We Resist: Day 433

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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: Gates Communicated with Person Tied to Russian Intelligence While Working for Trump Campaign and Stormy Daniels Wants to Depose Trump.

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

Senate Majority Leader McConnell's office and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office have both responded in support. Terrific! So let's get it on the docket, gents!

LOL: "No estimate on timing for legislative action." Of course.

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Ben Blanchard and Joyce Lee at Reuters: China Says North Korea's Kim Pledged Commitment to Denuclearization.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pledged his commitment to denuclearization and to meet U.S. officials, China said on Wednesday after his meeting with President Xi Jinping, who promised China would uphold friendship with its isolated neighbor

After two days of speculation, China and North Korea both confirmed that Kim had traveled to Beijing and met Xi during what China called an unofficial visit from Sunday to Wednesday.

The visit was Kim's first known trip outside North Korea since he assumed power in 2011 and is believed by analysts to serve as preparation for upcoming summits with South Korea and the United States.

North Korea's KCNA news agency made no mention of Kim's pledge to denuclearize, or his anticipated meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump that is planned for some time in May.

China has traditionally been secretive North Korea's closest ally but ties have been frayed by its pursuit of nuclear weapons and China's backing of tough U.N. sanctions in response.

China's Foreign Ministry cited Kim in a lengthy statement as telling Xi the situation on the Korean peninsula was starting to improve because North Korea had taken the initiative to ease tension and put forward proposals for talks.

"It is our consistent stand to be committed to denuclearization on the peninsula, in accordance with the will of late President Kim Il Sung and late General Secretary Kim Jong Il," Kim Jong Un said, according to the ministry.

North Korea was willing to talk with the United States and hold a summit between the two countries, he said.

"The issue of denuclearization of the Korean peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace," Kim said.
Yeah, so, it's hard to get a good read on exactly what's happening here, but I think Xi is putting an immense amount of pressure on Kim to agree to nuclear disarmament; Kim is exploiting Xi's good will to further try to establish legitimacy of his rogue regime on the global stage; South Korea is eager to resolve the situation, from a position of very little control despite its being the most imperiled; and Donald Trump is already trying to take credit for solving a problem that isn't anywhere close to being solved.

I hope whatever scheme Xi's working on to contain Kim will work, but I don't yet trust that this isn't all going to go south, very quickly, at any moment.

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[Content Note: Nativism] Esther Yu Hsi Lee at ThinkProgress: Trump Ends Protected Immigration Status for Liberians, Gives Them One Year to Pack up Their Lives. "Donald Trump will wind down a temporary immigration program for Liberian immigrants who have legally lived and worked in the United States for the past 16 years, according to a presidential memorandum released Tuesday afternoon. Authorized at the president's discretion to conduct foreign affairs, the Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) program for Liberia is an immigration program that allows beneficiaries to legally work in the country and travel out of the country with permission. The program does not provide a pathway to citizenship." Fucking hell.

But meanwhile... [CN: Nazism] Justin Rohrlich at the Daily Beast: ICE Won't Deport the Last Nazi War Criminal in America. "During the first three months of ICE's 2018 fiscal year, the agency deported 56,710 people, 46 percent of whom had not been convicted of a crime. This year, ICE expects to deport 209,000 people. It is highly unlikely that Jakiw Palij will be among them — even though Palij is a war criminal, the last Nazi war criminal living in the United States. Palij served as a guard during World War II at the Trawniki forced labor camp... But Palij, now 94, remains a free man because no one else wants him, either. As Rosenbaum told The Daily Beast in an email, 'Unfortunately, the governments of Germany, Ukraine, and Poland have declined to admit Palij and no other nation has agreed to accept him.'"

[CN: Nativism] Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress: Sarah Sanders Lies About Census Citizenship Question. "White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders falsely claimed on Tuesday that the citizenship question the Trump administration decided to add to the 2020 Census has been part of the national survey for decades. 'This is a question that's been included in every census since 1965, with the exception of 2010 when it was removed,' Sanders said, later repeating the same claim. The citizenship question has not been part of the census since 1950. ...Sanders also claimed that the Commerce Department felt strongly that the question be included in order to provide the U.S. Department of Justice with data to 'protect voters' and 'specifically to help us better comply with the Voting Rights Act.' That statement is also misleading. According to a recent ProPublica report, the original DOJ letter requesting the change was drafted by John Gore, 'a Trump political appointee who is best known for his work defending Republican redistricting efforts around the country.'"

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[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Tae Kim at CNBC: Amazon Loses More Than $50 Billion in Value on Report Trump Wants to 'Go After' Company's Tax Treatment. "Axios is reporting that Trump wants to 'go after' the e-commerce giant, citing five sources who have talked about Amazon with him. 'He's obsessed with Amazon,' one source told the media outlet. 'Obsessed.' Trump has discussed altering the company's tax treatment because several of his friends told him Amazon is hurting their businesses and 'killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers,' according to Axios. Amazon shares fell 4.3 percent Wednesday after the report, wiping out nearly $31 billion in shareholder value."

That is just so fucked up. For many reasons. Not least of which is that the president shouldn't deliberately harm the competitor of his billionaire friends just because he can.

I'll also recall here the interview I shared yesterday, in which reporter McKay Coppins told Seth Meyers:
I've had experiences with this, even when I was interviewing [Donald Trump] at Mar-a-Lago, where he'll be talking and he'll tell you a story and he'll be like, "Okay, this part's off the record. Well, now this part — just attribute it to someone else." Or whatever. And he'll just — he'll be, he'll just put random stuff out there and that — a lot of the stories you see in, uh, in the press are — it'll say like, "somebody familiar with the situation," or like "a senior White House official," and it'll be the President of the United States.
So it's entirely possible that the primary source for Axios' report was Trump himself. Which is a big problem, especially given the consequences.

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[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Benjamin Siegel and Matthew Mosk at ABC News: NRA Tells U.S. Senator It Accepted Foreign Funds, But Used None to Back Trump. "The National Rifle Association has told a leading Senate Democrat that the gun rights group has accepted foreign donations but said that the funds were not used for election-related activities. The acknowledgment came last week in a newly-disclosed, carefully-worded letter responding to questions from Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, about the organization's meetings with Russian nationals during the 2016 campaign. NRA General Counsel John C. Frazer told the senator that while his organization did accept money from foreign donors, those funds were not used in election activities. Frazer also noted that the NRA did, at times, transfer money from non-election-related accounts to those used for campaign activity."

Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer, and Daniel Lippman at Politico: Republicans to Push Balanced-Budget Amendment. "House Republicans will take up a balanced-budget amendment when they return from recess, several sources tell us. This follows on the heels of their $1.3-trillion budget bill and their massive tax bill. Why do this now? Here's what we think: It's almost election season, and it would be helpful if GOP lawmakers could go home and be able to say they voted to support balancing the federal budget, even though they voted boosted discretionary spending by a ton, and have not touched entitlement spending, which, they have said for years, is the driver of U.S. budget deficits." And then upon their return, they can use it to justify austerity programs. Fuckers.

Julie Carr Smyth at AP/TPM: Ohio GOP Rep. Didn't Disclose $50K in Donations While Registered as Lobbyist. "U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci failed to disclose nearly $50,000 in political contributions while registered as a Washington lobbyist starting in the late 2000s, according to an Associated Press review of federal records. The AP review identified five reporting periods from 2008 to 2010 while the Ohio Republican was registered as a lobbyist when he either failed to file the required disclosure form or reported giving no political contributions when he had given." The entire Republican party is corrupt to the core.

[CN: Gun violence; white supremacy] Casey Quinlan at ThinkProgress: Betsy DeVos Is Using School Shootings to Justify Draconian New Discipline Guidelines. "Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Republican lawmakers are considering moves that may undo years of progress in dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline. A White House commission on school safety plans to hold its first meeting on Wednesday [and] one of the biggest concerns is that the commission is considering rolling back Obama administration guidance on school discipline that discouraged officers from disciplining students and pushed for more positive and less punitive responses to student behavior. In other words, the federal government will undo the Obama administration's work to keep students in school and out of the criminal justice system." Seethe.

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[CN: White supremacy; misogyny; transphobia] Cristina Cabrera at TPM: Atlantic Editor Defends New Hire Who Called for Death Penalty for Abortions. "Atlantic editor-in-chief Jeffrey Goldberg earlier this week defended his decision to hire conservative columnist Kevin Williamson, who once tweeted that women who'd had abortions should be hanged. 'I don't think that taking a person's worst tweets, or assertions, in isolation is the best journalistic practice,' Goldberg said in a memo sent to the Atlantic staff, which Slate published on Tuesday. 'I have read most, or much, of what he has written; some of his critics have not done the same.'"

It gets worse.

Jordan Weissmann at Slate: Why Would the Atlantic Hire Kevin Williamson? "Jeffrey Goldberg knows that he hired a troll. But he thinks readers should give him a second chance. ...In addition to making the thought leader's now-familiar case for ideological diversity, Goldberg wrote that he likes to 'give people second chances and the opportunity to change.' This is an odd justification for a terrible and high-profile hire at one of the country's most venerable political magazines." Odd. Yes. And then some.

In other White Guys Doing Terrific News...

[CN: Racism; misogyny; mockery of sexual abuse survivors] Claire Fallon at the Huffington Post: Sean Penn The Novelist Must Be Stopped. "When news broke, earlier this month that Penn's debut novel, Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, not only existed but included a poem about the #MeToo movement, I received it as a clarion call to action. 'Saddle up, Fallon,' I told myself. 'An actor's overblown prose needs puncturing.' I cracked my review copy of Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff and settled in to ruin my own weekend. ...When I say that Bob Honey is reminiscent of a fever dream, I mean that it's nonsensical, unpleasant, and left me sweaty with mingled horror and confusion. All well and good, you might still be thinking. But is Bob Honey wildly offensive? Reader, it is."

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

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