How Your Voices are Making a Difference: Texas Turns Out to Vote

In the last week’s primaries in Texas, Democrats turned out at the highest levels in 16 years. Beto O’Rourke is going head-to-head with Ted Cruz, and poses one of the most credible challenges from a Democrat in Texas in years.

Florida legislators defied the NRA and responded to public demands for sensible gun control by voting in a three-day waiting period for most purchases of long guns and raising the minimum age to buy one to 21. (The legislation also creates a program to arm teachers; but the Hillsborough County School Board in Florida on Tuesday unanimously opposed a motion to arm school employees.) Governor Rick Scott, who has an A-plus NRA rating, defied the organization to sign it into law on Friday.

gun show in Illinois banned sales of AR-15 assault weapons.

Senator John Cornyn, of all people, says he has the votes to pass a bipartisan bill he sponsored beefing up background checks.

Meanwhile the kids are more than all right—in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting, they continue to organize and mobilize to bring change to Washington, and refused to let Betsy DeVos whitewash or evade the issue of gun control on her visit to the school. Don’t forget the March for Our Lives on March 24 to rally for sensible gun reform—find the Austin arm here.

Former Donald aide Sam Nunberg was subpoenaed by Mueller to appear before a grand jury…and said he would refuse to go, Nunberg, who clearly learned reality-TV showmanship from his former boss, said he planned to go on Bloomberg TV and tear up the subpoena, and going on quite the cable tear, making ever more incendiary statements on several networks and finally prompting a CNN host to ask—on air—whether he’d been drinking. Twenty-four hours later, Nunberg stated on CNN that he planned to cooperate and was assembling the subpoenaed materials, after which he will apparently seek treatment.

Mueller is said to have uncovered evidence that a secret meeting in Seychelles in January of last year was an attempt to establish a back channel of communication between the White House and the Kremlin, when a Lebanese American businessman (George Nader, a former Trump aide and adviser to the United Arab Emirates) who helped organize the meeting—and initially denied its purpose—began cooperating with Mueller’s investigation and testified last week before a grand jury.

A Panama hotel finally succeeded in wresting control of the Trump-branded hotel property from Donald—and its first act was tochisel off Donald’s name from the sign.

A U.S. appeals court ruled that Title VII, covering sex bias in the workplace, covers transgender workers.

Stormy Daniels is suing Donald—since he failed to sign the nondisclosure agreement with his payout to the porn-film actress, the suit says, she’s at liberty to spill the beans. These should be very interesting beans. Remarks from Donald’s lawyer Gary Cohn reveal that Donald may be directly implicated in the payout to Daniels for his extramarital affair with her just after Melania had given birth—and it may also violate federal election laws.

The Office of the Special Counsel (unrelated to Robert Mueller’s investigation) has found that Donald’s adviser Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act twice by advocating for/against political candidates in her official role. The office has referred the matter to Donald for discipline, as is protocol, so don’t expect action on it, but the violations add up.

Martin Shkreli—the “Pharma Bro” who infamously raised the price for an AIDS drug 5000 percent as head of Turing Pharmaceuticals, has been sentenced to seven years in prison (and not for that morally bankrupt action, but for defrauding investors as a hedge-fund manager).

Donald’s legal counsel Gary Cohn resigned, citing differences over trade policy, ostensibly. But this reality-TV revolving door of staff isn’t indicative of chaos in the White House, the Very Stable Genius assured the country, simply a trial period in Donald’s quest for perfection. (I know…I’m laughing too.) Meanwhile Republican senator Jeff Flake has vowed to introduce a bill in the Senate to block Donald from raising tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Finally, Texas makes us proud yet again: Donald’s lowest ratings in a Republican state are right here in the Lone Star State.

Send Out the Clowns!

Participants in the second annual “March 4 Trump” in Austin were met with the scariest form of resistance: clowns.

Calling themselves the LOLt-Right Marching Band, these clowns showed up with costumes and kazoos to confuse and roast the Trump supporters. Fun fact: these clowns were trained in nonviolent, de-escalation tactics to help people channel their energy in safe and affirming ways in the face of hatred.

You can follow these clowns’ shenanigans on Twitter: @loltrightband. And support the Clown Resistance through their GoFundMe page.

Two clowns in front of the Austin capitol

Ban Muslin banner

Clowns in front of the Capitol

Bubble Blowing clown on the Capitol

Animated GIF of a bubble-blowing clown

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Hang in there and keep at it, warriors!

This week Dems flipped two more legislative seats—in New Hampshire and Connecticut (the latter in a state House seat that had been held by the GOP for 40 years)…bringing the total since Donald’s inauguration to 39, if you’re keeping track.

The Supreme Court declined to hear the DACA appeal the White House brought against federal rulings stopping Donald from ending the program, meaning that for now they will stand. Meanwhile the Koch brothers—the Koch brothers!—have launched an extensive ad campaign to push Congress to act to legally protect Dreamers from another challenge. More than eighty percent of Americans support continuing DACA, and hold Donald and the GOP responsible for threatening it.

There are signs of a turning tide across the country—even in Texas, where the Catholic Bishops cut ties with Texas Right to Life, citing misleading attacks on politicians, lies, and opposing church-supported bills for not going far enough. The Catholic Bishops directed churches across the state to refrain from working with the hard-right pro-birth group. And a Texas Wesleyan University football recruiter was fired for “discriminatory remarks”after rejecting a player from Colorado because “in the past players [from your state] have had trouble passing our drug test… You can thank your liberal politicians.”

On the East Coast it was a rough week for Georgia. Disney and Marvel have threatened to stop filming in Georgia if the anti-LGBTQ bill that recently passed, allowing “faith-based” entities to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, is signed into law by governor Nathan Deal. And after Delta Airlines, the state’s largest employer, responded to public outcry against the NRA and discontinued its discount policy for the gun lobby, Georgia legislators rescinded a $50 million tax benefit for the company, the lieutenant governor decrying Delta’s actions as an attack on conservatives (former Atlanta mayor Sam Massell called it blackmail)—so plenty of other cities stepped in to let them know they’d be more than welcome to relocate. Amid all this, shots were fired at a Dalton high school by an armed teacher inside a classroom, and the students were quickly evacuated.

Lehigh University professors overwhelmingly voted to revoke the honorary degree the college granted Donald in 1988.

NBA champs the Golden State Warriors eschewed the traditional White House visit in favor of visiting the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture with a group of students.

And out West, Oakland, CA, mayor Libby Schaaf tipped off immigrants about an ICE raid in her sanctuary city, calling herself “part of the resistance.”

The Gun Control Report:

Following Rick Scott’s reluctant, long-delayed lead, governors across the country are showing willingness to instigate tougher gun laws. But even as Congress continues to drag its feet on legislating sensible gun laws, organizations, companies, and individuals are stepping into the leadership void. Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced it will no longer sell assault-style rifles or high-capacity magazines, and will no longer sell firearms of any kind to anyone under 21. (Want to offer them your support? Shop there, and call directly to thank them: 724-273-3400.) Walmart shortly thereafter announced it too will raise the age for gun purchases to 21, followed by LLBean, and REI cut ties with Camelback, a company heavily involved with the gun industry.

Meanwhile, in a head-spinning reversal, Donald on Wednesday suddenly pivoted 180 degrees to support bipartisan gun-control legislation introduced after Sandy Hook—and swiftly suppressed at that time by the GOP and the NRA. In a roomful of stunned Republicans and confused but delighted Democrats, Donald called for expanded background checks, measures to keep guns from the mentally ill, making schools secure, and restricting gun sales from some young adults—as well as forgoing due process to confiscate guns from those believed to be mentally ill. Read the full surreal transcript here (which Donald and Sarah Sanders promptly walked back on here).

The Russia Report:

Robert Mueller, after carefully building a case for indicting Rick Gates, has moved to dismiss 22 fraud charges against Gates…a consideration that smells a lot like a plea bargain for incriminating information about other targets of the investigation. In fact as part of this dismissal and his guilty plea, Gates has agreed to cooperate in “any and all matters” deemed relevant to the Russia investigation.

Mueller is also reported to be looking into Donald’s attempts to oust Sessions this past summer, as part of an inquiry in whether he attempted to obstruct justice, and sources say he’s asking lots of juicy questions about what the administration knew about Russian hacking and when it knew it. (Remind you of anything?)

And the busy special counsel is also looking into whether Kushner’s business ties affected White House policies. Experts say Mueller may be moving up the food chain all the way to the Oval Office.

A new USA Today poll indicates that, by wide margins, more Americans have confidence in Bob Mueller and his Russia investigation than in Donald’s denials of his involvement.

The White House Chaos and Corruption Report:

Along with more than 30 other White House staffers, Jared Kushner lost his access to top-secret intelligence—which he should never have had, as he’d never received the proper security clearances. Jared’s business dealings are being closely looked into by the FBI, and so are Ivanka’s.

The White House continues to hemorrhage staffers—White House communications director Hope Hicks resigned, one day after telling the House Intel Committee that she sometimes tells “white lies” for Donald. National security adviser McMaster is said to be on the chopping block (that’ll make #2 in that position to go by the wayside within the first two years of the administration); AG Jeff Sessions continues to receive abuse from his boss; but Chief of Staff John Kelly seems to be sticking it out because “God punished him.”

Ben Carson wants to cancel his $31K custom-made dining set that replaced the one he said was “unsafe” now that it’s been revealed that he threatened the chief HUD admin officer’s job when she tried repeatedly to limit his redecorating to the $5K allotted for it.

Scott Pruitt is considering stopping flying first-class after massive public uproar over his high-dollar travel costs because someone yelled at him once in coach.

Meanwhile Donald is losing it. I mean seriously, y’all. Many pundits and political analysts are seeing things coming to a tipping point, and Donald’s behavior—even more out of control than usual—indicates that he’s feeling that squeeze too. So hang in there and keep at it, warriors! The (blue) tide is turning.

How Your Voice Are Making a Difference: Record-Level Voter Turnout in Texas!

As the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas high and other students and protesters like them continue to be vocal and visible in their demands for real gun-control legislation, there are reasons to believe that this latest tragic mass shooting in Parkland may finally jump-start action in Congress. Students are organizing a March for Our Lives rally nationwide for March 24, 2018, to demand action from lawmakers on sensible gun-legislation reform. Sign up—and show up—for the Austin rally here.

Many teens from the school traveled to the state capital to meet with lawmakers, who refused to see them, and subsequently refused to even debate gun-control legislation. So thousands of students and protesters rallied to the Capitol to demand sensible gun reform. As a panicked GOP and NRA begin trying to discredit the students’ voices and mitigate their powerful impact by implying they’re paid actors and pawns of the media, the left, and even George Soros (really, this is a theory they are floating), anaide to a Florida legislator was fired for propagating these conspiracy theories.

More than 60 percent of Americans in a recent survey believe Donald and Congress aren’t doing enough to prevent mass shootings. Sixty-six percent of Americans and 50 percent of gun owners believe there should be stricter gun laws. The Dallas mayor pro tem—Dallas!—asked the NRA to take its annual convention elsewhere. The First National Bank of Omaha, which issues the NRA-branded credit cards, has announced it will end its relationship with the NRA based on overwhelming public and consumer outcry. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, has put two of the largest gun manufacturers on notice that it’s reevaluating its investments as it speaks to weapons manufacturers and distributors to “understand its response” to the Parkland shooting. Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental companies have stated that they are ending a discount program they offered to the NRA, swiftly followed by an avalanche of other companies: Delta and United Air Lines, MetLife, Allied Van Lines, Best Western and Wyndham hotels, and others.

Resistbot has a new feature—text “NRA” to the easy text-to-fax app for faxing your MoCs and it will inform you how much the NRA has spent for—or against—your elected officials.

Donald called for a ban on “bump stocks”—which weren’t involved in the Parkland shooting and doesn’t address the outcry against military-style automatic weapons for civilians, but rather would ban the device that allows semiautomatic weapons to be fired more quickly. It’s something, but it’s like banning matches while continuing to sell cigarettes. He’s also suggested he’s open to strengthening the national system for background checks (despite, as one of Donald’s first acts in office, having overturned Obama’s mental health regulation on gun purchases), which the NRA also supports. Now the man stripping funding and tax breaks for schools wants to arm teachers as his way of addressing mass shootings in schools. (You’re not alone if this administration feels like a Fellini film to you.)

Pennsylvania Republican governor Patrick Toomey, who has spearheaded bipartisan gun legislation efforts in the past, plans tointroduce legislation to expand background checks for firearms purchases. Even Florida governor Rick Scott, who normally lives in the NRA’s pocket, finally came out of hiding long enough to buck the opinions of his sugar daddy and concur with banning bump stocks and raising the minimum purchase age for firearms to 21 from 18 a position also taken by NRA-backed Kansas senator Pat Roberts.

On to Russia. Let me explain. No, there is too much—let me sum up.

In other political progress:

In the first days of early voting for Texas primaries, voter turnout is at record levels, most notably Democratic, but for both parties (hopefully more moderate voices in the GOP are turning out as well).

new House map in PA drawn after a federal court ruled that old ones were unfairly and illegally gerrymandered creates much more realistic and fair districts that reflect the electorate more accurately and will even the playing field in the 2018 elections. In fear losing if they can’t cheat, the GOP, of course, has vowed to sue to stop the new districts.

In Kentucky’s 49th House District, a district Donald won 72-23 in 2016, Democrat Linda Belcher snatched a GOP-held seat with nearly 70 percent of the vote—the 37th Democratic victory in a Republican-held state legislative seat since the start of 2017.

Legal action by green organizations opposing Scott Pruitt’s rollback of EPA regulations to protect the environment are slowing and in some cases even reversing Pruitt’s reckless edicts—like the one allowing mercury into our waterways, or loosening restrictions governing pollution from power plants, vehicles, and pesticides. A slew of federal courts have ruled against Pruitt in recent hearings.

Jared Kushner and John Kelly may be headed for a showdown after Kelly tightened the laces on security clearances (subsequent to revelations of how many White House staff lack permanent top-secret clearance), and Kushner is pushing back and insisting he continue to have full access despite not having permanent clearance. Sources have suggested clearance may be held up because of Mueller’s investigation.

Missouri’s Republican governor, Eric Greitens, has been indicted on felony charges for invasion of privacy, regarding blackmail threats he’s alleged to have made to his mistress to publish a nude photo of her if she revealed their extramarital affair. Greitens is refusing to step down. Brought to you by the family values party.

Donald had a big win in a recent poll, taking home the gold for Worst President Ever, as well as Most Polarizing President (even among only Republican scholars he ranked fifth-worst). He received an overall grade of F across the board, and even his Republican-leaning supporters polled gave him a C as their highest ranking (for foreign policy). So much winning, Donald. So much.

Finally, under “Random Crazy Shit That Has Become Commonplace,” a new dating site for Donald supporters you’ve no doubt heard about not only prohibits LGBTQ membership while allowing “happily married” folks on board, but also featured a convicted sex offender as part of the poster couple on its site—a man convicted of filming a sex act with a 15-year-old when he was 25. Make America Creepy Again.

How your voices are making a difference: Stay strong, warriors

It’s hard to find any positive news on a week where 17 people lost their lives in yet another school shooting.

But vocal and sustained public outcry—including moving public statements from victims, their families, and the students at the Parkland, FL, high school, and a stunningly impactful display of three billboards reminiscent of the Oscar-nominated movie about a woman confronting the sheriff about his lack of investigation into her daughter’s rape and murder, in front of the Miami office of Marco Rubio, the senator who is one of the biggest NRA campaign-fund recipients, for his inaction—may actually effect some much-needed overhaul of gun laws. A prominent GOP donor has issued an ultimatum that he will not contribute to any politicians or election groups that do not support the banning of sales of military-style weapons to civilians. Even Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post splashed an editorial on its front page calling on Donald to enact an assault-weapons ban—an idea the same paper said made sense “only to the ignorant” four months ago. And students across the country are planning nationwide sit-ins and walkout in protest to demand more sensible gun laws (feel free to share on social media to help spread the word).

In the wake of the deadly Texas church shooting outside San Antonio by a dishonorably discharged Air Force veteran with guns he shouldn’t have been able to buy, the military has finally added the records of 4,000 dishonorably discharged veterans to the national background check system.

Public outcry continues from both sides of the aisle, and this mass shooting may be the tragic tipping point to force Congress and the administration to act beyond the useless “thoughts and prayers” of those who are funded so heavily by the NRA.

On to our progress.

Austin became the first southern city to mandate paid sick leave for workers.

Florida State House district 72 flipped blue in a special election, the 36th legislative red-to-blue switch nationwide since 2017.

Yet another federal judge has ruled to temporarily block the current administration from ending the DACA program.

And a second federal court has ruled that Donald’s Muslim travel ban is unlawful, additionally ruling it unconstitutional. The Supreme Court will hear the case in a few months.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted by a wide margin—and despite the opposition of AG Jeff Sessions, to advance legislation for the criminal justice reform that would reduce some federal sentences and implement reforms in the federal prison system.

New York senator Kristen Gillibrand joins three other sitting senators (all Democrats) who have sworn not to accept corporate PAC contributions.

But outside the Parkland tragedy, the week’s biggest news is Robert Mueller’s investigation, which took a huge leap forward this week, withthirteen suspects who worked in a Russian troll factory being indicted for interfering in the 2016 election to influence it in favor of Donald Trump—by the DOJ, it’s worth noting, the Department of Justice of the administration of the president who vociferously denies that there was Russian interference in the 2016 election. (Awkward…!) Here are USA Today’s rather stunning takeaways from the indictments. Last Tuesday, all four of America’s top intelligence officials—all of whom were appointed by Donald—told Congress that not only did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, but it is already meddling in the 2018 election by using a digital strategy to exacerbate the country’s political and social divisions. Even FOX News weighed in with a stunningly frank news lead by Shepard Smith that unambiguously states that there is no further dismissing that the investigation as a “hoax,” and that Russians meddled in our election, including directly with members of the Trump campaign. This was on FOX, y’all (though elsewhere on their site the story is buried and, when mentioned at all, focuses on attacks on the FBI). Even Donald’s own national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, said Russian meddling is “now really incontrovertible.”

Donald seems to be publicly panicking, with a nine-hour tweetstorm Sunday morning featuring profanity, and attacking the FBI, the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton, Senator Charles Schumer, CNN, and his own security adviser, H. R. McMaster. (While his own top officials tell the world to ignore his tweets.)

Rick Gates, former Donald campaign adviser and Paul Manafort’s codefendant, may be ready to enter a plea deal with Robert Mueller. Bannon, on the verge of a subpoena for refusal to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, finally showed up, though he still clammed up. However, he spent more than twenty hours this week closeted with Mueller. That’s a lot of hours for a guy who since having his umbilical to Donald severed has been singing like a canary.

As part of its response to libel suits based on its publication of the infamous “pee files,” BuzzFeed is rumored to have hired an unofficial investigator to look into the Steele dossier and verify its findings.

The controversy report for this week is broad, even for an administration with 40 percent of cabinet appointees having racked up ethics and legal controversies. Let’s bullet-point this week’s:

One possible silver lining of this misogynistic, patriarchal culture Donald and his minions have brought to the White House, according to this thoughtful New Yorker op-ed, is that it has prompted the awakening of women and the ascendancy of women’s rights.

Finally, a not insignificant percentage of Republicans appear to be identifying as independents in a continuing upward trend. And a blue wave of small-dollar contributions to Democratic candidates might help win those voters in upcoming elections.

Stay strong, warriors. No progress was ever made without pain and struggle, but our progress is real and, like Donald’s security adviser McMaster’s assessment of Russian interference that helped elect Donald, it’s incontrovertible.

How your voices are making a difference: Karmic twists

Democrats flipped a Missouri House seat in a district that went for Trump by 28 points. (By a slim margin of 108 votes—3% of the total vote. Democrats can win even with heavy Republican gerrymandering, but we have to VOTE.)

After ruling that Pennsylvania congressional maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered to favor Republicans and had to be redrawn, the Supreme Court denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to delay redrawing the congressional lines, meaning the 2018 elections in the state probably will be held in districts far more favorable to Democrats.

The House ruled that U.S. lawmakers can no longer use taxpayer dollars to defend themselves in harassment cases, but must use their own funds—and must regularly report and make public any settlements. It also voted to prohibit sexual relations between lawmakers and staffers.

A flurry of emails released to the national security blog Lawfare under the Freedom of Information Act shows that the FBI “rank and file” reaction to Donald’s firing of James Comey was the opposite of the “grateful and thankful” one characterized by the White House (surprise). The 103 pages of emails released show a bureau shocked and devastated by the loss of a man who appears to have had the near universal respect and admiration of his agents. Comey’s firing appears to be at the center of Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Donald obstructed justice.

In a highly unusual request likely precipitated by the GOP’s sensationalist release of cherry-picked information from the House Intelligence Committee regarding the FBI’s surveillance of Trump campaign staffers, the New York Times has asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to unseal secret documents pertaining to wiretapping of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously to release the Democratic rebuttal to Nunes’s memo, a ten-page memo that provides context and complete information to Nunes’s selectively curated memo designed to undermine Mueller’s investigation (though arecent Quinnipiac poll shows that it had little impact even on Republicans). Donald is balking at approving the release for being “overly political and long,” (at ten painful pages for the illiterate-in-chief), but not doing so would open a very suspicious can of worms.

The Justice Department backed Robert Mueller over Paul Manafort in a lawsuit filed by the indicted Donald campaign manager arguing that Mueller overstepped the parameters of his investigation. The Justice Department recommended dismissal of the case.

In Abu Dhabi, former president Bush began speaking openly and pointedly about Russia’s interference in our election, citing “pretty clear evidence that Russians meddled” in what seems a direct refutation of Donald’s denials.

Meanwhile in the former “family values” party, White House staff secretary Rob Porter is resigning following allegations from his two ex-wives of physical and emotional abuse. Like his boss, Porter—whose background check for working in the White House was never completed, and who was there despite not having gotten security clearance—vehemently denies the allegations, with the staunch support of the self-confessed sexual-predator-in-chief. White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly defended Porter as a “man of integrity and honor”—and then hours later claimed to be shocked by the allegations, which the White House has known about since late last year (andapparently told staffers to lie about how he handled it).

Amid all this, Donald’s approval rating among women since his election has plummeted 10 points, and the percentage of women who “strongly disapprove” of him has jumped 12 points.

Republican Steve Wynn, who recently stepped down as RNC finance chairman after sexual harassment allegations, has now also stepped down as CEO of his casino resort company after many more employee allegations surfaced. Oregon GOP state senator Jeff Kruse resigned in the face of probable expulsion after allegations of sexual harassment of coworkers and staffers.

And number-one Donald superfan Chachi might be looking at his own #MeToo reckoning—Scott Baio’s former costar in the show Charles in Charge has filed as-yet-unreleased charges against him reportedly related to statutory sexual assault she’s publicly spoken out about several times before, and her testimony has been backed up by another cast member who also claims physical abuse.

In a karmic twist, one of the women who accused Donald of sexual harassment is running for a state house seat in Ohio. And after a clever teenager discovered a loophole in the Kansas electoral laws, more than half a dozen of his under-eighteen peers are running for governorof that state.

The White House is hemorrhaging staff again—Friday Rachel Brand, number three at the DOJ, announced she will be stepping down after nine months. To go work at Walmart. No, really. Brand is #2 in line behind Rosenstein overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation, and the person who would have taken over if Rosenstein is fired. And deputy chief of staff Jim Carroll, who has served in the White House for a whopping three months, has announced he will be stepping down to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy, after Rep Tom Marino, the White House’s first nominee for the drug-czar job, withdrew from consideration last fall after a report revealed that legislation he sponsored helped make it easier for drug companies to distribute opioids across America.

Donald’s child-dictator demand for a military parade has met resistance from lawmakers, who are balking at the multiple-million-dollar price tag.

In general uplifting world news, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched a rocket (and a Tesla roadster) into space and It. Was. Awesome.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Another One Bites the Dust

This was one of those son-of-a-bitch weeks that’s harder to stomach than some. But there was still plenty of progress still being made.

The GOP quietly introduced another abortion-ban bill, which quietly failed to advance in the Senate.

A Manhattan federal judge decried ICE for “cruel” tactics in jailing immigrant rights activist Ravi Ragbir and ordered him freed.

The Republican Governors Association cut all ties with former RNC chairman and accused harasser Steve Wynn and returned money he had donated to the organization, and the University of Iowa, which had named one of its institutes after him in exchange for his $25 million commitment to the school, is retracting the honor.

Donald’s release of cherry-picked facts from the memo House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes carefully and selectively edited regarding the Russian investigation and the FBI’s surveillance of people in the Trump campaign has resulted in a firestorm of controversy, but it’s not just the FBI and Democratic lawmakers speaking out against the irresponsible, propagandized, potentially national-security-threatening memo.

Republican John McCain says, “The American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded. Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the lens of politics and manufacturing political sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

And former CIA head John Brennan (under both Bush and Obama) accused Nunes (who, let’s remember, tried to secretly share confidential House Intelligence Committee info with the White House last year before he even briefed his bipartisan committee colleagues) and the GOP of “reckless partisan behavior” pointedly adding that “Absence of moral and ethical leadership in [White House] is fueling this government crisis.”

And a former FBI special agent and counterterrorism investigator spoke out in a NYTimes op-ed about why he’s leaving the bureau in the interest of being free to protect it and our institutions, sharply calling out “political operatives” trying to shake the public’s trust in the FBI in order to undermine the findings of the Russia investigation—“operatives” he doesn’t call out by name, but by using direct quotes from Donald’s tweets, makes his subject entirely clear.

Lawyers for Donald’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort’s codefendant in Mueller’s fraud and money-laundering prosecution, Rick Gates, have asked the federal judge in the case to let them leave the case—the third shift in legal representation since Gates was indicted. The attorney’s declined to offer a reason, citing a gag order. Meanwhile, TIME magazine discovered that in 2013, Donald’s former campaign adviser Carter Page bragged of his Kremlin contacts in a letter to a publisher—not only adding fuel to Mueller’s investigation of him, but lending credence to the FBI’s decision to surveil him that Nunes’s memo glosses over as probable cause.

Meanwhile, here’s the Washington Post’s great visual breakdown of who we know has spoken with Mueller’s investigation.

Another one bites the dust—Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee (and he who relentlessly dragged out the Benghazi investigation, racking up millions of dollars in cost to taxpayers despite repeatedly finding no evidence of wrongdoing), has announced he won’t seek reelection, calling himself “a lousy politician” (we can’t help but agree). GOP lawmakers are being picked off like carnival ducks—do they know something we don’t know (like that a new conservative party is forming?) or are they simply leaving the field in disgrace?

Donald may yet face few consequences for calling Haiti and other minority nations “shitholes,” but one official has—the lottery board chairman who referred to a town in Illinois as “a shithole of the universe” has stepped in the face of heavy public criticism.

The White House has withdrawn Kathleen Harnett White, Donald’s nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality, after loud public and congressional outcry against the climate-change denier—including a letter signed by more than 300 scientists across the country.

Need a palate cleanse for the week? Stream the inaugural episode of David Letterman’s new Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, featuring Barack Obama and John Lewis. Here’s a clip—but don’t miss the whole one-hour show. It will remind you why we’re fighting and how far we’ve come—and how hard those before us have fought, and how much there is to be gained.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Golden Toilet

This week’s delicious Donald smackdown comes from the Guggenheim museum, which made a rather overt statement about their opinion of Donald and his presidency when he asked for the loan of a Van Gogh and they offered him a golden toilet instead.

Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Pat Meehan was removed from the House Ethics Committee for… (wait for it) an alleged ethics violation: using thousands of taxpayer dollars to settle a sexual misconduct complaint against him, and he has announced he will not be running for reelection amidst the fallout.

Pennsylvania’s supreme court threw out the congressional district map as unfairly gerrymandered, giving state lawmakers till mid-February to redraw the maps more fairly. (For a wonderful take on gerrymandering—how it happens, why it’s undemocratic, and how to fight it—read this Q&A with Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf.)

The Russia investigation is growing tentacles. Jeff Sessions apparently tried to influence FBI director Christopher Wray to fire or demote deputy director Andrew McCabe (whom, it was revealed, Donald asked how he voted in 2016) and all other Comey-affiliated investigators. Bob Mueller plans to interview Donald, and ask among other questions about the ousters of lying national security adviser Michael Flynn and resisting former FBI head James Comey, indicating he may be pursuing an obstruction-of-justice avenue. This follows Mueller’s several-hours-long interview with Jeff “I don’t recall” Sessions last week about Donald’s campaign’s possible ties to Russia.

But wait, there’s more! Michael Flynn met with the FBI last year without the knowledge of the White House about his meeting with the Russian ambassador. Mueller’s team has also interviewed Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, National Security Agency director Mike Rogers, and CIA director Mike Pompeo as “peripheral witnesses” to the James Comey firing, and Pompeo “was allegedly asked by Trump to lean on Comey to drop his investigation.” Steve Bannon will meet with Mueller, and his attorney says Bannon will not be able to invoke executive privilege, as he did in his belligerent testimony to the House Intelligence Committee. Mueller’s team has interviewed more than 20 White House officials so far, and to the reported dismay and surprise of friends and advisers, Donald says he will testify under oath with Mueller—in fact he says he “would love to do it” and he “can’t wait!” —despite new revelations that he moved to fire Mueller in June of 2017, which sources say was stopped only by lawyer Don McGahn’s threat to resign. In true Trumpian fashion, Donald’s attorney Ty Cobb immediately walked back Donald’s very clear statements as not what he meant.

The Senate Judiciary Committee announced it will be releasing all transcripts of testimony related to the infamous “I love it!” Trump Tower meeting with Donny Jr. hoping to get dirt on Hillary Clinton.

Amid all this, some in the GOP are leading a frantic propaganda campaign to distract attention from Mueller’s net closing, alleging misconduct by the FBI.The Justice Department (yes, the one under the aegis of Donald) issued a rebuke to one arm of this baseless smear campaign, warning Devin Nunes, head of the House Intelligence Committee, that it was “reckless” for him to continue to push for a public release a committee memo drawing on classified information to try to malign the Russia investigation. And despite many at FOX News trying to perpetuate the unsubstantiated attacks on the integrity of American intelligence agencies, a rebuke against the propaganda efforts was issued by…well, FOX News, insanely.

federal judge in Maryland has indicated he might be sympathetic to hearing anti-corruption cases against Donald’s many ethical breaches and violations of the emoluments clause in Maryland and DC.

Donald’s 24-year-old entirely inexperienced drug policy appointee will step down after less than a month in his position.

Even the pope is now defending freedom of the press and speaking out against “fake news”: “a sign of intolerant and hypersensitive attitudes [that] leads only to the spread of arrogance and hatred.”

If this administration is rolling back women’s rights, the rest of the world is roaring louder than ever to protect them, as seen in the one-year anniversary women’s marches that drew hundreds of thousands last weekend. The unrepentant sex abuser Larry Nassar was sentenced Wednesday to 40 to 175 years in prison after the judge in his multiple sex-crimes case allowed more than 150 women to testify about the abuse they suffered at the hands of the Olympic doctor under the guise of medical exams, and the entire board of directors of Olympics USA has been asked to resign in the wake of questions about how his abuse was allowed to go on so long. RNC finance chairman Steve Wynn resigned after allegations of pressuring employees to perform sex acts. A reporter went undercover in a high-society men-only charity event in London and revealed a culture of sexual harassment and abuse that has resulted in the dissolution of the event and its parent foundation. Women are driving the resistance, with Indivisible national reporting that in 2017, 86% of calls to members of Congress were made by women, and 70% of Indivisible group members, and the majority of group leaders, are women.

And in other civil-rights advances, this year Texas has 48 LGBTQ candidates running for office—more than any other election cycle.

So far 50 senators have indicated support for upholding net neutrality rules—and Burger King has thrown its corporate support behind net neutrality with a new video that attempts to show why a fair and open internet is essential.

Finally, a must-listen for resisters: Vox’s Ezra Klein presented a podcast called “How to Oppose Trump without Becoming More Like Him.” A great reminder to hold on to what we’re fighting for as we continue to engage in battle with what we’re fighting against.

How Your Voices Are Making a Difference: Women’s March 2.0

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out across the country over the weekend for the one-year anniversary of last year’s global Women’s Marches (while the entirely GOP-controlled government proved it can’t govern by shutting down on the one-year anniversary of the Incompetent-in-chief at the helm).

Bannon lawyered up and was subpoenaed to testify in Mueller’s investigation before a grand jury, after a truculent refusal to testify before the House Intelligence Committee that also resulted in a subpoena. Subsequently Bannon agreed to testify directly with Mueller’s investigators instead and is expected to cooperate with the investigation.

Democrats in Congress are one vote away from restoring net neutrality. And 22 state attorney generals have also filed suit to block the repeal.

Wisconsin flipped a state senate seat blue by a relatively wide margin in a rural district that has gone Republican for the last two decades—hopefully a sign of things to come in the 2018 elections.

In a bizarre but welcome turn, one of Donald’s federal judicial appointees ruled in favor of a deported immigrant.

Freedom of the press got some much-needed GOP love this past week. John McCain penned an impassioned (though likely futile) plea to Donald to stop attacking the press, likening the president’s attempts to stifle a free press to the actions of governments like RussiaTurkeyChina, Egypt,Venezuela, and stating that “journalists play a major role in the promotion and protection of democracy and our unalienable rights, and they must be able to do their jobs freely. Only truth and transparency can guarantee freedom.” And retiring senator Jeff Flake also asserted the crucial importance of a free press, as well as piling on with the criticisms of Donald, comparing him and his White House to Stalin’s Russia.

Despite delayed denials by a few attendees of the infamous immigration meeting in which Donald denigrated swaths of the world as “shithole countries,” Sen. Lindsey Graham continues to (kind of, sort of) admit that Donald did indeed say it, and publicly praised Sen. Dick Durbin, who continues to assert that Donald did use exactly that language. Graham also denounced the White House advisers who convinced Donald to 180 from his initially conciliatory approach with the bipartisan group of senators hoping to pursue a compromise for the DACA program and revealed more about how they intervened to sway the easily swayed president, blaming those advisers for the acrimonious meeting and stating that they’d given Donald “really bad advice.”

The NOAA, the UK’s meteorological office, the Japanese Meteorological Agency, the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization, and NASA all independently found 2017 to be one of the three hottest years on record in human history, following the trend of 2016, which is also on that very short list. NOAA’s five hottest years have been from 2010 on. The abnormally hot temps that continue to spike are a clear sign of man-made global warming—which is not good news, but it’s included on this list as—hopefully—a sign that overwhelming scientific opinion may yet prevail on even the most stubbornly ignorant of climate-change deniers in the White House.

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll reveals that while Americans have faith in a recovering economy, more credit President Obama’s administration than Donald’s, and Donald’s ratings remain historically low at 37 percent.

The marvelous Internet did this all week.

This viral video of schoolchildren in Puerto Rico finally getting electricity back gave the Internet all the feels, as did this costume designer who stitched a prosthetic wing for a butterfly and watched it fly away.

And Barry is back, y’all.

How Your Voices Made a Difference: The Tide is Turning

The head of the parent company of Henry Holt—the publisher that recently released Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury with eyebrow-raisingly candid comments from White House intimates about Donald’s fitness (or lack thereof)—defended itself against Donald’s cease-and-desist lawsuit, citing it as a breach of the Constitution: “a clear effort by the President of the United States to intimidate a publisher into halting publication of an important book on the workings of the government… This is an underlying principle of our democracy. We cannot stand silent,” the CEO wrote in his memo. “We will not allow any president to achieve by intimidation what our Constitution precludes him or her from achieving in court. We need to respond strongly for Michael Wolff and his book, but also for all authors and all their books, now and in the future. And as citizens we must demand that President Trump understand and abide by the First Amendment of our Constitution.”

Meanwhile, amid the dust-up over the book and those who’ve disparaged Donald in it, Steve Bannon, prime among the disparagers, has stepped down from Breitbart, his mouthpiece of hate and propaganda.

Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence committee, overruled Republican committee head Chuck Grassley’s efforts to suppress the testimony to the committee by the former British spy who helped assemble the infamous Trump dossier for Fusion DPS. On Tuesday she released transcripts of all ten hours of testimony by Christopher Steele, which indicates the FBI believed the information Steele had given them, and that the bureau had had an informant from within the Trump camp.

On Tuesday a panel of federal judges struck down North Carolina’s voting districts as unconstitutionally gerrymandered—the first time a federal court has blocked a congressional map because of a gerrymander.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case over whether Texas’ congressional and state House maps discriminate against voters of color.

A San Francisco federal judge ruled—again based on Donald’s tweets and his own words right from his shithole–that the federal government must reinstate the DACA program for young immigrants to find a path to citizenship that he announced the end of in the fall, as legal challenges to the ban move forward. The federal government has accordingly announced it will continue to enroll “dreamers” in the DACA program, per the ruling.

Donald’s announcement that oil drilling would be allowed in all U.S. waters immediately met with opposition from Florida’s Republican governor, and the White House quickly excluded the state’s waters from the order. It’s likely a move to appease voters in his key state in advance of the 2018 elections, and is having bipartisan repercussions from voters and other governors across the country.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously rejected measures proposed by Rick Perry, Secretary of Energy (at least as far as he knows) that would favor the coal and nuclear industries over natural gas and renewables in competitive electricity markets. Of the five-member agency, four were appointed by Donald, three of them Republicans.

A Senate bill introduced to reverse the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality laws has received 40 senate sponsors and will proceed to the floor for a vote, which could overturn the repeal—a repeal opposed by the vast majority of Americans.

God bless the notorious RBG—Ruth Bader Ginsburg appointed law interns for the next two terms, signaling that she intends to serve at least until 2020.

New, wide-net, demographically detailed survey results by Survey Monkey reveal that Donald is not doing so well, even among his base. The tide is turning, slowly but inexorably, reminding us once again that America is great because America is good…and goodness will prevail as long as good people refuse to be silent.