We Resist: Day 264

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One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

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Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: I'm Starting to Suspect Electing Trump Was a Bad Idea.

[Content Note: Wildfires; displacement; death] Natasha Geiling at ThinkProgress: Northern California Firestorm 'Literally Exploded,' Killing 10 and Destroying Hundreds of Homes.
High temperatures and fast winds are fueling more than a dozen wildfires across California, forcing more than 20,000 northern California residents to evacuate their homes and communities. At least 10 people have died, and close to 100 could be missing, after several fires spread rapidly throughout Monday.

The fires ignited late Sunday night and into Monday morning and have since spread over 50,000 acres across Napa and Sonoma counties, destroying at least 1,500 structures and sending at least 100 to the hospital with injuries ranging from burns to smoke inhalation.

...The cause of the fires is still under investigation, but officials are confident windy conditions combined with an excess of dry grass and underbrush helped the fuel the fires' rapid growth. According to the National Weather Service, "fire literally exploded and raced along the landscape" aided by fuel at "all time record dry levels."

September and October tend to be the worst months for California's fire season, as strong winds can combine with low humidity and dry vegetation to turn a single spark into a major incident. ...Fast-moving winds and low humidity aren't rare in California, and neither are October wildfires, but it's likely climate change made these fires even more destructive.

...As climate change is fueling longer fire seasons, human activity — both through an intense focus on fire suppression, rather than forest management, and an decreasingly populated rural-urban boundary, are making fires more destructive and deadly.

...Unlike disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes, wildfires don't qualify for federal disaster funding under the Disaster Relief Act; instead, the Forest Service is forced to pay for fire suppression costs in excess of the budgeted amount by borrowing from other Forest Service programs. That means in especially active fire years, the Forest Service is taking money from programs meant to prevent fires and using those funds to fight existing fires.

...Even Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has criticized the current funding structure of the Forest Service, saying in September that without a consistent stream of funding, "we're asking for disasters."
Emphasis mine.

My condolences to those who have lost family, friends, pets, neighbors, colleagues, and/or homes in the fires. I'm so sorry. I hope the people who have been injured have access to the healthcare they need to recover.

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Robert Costa, Philip Rucker, and Ashley Parker at the Washington Post: A 'Pressure Cooker': Trump's Frustration and Fury Rupture Alliances, Threaten Agenda. "Frustrated by his Cabinet and angry that he has not received enough credit for his handling of three successive hurricanes, [Donald] Trump is now lashing out, rupturing alliances, and imperiling his legislative agenda, numerous White House officials and outside advisers said Monday. In a matter of days, Trump has torched bridges all around him, nearly imploded an informal deal with Democrats to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and plunged himself into the culture wars on issues ranging from birth control to the national anthem. In doing so, Trump is laboring to solidify his standing with his populist base and return to the comforts of his campaign."

On the one hand, I'm thrilled when Trump isn't able to enact his shitty agenda. On the other hand, an angry Trump is likely to do increasingly stupid and reckless things. Either way, we lose. There's just no upside to a Trump presidency.

And speaking of Trump pulling some bullshit because he feels cornered, isolated, and desperate for applause...

Paige Winfield Cunningham at the Washington Post: Trump Has a Backdoor Way to Lift Obamacare Regulations. "This week, his White House is finalizing an executive order to allow the formation of what's known as association health plans — something Trump recently promised to 'take care of a tremendous number of people' in the absence of a GOP replacement of the Affordable Care Act. ...In theory, letting people buy cheaper, leaner plans sounds great. Until you're diagnosed with a chronic condition or serious disease. ...'Allowing individuals or small groups to join plans that avoid those rules would likely result in the deterioration of the marketplaces,' Cori Uccello, a senior health fellow for the American Academy of Actuaries, told me."

So, not only is Trump planning to enact sweeping changes to healthcare (a major slice of the national economy) by fiat, but his plan is garbage. That sounds about right.

In other Trump administration healthcare news... Dr. Jen Gunter: Health and Human Services Wants to Define Life as Beginning at Conception. "The draft of the 2018-2022 strategic plan of the department of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just dropped. The mission of HHS is 'to enhance the health and well-being of Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.' Oh yeah now the mission also includes redefining life at conception. Really. Right on the introduction page."

Also, "there is a super cool section on how being able to practice your religion, like denying care and imposing your beliefs on patients, will be totally okay now. Obviously, this HHS revamp isn’t just aimed at women wanting birth control. ...Yes, the agency tasked with enhancing the 'health and well-being of Americans' now believes that certain religious beliefs are more important than health care. This could apply to contraception, abortion, vaccines, addiction medicine, sexually transmitted infection screening, and transgender care just to name a few."

Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

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[CN: Misogyny] Jack Moore at GQ: Stephen Miller Once Jumped into a Girls' Track Meet to Prove Men Are Athletically Superior to Women. "Whenever Donald Trump gives a speech and you find yourself thinking, 'I can't believe anyone could be this hateful,' there's a good chance that the man behind that speech was Stephen Miller, the prematurely balding 32-year-old who must have made a deal with the devil at some point wherein he traded his youth and morals for power. Well, The New York Times has a new profile of Miller that gives us a glimpse of his youth in liberal haven Santa Monica, California. And it turns out that he's always been just the absolute worst."

[CN: Nativism] Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng, and Sam Stein at the Daily Beast: Stephen Miller Stayed in the Shadows to Kill His Boss' Deal. "For weeks, top officials to the president have been working behind the scenes to upend a DACA deal that [Donald] Trump had been struck with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. And spearheading the campaign of behind-the-scenes impairment was White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller." Just as I suspected.

Nicole Lafond at TPM: Bannon: 'We're Declaring War on the Republican Establishment'. "After calling on Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) to resign over his criticism of [Donald] Trump, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said he is starting a 'coalition' to go after certain Republican members of Congress. 'We're declaring war on the Republican establishment,' he said, appearing on Fox News' Hannity Monday evening. ...He said Republicans like Corker are the reason he left the White House and vowed to 'go after them' in 2018. ...He said there will be about 15 names announced in the next several weeks of people who will be challenging incumbents, some of whom work in government and others who have served the Trump agenda as 'outsiders.' ...'We're going to cut off the oxygen to Mitch McConnell,' he said." Cool.

Hey, speaking of Nazis... [CN: White supremacy; violence; police misconduct]

That's certainly in keeping with the Trump administration having "declared 'black identity extremists' a violent threat, according to a leaked report from the FBI's counter-terrorism division."


[CN: Threats; harassment] George Ciccariello-Maher at the Washington Post: Conservatives Are the Real Campus Thought Police Squashing Academic Freedom. "I am by no means the first, and will not be the last target of this kind of smear campaign by conservatives aimed at academics. In every case, it is the same right-wing media outlets leading the charge, and campuses are increasingly the target. Universities and colleges have become the perfect target for such crusades: Purportedly hotbeds of multiculturalism, 'safe spaces." and political correctness, campuses represent everything the resentful right is afraid of. At the same time that the right-wing media smears professors like myself, decrying our tenure and demanding our heads, they breathlessly chronicle the supposed intolerance of the left when confronted with provocative campus tours by Yiannopoulos, Richard Spencer, Charles Murray, Ann Coulter, and others."

Conservative harassment mobs threatening discourse and academic freedom are terrifying enough, but...

Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed: White House Seeks Investigation into UNLV Professor. "An assistant professor of history at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas has apologized for blaming [Donald] Trump for the recent shooting massacre in the city after a student secretly recorded her comments and shared them with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In the video, Tessa Winkelmann tells an upper-level class that when Trump was elected, she told students 'that some of us won't be affected by this presidency, but others are going to die.' Winkelmann says that Trump has 'threatened to declare violence against North Korea and other places' and that 'words, especially if they're coming from someone who is the president, have consequences.' ...Sarah Huckabee Sanders, White House press secretary, [said] that Winkelmann 'should be ashamed of herself, and the university should look into it. What a terrible example to set for students.'"

Oh yes! What a terrible example these professors are setting for their students by correctly noting that presidential policy has consequences. Instead, they should pretend that major cultural events are totally divorced from national politics. No one goes to college to learn critical thinking! "Everything happens in a vacuum, students! Everyone gets an A+. Have a nice semester smoking weed on the quad!"

Fucking hell. And the fact that the White House Press Secretary suggested Winkelman should be investigated is chilling. The intimidation of intellectuals is a central feature of authoritarian and fascist regimes. RED FLAG.

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

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