"This is a public health issue."

[Content Note: Gun violence; injury; death.]

A shooter is dead and 22 people have been injured, some seriously, during a shooting at an art event in Trenton, New Jersey:

An all-night arts and music festival turned deadly early on Sunday morning when gunfire erupted in a crowd, sending people stampeding and leaving one suspect dead and 22 people injured, authorities said.

Seventeen people were treated for gunshot wounds, said Mercer county prosecutor Angelo Onofri. Four, including a 13-year-old boy, remain in critical condition late on Sunday morning.

Two suspects opened fire around 2.45am during the Art All Night Trenton festival that showcases local art, music, food and films. One of the suspects, a 33-year-old man, was killed, authorities said. Onofri said he believes police killed him. Another suspect was in custody.

Onofri said a "neighborhood beef" was behind the shooting inside the historic Roebling Wire Works Building.

...Trenton mayor Eric E Jackson said the violence could not be "discarded as just random violence. This is a public health issue."
That's exactly right. This is a public health issue.

A grave public health issue to which we're becoming so inured that a shooting which left 22 people injured is no longer front page news.

This country has lost its way.

Open Wide...

Monday Morning Reading on Trump's Nativist Abuse

[Content Note: Nativism; white supremacy; child abuse; violence.]

There is a whole lot of stuff I want to recommend today, so I'm going to link all of it here. Please feel welcome to share additional links in comments and use the thread for discussion of this subject broadly.

Miriam Jordan at the New York Times: 'I Can't Go Without My Son,' a Mother Pleaded as She Was Deported to Guatemala. "The Border Patrol was waiting as they made their way from the border on May 26, and soon mother and son were in a teeming detention center in southern Texas. The next part unfolded so swiftly that, even now, Ms. Ortiz cannot grasp it: Anthony was sent to a shelter for migrant children. And she was put on a plane back to Guatemala. 'I am completely devastated,' Ms. Ortiz, 25, said in one of a series of video interviews last week from her family home in Guatemala. Her eyes swollen from weeping and her voice subdued, she said she had no idea when or how she would see her son again."

Nomaan Merchant at the AP: Hundreds of Children Wait in Border Patrol Facility in Texas. "Inside an old warehouse in South Texas, hundreds of children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips, and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets. One teenager told an advocate who visited that she was helping care for a young child she didn't know because the child's aunt was somewhere else in the facility. She said she had to show others in her cell how to change the girl's diaper."

Nick Cumming-Bruce at the New York Times: U.N. Rights Chief Tells U.S. to Stop Taking Migrant Children from Parents. "United States immigration authorities have detained almost 2,000 children in the past six weeks, which may cause them irreparable harm with lifelong consequences, said Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. He cited an observation by the president of the American Association of Pediatrics that locking the children up separately from their parents constituted 'government-sanctioned child abuse.' 'The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable,' Mr. al-Hussein said."

Nick Visser at the Huffington Post: DHS Secretary Says There's No Family Separation Policy 'Period'. "Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended her agency's role at the U.S. border with Mexico on Sunday, saying there was no family separation policy. 'This misreporting by members, press and advocacy groups must stop,' Nielsen wrote in a series of tweets Sunday evening. 'It is irresponsible and unproductive. As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry. We do not have a policy of separating families at the border,' she continued. 'Period.'" That is just a rank lie.

Nicole Belle at Crooks & Liars: Where Are the Girls Being Detained by the Trump Administration? "ICE made detention centers available for the media to tour... MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff described it as de facto incarceration for minors who did nothing but come with their parents to escape violence and persecution in their home country. But here's the thing: I've poured over these reports. I've scoured the photos. I've looked at every publication and every news outlets reporting. Not. One. Covers. Girls. Being. Detained. Where are the girls?"

Molly Hennessy-Fiske at the L.A. Times: Texas Border Patrol Center Where Immigrant Families Are Separated Draws Lawmakers, Protest. "The 72,000-square-foot facility was clean and spare, with bare concrete floors. Uniformed agents, some wearing masks, observed from guard towers and escorted migrants down corridors. Lopez noted with pride that the 42 portable toilets did not smell, although they were open at the top, due to security concerns. The center's two massive rooms were separated into 22 chain link-fenced spaces, many labeled 'cells' with netting on top to prevent escapes. They're cleaned three times a day. Lopez said they used fencing because it was cheap and see-through."

Shane Harris, David Weigel, and Karoun Demirjian at the Washington Post: Democrats Intensify Fight for Immigrant Children. "Against a notable silence on the part of many Republicans who usually defend [Donald] Trump, Democratic lawmakers fanned out across the country, visiting a detention center outside New York City and heading to Texas to inspect facilities where children have been detained. ...Trump remained silent on the issue for most of the day Sunday before tweeting that Democrats should work with Republicans on an immigration solution before the election 'because you are going to lose!'"

Marlow Stern at the Daily Beast: John Oliver Exposes Trump's Lies About His Border Child Separation Policy.
"That's right: Thousands of children have been forcibly taken from their parents after a policy shift was put into action last month by U.S. attorney general — and least fun thing to find in a Kinder egg — Jeff Sessions," said Oliver. "Sessions basically started a policy of incarcerating people who crossed the border illegally knowing full well that that incarceration would mean they were separated from their children — many of whom are less than 10 years old with no clear plan as to when they might be reunited."

Despite Sessions, chief of staff John Kelly, and immigration "expert" Stephen Miller all defending the Trump administration's policy, with Miller recently telling The New York Times, "It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, period. The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law," [Donald] Trump has repeatedly attempted to blame the Democrats for his own policy.

"He's following laws, very simply, that were given to us and forced upon us by the Democrats. The Democrats gave us the laws," Trump told a press scrum Friday morning.

Cue Oliver: "Democrats did not give them these laws, because — and I cannot stress this enough — there is no law that suddenly required separating parents from their children. This is a result of a deliberate policy choice by Jeff Sessions."
Former First Lady Laura Bush at the Washington Post: Separating Children from Their Parents at the Border 'Breaks My Heart'. "I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart. Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history."

In response to Laura Bush's op-ed, I have seen some members of the press saying they can't recall a former First Lady criticizing a current administration (example), which is a stunning erasure of Hillary Clinton, and I have a thread on that starting here.

Charles M. Blow at the New York Times: Trump and the Baby Snatchers. "I can't imagine being forcibly separated from my children for any reason. And yet, this has become Trump's policy of persecution. Attorney General Jeff Sessions even had the gall to invoke one of the same Bible verses used to justify slavery to justify the current policy. Trump keeps lying about it, trying to distort reality and claim that the separations are a result of a 'law' made by the Democrats. ...Trump is lying, as he often does. This barbaric policy is an outgrowth of his own personal cruelty. It's absolutely reprehensible and an absolute reflection of him."

Staff at KABB/WOAI: 5 Dead After SUV Being Chased by Border Patrol Crashes. "Authorities said five undocumented immigrants are dead following a chase involving Border Patrol agents Sunday afternoon. Dimmit County Sheriff Marion Boyd said the crash happened off Highway 85 in Big Wells at about noon. Boyd said agents were chasing the SUV when it lost control and overturned. The vehicle was traveling at more than 100 miles per hour when it crashed. Fourteen people were inside, including the driver and passenger. Twelve immigrants were ejected and four died at the scene when the car crashed and rolled over, according to Boyd. A fifth person later died at the hospital. Boyd credited 'good police work' for the reason why deputies started pursuing the vehicle."

Gideon Resnick at the Daily Beast: Poll: Republicans Approve of Trump's Family Separation Policy. "The poll of roughly 1,000 adults aged 18 and over, and conducted June 14-15, asked respondents if they agreed with the following statement: 'It is appropriate to separate undocumented immigrant parents from their children when they cross the border in order to discourage others from crossing the border illegally.' Of those surveyed, 27 percent of the overall respondents agreed with it, while 56% disagreed with the statement. Yet, Republicans leaned slightly more in favor, with 46% agreeing with the statement and 32 percent disagreeing."

I am full of rage and grief.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of a purple sofa

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

Open Wide...

The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of the exterior of a pub which has been 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.

Open Wide...

Friday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by Aughra's orrery.

Recommended Reading:

Roxana Hadadi at Pajiba: Happy Eid al-Fitr! Let Me Tell You About Eid al-Fitr!

Ayana Byrd at Colorlines: New Reports Confirm How Ill-Prepared Puerto Rico Is for Hurricane Season

David Shiffman at Southern Fried Scientist: I Asked 15 Ocean Plastic Pollution Experts About the Ocean Cleanup Project, and They Have Concerns

Kia Morgan-Smith at the Grio: Hillary Clinton Trolls James Comey Investigation with Brutal 3-Word Tweet

Anne Victoria Clark at Vulture: Amy Poehler Has No Time for This

Vivian Kane at the Mary Sue: Chrissy Teigen Got Donald Trump the Only Appropriate Birthday Gift

Miss Rosen at Bust: This Swedish Woman Created Some of the World's First Abstract Paintings — and Then Hid Them Away for Decades

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

Open Wide...

#365feministselfie: Week 24

I am again participating in the #365feministselfie project, now in its fifth year, and promised a thread for others to share selfies and/or talk about the project, visibility generally, self-apprecation, and related topics. So here is a thread for Week 24!

A few of my selfies over the last week:

image of me from mid-chest up, sitting at my desk, wearing a black and white ringer tee and classes, with my hair pulled up

image of me from mid-thigh up, standing in a mirror taking a picture of myself, with my hair up, wearing glasses, a beige cardigan, a white blouse with a colorful butterfly pattern on it, and blue jeans
A lady departs for her therapy session.

image of me from mid-torso up, making a silly face with my glasses balanced on the edge of my nose, wearing a baseball tee with green arms and a celery mascot on it
Me 'n Mr. Celery.

So, Eastsidekate sent me an article about the Wilmington Blue Rocks, a minor league baseball team in Delaware, introducing uniforms featuring "Mr. Celery," because the former general manager of the team wanted a zany mascot, but the team "didn't want to invest a lot of money in a new mascot costume for an idea that might be scrapped after a few weeks if it didn't work out," and they had "this beat-up old celery costume that had been sitting in a warehouse for years," so they "dusted it off, put a guy in it, and called it Mr. Celery."

Obviously this was the greatest thing I've heard in a minute, so I needed a Mr. Celery shirt immediately. And FYI the Wilmington Blue Rocks emailed me a FedEx tracking update every day of this beauty's journey. They were reeeeeeal excited about an out-of-state purchase, apparently! As Mr. Celery says, "WOO-HOO!"

image of me from mid-torso up, standing in a mirror wearing a black t-shirt with a pattern of white bats on it
Feminist bats!

Please feel welcome and encouraged to share your own selfies in comments, or share your thoughts on the project, or solicit encouragement or advice, or do whatever else feels best for you to participate, if you are inclined to do so!

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on the back of the couch, staring into space
Tony done fucked up Sophie but good.
She can't stop thinking about him.

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 512

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 Wants a Meeting with Putin — and No One's Going to Stop Him and Trump Again Praises Kim; Chillingly Jokes About Executions.

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

[Content Note: Nativism; child abuse; self-harm] Molly Hennessy-Fiske at the LA Times: 'Prison-Like' Migrant Youth Shelter Is Understaffed, Unequipped for Trump's 'Zero Tolerance' Policy, Insider Says.
Antar Davidson said he became disillusioned after the Trump administration's 'zero tolerance' policy began sending the shelter not only children who had crossed the border unaccompanied by adults, but also those separated from their parents.

The caseload is straining a facility he described as understaffed and unequipped to deal with children experiencing trauma... During his time at the shelter, children were running away, screaming, throwing furniture, and attempting suicide, Davidson said. Several were being monitored this week because they were at risk of running away, self-harm and suicide, records show.

...Davidson saw more and more confused and upset children, most from Latin America. There also were more of what staff call "tender age" children, those under 13. Some were as young as 4, he said.

"What was once a transient facility with a staff that was strained and struggling is now becoming a more permanent facility," and more "prison-like," Davidson said.

..."I can no longer in good conscience work with Southwest Key programs," he wrote. "I am feeling uneasy about the morality of some of the practices."
Meanwhile, of course there are defense contractors lining up to line their pockets by facilitating those very immoral practices. Betsy Woodruff and Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast: Defense Contractors Cashing in on Immigrant Kids' Detention. "Virginia-based MVM Inc., seeks a compliance coordinator to help in San Antonio with the 'rapid deployment of an Emergency Influx Shelter for unaccompanied children.' ...MVM appears to believe its business is growing. A job posting on Indeed.com from 20 days ago advertises for youth care workers 'in anticipation of a contract award.' ...The defense contracting giant General Dynamics is advertising a data-entry position within ORR's case-coordination program for undocumented children that will, among other things, monitor youths' cases as they move through the system." Fucking hell.

An observation:


* * *

Dominic Rushe at the Guardian: Trump Announces $50bn in China Tariffs, Escalating Possibility of Trade War. "Donald Trump has announced a 25% tariff on $50bn of Chinese goods, escalating trade tensions a day after Beijing officials warned China was preparing to retaliate. The move, after a long war of words, escalates the possibility of a full trade war between the world's two leading economies."

And this despite the fact that his previous round of tariffs are a complete flop. Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post: Trump's Tariffs Are Already Backfiring. "Those metal tariffs have left steel prices more than 50 percent higher in the United States than they are in China or Europe. This is bad news for U.S. companies that purchase steel — including to manufacture washing machines, which are essentially big steel boxes. Perhaps worse, our furious trading partners are now striking back by placing new tariffs on U.S. goods. Among the products that both the European Union and Canada have targeted for retaliation? You guessed it: U.S.-made washing machines."


Stephanie Nebehay at Reuters: U.S. Expected to Retreat from Main U.N. Rights Forum. "Talks with the United States over how to reform the main U.N. rights body have failed to meet Washington's demands, activists and diplomats say, suggesting that the Trump administration will quit the Geneva forum whose session opens on Monday. A U.S. source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the withdrawal appeared to be 'imminent' but had no details. Diplomatic sources said it was not a question of if but of when the United States retreats from the Human Rights Council." Of course.

Sam Levin at the Guardian: Police Worked with Violent Pro-Trump Activist to Prosecute Leftwing Group.
A pro-Trump demonstrator who admitted hitting protesters at a far-right rally received help and support from California police, who worked with him to prosecute leftwing activists, records show.

Documents and testimony in a trial surrounding a rightwing demonstration in Berkeley reveal that police and prosecutors pursued charges on behalf of Daniel Quillinan, a conservative activist who has posted fascist memes and came to the event with Kyle Chapman, now a celebrated figure amongst the "alt-right." The authorities consistently treated Quillinan as a victim even though he was visibly armed with a knife, a wooden "shield," and a "flagpole" — and had told law enforcement that he "hit someone in the head," according to court files.

The resulting criminal trial against five anti-fascist protesters — who are accused of assaulting Quillinan during a roughly 15-second altercation — is, according to activists, the latest example of U.S. law enforcement aggressively targeting leftwing demonstrators and favoring members of the far-right after violent clashes. In another California case, police have worked directly with neo-Nazis to go after counter-protesters, including a black activist stabbed at a white supremacist rally.
Fucking hell.

Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress: This Is How Florida Makes It Nearly Impossible for Ex-Felons to Get Their Voting Rights Restored. "Florida has one of the strictest felon disenfranchisement laws in the country, requiring anyone with a felony conviction to apply for clemency from the governor in order to restore their right to vote. The process has become even more difficult since Scott took office in 2011 and instated a five to seven year waiting period before people like Johnson could even petition for their rights. The board meets just four times a year, and just a small fraction of the thousands of people who apply for clemency are even considered."

And finally...


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

Open Wide...

Discussion Thread: How Are You?

I am feeling extremely overwhelmed this week. I'm very angry, very sad, and very scared about what is happening in the United States — and, of course, spilling over our borders.

The things I feared would happen are happening.

The things I urgently warned, over and over, would happen if Donald Trump weren't taken seriously, if he got the Republican nomination, if he got the presidency, if Congressional Republicans made no effort to contain him at all, if the press failed utterly to hold him accountable, if everything went wrong in precisely the way it looked like it was going wrong, are happening.

And I am sick about it. I am grief-stricken. I have a pain sitting in my chest that I don't even know how to describe.

All of this was foreseeable. All of it was preventable. All of the people who saw it and said it were dismissed, discounted, discredited.

I am listing into an emotional slump. My eyes are permanently puffy from crying.

And I am fucking glad for this community, in this moment. Anyone who wants to join me in an enormous virtual group hug is welcome.

How are you?

Open Wide...

Trump Again Praises Kim; Chillingly Jokes About Executions

Yesterday, I argued that Donald Trump's effusive praise of Kim Jon Un was the biggest news of the day, even bigger than the IG report. I stand by it — and I'll reiterate it: His trajectory into full-tilt despot is enormously important.

It is, in fact, the context in which every other news story should and must be discussed.

Because this is where we are: In another interview this morning with Fox News' Steve Doocy, Trump again spoke of Kim admiringly and aspirationally: "Hey, he's the head of a country, and I mean he is the strong head — don't let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same."

The interview then continued with Trump joking about how Kim may have executed his own generals, further defending having saluted a North Korean general, and insisting that "it's great to give [Kim] credibility" on the global stage.

Trump: He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.

Doocy: Right. Well, just before you met with him, he cleaned house. Three of his top generals, some of the hardliners, he fired—

Trump: Yeah, that's what I heard.

Doocy: —then you go over there and you took some heat over saluting one of the generals.

Trump: I think he fired at least. [smirks] Okay?

Doocy: Three that we know of.

Trump: When you say he "fired," I think maybe fired at least.

Doocy: [chuckling nervously as it dawns on him what Trump is saying] Right.

Trump: "Fired" may be a nice word. That's right — I met a general; he saluted me; I saluted him back; and I guess they're using that as another sound bite. I mean, you know, I think I'm being respectful to general. We are — we have a very good relationship with North Korea. When I was talking to President Obama, he essentially was ready to go to war with North Korea. He felt you almost had to go to war. And I did ask him: "Have you spoken to him?" He goes, "No." I said, "Do you think it would be a good thing to speak to him, maybe?" Okay? 'Cuz, you know, if you go to war there, you're not talking about a hundred thousand lives, which is a lot. You're talking about thirty, forty, fifty million lives.

Doocy: Sure.

Trump: Seoul is thirty miles off the border. They don't even need nuclear weapons to Seoul. And they have thousands of cannons — they call them cannons; they have the big [gestures at own chest?] guns — thousands pointed right at Seoul. We have a really great relationship for the first time ever. No president's ever had this. So I get hit by these fakes back here [gestures over his shoulder at members of the press] — not all of them; some are phenomenal — but I get hit, because I went there; I gave him credibility. I think it's great to give him credibility.

Doocy: Right.

Trump: Here's what we got: Everything. [mimes running down a list of items] Point after point after point.

Doocy: One point — I think it was in the last week, ten days; things are going fast here in Washington, just saying — but...

Trump: You're having a lot of fun, right?

Doocy: [laughing] We're having a—

Trump: So supposing Hillary got elected instead of Trump. You think it would be so exciting? Your ratings would be way down.
This is the news. This is the news today and every day, all day. Trump is an authoritarian who hates democracy and is overseeing a comprehensively obscene agenda of nativism, white supremacy, misogyny, queer hatred, and disablism that has already reached the point of making plans to detain children in concentration camps.


And guess what? That has always been the news about Trump.

Open Wide...

Trump Wants a Meeting with Putin — and No One's Going to Stop Him

Like I keep saying: The collusion is right out in the open. And as we all wait interminably for Special Counsel Bob Mueller to methodically compile evidence of what we can witness with our own eyes every damn day, Donald Trump is insisting on a summit with Vladimir Putin, to be arranged by Austria's new chancellor, nativist hardliner Sebastian Kurz.

Susan B. Glasser at the New Yorker reports:

Fresh off his closely watched Singapore summit with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, [Donald] Trump is pushing his team to arrange another dramatic one-on-one meeting, this time with the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, as soon as this summer. Negotiations with the Kremlin have been under way for weeks. "There's no stopping him," a senior Administration official familiar with the internal deliberations said. "He's going to do it. He wants to have a meeting with Putin, so he's going to have a meeting with Putin."

...With the Russia allegations swirling, Trump never had the formal meeting he wanted with Putin last year — settling for just two brief encounters on the sidelines of international gatherings — but he has clearly never given up on his campaign vision of closer ties with the Russian strongman, whose autocratic rule he has often praised.

The North Korea summit this week, which Trump jubilantly declared a "historic" encounter that will lead to the end of Pyongyang's nuclear program, has likely sealed the deal for an equally high-profile Putin meeting. Now Russia experts inside and outside the U.S. government are bracing themselves for a formal announcement of the summit, which is likely to happen as early as July, when Trump will be in Europe for the annual meeting of the nato alliance that Putin considers his country's mortal enemy.

Negotiations began in earnest, the senior Administration official told me, after Trump disregarded his aides' "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" warning in his post-election phone call with Putin, in March. During the conversation, Trump both congratulated the Russian leader on his election — which Western election observers said had failed to offer voters a real choice — and issued Putin an invitation to the White House. After the call, the Kremlin quickly released word of the invite and began publicly lobbying to pin down a date for a summit, but, privately, the Russian President balked at the Oval Office as the meeting's venue.

"Putin doesn't want to come to Washington. Putin wants to meet in a third-party location," the senior Administration official told me. "Originally, Trump didn't want to do that,” but the Wall Street Journal reported last week that Putin asked Austria's new hard-right populist Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, to arrange the summit for Vienna, and the White House is considering the proposal.

Two former senior U.S. officials told me that they had also been briefed on Trump's orders to his staff to plan for the Putin summit soon. One of them said it could even occur on the first leg of Trump's trip to Europe next month, before Trump attends the annual nato meeting. Getting together with Putin before the allies would be "breaking every rule we've ever had," the former U.S. official said, a flagrant breach of protocol sure to upset Europeans already jittery over Trump's criticism of the nato alliance and his public embrace of Putin.
There is much more at the link, and I recommend reading the whole thing.

A couple of points:

1. "There's no stopping him." I mean, yes, there is. Just because no one empowered to do that is willing to do it doesn't mean that no way exists. This is a very dangerous narrative, and I am getting very frustrated with the political press for continually repeating it uncritically.

2. That Kurz, a right-wing anti-immigrant extremist, has been solicited to arrange this meeting and Trump is going along with it is absolutely appalling. (Though entirely unsurprising.)

3. Meeting with Putin at all is bad enough, for eleventy different reasons — but if Trump meets with him during the same foreign trip as the NATO conference, it will be an extraordinarily offensive gesture to our allies. Which one imagines is precisely the point.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of a pink couch

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

Open Wide...

Question of the Day

Suggested by Carpe Librarium: "How do you avoid procrastination? Or are you a person who rarely faces that temptation?"

This is probably going to sound like a weird answer, but I avoid procrastination by just doing stuff. I have to think consciously about how I'm starting to procrastinate, and then I have to think consciously about how I'm going to regret procrastinating, and then I sometimes have to say out loud to myself, "Just fucking do it!", and then I have to make myself do it, lol.

Nothing else works. Not promising myself a reward if I get something done, not trying to guilt myself into it, not whipping up a motivating anxiety over possible consequences. There are no effective tricks. The only thing that works for me is just doing it!

And when I fail to just do something? Procrastination galore.

Open Wide...

Throwback Thursdays

image of me from mid-torso up, wearing a black shirt and holding my long hair in the wind, standing outside in the sunshine on a Chicago sidewalk
Chicago, fall of 1992.

[Please share your own throwback pix in comments. Just make sure the pix are just of you and/or you have consent to post from other living people in the pic. And please note that they don't have to be pictures from childhood, especially since childhood pix might be difficult for people who come from abusive backgrounds or have transitioned or lots of other reasons. It can be a picture from last week, if that's what works for you. And of course no one should feel obliged to share a picture at all! Only if it's fun!]

Open Wide...

I Cannot, James Comey

Anything having to do with James Comey fills me with such rage that the only thing I can do is try to pay as little attention to it as possible.

I just can't.

Honestly, I expend so much energy caring about and writing about and being sad and angry and grief-stricken about the consequences of his horrendo decision that I just don't have anything left over to deal with him.

Fuck that guy.

Open Wide...

What I'm Reading Now

A thread for sharing what we're currently reading: Fiction, nonfiction, novels, short stories, historical fiction, biographies, romance, fanfic, comic books, graphic novels, longform journalism, research papers, stuff for pleasure, stuff for work, whatever.

I recently finished Ijeoma Oluo's So You Want to Talk About Race. (Buy it at one of the listed vendors. Also be sure to request it at your local library!)

image of the cover of So You Want to Talk About Race, which is a simple, bold cover featuring the text of the title and the author's name

I definitely recommend this book. I could easily quote virtually any passage to entice you to read it, but this was a particular stand-out for me:
When we were slaves nursing their babies, we were not nice enough. When we were maids cleaning their homes, we were not nice enough. When we were porters shining their shoes, we were not nice enough. And when we danced and sang for their entertainment, we were not nice enough.

For hundreds of years we have been told that the path to freedom from racial oppression lies in our virtue, that our humanity must be earned. We simply don't deserve equality yet.

So when people say that they don't like my tone, or when they say they can't support the "militancy" of Black Lives Matter, or when they say that it would be easier if we just didn't walk about race all the time — I ask one question:

Do you believe in justice and equality?

Because if you believe in justice and equality you believe in it all of the time, for all people. You believe in it for newborn babies, you believe in it for single mothers, you believe in it for kids in the street, you believe in justice and equality for people you like and people you don't. You believe in it for people who don't say please.

And if there was anything I could say or do that would convince someone that I or people like me don't deserve justice or equality, then they never believed in justice and equality in the first place.

Yes, I am a Malcolm. And Martin, and Angela, Marcus, Rosa, Biko, Baldwin, Assata, Harriet, and Nina. I'm fighting for liberation. I'm filled with righteous anger and love. I'm shouting, as all before me have in their way. And I'm a human being who was born deserving justice and equality, and that is all you should need to know in order to stand by my side.
I take up space in solidarity with Ijeoma Oluo, because I believe in justice and equality all of the time, for all people.

What are you reading now?

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting in the garden, looking to one side
The adorable Ms. Zelly Belly, Queen of the Garden.

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 511

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 SKM: The Press Promotes an Election Narrative with Little Evidence, But Serves to Conceal Possible Meddling. And by me: Inside the Converted Walmart Where 1,500 Migrant Children Are Being Detained and Trump Heaps Praise on Kim: "We Understand Each Other".

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

More on the Inspector General's report from Chris Strohm at Bloomberg: Comey Broke from FBI Procedures in Clinton Probe, Watchdog Finds. "Former FBI Director James Comey 'deviated' from bureau and Justice Department procedures in handling the probe into Hillary Clinton, damaging the agencies' image of impartiality even though he wasn't motivated by politics, the department's watchdog found in a highly anticipated report. 'While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey's part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,' Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in the report's conclusions, which were obtained by Bloomberg News."

* * *

This exchange between CNN anchor Erin Burnett and Republican Senator Jim Risch regarding Donald Trump saying he trusts Kim Jong Un is really something:

Burnett: Here's what the President of the United States is saying about Kim Jong Un!

[shows clip of Trump saying: "I do trust him, yeah. I think he trusts me, and I trust him." CNN's Jim Acosta asks: "And you do trust him?" Trump replies: "I do. You know, as I told you, in six months — the answer is: I do."]

Burnett: You don't have any concern about him being so adamant that he trusts a murderous dictator that he's met for five hours one time?!

Risch: Erin! You would have to be the most naive person on the face of the earth to think that the President of the United States is gonna walk in, meet with the guy for a bit, and walk out of there and say, "Well, I trust him—"

Burnett: Well, that's exactly what he did, Senator!!!

Risch: I'm telling you, he understands verification. We are gonna have verification or we're not gonna have a deal. [edit] I know you people are trying to put a rough spin on this, a negative spin on this, but this is an entirely different situation than what we had 120 days ago. Give him a break! At least give him some credit for saying that they're no longer testing—

Burnett: I would have to say, Senator, I don't think we're putting a rough spin. I think we're saying the President of the United States came out of a meeting and said "I trust a guy" with the record he has. That is exactly what happened. That's not spin. That's a fact. [crosstalk] So what I'm asking you is: Why are those facts the way they are? Is it okay that he did that?! Do you support that he did that?! Because I'm not putting a spin on it. I'm just playing for you what he did.

Risch: Yeah. Well, you will recall that in the past leaders have said, "Well, we're gonna trust, but we're gonna verify." And I can tell you, that is exactly where the President of the United States is today.
LOL except no he's not though.

In related news...

Kate Riga at TPM: Trump Salutes North Korean General, Breaks with American Precedent. "As circulated by North Korean state media, footage shows [Donald] Trump saluting a top North Korean military official, a stunning display of respect from the American President to a hostile and oppressive regime."

Barbara Starr, Pamela Brown, and Ryan Browne at CNN: Trump Administration Expected to Suspend August U.S.-South Korea Drill as Pentagon Scrambles.
The Trump administration is expected to announce the formal suspension of planning for major August multilateral military drills on the Korean Peninsula as soon as Thursday, according to several administration officials with knowledge of White House, State Department and Defense Department planning on how to carry out [Donald] Trump's decision announced at the Singapore summit.

Detailed Pentagon guidance is expected this week on carrying out Trump's decision to suspend so-called "war games" with South Korea. The Pentagon's post-Singapore involvement in this issue is raising questions about whether the President sought military advice ahead of making his decision.

As the dust settles from the historic summit, some details about how Trump got the idea to offer a suspension of military exercises to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are becoming clearer.

A source familiar with the matter pushed back on the idea that Trump got the idea to halt joint exercises from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The source said that, if anything, it's something that came from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has been very vocal about it and has had direct conversations with Trump about the matter. The term "war games" was also a term coined by China and North Korea.
Oh good. So Donald Trump is a puppet of two hostile regimes. Cool.

Speaking of which... Alberto Nardelli and Julia Ioffe at BuzzFeed: Trump Told World Leaders Crimea Is Russian Because Everyone There Speaks Russian. "Donald Trump told G7 leaders that Crimea is Russian because everyone who lives there speaks Russian, according to two diplomatic sources. Trump made the remarks over dinner last Friday during a discussion on foreign affairs at the G7 summit in Quebec, Canada, one of the diplomats told BuzzFeed News. ...During the dinner, Trump also seemed to question why the G7 leaders were siding with Ukraine. The president told leaders that 'Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world,' the source said." JFC. This is the U.S. President straight-up being a Kremlin mouthpiece. He was full-tilt spewing Russian propaganda at the G7.

* * *

David A. Fahrenthold at the Washington Post: New York Files Suit Against Donald Trump, Alleging His Charity Engaged in 'Illegal Conduct'. "The New York attorney general on Thursday filed suit against [Donald] Trump and his three eldest children alleging 'persistently illegal conduct' at the president's personal charity, saying Trump repeatedly misused the nonprofit — to pay off his businesses' creditors, to decorate one of his golf clubs, and to stage a multimillion dollar giveaway at his 2016 campaign events. In the suit, filed Thursday morning, attorney general Barbara Underwood asked a state judge to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation. She asked that its remaining $1 million in assets be distributed to other charities and that Trump be forced to pay at least $2.8 million in restitution and penalties. Underwood also asks that Trump be banned from leading any other New York nonprofit for 10 years." Welp.

Well, Sarah, I'm guessing that CBS assumed you just would have lied, which is why they didn't bother asking you.

[Content Note: Nativism] Elham Khatami at ThinkProgress: Baltimore to Lose Dozens of Skilled Immigrant Teachers, Thanks to Trump's Crackdown on H-1B Visas. "Nearly 25 Baltimore public school teachers will see their visas expire at the end of June, when they will be forced to return to the Philippines and Jamaica, where they're from, compounding Baltimore's already severe teacher shortage. According to the Baltimore Sun, the teachers came to the United States in the mid-2000s on H-1B visas, which allow employers to hire skilled foreign workers in a range of fields like technology, research, and education. Baltimore City Public Schools hired the teachers to fill positions in the math, science, and special education fields."

[CN: Harassment; threats; doxxing] Jason Wilson at the Guardian: Doxxing, Assault, Death Threats: The New Dangers Facing U.S. Journalists Covering Extremism. "As Kenoyer's experience suggests, the vitriol and threats from the far right are disproportionately targeted at women, and anyone else whose identity departs from the alt-right's ideal type — white men. Ellerbeck, the CPJ coordinator, says that gender identity, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are all factors that affect a reporter's 'risk profile' for attacks." Yes. Also: This is not a "new danger." It's an old danger that journalists and advocate writers have been facing for decades from multiple right-wing factions, especially radical extremist anti-choicers.

* * *

[CN: Corruption; human rights abuses] Lindsay Gibbs at ThinkProgress: Your Complete Guide to Corruption at the 2018 Men's World Cup in Russia. "FIFA awarded Russia the 2018 World Cup back in 2010. Since then, Russia has interfered with foreign elections, propped up a murderous regime in Syria, invaded Ukraine, gotten kicked out of the G8 for invading Ukraine, poisoned its enemies, and been sanctioned for facilitating the one of the biggest state-sponsored doping scandals in the history of sports at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. And yet, here we are. ...[A]ccording to Human Rights Watch, we are currently in the middle of the 'worst human rights crisis in Russia since the Soviet era.' And FIFA has done next to nothing about it."

Nico Hines and Adam Rawnsley at the Daily Beast: Sanctioned Russians Are Making a Killing from the World Cup. "The World Cup — with its international TV audience of billions — is being hosted in Russia for the first time, and bringing with it a multimillion-dollar orgy of sponsorship, tourism, global advertising, and massive construction projects. Despite their supposed exile from the global economy, companies and oligarchs targeted by the U.S. Treasury were among those securing some of the best contracts linked to the showpiece finals. ...The Daily Beast asked six of the World Cup sponsors, including Coca-Cola and Visa, about the tournament's links to sanctioned entities, but none of them chose to reply. ...It seems a tougher sanctions regime could have forced global brands and bodies like FIFA to think twice about effectively endorsing the Kremlin and its backers. We now know, if it's purely a question of moral judgment, it's a challenge too far."

[CN: Homophobic violence] Josh Jackman at Pink News: Gay World Cup Fan Left with Brain Injuries After Brutal Attack. "There have long been fears of violence against LGBT people travelling to the country for the tournament — which starts on June 14 — with the Government directing fans to advice telling them to hide their sexuality in public. LGBT activist group Pride in Football also revealed that it had been sent death threats saying that any gay fans going to the World Cup would be hunted down and stabbed. And it appears that these fears have been realised, with reports indicating that a gay couple — who had travelled to Russia to cheer on France — have been beaten in St Petersburg."

Fuck FIFA. These men's blood is on their hands, too.

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

Open Wide...

Trump Heaps Praise on Kim: "We Understand Each Other"

During an interview with Fox News' Bret Baier, Donald Trump waxed romantic about his new bestie, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. When Baier noted that Kim is "clearly executing people," Trump responded with just an extraordinary litany of praise.

Baier: He's clearly executing people!

Trump: He's a tough guy. Hey, when you take over a country, tough country, tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don't care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have, if you can do that at 27 years old, I mean, that's 1 in 10,000 that could do that. So he's a very smart guy. He's a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.
Like every day, there is a lot of important news today. This quote will not, for example, get as much attention as the Inspector General's report on James Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails — which is certainly important, but let me note that the lasting impact, if any, of the IG report may be entirely contingent on how much Donald Trump is inclined to behave like a dictator and is empowered by his indecent party to behave like one.

So here he is, responding to a reporter exclaiming with some alarm that the dictator he is praising is a vile executioner, not condemning that dictator and his wanton atrocities, but effusively praising him.

That this is who Donald Trump is, that this is what he believes, is the most important news item of the day — specifically because there are people who don't believe or understand that this is who he is and what he believes, specifically because there are people, in his party and in the press, who actively work to conceal that this is who he is and what he believes.

Anyone who has paid attention to Trump, who has scrutinized his words and actions instead of treating him a clown, has known from Day One that this is who Trump really is. But the populace were widely encouraged to not take him seriously, to treat him like entertainment, to view him as stupid and unstrategic and ineffective, and to this very day are being served mendacious narratives about his supposed foolishness, as though he seized control of the world's preeminent superpower by accident.

This is the news. This cannot and should not and must not be dismissed out of hand with another that's just Trump being Trump! This is the sitting president of the United States of America talking about how tough and smart a murderous dictator is. Saying, "We understand each other."

I can contemplate nothing that more pointedly exposes how truly unmoored we have become than the fact that Trump saying he understands Kim in reply to the invocation of his penchant for execution isn't the headline today.

Open Wide...

The Press Promotes an Election Narrative with Little Evidence, But Serves to Conceal Possible Meddling

Screenshot from June 13 Morning Joe Sanford Loses Reelection Bid After Trump Hits Him in Tweet

Early yesterday morning, I turned on MSNBC to this chyron on Morning Joe: "Sanford Loses Re-Election Bid After Trump Hits Him in Tweet." Here is the tweet in question:

We are meant to believe that Trump swooped in nine hours after the polls opened, dropped a single critical tweet, and Sanford's challenger then won by a healthy 4-point margin. South Carolina mainstream media were certainly quick to promote that narrative. The Charleston Post and Courier framed Arrington's win as a "a monumental upset fueled by a Donald Trump tweet" and further opined that Sanford's defeat "carries national implications."

NBC News, CBS News, and CNN all framed Arrington's victory this way too. CNN claimed, "Support Trump and you have a better-than-average chance of winning in a Republican primary. Oppose him — even occasionally — and run the risk of losing for your apostasy."

Based on Arrington's win and that of white supremacist Virginia senate candidate Corey Stewart, the Washington Post declared, "Trump is the big winner in Tuesday's primaries," and added the strange observation that "It's overly simplistic to say that South Carolina GOP congressman Mark Sanford lost his primary Tuesday because of Trump. But Trump was definitely a factor in making Sanford the second House Republican in 2018 to lose a primary." So it's overly simplistic to credit Trump with Arrington's win, but they're going to do it anyway.

The Washington Post doubled down on this narrative two hours later in The Daily 202: "Mark Sanford's primary loss shows the peril of crossing Trump."

This unified theory of Arrington's win ignores other possible explanations, such as the strong performance of female candidates over the past year, and the trend favoring outsiders and newcomers.

Notice that Donald Trump himself was quick to adopt mainstream media framing. He took credit for Arrington's win, even claiming he bucked his advisors to seal the deal:

But I agree with Dan Lavoie, who tweeted of the Charleston Post and Courier article that it's "Pretty weird — and frankly irresponsible — to run a banner headline asserting facts not in evidence. Trump tweeted three hours before polls closed. Arrington won by 4 full points. It's virtually impossible Trump moved that many voters that late in the day."

This last-minute swoop followed by an upset reminds me of the time Paul Manafort encouraged Trump to go to Michigan on October 31st 2016, right before the presidential election. According to the conservative Weekly Standard, Trump then won Michigan by 0.2%, or roughly 10,700 votes (and he won Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by slim identical margins of 0.7% each).

There has been no audit of the 2016 vote in any state. We do not know if there was tampering with voter rolls, ballot counting, or vote totals. Meanwhile, California-based cybersecurity firm FireEye reports that "it is possible that [hackers] had the ability to modify or delete data" in 2016 and that "U.S. election systems are increasingly at risk for cyberattacks."

Furthermore, The State reported last month [H/T to Shaker Aphra_Behn] that "South Carolina will need a lot more money to secure its elections," adding:
"Securing voter data has been a major focus since the 2016 election, when South Carolina recorded 150,000 attempts to hack into its voter-registration system on Election Day alone. Those were among several attempts to penetrate voting systems reported ahead of the last national election."
So there is evidence that our election systems are not adequately secured.

Additionally, there is remarkably little evidence that Trump has suddenly become so popular that even mild criticism of him is a sure career-ender. He is roughly as popular with the Republican base as he was fifteen months ago, when Republican constituents were lecturing Chuck Grassley about death panels and getting up in Dave Brat's grill wherever he went. Quinnipiac had Trump at 91% approval with GOP voters back then (March 2017) and 82% now (May 10, 2018).

Furthermore, the Washington Post reports that "People who say they're most eager to vote strongly disapprove of Trump." And while Corey Stewart won in Virginia last night, Trump's endorsement didn't pull Ed Gillespie over the line in the governor's race last December, even with the interference of race-baiting bots.

Given Trump's relatively flat approval numbers and the vulnerabilities of our elections systems, we must recognize the possibility that local elections may be fudged and then Trump's intervention invoked as a last-minute game-changer to conceal said fudging.

This possibility is alarming for a host of reasons, not least of which is the Department of Homeland Security's conclusion that "convincing voters that their ballots are secure" is their top ongoing challenge. Why bother to vote if you don't trust that your vote will count?

The Morning Joe segment which opened this post provides one explanation of the puzzling narrative that Trump is too popular to criticize. Joe Scarborough says that "The primary voters in the Republican party have devolved into a Trumpist cult." But on his June 12th show, before any SC primary votes were cast, Scarborough was already setting up this narrative. He told the following anecdote about an unnamed GOP congressman (Morning Joe does not provide transcripts, but the relevant part is at 1:13:27 of the podcast):
I was talking to a Republican that I've known since I first came to Congress in 1994 and he said it was surreal, going around his district having people angry at him for talking about free trade, for talking about the need to balance budgets…and getting on him for suggesting that the president not lie about payoffs to porn stars. He said it is surreal: "People are coming up to me angry in my district because I'm saying the exact same things I've been saying for 25 years."
Scarborough blames primary voters, but his information comes from one old friend in the House, not voters at town halls nationwide.

And on Monday's Morning Joe, Heidi Pryzbyla talked to voters in Michigan who were primarily concerned with health care (1:09:05). An alternative thesis might be that Republican members of congress are afraid of the usual midterm losses for the party in power (or worse). So they preemptively blame their own constituents. I'm sure there are credible stories of cultish constituents, but cable and print news selectively amplify them in unison.

The press is powerful, and right now they run the risk of handing Trump perfect cover for ongoing election interference.

Open Wide...

Back |