We Resist: Day 372

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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: Quite a Leak: Trump Wanted to Fire Mueller Last June and We Asked Them to Step Up, and They Let Us Down.

Lauren Gambino at the Guardian: Donald Trump Denies Report He Tried to Fire Robert Mueller in June. "Donald Trump has denied a report he ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller last June, but was persuaded against it after the White House counsel threatened to resign. ...'Fake news, folks, fake news,' Trump told reporters in Davos, when asked about the report." Of course. Because Donald Trump is a pathological liar.

Aaron Rupar at ThinkProgress: The Glaring Problem with Trump's Dismissal of the Mueller Story. "Trump blithely dismissed the story as 'fake news' and took a shot at the New York Times — the outlet that broke the story. 'Fake news, folks, fake news,' he said. 'Typical New York Times fake stories.' But there's an obvious problem with Trump's suggestion that the New York Times is making stuff up. The Times isn't the only outlet to report that Trump tried to fire Mueller... Trump's dismissal of the story is also in tension with what Trump's representatives told the Times. Instead of denying the story, Trump's attorney, Ty Cobb, told the Times that '[w]e decline to comment out of respect for the Office of the Special Counsel and its process.' Trump representatives similarly declined to comment to Politico, the Post, and CNN."

Eric Levitz at NYMag: Trump Booed at Davos for Calling Media 'Vicious and Fake'. "And then, the Q&A began, and Trump went off-script. The president focused most of his extemporaneous remarks on a hyperbolic account of his tax 'reform' law's glorious effects. But when forum chairman Klaus Schwab asked Trump how his background as a businessman influenced his approach to governing, the mogul replied, 'As a businessman I was always treated really well by the press…it wasn't until I became a politician that I realized how nasty, how mean, how vicious and how fake the press can be.' Boos and hisses ensued."

Nicole Lafond at TPM: 'Amnesty Don': There's 'Tremendous Support' from GOP on DACA Citizenship. "Donald Trump on Friday said he has 'tremendous support' from Republicans to make a compromise on a path to citizenship for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, despite backlash from his far-right base." This is horseshit. It's just more garbage to get headlines that helps him blame Democrats for his own failure to deliver on his promises and his party's failure to provide good governance.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Jeff Cox at CNBC: Soros: Trump Has U.S. 'Set on a Course Towards Nuclear War'.
Donald Trump has the U.S. on course for a nuclear war with North Korea, billionaire investor and progressive political activist George Soros said Thursday.

In a blistering critique of the country under Trump's leadership, the head of Soros Fund Management and the Open Society Foundations painted a bleak picture.

"The fact of nuclear war is so horrendous that we are trying to ignore it, but it is real," Soros said during a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "Indeed, the United States is set on a course towards nuclear war by refusing to accept that [North] Korea has become a nuclear power."

"This creates a strong incentive for North Korea to develop its nuclear capacity with all possible speed, which in turn may induce the United States to use its nuclear superiority preemptively, in effect to start a nuclear war to prevent a nuclear war, obviously a self-contradictory strategy."
Trump wasn't the only target of Soros' ire. Ben Smith at BuzzFeed: George Soros Just Launched a Scathing Attack on Google and Facebook. "The financier and philanthropist George Soros joined the rising attacks on Facebook and Google Thursday night, calling for 'more stringent regulations' on the tech giants. Soros referred to the companies as a 'menace' and denounced 'the rise and monopolistic behavior of the giant IT platform companies,' which he described as 'ever more powerful monopolies,' hurting competitors and societies alike. ...'They claim they are merely distributing information. But the fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities and should subject them to more stringent regulations, aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access,' he said."

Relatedly... [CN: Bigotry; privilege] Nitasha Tiku at Wired: The Dirty War Over Diversity Inside Google. "In interviews with Wired, 15 current Google employees accuse coworkers of inciting outsiders to harass rank-and-file employees who are minority advocates, including queer and transgender employees. Since August, screenshots from Google's internal discussion forums, including personal information, have been displayed on sites including Breitbart... Other screenshots were included in a 161-page lawsuit that Damore filed in January, alleging that Google discriminates against whites, males, and conservatives. What followed, the employees say, was a wave of harassment. ...At least three employees had their phone numbers, addresses, and deadnames (a transgender person's name prior to transitioning) exposed. ...More than a dozen pages of personal information about another employee were posted to [a site known as] 'the web's biggest community of stalkers.'"

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[CN: War on agency] E.A. Crunden at ThinkProgress: As Another Shutdown Looms, Senate GOP Focuses on 20-Week Abortion Ban. "In the midst of an unresolved dispute over funding the federal government and insuring protections for hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants, Senate Republicans plan to vote on a 20-week abortion ban next week, re-opening a debate on the legal medical procedure at a politically charged moment. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) moved to vote on anti-choice legislation introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Wednesday, clearing the way for a procedural vote as soon as Monday."

[CN: Sexual assault; rape apologia] Jessica Mason Pieklo at Rewire: Advocates Sue to Unwind Trump Administration Guidance on Campus Sexual Assault. "Attorneys on behalf of three advocacy organizations filed a lawsuit Monday against the Trump administration alleging the Department of Education overstepped its authority in issuing Title IX policy addressing campus sexual assault. ...The lawsuit alleges the Trump Administration's Title IX policy is unlawfully based on government officials' discriminatory stereotypes about the credibility of women and girls who report sexual violence, citing comments made by Acting Assistant Secretary Candice Jackson in a July 2017 New York Times interview as one example. Jackson told the paper that '90 percent' of campus sexual-assault complaints 'fall into the category of 'we were both drunk,' 'we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.''"

[CN: Sexual harassment] Jonathan Tamari at the Philly Inquirer: Rep. Pat Meehan Will Not Seek Reelection After Sexual Harassment Furor. "U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan will not seek reelection, he disclosed Thursday, about a week after news reports that he used taxpayer dollars to settle a former aide's sexual harassment claim — and following the harsh response to his description of the woman as his 'soul mate.' ...Meehan, 62, is now subject to a review by the House Ethics Committee, which he sat on until the reports. He has said he will repay the taxpayer money if the panel finds that he committed sexual harassment. But he concluded his letter by saying, 'I acted, at all times, within the appropriate boundaries of the close relationship I shared with the former employee.'" JFC. Good riddance to this dirtbag.

[CN: Sexual harassment] Erik Wemple at the Washington Post: CNN Reinstates Ryan Lizza. "CNN is reinstating Ryan Lizza, the Washington political reporter who was fired from the New Yorker for alleged sexual misconduct. 'Upon learning of The New Yorker's decision to sever ties with Ryan Lizza in December, CNN pulled him from future on-air appearances while the network conducted an extensive investigation into the matter,' reads a statement from a CNN spokeswoman. 'Based on the information provided and the findings of the investigation, CNN has found no reason to continue to keep Mr. Lizza off the air.'" All right then.

[CN: Sexual harassment] In today's New York Times, there is a piece authored by Maggie Haberman and Amy Chozick, neither of whom are fans of Hillary Clinton (to put it mildly), about a man who worked for Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign and sexually harassed a woman who also worked for the campaign. The piece is filed under the headline: "Hillary Clinton Chose to Shield a Top Adviser Accused of Harassment in 2008." That's somewhat mendacious, because what happened was that he "was docked several weeks of pay and ordered to undergo counseling," which is a consequence, not a shield.

For the record, I don't think that was a sufficient consequence. I believe he should have been fired.

I also think that headline is misleading. And the responses to this story are obviously terrific. Note that the backlash narrative so far has been that men losing their jobs over sexual harassment is disproportionate overreach and "ruin's men lives," and that sexual harassers should be sent for sensitivity training etc.

But when Hillary Clinton did exactly what these apologists ostensibly want people to do, which is not "ruin a man's life" but get him help, she's a monster who must be destroyed.

Gee, it's almost like these aren't principled positions at all, but just arguments used to lash out at women, no matter what approach we take.

ETA. [CN: Sexual harassment and assault]

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[CN: Nativism; privacy violations] Russell Brandom at the Verge: ICE Is About to Start Tracking License Plates Across the U.S. "The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has officially gained agency-wide access to a nationwide license plate recognition database, according to a contract finalized earlier this month. The system gives the agency access to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking, raising significant concerns from [privacy advocates]. The source of the data is not named in the contract, but an ICE representative said the data came from Vigilant Solutions, the leading network for license plate recognition data. 'Like most other law enforcement agencies, ICE uses information obtained from license plate readers as one tool in support of its investigations,' spokesperson Dani Bennett said in a statement. 'ICE is not seeking to build a license plate reader database, and will not collect nor contribute any data to a national public or private database through this contract.' (Vigilant did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)"

[CN: Privacy violations] Dell Cameron at Gizmodo: Kris Kobach's Office Leaks Last 4 Social Security Digits of Nearly Every Kansas Lawmaker and Thousands of State Employees, Including Kris Kobach. "Prior to receiving notice from Gizmodo this morning, Kris Kobach's office was leaking sensitive information belonging to thousands of state employees, including himself and nearly every member of the Kansas state legislature. Along with a bevy of personal information contained in documents that, according to a statement on the website, was intended to be public, the Kansas Secretary of State's website left exposed the last four digits of Social Security numbers (SSN4) belonging to numerous current and former candidates for office, as well as thousands — potentially tens of thousands — of high-ranking state employees at virtually ever Kansas government agency. ...Gizmodo notified the Kansas Secretary of State's office of the exposure on Thursday morning, and the site was taken down within roughly an hour. A request for comment was not returned." Yeah, let's trust this guy with voter data. Jesus fucking Jones.

John Abraham at the Guardian: In 2017, the Oceans Were by Far the Hottest Ever Recorded. "[I]n terms of understanding how fast the Earth is warming, the key is the oceans. This important ocean information was just released today by a world-class team of researchers from China. The researchers (Lijing Cheng and Jiang Zhu) found that the upper 2000 meters (more than 6000 feet) of ocean waters were far warmer in 2017 than the previous hottest year. We measure heat energy in Joules. It turns out that 2017 was a record-breaking year, 1.51 × 1022 Joules hotter than any other year. For comparison, the annual electrical generation in China is 600 times smaller than the heat increase in the ocean."

Emily Chung at CBC News: Plastic Ocean Litter Boosts Deadly Infections in Corals. "Garbage like disposable diapers, plastic bags, and snack wrappers is getting into the ocean and snagging on coral reefs, leading to deadly infections that literally eat the corals alive, a new study suggests. A four-year survey of 125,000 corals in 150 reefs in the Asia-Pacific region found that corals in contact with plastic debris had an 89 percent chance of having three nasty diseases... Corals that weren't in contact with garbage had just a four per cent chance of being visibly diseased."

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

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