We Resist: Day 580

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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: Of Course This Happened and Will Cohen Spill the Beans on Trump? Maybe!

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

Staff at the Daily Beast: Trump: Campaign-Finance Violations 'Not a Crime'. "After he opened with a gag Wednesday morning, [Donald] Trump got back on his usual Twitter warpath to claim that the campaign-finance violations he has been implicated in by longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen are not a crime. Trump and his attorney Rudy Giuliani previously insisted that collusion was 'not a crime.'" This is a strategy of authoritarians: Their contempt for the rule of law eventually segues into changing the law altogether so that their criminality (but not yours) is no longer criminal at all.

Oh, okay.

Carol D. Leonnig and Michelle Ye Hee Lee at the Washington Post: Trump's Company Approved $420,000 in Payments to Cohen, Relying on 'Sham' Invoices, Prosecutors Say. "Trump's real estate company authorized paying $420,000 to lawyer Michael Cohen in his effort to silence women during the presidential campaign and then relied on 'sham' invoices from Cohen that concealed the nature of the payments, according to legal filings released Tuesday. The payments began flowing in February 2017, soon after Trump took office, when Cohen approached Trump Organization executives seeking to be reimbursed for 'election-related' expenses, prosecutors said. ...The involvement of Trump's company in the hush-money payments has been previously reported, but Tuesday's documents, released as part of Cohen's plea deal with federal prosecutors, offered the most detailed accounting yet of the full scope of the payments and the machinations inside the president's company over how they were made."

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[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Donie O'Sullivan at CNN: DNC Calls FBI After Detecting Attempt to Hack Its Voter Database."The DNC was alerted in the early hours of Tuesday morning by a cloud service provider and a security research firm that a fake login page had been created in an attempt to gather usernames and passwords that would allow access to the party's database, the source said. The page was designed to look like the access page Democratic Party officials and campaigns across the country use to log into a service called Votebuilder, which hosts the database, the source said, adding the DNC believed it was designed to trick people into handing over their login details. The source said the DNC is investigating who may have been responsible for the attempted attack, but that it has no reason to believe its voter file was accessed or altered."

I think we all have a pretty damn good idea about who is responsible for the attack. Meanwhile...

In other election interference news... Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress: Trump Administration Is Using Federal Disability Law to Disenfranchise Minority Voters. "A majority-black county in rural Georgia announced a plan last week to close seven of its nine polling places ahead of the November election, claiming the polls cannot continue to operate because they are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. ...The racial implications of the closures have generated significant attention. The county is over 61 percent black, and one of the polling locations that would be shuttered serves a precinct where more than 95 percent of voters are African American. Had the U.S. Supreme Court not gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, the closures would most likely have been blocked by the Department of Justice."

Sam Levine at the Huffington Post: Georgia County Can't Back Up Its Excuse for Plan to Disenfranchise Black Voters. "Randolph County doesn't have a single recent report, analysis, or document supporting the idea that it needs to close seven of its nine polling places due to accessibility issues, a lawyer for the county told HuffPost on Tuesday in response to a public records request. HuffPost requested records from the county dating back to March 1, 2018. The county hired Michael Malone, an outside elections consultant now pushing for the closures, on April 2. But according to the county, it has no written record of evidence to back his recommendations. 'There is no document, report, or analysis studying the handicap accessibility of polling places in Randolph County and the cost of fixing them within the time frame specified in your open records request,' Hayden Hooks, an attorney with the firm Perry & Walters, which represents Randolph County, wrote in an email. The county has no record of such a document in the past year, Hooks added."

Again: Remember this, in case Stacey Abrams loses her bid for the governorship of Georgia and people try to argue it's because she didn't pander sufficiently to straight white cis men.

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Laura Jarrett and Maeve Reston at CNN: Rep. Duncan Hunter and His Wife Indicted in Use of Campaign Funds for Personal Expenses. "Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, routinely — and illegally — used campaign funds to pay personal bills big and small, from luxury vacations to kids' school lunches and delinquent family dentistry bills, according to a stinging 47-page indictment unsealed Tuesday. The charges of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations, and conspiracy were the culmination of a Department of Justice investigation that has stretched for more than a year, during which the Republican congressman from California has maintained his innocence." Whooooooops!

Amber Phillips at the Washington Post: 10 of the Ickiest Allegations in the Duncan Hunter Indictment. "What's perhaps most galling in the indictment is how the Hunters are alleged to have covered up their purchases: often, by claiming they were for charities, such as veterans' organizations. Hunter is a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...When Hunter told his wife he needed to 'buy my Hawaii shorts,' but he was out of money, she allegedly told him to buy them from a golf pro shop so he could claim they were actually golf balls for wounded warriors. ...Margaret Hunter allegedly spent $152 on makeup at Nordstrom and told the campaign it was 'gift basket items for the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Diego.' ...They allegedly described the payment of their family dental bills as a charitable contribution to 'Smiles for Life.'"

One of the most amazing (and yet entirely unsurprising!) things in the indictment is that the Hunters tried to justify spending campaign funds on a family trip to Italy by touring a naval base there. Except that the base couldn't accommodate them at the time they wanted, so sitting congressman and veteran Duncan Hunter replied, "Tell the Navy to go fuck themselves." Wow.

Hunter isn't the only Republican making the news for revealing that Deeply Held Conservative PrinciplesTM are bullshit:

Can I just please never hear any gobshite yammering nonsense in my face about the patriotism and/or morality of conservatives ever again? THX!

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[CN: Nativism] Robert Moore at the Guardian: U.S. Immigration Officers Accused of Refusing Parole for Asylum Seekers.
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers are ignoring a court order that says they must end a practice of blanket refusal to allow asylum seekers to go free while courts decide their fate, several detainees and their lawyers say.

U.S. District Judge James E Boasberg of Washington D.C. issued an injunction in July that said ICE must decide whether to grant "humanitarian parole" to asylum seekers by examining each individual case, in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) earlier this year.

Before the Trump administration, more than 90% of people who applied for asylum at U.S. ports of entry were granted parole, which allowed them to live and work in the United States while their request was considered.

But at five ICE field offices covered by the ACLU lawsuit, virtually no paroles were granted after Trump took office, even though administration officials said there had been no change in parole policy, lawyers said.
Huh. I guess that precipitous plummet just happened by magic then!

Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica: Verizon Throttled Fire Department's "Unlimited" Data During California Wildfire. "Verizon Wireless' throttling of a fire department that uses its data services has been submitted as evidence in a lawsuit that seeks to reinstate federal net neutrality rules. 'County Fire has experienced throttling by its ISP, Verizon,' Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote in a declaration. 'This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services. Verizon imposed these limitations despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding County Fire's ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services.'" JFC!!!

[CN: Trans hatred]

[CN: War on agency] Katelyn Burns at Rewire.News: 'We Can Stop Him': Reproductive Health Advocates Urge Action to Stop Brett Kavanaugh's Confirmation. "Brett Kavanaugh's ascension to the U.S. Supreme Court is not inevitable. That was the overriding message made to hundreds of people at the latest installment of the #RiseUpforRoe tour stop in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. ...'The first lie is that we don't know what Kavanaugh will do on Roe v Wade. The second lie is that we can't stop him; we can stop him,' said Jess McIntosh, during the evening's programming. 'Remember we've had some victories; we stopped the repeal of the Obamacare. We did that. And we did that without having either chamber of Congress or the White House, the exact scenario that we're in now. And we did it by flooding the Senate phone lines.'"

It helps to have some Democratic Senators on board and making noise, and we surely do:

I mean, it's not really a game changer, Chuck, but thanks for catching up or whatever! Let's do this!

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

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