We Resist: Day 18

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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 I've read today:

A couple of useful resources: The Toronto Star has started keeping a running tally of Trump's lies since being elected. They're up to 33 so far, and it's an alarming commentary on Trump that I think that number sounds very low. Meanwhile, Lisa Desjardins at PBS has a list of all of Trump's executive actions so far.

Glenn Thrush and Maggie Habermann at the New York Times: Trump and Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles. That whole piece is a must-read, but I want to highlight this bit: "But for the moment, Mr. Bannon remains the president's dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump's anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed giving his chief strategist a seat on the National Security Council, a greater source of frustration to the president than the fallout from the travel ban." In plain English: Trump didn't bother reading his own executive order elevating Bannon to the NSC before he signed it. That's how you make the best deals. By not even reading them.

Josh Rogin at the Washington Post: Inside the White House-Cabinet Battle over Trump's Immigration Order. This, too, is worth a read in its entirety. Nothing about it reassures me about anyone in the Trump administration, as Kelly, Mattis, and Tillerson seem to object primarily to being left out of the discussion, and only expressed dismay about the most egregious parts of the ban. Nothing suggests they would have intervened more significantly given the chance, anyway. The Green Card exemption they advocated is something, but not nearly enough. Reading between the lines, it sounds like they are not more decent, but only more adept at understanding how to sell such horrendous policy—which seems to be confirmed by Kelly's willingness to go out there and spin it, with garbage about "humane" bigotry. If the hope is this trio will be a moderating force, I don't see it. I see men who will put a more "respectable" veneer on white supremacy.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] And speaking of reprehensible abettors of white supremacy: "Vice President Mike Pence said Sunday that the federal judge who halted President Trump's temporary immigration ban 'made the wrong decision' and vowed to use 'all legal means at our disposal' to protect Americans. 'From the outset of his campaign and administration, the president of the United States has made it clear to put the safety of the American people first,' Pence said on Fox News Sunday. 'We are going to win this argument.'" Shiver.

[CN: Homophobia] In other Pence news, care of Andy Towle at Towleroad: Homophobic Liar Mike Pence Claims He Backs Donald Trump's Support for LGBTQ People. Perfect headline is perfect. (NB: Trump's claimed support for LGBTQ people is also a lie.)

Susanne Craig and Eric Lipton at the New York Times: Trust Records Show Trump Is Still Closely Tied to His Empire. "While the president says he has walked away from the day-to-day operations of his business, two people close to him are the named trustees and have broad legal authority over his assets: his eldest son, Donald Jr., and Allen H. Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's chief financial officer. Mr. Trump, who will receive reports on any profit, or loss, on his company as a whole, can revoke their authority at any time. What's more, the purpose of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is to hold assets for the 'exclusive benefit' of the president. This trust remains under Mr. Trump's Social Security number, at least as far as federal taxes are concerned." In short: He has not separated himself from his business interests at all.

Julie Pace at AP: On Foreign Policy, Trump Still Speaking Campaign Language. Under this ridiculously benign headline is found this passage: "According to one U.S. official, national security aides have sought information about Polish incursions in Belarus, an eyebrow-raising request because little evidence of such activities appears to exist. Poland is among the Eastern European nations worried about Trump's friendlier tone on Russia." They are looking for crises that don't exist, in order to justify aggressive and indecent policies.

Sean Spicer tries to delegitimize protests by calling them "a very paid AstroTurf-type movement." As Leah McElrath notes: "If protesters are delegitimized, there will be less outcry when the govt responds with violence against citizens." Another familiar authoritarian strategy.

Tierney Sneed at TPM: John Yoo: 'Even I Have Grave Concerns' About Trump's Use Of Executive Power. When the author of George W. Bush's "torture memos" is raising a flag, you have utterly derailed.

McKay Coppins at The Atlantic: Bracing for Trump's Revenge. Conservatives who opposed Trump are worried about his penchant for retaliation. "'The question is not whether he's vengeful,' conservative columnist Ben Shapiro told me. 'The question is how willing he is to use the levers of government to exact that revenge.'"

Maria Tsvetkova and Andrew Osborn at Reuters: Kremlin Says It Wants Apology from Fox News over Putin Comments. Sure. This is normal. Everything is fine. (This is not normal. Everything is not fine.)

[CN: War on agency; rape culture] In state news, Charlotte England at The Independent reports: Arkansas Passes Law Allowing Rapists to Sue Victims Who Want an Abortion. "A pregnant woman's husband will have the power to stop her from having an abortion, even in cases of spousal rape, under a new law introduced in the US state of Arkansas. ...The [pregnant person's] parents or legal guardians can also sue to stop the abortion, if [the pregnant person] is a minor." Rage seethe boil.

[CN: Transphobia; nativism; sexual assault] Tom Dart at the Guardian: New Detention Center's Transgender Unit in Texas Raises Concerns over Intentions. "During the week of the inauguration of a president whose policies will lead to a sharp increase in migrant arrests, America’s newest immigrant detention centre opened in rural north Texas. Known as Prairieland, it has an unusual feature designed to protect an especially vulnerable section of the population: a unit for transgender detainees. Some LGBT advocates, though, question whether holding transgender people in a detached pod in a remote location will do more harm than good. ...Many of these detainees have fled to the US precisely because of their gender identity, only to find themselves in places where their risk of being sexually abused is significantly higher compared to cisgender heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual detainees, according to the Human Rights Watch report." Fucking hell. This is very worrying.

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

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