We Resist: Day 718

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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 Threatens National Emergency and Years-Long Shutdown over Border Wall and No, Joe.

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

It was quite reasonably assumed that Pentagon Chief of Staff Kevin Sweeney had resigned in protest, and the Pentagon released a statement from Sweeney saying he had "decided the time is right to return to the private sector," but, according to Gordon Lubold at MarketWatch, his sources tell him that Sweeney was "forced out of his post by the Defense Department's new acting head."

The acting head, following Jim Mattis' resignation, is Patrick M. Shanahan.

Relatedly: Amanda Becker at Reuters: Trump Says Acting Cabinet Members Give Him 'More Flexibility'. "Donald Trump said on Sunday he was in no hurry to find permanent replacements for one-quarter of his Cabinet currently serving in an acting capacity because it gives him 'more flexibility.' 'I am in no hurry,' Trump told reporters as he departed for Camp David... 'I like acting. It gives me more flexibility. Do you understand that? I like acting. So we have a few that are acting. We have a great, great Cabinet,' Trump said. He did not elaborate on why they give him more flexibility." Because they are more likely to be ideological lackeys who do whatever he says and share his contempt for the rule of law, that's why.

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David E. Sanger, Noah Weiland, and Eric Schmitt at the New York Times: Bolton Puts Conditions on Syria Withdrawal, Suggesting a Delay of Months or Years. "[Donald] Trump's national security adviser, John R. Bolton, rolled back on Sunday Mr. Trump's decision to rapidly withdraw from Syria, laying out conditions for a pullout that could leave American forces there for months or even years. Mr. Bolton, making a visit to Israel, told reporters that American forces would remain in Syria until the last remnants of the Islamic State were defeated and Turkey provided guarantees that it would not strike Kurdish forces allied with the United States."

When John Bolton is the voice of reason, you have totally derailed and landed in a bubbling earth-cauldron of scorching lava.

No sooner had Bolton made this "clarification" than Trump took to Twitter to undercut him. Rebecca Morin at Politico: Trump Claims Syria Withdrawal Plan Hasn't Changed. "[Donald] Trump on Monday pushed back against reports that national security adviser John Bolton had contradicted the president's initial plans to quickly withdraw troops from Syria, saying the U.S. will leave the war-torn country at 'a proper pace.' 'The Failing New York Times has knowingly written a very inaccurate story on my intentions on Syria,' the president wrote in a tweet. 'No different from my original statements, we will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!.....'"

Naturally, Trump had to launch yet another attack on the media, for accurately reporting that some members of his administration are trying to stop him from handing the world's destiny over to Vladimir Putin. [Content Note: Disablist language; stochastic terrorism] John Wagner at the Washington Post: 'Crazed Lunatics': Trump Again Attacks the News Media as 'the Enemy of the People'. "[Donald] Trump launched a fresh attack Monday on the news media, writing in tweets that it consists of many 'crazed lunatics,' and he again invoked the derogatory term 'enemy of the people.' 'With all of the success that our Country is having, including the just released jobs numbers which are off the charts, the Fake News & totally dishonest Media concerning me and my presidency has never been worse,' Trump said in the first of the tweets. 'Many have become crazed lunatics who have given up on the TRUTH!'"

As long as this guy remains in office, we are so doomed.

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Speaking of which...

Harmeet Kaur and Christina Kline at CNN have compiled people's stories about "How the government shutdown is affecting Americans," and the submissions are typically grim: "Cynthia Letts writes: 'I moved and began my new federal job one week before the shutdown. I spent most of my savings getting here and can't pay the rent without a job. I'm looking at homelessness.'"

I guess homelessness is just one of the "adjustments" Trump expects federal workers to make. As is hunger.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Grace Segers at CBS News: Millions Could Face Severe Cuts to Food Stamps Due to Government Shutdown. "The partial government shutdown glided into its third week Saturday with no end in sight. If the government is not reopened before February, millions of Americans who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — the nation's food stamp program — could have their assistance disrupted. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees SNAP at the federal level, is one of the agencies unfunded during the partial government shutdown. Although SNAP is automatically renewed, it has not been allocated funding from Congress beyond January. Congress has appropriated $3 billion in emergency funds for SNAP distribution, but that would not cover all of February's obligations."

Also: Rebekah Entralgo at ThinkProgress: How the Government Shutdown Is Making the U.S. Immigration System Even Worse. "While cases for immigrants in government custody are proceeding, immigration courts are not holding hearings for non-detained immigrants during the shutdown, meaning immigrants re-authorizing work visas, applying for permanent residency, or contesting government charges on deportability are in a precarious situation. Missing even a single day of hearings could add hundreds to the current backlog of 800,000 cases — over a million if you include the ones the U.S. Attorney General wants on the docket. ...'There is no benefit that is gained here,' [Ashley Trabbador, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges] said. 'The irony is not lost on us that immigration court is shut down over immigration.'"

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[CN: Misogyny] Matthew Choi at Politico: Hillary Clinton: 'Likability' Discussion Around Female Candidates 'Takes Me Back'.
Talk of whether or not the U.S. is prepared to elect women leaders "takes me back," 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton told an audience in New York on Monday, praising the resolve of that state's female elected officials for getting legislation passed to protect women's reproductive rights.

..."There's been a lot of talk recently about whether our country is ready for women leaders. Now that really takes me back," Clinton said, eliciting laughter from the audience.

"But today I want to thank all of you for your persistence," Clinton said of several women officials at the event. "I know many of you and can attest as to how smart, determined, effective, and, dare I say, likable you all are."
♥ ♥ ♥

This likeability horseshit — and the attendant "debates" about whether it's misogynist (it is) — are something we are going to have to continually resist throughout the 2020 campaign. And probably far beyond, sob.

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Lachlan Markay at the Daily Beast: Top Trump Backer Financed Supreme Court Confirmation Fights Through Shadowy Network. "Previously unreported documents obtained by The Daily Beast provide the first glimpse into the finances of a key node in that network [of interconnected groups who funded Trump's inauguration and helped pave the way for the confirmation of his Supreme Court nominees], traced to Federalist Society Executive Vice President Leonard Leo, a major player in Washington's wars over the makeup of the federal judiciary. Those documents, like others revealed over the last few months, provide a deeper glimpse into the expanding role that Leo's played in advancing the Trump administration's agenda on legal matters in particular. And they underscore the degree to which anonymous, high-dollar donors have bankrolled the advocacy behind Trump's highly successful efforts to reshape the federal judiciary."

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Speaking of the Supreme Court... Eli Watkins and Ariane de Vogue at CNN: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Not on Bench for Supreme Court's First Day of Arguments in 2019, Court Says. "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will not be at the Supreme Court Monday morning as it meets for its first day of oral arguments in the new year. The court's public information officer said Ginsburg, who is still recovering from surgery last month to remove two cancerous nodules from her lung, would still be able to vote on the cases by reviewing the transcripts of oral arguments." I hope the Notorious RBG is feeling stronger soon, and I resist, continually, the entire premise of a profoundly ideological Supreme Court where the fate of the nation can rest on the health of a single person.

Imagine, of all the things we can be in this world, choosing to be an Assange defender. And dying on the hill of his delicate fee-fees!

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

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