We Resist: Day 879

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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: Today in Rampaging Authoritarianism and Primarily Speaking and Some Good News from SCOTUS.

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

Bozorgmehr Sharafedin at Reuters: Iran Says It Dismantled a U.S. Cyber Espionage Network. (Emphasis on "says.") "Iran said on Monday it had exposed a large cyber espionage network it alleged was run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and that several U.S. spies had been arrested in different countries as the result of this action. ...The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, said on Monday: 'One of the most complicated CIA cyber espionage networks that had an important role in the CIA's operations in different countries was exposed by the Iranian intelligence agencies a while ago and was dismantled.' ...He did not specify how many CIA agents were arrested and in what countries."

Nasser Karimi and Jon Gambrell at the AP: Iran Says It Will Break Uranium Stockpile Limit in 10 Days. "Iran will break the uranium stockpile limit set by Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers in the next 10 days, the spokesman for the country's atomic agency said Monday while also warning that Iran could enrich uranium up to 20% — just a step away from weapons-grade levels. The announcement by Behrouz Kamalvandi, timed for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, puts more pressure on Europe to come up with new terms for Iran's 2015 nuclear deal. The deal has steadily unraveled since the Trump administration pulled America out of the accord last year."

Aaron David Miller at USA Today: Why Are We Headed for a Blowup with Iran? It Began When Trump Scrapped the Nuclear Deal.
The Iranian regime is authoritarian, ideological, and repressive, a serial human rights abuser and regional troublemaker. But we now find ourselves in a dangerous situation largely as a result of a great unraveling begun by the Trump administration's unilateral decision last year to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.

The accord — known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — was flawed, to be sure, and didn't address Iran's aggressive regional behavior or its ballistic missile programs. Even so, it was still a highly functional arms control agreement that imposed significant constraints on Iran's nuclear program for at least for a decade or more.

Campaigning hard against the agreement, candidate Trump vowed to renegotiate or leave what he deemed the worst agreement ever negotiated. Then as president, he pulled out of the agreement and launched his "maximum pressure" campaign. The administration reimposed sanctions on banking and petrochemicals and, in the past several months, has made a major effort to reduce Iran's lifeblood — its oil exports — to zero. As intended, all of this has wreaked havoc on the Iranian economy.

Not surprisingly, the regime, which the Iranian foreign minister quipped had a Ph.D. in sanctions busting, signaled through mine attacks on six oil tankers in the past month that it had options, too. Within hours of Thursday's attacks, oil prices spiked.

No matter how egregious the regime's behavior in other areas, pulling out of the JCPOA without a Plan B other than "maximum pressure" has more than any other factor brought us where we are today.
Well, that and the fact that Donald Trump and his advisors actively want a war with Iran.

As, it appears, does Vladimir Putin. Olga Lautman notes on Twitter: "While tensions are heating up with Iran Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak is in Iran holding talks with Iran's oil minister."

I strongly suspect the Kremlin is trying to orchestrate a U.S.-Iran war. A war that it won't even have to fight:

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[Content Note: Racism; nativism. Covers entire section.]

Oliver Laughland at the Guardian: How Trump's Census Question Could Transform America's Electoral Map. "For the first time, the census could include a question on respondents' citizenship that, according to the bureau's own research, will substantially reduce the number of people willing to participate. A study published last week estimated that the addition of the question could mean up to 4 million people — mostly people of color from immigrant minority communities — could go uncounted. If such an undercount occurs the effects will be profound. It could allow for electorate boundaries throughout America to be redrawn, almost certainly favouring the Republican party. It could result in billions of dollars in federal funds being withheld from some of the most vulnerable communities in America."

Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Census Battle over Citizenship Question Leaves Immigration Activists with Their Hands Tied.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the the citizenship question by the end of the month, but not before the Census Bureau launched a test last Thursday to examine how its inclusion will impact responses. Approximately 480,000 housing units around the country will receive a questionnaire with households randomly assigned to one of two versions of the questionnaire: one with the citizenship question included, the other without. These results are expected to be completed by October.

So where does that leave the groups that advocate on behalf of immigrants and want to ensure their community members are counted? For now at least, their hands are tied.

Many people are not aware of the census in the first place, and a tremendous amount of resources is spent on outreach and keeping communities informed. With the citizenship question in limbo until at least the end of June, that reduces the amount of time groups can provide outreach.

"We are waiting to see what happens and then we'll decide accordingly," Zahra Billoo, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' (CAIR) San Francisco Bay office told ThinkProgress. "I tell my staff we are planning to encourage participation in the census the same way we did in 2010. Because it's really important that all of these communities be counted. This matters now and well beyond this president's time in office."

But, Billoo emphasizes, that's not to say she isn't extremely hesitant.

"We recognize, of course, that we could not discourage participation in the census," she added. "The option isn't discourage versus encourage. It is neutral or silent versus encourage. Because even though I do want my community to be counted, it would also weigh heavily on me if I weren't confident in the safety, security, and secrecy of the census data."
Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux at FiveThirtyEight: The Citizenship Question Could Cost California and Texas a Seat in Congress. "The results of the count determine everything from where grocery stores are placed to how congressional representatives are distributed. There are few things we care more about around here than political apportionment (although, if we're being honest, we care an awful lot about groceries, too). So we went in search of researchers who had estimated the potential effect of the citizenship question. We found several, none of whom agreed on just how big an impact this would have. But they were all on the same page about one thing — if the Supreme Court rules that the new question can be included, it could alter our political future."

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Kate Riga at TPM: On Heels of Conway Rec, Dems Call for Probe into Kushner for Hatch Violations. Just days after the Office of Special Counsel recommended that White House counselor Kellyanne Conway be fired for violating the Hatch Act, Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Don Breyer (D-VA) are calling for Jared Kushner to be investigated as well. 'As you know, under the Hatch Act, federal employees are prohibited from fundraising for political candidates,' they wrote to the Office of Special Counsel. 'Alarmingly, recent media reports indicate that Mr. Kushner is nonetheless taking a direct role in raising funds for the re-election campaign of [Donald] Trump.'"

This is the right thing to do, because ethics and rules still matter. But nothing will come of it. Kellyanne Conway and Jared Kushner will not be fired. Members of the Trump administration won't stop violating the Hatch Act. The only result will be that that the Trump administration is further empowered by having visibly broken the law and gotten away with it (again). Which underlines the urgency of impeaching him now.

Rachael Bade at the Washington Post: Push to Impeach Trump Stalls Amid Democrats' Deference to — and Fear of — Pelosi. "As pressure has mounted in recent weeks on House Democrats to move more aggressively against Trump, Pelosi has demonstrated the firm grip she wields over her caucus — quashing, at least for now, the push for impeachment. It is a command that colleagues say is drawn from a deep well of respect for the political wisdom of the most powerful woman in American politics — and fear that challenging her comes with the risk of grave cost to one's career."

Care more about the entire country than your careers, Democrats. For fuck's sake.

If we wanted opportunistic careerists who didn't give a flying fuck about the nation's future, we could just vote for Republicans. Get a goddamned grip.

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[CN: Misogyny; racism] Isabella Dally-Steele at Ms.: This Week in Trump's War on Women. "On Tuesday, Politico revealed that claims of racism and sexism in the Treasury Department, which came to a head after Secretary Steve Mnuchin's decision to delay the historic rebranding of the $20 bill by changing out Andrew Jackson's image for Harriet Tubman's until at least 2026, were spot on. Nancy Cook revealed that the department's lack of diversity is much more than skin deep — with only three women and one person of color in Department's 20-person senior staff and an overwhelmingly white, male boys club culture permeating the workplace. 'For women and people of color,' said one of Cook's sources, a former Treasury official, 'there is just a general feeling when you walk in and there are all white men that it is not a comfortable environment.'"

[CN: Sexual assault; war on agency] Staff at AP: Ex-Pastor in Texas Accused of Sexually Abusing Teen Relative. "A former Southern Baptist pastor who supported legislation in Texas that would have criminalized abortions has been arrested on charges of child sex abuse, accused of repeatedly molesting a teenage relative over the course of two years." Men who object to women's right of consent over our own bodies when it comes to healthcare frequently don't care about our right of consent in any circumstance.

[CN: Misogyny] Sam Stein at the Daily Beast: Exclusive Poll Reveals Dems' Sexism Problem in 2020.
Sexism is weighing down the women running for the Democratic presidential nomination, a new public opinion survey conducted by Ipsos for The Daily Beast reveals.

A full 20 percent of Democratic and independent men who responded to the survey said they agreed with the sentiment that women are "less effective in politics than men." And while 74 percent of respondents claimed they were personally comfortable with a female president, only 33 percent believed their neighbors would be comfortable with a woman in the Oval Office.

That latter number, explained Mallory Newall, research director at Ipsos, was a strong tell about how gender dynamics were souring voters on certain candidates. Asking respondents how they believe their neighbors feel about an issue is "a classic method to get around people being reluctant to admit to less popular views."
Jesus fucking Jones, dudes. Get your shit together.

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Jaclyn Jeffrey-Wilensky at NBC News: Without Swift Action on Climate Change, Heat Waves Could Kill Thousands in U.S. Cities. "If global warming sometimes seems like a distant or abstract threat, new research casts the phenomenon in stark, life-or-death terms. It predicts that in the absence of significant progress in efforts to curb emissions of temperature-raising greenhouse gases, extreme heat waves could claim thousands of lives in major U.S. cities. If the global average temperature rises 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels — which some scientists say is likely if nations honor only their current commitments for curbing emissions — a major heat wave could kill almost 6,000 people in New York City. Similar events could kill more than 2,500 in Los Angeles and more than 2,300 in Miami."

Brian Kahn at Earther: Half of Greenland's Surface Started Melting This Week, Which Is Not Normal. "Greenland has been scorching (by Greenland standards) for the past few days, with temperatures rising 10-20 degrees Celsius (18-36 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal across the island. Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute, told Earther that the weather station at the top of the ice sheet saw temperatures reach above freezing on Wednesday and they were headed that way again on Thursday. That puts them just a degree or so away from setting the all-time heat record for June, which is currently held by June 2012."

Erin McCormick, Bennett Murray, Carmela Fonbuena, Leonie Kijewski, Gökçe Saraçoğlu, Jamie Fullerton, Alastair Gee, and Charlotte Simmonds at the Guardian: Where Does Your Plastic Go? Global Investigation Reveals America's Dirty Secret.
What happens to your plastic after you drop it in a recycling bin?

According to promotional materials from America's plastics industry, it is whisked off to a factory where it is seamlessly transformed into something new.

This is not the experience of Nguyễn Thị Hồng Thắm, a 60-year-old Vietnamese mother of seven, living amid piles of grimy American plastic on the outskirts of Hanoi. Outside her home, the sun beats down on a Cheetos bag; aisle markers from a Walmart store; and a plastic bag from ShopRite, a chain of supermarkets in New Jersey, bearing a message urging people to recycle it.

Tham is paid the equivalent of $6.50 a day to strip off the non-recyclable elements and sort what remains: translucent plastic in one pile, opaque in another.

A Guardian investigation has found that hundreds of thousands of tons of U.S. plastic are being shipped every year to poorly regulated developing countries around the globe for the dirty, labor-intensive process of recycling. The consequences for public health and the environment are grim.
This is a must-read report.

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

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