We Resist: Day 41

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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:

The reprehensible media response to Trump's speech continues apace:

[Tweet contains screenshot of CNN's front page, with big letters reading: "PRESIDENTIAL TRUMP."]

Sarah Kendzior at Quartz: Trump Played Nice for a Night—a Technique Straight out of the Autocrat's Playbook. "Trump never intended to pivot, but rather to pivot America to his extremist goals. In some ways he has already succeeded, as white supremacists like Steve Bannon dominate the White House, and expectations for accountability—the release of tax returns, cooperation with the investigation into Russian meddling—have been lowered. America is pivoting towards Trump, and it is only through vigilance and compassion that we can pivot back."

Brian Beutler at the New Republic: The Worst Performance of Trump's Presidency Now Belongs to the Press Corps. "Trump's moral and ethical failings are legion. He is the villain of all his own triumphant and disgraceful sagas. But the plot of this chapter is about a political press corps (not the investigators slowly piecing together the unseemly details of Trump's foreign entanglements, but the ones who cover day-to-day news and theater) that is outmatched and completely maladapted for the challenge he poses to it."

Meanwhile, here's what Trump's presidency actually looks like...

[Content Note: Police brutality] Eric Lichtblau at the New York Times: Sessions Indicates Justice Department Will Stop Monitoring Troubled Police Agencies. "Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated on Tuesday that the federal government would back away from monitoring troubled police departments, which was the central strategy of the Obama administration to force accountability onto local law enforcement amid rising racial tensions. ...At the close of the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued a scathing report on systemic civil rights abuses at the Chicago Police Department and set the stage for negotiations with the city for a federal monitoring agreement. But prospects for a deal now look doubtful, with Mr. Sessions saying this week that he was unimpressed by the report and openly questioning the value of such agreements."

Again Lichtblau at the Times: Justice Department Keeps For-Profit Prisons, Scrapping an Obama Plan. "The Justice Department said Thursday that it would continue to use private, for-profit prisons to house thousands of federal inmates, scrapping an Obama administration plan to phase them out because of problems. ...In a memo released on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed federal prison officials to keep using the private prisons. He also withdrew a policy set out last August by Sally Q. Yates, then the deputy attorney general, who had ordered prison officials to phase out the use of the private facilities."

Julia Ioffe at the Atlantic: The State of Trump's State Department. "With the State Department demonstratively shut out of meetings with foreign leaders, key State posts left unfilled, and the White House not soliciting many department staffers for their policy advice, there is little left to do. 'If I left before 10 p.m., that was a good day,' said the State staffer of the old days, which used to start at 6:30 in the morning. 'Now, I come in at 9, 9:15, and leave by 5:30.' The seeming hostility from the White House, the decades of American foreign-policy tradition being turned on its head, and the days of listlessness are taking a toll on people who are used to channeling their ambition and idealism into the detail-oriented, highly regimented busywork that greases the infinite wheels of a massive bureaucracy."

Kimberly Dozier at the Daily Beast: Generals May Launch New ISIS Raids Without Trump's Okay. "The White House is considering delegating more authority to the Pentagon to greenlight anti-terrorist operations like the SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen that cost the life of a Navy SEAL, to step up the war on the so-called Islamic State, multiple U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast. Donald Trump has signaled that he wants his defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, to have a freer hand to launch time-sensitive missions quickly." (And then Trump can blame Mattis when things get fucked up.)

Ed Pilkington and Oliver Laughland at the Guardian: Police Chiefs Object to Trump's Efforts to Involve Them in Immigrant Deportations. "Police chiefs from across the US, including several from states that voted for Donald Trump, are resisting White House moves to force them to become more involved in deporting undocumented immigrants. In a joint letter, more than 60 law enforcement heads are appealing to Trump in all but name to soften his aggressive drive to enlist police officers in the highly contentious job of deporting millions of immigrants living without permission in the country. They object to being thrust into 'new and sometimes problematic tasks' that will undermine the balance between the local communities they serve and the federal government, and 'harm locally-based, community-oriented policing'."

Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: 60 Civil Rights Groups Push DeVos to Protect Students. "In her role as secretary of education, Betsy DeVos sets policy and procedure that governs the nation's public education system. As part of her duties, she is charged with selecting an assistant secretary for civil rights, who in turn runs the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. In a letter dated February 27, the 60 civil right groups who belong to The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights implored DeVos to hire someone who is experienced in promoting equal education opportunities for all Americans. ...Signing groups include the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., the National Women's Law Center, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund."

Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad: Trump Administration Considering Withdrawing from UN Human Rights Council. "State Department spokesman Mark Toner did not address the rumors, but said, 'Our delegation will be fully involved in the work of the HRC session which starts Monday.' White House press aides and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley have declined to comment."

Darryl Fears at the Washington Post: Senate Confirms Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary. "The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Ryan Zinke's nomination to lead the Interior Department by a 68 to 31 vote." This despite his resistance to addressing climate change.

And speaking of Trump's nominees... From the Wall Street Journal: "Of 549 administration positions requiring Senate confirmation: Confirmed: 15 | Nominated: 18 | No one nominated: 516." And Trump bitterly complains that the Democrats are holding up his nominees.

In other news...

[CN: Anti-semitism; terrorism] Haaretz: Gunshot Fired at Indiana Synagogue; FBI Reportedly Suspects Hate Crime. "A gunshot was fired through the window of an Indiana synagogue in what the FBI are reportedly investigating as a hate crime. The bullet hole was discovered late Monday in the window of a Sunday School classroom at Adath B'Nai Israel Temple in Evansville. Rabbi Gary Mazo told the Indianapolis Star that the shooter would have had to walk around to the back of the temple building and fire into the classroom from the temple's playground."

[CN: Homophobia; war on agency] Andrew DeMillo at the AP: Arkansas Senate Okays Bids for Marriage, Abortion Amendments. "The Arkansas Senate on Tuesday endorsed a long-shot effort to push for amending the U.S. Constitution to effectively ban gay marriage and abortion, a move one Republican lawmaker said is needed to overturn rulings from the nation's highest court. The majority-Republican chamber approved by a 19-9 vote a resolution calling for a federal constitutional convention to take up an amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman. A separate resolution calling for an amendment effectively declaring that life begins at conception passed on an 18-9 vote."

[CN: War on agency] Michelle D. Anderson at Rewire: Bill Outlawing Abortion Advances in Iowa Legislature. "A 'personhood' measure that aims to criminalize abortion care in Iowa could be on its way to the state senate floor. The bill, SF 253, would give a fetus 'the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Iowa,' and the laws of Iowa. A three-person state senate subcommittee on Monday voted to advance the bill."

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

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