A culture of mass chaos | How your voices are making a difference

Among its many other disturbing findings, Mueller’s report revealed a culture of mass chaos in Donny’s White House (WHO COULD HAVE FORESEEN THAT), with a president exhorting aides and staff to blatantly break laws and democratic norms and a staff desperately ignoring his directives and trying to rein him in while Don John panicked, stating once the investigation started that his presidency was over and he was “fucked.” (Such a good little evangelical Christian, our potty-mouthed, thrice-married, pussy-grabbing, extramarital-porn-star-mistress-bribing president.) Sarah Sanders got outed by the report for blatantly lying (WHO COULD HAVE FORESEEN THAT?) when she stated she’d been approached by “countless” FBI agents unhappy about the investigations. The truth turned out to be zero agents, Sanders admitting to Mueller she was entirely unable to substantiate her lie.

Regarding the report’s findings on Donny’s obstructions of justice, newsman Shepard Smith—of FOX, of all places—offers an excellent breakdown of what the redacted Mueller report does—and doesn’t—say.

The House in Da HOUSE

Don’t worry, y’all—Dems in the House are all the hell over it. Given the massive snow job the White House is trying to conduct about the report, abetted by the attorney general and most of FOX News, the House Judiciary Committee has petitioned the Justice Department for a full, unredacted copy of Mueller’s report.

House Democrats also issued a flurry of subpoenas related to investigations into Donald’s finances: the House Intelligence and Financial Services committees subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for Trump’s personal and financial records. They also subpoenaed JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup for documents related to possible Russian money laundering, as well as five other financial institutions.

The House Judiciary Committee requested information about Trump’s reported offer to pardon the Customs and Border Protection Commissioner if he was sent to jail for blocking asylum seekers from entering the U.S.

Meanwhile, if you happen to know any of the type of GOP squawking about Dems’ continuing investigations into the report’s findings as if Democrats are a dog who won’t leave behind a bone, here is a fun game: Ask whether they might feel the same way if a special investigator’s report revealed that Russia influenced our elections deliberately to benefit Hillary Clinton, with her knowledge and welcoming of their efforts, and that she subsequently tried to block the investigation of same at least ten different legally questionable times, while lying repeatedly to the American public and directing her staff to break the law and lie. Oh—also ask them if that was how they felt during the two-and-a-half-year investigation into Benghazi that cost taxpayers more than $7 million and found zero indication that Hillary Clinton bore any personal responsibility or could have prevented the attack.

Republicans Against the Law

Y’all didn’t think a week would go by without some instance of the GOP transgressing against our laws, didja? A federal judge ruled late last week that Donny’s Interior Department acted illegally when it lifted Obama-era restrictions on coal-mining on public lands.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Francis H. Arnold earned the Nobel Prize in chemistry, only the fifth woman ever to do so.

Arizona repealed an archaic law on the books banning the discussion of LGBTQ issues in health classes in schools, freeing teachers to actually educate students.

The Museum of Natural History in NYC canceled an event it was hosting for the Brazilian-American Chamber of Commerce honoring far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, after environmental groups—including the Brazilian environmental organization Observatório do Clima—protested the honoring of a leader who has been outspoken about his intentions to roll back environmental protections.

Tears continue in the evangelical fabric: Students at Taylor University, an evangelical school in Mike Pence’s hometown of Indiana, started a petition that has so far garnered more than 5,000 signatures to protest Pence’s being invited to speak at their commencement address. The petition states that the students object to inviting Pence because it makes them “complicit in the Trump-Pence Administration’s policies, which we believe are not consistent with the Christian ethic of love we hold dear.”

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Donald offered ridiculous advice to France for putting out the Notre Dame fire and was summarily Gallically mocked by a fire chief spokesperson for France’s civil defense organization.

In the wake of millions of dollars pouring in to rebuild Notre Dame, the tragedy and fund-raising brought new attention to the three black churches burned down in Louisiana by a white domestic terrorist: at last count a Go Fund Me account to benefit the churches has raised $1.8 million.

Feel free to widely share this illuminating video that juxtaposes the way FOX talking heads spoke of Obama versus their POV on Donny for the exact same issues.

Bernie Sanders spent an hour in a town hall format with FOX commentators and pretty much schooled them.

Michelle Obama burned Donald in the classiest of ways.

Rewriting the laws he’s broken | How your voices are making a difference

This has been a pretty tough week, with Donald and his toadies literally rewriting the laws he’s broken to exempt Donald from them like the worst sort of banana republic, Donald flushing out the Department of Homeland Security to further immigrant-descended Steven Miller’s draconian anti-immigrant agenda, and the Republican Congress continuing to enable and abet the traitor in chief as he freely breaks laws, dismantles our democracy, betrays our country, rampantly breaches standards of ethics and common human decency, and spews lies and ignorance.

But hold your righteous banners high, warriors, and cleave to hope—there are so many things in the works to contain the mentally deranged dotard, and so many good, moral, law-abiding people banding together and working to end this attack on our nation and our democracy.

Donald is clearly panicking as the noose tightens regarding investigations into his business dealings and tax returns and his possible breaches of the law, turning his fire hose of vitriol onto immigration, a dog whistle that has tracked well with his base in the past.

First he withdrew his appointment for the head of ICE by stating he was “going in a tougher direction.” He also apparently sprang a forced resignation on Kirstjen Nielsen, his constant champion and defender for harsh immigration policies like separating families at the border, because she wasn’t cruel enough, and then promptly 180’d on two policies she warned were illegal and a PR nightmare: closing the southern border and transporting and releasing detained immigrants into sanctuary cities. Donny also instructed his acting chief of staff to fire his Secret Service director. Here’s a running list of all this unstable administration’s unprecedented turnovers—66 percent of executive staff!—but at the pace at which the maggots are dropping off the body, it might be out of date by the time you read it.

Meanwhile even some Republicans may be finding the limits of their own personal depravity in enabling the Very Stable Genius (to the surprise of many, who weren’t sure there actually were any limits). Four Republican senators indicated they would not vote to confirm Herman Cain, Donald’s nominee for Federal Reserve. And GOP senator Chuck Grassley warned Donny to stop his purge of immigration officials.

Plano state house Rep. Jeff Leach—a Republican, believe it or not—promised that the appalling bill proposed by Texas GOP Rep. Tony Tinderholt that would criminalize abortion as criminal homicide, and thus potentially carry the death penalty for women who had one in a stunning hypocrisy apparently pro-lifers choose to ignore, would never leave his committee to be put to a vote.

Republicans Against the Law

federal judge blocked Don John’s efforts to force asylum seekers to remain in Mexico, against U.S. stated policy and the law.

The White House illegally consulted the Treasury regarding Democrats’ request for Donny’s tax returns—a breach of a law designed to prevent White House interference and political involvement into congressional business.

The House Is in the House!

House lawmakers voted to reinstate net-neutrality internet laws that Don John’s administration stripped. (Although Mitch McConnell, of course, has already stated he won’t bring the motion to a vote in the Senate, and Donald has vowed to veto it if it reaches his desk.)

The House Oversight committee plans to subpoena Donald’s accounting firm for 10 years of the grifter in chief’s financial records.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Illinois joins the other 17 states that are voting to forbid any presidential candidate from being on the ballot unless they release their tax returns.

A female scientist, 29-year-old MIT postdoctorate fellow Katherine Bouman, led the development of the algorithm that led to first photo of black hole.When sexist trolls attacked and impugned her achievements, her fellow scientist they had tried to use to steal credit from her was the one who spoke up loudly to defend Bouman’s groundbreaking accomplishments.

Just days after being accused of penalizing students with immigrant parents, an Austin elementary school principal was removed from her position.

Less than a month after the mass killing in New Zealand, their Parliament passed a law banning most semiautomatic weapons.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Promising results from the first class of LeBron James’s school for children labeled the “worst performers” in their Akron elementary schools, often diagnosed with behavioral problems, indicate that providing a quality education equally to all children can change lives and close the education gap. Kids as young as 8 who were already predicted likely never to graduate excelled: “Ninety percent met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math, outpacing their peers across the district.” This read will make you feel good about the world.

In a random bit of hopeful news for our education system, cursive is making a comeback.

Exposing Corruption in Donny’s Swamp | How your voices are making a difference

A whistleblower in the White House security office has exposed that White House staff overturned more than 25 denials for security clearances of Donny’s staff despite “serious disqualifying issues,” like ties to foreign influence, conflicts of interests, questionable or criminal conduct, financial problems, or drug abuse, among them Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn. This corroborates the memos uncovered recently by former chief of staff John Kelly and former White House counsel Don McGahn regarding their concerns about the same subject. Read the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake’s excellent breakdown of what this might mean, and a list of other major security breaches by the president who built a campaign on deriding Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The U.S. Ethics Office declined to certify the financial disclosures for Steven Mnuchin—y’all, the main ethics watchdog for our nation has ethical issues with the financial accuracy and truth of the financial disclosures of the SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

But wait, there’s more! Donny’s nominee to head the Federal Reserve Board—you know, the organization in charge of monitoring and guiding our country’s economical well-being—was just found in contempt of court for failing to pay his ex-wife $330,000 in alimony and CHILD SUPPORT.

A third federal judge, this one in Maryland, has blocked Donny’s administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The House is in the HOUSE!

In related news, the House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena information and testimony related to Wilbur Ross’s 2020 census citizenship question that three courts have now ruled illegal.

And regarding the newly exposed overturned security-clearance denials of Donald’s White House cronies, the House Oversight and Reform Committee voted Tuesday to subpoena Carl Kline, who served as personnel security director at the White House during the first two years of the administration.

The House Judiciary Committee voted to subpoena the Mueller report in its nearly 400-page footnoted unredacted entirety from the Justice Department, after AG William Barr’s suspiciously reductive 4-page summary—and curiously along party lines, despite the recent unanimous House vote to release the report.

The House Ways and Means Committee asked the IRS for six years of the commander of cheese’s tax returns, citing Congress’s duty as a coequal branch of government to “determine how Americans—including those elected to our highest office—are complying with [tax] laws.”

The House Intelligence Committee requested documents from Donny’s inaugural committee regarding how it raised and spent $107 million, on the heels of a federal subpoena in February for the same information.

The House passed bipartisan legislation approved by the Senate that will end military involvement in Yemen, a direct rebuke of Donald’s Saudi-friendly support of the conflict, and setting up Donald for a likely (and likely unpopular) veto putting him firmly on record as protecting and furthering the interests of the Saudi crown prince (the one who ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi).

Overcoming opposition from the National Rifle Association, the House voted on Thursday 263-158 for a revised version of the Violence Against Women Act that expands gun control, barring gun sales to convicted abusers of current or former dating partners. The measure also would prohibit gun sales to people found guilty of stalking misdemeanors and those under one-party restraining orders.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Reversing a 2015 decision, the Mormon Church will now allow baptisms and blessings for children of LGBTQ parents.

Chicago became the largest city in history (thus far!) to elect a black female mayor, and first openly gay person to hold the office, Lori Lightfoot.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans would be okay with a gay president; 85 percent said they were comfortable with a female candidate. (Apparently everyone’s cool with old white guys, and we know how at least a third of the country feels about a black president.)

After a conservative freelance journalist went on a homophobic Twitter rant against a gay journalist, a major publication she wrote for–the Federalist–dropped her from their freelance roster.

The pro-gun party in the pocket of the NRA (Republicans, in case that’s vague) apparently doesn’t like it when guns are a threat in their vicinity—when an “activist” pushing a proposed bill allowing Texans to openly carry a firearm without a permit showed up at the  hones of several Texas legislators. Republican state rep Jonathan Stickland, the author of the bill, stated he was “officially canceling” the bill.

New Mexico became the 14th state to pledge its electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact does not take effect until they have amassed 270 electoral votes; the tally now is at 189. Republicans—the party whose victories rely on suppressing voting—are fighting the change, probably since of the five instances in our country’s history when the candidate who won the popular vote actually lost in the electoral college, four were Republicans (the other was John Quincy Adams, one of all candidates running as a Democratic-Republican).

In a barely masked rebuke to the nationalist-in-chief, Pope Francis said that those who close borders “will become prisoners of the walls that they build.”

Donald’s Foot in Donald’s Mouth

Donald backpedaled from threats to close to border “immediately” to offering a “one-year warning.”

Another of Donny’s birther conspiracy theories was debunked by a birth certificate—this one his father’s, after the Mentally Deranged Dotard asserted—multiple times and erroneously—that his Bronx-born father was born in Germany. LOL!

Donny claimed the noise from windmills causes cancer—LOLOLOL! Two days later a bipartisan group of 19 senators urged more federal support for wind turbines, led by Democrat Jeff Merkley and Republican Chuck Grassley, the latter of whom called Donny’s remark “idiotic.”

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

See all the above. 🙂

Finally, young anti-populists in Switzerland have found delightful, creative ways to combat the spread of right-wing nationalist populism.

Human Tire Fire | How your voices are making a difference

Republicans Against the Law

A federal judge blocked Trump administration Medicaid work requirements in Kentucky—for the second time—calling the requirements “arbitrary and capricious,” and said that a similar law in Arkansas “cannot stand.”

federal judge blocked Donny’s executive order to allow drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, stating that he didn’t have the authority to override the Obama legislation protecting the areas indefinitely, stating that the ban was revocable “only by an act of Congress.”

federal judge (a Bush appointee) blocked Donny’s attempted “end run” around the ACA that would have allowed insurance providers to offer bare-bones plans.

Congress Actually Working

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform has opened an investigation into the Texas secretary of state’s misleading flagging of nearly 100,000 voters as possible noncitizens.

Senators Dick Durbin (D) and Lindsey Graham (R, but often D-bag) reintroduced bipartisan legislation aimed toward creating a path to citizenship for Dreamers, amid Donald’s ongoing attacks on the program and immigrants (or anyone not rich, male, and white).

Introducing a new category all about Donald this week that I shall call…

Human Tire Fire

The Washington Post conducted this deep investigation into how Don John inflated his wealth and downplayed his debts to lenders and investors for years with—pardon the pun—trumped-up bogus financial documents he doctored to look official. Investigators are now examining all these documents to discover whether they qualify as fraud.

Donald announced his new budget, which slashed all funding for the Special Olympics (the amount of which would be covered by the cost of Donald’s last five trips to Mar-A-Lago), and Betsy DeVos started bleating attempted defenses of the cuts to the venerated program for children with disabilities. And then the Very Stable Genius immediately 180’d and announced he would not pull funding for the program.

Republicans Reconsidering

Barbara Bush pulls no punches against the Mentally Deranged Dotard in a new biography of the former first lady, and said of his candidacy, “Putin endorsed him, for heaven’s sake. Putin the killer! Putin the worst! He endorsed Trump! That’s an endorsement you don’t want.” She also stated she probably would not consider herself a Republican today in the present state of the party.

Former Republican senator Jeff Flake says America would be better off electing a Democrat rather than the Mentally Deranged Dotard in 2020, or we will “sacrifice a generation.”

The Kids Are All Right

Here are a few prime examples of why everything is going to be okay with America:

When three female Maryland high school students discovered that the boys were circulating a crass list numerically rating female students, they fought back, first asking the principal to act, and when the “solution” was a single day’s detention for the boy who started the list, they organized a march on his office, resulting in a 2½ -hour forum in which the girls read statements to the boy of how his actions affected them. “It was the last straw, for us girls, of this ‘boys will be boys’ culture,” one of the young organizers said. “We’re the generation that is going to make a change.” A very worthwhile read.

High school students in Wisconsin rebelled against cheerleading awards offered at the official dinner for things like “Bog Booty” and “Big Booby,” resulting in the demeaning awards being banned in the district.

Three female students at a North Carolina charter school (with their parents) filed a lawsuit over the school’s “skirts-only” policy for girls, after resistance and obstruction of their efforts by the school’s administration, which stated that the dress code was to promote “traditional values” and “preserve chivalry.” A federal judge in North Carolina ruled in the students’ favor that the school cannot enforce its skirts-only policy for female students.

When a male Notre Dame student’s mother wrote an op-ed in the university paper exhorting women on campus not to wear leggings to spare men’s apparently uncontrollable reactions to “their blackly naked rear ends,” students organized a massive “legging wearing hedonism” the next day.

The future is in good hands: The younger generation is far more enlightened than the old white Republican dinosaurs trying to stymie all progress, and they simply will not accept antediluvian ideas of sexism, racism, discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, or inaction on creating sensible gun laws. They will not go backward.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

For the first time since allowing women to join the organization in the 1950s, the command staff of Maryland’s National Guard is made up entirely of women.

Saudi Arabia released three female activists who were jailed last year for working to overturn the female driving ban in the country and its restrictive guardianship rules.

Democratic congresswomen—including Nancy Pelosi—have hung the transgender pride flag in their offices in a show of support in the face of attacks by the current administration on transgender rights.

Major museums are rejecting huge donations from the Sackler family, owners of Perdue Pharma (which just agreed to a $270 million settlement), in growing outrage over some of the family’s role in marketing and misleading doctors and customers about the addictive properties of OxyContin and contributing to the opioid crisis. (They may welcome the returned money, as Perdue Pharma just agreed to a $270 million settlement in a New York state lawsuit for its role in deliberately peddling misinformation about the opiates.)

What a week for the NRA! First a safety officer for the organization was exposed as having hired a Sandy Hook truther to try to undermine the Parkland shooting, and then they opposed legislation that would prevent those with a history of domestic abuse from obtaining firearms. One of the most powerful lobbies in America, using its money and influence to spread conspiracy theories and violence against women. Sensible gun control isn’t taking away 2nd Amendment rights—it’s putting in place the same kind of commonsense rules and regulations that are required for car ownership, for instance, to keep Americans safe.

Your Feel-good Story of the Week

Nancy Pelosi, like the damn force of nature she is, took deft control of her party’s panicked responses in the wake of the Mueller investigation results (which 84% of all Americans—of any political persuasion—want made public).

On that note, allow me to leave you with a calming word of reason for those inexplicably feeling deflated by what we have learned about the Mueller report so far: While Donald, FOX, and the GOP may be trumpeting the vindication of Donald, that’s entirely contrary to fact, as will become increasingly evident as the initial smoke clears from Barr’s 4-page 48-hour summary of Mueller’s heavily footnoted 300-page investigation report created over two intensive years and we learn more of what’s actually in the report—and as the 16 other investigations against Donald proceed.

The truth is, hopefully every patriotic American dearly hopes that this president—or any American president—hasn’t colluded with Russia, our greatest adversary, and that if that indeed proves to be the case then surely we’re all nothing but relieved (imagine the national crisis it would cause, to say the very least!). But regardless of what Donny and his henchmen may bray, Mueller’s investigation—begun by Donald’s own appointees—does not “fully exonerate” him—neither of the 16 other investigations, nor the many breaches of ethics, democratic norms, and the law that he is still under investigation for committing. And again, hopefully every American would not only hope that if he in fact committed them then those facts come to light, but would actively encourage the truth to be investigated.

Mueller’s report was unlikely from the beginning to magically create a case for impeachment. Its job was to investigate the credible evidence that there might have been coordination with Russian intelligence to win the 2016 election, and that there may have been obstruction of justice in that investigation. In the course of that investigation, Mueller and the FBI revealed felony crimes committed by 5 of Donald’s immediate circle: cabinet or campaign staff. This is far from an exoneration—it’s the tip of the iceberg. Don John and his toadies may try to use it as a cudgel, and they may succeed with the 30 percent of True Believers who continue to blindly support him despite every proven lie, breach of ethics and democratic norms, and criminal charges.

But let’s remember that when Nixon left office, 30 percent of Americans still supported him, as did a third of Americans when Joe McCarthy was disgraced for his Communist witch-hunt. A third of people are simply beyond reason and judgment and align with blind, ignorant loyalty, and there’s no amount of rationality or fact that will counter that—so write those folks right on off and save your efforts for the rational. There’s work to do before 2020, and the truncated, cherrypicked summary of Mueller’s two years of investigation by a man on record as being hostile to it is not a free ride for Donny into another four years of office. It’s a smoke bomb, a flash-bang grenade—the GOP’s desperate attempt to distract voters from the full and actual truth. And it succeeds only if we accept defeat in advance.

But if you need a reminder in the face of Donald’s unfounded assertion of being exonerated and FOX News and the GOP’s fanned-up outrage about the Mueller investigation results, do feel free to share this marvelous presidential trivia far and wide!

Donald’s Foot in Donald’s Mouth | How your voices are making a difference

Republicans Reconsidering (and Calling out the Very Stable Genius)

In a fairly pointed rebuke of Don John, former president George W. Bush said at a naturalization ceremony in Dallas, “May we never forget that immigration is a blessing and a strength.”

In the wake of Don John’s escalating, unbelievable ongoing attacks on a dead war hero who served his country with honor all his life, a handful of Republicans are actually speaking out, most of them tepidly except for Georgia senator Johnny Isakson, who called the remarks “deplorable” (as in “basket of…”).

McCain’s daughters aren’t holding back, Meghan McCain calling out Donny’s bullying and lack of decency and stating that “no one will ever love you like they loved my father.” Even the usually taciturn Bridget was moved to reply, calling the Mentally Deranged Dotard a “child” who lacks decency and compassion. Be best, Donald.

Republican political commentator Ana Navarro also got all up in Donny’s and the GOP’s bidness over Don John’s craven attacks, accusing him of “flat-out” and “pathological” lies and calling Republicans who haven’t spoken up to defend McCain from Donald’s false accusations and slander “spineless…cowards siding with a draft dodger over a war hero.” In ya FACE, Republicans.

And former senator Joe Lieberman, who nearly became McCain’s running mate in the 2008 election, wrote a heartfelt op-ed about the craven attacks on a deceased war hero and universally respected politician.

Meanwhile, the commandant of the marines chastised Donny’s sending troops to the southern border for his made-up national emergency, stating that the decision, and rerouting funds to those forces, has posed “unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency.”

Donald’s Foot in Donald’s Mouth

Donny says he doesn’t mind if anyone sees the Mueller report—thus removing one major argument opponents have had for making the report public. Side note—don’t be alarmed by the one survey recently released that suggested most Americans are skeptical of Mueller’s investigation. A survey written without the flaws and biases of the other revealed that 62 percent of Americans are confident in the fairness of the investigation.

Fragile baby Donald threatened SNL with a federal investigation for mocking him, seemingly under the mistaken belief that comedy shows and late-night talk shows—which are protected as free speech and fall under the First Amendment—are governed by FCC rules and fall under the equal-time rule to provide equal on-air time to opposing political candidates during prime time if requested.

Meanwhile the twit in chief keeps retweeting conspiracy theorists.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

The first woman to win the international Abel Prize for math (modeled after the Nobel prize) hails right here from Austin—retired UT professor Karen Uhlenbeck is the prize’s first female recipient since the award’s inception in 2003.

The U.S. Supreme Court refused to reconsider a lower court’s ruling against the owner of a Hawaii B&B who refused to rent a room to a gay couple, stating that she violated a state antidiscrimination law.

Citing its anti-LGBTQ charitable donations, the San Antonio city council voted to block Chick-Fil-A from the city’s airport concessions.

In a direct response to mass protests led by activists, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo announced they will no longer fund private prisons.

Within six days of New Zealand’s horrific white-terrorism attack on a mosque that killed more than 40 innocent people, Jacinda Ardern shepherded in swift legislation banning military-style weapons, showing how you handle a mass white-terrorist shooting of dozens of innocent people–with swift legislation. Actual action, rather than useless “thoughts and prayers” and kowtowing to a powerful weapons lobby. The Second Amendment and sensible gun regulation can coexist. Thank goodness for so many other world leaders stepping into the total leadership void left in the U.S.

Republicans Against the Law

federal judge halted oil drilling on 300,000 acres in Wyoming, stating that the federal government didn’t adequately investigate how drilling might affect global warming.

A federal judge countermanded Donald’s assertion that his transgender military ban could go into effect, halting its implementation.

Remember the voted-out Republican party in Wisconsin trying to illegally limit the incoming Democratic lawmakers’ power? A state judge blocked it.

The Michigan attorney general reached a settlement with the ACLU in a lawsuit contending that faith-based adoption agencies receiving tax funding cannot discriminate against LGBTQ clients who wish to adopt.

Enjoy this article by the Washington Post that dissects why federal judges have ruled against Donny and White House actions at least 63 times (so far).

Your Feel-good stories of the week

If this shitshow of an administration and the stress of waiting for Mueller’s report to be released to the public has been driving you to drink, at least you can make it this.

Hail the “magic fridge.”

Congress Bucking Trump | How your voices are making a difference

Unflattering headshots of John Cornyn and Ted CruzIn a striking—but ultimately symbolic—rebuke of Donald’s circumventing of Congress to appropriate funds for his compensatory border wall, the Senate voted 59-41 to reject the “national emergency” Don John trumped up, with 12 Republicans joining Dems in voting against the executive order (here’s how every senator voted—and please note Cornyn and Cruz continued their enabling of this corrupt administration’s breaches of democratic norms by voting to uphold Donald’s attempted runaround of Congress and democratic procedures). The adult baby in chief immediately vetoed the legislation to get his own way despite both houses of Congress voting against it, and Congress likely lacks the two-thirds votes to overturn the veto.

The Senate also voted 54-46 to order the U.S. to end it support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, in a direct rebuke of Donald’s cozying up and ongoing defense of the Saudi crown prince despite U.S. intelligence agreement that Mohammed bin Salman was directly responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The House voted unanimously to make Mueller’s report public.

Republicans Against the Law

The New York attorney general subpoenaed financial records relating to the Trump Organization from two major financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, regarding four Trump projects and a failed bid to buy the NFL Buffalo Bills in 2014.

A federal judge struck down a law in Kentucky that disallowed abortions at six weeks.

A federal judge ruled that Betsy DeVos’s delaying for two years of a special education rule that compelled states to address racial disparities in special ed programs was “arbitrary and capricious,” and ordered immediate enforcement of the Obama-era rule.

The FEC found a Chinese-owned corporation and a pro-Jeb Bush super PAC broke federal laws guarding American elections form foreign interference and fined them nearly $1 million, the third-highest fine in the history of the Federal Election Committee.

The New York appellate court ruled that Summer Zervos’s defamation lawsuit against the adulterer in chief can proceed, rejecting Donald’s attempt to dismiss it.

The Connecticut supreme court ruled that Sandy Hook parents can sue Remington gun manufacturer for its marketing of the Bushmaster rifle, the weapon used to kill 20 students and 6 teachers in 2012, overturning a lower-court ruling

Two members of the white nationalist, pro-Trump hate group the Proud Boys (the group behind the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally that resulted in the deal of Heather Heyer) were charged with felony assault for their attack on a Portland man in 2018.

Remember the right wing losing its mind over the entirely false “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory? Republicans have been oddly silent about the actual prostitution ring scandal involving New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft at a massage parlor that’s part of a chain founded by a donor of the Republican Party and the Trump campaign who offered to sell Chinese clients access to Donald at Mar-A-Lago. This in-depth profile in the NY Times of her and her ties to the reprobate in chief is worth a read.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Hundreds of thousands of students around the world in nearly 100 countries, including the U.S., skipped school one day this past week to draw attention to the pressing need for governments to take action to combat rapid global warming.


Even Dick Cheney is criticizing Donald for his foreign policy—or complete lack of one—and his unwillingness to read intelligence reports or even heed warnings of his own intelligence experts, pointedly confronting Mike Pence at a closed-door retreat.

Advertisers are dropping Tucker Carlson and Jeanne Pirro’s shows after both FOX News telebrities made (more than usually) bigoted comments.

Advertisers are dropping Tucker Carlson and Jeanne Pirro’s shows after both FOX News telebrities made (more than usually) bigoted comments, and FOX subsequently dropped Pirro’s show from its prime-time lineup.

Feel-good Stories of the Week

The toddler in chief took more tirades to Twitter, which swatted him down like a whack-a-mole: First when Donald offered ludicrous justifications for his misstatement of Apple head Tim Cook’s name as “Tim Apple,” and then when he mocked Beto O’Rourke for his hand gestures. (O’Rourke had the best comeback, though, refusing to engage and reminding Donald that “people want us to rise above the pettiness, the smallness.” The smallness, y’all…get it? LIKE DONALD’S TINY HANDS.)

On the heels of last week’s “Hot Pence” gay lookalike dressing as Mike Pence from the waist up (and Lieutenant Dangle from the waist down) while collecting money for LGBTQ causes, and Nancy Pelosi revoking the office space Paul Ryan had awarded to Pence in the Capitol building, it hasn’t been the best couple of weeks for Mike Pence. The notoriously homophobic, anti-LGBTQ Pence received into his Washington, D.C., home the prime minister of Ireland—who brought his same-sex partner with him.

Despairing of the seemingly insurmountable polarity in politics and the world? Wouldn’t it be nice if we could listen to the Dalai Lama and do more of this.

House Dems sent more than 80 letters seeking information from Trump World | How your voices are making a difference

The Walls Closing In

House Dems sent more than 80 letters last Monday to Donald Jr and Eric Trump, as well as the CFO of the Trump Organization (specifically cited by Michael Cohen under excellent questioning by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez as the person who would have info on Donald’s tax returns and other financial interests) seeking documents and other information about the Very Stable Genius’s business, political, and White House operations.

Also in the wake of Michael Cohen’s revealing testimony, New York state regulators subpoenaed documents from the Trump Organization’s insurance broker.

House Democrats introduced a bill to protect White House whistleblowers subject to nondisclosure agreements by the Commander of Cheese.

On the heels of last week’s item about Donald pressuring for security clearances for Jared Kushner despite security concerns, Donald also pressured John Kelly and White House counsel Don McGahn to grant clearance for Ivanka against their recommendations.

Robert Mueller’s legal team notified a federal judge about Roger Stone’s Instagram post that could be a violation of the judge’s gag order.

Republicans Against the Law

A federal judge ruled in favor of the ACLU that all migrant families separated at the border should be part of a class-action lawsuit against the current administration.

A federal judge ruled that Wilbur’s Ross’s proposed citizenship question for the 2020 census violates the Constitution.

A ruling by a federal appeals court on Thursday broadened constitutional protections for undocumented immigrants at the border, opening a potential new legal gateway for some to stay in the country.

California became the first of 21 subsequent states to file suit against the federal government for Donald’s executive-order “gag rule”denying federal funds to organizations that offer information on abortions.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

After the Methodist church disavowed the LGBTQ community, Northhaven United Methodist Church in Dallas covered the “United Methodist” part of its sign with the Pride flag. Many in the congregation in the first service after the church’s decision, including the reverend, wore rainbow stoles in support of the LQBTQ community. <3

More than 50 years after her significant and largely unknown (until the 2016 Oscar-winning movie Hidden Figures based on her life), mathematician Katherine Johnson contributions to NASA’s space program are being honored with a NASA building named for her in her home state of West Virginia.

In the wake of a meticulously reported expose in the New York Times about the close ties between the FOX network and the Mentally Deranged Dotard that suggests the network is propaganda for Donald, the Democratic National Convention rejected FOX News as a host for presidential debates, stating that the network was not “in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates.”

Republicans Reconsidering

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly is happily contradicting Donald all over the place, stating that the border wall is a “waste of money” because the immigrants coming in at the southern border are “overwhelmingly not criminals.”

Ty Cobb—Donald’s short-lived White House lawyer, not the baseball player—called Robert Mueller “an American hero” and “a class act,” disagreeing with his former boss that his investigation is a baseless “witch-hunt.”


In what should make for superfun questions during presidential debates (on both sides), donor records reveal that Donald and Ivanka have donated to six of the declared or potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Republican lawmakers once again kept it classy with this appalling display.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Not necessarily a feel-good, unless rampant corruption floats your boat (but no, you aren’t Trump fans or you wouldn’t be here), but read this and see if it sounds familiar. Keep an eye on what happens with Netanyahu’s case—as Brexit revealed the first rumblings of a global far-right wave, this might presage the end of it at the hands of a divisive criminal misusing his office and cozying up to world despots.

This headline and picture alone…! But the story is even better. 😀

Nullifying the phony national emergency | How your voices are making a difference

Democrats Getting It Done

The House passed a resolution to nullify Donald’s declaration of a phony national emergency, with the support of 13 Republicans. The motion will be forced to the Senate floor for a vote now; it needs only 4 Republican Senators to vote for it in order to pass, and three GOP senators have already indicated support.

Meanwhile the governor of Wisconsin joined two other state governors in pulling his state’s National Guardsmen from the southern border, stating, “There is simply not ample evidence to support the president’s contention of a national security crisis at our southwestern border.”

The House Oversight Committee voted to subpoena Trump administration officials to hand over documents related to the separation of families at the border.

The House passed universal background checks for gun ownership and voted to extend the period of review time from 3 days to 10.

After the New York Times exposed a story about Donald DIRECTLY ordering security clearance for Jared Kushner, despite intelligence concerns (against advice from John Kelly and Don McGahn, who filed memos at the time registering their opposition), House investigators demanded the White House turn over security-related documents immediately.

And if you haven’t yet watched Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s incisive five-minute questioning of Michael Cohen, you should—the razor-sharp questioning lays the groundwork for the House to subpoena Donald’s tax returns.

Republicans Against the Law

The DC attorney general became the third government entity to subpoena financial records from Donald’s inaugural committee.

federal judge blocked the GOP’s attempt to purge voter rolls in Texas, calling it “unconstitutional” and “ham-handed.”

After threatening Michael Cohen in a tweet, GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz is under investigation by the Florida bar. Even Rick Scott is upset, y’all, calling Gaetz’s threats “embarrassing” and “disgusting.”

Wake County grand jury voted to indict Leslie McCrae Dowless, the operative working with Republican Mark Harris in the election where widespread fraud was revealed to have been perpetrated by the GOP campaign with absentee ballots. Harris announced he will not run in the new election due to health concerns.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Grace Slick licensed rights to a Jefferson Airplane song to Chick-Fil-A—then donated all her proceeds to LGBTQ causes in direct opposition to company’s known support for hard-right conservative causes, especially those that assail the rights of the LGBTQ community.

Wedding-planning mega site The Knot cut all ties with an anti-LGBTQ wedding videographer after he refused to film the ceremony of a same-sex couple.

A movement to transition to a popular vote rather than the electoral college is gaining momentum in several states, opposed mostly—to no one’s surprise—by Republicans, who have won two presidential elections in the last five election cycles in the electoral college that they lost thumpingly in the popular vote.

Your Feel-Good Stories of the Week

This guy became an Internet sensation for ten minutes.

This black man managed to get the “commander” of a longtime white supremacist Neo-Nazi hate group to sign over control of the group to him (it’s the second time he’s done something similar), and his first act was to recommend to a Virginia court that it find the organization guilty of conspiring to commit violence at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017 that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer. He will be using the organization’s social media and Web sites as a platform to offer education about the Holocaust, racism, and anti-Semitism to the millions of white supremacists that visit them each year. An extraordinary read if you have 15 minutes.

There is no factual basis on which to declare a state of emergency | How your voices are making a difference

Fifty-eight former national security officials—including Madeleine Albright, Susan Rice, and officials from the administrations of Clinton, Obama, and both Bushes—signed a declaration against Donald’s fanned-up national emergency stating that there is “no factual basis” on which to declare a state of emergency.

In the first actual instance of widespread voter fraud, North Carolina election officials unearthed evidence of a “coordinated, unlawful, and substantially researched unlawful absentee-ballot scheme” on the part of NC Republican House candidate Mark Harris. Harris finally capitulated to the investigations into his campaign manager’s illegal tampering with mail-in ballots, saying that a new election is called for, at which point North Carolina election authorities finally called for one.

Mueller Time

Mueller’s investigation recommends no leniency for Paul Manafort, calling him a “bold” and “hardened” criminal who “brazenly” broke the law. His sentence should be handed down this week.

Just in case Donald pardons Paul Manafort to get him out of the recommended sentence of up to 25 years, the New York state attorney’s office has prepared a case and charges to swoop right in and put him back in jail—presidential pardons apply only in federal charges.

Meanwhile a panicking Donald attacked deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller to investigate credible allegations of election tampering and collusion, as “illegal and treasonous,” retweeting Fox’s and Senator Lindsey Graham’s attempts to frame discussions with then-FBI director Christopher McCabe as a “coup” attempt.

Republicans Against the Law

All 12 Senate House Democrats voted to block David Whitley’s nomination as secretary of state, after Whitley’s fiasco of fake voter-fraud allegations in releasing a list of tens of thousand of “noncitizens” who may have “voted illegally”—allegations that later turned out to be based on flawed data. The Dem blockade will be enough to keep Whitley from being confirmed if all show up for the vote.

coalition of sixteen states is suing the federal government over Donald’s misappropriation of funds in his nonexistent border emergency, as is the ACLU.

House Dems plan to file a resolution rejecting Donald’s declaration of a nonexistent national emergency. While the effort will likely be defeated in the Senate, it will be forced to the Senate floor for a vote, thus putting GOP senators on the record as supporting or rejecting it.

The New Jersey senate just passed a bill that will keep the Mentally Deranged Dotard off the ballot in that state in 2020 unless he releases his tax returns.

former Trump staffer filed a class-action lawsuit challenging Donald’s draconian nondisclosure contracts he forces all staffers to sign, which prohibit ever talking about or criticizing the Very Stable Genius. If successful, the lawsuit will invalidate hundreds of similar NDAs, freeing staffers to speak freely of their time in the madhouse.

The Office of Government Ethics refused to certify a financial disclosure by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross because he violated his ethics agreement by inaccurately reporting his stock holdings. Ross says he didn’t mean to.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

The Supreme Court unanimously ruled to limit the power of local and state governments to seize property and impose fines.

The Illinois governor signed a bill raising the minimum wage to $15 hour (from $8.25).

federal judge ruled that both children of a same-sex couple are entitled to citizenship rights after the U.S. Consulate in Toronto required DNA testing for both twins and then denied one child the birthright because his DNA came from his Israeli-national father instead of his American father.

R. Kelly is finally being charged for the many sexual misconduct allegations many victims have accused him of. Illinois brought 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse against the singer Friday, with his bond being set at $1 million.

After the publisher and editor of an Alabama paper called last week for the KKK to ride again and “clean out” Washington, the bigot apparently had a change of heart and stepped down, naming a black woman as the paper’s new editor.

The Kids Are All Right

A group of New Jersey high school students drafted a bill requiring civil rights cold cases to be collected in one place and released to the public without the necessity of delays and red tape under the Freedom of Information Act. The students lobbied for their bill, shepherded it through Congress, and saw it passed at the end of last year.

In a move partially led by the state’s teenagers, Colorado has proposed legislation banning abstinence-only education in public and charter schools and will mandate teaching on safe sex, consent, and sexual orientation.

Student-led climate-change protests that began in the UK last week are sweeping across Europe and the world, with French students walking out of class to protest government inaction on fighting global warming. Students around the world are planning more protests to come, with a worldwide strike on March 15.

Your Feel-Good Stories of the Week

Tenants of yet another Manhattan building voted to remove Donald’s name from its marquee. Immediately after that a second one—the sole remaining NY Trump property—followed suit, leaving exactly zero Trump-branded buildings in Donald’s hometown, down from six.

If this girl is the future of media, we’re going to be okay.

Finally, a word about the 2020 election and the wide field of Dem candidates. We have already seen evidence of cyber tampering with the focus of creating dissent among Democrats and splitting the vote. This is how we got Donald in 2016. Let’s not make the same mistake in 2020. Whichever Democratic candidate is the primary winner will be far better than the GOP candidate currently in the White House—and I can say that as a blanket statement, because really a Capuchin monkey would be better at this point, or at least kinder and more rational. It’s essential that we support—wholeheartedly—the only candidate with a chance at removing the current president, and that is the Democrat, whoever he or she is, because NO candidate is perfect, but any politician in the race is better than the known quantity we have: a proven liar who surrounds himself with felons while illegally profiting from his office, and systematically attacking civil rights and operating for the benefit of his crony 1% instead of the bulk of Americans. Please—please—don’t help make another victory for him possible by falling prey to GOP and Russian efforts to divide the opposition and let him win.

capuchin monkey: better than donald

Donald’s compensatory wall | How your voices are making a difference

In a press conference notable for being even more than usually incoherent (and also making the announcement using the iPhone Notes app), Donald fundamentally (and no doubt legally) undermined his own case for a national emergency by stating, “I didn’t need to do this…I just wanted to get it done faster.” Perhaps Webster’s, long known for hilariously trolling Donald’s misuses of his native tongue, can help Don John and the GOP with the definition of “emergency”?

Meanwhile, an avalanche of lawsuits against the Very Stable Genius’s undermining of Congress and our democracy has predictably begun, as even Donny’s own DoJ has assured him his unfounded executive action is likely to be blocked by the courts.

In the run-up to Donald’s propaganda visit to El Paso to pimp for his compensatory border wall, El Paso officials went on the record with media to request the president stop perpetuating lies about crime and security in the border town. El Paso County is among those entities suing Donny for the declaration of national emergency.

Congress Actually Working

The House Judiciary Committee passed a measure to require background checks for all U.S. firearm purchases.

Despite the current administration’s efforts to peel back protections on protected areas, the Senate approved the most sweeping conservation legislation in a decade, creating 1.3 million new acres of protected wilderness, expanding a number of national parks, and creating five new national monuments. The bipartisan bill passed 92-8, and “combines more than 100 separate bills that designate more than 350 miles of river as wild and scenic, add 2,600 miles of new federal trails and create nearly 700,000 acres of new recreation and conservation areas. The bill also withdraws 370,000 acres in Montana and Washington state from mineral development,” as well as reauthorizing the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund permanently.

The House passed a measure to end U.S. military support of Saudi forces in Yemen, repudiating Donald’s continued support of the Saudi-led war effort there.

Meanwhile the top U.S. Commander in the Middle East, Gen. Joseph Votel, publicly broke with Donald to state that he disagrees with the Mentally Deranged Dotard’s precipitous announcement that he plans to withdraw troops from Syria, stating that ISIS is far from defeated there.

Republican Corruption

Donald appointee William “Brock” Long, the FEMA administrator who was recently investigated by his department for his inappropriate use of federal vehicles costing taxpayers more than $150K, has resigned.

Donald enraged even Republicans by ignoring a law requiring the White House to submit a report to Congress about who ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Spoiler alert: Every head of U.S. intelligence has agreed it was Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a certainty that Donald is dancing as fast as he can to try to avoid confirming.)

The Texas Tribune is doing a bang-up job exposing the lies, fallacies and fraud behind Texas secretary of state David Whitley’s announcement that Texas was investigating 95K voters who may not be citizens.

In opposition to Donald’s attempts to keep the industry viable for his donor coal cronies, the Tennessee Valley Authority voted to close two aging coal-fired power plants.

A White House security specialist asked for whistleblower protection after raising concerns that Donald’s appointees approved security clearances for certain staffers—notably his relatives, like Jared Kushner—without adequate vetting.

Teachers across the country clapped back when Don Jr. attacked “loser teachers” at his daddy’s El Paso rally; the responses cited the long tradition of authoritarian regimes launching attacks on educators as a first prong of undermining a democracy.

Mueller Time

Move over, Trump administration, and make room at the stake for another witch! A federal judge ruled that Paul Manafort breached his plea deal agreement by lying numerous times to federal investigators. The special investigator’s office recommended a sentence of up to 25 years and fines of up to $25 million.

Robert Mueller’s investigation interviewed Sarah Sanders late last year. It seems likely that the commander of cheese’s chief liar might have perjured herself. Stay tuned to find out!

Karma

Donald’s eldest sons, Beavis and Butthead, announced that they were scrapping plans for two new hotel lines, apparently because there is no one who wants to stay in anything with the Trump name on them.

Bit of sad karma here…a store owner who stopped selling Nike products after the brand hired Colin Kaepernick as a spokesperson ran himself off a financial cliff and is shuttering his mall sports store. No one wants to see a small businessman punished for misunderstanding the players’ kneeling protest, but perhaps this will caution to others to try to understand the purpose of the protests—they are about police brutality and racial inequity, not the military or the flag, and they’re as American as football. Most of America feels the same way, so willfully misinterpret this heartfelt protest at your peril.

Thousands of young students walked out of school in the middle of classes to protest inaction on climate change and demand action.

RBG is BACK, babies.