We Resist: Day 690

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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: The Collusion Has Always Been Right out in the Open and John Kelly and Nick Ayers Leaving by End of Year and Accused Russian Spy Maria Butina Requests Change of Plea Hearing.

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

Relatedly, I linked to this piece earlier, but I'll drop it here, too, with more detail. Daniel Boffey at the Guardian: Russia 'Paved Way for Ukraine Ship Seizures with Fake News Drive'.
The Kremlin launched a year-long disinformation campaign to soften up public opinion before its recent seizure of three Ukrainian ships and their crews in the Sea of Azov, the EU's security commissioner has alleged.

Julian King said Russia had paved the way for its decision to fire on and board two artillery ships and a tug boat through the dissemination of fake news.

...King said the European commission's East StratCom unit, responsible for highlighting disinformation, had discovered a complicated web of untruths emanating from Russian sources.

"If you thought that incident came out of nowhere, you would be wrong," King told an audience in Brussels. "The disinformation campaign began much earlier, more than a year ago, when Russian media started pushing claims that the authorities in Kiev were dredging the seabed in the Sea of Azov in preparation for a Nato fleet to take up residence."

"Then in the summer there were claims that Ukraine had infected the sea with cholera," King added. "This was followed up in September with dark mutterings in the Russia media forecasting 'west-inspired provocations' on the Azov Sea shore, and reporting that the U.S. has been 'planning for clashes between Ukrainian and Russian naval forces in the Black Sea since the 1990s.'"

...King said none of the claims spread ahead of the seizure were true. The allegations over the U.S. plan to spark clashes was "based on a video game a former Russian soldier claims to have seen 15 years ago," he said.

The commissioner, who was previously the British ambassador to France, went on: "But then the conspiracy theories were ratcheted up a notch — Russian media reported that British and Ukrainian secret services had been trying to transport a nuclear bomb to the newly built bridge to occupied Crimea in order to blow it up, but had been bravely prevented from doing so by special forces sent by Moscow. More bang for your fake news buck, I suppose."
Shiver. Everything is decidedly not fine.

Kevin Poulsen at the Daily Beast: Cambridge Analytica's Real Role in Trump's Dark Facebook Campaign. "Public statements and insider accounts have painted a muddled and contradictory picture on the key question of whether Trump's Facebook campaign targeted voters using Cambridge's vast store of dubiously acquired data, once described by the company as containing 4,000 data points on some 230 million Americans. Now a New York digital-marketing consultant has unearthed a trove of digital artifacts from Trump's social-media campaign that provides the first hard evidence that Team Trump made continuous use of audience lists created by Cambridge Analytica to target a portion of its 'dark ads' on Facebook."

Josh Gerstein at Politico: Manafort Gets Wednesday Court Date to Discuss Lying Allegations. "A federal judge in Washington has set a hearing for Wednesday on prosecutors' request to have former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort declared in breach of his plea agreement for repeatedly lying to special counsel Robert Mueller's office and the FBI. In an order Monday morning, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson asked both sides in the case to appear before her for a scheduling conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Jackson also lifted a Wednesday deadline that Manafort's attorneys faced to rebut a submission from Mueller's team last week detailing a variety of incidences prosecutors contend Manafort lied in the wake of his September agreement to plead guilty to charges of unregistered foreign lobbying and money laundering."

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Robert Barnes at the Washington Post: Supreme Court Declines to Review Rulings That Blocked Efforts to End Planned Parenthood Funding. "The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to review lower court decisions that blocked efforts in two states to cut off public funding for Planned Parenthood, refusing for now to get involved in state battles over abortion rights. ...The issue has to do with whether individual Medicaid recipients who receive services from providers such as Planned Parenthood have a right to challenge a state's decision to cut off funding to the providers. Five regional courts of appeal have said they do, while one has said they do not. That is the kind of split that normally prompts the Supreme Court to act."

It's good news for now, but it probably doesn't signal anything about the Court's position in the long-term. In fact, I agree with Ian Millhiser's analysis at ThinkProgress: "It's common for the Court to shy away from politically fraught cases while its membership is in flux, but its membership has been settled since early October. Nevertheless, the Court, in this instance, has shied away from cases involving Planned Parenthood. It's very doubtful that this equilibrium will last — Kavanaugh's been very clear that he intends to kill Roe v. Wade. But the Court's decision to not hear Andersen and Gee gives credence to the theory that Roberts and Kavanaugh want to give the nation some time to forget about how Kavanaugh got his current job before they declare outright war on reproductive choice."

And, in the meantime, the routine battles on agency and science continue apace. Amy Goldstein and Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post: Trump Administration Halts Study That Would Use Fetal Tissue 'to Discover a Cure for HIV'. "The Trump administration has shut down at least one government-run study that uses fetal tissue implanted into mice even before federal health officials reach a decision on whether to continue such research, which is opposed by anti-abortion groups. A senior scientist at a National Institutes of Health laboratory in Montana told colleagues that the Health and Human Services Department 'has directed me to discontinue procuring fetal tissue' from a firm that is the only available source, according to an email he sent to a collaborator in late September. 'This effectively stops all of our research to discover a cure for HIV,' the researcher wrote."

Fucking hell.

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Griffin Connolly at Roll Call: Rep. Mark Meadows on Trump's Short List for Chief of Staff. "Donald Trump and his top advisers are considering whether to make Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, his next chief of staff. ...White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin have been rumored as candidates for the job, other news outlets have reported." Gross.

Philip Bump at the Washington Post: The Evidence Undermining Trump's Attempt to Defend the Stormy Daniels Payment. "For these payments to have violated campaign finance laws, they needed to have been related to the campaign. If they were, that they were made using non-regulated money (meaning money that wasn't donated to the campaign) and that they weren't reported by the campaign as expenditures are violations of federal law. Trump's argument, in short, is that these payments weren't related to the campaign. Instead, they were 'a simple private transaction.' When we first spoke with former FEC general counsel Lawrence Noble about the legal implications of the Daniels payment in February, he pointed out that, if Trump regularly had Cohen pay women to keep their silence, it would bolster (but not disprove) the argument that this payment wasn't related to Trump's candidacy. Since then, though, we've learned a lot of information that makes the possibility that the payments had nothing to do with the campaign seem highly unlikely."

Also we have brains and understand the basics of how politics works in the United States, so.

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[Content Note: Child abuse; police brutality] Ellie Hall at BuzzFeed: NYPD Officers Are Shown Ripping a Child from His Mother's Arms at a Food Stamp Center in an "Appalling" Video. "A video posted to Facebook on Friday shows New York Police Department officers attempting to rip a child from his mother's arms at a Brooklyn social services office, prompting calls for an investigation. ...It is unclear what happened before the video starts. The woman who uploaded the footage — which has been viewed more than 200,000 times as of Monday morning — wrote that the young mother was waiting to be seen at the Fort Greene Food Stamp Center on Friday and seated herself and her child on the floor because there were no available chairs. She alleged that a security guard told the mother to move and called the police when she refused, citing the lack of chairs."

[CN: Homophobia; violence] Staff at Towleroad: Homophobic NYC Subway Attack Leaves Woman with Fractured Spine. "A homophobic attack on a Manhattan-bound E subway train has left a 20-year-old woman with a fractured spine, according to the New York Police Department. ABC7 reports: 'Police say a man got into an argument with a 20-year-old woman. During the argument, police say the man used a homophobic slur. As the woman walked away, the man approached from behind, punched her in the back of the head, and shoved her to the ground, causing her to strike her head. The attacker ran off.'" According to a report in the New York Daily News, the argument began because "the man became incensed after he saw another woman peck the victim on the cheek."

[CN: Nativism; video may autoplay at link] Cristina Lopez G. at the Huffington Post: Fox News Talked More About Migrant 'Invasion' Just Before Election Than in Past 3 Years Total. "Ahead of his party's shellacking in the 2018 midterm elections, [Donald] Trump spent weeks warning his supporters that a caravan of Central American migrants headed for the U.S border constituted an 'invasion.' Trump's favorite television channel was his most important ally in that effort. Prime-time Fox News programs used the words 'invasion' or 'invaders' to describe migrants and asylum-seekers more times in the 30 days leading up to the Nov. 6 election than they did during all of 2015, 2016, and 2017 combined."

[CN: Class warfare] Venessa Wong at BuzzFeed: People Are Living with an Incredible Amount of Debt from Student Loans and Credit Cards. "This year, as health care costs shot up, the housing affordability crisis worsened, and a million other garbage things happened, Americans' personal finances have also suffered. A new report from the personal finance website NerdWallet shows that many U.S. households have sunk deeper into debt in 2018 because rising basic costs have led them to accrue more credit card debt and to delay payments on their already massive student loans. ...The researchers estimated that among households that have any kind of debt, they on average owed $135,768. The average mortgage holder owed $184,417 for their home; households with student debt on average owed $47,671; and the average household with an auto loan owed $28,033 for their car. We owe a lot of money."

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

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