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 sunshine.

Recommended Reading:

Jamil Smith at Rolling Stone: [Content Note: Environmental toxins and neglect; classism; racism] Awaiting the Lead-Poisoning Tipping Point

Monica Roberts at TransGriot: [CN: Trans hatred; carcerality] North Carolina Trans Inmate Denied Housing Transfer to a Female Prison

Brian Merchant at Gizmodo: PepsiCo Is 'Relentlessly Automating' Its Workforce and It's Even More Dystopian Than It Sounds

Maddie Stone at Earther: An Iceberg 30 Times the Size of Manhattan Is About to Break Off Antarctica

Late Night with Seth Meyers: [CN: Video autoplays at link] White Savior: The Movie Trailer

Dale Berning Sawa with Pixy Liao at the Guardian: [CN: Image may be NSFW] Pixy Liao's Best Photograph: Eating a Papaya Off My Boyfriend's Crotch

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

Open Wide...

Discussion Thread: How Are You?

I am feeling a little bit better every day, and yesterday was the first day in almost two weeks that I made it through the day without a nap and through the night without a coughing fit, so that's a big bit of progress, for which I am super grateful!

I remain as anxious about the state of the nation, and the world, as I ever have since the day after the 2016 election, which is to say extremely fucking anxious.

I continue to loathe the entire Trump Regime with the fiery power of ten thousand suns.

I am stressed out by some stuff in my personal life, over which I have very little control, but I'm navigating it all as best as I can.

I am grateful for my darling husband, for our home, for my friends, for all the times they make me laugh, and for Sophie, Dudley, and Zelda.

I am also, as always, glad for this community. Anyone who wants to join me in another enormous virtual group hug is welcome.

How are you?

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat asleep on a pillow on the couch, looking very small and adorable

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 764

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: Get Your $h!t Together, Republicans and House Democrats Introduce Resolution to Block Trump's National Emergency Declaration and Trump Regime to Start Prohibiting Work Permits for Immigrant Spouses. And ICYMI late yesterday: An Observation.

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

[Content Note: Terrorism; video may autoplay at second link] Donald Trump continues to maintain radio silence on Christopher Paul Hasson, the conservative white military man accused of planning a massive act of terrorism against the president's "enemies," despite the fact that Hasson made his first appearance in court today. Ali Rogin and James Levinson at ABC News report:
A man allegedly caught researching acts of domestic terrorism and amassing more than a dozen firearms will spend at least two weeks in federal custody, a Maryland federal judge decided today.

U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, 49, was arrested on charges of firearm and drug possession, but Judge Charles Day said that Hasson's internet search history, as well as previous letters and emails he had allegedly written, were enough to warrant him a danger to the community.

Speaking on behalf of the prosecution, Jennifer Sykes said that the gun and drug possession charges were "just the tip of the iceberg" in terms of the extent of Hasson's alleged crimes, indicating that they may attempt to charge him as a domestic terrorist allegedly planning to launch a major attack.

According to court documents filed Tuesday, Hasson was described as someone who had "espoused extremist views for years." In a draft email from June 2017 he allegedly wrote, "I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth. I think a plague would be most successful but how do I acquire the needed/ Spanish flu, botulism, anthrax not sure yet but will find something."

...The defendant also allegedly compiled a list of prominent Democratic lawmakers as well as journalists from CNN and MSNBC. Names on that list include presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, as well as MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and CNN's Van Jones.
As I noted yesterday, this didn't happen in a vacuum. Donald Trump has been waging a campaign of stochastic terrorism, rhetorically putting targets on the backs of his "enemies" and hoping that shamelessly violent wrecks among his cultists will do the rest.

And he is hardly alone in this endeavor. Just in the last day:

Staff at Media Matters: Frequent Fox News Guest Tells Laura Ingraham "We Are in a Civil War"; Suggests Everyone Buy Guns to Prepare for "Total War". "We are in a civil war in this country. There's two standards of justice — one for Democrats one for Republicans. The press is all Democrat, all liberal, all progressive, all left — they hate Republicans; they hate Trump. So the suggestion that there's ever going to be civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future in this country is over. It's not going to be. It's going to be total war. And as I say to my friends, I do two things: I vote and I buy guns."

Also on Fox News:

Conservatives, led by Trump, are amping up the violent and eliminationist rhetoric. And they are keeping silent on the men who take their words seriously enough to act on them. They're playing with fire, and they know it. Indeed, that is the entire point.

* * *

Sabrina Siddiqui at the Guardian: 'Even Nixon Wasn't Like Him': Trump's Bid to Upend Russia Inquiry Unprecedented, Experts Say. "From high-level firings to public misstatements, Trump's repeated steps to undermine the investigations that have clouded his two years in office paint a picture of a president who is his own worst enemy, legal experts say. 'It is quite clear from all the evidence that the president has had the intent to obstruct this investigation,' said Andy Wright, a former associate counsel to Barack Obama and the founding editor of the legal blog Just Security. 'It's been in plain sight. ...It's a fundamental abuse of power for the president to be trying to shut down an investigation in which he has a personal stake — both as a potential target himself and his political allies and family members,' he added."

[CN: Threats] Joshua Eaton at ThinkProgress: Judge Lights into Roger Stone over Threatening Instagram Post, Issues New Gag Order. "The federal judge overseeing former Trump campaign aide Roger Stone's criminal trial barred him on Thursday from speaking publicly about the case or anyone involved with it, just days after he posted a photo on Instagram that appeared to show her next to rifle crosshairs. His previous gag order only prevented him from speaking to press in or around the courthouse, but didn't prevent him from making media appearances." JFC.

William K. Rashbaum at the New York Times: New York Prosecutors Expected to Charge Manafort, Guarding Against Trump Pardon. "The Manhattan district attorney's office is preparing state criminal charges against Paul J. Manafort, [Donald] Trump's former campaign chairman, in an effort to ensure he will still face prison time even if the president pardons him for his federal crimes, according to several people with knowledge of the matter. ...The president has broad power to issue pardons for federal crimes, but no such authority in state cases."

* * *

[CN: Sex crimes; possible sex abuse] Staff at the Daily Beast: New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Charged in Prostitution Sting. "Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, has been charged in a human trafficking and prostitution investigation. ...He is a close friend of [Donald] Trump, and frequent visitor to Trump's Florida estate Mar a Lago." Which is just down the road from the place where Kraft was allegedly videotaped "in a sex act at one of the spas." News is still breaking in this story, and it's not entirely clear as of this writing whether the sex workers were all trafficked young women, but there is a possibility they were, which would make this story far worse than a straightforward consensual sex act with a professional sex worker.

[CN: Sexual assault; rape culture]

* * *

Eliana Johnson at Politico: Trump Aides Worry He'll Get Outfoxed in North Korea Talks. "Donald Trump is eagerly anticipating his second summit with Kim Jong Un, touting his 'really meaningful' relationship with the North Korean strongman and insisting he's ready to give up his nuclear arsenal. In Washington, he's pretty much the only one who feels that way. Many, including several of the president's top advisers, are less excited. Some have expressed trepidation not only that the summit, scheduled to take place next week in Hanoi, may not yield big results. They worry, too, that Trump, eager to declare victory on the world stage, could make big concessions in exchange for empty promises of denuclearization." That's exactly what's going to happen, because that's the entire directive for the puppet whose master wants to destabilize the region.


Come on, Biden.

And finally... To be honest, I don't entirely understand this story (and the State Department is working very hard to ensure that none of us do), but it seems very troubling to me. Jacqueline Charles, David Ovalle, and Jay Weaver at the Miami Herald: Americans Arrested in Haiti with Arsenal of Guns Won't Face U.S. Charges.
The five heavily armed Americans arrested in Haiti earlier this week are back on their home soil and won't be facing any criminal charges in the United States — a decision already causing outrage among some Haitian leaders.

Federal sources told the Miami Herald that the men will not be charged criminally, but are being debriefed. They told U.S. authorities they were on the island providing private security for a "businessman" doing work with the Haitian government.

The five American citizens, who returned on a commercial flight to Miami on Wednesday night and were met by U.S. law enforcement, did not have any scheduled appearances in Miami federal court.

The U.S. Attorney's Office referred calls to the State Department, which said only: "The return of the individuals to the U.S. was coordinated with the Haitian authorities."

What promises the U.S. government made to secure the release of the men remain murky.

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

Open Wide...

Trump Regime to Start Prohibiting Work Permits for Immigrant Spouses

[Content Note: Nativism; misogyny.]

Nearly two years ago, in April of 2017, I noted that the Trump Regime was threatening, as part of its expansive war on immigrants, to stop issuing work permits to the spouses of immigrants on H-1B visas. Now, they're following through on that threat.

Previously, if someone was a skilled worker who was living and working in the U.S. on an H-1B visa, their spouse could also apply to work under a work authorization known as an H-4. In simple terms, it was a way of very reasonably accommodating the needs of spouses of people in the U.S. on work visas, so that spouses didn't have to be entirely financially dependent and have a big gap in their resumes while they lived in the U.S.

But the nativists in the Trump Regime didn't like this arrangement, in no small part because it encouraged immigrant families to come to the U.S. on H-1B visas, so they made the incredibly shitty decision to move ahead with their plan to stop the H-4 program.

Tal Kopan at the San Francisco Chronicle reports:

After nearly two years of delays, the Trump administration is moving ahead with its plan to stop granting work permits to the spouses of many high-skilled visa holders, an effort that could jeopardize tens of thousands of immigrant families in California alone.

Rolling back the permits could have sweeping consequences for the Bay Area, where tech companies heavily rely on high-skilled immigrants. Many of those workers come to the U.S. with spouses and children, and the loss of the spousal work permits could imperil families' ability to stay in the country or deter workers from accepting jobs here to begin with.

...The proposed regulation was officially sent to the White House for review on Wednesday, a government database shows. That procedural step means that the Department of Homeland Security has completed its work on the policy. The White House will now put the regulation through review with other agencies, a process that can take anywhere from days to months, depending on the regulation's complexity.

...More than 93 percent of those affected by the potential removal of the work permit are women, which especially concerns advocates.

"It undermines the agency and dignity of these spouses and it harms their career prospects; it leaves them less empowered to leave abusive situations," said Amanda Baran, an attorney and advocate with the San Francisco-based Immigrant Legal Resource Center and a veteran of the Department of Homeland Security.

"I feel like it's just another part of Trump's larger agenda, which is to expel immigrants, prevent them from coming in, and make life uncomfortable for them here and compel them to leave," she said.
Correct. Because malice is the agenda.

At a certain point, this rule change will be subject to public comment, at which time, we'll need to make our voices head in resistance to this gross act of nativism and misogyny.

Open Wide...

House Democrats Introduce Resolution to Block Trump's National Emergency Declaration

Here we go:

House Democrats on Friday introduced a resolution to block the national emergency declaration that [Donald] Trump issued to fund his long-sought wall along the U.S-Mexico border.

The move sets up a fight that could result in Trump's first veto. It starts the clock on a constitutional clash between Trump and Democrats and sets up a vote by the full House as soon as next week.

The Democratic-controlled House is sure to pass the measure, and the GOP-run Senate may adopt it as well despite Trump's opposition.

Any Trump veto would likely be sustained, but the upcoming battle will test Republican support for Trump's move, which even some of his allies view as a stretch — and a slap at lawmakers' control over the power of the federal purse.

...House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has promised that her chamber will "move swiftly" to pass the measure, predicting in a letter to colleagues that "the resolution will be referred to the Senate and then sent to the President's desk."

...Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, is the resolution's sponsor and has already garnered support from a majority of the Democratic-controlled House as co-sponsors.

Castro's measure says Trump's emergency declaration "is hereby terminated."
It is very unlikely there's a 2/3 majority who will agree to override Trump's inevitable veto, even if the resolution passes both the House and Senate, but, like Rep. Adam Schiff's letter, there are some fights worth fighting even if you're going to lose the battle.

This falls squarely into that category.

And I am deeply grateful to the Democrats for leading the fight against this emergency declaration, because, as I wrote yesterday, it's not just about the wall. It's about the expansion of authoritarian powers and the further erosion of our democracy.

It has never been, not really, about building a wall, but about building the foundations of autocratic rule.

And even if it were just about the wall, it would be worth fighting on that basis, too.

Open Wide...

Get Your $h!t Together, Republicans

Rep. Adam Schiff has written an open letter in the Washington Post to his Republican colleagues, asking them to start acting with bravery and integrity.

They will never do it. As I've previously observed, if Congressional Republicans ever turn on Donald Trump, it will only be because they're ready to usher in Mike Pence, who will continue to deliver all the malice they love without the vulgarity they pretend to abhor.

But it was worth the effort all the same, because we must expect more, even and especially of people from whom we are certain we won't get it.

If for no other reason, give it a read to feel good about the decency of elected officials we've got fighting our side, who aren't giving up or giving in.

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 Shaker embees: "If you could go back in time and observe only (i.e. can't change anything), what mystery would you like to find the answer to? (This could be anything from 'what happened at Roanoke' to 'who actually cut a piece out of the pie Mom was saving for company' LOL.)"

Ooh, I love this question! The first thing that comes to mind is that I'd travel back to watch Stonehenge being built, to see exactly how it was done and by whom!

Open Wide...

World of Shakescraft

image of colorful yarn
[Via Shirsty Cat Designs. You can buy their beautiful yarn here.]

As you know, I am not a crafty person. I am terrible at crafts! And I'm only slightly better with DIY home projects, with the occasional modest success.

But lots of Shakers are very talented crafters and DIY-ers, and I am happy to read about all of your terrific projects! So here is a thread to talk about your current crafting and/or DIY project(s), completed projects, or future projects; to share ideas; to brag about your successes or lament your setbacks; and to solicit advice from fellow creators!

(As always, make sure you don't offer advice unless it's solicited.)

Have at it in comments!

Open Wide...

An Observation

It's really easy to make promises you can't possibly keep and then claim that you're "left" of everyone who won't make the same unfulfillable promises.

Relatedly: I'm ceaselessly aggravated by people who pretend that "this policy proposal isn't currently possible in the existing political environment" and "Democrats are corporatist centrists who refuse to give you free stuff you deserve out of spite" are the same goddamned thing. They are not.

Open Wide...

Fat Fashion

This is your semi-regular thread in which fat women can share pix, make recommendations for clothes they love, ask questions of other fat women about where to locate certain plus-size items, share info about sales, talk about what jeans cut at what retailer best fits their body shapes, discuss how to accessorize neutral colored suits, share stories of going bare-armed for the first time, brag about a cool fashion moment, whatever.

* * *

As y'all know, I like to do bold color-matching, and this is one of my favorite recent combinations: A pale sage green cami (from Torrid) with a burgundy cardigan (from Old Navy).

image of me from high chest up, standing in my entryway smiling, with my hair down and wearing grey-framed glasses, a gold beetle necklace, a pale sage green cami, and a burgundy cardigan

(The beetle necklace came from ModCloth.)

This combo isn't super out there, but it's slightly unexpected. It's a good place to start, if you're moving into some bolder color looks. And it's easy to pair with blue jeans, black slacks, grey trousers, a neutral skirt and tights, etc.

It's also a good way to get some spring into your wardrobe in the middle of winter.

Anyway! What's up with you?

Have at it in comments! Please remember to make fat women of all sizes, especially women who find themselves regularly sizing out of standard plus-size lines, welcome in this conversation, and pass no judgment on fat women who want to and/or feel obliged, for any reason, to conform to beauty standards. And please make sure if you're soliciting advice, you make it clear you're seeking suggestions—and please be considerate not to offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes people just need to complain and want solidarity, not solutions.

[Note: I am not receiving anything in return for my recommendations here, nor am I affiliated in any way with any of the companies mentioned herein. Any endorsements made are on products I purchased myself, just because I like them!]

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of the dogs standing at the back door in the snow, waiting to come inside
It snowed yesterday. Dudley was extra hilarious about it.

image of Dudley the Greyhound peering in through the glass with his ears up in a very silly fashion
I mean.

For the record, I was sitting just inside the door and this is how he walked up to it. It wasn't like he'd been waiting endlessly — or even a few seconds, lol. He came up looking pathetic with his "CAN ANYONE EVEN HEAR ME IN THERE?!" ears. Just a moment earlier, he'd been racing around the yard like a bat outta hell. But when he's done, he's done.

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 763

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: Mueller Reportedly Close to Completing His Investigation and U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Arrested After Planning Mass Violence.

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

Let us start once again with some good resistance news:

Note: The reason it wasn't sooner is because the House was in recess last week.

Here is where I express once more how deeply fucking glad I am that Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House again. THANK YOU, MADAM SPEAKER.

* * *

Nina dos Santos at CNN: Senate Investigators Pursue Moscow-Based Former Trump Associate.
Senate investigators want to question a Moscow-based American businessman with longstanding ties to [Donald] Trump after witnesses told them he could shed light on the President's commercial and personal activities in Russia dating back to the 1990s, multiple sources have told CNN.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 elections, has been keen to speak with David Geovanis for several months, the sources say.

Geovanis helped organize a 1996 trip to Moscow by Trump, who was in the early stages of pursuing what would become a long-held goal of building a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, according to multiple media reports at the time.

Years later, Geovanis worked for the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, whose ties to Trump's 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort have also been of interest to investigators.
Asawin Suebsaeng at the Daily Beast: Trump White House Is Forcing Interns to Sign NDAs and Threatening Them with Financial Ruin. "Upon orientation, the interns signed their very own non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), with the envoy of the counsel's office warning them that a breach of the NDA — blabbing to the media, for instance — could result in legal, and thus financial, consequences for them. Interns were also told that they would not receive their own copies, these sources said. This was all a standard facet of the Trump intern orientation process, billed as an 'ethics training' — underscored by implicit legal threats from [Donald] Trump's in-house lawyers."

Brianna Sacks and Hamed Aleaziz at BuzzFeed: Trump Said He Ordered His Administration to Withhold Wildfire Aid to California; FEMA Says He Never Did. "Although [Donald] Trump tweeted that he had ordered his administration to cut off disaster aid to wildfire victims in California, federal officials confirmed on Wednesday that they never received any such directive. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which helps survivors of national disasters recover, told BuzzFeed News for the first time that Trump never issued an order to stop sending money to California. 'We never got any such directive,' Brandi Richard, a FEMA spokesperson, told BuzzFeed News. 'That's evidenced by the fact that work is still being done and we continue to support wildfire survivors across the state.'"

Tom McKay at Earther: Trump Wants Guy Who Compared Climate Science to the Holocaust to Head Climate Panel. "Donald Trump's administration is assembling a panel to determine whether climate change — which scientific experts broadly agree poses an existential threat to the safety and well-being of the world's population and is caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases — is really a threat to national security. ...According to the Post, a draft executive order on the proposed Presidential Committee on Climate Security says that it will be headed National Security Council senior director and physics professor William Happer, who thinks rising levels of atmospheric CO2 will be good for humans."

[Content Note: Nativism] Daniella Silva at NBC News: Migrant Families Still Being Separated at the Border, Report from Texas Group Says.
Migrant families are still being separated by the Trump administration, sometimes over "uncorroborated allegations" of crimes, according to a report published Thursday by a Texas civil rights group.

"Family separations are still very much happening in the southern border, they're still being torn apart by the U.S. government," Efrén Olivares, director of racial and economic justice at the Texas Civil Rights Project, told NBC News.

While the separations were not happening at the same scale as when the Trump administration announced the "zero tolerance" policy last spring, some occurred under troubling circumstances, Olivares said. The report, which looked at cases between June 22 through Dec. 17 in McAllen, Texas, comes roughly eight months since the government formally ended the policy.

The report said it found 38 cases of parents and legal guardians separated from their children.

One of those cases involved Mr. Perez-Domingo, an indigenous migrant father from Guatemala whose primary language is Mam, according to the report. Perez-Domingo was separated from his 2-year-old daughter in July after being accused by Customs and Border Protection of not being the girl's biological father and providing a fraudulent birth certificate, according to the report. He was not given an interpreter during his interview.

The civil rights group said it investigated the incident and discovered the birth certificate was authentic and a DNA test determined Perez-Domingo was the child's father. They were reunited in August.

"The lack of assistance of translators, in combination with aggressive questioning by the CBP agent, resulted in severe discrimination and traumatic consequences for this indigenous family," the report says, adding, had the group "not interviewed this father early in the process, it is highly likely that Mr. Perez-Domingo would have been deported without his daughter, and his child unlawfully orphaned in the United States."
[CN: Nativism; worker intimidation] Shani Saxon at Colorlines: Immigrant Teachers in Denver Threatened with Deportation for Striking. "As the wave of teacher strikes continues across the United States, immigrant educators in Denver, Colorado, have been uniquely targeted. According to the Guardian, public school officials sent letters in January warning them that they could possibly lose their visas if they decided to join the picket line. ...Lily Eskelsen García, the first Latina president of the National Education Association, spoke to the Guardian about the culture of intimidation immigrant educators endure on a regular basis. 'Things like that happen all the time,' García says. 'And it's reprehensible. That's not good faith bargaining — that is an intimidation tactic.'"

[CN: Nativism] Tina Vasquez at Rewire.News: No End in Sight for 'Retaliatory Immigration Raids' in North Carolina. "In the span of nine days, North Carolina has seen a barrage of immigration enforcement, reportedly in response to new sheriffs' 'lack of cooperation' with the U.S. government. The ramped-up enforcement appeared to begin with a workplace raid in Sanford on February 5, and continued Wednesday in the small town of Hendersonville, where advocates say federal immigration authorities posed as day laborers to detain undocumented immigrants. ...Advocates in North Carolina told Rewire.News they believe ICE may be using new tactics to detain and deport migrants, as immigrant communities are increasingly utilizing social media to alert others of ICE enforcement operations, sightings, and checkpoints in their area."

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

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'm currently rereading The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan. If you've never read it, oh I hope that you will!

What are you reading now?

Open Wide...

U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Arrested After Planning Mass Violence

[Content Note: Threats of mass violence; white supremacy; misogyny; stochastic terrorism.]

In yet another chilling reminder that the most urgent terrorist threat in this country is conservative white men with seething resentments and personal arsenals, U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Paul Hasson, a 49-year-old self-proclaimed white nationalist with a massive stockpile of weapons and ammunition, was arrested by federal investigators after planning a large-scale terrorist attack targeting Democratic politicians and journalists.

Lynh Bui at the Washington Post reports:

Christopher Paul Hasson called for "focused violence" to "establish a white homeland" and said, "I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth," according to court records filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland.

Though court documents do not detail a specific planned date for an attack, the government said he had been amassing supplies and weapons since at least 2017, developed a spreadsheet of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and searched the Internet using phrases such as "best place in dc to see congress people" and "are supreme court justices protected."

"The defendant intends to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country," the government said in court documents filed this week, arguing that Hasson should stay in jail awaiting trial.

...Hasson was arrested Friday on ­charges of illegally possessing weapons and drugs, but the government said those charges are the "proverbial tip of the iceberg." Officials with the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland outlined Hasson's alleged plans to spark chaos and destruction, describing in court documents a man obsessed with neo-fascist and neo-Nazi views.

"Please send me your violence that I may unleash it onto their heads," Hasson wrote in a letter that prosecutors said was found in his email drafts. "Guide my hate to make a lasting impression on this world."
Naturally, because white supremacy and toxic masculinity go together like rancid chocolate and poisoned peanut butter, Hasson was also a fan of violent misogynist Anders Behring Breivik: "Hasson had been studying the 1,500-page manifesto of right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who unleashed two attacks in 2011 that killed 77 people in Norway, and echoed Breivik's attack preparations."

Hasson is responsible for his own vile views and his violent urges to act on them.

But this didn't happen in a vacuum.

Since the day he announced his candidacy for president, Donald Trump has been waging a campaign of stochastic terrorism, rhetorically putting targets on the backs of his "enemies" and hoping that shamelessly violent wrecks among his cultists will do the rest.

And here is a man who decided to go on a mass killing spree, aimed at some of Trump's most frequently-invoked targets: Marginalized people, Democrats, and members of the press.

As I have said many, many, many times before: Trump did not invent white supremacy, but he sure as fuck is doing everything he can to empower it. And that has consequences.

No one knows that more keenly than Trump.

Open Wide...

Mueller Reportedly Close to Completing His Investigation

Late yesterday, there were reports that Special Counsel Bob Mueller is close to wrapping up his investigation. (See, for example, CNN's "Justice Department Preparing for Mueller Report as Early as Next Week.") Now, if you're smart — and I know you are — you're probably thinking: I've heard that before. And yes, we surely have.

There are two big differences this time — which don't mean that the report is necessarily true, but make it much more likely to be true than previous reports.

1. Bill Barr is now Attorney General. Donald Trump has succeeded in removing Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from oversight of the Special Counsel's investigation, and now has in place an Attorney General who testified during his confirmation that he would not make Mueller's report public, but would write his own report instead. And who once said that the Special Counsel's investigation "is based on a 'fatally misconceived' theory that would cause lasting damage to the presidency and the executive branch."

So, it is quite possible that Barr is shutting Mueller down, rather than Mueller wrapping up of his own accord. And it is definite that Barr is prepared to conceal the extent of Mueller's findings, both from the public and from Congress (who are only granted access to the report at the AG's discretion).

This is what Trump has wanted all along, and it looks like he's finally going to get it.

2. Trump has successfully declared a national emergency. As Sarah Kendzior noted on the most recent episode of the podcast Gaslit Nation, "The national emergency gives Trump the ability to use an internet kill switch, to shut down citizens' bank accounts, to deploy troops to attack protesters. There's no end to the national emergency because it's tied to his fantasy wall."

In other words: Trump has achieved the means to swiftly and effectively quash any mass protests that might happen in response to Mueller's investigation being shut down.

As Nadine van der Velde observed on Twitter last week: "It's a mistake for people to think in terms of norms. There are NO norms under despots. Also a mistake for people to think that the wall is THE reason for declaring an emergency. It's the excuse to grab power, money & impose broad restrictions on people. It is only the beginning."

Correct. As I have written many times now: It's not just about the wall. It's about the expansion of authoritarian powers and the further erosion of our democracy.

It has never been, not really, about building a wall, but about building the foundations of autocratic rule.

Trump has absolute contempt for the rule of law (as it applies to him and his family), and he's going to use the expanded powers he's gotten under the auspices of building a monument to nativist white supremacy at the southern border to clamp down on dissent as he obstructs and undermines the rule of law to avoid accountability for his own criminality.

Some folks are speculating that Mueller is passing off the work products of his extensive probe to other investigative bodies, e.g. the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York (aka SDNY). Surely Mueller was not unaware that this could be a possibility, so it makes sense he might have designed a contingency plan.

However, Trump is clearly aware of that potentiality, too: Last year, he tried to intervene to put Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. Attorney for SDNY and a close ally, in charge of the SDNY's investigation, even though Berman had been obliged to recuse himself from the investigation.

Which means that even if Mueller successfully hands off the threads of his expansive investigation, there's no guarantee that Trump, with Barr's help, won't eventually find a way to thwart them, too.

What we're going to need, urgently, is a patriotic whistleblower, someone who is willing to leak or publicly testify just because it's the right thing to do, not because they've got books to sell two years from now.

Unfortunately, those folks seem to be in short supply.

No surprise, considering the cavernous lack of ethics it requires to work for Donald Trump in the first place.

In any case, it's vanishingly unlikely that "Mueller is going to save us." It always was. Which is why I've been stridently advising caution since Day One, despite the pushback (and abuse) I've gotten. I still hope I'm wrong. I still hope, desperately, that we see that report and that it matters.

But Trump is going to do everything in his (unchecked) power to make sure that it doesn't.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

image of a yellow couch

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

Open Wide...

Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker bekitty: "Is there a dawn chorus where you live? What does it sound like, and what makes it? Birds? Small children? Traffic? Dogs and cats? Other animals? ('I am never awake at dawn' is a perfectly cromulent answer.)"

Birds. And, one day a week, the sounds of bins being dragged to the curb by neighbors who forgot to put them out the night before.

Open Wide...

Back |