We Resist: Day 525

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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: It's Okay to Not Feel Like Everything Will Be Okay and The Collusion Is Still Right out in the Open — in Finland and Bernie Sanders, What Are You Even Doing Now?

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

Yascha Mounk at Slate: So Much for the Institutions. "When Donald Trump was elected, 'serious' social scientists argued that the institutions of the American Republic would constrain his power. ...As we now know, it hasn't quite turned out like that. ...It is not just that the administration that is proving to be more effective than we might have hoped; it is also that the institutions meant to constrain it are proving far more pliant than we might have feared. ...What this week has brought into focus is that this institutional rot now also seems to be spreading to the last bastion on which defenders of democracy thought they could count: the Supreme Court."

Erin Matson and Pamela Merritt at Reproaction: BREAKING: Justice Kennedy Retires. "With the retirement of Justice Kennedy, we are in a state of national emergency. ...Reproaction is a left-flank, direct action organization and we know that the time for our work has never been more important. ...We will not be cowed. Donald Trump can take away our rights. He can separate our families, send innocents to prison, and doom people to death. But no matter how much power his hate amasses, he can never take away our dignity."

Annalisa Merelli at Quartz: The Supreme Court Just Lost a Crucial Defender of Roe v. Wade. What Happens to Abortion Now? "Kennedy was not always aligned with liberal judges on reproductive rights and abortion; he voted to uphold the partial-birth abortion ban in Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007. However, he did substantially reaffirm the right to abortion in the two most important cases to follow Roe v. Wade (1973): In 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a case that could have overturned Roe v. Wade, Kennedy sided with the majority maintaining the right to abortion, demanding that the government not place an 'undue burden' on the woman seeking abortion; in 2016, he also voted with the majority on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, a case that struck down a Texas law that would have made the majority of abortion clinics illegal, and lent legitimacy to similar regulations in other states. Since his campaign, Donald Trump had promised to nominate Supreme Court judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade."

Josh Gerstein and Jennifer Haberkorn at Politico: It's Not Just Abortion: 5 Issues Likely to Be Affected by Kennedy's Exit. "Major changes could also be coming in other areas where Kennedy, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, has been counted as a crucial vote on the court, including affirmative action, gay rights, voting rights, and the application of the death penalty to minors and the intellectually disabled."

Charlie Savage at the New York Times: Anthony Kennedy's Exit May Echo for Generations. "As the first Republican president to get his judicial nominees confirmed by a simple majority vote, thanks to the abolition of the Senate filibuster rule, Mr. Trump has already broken records in appointing young and highly conservative appellate judges. Now, Mr. Trump can create a new majority bloc on the Supreme Court — one that is far more consistently conservative, and one that can impose its influence over American life long after his presidency ends on issues as diverse as the environment and labor or abortion and civil rights."

Andrew Desiderio and Sam Stein: Democrats Want to Fight Trump's Supreme Court Pick; They Just Have No Power to Do It. "While Democrats insisted that Kennedy's replacement should not be considered until after voters have their say in November, many members of the party acknowledged the ominous political reality they now confront. Democrats are powerless to stop [Donald] Trump from getting his second justice on the nation's highest court. 'They hold all the cards,' said Jim Manley, a top aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). 'There's not really anything left to say.'"

When I hear Mitch McConnell and other Republicans insisting that Trump should get to make his selection swiftly, after they blocked Merrick Garland, the aggressive hypocrisy and smug unfairness of it is so overwhelming that it makes me physically woozy. Republicans quite literally make me sick at this point.

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[Content Note: Nativism; abuse. Covers entire section.]

Christina Jewett and Shefali Luthra at the Texas Tribune: Immigrant Toddlers Ordered to Appear in Court Alone.
As the White House faces court orders to reunite families separated at the border, immigrant children as young as 3 are being ordered into court for their own deportation proceedings, according to attorneys in Texas, California and Washington, D.C.

Requiring unaccompanied minors to go through deportation alone is not a new practice. But in the wake of the Trump administration's controversial family separation policy, more young children — including toddlers — are being affected than in the past.

The 2,000-plus children will likely need to deal with court proceedings even as they grapple with the ongoing trauma of being taken from their parents.

"We were representing a 3-year-old in court recently who had been separated from the parents. And the child — in the middle of the hearing — started climbing up on the table," said Lindsay Toczylowski, executive director of Immigrant Defenders Law Center in Los Angeles. "It really highlighted the absurdity of what we're doing with these kids."

..."The parent might be the only one who knows why they fled from the home country, and the child is in a disadvantageous position to defend themselves," Toczylowski said.

...Steve Lee, a UCLA child psychology professor, said expecting the children to advocate for themselves in court is an "incredibly misaligned expectation."

"That couldn't be any less developmentally appropriate," he said, adding that some children may not be mature enough to verbalize a response.
I don't think anything more pointedly highlights how shitty this is than the well-made point that tiny children might not even know why they left their homes. How can they ask for asylum if they can't even articulate why they need it?

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Staff at CBS News: CBS News Interview with ICE Whistleblower Interrupted by Surprise Visit from Government Agents. "In his first television interview, former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokesperson James Schwab has opened up about why he abruptly resigned in March. ...During the interview at his home, some three months after he quit, Yuccas and Schwab were interrupted by a surprise visit from men who said they were agents from the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Office. He was 'completely shocked' to see them. ...Schwab said it was 'absolutely' an intimidation technique. 'Why, three months later, are we doing this?' Schwab said. 'This is intimidation. And this is why people won't come out and speak against the government.' Asked if he believes other agencies are struggling with the same thing, Schwab said, 'I know that they are, because they've reached out to me.'"

Michael Rollins at KGW8: 8 Arrests as Federal Police Clear Entrance to Portland ICE Building. "Eight people were arrested Thursday morning after federal officers in riot gear moved in to clear the entrance to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement headquarters in Southwest Portland. 'At approximately 5:30 a.m. today, federal law enforcement officers initiated a law enforcement action to reopen the federal facility at 4310 SW Macadam Avenue in Portland,' Federal Protective Service spokesman Robert Sperling said in a prepared statement. ...Sperling did not know what charges were posted against the eight people who were later arrested. He said the sweep of the entrance was peaceful."

Uh, just as a side note, I have never heard of the "Federal Protective Service" before. It's been around for longer than I've been alive (est. 1971, apparently), and yet somehow this is the first time I've ever heard about them. I've sure as fuck never heard of them arresting protesters before. So, that's concerning!

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Lena H. Sun at the Washington Post: White House Wants to Cut This Public Health Service Corps by Nearly 40 Percent. "The White House is proposing to reduce by nearly 40 percent the uniformed public health professionals who deploy during disasters and disease outbreaks, monitor drug safety and provide health care in some of the nation's most remote and disadvantaged areas. The proposal is part of a plan announced last week by the Office of Management and Budget to overhaul the federal government. It would cut the size of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps from its current 6,500 officers to 'no more than 4,000 officers.'"

That would, of course, significantly reduce the efficacy of a response to a serious epidemic. I wonder if that's something Trump will mention to Putin when they're hanging in Helsinki.

Nathan Layne and Jonathan Landay at Reuters: Manafort Had $10 Million Loan from Russian Oligarch. "A search warrant application unsealed on Wednesday revealed closer links than previously known between President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin. In an affidavit attached to the July 2017 application, an FBI agent said he had reviewed tax returns for a company controlled by Manafort and his wife that showed a $10 million loan from a Russian lender identified as Oleg Deripaska." Wow.

[CN: Climate change] Elizabeth Rush at the Guardian: Meet America's New Climate Normal: Towns That Flood When It Isn't Raining. "All along the east coast, from Portland, Maine, to Key West, 'sunny day flooding' is increasingly frequent. Many places in the Sunshine State are so low lying that high tide — when coupled with something as innocuous as a full moon — can cause the streets to brim with water. Sometimes the tide simply rises above the seawalls and starts to spill into the roadways; in other cases it enters the neighborhood through the storm-water infrastructure belowground. The very pipes designed to reduce flooding by ushering rain out instead give salt water a chance to work its way in." Damn.

[CN: Sexual harassment]


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

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