The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Beloved Community Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by sunshine.

Recommended Reading:

Jessica: [Content Note: Trans hatred] Title IX Protects Trans Students, No Matter What the Trump Administration Believes

Violet: I Need You to #ShowUp4TransYouth

Sameer: Charleston Activist Freed After Arrest for Knocking Down Confederate Flag

Jorge: [CN: Nativism; racism] Inside the Heartbreaking Conversations Undocumented Parents Are Having with Their Children

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred; child abuse] Stanford Children's Hospital Excited to Harm Fat Kids

Pam: Reviving the Fine Art of Bitchitude

Vivian: [CN: Anti-feminism; moving GIF at link] No Surprise, Kellyanne Conway Defines Feminism as "Pro-Abortion" and "Anti-Male"

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

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"Many of our social justice problems like racism and sexism are often overlapping, creating multiple levels of social injustice."

[Content Note: Misogynoir; police brutality; images of police violence against Black women and girls.]

Via Monica Roberts, I just watched this video of Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw giving a TED talk on intersectionality in December. Please take the time to watch and/or listen to the entire thing. A complete transcript is also available.

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White House Confirms Apparent Violation of Justice Department Rules

Spencer Ackerman at the Guardian: White House Confirms Conversation with FBI about Trump and Russia.

The White House has confirmed that its chief of staff spoke with top FBI officials about the bureau's inquiry into links between Donald Trump's associates and Russia—a conversation which appears to violate justice department rules to ensure the integrity of investigations.

The administration had sought to push back against reports from CNN and the Associated Press that the chief of staff, Reince Priebus, had asked the FBI's top two officials to rebut news reports about Trump allies' ties to Russia.

But in doing so, the White House on Friday acknowledged that Priebus, the FBI director, James Comey, and deputy director, Andrew McCabe, had discussed what the FBI knew about Russian ties to the Trump presidential campaign.

"The White House appears to have violated accepted protocols and procedures," said former FBI special agent Ali Soufan.

...Another retired FBI special agent, Michael German, said the FBI leadership had potentially jeopardized an investigation.

"It is illegal for an FBI employee to take information from an ongoing criminal investigation and share it with a potential witness or subject of that investigation. Obviously, if the justice department ultimately initiates a prosecution in this matter, this purported conversation would be exculpating evidence. Again, if it is true that high bureau officials believe the current FBI investigation is [bullshit], they should close the investigation and be prepared to justify this decision, not leak their opinion to anyone outside of the investigation," German said.
There is much more at the link.

The general gist, however, is this: The White House was pissed about leaked reports about FBI investigations into TrumpCo's ties with Russia, and the investigations themselves. So they tried to press the FBI to publicly push back. That conversation was leaked, and, in pushing back on that, the White House told their version of events, which reveals said conversation compromised the investigation.

Out of the frying pan; into the fire.

Part of that is because Trump and the rest of his corrupt coterie don't believe the rules apply to them. But part of it is also because most of these reprobates have zero experience in the federal government and don't even know what the rules are. Which is why they stupidly admit to shit that is just another level of corruption.

If you haven't done so recently (or ever), now would be a good time (if you're USian) to contact your Senators and representative and ask them to thoroughly investigate Trump and his associates' ties to Russia—and every bit of unethical and illegal behavior that has arisen therefrom.

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Breaking: WH Excludes CNN, NYT, BBC, and Others from Presser

After an afternoon address at CPAC in whcih Donald Trump renewed his attacks on American journalism and unnamed press sources, the White House excluded a number of news organizations from its press gaggle.

According to a report from Michael M. Grymbaum at the New York Times:

Organizations allowed in included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended.

Reporters from Time magazine and The Associated Press, who were set to be allowed in to the briefing, chose not to attend in protest of the White House’s actions.

Jordan Fabian at The Hill reports:

Among the outlets not permitted to cover the gaggle were news organizations that President Trump has singled out for criticism, including CNN.

The New York Times, The Hill, Politico, BuzzFeed, the Daily Mail, BBC, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Daily News were among the other news organizations not permitted to attend.

Among other things, I note that the BBC is not even an American press outlet. It is, in fact, the journalism arm of the public service broadcaster of one of the United States' closest allies.

CNN's PR tweeted the following response:

Of the non-propaganda outlets in attendance, I hope the first question is: "Why did you exclude those organizations?" And when the question is stonewalled, I hope the next question is "Why did you exclude those organizations?" And so on.

It goes without saying, but: this is not what free and open democracy looks like. This is what it looks like to slide into authoritarian dictatorship.

Please feel free to update in comments.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat all curled up on the couch, asleep, looking very tiny and very adorable
Wee little monster!

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 36

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 I've read today:

[Content Note: Nativism] At Rolling Stone, Tim Dickinson has more on the story about which I wrote yesterday, regarding passengers being asked for ID after deplaning from a domestic flight.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, a spokesperson for CBP said the agency had been asked "to assist in locating an individual possibly aboard Delta flight 1583" who had been "ordered removed by an immigration judge." The spokesman added that CBP agents "requested identification from those on the flight" but that ultimately "[t]he individual was determined not to be on the flight."

Rolling Stone asked CBP to point to its statutory authority to stop and examine the identity documents of deplaning domestic passengers. The spokesman sent a link to a document titled CBP Search Authority. The document refers to CBP's authority to inspect international arrivals. Specifically, it cites 19 C.F.R. 162.6, which states, "All persons, baggage and merchandise arriving in the Customs territory of the United States from places outside thereof are liable to inspection by a CBP officer." The CBP document adds: "CBP has the authority to collect passenger name record information on all travelers entering or leaving the United States." (Emphasis added.)

Asked to clarify CBP's authority over domestic passengers, the spokesman replied that "at this time this is all I have."
Deeply troubling.

* * *

Today at CPAC, Donald Trump gave an address (during which he mentioned Hillary Clinton, because of course he did, and the crowd chanted "Lock her up!" because of course they did), and the whole thing was obviously horrific, but his section was particularly chilling:
TRUMP: All of our military, all of our military—offensive, defensive, everything—bigger and better and stronger than ever before—and hopefully we'll never have to use it, but nobody's gonna mess with us, folks. Nobody. [cheers and applause] It will be one of the greatest military build-ups in American history. No one will dare question, as they have been, because we're very depleted—very, very depleted—sequesture. Sequesture. Nobody will dare question our military might again. We believe in peace through strength, and that's what we will have. [cheers and applause]
Who the fuck even knows what "sequesture" is supposed to mean, since that is not a word. But, more importantly: Remember that this is the guy who wanted to know why we had nukes if we couldn't use them. So, in addition to all the other reasons why a massive military build-up is a terrible idea, we'd be building a giant, immensely deadly toy with which Trump would want to play.

And this follows immediately on the heels of Trump saying he wants to put the U.S. nuclear arsenal "at the top of the pack," which has prompted Kremlin officials to warn/threaten that Trump's belligerence could unleash a new arms race.

If you think the Cold War was scary under Reagan and Gorbachev (and it fucking was) (and they ended it!), two men who at least had the wherewithal to prioritize self-preservation over muscle-flexing obliteration because they keenly understood the stakes of mutually assured destruction, just imagine what a reboot would look like under Trump and Putin. Maude save us all.

* * *

Also at CPAC:

Philip Rucker and Robert Costa at the Washington Post: Bannon Vows a Daily Fight for 'Deconstruction of the Administrative State'. "The reclusive mastermind behind President Trump's nationalist ideology and combative tactics made his public debut Thursday, delivering a fiery rebuke of the media and declaring that the new administration is in an unending battle for 'deconstruction of the administrative state.' ...Appearing at a gathering of conservative activists alongside Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Bannon dismissed the idea that Trump might moderate his positions or seek consensus with political opponents. Rather, he said, the White House is digging in for a long period of conflict to transform Washington and upend the world order."

This is probably a good time to recall that Bannon once described himself as a Leninist, because "Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today's establishment."

Meanwhile, the Hill profiled Bannon and promoted it with this shit: "Bannon shows softer side at rare public appearance at CPAC." Stop. Normalizing. White. Supremacy.

Speaking of white supremacy... Ned Resnikoff at Think Progress: High-Ranking Trump Official Has Extensive Ties to European Neo-Fascists. "A deputy assistant to President Donald Trump has spent years working closely with members of Hungary's anti-Semitic hard right, according to a Friday report from The Forward, a publication for American Jews. The report says Sebastian Gorka, who advises the White House on national security, co-founded a political party with former members of Jobbik, which is frequently described as a fascist party. Gorka—who once said it would be 'national suicide' to admit Muslim refugees—also spent time working for the Hungarian National Committee, a Jobbik-linked coalition led in part by the head of the ultra-nationalist 64 Counties Youth Movement, according to The Forward."

This is probably a good time to recall that erstwhile NatSec Advisor Michael Flynn met with the leader of Austria's white supremacist Freedom Party at Trump Tower. And that a number of Trump's team have close ties to white supremacist organizations.

[Content Note: Nativism] Francis Wilkinson at Bloomberg: Yes, Mass Deportations Are Coming. And We Know Why. "So we have a new policy that promises to identify millions of undocumented immigrants as criminals. We have memos from the head of DHS authorizing agents to remove all such criminals. We have new policies to make enforcement actions more aggressive and removals speedier. Finally, we have a direction from Kelly 'to expeditiously hire 10,000 agents and officers, as well as additional operational and mission support and legal staff necessary to hire and support their activities.' Roughly 5,800 ICE employees are Enforcement and Removal Officers. Kelly's surge would take that number to almost 16,000, with still more staff to support their removal efforts. There isn't much doubt about what this adds up to. Trump has laid the legal basis for mass deportations, and Kelly has organized his department to conduct them. In addition, he seeks a drastically larger deportation force, the purpose of which can only be more deportations."

In addition to the fundamental indecency of this mass deportation plan, as Edward Helmore reports at the Guardian, mass deportations would devastate the economy in many ways, including the potential to "resonate up to the top of the housing chain, testing the entire system in ways that are both novel and not clearly understood."

Russ Choma at Mother Jones: Donald Trump's Mystery $50 Million (or More) Loan. "A recent Wall Street Journal article noted that Trump pays a minimum of $4.4 million a year in interest in connection with his loan from Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC. His disclosure form states he pays the prime interest rate plus 5 percent for this loan. (Consequently, Chicago Unit Acquisition would have at least that much in annual revenue, though none is reported.)"

[CN: Homophobia; video may autoplay at link] Wanda Moore at WPTV: LGBT Church in Palm Beach Gardens Vandalized. "Vandals pulled down the electrical wires at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches, causing an electrical surge and frying all computers, telephones, and their organ." This, too, is not happening in a vacuum.

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

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This Is Terrorism

[Content Note: Gun violence; death; white supremacy.]

This is terrorism. At least, that's what it would be called if it were a non-white and/or non-Christian man who committed a crime like this.

A 51-year-old man faces first-degree murder charges after shooting three men in an Olathe, Kan., bar Wednesday night, police say, reportedly telling two of them, local Garmin engineers from India, to "get out of my country."

One of the Indian men, Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died in the hospital later from his wounds.

...Adam W. Purinton, 51, of Olathe, was also charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting two other patrons at Austin’s Bar and Grill: Alok Madasani, 32, of Overland Park, Kan., and 24-year-old Ian Grillot, who tried to intervene.

...Witnesses told the Kansas City Star and The Washington Post that Purinton was thought to have been kicked out of the bar Wednesday night before the shooting took place. ...He reportedly came back into the bar and hurled racial slurs at the two Indian men, including comments that suggested he thought they were of Middle Eastern descent.
My deepest condolences to Srinivas Kuchibhotla's family, friends, and colleagues. My thoughts are with Alok Madasani and Ian Grillot as they recover from their injuries.

Not only is this shooting not being reported as terrorism (and hardly being reported at all, compared to acts of public violence committed by non-white and/or Muslim shooters), but: "Authorities would not classify the shooting as a hate crime, but federal law enforcement officials said Thursday they are investigating with local police to determine if it was 'bias motivated.'"

CAIR-Kansas Board Chair Moussa Elbayoumy called for both "state and federal hate crime charges to be brought against Purinton 'in order to send a strong message that violence targeting religious or ethnic minorities will not be tolerated.'"
Purinton, a Navy veteran, IT specialist, and former pilot and air traffic controller, was taken into custody about 70 miles away in Clinton, Mo., authorities told the Associated Press.
Taken into custody alive, after shooting three people. It's amazing how white killers are somehow always taken alive, but Black people selling loose cigarettes or pulled over for a traffic violation or running away from police out of fear so often end up dead.

If there is any meaningful public conversation about this vicious crime at all, Purinton will be described as a "crazy lone wolf" whose bootstraps made him do it. There will be no exploration of the white supremacist organizations and institutions with which he was affiliated; there will be no exploration of how the military has been tasked with killing Muslims for more than a decade; there will be no exploration of how this did not happen in a vacuum, but in a political climate of extreme hostility toward Muslims and immigrants led from the top-down by our sitting president.

This is ideologically-motivated terrorism, even if no one in power will say so.

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I Am Angry

[Content Note: Trans hatred; sexual assault.]

I have always loathed—and always will—the despicable attempts to justify discrimination against trans people under the auspices of "protecting" me.

The "trans predator" meme is wretched trash: It was wretched trash when Phyllis Schlafly was using it to tank the ERA before my ancient ass was ever born, and it is wretched trash now.

I am incandescently angry that people who support policy that will harm trans people, including children, make the indefensible and malicious argument that I need to be "protected" from trans women in bathrooms, or anywhere else.

It has always been a vile argument.

But there's something even more grotesque about trans protections being revoked, and such revocation being defended on the basis of protecting cis women from imaginary trans predators, when it comes from the administration of a president who is, by his own admission, a confessed serial sexual predator.

A man who has bragged about grabbing women by their genitals. A man who has boasted about peeking at naked pageant contestants in their dressing rooms.

Don't fucking tell me that you give a single shit about protecting cis women from sexual violence when you happily support a man who has assaulted women and gloated about it; whose ex-wife gave sworn testimony that he sexually assaulted her; who counts among his friends a convicted rapist; who sexualizes his own daughters; who threatened to sue the dozen-plus women who reported he sexually assaulted them.

Everything about the rollback of trans protections is bullshit—the aggressive void of basic decency, the "state's rights" dodge that ensures the people who are most vulnerable by virtue of where they live are least likely to get the protection they need and deserve, the arrogance of cis people asserting the "right" to audit trans lives under the auspices of "different opinions"—but the fact that, this time, the purveyor of this hostile filth is himself a sexual predator is utterly rage-inducing.

It is unfathomable that anyone would make such cynical, unsubstantiable, harmful arguments about "protecting" cis women in the first place. That they will make them when the signature on the rescindment paper belongs to a man who has himself harmed countless women is unforgivable.

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This. Is. Not. Normal.

This is a breathtaking abuse of power:

White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked a top FBI official to dispute media reports that President Donald Trump's campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, a White House official said late Thursday.

The official said Priebus' request came after the FBI told the White House it believed a New York Times report last week describing those contacts was not accurate.

..."The White House is simply not permitted to pressure the FBI to make public statements about a pending investigation of the president and his advisers," said Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
So, Donald Trump's chief of staff reportedly tried to interfere with and FBI investigation. And what does Trump tweet this morning? Criticism of the FBI for leaks.


That, too, is a breathtaking abuse of power.

It also appears to be a confirmation that the leaked information about TrumpCo's contact with Russian intelligence is accurate. So there's that.

This is Day 36 of the Trump administration.

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Open Thread

image of a pink couch

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Socchan: "What's your band name (real or imaginary)? My current imaginary band name is the Cautionary Accidentals."

Deeky's and my imaginary band is called Bad Hombre and the Nasty Woman. Obvs.

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TV Corner: This Is Us

promotional image for the NBC television show 'This Is Us,' featuring the primary cast

I finally saw this week's episode of This Is Us last night, and omgggg that was a doozy. What a truly amazing show. I don't want to say anything about the most recent episode here, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so instead I'll just leave this tweet from Milo Ventimiglia (who plays Jack) here:


[Image in tweet is of Ventimiglia holding up a handwritten note reading: "Dear Sir/Madam: Please excuse _________ from work/school today, Wednesday. Last night was a very emotional episode of This Is Us. Thank you, Papa Pearson."]

Question: Do you think the show writers actually think Toby is a good boyfriend? Or do you think they are consciously writing a Nice GuyTM? Because whoa is he a textbook case of a Nice GuyTM, with all his manipulations of Kate.

Have at it in comments!

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"Well, that's a nice thing to be known for. That's really nice."

This is just a really terrific interview with Keanu Reeves, who is one of my favorites. And it does not contain any discussion at all of electoral politics or our shitbird of a president, which made it an even bigger pleasure to read!

So, if you like Keanu Reeves, or even if you don't but would like to read about something else besides Donald Trump, you may enjoy it, too!

Note: There are spoilers for John Wick in it, if you haven't seen it yet but intend to see it.

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What He Meant Was "Militarized"

As I mentioned earlier, this morning Donald Trump referred to his administration's deportatation enforcement as a "military operation."

"We're getting really bad dudes out of this country. And it's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country," he said.

Later in the day, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said the complete opposite.


Naturally, during today's White House Press Briefing, Sean Spicer was asked about the contradiction, and his answer was typically absurd and mendacious:

REPORTER: The president said today that the deportations taking place under his watch are a military operation; Secretary Kelly said the military won't be involved in deportations. Did the president misspeak?

SPICER: Yeah, so, I'll take the latter first: The president was using that as an adjective—it's happening with precision. And in a manner in which it's being done very, very clearly. I think we made it clear in the past, and Secretary Kelly reiterated it, what kind of operation this was. But the president was clearly describing the manner in which this was being done. And so, just to be clear on his use of that phrase— And I think the way it's being done, by all accounts, is being done with very much, very, a high degree of precision and in a flawless manner in terms of making sure that the orders are carried out and it's done in a very streamlined and efficient manner.
Yikes.

So, this is bullshit. That's clearly (to use one of Spicer's favorite words) not at all what Trump was saying. He literally said "it's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country."

That is: The undocumented immigrants who have come to the U.S. are such dangerous people that it has obliged us to use military strength to remove them.

Which becomes even more clear in his statement immediately thereafter: "You see what's happening at the border. When you see gang violence that you've read about like never before, and all of the things, much of that is people who are here illegally. And they're rough, and they're tough, but they're not tough like our people, so we're getting them out."

Trump was clearly not talking about military precision. He was talking about heightened aggression, which is why his immigration memos included "the hiring of an additional 10,000 ICE agents [and the] expansion of detention facilities."

The word for which Trump was searching was militarized, which is exactly what it happening, irrespective of whether the actual U.S. military is employed in deportations.

And that is very troubling indeed.

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Stopppppppppp. Just Stop.

[Content Note: Bigotry; privilege; rape culture.]

The New York Times' Nicholas Kristof is 'splaining at us again: "Trump Voters Are Not the Enemy."

Tolerance is a liberal value; name-calling isn't. This raises knotty questions about tolerating intolerance, but is it really necessary to start with a blanket judgment writing off 46 percent of voters?

...Go ahead and denounce Trump's lies and bigotry. Stand firm against his disastrous policies. But please don't practice his trick of "otherizing" people into stick-figure caricatures, slurring vast groups as hopeless bigots. We're all complicated, and stereotypes are not helpful — including when they're of Trump supporters.
Deep breath.

Kristof is a wealthy, U.S.-born, non-Muslim, straight, white, cis man. The first way he is likely to be directly impacted by Trump's agenda is getting a tax break.

During the election, my next-door neighbors had a Trump sign in their front yard. When the news broke that Trump had openly admitted sexually assaulting women, that sign stayed up. Every time I walked out my front door, I was reminded that my neighbors were okay with a man doing to women something that was one of the worst things that has ever happened to me.

I was also reminded that they were okay with taking away my bodily autonomy. With harming marginalized people because of who they/we are. With supporting law enforcement policies that will get Black and brown and disabled people killed. With open hostility toward immigrants, about which I'm not supposed to care since my immigrant husband is, per their definitions, "one of the good ones."

I'm not "stereotyping" them. I'm judging them based on a choice they made and proudly advertised right on their front fucking lawn.

Where is the compromise with people who believe the things they do? We don't have a difference of opinion on the best way to achieve similar goals. We fundamentally disagree on who counts and who doesn't.

Not viewing them as my enemies is a luxury I simply don't have.

And it's because they view me as their enemy, and always have, even when I didn't regard them in kind.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the couch on her back, peeking at me with one eye
ZELLY BELLY!!!

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

Open Wide...

We Resist: Day 35

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 I've read today:

[Content Note: Trans hatred] Sandhya Somashekhar, Emma Brown, and Moriah Balingit at the Washington Post: Trump Administration Rolls Back Protections for Transgender Students.
The Trump administration on Wednesday revoked federal guidelines specifying that transgender students have the right to use public school restrooms that match their gender identity, taking a stand on a contentious issue that has become the central battle over LGBT rights.

Officials with the federal Education and Justice departments notified the U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday that the administration is ordering the nation's schools to disregard memos the Obama administration issued during the past two years regarding transgender student rights. Those memos said that prohibiting transgender students from using facilities that align with their gender identity violates federal anti-discrimination laws.

...Although it offered no clarity or direction to schools that have transgender students, the letter added that "schools must ensure that all students, including LGBT students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment."
Which is impossible if those students aren't even allowed to take a piss in a restroom that corresponds with their gender.

Fuck this entire administration and their vile hatefulness. I categorically refuse to pretend that this is anything but rank hatred. Of children.

* * *

CPAC 2017 is already terrific:
I could go on, but you get the picture. Your general white supremacist, patriarchal, conservative nightmare gathering.

* * *

Rachael Bade and John Bresnahan at Politico: GOP to Bury House Resolution on Trump Conflicts. "House Republicans next week plan to derail a Democratic resolution that would have forced disclosure of Donald Trump's potential ties with Russia and any possible business conflicts of interest, according to multiple House sources. Seeking to avoid a full House vote on the so-called 'resolution of inquiry'—a roll call that would be particularly embarrassing and divisive for the right—Republicans will send proposal by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to the House Judiciary Committee for a panel vote on Tuesday, two Democratic sources said. The GOP-controlled committee is expected to kill the resolution."

Utterly appalling. Meanwhile, cue the caterwauling about how Democrats "aren't doing anything," when they are trying desperately, but Republicans keep abusing their majority status to quash any and all attempts at accountability.

Howard Fischer at the Arizona Capitol Times: Arizona Senate Votes to Seize Assets of Those Who Plan, Participate in Protests That Turn Violent. "Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad—even before anything actually happened. SB1142 expands the state's racketeering laws, now aimed at organized crime, to also include rioting. And it redefines what constitutes rioting to include actions that result in damage to the property of others. But the real heart of the legislation is what Democrats say is the guilt by association—and giving the government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated. And what's worse, said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, is that the person who may have broken a window, triggering the claim there was a riot, might actually not be a member of the group but someone from the other side."

There's no way this will pass constitutional muster, so, should this pass, let us hope it gets to the courts before Trump manages to stack them with traitors and vandals.

[CN: Nativism] Betsy Woodruff at The Daily Beast: Undocumented Woman with a Brain Tumor Locked up by ICE. "Earlier this month, according to her lawyers, Sara's head started hurting. And on Feb. 10, at the detention center, she collapsed. The detention center staff had her hospitalized at Texas Health Huguley Hospital in Burleson, Texas. And there, according to her lawyers, doctors concluded she had a brain tumor. ...As of press time, she can't talk to her lawyers or family. Sara's lawyers...said they've also been blocked from speaking to her on the phone because of ICE rules limiting communication with hospitalized detainees—despite what they believe is a situation of medical urgency."

Despicable. And why was Sara detained? Because she's an asylum-seeker who missed a deadline to file her paperwork.

Meanwhile, at TPM, Esme Cribb reports: Trump Says His Admin's Deportation Enforcement Is a 'Military Operation'. "'All of a sudden for the first time we're getting gang members out, we're getting drug lords out, we're getting really bad dudes out of this country,' Trump said during a listening session with manufacturing CEOs. 'And it's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country.'" THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

Tara Palmeri at Politico: How Trump's Campaign Staffers Tried to Keep Him off Twitter. "The key to keeping Trump's Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up—and make sure it made its way to Trump's desk. ...One Trump associate said it's important to show Trump deference and offer him praise and respect, as that will lead him to more often listen. And if Trump becomes obsessed with a grudge, aides need to try and change the subject, friends say. Leaving him alone for several hours can prove damaging, because he consumes too much television and gripes to people outside the White House."

This is terrifying when one contemplates what Trump will be like in a crisis, when there is no time to soothe his ego to deliver advice on issues of far greater importance than his Twitter usage.

[CN: Islamophobia] Rumana Ahmed at The Atlantic: I Was a Muslim in Trump's White House. "I am a hijab-wearing Muslim woman—I was the only hijabi in the West Wing—and the Obama administration always made me feel welcome and included. Like most of my fellow American Muslims, I spent much of 2016 watching with consternation as Donald Trump vilified our community. Despite this—or because of it—I thought I should try to stay on the NSC staff during the Trump Administration, in order to give the new president and his aides, a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America's Muslim citizens. I lasted eight days."

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Voters Trust the Media and Courts over Trump by a Wide Margin. "American voters today give President Donald Trump a negative 38–55 percent job approval rating, his worst net score since he took office... 'President Donald Trump's popularity is sinking like a rock,' said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. 'He gets slammed on honesty, empathy, level headedness and the ability to unite. And two of his strong points, leadership and intelligence, are sinking to new lows.'" Also: A majority of people say Trump is an embarrassment. Correct.

Christopher Matthews at Axios: Mnuchin's Ambitious 3% Growth Plan. "Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is hard at work on the Trump Administration's tax plan, which he says could come by August, according to interviews Thursday with the Wall Street Journal and CNBC. Mnuchin says that tax reform, along with other Trump policies, can move the U.S. back to its postwar average of sustained 3% growth. But given a slower-growing population and recent weak productivity growth, economists are skeptical that such a goal is realistic." I am no economist, but I am also skeptical, since I've spent the last 30 years of my life watching trickle-down economics not working!

Margaret Hartmann at New York Magazine: Secretary of State Tillerson Looks to Media to Get President's Attention. "Tillerson is looking for a way to signal to both staffers and foreign governments that the State Department's influence isn't waning. Politico reports that he's asked aides to draft a paper explaining ways that he can increase his access to reporters and boost his media presence." There's only room for ONE EGO in the Trump administration, sir! And it isn't yours.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton held a townhall event yesterday, and it didn't go so well. A woman whose husband is dying yelled at him and demanded to know what kind of health insurance he has (for which we pay), and he got owned by a 7-year-old. How Cotton and his colleagues can listen to people plead with them to do the right thing and just continue to shit all over us is beyond me. They have no empathy, and no decency.

[CN: Anti-Semitism; terrorism] The Anti-Defamation League received a bomb threat yesterday. And Trump stayed silent on one of the nation's most prominent Jewish organizations being terrorized.

[CN: Police misconduct; racism] Matt Hamilton, Kate Mather, Melissa Etehad, and Frank Shyong at the L.A. Times: 300 Protest in Anaheim After Videos Show Off-Duty LAPD Officer Firing Gun in Dispute with Teens. "Many of the protesters were young people who had seen the video on their social media feeds and wanted to do something. Jocelyne Gutierrez, 21, and her friend Karla Zuniga, 20, decided to join the protest at around 9 p.m. Gutierrez said she saw herself in the boy in the video. 'It could have been me, my friend or someone from my family,' she said." If you have not seen the video, you can view it here. Wilfred Chan at Fusion has more on the incident and the boy who was nearly shot.

It's appalling to me that anyone could look at that video and think, "Yeah, that's how I want cops to behave."

Police violence like this did not start with the election of Donald Trump, but it's only going to get even worse under his "law and order" regime.

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

Open Wide...

Dump Trump with Integrity: Part Two

[Content Note: Disablism; appearance and name mockery.]

Earlier this month, I wrote a piece in which I explained that I don't care what Donald Trump looks like and that I'm not interested in armchair diagnoses of his mental health. Noting that Trump is himself an inveterate bully, I argued: "We must fight in a way that does not simply replicate the very harm we're resisting."

Still, there remains an endless stream of lookism, fat hatred, disablism, and name mockery up and down my social media timelines.

Almost exactly a year ago, before Trump had even won his party's nomination, I wrote a piece about why that's a problem, on several counts:

If you care about not stigmatizing people with mental illness, or not tacitly condoning looks-based bullying, or allowing people to go by whatever name they choose (which has particular importance to trans people), then you will be keen to find other ways to talk about Donald Trump.

Which is to say nothing of the fact that calling him crazy, or making fun of his appearance, or mocking his name, doesn't convey even a little how heinous his policies are and what a dangerous person he is.

That's why it's important to say what you mean. If you mean Donald Trump is indecent, say that. If you mean that Donald Trump is a bully, say that. If you mean that Donald Trump is a vainglorious poseur who incessantly disgorges rank bigotry masquerading as policy, then say that.
I then acknowledged that it can be useful—and feels good—to have some creative shorthand to convey just how terrible Trump is, so I provided 50 ways to say that Trump is the fucking worst that don't rely on appearance or name mockery, nor entrench stigma around mental illness.

Since here we are, a year later, and Trump is now the president (shudder) and the shitty language used to talk about him is more prevalent than ever, below are 50 more creative ways to say that Trump is the fucking worst. Please feel welcome to borrow them as needed!

Or, you know, come up with your own. If I can come up with a hundred of them, everyone else should be able to come up with one, and avoid the lazy shorthand of calling him fat, orange, and crazy.

Enjoy!

1. Donald Trump is a diabolical scourge.

2. Donald Trump is a tyrannical goblin with a chronic case of the mouthshits.

3. Donald Trump is a nightmarish creepazoid with infinite apathy for people who aren't just like him.

4. Donald Trump is Russian nesting doll of character defects.

5. Donald Trump is a mendacious gasser.

6. Donald Trump is the unrivaled czar of the deplorables.

7. Donald Trump is the vomitous conductor of a chorus whose only tune is white aggrievement.

8. Donald Trump is a contemptible hope thief.

9. Donald Trump is Putin's favorite dolly.

10. Donald Trump is a despotic blunderbuss.

11. Donald Trump is a vengeful carbuncle who cares about "law" and "order" only insofar as he can wield them to harm marginalized people.

12. Donald Trump is a despicable flim-flam man.

13. Donald Trump is a galactic empathy-free zone.

14. Donald Trump is an insalubrious slop-monger.

15. Donald Trump is a rumbumptious conspiracy cowboy.

16. Donald Trump is a human assembly line of uncapped crap juice.

17. Donald Trump is a white rage wrangler.

18. Donald Trump is a repugnant specimen of predatory putrescence.

19. Donald Trump is a leering clawbaw.

20. Donald Trump is a scummy gremlin whose cup runneth over with rancid hate-bisque.

21. Donald Trump is a vainglorious gold toilet aficionado who believes wealth is an acceptable substitute for decency.

22. Donald Trump is the anthropomorphized sound of stomping.

23. Donald Trump is a mince-talking numpty.

24. Donald Trump is a torpid stooge.

25. Donald Trump is an ambulatory receptacle of humanity's worst instincts.

26. Donald Trump is an inexhaustible ruiner of dreams.

27. Donald Trump is a prodigious connoisseur of white resentment.

28. Donald Trump is an unbridled cad.

29. Donald Trump is a galloping roaster.

30. Donald Trump is an intemperate grumbletonian who thrives on invented negativity.

31. Donald Trump is the living embodiment of a steam engine whose tank has been filled with bile.

32. Donald Trump is a bigotry curator.

33. Donald Trump is a vaccine against citizen indifference.

34. Donald Trump is a picnic basket filled with dogshit sandwiches.

35. Donald Trump is a white supremacy cyclone.

36. Donald Trump is the human equivalent of a dumpster view out your hotel window.

37. Donald Trump is a noisome jackass.

38. Donald Trump is King Crumblebun of the Wilted Glade.

39. Donald Trump is a mighty fart.

40. Donald Trump is a conniving bandit.

41. Donald Trump is a reprehensible lout whose only joy is cruelty.

42. Donald Trump is an empty shell with a façade of intolerable pomposity.

43. Donald Trump is an enormous syringe of poison.

44. Donald Trump is a filthy soul-crusher.

45. Donald Trump is a self-propelling Rube Goldberg machine that always ends in catastrophe.

46. Donald Trump is a policy sewer.

47. Donald Trump is a towering edifice of malevolent rot.

48. Donald Trump is a stupendous shitlord.

49. Donald Trump is a skinbag filled with whiny entitlement and hideous malice.

50. Donald Trump is a breathing portrait of toxic masculinity.

You're welcome.

Open Wide...

Freedom Is

Paul Ryan tweeted this on Tuesday:


My brief response:

This year at my workplace, I tried to opt-in to "extra" insurance that most of my co-workers don't use or buy. A special add-on option for "long-term disability insurance". The idea is that I opt-in for this extra special insurance and I pay the insurance company a little with each paycheck I earn. If anything happens to me and I have to go out on long-term disability leave, the insurance company sends me money; if I'm lucky and don't ever have an accident that sends me out on leave, then all the money I paid to the insurance company is their profit and my loss.

I am, as my economics professor in college described insurance, making a bet that I hope to lose. I'm putting $20 on red for the big pot and praying I don't win because "winning" here means a catastrophic health catastrophe. The money I'd "win" in that event would be a welcome safety net, but I wouldn't be celebrating with champagne truffles.

So I tried to do the Responsible Consumer thing like Paul Ryan wants and exercise my freedom to buy what I wanted to fit what I needed. And you know what happened? I was rejected by the insurance company for my preexisting condition of Scoliosis. They capitalized it in the rejection letter: capital-s Scoliosis. I have a condition that makes it slightly more likely I will need long-term disability insurance, so I can't buy long-term disability insurance because I might use it.

I don't feel very free. I feel hurt and angry and scared and upset and rejected.

My first scoliosis surgery was performed before I was legally old enough to enter the workforce. There has never been a time in which I could have opted into this "long-term disability insurance" early, pre-condition, and kept it through the development of said condition. Not that I suppose this matters, since I'm pretty sure Paul Ryan supports the right of insurance companies to drop patients once they become expensive. That's an odd kind of freedom.

The reality is that I'm not allowed to "buy what I want to fit what I need", and Paul Ryan isn't making steps to enable me to do so. Even if I agree with his definition of freedom—which, for the record, I don't—I'm not free in his vision for America. Not even close.

Open Wide...

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