We Resist: Day 621

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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 Will Deny Visas to Same-Sex Partners of Diplomats and Making America Great Again with Dairy Concessions. ICYMI late yesterday: U.S. Destroyer and Chinese Warship Have "Unsafe" Encounter in the South China Sea.

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

[Content Note: Natural disasters; injury, death, and displacement] Yesterday, I wrote about the devastating 7.5 magnitude earthquake which hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, followed by an unexpected tsunami, which had left countless people displaced, injured, or dead. Below is some follow-up news. Please note that there may be upsetting images of the aftermath at the links.

Timothy McLaughlin, Stanley Widianto, and Shibani Mahtani at the Washington Post: Toll from Indonesia Quake-Tsunami Tops 1,234 as Desperation Mounts Among Survivors.

Hannah Ellis-Petersen at the Guardian: Palu Tsunami: Food and Water Run Out as Death Toll Tops 1,200.

Tamara Wilson at CNN: Aid Indonesia Earthquake and Tsunami Victims.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share other suggestions for how to help in comments.

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[CN: Fascism; xenophobia; Islamophobia; nativism; racism. Covers entire section.]

One of the things I (and others) have repeatedly observed about the rise of Donald Trump, and associated anti-democratic and nativist sentiments, is that it's all situated within a larger global context, where fascism, in various incarnations, is on the rise around the world. Which is part of what's going to make restoring our democracy so incredibly difficult — much more so than just getting rid of Trump himself.

On that subject, here a few things I've seen today that I've found very concerning...

René Bruemmer at the Montreal Gazette: Quebec Election, the Day After: Here's What the CAQ Promises to Do. "Fuelled by a desire for change, the Coalition Avenir Québec heaved the governing Liberals out of office Monday with enough seats to form a majority government. CAQ Leader François Legault will be Quebec's 32nd premier, promising Monday evening to make Quebec 'strong and proud' again. ...Reduce number of immigrants by 20 per cent a year, starting in 2019. Negotiate with Ottawa for full control of immigration. Establish values and language test to qualify for immigration. Those who can't pass French test after three years flagged to Ottawa for expulsion. ...Religious symbols would be prohibited for all persons in a position of authority. Limit immigration, in part to protect French language."

Guardian News: Theresa May Promises 'an End to Free Movement Once and for All'.

Well, the policy on immigration that we're announcing today delivers on the vote of the [Brexit] referendum and takes back control of our borders. It ensures that we bring an end to free movement once and for all — and, for the first time in decades, it will be the UK government determining how many people and who can come to the United Kingdom.

And, yes, this system will be based on skills. It will be based not on where somebody comes from, but on how they can contribute to our economy. And I think that's a — that's important.

We do still want to bring that migration down to those sustainable levels, as we've promised in the past. What this does, it enables us — leaving the European Union enables us to be able to make decisions about who can come, and the numbers who can come, from the European Union, which of course we previously haven't been able to do.
She can dress this bullshit up in whatever language of self-determination she wants to try to make it sound reasonable, but what she really means is that Britain doesn't want Muslim war refugees. If the EU was dictating Britain's immigration policy and they were getting nothing but white Christian immigrants, this wouldn't even be an issue. The conservatives are framing it as a problem with their own manifest destiny or whatever, but what they really hate is that the EU expects them to not be racists.

Mark Frauenfelder at BoingBoing: Travelers to New Zealand Who Refuse a Digital Strip Search Will Be Fined $5000. "New Zealand's Customs and Excise Act 2018 went into effect today. That means travelers who refuse to give their phone or laptop password to customs officials will be fined NZ$5000. In addition, their devices will be confiscated and forensically searched. Customs Minister Kris Faafoi said these digital strip searches are necessary because: 'A lot of the organised crime groups are becoming a lot more sophisticated in the ways they're trying to get things across the border. And if we do think they're up to that kind of business, then getting intelligence from smartphones and computers can be useful for a prosecution.' But Thomas Beagle of Council for Civil Liberties pointed out that organized criminals are smart enough not to keep incriminating files on their devices."

Over and over, this is a demonstrable strategy of increasingly fascist governments, including the U.S. government: Oppression justified by some absurd poppycock about protecting people, who are the ultimate victims of fascist crackdowns.


Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

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Oliver Holmes at the Guardian: Global Image of U.S. Is Historically Bad Under Trump, Says Poll. "The global image of the U.S. has sunk to historic lows since Donald Trump took office, a survey of 25 countries has found, with only Israelis, Russians, and Kenyans showing an increase in positive attitudes. In the Pew Research Center poll, respondents generally had less confidence in Trump's ability to lead than they did in Vladimir Putin's and Xi Jinping's."

Related Reading: What Could Have Been, and What Is.

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Nicole Lafond at TPM: Trump Directed Son Eric to Oversee Restraining Order Against Stormy. "Donald Trump was personally involved in efforts to enforce a hush agreement with porn actress Stormy Daniels and directed that his son, Eric Trump, be involved in the legal response, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. According to people familiar with the matter who spoke to the WSJ, Trump asked his then-lawyer Michael Cohen to get a restraining order against Daniels to keep her from discussing the details of her alleged affair with Trump, after he had learned that she planned to outline the alleged sexual encounter in a media interview. Trump asked Cohen to work with Eric Trump and another lawyer, who had previously worked with the president, to handle the legal work. Eric Trump then directed a Trump Organization lawyer to authorize the paperwork." Wow.

Staff at the Daily Beast: White House Edits Trump Insult to Reporter Out of Official Transcript. "After [Donald] Trump was caught on camera telling a reporter she 'never' thinks, the White House moved to retroactively alter the president's attack at a Monday afternoon press conference by changing a word in the official transcript. While the president told ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega, 'I know you're not thinking. You never do,' the White House transcript reads, 'I know you're not thanking. You never do.'" Wow.

Demetri Sevastopulo and Tom Mitchell at the Financial Times: U.S. Considered Ban on Student Visas for Chinese Nationals. "As the administration debated ways to tackle Chinese espionage, Stephen Miller, a White House aide who has been pivotal in developing the administration's hardline immigration policies, pushed the president and other officials to make it impossible for Chinese citizens to study in the U.S., according to three people familiar with internal discussions. ...While the debate was largely focused on spying, Mr Miller argued his plan would also hurt elite universities whose staff and students have been highly critical of Mr Trump, according to the three people with knowledge of the debate." Wow.

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[CN: War on agency] Robin Marty at Dame: Real Male Allies May Not Exist.
There is almost no scenario in which abortion rights will not be decimated within the next three to five years, if not sooner. A number of progressive states have acknowledged that likelihood by removing antiquated pre-Roe abortion bans from their penal codes, codifying abortion rights into their state constitutions or finding other ways to ensure that access to abortion not only remain secure, but that it is expanded to assist the flood of potential patients who may be forced to travel to the state when it is made illegal in their own.

California, as one of the most progressive states in the nation, is leading the way in ensuring abortion was accessible for everyone. A groundbreaking bill overwhelmingly passed in the state legislature that would allow University of California and California State University to offer medication abortions in their student health centers. The expansion makes complete sense — medication abortion requires no special instruments or additional physician effort, since pills are simply provided to the patient, students who may be unable to leave campus due to class time, work schedules, and lack of transportation would have immediate nearby care, and because medication abortion is extremely safe, there is a very limited likelihood of complications that would require emergency follow up that would need more extensive medical care.

Then Democratic Governor Jerry Brown vetoed it because he believes there are already enough abortion providers in the state as it is, and adding more to the mix will do little to improve access. "Because the services required by this bill are widely available off-campus, this bill is not necessary," Brown said in his veto statement, arguing that "the average distance to abortion providers in campus communities varies from five to seven miles, not an unreasonable distance."

Of course, we've seen this sort of posturing before, every time we are told we are frantic shrills demanding from Democratic candidates a "litmus test" simply because we want the right to our own bodily autonomy if not prioritized, at least upheld. Or when we were told by the Bernie bros that there was no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, despite the fact that our last two Supreme Court nominees make it very, very clear there is. But to be told by yet another alleged ally in an allegedly progressive state that we don't need to worry, that the abortion access issue is all in our heads? That one really hurts.

As someone who works daily in covering lack of abortion access, it is difficult to understand exactly how "too much availability" can be a problem.
[CN: Rape culture]

Honestly, anyone who reads that and doesn't connect it to what Louis CK admitted doing to women is making an effort to not connect it at this point.

[CN: Toxic masculinity] Philip Rucker and Robert Costa at the Washington Post: 'The Trauma for a Man': Male Fury and Fear Rises in GOP in Defense of Kavanaugh. "The sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh have sparked a wave of unbridled anger and anxiety from many Republican men, who say they are in danger of being swept up by false accusers who are biased against them." FUCK YOU. Any man who is shaking is his boots because he thinks #MeToo has "gone too far" is a man who has done something which he knows is abuse. I see you.

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

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