We Resist: Day 378

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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: This Is a Constitutional Crisis and Hope Hicks May Have Conspired with Trump to Obstruct Justice.

As I mentioned in comments earlier, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi has sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan calling for Rep. Devin Nunes to be removed as chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman Nunes' deliberately dishonest actions make him unfit to serve as Chairman, and he must be removed immediately from this position.

House Republicans' pattern of obstruction and cover-up to hide the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal represents a threat to our intelligence and our national security. The GOP has led a partisan effort to distort intelligence and discredit the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence communities.

It is long overdue that you, as Speaker, put an end to this charade and hold Congressman Nunes and all Congressional Republicans accountable to the oath they have taken to support and defend the Constitution, and protect the American people.

The integrity of the House is at stake. We look forward to your immediate action on this subject.
Meanwhile, Carol D. Leonnig, Josh Dawsey, Ellen Nakashima, and Karoun Demirjian report at the Washington Post: Trump Expected to Approve Release of Memo Following Redactions Requested by Intelligence Officials.

No matter how many people try to convince him not to release the memo, with our without redactions, Donald Trump is going to go ahead and do it — because that was the entire point of Nunes drafting it in the first place.

Which is why, among many other reasons, he needs to be removed. And so does Trump.

Judd Legum at ThinkProgress: The Sketchy Past of Carter Page, the Man at the Center of the Republicans' Memo Obsession. "[The memo] really comes down to one question: Was an obscure Trump adviser named Carter Page a legitimate subject of FBI surveillance, or was he targeted improperly? ...Was the Steele dossier the sole basis to justify the surveillance? Based on what we know about Page, this is very unlikely. Page 'has been known to U.S. counterintelligence officials dating back to at least 2013, nearly three years before he joined the Trump campaign.' In 2013, Page met repeatedly with Victor Podobnyy, who was posing as 'a junior attaché at the Russian consulate.' In 2015, Podobnyy was charged with 'posing as a U.N. attaché under diplomatic cover while trying to recruit Mr. Page as a Russian intelligence source.' ...The memo may make it seem like the Steele memo was the primary or sole basis for surveillance of Page, but the reality is almost certainly far more complicated."

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[Content Note: Genocide]


In November, Trump "pledged support" for the Rohingya, but it's not entirely clear to me what that has meant, aside from the United States acknowledging the campaign against the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing. This is the best information I could find on what the U.S. has been doing:
"This is a tragedy that's worse than anything that CNN or BBC has been able to portray about what has happened to these people," Mattis told reporters during a trip to Indonesia, Reuters reports. "And the United States has been engaged vigorously in the diplomatic realm trying to resolve this, engaged with humanitarian aid, a lot of money going into humanitarian aid."
That's absurdly nonspecific, but there doesn't appear to be any better information available — and I suspect that's because the U.S. government isn't actually doing anything meaningful.

(And in case you're wondering: Yes, there are meaningful actions we could be taking. But we have not taken them.)

The lack of available solid information on what constitutes our "vigorous engagement in the diplomatic realm" highlights another critical issue: I literally don't know if we even have any functioning State Department in that part of the world at this point.

Which is another indication of how far gone our country already is. That we had qualified, competent ambassadors and other diplomatic staff in place during a crisis virtually anywhere on the planet was something I used to be able to take for granted. Now I have no fucking clue what is going on abroad.

And suffice it to say there would not have been a complete collapse of the State Department if Hillary Clinton were president.

Trump continues to fail us, and continues to fail the world.

In news related to the abject demolishment of the U.S. State Department:

Declan Walsh at the New York Times: As Strongmen Steamroll Their Opponents, U.S. Is Silent.

Matthew Lee at the AP: Top Career U.S. Diplomat to Step Down in Blow to State Department.

So things are only going to keep getting worse.

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Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer at Politico: Behind Pence's Plan to Rescue the Republican Majority in 2018. "Vice President Mike Pence is launching one of the most aggressive campaign strategies in recent White House history: he will hopscotch the country over the next three months, making nearly three dozen stops that could raise tens of millions of dollars for House and Senate Republicans, all while promoting the party's legislative accomplishments. If done right, Pence said in an exclusive interview with POLITICO backstage before his speech to the House and Senate GOP here Wednesday night, Republicans could expand their majority in both chambers."

Setting fundraising aside, Pence will be accomplishing two things with this cross-country hobnobbing: 1. He will effectively be mounting a campaign that he's ready to be president, just in case. 2. He is laying the groundwork for the explanation when Republicans mysteriously have totally unexpected electoral success in the midterms. It won't be because Mike Pompeo rigged it with the Russians, but because Pence worked so gosh darn hard and visited all those places Washington doesn't care about blah blah fart.

I see you, Pence. I am annoyed that very few people in power seem to see you, including and especially Bob Mueller.

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Catherine Garcia at the Week: HUD Lawyers Warned Ben Carson About Letting His Son Get Involved in Department Business. "Lawyers with the Housing and Urban Development department warned HUD Secretary Ben Carson that by having his son, businessman Ben Carson Jr., actively involved in organizing a listening tour in Baltimore last summer, he was risking violating federal ethics rules, The Washington Post reports. Using the Freedom of Information Act, the Post obtained a July 6, 2017, memo written by Linda M. Cruciani, HUD's deputy general counsel for operations, who said she had been told by HUD officials they were concerned about Carson Jr. and his wife, Merlynn, inviting people to tour events. ...[Cruciani expressed her concern] 'that this gave the appearance that the secretary may be using his position for his son's private gain.'"

[CN: War on agency; hostility to consent; nativism] Ed Pilkington at the Guardian: Trump Officials Considered Contentious Method to 'Reverse' Undocumented Teen's Abortion. "An anti-abortion activist who was appointed by Donald Trump to head a federal agency that detains undocumented immigrant children considered using a highly contentious and untested technique to stop a teenager from completing an abortion that was already in process, it has emerged. Scott Lloyd, the Trump administration's pick as director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, raised the prospect last March of administering the hormone progesterone to a 17-year-old girl from El Salvador who had entered the U.S. illegally and was being held in custody in San Antonio, Texas. The procedure is unrecognized by the medical profession as a means of reversing abortion and has side-effects attached to it."

[CN: War on agency] Nicole Knight at Rewire: GOP Lawmakers Are Pushing 'Make-Believe Health Care' Across the U.S. "Proponents of abortion pill 'reversal' aim to gain a foothold in Idaho with Republican legislation to tell those seeking abortion care about the unproven treatment. Patients would receive a 'fetal development packet' with information on 'interventions, if any, that may affect the effectiveness or reversal of a chemical abortion' and where to find providers, under a bill introduced Monday by state Sen. Lori Den Hartog (R-Meridian). Abortion pill 'reversal' purports to stop a medication abortion by delivering a large dose of the hormone progesterone before a patient takes the second pill in a series of two required medications to have a medication abortion. Backed by anti-choice lawmakers, legislation advocating for the experimental treatment has appeared in at least ten states since 2015, with limited success. Colorado legislators are also considering an abortion pill 'reversal' bill this year. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has condemned the so-called reversal treatment, saying it is 'not supported by the body of scientific evidence.'"

[CN: White supremacy] Rebecca Klein at the Huffington Post: American Students Aren't Learning the Full Truth About Slavery. "American students are being taught an inadequate and often sanitized version of history when it comes to slavery, according to a new report. The report, from the Southern Poverty Law Center, looks at how slavery is presented in K-12 classrooms and found that students are often taught a deeply incomplete version of events. ...Only 8 percent of high school seniors surveyed by an independent polling firm for the study identified slavery as the primary reason for the Civil War. Almost half identified tax protests as the main cause."

Recall what I was just saying this morning about white supremacists being the gatekeepers of Black history.

[CN: Environmental racism] Oliver Milman at the Guardian: Air Pollution: Black, Hispanic, and Poor Students Most at Risk from Toxins. "Schoolchildren across the U.S. are plagued by air pollution that's linked to multiple brain-related problems, with Black, Hispanic, and low-income students most likely to be exposed to a fug of harmful toxins at school, scientists and educators have warned. The warnings come after widespread exposure to toxins was found in new research using EPA and census data to map out the air pollution exposure for nearly 90,000 public schools across the U.S. 'This could well be impacting an entire generation of our society,' said Dr Sara Grineski, an academic who has authored the first national study, published in the journal Environmental Research, on air pollution and schools."

Jenny Rowland at ThinkProgress: The National Monuments Slashed by Trump Will Officially be Open to Mining on Friday. "Trump took an unprecedented step for a U.S. president in December — signing a proclamation that dramatically reduced the size of two national monuments. Bears Ears National Monument was cut by more than 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was reduced by half. This resulted in the largest elimination of protected areas in U.S. history. The move put tens of thousands of Native American sacred sites at risk, along with key wildlife habitat, and areas used for outdoor recreation. While the longer-term fate of Trump's likely illegal action will play out in the courts, also buried in his December proclamation was a provision that on February 2, 2018, the areas excluded from the monuments would become open to private mineral companies to begin staking mining and drilling claims."

Whitney Filloon at Eater: Tip-Pooling Will Cost Workers Billions, According to Hidden DOL Data. "As the debate around tip pooling continues, new evidence shows the Department of Labor hid data from the public that revealed its proposed regulations would cost restaurant workers billions of dollars, Bloomberg Law reports. The DOL reportedly conducted an analysis indicating that, if tip pooling was made legal again — that is, if restaurant owners were allowed to collect servers' tips and redistribute them as they see fit, including being allowed to pocket them — it would transfer billions of dollars' worth of gratuities from workers to business owners. These findings were left out of the department's December proposal to reverse the Obama administration rule that banned tip pooling."

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

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