We Resist: Day 335

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One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) 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: Thieves Came in the Night.

So, here's where we are: The GOP doesn't care at all about passing a historically unpopular piece of legislation, right after losing a Senate seat in Alabama and control of the Virginia legislature. They are truly governing like they know they will never face voters in free and fair elections again.

And Mike Pence's "prayer" for Trump sounded like a benediction or a eulogy. They don't care if he goes. The coup is well under way, and Pence is ready to step in and play pretend (small-d) democratic president while actually being a vicious, aggressive autocrat.

The $1.5 trillion the GOP and their donor class is stealing with this bill will be used to enact austerity programs that will turn this country into a Social Darwinian hellscape. Good luck to all of us finding ways to organize dissent now that Net Neutrality is no more.

And meanwhile our foreign policy is a garbage disaster: We've got no functional diplomatic system anymore; the president is a reckless provocateur; and the Republican Party is a bunch of sickening traitors who don't give a fuck that Russia continues to meddle in our business and subvert our democracy, and will probably mount a major attack on our infrastructure in the near future.

And I don't know how we're going to mount a meaningful resistance to this onslaught, but I will promise you that I'll be here resisting as mightily as I can for as long as I'm able.


Casey Quinlan at ThinkProgress: The GOP Tax Bill Hurts K-12 Schools and the Quality of Higher Education. "Experts on K-12 and higher education policy say the tax bill is a giveaway to corporations and could hamper public investment in K-12 schools and public universities. The finally bill doesn't include a change to teacher tax deductions — which was eliminated in a House bill last month — so teachers can still deduct $250 for supplies they buy out of their own pockets. The provision on a tax on tuition waivers for graduate students was also removed. But the overall picture for students is grim, said Ben Miller, senior director for Postsecondary Education at the Center for American Progress. 'You're definitely seeing folks breathe a sigh of relief because these narrow provisions are gone,' Miller said. 'But it's like saying, 'Thank god my paper cut healed while someone cut off my arm.' The long-term damage of the overall bill is quite bad.'"

Akiba Solomon at Colorlines: Patrisse Cullors Discusses How the Tax Bill May Impact the Reproductive Health of Women of Color, Particularly Black Women. "Paul Ryan has blatantly said that he will make cuts to entitlements after the tax bill passes. This tax bill will add more than a trillion dollars to the national deficit, and we can guess that they're going to use that to justify these cuts to entitlements. We know that the first thing to cut — by both parties — are programs for poor and working class people, particularly those [identified with] people of color. So the first cuts will likely be from programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and SNAP. Women's reproductive health care will be among the first to be cut."

Sarah O'Brien at CNBC: These Changes Under the GOP Tax Plan Affect Homeowners. "After the many twists and turns that the Republican tax-overhaul legislation has taken thus far, it might be unclear to homeowners what's in store for them. In a nutshell, not much that will help them save more on taxes. ...On top of making modifications to the mortgage interest deduction, the bill limits the deductibility of property taxes and state and local income taxes to a combined $10,000. In states such as New York and California where home prices and property taxes are high, this change means some homeowners could face bigger tax bills beginning next year. And if you were thinking about prepaying some of your 2018 state and local income taxes to take advantage of current law, which is more generous, forget about it. The bill specifically disallows it."

Tim Fernholz at Quartz: The GOP Tax Bill Is a Massive Victory for Globalization. "Critics, even those who favor lower corporate rates, fear this bill will increase existing incentives for companies to employ tax havens. Under the new law, companies pay a minimum tax on global income, designed to prevent them from shifting intellectual property (and profits) to low-tax jurisdictions overseas. But the hastily written new rules create a loophole for companies to skirt that minimum tax by investing in factories and other routine operations outside the United States. ...Even if the loopholes can be fixed, many experts expect the move to empower multinationals to demand new tax concessions in other jurisdictions, driving a global race to the bottom."

Will Wilkinson at the New York Times: The Tax Bill Shows the G.O.P.'s Contempt for Democracy. "[T]he open contempt for democracy displayed in the Senate's slapdash rush to pass the tax bill ought to trouble us as much as, if not more than, what's in it. In its great haste, the 'world's greatest deliberative body' held no hearings or debate on tax reform. The Senate's Republicans made sloppy math mistakes, crossed out and rewrote whole sections of the bill by hand at the 11th hour, and forced a vote on it before anyone could conceivably read it. ...At a time when America's faith in democracy is flagging, the Republicans elected to treat the United States Senate, and the citizens it represents, with all the respect college guys accord public restrooms."

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[Content Note: Sexual assault; child abuse. Covers entire section.]

Jason Wilson at the Guardian: The Texas Boys Were Beaten, Abused, Raped; Now All They Want Is an Apology. "Rick, Steve, and six other men the Guardian spoke to named staff members responsible for the abuse, which lasted from the 1950s until at least the early 1990s. They say the abuse went beyond them, and was systemic, affecting hundreds of others who went through the ranch. They say Lamont Waldrip, a long-serving superintendent, was one of the worst abusers. Last month, at the behest of a wealthy donor who wrote a cheque for $1m to build a new dormitory, the ranch named the new building Waldrip House. ...For the survivors who want to make the ranch accountable for the abuse — and have been encouraged to break their silence after Steve Smith brought them together in a Facebook group — this is an unbearable affront."

Dawn C. Chmielewski at Deadline: Gary Goddard Accused of Sexual Misconduct by 8 Former Child Actors. "Eight former child actors from a Santa Barbara theater group have come forward to accuse their former mentor, Broadway producer and theme park designer Gary Goddard, of molestation or attempted molestation in the 1970s. Since actor Anthony Edwards wrote a painful first-person account of his abuse on Medium, describing how Goddard allegedly preyed on him and other young aspiring actors in the theater troupe, others have came forward to support his account, including Mark Driscoll and Bret Nighman. A total of eight people described Goddard's advances — straying hands on thighs, fondling on darkened Disneyland rides, sexual abuse during overnight stays — and the psychological aftermath."

Melanie Schmitz at ThinkProgress: Paul Ryan Was Asked If Trump's Accusers Are Liars; His Response Was Abysmal. "'Look, I don't even know what all these accusations are,' Ryan said, when asked whether he agreed with the White House's claim that all the women were liars. 'I'm focused on fixing Congress. I'm focused on my job, where I work, making this institution safe. I want my daughter to be able to grow up in an economy, to go into work — public or private sector work — she's not being harassed, she's being empowered. That's what I'm focused on, I'm not focused on this other stuff.'" There's more at the link, and it's just as shitty.

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Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post: Democrats Unlikely to Force DACA Vote This Week, Probably Averting Shutdown.
Democrats are backing away from a pledge to force a vote this month over the fate of thousands of undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children, angering activists but probably averting the threat of a government shutdown at a critical moment in spending negotiations with Republicans and President Trump.

With a deadline of midnight Friday to pass spending legislation, dozens of Democrats had vowed to withhold support if Republicans refused to allow a vote on a measure, known as the Dream Act, that would allow roughly 1.2 million immigrants to stay legally in the United States.

But a group of vulnerable Democratic senators facing reelection in conservative states next year aren't willing to go that far — meaning the party is unlikely to muster the votes to block the spending bill.

"We've got to get it done, but I'm not drawing a line in the sand that it has to be this week versus two weeks from now," said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who faces reelection next year in a state that Trump won by more than 18 points. Other Democrats facing similar head winds echoed that sentiment, including Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.). Trump won those states by 42 and 19 percentage points, respectively.
Okay, but the point of it being this week is that the threat of a shutdown provided immense leverage to Democrats, who are the minority party. In a week when the Republicans can put aside all their differences to universally pass their grotesque tax bill, Democrats should be more inclined than ever to do the same to protect millions of the nation's most vulnerable members. Fuck this.

Bob Dreyfuss at the Nation: Maxine Waters Connects the Dots on Trump, Deutsche Bank, and Russia. "For Waters, and perhaps for Mueller, too, the question is: Are these two things related? Did Trump, Kushner, and their partners — along with others in Trump World, including Paul Manafort, Gen. Michael Flynn, and Wilbur Ross, the billionaire who serves as Trump's commerce secretary — benefit from illegal Russian money that flowed through Deutsche Bank? If so, does [Donald] Trump have a hidden obligation to Russia or to Russian oligarchs? And why did the official US investigation of Deutsche Bank's illegal transactions, conducted under the auspices of Jeff Sessions's Justice Department, go 'dormant' earlier this year? Those questions are especially relevant because of two major, recent transactions between Deutsche Bank, Trump, and Kushner."

Peter Beaumont at the Guardian: U.S. Will 'Take Names of Those Who Vote to Reject Jerusalem Recognition'. "The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, has warned UN members she will be 'taking names' of countries that vote to reject Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In a letter seen by the Guardian, Haley told countries — including European delegations — that she will report back to the US president with the names of those who support a draft resolution rejecting the US move at the UN general assembly on Thursday, adding that Trump took the issue personally. Haley writes: 'As you consider your vote, I encourage you to know the president and the U.S. take this vote personally. The president will be watching this vote carefully and has requested I report back on those who voted against us,' she continued."

Jonathan Capehart at the Washington Post: 'Trump's Benghazi': Frederica Wilson Wants the Truth About What Happened to La David Johnson in Niger. "'The American people need to know what happened to Sgt. La David Johnson. And I think that his family needs to know what happened to Sgt. La David Johnson.' Two months after Johnson was killed during a mission in Niger, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) still has questions. 'It's sort of like a coverup,' she said in the latest episode of 'Cape Up.' 'And from the very beginning, I was calling it 'Mr. Trump's Benghazi.'' This episode with Wilson comes just before Johnson's mother complained about not being properly briefed by the Pentagon during a CNN interview on Monday. Wilson told me the family is being given information 'that's not matching' information being reported in the press, which has led to many questions."

[CN: Trans hatred; child abuse] Amy Littlefield at Rewire: 'Medical Malpractice': Catholic Bishops Urge Parents, Doctors to Withhold Care for Transgender Kids.
Acceptance can be a matter of life and death for transgender people. When they are accepted by their families, trans people are less likely to face a range of negative experiences, including attempting suicide. That hasn't stopped the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders from issuing an open letter that effectively encourages parents to reject their transgender children, and deny them access to gender-affirming care.

The letter, entitled "Created Male and Female: An Open Letter from Religious Leaders," denies the existence of transgender people, claiming that "human beings are male or female and that the socio-cultural reality of gender cannot be separated from one's sex as male or female."

It appears to urge medical institutions to withhold gender-affirming care for children.

"Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can 'change' their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults," the letter claims. "Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of 'first, do no harm.'"

Harper Jean Tobin, director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, criticized the intrusion of religious judgment in medical care.

"They are urging parents and medical providers to withhold affirming psychological and medical care and to put off limits even the consideration of affirming psychological or medical care," Tobin told Rewire. "That is medical malpractice."
Samantha Cooney at Time: Model Lauren Wasser Faces Another Leg Amputation Because of Toxic Shock Syndrome. "Model Lauren Wasser will likely lose both of her legs to toxic shock syndrome — and she wants other women to be more aware of what they're putting in their bodies. ...Now, the model is advocating for legislation, introduced in May by Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney, that will require the National Institutes of Health to conduct or support research to determine the safety of ingredients in feminine hygiene products. ...New York University microbiology professor Philip Tierno told TIME last year that there's little scientific research on the health risks related to tampon use." Because misogyny.

Sarah Roberts, Ashish Premkumar, and Monica McLemore at Rewire: The CDC's Language Ban Is More Than an Attack on Words — It's an Attack on Basic Public Health Values. "Last Friday, the Washington Post reported that senior members of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) counseled analysts to avoid using seven words in future budget and supporting documents that would be disseminated to CDC partners and to Congress: 'evidence-based,' 'science-based,' 'vulnerable,' 'entitlement,' 'diversity,' 'transgender,' and 'fetus.' Two days later, CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald and a spokesperson from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — which oversees the CDC — both argued that no bans on words existed and that the entire story was a 'mischaracterization of discussions regarding the budget formulation process.' Despite the seeming about-face from both the HHS and CDC, the concern among the medical and public health community still remains..."

In a terrific act of resistance... Andy Towle at Towleroad: Human Rights Campaign Projects CDC's Banned Word List on Facade of Trump Hotel. LOL ROCK THE FUCK ON.

I'm gonna end it on a high note!

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

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