Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Killemalla: "What is your 'go to' album that lifts your spirits, makes you smile?"

I don't have a single album, but a collection of songs I listen to when I need it. Andra Day's "Rise Up." The Rescues' "Break Me Out." John Legend's "If You're Out There." Sigur Rós' "Festival." Literally anything by Nina Simone.

Right now, this one is getting a lot of play: The Gabe Dixon Band's "All Will Be Well."


[Lyrics available here.]

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by soccer balls.

Recommended Reading:

T.C.: The 265 Members of Congress Who Sold You Out to ISPs, and How Much It Cost to Buy Them

Adam: How to Hide Your Browsing History from Your Snooping ISP

R. Eric: [Content Note: Misogynoir; moving GIFs at link] You Will Never, in Your Entire Life, Get the Best of Maxine Waters

Breanna: [CN: Misogynoir; workplace harassment] Fox News Slapped with Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Bryce: Trump Team Claims Credit for Jobs at Ford That Were Negotiated by a Union

Molly: Will Trump Be the Only President in 100 Years Not to Throw the First Pitch at an MLB Game?

Eric: [CN: Discussion of white nationalism] Feeling 'British'

Ragen: Finally a Fat Positive Salon

Shanon: [CN: Rape jokes; misogyny; transphobia; homophobia] Dave Chappelle: Your Homophobic, Transphobic, Misogynistic Rants Aren't Funny

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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Donald Trump Is a Turd and My Friends Are Buttholes

Hey, ya bunch of feminist bats! It's me, Butch Pornstache, coming at ya live from the Pornstache Conservatory. (TOILET.)

I heard some of you weirdos were hoping I'd weigh in on how Donald Trump's presidency is going so far, so here I am! Long time no talk about LOVING AMERICA.

Since I'm a reformed Tea Partier, whose stars-and-bars patriotic truck nuts are now hidden away in a Cracker Jack box at the back of my garage, I am no fan of our new president.

Partly that's because I don't trust dudes who slap their name in gold letters on anything but bowling trophies, and partly that's because I've learned a few things since my ex-wife/fiancée Tammy rigged up my phone so Shakesville is the only website I can access and restricted my TV time to episodes of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (which isn't nearly as sexy as it sounds) and re-runs of Parks & Recreation.

I am LITERALLY (Chris Traeger!) surrounded by Trump fans like 97% of the time. Down at the lodge, at the BMX Fanciers Society, at O'Tooterly's Pub and Bait Shop, every time I'm just trying to fish and throw sticks in the water at Winkle Creek, and even at my brother Buck's house. Jesus H. Christ, they are everywhere.

And every time I try to set them straight on some FAKE NEWS they're spouting off like it was handed to them engraved on tablets from Noah on Mount Olympus, they yell some bullhooey at me about how I need to get my head out of my ass and listen to people who don't share my views.

(My views being that Trump is a dipshit with a Cabinet full of turdacious billionaires whose precious butt cheeks probably ain't never even sat on a four-wheeler.)

And it's really starting to make my mustache frizzle to be told I need to listen to Trump voters when THEY'RE SCREAMING IN MY FACE TWENTY-FOUR SEVEN.

It's like, are you goddamn emeffing jerkturkeys kidding me?! Every last one of my happy places that I used to go to escape the OPPRESSIVE REGIME of my house and its RUTHLESS OVERLADIES (feminism) Tammy and my stepmom Cheryl, and enjoy the uncomplicated company of uncomplicated men has now turned into a barfinating TRUMP ZONE OF MANZOMBIES who talk about how great Trump is like they're getting paid in solid gold MAGA hats for every compliment they give that yammering shitbucket!

I couldn't turn off the spigot of pro-Trump propaganda if I wanted to! And believe me—I've tried!

My best friend Dick Balzac has lost his damn mind, can't shut his yapper about Trump for thirty solid seconds, and I offered to give him my entire According to Jim DVD collection and ALL my VHS tapes of John Cena's Greatest WWE Smashes if he'd just stop talking about Trump for ONE DAY, and he couldn't do it!

It's gotten so bad that I'm beginning to prefer the company of women who shout at me every time I say something stupid about how ladies' nights at O'Tooterly's are reverse sexism.

And let me just let you in on a little secret: These men who are RUINING MEN for me aren't talking about their economic anxiety. They're talking about "illegals" and "sexual deviants" and "pro-abortion feminazis" and "white genocide," and when they run out of things to say on that malarkey, they get each other all revved up (IN THE PANTS) by shouting "LOCK HER UP! LOCK HER UP!"

Last week at bowling, I just lost my noodles, and I shouted, "ALL OF YOU SHOULD BE LOCKED UP FOR BEING DUMBASSES!" And, man, you wouldn't even BELIEVE how many hotdogs got thrown at me. It was so many hotdogs.

There was no convincing them, so I just gave them the Eye of the Tiger and got outta there.

Anyways. You know I never liked that Obama character, but maybe I wasn't paying enough attention as I should have been. I got healthcare now, thanks to him. And I still think Hillary is a huge dork, but if huge dorks don't belong in the White House, where are we even supposed to put them?

I don't know, man. The world is getting weird. All my favorite spaces that used to be the coolest with the greatest guys now feel pretty shady—even though it's the same spaces with the same guys. Trump has changed something in them. They're so mean now.

Tammy and Cheryl keep telling me that Trump didn't change them—that I was just a privileged ding-a-ling who didn't notice how mean they always were. Maybe that's true. They're usually right about this stuff.

Maybe my friends have always sucked and it's me who's changed.

All's I know is that I don't want to hear ONE MORE G.D. THING ABOUT HOW DONALD TRUMP IS THE BEST or I'm gonna put my shoe through someone's ass!

Well, I kinda complained so much about my stupid friends that I forgot to complain about Donald Trump's presidency so far. I'll save that for next time. MORE BUTCH FOR YOU, LUCKY DUCKIES!

Pornstache: OUT.

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Why Does Anyone Care What Bernie Sanders Thinks About the Democratic Party? (With Receipts)

 screen cap of tweet authored by David Wright showing the snippet of a transcript from an interview between Joe Scarborough and Bernie Sanders, in which Scarborough asks: 'Can Dems be open to candidates that aren't rigidly pro-choice, rigidly pro gun control?' And Sanders replies: 'The answer, I think, is yes.'

Why on earth does anyone care what Bernie Sanders thinks about the Democratic Party?

HE IS NOT A DEMOCRAT.

If he were, he'd probably know that many of us are already represented by Democrats who aren't "rigidly" supportive of reproductive rights or gun regulations, but then again, if he were a Democrat, he probably wouldn't have sued the party in the midst of a primary.

To be utterly blunt, Bernie Sanders ran a disorganized, deceptive campaign that was disastrous for the Democratic party. I haven't forgotten the Politico article by Gabriel Benedetti and Edward-Isaac Dovere that detailed Bernie's damaging decisions:

It was the Vermont senator who personally rewrote his campaign manager's shorter statement after the chaos at the Nevada state party convention and blamed the political establishment for inciting the violence.

He was the one who made the choice to go after Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after his wife read him a transcript of her blasting him on television.

He chose the knife fight over calling Clinton unqualified, which aides blame for pulling the bottom out of any hopes they had of winning in New York and their last real chance of turning a losing primary run around.

And when Jimmy Kimmel's producers asked Sanders' campaign for a question to ask Donald Trump, Sanders himself wrote the one challenging the Republican nominee to a debate.

And let's not forget this gem:

But more than any of them, Sanders is himself filled with resentment, on edge, feeling like he gets no respect — all while holding on in his head to the enticing but remote chance that Clinton may be indicted before the convention.

Bernie Sanders was hoping that Hillary Clinton would be indicted.

This is not a man with the good of the Democratic Party in mind.

Recall that the 2016 primaries were Bernie Sanders' first primary. He's run as an Independent in the House and the Senate, but enjoyed a cozy arrangement with Democrats since 1990. He benefited from the overt intervention of the DCCC against a Democrat in 1996. In fact, I have written previously about the many, many times Bernie Sanders has been happy to have the Democrats genuinely "rig" their process--on his behalf. But when it came to actually running in a contested Democratic primary, he couldn't seem to do it. As I wrote previously:

Maybe an actual Democratic Party primary DOES feel unfair to Sanders. After all, he's never actually had to win one. He's always gotten his name on the D-ticket, effectively, without having to compete.

There's definitely someone in this race who is used to showing up and getting a coronation from the Democrats. Someone who is totally out of their depth when faced with a very liberal opponent who is not taking this for granted. Someone who is acting hugely entitled and freaking out because they actually have to follow the rules of the party whose nomination they want.

And that Someone is not named Hillary Clinton.

To be utterly blunt, Sanders proved that he doesn't understand how a party actually works. He utterly failed to follow the First Rule of Democrat Club: Don't damage your opponent—or the party—so much that it hurts in the general.

Now, to be fair, perhaps in another year without Russian bots and trolls amplifying every bit of Democratic Party drama, and without Wikileaks releasing nothingburger-but-much-hyped emails, it would have been different. But this wasn't that year.

Instead, we had Bernie Sanders, so unaccustomed to being challenged from the left that he thought being pressed on his gun records was an unfair attack, and couldn't handle being called on his sexism:

Since the first debate, Clinton, also without naming Sanders, has pushed back on his assertion there that "all the shouting in the world" would not fix the country's problem with gun violence.

"I've been told to stop shouting about guns," Clinton said at a rally in Virginia on Friday, a line she repeated Saturday during her remarks at the J-J dinner. "Actually I haven't been shouting, but sometimes when a woman talks, some people think it's shouting."

"We'd be very happy to have a straight-out debate on issues that matter to people and confine it to that," [consultant Tad] Devine said. "But if they're going to have a campaign that attacks Bernie on gun safety and implies he engages in sexism, that's unacceptable. We're not going to stand for that. We're not going to sit here and let her attack him. We're going to have to talk about other things if they do that. If they're going to engage in this kind of attack, they need to understand we're not going to stand there and take it."

Welcome to the Democratic primary, Mr. Devine and Mr. Sanders! Where sexist bullshit isn't welcome, and where your liberal cred is not beyond fair dispute, and where pointing out that you are not a Democrat is a fact, not an "attack."

Why would anyone give a Trumppence, let alone Ronpaulbuxx, about the opinion of Bernie Sanders, the man whose campaign improperly accessed proprietary data from a rival campaign and then sued the party in order to avoid the consequences of their actions?

Yeah, that sounds like a guy with the best interests of the Democratic Party at heart. Here's what the staffers did, by the way:

Another person familiar with the investigation also told NBC News that a total of four individuals affiliated with the Sanders campaign appear to have accessed the data, including Uretsky and Deputy National Data Director Russell Drapkin.

A series of documents outlining an audit trail maintained by the database company, obtained and reviewed by NBC News, shows that the four individuals spent a total of about 40 minutes conducting searches of the Clinton data. Those searches included terms that point to Sanders' team gaining access to proprietary lists from more than 10 early voting states of Clinton's likely supporters as well as lists for Sanders backers. That data was saved to personal folders.

It also appears that Drapkin "suppressed" two folders after the database company became aware of the breach.

To be clear: Sanders sued the DNC after it temporarily suspended his campaign's access to a system they had flagrantly misused in order to access data they had no right to.

Am I missing something? We're supposed to think he gives a shit about the party after that?

And let's not forget the role of Sanders and Weaver in keeping the lie alive that leaked emails "proved" some kind of improper bias against Sanders during the primaries—the "rigged" claim. This never made sense if one bothered to look at the dates of the emails. DNC staffers snarked about many things (probably unwisely) but the comments about Sanders same from emails late int he game, after it was clear he couldn't win. Per Eichenwald at Newsweek:

According to a Western European intelligence source, Russian hackers, using a series of go-betweens, transmitted the DNC emails to WikiLeaks with the intent of having them released on the verge of the Democratic Convention in hopes of sowing chaos. And that’s what happened—just a couple of days before Democrats gathered in Philadelphia, the emails came out, and suddenly the media was loaded with stories about trauma in the party. Crews of Russian propagandists—working through an array of Twitter accounts and websites, started spreading the story that the DNC had stolen the election from Sanders. (An analysis provided to Newsweek by independent internet and computer specialists using a series of algorithms show that this kind of propaganda, using the same words, went from Russian disinformation sources to comment sections on more than 200 sites catering to liberals, conservatives, white supremacists, nutritionists and an amazing assortment of other interest groups.) The fact that the dates of the most controversial emails—May 3, May 4, May 5, May 9, May 16, May 17, May 18, May 21—were after it was impossible for Sanders to win was almost never mentioned, and was certainly ignored by the propagandists trying to sell the “primaries were rigged” narrative. (Yes, one of them said something inappropriate about his religious beliefs. So a guy inside the DNC was a jerk; that didn’t change the outcome.) Two other emails—one from April 24 and May 1—were statements of fact. In the first, responding to Sanders saying he would push for a contested convention (even though he would not have the delegates to do so), a DNC official wrote, “So much for a traditional presumptive nominee.” Yeah, no kidding. The second stated that Sanders didn’t know what the DNC’s job actually was—which he didn’t, apparently because he had not ever been a Democrat before his run.

Bottom line: The “scandalous” DNC emails were hacked by people working with the Kremlin, then misrepresented online by Russian propagandists to gullible fools who never checked the dates of the documents. And the media, which in the flurry of breathless stories about the emails would occasionally mention that they were all dated after any rational person knew the nomination was Clinton’s, fed into the misinformation.

And here is Jeff Weaver, breathlessly repeating Russian propaganda about the emails' content:

Weaver said the emails showed misconduct at the highest level of the staff within the party and that he believed there would be more emails leaked, which would "reinforce" that the party had "its fingers on the scale."

"Everybody is disappointed that much of what we felt was happening at the DNC was in fact happening, that you had in this case a clear example of the DNC taking sides and looking to place negative information into the political process.

Apparently, Weaver was upset someone in the DNC called him a liar. I WONDER WHY THEY WOULD DO THAT.

I could go on and on, but the point is: Neither Bernie Sanders nor those most closely associated with him in his campaign really seem to have given a fuck about the Democratic Party, nor put much forethought into how their attacks would weaken the Democratic case in the general. And that goes for Tad Devine, as well—long described as a "Democratic" political consultant. Devine was the one who convinced Bernie to run as a Democrat, but I seriously question why any Democrat would go near him ever again if he was really behind the DNC lawsuit:

The biggest transformation for the campaign started out as a kind of nightmare. Everything changed when staffers woke up the Friday before Christmas to stories about the Democratic National Committee shutting them out of the party voter file after a Sanders staffer had used an opening in the system in an apparent attempt to swipe piles of Clinton campaign information.

The 8 A.M. campaign call started confused and frightened, but Devine and Longabaugh cut everyone off. What they should do, they said, was fight. They wanted to sue. In a smaller follow-up call—Devine and Longabaugh sitting next to each other on a plane about to leave Reagan National for Burlington, Weaver in the campaign office, Sanders and his wife at their home—they agreed

That's the same Tad Devine who, with Paul Manafort, had no problem working for ruthless Ukranaian politician Victor Yanukovich. You know, the guy who tried to kill his rival with dioxin poisoning.

Somehow, I can't be arsed to care about Tad Devine's opinions on the Democratic Party, either.

It's not that the Democratic Party is without flaw. But asking Bernie Sanders what it needs to do to fix itself is asking a guy who inflicted plenty of the damage from which it's now reeling. He and his campaign were the unwitting dupes of Russian propaganda, but they also made up their own damaging myths about the party—that there were too few debates, that it was unfair for his campaign to be held to account for stealing data, that Clinton had done something indictable, etc.

If Bernie Sanders wants to help with the Trump resistance, I welcome that. If the Democrats are willing to work with him, I welcome that too. But I don't welcome the opinions of someone so hostile to the party, and to its base of nonwhite voters, and so unwilling to own the damage he's inflicted.

Over and over, Sanders has made it clear: He does not like or respect the Democratic Party. And he's welcome to that opinion, but it doesn't really qualify him as a good faith advisor on its future.

You want me to care what you say about the Dems, Bernie? Then you can start by joining the party.

P.S. If you want to see a most righteous takedown of Bernie being ready to deal on women's bodily autonomy, but Wall Street not so much, then don't miss Imani Gandy's amazing tweets.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat standing near the glass doors to the backyard, flicking her tail
Livs, looking for some trouble to get in.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 69

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker: How the White House and Republicans Blew Up the House Russia Investigation. "The evidence is now clear that the White House and Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, have worked together to halt what was previously billed as a sweeping investigation of Russian interference in last year's election. 'We've been frozen,' Jim Himes, a Democratic representative from Connecticut who is a member of the Committee, said. ...The White House and Nunes were clearly coordinating this strategy."

Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman at Politico: White House Eyeing Young Lawyers for Judgeships: "The White House Counsel's office is interviewing lawyers in their late 30s and early 40s for federal judgeships, sources familiar with the matter told us. ...Placing younger candidates on the bench would ensure Trump's influence on the federal court system for decades."

By way of reminder (since I've mentioned this like two dozen times, as I'm the brokenest of broken records), Trump inherited more than 100 federal court vacancies, because: "Confirmation of Obama's judicial nominees slowed to a crawl after Republicans took control of the Senate in 2015."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Justin Sink and Matthew Townsend at Bloomberg: Trump to Meet with Cohn on Thursday to Discuss Tax Overhaul, Sources Say. "Donald Trump will be briefed Thursday on various ways to implement comprehensive tax code changes, as the White House shifts focus after the failed attempt to replace Obamacare. Trump will be presented with possible options by a group of administration officials including Gary Cohn, head of the National Economic Council, according to three people familiar with the meeting who asked not to be identified because the details are private. ...The presentation is the latest in an ongoing series of White House meetings to help the administration craft a tax plan and fulfill what Trump has described as a top legislative priority."

Jonathan O'Connell at the Washington Post: Trump's Company Pursues Second Washington Hotel. "Trump's company is actively seeking to open a second Washington hotel as part of a planned nationwide expansion, potentially creating another venue where he stands to benefit financially from customers doing business in the nation’s capital. ...Unlike the luxurious Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, which Trump and his family own, the more affordable Scion hotels would be owned by other developers who would pay the Trumps' company for licensing rights and management." Thief-in-chief.

[CN: Nativism] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: Trump Is Paving the Way for Erosion of Immigrants' Privacy Rights. "Largely overlooked in [Donald] Trump's January 25 executive order to 'enhance public safety' in the United States was a policy change effectively stripping foreigners and undocumented immigrants of privacy safeguards. 'Agencies shall, to the extent consistent with applicable law, ensure that their privacy policies exclude persons who are not United States citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act [of 1974] regarding personally identifiable information,' section 14 of the executive order reads."

[CN: Nativism; Nazism; video may autoplay at link] Ed Mazza at the Huffington Post: Auschwitz Survivor Confronts ICE Director: 'History Is Not On Your Side'. "In a dramatic moment at a public forum on immigration Tuesday, 87-year-old Bernard Marks confronted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan. 'When I was a little boy in Poland, for no other reason but for being Jewish, I was hauled off by the Nazis,' Marks said. 'And for no other reason I was picked up and separated from my family, who was exterminated in Auschwitz. And I am a survivor of Auschwitz and Dachau.' Marks then proceeded to warn Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, who hosted the event, against working closely with Homan to carry out the Trump Administration's strict deportation policies, which include stalking immigrants at courthouses. ...'We stand up here, Mr Jones, don't forget. History is not on your side.'"

News from the Conservative Legislation Lab, worth noting if you want to know what's coming down the Republican policy pike. Kaitlin L Lange at the Indianapolis Star: Tolls Possible on Some Indiana Interstates. "An Indiana Senate committee Tuesday pushed through plans to raise the gas tax by 10 cents and open Indiana interstate highways to tolling. ...Under the Senate proposal, Hoosiers would end up paying a total gas tax of 28 cents a gallon and a diesel tax of 22 cents per gallon by 2018. The measure also would remove the sales tax on diesel fuel. But the money-generating plan likely to garner the most raised eyebrows from Hoosier motorists would give the governor's office the option to impose tolls on interstate highways."

In case you haven't been following my decade of grousing about Indiana politics, I will remind you that Indiana privatized the toll road years ago, which jacked up the rates. That was supposed to provide revenue to maintain other roads. Now they are using road maintenance to justify these taxes and tolls. Welp.

And finally: A couple of good news resistance items!

Samantha Schmidt at the Washington Post: Two Activists Who Filmed Undercover Videos of Planned Parenthood Charged with 15 Felonies.
The two antiabortion activists who mounted a hidden-camera investigation against Planned Parenthood officials have been charged with 15 felony counts of violating the privacy of health-care providers by recording confidential information without their consent.

In announcing the charges against David Robert Daleiden and Sandra Merritt on Tuesday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the duo used manufactured identities and a fictitious bioresearch company to meet medical officials and covertly record the private discussions they initiated.

"The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California's Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society," Becerra said. "We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations."
YES! Couldn't have happened to a nicer lot.

And, via my friend Tommy Christopher, video of Hillary Clinton explaining her new mantra: "Resist, Insist, Persist, Enlist."

You know, there's a little mantra I've been repeating to myself lately. A little silly—the kind of thing that pops into your head when you take a lot of long walks in the woods. [laughter]

But as I think about the outpouring of activism we're seeing, despite all the noise and the nonsense, four words keep coming back to me: Resist, insist, persist, enlist.

We need to resist actions that go against our values as Americans, whether that's attacking immigrants and refugees, denying climate change, or passing bogus laws that make it harder for people to vote in elections. We need to resist bias and bullying. We need to resist hate and fear.

And we need to insist on putting people first, including by working together to make healthcare more affordable, to build on what works, to create better and more upwardly mobile education and employment ladders, to insist that we can do better. That's who we are! We're always pushing toward that more perfect union.

And then we need to persist, as we saw so dramatically in the Senate, when Mitch McConnell when after Senator Elizabeth Warren, and said, "Nevertheless, she persisted," in being told she could not read a letter from Coretta Scott King. [applause] So we need to persist, to approach future challenges with the passion we've seen these last few months, and then to bring that to the voting booth in 2018. To tell yourself, to tell your friends and your colleagues: No matter how you vote, show up and vote, for goodness sakes! [applause] Be there! Make sure your voice and your vote count.

And we need to enlist. Enlist in this effort. Get in the arena.
FUCK YEAH!

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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Donald Trump Is a Thief

graphic of Trump's face over which I've added text reading THIEF IN CHIEF

Last July, I wrote a piece detailing Donald Trump's extensive history of thievery.
On the opening night of the Republican Convention, Melania Trump gave an address that clearly plagiarized Michelle Obama's "One Nation" speech. Irrespective of whether it was written by her with a little help, as she claimed, or penned by a speechwriter, it should have been thoroughly vetted by her husband's campaign. The buck stops with Donald.

When he came onstage to introduce her, Donald made a dramatic entrance set to Queen's "We Are the Champions," despite the fact that the band has repeatedly asked him to stop using their music.

This is, of course, only the beginning of Donald's illustrious career of thieving.

His Trump Institute plagiarized materials. Donald himself plagiarized his former primary opponent Dr. Ben Carson earlier in this very campaign. He spent decades stealing people's labor, refusing to pay them for their work. He has stolen people's homes from them. He has stolen people's money via the giant fraud that was Trump University. He has stolen from vendors by wriggling out of compensating them in full.

This is a man who has zero compunction about stealing. He is an unrepentant thief.

He wants to own everything, except responsibility for the wreckage created by his exploitation and larceny.
Now that he is president, his wanton thievery continues apace, as he exploits the office for personal gain via his business interests from which he refuses to divest and robs taxpayers of millions of dollars to fund his golf trips and private security for his family in New York City.

Every stroke of his pen robs people of their rights. Just this week, he signed another Executive Order which "revoked Executive Order 13673, signed by President Obama in 2014. That order, the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces order, required that companies receiving large federal contracts be able to demonstrate that they have complied for at least three years with 14 federal laws, several of which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender stereotyping, or gender identity."

He has stolen the right of women, trans people, and LGBTQ folks to not be discriminated against by federal contractors.

Which is but one of a number of rights rollbacks that the thief-in-chief has overseen less than ten weeks into his presidency.

These are measurable thefts. But Trump has also stolen a great deal more.

I imagine that each of us who did not support Trump, who did not vote for Trump, and who currently resist his administration with everything we've got has their own list of things Trump has stolen from them. This is mine.

Trump has stolen my sense of security. Not only has Trump's presidency precipitously eroded national security by replacing diplomacy with belligerent posturing in global relations, his empowerment of violent bigotry has made me decidedly less safe. During one recent weekend, I had to block more than 300 explicitly Nazi-identified Twitter accounts, many of whose proprietors were overtly threatening me. I have never been (or felt) completely safe, but I am even less so now. And I am deeply concerned for the people who have less privilege than I do.

Trump has stolen my peace of mind. I have never been a person who could tune out of politics ("No shit, Sherlock."—You, probably), but, during President Obama's tenure, I didn't feel a vibrating urgency to stay tuned in at all times, out of a persistent fear that he was going to do something terrible. If I don't look at Twitter for an hour, I dread what I will find upon my return—and there is, inevitably, something that rocks me. I feel perpetually unsettled; my mind never rests.

Trump has stolen my time. Relatedly, I spend much more time working than I did during the Obama presidency. At all hours, there is breaking news of some fresh new hell. On Monday night's show, Seth Meyers made (not really) a joke about Trump's golf schedule, saying that his (Meyer's) job is just to make fun of the president and even he doesn't have time to golf. That resonated strongly with me: It takes me enormous amounts of time just to understand the nuances of all the issues, which now include things like the Emoluments Clause—something I never had to study during previous presidencies.

Trump has stolen my national pride. I've never had what one would describe as undiluted patriotism. But what pride I did have in my country has been significantly diminished by the overwhelming humiliation of a president who trades in aggressive nationalism, bigotry, and lies. And who treats foreign leaders like dirt.

Trump has stolen my sense of humor. The one thing that got me through this work every day for 13 years was my sense of humor. But I don't find much to laugh about when it comes to Trump. I see memes meant to be funny, and I cringe. I hear jokes about his policies, and I cannot laugh, because nothing about them is funny to me. It is damn difficult to find any mirth at all in documenting what feels like the end of our democracy.

Trump has stolen my optimism. I have previously written: "Democracy at its best is, after all, unlimited optimism shot through with a cold streak of cynicism. ...That is the way I have always practiced democracy. That is the way I will always practice democracy." But, if I'm honest, that isn't how I feel now. That equation has reversed. I now feel like I'm practicing unlimited cynicism shot through with a bolt of optimism. Which makes me feel very off-balance, for a start, and quite profoundly sad.

But then, and finally, there is this:

Trump has stolen every last lingering trace of self-doubt I had that this is what I am meant to do. Resist, with all my might.

He can steal a lot from me, but he cannot steal my resolve to resist his thievery.

[Graphic used in my image care of Pixabay.]

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Quote of the Day

[Content Note: Bigotry.]

"It is my fierce determination to get the right deal for every single person in this country. For, as we face the opportunities ahead of us on this momentous journey, our shared values, interests and ambitions can—and must—bring us together."—British Prime Minister Theresa May, in the letter to European Council president Donald Tusk that will formally begin the UK's departure from the European Union.

It's pretty cool (ahem) to reference "shared values" when Brexit was decided in no small part on xenophobic fearmongering.

I always love (ahem ahem) to see leaders calling for unity after a campaign of vile othering.

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Welp, They Did It

Last Friday, I warned that the Senate had voted to overturn internet privacy rules passed by the FCC during the Obama administration, which prevented internet providers from sharing your browsing history with corporations without your consent, and that the House would vote next.

Yesterday afternoon, the House voted to rescind the rules. Donald Trump will soon sign the bill into law, and your browsing history can then be sold without your consent to the highest bidder.

Former FCC chair Tom Wheeler, whose joy you may recall when Net Neutrality was approved, wrote a piece for the New York Times detailing how dreadful this legislation truly is.

The bill not only gives cable companies and wireless providers free rein to do what they like with your browsing history, shopping habits, your location, and other information gleaned from your online activity, but it would also prevent the Federal Communications Commission from ever again establishing similar consumer privacy protections.

The bill is an effort by the F.C.C.'s new Republican majority and congressional Republicans to overturn a simple but vitally important concept — namely that the information that goes over a network belongs to you as the consumer, not to the network hired to carry it. It's an old idea: For decades, in both Republican and Democratic administrations, federal rules have protected the privacy of the information in a telephone call. In 2016, the F.C.C., which I led as chairman under President Barack Obama, extended those same protections to the internet.

To my Democratic colleagues and me, the digital tracks that a consumer leaves when using a network are the property of that consumer. They contain private information about personal preferences, health problems and financial matters. Our Republican colleagues on the commission argued the data should be available for the network to sell.
Wheeler further notes that Trump's FCC also voted to "stay requirements that internet service providers must take 'reasonable measures' to protect confidential information they hold on their customers, such as Social Security numbers and credit card information. This is not a hypothetical risk—in 2015 AT&T was fined $25 million for shoddy practices that allowed employees to steal and sell the private information of 280,000 customers."

He also notes that "among the many calamities engendered by the circus atmosphere" of the corrupt Trump administration is that these grievous erosions of our online privacy rights are going virtually unnoticed, as everyone has been "riveted by the Russian hacking of the election and the attempted repeal of Obamacare." Not to mention conflicts of interest, the twice-attempted Muslim ban, and Trump's incessant stream of dishonest and alarming tweets.

Let us all take a moment to appreciate that Trump's mendacious tweeting about President Obama wiretapping his phone (which now 47 percent of Americans believe to be true) was commanding public attention while the Republican Congressional majority was quietly conferring the right to internet service providers to essentially legally spy on us and profit handsomely from it.

And now here we are. And Net Neutrality is next. Take action now.

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Hillary Clinton, Y'all

[Content Note: Discussion of misogyny and racism.]

Hillary Clinton spoke to the Professional Business Women California Conference yesterday, and, during a section in which she spoke about facing misogyny in the workplace, she addressed the vile mistreatment of Rep. Maxine Waters and April Ryan, noting that these are indignities women face—and are obliged to keep doing their jobs despite—every day on the job. (Including her.)

...to get ahead. I bet just about everyone in this room has had the experience of saying something in a meeting that gets ignored; ten, twenty minutes later, a man says the same thing and everybody thinks it's genius! [appreciative laughter and applause from the audience]

And I think we should pool our respective reactions so that you have right at your fingertips [snaps her fingers] exactly what to say. "Nice thought. A little slow on the uptake, but good idea." [laughter and applause]

And where everyday sexism and structural barriers were once blatant, today they're sometimes harder to spot, but, make no mistake, they're still with us. Just look at all that's happened in the last few days to women who were simply doing their jobs.

April Ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job just this afternoon in the White House press room, when she was patronized and cut off, trying to ask a question. One of your own California congresswomen, Maxine Waters, was taunted with a racist joke about her hair.

Now, too many women, especially women of color, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride. But why should we have to?

And any woman who thinks this couldn't be directed at her is living in a dreamworld. [applause]

I mean, it's not like I didn't know all the nasty things they were saying about me. [laughter] Some of them were actually quite creative; ones I hadn't heard before! [laughter]

But you just have to keep going.
This, among many other reasons, is why I will never ever get over it. She is a woman who stands up for women.

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Open Thread

image of a red couch

Hosted by a red sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

What little everyday thing did you particularly enjoy today?

The sound of water reaching a crescendo as it nears filling a vessel. What a lovely sound that is.

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Shaker Gourmet

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!

* * *

This steak dinner for two with scalloped potatoes and bacon avocado caesar salad looks so fucking delicious. My mouth was watering just watching the video and reading the recipe.

I will probably never make it, lol, but damn it looks amazing. And I figured I'd pass it along, in case anyone was looking for a good meat-and-potatoes kind of recipe for a date night at home.

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I Don't Even Know


I legit don't have the words. This is unreal. We are living in a cuckoo clock powered by bigotry, fascism, and grade-A mendacity.

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These Are Terrible Men

[Content Note: Misogynoir.]

As I mentioned in today's We Resist thread, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said an appalling racist and misogynist thing about Rep. Maxine Waters: "I didn't hear a word she said; I was looking at the James Brown wig."

Waters, it should be noted, is one of Trump's fiercest critics, while O'Reilly is one of Trump's most shameless water carriers.

O'Reilly was not alone: His Fox colleague Eric Bolling also responded to a clip of Waters criticizing Trump by admonishing her to "step away from the crack pipe."

BOLLING: How's this, Congresswoman? You saw what happened to Whitney Houston. Step away from the crack pipe. [His off-camera colleagues laugh.] Step away from the xanax. Step away from the lorazepam. Because it's gonna get you in trouble. How else does she explain those comments?
Just horrible.

Then, at today's White House Press Briefing, Sean Spicer scolded April Ryan, a Black reporter, for shaking her head in response to his usual disgorgement of nonsense and lies.

SPICER: ...which is the president— I'm sorry, please— Stop shaking your head again.
April Ryan's response on Twitter: "Lawd!!!!"

Lawd indeed. These are terrible men. Terrible men who telegraph in every conceivable way (ahem) that women—and particularly women of color—are not welcome at their table. Black women are not even allowed to express themselves publicly without being audited and shamed.

Black women are indispensably important to Democratic politics, progressive organizing, and social justice. These terrible men are well aware of that (even if a lot of white progressives remain stubbornly resistant to this idea).


I take up space in solidarity with Congresswoman Maxine Waters, reporter April Ryan, and all the Black women who are especially targeted directly and indirectly by the words, deeds, and policies of this administration and its surrogates.

And to these terrible men, I say: I see you.

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Daily Dose of Cute

After spending the weekend running around at Uncle Deeky's house, where they CAN'T RELAX! because everything is DIFFERENT! and must be INVESTIGATED!, the dogs were completely knackered and didn't move from the couch for an entire day, lol. And Matilda was very keen to let them know she missed them.

image of Dudley the Greyhound, Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat, and Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt all asleep on the couch together

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 68

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous at the Washington Post: Trump Administration Sought to Block Sally Yates from Testifying to Congress on Russia.
According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.

Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration.

[Donald] Trump fired Yates in January after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend his first immigration order temporarily banning entry to United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.

As acting attorney general, Yates played a key part in the investigation surrounding Michael T. Flynn, a Trump campaign aide who became national security adviser before revelations that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States in late December led to his ouster.

Yates and another witness at the planned hearing, former CIA director John Brennan, had made clear to government officials by Thursday that their testimony to the committee probably would contradict some statements that White House officials had made, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The following day, when Yates's lawyer sent a letter to the White House indicating that she still wanted to testify, the hearing was canceled.
Again, if as the administration keeps insisting, there's nothing to the allegations of collusion with Russia, then why are they trying so hard to stall the investigation?

* * *

Darren Samuelsohn at Politico: Mar-a-Lago Can't Release Visitor Logs—Because It Doesn't Keep Them.
Mar-a-Lago also doesn't keep tabs on the identity of guests who come and go on a routine basis, even while the president is in residence. Club members call the front desk to give the names of their guests, including for parties held in the ballroom. But they don't have to submit details, like a middle initial or birth date or Social Security number, that are standard for visitor logs or background checks — which neither the club nor the Secret Service do at the resort.

On Friday night, guests streamed into Mar-a-Lago, the president's self-proclaimed "southern White House," for the annual Palm Beach GOP Lincoln Day Dinner. All they had to do to get into the seaside retreat, where the first lady and the president's youngest son were vacationing for spring break, was buy a $300 ticket.

They didn't have to submit to the kinds of rigorous background checks required if they'd been entering the White House in Washington. And there were no weapon screenings or bomb-sniffing dogs checking vehicles of the sort that have long been routine at public restaurants or other places where the president or first lady is present.
That is hugely problematic. We have no record of who has been able to buy access to the President of the United States for $300.

* * *

[Content Note: War; bombing; death] Thomas Gibbons-Neff at the Washington Post: The Airstrike in Mosul Was Potentially One of the Worst U.S.-Led Civilian Bombings in 25 Years. "Even though Iraqi civil defense workers are still sorting through the rubble, the March 17 U.S. airstrike in West Mosul, if confirmed, could potentially rank among one of the most devastating attacks on civilians by American forces in more than two decades. Residents from the neighborhood where the strike occurred said that 137 civilians were killed, while Iraqi officials have said that upward of 80 people had been pulled from the rubble. Chris Woods, the director of the monitoring group Airwars.org, said the range of dead have been reported from 101 to 511, though the likely numbers are somewhere between 130 and 230." Fucking hell. Oh my god.

[CN: Nativism] Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: Jeff Sessions: No More DOJ Funding for Sanctuary Cities. "During Press Secretary Sean Spicer's daily press briefing [yesterday] (March 27), Attorney General Jeff Sessions took to the podium to inform state and local leaders that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will no longer award grants to cities that don't comply with immigration laws as laid out by [Donald] Trump's recent executive orders. 'Today, I'm urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 U.S.C. Section 1373,' Sessions said. 'Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants be certified compliant with 1373 as a condition of receiving those awards.'" Literally, the Attorney General just threatening local governments with punitive measures if they help undocumented immigrants and refugees.

Jonathan Swan at Axios: Trump Wants to Do Tax Reform and Infrastructure at the Same Time. "Trump feels burned by the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus and is ready to deal with Democrats. Dangling infrastructure spending is an obvious way to buy the support of potentially dozens of Dems, meaning he wouldn't have to bargain with the hardliners. ...Trump needs fast victories and infrastructure is something that's big, flashy, and potentially bipartisan." The Democrats should avoid his infrastructure plan like the plague, since it's a dogshit privatization scheme. And if he combines it with tax cuts, hopefully that will give them even more incentive to obstruct.

Ilya Marritz and Andrea Bernstein at WNYC News: Paul Manafort's Puzzling New York Real Estate Purchases. "Paul J. Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager facing multiple investigations for his political and financial ties to Russia, has engaged in a series of puzzling real estate deals in New York City over the past 11 years. Real estate and law enforcement experts say some of these transactions fit a pattern used in money laundering; together, they raise questions about Manafort's activities in the New York City property market while he also was consulting for business and political leaders in the former Soviet Union." JFC.

(And of course there is some indication that Trump may have done the same thing.)

Ali Vitali and Corey Siemaszko at NBC News: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner: Rising Powers at the White House. "[Ivanka] often serves as Trump's 'consigliere' and, in a White House filling with infighting, is 'there to protect her father's interest,' a source told NBC News. Now with a West Wing office, she also has also been called on to serve as an adviser on issues not on her radar, most recently on Friday when the Trump-backed plan to replace Obamacare crashed and burned. Meanwhile, the profile of Trump's son-in-law is also on the rise. On Monday, it was announced that Kushner was tapped to oversee a new office called the White House Office of American Administration, whose mission is to make the federal government run more like a business."

Gwilym Mumford at the Guardian: Trump's Treasury Secretary Accused of Ethics Violation after Lego Batman 'Plug'. "A senior Democrat has called for US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin to face an ethics violation investigation over comments he made plugging The Lego Batman Movie, a film financed by one of Mnuchin's companies. In a letter to Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub, Ron Wyden, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate finance committee, expressed concern over comments made by Mnuchin during a live Q&A with the political news website Axios, in which Mnuchin called on the public to 'send all your kids to Lego Batman.'" This, again, is what happens when people who have no governmental experience are tasked with running the government. They don't know the rules, and so they keep breaking them.

[CN: Misogynoir] Bill O'Reilly, one of Trump's media BFFs, made a nakedly racist comment about Rep. Maxine Waters, who is one of Trump's most fervent critics. After watching a snippet of her speaking on the House floor, O'Reilly sniffed: "I didn't hear a word she said; I was looking at the James Brown wig." FUCK YOU, O'REILLY.

Nicole Knight at Rewire: Koch-Funded Group Wants to Quash Arizona Voter Rights. "Right-leaning groups and GOP lawmakers aim to make it tougher for Arizonans to pass ballot initiatives after voters overwhelming passed a $12 minimum wage initiative in 2016. Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation last week outlawing the common practice of paying signature gatherers based on the number of signatures collected. ...The new Arizona law, which only applies to voter initiatives, not to individual races, kills financial incentive for circulators to gather as many signatures as possible. Campaigns will be forced to pay by the hour or rely on volunteers. Ducey called the legislation 'common sense reform' to avoid voter fraud, but he offered no evidence of voter fraud in the state's citizen initiatives."

Olivia Solon at the Guardian: Your Browsing History May Be up for Sale Soon. Here's What You Need to Know. The House vote is/was today. Seethe.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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I Will Never Get Over It

image of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from the second presidential debate; Trump is standing and speaking into a mic with his back to the camera; Clinton is sitting on a stool, looking at him with disgust
[Photo: Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America.]

"Get over it" is a phrase I hear a lot lately—virtually any time I mention Hillary Clinton.

When I write, for example, that her policies might have saved a woman's life, or protected the planet.

These are not incidental things to me.

But they are, apparently, incidental to the people who react to my insistence in pointing out how presidential politics are a matter of life and death by rolling their eyes; by greeting my relentless reminders that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were indeed very different candidates with heaving sighs and an admonishment to "get over it."

I will not get over it. I will never get over it.

I won't get over it because I refuse to modulate my anger for others' comfort—as I recognize quite keenly that many of the people telling to me "get over it" want to silence me to salve their own regret, for failing to support Clinton altogether or for undercutting her by indulging grossly negligent narratives about her.

I won't get over it because I have not an infinitesimal modicum of desire to let people who promoted the dangerous, ignorant message that Clinton and Trump were "the same" find refuge from the stark truth that they were hideously wrong.

I won't get over it because I have no truck with the idea that I should concede anything to Trump supporters, least of all their belief that I should get on board with the sadistic agenda of the Russian nesting doll of character defects that currently inhabits the Oval Office.

I won't get over it because I manifestly refuse to indulge the corporate media's urge to whitewash what happened during the election; to participate in the institutional forgetting that is central to normalizing the Trump presidency.

I won't get over it because this nation made a damnable, deadly mistake—and concealing it, rather than confronting it, ensures that we will make it again. And again.

I won't get over it because the 2016 election was a referendum on how America values women, and that makes it personal to me. My country chose an explicitly misogynist serial sexual abuser over an explicitly feminist candidate who has spent her career advocating for women and children, and who is the most qualified person ever to seek the office of the presidency. I am not inclined, nor should I be expected, to "get over" that.

I won't get over it because she won the popular vote by three million votes, which makes us the majority, and makes our values the ones by which we should be making policy.

I won't get over it because I can't. Because every hour of every day, there is some fresh new hell to resist, just a ceaseless onslaught of devastating policy and shameful behavior, each indecency a pointed reminder that it didn't have to be this way.

I am not nurturing a grudge, nor am I sucking on sour grapes. I am rationally angry about the outcome of the election, for reasons of which Trump's dumpster fire of a presidency reminds me each day.

Because I did my homework; because I read every factsheet and every policy proposal; because I listened to every one of Clinton's speeches and/or read every transcript; because I watched every debate; because I read every interview; because I read her State Department emails; because I read her autobiography; because I paid attention to what her staff and surrogates said; because I listened to people who worked with her and for her, and who had come to know her because of something she'd done for them quietly, away from the spotlight; because I did my due diligence and then some on this candidate, my brain is an entire card catalog of data on Hillary Clinton's campaign, her record, and policy proposals.

Every time Trump says, does, endorses, proposes, or signs anything, I know what Clinton's position would have been. Every time he nominates someone, I know what Clinton's administration would have looked like. Every time he comments on some piece of shit legislation Congressional Republicans are conspiring to unleash on the public, I know what Clinton would have said about it.

I have a pretty damn good idea what she would be doing if she were president, and I have a pretty damn good idea what she wouldn't be doing. I have a clear picture of the differences in what our domestic policy would look like, and of what the diplomatic differences would be.

I don't know these things because I'm a mind-reader. I know because she told us.

They are stark, these disparities between what is and what could have been.

They will mean the difference between life and death, for countless people. Why should I "get over" that? How can I? Why would anyone want to?

I'm still not over Al Gore "losing" to George W. Bush in 2000. Despite the suddenly fashionable nostalgia for Bush, his presidency was a ceaseless nightmare. He was not the harmless goof with some objectionable policies here and there as which he's being remembered. He was then the Platonic Ideal of Modern Conservatism—a corporate shill with the demeanor of a country bumpkin, who could hold together the unholy alliance between Big Money and Big Religion.

And with a Republican Congressional majority and a never-ending stream of media mouthpieces willing to demonize anyone who dared to dissent, he tumbled headfirst into fulfilling every last one of the conservatives' wishes, like a malevolent genie pulled out of a bottle in oil-soaked Texas.

He was tasked with building conservatives' very own El Dorado, and, by the time Bush left office, there were more than twice as many billionaires in America as when the Supreme Court escorted him in, while the country experienced widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and food insecurity. We saw towers fall because of his incompetence, and we went to war on two fronts. Thousands of Americans died; tens of thousands of soldiers came back injured; millions of Iraqis were killed, wounded, or permanently displaced. We watched an entire American city drown; saw those for whom conservatives have the greatest contempt turn to their government for help in a time of crisis and quite literally be left stranded.

Bush took this nation to war on false premises; played class warfare with gilded tax cuts; vengefully outed one of our own spies; played vicious wedge issue politics; demonized immigrants, people of color, LGTBQ folks, women, atheists, and liberals; enacted harmful educational and environmental policy; defunded social programs to fund defense; nominated appalling Supreme Court justices; promoted avarice above social conscience; relegated philanthropy and empathy to little more than cute, clichéd memories; held in contempt compassion for those in need; delighted in ignorance; reveled in xenophobic nationalism; pillaged natural resources in the acquisition of private wealth; sold the rights and privacy of We the People piece-by-piece in massive government-underwritten giveaways to Big Pharma and Big Energy and Big Agriculture; wrote more than 1,000 signing statements and used countless National Security Letters to undermine the rule of law; cast aside habeas corpus like day-old bread; treated the Geneva Conventions and our Constitution like suggestions.

All while calling people who disagreed America-haters; telling us that if we weren't with him, we were with the nation's enemies. His supporters wrapped themselves in the flag and declared themselves the True Patriots, the "Real Americans," so it was all but impossible for dissenters to express their abhorrence of conservative policy without seemingly attacking America itself—thus making it that much easier for a conservative president to turn America into a place the people they called the "America-haters" really, genuinely risked hating, by ridding it of everything that we love.

Does that sound familiar? It should.

And it was partly because I never "got over" Al Gore not being my president, never "got over" comparing what was with what could have been, that I had zero illusions about what was at stake in the last election.

I am certain Gore would have made mistakes. I am certain I would have had to spend some of my time criticizing his policies and advocating for him to do better. I am also certain that his presidency would have left this country, and the planet, in unfathomably better shape than Bush's did.

I am not "over" the catastrophic results of Bush's presidency, and I never will be.

Suffice it to say, I will not be getting over the last election anytime soon, either. And, frankly, neither should you.

Elections have consequences. And one of those consequences is people like me, who appreciated them in all their gravity, never getting over it and never shutting the fuck up about it.

Get over that.

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Trump to Sign Devastating EO on Climate Change

Today, Donald Trump will sign an executive order that will rescind crucial climate change provisions enacted by President Obama. Valerie Volcovici at Reuters reports:

The decree, dubbed the "Energy Independence" order, will seek to undo former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan requiring states to slash carbon emissions from power plants—a critical element in helping the United States meet its commitments to a global climate change accord agreed by nearly 200 countries in Paris in December 2015.

It will also rescind a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, reverse rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, and reduce the weight of climate change in federal agencies' assessments of new regulations.

"We're going to go in a different direction," a senior White House official told reporters ahead of Tuesday's order.
Less the direction of trying to save the planet and more the direction of destroying it for corporate profits.

This is just a sweeping devastating of climate protections that were already insufficiently robust. And this is the kind of policy that has effects that can't just be unwound with the stroke of a pen sometime down the road.

The time we lose waiting for a court to overturn this executive order, or for a Democratic governing majority, is time we cannot get back.

Hillary Clinton's campaign was "the first major presidential campaign ever to make combating climate change a central issue." She was the only presidential candidate to speak frankly about environmental racism, issuing a factsheet dedicated to detailing her "Plan to Fight for Environmental and Climate Justice." When the first two presidential debates failed to meaningfully broach climate change, she dedicated an entire speech to it, with Al Gore alongside her.

Anyone who still believes there was "no difference" between the two candidates is being willfully ignorant. That narrative was always mendacious, dangerous trash—and nothing makes that more plain than what is about to happen on climate change.

Relatedly: Arctic researcher Victoria Herrmann details at the Guardian how the data critical to her research is being deleted by the Trump administration.

Which is no less than any of us should have anticipated from a man who declared climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

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Nunes Has No Credibility

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, is not doing his job. His committee is tasked with investigating Trump administration ties to and possible collusion with Russia, but instead Nunes believes his job is to run interference for Donald Trump.

In the Washington Post, Amber Phillips has an excellent summary of recent events, published under the blunt headline: "Devin Nunes is making it very hard for Republicans to claim they can run an impartial investigation on Russia."

On Monday, Washington was abuzz with news that Nunes, a Trump ally, was on the White House grounds viewing classified information related to the president's evidence-less claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign. A day later, Nunes (R-Calif.) announced that he had information that revealed the president's conversations during the campaign may have been caught up in a broader, unrelated intelligence net.

...We still don't know who gave Nunes the surveillance information or its significance to the committee's broader investigation into Russia's meddling. Nunes publicly said if the president's name did show up in surveillance, it had nothing to do with Russia. He also told CNN that the president didn't even know Nunes was at the White House Tuesday.

But here's what anyone trying to follow the twists and turns of this Trump-Russia-wiretapping story is left with: A top Republican congressman and Trump ally was at the White House the day before he released information that appeared to somewhat defend the president on his defenseless wiretapping claims.

What's more, the congressman released this secret information to the president — whose circle is under investigation by the FBI for alleged ties to Russia — before sharing it with his own committee members.
Nunes has created enough turmoil by his lack of impartiality that now [video may autoplay at link] the House Intelligence Committee have scrapped its meetings this week. Nunes has effectively damaged the integrity of the investigation, following devastating testimony from FBI James Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers.

Trump himself is, as per usual, using Twitter to spin wildly, which isn't helping Nunes. At least not with serious people who are treating this investigation with the gravity it deserves.

Democrats are, quite reasonably and necessarily, calling for Nunes to recuse himself, with Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member on the committee, plainly stating: "The public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president's campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman."

The Democrats, of course, prepared for this eventuality. Rep. Eric Swalwell on Morning Joe this morning:

SWALWELL: Right, it's time for Devin Nunes to leave this investigation, let alone lead it. So he should be gone. And what we saw was, going over to the White House, he went to receive information that you know, Joe, we can receive at the Capitol. We have our own secure facility. If this was done the proper way, they could have brought it over, shared it with both members, both parties of the committee, but this was done because the White House wanted it to be done, and this is what a cover-up to a crime looks like. We are watching it play out right now.

MIKE BARNICLE: Hey, Congressman, has this investigation been so badly damaged that even if Devin Nunes recuses himself, and is off the committee, is the investigation over in the House side?

SWALWELL: It's been compromised. That's why Elijah Cummings and I have written legislation to have an independent commission. We always thought that was the most comprehensive way to get to the bottom of what happened. But now it's an insurance policy against an investigation that our chairman has really badly compromised.
We have always needed and independent commission, and we do now more than ever.

And if, as Trump and his surrogates keep insisting, there is nothing to the allegations of collusion with Russia, then why are they so afraid of such a commission? They should welcome it, and the accompanying exoneration, if there is truly nothing to find.

At this point, the attempts from the House committee chair and the administration to undermine the investigation only serve to reinforce the idea that there is something they are desperately trying to conceal.

We need to know what that is.

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