We Resist: Day 112

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 Liss posts 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. My list is not as comprehensive as hers usually is, but here are some things worth resisting.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist


Carol Moello and Greg Miller at the Washington Post report that members of the intelligence community are alarmed that Trump permitted a Russian photographer in the Oval Office, probably without the kind of screening needed to detect sophisticated spying equipment. The article notes:

Russia has in the past gone to significant lengths to hide bugs in key U.S. facilities. In the late 1990s, the State Department’s security came under fire after the discovery of a sophisticated listening device in a conference room on the seventh floor, where then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and others often held meetings.

The same article reports on the reactions of Russian officials to questions about Russian electoral interference and the the Comey firing:

Speaking to reporters at the Russian Embassy after his White House talks with Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Lavrov did not hide his irritation with repeated questions about Moscow’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election to boost Trump’s chances and damage Hillary Clinton’s.

“I never thought I’d have to answer such questions, particularly in the United States, given your highly developed democratic system,” he said, according to a simultaneous translation of his remarks into English.

He's laughing at us. And so are the Moscow headlines:

“A Comical Firing” was the headline on the Comey story on Russia’s pro-Kremlin NTV news channel. In the report, Konstantin Kosyachev, a senior Russian legislator, said that the FBI director was let go “because he’s not supposed to act like he’s the president.

One of the hallmarks of American constitutional democracy is that no-one is above the law, not even the president. It's an indication of how endangered that democracy is that Russians (who know a thing or two about political leaders acting outside the law with total impunity) would say Comey was overreaching, and also find it all very funny.

Although the Justice department has denied this, news reports citing Congressional sources say that Comey had requested additional "resources" the help with the Russia investigation before he was fired.

And speaking of being humiliated by Russia:

Another ludicrous lie. What on God's green earth does one do with publicity photos but release them? And why lie about this, when it only makes the administration look even more incompetent and humiliated?

And speaking of ludicrous lies. In the immediate aftermath of the firing, the White House was big on insisting that it had nothing to do with the Russia probe and that Trump acted on the recommendations of Sessions and Rosenstein. They even trotted out Mike Pence. (Auto-play at link.)

Then this, today:

Yes, asshole, we all knew that, but why the pretense?

In non-Russia-related resistance news:

Trump has announced the formation of a voter fraud commission, to be headed up by Mike Pence and Kris Kobach, Secretary of State for Kansas. As Bryan Lowry, Lindsay Wise, Jonathan Shorman and Anita Kumar report, Kobach has a long history with voter "fraud," aka voter suppression:

Kobach, who is weighing a run for Kansas governor in 2018, is the only secretary of state in the nation with prosecutorial power and has championed the state’s controversial proof of citizenship law, which requires voters to provide a birth certificate or passport to register. The news comes one day after Kobach was ordered by a federal judge to hand over documents from a November meeting with Trump to the American Civil Liberties Union as part of an ongoing voting rights lawsuit.

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Kansas City Democrat, said that the entire purpose of commission “is to use taxpayer dollars to create the impression among the average voter that there is widespread fraud in our elections” to make it easier to pass restrictive voting laws at the state level. “This commission is a fraud. And President Trump has chosen a fraud to be in charge of it,” Khttps://www.thenation.com/article/trumps-commission-on-election-integrity-will-lead-to-massive-voter-suppression/ander said of Kobach.

Chris Carson, president of the League of Women Voters, called the commission in a statement “part of a wider effort to suppress the vote, keep certain politicians in power, and undermine our elections by spreading falsehoods.”

Ari Berman observes:

If you want to know what such voter intimidation looks like, take a look at Pence’s home state of Indiana, where state police in October 2016 raided the offices of a group working to register African-American and low-income voters. They seized thousands of voter registration applications, even though only ten were suspected to be fraudulent and no one has been charged.

Just yesterday, as part of a lawsuit by the ACLU challenging Kansas’s proof of citizenship law, a federal judge ordered Kobach to produce documents by Friday that he shared with Trump after the election that called for purging the voting rolls and amending the National Voter Registration Act to require proof of citizenship for registration. When he met with Trump on November 21, Kobach was photographed holding a white paper that advocated for a wish-list of radical right-wing policies, including “extreme vetting” and tracking of “all aliens from high-risk areas,” reducing the “intake of Syrian refugees to zero,” deporting a “record number of criminal aliens in the first year,” and the “rapid build” of a wall along the US-Mexico border.

The Trump administration has shown us what they'll do for disaster relief (in states with Democratic governors at least), and it isn't pretty. From Angela Fritz at the Washington Post: "N.C. said it still needs $929 million in aid for Hurricane Matthew. It got $6.1 million."

North Carolina officials estimate the storm did $2.8 billion in damage, which doesn’t include $2 billion in economic losses. In the days after the storm, Congress gave North Carolina around $332 million for immediate disaster relief in addition to the assistance FEMA provided. In December, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided the state with $199 million for long-term relief and rebuilding.

Cooper says it wasn’t enough to cover the full extent of the damage. In early April, he requested an additional $929 million. But in the omnibus spending bill passed earlier this month, Congress only gave HUD $400 million.

In other words, the department that allocates long-term disaster relief has a budget that’s less than half of what Cooper says North Carolina needs to recover from Hurricane Matthew alone.

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

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