We Resist: Day 183

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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: Republicans Are "Dismayed" Again. Oh. and If You Make an Authoritarian President, He Will Behave Like an Authoritarian and I Don't Like This One Bit and Sean Spicer Has Resigned.


Sarah Boseley's important article is also accompanied by an equally stark image of Donald Trump signing the Executive Order that reintroduced the Mexico City policy, while surrounded by grinning white men: Reince Preibus, Peter Navarro, Jared Kushner, Steven Miller, and Steve Bannon.

The article is tough, but I highly recommend reading it. Please note if you have a needle phobia, there is an image of a young woman getting a contraceptive implant about midway through the story.

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Ben Wieder, Gabrielle Paluch, and Kevin G. Hall at McClatchy: Ex Trump Associates Helped Fugitive Kazakhs in Visa Scheme.
Two former associates of Donald Trump helped a family of wealthy Kazakh fugitives make extensive investments in the United States, some aimed at helping family members obtain legal residency here, a McClatchy investigation shows.

Felix Sater, an ex-con and one-time senior adviser in the Trump Organization, helped the Trump family scout deals in Russia. He led an effort that began in 2012 to assist the stepchildren of Viktor Khrapunov, who that year had been placed on an international detention request list by the global police agency Interpol.

...On paper, Donald Trump's business relationship with Sater ended almost a decade ago. But earlier this year, Sater re-entered Trump's orbit when he and Michael D. Cohen, one of Trump's personal lawyers, were involved with a Ukraine-Russia peace proposal that was presented to Michael Flynn, then Trump's national security advisor.

...Several key people in Trump’s orbit did business with the Kazakh clan, including the law firm of Trump campaign surrogate Rudy Giuliani and the Bayrock Group, which developed Trump-branded projects in New York, Florida, and Arizona and was founded by Tevik Arif, a politically-connected former Soviet official from Kazakhstan.

Lincoln Mitchell, a political consultant who specializes in Russia and its neighboring countries, said virtually any investment from Kazakhstan warrants scrutiny.

"It would be hard to imagine getting Kazakh investment that wasn't close to the ruling family," Mitchell said in a telephone interview from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
Again: Legitimate for Bob Mueller to scrutinize Trump's finances. Legitimate, and crucial.

Guardian/AP: CIA Director: Russia Loves to Meddle and 'Stick It to America'. "The CIA director, Mike Pompeo, said on Thursday that Russia had no plans to leave Syria and would continue to try to meddle in US affairs to 'stick it to America.' He reiterated his belief that Russia interfered in the US presidential election and described the US-Russia relationship as 'complicated.' 'I think they find any place that they can make our lives more difficult, I think they find that's something that's useful,' he said." Yep. Have you mentioned this to your boss, sir?

Speaking of Russians fucking with us... Keir Simmons and Saphora Smith at NBC News: Russia's Lavrov Says Trump May Have Met Putin More Times.
Donald Trump may have held more meetings with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit earlier this month, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday — but he shrugged off the importance of the encounters.

"They might have met even much more than just three times," he told NBC News' Keir Simmons in an exclusive interview, dismissing speculation about the leaders' meetings.

"Maybe they went to the toilet together," he joked.

Asked whether the two presidents had other conversations or met in the corridors of the G-20 meeting, Lavrov used the analogy of children mingling at a kindergarten.

"When you are bought by your parents to a kindergarten do you mix with the people who are waiting in the same room to start going to a classroom?" he asked.

He added: "I remember when I was in that position I did spend five or ten minutes in the kindergarten before they brought us to the classroom."
Fucking ridiculous. I will never stop being angry that Donald Trump is such an overconfident dipshit that he put us in the position of being mocked by the Russian Foreign Minister, who just takes the piss at will, because we are being (un)governed by a man who is little more than a Russian nesting doll of character defects.

On that note... Philip Bump at the Washington Post: Trump Can Usually Make It About a Third of the Way Through an Interview Without Mentioning Hillary Clinton. "In fact, in 19 interviews that he's conducted since becoming president, we found that Clinton tended to be mentioned much earlier than a number of Trump's other favorite topics: The 2016 election, the votes he received, the electoral college and Barack Obama. ...In 17 of 19 of his interviews, Clinton came up, on average about 36 percent of the way in. ...How much does Trump like to raise the subject of Hillary Clinton? He even mentions her more frequently and sooner than his other favorite opponent: the press." GOD, DONNIE, GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD: SHE'LL NEVER LIKE YOU.

Sara Robinson at Rewire: Trump's Sensitivity to Being Laughed at Should Alarm Everyone. "When we hear Trump say, 'They're laughing at us,' it's almost certainly because he's about to put forth a policy explicitly designed to assert dominance or act out rage, abusing the vast powers of his office to brutally stuff some inferior group or nation back into its perceived place because they have dared to challenge him. Trump's fear of being laughed at is the clearest possible sign that we have installed an abuser-in-chief in the White House. Savvy global actors have already figured out that laughing at him is a very reliable way to provoke him into ridiculous postures and self-destructive policies. But closer to home, we also need to realize that over the next three and a half years, the worst abuses of power, the most draconian displays of force, and the most profound violence this administration does to our nation and to the bodies and futures of its citizens will almost inevitably occur because Trump thought somebody was laughing at him."

Daniel Dale at the Toronto Star: Donald Trump Said 414 False Things in His First Six Months. "The Star has tracked every single word Trump has said, tweeted or issued in his name since he took the oath on Jan. 20. Other than the sheer quantity of lies, what's most striking is their outlandish obviousness. With some exceptions, this is not sophisticated deceit. Trump is the toddler with purple icing on his face declaring that a fairy must have eaten the last piece of cake."

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In other news...

[Content Note: White supremacy] Ayana Byrd at Colorlines: Climate Scientist Blows Whistle on Trump Administration's Department of the Interior.
Joel Clement's previous job: Director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Interior, where he focused on helping endangered Native communities in Alaska prepare for and adapt to climate change.

His current job, as of June 15 when he was involuntarily reassigned: Collecting royalty checks from fossil fuel companies as a senior advisor at the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

On Wednesday (July 19), Clement filed a complaint and a whistleblower disclosure form with the Office of Special Counsel, an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency for federal employees. That same day, The Washington Post published an op-ed by him titled, "I'm a Scientist. I'm Blowing the Whistle on the Trump Administration." It begins with this disclaimer:
I am not a member of the deep state. I am not big government.

I am a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant and a worried citizen. Reluctantly, as of today, I am also a whistleblower on an administration that chooses silence over science.
Clement writes that involuntary reassignments like the one he (and about 50 others) received were used to eliminate those whose views did not agree with the new administration's.
Fucking hell. And what did Clement do that targeted him for retaliation? "I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities."

[CN: LGBT hatred] Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad: Donald Trump to Nominate Another Anti-LGBTQ Secretary to the Army. "Donald Trump has announced that he plans to nominate anti-LGBT veteran and defense contractor manager Mark Esper as Secretary of the Army. Esper is a lobbyist and vice president for government relations at defense contractor Raytheon and served as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense from 2002 to 2004. ...However, GLAAD reports that Esper was also the former chair of the National Security Policy subcommittee for the 2008 Republican Party Platform, which specifically targeted LGBT service members. Additionally, he has worked with anti-LGBT lawmakers including Senator Bill Frist and served as Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President of the Heritage Foundation."

David Shepardson and Valerie Volcovici at Reuters: White House Deregulation Push Clears out Hundreds of Proposed Rules. "The White House said Thursday it had withdrawn or removed from active consideration more than 800 proposed regulations that were never finalized during the Obama administration as it works to shrink the federal government's regulatory footprint. ...The steps to eliminate regulations makes good on a much-repeated Trump campaign promise to promote business-friendly policies. Investors have anticipated the action, helping to push share prices higher on hopes that fewer regulations will boost business growth and lead to higher corporate profits."

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

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