We Resist: Day 753

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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: Primarily Speaking and So, This Mueller Investigation...

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

[Content Note: Climate change; animal harm] Damian Carrington at the Guardian: Plummeting Insect Numbers 'Threaten Collapse of Nature'.
The world's insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a "catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems," according to the first global scientific review.

More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds, and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are easier to study. But insects are by far the most varied and abundant animals, outweighing humanity by 17 times. They are "essential" for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators, and recyclers of nutrients.

Insect population collapses have recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the review strongly indicates the crisis is global. The researchers set out their conclusions in unusually forceful terms for a peer-reviewed scientific paper: "The [insect] trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting [on] life forms on our planet."

"Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades," they write. "The repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least."
This is so dire that it would even throw a wrench into the OligArk works. Nobody, I don't care how wealthy you are, is going to come of a mass extinction alive and thriving.

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Liz Stark at CNN: Trump to Sign Executive Order Launching Artificial Intelligence Initiative. "Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Monday launching the American Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiative, a senior administration official told reporters in a background call over the weekend. The initiative outlines 'bold, decisive actions to ensure that AI continues to be fueled by American ingenuity, reflects American values, and is applied for the benefit of the American people,' the official said."

I've noted many times that Trump doesn't GAF about automation stealing U.S. jobs, and this is how the administration is addressing that concern: "The official also sought to allay concerns that investments in new AI technology may displace American workers, noting that the administration is 'very cognizant of' the issue and has already developed programming like apprenticeships and career special education programs to address it."

Oh cool, that sounds great. Obviously we're all aware of how splendidly telling people to take out student loans to go back to school or working as unpaid interns and apprentices in a new career has worked out for the last decade. For fuck's sake.

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Ryan Pickrell at Business Insider: U.S. Navy Warships Just Challenged China with a South China Sea Sail-By Operation, and Beijing Is Furious. "Two Arleigh Burke-class destroyers — the USS Spruance and the USS Preble — conducted a freedom-of-navigation operation on Monday, sailing within 12 nautical miles of Chinese outposts in the contested Spratly Islands. The purpose was 'to challenge excessive maritime claims and preserve access to the waterways,' as well as to show that the U.S. 'will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows,' Cmdr. Clay Doss, a U.S. Navy 7th Fleet spokesman, told CNN. Beijing sharply criticized the operation. A spokeswoman for the Chinese foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, accused the U.S. of entering Chinese waters without permission and engaging in provocations that threaten China's sovereignty, the South China Morning Post reported." Terrific.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Catalin Cimpanu at ZDNet: Russia to Disconnect from the Internet as Part of a Planned Test. "Russian authorities and major internet providers are planning to disconnect the country from the internet as part of a planned experiment, Russian news agency RosBiznesKonsalting (RBK) reported last week. The reason for the experiment is to gather insight and provide feedback and modifications to a proposed law introduced in the Russian Parliament in December 2018. A first draft of the law mandated that Russian internet providers should ensure the independence of the Russian internet space (Runet) in the case of foreign aggression to disconnect the country from the rest of the internet." So, guess what Russia is planning everyone!

[CN: Nativism; border militarization] Ted Hesson at Politico: The Border Patrol's Recruiting Crisis. "Border Patrol's struggles to recruit and keep agents present a seldom-discussed impediment to Trump's efforts to lock down the U.S.-Mexico border — one that the Trump White House is reluctant to acknowledge. ...Shortly after taking office, the president signed an executive order that called for the hiring of 5,000 agents. More recently, his administration pushed a proposal that calls for 2,750 more agents, law enforcement officers and staff. But Border Patrol can't hire enough people to fill jobs that were available before." Even after they lowered hiring standards. Yikes.

[CN: Nativism] Ari Honarvar at Rewire.News: As Government Continues 'Dumping' Migrants in Border Cities, Activists Organize. "The Trump administration has never hidden its animosity toward asylum seekers. Trump's zero-tolerance policy is a recent example of this, one that set off a ripple effect that continues today. ...[A]sylum-seeking families have been released onto the streets of U.S. border towns without food, instructions, or means to contact sponsors. Immigration authorities released 1,500 asylum seekers in El Paso in one week alone, according to USA Today. Immigration rights volunteers in other border towns such as San Diego have been experiencing a similar trend. Kate Clark, director of immigration services at Jewish Family Service of San Diego, a partner of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, told Rewire.News, 'Vulnerable [asylum-seeking migrant] families have no local support or resources, and no idea what to do next.'"

[CN: Nativism; border militarization] Jazmine Ulloa and Taryn Luna at the LA Times: Slamming Trump's 'Political Theater,' California Gov. Gavin Newsom Pulls National Guard from Border.
As a second partial government shutdown looms in Washington over border discussions, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday will order the removal of roughly 360 National Guard members from California's southern boundary with Mexico, repudiating [Donald] Trump's characterization of a recent influx of Central American refugees and migrants as a national security crisis.

The announcement comes just one day before the governor delivers his first State of the State address Tuesday, setting the stage for Newsom to counter Trump's State of the Union address from last week.

In released excerpts of his speech, Newsom says he is giving the National Guard a new mission so that troops would not take part in the White House's "political theater" and instead "refocus on the real threats facing our state." The governor said he would sign a general order to redeploy the troops to support wildfire prevention efforts and expand operations to counter drugs and cartels across California, with a group of forces trained in spotting narcotics to be stationed at the state's international points of entry.

"The Border 'emergency' is a manufactured crisis," Newsom is expected to say Tuesday, according to prepared remarks provided by the governor's office. "This is our answer to the White House: No more division, xenophobia, or nativism."

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[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Heather Long at the Washington Post: Millions of Americans Could Be Stunned as Their Tax Refunds Shrink. "Millions of Americans filling out their 2018 taxes will probably be surprised to learn that their refunds will be less than expected or that they owe money to the Internal Revenue Service after years of receiving refunds. People have already taken to social media, using the hashtag #GOPTaxScam, to vent their anger. Many blame [Donald] Trump and the Republicans for shrinking refunds. Some on Twitter even said they wouldn't vote for Trump again after seeing their refunds slashed." LOLsob when are conservatives going to learn that GOP tax bills are wealth redistribution upwards schemes that steal from the not-rich to give to the rich? WAKE THE FUCK UP.

Holly Yan and Sara Weisfeldt at CNN: Denver Teachers Are Now on Strike, But 92,000 Kids Still Have to Go to School. "Fifteen months of simmering frustration boiled over Monday as Denver teachers went on strike. ...The Denver Classroom Teachers Association and Denver Public Schools made a last-ditch effort to settle their differences over the weekend. But the talks went nowhere, meaning up to 92,000 students will go to school without their teachers indefinitely. 'We're hoping for a quick solution to this whole thing,' DCTA lead negotiator Rob Gould said Monday. 'We're hoping (school district officials) come to the table tomorrow ready to listen so we can get back to work. Because our teachers want to be in the classrooms with their kids.' The big sticking point involves teachers' base salaries."

[CN: Homophobia] Savas Abadsidis at Towleroad: The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act Strikes Back and It Could Be a Huge Legal Headache for Marriage Equality. "Three years ago, Tennessee introduced a bill that would 'defend natural marriage between one man and one woman,' with the goal of barring same-sex marriages. The bill failed in the Tennessee House of Representatives during its last session, but state Republicans reintroduced the Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act in a new effort to prevent government officials from recognizing same-sex marriages. ...'The far right's dream scenario is this would go back before the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court would accept it,' said Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ rights advocacy group that has previously opposed the bill, according to The Tennessean."

[CN: Racism; blackface imagery] G. B. Saunders at Colorlines: The Real Cost of Being the POC 'in the Room' Required to Shut Down Obviously Racist Products. "A common response to failed products like the Gucci blackface sweater is that there should have been a Black person 'in the room' to save the company from marketing racism. We need to talk what it takes to get into that room and the cost of staying there." This is a really good piece. Also, I hate that whole narrative for the additional reason that every person of every race should understand why the fuck blackface is a problem in the year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and nineteen. JFC.

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

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