We Resist: Day 333

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One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) 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 Collusion Is (Still) Right Out in the Open; Blackout at the Atlanta Airport; and Trump Will Unveil "America First" National Security Doctrine.

[Content Note: Train derailment; injuries; image of crash at link] AP/Guardian: Amtrak Train Crashes from Bridge onto Freeway Near Seattle. "An Amtrak train has derailed roughly 40 miles south of Seattle [near Tacoma, Washington], spilling cars onto a busy interstate. Authorities said 'injuries and casualties [were] reported.' The train derailed just before 8am on Monday. All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 were closed south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and motorists were being warned to avoid the area." Just awful. My thoughts are with the passengers, all the people waiting to hear from loved ones, first responders, and medical crew.

[CN: War on agency] Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: The Trump Administration's Orwellian Plan to Gut Roe v. Wade.
Two women, known by the pseudonyms "Jane Roe" and "Jane Poe," are being held at federal facilities for undocumented minors who enter the country without an adult guardian. They are pregnant and want abortions. Yet they cannot obtain one because the Trump administration will not let them leave the facility to obtain the medical care they seek.

If this scenario sounds familiar, it should. Last October, the Trump administration made a similar attempt to hold a woman prisoner to prevent her from terminating her pregnancy. The woman eventually received her abortion, but only after she obtained a federal court order.

But that court order may have only taken effect because of a tactical error by Trump administration lawyers, who delayed seeking review in the Supreme Court until after the woman already obtained her abortion. These lawyers are unlikely to repeat this error now that Roe and Poe seek a similar court order.

That means that, as soon as this week, the Supreme Court is likely to weigh in on whether the federal government can physically detain a woman to prevent her from obtaining an abortion.
A Supreme Court that now leans conservative, thanks to the addition of Neil Gorsuch, care of Mitch McConnell. Seethe.

Matthew Goldstein at the New York Times: The Next Crisis for Puerto Rico: A Crush of Foreclosures.
Puerto Rico is bracing for another blow: a housing meltdown that could far surpass the worst of the foreclosure crisis that devastated Phoenix, Las Vegas, Southern California, and South Florida in the past decade. If the current numbers hold, Puerto Rico is headed for a foreclosure epidemic that could rival what happened in Detroit, where abandoned homes became almost as plentiful as occupied ones.

About one-third of the island's 425,000 homeowners are behind on their mortgage payments to banks and Wall Street firms that previously bought up distressed mortgages. Tens of thousands have not made payments for months. Some 90,000 borrowers became delinquent as a consequence of Hurricane Maria, according to Black Knight Inc., a data firm formerly known as Black Knight Financial Services.

Puerto Rico's 35 percent foreclosure and delinquency rate is more than double the 14.4 percent national rate during the depths of the housing implosion in January 2010. And there is no prospect of the problem's solving itself or quickly.
Meanwhile, Arelis R. Hernández reports at the Washington Post that Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello has "ordered all government agencies to reopen their books and initiate a recount and review of certified deaths that have occurred since Hurricane Maria, after weeks of reporting by various news outlets pointed to a possible severe undercount of storm fatalities."

I don't even know when the last time Donald Trump mentioned Puerto Rico was.

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Amanda Becker and Lindsay Dunsmuir at Reuters: Republicans Confident Tax Bill to Become Law This Week. "Top U.S. Republicans said on Sunday they expected Congress to pass a tax code overhaul this week, with a Senate vote as early as Tuesday and [Donald] Trump aiming to sign the bill by week's end. John Cornyn, the No. 2 U.S. Senate Republican, said in an interview on ABC's This Week that he was 'confident' the Senate would pass the legislation, 'probably on Tuesday.'"

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Trump, Real Estate Investors Get Late-Added Perk in Tax Bill. "Lawmakers scrambling to lock up Republican support for the tax reform bill added a complicated provision late in the process — one that would provide a multimillion-dollar windfall to real estate investors such as [Donald] Trump. The change, which would allow real estate businesses to take advantage of a new tax break that's planned for partnerships, limited liability companies, and other so-called 'pass-through' businesses, combined elements of House and Senate legislation in a new way. Its beneficiaries are clear, tax experts say, and they include a president who's said that the tax legislation wouldn't help him financially."

Guardian Staff and Agencies: John McCain Will Not Vote on Republican Tax Cuts This Week. "Trump confirmed reports the Arizona senator has gone home to spend the holidays with his family, after spending several days in hospital in Maryland because of side effects from his treatment for glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The president, who called McCain's wife Cindy on Friday, told reporters at the White House: 'I understand he'll come if we ever needed his vote, which hopefully we won't. But the word is John will come back if we need his vote. It's too bad. He's going through very tough time, there's no question about it. But he will come back if we need his vote.'"

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Mike Allen at Axios: Muddying Mueller: Trump Allies Say Strategy Working. "Trump said yesterday 'No, I'm not' when asked if he's considering firing Special Counsel Bob Mueller. Truth is, his high-level Republican allies don't think he will need to. Be smart: The Trump lawyers' strategy is to cooperate with Mueller on the inside game. The outside chorus tries to rough up Mueller, in case his findings are trouble for POTUS. The rising conservative drumbeat to discredit the investigation and the investigators is gaining GOP converts."

Mike Memoli at NBC News: House Republicans Prepare to Wrap Up Contentious Russia Investigation. "As House Republicans make the case for special counsel Robert Mueller to end his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, they appear ready to bring their own intelligence probe to an end. Senior Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee tell NBC News that they hope and expect to draw their year-long investigation to an end in the coming weeks, saying they have largely completed all interviews relevant to the narrow scope of inquiry Democrats had agreed to last spring. ...Though Democrats say they have requested as many as 30 additional interviews with new witnesses, none have been scheduled beyond the end of this month."

Aaron Blake at the Washington Post: The White House's Odd Statement About Giving U.S. Intelligence to Putin. "The second half of the readout is almost completely Trump: The emphasis on defeating terrorism as Goal No. 1, stressing the importance of a positive relationship with Russia, the reference to 'very talented people' at the CIA, and most notably the exclamation point at the end. (I tried to find another White House readout that ended with this punctuation and came up empty.) As The Post reported last week in its extensive recap of the first year of Trump's handling of Russia, Trump has often found his efforts to forge a more fruitful relationship with Russia stymied by the political realities of the day. This feels a lot like Trump trying to put his own brand of positive spin on this particular episode."

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[CN: Sexual harassment and assault. Covers entire section.]

Edward-Isaac Dovere at Politico: Franken Urged to Reverse His Resignation.
At least four senators are urging Al Franken to reconsider resigning, including two who issued statements calling for the resignation two weeks ago and said they now feel remorse over what they feel was a rush to judgment.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who urged Franken not to step down to begin with — at least not before he went through an Ethics Committee investigation — said the Minnesota senator was railroaded by fellow Democrats.

"What they did to Al was atrocious, the Democrats," said West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin in an interview for POLITICO's Off Message podcast... "The most hypocritical thing I've ever seen done to a human being — and then have enough guts to sit on the floor, watch him give his speech and go over and hug him? That's hypocrisy at the highest level I've ever seen in my life. Made me sick," Manchin said.
Manchin will probably use this as his excuse for switching his party affiliation to Republican in short order.

Matt Zapotosky at the Washington Post: Federal Appeals Judge Announces Immediate Retirement Amid Probe of Sexual Misconduct Allegations.
Alex Kozinski, the powerful judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit who was facing a judicial investigation over allegations that he subjected 15 women to inappropriate sexual behavior, announced Monday that he would retire effective immediately.

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Kozinski apologized, saying that he "had a broad sense of humor and a candid way of speaking to both male and female law clerks alike" and that, "in doing so, I may not have been mindful enough of the special challenges and pressures that women face in the workplace."

"It grieves me to learn that I caused any of my clerks to feel uncomfortable; this was never my intent," he said. "For this I sincerely apologize."

Kozinski, 67, said that although family and friends had urged him to stay on, "at least long enough to defend myself," he "cannot be an effective judge and simultaneously fight this battle. Nor would such a battle be good for my beloved federal judiciary. And so I am making the decision to retire, effective immediately."
Oh godddddd I definitely have Predator Apology Bingo. With the inclusion of "the investigation will be a distraction," I didn't even need the open space in the center!

Mike Snider at USA Today: MSNBC's Chris Matthews Was Reprimanded over Inappropriate Comments About Woman in 1999. "The network told USA TODAY that in 1999, an employee approached CNBC executives with a claim that Matthews made inappropriate jokes and comments about her in front of others. The network's investigation into the incident found that the remarks were inappropriate and sophomoric and in poor taste, but not meant as propositions. Matthews received a formal reprimand, the network says, and the matter was thoroughly reviewed and dealt with at the time. The network said it would not elaborate on the employee's payment and departure because of confidentiality."

The network also told USA Today that the incident "resulted in the woman getting separation-related compensation from the network," which sounds an awful lot like she was fired with a payoff.

Add Matthews to the ever-growing list of men who covered the last election and had a demonstrable history of misogyny toward Hillary Clinton.

[CN: Racism; video may autoplay at link] L. Jon Wertheim and Viv Bernstein at Sports Illustrated: Jerry Richardson, Panthers Have Made Multiple Confidential Payouts for Workplace Misconduct, Including Sexual Harassment and Use of a Racial Slur. "On Friday evening, the Panthers announced that they had commenced an internal investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against Richardson... On Sunday morning the NFL announced it was taking over the investigation. During its own investigation in the weeks prior, SI learned that on multiple occasions when Richardson's conduct has triggered complaints — for sexual harassment against female employees and for directing a racial slur at an African American employee — he has taken a leaf from a playbook he's deployed in the past: Confidential settlements were reached and payments were made to complainants, accompanied by non-disclosure and non-disparagement clauses designed to shield the owner and the organization from further liability and damaging publicity."

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

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