We Resist: Day 176

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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: More Lies and the Liars Who Told Them.


Jessie Hellmann at the Hill: Health Groups: Revised GOP Health Bill Not an Improvement.
"The revised bill does not address the key concerns of physicians and patients regarding proposed Medicaid cuts and inadequate subsidies that will result in millions of Americans losing health insurance coverage," American Medical Association President David O. Barbe said in a statement Friday.

He noted that while more money to address the opioid epidemic is a "positive step," those suffering from substance abuse disorders "have other healthcare needs that are not likely to be addressed if they lose coverage through a rollback of the Medicaid expansion."

American Hospital Association President Rick Pollack said the bill would mean "real consequences for real people."

"Among them people with chronic conditions such as cancer, individuals with disabilities who need long-term services and support, and the elderly."

...Darrel Kirch, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges, said the bill falls "woefully short" in providing comprehensive, affordable coverage to Americans.

Kirch also warned that the Cruz amendment would hurt people with preexisting conditions.

"Allowing insurers to sell plans without meaningful coverage will hurt those with preexisting conditions and further destabilize insurance markets," he said.
The bill is so fucking awful that the GOP is having to bribe dubious members of their own caucus to support it. [Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Anna Edney, Hannah Recht, and Laura Litvan at Bloomberg: GOP Health Bill Steers Cash to the Home State of a Reluctant Senator. "Changes made to the Republican legislation to repeal large parts of Obamacare would send hundreds of millions of extra federal dollars to Alaska, whose Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski has been holding off from giving her much-needed vote to the bill. Under formulas in the revised legislation, only Alaska appears to qualify for the extra money."

Donna Cassata and Erica Werner at the AP: Analysis: Trump Will Take Health Care Credit or Cast Blame. "If congressional Republicans succeed in repealing and replacing the Obama-era health law, expect a big Rose Garden celebration with [Donald] Trump taking credit. If they fail? Trump has already indicated he will hold Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responsible... Trump has made it clear that the onus for delivering a major Republican achievement and fulfilling seven years of those promises is on the six-term Kentucky senator, who is battle-hardened by legislative negotiating — and not on the president and author of The Art of the Deal." Trump will take credit for a win and deflect blame for a loss? NO SHIT.

In related news, over in the House... Christine Grimaldi at Rewire: House GOP: Eliminate Family Planning Services for Low-Income Families. "Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are again proposing to zero out federal Title X family planning funding to health-care providers that serve people with low incomes. A House appropriations subcommittee Thursday afternoon will begin marking up the fiscal year 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS) funding bill purporting to cut 'low-priority programs' while investing in 'essential health.' The bill axes all funding, about $300 million, for what Republicans on the committee called the 'controversial' Title X program." Goddammit this caucus is loathsome.

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David Smith at the Guardian: Ex-Soviet Counterintelligence Officer Says He Attended Trump Jr. Meeting. "Rinat Akhmetshin confirmed to the Associated Press his participation in the meeting, which Trump Jr had failed to disclose until it became public this week."

What we still don't know for sure is exactly how many people attended that meeting. In my piece this morning, in which I reported that Akhmetshin was the likely counterintelligence officer who attended the meeting, I noted we knew of six people in attendance: Akhmetshin, his associate and Kremlin-connected attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, the broker of the meeting Rob Goldstone, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. At the Guardian, Smith notes a report that "a translator, who has not been identified, was also present at the June 2016 meeting."

We also don't know whether any of the attendees recorded the meeting, and, if so, who has heard those recordings and who possess copies of them.

What we do know is that Putin is getting antsy that Trump is failing to deliver on Putin's wishlist after Putin delivered the presidency to Trump. Tuesday:

And today at the AP: Russia Threatens Retaliation in U.S. Diplomatic Row. "Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it would have to expel U.S. diplomats and shut down some U.S. compounds in Russia if the United States does not reopen two Russian recreational estates in the U.S. that were shut down last year."

Expelling diplomats is how they will retaliate publicly. Releasing (via surrogates) more damaging information on Trump, his family, and/or his associates is how they will retaliate covertly.

Which is why I keep saying: Removing Trump Is the Only Way to Reclaim U.S. Ownership of the White House. It's absolute absurdity to have allowed Putin to have influenced who is now the U.S. president, and it is exponential absurdity to allow him to dictate the terms — and duration — of that presidency.

Anyway. Back to Akhmetshin... Kevin Poulsen, Nico Hines, and Katie Zavadski at the Daily Beast: Trump Team Met Russian Accused of International Hacking Conspiracy. "The U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. was told in July 2015 that Akhmetshin had arranged the hacking of a mining company's private records — stealing internal documents and then disseminating them. The corporate-espionage case was brought by IMR, which alleged that Akhmetshin was hired by Russian oligarch Andrey Melinchenko, an industrialist with a fortune estimated at around $12 billion. ...IMR went so far as to hire a private investigator to follow Akhmetshin on a trip to London. That private eye, Akis Phanartzis, wrote in a sworn declaration to the court that he eavesdropped on Akhmetshin in a London coffee shop and heard Akhmetshin boast that 'he organized the hacking of IMR’s computer systems' on behalf of Melinchenko's fertilizer producer Eurochem. ...Akhmetshin denied the accusation, but admitted passing around a 'hard drive' filled with data on IMR's owners." Welp.

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Oliver Holmes at the Guardian: Trump Conflict of Interest Concerns over Links with Law Firm Run by Philippine Government Official. "Donald and Ivanka Trump's companies employ a law firm managed by a Philippine government official, the Guardian has found, the latest in a string of potential conflicts of interests stemming from the first family's global business empire. By hiring a firm run by a high-ranking member of the Philippine government, Trump opens himself to accusations of wittingly or unwittingly paying a foreign official to secure the interests of his private business." Fucking grifters.

Matt Shuham at TPM: Tillerson Vents About 'Fragmented' Government: 'Not a Highly Disciplined Organization'.
"Well, it is a lot different than being CEO of Exxon because I was the ultimate decision-maker," Tillerson told the reporters, adding: "We had very long-standing, disciplined processes and decision-making — I mean, highly structured — that allows you to accomplish a lot, to accomplish a lot in a very efficient way."

The Times noted that Tillerson said he didn't meant to criticize the government, but that "it's largely not a highly disciplined organization."

"Decision-making is fragmented, and sometimes people don't want to take decisions. Coordination is difficult through the interagency [process]."

He also noted that his job itself used many of the same skills he developed leading the enormous oil and gas corporation.

"Engagement with the rest of the world is actually very easy for me," Tillerson said. "None of it is new to me. It is more difficult, it is more difficult, because of just the elements we talked about."
The ego on this fucking guy. It's hard to imagine how he and Trump can even be in the same room together without creating a black hole of galaxy-gobbling arrogance.

Yessenia Funes at Colorlines: New Harvard Analysis Highlights How Media Failed the People of Flint. "The analysis poses the question: Would the situation have turned out differently if national media intervened sooner? It specifically states: 'Sustained and widespread media attention was not given until late 2015 and early 2016, when the state of Michigan and President [Barack] Obama declared an emergency over high levels of lead in the water and in the blood of thousands of children. Additionally, the nature of some of the coverage was problematic: Complaints of citizens were discounted when compared to the comments of officials, residents were portrayed as hopeless and downtrodden despite months of action, and narratives of 'heroes' excluded African American activists in a city that is 57 percent black.'" Fuck.

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In good news...

Samantha Schmidt at the Washington Post: Judge in Hawaii Rules Grandparents Are Exempt from Trump [Muslim] Ban.
A federal judge in Hawaii has ruled that grandparents and other relatives should be exempt from the enforcement of [Donald] Trump's travel ban, which bars people from six Muslim-majority countries.

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson ruled Thursday night that the federal government's list of family relatives eligible to bypass the travel ban should be expanded to include grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts and other relatives. Watson also ordered exemptions for refugees who have been given formal assurance from agencies placing them in the United States.

In Watson's ruling, he said the government's definition of what constitutes close family "represents the antithesis of common sense."

"Common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents," Watson wrote. "Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members. The Government's definition excludes them. That simply cannot be."

The order delivered another legal hit to the president's travel ban and a "sweeping victory" for those against it, as Neal Katyal, a lawyer for those challenging the measure, wrote. The ruling from Watson, a judge who has frequently been criticized by Trump and his administration for his unfavorable orders, marked yet another successful attempt by Hawaii to challenge the administration's executive order.

Camila Domonoske at NPR: Judge Throws out Conviction of Woman Who Laughed at Jeff Sessions. "Instead of sentencing a woman to jail time for laughing during Jeff Sessions' confirmation hearing, a D.C. judge threw out the woman's conviction and called for a new trial." So, not totally good news, but better than her conviction standing. Perhaps there will be a better outcome in her retrial, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 1.

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

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