We Resist: Day 292

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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: On the Shooting in Sutherland Springs.

Andrew Desiderio at the Daily Beast: Massive Leak Reveals New Ties Between Trump Administration and Russia, Implicating Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Jared Kushner.
A new trove of more than 13 million leaked documents implicates top officials and associates of [Donald] Trump—as well as foreign politicians—in shady business relationships tied to offshore financial accounts.

In at least two cases, the documents highlight top administration officials' previously undisclosed connections to Russia and Kremlin-linked interests.

The so-called Paradise Papers were leaked to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the same publication that obtained the "Panama Papers." Süddeutsche Zeitung shared the new documents with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which led a global effort of 96 media organizations from 67 countries to pore through the records. The findings were published on Sunday.

The documents show that many of the wealthy individuals Trump brought into his administration have worked to legally store their money in offshore havens where they would be free from taxation in the United States.

...Among the Trump administration officials implicated in the leaks is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who according to the documents concealed his ties to a Russian energy company that is partly owned by Russian President Vladimir Putin's judo partner Gennady Timchenko and Putin's son-in-law, Kirill Shamalov. Through offshore investments, Ross held a stake in Navigator Holdings, which had a close business relationship with the Russian firm. Ross did not disclose that connection during his confirmation process on Capitol Hill.

...Top White House adviser Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law, is also implicated. The documents reveal that Russian tech leader Yuri Milner invested $850,000 in a startup called Cadre that Kushner co-founded in 2014.

Milner has long had a reputation in Silicon Valley as a big-league investor; his firm at one point owned major chunks of both Facebook and Twitter. But Milner was never considered particularly Kremlin-connected. These new documents call that reputation into question. The investing arm of Gazprom, the state-backed energy company, financed a share of Facebook worth up to $1 billion; a Kremlin-owned bank invested $191 million into a Milner firm, and some of that money was then injected into Twitter.
Dirty, disloyal traitors. The entire lot of 'em.

Meanwhile... Andy Towle at Towleroad: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Lied About His Billionaire Status and Many Other Things. "An explosive report in Forbes magazine reveals that Trump Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied to them about his billionaire status and the magazine has removed him from its list of richest Americans. The magazine also says Ross is a serial liar about many other things." He sounds great.

Jon Swaine at the Guardian: Offshore Cash Helped Fund Steve Bannon's Attacks on Hillary Clinton.
Eighteen months before guiding Donald Trump to election victory, Steve Bannon delivered the opening shot in the ruthless Republican campaign to paint their Democratic opponent as corrupt.

The future White House chief strategist produced a book in May 2015 accusing Hillary Clinton of trading favours for donations to her charitable foundation. Its questionable central charge, on the sale of a uranium company to Russia, recently became the subject of a House inquiry and feverish talk on conservative media.

But the financial arrangements of another foundation, which bankrolled Bannon's creation of the book, Clinton Cash, have received less scrutiny.

Leaked documents and newly obtained public filings show how the billionaire Mercer family built a $60m war chest for conservative causes inside their family foundation by using an offshore investment vehicle to avoid US tax.

The offshore vehicle was part of a network of companies in the Atlantic tax haven of Bermuda led by Robert Mercer, the wealthy hedge-fund executive and Bannon patron whose spending helped put Trump in the White House and aided a resurgence of the Republican right.
And who owes seven billion dollars in back taxes:

Natasha Bertrand at Business Insider: Carter Page's Testimony Is Filled with Bombshells — and Supports Key Portions of the Steele Dossier. "The House Intelligence Committee on Monday released the full transcript of the former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page's testimony before the panel last week, portions of which support details in an explosive collection of memos outlining alleged collusion between the campaign and Moscow before the 2016 US election. Page revealed during his testimony that he met with members of Russia's presidential administration and the head of investor relations at the Russian state-owned oil giant Rosneft during his trip to Moscow in July 2016. ...Page also disclosed that a Trump campaign adviser named Sam Clovis had asked him to sign a nondisclosure agreement upon joining the campaign — and that he discussed his Moscow trip with Clovis both before he went and after he returned."

Ken Dilanian, Julia Ainsley, Alex Moe, and Kasie Hunt at NBC News: Carter Page Coordinated Russia Trip with Top Trump Campaign Officials. "It's long been known that Page traveled to Moscow in July 2016, but he has said it was in his private capacity, unrelated to his role with the Trump campaign. Page, whose sworn testimony was released Monday night, told the House Intelligence Committee last week that he sought permission to make the trip from campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, and also notified Hope Hicks, who is now the White House communications director. ...Page also acknowledged that he had been aware that another volunteer campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, had been meeting with a professor with links to the Kremlin, according to the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Marina Fang at the Huffington Post: Russian Lawyer Who Met with Donald Trump Jr. Claims He Offered a Quid Pro Quo. "When President Donald Trump’s eldest son met with a Russian lawyer in June 2016 after being promised “information that would incriminate” Trump’s election opponent Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. suggested that a U.S. law the lawyer was lobbying against could be reconsidered if Trump became president, according to the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya. ...Veselnitskaya also claimed that he wanted 'financial documents showing that money that allegedly evaded U.S. taxes had gone to Clinton's campaign,' according to Bloomberg. But she said that she did not have them. Alan Futerfas, Trump Jr.'s lawyer, said he had no comment."

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Lisa Friedman at the New York Times: Syria Joins Paris Climate Accord, Leaving Only U.S. Opposed. "Syria announced during United Nations climate talks on Tuesday that it would sign the Paris agreement on climate change. The move, which comes on the heels of Nicaragua signing the accord last month, will leave the United States as the only country that has rejected the global pact. ...'This is the very last country that actually announced, so everyone has joined and the U.S. is now so isolated,' said Safa Al Jayoussi, executive director of IndyAct, an environmental organization based in Lebanon that works with Arab countries on climate change." Utterly humiliating.

[CN: Nativism] Nick Miroff at the Washington Post: DHS Ends Protected Immigration Status for Nicaraguans, But Hondurans Get Extension. "The Trump administration has given 2,500 Nicaraguans with provisional residency 14 months to leave the United States, announcing Monday that it will not renew the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation that has allowed them to remain in the country for nearly two decades. But Trump officials deferred a decision for the much larger group of 57,000 Hondurans who have been living in the United States with the same designation, saying the Department of Homeland Security needed more time to consider their fate. ...Monday's announcement was anxiously awaited by about 200,000 Salvadorans and 50,000 Haitians whose TPS status is due to expire early next year. But administration officials did not include those countries in their announcement."

To be clear: Many of the immigrants from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Haiti are actually refugees escaping persecution and violence. Some of them will face certain death if they are deported.

[CN: War on agency] Christine Grimaldi at Rewire: Republicans Inject Extremist Fetal "Personhood" Language into Tax Plan. "Congressional Republicans are using their new tax plan for more than tax breaks for corporations and the rich. Their plan gives fetuses federal benefits in an apparent attempt to codify the view that life begins at fertilization — and to take another swipe at legal abortion. 'This is a back-door attempt to establish personhood from the moment of conception,' Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), co-chair of the Pro-Choice Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, told Rewire in an email. ...Page 93 of the 429-page plan, which a Washington Post analysis describes as rewarding big corporations and the 'super-rich' at the expense of some small businesses, the working poor, and charities, outlines the GOP's plan to designate 'unborn children' as beneficiaries in 529 college savings plans. The change appears to be politically motivated. Expectant parents already can put a 529 plan in their own name and switch the beneficiary when their child is born. That's because 529 plans require the beneficiary's social security number, which fetuses don't have."

[CN: Violence; child abuse] James Bridle at Medium: Something Is Wrong on the Internet. "What concerns me is not just the violence being done to children here, although that concerns me deeply. What concerns me is that this is just one aspect of a kind of infrastructural violence being done to all of us, all of the time, and we're still struggling to find a way to even talk about it, to describe its mechanisms and its actions and its effects. As I said at the beginning of this essay: This is being done by people and by things and by a combination of things and people. Responsibility for its outcomes is impossible to assign but the damage is very, very real indeed." What Bridle describes, the manipulation of algorithms to serve distressing content to children under the guise of children's content, is something not even remotely on my radar, but it's definitely an important issue. And I have a suspicion about where all these videos are being created and whence they're emanating.

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

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