We Resist: Day 253

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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: 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.


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.

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[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.

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[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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