We Resist: Day 160

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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: Mike Pence Takes Charge on Senate "Healthcare" Bill and Cyberattacks Caused Surgery Delays; Breach at Nuclear Power Plant Being Investigated.


A few really terrific things to read on healthcare — terrific and utterly heart-wrenching:

[Content Note: Racism] Anna Maria Barry-Jester at FiveThirtyEight: The Health Care System Is Leaving the Southern Black Belt Behind.
The Black Belt refers to a stretch of land in the U.S. South whose fertile soil drew white colonists and plantation owners centuries ago. After hundreds of thousands of people were forced there as slaves, the region became the center of rural, black America. Today, the name describes predominantly rural counties where a large share of the population is African-American. The area is one of the most persistently poor in the country, and residents have some of the most limited economic prospects. Life expectancies are among the shortest in the U.S., and poor health outcomes are common...

Yes, measuring who's insured illuminates one way by which people have access to the health care system, but it's only part of the picture. The term "access to health care" has a standardized federal definition that's much broader: "the timely use of personal health services to achieve the best health outcomes."

And there's a list of metrics to measure it. Researchers consider structural barriers, such as distance to a hospital or how many health professionals work in an area, to be important. As are metrics that gauge whether a patient can find a health care provider that she trusts and can communicate with well enough to get the services she needs.

...In Alabama, Black Belt counties have fewer primary care physicians, dentists, and mental health providers per resident than other counties. They also tend to have the highest rates of uninsured people. Poverty rates, which are associated with limited access to care, are also high.
Leah McElrath at Shareblue: My Father Is One of the Vulnerable Seniors Most at Risk from GOP's Cruel Medicaid Cuts. "More than 1.4 million Americans are receiving nursing home or other long-term care paid for by Medicaid. One of them is my father. My father is now 77 years old and has a rare form of dementia. When he became unable to care for himself in his home, I took him into my home and cared for him there. But when I was no longer able financially, physically, and emotionally able to do so, my father moved to a Medicaid-funded facility. To qualify for Medicaid funding for long-term care, you have to meet two types of criteria: financial and medical. To put it bluntly, you have to be both very poor and very infirm."

Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: This Is How Trumpcare Will Be a Death Sentence. "Jon [who has cystic fibrosis] says that Obamacare, which enabled him to remain insured after he lost his employer-provided plan, 'definitely saved me from bankruptcy, and quite possibly saved my life.' Now, however, Senate Republicans are pushing a bill that would deny millions of Americans of the security that Jon enjoyed when his illness left him unable to obtain insurance through an employer. ...Had this legislation been in effect when Jon became too sick to work, he very well may be dead."

Eric Meyer on Twitter: "This is my daughter Rebecca in 2013. She was 5¼ years old when I took this [photo], and less than three days later, she almost died on an ER bed. ...Later, there were weeks on weeks of radiation and chemotherapy. After that was done, we came home for more chemotherapy. ...The treatments didn't work. She died at home less than ten months after her cancer was discovered, June 7th, 2014, her sixth birthday. In those ten months, the total retail cost of her procedures and treatments was $1,691,627.45. Almost one point seven million US dollars. ...Without insurance, even if we'd been able to get the insurer's rate, we'd have gone bankrupt. All investments, home, everything gone. If pre-existing conditions had prevented us from being covered, or if we'd been less fortunate and unable to afford premiums—bankrupted. So Rebecca's brother and sister would have suffered her death, AND the loss of their home and what little remained normal in their lives."

This last piece isn't just about healthcare, but it's extremely relevant. Kayla Chadwick at the Huffington Post: I Don't Know How to Explain to You That You Should Care About Other People.
Like many Americans, I'm having politics fatigue. Or, to be more specific, arguing-about-politics fatigue.

I haven't run out of salient points or evidence for my political perspective, but there is a particular stumbling block I keep running into when trying to reach across the proverbial aisle and have those "difficult conversations" so smugly suggested by think piece after think piece:

I don't know how to explain to someone why they should care about other people.

...I don't know how to convince someone how to experience the basic human emotion of empathy. I cannot have one more conversation with someone who is content to see millions of people suffer needlessly in exchange for a tax cut that statistically they'll never see (do you make anywhere close to the median American salary? Less? Congrats, this tax break is not for you).

I cannot have political debates with these people. Our disagreement is not merely political, but a fundamental divide on what it means to live in a society, how to be a good person, and why any of that matters.

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[CN: Sexual harassment] Donald Trump is a disgusting disgrace, part whatever in an endless series:

If you're wondering if there are any people on Twitter brave enough not to let me get away with saying this is sexual harassment when it is clearly just a compliment, of course there are hahahahahaha OF COURSE THERE ARE.

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Esme Cribb at TPM: GOP Rep Laments Budget Inaction: 'We Just Simply Don't Know How to Govern'. "Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) on Tuesday bemoaned House Republicans' apparent inability to bring a budget resolution to a vote on the chamber floor amid internal differences and higher-profile policy goals. 'We just simply don't know how to govern,' Womack, a member of the House Budget Committee, told the Washington Post. 'It's almost like we're serving in the minority right now.' He said a budget resolution for 2018 'should have been put to bed a long time ago.'" Indeed. But Republicans really don't have any idea how to govern, and their ideas are all garbage, so.

Oliver Milman at the Guardian: EPA Seeks to Scrap Rule Protecting Drinking Water for Third of Americans. "The Environmental Protection Agency is poised to dismantle the federal clean water rule, which protects waterways that provide drinking water for about a third of the US population. The EPA, with the US army, has proposed scrapping the rule in order to conduct a 'substantive re-evaluation' of which rivers, streams, wetlands, and other bodies of water should be protected by the federal government. 'We are taking significant action to return power to the states and provide regulatory certainty to our nation's farmers and businesses,' said Scott Pruitt, administrator of the EPA. Pruitt said the EPA would swiftly redefine clean water regulations in a 'thoughtful, transparent, and collaborative' way with other agencies and the public."

LOL! They'll "thoughtfully" figure out how to poison us. Terrific.

Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Trump Uses Twitter Feed to Sell Book for Fox News Personality, Blurring Ethical Lines. Tuesday morning [Donald] Trump retweeted a tweet by Fox News commentator Eric Bolling promoting his upcoming book titled, 'The Swamp.' The book, subtitled 'Washington's Murky Pool of Corruption and Cronyism and How Trump Can Drain It,' co-opts Trump's popular campaign slogan of his promise to 'drain the swamp in Washington.' This promotion of commercial products could potentially violate a ban that prohibits federal employees from endorsing any 'product, service, or enterprise.' ...This incident is an example of Trump's inability to let go of his businessman persona." And an example of Trump's inability to control his impulses.

Todd Bishop at GeekWire: Trump Targets Amazon over 'Internet Taxes' in New Tweet Criticizing Bezos-Owned Washington Post. "Donald Trump resurfaced his complaints against Amazon this morning in a tweet targeting the Washington Post’s coverage of his administration: 'The #AmazonWashingtonPost, sometimes referred to as the guardian of Amazon not paying internet taxes (which they should) is FAKE NEWS!' The tweet follows a report by the Washington Post last night about a fake, framed Time magazine cover that hangs in Trump's golf clubs. It's not clear what Trump meant by 'internet taxes' in this context, but Amazon collects sales tax on purchases in every state where it's required, and the company supports national legislation that would require remote sellers to collect sales tax regardless of location. The Washington Post is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, not by Amazon."

There are a lot of concerning things about Donald Trump, to say the very least. Among them is the toxic combination of his vengefulness and his ignorance. He doesn't understand that Amazon doesn't own the Washington Post, so he might do something like propose a tax on internet purchases to punish Amazon for something the Washington Post did. It's incredible. And that's one of the least damaging acts of misplaced revenge he's likely to take. Terrifying.

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David Corn at Mother Jones: We Already Know Trump Betrayed America.
The Trump-Russia scandal is the subject of multiple investigations that may or may not unearth new revelations, but this much is already certain: Donald Trump is guilty.

...Explicit collusion may yet be proved by the FBI investigation overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller or by other ongoing probes. But even if it is not, a harsh verdict can be pronounced: Trump actively and enthusiastically aided and abetted Russian President Vladimir Putin's plot against America. This is the scandal. It already exists—in plain sight.

...This country needs a thorough and public investigation to sort out how the Russian operation worked, how US intelligence and the Obama administration responded, and how Trump and his associates interacted with Russia and WikiLeaks. But whatever happened out of public view, the existing record is already conclusively shameful. Trump and his crew were active enablers of Putin's operation to subvert an American election. That is fire, not smoke. That is scandal enough.
Yep. It's one of the great frustrations of this outrage that the brazenness of Trump's and his associates' behavior is routinely used to excuse it.

Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman at the Washington Post: Former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort Files as Foreign Agent for Ukraine Work. "A consulting firm led by Paul Manafort, who chaired Donald Trump's presidential campaign for several months last year, retroactively filed forms Tuesday showing that his firm received $17.1 million over two years from a political party that dominated Ukraine before its leader fled to Russia in 2014. Manafort disclosed the total payments his firm received between 2012 and 2014 in a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing late Tuesday that was submitted to the U.S. Justice Department. The report makes Manafort the second former senior Trump adviser to acknowledge the need to disclose work for foreign interests."

That refers, of course, to Manafort's work for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Putin then-prime minister of Ukraine, for whom Bernie Sanders' chief strategist Tad Devine also worked. [Relatedly.]

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Kevin Johnson at USA Today: Donald Trump and His Team Hired an Army of Lawyers for Russia Investigation. Who Made the List? "In what has become a near-full employment opportunity for the defense bar, even some of Trump's lawyers have lawyers. Michael Cohen, another longtime Trump business attorney who is not part of the Russia team, recently hired former federal prosecutor Stephen Ryan after congressional investigators sought information from him last month about possible contacts with Russia. The Trump team has expanded its constellation of legal expertise to keep pace not only with Mueller's inquiry but with parallel investigations at least three congressional committees are pursuing, including the Senate and House intelligence panels and the Senate Judiciary Committee."

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That lock-out may be because the Trump administration didn't want the world seeing the Justice Department actually engaging in justice work by honoring Gavin Grimm.

[CN: Disablism] Robyn Powell at Rewire: How Media Coverage of Health-Care Protests by People With Disabilities Missed the Point. "As a woman with a disability, I was so happy to see the extensive local, national, and international coverage of the protests by the media. But while I am thrilled that the protest received so much attention, I am worried that some overlooked its purpose: to draw attention to the very real and devastating consequences people with disabilities will experience if the new health-care bill passes. ...This questioning of the protesters' competence is offensive. As leaders of ADAPT explained to ABC News, this action was planned well in advance. The protesters were at the Capitol because of their fears and outrage concerning the proposed draconian cuts to Medicaid: The House health-care bill included such drastic changes, and ADAPT correctly guessed the Senate bill would be similar."

[CN: Water contamination; racism; class warfare] Yessenia Funes at Colorlines: In East Chicago, Residents Can't Drink Their Water or Play Outside. "People are most familiar with what's happening to the water in Flint, Michigan, but the mostly Black and Hispanic residents of the West Calumet Public Housing Complex in the Indiana neighborhood aren't faring much better. Their soil and water contain lead levels hundreds of times above what the EPA deems safe. Residents were supposed to evacuate from the public housing complex by March 31, 2017... The city has provided the housing complex residents with section 8 housing vouchers, but [some residents have] had trouble finding an apartment that accepts the voucher."

And finally, in good news...

Daniel Boffey at the Guardian: Mayors of 7,400 Cities Vow to Meet Obama's Climate Commitments. "Mayors of more than 7,400 cities across the world have vowed that Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris accord will spur greater local efforts to combat climate change. At the first meeting of a 'global covenant of mayors,' city leaders from across the US, Europe and elsewhere pledged to work together to keep to the commitments made by Barack Obama two years ago. ...Kassim Reed, the mayor of Atlanta, told reporters he had travelled to Europe to 'send a signal' that US states and cities would execute the policies Obama committed to, whether the current White House occupants agreed or not."

Thank you, Mayors.

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

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