We Resist: Day 288

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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: Authoritarian Watch: Trump Screams for Show Trials and Elizabeth Warren, What Are You Even Doing?

Further in Authoritarian Watch today:

LAURA INGRAHAM: Your State Department still has some unfilled positions. Are you worried that the State Department doesn't have enough Donald Trump nominees in there to push your vision through? Because other State Departments, including Reagan's at times, undermined his agenda, and there's a concern that the State Department currently is undermining your agenda.

DONALD TRUMP: So, we don't need all the people that they want. You know, don't forget, I'm a businessperson, and I tell my people: Where you don't need to fill slots, don't fill 'em. But we have some people that I'm not happy with their thinking process—

INGRAHAM: Right. But Assistant Secretary of State you're not getting rid of that position?

TRUMP: Well, all right, but, let me tell ya: The one that matters is me. I'm the only one that matters. Because, when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be. You've seen that; you've seen it strongly.

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Further, as Eastsidekate noted (which I'm sharing with her permission): "Lady with a PhD in economics who's garnered near universal praise is pushed aside for a lawyer dude. Got it."

It's not just that Trump is pushing Janet Yellen aside for a man; it's that he's pushing her aside for a man who is significantly less qualified than she is.

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Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Carter Page Says He Told Jeff Sessions He Was Traveling to Russia in July 2016. "After testifying to the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Thursday, former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page told CNN that he told Jeff Sessions that he had plans to travel to Russia in July 2016. ...Page told CNN that it was the only time he met Sessions, who at the time was a national security adviser to the campaign and now serves as attorney general. Page said that he told this to the House Intelligence Committee, and the Republican leading the committee's Russia probe, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) confirmed that to CNN. Conaway said that Page told the committee that Sessions did not react to Page's heads up about the trip. 'I don't make anything sinister out of it. He said Sessions did not react or comment one way or the other,' Conaway told CNN." LOL yeah that's kinda the problem!

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Michael S. Schmidt, Matt Apuzzo, and Scott Shane at the New York Times: Trump and Sessions Denied Knowing About Russian Contacts; Records Suggest Otherwise. "Standing before reporters in February, President Trump said unequivocally that he knew of nobody from his campaign who was in contact with Russians during the election. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has told the Senate the same thing. Court documents unsealed this week cast doubt on both statements and raised the possibility that Mr. Sessions could be called back to Congress for further questioning. The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, unsealed his first charges Monday in a wide-ranging investigation... Records in that case show that George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser, had frequent discussions with Russians in 2016 and trumpeted his connections in front of Mr. Trump and Mr. Sessions."

Esme Cribb at TPM: Franken Blasts Sessions: Papadopoulos Docs Show 'You Failed to Tell the Truth'. "Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), whose questioning of Attorney General Jeff Sessions in his January confirmation hearing kicked off a chain of events that ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel, on Thursday had some more pointed questions for Sessions. Franken included his questions in a scathing letter to Sessions after court documents [were] unsealed Monday... 'We must get to the bottom of what happened so that we can prevent it from happening again,' Franken wrote. 'I am deeply troubled that this newest revelation strongly suggests that the Senate — and the American public — cannot trust your word.'" No suggestion. We can't.

Selina Wang at Bloomberg: Twitter Sidestepped Russian Account Warnings, Former Worker Says. "In early 2015, a Twitter employee discovered a vast amount of Twitter accounts with IP addresses in Russia and Ukraine. The worker, Leslie Miley, said most of them were inactive or fake but were not deleted at the time. Miley, who was the company's engineering manager of product safety and security at the time, said efforts to root out spam and manipulation on the platform were slowed down by the company's growth team, which focused on increasing users and revenue. ...Throughout Twitter's history, security took a backseat to free speech and growth, according to ten former employees who asked not to be identified."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Alexander Nazaryan at Newsweek: Trump Is Leading the Most Corrupt Administration in U.S. History, One of the First-Class Kleptocrats.
Now, a year after the election — and more than a year after Trump first made that pledge [to "drain the swamp"] to the American people — many observers believe the swamp has grown into a sinkhole that threatens to swallow the entire Trump administration. The number of White House officials currently facing questions, lawsuits, or investigation is astonishing: Trump, being sued for violating the "emoluments clause" of the U.S. Constitution by running his Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.; Paul J. Manafort, the second Trump campaign manager, indicted on money laundering charges in late October; Flynn, for undisclosed lobbying work done on behalf of the Turkish government; son-in-law and consigliere Jared Kushner, for failing to disclose $1 billion in loans tied to his real-estate company; and at least six Cabinet heads being investigated for or asked about exorbitant travel expenses, security details, or business dealings.

...[A]ccording to the presidential historian Robert Dallek, no American leader has acted with more unadulterated self-interest as Trump. Dallek says that in terms of outright corruption, Trump is worse than both Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding, presidents who oversaw the most flagrant instances of graft in American political history.
[CN: Climate change] Christopher Joyce at NPR: Massive Government Report Says Climate Is Warming and Humans Are the Cause. "The 600-plus-page Climate Science Special Report [is] part of an even larger scientific review known as the fourth National Climate Assessment. The NCA4, as it's known, is the nation's most authoritative assessment of climate science. ...Without major reductions in emissions, it says, the increase in annual average global temperature could reach 9 degrees Fahrenheit relative to pre-industrial times. ...The report notes that sea level has risen 7 to 8 inches since 1900, and 3 inches of that occurred since 1993." Holy shit.

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[CN: Sexual violence; descriptions of rape] Cécile Allegra at the Guardian: Rape Used Systematically in Libya as Instrument of War. "Male rape is being used systematically in Libya as an instrument of war and political domination by rival factions, according to multiple testimonies gathered by investigators. Years of work by a Tunis-based group and witnessed by a journalist from Le Monde have produced harrowing reports from victims, and video footage showing men being [sexually assaulted]. In several instances, witnesses say a victim was thrown into a room with other prisoners, who were ordered to rape him or be killed. The atrocity is being perpetrated to humiliate and neutralise opponents in the lawless, militia-dominated country. Male rape is such a taboo in Arab societies that the abused generally feel too damaged to rejoin political, military, or civic life."

First of all, let me say that I take up space in solidarity with these victims and survivors, and I hope they are safe after courageously speaking out.

Secondly, I want to note that this is, or should be, a foreign policy issue for the United States. It is a critical human rights issue.

One of the many reasons I supported Hillary Clinton was because of her history of advocating on behalf of people who are victimized by rape as a weapon of war.

But Donald Trump, if he even ever hears about it, will not care. Further, he has no moral authority on which to speak about it, since he is himself a confessed serial sex abuser.

I will never stop grieving for the people we will abandon as a nation because our president is a hideous specimen.

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[CN: Environmental racism; toxic water; description of miscarriage] Auditi Guha at Rewire: Miscarriages in Flint: 'I Really Believe It's the Water.' "Researches studying the water crisis recently found a high number of fetal deaths and fewer pregnancies in Flint since April 2014, which is when the city switched its water supply to use water from the polluted Flint River without adding anti-corrosives to treat it. ...Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who blew the whistle on high lead levels in children, has looked into the possibility of miscarriages being caused by the tainted water, according to the Free Press. State officials deny this is happening, but residents pointed out that the same people also denied the existence of the water crisis until it was made public." Residents make a damn good point.

[CN: Racism] Sameer Rao at Colorlines: Report: Five Ways Hollywood Sidelines Black Screenwriters. "'Race in the Writers' Room: How Hollywood Whitewashes the Stories that Shape America' examines all 234 original scripted series airing on 18 basic cable, premium cable, and streaming networks during the 2016-2017 television season. Report author and University of California, Los Angeles scholar Darnell Hunt uses writers' room demographic information to conclude that most TV executives hire very few Black writers and showrunners. ...Fully 65.4 percent of all TV series writers' rooms have no Black writers. An additional 17.3 percent have only one Black writer. Black writers make up only 4.8 percent of all writers' rooms, while White people constitute 86.3 percent of the whole." 4.8 percent! For fuck's sake!

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

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