We Resist: Day 127

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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: The Russia Probe Is Officially a Family Affair.

Donald Trump disgraced himself thoroughly at the NATO summit yesterday. In addition to shoving Montenegro Prime Minister Duško Marković and failing to explicitly endorse Article 5 of NATO's founding treaty, [Content Note: Video may autoplay] he also said that "The Germans are bad, very bad," purportedly meaning on trade, and added: "See the millions of cars they are selling to the U.S.? Terrible. We will stop this."

It seems as though the United States president is unaware that the U.S. does not have bilateral trade agreements with individual countries in the European Union. It also seems as though the United States president is unaware that there are a number of U.S. workers making German cars in the United States. It further seems as though the United States president does not care about maintaining functional diplomatic relationships with our allies.

Further to that point:

In case you didn't get the upshot of all of that: Trump is working very hard to undermine goodwill with our NATO allies, with a special insult to Germany. Since the end of WWII, Russia has had an explicit objective of busting up the U.S.-German alliance, because the combined strength of the U.S. and Germany, in both military might and democratic cultural influence, provided a check on the empiric aspirations of the Soviet Union, now Russia.

Trump's subversion of the U.S-Germany relationship is providing a dangerous opening to Putin, who has already made abundantly clear his intent to rebuild Russia's reach with his annexation of Crimea and moves in Ukraine.

It is extremely likely that Trump's next move will be lifting the U.S.'s economic sanctions on Russia, further empowering Putin.

Trump likely believes that Putin is his ally. He is wrong. Trump is Putin's useful tool. I am reminded of this line from Amanda Kerri's recent piece about Trump at the Advocate: "I really have to wonder how many times he thought he was the con man but was actually the mark?"

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Andy Greenberg at Wired: Russian Hackers Are Using 'Tainted' Leaks to Sow Disinformation. "Over the past year, the Kremlin's strategy of weaponizing leaks to meddle with democracies around the world has become increasingly clear, first in the US and more recently in France. But a new report by a group of security researchers digs into another layer of those so-called influence operations: how Russian hackers alter documents within those releases of hacked material, planting disinformation alongside legitimate leaks." (Ahem.)

Alice Ollstein at TPM: Florida GOPer Helped Russian Hacker Disseminate Dems' Voter Turnout Data. "A Republican political operative in Florida asked the alleged Russian hacker who broke into Democratic Party organizations' servers at the height of the 2016 campaign to pass him stolen documents, according to a report Thursday by the Wall Street Journal. In return, that operative received valuable Democratic voter-turnout analyses... The hacker went on to flag that same data to Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of Donald Trump's who briefly advised his presidential campaign, and who is currently under federal investigation for potential collusion with Russia. The Wall Street Journal's report presents the clearest allegations to date of collusion between people connected to Donald Trump's campaign and Russia."

Scott Feinberg at the Hollywood Reporter: Donald Trump Angled for Soviet Posting in 1980s, Says Nobel Prize Winner. "Donald Trump, in the mid-1980s, aggressively pursued an official government post to the USSR, according to a Nobel Peace Prize winner with whom Trump interacted at the time. ]He already had Russia mania in 1986, 31 years ago,' asserts Bernard Lown, a Boston-area cardiologist known for inventing the defibrillator and sharing the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize with a top Soviet physician in recognition of their efforts to promote denuclearization. Lown, now 95 and retired in Newton, Massachusetts, tells The Hollywood Reporter that Trump sought and secured a meeting with him in 1986 to solicit information about Mikhail Gorbachev. ...During this meeting, Lown says, the fast-rising businessman disclosed that he would be reaching out to then-president Ronald Reagan to try to secure an official post to the USSR in order to negotiate a nuclear disarmament deal on behalf of the United States, a job for which Trump felt he was the only one fit."

Sarah Kendzior has documented Trump's "fascination" with Russia dating back to the 80s, but this is the first I've heard that he explicitly angled for a Soviet posting.

Jonathan Swan at Axios: Bannon's Back. "The escalating crisis surrounding the Russia investigation (with reports last night on FBI interest in Jared Kushner) looks like good news for somebody in the White House: Steve Bannon. Nine sources in the West Wing and within Trump's close orbit said the Russia situation is Bannon's shot at redemption. He's being described as a 'wartime consigliere' relishing a fight against the 'deep state,' media, Democrats, and investigators." This all sounds great and everything is fine. *jumps into Christmas tree*

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Joy-Ann Reid at the Daily Beast: Trump, Ryan, Mulvaney, All of Them: Partners in Plutocracy. "Mulvaney, Ryan, Orrin Hatch, and the 'freedom caucus' may be more blunt and callous in voicing their disdain for people without means, but they are not out of their party's mainstream. Ask any average Republican, of any income level, if they agree with the following statement: "the U.S. must balance its budget even if it means cutting out things like public broadcasting and Meals on Wheels, and even if we spend more on defense and tax cuts." Your pity for Trump voters who stand to be grievously harmed by his economic policies may not survive the answer."

Paul Krugman at the New York Times: It's All About Trump's Contempt. "What would happen to West Virginia if all these Trump policies went into effect? Basically, it would be apocalyptic: Hundreds of thousands would lose health insurance; medical debt and untreated conditions would surge; and there would be an explosion in extreme poverty, including a lot of outright hunger. ...So many of the people who voted for Donald Trump were the victims of an epic scam by a man who has built his life around scamming. In the case of West Virginians, this scam could end up pretty much destroying their state. Will they ever realize this, and admit it to themselves? More important, will they be prepared to punish him the only way they can—by voting for Democrats?"

Kelly Weill at the Daily Beast: Carrier Sends Jobs to Mexico, Workers Say Trump 'Misled' Them. "Though Trump struck a deal with Carrier promising them $7 million in local business incentives if they kept their Indianapolis plant open, the heating and cooling company warned that it would still outsource a number of Indiana jobs to Mexico, regardless. But the Trump campaign still championed the deal as a win for American workers. This week, the Carrier announced it will cut 632 jobs from its Indiana plant by the end of the year. For labor leaders like Chuck Jones, the layoffs are a grim told-you-so moment."

Important resistance item regarding the Republicans' garbage healthcare [sic] reform bill:

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

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