We Resist: Day 861

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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: Trump Admits Russia Helped Him Get Elected and Primarily Speaking and Mike Pence Is a Terrifying Menace.

Here are some more things in the news today, and I'm going to start with some GOOD resistance news!

Lydia Smith at Pink News: Trans Activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera to Get New York Monument. "Transgender activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera will be commemorated with a monument in the city of New York. ...The two transgender women of colour led the uprising against homophobic police raids, an era-defining moment in the struggle for LGBT equality. Rivera and Johnson also later co-founded the organisation STAR, or Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries, a group dedicated to helping homeless young drag queens and trans women of colour. The monument will mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and it is proposed for the Ruth Wittenberg Triangle in Greenwich Village, the New York Times reported. It will also be one of the world's first monuments dedicated to transgender people." Woot!

Audrey McNamara at the Daily Beast: New Hampshire Abolishes Death Penalty. "New Hampshire lawmakers voted Thursday to abolish the death penalty, making it the last state in New England to end capital punishment. The vote overrides a veto from the state's Republican governor, Chris Sununu, and makes it the 21st state nationwide to abandon the practice." Yay!

[Content Note: Gun violence] Kay Wicker at ThinkProgress: Shannon Watts Says the Gun Control Movement Is Finally Outmaneuvering the NRA. "What I've learned over the last six years is that Congress is not where this work begins; it's where it ends, like most social issues in this country. When Sandy Hook happened, we didn't have a political movement with any power. We do now. In just six years. Those wins on the ground will eventually point Congress and the president, whoever that [ends up being], in the right direction. ...We out-maneuvered the NRA at the midterm elections, for the first time ever. And that sends a strong a cultural signal." Hell yeah.

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Jamie Ross at the Daily Beast: Trump Admits Russia Helped Elect Him — Then Does a U-Turn. "Donald Trump finally admitted that Russia helped elected him president—before immediately retracting it. In an ill-tempered series of tweets sent Thursday morning, he said he 'had nothing to do with Russia helping me to get elected.' With reporters jumping on the fresh admission as Trump appeared on the White House lawn almost immediately afterward, the president contradicted himself, saying: 'Russia did not help me get elected... Russia didn't help me at all.'" Okay, player.

Impeach. Him. Now.

One of the arguments I have made for impeachment is that it would be a much more significant a political story than a standard Congressional investigation — which might begin to penetrate the bubble in which Trump's base resides. And that bubble is thick:

Impeach. Him. Now.

Joyce White Vance at USA Today: If Only We Had Heard from Robert Mueller Before William Barr's Spin. "If Mueller's statement Wednesday had been the public's introduction to his report, the conversation about it would have been framed in a very different light, far more damaging to Trump than Barr's were. ...Mueller's comments Wednesday should have been the first public characterization of his findings on obstruction of justice. ...The public's understanding of the report is tainted by Barr's initial comments. It is difficult to change first impressions." Yup.

And it's almost like that is the objective, especially given what vague weaksauce Mueller's comments were, anyhow.

Charles M. Blow at the New York Times: Democrats, Do Your Damned Duty! "What the hell is it going to take, Democrats?! What evidence and impetus would compel you to do the job the Constitution, patriotism, and morality dictate? What is it going to take to make you initiate an impeachment inquiry? Your slow walking of this issue and your specious arguments about political calculations are pushing you dangerously close to a tragic, historic dereliction of duty, one that could do irreparable damage to the country and the Congress."

Absolutely. And one other point I will make about the need to launch impeachment hearings: If the Democrats fail to do so, it won't be Donald Trump and the Republican Party who exclusively bear the blame for this execrable mess. Unless Congressional Democrats want to share that mantle of shame, they'd better get to getting. Now.

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Alex Marquardt and Zachary Cohen at CNN: U.S. Intelligence Partners Wary of Barr's Russia Review.
Key allies who share intelligence with the United States could soon be dragged into the middle of Attorney General Bill Barr's politically-charged Justice Department review of how the Russia investigation began.

[Donald] Trump has said he wants Barr to look into the role key intelligence partners, including the United Kingdom and Australia, played in the origins of Russia probe. He has said he could raise the issue with the British Prime Minister Theresa May during his state visit next week and suggested he may ask her about his accusation that Britain spied on his 2016 presidential campaign.

In describing the scope of Barr's mission to declassify and study the pre-election Obama-era intelligence, among several other topics, Trump told reporters, "I hope he looks at the UK and I hope he looks at Australia and I hope he looks at Ukraine."

Meanwhile, the collusion continues to happen right out in the open:

Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: A Dead Man Just Revealed the Trump Administration's Plans to Rig Elections for White Republicans. "[Dr. Thomas Hofeller, a Republican master in the dark arts of political mapmaking who passed away last summer] was previously believed to be a minor figure in the Trump administration's efforts to rig the census, until his estranged daughter turned over the contents of Hofeller's hard drives to the voting rights group Common Cause. Hofeller died last summer. Among other things, the documents on Hofeller's hard drive revealed that he 'played a significant role in orchestrating the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Decennial Census in order to create a structural electoral advantage for, in his own words, 'Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites.''"

Luke O'Neil at the Guardian: U.S. Energy Department Rebrands Fossil Fuels as 'Molecules of Freedom'. "Mark W Menezes, the U.S. Undersecretary of Energy, bestowed a peculiar honorific on our continent's natural resources, dubbing it 'freedom gas' in a release touting the DoE's approval of increased exports of natural gas produced by a Freeport LNG terminal off the coast of Texas. 'Increasing export capacity from the Freeport LNG project is critical to spreading freedom gas throughout the world by giving America's allies a diverse and affordable source of clean energy,' he said. The concept of 'freedom gas' may seem amorphous, but it's actually being measured down to the smallest unit. 'With the U.S. in another year of record-setting natural gas production, I am pleased that the Department of Energy is doing what it can to promote an efficient regulatory system that allows for molecules of U.S. freedom to be exported to the world,' said Steven Winberg."

I don't even know.

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Eve Johnson at Reuters: White House Wanted USS John McCain 'out of sight' During Trump Visit. "Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was unaware of any effort to move the USS John S. McCain that was stationed near the site of his recent speech in Japan. A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to Reuters that an initial request had been made to keep the John McCain out of sight during Trump's speech but was scrapped by senior Navy officials."

Carla Babb at Voice of America: Shanahan Says He Did Not Okay Efforts to Keep USS John McCain 'out of Sight'. "Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan said Thursday he did not authorize and was not even aware of a White House directive to have the U.S. Navy warship USS John S. McCain 'out of sight' when [Donald] Trump visited Japan. 'I would never dishonor the memory of a great American patriot like Senator [John] McCain,' Shanahan told reporters traveling with him aboard a U.S. military aircraft en route to Singapore. 'I'd never disrespect the young men and women who crew that ship.' During a visit to Indonesia earlier, Shanahan told reporters: 'What I read this morning was the first I heard about it.' He said he is asking his chief of staff to look into the matter."

Olivia Messer at the Daily Beast: Trump: Whoever Ordered USS John S. McCain Hidden Was 'Well-Meaning'. "During a gaggle with reporters on the White House lawn, Trump said, 'I wasn't a fan, but I would never do a thing like that. Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn't like him. They were well-meaning, I will say.' Minutes later, Trump picked the topic back up again, noting that whoever made the request 'thought they were doing me a favor because they know I am not a fan of John McCain.' He added, 'John McCain killed health care for the Republican Party, and he killed health care for the nation... I disagreed with John McCain on the Middle East. He helped George Bush to make a very bad decision of going to the Middle East. So I wasn't a fan of John McCain and I never will be. But certainly I couldn't care less whether there's a boat named after his father.'"

This is at once an incredibly stupid story and an incredibly important one, because it lies at the heart of Trump's brittle authoritarianism, and the lengths to which people who fear his power will go in order to accommodate it. When that includes the military, it's particularly frightening.

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[CN: Anti-choicery; war on agency. Covers whole section.]

Amanda Michelle Gomez at ThinkProgress: Why States Are Always Dangerously Close to Losing Their Last Abortion Clinics. "It's challenging for clinics to stay open. The red tape makes it hard, with clinics — depending on the state — having to meet standards comparable to surgical centers and ensure the room where the abortion takes place is a specific width. There are also financial obstacles, with insurance not always covering abortion services, so clinics aren't reimbursed. The number of abortion providers fell from 780 in 2017 to 755 in 2018 nationwide, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and University of California, Berkeley."

Jessica Glenza at the Guardian: Revealed: Women's Fertility App Is Funded by Anti-Abortion Campaigners. "A popular women's health and fertility app sows doubt about birth control, features claims from medical advisers who are not licensed to practice in the U.S., and is funded and led by anti-abortion, anti-gay Catholic campaigners, a Guardian investigation has found. The Femm app, which collects personal information about sex and menstruation from users, has been downloaded more than 400,000 times since its launch in 2015, according to developers. It has users in the U.S., the EU, Africa, and Latin America, its operating company claims."

Imani Gandy at Rewire.News: When It Comes to Birth Control and Eugenics, Clarence Thomas Gets It All Wrong.
In Thomas' esteemed opinion, bans like the one at issue in Box "promote a State's compelling interest in preventing abortion from becoming a tool of modern-day eugenics." To make his claim, Thomas conflates eugenics, which is an effort to "improve" the population by controlling who has kids and who doesn't, with a choice that an individual pregnant person makes to terminate a pregnancy. They are not equivalent.

Eugenics is about restricting someone's reproduction. As Amanda Stevenson — who is a professor of sociology at University of Colorado Boulder and a family planning enthusiast — explained to me in an email, "eugenics is an ideology advocating for population-wide policies aimed at changing who has kids in order to 'improve' the population. It's about removing or constraining individual reproductive choices." It's not about the choices individuals make about their own reproductive autonomy.

But that doesn't seem to matter to Thomas; he goes all in.

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

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