We Resist: Day 43

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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:

Natasha Bertrand at Business Insider: Another Trump Adviser Has Significantly Changed His Story About the GOP's Dramatic Shift on Ukraine.
The Trump campaign's national-security policy representative for the Republican National Convention, J.D. Gordon, told CNN on Thursday that he pushed to alter an amendment to the GOP's draft policy on Ukraine at the Republican National Convention last year to further align it with President Donald Trump's views.

Gordon's remarks represent a dramatic shift from previous comments, and they come as Attorney General Jeff Sessions faces intense scrutiny over two previously undisclosed meetings with Russia's ambassador to the US — one of which was timed to the convention.

In January, Gordon told Business Insider that he "never left" his "assigned side table" nor spoke publicly at the GOP national security subcommittee meeting, where the amendment — which originally called for "providing lethal defense weapons" to the Ukrainian army to fend off Russian-backed separatists — was read aloud, debated, and ultimately watered down to "providing appropriate assistance" to Ukraine.

According to CNN's Jim Acosta, however, Gordon said that at the RNC he and others "advocated for the GOP platform to include language against arming Ukrainians against pro-Russian rebels" because "this was in line with Trump's views, expressed at a March national security meeting at the unfinished Trump hotel" in Washington, DC.

Sarah K. Burris at Raw Story: Jeff Sessions Used Campaign Cash for RNC Trip Where He Met Russian Ambassador for 'Official' Reasons. "Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters at a press conference Thursday that as a senator, he met with many ambassadors to various countries in an official capacity. However, a Wall Street Journal report revealed that Sessions used campaign money to fund his trip to the Republican National Convention, where he then met in an official capacity, with the Russian envoy. Similarly, Sessions made political statements about Donald Trump's presidential campaign while at a Heritage Foundation event during the GOP convention in July. He then met with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak."

Sessions can't have it both ways: Either he met with Kislyak as part of the Trump campaign, and thus properly used campaign cash to fund his trip, or he met with Kislyak as a U.S. Senator, in which case he improperly used campaign funds to fund his trip. One way or another, he done fucked up.

[Content Note: Islamophobia] Maddow Blog: TRMS Exclusive: DHS Document Undermines Trump Case for Travel Ban. "The Rachel Maddow Show has obtained, exclusively, a Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment document. The document, from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, makes the case that most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists are likely not radicalized when they come to the U.S., but rather become radicalized after living in the U.S. for a number of years."

Maddow pitched this segment last night as a "potential game-changer." Frankly, I think she oversold how explosive the document is. Most people who oppose the ban already knew that Trump's "extreme vetting" bullshit was garbage, and people who support the ban will use the very same info to argue "That's why we can't let any of 'em in!" What's more notable to me is that the fact Maddow even has the document is further evidence that there are career bureaucrats who are desperately leaking anything they can to try to put a check on Trump's authoritarian instincts.

On a similar note... Susan B. Glasser at Politico: Trump Takes on The Blob. "I spoke with many of these swamp creatures as an unsettling Trump settled into the White House, and they were all asking the same questions: Would he destroy the liberal international order? Hand our secrets to the Russians? Ruin NATO? Blunder into another war in the Middle East after he was done firing all the State Department bosses and sending uncooperative national security bureaucrats into exile? Did he have any idea what he was doing? 'Everything I've worked for for two decades is being destroyed,' a senior Republican told me—and he was considered one of the Republicans more open to the Trump regime. 'I can't sleep at night,' said a senior Democrat..."

[CN: Environmental racism] Oliver Milman at the Guardian: 'Just Racist': EPA Cuts Will Hit Black and Hispanic Communities the Hardest. "In the final months of Barack Obama's administration, the EPA unveiled a new effort to tackle lead poisoning, air pollution, and other problems suffered by communities of color situated next to waste treatment plants, smelters, and other sources of toxins. But this plan will be cut down in its infancy should the environmental justice office be dismantled. ...[Said Ken Cook, president of advocacy organization the Environmental Working Group:] 'Through this decision to zero out funding for the EPA's environmental justice programs, the president and the administrator have sent a shameful message: The health of poor Americans is less important than that of the wealthy.'"

[CN: Nativism] Kristina Cooke and Mica Rosenberg for Reuters: Parents Fearing Deportation Pick Guardians for U.S. Children. "Parents who immigrated illegally to the United States and now fear deportation under the Trump administration are inundating immigration advocates with requests for help in securing care for their children in the event they are expelled from the country. ...In New Jersey, immigration attorney Helen Ramirez said she is getting about six phone calls a day from parents. Last year, she said, she had no such calls. 'Their biggest fear is that their kids will end up in foster care,' Ramirez said." That absolutely breaks my heart.

If there are any undocumented parents reading this blog who don't have any citizens with whom to make contingency plans for their children, please let me know, and I will help out however I can.

[CN: Anti-semitism; video may autoplay at link] Rebecca Shapiro at the Huffington Post: Anti-Semitic Crimes up 94 Percent in NYC Since This Time Last Year, NYPD Says. "As another wave of bomb threats hit Jewish community facilities across the country, police say anti-Semitic incidents in New York City have nearly doubled in the first two months of the year. From Jan. 1 through Feb. 26, there were 35 reported anti-Semitic incidents in the city, compared to 18 reported incidents during the same time period last year, the New York Police Department said. That's a 94 percent increase. Overall, NYPD statistics show a 55 percent rise in hate crimes since last year, although the city said crime in general is down 9.7 percent."

Take a moment to really contemplate those statistics, in the context of Trump's claims about crime in the U.S. Despite his constant fearmongering about crime getting worse, especially in "inner cities," crime overall has gone down in New York City (his hometown), while hate crimes have gone up, especially against populations he routinely demonizes.

[CN: Anti-semitism; misogyny; harassment] Mark Berman and Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post: Former Journalist Arrested, Charged with Threats Against Jewish Facilities.
Authorities investigating recent bomb threats against Jewish institutions across the country arrested a former journalist on Friday morning and said he was behind at least some of the threats as part of a campaign to harass a woman.

...The FBI arrested a suspect—Juan Thompson, 31—on Friday morning in St. Louis, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York. Thompson is a journalist who was fired from the Intercept for fabricating quotes and misled colleagues in order to cover his tracks.

...Thompson was charged with cyberstalking for allegedly communicating at least eight threats to Jewish Community Centers as part of a sustained campaign of harassment targeting a woman. He is expected to appear in court later Friday.

The woman and Thompson had been in a romantic relationship, and after their relationship ended, he began sending defamatory emails and faxes to her workplace, making false reports of criminal activity by her and making threats to the Jewish centers in her name. Authorities also said some of his threats were made in his own name as a way to show the woman was trying to frame him.
To be clear: Thompson is not the main perpetrator; instead, he appears to have exploited the threats being made to Jewish Community Centers to make some of his own, in retribution against a woman. It was so important to him to harm this woman that he was willing to terrorize Jewish people already under siege. What a despicable fucker.

[CN: Voter suppression] Michelle D. Anderson at Rewire: Iowa GOP Uses Voter Fraud Myth to Advance Voter ID Bill. "Republican lawmakers in Iowa are the latest to push a discriminatory voter ID bill after seizing control of both legislative chambers in 2016, as Democrats lost control of the state senate. An Iowa house committee Monday recommended the legislature pass the 'Election Integrity Act' measure, which would require voters to present a government-issued identification before casting a vote."

By way of reminder, voter ID laws are disproportionately likely (and designed) to disenfranchise people of color, disabled people, older people, poor people, and/or trans people.

[CN: Homophobia] Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad: Breitbart Tried to Copyright the Term 'Big Gay Hate Machine' Under Steve Bannon's Tenure. "If you were in any doubt that Steve Bannon detests you, make note that under his guidance Breitbart filed to acquire the trademark for the term 'Big Gay Hate Machine.' ...Breitbart News filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark the term on May 20, 2015, according to records from the office."

[CN: Homophobia] WNCT Staff: Richlands Man Arrested for Hate Crime in Key West. "Key West police said Kevin Seymour and Kevin Price were riding their bicycles in Key West when they saw [Brandon Ray Davis] swerving on a rented motor scooter. Seymour told police he shouted to warn Price he almost hit a car. The Miami Herald reports the man then yelled anti-gay remarks and said he bet the two men voted for Hillary Clinton. Then he yelled, 'You live in Trump country now.' Police say he kept chasing them with his motor scooter until finally charging and hitting Seymour's bike with his scooter. When Seymour threatened to call police, Davis allegedly told him, 'If you do that, I'll cut you up,' Key West police said."

But it's Trump critics who are the barrier to national unity. Sure.

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

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