Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker roramich: "What are you working on? (Work project, home project, hobby, whatever.)"

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Trump to Announce SCOTUS Nominee Tonight

Donald Trump has said he will announce his nominee for the Supreme Court tonight. The three frontrunners are all white dudes, and I apologize for not directing you to your fainting couches before sharing that news.

Because Trump is the anthropomorphization of an insatiable ego, he will naturally be making this announcement during primetime.

Unless, of course, the bottomless pit of pathetic need that is our president decides that it will suit his relentless need for attention to cancel tonight and get coverage for canceling, only to command more coverage for the announcement tomorrow.

But, for now, it's on schedule for tonight.

I'm sure whomever he chooses will be a nightmare dumpster fire, and that is the easiest prediction about Trump that I have ever made.

Will the Democrats filibuster? (They should!) Will they give his nominee a fair hearing? (They shouldn't!) Who even knows. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Anyway. Here's a thread for discussion tonight. Feel welcome to discuss the respective trash merits of the likely nominees, express your horror at the thought of a Trump-stacked court, say a prayer for Anthony Kennedy, or whatever you like, ahead of the announcement.

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Inspiring Acts of Resistance

image of stormclouds over a field of flowers, to which I've added text reading: RESISTANCE IS FERTILE
Since there is so much to resist every day, here is a thread in which we can talk about the things we're seeing other people doing—or the things we're doing ourselves—as both inspiration, suggestion, and a bulwark against despair.

Share things you have seen that moved you, or actions you are taking. Please also feel welcome and encouraged to share links to Twitter users and/or news sites engaged in resistance that you recommend following.

Here's something good! "I applaud Representative Barbara Lee and Representative Jan Schakowsky along with Pro-Choice Caucus Co-Chairs Representatives Diana DeGette and Louise Slaughter and all of the co-sponsors for re-introducing the EACH Woman Act and taking a bold step in proactively opposing the Hyde Amendment and related abortion coverage bans." YES!

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"I Am American, Too"

[Content Note: Nativism.]

A few days ago, I read this piece at the BBC about people who are leaving the U.S. because of Trump's policies. This passage in particular hung with me:

For Sarah and her family, it didn't feel like there was any option other than to leave. She says that she would have liked to "stay and fight" but that her family's safety and ability to stay together are taking priority. Her husband is not from the US, does not have status as a resident and works overseas a lot. While their children are dual citizens of both the US and his home country, Sarah is a US citizen with permanent resident status in both. Her husband has relied on temporary visas when he’s in the states with his wife and daughters.

"It's kind of a gamble of whether he's going to rub someone the wrong way and not get in," she says. "With the current administration changing, it's a little bit more frightening."

...For Sarah, the move is not what she had envisioned for herself or her family. She says she is "totally heartbroken" and had always thought she would raise her two daughters in the US.
I thought of Sarah and her family again this morning, as I watched this heartbreaking video of Iranian-American Hossein Khoshbakhty, whose brother was denied entry at a U.S. airport because of Trump's Muslim ban.
Khoshbakhty, a late middle-aged man, stands in an airport, speaking to the camera with tears in his eyes, his voice breaking: "The American and Iran relation is affected already. But we are people; we are not the government. We are not doing nothing. If the government does something wrong with this government, we are not responsible. I am American and Iranian. What I can do? Why I have to be punished for somebody else's problem? I don't know what I have to do. We ran away from Iran to this country; they do something like this, but we didn't know we're gonna have the same situation here. I'm a U.S. citizen for about 15, 20 years. And my brother didn't do nothing wrong in no place in the world. And I didn't do nothing wrong. I'm a contractor. I'm working hard here. I'm working hard here; I'm building houses for the people. The American people. And I am American, too."
There are families who want to stay in the United States, and cannot. There are families who want to come to, or return to, the United States, and cannot.

This is what Donald Trump is doing to our country and its people in his first days in office.

And yet still, still, there are people who argue that we must "give him a chance." As if his presidency and policies are not already having a practical, deleterious effect on actual people's real lives.

It was always appeasing, enabling, capitulating garbage to admonish people to "give him a chance," when he has made clear from Day One what his hideously hateful agenda was going to be.

But now, in this moment, when that agenda is no longer a threat but a reality, when it is meaningfully impacting people's lives in profound ways, to continue to urge resisters to "give him a chance" is to say: "I don't care about the people who he is harming. He still hasn't harmed me, and may actually benefit me, so give him a chance."


I tweeted that two days after the election. It is still pinned at the top of my timeline, and I expect it will stay there for the foreseeable future.

Because, like Sarah and Hossein, I am American, too. And I take up space in solidarity with them. Which requires me to never, ever, give this president a chance.

I know as well as I know my own name that he will use any and every chance he is given to hurt more people. That is not a chance I can afford to take—and it is certainly not one I am willing to give.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt lying on the couch, looking at me sleepily
Zelda is sleepy. And she's making me want to crawl back into bed just looking at her sleepy face!

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 12

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 I've read today:

Trump started out the day, in typical fashion, by tweeting. Two this morning:


More cruel mockery of Schumer, and a sinister Othering that sets the Democrats outisde of "us" and "our." The Democrats should be "ashamed" for not "giving" Trump and his people what they want. Very troubling.

In good related news: Senate Democrats will be boycotting votes on Steve Mnuchin (Treasury nominee) and Tom Price (HHS nominee), because they don't believe the nominees have been honest nor have they been fully vetted. What that means is that neither nominee can move forward. They are stalled without a quorum as long as the Dems boycott. Betsy DeVos (Education nominee) has been voted out of committee and moves on to a full Senate vote, but all 11 Democrats on the committee voted NO.

(Why Dems did not take the boycott approach on DeVos and Sessions, I cannot tell you. There's still time for them to boycott a committee vote on Sessions, but, if they don't, I suspect it's because they don't believe he actually lied under oath. Still: They could boycott on decency/qualification grounds all the same. And should.)

Trump's shock and awe campaign of aggressive indecency during his first days in office is already having geopolitical consequences for all of us:

Reuters (emphasis mine):
President Donald Trump has joined Russia, China and radical Islam as a threat to Europe, the president of the European Council Donald Tusk said on Tuesday.

...Saying the E.U. faces its biggest challenges in its 60-year history, the senior official said an "assertive China," "Russia's aggressive policy" toward its neighbors, "radical Islam" fueling anarchy in the Middle East and Africa were key external threats. These, he said, "as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration, all make our future highly unpredictable."

Tusk's remarks were among the strongest directed at the new U.S. president since Trump took office 11 days ago and reflects a growing sense in many European capitals of a need to respond to his policy moves, notably the ban at the weekend on the entry of refugees and others from seven Muslim-majority countries.
New York Times (emphasis mine):
From defense treaties to trade pacts, foreign leaders are struggling to gauge whether they can depend on the United States to honor its commitments. They are sizing up a fickle president whose erroneous remarks on small issues cast doubt on what he might say on the big ones — the future of NATO, say, or the Iran nuclear deal — that involve war and peace.

Mr. Trump spent the weekend in a round-robin series of phone calls with foreign leaders, clearly designed to settle nerves. But from Tokyo and Beijing to London and Berlin, foreign officials are watching the president's false assertions with alarm, unsure of whether they can trust him and wondering whether that will undermine their dealings with Washington.

"If he's telling lies on relatively unimportant things, like the size of the crowd at his inauguration or whether or not it rained on his parade, that's not of great importance in the overall scheme of things," said Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to the United States. "But as I used to say to my staff," he added, "if I can't rely on you to get the small things right, how can I count on you to do so on things that really matter?"
CNN [video may autoplay]: "Members of the UK parliament are to hold a debate on President Donald Trump's controversial state visit. The debate, which will be held in the House of Commons on February 20, comes after a petition calling for the invite to be scrapped attracted over 1.6 million signatures."

Apart from everything that Trump Co. is doing to destroy this country inside our borders (and along our borders), he is making us indescribably less safe by alienating our allies around the world.

And speaking of our borders: "Trump's top advisors on immigration, including chief strategist Steve Bannon and senior advisor Stephen Miller, see themselves as launching a radical experiment to fundamentally transform how the U.S. decides who is allowed into the country and to block a generation of people who, in their view, won't assimilate into American society."

And speaking of Bannon:
Even before he was given a formal seat on the National Security Council's "principals committee" this weekend by President Donald Trump, Bannon was calling the shots and doing so with little to no input from the National Security Council staff, according to an intelligence official who asked not to be named out of fear of retribution.

"He is running a cabal, almost like a shadow NSC," the official said. He described a work environment where there is little appetite for dissenting opinions, shockingly no paper trail of what's being discussed and agreed upon at meetings, and no guidance or encouragement so far from above about how the National Security Council staff should be organized.

...During the first week of the Trump administration, there were no SOCs [summary of conclusions], the intelligence official said. In fact, according to him, there is surprisingly very little paper being generated, and whatever paper there is, the NSC staff is not privy to it. He sees this as a deterioration of transparency and accountability.
So, just to be clear on those last two stories: Bannon is "launching a radical experience to fundamentally transform" U.S. immigration policy using the prism of white supremacy, and there is no paper trail.

Finally, this is just a real headline in the New York Times: "State Dept. Officials Should Quit if They Disagree With Trump, White House Warns." Dissent will not be tolerated. Purge thyself, or be purged.

We are in dark days, my friends. Very dark days.

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

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Tweet of the Day

[Content Note: Fascism.]


The image in the tweet is a photo of a sign at the Holocaust Museum which reads: "Early Warning Signs of Fascism: Powerful and continuing nationalism; disdain for human rights; identification of enemies as a unifying cause; supremacy of the military; rampant sexism; controlled mass media; obsession with national security; religion and government intertwined; corporate power protected; labor power suppressed; disdain for intellectuals and the arts; obsession with crime and punishment; rampant cronyism and corruption; fraudulent elections."

Anyone who reads that and isn't chilled to their very bones hasn't been paying attention.

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Resistance is a Marathon

 "The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step" - Lao Tzu

The Women's Marches were a historic show of resistance against Donald Trump.

The resistance continues, as it must. Many ongoing and future protests will likely be smaller than the Women's Marches. We might, then, begin to see some folks publicly conclude that the resistance is losing momentum. Some might contend that smaller crowd sizes are evidence that more privileged anti-Trump groups "don't care about" other issues. It's further conceivable that the Trump administration might put limits on people's rights to peacefully assemble and speak out.

In light of these possibilities, I contend that the following observations can all be true.

One. Many people who participated in the Women's Marches were united in opposition to Trump but less united around the full spectrum of issues that were represented at the protest. Many protestors might not, in fact, fully understand or care about these other issues. The Marches may have been some people's first ever protest. Some people may not be all that politically engaged.

Yet.

Of some of the intra-left critiques of imperfect protestor newbies, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, writing at The Guardian references a "political immaturity" that "continues to stunt the growth of the American left." She writes:

"If you want a movement of the politically pure and already committed, then you and your select friends should go right ahead and be the resistance to Trump.

Should the marches have been more multiracial and working class? Yes! But you are not a serious organizer if that’s where your answer to the question ends. The issue for the left is how we get from where we are today to where we want to be in terms of making our marches blacker, browner and more working class. Simply complaining about it changes nothing.

....

The women’s marches were the beginning, not the end. What happens next will be decided by what we do. Movements do not come to us from heaven, fully formed and organized. They are built by actual people, with all their political questions, weaknesses and strengths."
The anti-Trump resistance has a broad base, as he has offended, angered, and scared so very many people.  As a lifelong athlete, I feel further compelled to observe just how detrimental Trump's ongoing gloating, through his victory tour and need to constantly re-live his "win" of an election in which he lost the popular vote, has been to building unity and peace. That goes for the schadenfreude of his fans, as well, who post meme after meme delighting in liberal tears.

I will put it this way. I was once on a team that lost a bruising, nail-biting game at the last second and then, afterwards, watched some mean-ass people excessively celebrate and taunt us. Some of the folks on my team didn't particularly like each other, but every one of us from that day forward disliked that other team more. We spent the entire off-season with one goal in mind, defeating them the next season.

And, we did.

My point here is that even seasoned activists opposed to Trump are going to disagree. Many people new to social justice are going to be clueless at first, and possibly even offensive. But never underestimate how a dangerous, despicable, gloating foe can unite a broad range of people. Which leads to the following:

Two. Regardless of whether a person supported Hillary Clinton, her campaign motto was right. We are Stronger Together. We need to show up for each other, even if we're not (or don't think we are) directly affected by some of Trump's policies, or even if we think some issues are more important than others.

White women, for instance, must show up for racial justice, especially if our presence at Black Lives Matter protests might mean that police officers are less likely to use force against protestors. Men must show up for reproductive rights, because men are both disproportionately in positions to restrict reproductive rights and men in power often listen to other men more than they listen women. Christians, especially as 92% of Congress is Christian, must show up for Muslims. These are just a few examples.

Trump won, in part, by declaring war on empathy, at least for anyone other than straight white cisgender Christian men (he calls empathy for other people "political correctness"). The callous disregard of other(ed) lives, we must resist. If we don't share particular experiences with other groups within the resistance, it behooves us to acknowledge our differences, listen, and allow ourselves to be checked - as difficult as that can be. Alicia Garza wrote, in a recent piece:
"This is a moment for all of us to remember who we were when we stepped into the movement — to remember the organizers who were patient with us, who disagreed with us and yet stayed connected, who smiled knowingly when our self-righteousness consumed us.

I remember who I was before I gave my life to the movement. Someone was patient with me. Someone saw that I had something to contribute. Someone stuck with me. Someone did the work to increase my commitment. Someone taught me how to be accountable. Someone opened my eyes to the root causes of the problems we face. Someone pushed me to call forward my vision for the future. Someone trained me to bring other people who are looking for a movement into one.

No one is safe from the transition this country is undergoing. While many of us have faced hate, ignorance and greed in our daily lives, the period that we have entered is unlike anything that any of us has ever seen before."
Instead of automatically, pre-emptively assuming people won't resist with us, we need to ask people to resist with us. Many people care, yet are fearful and feel hopeless. Many want to tangibly work together and connect with others so they can be hopeful again. A march begins with a single step, but so too does every person's political journey. Many of us have become better people through the grace of those who took the time to teach us, even though they themselves were in pain. And, as a corollary, we should respect if and when some groups want to discuss, dialogue, and vent about these issues in advanced space only, without us there.

For two months now, my mind has been drawn back to an essay, "Do Not Go Gentle" by Roger Cohen, which The New York Times published at the end of last year. He places the awfulness of 2016 in both a personal and political context of loss, saying:
"It's not excess of love we regret at death's door, it's excess of severity. If we lived every day as the last day of our lives, the only quandary would be how to find the time to shower love on enough people. We live distracted and die with too much knowledge to bear."
And still, he notes, "this is a time to rage, a time to heed Dylan Thomas: 'Rage. Rage against the dying of the light.'" Surely, in this era in which the leader of the (still) free world is, to quote Laurie Penny, "a wailing man-baby with a hair-trigger temper who almost nobody feels comfortable having within five miles of the nuclear codes," the sharpness of our rage tempered by the discipline of empathy and patience are radical traits to cultivate within the resistance.

Cohen continues, "The most vulnerable parts of our nature are often those closest to our greatest gifts." Listen more. Heed your fear. Acknowledge your pain. Feel your rage. And, because you can't stand it any longer, demand better from the world.

Like Cohen, existential personal and political despair have led me to imagined conversations with those who have passed. For me, with one friend in particular, C, with whom I did not always agree politically, but who I yearn to speak with again - most of all about politics. I imagine she would be marching with us every step of the way. And, on the worst of days, reminding me of the secret note we used to hide for each other, per Margaret Atwood: nolites te bastardes carborundorum. Or, in Angela Davis' version of the sentiment, freedom is a constant struggle.

Three. Finally, as Melissa writes in the ongoing Resist posts:
"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."
As some might try to define what "real resistance" looks like, please know that resistance will look different on different people, as we experience these horrors in unique ways dependent upon our own life circumstances. Resistance exists in acts small and large, everyday and once-in-a-lifetime, seen and unseen. 

Consider, Time ran a piece on how the Women's Marches fit into the resistance against Trump:
"The face of that Democratic opposition--some call it the resistance--is female, which is to say it's a face that as a private citizen Trump liked to judge on a scale of 1 to 10, and as a candidate measured by worthiness of his sexual attention."
Even so. Time's piece continued to frame the March as a mysterious anomaly. Ignoring the fact that many women were genuinely enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton, the person who won more votes than any white male presidential candidate in US history ever, the piece held up Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, both of whom held large talk-at-people rallies during their respective campaigns (in contrast to the smaller talk-with-people dialogues Clinton often held), as unique examples of recent, authentic social movements:
"Bernie Sanders' surprise following exploded from the young and the left. Trump's filled auditoriums in states both blue and red, and carried him to the most powerful position on earth."
Everywhere, many in establishment media, and even social justice circles, seem mystified as to what resistance looks like on many women and even as to why many women are outraged. It's like a new spin on the eternal misogynistic question: What do women want? Except the people asking never seem to listen to or care about many women's responses. They shrug, What is a Pantsuit Nation? And then go run another billion stories on who they deem the ordinary people - those angry white men, whose navel dust they can't seem to get enough of.


So, here's my Helpful Hint: Yes, It Was Misogyny that many women are reacting to. And, many women are now primed to present a united front as part of an intersectional resistance, even if some or many of them (sadly) were not before.

As we continue resisting the horrors the Trump administration inflicts upon the populace, I hope we are compassionate with ourselves and those who are resisting with us. I hope we integrate self-care into our lives, if we haven't already, so we do not burn out or become numb or complacent. I hope we reject definitions of "real resistance" that might be centered around acts that are convenient or safest for more privileged members of the resistance, such as young, childless white men and able-bodied individuals.

With many women disproportionately in caregiver roles, for instance, spontaneously showing up for protests isn't always a feasible option. Neither is it for those who might have limited mobility or lack of funds to travel to protest locations. Remember: the Women's March was planned for two months in advance, surely impacting the high turnout rates, as many male partners assumed child-rearing duties so women in their lives could travel and march.

Resistance is a marathon and we must take care of ourselves and each other. Never forget that we are many and that not one of us has to resist alone. Maya Angelou said, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." Laurie Penny says, "millions of snowflakes together can make an avalanche."

At Shakesville, teaspoon by teaspoon, we empty the sea.

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Trump's Rampage Continues

[Content Note: Islamophobia; homophobia; war.]

Last night, Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates, after Yates "ordered Justice Department lawyers not to defend his immigration order temporarily banning entry into the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries and refugees from around the world. In a news release, the White House said Yates had 'betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.' Trump named in her place Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Boente said he would enforce the president's directive until he was replaced by Trump's attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala)."


To be totally clear: Yates was doing the job she swore an oath to do—defend the U.S. Constitution. And, in response, Trump called it a "betrayal" and fired her.

Then, Trump fired acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Daniel Ragsdale, and replaced him with Thomas Homan. "By promoting Homan, who most recently led the arm of ICE that enforces detentions and deportations, the Trump administration signaled its intent to place a greater emphasis on the harsh enforcement measures that Homan carried out."

Both Yates and Ragsdale were "placeholders" as acting heads, but the ubiquitous argument that their temporary status renders this irrelevant is absolutely wrong. Trump did not merely remove them because their finite leadership was finished, but to make way for people who will more faithfully and aggressively execute his unconstitutional Muslim ban.


Meanwhile comes news that several House Judiciary Committee aides helped the Trump administration draft the Islamophobic executive order, but did so after signing nondisclosure agreements, and then failed to inform the Republican committee chair and party leadership. This is extraordinary. Someone in the Trump administration (my guess is Pence) convinced Congressional staffers to work in secret to draft an unconstitutional Muslim ban. That is incredibly alarming.

Republicans are not happy about it, but are they going to do anything about it? Someone (my guess is Bannon) is working very hard to sow discord with Republican legislators, but he may be underestimating how craven they actually are. Either way, whether by fissures in the party or unfathomable fealty, the Trump authoritarians are going to get what they want, and no one in the GOP seems inclined to stop them.

In other news: "Trump is taking aim at one of the federal government's main agencies for climate change research—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—and NOAA employees are girding for drastic changes in how they conduct science and report it to the public. Trump has appointed a leading denier of climate change, Kenneth Haapala of the Heartland Institute, to serve on the administration team handling appointments for the U.S. Department of Commerce, the federal agency that oversees NOAA." This is so, so dangerous.

Further: Trump has announced he will "keep the Obama administration protections extended to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers, a statement said, apparently responding to reports that the orders would be reversed." That is a relief, but a very minimal one. As I noted yesterday, Congressional Republicans are preparing the "First Amendment Defense Act," which is a heinous anti-LGBT bill, and none of us should have any faith at all that Trump won't sign it when it lands on his desk.

And more: "Trump's top trade adviser accuses Germany of currency exploitation." Unreal. "Germany is using a 'grossly undervalued' euro to 'exploit' the US and its EU partners, Donald Trump's top trade adviser has said in comments that are likely to trigger alarm in Europe's largest economy. Peter Navarro, the head of Mr Trump's new National Trade Council, told the Financial Times the euro was like an 'implicit Deutsche Mark' whose low valuation gave Germany an advantage over its main trading partners. His views suggest the new administration is focusing on currency as part of its hard-charging approach on trade ties. In a departure from past US policy, Mr Navarro also called Germany one of the main hurdles to an American trade deal with the EU and declared talks with the bloc over a US-EU agreement, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, dead." This is just incredibly worrying.

And finally: "Battle Rages Amid East Ukraine's Bloodiest Fighting in Weeks." By way of reminder, Trump and Putin had a phone call over the weekend, and casualties have starkly increased in the interceding days.


This is all very, very bad.

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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 yes: "Inspired by my daily commute on the subway: It's time for some downtime. What are you listening to/reading/playing today?"

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by pearls.

Recommended Reading:

Jenn: Here's a List of Five Things You Can Do Right Now to Resist Trump's Racist Policies

Jessica: [Content Note: Racism; internment] Today's Google Doodle Pays Tribute to Resistance Legend Fred Korematsu

Maya: [CN: Islamophobia] Theresa, Trump, and a Culture of Demonisation

Kris: We Must Be Our Refuge

Damon: [CN: Discussion of Trump's various bigotries] Dear White People Who Write Things

Digby: Trump's Rasputin Seizes the Moment: A Week of Chaos May Suit Steve Bannon's Master Plan

Na'amen: [CN: Discussion of bigotry; privilege] Easily-Triggered Privileged People Have Turned Society into Their Own Giant Safe Space

Isha: Samantha Bee Will Be Hosting an Anti-White House Correspondents' Dinner in Defiance of Trump

Angry Asian Man: See MILCK Perform "Quiet" on Full Frontal with Samantha Bee

Brian: Namco's Founder Masaya Nakamura Has Died at Age 91

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

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Film Corner: Hidden Figures

image of Octavia Spencer, Taraji P. Henson, and Janelle Monae, in the film Hidden Figures

I finally saw Hidden Figures last night. OMG it was absolutely exquisite! Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe were all so, so brilliant.

The story is incredible. Or, rather, the stories of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson—and all the Black women who worked with them at NASA during such a critical time.

(Here's an interesting fact-check on which characters were based on real, individual people and which characters were composites.)

There was a lot I loved about the film, BUT THIS THOUGH:


Anyway! Here's a thread for anyone who would like to talk about the movie!

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I Write Letters

Dear Hillary Clinton:

I regret, with a profundity that is almost impossible to convey, that you did not win the election. Millions of us were hoping to see you shatter the glass ceiling, and instead Donald Trump shattered the looking glass.

I cannot even begin to imagine what it feels like for you, to watch what is unfolding, especially knowing you won the popular vote by a significant margin. I hope it brings you some solace to know how many of us who supported you have abundant gratitude for your leaving it all on the floor in trying to stop precisely what is now happening; precisely what you warned would happen.

But this is tough to watch, for anyone who loves this country. And I imagine there are very few people who love it as much and as hard as you do.

You surely hoped and expected to be in a very different place at this time, and so did I.

On Election Night, I felt like something in me had broken. And after I picked myself up off the floor, and mustered the determination to resist this onslaught of indecency with everything I've got, I realized that indeed something inside me had broken.

It was the glass ceiling that a lifetime of being told I'm less than had created within me.

Each of us with a marginalized identity internalizes, to one extent or another, the belittling messages with which we're bombarded every day. This thing is called by many names: Internalized oppression, self-doubt, imposter syndrome, self-loathing. The nagging voice that tells us we are not good enough; that we don't belong.

By any name, it's a glass ceiling that perfectly mirrors the external invisible (or sometimes very visible) barriers that are erected and maintained to uphold privilege and deny opportunities to marginalized people. Those barriers you talked about tearing down.

And after years of watching you indomitably navigate misogyny with resilience and fortitude, knowing you were willing to be the tip of the spear for women and girls, in a bid to break the highest and hardest glass ceiling, the glass ceiling inside of me shattered into a million shards—not only giving me an ever more fervent belief that I can do this (whatever "this" each day brings), but giving me a million jagged tools to cut through whatever bullshit I am obliged to navigate.

image of broken glass
[Image credit: Pixabay.]

And as I have watched the resistance emerge; as I have seen people marching and protesting and building community and speaking out; as I have received messages from people who never cared about politics before and now want to know what they can do to resist; I see the shards at their feet, too.

I see the sunlight glinting off the slivers on the ground; I hear the unmistakable cracking, the breaking, the tinkling clatter of broken glass.

There are countless people finding within themselves an undeterrable gumption to resist, that wouldn't have been there, or might have forever been kept under glass, if it weren't for you.

And for so many trailblazing women and men, many of whom helped shatter your own glass ceiling, once upon a time.

Secretary Clinton, I will never cease to grieve that you did not break that glass ceiling. And I will forever be grateful to you for breaking millions of them.

I am shattered—and I am more whole than I have ever been.

Your Friend,
Liss

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound standing in the living room, looking at me with big eyes
Oh, Dudley. You are such an adorable goofball. ♥

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 11

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 I've read today:

Trump started out the day with another incredible tweetstorm, further evidence of how unfathomably dangerous he truly is. Across a series of tweets, he wrote: "Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage, protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer. Secretary Kelly said that all is going well with very few problems. MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN! There is nothing nice about searching for terrorists before they can enter our country. This was a big part of my campaign. Study the world! If the ban were announced with a one week notice, the 'bad' would rush into our country during that week. A lot of bad 'dudes' out there! Where was all the outrage from Democrats and the opposition party (the media) when our jobs were fleeing our country?" Lies, projection, white supremacy, and authoritarianism.

Trump signed another executive order today, seeking to "dramatically pare back federal regulations by requiring agencies to cut two existing regulations for every new rule introduced." Reminder: Trump previously threatened to cut federal regulations by 90 percent. Which, of course, would necessarily mean cutting regulations for things like food safety and worker protections.

This report about the administration's "warning" to Prince Charles is unreal: "Members of Trump's inner circle have warned British officials that it would be counterproductive for Charles to 'lecture' Trump on green issues during the president's June visit to Britain, and that the president will 'erupt' if pushed, the Sunday Times of London reported. Trump has called climate change 'a hoax.' Hours after he took office, references to the issue were removed from the White House Web site. By contrast, Charles has called climate change 'the wolf at the door.' A source close to Trump told the newspaper the president 'won't put up with being lectured by anyone.'" Fucking WHAT.

Benjamin Wallace-Wells at the New Yorker: A Dangerously Isolated President. "In the first week of the Trump Presidency, influence has run through a very select group of advisers—maybe as many as half a dozen, maybe as few as two. The President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Bannon have consolidated their influence. ...According to the Washington Post, some former campaign aides 'have been alarmed by Kushner's efforts to elbow aside anyone he perceives as a possible threat to his role as Trump's chief consigliere.' But Bannon's portfolio may be even broader. His hand was apparent in the President's dark Inauguration speech, in his economic nationalism, and in his early, aggressive stances against Mexico and refugees."

Charlie Savage, Peter Baker, and Maggie Haberman at the New York Times: Trump's First Week: Misfires, Crossed Wires, and a Satisfied Smile. "Stephen K. Bannon, the president's chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, are forming what is being loosely called the Strategic Initiatives Group, a mini-think tank within the White House comprising analysts who can grapple with large-scale issues like cybersecurity. ...Mr. Kushner has emerged as the most important figure in Mr. Trump’s White House besides the president. He has told several people that all things on nearly every topic 'run through me,' according to two people with direct knowledge."

Yonatan Zunger at Medium: Trial Balloon for a Coup? This is correct except for one thing: It's not the beginning of a coup; it's the endgame of one which has been in motion for quite some time. Note that the four concluding points are things I (and others) have been saying for ages. Recent events confirm those points; they are not the first signs of them. Unfortunately.

[Content Note: Islamophobia] Amy B Wang at the Washington Post: Trump Asked for a 'Muslim Ban,' Giuliani Says—and Ordered a Commission to Do It 'Legally'. Except it was not and is not legal.

Shane Goldmacher at Politico: Trump's Team Gets Ready for Supreme Court Fight. "With Trump planning to announce his nominee on Tuesday night, his allies are moving quickly to sharpen a battle plan, and the first formal meeting of the de facto war room for the coming confirmation fight took place on Friday at the Capitol Hill headquarters of the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Friday. Inside the room were officials from the White House, Senate GOP leadership and the outside groups that have spent months researching the records of Trump's potential picks and are now prepared to unload at least $10 million in ads backing the nominee—much of it directed at Senate Democrats up for election in 2018 in states Trump carried."

[CN: Racism; Islamophobia] Allegra Kirkland at TPM: Trump Staffer Who Shared Racist Social Media Posts to Join Dept of Education. "Teresa UnRue, a field organizer and graphic designer for Trump’s advance team, was included on an emailed list of new employees sent by acting secretary for the department Phil Rosenfelt. Huffington Post obtained a copy of the email, which did not specify what role UnRue will take at the department. In July, an Associated Press review of Trump staffers' social media accounts unearthed a video on UnRue's feed [of gross, anti-Black racism]. UnRue also shared posts saying we need 'Islam control' rather than 'gun control' and calling former President Barack Obama a 'terrorist.'"

[CN: War on agency] Teddy Wilson at Rewire: Oklahoma Republican Pushes Unconstitutional 'Spousal Consent' Law. Fucking hell.

[CN: Homophobia] Andy Towle at Towleroad: GOP Congressman to Reintroduce 'First Amendment Defense Act,' the Vilest Religious Freedom Bill of Our Time. Goddammit.

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

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Donald Trump Is Disgusting

[Content Note: Islamophobia; mockery.]

While speaking about Donald Trump's Muslim ban, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer got emotional—and understandably so, given that the ban itself is reprehensible; that Schumer is a Jewish man who certainly has a lot of feelings about where this is headed; and that he is leading the party opposition from a minority position as he watches the country he loves be destroyed by an authoritarian and his coterie of vandals.

SCHUMER: [choked up and sniffling at a press conference] This executive order was mean-spirited and un-American. [cut to clip of Schumer being interviewed later, and speaking with resolve] This evening, I will ask for a vote on the floor of the Senate to repeal this. Senator Feinstein has very carefully thought-out legislation to repeal this.
This morning, Trump not only tweeted mockery of "the tears of Senator Schumer," but he again mocked the Senator's emotions during an interview.

TRUMP: I noticed that Chuck Schumer yesterday, with fake tears—I'm going to ask him who is his acting coach. 'Cause I know him very well. [barely concealing a sneer] I don't see him as a crier. If he is, he's a different man. There's about a five percent chance that it was real, but I think they were fake tears.
This is just utterly contemptible behavior. Not only does he lack empathy himself, but he mocks people who do have empathy—and express it.

I have never, ever, been so ashamed of a United States president as I am, consistently, of Donald Trump. This man is disgusting.

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Six People Killed in Québec Mosque Shooting

[Content Note: Islamophobia; terrorism; death.]

My sincerest condolences to those who lost loved ones, and my deepest sympathies to the people who were injured, those who survived without physical harm, members of the mosque, and their community, after gunmen opened fire at the Québec City Islamic cultural center during evening prayers last night, killing six people and injuring 19 others, five of whom are still in critical condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The Guardian reports:

Two arrests have been made, a police spokesman said. Local newspaper Le Soleil said police accepted a third suspect could still be on the run, though spokeswoman Chistine Coulombe later said: "Nothing right now makes us believe that there would be other suspects related to this event."

...The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, spoke of his anger after hearing the news: "We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge," he said.

"While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear."

Police said the victims were aged between 35 and 70.

At the time of the attack, more than 50 people were thought to be in the two-storey building, also called the Grande Mosquée de Québec, which is equipped with several CCTV cameras.

The mosque's president, Mohamed Yangui – who was not inside the mosque when the shooting occurred – said he got frantic calls from people at evening prayers. He said the injured were taken to different hospitals across Québec City. "Why is this happening here? This is barbaric," he said.

...Looking shaken at an early morning press conference, the city's mayor, Régis Labeaume, said Québec was in mourning. "I want to express my revolt to this villainous crime," he added.
Solidarity rallies will be held across Québec today. The CBC is publishing live updates here.

I am so angry and so sad.

This isn't happening in a vacuum. I want to strongly urge everyone (myself included) to push back hard against Islamophobia, every time you see it.

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Trump Continues to Aggressively Pursue Authoritarian White Supremacist Agenda

[Content Note: White supremacy; nativism; Islamophobia; anti-Semitism.]

Donald Trump was busy this weekend. He spoke with Vladimir Putin by phone, which barely warranted mention in the media because of everything else he was doing destroying the country.

He removed the Director of National Intelligence and the Chair of the Joint Chiefs as automatic National Security Council Principals Committee members, and established Steve Bannon as a member of the Principals Committee. This is an utterly alarming politicization of the NSC.

He tweeted about the media, again, suggesting someone with money should buy the New York Times and run it in a way that favors him—which, as Ryan Lizza observed, "is what dictators do. They try to silence independent outlets by encouraging rich friends to buy or close them. We are in a scary place."

And he signed an executive order banning new visas for citizens from seven majority Muslim countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia, which will have far-reaching effects "well beyond preventing newcomers from" those countries:

It's also expected to have substantial effects on hundreds of thousands of people from these countries who already live in the U.S. under green cards or on temporary student or employee visas.

Since the order's travel ban applies to all "aliens" — a term that encompasses anyone who isn't an American citizen — it could bar those with current visas or even green cards from returning to the U.S. from trips abroad, said Stephen Legomsky, a former chief counsel to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under President Obama.

"It's extraordinarily cruel," he said.
It's also flatly unconstitutional, as Trump has made clear [CN: video may autoplay] that Christian refugees will be given priority over Muslims. To underscore the point, he tweeted Sunday morning:

This, despite the fact that most of ISIS' victims are Muslim.

Within hours of Trump signing the Muslim ban he threatened throughout his campaign, ISIS starting using Trump's order in recruitment propaganda.

A mosque in Texas went up in flames. People were stopped and detained at airports, including Iraqis who had worked with the U.S. military, risking their lives to do so.

Protesters descended on airports across the United States, demanding that the refugees and immigrants who were being detained be allowed into the country. Legal aides showed up to assist. Elected Democrats joined protesters at the airports.

The ACLU filed a suit on behalf of two Iraqi men who were en route to the U.S. when Trump signed his disgusting executive order banning them. A federal court granted a stay.

And, in response, the Department of Homeland Security issued a statement making plain they have no intention of respecting the court's ruling. Such a flagrant disregard for the court is, as Imani Gandy noted, a feature of totalitarianism.

Checks and balances are also only as good as an administration is willing to respect them.

* * *

As I noted on Twitter, it's critical to understand that Muslim refugees being targeted have already been thoroughly vetted. Many have risked their lives aiding the U.S. Many/most of the people being denied are not just immigrants (although that, too) but refugees. In many cases, their homes are GONE.

Many undocumented people coming to the U.S. via our southern border, targeted by Trump's wall, are fleeing violence and seeking refuge. They, too, are refugees. Trump has cast Muslim refugees as potential terrorists who want to harm us, and Latinx refugees as rapists who want to harm us. Let's be very clear about that: People seeking refuge from violence are being cast as violent threats by the U.S. president.

And let's further be clear that this isn't just about "immigration." Trump is the son of an immigrant and the husband of an immigrant. This is very specifically about brown people who are seeking asylum from harm. And they're being cast as dangerous. Why would that be? Because this is an opening salvo in a vast white supremacist agenda. See also Trump's attacks on Chicago and Philly as uniquely dangerous. Trump is projecting onto people or color and/or religious minorities the INTENT TO HARM that is a central feature of his own agenda.

It's not just the ban or the wall or the threat of martial law in diverse cities. It's that he is justifying them with assertions of danger. The tactic is designed to: 1. Other. 2. Erode empathy for the Other. 3. Create fear of the Other. 4. Engender hatred of the Other. The ban is AWFUL on its own. But it is only the foundation for a strategy of division that will lead to things worse than we have conjured. And it's critical to view all of these things as part of that complex strategy.

* * *

Meanwhile, on Sunday's Meet the Press, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was asked by Chuck Todd why a White House statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day failed to mention Jews. And Priebus' answer was taken straight from the Holocaust deniers' playbook.

CHUCK TODD: There was an issue with— On Friday, the White House put out a statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day. And there wasn't a mention of Jews in the statement of any, of the victims of the Holocaust, that a majority of them were Jewish. Many of us thought it was an error. You guys were there early. And then it turns out it was not. John Podhoretz, a conservative columnist from Commentary magazine wrote this: "The Final Solution was aimed solely at the Jews. The Holocaust was about the Jews. There is no 'proud' way to offer a remembrance of the Holocaust that does not reflect that simple, awful world historical fact. To universalize it to, quote, 'All those who suffered,' is to scrub the Holocaust of its meaning." Mr. Priebus, do you understand why many Jews were offended by the White House's decision not to note that the Holocaust was about eradicating the Jews?

REINCE PRIEBUS: Well, I recognize, in fact, obviously that that was what the Holocaust was about. And it's a horrible event. And obviously a miserable time in history that we remember here at the White House and certainly will never forget the Jewish people that suffered in World War II. And obviously still incredible wounds that remain in a time in history that was of great, incredible, horrific magnitude. And everyone's heart here is impacted by the memory of that terrible time. And so, for the record, that's the case. And—

TODD: Do you regret—

PRIEBUS: —certainly we don't mean—

TODD: —does the president regret not—

PRIEBUS: —any ill-will to anybody.

TODD: Do you regret—

PRIEBUS: I don't about regret. It's just— No.

TODD: —the statement?

PRIEBUS: There's no—

TODD: There's no regret not acknowledging the pain that—

PRIEBUS: We acknowledge it. We acknowledge the—

TODD: But you didn't—

PRIEBUS: —horrible time of the Holocaust.

TODD: —but why whitewash—

PRIEBUS: —and what it meant for history, and so.

TODD: —but why white-wash Jews from that statement?

PRIEBUS: I'm not white-washing anything, Chuck. I just told—

TODD: The statement did.

PRIEBUS: —you that it was horrible. And, well, I'm telling you now that that's the way we feel about it. And it's a terrible time in history. And obviously I think you know that President Trump has dear family members that are Jewish. And there was no harm or ill-will or offense intended by any of that.

TODD: But you— So you don't— But you don't regret the statement? You don't regret the words that were chosen in the statement and the words—

PRIEBUS: I don't regret the words, Chuck.

TODD: —that were not included?

PRIEBUS: I'm trying to clear it up for you. I mean, everyone's suffering in the Holocaust, including obviously all of the Jewish people affected and the miserable genocide that occurred, is something that we consider to be extraordinarily sad and something that can never be forgotten and something that if we could wipe it off of the history books we could. But we can't. And it's terrible. I mean, I don't know what more to tell you.
Following Priebus on Meet the Press was Senator Tim Kaine, who, quite rightly, called this out as Holocaust denialism as he also drew the crucial connection between Trump's anti-Muslim executive order being issued on the same day: "I think all of these things are happening together. When you have the chief political advisor in the White House, Steve Bannon, who is connected with a news organization that traffics in white supremacy and anti-Semitism and they put out a Holocaust statement that omits any mention of Jews... The final solution was about the slaughter of Jews. We have to remember this. This is what Holocaust denial is. It's either to deny that it happened or many Holocaust deniers acknowledge, 'Oh yeah people were killed. But it was a lot of innocent people. Jews weren't targeted.' The fact that they did that and imposed this religious test against Muslims in the executive orders on the same day, this is not a coincidence."

Unfortunately, Kaine then went on to talk about how Democrats would potentially work with Trump on issues like infrastructure: "Eight years ago Democrats and President Obama made a major investment in the infrastructure in this country. No Republicans supported it. But Democrats did it and it helped the country. And if President Trump wants to do that, we'll work with him on it. Hopefully maybe a Republican will vote for it this time. So we're not closing the door on doing what's right for the good of the country. But right now we think this administration poses a real threat to our reputation, our values and our people. And we're going to battle."

Okay. Whew. So here's the thing, though:

["This segment" refers to the above Priebus segment on Meet the Press.]
Most of us have been part of conversations over the course of our lives about what we would have done during the rise of fascism and white supremacy in other nations. Well, it's not a hypothetical anymore. This is the moment you have to decide what you're going to do.

There is no neutral. There is only resistance or complicity. Make your choice.

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Open Thread

image of a purple sofa

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

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The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Beloved Community Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.

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When Evening Falls So Hard



John Legend: "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

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Discussion Thread: Self-Care

What are you doing to do to take care of yourself over the weekend, or today, or in the near future, as soon as you can?

If you are someone who has a hard time engaging in self-care, or figuring out easy, fast, and/or inexpensive ways to treat yourself, and you would like to solicit suggestions, please feel welcome. And, as always, no one should offer advice unless it is solicited.

As for me, I am going to have dinner with a dear friend who's nearby for a conference this weekend, and we are going to give each other so many squeezy fat lady hugs!

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by cucumbers.

Recommended Reading:

Marie: [Content Note: Discussion of body shaming] I'm a Fat Girl in a Tutu Who Loves to Take Up Space

Sameer: #ResistanceInPhilly Rocks Republican Congressional Retreat

Angry Asian Man: 100+ AAPI Orgs Sign on to Joint Statement Opposing Trump

Elizabeth: [CN: White supremacy] 'We Need to Be Rethinking Our Response to This': An Interview with dream hampton

Jarry: [CN: White supremacy] Roxane Gay Pulls Book from Simon & Schuster in Response to Milo Yiannopoulos Controversy

Monica: Been Nominated for 2017 Houston Pride Parade Grand Marshal!

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

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying on the sofa, looking at me upside-down and meowing at me
LOLOLOLOLOL this cat!

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 8

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 I've read today:

Richard Stengel at The Atlantic: The End of the American Century. The other night, Iain put the same idea even more starkly: "Trump is the period at the end of the American sentence."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Mikhail Gorbachev at Time: It All Looks as if the World Is Preparing for War. Damn.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Jeff Zeleny and James Griffiths at CNN: Donald Trump to Speak with Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Great. Everything is fine. So, when Trump and Putin have their chit-chat, is Trump going to use a secure line or his tweet machine? Because: Trump's Still Using His Old Android Phone. That's Very, Very Risky.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Erin Kelly at USA Today: Pence Tells Congress to 'Buckle Up' and Get Ready to Enact Major Change. "Vice President Pence told Republican members of Congress on Thursday to 'buckle up' and get ready to work with the new Trump administration on everything from repealing Obamacare to confirming a 'strict constructionist' to fill the Supreme Court. 'My friends, this is our moment,' he told lawmakers at a GOP congressional retreat in downtown Philadelphia." I may have mentioned once or twice or three million times that the role Pence would play in this administration is leading this very charge.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] And speaking of Mike Pence... Dan Merica at CNN: Pence to Address March for Life in Person. "Vice President Mike Pence will address Friday's March for Life in person, a first for a sitting vice president in the event's 43-year history." I don't guess I need to remind you about Pence's aggressively horrendous anti-choice record in Indiana, which has left the state one of the most dangerous in which to be pregnant in the entire country.

Michael R. Gordon, Helene Cooper, and Eric Schmitt at the New York Times: Trump Will Call for a Pentagon Plan to Hit ISIS Harder, Officials Say. "The White House is drafting a presidential directive that calls on Defense Secretary James N. Mattis to devise plans to more aggressively strike the Islamic State, which could include American artillery on the ground in Syria and Army attack helicopters to support an assault on the group’s capital, Raqqa, officials said. President Trump, who is to make his first visit to the Pentagon as commander in chief on Friday, will demand that the new options be presented to him within 30 days, the officials said. During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump repeatedly said that he had a secret plan to defeat the Islamic State, but he also said that he would give his commanders a month to come up with new options." My position on this remains the same.

Andrew Revkin at ProPublica: Trump's Team at EPA Vetting 'Controversial' Public Meetings and Presentations. "On Tuesday, the new administration's efforts to take hold of the EPA continued, this time with a memo from EPA headquarters requiring all regional offices to submit a list of 'all external meetings or presentations by employees planned through February 17.' The memo demanded the offices provide a short description of each event and a note explaining 'whether it is controversial and why.'" WTF.

Esme Cribb at TPM: Report: Trump Admin Pulls Obamacare Ads in Last Days of 2017 Open Enrollment. "President Donald Trump's administration has abruptly halted ads and outreach for Obamacare set to run during the final days of the 2017 open enrollment season, according to a report published Thursday by Politico. Even ads that President Barack Obama's administration already placed and paid for have been pulled, Politico reported, citing sources at the Department of Health and Human Services and on Capitol Hill. The White House has also reportedly halted media outreach promoting enrollment, including emails sent to visitors to HealthCare.gov. ...The final days of the open enrollment period are 'seen as critical,' according to the report. This is due to a last-minute surge in sign-ups by individuals who procrastinate on enrollment, particularly younger and healthier customers." In plain English: Trump is trying to sabotage Obamacare, in order to call it a failure and justify replacing it.

[CN: White supremacy; violence] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: Trump's New Immigration Official Used to Lead Hate Group. "Julie Kirchner, former executive director of the anti-immigrant hate group the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has reportedly been named chief of staff of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the federal agency that oversees Border Patrol. FAIR's leaders have ties to eugenics and white supremacist organizations, and its founder is credited with creating the modern anti-immigrant movement." CBP claims hers is merely "a temporary political appointment." Oh.

[CN: Transphobia] Luis Damian Veron at Towleroad: South Dakota to Consider Anti-Trans Locker Room Bill. "The latest state-level attempt to micromanage gender identity among trans youths comes in South Dakota, where two Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that specifically designates locker room use by students in accordance with their sex [assigned] at birth." Goddammit. In hopeful news: "Governor Daugaard has already signaled his intention to veto any bill that is 'substantially the same' as last year's."

Karen Tumulty and Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post: Trump Pressured Park Service to Find Proof for His Claims About Inauguration Crowd. Of course he did. Because he is a brittle, insecure despot with zero compunction about abusing his power to satiate his voracious need for adoration.

Speaking of which... Lucy Pasha-Robinson at The Independent: Government Library Bookshelves 'Filled with Donald Trump Books'. "A bookcase in the former State Department library in Washington D.C. has been filled with Donald Trump's books, it has been claimed. According to an unverified photograph that emerged on Thursday, shelves of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building's library are now stocked with reading material authored by the US president."

Trump's presidential portrait is terrific, obviously.

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

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Of Course

[Content Note: Misogyny.]


That question is, of course, rhetorical. Being an uppity woman was always enough reason. It was enough reason for Trump supporters chanting for her imprisonment—and occasionally calling for her death—and it was enough reason for the corporate media, who weren't concerned about the Bush administration's massive email scandal, and don't seem concerned about [CN: video may autoplay] the Trump administration using RNC emails on the same system used by the Bush administration "to evade transparency rules after claiming to have 'lost' 22 million emails."

I couldn't make that up.

The corporate media reported on Hillary Clinton's emails for 600 days, but could not muster similar concern for either Republican presidency bookending the Democratic administration in which she served. Huh.

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I Write Letters

image of Hillary Clinton in profile; she is slightly smiling
[Photo: Michael Davidson for Hillary for America.]

Dear People Demanding to Know Why Hillary Clinton Isn't Doing Whatever It Is You Think She Needs to Be Doing in This Moment:

Hillary Clinton doesn't owe you a goddamned thing.

Hillary Clinton ran for president. She ran despite a hideous game of cajoling her to run, only to shame her for running. She ran despite the fact that the media has treated her like garbage for decades; despite knowing they would treat her like garbage again—which they did. She ran despite knowing, as keenly as any other woman in the country and more than most, the hellscape of vicious misogyny that would be unleashed against her. She ran despite the fact that she knew, should she win, she would face Republican obstructionism and vitriol so vast and relentless that it would take a tenacious beast to govern. She ran knowing she would have to be that tenacious beast, and could be.

She ran for president on the most progressive Democratic platform ever, and her campaign was remarkably devoid of the typical unforced errors in most presidential campaigns (including her previous one). She showed herself to be a candidate capable of learning and willing to learn—when she changed positions, it was because she came to the more progressive one.

Which is not to suggest that she was a perfect candidate, but she was a damn good one. Yet her insufficient perfection was somehow considered a fatal flaw by people who now demand she dance at their command.

She wanted to lead this nation—and, more importantly, she wanted to govern it. And she had the knowledge and capability to do it, and do it well.

She put out an enormous number of policy papers and factsheets, so we could see exactly what she wanted to do and how she would do it. She gave detailed policy addresses, and she answered voters' questions with both compassion and seriousness and details.

She conveyed, in every conceivable way, that she had the experience to be our president, and an abundance of talent, and she was offering both to us.

And we passed.

More of us voted for her, of course, but there is a reason she is not our president. And it's not just because of Russian interference and James Comey being a colossal wanker. It's also because enough votes for Jill Stein threw key states to Donald Trump, and because millions and millions of people voted for Trump despite his reprehensible platform.

I am hardly the first person to observe that I would much rather be spending my days encouraging Hillary Clinton to be more progressive than documenting the fall of the republic under the presidency of Donald Trump.

But here we are.

And now there are people—many of whom are self-identified Bernie Sanders supporters who voted for Stein in those aforementioned key states, or who voted for Trump, or who didn't vote at all—who are demanding to know why Hillary Clinton isn't "doing something" to stop Donald Trump and his authoritarian onslaught.

She did do something, you ungrateful wrecks. She campaigned for 18 months, the last of them against Trump himself, day after exhausting day, keeping up a ruthless schedule that would drive most people half her age to collapse after three weeks, no less a year and a half. She gave up time with her family, her grandchildren; gave up anything resembling free time; gave up her privacy. She made countless sacrifices on behalf of this country in order to prevent this exact outcome.

You took a hard pass, and now you have the unmitigated temerity to want more from her? Fuck you.

I note with all the mirthless laughter in the universe that one of the incessant criticisms of Hillary Clinton was that she was entitled.

She gave it everything she had already. You don't get to ask for even more.

And what, pray tell, do you expect her to do, anyway? Crash the confirmation hearings? She's not a sitting Senator anymore. That's not the way it works. Show up at a protest, dragging the Secret Service with her, constantly on the lookout for people who sent her death threats; chanted that she should be locked up or killed? That's not the way it works, either.

Even if you could name some meaningful action that you'd like her to be taking in this moment, this darkest of moments in our nation's history, she doesn't owe it to you.

It hurts my heart when I think about how not only did we reject her in favor of the shitlord who currently occupies the Oval Office, but we sought to humiliate her, over and over, for even trying to defeat him.

And now, to add breathtaking insult to that grievous injury, people are mad at her for not showing up?! She tried to show up. And a bunch of progressive purists told her to GTFO and spit in her face for good measure.

Hillary Clinton doesn't owe you shit.

She warned you that it was a bad idea to set your house on fire, and now you're mad at her for not letting you crash on her couch? How dare you.

Seriously. How dare you.

It isn't Hillary Clinton's fault that you didn't take seriously what was really at stake. And I wouldn't blame her for never showing up again for a country that disregarded her warnings and rejected her so callously.

But the thing is: She probably will show up. Again. She's probably hatching some sort of plan as we speak, because that's just the kind of indomitable human being she is—a patriot of unfathomable measure.

And the fact that we almost certainly haven't heard the last of Hillary Clinton is not only testament to her extraordinary fortitude and her profound loyalty to this nation, but is the primary fucking reason that she deserved our votes.

She deserved them way more than we deserve her.

So if Hillary Clinton wants to spend the rest of her days walking in the woods and playing with her grandchildren and eating delicious things and never, ever, putting herself in front of a camera and subjecting herself to abominably unjust scrutiny no person should ever have to face, more power to her.

I hope she does exactly what she wants to do, whatever that may be.

Because she has already given me an enormous amount of her time, her energy, her very self. She doesn't owe me another goddamned thing.

And she doesn't owe you anything more, either.

Sincerely,
Liss

P.S. Stop asking women to be your clean-up crew.

P.P.S. Maude save us all.

[Note: In case it's not abundantly clear from the address line on this letter, it is directed only at people who are demanding something from Hillary Clinton. It is not directed broadly at progressives who didn't vote for her, for reasons such as not feeling as though her platform to address police violence against Black people was sufficiently robust. As I have repeatedly made clear: My vote is mine, and your vote is yours. Please understand, as you head to comments, that the issue is not having voted, or not voted, for Hillary Clinton, but people who are demanding she show up for them now, in the exact way they want, irrespective of for whom they cast a vote.]

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