“Turn that plane around” | How your voices are making a difference

8/13/18 “Turn that plane around and bring those people back to the United States. It’s outrageous.”

How’s it going, warriors? Hanging in there amid the disheartening global-warming news of fires and floods and heat waves? I’m starting off this week with a spectrum of news of our progress that doesn’t fit into a category.

California, which has the power to overrule federal fuel-efficiency requirements under the Clean Air Act, refuted the White House’s stance on lowering fuel-efficiency regulations with a flurry of facts on pollution, and announced plans to adhere to current federal standards with more stringent fuel emissions restrictions, rather than allow state manufacturers to lower them to Donald’s proposed levels.

In a nearly unprecedented move, Apple removed all Infowars’ conspiracy theorists Alex Jones’s podcasts, joining Spotify, Facebook, Google, and YouTube.

Tribune Broadcasting has withdrawn from the proposed merger with Sinclair, a broadcast company so conservative they make FOX look like flaming socialists, after the FCC (inexplicably, under pro-Trump, anti-net neutrality Ajit Pai) expressed reservations about the merger, which would have given the joined company a presence in 72 percent of markets—well over the FCC ceiling of 32. Tribune plans to sue for breach of contract.

Donny-endorsed Kris Kobach’s lead over Governor Jeff Colyer in Kansas was sliced from a narrow 191 to a whisper-thin 91 when election officials discovered an error in transmitting votes from one countyKobach, the Kansas secretary of state, finally recused himself from overseeing the count when Colyer demanded he stop advising county election officials.

Ohio’s razor-close House race got shaved even closer when more than 500 votes from one county were “found” and tallied. Democrat Danny O’Connor trails Republican Troy Balderson by a scant 1564 votes, and votes are still being counted (despite Balderson and the very stable genius prematurely declaring victory).

Unflaggingly obsequious Trump toady Devin Nunes was recorded possibly violating his oath of office to hold the executive branch to account, instead telling a group of GOP donors that they were the last line of defense to “protect” little Don in the Russia investigation.

The army has (temporarily) suspended discharges of foreign-born recruits who enlisted through DACA.

Let’s not lend much credence to anything publicity-seeking missile Omarosa Manigault Newman has to say—however,documentation does prove her claim that she was offered hush money to be silent about her time working with the commander of cheese. That’s another data point in a long line of hush-money payments to silence the hemorrhaging of info about things little Don doesn’t want the world to know about—things are beginning to come to light.

The immigration lawyer for Melania Trump’s parents, who just became citizens as beneficiaries of the “chain migration” Donald is trying to end for others, called out Donald’s hostility to the policy as “unconscionable.”

Mueller Time

As Robert Mueller expands his investigation, per his DoJ mandate, to explore other legal wrongdoings he may discover, I’m renaming the Russia section to encompass it all.

Rick Gates, Mueller’s eagerly cooperative witness, has rolled like a burrito against Paul Manafort, delineating the more than 15 foreign bank accounts Manafort hid from the IRS, that he lied for years at Manafort’s behest, and the many ways in which Manafort and Gates—Donald’s chief and secondary campaign advisers—broke the law.

Andrew Miller, a longtime Roger Stone associate, is being held in contempt of court for refusing to testify despite being subpoenaed.

Republicans Against the Law (slash “Draining the Swamp”—there’s so much overlap lately)

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross is at the center of a $120 million lawsuit alleging that Ross stole from his business partner.

A Richmond, VA, GOP house rep falsified a petition for the candidacy of an independent to draw votes away from the Democratic candidate using names of deceased and relocated voters.

Federal prosecutors in NYC are investigating former Donny attorney (and current stool pigeon) Michael Cohen for tax fraud. Who could have foreseen this? (Side note: Won’t it be fun if Dems take the House and/or Senate this fall and have the power to subpoena the commander of cheese’s tax returns?)

Republican Rep Christopher Collins of New York —Donald’s first congressional endorser—has been charged with insider trading. Collins intended to stay on the ballot in November nonetheless—and why not? In Donny’s GOP, criminality is no reason not to run for office—but twenty-four hours later Collins finally “suspended” his campaign.

federal judge ordered a plane carrying two asylum seekers turned around on the ground and returned to the U.S. after learning Jeff Sessions had the mother-daughter pair deported while their appeal was in process. The judge called the precipitous deportation “outrageous” and called Sessions on the carpet, threating to hold him in contempt.

federal appeals court ordered Donny’s administration to revoke its approval for a pesticide shown to damage the brains of children in even small amounts, stating that Scott Pruitt’s EPA had endangered public health by keeping it on the market.

A federal judge has ruled that the border patrol agent who shot a Mexican teenager across the border is not immune from facing charges for violating the child’s Constitutional right against excessive force by law enforcement.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Congress is poised to get its first Muslim woman lawmaker—a welcome move toward representing all of America.

Missouri voters rejected a right-to-work law on the ballot by a wide margin, in a victory for unions.

A new record is being set for most female nominees for governor in a single year, and transgender candidates are running in unprecedented numbers for office this year.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

The much vaunted white-supremacist Unite the Right rally in DC Sunday ended with a fizzle when about two dozen people showed up to march—a bit below the 400 the organizers expected. Meanwhile, thousands of antiracist protesters showed up to line the streets and drown out the racist chants and speeches of the demonstrators. BOOM, bitches. That’s how we handle hate.

Don Jr. posted a hilariously blatantly Photoshopped image that presented false popularity ratings for his daddy—exaggerating them by 10 percent. The world noticed.

Enjoy Donald’s sparkling words of praise for Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post…five years ago.

Since then Donny has ramped up his attacks on the media, this past weekend tweeting, “The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!” Nearly every autocrat and tyrant in history has begun their regime by attacking and undermining those who can expose their efforts and corruption. On August 16 more than 70 newspapers across the country will publish varying op-eds from their opinion writers speaking out against this alarming attack on the First Amendment rights and the democratic protections created by a free press.

We lose only if we are silent in the face of attacks on democracy, warriors. Hang in there! So much progress has been made and continues to be, and so many democratic failsafes are working as the Founders intended; but that news can get lost amid the flashier breaches, outrages, and propaganda of the mentally deranged dotard and his GOP apologists. Wars are won by the unflagging efforts of those fighting for what’s right—our relentless persistence is what will protect our democracy. Those attacking it know that, and that’s one reason they keep up a steady barrage of offenses, hoping it will weary the country enough to allow them to remake it in their oligarchic ideal. Don’t let them succeed in wearing you down. Take care of yourselves, take mental-health breaks, but stay in the fight.

Tremendous lack of leadership | How your voices are making a difference

8/6/18 “Tremendous lack of leadership”

Wilbur Ross’s claim that the census question added to the 2020 census was demanded by the DoJ fell apart this week with the discovery of emails where he flat-out states the idea was his own, months before the DoJ’s request.

Manafort’s longtime bookkeeper testified Manafort lied and cooked the books as his foreign money started to dry up. One of his accountants testified that she agreed upon request to falsify his tax records.

In an interview with the Washington Post, a member of Donny’s now defunct (and always ridiculous) voter fraud commission, the Maine secretary of state, reveals that the commission found zero evidence of widespread voter fraud, stating that the commissions purpose appeared to be to attempt to substantiate Donald’s baseless claims of millions of fraudulent voters in the 2016 election, where he lost the popular vote to Clinton by nearly 3 million (and overall by millions more).

The Newseum, a federally funded museum celebrating a free press and the first amendment, was offering “Fake News” shirts—tilloutcry from journalists made them pull the items and issue an apology.

Bob Woodward of Watergate-busting fame has a new book coming out about life inside the Very Stable Genius’s White House.

Russia

Here’s the big news: new evidence shows that indicted Russian spy Maria Butina socialized with a Donald associate working on little Don’s campaign in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.

From WTF Just Happened Today, little Donny’s own national security team officially stated that Russia is behind “pervasive” and “ongoing” attempts to interfere in upcoming U.S. elections. “The threat is real. It is continuing,” said Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence. Hours later, Trump defended his “great meeting with Putin,” saying “the Russian hoax” is getting in the way of improved relations with the world’s second-ranked nuclear power.

federal judge ruled against yet another attempt to curtail the Mueller investigation, this one by an associate of Roger Stone, sizzling in the hot seat as he prepares to be called to testify.

Republicans Against the Law

federal judge ruled that Donny must fully restore DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or the Dreamers program), the third such mandate by a district court.

A federal judge has granted a temporary nationwide injunction on the sharing of 3-D gun plans. Earlier in the week plans were also temporarily blocked for internet users in PA after the threat of a lawsuit against the Texas company providing them by the Philadelphia attorney general.

A federal judge has ordered Donny and the GOP administration to locate the missing parents of more than 650 children still separated from their families despite another judge’s deadline for reunification last week.

A lawsuit filed by the cities of Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati and Columbus alleges that Donald’s White House violated the U.S. Constitution with its deliberate undermining of the Affordable Care Act.

Thirty-six people whose visas have been denied or held in limbo have brought a lawsuit against the GOP administration—specifically naming Homeland Security head Kristjen Nelson and secretary of state Mike Pompeo—asking the administration to explain its alleged waiver process under Donald’s travel ban in the face of what seems to be denial and foot dragging in making exceptions for those in compelling circumstances.

A federal judge has denied Donny’s attempt to silence Michael Avenatti, Stephanie Clifford’s (Stormy Daniels) lawyer.

A federal Court of Appeals ruled that the mentally deranged dotard’s executive order to withhold federal funding from sanctuary cities was unconstitutional.

A group of Democratic senators has asked the Pentagon to investigate reports that Don John offered tours of Air Force One to members of his golf clubs—a breach of federal ethics laws.

Republicans Reconsidering

Defense against conservative attacks on higher education came from an unlikely source this week—the Koch brothers network likened conservative smear campaigns and attacks on progressive professors to McCarthyism, and the Koch network recently granted $3.25 million to the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, which has been suing Trump to prevent him from blocking Twitter followers and trying to force the Justice Department to disclose secret legal memoranda.

The Kochs are actually quite vexed with Donald’s administration, and its “divisiveness” and “tremendous lack of leadership” is too much even for the Koch brothers, who are distancing themselves from the GOP and Donny and those who ally with him. Like the embarrassing impulse-control challenged two-year-old he is, Donald is lashing back, calling the Kochs “a total joke.”

Social and Civil Rights Advances

An appallingly sexist comment by a veteran judge yielded a rebuke from the U.S. Court of Appeals.

In the absence of action at the federal level or from the Supreme Court, a record number of states are introducing reform measures to combat partisan gerrymandering, creating independent commissions—not the governor or legislature—to draw up district voting maps that are equitable and fair, and an accurate representation of the state’s population.

In the face of White House attacks on unions, a group of workers exercised the power of organization. This hilarious video of a mass worker walkout at a UPS plant when employees claimed their supervisor made racist comments went viral—and clearly delighted the man who shot it.

In Austin, federal ICE officials dropped a request to detain a woman jailed two weeks ago for assault while she experiencing a mental heath crisis

Karma

Stating that it’s unable to procure general-liability insurance in connection with media liability insurance, the NRA says that it’s in deep financial jeopardy and may be “unable to exist.”

An activist published 11K messages between WikiLeaks and its supporters, showing that WikiLeaks wanted to help defeat Hillary Clinton and help the GOP.

Melania continues openly trolling her husband, this time issuing a public statement in support of LeBron James immediately after Donny tweeted an insult at the basketball star.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

An activist in Colorado found a striking way to draw attention to the Republican administration’s cozying up to our greatest geopolitical foe.

The Texas Trib asked readers for donations to raise $35K to hire reporters to cover border issues, particularly family separations; they got an outpouring of $60K, plus another $15K match from a charitable foundation.

The state of New Jersey is dedicating millions of dollars to help fill the gaps in community reporting left by the belt-tightening in the journalism field.

Remember Randall, of “honey badger don’t care” fame? He won a lawsuit defending his trademark of the phrase from his hilarious viral video. (And if you live in an egg and somehow missed his ingenious original video, please enjoy it.)

This happened Monday, and life was good.

“The misogyny, the racism, and the unethical and immoral behavior” | How your voices are making a difference

7/30/18 I cannot condone the misogyny, the racism, and the unethical and immoral behavior of the current administration.”

Russia

The Russia investigation is clearly heating way up—the latest subpoena from Mueller’s team was for the Trump Organization finance chief, summoned to testify before a grand jury in the criminal probe of Michael Cohen, Donny’s longtime personal lawyer, after his name was mentioned in several of the Cohen recordings. Of which federal investigators seized more than 100…so stay tuned for more.

Recently revealed documents show that Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer present at the infamous Trump Tower meeting, has much closer ties to Russian senior government officials than previously admitted.

And former attorney Michael Cohen says he’s willing to testify that Donald knew about and approved in advance the Trump Tower meeting with Veselnitskaya—and what it was for.

Carter Page acknowledged working as “an informal adviser to the staff of the Kremlin” in a 2013 letter—the reason the FBI was surveilling him during the 2016 campaign. Even Richard Burr (Rep, NC) says there were “sound reasons” for the surveillance, despite Donny and his GOP toadies attempting without any factual backup to imply that the surveillance was spurious and politically motivated.

Recent records reveal that Rep Dana Roherbacker (R, CA), he who bleats loudly against the Russian investigation, dined with Maria Buttina, the Russian woman currently being held for spying in the U.S. on behalf of Russia.

Republicans Reconsidering

Republican senators Lindsay Graham and Marco Rubio want to introduce sanctions to warn Putin (and his puppet Donald) about meddling in our upcoming elections. Even mouth-hemorrhaging Trey Gowdy added his voice to those opposing Donald’s invitation of the former-KGB head of our greatest geopolitical foe into the White House (an invitation Donald walked back after Vlad didn’t take him up on it).

Senator Ben Sasse (R, NV) denounced Donald’s government subsidy for farmers due to hardships from the tariffs Donald himself imposed, calling the subsidy “gold crutches.” A surprising number of other GOP lawmakers also added their objections to the subsidy Donald announced to counter the hit farmers are taking due to his trade wars. Senator Ron Johnson (R. WI) called it a “Soviet type of economy”; Sen John Thune of SD—the #3 GOP leader, said, “Taxpayers are going to be asked to initial checks to farmers in lieu of having a trade policy that actually opens and expands more markets.” Sen Pat Toomey (R, PA) calls it a “bailout” that “compounds bad policy with more bad policy. Jeff Flake called it “handouts” and Bob Corker calls the subsidies “welfare.”

Sen Bob Corker laid into Mike Pompeo for his disingenuous defense of Donald’s cozying up to Putin, the former-KGB head of our greatest geopolitical foe, and attacking our own country’s intelligence community findings.

A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate that would curb Donny’s ability to unilaterally withdraw the U.S. from NATO.

The House Appropriations Committee backed a bipartisan measure that would essentially nullify Donald and Jeff Sessions’s attempt to disallow asylum for those immigrants seeking to flee gang or domestic violence.

A representative in the House has introduced a carbon-tax bill hoping to reignite discussion about climate change, protecting the environment, and investing in alternative energy in the U.S.—and it’s a Republican!

After spending her entire adult life as a conservative, an Oregon Republican commissioner has changed party to become a Democrat. “I have not changed but the Republican party clearly has,” she says. “I cannot condone the misogyny, the racism, and the unethical and immoral behavior of the current administration.”

Republicans Against the Law

federal judge ruled against Don John, who had hoped to stop a lawsuit alleging he violates the Constitution’s emoluments clause by taking money from foreign governments through his businesses. The lawsuit will proceed.

A federal judge freed the pizza deliveryman detained by ICE while doing his job.

federal judge will allow a lawsuit brought by more than two dozen states, cities, and other groups against the federal government for its inclusion of a discriminatory citizenship questions proposed for the 2020 census—one of six similar lawsuits—to proceed.

The city of Birmingham, AL, won a victory over the state when a federal judge in an appeal over whether the city had the right to raise minimum wages when the state tried to bar the increase overturned the previous court’s ruling that allowed the state to overrule the wage hike.

New York financial regulators have opened an investigation into Signature Bank, a small institution that financed projects for the Trump and Kushner families, to determine whether the loans violated laws intended to prevent predatory behavior.

Republican Corruption

“What you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening.” This jaw-droppingly Orwellian quote was actuallyuttered by the mentally deranged dotard in a speech Tuesday. Well, here’s what’s actually happening:

Don’s inept administration released documents by mistake that they had hoped to suppress and keep out of the public eye: Evidence that protected public lands boost tourism and spur archaeological discoveries was hidden from the public so the administration could shrink national monuments, tailoring the surveys instead to emphasize the value of logging, ranching, and energy development from exploiting these lands if they were released from federal protection. Comments the department’s Freedom of Information Act officers made in the documents show they sought to keep some of the references out of public view because they were “revealing [the] strategy” behind the review.

Donald used a taxpayer-funded trip to openly campaign for Republican candidates.

A federal lawsuit against Michigan for partisan gerrymandering has unearthed emails of state Republicans gleefully plotting how to divide the state’s districts to concentrate “Dem garbage” and packing African-American voters into a metropolitan Detroit district. The recently discovered emails will no doubt lend momentum to a proposed constitutional amendment to end gerrymandering, set to be on the ballot in Michigan in November.

Just like Avenatti said, there are more tapes Donny’s former attorney Cohen made of conversations with his erstwhile client—at least 100 more. The most recently released features Don discussing proposed payments toPlayboy model Karen McDougal to silence her about their affair…the one he denied any knowledge of.

GA state representative Jason Spencer—he of the screamed N-word and bared buttocks in service of stopping terrorists, courtesy of Sacha Barron Cohen—has resigned.

The GOP Kansas senator who accompanied Don John to Russia on little Don’s pilgrimage to his Soviet dark lord faced an angry crowd of constituents in a Kansas town when he got back, demanding to know why he and the GOP aren’t standing up to the mentally deranged dotard. “Why do you even believe you had any moral compass speaking to (Russian Foreign Affairs Minister) Sergey Lavrov,” one man asked, “because you do not speak against this authoritarian president?”

A whistleblower inside the Columbus police department has released emails from the department showing thatStormy Daniels’s recent arrest in D.C. was carefully preplanned days in advance.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Support for Roe v. Wade has reached a new high among Americans—including 52 percent of Republicans. Seventy-one percent of Americans overall believe the ruling should be upheld; only 23 percent believe it should be overturned.

Supergirl cast the first transgender superhero on television—the same transgender activist behind a landmark case that set a precedent for allowing trans people to use the restroom of their choice.

Children led a sit-in at the Senate building to protest the GOP administration’s separation of immigrant familiesand their treatment of the children.

The co-owner of the New York Giants stated he won’t punish players for kneeling during the national anthem, and chastised Donald: “He has no understanding why they take a knee or why they’re protesting.”

Nike will raise salaries for 7,000 employees after an internal review of claims of workplace misconduct and discrimination against women led to the ouster of several of the top brass.

Environmental groups brought a “citizen suit” against a Houston-area refinery under the Clean Air Act, alleging years of excessive air pollution—the refinery has agreed to a multimillion-dollar settlement as penalties and remediation in their factories of the issues.

The new acting EPA chief reversed the final policy act by Scott Pruitt that would have allowed “super-polluting” trucks on the nation’s roads.

Karma

Someone untied one of Betsy De Vos’s yachts and set it adrift on Lake Erie.

Someone else took a pickax to Donald’s star on Hollywood Boulevard. The perpetrator was bailed out by—and this is actually for real—the guy who did the same thing to the same star last year.

Ivanka shut down her clothing line—ostensibly to devote time to her White House duties (of which she should have none, officially, since SHE IS NOT AN OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE OR APPOINTEE), but more likely because of recent struggles with marketing as her products are increasingly boycotted and dropped from stores. That or Donald is preparing her to take over from him eventually in the banana republic he mistakenly believes America to be.

Here’s a fun article about what may be coming down the pike for the very stable genius.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Swedish student stopped the deportation of an Afghan asylum seeker by refusing to sit down on the flight on which the man was being deported.

Donny’s support among women continues to decline. (Who could have imagined…?)

Youth voter registration is up 41 percent in Florida since Parkland.

Melania Trump informed the world, as well as presumably her husband, that she will watch any TV channel she damned well wishes—after Donny had a big baby meltdown tantrum at seeing a picture of Melania on Air Force One with a TV tuned to CNN.

Trump’s job approval rating is below 40 percent in three politically important Midwest states: Michigan (36%), Wisconsin (36%), and Minnesota (38%). (And probably abysmally low with his wife, as well.)

“This is Shameful” | How Your Voices Are Making a Difference

7/23/18 “I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful.”

SO MUCH to report, warriors! This is a long one, and rather reassuring for the most part—so pour some cappuccino or wine or a nice healthy smoothie and sit back. This is going to take a minute.

The FBI seized recordings secretly made by attorney Michael Cohen of him and his numbah one client, then presidential candidate Donny boy, talking about—wait for it! have a sip of your bevvy…—the payments they were making to Playboy model Karen McDougal to buy her silence about her affair with Donald. Remember, this was the payment Donald said he knew nothing about, for an affair he said he’d never had—the one that may be a violation of campaign finance laws…

Republicans Reconsidering

Add conservative columnist Max Boot to those prominent Republican pundits leaving the party, along with George Will, Joe Scarborough, and others. In an article this week in the Washington Post, Boot, who helped run the 2008 and 2012 campaigns against Obama, said he’d take President Obama back “in a nanosecond,” and called the Obama administration “a lost golden age when reason and morality reigned… Just 18 months ago — can you believe it was so recently? — we had a president with whom I could disagree without ever doubting his fitness to lead.”

But if you want to know the present state of jaw-dropping ass-kissery in the Senate among most of the GOP, look no further than this headline. Yet a handful of Republican senators found the spine to speak out against the president of the U.S. providing succor to our enemies and attacking our allies and our own country and faulting U.S. “stupidity.” Notably, mostly only the ones not seeking reelection: “I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression. This is shameful,” Senator Jeff Flake wrote, and Sen Lyndsey Graham called out Donald for the show of “weakness.”

Republican John McCain issued as bitch-slappy a statement as has been aired, even from Dems: “One of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory…. No president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.” His full statement is astonishingly pointed and very much worth a read. It’s a shame that men of conscience and honor are so thin on the ground in the GOP these days.

Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas penned a startlingly frank op-ed in the NYTimes: “Over the course of my career as an undercover officer in the C.I.A., I saw Russian intelligence manipulate many people. I never thought I would see the day when an American president would be one of them.”

Donald’s brownnosing to Russia’s brutal leader was so egregious that even the usually obeisant Paul Ryan was moved to condemn Donny’s pandering to Putin, stating that there is no question Russia interfered in our elections, and that there is no moral equivalency between the U.S. and Russia. A Dallas Republican state rep published this op-ed in the Trib stating that it’s time to impeach the mentally deranged dotard. An Ohio GOP chairman resigned in outrage over Donny’s words and actions. Even Spicey came out of the shrubbery to weigh inthat Mueller’s investigation is not a witch-hunt.

For an expanded list of lawmakers’ reactions to the astonishing display of Don John’s (and the U.S.’s) throat and belly to our greatest geopolitical foe, see this piece and, surreally, this article from FOX. And please note that nowhere in this list is butt-kissin’ Teddy Cruz’s outrage—and multiple calls to his office yield crickets. (But hey, why not call him yourself and press the question…? His Austin office, the only one where anyone seems to answer, is 512-916-5834.)

Even FOX News was horrified, y’all! Anchor Neil Cavuto called the press conference “disgusting”; a Fox and Friends host (and daughter of Donny’s ambassador to Russia) said he threw America under the bus. A FOX op-ed called him “foolish and naïve”: “For a sitting U.S. president to say publicly that he believes a foreign leader over his own intelligence team is shocking and admonishable. At a time when our democracy faces grave threats, it is deeply troubling that the president would side with the very country who attacked us.”

Former CIA director John Brennan said Donald’s action “rises to and exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’” and called it “treasonous” and Donald “wholly in the pocket of Putin.” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Monday said the U.S. intelligence community has been “clear in our assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”

But if Donald spent two hours at a presser attacking the U.S. and ass-Frenching the former KGB head of our greatest geopolitical foe, at least Chris Wallace—ON FOX NEWS AGAIN, CAN YOU BELIEVE—had the cojones and, you know, patriotism to directly challenge Putin on his country’s actions against ours.

(Here’s the rest of the ludicrousness—but really don’t trouble yourself with all the windbaggery: The next day Donny responded to the backlash by saying he misspoke one word that left it open whether Russia interfered or not—but made sure to add that it could have been anyone, and he believes Putin. Then he said his meeting with Putie was much better than his meeting with our NATO allies. Then he said that “those at the higher ends of intelligence” (meaning mental capacity? the intelligence community? who can say—and it doesn’t matter what he means because he will only obfuscate it later) thought his meeting with his dark lord Putin went great. Then Little Donny contradicted U.S. intelligence again and said that there was no danger of Russia interfering in the next elections, even though director of national intelligence Daniel Coats (who appears to be entirely out of the loop where U.S. security is concerned) says “the warning lights are blinking red” and Microsoft says there’s already evidence that Russia has tampered with three 2018 candidates’ campaigns. One FOX News host on the show where he denied what every intelligence agency has confirmed said Donny “sounds insane.” Welcome to reality, FOX.)

And then Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the commander of cheese is open to Russia coming to American to question U.S. citizens. *Blink. Blink.* AND DONALD HAD TO THINK ABOUT THAT FOR THREE DAYS before caving to public outrage. And now Donny wants to invite Vlad to dinner at the White House! TIME magazine summed all the hoopla up in yet another spot-on, chilling cover.

Amid Donny’s suspicious kowtowing to the former KGB head of our greatest adversary, there are fresh calls for Donald to release his tax returns—not just from Democrats, but Republicans too.

And yet one Texas Republican refuses to take a public stand defending our country and her intelligence community—and it’s probably not the one you think! Good ol’ John Cornyn blocked passage of a nonbinding, bipartisan resolution backing the U.S. intelligence community’sassessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election, calling it “purely a symbolic act” and sinking the effort to pass the resolution by unanimous consent. And yet that very same day Cornyn backed another nonbinding bipartisan resolution, this one warning Don John not to surrender American diplomats and officials to Russia for questioning at Putin’s request—which the president of the United States called “an incredible offer”—passed unanimously.

Republican representative Mike Coffman of Colorado became the first of the GOP to sign a petition that would force a vote in the House toreverse the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality.

Russia

A senior writer for the very conservative National Review penned this article in the magazine vociferously defending the “entirely legitimate” Mueller investigation and its results thus far, and calling for Republicans to insist that it continue “because the witches are very real.”

Mueller asked a federal judge for immunity for five witnesses in exchange for their testimony in Paul Manafort’s upcoming trial.

If you’re keeping track of the “witch-hunt,” so far that’s 191 criminal charges against 32 witches and 3 witch companies.

Meanwhile, hours after Donny stood next to his puppetmaster Putin and exonerated him from any charges of meddling in our election (despite all intelligence agencies assessments to the contrary, and 25 indictments of Russian agents), a Russian working as an activist with American gun organizations has been accused of spying in America for Russia. Maria Butina had direct ties to the Russian intelligence agency and to wealthy businessmen in the Russian oligarchy, including this Russian businessman with ties to U.S. energy and technology firms.

In Other News

Inexplicably, Ajit Pai, head of the FCC who championed the torching of net neutrality laws, has come out against the Sinclair/Tribune merger that would have brought the uber-conservative propaganda broadcasting company into 72 percent of households, blowing past the current regulated limit of 39 percent.

Minutes before a vote was scheduled for Don’s circuit court nominee Ryan Bounds, the White House withdrew the nomination after even a Republican senator expressed concern about Bounds’s former racially insensitive writings. A special shout-out to our groups in Oregon, South Carolina, and Florida who worked against the Bounds nomination. Congratulations!

Republicans Against the Law

The Cuomo administration has launched an investigation into Kushner Cos. for alleged harassment of rent-stabilized tenants in its properties to force them out to make way for luxury condos.

New York’s attorney general has filed a civil lawsuit against Donny and all three of his (visible) children over the Trump Foundation’s possible inappropriate use of funds as their “personal checkbook.”

federal judge has temporarily halted deportations of families reunited after Donald’s administration separated them, after a request from the ACLU.

Republican Corruption

Move over, Scott Pruitt and Tom Price—it’s Devin Nunes’s week in the ethics-violations spotlight. The Federal Election Commission and two nonpartisan watchdog groups have discovered that Rep. Devin Nunes used political donations to pay for nearly $15,000 in lavish trips to Las Vegas, tickets to Boston Celtics basketball games, and winery tours.

Civil and Social Rights Advances

Spain is introducing a law intended to eliminate ambiguity in rape cases that requires that sexual consent be explicit—“yes means yes,” in other words, and anything other than yes means no.

CVS fired two employees who called police on a black woman claiming they thought she was using a fake coupon.

steakhouse in Texas banned a customer who stiffed a server and left a racist message about him on the ticket. “We stand by and support our employee,” the COO said. “Racism of any form is unacceptable.”

Karma

Canada’s retail giant Hudson’s Bay pulled all of Ivanka Trump’s products from their store for poor performance and public outcry.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Two flight attendants’ unions, representing more than 50,000 American and United flight attendants, have issued public statements opposing the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

On Little Donny’s recent visit to meet Queen Elizabeth, the queen wore a brooch given to her by the Obamas. Princes Charles and William refused to attend. And that’s how you royally throw shade.

The big angry Trump baby that’s full of hot air (the blimp, not the president) is coming to America for a national tour.

This happened, because sometimes the internet is magical.

An interesting article about the future of conservatism after Donald.

In the second quarter in the same districts, seven Democratic candidates outraised Republicans by more than double.

It’s been an absolutely insane week, warriors. Let this deliciousness wash over you and purge the Putiny taste from your mouth.

Nobody here is against Americans | How your voices are making a difference

7/16/18 “Nobody here is against Americans. They are welcome to come here anytime. It’s just Trump we have a problem with.”

The boys are out of the cave.

The Blue Wave

Beto O’Rourke’s increasingly successful challenge to Ted Cruz garnered national attention (again) this week in the NYTimesUSA Today, and others—most recently for his new milestone of $10.4 million raised in a single quarter—entirely without PACs and through individual contributions.

Russia

Twelve Russian military officers have been indicted by the Justice Department in conjunction with the 2016 election hacking. If you’re keeping track, so far that’s 32 witches indicted, five witches pleading guilty.

Peter Strozk and House Democrats handed Trey Gowdy and Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee their asses, using the most basic of arguments: If, as the GOP charges, he wanted to use the fact that Donald was under investigation to keep him from winning the election, why didn’t he use the fact that Donald was under investigation to keep him from winning the election?

Mueller has asked for 100 more blank subpoenas—about one month after requesting 150 subpoenas. That’s 50 more witnesses…

Republicans Against the Law

Rudy Giuliani, once a respected mayor and now mostly an incontinent-mouthed punch line and possibly a criminal, has been found to have been working with foreign clients while serving as Don John’s attorney—a conflict of interest and possible breach of federal ethics laws.

A federal judge ruled that Donald cannot detain undocumented children longer than 20 days.

Another federal judge refused to extend the deadline for Don’s administration to reunite separated children and their parents. They succeeded in returning only 38 of 102 children by the deadline. Even Dubya is disgusted with this administration’s actions.

Donald’s personal driver for the past 25 years has sued him for unpaid overtime, revealing that he received only two raises in 15 years, and that the scammer-in-chief took back his health insurance, canceling out one of them.

Republicans Finding Their Spines

The Senate voted in support of NATO, 97-2—a mostly symbolic but pointed rebuke of Little Donny’s attacks of the longtime political alliance that is a pillar of global order.

The Senate also held a nonbinding but symbolic motion to give Congress oversight of Donald’s imposition of tariffs, 88-11.

Republican Corruption

Scott Pruitt is enjoying a moment out of the spotlight as former HHS secretary Tom Price moves to the hot seat for a reported $341,000 in taxpayer dollars spent on inappropriate travel (Remember Price…he of the private jet charter). The internal ethics watchdog for the department is conducting an investigation: “We recommend the Office of the Secretary review the lack of compliance with federal requirements and determine appropriate actions to recoup the travel costs,” a spokeswoman for the inspector general’s office said in a statement.

Social and Civil Advances

Like the Parkland survivors in Florida, a group of students in conservative Santa Fe, Texas, have become activists. Along with students from Houston, they have created a nonprofit, the Orange Generation, to reduce gun violence and fight for commonsense gun laws. There’s a whole new generation coming of voting age that’s pissed off about the status quo—and organizing to do something about it.

An aerospace engineer was fired from Northrup Grumman one day after being exposed as a member of a violent white supremacist group.

Activists from several countries stealth-demonstrated during the World Cup, strolling around in their soccer jerseys in rainbow formation to champion gay rights.

Papa John’s founder—he who was asked to step down as CEO after slamming NFL leadership for players’ kneeling to protest racial injustice and police brutality…and who before that schemed to avoid offering health care to his employees—has now resigned from the company altogether after his latest offense: using racial slurs in a conference call. The company immediately rushed to pull his face off all marketing, and Louisville is removing his name from the University of Louisville sports stadium.

The police officer who ignored a woman being harassed for wearing a Puerto Rico T-shirt has resigned and his precinct is investigating the incident, and the man he allowed to verbally harass her is facing hate-crimes charges.

In a backlash against the anti-science stance of the current administration, hundreds of STEM professionals are running for officeacross the country. And women are running for office in record numbers as well.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

After a phenomenally successful grassroots fund-raising campaign on Facebook, RAICES is presenting a $20 million bail bond check to the Trump administration to release every single mother from U.S. detention centers.

Nearly 250,000 Brits took to the streets Friday in protest of Don John’s visit, and thousands more in Scotland. One marcher in Glasgow clarified, “Nobody here is against Americans. They are welcome to come here anytime. It’s just Trump we have a problem with.” Us too, friend.

Um…this happened in Germany—a parade float made a rather pointed point about Little Donny’s relationship with Russia.

And Kellyanne Conway’s husband keeps disparaging Donny as strenuously as she tries to defend him.

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.

Our Struggle to Redeem the Soul of America | How Your Voices Are Making a Difference

6/27/18 Our Struggle to Redeem the Soul of America

This bleak week I’ll lead with words from congressman and civil rights hero John Lewis: “Our struggle is a struggle to redeem the soul of America. It’s not a struggle that lasts for a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or a few years. It is the struggle of a lifetime, more than one lifetime.”

We are not the first generation to endure this struggle—and it won’t be the worst struggle our country has seen. Remember how far we have come—not just in civil and social rights, but in the common mind-set. The vast majority of Americans believe in equal rights for all—women, the LGBTQ community, people of color. Sixty-seven percent of Americans support reproductive rights for women. The Time’s Up/#MeToo movement has roared and continues to. The Parkland survivors and thousands of other young voters and soon to be voters are fed up with our government doing nothing to create commonsense gun regulation—and they arespeaking up and not backing downHundreds of thousands of people marched in more than 700 rallies across America this weekend in support of immigrant families and rights and those seeking asylum in our country.

Change has happened and continues to happen—regardless of how much the old white guys of the GOP want to pretend it hasn’t and try to stop it. It’s unstoppable. The avalanche has already started. Remind yourself that two-thirds of Americans did not vote for Donald Trump, including more than 75 million who voted againstthis corrupt president—more than 10 million more people than those who did vote for him. Our country may take a step or two back, but we will never return to the darkness we’ve come out of—the overwhelming majority of Americans won’t allow it.

This is the struggle of our lifetime, and we will stay in it however long it takes. Here we go.

Immigration

Williamson County commissioners voted 4-1 to close the Immigrant Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, that activists have been trying to shut down for years, ending an agreement with the federal government.

The House’s immigration bill that provided for $26 million in border wall fundingwas shot down, despite Donald’s exhortations to representatives to vote for it (which he claimed he never made, but he did). (It also contained a provision to allow a path to citizenship for Dreamers, supported by members of both parties in Congress and nearly 80 percent of Americans, including three out of four Trump voters, but repeatedly blocked by a vast swath of Tea Party Republicans.)

The Law Against Republicans

After seventeen states sued the Trump administration to force officials to reunite migrant families who have been separated at the U.S.-Mexico border, a federaljudge ruled that the government must reunite children separated from their families within 14 days (for those under 5) or 30 days (for older children).

A federal court ruled that the Virginia House illegally gerrymandered its districts in 2011 to concentrate African American voters into 11 districts and artificially advantage Republicans.

A federal judge blocked Kentucky’s attempt to link Medicaid benefits to work requirements as unconstitutional.

The driver who plowed into the crowd of counterprotestors in Charlottesville has been charged with the hate-crime act that led to the death of Heather Heyer, one of the people protesting the white-supremacist rally. The driver was charged with 30 federal counts of hate crimes “causing bodily injury and involving an attempt to kill.”

Russia Investigation

Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and FBI director Christopher Wray offered unambiguous, under-oath defenses of Mueller’s investigation and the FBI, systematically batting down the GOP’s attempts to attack and undermine both.

Despite Paul Manafort’s attempts to have Mueller’s charges against him ruled as overreach and dismissed, a federal judge has ruled that the bank and tax fraud cases against Manafort can proceed.

Former Donny adviser George Papadopoulos will sentenced in September for lying to the FBI, and is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation.

Trump ally and Blackwater founder Erik Prince provided Robert Mueller with “total access to his phone and computer.”

Social and Civil Rights Advances

The first same-sex couple appeared on the cover of ESPN’s Body Issue.

Retail stores are proudly flying the rainbow flag in honor of Pride Month, including Target, JCrew, Old Navy, Nordstrom, even the Austin Public Library.

Rep. Jared Polis secured the Democratic nomination for governor of Colorado—if he wins he’ll be the first openly gay man serving as a state governor.

Fox News suspended Trump’s former deputy campaign manager for telling a black Democratic strategist “You’re out of your cotton-picking mind.”

California’s new privacy laws will make is tougher than ever for tech companies to harvest and share users’ information—and that could influence companies’ privacy policies across the nation.

WTAF

Ted Cruz tweeted Illinois voters that they should vote for a Democrat rather than “that bigoted fool” who secured the GOP nomination for Congress despite being a Nazi. An actual Nazi. It’s unclear whether it’s more astonishing that GOP voters nominated an actual Nazi or that Ted Cruz has enough decency in him to urge voters not to vote for him.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

It was a fairly shit week for feel-goods, but dry British wit to the rescue: Protesters in the UK have pledged 8,000 pounds to fly a giant inflatable Trump baby over the capital during Don John’s visit next month.

And in Saturday’s Families Belong Together rallies, hundreds of thousands of people turned out across the nation to march for immigrant rights and to protest the current administration’s policy of separating children from families, and their lack of remediation, after a federal judge ordered the White House to reunite the families within 30 days.

We are legion, we are loud, and we are not going away.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: “This zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

6/23 “This zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Immigration

I’m leading with this story, because it may remind you how many good people are shoulder-to-shoulder with us, fighting against the co-opting of America. Immigration detention works like the rest of our legal system—if a detainee can post a set bail he/she can walk out of jail to await their hearing—but most immigrants arrive with a handful of possessions at best and can’t hope to post even a few hundred dollars. Parents moved by the plight of detained immigrant families being separated from their children started a Facebook fund-raiser hoping to raise $1,500 to help at least one immigrant family make “bail” to get out of detention. Within days they’d raised $4 million—at the time of this writing, a week later, they’ve raised almost $20 million (so far), blowing out of the water all previous records for a Facebook fund-raiser, and more than doubling the annual budget for RAICES (Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services), a nonprofit organization that offers free or low-cost legal assistance to immigrants which had just had its budget slashed by Donald’s administration. The money will be used as a perpetual bail fund and for legal representation for immigrants seeking asylum, to help reunite parents and children.

Former first lady Laura Bush penned a heartfelt and direct op-ed for the Washington Post decrying this administration’s policy of separating immigrant children from families and drawing a direct comparison to Japanese-American internment camps during WWII, “one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.” Bush said, “This zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Former presidential candidate Jeb Bush added his voice as well, asking that the White House end its “heartless policy” and stating that “children shouldn’t be used as a negotiating tool.”

A slew of other GOP politicians weighed in as well: Ben Sasse, Republican senator from Nebraska, said in a long Facebook post, “The President should immediately end this family separation policy,” and called the policy out as Donald’s “new discretionary choice.” Texas Republican House Rep Will Hurd literally laughed at Homeland Security’s Kirstjen Nelson’s flat-out lie that the White House did not have a policy of separating children and families, citing the numbers of families to whom it did exactly that. And MA governor Charlie Baker, also a Republican, changed his mind about sending National Guardsmen to the border, calling Donald’s policy “inhumane.” Michigan GOP House Rep Fred Upton echoed the sentiment, calling it “ugly and inhumane.” The sheriff of El Paso, TX (of all places), refused to help the feds guard the tent city set up for detained immigrant children, stating, “I think it’s wrong.”

And fresh on the heels of the commander of cheese announcing his intent to withdraw the U.S. from the U.N. human rights council (for obvious reasons of self-protection for his anti-humanitarian actions), the head of the U.N.’s Human Rights Council denounced Don John’s policy of tearing children from families, citing a statement from the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who said that detaining children separately from their parents was “government-sanctioned child abuse.” The following day Nikki Haley announced that the U.S.’s withdrawal from the U.N. Human Rights Council. Please read that again—the UNITED STATES, once the world’s defender of human rights and a bastion for equality and fairness, has withdrawn from the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The United Methodist Church is bringing “church charges” against AG Jeff Sessions (a member of the church) for the policy of separating children from families at the border. More than 600 United Methodist clergy and parishioners have filed a complaint accusing him ofchild abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of the doctrine of the United Methodist Church. To argue that these policies are consistent with Christian teaching is unsound, a flawed interpretation, and a shocking violation of the spirit of the Gospel,” the complaint says. Practically this probably means nothing, but it’s a powerful—and hopeful—sign that at least some churches and faith groups are speaking out against policies that bear no resemblance to anything taught in any religion, ever.

In Texas, for instance, numerous faith groups are decrying the White House’s policy of separating families, many rebuking Don John and Jeff Sessions directly and by name—and denouncing Sessions’s use of Bible verse to defend the policy. Even the Mormons are pissed.

United Airlines and American have told the government to “immediately refrain” from using them to transport migrant children.

Amid all the furor about immigration (including the House’s failed bill this past week), Gallup found in a new poll that Donald’s hardline stance may actually be having the opposite effect he intends: a vast majority of Americans—and growing—are in favor of immigration: “a record-high 75 percent of Americans, including majorities across all party groups, think immigration is a good thing for the U.S., up from 71 percent last year. Just 19 percent of the public considers immigration a bad thing. When asked more specifically about “legal” immigration, 84 percent said it’s a good thing. Perhaps more significantly, Gallup found a record-low number of Americans — only 29 percent — think immigration into the U.S. should be decreased, which has been one of Trump’s core demands to congressional negotiators. A 39 percent plurality think immigration should be kept at its present level, while 28 percent say it should be increased.”

Russia

FBI director Christopher Wray is speaking out to defend Robert Mueller and his investigation, stating, “I do not believe Special Counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt.”

Social and Civil Rights Advances

San Francisco elected its first black female mayor.

The royal family will see its first same-sex wedding when one of Queen Elizabeth’s cousins weds his partner.

Chain-store giants are celebrating Pride month—like Nordstrom with its rainbow flags in the entry, and JCrew’s LOVE FIRST apparel.

Republicans Reconsidering

Steve Schmidt, former campaign adviser to John McCain and longtime Republican strategist, announced Wednesday that he was renouncing his membership in the Republican party, which he called  “fully the party of Trump” and “a danger to our democracy and values.” He urged voters to elect Democrats in the 2018 elections.

George Will, a renowned conservative columnist who renounced his GOP membership several months ago, also urged voters to vote Democratic in 2018 in his latest op-ed.

The Senate voted—85 to 10—to block Donald’s attempt to keep Chinese telecom company ZTE in the U.S. market. The telecom giant manufactures phones that are said to be a mechanism for espionage because they can be tracked and enabled to steal intellectual property.

In other news, a recent CNN poll found a nearly Nixonian level of pro-impeachment sentiment among Americans for the mentally deranged dotard. (And yet a record high approval rating among Republicans of 90 percent.)

Republicans Against the Law

New York and Massachusetts are suing Donald’s administration for its expansion of health care plans that don’t meet ACA requirements.

Federal prosecutors subpoenaed the publisher of the National Enquirer as part of their Michael Cohen investigation, for allegedly sending stories about Don John directly to Cohen, his personal attorney, for vetting before publication during the 2016 campaign and once Donny took office. Donald might be growing a little nervous about Cohen, especially after actor Tom Arnold, working on a special in which he is seeking to uncover and air incriminating footage of the very stable genius, tweeted a pic of himself with Cohen…which Cohen retweeted.

The Office of Government Ethics is investigating Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for making a false statement to OGE about his stock holdings when taking office, and possible insider trading after he “short-sold” stock in a shipping company with Russian ties.

“Draining the Swamp”

Guess who’s leading this section…again? That’s right, the Scott Pruitt/EPA Greatest Hits of Corruption and Graft. This time records reveal that Pruitt has spent—wait for it—a total of $4.6 million on security, $1.1 million more than he reported even a month ago. And on guess what? Let’s go through his latest shopping list a little:

  • $2,749.62 on “tactical pants” and “tactical polos”
  • More than $80,000 worth of radios
  • $700 worth of shoulder holsters for carrying those radios like badasses
  • $931 for a kit to break down doors. FOR THE EPA.
  • $10,200 to lease an SUV with bulletproof seats
  • A panic alarm for Pruitt’s office

Watchdog groups examining Scott Pruitt’s official email records discovered Pruitt sent one single email in his first ten months in office—an unlikely figure that raises the question of what channel he is using for official government communication.

In other cabinet corruption, I’ll just quote this Politico article’s first line directly, because I can’t state the appalling truth any more baldly than they did: “A foundation established by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and headed by his wife is playing a key role in a real-estate deal backed by the chairman of Halliburton, the oil-services giant that stands to benefit from any of the Interior Department’s decisions to open public lands for oil exploration or change standards for drilling.” The proposed commercial development—which the Zinkes own property next to—will apparently include a microbrewery, a business Ryan Zinke has been lobbying the city for, for years, and which is rumored to be set aside for him to own and operate.

More White House staff hemorrhaging: Donny’s deputy chief of staff will be resigning in July. I’m not including his name because why try to keep track of the ins and outs of the crazily revolving door our executive branch has become? And our legislative branch, for that matter, with the rush of retiring lawmakers. If by “drain the swamp,” Donald meant his own crooked cronies, then at least he’s making inroads.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Hundreds of people showed up at LaGuardia airport with messages of love and support for immigrant children torn from their families and flown to NY.

Genetic testing company 23 and Me is donating DNA test kits to help parents separated from their children find and reunite with them.

300 Microsoft employees are threatening to resign unless the company terminates its contract with ICE.

Voters in Portland (Oregon seems to be the moral compass of the nation lately) shut down an ICE facility where they were holding immigrants.

By a vote of 6 to 1, an elementary school in Richmond, VA rejected its Confederate name (J. E. B. Stuart) in favor of renaming itself Barack Obama Elementary. <3 It’s poetically beautiful that the school in the former capital of the Confederacy buried rebel general Stuart’s name in favor of the nation’s first African-American president.

Seth McFarlane donated $2.5 million to NPR after tweeting that he was embarrassed by his network—FOX—when Tucker Carlson exhorted viewers to “always assume the opposite of whatever they’re telling you on the big news stations.” (As if FOX is not one of the biggest, BTW) (Oh, but wait, I think I see where he was going with that—we can’t call that a “news station.”)

The cast of Roseanne will be back on the air for at least 12 shows after being yanked due to Roseanne Barr’s racist twitter comments: the network has announced a spinoff called The Connors will start production next month, now that Barr has agreed to forgo any financial or creative involvement or benefit. Perhaps this is a utopian glimpse of a future America, where people of differing views can still love one another and get along, minus racism, hate, and vituperative personal attacks.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Let us be serious and worthy of our people:

6/18 “Let us be serious and worthy of our people”

After the G7 summit in which Donald acted like the big man-baby he is, threw a tantrum, and then whined on Twitter because Justin Trudeau stood up to him, French president Emmanuel Macron finally abandoned all pretense of trying to humor the commander of cheese, stating publicly that “international cooperation cannot depend on fits of anger or little words. Let us be serious and worthy of our people.” Thank god there are adults in the room—too bad they all seem to be in other countries.

One of the few FOX News anchors who actually reports the news, Shep Smith, gave a scathingly honest breakdown of Donald’s concessions to the brutal North Korean dictator the mentally deranged dotard says he “trusts” and who is “very talented”: Donald gave up plenty to a murderous authoritarian and got nothing in return. “The United States made concessions in exchange for no hard promises….Kim Jong Un got it all…for actually doing nothing.”

Russia

Robert Mueller filed for 150 blank subpoenas in Paul Manafort’s VA case—meaning 75 potential witnesses.

Attorney Michael Cohen, facing serious charges by the investigation and abandoned by his former client Don John, has indicated to friends and family that he will cooperate with Mueller’s investigation. Sing it loud and proud, Robert. Perhaps influencing his sudden spirit of cooperation, investigators have so far pieced together 16 documents from Cohen’s shredder, seized by Mueller’s team last month, and obtained thousands of encrypted text messages.

Attorney (and husband of Kellyanne) George Conway wrote a long article in a prominent law publication refuting Donald’s assertions that the appointment of Robert Mueller was unconstitutional, and heartily defending Mueller’s investigation: “Additionally, Conway wrote, the scope of Mueller’s investigation is far narrower compared to the wide-ranging duties of U.S. attorneys. And although Calabresi argued that Manafort’s indictment is far beyond that scope, Conway said an appeals court already has rejected that argument. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled last month that Mueller’s prosecution of Manafort on charges of money laundering, tax and bank fraud, and conspiracy was ‘an appropriate exercise of the Special Counsel’s authority’— and said that Mueller ‘would have been remiss’ if he ignored ‘such an obvious link’ between the Trump campaign and Russia. ‘So not only does Mueller have a boss, and not only is the boss keeping tabs on Mueller, but, according to this judicial decision, Mueller is also faithfully following his boss’s orders,’ Conway wrote. ’That disposes of Calabresi’s Appointment Clause contentions.’”

Republicans Against the Law

Paul Manafort is in jail for witness tampering. No more house arrest. No bail. BOOM. (That’s the sound of the hammer coming down, Donald and minions.)

New York has filed suit against Donald, Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka for illegal misuse of his (allegedly) nonprofit charity organization, including using its funds to pay off his businesses’ creditors, decorate one of his golf clubs and stage a multimillion-dollar giveaway at his 2016 campaign events. The suit might involve the IRS, whose investigation could lead to federal criminal charges against Donny for tax fraud.

For the third time, Donald has tried—and failed—to have Summer Zervos’s defamation case against him dismissed. The suit will now move forward with discovery—which may require Donald to testify under oath about his treatment of women.

Former FBI Deputy Director Christopher McCabe—whom Don John fired hours before McCabe would have received his full earned retirement benefits—is suing the FBI, the Justice Department and its inspector general for refusing to turn over documents related to McCabe’s termination.

Meanwhile Michael Cohen made a bid to muzzle Stephanie Clifford’s (Stormy Daniels) lawyer, Michael Avenatti, but a federal judge refused to grant a gag order.

Multiple Texas organizations supporting and lobbying for abortion rights filed suit against the state for laws that restrict access to abortion and disadvantage low-income people, people of color, and other marginalized communities, stating that the laws allow providers to distribute inaccurate information, shame women seeking abortions, and create bureaucratic barriers to the procedure.

Republicans Reconsidering

In direct defiance of Don John’s deal with Chinese telecom company ZTE after the company broke American sanctions on countries like North Korea and Iran, the Senate blocked Donny’s agreement, which would have kept the company in the U.S. market. Republican senator Tom Cotton says the move will likely put the telecom giant, which is said to be a mechanism for espionage by, in part, selling phones in the U.S. that can be tracked and enabled to steal intellectual property, out of business.

Republican senator Joni Ernst, a key member of the Senate Armed Services committee, openly questioned Donald’s concession to brutal dictator Kim Jong Un to suspend joint military exercises with South Korea.

Republican senator Bob Corker is uncorked now that he’s announced he won’t seek reelection. On the heels of Mitch McConnell blocking his Corker’s proposed legislation that would have blocked Donny’s ability to levy tariffs, Corker called the GOP under the very stable genius “cultish” and “fearful.”

“Draining the Swamp”

Are you surprised that we will lead this section, yet again, with Scott Pruitt’s shenanigans? This time he was revealed to havesolicited a top aide as well as wealthy donors to secure a job for his wife. As a reminder it seems Pruitt desperately needs, federal ethics rules prohibit public officials from using their posts for private gain or receiving free services or other gifts from their subordinates.

Of course Pruitt’s office is handling all this with Donald’s White House’s usual grace, calling one reporter from the Atlantic “a piece of trash” for asking questions, and using physical aggression against others.

Donald’s White House continues to hemorrhage staffers—latest departures, both announced and rumored, include Capitol Hill liaison Marc Short, deputy press secretary Raj Shah, and the liar-in-chief’s right-hand liar, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Having trouble keeping up with staff attrition? Here’s a comprehensive list from WTF Just Happened Today.

The 24-year-old campaign intern and former “drug czar” in Donald’s administration (head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy) was relieved of duty at the drug policy office as a result of Washington Post’s article exposing his six quick promotions despite a total lack of experience, and then subsequently fired. Now he’s speaking out.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

In a unanimous vote, the Austin City Council voted to pass a Freedom City policy, a measure that helps avoid racial profiling in arrests, requires full vetting and reporting on arrests requested of APD by ICE, and ensures that officers who ask detainees about their immigration status also inform them of their right not to answer, and fill out a report explaining the encounter.

Students who survived the school shooting in Parkland at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high have organized a bus tour called Road to Change, focused on getting young people to vote and keeping them politically engaged.

Target and Walmart are proudly flying rainbow flags all over their stores and online.

This week there’s another new section I’m simply calling:

WTAF

propaganda video about North Korea that paints Kim Jong Un as the beloved leader of a grateful people, rather than the brutal dictator he is who imprisons, tortures, and kills his own people, was actually produced and released BY THE WHITE HOUSE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

A cohost on the commander of cheese’s favorite show, Fox and Friends, Freudianly referred to Donald as a dictator on air, and then frantically tried to brush it under the rug as a slip of the tongue (instead of a slip of the truth). Neither Anthony “not trying to suck my own c*&k” Scaramucci, who was being interviewed by cohost Abby Huntsman when she let the subconscious truth bomb fly, nor, presumably, the wannabe dictator in the White House seemed to take offense nor even notice the comment.

There are actually staffers in the White House who painstakingly tape together official documents that Donald methodically shreds in his little man-baby tantrums, because they are legally required to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act. Let’s be clear—this happens because staffers felt it was easier to laboriously tape together documents sometimes shredded into confetti rather than demand the president of the United States obey the law, let alone act like an adult.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

ICE conducted a workplace raid at a small town in Tennessee, a state where Donald won 61 percent of the vote, and detained 97 immigrants—but the town spoke out and fought back.

Less than two weeks after a pilot whale died off Thailand with 80 plastic bags in its stomach, three major corporations—SeaWorld, IKEA, and Royal Caribbean Cruises—are banning plastic straws and bags in an effort to curb rampant plastics pollution in oceans. They join other companies, as well as cities like Seattle, which will ban plastic straws and utensils in restaurants as of July 1, and California, which is working to ban plastic bags; and all of the UK: Teresa May has announced a countrywide ban on plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton swabs.

How your voices are making a difference: “Commander of Cheese”

6/11 “Commander of Cheese”

Let’s jump right in with…

Republicans Against the Law

A federal judge ruled that a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the White House for its policy separating children from parents at the border will be allowed to proceed. “The government conduct at issue shocks the conscience and violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional right to family integrity,” Judge Dana M. Sabraw wrote.

federal judge ruled against Donald in a sanctuary city case in Philadelphia, ruling that the administration could not withhold federal funding from the city over its sanctuary policies and stating that the attempt “violates statutory and constitutional law.”

judge ruled that Donald can be deposed in the lawsuit brought against him by Summer Zervos for defamation, after her accusations against him of sexual misconduct.

A judge has ordered Scott Pruitt’s EPA to provide evidence for his assertion that humans are not the main cause of climate change, after Pruitt published the antiscientific dictum and resisted providing any science to back up the claim.

A federal judge rejected efforts by Trump, the Trump Organization and Michael Cohen to file their objections to findings from the seized documents and records of Donny’s personal attorney’s business dealings entirely under seal, and has instructed that any objections be filed publicly.

Stormy Daniels has filed another lawsuit, this one against Donald’s presently-marinating-in-hot-water personal attorney Michael Cohen as well as her own former attorney, for allegedly colluding together and with Donald to intimidate her and try to silence her story of her relationship with Donald shortly after Melania gave birth to Barron.

Colin Kaepernick’s lawyers plan to subpoena Donald and Mike Pence to compel their testimony about the administration’s direct political involvement with and pressuring of the NFL during Kaepernick’s free agency and the league’s handling of player protests.

The Pentagon opened an investigation into Ronny Jackson, Donald’s former physician who once said Don John could live to 200 if he ate his vegetables. (No, really.)

In light of all the recent conservatives finally speaking out against Donny, let’s try a new section this week we’ll call…

Republicans Reconsidering

Paul Ryan, on his way out of politics, seems to have finally located some vestigial spine and joined other lawmakers—including Republicans—in stating that he’s seen no evidence indicating that the FBI placed a “spy”into Donny’s campaign.

Retired army lieutenant colonel Ralph Peters, who announced in March that he would no longer appear on FOX as a military expert in March because he was disgusted with the network’s extreme bias and slant, gave his first interview since his departure, saying on CNN that FOX had become “a destructive propaganda machine” and is doing “a great, grave disservice to our country.” “It’s bewildering to me,” he said. “I mean, I wanted to just cry out and say: ‘How can you do this? How can you lie to our country?’” Another former FOX news anchor now at CNN joined in, corroborating FOX’s “blurring of the lines between propaganda and journalism.”

The political network run by the Koch brothers is launching a multimillion-dollar, multiyear campaign to oppose his new tariffs. (Unrelated, probably, David Koch stepped down from the company for health reasons.)

Donald asked Republican senator Bob Corker not to file a bill that would check Donny’s authority in trade, such as his recent imposition of tariffs. Corker did it anyway.

Kellyanne Conway’s husband has taken to Twitter again with more public smackdowns on his wife’s boss, Donald—this time refuting Don John’s tweets that the Mueller investigation is unconstitutional.

Ted Cruz was struck dumb for 18 interminable seconds in an interview when asked whether Donald had the right to pardon himself, as the colluder-in-chief asserted he did.  Other members of the GOP weighed in more readily, many saying that Donald would likely be impeached if he were to pardon himself for crimes. Which brings us right to…

Russia

Robert Mueller has accused Paul Manafort of witness tampering. In case you’re keeping a tally in the “witch hunt” so far that’s 20 witches indicted, 75 charges filed so far against witches, and at least 5 witches pleading guilty.

As a result a federal judge has scheduled a hearing to revoke Manafort’s bail. Also as a result, Mueller has requested the personal cell phones of witnesses in the case to inspect their encrypted messaging programs, which Manafort used in his efforts to influence the witnesses.

Meanwhile, Mueller filed new charges against both Manafort and an associate of Manafort’s, Konstantin Kilimnik, for obstructing justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice in connection with what investigators are calling a secret lobbying scheme on behalf of Ukraine.

Despite nearly a year’s worth of denials from Donald’s aides that he was behind a misleading statement released in Donny Jr.’s name about the Trump Tower meeting little Junior held with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, a confidential memo to the special counsel revealed that the liar-in-chief did, in fact, dictate the statement.

“Draining the Swamp”

The Scott Pruitt abuse-of-office saga continues with revelations that he used taxpayer-funded staff to help him search for housing, buy a used Trump mattress, and help his wife look into opening a Chick-Fil-A franchise. Two days later it was revealed that he also used members of taxpayer-funded $3.5 million/year security detail to pick up his dry cleaning and take him to buy moisturizing lotionFederal ethics laws bar public officials from using their position or staff for private gain. One of his top aides—who received a hefty salary increase despite the White House refusing Pruitt’s request for raises—has resigned, allegedly telling other staffers she is tired of being “thrown under the bus” by Pruitt. Democrats have formally asked the Justice Department to investigate Pruitt for criminal conduct.

Remember White House aide Kelly Sadler, who made an appalling comment about John McCain, stating that his opposition to CIA director Gina Haspel’s nomination didn’t matter because the war-hero POW senator was dying? She’s out.

Donald is reportedly tabling the attempt to appoint a number three official in the DoJ—the person who would assume control of the Russia investigation should Donald fire Robert Mueller—because no one apparently wants the position.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Voters recalled Judge Aaron Perksy from the bench Wednesday, the judge who sentenced convicted rapist Brock Turner to a lenient six months in jail—the first judge removed from his position in California in 86 years.

Miss America is eliminating the swimsuit competition (because it’s 2018, FFS).

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Donald uninvited the Philadelphia Eagles from the White House after only “a tiny handful” of the players agreed to meet with him. FOX News, reporting the story in pure propaganda style, ran a picture showing players kneeling—which was later exposed by Eagles team members as actually being a photo of several of them in a circle praying. FOX later apologized for the misleading photo. Meanwhile at the White House, in Don John’s patched-together “Celebration of America” he held without the Super Bowl champions (which drew backlash from the world of pro sports), one attendee took a knee.

After NBA finalists the Warriors and the Cavaliers both stated that they did not want to be invited to the White House, Donald scrambled to announce he was not inviting them to the White House.

Rudy Giuliani’s latest mouth eruptions have been publicly smacked down, this time from the unlikeliest of sources: Melania Trump’s office. Melania’s spokesperson refuted Giuliani’s assertion that the scarce first lady told Donald’s bloviating newest lawyer that she believed her husband regarding the Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) affair: “I don’t believe Mrs. Trump has ever discussed her thoughts on anything with Mr. Giuliani,” her spokeswoman told the New York Times.

Finally, if you haven’t yet discovered Randy Rainbow’s incisive, hilarious musical parodies of the world of Don John, please allow me to introduce you with this genius video from a statement that actually, magically happened, when Kellyanne Conway referred to Donny as the commander of cheese.