We Resist: Day 40

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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:

In more interesting (ahem) Trump real estate news, Russ Choma and Andy Kroll at Mother Jones report: Trump Just Sold a $15.8 Million Condo to a Consultant Who Peddles Access to Powerful People.
Last week, Donald Trump's company sealed its first big post-inaugural real estate transaction, selling a $15.8 million penthouse to a Chinese-American business executive who runs a company that touts its ability to exploit connections with powerful people to broker business deals in China.

New York City property records show that Xiao Yan Chen, the founder and managing director of a business consulting firm called Global Alliance Associates, purchased the four-bedroom, six-bathroom condo in Trump's Park Avenue high-rise on February 21. Before taking office, Trump signed documents removing himself from the board of directors of Trump Park Avenue LLC, the entity that sold the unit, but he remains the LLC's owner.

Chen, who also goes by Angela Chen, did not return multiple calls and emails requesting comment. Her company bills itself as a "boutique business relationship consultancy" for US firms seeking to do business in China. "For a select clientele," the firm says that it "facilitates the right strategic relationships with the most prominent public and private decision makers in China."

...According to Zillow.com, the penthouse unit Chen purchased last week has an estimated value of $14.3 million.
Zillow isn't exactly a precise estimator, but sometimes it overestimates value. So, potentially, Trump earned even more than $1.5 million over value.

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Michael Kruse at Politico: "He's a Performance Artist Pretending to be a Great Manager." There will never be a pivot. Trump is Trump is Trump.
In recent interviews, [people who worked for him at different points over the past 45 years as well as writers of the best, most thoroughly reported Trump biographies] recounted a shrewd, slipshod, charming, vengeful, thin-skinned, belligerent, hard-charging manager who was an impulsive hirer and a reluctant firer and surrounded himself with a small cadre of ardent loyalists; who solicited their advice but almost always ultimately went with his gut and did what he wanted; who kept his door open and expected others to do the same not because of a desire for transparency but due to his own insecurities and distrusting disposition; who fostered a frenetic, internally competitive, around-the-clock, stressful, wearying work environment in which he was a demanding, disorienting mixture of hands-on and hands-off—a hesitant delegator and an intermittent micromanager who favored fast-twitch wins over long-term follow-through, promotion over process, and intuition over deliberation.

..."I don't think there's anything of scale that he's had his hands on that he hasn't made a hash of," biographer Tim O'Brien said in an interview last week. ..."He's not a great manager," O'Brien said. "He's a performance artist pretending to be a great manager."

...He consistently has managed his image more effectively than he has managed his interests.
All of which is a reflection of his temperament, and thus was patently obvious to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention during the campaign.

There are a lot of ways to describe Trump's "management style" (or lack thereof), but the easiest and most accurate word is abusive. And plenty of people were raising red flags about Trump's abusiveness throughout his campaign, and further noting that it was incompatible with good governance.

Those people were ignored. At the nation's peril.

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This report by Benny Johnson at the Independent Journal Review about Trump's secret dinner at the BLT Steakhouse is worth a read in its entirety. But this passage stuck out to me: "One woman shouts at him 'Donald, it's my birthday!' Trump stops and says 'Happy birthday,' as he hugs the elated woman. 'How about a birthday present? Let's take a photo,' he says to her, afterward telling the woman she looks very young and has great skin." And it stuck out to me because I've written before about Trump's obsession with women's skin. It's so objectifying and so fucking creepy.

Cynthia McFadden, William M. Arkin, and Ken Dilanian at NBC News: Yemen SEAL Raid Has Yielded No Significant Intelligence. "Last month's deadly commando raid in Yemen, which cost the lives of a U.S. Navy SEAL and a number of children, has so far yielded no significant intelligence, U.S. officials told NBC News. Although Pentagon officials have said the raid produced 'actionable intelligence,' senior officials who spoke to NBC News said they were unaware of any, even as the father of the dead SEAL questioned the premise of the raid in an interview with the Miami Herald published Sunday." This was the raid the White House declared "a successful operation by all standards."

Jonathan Swan of Axios provides screenshots of the full text of Trump's executive order rolling back environmental regulations, saying: "Trump admin starts attacking environmental regs in earnest today." Sob. At Politico, Alex Guillén reports: "The White House has proposed slashing EPA's budget by about a quarter and eventually eliminating 1 in 5 of the agency's workers, according to sources familiar with the budget proposal sent to EPA on Monday."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Dan Hirschhorn at Fortune: Donald Trump Gave Himself an 'A+' for Effort for His First Month as President. Of course he did. And then he blamed President Obama for orchestrating the resistance against him: "Trump also blamed former President Barack Obama, without any evidence, for organizing the frequent protests against him. 'No, I think he is behind it,' Trump said. 'I also think it's just politics. That's just the way it is. You never know what's exactly happening behind the scenes,' Trump added. 'I think that President Obama's behind it because his people are certainly behind it.'" No evidence of any of that. None.

During the same interview with Fox & Friends, Trump was also asked to name when he deserved criticism, to which he responded, "No, probably I could never do that." Over and over, Trump has said he can take criticism if it's deserved, but then never feels any criticism is deserved.

Again from the same interview: "Donald Trump said he believes the extra $54 billion dollars he has proposed spending on the U.S. military will be offset by a stronger economy as well as cuts in other areas. 'I think the money is going to come from a revved up economy,' Trump said." In other words: Taxpayers. Because how the government gets money from "a revved up economy" is more taxes.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] This is an important story by Fatima Hussein at the Indianapolis Star about Veep Mike Pence and his campaign to get the Indiana Supreme Court to "stay out of his redacted emails." Note that the case in question involves Pence's attempt to ignore President Obama's executive order on immigration. Anyone who imagines Pence is less authoritarian or more decent than Trump is sorely mistaken.

[CN: Racism] Paula Reid of CBS reports that, yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said "he hasn't read DOJ's report on Chicago PD. He read summaries and found them 'anecdotal' and 'not so scientifically based.'" As Christopher Hayes notes: "This admin loves nothing more than to cheaply exploit Chicagoans' trauma but can't be bothered to set aside an hour to read a report."

[CN: Anti-semitism; video may autoplay at link] The desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, which I mentioned yesterday, is much worse than originally thought. Max Kutner at Newsweek reports: "At least 20 bomb threats were made to Jewish institutions in 12 or more states on Monday, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), causing the organization to issue a security advisory. The wave of threats was the fifth in recent weeks and came one day after Jewish community leaders found more than 500 headstones toppled at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia. A similar incident at a Jewish cemetery near St. Louis occurred days before that." Emphasis mine.

[CN: Islamophobia] Meanwhile, the Kansas City Star Editorial Board publishes: Trump's Silence on Deadly Olathe Shooting Is Disquieting. "At some point, embarrassingly late begins to verge on something more disquieting. President Donald Trump has silently planted himself in that space. Nearly a week has passed since two India-born engineers were singled out and shot at an Olathe bar, presumably because they were immigrants, darker in skin tone and possibly viewed by the shooter as unwanted foreigners. People around the world were immediately and rightfully horrified. But our president? Mum. Not a word has been spoken, tweeted, or prepped for Trump's teleprompter."

Finally: Tonight, Trump will deliver an address to a joint session of Congress. It's the address first-year presidents give in lieu of a State of the Union address. It will be broadcast starting at 9:00pm ET.

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

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