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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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by grapes.

Recommended Reading:

Gemma Hartley: [Content Note: Emotional labor; patriarchy] Women Aren't Nags — We're Just Fed Up

Sarah Kendzior: Trump's Sparring with North Korea Is a Reminder That Foolishness Really Can Kill

Dan Van Winkle: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Reveals Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Pushes for Universal Health Care

Sabha: Tinder Tourism and the Accidental Date with a Straight Woman

Ryan F. Mandelbaum: 'There Are No Words': Tourists Spot Hundreds of Polar Bears Swarming Whale Carcass in Siberia

Beth Elderkin: David S. Pumpkins Is Getting His Own SNL Animated Special

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

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Here Is Something Nice

Because Jessica Luther is one of the best human beings on the planet, she made sure I saw the heart-exploding adorableness that David Beckham posted on Instagram yesterday. And now I get to make sure that you see it, too.

Becks is everything. ♥

Someone’s ready for her first football lesson ❤️ ⚽️

A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) on

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️⚽️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ Oh My

A post shared by David Beckham (@davidbeckham) on


In the first video, retired professional footballer (soccer player) David Beckham leads his 6-year-old daughter Harper Beckham by the hand onto a grassy pitch. She dribbles the ball; they then begin to kick it back and forth, quicker and quicker, still holding hands. She laughs breathlessly. He hugs her.

In the second video, Becks tosses the ball to Harper, who kicks the ball back to him. "Two...three...four...five," he counts. "Two more! Six...perfect! Seven!" They look like they are having so much fun.

(His kids being happy while playing is, by the way, very important to Becks. If it doesn't make them happy, they don't have to play.)

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Discussion Thread: How Are You?

I'm feeling very anxious about the state of things at the moment. I have an uneasy feeling about the way the investigations are going. I don't like the way it appears that Manafort might be a fall guy, especially since indicting Manafort won't to do shit to stop this Nazi takeover. I'm chronically stressed about the lack of urgency among the nation's non-executive leaders to halt this authoritarianism in its tracks and reverse the egregious abuses that are being enacted every day. I feel unsafe.

Aside from politics, I am looking forward to a visit with one of my best friends this weekend.

How are you?

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat and Olivia the White Farm Cat lying next to me on the sofa; Olivia is lying right up against Matilda, and Matilda is looking over her shoulder at Olivia like WTF?
"Uh, can I get a little room here, please?"

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 253

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 in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Trump Continues to Fail Puerto Rico and DOJ Wants Info on "Anti-Administration Activists" and "If You Can't Treat Someone with Dignity and Respect, Then Get Out".

Louis Nelson at Politico: San Juan Mayor Hits Back at Elaine Duke: 'This is not a good news story. This is a people are dying story.'
The mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, lashed out at acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke's comment that the Hurricane Maria relief efforts are a "good news story," saying, that in reality, it's a "people are dying story."

Speaking outside the White House on Thursday, Duke said she is "very satisfied" with efforts to aid Puerto Rico in the wake of Maria, which devastated the island and has created a humanitarian crisis. Duke said, "It is really a good news story," an assessment that prompted San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz's strong rebuttal.

"Well, maybe from where she's standing, it's a good news story. When you're drinking from a creek, it's not a good news story. When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story," Cruz told CNN's "New Day," referring to the plight of Puerto Ricans, many of whom have received little or no aid thus far. "When you have to pull people down from their buildings — I'm sorry, but that really upsets me and frustrates me. You know, I would ask her to come down here and visit the towns, and then make a statement like that, which frankly, it is an irresponsible statement."

"Damn it, this is not a good news story. This is a people are dying story. This is a life-or-death story. This is a 'there's a truckload of stuff that cannot be taken to people story.' This is a story of a devastation that continues to worsen because people are not getting food and water," she continued. "It is not a good news story when people are dying, when they don't have dialysis, when their generators aren't working, and their oxygen isn't providing for them. Where is there good news here? ...I'm really sorry, but you know when you have people out there dying, literally, scraping for food, where is the good news?"

The issue, Cruz said, has not been a lack of supplies but an inability to deal with the logistics of distributing aid on an island that is still largely without power and supplying it to Puerto Rico's more rural areas. The mayor said San Juan had received three pallets of water — slightly more than 4,000 bottles for a population of roughly 350,000 people — as well as four pallets of food and 12 pallets of baby food and supplies.

The situation in other parts of the island are even more dire, Cruz said, relaying her interaction with another Puerto Rican mayor, who said his residents had no food, no medicine, had not yet received any aid and were drinking from the same creek they were using to wash themselves and their clothes. Nursing homes must be a priority, she said, because they "are becoming just human cages for people that are sick and unable to fend for themselves."

Cruz was clear that she remains appreciative of the federal government teams that have arrived on the island to help but that those teams have thus far been insufficient to overcome the logistical hurdles presented by the island.
I know that's a long excerpt, but I hope you read every single word of it and understand the scope of what is happening in Puerto Rico while Trump brags about how great his administration is doing and sends out his flunkies to call it a "good news story."

It's categorically not a good news story. It's not even a typical story by historic standards regarding hurricane response, as detailed by Aaron C. Davis, Dan Lamothe, and Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post: U.S. Response in Puerto Rico Pales Next to Actions After Haiti Quake. "After an earthquake shattered Haiti's capital on Jan. 12, 2010, the U.S. military mobilized as if it were going to war. Before dawn the next morning, an Army unit was airborne, on its way to seize control of the main airport in Port-au-Prince. Within two days, the Pentagon had 8,000 American troops en route. Within two weeks, 33 U.S. military ships and 22,000 troops had arrived. More than 300 military helicopters buzzed overhead, delivering millions of pounds of food and water."

They note that "no two disasters are alike," but the mobilization to deliver aid to Haiti nonetheless "stands as an example of how quickly relief efforts can be mobilized." When you've got a president who gives a fuck, anyway.

Paul Krugman at the New York Times: Trump's Deadly Narcissism. "The situation is terrible, and time is not on Puerto Rico's side: The longer this goes on, the worse the humanitarian crisis will get. Surely, then, you'd expect bringing in and distributing aid to be the U.S. government's top priority. After all, we're talking about the lives of three and a half million of our fellow citizens — more than the population of Iowa or metro San Diego. ...Trump spent days after Maria's strike tweeting about football players. When he finally got around to saying something about Puerto Rico, it was to blame the territory for its own problems. The impression one gets is of a massively self-centered individual who can't bring himself to focus on other people's needs, even when that's the core of his job."

Which was always going to be the case. That's who Trump is. And it's why he never should have been given the job in the first place.

*screams*

Relatedly: John Whitesides at Reuters: Beyond the Daily Drama and Twitter Battles, Trump Begins to Alter American Life. "Over his first nine months, Trump has used an aggressive series of regulatory rollbacks, executive orders, and changes in enforcement guidelines to rewrite the rules for industries from energy to airlines, and on issues from campus sexual assault to anti-discrimination protections for transgender students. While his administration has been chaotic, and his decision-making impulsive and sometimes whimsical, Trump has made changes that could have far-reaching and lingering consequences for society and the economy."

Trump's gonna whimsy us all right into the fucking grave.

* * *

[Content Note: Racism] Terrell Jermaine Starr at the Root: Russia Has a Long History of Sowing Racial Division in the United States. "All the while, the KGB was working to undermine America's sovereignty at the expense of the same black people they claimed to support. Perhaps the most egregious example was the KGB's attempt to plant fake stories in black newspapers about Martin Luther King Jr. being an 'Uncle Tom,' according to former KGB Officer Vasily Mitrokhin. The KGB also tried exploit King's death by spreading fake news among black nationalists, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Jewish Defense League about his murder in order to start a race war, according to Darien Cavanaugh over at War Is Boring. Simply put: Evoking racial fears among Americans is an old game for Russia."


The link in that tweet goes to a press release announcing that Energy Secretary Rick Perry has "formally proposed that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) take swift action to address threats to U.S. electrical grid resiliency." Great. The only problem is that it makes no mention of investing in measures to prevent sabotage, despite the facts that: 1. Russia has been waging cyberattacks on Ukraine which have included multiple blackouts; 2. Russian diplomats, presumed to be Russian intelligence agents, have been "waging a quiet effort to map the United States' telecommunications infrastructure, perhaps preparing for an opportunity to disrupt it"; and 3. Russia has developed "a cyberweapon that has the potential to be the most disruptive yet against electric systems that Americans depend on for daily life."

[CN: Injury] Julian Borger at the Guardian: U.S. Warns Americans to Avoid Cuba and Slashes Embassy Staff After Sonic Attacks. "The US is pulling out more than half its embassy staff from Cuba and warning its citizens not to travel to the island after a wave of mysterious sonic attacks that have harmed 21 American diplomats and family members. The embassy in Havana will lose roughly 60% of its US staff and and only enough officials to carry out 'core consular and diplomatic functions' will remain. Routine issue of visas will be suspended. All family members will also be withdrawn. The official said that that some of the apparent attacks were carried out in hotels, and appear to have affected just the diplomats staying there, and not other guests or hotel workers. There was therefore reason to believe the attacks were targeted, and that it may be unsafe for US citizens to travel to Cuba. 'We don't know the means, the methods and how these attacks are being carried out,' a senior official said. 'There is no way of advising American citizens on mitigating these attacks so we felt we must advise them not to travel to Cuba.'" Weirder and weirder!

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Steve Dorsey and Kylie Atwood at CBS News also report: "The meeting this week between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Eduardo Rodriguez Parrilla did nothing to help assure the U.S. that Cuban officials are doing enough to protect the safety and welfare of U.S. diplomats in their country. Though Cuba is allowing U.S. investigators into the country, it has not convinced the U.S. that it's taken any real action to prevent the health attacks. In fact, the Cuban readout of the meeting contained a complete denial that the attacks were taking place." Wow.

* * *

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Chris D'Angelo at the Huffington Post: Millionaire Trump Adviser Says Americans Can 'Buy a New Car' with $1,000 Tax Cut. LOL!!! "Hours after falsely claiming that 'the wealthy are not getting a tax cut' under Trump's tax reform plan, [Trump's chief economic adviser — Gary Cohn, the former Goldman Sachs president worth an estimated $266 million] appeared at a White House press briefing and spoke to what middle-class Americans have to look forward to. Based on the administration's assumptions, he said, a typical family that has two children and earns $100,000 per year can expect annual tax savings of approximately $1,000. 'If we allow a family to keep another thousand dollars of their income, what does that mean?' he asked. 'They can renovate their kitchen. They can buy a new car. They can take a family vacation. They can increase their lifestyle.'"

[CN: Police brutality; racism] Alan Pyke at ThinkProgress: 'You Like That?': St. Louis Cops Savagely Beat Handcuffed Filmmaker While Wife Watched, Suit Says. "On St. Louis' most restless night of protests for some time, interim police chief Lawrence O'Toole seemed to embrace a tribal us-and-them attitude toward demonstrators in his city. Hours after reporters watched black-clad riot cops chant 'Whose streets? Our streets!' at dispersing protesters, O'Toole boasted to press cameras that 'police owned the night,' comments which Mayor Lyda Krewson (D) would criticize days later. ...A new lawsuit illustrates the very real abuses that such a domineering mentality from law enforcement can foreshadow. O'Toole's cops allegedly beat, taunted, and repeatedly maced a handcuffed filmmaker that Sunday night, singling the Kansas City man out from a herd of arrestees to punish him physically for recording them."

[CN: War on agency] Christine Grimaldi at Rewire: Republicans to Use 20-Week Abortion Ban Against Vulnerable Senate Democrats. "An unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban scheduled for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives next week likely won't get far in the U.S. Senate. But a prominent opponent of abortion rights hopes the bill will apply pressure to vulnerable Senate Democrats, strengthening Republicans' majority and ending the legislative firewall between a nationwide prohibition on legal abortion care at 20 weeks. 'There's a lot of reasons to vote on legislation. One is to pass it [and] have the president sign it,' Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List President Marjorie Dannenfelser told Rewire Tuesday in an interview outside the U.S. Capitol. 'Another is to make sure there is a very high-level public conversation,' especially 'while we elect new senators who will add to the winning total.'"

[CN: Water toxicity] Jessica Glenzain at the Guardian: Nestlé Pays $200 a Year to Bottle Water Near Flint — Where Water Is Undrinkable. "Despite having endured lead-laden tap water for years, Flint pays some of the highest water rates in the US. Several residents cited bills upwards of $200 per month for tap water they refuse to touch. But just two hours away, in the tiny town of Evart, creeks lined by wildflowers run with clear water. The town is so small, the fairground, McDonald's, high school, and church are all within a block. But in a town of only 1,503 people, there are a dozen wells pumping water from the underground aquifer. This is where the beverage giant Nestlé pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles that are sold all over the midwest for around $1. To use this natural resource, Nestlé pays $200 per year."

[CN: Racism] Sameer Rao at Colorlines: You Have to See Whitesboro's New Official Town Seal, Now Featuring a White Man Wrestling a Native American. "A village in upstate New York addressed criticism of its old official seal—which showed a White man choking a Native American man—by replacing it with another violent image. [T]he village of Whitesboro updated its seal to depict what the article describes as 'village founder Hugh White going head-to-head in a wrestling stance with an Oneida Indian.' The new seal keeps the old one's theme of violence against Indigenous people while introducing three major aesthetic changes: 1) White's hands are no longer on the Oneida man's neck, 2) the Oneida man is not rendered with red skin, and 3) updating sartorial choices." Jesus fucking Jones.

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

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"If You Can't Treat Someone with Dignity and Respect, Then Get Out"

[Content Note: Racism.]

Earlier this week, five Black cadet candidates at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School found racial slurs on the message boards on the doors of their rooms. The incident became public after the mother of one of the cadet candidates posted a photo on Facebook, showing the words "Go home [anti-Black slur]" written on her son's message board. She wrote: "These young people are supposed to bond and protect each other and the country. Who would my son have to watch out for? The enemy or the enemy?"

School officials have launched an investigation into the racist harassment.

Yesterday, the superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), Lt. Gen. Jay B. Silveria, addressed cadets and telling them in no uncertain terms that such behavior was comprehensively unacceptable. At the end of a five-minute speech, he directed them to take out their phones and record him as he said: "If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out."

Ladies and gentlemen, you may have heard that some people down in the prep school wrote some racial slurs on some message boards. If you haven't heard that, I wanted you to hear it from me. If you're outraged by those words, then you're in the right place. That kind of behavior has no place at the prep school, it has no place at USAFA, and it has no place in the United States Air Force. You should be outraged not only as an airman, but as a human being.

And I'll tell you that the appropriate response for horrible language and horrible ideas — the appropriate response is a better idea. So that's why I'm here. That's why all these people are up here on the staff tower. So let me have everybody who's up here please pull forward to the rails. [gestures to encourage people to move forward, beside him] Also, there are so many people here, they're lining the outsides along the windows. [gestures around the perimeter of the room]

These are members of the faculty, coaching staff, AOCs, AMTs, from the airfield, from my staff, from my headquarters. All aspects of the 10th Air Base Wing; all aspects that make up USAFA and the United State Air Force Academy. Leadership is here: You heard from Brigadier General Goodwin; Brigadier General Armacost is here; Colonel Block from the athletic department is here; Mr. Knowlton is in Washington, D.C. right now. That's why they're here; that's why we're all here. Because we have a better idea.

Some of you may think that that happened down in the prep school and doesn't apply to us. I would be naive, and we would all be naive, to think that everything is perfect here. We would be naive to think that we shouldn't discuss this topic. We would also be tone deaf not to think about the backdrop of what's going on in our country — things like Charlottesville and Ferguson; the protests in the NFL. That's why we have a better idea.

One of those ideas: The dean brought people together to discuss Charlottesville. Because what we should have is a civil discourse and talk about these issues. That's a better idea. We received outstanding feedback from that session on Charlottesville.

But I also have a better idea, and it's about our diversity. And it's the power of the diversity, the power of the 4,000 of you, and all of the people that are on the staff tower and lining the glass, the power of us as a diverse group. The power that we come from all walks of life, that we come from all parts of this county, that we come from all races, we come from all backgrounds, gender, all makeup, all upbringing. The power of that diversity comes together and makes us that much more powerful. That's a much better idea than small thinking and horrible ideas.

We have an opportunity here, the 5,500 people in this room, to think about what we are as an institution. This is our institution, and no one can take away our values. No one can write on a board and question our values. No one can take that away from us.

So just in case you're unclear on where I stand on this topic, I'm gonna leave you with my most important thought today: If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you can't treat someone from another gender, whether that's a man or a woman, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out. If you demean someone in any way, then you need to get out. And if you can't treat someone from another race, or a different color skin, with dignity and respect, then you need to get out.

Reach for your phones. I'm serious — reach for your phones. [pauses; looks around the room] Okay, you don't have to reach for your phones; I'm gonna give you an opportunity to reach for your phones. Grab your phones — I want you to videotape this so that you have it; so that you can use it. [pauses] So that we all have the moral courage together. All of us on the staff tower, lining the glass, all of us in this room. [pauses]

This is our institution. And if you need it, and you need my words, then you keep these words — and you use them, and you remember them, and you share them, and you talk about them: If you can't treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.

[turns abruptly and walks away from the microphone]
I don't know if Black cadet candidates feel reassured by these words. I don't know if they'd agree that discussions about Charlottesville are effective. I don't know if they feel like the Air Force is their institution as much as it is their white peers'. And I wouldn't presume to know how they feel, or assume they all feel the same way, or forget that Lt. Gen. Silveria's words might not seem as powerful to them as they seem to many people who are sharing his address.

All I know for sure is that his words — even if they are insufficient; even if they are at best a starting point for urgent institutional change that must happen to ensure marginalized cadets' safety — are infinitely superior to anything the president has said.

Because Donald Trump has not merely failed to say something unequivocal about how white supremacy is incompatible with what the values of our nation and its institutions aspire to be, but has, at every opportunity, empowered bigotry.

And that is also part of the backdrop against which this racist harassment has happened at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School. It is the most important piece of that backdrop — and the one that Lt. Gen. Silveria could not explicitly mention, though its presence was felt in his every word all the same.

The Commander-in-Chief has empowered this divisive, hateful behavior. And I suspect that was at the very front of Lt. Gen. Silveria's mind as he recommended to those who can not muster dignity and respect for others that they get out.

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DOJ Wants Info on "Anti-Administration Activists"

This is absolutely chilling: The Department of Justice has identified three people they call "anti-administration activists," and have served search warrants on Facebook demanding those users' private account information — and thousands of others who interacted with those users. Facebook has not disclosed whether it plans to, or already has, complied with the warrants.

Jessica Schneider at CNN reports:

Trump administration lawyers are demanding the private account information of potentially thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants served on the social media giant, according to court documents obtained by CNN.

The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described by their attorneys as "anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration's policies."

One of those users, Emmelia Talarico, operated the disruptj20 page where Inauguration Day protests were organized and discussed; the page was visited by an estimated 6,000 users whose identities the government would have access to if Facebook hands over the information sought in the search warrants. In court filings, Talarico says if her account information was given to the government, officials would have access to her "personal passwords, security questions and answers, and credit card information," plus "the private lists of invitees and attendees to multiple political events sponsored by the page."

...The American Civil Liberties Union, representing the three Facebook users, filed a motion to quash the warrants Thursday.

"What is particularly chilling about these warrants is that anti-administration political activists are going to have their political associations and views scrutinized by the very administration they are protesting," said ACLU attorney Scott Michelman.
I wish I could be hopeful that the ACLU will prevail, but when the Trump administration sought "to unmask every person who visited an anti-Trump website in what privacy advocates say is an unconstitutional 'fishing expedition' for political dissidents," the court ruled in their favor: "DC Superior Court Judge Robert Morin largely granted prosecutors' request to collect a vast set of records from the company, which will include emails of the users who signed up for an account associated with the website, and membership lists."

That doesn't bode well for fighting this latest attempt by the administration to expose and intimidate their critics.

Needless to say, this is very concerning to me. I am a dissident who is married to an immigrant — each of us belonging to a class the Trump administration has targeted for surveillance, exposure, intimidation, and, presumably, retribution at some point. What is going to happen to my family? What is going to happen to all the families like mine?

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Trump Continues to Fail Puerto Rico


This is something Donald Trump did not say about Texas or Florida, following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. It would have been unthinkable, even for Trump, to suggest that the federal government might simply decide not to rebuild.

But Puerto Rico, he suggests, might not be rebuilt because of "the cost" — even as he peddles a tax plan that could personally save him alone $1 billion.

And let me be perfectly blunt in my cynicism: Donald Trump is a real estate developer who has repeatedly talked about making money by exploiting economic disasters. There is no reason to believe that he doesn't also see opportunity in natural disasters.

If the federal government rebuilt Puerto Rico, particularly its valuable beachfront tourism real estate, that keeps the wealth in the hands of current owners — and provides little opportunity for corporate ghouls to exploit the destruction for their own gain.

Trump never fully divested himself from the Trump Organization. His sons are running the business, and no "firewall" was ever erected between the business and the Oval Office. Trump has a personal interest in creating areas of exploitation in Puerto Rico.

That's a big fucking problem. Most of all for Puerto Ricans, who are suffering an increasingly urgent humanitarian crisis while their president is licking his lips at the possibility of turning their sorrow into his payday.

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Open Thread

image of a pink couch

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker catvoncat: "What advice or words of encouragement would you give to your younger self?"

"You're enough."

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Donald Trump Is Terrible

[Content Note: Injury; bleeding; neglect.]

I am running out of ways to describe how terrible a human being Donald Trump really is. He is so terrible.

Marlow Stern at the Daily Beast: The Time Donald Trump Turned Away in Disgust While a Man Was Bleeding to Death in Front of Him.

"Like most Trump tales," Stern writes, "what was intended as a story about the bravery and heroism of a handful of Marines instead revealed far more about the man telling it."

Indeed.

I am so ashamed this man is the president of my country.

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The Make-Up Thread

Here is your semi-regular make-up thread, to discuss all things make-up and make-up adjacent.

Do you have a make-up product you'd recommend? Are you looking for the perfect foundation which has remained frustratingly elusive? Need or want to offer make-up tips? Searching for hypoallergenic products? Want to grouse about how you hate make-up? Want to gush about how you love it?

Whatever you like—have at it!

* * *

My apologies for not doing a make-up thread in so long! I just haven't had any occasion to buy or wear make-up in ages — and, even now, it's another make-up adjacent item from me this time: Neutrogena's Hydro Boost Water Gel.

image of a small cylinder of the product, which comes in a lovely blue jar

(As always, I'm not affiliated with Neutrogena or Ulta in any way, nor am I getting anything in exchange for this recommendation. I just like the product!)

I have very fussy, extremely sensitive, combination skin, and I am forever on the hunt for a product that can moisturize the dry bits without causing me terrible break-outs.

Sometimes, products start out fine, but then my skin revolts and I go back to getting bad bread-outs. I've been using this for a couple of weeks now, a few times a week (because daily moisturizing has always overwhelmed my persnickety skin), and so far, touch wood, my skin is reacting favorably. Huzzah!

Anyway! What's up with you?

* * *

Please note, as always, that advice should be not be offered to an individual person unless they solicit it. Further: This thread is open to everyone—women, men, genderqueer folks. People who are make-up experts, and people who are make-up newbies. Also, because there is a lot of racist language used in discussions of make-up, and in make-up names, please be aware to avoid turns of phrase that are alienating to women of color, like "nude" or "flesh tone" when referring to a peachy or beige color. I realize some recommended products may have names that use these words, so please be considerate about content noting for white supremacist (and/or Orientalist) product naming.

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A Sonnet for a Deplorable Man

Since today is National Poetry Day, I decided I would write a sonnet for Donald Trump. Don't say I never gave you anything, u bum!

image of Donald Trump which I have distressed and to which I've added a sonnet, published in full below

Despot at podium shakes tiny fist,
Emitting salads of words mispronounced.
Provost of the bold white supremacist;
Lord of the flies, the frogs, the trolls that flounced.
Overt abuser, hampered by no shame;
Republican envoy of sophistry.
All he surveys exists to his acclaim:
Best crowds, best storms, best deals, best history.
Locked eyes on Fox in House he calls a dump;
Execrable in sum, this man called Trump.

Happy National Poetry Day, everyone!

Open Wide...

Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on the back of the couch, looking lost in thought and vaguely annoyed
Sophs, who isn't in the mood for any of your shit today!

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 252

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 in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Of Course Trump Is Sowing Discord Among Sports Fans and Trump Waives the Jones Act for Puerto Rico Relief.

[Content Note: Food and water insecurity; neglect; video may autoplay at link] Laura Blewitt at Bloomberg: Mountains of Aid Are Languishing on the Docks in Puerto Rico. "Thousands of cargo containers bearing millions of emergency meals and other relief supplies have been piling up on San Juan's docks since Saturday. The mountains of material may not reach storm survivors for days. ...'There are plenty of ships and plenty of cargo to come into the island,' said Mark Miller, a spokesman for [Crowley Maritime Corp. which operates a dock in Puerto Rico's capital]. 'From there, that's where the supply chain breaks down — getting the goods from the port to the people on the island who need them.' ...Trucks are ready to be loaded with the goods and precious diesel for backup generators, but workers aren't around to drive. Instead, they're caring for families and cleaning up flood damage — and contending with the curfew."

And then there is this: Many of the supplies will need to be stored, and, without power, there is no refrigeration. It's not just supplies that Puerto Rico needs: It's people. People who can move materials and carry out repairs.

Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post: White House Is Restricting Lawmakers from Visiting Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Aides Say. "The Trump administration is restricting lawmakers in both parties from visiting storm-ravaged Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands aboard military aircraft this weekend in order to keep focused on recovery missions there, according to multiple congressional aides. ...Multiple attempts have been underway in recent days for members of both parties to travel to Puerto Rico aboard military aircraft. Once there, they would have met with officials with the military and Federal Emergency Management Agency responsible for ongoing missions on the ground."

Although there are always some dipshits who travel to devastated areas for the photo op, most members of Congress go for the right reason: To assess in person, by touring and talking to people on the ground, what is actually needed so they can put together the most effective aid package.

Despite the fact that the White House is delaying Congressmembers from going, Trump has announced he will travel to Puerto Rico next Tuesday.

[CN: Toxic water; death] Cindy George and Todd Ackerman at the Houston Chronicle: Kingwood Woman Confirmed as Harvey Death from Flesh-Eating Bacteria. "A Kingwood woman who became ill after falling into Harvey floodwaters at home died from flesh-eating bacteria, the Harris County medical examiner's office ruled. Nancy Reed, 77, died on Sept. 15 of flood-related necrotizing fasciitis, an infection that spreads quickly through muscle tissue and can cause organ failure. Reed was the second known case of the bacteria related to the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey. Rescuer J.R. Atkins, a former firefighter and medic, was contaminated through an insect bite on his arm while helping Missouri City neighbors. He survived."

My condolences to Ms. Reed's family, friends, and community.

An important reminder that the people in the Houston area are still deep in recovery, and an indication of what Puerto Ricans are facing in addition to supply shortages and infrastructure failures.

* * *

Trump introduced his garbage tax plan in Indiana yesterday, with a speech during which he said (among lots of other stupid things): "It's time for Washington to learn from the wisdom of Indiana." Uh.


I have said this before and I will no doubt have occasion to say it again: I love my home state of Indiana dearly, but trust me when I say that we do not want the entire country to turn into Indiana. What's good about Indiana is good in spite of the conservative politics that have endeavored to destroy it.

Anyway. I'm sure you'll be shocked to hear that Trump is selling his tax plan with a bucketful of shitty lies!

Eric Levitz at New York Magazine: Trump's Tax Plan: Prioritize Cuts for the Rich, Say He Isn't. "The Trump administration can no longer promise that the president won't cut taxes on the rich, but the White House still swears that he isn't trying to... It's very difficult to cut taxes on the middle class without also giving a break to the rich — any cut in the marginal rate paid by households earning $75,000 will also apply to the first $75,000 of income earned by a billionaire. ...So, it's understandable that Trump does not want to promise his other tax changes will live or die on whether such loopholes get eliminated. Donald Trump is president, not king. If congressional Republicans insist on aiding the billionaire class, what's a populist president to do?" SHRUG EMOJI!

And the lies don't stop there, naturally.

Addy Baird at ThinkProgress: Media Outlets Parrot Trump's Unequivocally False Claims About His Tax Plan. "On Wednesday afternoon, [Donald] Trump gave a speech about tax reform, saying his proposed plan would not benefit the 'wealthy and well-connected' and is 'not good' for him. The problem with that claim is that the opposite is in fact true. As ThinkProgress' Rebekah Entralgo reported, two key aspects of the plan, repealing the estate tax and eliminating the alternative minimum tax, would both be good for Trump and other wealthy people." HUH!

And guess what? There might not even be a middle-class tax cut at all! In fact, the middle-class might see their taxes raised.

Matt Shuham at TPM: Cohn 'Can't Guarantee Anything' on Potential Middle Class Tax Hike. "Donald Trump's top economic adviser and former Goldman Sachs president Gary Cohn refused to confirm Thursday that middle class families wouldn't see a tax hike under the president's plan."
In an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos Thursday, top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn said the tax plan was "purely aimed at middle class families," but stopped short of guaranteeing they wouldn't see a tax hike.

"If I'm hearing you correctly, you can't guarantee that no middle class family will get a tax increase," Stephanopoulos asked Cohn. "There will be middle class families who get a tax increase under your plan, correct?"

"George, there's an exception to every rule," Cohn said.

"So that's a yes," Stephanopoulos pressed.

"Look, I can't guarantee anything," Cohn dodged again. "You could always find a unique family somewhere."
Wow. WOW.

Hey, speaking of American families and taxes! Hannah Fingerhut at the Pew Research Center: More Americans Favor Raising Than Lowering Tax Rates on Corporations, High Household Incomes. But, as per usual, instead of doing the will of the people they were elected to represent, the Republicans are doing the bidding of the corporations and billionaire donors by whom their party is wholly owned.

But none of this might make any difference anyway, because, in typical fashion, Trump already hates his own plan.

Mike Allen at Axios: Trump Skeptical of His Own Tax Plan. "In Indianapolis yesterday, he bragged that it's the 'largest tax cut in our county's history.' But in the West Wing earlier, Trump resisted the framework that had been cooked up by congressional leaders, plus economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Why it matters: If Trump shows the fickleness he showed on repeal-and-replace (championing the House plan, then later calling it 'mean'), that could increase the chances the plan sinks, with him blaming Congress."

And why does Trump hate it? Because it isn't horrible enough. "Trump wanted to propose an even lower corporate rate. It's 'The Art of the Deal': Don't open the bidding with the number you ultimately want — 20% (the figure announced yesterday), down from 35%. Open with an extreme bid and work back. Trump wanted to propose 15%." Of course he did.

* * *

[CN: Voter suppression] Ari Berman at Mother Jones: A New Study Shows Just How Many Americans Were Blocked from Voting in Wisconsin Last Year.
A comprehensive study released today suggests how many missing votes can be attributed to the new law. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison surveyed registered voters who didn't cast a 2016 ballot in the state's two biggest counties—Milwaukee and Dane, which is home to Madison. More than 1 out of 10 nonvoters (11.2 percent) said they lacked acceptable voter ID and cited the law as a reason why they didn't vote; 6.4 percent of respondents said the voter ID law was the "main reason" they didn't vote.

The study's lead author, University of Wisconsin political scientist Kenneth Mayer, says between roughly 9,000 and 23,000 registered voters in the reliably Democratic counties were deterred from voting by the ID law. Extrapolating statewide, he says the data suggests as many as 45,000 voters sat out the election, though he cautioned that it was difficult to produce an estimate from just two counties.

"We have hard evidence there were tens of thousands of people who were unable to vote because of the voter ID law," Mayer told me.
Trump carried Wisconsin by just 22,000 votes.

Ben Collins, Kevin Poulsen, and Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast: Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram.
The Facebook group United Muslims of America was neither united, Muslim, nor American.

Instead, sources familiar with the group tell The Daily Beast, it was an imposter account on the world's largest social network that's been traced back to the Russian government.

Using the account as a front to reach American Muslims and their allies, the Russians pushed memes that claimed Hillary Clinton admitted the U.S. "created, funded, and armed" al-Qaeda [and] falsely alleged Osama bin Laden was a "CIA agent."

...The Kremlin-backed trolls did all this while simultaneously using other accounts to hawk virulently Islamophobic messages to right-wing audiences on Facebook, such as an August 2016 Twin Falls, Idaho rally demanding, "We must stop taking in Muslim refugees!" Taken together, the newest revelation of Russian propaganda on Facebook shows the sophistication of the Russian "active measures" campaign to influence the U.S. voting public.

"Russia knows no ends and no limits to which groups they would masquerade as to carry out their objectives," Rep. Eric Swalwell, a Democrat on the House intelligence committee, told the Daily Beast.
This is also very important:


Especially since the "computational propaganda" did not end with the election.

Philip Ewing at NPR: As Scrutiny of Social Networks Grows, Influence Attacks Continue in Real Time. "The presidential election is long past, but online attacks aimed at shaping the U.S. information environment have kept right on coming. This week brought a slate of fresh examples of ways in which users — some of them demonstrably Russian, others not — continue to try to use Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms to jam a crowbar into existing American political divisions and wrench them further apart."

If we don't get a handle on this shit immediately, we are so fucked.

And we're not going to — because the majority governing party is too busy trying to suppress Democratic voters to give two shits about addressing disinformation campaigns and foreign interference. So, basically: We're already fucked.

* * *

BBC News: China to Shut Down North Korean Companies. "China has told North Korean companies operating in its territory to close down as it implements United Nations sanctions against the reclusive state. The companies will be shut by early January. Joint Chinese and North Korean ventures will also be forced to close. China, Pyongyang's only major ally, has already banned textile trade and limited oil exports. The move is part of an international response to North Korea's sixth and most powerful nuclear test. The UN Security Council, of which China is a member, voted unanimously for fresh sanctions on 11 September. China's commerce ministry said it had set a deadline of 120 days from the passing of the resolution for any North Korean companies within its borders to close."

This puts a lot of pressure on North Korea. The idea is that the pressure will force Kim Jong-un to reexamine his life, and if he were a typical leader of any other nation, maybe that would work. But I fear that any additional pressure at this point will cause him to crack. I feel very nervous about this, not that I think China continuing to ally with Pyongyang would be a good idea, either. What a terrible situation (which Trump is, of course, making even worse).

[CN: Poverty] Alastair Gee at the Guardian: Facing Poverty, Academics Turn to Sex Work and Sleeping in Cars. "Sex work is one of the more unusual ways that adjuncts have avoided living in poverty, and perhaps even homelessness. A quarter of part-time college academics (many of whom are adjuncts, though it's not uncommon for adjuncts to work 40 hours a week or more) are said to be enrolled in public assistance programs such as Medicaid. They resort to food banks and Goodwill, and there is even an adjuncts' cookbook that shows how to turn items like beef scraps, chicken bones, and orange peel into meals. And then there are those who are either on the streets or teetering on the edge of losing stable housing. The Guardian has spoken to several such academics, including an adjunct living in a 'shack' north of Miami, and another sleeping in her car in Silicon Valley."

Absolutely scandalous. Debra Leigh Scott, who is working on a documentary about adjuncts, is quoted in the article saying: "We take a kind of vow of poverty to continue practicing our profession." No one should have to take a vow of poverty to do their work. Every job needs and deserves a liveable wage. Period.

Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: The Supreme Court Is Abandoning Legitimacy for Partisanship.
Judges typically do not spend their early months on the bench conspicuously doing favors for the political actors who helped place them there. As the Atlantic's Garrett Epps writes, "having decided to accept a nomination so befouled by politics, Gorsuch might have displayed a sense of humility." Instead, "he will not even pretend to care about how the losers in the process see either him, or the Court."

...Gorsuch owes his job to a fundamentally undemocratic system.

The man who appointed him won nearly 3 million fewer votes than the winner of the popular vote. The senators who opposed Gorsuch represent over 18 million more people than the ones who supported him. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama, a man who won two popular elections, did not get to fill the seat that Gorsuch now occupies.

So there's a devilish symmetry about the fact that Gorsuch is likely to spend his first full term on the Court fighting to make America even less democratic.
The courts are the last remaining check and balance, since Congressional Republicans have abandoned all pretense of providing any checks and balances on the executive branch, which has been filled with people who have naught but contempt for the law. And the court majority is increasingly comprised of conservative partisans who no longer care about the appearance of partisanship. This is very, very bad for our national future.

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

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Here Is Something Nice


If you can't view the photo embedded in the tweet, it shows Hillary Clinton at a book signing, signing copies of the It Takes a Village picture book. She is looking up and smiling at a little girl who has come to meet her, wearing a tiny white (!!!) pantsuit and chunky necklace (not dissimilar from the one Clinton is wearing herself), and she is holding her hand to her mouth like she CAN'T EVEN BELIEVE she is face-to-face with Hillary Clinton.

[H/T to Eastsidekate.]

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Trump Waives the Jones Act for Puerto Rico Relief


It will never stop being horrifying to me that the United States President has to be shamed and cajoled into doing the right thing, on even what would be the most basic, reflexive decisions for any previous president of either party. Fuck Donald Trump and his stubborn malice forever. He is a stain on this nation.

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Of Course Trump Is Sowing Discord Among Sports Fans

Of course Donald Trump is sowing discord among sports fans. Of course he is.

Because sport is one of the last arenas in which people with vastly different political views can still set aside their differences for a couple of hours and be on the same team.

Because sport is one the few arenas in which white boys have Black role models, and boys can have female role models. (Donald Trump doesn't care who girls look up to.)

Because sport is one of the only arenas in which it costs virtually nothing to be a fan: There's nothing one has to buy, and many games, races, matches, fixtures, and various competitions from a variety of sports are viewable on network television. Even with ticket prices having skyrocketed and the cost of jerseys being ridiculous these days, and so forth and so on, sport itself isn't exclusive to the very wealthy.

None of this works with Donald Trump's divisive, white supremacist, chauvinist, classist worldview.

And he is not a president who is interested in unity. He is a president who is interested in division. In pitting Americans against one another. In exploiting every crack in every last space in which solidarity of any sort might yet exist.

He knows we're stronger together, and so — with, as always, a little help from his friends in Russia — he seeks to make us weaker apart.

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Open Thread

image of a yellow couch

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker bellist: "What does your screen name mean and how did you choose it?"

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The Wednesday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by squid ink.

Recommended Reading:

Andrew David Thaler: How to Help Island Residents in the Wake of Total Devastation

Monica Roberts: [Content Note: White supremacy] Being a Black Athlete Has Always Been Political

Christopher Stroop: [CN: White supremacy; toxic evangelicalism] The Washington Post and the Kaepernick Controversy: A Tale of Normalizing Toxic Christianity

Sue Kerr: [CN: Trans hatred; violence; murder] Ally Steinfeld,17, of Missouri Is the 21st Trans Person Killed in 2017

Kenrya Rankin: [CN: Anti-blackness] Survey Reveals How Racism Impacts the Lives of Black Americans

Jenn Fang: [CN: Racism; internment] Proposed Airport Fence at Tule Lake Will Cut Off Access to WW2-era Incarceration Camp History

George Dvorsky: These Canadian Rocks May Contain the Oldest Known Traces of Life

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

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Pro All Choices

[Content Note: Reproductive coercion; shaming; sexual assault.]

At Rewire, Eleanor J. Bader has a fascinating review of sociologist Orna Donath's new book Regretting Motherhood, about Donath's "in-depth, five-year study that involved 23 pseudonymous Israeli women," all of whom wish they had not had children.

Donath's subjects ranged in age from 26 to 73 and included single, divorced, and married women of all class backgrounds and education levels. All had at least one child; offspring spanned from toddlerhood to middle-aged adults. Five of the women were also grandmothers, and while all were Jewish, the majority self-identified as either atheists or secular.

Donath's conclusion is forthright: Motherhood should be one choice among many, no more or less valid than other life options.
That conclusion is a subject of great interest to me, and one about which I've written many times before, perhaps never as pointedly as in "Pro-Choice: Choosing Not to Parent," where I noted:
Motherhood doesn't make everyone happy. What makes people happy is being able to fashion their lives into the shapes they want.

This is a reproductive choice we don't talk about so much, because it's inevitably inferred to be implicitly censurous of parenting and/or children. I am not anti-parenting. I don't dislike children. I am, however, deeply contemptuous of the bad faith interpretations that misconstrue child-free advocacy as one of many reproductive options to be inherently anti-parent/child. I talk about my happiness being child-free because I support a spectrum of equally valid reproductive choice, which includes parenting, too.

It's important for us, collectively, not to silence women who choose and are happy to be child-free—and not just because we're a useful demographic to defend the need for comprehensive reproductive choice and undermine bullshit gender essentialist, cissexist narratives about "natural instincts" and "what women are meant to do." It's important because there isn't really meaningful choice without a public discussion of all those choices, by the people who made them.
That should and must include women who have chosen to parent and wish they had made another choice.

Deciding to parent is a monumental, life-altering decision — and most women make it in a culture where there is enormous pressure to have children and an intense silencing of women who have chosen not to parent and women who regret choosing to parent.

The discussion around parenting is so overwhelmingly lopsided that there are women (and men) who don't feel as though choosing not to parent is really even an option.

It is.

And it is a very good option for an enormous number of women. It would have been the better option for a lot of women, too. And they should be allowed to speak about that without being shamed or monsterized, or even assumed not to love the children they have, even if they wish they hadn't had them.

Particularly when many of them were cajoled, forced, or tricked into having them.

I have made the choice not to parent, and I want other women to know that's a viable option. Not because I think my choice is inherently better than another one, but because it is an equally valid choice.

And because I am pro all choices. I am pro all of them being spoken about frankly.

[Additional Related Reading: I Cannot Truly Want What I Am Told I Must Have and Childfree 101: Cultural Reproductive Coercion.]

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I Pledge Allegiance

by Shaker Carina (@checarina)

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color." — NFL player Colin Kaepernick in August 2016, explaining why he chose not to stand during the playing of the national anthem.
It was in maybe 7th or 8th grade that I stopped saying the pledge of allegiance entirely.

It's a daily ritual for American schoolchildren: At the beginning of the day, the bell rings, and a classroom full of children stands at their desks, turns toward the American flag at the front of the room, places their hands over their hearts, and recites these words:

I pledge allegiance to the flag

Of the United States of America

And to the republic for which it stands

One nation, under God, indivisible

With liberty and justice for all


— wait, record scratch, what? Under God? Yeah, I know. That was the part that first got my attention, too. I didn't believe in any god, so the words rang false coming out of my mouth. Moreover, what about all the other Americans who believed in different gods, or no god at all? Were we not part of this "one nation"?

(Sidenote: Did you know the words "under God" weren't added to the pledge until 1954? The original version, written in 1892 by Baptist minister Francis Bellamy, makes no mention of God. Bellamy was also a socialist and had initially considered including the words "equality" and "fraternity" in the pledge, but he thought "that would be too fanciful, too many thousands of years off in realization."

Sigh. I know, Francis, I know.)

So "under God" was the first part of the pledge I dropped. I would stand silently with my hand over my heart, rejoining the chorus on "indivisible." But over time, I became more and more puzzled by the ritual itself. It was something I'd done every school day for years, but I didn't remember ever learning what the pledge meant, only how to say it.

I was, of course, young and naive, but if there's one thing children understand better than adults, innately, it's the power of narratives. It's only adults who are foolish enough to dismiss something as "just a story", as if all of us as children weren't regularly exposed to stories meant to impart some moral or set of values (fables, fairy tales, Bible stories, Disney movies…). So the turning point in my relationship to the pledge came when I asked myself this question: If this were a movie, wouldn't we look like the bad guys?

This was not, at the time, a commentary on any particular American policy, domestic or foreign — I wasn't that politically aware (my political awareness would develop rapidly in the next couple years when George W. Bush "won" the 2000 presidential election, and the Twin Towers were destroyed in 2001). It was simply that I couldn't square the image of a bunch of schoolchildren robotically reciting a pledge we didn't understand with everything I'd been taught about American values — individualism, dissent, independence. You know, not like those poor brainwashed saps living under communist regimes (*cough cough*) or theocratic dictatorships (*severe coughing fit followed by wheezing*). I realized that if you transposed the image from America to China, or to a sci-fi movie, we'd be indistinguishable from the (supposedly) evil empire. I realized that no one had ever discussed with me when I should stop pledging allegiance, even as I learned in history class about the horrors of the Holocaust and the complicity of ordinary German citizens.

So, eventually, I just stopped. At first I stood, but didn't speak the words. Then I dropped my hand from my heart. And finally, I stopped standing altogether, making my non-participation starkly visible.

I was lucky — no one ever gave me a hard time. Maybe my teachers didn't know what to do with me, or maybe they didn't care. Once there was a substitute who asked what I was doing — "Oh," said a classmate. "She doesn't stand."

What does it mean to pledge allegiance to a flag, to a country? What if people do horrible things under the auspices of that flag? What if your country does indefensible things?

Now we are at a moment, the most important moment in my lifetime, to ask that question. And I'm young, but I've heard the same sentiment from older friends: I've never seen this in my lifetime, they say. I never thought we'd be here. Words we had hoped only to say, with joyous surprise, about electing the nation's first Black president, the nation's first woman president. Instead we're saying them about a resurgence of violent, virulent nativism and white supremacy, bolstered by voices coming from the highest levels of government.

So, no, I do not pledge allegiance to a flag, a flag which is changeable, which can change hands from a true leader to a tyrant in a heartbeat. I pledge allegiance, instead, to the very best of what that flag has represented. I pledge allegiance to freedom, to liberty, and to justice. I pledge allegiance to humanity. I pledge allegiance to my sisters and siblings of the human race, the downtrodden, the forgotten, the marginalized. I pledge allegiance to this Earth we share. I pledge allegiance to Black lives. I pledge allegiance to every woman and person who desires bodily autonomy. I pledge allegiance to indigenous water protectors. I pledge allegiance to the undocumented, the detained, the banned, the deported.

I pledge allegiance to myself, to always remain true to what lives in my heart. I pledge allegiance to you and me. That is my pledge. And this pledge I will stand for.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound standing in the dining room, looking up at me with plaintive eyes
Won't someone please help this pitiful dog
who never gets any love or affection or treats?

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 251

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 in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Puerto Rico Still Waits for Relief and Acting DEA Chief Abruptly Resigns.

[Content Note: Bullying] Nicole Lafond at TPM: Trump Physically Mocks McCain and McConnell in Private. "Imitating McCain's thumbs-down gesture, which he used to indicate his no vote in the last Obamacare repeal vote in July, Trump reportedly mocked the gesticulation at [a private dinner with conservative activists at the White House this week], complete with a facial expression. He called McCain 'disgraceful' for his decision on health care, Politico and Axios reported. At the private dinner he also called McConnell 'weak' for his failure to repeal Obamacare and for not changing the Senate filibuster rule that would only require 51 votes to pass bills. Trump also physically mocked McConnell, according to Axios, which reported Trump mimicked McConnell's posture by slumping his shoulders and having a lethargic demeanor."

Hardly a surprise, given that Trump has physically mocked disabled people in public. Still, it's absolutely appalling that we have a president who thinks this behavior is okay. He is such a terrible person. He is such a terrible person.

Speaking of which! At Towleroad: Here Are All the Tweets Trump Just Deleted After Primary Loss of Candidate He Backed. "Following Roy Moore's primary win last night in Alabama Senate race last night, Donald Trump began deleting tweets backing Luther Strange. While some of Trump's tweets remain active, many of them were taken down. That caught the attention of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW)."


If you ever want to peruse all the tweets Trump has deleted, in possible violation of federal recordkeeping laws, ProPublica has been tracking them since May 18, 2015.

* * *

AP/Guardian: Trump and Republicans Pitch Plan to Cut Taxes for Individuals and Companies. "Donald Trump and congressional Republicans were proposing a far-reaching plan on Wednesday that would cut taxes for individuals and corporations, simplify the tax system, and nearly double the standard deduction used by most Americans. 'Too many in our country are shut out of the dynamism of the US economy, which has led to the justifiable feeling that the system is rigged against hardworking Americans,' says the blueprint, obtained by the Associated Press. 'With significant and meaningful tax reform and relief, we will create a fairer system that levels the playing field and extends economic opportunities to American workers, small businesses, and middle-income families.'" I don't guess I have to tell you that is absolute horseshit.

Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis at the Washington Post: GOP Proposes Deep Tax Cuts, Provides Few Details on How to Pay for Them. "The document, titled 'Unified Framework For Fixing Our Broken Tax Code,' leaves many key questions unanswered. In it, the White House and Republican congressional leaders do not identify the numerous tax breaks they say will be removed in order to offset some of the trillions of dollars in revenue lost by cutting tax rates. ..."The White House and GOP leaders negotiated for months and so far have only agreed in large part on the taxes they want to cut. They propose, among other things, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent [and] collapsing the seven individual income tax brackets into three, and allowing more people to qualify for the Child Tax Credit, which is designed to help low-income working families."

Howard Gold at MarketWatch: GOP Tax Plan Assures Rising National Debt Forever.
We'll surely hear about how these tax cuts will boost economic growth and create thousands of well-paying jobs in the U.S. But we're not likely to hear much about how Congress or the Trump administration expects to pay for them, because the simple fact is, they can't...

That means the national debt will continue to grow, despite all the promises of Trump and the Republican Party leadership, who have been as adamant about the ballooning debt for the past six or seven years as they were about repealing and replacing Obamacare.

...The point is, unpaid-for tax cuts add as much to the national debt as food stamps or disability payments or other benefits for "undeserving" people. But Republicans won't insist on spending cuts to offset the lost revenue, as they used to do when President Barack Obama was in the White House.

Why? Because they still believe in the self-serving fantasy that tax cuts stimulate economic growth and create jobs. This notion has been debunked so thoroughly I shouldn't have to discuss it...
But we are all obliged to discuss it. Again and again. Because the Republican Party are big believers in recycling when it comes to their debunked, discredited, garbage policy ideas.

* * *

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Brian Ross and Matthew Mosk at ABC News: Special Counsel Probing Flow of Russian-American Money to Trump Political Funds. "A review of Trump campaign records conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics for ABC News found large contributions coming from two émigrés born in the former Soviet Union who now hold U.S. citizenship, and from a third American who heads the subsidiary of a large Russian private equity firm. Those donations began flowing to the Republican National Committee, the group says, just as Trump was on the verge of securing the Republican nomination and culminated in two large gifts — totaling $1.25 million — from these individuals to the Trump inaugural fund following his victory." Just normal campaign stuff, cough.

Josh Dawsey at Politico: Russian-Funded Facebook Ads Backed Stein, Sanders, and Trump. "Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the beneficiary of at least one of the Russian-bought political ads on Facebook that federal government officials suspect were intended to influence the 2016 election. Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended, according to a person with knowledge of the ads."


Kate Zavadski and Ben Collins at the Daily Beast: Zuckerberg Blew Off Russian Troll Warnings Before the Attack on America. "Facebook's less-than-urgent responses to these examples of an autocratic foreign power interfering in the domestic affairs of a democratic country shouldn't be altogether surprising, however. The company has a track record of acquiescence to the demands of authoritarian regimes." Cool.


AP/Channel3000: State Still Seeking Details from Homeland Security. "Wisconsin's chief elections officer says he still doesn't known whether U.S. Homeland Security officials have given the state all available information about a potential attempt by the Russian government to hack voter registration data. Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Mike Haas says the state intends to talk with Homeland Security officials on Wednesday to 'again attempt to confirm whether they have shared the full information they have available.' ...Tuesday night Homeland Security reiterated that it believes 21 states were the target of Russian government hackers seeking vulnerabilities and access to the U.S. election infrastructure."

Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

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Andriy Perun at the AFP/Yahoo News: Tens of Thousands Evacuated from Ukraine Arms Depot 'Sabotage' Blasts. "Ukrainian authorities evacuated more than 30,000 people Wednesday from the central Vinnytsia region after a huge arms depot storing missiles caught fire and exploded in what prosecutors said was a possible act of 'sabotage.' It was the second major incident affecting a large Ukrainian weapons storage site this year. Kiev had blamed a deadly March munitions blast on Moscow and its Russian-backed insurgents fighting Ukrainian forces in the war-wracked east — a charge both denied. The ex-Soviet republic's military prosecutor's office said Wednesday it had launched an investigation into possible 'sabotage at a military facility.'"

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Damien Sharkov: Russian Forces Start Air Bombing Drill Near North Korea Border. "Russia's armed forces in the country's far east have kicked off a large air drill near borders with China and North Korea that will culminate with a practice air bombing, state news agency Itar-Tass said Tuesday. The drill will draft the aviation of Khabarovsk region which spans a considerable stretch of Russia's Pacific coastline and Primorie region, which has Russia's short land border with North Korea. ...Earlier this month Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that his country was coming to accept North Korea's nuclear capabilities as a certainty rather than a possibility, telling the U.S. that irrespective of sanctions, North Koreans would 'eat grass' if it meant acquiring nuclear arms."

[CN: Genocide; displacement] Anna Borshchevskaya at Forbes: How Putin Checkmated the US in Syria.
September 30 will mark the two year anniversary of Moscow's intervention in Syria that saved Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from an eminent collapse. Assad is largely responsible for one of the worst humanitarian tragedies since World War II. Today, in no small part thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he has emerged in the strongest position since massive uprisings swept the country in March 2011.

...Putin's support for Assad's ethnic cleansing campaign exacerbated massive and destabilizing refugee flows into Europe. As long as Assad or someone like him remains in power, the majority of refugees will not return home. Assad's traditional foes, such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have come to accept Moscow's view on Assad, and even Saudi Arabia may be shifting its position in Moscow's favor.

Most importantly for Putin, he can now showcase cooperation with the West — on his terms. He created a perception of Russia as a great power broker and obtained international recognition for his latest ceasefire initiative in southwest Syria that led to establishment of de-escalation zones after Putin met with Trump in July of this year.
Note above that every U.S. presidential candidate except Hillary Clinton proposed allying with Putin to help him achieve these goals.

[CN: Homophobia; violence]


That, too, has Putin's fingerprints all over it — and all of this is only the tip of the iceberg of Putin's campaign of destabilization and large-scale eliminationist violence.

And the U.S. president has nothing but praise for him.

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Andrew Restuccia and Tara Palmeri at Politico: Trump to Set Refugee Cap at 45,000. "Donald Trump will limit the number of refugees entering the United States in the next fiscal year to 45,000, the lowest level in decades, according to three administration officials."

Dino Grandoni at the Washington Post: Trump's Hiring Freeze Shrunk National Weather Service Staff Before Hurricanes Hit. "Ahead of what would turn out to be a potentially record-breaking hurricane season, the National Weather Service had 216 vacant positions it could not fill due to a government-wide hiring freeze imposed by the Trump administration, according to a recently released document. Some of those Weather Service vacancies listed in the document, obtained by the Sierra Club through a Freedom of Information Act and shared with The Washington Post, were in locations that would be hit by the major hurricanes that barreled through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Julianna Goldman and Laura Stickler for CBS News: 3 Cabinet Officials Under Fire for Taking Costly Flights. "EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's frequent flights to his home state of Oklahoma have attracted the attention of the EPA's inspector general. It's not just Pruitt. At the Treasury Department, the inspector general is looking at Secretary Steve Mnuchin's use of military aircraft. And the Health and Human Services inspector general is reviewing Secretary Tom Price's chartered flights that cost $400,000." But let's cut taxes and thus government revenue! Wheeeeeeeeeee!

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

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