We Resist: Day 799

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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: 300 Pages and Trump Oversees Another Scary Rally and Primarily Speaking.

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

Kasie Hunt and Mike Memoli at NBC News: House Democrats Increasingly Troubled by Barr's Plan for Mueller Report. "House Democrats are on a collision course with Attorney General William Barr as it appears increasingly unlikely he will comply with their demands to see Robert Mueller's full unredacted report — let alone the evidence that backs it up. At a Thursday briefing, senior House Democratic staff elaborated on a Wednesday night call between Barr and Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., telling reporters that Barr refused to commit to asking a judge to release grand jury information to Congress. And the staffers emphasized that Barr all but refused to give Nadler an unredacted copy of the report. ...Staffers also said Barr acknowledged making a mistake by speaking extensively with the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, a Republican of South Carolina, over dinner before he had spoken with Nadler." WHAT THE FUCK. A "mistake" my fat arse.

Natasha Bertrand at the Atlantic: Even Congress Might Not Get the Full Mueller Report. "Democratic lawmakers are demanding to see Mueller's findings in his own words — rather than summarized in the memo Barr wrote to Congress last weekend. ...Making the full report available to Congress, however, let alone to the public, might be an uphill battle, experts tell me — so far, Barr and Rosenstein might be the only officials outside of the special counsel's team who have seen the report itself. ...A Justice Department official who requested anonymity to discuss the internal deliberations said earlier this week, 'We are hoping to have a public version of the report to Congress and to the public in weeks not months.' But a Democratic staffer who spoke with reporters on Thursday on condition of anonymity said that lawmakers still aren't sure whether they will see the report itself or a summary of it, and what is in the 'public version' of the report is still unclear."

Adam Peck at ThinkProgress: Republican Party Reportedly Says It Will Target Reporters Critical of Trump. "The Republican National Committee and pro-Trump super PAC America First plan to use intimidation tactics and harassment to defend [Donald] Trump from journalists reporting facts they deem critical of the White House... [T]he White House and Trump's allies in Congress have claimed Barr's memo fully exonerates the president. And on Thursday, both the RNC and America First PAC threatened any journalist reporting otherwise with a personalized harassment campaign. 'Any reporter who tries that will be hit with 30-second spots of all their ridiculous claims about collusion,' an anonymous source 'familiar with internal discussions' at both organizations told The Atlantic. 'Their tweets have all been screencapped. It's all ready to go.'"

Those are the sorts of reports that we must understand as an erosion of our democratic norms. This is a recognizably authoritarian tactic. It's intimidation of the free press. It's a deliberate strategy.

And that gets lost in the frustratingly ubiquitous rhetoric about Trump being "stupid." The erasure of his cunning and deliberate malice will, quite literally, be the death of this republic.

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Earlier this month, I mentioned a Foreign Policy report about the Trump Regime having reportedly rescinded an invitation to Finnish investigative journalist Jessikka Aro to receive the State Department's International Women of Courage Award after they realized she was a Trump (and Putin) critic.

Manu Raju and Jennifer Hansler at CNN have an important follow-up on that item:
After a Foreign Policy report suggested that the State Department may have retaliated against her because of her criticism of [Donald] Trump on social media, State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino asserted it was a miscommunication and that she had been "incorrectly notified" of her award. He called it a "regrettable error," saying Aro actually "had not" been a finalist.

But internal communications reviewed by CNN show that the State Department and US embassy officials in Finland had been in talks with Aro for several months, extensively communicating with her about the award, her travel documents, her itinerary in Washington and her bio, which had been approved by eight State Department officials.

Then, two weeks after an official asked her to provide a list of her social media accounts, the honor was abruptly rescinded and the invite to attend the event was canceled.

...The documents were obtained by Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who have now written a letter to the State Department's inspector general to demand an investigation into allegations that the invite was rescinded because of Aro's criticism of Trump, calling the episode "disturbing."

"If the department rescinded the award because of statements made by a journalist, exercising her right to freedom of speech, it would mean that the Department is using political fealty to the President as an eligibility criteria for receiving a government award designed to highlight courage," said Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the panel. "Furthermore, misleading the public and Congress about the true reasons behind its actions would harm the Department's reputation here in the United States and around the world, and undermine its credibility regarding future pronouncements from the press podium."

...Aro told CNN on Thursday that she does not accept the State Department's explanation that it was an "error." ...Aro also suggested that the matter should be investigated to expose whether her tweets critiquing Trump were the reason the award was revoked.

"If some DC official used those or similar expressions of my freedom of speech as the main reason to rescind my award, that unfortunately hinders the whole idea of the International Women of Courage Award, which is to promote human rights, such as freedom of speech, and which was the basis for my nomination in the first place," she told CNN.
Pointing out the profound hypocrisy is, of course, necessary and important. But I hope Democrats, as they pursue the truth of what happened, will also explore how it could be further evidence of Trump currently colluding with and being compromised by Russia, as it's entirely possible it was not her criticism of Trump that got Aro disinvited but her tenacious reporting on Putin.

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[Content Note: Racism; neglect] Alan Pyke at ThinkProgress: Trump Casts Himself as the Best Friend Puerto Rico's Ever Had as Residents Are Starving.
More than a million Americans on Puerto Rico are sliding toward starvation 18 months after thousands died there in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

The federal disaster response overseen by [Donald] Trump's administration has been repeatedly criticized as a skinflint operation.

Funding cuts imposed on the island this year have yielded horrific scenes, including an HIV clinic where patients are now being forced to wallow in their own waste for hours because staff cannot afford to buy enough diapers.

But to the president, the story here is that everybody's being unfair to him.

"I've taken better care of Puerto Rico than any man ever," Trump said Thursday afternoon when questioned about Gov. Ricardo Rosselló's (D-PR) criticisms of the White House response. "Puerto Rico has been taken care of better by Donald Trump than by any living human being," he said.
I loathe him so fucking much.

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Alberto Nardelli at BuzzFeed: The European Union Thinks the UK Is Left with Two Choices After the Last 24 Hours of Brexit Chaos. "In a sign that Brussels and Europe's capitals are highly sceptical of [Theresa May's] odds of getting the Brexit deal through Parliament, much of Thursday's meeting was dedicated to no-deal planning and preparing a common opening position ahead of a meeting of EU leaders expected to take place next month. Should there be a no-deal, the EU would set the UK three preconditions to enter trade talks the note states... In effect, Britain would be asked to sign up to terms very similar to those contained in the Brexit agreement. The European Commission warned the ambassadors from the member states against entering bilateral sectoral negotiations with the UK."

And then this morning... Heather Stewart at the Guardian: MPs Reject Theresa May's Brexit Deal by 58 Votes. "MPs have rejected Theresa May's Brexit deal for a third time, by 344 votes to 286, despite the prime minister's offer to her Tory colleagues that she would resign if it passed. A string of Brexit-backing Conservative backbenchers who had rejected the deal in the first two meaningful votes, including the former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab, switched sides during the debate, to support the agreement. But with Labour unwilling to change its position, and the Democratic Unionist party's 10 MPs determined not to support it, it was not enough to secure a majority for the prime minister. Afterwards May told MPs: 'The implications of the house's decision are grave,' and added: 'I fear we are reaching the limits of this process in this house.'"

Allison McCann at the New York Times: The Man Trying to Make Sense of Brexit Is Tired and Would Like to Stop Now. "By day, Jon Worth works as a communications consultant for European politicians. By rest-of-his-day he makes Brexit flowcharts — 27 versions since January, to be exact. Brexit has become a tangled, often confusing web of decisions and possible outcomes that change almost daily. ...'In the beginning people were like, 'What the hell is he doing?' and then people were like, 'Wait, it's actually a really useful way to understand Brexit,'' Mr. Worth said. 'And now people ask me, 'Where's the next version of the diagram?'' But he's exhausted. After more than two dozen updates to his flowchart, he'll take a break on April 12th, the deadline for Britain to leave if Parliament does not approve Prime Minister Theresa May's deal — regardless of what is happening with Brexit. He says he can't keep going at this pace."

What a fucking mess.

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[CN: Nativism. Covers entire section.]

Julia Ainsley at NBC News: DHS to Ask Congress for Sweeping Authority to Deport Unaccompanied Migrant Children. "Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will ask Congress for the authority to deport unaccompanied migrant children more quickly, to hold families seeking asylum in detention until their cases are decided, and to allow immigrants to apply for asylum from their home countries, according to a copy of the request obtained by NBC News. In a letter to Congress, Nielsen said she will be seeking a legislative proposal in the coming days to address what she called the 'root causes of the emergency' that has led to a spike in border crossings in recent weeks. The letter has not yet been sent. The legislative proposal would have to clear the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, which is likely to respond with strong opposition." Good.

Tina Vasquez at Rewire.News: Despite Sanctuary Law, California Cops 'Bend over Backwards' to Work with ICE. "When former California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed legislation in October 2017 to limit law enforcement collaboration with immigration authorities, it was one of the most progressive sanctuary laws in the United States. But a new report reveals some of the state's law enforcement agencies are not abiding by the law, and others have developed workarounds to avoid compliance, allowing many in law enforcement to follow the Trump administration's lead in attacking undocumented families." Really troubling — and an important reminder that we always have to be vigilant about what's happening in our communities. We can't be content that things are as they are supposed to be. Not with so much at stake.

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

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