We Resist: Day 251

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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: Puerto Rico Still Waits for Relief and Acting DEA Chief Abruptly Resigns.

[Content Note: Bullying] Nicole Lafond at TPM: Trump Physically Mocks McCain and McConnell in Private. "Imitating McCain's thumbs-down gesture, which he used to indicate his no vote in the last Obamacare repeal vote in July, Trump reportedly mocked the gesticulation at [a private dinner with conservative activists at the White House this week], complete with a facial expression. He called McCain 'disgraceful' for his decision on health care, Politico and Axios reported. At the private dinner he also called McConnell 'weak' for his failure to repeal Obamacare and for not changing the Senate filibuster rule that would only require 51 votes to pass bills. Trump also physically mocked McConnell, according to Axios, which reported Trump mimicked McConnell's posture by slumping his shoulders and having a lethargic demeanor."

Hardly a surprise, given that Trump has physically mocked disabled people in public. Still, it's absolutely appalling that we have a president who thinks this behavior is okay. He is such a terrible person. He is such a terrible person.

Speaking of which! At Towleroad: Here Are All the Tweets Trump Just Deleted After Primary Loss of Candidate He Backed. "Following Roy Moore's primary win last night in Alabama Senate race last night, Donald Trump began deleting tweets backing Luther Strange. While some of Trump's tweets remain active, many of them were taken down. That caught the attention of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW)."

If you ever want to peruse all the tweets Trump has deleted, in possible violation of federal recordkeeping laws, ProPublica has been tracking them since May 18, 2015.

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AP/Guardian: Trump and Republicans Pitch Plan to Cut Taxes for Individuals and Companies. "Donald Trump and congressional Republicans were proposing a far-reaching plan on Wednesday that would cut taxes for individuals and corporations, simplify the tax system, and nearly double the standard deduction used by most Americans. 'Too many in our country are shut out of the dynamism of the US economy, which has led to the justifiable feeling that the system is rigged against hardworking Americans,' says the blueprint, obtained by the Associated Press. 'With significant and meaningful tax reform and relief, we will create a fairer system that levels the playing field and extends economic opportunities to American workers, small businesses, and middle-income families.'" I don't guess I have to tell you that is absolute horseshit.

Damian Paletta and Mike DeBonis at the Washington Post: GOP Proposes Deep Tax Cuts, Provides Few Details on How to Pay for Them. "The document, titled 'Unified Framework For Fixing Our Broken Tax Code,' leaves many key questions unanswered. In it, the White House and Republican congressional leaders do not identify the numerous tax breaks they say will be removed in order to offset some of the trillions of dollars in revenue lost by cutting tax rates. ..."The White House and GOP leaders negotiated for months and so far have only agreed in large part on the taxes they want to cut. They propose, among other things, cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent [and] collapsing the seven individual income tax brackets into three, and allowing more people to qualify for the Child Tax Credit, which is designed to help low-income working families."

Howard Gold at MarketWatch: GOP Tax Plan Assures Rising National Debt Forever.
We'll surely hear about how these tax cuts will boost economic growth and create thousands of well-paying jobs in the U.S. But we're not likely to hear much about how Congress or the Trump administration expects to pay for them, because the simple fact is, they can't...

That means the national debt will continue to grow, despite all the promises of Trump and the Republican Party leadership, who have been as adamant about the ballooning debt for the past six or seven years as they were about repealing and replacing Obamacare.

...The point is, unpaid-for tax cuts add as much to the national debt as food stamps or disability payments or other benefits for "undeserving" people. But Republicans won't insist on spending cuts to offset the lost revenue, as they used to do when President Barack Obama was in the White House.

Why? Because they still believe in the self-serving fantasy that tax cuts stimulate economic growth and create jobs. This notion has been debunked so thoroughly I shouldn't have to discuss it...
But we are all obliged to discuss it. Again and again. Because the Republican Party are big believers in recycling when it comes to their debunked, discredited, garbage policy ideas.

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[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Brian Ross and Matthew Mosk at ABC News: Special Counsel Probing Flow of Russian-American Money to Trump Political Funds. "A review of Trump campaign records conducted by the Center for Responsive Politics for ABC News found large contributions coming from two émigrés born in the former Soviet Union who now hold U.S. citizenship, and from a third American who heads the subsidiary of a large Russian private equity firm. Those donations began flowing to the Republican National Committee, the group says, just as Trump was on the verge of securing the Republican nomination and culminated in two large gifts — totaling $1.25 million — from these individuals to the Trump inaugural fund following his victory." Just normal campaign stuff, cough.

Josh Dawsey at Politico: Russian-Funded Facebook Ads Backed Stein, Sanders, and Trump. "Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the beneficiary of at least one of the Russian-bought political ads on Facebook that federal government officials suspect were intended to influence the 2016 election. Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended, according to a person with knowledge of the ads."

Kate Zavadski and Ben Collins at the Daily Beast: Zuckerberg Blew Off Russian Troll Warnings Before the Attack on America. "Facebook's less-than-urgent responses to these examples of an autocratic foreign power interfering in the domestic affairs of a democratic country shouldn't be altogether surprising, however. The company has a track record of acquiescence to the demands of authoritarian regimes." Cool.

AP/Channel3000: State Still Seeking Details from Homeland Security. "Wisconsin's chief elections officer says he still doesn't known whether U.S. Homeland Security officials have given the state all available information about a potential attempt by the Russian government to hack voter registration data. Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Mike Haas says the state intends to talk with Homeland Security officials on Wednesday to 'again attempt to confirm whether they have shared the full information they have available.' ...Tuesday night Homeland Security reiterated that it believes 21 states were the target of Russian government hackers seeking vulnerabilities and access to the U.S. election infrastructure."

Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine.)

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Andriy Perun at the AFP/Yahoo News: Tens of Thousands Evacuated from Ukraine Arms Depot 'Sabotage' Blasts. "Ukrainian authorities evacuated more than 30,000 people Wednesday from the central Vinnytsia region after a huge arms depot storing missiles caught fire and exploded in what prosecutors said was a possible act of 'sabotage.' It was the second major incident affecting a large Ukrainian weapons storage site this year. Kiev had blamed a deadly March munitions blast on Moscow and its Russian-backed insurgents fighting Ukrainian forces in the war-wracked east — a charge both denied. The ex-Soviet republic's military prosecutor's office said Wednesday it had launched an investigation into possible 'sabotage at a military facility.'"

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Damien Sharkov: Russian Forces Start Air Bombing Drill Near North Korea Border. "Russia's armed forces in the country's far east have kicked off a large air drill near borders with China and North Korea that will culminate with a practice air bombing, state news agency Itar-Tass said Tuesday. The drill will draft the aviation of Khabarovsk region which spans a considerable stretch of Russia's Pacific coastline and Primorie region, which has Russia's short land border with North Korea. ...Earlier this month Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted that his country was coming to accept North Korea's nuclear capabilities as a certainty rather than a possibility, telling the U.S. that irrespective of sanctions, North Koreans would 'eat grass' if it meant acquiring nuclear arms."

[CN: Genocide; displacement] Anna Borshchevskaya at Forbes: How Putin Checkmated the US in Syria.
September 30 will mark the two year anniversary of Moscow's intervention in Syria that saved Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from an eminent collapse. Assad is largely responsible for one of the worst humanitarian tragedies since World War II. Today, in no small part thanks to Russian President Vladimir Putin, he has emerged in the strongest position since massive uprisings swept the country in March 2011.

...Putin's support for Assad's ethnic cleansing campaign exacerbated massive and destabilizing refugee flows into Europe. As long as Assad or someone like him remains in power, the majority of refugees will not return home. Assad's traditional foes, such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have come to accept Moscow's view on Assad, and even Saudi Arabia may be shifting its position in Moscow's favor.

Most importantly for Putin, he can now showcase cooperation with the West — on his terms. He created a perception of Russia as a great power broker and obtained international recognition for his latest ceasefire initiative in southwest Syria that led to establishment of de-escalation zones after Putin met with Trump in July of this year.
Note above that every U.S. presidential candidate except Hillary Clinton proposed allying with Putin to help him achieve these goals.

[CN: Homophobia; violence]

That, too, has Putin's fingerprints all over it — and all of this is only the tip of the iceberg of Putin's campaign of destabilization and large-scale eliminationist violence.

And the U.S. president has nothing but praise for him.

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Andrew Restuccia and Tara Palmeri at Politico: Trump to Set Refugee Cap at 45,000. "Donald Trump will limit the number of refugees entering the United States in the next fiscal year to 45,000, the lowest level in decades, according to three administration officials."

Dino Grandoni at the Washington Post: Trump's Hiring Freeze Shrunk National Weather Service Staff Before Hurricanes Hit. "Ahead of what would turn out to be a potentially record-breaking hurricane season, the National Weather Service had 216 vacant positions it could not fill due to a government-wide hiring freeze imposed by the Trump administration, according to a recently released document. Some of those Weather Service vacancies listed in the document, obtained by the Sierra Club through a Freedom of Information Act and shared with The Washington Post, were in locations that would be hit by the major hurricanes that barreled through the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Julianna Goldman and Laura Stickler for CBS News: 3 Cabinet Officials Under Fire for Taking Costly Flights. "EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's frequent flights to his home state of Oklahoma have attracted the attention of the EPA's inspector general. It's not just Pruitt. At the Treasury Department, the inspector general is looking at Secretary Steve Mnuchin's use of military aircraft. And the Health and Human Services inspector general is reviewing Secretary Tom Price's chartered flights that cost $400,000." But let's cut taxes and thus government revenue! Wheeeeeeeeeee!

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

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