We Resist: Day 161

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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: Today in Trump's Contemptible Anti-Immigrant Agenda and Donald Trump's Disgusting Attack on Mika Brzezinski.


This is a very good piece on the healthcare debacle by Abigail Tracy at Vanity Fair: Donald Trump's Ignorance Is Becoming a National Crisis.
Health-care policy, Donald Trump has admitted, is more complex than he once assumed. "Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated," he said in February as he struggled to cobble together a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. Still, he was optimistic about his chances. "Costs will come down, and I think the health care will go up very, very substantially," he told insurance company executives, explaining that the current system was a "disaster" that would only get worse. "I think people are gonna like it a lot. We've taken the best of everything we can take." In an interview in May, shortly after the House passed a bill that would cause an estimated 23 million people to drop or lose their insurance coverage, Trump boasted that he had become an expert on the subject. "It was just something that wasn't high on my list," he told Time magazine. "But in a short period of time I understood everything there was to know about health care."

Nearly everything Trump has said, however, suggests that his understanding of the $3 trillion U.S. health-care sector remains dangerously limited.

...[A]s The New York Times reports, the president may not understand how the [Senate] bill works.
A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan—and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange.

Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later, ignoring the repeal's tax implications, the staff member added.
...Trump, for his part, rejected the implication that he doesn't understand health care, tweeting Wednesday morning, in the wake of the Times report, that he knows perfectly well what he is doing. "Some of the Fake News Media likes to say that I am not totally engaged in healthcare. Wrong, I know the subject well & want victory for U.S."

All available evidence suggests that the opposite is true, and that the consequences of the president's ignorance could be dire.
The country's fate on healthcare, as everything else, hangs in the balance between Trump's ignorance and his cruelty. His ignorance stands to make things worse in one way, but, if he were knowledgeable and competent enough to get shit done, his cruelty would make things worse in a different way. Either way, we're fucked.

Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng at the Daily Beast: Does Trump Know the First Thing About Health Care? Aide: 'He Understands Winning'. "On Wednesday morning, the president woke up and then began angrily tweetstorming about his allegedly deep knowledge of the American health care system. ...The president's close aides and political advisers, six of whom spoke to The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity in order to speak freely, would beg to differ. Some of them simply laughed at the very suggestion that the president knows much, or even cares, about health care policy in this country. ...'The president understands winning,' another official noted, adding a stuck-out-tongue emoji to the correspondence." Good lord.

Olivia Beavers at the Hill: Gingrich: Trump's Sales Pitch Needs Healthcare 'Translator'. "[Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich] said the president would be an effective voice in spreading [the Republican healthcare bill message], but said he may need some help properly formulating how to present the measure with the help of policy experts. 'Trump will be able to repeat it with enormous effectiveness once somebody translates it,' Gingrich told the AP." Wow.

So, the president who wants one of his signature accomplishments to be healthcare doesn't know a fucking thing about healthcare, what's in his party's healthcare bill, or how to talk about it. Basically, all he knows is that he wants to destroy the landmark legislation bearing the name of his predecessor, the nation's first Black president, whom the current president jealously hates with fiery passion.

Everything is fine. The country is definitely being run by the best person. *buys one-way ticket to giant cannon which will fire me directly into the sun*

Hey, speaking of Trump's all-encompassing rage-envy of President Obama... Charles M. Blow at the New York Times: Trump's Obama Obsession. "Donald Trump has a thing about Barack Obama. Trump is obsessed with Obama. Obama haunts Trump's dreams. One of Trump's primary motivators is the absolute erasure of Obama — were it possible — not only from the political landscape but also from the history books. ...Trump wants to be Obama — held in high esteem. But, alas, Trump is Trump, and that is now and has always been trashy. Trump accrued financial wealth, but he never accrued cultural capital, at least not among the people from whom he most wanted it. ...Obama was a phenomenon. He was elegant and cerebral. He was devoid of personal scandal and drenched in personal erudition. ...For Trump, the mark of being a successful president is the degree to which he can expunge Obama's presidency."

And the thing is, Trump doesn't even know how to not be the polar opposite of the respected Obama. He is compulsively Trump — a braggart, a blowhard, a grifter, a scoundrel who keeps the company of scoundrels.

To wit: He held a garish $35,000-per-plate reelection fundraiser, which was possibly illegal and over which he is likely to be sued; his personal attorney Jay Sekulow will soon be investigated over his shady nonprofit; and [CN: video may autoplay at link] Congressional investigators want to interview Keith Schiller, Trump's "longtime bodyguard-turned-White House aide, as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign."

And that's just the stuff I've read this morning. The point is: Trump wants to be something he is constitutionally incapable of being. And he hates himself for it, which makes him act out in resentful, abusive, and reckless ways.

Few people are more dangerous than a powerful man who cannot reconcile within himself who he actually is. Power and chronic discontent do not exist comfortably side by side.

We are in real trouble. And that isn't going to change anytime soon. Not as long as Trump is president.

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In other news...

Josh Dawsey, Eliana Johnson, and Alex Isenstadt at Politico: Tillerson Blows Up at Top White House Aide. "The normally laconic Texan unloaded on Johnny DeStefano, the head of the presidential personnel office, for torpedoing proposed nominees to senior State Department posts and for questioning his judgment. Tillerson also complained that the White House was leaking damaging information about him to the news media, according to a person familiar with the meeting. Above all, he made clear that he did not want DeStefano's office to 'have any role in staffing' and 'expressed frustration that anybody would know better' than he about who should work in his department — particularly after the president had promised him autonomy to make his own decisions and hires, according to a senior White House aide familiar with the conversation." Sounds like everything's going splendidly at the State Department!

Lauren C. Williams at ThinkProgress: Trump Set to Fill Out FCC with Another Republican Commissioner. "Donald Trump has nominated the FCC's general counsel Brendan Carr to be the agency's third Republican commissioner — a move that could ensure the end of net neutrality regulations. ...If confirmed, Carr would join two other Republicans, FCC Chair Pai and Commissioner Michael O'Reilly. Mignon Clyburn is the only Democrat on the commission and her term is almost up." Fuck fuck fuck.

[CN: Guns; violence; incitement]

Chilling. And a reminder that Facebook's content decisions really and truly are "fundamentally not rights-oriented." How the fuck is that video allowed to stand, but Black Lives Matter content is removed? Appalling. (Aaron Rupar has a transcript of the video at ThinkProgress.)

[CN: Christian supremacy] Corky Siemaszko: Kentucky Gives Blessing to Bible Classes in Public Schools. "Now that Gov. Matt Bevin has signed the so-called "Bible Literacy Bill" into law, the ACLU and other watchdog groups say they are going to make sure the classes don't cross the constitutional line from teaching to preaching. ...While the state teachers union, the Kentucky Education Association, has not yet weighed in on the new law, groups that want to keep church and state separate like the Kentucky Secular Society, have opposed it. 'This is an opportunity for teachers to preach religion in the classroom,' the group said. 'If this course is really for literary purposes, it should include other mythologies and literatures that have impacted our culture as well.'" Yup.

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

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