We Resist: Day 715

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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's Strange Familiarity with Kremlin Talking Points and Sans Border Wall Funding, Trump Sends Troops to String Razor Wire and I Mean. And ICYMI late yesterday: Photos of the Day.

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

Let's start with some good news, care of Paul Blumenthal at the Huffington Post: [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] House Democrats Introduce Their Sweeping New Reform Bill.
House Democrats unveiled Friday the For the People Act, a comprehensive package of democratic reforms and the first major bill of the 116th Congress. The bill is a sweeping combination of election, campaign finance, and ethics reforms designed to make voting easier, curb the power of big donors, and reduce conflicts of interest in all three branches of government.

The For the People Act was the first major legislative action for Democrats after they voted to end the partial government shutdown initiated by President Donald Trump, a measure he is expected to veto.

The package of reforms was put together in a collaborative process initiated by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in 2011 and overseen by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) since 2017.

The reforms in the For the People Act would restore the right to vote to millions of disenfranchised Americans and make it dramatically easier for people to vote while also creating a first-of-its-kind public financing system for House elections. It would also require presidential candidates to disclose 10 years of their tax returns.
RIGHT ON. There is much more detail about the specifics of the legislation at the link.

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[CN: Human rights violations] Ed Pilkington at the Guardian: United States Halts Cooperation with UN on Potential Human Rights Violations.
The Trump administration has stopped cooperating with UN investigators over potential human rights violations occurring inside America, in a move that delivers a major blow to vulnerable US communities and sends a dangerous signal to authoritarian regimes around the world.

Quietly and unnoticed, the state department has ceased to respond to official complaints from UN special rapporteurs, the network of independent experts who act as global watchdogs on fundamental issues such as poverty, migration, freedom of expression, and justice. There has been no response to any such formal query since 7 May 2018, with at least 13 requests going unanswered.

...Jamil Dakwar, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's human rights program, said the shift gave the impression the U.S. was no longer serious about honoring its own human rights obligations. The ripple effect around the world would be dire.

"They are sending a very dangerous message to other countries: that if you don't cooperate with UN experts they will just go away. That's a serious setback to the system created after World War II to ensure that domestic human rights violations could no longer be seen as an internal matter," Dakwar said.
Let me say for about the billionth time since the 2016 election: Fuck every single person who said or implied there was no difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Peter Whoriskey and Lisa Rein at the Washington Post: While Federal Workers Go without Pay, Senior Trump Administration Officials Are Poised to Get $10,000 Raises. "While many federal workers go without pay and the government is partially shut down, hundreds of senior Trump political appointees are poised to receive annual raises of about $10,000 a year. The pay raises for cabinet secretaries, deputy secretaries, top administrators, and even Vice President Pence are scheduled to go into effect beginning Jan. 5 without legislation to stop them, according to documents issued by the Office of Personnel Management and experts in federal pay. The raises appear to be an intended consequence of the shutdown: When lawmakers failed to pass bills on Dec. 21 to fund multiple federal agencies, they allowed an existing pay freeze to lapse."

Nick Visser at the Huffington Post: Mike Pence Says Trump Won't Budge: 'No Wall, No Deal'. "Vice President Mike Pence said Thursday night that the Trump administration had no plans to back down from its demand for $5.6 billion in funding for a border wall, even if it means keeping the government partially closed. 'The president has made it very clear: No wall, no deal,' Pence told Fox News personality Tucker Carlson. 'We're here to make a deal, but it's a deal that's going to result in achieving real gains on border security, and you have no border security without a wall. We will have no deal without a wall.' The partial government shutdown, which began shortly before Christmas, is stretching into its third week with no end in sight."

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[CN: Trans hatred] Ann E. Marimow at the Washington Post: Restriction on Transgender Troops Serving in Military Can Stand for Now, D.C. Federal Appeals Court Rules.
A federal appeals court in Washington sided with the Trump administration Friday, saying restrictions on transgender men and women serving in the military can stand.

The decision lifted an injunction that had barred the government from limiting their service.

The unsigned order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has no immediate impact because federal judges in three other cases have temporarily prevented the administration from implementing its policy.

Even so, the five-page ruling reversing a lower-court decision was a blow to the civil rights and gay rights organizations challenging the policy nationwide.

In reversing a lower court ruling, the appeals court wrote, "the District Court made an erroneous finding that the [administration's policy] was the equivalent of a blanket ban on transgender service."
Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, called the decision "cursory and misinformed" and said it "rests on the utter fiction that this ban is not a ban. Every other court has immediately understood that when you say you can serve only if you serve in your birth sex, that is a ban. It is dangerous and irresponsible."

[CN: LGBTQ hatred] Lucas Justinien Perez at Towleroad: Trump Administration Official Invites Anti-LGBT Activist and Russian Nationalist to Visit Texas, Speak at Rice University. "GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today slammed the Trump Administration for inviting Russian politician Dmitry Rogozin to Houston, Texas, and giving him the opportunity to speak with students at Rice University. Rogozin is vehemently anti-LGBTQ and even called musician and LGBTQ ally Madonna a 'whore' for promoting LGBTQ rights ahead of a concert in Russia seven years ago. 'Leave it up to the most anti-LGBTQ administration in recent memory to grant an anti-LGBTQ activist and Russian nationalist the opportunity to promote his hateful and out-of-touch rhetoric to students,' said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. 'Dmitry Rogozin has no business visiting our nation in the first place, much less being offered a speaking engagement at an academic institution.'"

[CN: Homophobia; child abuse]

[CN: Anti-choicery] Amanda Michelle Gomez at ThinkProgress: Arizona Is Officially Questioning People Who Have Abortions About Their Decision. "Patients living in Arizona and seeking to terminate a pregnancy are now being probed about their decision. Is the abortion elective or for health concerns? Was the pregnancy a result of rape or incest? Abortion seekers will also be asked about whether they are being coerced into it, and if they are sex trafficking or domestic violence survivors. Providers are required to ask patients about all of this after a new law, expanding upon existing statutes, went into effect on Tuesday. The law, however, doesn't require patients to answer these questions in order to have the procedure." Nonetheless, the very pressure of being asked those questions, and the implicit stigma, is tantamount to reproductive coercion, in my estimation.

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Bill Chappell at NPR: Hackers Attack Hundreds of High-Profile German Politicians, Post Private Data Online. "Hackers have published cellphone numbers, credit card data, and private communications belonging to members of nearly every German political party, in a sweeping breach last month that reportedly also affected German Chancellor Angela Merkel. ...In the days before Christmas, hackers quietly posted online the data of some of Germany's most powerful leaders 'in a kind of Advent calendar,' [RBB Inforadio, a Berlin-based public broadcaster that broke the story] reported. Some of the stolen information was years old, and it seems the data dump does not include any political bombshells. Instead, it seems intended to embarrass officials — and inflict personal damage by exposing private chats and financial details."

Of note: "The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is the only main party whose members were spared from the attack." Oh.

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

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