We Resist: Day 179

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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: Get Well Soon, McCain—Then Reconsider Your Politics and The Lying Liars Tell More Lies About Don Jr.'s Meeting.


[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Igor Bobic at the Huffington Post: Tom Price Says Insurers Should 'Dust Off How They Did Business Before Obamacare'.
Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price suggested Sunday that the nation's health insurance system ought to operate as it did before the Affordable Care Act was passed.

During an appearance on ABC's "This Week," Price was asked to respond to a blistering criticism of the Senate Republicans' health care proposal by two major groups representing the U.S. health insurance industry. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) earlier this week, the groups called the latest version of the bill "simply unworkable in any form" and warned that it would cause "widespread terminations of coverage" to people with serious medical problems.

"It's really perplexing, especially from the insurance companies, because all they have to do is dust off how they did business before Obamacare," Price said...

In discussing their health care plan, Republicans do not usually speak as candidly as Price about returning the nation's health care system to its pre-Obamacare period, a period marked by egregious insurance company abuses. Protections for pre-existing conditions remain highly popular around the country, and GOP lawmakers are loath to admit their policies would weaken them.

Prior to Obamacare, 79 million — more than one in four Americans — either lacked health insurance or were underinsured. The poor, especially, lacked adequate coverage.
A perfect and terrible reminder from the Secretary of Health and Human Services that Donald Trump's cabinet appointees were chosen based on their willingness to destroy the departments they were chosen to lead. By the time Price is done with his tenure, I suspect a more accurate name will be the Department of No Health and No Human Services.

Ellee Achten at Rewire: West Virginia Families, Just Learning About Health-Care Access, Fear It Will Be Taken Away. "It is well known that Planned Parenthood offers contraception, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy services, as well as abortion services and referrals, but West Virginians also receive hormone therapy, and testing and treatment for HIV, while others take their entire families to the clinics for general health care. Planned Parenthood centers — like the one Calloway visits in Vienna — offer extensive health services to their communities, especially to those with lower incomes. And, as Calloway noted, some patients are even seeking help at Planned Parenthood in battling opioids — a long-term and yet rising concern for Central Appalachia. 'We all made the choice to go to Planned Parenthood for different reasons,' said Calloway, who wanted to give Senators more than a story, but a face. 'Putting politics aside, we rely on Planned Parenthood,' she said."

Noam N. Levey at the LA Times: Obamacare Repeal Bills Could Put Coverage out of Reach for Millions of Sick Americans. "Both the House GOP bill that passed in May and the revised Senate GOP bill unveiled last week effectively eliminate the coverage guarantee by allowing health insurers to once again sell skimpier plans and charge more to people with preexisting health conditions who need more-comprehensive coverage. At the same time, the House and Senate bills dramatically scale back financial aid to low- and moderate-income consumers, and slash funding for Medicaid, the government safety-net plan that has helped millions of sick and poor Americans gain coverage. That combination — looser insurance requirements and less financial assistance for patients — will once again put health plans out of reach for millions of sick Americans, according to numerous analyses."

Again, I will note that the Republican Party is pursuing this wildly unpopular legislation with a vigor that suggests a party who believes they will never have to be accountable to voters again. That seems worrying, no?

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[CN: War; death] Samuel Oakford at the Daily Beast: Trump's Air War Has Already Killed More Than 2,000 Civilians. "Airwars researchers estimate that at least 2,300 civilians likely died from Coalition strikes overseen by the Obama White House — roughly 80 each month in Iraq and Syria. As of July 13, more than 2,200 additional civilians appear to have been killed by Coalition raids since Trump was inaugurated — upwards of 360 per month, or 12 or more civilians killed for every single day of his administration. ...Airwars estimates that the minimum approximate number of civilian deaths from Coalition attacks will have doubled under Trump's leadership within his first six months in office." Fucking hell.

This sounds very much like precisely what Trump threatened to do when he was a candidate, having told Fox News host Brian Kilmeade in December 2015 that, unlike Obama, who he accused of waging "a very politically correct war," he "would knock the hell out of ISIS... One of the problems that we have and one of the reasons we're so ineffective, they're using [civilians] as shields. ...With the terrorists, you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families."

So Trump's "politically incorrect" war doesn't care about civilian casualties. And, as a result, an enormous number of civilians are being killed — which is not only breathtakingly cruel but also ineffective, as airstrikes long ago "replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for militants." This is not making us more safe. Even if it were, it would be hideous that our safety came at the expense of the lives of innocent people, whom the U.S. president dismisses as "shields," stripping them of all humanity to encourage our indifferent as his decision to carelessly kill them.

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[CN: Nativism; exploitation] Alex Horton at the Washington Post: Foreign-Born Recruits, Promised Citizenship by the Pentagon, Flee the Country to Avoid Deportation. "About 1,000 of those recruits have waited so long that they have fallen out of legal immigration status. An internal Defense Department memo obtained by The Post acknowledges that canceling these contracts would expose the recruits to deportation. In response, lawmakers urged Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to honor the contracts of those recruits. The recruits, who have already sworn allegiance to the United States in their oaths of enlistment, could potentially face harsh interrogations or jail time if they are deported to countries such as China or Russia, said Tom Malinowski, former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor in the Obama administration." Unconscionable. This is absolutely heinous treatment of people who aided the U.S.

[CN: Nativism] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: Trump's Wall Sees Windfall and Many Don't Know Why. "Vicki Gaubeca, director of the Regional Center for Border Rights for the ACLU of New Mexico, told Rewire that her real concern is that politicians continue making decisions about what is needed at the border without consulting border communities. 'At a time when migration from Mexico has been at zero, apprehensions at the border are going down, and border communities are already experiencing militarization with little accountability and oversight, the question that begs to be asked is why do we need more resources at the border?' Gaubeca said." (Maybe the wall is actually less about keeping people out than keeping people in?)

[CN: Animal harm] Natasha Geiling at ThinkProgress: A Texas Wildlife Refuge Will Be Razed to Build the First Section of Trump's Wall. "The Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge comprises 2,088-acres along the U.S.-Mexico border, and was established in 1943 for the protection of migratory birds. The refuge is home to at least 400 species of birds, 450 types of plants, and half of the butterfly species found in North America. It is also home to the highly-endangered ocelot. Federal officials told the Texas Observer that the wall would consist of an 18-foot levee wall that would stretch for three miles in the wildlife refuge. The construction plan would require building a road south of the wall, as well as clearing land on either side. Such construction would 'essentially destroy the refuge,' an official told the Texas Observer." FUCK.

[CN: Nativism; Islamophobia; misogynist violence] Michelle Chen at the Guardian: Why Trump's Travel Ban Hits Women the Hardest. "On top of alienating an entire religious community, Trump's even longer ban on future refugee admissions deepens a hidden dimension of the crisis: the endemic gender injustice of warfare. ...According to US humanitarian organization Tahirh Justice Center, which focuses on gender-based human rights abuse, women face a disproportionate share of the trauma because at every stage in the refugee journey, even outside of the direct conflict zone, they 'find themselves unable to get out of situations that might threaten their safety...' Moreover they face ancillary gender-based human rights violations that tend to explode in conflict situations, including epidemics of sexual abuse and labor and sexual trafficking." I hate Trump so much.

Not good:

Meanwhile, the one person who has done something in vaguely in accordance with the law and ethical norms in the Trump administration is considered a betrayer by the president. Jonathan Swan at Axios: Trump Hasn't Forgiven Sessions for Russia Recusal. "Trump's initial fury about Sessions' recusal from the Russia probe has turned to a simmering resentment that may have permanently poisoned their relationship, according to sources close to both of them. ...Trump's top-line association for Sessions: The guy who showed tremendous weakness and caused tremendous problems by needlessly recusing himself from the Russia investigation." Welp.

Dylan Stableford at Yahoo News: Outgoing Federal Ethics Chief: 'We Are Pretty Close to a Laughingstock at This Point'.
The federal government's top ethics chief is resigning on Wednesday. And he's torching the Trump administration on his way out.

Walter M. Shaub Jr., director of the Office of Government Ethics, told the New York Times that [Donald] Trump's apparent disdain for long-established ethical norms has undermined the credibility of the United States around the world.

"It's hard for the United States to pursue international anti-corruption and ethics initiatives when we're not even keeping our own side of the street clean," Shaub told the Times in an article published Monday. "I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point."

Shaub — who has been a vocal critic of Trump's since his election — said the president's frequent trips to his family-owned golf clubs are a microcosm of just how blurry the line between the White House and Trump brand has become.

"It creates the appearance of profiting from the presidency," Shaub said. "Misuse of position is really the heart of the ethics program, and the internationally accepted definition of corruption is abuse of entrusted power. It undermines the government ethics program by casting doubt on the integrity of government decision making."

Trump spent last weekend at another one of his golf courses, and repeatedly promoted the U.S. Women's Open Championship held there.

I deeply appreciate the organizations, like CREW, who are trying to hold Trump accountable for this shit. CREW, in fact, had a bit of good news this morning:

The only problem is that I don't trust for a moment that the records they get will reflect reality. If they haven't been fudged all along, I fully anticipate that Mar-a-Lago will tamper with them before submission. Sigh.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Veronica Stracqualursi at ABC News: Trump Reaches a Low Even He Can't Ignore. "Few want a tweeter-in-chief: The ABC News-Washington Post poll out this morning shows that 67 percent of Americans don't like [Donald] Trump's use of Twitter and 70 percent say Trump has acted in an 'unpresidential' manner since taking office. [The poll also] shows Trump's six-month approval rating at 36 percent, the lowest of any president at this point in 70 years."

Goddddddddddd just fucking resign already! SHIT.

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

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