We Resist: Day 197

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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 Is Horrendous in West Virginia and Keep Your Eyes on Pence.

Greg Miller, Julie Vitkovskaya, and Reuben Fischer-Baum at the Washington Post: 'This Deal Will Make Me Look Terrible': Full Transcripts of Trump's Calls with Mexico and Australia. "The Washington Post has obtained transcripts of two conversations [Donald] Trump had with foreign leaders: one with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and another with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The transcripts were prepared by the White House but have not been released. The Post is publishing reproductions rather than original documents in order to protect sources."

Spoiler Alert: They are humiliating. (I'm sure you're shocked.) The world literally laughs at us.

Franco Ordoñez at McClatchy: Diplomats Laughing at Trump over Leaked Mexico Transcript. "Seven months into the Trump administration, the world's diplomatic community has gone from throwing its hands in the air to now leaning back in their chairs and laughing, albeit morosely, at Trump's cringe-worthy display of diplomacy during the infancy of his presidency. ...[Jorge Guajardo, one of Mexico’s most senior and seasoned foreign policy hands, said] the reality is that people expect more from the United States and any leader with a 'shred of dignity' is not going to allow themselves to be spoken to in that way. ...The exchange will only make it harder for Mexico's government to work with anyone in the United States who encouraged or tried to defend Trump's behavior."

Just to be clear: The U.S. President has made it "harder for Mexico's government" to work with the United States, even though "Mexico is the third largest U.S. trading partner and a crucial ally in a wide range of security, migration, and trade issues."

Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn't happy about the transcripts being leaked:

That's just the head of the Justice Department threatening the free press with an unconstitutional act. Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

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This seems concerning: Russian bots are promulgating hostile rhetoric toward National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster after he, empowered by newly-minted Chief of Staff John Kelly, started cleaning house of his predecessor Michael Flynn's people lingering on the National Security Council.

Further, and relatedly, the suspicion and attendant targeting of McMaster is creating, and reflective of, deep divisions in the White House. At Business Insider, Natasha Bertrand explains:
The dismissals of Ezra Cohen-Watnick, Rich Higgins, and Derek Harvey have exacerbated friction between McMaster and the White House's more nationalist wing, which is led by Bannon and has [Donald] Trump's ear.

"There is a split in the White House between the Bannon camp of ideologues and the McMaster-Mattis-Tillerson camp of more centrist intellectuals," Pete Mansoor, a retired Army colonel who worked closely with McMaster, told Politico. "And this conflict is playing out in real time as the Trump administration tries to flesh out its foreign policy and national security policy."

...Since the firings, administration officials speaking anonymously to conservative-leaning news outlets have accused McMaster of being "anti-Israel" and opposing "everything the president wants to do."

..."H.R. McMaster is a Deep State Plant who Opposes the Trump Agenda," tweeted Mike Cernovich, a prominent far-right provocateur who describes himself as an "American nationalist."

Cernovich set up a website this week called McMaster Leaks, on which he alleged the general had "been leaking information to David Petraeus and has had direct contact with George Soros," a billionaire, left-leaning philanthropist and frequent bogeyman of the far-right.

...Twitter accounts that have been linked to Russian influence operations have jumped on the anti-McMaster bandwagon, too, using hashtags like #FireMcMaster and #deepstate, according to a newly launched website that aims to track Russian propaganda efforts in real time.
By way of reminder, this is the same strategy that Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner claim they used to win the election, which is coincidentally (ahem) one of the strategies Russia was using to interfere with and influence the election.

Russia is still meddling. The only question is whether the Bannon Camp of the White House is still using this strategy, too — and whether they are coordinating (now, or still) with the Russians.

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Judd Legum at ThinkProgress: Senate Protects Mueller, Blocks Trump from Making Recess Appointment. "The Senate unanimously approved a procedure that will block Trump from making recess appointments during August. The move is the one of the first significant actions Republican Senators have taken to restrain Trump's power. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) moved to hold a series of 'pro-forma' sessions while senators are away for the month of August. Every few days a Republican senator will preside over an empty chamber for about a minute. The move will prevent Trump from filling posts that would ordinarily require Senate confirmation."

This is good. Too little and too late already, but good.

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image of Newsweek's latest cover, featuring Donald Trump in a recliner eating junkfood, accompanied by the text: 'LAZY BOY: Donald Trump is bored and tired. Imagine how bad he'd feel if he did any work.'

Newsweek's latest cover is something. I mean, I'm not thrilled about the implication that anyone who eats junkfood is lazy (yawn), but I do commend them on a cover that will surely elicit maximum rage from its subject.

And the cover story itself, by Alexander Nazaryan, is scathing: Trump, America's Boy King: Golf and Television Won't Make America Great Again. The entire thing is worth your time to read, but here are a few of my favorite passages:
Pence wrote that "Trump's accomplishments are nothing short of historic." Even by the dismayingly loose standards of political discourse, that is untrue. ... One act renamed a courthouse for Fred Thompson, the actor and Republican senator.
"Make America great again" was policy shock and awe, not small-bore executive memoranda celebrated as if each were the Louisiana Purchase.
For all his dealmaking skills, Trump hasn't shown much ability to negotiate with Congress, probably because it would require a knowledge of what members of Congress want, need and, above all, fear. And that would require doing homework. It's much easier to just threaten Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski on Twitter. It's also a lot less effective.

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This is also concerning: The following two tweets showed up back-to-back in my Twitter feed this morning.

image of a tweet authored by Jared Yates Sexton, quoting a Fox News segment in which Judge Jeanine has threatened 'unrest' if there is an indictment against Trump or anyone in his family, about which Jared has commented: 'She said 'an uproar' and an 'uprising.' We're going to see the narrative change to Right Wing mentioning violent outcomes from investigation'
image of a tweet authored by Laurence Tribe, quoting a tweet from Julian Assange showing video of protests in Venezuela and reading 'This is happening in Venezuela right now. If the #DeepState succeeds in ousting @realDonaldTrump, expect the same.', about which Laurence has commented: 'Assange pretends he's forecasting violence but he's actually fomenting it.'

This is what's bubbling up from the extreme right and the extreme left: Threats of violence, being proffered as concerned warnings.

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And finally...

David Herzig and Bridget Crawford at the Washington Post: This Trump Real Estate Deal Looks Awfully Like Criminal Tax Fraud. "According to a recent story by ProPublica and the Real Deal, in April 2016 a limited liability company managed by Trump sold two condominium apartments to a limited liability company managed by Eric Trump. They were on the 13th and 14th floors of a 14-story, full-service, doorman building at 100 Central Park South in Manhattan. This is a prime Midtown neighborhood, yet the sale price for each condo was just $350,000. ...Maybe the two units in question were in terrible shape, but two months before the sale to Eric Trump's LLC, they were advertised for $790,000 (on the 13th floor) and $800,000 (on the 14th floor), according to ProPublica." Fucking hell.

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

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