Meanwhile in Russia proper, "Protesters Gather in 99 Cities Across Russia; Top Putin Critic Is Arrested." Brave people. Of course, "The Trump Administration Is Silent After Russia Arrests Hundreds Of Protesters." He's too busy making an ass of himself printing fake invoices and handing them to Andrea Merkel expecting payment, I guess? That didn't work with Mexico, why the fuck would it work with Germany? ("Germany slams ‘intimidating’ £300bn White House bill.")
Remember how Trump promised brutality and savagery in the middle east? He may be delivering on that, as "Trump’s War on Terror Has Quickly Become as Barbaric and Savage as He Promised." This is, of course, how to ramp up the war. "The west condemned Russia’s bombs – now coalition attacks are killing civilians in Mosul" is another story on the topic.
"Pussy Riot's advice on how to defy Putin and Trump" is pretty straightforward, but I include it as part of the shared struggle. They have no illusions about what's going on. In related organisational/structural news, "A Harvard study identified the precise reason protests are an effective way to cause political change" - which is to say, people who attend protests are afterwards more likely to do things and get others to do things as well. The multiplier is nontrivial.
Post-healthcare-reform continues: "Blaming conservatives, Trump signals new openness to Dems" (presumably a lie), "Donald Trump is giving a lot of mixed messages about whom to blame on health care" (true), "Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War" (point and laugh, children), and "Reince Priebus lies after GOP debacle: ‘Obamacare is imploding and exploding and every other adjective’," indicating that Priebus doesn't know that "imploding" and "exploding" are verbs.
I suspect "Trump taps Kushner to lead a SWAT team to fix government with business ideas" is going to be a bit of a do-nothing position, not because they might not want to do some of these things, but because they still don't have a staff worth mentioning. Still, be aware. Kushner has no qualifications on this other than being Trump's son-in-law, and is overbooked already, so... yeah.
Only one immigration/expulsion/travel ban story at the moment: "‘Dreamer’ immigrant in Oregon detained by US authorities."
"An Oklahoma School Had a Christian Sex Educator Speak to Kids, and (Surprise!) It Was a Disaster."
And finally, locally, "McCleary roundup: Senate GOP’s budget plan draws swift opposition from Democrats, teachers union" - nothing to do with fascism, really, but a lot of Washington State people are subscribers, so there's your education funding update. It's hard to keep up with 'normal' things right now, but you need to. It's just life.
----- 1 -----
White supremacist who killed black man only regrets his victim wasn’t younger and ‘more successful’
David Ferguson | Raw Story | 26 Mar 2017
The white supremacist Army veteran who stabbed an elderly black man to death in New York City says he wishes he’d killed “a young thug” or someone “more successful” than his 77-year-old victim.
The New York Daily News said that James Jackson — a former military intelligence specialist who traveled from Baltimore to New York City on a mission to murder black men with a sword — gave a “self-aggrandizing, emotionally detached” statement on Sunday regarding the murder of Timothy Caughman last week.
The killing, Jackson said, was a practice run for a larger plan in which he hoped to convince white women not to have relationships with black men.
“Well, if that guy feels so strongly about it,” Jackson said he hoped women would think, “maybe I shouldn’t do it.”
Killing was not as satisfying as he’d hoped, Jackson said.
----- 2 -----
Timothy Caughman’s Murder Was a Lynching
And Donald Trump has said nothing.
By Jamelle Bouie | Slate | 24 March 2017
A man was lynched this week.
Timothy Caughman, 66, was a former social worker who, in his retirement years, had taken to recycling to keep busy and help pay for his apartment, a room in a building for people transitioning from homelessness to permanent housing (a longtime tenant, he was not homeless himself). Caughman was black, which made him a target for his professed killer, James Harris Jackson, 28, of Baltimore.
There’s nothing ambiguous here. Jackson says he targeted a black man for death to make a statement about the kind of society he wants to have. Once finished with his task, he turned himself in to police.
By understanding Caughman’s murder as a lynching, we gain clarity into how racial violence is more than hate—how it’s meant to enforce racial caste by making an example of violators, or anyone who might be a violator. And in turn, we can use today’s context to help understand the past and gain insight into how it felt for black Americans at the time. To call Jackson’s professed attack an act of terrorism is also to recontextualize the age of lynching as an earlier age of terrorism, forgotten by most, but whose scars still linger in the memory of black America.
----- 3 -----
Protesters Gather in 99 Cities Across Russia; Top Putin Critic Is Arrested
By ANDREW HIGGINS | The New York Times | MARCH 26, 2017
MOSCOW — The Russian police arrested hundreds of people in nationwide anti-corruption protests on Sunday, including the opposition leader Aleksei Navalny in Moscow, where thousands gathered for the biggest demonstration in five years against President Vladimir V. Putin.
The protest in the capital took the form of a synchronized walk along a major shopping street to avoid a ban on unsanctioned stationary gatherings. It was one of 99 similar rallies in cities and towns across the country — from Vladivostok in the far east to Kaliningrad in the west — according to the organizer, Mr. Navalny’s anti-corruption foundation.
All but 17 of these, the foundation said, had been declared illegal by the authorities.
In Moscow, some protesters tried to block security vans with cars, and the authorities deployed the riot police and surveillance helicopters. But they mostly avoided the brutal measures used in neighboring Belarus on Saturday against protesters in the capital, Minsk, and other cities.
----- 4 -----
The Trump Administration Is Silent After Russia Arrests Hundreds Of Protesters
Thousands of Russians took to the streets to protest corruption under President Vladimir Putin, and the police cracked down. The Trump administration had no immediate statement.
Sam Fellman | Posted on March 26, 2017, 18:17 GMT | Buzzfeed
Russian police in riot gear arrested a leading opposition leader and hundreds of protestors on Sunday in Moscow, as the biggest protests Russia has seen in years bloomed in cities across the country.
Hours after this crackdown on what appeared to be largely peaceful gatherings, the Trump administration did not issue any statements about the arrests.
Alexei Navalny, one of Russia's most prominent critics of President Vladimir Putin, organized the gatherings to raise pressure on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. In March, Navalny accused Medvedev of accepting bribes that he used to purchase mansions and yachts.
Russian authorities, however, called these gatherings unauthorized and moved to disperse the crowd of thousands in Moscow's Pushkin Square.
Neither the White House, State Department, or the US Embassy in Moscow had issued any statements by Sunday afternoon. As of 2 p.m. Eastern time, a State Department spokesperson was unable to provide any statements, or say if one was expected.
----- 5 -----
Germany slams ‘intimidating’ £300bn White House bill
Bojan Pancevski | The Sunday Times (of London ) | 26 March 2017
Donald Trump handed the German chancellor Angela Merkel a bill — thought to be for more than £300bn — for money her country “owed” Nato for defending it when they met last weekend, German government sources have revealed.
The bill — handed over during private talks in Washington — was described as “outrageous” by one German minister.
“The concept behind putting out such demands is to intimidate the other side, but the chancellor took it calmly and will not respond to such provocations,” the minister said.
----- 6 -----
The west condemned Russia’s bombs – now coalition attacks are killing civilians in Mosul
The leaders who denounced Putin for deadly airstrikes in Syria are not speaking out over the siege of the Iraqi city
Simon Tisdall | The Guardian | 25 March 2017
America and the UK condemned Russian airstrikes that killed or injured hundreds of civilians during last autumn’s siege of Aleppo, accusing Vladimir Putin of war crimes. The question now is whether the US, backed by British air power, is committing similar atrocities against civilians in Mosul.
Addressing the UN security council in September, Matthew Rycroft, Britain’s ambassador, said Russia had “unleashed a new hell” on Aleppo. “Russia is partnering with the Syrian regime to carry out war crimes,” he said. The US accused Putin of “barbarism”.
Theresa May climbed aboard this righteous bandwagon in December, joining Barack Obama and European leaders in lambasting Russia for causing a humanitarian disaster that “is taking place before our very eyes”.
Fast-forward to Mosul in northern Iraq last week, where misdirected US airstrikes caused a massive explosion that reportedly killed at least 150 civilians sheltering in a basement. The Americans say they were targeting Islamic State fighters. The Russians said much the same about Aleppo – that they were attacking jihadi terrorists. Many people, not least the relatives of the Mosul dead, will struggle to see the difference.
But Iraqi commanders said the deaths followed an Iraqi army request for US air support to clear Isis snipers atop three buildings. They said they did not realise civilians were sheltering beneath, and it may have been a deliberate Isis trap.
----- 7 -----
Trump’s War on Terror Has Quickly Become as Barbaric and Savage as He Promised
Glenn Greenwald | The Intercept | 26 March 2017
From the start of his presidency, Donald Trump’s “war on terror” has entailed the seemingly indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people in the name of killing terrorists. In other words, Trump has escalated the 16-year-old core premise of America’s foreign policy — that it has the right to bomb any country in the world where people it regards as terrorists are found — and in doing so, has fulfilled the warped campaign pledges he repeatedly expressed.
The most recent atrocity was the killing of as many as 200 Iraqi civilians from U.S. airstrikes this week in Mosul. That was preceded a few days earlier by the killing of dozens of Syrian civilians in Raqqa province when the U.S. targeted a school where people had taken refuge, which itself was preceded a week earlier by the U.S. destruction of a mosque near Aleppo that also killed dozens. And one of Trump’s first military actions was what can only be described as a massacre carried out by Navy SEALs, in which 30 Yemenis were killed; among the children killed was an 8-year-old American girl (whose 16-year-old American brother was killed by a drone under Obama).
In sum: Although precise numbers are difficult to obtain, there seems little question that the number of civilians being killed by the U.S. in Iraq and Syria — already quite high under Obama — has increased precipitously during the first two months of the Trump administration. Data compiled by the site Airwars tells the story: The number of civilians killed in Syria and Iraq began increasing in October under Obama but has now skyrocketed in March under Trump.
----- 8 -----
Blaming conservatives, Trump signals new openness to Dems
Hope Yen, Associated Press | Sunday, March 26, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Sunday attacked conservative lawmakers for the failure of the Republican bill to replace former President Barack Obama's health care law, as aides signaled a greater willingness to work with moderate Democrats on upcoming legislative battles from the budget and tax cuts to health care.
On Twitter, Trump complained: "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!"
The Freedom Caucus is a hard-right group of more than 30 GOP House members who were largely responsible for blocking the bill to undo the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare." The bill was pulled from the House floor Friday in a humiliating political defeat for the president, having lacked support from either the conservative Republicans or Democrats.
In additional fallout from Friday's jarring setback, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, said he was leaving the caucus. Poe was one of the few group members to declare support for the legislation.
----- 9 -----
Donald Trump is giving a lot of mixed messages about whom to blame on health care
By Amber Phillips | March 26, 2017 | The Washington Post
Republicans' blame game for their failure to pass a health-care bill is in full swing. And — in a sharp contrast from Friday, when he pointed the finger at Democrats — President Trump is turning his fire at his own party.
Here's what he tweeted Sunday morning.
"Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!"
Then, the New York Times Magazine reports Sunday that at one point during the negotiations, Trump told Rep. Charlie Dent (Pa.), co-leader of the moderate GOP Tuesday Group caucus: “I'm going to blame you” if the bill fails. In an interview Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Dent did not deny the conversation.
[See http://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/video/dent-confirms-tough-trump-exchange-906741827984 for video of this]
----- 10 -----
Trump Becomes Ensnared in Fiery G.O.P. Civil War
By GLENN THRUSH and MAGGIE HABERMAN | March 25, 2017 | The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Trump ignites a lot of fights, but his failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the biggest defeat in his short time in the White House, was the result of something else: a long-running Republican civil war that humbled a generation of party leaders before he ever came to Washington.
A precedent-flouting president who believes that Washington’s usual rules do not apply to him, Mr. Trump now finds himself shackled by them.
In stopping the repeal of President Barack Obama’s proudest legacy — the Republican Party’s professed priority for the last seven years — from even coming to a vote, the rebellious far right wing out-rebelled Mr. Trump, taking on and defeating the party establishment with which it has long been at war and which he now leads.
Like every one else who has tried to rule a fissured and fractious party, Mr. Trump now faces a wrenching choice: retrenchment or realignment.
Does he cede power to the anti-establishment wing of his party? Or does he seek other pathways to successful governing by throwing away the partisan playbook and courting a coalition with the Democrats, whom he has improbably blamed for his party’s shortcomings?
----- 11 -----
Reince Priebus lies after GOP debacle: ‘Obamacare is imploding and exploding and every other adjective’
David Edwards | Raw Story | 26 Mar 2017
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asserted on Sunday that President Barack Obama’s health care reform law is “imploding and exploding” — even though the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said otherwise.
Fox News host Chris Wallace noted in an interview with Priebus that President Donald Trump had blamed Democrats after his replacement for the Affordable Care Act failed to muster enough Republican support to pass the House.
“The president never reached out to Democrats,” Wallace said. “You never offered Democrats a compromise. So, how can you blame Democrats for this?”
“Well, look, Obamacare is imploding and it is exploding and every other adjective you can provide,” Priebus insisted. “It’s going south. And it would be nice to get some Democrats on board.”
“But you’re right,” Trump’s chief of staff admitted. “At the end of the day, I believe that it’s time for the [Republican Party] to start governing.”
----- 12 -----
An Oklahoma School Had a Christian Sex Educator Speak to Kids, and (Surprise!) It Was a Disaster
March 24, 2017 by Hemant Mehta | Patheos
Administrators at an Oklahoma public high school foolishly invited a Christian sex-ed lecturer to speak to the senior class, and now they’re getting the inevitable backlash because that talk was a disaster.
On Wednesday, Shelly Donahue spoke at Jenks High School, and the reason we know about what she said is because a senior, Brooklyn Wilson, posted about it on Facebook. She was appalled that her school would invite such an uninformed, irresponsible person to present on such an important topic.
… As usual, this sex ed class was based around the idea of abstinence (both a CLEARLY unrealistic and ineffective approach to teaching safe sex). However, on top of the usual disappointed, today a line was crossed. A direct quote from the presentation “Do you know why girls are so desperate and always text guys first? Two words: Daddy. left.” I am DISGUSTED. How dare our school allow a statement so demeaning to girls and so belittling of broken families to be presented to a class of such impressionable and already insecure seniors . “Daddy” leaving is a life changing and heartbreaking situation, but to stereotype and undermine girls by calling them “desperate” for having the confidence to text a guy first is SO OUT OF LINE. Parents, I would be furious if I sent my child to school and this is the way they are treated, with shame, guilt, and embarrassment being used as a way to try and prevent sex.
----- 13 -----
A Harvard study identified the precise reason protests are an effective way to cause political change
Dan Kopf | Quartz | February 03, 2017
Since US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, protests have become ubiquitous in America. The day after Trump was sworn in, millions gathered gathered in cities around the country for a women’s march. Trump’s temporary ban on US entrants from seven Muslim-majority countries likewise led thousands of people to flock to airports to demonstrate.
…But do these these protests matter?
A clever analysis (pdf) by economists from Harvard University and Stockholm University finds that protests do in fact have a major influence on politics, just not in the way you might think. Their research shows that protest does not work because big crowds send a signal to policy-makers—rather, it’s because protests get people politically activated.
Evaluating the efficacy of protest is no easy task. It’s challenging to untangle whether a big protest actually caused a change, or whether that change would have happened regardless, because a policy was unpopular and the protest is a symptom of that unpopularity. The researchers got around this problem by using a natural experiment from the origins of the Tea Party.
Let’s start by going back a decade: In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and the election of Barack Obama, the Tea Party emerged as a new political movement on the American right. The group was primarily focused on opposing government spending and tax increases, and held its first major day of protest on April 15, 2009, known as “Tax Day” in the US. It is estimated that between 450,000 and 800,000 people showed up for more than 500 distinct “Tax Day” rallies around the country that year. According to research outlined in Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson’s book, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, it was the first time most rally attendees had participated in a Tea Party protest.
----- 14 -----
‘Dreamer’ immigrant in Oregon detained by US authorities
By The Associated Press | Originally published March 26, 2017
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A 25-year-old man who had been allowed to stay in the U.S. because he was brought illegally into the country as a child was detained Sunday by immigration agents, activists said.
Francisco J. Rodriguez Dominguez was picked up at his home by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, immigration lawyer Stephen Manning said. The leader of an immigrant rights group said the agency detained him because he has a misdemeanor for DUI, but officials with the agency did not return a newspaper’s call for comment.
Rodriguez Dominguez arrived in the U.S. from Mexico when he was 5 years old, the Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said in a statement. He has lived in the Portland area since then, the ACLU said.
Rodriguez Dominguez helps run a food pantry at the Latino Network, a community organization, and coaches a soccer team at an elementary school, the ACLU said.
----- 15 -----
Trump taps Kushner to lead a SWAT team to fix government with business ideas
By Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker | March 26, 2017 | The Washington Post
President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with
sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key
campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting
opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and,
potentially, privatizing some government functions.
The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared
Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as
its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report
directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic
consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives
and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above
the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president
still searching for signature achievements.
“All Americans, regardless of their political views, can recognize that
government stagnation has hindered our ability to properly function,
often creating widespread congestion and leading to cost overruns and
delays,” Trump said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I promised
the American people I would produce results, and apply my ‘ahead of
schedule, under budget’ mentality to the government.”
In a White House riven at times by disorder and competing factions, the
innovation office represents an expansion of Kushner’s already
far-reaching influence. The 36-year-old former real estate and media
executive will continue to wear many hats, driving foreign and domestic
policy as well as decisions on presidential personnel. He also is a
shadow diplomat, serving as Trump’s lead adviser on relations with
China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East.
The work of White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon has drawn
considerable attention, especially after his call for the
“deconstruction of the administrative state.” But Bannon will have no
formal role in the innovation office, which Trump advisers described as
an incubator of sleek transformation as opposed to deconstruction.
----- 16 -----
McCleary roundup: Senate GOP’s budget plan draws swift opposition from Democrats, teachers union
By Neal Morton | Originally published March 24, 2017 | The Seattle Times
With the Senate Republican budget out Tuesday, and the House Democrats’ proposal expected next week, lawmakers are getting down to the details when it comes to state spending for the next two years.
That must include a final resolution to the ongoing McCleary school-funding case, but it’s unclear whether there’s been any progress toward a compromise between the two parties.
And Olympia watchers continue to guess how many special sessions it might take for the Washington Legislature to reach one.
----- 17 -----
Pussy Riot's advice on how to defy Putin and Trump
Nadya Tolokonnikova | Foreign Policy | 20 March 2017
Not every comparison between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump works. But when it comes to their craven need for power, their fragile temperaments and inflated egos, and their anti-feminist sentiments, these two men have much in common.
They share some political methods and some psychological deficiencies. It's cave-man psychology. When they are angry, they lash out. For Trump, it is with tweets. Putin has more power, so he puts his enemies in jail. These are just the knee-jerk reactions of children acting out when they feel rejected or scared.
But we shouldn't underestimate these men. Putin is trying to build a new conservative world order, and Trump is an important piece of this chain. In recent months, both men have implemented new policies — Putin decriminalized domestic violence, and Trump reinstated the Global Gag Rule — that simultaneously embrace the religious right and disadvantage the freedoms of women. Both leaders aren't just anti-feminist; they actually demean women. Putin has said that a woman's place is in the home; her first role in society is to be a reproduction machine. If a woman wants to be a good Russian patriot and help her country, she must have more children. Trump, meanwhile, has a long history of making derogatory comments about women, not to mention being accused of sexual assault.
Still it's important to remember that Trump is just a symptom of the terrible conservative tendencies in American society. He is not a great revolutionary or an arbiter of a movement. He can't change the country in one day. He's just a stupid ape, and we shouldn't give him more power than he already has. In fact, Trump is very lucky he can take all this rage that people have about the current system and use it to his advantage. And this is something else he has in common with Russia's president: Putin also used people's fears and anger to make himself more powerful.