With the stroke of a pen from President Donald Trump, the United States officially withdrew Monday from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed and controversial 12-nation trade pact dealing with everything from intellectual property to human rights.
"Everybody knows what that means, right? We’ve been talking about this for a long time," Trump said as he signed the order and made good on his campaign promise to remove the US from the trade deal. "A great thing for the American worker." During the election campaign, he called the TPP a "disaster."
President Barack Obama had praised the pact, but it was put on life support just days after Election Day. That's when congressional leaders told the White House that it would no longer consider entering the pact with a lame-duck president. The failing deal was of interest to Ars due to how intellectual property would have been treated. As we noted, "the TPP exported US copyright law regarding how long a copyright lasts. For signing nations, the plan would have made copyrights last for the life of the creator plus 70 years after his or her death. That's basically the same as in the US."
One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they disgorge every single day.
Which is to say nothing of the reprobates in the Republican Congressional caucus, who, working with unofficial White House Congressional liaison Vice-President Mike Pence, will be unleashing their own relentless series of terrors onto the U.S. public.
And naturally there will be all sorts of myriad trash coming from Republican-majority state legislatures, who have been empowered by the Trump presidency, a Republican Congressional majority, and an open seat on the Supreme Court.
It is going to be tough for any individual person to follow. Which, of course, is precisely the point.
To that end, I am launching the "We Resist" thread, which is a space 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.
Some of these things I, or one of the other contributors, will write about, but we can't cover all of them. Between all the members of this community, however, we have a better chance of at least making sure everyone gets as much info as they can about what is happening every day.
So each weekday, sometime during midday (and always to be followed by the Daily Dose of Cute, except on days when something breaking intercedes), I will post this thread, with links to relevant news items I have seen, and invite you to share what you have been reading.
Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.
* * *
Here are some things I've read today:
[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Eric Bradner at CNN: What the Trump Administration Has Done So Far. He's already gone haywire in his first 72 hours.
Jeff Pegues at CBS News: Sources Say Trump's CIA Visit Made Relations with Intel Community Worse. Which should not come as a surprise to anyone here, as I've been saying for months that Trump is waging a campaign to discredit the intelligence community so he can replace them with "his own people." What's new in the piece is the confirmation that Trump brought "his own people" to clap and cheer at the event, to give the appearance of his being well-received by the intelligence community. Wow.
Eric Lipton and Adam Liptak at the New York Times: Foreign Payments to Trump Firms Violate Constitution, Suit Will Claim. His first full day of work (since he took the weekend off), and a lawsuit has been filed against him.
David Smith at the Guardian: Trump Will Issue Executive Order to Begin NAFTA Renegotiation, Report Says.
Cyra Master at The Hill: Report: Trump White House Hiring Breitbart Writer. Welp. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich is launching an all-out assault on the political media.
Robert Pear at the New York Times: Trump's Health Plan Would Convert Medicaid to Block Grants, Aide Says. This would be utterly devastating.
And, already today:
Trump signed three executive orders today:— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) January 23, 2017
1) Withdrawal from TPP
2) Federal hiring freeze
3) "Mexico City policy" on abortion funding
Jennifer Haberkorn at Politico:
If there was any doubt about President Donald Trump's stance on abortion, he settled it Monday by using an executive order to bar U.S. aid to groups that provide or promote the procedure overseas.What have you been reading that we need to resist today?
The decision to reinstate the Republican policy known as the "Mexico City policy," or the "global gag rule," was delivered a day after the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion and two days after the Women's March on Washington and similar events across the country drew crowds to rally for reproductive rights, among other issues.
...are you familiar with the idea that I tend to go overboard? Yeeeeeeah. So now I have a question, though ultimately this is all going to boil down to "the maple, grape, and root beer candies we've got sitting in our pantry" anyway: It's easy to find out what American candies you don't have in England and/or Australia. Are there any savory snacks that are lightweight and yummy that you don't have?
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue is a package as hard to parse as its name. The collection serves up three new-ish chapters in the Kingdom Hearts series: an HD remaster of the 3DS exclusive Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance; a two-hour followup to the PSP’s Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep; and an extended cutscene based on the browser and mobile game prequel Kingdom Hearts χ.
Before booting up 2.8, I did my best to brush up on the 15-or-so years of series lore to get a grasp on where these episodes fit in Kingdom Hearts’ timeline. What I found was a swirling mess of proper nouns and unpronounceable names. It seems since the first Kingdom Hearts (the last one I finished) things have gotten complicated. Or more complicated than a world where Disney and Final Fantasy characters hang out on a regular basis, anyway.
If you’re hoping 2.8 will at least make sense as a self-contained collection, forget it. No single part of the trio seems directly connected to any other part. Dream Drop Distance is set at the extreme end of the Kingdom Hearts timeline (ostensibly leading up to the still mythical Kingdom Hearts 3), A Fragmentary Passage (the two-hour Birth by Sleep followup) runs concurrent with, but disconnected from, the original Kingdom Hearts; and Kingdom Hearts χ Back Cover (the “extended cutscene”) is set eons before either of the other two.
Foxconn, the Taiwanese contract manufacturing company best known for its partnership with Apple, has said that it is mulling a $7 billion investment in US manufacturing that could create between 30,000 and 50,000 jobs. According to The Wall Street Journal, Foxconn Chairman Tony Gou says the company is talking with the state of Pennsylvania among others about getting the land and electricity subsidies it would need to build a factory.
“If US state governments are willing to provide these terms, and we calculate and it is cheaper than shipping from China or Japan, then why wouldn’t Sharp build a factory in the US?" said Gou.
The factory would build flat-panel screens under the Sharp name—Foxconn bought Sharp around this time last year for $5.1 billion. Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu hinted in October of 2016 that US manufacturing could be a possibility for Sharp, and he also indicated that Apple could begin using OLED display panels in future iPhones. Apple currently uses OLED in the Apple Watch and in the new MacBook Pro's Touch Bar, but otherwise it hasn't pushed to adopt the technology as some Android phone manufacturers have.
Warning, this post contains spoilers about the previous Star Wars film, Episode VII.
Since Disney bought the Star Wars franchise, we've been treated to two rather excellent films. 2015's Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens was a return to form. Last year's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story filled in some plot points and explored the universe in a darker and more mature way.
Thanks to Disney's metronomic production schedule, the next installment of Star Wars will hit the screens in December, and we now have a title: Episode VIII will be Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
(I use the beta entry creation page, so saving drafts is a non-option.)
1. My slightly elevated mood lasted approximately a whole 24 hours last week, at which point we went to exhausted, dreading Friday, and full of gloom and doom. Which is not much of a surprise, really; no matter how much CBT shit I did at my brain it was absolutely convinced the world was ENDING!!!! at noon eastern. So y'know. Whatever, brain, go sit in the corner and freak out while I do what work I can. Once it passed, of course, I was all OKAY THERE SEE? No world ending. Let's get back to work. But it's very frustrating.
2. I am today INCREDIBLY irritable because certain people decided that they needed to rustle tin foil and fuck if I know what all else, while getting a lunch packed at 6mumble, so I got shorted an hour of sleep. SO. ANNOYED. Also mostly upright so I can do routines and then nap.
3. Slowly working on getting back in the habit of also doing cross stitch, not just knitting. Given the relative complexity of the current project, this entails baby steps like "sit with the project materials out and do maybe a handful of stitches in an evening." Also, I wish to trade this brain in for a small shell script, which might be more useful. I hate having to do this incremental shit with every-fucking-thing.
4. Current vague theories for political action, which I put here, is that I need to assemble the text for some flyers about how to vote and ALSO (and arguably more importantly) getting appropriate documentation for registration. And seeing if I can find out what to do with bullshit like "oh oops we thought you were your father when we looked you up in the voter rolls." Funny how this rarely happens with Nice White People. Ahem. I might get someone ELSE to do the graphic design work, but I can pull the info together into something that's not in bureaucrat-ese. And of course I also spent time as an election aide and ten years ago or not, I'm great at osmosis and retention of bureaucratic standards. So.
4a. I mean I should probably also try to find people locally doing voter reg and teaching, and start in with ok so I wanna help explain to people how to browbeat the system into working for you goddammit (inasmuch as it can), but this is a step I can just... do on my own.
4b. Also don't get me started on how BAD a lot of the informational shit out there is. Particularly in terms of not being available anywhere BUT online. :|
5. Oh that's the one I meant to put closer to the top and then got distracted from. It's occurred to me that I was pretty well facedown in my own shit during the Bush II years, so protesting, political awareness, these were not things that happened. I mean I got a crash course in emotional manipulation and gaslighting! But even so, on the worldwide scale this FEELS like the first time even though intellectually I know damn well it's not.
And on that note I just found out that the illegitimate piece of shit government has already sent bombers to help Le Putain in Syria so I'm gonna go... something. Scream under a bridge, maybe.
by Rosemary Benton
Science fiction is a wonderful genre in that it allows an author the opportunity to pick a discipline – religion, economics, etc. - and create scenarios that are free to play out completely beyond any current restrictions or known facts of nature. Consider James Blish's The Star Dwellers with it's sentient energy creatures or Andre Norton's Catseye with it's telepathic animals.
But then there are the science fiction authors who try to ground their scenarios as close as possible to the discipline they are examining. For H. Beam Piper, it seems as if he wrote his most recent novel with a mission to accurately play out the issues and triumphs of an anthropologist. The results is the well written (if slightly dry_ young adult novel, Little Fuzzy, the story of one interstellar prospector's journey to protect the small, furry family he has adopted, cared for, and believes to be as intelligent as any group of humans.
(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
It isn't as bad as I feared, but I should not leave it so long again, and so another of this week's tasks (I hope) will be to figure out a way to at least read it from gmail. Yes, I know, but Outlook through a web browser is horrible.
I'm still rather lurgified, which isn't helping with getting things done, and now beloved spouse is off work sick with the same thing.
I’ve given up on accessing LJ from my phone at this point because of a different problem (one that worries me more). I use Chrome on my cell to access various things, including LJ. Now, about 1/3 of the time, when I try to log in on LJ, I get diverted to Facebook— specifically to a contest page— while I’m in the middle of typing my password. I don’t use Facebook, not at all. Never have.
I’m not sure if this is a problem with LJ or if there’s something nasty on my phone now. Any ideas? How would I go about looking for problematic things on my phone? I’ve been careful about apps, generally speaking.
But when it’s a tv show someone else likes, it’s just too bad and we best be good little consumers and wait patiently for someone to potentially, at some point in the next 5-10 years if we’re very lucky, acquire the rights to show it on some random tv channel in DK, because you wouldn’t download a car, now would you?
I wonder if Bertel can spell hypocrite...
Also, my quest to become unrecognisable to everyone who's known me for a decade continues. It started with contact lenses in November. Now that my razor's died I'm experimenting with this whole "not shaving" thing. Should be interesting. So far it's been three days and I haven't quite felt the need to claw my face off.
Other than that this morning I've watered my plant and turned off some jerk's phone that wouldn't stop ringing, and now I get to go sit through an R&D meeting. I suspect that my motivation may be slipping.
Despite some last-minute male concern about how calling it the Women's March on Washington might have been "bad" marketing, attendance at the DC March and the more than 600 Sister Marches around the world, including an online Disability March, in response to Donald Trump's Inauguration exceeded all expectations. Via Politico, the Marches are estimated to be the largest protests in US history, with approximately 2-4 million attendees.
I found being in the physical presence of hundreds of thousands of other people opposed to Trump and his agenda to be a powerful bolster to my resistance. I say this while I also recognize the efforts of those who have been, and continue, resisting Trump and his fans online and off, apart from the Marches - writing, commenting, refusing to normalize deplorable actions, and speaking out when we can.
That we are living in a historic moment cannot be overstated. Trump continues to fill his Cabinet with unqualified extremists as though he has the strongest of mandates, even though by key measures he has no mandate to do so.
His electoral college win, temperament, lack of competence, lack of knowledge, and bigotry have inspired the largest protest in US history. He lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. And, via Media Matters, he is "the least popular president-elect since modern polling was invented."
For posterity, I note some reactions to this historic weekend.
Winner of the 2016 popular vote Hillary Clinton:
Thanks for standing, speaking & marching for our values @womensmarch. Important as ever. I truly believe we're always Stronger Together.— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) January 21, 2017
Meanwhile, loser of the 2016 popular vote, Donald Trump:
Two hours after that tweet, Trump (or someone) wrote another tweet recognizing "the rights of people to express their views." How big of him. Such a presidential pivot! Because the bar is so very low for this man, I'm sure he'll get some major props from some people for this basic acknowledgement of our constitutional rights.
Jill Stein of the Green Party, and 2016 presidential candidate, re-tweeted this statement:
I think that the March was "mainstream" is supposed to be a bad thing. And, if so, I strongly oppose this sort of "hipster activist"/non-pragmatic attitude among some segments of the left.
Listed as the number one value on the Green Party USA's Ten Key Values page of its website is: Grassroots Democracy. The Women's Marches were events in which millions of people were active participants in grassroots democracy. That these protests were extremely popular, even among celebrities and politicians, does not and should not detract from them. Rather, it is a testament to the marches for doing something the Green Party is rarely able to do: mobilize millions of people on the left, even if they're not yet sufficiently enlightened about social justice matters.
I suspect that if and when I get through the Trump years, I will be most grateful for the people who walked along beside me - physically or in spirit. We need to reject this type of cynical mocking of major resistance events as too "mainstream" and, hence, imperfect.
And, especially given the role that misogyny played in this election, it should be fundamental to every progressive movement to want large-scale resistance to misogyny mainstreamed.
Speaking of which, on the conservative side of things, I've heard that some folks have the vapors about the pussy hats some women wore, calling them "vulgar." This notion comes from an ideology in which [content note: sexual violence] saying pussy is worse than grabbing one without consent.
Relatedly, we also saw commentary of the always-creative "get back in the kitchen"/"you're ugly" variety. For instance, this headline at The American Thinker [sic], by Drew Belsky, tells you all you need to know [content note: misogyny]:
Meanwhile, Julie Bosman at The New York Times, in a piece entitled, "In a Rust Belt Town, the Women's Marches Draw Shrugs and Cheers From Afar," began her piece quoting a few women who hadn't heard of the Marches and mostly let non/anti-feminist women frame the piece. Sample:
"There are bigger concerns in Niles[, Michigan] than expanding the rights of women, many people said. They worry about the state of local schools, the cost of health care and the town's economy, which has struggled with the loss of manufacturing jobs.One day, I hope the mainstream media might stop gazing into the the navels of white Trump supporters long enough to learn that there are lots of other disgruntled folks in this country. Again, the election of Trump has inspired the largest protest in US history. Let's start centering more protagonists in that narrative.
Mr. Trump's campaign promise to 'Make America Great Again' had special resonance in Rust Belt towns like Niles, said Tracy Guetterman, 49, a retail manager....
'Personally, I'd love to see our country go back to one parent working, like the good old days,' she said. 'I want to be able to quit my job."
Also, note how this "economic anxiety" rhetoric parallels the "no identity politics" approach that some on the left take. The woman's quote in this article encapsulates my ongoing fear when people reference these "bigger concerns" people have that supposedly have nothing to do with gender or other aspects of identity. She worries about the economy and jobs, but also wants to see economic opportunities for women limited.
Economic issues are almost always gender (and racial) issues as well, even if that's not immediately apparent to some. Progressive politicians who speak about, and advocate centering, economic issues need to show me that they understand the intersections of identity and economics before I will trust them. We had that candidate. We don't anymore.
On the positive side, there were some fantastic speeches. Julia Serano shared the text of hers, after speaking at the San Francisco March:
Meanwhile, The Atlantic posted March photos from the around the world, and they are stunning."I would absolutely love to live in a world where I didn’t have to constantly navigate the fact that I am a woman, or that I am bisexual, or that I am transgender. But I don’t have the privilege of not thinking about these aspects of my person, because I am often treated inferiorly and targeted for harassment because I am a woman. And there are tons of people out there who hate me and wish to silence me because I am bisexual and transgender.Donald Trump ran a campaign that constantly stoked hatred against minority and marginalized groups. He selected one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-women’s reproductive rights politicians in the nation to be his Vice President. His entire platform and rhetoric were predicated on racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and other prejudices. And yet, these pundits have the gall to claim that we’re the ones who are making this about identity?"
Also, people sang:
As the left continues to work through internal critique and dialogue, I hope we can do so while also keeping a wide view. To me, a man like Trump in power, with the people he's surrounded himself with, signifies an existential threat.These women never met till today and practiced this song online. Show them some love. #Icantkeepquiet #WomensMarch #WomensMarchOnWashington pic.twitter.com/rPA4dDTIYz— Alma Har'el (@Almaharel) January 21, 2017
Accordingly, I am grateful to the women who organized the March on Washington, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour. I acknowledge their work even as I disagree with the decision to not list Hillary Clinton's name as one of women who has inspired the March, even as the website used Clinton's "Women's Rights Are Human Rights" quote without attribution.
It is still hard for me not to think about how hard Hillary Clinton would have worked for us as President, and how I trusted that she more than anyone else would have done what she thought best for the country in all its pragmatic complexities. I think about this every day. I was marching for many reasons but, in part, for her. For what she endured. And, for the pain many of us felt when we watched what she endured. To be a qualified woman and to lose to an unqualified bigot like Trump is a devastating testament as to how perfection is expected in female leaders while the grossest of imperfections are tolerated, and even celebrated, in men.
For this reason, too, I try to extend understanding to other progressive and liberal women, knowing that we do and will disagree, and that deep divisions exist. I say this knowing that the Democratic primary was a brutal one and I certainly took a side in that. And, at least some of the divisions were egged on by Russian agents (I have a strong suspicion/evidence my own blog was targeted).
Social movements and events often start out as exclusionary messes and are gradually improved, over time, with dialogue - dialogue that is hard, ridden with power imbalances, frustrating, and also hurtful at times. But, as we excoriate Trump for wanting to build a wall, we have got to get better at building bridges with each other on the left and question some some of the thinking that if a person makes mistakes then they are forever ruined.
We are stronger together, still. We have to be.
Perhaps this, too, is too much to hope for, but sometimes I imagine what political poetic justice might look like, for me. Sometimes, in my most hopeful moments, I imagine that Trump could do the impossible: unite a diverse left that is centered around opposition to him.