We Resist: Day 474

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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: NY AG Schneiderman Accused of Assault; Resigns and Jeff Sessions Threatens Undocumented Families.

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

Grace Sparks at CNN: Majority Say U.S. Should Not Withdraw from Iran Nuclear Agreement. "Almost two-thirds of Americans — 63% — believe that the U.S. should not withdraw from the agreement made with Iran to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons. Only 29% believe the US should withdraw, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS."

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. Americans want the nation to keep to the agreement. There aren't a whole lot of issues on which two-thirds of the populace agrees these days, and yet here we are — and Donald Trump is almost certainly going to ignore the will of the majority.

David E. Sanger and Steven Erlanger at the New York Times: Trump Is Expected to Leave Iran Deal, Allies Say. "Trump is expected to announce on Tuesday that he is withdrawing the United States from the Iran nuclear deal, European diplomats said after concluding that they had failed to convince him that reneging on America's commitment to the pact could cast the West into new confrontation with Tehran. ...One senior European diplomat who has been deeply involved in trying to persuade Mr. Trump to stay in the deal told reporters on Monday the chance that the president would keep the agreement intact was 'very small.'"

Margaret Hartmann at NYMag: What Happens After Trump Pulls out of the Iran Deal. "The chances that Trump called a press conference to announce his newfound support for President Obama's signature foreign-policy achievement are approximately zero. But that doesn't mean the agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will suddenly cease to exist — and Iran might not even resume its nuclear-weapons program. Much depends on the manner in which Trump scraps the deal, and how other countries react."

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[Content Note: Harassment; threats.]

So, yesterday, Melania Trump introduced her anti-bullying initiative, absurdly named "Be Best." Naturally, I felt inclined to point out the obvious problem with that garbage:

In the ensuing 20 hours or so, conservatives have filled my mentions with all manner of abuse. If you click on the top tweet and scroll down, you'll see the 800+ (and counting) responses, most of which are filled with the most juvenile and pathetic insults, and some of which contain wishes of harm to come to me.

The responses to that tweet are pretty amazing, too. The lack of irony among conservatives is really something. As is the lack of decency.

It's such a waste of their time. Even though I know they imagine I'm secretly devastated by their onslaught of insults and threats, it's nothing more than an inconvenience to me, as it's slightly more difficult to find notifications I want to see while they're clogging up my mentions with their pathetic antics. It's quite the fantasy that I would give a fuck about receiving endless copies of my own profile pic in some perplexing attempt to insult me.


Not only is Melania's anti-bullying campaign rich with bitter irony; part of it was also, of course, plagiarized:

David Smith at the Guardian: Melania Trump in New Plagiarism Row over Online Safety Pamphlet. "Melania's initiative, Be Best, which launched on Monday, has a page on the official White House website that said near the bottom: 'Parents, click here to read Talking with Kids about Being Online, a booklet by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission.' Later, in an apparent damage limitation exercise following a backlash on social media, the website's language was updated to describe the pamphlet as 'a Federal Trade Commission booklet, promoted by First Lady Melania Trump.'" Pathetic.

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Jonathan Lemire at the AP: As Headlines Swirl, Trump Grows Frustrated with Giuliani. "Donald Trump is growing increasingly irritated with lawyer Rudy Giuliani's frequently off-message media blitz, in which he has muddied the waters on hush money paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels and made claims that could complicate the president's standing in the special counsel's Russia probe. Trump has begun questioning whether Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, should be sidelined from television interviews, according to two people familiar with the president's thinking but not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions."

"Two people familiar with the president's thinking," huh? Are they named Tronald Dump and Gudy Riuliani, by any chance?

I'm gonna go ahead and suggest that if Trump is indeed considering "sidelining" Giuliani, it's not because he's unhappy that Giuliani "muddied the waters," but because that was Giuliani's whole job, and now it's finished. Shades of Scaramucci.

In other "Trump's Friends Do the Darnedest Things for Him" news...

Paul Campos at NYMag: Here's a Theory About That $1.6 Million Payout from a GOP Official to a Playboy Model.
The Wall Street Journal published a story on April 13 revealing the existence of another nondisclosure agreement involving an affair between an adult entertainer and a client of Cohen's. The NDA employed the pseudonyms David Dennison and Peggy Peterson — the same names used in the Stormy Daniels NDA — and was otherwise very similar to the Trump-Daniels agreement.

...Let me offer an alternative explanation of the affair and the payoff. It is still just a hypothesis, but, I would argue, it fits more comfortably with what we know about the various players than the reported version of events: Donald Trump, not Elliott Broidy, had an affair with Shera Bechard. Bechard hired Keith Davidson, who had negotiated both Playboy playmate Karen McDougal's deal with the National Enquirer, and Stormy Daniels's NDA with Trump. Davidson called Cohen, and the two of them negotiated a $1.6 million payment to Bechard.

At this point Cohen needed to find a funding source. Cohen asserts he took out a home equity loan to come up with a mere $130,000 to pay off Stormy Daniels, so it seems clear he couldn't have fronted the $1.6 million for the Bechard deal himself. So Cohen reached out to Elliott Broidy, a very rich Republican fundraiser with several pending and highly lucrative business deals with foreign governments: deals that hinged on whether Broidy could convince the U.S. government to take various actions.

So, according to this hypothesis, when Cohen's office was raided by federal prosecutors, they found documentation of what was actually a fabricated affair, concocted by Cohen and Davidson to create a justification for funneling Broidy's money to Bechard, while creating a paper record designed to protect Trump from further exposure.
Very convincing. By which I mean: I'm not convinced it's definitely true, but I am convinced it's a viable theory.

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And finally:

That about sums it up.

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

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