Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.
This week, Republican Senators got a tiny taste of what women trying to get an abortion face across the country every day, and they are freaking out about it in a big way.
— The Hill (@thehill) October 7, 2018
— KVUE News (@KVUE) October 7, 2018
Of course, they had an entire Capitol Police force to keep them safe and at arm’s length from angry protesters. Nobody shot them or blew them up with a bomb.
They were facing the wrath of angry citizens not for seeking out a medical procedure, but for confirming a nominee who not only was credibly accused of sexual assault, but who had clearly disqualified himself with his voluble partisanship and repeated lies to Congress.
Kavanaugh was the least popular Supreme Court nominee in 30 years, and he was rammed through without anything resembling sufficient vetting. The protesters, mostly women, were trying to get some accountability from a party that has done everything in its power to insulate itself from public sentiment – with “extreme gerrymandering,” voter suppression, floods of dark money and an alternative media that pumps out pro-Trump propaganda 24/7. Confronting officials directly may not be a good look, and certainly feeds into the right’s pervasive victimhood complex, but we can’t ignore that context.
You may be familiar with the term, but we learned something new this week: “DARVO.” It’s an acronym for “Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.” It comes to us from experts on domestic violence. Here’s an explanation from University of Oregon psychology professor Jennifer Freyd…
The perpetrator or offender may Deny the behavior, Attack the individual doing the confronting, and Reverse the roles of Victim and Offender such that the perpetrator assumes the victim role and turns the true victim — or the whistle blower — into an alleged offender. This occurs, for instance, when an actually guilty perpetrator assumes the role of “falsely accused” and attacks the accuser’s credibility and blames the accuser of being the perpetrator of a false accusation.
That was pretty much the entire Republican campaign to confirm Kavanaugh in a nutshell. Ford wasn’t a victim, she was a perpetrator. It wasn’t Republicans’ fault for putting up an unvetted nominee, it was those despicable Democrats who were so wrong to try to investigate.
Exactly right – it is a way of communicating to Trump voters, no, you’re the majority and you’re normal, these protesters are fake and shouldn’t challenge your bubble or support of our abhorrent fascism, everything’s fine https://t.co/QPEtN6jVo6
— David Greenwald (@davidegreenwald) October 5, 2018
“Institutional DARVO,” wrote Freyd, “occurs when the DARVO is committed by an institution (or with institutional complicity) as when police charge rape victims with lying. Institutional DARVO is a pernicious form of institutional betrayal.”
And “a pernicious form of institutional betrayal” is about as concise a description of how Republicans are running the senate as you will ever encounter.
Anyway, before moving on to our roundup, we’d just like to say that we feel pretty badly for this dude…
This is a terrible time to be named Brett Kavanagh
— Brett Kavanagh (@Brett_Kavanagh) October 6, 2018
Let’s be sure to keep an eye on the creeping pervasive authoritarianism of this regime.
This week, Facebook revealed that Trump’s DOJ had issued it a very broad subpoena “demanding the private account information of potentially thousands of Facebook users in three separate search warrants served on the social media giant,” according to CNN. “The warrants specifically target the accounts of three Facebook users who are described by their attorneys as ‘anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration’s policies.’”
You know those road signs that tell you you’re driving too fast? The ones you ignore as you whiz on by?
Here’s a comforting thought, via QZ…
According to recently released US federal contracting data, the Drug Enforcement Administration will be expanding the footprint of its nationwide surveillance network with the purchase of “multiple” trailer-mounted speed displays “to be retrofitted as mobile LPR [License Plate Reader] platforms”…ADVERTISEMENT
License plate readers, which can capture somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 plates a minute, cast an astonishingly wide net that has made it far easier for cops to catch serious criminals. On the other hand, the indiscriminate nature of the real-time collection, along with the fact that it is then stored by authorities for later data mining is highly alarming to privacy advocates.
Here are two related stories, both of which revolve around Cheetolini thumbing his nose at the international community.
Item one, courtesy of Natasha Turak at CNBC:
The Donald Trump administration this week continued its vocal rejection of multilateral bodies after it withdrew from an International Court of Justice (ICJ) protocol and pulled out of a 1955 friendship treaty with Iran.
The moves were triggered by an ICJ ruling Wednesday that Washington must ensure its sanctions don’t hit humanitarian aid or civil aviation safety for Iran — a ruling that is binding but cannot be enforced.ADVERTISEMENT
The decision to withdraw will limit U.S. exposure to ICJ rulings, which will simultaneously restrict its own ability to bring cases against other countries [emphasis added].
Item two, from The Jerusalem Post:
US national security adviser John Bolton told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that the president authorized withdrawal from the Optional Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations— while remaining party to the overall treaty— in order to undercut “politicized litigation” from the “so-called state of Palestine,” currently challenging the US for its relocation of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
It’s always worth mentioning how fraudulent malleable conservatives’ love of states’ rights really is. Tony Romm and Brian Fung report for the WaPo that “the Trump [regime] said Sunday it will sue California in an effort to block what some experts have described as the toughest net neutrality law ever enacted in the United States, setting up a high-stakes legal showdown over the future of the Internet.”
We are not attorneys and can’t offer legal advice, but a report from Jesse Eisenberg and Paul Kiel at ProPublica this week suggests that if you’re so pissed off about what’s happening in this country that you just can’t bring yourself to pay your taxes, you have a decent shot at getting away with it. According to the report, there’s been a dramatic decrease in IRS enforcement.
Starting in 2011, Republicans in Congress repeatedly cut the IRS’s budget, forcing the agency to reduce its enforcement staff by a third. But that drop doesn’t entirely explain the reduction in tax fraud cases.ADVERTISEMENT
Over time, crimes only tangentially related to taxes, such as drug trafficking and money laundering, have come to account for most of the agency’s cases.
This isn’t directly related, but we just want to mention it as often as possible…
Republican President Trump ran $500 million tax fraud. His Campaign Chair is guilty of “conspiracy against the US”. His national security adviser also guilty of crimes, while other top aides have been indicted. Trump Org. is basically an international money laundering scheme.
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) October 7, 2018
No edition of What Fresh Hell? Would be complete without a rundown of how the regime is trying to sicken and perhaps kill you.
“The EPA is pursuing rule changes that experts say would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight.” What could possibly go wrong? More on that one from the AP (via StatNews).
And Coral Davenport reports for The WaPo that “the Trump [regime] has completed its plan to roll back major offshore-drilling safety regulations that were put in place after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in 2010 that killed 11 people and caused the worst oil spill in American history.”
File this one under ‘cutting off your nose to spite your face.’
“A little more than a year ago,” reports Bloomberg’s Olivia Carville, “Trump moved to kill a nascent visa program meant specifically for company founders with capital in hand.” As a result, other countries have “offered all kinds of perks” to draw in wealthy entrepreneurs, especially in tech –the folks Republicans like to call “job creators.”
Immigrant founders and co-founders have a strong track record in Silicon Valley (see Google, Tesla, EBay, Stripe), as do the children of immigrants (Apple, Oracle, Amazon.com). But the Valley’s fabled Sand Hill Road is no longer the center of the venture capital world, and as the Trump administration continues to increase restrictions on most forms of immigration, other locales are even more eager than usual to frame themselves as the next great innovation hub.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 2, 2018
This next story, via Caitlin Dickerson at The NYT, is just a profound shame for this country. In a just world, people would go to prison for it. “In shelters from Kansas to New York,” she wrote, “hundreds of migrant children have been roused in the middle of the night in recent weeks and loaded onto buses with backpacks and snacks for a cross-country journey to their new home: a barren tent city on a sprawling patch of desert in West Texas.”
Trump Administration jailed an immigrant child for 25 days in a chain-link holding pen without a bed or shower. https://t.co/SkLs8Uixp3
— Matt Katz (@mattkatz00) October 2, 2018
Do we have some good news with which to leave you this week? We do!
It comes to us via CNN…
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants who feared they could soon be facing deportation got a reprieve Wednesday, when a federal judge in California temporarily blocked one of the Trump administration’s major immigration moves.
US District Judge Edward Chen granted a preliminary injunction stopping the government from terminating temporary protected status, or TPS, for immigrants from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti and Nicaragua.
This is really big. And the icing on the cake is that the Judge, like others before him, used Trump’s own clownishly bigoted rhetoric to bolster his ruling.
Judge: there is evidence that “President Trump harbors an animus against non-white, non-European aliens which influenced his … decision to end the TPS designation.” https://t.co/peT3CHemdE
— Anil Kalhan (@kalhan) October 4, 2018