We Resist: Day 637

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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 Has Always Been a Conman and Trump Threatens to Shut Down Southern Border.

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

[Content Note: Violence. Covers entire section.]

Jamal Khashoggi at the Washington Post: What the Arab World Needs Most Is Free Expression. "A note from Karen Attiah, Global Opinions editor: I received this column from Jamal Khashoggi's translator and assistant the day after Jamal was reported missing in Istanbul. The Post held off publishing it because we hoped Jamal would come back to us so that he and I could edit it together. Now I have to accept: That is not going to happen. This is the last piece of his I will edit for The Post."

Julian E. Barnes, Matthew Rosenberg, and Gardiner Harris at the New York Times: U.S. Spy Agencies Are Increasingly Convinced of Saudi Prince's Ties to Journalist's Disappearance. "Intelligence agencies have not yet been able to collect direct evidence of the prince's involvement, American and European officials said. They also have not been able to conclude whether Prince Mohammed directly ordered the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, or whether his intention was to have Mr. Khashoggi captured and taken back to Saudi Arabia, according to one official. But intelligence agencies have growing circumstantial evidence of the prince's involvement — including the presence of members of his security detail and intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a possible plan to detain Mr. Khashoggi, according to American officials. Officials have also said the prince's complete control over the security services makes it highly unlikely that an operation would have been undertaken without his knowledge."

Richard Wolffe at the Guardian: As Trump Cozies up to Saudi Arabia, the Rule of Law Collapses Further. "First Trump promised 'severe punishment' for those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's death, albeit punishment that didn't harm any arms contracts the Saudis were interested in. ...Then Trump spoke to the crown prince, who pinky-promised he had nothing to do with the 15 men identified by the Turkish media as belonging to a grisly hit-squad, which reportedly included an autopsy specialist carrying his own bone saw. So the 45th president of the United States gullibly and dutifully bleated something about 'rogue killers' and 'very, very strong' denials. In what is surely a remarkable coincidence, Saudi sources leaked word that they were preparing to admit the killing, but insisted it was an interrogation that went wrong. Interrogations tend to go wrong when they include someone armed with a bone saw."

Loveday Morris and Zakaria Zakaria at the Washington Post: Secret Recordings Give Insight into Saudi Attempt to Silence Critics. "The clandestine recordings — more than 10 hours of conversation — were provided to The Washington Post by [27-year-old Saudi opposition activist Omar Abdulaziz], a close associate of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. They offer a chilling depiction of how Saudi Arabia tries to lure opposition figures back to the kingdom with promises of money and safety. These efforts have sharply escalated since Mohammed became crown prince last year, rights groups say."

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Another rat jumps ship.

Dominique Mosbergen at the Huffington Post: Rod Rosenstein Offers 'Forceful Defense' of 'Appropriate' Russia Probe.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has offered what The Wall Street Journal described on Wednesday as a "forceful defense" of the special counsel's ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Speaking to the Journal, Rosenstein described the investigation, led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, as "appropriate and independent" and one that the public would have faith in.

"At the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence, and that it was an appropriate use of resources," Rosenstein said.

...In his conversation with the Journal, Rosenstein did not specify when Mueller's investigation would come to a close. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, however, that the special counsel was planning to issue key findings "soon after" the November vote.

Quoting a U.S. official, Bloomberg said Rosenstein had been pressing Mueller to conclude the investigation as soon as possible.
If true, one wonders if that's because Rosenstein understands that giving the Republicans another election to consolidate power is an impediment to justice, or if it's because Rosenstein is merely conveying forward the pressure that Donald Trump has been putting on him.

Meanwhile, get a load of this guy... Rebecca Morin at Politico: Biden: 'I Hope They Don't' Impeach Trump. "Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday said he hopes Democrats don't try to impeach President Donald Trump if they retake the House of Representatives following next month's midterm elections. 'I hope they don't. I don't think there's a basis for doing that right now,' Biden, one of the top Democrats believed to be weighing a 2020 challenge of Trump, said during an interview on CBS This Morning. The former vice president said that Democrats should wait until special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe is concluded before taking any steps against the president. ...'There are so many things to attend to immediately,' Biden said. 'Let's see where the investigation takes us.'" Okay, but what if the point is to take us beyond the point of no return? What then, Joe?

Speaking of the midterms, here are a few reminders that the Republican Party is subverting their integrity in every way possible!

Brad Friedman at the BradBlog: West Virginia Smartphone Voting Threatens Midterms; Offers False Promise of Security, Auditability. "The state is the first in the nation to allow such voters to cast a ballot via smartphone — on a mobile app called Voatz, created by a private Boston-based technology firm — in a live (and crucial!) general election. But, don't worry! The state and the Voatz company are quick to claim that their scheme is completely secure, since it 'employs blockchain technology to ensure that, once submitted, votes are verified and immutably stored on multiple, geographically diverse verifying servers.' Blockchain, in short, is a widely distributed public ledger, or database, that is used to track Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. But, as long-time voting system expert and Internet Voting critic Dr. David Jefferson of Livermore National Laboratory and of Verified Voting explains on today's show, the technology solves none of the many problems with using the Internet to cast votes in American elections, as he recently detailed at the non-partisan Verified Voting site."

Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress: Georgia Mayor Goes on Racist Rant After County Stops Black Voters Matter from Helping Elderly Vote. "The mayor of a Georgia town in the same county where administrators blocked Black Voters Matter from bringing elderly black voters to the polls said on Facebook Wednesday that the group's work is 'utterly reprehensible.' Barstow, Georgia Mayor Robert Morris, whose Facebook includes a number of racist posts, shared a status on Facebook two days after the county decided to prevent Black Voters Matter from bringing seniors to the polls. 'It is utterly reprehensible that your group maintains that all black voters should vote for a black candidate just because they are the same color as you,' he wrote." Obviously, that is not their position.

Barry Yeoman at TPM: The North Carolina GOP Is Trying Every Trick to Keep a Supreme Court Seat. "For years, Anita Earls has been the go-to attorney in North Carolina for beating back assaults on voting rights. She's had her hands full: Since the 2010 Republican landslide, the state legislature has operated like a perpetual-motion catapult, hurling one measure after another to reengineer the electoral landscape and seeing what sticks in court. Legislators have drawn electoral maps testing the outer limits of gerrymandering. They've tried to repeal ballot-access reforms that helped then-candidate Barack Obama carry the state in 2008. They canceled an election, changed how judges are selected, and are now trying to take control of the state's elections machinery. Each of these measures is a building block in a larger structure designed to maintain Republican power in the face of a demographic threat."

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[CN: Nativism] Amanda Holpuch at the Guardian: 'I Live in Fear': Under Trump, Life for America's Immigrants Can Change in a Flash. "Five days after taking office, Trump signed an executive order that effectively stopped ICE from prioritizing criminals for deportation. Instead, they are now going after all the estimated 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. at once — drawing little distinction between hardened criminals and productive community members who have started businesses, bought homes, and paid their taxes. This includes a 10-year-old with cerebral palsy ICE arrested in October 2017 after she left a Texas hospital for treatment; undocumented adults who volunteer to take custody of children who crossed the border by themselves; and an elderly couple visiting their pregnant daughter-in-law and her husband at a military base in New York for the Fourth of July holiday."

[CN: Christian supremacy; anti-choicery; misogyny]

[CN: LGBTQ hatred; Christian supremacy] Dominic Holden at BuzzFeed: Trump Is Planning a New Rule to Let Federal Contractors Fire Employees for Religious Reasons. "When the Trump administration issued a directive in August that expanded a 'religious exemption' for federal contractors who are accused of discrimination, activists feared the worst. The policy was essentially legal guidance, but it targeted LGBT rights specifically. Now their fears have escalated. The Trump administration is currently planning to create a formal religious-liberty regulation for businesses with federal contracts, which would create a loophole in an Obama administration policy protecting LGBT workers, according to several people familiar with the Labor Department's plans who spoke to BuzzFeed News. Unlike the August directive, a regulation would carry more legal force and is tremendously difficult to undo."

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[CN: Animal harm] Jimmy Tobias at the Guardian: Revealed: U.S. Moves to Keep Endangered Species Discussions Secret. "It comes as wildlife advocates and scientists accuse the government of attempting to weaken protections for wildlife, including wolves, grizzly bears, and sage grouse, while boosting domestic energy production and mining in crucial animal habitat. ...Such records should be carefully reviewed and possibly withheld, the guidance suggests, if they might hamper the defense of the government's decisions in certain court cases and cause 'foreseeable harm' to the federal government by sowing 'public confusion' or subjecting officials to public scrutiny and thereby creating a 'chilling effect' on internal decision making processes."

In other words: The Trump Regime is advocating for reduced transparency in order to inoculate the footsoldiers of its destruction from the influence of public resistance to their malice.

[CN: Animal harm] Joe Romm at ThinkProgress: Insect Collapse Study 'One of the Most Disturbing Articles I Have Ever Read,' Expert Warns. "A disturbing new study finds that global warming helped drive as much as a 60-fold decline in insect population in Puerto Rico's tropical rainforest between 1976 and 2013. ...A 2014 review of scientific literature and data in the journal Science found the number of insects 'such as beetles, butterflies, spiders, and worms has decreased by 45 percent' since 1980. The reason: 'loss of habitat and global climate disruption.' And a 2017 Dutch study found that in the past three decades, a stunning three-fourths of the total insect population was lost in 63 protected nature reserves in Germany. ...Along with the insect crash in Puerto Rico, the study found 'synchronous declines in the lizards, frogs, and birds that eat' the insects. The study's bottom line: 'Climate warming is the driving force behind the collapse of the forest's food web.'"

Yessenia Funes at Earther: The Biggest Organism on Earth Is Dying, and It's Our Fault. "The heaviest organism on Earth isn't a whale or an elephant. It's a tree — or rather, a system of over 40,000 clonal trees, all connected by their roots. Pando, a 13 million pound organism in central Utah, is believed to have sprouted toward the end of the last Ice Age. But after thousands of years of thriving, Pando has run into trouble. A study published in PLOS One Wednesday features the first comprehensive examination of the entire 106 acres of clonal aspen forest, and it concludes that Pando isn't growing. In fact, the forest has been failing to self-reproduce since at least 30 to 40 years ago. 'People are at the center of that failure,' said co-author Paul Rogers."

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

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