We Resist: Day 33

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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:

On Saturday night, Donald Trump claimed at a rally that there had been a terrorist attack in Sweden the night before:

Here's the bottom line: We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening—we've got to keep our country safe! [cheers] You look at what's happening in Germany; you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden! Who would believe this? Sweden! They took in large numbers; they're having problems like they never thought possible. You look at what's happening in Brussels. You look at what's happening all over the world—take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris.
"They took in large numbers" refers to Muslim refugees. There was categorically not a terrorist attack committed by a Muslim (or anyone else) on Friday night in Sweden.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to rail against the "fake news" he says is being promulgated by the corporate media, without a trace of irony.

In fact, on Friday, he tweeted: "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!"

Which is not only an egregious and unsubstantiable charge, but calling the press "the enemy of the people" invokes a phrase with sinister origins, detailed by Steve Herman and Jeff Seldin in the U.S. government-owned Voice of America: "As the president arrived at the estate he has dubbed the Winter White House, social media and the networks crackled with debate about the significance of Trump calling some of the top American journalistic outlets enemies of the people, a phrase that goes back to ancient Rome and was used with chilling finality during the communist revolution in Russia a century ago."

Malinowski is not alone. In the Washington Post, Edward Price writes an opinion piece bluntly titled: "I didn't think I'd ever leave the CIA. But because of Trump, I quit."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] And relatedly, Dan Merica reports at CNN: White House Confirms Adviser Reassigned After Disagreeing with Trump. "A senior National Security Council adviser was reassigned to his old job at the National Defense University, a White House spokeswoman confirmed Sunday, after he criticized the Trump administration's Latin American policies. Craig Deare was removed from his role as a senior adviser at the National Security Council's Western Hemisphere division Friday and 'sent back to his original position,' said Sarah Sanders, a White House spokeswoman. Deare had been assigned to the NSC by the Trump administration."

In other news, investigations into Trump's and his associates' ties to Russia (investigations, I might add, that could and should have been done before the election) continue apace, with Megan Twohey and Scott Shane at the New York Times reporting on Sunday: A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates. "A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for [Donald] Trump to lift sanctions against Russia. Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president's personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort."

At TPM, Josh Marshall notes, with regard to the above story: A Big Shoe Just Dropped. "On its own, Trump's relationship with Sater might be written off (albeit not terribly plausibly) as simply a sleazy relationship Trump entered into to get access to capital he needed to finance his projects. Whatever shadowy ties Sater might have and whatever his criminal background, Trump has long since washed his hands of him. (Again, we're talking about most generous reads here.) But now we learn that Sater is still very much in the Trump orbit and acting as a go-between linking Trump and a pro-Putin Ukrainian parliamentarian pitching 'peace plans' for settling the dispute between Russia and Ukraine. (Artemenko is part of the political faction which Manafort helped build up in the aftermath of the ouster of his Ukrainian benefactor, deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.) Indeed, far, far more important, Cohen—who is very close to Trump and known for dealing with delicate matters—is in contact with Sater and hand delivering political and policy plans from him to the President."

Speaking of Flynn, John Wagner, Missy Ryan, and Greg Jaffe at the Washington Post report that Trump has tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new National Security Adviser. "Trump called McMaster 'a man of tremendous talent and tremendous experience' while briefly introducing him to reporters at the president's Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida before returning to Washington. ...McMaster has spent virtually no time at the Pentagon or in Washington, which could prove a challenge in his new role." JFC.

Speaking of Mar-a-Lago, Peter Walker at the Independent: Trump Family Trips Cost Taxpayers $11.3m in One Month, Almost as Much as Obama's Cost in a Year. "The US President's three visits to his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida since his presidential inauguration, combined with his sons' business trips, reportedly cost $11.3m (£9.1m). ...The same records show more than $16,000 has been spent on secret service hotel bills for his two sons' visit for a grand opening of a Trump-brand golf resort in Dubai." Sickening.

[CN: Nativism] Emma Whitford at Gothamist: Leaked Homeland Security Memos Outline Trump's 'Mass Deportation' Plans. "Department of Homeland Security memos leaked over the weekend outline extreme immigration enforcement guidelines that begin to fill in the blanks of Donald Trump's vague January executive orders calling for a border wall and greased-up deportation machine. ...'Due process, human decency, and common sense are treated as inconvenient obstacles on the path to mass deportation' in these memos, said American Civil Liberties Union senior legislative counsel Joanne Lin in a statement. 'The Trump administration is intent on inflicting cruelty on millions of immigrant families across the country.'"

The memos also outline hiring tens of thousands of new immigration officers, which sure sounds like a "deportation force."

Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post: The Trump White House Is Already Cooking the Books. "Astonishingly, the White House still hasn't released details for any of the major economic initiatives Trump promised during the campaign (a 'terrific' Obamacare replacement, a top-to-bottom tax overhaul, massive infrastructure investment). But thanks to recent leaks about the administration's economic book-cooking, we at least know that whatever Trump ultimately proposes will be very, very expensive."

[CN: Trans hatred] Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade: Trump Admin to Rescind Trans Student Protections. "Despite pleas from parents of transgender children and LGBT employees, the Trump administration is set Tuesday to rescind Obama-era guidance to schools barring discrimination against transgender students and ensuring they have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity. Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the Washington Blade on Monday she's heard from 'reliable sources' Trump has green-lighted the plan for the Justice Department and Education Department to send a 'Dear Colleague' letter to schools rescinding the guidance."

Trump visited the National Museum of African American History and Culture today, and gave remarks in which he promised to fight bigotry and invoked Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose name he should keep out of his filthy fucking mouth.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Trump also (finally) condemned anti-Semitism during the same remarks, in the most cursory and insufficient way possible, saying: "This tour was a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms. The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect Executive Director Steven Goldstein issued a scathing statement in response: "The President's sudden acknowledgment of Anti-Semitism is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Anti-Semitism that has affected his own Administration. His statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting anti-Semitism, yet day after day have refused to apologize and correct the record. Make no mistake: The Anti-Semitism coming out of this Administration is the worst we have ever seen from any Administration. The White House repeatedly refused to mention Jews in its Holocaust remembrance, and had the audacity to take offense when the world pointed out the ramifications of Holocaust denial. And it was only yesterday, President's Day, that Jewish Community Centers across the nation received bomb threats, and the President said absolutely nothing. When President Trump responds to Anti-Semitic proactively and in real time, and without pleas and pressure, that's when we'll be able to say this President has turned a corner. This is not that moment."

Meanwhile, while all eyes are on Trump and the clusterfucktastrophe that is his administration, Rep. Jamie Raskin reminds us of "the destruction of public policy taking place in Congress."

Noah Barkin at Reuters: White House Delivered EU-Skeptic Message Before Pence Visit. "In the week before U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visited Brussels and pledged America's 'steadfast and enduring' commitment to the European Union, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon met with a German diplomat and delivered a different message, according to people familiar with the talks. Bannon, these people said, signalled to Germany's ambassador to Washington that he viewed the EU as a flawed construct and favoured conducting relations with Europe on a bilateral basis." Good lord.

And finally: Pat Rynard at Iowa Starting Line: Senator Mark Chelgren Aims to Purge Democrats from Iowa Universities. "The party affiliation on your voter registration card could block you from employment at Iowa's state universities were a newly proposed bill by Senator Mark Chelgren to become law. Senate File 288, proposed by the Ottumwa legislator, could bring about a Soviet-style purge of liberal-leaning college staff in Iowa. Chelgren wants to impose an ideological litmus test in order to create a 'partisan balance,' based on how Iowa has voted in past elections." I am without words.

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

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