We Resist: Day 601

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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 Regime Redirects FEMA Funding to ICE and Trump Regime Will Triple Size of Child Detention Camp and Hurricane Florence, Part 2.

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

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Trump Attacks 'Incompetent' San Juan Mayor, Again Praises Himself for Hurricane Relief in Puerto Rico, Where 2,975 Died. "Donald Trump praised himself again for the 'unappreciated great job' he did on hurricane relief in Puerto Rico, where 2,975 people died, and also attacked the mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz, who has said that many of the deaths were the result of Trump's 'inability to get the job done.' Tweeted Trump: 'We got A Pluses for our recent hurricane work in Texas and Florida (and did an unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico, even though an inaccessible island with very poor electricity and a totally incompetent Mayor of San Juan). We are ready for the big one that is coming!'"

Thus does Trump continue his reprehensible habit of very visibly attacking, in particular, women of color who criticize him.

[Content Note: Extreme weather; displacement; death. Covers whole section.]

Kyla Mandel at ThinkProgress: Government Shutdown Looms as Trump Claims We Are 'Totally Prepared' for Hurricane Florence. "Only one day after the official death toll was published last month, Trump said that the government had done a 'fantastic job' with recovery in Puerto Rico. ...And yet many news reports and studies have shown the government was anything but prepared to deal with Hurricane Maria last year. ...And all of these risks rise to the forefront as a government shutdown looms — a shutdown the president has said he'll follow through on if Congress doesn't provide more money for his proposed border wall."

This is a really great point. Trump is saying we're totally prepared out one side of his mouth while threatening out the other to shut down the government. Ain't no federal aid getting to hurricane survivors if the federal government is shut down.

Ashley Parker at the Washington Post: 'Tremendously Big': Trump Reaches for Superlatives in the Face of Calamity.
Flanked in the Oval Office by charts showing the path of Hurricane Florence, [Donald] Trump on Tuesday issued a warning about the potentially catastrophic storm that at times felt strangely exuberant.

"Tremendously big and tremendously wet — tremendous amounts of water," Trump said, expressing something close to admiration at the expected precipitation.

Then the president turned to bragging about the federal response to past storms during his tenure, including Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico — though the estimate of nearly 3,000 excess deaths attributed to that storm ranks it among the deadliest in U.S. history.

"I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success," he asserted.

Trump has long struggled with public displays of empathy and with rising to the role of consoler in chief. In a range of situations — from deadly shootings and natural disasters to Tuesday's anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — Trump has responded in ways that, at best, seem ill-suited to the somberness of the events.
This is something about which I've been writing for over two years, yet another character flaw that was glaringly apparent about Donald Trump even when he was a candidate, long before Election Day.

And it's important because it is part and parcel of what I wrote about yesterday: "There are many things that make Donald Trump unfit to be president. Chief among them is this: He does not care about other people. A man who does not care about other people, or what happens to them, isn't fit to lead them."

He can't express sincere concern because he doesn't feel it.

And I am very, very concerned about that as another hurricane barrels toward the U.S. coast. His apathy is deadly. We know that. We need look no further than Puerto Rico.

(Aside: "Tremendously Big and Tremendously Wet" — With everything else this grifter has stolen, you'd think he could have left me the title of my sex memoir.) (Sorry.) (Not sorry.)

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Relatedly, Hillary Clinton published a terrific and terrifying thread on Twitter this morning, outlining the threat posed by Brett Kavanaugh if he is confirmed to the Supreme Court:
I want to be sure we're all clear about something that Brett Kavanaugh said in his confirmation hearings last week. He referred to birth-control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs." That set off a lot of alarm bells for me, and it should for you, too.

Kavanaugh didn't use that term because he misunderstands the basic science of birth control — the fact that birth control prevents fertilization of eggs in the first place. He used that term because it's a dog whistle to the extreme right.

When Kavanaugh called birth control "abortion-inducing drugs," he made it clear that safe and legal abortion isn't the only fundamental reproductive right at grave risk if he is confirmed. Access to birth control is, too.

Imagine an America in which women are barred from getting IUDs or birth control pills, and doctors are criminalized for prescribing them. It's an America in which women would be punished for insisting on being full and equal partners in society.

Sen. Kamala Harris asked Brett Kavanaugh last week: "Can you think of any laws that give the government the power to make decisions about the male body?" He said he was not. Because there are none.

Let's be clear: Women have just as much right as men to make the most personal health decisions without government interference. We are equal citizens and we will insist on nothing less in this country.

Please call your senators and relay the message: (202) 224-3121


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[CN: Anti-semitism; fascism] Anne Applebaum at the Atlantic: A Warning from Europe: The Worst Is Yet to Come. "In a famous journal he kept from 1935 to 1944, the Romanian writer Mihail Sebastian chronicled an even more extreme shift in his own country. Like me, Sebastian was Jewish; like me, most of his friends were on the political right. In his journal, he described how, one by one, they were drawn to fascist ideology, like a flock of moths to an inescapable flame. He recounted the arrogance and confidence they acquired as they moved away from identifying themselves as Europeans — admirers of Proust, travelers to Paris — and instead began to call themselves blood-and-soil Romanians. ...This is not 1937. Nevertheless, a parallel transformation is taking place in my own time, in the Europe that I inhabit and in Poland, a country whose citizenship I have acquired. And it is taking place without the excuse of an economic crisis of the kind Europe suffered in the 1930s. ...Given the right conditions, any society can turn against democracy. Indeed, if history is anything to go by, all societies eventually will."

Applebaum is the best conservative writing on this subject today. Maybe tied with Jennifer Rubin. Out of a very small field that includes David Frum, who gets a disproportionate share of the plaudits. (It's certainly no coincidence that all three of them are Jewish.) Applebaum and I hardly agree on anything, and I've disagreements with her even in reading this piece, but we agree at least that our democracy is in grave danger, for reasons well beyond the tired narratives of "economic insecurity."

Eli Rosenberg at the Washington Post: Activists Raised $1 million to Defeat Susan Collins If She Votes for Kavanaugh; She Says It's Bribery. "[A] group of liberal activists in Maine created an unusual crowdfunding campaign that...raised money in the form of pledges that they said they would give to whoever decided to challenge Collins in 2020 if she voted for Kavanaugh's confirmation. If she votes no, the money will never be withdrawn from donors. ...'It seems kind of icky but it doesn't rise to the level of bribery because there's no agreement,' Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for the Citizens for Ethics and Responsibilities. 'It's just the way money and politics tend to work these days.'"

Which is exactly how the Republicans wanted it, and now they're complaining that their own lax rules on campaign financing and fundraising are being used against them. I mean, trust that it wasn't progressives who angled for the ability to use enormous sums of money to influence candidates!

Fredreka Schouten at USA Today: Three-Quarters of the Secret Money in Recent Elections Came from 15 Groups. "Just 15 groups account for three-quarters of the anonymous cash flowing into federal elections since the Supreme Court paved the way for corporate and union money in candidate races eight years ago... Outside money in elections has exploded since the high court's blockbuster Citizens United ruling in 2010, allowing corporations and unions to spend in candidate elections. Groups that don't disclose their donors spent more than $800 million between January 1, 2010 and December 2016, with $600 million coming from 15 organizations, Issue One's analysis found." Welp!

Speaking of fundraising...

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[CN: Nativism; abuse] Andrew Gumbel at the Guardian: 'They Were Laughing at Us': Immigrants Tell of Cruelty, Illness, and Filth in U.S. Detention. "'The conditions were horrible, everything was filthy, and there was no air circulating,' Kimberly Martinez told the Guardian of the five days the family spent cooped up in one facility they — like tens of thousands before them – referred to as 'la hielera': The icebox. Her husband added: 'It's as though they wanted to drain every positive feeling out of us.' They knew, from following the news, that their ordeal of escaping gang violence back home and trekking across desert terrain at the height of summer would not end when they reached the United States. What they did not expect, though, were days of hunger, separation, and verbal abuse that they said they endured at the hands of federal immigration officials."

Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold at BuzzFeed: A Series of Suspicious Money Transfers Followed the Trump Tower Meeting. "The June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower has become one of the most famous gatherings in American political history — a flashpoint for allegations of collusion, the subject of shifting explanations by the president and his son, countless hair-on-fire tweets, and boundless speculation by the press. But secret documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News reveal a previously undisclosed aspect of the meeting: A complex web of financial transactions among some of the planners and participants who moved money from Russia and Switzerland to the British Virgin Islands, Bangkok, and a small office park in New Jersey. The documents show Aras Agalarov, a billionaire real estate developer close to both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, at the center of this vast network and how he used accounts overseas to filter money to himself, his son, and at least two people who attended the Trump Tower meeting."

[CN: War; violence; death] Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast: Pompeo, Mattis Bless Saudi and UAE's Brutal War in Yemen. "Batting down congressional disquiet on U.S. aid to a war that has become one of the world's worst humanitarian crises, two top Trump Cabinet members vouched for humanitarian progress on the part of their allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis attested Wednesday morning that both U.S.-supported nations 'are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure.' Their endorsement, called 'farcical' by Human Rights Watch's Sarah Leah Whitson, attempts to dodge a bipartisan congressional effort to block U.S. tanker aircraft from refueling Saudi and Emirati warplanes for the Yemen conflict."

[CN: Gun violence] Lois Beckett at the Guardian: 'A Human Rights Crisis': Amnesty Urges U.S. to Get Tough on Gun Violence. "American gun violence is 'a human rights crisis' and the U.S. government's refusal to pass gun control laws represents a violation of its citizens' right to life, according to a new report by Amnesty International. 'The USA is failing to protect individuals and communities most at risk of gun violence, in violation of international human rights law,' Amnesty argues. 'The right to live free from violence, discrimination, and fear has been superseded by a sense of entitlement to own a practically unlimited array of deadly weapons.'"

[CN: Disablism] Erin Heger at Rewire.News: People Are Losing Medicaid Coverage Because They Don't Understand the GOP's Work Requirements. "Thousands of Medicaid recipients in Arkansas have lost health coverage for the rest of the year after failing to meet the state's new Republican-backed work requirement. Some don't have health care today because they never knew about the stringent rules. Jessica Greene, a health policy professor at the City University of New York's Baruch College, interviewed 18 Medicaid recipients in northeast Arkansas in mid-August and reported a lack of awareness about the policy. Twelve of the 18 people Greene interviewed did not know about the new work requirement. Many of the Medicaid recipients didn't know how to report their satisfying of the work requirement online."

[CN: Anti-semitism; Holocaust denialism] Sam Levin at the Guardian: California Transit Agency Allows Ad from Holocaust Denial Group. "A San Francisco public transit agency has approved adverts from a group that promotes Holocaust denial and antisemitic views, claiming the organization has a 'free speech' right to buy train station billboards. Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) officials defended their decision to allow ads for the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has classified as a hate group that aims to 'defend Nazism' and spread Holocaust denial propaganda. ...They come at a time when antisemitic incidents have accelerated at alarming rates in the U.S. and across the world, and as far-right groups and neo-Nazis have increasingly pushed racist and fascist views under the guise of advocating for free speech."

[CN: Racism] Sameer Rao at Colorlines: MENA Actors Still Overwhelmingly Cast as 'Terrorists & Tyrants'. "Years of discussion about representation and narrative shift in Hollywood have yet to change the overwhelming representation of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) people as oppressors and extremists who pervert Islam to justify violent subjugation. The MENA Arts Advocacy Coalition, an industry advocacy group pushing for stronger and more nuanced MENA representation, highlights this premise in a new collaborative study released [September 10]. ...MENA Americans constitute an estimated 3.2 percent of the U.S. population, but barely 1 percent of all on-screen roles. ...Seventy-eight percent of MENA characters are portrayed as terrorists or tyrants."

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

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