We Resist: Day 692

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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: Important End-of-Year Fundraiser and Not-Breaking News: Trump Is a Lying Dirtbag and What Are We Even Doing? and Michael Cohen Sentenced to 36 Months.

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

Lachlan Markay, Asawin Suebsaeng, and Sam Stein at the Daily Beast: Trump Springs Shutdown Stunt on Chuck and Nancy, Makes Everything Worse. "Trump’s heated on-air jostling with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the Oval Office on Tuesday was supposed to be private. But the president, at the last minute, decided otherwise. ...The result was a dramatic confrontation in which Trump managed to give Schumer and Pelosi exactly what they wanted — only, it was on national TV. ...[Some] questioned the political prudence of Trump preemptively taking the blame for a government shutdown. 'It wasn't great,' said one top GOP aide who has been though several shutdown fights. 'But he's an unconventional president.'" That's certainly one way of putting it.

[Content Note: Murder] Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton at Reuters: Trump Says He's Standing by Saudi Crown Prince Despite Pleas from Senate. "Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he stood by Saudi Arabia's crown prince despite a CIA assessment that he ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and pleas from U.S. senators for Trump to condemn the kingdom's de facto ruler. Trump refused to comment on whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the murder, but he provided perhaps his most explicit show of support for the prince since Khashoggi's death more than two months ago. 'He's the leader of Saudi Arabia. They've been a very good ally,' Trump said in an interview in the Oval Office. Asked by Reuters if standing by the kingdom meant standing by the prince, known as MbS, Trump responded: 'Well, at this moment, it certainly does.'"

Luke Barnes at ThinkProgress: Prime Minister Theresa May Faces Open Rebellion from Her Own Party. "After being forced on Monday to call off a crucial Brexit deal vote, Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday faced a vote of no-confidence, which could remove her from power if enough Conservative (Tory) Members of Parliament support it. The vote was triggered when 48 Tory MPs wrote a letter demanding the vote. May will be forced to step down if 158 of the Conservative Party's 315 MPs support it. If she wins the vote, which is set to take place at 1 p.m. EST, she cannot be challenged for another year." What a mess.

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[CN: Nativism. Covers entire section.]

Hamed Aleaziz at BuzzFeed: The Number of People ICE Arrested at Their Jobs Skyrocketed Last Year. "Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents made nearly 10 times as many immigration arrests at workplaces in the last year than they did in the previous fiscal year, a massive increase that was highlighted by the agency in data released Tuesday. The statistics indicate that a shift undertaken by Trump administration to crack down on workplace violations has resulted in a massive jump in arrests of people at their jobs and in the number of requests authorities have made to companies to prove that their workers are in the country legally."

Daniella Silva at NBC News: ICE Arrested 170 Immigrants Seeking to Sponsor Migrant Children. "Federal authorities have arrested 170 immigrants who came forward seeking to sponsor migrant children in government custody, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said. ICE said Tuesday that the arrests were of immigrants suspected of being in the United States illegally and took place from early July to November. They were the result of background checks conducted on potential sponsors of unaccompanied migrant children placed under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services. More than two thirds of those arrested — 109 in total — had no criminal record, the agency said."

Vanessa Romo at NPR: Customs and Border Protection Paid a Firm $13.6 Million to Hire Recruits; It Hired 2. "A scathing report by the Office of the Inspector General revealed that a consulting company hired by U.S. Customs and Border Protection to fill thousands of new jobs to satisfy [Donald] Trump's mandate to secure the southern border is 'nowhere near' completing its hiring goals and 'risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.' The audit found that as of Oct. 1, CBP had paid Accenture Federal Services approximately $13.6 million of a $297 million contract to recruit and hire 7,500 applicants, including Customs and Border Protection officers, Border Patrol agents, and Air and Marine Interdiction agents. But 10 months into the first year of a five-year contract, Accenture had processed only 'two accepted job offers,' according to the report." Another example of how the Trump Regime's nativist agenda is one giant grift for mercenaries.

Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed: The Trump Administration Just Asked the Supreme Court to Let It Enforce Its New Asylum Ban. "The Trump administration went to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, seeking an order that would allow it to enforce its new policy barring asylum claims by those who cross into the country at the southern border without authorization. ...The two-part policy change involved the Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security issuing a new rule asserting that those who violate a presidential order restricting entry along the southern border of the United States (that had not, at that point, been issued) 'would not be eligible for asylum.' Then, Trump issued the order. ...U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar halted enforcement of the policy change — issuing a temporary restraining order in the days before Thanksgiving. 'Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,' Tigar wrote."

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Speaking of Republicans and crime... Kate Riga at TPM: New NY Attorney General Promises Wide Swath of Investigations into Trump and Family. "Letitia James, the freshly elected New York attorney general, is promising comprehensive investigations into [Donald] Trump and his family, with a focus on his real estate holdings and Trump Organization. According to a Wednesday NBC News report, this vow is in line with James' campaign, which included a push to pass a bill to to change the state's double jeopardy laws and blunt the power of possible presidential pardons. 'We will use every area of the law to investigate [Donald] Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well,' James told NBC News."

Meanwhile... [CN: Misogynoir; sexual abuse; deadly violence] Kay Wicker at ThinkProgress: Cyntoia Brown Was Given 51 Years for a Crime She Committed as a Child; Her Story Is Not Uncommon.
The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Cyntoia Brown, a sex-trafficking victim who was convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery when she was 16 years old, must serve 51 years in prison before she is eligible for parole.

Brown was convicted in 2006 for the murder of 43-year-old Johnny Allen, a man who had hired her as a sex worker when she was a teenager. After Allen drove Brown to his home, she allegedly resisted his advances. At one point, Brown claimed she thought Allen was reaching for a gun to kill her and pulled a gun out of her bag instead, shooting and killing him.

Prosecutors claimed Brown had gone with Allen in order to rob him. Her lawyers argued that Brown, a runaway who had been raped, abused, and forced into prostitution by a man named "Kut Throat," was acting out of self defense.

Brown was subsequently charged with one count of first degree premeditated murder, one count of first degree felony murder, and one count of "especially aggravated robbery." She was tried as an adult and convicted two years later.

Brown's story is not unique. In her home state of Tennessee, she's one of at least 183 people serving life without parole for crimes committed as a child. It is estimated that there are around 2,100 people serving out sentences without parole for crimes committed as juveniles nationwide, according to The Sentencing Project, a D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for a fair and effective criminal justice system.
Two Americas within the criminal justice system, just like everywhere else.

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Shawn Boburg and Anu Narayanswamy at the Washington Post: Trump Has Blasted Mueller's Team for Political Donations, But Attorney General Nominee William P. Barr Has Given More Than $500,000. "Trump has repeatedly derided prosecutors investigating potential coordination between his presidential campaign and Russia as 'angry Democrats,' pointing to their past political donations as proof of bias. But William P. Barr, Trump's nominee to lead the Justice Department and oversee the Russia investigation, would be by far the most prolific political donor to step into the country's top law enforcement post in at least a quarter-century, according to a Washington Post analysis. Barr has donated more than $567,000 in the past two decades, nearly all to GOP candidates and groups, federal records show."

Rachel Bergman at the Sunlight Foundation: In Overhaul of HealthCare.gov Webpage, Information About Ways to Apply Is Gone. "A few weeks after the start of the Open Enrollment period to sign up for Affordable Care Act (ACA) coverage, which runs from November 1 to December 15, 2018, HealthCare.gov's 'Apply for Health Insurance' webpage was altered. Information about two ways to apply is now missing and has been replaced by a new list of application options and links, including a link for 'Help On Demand,' a third-party consumer assistance referral system, operated by a for-profit software company, BigWave Systems. ...Two of the options — to enroll by phone and by mail — have been completely removed."

Alyza Sebenius at Bloomberg: U.S. Companies Targeted by Possible North Korean Hackers. "Hackers have targeted dozens of companies, mostly based in the U.S., in a sophisticated cyber espionage campaign that may be connected to the North Korean government, according to a report published Wednesday. The attackers have tried to penetrate the computer networks of at least 87 companies in the nuclear, defense, energy, and financial industries since late October, according to research by internet security company McAfee Inc. The report didn't name any of the businesses. ...McAfee has shared its findings with the companies, global law enforcement agencies, and the cybersecurity industry." Please, let's put everything on the cloud. It is such a good idea. (It is not a good idea.)

Chris McGreal at the Guardian: As Climate Change Bites in America's Midwest, Farmers Are Desperate to Ring the Alarm. "On 23 November, the National Climate Assessment warned of 'substantial damages' across the U.S. in the coming years from increasing wildfires in the west to flooding in the east. But the sharpest rise in temperatures will be between the coasts as the midwest endures longer and hotter summers, heavier rains, and droughts that collectively are predicted to significantly reduce U.S. agricultural production. 'Expected increases in challenges to livestock health, declines in crop yields and quality, and changes in extreme events in the United States and abroad threaten rural livelihoods, sustainable food security, and price stability,' said the 1,600-page report, the work of 13 federal agencies."

Sameer Rao at Colorlines: Artists Protest Whitney Museum Exec's Weapons Connections. "Members of Art V War, an artist and activist group, protested the Whitney Museum of American Art's vice chairman and his ownership of a controversial defense company — which supplied the tear gas that border agents recently deployed against Central American asylum seekers — by installing an unauthorized work at the New York City museum [on December 10]. ...The paper points readers to a hashtag, #WhitneyTearGas, and Shimunov's petition demanding that the museum's board and administrative leaders denounce Kanders' 'oppression profiteering.' The petition also calls for Kanders to resign."

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

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