We Resist: Day 363

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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: Maybe Let's Not Empower Trump to Use Nukes and Trump Administration Revives the "Conscience Clause".

Remember how Steve Bannon was scheduled to testify yesterday before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 election? Yeah, well, it went great! (It did not go great.)

I love how 13 days ago, Trump issued a statement that said, in part, "Steve was a staffer who worked for me after I had already won the nomination." Now that lowly "staffer" is so important that the White House has to control his response to Congressional questioning!

Betsy Woodruff at the Daily Beast: Steve Bannon Will Tell All to Robert Mueller, Source Says. "Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon broke some bad news to House investigators Tuesday, announcing that the White House had invoked executive privilege to keep him from answering many of their questions. But executive privilege — the president's right to keep certain information from the public so he can have frank conversations with aides — will not keep Steve Bannon from sharing information with special counsel Robert Mueller's team, according to a person familiar with the situation. 'Mueller will hear everything Bannon has to say,' said the source, who is familiar with Bannon's thinking."

I'll believe that when I read about it in actual unredacted transcripts issued by Bob Mueller's office.

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Eric Trump is famously not very bright. But this was pretty disastrous even by the rock bottom standards he's set for himself:

Presumably not a complete list of everyone Eric Trump has ever met in his entire life.

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In yet another example of how decent and competent people don't want to work for or with the Trump administration, so we're increasingly governed by unethical shitheads... Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post: Nearly All Members of National Park Service Advisory Panel Resign in Frustration. "More than three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service have quit out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year. The resignation of 10 out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks." Welp.

Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier at BuzzFeed: Investigators Are Scrutinizing Newly Uncovered Payments by the Russian Embassy.
Officials investigating the Kremlin's interference in the 2016 US presidential election are scrutinizing newly uncovered financial transactions between the Russian government and people or businesses inside the United States.

Records exclusively reviewed by BuzzFeed News also show years of Russian financial activity within the US that bankers and federal law enforcement officials deemed suspicious, raising concerns about how the Kremlin's diplomats operated here long before the 2016 election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team, charged with investigating Russian election interference and possible collusion by the Trump campaign, is examining these transactions and others by Russian diplomatic personnel, according to a US official with knowledge of the inquiry. The special counsel has broad authority to investigate "any matters" that "may arise" from his investigation, and the official said Mueller's probe is following leads on suspicious Russian financial activity that may range far beyond the election.
One of the transactions being investigated is a $120,000 payment made to former Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak ten days after the election of Donald Trump. JFC.

In Touch has published a report that Stormy Daniels, the woman whom Donald Trump is alleged to have paid off to keep silent, had an affair with Trump soon after First Lady Melania Trump gave birth to their son, Barron. At ThinkProgress, Judd Legum explains why this story matters, and, to my mind, this is the most important point: "The story suggests Trump is vulnerable to blackmail and extortion. According to reports, Daniels was able to extract a $130,000 payment to keep quiet about her affair with Trump. How many other women have stories about Trump that he does not want told? This is potentially a very dangerous predicament for a sitting president. ...Trump, reportedly, has things to hide and is willing to go to substantial lengths to hide them."

[Content Note: Misogyny; class warfare] Heidi Shierholz, David Cooper, Julia Wolfe, and Ben Zipperer at the Economic Policy Institute: Women Would Lose $4.6 Billion in Earned Tips If the Administration's 'Tip Stealing' Rule Is Finalized. "The Department of Labor (DOL) has proposed a rule that would make it legal for employers to pocket their workers' tips, as long as they pay those workers at least the minimum wage. The proposed rule rescinds portions of longstanding DOL regulations that prohibit employers from taking tips. We estimate that if the rule is finalized, every year workers will lose $5.8 billion in tips, as tips are shifted from workers to employers. Of the $5.8 billion, nearly 80 percent — $4.6 billion — would be taken from women who are working in tipped jobs."

[CN: Nativism; white supremacy] Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani at ThinkProgress: Media Coverage of Trump's Claim That He Wants Immigrants from 'Everywhere' Is Laughable. "On Tuesday, Trump was asked by CNN's Jim Acosta whether he wants more immigrants from Norway. He replied that he actually wants immigrants from 'everywhere.' ...But without any actual evidence to support his claim, much of the media decided to take Trump's new comments on face value. 'Trump says he wants immigrants from 'everywhere,'' Reuters reported Tuesday, with no context of the president's previous rhetoric or policies before last week's report. CNN published another piece with the exact same headline, and again mentioned none of the president's previous rhetoric or policies. Even publications that offered some context published nearly identical headlines, which made it seem like a president who ran a virulently anti-immigration campaign and has implemented anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies as president, does indeed want to accept them now."

[CN: Nativism; abuse] Rory Carroll at the Guardian: U.S. Border Patrol Routinely Sabotages Water Left for Migrants, Report Says. "United States border patrol agents routinely vandalise containers of water and other supplies left in the Arizona desert for migrants, condemning people to die of thirst in baking temperatures, according to two humanitarian groups. In a report published Wednesday, the Tucson-based groups said the agents committed the alleged sabotage with impunity in an attempt to deter and punish people who illegally cross from Mexico. Volunteers found water gallons vandalised 415 times, on average twice a week, in an 800 sq mile patch of Sonoran desert south-west of Tucson, from March 2012 to December 2015, the report said. The damage affected 3,586 gallons. The report also accused border patrol agents of vandalising food and blankets and harassing volunteers in the field."

[CN: Nativism; sexual assault; self-harm] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: Migrant Attempts Suicide After Forced to Interact with Alleged Abuser. "An asylum-seeking Salvadoran woman, whose allegations of repeated sexual assault by a guard at the T. Don Hutto Detention Center in Texas went largely ignored, has attempted suicide. Laura Monterrosa, who has been detained at Hutto since May 2017 and alleges her abuse began in June, first went public with her allegations in November, leading to a supposed investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Williamson County Sheriff's Office. In the days that followed, other women detained inside Hutto came forward with allegations of abuse. But after two interviews with officials from ICE and Williamson County in which there was a language barrier and Monterrosa initially wasn't allowed access to counsel, ICE unceremoniously announced that it found Monterrosa's allegations to be 'unsubstantiated.' The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has since confirmed it intervened in the investigation of sexual assault allegations emerging from the long-troubled detention center."

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[CN: Fat hatred; body shaming] Finally, this is a very good piece by Addy Baird at ThinkProgress: Stop Talking About Trump's Weight. "Focusing on his size is a distraction from all of the other pressing issues with his presidency, and doesn't hurt Trump nearly as much as it hurts anyone else who is fat, uncomfortable in their own skin, or struggling with their body image in any way."

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

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