We Resist: Day 159

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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: This Is What Happens in Authoritarian Regimes and Ukraine Is Under Cyberattack.


Mallory Shelbourne at the Hill: CBO: 4 Million Would Lose Employer Health Coverage Under GOP Plan. "Four million people would lose employer-provided insurance coverage in 2018 if the Senate's plan to repeal ObamaCare became law, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected on Monday. The nonpartisan budget analyst attributed the drop to the GOP's plan to repeal ObamaCare's two central mandates: the requirement to have health insurance and the requirement that most large employers provide it. 'Under current law, the prospect of paying the employer mandate penalty tips the scale for some businesses and causes them to decide to offer health insurance to their employees. Thus, eliminating that penalty would cause some employers to not offer health insurance,' the CBO wrote."

So, if you think you're safe because you've got employee-sponsored healthcare, you may not be. KEEP CALLING.

Burgess Everett, Josh Dawsey, and Jennifer Haberkorn at Politico: McConnell Warns Trump, GOP on Health Bill Failure. "Mitch McConnell is delivering an urgent warning to staffers, Republican senators and even the president himself: If Obamacare repeal fails this week, the GOP will lose all leverage and be forced to work with Chuck Schumer." OH THE HORROR! Keep. Calling.

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More on today's cyberattacks in Ukraine and now elsewhere...

Erik Ortiz at NBC News: Widespread Cyberattack Hits Major European Companies. "A widespread cyberattack rippled across Europe on Tuesday, with major companies in Ukraine, Russia, Britain, and elsewhere reporting large-scale disruptions. Merck, an American pharmaceutical company, tweeted that its computer network 'was compromised...as part of the global hack.' ...A message on a cash machine for Ukraine's state-owned bank Oschadbank demanded $300 worth of Bitcoin — and taunted victims not to 'waste your time' looking for another fix. 'If you see this text, then your files are no longer accessible, because they have been encrypted,' the message read in English, according to an image take by a Reuters photographer in Kiev. 'Perhaps you are busy looking for a way to recover your files, but don't waste your time. Nobody can recover your files without our encryption service.' The message then went on to say how to pay the ransom in Bitcoin."

James Booth at Legal Week: DLA Piper Hit by Cyberattack with Phones and Computers Down Across the Firm. "DLA Piper has been hit by a major cyber attack, which has knocked out phones and computers across the firm. The shutdown appears to have been caused by a ransomware attack, similar to the WannaCry attack that hit organisations such as the NHS last month. ...Steve Hill, ex-deputy director in the UK government National Security Secretariat dealing with cyber security told Legal Week at that time: 'There is a huge criminal cyber threat to law firms. The hackers perpetrating these types of attacks will not be teenage boys — they are criminal gangs set up to exploit law firms for sensitive data or lock people out of the data in return for a ransom.'"

How many attorneys are currently investigating or defending the Trump administration? I'm sure this is nothing to worry about. Everything is fine.

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Claudia Koerner and Nancy A. Youssef at BuzzFeed: White House Says Syria May Be Preparing Another Chemical Attack, Warns Assad Will "Pay a Heavy Price."
Syria appears to be preparing a new chemical weapons attack against its citizens, the White House said Monday, warning that if the weapons are again used, the US will make the Syrian government "pay a heavy price."

White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced the news in a statement late Monday.
The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children. The activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.

As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.
Five US defense officials reached by BuzzFeed News said they did not know where the potential chemical attack would come from, including one US Central Command official who had "no idea" about its origin. The officials said they were unaware the White House was planning to release its statement; usually such statements are coordinated across the national security agencies and departments before they are released.

A Pentagon spokesperson declined to comment on the matter and referred questions to the White House statement. A State Department spokesperson also referred BuzzFeed News to the White House statement and said the agency did not have anything to add.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis departed Monday evening for a three-day trip to Germany and Belgium, and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Joseph Dunford was in Afghanistan. Earlier in the evening, both Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, attended a White House dinner hosted by Trump for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Fucking hell, this White House is just going rogue on foreign policy. There is no communication with CENTCOM, and clearly no communication with Congressional leaders. Further to that, what in wag the dog hell is this shit, exactly?! The White House is clearly rattling the saber against Syria every time they need to distract from bad news — *cough* CBO healthcare bill score *cough* — and that garbage cannot be allowed to stand. It's intolerable.

And I say "the White House" rather than "Donald Trump" advisedly: "All this occurred this week as [Donald] Trump displayed what two White House officials characterized as relative indifference and passivity towards the subject, instead opting to focus his public and private energies towards fuming at his domestic enemies in the Democratic Party and the 'fake news.' 'The president cares more about CNN and the Russia story than [Syria] at the moment,' one official observed."

Blink. Blink.

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Devlin Barrett at the Washington Post: FBI Has Questioned Trump Campaign Adviser Carter Page at Length in Russia Probe. "Over a series of five meetings in March, totaling about 10 hours of questioning, Page repeatedly denied wrongdoing when asked about allegations that he may have acted as a kind of ­go-between for Russia and the Trump campaign, according to a person familiar with Page's account. The interviews with the FBI are the most extensive known questioning of a potential suspect in the probe of possible Russian connections to associates of [Donald] Trump. ...Page confirmed Monday that the interviews occurred, calling them 'extensive discussions.' He declined to say if he has spoken to investigators since the March interviews."

Esme Cribb at TPM: Kushner Adds Defense Lawyer to His Team for Federal Russia Probe. "Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and [Donald] Trump's son-in-law, has added a prominent criminal defense lawyer to the legal team representing him amid the federal probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, according to reports late Monday by Politico and NBC News. Kushner has retained Abbe Lowell, a powerhouse trial lawyer who has represented high-profile political figures including John Edwards and lobbyist Jack Abramoff, in addition to his personal attorney Jamie Gorelick, according to Politico."

Jon Swaine at the Guardian: Trump Lawyer's Firm Steered Millions in Donations to Family Members, Files Show. "Documents obtained by the Guardian show [Jay Sekulow, Donald Trump's new attorney] approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family, and their businesses. ...In addition to using tens of millions of dollars in donations to pay Sekulow, his wife, his sons, his brother, his sister-in-law, his niece and nephew, and their firms, Case has also been used to provide a series of unusual loans and property deals to the Sekulow family." Remember how I just said last week that it sounded like Sekulow was "running a charity nepotism scam not unlike the one Trump was running"? Yeah.

Lily Dobrovolskaya and Nicholas Nehamas at the Miami Herald: Russian Official Linked to South Florida Biker Club Spent Millions on Trump Condos. "Out-of-town money pouring into South Florida real estate is as old as Henry Flagler. But the tale of Igor Zorin offers a 21st-century twist with all the weirdness modern Miami has to offer: Russian cash, a motorcycle club named after Russia's powerful special forces, and a condo tower branded by Donald Trump. Zorin is a Russian government official who has spent nearly $8 million on waterfront South Florida homes, hardly financially prudent given his bureaucrat's salary of $75,000 per year." For more on this story, see Charlie Pierce.

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Judd Legum at ThinkProgress: The Inside Story of How TMZ Quietly Became America's Most Potent Pro-Trump Media Outlet. "As Trump has risen, TMZ has quietly emerged as, arguably, the most important pro-Trump outlet in America. Fox News is the largest and best known, but its audience is older and already inclined to support Trump. Breitbart is the most aggressive and strident, but its connection to white nationalism limits its appeal. TMZ attracts a large and diverse audience — precisely the folks Trump needed to reach to stitch together a winning coalition. Stories on TMZ not only gain a wide audience online but also appear on two nationally syndicated daily television shows (TMZ and TMZ Live) that, in most markets, are aired multiple times each day."


Richard L. Hasen at the LA Times: Gorsuch Is the New Scalia, Just Like Trump Promised.
Whatever else comes of the Donald J. Trump presidency, already he has perfectly fulfilled one campaign pledge in a way that will affect the entire United States for a generation or more: putting another Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. The early signs from Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined the Court in April, show that he will hew to the late Justice Scalia's brand of jurisprudence, both in his conservatism and his boldness.

Usually it takes a few years to get the full sense of a new justice...

Not so with Gorsuch. In a flurry of orders and opinions issued Monday, Gorsuch went his own way. The majority affirmed the right of same-sex parents to have both their names appear on birth certificates, but Gorsuch dissented. The majority chose not to hear a challenge to California's public carry gun law, thus leaving it in place, but Gorsuch dissented. Gorsuch also wrote separately in the Trinity Lutheran case, on whether a parochial school may take government money for playground safety equipment. The court found in favor of the school, but Gorsuch went even further to the right in endorsing the government's ability to aid religious organizations. This followed his dissent with Justice Clarence Thomas a few weeks ago over the court's failure to consider overturning the "soft money ban" contained in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

Gorsuch also joined with the court's other strong conservatives, Alito and Thomas, to partially dissent from the Supreme Court's Monday order in the travel ban case. The court split the baby in that case, ruling that until the court hears the case this fall, only part of the ban may go into effect. (The government cannot enforce the travel ban against foreign individuals from six predominantly Muslim nations who have family, work or university connections to people or entities in the United States.) The dissenters would have allowed the Trump administration to enforce the entire ban until the court could fully consider the case.
Please tell me again how there were no differences between the two candidates. *jumps into Christmas tree*

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

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