2017-02-02

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 I've read today:

Donald Trump is, truly, the worst and most dangerous United States President there has ever been:

It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief—a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America's staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.

Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refu­gee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.

At one point Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day—including Russian President Vladi­mir Putin—and that "This was the worst call by far."

...U.S. officials said that Trump has behaved similarly in conversations with leaders of other countries, including Mexico. But his treatment of Turnbull was particularly striking because of the tight bond between the United States and Australia—countries that share intelligence, support one another diplomatically and have fought together in wars including in Iraq and Afghanistan.

...Trump told [Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto] in last Friday's call, according to the Associated Press, which said it reviewed a transcript of part of the conversation, "You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren't doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn't, so I just might send them down to take care of it."
I highlighted a similar passage yesterday on Twitter about Trump's call with Peña Nieto from a different article, in which Trump's threat was explicitly connected to drug trafficking, noting: Asides like this telegraph what's coming. In other words: Trump will use drugs as excuse to militarize the border.

It is deeply troubling that Trump is behaving so belligerently to our allies. And it is crucial to note the passing observation that the U.S. and Australia "share intelligence." As I have said numerous times now, alienating our allies means we won't get good intel from them, which will meaningfully make the U.S. less safe.

Trump, with his terrible temperament, is an imminent threat to us all. And no one in power seems to care.

BREAKING: US official: Trump remark about having military deal with `hombres' in Mexico was `lighthearted,' part of security talks.

— The Associated Press (@AP) February 2, 2017

You know what bullies say when they get called out on their abusive shit? "I was only kidding. Can't you take a joke?" https://t.co/HunjO8GDgQ

— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) February 2, 2017

And remember how Republicans spent 8 years accusing President Obama of diminishing respect for the U.S. around the world. Yeah, about that...

In other news:

CNN's Dan Merica reporting from the National Prayer Breakfast: "Trump pledges to end the Johnson Amendment, which allows the IRS to revoke a church's tax exempt status for endorsing political candidates."

Business Insider's Natasha Bertrand reports: "In other news: US Treasury just amended Obama's sanctions order to 'authorize certain transactions' with Russian FSB." Goodbye Russian sanctions. [pdf of order]

Donald Trump tweeted about the protest at Berkeley: "If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?" Of course. Free speech for that POS Milo, but no one else (including the press). And, naturally, that "violence" is being exaggerated, as we see over and over in a bid to quell dissent.

Paul McLeary and Adam Rawnsley at Foreign Policy: SitRep: Trump Advisor Bannon Predicts Wars With China, Middle East; Pentagon Officials Say Gloves Off in Yemen. The headline pretty much sums it up. And, meanwhile (see above), Trump is provoking Mexico and Australia.

Julian Borger, David Smith, and Spencer Ackerman at the Guardian: Trump administration 'officially putting Iran on notice', says Michael Flynn. "The Trump administration has said it was 'officially putting Iran on notice' in reaction to an Iranian missile test and an attack on a Saudi warship by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen but gave no details about how Washington intended to respond. The threat was made on Wednesday by the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, in his first public statement since taking office."

Not incidentally: Reuters has committed, essentially, to covering the Trump administration like the rising authoritarian regime that it is.

Rebecca Savransky at The Hill: Trump aide: Bannon's experience crushing 'left-wing rivals' an asset on NSC. "An aide to President Trump says Stephen Bannon's experiences at Breitbart News will be an asset for the president's chief strategist in his new role on the National Security Council (NSC). ...[Sebastian Gorka] said Bannon, who previously served as the chairman of Breitbart News, has a 'truly strategic mind.' Trump signed an executive action last month that gives Bannon a seat on the NSC, which traditionally has been composed solely of top administration officials specializing in foreign affairs and security."

And how is that decision going so far? Well: "The U.S. military said on Wednesday it was looking into whether more civilians were killed in a raid on al Qaeda in Yemen on the weekend, in the first operation authorized by President Donald Trump as commander in chief." And how did that raid get planned? "With two of his closest advisers, Jared Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, joining the dinner at the White House along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Mr. Trump approved sending in the Navy's SEAL Team 6... Vice President Mike Pence and Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, also attended the dinner. As it turned out, almost everything that could go wrong did."

Before that news was reported, I said to the other contributors yesterday: "We know that Obama's people said we just don't have enough info. And Trump, who thinks the intelligence community is garbage and the military generals are pussies and only trusts 'his generals,' turned to Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon and said, 'What do you think?' And they were like, 'Do it.' And here we are." This administration is totally predictable, despite being completely erratic.

Steven Mufson at the Washington Post: Trump Transition Email Shows Initial Effort to Oust All Inspectors General. "An email from the Trump transition team on the evening of Jan. 13 instructed all transition team leaders to 'reach out tonight and inform' the inspectors general in their agencies 'that they are being held over on a temporary basis.' The email from Katie Giblin, a member of the presidential transition team, confirms a story The Post reported last week that inspectors general, who by bipartisan tradition have open-ended appointments regardless of party, had been told that they would be held over only on a temporary basis and that they should seek other employment. The email shows that the effort to replace the inspectors was not limited to a handful of agencies, but that it was intended to take aim at inspectors general across government departments."

[Content Note: Anti-semitism] Esme Cribb at TPM: White Nationalist Leader Praises Trump for 'De-Judification' of the Holocaust. "Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer lauded President Donald Trump's statement commemorating International Holocaust Memorial Day that failed to mention Jews as a 'de-Judification' of the Holocaust. ...Spencer called the White House statement 'especially Trumpian' for its" failure to mention Jews. Meanwhile: Jewish Community Centers Face Third Wave of Bomb Threats Nationwide.

Here's some cool news about what a cool guy Trump's cool nominee to the Supreme Court is: "Known to be fiercely conservative at Georgetown Prep School, #Gorsuch joked in yearbook he founded and led 'Fascism Forever Club'."

Reuters: "House approves resolution killing SEC requirement for oil, gas, mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments." As my pal Jamison observed: "Sounds like good news for Trump's favorite people: Putin & Oil CEOs."

And in other Congressional news: House Republicans Vote to End Rule Stopping Coal Mining Debris From Being Dumped in Streams. "Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, senior Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, said repealing the stream protection rule would 'sicken and kill the very people Donald Trump falsely promised to help,' coal miners in West Virginia and other states. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., displayed a bottle of brownish water he said came from a constituent's well near a surface coal mine. He challenged lawmakers to drink from it and said the stream rule was one of the only safety measures protecting people in coal country."

Phil Galewitz at NPR: Indiana Looks to Extend Medicaid Experiment Started Under Obamacare. "As Congress weighs repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the home state of Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday sought to keep its conservative-style Medicaid expansion under the federal health the health law." I'm so shocked that Indiana is the laboratory for this move, which is, I fear, testing the waters for what will end up being a very subpar ACA replacement.

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

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