Stephanie Beatriz Is Awesome

image of Stephanie Beatriz, a thin Latina woman with a pink streak in her hair, to which text has been added reading: 'I #ShowUp because representation matters'
[Via Stephanie Beatriz on Instagram.]

I mean, if you're watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, you don't need me to tell you that Stephanie Beatriz, who plays Det. Rosa Diaz, our favorite bisexual hardass with a giant heart of flinty gold, is awesome. But I'm saying it anyway, because it can't be said enough!

Anyway. Read this Vulture interview with her. Which is terrific. Because she's awesome.

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More on Paul Campos' Trump-Broidy Theory

Two weeks ago, I linked in the We Resist thread a detailed piece by Paul Campos at NYMag, in which he laid out his theory that former deputy RNC finance chair Elliott Broidy was taking the fall for Donald Trump in the second hush payment arranged by Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Per a Wall Street Journal report in April, it was Broidy for whom Cohen ostensibly arranged the hush payment with former Playmate Shera Bechard. But Campos suspects, and has laid out his case, that it was actually Trump on whose behalf Cohen made the agreement and Broidy made the payment.

Today, Campos has a follow-up: Hey, Look: More Evidence That Broidy May Have Been Covering for Trump in That Playmate Affair.

The AP exposé only strengthens the evidence for my hypothesis: The first payment from Broidy came two days before the meeting that apparently helped him ink a nine-figure deal with a foreign country — a deal based in no small part on his access to, and influence on, Trump.

If it's difficult to imagine Broidy being willing to take the fall for Trump's affair with Bechard and then paying her a seven-figure sum, it's much simpler to imagine it simply as a perfectly timed and fantastically profitable bribe.
The whole thing is worth your time to read, particularly so you can understand the quid-pro-quo that Campos has uncovered.

I will just highlight one additional bit (emphases mine):
Four days after after the raid on Cohen's office, on April 13, The Wall Street Journal published a story claiming that this David Dennison, in the NDA signed by Shera Bechard, was none other than Elliott Broidy — despite its being precisely the same pseudonym Trump had used in the Stormy Daniels NDA.

The paper's basis for its scoop was this: Whoever leaked the existence of the Bechard NDA to the Journal also asserted that the agreement was between Bechard and Broidy. The Journal's reporters confronted Broidy, and Broidy immediately confessed to having had a long-running affair with Bechard, and subsequently agreeing to pay her $1.6 million to buy her silence about it. The first payment of the agreement was supposed to be due on December 1, 2017. That is the story Broidy told the Journal, and that story has, remarkably enough, become accepted as simple fact. Indeed, the AP concludes its bombshell exposé of Broidy's machinations by observing that Broidy had gotten Shera Bechard pregnant, and had "agreed to pay her $1.6 million to help her out, as long as she never spoke about it."

...It's also important to keep in mind that the only hard evidence for Broidy's claim that his payoff to Bechard wasn't actually a straight-up bribe of the president of the United States continues to be Broidy's own assertions. (My repeated attempts to get Bechard's current attorney, Peter Stris, to comment on this matter have been unsuccessful.) Journalists — including those AP reporters who pulled together such a remarkable and important story — might want to be cautious about taking Broidy's word on the matter at face value.
Broidy's word is the only "proof" we have that the payoff was made to silence Shera Bechard as a result of Broidy having an affair with her and subsequently paying for an abortion. (Bechard is, of course, bound by an NDA tied to the payment.) But Broidy has a massive incentive to lie: $600 million in contracts from the United Arab Emirates and continued access to a president (access on which those lucrative contracts are based) who might only remain president as long as the truth about the affair remains concealed.

As I said before, I don't know if Campos' theory is true, but I do find it credible.

And then there's this: I don't imagine that the ultra-paranoid Trump would allow Cohen to use his preferred pseudonym for another client. That detail alone makes me inclined to believe Campos is right, frankly.

I always thought that was very strange: Trump is too paranoid to allow that sort of thing, in case anyone ever did figure out one "David Dennison" was him, because then they'd reasonably suspect all the David Dennisons were him.

Which is exactly what people would be thinking, if Broidy hadn't volunteered his own head on a platter.

Welp.

[H/T to Shaker SKM.]

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Daily Dose of Cute

My sweet little boo keeping me company while I was feeling poorly over the weekend. If I'm stuck on the couch with a nasty bout of chondritis, Zelly is just as happy to keep me company as she is when I can run around the yard with her. I love this dog, and I am very lucky that she loves me back.

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying with her chin and paws on my hip, while I'm lying on the couch
image of Zelda from another angle

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 488

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 (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) 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.

* * *

Earlier today by me: Trump Has Two Unsecured Phones, Because Security Is "Inconvenient" and This Is a Real Thing in the World.

Here are some more things in the news today...

Caroline Kelly and Liz Stark at CNN: Former Trump Co-Chairman on Meeting FBI Source: Like Sitting in 'Faculty Lounge Talking About Research'.
Former Trump campaign national co-chairman Sam Clovis broke his silence on the possible FBI confidential source on the Trump campaign during recent appearances on an Iowa radio show, telling listeners he was concerned that the source had been trying to plant an audit trail for investigators to later use to justify surveillance warrants.

Clovis said the two had met over coffee on Sept. 1, 2016, at a DoubleTree hotel in Arlington, Virginia.

"The meeting was very high level; it was like two faculty members sitting down in the faculty lounge talking about research," Clovis said Monday on the "Simon Conway Show." "There was no indication or no inclination that this was anything other than just wanting to offer up his help to the campaign if I needed it."

..."The thing that's unsettling to me," Clovis explained, was the source's apparent motivation "to establish an audit trail from the campaign or somebody associated with the campaign, back to those Clinton emails — whether or not they existed, we don't know."

"The FBI and the Department of Justice, they were attempting to create something that did not exist and there was no evidence that it existed," he added, "to create an audit trail that would lead investigators on something. Then they would have justification to go back for their FISA warrants and all their other things."
So, a couple of things:

1. Was there nothing to the totally conversational meeting (clearly something Clovis is saying to defend himself) or was it "unsettling" because the source was trying to set up the campaign (clearly something Clovis is saying to defend Trump)? It can't be both. Either the source was just talking, or the source was fishing.

2. This bullshit about "creating an audit trail" is truly absurd, even by Trumpian standards. So the theory is that the FBI sent in a mole to plant evidence in order to justify FISA warrants to find evidence that they planted? Hoo boy. Their theory of innocence is getting so convoluted I'm not sure the MAGA drips will understand it, even once it goes through the Sean Hannity Simplification Machine.

3. Part of this theory is based on the idea that if the FBI was so worried about Russian infiltration, then why didn't they just warn Donald Trump? The thing is: They did. And, at the time of that briefing, he was warned to report to the FBI any suspicious contacts. He did not. To the contrary, the Trump campaign was allowing "walkers" like Carter Page to join the campaign because they were desperate for even remotely credible bodies.

Essentially, the Trump administration continues to believe there exists no reason that any intelligence agency or Congressional committee or special counsel had or has to investigate them. Which is laughable.

This is, after all, a president who, as a candidate, stood at a podium and invited Russians to hack the U.S. State Department, in order to harm his opponent. That isn't normal. That is disloyalty so profound that it alone warrants investigation. And it's merely the tip of a colossal iceberg.

* * *


"I honestly can't believe I have to keep doing this," writes Warner at the top of the memo. Yeah. That's a club with a whole lotta members.

* * *


I love Howard Dean.

Natasha Geiling at ThinkProgress: EPA Bans Certain Reporters from Covering a National Summit on Chemicals. "On Tuesday morning, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt greeted a crowed of nearly 200 at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C. The attendees were there for a national summit on polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances — also known as PFAS, a class of chemicals linked to potentially serious health impacts with long-term exposure. But absent from the summit's introductory statement were reporters from several news outlets, including the Associated Press, CNN, and E&E News. One reporter with the Associated Press was allegedly forcibly removed from the EPA headquarters after trying to enter to report on the summit." The assaults on the press continue unabated, then.


Matt Cagle and Nicole A. Ozer at the ACLU: Amazon Teams up with Law Enforcement to Deploy Dangerous New Face Recognition Technology. "The company has developed a powerful and dangerous new facial recognition system and is actively helping governments deploy it. Amazon calls the service 'Rekognition.' Marketing materials and documents obtained by ACLU affiliates in three states reveal a product that can be readily used to violate civil liberties and civil rights. Powered by artificial intelligence, Rekognition can identify, track, and analyze people in real time and recognize up to 100 people in a single image. It can quickly scan information it collects against databases featuring tens of millions of faces, according to Amazon. Amazon is marketing Rekognition for government surveillance. According to its marketing materials, it views deployment by law enforcement agencies as a 'common use case' for this technology." Yikes.

Jessica Mason Pieklo at Rewire.News: Texas Is Once Again Violating Federal Voting Rights Law, Court Rules. "Judge Garcia ordered Texas to change its online process by July 2018 to allow people to simply check a box indicating they wish to register or update their voter registration information when they use the state's online portal to renew their driver's license or change their address. Garcia ordered the state to submit to the court a proposed educational campaign to inform the public about the changes to the online voter registration process. Officials have two weeks to comply with that portion of Garcia's order. He also ordered the state to conduct monthly compliance audits until 2019 and to provide annual updates to the Texas Civil Rights Project of information on the number of voter registrations that were the result of the online process as well as any complaints the state has received about the online voter registration and renewal process."

This is a pretty excellent example of why Trump and the Republican Party are trying to stack the judiciary as swiftly as possible. Judges are the last bulwark against their attempts to wholly undermine free and fair elections.

The last besides We the People, that is. In good resistance news...


You can keep up with the Poor People's Campaign on Twitter by following @UniteThePoor.

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

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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!

* * *

I just came across this Sausage, Spinach, and White Bean Soup crockpot recipe, looking for a way to use up some beans I've got, and it looks so yummy. I may have to make that before it gets too warm for soup!

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This Is a Real Thing in the World


Not since the glorious Ronpaulbuxxx of yore have I seen such a magnificent specimen!

(This is why bitcoin will ALWAYS be inferior. Can bitcoin offer me a commemorative cryptocoin of this historic meeting? I DIDN'T THINK SO.)

Obviously, everything about this is perfect: How beautiful it is, how perfect the likeness of the two stunning leaders, how classically authoritarian it is, what a superb money-making opportunity it is for a totally uncorrupt White House and an ethical AF president who definitely isn't exploiting the office for his own personal wealth or glory, how classy it is (although I admit it could use a little more gold).

But this is definitely my favorite part:


Methinks I spy a silver fox who's angling to get a coin of his own! Don't worry, Pence — all the great authoritarians get them, so it's only a matter of time.

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Trump Has Two Unsecured Phones, Because Security Is "Inconvenient"


This is such a serious problem — and so obviously serious that I can't imagine I would even need to explain why it's so serious, nor that I could possibly convince anyone who's chosen to remain unconvinced.

All there is left to say is:

image of a nuclear explosion to which I've added text reading BUT HER EMAILS

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Open Thread


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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Brenda A.: "What DIY (do-it-yourself) project were you particularly pleased with?"

Olivia's post-surgical shirt, lol.


I will never get over how hilariously cute she looked in that thing, which also turned out to be incredibly effective in protecting her sutures while the incision healed!

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Monday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by blackberries.

Recommended Reading:


Angela Helm at the Root: Samaria Rice to Open Tamir Rice Cultural Center in 2019

Kathleen at Lainey: A Black Royal Wedding

Monica Roberts at TransGriot: Introducing the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!

Blue Telusma at the Grio: 7 of the Most TURNT UP Moments from Harry's and Meghan's Royal Wedding Reception

Jamilah King at Mother Jones: Ali Wong Stuck with the Major Your Mom Told You to Drop and Here She Is Today

Samuel James at Black Girl in Maine: [Content Note: Racism; eliminationist violence] Choosing Sides

Wendy Lu at Everyday Feminism: [CN: Disablism] Disabled People Don't Need to Be "Fixed" — We Need a Cure for Ableism

Matt Simon at Wired: The 6-Foot Chinese Giant Salamander Is in Serious Trouble

Ryan F. Mandelbaum at Gizmodo: Why Is This Asteroid Orbiting the Wrong Way Around the Sun?

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

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Trump Makes Another Big Authoritarian Move, Part 2

Earlier today, I noted that Donald Trump had tweeted his demand "that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes — and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!"

This afternoon, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray met with Trump at the White House. And White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders put out this statement on that meeting: "Based on the meeting with the President, the Department of Justice has asked the Inspector General to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's or the Department of Justice's tactics concerning the Trump campaign. It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with Congressional leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested."

The president is currently under investigation. He's essentially asking to see what they've got on him.

That is just a brazen abuse of power.

And, as usual, there's no one around with the power and willingness to stop him.

Meanwhile:


Receipts and more receipts.

There is nothing that isn't depressing about watching my country slide into an authoritarian dictatorship, but always rivaling for pole position is the fact that this is happening chiefly because of a failure to listen to women.

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OMG SHOEZ

Listen, the news is tough, and we all need moments of escape from the horror to recuperate and prepare for the next onslaught, and I can talk about shoes all the livelong day, so welcome to the OMG SHOEZ thread.

Got a favorite pair of shoes you want to share? Bought a new pair about which you're super excited? Have a recommendation to make, or want to caution us away from a purchase you regret? Want to solicit suggestions for a specific event, a foot issue, an elusive something for which you've been hunting? Having trouble finding something particular on a budget? Have at it in comments!

* * *

A kindly reader sent a donation for my birthday, earmarked for splurging on something special for the occasion. So — and with Deeky's encouragement to actually treat myself — I got myself this pair of magenta flats, WHICH I LOVE SO MUCH OMGGGGGG.

image of my lower legs showing my feet clad in shiny magenta flats
Kenneth Cole's New York Westley Loafer

I got them at Shoes.com, which is currently having a 30% off sale, in case you've been waiting for a good sale to get yourself that pair of shoes you've been wanting or needing.

So, that's what up with me! What's up with you?

(As always: I am not affiliated with Kenneth Cole in any way, nor have I received anything in exchange for recommending their shoes. I just really like 'em! I'm also not affiliated in any way with nor receiving compensation from Shoes.com.)

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Daily Dose of Cute

There was much delightful Shakespets Tweeting over the weekend, so in case you missed any of it, a recap!


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 487

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 (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) 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.

* * *

Earlier today by me: Today in Toxic Masculinity and Trump Makes Another Big Authoritarian Move and SCOTUS Deals Devastating Blow to Class Actions and Border Patrol Agent Detains Spanish-Speaking Citizens.

Here are some more things in the news today...

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Hillary Clinton Trolls Trump with Russian Hat During Speech to Yale Grads. "Yale University has a tradition of students wearing 'over-the-top' hats to one of its graduation events called 'Class Day.' Former Secretary of State and Trump opponent Hillary Clinton was asked to address the grads and decided to partake in the tradition. Said Clinton: 'I see, looking out at you, that you are following the tradition of over-the-top hats. So I brought a hat too: A Russian hat.'"

Hahahahaha! Although, as my friend Shaker SKM pointed out in a private conversation, which I'm sharing with her permission, it's not really Trump that she's trolling here: "It could credibly refer only to her own problem with Putin — she called out his crooked 2011 elections, and he set out to stop her. Trump was purely incidental. Sidelined. She's jabbing at Vlad." Indeed.

* * *

Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Anu Narayanswamy at the Washington Post: RNC Paid Nearly Half a Million Dollars to Law Firm Representing Hope Hicks and Others in Russia Probes. "The RNC's $451,780 payment to Trout Cacheris & Janis adds to the mounting legal fees associated with the investigations by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and several congressional committees of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Hicks hired Robert Trout, founder of the law firm, as her personal attorney in September, according to news reports. The report of the payments for legal and compliance services, contained in the Federal Election Commission report filed Sunday, is the first public disclosure of RNC payments to the law firm since Hicks hired Trout." Swell.

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: How Trump's New Deep State Conspiracy Theory Emerged from the Fever Swamps.
If there's a dark conspiracy theory circulating about Deep State efforts to undermine Donald Trump, it's a safe bet that it started with Rep. Devin Nunes, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

That seems to be the case with the purported scandal du jour: That the FBI planted an informant in the Trump campaign in order to gain information about its possible ties to Russia. Such a move, Trump allies argue, would render the Mueller investigation into Russia's 2016 election interference illegitimate.

The source met with three different Trump campaign officials, the Washington Post reported Friday evening. And the source's name began circulating late last week in right-wing media. Still the nature of the intelligence the source provided, and exactly what prompted the FBI to seek to obtain intel from this person remain unclear.

As with previous Nunes-driven controversies, this one started weeks ago with the California Republican's efforts to disclose classified intelligence information, festered in the media fever swamps, and then percolated up to the president, who on Friday said it may be the "all time biggest political scandal!"
Nunes is toxic. If his party had a shred of integrity of patriotism, he would have been removed from office the moment he was discovered to be running interference for the Trump administration on a Congressional investigation being done by his own committee. Instead, he's been left to muddy the waters with rank conspiracy theories from his highest of profiles. Shameful.

Gregory Korte at USA Today: CIA Director Gina Haspel Sworn in as Trump Blasts Obama's CIA Director as a 'Disgrace'. "[Donald] Trump praised Gina Haspel as the seventh director of the Central Intelligence Agency at a swearing-in ceremony on Monday, just hours after accusing the fifth director of the CIA director of disgracing the office and engaging in a 'political hit job' against him." So former CIA director John Brennan is a "disgrace" for having national loyalty, and Gian Haspel, former torturer, is a tribute to the office. Cool calculations, as always.


A more honest headline would be: Pompeo lays out list of demands he knows will never be met in bid to make Trump administration look reasonable after completely unreasonable decision to withdraw from Iran deal.

* * *

[Content Note: Nativism] Alfonso Serrano at Colorlines: Department of Justice Curbs Authority of Immigration Judges. "Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday (May 17) issued a directive barring immigration judges from pausing deportation cases while immigrants await visa applications or appeals to criminal convictions, a commonly used tactic known as administrative closure that previously allowed judges to clear low priority cases. Widely used during the Obama administration, administrative closure gave judges flexibility on cases involving immigrants who had lived in the country for several years and whose children or spouses are United States citizens. It also freed up judges to focus on higher priority cases. Sessions, however, argued that judges don't have the authority to suspend cases." Asshole.

[CN: Clergy sex abuse] While everyone is once again singing Pope Francis' praises because he had the magnanimity to say that if a person is made gay by god then god probably doesn't hate them...


Never forget who Pope Francis actually is, folks.

And finally, still in the We Resist thread because who knows if federal aid will be forthcoming... AP/Guardian: Hawaii Volcano Fills Sky with Acid Plumes and Glass Shards as Lava Hits Sea.
White plumes of acid and extremely fine shards of glass billowed into the sky over Hawaii as molten rock from the Kilauea volcano poured into the ocean, creating yet another hazard from an eruption that began more than two weeks ago.

Authorities warned the public to stay away from the toxic steam cloud, which is formed by a chemical reaction when lava touches seawater.

Further upslope, lava continued to gush out of large cracks in the ground that formed in residential neighborhoods in a rural part of the Big Island. The molten rock formed rivers that bisected forests and farms as it meandered toward the coast.

The rate of sulfur dioxide gas shooting from the ground fissures tripled, leading Hawaii county to repeat warnings about air quality. At the volcano's summit, two explosive eruptions unleashed clouds of ash. Winds carried much of the ash towards Wood Valley, Pahala, Naalehu, and Waiohinu in the south-west of the island.

Officials said one small eruption produced an ash plume that reached about 7,000ft. The county of Hawaii issued a civil defense message early on Monday, warning those in affected areas to stay indoors with windows closed and to drive with caution.
I'm thinking about you, Hawaii.

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

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Border Patrol Agent Detains Spanish-Speaking Citizens

[Content Note: Nativism.]

Donald Trump did not invent terrible immigration policy. U.S. immigration policy has been broken for a very long time. But he has empowered and institutionalized a nativist, white supremacist, anti-immigrant agenda that I have long been warning will underwrite a targeting of U.S. citizens.

I can't even tell you how much I wish I'd been wrong about that.

Amy B Wang at the Washington Post: A Border Patrol Agent Detained Two U.S. Citizens at a Gas Station After Hearing Them Speak Spanish.

A Montana woman said she plans to take legal action after a Border Patrol agent detained and questioned her and a friend — both U.S. citizens — when he overheard them speaking Spanish at a gas station.

The incident occurred early Wednesday morning at a convenience store in Havre, Mont., a town in the northern part of the state, near the border with Canada.

Ana Suda said she and her friend, Mimi Hernandez, were making a midnight run to the store to pick up eggs and milk. Both are Mexican American and speak fluent Spanish, and they had exchanged some words in Spanish while waiting in line to pay when a uniformed Border Patrol agent interrupted them, Suda said.

"We were just talking, and then I was going to pay," Suda told The Washington Post. "I looked up [and saw the agent], and then after that, he just requested my ID. I looked at him like, 'Are you serious?' He's like, 'Yeah, very serious.'"

Suda said she felt uncomfortable and began recording the encounter with her cellphone after they had moved into the parking lot. In the video Suda recorded, she asks the agent why he is detaining them, and he says it is specifically because he heard them speaking Spanish.

"Ma'am, the reason I asked you for your ID is because I came in here, and I saw that you guys are speaking Spanish, which is very unheard of up here," the agent can be heard saying in the video.

Suda asks whether they are being racially profiled; the agent says no.

"It has nothing to do with that," the agent tells her. "It's the fact that it has to do with you guys speaking Spanish in the store, in a state where it's predominantly English-speaking."
Utterly chilling. No one should be made to feel that they cannot speak a language other than English in the United States. But now official policy is apparently the equivalent of a racist shitbird screaming, "THIS IS AMERICA! SPEAK ENGLISH!" at people.

(Which, by the way, has been screamed at my husband, who merely speaks with accented English.)

When questioned about the incident by the WaPo, Border Patrol not only did not condemn their agent's actions, but reasserted his right of authority:
A representative from U.S. Customs and Border Protection told The Post the agency is reviewing the incident to ensure all appropriate policies were followed. Border Patrol agents are trained to decide to question individuals based on a variety of factors, the agency added.

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents and officers are committed to treating everyone with professionalism, dignity, and respect while enforcing the laws of the United States," the agency said. "Although most Border Patrol work is conducted in the immediate border area, agents have broad law enforcement authorities and are not limited to a specific geography within the United States. They have the authority to question individuals, make arrests, and take and consider evidence."
Demanding ID from anyone speaking languages other than English in public has fuck-all to do with enforcing U.S. law. That Customs and Border Protection doesn't seem to agree with that is deeply troubling.

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SCOTUS Deals Devastating Blow to Class Actions

In yet another 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has ruled in Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis that employers are allowed to force employees to sign contracts that restrict their right to sue collectively in federal court and instead force them into one-on-one arbitration with the company.

It is a devastating blow to workers and class actions for endemic workplace abuses.

The decision [pdf] was authored by Neil Gorsuch, of course. Ruth Bader Ginsburg authored the dissent.


This erosion of workers' ability to organize into class action lawsuits against exploitative and/or harmful employers, combined with conservatives' decades of union-busting, is a horrendous blow to the collective power of workers.

Absolutely gutting.

This is a perfect and terrible example of why I nearly spun myself into dust during the last election trying to ensure Donald Trump was defeated, and why the only words I have at the moment are (again) these:


Elections matter. The differences between the Democrats and the Republican matter. HERE IS WHY.

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Trump Makes Another Big Authoritarian Move

Yesterday, Donald Trump tweeted a rather extraordinary tweet, even by his own execrable standards:


Leah McElrath quickly noted:


Which is absolutely spot-on. I further observed:


I don't know what's going to happen next — how or when Trump will follow through on his threat. But I do this with absolute certainty: It isn't going to happen randomly.

Donald Trump, so goes the narrative, provides precious little evidence of long-term strategy. That narrative is totally wrong. I cannot state this more urgently.

Trump has been toying with a presidential run for decades, and he became the acolyte of Roy Cohn to learn politics. A very specific kind of dirty, unethical, scorched-earth politics. As a developer in NYC, he cultivated relationships with both Democratic and Republican politicians for decades — but, when it came time to run, there was no question at all for which party he was going to run as a candidate. There was only party whose base was going to buy what he was selling, which itself was shaped to appeal to very particular people in a very particular way at this particular time.

He now sits in the Oval Office, one of the most powerful men on the planet.

That was the plan. He didn't achieve it by accident.

Trump might not be sitting in the Oval Office without intervention from the Russians, but that is not an argument that he had no long-term plan on which he was executing. To the contrary, it's an argument that collusion became part of the plan.

The sooner this notion that the authoritarian Trump is just "winging it" dies a deserved death, the better.

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Today in Toxic Masculinity

[Content Note: Gun violence; auto violence; domestic violence; misogyny; entitlement; disablism.]

On Friday, Dimitrios Pagourtzis killed ten people and injured at least 13 others at Sante Fe high school in Texas.

Sadie Rodriguez, a mother of one of Pagourtzis' victims, 16-year-old Shana Fisher, said that her daughter was his first target, because he was angry that she had humiliated him by publicly rejecting him after he'd aggressively pursued her for four months, despite her repeatedly telling him no.

Sadie Rodriguez said her daughter Shana Fisher had endured "four months of problems from this boy".

"He kept making advances on her and she repeatedly told him no," she told the Los Angeles Times.

...Ms Rodriguez said Mr Pagourtzis had been increasingly aggressive until her daughter stood up to him, embarrassing him in class.

"A week later he opens fire on everyone he didn't like," she said.
Then yesterday, Roger Self, a former police officer turned private investigator in North Carolina, took his family out to brunch, had them seated at a particular table, then left the meal to get into his vehicle and plow it into the restaurant, killing two people, one of whom was his own daughter, Katelyn Self, a deputy sheriff. The other person killed was his daughter-in-law, Amanda Self, an emergency room nurse. One of her daughters, only 13 years old, was among the injured.

According to a pastor and family friend, Self was "wrestling with mental illness" and had been "beset by anxiety, depression, and mental breakdowns," but: "He's been taking precautions. He had all the guns removed from his house, so he was making steps that were rational steps."

Imagine anyone saying about a woman, or a man of color, who tried to kill their entire family that they had been making "rational steps" before they rammed their car into a restaurant where they killed and injured people in addition to their targeted family.
"Family has been loving him through this," the pastor said. "This was not a conscious act by their father, and they know that."
Except, of course, that it was a conscious act. He chose the restaurant, he called the restaurant, he made a reservation, he invited his family, he chose a particular table, he sat down with them, he got up from the table, he left the restaurant, he got in his car, he started it, and then he deliberately drove it through the restaurant.

Let me be clear: Neither anxiety nor depression make people kill their families. They also don't make men decide that their wives and daughters and daughters-in-law and granddaughters are better off dead, or whatever fucked-up reason Self decided to harm his family.

Mental illness can exacerbate toxic masculinity. But it doesn't create it.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of a purple sofa

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

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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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