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:
As I mentioned earlier, Trump's order to restrict federal funding to sanctuary cities was blocked by a California judge who "issued a nationwide injunction on Tuesday blocking enforcement of Trump's executive order targeting cities and counties across the US that have pledged to be a safe haven to the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants."
Naturally, the White House was not happy about it. They issued a gobsmacking statement (aptly described by the Atlantic's Matt Ford as reading "more like a Breitbart column than a professional response"), which is shocking even by the rock-bottom garbage standards this administration has set (emphasis mine):
Statement on Sanctuary Cities RulingFucking WOW. There is a lot of disturbing stuff there, but the White House releasing a statement saying that a judge's ruling "undermines faith in our legal system" because that ruling went against their attempts to enshrine unconstitutional bigotry, is terrifying. This is the behavior of despots.
Today, the rule of law suffered another blow, as an unelected judge unilaterally rewrote immigration policy for our Nation. Federal law explicitly states that "a Federal, State or Local government entity or official may not prohibit, or in any way restrict, any government entity or official from sending to, or receiving from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service information regarding the citizenship or immigration status, lawful or unlawful, of any individual." 8 U.S.C. 1373(a). That means, according to Congress, a city that prohibits its officials from providing information to federal immigration authorities — a sanctuary city — is violating the law. Sanctuary cities, like San Francisco, block their jails from turning over criminal aliens to Federal authorities for deportation. These cities are engaged in the dangerous and unlawful nullification of Federal law in an attempt to erase our borders.
Once again, a single district judge — this time in San Francisco — has ignored Federal immigration law to set a new immigration policy for the entire country. This decision occurred in the same sanctuary city that released the 5-time deported illegal immigrant who gunned down innocent Kate Steinle in her father's arms. San Francisco, and cities like it, are putting the well-being of criminal aliens before the safety of our citizens, and those city officials who authored these policies have the blood of dead Americans on their hands. This San Francisco judge's erroneous ruling is a gift to the criminal gang and cartel element in our country, empowering the worst kind of human trafficking and sex trafficking, and putting thousands of innocent lives at risk.
This case is yet one more example of egregious overreach by a single, unelected district judge. Today's ruling undermines faith in our legal system and raises serious questions about circuit shopping. But we are confident we will ultimately prevail in the Supreme Court, just as we will prevail in our lawful efforts to impose immigration restrictions necessary to keep terrorists out of the United States.
In the meantime, we will pursue all legal remedies to the sanctuary city threat that imperils our citizens, and continue our efforts to ramp up enforcement to remove the criminal and gang element from our country. Ultimately, this is a fight between sovereignty and open borders, between the rule of law and lawlessness, and between hardworking Americans and those who would undermine their safety and freedom.
And, in addition to Trump being an authoritarian nightmare, he is also an embarrassing ignoramus.
Donald Trump is the President of the United States, and he doesn't even understand how the courts work. JFC.
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Speaking of anti-democratic regimes, this massive piece at Politico by Ben Schreckinger and Hadas Gold on "Trump's Fake War on the Fake News" is really something. There is an awful lot to process, and I recommend reading the whole thing in its entirety, but I want to highlight this bit:
On top of the sloppiness, there is the lying. One veteran White House correspondent said he was warned by a transition official to be wary of good color emanating from the Trump camp on background. "They will screw with you," the correspondent was told. "They will feed you things that are not true."
Bannon, it is worth noting, is a devoted reader of the "neoreactionary" internet philosopher Curtis Yarvin, an advocate of the strategic benefits of spreading misinformation. But two people close to the administration say that White House staffers do much of their lying for sport, rather than to further any larger agenda.
"They all lie," said a conservative journalist with close ties to the West Wing, who described an informal contest to smuggle the biggest whoppers into print. "It's a game to them."
A conservative activist close to the administration said a member of the White House communications team recently divulged the same to him over drinks. According to the activist, the staffer described the attitude inside the press shop toward lying to reporters as: "They'll print what they want anyways, so we may as well have fun."
@TurtleTears Unreal. Just bragging about waging a disinformation campaign.— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) April 26, 2017
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Robbie Gramer at Foreign Policy: Rex Tillerson Spurns Africa in Botched Meeting with African Union Chief.
Just months into office, the Trump administration has rattled allies and partners in North America, Europe, and Asia. Now you can add Africa to that list.Oh my goddddddd. If Tillerson had only "backed out" on Faki, that would be bad enough. But to ignore him for days, only to then offer a meeting with Tillerson's flunkies? Horribly insulting. This is the antithesis of diplomacy.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson invited the chairperson of the African Union to Washington for a meeting, then backed out on him at the last minute, infuriating African diplomats, several sources tell Foreign Policy.
Tillerson invited African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki to Washington the week of April 17, after Faki ended meetings at the United Nations in New York. Several sources close to the matter say Faki scheduled his trip to Washington on April 19 and 20 while waiting for the details to be sorted out. But then Tillerson's office went radio silent for several days, and left the head of the 55-nation bloc in the lurch and fuming, the sources said.
Tillerson's team eventually got back to Faki's entourage as he was about to depart New York and offered a meeting with lower-level State Department officials, but Faki cancelled his Washington visit entirely.
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Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post: Zinke to Review More Than 2 Dozen National Monuments 'to Make Sure the People Have a Voice'. Yeah, that's just as chilling as it sounds. "Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday evening that [Donald] Trump has authorized him to review any national monument created since Jan. 1, 1996, that spans at least 100,000 acres 'to make sure the people have a voice' in which lands receive the highest level of federal protection. ...The secretary praised the Antiquities Act but suggested that some of Trump's predecessors had stretched its meaning in recent years to put 'millions of acres' of land and sea off limits to development. 'By and large, the Antiquities Act and the monuments that we've protected have done a great service to the public,' he said, although citizens in Western states 'would probably say it's abused. My position is, I'm going to be looking into it and evaluating it on a legal basis.'"
David Nather at Axios: Trump Administration Won't Promise to Keep Making Insurer Payments. "The Affordable Care Act insurer payments are in trouble again, as Office of Management and Budget director Mick Mulvaney is reportedly not promising that the Trump administration will make the payments next month. He told House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last night that the administration hasn't decided whether to pay insurers for the cost-sharing reduction subsidies they have to provide to low-income ACA customers, according to an aide familiar with the conversation."
Lisa Rein at the Washington Post: Slow Pace of Trump Nominations Leaves Cabinet Agencies 'Stuck' in Staffing Limbo. "Trump's Cabinet secretaries are growing exasperated at how slowly the White House is moving to fill hundreds of top-tier posts, warning that the vacancies are hobbling efforts to oversee agency operations and promote the president's agenda, according to administration officials, lawmakers and lobbyists. The Senate has confirmed 26 of Trump's picks for his Cabinet and other top posts. But for 530 other vacant senior-level jobs requiring Senate confirmation, the president has advanced just 37 nominees, according to data tracked by The Washington Post and the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service's Center for Presidential Transition. These posts include the deputy secretaries and undersecretaries, chief financial officers, ambassadors, general counsels, and heads of smaller agencies who run the government day-to-day."
[Content Note: Death penalty] Jessica Mason Pieklo at Rewire: With His First Vote, Gorsuch Has Already Changed the Supreme Court. "Late Thursday night, Gorsuch cast the deciding vote that would put to death eight men in Arkansas over the course of 11 days. Within minutes of the Court releasing a series of orders denying a stay of the planned executions, Arkansas executed Ledell Lee, a Black man who maintained his innocence and claimed his attorney was drunk during his trial." Sob.
Yessenia Funes at Colorlines: Two Recent Climate Change Studies Paint a Grim Picture. "Researchers at Stanford University released a study online yesterday (April 24), which was published in this week's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This first-of-its-kind study examines how climate change is impacting extreme weather events around the world. ...The Arctic Council's Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme published the Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) assessment today (April 25). In two decades, the Arctic Ocean may see ice-free summers, according to the report."
Dominic Rushe at the Guardian: Trump's Plan to Overturn Net Neutrality Rules to Face 'a Tsunami of Resistance'. Let's fucking hope so! "Trump's newly appointed Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is set to address internet regulation at a speech in Washington later today. Pai has vowed to 'fire up the weed-whacker' and cut Obama-era rules meant to enforce an open internet where all traffic is treated equally online—the so-called Net Neutrality rules."
[CN: Violent homophobia; eliminationism] Adam Rhodes at Towleroad: More Than 30 Men Arrested for 'Sodomy' in Iran Face Death Penalty if Convicted: Reports. "More than 30 men were arrested after a private party in the Bahadoran region of Isfahan, Iran was raided by the police, Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees reported Thursday. Their charges are sodomy, drinking alcohol and using psychedelic drugs and they face the death penalty if found guilty. The men, between the ages of 16 and 30, the Canadian charity reports, were rounded up late April 13 amid gunshots and beatings from police." Global LGBTQ rights is one of the areas where many lives will be lost because too many people believed Trump was "good on gay rights," and didn't care that Hillary Clinton has centered LGBTQ rights in her foreign policy approach for more than a decade. This makes me ill.
What have you been reading that we need to resist today?