We Resist: Day 22

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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:

[Content Note (next two paragraphs): Hostility for marginalized people] Adam Cancryn at Politico: Senate Confirms Obamacare Opponent Price to Lead Health Department. "The Senate early Friday morning installed Rep. Tom Price as the nation's top health care official, putting him in charge of HHS and Republicans' effort to make good on their pledge to repeal and replace the sweeping Affordable Care Act. Price's confirmation came by a slim 52-47 margin, ending weeks of partisan rancor marked by ethics allegations, boycotts, and sharp breaks with Senate tradition and decorum. The seven-term congressman maintained full Republican support throughout the process, ensuring his path to HHS secretary was never in real danger. No Democrats voted for him."

Not only did the Democrats not vote for him; they delayed the final vote for nearly 30 hours. And deservedly so: Price has not only been the subject of multiple ethical complaints surrounding insider trading, but he is an aggressive opponent of the Affordable Care Act; he does not support women's healthcare access; he does not support trans people's healthcare access; and, basically, he just fundamentally disagrees with the idea that people have a right to healthcare. Devastating.

Nominating people like Price is partly why PPP's new national poll has found that 46 percent of respondents are in favor of impeaching Trump, just three weeks into his administration: "Voters don't like the people Trump has surrounded himself with. Betsy DeVos may have been confirmed this week, but she made a horrible impression on the public. Only 27% of voters see her positively to 49% with a negative opinion of her. ...Other people close to Trump have come off poorly as well: Steve Bannon has a 22/45 favorability rating, Kellyanne Conway's is 34/47, and Sean Spicer's is 32/41."

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Alex Isenstadt, Kenneth P. Vogel, and Josh Dawsey at Politico: Trump Vexed by Challenges, Scale of Government. Another way of saying that is: Trump is catastrophically unqualified and has no fucking clue what he's doing. Maybe it was a bad idea to elect someone with not a single day of government experience.
Being president is harder than Donald Trump thought, according to aides and allies who say that he's growing increasingly frustrated with the challenges of running the massive federal bureaucracy.

In interviews, nearly two dozen people who've spent time with Trump in the three weeks since his inauguration said that his mood has careened between surprise and anger as he's faced the predictable realities of governing, from congressional delays over his cabinet nominations and legal fights holding up his aggressive initiatives to staff in-fighting and leaks.

The administration's rocky opening days have been a setback for a president who, as a billionaire businessman, sold himself to voters as being uniquely qualified to fix what ailed the nation. ...Trump often asks simple questions about policies, proposals, and personnel.
There's a lot about how angry and frustrated he is, and it's like welcome to the club, asshole. Except he was the one who wanted the job and claimed he was ready to do it—and do it better than anyone else ever had or could. We're just along for his disastrous ride.

[CN: Abuse] This passage from the same piece is utterly disgusting (as is the way it's so casually thrown in): "Trump aides joke that they wish their boss would spend more time at his Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., where they say the president appears more relaxed and at ease. He dispensed hugs and kisses to female guests attending a Red Cross ball at the estate last week." As I said on Twitter: "Note the way this is framed in the story: Trump is increasingly frustrated. He blows off steam by playing golf and 'dispensing kisses.' Serial abusers often deal with pressure/anxiety by engaging in abuse. Knowing Trump's history with women, this is very concerning to me."

On a related note: Trump's handshake with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe today was distressing. He held the PM's hand far too long, jerking him toward him, just like he did to Neil Gorsuch during the SCOTUS nomination announcement. It is also a feature of serial abusers of women that they have no respect for men's bodies/consent either. It just manifests differently.

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Brian Feldman at New York Magazine: Government Cybersecurity and Transparency Is Already a Mess.
The White House's top cybersecurity employee, Cory Louie, was reportedly forced to resign this week, according to The Atlantic's Steve Clemons, as part of the Trump administration's purge of Obama hires. Louie, who served as the White House's chief information security officer, was the guy in charge of making sure that the president and his advisers don't get hacked.

...Trump reportedly still has not parted with his old, unsecured Android phone, despite being issued a new phone by the Secret Service.

...Republican politicians are using an encrypted-messaging app called Confide to share confidential missives. Axios's sources described the app's Snapchat-like, vanishing-messages feature, and the inability to easily take screenshots, as part of the near-leakproof appeal. Messages can only be read piecemeal by tracing them with your finger.

This is great, if your top concern is intra-government messages being hacked by nefarious third parties. If your top concern, on the other hand, is government transparency, well: Confide is not an approved communication method for conducting official government business, meaning that anyone using it to do so is violating the public-records guidelines.
But her emails, etc.

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[CN (next two paragraphs): White supremacy; nativism] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: Have Trump's Mass Deportations Begun? Immigration Arrests Reported Around the Country. "Multiple accounts of immigration arrests have been reported in California, North Carolina, and Texas, among other states, according to numerous sources. Advocates working to confirm the identities of those detained say the suspected raids mark the beginning of Trump's mass deportation efforts."

Samantha Schmidt at the Washington Post: Fear Spreads in L.A. After Immigration Raid; Officials Say Arrests Are 'Routine'. "Immigrant advocate groups claim that more than 100 people had been taken into custody by federal immigration officials in Southern California Thursday, indicating a 'coordinated sweep' in arrests and heightening fears that Donald Trump's promise to crackdown on deportations had begun to take effect. Police and immigration officials denied the 'raids' and disputed the claim that the arrests were part of a more stringent approach, saying any detentions were simply part of 'routine' enforcement activities. ...'We know the daily patterns of people being picked up and taken,' Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, or CHIRLA, said in an interview with The Washington Post. 'There's a natural flow of enforcement that happens every day. But this was not normal.'"

[CN: White supremacy] Sam Levin at the Guardian: FBI Terrorism Taskforce Investigating Standing Rock Activists. "The FBI is investigating political activists campaigning against the Dakota Access pipeline, diverting agents charged with preventing terrorist attacks to instead focus their attention on indigenous activists and environmentalists. The Guardian has established that multiple officers within the FBI's joint terrorism taskforce have attempted to contact at least three people tied to the Standing Rock 'water protector' movement in North Dakota. The purpose of the officers' inquiries into Standing Rock, and scope of the task force's work, remains unknown. Agency officials declined to comment."

So, not only is the Trump administration refusing to focus on white supremacist terrorism; they're redicting counterterrorism units to focus on Native American activists. FUCK THAT.

Gordon G. Chang at The Daily Beast: China Hangs Tough. Trump Folds. China Ups the Ante. "On Thursday night, President Trump told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that he accepted the 'One China' policy. The acknowledgement, made during a phone conversation, appears to be a capitulation to Beijing's demands." Appears to be is doing a lot of work there. We'll see.

Yessenia Funes at Colorlines: Trump Named as Defendant in Landmark Federal Climate Suit. "The 21 youth plaintiffs who are currently suing the federal government for denying their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by ignoring and exacerbating climate change have updated their lawsuit. President Donald Trump is now the latest defendant in the case Juliana et al. v United States et al. as of a court filing today (February 9)."

[CN: Homophobia] John Wright at Towleroad: Texas Bill Would Allow 'Ex-Gay' Therapists, Others Who Harm LGBT People to Keep Licenses. "Texas Republican lawmakers have introduced a sweeping anti-LGBT 'religious freedom' bill that could allow 'ex-gay' therapists to keep their licenses even if the dangerous, discredited practice is banned by the state. Senate Bill 651, filed last week by three Republican legislators, would prohibit state agencies that are responsible for regulating more than 65 licensed occupations from taking action against those who choose not to comply with professional standards due to religious objections."

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

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