Putin Openly Threatens U.S.; Trump Is Silent

Ann M. Simmons at the Wall Street Journal: Putin Ratchets Up Nuclear Warning Against U.S.

President Vladimir Putin warned Russia would aim new advanced weapons against the U.S. should it deploy intermediate-range missiles in Europe, raising the stakes after the breakdown of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty.

Mr. Putin said Russia wasn't seeking confrontation with the U.S. and wouldn't make the first move to deploy the missiles. But if Washington has such plans once it abandons the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty this "will be a serious threat to us."
This is theater, as the withdrawal from the INF treaty was specifically to justify rebuilding Russia's nuclear arsenal. It's also gravely serious, because once Donald Trump is of no further use to Putin, those weapons will still be armed and pointed at the U.S.

This seems like something that might be worthy of a few tweets from Trump, who, after all, can easily go on multi-hour rants about satirical weekend comedy shows.

But only if he weren't a puppet.

Which he is.

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Open Thread

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Diverkat: "What's something funny that you saw/heard recently or that happened to/near/around you?"

The other day, Deeky texted me something excessively hilarious and inappropriate even by his own amazing standards, which made me laugh SO HARD that it naturally sent me into a horrendous coughing fit. When I texted him that information, he replied, "Sorry, Lungy!" which sent me into a whole other round of laugh-coughing.

LUNGY!

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What I'm Watching

This is a thread to share all the good things you're watching at the moment, or have recently watched. Serialized shows on broadcast or streaming; films; digital shorts; stand-up; documentaries; performances — whatever! Tell us what you're watching and enjoying these days.

For the first few days of being ill, I was mostly sleeping. Like, all day and all night. Then I was mostly not sleeping at all, for days, because I couldn't stop coughing. Now, I can get some sleep in fits and starts, at least. But mostly, it's just a lot of lying around, trying to breathe. So I've had a lot of time to fill!

Between the lack of sleep and the meds I'm taking, my brain has been in a fog so thick I can barely follow a conversation, no less a book, which has meant a whole lot of TV.

And my new favorite show is the Netflix remake of One Day at a Time. OMG I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

image of the primary cast of One Day at a Time on the dance floor at Elena's quinceanera
Oh my heart.

This is the way remakes should be done: The show essentially hews to the heart of the original (I show I adored as a kid), but updates it with a cast who reflect and visibilize a different demographic, creating a real reason for the remake beyond profit.

The writers on the show are amazing, and have imbued the classic half-hour family sitcom structure — there's a problem, but nothing that can't be fixed without enough love and communication! — with a fresh approach that incisively tackles big, modern problems with complexity and sensitivity. It doesn't just show you the family you wish you had; it shows you the family that every family could be, with a little effort.

I've made it through the first two seasons so far, and virtually every dang episode makes me laugh out loud and makes me cry.

The entire cast is terrific, but I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to specifically scream: RITA MORENO IS A NATIONAL TREASURE!!! Maude, how I love her.

image of Rita Moreno as Lydia on One Day at a Time, clutching an orange umbrella to her cheek
Abuelita.

Anyway! What are you watching these days?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat, lying in my bed on her side, looking at me
My constant companion.

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

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We Resist: Day 761

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: Bernie Sanders Is Running and 16 States to Sue Trump for Invoking Emergency to Get Wall Funding.

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


Ken Dilanian at NBC News: Flynn-Backed Plan to Transfer Nuclear Tech to Saudis May Have Broken Laws, Say Whistleblowers. "Whistleblowers from within [Donald] Trump's National Security Council have told a congressional committee that efforts by former national security adviser Michael Flynn to transfer sensitive nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia may have violated the law, and investigators fear Trump is still considering it, according to a new report obtained by NBC News. The House Oversight Committee has formally opened an investigation into the matter, releasing an interim staff report that adds new details to previous public accounts of how Flynn sought to push through the nuclear proposal on behalf of a group he had once advised." JFC.

Laura Jarrett at CNN: Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein Expected to Leave Justice Department in Mid-March. "Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department in mid-March, according to a Justice Department official who spoke to CNN Monday. The No. 2 official at the department has become one of the highest profile figures in the Trump administration given his oversight of the Russia investigation and the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller in 2017. CNN had previously reported that Rosenstein was planning to step down after Bill Barr was confirmed as attorney general, but the precise timing was fluid. A departure next month could potentially serve as another signal that Mueller's work is coming to a close." Okay.

Natasha Bertrand at the Atlantic: Andrew McCabe Couldn't Believe the Things Trump Said About Putin. "Bertrand: Do you think we'll ever hear from Mueller? Do you think he'll come out and explain his findings once all this is over? McCabe: He'll explain his findings in the report, and then if he's called upon to testify about it, he'll certainly do that. But he is always the guy who will say less than more. He'll seek less attention than more attention. He is perfectly happy to do his job and to do it fully and completely. And then, when it's all said and done, he'll lock the door behind him and go home." Cool.


In case I haven't already said it ten million times, I'm really over these dudes who hold their tongues about Trump until they have books to sell.

[Content Note: Threats; stochastic terrorism] Ryan Mac and Zoe Tillman at BuzzFeed: Roger Stone Posted a Photo of the Judge Presiding over His Case Next to Crosshairs. "Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative and adviser to [Donald] Trump who was charged with lying to Congress, posted a photo Monday on Instagram of a judge presiding over his case in which she appears to be next to a crosshairs symbol. The post comes days after the judge, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, rejected Stone's effort to get his case reassigned to a new judge. Jackson also previously ruled that Stone couldn't talk to news outlets in front of her courthouse."

The judge was not amused. Andy Towle at Towleroad: Judge Orders Roger Stone to Court After He Mocks Her with Crosshairs Photo. "Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who is overseeing Trump ally Roger Stone's criminal case, ordered Stone to court on Tuesday after he posted a number of Instagram posts about her, one of which featured the judge's photo next to a set of crosshairs. The posts have since been deleted."

Tanya Snyder at Politico: Emails Reveal Coordination Between Chao, McConnell Offices. "A trove of more than 800 pages of emails sheds new light on the working relationship between Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, one of the most potent power couples in Washington — including their dealings with McConnell supporters from their home state of Kentucky. Chao has met at least 10 times with politicians and business leaders from the state in response to requests from McConnell's office, according to documents provided to Politico by the watchdog group American Oversight. In some cases, those people later received what they were hoping for from Chao's department, including infrastructure grants, the designation of an interstate highway, and assistance in getting state funds for a highway project — although the documents don't indicate the meetings led to those outcomes." Oh.

Jessica Donati and Peter Nicholas at the Wall Street Journal: With Evangelicals Behind Him, Vice President Mike Pence Takes Prominent Role in Foreign Policy. That's a distressingly benign-sounding headline for what is, in reality, perhaps the most powerful vice president in the nation's history wielding U.S. foreign policy to entrench global Christian Supremacy.
In the first two years of the Trump presidency, Vice President Mike Pence has worked to put religion at the heart of key diplomatic efforts, steering hundreds of millions in U.S. aid toward Christians and other minorities who were victimized by Islamic State.

Among the measures he has favored, Mr. Pence pushed to redirect U.S. money that would have been distributed by the United Nations widely in Iraqi areas targeted by Islamic State toward Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities. He also advocated last year for the imposition of sanctions on officials in Turkey — a North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally — over a detained U.S. pastor.

Both were causes championed by the administration's evangelical supporters, who represent a key constituency for [Donald] Trump. They view Mr. Pence as an important ally in the White House. His foreign policy actions — he also has played a leading role in the effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicol├ís Maduro and criticizing Europe for helping Iran circumvent U.S. sanctions — contrast with the low profile he has kept on domestic issues.

...Underpinning Mr. Pence's aid prioritization is his own faith. He has famously called himself a Christian first, conservative second, and Republican third. Mr. Pence also serves, in effect, as a White House ambassador to evangelicals, many of whom viewed Mr. Trump's candidacy with skepticism but have embraced his policies and Mr. Pence's foreign priorities.

"He is a strong voice within the Trump administration who is concerned about the persecution of all religious groups — but particularly Christian religious groups," said Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C.
That last bit is, of course, a total lie. Pence is not at all concerned about "the persecution of all religious groups," including and especially people who are not religious at all and do not share his enthusiasm for using religion as a cudgel to deny people their agency, bodily autonomy, and right of consent.

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

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16 States to Sue Trump for Invoking Emergency to Get Wall Funding

[Content Note: Nativism.]

NB: Donald Trump's rationalizations for the border wall are all lies. A border wall is as unnecessary as it would be ineffective. There is no emergency at the southern border, or anywhere else in the country, that a wall would solve. Trump is a liar who is stealing money from the military in order to fund the construction of his personal monument to nativist white supremacy.

It's infuriating to me that every article and public conversation about Trump's border wall — and the national emergency he has declared to secure funding for it — does not start out with a similar set of reminders about the profound mendacity and malice underwriting this entire shambolic spectacle. I deeply resent the expectation that any of us participate in this debate, such as it is, as though its central premise isn't undiluted trash.

This isn't even about a wall anymore, and it hasn't been for a long time. This is about Donald Trump's rampaging authoritarianism and whether he will be allowed to continue unfettered his erosion of our democracy.

At the moment, since his party simply refuses to do anything but eagerly abet him and since the Special Counsel's investigation is clearly a sham, the only remedy is the courts. Which we won't have for much longer, as Trump and Pence and Senate Republicans quickly remake the judiciary by stacking the courts with conservative lackeys.

But we've still got some time — and 16 states are making use of it while they can.

Charlie Savage and Robert Pear at the New York Times report:

A coalition of 16 states, including California and New York, on Monday challenged [Donald] Trump in court over his plan to use emergency powers to spend billions of dollars on his border wall.

The lawsuit is part of a constitutional confrontation that Mr. Trump set off on Friday when he declared that he would spend billions of dollars more on border barriers than Congress had granted him. The clash raises questions over congressional control of spending, the scope of emergency powers granted to the president, and how far the courts are willing to go to settle such a dispute.

The suit, filed in Federal District Court in San Francisco, argues that the president does not have the power to divert funds for constructing a wall along the Mexican border because it is Congress that controls spending.

Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, said in an interview that the president himself had undercut his argument that there was an emergency on the border.

"Probably the best evidence is the president's own words," he said, referring to Mr. Trump's speech on Feb. 15 announcing his plan: "I didn't need to do this, but I'd rather do it much faster."

The lawsuit, California et al. v. Trump et al., says that the plaintiff states are going to court to protect their residents, natural resources and economic interests. "Contrary to the will of Congress, the president has used the pretext of a manufactured 'crisis' of unlawful immigration to declare a national emergency and redirect federal dollars appropriated for drug interdiction, military construction, and law enforcement initiatives toward building a wall on the United States-Mexico border," the lawsuit says.
This may be only the first of several lawsuits, as House Democrats are contemplating bringing a lawsuit as part of their strategy to stop Trump when they return from recess.

Trump predicted that he would be sued and threatened to take it all the way to the Supreme Court, where he expects that the conservative majority will uphold his right to use the emergency powers to fund the wall, despite the fact that there is observably no emergency to justify invoking said powers.

I'm not sure that Chief Justice Roberts is prepared to go along with that. I guess we're gonna find out.

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Bernie Sanders Is Running

*jumps into Christmas tree*

It figures that the very first bit of news I saw this morning was something that made me want to return to my sick bed immediately. I suppose that was always going to be the case, but I thought it would be Donald Trump news. NOPE!

Bernie Sanders has declared that he, too, is running for president, as a Democrat, despite the fact that he repeatedly said he wouldn't run unless he thought he was the best candidate to defeat Trump — which is quite a commentary on all the candidates already running, none of whom are cishet white men.

He's got a very Bernie response to that, naturally:

When asked by VPR's Bob Kinzel about concerns that he no longer best represents "the face of the new Democratic Party," Sanders, 77, said:

"We have got to look at candidates, you know, not by the color of their skin, not by their sexual orientation or their gender, and not by their age," Sanders said. "I mean, I think we have got to try to move us toward a non-discriminatory society which looks at people based on their abilities, based on what they stand for."
That's a very interesting (cough) position to justify arguing that people should vote for the old white man.

[Content Note: Video autoplays at link] He released a video this morning, which infuriated me within its first 15 seconds. It begins thus: "Hi, I'm Bernie Sanders. I'm running for president. And I'm asking you today to be part of an unprecedented grassroots campaign of one million active volunteers in every state in our country."

That would not be "unprecedented." President Barack Obama blazed his path to the White House in 2008 with a campaign strategy of organizing millions of volunteers in every state in the country. There were books written about how revolutionary it was. Like, as one example, Groundbreakers: How Obama's 2.2 Million Volunteers Transformed Campaigning in America. Even if Sanders only read the goddamned title, he would know that what he's proposing is hardly "unprecedented."

Hillary Clinton also had millions of campaign volunteers across every state during the 2016 general election. That seems like something a person who claims to have been one of her most vociferous advocates once she defeated him should know.

So, in the first 15 seconds of his campaign announcement, Sanders engages in the casual erasure of a campaign strategy developed by the nation's first Black president and replicated by the nation's first major-party female nominee.

And that's frankly all I needed to hear. Bernie Sanders never changes.

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Open Thread


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

I'm going to try to do a little work today. It may be slow going, depending on how much energy I have. Thanks so much for your patience with me.

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Open Thread + Programming Note

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

Unfortunately, I am still struggling to get better, and I've now got a secondary infection that's exploited my weakened immune system. This has been a very rough week. I'm sorry I'm still not able to work. I am really hoping I'll have enough energy to start doing a little something tomorrow.

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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.

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Open Thread + Programming Note

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

I am still seriously under the weather. Saw a doctor last night and got several courses of meds, so hopefully I'll be on the mend soon. I'll be back as soon as I can.

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Open Thread + Programming Note

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

Still very ill. Worse than yesterday, I'm sorry to report. I'll be back as soon as I can.

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Open Thread + Programming Note


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

I've got some kind of horrendous chest cold and spent the night alternatingly shivering and boiling under a pile of blankets. I'm going to take today off to get some rest and hope that I feel better tomorrow. I'll keep you posted.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker sidewriter: "What's a piece of art you own that you really love?"

Every piece of art in my home is either something that was given to me (and/or Iain) by someone I love, or something I chose for a very specific reason, usually because it reminds me of a person or place that I love. So, truly, I love every piece of art that I own.

That said, Deeky gave me a belated Christmas present this weekend, which is obviously very special to me and now resides in a place of honor on my desk.

image of en engraved stone sitting on my kitchen counter, reading: 'Once upon a time,there was a cunt... It was you. The end.'

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Monday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by spaghetti.

Recommended Reading:

Yessenia Funes at Earther: Concern Over Climate Change Is Rising Sharply Around the World, Survey Finds

Staff at Transgender Law Center: TLC Wins #FreeChristina Case After 5-Year Battle, Sets Precedent for Trans Survivors of Human Trafficking

Joseph Bernstein and Davey Alba at BuzzFeed: [Content Note: Violence; abuse; fraud; death] "Down the Rabbit Hole I Go": How a Young Woman Followed Two Hackers' Lies to Her Death

Adithya Rajagopalan at Nautilus: New Evidence for the Strange Geometry of Thought

Amanda Arnold at the Cut: Tracee Ellis Ross Is Her Mom's Biggest Fan

Miss Cellania at Neatorama: Eagle Demands Fish

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

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What I'm Listening To

A thread for sharing what we're currently listening to: Music, podcasts, audiobooks, whatever.

I've been listening to this on a loop ever since I heard it on the radio last week, because I was obsessed with this song (and the whole album) when it first came out, and now it's stuck in my head but good!



Swing Out Sister: "Breakout"

What are you listening to these days?

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The Shaker HALP! Thread

image of red text reading HALP set on backdrop of a collage of black and white lined question marks

Here is a thread to solicit advice on any subject or struggle we're experiencing on which some input from like-minded folks would be useful.

And because sometimes what we need is permission to go ahead and do what we've already decided is the best thing to do, if you need to ask for permission (which of course is validation and encouragement to give yourself permission), this is the place to do it.

As always, the guidance here is: Be supportive, not judgmental. If you're going to offer advice, make sure it's advice and not criticism.

Also: If you're someone seeking advice, and you've had your fill after a certain point, please feel welcome to note in-thread: "Thank you, that's all the advice I needed!"

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound sitting in his dog bed in the living room, with his front paws crossed
Such a gentleman.

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

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We Resist: Day 753

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: Primarily Speaking and So, This Mueller Investigation...

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

[Content Note: Climate change; animal harm] Damian Carrington at the Guardian: Plummeting Insect Numbers 'Threaten Collapse of Nature'.
The world's insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a "catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems," according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds, and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are "essential" for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators, and recyclers of nutrients.

Insect population collapses have recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the review strongly indicates the crisis is global. The researchers set out their conclusions in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper: "The [insect] trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting [on] life forms on our planet."

"Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades," they write. "The repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least."
This is so dire that it would even throw a wrench into the OligArk works. Nobody, I don't care how wealthy you are, is going to come of a mass extinction alive and thriving.

* * *

Liz Stark at CNN: Trump to Sign Executive Order Launching Artificial Intelligence Initiative. "Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Monday launching the American Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiative, a senior administration official told reporters in a background call over the weekend. The initiative outlines 'bold, decisive actions to ensure that AI continues to be fueled by American ingenuity, reflects American values, and is applied for the benefit of the American people,' the official said."

I've noted many times that Trump doesn't GAF about automation stealing U.S. jobs, and this is how the administration is addressing that concern: "The official also sought to allay concerns that investments in new AI technology may displace American workers, noting that the administration is 'very cognizant of' the issue and has already developed programming like apprenticeships and career special education programs to address it."

Oh cool, that sounds great. Obviously we're all aware of how splendidly telling people to take out student loans to go back to school or working as unpaid interns and apprentices in a new career has worked out for the last decade. For fuck's sake.

* * *

Ryan Pickrell at Business Insider: U.S. Navy Warships Just Challenged China with a South China Sea Sail-By Operation, and Beijing Is Furious. "Two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers — the USS Spruance and the USS Preble — conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation on Monday, sailing within 12 nautical miles of Chinese outposts in the contested Spratly Islands. The purpose was 'to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways,' as well as to show that the U.S. 'will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,' Cmdr. Clay Doss, a U.S. Navy 7th Fleet spokesman, told CNN. Beijing sharply criticized the operation. A spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, accused the U.S. of entering Chinese waters without permission and engaging in provocations that threaten China's sovereignty, the South China Morning Post reported." Terrific.


[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Catalin Cimpanu at ZDNet: Russia to Disconnect from the Internet as Part of a Planned Test. "Russian authorities and major internet providers are planning to disconnect the country from the internet as part of a planned experiment, Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting (RBK) reported last week. The reason for the experiment is to gather insight and provide feedback and modifications to a proposed law introduced in the Russian Parliament in December 2018. A first draft of the law mandated that Russian internet providers should ensure the independence of the Russian internet space (Runet) in the case of foreign aggression to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet." So, guess what Russia is planning everyone!


[CN: Nativism; border militarization] Ted Hesson at Politico: The Border Patrol's Recruiting Crisis. "Border Patrol's struggles to recruit and keep agents present a seldom-discussed impediment to Trump's efforts to lock down the U.S.-Mexico border — one that the Trump White House is reluctant to acknowledge. ...Shortly after taking office, the president signed an executive order that called for the hiring of 5,000 agents. More recently, his administration pushed a proposal that calls for 2,750 more agents, law enforcement officers and staff. But Border Patrol can't hire enough people to fill jobs that were available before." Even after they lowered hiring standards. Yikes.

[CN: Nativism] Ari Honarvar at Rewire.News: As Government Continues 'Dumping' Migrants in Border Cities, Activists Organize. "The Trump administration has never hidden its animosity toward asylum seekers. Trump's zero-tolerance policy is a recent example of this, one that set off a ripple effect that continues today. ...[A]sylum-seeking families have been released onto the streets of U.S. border towns without food, instructions, or means to contact sponsors. Immigration authorities released 1,500 asylum seekers in El Paso in one week alone, according to USA Today. Immigration rights volunteers in other border towns such as San Diego have been experiencing a similar trend. Kate Clark, director of immigration services at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, a partner of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, told Rewire.News, 'Vulnerable [asylum-seeking migrant] families have no local support or resources, and no idea what to do next.'"

[CN: Nativism; border militarization] Jazmine Ulloa and Taryn Luna at the LA Times: Slamming Trump's 'Political Theater,' California Gov. Gavin Newsom Pulls National Guard from Border.
As a second partial government shutdown looms in Washington over border discussions, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday will order the removal of roughly 360 National Guard members from California's southern boundary with Mexico, repudiating [Donald] Trump's characterization of a recent influx of Central American refugees and migrants as a national security crisis.

The announcement comes just one day before the governor delivers his first State of the State address Tuesday, setting the stage for Newsom to counter Trump's State of the Union address from last week.

In released excerpts of his speech, Newsom says he is giving the National Guard a new mission so that troops would not take part in the White House's "political theater" and instead "refocus on the real threats facing our state." The governor said he would sign a general order to redeploy the troops to support wildfire prevention efforts and expand operations to counter drugs and cartels across California, with a group of forces trained in spotting narcotics to be stationed at the state's international points of entry.

"The Border 'emergency' is a manufactured crisis," Newsom is expected to say Tuesday, according to prepared remarks provided by the governor's office. "This is our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia, or nativism."
YES.

* * *

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Heather Long at the Washington Post: Millions of Americans Could Be Stunned as Their Tax Refunds Shrink. "Millions of Americans filling out their 2018 taxes will probably be surprised to learn that their refunds will be less than expected or that they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service after years of receiving refunds. People have already taken to social media, using the hashtag #GOPTaxScam, to vent their anger. Many blame [Donald] Trump and the Republicans for shrinking refunds. Some on Twitter even said they wouldn't vote for Trump again after seeing their refunds slashed." LOLsob when are conservatives going to learn that GOP tax bills are wealth redistribution upwards schemes that steal from the not-rich to give to the rich? WAKE THE FUCK UP.

Holly Yan and Sara Weisfeldt at CNN: Denver Teachers Are Now on Strike, But 92,000 Kids Still Have to Go to School. "Fifteen months of simmering frustration boiled over Monday as Denver teachers went on strike. ...The Denver Classroom Teachers Association and Denver Public Schools made a last-ditch effort to settle their differences over the weekend. But the talks went nowhere, meaning up to 92,000 students will go to school without their teachers indefinitely. 'We're hoping for a quick solution to this whole thing,' DCTA lead negotiator Rob Gould said Monday. 'We're hoping (school district officials) come to the table tomorrow ready to listen so we can get back to work. Because our teachers want to be in the classrooms with their kids.' The big sticking point involves teachers' base salaries."


[CN: Homophobia] Savas Abadsidis at Towleroad: The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act Strikes Back and It Could Be a Huge Legal Headache for Marriage Equality. "Three years ago, Tennessee introduced a bill that would 'defend natural marriage between one man and one woman,' with the goal of barring same-sex marriages. The bill failed in the Tennessee House of Representatives during its last session, but state Republicans reintroduced the Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act in a new effort to prevent government officials from recognizing same-sex marriages. ...'The far right's dream scenario is this would go back before the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court would accept it,' said Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ rights advocacy group that has previously opposed the bill, according to The Tennessean."

[CN: Racism; blackface imagery] G. B. Saunders at Colorlines: The Real Cost of Being the POC 'in the Room' Required to Shut Down Obviously Racist Products. "A common response to failed products like the Gucci blackface sweater is that there should have been a Black person 'in the room' to save the company from marketing racism. We need to talk what it takes to get into that room and the cost of staying there." This is a really good piece. Also, I hate that whole narrative for the additional reason that every person of every race should understand why the fuck blackface is a problem in the year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and nineteen. JFC.

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

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