The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Beloved Community Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.

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Another Indictment for Manafort


Here is the indictment. The long and the short of it is that Paul Manafort was deeply involved in political consulting for and lobbying on behalf of the government of Ukraine and the Party of Regions, a pro-Putin Ukrainian political party whose members included ousted PM and Putin puppet Viktor Yanukovych.

He and his associate Rick Gates did not disclose this work to the U.S. government, as required by law, even as they orchestrated lobbying of U.S. politicians and candidates on behalf of their foreign clients.

Manafort also did not disclose the significant income he made doing this work, and indeed conspired to conceal it. Because he knew what he was doing was fucking illegal.

None of this is surprising. It is nonetheless very contemptible.

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Friday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by misting rain.

Recommended Reading:

Charline Jao at the Mary Sue: "Give a Child the Universe" Initiative Will Bring Underprivileged Children to A Wrinkle in Time

Rebecca Bengal at the Guardian: 'You Don't Own or Control Me': Janelle Monáe on Her Music, Politics, and Undefinable Sexuality

Lydia Wang at Bust: In "Notes from the Field," Anna Deavere Smith Holds a Mirror up to a Fractured America

Dustin Rowles at Pajiba: The Parkland Students Are Making a Fool of Trump, and He Hates It

Laura Li at 18 Million Rising: [Content Note: Nativism] Perpetual Foreigners in ICE's Virtual Dragnet

Alice Ollstein at TPM: [CN: Nativism] Data Clashes with Emotion as CPAC Immigration Panel Goes off the Rails

Yr Fat Friend at Medium: [CN: Fat hatred; body policing] "I'm Body Positive as Long as You're not Obese."

Yessenia Funes at Earther: [CN: Environmental racism; class warfare] Yet Another Study Shows Black People Suffer Most from Pollution

Miriam Zoila Pérez at Colorlines: [CN: Homophobia; Christian Supremacy] Lesbian Couple Sues Government After Being Denied Right to Foster Refugee Children

Samantha Allen at the Daily Beast: [CN: Erasure of privilege] The New 'Heathers' Is a Trumpian, LGBT-Bashing Nightmare

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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Trump Will Kill Us All


In this moment, I'm once again feeling super thrilled about all the times I was called a cunt for saying that there were easily discernible and critically important differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Dudley the Greyhound stretched out on the couch, fast asleep, with his head on a pillow
It's exhausting being so adorable and silly all the time.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 400

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

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.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: A Series of Failures Abetted the Parkland Shooting and The Press Has Learned Nothing.

[Content Note: Genocide; displacement; sexual assault] Colin Dwyer at NPR: Photos: Myanmar Apparently Razing Remains of Rohingya Villages.
For the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar and what authorities describe as a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing, the prospect of returning to their home villages might be more than just daunting. As satellite photographs show, a return home might be simply impossible.

The images released by DigitalGlobe reveal what appears to be a systematic bulldozing operation by Myanmar authorities, with the remains of dozens of predominantly Rohingya villages razed to the ground in a matter of months.

"Many of these villages were scenes of atrocities against Rohingya and should be preserved so that the experts appointed by the UN to document these abuses can properly evaluate the evidence to identify those responsible," Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement released Friday.

The international human rights organization said at least 55 villages have been leveled and stripped of all their buildings, plant life and distinguishing features since last November. Most of these villages had already been at least partially burned to the ground since August, when Myanmar's crackdown against the stateless minority population erupted in response to an attack by Rohingya insurgents.

Since then, some 688,000 Rohingya have escaped Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh, where they live in massive makeshift camps bearing horrific accounts of widespread murder, rape and torture conducted by Myanmar's military. Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported evidence of at least five mass graves at just one location; others, including two Reuters reporters who were arrested by Myanmar officials, have also reported evidence mass graves in Rakhine state, where most of the atrocities have been reported.
As I have previously noted: In November, Trump "pledged support" for the Rohingya, but it's not entirely clear to me what that has meant, aside from the United States acknowledging the campaign against the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing. This is the best information I could find on what the U.S. has been doing:
"This is a tragedy that's worse than anything that CNN or BBC has been able to portray about what has happened to these people," Mattis told reporters during a trip to Indonesia, Reuters reports. "And the United States has been engaged vigorously in the diplomatic realm trying to resolve this, engaged with humanitarian aid, a lot of money going into humanitarian aid."
That's absurdly nonspecific, but there doesn't appear to be any better information available — and I suspect that's because the U.S. government isn't actually doing anything meaningful.

(And in case you're wondering: Yes, there are meaningful actions we could be taking. But we have not taken them.)

It's impossible to believe we even could be "engaged vigorously in the diplomatic realm," given the complete collapse of the U.S. State Department.

Trump continues to fail us, and continues to fail the world.

* * *

Tierney Sneed at TPM: Rick Gates to Plead Guilty: Former Trump Campaign Aide to Cooperate with Mueller. This has, of course, been the rumor for weeks now, but it seems like it's finally happening this afternoon.
On Friday, just after noon, Mueller filed a document signaling that he and Gates had reached a plea deal. Soon after, the judge overseeing Gates and Manafort's case, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, scheduled a plea hearing for 2 p.m. ET at the federal courthouse in D.C.

The filing by Mueller outlined two counts that prosecutors were bringing against Gates in a "superseding information." An information typically precedes a plea agreement. Those charges are significantly less than what was in the earlier indictments filed against Gates, suggesting that it is a precursor to Gates pleading guilty in an agreement with Mueller.

The first count is conspiracy against the United States. The second count is for making a false statement. Remarkably the alleged false statement was made by Gates to the Special Counsel's Office and the FBI on Feb. 1, months after the original indictment was issued, according to the information. That suggests Gates lied in the course of plea negotiations. His lawyers moved to withdraw from the case the same day.
Welp.

* * *

[CN: Gun violence; descriptions of gun injuries.]

This article is incredibly difficult, but it is a must-read:


Meanwhile, Donald Trump continues to be actively unhelpful. John Wagner at the Washington Post: Trump: Armed Teachers Would Have 'Shot the Hell out of' Florida School Gunman.
[During a meandering speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference], Trump argued Friday that having teachers armed with concealed weapons would have lessened the carnage during the school shooting last week in South Florida that claimed 17 lives.

"A teacher would have shot the hell out of him before he knew what happened," the president said of the shooter during an address to a national conservative gathering where he made a full-throated pitch to make schools "a much harder target for attackers."

Trump acknowledged that his idea, which he has been vocally advocating for the past three days, is controversial, but he said even some skeptics are starting to agree with him.

"We need a hardened site," Trump said. "It needs to be hardened. It can't be soft."
No decent people "are stating to agree with" Trump that teachers should be armed! Teachers don't agree! Law enforcement doesn't agree! No sensible person agrees with that proposal!

Furthermore, apparently Trump hasn't heard that even a trained campus police officer, who was armed with a gun, froze and didn't confront the shooter. All of these fucking Recliner Rambos imagine that they would "take out" a mass shooter, but they are full of absolute shit. People whose lives are dedicated to careers in which they're trained to behave a certain way under stress in a chaotic situation often don't behave that way.

Which is to say nothing of the fact that the solution to gun violence is never going to be more guns.

Enough of this garbage. ENOUGH.


* * *

E.A. Crunden at ThinkProgress: Trump Administration Declares 'War on Terror' Needs No New Vote. "U.S. forces are set to remain in Iraq and Syria indefinitely following a declaration from the Trump administration that it needs no new authorization to keep soldiers in the war. The White House has indicated for some time that [Donald] Trump's administration feels there is no need for a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in order to continue operations in both Iraq and Syria. ...In the case of a new AUMF, both Trump administration officials said that the original 2001 AUMF should not be repealed without a replacement, which in turn would have no time or geographic constraints."

Translation: The Trump administration will use the existing AUMF to justify military intervention wherever the fuck it wants, or it will submit a new AUMF that the Republican Congressional majority will rubber-stamp, which will allow them to launch military intervention wherever the fuck they want.

John Walcott at Reuters: Two Top White House Advisers May Leave over Tensions with Trump. "Longstanding friction between [Donald] Trump and two top aides, the National Security Adviser and the Chief of Staff, has grown to a point that either or both might quit soon, four senior administration officials said. Both H.R. McMaster and John Kelly are military men considered by U.S. political observers as moderating influences on the president by imposing a routine on the White House." Not all political observers.

Zach Everson at the Daily Beast: Trump Hotel Paid Millions in Fines for Unpaid Work. "In the days around Donald Trump's inauguration, the hotel bearing his name in downtown Washington, D.C., quietly settled two liens totaling more than $3 million for allegedly unpaid construction work. In one case, a contractor reached an agreement after receiving a phone call from someone his attorney identified as 'Trump.' The liens had both been previously reported. But their settlements had not." Cool.

[CN: Racism; harassment and bullying] Rebecca Klein at the Huffington Post: Education Department Sees a Major Uptick in Complaints of Racial Harassment in Schools. "The U.S. Department of Education's civil rights division saw a significant increase in the number of complaints it received regarding racial harassment in schools, including post-secondary institutions, in 2017, according to data the department provided to HuffPost. The increase represents the biggest rise in this category since at least 2009, the earliest consecutive year for which we could find publicly reported numbers in this category. ...Catherine Lhamon, who ran OCR during the Obama administration, said she could not speculate on the reasons for this increase, but pointed to outside data showing a surge in hate crimes nationally. 'Our schools are places that encapsulate and reflect the national climate as well.'" Like I keep saying: Trump didn't invent bigotry, but he empowers it mightily.

Josh Lederman at the AP: Adelson Offers to Help Pay for Jerusalem Embassy. "The Trump administration is considering an offer from Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson to pay for at least part of a new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, four U.S. officials told The Associated Press. Lawyers at the State Department are looking into the legality of accepting private donations to cover some or all of the embassy costs, said the officials, who weren't authorized to discuss the issue publicly and demanded anonymity. The discussions are occurring as the administration plans a ribbon-cutting for a scaled-down, temporary embassy that will open in May — more than a year ahead of schedule. In one possible scenario, the administration would solicit contributions not only from Adelson but potentially from other donors in the evangelical Christian and American Jewish communities, too." This is a spectacularly bad idea. Fucking hell.

[CN: White supremacy; Nazism; anti-Semitism; homophobia; violence] A.C. Thompson, Ali Winston, and Jake Hanrahan at ProPublica: Inside At0mwaffen As It Celebrates a Member for Allegedly Killing a Gay Jewish College Student.
Late last month, ProPublica reported that the California man accused of killing a gay and Jewish University of Pennsylvania student was an avowed neo-Nazi and a member of At0mwaffen Division, one of the country's most notorious extremist groups.

The news about the murder suspect, Samuel Woodward, spread quickly throughout the U.S., and abroad. Woodward was accused of fatally stabbing 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein and burying his body in an Orange County park.

...Encrypted chat logs obtained by ProPublica — some 250,000 messages spanning more than six months — offer a rare window into At0mwaffen Division that goes well beyond what has surfaced elsewhere about a group whose members have been implicated in a string of violent crimes. Like many white supremacist organizations, At0mwaffen Division uses Discord, an online chat service designed for video gamers, to engage in its confidential online discussions.

In a matter of months, people associated with the group, including Woodward, have been charged in five murders; another group member pleaded guilty to possession of explosives after authorities uncovered a possible plot to blow up a nuclear facility near Miami.

The group's propaganda makes clear that At0mwaffen — the word means "nuclear weapons" in German — embraces Third Reich ideology and preaches hatred of minorities, gays, and Jews. At0mwaffen produces YouTube videos showing members firing weapons and has filmed members burning the U.S. Constitution and setting fire to the American flag. But the organization, by and large, cloaks its operations in secrecy and bars members from speaking to the media.

The chat logs and other material obtained by ProPublica provide unusually extensive information about the group's leaders, wider makeup, and potential targets.
Absolutely chilling.

[CN: Nativism; coercion] Micah Hauser at the Guardian: Their Daughters Were Held at the Border — Then the Blackmail from Fake ICE Agents Began. "The South Texas Residential Family Center sits atop a former camp for oilfield workers in the remote, sloping scrubland of the Rio Grande Valley. It is managed by CoreCivic, a private prison company, and has the capacity to hold 2,400 immigrant detainees. Over the past five months, at least 11 families with relatives — all asylum-seeking mothers and children — detained at the facility have been extorted by impersonators who have demanded payment to stop their loved ones being deported. In total, the victims have paid more than $13,500, none of which has been recovered." Goddammit.

[CN: Trans hatred] Erin Heger at Rewire: Kansas Republicans Mostly Silent on Party Resolution Invalidating Transgender People. "Days after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, the Kansas Republican Party focused its efforts not on matters of public safety, but on invalidating transgender identities at its convention. The state party committee, made up of about 180 people with delegates from each of the state's congressional districts, endorsed a resolution to 'oppose all efforts to validate transgender identity' and affirms the existence of two sexes by 'God's design.' 'There is no scientific consensus regarding the ethics or effectiveness of attempts to align one's biology with one's self-perception through experimental and exploratory medicine,' the GOP document states." Fuckers.

* * *

[CN: Sexual assault. Covers entire section.]


Hecate at Celebitchy: Terry Crews: 'I Still Have to Send a Check to My Molester'. "Terry Crews has been fighting for justice after a high-powered executive at William Morris Endeavor groped him at a party about two years ago. I'm not saying 'allegedly' because the groper, Adam Venit, was made to apologize and take a one-month suspension as punishment for his actions. But that was it: He was demoted but not fired, and his new position still places him in situations in which he can molest others. Since WME proved they have no interest in protecting victims, Terry has been forced to pursue the matter legally and filed a lawsuit against both Venit and WME. I know, that's enough to make one angry, but, get this, Terry still has to pay commission to them."


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

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Discussion Thread: How Are You?

Pretty much exactly the same as last time, except I've also been feeling tired. So, so tired. Exhausted to my bones, like I've never felt.

I don't even know if "tired" is the right word. I feel the emotional equivalent of the sound of a knife clattering around inside a nearly empty jam jar, when someone's trying to scrape out the remnants left along the sides.

How are you?

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The Press Has Learned Nothing


The CPAC conference has always been a disgusting parade of the most loathsome conservative bigots, but it's now become such a straight-up Nazified nightmare, I'm not sure there's a convincing argument to cover it, even despite the president and vice-president making appearances.

At minimum, the CPAC conference should not be covered uncritically — its speakers just broadcast without commentary. If there is to be coverage, it should be carefully structured and bookended with informed, expert analysis that places the threats to a pluralistic, democratic society in their proper context.

Lingering on Trump's empty podium in preparation for his address, which will be a full-tilt nightmare of vile lies and dangerous advocacies, is the precise opposite of what a responsible press outlet should be doing.

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A Series of Failures Abetted the Parkland Shooting

[Content Note: Gun violence.]

We already knew that FBI protocols were not followed after a call expressing concerns about Nikolas Cruz to the FBI's Public Access Line tipline in January. It turns out that was one of only several major failures.

Charles Rabin, Carli Teproff, Nicholas Nehamas, and David Ovalle at the Miami Herald report:

Eight days after mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward's top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff's department.

A school campus cop heard the gunfire and rushed to the building but never went inside — instead waiting outside for another four agonizing minutes as Cruz continued the slaughter.

And long before Cruz embarked on the worst school shooting in Florida history, Broward Sheriff's Office deputies had multiple warnings that the 19-year-old was a violent threat and a potential school shooter, according to records released Thursday.

In November, a tipster called BSO to say Cruz "could be a school shooter in the making," but deputies did not write up a report on that warning. It came just weeks after a relative called urging BSO to seize his weapons.

Two years ago, according to a newly released timeline of interactions with Cruz's family, a deputy investigated a report that Cruz "planned to shoot up the school" — intelligence that was forwarded to the school's resource officer, with no apparent result.

The school's resource officer, Scot Peterson, 54, was suspended without pay, then immediately resigned and retired. Two other deputies have been placed on restricted duty while Internal Affairs investigates how they handled the two shooter warnings.

..."I'm completely disgusted," said Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine, a former mayor of Parkland whose daughter attends Stoneman Douglas. "There is nobody in authority talking to each other and every organization that had a chance to stop this completely failed our children from top to bottom."
Also in this report: Cruz's mother called for help from authorities in 2013, and someone from "Henderson Behavioral Health came and said the boy did not meet criteria for involuntary psychological evaluation under the state’s Baker Act." Then, in 2016, after the school initiated a "threat assessment" on Cruz, the Florida Department of Children and Families "investigated Cruz and determined he was not a threat to himself or others. At the time, he was undergoing therapy with Henderson Behavioral Health."

So, here's the thing:

* Cruz was undergoing mental health treatment. He did not qualify for escalated services, according to authorities. This was not a case in which "mental health screening" was absent, nor one in which mental healthcare access was lacking.

* Multiple people alerted authorities about Cruz's impending act of mass violence. This was not a case in which people failed to say something after they saw something.

* There was an armed police officer on campus, who failed to act. This was not a case in which an absence of guns and/or security contributed to the onset and/or duration of the violence.

Cruz had access to mental healthcare. Concerns about his behavior were flagged, repeatedly. There was a trained, armed officer present, who froze in the moment — like many, many people would.

The Parkland shooting is a perfect, terrible example of how all the proposed solutions are not actually effective in preventing mass shootings.

And, yes, there were failures. Perhaps if everything had gone the way it should have, this wouldn't have happened. Or maybe it would have happened eventually, no matter how many interventions were made — because the one thing that authorities are rarely empowered to do in a country where gun ownership is legal is take away guns.

The only thing that will ever be truly effective is reduced access to weapons designed with no purpose but to kill.

And that is the one thing the governing party refuses to even consider.

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Open Thread

image of a pink couch

Hosted by a pink sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Diverkat: "What's your favourite/most amusing Mondegreen?"

[Deaf readers who may not have had this exact experience are welcome to reinterpret the question as appropriate, e.g. What idiom completely flummoxed you the first time you encountered it?]

I'm sure this has happened to me dozens of times in my life, but the two that have always sprung immediately to mind are:

1) When I was really little, I thought matzo ball soup was actually called mothball soup. I didn't understand why anyone would want to eat it. (I now love matzo ball soup, btw.)

2) The Lutheran Confession of Sins and Absolution is:

"O almighty God, merciful Father, I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto Thee all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended Thee and justly deserved Thy temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them; and I pray Thee of Thy boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor, sinful, being."

Every week this is intoned by the whole congregation during the service. (To this day, I remember exactly where the "breath breaks" were: "O almighty God, merciful Father (breathe!), I, a poor miserable sinner (breathe!)…") I had it memorized before I could read it.

For many years, I wondered why we were all confessing that we were "hardly" sorry for our sins.

Funnily enough, I know of at least one other person with whom I grew up who thought the same thing, and I've met two Lutherans since who laughed with recognition when I shared that story.

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Mueller Files 32 New Charges Against Manafort & Gates

Special Counsel Bob Mueller has filed 32 new charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, as part of his special investigation. Here is the indictment [pdf] detailing the charges, most of which have to do with tax evasion and bank fraud.

"MANAFORT and GATES generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work," reads the indictment. They are alleged to have enriched themselves acting "as unregistered agents of a foreign government and foreign political parties" then conspired to conceal their massive earnings from U.S. authorities in a grand scheme that included failing to report income, disguising income as "loans" from offshore corporate entities, using offshore accounts to purchase and/or refinance U.S. real estate, and other schemes. They also used the purchased properties to fraudulently obtain loans in excess of $20 million "by falsely inflating Manafort's and his company's income and by failing to disclose existing debt in order to qualify for the loans."

There's much more in the indictment, but those are the broad strokes. The list of foreign payments they made in this elaborate shell game is notable for the number of times financial institutions in Cyprus show up. Cyprus is where Russian oligarchs like to take their money to be laundered, and, of course, the current U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, has interesting ties to the financial sector there.

One thing I will note yet again, because I am the brokenest of broken records, is that this investigation is taking a very long time. I know, I know — Mueller and his team are being methodical and getting all their ducks in a row and so forth and so on. But it's troubling to me that it took nearly a year for these charges to be made, against two men who aren't even currently employed in the federal government.


I remain very anxious that the Trump administration and Republican Party will have eroded our public institutions and democratic norms so thoroughly by the time anything meaningful happens in the Mueller investigation, if anything meaningful ever does, that it will be too late.

Because one thing is clear: Trump and the GOP are getting their ducks in a row, to ensure and expand their stranglehold on the executive branch, the legislative branch, the judiciary, state governorships, and state legislatures.

We are in a race for our very fate, and it feels to me like the tortoise is not going to outwit the hare this time.

I desperately hope that I'm wrong, and fear that I'm not.

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OMG Trump Is So Ignorant

Earlier today, Donald Trump suggested yet another solution to gun violence that isn't reduced access to guns: Putting a rating system on violent movies.

No, I am not making that up.

We have to look at the internet, because a lot of bad things are happening to young kids and young minds, and their minds are being formed, and we have to do something about maybe what they're seeing and how they're seeing it, and also video games. I'm hearing more and more people say the level of violence on video games is really shaping young people's thoughts.

And then you go the further step and that's the movies. You see these movies, they're so violent, and yet a kid is able to see the movie if sex isn't involved, but killing is involved, and maybe they have to put a rating system for that.

And you get into a whole very complicated, very big deal, but the fact is that you are having movies come out that are so violent with the killing and everything else that maybe that's another thing we're going to have to discuss.
Either the President of the United States doesn't know that movies already have ratings, or doesn't know that those ratings already come with content indicators, but, either way, Jesus fucking Jones this guy.

And he's "hearing more and more people" talk about violence in video games, huh? Someone should tell him about how rock music is introducing children to Satan.

[Video via Gideon Resnick.]

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The Make-Up Thread

Here is your semi-regular make-up thread, to discuss all things make-up and make-up adjacent.

Do you have a make-up product you'd recommend? Are you looking for the perfect foundation which has remained frustratingly elusive? Need or want to offer make-up tips? Searching for hypoallergenic products? Want to grouse about how you hate make-up? Want to gush about how you love it?

Whatever you like—have at it!

* * *

Here is a recent colorful look that I put together when I needed some brightness:

image of me standing in my dining room with my hair pulled up, with bright pink lips and blue-to-pink eyeshadow
#NoFilter

To get this look, I used a CC cream from It Cosmetics that I got as a sample at Sephora (didn't hate it, but didn't love it); then used Nyx's Bright Idea Illuminating Stick in Coralicious on my cheeks. Lips are ColourPop's Lippie Stix in Scandy covered by Ulta's Juice Infused Lip Oil in Coconut.

The eyes are really where I spent time for this look: Brows are shaped with Ardell's Brow Sculpting Gel in Clear. Along my brow bone and in the corners of my eyes, I used Thrive Causemetics' Brilliant Eye Brightener. On my lid, to the crease, is Maybelline's Color Tattoo Eye Chrome (a liquid eye shadow) in Bold Sapphire. (Between this product and Nyx's Lid Lingerie, which I've mentioned previously, I prefer Nyx's, which goes on more easily.) In the crease is a powder eye shadow, Urban Decay's Haight, which serves to transition up into the pink poweder eye shadow, Sephora's Colorful Fresh Paint No. 317. And then I finished my brushing my lashes with Thrive's Liquid Lash Extensions.

(As always, I'm not affiliated with any of these companies in any way, nor am I getting anything in exchange for these recommendations. I just like the products!)

One of the things that has helped me so much with eye make-up application has been springing for a decent brush. Now that I understand (in my 40s, lol!) which brushes are best for which purpose, and spent a very modest amount on brushes instead of using whatever flimsy, free applicator I had lying around, it's like a whole new world!

Anyway! What's up with you?

* * *

Please note, as always, that advice should be not be offered to an individual person unless they solicit it. Further: This thread is open to everyone—women, men, genderqueer folks. People who are make-up experts, and people who are make-up newbies. Also, because there is a lot of racist language used in discussions of make-up, and in make-up names, please be aware to avoid turns of phrase that are alienating to women of color, like "nude" or "flesh tone" when referring to a peachy or beige color. I realize some recommended products may have names that use these words, so please be considerate about content noting for white supremacist (and/or Orientalist) product naming.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat sitting on the back of the sofa with her legs tucked under her
Tiny wee cat loaf!

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

Open Wide...

We Resist: Day 399

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

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.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by Fannie: Free, Unsolicited Advice to White Male Democratic* Politicians. And by me: Trump Doesn't Feel Your Pain and The Moderating Generals Are Getting Marginalized.

[Content Note: Gun violence. Covers entire section.]

Louis Nelson and Cristiano Lima at Politico: Trump Defends Gun Proposals in Twitter Spree.
Trump claimed Thursday morning that he did not suggest the blanket arming of teachers at a White House listening session a day earlier, accusing CNN and NBC News of misinterpreting his proposal.

Trump claimed Thursday morning that he did not suggest the blanket arming of teachers at a White House listening session a day earlier, accusing CNN and NBC News of misinterpreting his proposal.

"I never said 'give teachers guns' like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @nbc. What I said was to look at the possibility of giving concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience - only the best. 20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions," the president wrote on Twitter Thursday morning in a pair of posts.

"Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A 'gun free' school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!" he tweeted. "History shows that a school shooting lasts, on average, 3 minutes. It takes police & first responders approximately 5 to 8 minutes to get to site of crime. Highly trained, gun adept, teachers/coaches would solve the problem instantly, before police arrive. GREAT DETERRENT!"

"If a potential 'sicko shooter' knows that a school has a large number of very weapons talented teachers (and others) who will be instantly shooting, the sicko will NEVER attack that school. Cowards won't go there...problem solved. Must be offensive, defense alone won't work!" the president continued.

Trump's online explanation of his proposal differs from the language he used Wednesday at a listening session with survivors and victims' family members from last week's high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Addressing the group, Trump suggested that teachers undergo firearm training and be allowed to carry concealed weapons inside schools.

"And this would only be, obviously, for people that are very adept at handling a gun. And it would be – it's called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them," Trump said at Wednesday's event. "They'd go for special training. And they would be there, and you would no longer have a gun-free zone."
Totally coherent, as usual.

There are so many problems with the proposal to arm teachers as a solution to school shootings, I hardly know where to begin.

Public schoolteachers are already tasked with being surrogate parents, therapists, social workers, mentors, and role models in addition to being educators — and in many places they're not even paid enough to cover one of those jobs, no less all of them. They don't need to be asked to be bodyguards, too.

I happen to be the daughter of retired public schoolteachers, and three of my oldest friends are public schoolteachers, and many more friends are professors and librarians and administrators, and not a single one of the educators I know — some of whom are Republican, though not Trump supporters — wants to carry a gun as part of their job, because they damn well know that a gun is more likely to be used to hurt them and others by a dangerous student than it is likely to be used to protect anyone!

I mean, forget how aggressively, stupidly impractical a solution this is sheerly because most people, even well-trained gun users, are incapable of hitting the broad side of a barn under pressure. The liability that it asks teachers to assume! My mom — who is now retired — used to lament that she couldn't hug students (who wanted hugs) anymore because it was a liability issue for the school. (Thanks to teachers who abused students.) It's unbelievable that we're contemplating spaces where teachers can't hug students who desperately need and want affection, but they can definitely SHOOT AT STUDENTS. My god.

And about those teachers who abuse students: Should they have guns? (No.)

Like I said, there are so many reasons that this is a terrible idea. Trump can twist himself into giant rhetorical pretzels supporting the proposal while also not supporting the proposal and then supporting some variation on the proposal and blah blah fart forever, but it will never be a good idea. Never.

Meanwhile...

Nicole Lafond at TPM: Trump: People Just Don't Get That NRA Heads Are 'Great American Patriots'! "Donald Trump on Thursday claimed that people 'don't understand' that the National Rifle Association's leadership are 'Great American Patriots,' a week after 17 people died in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Trump tweeted that people 'don't understand' or 'don't want to understand' that NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and executive director Chris Cox are 'Great People and Great American Patriots.' 'They love our Country and will do the right thing,' Trump tweeted."

Yeahno. They won't. "NRA goes on the offensive after Parkland shooting, assailing media and calling for more armed school security." See?

Addy Baird at ThinkProgress: Father of Slain Student Confronts Marco Rubio in an Epic Exchange. "Sen. Marco Rubio defended his opposition to an assault weapons ban Wednesday night at a town hall, where he was pushed by the father of a teenage victim of last week's school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead. 'I want to like you. Here's the problem. And I'm a brutally honest person so I'm just going to say it up front,' Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jaime Guttenberg said. 'Your comments this week and those of our president have been pathetically weak.' The audience at the town hall responded to Guttenberg's comment with a standing ovation as Guttenberg went on, saying, 'Look at me and tell me. Guns were the factor in the hunting of our kids in this school this week.'"

E.J. Dionne Jr. at the Washington Post: Why Is Only One Side in the Gun Culture War Required to Show Respect? "Supporters of even modest restrictions on firearms are...urged to be patient and to spend our time listening earnestly to the views of those who see even a smidgen of action to limit access to guns as the first step toward confiscation. Our task is not to fight for laws to protect innocents, but to demonstrate that we really, honestly, truly, cross-our-hearts, positively love gun owners and wouldn't for an instant think anything ill of them. What is odd is that those with extreme pro-gun views — those pushing for new laws to allow people to carry just about anytime, anywhere — are never called upon to model similar empathy toward children killed, the mourning parents left behind, people in urban neighborhoods suffering from violence, or the majority of Americans who don't own guns."

This is related to a subject about which I've written previously: No-Gun Culture. We don't even acknowledge that there's such a thing as a no-gun culture in the United States, no less that it deserves respect, too.

* * *

Here are some cool things that are happening in the Age of Trump:


E.A. Crunden at ThinkProgress: Global Human Rights Are Under Siege in the Trump Era.

Guardian Staff: Number of Female Hollywood Leads Fell in 2017, Study Shows.

No difference between Trump and Clinton, they said. Identity politics don't matter, they said.

* * *


Not exclusively to feminists and the LGBTQ community, mind you. Graham was also anti-Semitic and racist and Christian Supremacist, but he had the (undeserved) reputation of being religiously and racially tolerant. He had a well-known and explicit reputation for being anti-feminist and anti-queer, though.

And, naturally, this is offensive to lots of people, regardless of their own personal faith beliefs, who believe in a firm separation of church and state. Just gross.

* * *

[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Auditi Guha at Rewire: New Jersey Planned Parenthood Clinic to Close for Weeks After 'Intentional' Truck Attack. "A Planned Parenthood clinic in New Jersey will be closed several weeks for repairs after a man allegedly drove a truck into it and injured three, including a pregnant woman. Marckles Alcius, 31, of Lowell, Massachusetts, is accused of driving a stolen bakery delivery truck into an East Orange clinic on February 14. He faces charges included six counts of aggravated assault, two weapons offenses for using a truck as a weapon, theft of a vehicle, and attempting to cause widespread injury or damage. ...'Our contention is this was an intentional act, not a motor vehicle accident,' [Essex County Prosecutor's Office spokesperson Katherine Carter] said in an email. ...Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive for the crash as the incident is under investigation, but some media outlets have noted the defendant's views on social media, including an article he shared from the anti-abortion group Live Action last July."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Ali Dukakis at ABC News: Trump-Appointed Judge Who Donated to Campaign Refuses to Recuse Himself from Dossier Matter. "A Trump-appointed federal judge who donated to the Trump campaign and worked on his presidential transition team has rejected requests to recuse himself from overseeing a legal battle involving Fusion GPS, the research firm that commissioned the so-called 'dossier' of unverified intelligence that contains claims about Donald Trump's alleged ties to Russia. U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, who sits on the bench in Washington, D.C., made two donations to Trump's presidential campaign totaling $1000 in October 2016 – both coming within three weeks of Election Day, documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show. 'Fusion's argument that I should look beyond the traditional grounds of disqualification to consider [Donald] Trump's alleged political interests proves too much,' McFadden wrote in an opinion. 'Such an argument would lead to the disqualification of numerous judges appointed by the sitting president on a wide range of cases.'"

Jason Samenow at the Washington Post: Arctic Temperatures Soar 45 Degrees Above Normal, Flooded by Extremely Mild Air on All Sides. "While the Eastern United States simmers in some of its warmest February weather ever recorded, the Arctic is also stewing in temperatures more than 45 degrees above normal. This latest huge temperature spike in the Arctic is another striking indicator of its rapidly transforming climate." Sob.

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

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The Moderating Generals Are Getting Marginalized

Remember how "the generals" — former National Security Advisor Ret. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, current National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, Chief of Staff Ret. Gen. John Kelly, and Defense Secretary Ret. Gen. James Mattis — were supposed to serve as moderating influences on Donald Trump, because somehow militarizing the White House was going to keep a law-and-order authoritarian in check?

Well, that hasn't happened. For a number of reasons, including the fact that at least one of those generals, Michael Flynn, is a possible traitor to the nation, but chiefly because Trump is a megalomaniacal nightmare who cannot be controlled.

Rumors have been circulating for months that he's on the outs with Kelly and Mattis, and now he's reportedly over McMaster, too:

The Pentagon is exploring options that would give [Donald] Trump the ability to move National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster out of his role in the White House and back to the military, according to a new report from CNN.

According to six defense and Trump administration officials who spoke with CNN, the Pentagon is quietly searching for a four-star military position in the Army or the Defense Department that would function as a promotion for McMaster after months of mounting tension between the President and his national security adviser.

Trump has reportedly been privately irritated with McMaster for months, mostly stemming from issues Trump has with McMaster's personality and style, according to a senior Republican source who spoke with CNN. Trump believes McMaster is condescending and unfriendly, the source told CNN.

The President's frustration with McMaster became public over the weekend when Trump criticized him on Twitter. Trump was likely responding to McMaster's remarks about the "incontrovertible" proof that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.
Let us be blunt: If the remaining generals try to force Trump to not be an authoritarian garbage monster or suggest that maybe be not be Vladimir Putin's puppet, Trump will just force them right out the door.

The only people capable of checking Trump are Congress, and his party refuses to do it.

Republican Party leadership was eagerly complicit in selling the public a bill of goods that "the generals" would handle the president. That was always manifest bullshit, but now it's abundantly clear what bullshit it is.

And still the GOP does nothing.

Trump will continue to marginalize "the generals," and the country's descent into authoritarianism under Trump's rule will continue apace.

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Free, Unsolicited Advice to White Male Democratic* Politicians

Dear Sirs,

If you are perceptive, you might have noticed that a lot of women are angry.

We've had a couple of marches, in fact, at least one of which was the largest single-day protest in US history. These acts of political labor were comprised of millions of people, broadly speaking, who are resisting the current Republican Administration, which you might have noticed is quite hostile to many people, particularly women.

At the same time, women are also leading a reckoning with respect to sexual assault and harassment, which are pervasive life and workplace experiences that disproportionately impact women across the political spectrum.

Politicians, advocates, and pundits talk a lot of populism these days, but rarely do so in the context of ordinary, everyday women. To be blunt, populism is most commonly used in association with white male anger. As purported default human beings, it is often assumed that the white male life experience is the universal, with everyone else's being particular.

Yet, if we accept that women are people, we are better able to understand that today's revived feminist movement is very much also a populist movement. You might not immediately recognize it as such because an angry white man is not leading it and angry white men are not at the center of it.

Instead, it's one that, I believe, has been borne of many women's deep pain from the confluence of our lived experiences with both rape culture and witnessing an unqualified, white male predator sexually harass and bully his way to the highest office of the land while being enabled by "powerful, lecherous men" who helped narrate the whole scenario into being via their establishment platforms.

And yet.

I get the sense that some white male Democratic politicians, at least at the national level, do not fully grasp our discontent or view this movement as a Serious Thing they should take into account when speaking publicly or making policy.

So, let me spell it out:

  • It is no longer enough just to say, "Sure, I'm for equality for women!" As legal scholar Catherine MacKinnon has famously noted, "Equality guarantees are everywhere, but nowhere is there equality." For instance, pay discrimination is illegal, but wage disparities exist. Gender discrimination is illegal, but in a multitude of industries men still hold the top, highest -paying jobs. Rape is a crime, yet rape happens all the time. It is, in fact, but one outcome in an entire culture that disproportionately rigs systems against women. In light of these realities, don't utter a soundbite. Demonstrate that you understand the barriers to substantive equality and will work with us to eradicate them.
  • Since pundits love asking this one, in the event you are asked to speculate on whether you or any other white man would have beaten Trump in the 2016 election (cc: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Joe Kennedy):
In case you need a refresher, the United States has never had a female president. That is not because of a lack of qualified women, but because, in part, our political system long excluded women from both suffrage and political office. It doesn't inspire confidence that you understand, let alone care about, systemic misogyny and this history if you answer this fave bro-question without referencing either phenomenon.
  • In the event you become aware of another man's sexual misconduct, instead of immediately maligning the nearest woman who is in any way adjacent to the abuser, it would be a better use of your standing and privilege to express sympathy for the survivors(s), express your disappointment in the man's behavior, and tell us what specific actions you are doing to help end rape culture. Because it is so rare, it means a lot to many survivors simply to hear that other people care about their experiences.
  • Stop throwing Hillary Clinton under the bus. Seriously. Just stop. We're so, so tired. Forget about the bro-points that shit-talking Hillary might win you, and think for once about the millions of people who actually do like her.
  • Listen to women. If you think you already do a good job at this, just try doing it more just in case you're not actually doing it enough. One of the more frustrating aspects of watching the horrors of the current Republican Administration unfold is that so much of it was anticipated, by women (and yes, including Hillary Clinton, who was largely mocked and maligned for speaking these truths). Melissa, in fact, has referred to Donald Trump's electoral college win as a "catastrophic failure to listen to women." She was correct.
I hope this helps clarifies some of the angry tweets, emails, and phone calls some of y'all might have been getting for the past year or so.


*By Democratic, I mean Democrats and Independent/Democratic Socialist/Democratic-When-Convenient Persons.

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Trump Doesn't Feel Your Pain

Yesterday afternoon, Donald Trump held a "listening session" on gun violence in schools, during which he had some great ideas, like arming teachers "and other school employees so they can react before law enforcement arrives."

During the event, Washington Post photographer Ricky Carioti took a photo of the notes Trump was holding in his hand:


On the content of Trump's notes, the WaPo's Aaron Blake writes:
Yep, right there at No. 5 is a talking point about telling those present that he was actually listening to them. After what appear to be four questions he planned to ask those assembled, No. 5 is an apparent reminder for Trump to tell people, "I hear you."

Even No. 1 is basically a reminder that Trump should empathize. "What would you most want me to know about your experience?" the card reads. So two-fifths of this card is dedicated to making sure the president of the United States assured those assembled that he was interested in what they had to say and their vantage points.

That's at once pretty striking for a president and not at all striking for Trump. Through tragedy after tragedy, empathy has been the quality clearly missing from Trump's reactions. He has focused on first-responders rather than victims. He has joked around when he probably should have been somber. He has attacked a political leader who wasn't appreciative enough.
And, as I extensively documented at Shareblue and BNR, Trump has routinely greeted acts of public violence with ghoulish touchdown dances, prioritizing crowing about how he's "right" to hold bigoted views over expressing sympathy for victims.

"Through it all," writes Blake, "it's been clear that expressing that he feels others' pain just isn't his strength."

That's a polite way of putting it.

There are a whole lot of reasons that Donald Trump is unfit to be president. Chief among them is his appalling lack of even the merest traces of empathy.

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Open Thread

image of a yellow couch

Hosted by a yellow sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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