We Resist: Day 411

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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: OMFG Trump Is Appallingly Ignorant and On Chaos.

Jill Colvin at the AP: Ex-Trump Aide Says He'll Likely Cooperate with Mueller. "A former Trump campaign aide spent much of Monday promising to defy a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller, even throwing down the challenge to 'arrest me,' then backed off his defiance by saying he would probably cooperate in the end. In an interview with The Associated Press, Sam Nunberg said he was angry over Mueller's request to have him appear in front of a grand jury and turn over thousands of emails and other communications with other ex-officials, among them his mentor Roger Stone. But he predicted that, in the end, he'd find a way to comply. 'I'm going to end up cooperating with them,' he said."

Huh. So Nunberg's "meltdown" yesterday was all an act? You don't say. (I did say.)


I know there will be fully a million jokes about this because what do you even expect it's Trump blah blah fart, but that is, quite literally, a perfect example of how deeply broken the federal government is.

And it's just the start.

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[Content Note: War crimes] Kareem Shaheen at the Guardian: Russia Suspected of Using 'Dumb' Bombs to Shift Blame for Syria War Crimes. "The Russian air force has used unguided 'dumb' bombs in Syria, in what UN sources say could be an effort to shift responsibility for possible war crimes and civilian deaths to their ally, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. UN sources told the Guardian that Moscow's use of less accurate bombs, which are closer in their capability to the Syrian air force's weapons stockpiles, could be intended to make it more difficult for war crimes investigators to identify those responsible for civilian deaths from airstrikes in Syria. ...'There seems to be a concerted effort for very similar weaponry to be used [by the Syrian and Russian air forces],' said one UN official. 'Since the Syrian air force is using older planes with pilots untrained in smart weapons capabilities, they [Russia] would use less smart weapons capabilities. I suspect they want to use those weapons because it makes attribution more difficult.'"

Maybe if we still had a functional State Department and a president who wasn't a Russian puppet, the U.S. government would care about that.

And this:

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E.A. Crunden at ThinkProgress: E.U. Moves to Slap U.S. Heartland with Tit-for-Tat Tariffs in Response to Trump. "The European Union is preparing retaliatory tit-for-tat tariffs on a number of well-known U.S. brands and products in response to [Donald] Trump's moves to impose tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from other countries. A list tallied by the European Commission indicates a 25 percent levy on multiple U.S. goods, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The tariffs will impact upwards of 2.8 billion euros ($3.5 billion) in U.S. exports, including agricultural and steel products. Motorcycles and blue jeans are also among the items included. The range of goods listed will disproportionately hit parts of the United States with strong manufacturing centers, including the Rust Belt and larger Midwest and Appalachia regions."

Erica Werner and Damian Paletta at the Washington Post: 10 Years After Financial Crisis, Senate Prepares to Roll Back Banking Rules.
The Senate is preparing to scale back the sweeping banking regulations passed after the 2008 financial crisis, with more than a dozen Democrats ready to give Republicans the votes they need to weaken one of President Barack Obama's largest legislative achievements.

Congress's appetite for pulling back bank regulations shows the renewed clout of the financial sector in Washington, not just in the GOP but also among Democrats. Eight years after nearly every Senate Democrat backed a sweeping set of new rules for financial firms large and small, the party is now split, with moderates, several of them facing tough midterm election contests, working with the opposing party.

The core of the new bill exempts about two dozen financial companies with assets between $50 billion and $250 billion from the highest levels of scrutiny by the Federal Reserve, the nation's central bank. Supporters argue that the legislation would bring much-needed relief to midsize and regional banks that were treated like their much larger counterparts under the 2010 legislation known as Dodd-Frank. Opponents say it would weaken the oversight needed to stave off the type of dangerous lending and investing that brought the U.S. economy to its knees.

The Senate is slated to take an initial procedural vote this week to move the measure forward, and if it eventually becomes law, it would be the most substantial weakening of Dodd-Frank since it was passed.
Fucking hell. The bill seeks to: Relax mortgage regulations for small banks; issue broad exemptions from oversight for regional banks with up to $250 billion in assets; create a mandate that the Fed tailor its rules for big banks; and give many of the nation's largest lenders easier capital and liquidity requirements. ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE TERRIBLE IDEAS.

For example... Jesse Hamilton at Bloomberg: Volcker Rule to Undergo 'Material Changes,' Fed's Quarles Says. "Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Randal Quarles says U.S. financial regulators are working quickly to make 'material changes' to the Volcker Rule, one of Wall Street's most hated post-crisis restrictions. ...The measure named for former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker was included in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act as a way to reduce risk-taking by banning banks from trading with their own money. It has been a top target of Trump administration plans to dial back financial regulations as a way to spur economic growth." Which is bullshit. It will only spur more exorbitant bonuses for banking executives.

Hamilton Nolan at Splinter: Hey, Here's an Extremely Bad Idea. "Thankfully, the Republican party has heard the people's collective cry: Please deregulate the big banks! And now, the party of the Blue Collar Billionaire is set to roll back banking regulations that were put in place after the financial crisis of 2008, to try to make it less likely to have another crisis. For example, for several years, banks have been required to hold a certain amount of capital that can be easily liquidated during a crisis, so that they can continue to fund themselves during times of peril, so they don't blow up and require an enormous public bailout. Let's get rid of that! People hate that! We demand that banks instead be able to own riskier assets like municipal bonds, that will increase their profits but will also be more likely to cause another crisis!"

Zachary Warmbrodt at Politico: Warren Slams Senators for Backing Bank Deregulation Bill. "Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Tuesday blasted Republicans and fellow Democrats for backing a sweeping rollback of banking regulations that the Senate will likely pass as soon as this week. ...She said Democrats and Republicans were backing the legislation because of years of sustained bank lobbying in the wake of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, the landmark law that strengthened banking oversight in the wake of the Wall Street meltdown. 'The people in Congress may have forgotten the crash 10 years ago, but I guarantee that people across this country have not forgotten the pain that these giant banks caused, and they do not want to see Congress move toward deregulating these banks,' she said."

And all of this is getting far less attention that it needs and deserves, because Sam Nunberg "freaked out" on teevee yesterday and Trump tweeted about chaos this morning, so most of the political press is fixated on that instead of the Senate fixing to create another major financial crisis for the American people so that bank execs can take home even more money.

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Eugene Robinson at the Washington Post: The Trump Presidency Could Cost the Nation More Than We Realize.
As the saying goes, you don't miss the water until the well runs dry: This deeply aberrant presidency threatens to cost the nation much more than even some of [Donald] Trump's harshest critics may realize.

From 1988 to 1992, I was The Post's correspondent in Buenos Aires, covering all of South America. It was a time when countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Chile — emerging from years of authoritarian rule — were struggling to reestablish democratic norms, and I learned one important lesson: It's easy to lose the habits and values of democracy, but incredibly hard to get them back.

Perhaps most difficult is to recover lost faith in the rule of law. That is why Trump's very public desire to use the legal system as a weapon against his political opponents is so damaging. "Lock her up" is more than a call to imprison Hillary Clinton. It is, potentially, a tragic epitaph for the consensus view of our legal system as a disinterested finder of fact and dispenser of justice.
This is, of course, a point I have made many times, and why I continually grouse about the necessity of urgency with regard to Special Counsel Bob Mueller's investigation. The longer the Republicans have to consolidate power behind Trump, the less incentive they'll have to do anything with Mueller's eventual report but flush it down the toilet. (And that's presuming his findings even include actionable items on Trump, which is no certain thing.)

We're quickly approaching a threshold past which none of Mueller's recommendations will matter, because the Republicans won't feel beholden to the public at all.

If Mueller doesn't make something happen before then, and it doesn't have to be the final piece of the investigation, but it has to be the first piece of accountability, we will have lost. That has to come while there's still some reasonable expectation that the Democrats, the press, and a public majority combined can put pressure on the GOP to take action.

The fact that we know it would take the combined influence of the Democrats, the press, and a public majority is an indication of how close we are already to losing any chance to hold this administration accountable.

And with every step closer we get to that threshold at which the GOP doesn't have to care even about that combined advocacy, the erosion of trust continues and becomes ever more difficult to recover.

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Monique Judge at the Root: Trump Is 'Unstable, Inept, Inexperienced, and...Unethical': Former CIA Director. "Deadline's Nicolle Wallace asked Brennan what keeps him up at night or wakes him up with a start in the middle of the night, and he said, 'It is no secret to anybody that Donald Trump was ill-prepared and inexperienced in terms of dealing with matters that a head of state needs to deal with. I think this is now coming to roost..." Brennan said that our country 'needs confidence' that we will be able to deal with both Russia and North Korea, but 'if we have somebody in the Oval Office who is unstable, inept, inexperienced, and also unethical, we really have rough waters ahead.'" Welp.

Caitlin MacNeal at TPM: George W. Bush Quips That Trump Makes Him 'Look Pretty Good'. "Former President George W. Bush has reportedly found the silver lining in Donald Trump's presidency. Bush has been overheard remarking that Trump's run in the White House is going poorly and makes him look good as a result, the National Journal's contributing editor Tom DeFrank reported on Monday. 'Sorta makes me look pretty good, doesn't it?' Bush often says of Trump's presidency, according to the National Journal." 1. That's really saying something, since Bush was a fucking vile disaster. 2. I'm really getting sick of this asshole pretending like the Trump presidency would have ever happened if his own presidency hadn't paved the way for it.

Kira Lerner and Joshua Eaton at ThinkProgress: Kansas Secretary of State Seeks to Deliver a Devastating Blow to Voting Rights. "Kansas began to require documentary proof of citizenship from all Kansas residents when they register to vote in 2011, though courts have since blocked that law. The state passed the requirement after Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) took office and began pushing for laws he claimed would protect against the threat of non-citizens casting ballots. ...Since 2011, Arizona, Alabama, and Georgia have all passed proof of citizenship laws similar to the one Kobach wrote in Kansas. Courts have blocked all three states' laws. Now the Kansas law could meet a similar fate. ...Starting Tuesday, Kobach will have to defend his law in a federal courtroom, as the ACLU attempts to prove that it is unconstitutional. Over about a week, the ACLU will question Kansas voters in court over the discriminatory effects of the law. Kobach, who is representing himself, will call as one of his witnesses a researcher whose work has been discredited time and time again."

[CN: Nativism] Alfonso Serrano at Colorlines: Immigrant Rights Group Sues ICE for Illegally Jailing 18-Year-Olds. "An immigrant advocacy group filed a class action lawsuit on Monday (March 5) against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on behalf of immigrant teenagers who arrived in the United States alone and were subsequently detained in ICE centers after turning 18. Federal law states that when unaccompanied migrant children in custody of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement turn 18, ICE must 'consider placement in the least restrictive setting available after taking into account the [individual's] danger to self, danger to the community, and risk of flight.' The suit, filed by the National Immigrant Justice Center, argues that ICE routinely fails to comply with that federal measure and systematically jails teens in adult prisons."

And finally... Bonnie Malkin at the Guardian: China's Tiangong-1 Space Station Will Crash to Earth Within Weeks. "China's first space station is expected to come crashing down to Earth within weeks, but scientists have not been able to predict where the 8.5-tonne module will hit. The US-funded Aerospace Corporation estimates Tiangong-1 will re-enter the atmosphere during the first week of April, give or take a week. The European Space Agency says the module will come down between 24 March and 19 April. In 2016 China admitted it had lost control of Tiangong-1 and would be unable to perform a controlled re-entry. The statement from Aerospace said there was 'a chance that a small amount of debris' from the module will survive re-entry and hit the Earth. ...Aerospace warned that the space station might be carrying a highly toxic and corrosive fuel called hydrazine on board." But don't worry — you are more likely to win the lottery than get hit by debris. So buy a lottery ticket and good luck!

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

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