We Resist: Day 266

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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 Fannie: Why Hasn't Hillary?

There is so much critically important news today. It's an unusual amount of fuckery, even by Trumpian standards.

Amy Goldstein at the Washington Post: Trump Signs Order to Eliminate ACA Insurance Rules, Undermine Marketplaces.
Trump signed an executive order Thursday morning intended to allow small businesses and potentially individuals to buy a long-disputed type of health insurance that skirts state regulations and Affordable Care Act protections.

The White House and allies portray the president's move to expand access to "association health plans" as wielding administrative powers to accomplish what congressional Republicans have failed to achieve: tearing down the law's insurance marketplaces and letting some Americans buy skimpier coverage at lower prices. The order is Trump's biggest step to carry out a broad but ill-defined directive he issued his first night in office for agencies to lessen ACA regulations from the Obama administration.

Critics, who include state insurance commissioners, most of the health-insurance industry, and mainstream policy specialists, predict that a proliferation of such health plans will have damaging ripple effects: driving up costs for consumers with serious medical conditions and prompting more insurers to flee the law's marketplaces. Part of Trump's actions, they say, will spark court challenges over their legality.
This is so fucking bad. Goldstein's colleague at the Washington Post, Paige Winfield Cunningham, writes (emphasis original): "Back in 1992, the Government Accountability Office issued a scathing report on these multiple employer welfare arrangements (known as MEWAs; they're pronounced 'mee-wahs') in which small businesses could pool funds to get the lower-cost insurance typically available only to large employers. These MEWAs, said the government, left at least 398,000 participants and their beneficiaries with more than $123 million in unpaid claims between January 1988 and June 1991. Furthermore, states reported massive and widespread problems with MEWAs. More than 600 plans in nearly every U.S. state failed to comply with insurance laws. Thirty-three states said enrollees were sometimes left without health coverage when MEWAs disbanded."

Nicholas Bagley has a thoughtful thread on what this really means immediately in practical terms: "As a legal matter, nothing changes the moment that Trump signs the E.O. We'll have to see what Labor and HHS do." Topher Spiro observes that, while what Bagley says is true, "the order is timed to depress enrollment during the upcoming open enrollment period. Our job is to counter this confusion."

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Nicole Lafond at TPM: Trump: We Cannot Help Puerto Rico 'Forever!' "Donald Trump continued his relentless criticism of Puerto Rico Thursday morning, suggesting the U.S. couldn't aid in recovery and relief efforts in the U.S. territory 'forever!' Quoting former CBS News reporter Sheryl Attkisson and Puerto Rico's governor in a tweet, Trump said the territory's 'electric and infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes' and passed the buck to Congress to 'decide how much to spend.' He then went on to propose that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the military and first responders — who he said 'have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances)' — cannot stay in the U.S. territory 'forever!' The tweets Thursday morning are just the latest attacks the President has launched on the U.S. territory, which was devastated by two hurricanes last month."

Ana Swanson at the New York Times: Trump's Tough Talk on NAFTA Raises Prospects of Pact's Demise. "The North American Free Trade Agreement, long disparaged by [Donald] Trump as bad for the United States, was edging closer toward collapse as negotiators gathered for a fourth round of contentious talks here this week. ...As the trade talks began on Wednesday, Mr. Trump, seated in the Oval Office beside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, said it was 'possible' that the United States would drop out of Nafta. 'It's possible we won't be able to make a deal, and it's possible that we will,' the president said. ...'So we'll see what happens with Nafta, but I've been opposed to Nafta for a long time, in terms of the fairness of Nafta.' Mr. Trudeau, in comments later at the Canadian Embassy, said he remains optimistic about the potential for a Nafta deal but noted that Canadians must be 'ready for anything.'"

Matthew Lee and Thomas Adamson at the AP: U.S. Pulling Out of UNESCO After Long Dispute over Palestinian Membership. "The United States said Thursday it is pulling out of the U.N.'s educational, scientific, and cultural agency because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias and need for 'fundamental reform.' While the Trump administration had been preparing for a likely withdrawal from UNESCO for months, the announcement by the State Department on Thursday rocked the agency's Paris headquarters, where a heated election to choose a new chief is underway. The outgoing UNESCO director-general expressed her 'profound regret' at the decision."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Jon Sharman and Lizzy Buchan at the Independent: Donald Trump Has State Visit to UK Downgraded 'and Will Not Be Guest of the Queen'. "Donald Trump is expected to make a scaled-back trip to the UK early next year, which would see him missing out on meeting the Queen. The US President had been extended the honour of a full state visit after meeting Theresa May earlier this year, however diplomats are reportedly discussing plans for a 'working trip' in 2018 where Mr Trump could be asked to open a new embassy in the UK. More than 1.8 million people signed a petition against the plans... In an effort to avoid controversy, Mr Trump's planned visit will be a more low-key event where he would be a guest of the US ambassador Woody Johnson rather than Buckingham Palace."

Dan Friedman at Mother Jones: Trump Just Blew Off a Deadline for Implementing Russian Sanctions He Approved. "The White House has blown by an October 1 deadline for beginning to implement new sanctions targeting Russia, drawing concern in Congress that [Donald] Trump is planning to ignore parts of a bill he grudgingly signed in August. ...Trump opposed the new legislation, agreeing to sign it only after it became clear Congress could override his veto. But he also issued a presidential signing statement suggesting he might ignore what he said were 'a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions' in the legislation."

Anne Gearan at the Washington Post: 'He Threw a Fit': Trump's Anger over Iran Deal Forced Aides to Scramble for a Compromise. "White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster and other senior advisers came up with a plan — one aimed at accommodating Trump's loathing of the Iran deal as 'an embarrassment' without killing it outright. ...[That effort] led to a revamping of the U.S. approach to Iran and the nuclear pact Trump is set to announce this week and which congressional leaders were briefed about Wednesday. Under the expected announcement, Trump will declare the deal is not in the U.S. national interest while stopping short of recommending renewed nuclear sanctions."

Darren Samuelsohn at Politico: President's Lawyers May Offer Mueller a Meeting with Trump. "Donald Trump's lawyers are open to having the president sit down for an interview with Robert Mueller, according to a senior White House official, as part of a wider posture of cooperation with the special counsel's Russia probe. ...Trump told reporters this spring that he was '100 percent' willing to testify under oath about alleged Russian ties to his campaign. But even if he has nothing to hide, Trump's unpredictable nature and willingness to bend the facts pose headaches for his legal team as it strategizes for a possible sit-down with Mueller. One angry or untrue statement could have devastating political and legal consequences for the president."

Which is why it is unlikely that Trump will ever actually sit down with Mueller, and thus why it's incredibly useful for Trump to have news items published about how he's totally gonna do it for sure yep yep, creating a narrative of willingness though none exists.

[CN: Death] Rebecca Fishbein at Gothamist: Puerto Rico Death Count May Be Much Higher Than Current Official Tally. "Though officials say 45 people have died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, anecdotal reports suggest that number is much higher. A recent Vox investigation tallied over 500 deaths that could be linked to the hurricane, in addition to another 69 people who are still missing following the storm. ...Puerto Rican online newspaper El Vocero reports that as of last week there were 350 bodies awaiting autopsy at the Institute of Forensic Science in San Juan." Fucking hell.

[CN: Reproductive coercion] Esther Yu Hsi Lee at ThinkProgress: Detained Immigrant Teen Wanted an Abortion; Instead, She Was Taken to a Crisis Pregnancy Center. "A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the government can't deny abortion to an immigrant teenager detained after crossing the southern U.S. border in Texas. But the judge also declined to prevent federal officials from obstructing her abortion access. ...Doe got a judicial waiver through a Texas law that requires minors wanting abortions to get consent from a parent, the Associated Press reported. But staff at the facility wouldn't take her to appointments and won't let her attorney Marie Christina Cortez take the girl to an abortion clinic... Instead, staff took Doe to a crisis pregnancy center, where she was counseled against having an abortion. 'I feel like they are trying to coerce me to carry my pregnancy to term,' the girl said in a court declaration filed last week." Rage seethe boil.

Just me being 100% uncharitable as fuck. Per usual.

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

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