We Resist: Day 648

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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: Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and Bolsonaro Wins in Brazil and Trump Regime Now Says It Will Deploy 5,000 Troops to Southern Border.

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

This is a brilliant act of resistance! Andy Towle at Towleroad: Massive 'Trans People Deserve to Live' Banner Unfurled During Game 5 of World Series. Right on!

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[Content Note: Violence; stochastic terrorism. Covers entire section.]

Robert Costa and Felicia Sonmez at the Washington Post: Trump, GOP Defiant Amid Allegations That Incendiary Rhetoric Contributed to Climate of Violence.
Trump and his Republican allies remained defiant Sunday amid allegations from critics that Trump's incendiary attacks on political rivals and racially charged rhetoric on the campaign trail bear some culpability for the climate surrounding a spate of violence in the United States.

Trump, who has faced calls to tone down his public statements, signaled that he would do no such thing — berating billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer, a target of a mail bomb sent by a Trump supporter, as a "crazed & stumbling lunatic" on Twitter, after Steyer said on CNN that Trump and the Republican Party have created an atmosphere of "political violence."

Later Sunday, Trump lashed out again on Twitter, this time at the media: "The Fake News is doing everything in their power to blame Republicans, Conservatives and me for the division and hatred that has been going on for so long in our Country."

The GOP's defensive posture, following Saturday's deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history, came as some Trump allies sought to shift blame to others, including media figures and Democratic leaders, arguing that recent attempts by liberal protesters to challenge GOP officials in public were perhaps more responsible for the national unrest than the president's combative politics or the rise of conspiracy theories on the right.
Trump and other Republicans will use any excuse to distance themselves from accountability. And it will work, because their cultists don't care (except insomuch as they covertly or openly cheer acts of violence against their "enemies") and because the media continually allow them to get away with distancing themselves from accountability — or even shamelessly assist them with vile bothsideserism.

For instance:

Erin Durkin at the Guardian: Another Suspicious Package Addressed to CNN Intercepted. "Another suspicious package bound for CNN was discovered on Monday morning, the network said. The package was intercepted at a post office in Atlanta, where the network is headquartered, according to a statement from CNN president Jeff Zucker. ...Two of the pipe bombs sent last week to prominent political figures were addressed to CNN. Cesar Sayoc, a Donald Trump supporter from Florida, was arrested and charged with sending the devices. It was unclear if the latest package was part of the same pattern. Authorities said last week that even after Sayoc was arrested, additional devices might be found that had already been placed in the mail."

[CN: Homophobic slur; white supremacy; anti-Semitism] Luke Barnes at ThinkProgress: We're Witnessing a Massive Surge in Far-Right Violence; It's Unlikely to End Soon. "A far-right mob brutally beating counter-protesters while yelling 'faggot.' A series of pipe bombs mailed to the prominent liberals who are most featured in right-wing conspiracies. A white supremacist murder of two black senior citizens in a Kentucky grocery store. The mass shooting of eleven worshipers at a synagogue in what is described as the worst anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history. All these events have happened in just over a fortnight. More crucially, they all bear hallmarks of violent, far-right bigotry, which [Donald] Trump still refuses to call out and denounce."

He's never going to "call out and denounce" this trash, because he revels in it — and relentlessly exploits it to increase his own power and consolidate the power of his party.

[CN: Disablism] What he'll do — and what his fellow party members and their cultists will do — is continue to say that people like Cesar Sayoc, Gregory Bush, and Robert Bowers are "mentally unstable," implying that their actions are irrational.

But whether any or all of these men have mental illness, none of them behaved irrationally. It's utterly vile, unethical, and illegal behavior, but it also completely logical behavior to respond to decades (or more) of incendiary rhetoric that casts a population as a present threat with eliminationist violence.

That's why there has been no let-up (despite sustained press inattention) in anti-choice terrorism in decades. Killing abortion doctors and bombing or otherwise attacking clinics is an aggressively indecent but logical response to hearing that people who provide and get abortions are committing mass murder.

This isn't "senseless" crime. It's a sense that makes a perfect, devastating sense by obscene standards.

The fact that someone will see violence as a rational and necessary response to demonizing people as existential threats to you is exactly why and how stochastic terrorism works.

Casting the people who act on incendiary rhetoric as "crazy" is one of the key ways in which purveyors of that rhetoric distance themselves from responsibility.

And always remember that if they actually believe that the people who commit these acts are "crazy," then they are working very hard to keep those "crazy" people as "crazy" as possible and with access to deadly weapons.

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Arne Delfs and Patrick Donahue at Bloomberg: Merkel Steps Down as Party Leader as Election Setbacks Take Toll. "Germany's Angela Merkel will quit as head of her Christian Democratic party and won't run for another term as chancellor, taking personal responsibility for the decline in support for the governing coalition. ...The shock decision signals the beginning of the end for a chancellor who put her stamp on Europe and beyond defending moderation and liberal values that have increasingly come under attack. ...Merkel insisted she intends to remain in power until the end of her term in 2021. But how long she's able to hang on as chancellor will depend on who wins the race to succeed her as party leader." Another stunning setback for democracy.

Josh Lederman at NBC News: Evacuated After 'Health Attacks' in Cuba and China, Diplomats Face New Ordeals in U.S. "For the past 18 months, more than two dozen U.S. diplomatic staffers once stationed in Cuba and China have endured an ordeal that is equal parts medical mystery, political stand-off, and bureaucratic muddle. ...Physicians enlisted by the State Department have identified what they call a 'Brain Network Disorder' acquired by U.S. personnel serving abroad, say U.S. officials, that includes structural changes to the brain not found in any previously known disorder. ...Equally unsettling to the diplomatic evacuees: Suspected incidents of harassment and break-ins they say have occurred since returning to the States. Four U.S. officials tell NBC that the FBI has investigated."

Luke Harding at the Guardian: Czechoslovakia Ramped Up Spying on Trump in Late 1980s, Seeking U.S. Intel. "The communist intelligence service in Prague stepped up its spying campaign against Donald Trump in the late 1980s, targeting him to gain information about the 'upper echelons of the U.S. government,' archive files and testimony from former cold war spies reveal. Czechoslovakia's Státní bezpečnost (StB) carried out a long-term spying mission against Trump following his marriage in 1977 to his first wife, Ivana Zelníčková. The operation was run out of Zlín, the provincial town in south-west Czechoslovakia where Zelníčková was born and grew up."

That's some coincidence. Unless it isn't. Especially given this bit at the very end of the piece: "[KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov] circulated a confidential personality questionnaire to KGB heads of station abroad, setting out the qualities wanted from a potential asset. According to instructions leaked to British intelligence by the KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky, they included corruption, vanity, narcissism, marital infidelity, and poor analytical skills. The KGB should focus on personalities who were upwardly mobile in business and politics, especially Americans, the document said." Welp.

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[CN: Reproductive coercion] Auditi Guha at Rewire.News: Reproductive Coercion 'Much More Prevalent' Than Once Thought. "Four in ten survivors of intimate partner violence report that a partner has tried to get them pregnant against their will or stopped them from using birth control. Eighty-four percent of these survivors of reproductive coercion became pregnant. This is one of the findings from a survey of 164 survivors in domestic violence programs and shelters conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR). The survey, which was administered to survivors in 11 states and D.C., explores how abuse affects their abilities to secure and keep jobs, choose when to start families, and maintain good credit."

[CN: Class warfare] Monica Potts at TPM: Americans Are More Vulnerable Than Ever, and the Gig Economy Isn't Helping. "By 2010, according to the Government Accountability Office, 40.4 percent of the workforce was in 'alternative work arrangements' — up from 30.6 percent in 2005. These statistics include a range of workers who, like Milland, piece together work through short-term gigs, contract work, part-time work, or temporary positions. Some of these jobs are those where people have traditionally worked for themselves, like real estate agents or freelance writers, but there was some alarm in the wake of the Great Recession that the number of people in such arrangements was rising sharply. Some surveys found that almost all of the jobs created after the Great Recession were in this type of nontraditional, insecure job, and many were part time. Many took a second, part-time job to cover their bills. In this era, these types of jobs have taken on a new name: the gig economy."

[CN: Environmental racism] Yessenia Funes at Earther: Alaska Natives Call on Banks to Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from Drilling. "Tiliisia Sisto, a 23-year-old mother of two, became a hunter this year. Sisto lives in Venetie, Alaska, a Gwich'in Alaska Native village, and if she wants to eat affordably while also preserving her culture, hunting is key. So are the Porcupine caribou she and her people rely on. Now, a federal proposal to open the Arctic lands on which these caribou calve to oil and gas drilling threatens the Gwich'in's primary food source and their way of life. That's why Sisto traveled all the way to New York City this week to ask major banks to withhold funding for projects seeking to develop the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The Trump administration has been trying to fast-track an environmental impact statement to get extraction going here since the beginning of the year."

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

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