We Resist: Day 412

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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: Joe Biden, What Are You Even Doing? and Gary Cohn Jumps Ship to Dogwhistled Anti-Semitism and On the Stormy Daniels Story.

Arelis R. Hernández at the Washington Post: Exodus from Puerto Rico Grows as Island Struggles to Rebound from Hurricane Maria.
Experts say the storm and its widespread devastation undoubtedly have sped up the pace of migration as residents have dealt with extended power outages, communication lapses, infrastructure failures and, in some cases, isolation. What already was the largest exodus in the island's history now includes people fleeing in droves simply to achieve some sense of normalcy.

Just this week, a power outage put nearly 900,000 residents in and around the capital city of San Juan in the dark and without water — again. Tens of thousands in Puerto Rico have had no electricity since the hurricane struck five months ago, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates that 1 in 10 customers still won't have it as of the end of March.

The island's bankrupt public utility has struggled to restore power amid contracting scandals, materiel shortages and intermittent blackouts, and the biggest restoration contractor, Fluor Corp., confirmed that it is pulling out of Puerto Rico in the next several weeks after reaching the funding limit of its $746 million contract.

The governor announced plans last month to privatize the electric utility, sparking standoffs with unionized workers and arousing suspicions from residents. Some municipalities such as San Sebastian, a town in the island's northwest corner, didn't wait and formed their own volunteer brigades to string up power lines and return electricity to thousands of residents.

Nearly 58,000 homes here have roofs made of blue tarps while they await federal assistance; more than 437,000 residents — about 2 of every 5 who applied so far — have received money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for home repairs.

For many, the future feels ominous.
It utterly guts me that so many Puerto Ricans are being forced to leave their homes in search of stability that the U.S. federal government should be able — and willing — to provide. This is a terrible shame, and I am stricken by the thought that Republicans are deliberately neglecting Puerto Rico to turn it into a profiteering opportunity for the wealthy. After all, the worse things get on the island, the lower the property values in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, just a short flight away from the continental U.S. That there are plans to privatize Puerto Rico's power because of lingering failures does not bode well. Just...fuck.

[Content Note: Genocide] Saphora Smith at NBC News: Rohingya Muslims Will Soon Face Cyclones, Monsoons in Bangladesh. "Refugees driven out of Myanmar by what the U.S. has called 'ethnic cleansing' now face a new threat: the looming monsoon and cyclone season. Authorities have warned that more than 100,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled into neighboring Bangladesh are at risk of losing their makeshift homes to the deadly floods and landslides that accompany seasonal rains. Workers are scrambling to reinforce shelters and dig drainage systems before the bad weather is expected next month. ...[The situation] is largely the same in other makeshift camps housing the refugees near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. 'It's a race against time,' said Caroline Gluck, a spokeswoman for the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in the country. 'We're very alarmed, we're very concerned, we're doing what we can, but we're not sure it's going to be enough.'"

Goddammit. And where is the U.S. State Department during this? "Engaged vigorously in the diplomatic realm." Oh.

[CN: Terrorism; abductions; misogyny] Samuel Okocha at Rewire: Nigerians Continue #BringBackOurGirls Campaign Amid New Kidnappings, Violence. "Members of Nigeria's Bring Back Our Girls movement are vowing to continue the push to free girls who remain in Boko Haram's captivity amid news of another abduction of schoolgirls and increasing terror by the extremist group. Despite military and territorial gains against the terrorist group, Boko Haram has continued to unleash despair with the latest kidnapping of more than 100 schoolgirls in the northeast Nigerian town of Dapchi, believed to be the largest mass abduction since the 2014 notorious Chibok kidnappings. At least three aid workers died on March 1 in another Boko Haram attack in Borno's border town of Rann." Seethe.

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Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire at the AP: West Wing Turmoil with Staff Exits; No Chaos, Trump Says. "Cohn's departure has sparked internal fears of an even larger exodus, raising concerns in Washington of a coming 'brain drain' around the president that will only make it more difficult for Trump to advance his already languishing policy agenda. Multiple White House officials said the president has been pushing anxious aides to stay on the job. 'Everyone wants to work in the White House,' Trump said during a news conference Tuesday. 'They all want a piece of the Oval Office.' The reality is far different."

Insert all the jokes here about a "brain drain" in Trump's White House, but, as I've said many times before, the fact that there aren't smart, competent, experienced, ethical people willing to work for the executive branch is not funny. It is terrifying. No one wants to live in a country being run by corrupt fools.

David Voreacos and Greg Farrell at Bloomberg: Trump Fundraiser's Email Breach Shows Risks Before Midterms. "A top Republican fundraiser for Donald Trump's 2016 campaign learned last week that his email accounts had been hacked, sowing concerns that document leaks could roil another national U.S. election cycle. Elliott Broidy, a deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, became aware of the problem when a reporter asked about some of his private messages, said his attorney, Christopher Clark. Broidy then alerted law-enforcement officials, who are now investigating the breach of his private and business emails. Some news organizations have cited Broidy's communications in articles over the past week, describing how he sought to use his political ties to advance his business interests and those of foreign leaders. More embarrassing revelations could follow. All the information will be released soon on 'the dark web,' according to a note accompanying emails sent to Bloomberg."

Hacked DNC and Clinton campaign emails were reported without regard for the fact that they were illegally obtained, and the Russians, who were behind the hacking, never faced any consequences, so of course it's going to happen again during the next election cycle. We have learned nothing and taken no precautions to prevent a repeat of election interference. If anything, meddlers will double-down, because they know nothing will be done to stop or punish them.

Meanwhile, the investigation of the 2016 clusterfuck continues...

Swapna Krishna at Engadget: Russians Used Fake Social Accounts to Gather Americans' Personal Data. "The Internet Research Agency, which is backed by the Russian government, used fake social media accounts to collect names, email addresses, and more. The activity continued after the 2016 election. Using social media, Russian accounts such as @Black4Black and @BlackMattersUS reached out to small business owners, asking for personal information in order to write profiles and promotional content. They promised to add these companies to a business directory as part of their activist outreach. But nothing ever happened. ...It's not fully clear why Russian operatives want this personal information, but it could be tied to either identity theft or a larger effort to influence US politics." COULD BE!

We are so fucked.

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[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Amanda Terkel at the Huffington Post: Ben Carson Removes Anti-Discrimination Language from HUD Mission Statement. "Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is changing the mission statement of his agency, removing promises of inclusive and discrimination-free communities. In a March 5 memo addressed to HUD political staff, Amy Thompson, the department's assistant secretary for public affairs, explained that the statement is being updated 'in an effort to align HUD's mission with the Secretary's priorities and that of the Administration.' The new mission statement reads: 'HUD's mission is to ensure Americans have access to fair, affordable housing and opportunities to achieve self-sufficiency, thereby strengthening our communities and nation.' ...The Carson mission statement is quite different from the current one, which is still up on HUD's website. That one promises 'strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.' It also says these communities will be 'free from discrimination'."

[CN: War on agency] Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Mississippi Senate Passes the Most Restrictive Abortion Ban in the Country. "On Tuesday, the Mississippi state senate passed a bill 35-14 that would ban abortions after just 15 weeks of pregnancy. The senate vote brings the state one step closer to enacting the most restrictive abortion ban in the country. Current state law prohibits the procedure 20 weeks after a woman's last period. No other state has a 15-week restriction. State lawmakers have previously argued that a 20-week ban was necessary in order to prevent fetal pain; by moving the ban to 15 weeks, the Mississippi legislature is making clear that this bill isn't really about the fetus, but about a larger attack on Roe v. Wade."

[CN: Sexual assault] Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week: In 2011, Portland Police Investigated a Sexual Assault Complaint Against Billionaire Mark Cuban: He Wasn't Charged; Here's What Happened. "The woman, whom WW is not naming because she's the alleged victim of sexual assault, agreed to a brief interview after WW obtained the police report and contacted her. She says she never contacted the media or sought publicity or compensation from Cuban and has put the incident behind her. 'I really left it in the past,' she says. 'I haven't thought about it for seven years.' Now married and in her mid-30s, the woman works in the medical field and enjoys hiking with her yellow Lab. 'I have a wonderful life,' she says. 'I'm a happy person.' But she's sticking to her story. 'I filed the report because what he did was wrong,' she adds. 'I stand behind that report 1,000 percent.'"

As you may recall, Marc Cuban was recently SHOCKED! to discover that a number of women spent years being harassed in the corporate offices of the Dallas Mavericks, the basketball team he owns. Ahem.

And finally...

Is there a single Republican who isn't a thoroughly hypocritical, ethically bankrupt, vile asshole?

That's rhetorical.

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

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