We Resist: Day 187

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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: McCain to Return for Healthcare Vote and Trump Is a Terrible President — and a Terrible Boss and Senate Healthcare Open Thread.


Allegra Kirkland at TPM: Manafort to Provide Notes from Trump Tower Meeting to Senate Panel. "When he meets with Senate investigators this week, Paul Manafort is expected to provide contemporaneous notes he took during a June 2016 meeting billed as part of the Russian government's effort to help the Trump campaign, Politico reported. An anonymous source 'close to the investigation' told Politico that the former Trump campaign chairman is expected to answer questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee about the Trump Tower meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya."

Again, good. But whether this amounts to anything, like the entire rest of these investigations, is ultimately contingent on Republicans' willingness to hold Donald Trump accountable — and they still, at this juncture, appear wholly uninclined to do so.

To the contrary, they are still utterly unwilling to even say critical words about Trump's ravenous bid for authoritarian rule. On his controversial (to put it mildly) attempts to passive-aggressively oust Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which itself is laying the groundwork for firing Special Counsel Bob Mueller, here is what Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had to say:

Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker at the Washington Post: New Communications Director Moves Toward Possible Staff Purge at White House. (Emphasis mine.)
Anthony Scaramucci, the flashy financier President Trump hired to overhaul the White House communications operation, is exercising a broad mandate from the president and intends to follow through on threats to purge aides he believes are disloyal to Trump and leaking to the press, officials with knowledge of the fast-moving effort said Monday.

...Scaramucci wants the communications shop focused on serving a single client — the president — and is looking outside of the White House to recruit new advisers with professional experience, especially on television. He is considering bringing on corporate communications specialists as well as people who have on-air experience, according to people briefed on his plans. Scaramucci has deep contacts at Fox News, where he was a paid contributor and hosted a weekly show on Fox Business Network.

..."You can either adapt Trump into the presidency or you can adapt the presidency into Trump," said Barry Bennett, a former Trump campaign adviser. "The latter is the only way it will ever work, and I think that's what we're seeing."
Purges, propaganda, and fundamentally altering the office of the presidency. This is authoritarianism at work.

And, like Russian collusion, it's right out in the open. They're not even trying to conceal it. Again, the audacity stuns people into inaction: It couldn't really be an authoritarian takeover if it's this brazen! Yes, yes it could. And it is.

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Katie Mettler and Derek Hawkins at the Washington Post: Trump's Boy Scouts Speech Broke with 80 Years of Presidential Tradition. "For 80 years, American presidents have been speaking to the National Scout Jamboree, a gathering of tens of thousands of youngsters from around the world eager to absorb the ideas of service, citizenship, and global diplomacy. In keeping with the Scouts' traditions, all eight presidents and surrogates who have represented them have stayed far, far away from partisan politics. [But Trump] bragged about the 'record' crowd size, bashed President Barack Obama, criticized the 'fake media,' and trashed Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. In the lengthy 35-minute speech, the president threatened to fire his health and human services secretary if he couldn't persuade members of Congress to vote for the Republican health-care bill."

Trump also told the Scouts that "under the Trump administration, you'll be saying Merry Christmas again when you go shopping" and (mis)characterized Obamacare as "a horrible thing…that's really hurting us." Further: "At another point, Trump shared a meandering story about a wealthy developer who sold his business, bought a big yacht, got 'bored' with his debauched life of 'yachts and sailing and all of the things he did in the south of France and other places,' and then ultimately decided to buy his business back."

Yes, Trump smashed 80 years of nonpartisan tradition, but he did it in a very specific way — attempting to co-opt a boys' youth organization and conflate their values with his own: "Trump conflated his politics with the values and work of the Scouts. Despite the fact that most in the audience would have been too young to vote last fall, he portrayed his victory in the presidential election as 'an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that voted to make America great again.'"

The Boy Scouts' leadership has a history of being conservative in a way that has, at times, varied between troubling and outright bigoted. But even they are uncomfortable with Trump's shameless "Trump Youth" approach, issuing a milquetoast but still distancing statement today.
The Boy Scouts of America is wholly non-partisan and does not promote any position, product, service, political candidate or philosophy. The invitation for the sitting U.S. President to visit the National Jamboree is a long-standing tradition and is in no way an endorsement of any political party or specific politics.

The sitting U.S. President serves as the BSA's honorary president. It is our long-standing custom to invite the U.S. President to the National Jamboree.

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[Content Note: White supremacy] Matthew Sheffield at Salon: Alt-Right Activists Say Trump and Bannon Are Giving Them "Space to Destroy" by Keeping FBI Away. "While the neo-fascist alt-right is not entirely happy with [Donald] Trump's first few months in office, one thing for which they are grateful is that the new administration is giving them free reign to engage in building their movement, completely unencumbered by any law enforcement scrutiny of their activities. ...'He's going to give us space to operate, and frankly, it is space to destroy,' [said Michael Peinovich, the creator of The Right Stuff, an alt-right podcast network said during a Sunday guest appearance on 'Fash the Nation,' the movement's most popular web radio show]. ...'We have to use these four years to grow into something that can't be defeated,' Peinovich said, referring to possible future investigations of neo-fascist groups."

[CN: White supremacy] Aram Roston and Joel Anderson at BuzzFeed: The Moneyman Behind the Alt-Right. "William Regnery II, a man who inherited millions but struggled in business, tried for 15 years to ignite a racist political movement — and failed. Then an unforeseen phenomenon named Donald Trump gave legitimacy to what Regnery had seeded long before: The alt-right. Now, the press-shy white separatist breaks his silence."

This shit is difficult to read, but it's important to fully understand the breadth of what's happening in this country among white supremacists, and how Donald Trump has empowered them.

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[CN: War on agency]

Fuck. That is right near my old home. This is what Mike Pence's policies have wrought in Indiana.

[CN: Trans hatred; war on agency] Teddy Wilson at Rewire: Texas Republicans 'Subverting' Democracy in Their Rush to Pass Anti-Transgender, Anti-Abortion Laws. "The breakneck speed at which the state senate has moved during the special session has been criticized by Democrats for subverting the democratic process. Several senate committees have held hearings on a range of controversial proposals, including increased restrictions on abortion care and regulations targeting transgender people. State Sen. José Rodríguez (D-El Paso), chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, told the Texas Observer that senate leadership is not allowing lawmakers or the public sufficient time to review the legislation being considered. 'And it's important for people to be prepared to address particular bills when the hearing comes, so it's not acceptable,' Rodríguez said. 'The bottom line is this is subverting the deliberative process.'" Sounds familiar.

[CN: Guns]

[CN: Animal and environmental harm] Ayana Byrd at Colorlines: Feds Will Skip Environmental Impact Study Before Building Border Wall Through Wildlife Refuge. "Though funding for the estimated $21.6 billion U.S.-Mexico wall has not yet been secured, the federal government continues to move forward with construction. In the latest development, the Trump Administration intends to invoke a 2005 anti-terror law to avoid conducting an environmental review of the impact the wall will have on a national wildlife refuge. Per the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), environmental impact studies are required for large-scale projects. But Reuters reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will use the REAL ID Act to bypass having to conduct one, according to two government sources."

[CN: Police brutality; death] Guardian/AP: Woman 'Slapped' Minnesota Police Car Before Justine Damond Shooting. "A woman approached the back of a Minneapolis police car and 'slapped' it shortly before an Australian woman was shot and killed by an officer, according to a search warrant filed by the Minnesota bureau of criminal apprehension (BCA). The search warrant, which was obtained by Minnesota Public Radio, did not say that the woman was Justine Damond. It said: 'Upon police arrival, a female 'slaps' the back of the patrol squad … After that, it is unknown to BCA agents what exactly happened, but the female became deceased in the alley.' ...Noor, who was in the passenger seat of a squad car, shot across his partner in the driver's seat and hit Damond. His partner told authorities that he was startled by a loud noise shortly before Damond appeared at the police vehicle. The search warrant did not say whether the slap was the loud noise Noor's partner described, MPR reported."

All of that is so much spinning and bullshit to try to justify the shooting. They won't say definitively it was Damond who slapped the car, nor even whether the alleged slap was the loud noise that startled the officer who didn't even do the shooting. But let's say it was her and it was the slapping that startled one of the officers. Let's say it even startled both of them. SO FUCKING WHAT. Being startled by a noise isn't a justification for killing someone, for fuck's sake! Goddammit.

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

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