We Resist: Day 295

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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: Deplorables Defend Accused Rapist.

Oliver Holmes and Tom Phillips at the Guardian: Trump Attacks Countries 'Cheating' America at APEC Summit.
Donald Trump has abruptly ended the diplomatic streak he displayed on his 12-day tour of Asia by launching a tirade against "violations, cheating or economic aggression" in the region, just hours after heaping lavish praise on China.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Friday, the US president's words had the tone of a fierce reprimand. The speech was clearly, sometimes explicitly, focused on China and other countries he blamed for predatory economic policies, accusing them of having "stripped" jobs, factories, and industries out of the United States.

"We can no longer tolerate these chronic trade abuses and we will not tolerate them," he said, with audio speakers in the large hall crackling as Trump raised his voice at times.

...Trump addressed a largely mute and visibly stunned audience that included ministers from countries he accused of not "playing by the rules" as the US opened its economy with few conditions. "But while we lowered market barriers, other countries didn't open their markets to us," he said.

The US leader then went off-script to confront a man who was speaking audibly during the address and suggested he may be from a country that was cheating America.

"Funny, they must be from one of the beneficiaries," Trump said, laughing. "What country to do you come from, sir?" he added rhetorically.
An international humiliation. Again.

Heather Timmons at Quartz: Beijing Is Playing Trump "Like a Fiddle," an Ex-Ambassador to China Says. "Xi is an authoritarian leader who has brutally cracked down on political opposition and on citizens who question his policies, while attacking US interests. Past US presidents, both Democrat and Republican, have taken advantage of state visits to urge the Communist Party to stop stifling religious and political freedom. But Trump has not mentioned human rights once during his visit. ...The fact that Trump didn't mention human rights is only half of the problem, said Sophie Richardson, the China Director of Human Rights Watch. 'The other half of the problem is this grotesque adulation of Xi Jinping and the total failure to acknowledge that this is an authoritarian regime,' she said."

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Carol E. Lee and Julia Ainsley at NBC News: Mueller Probing Possible Deal Between Turks, Flynn During Presidential Transition.
Federal investigators are examining whether former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn met with senior Turkish officials just weeks before [Donald] Trump's inauguration about a potential quid pro quo in which Flynn would be paid to carry out directives from Ankara secretly while in the White House, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation.

...Four people familiar with the investigation said Mueller is looking into whether Flynn discussed in the late December meeting orchestrating the return to Turkey of a chief rival of Turkish President Recep Erdogan who lives in the U.S. Additionally, three people familiar with the probe said investigators are examining whether Flynn and other participants discussed a way to free a Turkish-Iranian gold trader, Reza Zarrab, who is jailed in the U.S. Zarrab is facing federal charges that he helped Iran skirt U.S. sanctions.

...It is unclear how Flynn, as national security adviser, could have successfully carried out either alleged request. But any deal in which a government official would be bribed to secretly act on behalf of a foreign government could potentially constitute multiple federal crimes.

Investigators also are looking into what possible role Flynn's son, Michael G. Flynn, may have played in any such efforts. The younger Flynn worked closely with his father at his lobbying firm, Flynn Intel Group.
Holy shit.

Sam Thielman at TPM: Mueller Probe Interviews Stephen Miller. "Robert Mueller's probe into suspected collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government has interviewed top Trump aide Stephen Miller, according to multiple reports. ...Sources tell CNN that 'Miller's role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey' was among the topics discussed. Miller helped Trump draft a memo describing the reasons Comey should be fired. ...The letter Miller helped Trump write was several pages long and included more reasons to dismiss Comey, including the fact that Comey would not say publicly that his investigation of Trump's campaign was not focused on Trump himself, according to the Washington Post."

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz, and Matthew Mosk at ABC News: Trump Adviser Claims He Lied to FBI out of Loyalty to Trump. "George Papadopoulos, the Trump foreign policy aide who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, initially misled agents out of what he claimed was loyalty to [Donald] Trump, according to a person with direct knowledge of the investigation. ...After the plea agreement was made public last month, Trump sought to distance himself from Papadopoulos, tweeting that 'few people knew the young, low level volunteer named George, who has already proven to be a liar.'" One-way loyalty with Trump. Always.

Marc Bennetts at the Guardian: Russia Plans Retaliation Against US Media as Row over RT Escalates. "Russia's parliament has begun drafting tit-for-tat measures that would place severe restrictions on some US media outlets operating in the country, in a move that looks likely to plunge US-Russia relations to a new low. The announcement on Friday came shortly after the Kremlin-funded international news channel RT said it had been ordered by the US Department of Justice to register as a 'foreign agent' by Monday or have its bank accounts frozen. Russian president Vladimir Putin had previously warned that Russia would take retaliatory steps if RT, formerly known as Russia Today, was targeted by US authorities. ...'What the US authorities are doing today is an infringement of fundamental civil rights, of freedom of speech,' said [Russian parliamentary speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin]." The chutzpah!

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Ana Campoy at Quartz: Most Puerto Ricans Have Water Now, But They're Afraid of Drinking It. "The share of Puerto Ricans with running potable water surpassed 85% on Nov. 8 for the first time since hurricane Maria hit the island seven weeks previously. But in some areas, most people still don't have running water, and for those who do it's not clear whether it's safe to drink. One such place is the mountain municipality of Utuado — ironically, the site of two major reservoirs. Only around one third of its roughly 30,000 inhabitants have running water, and many are still drinking only bottled water, or using filters or chlorine tablets to disinfect the water from the faucets. 'I don't recommend drinking tap water at all,' says Daniel Gonz├ílez, a local resident. Running water returned to his home a week ago, but it's still coming out brown, he says."

Oliver Milman at the Guardian: Puerto Ricans Face Rain and Floods in Wrecked Homes Still Without Roofs. "Of all the basic necessities still missing for Puerto Ricans more than a month after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, one is almost immediately obvious: the lack of shelter. In neighborhoods across Puerto Rico, particularly outside the capital San Juan, many residents with damaged roofs have struggled to get even the most threadbare of defenses against the elements. ...FEMA said it has provided 65,000 tarpaulins to local authorities to distribute and has 100,000 more in a warehouse. Samaritan's Purse, an NGO, said it has given out 42,000 covers. But many people still are without any shelter over their heads."

Nidhi Prakash at BuzzFeed: Millions of Puerto Ricans Just Lost Power Again After a Line Repaired by Whitefish Energy Failed. "A major Puerto Rican power line repaired by the tiny Montana company Whitefish Energy failed Thursday morning, plunging almost all of the island, including parts of San Juan and other major cities, back into darkness. Just 18% of Puerto Rico now has power, according to the island's energy utility, down from 43% before the line failed on Thursday, wiping out a quarter of Puerto Rico's power generation."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Alex Sosnowski at AccuWeather: Caribbean Storm to Eye Puerto Rico Amid Setback with Power Outages in San Juan. "A large area of downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms will continue to affect part of the Caribbean, included Puerto Rico, into next week. ...'Available observations around the island did not reveal any severe thunderstorms with high winds in Puerto Rico on Thursday,' according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller. [But] 'Given the delicate state of repair and lingering damage outside of the capital city of San Juan, it may not take much weather for possible setbacks to restoration efforts,' Miller said."

Laila Kearney, Nick Brown, and Hugh Bronstein at Reuters: In Puerto Rico, a Sinkhole of Rebuilding Struggles. "Along a stretch of highway in suburban Bayamon, Puerto Rico, construction workers tried desperately to make progress repairing a 100-foot-long sinkhole before the clouds rolled in. Previous rains had suspended work, as workers watched earth fall back into the hole. 'It has not wanted to stop raining' since Hurricane Maria, said Carlos Rivera, a 26-year-old contract worker at the site last month. ...Fixing just this one sinkhole required maneuvering a set of vexing logistical and financial hurdles that reveal why rebuilding this isolated island will take so much more time and work than in any storm-ravaged region of the mainland United States. The hole is only one of 3,500 reported incidents of hurricane damage to Puerto Rico-owned roadways, with repair costs estimated at $250 million."

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[CN: Genocide] Multiple Signatories at the Guardian: The Rohingya Are Facing Genocide: We Cannot Be Bystanders. "Over the past two months, more than 600,000 Rohingya people have been driven from their homes, had their land destroyed, and endured torture and rape while searching for safety. ...The Rohingya are often described as among the most persecuted people on earth. They are a predominantly Muslim ethnic group, and despite having lived in Myanmar's Rakhine state for centuries, they're refused citizenship. For years, their movement has been restricted, and they have been denied access to education, health care, and other basic services. ...Since 25 August, almost half the Rohingya population in Myanmar has been driven out [under the guise of fighting terrorism]. ...The international response to the Rohingya crisis has fallen far short of what's needed. The UN appeal is still underfunded, and world leaders have not put sufficient political pressure on the government."

Navine Murshid at the Washington Post: Why Is Burma Driving out the Rohingya — and Not Its Other Despised Minorities? "Why is Burma attacking only the Rohingya? As the Burmese military drives out upward of 600,000 Rohingya in what one United Nations official called 'a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,' most media analyses correctly highlight ethno-religious discrimination and economic motives. But that leaves us with the question: Why only the Rohingya? Burma, also known as Myanmar, has other hated ethnic groups. Since the country first gained independence from the British in 1948, its government has been fighting the Karen, the Karenni, the Kachin, the Shan, and the Mon. Those ethnic groups have had armed militias for decades. The Rohingya only recently spawned a small armed group — and most Rohingya disapprove of their methods. So why are the Rohingya being so brutally singled out? The answer lies in Burma's peculiarly stratified hierarchy of citizenship."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Edith M. Lederer at the Associated Press/TIME: The U.N. Security Council 'Strongly Condemns' Crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. "The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a statement Monday strongly condemning the violence that has caused more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee from Myanmar to Bangladesh, a significant step that still fell short of a stronger resolution that Western nations wanted but China opposed. The presidential statement calls on Myanmar's government 'to ensure no further excessive use of military force in Rakhine State' and take immediate steps to respect human rights. It expresses 'grave concern' at reports of human rights violations in Rakhine by Myanmar's security forces against the Rohingya. These include 'the systematic use of force and intimidation, killing of men, women and children, sexual violence and … the destruction and burning of homes and property,' it says."

Bluntly, the Trump administration is not doing enough.

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Yashar Ali at the Huffington Post: Trump Thinks Scientology Should Have Tax Exemption Revoked, Longtime Aide Says. "Donald Trump believes the Church of Scientology should have its tax exemption revoked, a longtime family aide and current top official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development told an actress and producer in May. In an unsolicited Twitter message, Lynne Patton, who has worked for the Trump family since 2009, told actress Leah Remini of Trump's position and said she would interface with the IRS directly to seek more information in an effort to initiate revocation. Remini sent HuffPost copies of Patton's messages and has declined to comment further. It's not clear if Patton ever communicated with the IRS. But if Trump did express an opinion on the church and Patton did contact the IRS about it, as her message suggests, that would be a highly inappropriate level of interference with the IRS by the administration, one expert said."

Alex Isenstadt at Politico: Romney Moves Toward Senate Bid. "The Senate might seem like an unexpected landing place for the 70-year-old former Massachusetts governor and two-time presidential candidate. Yet those who've spoken with Romney in recent days are convinced he's prepared to jump in. After falling short in his quest for the White House and then being passed over by [Donald] Trump for secretary of state, friends say Romney still has unquenched political ambitions." And he probably thinks the time is right, since people now think even George W. Bush looks pretty good by comparison to Trump. But never forget that Mitt Romney thinks people aren't entitled to food.

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

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