We Resist: Day 299

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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: Mike Pence Is a Liar. And by Fannie: Rape Culture Rigs the System Against Women.

Ashley Parker at the Washington Post: Trump's Asia Trip Was Mostly Free of Incidents — Until It Wasn't.
After an eight-day stretch of mostly good behavior, Trump wandered off script this past weekend in Vietnam as he headed into the final leg of his visit. Chatting with reporters on board Air Force One, the president suggested that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin's assertions that Russia had not meddled in the 2016 presidential election and, on foreign soil, disparaged three former U.S. intelligence agency heads as "political hacks."

...White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not flinch when Trump began recounting Putin's denials to the White House press corps — "I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it," the president said — and no one from the West Wing made any effort the explain or clarify his initial remarks.

In a news conference the next day, however, Trump was asked exactly what he meant, and explained that he ultimately believes his own intelligence agencies — which have concluded that Russia did, indeed, meddle — over Putin's claims to the contrary.

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, meanwhile, all but shrugged when asked about Trump's tweet insulting Kim with schoolyard taunts, saying that Trump alone "put it out."

"They are what they are," Kelly said of the tweets.
And what they are is disloyal trash. In any other administration, the president suggesting he believes the leader of a hostile adversary over U.S. intelligence would be a fucking scandal. In this administration, it's just another day in an illegitimate presidency that the most powerful people in this nation have inexplicably decided to normalize, at the potential cost of the complete decimation of our democracy.

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[Content Note: Sexual assault] Charles Bethea at the New Yorker: Locals Were Troubled by Roy Moore's Interactions with Teen Girls at the Gadsden Mall. "This past weekend, I spoke or messaged with more than a dozen people — including a major political figure in the state — who told me that they had heard, over the years, that Moore had been banned from the mall because he repeatedly badgered teen-age girls. Some say that they heard this at the time, others in the years since. These people include five members of the local legal community, two cops who worked in the town, several people who hung out at the mall in the early eighties, and a number of former mall employees. (A request for comment from the Moore campaign was not answered.)"

[CN: Sexual assault] Abby Baird at ThinkProgress: A Fifth Woman Is Accusing Roy Moore of Sexual Abuse. "Moore's campaign responded to the allegations in a statement Monday, saying, 'Gloria Allred is a sensationalist leading a witch hunt, and she is only around to create a spectacle.'" Oh fuuuuuuuuuck that.

[CN: Sexual assault] Matt Shuham at TPM: Alabama Rep.: 'Contested' Sexual Assault Allegations Won't Change My Vote. "Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said Monday that he would still vote for Roy Moore to become Alabama's next senator, despite a wave of allegations of sexual assault and misconduct made against Moore by women who were teenagers at the time of the alleged incidents. 'America faces huge challenges that are vastly more important than contested sexual allegations from four decades ago,' Brooks said in a text message to AL.com. 'Who will vote in America's best interests on Supreme Court justices, deficit and debt, economic growth, border security, national defense, and the like?' Brooks continued, according to the paper. 'Socialist Democrat Doug Jones will vote wrong. Roy Moore will vote right. Hence, I will vote for Roy Moore.'" Seethe.

[CN: Sexual harassment; video may autoplay at link] MJ Lee, Sunlen Serfaty, Sara Ganim, and Juana Summers at CNN: 'Nothing About It Felt Right': More Than 50 People Describe Sexual Harassment on Capitol Hill.
Be extra careful of the male lawmakers who sleep in their offices — they can be trouble. Avoid finding yourself alone with a congressman or senator in elevators, late-night meetings, or events where alcohol is flowing. And think twice before speaking out about sexual harassment from a boss — it could cost you your career.

These are a few of the unwritten rules that some female lawmakers, staff and interns say they follow on Capitol Hill, where they say harassment and coercion is pervasive on both sides of the rotunda.

There is also the "creep list" — an informal roster passed along by word-of-mouth, consisting of the male members most notorious for inappropriate behavior, ranging from making sexually suggestive comments or gestures to seeking physical relations with younger employees and interns.

CNN spoke with more than 50 lawmakers, current and former Hill aides, and political veterans who have worked in Congress, the majority of whom spoke anonymously to be candid and avoid potential repercussions. With few exceptions, every person said they have personally experienced sexual harassment on the Hill or know of others who have.

In an environment with "so many young women," said one ex-House aide, the men "have no self-control."

"Amongst ourselves, we know," a former Senate staffer said of the lawmakers with the worst reputations. And sometimes, the sexual advances from members of Congress or senior aides are reciprocated in the hopes of advancing one's career — what one political veteran bluntly referred to as a "sex trade on Capitol Hill."

These anecdotes portray a workplace where women are subjected to constant harassment.
I'm guessing that environment of constant harassment is unlikely to change during the administration of a president who is himself a confessed serial sex predator, especially as long as his abetting party is running the Hill.

[CN: Sexual assault] Kaiser at Celebitchy: Jon Stewart Was 'Stunned' to Hear About Louis CK, Despite Hearing Rumors a Year Ago. "In one of the stories I did about Louis CK last week, I mentioned the year-old video of Jon Stewart being asked directly about Louis and the rumors (at that time, it was just 'rumors') of his sexual harassment of young, female comedians. Jon Stewart was a complete douche about it. ...Jon was on the Today Show this morning to promote The Night of Too Many Stars, which he's hosting for HBO. ...Jon says he was 'stunned' and he asked himself 'Did I miss something? Could I have done more?' and 'In this situation, I think we all could have. So you feel anger at what you did to people.' Except that he did hear about it a year ago... Jon says he had a feeling of 'I know Louis; he's always been a gentleman to me' and admits that 'it speaks to the blindness that I think a man has…'" I really despise Jon Stewart.

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Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed: Justice Department Confirms Prosecutors Are "Evaluating" Claims Raised Against Hillary Clinton. "Senior federal prosecutors are looking into whether there is any merit to allegations made against Hillary Clinton and the FBI's investigation into her during the election, a Justice Department lawyer told lawmakers in a letter on Monday. Congressional Republicans have requested the appointment of a second special counsel to look into allegations relating to Clinton and the Clinton Foundation — including those relating to the Uranium One sale — and the investigation into Clinton's email server. On Monday, the head of the Justice Department's legislative affairs office responded to those requests by confirming that 'senior federal prosecutors' were 'evaluat[ing] certain issues raised in your letters.'"

Catherine Lucey and Meghan Hoyer at the AP: Trump Choosing White Men as Judges at the Highest Rate in Decades. "Donald Trump is nominating white men to America's federal courts at a rate not seen in nearly 30 years, threatening to reverse a slow transformation toward a judiciary that reflects the nation's diversity. So far, 91 percent of Trump's nominees are white, and 81 percent are male, an Associated Press analysis has found. Three of every four are white men, with few African-Americans and Hispanics in the mix. The last president to nominate a similarly homogenous group was George H.W. Bush." Huh. It's almost like men who sexually assault women don't respect them or something.

Gideon Resnick and Sam Stein at the Daily Beast: Before He Was Tapped by Donald Trump, Controversial Judicial Nominee Brett J. Talley Investigated Paranormal Activity. "Brett J. Talley, nominated by [Donald] Trump to the Federal District Court in Montgomery, Alabama, has never tried a case, is married to a White House lawyer, and has been dubbed as unqualified by the American Bar Association." I would call this unbelievable, but, of course, it's entirely believable, because this administration is a toxic dumpster fire.

Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: The Senate Tax Bill Is a Handout for Wealthy Americans. "Republicans in the Senate were determined to a write a tax plan that, unlike the House's proposal, would be less of a handout to some of the wealthiest Americans. Unfortunately, it seems the new plan still benefits them significantly. Both bills center around a huge corporate tax cut that Republicans hope will allow freed-up cash to trickle-down to the middle-class in the form of higher wages and more jobs. Analyses of the House tax plan finds that it falls far short of that goal, and the Senate bill doesn't hold up any better under scrutiny."

Catherine Rampell at the Washington Post: If the Tax Bill Is So Great, Why Does the GOP Keep Lying About It? "Nearly every claim Republicans are using to market their tax plan is at best a distortion, at worst a deliberate falsehood. Which raises the question: If their plan is really so great, why not sell it on the merits? ...Why all the falsehoods? Why not just sell their tax agenda on the merits? Presumably because Trump and Republican lawmakers know they're offering a plan the public doesn't want. Ergo, they need to promise things the tax plan doesn't do."

[CN: White supremacy] Auditi Guha at Rewire: Congress Wants to Stop Pipeline Protests by Prosecuting Activists as Terrorists. "In case a military-style takeover wasn't enough to deter pipeline protesters at Standing Rock, some congressional lawmakers are pushing to treat environmental activists like terrorists. A group of 80 congressional Republicans and four Texas Democrats in October submitted a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking him to look into the possibility of prosecuting pipeline protesters under the domestic terrorism statute. They cited attempts to shut off valves and damage pipelines but seem to include the larger nonviolent resistance in their push to use the terrorism statute against activists. The bipartisan group claims that 'maintaining safe and reliable energy infrastructure is a matter of national security.'" Chilling.

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

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