We Resist: Day 195

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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: I Write Letters and Today in White Supremacy White House and Trump Signs Russia Sanctions Bill, with "Concerns".

Today's top issue is immigration, as Donald Trump has unveiled an immigration plan that would severely curtail legal immigration.

This, too, is another proposal to fundamentally alter the character of the United States and our place in the world. It's devastating.

And, let me be blunt, for anyone who doesn't understand what a "merit-based" immigration policy that favors English-speaking immigrants actually is: It's a white supremacist shitshow. That's what it is.

And even if we were willing, for shits and grins, to pretend that it was really just about centering skilled workers, the fucking chutzpah of a man married to an immigrant who entered the country as a model advocating a "merit-based" immigration policy!

Which is not a knock on modeling or an implication that it's an unskilled job. But in terms of integral work, we need agricultural laborers to process food significantly more than we need models. (Someone might observe we need them more than political writers, too, and they would be absolutely correct.)

This policy is perhaps the ultimate example of closing the door behind you once you've exploited the opportunities offered to you. What a cruel, selfish shitbird Donald Trump is.

In other immigration news...

[Content Note: Nativism; video may autoplay at link] Elise Foley at the Huffington Post: ICE's 'Targeted Enforcement Operation' Mostly Arrests Immigrants It Wasn't Targeting. "An Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation to arrest people who entered the country without authorization as kids or as families ended up mostly sweeping up other people who officers encountered along the way. ...The purpose of 'Operation Border Guardian/Border Resolve' was to pick up people who came to the U.S. as unaccompanied minors or family units. But such people made up only about 30 percent of the total arrests: 120 people who entered the country as unaccompanied minors and 73 as part of families, versus 457 who were 'encountered during this operation,' as ICE put it in a statement. An ICE spokeswoman confirmed that those 457 people were not the targets of the operation."

[CN: Nativism; harassment] Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress: As United States Cracks Down on Refugee Resettlement, the 'Ellis Island of the South' Keeps Open Arms. "[Clarkstown, Georgia, is] often referred to as the 'Ellis Island of the South.' In recent decades, the Clarkston area has accepted roughly 1,500 refugees each year, making the town the most diverse 1.4 square miles in the United States. Clarkston is now home to people from more than 40 countries speaking more than 60 languages. ...The world right now is experiencing the largest forced migration crisis in recorded history, with more than 21.3 million refugees worldwide. And opportunities, especially in the United States, are quickly disappearing. [Donald] Trump campaigned for the presidency with a staunchly anti-immigrant, anti-refugee message, and in his five months in office, his administration has followed through with actions that have terrified the residents here."

[CN: Nativism; human trafficking] Nina Mast at Media Matters: Pro-Trump Trolls Silent After "Alt-Right" Ship Detained in Mediterranean for Apparent Human Trafficking. "Defend Europe, an anti-immigrant group that attempts to disrupt humanitarian search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea, recently chartered a boat that was stopped in a Cyprus port, where several members were arrested for forging documents and engaging in potential human trafficking. Since then, pro-Trump media trolls associated with the campaign have been conspicuously silent." I'll bet they have.

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Jeffrey Toobin at the New Yorker: Trump's Real Personnel Victory: More Conservative Judges. "So while the public watches Trump churn through White House staff members, his Administration is humming along nicely in filling federal judgeships, with the enthusiastic assistance of the Republican majority in the Senate. The first and most important victory for the President came with the confirmation of Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, in a seat that Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, the Republican leader in the Senate, kept vacant for nearly the full final year of Barack Obama's Presidency. But McConnell didn't just protect a Supreme Court seat for the next President; he basically shut down the entire confirmation process for all of Obama's federal-judgeship nominees for more than a year. It's the vacancies that accumulated during this time — more than a hundred of them — that Trump's team is now working efficiently to fill." *screams*

Chris Riotta at Newsweek/Yahoo News: Trump Can't Be Left Alone, So His Generals Created Plan to Keep Tabs on Him. "Donald Trump can't be left alone to make decisions regarding matters of national security — at least, that is reportedly the view of his new chief of staff, John Kelly, and of his defense secretary, James Mattis. The two military men, who Trump affectionately refers to as 'my generals,' hatched a plan during the initial months of his presidency to ensure he wasn't left alone while in the U.S., the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Kelly and Mattis agreed to schedule their travel arrangements so at least one of them could be physically accessible to the new president at all times, an official with knowledge of the pact said."

Instead of "hatching a plan" to make sure someone is always with him, these two abetting clowns should have been hatching a plan to convince every Republican Congressman that Donald Trump is unfit to be president because he cannot be trusted. Goddammit.

Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: Trump Is About to Make America Much Crueler to Unionized Workers. "Since Election Day, unions have lived on borrowed time. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which has exclusive authority over many key questions of labor law, is still controlled by Democrats — thus shielding workers and their unions from attacks that became far likelier the moment Donald Trump was declared the winner of the 2016 election. But this period of interregnum is about to end. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) began the process of confirming the first of Trump's two nominees to the NLRB on Monday. When both nominees sit on the Board, a swift rollback of union rights is likely."

[CN: War; death] Micah Zenko at Foreign Policy: Donald Trump Is Pushing America's Special Forces Past the Breaking Point.
With little policy guidance or public attention, the Donald Trump administration has further expanded former President Barack Obama's use of lethal counterterrorism operations in nonbattlefield countries — namely Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. During the final 193 days of Obama's presidency, there were 21 such operations. Over a comparable number of days under [Donald] Trump, there have been five times as many operations: at least 92 in Yemen, four in Pakistan, and six in Somalia.

The workhorse for these expanded missions is the military's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) — a sub-unified command of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). We know that JSOC, and not the CIA, is the lead executive authority for these operations because they are overt, rather than covert. Military officials have publicly explained the missions, and the Defense Department has even issued press releases about them...

There is no reason to doubt that Trump will turn more and more to JSOC, just as his predecessors did, in pursuit of counterterrorism objectives. But this over-reliance on lethal force is not just exhausting America's special operators; it is wholly insufficient to comprehensively confront the underlying causes of militancy and terrorism — a mantra Pentagon officials repeat when they all but beg Congress to adequately fund the State Department.
The whole piece is an important read to understand our current military policy, and what's wrong with it.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Billy House at Bloomberg: House Judiciary Chairman's Priority: Investigating Hillary Clinton. "Between Russian meddling in last year's election, Donald Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, and the president's public drubbing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the House Judiciary Committee has a lot it could be looking into. But its Republican chairman, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, has a different priority: investigating Hillary Clinton." PRIORITIES! The Republican Party definitely has them! And they. are. terrible.

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In good resistance news, or at least not terrible news...

Alice Ollstein at TPM: Federal Court Gives States a Say in Trump's Battle over Obamacare Subsidies. "As [Donald] Trump mulls sabotaging Obamacare's exchanges by cutting off billions in cost sharing reduction payments to insurers — payments that are the subject of an ongoing federal lawsuit that began when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives sued the Obama administration in 2014 — a new court action this week makes it harder for him to unilaterally ending the subsidies. On Tuesday night, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit granted a motion filed by 16 states — led by New York and California — who want to be intervening parties in the lawsuit around the legality of the payments. This means that even if Trump decides to drop the government's defense of the insurer subsidies, the states can take up the mantle."

Imani Gandy at Rewire: Lawsuit Revived Against Ferguson Police. "A federal appeals court on Tuesday breathed new life into a multimillion dollar lawsuit alleging that police in Ferguson, Missouri, used excessive force on protesters during the civil unrest following the death of Michael Brown in 2014. A unanimous three judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that one of the nine plaintiffs, DeWayne Matthews, could move forward with his claims that Ferguson police used excessive force when they arrested him on August 13, 2014. The ruling reverses part of the lower court's decision last October to dispense with the entire lawsuit."

Mark Hand at ThinkProgress: 16 Attorneys General Sue Scott Pruitt for Blocking Implementation of EPA Smog Rule. "The states contend that Administrator Scott Pruitt's proposed one-year delay in compliance deadlines for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards violate the requirements of the Clean Air Act. The Obama-era regulation lowered the allowable concentration of ozone to 70 parts per billion, from the previous 75. 'By illegally blocking these vital clean air protections, Administrator Pruitt is endangering the health and safety of millions — but attorneys general have made clear: We won't hesitate to fight back to protect our residents and our states,' New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the lawsuit, said in a statement."

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

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