We Resist: Day 204

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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 Thanks Putin for Expelling Diplomats; Says "It Will Save a Lot of Money" and Trump Continues to Ramp Up Rhetoric on North Korea.

Shane Savitsky at Axios: 82% of Americans Fear Nuclear War with North Korea. "Most Americans are both paying attention to the news surrounding the nuclear threat from North Korea and worried about the potential for war, according to a new poll from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic polling firm, given exclusively to Axios. ...Sizable majorities in both parties (82% of Democrats, 68% of Republicans) favor exhausting all diplomatic options in order to avoid war, and even bigger majorities (90% of Democrats, 80% of Republicans) support direct talks with North Korea before military action." In response, Donald Trump gave the nation the finger.

Charlie Pierce at Esquire: Did You Catch Everything [Donald Trump] Said [Yesterday] Afternoon? Charlie's got all the highlights, such as they are, from Trump's press conference yesterday, where he rambled well past the alotted time, because the only time he likes being president is when there's a camera pointed at him.

Speaking of which, at the Washington Post, Philip Rucker reports on how Trump just blew past his advisors to keep talking:
Midway through [Donald] Trump's second media availability in a single afternoon here Thursday, his press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, held up a sign signaling to the boss that it was time to drop the curtain on the show.

"One more question," it read.

The president either did not see her plea or opted to disregard it, because he kept answering questions — for 20 minutes straight, after having already fielded them for seven minutes in the earlier session.

This was Trump in his element: At his luxurious private golf club here in Bedminster, the cameras trained on him, his vice president and national security advisers looking on admiringly, he parried queries — at times even gleefully — like a tennis player.

..."It was like he was a dam that had suddenly burst free and he was able to unload a lot that was on his mind," presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said.

At both media availabilities, which had been billed as "sprays," an official term for photo opportunities, Trump's new chief of staff, John F. Kelly, was relegated to merely watching the spectacle. The retired four-star Marine Corps general has, with great fanfare, worked to instill order in the White House, including a more disciplined message from the administration and more limited access to the president.

But two things Kelly apparently could not control on Thursday: What Trump would say next or how long he would keep talking.

"This is what General Kelly will learn very quickly, which is when you put this guy in a cage and think you're controlling him, things like this happen," said one Trump confidant, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.
Trump cannot be controlled. Trump gonna Trump. And the more anyone tries to control him, the more out of control he will get.

One thing that's interesting to me is how little public expectation there is of Mike Pence to try to have some influence over Trump. Pence just keeps skating on by, with zero expectation and zero judgment. And he continually just pretends like this helpless creature who doesn't even know anything — which, as I've pointed out many times, is abject bullshit. I was glad to see Seth Meyers make this point very clearly on his show last night. Thanks, Seth!

[Meyers reads a quote from short-lived White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci in which Scaramucci says that Mike Pence "can't believe what the fuck is going on."]

Speaking into camera, Meyers says: Oh he can't? Mike Pence can't believe it? Did he not hear about the Access Hollywood tape, or the Trump University fraud lawsuit, or calling Mexicans rapists, or the Russian entanglement? Mike Pence knows exactly what's going on! He agreed to play back-up quarterback to a guy with two bad knees who only throws interceptions. Bullshit Mike Pence can't believe it!

I'm sorry. It's just I haven't — I haven't slept since November.
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In other news, Trump continues to use the presidency to enrich himself. Jonathan O'Connell at the Washington Post: Trump D.C. Hotel Turns $2 Million Profit in Four Months.
Donald Trump's company turned a $1.97 million profit at its opulent Trump International Hotel so far in 2017, dramatically beating its expectations and giving the first hard numbers to critics who charge that Trump is profiting from his presidency.

The Trump Organization had projected that it would lose $2.1 million during the first four months of 2017 as it established a new hotel and convention business in the nation's capital, according to newly released federal documents.

Instead the hotel, with its namesake in the White House down the street, is already turning a hefty profit and charging more for its rooms than most or all of the city's other hotels.

The $4.1 million swing from projected losses to profitability represents a 192 percent improvement over what the Trump family planned to make when the company opened the hotel in the fall.

Something something even more corruption. Dell Cameron at Gizmodo: YouTube Stars Who Met with Feds to 'Grow' Trump-Themed Business Were Paid by Trump Campaign. "A pair of familiar faces from the 2016 campaign trail randomly popped up on the US Commerce Department's Twitter account Monday afternoon. But by Tuesday morning they were gone. YouTube stars Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson — better known as 'Diamond' and 'Silk,' respectively — were invited to the Commerce Department's headquarters this week, apparently to discuss ways in which they could expand their business. The pair runs a political blog aimed at promoting [Donald] Trump and denigrating his critics." Also cool.

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In case you were wondering if the political press is still mostly garbage, the answer is a resounding yes.

If that weren't enough to convince you, maybe this? [Content Note: Nazism; white supremacy; misogyny] Abby Baird at ThinkProgress: None of These Awful Moments Got Jeffrey Lord Fired from CNN, But a Two-Word Tweet Did. For example: "In a speech, flanked by cops, Trump said police should be rougher when making arrests. His comments were denounced by a number of police forces around the country — but not Lord! Lord thought we were just becoming a 'humorless' society."

And if that still weren't enough to convince you, how about the media getting this so badly, badly wrong?


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

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