We Resist: Day 348

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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: Welcome to 2018.

Karoun Demirjian at the Washington Post: Devin Nunes, Targeting Mueller and the FBI, Alarms Democrats and some Republicans with His Tactics.
Rep. Devin Nunes, once sidelined by an ethics inquiry from leading the House Intelligence Committee's Russia probe, is reasserting the full authority of his position as chairman just as the GOP appears poised to challenge special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation of possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

The California Republican was cleared in December of allegations he improperly disclosed classified information while accusing the Obama administration of exposing the identities of Trump affiliates on surveillance reports. Since clearing his name, Nunes has stepped up his attacks on Mueller's team and the law enforcement agencies around it, including convening a group of Intelligence Committee Republicans to draft a likely report on "corruption" among the investigators working for the special counsel.

Although Nunes has not officially wrested his panel's Russia probe back from the Republicans he deputized to run it, the chairman's reemergence as a combative Trump loyalist has raised alarm among Democrats that the future of the investigation may be clipped short or otherwise undermined.

...For months, Democrats have kept an unofficial count of the ways they say Nunes worked behind the scenes during the time he was under ethics investigation to slow or stymie the Intelligence Committee's Russia probe. Nunes never relinquished his sole, unchecked authority to sign off on subpoenas even as he handed the day-to-day operations to Reps. K. Michael Conaway (R-Tex.), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and Thomas J. Rooney (R-Fla.). People familiar with the committee's work estimated that Nunes's effective veto cost Democrats dozens of requests for interviews and documents that were never sent out, despite repeated entreaties from the minority side.

This includes requests for subpoenas to obtain additional testimony from key figures in the probe who Democrats say were not forthcoming enough in interviews — among them Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. Democrats surmise they might have compelled them to return if not for Nunes's resistance.
Nunes' obstructionism, which is certainly unethical and possibly illegal, is deeply troubling all on its own. Even more troubling is the fact that virtually the entire rest of his traitorous party is utterly silent on his despicable water-carrying on behalf of this illegitimate, intransigently corrupt administration.

On that note, Demirjian's colleague at the Post, Greg Sargent, observes: "As we head into 2018, one big, looming unknown is this: Just how far will congressional Republicans go to prevent a full accounting of Russia's interference in our election and any possible Trump campaign conspiracy with it?" He reports that Democrats may try to circumvent Republican obstructionism by issuing a Minority Report:
In an interview with me, Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut — the No. 2 Democrat on the House intel committee — said that Democrats are seriously exploring the possibility of issuing a minority report that details (among other things) the degree to which Republicans tried to impede a full investigation, should that end up happening. In this scenario, the public would at least have a clear sense of just how far Republicans went to protect President Trump and his top officials from accountability.

"It's in both the Democrats' and the Republicans' interests to … write a report based on a common set of facts," Himes told me. "It would be a tragedy if the report has a minority section that says, 'Look, we wanted to talk to these two dozen witnesses and weren't able to do so.'"

...Himes confirmed to me that Democrats want to call Trump Jr. and Sessions back in to ask whether Papadoupoulos communicated to top campaign officials the existence of this Russian dirt on Clinton, and whether that is related to the June 2016 meeting to get said dirt from the Russian government. But it looks unlikely that Republicans will agree, and Himes said that if Republicans do end up frustrating a full inquiry more generally — and keep pushing the narrative of a deep-state coup against Trump — Democrats may issue a minority report detailing what Republicans really did here.

"If the investigation gets wound up too quickly, the minority report would be largely about outstanding questions that were never examined," Himes told me, though he stressed that he hopes this does not happen.
Ball's in your court, Republicans.

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Theodoric Meyer at Politico: 'It's a Giant Present to the Tax Lobbying Community': K Street Lobbyists Are Banking on Years of Paydays from the Tax Overhaul. "Donald Trump just signed into law the biggest tax overhaul in a generation, but that means more work — not less — for Washington's tax lobbyists. Rather than streamlining the tax code, Republicans have made it more complicated by jamming through a new series of temporary tax breaks for everything from craft brewers to citrus growers. Lobbyists expect these breaks, known as tax extenders, to generate paydays for years. Adding to their workload: Republicans rammed their bill through Congress so quickly that it's almost certain to require follow-up legislation to fix the mistakes and miscalculations still being discovered, according to interviews with half a dozen tax lobbyists."

Oliver Milman at the Guardian: Trump Plan to Shrink Ocean Monuments Threatens Vital Ecosystems, Experts Warn. "The Trump administration's plan to shrink four land-based national monuments has provoked howls of anguish from environmental groups, Native American tribes, and some businesses, such as the outdoors company Patagonia. Accompanying changes to protected monuments in the oceans — vastly larger areas than their land-based counterparts — have received less attention, but could have major consequences for the livelihoods and ecosystems dependent upon the marine environment. Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the interior, has recommended to Donald Trump that three sprawling marine monuments, one in the Atlantic and two in the Pacific, be either opened up to the commercial fishing industry or reduced in size, or both."

Just to be clear, the argument that these ocean monuments must be opened up to protect jobs in commercial fishing is (I'm sure you're shocked to hear) total codswallop. As Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2009 to 2013, told the Guardian: "There are plenty of other places in the ocean to fish."

Meanwhile, at the EPA...

Snopes: Did Hurricane Maria Cause an IV Bag Shortage Across the United States? "TRUE. Hospitals in both Puerto Rico and the mainland United States have reported shortages of intravenous fluids and bags since Maria tore through the island — where several medical manufacturing plants are located — in September 2017. According to a Food and Drug Administration analysis released in November 2017, medical manufacturing is a significant part of the island's economy... On 28 December 2017, the FDA sent us the following statement: 'The FDA has been working very closely with industry and local and federal officials to help address the shortage situation for IV saline and other products as a result of Hurricane Maria. This remains a key area of focus for the agency and we expect that the shortage of IV fluids will improve in early 2018 based on the information we are receiving from the manufacturers. In the meantime, we are continuing all of our efforts to increase supplies while concerns remain.'"

Let's be clear: It's technically accurate to say that Hurricane Maria caused the shortage, but it's more accurate to say that the United States' federal government's continuing neglect of Puerto Rico has caused the shortage.

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[Content Note: Shooting; death] Luke Barnes at ThinkProgress: Colorado Shooter Shared Far-Right Material Online Before Killing Sheriff's Deputy. "The man who opened fire on sheriff's deputies in Colorado on New Year's Eve, killing one and injuring four others, repeatedly shared far-right memes on his Facebook page and ranted on YouTube about local law enforcement officials. Matthew Riehl, a 37-year-old National Guard veteran, allegedly shot and killed 29-year-old deputy Zackari Parrish early Sunday morning, after officers responded to reports of a disturbance in suburban Denver. Riehl, who had barricaded himself in his bedroom, also shot and injured four other officers before a SWAT team eventually killed him. The shooting was described by Sheriff Tony Spurlock as an 'ambush-type attack.' Following the shooting, far-right extremism expert JJ MacNab discovered Riehl's since-deleted Facebook page, which was littered with Pepe the Frog memes, Islamophobic posts, and other phrases used by the far-right, including references to cuckoldry and rape culture."

Naturally, the fact that Riehl was a white man who subscribed to a radicalized patriarchal ideology is getting virtually no attention. Instead, as ever, he was a "lone actor" who was "clearly disturbed."

At ThinkProgress, Barnes also notes that Riehl "fired more than 100 rounds at police before being killed." But of course now is definitely not the time to have a conversation about gun reform. It never is.

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[CN: Swatting; death] Nichole Manna at the Wichita Eagle: Family Says Son Killed by Police in 'Swatting' Was Unarmed, Didn't Play Video Games. "On Thursday, Deputy Wichita Police Chief Troy Livingston said a substation received a call that there was a hostage situation in a house in the 1000 block of West McCormick — and that someone had been shot in the head. 'That was the information we were working off of,' he said, explaining that officers went to the house ready for a hostage situation and they 'got into position.' 'A male came to the front door,' Livingston said Thursday night. 'As he came to the front door, one of our officers discharged his weapon.'"

That officer "discharged his weapon" at Andrew Finch, a 28-year-old father of two, who had answered the door unarmed. Now he is dead. And no one wants to take the blame for it.

The reason police ended up at his front door is because two Call of Duty players were having an online feud, and one threatened to "swat" the other, i.e. call in a fake emergency that gets a SWAT team sent to someone's door. The threatened player dared the other to do it, giving him a fake address.

It was Andy Finch's address. The call was placed, with the caller claiming he had witnessed an argument between his parents, had fatally shot his father, and was holding his mother and little brother hostage in a closet. That was a lie. Finch is dead because of that lie. And because of the lie that gave his address. And because of the police shooting without ascertaining that they had been lied to in the first place.

The police are blaming the asshole who made the fake 911 call: "Due to actions of a prankster, we have an innocent victim. If the false police call had not been made, we would not have been there," Livingston told reporters on Friday.


The police disagree, and he is now under arrest, according to a Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson. But the charges "could be complicated," because the defense will almost certainly "argue that the police's independent decision to shoot Finch was an intervening, 'superseding' event, breaking the chain of causation."

There's a whole lot of blame to go around, frankly. None of it belongs to Andy Finch, who did nothing but answer his door.

My condolences to his family and friends. I am so sorry.

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[CN: Sexual harassment and assault] AP/Guardian: New York City Ballet Leader Retires Amid Sexual Misconduct Investigation. "The longtime leader of the New York City Ballet is retiring in the midst of an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct by him. Peter Martins wrote a letter to the company's board of directors on Monday announcing his retirement, saying the scandal had 'exacted a painful toll on me and my family.' The 71-year-old Martins told board members he continues to deny sexually harassing or abusing members of the company, including dancers. ...He said that to 'bring an end to this disruption which has enveloped the Ballet and the School,' however, he had decided it was time for him to retire."

Sounds familiar! "I didn't do anything, but I'm hightailing it out of here because an investigation is a distraction, and it's so hard on my family" is becoming a tired refrain. If he'd added that his recollection of events was different, I'd have had creep bingo.

[CN: Rape apologia] Lindsey Kupfer at Page Six: Dave Chappelle Says Louis C.K. Allegations 'Made Me Laugh'.
"I shouldn’t say this, but f–k it, [C.K's] allegations were the only one that made me laugh," he said in his Dave Chappelle: The Bird Revelation special released on New Year's Eve. "It's terrible, I know it's terrible. I'm sorry, ladies. …At the same time, you know what I mean, Jesus Christ, I don't know, they took everything from Louis, it might be disproportionate, I can't tell, I can't tell, this is like where it's hard to be a man."

Chappelle, 44, went on to address C.K.'s incident with writer Abby Schachner, with whom he masturbated while on the phone. She told the New York Times that it was "one of the things that discouraged her from pursuing comedy."

"One lady said, 'Louis C.K. masturbated in front of me, ruined my comedy dreams,'" he said of Schachner. "Word? Well then I daresay, madam, you may have never had a dream. Come on, man, that's a brittle spirit. That is a brittle-ass spirit, that is too much, this grown-ass woman."

He continued, joking that Martin Luther King probably wouldn't have given up his "dream" if Louis C.K. masturbated in front of him.

"Show business is just harder than that," Chappelle said, bringing up Schachner again. "Them women sound … they sound weak. I know that sounds f–ked up, I'm not supposed to say that, but one of these ladies was like, 'Louis C.K. was masturbating while I was on the phone with him.' B-tch, you don't know how to hang up a phone? How the f–k are you going to survive in show business if this is an actual obstacle to your dreams?"
Kaiser at Celebitchy notes: "Yep, this is what we're up against. The Matt Damons and Dave Chappelles of the world want to create hierarchies of abuse and they want to tell victims of abuse and harassment that they — the victims — don't have any right to tell their stories, to feel victimized, to feel like they've had something taken away from them professionally or personally. Men truly don't understand how demoralizing it is to be harassed and abused. They think 'well why didn't she hang up the phone' or 'why didn't she say something' — and if those women had done those things, these men still would have found some way to impugn their stories. It's just awful."

[CN: Sexual harassment; misogyny; racism; anti-Blackness] Rebecca Carroll at Esquire: My Experience at Charlie Rose Went Beyond Sexism. "In the nearly two years I worked for the show, a mere fraction of the guests were black — more than one of whom told me in confidence after their appearance that they'd found Charlie's tone condescending and dismissive. This was the infrastructure of the show: All the valuable, sought-after guests were white — a common occurrence across media platforms. And while many of us on staff were subject to Charlie's unsolicited shoulder massages and physical intimidation, as he towered above us at a height over six feet tall, the women Charlie preferred and preyed upon — at least that I witnessed — were white. It was an environment that all but erased me, while simultaneously exploiting me as a black woman."

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

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