“What happens now will redefine the future of our democracy” | How your voices are making a difference

Donald’s Taxes

Ten years of tax returns (1985-1994) obtained by the New York Times show Donny Boy sustained business losses of more than $1 billion—this during the time “Art of the Deal” was published (which clearly should have been in the fiction category); “In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the I.R.S. compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners.” He avoided paying taxes for eight of those ten years.

The House Ways and Means Committee subpoenaed Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig for Donny’s tax returns.

Ooooh, girl New York is pretty much coming for Donny boy. NYC doesn’t tolerate its own making a mockery of it—lawmakers in the state voted to create a pathway via which congressional committees can obtain a resident’s state tax returns—a process exempt from executive privilege.

Russia Investigation

The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold the U.S. attorney general in contempt for refusing to release to Congress—the coequal branch of government charged with oversight of the executive branch—the full unredacted Mueller report, which Mueller specifically stated should be released to Congress. Let that sink in, America—you have an attorney general operating primarily to protect the president—not our country, our democracy, or the American people—in direct defiance of the government set out by the Founding Fathers.

Meanwhile the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena for Beavis Don Jr. (who lacks executive privilege to skate past the law, as his father does) for further testimony regarding his role in facilitating contacts between his father’s presidential campaign and Russia. Acting White House chief of staff (goes without saying pretty much everyone in this administration is just acting like what they think their role is) Mick Mulvaney was apparently a bit put out that the White House wasn’t given a heads-up ahead of time. From Congress. Doing its job of oversight on the executive branch. (I do not think this administration understands how government works. Or the law.)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff issued a subpoena to the Justice Department for “counterintelligence and foreign intelligence” from Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Amid Don John and his cronies’ attempts to delegitimize the Russia investigation, James Baker, a top former FBI lawyer, stated in no uncertain terms, ““There was no attempted coup.”

Donald’s FBI director Christopher Wray—whom he appointed—stated that he would not refer to the investigations into Donny’s campaign as “spying,” as Don John and his toadies (like AG William Barr) keep trying to assert, and stating he is aware of no evidence that spying occurred.

A growing list of former federal prosecutors—more than 800 at last count—signed a letter opining that if Don John weren’t president (still seems like a parody to write that), he’d have been charged with obstruction based on Mueller’s investigation findings.

But in all seriousness, we’re in what Rep. Adam Schiff termed a Constitutional crisis. By blanket-obstructing all subpoenas and blocking witness testimony, the president is actively impeding the legislative branch from doing its constitutional duties. This is truthfully when the ink gets set—Americans have to decide whether they support a president thwarting our democracy, our laws, our norms, or whether they support the country and its Constitution. I’m looking at YOU, GOP Congress. What happens now will redefine the future of our democracy—and whether there is one—and of our country.

So what can you do? SPEAK UP. Evil only wins when good is silent. Don’t let antifactual statements go unchallenged—even from your loved ones. There’s a way to gently and even lovingly present truth and encourage others to look at their premises without attacking their beliefs or them as people.

The House in Da HOUSE

The House passed a $19 billion disaster relief bill despite Trump’s opposition to funding for Puerto Rico.

Republicans Agasinst the Law

After Don John turned on Melania’s former adviser, the poshly named Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, stating that she was dismissed after excessively profiting as one of the leading contractors of his inaugural events, she is now cooperating with federal prosecutors in Manhattan investigating the inaugural committee, stating that she was “thrown under the bus” by Donny.

Random Good News

Turkey’s wannabe-dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan suffered a stinging defeat in recent mayoral elections. Unfortunately, the Turkish strongman leader then overturned the results and demanded a new election (which open flouting of their democracy, however, may presage an uprising against his regime from Turkish citizens).

The Austin City Council formally backed AOC’s Green New Deal, unanimously approving that resolution and another environmental resolution that explore ideas for a city climate resilience plan and to consider hiring a specialized resiliency consultant or chief resilience officer.

When one of the most outspoken Republicans in the hard-core far-right Freedom Caucus leaves the organization, that’s saying something.

After more than 500 days in captivity, two Pulitzer prize-winning Reuters journalists were released from a Myanmar prison.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Remember the anti-LGBTQ bill on the docket in the state lege last week that would have allowed individuals and organizations to legally discriminate against LGBTQ employees if they cited “religious conviction”? Dead, thanks to the efforts of the House’s LGBTQ caucus, formed this year.

At a rally in Florida (ever notice it’s dictators and tyrants who hold rallies unless they are campaigning? Remember how our other presidents just did their actual job instead of seeking the approval they so desperately needed?) Donny joked about shooting immigrants. No, no…really.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Cute doggo

Breaking slightly with the usual content of this category to extend the Austin Animal Center’s desperate plea for community support. (Because you know what feels good? Rescuing an animal and sharing your life with a furry soul mate.) Over the last three days they’ve taken in 214 animals, thanks to recent storms. Saturday, after only being open for an hour and half, they had taken in 21 animals and there was a line out the door of people bringing in more animals. The regular kennels are full, the holding kennels are full, the conference rooms are full and they’re already using every single popup kennel they have. If you are thinking of adopting a dog, now’s the time! Even if you can only do a week or two of foster, it would help. Please spread the word and help Austin remain no-kill!

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