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.

And the world was filled with awe | How your voices are making a difference

NM governor Michelle Lujan Grisham pulled the majority of National Guard forces Donald sent to the U.S.-Mexico border in that state, stating, “New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fear-mongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops.”

Republicans Against the Law

The Supreme Court blocked (5-4 along ideological lines, except for Justice John Roberts) from enforcing a restrictive abortion law on the state’s books, which requires doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital, that it struck down in Texas as unconstitutional.

Several civil rights groups are suing election officials in Texas over what turns out to have been the fanned-up report of 95,000 voters who were flagged as possible noncitizens, riddled with flawed data and illegally targeting recently nationalized citizens and people of color.

The Senate introduced a bipartisan bill that would reverse Donald’s ban on transgender troops that the Supreme Court temporarily upheld. Allowing transgender people to continue to serve our country in the military and to enlist.

Federal prosecutors are neck-deep in investigating Donald’s inaugural committee for possible fraud and felony charges. The liar-in-chief’s lying henchwoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders hilarious said, somehow with a straight face, that it had “nothing to do with the White House.”

Democrats Getting Things Done

The House Intelligence Committee voted to send Robert Mueller more than 50 transcripts from witness testimony that might be pertinent to the Russia investigation, including interview transcripts with Donny Junior and Jared Kushner.

A day after Donald used his SoTU address to denounce the investigations into him and his felonious toadies, the House announced they will be opening a new investigation into the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and will also be looking into whether Donald’s financial interests have driven his decisions as president.

House Dems on the Ways and Means Committee are pushing for the release of Donald’s tax returns.

In a category all its own, Jeff Bezos pushed back at David Pecker, owner of the National Enquirer and its parent company, AMI Media, and BFF of Donald (you remember him from the catch-and-kill stories by one of the women Donald committed adultery with, right? They paid for Karen McDougal’s story and had her sign  an exclusivity contract, then buried the story to protect Don John during the election), when Pecker attempted to blackmail Bezos with compromising extramarital pictures the media outlet had dug up from Bezos’s personal text messages. In a baller Hamilton move, Bezos exposed Pecker (I wish I’d made that one up) and his open, documented, unambiguous blackmail attempt. Pecker shows clearly here that his idea of “journalism” follows Mafia mentality: use your money and power to dig up embarrassing material on someone so you can control their actions and avoid consequences for your own. Bezos decided to “turn this log over and see what crawls out” so the American public can see the naked truth of the Enquirer and Pecker’s habitual extortion.

Unintentional Republican Honesty

Donald praised religion’s role in the abolition of civil rights. No, seriously.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Nancy Pelosi did this and the world was filled with awe. Her daughter explained the subtext.

In the midst of so much GOP corruption, don’t forget how good people can be.

Nearly 90 percent of Americans agree they want Robert Mueller’s investigation findings released to the public.

Donald’s usual word salad of lies and empty boasting | How your voices are making a difference

After the speaker of the House engineered the reopening of the government shutdown by Donald’s tantrum over his compensatory wall, Nancy Pelosi’s opening bid in the renewed wall negotiations is…zero. 😀

Meanwhile, perhaps anticipating another tantrum by the toddler-in-chief, a bipartisan group of senators has introduced legislation that would withhold salary from the president, vice president, and Congress during any government shutdown.

While the GOP works hard to disallow immigrants from our country, Now This dug up Republican hero Ronald Reagan’s touching final speech as president, in which he spoke almost exclusively on the value of immigrants to our country, and the reliance of American on them to make our country as great as it is. GOP: Discuss.

By way of comparison, here’s how the current GOP treats people seeking a better life in our country, ICE set up a fake university and then used it to sting undocumented immigrants who expressed interest in pursuing an education.

Checking the Commander of Cheese

In a report to Congress this past week, U.S. intelligence heads—all of whom were appointed by the very stable genius himself—directly negated Individual 1’s stances on everything from ISIS to Russia to North Korea. Don John, of course, feels he knows better than these trained intelligence experts, tweeting that they should “go back to school!”

But Mitch McConnell led a congressional rebuke of Donny’s uninformed, impulsive plans to remove troops from Syria and Afghanistan with the votes of a vast swatch of Republican senators. Of course, McConnell also called a proposal to make Election Day a federal holiday a “power grab” by Democrats, thus admitting that if we encourage people to vote, Republicans won’t stay in power very long. That’s the GOP way—suppress votes and gerrymander so they can steal elections, since they seem to believe they can’t win them.

Russia

After recent stories that show Donald deliberately concealed translator notes about his previous meetings with Putin, the Financial Times revealed that Don John again met with his puppetmaster—aka the leader of our country’s greatest adversary—at last November’s G20 summit with no official present.

The NRA has been busily denying that their 2015 trip to Russia to meet with senior Kremlin officials was an official organization function—but recent evidence uncovered shows the NRA’s extensive involvement in organizing the trip for high-level members, including the participation of recently alleged Russian agent Maria Butina. Recall that during his campaign, Donald was heavily funded by and a featured speaker for the gun-activist group, and that Butina’s efforts to infiltrate the NRA as part of a covert influence operation in the United States have come to light in court filings by U.S. prosecutors.

Media Wising Up

CNN and MSNBC chose to no longer give the liar-in-chief’s public-facing liar a forum, skipping Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s latest “briefing.”

After Donald—who decries the major news outlets while desperately courting their attention—requested a private, “off-the-record” meeting with NYTimes publisher A. G. Sulzberger, Sulzberger wisely declined—but counteroffered an on-the-record interview, with two other top NYTimes reporters in the room. The result is Donald’s usual word salad of lies and empty boasting, worth a read if you just can’t get enough of that sort of thing.

Comeuppance

Ooh, girl—Chris Christie is ready to throw DOWN with Jared Kushner, smack-talking his daddy, whom Christie helped sent to jail, as “loathsome” and “disgusting.” It’s on, Jared—your move.

The woman who outed Donald’s hotel businesses for not only hiring, but actively helping to procure false documentation for undocumented employees will be present at the mentally deranged dotard’s SoTU propaganda this Tuesday.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Parents Magazine featuring same-sex couple and baby

Parents magazine featured its first same-sex couple/family on their cover.

The Pakistan Supreme Court upheld the acquittal of a woman who had been on death row for eight years—death row, people—for accusations of blasphemy against Islam. Hardline religious zealots protested the decision in the streets—let that sink in: religious fanatics who believe that violating their religious beliefs deserves death. Remind you of any evangelical Christians “pro-lifers”?

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Gosh, who could possibly have foreseen THIS?!

Donald’s former pastor god-trolled him.

It’s wrong…but it’s freaking hilarious.

In case you need a reminder of how wonderful humans can be.

Pelosi taught Donald what it’s like to face off with a grown-ass adult | How your voices are making a difference

Who run the world?

Who run the world? Nancy Pelosi taught Donald what it’s like to face off with a grown-ass adult by refusing to negotiate funding for his border wall until Donald reopened the government—to which demand he caved after costing the American economy more than $6 billion during his tantrum—more than the $5.7 billion he was pouting over not getting for his compensatory wall. (But watch for him to declare a national emergency and commandeer the funds in three weeks.)

The Supreme Court declined to review the DACA program and Donny’s right to end it, thus de-fanging Donald’s “offer” to Democrats for temporary protection for Dreamers in exchange for the compensatory wall.

Meanwhile FBI head—and Donald appointee—Christopher Wray sent an internal memo to his department decrying the shutdown: “It takes a lot to make me angry, but I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long time.” Even John Kelly exhorted Donny to end the shutdown, along with four other former Homeland Security secretaries. Six Republicans broke ranks to vote with Democrats in the Senate for a bill that would have reopened the government—but the rest of the Mitch McConnell GOP shot it down before Pelosi owned Don John like a boss.

Pelosi also deftly handled Donald’s SoTU fit in a deliciously pithy and pointed letter you should enjoy for yourself, and persevered. It’s like watching a calm adult deal with the irrational outbursts of a truculent toddler, if the adult were the speaker of the House and the baby trying to get its way were the president of the United States.

Mueller Time

Donald’s longtime friend and campaign adviser—and fan of Richard Nixon with a Nixon tattoo on his back—Roger Stone was indicted on seven—count ‘em—charges of charged with lying to investigators, obstruction of justice and witness tampering, and arrested in an early morning raid of his Florida home.

The White House’s response, through Donald’s surrogate for lying and obfuscation Sarah Huckabee Sanders was to aver that Stone, one of Donald’s longest-term and closest friends and campaign advisers, “has nothing to do with the president.”  LOL! And Donny himself hastened to reassure America once again that we’re in the middle of “the Greatest Witch Hunt in this History of our Country,” amid the six people in his inner circle charged with felonies so far. LOLOLOL!

And Rudy’s kinda losing it, y’all. Even by Donny’s usual standards.

Republican Corruption

North Carolina judge declined to certify GOP House candidate Mark Harris in the NC election amid an investigation for Republican election fraud perpetrated by Harris’s campaign.

federal court redrew racially gerrymandered maps in Virginia, making Democrats competitive again in the state.

House Dems are opening an investigation into how Jared Kushner got a White House security clearance despite multiple concerns about his being targeted for manipulation by foreign governments, despite his multiple omissions in his disclosure forms, and despite his having had access to top secret information long before he had clearance.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Democrat Pete Buttigieg, 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, IN, and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, has become the first openly gay candidate for president of the United States.

In the good news/bad news category, the percentage of Americans concerned about global warming spiked sharply, up nearly 10 percent just from March to December of last year, from 63 to 72 percent, and 8 percent more state that they are “very worried.” Young people around the globe are protesting government inaction to combat the disastrous effects of unchecked man-made climate change.

Some private colleges are drastically lowering, rather than raising their tuition rates to help put their schools within more students’ reach.

In the face of an epidemic of pharmaceutical overprescriptions, and backed by research that shows the benefits of other therapies, doctors in Britain may soon be writing prescriptions for music, dance, art, and other creative therapies for certain illnesses.

Your Feel-Good Stories of the Week

Just as they did last year, MBA champs the Golden State Warriors elected not to go to the White House to meet 45 after their win—instead this time they chose to meet with 44, President Barack Obama, the earlier, better presidential model.

After a MAGA-loving Donny supporter trolled Patton Oswalt on Twitter, Oswalt looked into the man and discovered he was suffering serious medical setbacks with no money to pay for his ongoing care. So the comedian/actor donated $2,000 to the man’s Go Fund Me account and exhorted his fans to do the same, ultimately raising more than $20K. The man’s grateful, humbled response is worth a read.

Afghan Interpreter Released from ICE Custody | How your voices are making a difference

Rudy Giuliani is just melting right on down, stating that he “never said there was no collusion” (after bleating for months that there was no collusion, a lot of times, on the record), desperately backpedaling as Mueller’s noose draws a bit tighter. Expect to see the jackals turn on each other more and more as Mueller closes in.

Republicans Reconsidering

Donny’s former top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, denounced Don John’s shutdown, calling it “completely wrong.”

Although all but 11 Senate Republicans, as is their wont, decided to support Don John in his efforts to curry favor with Vladimir Putin (for surely no nefarious, illegal, or treasonous reason), in the House more than a whopping 130 Republicans joined Dems in a (mostly symbolic) rebuke of Donny’s decision to relax sanctions on one of Daddy Putin’s business cronies.

GOP lawmakers removed Steve King from all Senate committees after his recent racist comments about white nationalism, and King is being encouraged to step down from Congress. House voted to declare white nationalism a “hateful expression of intolerance.” (Watch out, there, Donny…!)

HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude resigned in the wake of Donald’s GOP administration making moves to cut off aid to still-recovering Puerto Rico and over housing policy disputes.

Republicans against the law

A second federal court halted the GOP administration’s attempt to roll back ACA coverage and allow employers to deny birth control coverage based on religious beliefs.

federal judge ruled against the illegal citizenship questions Wilbur Ross and Donald’s GOP administration tried to add to the 2020 census, saying Ross “violated public trust.”

The inspector general for the federal General Services Administration found that the agency improperly ignored guidelines for the Emoluments Clause spelled out in the Constitution by allowing Individual 1 to maintain his hotel lease on a former U.S. post office facility.

Republican Corruption

At the direction of the mentally deranged dotard, Michael Cohen paid the owner of a tech services company to doctor poll results for the Very Stable Genius during the 2016 campaign.

The inspector general of the National Credit Union Administration, alerted by a whistleblower, uncovered extravagant expenses claimed by the agency’s head and chief of staff, including claiming alcohol expenses contrary to department rules (like a $45 18-year-old glass of whiskey) and a $250 Uber Black ride (because the head of the department complained about “schlepping around in somebody’s Civic).

Social and Civil Rights Advances

From one of our actions last week: Mohasif Motawakil, the Afghan interpreter who was detained and held by ICE in Houston, had his visa canceled, and was threatened with deportation, despite having risked his life to support U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, has been released after 7 days—thanks in no small part to YOUR efforts from last week’s action, warriors!

James Watson, the scientist famous for his unsubstantiated “studies” that link race to intelligence has been stripped of all his titles by the lab where he worked.

The chancellor of UNC approved the removal of the remnants of a the “Silent Sam” Confederate statue pulled down by protesters last August (for which the university Board of Governors, which had planned to restore the monument, pushed her out of her job months early—way to go, old white men).

Michigan State president resigned in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal, after accusing the victims of Nassar’s sexual assault of “enjoying” the “spotlight.”

Gillette launched this lovely ad, which made some fragile and defensive folks on the right lose their offended minds at the idea that men should stand up for those who are bullied, not harass women, and be held to the same standards as any other human being. But the ad may tap into a much larger groundswell of support for these notions, like Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad that generated such outrage on the right–yet “drove a spike in sales, social engagement and online buzz, all of which helped the company emerge from a slump.”

R. Kelly was dropped by his record company, RCA, on the heels of a documentary that explores the many stories of sexual abuse he perpetrated against underage girls over the years that the music industry largely ignored until recently.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

In the wake of news that VP Mike Pence’s wife is working at a school that expressly disallows gay students and teachers, John Oliver did this glorious thing.

This is just flat-out hilarious. And SAD!

This group is trying to restore civility to public discourse.

The walls are closing in | How your voices are making a difference

Could Donald’s engineering of the longest government shutdown in history be another of his distraction techniques to call attention away from the revelation that PAUL MANAFORT SHARED 2016 POLLING DATA WITH AN ASSOCIATE TIED TO RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE?

Or that in 2017 the FBI opened an investigation into a SITTING PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES on suspicion that he was WORKING ON BEHALF OF OUR GREATEST ADVERSARY, RUSSIA?

I think it might….

Could it also be a desperate attempt to deflect from the news that Natalia Veselnitskaya—the Russian lawyer of Trump Tower meeting fame—was charged with obstruction of justice by federal prosecutors in a separate civil tax-fraud case that reveals her deep ties to the Kremlin? And that Michael Cohen will be testifying publicly before Congress on multiple illegal actions he took at Donny’s direct behest?

Or news that the White House may have intervened directly with the DoJ in the case against casino magnate, Don John crony, and huge GOP donor Steve Wynn for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act? And then the White House subsequently revised those violated rules to favor employers like Wynn…? Mmmm, methinks perhaps so.

And so let’s call this next section…

The Walls

I don’t mean just the one Donny wants to build, but the ones closing in on him….

All four living ex-presidents put the lie to Donald’s claim that any of them supported his compensatory wall (the one Mexico was supposed to pay for, remember? And that every single Congressperson in districts bordering the proposed wall uniformly opposes), and certainly not Donald’s holding the government hostage with demands for exorbitant funds for his meaningless Waterloo.

Eight House Republicans broke with the GOP to back Democrats’ legislation to reopen the Treasury and IRS without Donny’s border-wall funds. Naturally Don’s #1 toady Mitch McConnell refused to bring it to the Senate floor.

Yet another federal works union—this one Border Patrol—is suing Don John over lack of pay during his shutdown. And the Airline Pilots Association (representing 61,000 pilots) letter to Donald warned that the shutdown is putting flying safety at risk.

Food banks and GoFund Me accounts are being set up for victims of the GOP shutdown—many of whom are selling off possessions to scrape by while not being paid thanks to the White House, which advised them to do chores for their landlords,while the Coast Guard suggests furloughed employees do odd jobs, hold yard sales, and consider declaring bankruptcy. Meanwhile Mitch McConnell was in hiding when the Senate adjourned early on Friday, having still refused to allow a vote on legislation approved by the House to end the shutdown—the very same legislation he himself helped propose weeks ago and that passed unanimously in the Senate.

And Donald shouldn’t look to the veteran who raised $20 million in a Go Fund Me drive to build the wall, either—Brian Kolfage is being forced to refund every single donor’s money when it was revealed that he will not be using the funds as promised. Kolfage, a right-wing conspiracy theorist with a history of questionable fund-raising, is trying to reroute the funds to a nonprofit called We Build the Wall Inc., featuring former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on its advisory board…in no conflict of interest or shady ethics violations whatsoever. J

White House Chaos

Donny can’t seem to fill his latest hot potato of a job—so far a retired senator and a retired general have turned him down to replace Jim Mattis as secretary of defense.

U.S. Security Adviser John Bolton directly contradicted Donald’s impulsive announcement about withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria. And then Donald contradicted Bolton’s contradiction and said troops absolutely WERE going to be withdrawn immediately, bigly! And then all that moved out of Syria was some equipment. No one seems to know what the hell is happening in foreign policy. Or really anything within the White House walls.

Your Badass Democratic House in Action

In the scant two weeks since Democrats took charge in the House, here are some highlights of what they’ve already accomplished:

It’s nice to see accountability returning to government, and to see at least half of Congress remembering the American constitutional checks and balances of the legislative branch of government, rather than serving as an obedient extension of the executive branch.

Republican Corruption

South Carolina GOP Rep Tim Scott penned an op-ed condemning his party for staying silent on Iowa GOP Rep Steve King’s racist remarks about white supremacy, stating, “When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole.”

In a blow to the party that tries to steal elections when it can’t win them, the Supreme Court denied the GOP’s motion to stop the redrawing of gerrymandered election maps in Virginia.

Social and Civil Rights Advances

Cyntoia Brown, who killed the man who bought her for sex at the age of 16, was granted clemency by Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, a Republican.

On the heels of the ouster of Les Moonves, accused of sexual harassment, CBS News named its first female president.

Why this took so long is beyond me, but the Texas lege finally agreed to remove a plaque at the Capitol that falsely says the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery. In 2019. But at least we’re getting there finally.

David’s Bridal features a lesbian couple in one of their commercials.

Who run the world? Shockingly (and welcomely), it might not be girls, but older women.

Your Feel-good Stories of the Week

Watch as Republican strategist and commentator Ana Navarro ingeniously, hilariously handles the misinformation and windbaggery of Donald toady Steve Cortes (and stay tuned for when Chris Cuomo shuts Cortes down with a fabulous fact bomb).

RBG is a goddamned superhero.

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.