Kenrya Rankin: Philando Castile's Family Settles with City of St. Anthony for Nearly $3 Million
Lance Mannion: Mean! Mean! Mean!
Andy Towle: While Trump Shuns LGBT Pride Month, Justin Trudeau Marches in Toronto Pride Parade
Soleil Ho: Be Better: A Guide to Avoid Cultural Appropriation
Zain Dada and Zainab Rahim: [Content Note: Islamophobia; fire; terrorism; injury and death; displacement] British Muslims and the Need for Safe Spaces
George Dvorsky: Scientists Have Finally Figured Out Why Chimps Are So Damn Strong
Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!
Amy Goldstein and Kelsey Snell at the Washington Post: CBO: Senate GOP Healthcare Bill Would Leave 22 Million More People Uninsured by 2026.
Senate Republicans' bill to erase major parts of the Affordable Care Act would cause an estimated 22 million more Americans to be uninsured in the coming decade — just over a million fewer than similar legislation recently passed by the House, according to the Congressional Budget Office.Twenty-two million people would lose health insurance coverage, fifteen million of them by next year.
...According to the 49-page report, the immediate increase in the ranks of the uninsured would be slightly larger than under the House version, with an estimated 15 million fewer Americans likely to have coverage in 2018, compared to 14 million in the House bill.
There is a lot more to the CBO report, of course, but do you even need to know more than that? It's scandalous.
I am despondent at the fact that there are people tasked with governing this country and representing the people's interests who can look at those figures and still justify supporting this legislation. It is an unfathomable cruelty that the United States continues to treat healthcare as a privilege, rather than a right.
The White House put out a statement from Trump, reading in its entirety:
Today's unanimous Supreme Court decision is a clear victory for our national security. It allows the travel suspension for the six terror-prone countries and the refugee suspension to become largely effective.
As President, I cannot allow people into our country who want to do us harm. I want people who can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive.
My number one responsibility as Commander in Chief is to keep the American people safe. Today's ruling allows me to use an important tool for protecting our Nation's homeland. I am also particularly gratified that the Supreme Court's decision was 9-0.
Hang on. Did the aggressively bigoted, incompetent, lazy-ass, big league loser of a president who fits signing bills that hurt people in between his golf game just say that he only wants immigrants who "can love the United States and all of its citizens, and who will be hardworking and productive"?
ALL THE MIRTHLESS LAUGHTER IN THE MULTIVERSE.
It's always the motherfuckers who could never meet their own requirements for citizenship that suggest the most absurd qualifications for entry.
It reminds me of the time that racist heapshit Rep. Duncan Hunter was asked at a Tea Party rally if he would support the deportation of American citizens who are the children of undocumented immigrants, to which Hunter replied that he would, then defended his position by saying, "We're not being mean. We're just saying it takes more than walking across the border to become an American citizen. It's within our souls."
Our souls don't make us deserving of the best America has to offer. For proof of that, look no further than the GOP.
The Real American, as defined by Republicans, doesn't look anything like the collection of cowards and reprobates that comprise the Republican Party — least of all their disgusting wreck of a president.
The qualities that define Republicans' idealized Civis Americanus — patriotic, brave, principled, adventurous, enterprising, optimistic, indomitable — look an awful lot like the undocumented immigrant who makes their way across the border in search of a better life, risking deportation and detention and bodily harm to realize a dream arbitrarily denied on the accidental circumstances of one's birth.
Would that it took at least walking across the border to become an American citizen. We'd certainly have fewer citizens who used the gift of their unearned citizenry as a justification to behave like intolerant, isolationist scoundrels.
I am exhausted to my very bones with these projectionist hypocrites caterwauling about the unique soul of the American citizen, whose own souls could not less resemble their ideal. There's nothing fearless or innovative or hopeful or confident about xenophobic nationalism; about the promotion of personal avarice above social conscience; about contempt for the marginalized.
This country, a beautiful mosaic of people and cultures and ideas, still infused with a spirit of exploration and invention, really does have the potential to be a land of opportunity for everyone who arrives on its shores or crosses its borders, if we gave that notion half the chance it deserved.
But when the soul of Republicans' Ideal American Citizen stares them in the face, they suggest kicking it out of the country — or barring their entry altogether.
Within their souls is not the expansive, courageous ideal they champion, but a profound insecurity born of the lazy complacency that unearned privilege breeds. They are anxious braggarts, waving the flag and shouting about how America is the "greatest country in the world!" at every opportunity — and then reacting with sullen resentment when people agree and clamor to get in the door.
Certain people, anyway.
My Scottish-born husband came to the US not because his life was dreadful or he was being persecuted or his family was starving or because he couldn't find work. He came on a fiancée visa because he fell in love with an American citizen. And when we were flying over the ocean that once separated us, together, for the first time, clutching hands and chattering excitedly about the life on which we were about to embark, Iain talked about his vision of life in America — about its diversity and opportunity and generous supply of chances.
It was, I imagine, a conversation not at all dissimilar to those had by other immigrants making their way into the same country, who are different from Iain only by virtue of a piece of paper he held in his hand as he crossed the border, or because of the nation in which he was born.
Being an American is more than a matter of geography, law, and luck. Frequently, the people who weren't born here seem to understand that better than many of those who were.
They laugh and sniff and squirm and rage at the abiding belief shared by many Americans that this country is not "ours" to gift or deny to anyone who wants to share this space in good faith, and help make it better. They ignore any history that might suggest this land isn't "theirs." They not only draw lines along borders, but lines between citizens — the kind who belong here, and the kind who don't, because they didn't earn it, as if having been born here to citizens by a twist of fate is some sort of laudable achievement, but having been born here to non-citizens is some sort of scam.
And they talk about souls — whatever that means — as if souls don't reside inside one's humanity, which is neither contingent on nor contained by borders. Any American soul not firmly rooted in one's humanity isn't much of a soul at all; it's a selfish intellect disconnected from the commonality of humanness, whence the dehumanization of non-Americans begins.
I don't know if I have any kind of soul at all, no less a particularly American one. But if I do have an American soul, I can say this with certainty: Within my American soul is a love of this country, even despite its many flaws, so profound that I cannot imagine denying the chance to love it as much as I do to anyone who wanted it.
The CBO has announced it will "release an estimate of the Senate health care plan later this afternoon."
Which means, by the end of the day, the Senate plan will have been denounced as harmful by the American Medical Association and found to be abject garbage by the Congressional Budget Office.
And still they won't be deterred. Because harm and garbage is the point.
a song that makes you happy. And I have quite a lot of those, making me happy is a big reason I have a music collection at all. I think I'm going to go for Complex person by The Pretenders. The lyrics are not all that cheerful in some ways, but I love the bouncy tune and I always hear this as a song about determination and not letting things get you down.
( video embed, actually audio only )
Also I've had a good week for playing games: ( mostly list with short comments )
The weekend was pleasantly spent. The local library seems to have switched to Overdrive for eBooks (or i found their Overdrive link) so i did some casual reading. We had a pleasant bit of thrift shopping after a late brunch out on Saturday. There was a fellow selling Adirondack-ish furniture at the circle in Pittsboro, and we finally stopped and asked after the pieces. We've been talking about a bench for the back glade
I made tamales, which i was certain were failures but were, actually, just fine. The Great Northern beans turned out ok despite using the "rapid soak" shortcut. The pickled peppers i put in the squash weren't too hot (indeed, perhaps a bit bland). The amount of salty veggie bullion in the masa was not really noticeable after cooking. The masa wasn't stale, even though my nose kept saying it was.
One thing i wasn't worried about was that i used processed coconut oil instead of the traditional lard. (I didn't fluff it up first, though.) It's the first time i've used coconut oil: it seems like a lovely replacement for the Crisco i grew up with. And then there's the thought of tropical tamales made with unprocessed coconut oil. Fish filling? It's been ages since i made tamales: i should do it again soon.
Meeting for Business did not need a lunch dish -- or such was asserted. Never trust someone who thinks their meeting agenda is short. I drove home pondering how i would clerk at this meeting. I was quite hungry when i got home.
I harvested the russet potatoes. There was a little wireworm damage, and they weren't as big as grocery store potatoes, but there's a good pile. I'm a little disappointed because i will need to use these damaged ones earlier instead of letting them keep. (I probably cleaned them all up too well, too. I know the advice says let the dirt dry and brush it off, but i want to see the pretties!)
One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures 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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Here are some things in the news today:
Earlier today by me: No Silver Linings. And by Fannie: Since Donald Brought Election Rigging Up: It Was.
REMINDER: KEEP CALLING YOUR SENATORS TO TELL THEM TO VOTE NO ON TRUMPCARE.
Benjamin D. Sommers, M.D., Ph.D., Atul A. Gawande, M.D., M.P.H., and Katherine Baicker, Ph.D. at The New England Journal of Medicine: Health Insurance Coverage and Health — What the Recent Evidence Tells Us.
One question experts are commonly asked is how the ACA — or its repeal — will affect health and mortality. The body of evidence summarized here indicates that coverage expansions significantly increase patients' access to care and use of preventive care, primary care, chronic illness treatment, medications, and surgery. These increases appear to produce significant, multifaceted, and nuanced benefits to health.Meanwhile...
...There remain many unanswered questions about U.S. health insurance policy, including how to best structure coverage to maximize health and value and how much public spending we want to devote to subsidizing coverage for people who cannot afford it. But whether enrollees benefit from that coverage is not one of the unanswered questions. Insurance coverage increases access to care and improves a wide range of health outcomes. Arguing that health insurance coverage doesn't improve health is simply inconsistent with the evidence.
Before summer’s out, we'll repeal/replace Obamacare w/ system based on personal responsibility, free-market competition & state-based reform pic.twitter.com/JzCyxX9kJb— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) June 24, 2017
Cool banquet, bro.
Charlie Jane Anders at Rewire: Health Care Isn't a 'Market,' It's a Public Good—and Legislators Would Do Well to Remember That. "Is health care a 'market,' or a public good, like clean air? Should I care if you don't have health coverage — or is that just the consequence of a robust market economy, with winners and losers? It's a stark choice this time. If you believe that health care is just like any other free-market enterprise, then it's fine for millions of poor people to lose coverage. But it's encouraging to see most people in the United States coming together against this callous proposition."
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Mark Sherman at the AP: High Court Reinstates Trump Travel Ban, Will Hear Arguments. FUCK!!! What a horrendous decision.
The Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration mostly enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, overturning lower court orders that blocked it.This decision makes no sense. Except, of course, to give Trump a win. And even with the exception for people with U.S. ties, this hands Trump a big and ugly win: The ability to legally bar people from entering the country on the basis that they are Muslim. Disgusting.
The action Monday is a victory for [Donald] Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.
The court did leave one category of foreigners protected, those "with a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," the court said in an unsigned opinion.
The justices will hear arguments in the case in October.
...The Trump administration said the ban was needed to allow an internal review of the screening procedures for visa applicants from those countries. That review should be complete before October 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.
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Trump this morning:— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 26, 2017
-Democrats have no ideas
-Obama did nothing
-Hillary is crooked
-Bernie Sanders is crazy
-Why won't they work with us? pic.twitter.com/l6jnZ05JmO
Trump won the election and has a rubber-stamp GOP Congressional majority, but is still railing against Democrats as the reason he's failing. https://t.co/sN03wWlAG8— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) June 26, 2017
He is unfit to be president of this nation in every conceivable way. Seethe.
Michael Kranish at the Washington Post: Kushner Firm's $285 Million Deutsche Bank Loan Came Just Before Election Day.
One month before Election Day, Jared Kushner's real estate company finalized a $285 million loan as part of a refinancing package for its property near Times Square in Manhattan.Nice work if you can get it. Fishy as hell, unethical, shady, dirty, and possibly criminal, but nice. Ahem.
The loan came at a critical moment. Kushner was playing a key role in the presidential campaign of his father-in-law, Donald Trump. The lender, Deutsche Bank, was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The cases were settled in December and January.
Now, Kushner's association with Deutsche Bank is among a number of financial matters that could come under focus as his business activities are reviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining Kushner as part of a broader investigation into possible Russian influence in the election.
The October deal illustrates the extent to which Kushner was balancing roles as a top adviser to Trump and a real estate company executive. After the election, Kushner juggled duties for the Trump transition team and his corporation as he prepared to move to the White House. The Washington Post has reported that investigators are probing Kushner's separate December meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, the head of Vnesheconombank, a state development bank.
The Deutsche Bank loan capped what Kushner Cos. viewed as a triumph: It had purchased four mostly empty retail floors of the former New York Times building in 2015, recruited tenants to fill the space and got the Deutsche Bank loan in a refinancing deal that gave Kushner's company $74 million more than it paid for the property.
Martin Pengelly at the Guardian: Top Democrat Schiff Criticizes Obama over Reaction to Russian Hacks. Which he did do, but I'm more interested in his criticism of Trump, because this is so spot-on: "On Saturday, [Trump tweeted]: 'Since the Obama administration was told way before the 2016 election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!' ...[Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House intelligence committee] said: 'I have to contest what [Donald] Trump is saying because for Donald Trump, who openly egged on the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's emails and celebrated every release of these stolen documents to criticise Obama now is a bit like someone knowingly receiving stolen property blaming the police for not stopping the theft. Donald Trump is in no position to complain here.'" YES.
Dana Priest and Michael Birnbaum at the Washington Post: Europe Has Been Working to Expose Russian Meddling for Years. "Across the continent, counterintelligence officials, legislators, researchers, and journalists have devoted years — in some cases, decades — to the development of ways to counter Russian disinformation, hacking, and trolling. And they are putting them to use as never before. Four dozen officials and researchers interviewed recently sounded uniformly more confident about the results of their efforts to counter Russian influence than officials grappling with it in the United States... The best antidote to Russian influence, European experts say, is to make it visible. 'We have to prepare the public,' said Patrick Sensburg, a member of the German Parliament and an intelligence expert."
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The TSA is testing having passengers remove books from their carry-on bags in security line. https://t.co/AaH0O1t5KB— ACLU National (@ACLU) June 25, 2017
Tom Dart at the Guardian: Texas Latinos Greet Court Date for 'Show Me Your Papers' SB4 Immigration Law. "Anger at Texas' strict new immigration law simmered as a thousand Latino policymakers and advocates gathered in Dallas this weekend, ahead of a hearing in which civil rights groups will ask for the measure to be blocked. A federal court in San Antonio will hear arguments on Monday, with judge Orlando Garcia to decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would stop the law, known as SB4, from taking effect on 1 September. Among those fighting SB4 are Texas' biggest cities, Latino organizations, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which successfully argued earlier this year that Donald Trump's travel ban affecting some majority-Muslim nations was unconstitutional." Welp.
Jenny Rowland at ThinkProgress: Trump's Interior Secretary Defends His Plan to Cut at Least 4,000 Staff. "In multiple appearances on Capitol Hill this week, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stood behind his proposal to cut at least 4,000 full-time staff from the Interior Department. He has also begun an unprecedented shake-up of senior career officials. Together, the thinning of experienced career employees could have far-reaching consequences for the agency's ability to manage public land and energy development on behalf of the American people." Unreal.
David Lieb at the AP: Possible Effects of Gerrymandering Seen in Uncontested Races.
When voters cast ballots for state representatives last fall, millions of Americans essentially had no choice: In 42 percent of all such elections, candidates faced no major party opponents.Totally incompatible with a healthy democracy.
Political scientists say a major reason for the lack of choices is the way districts are drawn — gerrymandered, in some cases, to ensure as many comfortable seats as possible for the majority party by creating other districts overwhelmingly packed with voters for the minority party.
"With an increasing number of districts being drawn to deliberately favor one party over another — and with fewer voters indicating an interest in crossover voting — lots of potential candidates will look at those previous results and come to a conclusion that it's too difficult to mount an election campaign in a district where their party is the minority," said John McGlennon, a longtime professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia who has tracked partisan competition in elections.
While the rate of uncontested races dipped slightly from 2014 to 2016, the percentage of people living in legislative districts without electoral choices has been generally rising over the past several decades.
What have you been reading that we need to resist today?
The system I'm talking about is our basic electoral process.
Take Bernie and the infamous, still-circulating claim that the all-powerful Democratic National Committee (DNC) "rigged" the Democratic Primary against him. How this "rigging" tangibly led to Hillary Clinton defeating Sanders by more than 3 million votes is rarely specified. But, Aphra Behn has addressed this nonsensical claim in depth already. The summary is that the most controversial of the stolen DNC emails allegedly "showing" this "rigging" were dated after it became mathematically impossible for Bernie to win. (Nevertheless, the mainstream media persists in repeating this claim or letting it go unchallenged).
In practice, the Evil DNC Rigging narrative really only "works" by erasing the millions of ordinary people, many of them Black women, who sincerely and enthusiastically supported Clinton and pretending that if not for the fantastical DNC Rigging, significantly more would have voted for Bernie Sanders instead.
Then, of course, we have Donald, who repeatedly claimed during the lead-up to November 8th, that "Crooked Hillary" was "rigging" the election against him. He offered no evidence, but he didn't really have to. The general public already believed both he and Bernie were more honest than Hillary Clinton even though analyses showed that she was the most honest of the three. If Donald, who was a "truth-teller," made a claim against Crooked Hillary, why wouldn't many people believe it?
My rhetorical question speaks to the fact that the election was rigged.
Yes, it was rigged by prevailing norms of misogyny, although bias can be difficult to measure and difficult for many people to accept as a thing that actually exists in the world.
But also, what was it, if not rigging, that led to emails detrimental only to Hillary Clinton's campaign having been stolen, leaked, and continually reported on? How might have voter perceptions changed, for instance, about who was and wasn't evil, cheating, or dishonest had private emails from Trump's and Sanders' campaigns been stolen, leaked, and reported on incessantly?
In addition, we now know that the US Intelligence Community (PDF) believes that the Russian Government sought to "undermine faith in the US democratic process" and harm Hillary Clinton's electability via these leaked and stolen emails. With the benefit of hindsight, doesn't it seem that the election was instead rigged for Donald?
Moving to our current state of sad affairs, I've seen repeated scoldings for people on social media to stop "re-litigating the primaries." Well, telling people to just get over something, while acting so above the fray, isn't usually a good strategy for helping people who are upset get over things.
During the 2016 election, both Sanders and Trump supporters capitalized on the one-sided nature of the leaked emails to the detriment of Hillary Clinton's campaign. Many people continue to believe, or at least insist on social media, that Hillary didn't legitimately win the Democratic Primary. Donald Trump even tweeted about it over the weekend, in June 2017, because he knows this claim sows discord among the left. It's possible that Russian troll-bots are still intentionally stirring this pot.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont, is Outreach Chair for the Democratic Party, even as he goes around the country demeaning the "failing" Democractic Party model.
(Which, itself, seems like a failing Democratic Party model, but WHO AM I TO JUDGE?)
I contend that the divisions among the left are real, deep, and pre-date the 2016 primary. They won't go away simply by giving the "leaders" of different factions honorary positions within the Democratic Party, while leaving the underlying problems unaddressed. The facts on the ground are that, to many Hillary supporters, Bernie Sanders will remain a polarizing figure, in part because he has yet to adequately address, let alone counter, the circulating claim that Hillary Clinton cheated when she beat him.
In May 2016, for instance, in response to Trump's claim that the Democratic Primary was "rigged" against Bernie, Bernie gave a weak sauce retort that while he wouldn't use the word "rigged," the process was "dumb."
Apparently, it was "dumb" that the process had pre-existing rules, rules that Bernie ostensibly knew about before he decided to run. Something something establishment. Don't you hate how systems consistently fail, and are rigged against, white men. I'm so glad we nipped that oppression in the bud before anything bad happened, like letting a woman be president.
I guess we'll never talk about how Bernie could shut this shit down but chooses not to because he apparently can't admit he lost to a woman. pic.twitter.com/rg271Sa25J— Fannie Wolfe (@fanniesroom) June 26, 2017
In those two years, there are people who have tried to deny that liberty: Court clerks who claim religious objections to issuing marriage licenses, and Republican officials who propose legislation to repeal the right, and family members and "friends" and strangers who wield scorn and judgment and opprobrium as disincentives.
They have not succeeded.
In its latest polling, the Pew Research Center found: "By a margin of nearly two-to-one (62% to 32%), more Americans now say they favor [same-sex marriage rights] than say they are opposed."
That is good news, still not nearly as good as it could be.
We must remain vigilant: If the fight against Roe has taught us anything, it is the necessity of vigilance.
As if on cue: "The Supreme Court on Monday said it will consider next term whether a Denver baker unlawfully discriminated against a gay couple by refusing to sell them a wedding cake."
That case doesn't present a direct challenge to legal marriage, but it is the type of case that conservatives love because it keeps a social justice issue they want to reverse in the news and forces marginalized people to fight for equality in a way attached to the larger social justice issue, but with less public sympathy. Conservatives use cases like this to leverage sentiments like "why don't you just go somewhere else for your wedding cake?" to start eroding support for weddings altogether.
Vigilance is crucial.
On this anniversary, I recommit myself to the fight for same-sex marriage, by never letting down my guard and remaining prepared, always, to defend this right as it needs defense.
"Just as a couple vows to support each other, so does society pledge to support the couple, offering symbolic recognition and material benefits to protect and nourish the union."—Justice Anthony Kennedy, June 26, 2015.
And let us endeavor always to protect and nourish the right to forge that union.
I published a Twitter thread responding to the general idea, ubiquitous on both the right and the left, that there will be silver linings of one sort of another to Trump's presidency.
I've turned that Twitter thread into a moment: "Stop Saying There Will Be Silver Linings to Trump's Presidency."
This is a subject on which I've written before, specifically the foolishness of imagining a leftist utopia will rise from the ashes of Trump's presidency. And I imagine I will be obliged to keep writing it, because there is a seemingly endless stream of glib shitheads who are willing to sacrifice other people's safety or very lives for the possibility of a highly unlikely "silver lining" of one sort or another.
Trump is busily annihilating of our democratic systems and norms. Destroying something is rarely the way to fix it.