Posted by Melissa McEwan at Thursday, March 02, 2017
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:
If you haven't yet read about the newest developments re: Jeff Sessions and Russia, there is a dedicated piece here.
Republicans are now starting to call for Sessions to recuse himself, which is, of course, insufficient at this point, but it's their only gambit to try to stop the momentum of the Trump administration collapsing under the weight of ties to Russia. They are two steps behind, in order to try to stay one step ahead.
Jay Solomon and Benoit Faucon at the Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump Jr. Was Likely Paid at Least $50,000 for Event Held by Hosts Allied with Russia on Syria. "Donald Trump's eldest son was likely paid at least $50,000 for an appearance late last year before a French think tank whose founder and wife are allies of the Russian government in efforts to end the war in Syria. Donald Trump Jr. addressed a dinner on Oct. 11 at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, hosted by the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs. Its president, Fabien Baussart, and his Syrian-born wife, Randa Kassis, have cooperated with Russia in its drive to end the Syrian civil war, according to U.S., European and Arab officials. In December, Mr. Baussart formally nominated Russian President Vladimir Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize."
Margaret Hartmann at New York Magazine: White House Explores Using Military Force Against North Korea. "Earlier this week, a senior administration official who may or may not be Donald Trump himself told CNN that the president considers North Korea the 'greatest immediate threat' to the U.S. They noted that the president told a Chinese official on Monday, 'You gotta work on North Korea.' Just in case that doesn't solve the problem, the White House has also launched an internal review of how to handle the dictatorship. The Wall Street Journal reports that deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland convened a meeting of national security officials two weeks ago and solicited proposals on North Korea—even if they're far outside the mainstream. The administration wanted to hear everything from recognizing North Korea as a nuclear power to using military force against Pyongyang."
Sam Stein and Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post: Trump Administration Sets off Alarm Bells by Pulling Nominees to Regulatory Commissions. "The Trump administration has begun pulling pending nominees from various federal commissions in a manner that has left Hill Democrats concerned that the practice of bipartisan inclusion on regulatory panels will be upended. The administration's efforts, these sources told The Huffington Post, could result in commissions tasked with overseeing trade enforcement, election law, and financial and energy regulation being stacked with nominees sympathetic to the president."
Julia Edwards Ainsley at Reuters: Trump Administration Has Found Only $20 Million in Existing Funds for Wall. "Donald Trump's promise to use existing funds to begin immediate construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has hit a financial roadblock, according to a document seen by Reuters. The rapid start of construction, promised throughout Trump's campaign and in an executive order issued in January on border security, was to be financed, according to the White House, with 'existing funds and resources' of the Department of Homeland Security. But so far, the DHS has identified only $20 million that can be re-directed to the multi-billion-dollar project... This means that for the wall to move forward, the White House will need to convince Congress to appropriate funds."
Isaac Arnsdorf and Josh Dawsey at Politico: Trump's Team Nixed Ethics Course for White House Staff. "Donald Trump's team rejected a course for senior White House staff, cabinet nominees and other political appointees that would have provided training on leadership, ethics and management, according to documents obtained by POLITICO. The documents suggest the program could have better prepared officials for working within existing laws and executive orders, and provided guidance on how to navigate Senate confirmation for nominees and political appointees, how to deal with congressional and media scrutiny, and how to work with Congress and collaborate with agencies—some of the same issues that have become major stumbling blocks in the early days of the administration."
Aaron Rupar at Think Progress: CNN Reports Trump Successfully Manipulated Anchors for Positive Coverage. "[CNN's Sara Murray] characterized what Trump told the anchors at the White House on Tuesday as 'the bait and switch that the president pulled when it came to immigration yesterday.' 'He had this meeting with the anchors, he talked about a path to legal status,' Murray, a D.C.-based political reporter, said. 'Basically they fed us things that they thought these anchors would like, that they thought would give them positive press coverage for the next few hours. A senior administration official admitted that it was a misdirection play.'" They just straight-up admit they're toying with the press, and yet the press keeps falling for it.
[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Billy House and Arit John at Bloomberg: Republicans Hide New Obamacare Draft Under Shroud of Secrecy. "The document is being treated a bit like a top-secret surveillance intercept. It is expected to be available to members and staffers on the House Energy and Commerce panel starting Thursday, but only in a dedicated reading room, one Republican lawmaker and a committee aide said. Nobody will be given copies to take with them. ...Republican leaders are trying to avoid a repeat of what happened last time. When an outdated draft leaked last week, it was quickly panned by conservatives."
In fact, there is a scavenger hunt going on in Congress to find a copy of the bill. Good grief.
Tierney Sneed at TPM: How GOP O'Care Plan Shifts Tax Credits from the Poor to the Rich. "An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation published Wednesday of a GOP proposal to rework the Affordable Care Acts subsidies into tax credits available to everyone illustrates how the plan, which was leaked last week, would represent a major loss for lower-income people and older Americans. Those higher on the income scale stand to gain under such a plan. Republican leadership is considering offering refundable tax credits that start at $2,000 annual for individuals under 30 and raise with age, up to $4,000 for those over 60. Unlike the ACA's tax credits, they do not adjust with income, meaning a wealthy person would be getting the same break as a low income American."
Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin sent his constituents "a Cease & Desist letter after they call and show up to demand a town hall."
[CN: Trans bigotry; war on agency] Molly Redden at the Guardian: How Defunding Planned Parenthood Could Wipe out Transgender Healthcare. "Planned Parenthood is one of the largest sources in the US of transgender healthcare. ...'They are one of the most important providers of trans healthcare in the country,' said Harper Jean Tobin, the director of policy for the National Center for Transgender Equality, adding that their clinics are some of the few transgender healthcare providers located outside major cities. 'Many of their clinics are the only places for miles around that trans people can go to for hormone therapy, HIV tests, and pap smears, and not face discrimination.' With Congress on the brink of attempting to defund Planned Parenthood because of its role as an abortion provider, those services could easily be caught in the crossfire."
What have you been reading that we need to resist today?