We Resist: Day 98

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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:

Vera Bergengruen at McClatchy: Hawaii Threatened by North Korea Now, U.S. Commander Tells Congress.
The Pentagon needs to consider deploying new anti-ballistic missile systems and a defensive radar to Hawaii to protect against a growing threat from North Korea, the top U.S. military officer in the Pacific told Congress on Wednesday.

"Kim Jong-Un is clearly in a position to threaten Hawaii today, in my opinion," Adm. Harry Harris, the chief of U.S. Pacific Command, told the House Armed Services Committee. "I have suggested that we consider putting interceptors in Hawaii that...defend (it) directly, and that we look at a defensive Hawaii radar."

...Harris was repeatedly questioned by lawmakers from Hawaii on the threat posed to their state.

The current defense architecture "is sufficient to protect Hawaii today, but it can be overwhelmed," he cautioned. "Somewhere, we would have to make a decision about which missiles to take out, and that's a hard decision."

Harris warned that North Korea's testing is picking up speed and becoming more aggressive; the country conducted more than 20 ballistic missile tests last year.

"North Korea vigorously pursued a strategic strike capability in 2016," he told lawmakers on Wednesday. "Kim's strategic capabilities are not yet an existential threat to the U.S., but if left unchecked, he will gain the capability to match his rhetoric."
This may be true, in which case it's scary, or it may not be true, in which case it's scary for a different reason.

In recent memory, there was a president who lied us into a war (one of many reasons not to valorize George W. Bush). Bush proved definitively that a U.S. president could lie the nation into war and get away with it. Now we've got a sitting president who is a compulsive liar with a brittle ego, and whose only good press has been for bombing.

So is this information accurate? Or is it invented, or exaggerated, to justify military action? We have no way of knowing for sure.

But the warmongers are certainly banging the war drums.
A statement on Thursday from the South Korean president's office said Seoul and Washington had agreed "to swiftly take punitive measures" against North Korea in the event of more provocation, following a telephone conversation between the US national security adviser, HR McMaster, and his South Korean counterpart, Kim Kwan-jin.

"The two sides pledged that in the event of additional strategic provocation by the North to swiftly take punitive measures, including a new UN security council resolution, that are unbearable for the North," the statement said.

It followed Wednesday's joint statement from the US secretary of state Rex Tillerson, secretary of defence James Mattis, and director of national intelligence Dan Coats, that said [Donald] Trump would pressure Pyongyang "by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our allies and regional partners" – an approach adopted by the past three US administrations.

It also said past efforts had failed to stop the advance of Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programmes.
Translation: We're going to try the diplomacy we have repeatedly said and keep saying was a failed policy, except we're going to do it much worse, so then when it fails, we can blame former presidents for forcing us to take military action we definitely totally for sure are so sad to take.

I desperately hope I am wrong.

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[Content Note: Bigotry] Tim Alberta at Politico: Social Conservatives Are 'Over the Moon' About Trump.
The first 100 days of Trump's presidency have been pocked with disappointment for various constituencies: Immigration hawks haven't seen funding for a border wall; Obamacare haters haven't seen a repeal-and-replace bill pass either chamber of Congress; Wall Streeters haven't seen a realistic plan for overhauling the tax code; protectionists haven't seen China tagged a currency manipulator; and America-Firsters have seen neither NATO pushed aside nor the Middle East placed on the presidential back-burner.

The one group Trump has paid outsized attention to—and consistently delivered for—is the social conservative movement. He reinstated and even toughened the Mexico City Policy, which eliminates U.S. funding for international NGOs that perform abortions. He rescinded President Barack Obama's protections for transgender students to use preferred bathrooms in public schools. He signed legislation that routs federal money away from Planned Parenthood. He cut off funding to the U.N. Population Fund, which critics say has long supported coercive abortions in China and other countries. He stockpiled his administration with pro-life evangelical Christians in critical roles, including Tom Price as secretary of Health and Human Services, Betsy DeVos as education secretary, and Mike Pence as vice president. And, most significantly, he appointed Neil Gorsuch, a conservative originalist in the mold of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, to the United States Supreme Court.

Once a punch line in conservative circles and a walking worst-case-scenario for many on the religious right, Donald Trump has emerged in the early days of his administration as something else entirely: a crusader for traditional social values.
This is why people like me continue to insist on "playing identity politics." Because the fucking president still is.

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Laurel Raymond at ThinkProgress: Flynn Was Warned Against Accepting Foreign Payments, But He Did It Anyway. "Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) just released three damning new documents on former Trump administration National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The documents, provided by the Department of Defense, show that the Pentagon warned Flynn in 2014 that he could not legally take money from foreign governments without getting permission in advance. The same documents also confirm that Flynn did not ask for permission before taking payments—emoluments—from Russia. Flynn, despite the warning, accepted the payments and failed to disclose them on his application for security clearance in 2016. He similarly failed to disclose his lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government."

Greg Sargent at the Washington Post: Trump's Lies Are Working Brilliantly; This New Poll Proves It. "As we stumble toward the 100-day mark of the Trump presidency, [Trump's] frequent assaults on the news media appear to have taken on a distinct purpose. ...[Trump] has insisted that the press is misrepresenting his record, while also vastly inflating it himself—thus preparing his voters to dismiss everything they are being told about his historic lack of accomplishments. A new Post-ABC News poll suggests that this may be working for Trump. It finds that enormous majorities of his voters believe the news media regularly publishes false stories. Even bigger majorities of them believe the news media's falsehoods are a bigger problem than the Trump administration's falsehoods are."

[CN: Nativism] Julio Ricardo Varela at Latina USA: DHS Says Publishing Names of Children for Detained Immigrants Database Was 'Lapse in Privacy Protocols'. "After being alerted Wednesday evening by Latino USA that a new online database of detained immigrants for the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE) included names of children as young as two years old, a Department of Homeland Security spokesperson said late Wednesday night that 'a lapse in privacy protocols' has been rectified. ...At 8:27pm ET, Latino USA emailed DHS about why minors were included in this database, which, according to a April 26 DHS press release, was 'an automated service being launched today that will help victims track the immigration custody status of illegal alien perpetrators of crime.'"

Matt Shuham at TPM: Trump Floats Breaking Up 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. "Donald Trump floated the idea of breaking up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday, misidentifying it yet again as the court responsible for the nationwide injunction issued Tuesday against his executive order regarding so-called sanctuary cities. 'There are many people that want to break up the 9th Circuit,' Trump told the Washington Examiner in an interview. 'It's outrageous.'"

Ed Kilgore at New York Magazine: Zombie Trumpcare Getting a Chilly Reception From Senate Republicans. "As House Republicans get excited about the possibility of passing a revised version of the American Health Care Act (a.k.a. Trumpcare), attention is beginning to shift to the Senate, where the House bill is about as welcome as an STD. Normally in a situation like this, where a party's president is 100 percent invested in a piece of legislation, you would look for scattered signs of internal opposition among that party's senators and speculate as to whether the White House could wear it down. But there is nothing scattered about Senate Republican misgivings over Trumpcare: It appears to be endemic." This is good news, but also should be rightly viewed as an urgent indication to CALL YOUR SENATORS, especially if they are Republican, and let them know you strongly oppose this legislation.

[CN: Worker exploitation] Drew Harwell at the Washington Post: Workers Endured Long Hours, Low Pay at Chinese Factory Used by Ivanka Trump's Clothing-Maker. "Workers at a factory in China used by the company that makes clothing for Ivanka Trump's fashion line and other brands worked nearly 60 hours a week to earn wages of little more than $62 a week, according to a factory audit released Monday. The factory's 80 workers knit clothes for the contractor, G-III Apparel Group, which has held the exclusive license to make the Ivanka Trump brand's $158 dresses, $79 blouses and other clothes since 2012."

[CN: Homophobia; disablist language] Karoli Kuns at Towleroad: Anti-Gay Alabama Justice Roy Moore Running for Jeff Sessions' Senate Seat. "Surprise! Alabama's Number One Homophobe and Hater, Judge Roy Moore is running for Jeff Sessions' Senate seat, according to the Associated Press. Remember now, Moore is the guy who was suspended as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court because he refused to honor the United States Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage. His regard for the laws and Constitution are only limited by his narrowly-defined (and mostly [aggressively indecent]) worldview."

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

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