We Resist: Day 133

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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.

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Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: The Latest on Trump and Russia.

Matea Gold at the Washington Post: White House Grants Ethics Waivers to 17 Appointees, Including Four Former Lobbyists.
The White House disclosed Wednesday evening that it has granted ethics waivers to 17 appointees who work for [Donald] Trump and [Mike] Pence, including four former lobbyists.

The waivers exempt the appointees from certain portions of ethics rules aimed at barring potential conflicts of interest. In letters posted on the White House website, the White House counsel's office wrote that the waivers were in the public interest because the administration had a need for the appointees' expertise on certain issues.

Among the high-profile figures who received waivers: White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, who were both permitted to engage with their former employers or clients. In addition, a blanket waiver was given to all executive office appointees to interact with news organizations — a move that gives chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon permission to communicate with Breitbart News, the conservative website he used to run.
Emphasis mine. Propaganda operations and draining the swamp directly in the White House. Either one of those would have constituted a pretty significant scandal in any other administration. For Trump, it's barely a blip on the radar.

Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker: Trump's "Good Job" Call to Roger Stone. "On May 11th Roger Stone, Donald Trump's on-again, off-again political adviser for several decades, had just wrapped up a pair of morning television appearances when, according to two sources with direct knowledge, he received a call from the President. Just a night earlier, Trump claimed that he was no longer in touch with Stone. In the weeks and months ahead, the relationship between Trump and Stone is expected to be a significant focus of investigators, and their call raises an important question: Why is the President still reaching out to figures in the middle of the Russia investigations? Previous reports have noted that Trump has also been in touch with Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn, two figures targeted by the F.B.I.'s Russia probe. Add Stone to the list of former top Trump aides who, despite being under investigation, are still winning attention from the President."

Two useful timelines on the Russia stuff:

Steven Harper at Moyers & Company: A Timeline: Pence's Role in the White House's Russia-Related Mess.

Michelle Ye Hee Lee at the Washington Post: Every Russia Story Trump Said Was a Hoax by Democrats: A Timeline.

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Fucking hell.

[CN: Homophobia; transphobia] Zack Ford at ThinkProgress: Trump Breaks Tradition of Recognizing LGBTQ Pride Month. "Donald Trump, who has long claimed to be an LGBTQ ally, could have become the first Republican president to acknowledge Pride Month with a proclamation, but he didn't—and the silence is deafening. ...President Bill Clinton was the first president to issue a Pride Month proclamation. ...President Barack Obama not only embraced the tradition, but also set a new precedent for it. In addition to issuing a proclamation at the beginning of each Pride Month of his two terms, he also held an annual White House reception to celebrate the movers and shakers of the LGBTQ movement. There is no reception on Trump's agenda, and the absence of a Pride Month proclamation is quite conspicuous."

[CN: Nativism] Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Grace Napolitano, and Pamila Jayapal at the Hill: Harsh U.S. Immigration Policies Are Causing Mental, Social Harm to American Children. "Roughly one in four American children younger than 18 live in immigrant families, and over four million U.S.-citizen children have at least one undocumented parent. A sense of safety and belonging is key to their psychological development. Feeling secure is critical to them thriving emotionally, academically, and socially. Conversely, evidence has shown that adverse childhood experiences, like intense uncertainty and fear, are detrimental to their health. Currently, too many children live in daily fear that their parents could be arrested, detained, or deported at any moment."

[CN: Misogynoir; threats] Rich Smith at the Stranger: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor Cancels West Coast Tour After a Fox News Report Spurs Death Threats. "Princeton University professor of African-American studies, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, was scheduled to speak at Town Hall Seattle this evening about her latest book, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. But on Sunday, Fox News aired a brief clip of her 20-minute-long commencement speech to Hampshire College's graduating class of 2017, during which she said what anyone with two eyes, a pulse, and more than three chapter books on their shelf would say about the President of the United States, namely that he's a 'racist, sexist, megalomaniac.' The media arm of the Republican party showed the clip with the headline: 'Anti-POTUS Tirade: Princeton Prof Slams Pres During Speech.' Then, according to a statement Taylor's publishers released on Facebook, like cowards, a number of Fox News viewers felt compelled to send racist, sexist, megalomaniacal messages to Taylor from the relative safety of their own computers."

In (tentative) good news...

[CN: Carcerality; racism] Imani Gandy at Rewire: Breaking: ACLU Files Lawsuit to End Debtors' Prison Practices in Lexington County, South Carolina.
Thursday's lawsuit, filed on behalf of five indigent plaintiffs, including Brown, alleges that Lexington County has been engaging in the equivalent of modern-day "debtors' prison" practices: issuing arrest warrants for people who are unable to pay court fees or court-ordered fines for minor infractions like parking tickets, and jailing them without offering them lawyers or determining whether they have the ability to pay in the first place.

The lawsuit names as defendants Lexington County; the sheriff of Lexington County, Bryan Koon; a judge of one of the magistrate courts, Rebecca Adams; and a few other Lexington County court officials.

At issue in the case are two county policies: The Default Payment Policy and the Trial in Absentia Policy. Under the Default Payment Policy, a court will impose a payment plan for fees or fines, requiring steep monthly payments that are often beyond the individual's financial means. If the person fails to pay, the court issues a bench warrant ordering law enforcement to arrest and jail the individual unless the full amount owed is paid.

Under the Trial in Absentia Policy, the complaint says, Lexington County courts order the arrest and incarceration of people unable to pay fines and fees in connection with trials and sentencing proceedings that are held in their absence. Even if the individual contacts the court to request another hearing date and to explain why they cannot appear at the scheduled hearing, courts will convict them in absentia, and sentence them to jail pending payment of fines and fees. Before notifying these individuals of their sentences, courts issue bench warrants ordering law enforcement to arrest and jail the individual, again unless the full amount owed is paid.

Simply put, courts cannot jail people because they are too poor to pay fines—sometimes called "pay or stay."
Let's fervently hope that the plaintiffs prevail.

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

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