We Resist: Day 480

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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: U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem; Dozens of Protesting Palestinians Killed and "I don't have enough for a lawsuit, but I do have enough for a broken heart/spirit."

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

Anne Flaherty and Catherine Lucey at TPM: Trump Aides Praise Jerusalem Embassy Opening Amid Deadly Gaza Clashes. "Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner, along with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, led the U.S. delegation with a single message: Only Trump had the courage to act on what America has wanted for a long time. 'While presidents before him have backed down from their pledge to move the American Embassy once they were in office, this president delivered. Because when [Donald] Trump makes a promise, he keeps it,' Kushner said. ...'The president is making difficult decisions because they are what he believes are the right long term decisions and not just kicking the can down the road,' Mnuchin said. Mnuchin also said 'it's not coincidental' that the embassy move coincided with Trump's announcement that he planned to abandon the Iran nuclear deal." No shit.

[Content Note: Death; injury] Matt Bradley at NBC News: Scores Dead in Gaza Fence Protest as U.S. Moves Embassy to Jerusalem. "At least 52 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and almost 1,960 others were wounded Monday after thousands of protesters converged on the razor-wire fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel as the U.S. Embassy opened in Jerusalem. ...The Gaza protest started on March 30. Monday's march was meant to express anger over the U.S. Embassy's inauguration, while Tuesday will mark 'Nakba,' or Catastrophe Day, so named for the uprooting of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who fled or were expelled after Israel's founding in 1948."

And here is Donald Trump's new National Security Advisor... Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani at ThinkProgress: John Bolton Praises U.S. Embassy Move to Jerusalem as Increasing 'the Chances for Peace'. It's honestly tough to believe that Bolton could say such a thing, unless he believes that the only way to lasting "peace" is straight through an ethnic cleansing in Gaza. Which is no kind of peace.

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Tim Mak at NPR: Documents Reveal How Russian Official Courted Conservatives in U.S. Since 2009.
Kremlin-linked Russian politician Alexander Torshin traveled frequently between Moscow and various destinations in the United States to build relationships with figures on the American right starting as early as 2009, beyond his previously known contacts with the National Rifle Association.

Documents newly obtained by NPR show how he traveled throughout the United States to cultivate ties in ways well beyond his formal role as a member of the Russian legislature and later as a top official at the Russian central bank. These are steps a former top CIA official believes Torshin took in order to advance Moscow's long-term objectives in the United States, in part by establishing common political interests with American conservatives.

"[Vladimir] Putin and probably the Russian intelligence services saw [Torshin's connections] as something that they could leverage in the United States," said Steve Hall, a retired CIA chief of Russian operations. "They reach out to a guy like Torshin and say, 'Hey, can you make contact with the NRA and some other conservatives ... so that we can have connectivity from Moscow into those conservative parts of American politics should we need them?' And that's basically just wiring the United States for sound, if you will, in preparation for whatever they might need down the road."

Torshin's trips took him to Alaska, where he requested a visit with former Gov. Sarah Palin; to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.; to Nashville, where he was an election observer for the 2012 presidential race; and to every NRA convention, in various American cities, between 2012 and 2016.

..."I really do think the Russians are looking at being able to reach out to the right...to say, 'Hey, you know Russians actually share a lot of the same values,'" said Hall, whose 30-year career in the CIA concluded in 2015.

Hall said their message was: "You know, we don't like LGBT causes any more than you conservatives on the right in the United States do; we are interested in engaging the NRA...the church plays an important role in Russia just as it should in the United States."
And both big fans of authoritarianism, too.

Evan Osnos at the New Yorker: Trump vs. the "Deep State". "Typically, an incoming President seeks to charm, co-opt, and, when necessary, coerce the federal workforce into executing his vision. But Trump got to Washington by promising to unmake the political ecosystem, eradicating the existing species and populating it anew. ...Nancy McEldowney, who retired last July after thirty years in the Foreign Service, told me, 'In the anatomy of a hostile takeover and occupation, there are textbook elements — you decapitate the leadership, you compartmentalize the power centers, you engender fear and suspicion. They did all those things.' This idea, more than any other, has defined the Administration, which has greeted the federal government not as a machine that could implement its vision but as a vanquished foe."

Olivia Nuzzi at NYMag: Donald Trump and Sean Hannity Like to Talk Before Bedtime. "Unlike on Fox & Friends, where Trump learns new (frequently incorrect) information, Hannity acts to transform Trump's pervasive ambivalence into resolve by convincing him what he's already decided he believes and what he's decided to do is correct. ...More than any other figure of the right-wing infosphere, Hannity has behaved as if he were an extension of the Trump communications department, his daily stream of assertions serving to prop up Trump and, in real time, define what Trumpism is supposed to be."

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And corruption just meets more corruption:

[CN: Nativism; carcerality] Tina Vasquez at Rewire.News: Questions Swirl Around ICE's 'Inhumane' Treatment of Pregnant People. "Numerous reports suggest detaining pregnant immigrants in prison-like facilities poses dangerous health risks. In September 2017, immigrant and human rights groups filed an administrative complaint with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the DHS Office of Inspector General, documenting the harmful and dangerous conditions pregnant people face while in ICE custody. Those reports included women who suffered miscarriages in detention, experienced verbal and physical abuse, and endured serious delays in emergency care and prenatal treatment. ...Advocates are pushing for more information from ICE as new allegations of medical neglect surface."

[CN: White supremacy] Alice Ollstein at TPM: Trump Admin Poised to Give Rural Whites a Carve-Out on Medicaid Work Rules.
As the Trump administration moves aggressively to allow more states to impose mandatory work requirements on their Medicaid programs, several states have come under fire for crafting policies that would in practice shield many rural, white residents from the impact of the new rules.

In the GOP-controlled states of Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio, waiver proposals would subject hundreds of thousands of Medicaid enrollees to work requirements, threatening to cut off their health insurance if they can’t meet an hours-per-week threshold.

Those waivers include exemptions for the counties with the highest unemployment, which tend to be majority-white, GOP-leaning, and rural. But many low-income people of color who live in high-unemployment urban centers would not qualify, because the wealthier suburbs surrounding those cities pull the overall county unemployment rate below the threshold.

"This is sort of a version of racial redlining where they're identifying communities where the work requirements will be in full effect and others where they will be left out," George Washington University health law professor Sara Rosenbaum told TPM. "When that starts to result in racially identifiable areas, that's where the concern increases."
This is not merely unethical and aggressively indecent; it may also be an illegal violation of the Civil Rights Act.

But even as Republican legislatures and the Trump administration continue to cater to white people in the most egregious ways, their white base complains about how they are [PDF] "disrespected": "Trump voters complain that there is no respect for [Donald] Trump or for people like them who voted for him."

And yet: "A healthy diet of Fox News is feeding the white working class men fending off the challenges of Trump's opponents, including those within their own families. They have taken a lot of heat from the millennials and children in their own families, but feel vindicated that a businessman like Trump has produced a strong macro-economy and kept his promises on immigration. They continue to appreciate how he speaks his mind, unlike a typical politician."

This is a toxic combination: They feel "disrespected" by people who refuse to abide and abet authoritarian bigotry, and feel "vindicated" by Trump's brand of white supremacist, nativist, chauvinist bravado. Shiver.

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

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