We Resist: Day 600

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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: 9/11/18 and Hurricane Florence and All the Jumping into All the Christmas Trees and Quote of the Day.

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

[Content Note: Terrorism; death; illness] Erin Durkin at the Guardian: September 11: Nearly 10,000 People Affected by 'Cesspool of Cancer'. "Tens of thousands of people who lived or worked in the neighborhood at the time found themselves breathing in air thick with toxic fumes and particles from the pulverized, burning skyscrapers. Many have since become sick, many have died and new cases are still occurring all the time that are linked back to the poisons that were in the air around the wreckage. ...'We went back to work exactly one week after 9/11, while the towers were still burning and everything else crumbled around us. We were told that the air was fine, and we needed to get back to work... It was ridiculous. It was horrible. The smell downtown was as pungent as you could imagine. There were buildings still on fire. Those buildings burned for months.' ...The head of the EPA at the time has admitted she was wrong to assure the public that the air around Ground Zero was safe."

That was Christine Todd Whitman, who continues to maintain that she did the best she could at the time and was "simply passing on what government scientists were telling her, warning those working at Ground Zero itself to wear respirators but dismissing concerns over the surrounding area, which was engulfed in dust and ash," instead telling residents of Lower Manhattan one week after the towers collapsed that their air "is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink."

In fact, Christine Todd Whitman was not doing "what government scientists were telling her," but what Bush administration officials were telling her: "The [then-New York Senator Hillary Clinton] who emerges from the WNYC tapes is passionate, raw, and unrestrained. Above all, she is livid. She had just learned that the Bush administration instructed officials of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reassure New Yorkers after 9/11 that the air over Ground Zero was safe. In fact, they had a pretty good idea that it was a toxic pall of asbestos, cement, glass dust, heavy metals, fuels, and PCBs."

And Christine Todd Whitman was not alone: Then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani oversaw a clean-up that prioritized speed over safety, and ignored test results demanding precautions that were not taken. "Records show that the city was aware of the danger in the ground zero dust from the start. In a federal court deposition, Kelly R. McKinney, associate commissioner at the city's health department in 2001, said the agency issued an advisory on the night of Sept. 11 stating that asbestos in the air made the site hazardous and that everyone should wear masks. ...Violations of federal safety rules abounded, and no one strictly enforced them. ...Agency officials said that enforcing rules and issuing fines would have delayed the cleanup, and contractors could have passed along the cost of the fines to the city."

Now people are paying with their lives instead.

The politicians who failed the people of New York City have never been held accountable. And now one of them is the personal attorney to the President of the United States, who arrived at a memorial service today pumping his fists in the air.

The Republican Party abandoned ethical leadership a long time ago — and has marched in a straight line to the presidency of Donald Trump. Remember that next time you hear someone argue that he's not a typical Republican. The fuck he isn't.

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Josh Lederman, Courtney Kube, Abigail Williams and Ken Dilanian at NBC News: U.S. Officials Suspect Russia in Mystery 'Attacks' on Diplomats in Cuba, China. "Intelligence agencies investigating mysterious 'attacks' that led to brain injuries in U.S. personnel in Cuba and China consider Russia to be the main suspect, three U.S. officials and two others briefed on the investigation tell NBC News. The suspicion that Russia is likely behind the alleged attacks is backed up by evidence from communications intercepts, known in the spy world as signals intelligence, amassed during a lengthy and ongoing investigation involving the FBI, the CIA and other U.S. agencies. The officials declined to elaborate on the nature of the intelligence. The evidence is not yet conclusive enough, however, for the U.S. to formally assign blame to Moscow for incidents that started in late 2016 and have continued in 2018, causing a major rupture in U.S.-Cuba relations."


And as Russia attacks U.S. diplomats and stages elaborate war exercises alongside China... [CN: Human rights violations; violence] D. Parvaz at ThinkProgress: Trump Silent as China Cracks Down on Christians, Muslims in Brutal Campaign. "Stepping up its attacks on organized religions, the Chinese government has been cracking down on churches in Beijing and elsewhere in the country, burning bibles, dismantling crosses, and forcing Christians to sign documents renouncing their faith, requiring loyalty to the country's atheist Communist Party. ...The country's Muslim Uighur minority — of Turkic origin and largely living in the Xinjiang region — has long been targeted by arrests and detentions, but the government has recently engaged in the extraordinary measure of detaining them in 'political education' camps. There, Uighurs — up to 1 million of them — are forced to renounce Islam and pledge loyalty to the Community Party."

And the Trump Regime remains silent, while unironically using "religious freedom" to justify repression within its country's own borders.

Also, this:

Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

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Ariel Dorfman at the Guardian: I Thought Democracy in Chile Was Safe; Now I See America Falling into the Same Trap.
There are, of course, significant differences between the situations in Chile almost half a century ago and in the U.S. today. And yet the similarities are sobering. Having once lost democracy in Chile, I can recognise the signs of malignancy that fester in the U.S., a country of which I am now a citizen.

I reluctantly note in my adopted homeland the same sort of polarisation that contaminated Chile before the coup; the same weakening of the bonds of a shared, inclusive national community; the same sense of victimhood among large swaths of the populace, troubled that their command over the traditional contours of their identity is slipping away; the same faulting of intruders, upstarts, and aliens for that loss; the same tensions and rage exacerbated by shameful disparities in wealth and power. And, alas, the same seduction by authoritarian, simplistic solutions that promise to restore order to a complex, difficult, menacing reality.

...The main lesson that the Chilean cataclysm bequeaths us is to never forget that the rights we take for granted are fragile and revocable, protected only by the unceasing, vigilant, vigorous struggle of millions upon millions of ordinary citizens. Salvation can't be outsourced to some sort of heroic figure who will ride to the rescue. The only real saviours are the people themselves.

Unless we understand this, we risk awakening one day in a land that is unrecognisable, with consequences that will be paid for by generations to come. My message to my fellow Americans, and to many others abroad, is alarmingly simple: Do not cry tomorrow for what you did not have the courage and the wisdom to defend today.
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[CN: Nativism; child abuse] Read the following item in the context of Jeff Sessions' telling immigration judges to have no sympathy for the people who appear before them in court, and recalling that children too young to read are being obliged to appear in immigration courts without their parents...

Jodi S. Cohen, Melissa Sanchez, and Duaa Eldeib at ProPublica: Here's What Happened to the 99 Immigrant Children Separated from Their Parents and Sent to Chicago. "A federal class-action lawsuit filed by a coalition of lawyers last week asks that the government pay for mental health treatment for children separated from their parents, saying the 'traumatic event' has caused 'severe and often permanent emotional and psychological harm.' Psychiatrists and pediatricians had urged the government to end the policy, arguing it would lead to anxiety, depression, and developmental delays. 'The damage inflicted was not something that went away because of the reunification,' said Jesse Bless, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit, who has represented children housed at Heartland's shelters. 'We are starting to see signs that there could be long-term effects.'"

[CN: Nativism; white supremacy] Kelly Weill at the Daily Beast: GOP Lawmaker Is a Leader in Hate Group That Calls Immigration 'Assault on Our Culture'. "A Republican politician in Oregon pushing to repeal an immigrant-friendly law is the vice president of an anti-immigrant hate group, the group told The Daily Beast on Monday, despite his previous denial. Oregon House Rep. Mike Nearman is vice president of Oregonians for Immigration Reform, an anti-immigrant coalition with ties to eugenicist John Tanton, who has pushed white nationalist politics through a series of anti-immigrant organizations."

[CN: War on agency] Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: A Federal Appeals Court Just Gave Both Middle Fingers to Roe v. Wade. "A panel of three Republican judges openly defied the Supreme Court on Monday, permitting a law that is nearly identical to the abortion restriction the justices struck down in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt to take effect. Just like Hellerstedt, Comprehensive Health v. Hawley concerns two restrictions on abortion. The first requires abortion clinics to comply with expensive architectural requirements, the second requires that 'all doctors who perform abortions at ASCs must be 'privileged to perform surgical procedures in at least one licensed hospital in the community.'' Again, the Supreme Court struck down a nearly identical Texas law in Hellerstedt."

They're just waiting for Brett Kavanaugh to give them the fifth vote they need. Sob.

[CN: Environmental harm] Coral Davenport at the New York Times: Trump Administration Wants to Make It Easier to Release Methane into the Air. "The Trump administration, taking its third major step this year to roll back federal efforts to fight climate change, is preparing to make it significantly easier for energy companies to release methane into the atmosphere. Methane, which is among the most powerful greenhouse gases, routinely leaks from oil and gas wells, and energy companies have long said that the rules requiring them to test for emissions were costly and burdensome. The Environmental Protection Agency, perhaps as soon as this week, plans to make public a proposal to weaken an Obama-era requirement that companies monitor and repair methane leaks, according to documents reviewed by The New York Times. In a related move, the Interior Department is also expected in coming days to release its final version of a draft rule, proposed in February, that essentially repeals a restriction on the intentional venting and 'flaring,' or burning, of methane from drilling operations."

[CN: Gun violence] Lois Beckett at the Guardian: More People Shot in Incidents Involving Semiautomatic Rifles, Study Finds. "More people were shot, and more killed, when the perpetrator of an 'active shooting' in the U.S. had a semiautomatic rifle, according to a new study of 248 incidents published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, which examined only a small subset of America's shootings, found that incidents in which at least one of the perpetrator's guns was a semiautomatic rifle left an average of 4.25 people killed and 5.48 wounded. Shootings where the perpetrator did not have a semiautomatic rifle, but instead used handguns, shotguns or other types of rifles, left an average of 2.5 people killed and three people wounded."

[CN: Police brutality] Last Friday, I shared an item about a Dallas police officer who fatally shot a man after she mistakenly tried to enter his apartment, thinking it was her own. An update, care of Alfonso Serrano at Colorlines: Dallas Police Officer Faces Manslaughter Charge in Shooting Death of Botham Jean. "The Dallas police officer who fatally shot an Black immigrant from St. Lucia last week was arrested [September 9] on manslaughter charges, a move that civil rights groups called a 'first step' toward justice and police accountability. Amid increasing calls for her arrest from advocates against police violence, Amber Guyger, 30, was booked into the Kaufman County Jail on Sunday. The Dallas Police Department officer was later released after posting a $300,000 bond."

Guyger also shot another man, Uvaldo Perez, in May of 2017, while on duty — which means she's already shot two men of color in 4 years on the force. This is someone who should not be a police officer. Period.

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

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