We Resist: Day 49

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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:

Massimo Calabresi at Time: Inside Donald Trump's War Against the State.
But no matter what he tweets from his Palm Beach Xanadu, Trump is more author than victim of this crisis. Neither he nor his White House staff provided any evidence for his extraordinary accusations against what some of them call a "deep state." Obama denied Trump's assertions, and was soon joined by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and, via intermediaries, FBI Director James Comey. Trump is rallying his political base against the federal agencies he oversees, thus partnering his presidency with a radical fringe. Win or lose, the standoff he has engineered will diminish the credibility of the government.

Approaching the halfway point of his first 100 days, this has become a defining aspect of Trump's presidency. His latest Twitter attack, like other actions before it, targeted institutions that stand in his path to what aides say is a larger political purpose: undoing much of what government has become over the past century. Few, if any, Presidents have paid so little deference to the chief executives and legislators who came before them. The extent of Trump's battle plan remains unclear.

But at a recent gathering of conservative activists in Washington, Trump's top strategist, Stephen Bannon, said the goal was the "deconstruction" of the administrative state. "The progressives for the last 100 years have set up really a fourth branch of government," he tells TIME. "So the deconstruction of that is really a massive project."

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Joan McCarter at dKos: Paul Ryan, Intellectual Leader of the Republican Party, Doesn't Know How Insurance Works. "Paul Ryan spent the morning giving a deeply dishonest presentation, with PowerPoint no less, on Trumpcare. But one part sticks out as being just mind-numbingly bad and unbelievable. [He said insurance can't work if healthy must pay more to subsidize the sick. But this is exactly what happens in every employer plan.] This is exactly what health insurance is. It's what all insurance is. You pay into a pool that covers disaster for any and everyone else who has paid into the pool. That's just how it works. It's, like, the definition of insurance! Seven. Years. Seven fucking years Obamacare has been the one thing Republicans have been obsessing over and their big brain, their chief wonk, their intellectual leader doesn't know how health insurance works." OMG.

Travis Gettys at Raw Story: Trump's 'Unofficial Adviser' Nigel Farage Visits Julian Assange's Home After CIA Docs Leaked. "Nigel Farage, who led the push for Brexit and a campaign backer of Donald Trump, visited the Ecuadorian embassy two days after WikiLeaks dumped a trove of purported CIA documents online. Farage, who serves as an 'unofficial adviser' to Trump, visited the London embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has claimed asylum since 2012, reported Buzzfeed. A reporter from the website approached Farage as he left the embassy, but the former leader of the UK Independence Party claimed he couldn't remember what he'd been doing in the building just moments earlier." Sounds legit.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Christina Wilkie at the Huffington Post: Jeff Sessions Likely Met Russian Ambassador a Third Time. "Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to amend prior testimony to Congress this week, acknowledging that contrary to an earlier statement, he'd encountered the Russian ambassador to the United States twice in the last year. Sessions appears to have left out a third instance in which they crossed paths. In April of 2016, Sessions attended a VIP reception at a hotel in Washington, D.C., with Donald Trump and roughly two dozen guests, including four ambassadors. One of them was Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak."

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Rachel Maddow Fits a New Damning Piece into the Puzzle of Trump's Russia Cover-Up. "Last night's on-fire A-block segment concerned former campaign chairman Paul Manafort's involvement with a Kiev-based Russia national, Konstantin Kilimnik. Kilimnik had suspected ties to Russian intelligence and has been under the scrutiny of the FBI and State Department for two trips he made to the U.S. during the presidential campaign."

Michael R. Gordon at the New York Times: Russia Has Deployed Missile Barred by Treaty, U.S. General Tells Congress. "A senior American general told Congress on Wednesday that Russia has deployed a prohibited cruise missile, the first public confirmation by the United States that the Kremlin had fielded the weapon in violation of a landmark arms control agreement. The missile is believed to have been moved in December from a test site in southern Russia to an undisclosed operational base. 'We believe that the Russians have deployed a land-based cruise missile that violates the spirit and intent of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty,' Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the House Armed Services Committee. 'The system itself presents a risk to most of our facilities in Europe,' he added. 'And we believe that the Russians have deliberately deployed it in order to pose a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility.'"

CBS News: Trump Taps Jon Huntsman as U.S. Ambassador to Russia. "Trump is nominating former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman to serve as U.S. ambassador to Russia, two sources familiar with the situation have confirmed to CBS News' Major Garrett. ...If confirmed by the Senate, Huntsman would assume the diplomatic post at a critical time as the federal government engages in a broad investigation into links between Mr. Trump's associates and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign."

James Hohmann and Breanne Deppisch at the Washington Post: Jon Huntsman's Strange Odyssey to Become Donald Trump's Man in Moscow. "The 56-year-old has earned a reputation as someone who ingratiates himself with his patron of the moment but whose long-term loyalty cannot be counted on. His critics—including some who have worked with him—complain privately that he's always thinking about how he can climb the next step up the ladder. When his name comes up around this town, one often hears words like craven and opportunistic." Terrific. A man with zero principles is just who we need to be dealing with Russia on behalf of the Trump administration.

Stephen Braun and Chad Day at ABC News: Former Trump Aide Flynn Says Lobbying May Have Helped Turkey. "President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who was fired from his prominent White House job last month, has registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for $530,000 worth of lobbying work before Election Day that may have aided the Turkish government. Paperwork filed Tuesday with the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit said Flynn and his firm were voluntarily registering for lobbying from August through November that 'could be construed to have principally benefited the Republic of Turkey.'" JFC.

Jordan Fabian at the Hill: Pence, Not Trump, Plans Kentucky Healthcare Pitch. "Vice President Pence plans to travel to Louisville, Ky., on Saturday as the White House ramps up its sales pitch for the GOP proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare. ...Trump was expected to make the trip himself, the Courier-Journal newspaper reported Wednesday. But Pence will go instead. ...Pence has made the rounds on Capitol Hill, as well as talk radio and local television, to sell the House GOP-authored plan."

Carimah Townes at Think Progress: After Promising to Revitalize 'Inner Cities,' Trump Decides to Shred Affordable Housing. "Under the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) latest budget proposal, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)—the federal agency tasked with expanding housing access for low-income families—could stand to lose billions of dollars. According to the Washington Post, the proposal calls for $6 billion to be cut from the department's budget for Fiscal Year 2018. And the pool of money for public housing repairs and the Community Development Block Grant Program will be hit especially hard."

Related Reading to the above: Here's Why Trump's Promise to "Bring Back Jobs" Is a Cruel Lie.

Drew Gilpin Faust at the New York Times: Killing a Program That Brings History to Life. "I would wager that few readers of this newspaper, and probably few Americans anywhere, are untouched by an National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored project or program. ...Like its sibling the National Endowment for the Arts, the endowment brings the humanities into parts of the country that might otherwise never get to see a world-class museum exhibition or hear a lecture by a Pulitzer-Prize winner. ...Reports suggest that the Trump administration's coming budget will defund the endowment."

Andrea Peterson at Think Progress: Trump Leaves Key Cybersecurity Jobs Vacant Across the Government. "The Trump administration is leaving many top technology jobs across government vacant, raising concerns about the security and maintenance of federal computer systems in the wake of an election where hacks dominated the headlines. The White House's own cybersecurity practices are another source of concern, say experts. Of the nine agency-level Chief Information Officer (or CIO) roles that are politically appointed, only one is currently filled—and that top tech slot is occupied by a holdover from the Obama administration."

[CN: Anti-semitism; terrorism] Ben Fractenberg, Aidan Gardiner, Rachel Holliday Smith, and Nicholas Rizzi at DNA Info: Bomb Threat at Jewish Children's Museum Sparks Evacuation, NYPD Says. "The Jewish Children's Museum on Eastern Parkway was evacuated as police investigated a bomb threat that was called in Thursday morning, the second threat in the city against a Jewish center this week, police said. ...On Tuesday, someone called the Midtown headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League, saying a bomb would explode there within 20 minutes, officials said. 'These are coming at an unprecedented rate,' said the NYPD's Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, during a Tuesday press conference." Rage. Seethe. Boil.

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

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