We Resist: Day 354

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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: Trump Is a Stable Genius, Surrounded by Other Stable Geniuses and Trump Effectively Orders 200,000 People to Leave U.S.

[Content Note: Nativism] E.A. Crunden at ThinkProgress: Trump Said He Wanted Highly Skilled Immigrants; Now He's Forcing Them Out. "According to sources who spoke with McClatchy reporters, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering new regulations ending extensions for H-1Bs — visas for skilled workers in a range of fields like technology, research, and education. Foreign students hoping to stay and work in research, advocacy, and the non-profit sector are also among those who rely on H-1Bs. The visa is typically offered for three years with the option of renewal up to six years. Currently, some recipients with pending green card applications have the option of extending that time period, allowing them to work in the United States until their paperwork comes through. The vast majority are Indian workers, many employed by large technology companies. If the new regulations go into effect, they will be forced to leave."

[CN: Nativism; abuse; death] Sarah Stillman at the New Yorker: When Deportation Is a Death Sentence. "In the past decade, a growing number of immigrants fearing for their safety have come to the U.S., only to be sent back to their home countries — with the help of border agents, immigration judges, politicians, and U.S. voters — to violent deaths. Even as border apprehensions have dropped, the number of migrants coming to the U.S. because their lives are in danger has soared. According to the United Nations, since 2008 there has been a fivefold increase in asylum seekers just from Central America's Northern Triangle — Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — where organized gangs are dominant. In 2014, according to the U.N., Honduras had the world's highest murder rate; El Salvador and Guatemala were close behind."

I am running out of ways to say that I loathe the Trump administration's hostility for immigrants. Writing about this nativist, white supremacist, abusive, deadly shit makes my heart feel like it's being squeezed in a vice.

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Kristen Welker, Carol E. Lee, Julia Ainsley, and Hallie Jackson at NBC News: Initial Talks Underway About Trump Interview in Mueller Russia Probe. "Anticipating that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will ask to interview [Donald] Trump, the president's legal team is discussing a range of potential options for the format, including written responses to questions in lieu of a formal sit-down, according to three people familiar with the matter. ...Trump's legal team is seeking clarification on whether the president would be interviewed directly by Mueller, as well as the legal standard for when a president can be interviewed, the location of a possible interview, the topics, and the duration. But the president's team is also seeking potential compromises that could avoid an interview altogether."

We all know why that is: Because his lawyers know that Trump will get tripped up during an interview and want to shield him from accountability. They're hoping, at worst, he'll have to fill out some paperwork which they have a chance to review before it goes to Mueller. And of course the Republican leadership is going along with this categorical nonsense, which they never would for a Democratic president, because they have as much contempt for the rule of law as does their corrupt, disloyal president.

Maude knows Trump ain't trying to get out an interview because he's too busy. Dude's got more free time than any of us do!

Jonathan Swan at Axios: Trump's Secret, Shrinking Schedule. "Trump is starting his official day much later than he did in the early days of his presidency, often around 11am, and holding far fewer meetings, according to copies of his private schedule shown to Axios. This is largely to meet Trump's demands for more 'Executive Time,' which almost always means TV and Twitter time alone in the residence, officials tell us. The schedules shown to me are different than the sanitized ones released to the media and public." Seethe.

Edward Helmore at the Guardian: Jared Kushner's Company Under Renewed Scrutiny Over Chinese and Israeli Deals. "Jared Kushner's business dealings are under renewed scrutiny amid reports that the U.S.'s top financial watchdog is looking into an investment-for-visa program run by the Kushner family's real estate company and questions have been raised about his business dealings in Israel. On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal confirmed that the real estate empire run by the family of Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law had received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requesting information." An entire extended family of corrupt monsters.

In case you'd forgotten, or never knew, Jared's father, Charles Kushner, served time in federal prison after being convicted in 2005 of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering. Just a real cool family, much like the Trumps.

Hey, remember when the smarmy butthole masquerading as a journalist named Michael Wolff released a book that everyone is talking about, starting with an excerpt about how Steve Bannon called Don Trump Jr. a traitor, which launched ten million stories about a feud between Bannon and Donald Trump, and I was like that's total bullshit but what a useful scandal? Yeah.

Mike Allen at Axios: Exclusive: Bannon Apologizes. "My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning, and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr. ...Donald Trump, Jr. is both a patriot and a good man. He has been relentless in his advocacy for his father and the agenda that has helped turn our country around." Huh!

John Hudson at BuzzFeed: Trump Administration Set for Broad Engagement with Russia in Early 2018. "The Trump administration is beginning the New Year with a flurry of high-level engagements with the Russian government, U.S. officials tell BuzzFeed News, including the first meeting between Moscow's top general and NATO's supreme allied commander since the U.S. severed several channels with Russia during the Ukraine crisis in 2013. ...'This is all part of the normal course of diplomacy and it should come as no surprise to anyone that there are many issues that we need to discuss with the Russians,' State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told BuzzFeed News." Hahahahahahaha yep! Just normal stuff! Lots to discuss!

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Tara Culp-Ressler at ThinkProgress: Companies That Announced Big Bonuses After GOP Tax Cut Are Now Laying Off Their Workers.
At least two major companies that publicly announced large bonuses for their employees after the passage of a massive GOP-led tax overhaul — which represented a windfall for wealthy Americans and big corporations — quietly laid off hundreds of workers at the same time.

Comcast laid off more than 500 sales employees right before Christmas, according to documents reviewed by media outlets including the Philadelphia Enquirer, Philly.com, and the Daily News. The documents were confirmed by at least one former Comcast employee who was not identified in the press.

AT&T is also in the process of laying off thousands of employees, according to the Communication Workers of America (CWA) union, which represents AT&T workers. CWA filed a lawsuit against the company claiming that some of those layoffs are needless, and that the timing of the terminations — just two weeks before Christmas — represents "an extraordinary act of corporate cruelty."

Both telecommunications giants struck a very different tone in the aftermath of the tax bill that was rushed through Congress last month.

Comcast and AT&T were among the businesses that claimed Republican lawmakers' effort to restructure the tax code in favor of wealthy corporations would allow them to be more generous to their workers, and publicly announced $1,000 year-end bonuses for their employees. The CEOs of both companies specifically cited the tax bill in separate press releases touting these "special" bonuses.
In good news for poor, beleaguered telecom giants, at least the rescinding of Net Neutrality will give them a huge windfall!

*jumps into Christmas tree*

Alice Ollstein at TPM: States Could Run out of Funding for Children's Health Insurance Within Weeks. "In a hastily-thrown-together funding package passed just before Christmas, Congress agreed to fund the Children's Health Insurance Program for six months, backdated to September when they allowed the program covering roughly 9 million children and pregnant women to expire. That nearly $3 billion emergency stopgap was supposed to carry CHIP until the end of March, but states are reporting that they could run out of money in just a few weeks. The Trump administration's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now says it can only guarantee full funding for all states through late January, sparking uncertainty for millions of low-income families across the country."

This is what class warfare looks like.

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[CN: Police brutality] Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: 2017 Police Shootings by the Numbers: Officers Fatally Shot More People in 2017 Than They Did in 2016. "The Post's 'Fatal Force' database logged 987 fatal police shootings last year, versus 963 in 2016 and 995 in 2015. The newspaper compiles its list using local news coverage, public records, and social media reports. According to The Post, it recorded more than twice as many deadly police-involved shootings that the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) annual average. The agency is set to debut a new system for collecting police shooting data this month, but as it will still be voluntary for law enforcement to report data, it is unclear if it will make the FBI's reports more accurate. The FBI reports that 46 police officers were 'feloniously' killed in the line of duty in 2017, down from 66 in 2016. These numbers exclude accidents."

[CN: White supremacy; anti-Blackness; misogynoir] Deborah Small at the Root: Black Women's Lives Matter: A Discussion with BLM Co-Founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Author Asha Bandele.
What are we doing to honor and care for black women who are standing on the front lines of justice?

It was black women who did more than any other group to try to stop the election of an aggressive white supremacist to the highest office in the land. And it was black women who worked to shift the federal government by sending Doug Jones from Alabama to the Senate. And it was black women who founded the Black Lives Matter Movement, the most recent and deeply powerful iteration in the ongoing fight against police and state-sponsored harm and death.

I sat down to talk with Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele, a senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance and the co-author of Khan-Cullors' memoir, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (St. Martin's Press) which will be published on Jan. 16. The offering, while a personal narrative, nevertheless unpacks the complex policies and sheds light on the human cost of the drug war and mass incarceration, as well as its impact on families.
This interview is a definite must-read.

[CN: Racism; carcerality] Matt Shuham at TPM: ACLU New Jersey to Prisons: New Jim Crow Book Ban Is Unconstitutional. "Michelle Alexander's acclaimed 2010 book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness is banned in two New Jersey prisons, the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU revealed with a public records request. The restriction is notable, given the book's focus on what it characterizes as a racial caste system perpetuated through harsh drug laws and mass incarceration, even as thousands of books are banned from prisons nationwide. Several outlets reported Monday on the open records request, and on the ACLU's response: that the prisons were illegally blocking the book based on its content, rather than any danger or hinderance it posed to the facilities' operation."

[CN: Climate change] Maddie Stone at Earther: Climate Change Is Causing the Seafloor to Sink. "If there's one thing we're learning about this global planetary experiment called climate change, it's that there are unexpected consequences. Case in point: All of the water pouring off Earth's melting ice sheets is making the oceans heavier, so much so that seafloors are literally sinking. And that could be messing with our measurements of global sea level rise. ...[W]hen you add all those little changes up, the authors find that our satellites are underestimating the amount sea levels have risen due to added ocean water by about eight percent."

[CN: Homophobia] Andy Towle at Towleroad: SCOTUS Lets Mississippi's Heinous Anti-LGBTQ 'Religious Freedom' Law Stand. "The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case challenging Mississippi's HB1523, the nation's most heinous anti-LGBTQ 'religious freedom' law, which took effect in October. The AP reports: 'The justices did not comment Monday in their decision to leave in place a federal appeals court ruling that allowed the law to take effect. A three-judge panel held that the law's challengers failed to show they would be harmed by it. The appellate judges did not rule on the law's substance.' HB 1523 allows officials and healthcare providers in the state to discriminate freely against LGBTQ individuals due to their own 'moral' or religious objections, such as turning away same-sex couples who seek marriage licenses or declining hormone therapy to transgender patients."

[CN: Sexual assault; arson] Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Roy Moore Accuser Loses Everything in House Fire Under Investigation for Arson. "Tina Johnson, one of the eight women who accused former Republican candidate for Senate in Alabama, Roy Moore, of sexual misconduct, lost her Etowah County home in a fire on Tuesday. The fire is currently being investigated as arson, according to local authorities. ...Johnson and her family reportedly lost everything in the fire. 'I am devastated, just devastated,' Johnson told AL.com on Friday. 'We have just the clothes on our backs.'" Sob.

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

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