stay on your feet.

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How does increasing your gas mileage hurt the incoming regime? Well, in a variety of ways. The regime will roll back current environmental protections, which means that more than ever it will fall to citizens to protect the environment. Increasing your gas mileage, and thus reducing your gas usage: 1) reduces the amount of money going to oil companies that support the regime; 2) results in less oil extraction; 3) reduces climate change inducing carbon emissions. There are benefits for you personally too. Taking the following measures will: 1) save you money!; 2) reduce wear and tear on your car, which saves you eventual expenditures in repair; 3) teach you something about your car, which makes you less dependent on others for help with routine maintenance (saving more money).

There are dramatic steps you can take to increase fuel mileage, but I am focusing on really, really easy ones.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Your car rolls most efficiently when your tires are properly inflated. Most of us do not check our tire pressure often enough. Check weekly, or every time you fill your tank if you go more than a week between fill ups. You can find the proper air pressure for your tires written on the side of them, something like “25-33 PSI.” Fill them to the top of this range, because a fuller tire puts less of the tire in contact with the road, reducing friction and increasing mileage. Proper inflation will help your tires to wear evenly, and increase the lifetime of the tire. It costs pennies to pump your tires at the gas station, and some stations even give free air. Do not overinflate the tire–to do so could jeopardize its safety and lifespan.

Change Your Air Filter

When was your air filter last changed? If you don’t know, it needs changed. I change mine every 10K miles. A fresh air filter lets air better circulate into your engine, resulting in cleaner, more efficient combustion, and better mileage. Air filters are cheap, and pay for themselves with the increased efficiency. Don’t be intimidated. You can change an air filter with few or no tools. If you can change a lightbulb, you can change your air filter. He’s a video showing you how.

Reduce Weight in Your Vehicle

Weight is a huge factor in mileage. Huge! Don’t let your car get cluttered. Don’t use it as a locker room or storage space. Keep in it what you need, but not what you don’t. Don’t keep junk in the car.

Replace Your Spark Plugs

Spark plugs deliver the spark that creates combustion in your engine. When they get worn and corroded, efficiency declines. Modern spark plugs last 100K miles. However, I replace mine every 30-50K miles because they are so cheap, and because fresh ones cause a nice spike in my mileage. They are super easy to replace with a few basic tools that you may own or be able to borrow from a handy friend. Here’s a video showing you how to replace spark plugs.

Only Use 87

There are lots of myths that higher octane gas is more fuel efficient. Bullshit. You only need high octane if you have a high compression (read, high performance, racing style) engine. Use 87. Always. Don’t use fuel additives that come in those little bottles. They are bullshit.

Buy Your Gas in the Morning

What, you say? I’ll let an expert explain: “This isn’t really for gas mileage but to get more petrol for your money. Take advantage of early morning cold by filling up your tank early in the day, while the ground temperature is still cold. The temperature of gasoline, diesel, ethanol and other petroleum products plays an important role in getting the most for your money. Petrol stations do not have temperature compensation at the pumps (though loading and storage facilities do, ensuring them greater accuracy). Because the storage tanks are underground, the colder the ground the more dense the petrol. When it gets warmer it expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening your gallon is not exactly a gallon. Petrol pumps don’t measure actual volume or density, they assume volume derived from flow-rate. The flow rate doesn’t change with temperature but the density of the petrol does. So if the pump is calibrated to deliver an assumed gallon in 10 seconds based on full flow, if the petrol is colder, it will be more dense and you’ll get marginally more in that 10 seconds than if you fill up in the afternoon. How much more? If it’s 15°C in the morning and 35°C in the afternoon, you’ll get about 2.5% more petrol in the morning for the same price.”

Change Your Oil On Time

Clean oil results in efficient movement of your engine’s internal parts. Don’t let oil get old and dirty. Use the lightest oil recommended for your vehicle (check owners manual) because that reduces friction and helps efficiency.

Drive Slower

Driving fast requires more energy. If you can back of the pedal a bit, especially during highway cruising, your mileage will increase. In city driving, accelerate more slowly, which also helps, and slow down earlier, coasting to a stop.

If you don’t know how to perform these maintenance items, ask a friend to teach you. If you live in western NC, I will teach you! If you already know how, teach a friend.

If you do all of this, your mileage could increase as much as 15%. Imagine spending 15% less on gas a year! That’s huge, a lot of money back in your pocket. Here’s a great article that goes into more detail.

Of course, walking, carpooling, and biking are great ways to decrease your gas usage too, when they are practical for you. INCREASING YOUR GAS MILEAGE IS AN ACTIVE WAY TO RESIST THE REGIME, and it benefits you personally!

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This is the first of many, many posts. As I indicated yesterday, I am committing to post as often as I am able to small actions that are totally manageable that all of us can do. Individually, the actions will be insignificant, but collectively they could be profound. Not all of them will require money, and in fact, many will be about ways to save money, and divest from the regime’s sources of support. But today, I am suggesting that we all spend money, just a little money.

Join the American Civil Liberties Union. As little as $35 will make you a member, but if you can afford to donate more, I encourage you to do so. The ACLU is an established, robust organization with a record of fighting for the rights of all citizens. Their track record is proven, and their infrastructure for fighting unconstitutional laws and actions is in place. They are gearing up to resist all of the regime’s illegal actions, which we anticipate will be many. At a time when our most vulnerable citizens are literally under assault, the ACLU will fight on their behalf, and effectively. Donate. It is a sacrifice, I know. Also, follow the ACLU on social media like Facebook and Twitter. If you are already an ACLU member, go kick them a little extra cash–even $5 or $10 is meaningful.

“The ACLU has been at the center of nearly every major civil liberties battle in the U.S. for over 90 years. We’ve participated in more cases before the Supreme Court than any other private organization.”

When I worked in intelligence I was aware of the “Enhanced Interrogation” program that our nation had implemented, wherein we tortured terrorists and suspected terrorists. The intelligence derived from that program was often worthless, because a tortured man will say anything to stop being tortured, and revelations about the program and its horrors have reduced America’s moral authority in the world. When I became aware of that program is when I first joined the ACLU. Once a fellow analyst joked about “card carrying ACLU members” and I whipped out my membership card. It gave him pause, because he knew that I was a patriot, knew that I worked every day to protect American troops and American citizens, and then knew that I was a proud supporter of the ACLU. It probably didn’t convince him of anything, but that’s not the point. It caused a moment of recognition and contemplation for him, and that is a start.

I joined the ACLU then because I knew we needed a strong institution resisting the unconstitutional behavior of our government. On the morning of 11/9/16 I renewed my membership, after a period of lapse. My membership will never lapse again. Thousands of people have joined since 11/8, and thousands more need to. We need to give the ACLU a war chest with which to fight to preserve our Constitutional Rights. Join today. It takes 5 minutes, isn’t very expensive, and it concretely helps to resist the regime.

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