We Resist: Day 182

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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: Trump Hands Putin Another Gift and On Trump's Latest Interview with the NYT.


[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Laura Litvan, Steven T. Dennis, and Shannon Pettypiece at Bloomberg: Trump Urges Senate GOP to Delay Recess as Health Talks Revived. "Donald Trump told Senate Republicans Wednesday they should stay in Washington until they repeal Obamacare, sparking renewed negotiations just two days after GOP efforts to enact a new health-care law collapsed. A group of about 20 Republican senators met at the Capitol Wednesday night with White House officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, to hash out possible paths forward, including reviving a measure proposed by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell."

I'm going to say this one more time: DO NOT BELIEVE REPORTS THAT THE REPEAL IS DEAD. How many times now have we heard that Republican healthcare reform is "dead"? We heard it when the House bill failed the first time — only for them to rally and pass a bill. We heard it when the Senate bill failed the first time — only for them to rally and try a second time. We heard it after the Senate bill failed the second time — and now here they are rallying again. If they can't replace it, they'll just repeal it. THIS IS NOT OVER. Not even close.

Kyle Cheney and Rachael Bade at Politico: Freedom Caucus to Try to Force Vote on Obamacare Repeal. "House conservatives are launching a late effort to force their colleagues to vote on an outright repeal of Obamacare. Leaders of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday evening will jump-start a process intended to force the measure — a mirror of the 2015 repeal proposal that President Barack Obama vetoed — to the floor as early as September."

See? And trust that they will stoop to levels we haven't even begun to contemplate in order to take away people's healthcare.

To wit: Sam Stein at the Daily Beast: Team Trump Used Obamacare Money to Run PR Effort Against It. "The Trump administration has spent taxpayer money meant to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act on a public relations campaign aimed at methodically strangling it. ...'I'm on a daily basis horrified by leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services who seem intent on taking healthcare away from the constituents they are supposed to serve,' former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview with The Daily Beast." Disgusting behavior.

In service of a disgusting objective:

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Welp! This is about to get very interesting, for a whole lot of reasons, not least of which is that Trump might now try to fire Mueller. Fucking hell.

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CBS/AP: Russia Says Talks Underway on Joint U.S. Cybersecurity Unit. "A Russian official was quoted by the country's government-run media on Thursday as saying Moscow and the U.S. government were in talks about establishing a joint cybersecurity unit — a prospect first raised, and then seemingly dismissed by [Donald] Trump after he met with Vladimir Putin. The RIA news agency said Russia's special envoy on cybersecurity Andrey Krutskikh confirmed that talks were underway to create a bilateral working group, and acknowledging that it could create a 'problem' for [Donald] Trump. Krutskikh was quoted as saying, 'there is no need to dramatize the working process, it is undoubtedly difficult, taking into account the current American realities, but this is a problem rather of the U.S. administration, not ours.'" WOW.

Margaret Hartmann at NY Mag: Paul Manafort Owed Millions to Pro-Russia Interests. "Before becoming Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort owed as much as $17 million to pro-Russia interests, according to financial records from Cyprus. ...One of the more interesting debts is $7.8 million owed to Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch close to Russian president Vladimir Putin. Deripaska has previously claimed that Manafort and his associates owed him $19 million for a failed investment in a Ukrainian TV company." The question is: Did Manafort repay those debts by selling the White House? (Spoiler alert: Probably!)

Allegra Kirkland at TPM: Not Deep Throat: The Trump Scandal Figure Who's Too Open for His Own Good. "[Carter Page] is one of a handful of former Trump campaign hands reported to be under federal scrutiny for his ties to Russia... Page is not concerned about the prospect of legal consequences for his foreign contacts. 'There's nothing to hide,' Page said, reiterating that he sat for over 10 hours of interviews with FBI agents without a lawyer present and is relying on unnamed 'volunteers' for legal advice." This fucking guy.

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Trump is slowly starting to fill a few of the multitudinous vacancies in his administration, and the choices are exactly what you'd expect.

Rebecca Kheel at the Hill: Trump to Nominate Raytheon Lobbyist for Army Secretary.

Juliet Eilperin and Chris Mooney at the Washington Post: Trump Just Nominated a Climate Change Skeptic to USDA's Top Science Post.

Maureen Groppe at the Indianapolis Star: [CN: video may autoplay] Trump Picks Indiana Agriculture Director Ted McKinney for USDA Post.

Everything is fine.

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Oh, hey, here's a pretty good reason why everything is not fucking fine: The Republican-controlled legislative branch refuses to provide checks and balances on the president, and Trump is busily reshaping the judiciary so that they won't, while also waging war on the press so that they can't, either.

LEGISLATIVE BRANCH — Burgess Everett and Rachael Bade at Politico: Republicans Lament an Agenda in 'Quicksand'. "'I don't even pay any attention to what is going on with the administration because I don't care. They're a distraction. The family is a distraction, the president is a distraction,' complained Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). 'At first, it was 'Well yeah, this is the guy we elected. He'll learn, he'll learn.' And you just don't see that happening.'" So ignore him, rather than hold him accountable? Cool.

JUDICIAL BRANCH — Ronald A. Klain at the Washington Post: The One Area Where Trump Has Been Wildly Successful. "[While Donald] Trump is incompetent at countless aspects of his job, he is proving wildly successful in one respect: naming youthful conservative nominees to the federal bench in record-setting numbers. ...He not only put Neil M. Gorsuch in the Supreme Court vacancy created by Merrick Garland's blocked confirmation, but he also selected 27 lower-court judges as of mid-July. Twenty-seven! That's three times Obama's total and more than double the totals of Reagan, Bush 41 and Clinton — combined. For the Courts of Appeals — the final authority for 95 percent of federal cases — no president before Trump named more than three judges whose nominations were processed in his first six months; Trump has named nine. Trump is on pace to more than double the number of federal judges nominated by any president in his first year."

(As you may recall, I've been frantically and repeatedly raising the alarm about Trump's 100 federal court vacancies for quite some time. Also: I would stake a fuckload of pennies on Pence running the court appointments, which means that this problem isn't even solved if Trump is removed from office.)

PRESS — [CN: Video may autoplay at link] Jacqueline Alemany at CBS News: For Details of Trump's Meetings, Foreign Governments Fill in the Blanks. "When news broke that [Donald] Trump had chatted with Russia President Vladimir Putin in a previously undisclosed meeting for an hour at the G-20 summit in Germany, it was another reminder that much of the information about the president's whereabouts and policymaking comes from sources outside the White House. ...Since Mr. Trump took office in January, White House reporters — and by extension the American public — have on more than this occasion received more detailed information about the president's conversations and whereabouts from foreign governments rather than from official channels in Washington."

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There is literally so much awful news today, I feel like I've barely begun to scratch the service, but I've got to draw a line under it somewhere, so I can get it posted. As always, please crowdsource the resistance and share what you've been reading that I missed!

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

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