Boycott Trump

Fortunately, as Trump names everything after himself, it’s relatively easy to figure out what things to boycott. His holdings in the UK are most limited to golf courses, but some international brands are also partnered with him. I’ve been writing them letters:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to ask that you end your business relationship with Donald Trump. As you may be aware, he has already been dropped by Macy’s, Univision and NBC for his racist remarks. I hope that your buisiness is soon added to that list.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that I will be boycotting your products in the mean time. I hope that you sever your relationship soon.

Thank you for your time,
Charles Hutchins

You too can boycott:

Leave others in the comments!

The No Fly List

This is my letter to Rep. Barbara Lee regarding the No Fly List:

Dear Representative Lee,

I am writing because I believe the No Fly List is unconstitutional and should be eliminated. It deprives people of the right to move freely within the country without due process.

I have recently seen some Democrats, such as Bernie Sanders, arguing that some gun control legislation should be based on this list. While I would strongly back increased gun control, I think this is the wrong way to go about it. The No Fly List is secret and is not often subject to judicial review. The list itself is islamophobic. Indeed, the vast majority of shootings happen at the hands of angry, white, Christian men who are unlikely to ever appear on the No Fly List.

However, even if the No Fly List were not racist, and the ‘right’ people were put on it- in terms of people likely to engage in unlawful use of firearms- it would still deprive Americans of due process and, as such, my opposition is not solely because it is ineffective. I hope you are able to pass gun control laws that apply across the population and which do not rely on secret lists or skirt appropriate judicial oversight.

I have very high regard for your work as a representative for my district and very much appreciate all that you do. Thank you very much for your service and good luck in your bid to become vice chair.

Best Regards,
Charles Hutchins
Berkeley, CA

The House of Represenatives provides a handy tool for Finding your represenative via your zip code.

There is a staggering amount of racism being openly stated in the US. It’s vital that racist institutions be dismantled, rather than expanded. Recently, Donald Trump suggested that Muslims be barred from entering (or re-entering) the US. While this is obviously illegal and wrong, this exact scenario is already in place for many Muslims, based on secret criteria, in decisions made in secret panels. The No Fly List has stranded American citizens overseas, effectively preventing them from returning to their homes. President Trump could just expand this already unconstitutional program, which already lacks judicial oversight.

It is vital that Democrats prepare for the possibility of Trump being elected by removing tools that he could exploit to ignore the constitution and human rights. The rule of law must be restored as soon as possible to the Executive branch, secrecy must be stripped away and the executive must openly and visibly respect human rights and due process. While this is obviously the right thing to do no matter who is in office, handing a shadow government over to Trump would be a nightmare.

Bullying as Journalism

EDIT: ESPN actually is the publisher of the article, since they own Grantland.
Submitted to

Dear sir or Madam,

I am writing because I saw an advertisement for you on an article that I think you may not wish to be associated with. You may be aware of article on Grantland in which the journalist, Caleb Hannan, harasses his subject to the point of suicide. He is clearly aware of the harm he knows he causing her and uses it as part of his narrative arc. I’m sure that you do not wish to have your name associated with this kind of horrific bullying. Yet there is a link to you at the top of the page, implying endorsement. I would like to strongly encourage you to end your relationship with Grantland. I would also like to enquire if you have any policies which would apply if one of your own journalists submitted a similar story.

Thank you for your time,

Charles Hutchins

I’m not linking to the article. A ‘journalist’ decided to investigate the inventor of a new kind of putter. He speaks to her former employer who had used the threat of outing to get her to drop a discrimination lawsuit and then decided to out her anyway. He then called up everyone she knew to tell them personally that she was trans and ask them for comment. Having completely socially isolated her, he then calls her on the phone and tells her he’s going to out her in the press. She wrote him an email saying he was engaging in hate crime, which he included in the story. She took her own life, and he made sure to mention that the person who told him about this hated her and quote that person’s misgendering. He straight up caused somebody to die and then reported his role in it without a hint of remorse.
I’ve read some hateful shit. I’ve read bullying. I’ve read things that are intended to make the victim feel bad. But this, this kind of bloodless dispassionate, emotionally blank destruction of another human being is something I’ve never seen before. This is worse than anything I’ve ever encountered before. He kills someone and really is not at all bothered by it.
There’s a link to ESPN at the top of the socippath’s article and so I wrote to them. Their other adverts are automatically served by outbrain and are the same meaningless shit you see at the bottom of every article on earth. I clicked through on something that’s gone viral and the website is making money off of this. Because they have no qualms about bullying someone to death. Because it’s just a trans woman, so who cares.


Dear Editor,

I am writing in regards to your recent headline, HEARD THE ONE ABOUT A SEX SWAP MAN WHO REPLACED A FEMALE COMIC?.
The transgender comic involved in the story is not a man, but a woman, something which you seemed to be aware of when writing the story. Also using the term “sex swap” is derogatory. A better headline would have read, “Have you heard the one about the transgender woman who replaced another female comic?”
The rest of your article seem to be fine and it’s a shame that it had this headline attached. If you have any questions or are in need of advice when writing about transgender people in future, the website for Trans Media Watch has a section in order to advise journalists and editors.
Thank you for your time.

America’s Last Strong Union

Dear Senator Boxer
I am writing to ask that congress take steps to stop cuts to the Postal Service. As you know, the postal service has just announced it plans to reduce service levels and fire 100,000 workers. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, these changes will put a drag on the economy, raise the prices of prescription drugs and hurt people living in rural communities. This is the last thing our country needs in a time of recession.
What’s more, as you know, the US Postal Service would be operating at a profit, were it not forced by congress to pre-fund the retirements of future postal workers who are not yet even born. The Post Services budget shortfalls are entirely a result of this mandate. This unprecedented mandate is an attack on one of America’s last strong unions, by forcing cuts where none are needed.
I hope I can count on you to protect these 100,000 jobs and do the right thing for the 99% of your constituents who rely on the postal service.

Writing Letters to Oakland

Dear Mayor Quan,

  I just watched an internet video in which an Oakland Police officer at the Occupy Oakland protest had his name taped over, so that it was unreadable.

We ask a OPD officer why he had his name badge covered…. from BLK PXLS on Vimeo.

The officer in question, J. Hargraves, was ordered to remove the covering by his superior officer once members of the public intervened. That he had his name covered at all strongly suggests to me that he was intending to break the law in his policing of protesters. I also find it troubling that he was willing to do this only a few feet away from his superior officer.  This further suggests that the department has an informal policy allowing or encouraging this behavior.

I hope you as mayor investigate whether or not this is the case and order the police to issue a clarification to their officers that they are required to follow the law and respect the civil rights of protesters.

Thank you for your time,
Charles Hutchins

You can contact the mayor of Oakland via her website:

I wrote a letter to the Metro

I wrote to the Metro about this article which differs from the print version. The print headline was “Boy, 10, returns to school a girl.” The first sentence repeated the word “boy” and thereafter used only terms like “child,” and avoided any use at all of pronouns.
I’m not sure how much of an improvement it is to say that a 10 year old wants a “sex change.” I guess they thought the word “transgender” would be too difficult for London morning commuters.
This is the letter I wrote:

Dear [Editor],
I am writing in regards to yesterday’s Metro front page article,
“Boy, 10, who went back to school a girl” in regards to misgendering
the subject. The correct way to refer to a trans person’s gender is
to follow their choices. The girl in the article clearly wishes to be
known as a girl and your use of “boy” in the first sentence and
headline is therefore inappropriate. The rest of the article uses only
the term “child.” It is not appropriate or neutral to treat this
girl’s gender as if it is a subject of open debate. You also use
words like “youngster” to avoid using pronouns outside of direct
quotes. This, plus the use of boy does seem to undermine the gender
identity of the girl.
There is a very helpful website, trans media watch, which offers
advice to journalists writing articles about trans people: This website
advises the media to avoid phrases like “sex-change,” which also
appears in the first sentence of your article. Your article is
otherwise sympathetic, so I hope you can keep these things in mind the
next time you write about a trans person.

Did I mention they picked it as their front page article? This is something that happens every single autumn in at least one school in the UK. It was in other news outlets, including on the BBC, as the girls’ mum talked to the national press. I’m all for raising awareness of anti-trans bullying, but large shocking headlines seem to be participating in, rather than decrying, adults calling this girl a “freak.”
The Metro has not acknowledged my letter, although they did correct the web version. I thought I’d post the letter here.
I’m trying to imagine how it would have felt to have a newspaper headline when I returned to uni with a new set of pronouns… I hope the girl’s mum is keeping her away from the news.

Not Shopping at Amazon

Dear Sir or Madam,

I was distressed to read in the Guardian that you quit hosting wikileaks’s website ( I had intended to do all of my Christmas shopping with, but instead, I’ll find an online retailer who does not practice censorship. I’m very disappointed by this and I hope you change your mind.

Thank you for your time,
C Hutchins

Sooooo….. anybody got any suggestions about from where I should mail-order gifts for my family in the US?
First of all, I think the wikileaks thing is really cool. On the one hand, it is a problem for diplomats if they can’t write frank assessments for fear of seeing them in newspapers. But, on the other hand, there’s so much unnecessary and undemocratic secrecy that the embarrassment of the diplomatic corps is a small issue by comparison.
Also, the leaks don’t seem to be actually making the US look as bad as I thought they would. The bad behaviour (bombing and lying about it) was already fairly well known. I didn’t know, however, that the US was being pressured by Arab states to declare war on Iran. I would have guessed the opposite. So I’m happy to learn the US has been resisting this course of action. Also, the the cables about Sarkozy and others are really fascinating.
I’m also very happy to hear that banks are next. This is whistle-blowing on a large scale.
They keep telling us that if we’ve done nothing wrong, we have nothing to fear. Well, large, powerful organisations like governments and banks actually should be accountable to society at large, so prying into their secrets actually serves a useful purpose whereas CCTV cameras pointing into our windows do not. If the banks hadn’t destroyed the economy, I’m sure the prospect fo seeing their memos leaked would be much less pertinent. So I hope wikileaks keeps it up. Also, Manning is a hero, assuming he did it.
What’s not cool is Amazon giving in to government pressure. This is part of why I’m very wary of using US-based web services. Certainly EU governments do censor things, but the land of the free and home of the brave seems to be full of corporations who cooperate very easily. Also, as far as government goes, the Patriot Act gives them the right to spy on us, which is also not really what you want from your IT provider.
In short, Amazon pulling the plug makes the US, and especially US-based companies, look worse than the leaked documents do.
But seriously, from where should I order Christmas gifts? And what does one get for a 2 year old, anyway?

Writing my Legislators

Dear Honourable Hancock and Skinner,

I’m writing about anti-LGBT bullying in California schools. It was with great distress that I read about the suicide of Seth Walsh in Tehachapi. As you probably know, he was a victim of daily bullying at school by homophobic classmates.

Suicides rates of LGBT youth in California are unacceptably high and bullying is often a factor in these deaths. I hope that the State of California will take action to ensure that schools take bullying seriously and take steps to stop it. I hope also that schools will give the message to LGBT students and their peers that LGBT people are valuable members of society.

LGBT kids need to be safe in small towns as much as they are in big cities. It is not good enough to have a few safe areas, like the Bay Area. Kids in small towns are more isolated and need as much or more protection from harassment and bullying.

Thank you for your time.

Charles Hutchins

I think national action should be taken on this, but also local and state. You can find out who your CA state legislators are at When you write, include your home address, so they know you live in their district.

See writing letters DOES help

today, I wrote this:

In your story, “Seattle man charged in 2nd hate-crime
,” you have identified the victim as “a man who
was dressed as a woman.” In fact, the victim is transgender and
identifies as a woman. According to both the AP Style Guide and the New
York Times Style Guide, she should therefore by identified as a woman by
the press and female pronouns should be used. To call her a man is
incorrect and offensive and is using the same logic that her attacker
likely used.

I hope you can correct this article and avoid making this mistake again
in the future.

And I got a reply:

Your message regarding the story about the bus shelter assault was
forwarded to me because I wrote the item. I used the language that was
in the charging papers without realizing it would be hurtful or
offensive. Thanks for raising my awareness. Had you not written in, I
might have made the same mistake in the future.

Oh, man, that totally helped!
See, so writing to newspapers is not just spinning your wheels! So carry forth! We will make this a better world, one reporter at a time!