We Resist: Day 125

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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:

Earlier today by me: Trump and the Pope; Yeah, They're Virtually Indistinguishable; Trump and Duterte: A Match Made in Authoritarian Hell.

Shaun Casey at the Washington Post: I Counseled John Kerry on Religious Affairs: Trump Has No Idea What He's Doing.
Harvard professor Bryan Hehir once famously warned that government officials who deal with the role of religion in foreign policy should see their work as akin to brain surgery — necessary, but fatal if not done well. That thesis will be tested as [Donald] Trump concludes his journey to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Occupied Territories, and the Vatican, all on the heels of his worst week as president.

I should know what the stakes are. I was Secretary of State John F. Kerry's religion adviser as the special representative for religion and global affairs and founding director of the Office of Religion and Global Affairs. I worked in all three spaces Trump will be addressing on this trip: relations with Muslims around the world, Middle East peace, and relations with the Vatican. When Kerry met with religious actors or encountered religious dynamics around the world, he had expert resources to draw on to gain a deeper understanding. That is not the case for Trump.

According to Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker's Washington Post piece last week outlining the various tutorials Jared Kushner prepared for the president ahead of the trip, there seemed to be no presidential tutorial on the religious dynamics of each visit. (Indeed, it appears the first son-in-law reduced every pertinent issue to a one-page paper.) Yet the religious dynamics Trump has and will encounter are among the most complex on the planet. The thought of a one-pager explaining the intricacies of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity is so painfully frightening it leaves one speechless.
We hear a lot about Trump treating the presidency as an on-the-job training position, which is bad enough. But the fact is that he isn't even doing the learning that he so clearly needs to do.

Meanwhile, the bar has been set so low for this dangerous ignoramus that I'm seeing headlines about how "successful" his trip abroad has been, just because he hasn't made such a catastrophic blunder that he's inadvertently plunged us into a war. Congratulations? Fucking hell.

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In the comments of yesterday's We Resist thread, I linked this BuzzFeed piece about European officials "expressing concern over the fact that much of the information that emerged in the wake of the Manchester bombing has been sourced back to US officials." Among that information was the name of the suspected bomber.
Even US officials were frustrated by the leak. Some called the US decision to release information about an ally's investigation before even that nation had released it "unprofessional." Others said that if it were the US investigating an attack, they could expect the UK to not release information about the case.

"The least we can do is give them that same respect," one US official told BuzzFeed News.
With more on that subject, David Smith and Ewen MacAskill at the Guardian: US Leak of Manchester Attacker's Name Strikes New Blow to Intelligence Sharing.
The disclosures renewed concerns over leaks from Donald Trump's administration two weeks after the US president revealed classified information, apparently from Israel, to Russia's foreign minister in a White House meeting. Critics warn that US allies may be less willing to share intelligence in the future.

...The Trump administration's apparent indiscretion seems likely to cause consternation in London and could raise questions about future cooperation in the long term.

Thomas Sanderson, director of the transnational threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies thinktank in Washington...warned of ill judgment and lack of discipline in the White House. "This is a leaky administration. What does that mean for sharing information we need to going forward? The UK and Israel are probably our two biggest sources of intelligence. Now they're thinking, 'Is this going to cause us damage every time we share?' Then you have to calculate every piece of information."

Perry Cammack, a fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, added: "I don't think in and of itself this episode will do lasting harm; I sense this was a miscommunication. But the context is that we're in the midst of a political crisis in Washington of the first order. The institutions are leaking at an unprecedented rate. It feels like things are under stress here."
As I have been saying for I don't even know how long, if the United States intelligence community stops getting intel from our allies, because they're afraid it will be leaked by Trump administration officials, we are going to exist in a dark void of information, which will leave us indescribably less safe.

And now here we are. Ken Bredemeier at VOA: Israel Alters Intelligence Sharing with US. "Israel says it has changed its intelligence-sharing protocols with the United States after [Donald] Trump disclosed classified information to Russian diplomats earlier this month that had come from Israel, even though Tel Aviv had not assented to his handing it to another country. Israeli defense chief Avigdor Liberman told Army Radio on Wednesday, 'I can confirm that we did a spot repair and that there's unprecedented intelligence cooperation with the United States.' ...Liberman declined to say what changes had been made. 'Not everything needs to be discussed in the media; some things need to be talked about in closed rooms,' he said."

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More terrible news from Trump's proposed budget:

Ben Popken at NBC News: Trump Team Stands by Budget's $2 Trillion Math Error. "Donald Trump's newly unveiled budget contains a massive accounting error that uses the same money twice for two different purposes. Based on its supersized projections of 3 percent GDP, the president's budget forecasts about $2 trillion in extra federal revenue growth over the next 10 years, which it then uses to pay for Trump's 'biggest tax cut in history.' But then it also uses that very same $2 trillion to balance the budget. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney didn't deny the math, saying it was done 'on purpose,' during a press briefing Tuesday. 'I'm aware of the criticisms and would simply come back and say there's other places where we were probably overly conservative in our accounting,' he said. 'We stand by the numbers.'" Unfuckingbelievable.

Laura Bassett at the Huffington Post: Trump's Budget Would Cut Planned Parenthood out of All Federal Programs. "The freeze-out apparently goes beyond the House GOP's plan, which excludes Planned Parenthood only from Medicaid reimbursements. Trump's budget proposal bars the nation's largest family planning provider from participating in any federal program, including cancer screening programs funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Zika virus prevention, HIV/AIDS testing and prevention, Violence Against Women Act grants to prevent sexual assault, maternal and child health programs, and sexually transmitted disease and infertility prevention grants. No president has ever attempted to exclude a specific health provider from the entire federal budget." This fucking asshole.

Molly Hensley-Clancy at BuzzFeed: An Education Department Official Resigned After DeVos Demanded He Testify Before Congress. "A top Education Department official in charge of the government's $1.4 trillion financial aid program abruptly resigned a day before Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is set to testify about [Donald] Trump's proposed budget. 'I cannot in good conscience continue to be accountable as Chief Operating officer given the risk associated with the current environment at the [Education] Department,' the chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid, James Runcie, wrote in his resignation memo, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News." Welp.

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Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Reports: Trump Hires Marc Kasowitz as Outside Counsel Amid Russia Probe. "Donald Trump has hired Marc Kasowitz to serve as outside legal counsel and help the President navigate the federal investigation into potential collusion between his campaign officials and Russia, according to several news reports. ...Trump's decision to hire Kasowitz may have thrown a wrench into the White House's plans to consider former Sen. Joe Lieberman as the next FBI director. Trump himself said last week that Lieberman, who is a partner at the same law firm as Kasowitz, was his top pick for the job. Lieberman is no longer the leading candidate for the position, CNN reported Wednesday."

[Content Note: Nativism] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: Trump Administration: 'Protected' Haitian Immigrants Have to Leave in January. "Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly announced Monday a six-month extension of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitian immigrants. Kelly said he believed 'there are indications that Haiti…may not warrant further TPS extension past January 2018.' The extension is effective between July 23, 2017 and January 22, 2018. Advocates are taking Kelly's statement to mean that in six months, the United States will begin mass deportation of the United States' 50,000 Haitian TPS recipients. TPS gives people from designated countries temporary permission, on humanitarian grounds, to remain and work in the United States during times of natural disaster or civil strife in their country of origin."

More fascist rallies, this time starring Mike Pence. Kyle Cheney at Politico: Pence Planning to Hold Rally in Louisiana. "Pence on Wednesday has scheduled a free rally in Louisiana on Wednesday that is being promoted by the state's Republican Party. An advisory from the Louisiana GOP says that Pence is headlining the event at Cajun industries in Port Allen, just outside of Baton Rouge, where he's also slated to hold a roundtable with small business leaders." Trying to shore up his popularity with the hoi polloi and the fat cats. You know. Just in case.

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

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