We Resist: Day 158

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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: No Silver Linings. And by Fannie: Since Donald Brought Election Rigging Up: It Was.


Benjamin D. Sommers, M.D., Ph.D., Atul A. Gawande, M.D., M.P.H., and Katherine Baicker, Ph.D. at The New England Journal of Medicine: Health Insurance Coverage and Health — What the Recent Evidence Tells Us.
One question experts are commonly asked is how the ACA — or its repeal — will affect health and mortality. The body of evidence summarized here indicates that coverage expansions significantly increase patients' access to care and use of preventive care, primary care, chronic illness treatment, medications, and surgery. These increases appear to produce significant, multifaceted, and nuanced benefits to health.

...There remain many unanswered questions about U.S. health insurance policy, including how to best structure coverage to maximize health and value and how much public spending we want to devote to subsidizing coverage for people who cannot afford it. But whether enrollees benefit from that coverage is not one of the unanswered questions. Insurance coverage increases access to care and improves a wide range of health outcomes. Arguing that health insurance coverage doesn't improve health is simply inconsistent with the evidence.

Cool banquet, bro.

Charlie Jane Anders at Rewire: Health Care Isn't a 'Market,' It's a Public Good—and Legislators Would Do Well to Remember That. "Is health care a 'market,' or a public good, like clean air? Should I care if you don't have health coverage — or is that just the consequence of a robust market economy, with winners and losers? It's a stark choice this time. If you believe that health care is just like any other free-market enterprise, then it's fine for millions of poor people to lose coverage. But it's encouraging to see most people in the United States coming together against this callous proposition."

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Mark Sherman at the AP: High Court Reinstates Trump Travel Ban, Will Hear Arguments. FUCK!!! What a horrendous decision.
The Supreme Court is letting the Trump administration mostly enforce its 90-day ban on travelers from six mostly Muslim countries, overturning lower court orders that blocked it.

The action Monday is a victory for [Donald] Trump in the biggest legal controversy of his young presidency.

The court did leave one category of foreigners protected, those "with a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States," the court said in an unsigned opinion.

The justices will hear arguments in the case in October.

...The Trump administration said the ban was needed to allow an internal review of the screening procedures for visa applicants from those countries. That review should be complete before October 2, the first day the justices could hear arguments in their new term.
This decision makes no sense. Except, of course, to give Trump a win. And even with the exception for people with U.S. ties, this hands Trump a big and ugly win: The ability to legally bar people from entering the country on the basis that they are Muslim. Disgusting.

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He is unfit to be president of this nation in every conceivable way. Seethe.

Michael Kranish at the Washington Post: Kushner Firm's $285 Million Deutsche Bank Loan Came Just Before Election Day.
One month before Election Day, Jared Kushner's real estate company finalized a $285 million loan as part of a refinancing package for its property near Times Square in Manhattan.

The loan came at a critical moment. Kushner was playing a key role in the presidential campaign of his father-in-law, Donald Trump. The lender, Deutsche Bank, was negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The cases were settled in December and January.

Now, Kushner's association with Deutsche Bank is among a number of financial matters that could come under focus as his business activities are reviewed by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining Kushner as part of a broader investigation into possible Russian influence in the election.

The October deal illustrates the extent to which Kushner was balancing roles as a top adviser to Trump and a real estate company executive. After the election, Kushner juggled duties for the Trump transition team and his corporation as he prepared to move to the White House. The Washington Post has reported that investigators are probing Kushner's separate December meetings with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, and with Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, the head of Vnesheconombank, a state development bank.

The Deutsche Bank loan capped what Kushner Cos. viewed as a triumph: It had purchased four mostly empty retail floors of the former New York Times building in 2015, recruited tenants to fill the space and got the Deutsche Bank loan in a refinancing deal that gave Kushner's company $74 million more than it paid for the property.
Nice work if you can get it. Fishy as hell, unethical, shady, dirty, and possibly criminal, but nice. Ahem.

Martin Pengelly at the Guardian: Top Democrat Schiff Criticizes Obama over Reaction to Russian Hacks. Which he did do, but I'm more interested in his criticism of Trump, because this is so spot-on: "On Saturday, [Trump tweeted]: 'Since the Obama administration was told way before the 2016 election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!' ...[Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House intelligence committee] said: 'I have to contest what [Donald] Trump is saying because for Donald Trump, who openly egged on the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton's emails and celebrated every release of these stolen documents to criticise Obama now is a bit like someone knowingly receiving stolen property blaming the police for not stopping the theft. Donald Trump is in no position to complain here.'" YES.

Dana Priest and Michael Birnbaum at the Washington Post: Europe Has Been Working to Expose Russian Meddling for Years. "Across the continent, counterintelligence officials, legislators, researchers, and journalists have devoted years — in some cases, decades — to the development of ways to counter Russian disinformation, hacking, and trolling. And they are putting them to use as never before. Four dozen officials and researchers interviewed recently sounded uniformly more confident about the results of their efforts to counter Russian influence than officials grappling with it in the United States... The best antidote to Russian influence, European experts say, is to make it visible. 'We have to prepare the public,' said Patrick Sensburg, a member of the German Parliament and an intelligence expert."

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Tom Dart at the Guardian: Texas Latinos Greet Court Date for 'Show Me Your Papers' SB4 Immigration Law. "Anger at Texas' strict new immigration law simmered as a thousand Latino policymakers and advocates gathered in Dallas this weekend, ahead of a hearing in which civil rights groups will ask for the measure to be blocked. A federal court in San Antonio will hear arguments on Monday, with judge Orlando Garcia to decide whether to grant a preliminary injunction that would stop the law, known as SB4, from taking effect on 1 September. Among those fighting SB4 are Texas' biggest cities, Latino organizations, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which successfully argued earlier this year that Donald Trump's travel ban affecting some majority-Muslim nations was unconstitutional." Welp.

Jenny Rowland at ThinkProgress: Trump's Interior Secretary Defends His Plan to Cut at Least 4,000 Staff. "In multiple appearances on Capitol Hill this week, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stood behind his proposal to cut at least 4,000 full-time staff from the Interior Department. He has also begun an unprecedented shake-up of senior career officials. Together, the thinning of experienced career employees could have far-reaching consequences for the agency's ability to manage public land and energy development on behalf of the American people." Unreal.

David Lieb at the AP: Possible Effects of Gerrymandering Seen in Uncontested Races.
When voters cast ballots for state representatives last fall, millions of Americans essentially had no choice: In 42 percent of all such elections, candidates faced no major party opponents.

Political scientists say a major reason for the lack of choices is the way districts are drawn — gerrymandered, in some cases, to ensure as many comfortable seats as possible for the majority party by creating other districts overwhelmingly packed with voters for the minority party.

"With an increasing number of districts being drawn to deliberately favor one party over another — and with fewer voters indicating an interest in crossover voting — lots of potential candidates will look at those previous results and come to a conclusion that it's too difficult to mount an election campaign in a district where their party is the minority," said John McGlennon, a longtime professor of government and public policy at the College of William & Mary in Virginia who has tracked partisan competition in elections.

While the rate of uncontested races dipped slightly from 2014 to 2016, the percentage of people living in legislative districts without electoral choices has been generally rising over the past several decades.
Totally incompatible with a healthy democracy.

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

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