We Resist: Day 790

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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's New World Order and An Observation and The Entire Trump Family Is a Scourge and Primarily Speaking.

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

Ken Dilanian at NBC News: Schiff: Real Question Is If Trump Is Under the Influence of a Foreign Power.
Nearly two years into his investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller has not accused any member of the Trump campaign of conspiring with the 2016 election interference effort — and it's not clear whether he will.

But legal experts, along with the congressman leading the House Russia investigation, tell NBC News that the most important question investigators must answer is one that may never have been suitable for the criminal courts: Whether [Donald] Trump or anyone around him is under the influence of a foreign government.

"It's more important to know what Trump is NOW than to know what he did in 2016," said Martin Lederman, professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and former deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel during the Obama administration. "It's more important to know whether he has been compromised as president than whether his conduct during the campaign constituted a crime."

Whether Mueller will answer that question in the absence of criminal charges is unclear. But in an interview with NBC News, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he is steering his investigation in a new direction to focus on it — and he will demand any relevant evidence compiled by the FBI or Mueller's team.

..."I certainly agree that the counterintelligence investigation may be more important than the criminal investigation because it goes to a present threat to our national security — whether the president and anybody around him are compromised by a foreign power," Schiff said. "That's not necessarily an issue that can be covered in indictments."
Whether the president is compromised. LOL. I know I'm the brokenest of broken records, but we can all see that he is compromised with our own damn eyes. I realize that Congress having actionable evidence of that is a different standard, but Schiff needs to thread that needle instead of suggesting that it's possible Trump isn't compromised. He is.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] John Walcott at Time: Trump Just Sidelined His Own Top Negotiator on North Korea. "Donald Trump has taken increased control of negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program, sidelining his own top negotiator and dismissing the warnings of top intelligence and foreign policy advisors in the wake of last month's failed summit in Vietnam, officials familiar with the developments tell TIME. In recent days, Trump shut down an effort by Stephen Biegun, nominally the administration's lead negotiator with Pyongyang, to reestablish a back channel through the North's United Nations mission in New York, according to four U.S. and South Korean officials. At the same time, Trump continues to dismiss the conclusions of the CIA, State and Defense Departments, and other agencies that North Korea will not abandon its nuclear weapons program, continuing to insist that he and Kim can negotiate a deal, according to two U.S.officials."

This sort of reporting is precisely why Schiff and everyone else needs to stop pretending there's a possibility Trump is just a normal president who isn't doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin. Of course Trump is undermining his own negotiator to set up a back channel and is ignoring his own advisors! Because the entire premise that he wants to contain North Korea is a veneer for the real objective of legitimizing dictator Kim Jong Un and destabilizing the region.

The gaslighting about this presidency is intolerable.

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[CN: LGBTQ hatred. Covers entire section.]

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Bolsonaro and Trump 'Stand Side by Side' to Promote Heterosexual Relationships and Reject Gender Ideology, Says Brazilian President. "Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro held a joint press conference in the Rose Garden on Tuesday, where Bolsonaro said the two countries stood 'side by side' to reject LGBTQ rights. Said Bolsonaro (via translator): 'In conclusion, may I say that Brazil and the United States stand side-by-side in their efforts to ensure liberties and respect the traditional family lifestyles and respect to God, our creator, against the gender ideology and the politically correct attitudes and against fake news.'" Fucking gross.

Alys Brooks at Rewire.News: In Texas, a Quiet Effort to Protect 'Conversion Therapy' Is Underway. "While legislators in many states have banned the practice of so-called conversion therapy, Texas state Rep. Scott Sanford (R-McKinney) quietly filed a bill this month that would protect mental health providers who engage in practices motivated by their 'sincerely held religious beliefs.' LGBTQ people and advocates view this as a thinly veiled attempt to legalize 'conversion therapy,' a pseudoscientific practice that tries to make queer people straight or trans people cis." Goddammit.

Josh Israel at ThinkProgress: Chick-fil-A Donated to Anti-LGBTQ Group That Bars Employees from 'Homosexual Acts'. "Chick-fil-A has taken great pains to downplay its anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and giving, seven years into a national boycott by LGBTQ and allied diners. But contrary to the company's latest claims that it has no political or social agenda, newly released tax filings show that, in 2017, the Chick-fil-A Foundation gave more than $1.8 million to a trio of groups with a record of anti-LGBTQ discrimination. The donations — $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, $6,000 to the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and $150,000 to the Salvation Army — actually represent a slight increase from the previous year."

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[CN: Climate change; displacement. Covers entire section.]

Staff at the AP: Environmental Protection chief: Unsafe Water Biggest Threat. "The Environmental Protection Agency's new administrator says unsafe drinking water is 'probably the biggest environmental threat' the world faces. Andrew Wheeler told CBS News in an interview airing Wednesday climate change is 'an important issue' but most of the threats it poses are '50 to 75 years out' and it's 'unreasonable' for the 2020 Democratic candidates to focus so much on it."

That's quite a fucking thing to say when a sizable portion of the U.S. midwest and multiple countries in Africa are underwater from devastating flooding that is attributable to climate change.

Brian Kahn at Earther: Dramatic Satellite Photos Show Historic Flooding Across Central U.S. in Wake of Bomb Cyclone.
When last week's bomb cyclone hit the Midwest, it was hard to imagine the inundation it could bring amid whiteout conditions and more than a foot of snow. But the warm weather that wrapped in behind it quickly melted out all that white stuff and unleashed historic flooding across parts of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, and Missouri.

Floodwaters have worked their way down the rivers that run like arteries through the region, overtop the banks of the Missouri, Platte, Elkhorn, and more. Dams have been destroyed, bridges and other infrastructure have been washed away, and small towns have been cut off from the outside world, surrounded by moats of muddy water.

The flooding has also paralyzed the various military bases scattered across the region, with waters lapping up against Fort Leavenworth and Offutt Air Force Base, home U.S. Strategic Command. As Task and Purpose helpfully notes, that means the base that "oversees the Pentagon's nuclear strategic deterrence and global strike capabilities" is largely underwater.

Yessenia Funes at Earther: 'Almost Everything Is Destroyed': Cyclone Idai Leaves Mozambique's Fourth-Largest City in Ruins. "On March 15, a rare, giant cyclone made landfall in Mozambique before making its way west to Malawi and Zimbabwe. By Saturday, Cyclone Idai had dissipated, but not before causing widespread infrastructural damage throughout eastern Africa and claiming more than 200 lives, reports Al Jazeera. ...This cyclone was, indeed, unusual, as it's the seventh cyclone in the Indian Ocean this season. That's more than double the average for this time of year."

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Emily Holden at the Guardian: Pesticide Residues Found in 70% of Produce Sold in U.S. Even After Washing. "About 70% of fresh produce sold in the U.S. has pesticide residues on it even after it is washed, according to a health advocacy group. According to the Environmental Working Group's annual analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture data, strawberries, spinach, and kale are among the most pesticide-heavy produce, while avocados, sweetcorn, and pineapples had the lowest level of residues. More than 92% of kale tested contained two or more pesticide residues, according to the analysis, and a single sample of conventionally farmed kale could contain up to 18 different pesticides." Good lord.

Alan Pyke at ThinkProgress: Trump Proposal to Cap Student Loans Would Deepen Inequality in Higher Ed. "On Monday, [Donald] Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that they want Congress to cap the amounts that students and families can borrow for post-secondary schooling. Though the proposal markets the lending caps as a path to reducing the tuition colleges charge, higher ed experts warned it would actually just make it harder for working-class families to compete with their richer peers on schooling." Of course it would. What a ridiculous proposal on its face. This is class warfare.

[CN: Elder abuse] Jordan Rau at NPR: Trump Administration Cuts the Size of Fines for Health Violations in Nursing Homes. "The Trump administration's decision to alter the way it punishes nursing homes has resulted in lower fines against many facilities found to have endangered or injured residents. ...[C]onsumer advocates say penalties have reverted to levels too low to be effective. 'Fines need to be large enough to change facility behavior,' says Robyn Grant, director of public policy and advocacy at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C. 'When that's not the case and the fine is inconsequential, care generally doesn't improve.'"

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

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