We Resist: Day 382

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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: Trump Blatantly Lied About FBI and It Matters and Uma Thurman Speaks Out on Weinstein, Tarantino.

[Content Note: Disablist language] Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes at the Atlantic: The Republican Party Is a Threat to the Constitutional Order.
The Republican Party, as an institution, has become a danger to the rule of law and the integrity of our democracy. The problem is not just Donald Trump; it's the larger political apparatus that made a conscious decision to enable him. In a two-party system, nonpartisanship works only if both parties are consistent democratic actors. If one of them is not predictably so, the space for nonpartisans evaporates. We're thus driven to believe that the best hope of defending the country from Trump's Republican enablers, and of saving the Republican Party from itself, is to do as Toren Beasley did: Vote mindlessly and mechanically against Republicans at every opportunity, until the party either rights itself or implodes (very preferably the former).

...So why have we come to regard the GOP as an institutional danger? In a nutshell, it has proved unable or unwilling (mostly unwilling) to block assaults by Trump and his base on the rule of law. Those assaults, were they to be normalized, would pose existential, not incidental, threats to American democracy.

Future generations of scholars will scrutinize the many weird ways that Trump has twisted the GOP. For present purposes, however, let's focus on the party's failure to restrain the president from two unforgivable sins. The first is his attempt to erode the independence of the justice system. This includes Trump's sinister interactions with his law-enforcement apparatus: his demands for criminal investigations of his political opponents, his pressuring of law-enforcement leaders on investigative matters, his frank efforts to interfere with investigations that implicate his personal interests, and his threats against the individuals who run the Justice Department.

It also includes his attacks on federal judges, his pardon of a sheriff convicted of defying a court's order to enforce constitutional rights, his belief that he gets to decide on Twitter who is guilty of what crimes, and his view that the justice system exists to effectuate his will. Some Republicans have clucked disapprovingly at various of Trump's acts. But in each case, many other Republicans have cheered, and the party, as a party, has quickly moved on. A party that behaves this way is not functioning as a democratic actor.

The second unforgivable sin is Trump's encouragement of a foreign adversary's interference in U.S. electoral processes. Leave aside the question of whether Trump's cooperation with the Russians violated the law. He at least tacitly collaborated with a foreign-intelligence operation against his country—sometimes in full public view. This started during the campaign, when he called upon the Russians to steal and release his opponent's emails, and has continued during his presidency, as he equivocates on whether foreign intervention occurred and smears intelligence professionals who stand by the facts. Meanwhile, the Republican Party has confirmed his nominees, doggedly pursued its agenda on tax reform and health care, and attacked—of course—Hillary Clinton.

We don't mean to deny credit where it is due: Some congressional Republicans pushed back. ...But the broader response to Trump's behavior has been tolerant and, often, enabling.
That is too kind, in my estimation. But I agree with their overall point: If we still have anything resembling free and fair elections in November, anyone who has any regard for the future of a democratic republic must vote for the Democrats. Period.

That advice, of course, does not help voters who live in districts where Republicans are running unopposed. Which is why there should be a Democratic name on every ticket for every office in the country, no matter how unlikely a win.

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Nicole Lafond at TPM: Trump Claims 'Little Adam Schiff' Is 'One of the Biggest Liars and Leakers' in DC. "Donald Trump on Monday lashed out at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, calling him 'little Adam Schiff' and claiming that he is one of the 'biggest liars and leakers in Washington.' 'Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper!' Trump tweeted, referring to former FBI director James Comey, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, former CIA director John Brennan, and former director of national intelligence James Clapper."

"Must be stopped!" A thing that the United States President wrote about a sitting member of the United States Congress. Good grief.

If Rep. Schiff really were one of the biggest leakers in Washington, good for him. He's doing the work that needs to be done to try to rescue this nation from the vile grip of an authoritarian clown and his Russian puppet-master.

Naturally, Schiff had the perfect retort.

Professional, witty, and accurate. And then, undoubtedly, Schiff returned to the work of trying to save us.

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Ed O'Keefe at the Washington Post: New Bipartisan Immigration Plan to Be Introduced in the Senate. "Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) plan to formally introduce a bill that would grant permanent legal status to undocumented immigrants known as 'dreamers' and start bolstering security along the U.S.-Mexico border. But the measure would not immediately authorize spending the $25 billion President Trump is seeking to fortify the border with new wall and fence construction. Some Republicans are seeking at least $30 billion. The McCain-Coons plan also would grant legal status to dreamers who have been in the country since 2013 — a larger pool of undocumented immigrants than the 1.8 million Trump supports legalizing. The bill says nothing about curbing family-based legal migration or making changes to the diversity lottery program — two other priorities for Trump and conservative Republicans."

Trump will almost certainly reject this plan, if Senate and/or House Republicans don't reject it first. Which means that the government shutdown that is looming within days may not be averted.

[CN: War-shopping; death] As I've previously noted, Vice President Mike Pence has been doing a lot of the war-shopping for the Trump administration, and this is very provocative:

I am very sorry for the Warmbiers' loss. I am also angry about the way they are helping this administration pique North Korea by exploiting his death, in sometimes dishonest ways. Their grief is understandable. Their insistence on allowing their grief to be (mis)used to endanger millions of lives is not.

Judd Legum at ThinkProgress: Letter from Carter Page Undercuts Central Thesis of Nunes Memo. "Page, according to Time, bragged in a 2013 letter that he acted as an adviser to the Kremlin. 'The letter, dated Aug. 25, 2013, was sent by Page to an academic press during a dispute over edits to an unpublished manuscript he had submitted for publication, according to an editor who worked with Page. 'Over the past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their Presidency of the G-20 Summit next month, where energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda,' the letter reads.'"

So federal law enforcement had reason to have their eyes on Carter Page long before the Steele dossier.

Bryan Bender at Politico: Massive Pentagon Agency Lost Track of Hundreds of Millions of Dollars. "Ernst & Young found that the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment. Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it's responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent. The audit raises new questions about whether the Defense Department can responsibly manage its $700 billion annual budget — let alone the additional billions that Trump plans to propose this month. The department has never undergone a full audit despite a congressional mandate — and to some lawmakers, the messy state of the Defense Logistics Agency's books indicates one may never even be possible." Yikes.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Scott Glover and Drew Griffin at CNN: Super Bowl Anti-Terrorism Documents Left on Plane. "The Department of Homeland Security documents critiquing the response to a simulated anthrax attack on Super Bowl Sunday were marked 'For Official Use Only' and 'important for national security.' Recipients of the draft 'after-action' reports were told to keep them locked up after business hours and to shred them prior to discarding. They were admonished not to share their contents with anyone who lacked 'an operational need-to-know.' But security surrounding the December 2017 reports suffered an embarrassing breach: A CNN employee discovered copies of them, along with other sensitive DHS material, in the seat-back pocket of a commercial plane." OMFG.

Patrick Rucker at Reuters: U.S. Consumer Protection Official Puts Equifax Probe on Ice. "Mick Mulvaney, head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has pulled back from a full-scale probe of how Equifax Inc failed to protect the personal data of millions of consumers, according to people familiar with the matter. Equifax (EFX.N) said in September that hackers stole personal data it had collected on some 143 million Americans. Richard Cordray, then the CFPB director, authorized an investigation that month, said former officials familiar with the probe. But Cordray resigned in November and was replaced by Mulvaney, [Donald] Trump's budget chief. The CFPB effort against Equifax has sputtered since then, said several government and industry sources, raising questions about how Mulvaney will police a data-warehousing industry that has enormous sway over how much consumers pay to borrow money."

Paul Lewis at the Guardian: Senator Warns YouTube Algorithm May Be Open to Manipulation by 'Bad Actors'. "Senator Mark Warner, of Virginia, made the stark warning after an investigation by the Guardian found that the Google-owned video platform was systematically promoting divisive and conspiratorial videos that were damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign in the months leading up to the 2016 election. 'Companies like YouTube have immense power and influence in shaping the media and content that users see,' Warner said. 'I've been increasingly concerned that the recommendation engine algorithms behind platforms like YouTube are, at best, intrinsically flawed in optimising for outrageous, salacious, and often fraudulent content.' He added: 'At worst, they can be highly susceptible to gaming and manipulation by bad actors, including foreign intelligence entities.'"

[CN: Anti-semitism; white supremacy] Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: Republicans Set to Nominate Former Nazi Leader for Congress. "Arthur Jones — a Holocaust denier, anti-Semite, and white supremacist — is about to become the Republican nominee for a U.S. congressional seat in Illinois. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Jones is the only GOP candidate running in the heavily Democratic 3rd Congressional District, which represents parts of Chicago and its outer lying suburbs. ...Jones is not the only openly bigoted candidate who is running for office as a Republican. In Wisconsin, Paul Nehlen is running to place House Speaker Paul Ryan. Nehlen has openly embraced white supremacist beliefs, including a tweet that reads, 'It's okay to be white.'"

[CN: Sexual assault; rape culture] Anthony Clark at the Daily Beast: She Was Assaulted by the Head of the National Archives; Then the Bush White House Helped Cover It Up. "Weinstein let her in and, without Trautman seeing, locked the door behind them. They were alone. During the next few minutes, Allen Weinstein would sexually assault Maryellen Trautman. Federal investigators would later substantiate that Weinstein, the chief official overseeing the federal government's most important documents, had created a 'hostile working environment by having verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature for multiple female employees.' ...Weinstein ultimately faced no charges, nor was any public notice made of his misconduct. Instead, a little more than a year after the holiday party, the George W. Bush White House permitted him to quietly resign. He then moved on to a major university where he would sexually assault again."

What a supercool fucking party you've got there, Republicans.

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

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