We Resist: Day 224

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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's "Tax Reform" Speech Is Another Dumpster Fire.

Julia Manchester at the Hill: Top Russian Official Tells Tillerson New North Korea Sanctions Would Be 'Dangerous'. "Russia's top diplomat warned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson against new sanctions on North Korea, saying additional penalties against Pyongyang would be 'dangerous.' Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the warning during a phone call with his U.S. counterpart on Wednesday evening, according to The Associated Press, which cited a readout of the call from Russia's foreign ministry." Sure. This is normal. Everything is fine. There's nothing weird at all about having a president who's a wholly owned subsidiary of the fucking Kremlin.

Speaking of which...

Chad Day and Eric Tucker at the AP: Source: Grand jury Hears from Lobbyist in Trump Tower Chat. "A grand jury used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller has heard secret testimony from a Russian-American lobbyist who attended a June 2016 meeting with [Donald] Trump's eldest son, The Associated Press has learned. A person familiar with the matter confirmed to the AP that Rinat Akhmetshin had appeared before Mueller's grand jury in recent weeks. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the secret proceedings. The revelation is the clearest indication yet that Mueller and his team of investigators view the meeting, which came weeks after Trump had secured the Republican presidential nomination, as a relevant inquiry point in their broader probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election."

Josh Dawsey at Politico: Mueller Teams Pp with New York Attorney General in Manafort Probe. "Special counsel Robert Mueller's team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter. The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into [Donald] Trump's former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump's campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes." Emphasis mine. Important bit of info there.

David Kocieniewski and Caleb Melby at Bloomberg: [Content Note: Moving GIF at link] Kushners' China Deal Flop Was Part of Much Bigger Hunt for Cash. "Federal investigators are examining Kushner's finances and business dealings, along with those of other Trump associates, as they probe possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign. Kushner has already testified twice before closed congressional committees and denies mixing family business with his official role. This article, which describes new details of the company's troubled finances and its overseas fundraising efforts, is based on a review of thousands of pages of financial documents and interviews with more than two dozen executives, business partners, real estate agents, deal participants, and analysts. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private deals. Some feared legal reprisals or other retaliation from one of the country's most powerful families."

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Because we now live inside a cuckoo clock, Snopes had to debunk the ubiquitous claim that President Barack Obama was president during Hurricane Katrina. FAKE HISTORY!

Aaron Rupar at ThinkProgress: White House Acknowledges Trump Lied about 'Witnessing Firsthand' the Devastation of Harvey. "On Thursday morning, [Donald] Trump tweeted that '[a]fter witnessing first hand the horror & devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, my heart goes out even more so to the great people of Texas!' [But] Trump didn't visit any of the hardest-hit areas, and he didn't he meet with any Harvey victims." He reflexively lies about everything. Things that don't matter and things that do.

Yeganeh Torbati at Reuters: Russia Must Close Consulate, Annex Buildings in U.S., State Department Says. "The United States is requiring Russia to close [by September 2] its consulate in San Francisco and two annex buildings in Washington, D.C. and New York City, the State Department said on Thursday, in response to the Kremlin's decision to shrink the U.S. diplomatic mission in Russia. Last month Moscow ordered the United States to cut its diplomatic and technical staff in Russia by more than half, to 455 people, after Congress overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against Russia." Although this order is ostensibly just about Russia's retaliation for sanctions, the timing of the announcement serves as pushback for lecturing Tillerson on North Korea sanctions (mentioned above).

Charlie Piece at Esquire: Put Them in Prison: The Ugly Wells Fargo Saga Takes an Uglier Turn. "I'm no lawyer, although I occasionally act as legal counsel in the shebeen here, but it seems to me that what we're dealing with here are 3.5 million individual acts of fraud by Wells Fargo. They opened fake accounts with the real names of their customers, and then charged those customers for the privilege of being defrauded. This seems neither difficult nor complicated. It seems to me that you'd have to transport the RICO indictment on this criminal enterprise by barge. Instead, Wells Fargo paid a $185 million fine to the regulators, and it settled a class-action suit brought by its universe of marks to the tune of $142 million."

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Breanna Edwards at the Root: [CN: Police misconduct; eliminationist rhetoric; racism] Georgia Cop Caught on Camera Reassuring Terrified White Female Driver Pulled Over During DUI Traffic Stop: 'Remember, We Only Kill Black People'. "Y'all, these cops ain't even trying to pretend anymore. Released dash-cam footage provided to a local Georgia news station shows an officer's interaction with a white female driver who claimed she was afraid to move her hands during a traffic stop, due to all the recent videos of cops shooting and/or attacking folks. That's when the Cobb County, Ga. police officer could be heard reassuring the woman that she won't get hurt, because she's not black. 'But you're not black. Remember, we only kill black people. We only kill black people, right?' the officer, identified as Lt. Greg Abbott by WSBTV could be heard saying."

The defenses for this are, of course, amazing. He was just joking; he was being sarcastic; and, per his attorney: "He was attempting to de-escalate a situation involving an uncooperative passenger. In context, his comments were clearly aimed at attempting to gain compliance by using the passenger's own statements and reasoning to avoid making an arrest."

It's the passenger's fault! Never mind that the passenger never said anything about police killing Black people. She referred to the police killing people at traffic stops. It was the officer himself who injected the "context" of police murders of Black people. So it's pretty rich to try to justify this vile garbage by attributing it to a noncompliant subject's "own statements and reasoning." JFC.

Btw, if you watch the video at the link, Police Chief Mike Register tells the press ways in which the department has responded: "He says the brass has responded by instituting a faith forum, precinct discussion groups, training changes, and more."

A faith forum?! Well, gosh. I can see the department is taking this very seriously.


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Trump should commit to it just so he can claim not to be a racist. It would be a damnable lie, but at least we'd get our Tubmans.

In good news...

Tom Dart at the Guardian: Federal Judge Blocks Texas Ban on Sanctuary Cities in Blow for Trump. "A federal judge has issued a preliminary injunction that blocks key parts of Texas’s ban on so-called sanctuary cities two days before the law was scheduled to go into effect. The decision from judge Orlando Garcia on Wednesday is a victory for immigration rights advocates and a potential blow for other Republican-led states that may be keen to follow Texas – as well as for the Trump administration, which has vowed to crack down on sanctuary cities." YES.

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

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