Question of the Day

What is your favorite ever Halloween costume that you've worn?

I had a Cookie Monster costume that my mom made for me when I was a little kid that I adored. I used to wear it just to play in, long after Halloween!

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Fat Fashion

This is your semi-regular thread in which fat women can share pix, make recommendations for clothes they love, ask questions of other fat women about where to locate certain plus-size items, share info about sales, talk about what jeans cut at what retailer best fits their body shapes, discuss how to accessorize neutral colored suits, share stories of going bare-armed for the first time, brag about a cool fashion moment, whatever.

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My apologies for not posting a Fat Fashion thread in forever! I just hadn't bought anything or worn anything interesting you haven't already seen for awhile.

But I have been on a chiffon kick lately, in search of a perfect chiffon blouse to suit my mood, and I am now in love with this top:

image of me wearing a navy chiffon top with a rose print
Torrid's Floral Print Chiffon Pleated Blouse.

(I'm not getting anything from Torrid, or anyone else, in exchange for writing about this top. I just found it, bought it, and really like it!)

I have a number of chiffon blouses; they've become a staple of my wardrobe, as they're so easy to throw on and head out the door. Easy for a casual look; easy to dress up a bit.

I went out the other night wearing this blouse under a denim moto jacket (also purchased from Torrid, at a different time), and I got a bunch of compliments. It's a good juxtaposition of hard and soft, which suits me.

Anyway! As always, all subjects related to fat fashion are on topic, but if you want a topic for discussion: What are some of the go-to staples in your wardrobe?

Have at it in comments! Please remember to make fat women of all sizes, especially women who find themselves regularly sizing out of standard plus-size lines, welcome in this conversation, and pass no judgment on fat women who want to and/or feel obliged, for any reason, to conform to beauty standards. And please make sure if you're soliciting advice, you make it clear you're seeking suggestions—and please be considerate not to offer unsolicited advice. Sometimes people just need to complain and want solidarity, not solutions.

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Multiple People Dead, Injured in Manhattan Attack

[Content Note: Deliberate violence; terrorism; video of incident may autoplay at link.]

In what appears to be an act of deliberate violence, multiple people have been killed and many more injured after a truck plowed into people on a bike path in Manhattan:

Six people were killed after a truck plowed into several people on a bike path in Lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon, sources told CBS2.

Fifteen people were injured.

A suspect was shot by police and is in custody.

The incident began at 3:04 p.m. when the truck went southbound on the bike path along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan.

The truck rammed bicyclists from behind and ultimately smashed into a school bus with four people on board at Chambers Street, according to the NYPD.

Witnesses told the NYPD that a man emerged from the truck with what appeared to be two weapons.

Authorities initially said the incident appeared to be a case of road rage. The incident is now being investigated as a possible act of terrorism.
This information is still preliminary, and may change as the investigation continues and more information becomes available.

I was just having a late lunch with a friend when I saw the news. My breath caught in my throat as I said, "I don't know how many attacks and shootings I've written about now. I couldn't even begin to guess. More than I can bear. Too many. One was too many."

My deepest sympathies to the people who have lost loved ones and the people who were injured. I'm so sorry.

Please use this thread to share resources and updates, and for discussion. As always, let's keep this an image-free thread. Thank you.

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Ughhhhhhhh


If you can't see the image embedded in the tweet, on the left is Donald Trump, trying to smile but achieving something more akin to a menacing grimace, and on the right is Mike Pence, smiling with unusually squinty eyes, presumably in order to conceal the fact that they are dual portals to hell.

Neither of these men has a natural smile. And that really tells you everything you need to know about them.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat sitting with me on the sofa, with one paw touching my leg as she looks up at me
Olivia gently nudges my leg with her paw. "More petting please!" Accommodated.

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 285

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.

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Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Trump Is Angry and I Am Scared and Facebook: 126M May Have Seen Russian Propaganda. And by Fannie: The Russia Reversal: Misogyny Is a National Vulnerability.

Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng at the Daily Beast: Steve Bannon Tells Trump to Bring in New Lawyers as He Looks for Ways to Kneecap Mueller. "Multiple sources close to Bannon told The Daily Beast on Monday that he is 'advocating a much more aggressive legal approach short of firing Mueller,' as one source put it, and has been mulling options that would effectively curtail the special counsel's investigation into 2016 Russian election-meddling and alleged Trump campaign connections to it. He's being tight-lipped about the strategy so far — and it is unclear how robust an effort he'll actually try to mount — but options are available to him."


Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Paul Manafort and the Privilege of Being a White Collar Defendant. "[Neither Paul Manafort nor Rick Gates had] to see images of themselves in handcuffs plastered all over the media; rather, the two were able to portray themselves as calm, cool, and collected. This is a privilege awarded to white collar criminals who allegedly commit serious crimes, yet are spared from the embarrassment other criminals face. ...Additionally, Manafort did not have to pay cash upfront for his release... Meanwhile, a half a million people sit behind bars because they are unable to afford bail, according to the Justice Policy Institute."

Julia Ainsley, Tom Winter, and Carol E. Lee at NBC News: Sources: Podesta Group, Mercury Are Companies 'A' and 'B' in Indictment. "The lobbying firms the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs are the unnamed companies in the grand jury indictment of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, according to three sources with knowledge of the investigation. The indictment, unsealed Monday, refers to 'Company A' and 'Company B' as the firms Manafort and Gates solicited in 2012 to lobby on behalf of the Ukrainian government. Company A is Mercury Public Affairs and Company B is the Podesta Group, the sources said."

Anna Palmer at Politico: Tony Podesta Stepping Down from Lobbying Giant Amid Mueller Probe. "Democratic power lobbyist Tony Podesta, founder of the Podesta Group, is stepping down from the firm that bears his name after coming under investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller. Podesta announced his decision during a firm-wide meeting Monday morning and is alerting clients of his impending departure." Note: Tony Podesta is the brother of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. He was once a part of the Podesta Group, but left many years ago to work for President Obama. He is not implicated in this probe at all.


[For more on Devine's work with Manafort and Yanukovych, see here and here.]

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I will never understand why anyone ever thought John Kelly was going to be some sort of savior, when he had been a complete dirtbag at DHS, but I hope that anyone who was harboring illusions of his decency has learned their lesson by now. Surely by now. I mean:


Fuck that guy.

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[Content Note: Reproductive coercion, covering this entire section]


Tina Vasquez at Rewire: Federal Agency Director Admits to Interfering in Immigrants' Reproductive Health Choices.
The head of the federal agency charged with caring for unaccompanied immigrant minors has confirmed that he tries to persuade pregnant girls not to seek abortion care.

While testifying at a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee hearing on Thursday, Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd refused to answer questions about whether he visited pregnant minors in custody to persuade them to carry unwanted pregnancies. But one day later, Lloyd confirmed the reports in an exclusive interview with Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), a Catholic television network.

Lloyd told the network that a "tiny minority" of those in ORR custody are pregnant. The agency lost its fight to keep Jane Doe—a teen whose abortion care was delayed for weeks because of court proceedings—from making her own reproductive health-care decisions.

When asked by EWTN if he would try to convince pregnant teens in his custody to "choose life," Lloyd first said his goal is to make sure kids in ORR custody "have everything they need and know they have everything they need." He's willing, he added, to "deliver that message in person" when necessary.

When pushed about whether he has told pregnant minors in ORR custody to "choose life as opposed to abortion," Lloyd said, "I've presented options to a few folks who were pregnant, and I wanted them to know that we were there to help them with their situation, and we wanted them to know as fully as they could what was available to them."
Rage seethe boil. That is not his place. It is not the government's role to engage in reproductive coercion. Pregnant people know what they want. The only role for the government in this situation is to help pregnant people access the care they need, whether that is prenatal care or termination.

* * *

[CN: Sexual violence; police brutality] AP/Guardian: Two NYPD Detectives Charged with Handcuffing Woman, 18, and Raping Her. "Two detectives threatened an 18-year-old woman with arrest over a bottle of prescription pills, handcuffed her, drove her around in their police van, and then raped her, authorities said Monday in announcing charges against the two. The detectives, Eddie Martins and Richard Hall, were arraigned Monday on a 50-count indictment that included rape and kidnapping counts, said the acting Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez. He said DNA recovered from the woman matched both defendants." Next time you see some shitbird demanding to know why women don't report sexual assaults, send them this story. For fuck's sake. Is it any wonder that people are reluctant to report being assaulted when we read stories like this on the regular?

[CN: Racism] Miriam Zoila Pérez at Colorlines: What Does the FBI's New 'Black Identity Extremist' Label Really Mean to Black Organizing? "Malkia Cyril is the founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice, an organization best known for its leadership in the fight for net neutrality. But Cyril, who uses the pronouns 'they' and 'them,' is now embroiled in a related but distinct fight — one they call 'protecting Black dissidents from the FBI.' It's a fight they've been preparing for since they were born to parents who were members of the Black Panther Party. Colorlines talked to Cyril about revelations that the FBI has created a new designation for contemporary Black activism, 'Black Identity Extremism' (BIE)."

[CN: Othering] Matt Wilstein at the Daily Beast: Bernie Sanders Warns Democrats Not to Hang Their Hopes on Robert Mueller.
Meyers asked Sanders if he worries at all that stories like the Mueller indictments "can to the left provide an excitement of, 'Oh, this is almost over,' when in fact it will probably go on forever and they need to focus on the ballot box as opposed to Mueller."

"Yes. I mean, I think we've got to work in two ways," Sanders answered. "No. 1, we have got to take on Trump's attacks against the environment, against women, against Latinos and Blacks and people in the gay community, we've got to fight back every day on those issues. But equally important, or more important: We have got to focus on bread-and-butter issues that mean so much to ordinary Americans."
So, three things: 1. Bernie Sanders doesn't think equality under the law is a "bread-and-butter issue." 2. Bernie Sanders doesn't seem to think that women, people of color, and/or members of the LGBTQ community are "ordinary Americans." 3. Bernie Sanders doesn't think that the dismantling of the American democracy by an authoritarian leader and his corrupt party, aided by a foreign adversary, is something about which "ordinary Americans" do and should care. Oh.

Jonathan Capehart at the Washington Post: Democrats Must Not 'Go Down This Rabbit Hole' If They Want to Retake Washington. Writing about the Inside American Politics conference at New York University this month, Capehart quotes pollster John Anzalone, who worked on both of President Barack Obama's campaigns and Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign: "And that, to me, is the destructive part of someone like Bernie Sanders, who I actually don't believe cares about the Democratic Party, and I don't think he wakes up every day and says that unifying the Democratic Party and making us successful and getting the House and the Senate and the presidency is what he wants to do. And so, in that sense, the schism is very difficult. He's very much like Bannon. Bannon doesn't give a shit about the Republican Party. He wants to destroy it. Bernie, I don't think, quite frankly, gives a shit about the Democratic Party. He only cares about himself, and he's not interested in building it. He's interested in making a bunch of points and principles, and I think that is detrimental to the Democratic Party." Yup.

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

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Facebook: 126M May Have Seen Russian Propaganda

I don't know what will finally put paid the garbage narrative that "Hillary Clinton was a weak candidate." She commandingly won the popular vote despite relentless misogyny, shameful media coverage, voter suppression, James Comey's gross unprofessionalism, Republican skullduggery, and unprecedented foreign interference, the vast scope of which we are still only beginning to understand.

And here is yet another nail in the coffin in which that narrative should be buried for all eternity, care of Craig Timberg and Elizabeth Dwoskin at the Washington Post:

Facebook plans to tell lawmakers on Tuesday that 126 million of its users may have seen content produced and circulated by Russian operatives, many times more than the company had previously disclosed about the reach of the online influence campaign targeting American voters.

The company previously reported that an estimated 10 million users had seen ads bought by Russian-controlled accounts and pages. But Facebook has been silent regarding the spread of free content despite independent researchers suggesting that it was seen by far more users than the ads were.

...Twitter also plans to tell congressional investigators that it has identified 2,752 accounts controlled by Russian operatives and more than 36,000 bots that tweeted 1.4 million times during the election, according to a draft of Twitter's testimony obtained by The Post. The company previously reported 201 accounts linked to Russia.
The difference between 10 million and 126 million is significant. The difference between 201 and 2,752 is significant, too. Facebook and Twitter vastly underestimated the reach of Russian influence in previous disclosures.

Facebook and Twitter must be forthcoming about how their platforms were used and how broadly. And they must aid investigators, because it's virtually impossible for outside researchers to use public data to determine if there was collusion.
"If there was collusion in the social media campaign between the Russians and the Trump campaign, they would have that evidence," said Philip N. Howard of Oxford University's Computational Propaganda Project. "It is a needle in a haystack for us outside researchers."
And naturally we must recognize that the problem is not contained to the previous election, but is ongoing. The Russians were never going to walk away from exploiting social media platforms after they were wildly successful in 2016, and they haven't. Denise Clifton at Mother Jones reports:
Russian bots and trolls on Twitter have stayed plenty busy lately. In the days before charges against three former Trump campaign officials were unsealed on Monday, Russian influencers tracked by the Hamilton 68 dashboard were pushing stories on Twitter about "collusion" between Russia and Hillary Clinton—a narrative regarding a 2010 sale of uranium rights that has long since been debunked.

According to the nonpartisan security research project, a week's worth of tweets from late October turned up a wave of content with "some variation on a theme of corruption, collusion, cover-up by the Clinton-led State Department and/or the Mueller-led FBI," as well as content attacking special counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI Director James Comey.

And since Friday, when news reports made clear that the special counsel's team was moving ahead with indictments, the dashboard began registering a sharp increase in attacks specifically against Mueller.
Facebook and Twitter have insinuated themselves into the culture as conduits of public discussion. To be such prominent vessels of the public square comes with responsibilities beyond making as much money as possible for shareholders. They failed miserably in their ethical obligations during the 2016 election, and that has had major consequences for us all.

They cannot continue to fail. The Russians will keep coming, and social media companies need to decide what side they're on, because there's no neutral in this fight.

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The Russia Reversal: Misogyny Is a National Vulnerability

Back in January, I wrote of the pervasive misogyny that was leveraged in the 2016 election to put an unqualified, temperamental predator in the White House. In particular, I referenced the mainstream media's complicity in this political situation which has undoubtedly weakened our nation.

If you remember, for instance, the major news media covered Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server for 600 consecutive days, effectively rendering a portrait of her as being - unlike Trump - dishonest and suffering from a transparency problem. I have long believed that this coverage was grounded in the misogynistic perception that women are inherently deceptive and men, even the worst of men, automatically genuine.

That stolen emails detrimental to Clinton's campaign were then repeatedly amplified by the press also fit into a larger context of Internet culture wherein women are harassed, doxxed, and victimized by revenge porn on a daily basis. In this same context, the US legal system and tech companies have been slow to develop effective victim-centered regulations and policies to address these issues. That is to say, Internet culture has come to encompass the wider, offline norms of rape culture.

In my January piece, I noted:

"With this framework in mind, I was troubled with Wikileaks' involvement in Election 2016 from the get-go. With the stereotype that women are inherently deceptive comes the idea that digging must be done to get 'the real story' beyond the surface of what women say. It thus seemed so obviously suspicious to me that only stolen emails detrimental to Clinton's campaign - the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and John Podesta emails - were reported on, but not those of her opponents.

With a shrug, those on the left and right used these stolen emails against her. Women's boundaries are violated everyday on the Internet. No big deal, right? So, the US media uncritically reported on, hyped, and amplified this stolen content. Hillary Clinton warned us in front of millions of people during the final debate between herself and Donald Trump, that Russian operatives were interfering with the election in this way. But, Donald Trump interrupted her and people made a million jokes about his 'no puppet, no puppet' line.

But then, as The New York Times later extensively reported after the election, it turned out she was right.

But before that, for 18 months we lived in an absurd moment in time where the media gave more coverage and portrayed as more scandalous a hypothetical risk of national harm due to security breach, than its own complicity in an actual, ongoing national harm that was occurring due to actual security breaches and foreign interference.

That's right: The US media spent 600 straight days covering Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server from which there is no evidence of hacking, under the ostensible reasoning that it was a vital matter of national concern. At the same time, many of these same media sources were effectively serving as, in the Times own words, 'a de facto instrument of Russian intelligence' by uncritically citing the stolen DNC and Podesta emails.

You almost have to laugh to keep from crying. Or, grab a bottle of vodka, because it gets better. In September 2016, at the Center for Public Integrity, David Levinthal ominously warned:
'There’s no Trumpian analogue to what’s been Clinton’s most enduring transparency saga: her use of a private State Department email server.'
This take was mainstream: Hillary Clinton Was Hiding Big Things, Unlike Trump!

As with the obsessive coverage of Clinton's email server, I struggle to understand why Russian interference wasn't a bigger story during the election. I struggle with the media's casual, uncritical reporting on stolen content and now, even worse, the lazy cover-their-ass defenses, like one Los Angeles Times editor: 'My default position is democracy works best when voters have as much information as possible about the candidates and their campaigns.' Or, on the left, Kevin Drum's take at Mother Jones:' ...I never put two and two together long enough to think about what this hack might mean. In my defense, no one else seems to have given it much thought either....'

Oh.

Those with some of the largest media platforms probably missed the biggest, Watergate-level story in recent political history, and ....why? How? We're supposed to be okay with, Well, everybody else was doing it.

Going forward, I see it as a travesty that those with the most unexamined of privileges have the largest media platforms, mostly because they seem to so consistently fail women and, in the process, our nation."
Misogyny is a national vulnerability and it was leveraged against our nation to our detriment. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have continued to lead a racist, misogynistic backlash to progress that proves to be profoundly stupid in that it will harm not only women/people of color, but many of the people who support these men.

Further, as more information is brought to light about Trump's possible collusion with Russian agents, it turns out that, whooooooops, Trump actually does have a "transparency saga" of epic proportions despite the benefit of the doubt so many pundits were willing to undeservedly grant him.

Going forward, a good thing to keep in mind is that those with the loudest and largest media platforms to cover these current events continue to be white men, many of whom are entertained by or actively complicit in the oppression of women.

As Rebecca Traister noted in a recent piece, "Our National Narratives Are Still Being Shaped By Lecherous, Powerful Men":
"[Admitted harasser Mark] Halperin’s view of Hillary Clinton in particular was two-dimensional: Through his lens, she was a grasping and scandal-plagued woman; her exaggerated misdeeds and the intense feelings she engendered were all part of propelling his profitable narrative forward. His coverage of Trump, meanwhile, in this last campaign cycle, was notably soft, even admiring: Halperin once argued that the sexual-assault claims leveled at Trump would only help the now-president’s brand.
Yet his view of the history we’ve just lived through was the one that was amplified and well compensated; there was not just the book deal but Showtime and HBO deals, too, and a regular perch on Morning Joe. (HBO, Penguin, and NBC have dropped him.) The same power that afforded Halperin the ability to allegedly rub up against younger colleagues — colleagues who shared stories with one another but never felt they had enough power to file a formal complaint at ABC, where he held so much sway — also meant that he got to shape the nation’s view of a woman whose political story had already been shaped by other men who abused their power, including her husband and her 2016 opponent Donald Trump, not to mention Anthony Weiner. Lots of people still strain against the argument that gendered power structures helped determine Hillary Clinton’s (and thus our nation’s) fate, but when they do they are too often thinking of gender as an attribute that belongs only to her, the woman, and not to the men whose gender-afforded power ensured that she would have to work around and against so many dicks — by which I mean literal penises — in her efforts to become the first woman president
Aphra's Twitter thread about Matt Taibbi is also a must read.

Courageous truth-tellers are also helping lead a progressive feminist revival, outing men across industries and the political spectrum as sexual harassers, predators, and rapists. Rape culture is everywhere, it seems, and contrary to rape culture's usual wisdom, so are rapists. Yet, as Traister notes, for every predator outed, dozens more are not, because women are scared to go on record against powerful men.

Back in 2009, Melissa wrote:
"Rape culture is the myriad ways in which rape is tacitly and overtly abetted and encouraged having saturated every corner of our culture so thoroughly that people can't easily wrap their heads around what the rape culture actually is."
More than any time in my recent memory it has become apparent that a fundamental way rape culture has saturated our culture so thoroughly, and yet sometimes so imperceptibly, is because so many national narratives in the news, politics, and Hollywood are told by misogynists who tip the scales for other misogynists, the massive effect of which has been to normalize the widespread hatred and subordination of women.

Here's me, earlier this year:
"...[W]ho does narrate the world, and what exactly are they narrating?

What's abundantly clear to me is that many white men, including those with hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers and/or op-ed space at major media platforms, do not understand the Trump discontent as they sit on their perches of presumed, detached objectivity and scold women and minorities for engaging in identity politics, instruct us to not call people bigots, act 'stunned' that a man as incompetent as Trump could have won, suggest Chelsea Clinton shouldn't use Twitter because it's 'bad for the Democrats,' suggest Chelsea Clinton should never run for office, and demand that we empathize with Trump supporters so they can live happily ever after."
With this backdrop in mind, keep your eyes on the Russia Reversal, as Melissa has coined it.

Actively seek out, follow, and amplify the narratives of women/people of color, feminists, and dissidents at this crucial moment in our nation's history. The Trump team is already pushing hard the narrative that Hillary Clinton is the real traitor with respect to Russia collusion. Cultural misogyny and media misogynists have already done a lot of heavy lifting in service putting Trump in office, via  the narrative that Hillary Clinton is less trustworthy than Donald Trump, who lies to the public about 5 times per day.

This trend will continue and it's up to us to resist it.

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Trump Is Angry and I Am Scared

Donald Trump is angry. I know that because the political press wants me to know that Donald Trump is angry.

Robert Costa, Philip Rucker, and Ashley Parker at the Washington Post: Upstairs at Home, with the TV on, Trump Fumes over Russia Indictments. Specific!

Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire at the AP: Trump Fumes as Mueller Probe Enters New Phase with Charges.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Jeff Zeleny and Kevin Liptak at CNN: Trump 'Seething' as Mueller Probe Reaches Former Aides.

Okay, I get it. Trump is angry. As one imagines he would be, given that he's a pretty mirthless guy on a good day.

What I want to know is: What does that mean for us? What's he going to do with that anger? Trump doesn't sit well with any kind of discomfort, and he is, by his own admission, a vengeful guy. He likes to hurt people whom he believes done him wrong. And he's already learned, thanks to the press' slavering admiration of any president who drops a bomb on people, that hurting other people can be both a distraction and a way of earning praise.

So we're in a dangerous moment. And if it's accurate that Bob Mueller is only getting started, then we're going to stay in that dangerous moment, with a spiraling president whose anger and urge to hurt people will continually escalate as Mueller gets closer to him.

I see a lot of people celebrating that Trump is squirming with discomfort and seething with rage. That doesn't make me happy. It makes me scared. Scared for what he may do, and the people he may harm. He is still the president, after all. He retains enormous power that he can flex in frightening ways.

And he is not, as we have continually been reassured, surrounded by "moderating influences." Ivanka cannot contain him. Pence does not contain him. Kelly will not contain him. To the absolute contrary, Kelly continues to abet him in the grossest of ways.

Congress refuses to levy any checks and balances, because his party is fully complicit. That makes me scared, too. Even the "best case" scenarios leave us with a Republican president who is just as corrupt and authoritarian as Trump, but has the sense and discipline to look "normal."

Whether that's Pence or Ryan, that presidency will be greeted by a political press and populace who are desperate to exhale and pretend that he's better than Trump, despite the fact that he will continue and expand Trump's policies, with the help of the Republican Congressional majority, who are not looking at this nightmare and reconsidering their attempt to seize total control of the government on every level, but maneuvering to get through this attempt at some accountability while sustaining the least damage to their steamroller.

I want to be giddy with (seemingly) everyone else. But I can't be. Not until I truly see something to be giddy about. And the future is yet far too murky.

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Open Thread

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker moseyalong: "What is your favorite way to make a house smell homey? Cleaning product smells? Candles? Do you abhor smells? Not care one way or another?"

I always think that homes with cooking smells smell homey. I love going over to someone else's house after they've cooked, and I love it when I come home after cooking something earlier that day and the smell still lingers in the air.

My three favorite cooking smells in a house are: Bread, bacon, and curry.

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The Monday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by indictments.

Recommended Reading:

Kaila Hale-Stern: Trump's Bigoted Ban on Transgender Soldiers Is Blocked by Federal Court

Andy Towle: Hillary Clinton Rips Trump's Attacks on LGBT Rights, FOX News, Roy Moore at HRC Gala in D.C.

Sue Kerr: [Content Note: Transmisogynistic violence; murder] Stephanie Montez Is 22nd Transgender Person Murdered in 2017

Sameer Rao: [CN: Violence; bigotry] California Man Charged with Assault After Driving Car into Immigrant Justice Protest

IWHC Staff: [CN: Anti-choicery; misogyny; LGBTQ hatred] Trump's Religious Freedom Nominee Threatens Human Rights

Ragen Chastain: [CN: Fat hatred] Victory! Fat Suit Halloween Costume off the Shelves

Andrew Liszewski: A Water Slide Ferris Wheel Might Be the Most Stomach-Turning Ride Ever Invented

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

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Discussion Thread: How Are You?

Today has been a lot already, and there's certainly more to come, possibly quickly, with regard to Bob Mueller's investigation. This will rock the country one way or another: Either it will upend Trump's bid to fully enact authoritarian rule, or it will fail to upend it. Either way, I feel very much like we're at a point of no return to what felt "normal," and that has me feeling uneasy in the extreme.

Also: I'm finding some reactions to the news today rather upsetting — and the reaction on which I don't yet have a firm grasp, Trump's, is the one that I fear will upset me the most.

Overall, I'm feeling pretty fucked up at the moment, to put it bluntly, lol.

How are you doing?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting in the grass, grinning
Zelly Belly, the happiest dog of all the dogs!

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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Sarah Huckabee Sanders Really Went for It

In a short but storied career of amazing performances as White House Press Secretary, today's display by Sarah Huckabee Sanders was really something. She mentioned Hillary Clinton a lot. I lost track around the ten millionth mention of Clinton's name. And she was still going for the Russia Reversal narrative, even after George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty. Wow.

Here's a representative clip, for anyone who had the good fortune to miss it:

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: But look, today's announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president's campaign, or campaign activity. Ah, the real collusion scandal, as we've said several times before, has everything to do with the Clinton campaign, Fusion GPS, and Russia. There's clear evidence of the Clinton campaign colluding with Russian intelligence to spread disinformation and smear the president, to influence the election. We've been saying from day one there's been no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and nothing in the indictment today changes that at all.

REPORTER 1: But the George Papadopoulos indictment is about the campaign. It is specifically about the campaign.

HUCKABEE SANDERS: It has nothing to do with the activities of the campaign. It has to do with his failure to tell the truth. That doesn't have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign's activities.

REPORTER 2: But it is the clearest evidence yet of ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, so—

HUCKABEE SANDERS: Again, there are no activities or official capacity in which the Trump campaign was engaged in any of these activities. Most of them took place well before the campaign ever even existed.
Sure. That last bit is accurate regarding the charges against Manafort and Gates, but the reporter was referencing Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about incidents that took place during the campaign. So the best the Trump administration seems to have is to suggest he wasn't acting in an official capacity and wasn't even really part of the campaign. Except:


And then there's this: Asserting Papadopoulos wasn't an official member of the campaign is a bad strategy — for a lot of reasons (including that it's patently false), not least of which is that it's the sort of claim that induces rats to rat even harder.

Anyway. It was bad. And I suspect, and hope, that things are only going to get worse for Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

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We Resist: Day 284

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: Mueller Files Charges Against Manafort and Gates and Some Key Resources on Mueller's Investigation.

So, Trump campaign foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos has confessed to lying to the FBI "about the timing and detail of his attempts to line up meetings between Russian government officials and the Trump campaign."

That's a pretty significant turn of events, possibly even more important than the indictment of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, because: 1. It means Papadopoulos is cooperating with investigators; and 2. The charges against Manafort and Gates are not related to the Trump campaign at all, whereas Papadopoulos' charges are: "Papadopoulos' plea occurred on Oct. 5 and was unsealed Monday. In court papers, he admitted to lying about the nature of his interactions with 'foreign nationals' who he thought had close connections to senior Russian government officials."


Further:


There is a lot of speculation swirling through the political press today, but the only thing that matters is what we actually know.

And what we know is this: Former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his longtime deputy Rick Gates have been indicted on multiple (12) counts having to do with their shady business dealings in Ukraine. None of the current charges regard their work with the Trump campaign (or Trump administration, with which Gates still has a relationship).

Former Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos has been charged with making false statements to the FBI, specifically regarding the presidential campaign. He is also cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

That is everything we know so far. There is every reason to be hopeful that more charges will be forthcoming, as there is a cooperating witness, but we're not yet at the point where we can be confident "the dominoes are starting to fall."

Maintain optimism but be patient. And keep your eyes on Trump. It's a perilous time we face with a threatened president who has zero compunction about harming people if he believes it serves his best interests.

* * *


Cool.

* * *

Susan B. Glasser at Politico: 'The Russians Have Succeeded Beyond Their Wildest Expectations.'
James Clapper, a crusty ex-cargo pilot who rose through the Air Force ranks and retired as director of national intelligence in January, only to emerge publicly as one of [Donald] Trump's foremost critics, wants you to know that no matter how much Trump rants about the "Russia hoax," the 2016 hacking was not only real and aimed at electing Trump but constituted a major victory for a dangerous foreign adversary. "The Russians," he said, have "succeeded beyond their wildest expectations."

Far from being the "witch hunt" Trump has repeatedly called it, the investigation of whether Trump's team colluded with Russia constitutes a "cloud not only over the president, but the office of the presidency, the administration, the government, and the country" until it is resolved, Clapper told me in an extensive new interview for The Global Politico, our weekly podcast on world affairs.

...Clapper has repeatedly sounded the alarm about the Russia investigation since Trump came to office denying the U.S. intelligence community finding that Clapper made public last year: that Russia had intervened explicitly on Trump's behalf. At times, he's even seemed to infuriate the president, who has publicly compared Clapper and other intelligence pros to Nazis, falsely claimed they illegally wiretapped him at Trump Tower, and taunted him and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates for having "choked like dogs" in Hill testimony.

In our interview, I asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin now believes he is winning in his campaign against the United States.

"Why wouldn't he?" Clapper responded. "I mean, the Russians succeeded, I believe, beyond their wildest expectations. Their first objective in the election was to sow discontent, discord, and disruption in our political life, and they have succeeded to a fare-thee-well. They have accelerated, amplified the polarization and the divisiveness in this country, and they've undermined our democratic system. They wanted to create doubt in the minds of the public about our government and about our system, and they succeeded to a fare-thee-well."

"They've been emboldened," he added, "and they will continue to do this."
A sobering reminder that Mueller's investigation is seeking accountability for what already happened, but the meddling continues unabated.

* * *

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Fatima Hussein at the Indy Star: Indiana Secretary of State Accused of Violating Federal Election Laws. "Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is once again being accused of violating federal elections laws. Common Cause Indiana in a federal lawsuit filed Friday calls for an injunction to be issued against Lawson, whom the political watchdog group accuses of unlawfully purging voters from state rolls. Specifically, Common Cause challenges the new 'Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck' system that allows election officials to immediately remove voters identified as having registered to vote in another state."

Note: Crosscheck, as the system is known, is the data collection program run by Kris Kobach's state of Kansas — and which is totally ineffective at preventing voter fraud, but very successful at disenfranchising voters. Koback is the vice-chair of Donald Trump's "election integrity commission," which is being chaired by VP Mike Pence, Connie Lawson's old boss in Indiana.

So everything is fine. (Everything is decidedly not fine.)

* * *

Lachlan Markay and Sam Stein at the Daily Beast: Swamp Things: More Than 50% of President Trump’s Nominees Have Ties to the Industries They’re Supposed to Regulate. "The Daily Beast examined 341 nominations the president has made to Senate-confirmed administration positions. Of those, more than half (179) have some notable conflict of interest, according to a comprehensive review of public records. One hundred and five nominees worked in the industries that they were being tasked with regulating; 63 lobbied for, were lawyers for, or otherwise represented industry members that they were being tasked with regulating; and 11 received payments or campaign donations from members of the industry that they were being tasked with regulating."

Tim Alberta at Politico: John Boehner Unchained. The subhead of this piece is: "The former House speaker feels liberated — but he's also seething about what happened to his party." So, you know, right from go it's a piece designed to rehabilitate Boehner and distance him from all the work he did to ensure that his party would end up exactly here. I don't give a single infinitesimal fuck about Boehner's golf swing or his easy chair. What I care about is the institutional forgetting that Boehner was an obstructionist creep who stymied any chance of meaningful progress every chance he got.

Steven Mufson, Arelis R. Hernández, and Aaron C. Davis at the Washington Post: Puerto Rico Moves to Cancel Contract with Whitefish Energy to Repair Electric Grid. "Puerto Rico's electric company moved Sunday to cancel a $300 million contract with a small Montana firm for repairs to the territory's hurricane-ravaged electrical grid, saying controversy surrounding the agreement was distracting from the effort to restore power. The contract with Whitefish Energy — a firm that had just two employees the day the storm hit — had drawn blistering criticism from members of Congress for days. And on Friday the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has a large role in determining government reimbursements, said it had 'significant concerns' about how the contract was secured." As does the FBI, apparently.


Speaking of this administration being a bunch of dirtbag grifters...

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Cristina Alesci at CNNMoney: Maryland Investigating Kushner Companies over Apartments. "The Maryland attorney general is investigating one of the Kushner family's real estate businesses after media reports surfaced earlier this year about allegedly abusive debt collection practices and poor conditions at several of its properties. ...In May, The New York Times and ProPublica detailed 'poor upkeep' inside developments run by Westminster, including appliance failures, mold, and mouse infestations. The report also documented unsavory debt collection tactics. In addition, The Baltimore Sun reported that Kushner-affiliated businesses were 'the most aggressive in Maryland' in seeking civil arrests of tenants who owed the company money."

Matt McGrath at the BBC: Record Surge in Atmospheric CO2 Seen in 2016. "Concentrations of CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere surged to a record high in 2016, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Last year's increase was 50% higher than the average of the past 10 years. Researchers say a combination of human activities and the El Niño weather phenomenon drove CO2 to a level not seen in 800,000 years. Scientists say this risks making global temperature targets largely unattainable." Swell.

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

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Today in Rape Culture: Kevin Spacey

[Content Note: Description of sexual assault.]

Another one from the Longtime Rumors file: Actor Anthony Rapp (whom, as an aside, I have adored since he played Daryl in Adventures in Babysitting, a movie I have watched no fewer than ten jillion times) has publicly disclosed that actor Kevin Spacey attempted to sexually assault him when he (Rapp) was 14 years old.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Rapp is publicly alleging for the first time that in 1986, Spacey befriended Rapp while they both performed on Broadway shows, invited Rapp over to his apartment for a party, and, at the end of the night, picked Rapp up, placed him on his bed, and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance. According to public records, Spacey was 26. Rapp was 14.

For years, Rapp, now 46, told no one about his experience, and he has never spoken with Spacey since. But as Spacey's star began to rise through the 1990s and 2000s — including a Tony Award, two Oscars, a decadelong run as the creative director of the Old Vic theater in London, and six seasons and counting on the hit Netflix series House of Cards — Rapp's frustration, anger, and incredulity with the sexual boundary he said Spacey crossed with him grew as well. Seeing Spacey now, "My stomach churns," Rapp said. "I still to this day can't wrap my head around so many aspects of it. It's just deeply confusing to me."
There is a more detailed account of the assault at the link, as well as much more from Rapp about how the incident has continued to affect him, especially given Spacey's prominence in the same industry.

I also want to highlight this passage, given the number of times over the past several weeks we've seen people demand to know why accusers didn't come forward sooner or report to law enforcement: "Rapp said he even met with a lawyer, who told him there was no case worth pursuing."

No victim is obliged to report her or his assault in the first place. But let's be clear that there are victims who do try to report and are turned away, either by attorneys with whom they consult or by law enforcement.

Spacey responded on Twitter to the allegation with a statement that reads:
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Anthony Rapp as an actor. I'm beyond horrified to hear his story. I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave then as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.

This story has encouraged me to address other things about my life. I know that there are stories out there about me and that some have been fueled by the fact that I have been so protective of my privacy. As those closest to me know, in my life I have had relationships with both men and women. I have loved and had romantic encounters with men throughout my life, and I choose now to live as a gay man. I want to deal with this honestly and openly and that starts with examining my own behavior.
There is a lot to unpack there, starting with the fact that Spacey does not deny the charge. There's also the issue of his cynically trying to turn his coming out into the news story, to deflect from the charge of sexually preying on a child, and the fact that he reductively describes said predation as "inappropriate drunken behavior." The booze made me do it! That old chestnut.

At the Daily Beast, Ira Madison III also deals with the fact that Spacey's coming out also "grossly conflates pedophilia and homosexuality."

What an absolute shitshow.

As I said at the top of the piece, Spacey is another man about whom there have long been whispers about his predation, so I suspect that Rapp might be the first of many.

Even and especially if he is not, he is brave to have spoken out, and I take up space in solidarity with him.

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Some Key Resources on Mueller's Investigation

1. Politico has made available a copy of the Manafort-Gates indictment.

2. Also now public is the document of charges on Trump advisor George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI.

3. Illinois Attorney General candidate Renato Mariotti‏ published a Twitter thread explaining what Papadopoulos' guilty plea means.

4. As I read the Manafort/Gates indictment now, I noticed there are a whole lotta references to Cyprus in there. Entities incorporated by Manafort and Gates in Cyprus and wire transfers originating in Cyprus. As you may recall, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is the single largest shareholder in the Bank of Cyprus. Here is important background on that.

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Mueller Files Charges Against Manafort and Gates

[Video Description: Paul Manafort surrendering to the FBI this morning.]

Following the announcement late Friday that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had made sealed indictments in his collusion probe, former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and his longtime deputy Rick Gates were charged and told to surrender themselves this morning.

Manafort and Gates each face 12 charges, including conspiracy against the United States and conspiracy to commit tax fraud. [ETA. The charges may be regarding money laundering rather than or in addition to tax fraud.]

So, a couple of preliminary thoughts:

1. As you may recall, one of my biggest fears about this investigation has been that Manafort would be the fall guy, and that would be as close as Mueller would ever get to Trump, so I'm having A LOT OF FEELINGS about the fact that he started with Manafort. Good feelings and dread feelings!

2. The fact that Mueller has brought a number of charges, higher than I anticipated, is something I'm tentatively taking as a good sign. Which means that my primary anxiety at the moment is how Trump will react. (I'll come back to that.)

3. That Mueller started with Manafort and Gates — the latter of whom still has ongoing ties to the White House — and leaked charges regarding both collusion and tax fraud, is interesting. Those charges, perhaps especially tax fraud, are the most likely to send a shiver up Trump's spine.

4. Mueller really had to find a balance between: 1. Reassuring the public something is happening and the investigation is meaningful; 2. Scaring the pants off the big fish; 3. Not scaring them so much that Trump feels backed into a corner and does something incredibly harmful. That is quite the needle to have to thread. But he's gotta thread it. We won't know how successful he's been for a bit yet. The indictments are just the first part of his opening gambit.

5. It's making me very nervous that this is nearly coinciding precisely with the one year mark that experts on authoritarian regimes warned us we'd have to prevent a full-scale takeover. The pressure of these indictment could tip Trump right at the point experts anticipate he was likely to tip anyway.


I want to emphasize that: My hope right now is that we get through this safely.

It's not just the possibility that Trump could start a fucking war to distract from this news — which is entirely, frighteningly possible — but the fact that he could go full authoritarian. He could fire Mueller, and, if he does, who's going to stop him? That's not rhetorical. I really don't know.

The GOP has lined up behind him fully. That Jeff Flake was still saying on his way out the door there's no reason to remove Trump is not good. That Trump reportedly asked for Dana Boente's resignation, so he could replace him, thus creating space for Trump replace Mueller's replacement if he fired him is not good. That Chuck Grassley is still suggesting Hillary Clinton needs to be investigated is not good.

What's happened this morning could be the start of much-needed accountability for a bunch of disloyal scoundrels who have attempted a coup. Or it could be the start of a war.

That we don't know yet is reason to greet all of this news with seriousness. Clink a glass, if you like, but then get back to the grave business of resisting whatever Trump and his party will do in response.

Even internet trolls thrash hardest when we draw a boundary with them. I don't expect the trolls in the White House to be any different.

Open Wide...

Open Thread

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

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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.

I've got some medical stuff to do this afternoon (nothing terribly serious), so I need to wrap up a little early. See you on Monday!

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The Trump Regime Hates Democracy

Orion Danjuma at the ACLU: Unsealed Documents Show That Kris Kobach Is Dead Set on Suppressing the Right to Vote.

For almost a year, Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas, has struggled to hide the truth about his efforts to lobby the Trump administration to make it much harder for Americans to vote. Part of that struggle ended today when a federal court ordered excerpts of Kris Kobach's testimony disclosed along with other documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union in our challenge to his restrictive voter registration regime.

The unsealed materials confirm what many have suspected: Kobach has a ready-made plan to gut core voting rights protections enshrined in federal law. And he has been covertly lobbying Trump's team and other officials from day one to sell them the falsehood that noncitizens are swinging elections.

As the de facto head of [Donald] Trump's election commission, Kobach has positioned himself to lead an all-out assault on the right to vote.
Danjuma goes on to detail "three big plays from Kobach's voter suppression playbook": 1. Disenfranchise new voters with severe registration restrictions. 2. If the law doesn't let you suppress the vote, pull some strings to get rid of the law. 3. Cover your tracks.

I strongly recommend heading on over to read the whole thing. This is critically important information, as it lays out how the Republican Party, with the power of the Trump administration and its "voter integrity commission" led by Koback and Vice President Mike Pence, are working to destroy democracy to maintain and expand their control of the government, on every level.

[H/T to Shaker Aphra_Behn.]

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The Russia Reversal, Continued

The Wall Street Journal throws its hat into the Russia Reversal ring, with a piece by Kimberley A. Strassel headlined: "The Coming Russia Bombshells."

It begins: "The confirmation this week that Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid an opposition-research firm for a 'dossier' on Donald Trump is bombshell news. More bombshells are to come."

And ends: "No, this probe of the Democratic Party's Russian dalliance has a long, long way to go. And, let us hope, with revelations too big for even the media to ignore."

That's about as blunt as it gets, in terms of laying out the strategy: To create the narrative that it's the Democratic Party who has a "dalliance" with Russia that can't be ignored.

The entire premise of the piece, however, is a lie.


In a new piece, David Corn lays out the cynical strategy:
When the existence of these memos was first reported (uh, by me, in October 2016), I noted that Steele's investigation was underwritten by a Democratic source. Now the public knows which ones. But as Republicans seize on this development to try to discredit the Steele memos and the whole Trump-Russia scandal, they are also pushing for an investigation into what they claim is the real scandal involving Hillary Clinton and the sale of a uranium company with US operations to a Russian government agency. Fact-checkers have already declared this supposed scandal, which [Donald] Trump has pushed, a phony. But here's where the hypocrisy truly kicks in: the Clinton-uranium story originated with an anti-Clinton book called Clinton Cash, which was produced at a nonprofit supported by right-wing hedge-fund manager Robert Mercer and co-founded by conservative firebrand Stephen Bannon.

So you see what's happening? Republicans are asserting the Steele memos should be dismissed because they are a dastardly Democratic oppo concoction and saying this somehow undermines the whole Trump-Russia scandal. Yet at the same time, they are demanding an investigation of the fake Clinton-uranium scandal that was based on a debunked story subsidized and promoted by a big-money conservative donor and Trump backer.
This is exactly what I observed was happening on Monday: "Essentially, the narrative being constructed is that some nefarious dealings with the Russians started while Hillary Clinton was at State, and President Obama knew. That they've accused Trump of collusion, but they are the real traitors, and they need to be put on trial and jailed. ('Lock her up!')"

At the start of the week, that sounded like a wild theory. By the end of the week, it's manifestly obvious that is precisely what's happening.

Malcolm Nance noted the lead today at Trump propaganda outlet Breitbart with a warning:


In February, I recommended this interview with Yale professor Timothy Snyder, who warned "we have at most a year to defend the Republic, perhaps less." Sarah Kendzior and Masha Gessen also warned soon after Trump's election that we had around a year to prevent a full-on authoritarian takeover.

We are bearing down on a year. And we are losing.

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Open Thread

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

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker eyeballsmccat: "What is your favorite unusual thing, place, or period in time to research/learn more about? (Casual or super-focused both counting!)"

Can I say everything, lol? Just about anything can catch my fancy and attention. I love falling down rabbit holes on subjects about which I know very little, or not enough, or nothing at all.

If I had to pick one unusual subject to which I can return endlessly, I'd say: Bats. Obviously.

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The Swimming Thread

Because of the great feedback and conversations I've had since I started talking more about swimming, I'm going to keep talking about it and opening up space for other people to talk about it, too — whether it's sharing their own feelings about swimming, grousing about lack of accessibility, asking questions about how to dive in (literally), or anything else. So, here's another swimming thread!

image of me swimming in a pool, not particularly gracefully
Look at that amazing form, lol!

As I've said, I'm not a very good technical swimmer, and there is the photo to prove it! I was doing a modified breast stroke there, which is what I spend most of my pool time doing.

One of the many things I love about swimming is that it doesn't matter that my form is shit. All it has to be is good enough to keep me afloat.

And no matter how I look to anyone else, I feel good moving through the water. I feel as good as Katie Ledecky looks!

In the months I've been swimming, my lap times have gotten much faster, because I've gotten stronger. I haven't lost or gained a single pound, but the shape of my body has changed a bit (more muscly). My blood pressure has improved, as has my posture.

So that's all fine. Good confirmation that it's physical self-care as well as psychological self-care. It hasn't always been easy for me to find something that satisfies both needs.

* * *

As before, please use this thread for all swimming-related discussion, and I am happy to answer any and all questions around being a fat woman who swims: How I navigate the locker room, what strokes I do, how I deal with shitty looks and comments, what's the best suit cut for what body shape to cover all the bits, anything.

Have at it in comments!

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders Is Feeling Confident

I'm not sure why White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is so certain that Special Counsel Bob Mueller will soon be wrapping up his investigation, no less to the White House's satisfaction, but it sure is interesting that she is, no less that she's pushing the Russia Reversal in the same breath:

"I certainly think he has confidence that they are going to close this up soon," Sanders told Fox News' Bill Hemmer.

Hemmer asked what made her think Mueller's probe would conclude.

"I think we are seeing more and more evidence that shows, look, they've been working on this and investigating this for well into a year through various committees," Sanders said.

..."Every day we find out more and more details about why the President has been right all along and why the Democrats have been wrong all along and I think that each day we're getting closer and closer to closing the loop on this on our front," Sanders added.

"Is that based on news reports or is that based on something else?" Hemmer asked. "Some other channel there at the White House?"

"I think it's based on fact — the fact that there has been no wrongdoing by the Trump campaign and a lot of the reporting that we're seeing coming out, day in, day out with the collusion you've got."

Sanders was referring two stories, mentioned earlier in the interview, which the White House has said shift suspicion away from [Donald] Trump and toward Democrats.

...Hemmer pressed: "To be clear now, no one from the Department of Justice have told you or anyone at the White House that it should be wrapping up soon. I just want to be clear on that."

"I have not spoken with anybody at the Department of Justice on that front, but I think that we are seeing that it is getting closer to conclusion," Sanders said, failing to provide support for the claim.
Just pure speculation "based on fact," like the fact that Donald Trump wants to lock up Hillary Clinton.

I don't know that Bob Mueller has been compromised. I know only that it's perilous to have one man carry this much responsibility, because it's easy for one man to be compromised. (It's hard to outsmart or out-principle threats to one's family, for instance.) That's why it's safer to have diverse responsibility, like a special investigatory council or a Congress who will do their fucking jobs.

Anyway. I will again note that all of this feels not right to me.

And I'll note again that I think the best for which we have to hope at this point is Manafort as a fall guy. Maybe Flynn.

But the confidence of the White House right now does not reflect the behavior I'd expect from a group of cowardly, disloyal reprobates who have any fear at all of accountability or consequences.

I hope I'm wrong. I really do.

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I'm Just Going to Put This Right Here

Because, at some point, it may be useful to have a record of this nepotistic monster publicly drooling over the thought of a show trial for his father's former political rival.


If you can't view the image embedded in the tweet, it's a screencap of a tweet published by Don Trump Jr., who has retweeted a Fox News tweet reading "FOX NEWS ALERT: DOJ lifts gag order, allows FBI informant to testify on Russian Uranium Deal in front of Congress," to which Don Jr. has added his own text reading: "Happy birthday Hillary" followed by a birthday cake emoji.

On Monday, I wrote that I was worried Hillary Clinton was being set up to be the "real traitor" who colluded with Russia and said, using the common parlance invoked to discredit Cassandras: "I know that sounds fucking crazy."

It shouldn't sound "fucking crazy" anymore.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on the couch with her wee paws resting on a pillow
Just look at this little munchkin! She's TOO cute!

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 280

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: U.S. Immigration Policy Is Breathtaking Malice and Georgia Election Server's Data Destroyed After Suit Filed.

Chris McGreal at the Guardian: Trump to Declare Health Emergency over Opioids But No New Funds to Help. "Donald Trump is to order his health secretary to declare a public health emergency in response to the US's escalating opioid epidemic. But while the announcement that the president intends to 'mobilise his entire administration' to combat the crisis will be seen as an important symbolic moment, there will be no new funds to deal with an epidemic claiming 100 lives or more a day. ...The White House said it is having a 'conversation with Congress' about new funding." So, a big media splash and lots of headlines with no real action to effectively help people? That sounds about right.

[Content Note: Misogynoir; threats] Nicole Lafond at TPM: Rep. Frederica Wilson Away from Washington Amid Ongoing Threats. "Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) did not return to Washington this week after receiving a barrage of threats, according to her D.C. office spokesperson. 'We have received a lot of threats and rude phone calls since [Donald] Trump started this feud with her,' Wilson's spokeswoman Joyce Jones told TPM Thursday. Because of her absence, Wilson has missed at least 20 votes in the House since Monday, a move the congresswoman doesn't take lightly, Jones said. 'Voting is extremely important to her. That's how she expresses the views of her constituents and she wouldn't miss votes if not for extraordinary circumstances,' she said." And now we see another way that Trump and his deplorables have to stymie democracy.

[CN: War on agency]


Goddammit. Rage seethe boil. This shit isn't fucking cute. Lives hang in the balance. People die because they don't want to be or cannot safely be pregnant.

Christine Grimaldi at Rewire: One Way to Resist Trump's Bureaucratic War on Birth Control. "People who identify with the resistance can't expect to have the same direct effect on unelected bureaucrats, some plucked straight from extremist anti-choice groups and anti-LGBTQ hate groups, as they did on their elected officials. But resisters can still make a difference, a big one, by submitting comments registering their displeasure with the Trump administration's bombshell counter-regulations, which provide religious and moral cover for any employer or university to opt out of contraceptive coverage in their health insurance offerings."

* * *

[CN: Sexual assault] Dave McKenna at Deadspin: Second Woman: George H.W. Bush Groped Me.
Rumors about Bush groping actresses in this manner have been circulating for a while. More than a year ago, a tipster passed word about the Heather Lind incident to Deadspin. We were told that Bush had, during a photo opp, groped her and told her that his favorite magician was "David Cop-a-Feel" while fondling her.

(Reached for comment, Bush spokesperson Jim McGrath provided the following statement: "At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women's rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.")

In reporting out the tip, I found two actresses—Lind and Grolnick—who had accused Bush of groping, and also two Twitter users who, on April 4, 2014, made reference to the "David Cop-a-Feel" joke.

* * *

Alex Finley at Politico: The Recruitables: Why Trump's Team Was Easy Prey for Putin. "By now, it should be clear to anyone following the news that Russian intelligence made a formidable effort to approach the Trump campaign and assess the potential to manipulate its members. As a former officer of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, I can tell you that Russian security services would have been derelict not to evaluate the possibility of turning someone close to Trump. ...Generally, an intelligence officer looks for a person's vulnerabilities and explores ways to exploit them. It usually comes down to four things, which — in true government style — the CIA has encompassed in an acronym, MICE: Money, Ideology, Coercion, Ego. Want to get someone to betray his country? Figure out which of these four motivators drives the person and exploit the hell out of it."

"Money, Ideology, Coercion, Ego." Oh look — it's Trump's actual four-word résumé!

This is a very good piece, but I want to make two quick points for you to consider as you read it: 1. Finley doesn't mention or even allude to the fact that people in Trump's orbit could have themselves been reaching out to the Russians. That is definitely something that is under investigation, and I don't think it's accurate to portray Team Trump as just being targeted and not potentially as more active players in any potential collusion. 2. Finley also fails to mention it makes a huge difference that all of the people with bolded names in that piece have ZERO previous government experience. That, too, made them ripe for the picking. (If they were indeed "picked.")

Relatedly, Rep. Maxine Waters, who continues to be fucking amazing on the daily, has made clear that she's been targeted by Russian interlopers: "Since much of the public discussion of Russia's interference in our democratic process thus far has focused on Russia's influence in the presidential election, I think it is important for the American people and my colleagues in Congress to understand that Members of Congress and their efforts to communicate with their constituents may also be vulnerable to this type of foreign disruption."


* * *

Goddamit:


Whitefish Energy is, as you may recall, the utility company which was awarded a $300 million recovery contract in Puerto Rico, despite having "a reported staff of only two full-time employees," but also happens to be "primarily financed by a private-equity firm founded and run by a man who contributed large sums of money" to Trump.

Grifting pieces of shit.

* * *

Shut up, Joe Biden.


You know what I really dislike about Biden? As far as I can tell, Hillary Clinton has never been anything but nice to that old shitbird. And he is repeatedly mean to her in public, except when she's standing beside him. That not only makes him a real fucking jerk; it also makes him untrustworthy as hell.

[CN: Harassment] Jason Johnson at the Root: Hey, I Can Play This Game Too, Guys. "Journalist Lee Fang (also from The Intercept) sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the university for my emails. While it's common for professors and academics to receive FOIA requests, let's be clear: Fang was not reaching out to me as an academic. He wanted to know what I was doing as a journalist, and as journalistic standards go, this is about as out-of-bounds, despicable, and cowardly as you can get. FOIA requests are a tactic used to expose vast corruption, dirty cops, and human rights abuses, not to snoop after other journalists who say things you don't like."

[CN: Threats; harassment; mass shooting] Sam Levin at the Guardian: Online Conspiracy Theorists Harass Vegas Victims.
Braden Matejka survived a bullet to the head in the Las Vegas massacre. Then, the death threats started coming.

"You are a lying piece of shit and I hope someone truly shoots you in the head," a commenter wrote to Matejka on Facebook, one week after a gunman killed 58 people and injured hundreds more. "Your soul is disgusting and dark! You will pay for the consequences!" said another. A Facebook meme quickly spread with a photo of him after the shooting, captioned: "I'm a lying cunt!"

The 30-year-old victim – who narrowly escaped death in the worst mass shooting in modern US history – has faced a torrent of online abuse and harassment, forcing him to shut down his social media accounts and disappear from the internet. The bullying, taunting, and graphic threats have also spread to his family and friends.

...Conspiracy theorists – some of whom claim that the government staged the shooting on 1 October or that the tragedy was a hoax – have targeted survivors and victims' loved ones, spamming every social media platform with misinformation and abuse. On Facebook and YouTube in particular, users have published viral posts and videos calling people like Braden "crisis actors," alleging they were hired to pose as victims.

While fringe conspiracies have often emerged after national tragedies and major historical events, social media has dramatically expanded the scope and scale of the problem, making it easy for false claims to reach massive audiences and giving trolls easy access to targets online.
I am so fucking angry about this behavior I can't even convey my rage in complete sentences. It's just hot fury and the sound of my teeth grinding.

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

Open Wide...