We Resist: Day 501

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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: Giuliani Claims President Couldn't Be Indicted for Murder and The Dominionists Make Their Move.

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

[Content Note: Sexual harassment] Former President Bill Clinton is on a media tour to promote a fiction book he co-authored with James Patterson, and, during an interview on the Today show, NBC's Craig Melvin asked him about whether the #MeToo movement has changed the lens through which he views his affair with Monica Lewinsky. And his answer was very terrible.

Craig Melvin: [in voiceover] This March, Monica Lewinsky penned an op-ed in Vanity Fair taking responsibility for her part in the scandal, but also admitting that, years later, she was diagnosed with PTSD from the unrelenting public scrutiny. [onscreen, to Bill Clinton] One of the things that this #MeToo era has done, it's forced a lot of women to speak out. One of those women, Monica Lewinsky, she wrote an op-ed that the #MeToo movement changed her view of sexual harassment. Quote: "He was my boss; he was the most powerful man on the planet; he was 27 years my senior with enough life experience to know better; he was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career, while I was in my first job out of college. Looking back on what happened now, through the lens of #MeToo now, do you think differently? Or feel more responsibility?

Bill Clinton: No, I felt terrible then. And I came to grips with it. And —

Melvin: Did you ever apologize to her?

Clinton: Yes. And nobody believes that I got outta that for free. I left the White House $16 million in debt. But you, typically, have ignored gaping facts in describing this, and I bet you don't even know them. This was litigated 20 years ago; two-thirds of the American people sided with me; they were not insensitive to that. I had a sexual harassment policy when I was governor in the '80s. I had two women chiefs of staff when I was governor. Women were over-represented in the Attorney General's office in the '70s, for their percentage of the bar. I have had nothing but women leaders in my office since I left. You are giving one side and omitting facts.

Melvin: Mr. President, I'm not trying to present a side. I'm not —

Clinton: You asked me if I agreed; the answer is no I don't.

Melvin: And I — well, I asked if you'd ever apologized, and you said you had.

Clinton: I have.

Melvin: You've apologized to her?

Clinton: I've apologized to everybody in the world.
I mean, this is Mitt Romney "binders full of women" level terrible.

And that is worth comment. But it is not worth the outsized coverage it is getting, especially on cable news — because Bill Clinton is not the president anymore and there are far more critical news stories today, like Donald Trump, who is the sitting president, claiming he has the power to pardon himself. For real.

And the news that EPA Chief Scott Pruitt ordered one of his aides to procure a mattress from Trump International Hotel:

This is the way that the Kremlin does business. And now it appears that the White House may be doing business the same way. That is extraordinary and, it shouldn't have to be said, extremely newsworthy.

Which is only the tip of the iceberg of today's news, including two very troubling Supreme Court decisions:

So, yes, absolutely Clinton's dreadful and disappointing (though entirely unsurprising) response is newsworthy, but it is not the most important news of the day by any reasonable calculation. Only by the thoroughly unreasonable calculation that anything the Clintons do warrants endless amounts of scrutiny and alarm while anything Trump does is given a pass for any number of rotating excuses could Bill Clinton be the biggest news of the day.

And, as if on cue...


I am pissed — pissssssssssssssssed — when progressives fuck up. I couldn't be more annoyed that Samantha Bee used a misogynist slur against Ivanka Trump (both because that's not how feminism works and because I don't want an authoritarian like Ivanka Trump turned into a sympathetic figure), nor more annoyed that Bill Clinton is still defensive over what was a clear case of exploitative workplace sexual harassment, his role in which isn't mitigated by the fact that the Republicans used it to wage a cynical and sanctimousious campaign against him to stymie his political agenda.

But these personal failures, while important because they are also public failures, are simply not as important as the authoritarian takeover by Donald Trump and the Republican Party's consolidation of power behind him, while corporatists wage class warfare and the dominionists relentlessly pursue their objective of a Christian Supremacist nation.

We are fucked. And every day it looks more like the majority of the political media in this country actively wants it that way. This has gone well beyond a mere failure to do their jobs and has entered the territory of conscious participation in the coup.

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In other news...

Michelle Kosinski and Maegan Vazquez at CNN: Trump's Phone Call with Macron Described as 'Terrible'. "A call about trade and migration between [Donald] Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron soured last week after Macron candidly criticized Trump's policies, two sources familiar with the call told CNN. 'Just bad. It was terrible,' one source told CNN. 'Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship. But Trump can't handle being criticized like that.'" Of course he can't.

[Content Note: White supremacy] Philip Oltermann at the Guardian: New U.S. Ambassador to Germany Under Fire for Rightwing Support. "In an interview with the far-right news outlet Breitbart over the weekend, Richard Grenell, who has been in office for less than a month, said: 'I absolutely want to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders. I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left.' In Berlin, the foreign ministry asked him to clarify the comments and politicians criticised him for a perceived breach of diplomatic protocol. 'In the past, Germany was fortunate to have had great US ambassadors who built bridges and did not do party politics,' said Metin Hakverdi‪, a Social Democrat delegate and member of the German-US parliamentary friendship group. 'As a member of the SPD, a left party with a long proud legacy of fighting, together with the United States, both Nazis and communists, I am irritated to hear from ambassador Grenell about our allegedly failed policies.'" Holy shit.

Anthony Faiola and Rachelle Krygier at the Washington Post: A Historic Exodus Is Leaving Venezuela without Teachers, Doctors, and Electricians. "This collapsing socialist state is suffering one of the most dramatic outflows of human talent in modern history... Vast gaps in Venezuela's labor market are causing a breakdown in daily life, and robbing this nation of its future. The exodus is broad and deep — an outflow of doctors, engineers, oil workers, bus drivers, and electricians. And teachers." Awful.

Kate Riga at TPM: Facebook Gave Electronics Makers Access to Tons of Users' Personal Data. "Facebook has allowed electronics manufacturers including Apple, Amazon, and Samsung wide access to personal users' data for years, the scope of which may be in violation of an FTC consent rule, according to a Sunday New York Times report. The deals have reportedly given over 60 device makers access to users' friends' data without obtaining consent." Fucking hell.

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

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