One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures 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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Here are some things in the news today:
Earlier today by me: Lying Liars and Their Garbage Healthcare Bill and Trump's Administration of Toxic Masculinity.
There's a lot of notable foreign policy news today...
Anna Fifield at the Washington Post: North Korea Is Likely to Fire More Missiles After Trump's Speech, Experts Say.
Kim Jong Un's regime tells the North Korean people every day that the United States wants to destroy them and their country. Now, they will hear it from another source: the president of the United States himself.Super.
In his maiden address to the United Nations on Tuesday, [Donald] Trump threatened to "totally destroy North Korea."
Analysts noted that he did not even differentiate between the Kim regime, as President George W. Bush did with his infamous "axis of evil" speech, and the 25 million people of North Korea.
"[Donald] Trump has handed the North Koreans the sound bite of the century," said Marcus Noland, an executive vice president at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and one of the authors of its North Korea: Witness to Transformation blog. "That footage will be used time and time and time again on North Korea's state television channel."
Hallie Jackson, Carol E. Lee, Vivian Salama, and Kristen Welker at NBC News: Trump Leaning Toward Decertifying Iran Nuclear Deal, Sources Say. "Donald Trump is leaning toward decertifying the Iran nuclear deal and putting the decision of whether the United States withdraw from the accord in the hands of Congress... Such a move would come before an Oct. 15 deadline and would trigger a 60-day window for lawmakers to determine whether to reimpose sanctions related to Iran's nuclear program that were lifted as part of the 2015 agreement. ...Still, several of the sources cautioned that the president could change his mind over the next three weeks as he faces pushback from allies internationally." Of course. Because he has no fixed principles and is a reckless mess constantly in search of approbation to satiate his voracious ego.
David Filipov and Liz Sly at the Washington Post: Russia Threatens Retaliatory Strikes Against U.S. Troops and Their Allies in Syria. "Russia on Thursday raised the threat of a direct confrontation with U.S. forces in Syria, saying that the Russian military would target areas occupied by American units and U.S.-backed militias if Moscow's troops come under fire. The warning came amid rising tensions in the Syrian desert between the United States and its Kurdish and Arab allies on the one hand, and Russia, the Syrian regime and Iranian-backed militias on the other, as both converge on Islamic State-held territory in eastern Syria." No big deal. Just Russia threatening to start a war with the U.S. in Syria.
Steve Dorsey at CBS News: As Number of Injured Diplomats Soared, State Dept. Kept Cuba Attacks Secret. "An internal Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs document obtained by CBS News shows the State Department was fully aware of the extent of the attacks on its diplomats in Havana, Cuba, long before it was forced to acknowledge them. State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert only admitted the attacks were occurring after CBS News Radio first reported them August 9. ...At the time, Nauert said she didn't believe the number of Americans injured was in the tens or dozens. But a source says that by the time the State Department first publicly acknowledged the attacks, it knew the reports of Americans injured had reached double-digits. 'They for sure tried to keep the numbers secret,' the source said." JFC.
In addition to making an arse of himself by inventing an African country yesterday, Trump engaged in some unabashed colonialism while speaking to African leaders:
Africa has tremendous business potential. I have so many friends going to your countries trying to get rich. [Grins and pauses like he expects laughter, which does not come.] I congratulate you. They're spending a lot of money. But it does — it has a tremendous business potential and representing huge amounts of, uh, different markets, and for American firms it's really become a place that they have to go, that they want to go.Holy shit this guy. Capitalist colonialism being described to world leaders in the tone of a bored sixth grader giving a report comprised of facts he plucked off a Wikipedia page. Unreal.
Six of the world's ten fastest growing economies are in Africa. Increasing American trade and investment across diverse industries — including agriculture, energy, transportation, healthcare, travel, and tourism — will further transform lives throughout the continent.
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On Tuesday, in comments of my piece on the latest with Mueller's Russia investigation, which included the report about former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort having been wiretapped, Shaker Brad C. noted: "I'm concerned to what degree Trump and his cronies will use this reporting as an excuse to justify his long-debunked 'Obama wiretapped me!' claim. Facts notwithstanding, of course, but he's never let that bother him before..." To which I replied: "They'll use it. Despite the fact that this does not, in fact, vindicate his ridiculous claims at all."
And as all of us knew as surely as we know our own names, Mike Pence was trotted out on Fox News to make precisely this horseshit argument. My favorite part is how he doesn't use Manafort's name, but instead refers to him as "someone who had a condominium in the Trump Tower." Someone who also hand-selected Pence to be veep, for fuck's sake!
In other Mueller and Manafort news...
Mueller wants White House docs, including pertaining to Trump's firing of Comey and Flynn. https://t.co/4zEuwIle2u— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) September 20, 2017
Tom Hamburger, Rosalind S. Helderman, Carol D. Leonnig, and Adam Entous at the Washington Post: Manafort Offered to Give Russian Billionaire 'Private Briefings' on 2016 Campaign. "Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions. Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said. 'If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,' Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email." Just normal stuff.
Josh Dawsey at Politico: Manafort Used Trump Campaign Account to Email Ukrainian Operative. "Former Donald Trump aide Paul Manafort used his presidential campaign email account to correspond with a Ukrainian political operative with suspected Russian ties, according to people familiar with the correspondence. Manafort sent emails to seek repayment for previous work he did in Ukraine and to discuss potential new opportunities in the country, even as he chaired Trump's presidential campaign, these people said." Cool.
So, you might have noticed there's a lot of news focused on Manafort lately, all of these scoops care of anonymous sources. That's not an accident. Someone (WHO COULD IT BE?) wants to make Manafort the fall guy for Russian collusion. No doubt he was at the center and in the thick of it, but he was, ultimately, only the go-between for two much more powerful players. The buck shouldn't stop with him. It's pretty clear who benefits from making sure it does stop with him, though.
That such a brazen effort is being made to frame him in the press is a hint that, behind the scenes, the key players may be trying to shape what evidence (documents and testimony) are provided to Mueller to direct his investigation toward Manafort and steer scrutiny away from Trump, Pence, and Kushner.
I don't think for a second that Mueller is naive enough to fall for it, or corrupt enough to go along with it, but I do think there's a real possibility that he'll be effectively stymied by these corrupt liars who have zero respect for the rule of law.
Which is a big part of the reason I keep saying: Continue to maintain measured expectations.
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Mike Allen at Axios: Another Potential Mueller Honey Pot: Spicer's Notebooks. "Former colleagues of Sean Spicer tell Axios that he filled 'notebook after notebook' during meetings at the Republican National Committee, later at the Trump campaign, and then at the White House. When Spicer worked at the RNC, he was said to have filled black books emblazoned with the party's seal. Spicer was so well-known for his copious notes that underlings joked about him writing a tell-all. ...When we texted Spicer for comment on his note-taking practices, he replied: 'Mike, please stop texting/emailing me unsolicited anymore.'" LOL.
Jenny Hopkinson at Politico: Trump Hires Campaign Workers Instead of Farm Experts at USDA. "Donald Trump's appointees to jobs at Agriculture Department headquarters include a long-haul truck driver, a country club cabana attendant, and the owner of a scented-candle company. A POLITICO review of dozens of résumés from political appointees to USDA shows the agency has been stocked with Trump campaign staff and volunteers who in many cases demonstrated little to no experience with federal policy, let alone deep roots in agriculture." Terrific.
[Content Note: Police brutality; disablism; racism] Matthew Haag at the New York Times: Despite Pleas, Oklahoma City Officer Fatally Shoots Deaf Man. "An Oklahoma City police officer fatally shot a man on Tuesday night despite pleas from neighbors that the man was deaf and could not hear the commands to drop a metal pipe he was holding, the authorities said. The man, Madgiel Sanchez, was shot around 8:15 p.m. outside his home soon after the police responded there to investigate a hit-and-run accident. The first officer to arrive called for backup, pulled out his Taser and ordered Mr. Sanchez, 35, who was on his front porch, to drop the two-foot-long pipe he was clutching, the police said. The officer's commands did not register with Mr. Sanchez. He ambled off the porch toward the officer, waving the pipe in his right hand, according to the police and a witness. ...[Mr. Sanchez] never left home without the pipe, wielding it shoo away stray dogs." Goddammit. My condolences to his family, friends, and neighbors.
[CN: Anti-Semitism; white supremacy] Rob Schultz at the Wisconsin State Journal: 'Trump Rules, Antifa Sucks': Graffiti and Swastikas Scrubbed from Monument Near Historic Madison Synagogue. "Vandals sprayed swastikas and other graffiti on a monument next to the Gates of Heaven Synagogue building in James Madison Park — in time for it to be discovered hours before the start of a Jewish holiday. The monument honors Americans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade that joined the international armies that fought the fascist forces of Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War. 'Antifa sucks' and 'Trump rules' also were sprayed onto the monument in red paint. ...[Dawn Berney, executive director of Jewish Social Services of Madison] said the graffiti was particularly disturbing because Wednesday is the start of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. 'The person who did this knew that,' she said." Disgusting.
[CN: Toxic water; reproductive complications; video may autoplay at link] Keith Matheny at USA Today: Study: Fewer Pregnancies, More Fetal Deaths in Flint After Lead Levels Rose in Water. "Flint saw fewer pregnancies, and a higher number of fetal deaths, during the period Michigan women and their unborn children were exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water, according to a new research study that reviewed health records from Flint and the state. Fertility rates decreased by 12% among Flint women, and fetal death rates increased by 58%, after April 2014, according to research by assistant professors and health economists David Slusky at Kansas University and Daniel Grossman at West Virginia University. ...On fertility rates, 'Flint's numbers fell off a cliff, and the rest of the cities stayed pretty much constant' after April 2014, Slusky said." Awful.
[CN: White supremacy] Maggie Astor at the New York Times: South Carolina 5th Graders Are Asked to Explain K.K.K.'s Thinking. "'You are a member of the K.K.K.,' the fifth-grade homework assignment read. 'Why do you think your treatment of African-Americans is justified?' The worksheet, given on Thursday as part of a lesson on the Reconstruction period, caused an outcry after one student's uncle, Tremain Cooper, posted a photo of the assignment on Facebook. 'This is my little 10-year-old nephew's homework assignment today,' he wrote. 'He's home crying right now.'"
That assignment would have put me in tears instantly when I was a kid, too. Asking me to explain why I was right to hurt other people, to empathize with abuse, would have been so upsetting to me, even as a white child. I can only imagine the pain it would cause a Black child. Fuck this.
What have you been reading that we need to resist today?