We Resist: Day 434

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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: Floating Pardons for Flynn and Manafort May Constitute Obstruction and Trump Ousts Veterans Affairs Secretary; Replaces Him with Doctor Who Gave Him Glowing Medical Report and Secret Service Report on Mental Illness and Mass Shootings Is Spectacularly Unhelpful.

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

That, of course, is not itself something to resist — it's good news that the case is proceeding. But it does put additional pressure on Trump, who thrashes like a caged beast when he's cornered, so I just want to say once again that I hope we can simultaneously hold him accountable and get through the process safely as a nation.

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[Content Note: Warmongering; violence] Jeffrey Lewis at the Daily Beast: John Bolton to Kim Jong Un: Give Up Your Nukes Like Gaddafi Did — Before We Killed Him.
The agreement with Libya, and how its relates to North Korea, is actually one of the least well-understood episodes in recent diplomacy. But it is important, because it demonstrates how Bolton plies his trade, and the danger he poses.

...As Libya collapsed into civil war, the very same John Bolton [who had used Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, with whom the Bush administration had struck a disarmament deal, to deflect criticism that the U.S. couldn't be trusted to respect disarmament since Saddam Hussein had abandoned his weapons programs and the U.S. invaded anyway], by then a television pundit, openly advocating killing Gaddafi. Asked how this squared with his support for the 2003 disarmament deal, Bolton was nonplussed.

"Nobody at the time thought it was a get-out-of-jail-free card in perpetuity," he explained.

None of this was lost on the North Koreans.

...States pursue nuclear weapons for a lot of reasons, but chief among them is that the bomb is, in fact, a get-out-of-jail-free card in perpetuity—or at last as close to one as there is. A lot has been made of the fact that Kim Jong Un reportedly told a visiting South Korean delegation that would consider denuclearization. It's worth looking at precisely what Kim allegedly said:

"There is no reason for [North Korea] to possess nuclear weapons as long as military threats to the North are eliminated and the regime's security is guaranteed."

Kim isn't offering to give up his nuclear weapons; he's explaining why he needs them. The notion that Kim would turn around and give up this capability for the deal that preceded Gaddafi's grisly death is absurd...

So why is Bolton talking about Libya at all? His audience isn't North Korea at all.

Bolton wants to give the impression that he gave diplomacy the old college try, before moving on to the urgent task of getting us all killed in a nuclear war.
Absolutely right. Bolton has a major boner for war. I don't know how else to put it — the man gets visibly excited, animated, when talking about the prospect of war. His role in the Bush administration was to facilitate a war of choice, a task which he eagerly pursued. He is dangerous because he wants war. It thrills him.

He is observably the adult, highly empowered version of the vicious child who pulls wings off of insects, just because it gives him the thrill of being a vengeful god. I don't know why anyone would ever pretend that John Bolton is anything but a war-hungry sadist.

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Andy Towle at Towleroad: Trump Tweets Fresh Attack on Amazon. "Donald Trump attacked Amazon on Twitter Thursday morning [after a] report on Axios on Wednesday that he was obsessed with taking down the company sent the stock plunging more than 4 percent. Tweeted Trump: 'I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!'"

As I wrote yesterday: "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."

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post in 2013.

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This tweet begins a thread by Sarah Kendzior that is a must-read on the infrastructure attacks getting frighteningly little attention across the United States:

[CN: Nativism; misogyny; war on agency] Betsy Woodruff at the Daily Beast: ICE Now Detaining Pregnant Women, Thanks to Trump Order. "Immigration and Customs Enforcement is ending its practice of automatically releasing pregnant women from detention, according to internal communications reviewed by The Daily Beast. This is because of [Donald] Trump's executive order 'Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,' which requires stricter enforcement of immigration laws. Previously, the agency's general practice was to release women from detention who were pregnant. Now, pregnant women will only be able to get released if an ICE officer determines so on a case-by-case basis." This is clearly to stop pregnant detainees from accessing abortion, even though "pregnant women are more likely to miscarry if they're in detention than if they are free."

[CN: Nativism] Esther Yu Hsi Lee at ThinkProgress: Federal Agents Detain 28 Undocumented Immigrants at a Tent Rental Business in Southern Florida. "On Wednesday, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) division served a search warrant to TentLogix and asked people for legal paperwork, according to a company employee who spoke with a local Fox News affiliate. A source within HSI told ThinkProgress that agents served the business with a search warrant as part of 'a criminal case' and proceeded to identify everyone. During the course of identifying workers, federal agents 'encountered' 28 undocumented immigrants and detained them for administrative arrest. Despite the arrest of these immigrants, the source denied that this was an 'immigration raid' and would not confirm whether other people, including citizens, were taken because this was an 'ongoing criminal investigation.'" Such mendacious horseshit.

[CN: Animal endangerment] Oliver Milman at the Guardian: Alarmed Conservationists Call for Urgent Action to Fix 'America's Wildlife Crisis'.
An extinction crisis is rippling through America's wildlife, with scores of species at risk of being wiped out unless recovery plans start to receive sufficient funding, conservationists have warned.

One-third of species in the U.S. are vulnerable to extinction, a crisis that has ravaged swaths of creatures such as butterflies, amphibians, fish, and bats, according to a report compiled by a coalition of conservation groups. A further one in five species face an even greater threat, with a severe risk of being eliminated amid a "serious decline" in U.S. biodiversity, the report warns.

"America's wildlife are in crisis," said Collin O'Mara, chief executive of the National Wildlife Federation. "Fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates are all losing ground. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to prevent these species from vanishing from the earth."
We also owe it to the fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates. Cough. Unfortunately, we've got a president whose interest in nature extends only as far as he can plunder its resources for profit and whose sons brutally kill animals for fun, so help isn't coming anytime soon.

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[CN: Misogyny and racism.]

Yesterday, I mentioned that the Atlantic had hired a despicable conservative bigot, because he deserves "a second chance" and because diversity of ideas blah blah (which isn't even defensible, based on the facts about conservative inclusion in major media outlets). Naturally, Mother Jones' Kevin Drum had to take up the bigot's cause, because there isn't a single thing primarily women and marginalized men are upset about that Drum can't condescendingly 'splain is stupid.

Fuck, I'm tired.

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And finally, some more distressing Cambridge Analytica news...

Dan Sabbagh at the Guardian: Cambridge Analytica Parent Company Had Access to Secret MoD Information. "SCL, Cambridge Analytica's parent company, had access to secret UK information and was singled out for praise by the UK Ministry of Defence for the training it provided to a psychological operations warfare group, according to documents released by MPs."

Luke Barnes at ThinkProgress: Cambridge Analytica Exploited Ethnic Tensions and Fragile Democracies Across the Globe. "The recent revelations that Cambridge Analytica used the Facebook data of 50 million Americans, taken without their permission, to help them micro-target voters during the 2016 presidential election, has set off a firestorm. But the roots of the problem extend far deeper than one country and one election. Cambridge Analytica honed its techniques in a host of countries with political institutions that are younger, more fragile, and far more vulnerable to interference."

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

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