We Resist: Day 200

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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: Keep Your Eyes on Pence and "Dastardly, Cowardly" Bombing of Mosque in Minnesota.

On Donald Trump's 200th day of his presidency, he's on a 17-day vacation. Low stamina! Sad!

I have never seen a president work less than he does. Even George W. Bush, with all his brush-clearing, looks in retrospect like a presidential dynamo compared to Trump.

On the one hand, it's not like I want Trump working harder on his disgusting agenda. On the other hand, it is slightly concerning that the nation is basically not being governed at all at this point.

Remember when we had a real country with a real president who actually cared about his job? Those were the days.

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Justin McCurry and Oliver Holmes at the Guardian: North Korea Vows 'Thousands-Fold' Revenge on US over Sanctions.
North Korea has vowed to exact "thousands-fold" revenge against the US after the UN imposed new sanctions in response to its recent tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, the government said the sanctions were a "violent violation of our sovereignty" and part of a "heinous plot to isolate and stifle" the country.

The UN security council unanimously backed new sanctions on Saturday that could slash the regime's $3bn in annual export revenue by a third. The measures target key revenue earners such as coal, iron, lead, and seafood — but not oil.

Pyongyang threatened to take "righteous action," describing the sanctions as a crime for which the US would pay "thousands of times."
Everything is fine.

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David Wasserman at FiveThirtyEight: The Congressional Map Is Historically Biased Against Democrats. "In the last few decades, Democrats have expanded their advantages in California and New York — states with huge urban centers that combined to give Clinton a 6 million vote edge, more than twice her national margin. But those two states elect only 4 percent of the Senate. Meanwhile, Republicans have made huge advances in small rural states — think Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, and West Virginia — that wield disproportionate power in the upper chamber compared to their populations."

This relates to something about which I've written before: "Millions of the people who are concentrated in cities like New York, Chicago, Austin, and San Francisco (among others) are there because they were persecuted in their homes, and find greater safety in spaces where laws have been passed to protect them. Millions of queer people who are targeted by Republican legislatures in their home states; millions of women who fear childbearing in an area without robust reproductive choice; millions of Black people who are the descendants of elders who were kept out of small Northern sundown towns. Etc."

Republican legislatures have enacted regressive social policy (or failed thoroughly to progress on social issues), making their states unattractive to employers (so there are fewer jobs) and to progressive and/or marginalized residents, many of whom move (if they are able) to find work and to escape oppressive social policy. And sometimes for even more personal reasons: It may be difficult, if you're a feminist or an atheist or a progressive etc., to find a partner — hell, even friends — in many very conservative areas.

These policies are a big part of what's created the imbalanced concentrations in California and New York. And one of the things about which we simply refuse to have a meaningful national conversation is that it's increasingly difficult for Democrats to win in "middle America" because there are fewer and fewer Democratic voters left there.

Yes, of course we should and must address voter suppression and gerrymandering, and building bridges to old and new communities of Democratic voters, but we also need to be honest that none of that deals with the problem of Democratic voters who simply leave for states with more opportunity, better infrastructure, and welcoming social policy.

That's a conversation that makes people uncomfortable because it veers dangerously close to the idea that we are becoming an irreconcilably divided nation. Ignoring it isn't going to make that better, for the record.

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John Wagner at the Washington Post: Trump Says His Political Base Is 'Stronger Than Ever' Despite Polling to the Contrary. "A poll last week from Quinnipiac University found that just 33 percent of voters overall approve of Trump's job performance, a new low. Notably, support among white voters without a college degree — a key Trump demographic — had fallen off as well." And still Trump is brag-ranting on Twitter about his support, because of course he is.

Natasha Geiling at ThinkProgress: Interior Department Investigating Zinke for Reportedly Threatening Senators over Trumpcare Votes. "The Interior Department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has launched a 'preliminary investigation' over reports that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke threatened to pull funding from Alaskan energy projects if Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK) didn't vote in support of [Donald] Trump's health care proposal." Just another reminder that this entire administration is being run by thugs.


Jonathan Swan at Axios: Fight over Trump Wall Could Lead to Shutdown. "The wall is no metaphor to Trump. He will accept no substitutes to a huge, long, physical wall, which he believes his voters viscerally want. He told GOP Hill leaders in June he wants it to be 40 to 50 feet high and covered with solar panels. Hill Republicans privately mocked that idea, but some of those same people now recognize that Trump's big, beautiful — and in their minds, ridiculous — wall could be the thing that brings the U.S. government to its knees." Of course.

[Content Note: Nativism] Esther Yu Hsi Lee at ThinkProgress: ICE Denies Detained MIT Immigrant Janitor from Witnessing Birth of Child.
Francisco Rodriguez, 43, has been detained at the Suffolk County House of Corrections since July 13, when he went into the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office for a regular check-in. In 2009, an immigration judge issued him a final order of removal. Rodriguez has since checked in regularly with ICE and was granted four stays of removal, allowing him more time to stay in the country and pursue legal remedies.

But during the check-in last month, agents ordered him to leave the country, telling him to buy a ticket to El Salvador. Rodriguez, who had left his home country in 2006 where he worked at an engineering firm after gang members killed one of his coworkers, applied for asylum when he first arrived in the United States. He was denied.

Since he's been detained, Rodriguez missed the birth of his newborn son. He also has two daughters. An agency spokesperson told The Boston Globe that Rodriguez's lawyer's request to witness the birth of his son even while wearing an ankle bracelet was denied because of a potential risk to "officer, detainee, or public safety."
Absolutely detestable. Rage seethe boil.

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[CN: Hunger] Joe Parkin Daniels at the Guardian: 'Here There Is a Chance': Venezuela Crisis Triggers Exodus to Colombia. "From the moment it opens at 8am each day, the Símon Bolívar bridge between Venezuela and Colombia heaves with people. Up to 25,000 Venezuelans come to the sweltering border town of Cúcuta each day – many of them lugging empty suitcases to buy basic foodstuffs such as rice, flour, and pasta that they cannot find back home. A growing number, however, cross the border with no intention of turning back. 'No country is perfect but in Venezuela people can't dream of a future for themselves,' said Ramón Araújo. 'I would love to have stayed there, but there was no way.' This week, four months of political turmoil in Venezuela came to a head with the inauguration of a new national assembly that will have the power to rewrite the constitution and dissolve state institutions. Meanwhile, the country is plagued by hyperinflation (predicted to reach 1600% by the end of the year), plunging supplies of food and medicine, and spiraling rates of murder and malnutrition."

[CN: Hunger] Doug Criss at CNN: Five Reasons Why We Should Care About the Crisis in Venezuela. "There's also a fundamental human reason why we should care about what's happening in Venezuela: People there are enduring suffering that would be unimaginable to most of us. Rampant inflation and higher food prices mean many people are skipping meals. The percentage of malnourished Venezuelans is growing rapidly, according to a national survey by three of the country's major universities. Many have dubbed this phenomenon the 'Maduro diet' for the embattled president, who has said that doing without 'makes you tough.' There also have been shortages on such basic goods as toilet paper and medical supplies. Venezuela can't pay to import goods because its government is desperately strapped for cash after years of mismanagement. The sight of people digging through trash to find food is common."

Susan B. Glasser at Politico: What's It Like to See a Democracy Destroyed? "Since 2014, American journalist Hannah Dreier has documented just that in Venezuela... [O]ver the past week, as Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has declared victory in a fraud-plagued referendum and moved to seize control of the opposition-controlled legislature, the rest of the world has — finally, belatedly — come to see what is happening in Caracas for what it is: the birth of a dictatorship. ...Dreier's takeaway as she leaves Venezuela is a sobering one: 'Things can always get worse and worse and worse, and there's no rule that says that a miserable situation has to end, just because it's too miserable.'"

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

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