We Resist: Day 393

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

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.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Trump Is Compromised and Rick Gates Reportedly Close to Deal with Mueller.

Well, let's start today with the big news that just broke:

There is a lot in those indictments, but the two biggest things I want to highlight are that the Russians tried to rig the GOP primary for Trump, too (almost certainly because they had kompromat on him, which would be useful to control him if he were to become president) and this: "Specialists were instructed to post content that focused on 'politics in the USA' and to 'use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest (except Sanders and Trump — we support them).'"

Of course.

* * *

[Content Note: Mass shooting]

1. This is a big deal. It's a big deal that it happened, and it's a big deal that FBI Christopher Wray is making this public admission of a major failure so quickly. I feel like that's an indication he knows he's on his way out and that his successor will not share his interest in transparency. (Because whoever it is will be chosen for that very reason.)

2. I fear that this is a harbinger of many failures just like it. That's the sort of breakdown that becomes commonplace when the people running the government want to break the government.

* * *

[CN: Nativism; Islamophobia; white supremacy; domestic terrorism] Tina Vasquez at Rewire: Trump Administration Is Conflating Immigration with Terrorism at the Expense of Domestic Threats. "Trump's near-obsessive focus on the supposed criminality and violence of immigrants is coming at a cost, according to researchers, scholars, and even a former DHS analyst. It is jeopardizing public safety and national security by overshadowing the very real threats on U.S. soil: Mass shootings, and the continued rise of right-wing extremism and white supremacist movements. ...'Experts seem to understand that when it comes to threats to the United States, domestic terrorism and white supremacy are much greater risk to us right now, but that expertise isn't making it into the White House,' said Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) Intelligence Project, which monitors the radical right. 'Meanwhile, the administration is funneling a lot of time and resources into painting immigrants and Muslims as criminals and terrorists.'"

[CN: Disablism]

Eli Lake at Bloomberg: Don't Be Fooled: Russia Attacked U.S. Troops in Syria.
If you've been listening just to the Kremlin and the Pentagon, you probably didn't know that Russia attacked American forces and their allies in Syria last week, suffering heavy casualties.

Yes, all sides admit that there was an incident at a U.S. base in Deir Ezzor. And that elements of the Syrian regime and Shiite militias participated in the assault. The Pentagon and Kremlin both acknowledge that Russian "mercenaries" participated, too. But the line for now is that those contractors had gone rogue, and Moscow didn't know anything about it.

When reporters asked U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis about the incident, he called the whole thing perplexing. "I have no idea why they would attack there, the forces were known to be there, obviously the Russians knew," he said. "We have always known that there are elements in this very complex battle space that the Russians did not have, I would call it, control of."

Now, it should be said that Mattis, a retired four-star Marine Corps general, is a very smart man. His perplexity in this case is probably what Plato called a "noble lie," a falsehood spoken by a leader to achieve a greater social good. If Mattis acknowledges the obvious — that the Kremlin authorized a direct assault on a U.S.-sponsored base by non-uniformed personnel — he risks an escalation spiral in Syria. Better to express bewilderment and give Russian President Vladimir Putin a chance to back down and deny culpability, which he ended up doing despite the heavy casualties suffered by his mercenaries.

But make no mistake: There is overwhelming evidence that those Russian contractors were working at the behest of the Kremlin. What's more, the Russians knew U.S. military personnel were in Deir Ezzor, which has been part of successive agreements to separate, or "deconflict," forces fighting in Syria.

...There is a downside, though, to this kind of noble lying. Considering that mercenaries like Wagner are a key part of Russia's broader strategy and tactics, it's also important for the U.S. to deny Moscow its plausible deniability. Russia needs to be told, going forward, that an attack by its mercenaries will be treated as an attack by its armed forces.
So, Russian mercenaries, who are "a key part of Russia's broader strategy and tactics" in Syria, attacked U.S. troops, and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis decided to give Putin space for plausible deniability. Oh.

Julian Borger at the Guardian: Nuclear Risk at Its Highest Since Cuban Missile Crisis, Says Former Energy Secretary. "Former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, a nuclear physicist who played a central role in securing a landmark non-proliferation agreement with Iran in 2015, said the margin for error in avoiding disaster was getting thinner because of the introduction of new, smaller weapons, the broadening of circumstances in which their use is being contemplated, and a lack of high-level communications between major nuclear weapons powers. ...Moniz, who is now CEO and co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, pointed to a recent false alarm by Hawaii's public alert system as the sort of technological glitch that could lead to fatal miscalculation. ...'We know we've had those warnings many times in history and we've managed so far to dodge the bullet,' he said. 'But dodging the bullets is more difficult when there's not significant communications going on and a lot of tensions between the countries.'"

Jonathan Swan at Axios: Commerce Recommends Major Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum. "The Department of Commerce will recommend tariffs on steel and aluminum that, if applied, would be the first shots in a global trade war, according to two sources briefed on the report. ...A former senior government trade official said that without major exemptions, these recommendations would represent: '[T]he opening shot in a trade war...a declaration of war against the world on aluminum and steel... These are some of our closest treaty allies... These are some serious numbers.' Quote from a trade expert: 'This would be beyond a trade war. You're talking about blowing up the WTO.'"

Cameron Joseph and Tierney Sneed at TPM: Kushner Quietly Made More Fixes to His Financial Disclosures, May Have More to Come. "Jared Kushner, [Donald] Trump's son-in-law and a top adviser, wrote a letter to White House Deputy Council Stefan Passantino dated Jan. 3, 2018 adding a number of additional business interests that had not previously been on his personal financial disclosure form. That letter, which has not been previously reported, corrects and adds new corporate positions and details of his companies' structures that he legally was required to disclose, in a seeming attempt to square his filing with spouse Ivanka Trump's as well as clean up some previously overlooked items."

Aaron Blake at the Washington Post: More Than 40 Percent of Trump's First Cabinet-Level Picks Have Faced Ethical or Other Controversies. "Trump came to Washington promising to 'drain the swamp.' But after less than 13 months, more than 40 percent of the people he originally picked for Cabinet-level jobs have faced ethical or other controversies. The list has grown quickly in recent weeks. ...In total now, nine out of the 22 people Trump initially picked for Cabinet-level posts have found themselves facing scrutiny over their actions."

[CN: Food insecurity; class warfare]

[CN: Police brutality; white supremacy; misogynoir; disablism] Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: NYPD Officer Acquitted After Killing Deborah Danner. "On October 18, 2016, New York Police Department sergeant Hugh Barry fatally shot Deborah Danner [who had schizophrenia, and whose sister called for assistance in taking her to the hospital]. Today (February 15), Judge Robert Neary found Barry not guilty on charges of second-degree murder, first- and second-degree manslaughter, and criminally negligent homicide. ...At the time of the shooting, Police Commissioner James O'Neill told press that Barry's actions did not match up with his training, and that he did not follow proper procedure for interacting with people with mental illnesses. That declaration did not seem to impact the judge, who said that the prosecution did not meet the required burden of proof for a guilty verdict."

[CN: Homophobia; HIV stigma] Michael Fitzgerald at Towleroad: New York to Investigate Reports of Gay Men Denied Insurance for Taking PrEP. "Financial regulators in New York have announced plans to investigate reports that gay men have been denied insurance policies because they were taking PrEP. Maria T. Vullo, the state's superintendent of financial services, said such denials would amount to illegal discrimination based on sexual orientation. ...Vullo has encouraged New York State residents who believe they have been denied coverage because of PrEP to contact her agency."

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

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus