We Resist: Day 721

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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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Late yesterday and earlier today by me: Trump Storms Out When Pelosi Tells Him "No" and Elizabeth Warren AND Hillary Clinton Sexism Watch, Part Whatever in an Endless F#@king Series and Kamala Harris Reportedly Close to Announcing 2020 Presidential Run and The Shutdown Drags on Because Trump Is a Ghoul.

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

Donald Trump spent some time shouting into microphones in front of cameras before he departed for his photo op at the southern border, and naturally he was a ginormous shitwheel, as per usual.

Reporter (off-camera): Given how the meeting went yesterday, are you now going to decide to declare a national emergency? Is that you're only option left?

Trump (on-camera): I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. The lawyers have so advised me. I'm not prepared to do that yet, but if I have to, I will. I have no doubt about it. I will. I have the absolute right to declare — this was passed by Congress, so when you say, "Was it passed by Congress?", it was. Other presidents have used it, some fairly often. I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. I haven't done it yet. I may do it. If this doesn't work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely.

[reporters shout questions]

Trump: This is a national emergency.

Reporter (off-camera): If this is a national emergency, why haven't you declared it?

Trump: Because I would like to do the deal through Congress, and because it makes sense to do it through Congress. But the easy route, for me, would have been: Call a national emergency and do it. And I will tell you: This is a tremendous crisis at the border. Look at President Obama's statements from the past; numerous statements where he calls it a crisis. This is a crisis. [Counts on his fingers] You have human trafficking; you have drugs; you have criminals coming in; you have gangs, MS-13, we're taking 'em out by the thousand and bringing 'em back! This is a crisis. And they don't come in at the checkpoint, which they do also, but they go in between the checkpoints, where you don't have any barriers.
He is such an ignorant, lying sack of shit. And of course there was lots more, the absolute nadir of which might have been this rambling mess:

When, during the campaign, I would say, "Mexico's going to pay for it," obviously I never said this, and I never meant they're gonna write out a check.

Speaking of the wall... Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley at NBC News: Test of Steel Prototype for Border Wall Showed It Could Be Sawed Through. "Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated for a steel slat design for his border wall, which he described as 'absolutely critical to border security' in his Oval Office address to the nation Tuesday. But Department of Homeland Security testing of a steel slat prototype proved it could be cut through with a saw, according to a report by DHS. A photo exclusively obtained by NBC News shows the results of the test after experts from the Marine Corps were instructed to attempt to destroy the barriers with common tools."

image of steel bars with a giant hole sawed out
Yes, that is the actual image. For fuck's sake.

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Katelyn Polantz and Evan Perez at CNN: Manafort Intended for Polling Data to Go to 2 Ukrainian Oligarchs Who Owed Him Millions. "Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov, two Ukrainian oligarchs who had paid Paul Manafort for years for his political work in their country, were the intended recipients of the American polling data that Manafort shared with Konstantin Kilimnik during the 2016 presidential campaign, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday." Gee, what could Ukrainian oligarchs with ties to Vladimir Putin want with U.S. polling data? I WONDER.

Christal Hayes at USA Today: Trump's Team Had over 100 Contacts with Russian-Linked Officials, According to Think Tank Analysis. "Members of [Donald] Trump's campaign and transition team had more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress think tank and its Moscow Project. CAP, a liberal think tank, used publicly available court documents and reporting to tally up the number of contacts with Russian-linked officials, which includes those with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and others tied to Russian intelligence, banks and politicians." Sounds about right.

Tarini Parti at BuzzFeed: Here's Trump Allies' Plan to Meddle in the 2020 Democratic Primary. "America First Policies and its affiliated super PAC have made significant investments in the opposition group America Rising, funding their efforts to dig into the top Democratic contenders — along with some second-tier candidates — and prep opposition research books on all of them, according to five sources involved or familiar with the plans. Those close to Trump say the work from America Rising will be used against Democrats in the primary to hammer candidates they think will be most challenging for Trump to beat, weakening the overall field and the eventual Democratic nominee."

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[Content Note: Sexual harassment and assault] Alex Thompson at Politico: Top Bernie Sanders 2016 Adviser Accused of Forcibly Kissing Subordinate. "The woman did not formally report the incident at the time because the campaign was over. But over the past several months, Becker, who is not on Sanders' payroll, has been calling potential staffers and traveling to early primary states to prepare for another presidential run — activities that Sanders' top aides did not endorse, but did not disavow, either. Among those whom Becker contacted was the woman who says he assaulted her. The entreaty prompted her to step forward to tell senior Sanders advisers... 'There was lots of bros protecting bros, to the point that now there is a conversation among female alumni of not working on this campaign again,' said one former campaign staffer."

Frank Dale at ThinkProgress: Sen. Klobuchar Says William Barr Refused to Meet with Her 'Because of the Shutdown'.
William Barr, [Donald] Trump's pick for attorney general who has a history of echoing Trump's rhetoric, is scheduled for a Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday.

Cabinet nominees typically meet with senators from both parties who will be part of their confirmation process.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee that will oversee Barr's attempt to become attorney general for the second time, said on Wednesday that Democrats are being prevented from meeting with the nominee in advance of his confirmation hearing.

"I have always met with major cabinet members under both the Obama administration as well as the Trump administration," Klobuchar told MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes. "I have met with the head of the Botanical Gardens — who's not on the cabinet, of course. I have met with the nominee for the Patent Office, Chris. But we can't have a meeting with the nominee for one of the most important cabinet positions while this Mueller investigation is going on before the hearing. And I just think that's wrong."
Especially since Barr somehow found the time yesterday to meet with Republican Senators Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Ben Sasse. Huh!

[CN: White supremacy] Staff at the Daily Beast: Rep. Steve King: How Did 'White Supremacist' Become an Offensive Term? "In a Thursday interview with The New York Times, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) decried the demonization of the term 'white supremacist,' and wondered why it had become deemed to be offensive in the first place. King first claimed that he supported immigrants who came to America legally and assimilated into the culture — because, he said, maintaining a white European 'culture of America' is more important than maintaining racial homogeneity. 'White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?' King added." This fucking guy.

[CN: Bullying] Clare Lombardo at NPR: Virginia Study Finds Increased School Bullying in Areas That Voted for Trump. "In the 2017 responses, Huang and Cornell found higher rates of bullying and certain types of teasing in areas where voters favored Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Seventh- and eighth-graders in areas that favored Trump reported bullying rates in spring 2017 that were 18 percent higher than students living in areas that went for Clinton. They were also 9 percent more likely to report that kids at their schools were teased because of their race or ethnicity. In the 2015 data, there were 'no meaningful differences' in those findings across communities, the researchers wrote."

(That's further evidence that Trump's campaign of stochastic terrorism is working, of course. These bullies are violently enacting the hatred that Trump transmits.)

[CN: Anti-choicery] Amanda Michelle Gomez at ThinkProgress: Trump's Rollback of Birth Control Mandate Could Go into Effect Next Week Unless Courts Block It. "The administration chipped away at the mandate by significantly broadening an employer's ability to seek an exemption and choose not provide employees contraceptive coverage. In November 2018, officials released finalized regulations (effective Jan. 14) that permit any employer and college or university with religious beliefs to object to the mandate. The regulations also allow any employer (except publicly traded corporations) to object because of moral convictions. Two multi-state lawsuits, led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, are trying to block the regulations before residents reap the consequences." FINGERS CROSSED.

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

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