How Your Voices Made a Difference: Rolled Like a Burrito

I’m not going to bury the lede—Michael Flynn rolled like a burrito, my friends, and has promised “full cooperation” with Mueller’s investigation. The former national security adviser was the highest of high-level advisers to Donald and the minions, and in exchange for one paltry count of lying to the FBI (despite the reams of incriminating info Mueller has on him), it sounds like he’ll be singing like the proverbial canary. Know what song I keep hearing…? “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” Bet things aren’t quite so merry in the White House, where Melania’s horror-movie holiday decorations now seem pretty spot-on. For more from a legal expert on why this is Very Big News, please enjoy this delightful read.

Meanwhile Donny Jr. has agreed to talk to the House Intelligence Committee. I wonder whether he has the sense of self-preservation to point fingers at Daddy or if he’ll throw himself on the grenade in accordance with Donald’s demands for loyalty at any cost.

A right-wing group that targets media and left-leaning organizations attempted to “sting” the Washington Post by hiring a woman to pretend to be an accuser of child molester, disgraced judge, and Congressional wannabe Roy Moore—but the effort backfired when the Post, following its stringent fact-checking policies, declined to run the story, and in checking on the woman and her story discovered (and published) evidence of her duplicity and the sting operation conducted by Project Veritasa right-wing extremist organization that uses deceptive tactics and secretly recorded conversations in an effort to discredit its targets (and one that Donald himself donated $10K to).

As Donald reportedly denies his own voice on the Access Hollywood tapes, which the pussy-grabber-in-chief initially owned up to, the New York Times ran a well-sourced article revealing how many Republicans Donald has pressured to end the Russia investigations. Never minds separation of powers or ethics or, you know, the law.

Donald’s recurring and renewed attacks against the free press are escalating, and journalists are fighting back. He held out his propaganda station, FOX, for praise against CNN, saying, “FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!” CNN whipped back within minutes: “It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S. to the world. That’s yours.” Donald then called for a boycott of CNN when the media organization decided not to attend the White House holiday party for news media.

Two media organizations are suing the White House for information on the federal government’s surveillance practices against journalists, and for which the White House has denied records requests.

One of the first things authoritarians do in consolidating power is attack the free press, and Donald’s constant war against the media and the First Amendment is one of the more alarming attacks on our democracy. You can help by supporting the outlets doing top-notch journalism and keeping this regime accountable and transparent despite their attempts otherwise: Subscribe to the Washington Post and NY Times; donate to NPR and the Guardian; and support the many other excellent media sources that deal in truth and facts and relentlessly bring both to light.

The Inspector general of the Treasury Department has launched an investigation to determine whether Steven “Moochin’” Mnuchin suppressed a Treasury analysis of the Republican tax bill—or even initiated one at all.

Donny John was also recently exposed for hiring undocumented laborers—without adequate workplace safety precautions—for $4/hour (less than half the union wage—for those who were paid at all) to raze the Bonwit Teller building in Manhattan where his gaudy gold Trump Tower now stands. Donald settled the class-action lawsuit in 1998 (despite his false claims that he never settles), and the terms were recently unsealed by a district court judge.

Twenty-three Donald-affiliated business have received subpoenas from Maryland and DC attorneys general instructing them to preserve records as part of a lawsuit against Don John for violating the Constitution—again, this time the emoluments clause intended to prevent presidents from personally profiting from their office, as Donald is.

Texas Rep Joe “Dick Pic” Barton announced he is retiring from the House after it was revealed that the hard-line conservative sent lewd photos to a woman he was having an extramarital affair with. In not-unrelated news, members of both parties are pressuring Congress to end the culture of secrecy around sexual harassment claims—and especially to unmask lawmakers who have used taxpayer dollars to settle harassment claims.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Flippin’ Flynn

This week brought an intriguing development in the latest Russia report: Michael Flynn abruptly cut off all direct contact with Donald and his team—a pretty good sign that he may be working to cut a deal with Robert Mueller…in other words, to roll on what he may know about Donald and the campaign’s Russia ties. Pass the popcorn, please.

After announcing an end to the Obama-era ban on importing elephant “trophies” from nations without adequate protections for the endangered animals, Donald flip-flopped at loud, immediate bipartisan outcry, and has decided to uphold the ban (for now).

More Republican senators are waffling on the GOP tax scam, endangering its chances of passing in the Senate.

Donald’s tanking approval ratings are even spreading to FOX—FOX News host Neil Cavuto aimed a scathing reprimand at Donald over his tweets that he should have left the UCLA basketball players in jail: “Forget about either comment not being presidential. At what point does the president see such remarks don’t even border on being human?… Last time I checked, you are the president of the United States,” he said. “Why don’t you act like it?”

Ex-RNC chair Michael Steele called Donny’s backing of sexual predator Roy Moore “sickening” and “beyond stupid” and said he was doing “irreparable harm” to our country.

(Kim Jong Un, as always, takes things a linguistically memorable step further, calling Donald an “old lunatic, mean trickster and human reject.”)

Unlikely superhero Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics, filed a complaint with his former agency regarding Kellyanne Conway’s comments advocating for Roy Moore while in her official capacity—a potential violation of the Hatch Act, a law that forbids federal employees from using their positions for political purposes. Shaub resigned halfway into Donald’s first year, after heroic battles with the new administration, which refused to observe rules and norms the office was designed to enforce, and has been eloquently outspoken since about the many ongoing violations of ethics of Donald and his minions.

Amid claims against one of Roy Moore’s accusers that his campaign refuses to substantiateMoore’s communications director has resigned.

Richard Spencer-organized event was abruptly called to a halt smack in the middle of it when the farmers who managed the venue in Maryland where it was being held learned white nationalist Spencer was behind it and kicked the entire gathering out. Management refunded the group’s money, but stood by its refusal to host the group as “strongly in opposition to our values…including welcoming people of all backgrounds, race, ethnicities, cultures, and religions.”

A second federal judge has ruled Donald’s ban on transgender people serving in the military is unconstitutional—and goes one step farther, ruling that the White House cannot deny funding for certain medical treatments—including gender reassignment surgery.

Another federal judge issued an injunction to permanently block the federal government from withholding funds from “sanctuary cities,” citing the White House policy as a violation of the Fifth and Tenth Amendments, and of the separation of powers doctrine.

Right now, federal judges are helping keep Donald’s unconstitutional attempts in check—but what should scare all of us is how he and Jeff Sessions are feverishly appointing judges to the bench—aided by the GOP’s blockading of legitimate appointments during Obama’s administration, and by their steamrolling the rule that prevents nominees from office if a certain number of senators from the nominee’s home state object (the “blue slip” rule). If conservatives get their way,Donald will add twice as many lifetime members to the federal judiciary in the next 12 months (650) as Barack Obama named in eight years (325). This is a major battle that’s not in the spotlight—and as long as it isn’t the GOP can keep railroading onto the bench extreme-conservative, unqualified, young judges who could change the face of our judiciary for the next 50 years (appointed by an attorney general who was himself judged too racist to serve as a federal judge). Fight, warriors—this will have repercussions for years to come, and generations after us.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Speaking Up for the Truth

In the wake of the House tax plan passing, nobody seems very happy about the Senate GOP tax plan—including a lot of the GOP. This week brought stirrings of discontent among Republican lawmakers as the GOP tax scam—aka tax shelter for the wealthy (including a provision offering tax breaks for private jets…seriously)—draws closer to the floor. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson is balking because it disproportionately benefits corporations at the expense of other businesses; Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain—generally the sole GOP senators courageous enough to stand against the party and protect their constituents—are once again also on the fence, particularly if the tax plan sneaks in the repeal of the individual mandate for insurance, which would effectively erase any tax gains for middle and lower-income Americans through higher health care premiums.

Local officials around the country from both major parties decried proposals that they say threaten housing and infrastructure projects by eliminating ways to pay for themThree former defense secretaries have rejected the bill for inadequate provisions for defense spending and creating a threat to national security. In fact, only a quarter of the country approves of the planThe tax plan also sneaks in the definition of “personhood” beginning at conception, an insidious undermining of Roe v Wade that may be a harbinger of more attacks to come. The GOP can lose only two votes and still get their tax package passed. CALL OR FAX OR TEXT YOUR SENATORS and demand they vote no—especially unless these sneaky inclusions are removed.

More than 400 millionaires and billionaires signed a letter to the White House asking Donald not to cut their taxesnot to pass any tax bill that “further exacerbates inequality” and adds to the national debt. “Repealing the estate tax alone would lose an estimated $269 billion over 10 years — more than we would spend on the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and Environmental Protection Agency combined,” the letter said.

The House joined the Senate in adopting mandatory anti-sexual-harassment training.

Speaking of sexual misconduct, Senate Republicans have finally united against Roy Moore (including, shockingly, calls for him to step down from former endorsers Cornyn and Cruz). The GOP apparently can support Moore’s flouting of the law and record of racist, homophobic, and anti-Muslim statements and actions, but at least multiple allegations of pedophilia are a bridge too far for them (except in Alabama—no, really). The Republican National Committee pulled out of funding his race for Congress, after the Republican Senatorial Committee did the same thing last week, leaving the Alabama Republican Party as Moore’s only remaining GOP fundraising partner. Although the Alabama GOP refuses to withdraw support from Moore despite an additional three women coming forward alleging inappropriate sexual advances (making it nine in total, if you have a score card), on the plus side in pollsMoore is trailing his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. (And yes, nine accusations of sexual misconduct, some against minors, and still he trails by only 8 points.)

A federal judge ruled that Donny’s White House can’t withhold federal law-enforcement grants from sanctuary cities.

In Russian news—Jared Kushner forwarded emails he previously failed to disclose about a “Russian backdoor overture” to campaign officials. He’s been asked to turn over all relevant documents. Meanwhile, Mueller has subpoenaed more than a dozen of Donald’s campaign officials for Russia-related documents. And the British publicist who arranged the infamous Trump Tower meeting for Kushner and Don Jr. has agreed to come to the States to talk to Mueller’s investigation.

Despite rustlings spurred by an antsy White House desperately trying to deflect attention from itself as Mueller’s investigation closes in, Jeff Sessions announced there is not enough basis to appoint special counsel to investigate Hillary. Again.

Six Democrats have introduced articles of impeachment against the “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.”

In the first 11 days of open enrollment, nearly 1.5 million people have signed up for Obamacare—beating last year’s totals for this time by 500K.

bipartisan group of senators introduced gun-control legislation that would instigate penalties for state and federal agencies that fail to report records relevant in background checks and incentivize states to improve reporting.

Ohio Republican House rep Wes Goodman—a religious conservative vocal proponent of “natural marriage” between a man and a woman, and who is “straight-married” himself—resigned this week after being caught in a consensual instance of “inappropriate behavior” in his office…with another man.

This happened.

Remind yourself of our many victories, warriors, and stay vocal, active, and engaged. We are literally the defenders of our nation and governance against the current administration’s self-stated efforts to dismantle it. We have to keep speaking up for the truth—democracy literally depends upon it.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Progress may be slow, but it’s steady

So…much…winning for Democratic candidates in Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and all across the country in state and city elections. In a rejection of racism, sexism, and bigotry, a transgender woman defeated the Republican candidate who wrote the “bathroom bill” discriminating against trans people in Virginia, and became the first openly transgender state legislator in American history; Minnesota elected the first trans person of color to city council; a New Jersey politician who cracked a sexist joke on social media about the Women’s March got beaten…by a woman; and Charlotte got its first black female mayorIn a rejection of ACA repeal, Maine voted to expand Medicaid within the state—residents of the state essentially overwhelmingly choosing to maintain Obamacare despite federal and Republican state legislators’ attempts to destroy it. (And Obamacare enrollment is up in general from previous years as the signup period begins.) A Colorado county elected seven anti-voucher candidates to the school board, a powerful repudiation of school choice (and Betsy DeVos).

Meanwhile, the recently revealed “Paradise Papers,” revealing offshore investments for dozens of prominent celebrities and other wealthy folk, provide direct evidence that Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, concealed information in his confirmation documents about his shared business interests with Putin’s immediate family. To translate: The man responsible for overseeing commerce regulations has a conflict of interest in which he can directly benefit from his own actions as commerce secretary. His office issued the feeble defense saying that he recuses himself as secretary from any matters regarding transoceanic shipping. In other fun news, he lied about his net worth—by billions—to make the Fortune 400 list of wealthiest Americans; he has now been removed by Fortune from the list. J

In ever-escalating Russia revelations, here’s a great breakdown of the nine people close to Donald who have been found to have strong ties to Russia, and exactly how they are enmeshed with the Kremlin. Lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya is now singing away about the infamous “I love it!” meeting with Don Jr and Kushner, stating that the president’s son offered a change in laws regarding Russia if his father won office, but quickly detaching when he received no promised “dirt” on Clinton. Donald adviser Carter Page’s emails also elaborate on contacts between Donald’s campaign and Putin, and reveal even more highly placed advisers and insiders who were directly involved. Robert Mueller entered the weekend by apparently filing 34 additional sealed cases in federal court. (It’s like Christmas—I can’t wait to open them!) And look for Michael Flynn and his son to soon face indictment.

The American Bar Association unanimously deemed unqualified yet another of Donald’s nominees for a federal judgeship—the fourth one so far. (Yet despite that, and that he’s never tried a case, he was nonetheless approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.)

Republicans are finally—finally—speaking out against Roy Moore and suggesting he step out of the Senate race in his home state—not for his past actions as a birtherism promoter, conspiracy theorist, anti-LGBTQ bigot who was removed as an Alabama supreme court judge twice for defying federal law to further his own religious and anti-gay biases, but in the wake of accusations that in his thirties he initiated sexual encounters with a 14-year-old girl. And the National Republican Senatorial Committee is withdrawing its joint fundraising efforts for his campaign. Moore denies all accusations and is refusing to step down.

If, as is tends to be the case with the GOP, Moore and his ilk do make it into the Senate, he and all other senators, staff, and interns will undergo mandatory sexual harassment training, after a bipartisan resolution passed Thursday.

This happened.

Both former presidents Bush have gone public to denounce Donny, Bush Sr. calling him a “blowhard.”

The latest polls are indicating promising results for Democrats in midterm elections—but only if you VOTE.

Notice that these good-news lists are getting longer, even as Amy Siskind’s exhaustive weekly roundup of signs of authoritarianism get disturbingly more extensive. Hang in there and keep fighting…progress may be slow, but it’s steady.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Russian Dominoes

The Russia dominoes seem to be starting to fall as Mueller’s investigation heats up:

Former Donald campaign chair Paul Manafort was indicted by a grand jury Monday in the first legal actions of Mueller’s investigation. Here’s a fantastic breakdown of the indictment, which includes conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, and making false statements, and here’s a great FAQ primer.

Donald’s foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making a false statement to federal investigators, which has now shed light on other administration members’ potential involvement (and may get Jeff Sessions accused of perjury). In light of conservative voices like FOX trying furiously to get Mueller to step down, is organizing “Nobody is Above the Law Marches” to mobilize immediately in case Donny fires Muller as the heat gets turned up.

In good news, a majority of Americans approve of Mueller and the Russia probe and think it should continue (and nearly half are pretty sure Don John has committed a crime, for what that conjecture is worth). But call your MoCs and ask that they support one of the three bipartisan bills designed to protect Mueller and his investigation: S.1735 & S.1741 in the Senate, and HR 3771 in the house.

Sam Clovis—the climate change skeptic Donald nominated as chief scientist of the Agriculture Department who has no academic credentials in either science or agriculture—has withdrawn himself from consideration after his name surfaced in the Russia investigations as one of the top officials on Donny’s campaign who was aware of George Papadopoulos’s efforts to meet with Russia for dirt on the Clinton campaign.

In tax news:

The National Association of Home Builders has declared war on the Republican tax plan, which makes no mention of property tax deductions so essential to promote home ownership. The National Association of Realtors has joined their opposition.

In response to other outcry against the ill-formed tax plan, the GOP has backed off their plans to lower taxes for the wealthiest Americans, and is making noises about making the proposed corporate tax-rate slash temporary instead of permanent, as originally proposed.

Elsewhere in Donald’s thwarted attempts to subvert the Constitution, a federal judge blocked enforcement of Donny’s spurious decision to bar transgender servicepeople from military service.

In the face of widespread consternation about Whitefish—the two-person utility company that was a strong Trump campaign donor before being awarded the $300 million Puerto Rico infrastructure contract in a no-bid campaign—Puerto Rico has canceled the company’s contract.

One of Donny’s far-right-extremist appeals court picks was knocked down by the American Bar Association committee as “not qualified,” citing his temperament and his ability to rule impartially on issues like abortion rights.

The 600-plus-page Climate Science Special Report, part of an even larger scientific review known as the fourth National Climate Assessment, or NCA4, has concluded that it’s “extremely likely” that man is the “dominant cause” to potentially catastrophic climate change and global warming. This report, the nation’s most authoritative assessment of climate science, directly contradicts this administration’s frequent denials that humans are the cause of climate change—or in fact that it exists, a fact that might be especially embarrassing to the White House considering the study’s authors include experts from leading scientific government agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the Department of Energy, as well as academic scientists.

Finally, in shocking news to no one, Donny’s approval ratings are tanking. Last Monday one poll showed they’d sunk to a new low of 33 percent—another poll Sunday had them at 37 percent, lower than any other president at this point in the presidency in seven decades of polling history. Donald loves superlatives, so let’s humor him by pointing out that these are the lowest approval ratings for a first-term president in modern history—disgraceful!—and one of the worst approval ratings of all time. As this article points out, there have been only two days in Don John’s entire reign where more people approved of him than disapproved—both within his first week in office. Sad!

How Your Voices Made a Difference: Indictment

The big news…Despite the GOP attempting to deflect the investigation onto Hillary Clinton (in light of the revelation of her funding the infamous Steele dossier), the two are not a zero-sum proposition, and special investigator Robert Mueller continues digging into the campaign, business dealings, finances, and potential collusion of Donald and his cohorts. News broke over the weekend that Mueller may have filed the first charges in the investigation, though they’re sealed at the moment, and we won’t find out who is being taken into custody till Monday. (Update: We know.) Also, despite Jared Kushner’s denials, the lawyer he and Don Jr. met with to eagerly receive promised dirt on Hillary Clinton seems to have indeed been acting in direct conjunction with the Kremlin.

Meanwhile, amid rumors of the three congressional Russian investigations sputtering out, Brad Parscale, the director of Donny’s digital campaign, was summoned before the House Intelligence Panel. Michael Cohen, Donny’s personal lawyer, also appeared before the House and Senate intelligence committees, and Donny’s campaign consultant Carter Page will finally testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week, after months of dodging. Meanwhile Don John’s beleaguered former campaign chair Paul Manafort faces yet another money-laundering investigation, this time by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney, in collaboration with Mueller’s probe already under way. Things are getting juicy—even if Congress shuts its investigations down, hopefully Mueller’s findings will get to the bottom of exactly how—and with whose help—Russia meddled in the 2016 elections.

Adding their voice to those of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and rural and industrial interests, the auto industry has launched a vocal defense of NAFTA in the face of Donald’s continued threats to withdraw the U.S. from the trade agreement. “We need you to tell your elected officials that you don’t change the game in the middle of a comeback. We’re winning with NAFTA,” the group said on its website.

The Government Accountability Office has launched a probe into Donald’s sham voter fraud commission, formed to try to justify his baseless claims that the 3 million votes that lost him the popular election were fraudulent. The secretive organization is headed by Kris Kobach, who has a long track record of voter suppression and racial profiling, and though it nods toward bipartisanship with a few Democratic members, those members have complained of a lack of transparency and being routinely excluded from even the most basic meetings and info.

Meanwhile the Republican Party is hemorrhaging moderates, as Texas’s own Joe Straus announced he will retire at the end of his term as speaker of the house, and on the national level Jeff Flake (Senator from Arizona) joins the ranks of those on the way out. The loss of nonextremist, rational voices is bad—but Flake’s district has a serious challenge from a Democrat—which is good. Also good—freed from the yoke of seeking reelection, these lawmakers are speaking out. John McCain continues his not-so-veiled criticisms of Donald, most recently regarding his dodging of service in America’s military (despite his attacks on veterans, war heroes, and Gold Star families), calling out wealthy scions who avoided service on trumped-up pretexts like “bone spurs”—Don John’s exact and repeated excuse for deferring his service during the Vietnam War, which in his own words was “not a big problem, but it was enough of a problem,” and magically cleared up once he was safe from being called to war.

Jeff Flake also began speaking quite freely as soon as he announced his retirement: “Without fear of the consequences and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe, we must stop pretending that the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused as telling it like it is when it is actually reckless, outrageous and undignified…. It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we doing to do about that? When the next generation asks us, why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up? What are we going to say? Mr. President, I rise to say, enough.”

Adding his voice to recent condemnations of Don John by George W. Bush and John McCain, Flake added that senators “must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes the normal. With respect, we fooled ourselves long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it. We know better than that. By now, we all know better than that.”

Let us fervently hope that’s true. You can also check out Flake’s gloves-off op-ed about the Trump presidency here, and his lone-GOP-wolf opposition to racist, extremist senatorial hopeful Roy Moore here.

Kentucky judge resigned in the face of a pending ethics investigation into his abuse of his position, flouting of Kentucky law, and general douchebaggery in refusing to hear adoption cases where a parent was a “practicing homosexual.”

A generic ballot—reported on FOX, no less—suggests that if voting were held today for the 2018 elections, Democrats would lead by 15 points. Keep in mind that every FOX viewer just had a panic attack and is now more motivated to vote—so we have to keep getting the vote out!

Hang in there, warriors. Like so many things, the hallmark of successful activism is persistence, as this lifelong activist shares.

How Your Voices Made a Difference: Half-Baked, Spurious Nationalism

Congress is stepping up to fill the gap of leadership in Donald’s abdication of responsibility regarding Americans’ health care with a bipartisan plan to fund the critical government subsidies to insurance companies that will keep Americans covered and stabilize the health insurance market in the wake of Donny’s attempts to sabotage it, regardless of the effect on American lives. Donny supports it, then denies that, then condemns it, but some in Congress are trying to move forward to protect Americans’ health care in the face of this administration’s efforts to destroy it.

Two federal judges have yet again blocked Don John’s latest unconstitutional travel ban, stating Donny’s own tweets show it’s unconstitutionally aimed at Muslims.

Public outcry caused Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) to withdraw from Donny’s nomination for him to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy after he was reported to have been involved with lobbying efforts to weaken DEA’s ability to fight drug distributors. As a House Rep he helped Congress effectively strip the Drug Enforcement Administration of its most potent weapon against large drug companies suspected of spilling prescription narcotics (opioids) onto the nation’s streets.

Influential public figures are speaking out louder and louder against Donny and his corrupt administration (despite the delusional Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s laughable denials). John McCain made some pointed comments against the current administration, Donny in particular, and its shortcomings, like “half-baked, spurious nationalism” and “people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems” in a world where “leadership and ideals are absent.” He and Joe Biden, longtime friends but often on opposite sides of the foreign policy divide, are teaming up to fight against those who want the U.S. to withdraw from global leadership, giving rise to the hope that decency and a common respect for our country despite party lines will yet triumph over the appalling lack of all of that currently in the White House. Even George W. Bush seems to have broken his silence about this administration, in a not-very-veiled speech pointedly condemning hypernationalism, white supremacy, lies, targeting of Muslims, and authoritarianism. And at a Virginia rally President Barack Obama spoke out against the politics of division, “folks who are deliberately trying to make folks angry, to demonize people who have different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage.” We must continue to speak up as well—one fire ant is a nuisance, but thousands are a force capable of toppling any Goliath.

Backlash continues against (another one of) Donald’s lies—that President Obama didn’t call the families of fallen soldiers. In response, a host of high-placed former officials are calling out the lie for what it is: from a former U.S. attorney general, an army general and chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a former deputy head of national security—not to mention a flurry of firsthand Twitter denials. And despite the despicable Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s authoritarian claim that it’s “inappropriate” to question a four-star general, many are doing just that in disproving his own lies about Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson.

Meanwhile, the Russia investigations continue to heat up. Robert Mueller’s team interviewed Spicey in an all-day closed-door session, while Jeff Sessions danced around actually answering any substantive questions in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which also subpoenaed former Donny adviser Carter Page (you remember, the one who lied about meeting with Russian spy Sergei Kislyak), and they’ve requesteddocuments and testimony from Michael Flynn’s son regarding his ties to Russia and Putin. Donny’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was sequestered with the committee for more than three hours last week. Meanwhile the Daily Beast unearthed evidence of Kellyanne and Donny Jr. pushing Russian propaganda before the election. Panicking GOP lawmakers are starting to squawk about ending all three Russia investigations—call your MoCs and demand that they support it until Mueller decides it’s closed!

A bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate that would force social media/news companies like Facebook and Google, etc., to disclose who is purchasing political ads, to hopefully prevent foreign governments from influencing future elections as they did the 2016 presidential election.

A number of generic ballots show that Democrats seem likely at the moment to win more votes in upcoming elections. But it won’t happen unless you VOTE!

How Your Voices Made a Difference: Unraveling

Some weeks are tougher than others, and this was a rough one—between Donny giving companies the right to deny women health care coverage for birth control, to the EPA’s Scott Pruitt rolling back the Obama-era protections of the Clean Power Plan to replace it with his own dirty version and threatening to remove tax incentives for wind and solar power, and of course demented Donald’s latest disgorgements of bile:  trying to circumvent the GOP’s failure to repeal the ACA with an executive order, flouting our First Amendment by threatening to revoke media outlets’ licenses for publishing news he doesn’t like…and the soul-draining childishness of the man-baby-in-chief’s petty feud with Sen. Bob Corker, and GOP lawmakers’ collective cowardly silence in its wake.

But the weird upside of all this awfulness is this: Lately it’s Donny’s own voice making a difference. Don John’s behavior and actions are becoming egregious enough that some of the GOP is beginning to find its spine (and moral compass). Backlash against Donald’s attack on the First Amendment was immediate and bipartisan, including GOP Sen. Ben Sasse’s sharp call-out on Twitter (apparently the new forum of political discourse…sigh). Donald’s attacks against women’s health care have women’s health experts speaking out to refute his premises. His Twitter-tantrum threats to remove aid from Puerto Rico in a crisis “largely of their own making”(while he plays golf yet again) is an attack on and abandonment of more than 3 million Americans drawing broad censure—and his failures as a leader are starkly underscored by five former leaders’ (the five living ex-presidents) banding together to help hurricane victims (of all shades). His undermining a health care system that a majority of Americans now approve of is fueling criticism from states on both sides of the aisle. And his attempts to undermine NAFTA will undoubtedly bring a backlash from the industrial and rural base he so often panders to, who will be most hurt by it. Even Rex Tillerson, after Donald demanded a tenfold increase in nuclear armaments despite decades of policy designed to reduce the nuclear threat worldwide rather than expand it, has realized his boss is a “fucking moron.” (Mensa has kindly offered to host an IQ test to answer the question definitively after Donald tweeted out an “I know you are but what am I” to his secretary of state.) An array of White House insiders report versions of Donny “unraveling” in jaw-droppingly unstable ways.

Meanwhile, the Harvey Weinstein scandal is rocking Hollywood—not only showing conservatives how you handle a sexual predator (by calling it out loudly and publicly, and taking sharp actions against the predator to stop the actions—rather than by defending it and offering it a cable show, or electing it president), but by bringing this rampant sexism and harassment into the light, and showing that women (and James Van Der Beek, one of the disappointingly few courageous men speaking up) will no longer be silent in the face of institutionalized sexual misconduct and abuse. The tide for sanctioning the sexual-predator-in-chief may be turning.

Steps forward are incremental, and not always steady—some weeks it can be hard to see all the progress we are making. But remind yourself of the huge victories the resistance has already won, most decisively stopping every attempt to repeal the ACA, and comfort yourself that Donny’s ratings—sorry, approval numbers—are tanking faster than his loose hold on rationality, even in his rural base, and according to pollster Quinnipiac, 55% of voters believe he is not fit to be president.

Donald’s own actions will wind up bringing him down, as long as we continue holding him and all his defenders in the GOP accountable, and demanding our lawmakers do the same. To that end, on the Russian-investigation front, it’s looking like Bob Mueller is getting close to something that’s making the Donny John camp pretty uncomfortable: Carter Page—Don John’s former campaign manager who got benched after confabbing with Russian diplomat and top spy Sergei Kislyak last year (despite denying speaking with him) and who subsequently met with Putie’s top associates in Russia—has refused to testify before the Senate Intelligence panel in their Russia investigation. You know, like you do when you have something to hide and fear incriminating yourself and perhaps the leader of the free world. Reince Priebus spent an entire day with Mueller’s team, talking about who can only guess what…? Now’s a good time to call your MoCs and ask that they support the two bipartisan bills in Congress proposed to prevent Donald from firing Mueller as he tightens the noose around the man-baby-in-chief’s neck.

You’re not imagining how hard this battle can be—this administration is taking a deep emotional and mental toll on many Americans. But in a glimmer of hope for our collective future in these divided times, 55% of Americans now believe politicians should work more bipartisanly and embrace compromise. (You know, like you do in every single other relationship in your life.)

Hang in there, warriors. If all else fails, Hustler’s Larry Flynt is offering $10 million to anyone who can provide info leading to 45’s impeachment. Really.

How Your Voices Made a Difference: The Resignations Continue

The Supreme Court heard on Tuesday initial arguments in a Wisconsin gerrymandering case where a state with 48% Republican voters somehow managed to capture two-thirds of the congressional seats. Swing judge Anthony Kennedy may tip the scales in the direction of fairer representation, and if the court upholds the federal rulings (in Wisconsin, and also Texas and North Carolina) that these extremely gerrymandered districts are unconstitutional, we could see the beginning of the end of partisan gerrymandering that gives the political party in power disproportionate influence and allows lawmakers to choose their constituents, instead of the other way around. Uber-conservative Neil Gorsuch, Donny’s pick for the seat illegitimately blocked by Mitch McConnell and the GOP for a year, tried mansplaining the Constitution to the other judges. Ruth Bader Ginsburg—the notorious RBG—was having none of thatHere’s a great explanation of gerrymandering and the court case at hand, and last Monday’s excellent NYTimes Daily podcast offers a clear (and chilling) closer look at the Wisconsin case.

More strands in the complex Russia web are coming to light. Trump documents that federal investigators requested the White House turn over reveal that Donny’s lawyer Michael Cohen had two more contacts with Russian officials looking to do business with Don John during the 2016 campaign (in one case inviting Cohen to a meeting where Putin would be present)—contacts that were previously undisclosed.

Not only did Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Reince Priebus, Steve Bannon, and Gary Cohn use personal emails for government communication after taking the White House—but recent reports show that some of them did so after the NSA expressly warned them not to do it for fear of foreign espionage. Due to these facts, a recently revealed past possible criminal indictment whose charges were suspiciously dropped, and Kushner’s dozens of omissions to his national security questionnaire that he’s had to correct multiple times and has been fined for, two House Dems are calling for the revocation of his and Ivanka’s security clearance; call your MoCs and ask that they add their voices to stop this administration from wasting public dollars.

In further Trump administration abuses, Ryan Zinke, secretary of the interior, is now under investigation by the inspector general of his department, the Interior Department, for his profligate use of taxpayer dollars for his travel, including a number of taxpayer-funded vacations for him and his wife, as well as his mixing of official trips with political appearances, an ethics no-no. He joins former HHS secretary Tom Price, who has since resigned, and EPA head Scott Pruitt as the most flagrant abusers of taxpayer funds. Keep calling your MoCs to demand accountability.

In the same vein, Democrat-proposed legislation has been introduced in the Senate that would ban federal agencies from doing business with Trump hotels. The HOTEL Act would keep Donald from profiting from the presidency, a repeated violation of ethics this administration has so far been unwilling to address. Keep calling your senators and ask that they support this legislation.

Rabidly anti-choice GOP Rep Tim Murphy, a member of the House Pro-Life Caucus, has tendered his resignation after it was revealed that he asked his mistress (yes, his extramarital lover) to get an abortion when they got pregnant. Apparently there are some hypocrisies lawmakers feel even Republican voters won’t accept. If we keep shining the light unflinchingly on this corrupt family and administration, hopefully more and more voters will see what they are actually voting for.

How Your Voices Made a Difference: Zombiecare is Dead

You did it! You beat back ACA repeal—again. I’d love to say “once and for all,” but repeal seems to be the Thing That Won’t Die. But for the third decisive time, public outcry kept the GOP from stripping millions of their coverage and kept Obamacare in place. Next challenge: to get the Republican party to put their efforts behind transparent bipartisan efforts to improve and strengthen the ACA.

Meanwhile, the personal-fiefdom mentality of the “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” (sorry, it’s not old yet) and his administration cronies is coming into sharp focus in recent financial investigations—Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price and his high-dollar charter flights, Stephen “Moochin’ Mnuchin and his (as well as his trophy wife’s snarky little commentary about her taxpayer-funded lifestyle), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his $12K private charter from Vegas to his Montana home (courtesy of us), Veterans Affairs chief David Shulkin’s wife and her taxpayer-funded vacation, and the EPA’s Scott Pruitt and the $25K Get Smart soundproof booth in his office have all come under fire lately for their profligate and inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars. Tom Price resigned over his $400K flying spree (he pledged to repay about one-eighth of that amount—and that was before his additional $500K in military flights came to light). Keep calling your MoCs to protest this abuse of taxpayer dollars and hopefully we can drain more of the swamp that’s sucking funds from public coffers.

After taking the weekend off at his golf course in New Jersey while hurricane Maria battered U.S. territory Puerto Rico, Donald finally bestirred himself to speak about the devastation in its aftermath.Despite initially refusing to waive the Jones Act that prohibits foreign shipping between U.S. territories, as he did for Houston and Florida, public pressure and outcry (as well as John McCain) pressed him to do so, offering much-needed relief supplies to the island. But true to childish, unproductive form, rather than help or offer support, he keeps attacking the mayor and the island’s people in Twitter tantrums.

Jared Kushner may be feeling some very familiar heat—directed his way now rather than at Hillary Clinton—for his use of personal email accounts for official White House emails. It’s not clear whether Donald will instigate calls to lock him up (though I have my doubts), but the revelation has shined a spotlight on this administration’s loosey-goosey use of private email use for government business:Ivanka Trump, Gary Cohn, Steve Bannon, and Reince Priebus also have been found to be using personal email for official correspondence. Whoopsie! Bet that’s embarrassing…. The White House claims to have launched an investigation (though that’s a bit like the fox investigating the chickens…), but we need to keep the heat on, demanding an actual investigation by proper (and unbiased) ethics organizations.