We Resist: Day 589

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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: Trump Is an Unpopular Authoritarian Nightmare. And late yesterday ICYMI: What Did I Just Read?

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

Last night, at another Make America Clap for Me Again Rally in Indiana, this happened:

Every single time I see this, it is terrifying to me to watch an entire crowd of adult humans chanting for the imprisonment of a woman who has not broken any laws.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] John Micklethwait, Jennifer Jacobs, and Margaret Talev at Bloomberg: Trump Says Democrats Can't Impeach Him Because He's Doing a 'Great Job'. "Donald Trump said that Democrats shouldn't try to impeach him, citing a strong economy, his performance on foreign policy, and the danger of setting a precedent making it too easy to remove future presidents. 'I don't think they can impeach somebody that's doing a great job,' Trump said Thursday in a White House interview with Bloomberg News. 'You look at the economy, you look at jobs, you look at foreign, what's going on with other countries. You look at trade deals. I'm doing a great job.'"

People constantly make jokes about stuff like this and accuse Trump of mental illness or senility or whatever disablist shit, but this isn't funny and it isn't evidence of an addled mind. It's Trump expressing his own reality and the reality of his cultists, seen just above shouting for his political rival's imprisonment — a reality an empowered authoritarian can make happen, with propaganda, falsified polling, and an irretrievably corrupt judicial system. Trump's well on his way to establishing the infrastructure for all of those things, with the aid of Congressional Republicans and conservative media. Where's the goddamned joke? This is happening.

In other news, related to that Bloomberg interview...

As I've previously noted: A sustained and increasingly hostile trade war with Canada will please Putin, who would certainly prefer if the United States didn't give a shit about protecting Canada's vast Arctic coastline.

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The Editorial Board at the Washington Post: A Security Form Became a Political Weapon; We Should All Be Alarmed.
Anyone who has ever filled out the U.S. government's Standard Form 86, "Questionnaire for National Security Positions," can attest that it is intrusive, requiring answers to 136 pages of probing questions about finances, medical history, and family. People submit to this because they want to serve the country, often in positions handling classified information.

The use of an SF86 to score points during a congressional campaign is outrageous and worrisome. Abigail Spanberger, the Democratic candidate challenging Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), filled out the SF86 while applying for positions at the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service, and at the CIA. She worked for a time at the postal agency while waiting for her CIA clearance. Then she served as a covert CIA case officer overseas for eight years.

Ms. Spanberger says in an Aug. 28 letter that the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), obtained and circulated a copy of her SF86 "for political purposes." The CLF has been trying to call attention to the fact that she worked at the Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia, saying it "produced a number of well-known terrorists."

Ms. Spanberger said she has nothing to hide: She had a temporary job at the school teaching English. And she is right to be angry about the release. She claims there is "clear evidence" the CLF shared her form with a news organization...

Something is rotten here. The CLF should have known better than to weaponize confidential personnel records used in national security vetting. The process of collecting, maintaining, and disclosing information on the forms is protected by the Privacy Act; the document simply should not have been made public. It is inexplicable that the Postal Service granted such a FOIA request; on Thursday, a spokesman attributed it to "human error." Those who fill out the SF86 are assured on its second page that "the information will be protected from unauthorized disclosure." In the case of Ms. Spanberger, this pledge was grossly violated.

...Mr. Ryan should investigate what happened and punish those who exploited the national security personnel process for cheap political advantage.
Yes, of course he should. But he won't. Because the CLF was probably operating under his direction.

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Meanwhile, in Russia...


[CN: Toxic masculinity; white supremacy; misogyny] Michael Carpenter at the Atlantic: Russia Is Co-opting Angry Young Men. "After the Kremlin accelerated its covert war against Western democracies in the aftermath of its invasion of Ukraine, Russia's intelligence services dramatically ramped up their 'active measures' (in Russian intelligence jargon, aktivnyye meropriyatiya or 'active measures' refers to a broad range of covert influence and/or subversive operations) using radical-right and fringe groups. These groups serve as the perfect unwitting agents to accomplish Moscow's twin goals of destabilizing Western societies and co-opting Western business and political elites. By forging ties to radical groups on the far right, and sometimes on the far left, the Kremlin has developed convenient local surrogates that can amplify its talking points, even as Russian trolls reinforce the divisive narratives such groups spread online. It would be a mistake, however, to think that the partnerships between the Kremlin and these groups are always marriages of convenience. Many are genuine partnerships based on a shared aversion to liberal democracy and a desire to undermine it."

This is a very good article, which I strongly encourage you to read in its entirety. My one caveat is that it would have been better had the writer not inserted so much 😲😲😲😲😲😲😲: "It seems almost too strange to be true... Part of the appeal of this strategy is its sheer outlandishness. It may seem implausible that Russia's secret services could recruit or radicalize skinheads or social outcasts in the West."

That could only truly seem implausible if one hasn't been paying attention to misogynist, racist, "angry young men" for a decade. (Or more.)

Relatedly: [CN: Homophobic violence] Nick Duffy at Pink News: 15 Countries Condemn 'Inadequate' Russian Response to Chechnya Homophobic Purge. "Human rights monitors first reported in February 2017 that authorities in Chechnya — an autonomous region of Russia — were carrying out a homophobic purge. Gay people in the region have faced arrest, torture, and execution, but the Kremlin has consistently refused to intervene, even as Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov publicly stated that homosexuals are 'not people' who should be removed to 'purify' the blood of the region. The international community has been slow to respond to the situation, but action was today launched via the Organization for Security and Co‑operation in Europe (OSCE), of which Russia is a member. 15 states have signed a statement invoking the OSCE's rarely-used Vienna Mechanism, which triggers a procedure to question another member on serious human rights issues."

The countries that signed onto the statement are: Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

It's about damn time.

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[CN: Rape culture; threats] Maxwell Tani and Lachlan Cartwright at the Daily Beast: Sources: NBC Threatened Ronan Farrow If He Kept Reporting on Harvey Weinstein.
NBC News has long insisted the Weinstein exposé wasn't ready to run on air or online, contrary to Farrow's claims that it was. Farrow's story, which ultimately ran in The New Yorker, was part of a series that won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, earned him the prestigious George Polk Award for National Reporting, and garnered near-universal praise from his colleagues.

The Daily Beast has uncovered new details of how the process went awry, including alleged threats from NBC, back-biting inside the network about who was truly responsible, and a previously unreported ultimatum by Weinstein's attorneys.

According to multiple sources familiar with the matter, NBC News general counsel Susan Weiner made a series of phone calls to Farrow, threatening to smear him if he continued to report on Weinstein.

A spokesperson for NBC News, speaking on the condition of anonymity, vigorously denied those allegations. "Absolutely false," the spokesperson told The Daily Beast. "There's no truth to that all. There is no chance, in no version of the world, that Susan Weiner would tell Ronan Farrow what he could or could not report on."

[CN: Nativism; child abuse] Addy Baird at ThinkProgress: Nearly 500 Immigrant Children Remain Separated from Their Families. "Nearly 500 migrant children are still separated from their parents, including 22 children under the age of five. According to a government filing Thursday night, 497 of the 2,654 migrant children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy are still being held in detention facilities, many of which have histories of abuse, mismanagement, or neglect. The parents of 322 of those children have already been deported."

[CN: Climate change] Sarah Kaplan at the Washington Post: Climate Change Could Render Many of Earth's Ecosystems Unrecognizable. "A sweeping survey of global fossil and temperature records from the past 20,000 years suggests that Earth's terrestrial ecosystems are at risk of another, even faster transformation unless aggressive action is taken against climate change. 'Even as someone who has spent more than 40 years thinking about vegetation change looking into the past…it is really hard for me to wrap my mind around the magnitude of change we're talking about,' said ecologist Stephen Jackson, director of the U.S. Geological Survey's Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center and the lead author of the new study."

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

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