We Resist: Day 396

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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: An Observation and The Latest on Gates.

[Content Note: Guns; video may autoplay at link] Eli Watkins at CNN: Trump Tweet Angers Survivors of Parkland Shooting. "Students who survived the Parkland, Florida, shooting laid into [Donald] Trump after he linked the FBI's failure to follow up on a report about the school shooter and the resources expended on the Russia investigation. ...The President's tweet caused considerable outrage online, including among apparent survivors of the shooting: '17 of my classmates are gone. That's 17 futures, 17 children, and 17 friends stolen. But you're right, it always has to be about you. How silly of me to forget. #neveragain' '17 innocent people were brutally murdered at my school, a place where they should have felt safe. Their lives were gone in an instant. You are the President of the United States and you have the audacity to put this on Russia as an excuse. I guess I should expect that from you.' '...my friends were brutally murdered and you have the nerve to make this about Russia. I can not believe this.'

[CN: Guns] Alice Ollstein at TPM: White House: Trump Supports Gun Background Check Bill.
Early Monday morning, after [Donald] Trump reportedly spent the weekend watching the moving television appearances of the young survivors of last week's deadly school shooting, the White House announced that Trump was encouraging senators to revive a stalled bill to modestly strengthen background checks for gun purchases.

"The President spoke to Senator Cornyn on Friday about the bi-partisan bill he and Sen. Murphy introduced to improve Federal Compliance with Criminal Background check Legislation," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. "While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system."

The announcement comes after the President has been hit with criticism for not mentioning guns at all in his public responses to the mass shooting, focusing instead on mental health.

The bill drafted by Texas Republican John Cornyn and Delaware Democrat Chris Murphy would require all federal agencies to report infractions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), and would attempt to get states to do so as well through financial incentives. It does not add any new background check requirements for gun purchases or close any of the current loopholes, and it is supported by the NRA.
So, after being widely and deservedly criticized for his typical inaction and indifference, Trump sends out Huckabee Sanders to say he's vaguely supportive of a weak bill supported by the NRA, and Trump gets his headlines suggesting he's Doing Something, when he really isn't and will probably reverse his support if even this woefully insufficient legislation ever reaches his desk, anyway. Cool.

[CN: Shooting] Meanwhile... Dana Branham at the Dallas News: 6-Year-Old Boy Among 4 People Shot Outside Texas Roadhouse in San Antonio. "A 6-year-old boy was among four people shot Sunday evening in the parking lot of a Texas Roadhouse restaurant in San Antonio. Two adults have life-threatening injuries, the San Antonio Express-News reported. The boy was shot in the leg, and his injury isn't expected to be life-threatening, the paper reported. The group was waiting outside the restaurant to eat when the shooting occurred, police said. 'We do not believe that this shooting was random,' San Antonio police Chief William McManus told the Express-News. 'There's details I'm not gonna give out because it's part of the investigation. But we do not believe it's random.' ...The three adults were in their 20s, and all four victims were related, police told the Express-News."

More shootings, many of them acts of domestic violence or committed by domestic abusers, will continue, causing more injuries and taking more lives, including those of children. And it's just another day in America.

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In case you can't see the two excerpts of the transcript embedded in the tweet, here they are:
Margaret Brennan: You don't get to be the CEO of Exxon Mobile as a Boy Scout.

Rex Tillerson: I did.

Margaret Brennan: You talked a lot about something that you call the Code of the West. What does that mean?

Rex Tillerson: Well, you know the Code of the West, as the West was unfolding there wasn't a lot of law enforcement. And people basically relied upon each other's word. And "My word is my bond." And I've used that throughout my life as well, even at Exxon Mobil. I would sit down with the head of state for that country or the CEO of that company and we'd look each other in the eye. And I'd say, all I need to know is that you're gonna live up to your side of this deal. And I give you my word I'll live up to my side of this deal. And then a lotta the Code of the West was people were very loyal to their organizations. And the phrase, "Riding for the brand" is a phrase that's always stuck with me that—

Margaret Brennan: Riding for the brand?

Rex Tillerson: Riding for the brand. When a cowboy signed on to a ranch or— or to that organization, he was committed to that organization.

Margaret Brennan: And what is the brand for you now?

Rex Tillerson: The State Department of the United States government. The American people are my brand.


Margaret Brennan: You've said you had a very close relationship with Vladimir Putin. You've done huge deals with him. Photos of you toasting him with champagne. And all that closeness raised eyebrows It even inspired a Saturday Night Live skit. Did you ever see that skit?

Rex Tillerson: I did. My kids pointed me to it.

Margaret Brennan: Did you laugh?

Rex Tillerson: Absolutely. Absolutely. I laughed out loud.

Margaret Brennan: What— it— it made light though of— of this concern that you have— a friendship with Vladimir Putin and that because of that you and the president aren't going to hold him to account.

Rex Tillerson: The relationship that I had with President Putin spans 18 years now It was always about What could I do to be successful on behalf of my shareholders, how Russia could succeed.

Margaret Brennan: How different was it walking into the Kremlin as secretary of state?

Rex Tillerson: It was different— because— and I had to think very, very h— carefully about that, And the only thing I said to him was "Mr. President, same man, different hat."
A lot of the news around Tillerson is framed to make him appear to be a bumbling dum-dum. But he is a profoundly manipulative and sinister character, just like everyone else in the Trump administration, and possibly worse than most.

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Stephanie Kirchgaessner at the Guardian: Trump-Russia Inquiry: Manafort Under Pressure After Reports That Gates Has Flipped. "Experts say any deal with Gates would only be struck if investigators were confident he had valuable testimony to offer on a more senior figure in their ongoing inquiry. The two developments — the alleged additional evidence of wrongdoing and Gates's possible testimony — could give Mueller and his team additional ammunition to force Manafort to cooperate in their inquiry or face a potentially tough prison sentence if he is found guilty of the crimes he has been charged with. If Manafort were to cooperate in the probe it could potentially offer Mueller's team a wealth of new information about the inner workings of the Trump campaign and any possible interactions with Russian officials."

Tara Culp-Ressler at ThinkProgress: Trump Spokesperson Defends Russia, Blames Election Interference on the Mainstream Media. "Responding to a question [on Fox News on Saturday] about the indictment handed down by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday — which accused 13 Russians and three Russian companies of a coordinated social media campaign to bolster Donald Trump and undermine Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election — [Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley] brushed aside the allegations against Russia, and quickly pivoted to other scapegoats. 'What the Russians were trying to do, as outlined by Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, was create chaos in the American election system,' Gidley said. 'And I will just say this: There are two groups that have created chaos more than the Russians, and that's the Democrats and the mainstream media, who continued to push this lie on the American people for more than a year — and quite frankly Americans should be outraged by that.'"

[CN: LGBTQ hatred]

[CN: Nuclear insecurity] Jonathan Swan at Axios: Skirmish in Beijing over the Nuclear Football. Emphasis original:
On Thursday Nov. 9, when [Donald] Trump and his team visited Beijing's Great Hall of the People, Chief of Staff John Kelly and a U.S. Secret Service agent skirmished with Chinese security officials over the nuclear football.

I've spoken to five sources familiar with the events. Here's what happened, as they describe it:

* When the U.S. military aide carrying the nuclear football entered the Great Hall, Chinese security officials blocked his entry. (The official who carries the nuclear football is supposed to stay close to the president at all times, along with a doctor.)

* A U.S. official hurried into the adjoining room and told Kelly what was happening. Kelly rushed over and told the U.S. officials to keep walking — "We're moving in," he said — and the Americans all started moving.

* Then there was a commotion. A Chinese security official grabbed Kelly, and Kelly shoved the man's hand off of his body. Then a U.S. Secret Service agent grabbed the Chinese security official and tackled him to the ground.

The whole scuffle was over in a flash, and the U.S. officials told about the incident were asked to keep quiet about it.
Everything is fine. (Everything is not fine. Fucking hell. FUCKING HELL.)

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

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