We Resist: Day 679

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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: Cohen Reaches New Plea Deal with Mueller and Republicans Think People Aren't Entitled to Food and Russian Aggression Toward Ukraine Continues.

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

Maegan Vazquez at CNN: Trump Abruptly Cancels Planned Putin Meeting. "Donald Trump on Thursday abruptly canceled his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was scheduled to occur during a G20 meeting in Buenos Aires. 'Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting [...] in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!' Trump tweeted en route to the summit."

Whatever the reason Trump canceled this meeting, it isn't because he suddenly started giving a fuck about Ukraine.

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Harry Litman at the Washington Post: The Stunning Implications of the Manafort-Trump Pipeline.
Finally, the open pipeline between cooperator Manafort and suspect Trump may have been not only extraordinary but also criminal. On Manafort and Downing's end, there is a circumstantial case for obstruction of justice. What purpose other than an attempt to "influence, obstruct, or impede" the investigation of the president can be discerned from Manafort's service as a double agent? And on the Trump side, the communications emit a strong scent of illegal witness tampering (and possibly obstruction as well).

Proving those charges would require a fight. The lawyers would be expected to assert privilege, and cries of overreach would sound from the White House and pro-Trump journalists. Whitaker could impede or countermand the effort.

But it's critical to understand the stakes of the battle. Even more than the president's potential criminal liability, there is a set of burning questions about exactly what happened in 2016, the extent to which Russian efforts to influence the presidential election found purchase in the United States, and what part was played by high-level Trump campaign officials or the president himself.

It is intolerable to consider that the truth of these consequential matters would be smothered and kept from the American people indefinitely. But that's exactly what the president's overall strategy aims to do, and with the support, at least tacitly, of a complicit still-Republican-majority — for now — Congress. Is there no one in the GOP with the guts to stand up to the president and the resolve to see that the truth will out?
Possibly. But I suspect if there is, with the exception of Bob Muller (who is, as far as I know, still a Republican), it's not because they have any respect for the truth, the rule of law, or anything else, but because they are interested in filling the power vacuum that will be left if Trump is removed.

Meanwhile: Kate Sullivan at CNN: Trump Threatens to Declassify 'Devastating' Documents If Democrats 'Want to Play Tough'.
Donald Trump said that if Democrats "want to play tough" when they control the House of Representatives next year, he will declassify documents that will be "devastating" to them.

"If they want to play tough, I will do it," Trump told the New York Post in an interview Wednesday. "They will see how devastating those pages are."

Democrats are poised to launch a series of investigations after winning a majority in the House in November. Democratic-controlled committees are likely to probe a range of issues including Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Michael Cohen's payments to women who say they've had affairs with Trump (allegations he denies), potential obstruction of justice, and Trump's finances.

The President told the Post he wants to save the documents for when he can use them against the Democrats most effectively. "It's much more powerful if I do it then," Trump told the Post, "because if we had done it already, it would already be yesterday's news."

It's not clear what documents he is referring to.

It's an escalation of what Trump told reporters on November 7 after Democrats had retaken control of the House during the midterm elections.

During that post-midterm news conference, Trump said that if Democrats start investigating his administration then he would be moving to "a warlike posture."

When asked by a reporter if he would show Democrats that he could could "play that game and investigate" Democrats, Trump said, "Oh, yeah. Better than them."
To be clear: That's just the President of the United States threatening to retributively declassify documents to hurt the opposition party for doing the job they were elected to do of providing checks and balances on the executive branch, currently held by a vengeful crook.

Mueller, if you are in it to win it, then hurry the fuck up before we fall off the authoritarian cliff without a goddamned rope.


Also potentially related: Melissa Eddy and Amie Tsang at the New York Times: Deutsche Bank Offices Are Searched in Money Laundering Investigation. "One hundred seventy officers searched the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and five other sites in the area early Thursday as part of a money-laundering investigation involving hundreds of millions of euros, prosecutors in Frankfurt said. Two employees, who were not publicly identified but whose ages were given as 50 and 46, and other 'unidentified people in positions of authority' are suspected of failing to report possible money laundering for transactions worth 311 million euros, or more than $350 million."

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[Content Note: Climate change] While Trump continues to blather dangerous nonsense about how his giant brain and magical gut don't believe the grim assessments about climate change, climate change is nonetheless very, terrifyingly real.

Fiona Harvey at the Guardian: Past Four Years Hottest on Record, Data Shows.
Global temperatures have continued to rise in the past 10 months, with 2018 expected to be the fourth warmest year on record.

Average temperatures around the world so far this year were nearly 1C (1.8F) above pre-industrial levels. Extreme weather has affected all continents, while the melting of sea ice and glaciers and rises in sea levels continue. The past four years have been the hottest on record, and the 20 warmest have occurred in the past 22 years.

The warming trend is unmistakable and shows we are running out of time to tackle climate change, according to the World Meteorological Organization, which on Thursday published its provisional statement on the State of the Climate in 2018. The WMO warned that, on current trends, warming could reach 3C to 5C by the end of this century.

"These are more than just numbers," said Elena Manaenkova, the WMO deputy secretary general. "Every fraction of a degree of warming makes a difference to human health and access to food and fresh water, to the extinction of animals and plants, to the survival of coral reefs and marine life."

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[CN: Anti-semitism; terrorism] Trump's campaign of stochastic terrorism continues to inspire acts of hatred and terror. Wes Parnell and John Annese at the New York Daily News: Holocaust Scholar at Teachers College, Columbia University Finds Swastikas Spray-Painted on Her Office Wall. "A Jewish professor and Holocaust scholar at Columbia Teacher's College said she found two swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur spray-painted on her office wall Wednesday. Elizabeth Midlarsky said she first saw the hate symbols, which included the word 'YID' scrawled on a wall outside her office, when she arrived at work at the Ivy League campus at about 1 p.m. 'I walked in the door of my office and found myself staring at a swastika and was absolutely shocked,' Midlarsky said. She said the graffiti also left her students rattled, and in tears."

[CN: Anti-choice terrorism] Madeleine Schmidt at Rewire.News: 'Nothing Has Changed': Colorado Planned Parenthood Official on Anti-Choice Rhetoric Three Years After Shooting. "It's been three years since a shooter, who would later repeat talking points from an anti-choice propaganda campaign, walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado and killed three people. Dr. Savita Ginde, the clinic's medical director at the time of the shooting, warns the anti-choice movement's violent rhetoric still poses a grave threat to providers and patients who seek reproductive health care. ...The anti-choice movement has been quick to distance itself from overtly violent acts by those opposed to abortion rights, but Ginde asserts the shooting serves as an example of how the movement's intentionally inflammatory rhetoric can lead to a deadly result."

[CN: Homophobia; misogyny] Andy Towle at Towleroad: Gay Firefighter Sues, Says He Was Demoted, Relocated, and Addressed as 'Ms' After Marrying Boyfriend. "A gay firefighter is suing the City of Norfolk, Virginia, alleging discrimination and retaliation based on his sexual orientation. Scott Phillips-Gartner said in the complaint that his chief treated him far less favorably when he learned he was married to a man. The Virginian-Pilot reports: 'The suit alleges Phillips-Gartner was well regarded in the department until October 2014, when he notified the city's human resources department he had married his boyfriend. The suit said Battalion Chief Roger Burris verbally attacked Gartner throughout 2015 and generally treated him less favorably than heterosexual male employees. During a staff meeting that December, he specifically attacked Gartner's sexuality, asking 'Where is Ms. Gartner?''"

[CN: Addiction; self-harm; lack of access to healthcare] I read the following two stories back-to-back, and all I can say, once again, is that I don't know how people who don't treat healthcare as a right live with themselves: 1. Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post: U.S. Life Expectancy Declines Again, a Dismal Trend Not Seen Since World War I. 2. Elham Khatami at ThinkProgress: U.S. Rate of Uninsured Children Increases for the First Time in Nearly a Decade.

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

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