We Resist: Day 370

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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: Mueller Is Still Investigating and Garrison Keillor Is Also a Liar.

Melanie Schmitz at ThinkProgress: Republican Senator Meets with Justice Neil Gorsuch to Discuss Unspecified 'Important Issues'.
Hours after he nearly shattered a glass elephant by tossing a "talking stick" at Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) during bipartisan spending talks on Monday (yes, that actually happened), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) decided to buff up his image further by hastily tweeting that he was having dinner with a Supreme Court justice to discuss "important issues."

"I enjoyed having dinner tonight at the home of Senator John Cornyn and his wife Sandy with our newest Supreme Court Justice, Neil Gorsuch, Transportation Secretary Chao and a few of my other Senate colleagues to talk about important issues facing our country," the senior senator wrote.

Alexander's tweet prompted a flurry of angry responses, with many concerned the event was a breach of ethics, or at best bad optics.

...Objectively speaking, there's nothing wrong with a member of Congress (or the executive branch) dining or hunting or hobnobbing with a Supreme Court justice. ...What's troubling about Alexander's dinner with Gorsuch, rather, is the fact that the two met to discuss unspecified "important issues facing our country" — something which Supreme Court justices are rightfully discouraged from doing, as it gives an obvious appearance of partiality and may flout certain ethics rules.
Gorsuch is a fucking disgrace.

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[Content Note: War on agency] Teddy Wilson at Rewire: Republicans' Forced Waiting Period Laws Could Proliferate in 2018. "State-level GOP lawmakers are ready to unleash a new crop of medically unnecessary proposals to force people to wait a day or two — or three — before they receive abortion care. Mandatory waiting periods are among the most common restrictions that have been pushed by abortion rights foes and approved by legislatures in recent years. Already in 2018, Republicans in New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Colorado have introduced forced waiting period bills."

I think my favorite (cough) part about this is how Republicans, including the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, believe in "fetal personhood," but still don't believe in the personhood of people who carry those fetuses. Our personhood, our autonomy, our agency, and our right of consent are nonexistent to the same wrecks who believe that a fetus is a rights-bearing person. Cool.

[CN: War on agency] Amanda Michelle Gomez at ThinkProgress: Texas' Sneaky Plan to Defund Planned Parenthood. "Republicans in Congress weren't able to 'defund' Planned Parenthood last year, but some remain hopeful that they can in 2018. While eyes fixate on Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — an agency packed with anti-abortion sympathizers — signaled it would approve efforts to withhold federal dollars to Planned Parenthood if states asked. Texas has already sought federal permission to do so and the green light could come any day now."

[CN: Transgender harm] Amy Littlefield at Rewire: When Their Doctor Disappeared, Transgender Patients Scrambled to Find Care in Pence's Indiana. "[W]hen they pulled into the parking lot, they found the lot empty, the lights off, and the door locked. There was no note to explain where Dr. Wallace had gone. Keener called the office; a representative told her Wallace no longer worked for Parkview Physicians Group, and referred her to another doctor in the network. When Keener explained to that new office that her son was on hormone therapy, the receptionist's voice grew cold. 'We don't do that here,' she said, according to Keener. ...[T]he ripple effect of Wallace's disappearance highlights a national problem that goes beyond policy: The shortage of doctors trained and willing to care for transgender people, particularly in rural or right-wing areas, where patients frequently rely on informal networks and word-of-mouth to find care."

[CN: Racism; whitesplaining] Afua Hirsch at the Guardian: I've Had Enough of White People Who Try to Deny My Experience. "To be black, in a society that invented race for the specific purpose of dehumanising people who are black, and then invented an equally formidable system of denial, is to carry the burden of history that others would rather forget. I found myself having to explain this reality last week, on the Sky News show The Pledge, in what I had hoped would be a debate about the utility of Trump's 'shithole countries' remark, and the racism of Jo Marney, girlfriend of the Ukip leader. Remarkably, given the premise, the argument became a race to the bottom. 'Does racism exist any more?' my white co-panelists wanted to know. They thought not. There are so many ways to prove the simple falsehood of this belief, it's hard to know where to start."

[CN: Class warfare] Monique Judge at the Root: Bank of America Can Kick Rocks: Here Are Some Free (or Low-Fee) Checking Alternatives. "Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, decided this month that providing free checking accounts to lower-income customers was too much of a burden to bear and removed the option from its account offerings. Customers must now either maintain a daily balance of $1,500, have a direct deposit of $250 or more, or pay a monthly fee of $12. I'm going to guess that if you don't have a direct deposit of $250 or more going into your account, $12 being taken out of it is going to hurt a bit. There is no shame in that. A great many people are just one missed paycheck away from financial disaster. This is the country in which we live. No one, however, should be penalized for that. If Bank of America wants to put its foot on the neck of already marginalized people, then The Root is here to provide you with some alternatives to free checking accounts."

[CN: Class warfare] Matt Krupnick at the Guardian: 'People Will Sign Anything': How Legal Odds Are Stacked Against the Evicted. "Just 1% of New York City housing court defendants were represented by an attorney in 2013, compared to 95% of landlords, according to a recent city report. It is a situation that is echoed nationwide. But recently New York, which handles at least 150,000 eviction cases annually, became the first city in the United States to guarantee evicted tenants the use of an attorney. In the Massachusetts city of Quincy, a pilot project to provide lawyers to tenants led to two-thirds of represented tenants staying in their homes, compared to one-third of unrepresented tenants. And those with lawyers received almost five times the financial benefit, such as damages and cancellation of past rent. 'In housing court, it makes a tremendous difference,' said John Pollock, a Baltimore attorney who leads the National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel. 'When you introduce a defendant's attorney to the process, it changes the expectations.'"

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[CN: Sexual harassment and assault. Covers entire section.]

Tracy Connor at NBC News: Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar Sentenced to Up to 175 Years for Sex Abuse.
After a remarkable hearing that featured gut-wrenching statements from 156 of his accusers, former Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison for molesting young girls under the guise of treatment.

"I wouldn't send my dogs to you, sir," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said in the Ingham County, Michigan, courtroom where Nassar was forced to listen to victims for seven days before learning his fate.

...Nassar, 54, agreed to a minimum 40-year sentence when he pleaded guilty last year to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct in Ingham County. He still faces sentencing in Eaton County for three more counts, and he's already been sentenced to 60 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

"I signed your death warrant," Aquilina said.

...The judge took out a six-page letter he sent the court last week in which he insisted what he had done to the victims "was medical not sexual," that he was a "good doctor" and the victim of a media frenzy, and that prosecutors had pressured him to to admit to things he had not done.

"'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,'" she read, her voice full of scorn.

...Although Nassar admitted he molested seven girls — including a family friend, starting when she was 6 — the judge allowed all accusers to speak before she announced the penalty. She could not have imagined the result: a wall-to-wall outpouring of anger, grief, and demands for accountability from world-famous athletes to unknown teenagers.

"I feel nauseous even standing in front of you," 18-year-old Kaylee Lorincz told Nassar, who sat in the witness box crying. "Like the feeling as if I'm being assaulted by you all over again."

Lorincz, who said she was 13 when [she was abused], told Nassar she didn't need an apology. What she and the other victims wanted, she said, was accountability from the institutions that employed him.

"I only hope that when you get a chance to speak, you tell us who knew what and when they knew it," she said. "If you truly want us to heal, you will do this for us."

A day earlier, Brooke Hylek offered another suggest to Nassar.

"Enjoy hell," she said.

🔥 🔥 🔥

Emma Graham-Harrison at the Guardian: U.S. Military Fails to Tackle Sexual Abuse of Children by Afghan Allies, Report Finds. "The U.S. military showed little interest for years in tackling widespread sexual abuse of children by Afghan security forces it still funds and trains, according to a newly declassified report by a US government watchdog. The exact scale of the problem remains unclear due to a lack of guidance on how to respond to suspected cases, a lack of training on how to report them, and in some cases reluctance to do so for fear of reprisals, said the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR) in the report. 'The full extent of child sexual assault committed by Afghan security forces may never be known,' the report from SIGAR said. But two-thirds of the individuals and organisations interviewed for the recently declassified report said they were aware of 'child sexual assault incidents or related exploitation by Afghan security forces,' the watchdog said. The investigation was requested by 93 members of Congress, after an article in the New York Times warned that child sex assault was 'rampant' among Afghan forces."

Tom Ley at Deadspin: WWE Releases Enzo Amore Following Rape Allegation. "Pro wrestler Enzo Amore, whose real name is Eric Arndt, was released by WWE today. In a statement announcing his suspension yesterday, WWE said that the organization has 'has zero tolerance for matters involving sexual harassment or sexual assault.' Before WWE's announcement, Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that Arndt is currently being investigated by Arizona police in connection with a rape allegation. ...According to ABC 15, local police have confirmed that they are investigating Arndt, and that the alleged incident took place on Oct. 19, 2017 at the Clarendon Hotel and Spa. FightfulOnline is reporting that Arndt was aware of the charges against him but did not disclose them to WWE."

So, just to recap: World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. is apparently taking sexual assault more seriously than the U.S. military.

Jonathan Tamari at the Philly Inquirer: Pat Meehan Says He Saw Younger Aide as 'a Soul Mate' But Denies Harassment. "U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan acknowledged Tuesday that he had a deep 'affection' for a younger aide and told her last year that he saw her as 'a soul mate,' but said he never pursued a romantic relationship with the woman and, despite paying her a secret settlement, denied her claims of sexual harassment. ...Meehan confirmed the outline of the Times story, which said the married 62-year-old expressed his romantic desires to his aide after she began a serious relationship with someone else, then grew hostile when she did not reciprocate. ...The report by the New York Times was amplified in part because as a member of the House Ethics Committee, Meehan had been helping review sexual harassment claims against several other representatives." Whoooooops.

Kieran Corcoran at Business Insider: 'An Incessant Stream of Harassment': Undercover FT Reporter Describes High-Powered Charity Dinner Where She Was Groped 'Several Times'. "The Financial Times journalist who went undercover as a hostess at a seedy, men-only gathering of Britain's elite described the experience as 'an incessant stream of harassment.' Madison Marriage, who is an accounting and tax correspondent for the newspaper, was hired to work at the Presidents Club Charity Dinner at London's Dorchester Hotel, which took place last Thursday. Along with around 130 other women, she was told to wear a revealing black dress, matching underwear, and high heels while entertaining guests from the highest echelons of business, the media, sport, and entertainment. ...In an interview with the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire, Marriage described the 'uncomfortable' experience, and said she was personally groped several times."

David Folkenflik at NPR: New York 'Daily News' Exec Investigated After Harassment Complaint. "A top editor at the New York Daily News has been accused of sexual harassment and is now under investigation by the paper's parent company after inquiries by NPR. Managing Editor Robert Moore has been accused of creating a sexualized atmosphere, pressuring women for attention, and punishing those who objected. Tronc would not say whether he remains on the job or has been suspended or placed on leave. ...Moore is the second Tronc newspaper executive in four days to be put under investigation owing to NPR's reporting. Last week, Los Angeles Times Publisher Ross Levinsohn went on leave after Tronc started an investigation of him too, following an NPR report that he had been a defendant in two sexual harassment suits in earlier jobs and faced accusations of misconduct toward women. Levinsohn initially stayed on the job but within a day had taken what was called a voluntary leave of absence."

Emily Peck at the Huffington Post: Five Women Sue Monster Energy over Abusive, Discriminatory Culture.
Even as he awaits a criminal trial for allegedly strangling his girlfriend during a business trip in 2016, Brent Hamilton is still the head of music marketing at Monster Energy, the multibillion-dollar beverage company partly owned by Coca-Cola.

John Kenneally is a vice president at Monster despite three women accusing him of bullying, harassment and retaliation. They say he actively undermined their reputations and forced them out of the company. HuffPost obtained text messages he sent to one of these women, in which he described her as a 'whore,' made a racially charged comment about 'black dicks,' and used the term 'bitch' to refer to both her and another female employee.

Another manager, Phillip Deitrich, regularly humiliated a female subordinate in front of co-workers and sabotaged her ability to work effectively, according to a sex discrimination lawsuit she filed. He still has a job. She left the company.

Hamilton, Kenneally, and Deitrich are at the center of four lawsuits that women filed against Monster last year. Hamilton stands accused of assault, and the three lawsuits involving the other two men are about sexual discrimination, HuffPost has learned.

A fifth lawsuit, filed in 2016 by a woman who worked in the company's human resource department, alleges she experienced harassment that was enabled by the company's female former head of HR.

HuffPost interviewed all five women who have sued the company, which is best known for its highly caffeinated energy drink. A sixth woman, a former employee who says she was also mistreated, declined to go on the record because she wants to protect her privacy.

The women's lawsuits and personal stories paint a detailed and disturbing picture of what systemic sex discrimination does to women's lives and careers. Women at Monster allege that they were punished for speaking up, saying their professional reputations were tarnished and careers derailed. Egregious behavior by mainly male executives went without consequence.
Fucking hell. And, as we are all now painfully aware, if we weren't already, this is hardly an anomaly.

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

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