Fallout continues after Sinclair Broadcasting’s “must-read” propaganda distributed to its news anchors became public. (If you haven’t seen this disturbing mashup of dozens of anchors reading the exact same text like animatronic puppets, it’s must-watch.) Sinclair failed to offer a convincing defense for its brainwashing attempts, and now former employees are speaking out. Sinclair is seeking regulatory approval for a $3.9 billion purchase of Tribune Media, whose portfolio includes 42 stations. Regulatory limit is 39 percent; this would jump their market reach to 72 percent. UHF versus VHF loophole shows how Sinclair can own so many stations despite federal law. It’s urgent that we contact our lawmakers and demand that they close this loophole—and block Sinclair’s buy of Tribune media—and protect the regulations that prevent this kind of propaganda media from being disseminated over such a huge market share.
A Democrat won election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court for the first time since 1995, shrinking that state’s conservative majority to one. And a Democrat leads in TN to replace Bob Corker’s congressional seat. A record number of women are running for House seats—more than 300, most of them Democrats.
In Texas, Senate candidate and Ted Cruz challenger Beto O’Rourke has outraised Cruz in three of the last reporting periods—most jaw-droppingly in this last period, when O’Rourke’s grassroots campaign raised a staggering $6.7 million from more than 141K donors, with the average donation a little over $40 (unlike Cruz’s heavy special-interest funding). O’Rourke is traveling through Texas holding dozens of city halls for constituents…again, totally unlike Cruz, who has been hiding from his and refusing to make appearances for any but his GOP donors.
Despite the mentally deranged dotard’s war on immigrants and opposition to DACA (the “Dreamers” program allowing children brought into the country with their parents to work toward citizenship), his administration has approved 55K new applications for the program this year alone.
Now 17 states are suing the Trump administration over the citizenship question they are proposing adding to the 2020 census.
In Russia-investigation news, Robert Mueller is investigating whether former Donald campaign adviser Roger Stone met with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange during the campaign, suggesting a connection between Donald’s campaign and the Wikileaks hacks into Hillary Clinton’s campaign emails supported by Russian intelligence. And CNN broke the story of yet another Donald adviser who pushed government agencies during the campaign to review materials from the dark web that he thought were Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.
Mueller has evidence that Betsy DeVos’s brother may have lied to Congress about ties between the Trump campaign and a Putin associate.
The first sentencing was handed down in Robert Mueller’s investigation—a Dutch lawyer (and suspected Russian spy) who lied to the FBI about his affiliations with Russian military intelligence and contacts with Donald’s campaign has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $20K fine. I like to think of this as the amuse bouche of the many-course meal to come. In related news, and a direct refute of Paul Manafort’s lawsuit claiming Mueller exceeded his authority in prosecuting Manafort for his work with the Ukraine government and possible Russia ties, records reveal that Donny’s own DoJ’s office did indeed specifically offer Mueller that authority.
Inside the White House, embattled EPA head Scott Pruitt is in hot water yet again—this time for using an obscure emergency hiring provision in his EPA department to bring on board a slew of former lobbyists, aides, and friends. He also made extravagant requests of his department—like a $100K-per-month private jet service and a bulletproof desk…no, really—and when senior staff criticized how he was planning to spend taxpayer money, he had them reassigned. Then he bypassed the White House’s refusal to give two of his personal aides (ages 30 and 26) raises and did it anyway, in the amounts of $56K and $28K, respectively. Your tax dollars at work! But wait…there’s more! While renting a room in the luxury town house of a lobbyist for an energy company for a paltry $50/night (a rate that also included a room for his grown daughter, a fact the EPA’s lead ethics investigator now says wasn’t disclosed when he looked into whether the rental violated federal gift rules), Pruitt approved a pipeline-expansion plan for that same company. Wait, hang in there…there’s still a bit more corruption: This same lobbyist was also a campaign donor for Pruitt’s run for attorney general in Oklahoma. If you’re having trouble keeping track of all this (and why wouldn’t you?), here’s a handy cheat sheet on all the reasons Scott Pruitt is coming under fire. Sixty-four House Democrats have asked Donald to fire Pruitt, and in the mass exodus of staff from the White House, rumor has it that John Kelly is gunning for Pruitt next. Perhaps Pruitt modeled his spendthrift ways on now-departed secretary of state Rex Tillerson, who spent $12 million on consultants to “redesign” the state department. (I do not think “drain the swamp” means what the GOP thinks it means…)
Speaking of departing staffers (and if you’re having trouble keeping track of that too, here’s an excellent compendium of who all has been flushed down the toilet of this administration), national security head H. R. McMaster blew back a parting shot at this administration on his way out the door, denouncing Russia’s actions and the very stable genius’s lack of meaningful sanctions imposed on that country for its meddling in our 2016 election—“we have failed to impose sufficient costs.” McMaster’s words carried extra sting coming immediately on the heels of Donny announcing at a news conference, “No one has been tougher on Russia than I have.”
One of Donald’s DoD appointees resigned after CNN dug up his “birther” posts on Facebook, where he also called President Obama “the Antichrist.” It’s a shame similar criteria don’t force all of those who furthered the conspiracy to resign, specifically the birther-in-chief.
Two of the settlement agreements with women who accused Bill O’Reilly of harassment have been made public and detail O’Reilly’s herculean attempts to silence the women and keep his actions under the carpet.
Conspiracy theory site Infowars and shlock jock Alex Jones are being sued (again)—this time for recklessly misidentifying a man as the Parkland school shooter and labeling him a “commie” who supported ISIS.
Meanwhile a Chicago suburb has unanimously voted to ban assault weapons within its borders. To no one’s shock, the NRA is threatening to sue. But in Massachusetts, a federal judge upheld that state’s ban on assault weapons. The tide of public opinion is turning despite Congress, the White House, and the NRA’s attempts to hold it back.
Don John’s support among women is tanking—from 41 to 35 percent—even while his support from men rose 3 percent in what the Harvard poll codirector called “the Stormy effect.”
Madeleine Allbright sounds the alarm about fascism creeping closer. Want to see an example of how democracy can creep toward fascism? Look to Hungary. Tens of millions of Americans have participated in protests and rallies in the last two years—1 in 5 people in the U.S. Much of that is thanks to you, warriors—stay in the game!