We Resist: Day 616

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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: Kavanaugh Open Thread and Trump's Presser Was Appalling, Even by His Standards.

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

If you're looking for some live coverage of the Kavanaugh hearing, without having to watch the livestream, the Guardian's live coverage has been very good so far.

[Content Note: Description of assault] Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Women React to Christine Blasey Ford's Testimony. "After and during Ford’s opening statement, women flooded social media with messages of support and solidarity... Hundreds of women also protested in the Hart Senate building, gathered together to listen to the testimony... Female politicians including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) both attended the hearing, offering their support for Ford."

And all of this very public hatred and abuse of women is not without consequence. Here are two stories I read just this morning, about how people tasked with protecting girls in schools are actually harming them:

[CN: Misogyny] Dan Cancian at Newsweek: Tennessee School Athletic Director Says 'Girls Pretty Much Ruin Everything,' and Gets Suspended. "Jared Hensley made the remarks during a video announcement on Wednesday morning, as he informed students at the Soddy-Daisy High School near Chattanooga that a ban on wearing athletic shorts would be implemented. ...'If you want to blame someone, blame the girls, because they pretty much ruin everything,' he said. 'They ruin the dress code, well — ask Adam. Look at Eve. That's really all you got to get to. You can go back to the beginning of time. So, it'll be like that for the rest of your life; get used to it, keep your mouth shut, suck it up and follow the rules.' The video sparked a fiery backlash against Hensley and the school acted swiftly by condemning his statement, before placing him on administrative leave."

[CN: Misogyny; sexual assault] Peter Jamison and Perry Stein at the Washington Post: D.C. Principal Was Taped Mocking Student's Sex Assault Claim, Lawsuit Says. "In June of last year, a freshman at Roosevelt High School in Northwest Washington reported to Principal Aqueelha James that she had been sexually assaulted by another student in a school bathroom. James at first expressed concern over the accusation, according to an audio recording of the conversation... But after the distraught girl abruptly left the conference room where she was meeting with James, followed by her mother, the principal took a different tone with other school officials who were present. She said that she was 'sick of her and her mom' and that she planned to try to 'embarrass her ass.' She ridiculed the clothes the girl was wearing. 'This is a bunch of bullshit,' James said. ...James did not respond to calls seeking comment or to a reporter's inquiry at her home Wednesday."

Fucking hell. I am so angry, and so very sad.

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Michael Lewis at the Guardian: 'This Guy Doesn't Know Anything': The Inside Story of Trump's Shambolic Transition Team.
On the morning after the election the hundreds of people who had prepared to brief the incoming Trump administration sat waiting. A day became a week and a week became a month...and no one showed up. The parking spots that had been set aside for Trump's people remained empty, and the briefing books were never opened. You could walk into almost any department of the US government and hear people asking the same question: where were these people who were meant to be running the place?

The department of agriculture was an excellent case study. The place had an annual budget of $164bn and was charged with so many missions critical to the society that the people who worked there played a drinking game called Does the Department of Agriculture Do It? Someone would name a function of government, say, making sure that geese don't gather at U.S. airports, and fly into jet engines. Someone else would have to guess whether the agriculture department did it. (In this case, it did.) Guess wrong and you had to drink.

Among other things, the department essentially maintained rural America, and also ensured that the American poor and the elderly did not starve. Much of its work was complicated and technical — and yet for the months between the election and the inauguration, Trump people never turned up to learn about it. Only on inauguration day did they flood into the building, but the people who showed up had no idea why they were there or what they were meant to do. Trump sent, among others, a long-haul truck driver, a telephone company clerk, a gas company meter reader, a country club cabana attendant, a Republican National Committee intern, and the owner of a scented candle company. One of the CVs listed the new appointee's only skill as "a pleasant demeanor."

All these people had two things in common. They were Trump loyalists. And they knew nothing whatsoever about the job they suddenly found themselves in. A new American experiment was underway.
Fucking hell.

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Kevin Poulsen at the Daily Beast: Fancy Bear, the Russian Election Hackers, Have a Nasty New Weapon. "Russia's GRU has secretly developed and deployed new malware that's virtually impossible to eradicate, capable of surviving a complete wipe of a target computer's hard drive, and allows the Kremlin's hackers to return again and again. The malware, uncovered by the European security company ESET, works by rewriting the code flashed into a computer's UEFI chip, a small slab of silicon on the motherboard that controls the boot and reboot process. Its apparent purpose is to maintain access to a high-value target in the event the operating system gets reinstalled or the hard drive replaced — changes that would normally kick out an intruder. ...'There's been no deterrence to Russian hacking,' said former FBI counterterrorism agent Clint Watts, a research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. 'And as long as there's no deterrence, they're not going to stop, and they're going to get more and more sophisticated.'"

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: The Future of 1.4 Million Floridians with Felony Convictions Is on the Ballot in November. "Different states take wildly varied approaches to this question. In, say, Delaware people with most types of felony convictions have their voting rights automatically restored after completing prison, probation, and parole. In Pennsylvania, those on parole or probation can vote. Vermont, Maine, and jurisdictions like Cook County, Illinois, allow people to cast ballots from jail. Florida is one of four states with a constitution that permanently disenfranchises residents with past felony convictions. But how that policy is enforced is up to interpretation. ...When Gov. Charlie Crist, then a Republican, took office in 2007, he convinced the board to streamline the clemency process, allowing non-violent felons to get their rights back without hearings. Over 150,000 clemencies were granted in just four years. In 2011, [Gov. Rick Scott] and his new Cabinet unanimously voted, after 30 minutes of public debate, to change those rules. ...Roughly 3,000 people have had their rights restored in the past eight years, and the state has a backlog of over 10,000 cases."

[CN: War on agency] Jon Herskovitz at Reuters: U.S. Court Upholds Louisiana Restriction on Abortion Clinics. "A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday upheld a Louisiana provision that requires doctors who perform abortions in the state to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. In a 2-1 ruling from the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, the judges said the Louisiana provision was different than one in Texas that was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 because it would not put an undue burden on women. 'There is no evidence that any of the clinics will close as a result of the Act,' the appeals court said in its ruling." Rage seethe boil.

[CN: Nativism] Amanda Holpuch at the Guardian: U.S. Immigrants Stop Using Public Benefits over Fears of New Trump Rule. "U.S. immigrants have begun to remove themselves from public housing waiting lists, childcare subsidy programs, and the food stamp program — out of fears that a rule proposed on Saturday night could jeopardize their immigration status. The Department of Homeland Security's "public charge rule" would make it more difficult for people to qualify for green cards and other visas if they use or have used public benefits. Immigrants began purging themselves from public assistance programs when a draft version of the rule leaked earlier this year."

Bryan Menegus at Gizmodo: Amazon's Aggressive Anti-Union Tactics Revealed in Leaked 45-Minute Video.
Amazon, the country's second-largest employer, has so far remained immune to any attempts by U.S. workers to form a union. With rumblings of employee organization at Whole Foods — which Amazon bought for $13.7 billion last year — a 45-minute union-busting training video produced by the company was sent to Team Leaders of the grocery chain last week, according to sources with knowledge of the store's activities. Recordings of that video, obtained by Gizmodo, provide valuable insight into the company's thinking and tactics.

Each of the video's six sections, which the narrator states are "specifically designed to give you the tools that you need for success when it comes to labor organizing," take place in an animated simulacrum of a Fulfillment Center. The video's narrators are clad in the reflective vests typical of the real-world setting. "We are not anti-union, but we are not neutral either," the video states, drawing a distinction that would likely be largely academic to potential organizers.

...Throughout, the video claims Amazon prefers a "direct management" structure where employees can bring grievances to their bosses individually, rather than union representation. However, a number of warehouse workers have expressed to Gizmodo in past reporting that they believed voicing their concerns led to retaliatory scrutiny or firing.

"[Amazon] preaches that they have this open-door policy and then when you try to go through that open door, instead of being allowed in, you are now set up," a former Fulfillment Center worker in Indiana told Gizmodo. "You're somebody that talks and you're somebody they're gonna absolutely make the job as difficult as humanly possible for." Another Floridian Fulfillment Center worker told Gizmodo he sent complaints of low pay to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos's public-facing email address (jeff@amazon.com) and claims management was "harassing me since I sent that email." He said he was terminated shortly afterward.
Staff at the Daily Beast: Global Warming: World 'Nowhere Near on Track' to Meeting Temperature Rise Target. "Governments around the world are 'nowhere near on track' to restricting the rise in global temperatures to below 1.5 degrees Celsius higher the pre-industrial period, says the author of a United Nations report. ...'It's extraordinarily challenging to get to the 1.5 C target and we are nowhere near on track to doing that,' said Drew Shindell, a Duke University climate scientist. 'While it's technically possible, it's extremely improbable, absent a real sea change in the way we evaluate risk. We are nowhere near that.'"

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

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