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:
Franco Ordoñez and Anita Kumar: Secret Meeting at Mar-a-Lago Raises Questions About Colombia Peace and Trump.
Donald Trump quietly met a pair of former Colombian presidents last weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, thrusting his administration into an ugly power struggle in Latin America that threatens to undermine the country's controversial peace agreement with rebel leaders.So, not only did Trump hold this secret meeting, at his deeply problematic private estate, but then his spokesperson straight-up lied about it. This is aggressively unacceptable—and it will barely get a passing mention in the political press, because there is so much other shit swirling around in Trump's tornado of chaos.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to push Trump to support the peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia at their first meeting at the White House next month. He wants the Trump administration and Congress to maintain the $450 million in foreign aid promised by former President Barack Obama to implement the plan to end Latin America's longest armed conflict.
The meeting between Trump and the former presidents, Álvaro Uribe and Andrés Pastrana – Colombia news media have reported it was arranged by an influential U.S. critic of the plan, Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – was not on the president's schedule and was not disclosed to reporters who traveled with him to Palm Beach.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer initially declined to answer questions about the meeting, leading to a rash of speculation in Colombian media. Colombian newspapers, websites and radio stations debated the meeting’s significance — and whether it actually had happened. "I don't have anything for you at this time," Spicer said Wednesday when asked.
The White House later confirmed the meeting to McClatchy but downplayed its significance, saying it was a mere coincidence that both former leaders opposed to the peace pact were at the president's club. Aides to Rubio declined to comment.
"They were there with a member from the club and briefly said hello when the president walked past them," spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "There wasn't anything beyond a quick hello."
But the leaders' own comments contradict the White House's characterization.
In a tweet following the meeting, Pastrana thanked Trump for the "cordial and very frank conversation" about problems in Colombia and the region.
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Kenneth P. Vogel at Politico: Trump Lawyer: 'No Right' to Protest at Rallies. "Donald Trump's lawyers argued in a Thursday court filing that protesters 'have no right' to 'express dissenting views' at his campaign rallies because such protests infringed on his First Amendment rights. ...Trump's lawyers also argue that he had every right to call for the removal the protesters since they 'obviously interfered with the Trump campaign's First Amendment right' by 'vigorously expressing their disdain for Mr. Trump,' including by chanting and holding up signs depicting Trump's face on the body of a pig, among other anti-Trump messages. 'Of course, protesters have their own First Amendment right to express dissenting views, but they have no right to do so as part of the campaign rally of the political candidates they oppose,' Trump's lawyers wrote." Absolutely chilling.
[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Nick Penzenstadler, Steve Reilly, and John Kelly at USA Today: Trump Condos Worth $250 Million Pose Potential Conflict. "USA TODAY spent four months cataloging every property Trump's companies own across the country. Reporters found that Trump's companies are sitting on at least $250 million of individual properties in the USA alone. Property records show Trump's trust and his companies own at least 422 luxury condos and penthouses from New York City to Las Vegas, 12 mansion lots on bluffs overlooking his golf course on the Pacific Ocean, and dozens more smaller pieces of real estate. The properties range in value from about $200,000 to $35 million each. Unlike developments where Trump licenses his name to a separate developer for a flat fee, profits from selling individual properties directly owned by his companies ultimately enrich him personally."
Margaret Hartmann at New York Mag: The U.S. May Be Preparing to Charge WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange. "On Thursday afternoon, the Washington Post reported that federal prosecutors are considering whether to bring criminal charges against members of WikiLeaks, while CNN said they have already prepared charges against Assange. As CNN explained, the Obama administration had decided to hold off on prosecuting Assange because they could not figure out how to go after him without targeting mainstream outlets that publish classified information."
(I have no love for Assange, who is currently hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid rape charges in Sweden, but I do have serious questions about whether the Trump administration is orchestrating this as part of their war on the free press, to set a dangerous precedent regarding publication of classified info, as well as whether they have an interest in getting Assange out of reach of European Union officials who may have questions for him about Russian collusion.)
Taegan Goddard at Political Wire: U.S. Moves Towards Imposing Steel Tariffs. "'The U.S. has set the stage for a global showdown over steel, launching a national security investigation that could lead to sweeping tariffs on steel imports in what would be the first significant act of economic protectionism by [Donald] Trump,' the Financial Times reports. 'The decision to use a 1962 law allowing the US government to limit imports that threaten its security readiness is intended to deliver on Mr Trump's campaign promises to bolster heavy industry and 'put new American steel into the spine of this country'… But it risks setting off trade tensions with China just days after Mr Trump avoided another conflict by backing down on a promise to label Beijing a currency manipulator, citing in part its help in dealing with North Korea.'"
[CN: Transphobia; homophobia] Sheri Swokowski at the Washington Post: Trump's Anti-LGBT Army Secretary Nominee Thinks Veterans Like Me Have 'a Disease'. "Like Mark Green—[Donald] Trump's nominee for secretary of the Army—I served my country in uniform. I was proud to be an infantry officer and retired honorably after 34 years. But as a transgender member of the military, I hid my authentic self for decades to continue serving the country I love. Unlike Green, I was forced to serve in silence the entire time, but I won't be silent now. I respect his Iraq War service as an Army flight surgeon, but the disrespect—the bigotry—he's shown over and over toward the LGBT community, including LGBT service members, doesn't reflect the spirit or direction of the military I know. Rather, his selection reflects poorly on the president and our armed forces. He's the wrong choice to be Army secretary."
[CN: War on agency; disablism] Sharona Coutts at Rewire: Trump Administration at Odds with Scientists and Advocates. "Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tom Price is connected to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, an extreme libertarian doctors group that espouses many of the lies about abortion safety long rejected by the medical and scientific communities. In the current edition of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, the group once again lends support to the myth that abortion causes breast cancer, calling induced abortion 'conducive to breast cancer.' In the past, the group has taken outlandish positions on many issues, falsely claiming that unauthorized immigrants caused an outbreak of leprosy in the United States; that vaccines are linked to autism; and casting doubt over whether HIV causes AIDS."
[CN: Nativism] Ed Pilkington at the Guardian: Torn Apart: The American Families Hit by Trump's Immigration Crackdown. "'Bad hombres.' Those are the people Donald Trump says he is targeting for deportation under his immigration policy—the people he calls 'illegal aliens,' the gangbangers, violent criminals, and drug dealers who threaten public safety and undermine national security. But a very different pattern is emerging on the ground. In communities from Maryland to California and Oregon, immigration lawyers are reporting that individuals are being picked up with minimal or no criminal records who pose no risk at all to anyone. More than 90% of removal proceedings initiated in the first two months of the Trump administration have been against people who have committed no crime at all other than to be living in the country without permission."
[CN: Homophobia] Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad: Family Research Council: Gay Witches Are Secretly Running Washington, D.C. "Hate group the Family Research Council (FRC) has come out with some awful nonsense over the years but group 'senior fellow' Robert Maginnis has possibly reached maximum stupid by suggesting that Washington, D.C., is run by evil gay witches." I wish!
[CN: Environmental racism] Yessenia Funes at Colorlines: Montana Tribes Want Keystone XL away from Their Drinking Water. "The 1,179-mile long pipeline is set to cross west of the reservation on the Missouri River—the same body of water the Sioux people fought to protect against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Fort Peck Indian Reservation's only source of fresh water, from an intake plant, sits downstream. People on the reservation used to pull groundwater from their own wells. ...'Oh, what the hell, just do it to the Indians: I'm afraid that's just a lot of people's attitudes,' said Margaret Abbott, who lives on the reservation, to Rolling Stone."
[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Mark Hensch at the Hill: RNC Raises Record-Setting $41.5M Haul. "The Republican National Committee on Friday announced it raised $41.5 million in the first three months of 2017, its strongest-ever total for the first quarter following a presidential race. 'Our record-setting fundraising pace has been fueled by grassroots enthusiasm for [Donald] Trump and the Republican Party,' RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said in a statement."
In other words: Republicans are definitely okay with all of the horrors detailed above, and in all the previous daily installments of this series. In fact, not only are they okay with it; they're forking over record amounts of cash to keep the hits coming. Sob.
What have you been reading that we need to resist today?