We Resist: Day 874

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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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Late yesterday and earlier today by me: Donald Trump Is Scared of Elizabeth Warren and The Trump Regime's Concentration Camps and Primarily Speaking.

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

Sue Halpern at the New Yorker: Mitch McConnell Is Making the 2020 Election Open Season for Hackers.
On May 21st, four commissioners who compose the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (E.A.C.) were asked to attest, in Congress, that they agreed with the findings of the special counsel Robert Mueller that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. It was a strange and oddly suspenseful moment in what might have been a routine oversight hearing of the House Administration Committee.

The E.A.C. is a small, relatively obscure agency, established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (H.A.V.A.), an election-modernization bill that was passed in response to the disastrous failure of voting equipment during the 2000 Presidential election. H.A.V.A. allocated over three billion dollars to the states to upgrade their election systems and authorized the E.A.C. to distribute it. The E.A.C. was also mandated to advise election officials and oversee the testing and certification of voting and vote-tabulation machines. Seventeen months away from the next Presidential election, it could be leading the charge against future cyberattacks. It is not.

Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat who sits on the Intelligence Committee, predicts that the 2020 election will make what happened in 2016 "look like small potatoes." "It's not just the Russians," he told me. "There are hostile foreign actors who are messing with two hundred years' worth of really precious history." Wyden recently reintroduced the PAVE Act, a wish list of election-security provisions that failed to get through the Senate last year. The measure includes the use of hand-marked paper ballots and a prohibition on wireless modems and other kinds of Internet connectivity, all of which have been advocated by computer scientists and other election experts for years.

But with the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, making it clear that he will not advance any election-security legislation, the PAVE Act, and also other election-security bills, many of which have bipartisan support, will languish. McConnell has made 2020 open season for hackers aiming to undermine our election system. The E.A.C. has made this easier, by displaying not only intransigence and institutional weaknesses but also a willful disregard of the threats facing our elections.
Jessica Brandt at Slate: How Not to Handle Security Threats to Our Elections.
In the weeks before the 2016 presidential election, a Florida company known as VR Systems fell victim to a Russian spear-phishing campaign. Most Americans have never heard of VR Systems, but it runs poll books — the registries that election workers use to track who is eligible to vote and who has already voted — for counties in eight states around the country.

The hackers used the information they gathered from VR Systems to breach two of the Florida county election systems the company managed. And three years later, new reporting suggests that VR Systems may also have inadvertently put Russians in a position to alter voter rolls in North Carolina, another swing state, on the eve of the 2016 presidential election.
Meanwhile... Matt Zapotosky and John Wagner at the Washington Post: Trump Asserts Executive Privilege to Shield Documents on Census Citizenship Question. And as Danielle McLean at ThinkProgress noted in a piece I shared in yesterday's We Resist thread, the Trump Regime "has done everything possible to ensure that minority populations are left uncounted, giving Republicans a huge edge during the 2021 congressional and state legislative redistricting process."

I cannot emphasize this strongly enough: Pinning all of our hopes for crawling out of this mess on the 2020 election is aggressively foolish. With Mitch McConnell at the helm, the Republican Party is doing every goddamn thing it can to rig this election. And, if all their efforts fail, Donald Trump will almost certainly assert that there was election fraud and refuse to leave office. We have to do something to prevent tha outcome now.

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Betsy Woodruff at the Daily Beast: White House Will Preview Mueller Evidence Before Nadler Review. "When House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced on Monday that he had reached an agreement with the Justice Department to view some of the underlying evidence behind Special Counsel's Robert Mueller's report, the announcement was hailed as a major breakthrough for the Democratic Party's oversight efforts. But Nadler may get less than expected. That's because the Trump White House will work with the Justice Department to decide what exactly the committee gets to see, two senior administration officials told The Daily Beast. And, so far, the White House has not waived executive privilege regarding any of Mueller's materials, the two officials said."

Reuters Staff at the Guardian: Donald Trump Shows Off 'Secret' Mexico Document but Photos Reveal Contents. "Donald Trump brandished a document on Tuesday confirming details of a regional asylum project agreed with Mexico to stave off threatened tariffs, saying the plan was 'secret' even though Mexican officials had revealed much of it."

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Shelby Hanssen and Ken Dilanian at NBC News: Reps of 22 Foreign Governments Have Spent Money at Trump Properties. "Representatives of at least 22 foreign governments appear to have spent money at Trump Organization properties, an NBC News review has found, hinting at a significant foreign cash flow to the American president that critics say violates the U.S. Constitution."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Maureen Groppe at USA Today: Rep. Greg Pence Amends Filing That Showed Lodging Charge at Trump Hotel. "Greg Pence, a freshman congressman and brother of Vice President Mike Pence, reported spending more than $7,600 in campaign funds on lodging at the Trump International Hotel in the first few months after his election in November, although lawmakers are supposed to pay for their own housing in Washington. ...Hours after USA Today pressed for more detail on the nature of the lodging expenses, the campaign filed an amended FEC report that changed the designation of the expenses to 'fundraising event costs.'"

Kyla Mandel at ThinkProgress: Trump International Hotel Will Host a Climate Denial Conference. "In late July, climate science deniers will descend upon the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. — located right across the street from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — to attend the Heartland Institute's annual climate conference. The theme this year is 'Best Science, Winning Energy Policies.' ...The hotel — referred to by one Department of Energy staffer as 'Republican Disneyland' — has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from oil, coal, natural gas, and mining interests who come to attend events frequented by administration officials. Last March, the Independent Petroleum Association of America's (IPAA) annual 'Congressional Call-Up' was held at Trump's hotel."

Shahien Nasiripour and Caleb Melby at Bloomberg: Trump's Net Worth Rises to $3 Billion Despite Business Setbacks. "Donald Trump's net worth rose to $3 billion, a 5% gain over the past year... The increase in Trump's wealth reverses two years of declines and brings his net worth back to 2016 levels, according to figures compiled by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index from lenders, property records, securities filings, market data, and a May 16 financial disclosure."

So, Trump is doing just fine. In other news...

Heather Long at the Washington Post: GOP Leader Concedes Tax Cuts May Not Pay for Themselves as 2019 Deficit Grows. "Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), a lead architect of the GOP tax bill, suggested Tuesday the tax cuts may not fully pay for themselves, contradicting a promise Republicans made repeatedly while pushing the law in late 2017." And what will happen when a conservative government wants to cut spending? They won't raise taxes. They'll institute austerity measures to defund social services.

Programs on which, for instance, non-wealthy elderly people depend. Especially those who have been exploited by the corporations handed fat tax cuts and zero oversight by the Republican Party.

Nick Penzenstadler and Jeff Kelly Lowenstein at USA Today: Seniors Were Sold a Risk-Free Retirement with Reverse Mortgages. Now They Face Foreclosure.
n a stealth aftershock of the Great Recession, nearly 100,000 loans that allowed senior citizens to tap into their home equity have failed, blindsiding elderly borrowers and their families and dragging down property values in their neighborhoods.

In many cases, the worst toll has fallen on those ill-equipped to shoulder it: urban African Americans, many of whom worked for most of their lives, then found themselves struggling in retirement.

...These elderly homeowners were wooed into borrowing money through the special program by attractive sales pitches or a dire need for cash – or both. When they missed a paperwork deadline or fell behind on taxes or insurance, lenders moved swiftly to foreclose on the home. Those foreclosures wiped out hard-earned generational wealth built in the decades since the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

...Consumer advocates said the analysis supports what they have complained about for years – that unscrupulous lenders targeted lower-income, black neighborhoods and encouraged elderly homeowners to borrow money while glossing over the risks and requirements.

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In GOOD reproductive rights news: Chelsia Rose Marcius at the Daily Beast: Ariana Grande Donates Proceeds From Atlanta Concert to Planned Parenthood. "Pop superstar Ariana Grande has donated the proceeds from her sold-out Atlanta concert to Planned Parenthood, TMZ reports. The singer gave $300,000 to the nonprofit from her June 8 show in Georgia, one of the states that recently passed restrictive abortion legislation." Awesome.

[CN: Anti-choicery; anti-choice terrorism; war on agency. Covers rest of section.]

Jason Salzman at Rewire.News: This Ballot Measure Could End Later Abortion Care in Colorado.
"These people have no concern for the health and welfare of the women we are helping. This is anti-abortion madness carried to a logical extreme," Dr. Warren Hern, whose Boulder Abortion Clinic bills itself as "specializing in late abortions for fetal disorders," told Rewire.News. Criminalizing later abortion would have a major impact on people outside Colorado too, as the state has become a reproductive health-care haven for people in other states.

For decades, anti-choice activists have targeted Hern with vigils, protests, and gunshots through his window, but he has continued to be an outspoken proponent of abortion rights in the media and on his clinic's website, which states, "The true meaning of 'family values' is the freedom to choose your own life and values with those you love."
Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post: Women Seeking Abortions Turn to Volunteer Network for Help. "The work of a nationwide network of volunteers and nonprofit groups that assist women trying to end unwanted pregnancies has reemerged as new state restrictions on abortion threaten to force women to travel farther, pay more and wait longer for the procedure. The groups, which help with the cost and logistics of travel, lodging, food, child care, and the abortion procedure itself, say they're working harder and spending more. They've also seen an increase in donations for aid to the low-income women who have three-quarters of U.S. abortions and who are most of their clients."

Jessica Mason Pieklo at Rewire.News: The Nuns Are Back Before the Supreme Court, and They're Trying to Kill the Birth Control Benefit for Good. "Conservatives have spent the better part of a decade arguing the Affordable Care Act's birth control benefit, which provides insurance coverage for a host of contraception without additional cost or co-pay, violates religious freedom principles. Those efforts have had mixed results. Despite two turns before the U.S. Supreme Court, dozens of lower court orders, and a handful of executive orders from [Donald] Trump, the benefit remains in place — but employers who object to it can avoid complying with it. This week, the Roberts Court will consider taking up a case that could settle the birth control benefit's fate once and for all."

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[CN: Self-harm; addiction] Erika Edwards at NBC News: U.S. Death Rates from Suicides, Alcohol Abuse, and Drug Overdoses Reach All-Time High. "Rates of deaths from suicides, drug overdoses, and alcohol have reached an all-time high in the United States, but some states have been hit far harder than others by [the so-called deaths of despair], according to a report released Wednesday by the Commonwealth Fund. ...What separates the top ranked states from the lowest? Health care coverage. 'We really think of healthcare access of being the foundation of a high-performing health care system,' [David Radley, a senior scientist for the Commonwealth Fund] said. The states that ranked at the bottom of the list all had the highest rates of residents without health care coverage."

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

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

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