We Resist: Day 169

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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: Putin and the Puppet and This Is Our Reality Now.


So, obviously the biggest item today is Donald Trump's meeting with Vladimir Putin ahead of the G20 summit. The meeting lasted much longer than planned — two hours and 16 minutes, to be exact — and, well, from early reports, it seems to have gone about exactly as one would have expected.

I'm guessing the Kremlin — not exactly known for openness, inclusion, and transparency — also wanted the meeting small, but, as soon as Trump gave the slightest indication he wanted a small meeting, they knew how to play him, and convinced him to argue for a smaller meeting to which they'd then appear to acquiesce. Trump would then feel like he had a "win" going in, and thus would be overconfident.

He's that easy. Frightening.

We don't yet know a whole lot about what went on in that meeting, but the AP reports that sources tell them: US, Russia Reach Deal on Syria Cease-Fire. "The United States and Russia have reached agreement on a cease-fire in southwest Syria, three U.S. officials said Friday as [Donald] Trump held his first meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The deal marks a new level of involvement for the U.S. in trying to resolve Syria's civil war. Although details about the agreement and how it will be implemented weren't immediately available, the cease-fire is set to take effect Sunday at noon Damascus time, said the officials, who weren’t authorized to discuss the cease-fire publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity."

Okay. I'll just note, again, that the U.S. and Russia do not have the same objectives in Syria. At least, we didn't used to.

In related news:

"Resolve" is doing a lot of work there, ahem. Also, I'm not sure I understand why Kurt Volker, who's well-regarded and highly qualified, is choosing to go along with what seems pretty likely to ultimately be a charade. But he's a friend and former legislative fellow on the staff of Senator John McCain, who may have convinced him to do it — and, as we all know, McCain has a looooooong history of pretending he's going to do the right thing, only to cave and abet the worst fascistic abuses of Republican governance at the one-yard line. Would be a shame if he's set up Volker that way. Then again, maybe Volker has the same instincts as McCain.

Or maybe he's in it for the right reasons and hopes he is going to be able to make a positive mark. It seems fairly certain that he will not be given that opportunity by this administration, however.

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[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Michael Riley, Jennifer A Dlouhy, and Bryan Gruley at Bloomberg: Russians Are Suspects in Nuclear Site Hackings, Sources Say.
Hackers working for a foreign government recently breached at least a dozen U.S. power plants, including the Wolf Creek nuclear facility in Kansas, according to current and former U.S. officials, sparking concerns the attackers were searching for vulnerabilities in the electrical grid.

The intruders could be positioning themselves to eventually disrupt the nation's power supply, warned the officials, who noted that a general alert was distributed to utilities a week ago. Adding to those concerns, hackers recently infiltrated an unidentified company that makes control systems for equipment used in the power industry, an attack that officials believe may be related.

The chief suspect is Russia, according to three people familiar with the continuing effort to eject the hackers from the computer networks.

...U.S. intelligence officials have long been concerned about the security of the country's electrical grid. The recent attack, striking almost simultaneously at multiple locations, is testing the government's ability to coordinate an effective response among several private utilities, state and local officials, and industry regulators.
This is exactly what I said last month: "Cyberattackers are probing. They're searching for vulnerabilities, and they're also testing what our response is to these relatively small-scale attacks."

Meanwhile, this is what our State Department is up to: David Kravets at Ars Technica: State Department Concocting "Fake" Intellectual Property "Twitter Feud". For fuck's sake.

[CN: Nativism] Jake Lahut at Politico: Trump Says Mexico Should 'Absolutely' Pay for Border Wall. JFC we're back to this shit again?! "Mexico should 'absolutely' pay for the border wall between the United States and its southern neighbor, [Donald] Trump said Friday during his meeting with his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto. On the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, an Associated Press reporter asked Trump, 'Do you still want Mexico to pay for the wall?' The president responded, 'absolutely,' according to a pool report."

[CN: Nativism; racism] Marcelo Rochabrun at ProPublica: ICE Officers Told to Take Action Against All Undocumented Immigrants Encountered While on Duty. "The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in charge of deportations has directed his officers to take action against all undocumented immigrants they may cross paths with, regardless of criminal histories. The guidance appears to go beyond the Trump administration's publicly stated aims, and some advocates say may explain a marked increase in immigration arrests. ...David Bier, an immigration policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, said the fallout from the memo has been evident for months. 'The memo explains what we have actually been seeing on the ground,' Bier said, asserting that immigrants without criminal backgrounds were routinely being arrested and ordered deported." Fuck fuck fuck.

[CN: Racism; violent imagery; threats] AP at the Guardian: U.S. Mint Employee Placed on Leave After Putting Noose on Black Co-Worker's Chair. "An employee at the U.S. mint in Philadelphia has been placed on administrative leave after a noose was found on the chair of an African American colleague. ...Around 3pm on 28 June the white male coin maker walked across the factory floor with the noose in hand. Surveillance video captured the entire activity, including the employee's actions. Many African American workers called and texted the union president the next day, and the U.S. treasury department inspector general launched an internal investigation. A treasury spokesman said the department has 'absolutely zero tolerance for the kind of misconduct reported at the mint.'" Zero tolerance, but the guy who made and left the noose is just on leave? Oh.

Casey Quinlan at ThinkProgress: Trump's Proposed Budget Cuts Could Mean More Deaths from Extreme Heat. "[E]limination of the program would be particularly dire for people in Southern and Western states, said Mark Wolfe, head of the National Energy Assistance Director's Association. 'In warm-weather states, you have federal funding but there's no state funding, no utility funding, so you have a different culture, where in those states you're on your own,' Wolfe told ThinkProgress. 'You have more families who are in need for help, but there's no discount program to make cooling more affordable.' According to the National Weather Service, the heat in Southern California could break records on Friday, when temperatures could rise to 120 degrees."

I guess I'll just point out that the federal government's indifference to probing hacks on our power grid are a problem, too, since cooling is dependent on functional electricity.

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

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