We Resist: Day 77

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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 in the news today:

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Matt Flegenheimer at the New York Times: Senate Republicans Deploy 'Nuclear Option' to Clear Path for Neil Gorsuch.
Senate Republicans changed longstanding rules on Thursday to clear the way for the confirmation of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, bypassing a precedent-breaking Democratic filibuster by allowing the nomination to go forward on a simple majority vote.

In deploying the so-called nuclear option, lawmakers are fundamentally altering the way the Senate operates — a sign of the body's creeping rancor in recent years after decades of at least relative bipartisanship on Supreme Court matters. Both parties have likewise warned of sweeping effects on the future of the court, predicting that the shift will lead to the elevation of more ideologically extreme judges if only a majority is required for confirmation.

...Lawmakers first convened late Thursday morning to decide whether to end debate and advance to a final vote on Judge Gorsuch. Republicans needed 60 votes — at least eight Democrats and independents joining the 52-seat majority — to end debate on the nomination and proceed to a final vote. Only a handful of Democrats defected, and the vote failed, 55-45, leaving Republicans to choose between allowing the president's nominee to fail or bulldozing long-held Senate practice.

A final vote on Judge Gorsuch's confirmation is set for Friday, with a simple majority needed for approval.
I have no words. I am not surprised, but I am very angry and very disappointed.

Everyone has been (quite rightly) worried about Trump setting off a literal nuke, but Mitch McConnell decided to set off the figurative one first.

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Yesterday, during an interview with the New York Times, Donald Trump claimed that Rep. Elijah Cummings told him privately, "You will go down as one of the great presidents in the history of our country." Somehow I doubt that.

[CN: Rape culture] He said a lot of other bullshit, too, including this about serial sexual harasser Bill O'Reilly: "He's a good person. I think he may, you know, I think he shouldn't have settled, personally, I think he shouldn't have settled. ...No, I know Bill. Bill's a good person. I don't think Bill would do anything wrong."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link; continued CN for rape culture] Paige Lavender at the Huffington Post delivered reporting on this under the perfect, terrible headline: "Donald Trump Kicks off Sexual Assault Awareness Month by Defending Bill O'Reilly." That about sums it up.

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[CN: Terrorism; death; description of violence] Jen Kirby at NY Mag: ISIS Slaughters 33 People, Execution-Style, in the Syrian Desert. "As the world grapples with Bashar al-Assad's war crimes, ISIS reminded everyone of its own gruesome brutality. CNN reports that the terror group murdered dozens, execution-style, in what is likely ISIS's largest mass killing in 2017. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said ISIS 'slaughtered' people in Syria, near the desert city of Deir ez-Zor, with 'sharp tools' near the edge of a hole that became 'filled with blood.' It is unclear whether the victims were Syrian rebels or government soldiers or ISIS prisoners, but they were reportedly young, between the ages of 18 and 25."

Meanwhile, as Charles M. Blow notes in his latest column for the New York Times, Trump appears appallingly ignorant about the complexity of what's happening in Syria:
During the news conference, a reporter asked:

"If I may, Mr. President: You know very well that the Iranian militias and Hezbollah have been propping the Syrian regime for a while, over a few years now. Will you go after them? What message will you give them today? And will you work with the Russians to stop, to ground, the Syrian Air Force and to establish safe zones?"

Actually, it was clear that the president didn't "know very well." In fact, he seemed lost by the question. So instead of answering, he opened an attack on the Iran nuclear deal and ISIS.

The reporter had to point out the ridiculousness of the answer: "But sir, I'm talking about the Iranian militias in Syria supporting the Syrian regime, separate of the nuclear deal. What message do you have for them today?" Caught in his ignorance, Trump clumsily responded: "You will see. They will have a message. You will see what the message will be, O.K."

It was beyond embarrassing: It was mortifying. And it was terrifying.
Trump's terrifying ignorance is resulting in incoherent policy, as he scrambles to look like he knows what he's doing, which is leaving the Pentagon dangerously perplexed.

Nancy A. Youssef at BuzzFeed: Trump May Have Changed His Syria Policy And The Pentagon Is Confused. "Trump said on Wednesday, at a joint press conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II, that images of children and other civilians killed by a suspected sarin gas attack a day earlier in the Syrian city of Idlib 'crosses many lines, beyond a red line, many many lines.' He said he was appalled by the attack and called it 'unacceptable,' while adding that his opinion of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had changed. ...But three defense officials told BuzzFeed News they cannot begin to craft a military response, if that is what Trump wants, without a clear understanding of what the president wants to see happen in Syria. Does he only want the Assad regime to stop using chemical weapons? Does he want regime change? Is he seeking a negotiated settlement? Or were Trump's comments simply rhetoric?"

He has no fucking idea what he is doing. We are in deep shit.

And not only does he have no clue about Syria, but as Josh Meyer reports at Politico: Trump Lacks Key Players for Meeting with Chinese Leader. "China watchers say he could easily be outmatched by a superbly well-prepped Beijing diplomatic team aiming to exploit gaping holes in the White House's fledgling China policy group. Trump will be relying heavily on son-in-law and real-estate magnate Jared Kushner with some assistance from old China hand Henry Kissinger and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, an oil executive who is mostly unfamiliar with the customs and political protocols of a Chinese delegation that places a premium on them."

We are so fucked.

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Jonathan Swan at Axios: Bannon to Associates: "I Love a Gunfight." It's Bannon vs. Kushner in the White House. "Truth is, the hatred between the two wings is intense and irreconcilable. ...Killing Bannon won't be easy: His staunchest ally is one of Trump's closest confidants—Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Kellyanne Conway will go to the mat for him, as will policy advisor Stephen Miller. ...'Steve has developed strong and important relationships with some of the most powerful right-leaning business leaders,' said a close Bannon ally outside of the White House. 'I see some bad press in [Jared's] future.'" This is going to get so ugly.

Adam K. Raymond at NY Mag: Donald Trump Jr. Is Reportedly Talking About Running for Governor of New York. "Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of [Donald] Trump, who is now running the family business with his younger brother Eric, is interested in seeking elected office of his own. The 39-year-old was a recent guest at F6 Labs gun club in Hicksville, where he told a crowd that he has his sights set on Albany... As he told the crowd of his fellow hunters and gun humpers, the politics 'bug bit' after helping his father reach the Oval Office. 'Going back to doing deals is boring after 18 months,' he reportedly said." Fuck all of these bored, rich fuckers. Politics is not a game to have fun and stave away the boredom of a life with no real stakes.

[CN: Nativism] Ed Pilkington at the Guardian: Mother of Four to Be Deported to Mexico in Sign of Trump Policy Shift. "The mother of four American children, the youngest of whom is three years old, has been picked up by federal agents at her home in Fairfield, Ohio, and taken into detention ahead of imminent deportation back to her native Mexico. Maribel Trujillo has been told that her deportation is set for next Tuesday from the US, where she has lived for the past 15 years. Her rushed removal is one of the starkest examples yet of Donald Trump's push to catch and deport undocumented immigrants who previously were tolerated by the authorities as law-abiding and peaceful members of society." Rage. Seethe. Boil.

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

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