We Resist: Day 762

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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: Putin Openly Threatens U.S.; Trump Is Silent and The Political Press Vows to Be Hot Garbage in 2020.

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

Let's start with some good news!

Alan Pyke at ThinkProgress: Elizabeth Warren's Radical Universal Child Care Idea Aims to Close the Chasm Between Rich and Poor. "The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act would fund a gigantic new network of federally funded but locally managed day-care centers, preschools, and other child care facilities. All children would be welcome — and families earning 200 percent of the federal poverty level or less would pay zero dollars for their kids to participate. Above that earning level, families would pay some share of the cost, but even the wealthiest families would have their fees capped at 7 percent of their income."

This may or may not be good news, depending on your feelings about this dude... Oliver Milman at the Guardian: Jay Inslee, Potential 2020 Contender, on Climate: 'We Need to Blow the Bugle'. "Jay Inslee, the gravel-voiced governor of Washington, is poised to enter the throng of Democrats vying to dislodge Donald Trump as president in the 2020 election. He's made some exploratory moves, visiting Nevada and New Hampshire, and said a definitive decision on running will be taken in 'weeks.' ...Climate change will be the cudgel that Inslee will use in the ballot box fight, an issue he considers perniciously overlooked by America's leading political figures even as the U.S. is tormented by more powerful hurricanes, scorching wildfires, and submerged coastlines. 'We need a fundamental shift in our national priorities. There's too much to risk to belittle climate change,' Inslee said."

And this is just straight-up good news (and let us hope this quickly proliferates beyond NYC). Ayana Byrd at Colorlines: New York City Says Businesses Can't Discriminate Based on Hair. "Although it is often touted as one of the world's most liberal places, New York City can be quite regressive when it comes to Black hair. But now, in response to multiple complaints from women who faced loss of employment because of their kinky strands, the New York City Commission on Human Rights has taken action. New guidelines not only classify texture-based prejudice as racial discrimination — but they also make employers liable for up to a quarter of a million dollars in penalties."

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Shane Harris, Josh Dawsey, and Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post: Trump Grows Frustrated with Coats, Leading Some to Fear He Might Be Fired. "Trump has grown increasingly disenchanted with Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, who has served as the nation's top intelligence official for nearly two years, leading some administration officials to worry he will soon be dismissed, according to people familiar with the matter. The president has never seen Coats as a close or trusted adviser, the people said, but he has become more frustrated with him in recent weeks over public statements that Trump sees as undercutting his policy goals, particularly with respect to reaching a disarmament agreement with North Korea." Fire him, don't fire him, who cares. The person who needs to be removed is Donald Trump. Followed closely by Mike Pence.

Philip Rucker and Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post: 'Enjoy Your Life': Trump Puts New Attorney General in an Awkward Position from the Start. "On William P. Barr's first full day as attorney general, [Donald] Trump singled him out during remarks in the Rose Garden after signing a national emergency declaration aimed at building his long-promised border wall. 'I want to wish our attorney general great luck and speed, and enjoy your life. Bill, good luck,' Trump told him at Friday's ceremony, drawing light laughter from others in attendance, who surely remembered the many ways the president tormented Barr's predecessor, Jeff Sessions. In the days that followed, Trump sent more than a dozen messages to his 58 million Twitter followers reviving his critiques of the Justice Department, which Barr now helms, or the officials who came before him." He knew what he was signing up for.

[Content Note: Homophobia; racism] Matthew Rodriguez at Out: Trump's Plan to Decriminalize Homosexuality Is an Old Racist Tactic.
The Trump administration is set to launch a global campaign to decriminalize homosexuality in dozens of nations where anti-gay laws are still on the books, NBC News reported Monday. While on its surface, the move looks like an atypically benevolent decision by the Trump administration, the details of the campaign belie a different story. Rather than actually being about helping queer people around the world, the campaign looks more like another instance of the right using queer people as a pawn to amass power and enact its own agenda.

...The most telling detail of NBC News' report is that his plan centers homophobic violence in Iran, who NBC News calls the administration's "top geopolitical foe." The plan has reportedly been spearheaded by the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who is also the administration's top-ranked gay official, in response to news that a young gay man was hanged in Iran recently.

...Grennell's sudden interest in Iran's anti-gay laws is strikingly similar to Trump's rhetoric after the 2016 Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida. After the deadly shooting, Trump used the 49 deaths as a way to galvanize support for an anti-Muslim agenda rather than find a way to support LGBTQ+ people. In pushing for immigration restrictions and a Muslim ban, Trump argued, he was the true pro-LGBTQ+ candidate. Rather than honor those who died, Trump used the tragedy as a way to stoke fear among the American people, and Grennell is taking similar actions with Iran — trying to reach an economic goal by painting the administration's opponent as anti-gay.

...The truth is, this is part of an old colonialist handbook. In her essay, "Can the Subaltern Speak?" postcolonial theorist Gayatri Spivak coined the term "White men saving brown women from brown men" to describe the racist, paternalistic process by which colonizing powers would decry the way men in power treated oppressed groups, like women, to justify attacking them. Spivak was referencing the British colonial agenda in India. But Grennell's attack might be a case of white men trying to save brown gay men from brown straight men, to the same end.

There are several signs that this decision is denoted in a colonial sense of paternalism rather than any true altruism. According to the report, the decriminalization campaign is set to begin in Berlin where LGBTQ+ activists from across Europe will meet to hatch a plan that is "mostly concentrated in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean."

That sentence alone should set off several alarm bells. First of all, the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean are huge geopolitical entities. Attitudes toward gay people differ greatly among countries and regions within those entities and attempting to gather a room of European activists on how to deal with queer issues in those regions is the definition of paternalism.
Fucking hell.

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Natasha Korecki at Politico: 'Sustained and Ongoing' Disinformation Assault Targets Dem Presidential Candidates. "A wide-ranging disinformation campaign aimed at Democratic 2020 candidates is already underway on social media, with signs that foreign state actors are driving at least some of the activity. ...A Politico review of recent data extracted from Twitter and from other platforms, as well as interviews with data scientists and digital campaign strategists, suggests that the goal of the coordinated barrage appears to be undermining the nascent candidacies through the dissemination of memes, hashtags, misinformation, and distortions of their positions. But the divisive nature of many of the posts also hints at a broader effort to sow discord and chaos within the Democratic presidential primary."

Evan Halper at the LA Times: Your Phone and TV Are Tracking You, and Political Campaigns Are Listening In. "Welcome to the new frontier of campaign tech — a loosely regulated world in which simply downloading a weather app or game, connecting to Wi-Fi at a coffee shop, or powering up a home router can allow a data broker to monitor your movements with ease, then compile the location information and sell it to a political candidate who can use it to surround you with messages. ...[I]f you have been to a political rally, a town hall, or just fit a demographic a campaign is after, chances are good your movements are being tracked with unnerving accuracy by data vendors on the payroll of campaigns."

Nick Bastone at Business Insider: Google Says the Built-In Microphone It Never Told Nest Users About Was 'Never Supposed to Be a Secret'. "In early February, Google announced that its home security and alarm system Nest Secure would be getting an update. Users, the company said, could now enable its virtual-assistant technology, Google Assistant. The problem: Nest users didn't know a microphone existed on their security device to begin with. The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard, which is the alarm, keypad, and motion-sensor component in the Nest Secure offering, was never disclosed in any of the product material for the device. On Tuesday, a Google representative told Business Insider the company had made an 'error.'"

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

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