We Resist: Day 417

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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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Earlier today by me: Betsy DeVos Is a Shameful Disaster and Trump Unveils 2020 Campaign Slogan: "Keep America Great!" and Mueller May Delay Trump Obstruction Decision.

Here are some more things in the news today...

[Content Note: Anti-Semitism] Avi Selk at the Washington Post: Putin Condemned for Saying Jews May Have Manipulated U.S. Election.
Jewish groups and U.S. lawmakers condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's suggestion that the 2016 U.S. presidential election may have been manipulated by Russian Jews.

Putin's remarks came during a long and occasionally surreal interview with NBC News on Saturday, in which he speculated that nearly anyone other than the Russian government could have been behind a program to disrupt the election. U.S. intelligence agencies believe Putin ordered the effort to undermine faith in the U.S. election and help elect Donald Trump as president.

"Maybe they're not even Russians," Putin told Megyn Kelly, referring to who might have been behind the election interference. "Maybe they're Ukrainian, Tatars, Jews — just with Russian citizenship."

He also speculated that France, Germany, or "Asia" might have interfered in the election — or even Russians paid by the U.S. government.

But his remark about Jews, which seemed to suggest that a Russian Jew was not really a Russian, prompted particular outrage among those who remember Russia's centuries-long history of anti-Semitism and Jewish purges. Some groups compared the statement to anti-Jewish myths that helped inspire the Holocaust.

"Repulsive Putin remark deserves to be denounced, soundly and promptly, by world leaders," Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) wrote on Twitter. "Why is Trump silent?"
I think we all know the answer to that. Putin and Trump are two filthy peas in a vile pod.

[CN: White supremacy] Jasmine Johnson at the Grio: Steve Bannon Tells European Audience He Wears the Term Racist as 'a Badge of Honor'. "Currently on a European tour spreading his vitriol, Bannon stopped in Germany and Italy this weekend to address the National Front, an alt-right-adjacent party known for its far-right politics. Last year, its party leader, Marine Le Pen, lost the French presidency to Emmanuel Macron... 'Let them call you racists,' Bannon said. 'Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor,' he said, warmed by a crowd of applause. 'And what I've learned is you are part of a worldwide movement that is bigger than France, bigger than Italy, bigger than Hungary, bigger than all of it,' he said, speaking to the troubling rise in Europe's right-wing parties. 'History is on our side.'" Shiver.

Annie Gowen at the Washington Post: Hillary Clinton Says 'Follow the Money' in the Trump-Putin Relationship. "In her speech [over the weekend during a trip to India], Clinton spoke of the dangers of Russian influence and authoritarianism in regimes worldwide. 'These are perilous times,' she said. Later, when asked about the seemingly close relationship between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, now subject of a special counsel's investigation, Clinton replied: 'Trump does have quite an affinity for dictators. He really likes their authoritarian posturing and behavior. ...He does have a preexisting attitude of favorability toward these dictators, but I think it's more than that with Putin and Russia,' she said. 'Do they have something on him?' asked the event's host, India Today Editor Aroon Purie. 'Well, we'll find out, we'll find out,' she answered. 'Follow the money.'"

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Anita Kumar at McClatchy: Ivanka Trump Never Cut Ties with the Trump Organization; That's Turned into a Problem. (Turned into?!)
Ivanka Trump — a senior White House adviser who is doing everything from lobbying the Senate on tax policy to representing her father at a G20 summit of world leaders — will pull in more than $1 million a year from the family business that has continued to develop luxury resorts across the globe during the Trump presidency.

Some of those Trump-branded developments are hiring state-owned companies for construction, receiving gifts from foreign governments in the form of public land, or eased regulations and accepting payments from customers who are foreign officials.

Ivanka Trump's continued relationship with the businesses affiliated with the Trump Organization creates countless potential conflicts of interest prohibited by federal law and federal ethics standards as she works as a special assistant to the president. And just like her father, she is being accused of violating the so-called emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution that forbids government officials — not just presidents — from accepting gifts from foreign governments without the approval of Congress.

...Trump, who just returned from a trip representing the United States in South Korea, faces serious questions as a result of her decision to be involved in both the family business and the White House: Is a foreign government gaining access to her through the business? Are business deals a factor in U.S. foreign policy? Are foreign governments able to build goodwill with her because of the company?
It was just 11 days ago that we learned Ivanka Trump's husband, Jared Kushner, who is also a senior adviser to Donald Trump, met with officials from two financial institutions at the White House, both of whom later extended "major loans to the Kushner Companies for real estate projects."

Meanwhile, also in the news today care of Jake Pearson at the AP: Trump Jr. and Campaign Donor Have Longtime Undisclosed Ties. "Donald Trump Jr. has a previously undisclosed business relationship with a longtime hunting buddy who helped raise millions of dollars for his father's 2016 presidential campaign and has had special access to top government officials since the election, records obtained by The Associated Press show. The president's oldest son and Texas hedge fund manager Gentry Beach have been involved in business deals together dating back to the mid-2000s and recently formed a company, Future Venture LLC, despite past claims by both men that they were just friends, according to previously unreported court records and other documents obtained by AP. Beach last year met with top National Security Council officials to push a plan that would curb U.S. sanctions in Venezuela and open up business for U.S. companies in the oil-rich nation."

This is a family of grifters who have undiluted contempt for the law. This is one among many reasons that Trump must be removed from office, taking his entire extended family of corrupt profiteers with him.

Naturally, that task is itself potentially more difficult because of governments who are unwilling to cooperate with Bob Mueller specifically because of concerns over hurting their relationship with the Trump administration — or with the Trump Organization, which may seem indistinguishable from afar.

To wit: Julia Ainsley, Carol E. Lee, Robert Windrem, and Andrew W. Lehren at NBC News: Qataris Opted Not to Give Info on Kushner, Secret Meetings to Mueller. "Qatari officials gathered evidence of what they claim is illicit influence by the United Arab Emirates on Jared Kushner and other Trump associates, including details of secret meetings, but decided not to give the information to special counsel Robert Mueller for fear of harming relations with the Trump administration, say three sources familiar with the Qatari discussions."

Finally, on this subject...

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[CN: Guns] Lois Beckett at the Guardian: Trump Administration Drops Age Limit Proposal for Guns After NRA Files Suit. "The Trump administration has backed away from a proposal to raise the legal age to buy certain guns because of an NRA lawsuit, the president wrote on Monday. 'On 18 to 21 Age Limits, watching court cases and rulings before acting,' Donald Trump tweeted, after weeks of voicing support for raising the age limit. He also said there was 'not much political support (to put it mildly)' for the policy. Recent polls of U.S. adults have found that more than two-thirds of respondents favor raising the legal age to buy guns." Such a coward. Such a liar.

[CN: Nativism] Danielle McLean at ThinkProgress: ACLU Sues Trump Administration for Forcibly Separating Immigrant Parents from Their Young Children. "The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the Trump administration for forcibly separating parents awaiting asylum proceedings from their young children. The ACLU, which filed the class action lawsuit at the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of California on Friday, claims the practice by government agencies of separating young children from their families violates the Process Clause and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The lawsuit represents a proposed class of 'hundreds of individuals whose minor children have already been taken from them.'" Sob. I'm so glad the ACLU has brought this case and so profoundly angry about the reasons they needed to bring it.

[CN: Homophobia] Eleanor Clift at the Daily Beast: What Trump's Judicial Nominees Have in Common: They Really Don't Want LGBTQ People to Have Rights. "It's time to sound the alarm again on another bunch of Trump judges queuing up for confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Like the earlier nominees, they are overwhelmingly white and male. One in three has something explicit in their record and/or their writings that is hostile to LGBTQ rights. 'They're still fighting over whether same sex couples should have the right to marry and have children,' says Sharon McGowan, director of strategy at Lambda Legal, which litigates on behalf of LGBTQ people. 'This is a real concerted effort to take back ground that has been lost not only in the law but in public opinion, by putting people on the court that have these views.'" Seethe.

[CN: War; death; image of injured child at link] Martin Chulov at the Guardian: 2017 Was the Deadliest Year of Syrian War for Children, Says UNICEF. "A generation of Syrian children face psychological ruin and ever increasing danger, with child deaths soaring by 50% last year and the number of young soldiers tripling since 2015. A report by found 2017 was the worst year of the war for young Syrians, with 910 killed in a conflict that has spared them no mercy and has taken a vastly disproportionate toll on the country’s most vulnerable people. The figures undermine claims that the war, which will soon enter its eighth year, is losing steam. Those most at risk face escalating threats of being permanently maimed by fighting, or emotionally scarred by a litany of abuses including forced labour, marriages, food scarcity, and minimal access to health or education." I can't even find the words to describe how resonating my grief is on behalf of average Syrians caught in this horrendous and lingering war.

And last but not least, this is very scary:

Britain, our closest ally. And Russia, who is working to subvert our democracy. And because of who our president is, I honestly don't know what side we'd be on if this escalates into full-scale war.

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

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