We Resist: Day 39

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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:

Donald Trump promised over and over along the campaign trail that he had a secret plan to immediately defeat ISIS. Unsurprisingly, that plan has never materialized. But today, he is reportedly in receipt of a plan from the Pentagon.

There are no other immediate details, but this is something to be aware of, because fighting ISIS is certain to become a major piece of Trump's foreign policy, whatever the strategy ends up being.

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On Friday, the Washington Post's Greg Miller and Adam Entous reported: "Acting at the behest of the White House, the officials made calls to news organizations last week in attempts to challenge stories about alleged contacts between members of President Trump's campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, U.S. officials said."

On Sunday, the Guardian's Tom McCarthy reported: "The White House made a messy attempt on Sunday to control public perceptions of a widening scandal over alleged contacts between aides to Donald Trump and Russian intelligence officials during the 2016 election, alleging that the FBI had dismissed reports of such links. ...Contacts between the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and top FBI officials have come in for particular criticism as a violation of a necessary line separating the White House from justice department investigations with potential targets inside the administration. On Sunday, a Trump spokeswoman once again tested that line, saying the FBI had dismissed allegations of inappropriate Trump-Russia ties as 'BS'—bullshit."

Today, Axios' Mike Allen reports: "White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer personally picked up the phone and connected outside officials with reporters to try to discredit a New York Times article about Trump campaign aides' contact with Russia, then remained on the line for the brief conversations, Axios has learned." He then follows up with "ten key points," and I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

This is a very important story, as even some Republicans are starting to get squeamish with the reports that the Trump administration has tried to pressure both intelligence agencies and the media in an attempt to quash investigating and reporting of ties to Russia.

Relatedly, the leaks continue apace. Chas Danner at New York Magazine: White House Staffers Leak News of Sean Spicer's 'Phone Check' Targeting Their Leaks. "Last week, White House press secretary Sean Spicer conducted a surprise phone check on his staff in an effort to stamp out leaks, according to a new Politico report. Spicer, upset that information had leaked out of a previous meeting he had held with roughly a dozen members of his staff, ordered another meeting and had staff surrender their phones and other electronic devices when they arrived. The search—which applied to both personal and government-issued phones—was overseen by White House lawyers, and Spicer then warned staffers against using privacy-focused messaging apps like Signal and Confide, noting that doing so violates the Federal Records Act. He also, per Politico's sources, 'warned the group of more problems if news of the phone checks and the meeting about leaks was leaked to the media,' which it promptly was."

More leaking. The Reuters team reports: Trump Budget Plan Boosts Pentagon, Trims State Dept, EPA. "One of the officials said Trump's request for the Pentagon included more money for shipbuilding, military aircraft and establishing 'a more robust presence in key international waterways and chokepoints' such as the Strait of Hormuz and South China Sea. A second official said the State Department's budget could be cut by as much as 30 percent, which would force a major restructuring of the department and elimination of programs."

Not only is Trump seeking to reenvision foreign policy with more military and less diplomacy; he is also seeking to more forcefully militarize border patrol, including hiring 10,000+ new (anti)immigration agents. But many of the applicants fail to meet the requirements, so naturally, reports Molly O'Toole at Foreign Policy: Trump Administration Seeks to Loosen Hiring Requirements to Beef Up Border Patrol.

Jeremy Herb at Politico: Nominee for Navy Secretary Withdraws. "Donald Trump's nominee for Navy secretary, Philip Bilden, withdrew from consideration Sunday, becoming the second Pentagon pick unable to untangle his financial investments in the vetting process." Up and down this administration, they simply cannot find qualified and competent people to work for them, so they're just trying to fill positions with people ideologically aligned. And, surprise, many of them aren't suited for high-level government work.

[Content Note: Nativism] Brad Reed at Raw Story: Trump-Backing Town Angry After ICE Detains Beloved Local Mexican Restaurant Owner. "While residents in the town said that they were still supportive of the president's moves to deport undocumented immigrants, they told the Times that the president should make more exceptions for people like Pacheco, who have not only been exemplary local businessmen, but also pillars of the community who take part in local charity events."

As Atrios notes: "There's no way to write a 'people like Carlos because I like him' clause into the law. There just isn't. Decide it's ok to aggressively transport longtime residents away, and you're going to be rounding up a lot of people who are 'that nice immigrant I know' to somebody."

[CN: Queer hatred] Andy Towle at Towleroad: Trump Transition Official Says Anti-LGBT 'Religious Freedom' Executive Order Being Redrafted, Still Coming. "The domestic policy chair of Donald Trump's transition team, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, told SiriusXM host Michelangelo Signorile that the rumored anti-LGBT 'religious freedom' executive order is still coming, but is being reworked to make it less vulnerable to legal challenges." Seethe.

[CN: War on agency] Ally Boguhn at Rewire: Purveyor of Anti-Choice Misinformation Working on Trump.s Abortion Policy. "Katy Talento, a member of President Trump's Domestic Policy Council, confirmed she is working on anti-choice policies for the administration in an interview Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). ...'The president has been very clear about where he stands on a lot of these issues, so we're enacting his agenda and his policies,' she said." More seethe.

Charles M. Blow at the New York Times: Trump, Archenemy of Truth. "Trump lashes out with mindless twaddle, insinuating that the media has fully abandoned the pillars and principles of journalism to join the opposition. The fact is that Trump simply wants the truth not to be true, so he assaults its quality. He wants the purveyors of truth not to pursue it, so he questions their motives. And yet, truth stands, rigid and sharp, unforgiving and unafraid. It is our only guard against tyranny..."

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[CN: Islamophobia; violence] Justin Jouvenal at the Washington Post: Virginia Man Charged with Hate Crime After Using Muslim Slurs, Biting Victim's Face. "Robin McGreer, 35, approached a 31-year-old man in a Tysons Corner Center parking lot Nov. 27, started a conversation and then threatened him using anti-Muslim slurs, Fairfax County police said. An altercation ensued and McGreer bit the man's face, leaving him with a 'significant face wound,' police said." This. Didn't. Happen. In. A. Vacuum.

[CN: Anti-semitism] Stephanie Farr and Jason Laughlin at the Philadelphia Inquirer: 'Beyond Belief': 75-100 Headstones Toppled at Jewish Cemetery. "What [Stacy Silver] saw when she arrived was worse than she imagined—tombstone after tombstone, story after story, was toppled to the ground—including those belonging to her mother and great-grandmother. 'Your stomach just drops,' Silver said. 'I mean it's just horrible.' Detectives canvassing the cemetery Sunday afternoon estimated that 75 to 100 headstones had been knocked over. 'It's criminal. This is beyond vandalism,' said Northeast Detectives Capt. Shawn Thrush, as he walked the cemetery grounds. 'It's beyond belief.'" This. Too. Didn't. Happen. In. A. Vacuum.

[CN: Anti-semitism; terrorism] Justin L. Mack at the Indianapolis Star: Bomb Threat Sent to Jewish Community Center in Indianapolis. The Jewish Community Center of Indianapolis was closed after receipt of a bomb threat, which turned out to be just a threat. Indianapolis Metropolitan police have now "issued an all clear." This follows Jewish Community Centers being evacuated in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware in response to threats. None. Of. This. Is. Happening. In. A. Vacuum.

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Donald Trump has announced that he won't be attending the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Of course he won't, because he is a thin-skinned drip who has no sense of humor about himself.

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

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