We Resist: Day 319

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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: The Tax Bill Passes the Senate: MAKE YOUR CALLS and Trump Thinks He's Above the Law — and His Lawyer Agrees.

⬆️ MAKE YOUR CALLS: DEMAND THE FCC MAINTAIN NET NEUTRALITY. This is not a drill. This is it. If we lose Net Neutrality, it is going to become much harder to organize and much more difficult to preserve voting rights. Be your own best advocate, because we can't depend on anyone but ourselves to save us.

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[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link.] Billy House at Bloomberg: House Republicans Prepare Contempt Action Against FBI, DOJ. "U.S. House Republicans are drafting a contempt of Congress resolution against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray, claiming stonewalling in producing material related to the Russia-Trump probes and other matters. Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes and other committee Republicans, after considering such action for several weeks, decided to move after media including the New York Times reported Saturday on why a top FBI official assigned to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russia-Trump election collusion had been removed from the investigation. Republicans, including the president, pointed to the reports as evidence that the entire probe into Russian meddling has been politically motivated."

By way of reminder: Nunes was forced to "temporarily" recuse himself the Russia investigation after he was exposed for running interference for the White House. I guess that temporary recusal is over, because he is back to running interference. Make no mistake that this is laying the groundwork for Trump to get rid of Bob Mueller.

Carol D. Leonnig, John Wagner, and Ellen Nakashima at the Washington Post: Trump Lawyer Says President Knew Flynn Had Given FBI the Same Account He Gave to Vice President.
Trump's personal lawyer said Sunday that the president knew in late January that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn had probably given FBI agents the same inaccurate account he provided to Vice President Pence about a call with the Russian ambassador.

Trump lawyer John Dowd said the information was passed to Trump by White House counsel Donald McGahn, who had been warned about Flynn's statement to the vice president by a senior Justice Department official.

...Dowd said Sunday that Trump knew only what acting attorney general Sally Yates had told the White House counsel: that Flynn's accounts to the agents interviewing him were the same as those Flynn gave Pence, and "that the [Justice] Department was not accusing him of lying."

People familiar with Yates's account say she never discussed any part of the FBI investigation with the White House.
What a collection of traitorous scoundrels. Fucking hell.

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: Trump: 'I Feel Very Badly for Flynn' That the FBI 'Destroyed His Life'. "Donald Trump on Monday morning claimed that the FBI 'destroyed' former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's life but did not go after Hillary Clinton, telling reporters outside the White House that he feels 'very badly' for Flynn. 'I feel badly for Gen. Flynn. I feel very badly. He's led a very strong life. And I feel very badly,' Trump told reporters. 'I will say this, Hillary Clinton lied many times to the FBI, nothing happened to her. Flynn lied, and they destroyed his life.'" OMFG my head is truly going to explode with rage.

Josh Gerstein at Politico: George Papadopoulos' Late Night with the FBI. "While his late-night arrival at the jail may lead some to suspect a prolonged interrogation by the FBI, legal experts said it was highly unlikely agents would have attempted that. One reason: Papadopoulos already had Breen and Stanley on board as his lawyer by the time of the February interview, so any attempt to interview him without his lawyers could have violated legal ethics rules. ...With that option appearing to be off the table, the FBI and Mueller's team appear to have decided to shock Papadopoulos about the seriousness of his predicament by making the arrest. 'Law enforcement likes to get somebody's attention as much as they can in a lawful way,' Breen observed."

Nicholas Fandos at the New York Times: Operative Offered Trump Campaign 'Kremlin Connection' Using N.R.A. Ties. "A conservative operative trumpeting his close ties to the National Rifle Association and Russia told a Trump campaign adviser last year that he could arrange a back-channel meeting between Donald J. Trump and Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian president, according to an email sent to the Trump campaign. A May 2016 email to the campaign adviser, Rick Dearborn, bore the subject line 'Kremlin Connection.' In it, the N.R.A. member said he wanted the advice of Mr. Dearborn and Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, then a foreign policy adviser to Mr. Trump and Mr. Dearborn's longtime boss, about how to proceed in connecting the two leaders."

As Josh Marshall noted on Twitter: "Possibility that NRA became a direction and cash conduit from Russia to Trump has been hanging in the background for months. Now maybe it comes into the open."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Chris Riotta at Newsweek: Jared Kushner Failed to Disclose He Led a Foundation Funding Illegal Israeli Settlements Before U.N. Vote.
Jared Kushner failed to disclose his role as a co-director of the Charles and Seryl Kushner Foundation from 2006 to 2015, a time when the group funded an Israeli settlement considered to be illegal under international law, on financial records he filed with the Office of Government Ethics earlier this year.

The latest development follows reports on Friday indicating the White House senior adviser attempted to sway a United Nations Security Council vote against an anti-settlement resolution passed just before Donald Trump took office, which condemned the structure of West Bank settlements. The failure to disclose his role in the foundation—at a time when he was being tasked with serving as the president’s Middle East peace envoy—follows a pattern of egregious omissions that would bar any other official from continuing to serve in the West Wing, experts and officials told Newsweek.
Every one of these stories would be a major scandal in any other administration. In the Trump administration, there is so much corruption, collusion, and sundry other fuckery that none of them will register as more than a blip in the onslaught of daily news.

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[CN: Sexual assault.] So Billy Bush is back to let us know that the Access Hollywood tape — in which Donald Trump said on a hot mic that he grabs women by our genitals — is not "fake," as Trump has recently been implying, and also that he (Bush) is a changed man after the fallout from the release of the tape and the ensuing year that has included many survivors coming forward about powerful abusers.

I'm guessing you can imagine my response to this crapola, but just in case it's somehow a mystery:

I'm sure you'll also be positively shocked to hear that there were plenty of men (and some women) lining up to tell me what a mean bitch I am for not baking Billy Bush all the cookies and to mansplain at me that I'm the real problem. (So I keep hearing!)

One of my favorite (ahem) arguments was that Bush was only doing something "we've all done" — failed to challenge a powerful man. Which is a deeply mendacious mischaracterization of what Bush did.

This exchange began after Kent came into my mentions to admonish me: "It's time to forgive this dude."

General advice: Don't tell survivors of sexual assault how they should feel about men who commit or abet or laugh at or joke about or defend sexual assault.

Things I can't believe I need to say in the year of our lord Jesus Jones two thousand and seventeen. But here we are.

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[CN: Sexual harassment and/or assault. Covers this whole section.]

In the latest round of allegations against prominent men...

Suki Kim at the Cut: Public Radio Icon John Hockenberry Accused of Harassing Female Colleagues. "This story starts differently than most sexual-harassment accounts out there. It begins with the accused harasser honorably 'retiring' after a successful career, which sets off an investigation — my own — into whether there were other women who worked with this man who'd felt as, well, violated as I did."

Michael Cooper at the New York Times: Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations. "The Metropolitan Opera suspended James Levine, its revered conductor and former music director, on Sunday after three men came forward with accusations that Mr. Levine sexually abused them decades ago, when the men were teenagers."

Rachael Bade at Politico: Lawmaker Behind Secret $84K Sexual Harassment Settlement Unmasked. "Rep. Blake Farenthold used taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment claim brought by his former spokesman — the only known sitting member of Congress to have used a little-known congressional account to pay an accuser, people familiar with the matter told POLITICO. Lauren Greene, the Texas Republican's former communications director, sued her boss in December 2014 over allegations of gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and creating a hostile work environment."

Kate Nocera and Tarini Parti at BuzzFeed: She Says She Quit Her Campaign Job After He Harassed Her; Now He's in Congress. "Samantha, whose last name BuzzFeed News is withholding at her request, began working for [Democratic] Rep. Ruben Kihuen early in his campaign to unseat Republican Rep. Cresent Hardy in December 2015 and quit by April 2016. Starting in February of that year, Samantha, who was 25 at the time, said Kihuen, who was then 35 and still competing in the primary race, propositioned her for dates and sex despite her repeated rejections. On two occasions, she says he touched her thighs without consent."

In better news, the wonderful Malcolm Nance just straight-up called Julian Assange "Rapey McRapeface."

Obviously that made me laugh for ten million years, but, additionally, I am legit grateful to Nance for neither ignoring nor soft-pedaling the accusations against Assange. It's depressingly rare.

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Jared Bernstein at the Washington Post: Two Top Republican Tax Writers Reveal Their Prejudice and Their Strategy.
On Saturday, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, a Republican from Iowa and member of the Senate's tax writing committee, said this about repealing the estate tax:

"I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it's on booze or women or movies."

A few days before that, the chair of the committee, Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), said the following regarding Congress's failure to reauthorize the Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides Medicaid coverage to 9 million kids in low-income families.

"The reason CHIP's having trouble is because we don't have money anymore, and to just add more and more spending and more and more spending, and you can look at the rest of the bill for the more and more spending," Hatch said.
I hate them so much.

Alex Isenstadt at Politico: Trump Moves to Block Romney from the Senate. "Donald Trump is going all out to persuade seven-term Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch to seek reelection — a push aimed in no small part at keeping the president's longtime nemesis, Mitt Romney, out of the Senate." Look, I have no love, none, for Mitt Romney, but it is truly remarkable for a sitting president to try to block the election of a member of his own party who was himself a nominee for the presidency. This is rank authoritarian behavior.

[CN: Racism; colonialism] Andrea Smardon at the Guardian: 'We'll See the Battle Lines': Trump Faced by Native American Alliance over Bears Ears. "On Monday, Donald Trump will visit Salt Lake City. He is expected to formally announce plans to substantially shrink two Utah national monuments: Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears. ...Orrin Hatch, the senator who invited Trump to Utah, said in a video statement the 'outcome' the president will announce 'strikes an excellent balance where everybody wins.' Thousands of demonstrators, however, gathered at the state capitol on Saturday in a show of solidarity with Native American tribes that say the move against Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante is nothing less than a 'monumental mistake.' A coalition of five Utah tribes with ties to the land — the Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute, Ute Indian Tribe, Hopi, and the Pueblo of Zuni — has vowed to oppose any shrinkage of the national monument."

[CN: Homophobia] Andy Towle at Towleroad: SCOTUS Lets Troubling Ruling by Texas Supreme Court Stand, Undercutting Rights of Married Gay Couples. "The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up the appeal of a Texas Supreme Court ruling against the rights of married same-sex couples. The Texas high court had ruled that 'the right to a marriage license did not entitle same-sex couples to spousal benefits under employee insurance plans.' Denying the city of Houston's request, the U.S. Supreme Court will not review a June decision by the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled that the landmark decision legalizing same-sex marriage does not fully address the right to marriage benefits."

[CN: White supremacy] Jackson Landers at Rewire: How Police Botched Response to Charlottesville Hate Rally: 'Let Them Fight for a While'. "The first formal investigation into the deadly August 12 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, indicates poor decision making by government officials followed by efforts to disguise or cover up mistakes. The report, released Friday, was compiled by a legal team led by former U.S. Attorney Tim Heaphy of the Hunton & Williams law firm. The 220-page document outlines how a lack of communication and coordination between law enforcement agencies led to an inability to effectively work together as violent white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups rioted in the Virginia town."

[CN: White supremacy] Ali Breland at the Guardian: How White Engineers Built Racist Code — and Why It's Dangerous for Black People. "'If you're black, you're more likely to be subjected to this technology and the technology is more likely to be wrong,' House oversight committee ranking member Elijah Cummings said in a congressional hearing on law enforcement's use of facial recognition software in March 2017. 'That's a hell of a combination.' Cummings was referring to studies such as Garvie's. This report found that black individuals, as with so many aspects of the justice system, were the most likely to be scrutinized by facial recognition software in cases. It also suggested that software was most likely to be incorrect when used on black individuals — a finding corroborated by the FBI's own research. This combination...is born from another race issue that has become a subject of national discourse: the lack of diversity in the technology sector."

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

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