Welp, They Did It

Last Friday, I warned that the Senate had voted to overturn internet privacy rules passed by the FCC during the Obama administration, which prevented internet providers from sharing your browsing history with corporations without your consent, and that the House would vote next.

Yesterday afternoon, the House voted to rescind the rules. Donald Trump will soon sign the bill into law, and your browsing history can then be sold without your consent to the highest bidder.

Former FCC chair Tom Wheeler, whose joy you may recall when Net Neutrality was approved, wrote a piece for the New York Times detailing how dreadful this legislation truly is.

The bill not only gives cable companies and wireless providers free rein to do what they like with your browsing history, shopping habits, your location, and other information gleaned from your online activity, but it would also prevent the Federal Communications Commission from ever again establishing similar consumer privacy protections.

The bill is an effort by the F.C.C.'s new Republican majority and congressional Republicans to overturn a simple but vitally important concept — namely that the information that goes over a network belongs to you as the consumer, not to the network hired to carry it. It's an old idea: For decades, in both Republican and Democratic administrations, federal rules have protected the privacy of the information in a telephone call. In 2016, the F.C.C., which I led as chairman under President Barack Obama, extended those same protections to the internet.

To my Democratic colleagues and me, the digital tracks that a consumer leaves when using a network are the property of that consumer. They contain private information about personal preferences, health problems and financial matters. Our Republican colleagues on the commission argued the data should be available for the network to sell.
Wheeler further notes that Trump's FCC also voted to "stay requirements that internet service providers must take 'reasonable measures' to protect confidential information they hold on their customers, such as Social Security numbers and credit card information. This is not a hypothetical risk—in 2015 AT&T was fined $25 million for shoddy practices that allowed employees to steal and sell the private information of 280,000 customers."

He also notes that "among the many calamities engendered by the circus atmosphere" of the corrupt Trump administration is that these grievous erosions of our online privacy rights are going virtually unnoticed, as everyone has been "riveted by the Russian hacking of the election and the attempted repeal of Obamacare." Not to mention conflicts of interest, the twice-attempted Muslim ban, and Trump's incessant stream of dishonest and alarming tweets.

Let us all take a moment to appreciate that Trump's mendacious tweeting about President Obama wiretapping his phone (which now 47 percent of Americans believe to be true) was commanding public attention while the Republican Congressional majority was quietly conferring the right to internet service providers to essentially legally spy on us and profit handsomely from it.

And now here we are. And Net Neutrality is next. Take action now.

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Hillary Clinton, Y'all

[Content Note: Discussion of misogyny and racism.]

Hillary Clinton spoke to the Professional Business Women California Conference yesterday, and, during a section in which she spoke about facing misogyny in the workplace, she addressed the vile mistreatment of Rep. Maxine Waters and April Ryan, noting that these are indignities women face—and are obliged to keep doing their jobs despite—every day on the job. (Including her.)

...to get ahead. I bet just about everyone in this room has had the experience of saying something in a meeting that gets ignored; ten, twenty minutes later, a man says the same thing and everybody thinks it's genius! [appreciative laughter and applause from the audience]

And I think we should pool our respective reactions so that you have right at your fingertips [snaps her fingers] exactly what to say. "Nice thought. A little slow on the uptake, but good idea." [laughter and applause]

And where everyday sexism and structural barriers were once blatant, today they're sometimes harder to spot, but, make no mistake, they're still with us. Just look at all that's happened in the last few days to women who were simply doing their jobs.

April Ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job just this afternoon in the White House press room, when she was patronized and cut off, trying to ask a question. One of your own California congresswomen, Maxine Waters, was taunted with a racist joke about her hair.

Now, too many women, especially women of color, have had a lifetime of practice taking precisely these kinds of indignities in stride. But why should we have to?

And any woman who thinks this couldn't be directed at her is living in a dreamworld. [applause]

I mean, it's not like I didn't know all the nasty things they were saying about me. [laughter] Some of them were actually quite creative; ones I hadn't heard before! [laughter]

But you just have to keep going.
This, among many other reasons, is why I will never ever get over it. She is a woman who stands up for women.

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Open Thread

image of a red couch

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

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Question of the Day

What little everyday thing did you particularly enjoy today?

The sound of water reaching a crescendo as it nears filling a vessel. What a lovely sound that is.

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Shaker Gourmet

Whatcha been cooking up in your kitchen lately, Shakers?

Share your favorite recipes, solicit good recipes, share recipes you've recently tried, want to try, are trying to perfect, whatever! Whether they're your own creation, or something you found elsewhere, share away.

Also welcome: Recipes you've seen recently that you'd love to try, but haven't yet!

* * *

This steak dinner for two with scalloped potatoes and bacon avocado caesar salad looks so fucking delicious. My mouth was watering just watching the video and reading the recipe.

I will probably never make it, lol, but damn it looks amazing. And I figured I'd pass it along, in case anyone was looking for a good meat-and-potatoes kind of recipe for a date night at home.

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I Don't Even Know

I legit don't have the words. This is unreal. We are living in a cuckoo clock powered by bigotry, fascism, and grade-A mendacity.

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These Are Terrible Men

[Content Note: Misogynoir.]

As I mentioned in today's We Resist thread, Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said an appalling racist and misogynist thing about Rep. Maxine Waters: "I didn't hear a word she said; I was looking at the James Brown wig."

Waters, it should be noted, is one of Trump's fiercest critics, while O'Reilly is one of Trump's most shameless water carriers.

O'Reilly was not alone: His Fox colleague Eric Bolling also responded to a clip of Waters criticizing Trump by admonishing her to "step away from the crack pipe."

BOLLING: How's this, Congresswoman? You saw what happened to Whitney Houston. Step away from the crack pipe. [His off-camera colleagues laugh.] Step away from the xanax. Step away from the lorazepam. Because it's gonna get you in trouble. How else does she explain those comments?
Just horrible.

Then, at today's White House Press Briefing, Sean Spicer scolded April Ryan, a Black reporter, for shaking her head in response to his usual disgorgement of nonsense and lies.

SPICER: ...which is the president— I'm sorry, please— Stop shaking your head again.
April Ryan's response on Twitter: "Lawd!!!!"

Lawd indeed. These are terrible men. Terrible men who telegraph in every conceivable way (ahem) that women—and particularly women of color—are not welcome at their table. Black women are not even allowed to express themselves publicly without being audited and shamed.

Black women are indispensably important to Democratic politics, progressive organizing, and social justice. These terrible men are well aware of that (even if a lot of white progressives remain stubbornly resistant to this idea).

I take up space in solidarity with Congresswoman Maxine Waters, reporter April Ryan, and all the Black women who are especially targeted directly and indirectly by the words, deeds, and policies of this administration and its surrogates.

And to these terrible men, I say: I see you.

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Daily Dose of Cute

After spending the weekend running around at Uncle Deeky's house, where they CAN'T RELAX! because everything is DIFFERENT! and must be INVESTIGATED!, the dogs were completely knackered and didn't move from the couch for an entire day, lol. And Matilda was very keen to let them know she missed them.

image of Dudley the Greyhound, Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat, and Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt all asleep on the couch together

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 68

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Devlin Barrett and Adam Entous at the Washington Post: Trump Administration Sought to Block Sally Yates from Testifying to Congress on Russia.
According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.

Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration.

[Donald] Trump fired Yates in January after she ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend his first immigration order temporarily banning entry to United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world.

As acting attorney general, Yates played a key part in the investigation surrounding Michael T. Flynn, a Trump campaign aide who became national security adviser before revelations that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador to the United States in late December led to his ouster.

Yates and another witness at the planned hearing, former CIA director John Brennan, had made clear to government officials by Thursday that their testimony to the committee probably would contradict some statements that White House officials had made, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The following day, when Yates's lawyer sent a letter to the White House indicating that she still wanted to testify, the hearing was canceled.
Again, if as the administration keeps insisting, there's nothing to the allegations of collusion with Russia, then why are they trying so hard to stall the investigation?

* * *

Darren Samuelsohn at Politico: Mar-a-Lago Can't Release Visitor Logs—Because It Doesn't Keep Them.
Mar-a-Lago also doesn't keep tabs on the identity of guests who come and go on a routine basis, even while the president is in residence. Club members call the front desk to give the names of their guests, including for parties held in the ballroom. But they don't have to submit details, like a middle initial or birth date or Social Security number, that are standard for visitor logs or background checks — which neither the club nor the Secret Service do at the resort.

On Friday night, guests streamed into Mar-a-Lago, the president's self-proclaimed "southern White House," for the annual Palm Beach GOP Lincoln Day Dinner. All they had to do to get into the seaside retreat, where the first lady and the president's youngest son were vacationing for spring break, was buy a $300 ticket.

They didn't have to submit to the kinds of rigorous background checks required if they'd been entering the White House in Washington. And there were no weapon screenings or bomb-sniffing dogs checking vehicles of the sort that have long been routine at public restaurants or other places where the president or first lady is present.
That is hugely problematic. We have no record of who has been able to buy access to the President of the United States for $300.

* * *

[Content Note: War; bombing; death] Thomas Gibbons-Neff at the Washington Post: The Airstrike in Mosul Was Potentially One of the Worst U.S.-Led Civilian Bombings in 25 Years. "Even though Iraqi civil defense workers are still sorting through the rubble, the March 17 U.S. airstrike in West Mosul, if confirmed, could potentially rank among one of the most devastating attacks on civilians by American forces in more than two decades. Residents from the neighborhood where the strike occurred said that 137 civilians were killed, while Iraqi officials have said that upward of 80 people had been pulled from the rubble. Chris Woods, the director of the monitoring group Airwars.org, said the range of dead have been reported from 101 to 511, though the likely numbers are somewhere between 130 and 230." Fucking hell. Oh my god.

[CN: Nativism] Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: Jeff Sessions: No More DOJ Funding for Sanctuary Cities. "During Press Secretary Sean Spicer's daily press briefing [yesterday] (March 27), Attorney General Jeff Sessions took to the podium to inform state and local leaders that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will no longer award grants to cities that don't comply with immigration laws as laid out by [Donald] Trump's recent executive orders. 'Today, I'm urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 U.S.C. Section 1373,' Sessions said. 'Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants be certified compliant with 1373 as a condition of receiving those awards.'" Literally, the Attorney General just threatening local governments with punitive measures if they help undocumented immigrants and refugees.

Jonathan Swan at Axios: Trump Wants to Do Tax Reform and Infrastructure at the Same Time. "Trump feels burned by the ultra conservative House Freedom Caucus and is ready to deal with Democrats. Dangling infrastructure spending is an obvious way to buy the support of potentially dozens of Dems, meaning he wouldn't have to bargain with the hardliners. ...Trump needs fast victories and infrastructure is something that's big, flashy, and potentially bipartisan." The Democrats should avoid his infrastructure plan like the plague, since it's a dogshit privatization scheme. And if he combines it with tax cuts, hopefully that will give them even more incentive to obstruct.

Ilya Marritz and Andrea Bernstein at WNYC News: Paul Manafort's Puzzling New York Real Estate Purchases. "Paul J. Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager facing multiple investigations for his political and financial ties to Russia, has engaged in a series of puzzling real estate deals in New York City over the past 11 years. Real estate and law enforcement experts say some of these transactions fit a pattern used in money laundering; together, they raise questions about Manafort's activities in the New York City property market while he also was consulting for business and political leaders in the former Soviet Union." JFC.

(And of course there is some indication that Trump may have done the same thing.)

Ali Vitali and Corey Siemaszko at NBC News: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner: Rising Powers at the White House. "[Ivanka] often serves as Trump's 'consigliere' and, in a White House filling with infighting, is 'there to protect her father's interest,' a source told NBC News. Now with a West Wing office, she also has also been called on to serve as an adviser on issues not on her radar, most recently on Friday when the Trump-backed plan to replace Obamacare crashed and burned. Meanwhile, the profile of Trump's son-in-law is also on the rise. On Monday, it was announced that Kushner was tapped to oversee a new office called the White House Office of American Administration, whose mission is to make the federal government run more like a business."

Gwilym Mumford at the Guardian: Trump's Treasury Secretary Accused of Ethics Violation after Lego Batman 'Plug'. "A senior Democrat has called for US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin to face an ethics violation investigation over comments he made plugging The Lego Batman Movie, a film financed by one of Mnuchin's companies. In a letter to Office of Government Ethics director Walter Shaub, Ron Wyden, the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate finance committee, expressed concern over comments made by Mnuchin during a live Q&A with the political news website Axios, in which Mnuchin called on the public to 'send all your kids to Lego Batman.'" This, again, is what happens when people who have no governmental experience are tasked with running the government. They don't know the rules, and so they keep breaking them.

[CN: Misogynoir] Bill O'Reilly, one of Trump's media BFFs, made a nakedly racist comment about Rep. Maxine Waters, who is one of Trump's most fervent critics. After watching a snippet of her speaking on the House floor, O'Reilly sniffed: "I didn't hear a word she said; I was looking at the James Brown wig." FUCK YOU, O'REILLY.

Nicole Knight at Rewire: Koch-Funded Group Wants to Quash Arizona Voter Rights. "Right-leaning groups and GOP lawmakers aim to make it tougher for Arizonans to pass ballot initiatives after voters overwhelming passed a $12 minimum wage initiative in 2016. Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation last week outlawing the common practice of paying signature gatherers based on the number of signatures collected. ...The new Arizona law, which only applies to voter initiatives, not to individual races, kills financial incentive for circulators to gather as many signatures as possible. Campaigns will be forced to pay by the hour or rely on volunteers. Ducey called the legislation 'common sense reform' to avoid voter fraud, but he offered no evidence of voter fraud in the state's citizen initiatives."

Olivia Solon at the Guardian: Your Browsing History May Be up for Sale Soon. Here's What You Need to Know. The House vote is/was today. Seethe.

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

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I Will Never Get Over It

image of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump from the second presidential debate; Trump is standing and speaking into a mic with his back to the camera; Clinton is sitting on a stool, looking at him with disgust
[Photo: Barbara Kinney for Hillary for America.]

"Get over it" is a phrase I hear a lot lately—virtually any time I mention Hillary Clinton.

When I write, for example, that her policies might have saved a woman's life, or protected the planet.

These are not incidental things to me.

But they are, apparently, incidental to the people who react to my insistence in pointing out how presidential politics are a matter of life and death by rolling their eyes; by greeting my relentless reminders that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were indeed very different candidates with heaving sighs and an admonishment to "get over it."

I will not get over it. I will never get over it.

I won't get over it because I refuse to modulate my anger for others' comfort—as I recognize quite keenly that many of the people telling to me "get over it" want to silence me to salve their own regret, for failing to support Clinton altogether or for undercutting her by indulging grossly negligent narratives about her.

I won't get over it because I have not an infinitesimal modicum of desire to let people who promoted the dangerous, ignorant message that Clinton and Trump were "the same" find refuge from the stark truth that they were hideously wrong.

I won't get over it because I have no truck with the idea that I should concede anything to Trump supporters, least of all their belief that I should get on board with the sadistic agenda of the Russian nesting doll of character defects that currently inhabits the Oval Office.

I won't get over it because I manifestly refuse to indulge the corporate media's urge to whitewash what happened during the election; to participate in the institutional forgetting that is central to normalizing the Trump presidency.

I won't get over it because this nation made a damnable, deadly mistake—and concealing it, rather than confronting it, ensures that we will make it again. And again.

I won't get over it because the 2016 election was a referendum on how America values women, and that makes it personal to me. My country chose an explicitly misogynist serial sexual abuser over an explicitly feminist candidate who has spent her career advocating for women and children, and who is the most qualified person ever to seek the office of the presidency. I am not inclined, nor should I be expected, to "get over" that.

I won't get over it because she won the popular vote by three million votes, which makes us the majority, and makes our values the ones by which we should be making policy.

I won't get over it because I can't. Because every hour of every day, there is some fresh new hell to resist, just a ceaseless onslaught of devastating policy and shameful behavior, each indecency a pointed reminder that it didn't have to be this way.

I am not nurturing a grudge, nor am I sucking on sour grapes. I am rationally angry about the outcome of the election, for reasons of which Trump's dumpster fire of a presidency reminds me each day.

Because I did my homework; because I read every factsheet and every policy proposal; because I listened to every one of Clinton's speeches and/or read every transcript; because I watched every debate; because I read every interview; because I read her State Department emails; because I read her autobiography; because I paid attention to what her staff and surrogates said; because I listened to people who worked with her and for her, and who had come to know her because of something she'd done for them quietly, away from the spotlight; because I did my due diligence and then some on this candidate, my brain is an entire card catalog of data on Hillary Clinton's campaign, her record, and policy proposals.

Every time Trump says, does, endorses, proposes, or signs anything, I know what Clinton's position would have been. Every time he nominates someone, I know what Clinton's administration would have looked like. Every time he comments on some piece of shit legislation Congressional Republicans are conspiring to unleash on the public, I know what Clinton would have said about it.

I have a pretty damn good idea what she would be doing if she were president, and I have a pretty damn good idea what she wouldn't be doing. I have a clear picture of the differences in what our domestic policy would look like, and of what the diplomatic differences would be.

I don't know these things because I'm a mind-reader. I know because she told us.

They are stark, these disparities between what is and what could have been.

They will mean the difference between life and death, for countless people. Why should I "get over" that? How can I? Why would anyone want to?

I'm still not over Al Gore "losing" to George W. Bush in 2000. Despite the suddenly fashionable nostalgia for Bush, his presidency was a ceaseless nightmare. He was not the harmless goof with some objectionable policies here and there as which he's being remembered. He was then the Platonic Ideal of Modern Conservatism—a corporate shill with the demeanor of a country bumpkin, who could hold together the unholy alliance between Big Money and Big Religion.

And with a Republican Congressional majority and a never-ending stream of media mouthpieces willing to demonize anyone who dared to dissent, he tumbled headfirst into fulfilling every last one of the conservatives' wishes, like a malevolent genie pulled out of a bottle in oil-soaked Texas.

He was tasked with building conservatives' very own El Dorado, and, by the time Bush left office, there were more than twice as many billionaires in America as when the Supreme Court escorted him in, while the country experienced widespread unemployment, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and food insecurity. We saw towers fall because of his incompetence, and we went to war on two fronts. Thousands of Americans died; tens of thousands of soldiers came back injured; millions of Iraqis were killed, wounded, or permanently displaced. We watched an entire American city drown; saw those for whom conservatives have the greatest contempt turn to their government for help in a time of crisis and quite literally be left stranded.

Bush took this nation to war on false premises; played class warfare with gilded tax cuts; vengefully outed one of our own spies; played vicious wedge issue politics; demonized immigrants, people of color, LGTBQ folks, women, atheists, and liberals; enacted harmful educational and environmental policy; defunded social programs to fund defense; nominated appalling Supreme Court justices; promoted avarice above social conscience; relegated philanthropy and empathy to little more than cute, clich├ęd memories; held in contempt compassion for those in need; delighted in ignorance; reveled in xenophobic nationalism; pillaged natural resources in the acquisition of private wealth; sold the rights and privacy of We the People piece-by-piece in massive government-underwritten giveaways to Big Pharma and Big Energy and Big Agriculture; wrote more than 1,000 signing statements and used countless National Security Letters to undermine the rule of law; cast aside habeas corpus like day-old bread; treated the Geneva Conventions and our Constitution like suggestions.

All while calling people who disagreed America-haters; telling us that if we weren't with him, we were with the nation's enemies. His supporters wrapped themselves in the flag and declared themselves the True Patriots, the "Real Americans," so it was all but impossible for dissenters to express their abhorrence of conservative policy without seemingly attacking America itself—thus making it that much easier for a conservative president to turn America into a place the people they called the "America-haters" really, genuinely risked hating, by ridding it of everything that we love.

Does that sound familiar? It should.

And it was partly because I never "got over" Al Gore not being my president, never "got over" comparing what was with what could have been, that I had zero illusions about what was at stake in the last election.

I am certain Gore would have made mistakes. I am certain I would have had to spend some of my time criticizing his policies and advocating for him to do better. I am also certain that his presidency would have left this country, and the planet, in unfathomably better shape than Bush's did.

I am not "over" the catastrophic results of Bush's presidency, and I never will be.

Suffice it to say, I will not be getting over the last election anytime soon, either. And, frankly, neither should you.

Elections have consequences. And one of those consequences is people like me, who appreciated them in all their gravity, never getting over it and never shutting the fuck up about it.

Get over that.

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Trump to Sign Devastating EO on Climate Change

Today, Donald Trump will sign an executive order that will rescind crucial climate change provisions enacted by President Obama. Valerie Volcovici at Reuters reports:

The decree, dubbed the "Energy Independence" order, will seek to undo former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan requiring states to slash carbon emissions from power plants—a critical element in helping the United States meet its commitments to a global climate change accord agreed by nearly 200 countries in Paris in December 2015.

It will also rescind a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, reverse rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, and reduce the weight of climate change in federal agencies' assessments of new regulations.

"We're going to go in a different direction," a senior White House official told reporters ahead of Tuesday's order.
Less the direction of trying to save the planet and more the direction of destroying it for corporate profits.

This is just a sweeping devastating of climate protections that were already insufficiently robust. And this is the kind of policy that has effects that can't just be unwound with the stroke of a pen sometime down the road.

The time we lose waiting for a court to overturn this executive order, or for a Democratic governing majority, is time we cannot get back.

Hillary Clinton's campaign was "the first major presidential campaign ever to make combating climate change a central issue." She was the only presidential candidate to speak frankly about environmental racism, issuing a factsheet dedicated to detailing her "Plan to Fight for Environmental and Climate Justice." When the first two presidential debates failed to meaningfully broach climate change, she dedicated an entire speech to it, with Al Gore alongside her.

Anyone who still believes there was "no difference" between the two candidates is being willfully ignorant. That narrative was always mendacious, dangerous trash—and nothing makes that more plain than what is about to happen on climate change.

Relatedly: Arctic researcher Victoria Herrmann details at the Guardian how the data critical to her research is being deleted by the Trump administration.

Which is no less than any of us should have anticipated from a man who declared climate change a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.

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Nunes Has No Credibility

Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, is not doing his job. His committee is tasked with investigating Trump administration ties to and possible collusion with Russia, but instead Nunes believes his job is to run interference for Donald Trump.

In the Washington Post, Amber Phillips has an excellent summary of recent events, published under the blunt headline: "Devin Nunes is making it very hard for Republicans to claim they can run an impartial investigation on Russia."

On Monday, Washington was abuzz with news that Nunes, a Trump ally, was on the White House grounds viewing classified information related to the president's evidence-less claim that President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign. A day later, Nunes (R-Calif.) announced that he had information that revealed the president's conversations during the campaign may have been caught up in a broader, unrelated intelligence net.

...We still don't know who gave Nunes the surveillance information or its significance to the committee's broader investigation into Russia's meddling. Nunes publicly said if the president's name did show up in surveillance, it had nothing to do with Russia. He also told CNN that the president didn't even know Nunes was at the White House Tuesday.

But here's what anyone trying to follow the twists and turns of this Trump-Russia-wiretapping story is left with: A top Republican congressman and Trump ally was at the White House the day before he released information that appeared to somewhat defend the president on his defenseless wiretapping claims.

What's more, the congressman released this secret information to the president — whose circle is under investigation by the FBI for alleged ties to Russia — before sharing it with his own committee members.
Nunes has created enough turmoil by his lack of impartiality that now [video may autoplay at link] the House Intelligence Committee have scrapped its meetings this week. Nunes has effectively damaged the integrity of the investigation, following devastating testimony from FBI James Comey and Admiral Mike Rogers.

Trump himself is, as per usual, using Twitter to spin wildly, which isn't helping Nunes. At least not with serious people who are treating this investigation with the gravity it deserves.

Democrats are, quite reasonably and necessarily, calling for Nunes to recuse himself, with Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member on the committee, plainly stating: "The public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president's campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman."

The Democrats, of course, prepared for this eventuality. Rep. Eric Swalwell on Morning Joe this morning:

SWALWELL: Right, it's time for Devin Nunes to leave this investigation, let alone lead it. So he should be gone. And what we saw was, going over to the White House, he went to receive information that you know, Joe, we can receive at the Capitol. We have our own secure facility. If this was done the proper way, they could have brought it over, shared it with both members, both parties of the committee, but this was done because the White House wanted it to be done, and this is what a cover-up to a crime looks like. We are watching it play out right now.

MIKE BARNICLE: Hey, Congressman, has this investigation been so badly damaged that even if Devin Nunes recuses himself, and is off the committee, is the investigation over in the House side?

SWALWELL: It's been compromised. That's why Elijah Cummings and I have written legislation to have an independent commission. We always thought that was the most comprehensive way to get to the bottom of what happened. But now it's an insurance policy against an investigation that our chairman has really badly compromised.
We have always needed and independent commission, and we do now more than ever.

And if, as Trump and his surrogates keep insisting, there is nothing to the allegations of collusion with Russia, then why are they so afraid of such a commission? They should welcome it, and the accompanying exoneration, if there is truly nothing to find.

At this point, the attempts from the House committee chair and the administration to undermine the investigation only serve to reinforce the idea that there is something they are desperately trying to conceal.

We need to know what that is.

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Open Thread

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker FarmerStina: "If you could terraform Mars to your personal specifications, what would those be?"

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by swimming pools.

Recommended Reading:

Vann: Obamacare Isn't Out of the Woods Yet

Jonathan: The Rise of the Hacker Industrial Complex

Sophia: Scientists Hack a Human Cell and Reprogram It Like a Computer

Emma: [Content Note: Trans hatred] Trump Is Greenlighting the Harassment of Transgender Kids

Shay: [CN: Misogynoir] A Black Mama's Dilemma, or My Private Fears

Amar: [CN: War] Syrian Refugees Share Memories Stored on Their Phones in Powerful Photo Series

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

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Hoist with Their Own Petard

In his latest column, "The King of Crash and Burn," the New York Times' Charles M. Blow makes a great point about gerrymandering:

The [healthcare bill] loss is likely also the downside of Republican gerrymandering.

In the redrawing of districts following the 2010 census, Republicans created incredibly safe, ideologically pure districts with fewer dissenters. This protected more seats, but it also meant that the people who hold those seats have little to no incentive to ever compromise.

Republicans created hard-line districts that produced hard-line congressmen: obstructionist absolutists are gerrymandering's political offspring.

This is related to what I wrote earlier today about how the Republican Party's singular objective has been to win. And Blow also draws the connection between winning as exclusive focus and the bankruptcy of ideas:
These people weren't elected to govern, but to impede governance. Their mandate isn't to generate ideas and solve problems by the effective exercise of government. Their singular crusade is that government is ineffective and the solution is to forever see government itself as the problem. Ideas for them are anathema.

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Another Woman Has Been Killed in a Shooting Spree That Started with Domestic Violence

[Content Note: Domestic violence; guns; death.]

I have written many, many times about the link between domestic violence and mass shootings—most recently last month. Today, it grieves me to report that there has been another shooting in which a woman was killed, and five others injured, three critically, in a shooting incident which began with domestic violence.

The victims' names have not yet been made public. My condolences to the woman's family, friends, colleagues, and community, and my thoughts are with the people who survived, but with serious injuries.

The shooting happened in Sanford, Florida, which is the town in which Trayvon Martin was killed and where the police declined to arrest George Zimmerman until there was a national outcry about their indifference.

I have relentlessly argued the point that authorities must treat domestic violence as possible indicator for mass violence, as it has repeatedly been found to be—and, to that point, police interacted with the woman who was killed and the man who killed her twice today before the shooting.

Detectives describe Monday's violence as a series of escalations, beginning with a domestic dispute between Cashe and his girlfriend at her home shortly after 6 a.m.

That fight followed two previous verbal arguments between the couple that were so intense police were called to intervene.

A Sanford officer had to separate the couple at a gas station just a few hours before the shooting, according to authorities. Then, not even an hour later, police received a second call about the quarreling couple.

This time, officers learned they were arguing over personal possessions.

An officer was dispatched to the girlfriend's home, where he learned from a third party that Cashe had a gun. Not seeing one, the officer separated the couple, telling Cashe to go home.

But police say he did not.
No, he did not "go home." Instead, he killed his girlfriend, critically injured her father and her two sons, and injured two other people, including a girl who was waiting for her school bus.

There was, by the way, one presidential candidate in the last election who agreed with that statement; whose gun reform proposal included the introduction of legislation prohibiting "all people with histories of domestic abuse from buying or possessing guns, since current laws don't apply to people in dating relationships or convicted stalkers."

But the country took a hard pass and went with the guy who has himself been accused of domestic violence.

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So Much Winning

Gallup: Trump's Approval Rating Drops to New Low of 36%: "Donald Trump's job approval rating fell to 36% for the three-day period of March 24-26, following Republican House leaders' failed effort to pass a new healthcare bill that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act."

57 percent disapproval. Less than 10 weeks in office.

Currently under federal investigation.

Lost the popular vote by 3 million.

Muslim ban failed. Twice.

Healthcare reform failed.

Budget proposal panned.

The Loser President just keeps losing. And he's going to keep losing. Because he's a loser.

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Daily Dose of Cute

The doggies had a lovely time chilling out on Uncle Deeky's deck this weekend. (And so did Iain and I!)

image of Dudley the Greyhound lying on his dog bed on the deck on a sunny day

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the deck on a sunny day

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 67

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Karen DeYoung and Missy Ryan at the Washington Post: Trump Administration Weighs Deeper Involvement in Yemen War. "Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has asked the White House to lift Obama-era restrictions on U.S. military support for Persian Gulf states engaged in a protracted civil war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to senior Trump administration officials. ...Approval of the request would mark a significant policy shift. U.S. military activity in Yemen until now has been confined mainly to counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda's affiliate there, with limited indirect backing for gulf state efforts in a two-year-old war that has yielded significant civilian casualties. It would also be a clear signal of the administration's intention to move more aggressively against Iran."

[Content Note: War; terrorism; death] Jonathan Marcus at the BBC: A New U.S. Strategy in the Fight Against So-Called Islamic State? "All the signs are that military commanders are being given greater autonomy in pushing forward the operation, whether it be freeing up the Pentagon from the micro-management of the White House and National Security Council, or greater leeway to local US commanders in Iraq to call in airstrikes. Inevitably, this has led to problems. Reports suggest the civilian death toll is growing markedly... US forces are now much more intimately involved in the fighting in both Iraq and Syria, though there are still the ritual denials that they are actually in the front line. ...The US seems to be intensifying its military campaign against IS without any real equivalent diplomatic surge."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Jake Tapper at CNN: Nunes Says He Was on White House Grounds the Day Before Revealing Trump Surveillance Info. "One source told CNN that Nunes, a California Republican, was seen on the White House grounds the day before his announcement. In a phone interview, Nunes confirmed to CNN that he was on the White House grounds that day―but he said he was not in the White House itself. ...He told CNN he wanted to 'reiterate this has nothing to do with Russia.' Nunes went to the building because he needed a secure area to view the information, he told CNN." Sounds legit. (It does not sound legit.)

Greg Miller and Karoun Demirjian at the Washington Post: Chairman and Partisan: The Dual Roles of Devin Nunes Raise Questions About House Investigation. "Nunes, 43, has said he is committed to leading an impartial inquiry into Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and search for any evidence of coordination with Trump or his associates. But Nunes, who served as an adviser on Trump's transition team, has also at times used his position as chair of the intelligence committee in ways that seem aligned with the interests of the White House. ...Nunes has pushed his panel to focus on lines of inquiry—including hunting the sources of damaging news leaks—that seem more favorable to Trump." This is why we need an independent commission to investigate. Now.

Sam Fellman at BuzzFeed: The Trump Administration Was Silent for Hours After Russia Arrested Hundreds of Protesters. "Russian police in riot gear arrested a leading opposition leader and hundreds of protesters in Moscow on Sunday, as the biggest protests Russia has seen in years bloomed in cities across the country. Hours after this crackdown on what appeared to be largely peaceful gatherings, the Trump administration did not issue any statements about the arrests." It took a State Department spokesperson 12 hours to issue a statement condemning the detention of peaceful protesters.

[CN: Shooting; death] In other things Trump couldn't be bothered to tweet about: "A shooting in a Cincinnati nightclub left 15 people wounded, one of them fatally, early on Sunday morning." Cameo, the site of the shooting, is a hip-hop nightclub.

The man who was killed has been identified as Obryan Spikes. My condolences to his family, friends, and community.

Joanna Walters at the Guardian: Donald Trump Blames Everyone But Himself for Healthcare Legislation Failure. "As internecine squabbling continued in the Republican party, [Trump's] targets included conservatives in Congress, Democrats and, possibly, the House speaker, Paul Ryan." The buck stops...over there somewhere.

Daniel Politi at Slate: Bannon Pushed Trump to Use Health Care Vote to Write Up 'Enemies List'. "The New York Times reports that Bannon kept on pushing President Donald Trump to pressure the health care vote to move forward so that an 'enemies list' could be compiled of all those who voted against the measure. The president's legislative affairs director, Marc Short, was also pushing the same idea. ...The Times story appears to confirm earlier reports from the Daily Beast that quoted an official saying that Bannon called on the president 'to keep a shit list on this.' The unnamed official added: 'Not sure if I'd call it an 'enemies list,' per se, but I wouldn't want to be on it.' Another aide described it as a 'hit list' for Republicans who were not loyal to the president." Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

[CN: Racism; privacy violations] Olivia Solon at the Guardian: Facial Recognition Database Used by FBI Is Out of Control, House Committee Hears. "Approximately half of adult Americans' photographs are stored in facial recognition databases that can be accessed by the FBI, without their knowledge or consent, in the hunt for suspected criminals. About 80% of photos in the FBI's network are non-criminal entries, including pictures from driver's licenses and passports. The algorithms used to identify matches are inaccurate about 15% of the time, and are more likely to misidentify black people than white people. These are just some of the damning facts presented at last week's House oversight committee hearing, where politicians and privacy campaigners criticized the FBI and called for stricter regulation of facial recognition technology at a time when it is creeping into law enforcement and business."

[CN: Assault] Angel Jennings and Anh Do at the L.A. Times: Reporter and Photographers Say They Were Assaulted by Trump Supporters at Huntington Beach Rally. "An OC Weekly reporter and two photographers said Sunday that they were physically assaulted by pro-Trump demonstrators at a Make America Great Again rally in Huntington Beach and are seeking the public's help in identifying at least one of the people responsible." This didn't happen in a vacuum. Trump's relentless discrediting campaign against the media is fueling this violent hatred.

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

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