We Resist: Day 624

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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: Fourteen Years and Kavanaugh Is So Gross and We Shouldn't Have Given Them an Inch.

Again, the political news is understandably consumed by Kavanaugh. Here are a few other things in the news today...

Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig, and David Barstow at the New York Times: New York Regulators Examine the Trump Family's Tax Schemes.
New York City officials said on Thursday that they had joined state regulators in examining whether [Donald] Trump and his family underpaid taxes on his father's real estate empire over several decades.

The announcement came in response to an investigation published this week in The New York Times that showed how Mr. Trump had participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents.

"We are now just starting to pore through the information," said Dean Fuleihan, the city's first deputy mayor.

One type of tax that the city will examine is the real estate transfer tax. Officials said the extremely low valuations the Trump family placed on buildings that passed from Fred C. Trump to his children through trusts could have resulted in underpaid transfer taxes.

The Times reported that through several aggressive and potentially illegal maneuvers, the Trumps claimed that 25 apartment complexes transferred to Donald Trump and his siblings from their father were worth just $41.4 million. The Trumps sold those buildings within a decade for more than 16 times that amount.

...Mr. Fuleihan said city and state agencies are cooperating on the effort. The State Department of Taxation and Finance announced on Wednesday that it was "pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation."
Earlier today, in a conversation with the other mods regarding the possibility that Brett Kavanaugh could face state criminal charges after he's seated as a Supreme Court justice, I said: "There's going to be a very long period of time where blue state governments are going to try to hold members of the Trump Regime accountable. And they're going to fail over and over and over. And it's going to be verrrrrrrrry depressing."

Josh Marshall at TPM: White House Begins the China Counter-Narrative. "Vice President Pence [gave a speech yesterday] at the Hudson Institute. Normally that wouldn't get a lot of attention, especially with so much else going on. But this is a bigger deal than it might appear. [Based on the content of the speech], it is crystal clear that the White House is trying to delegitimize the on-going Mueller probe by setting up China is the real meddler in U.S. internal affairs and democratic practice. Most importantly, they are claiming that China is working against Donald Trump in 2018 and 2020. This is a big, big deal and I expect they will be expanding on it in the coming weeks and likely going into 2020."

[Content Note: Nazism; discussion of WWII Nazis] Christopher R. Browning at the New York Review of Books: The Suffocation of Democracy. This is a very solid, if incomplete, piece — and the section about Mitch McConnell is particularly good: "If the U.S. has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could. As with parliamentary gridlock in Weimar, congressional gridlock in the U.S. has diminished respect for democratic norms, allowing McConnell to trample them even more."

[CN: Nativism] Khushbu Shah at the Guardian: Living in Fear 'Every Single Day' as Immigration Raids Wreak Havoc. "'Where is Juan?' 'Oh, [ICE] found him.' 'Where is Pedro?' 'Oh, he's in prison.' 'Where is Francisco'? 'Without a license.' So, there are so many [other] things, and we're affected by all of it,' Ramirez said, ticking off the conversations on his fingers in the shop in recent months. And even with his U.S. citizenship, Ramirez fears for his livelihood in America. You heard they're taking away citizenship from people, right, he asked, referencing USCIS's announcement this summer they are establishing an office to identify and denaturalize Americans suspected of cheating the system."

[CN: White supremacy] Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast: Russia Is Exploiting American White Supremacy Over and Over Again.
Nearly two years after [Russia's Internet Research Association (IRA)] helped Donald Trump win the presidency, it's become a cliche to describe the goal of the Russian propaganda campaign as "sow[ing] discord in the U.S. political system," as one of special prosecutor Robert Mueller's court documents put it. True as that assessment may be superficially, it also reflects a conspicuous dodge, the latest in a series of evasions as old as the United States itself. The January 2017 U.S. intelligence assessment, Mueller's indictments and the broader discourse they have inspired neglect to grapple with the underlying message of the Russian propaganda — without which it is impossible to understand why the messaging found such broad purchase.

The cynical brilliance of Vladimir Putin's propaganda campaign is that it exploited America's foundational commitment to white supremacy. The term itself is so raw and so hideous that it inspires an allergy to its usage within mainstream political discourse. But no other term — racism, white privilege, etc. — better captures the dynamic at issue. White supremacy is exactly what it says on the label: a social structure by which whites, a pseudoscientific grouping with a definition that changes over time as is convenient, dominate America's complex and often informal hierarchies of power.

...Russian propaganda expertly grasped that even the most meager challenges to white supremacy prompt a politically powerful and useful white resistance, and that this dynamic is a persistent feature of American life. All Russia — or any foreign power, or no foreign power at all — needs to do is breathe on the embers until they ignite.
Yessenia Funes at Earther: Thousands of North Carolina Students Are Still Missing School Weeks After Hurricane Florence. "Many schools remain closed due to a lack of access, as roads are impassable due to floodwaters or lingering damage. In some cases, schools themselves are too badly damaged for students to return. Across North Carolina, closures continue to affect more than 50,000 students. While some return to school Monday, the wait continues indefinitely for plenty of others. These kids have not only lost seemingly endless days of school, but they also might've lost their homes and the sense of stability that accompanies their daily trips on the school bus. Two schools in hard-hit eastern North Carolina's Onslow and Pender counties are currently closed for classes and functioning as shelters for now-homeless families."

David Smith with U.S. Teachers at the Guardian: 'My Classroom Has Asbestos and Bats': A Message for Betsy DeVos. "'My first classroom had asbestos and bats. I caught Legionnaires' disease from infected water supply at school. I developed asthma and COPD as a result and have never been the same.' — Lori Nelson, 57, MN. ...'Hunger is a daily concern. I basically bring a picnic basket of food each day. If they are hungry, they cannot learn.' — Alyssa Arney, 46, San Francisco, CA. ...'We have no resources. Parents send in items at the beginning of the year when they are able to, but teachers provide the rest. All the books in my classroom library were purchased by me. ...I teach in a high-poverty school. I am constantly buying basics like pencils. Students regularly break those pencils because they are so overwhelmed and frustrated with the environment in schools.' — Anonymous, PA."

Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Workers Across the Midwest Arrested at Rallies for Higher Wages, Right to Unionize. "Chicago fast food workers rallied outside McDonald's headquarters Thursday afternoon in support of union rights and a $15 minimum wage for all fast food workers. Police detained a number of protesters, including Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) a congresswoman representing Chicago's North Side. ...'After 20 years of hard work, I make $9.65 an hour,' Jennifer Berry, an employee at McDonald's told the Milwaukee Biz Times. 'I am barely able to afford my rent, much less transportation to get to and from work, and groceries. Every month is a struggle just to get by.'"

Fiona Harvey at the Guardian: Why the Next Three Months Are Crucial for the Future of the Planet. "This week, scientists are gathering in South Korea to draw together the last five years of advances in climate science to answer key questions for policymakers. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) celebrates its 30th birthday this year with what is likely to be a landmark report to be released on Monday 8 October. What is expected to emerge will be the strongest warning yet that these unusual occurrences will add up to a pattern that can only be overcome with drastic action."

And finally, this is not a resistance item, but I'm posting it anyway because I'm feeling petty AF... Andy Towle at Towleroad: Trump Boards Air Force One with Toilet Paper on His Shoe. "Donald Trump boarded Air Force One on Thursday with toilet paper stuck to the bottom of his shoe." Video at the link of the fucking jerk humiliating himself. Point and laugh. He hates that.

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

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