Don John’s baby-tantrum government shutdown over his compensatory wall | How your voices are making a difference

Nancy Pelosi is on yo ass, GOP. You on notice.

Under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, on day 1 in the House, Dems voted for legislation that would end Don John’s baby-tantrum government shutdown over his compensatory wall—legislation the Senate voted on just two weeks ago and PASSED 100-0, but now Mitch McConnell—who, it’s worth noting, actually proposed the bill that originally passed unanimously in the Senate—refuses to bring it to the floor without Donald’s approval. And there you have the imploding GOP system of government—total hypocrisy, and total disregard for the separation and checks and balances of the branches of government. Yet Republicans did see fit to allow $10K annual raises for Mike Pence and hundreds of other Donny appointees while more than 800K federal workers go unpaid. That’s your GOP at work, America.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the Incoming Democratic House Judiciary Chairman plans to re-introduce legislation to protect Robert Mueller. The legislation would provide recourse for Mueller and future special counsels to challenge any firings in the court system.

Republicans Reconsidering

Despite Donald’s doubling down on his government shutdown over a childish unwillingness to compromise on border wall funds, stating that he is happy to continue the shutdown for “months, or even years” even if he has to declare a state of national emergency to do it (um, Donny? Who do you think will continue to work and keep the government functional for months or years WHILE YOU ARE NOT PAYING THEM?), rumblings of discontent with his toddler tantrum are cracking the GOP. Thursday, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado became the first Republican in the chamber to publicly call for an end to the shutdown. He was shortly joined by Susan Collins of Maine and Shelly Moore Calito of WV.

In a WaPo op-ed, Tennessee GOP Senator Lamar Alexander said Donny should be “specific and reliable” like Obama in negotiations regarding the government shutdown, praising President Obama for keeping his word and prizing progress enough to find compromises with the Senate: “Government shutdowns should be as off-limits to budget negotiations as chemical weapons are to warfare,” Alexander rebuked the commander of cheese.

GOP Rep Tom Reed of New York, meanwhile, bucked the party line to offer his support for a set of House rule changes drafted by incoming Dems, praising Nancy Pelosi.

Retired army general Stanley A. McChrystal, former head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, had some strong words against the commander of cheese, calling him “dishonest and immoral,” and adding, “What I would ask every American to do is … stand in front of that mirror and say, ‘What are we about? Am I really willing to throw away or ignore some of the things that people do that are — are pretty unacceptable normally just because they accomplish certain other things that we might like?'”

Mitt Romney piled on in a scathing op-ed that flip-flopped him back to his censure of the Very Stable Genius (which morphed into obsequious brownnosing early in Donny’s tenure), stating that “the president has not risen to the mantle of the office” and “With the nation so divided, resentful and angry, presidential leadership in qualities of character is indispensable. And it is in this province where the incumbent’s shortfall has been most glaring.”

Former GOP House Rep John LeBoutillier, from Donny’s home state of New York, opined that Individual 1’s presidency will not survive 2019: “His increasingly erratic and angry behavior, his self-imposed isolation, his inability and refusal to listen to smart advisers that he hired, all are leading him to a precipice.”

In the face of Donald’s continued rants, threats, and tantrums against federal reserve chairman Jerome Powell, Alabama Republican senator Richard Shelby spoke up in support of Powell, stating that he’s “doing a good job” and that Don John cannot fire him without cause.

These aren’t coincidences, warriors—more and more we are seeing a GOP willing to break with Donald…and that probably means the first rats are fleeing a ship they know to be sinking.

And so are some of his former supporters. The people of Jackson County, IN, which went for Donny in a huge way in 2016, are now confronting Don John and the GOP administration over its health and environmental regulatory rollbacks after a rash of cancers in the town’s children from a carcinogenic plume in an old industrial site supposed to have been cleaned up by the federal government decades ago.

Republican Corruption

A federal employees union is suing the Banana Republican in Chief over the government shutdown, claiming it’s illegal to force employees to work without pay.

The Justice Department (such as it is) is investigating whether former Interior Secretary and frequent ethics violator Ryan Zinke lied to his department’s inspector general during ethics probes.

Meanwhile the House Ethics Committee says Virginia Republican Rep. Thomas Garrett misused official resources and was “trying to run out the clock” on a departmental investigation thereof.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

The congressional freshman class of 2019 is the most racially diverse and most female group of representatives ever elected to the House, which includes the first Native American congresswomen, the first Muslim congresswomen, and the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Congress is also more female than ever before, thanks to Democrats, rather than Republicans, who are actually losing female representation.

Millions of women in India—between 3.5 million and 5 million—formed a human chain stretching 385 miles to demonstrate for women’s rights, protesting their exclusion from Hindu temples when menstruating (despite India’s supreme court ruling that they be admitted).

In the “laughing/crying emoji” column, there is this headline and real-life story, which is from a legitimate media outlet and not The Onion, but that shows the state of the current GOP administration led by the mentally deranged dotard.

Panicked Twitter effluvia | How your voices are making a difference

Not much news during this holiday week, and while 2018 shall go in the annals as another stage in the shitshow of this presidency, there’s still much to feel hopeful about.

As the year ends, Donny is in hiding but for his panicked Twitter effluvia as he finds himself backed ever tighter into a corner of his own making, between Mueller’s tightening noose (and here’s hoping that if there really is a naked selfie, we need never scorch our eyes with it); the state-level investigations against Individual 1, his companies and “charity,” and his finances (like the recent news that the New Jersey attorney general is investigating evidence that a supervisor at one of Donny’s hotels knowingly broke the law in procuring false documentation for undocumented immigrants working at the facility.); and Don John’s ill-advised doubling down on appealing to his dwindling base with stunts like the government shutdown and the advice to furloughed workers that they should offer painting and carpentry work to their landlords in place of rent during the shutdown he already owned in full despite his recent attempts to distance himself.

In other news of the resistance holding the line against Republican corruption, incoming House majority leader Steny Hoyer announced that the House will not seat the North Carolina Republican currently under investigation for fraudulent election practices. And acting AG Matthew Whittaker was revealed to have lied on his resume and government documents to claim All-American academic honors he doesn’t have.

That’s it for this (relatively) quiet New Year’s lead-up week, warriors. Open the champagne tonight—but make sure to save one good bottle…. I have a strong suspicion we’ll have more to celebrate before long.

Bye, Felicia | How your voices are making a difference

Happy holidays, warriors! In case you need some holiday cheer, there is a LOT this week. Let me explain. No, there is too much—let me sum up.

Mueller Time

Two of Michael Flynn’s former business associates have been accused of illegally lobbying for Turkey, throwing a wrench in FOX and the Trump base’s attempt to paint Flynn as an innocent hero framed by Mueller.

Rather than showing contrition for former security adviser (and again…current felon) Michael Flynn’s actions in betraying his country and lying about it to the FBI, on the eve of Flynn’s sentencing his lawyers issued a sentencing memo furthering the right-wing conspiracy theory that a three-star, 33-year military veteran was somehow “tricked” into admitting to lying to the FBI without a lawyer present. The stunt will likely cost Flynn unexpected jail time, as the judge was far from amused, stating his “disdain” and “disgust” that Flynn “sold out [his] country,” and asking whether his actions rose to the level of treason. Right before that, the commander of cheese tweeted to wish the confessed felon good luck.

A DoJ ethics official advised the Matthew Whitaker, Donny’s acting attorney general, that he should recuse himself from the Russia investigation due to conflicts based on his past writings against Mueller. Which potential nomineeWilliam Barr also has. Neither has made any indication of removing himself from overseeing the investigation.

To the shock of no one, Donald toady Roger Stone, currently under investigation by Mueller as to whether he lied about connections to Wikileaks, admits he lied in pushing false stories on Infowars, one of the several right-leaning media sites that simply doesn’t care whether its stories are true or false.

If you’re feeling confused over all the Trump-Russia investigations (and why wouldn’t you? There are 17 separate ones), here’s a handy guide.

Democracy Actually Working

This was such a promising category this week, as Congress actually started working together to pass meaningful legislation and defying Donald. And then. FOX News impugned Don John’s virility and he shut the government down to prove what a man he is. And sadly the GOP has now officially sold its soul to Individual 1 by letting the RNC be subsumed by the very stable genius’s reelection campaign. RIP, GOP.

But in that brief little shining interim, we got this:

Congress passed a bipartisan bill revamping the criminal justice system by an overwhelming 87-12. The legislation provides for shortened sentences, and offers training and other programs to help rehabilitate the incarcerated and diminish recidivism.

The Justice Department banned bump stocks on guns like the one used to slaughter 58 people in Las Vegas and wound hundreds more.

The Senate unanimously approved a bill to make lynching a federal hate crime, after almost 100 years of attempts in previous legislatures that inexplicably failed.

Donald off the Rails

I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this category as Mueller’s noose tightens and rat Don and his cronies have nowhere to go at the end of the maze. But for now…

After Donald announced—out of dead nowhere—that he would pull all U.S. troops out of Syria (after a conversation with Turkey’s brutal despot Erdogan, and to Putin’s praise that his lackey “Donald” was correct to do so), Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis resigned in a stinging letter of rebuke for the mentally deranged dotard. Immediately on its heels, a major U.S. envoy to an anti-ISIS coalition also submitted his resignation letter.

Republican Corruption

After the NY attorney general opened an investigation, Donald has agreed to dissolve his fraudulent charity amid investigation into its “shocking pattern of illegality.”

In both his 2016 and 2020 election bids, Don John used a shell company to buy ads in illegal coordination with the NRA.

Texas agriculture commissioner Sid Miller has once again been investigated for ethics violations in misusing taxpayer money for his personal use. Last time it was for the “Jesus shot” (you got me); this time it’s for using taxpayer funds for personal travel to travel to and compete in a rodeo. Sigh. Miller will be fined—just $500, but the violations are piling up.

Republicans Reconsidering

Two more GOP lawmakers—these congresswomen in Kansas—have publicly abandoned the Republican party.

Republicans Against the Law

The Supreme Court ruled that Donald may not begin immediately denying asylum to those who cross the U.S.-Mexico border (and Despite having malignant nodes removed in her lungs, Notorious RBG voted FROM HER HOSPITAL BED against the administration’s attempt to do so).

Social and Civil Rights Advances

An internal CBS investigation of former head Les Moonves found that allegations against him of sexual misconduct were credible, and that he was fired for cause and will not receive his $120 million severance package.

Pope Francis warns clergy accused of sexual abuse that the Church will not shield them and they should “hand yourself over to human justice” (and to “prepare for divine justice, which is basically the freaking pope letting sex offenders know they’re going to hell, which ought to chill some sexual-predator blood).

Fox’s Tucker Carlson, who immediately lost one advertiser last week after his comments that immigrants make America “dirtier” and “poorer,” has gone on to lose his network 13 more for the same reason. Carlson refuses to apologize, instead doubling down on his position and calling the boycott “a tactic—a well-worn one.” (The public wouldn’t have to wear it out so much, Tucker, if FOX would stop stating false, racist, sexist, and offensive things.)

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

In a hilarious response to the ridiculous Go Fund Me account a veteran started to raise money for Donald’s border wall (even though Donald promised his base that Mexico would pay for it), another Go Fund Me account was started to raise money for ladders to scale it. 😀 Thus far it’s raised XX—that’s a lot of ladders.

An ugly, slimy blind worm that lives underground has been named after Individual 1—Dermophis donaldtrumpi—after a sustainable building materials company paid $25K for the right in order to spotlight the GOP administration’s head-in-the-sand denial of climate change.

Barack Obama donned a Santa hat and handed out gifts in surprise visit to D.C. children’s hospital

Paul Ryan’s gone.

Bye Felicia

Donald’s Worst Week Ever | How your voices are making a difference

SO MANY WITCHES! As Donald’s former attorney Michael Cohen heads to jail for a three-year sentence and former national security adviser (and, let’s not forget, current felon) Michael Flynn asked for leniency for his “substantial assistance” with Mueller’s investigation, now Russian spy Marina Butina pleaded guilty to operating on U.S. soil to further Russian interests.

Then National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. admitted to prosecutors that it bought and buried stories about women’s alleged affairs with Trump during the campaign at the request of the Trump campaign, further embroiling Individual 1 in hot legal waters.

And THEN federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether Individual 1’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent the $107 million it raised and whether some donors gave money to Don John’s incoming administration in exchange for access or influence on policy and administration positions.

Ivanka Trump negotiated rates for Trump hotels for Donald’s inauguration, an irregularity that caused one hotel exec to write a letter to Ivanka concerned about an audit. If the negotiated rates were inflated it’s a violation of the law.

After Nick Ayers announced he wasn’t interested in Donald’s chief of staff position and in fact was leaving the White House entirely, Donny can find no one interested in taking the position, so he named Mick Mulvaney as “acting” chief.

Donald called a meeting with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi that was recorded on camera, then tried blindsiding them to demand more money for his border wall. But instead Nancy Pelosi owned Don John and the Oval Office like a boss, she and Schumer leading Donald to take full responsibility for a government shutdown (which Republicans had begged him not to do), while Mike Pence did…well, literally nothing, and the Internet (and late-night TV) went wild.

In related developments as the first rats see the stern rising…

Congress Grows a Spine

The Senate voted—in a symbolic but powerful bipartisan statement—to condemn Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite Donald’s repeated refusal to accept American intelligence conclusions that bin Salman was directly responsible for the murder.

The Senate also voted across partisan lines to end U.S. military assistance to the Saudi-funded war in Yemen.

The Senate overturned Donald’s rule that politically active nonprofits don’t have to disclose donor information.

The House approved a resolution calling the persecution of Myanmar Muslims a “genocide,” while Donald keeps silent.

Justice for All

The House and Senate agreed on bipartisan sexual harassment bill ending taxpayer-funded settlements of congressional harassment suits, extend protection to unpaid congressional staff, like interns, and providing for the public identification of Congress members who settle such claims.

An Australian court found a Catholic cardinal guilty of child sexual abuse, making him the highest-ranking Vatican official to be charged.

The neo-Nazi who killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens of others at the Charlottesville white supremacist rally has been sentenced to life in prison.

After three lower courts ruled that Medicaid recipients have a right to sue states that withhold funding for providers like Planned Parenthood, the Supreme Court declined to review the ruling and the lower courts’ judgment will stand.

Republicans Reconsidering

A bipartisan group of 44 former senators wrote an open letter to Congress urging members to stand up and protect democracy and put country over party, saying, “the foundational principles of our democracy and our national security interests are at stake, and the rule of law and the ability of our institutions to function freely and independently must be upheld.”

A California chief justice has left the Republican Party, citing the Kavanaugh trial, which “greatly disturbed” her.

Civil and Social Rights Advances

A church in the Netherlands has been conducting services nonstop for six weeks to protect an Armenian family seeking asylum in the church from deportation; Dutch law prohibits police from interrupting a service to make an arrest.

More than 200 faith leaders and religious advocates gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border on Human Rights Day to protest the U.S. not allowing migrants their legal right to seek asylum.

A Boston Symphony Orchestra flautist is suing the organization after learning she is paid $65K less than her male counterpart.

The largest seminary in the Southern Baptist Convention issued an extraordinary statement acknowledging its role in institutionalized racism, admitting all its founders were slave owners and “deeply complicit in the defense of slavery.”

FOX News’s Tucker Carlson said immigrants make America “dirtier,” and advertiser Pacific Life promptly pulled its support.

After losing a court battle, Betsy DeVos is canceling $150M in student loan debt for 15,000 students.

Republican Corruption

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke finally resigned amid several investigations into his multiple ethics and finance abuses of office.

Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) of the Senate Armed Services Committee purchased between $50 and $100K of defense stock he bought days after encouraging a sharp increase in defense spending.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Mick Mulvaney, current director of the Office of Management and Budget, will take the role of chief of staff that no one—not even Chris Christie—wanted, after Mulvaney referred to Donald as “a terrible human being.”

Most Americans don’t believe Donald’s lies, according to a new Fact Checker poll by the Washington Post—fewer than 3 in 10 people and fewer than 4 in 10 Republicans are buying his nonsense.

Feeling the pinch | How your voices are making a difference

Well. Robert Mueller filed a flurry of new disclosures, and things are getting juicy. Russians interacted with at least 14 of Donny’s associates, most of them in the inner circle, Including Jared and Don Jr. Don John is directly implicated in trying to buy the silence, during the campaign, of the women he had extramarital affairs with, and Manafort told “discernible lies” as the Cohen filing indicates that Russia was making contact with Donny’s campaign as far back as 2015. Stay tuned, friends—I suspect there’s still lots more juice to be squeezed as the noose closes around the neck of Individual 1 and his cronies.

Certainly at least one White House staffer is feeling the pinch—almost immediately after Mike Pence’s boy Nick Ayers was reported to be the heir apparent to John Kelly as Kelly vacates the position of chief of staff, Ayers tweeted fresh on the heels of Mueller’s filings that not only won’t he be taking the job, but he’s fleeing the White House entirely by year’s end. Seems like the first rats are fleeing the sinking ship. And while Donny and Rudy Giuliani keep bleating the usual baseless denials, former Donald associate (and erstwhile lawyer) Chris Christie seems to see the writing on the wall, stating that the “very definitive” verbiage in Mueller’s filings would indicate a high level of confidence in the findings, likely including more “than just one witness.”

Former national security adviser and current felon Michael Flynn has apparently been extremely so helpful to the investigation, sitting for 19 interviews, that Mueller declined to seek sentencing for him, citing Flynn’s “substantial assistance.” Mueller has also reportedly interviewed John Kelly, the White House chief of staff who is finally joining the exodus of staff away from the administration amid what by all accounts has been ferocious tension.

House Dems say that once they take over the House, they will provide Mueller with transcripts of all interviews pertaining to Russian collusion that were withheld from the investigation by Republicans.

Meanwhile the DC and Maryland attorneys general subpoenaed the Trump organization, the IRS and dozens of other entities to determine whether Don John is profiting off the presidency in violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

And that leads us right to…

Republicans Reconsidering

Senators demanded a briefing from CIA head and Donald appointee Gina Haspel on the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after the White House blocked her from last week’s propaganda “briefing” by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis, who denied that any “direct” evidence linked Mohammed bin Salman to the murder (which Democratic senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a member of the foreign relations committee, called “misleading”).

Following Haspel’s briefing, a bipartisan group of senators condemned the Saudi crown prince, stating that there was “zero question” he was complicit in the murder (which our CIA ascertained weeks ago with “high confidence,” despite Donald’s rejection of American intelligence findings and continued defense and support of the crown prince that Republican senator Bob Corker called “unacceptable”). Even Trump toady Lindsey Graham said, You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi,” and stated he will no longer support arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Now the bipartisan group of senators wants MBS formally blamed and punished.

Tucker Carlson—Tucker Carlson!—says Trump is not capable, has failed to deliver on his goals, and that the Republican Party “will die” without changes. (How are you enjoying your first bite of reality, Tucker? Join the rest of us—we’ve been feasting on it for years now.)

Rex Tillerson stated that the Very Stable Genius is undisciplined, doesn’t read, and frequently wanted to break the law. (And how are YOU enjoying your first bite of reality, Rex?)

After Louie Gohmert, a Republican from Texas, said on a FOX Business segment that it’s “not anti-Semitic” to criticize Soros. A Fox Business Network host later apologized for the segment.

Blue Wave

Democrats won their 40th pickup in the House this past week when another Republican conceded in California, bringing their total winning vote margin for the 2018 elections to 9.5 million votes, beating the all-time record of 8.7 million votes in 1974 after Nixon’s resignation, where Democrats picked up 49 seats.

Republican Corruption

In North Carolina, investigations into voter fraud are continuing, despite denials from the GOP—ironically usually the party crying “Voter fraud” at every turn. Their silence this time is likely due to the fact that the investigation centers around a political operative who worked for a GOP candidate, and that the GOP had early warning about potential voter fraud that they ignored.

Donald’s unconcerned about his benefit-the-wealthy tax cuts swelling national debt ($21 trillion and counting) because he “won’t be here” when it comes due. Not his problem, apparently.

Recently released emails reveal that a top White House appointee to the VA tried to silence his department from condemning white nationalists after the Charlottesville rally.

And the Washington Post discovered documents that reveal that a month after the election, Saudi lobbyists paid for 500 rooms at Donny’s DC hotel, which were used a lure for veterans who were brought all-expenses-paid to DC to lobby against a law Saudis opposed, but were not told whose interests they were furthering nor who was funding their stay. And undocumented workers employed by Donald in his reports came forward, and Rex Tillerson admitted that the president asked him to do things that were illegal (good of you to finally speak up, Rex).

Climate Change Advances

Fishermen in Oregon and California are suing 30 companies, mostly Big Oil, for their role in concealing their knowledge of the deleterious effects of climate change due to the burning of fossil fuels, and causing global-warming related damages to area fisheries and sea life populations.

In the face of increasingly urgent reports of the pace of global warming, the first major utility company in the U.S. has committed to going completely carbon free by 2050 (and 80 percent by 2030).

Justice

The jury in the trial of the self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who plowed down Heather Heyer in Charlottesville found him guilty of first-degree murder.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Pretty much everything in the first section of this newsletter. Plus this magical thing happened when Rudy Giuliani doesn’t know how to use the interwebs. As did this one when Donald again showed he doesn’t know how to use the English language.

Pop the popcorn, warriors! I do believe we’ve hit a tipping point and things are only going to get more interesting from here.

Frantic last gasps | How your voices are making a difference

 

Oh, friends, what you are seeing in this last week are the frantic last gasps of a man and his cronies who are beginning to understand that the noose is tightening around their necks too tightly now to break free. Let’s just plunge right in, shall we?

Mueller Time

Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty to lying to Congress, after having already earlier pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations (making him the 33rd witch to be charged, if you’re counting), and he is singing like Billie Holliday about all Donald’s secrets—including that Don John continued to seek financing for his Russian property during the 2016 campaign (and blatantly lied about it), while he was proposing loosening sanctions on—wait for it!—Russia! Including a $50 million penthouse the very stable genius apparently promised to Putin.

Mueller is also investigating ties between Paul Manafort and Julian AssangeAssange and Roger Stone, and Jerome Corsi and Roger Stone, as well as Donny’s middle-of-the-night calls to Roger Stone during the campaign.

George Papadopoulous reported to prison, and Mueller has accused Paul Manafort of lying after striking a plea deal with federal prosecutors and says he should be sentenced immediately. He’s is said to be considering retrying Manafort.

And all of this is showing so very, very clearly that Donny is the central player in Mueller’s investigation—although apparently Ivanka and Donny Junior have major supporting roles too. Which explains Don John’s increasingly panicked tweets attacking it, including retweeting an image of deputy AG Rod Rosenstein behind bars, apparently because he “should never have picked a special counsel,” which Donald apparently believes to be a jailable crime. (Well, it may very well prove to be…but not for Rosenstein…)

Meanwhile, Jeff Flake—perhaps in an attempt to atone for his unconscionable support of Brett Kavanaugh—has refused to confirm any of Donny’s judicial nominees until Mitch McConnell allows a vote on the floor to protect Mueller’s investigation.

Here’s a handy li’l list of everyone who’s been charged and convicted (so far!) in the Mueller investigation.

In possibly related news, Deutsche Bank headquarters was raided by the German government—170 police and tax assessors—as part of a money-laundering probe related to the Panama Papers. You may remember Deutsche Bank as one of the only financial institutions that would still offer loans to inept businessman Donald Trump prior to his presidency.

Federal investigators also raided the offices of a tax attorney in Chicago who did work for Don John.

And in a related category…

Republicans Against the Law

Acting attorney general and Donny crony Matthew Whittaker is having a hell of a week. He was shown to have had early warnings of fraud accusations from a company he nonetheless continued to promote; recently revealed documents show he misled the Federal Trade Commission when he took over as the Justice Department’s chief of staff; and he’s being investigated for Hatch Act violations (along with five other of Donny’s White House staff).

Advocates for gubernatorial candidate Stacy Abrams in Georgia filed a federal lawsuit alleging widespread voting rights violations by GA sec of state Brian Kemp.

Republicans Reconsidering

In a direct rebuke to Don John for his defense and support of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom U.S. intelligence has ascertained “with high confidence” directly ordered the murder of journalist Jamar Khashoggi, Congress voted 63-27 to end all aid to the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and demanded a CIA briefing on Khashoggi’s murder after CIA head Gina Haspel was excluded from a prior one. MBS has become a pariah in the global community (to everyone except the president of the United States).

Meanwhile a neighborhood organization in DC has approved a motion to rename a section of the street in front of the Saudi embassy Jamal Khashoggi Way.

More and more Republicans are challenging Donny’s defense of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince the CIA has ascertained with “high confidence” ordered the murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Republican Sen. Tim Scott says he will block confirmation of Trump judicial nominee Thomas Farr amid racial controversy about Farr’s defense of voter ID laws that the courts said disenfranchised African American voters.

Republican Mia Love smack-talked Donald as she conceded in Utah.

Republicans in Texas are actually criticizing a fellow Republican for anti-Muslim actions: Tarrant County precinct chair Dorrie O’Brien is advocating removing vice chairman Shahid Shafi solely on the basis of his religion.

Crazy Sh*t that Regularly Happens Now

In a gross violation of journalistic ethics, FOX News actually coordinated its interview questions with the EPA for its interview with former department head Scott Pruitt and allowed Pruitt to see the questions ahead of time.

A journalist directly confronted Donald about his lie that the Obama administration had the same family-separation policy Donald’s administration enacted, to the world’s horror.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

A Dallas grand jury indicted the fired officer who killed an unarmed black man (Botham Jean) in his apartment.

In Saint Louis, four police officers have been indicted for the brutal, unprovoked beating of an unarmed black man (who happened to be an undercover cop) in a group protesting, ironically, the acquittal of another police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man.

The Miss Universe pageant has its first openly trans contestant (Miss Spain, Angela Ponce), after legal action in 2012 filed by a transwoman who was disallowed from the competition.

Ken Paxton (of all people) wrote an opinion that Gov. Greg Abbott can remove a Confederate plaque at the Capitol that offers misleading, nonfactual info about the purpose of the South’s rebellion.

Your Feel-good Stories for the Week

What, all the above wasn’t feel-good enough for you?!

Okay, how about this: Contributions to the NRA went down $55 million this past year, and membership dues decreased by $35 million.

After announcing that veterans whose benefits were shorted because of a VA error would not be getting the money they were owed due to ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs computer problems, the GOP administration backtracked after public and congressional outcry—veterans will receive the benefits they earned.

Finally, this sweet story about the unlikely friendship that developed between George H. W. Bush and Dana Carvey, the SNL comedian who regularly skewered him on the show, will remind you of a time when there were decent human beings in the White House.

Good election news keeps trickling in | How your voices are making a difference

In a week in which Donald once again dismissed the findings of American intelligence, supported and defended a brutal regime the CIA judged as having murdered a citizen, neglected to exhort followers to “lock her up” after his daughter was found to have used private email for government business, suggested on a visit to a wildfire-ripped city whose name he could not remember that the answer to forest fires lay not in addressing climate change but raking, and named himself when asked what he was thankful for, amid other unhinged comments from Mar-A-Lago on Thanksgiving, believe it or not there was still plenty to feel optimistic about.

Two weeks after the midterms, good election news keeps trickling in: another Democrat edged out a Republican, adding to the Dems’ sweep of the House as final election results trickle in—this one in Utah, with a GOP candidate Donald decried as a “loser” for not sufficiently embracing him. And Texas State students who demanded more access to polling places may have played a decisive role in swinging Hays County blue.

Republicans Against the Law

Don John threatened to revoke Jim Acosta’s press pass to the White House the moment the court order restoring it expired at the end of the month—until CNN threated a lawsuit. The White House subsequently announced the full restoration of Acosta’s pass.

federal judge blocked Donald’s ban on migrants seeking asylum at our border after a challenge in court by immigrant rights groups.

In Mississippi, a federal judge blocked a state law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks.

federal judge ruled that a lawsuit against Donald for misuse of funds in his personal charity can proceed.

Supreme Court judge John Roberts—the Republican-appointed leader of the court—criticized Donald for politicizing the judiciary.

The FBI now classifies the white nationalist far-right group the Proud Boys as an extremist group for its history of misogyny and glorifying violence.

Environmental Advances

The Coast Guard has ordered a company that has spilled more than a million barrels of oil into the gulf since 2004 to clean up its ecological disaster.

The first climate report authored by several different agencies within Donald’s own GOP administration  say they are more certain than ever that climate change poses a severe threat to Americans’ health and pocketbooks, as well as to the country’s infrastructure and natural resources.

Your Feel-good Stories for the Week

Just in time for the holidays, read this lovely piece on how we might talk about difficult issues with the ones we love from a place of shared humanity and connection. Silence in the face of racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice and fear is acquiescence—but shaming and rage don’t change hearts.

Seventy percent of Americans think Mueller should be allowed to complete his investigations; 52 percent want legislation passed to protect it.

The blue wave keeps on climbing higher | How your voices are making a difference

“The @NRSC & @SenCoryGardner are not only spreading lies & nutty theories, but undermining democracy.”

The blue wave keeps on climbing higher—this report shows why the phenomenal victories for Dems last Tuesday were overshadowed by a few high-profile disappointments, and why Dems—especially in Texas—should be celebrating their victories.

Despite disappointing results in Florida and Georgia’s high-profile recounts, last week’s election is the gift that keeps on giving for Dems. Kyrsten Sinema won the Senate in Arizona, making her the first Democrat from that state in Congress since 1988, the first female senator from the state, and the first openly bisexual woman in Congress.

In New Jersey, a House race was finally called for Democratic candidate Andy Kim against his Trump-loving opponent, leaving only one lonely GOP rep from the state in the House. Another Democrat flipped a House seat, this one in Southern California in a deep red Reagan district, and the entirety of formerly deep red Orange County is now blueDemocrats flipped another House seat in Maine’s new ranked-balloting system. In Colorado, independent voters overwhelmingly cited Donald as the reason they voted Democrat.

And here in Texas, Democrats flipped four key judicial courts, moving from holding a majority in just three of 14 appeals court seats to holding half.

Amid all this—likely partly because of it—the White House is off the rails. Donald attacked Emmanuel Macron after the French president made pointed comments against the nationalism Donny espouses openly; then he had another major Twitter tantrum in his mounting fear of what Mueller’s investigation may be uncovering; and then he made another unhinged fact-free propaganda appearance, this one with the Daily Caller. Even first lady Melania Trump isn’t immune from a meltdown: her office issued a formal statement that Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel “no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.” And now reports have it that Donald is pathologically fearful over whether VP Mike Pence is loyal, not to mention his suggestion that insufficient raking of forests, not climate change, is the main cause of increasingly frequent and destructive forest fires like the two raging through Southern California.

Republicans Reconsidering

Two former McCain aides spoke out against their own party’s attempts to undermine the election in Arizona: “I ran @SenJohnMcCain political world for 10 years & can tell you what is going on in AZ is above board & by the rules,” one said. “The @NRSC & @SenCoryGardner are not only spreading lies & nutty theories, but undermining democracy.”

GOP Senator Jeff Flake has said he will refuse to vote to confirm any of Donald’s judicial appointees unless Mitch McConnell finally allows a proposed bill protecting Mueller’s investigation to come to a vote on the Senate floor. Senator Lindsey Graham—usually Donny’s obsequious toady—also stated that he supports the bill.

Republicans against the law

A federal judge has ruled in favor of the First Amendment and ordered the White House to temporarily restore CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s credentials, after they revoked it and CNN sued the White House for violations of the First and Fifth Amendments—for infringing on freedom of the press and denying Acosta due process. Even FOX News supports CNN’s suit against the White HouseSecret Service passes for White House journalists should never be weaponized,” said network president Jay Wallace. Even FOX News.

The state of Maryland has asked a judge to declare Rod Rosenstein the acting attorney general, rather than Donald’s crony Matt Whitaker, who has already demonstrated previous bias against the Mueller investigation.

Meanwhile Whitaker is wading through the muck of his own making: being investigated for his role in an investment promotion scam; sticking taxpayers in Iowa for hundreds of thousands of dollars when he and his company walked away from a mismanaged apartment-rehabilitation project they’d been behind; and facing mounting calls to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation based on his overwhelming prior public antipathy toward Mueller and the investigation.

Betsy DeVos is being sued—again—for failing to cancel student debt from for-profit colleges that have been shut down, the ruling judge calling her delays “arbitrary and capricious.”

A federal judge found that Georgia’s former secretary of state Brian Kemp violated the Civil Right Act in rejecting ballots based on an omitted or incorrect birth year.

A federal judge ruled that a Neo-Nazi publication constitutes hate speech and not protected under the First Amendment.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

For the first time since women were admitted to the Special Forces training program in the army in 2016, a woman has made it past the initial training stage and could become the first female Green Beret.

Celine Dion has co-created a line of gender-neutral children’s clothing.

In what is believed to be the largest private donation to a university, Michael Bloomberg donated $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins to make the university “need-blind,” aiding lower- and middle-income applicants by creating an admission system based on achievement regardless of ability to pay.

Texas GOP rep Dan Crenshaw, discussing his high-profile appearance on SNL last week to garner an apology from cast member Pete Davidson, explained his decision to appear on the show as an effort to promote civility and consideration.

Doctors issued a smackdown against the NRA after the strong-arm lobbying gun organization suggested doctors “stay in their lane” and not address gun violence.

This op-ed by Mitch McConnell exhorting bipartisanship was actually real, not an Onion spoof, and met with swift mockery on Twitter, where most of the tens of thousands of responses consisted of only two words: Merrick Garland.

Racist Rep Steve King, who just won reelection as the GOP senator from Iowa, dared the conservative publication the Weekly Standard to provide audio recordings of King calling immigrants “dirt,” denying he said it. The Standard happily produced the recordings, which proved he did.

Because people are awfully creative, this is a thing. Just in time for holiday gift giving!

A gorgeous win for sanity | How your voices are making a difference

“Exit polls, Election Day polls and actual returns showed significant gains for Democrats in suburbs and among independents…. Democrats have captured the middle.”

If you’ve heard people bemoan that last Tuesday’s elections weren’t a decisive win for Democrats, please smack those voices down—Tuesday was a gorgeous win for sanity from the local level up—and the local level is where our movement builds and really matters.Democrats flipped the House, gained hundreds of legislative seats, secured the majority of state attorneys general, and garnered two-thirds of the seats up for grabs. Of those we didn’t, most were Republican-held seats in deep red areas that were always highly unlikely to flip.

Women and LGBT candidates were elected in record numbers. Not only did Minnesota elect its first openly gay Congresswoman, but she defeated Jason Lewis—remember him? The guy who bemoaned the fact that he couldn’t call women “sluts” anymore.

Want some numbers? For the Senate, the popular vote for Democrats was 40,558,262, or 55.4 percent; for Republicans it was 31,490,026 votes, or just 43.0 percent. (But read this article for an explanation of why we shouldn’t freak out over the inequity.)

Some environmental/conservation wins. In Georgia, up to $20 million of existing sales tax each year will go to land conservation; Florida banned oil and gas off-shore drilling; and in Nevada, electric utilities must now get 50% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030.

Here in Texas we flipped four influential state appeals courts—in Austin, Houston and Dallas—and Dems picked up 12 seats in the Texas house and broke the supermajority in the senate, meaning that they will now need Democrat support to bring bills to the floor. In Austin, 7 ballot initiatives were passed aimed at affordable housing, libraries and museums, parks, infrastructure, and health care, while we voted down a Koch-brothers-funded proposition to force unnecessary budget “audits.”  Despite heavy intentional redistricting by the GOP in the Dallas metroplex to ensure they would never lose elections in that area, the GOP nonetheless lost 12 of 14 seats there, flipped by the Democrats.

And just for symbolism, first-time candidate Erin Zwiener delivered both a win to the Texas house and a baby during her campaign, thus giving birth to the future while also working to create a better one. J 

Even where we lost, we showed how much progress progress is making in a year of record-breaking voter turnout: In dozens of races lost to Republicans they had to fight tooth and nail to eke out a win by the narrowest of margins. In heavily GOP-gerrymandered Texas, four historically double-digit GOP offices were won by scant single digits, and Beto came within a hairbreadth of defeating Rafael Cruz.

A few more juicy tidbits:

And if you really want a delightful treat, try to picture Mike Pence administering the oath of office to two Muslim women on a copy of the Qur’an, or the look on the face of the Colorado baker who refused a cake for a gay wedding when it sinks in who he now has for a governor. Is the federal government messed up? You betcha. And it’s discouraging that so many people are still supporting so much anti-American, anti-decency behavior. BUT…! Change happens from the ground up, and Tuesday showed that the earth is shaking, babies.

Meanwhile the GOP “family values party” demonstrated quite literally that there are no depths to which they will not sink in abandoning decency for party agenda by electing three indicted felons, a white nationalist, and a dead pimp. No, seriously.

Overall, this election was a win. And it just keeps getting better. As this article states, here is the key takeaway from this election that we must continue to build on [emphasis mine]: “Exit polls, Election Day polls and actual returns showed significant gains for Democrats in suburbs and among independents. In the Washington Post-Schar School Election Day poll of battleground district voters, independents preferred Democrats by double digits, and independent women favored Democrats by more than 20 points. Democrats have captured the middle. The polling also shows that young voters and racial minorities — the future American electorate — turned out in healthy numbers for Democrats.”

This is a marathon and not a sprint, folks. We’re not there yet, but Tuesday’s results should show us how effective our sustained efforts to safeguard democracy have been—and can continue to be if we stay in the battle.

Republicans Against the Law

Social and Civil Rights Advances

After last week’s Google-employee walkout, the company has announced it will no longer require forced arbitration for sexual harassment or assault claims.

Motel 6 will pay $7.6 in damages to Hispanic guests in a class-action lawsuit for illegally alerting ICE to guests they suspected to be undocumented immigrants. The company will also sign a two-year consent decree barring it from sharing guest data with immigration authorities absent warrants, subpoenas, or threats of serious crime or harm.

Republicans Reconsidering

Even FOX News found Donald’s ad too racist—the one about the immigrant who came in during George W. Bush’s administration, and was released by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and who killed two police officers.

Feel-good Stories of the Week

RBG is back, babies.

I got other ribs, bitches

Don’t get complacent | How your voices are making a difference

11.5.18 “There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.”

Considering Texas’s usual abysmal voter-turnout rates, it’s astonishing that our state this past week led the country in first-time voter numbers, with more than 200K new voters voting already. We lead the next-largest new-voter turnout, in California, by more than double (at 90K).

Early turnout for voting in Texas has increased 508% among voters under 30, a stratospheric jump being attributed largely to enthusiasm among younger voters for Beto O’Rourke. Turnout levels across all demographics has been extraordinarily high.

But don’t get complacent.

Now more than ever, every vote counts—here are ten times elections came down to a single vote. Vote like your rights and our democracy depend on it—because they do. Call friends to encourage them to vote; offer rides; post on social media. And no matter how things go on Tuesday, here are some ways to make sure we aren’t contributing to the nation’s divisiveness and anger.

In a hopeful sign for future elections, Maine is instigating ranked-choice voting in the first general election ever, in an effort to avoid nasty and expensive runoff battles.

In other news, this week thousands of Philadephians—as well as the mayor, as well as the former president of the synagogue where the victims were shot, who called Donald “a purveyor of hate speech”—asked Donald not to come to their town until the victims of the right-wing terrorist who shot 11 Jewish people in a synagogue last Saturday had been buried. He went anyway, though congressional leaders declined to go with him. One of the victim’s family, whom Donald offered to meet, declined his visit. The “very stable genius” said the Pittsburgh protest was “small” and he didn’t see it. Here’s the actual protest, a scant mile from where Donald was. Mike Pence showed up with a “rabbi”—who preached Jesus as savior (to JEWISH people) and asked them to pray for Republicans. (I wish this were satire, but it’s true.)

Republicans Against the Law

It was quite a week for legal smackdowns of the GOP.

This week judges ruled that:

And a new lawsuit has been brought to federal court alleging that Donald and three of his children used the Trump name to intentionally mislead vulnerable people to invest in sham corporations.

At least three probes by the inspector general of the Interior department are underway against Ryan Zinke for violations of ethics and rules—one of which has been referred to the Justice department.

Republicans Reconsidering

Former House speaker Joe Straus penned an op-ed calling for unity and civility, and denouncing the current GOP administration for its divisiveness.

Even Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report was appalled by FOX’s reporting of the recent right-wing terrorist attacks.

Even Paul Ryan rejected Donald’s dog-whistle distraction of threatening to end birthright citizenship by executive order.

Even Kanye West is realizing he’s been a political pawn and announced he will be removing himself from politics (to the relief of a grateful nation)—but not without a parting statement, of course, and one that seems to belie everything else he’s spewed in the last months: “My eyes are now wide open and now realize I’ve been used to spread messages I don’t believe in…. I support holding people who misuse their power accountable.

I believe in love and compassion for people seeking asylum and parents who are fighting to protect their children from violence and war.”

The Wall Street Journal—a bastion of conservative thought—reported that the U.S. Treasury expects to issue more than $1 TRILLION of debt in 2018, thanks to the GOP tax break for corporations and the wealthy.

Speaking of the conservative financial sector, for the first time in a decade, more Wall Street political money is going to Democrats than Republicans—not necessarily great news for those who understand the damage big-money interests wreak on our government, but certainly a powerful statement about the current state of our country that the typically Republican-leaning financial sector is distancing itself from GOP corruption.

Michael Cohen can’t stop revealing terrible truths about Donald—most recently that Don John frequently used racist language during the 2016 campaign and before. (Meanwhile Donald’s racist ad stating that Democrats allowed a Mexican man accused of killing two policemen into the country hilariously backfired when it was revealed that the man came into the country under George Bush and was released by racist felon sheriff Joe Arpaio.)

Mitt Romney railed against Donald’s repeated attacks on the media as the “enemy of the people,” saying “Denigrating the media diminishes an institution that is critical to democracy, both here and abroad…it comes with a large cost to the cause of freedom,” and stating the that media are “very much our friend.”

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Thousands of Google employees across the world staged a walkout last Thursday to protest the company’s payouts of departing executives accused of sexual harassment, and Google’s silence about the allegations.

More than 56 corporations, including giants like Apple, Google, and Facebook, confronted the GOP administration over its recent efforts to attack the civil rights of transgender people.

GoDaddy is the latest business to withdraw from Gab, the far-right hate-speech social media site where Pittsburgh shooter Robert Bowers was active, following PayPal, Medium, Stripe, and Joyent.

Undaunted by GOP attacks on free speech and civil protest of shootings of African Americans, an NFL cheerleader for the San Francisco 49’ers knelt for the national anthem.

University of Maryland football coach DJ Durkin, under whose leadership a player died of heatstroke, lost his job a day after his school announced he’d keep it, after an upswelling of student and lawmaker outcry.

Feel-good Stories of the Week

The New York Times is “failing” all the way to the bank and millions of readers—circulation soared past the 4 million mark this past quarter, a previous record, profits jumped 30 percent, and the stock has gained almost 24% in the last month. Attacks on the press seem to instill a new respect and gratitude for it.

Ben and Jerry’s has resistance ice cream! $100K of profits for Pecan Resist will go to progressive causes “to lick injustice and champion those fighting to create a more just and equitable nation for us all.”

I’d love to say “tens of people” showed up for a rally Steve Bannon tried to hold in Kansas, but in reality the number was only 17. Ten-and-two-thirds of people, I guess…. J

Shepard Smith continues to be the sole voice of reason and fact at FOX News with this extraordinary commentary amid Donald’s baseless fearmongering about the asylum seekers from Central America: “There is no invasion. No one is coming to get you. There’s nothing at all to worry about.” There are over 2,000 miles between Mexico’s southern border and the US, Smith pointed out, and a similar previous incident resulted in only 14 arrests: “We’re America. We can handle it.”

Oprah damn Winfrey went to Georgia and literally campaigned door to door for Stacey Abrams, and it. Was. Awesome. She also gave a phenomenal introduction to the gubernatorial candidate at an Abrams rally that smacked of awesomeness.

Here’s a visual representation of how much we can accomplish when we work together: When a beloved bookstore in Southampton, England, had to move to a new location nearby, more than 200 patrons showed up to help, forming a human conveyor belt passing books along one by one until the entire store was relocated.

Keep this idea in mind when you VOTE.