We Resist: Day 377

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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: State of the Union Recap.

Another rat is jumping ship:

Good riddance.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Chris Strohm, Billy House, and Justin Sink at Bloomberg: FBI Director Opposes Memo Release Because of Inaccuracies, Source Says.
FBI Director Christopher Wray told the White House he opposes release of a classified Republican memo alleging bias at the FBI and Justice Department because it contains inaccurate information and paints a false narrative, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The memo on actions early in the probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign is being reviewed by "our national security lawyers in the White House," who are "slicing and dicing it," White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Wednesday on Fox News Radio. But he left little doubt about the outcome, saying the disputed memo will be released "pretty quick, I think, and the whole world can see it."

The White House has up to five days to decide whether the memo can be released — and whether portions should be withheld — after the House Intelligence Committee voted Monday to make it public. The memo, written by aides under direction of Republican Chairman Devin Nunes, is aimed at raising questions about the validity of the investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia, now led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The FBI isn't included in the inter-agency review process led by the White House aimed at deciding whether — and how much of — the memo can be made public. Wray was allowed to read the memo on Sunday.

...In a message to the bureau on Monday, Wray said he respects the inspector general's process, but said he wouldn't discuss it, the person said. Wray didn't indicate in the message any wrongdoing by McCabe. But the director said he won't be persuaded by political pressure and he's going to do his job by the book, the person said.
Emphasis mine. Every time someone in the Trump administration says they won't be persuaded by political pressure, we find out later that Trump has been pressuring them.

And Trump has apparently already made up his mind:
As [Donald] Trump departed the House floor after delivering his State of the Union address, C-SPAN cameras captured Representative Jeff Duncan, a South Carolina Republican, asking the president to "release the memo."

"Oh yeah, don't worry, 100 percent," Trump replied, waving dismissively. "Can you imagine that? You'd be too angry."
It's not like I thought that anyone would be able to persuade Trump otherwise, but still every shred of evidence that he is disgustingly cavalier about never doing the right thing makes me boil with fury.

Betsy Woodruff and Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast: Devin Nunes Won't Say If He Worked with White House on Anti-FBI Memo. "The Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee refused to answer when a colleague asked him if he had coordinated his incendiary surveillance memo with the White House, The Daily Beast has learned. During Monday's contentious closed-door committee meeting, Rep. Mike Quigley, a Democrat, asked Nunes point-blank if his staffers had been talking with the White House as they compiled a four-page memo alleging FBI and Justice Department abuses over surveillance of [Donald] Trump's allies in the Russia probe. According to sources familiar with the exchange, Nunes made a few comments that didn't answer the question before finally responding, 'I'm not answering.' Spokespeople for Nunes and for the White House did not immediately respond." So he did.

Tierney Sneed at TPM: 'Inconceivable': Why Experts Don't Believe the Nunes Memo Is What GOPers Claim. "For Republicans claims of an abuse to be true, one would have to assume that the dossier was the sole basis of the warrant application, that it was a 'fabrication,' and that the DOJ knew that it was a fabrication when it applied for the FISA warrant, [Stephen Vladeck, a University of Texas law professor who specializes in national security issues] said. 'All three things would have to be true for this to actually be an abuse of FISA,' Vladeck said, adding that he wouldn't take the claims seriously unless the White House declassifies the underlying warrant. 'The major problem here is that this is only arguably scandalous in any way if [the DOJ] just essentially repacked the dossier as a warrant package without any work of their own,' [Julian Sanchez, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute] said, adding that it would be 'inconceivable to me that would be the only source.'"

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Shane Harris at the Washington Post: Russian Spy Chiefs Met in Washington with CIA Director to Discuss Counterterrorism. Excuse me — WHAT?!
Two top Russian spy chiefs traveled to Washington last week to discuss counterterrorism issues with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, but the unusual visit also raised concerns among some U.S. officials that Moscow could interpret the encounter as a sign the Trump administration is willing to move beyond the issue of election interference, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said.

Pompeo met with Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service or SVR, and Alexander Bortnikov, who runs the FSB, which is the main successor to the Soviet-era security service the KGB. The head of Russia's military intelligence, the GRU, also came to Washington, though it's not clear that he met with Pompeo.

...[C]urrent and former U.S. intelligence officials said they couldn't recall so many heads of Russia's espionage and security apparatus coming to Washington at once and meeting with a top American official. They worried the Kremlin could conclude the United States is open to forgiving Russia for its actions and wasn't resolved to forcefully prevent future meddling.
Yes! That the Kremlin could conclude the United States isn't interested in preventing future election meddling is indeed a concern! Another concern is that the Director of the CIA met with Russian spy chiefs to coordinate future election meddling.

This report comes, after all, ONE DAY after Pompeo told the BBC that Russia will definitely target the midterm elections.

JFC. We are so doomed.

[CN: War; violence] Victor Cha at the Washington Post: Giving North Korea a 'Bloody Nose' Carries a Huge Risk to Americans.
North Korea, if not stopped, will build an arsenal with multiple nuclear missiles meant to threaten the U.S. homeland and blackmail us into abandoning our allies in Asia. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un will sell these weapons to state and nonstate actors, and he will inspire other rogue actors who want to undermine the U.S.-backed postwar order. These are real and unprecedented threats. But the answer is not, as some Trump administration officials have suggested, a preventive military strike.

...I empathize with the hope, espoused by some Trump officials, that a military strike would shock Pyongyang into appreciating U.S. strength, after years of inaction, and force the regime to the denuclearization negotiating table. I also hope that if North Korea did retaliate militarily, the United States could control the escalation ladder to minimize collateral damage and prevent a collapse of financial markets. In either event, the rationale is that a strike that demonstrates U.S. resolve to pursue "all options" is necessary to give the mercurial Kim a "bloody nose." Otherwise he will remain undeterred in his nuclear ambitions.

Yet, there is a point at which hope must give in to logic. If we believe that Kim is undeterrable without such a strike, how can we also believe that a strike will deter him from responding in kind? And if Kim is unpredictable, impulsive and bordering on irrational, how can we control the escalation ladder, which is premised on an adversary's rational understanding of signals and deterrence?
Sarah Karlin-Smith and Brianna Ehley at Politico: Trump's Top Health Official Traded Tobacco Stock While Leading Anti-Smoking Efforts. "The Trump administration's top public health official bought shares in a tobacco company one month into her leadership of the agency charged with reducing tobacco use — the leading cause of preventable disease and death and an issue she had long championed. The stock was one of about a dozen new investments that Brenda Fitzgerald, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, made after she took over the agency's top job, according to documents obtained by POLITICO. ...Buying shares of tobacco companies raises even more flags than Fitzgerald's trading in drug and food companies because it stands in such stark contrast to the CDC's mission to persuade smokers to quit and keep children from becoming addicted. Critics say her trading behavior broke with ethical norms for public health officials." She has now resigned. Bye.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Eric Eyre at the Charleston Gazette-Mail: Drug Firms Shipped 20.8M Pain Pills to West Virginia Town with 2,900 People. "Over the past decade, out-of-state drug companies shipped 20.8 million prescription painkillers to two pharmacies four blocks apart in a Southern West Virginia town with 2,900 people, according to a congressional committee investigating the opioid crisis. The House Energy and Commerce Committee cited the massive shipments of hydrocodone and oxycodone — two powerful painkillers — to the town of Williamson, in Mingo County, amid the panel's inquiry into the role of drug distributors in the opioid epidemic. 'These numbers are outrageous, and we will get to the bottom of how this destruction was able to be unleashed across West Virginia,' said committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., in a joint statement." Whoa.

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[CN: Misogyny] Melanie Schmitz at ThinkProgress: White House Press Secretary Tells Nancy Pelosi to Smile More. "During an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo on Wednesday morning, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, discussing the president's State of the Union speech the night before, suggested that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) 'smile a lot more often.' 'I think Nancy Pelosi looks like that all the time,' Sanders said, after Cuomo suggested Pelosi had seemed frustrated during [Donald] Trump's speech. 'I think she should smile a lot more often. I think the country would be better for it. She seems to kind of embody the bitterness that belongs in Democrat Party right now.' Sanders added that 'last night was a good step forward' and suggested that Democrats as a group 'let go of some of that' anger." Smile more, policing a woman's appearance, calling a woman bitter, calling a woman angry — with the free space, I've got BINGO!

[CN: Sexual assault] The Daily Beast: Scott Baio 'Absolutely' Denies Co-Star's Sex-Abuse Allegations. "Actor Scott Baio continued to adamantly deny sexual-abuse claims made by his former co-star Nicole Eggert, in a Good Morning America interview Wednesday. He admitted to having one sexual encounter with Eggert after she turned 18." Hey, remember what I was just saying about how sexual abusers often lie in a really specific way? "One of the ways they exploit [the rape culture] is avoiding outright denials in favor of conceding that something happened, but that it was either consensual or no big deal, thus framing their accuser as vengeful, oversensitive, mistaken, and/or lying." Huh.

[CN: Sexual assault] Laura Snapes at the Guardian: DJ Who Groped Taylor Swift Hired by Mississippi Radio Station. "David Mueller, the DJ sacked after Taylor Swift complained he had groped her at a 2013 meet-and-greet, has been hired by a Mississippi radio station. Mueller lost his job at Denver's KYGO-FM after Swift's management and security team told him he would no longer be welcome at the star's concerts following the incident. He subsequently sued Swift for $3m in damages, claiming he had been falsely accused and that she had ruined his career. She countersued, claiming that Mueller had assaulted her, and a jury ruled in favour of her. Mueller's case against the pop star was dismissed."

So, he groped one of the most famous women in the world and was found guilty by a jury in a civil case, and yet he's still getting hired in the same position that granted him access to women, which he exploited to hurt women.

Let me never, ever, hear again how allegations of sexual abuse "ruin men's lives."

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

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