We Resist: Day 747

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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: Fox, Henhouse, Etc. and Bernie Sanders, What Are You Even Doing Now?

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

[Content Note: Racism; racist imagery] In case you're wondering where I stand on the Ralph Northam debacle, he should fucking resign. Not only that: He never should have run in the first place. Honestly, it shows me how not sorry someone is for having been brazenly, shamelessly racist when they fail to consider the damage it will do to people targeted by that shit to have to see that image over and over and over if/when it's inevitability dragged up and made public. I can only imagine how much it hurts a Black person who voted for him (no less the Lt. Governor) to see those ugly pictures and words. And he didn't care about that potential harm. Asshole. Resign.

Azeen Ghorayshi, Jason Leopold, Anthony Cormier, and Emma Loop at BuzzFeed: Secret Files Show How Trump Moscow Talks Unfolded While Trump Heaped Praise on Putin. "As a candidate, Donald Trump had a lot of praise for Vladimir Putin — and no business, he kept insisting, in Russia. These documents tell a different story. ...The documents, many of which have been exclusively obtained by BuzzFeed News, reveal that — despite Trump's claim that the development was never more than a passing notion — the effort to get the tower built was long-running, detail-oriented, and directly entwined with the ups and downs of his campaign."

Rosalind S. Helderman and Michael Kranish at the Washington Post: Federal Prosecutors Issue Sweeping Subpoena for Documents from Trump Inaugural Committee, a Sign of a Deepening Criminal Probe.
Federal prosecutors in New York on Monday delivered a sweeping request for documents related to donations and spending by [Donald] Trump's inaugural committee, a sign of a deepening criminal investigation into activities related to the nonprofit organization.

A wide-ranging subpoena served on the inaugural committee Monday seeks an array of documents, including all information related to inaugural donors, vendors, contractors, bank accounts of the inaugural committee, and any information related to foreign contributors to the committee, according to a copy reviewed by The Washington Post.

Only U.S. citizens and legal residents can legally donate to a committee established to finance presidential inaugural festivities.

...The subpoena — issued by the U.S. attorney's office in the Southern District of New York — indicates that prosecutors are investigating crimes related to conspiracy to defraud the United States, mail fraud, false statements, wire fraud, and money laundering.
Sounds about right.

Emma Loop, Anthony Cormier, Jason Leopold, Tanya Kozyreva, and John Templon at BuzzFeed: A Lobbyist at the Trump Tower Meeting Received Half a Million Dollars in Suspicious Payments. "A Russian-born lobbyist who attended the controversial Trump Tower meeting in June 2016 received a series of suspicious payments totaling half a million dollars before and after the encounter. Documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News show that Rinat Akhmetshin, a Soviet military officer turned Washington lobbyist, deposited large, round-number amounts of cash in the months preceding and following the meeting, where a Russian lawyer offered senior Trump campaign officials dirt on Hillary Clinton. The lobbyist also received a large payment that bank investigators deemed suspicious from Denis Katsyv, whose company Prevezon Holdings was accused by the U.S. Justice Department of laundering the proceeds of a $230 million Russian tax fraud." JFC.

Niels Lesniewski at Roll Call: Donald Trump Is Ignoring the Law Today — and No One Really Cares. "The fiscal 2020 budget request was due Monday, even though the fiscal 2019 appropriations process has still not been finished. ...A 1990 budget law says that Monday was the deadline for the request, but there is no penalty for not hitting the target date. It has been missed throughout history, and Congress has often failed to follow federal budget deadlines as well. ...A senior OMB official said in a statement last week that the budget would not be sent to Capitol Hill on schedule. 'We will not be transmitting the president's budget next week,' the official said Friday." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Oh well!

Nancy Cook at Politico: The Plan to Keep Trump's Taxes Hidden. "The new House Democratic majority is widely expected to test one of Donald Trump's ultimate red lines by demanding the president's personal tax returns — and the Trump administration has been gearing up for months to fight back hard. Trump's Treasury Department is readying plans to drag the expected Democratic request for Trump's past tax filings, which he has closely guarded, into a quagmire of arcane legal arguments. At the same time, officials intend to publicly cast the request as an nakedly partisan exercise. The two-pronged scheme was developed by a handful of top political appointees and lawyers inside the department — with the ultimate goal of keeping the president's past returns private, according to four people familiar with the administration's approach." Of course.

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[CN: Nativism; white supremacy. Covers entire section.]

Staff at AP: Pentagon Sending Another 3,750 Troops to Southwest Border. "The Pentagon said Sunday it will send 3,750 more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border to put up another 150 miles of concertina wire and provide other support for Customs and Border Protection. The additions will bring the total number of active-duty troops on the border to 4,350. The announcement is in line with what Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan had said on Tuesday when he provided estimates for the next phase of a military mission that has grown in size and length."

Nicole Lafond at TPM: Trump: If No Physical Wall, Then I'll 'Build a Human Wall'. "Trump on Tuesday announced he was sending additional military personnel to the border to combat the supposed 'tremendous numbers of people' entering the U.S. from Mexico, by tweeting that he would 'build a human wall' if he couldn't get the physical one he's gunning for. The tweet comes just hours before his State of the Union address, where he's expected to harp on what his administration is calling a 'crisis' at the southern border and reignite his push for border wall funding... 'Tremendous numbers of people are coming up through Mexico in the hopes of flooding our Southern Border. We have sent additional military. We will build a Human Wall if necessary. If we had a real Wall, this would be a non-event!'"

Shani Saxon at Colorlines: Asylum Seekers Face Danger in Mexico as U.S. Begins Deportations. "The Trump administration is potentially exposing migrants to grave risks with its new policy of sending asylum-seeking migrants to Mexico while they wait for a hearing in U.S. courts — a program now being referred to as the Migration Protection Protocols. Some migrants run the risk of 'kidnapping or death' once they are deported to Mexican border cities, according to a report in Reuters. The city of Reynosa in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, for example, is often where cartel members battle to the death over their stake in the lucrative drug game. ...Reynosa's mayor, Maki Ortiz, tells Reuters it will be almost impossible to to protect Central American migrants in his troubled city. 'We don't have the capacity. We don't have the resources, the infrastructure, or the budget for them,' he warned."

Julie Small at KQED News: ACLU Demands Government Account for Thousands More Separated Migrant Children.
In a court declaration filed Friday, Jonathan White, a commander with the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps who is leading HHS's efforts to reunify separated families, said his team had identified all the separated children in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, part of HHS, as of June 26, 2018. That's the date U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw issued an injunction [in the class action lawsuit Ms. L vs. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to stop family separations and ordered the government to promptly reunite children with their parents.

...White said in his declaration that the total number of children his agency was responsible for returning to their families is 2,816.

...But last month, the inspector general for HHS issued a watchdog report, which found that thousands of additional children may have been taken from their parents at the border beginning in 2017, "before the accounting required by the court."

Sabraw asked the government to respond to the inspector general's report, which states, "Public attention has focused largely on children separated from their parents who are covered by a widely reported federal court order. But, more children, over a longer period of time, have been separated from their parents or guardians and referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) for care."

Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing plaintiff parents in the Ms. L case, say the government should be held accountable for the earlier separations — and ensure that all those children are also returned to their parents.

"We believe that even if the family were separated and the children were released from U.S. custody before June 26, those families should be included," said Lee Gelernt, the lead attorney in the case.

"What we suspect is that many parents believed that the only way to get their child out of government custody was to agree to allow the child to be sent to a foster family or some other sponsor ... And we have no idea if those parents have now gotten their children back or not."

But in his declaration, White said it was unfeasible to try to account for children who had been separated from parents and then released by ORR prior to the June injunction.

...Even if it were possible to locate previously separated children, White stated that HHS lacks the authority to take a child back from a sponsor in order to reunite the child with their parent. White, a social worker, warned that doing so would "destabilize" the child's environment and could be traumatic to the children.

"The option more consistent with the best interest of the child," he asserted, "would be to allow the child to remain with their sponsor and focus instead on the ongoing work of reunifying parents with separated children presently in ORR care."

The ACLU's Gelernt called that answer horrific.

"It can't be that we can't account for thousands of children who were separated just because it may be too much work," Gelernt said.

"The Trump administration's response is a shocking concession that it can't easily find thousands of children it ripped from parents, and doesn't even think it's worth the time to locate each of them."
Not only is the Trump administration confessing that it can't find children they forcibly separated from their parents and doesn't even give a fuck, but they're trying to cloak their not giving a fuck in a veneer of caring about those children, asserting that it's the people who want families reunited who will be "traumatizing" children. Fucking hell, the unmitigated chutzpah! Goddammit, I hate this regime.

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Mark Joseph Stern at Slate: Texas Republicans Are Lying About Voter Fraud to Justify a Massive, Racist Voter Purge. "On Jan. 25, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton tweeted a 'VOTER FRAUD ALERT' that quickly rocketed around the internet. Texas Secretary of State David Whitley, Paxton asserted, had discovered that approximately '95,000 individuals identified' as non-citizens are registered to vote in the state, '58,000 of whom have voted' in Texas elections. Whitley promptly urged counties to begin purging these 95,000 people from their voter rolls, demanding proof of citizenship within 30 days or canceling their registrations. Donald Trump joined the action, tweeting on Jan. 27 that Whitley's numbers 'are just the tip of iceberg.' Voter fraud, Trump wrote, 'is rampant. Must be stopped. Strong voter ID!' Within days of Paxton's alarming tweet, Whitley had substantially backtracked. The secretary of state quietly informed county officials that a 'significant number' of people on the list are actually citizens. ...Despite this obvious defect, Whitley has pushed ahead with the purge."

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Howard Schultz Doesn't Like the Term 'Billionaire,' Says He and Mega-Rich Should Be Referred to as 'People of Means'. "Howard Schultz, the former Starbucks CEO with a net worth of $3.4 billion, who last week announced he's exploring a presidential run as a 'centrist independent' (which would likely hand Trump a second term), told CNBC that he doesn't like the term 'billionaire' and would like the mega-rich to be called 'people of means.'" Shut the fuck up, you human dragon.

And finally, in potential good news... Amy Littlefield at Rewire.News: California Could Be First to Ban Medically Unnecessary Surgeries on Intersex Babies.
A California lawmaker has introduced a landmark bill to ban doctors from performing medically unnecessary surgeries on intersex children until the child can give informed consent.

As many as 1.7 percent of people are born with chromosomal or anatomical differences that put them outside the typical definition of "male" or "female." About one in 2,000 babies is different enough that doctors may recommend surgery, but there's no comprehensive U.S. database tracking the procedures. While some surgeries are medically necessary — to allow babies to pass urine, for example — others are performed to "normalize" genitalia.

The California bill, introduced last week by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), outlines a process for intersex minors to give written consent to surgery after being informed of the risks, benefits, and alternatives. It allows surgeons to operate on intersex children without their consent if the operation cannot be safely deferred.

"We believe that people should be able to make their own decisions about their own body," Wiener said at a news conference Monday. "They certainly can't make that decision as a baby."
Absolutely. Center consent.

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

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