We Resist: Day 196

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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: A Glimpse into One of Our Possible Dystopian Futures and "Sanders Democrats" Don't Own the Left. Also: Eastsidekate and I talked about purity politics.

As part of his morning tweetshitz today, Donald Trump tweeted this mess:

There's a lot to unpack in that one little tweet (isn't there always?), but the most critical thing is that Trump is now openly warring with Congress despite its Republican majority. Remember when Reince Priebus was shitcanned, and I warned that it signaled a potential break with the Republican Party? "Priebus was, besides Pence, the last one with strong ties to the Republican Party. That could signal a significant break, too."

If the administration is going rogue from the GOP, that is another clear indication of its authoritarian strategy — especially with Trump making noise about Congress encroaching "on presidential authority." Not good. Not good at all.

Speaking of Russia...

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Jeff Stein at Newsweek: How Russia Is Using LinkedIn as a Tool of War Against Its U.S. Enemies. "LinkedIn provides a rich hunting ground for Russian agents. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, most of its estimated 500 million, predominantly white-collar subscribers use it to advertise their expertise, seek employment, or engage with peers in expert-based discussion groups. To bolster their credentials, most — even current and former U.S. national security officials — post detailed résumés and recommendations from their colleagues. That provides fodder for Russian intelligence to gather detailed information on its most formidable critics and cast doubt on the truth of those accomplishments."

John Sipher and Steve Hall at the New York Times: Oh, Wait — Maybe It Was Collusion.
Did the Trump campaign collude with Russian agents trying to manipulate the course of the 2016 election? Some analysts have argued that the media has made too much of the collusion narrative; that Jared Kushner and Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with Kremlin-linked Russians last year was probably innocent (if ill-advised); or that Russian operatives probably meant for the meeting to be discovered because they were not trying to recruit Mr. Kushner and Mr. Trump as agents, but mainly trying to undermine the American political system.

We disagree with these arguments. We like to think of ourselves as fair-minded and knowledgeable, having between us many years of experience with the C.I.A. dealing with Russian intelligence services. It is our view not only that the Russian government was running some sort of intelligence operation involving the Trump campaign, but also that it is impossible to rule out the possibility of collusion between the two.
Welp. Take note, Mr. Mueller! And speaking of Mueller...

Matt Shuham at TPM: Senators to Introduce Bill to Protect Robert Mueller. "Sens. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) plan to introduce legislation meant to shield Department of Justice special counsels from political influence — with an eye toward protecting Robert Mueller, the special counsel at the head of the department's Russian election meddling investigation and a target of the Trump administration. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Tillis and Coons' legislation would allow any Justice Department special counsel to challenge his or her firing in court, and to have it reviewed by a three-judge panel. The bill would apply retroactively to May 17, 2017, AP reported — the day Mueller was assigned as a special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein."

Pam Vogel at MediaMatters: Pro-Trump Outlet Sinclair Broadcast Group Is Turning Local News into Trump TV.
Local television news giant Sinclair Broadcast Group has been making headlines in recent weeks as it seeks to both double down on its requirement that its stations run mandated conservative commentary segments and vastly expand its reach into new major cities across the United States.

Plenty of recent major profiles of Sinclair have discussed its unusual tactic of designating certain conservative commentary segments it produces in its national studios as "must-runs," meaning that every Sinclair-owned local television news station — all 73, across 33 states and the District of Columbia — is required to air them.

...The latest Sinclair profiles often focus on the "Bottom Line with Boris" segments starring former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn, who is now employed as Sinclair's chief political analyst. Epshteyn has been producing 60- to 90-second commentary segments several times a week since Sinclair hired him in April. Last month, Sinclair announced it would be upping Epshteyn's segments from airing three times per week to nine.

Employees at Sinclair stations across the country, from Seattle, WA, to Washington, D.C., are expressing concerns about the clearly conservative must-run segments pushed by Sinclair executives.

...Sinclair is empowering Epshteyn to broadcast regular segments effusively praising his former employer to local TV news viewers across the country who aren't signing up to watch garbled propaganda every evening.
There is much more at the link. This is an important issue to understand, because Sinclair essentially provides Trump all the benefits of a state-run propaganda outlet with the illusion of independence from the government. Scary shit.

Josh Rogin at the Washington Post: Tillerson Leaves the Community of Democracies in the Dark. "The State Department is supposed to host a major international conference next month, bringing leaders from more than 100 democracies together in Washington. But as of now, nobody involved knows how or if the conference will take place because for several months Secretary of State Rex Tillerson hasn't signed off on the plans. For some lawmakers and the pro-democracy community, the State Department's handling of the issue is only the latest in a long series of signs that the Trump administration is turning away from the United States' role as champion of democracy and human rights around the world." OH FOR THE LOVE OF MAUDE!!!

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Kushner Cos. Subpoenaed over Use of Visas to Secure Foreign Investment. "Kushner Companies, the real estate company run by Jared Kushner's family, has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors in New York over the company's use of the EB-5 visa program, which grants green cards to foreigners who invest in U.S. businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday night. ...The Kushner Companies' use of EB-5 visas came under scrutiny recently when Jared Kushner's sister, Nicole Meyer, mentioned her brother's new role in the White House during a presentation to potential Chinese investors."

Betsy Woodruff at the Daily Beast: Trump's DHS Ordered Agents to Block Congressmen During Travel Ban. "On the chaotic day the Trump administration's travel ban went into effect, high-level Homeland Security officials directed their staff at airports around the country to stiff-arm members of Congress and treat lawyers with deep suspicion. Members of Congress say they're shocked by the orders, uncovered in documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from The Daily Beast and The James Madison Project, both of which were represented by the law office of Mark S. Zaid. 'I'm extremely troubled that CBP [Customs and Border Protection] employees would be instructed by superiors to ignore Congressional representatives trying to do their job, especially under such circumstances,' said Sen. Cory Booker."

To be clear: The Trump administration explicitly instructed Customs and Border Protection to interfere with members of Congress working for their constituents. That is absolutely chilling.

[CN: Nativism] Rachel Chason at the Washington Post: He Went to ICE to Tell Agents He Had Gotten into College; Now He and His Brother Have Been Deported. "The brothers have no criminal records and would not have been a priority for deportation by the Obama administration, said Matthew Bourke, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. [Donald] Trump's administration, in contrast, has made clear that any undocumented immigrant is subject to being expelled from this country. And so, on the same day that the White House endorsed a proposal to curtail legal immigration to the United States, the brothers were put on a plane to San Salvador." Disgusting. This administration is vile.

[CN: Nativism] Kate McKenna at the CBC: Montreal's Olympic Stadium Used to House Surge in Asylum Seekers Crossing from U.S. "A temporary welcome centre has been opened at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal to house a new wave of asylum seekers coming from the United States to Quebec, many of them Haitians. 'We've never seen this before,' said Francine Dupuis, spokesperson for PRAIDA, the provincial government organization that helps claimants in their first months. 'It's really quite a bit more intense than what we're used to.' On Wednesday, asylum seekers were taken to the Olympic Stadium by bus. Among them were children and pregnant women." Goddammit. I am so angry and so sad about what is happening in this country. Fucking hell.

Greg Miller at the Washington Post: Trump Urged Mexican President to End His Public Defiance on Border Wall, Transcript Reveals. "[I]n his first White House call with Mexico's president, Trump described his vow to charge Mexico as a growing political problem, pressuring the Mexican leader to stop saying publicly that his government would never pay. 'You cannot say that to the press,' Trump said repeatedly, according to a transcript of the Jan. 27 call obtained by The Washington Post. Trump made clear that he realized the funding would have to come from other sources but threatened to cut off contact if Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto continued to make defiant statements." Unreal. Absolutely unreal.

[CN: Racism; violence] E.A. Crunden at ThinkProgress: NAACP Issues Travel Warning for Missouri. "People of color and other minorities have been warned not to visit the state of Missouri after Republican Gov. Eric Greitens signed a draconian bill into law that directly threatens minorities, advocates claim. In a sweeping advisory from June that began gaining traction on a national level last week, members of the NAACP voted to approve the travel warning, which was extended to people of color, women, and the queer community. The NAACP advised those groups that their civil rights may be violated while visiting the state. The organization also advised 'extreme caution' to both travelers and minorities currently living in Missouri." Blub. Like I've said before, Trump didn't invent bigotry, but my god has he empowered it.

No kidding.

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

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