We Resist: Day 725

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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: Quite a Weekend for Russian Puppet Donald Trump and Julián Castro Announces Candidacy for President. And ICYMI late Friday: An Observation About the Shutdown.

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

Paul McLeod and Tarini Parti at BuzzFeed: This Is Now the Longest Government Shutdown in U.S. History and There's No End in Sight. "The ongoing government shutdown became the longest in United States history Saturday, and there is no end to the standoff in sight. [Today] marks the [24th] day of the partial shutdown, breaking the previous record of 21 days set during Bill Clinton's presidency between December 1995 and January 1996. That shutdown affected only a third as many workers. ...Friday was supposed to be payday for government workers. Around 800,000 people — roughly half of whom are furloughed, half of whom are deemed essential and must work without pay — missed their first paycheck since the shutdown began. Cracks are already starting to show. TSA workers are calling in sick in droves. Low-wage subcontractors are losing wages they'll likely never get back. Even the organization tasked with stabilizing the spike in asylum claims at the southern border has been largely shut down."

And that's just the tip of the iceberg, of course. People who rely on food stamps are going to have to try to find other sources of food if the shutdown doesn't end soon. Federal prisoners are soon going to start feeling the effects of a major barrier to their accessing resources, including food. People who live in federally subsidized housing may start having trouble making rent. The shutdown is already grim for millions of people, and it's going to escalate fast.

Meagan Flynn at the Washington Post: Compelled to Work without Pay, Federal Employees Sue Trump, Accusing Him of Violating 13th Amendment. "A group of federal employees working without pay during the partial government shutdown are likening the predicament to involuntary servitude in a lawsuit filed last week, accusing [Donald] Trump and their bosses of violating the 13th Amendment. ...Employees at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of Prisons, and Federal Aviation Administration have already filed lawsuits against the administration through their respective unions, among others. But this case, filed Wednesday in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, diverges from the others by invoking the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude in the aftermath of the Civil War. The four plaintiffs, who are from Texas and West Virginia, work for the departments of Justice, Agriculture, and Transportation; one is an air traffic controller. The lawsuit also claims violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, among other statutes."

Martin Pengelly and Oliver Laughland at the Guardian: Trump Rejects Lindsey Graham's Proposal to Reopen Government. "On day 24 of the partial government shutdown, the longest in history, Senate Republicans seemed best placed to negotiate a reopening of shuttered federal departments and threatened services and the restoration of pay to 800,000 workers. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has worked assiduously to get close to Donald Trump, said he told the president he should reopen the government temporarily, to pursue a deal. Some Democrats voiced support. But on Monday morning, en route to New Orleans where he is due to address a farming convention, Trump told reporters he had rejected Graham's suggestion. 'I'm not interested,' he said of the senator's proposal. 'I want to get it solved. I don't want to just delay it. I want to get it solved.'"

Ariel Edwards-Levy at the Huffington Post: Most Americans Hold Trump Responsible for Government Shutdown, New Polls Show. (As well they should!) "Most Americans hold [Donald] Trump responsible for the partial government shutdown, according to a slate of just-released surveys, including the fourth wave of HuffPost/YouGov's shutdown tracking poll. The share of Americans who regard the shutdown as “very serious” now stands at a new high of 50 percent... 57 percent of Americans say they hold Trump at least partially responsible for the shutdown, an uptick from the 49 to 51 percent who have said the same in previous weeks."

My profound sympathies to everyone who is already being affected by the shutdown. Please feel welcome and encouraged to leave suggestions in comments for how others can best support those who rely on federal paychecks and/or services.

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John Wagner at the Washington Post: Trump Denies Working for Russia, Calls Past FBI Leaders 'Known Scoundrels'. "Trump on Monday flatly denied that he worked for Russia, and he called FBI officials who launched a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether he did 'known scoundrels' and 'dirty cops.' ...'I never worked for Russia,' Trump said as he prepared to leave for an event in New Orleans, adding: 'Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it's a disgrace that you even asked that question because it's a whole big fat hoax. It's just a hoax.'" ...'He was a bad cop and he was a dirty cop,' Trump said of Comey. The president also attacked former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe as 'a proven liar and was fired from the FBI.' ...Speaking more broadly of FBI leadership at the time, Trump said 'the people doing that investigation were people that have been caught that are known scoundrels. They're ... I guess you could say they're dirty cops.'"

Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani at ThinkProgress: Senate Democrats to Push Vote Blocking Sanctions Relief for Russian Oligarch's Companies. "Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said on Saturday that sanctions on Oleg Deripaska's businesses should remain in place. He announced that he will force a vote disapproving the Trump administration's decision through a 2017 sanctions law, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which requires a simple majority vote. Senate Democrats would need the support of a few Republicans to pass the bill and send it on to the House." This is something Schumer would not have to do if Trump and the Republican leadership weren't beholden to the Kremlin.

Further reminders that it's not just Trump who's compromised and/or voluntarily traitorous...

Betsy Woodruff at the Daily Beast: Kremlin Blessed Russia's NRA Operation, U.S. Intel Report Says. "The Kremlin has long denied that it had anything to do with the infiltration of the National Rifle Association and the broader American conservative movement. A U.S. intelligence report reviewed by The Daily Beast tells a different story. Alexander Torshin, the Russian central bank official who spent years aggressively courting NRA leaders, briefed the Kremlin on his efforts and recommended they participate, according to the report [which also] notes that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was fine with Torshin's courtship of the NRA because the relationships would be valuable if a Republican won the White House in 2016."

In related news... Jessica Schneider and Eli Watkins at CNN: Attorney General Nominee Says Mueller Should Be Allowed to Finish Report. "Attorney General nominee William Barr said that, if confirmed, he would let special counsel Robert Mueller finish his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and believes the results should be made public. 'On my watch, Bob will be allowed to complete his work,' Barr intends to say to Congress at the start of his Senate hearing Tuesday, according to prepared testimony released on Monday. 'I believe it is in the best interest of everyone — the President, Congress, and, most importantly, the American people — that this matter be resolved by allowing the special counsel to complete his work,' he will say."

On its face, that certainly sounds like good news. Problem is, as I have been saying for more than a year now, Mueller's investigation has effectively, even if not intentionally, created loads of time and space for Republicans to so thoroughly consolidate power that they won't have to care about or even let the public see his conclusions, even if those conclusions recommend serious consequences for Trump and/or anyone else in his administration. The more time Mueller gives them, the more time they'll have to keep consolidating power and, not incidentally, stacking the judiciary. Barr, who by the way is old friends with Mueller, knows this. Of course he's happy to give Mueller all the time in the world.

The question for Senate Democrats during Barr's hearing is not whether he'll allow Mueller to finish, but whether he will support public disclosure of his findings, whenever they are delivered.

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[Content Note: Anti-choicery]

Lindsay King-Miller at Rewire.News: The Real Question Now May Not Be How to Save Abortion Rights, but How to Prepare for Their Absence.
Having written about abortion rights and their opponents since the mid-2000s, including for Rewire.News, journalist Robin Marty was quick to dispense with hand-wringing over the future of Roe; as she sees it, an overturn is now inevitable.

Kennedy's retirement "was essentially a signal saying Roe v. Wade was up for grabs," she told me over the phone.

Marty's thread [on the subject] quickly garnered enough attention that she turned it into a HuffPost article, and then a book proposal, and then a book. After a breakneck round of drafting and editing, Handbook for a Post-Roe America will be available January 15.

...Much of what Marty discusses will not be new to those already involved in pro-choice organizing, but for people who have never considered the possibility of a world without Roe, her analysis is accessible without oversimplifying. She separates the feasible from the counterproductive: "Yes, buying a bunch of [emergency contraception] feels like a really proactive way to stick it to Trump and the rest of the anti-abortion politicians. But remember, most EC has a shelf life of three to four years, and in some cases the clock may already be ticking."

Throughout the book, Marty also points out the ways in which racism, poverty, and other oppressions restrict access to abortion beyond what is specified in the law. She highlights the importance of a reproductive justice framework that "goes far beyond just reproductive health and rights to highlight the intersections of race, class, gender, socioeconomic status, immigration status, religion, and the other intersections of women and people's lives."

...As reproductive rights organizers have insisted for generations, Handbook points out that making abortion illegal "does not stop people from seeking it, it only divides them into those who have the resources to find a safe abortion where it is legal, and those who attempt illegal abortions with a variety of success." And despite the specter of wire coat-hangers and "back-alley" abortions hanging over any debate about reproductive rights, Marty acknowledges that self-managed abortions, particularly medication abortions, are a safer and more viable option today than in decades past.

Handbook is cautious about emphasizing that it does not offer medical advice, but merely reproduces information that is available elsewhere. "I definitely talked to some lawyers," Marty told me with a laugh. Nonetheless, Marty does offer detailed explanations of various approaches to self-managed abortion, including reprinting a diagram explaining how to make a vacuum aspirator to perform the early abortion procedure called menstrual extraction.

The overall focus of the book, however, is less about preventing or ending unwanted pregnancies than it is about maintaining abortion access wherever possible.
And finally, in partial good news... AP at the Guardian: Judge Blocks Trump Administration Contraception Rule. "A judge in California on Sunday blocked from taking effect in 13 states and Washington D.C. Trump administration rules which would allow more employers to opt out of providing women with no-cost contraception. Judge Haywood Gilliam granted a request for a preliminary injunction by California, 12 other states, and Washington D.C. The plaintiffs sought to prevent the rules from taking effect as scheduled on Monday while a lawsuit against them moved forward. But Gilliam limited the scope of the ruling to the plaintiffs, rejecting their request that he block the rules nationwide."

At least it's something.

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

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