We Resist: Day 315

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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: More Lauer: This Is What NBC's Indifference Abetted; Trump Looks "Crazy" Because He's Unconstrained by Consequences; and "This is a repudiation of the social contract that Franklin Roosevelt announced at the New Deal."

Nicole Lafond at TPM: White House Plots Shakeup: Tillerson Out, Pompeo to State, Cotton to CIA. "The White House has developed a plan to push Secretary of State Rex Tillerson out of his post at the State Department and replace him with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo within the next several weeks, The New York Times reported Thursday. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) would reportedly replace Pompeo as head of the CIA. ...The Associated Press and CNN also confirmed reports that the White House is planning to replace Tillerson with Pompeo."

This is reportedly all being orchestrated by Chief of Staff John Kelly. (See again my concerns that decisions meant to be made by the president are being made by unelected former military commanders.) It isn't clear whether Trump even approves of the plan. When he was asked about it this morning, his response was: "He's here. Rex is here."

So that's one concern. I don't agree with a single decision Donald Trump makes, but I also don't believe that undermining the democratic principle of executive decision-making fixes the issue of an unqualified and indecent president. It just creates a secondary alarming problem.

Further, Pompeo is completely unqualified to be Secretary of State, and Tom Cotton would be a disaster as CIA chief.

This is just complete chaos — which is, of course, a known and identifiable strategy of authoritarian regimes.

But it's not like we need a functional State Department, anyway, right? Nothing important going on in the world right now.

Anna Fifield at the Washington Post: North Korea Has Shown Us Its New Missile, and It's Scarier Than We Thought. Oh.

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Madeleine K. Albright at the Washington Post: The National Security Emergency We're Not Talking About. "America's diplomatic professionals have issued a dire warning about the crisis facing the State Department: Scores of top diplomats, including some of our highest-ranked career Foreign Service officers, have left the agency at 'a dizzying speed' over the past 10 months. ...[T]he damage being done to America's diplomatic readiness is both intentional and long-term. The administration isn't hurting the State Department by accident. Tillerson maintained a freeze on hiring long after most other Cabinet officials had stopped. The number of promotions has been cut in half and the quantity of incoming Foreign Service officers by more than two-thirds. He is effectively shutting down the State Department's pipeline for new talent."

Suffice it to say, the solution to this problem is not replacing Tillerson with Pompeo. It's not that Tillerson is incompetent; he's doing precisely what the president hired him to do.

But again, it's not like we need effective diplomacy or anything.

Karla Adam and William Booth at the Washington Post: Britain Furious, Trump Unapologetic as Fallout Swells from Anti-Muslim Videos. Oh fuck.

Mike Allen at Axios: The White House Expects Trump to Get Even More Outrageous. "Officials tell us Trump seems more self-assured, more prone to confidently indulging wild conspiracies and fantasies, more quick-triggered to fight than he was during the Wild West of the first 100 days in office. ...Elected Republicans, at least in public, seem fine with it all. They chuckle and say it's simply Trump being Trump. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and his staff seem fine with, or at least resigned to, this reality. No one who matters is doing anything but egging him on."

Helping him create his own reality in which he is king, emperor, god.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Gloria Borger, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, and Kara Scannell at CNN: Jared Kushner Met with Special Counsel About Flynn. "Jared Kushner met earlier this month with Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team as part of the investigation into Russia's meddling in the election, according to two people familiar with the meeting. ...The conversation lasted less than 90 minutes, one person familiar with the meeting said, adding that Mueller's team asked Kushner to clear up some questions he was asked by lawmakers and details that emerged through media reports. One source said the nature of this conversation was principally to make sure Kushner doesn't have information that exonerates Flynn."

Welp. That sounds pretty bad for Flynn. (And frankly pretty good for Kushner.)

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Shira A Scheindlin at the Guardian: Trump's New Team of Judges Will Radically Change American Society.
While the Supreme Court is the court of last resort — and the one that attracts most attention — the judicial business of the United States is decided in what are called 'the lower courts.' The judges appointed to these courts decide 99.9% of all cases.

Most cases never reach the supreme court. It is the so-called lower courts that play a critical role in deciding a wide range of issues. These judges have decided cases involving voting rights, contraception, privacy, sentencing, prisoner rights, gay rights, immigration, desegregation in schools and housing, employment discrimination, affirmative action, workplace rules, environmental impacts, and many others that shape US society. The impact of their decisions are felt daily by more than 300 million Americans.

This is the background needed to understand the importance of Trump's judicial nominations during his first year in office. Much has been made of the administration's legislative failures but Trump's judicial appointments are calculated to have a more lasting impact on American life than many if not all of his proposed legislative initiatives.

Unlike legislation, these life-time appointments are not reversible. That is why it is so important to scrutinize who he is placing on these benches, and what impact they will have.

There are now approximately 144 vacancies in the federal courts, and Trump has already succeeded in appointing 14 judges, meaning that he began his term with more than 150 vacancies — 10% of the federal judiciary.
And every single judge he nominates will vote to uphold the assault on voting rights that his party is waging, so no wonder they are behaving like a party who will never have to be accountable to voters ever again.

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[Content Note: Sexual harassment and/or assault. Covers entire section. Video may autoplay at first link.] There are a handful of new allegations of sexual abuse today. I don't have anything to say that I haven't already said literally dozens of times before. I am angry and I am rageful and I take up space in solidarity with these women.

MJ Lee at CNN: Army Veteran Says Franken Groped Her During USO Tour in 2003.

Anna Merlan at the Slot: New England Elected Official Says Al Franken Tried to Give Her a 'Wet, Open-Mouthed Kiss' Onstage.

Jenny Lumet at the Hollywood Reporter: Russell Simmons Sexually Violated Me.

Naaman Zhou at the Guardian: Geoffrey Rush Denies Allegations of 'Inappropriate Behaviour' in Play.

Rachel Tepper Paley at Mic: 4 Former Employees Accuse Celebrity Chef Johnny Iuzzini of Sexual Harassment and Abuse.

And in related news:

Brandy Zadrozny at the Daily Beast: Trump Bragged: 'Nothing in the World Like First-Rate Pussy'.

Brianna Sacks at BuzzFeed: Roy Moore Just Blamed His Sexual Misconduct Allegations on Lesbians, Gays, and Socialists.

Scott Stump at Today: Rep. John Conyers' Accuser Marion Brown Speaks Out: 'He Just Violated My Body'.

Matt Shuham at TPM: Conyers' Lawyer Says Congressman Has No Plans to Resign Amid Accusations.

Lauren Gambino at the Guardian: Nancy Pelosi Calls on John Conyers to Resign over Sexual Harassment Allegations.

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

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