We Resist: Day 267

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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 Axes Crucial Healthcare Subsidies and Northern California Wildfires Thread.

[Content Note: Bigotry; Christian supremacy; authoritarianism] Today, Donald Trump was the first ever sitting president to speak at the Values Voter Summit, sponsored by the Family Research Council, which is designated by the SPLC as a hate group. During his address, he said, "The times are changing back again," and ominously promised, "We are stopping, cold, the attacks on Judeo-Christian values." To an extended ovation, he declared: "It's families and the church, not the government, who know how to create loving communities. We don't worship government; we worship god."

Utterly chilling. He might as well have just come out and literally said: "The time to crush marginalized people with impunity has arrived."

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Craig Timberg and Elizabeth Dwoskin at the Washington Post: Facebook Takes Down Data and Thousands of Posts, Obscuring Reach of Russian Disinformation.
Social media analyst Jonathan Albright got a call from Facebook the day after he published research last week showing that the reach of the Russian disinformation campaign was almost certainly larger than the company had disclosed. While the company had said 10 million people read Russian-bought ads, Albright had data suggesting that the audience was at least double that — and maybe much more — if ordinary free Facebook posts were measured as well.

Albright welcomed the chat with three company officials. But he was not pleased to discover that they had done more than talk about their concerns regarding his research. They also had scrubbed from the Internet nearly everything — thousands of Facebook posts and the related data — that had made the work possible.

Never again would he or any other researcher be able to run the kind of analysis he had done just days earlier.
Josh Meyer at Politico: Twitter Deleted Data Potentially Crucial to Russia Probes.
Twitter has deleted tweets and other user data of potentially irreplaceable value to investigators probing Russia's suspected manipulation of the social media platform during the 2016 election, according to current and former government cybersecurity officials.

Federal investigators now believe Twitter was one of Russia's most potent weapons in its efforts to promote Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, the officials say, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

...Many U.S. investigators believe that their best hope for identifying who was behind these operations, how they collaborated with each other and their suspected links to the Kremlin lies buried within the mountains of data accumulated in recent years by Twitter.

By analyzing Twitter data over time, investigators could establish what one U.S. government cybersecurity consultant described as "pattern of life behavior," determining when Russian influence operations began, and how they "were trying to nudge the narrative in a certain direction."

"So if you have access to all this, you can basically see when botnets appeared and disappeared, and how they shaped narrative around certain events," said the analyst, who could not speak for attribution given company policy.

But a substantial amount of valuable information held by Twitter is lost for good, according to the cybersecurity analysts and other current and former U.S. officials.
Welp. That's quite a coincidence.

In case I'm not laying the sarcasm on thick enough, I don't believe that's a coincidence.

What I believe is what I've been saying ever since all of this shit began trickling out 18 months ago: This is the end of a coup that's been in the works for a very long time. None of this is a coincidence. It's not as straightforward as "Russia just figured out how to exploit this shit." I'm afraid it's much more sinister than that.

If we had a functional government, I'd suggest they look into Facebook's and Twitter's investors. But we don't.

Which, you know, was the whole point.

Oh well. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Stephanie Kirchgaessner at the Guardian: Flynn Ally Sought Help from 'Dark Web' in Covert Clinton Email Investigation.
A close associate of Donald Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn arranged a covert investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, and through intermediaries turned to a person with knowledge of the "dark web" for help.

...Flynn is personally and ideologically linked to Barbara Ledeen, a longtime conservative activist who works for the Republican senator Chuck Grassley on the Senate judiciary committee – which is now investigating alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Ledeen's husband, Michael Ledeen, is also a confidant of Flynn, and co-authored a book with him last year.

...According to interview notes released by the FBI last year, Ledeen decided in 2015 to launch her own investigation into Clinton's use of the server. At the time, she was a staffer on the Senate judiciary committee.

...She sought out the help of an unnamed defense contractor and also turned to Newt Gingrich, the former Republican speaker of the House, for help. According to the FBI notes, Gingrich "wanted to speak to others about the project" and asked Judicial Watch, the conservative activist group, for financial assistance.

Judicial Watch allegedly turned to another, unnamed, contractor who was familiar with the "deep web and dark web," according to the FBI files. The parties were concerned about what they would do if they came across any emails that contained classified information. According to the FBI investigation, the project was later halted.

The incident and web of relationships is important for two reasons.

First, because Ledeen is the second person with ties to Flynn who allegedly sought to investigate Clinton's use of a private server in an unofficial capacity.

...Ledeen's involvement is also important because she works on the Senate judiciary committee, which is conducting an investigation into the Trump campaign. Her family's relationship with Flynn raises questions about whether Ledeen could be wielding influence over the investigation.
I don't even have fucking words. Besides these: Bob Mueller had better be drawing up subpoenas for Newt Gingrich right fucking now, if he hasn't already.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Kara Scannell at CNN: Background Check Chief Has 'Never Seen' Mistakes and Omissions at Level of Jared Kushner Forms. "Charles Phalen, the director of the National Background Investigations Bureau, a newly created division within the Office of Personnel Management, made the comment in response to a question during a House subcommittee oversight hearing. ...Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois asked Phalen, 'can you recall if there has ever been an applicant having to submit four addenda detailing over 100 errors and omissions being able to maintain their security clearance once those errors and omission have been identified?' Phalen said he has not seen 'the breadth' of all applications 'but I have never seen that level of mistakes.'" Revoke their security clearances now, for crying out loud.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Tony Cook at the IndyStar: As Trump Slams Media, an Indiana Lawmaker Has Drafted a Bill to License Journalists. "An Indiana lawmaker has drafted a bill that would require professional journalists to be licensed by state police. [Rep. Jim Lucas'] proposal would require professional journalists to submit an application to the Indiana State Police. Journalists would be fingerprinted as part of the process and would have to pay a $75 fee for a lifetime license. Those with felony or domestic battery convictions would be prohibited from getting a license. The proposal is almost an exact copy of Indiana's law requiring a license to carry a handgun, which Lucas has tried to repeal unsuccessfully for several years." This fucking guy.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Cristina Marcos at the Hill: 69 Republicans Vote Against Aid for Puerto Rico, Other Disaster Sites. "Legislation to provide $36.5 billion in aid for communities affected by recent wildfires and hurricanes, including Puerto Rico, secured widespread support in the House on Thursday save for 69 Republicans. The votes in opposition included many members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, who believe government spending should not add to the deficit." Fuck each and every one of them.

[CN: Trans hatred] Christine Grimaldi at Rewire: Democrats Call Trump's Bluff on Transgender Military Ban.
Congressional Democrats are pressuring U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to admit what, if anything, he knew about [Donald] Trump's transgender military ban prior to the commander-in-chief's bombshell announcements via Twitter.

Trump claimed he consulted with his "Generals and military experts" before his July 26 Twitter proclamation. But military officials contradicted Trump, saying that the move came as a surprise to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and to Mattis, who was on vacation and reportedly given just a day's notice. Now, 115 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are calling Trump's bluff, requesting "access to any letters, emails, telephone transcripts, meeting logs and minutes, or other materials that document such requests."

"We seek information to discover the proof of where and when the Pentagon advised the President that this was the best idea for our country," Rep. A. Donald McEachin (D-VA), the leader of the effort, said in a statement accompanying the group's letter to Mattis. "If there is proof then we can evaluate that, if there is no proof then the President lied to the American people once again."
A+ idea. Not that it will matter, because Trump is a nightmare monster overseeing an administration of sociopaths. But it's good to know the Democrats are still making an effort to do the right thing, anyway. To give them fuel for their continued resistance, it might be nice to contact Rep. McEachin and say thank you for continuing to spend time being creative and clever and passionate on behalf of the people who elected them.

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

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