We Resist: Day 720

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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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Late yesterday and earlier today by me: Keep Your Eyes on Pence and Trump's F#@king Speech Thread and Rosenstein Reportedly to Leave Administration Soon and Trump Has Border-Walled Himself into a Corner.

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

[Content Note: Authoritarianism; nativism; and dehumanization. Covers entire section.]

Luke Barnes at ThinkProgress: Experts Saw Signs of Growing Authoritarianism in Trump's Primetime Address. No shit. "Both Professors Ben-Ghiat and Berman agreed that authoritarians regularly inflate or entirely manufacture supposed national security crises — often based off of classified info only they have access to — in order to further cement their grip on power."

Sarah Kendzior at the Globe and Mail: Forget the Wall; Trump Is the National Security Crisis. "We are two years into the presidency of a man who launched his campaign by smearing Mexicans as rapists and murderers and then proclaimed he would make Mexico pay for a wall to keep the alleged perpetrators out. But Mr. Trump's obsession with the wall had as little to do with ensuring public safety as his prior obsession with President Obama's birth certificate had to do with legislative legitimacy. Both were rhetorical moves designed to shift the parameters of debate into rancid, racist territory."

Kate Riga at TPM: Trump Tells TV Anchors Before Speech That Border Trip Is Just a Photo Op. "Donald Trump told TV news anchors at a lunch before his Oval Office address that his upcoming trip to the border won't 'change a damn thing' and that it's really just a photo opportunity."

This is always the horror of authoritarian leadership: On the one hand, it's manufactured drama built on obvious lies. On the other, it is very real and terrifying oppression being justified by those invented crises and rank dishonesty.

Anyway. Trump's whole family seems great cough. Ed Mazza at the Huffington Post: Donald Trump Jr. Says Border Wall Is Like a Zoo Fence Protecting You from Animals. "Donald Trump Jr. is getting called out for an Instagram message he posted that compared the proposed border wall to a zoo fence. 'You know why you can enjoy a day at the zoo?' the son of [Donald] Trump wrote in an Instagram story on Tuesday night. 'Because walls work.'"

This entire fucking family JFC.

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Nico Hines at the Daily Beast: Trump Campaign Consultants Cambridge Analytica Found Guilty of Breaking Data Laws. "Cambridge Analytica has been found guilty of breaking data laws after refusing to disclose how much information it holds on an American professor, where it got the data, and — perhaps most importantly — how it used it and who it gave it to. The British analytics firm, which was hired by the Trump campaign, has been accused of misusing the Facebook data of almost 100 million Americans while working to elect [Donald] Trump. ...In court Wednesday, the administrators of SCL Elections, which declared bankruptcy in May last year, finally admitted that it had broken the law. The last-minute guilty plea came on the day the trial was scheduled to begin. The judge ruled the company had shown a 'willful disregard' for the enforcement of data laws, but sentenced the company to pay less than $20,000 — even with the addition of some of the costs, the penalty was around $26,000." That'll show 'em! (Sob.)

Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post: One More Russian Contact: Here's Why It Matters. "We've come a long way since Trump claimed neither he nor anyone on the campaign had contacts with Russians. Before the latest revelation, the Moscow Project had discovered '97 contacts between Trump's team and Russia linked operatives, including at least 28 meetings. And we know that at least 28 high-ranking campaign officials and Trump advisers were aware of contacts with Russia-linked operatives during the campaign and transition.' Furthermore, 'None of these contacts were ever reported to the proper authorities. Instead, the Trump team tried to cover up every single one of them.'"

Pilar Melendez and Julia Arciga at the Daily Beast: TSA Officers Are Already Quitting over the Shutdown, Union Says.
Airport security screeners forced to work without pay during the government shutdown have been calling out sick. But now the mad-as-hell workers are actually quitting their jobs.

That's according to union officials representing Transportation Security Administration officers, who will miss their first paycheck since the government ground to a halt Dec. 22 over a budget and border wall impasse.

"Some of them have already quit and many are considering quitting the federal workforce because of this shutdown," Hydrick Thomas, head of the American Federation of Government Employees' TSA Council, said in a statement Tuesday.

"The loss of officers, while we're already shorthanded, will create a massive security risk for American travelers since we don't have enough trainees in the pipeline or the ability to process new hires. Our TSOs already do an amazing job without the proper staffing levels, but if this keeps up there are problems that will arise — least of which would be increased wait times for travelers."

...One TSA worker at JFK International Airport in New York told The Daily Beast that at least 15 of his coworkers have called out since the shutdown began on Dec. 22 — and he might be next.

"Listen, I love my job and I have been willing to work for free as people in Washington sort everything out," said the worker, who has been on the job for about a year and asked to remain anonymous.

"But how long is this going to take? I have a newborn," he said. "I can barely afford to miss this pay period. I don't want to lose my job but I also don't want to lose my apartment, you know?"
Oliver Milman at the Guardian: Americans' Health at Risk as Shutdown Slashes EPA. "The U.S. government shutdown has stymied environmental testing and inspections, prompting warnings that Americans' health is being put at increasing risk as the shutdown drags on. More than 13,000 employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are not at work, with just 794 people deemed essential staff currently undertaking the agency's duties. The remaining skeleton staff are able to 'respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property,' according to an EPA planning document. But many routine activities such as checks on regulated businesses, clean-ups of toxic superfund sites, and the pursuit of criminal polluters have been paused since 28 December."

[CN: Anti-choicery] Jessica Mason Pieklo at Rewire.News: GOP Women's Senate Judiciary Assignments Are About Abortion, Not Optics. "Republicans made history this week by assigning one-third of their women senators to serve on the Judiciary Committee. U.S. Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) are set to become the first Republican women to serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, but their assignments are about more than just addressing the horrible optics of Republicans never having had a woman on a committee that deals with fundamental constitutional privacy rights like abortion. They just added two more committed anti-choice activists and Trump loyalists to the committee charged with jurisdiction over federal civil rights law, at precisely the time the administration's attacks on civil rights — and especially reproductive rights — are reaching a fevered pitch."

[CN: Racism] Today in the New York Times going full Nazi:

[CN: Misogynoir; loss of wanted pregnancy] Tressie McMillan Cottom at Time: I Was Pregnant and in Crisis; All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman. "Everything about the structure of trying to get medical care had filtered me through assumptions of my incompetence. There it was, what I had always been afraid of, what I must have known since I was a child I needed to prepare to defend myself against, and what it would take me years to accept was beyond my control. Like millions of women of color, especially black women, the healthcare machine could not imagine me as competent and so it neglected and ignored me until I was incompetent. ...When the medical profession systematically denies the existence of black women's pain, underdiagnoses our pain, refuses to alleviate or treat our pain, healthcare marks us as incompetent bureaucratic subjects. Then it serves us accordingly."

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And finally, some good news... Samantha Young, Anna Gorman, and Ana B. Ibarra at Towleroad: Newsom Comes out Swinging on Day One for Single-Payer, Immigrant Coverage. "Within hours of assuming office Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a defiant challenge to the Trump administration with sweeping plans to expand health coverage to more Californians, pushing for a single-payer system and insurance for undocumented young adult immigrants. He also called for new state-funded subsidies to help people afford health insurance, coupled with a requirement that all Californians have health insurance. And he signed an executive order that directs state agencies to work together to negotiate prescription drug prices." Right on.

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

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