We Resist: Day 539

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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: Trump Is a Reprehensible Bully at the NATO Summit and Trump's War on Immigrants: The Latest.

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

Today, FBI Agent Peter Strzok is testifying at a joint hearing before the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, and it has been exactly as dreadful as you'd expect. ThinkProgress' Aaron Rupar has been live-tweeting the proceedings, with pertinent video clips, and I encourage you to check out and follow his thread, which begins here:

Some of his responses to Republicans' questions have been absolutely amazing. His outrage at this entire spectacle is righteous, necessary, and perfect.

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Faith Karimi and Sonia Moghe at CNN: Stormy Daniels Arrested at Ohio Strip Club; Her Attorney Calls It a Setup. "Adult film actress Stormy Daniels was arrested early Thursday at an Ohio strip club for allegedly touching three undercover detectives during her performance in violation of state law. Daniels, who gained notoriety after suing [Donald] Trump following an alleged affair, faces three misdemeanor counts of illegally touching a patron, court records show. She posted a $6,054 bail and was released Thursday morning, and is due to be arraigned Friday morning, records show. Daniels will plead not guilty to the three misdemeanor charges, her attorney, Michael Avenatti, tweeted."

He also tweeted: "They are devoting law enforcement resources to sting operations for this? There has to be higher priorities."

Good point! Maybe if they have nothing better to do in Columbus, they could investigate the allegations that the president is a serial sexual abuser.

Columbus police said in a statement that Daniels' arrest is part of a "long-term investigation into allegations of human trafficking, prostitution, & other vice related violations." Sure. Lock her up! Lock her up!

I'm sure if Daniels actually did violate some local obscenity law, no one would have cared if undercover police hadn't just happened to be there.

But they were. And now the entire nation has been warned that if you are a public dissident, you risk a politicized arrest for minor lawbreaking that would usually garner a warning, if anything at all.

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Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress: The U.S. Senate Is Facing a Legitimacy Crisis. "The United States Senate is an immoral, anti-democratic institution where a person from Wyoming counts as over 68 Californians. It is also a demographic time bomb that is likely to plunge the United States into a legitimacy crisis. According to Baruch College's David Birdsell, by 2040 'about 70% of Americans are expected to live in the 15 largest states.' That means that 30 percent of the population will elect 70 percent of the senators. It also means that, if small states continue to trend towards Republicans, the GOP may soon have a permanent Senate majority that is large enough to remove the President of the United States from office at will."

Amy Brittain at the Washington Post: Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh Piled up Credit Card Debt by Purchasing Nationals Tickets, White House Says. "Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh incurred tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt buying baseball tickets over the past decade and at times reported liabilities that could have exceeded the value of his cash accounts and investment assets, according to a review of Kavanaugh's financial disclosures and information provided by the White House. White House spokesman Raj Shah told The Washington Post that Kavanaugh built up the debt by buying Washington Nationals season tickets and tickets for playoff games for himself and a 'handful' of friends. Shah said some of the debts were also for home improvements. ...Shah did not provide the names of the friends or additional details about the tickets. Kavanaugh, who is known to be a Nationals fan, declined to comment." There is much more at the link and these numbers do not add up.

Brad Reed at Raw Story: Bombshell Report Reveals How Shady Russian Cash Flowed Through Trump's Toronto Hotel.
A major investigation conducted by the Financial Times reveals how shady Russian cash flowed through the financial of [Donald] Trump's Toronto hotel — and, ultimately, back to the president himself.

In particular, the report zeroes in on actions taken by Alex Shnaider, the Russian-Canadian billionaire who served as Trump's business partner in the construction of Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto.

According to the Financial Times' reporting, Shnaider in 2010 made a secret $100 million payment to a group of so-called "introducers" who were representing the Kremlin. The goal of the payment to these "introducers" was to pave the way for Shnaider's group to sell off its stake in the Zaporizhstal steel mill in eastern Ukraine.

Shnaider eventually succeeded in selling off the steel mill with the help of Russian state bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) — and the Financial Times' reporting raises questions about whether the deal would have gotten financing from VEB without the massive payment to the "introducers."

More importantly, writes the Financial Times, "legal filings in a recent commercial dispute between Shnaider and his business partner raised the possibility that some of the money could have ended up with Russian government officials."

If the payments made by Shnaider did wind up in the hands of Russian officials, then the deal would likely be considered an illegal bribe under Canadian law.

After the sale of the steel mill, Shnaider used $40 million of the proceeds to further finance Trump's Toronto hotel. Of that, a further $4 million went to the Trump Organization in the form of licensing fees.
JFC. Time for a reminder that Jared Kushner met with the head of Vnesheconombank and then later endeavored to conceal the meeting.

Rick Noack at the Washington Post: As Trump Rattles NATO, 42 Percent of Germans Now Want U.S. Troops out of the Country. "There was always some public opposition to the U.S. presence, but the open hostility that marked the 1960s and 1970s (and even a bit of the 1980s) eventually turned into the widespread indifference of recent years. Now, in a rather stunning poll, 42 percent of Germans say they want U.S. troops out of the country, compared with 37 percent who want the approximately 35,000 U.S. military personnel to stay." Now Trump can use German public opinion to justify his own desire to withdraw troops from Germany, to Vladimir Putin's benefit. Terrific.

Man, John Kelly is a real asshole:

Mark Z. Barabak at the LA Times: Stymied Elsewhere, Trump Turns to Pardons to Advance Personal and Policy Goals. "As a candidate for president, Donald Trump vowed to accomplish a great many things with the ease and simplicity of snapping his fingers. Once in office, however, he discovered that achieving those goals — dismantling Obamacare, slashing the federal debt, building a wall along the border with Mexico, among other promises — was far more frustrating and complicated than he supposed. There is one area, however, where Trump can exercise nearly limitless sway: the power to pardon. He has made early and eager use of that unfettered authority, advancing his political agenda in the process. ...It is also another of the countless ways Trump has shattered conventional norms."

[Content Note: Racism; police misconduct] Michael Harriot at the Root: Cop Pulls Gun on Children After 911 Caller Falsely Reports Armed Black Kids Roaming Around in Park. "When asked to describe what happened, Lindell explains: 'An older white kid, who's probably 17, and coming at them with a garbage can lid, threatening them and calling them the n-word when we passed by earlier. And cops come and they're arresting the kids, apparently.' After the police officers eventually loaded the boys into the back of the cruiser, Lindell and other onlookers asked why the two were being arrested. One cop explained that the boys were not under arrest (they were just handcuffed and locked in the back of a police car, which is totally different from being arrested.)" Fucking hell!

[CN: Homophobia] Zack Ford at ThinkProgress: House Republicans Advance 'License to Discriminate' Amendment for Adoption Agencies. "House Republicans advanced an amendment that would guarantee that adoption agencies could discriminate against same-sex couples without any consequences. It was tacked onto a funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The House Appropriates Committee passed the amendment 29-23, with all Democrats voting against it and all Republicans, except Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA), voting for it. Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) introduced the amendment and claimed that it was necessary to protect child welfare providers from 'discrimination' on the basis of their religious convictions." Rage seethe boil.

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

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