We Resist: Day 180

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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: Healthcare Update: The Worst Possibility Yet.


[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Dan Merica at CNN: Pence on Health Care: 'Inaction Is Not an Option'. "Vice President Mike Pence, responding for the first time to the Senate's failure to pass an Obamacare repeal bill, said Tuesday that he and [Donald] Trump stand behind the new plan to repeal the health care plan now and replace it later. 'The Senate should vote to repeal now and replace later or return to the legislation carefully created in the House and the Senate. But either way, inaction is not an option,' Pence said. 'Congress needs to step up, Congress needs to do their job, and Congress needs to do their job now.'" Note that Mike Pence believes it is Congress' job to risk 32 million people losing their insurance just to get a win.

Mike DeBonis at the Washington Post: House GOP Unveils Budget Plan That Attaches Major Spending Cuts to Coming Tax Overhaul Bill.
The House Budget Committee blueprint, which is set for a Thursday committee vote, sets out special procedures that could ultimately allow Republicans to pass legislation over the objections of Senate Democrats who can normally block bills they oppose. GOP leaders in the House, as well as top Trump administration officials, hope to use those procedures — known as reconciliation — to pass a tax overhaul later this year.

The instructions in the draft budget, however, go well beyond tax policy and set the stage for a potential $203 billion rollback of financial industry regulations, federal employee benefits, welfare spending, and more. Those are policy areas where Republicans have, in many cases, already passed legislation in the House but have seen Democrats block action in the Senate.

House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-Tenn.) said the spending proposal is "not just a vision for our country, but a plan for action."

"In past years, our proposals had little chance of becoming a reality because we faced a Democratic White House," she said in a statement Tuesday. "But now with a Republican Congress and a Republican administration, now is the time to put forward a governing document with real solutions to address our biggest challenges."
And they still have to "set out special procedures" to ram it through. No wonder the Republican caucus doesn't object to Trump's authoritarianism and erosion of democracy: They are keenly aware that's what it takes to enact their highly unpopular agenda of aggressive malice.

See in particular: Voter suppression. Erica Orden and Byron Tau at the Wall Street Journal: GOP Seeks to Close Federal Election Agency. "House Republicans are seeking to defund the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, the sole federal agency that exclusively works to ensure the voting process is secure, as part of proposed federal budget cuts. The defunding move comes as the EAC is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to examine an attack late last year on the agency's computer systems by a Russian-speaking hacker."

It doesn't get any more blatant than that. I wasn't lying when I called them Democracy Killers.

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Rosalind S. Helderman at the Washington Post: Eighth Person in Trump Tower Meeting Is Identified. "Ike Kaveladze's presence was confirmed by Scott Balber, an attorney for Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Russian developers who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013. Balber said Kaveladze works for the Agalarovs' company and attended as their representative. ...Balber said Kaveladze believed he would act as a translator, but arrived to discover that the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya had brought her own translator, a former State Department employee named Anatoli Samochornov."

That does not mean that only eight people attended. That means we have eight confirmed attendees so far.

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: NY Prosecutors Issue New Subpoena for Manafort Bank Records. "New York prosecutors have issued a subpoena seeking bank records from former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort related to real estate loans of up to $16 million, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The Manhattan District Attorney's office has ordered the Federal Savings Bank, a small Chicago bank whose loans to Manafort make up almost a quarter of its equity capital, to turn over records related to loans issued for two properties owned by Manafort and his wife, according to the Journal."

Sam Stein and Asawin Suebsaeng at the Daily Beast: Trump's Campaign Conceded in a Memo That Comey Was Having Major Impact. "Elsewhere in his book, Green makes clear just how surprising the final win was to Trump's team. In the close of the campaign, he reports, chief strategist Steve Bannon had devised a scorched-earth approach to the close of the campaign that was premised on a Clinton victory. 'Our backup strategy,' he said of Clinton, according to Green, 'is to fuck her up so bad that she can't govern. If she gets 43 percent of the vote, she can't claim a mandate.' Later, Bannon added: 'My goal is that by November 8, when you hear her name, you're gonna throw up.'" Fuck this entire lot of fuckers.

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Karen DeYoung at the Washington Post: U.S. Certifies That Iran Is Meeting Terms of Nuclear Deal. "The Trump administration certified to Congress late Monday that Iran has continued to meet the required conditions of its nuclear deal with the United States and other world powers. But senior administration officials made clear that the certification was grudging, and said that [Donald] Trump intends to impose new sanctions on Iran for ongoing 'malign activities' in non-nuclear areas such as ballistic missile development and support for terrorism. ...Earlier in the day, Trump's national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin previewed the sanctions in a closed-door meeting with representatives of Washington-based think tanks. Reporters were not invited."

Colum Lynch at Foreign Policy: Tillerson to Shutter State Department War Crimes Office. "Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is downgrading the U.S. campaign against mass atrocities, shuttering the Foggy Bottom office that worked for two decades to hold war criminals accountable, according to several former U.S. officials. ...The decision to close the office comes at a time when America's top diplomat has been seeking to reorganize the State Department to concentrate on what he sees as key priorities: pursuing economic opportunities for American businesses and strengthening U.S. military prowess. Those changes are coming at the expense of programs that promote human rights and fight world poverty, which have been targeted for steep budget cuts."

Andrew Arenge, Hannah Hartig, and Stephanie Perry at NBC News: Poll: American Fears of War Grow. "An overwhelming majority of Americans — 76 percent — are worried that the United States will become engaged in a major war in the next four years, according to a new NBC News|SurveyMonkey National Security Poll out Tuesday. Although Americans are concerned about a number of national security threats, a strong plurality (41 percent) believe that North Korea currently poses the greatest immediate danger to the United States, emerging as a more urgent concern than ISIS (28 percent) or Russia (18 percent), according to the poll, which was conducted online from July 10 through July 14." Welp.

Damian Paletta at the Washington Post: Steven Mnuchin, Trump's Treasury Secretary, Is Hurtling Toward His First Fiasco. "Mnuchin is hurtling toward his first fiasco, unable to get Congress, let alone his colleagues in the Trump administration, on board with a strategy to raise the federal limit on governmental borrowing. His struggles are casting doubt on whether the political neophyte, who made his name on Wall Street, has the stature in Washington to press through a vote on a measure that former treasury secretaries of both parties have said is critical to preserving the nation's reputation for financial stability." Huh. You mean someone with no relevant experience might have no idea what the fuck he's doing?! Shocking.

Finally, here's a palate cleanser care of the terrific Sarah Lerner, writing at Dame Magazine: Oh, White Men with Your Never-ending Need to Dictate the Democratic Platform. (I mean, this shit is still something we need to RESIST, but at least she writes about it in a way that I adore, lol.)
Perhaps most frustrating about this constantly recycled narrative around "identity politics" sinking the electoral chances of those on the left is that it is contradicted by data. The blatant bigotry that Trump voters rubber-stamped is often excused as "economic anxiety," but exit polls showed that Hillary Clinton won both the under-$30,000 and $30,000 to $49,999 brackets. And for all the talk of Trump's "populist" appeal, it was Clinton's economic message that voters preferred in nearly every swing state (yes, including the decisive Rust Belt) and across the country. Moreover, as The Atlantic reported, members of the white working class "who said their finances are only in fair or poor shape were nearly twice as likely to support Clinton compared to those who feel more economically secure."

Indeed, political scientists Brian Schaffner, Matthew MacWilliams, and Tatishe Nteta found that racism and sexism predicted support for Trump much more than economic dissatisfaction. As writers for The Nation put it in their own analysis, "The change in probability of a Trump vote for a white person with the highest to the lowest levels of racial animus is similar to changing their party identification from Republican to Democratic." In other words, Trump's dog whistles (which, let's be real, were really more like wolf howls) had a significant impact on voters' decisions, something that Barro also acknowledges, but feels should not be used to make white people feel bad. This does not make much practical sense to me: Why should Democrats shy away from calling this out if Trumpers prefer a bigoted message regardless? As Jezebel's Kara Brown noted, "Racism and bigotry are not the result of unfriendliness nor will they be undone by the opposite."
Indulging bigotry as "cultural difference" does nothing but give permission to hold onto that bigotry. What is actually effective in eradicating bigotry is making it fucking unpopular. It's amazing how much more likely people are to abandon beliefs which are simply given no harbor. Yes, there will always be hold-outs, but it forces them to navigate being ostracized as extremists as the cost of their bigotry. Which is at it should be. The only thing that happens when you tolerate bigotry in order not to alienate bigots is that more people feel comfortable embracing and espousing bigotry.

Fuck that.

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

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