We Resist: Day 860

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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: McConnell Says He'd Fill a SCOTUS Vacancy Next Year and Mueller to Make Statement About Russian Interference and Primarily Speaking.

Of course most of the political news today is now focused on Special Counsel Bob Mueller's press statement earlier today — which, by the way, will be followed by a 2:00 pm ET news conference held by House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler. And of course Donald Trump has responded, and it is bad:

Mueller had to have known Trump would declare his lowkey statement as an exoneration. So goddamned frustrating.

Anyway. Here are a few other things in the news today...

Audrey McNamara at the Daily Beast: Russia Likely Conducting Low-Yield Nuke Tests. "Russia has been secretly conducting low-yield nuclear tests in an effort to upgrade its nuclear arsenal, U.S. intelligence agencies believe. According to a Wall Street Journal report out Wednesday, a new U.S. intelligence assessment states this is the first time Moscow has failed in its compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and challenges the Putin government's claims to have adhered to the arms-control accord. 'The United States believes that Russia probably is not adhering to its nuclear testing moratorium in a manner consistent with the 'zero-yield' standard,' Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, the director of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency, plans to say in a Wednesday speech, according to his prepared remarks."

Hey, remember when Trump officially pulled out of the treaty and I wrote that he was doing it "so that Russia can resume expansion of its nuclear arsenal," because the U.S. president is a puppet of the Kremlin? Welp.

The Editorial Board at the Washington Post: Trump Chooses to Give a Gift to MBS and Set a Dangerous New Precedent.
Last month, a bipartisan congressional majority voted against further U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's disastrous intervention in Yemen, which has failed to achieve its aims while helping to produce the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. [Donald] Trump vetoed the resolution, and now he has doubled down on offering unqualified support to the Saudi regime and its allies. On Friday, the State Department notified Congress that it was invoking emergency authority to bypass opposition and complete 22 arms deals to Saudi Arabia and several other countries — including more of the munitions that have been killing civilians in Yemen.

The action was another violation by Mr. Trump of established norms, if not law. The administration's notification did not explain what "emergency" allowed it to use a loophole in the Arms Export Control Act, which gives Congress authority to review weapons sales. Though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited the need for Arab nations "to deter and defend themselves" against Iran, some of the arms being provided will not be available for years, which means they are not relevant to the civil war in Yemen or rising tensions elsewhere in the region.

...To permanently stop the sales, Congress would have had to pass legislation; Mr. Trump could have and should have allowed the review process to play out.

Instead, he has once again ignored congressional authority in order to favor Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who launched the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and who, according to the CIA, probably ordered the murder of [Washington Post journalist Jamal] Khashoggi.

...If the new gift to the crown prince is allowed to stand, Mr. Trump will have established a new precedent: Presidents may sell arms anywhere in the world without congressional review simply by claiming an unspecified emergency.
Jamie Ross at the Daily Beast: Bolton Claims Iran Used Naval Mines to Sabotage Saudi Ships. "John Bolton has claimed the alleged sabotage of Saudi oil tankers this month came from naval mines placed 'almost certainly by Iran.' The claim, which was presented without evidence, was one of three allegations Donald Trump's national security adviser made against Iran when speaking to journalists in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. ...He refused to offer any evidence in blaming Iran for the string of alleged attacks, only offering the sarcastic response: 'Who else would you think is doing it? Somebody from Nepal?'"

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And now for some GOOD news!

Elham Khatami at ThinkProgress: Illinois House Passes One of the Nation's Most Liberal Reproductive Health Bills. "Illinois set itself apart from the slew of states that recently passed anti-choice laws, instead opting to pass a progressive measure that would rescind state abortion restrictions. ...'[The bill] treats abortion care just like any other health care because, quite frankly, that's what it is,' bill sponsor, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D), said on the House floor prior to the final passage vote. 'Reproductive health is about the full spectrum of care… This is not just about abortion.' The measure now moves to the Democratic-controlled Senate, where it is expected to pass. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) has also indicated that he will sign the measure into law should it reach his desk." Yay!

Astead W. Herndon at the New York Times: Can Jaime Harrison End the Democrats' Drought in South Carolina? "Let's begin with the obvious: No Democrat has won a statewide race in South Carolina since 2006. ...Enter Jaime Harrison. Mr. Harrison, the first Black chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party and a former Washington lobbyist, declared his candidacy on Wednesday morning for the U.S. Senate seat held by Lindsey Graham, a Republican who has served three terms." Go get him!

Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Colorado Governor Signs Bill Expanding Drivers' License Access to Undocumented Immigrants. "Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) signed a bill on Tuesday that would give all state residents access to driver's licenses and identification cards, regardless of their immigration status. Under the Colorado Road and Community Safety Act, also known as SB 139, driver's licenses will be made available to all state residents at ten Department of Motor Vehicles offices by July 2020. ...Expanding licenses to nearly a dozen more DMV offices would allow thousands of undocumented immigrants who work and raise families in Colorado to live out of the shadows. 'No matter where you come from, you should be able to drive to work and take your kids to school without fear,' state Sen. Dominick Moreno (D) said Tuesday." Yes!

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[Content Note: White supremacy; gun threat; video including images of gun may autoplay at link] Antonia Noori Farzan at the Washington Post: A Black Couple Were Having a Picnic, Then a White Campground Manager Pulled Out Her Gun. "Franklin and Jessica Richardson had planned for a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. They would spend Sunday picnicking on the sandy shores of Oktibbeha County Lake, a popular fishing destination on the outskirts of Starkville, Miss., and maybe even rent a cabin for the night. Instead, within minutes of their arrival, the young Black couple were facing down a white campground manager who pulled out a gun and told them to leave. ...Franklin, a sergeant in the Army National Guard, had recently returned from a nine-month deployment in the Middle East, according to WCBI. 'It's kind of crazy,' he told the station. 'You go over there and don't have a gun pointed at you, and you come back home and the first thing that happens is you have a gun pointed at you.'" Rage seethe boil.

[CN: Racism] catherine lizette gonzalez at Colorlines: Black Census Project Reveals Electorate's Concerns — and Power. "Black Futures Lab just released the results of the largest survey of Black people in the United States since Reconstruction. The Black Census Project, developed in partnership with Color of Change, Demos, SocioanalĂ­tica Research, and 30 grassroots organizations, surveyed more than 30,000 Black people across the country to delve deep into their political ideas and realities. Among the sampled group, there are communities who are often missing or underrepresented in traditional surveys: people experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ+ people, Black immigrants, and Black conservatives and Republicans. Black women made up 60 percent of respondents due to the critical role they play in political and electoral organizing. ...Although the respondents reported a high level of electoral participation, more than half of them said that politicians do not care about them or their interests."

[CN: Racism; climate change] Yessenia Funes at Earther: The First Tribal Climate Emergency Declaration Is Here — and It Won't Be the Last.
In the Arctic, people don't have time to wait around for others to take action to stop climate change. This region of the world is warming faster than everywhere else, so they're feeling the impacts of the global fever our planet is running much quicker than the rest of us. That's, in part, why an indigenous community in Canada's Yukon territory recently declared a climate emergency. In fact, they are the first indigenous peoples to do so — and that's major.

Members of the Vuntut Gwichin First Nation live in the village of Old Crow, where Chief Dana Tizya-Tramm declared the emergency May 19. The UK became the first country to declare a climate emergency earlier this month, and local governments from Australia to the Czech Republic have followed suit. These declarations don't carry the same weight that an official emergency declaration after a disaster would — those actually come with governmental funding. These are largely symbolic, but they send a key message: The time to act is now.

"This is a declaration that should permeate the spheres of industry, political leadership, and the people," Tizya-Tramm told Earther.

The declaration, titled "Yeendoo Diinehdoo Ji'heezrit Nits'oo Ts'o' Nan He'aa," translates directly to "After Our Time, How Will the World Be," in the native Gwichin language. It recognizes the role traditional indigenous knowledge can play in the effort to curb climate change. It also notes the Gwichin people's concern that their voices are going largely unheard in the governmental response to this crisis. The declaration reads:
"Affirming the right of Indigenous peoples to self-determination, including Indigenous rights related to lands, waters, and resources, and the imperative that Indigenous peoples be central to every effort for mitigating and adapting to climate change at local to international scales."
To Tizya-Tramm's knowledge, no other tribal nations have declared such an emergency. But he's hoping more will now.
The time to act has been now for 20 years. Now now now.

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

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