We Resist: Day 441

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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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Earlier today by me: Trade Wars: So Now I'm NOT Supposed to Care About Middle America? and Trump Announces Plan to Militarize the Border and And Again.

Here are some more things in the news today...

Let's start out with Bernie Sanders being a racist dipshit yet again, shall we?

The Senator thought it was a great idea, apparently, to use the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to shit-talk the nation's first Black president:

I'm honestly amazed he didn't throw in a comment about how "articulate" Obama is, in addition to being "charismatic."

And if throwing thinly veiled racist shade at Obama weren't enough for you, how about promising to "try to do better" representing racial minorities in Vermont, while 'splaining at them that his record is already stellar?
Sanders said he will "try to do better" in reaching out to racial justice leaders in Vermont in response to criticism that he has fallen short in representing the state's minorities during his long political career.

"Well, you know, I'm sorry to hear that and I will try to do better," the independent lawmaker said in response to a question about concerns voiced by African-American leaders in Vermont that he had done little to stay in touch with them.

"I think if anyone looks at my record here in Vermont and nationally on issues of racial justice, I think it's a pretty strong record and will continue to be," he said.
Cool cool cool.

While he was being awesome, he also decided to again brush off the idea that Russian interference on his campaign's behalf made any difference — or indeed that Russian interference mattered at all.
On Russian influence on the 2016 election, Sanders said: "Their goal is to divide this country up, and to try to create antagonisms and hatred between different groups of people. My suspicion is what happened is that at the end of my campaign, when it became apparent that I wasn't going to be the Democratic nominee, what they attempted to do is to reach out to people that they felt were my supporters and to tell them not to vote, or not to vote for Clinton or to vote for Trump, and trying to say really hateful and really ugly things about Secretary Clinton."

Sanders concluded, "I don't suspect it had a major impact" on the outcome of the election.

It's funny how Sanders spent the day trashing Democrats and President Obama, and then accused the Russians of trying "to divide this country up, and to try to create antagonisms and hatred between different groups of people," and then suggested it doesn't matter. What a piece of work.

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[Content Note: Islamophobia] Robert Maguire at OpenSecrets: Robert Mercer Backed a Secretive Group That Worked with Facebook, Google to Target Anti-Muslim Ads at Swing Voters. "Most Americans have never heard of the far-right neoconservative nonprofit that ran the ads. It has no employees and no volunteers, and it's run out of the offices of a Washington, D.C. law firm. More importantly, most voters never saw the ads. And that was by design. The group, a social welfare organization called Secure America Now, worked hand in hand with Facebook and Google to target their message at voters in swing states who were most likely to be receptive to them. And new tax documents obtained by OpenSecrets show that the money fueling the group came mostly from just three donors, including the secretive multimillionaire donor Robert Mercer."

Luke Harding at the Guardian: Former Trump Aide Approved 'Black Ops' to Help Ukraine President. "Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort authorised a secret media operation on behalf of Ukraine's former president, featuring 'black ops,' 'placed' articles in the Wall Street Journal and U.S. websites, and anonymous briefings against Hillary Clinton. The project was designed to boost the reputation of Ukraine's then leader, Viktor Yanukovych. It was part of a multimillion-dollar lobbying effort carried out by Manafort on behalf of Yanukovych's embattled government, emails and documents reveal."

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You have to ignore the terrible headline on this solid piece by Greg Sargent at the Washington Post, because the content of the piece doesn't support it:

Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay at the Daily Beast: John Kelly to Scott Pruitt: The Scandals Need to Stop. "The day after Scott Pruitt was called by [Donald] Trump, who reportedly told him to 'keep your chin up' amid a torrent of controversy, the EPA chief got another phone call from a top White House official that was noticeably less encouraging. Chief of Staff John Kelly wanted to know, after revelations had surfaced that Pruitt had been renting living space in Washington, D.C., from a pair of high-powered lobbyists — one of whom was lobbying his agency at the time — what other shoes, if any, were going to drop. ...The chief of staff then impressed upon Pruitt that, though he has the full public confidence of Trump for now, the flow of negative and damning stories needed to stop soon, as one source briefed on the contents of the call described."

And "for now" may have been a window that already closed. Kate Riga at TPM: White House Deputy Press Secretary: 'I Can't Speak to the Future of Scott Pruitt'. LOL oh.

[CN: Addiction stigma; carcerality; capital punishment] Amanda Michelle Gomez at ThinkProgress: Kellyanne Conway Sells Mandatory Minimums at Influential Drug Conference. "Conway — who is for some reason in charge of the White House's efforts to tackle the opioid crisis — pleaded with stakeholders at the largest annual conference on the epidemic on Wednesday to change fentanyl sentencing laws. She called for longer prison time for small-time fentanyl dealers and echoed the president's call for the death penalty "in very special circumstances" for drug traffickers." Fucking hell.

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[CN: Misogyny; toxic masculinity]

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[CN: Nativism; genital cutting] Betsy Woodruff at the Daily Beast: Want Asylum in America? Get Ready for Hell.
Two months ago, an Ethiopian woman seeking asylum in the United States went to her interview with an American official who would decide her fate. She was expecting it to be tough. But the officer asked her a series of questions her attorney had never heard before.

Like many Ethiopian women, this one survived female genital mutilation when she was 7 years old — a dangerous and medically unnecessary practice deplored by human rights groups around the world.

And the asylum officer grilled her about it.

"Tell me where they cut you," the officer asked, according to the woman's lawyer, Alan Parra. "What did they use? Did it hurt? What did they cut specifically? Did they use anesthesia?"

The woman broke down crying.

This type of exchange with officers — lengthy, and filled with personal questions — is increasingly common among people seeking asylum in the United States, according to a host of immigration attorneys who spoke with The Daily Beast.

Officials with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said there haven't been any formal changes in policy or practice on interviews. But the lawyers who help their clients through these interviews insisted that the process has gotten significantly longer and harder. On top of that, the lawyer said, officers are losing their clients' paperwork.
Fuck this administration. Goddammit.

Tina Vasquez at Rewire: What Is Deferred Enforced Departure? It's Complicated. "Liberians who were first granted TPS [Temporary Protected Status] in the 1990s through 2002, later received protection under DED [Deferred Enforced Departure]. 'Those with DED now are the people who have been here the longest, the people who have legally resided in the U.S. since 2002,' [Royce Bernstein Murray, policy director at the American Immigration Council] added. Bernstein Murray further explained: 'The idea that we would send 10,000 people, which is the number of people at that time who had TPS, back to a war-torn country, was obviously absurd and would have created a bad relationship with Liberia. You can see how the different conditions in Liberia lead to different statuses.'"

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

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