Don’t Panic | How Your Voices Are Making a Difference

7/9/18: Don’t Panic

Yes, Justice Kennedy is retiring, and yes, he’s sometimes served as a somewhat moderate conservative on the Supreme Court.

But don’t panic. That doesn’t mean all our societal and civil rights advances will be swirling down the toilet with the new nominee Donald is frothing about naming soon.

Susan Collins (R-Maine), often a swing vote in hotly divisive issues before the Senate, has publicly and repeatedly stated she will not support any Supreme Court nominee “hostile to Roe v. Wade.”

Even if the Senate confirms any of Donald’s no doubt rabidly conservative nominees, as the New York Times reports, it’s unlikely the Supreme Court would overturn the landmark ruling, though states may pass draconian regulations around abortion that make it increasingly hard for women to obtain.

Washington Post reminds us of the importance of precedent in Supreme Court rulings, including the one that legalized gay marriage, and that only one justice (Clarence Thomas) is likely to go so far as to try to overturn landmark rulings. And remember that Justice Kennedy voted conservative the majority of his tenure on the bench, drifting left only on a few issues that reflected society’s changing mores, like affirmative action, gay rights, and women’s reproductive rights.

The truth is that the court will likely maintain its current makeup of 5 conservatives and 4 liberals (hang in there, RBG!) no matter whom Don John appoints, and though we may and we should and we will fight, the commander of cheese is likely to get a nominee through if one is vetted before the November elections.

This is what we may not be able to change.

But regardless of what Donald and his minions do, they cannot control the fact that the world has changed and evolved. For an inkling of the radical shift in prevailing social mores, read this headline. A Quinnipiac poll finds that nearly two-thirds of voters support the Roe V. Wade rulingSupport for gay marriage is at a record high—two-thirds of Americans, including (for the first time) a majority of Protestants. Support for gay relations in general is at nearly three-quarters of Americans. We cannot unring the bell sounded by the #MeToo/Time’s Up movements, and the attendant women’s rights issues they represent.

In the past week alone:

No justice, no court, no president can stop the tide of social change.

On to the ways our voices made a difference this week:

Prosecutors for Donny’s Justice Department debunked a conservative conspiracy theory around ex-congressional staffer Imran Awan. Despite Donald and other conservative loyalists pushing false allegations that Awan stole government secrets, federal prosecutors found zero evidence of any such activity.

Russia

The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report unanimously concluding that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections for the purpose of helping Donald win and to “denigrate” and “harm” Hillary Clinton, calling the intelligence agencies’ results “a sound intelligence product.” The committee also found that the Christopher Steele dossier that many in the GOP seized on to impugn the intelligence community’s findings did not inform the agencies’ assessments “in any way.”

Michael Cohen, Don John’s erstwhile personal attorney, stated that he plans to put family and country first in his cooperation with Mueller’s investigation. Though Donald might like to think he is America, I’m pretty sure that’s not what Cohen means. Cohen has perhaps signaled where his loyalties lie by removing Donald’s name from his Twitter bio and LinkedIn listing, leaving only a Taylor Swiftian blank space, and using an American flag as his banner pic.

Bob Mueller is hiring more prosecutors. Sounds like there might be an awful lot of indictments coming…

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein is getting tired of the GOP’s nonsense.

Government Corruption

This section was formerly called “Draining the Swamp” (with ironic quotes), but a recent op-ed inspired me to call it what it is so we see and mark the rampant corruption in our White House.

EPA head Scott Pruitt—finally—resigned, after the most recent developments in his many violations of office: The Environmental Protection Agency’s chief ethics officer urged the department inspector general to open an investigation into Pruitt’s misuses of his position. And EPA emails revealed unusually close ties between Pruitt and his staff and the people in industries the EPA is supposed to regulate, raising (yet still more) questions of ethics violations. Here’s an exhaustive (and exhausting) list—investigations into Pruitt’s many breaches of office will continue despite his resignation.

And think how much money taxpayers will save now that Pruitt will no longer be siphoning off millions for his personal gain! Why, it’s probably enough to, say, maintain the Children’s Health Initiative Program (CHIP) program that Donald slashed funding for… (But what will Pruitt do with his tactical pants?) No one seems to have much sympathy for Pruitt—even FOX News unloaded on him. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen this fantastic video of a woman and her child approaching Pruitt last week and urging him to resign, you should.

The U.S. ambassador to Estonia resigned his position, citing Little Don’s attacks on our allies that are “factually wrong.”

Republicans Reconsidering

Another conservative columnist has publicly renounced the Republican Party in its current populist, white nationalist, isolationist, Donald-aligned state and urges voters to vote Democrat, following in the shoes of George F. Will, Joe Scarborough, and a host of other high-profile former GOP political advisers, aides, and lawmakers. Journalist, consultant, and military historian Max Boot says, “A vote for the GOP in November is also a vote for egregious obstruction of justice, rampant conflicts of interest, the demonization of minorities, the debasement of political discourse, the alienation of America’s allies, the end of free trade and the appeasement of dictators.”

WTAF

Donald is trying to assemble and pass a new piece of legislation that allows him to bypass Congress and raise tariffs unilaterally…a bill the twitterverse and the world instantly dubbed the FART Act.

This insane Photoshopped image posted by little Donny Junior on the Fourth of July just has WTAF written all over it.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Donald’s White House Fourth of July celebration was unable to rope in any A-list stars, settling for two American Idol finalists (not winners, mind you), a country singer whose last hit was in 2010, and a Russian-American classical pianist. Meanwhile, a mile and a half away from the South Lawn where Don John’s “party” was held, PBS hosted a star-studded Fourth of July special with the Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, the Temptations, Pentatonix, and more that aired at the exact same time as the commander of cheese’s “festivities.”

Besides the angry Trump-baby balloon London has just given permission for protesters to fly during Don John’s visit to meet the queen (granted by London mayor Sadiq Khan in a juicily delicious moment of karma coming home to roost), he will be met with protest demonstrations at each stage of his UK visit.

It’s an easy target, but Donald’s latest misuse of his native tongue (as opposed to his immigrant grandparents’ native tongue, German) in a tweet asserting his knowledge of grammar spawned some hilarious Twitter responses from Merriam Webster, J. K. Rowling, and others.

This excellent Slate piece posits a genius, accessible new way each of us can combat the devaluation of facts among the right and far-right.

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