We Resist: Day 834

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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: This Is Extremely Bad News and Primarily Speaking.

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

Eric Beech and David Alexander at Reuters: Trump Says He's Not Inclined to Let Former Counsel McGahn Testify to Congress. "Donald Trump said on Thursday he did not believe he would allow former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify to committees in Congress, saying McGahn had already spoken to the special counsel on the Russia probe. ...'I've had him testifying already for 30 hours,' Trump said, referring to McGahn's testimony to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team. Trump said allowing McGahn to testify would open the gates for others to be called."

This is just the President of the United States openly admitting that he is obstructing justice, and no one who objects can do a fucking thing about it, because his party retains the majority in the Senate and is eager to abet his authoritarianism.

House Democrats are doing (mostly) what they can, but they can't really do anything of consequence without Senate support.

Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb at CNN: Nadler Threatens to Hold Barr in Contempt If DOJ Doesn't Comply with New Democratic Offer on Mueller Report. "Nadler sent Barr a new letter proposing that the committee could work with the Justice Department to prioritize which investigative materials it turns over to Congress, specifically citing witness interviews and the contemporaneous notes provided by witnesses that were cited in the special counsel Robert Mueller's report. ...Nadler set a deadline of 9 a.m. ET Monday for Barr to respond and said he would move to contempt proceedings if the attorney general does not comply."

Great. Except what's doing to happen when Barr doesn't comply? Nothing. And Barr knows it and Trump knows it and we all know it.

Which is why Democrats should quit faffing around and just go straight to impeachment at this point. Calling for Barr's resignation (for example) is a waste of time. He's not going to resign. Impeach him. Let's go.

In other Barr news... Mark Joseph Stern at Slate: William Barr's Justice Department Just Filed the Most Nakedly Political Brief in the Agency's History. "On Wednesday afternoon, after Attorney General William Barr finished his truculent and mendacious testimony before the Senate, the Department of Justice filed perhaps the most embarrassing, illogical, and nakedly political brief in the history of the agency. With Barr's assent, the DOJ argued that the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because Congress zeroed out the individual mandate's penalty in 2017."

Paul Waldman at the Washington Post: Trump Is Already Set to Use the Government to Destroy the Democratic Nominee.
The 2020 election is going to be ugly in many different ways. If you thought Donald Trump ran a rancid campaign when he was trying to make it to the White House, just you wait until he's fighting to preserve his power. It has been obvious for some time that [Donald] Trump is planning to promote hatred and division, but one thing we haven't yet focused on is how he will use the resources of the federal government to make sure he wins reelection.

...[D]o you think Trump would hesitate for an instant before telling Barr to open an investigation of the Democratic nominee for president? And given everything we've seen from Barr, do you think he’d refuse that order?

Trump may already be preparing to mobilize the federal government's resources to destroy his opponent, whoever that turns out to be. The New York Times has a new piece featuring what is sometimes called an oppo drop: a news story about a politician initiated by a political rival passing damaging information to reporters. It happens all the time, and it's not necessarily illegitimate as journalism, because the information itself may be relevant and the journalist does his or her own investigation to verify what they've been told.

But in this case, the Times acknowledges the story's provenance right in the headline: "Biden Faces Conflict of Interest Questions That Are Being Promoted by Trump and Allies."

...[W]hat we have here is the president's lawyer, with the direct involvement of the president himself, pushing a foreign official to open an investigation for the obvious purpose of embarrassing a potential rival, while the president is pushing the Justice Department to act in ways that could harm that rival as well.

That should be a scandal in and of itself. And I can't say this strongly enough: This is only the beginning.
Absolutely correct. And of course much of the political press is going to assist Trump in leveraging the power of the U.S. federal government to destroy his opponent(s), under the auspices of "campaign coverage," without clear indication of the role they are playing in undermining the integrity of both U.S. elections and the very U.S. government itself.

On that note... Matt Gertz and Rob Savillo at Media Matters: Study: Major Media Outlets' Twitter Accounts Amplify False Trump Claims on Average 19 Times a Day. "Major media outlets failed to rebut [Donald] Trump's misinformation 65% of the time in their tweets about his false or misleading comments, according to a Media Matters review. That means the outlets amplified Trump's misinformation more than 400 times over the three-week period of the study — a rate of 19 per day. The data shows that news outlets are still failing to grapple with a major problem that media critics highlighted during the Trump transition: When journalists apply their traditional method of crafting headlines, tweets, and other social media posts to Trump, they end up passively spreading misinformation by uncritically repeating his falsehoods."

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[Content Note: Christian Supremacy] At Rewire.News, Jessica Mason Pieklo has more on the new HHS rule (about which I wrote yesterday): Trump Administration Finalizes Health-Care Discrimination Rule. "Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement, 'Once again, this Administration shows itself to be determined to use religious liberty to harm communities it deems less worthy of equal treatment under the law. This rule threatens to prevent people from accessing critical medical care and may endanger people's lives. Religious liberty is a fundamental right, but it doesn't include the right to discriminate or harm others.'"

[CN: Nativism; death]

[CN: Nativism]

Immigration lawyer Lily S. Axelrod has an important Twitter thread on an appalling decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals:

[CN: Climate change] Jonathan Watts at the Guardian: Biodiversity Crisis Is About to Put Humanity at Risk.
The world's leading scientists will warn the planet's life-support systems are approaching a danger zone for humanity when they release the results of the most comprehensive study of life on Earth ever undertaken.

Up to one million species are at risk of annihilation, many within decades, according to a leaked draft of the global assessment report, which has been compiled over three years by the UN's leading research body on nature.

The 1,800-page study will show people living today, as well as wildlife and future generations, are at risk unless urgent action is taken to reverse the loss of plants, insects, and other creatures on which humanity depends for food, pollination, clean water, and a stable climate.

The final wording of the summary for policymakers is being finalised in Paris by a gathering of experts and government representatives before the launch on Monday, but the overall message is already clear, according to Robert Watson, the chair of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

"There is no question we are losing biodiversity at a truly unsustainable rate that will affect human wellbeing both for current and future generations," he said. "We are in trouble if we don't act, but there are a range of actions that can be taken to protect nature and meet human goals for health and development."

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

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