We Resist: Day 138

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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: We Need a Patriot. And by Fannie: Dispatches From the Queer Resistance (No. 3).

Kimberly Dozier at the Daily Beast: White House Looked to Drop Russia Sanctions—Even After Firing Michael Flynn. "The White House explored unilaterally easing sanctions on Russia's oil industry as recently as late March, arguing that decreased Russian oil production could harm the American economy, according to former U.S. officials. ...The continued discussion of unilaterally lifting sanctions on Russia came after the dismissal of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as White House national security adviser." Trump has boasted endlessly about making "the best deals," but keeps trying to make the worst fucking deals for the U.S. with Russia. Curious, that.

Josh Marshall at TPM: Trump's Saudi Arms Deal Is Actually Fake.
Remember [Donald] Trump's big, triumphant arms deal in Saudi Arabia? It turns out it didn't really happen. ...The story comes from Bruce Riedel, a longtime CIA and national security official, now at Brookings. The Potemkin deal turns out to be remarkably similar to the Trump jobs announcements we've grown accustomed to. Trump takes a bunch of jobs or investments which either already exist or have already been announced and rebrands them as new economic growth driven by Trump Power. In this he usually has a compliant and complicit CEO, happy to go along with the charade to curry favor with the US President.

Here's what Riedel discovered:
I've spoken to contacts in the defense business and on the Hill, and all of them say the same thing: There is no $110 billion deal. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts. Many are offers that the defense industry thinks the Saudis will be interested in someday. So far nothing has been notified to the Senate for review. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arms sales wing of the Pentagon, calls them "intended sales." None of the deals identified so far are new, all began in the Obama administration.
As I said, this turns out to be remarkably similar. The $110 price tag advertised by the Trump White House includes no actual contracts, no actual sales. Instead it is made up of a bundle of letters of intent, statements of interest, and agreements to think about it. In other words, rather than a contract, it's more like a wishlist: an itemized list of things the Saudis might be interested in if the price of oil ever recovers, if they start more wars and things the US would like to sell the Saudis.

...Let's note for the record that the underlying reality here isn't necessarily bad news. It's quite debatable whether we should be selling massive amounts of new arms to Saudi Arabia. But we should know whether or not it happened.
JFC. The lies from this administration are relentless. They lie about everything. Which puts the American people in a terrible predicament: We have no ability at this point, none, to assess whether they are giving us reliable and truthful information. Our best bet is to assume they are lying, and surely even the most partisan fools must understand how dangerous that will be in an emergency situation.

Brandon Carter at the Hill: London Mayor Calls for Cancellation of Trump Visit to UK. "London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling on the British government to cancel a state visit from [Donald] Trump after Trump criticized his response to this weekend's terror attacks in London. 'I don't think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for,' Khan said in an interview with Britain's Channel 4 News. 'When you have a special relationship it is no different from when you have got a close mate. You stand with them in times of adversity but you call them out when they are wrong. There are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong.'"

Absolutely right. Which gives me no joy to say, since the fact that my country's president is so hateful and toxic that it's reasonable that he'd be disinvited from a state visit by our closest ally.

Philip Bump at the Washington Post: The Trump Administration Has a Recruiting Problem. "It's been almost a month since [Donald] Trump fired James B. Comey on May 9, leaving the FBI without a director. Under normal circumstances, a president planning to fire the head of the nation's top law-enforcement agency might do so only once he had a replacement lined up. (The only other time an FBI director was fired, President Bill Clinton announced his replacement the next day.) Trump didn't do that, pledging instead that a new director would be identified quickly. Shortly before he left on his overseas trip last month, he promised that he was 'very close' to picking a new director. That was almost three weeks ago. There have been a number of people who were identified as being in the running to get the job. And of that group, most have publicly withdrawn their names from contention."

As you may recall, I was saying even before the election that, were Trump elected, he would have trouble filling his administration with qualified people—because any career bureaucrat with any sense wouldn't want to work for such a toxic and incompetent president. And now here we are. This was eminently foreseeable.

Michael Isikoff at Yahoo News: Four Top Law Firms Turned Down Requests to Represent Trump. "Top lawyers with at least four major law firms rebuffed White House overtures to represent [Donald] Trump in the Russia investigations, in part over concerns that the president would be unwilling to listen to their advice, according to five sources familiar with discussions about the matter. The unwillingness of some of the country's most prestigious attorneys and their law firms to represent Trump has complicated the administration's efforts to mount a coherent defense strategy to deal with probes being conducted by four congressional committees as well as Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller." Welp!

Speaking of Robert Muller and Trump's lack of qualified staff...

Hahahahahaha that sounds like a very bad idea! I'm sure there will be a monumental effort in the White House to convince Trump not to do this, because everyone knows that he will spill some bullshit that could be used against him in the course of these investigations.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Alexander Mallin at ABC News: Trump Sons' Expansion of Mid-Market Hotel Chain 'Has Nothing to Do with Politics'. "The Trump Organization has announced plans to expand its signature hotel chain with mid-market properties it's calling the American Idea. Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump — who took over management of the Trump Organization from their father, [Donald] Trump — announced the move at an event for industry executives at Trump Tower on Monday. ...'We don't talk about the activities of the business. We don't talk about what we're doing in the business,' Eric Trump said. 'It doesn't blur the lines. You're allowed to show that. And remember, the president of the United States has zero conflicts of interest. Zero.'" LOL okay player.

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

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