We Resist: Day 357

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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: "None of this was what I thought was going to happen." and Malice Is Trump's Governing Principle: Medicaid Edition and Here's a Real Thing That Just Happened.

Charlie Savage, Eileen Sullivan, and Nicholas Fandos at the New York Times: House Votes to Renew Surveillance Law, Rejecting New Privacy Limits.
A yearslong effort by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to impose significant new privacy limits on the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program fell short on Thursday, as the House of Representatives voted to extend the legal basis for that program by six years with only minimal changes.

The vote, 256 to 164, centered on an expiring law, Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, which permits the government to collect without a warrant from American firms, like Google and AT&T, the emails and other communications of foreigners abroad — even when they are talking to Americans.

Before approving the extension of the law, the House voted 233 to 183 to reject an amendment that proposed a series of overhauls. Among them was a requirement that officials get warrants in most cases before hunting for and reading emails and other messages of Americans swept up under the program.

The legislation still has to go through the Senate. But fewer lawmakers there appear to favor major changes to spying laws, so the House vote is likely the effective end of a debate over 21st-century surveillance technology and privacy rights.
"Warrantless wiretapping" was a massive concern during the Bush administration; I can't even imagine how many posts I wrote about FISA during the Bush years. FISA is one of the central reasons that I get extremely annoyed when I see nostalgia for George W. Bush's presidency, and one of the primary examples of how his presidency laid the groundwork for Donald Trump's.

Naturally, this bill didn't pass without a hefty dose of Trump fuckery:

Two things: 1. As Illinois Attorney General candidate Renato Mariotti‏ pointed out, "when judges sign FISA warrants to authorize surveillance, they make a finding that the target of the surveillance was acting on behalf of a foreign power." Whooooooops!

2. Trump subsequently posted a contradictory tweet reading: "With that being said, I have personally directed the fix to the unmasking process since taking office and today's vote is about foreign surveillance of foreign bad guys on foreign land. We need it! Get smart!"

So now we get headlines like this one at Axios: Trump Stuns Republican Leaders with Tweeted Policy Backflips.

Honest to Maude, if Republican leaders still have the capacity to be "stunned" by evidence that Trump has no fucking idea what he is talking about when it comes to any policy ever, they are even stupider than I thought, which I didn't even believe was possible.

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[Content Note: Disablism] Lena H. Sun and Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post: Trump Administration Freezes Database of Addiction and Mental Health Programs.
Federal health officials have suspended a program that helps thousands of professionals and community groups across the country find effective interventions for preventing and treating mental illness and substance use disorders.

The National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices is housed within the Health and Human Services Department's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The registry, which was launched in 1997, offers a database of hundreds of mental health and substance abuse programs that have been assessed by an independent contractor and deemed scientifically sound. Getting a program or therapeutic approach included in this registry amounts to receiving federal recognition as an evidence-based practice. Mental health and addiction specialists say they rely on this database as a key source for finding appropriate and effective therapies.

...Administration officials confirmed that the contract for running the database has been terminated. A new entity will take over the program's duties. A director for that new group was announced Monday, but no other staff is in place. Agency spokesman Brian Dominguez said Wednesday the new entity is "working closely" with other parts of the agency to "institute an even more scientifically rigorous approach to better inform the identification and implementation of evidence-based programs and practices."

Officials declined to say why the registry was suspended, nor did they give specifics about how the new approach will work, when it will launch or whether existing validated programs will be included.
This is terribly concerning, especially since administration officials refuse to provide a rationale for suspending the registry. Fucking hell.

[CN: Racism]

In resistance to the onslaught of Trump administration cruelty masquerading as policy, California and New York, among other states, are pushing back in interesting ways:

Sam Levin at the Guardian: California in Revolt: How the Progressive State Plans to Foil the Trump Agenda.

Bill McKibben at the Guardian: New York City Just Declared War on the Oil Industry.

I feel this state-level pushback is critically important — and yet, at the same time, it scares me, because it's vanishingly unlikely to convince Trump to back off. Instead, he will escalate, which in turn will strain the boundaries of the republic to a breaking point.

We are legitimately concerned about Trump starting a nuclear war; I think we should be equally concerned about his starting a civil war.

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[CN: Sexual abuse; revenge porn] Melanie Schmitz at ThinkProgress: Missouri Governor Allegedly Took Nude Photo of Woman, Threatened to Release It If She Exposed Affair. "A report by News 4 KMOV this week detailed shocking allegations against Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens (R), who is accused by one woman of threatening to release her nude photos if she ever went public with their affair."

As Sarah Felts observed on Twitter: "Greitens didn't deny the allegation that he led a woman into his basement, tied her up, blindfolded her, & then took a naked photo of her to use as blackmail. That's the lede. Not the affair." Absolutely right.

[CN: Sexual harassment and assault] Daniel Miller and Amy Kaufman at the LA Times: Five Women Accuse Actor James Franco of Inappropriate or Sexually Exploitative Behavior. "Tither-Kaplan is one of five women who, in interviews with The Times, accused Franco, 39, of behavior they found to be inappropriate or sexually exploitative. Four were his students, and another said he was her mentor. In some cases, they said they believed Franco could offer them career advancement, and acquiesced to his wishes even when they were uncomfortable. 'I feel there was an abuse of power, and there was a culture of exploiting non-celebrity women, and a culture of women being replaceable,' said Tither-Kaplan, who was one of many women who took to Twitter on Sunday night to vent anger over Franco's win." Fuck James Franco. Seethe.

[CN: Sexual abuse] Mira Sorvino at the Huffington Post: An Open Letter to Dylan Farrow. "I am writing to express my belief in and support of you. ...I am so sorry, Dylan! I cannot begin to imagine how you have felt, all these years as you watched someone you called out as having hurt you as a child, a vulnerable little girl in his care, be lauded again and again, including by me and countless others in Hollywood who praised him and ignored you. ...We are in a day and age when everything must be re-examined. This kind of abuse cannot be allowed to continue. If this means tearing down all the old gods, so be it. The cognitive dissonance, the denial and cowardice that spare us painful truths and prevent us from acting in defense of innocent victims while allowing 'beloved' individuals to continue their heinous behavior must be jettisoned from the bottom of our souls." Sob.

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

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