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.

How Your Voices Made a Difference: McCain Has the Stones

John McCain once again has the stones (and character) to defy his party to do what he feels is best for his constituents, announcing he “cannot in good conscience” vote for the half-baked Cassidy-Graham health care bill (zombie TrumpCare 3.0) that will jeopardize health care for the elderly, the ill, and women, and has been denounced by a growing number of Republican governors (as well as the bipartisan Medicaid directors from all 50 states, the American Medical Association, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, AARP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Kaiser Permanente, the American Heart Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the American Cancer Society). The battle isn’t yet won, though—the GOP could still muster 50 votes if there are no more defections from the party line, and in that case Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote. (And we can all imagine which way that would go down.) Keep calling and showing up at your senators’ offices!

Despite Donald John’s federal ban on sanctuary cities, California—lately serving as America’s conscience in lieu of any guidance in that arena from the White House—voted to make itself an entire sanctuary state. If passed, this legislation will prevent already overburdened state and local law enforcement from being pressed into service as an ad hoc ICE force, and keep communities safer by preventing racial profiling and residents too afraid of being deported to report crimes and help in prosecutions.

Don John’s superfluous election commission, his vanity project whose real goal is to suppress Democrat votes, shake the country’s faith in our election process, and manufacture justification (and perhaps an ego salve) for his baseless claims of massive voter fraud in the 2016 election he lost by more than 3 million popular votes, is running into rough road. First an email came to light from one of the most conservative members of Donald’s vanity project in which the committee’s intent to exclude moderate Republicans and Democrats was spelled out; followed by a fact-free op-ed by chairman Kris Kobach in alt-right news site Breitbart calling into question—with no evidence—the results of New Hampshire’s most recent U.S. Senate race; and then another committee member feuded on Twitter with a journalist whose academic credentials he claimed she’d fabricated (she hadn’t). Now even some Republicans are beginning to question the purpose, motives, and methods of the spurious committee.

Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation is developing interesting tentacles. His techniques—including aggressively pursuing Donald intimates Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn—are consistent with other investigations that attempt to find the weak link in a chain of illegalities and pull hard on it to yield the big fish (to mix metaphors). For now the White House seems to have deemed it wiser to cooperate—or at least appear to—than to continue dismissing the investigation as a “witch-hunt” and attack Mueller (despite some Keystone Kops-type public vacillating by two of Donald’s lawyers, overheard by the NY Times’s top political reporter). A great rundown on both these stories can be heard on the New York Times’s excellent Daily podcast from September 19, here. Meanwhile, Mueller stepped things up yet again this past week with a request to the White House for 13 categories of extensive records and email correspondence. Seems like he’s circling in on something pretty juicy…. If I were somehow involved in activities on the end of these ever-escalating investigations, I think I might be sweating pretty hard at this point. Maybe trying like hell to distract attention with, say, world-ending threats to a nuke-happy adversary, or recklessly conceived health care legislation, or a complete 180-degree flip on a key campaign issue along with unprecedented bipartisan outreach. Or something like that.

In a delightfully ironic way of drawing attention to the United States’ abnegation of our moral standards under the “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” (thanks, Kim Jong Un) in shutting out so many seeking asylum here (including Donald’s suppression of reports from his own Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees contribute more than $261 billion to our economy…unlike Donald, whose taxes seem to contribute zero), during the UN General Assembly in New York global aid organization Oxfam rented Donald’s childhood home in Queens to house refugees.

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: DACA and the Zen Wisdom of Taking Action

After his categorical announcement terminating the DACA “dreamers” program that helps hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants on a path to education, jobs, and potentially citizenship, the ever-unpredictable Donald then did an about-face and he’ll be working with Democrats (his new BFFs “Chuck and Nancy”) to help pass legislation that protects them. Despite Paul Ryan’s bleated denials and cautions, this is great news for these “dreamers,” nearly half of whom came here before they were six years old and many who have known no home but the United States, and great news for our country: our undocumented immigrants contribute 11.74 billion in taxes (as opposed to the zero tax dollars Donald paid in the sole year of his released returns) and contribute to our society in a wide array of roles in our workforce and military. Even more good news: according to Pelosi and Schumer, these negotiations will include tightening border security—but stop short of building Donald’s ridiculous, exorbitantly expensive wall. And this may finally be the thing that begins to crack support from Donald’s die-hard core base.

Donald’s unconstitutional pardon of Joe Arpaio, the sheriff who repeatedly violated prisoners’ civil and human rights as well as his indictment for doing so, may not stand. At least four separate coalitions have filed motions protesting the pardon, and Arpaio’s conviction may yet be upheld—including objections from the federal judge who found him guilty.

Though many in this administration and the GOP continue to deny climate change, in the wake of devastating storms, fires, and earthquakes, the political conversation seems to at least be shifting toward how we can protect ourselves from its inevitable effects (even if deniers aren’t yet ready to admit what’s causing them), and many Republicans are speaking out and urging the administration to reconsider its climate policies.

Speaking of Republicans finally getting woke—the Republican-led Senate Judiciary Committee is considering legislation to make it harder for Donald to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation.

The California legislature passed a bill requiring all presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to appear on the California ballot. If it passes in the senate it will head to the governor for his signature into law.

Meanwhile, if you want to keep track of all the Russia developments flying around (or any of the multitude of Donald’s transgressions against our country and democracy), Amy Siskind has a new searchable chart of every one of her weekly list of changes (“Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember”)—enter a keyword (may I suggest “Russia,” for example?) to get an exhaustive list of all developments regarding that topic.

Finally, if you find yourself twisted into knots of anxiety over the current administration, the New York Times published this excellent brief articleon the futility of worrying and the Zen wisdom of taking action instead. Resisting is not only not futile…it’s how we’ll overcome the forces acting against our democracy and our country, and we will win.

Stealth Stops and Photo Ops Through Rural TX-10

Guest post by Michele in Smithville, TX

Have you checked out Congressman Michael McCaul’s Twitter feed and Facebook postings this week? Well, he’s on recess and back in Texas meeting with constituents, holding town halls, shaking hands, and kissing babies! Just kidding!! He’s making the rounds, but not with regular, everyday constituents. His stops are all highly orchestrated, under the radar, closed meetings, photo ops, and fundraisers.

Protestors holding a banner that says Repeal and Replace Representative Michael McCaulHe was at the Katy Fire Department on Aug 8th, posing with a nice shiny red fire truck in the back ground. Apparently, Katy is “a recipient of the SAFER Grant!” Yay! Go Katy! There are photos of his visits with the American Jewish Committee Houston Region, an un-named group in Prairie View. A visit to Harris County OHSEM, Homeland Security and Emergency Management, and then a stop in Fayette County to pose with the Sheriff’s Office and K-9 Unit. One photo op that’s missing is his stop in Bastrop.

Thursday August 1oth, McCaul had a visit planned in Smithville to meet with County Judge, Paul Pape, and other local elected officials and city managers. We hear the visit was to discuss recent disaster relief efforts from the fires and floods that have ravaged Bastrop County over the last few years. This meeting was changed at the last minute and moved to the Bastrop County Courthouse Annex in Bastrop and was to take place in the Commissioners Courtroom.

Protestors holding signs including This Nasty Woman VotesWhen we got wind of the venue change we alerted the local newspaper to the planned meeting being hosted by Judge Pape and they called him to confirm the new location and time. The reporter was told this was a private meeting. The public and the press were not invited. The reporter asked if it was legal to hold a closed meeting in the County Commissioner’s Court. Pape’s office said they would check with the local District Attorney. The meeting ended up taking place in Judge Pape’s office. We are told Pape, McCaul, and the mayors and city managers of Smithville and Bastrop were in attendance.

McCaul also had a fundraiser scheduled Thursday evening in Bastrop at the private home of a local business owner. This event was highly insulated and planned by Lilly & Company, an Austin based political consulting, campaign strategist, and fundraising group. Check them out. Pretty impressive clientele. Only select people were emailed an invite. Once you purchased a ticket through the website, you would get the location and details of the event.

Three protestors with signs including "Michael McCaul - Why Are you hiding? Meet with your constituents"We patiently waited until the Courthouse closed for the day and they turned the lights out on us. They may as well have yelled out, “Last call for alcohol! You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!” It’s a shame our Congressman is so scared to meet with a handful of citizens that he had to slip out the back door of the courthouse to avoid us. Sad!

What’s even more shameful, is our local elected officials were in on it.

So you’re meeting with a staffer. Now what?

During the Cornyn Stakeout last week, I, on impulse, walked into the Chase Bank Building, rode the elevator to the 15th floor, and knocked on the door to Cornyn’s office. Next thing I knew I was sitting face to face with a young staffer. Now what?

I had my talking points about the Senate Intelligence Committee’s–and especially John Cornyn’s–lackluster response to Russian election interference, but it seemed weird to launch into that. When there is a human being sitting a few feet away, the dynamic is very different compared to speaking on the phone or firing off angry tweets.

She may have been more nervous than I was. I’m a tall man in an Indivisible Austin t-shirt and for all she knows I am about to start shrieking at her, or worse. So I explained, calmly, that I was from Indivisible Austin, one of the organizers of the stakeout, and that we aren’t scary. I joked that most of the Indivisible activists look like our moms, and in fact, my mother is an Indivisible activist in rural Texas. (See, we’re not all Austin hippies, either.)

The staffer smiled, and let her guard down a bit. Sure, she was being paid to listen to my concerns, and we might disagree vigorously on many things; but it was clear that a human connection was forming.

I believe these human connections, seeking common ground, will save our Democracy.

Paraphrasing what I said:

On the AHCA

“Getting people to question facts is a hallmark of authoritarianism. When John Cornyn called CBO data ‘fake news,’ that sent a dangerous signal. The CBO score may not be perfect, but it’s the only data we have, and the Congressional Budget Office is as nonpartisan as it gets. For our Democracy to function, we need to have agreed-upon facts. If we can’t agree on facts, our Democracy dies.”

On withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord

“Sen. Cornyn signed a letter encouraging Trump to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Cornyn and other Republicans like to point out that the treaty is not legally binding. But one thing we have learned from the Trump presidency is that norms and traditions uphold our Democracy far more than laws do. By withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, we send a message that we no longer take seriously the bonds, however symbolic, between the U.S. and our global allies. Additionally, climate change is a nonpartisan issue, affecting everyone. We can disagree about the means with which to solve the problem, but we first need to agree on the basic fact that it is happening.”

On Russian election interference

“The original purpose of the Cornyn Stakeout was to send a message to Sen. Cornyn that Americans take very seriously the issue of a foreign power interfering in our Democratic process. Sen. Cornyn’s seemingly flippant attitude toward his own committee’s investigation is inappropriate. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. If Russia, or any foreign power, is influencing our elections in any way, that is dangerous to both parties, and to our nation as a whole. We need Sen. Cornyn to take this issue more seriously.”

I spent 15 to 20 minutes sharing my concerns with the staffer, who was very professional and polite, and took notes that she said she would deliver to the senator. It is quite possible that she was seething inwardly, disagreeing with everything I said… but I don’t really think so. Human beings are social creatures and instinctively seek common ground. And it is much easier to find that common ground in person, than on social media or phone calls.

This summer we’ll be kicking off a series of “air-conditioned activism”* events, centered around meetings with congressional staffers. We’re planning a toolkit to make your meetings with staffers as effective as can be, and we would love to hear what has and has not worked for you. We would especially welcome feedback from staffers. Please email vp@indivisibleaustin.com or leave a comment here.


*Many thanks to the Indivisible TX-25 Eanes / West Austin group for coining the term “Air-Conditioned Activism.”

 

 

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: Paris Climate Accord

Courtesy of 5 Minute Activism

When Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement, people immediately mobilized…

  • China and all 28 EU states reaffirmed their commitment to fully implement the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • California, New York, and Washington formed a climate alliance.
  • More than 60 mayors of U.S. cities (including Pittsburgh) committed to adopting and upholding the Paris Climate Agreement goals.
  • Michael Bloomberg is coordinating a group of corporations, colleges, and mayors who are negotiating their own climate plan directly with the U.N.
  • Phoenix, Arizona announced plans to become carbon-neutral by 2050.
  • Protesters held rallies outside the White House and across the country.
  • Even Weather.com got in on the action!
  • Both Paris and Montreal lit their city halls green.

…And pretty much the entire world will continue to take action against climate change:

  • India canceled the creation of huge coal power stations, moving instead toward more affordable solar energy—and announced plans to allow the sale of only electric cars by 2030.
  • South Korea is beginning to shut down coal power plants, in a move to combat pollution.
  • Shareholders approved a proposal for ExxonMobil to report on climate change-related risks, despite management’s recommendation to vote against it.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the grassroots progress forward, and the success of these movements in resisting Donald and the GOP’s regressive agenda, so I hope these positive signs offer some peace to your soul in trying times. Hang in there, warriors. We are our nation and our future’s hope.

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: We Remember Those Who Fought Before Us

Courtesy of 5 Minute Activism

You marvelous patriotic people are keeping the heat turned up to 11 on Russia–and things are starting to cook:

  • Fired national security director Michael Flynn has taken the Fifth and refused to surrender his personal records regarding his possible collusion with foreign governments to Senate subpoena. Combined with his previous (refused) request for immunity, it’s growing ever clearer that there’s plenty to hide. The Senate Intelligence Committee followed up with two new subpoenas to Flynn’s businesses.
  • The Washington Post has learned that in March, Donald asked the heads of two U.S. intelligence agencies to publicly deny James Comey’s revelations that Donald’s campaign was under criminal investigation by the FBI. “The problem wasn’t so much asking them to issue statements, it was asking them to issue false statements about an ongoing investigation,” a former senior intelligence official said.
  • Oh, and remember that mysterious highly placed White House Trump adviser who was also coming under the FBI’s microscope for possible affiliations with Russia? Yeah…it’s Kushner. To be clear, that doesn’t mean he’s a target, or central focus, of the investigation, but a person of interest who may help shed light on the extent of Russia’s meddling into our last elections.
  • And in another sign that those with vested interests in Donald and his agenda are panicking, conservative blowhard and conspiracy theorist Sean Hannity showed his hand in a tweet this week. In trying without any evidence to connect slain DNC staffer Seth Rich with the hack of the DNC, rather than Russia, as all 17 intelligence agencies have agreed, Hannity openly revealed his endgame: to try to shift blame from and exonerate Donald. Yet another sign that GOP loyalists are feeling the noose tighten around their necks.
  • In other good news, Donald’s unconstitutional, racist Muslim ban was once again frozen by a federal court–this time on appeal–and once again the court cited Donald’s own words about the ban in defending its decision.
  • The White House backed down in the face of unyielding demands from watchdog agency the Office of Government Ethics (and public outcry) and has agreed to provide the ethics waivers the OGE requested for lobbyists lobbying in the fields in which they recently worked, against regulations, which it had previously refused to release.
  • In New Hampshire, voters flipped a reliably Republican house seat blue, and in Long Island (which Donald won by 23 points), voters flipped a state assembly seat Democrat as well.
  • The Supreme Court struck down racially gerrymandered districts in North Carolina this week. Following on the heels of three federal courts doing the same in Texas, this is a positive development for fairer representation in these artificially manipulated districts.
  • Advertisers are fleeing Sean Hannity’s FOX show in response to his dogged perpetuation of a baseless and debunked conspiracy theory about slain DNC staffer Seth Rich (even in the face of direct pleas from Rich’s family). It’s yet another brick in the FOX crypt, amid a flurry of other signs (like its recent third-place drop in ratings) that America may be fed up with the network’s stream of misinformation and propaganda.

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: GOP’s Blind Support Is Crumbling

Courtesy of 5 Minute Activism

  • The Department of Justice has finally named a special prosecutor to oversee the FBI investigation into the possible collusion between Donald/Donald’s campaign and Russia. Former FBI director Robert Mueller is widely seen as nonpartisan and is respected on both sides of the aisle (his term as FBI head was even extended) as honest, trustworthy, and dogged.
  • If you worry that the relentless stream of toxicity pouring out of the White House will erode the will of the American people to fight back, fear not: Apparently the Republican administration and White House staff are equally exhausted and perhaps even more demoralized. From a highly sourced NYTimes article about the growing disillusionment with Donald inside the White House: “A dozen of Mr. Trump’s aides and associates…spoke candidly, in a way they were unwilling to do just weeks ago, about the damage that the administration’s standing has suffered in recent weeks and the fatigue that was setting in after months of having to defend the president’s missteps, Twitter posts and unpredictable actions.”
  • Republicans’ blind support of Donald is beginning to crumble. Republican Senators John McCain and Bob Corker have sharply criticized the president and called for investigation. Even Mitch McConnell has expressed exasperation with all the “drama” coming from the White House and said Comey needs to testify before the Senate publicly. Other MoCs continue to fall away from their willfully blind support in an effort to bail off the Titanic of this administration.
  • In a sudden flurry of action, the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees have asked the White House for all existing records of interactions between Comey and Trump, including transcripts of any tapes, after Donald threatened that some might exist. The Senate Intelligence and Judiciary committees have asked for all Comey’s notes relating to the Russia investigation, and asked Comey to testify; as has the House committee that has called a hearing (finally) to find out whether Donald interfered in the FBI investigation. James Comey has agreed to testify in an open (read: public) hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • Rep Eric Swalwell has introduced a bill on the House floor called the Protecting our Democracy Act, which would establish an independent, 9/11-style commission to investigate Russian interference. So far it has 199 cosponsors (but only two are Republicans).
  • When Donald’s administration put out a public call for people to state which EPA regulations they’d like to roll back, more than 55,000 people spoke out–overwhelmingly in support of the EPA and its current regulations, many even asking for more stringent measures to protect the environment.