We Resist: Day 575

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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: And Then This Happened and An Observation.

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

Shane Harris at the Washington Post: Signs of Trump-Putin Collaboration, Starting Years Before the Campaign?
The precise nature and location of that "intelligence exchange" have never been fully explained. But journalist Craig Unger thinks he may have found it, running out of the offices of Bayrock Group, a real estate development company that operated in Trump Tower in Manhattan in the early 2000s and partnered with the Trump Organization.

Based on his own reporting and the investigative work of a former federal prosecutor, Unger posits that through Bayrock, Trump was "indirectly providing Putin with a regular flow of intelligence on what the oligarchs were doing with their money in the U.S."

As the theory goes, Putin wanted to keep tabs on the billionaires — some of them former mobsters — who had made their post-Cold War fortunes on the backs of industries once owned by the state. The oligarchs, as well as other new-moneyed elites, were stashing their money in foreign real estate, including Trump properties, presumably beyond Putin's reach.

Trump, knowingly or otherwise, may have struck a side deal with the Kremlin, Unger argues: He would secretly rat out his customers to Putin, who would allow them to keep buying Trump properties. Trump got rich. Putin got eyes on where the oligarchs had hidden their wealth. Everybody won.
NB: This is just a theory, but it is a compelling one. Related Reading: Donald Trump, Wilbur Ross, and the Russians.

Meanwhile, over at the Manafort trial...

Nancy Gertner at the Washington Post: The Extraordinary Bias of the Judge in the Manafort Trial. "The performance of U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III in the trial of Paul Manafort on bank fraud and tax evasion charges has been decidedly unusual. During the trial, Ellis intervened regularly, and mainly against one side: the prosecution. The judge's interruptions occurred in the presence of the jury and on matters of substance, not courtroom conduct. He disparaged the prosecution's evidence, misstated its legal theories, even implied that prosecutors had disobeyed his orders when they had not."

FYI: Ellis was the judge in two Blackwater trials, and dismissed both of them, while seeming weirdly pally with Erik Prince (Seychelles backchanneler and brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos). In both cases, Ellis expressed the interesting judicial perspective that a mercenary couldn't have bad intentions. Huh.

Katelyn Polantz, Dan Berman, Marshall Cohen, Liz Stark, and Kara Scannell at CNN: Manafort Jury Returns for Day Two of Deliberations; Trump Calls Trial 'Very Sad'. "After a full day Thursday, the jury hadn't yet reached a verdict on the 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding foreign bank accounts brought by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. ...At the White House Friday, Trump decried the trial and Mueller probe. 'I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad... I think it's a very sad day for our country,' Trump said. 'He happens to be a very good person, and I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort.'"

Wildly inappropriate. And, as Andy Towle notes at Towleroad, Trump also used the occasion to predict that "the 2018 midterms would be very good for Republicans."

Nothing to worry about there. Just the United States president who was elected because his campaign and his party and the NRA and conservative Christian groups conspired with Russia to steal the election stating with confidence that the midterm elections will yield another good result for them.

I continue to be very worried about the midterms.

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Kate Riga at TPM: At White House Meeting with Vets, Trump Digressed to Fight About Apocalypse Now. "Trump started normally enough, going around the room to ask for ways he could improve veterans' services. However, when one representative brought up Agent Orange, an herbicide used during the Vietnam War which has left lasting health problems for soldiers poisoned with it, Trump got off track. He asked if Agent Orange was 'that stuff from that movie.' Though he did not name the film, per the Daily Beast, attendees soon realized he was talking about the Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now. When the representatives caught on and tried to tell Trump that the film depicts the use of napalm, not Agent Orange, he dug in his heels. 'No, I think it's that stuff from that movie,' he reportedly kept saying. He then made everyone in the room voice their opinion on if he was right or not."

I have so many problems with that framing that I hardly know where to begin. This guy is reportedly thinking of running for president. If he believes we could pray Donald Trump into being a decent leader, I'm gonna take a hard pass.

[Content Note: Nativism; carcerality; self-harm] Priyanka Bhatt and Azadeh Shahshahani at Colorlines: It's Time for Atlanta to Stop Colluding with ICE. "Over the last year, dozens of detained immigrants shared harrowing stories of fleeing persecution and violence only to find themselves locked away and subjected to more inhumane treatment at [the Atlanta City Detention Center (ACDC)]. 'It was so horrible, I almost hurt myself. If I had a blade I would've cut myself,' one man said after being held in solitary confinement at ACDC for 48 hours. These stories are documented in a report from Project South and Georgia Detention Watch that was released last week. Titled 'Inside Atlanta's Immigrant Cages,' it is the result of interviewing 38 detained immigrants, speaking with a number of local immigration attorneys, touring the ACDC facility, and inspecting scores of documents obtained from the city."

[CN: Guns; white supremacy; death] Angela Helm at the Root: 'Stand Your Ground' Is for White People: Markeis McGlockton's Lawyer Says the Statute May Be Legal But It's Not Moral. "Since the Trayvon Martin case, the controversial 'stand your ground' law has actually been amended, but not in the way most opponents would like. Last June, the Republican-led Florida legislature, backed by the NRA, actually strengthened the law, shifting the burden of proof to prosecutors, making it even more difficult to indict killers who claim self-defense. ...''Stand your ground' was already inconsistently applied,' said Michele Rayner, a civil rights and defense attorney representing the McGlockton family. 'And now it's even more inconsistently applied because you have attorneys who are in court, and all the defense has to do is make a prima facie case … meaning on its face, stand your ground is applicable. And then the burden shifts to the state.' Rayner, who has practiced criminal defense in Clearwater for six years, says that in her own practice, she's seen how black clients are rarely given the option of using 'stand your ground' — especially by law enforcement."

[CN: Class warfare] Abby Baird at ThinkProgress: Trump Administration Reportedly Poised to approve Restrictive Changes to Medicaid. "The Trump administration is preparing to approve a number of changes to Medicaid — the government health care program that provides coverage to low-income people — that could leave tens of thousands of people without coverage. As Politico first reported Friday, the administration is set to approve waivers from some states that would impose work restrictions and allow questions about illegal drug use to be included on applications for Medicaid. The report comes two days after numbers out of Arkansas showed more than 5,000 people could be in jeopardy of losing their Medicaid coverage after failing to meet the state's work requirements."

Joe Romm at ThinkProgress: Fracking Is Destroying U.S. Water Supply, Warns Shocking New Study. "An alarming new study reveals fracking is quite simply destroying America's water supply. That means we are losing potable water forever in many semi-arid regions of the country, while simultaneously producing more carbon pollution that in turn is driving ever-worsening droughts in those same regions, as fracking expert Anthony Ingraffea, a professor at Cornell University, explained to ThinkProgress. The game-changing study from Duke University found that 'from 2011 to 2016, the water use per well increased up to 770 percent.' In addition, the toxic wastewater produced in the first year of production jumped up to 1440 percent."

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

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