Week of December 25
A moment of holiday joy: On a regular day in a regular grocery store, one ordinary employee stunned customers with this gorgeous rendition of “O Holy Night.” This gave me shivers.
On to our progress. Despite Donald’s blustering threats of vague retaliation, the UN voted overwhelmingly against his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, denouncing it in a 128–9 vote and demanding Donald rescind the decision.
Despite GOP efforts to dismantle the ACA, 8.8 million people signed up during the (shortened and not advertised) registration period—an astonishing (under the circumstances) 96 percent of those who signed up last year.
More than 300 health organizations (and a handful of Senate Democrats) have protested Donald’s administration’s banning of certain words—including “evidence-based,” “science-based,” “diversity” and “transgender”— from reports by the CDC and HHS.
A partisan Republican PR firm ended its controversial contract with the EPA—granted by the White House without other bids—after public outcry. And a consulting firm that was investigating EPA employees thought to be critical of the Trump administration lost its federal contract with the agency.
Donald lost yet another judicial candidate (that’s three, if you’re counting), after a video of Matthew Petersen’s nomination hearing went viral, in which he revealed he’d never tried a case and struggled to answer even the most basic legal questions.
Donald’s candidate for chairman of the Export-Import Bank was rejected based on his having previously called for the abolishment of the bank.
Memphis, TN—the city where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated—removed two Confederate statues, including one of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a slave trader and grand wizard of the KKK.
A federal judge temporarily blocked Donald’s flouting of ACA rules to offer loopholes to employers to avoid covering women’s contraception for religious reasons.
Betsy DeVos got hit with not one but two lawsuits for her failure to process thousands of student loan forgiveness applications.
Donald and his propaganda mouthpiece, FOXNews, continue to try to undermine Robert Mueller and the FBI’s credibility as the Russia investigation heats up. It seems evident that Don John is panicking as more and more evidence of his campaign’s ties to Russia and their efforts to influence our election surface; enjoy this thread by lawyer Seth Abramson, a frequent analyst of the Mueller investigation, spelling out the latest revelation that Reince Priebus lied on National TV about what Donald knew and when about Michael Flynn. Abramson also has an enlightening thread about the Republicans who are running this investigation, as well as the one into the Clinton emails.
In related news, House Dems seem to be preparing for impeachment.
In the spirit of the holidays, I leave you with Dan Rather’s 12/23 post on his Facebook page, a comforting, hopeful reminder of who we are, what we have accomplished, and the world and nation we continue to fight for.
It’s been a rainy day in New York. It seems that the temperature is now too warm and the precipitation will pass before the thermostat drops to deliver on my annual hopes for a white Christmas. But in so many of the most important ways, I am counting my good fortune. Our family has gathered for the holiday, and after a disorienting, fitful, and often perilous year I feel a calm in being surrounded by the people I love.
These are frightening times. I know that many face the hardships of life, health, and financial circumstance. I know that our divisions and inequalities are being stirred and fomented by many in political leadership. I know we face dire environmental and social challenges.
But as I reflect on the Christmas spirit and as I look ahead to 2018, I refuse to let my optimism in this nation wane – at least when viewed over the longer arc of history. I think the vast majority of Americans are determined to strive to continue that unending quest “to form a more perfect union.” I see acts of service, of political activism, and of empathy. I see steely determination that our nation should right its course. We are better than this. I know it. And I think most of you know it. Do not lose heart. And do not lose the will or courage to strive for what you believe to be the just and equitable destiny for the United States and the world at large. I know we can do great things as a nation, and as a global community, if we work together.
Thank you all for working so diligently together for more than a year toward a common good and a brighter future, and never losing heart.
Week of January 1
In yet another slap to Roy Moore’s face, every single election official in Alabama—every single one of them Republican—signed off to certify Doug Jones’s Senate victory just hours after accused child molester and proven racist Moore filed suit claiming election fraud. It’s also a victory against those who are working to delegitimize our elections and Americans’ faith in them, from the Russians all the way up to the White House.
As the Russia noose tightens around Donald and his minions’ necks, Federal prosecutors have separately requested records from DeutscheBank on Jared Kushner’s $285 million loan, made a month before his father’s electoral election as president.
Robert Mueller is also investigating whether Donald’s campaign and the RNC knowingly used Russian hacked info to do voter outreach. A jailedRussian hacker says he was hired by the Kremlin to hack the DNC, and claims to be able to prove it.
While GOP lawmakers pass tax legislation that benefits the wealthy at the expense of the average American and strips lower-income children of their health care program, some privileged folks are instead looking to help others. NFL defensive end Chris Long quietly donated every single one of his 2017 paychecks to charities benefiting children, asking donors to match him—joining a number of players who are giving back to our country and helping others while the president attacks the NFL for lack of patriotism as he fills his own pockets from the nation’s coffers.
Putting our last year into appalling perspective is this fascinating read about the story of America in 2017, if it happened somewhere else. But chess genius, activist, and firsthand expert on authoritarian societies Garry Kasparov also wrote a year-end reflection that, despite his concerns for America and the attacks on our democracy in this last annus horribilis, nonetheless strikes a tone of optimism and hope. Donald has exposed the very worst of our nation and our governance. But that has also engendered a wave of the very best of us as we fight against the forces attacking our country, our democracy, and the most vulnerable among us. You have helped hold the line of freedom. You have held Donald’s worst transgressions at bay. If democracy is measured by the strength, determination, and honor of its people, then you are the reason it will continue to stand.