We Resist: Day 153

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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: Jeff Sessions Lawyers Up.


Joe Williams at Roll Call: GOP Might Buck Senate Rules to Pass Health Care Overhaul. "GOP leaders are sending signals that, if necessary, they plan to invoke a seldom-used rule included in the Congressional Budget Act that would allow Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi to skirt a decision from the chamber's parliamentarian, a key gatekeeper for the budget maneuver known as reconciliation that Republicans are using to advance their health insurance measure. Such a decision would have ripple effects far beyond the tenure of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a careful practitioner of the chamber's procedural rules, and open the door for future leaders to more easily advance legislation under a 51-vote threshold." Reprehensible.

Charles P. Pierce at Esquire: The 'Moderate' Republican Senator Is a Dangerous Myth.
A bill is being crafted in secret that is going to disrupt the lives of millions of Americans and the intention of the Senate majority is that it will be presented possibly as early as tomorrow, that it will be subject to minimal (if any) real debate, and then it will be voted upon through a procedure that requires only 50 votes-and-a-Pence to pass. It will suck untold gallons of pondwater.

...At some point, the Congressional Budget Office will release its score for the bill, measuring precisely how many gallons of pondwater the bill sucks. Meanwhile, back on Capitol Hill, McConnell and his leadership team will paint pretty flowers on the uglier parts of the bill and, one by one, enough of the "moderates" will pronounce themselves satisfied that their deep concerns have been satisfied most deeply, and that they no longer are as deeply troubled as they once were. A couple of them—Collins, say, or Lisa Murkowski—even will be allowed to vote against the bill, provided the winning margin of 50-plus-Pence is in the bag.

The tell in all this is how many of the "moderate" Republicans are complaining about the "process" now, rather than pointing out how many gallons of pondwater the bill will suck. True, this bill should not pass because of the blatantly undemocratic way it has been conceived and constructed. But it also should not pass because it very likely will immiserate countless vulnerable Americans due to the gallons of pondwater that it will suck. If your basic concern about it is the former, then you're already lost.
Spot on. As always.

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Today, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson testified before the House Intelligence Committee as part of their Russia investigation, and he opened with a bang: "In 2016, the Russian government, at the direction of Vladimir Putin himself, orchestrated cyberattacks on our nation for the purpose of influencing our election, plain and simple. Now, the key question for the president and Congress is: What are we going to do to protect the American people and their democracy from this kind of thing in the future?"

Good question. Johnson further noted that the Russian interference in the election "was unprecedented" in "scale and scope." But, despite the issue being on his "front burner all throughout the pre-election period in August, September, October, and early November," the Obama administration made the choice not to publicly disclose the issue, because Trump's rhetoric about election rigging complicated the issue.

Without judgment on Obama's decision, because I'm sure it was not an easy one, it unfortunately seems as though the attempt to avoid appearing like they were helping Hillary Clinton win could have ended up ensuring that she lost.

Meanwhile, at the Senate:

Fuck. As I have said before and will presumably be obliged to keep saying, the terrifying thing to me is that the investigation into election meddling should be just the start of investigations into Russia's plan to disrupt, well, everything they can. Frankly, I am hovering somewhere between profoundly concerned and scared shitless that even the Democrats aren't framing this investigation as a launchpad into broader scrutiny of Russia's objective to sow chaos via propaganda, turning assets, hacking of infrastructure systems, etc.

There are endless vulnerabilities inherent in a highly digitized world. So many things are potentially "only a matter of time" if we don't have serious discussions about them now.

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Peter Beaumont at the Guardian: Kushner Arrives in Israel Tasked with Progressing Trump's 'Ultimate Deal'. "Donald Trump's son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser, Jared Kushner, has arrived in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories for a whistlestop visit aimed at restarting the long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Kushner's carefully managed visit — conducted far from media scrutiny and lasting less than a day — comes amid scant indication of any imminent breakthrough between the two sides in a peace process that has been moribund since 2014. The US president has tasked Kushner with the ambitious goal of laying the groundwork for what he calls the 'ultimate deal,' but deep divisions remain, clouding chances of a significant breakthrough in one of the longest Middle East crises."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Meanwhile, an AP report filed by Josef Federman includes this detail: "Kushner did not speak to reporters ahead of his talks Wednesday, and Israeli security agents blocked AP cameramen from filming the arrival of his convoy. In one case, a cameraman was ordered to leave a sidewalk outside the government compound that houses Netanyahu's office, and in other case, a cameraman was ordered to delete his memory card of all images of the prime minister's office."

And then there's this:


Shawn Boburg at the Washington Post: Trump Seeks Sharp Cuts to Housing Aid, Except for Program That Brings Him Millions. "Trump's budget calls for sharply reducing funding for programs that shelter the poor and combat homelessness — with a notable exception: It leaves intact a type of federal housing subsidy that is paid directly to private landlords. One of those landlords is Trump himself, who earns millions of dollars each year as a part-owner of Starrett City, the nation's largest subsidized housing complex. Trump's 4 percent stake in the Brooklyn complex earned him at least $5 million between January of last year and April 15, according to his recent financial disclosure." He is absolutely bloody shameless.

Britain Eakin at Courthouse News Service: FBI Hammered in Court for Pre-Election Records on Trump. "Bashing the FBI for equivocating on whether it has pre-election records on [Donald] Trump, a government-transparency group brought a federal complaint to spur action. Ryan Shapiro filed the June 18 lawsuit in Washington with his group, Property of the People Inc., and with investigative reporter Jason Leopold. ...Calling the FBI's silence improper, Shapiro and Leopold argue that Trump's privacy interest is minimal, both as the president and his prior status as a celebrity real estate mogul. ...Shapiro and Leopold also call the public interest in such records enormous, saying it 'clearly outweighs any embarrassment [Trump] might suffer from his name being associated with FBI investigation.'"

Kelly Macias at Daily Kos: Cowardly Republicans Ban the Rev. William Barber from North Carolina Legislative Building. "The Rev. William Barber is an institution in North Carolina. A longtime civil rights activist and current president of the state chapter of the NAACP with an incredible body of work, he has worked hard over the last decade to intentionally build a progressive, interracial coalition of individuals and organizations determined to make North Carolina a more just and equitable state. He became well-known throughout the country for his leadership of the 'Moral Mondays' movement...Perhaps this is why Republicans desperately seek to silence him. After being arrested again on May 30 during a health care sit-in at the North Carolina Legislative Building, he was officially banned from the site, along with 31 other people."

[CN: Racism] Michael Harriot at the Root: Video of a White Woman Demanding a White Doctor Shocked Everyone...Except Black Doctors. "While the internet may be clutching its pearls, according to numerous studies and anecdotal examples, nonwhite doctors and nurses see this all the time. The Root spoke with 12 black medical professionals who all say they have encountered similar situations, some routinely. One of the medical world's open secrets is that patients routinely refuse treatment from nonwhite physicians and nurses." Such fucking garbage. (When I moved and thus had to find a new doctor, I explicitly searched for a fat woman of color. And guess what? SHE'S AMAZING.)

KFOR News: Valedictorian's Graduation Speech Cut Off by School Administrators.
One Pennsylvania valedictorian's graduation speech is grabbing national attention after he was stopped from finishing his monologue. ...Peter Butera started out his speech by thanking his family and several teachers who made a difference in his life.

"Throughout my time at Wyoming Area, I have pursued every leadership opportunity available to me. In addition to being a member of Student Council since I was a freshman, my classmates have elected me Class President the past 4 years, which has been the greatest honor and I would like to thank you all for that one final time, it really means a lot. I would sadly discover however, that the title of Class President could more accurately be Class Party Planner, and Student Council's main obligation is to paint signs every week. I'm not sure when actual student government at our school became extinct, but it must be brought back. Despite some of the outstanding people in this school, a lack of real student government and the authoritative nature that a few administrators, teachers, and a few board members have prevents students from truly developing as leaders. Hopefully in the future, this will change," Butera said, as his microphone was cut off.

Butera says it is actually ironic that school administrators chose to cut him off during that portion of the speech.
LOLOLOL! It sure was! Kids today, amirite? Get ON my lawn!

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

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