“Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

I firmly believe that with our pressure and the forces of the truth, Trump will not remain in office until the end of his term.

As much as Pelosi would rather focus on issues other than impeachment, the truth will not give her any other option.  Trump will have to be impeached.

And I am not the only one who thinks so.  Check out this article by Elizabeth Drew, a journalist who covered Watergate:

The Inevitability of Impeachment

An impeachment process against President Trump now seems inescapable. Unless the president resigns, the pressure by the public on the Democratic leaders to begin an impeachment process next year will only increase. Too many people think in terms of stasis: How things are is how they will remain. They don’t take into account that opinion moves with events.

Whether or not there’s already enough evidence to impeach Mr. Trump — I think there is — we will learn what the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has found, even if his investigation is cut short. A significant number of Republican candidates didn’t want to run with Mr. Trump in the midterms, and the results of those elections didn’t exactly strengthen his standing within his party. His political status, weak for some time, is now hurtling downhill.

And I know everyone has been arguing that even if the House does impeach him the Senate won’t act.  But I don’t think that is necessarily true and neither does Ms. Drew:

I don’t share the conventional view that if Mr. Trump is impeached by the House, the Republican-dominated Senate would never muster the necessary 67 votes to convict him. Stasis would decree that would be the case, but the current situation, already shifting, will have been left far behind by the time the senators face that question. Republicans who were once Mr. Trump’s firm allies have already openly criticized some of his recent actions, including his support of Saudi Arabia despite the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and his decision on Syria. They also openly deplored Mr. Mattis’s departure.

But it may well not come to a vote in the Senate. Facing an assortment of unpalatable possibilities, including being indicted after he leaves office, Mr. Trump will be looking for a way out. It’s to be recalled that Mr. Nixon resigned without having been impeached or convicted. The House was clearly going to approve articles of impeachment against him, and he’d been warned by senior Republicans that his support in the Senate had collapsed. Mr. Trump could well exhibit a similar instinct for self-preservation. But like Mr. Nixon, Mr. Trump will want future legal protection.

Her point here is too important to skim by: we need to think not just about how the Republicans are acting now, but how they will act when faced with overwhelming evidence in combination with a severely weakened president.

Don’t forget that Republican career politicians hate him. They didn’t want him to be president.  They talk shit about him behind his back constantly.

And no, I am not giving them credit for backbone or love of country that they have already proven they don’t have.  I am just pointing out that, at some point, their desire for self-preservation will outweigh their fear.  They will get rid of Trump because it will be the better of two bad options for them.

This will happen eventually because the walls are closing in on Trump and anyone too close to him will be pulled under:


Trump inaugural committee under criminal investigation, sources say

President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee is currently being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York for possible financial abuses related to the more than $100 million in donations raised for his inauguration, according to sources familiar with the matter.

One source familiar with the matter says the investigation is in the early stages and investigators are generally focused on whether any inauguration money was misspent.
The newspaper notes that “giving money in exchange for political favors” is illegal, as is misuse of any donated funds. The committee was registered as a nonprofit.
and this is just one of MANY ways he is being investigated.  All evidence suggests that a lifelong habit of ignoring the law is catching up on him and FAST and from all directions: His worst nightmare: Trump’s life under a legal microscope

Weeks of devastating legal revelations have left Donald Trump’s political career clouded by criminality and his life, presidency and business empire under assault by relentless prosecutors on multiple fronts.

Simply put, Trump’s campaigntransition, inaugural committee and presidency are now under active criminal investigation. His business — the Trump Organization — and his defunct charity — The Trump Foundation are also under investigation (the charity investigation is a civil one).
The President himself has been indirectly fingered by New York prosecutors overseen by his own Justice Department of directing criminal attempts to subvert campaign finance laws.
Then there is a civil lawsuit brought by Democratic-led states rooted in claims that Trump’s refusal to fully disengage from his businesses means he is using his position to profit from deals in his hotel chain that contravene the Constitution.
The many layers of investigation are about to get even more comprehensive, with multiple committees in the new Democratic House launching oversight into Trump’s personal finances, political operation and White House next year.

House Democrats scooping up staff, lawyers to power Trump investigations

Think for a moment of the PUBLIC hearings the Democrats will be able to have into every kind of Trump-related corruption there is.  Hearing after hearing after hearing, chipping away at this mythology that he has built:

A recent committee job posting reviewed by CNN asked for legislative counsels with a variety of expertise: “criminal law, immigration law, constitutional law, intellectual property law, commercial and administrative law (including antitrust and bankruptcy), or oversight work.”
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee needs lawyers, too, posting jobs for “executive branch investigative counsel.”
The advertisements give a window into the Democratic recruiting that’s ramped up ahead of the party gaining subpoena power for the first time in eight years when it takes over the House in January.

So when we think about what will happen when even more dirt turns up on trump (through Mueller AND the multiple criminal and civil investigations AND the House hearings) it becomes inevitable that the House will impeach him.

And don’t believe the nonsense that argues that impeachment will be good for him politically like it was, ultimately, for Clinton.  Clinton was impeached for lying about a BJ.  Every person outside of the Republicans in Congress knew he should be censured but that impeachment was ridiculous.

When Trump is impeached (and again, he will be) it will be for big, big things.  And likely many of them.

And when that happens, the Republicans in the Senate will either find a way to force or bribe him out or will actually vote against him because, as I said:


From Jennifer Rubin:

How low will Trump go before Republicans flee?

President Trump is getting slammed by Democrats and some Republicans for foreign policy blunders, a needless government shutdown and removing Defense Secretary Jim Mattis two months before his resignation was to take effect.

It’s quite possible (likely, even?) that the Mueller report will paint a devastating portrait of presidential wrongdoing (and bring indictments of members of his innermost circle), that Democratic investigations turn up ample evidence of incompetence and corruption, that the economic recovery peters out (if not falling into recession), that Trump’s personnel picks continue the pattern of low-quality people replaced by even lower-quality people and that an international incident (which we’ve avoided to date) proves Trump’s total incompetence. At that point, Republican lawmakers’ loyalty to (or fear of) Trump will come up against their panic over their own political fates. Equally important will be the reaction of the donor class if the stock market continues to tank, siphoning off any gains they’ve enjoyed from the tax cuts.

In short, Trump in 2019 will either muddle through another year of his chaotic presidency or finally wear out his welcome among Republicans who finally recognize they can save him or themselves, but not both.

Spoiler alert: it will be the second option.

I don’t see the muddling happening.  A year is a long time (a Trump year is about 8,752 regular years) and he won’t be able to hold on that long.

We are seeing little signs of them turning on him already.  Once again, Fox News is taking him on like they wouldn’t have before:

Fox News Hits Trump for Turning Troop Visit Into ‘Campaign Rally’

‘Military men and women, I believe, deserve way more respect than that,’ Fox News’ Julie Banderas said Thursday.

and more and more are seeing that the emperor is wearing no clothes:

Who’s afraid of the MAGA mob? Only Trump.

Anyone who thinks Trump is a master politician is wrong. He’s a master illusionist, which isn’t the same thing. Politicians can’t keep pulling rabbits out of empty hats forever. At some point, they face a reckoning, and Trump’s is well underway.

Trump is talented at making it appear that he has more than he really does — more money, more respect, more support. All those campaign rallies before the midterm elections were not just an attempt to save the Republican majorities in Congress or feed Trump’s insatiable ego. They were also demonstrations of the fervor of his core supporters — and implied warnings to Republicans who might cross him

but that will only work as long as his numbers stay high enough.

And it looks like they are not:


The majority in poll want Trump impeached or censured

Nearly 60 percent of U.S. voters surveyed say President Trump should be either impeached and removed from office or formally censured, according to a new Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill.

More Americans blame Trump for the shutdown than Democrats

More Americans blame President Trump than Democrats for the six-day partial government shutdown, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos pollreleased on Thursday.

The new poll found that 33 percent of American blamed congressional Democrats for the shutdown, while 47 percent blamed Trump.

Trump’s approval rating drops to Charlottesville levels during the shutdown

Trump’s fight for the border wall is tanking his approval rating.

Trump approval rating dips 2 points amid government shutdown

This shutdown is a nightmare for him politically and only going to get worse.  Pelosi is going to come in there in just a few days and present multiple, great options for opening the government

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top lieutenants are considering several options that would refuse Trump the $5 billion he’s demanded for the wall and send hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees back to work, according to senior Democratic sources.

While the strategy is fluid, House Democrats hope to pass a funding bill shortly after members are sworn in. They believe that would put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to follow suit. And they’re confident that their political leverage will only increase the longer the shutdown lasts — a notion that some GOP leaders privately agree with.

Trump has no cards to play here.  He is in a terrible position THAT HE PUT HIMSELF IN

Indeed, the specter of a lengthy shutdown could hurt Trump’s already damaged image more than it would Democrats — especially because he claimed ownership of the crisis two weeks ago. Democrats believe the shutdown battle — combined with the volatility in financial markets and special counsel Robert Mueller closing in on Trump — exacerbates the appearance of a cornered president acting out of his own political self-interest instead of the needs of the American public.

He will be in the awful position of either having to say no to the bills that are passed because they will not contain a wall and be a pariah to the majority of Americans who will have tired of the shutdown or sign one of those bills and be a loser to his racist base.

Those are literally the only two options.

He has already lost this battle.

Some are arguing that even he isn’t stupid enough to think he can win this.

Trump is venting in public and private about Democrats’ refusal to fund a border wall, but there is no sign the president is advancing deadlocked budget negotiations that have kept the government closed for a week.

Cooped up in the White House after canceling his planned two-week-plus vacation to his private Florida club, Trump is consumed by the shutdown, according to people close to him. And the president is increasingly isolated. Congress has essentially recessed until the new year and First Lady Melania Trump headed back to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort on Thursday, according to a spokeswoman, after briefly returning to Washington to accompany the president on a surprise Christmas trip to visit troops in Iraq.

Democrats barely acknowledged Trump’s latest volley, with a Pelosi spokesman saying Friday that real negotiations won’t begin until the president publicly endorses an offer to reopen the government.

“Democrats have made it clear that, given that the president has changed his position so many times, we would not consider any offers from the White House that the president has not publicly endorsed,” Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s spokesman, said Friday.

And privately, Democratic sources say they think desperation is fueling Trump’s latest threat, taking it as a sign that they are winning the shutdown messaging war.

And the country is turning towards our politics more and more:


Neighborhood decorates itself with rainbows after theft of family’s pride flag

Residents of a neighborhood in Barrington, Ill., decorated their homes with rainbow flags after a couple said their LGBT pride flag was stolen from their yard.

After news of the incident spread through the neighborhood, Handal said one of her neighbors, Kim Filian, planted a pride flag in her yard in solidarity with the family. Filian ordered more to share with the neighborhood after others started asking for their own flags.

So that is my major prediction going into 2019 — we will end this year with Trump either gone or on his way out of office.

That will likely leave us with Pence.  And before everyone gets ready to write about how much more dangerous Pence will be than Trump: No.  Just, no.  Yes, Pence is an awful little man.  But he is also already weak and pathetic and he will be hugely tainted by the scandals that will have brought trump down.  He is a man who either skirted the edges of breaking the law or was a big enough idiot that he didn’t even see it go on around him.  He will be weak and start off greatly diminished.  We will control the House which will keep him in check until we work our butts off the take the presidency (and, hopefully, the Senate) in 2020.

Most important about Pence: he is not Trump.  He is not crazy.  He is not a threat to our democracy. He won’t isolate us and make us worry about bombs.

And if he is dirty enough, we get President Pelosi ❤️ (A girl can dream….)

That is it for the good news for today.

But before we go, as this will be my last post of 2018, I thought a little year-end review might be in order.

I went through all my old posts from 2018 to look for my favorite stories of each month. As I don’t write every day, these are not necessarily the best things that happened every month, but the favorites that I got to write about:



Doug Jones sworn in on Wednesday, shrinking GOP Senate majority

Democrat Doug Jones was sworn in today as Alabama’s newest U.S. senator, reducing the Republican advantage to 51-49 and giving his party more room to impede President Trump’s 2018 legislative agenda.

Jones is already playing an outsized role in Senate politics. His presence allows Democrats to block any Trump nominee, or any budget bill, by winning over just two Republicans. (If one Republican defects, Vice President Pence can break a tie.) Senator Republican aides privately conceded that Jones’s vote will make it nearly impossible to take another run at repealing the Affordable Care Act and may quiet talk of a major entitlement reform push this year.

Trump Disbands Commission on Voter Fraud

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday evening to disband a White House commission investigating claims of voter fraud, ending an inquiry started after he falsely claimed that unauthorized votes had cost him the popular vote in the presidential election.

Mr. Trump cast blame for the commission’s demise on the refusal by several states to turn over voter information to the group. He said he made the decision despite “substantial evidence of voter fraud,” but experts generally agree such fraud is rare.

This is great news!  Remember how freaked out we all were when he set this up?  Remember all the calls we made on this?  All the pressure we put on our states to not comply?  IT WORKED!!!  WE DID THIS!!!

The Second annual women’s marches showed that our movement had only gained strength over its first year

From 3.3 million to 5.2 million. 300 cities—and records are breaking all over.

The resistance isn’t abating, it’s getting stronger.  Nine months to midterms.

“We’re not going anywhere”: the 2018 women’s marches show the movement’s endurance

 With more than 120,000 protesters estimated in New York City on Saturday, and more around the world, it was clear that the appetite for change that inspired the women’s marches last year remains strong in 2018.


Republicans give up on Obamacare repeal

Most GOP lawmakers aren’t interested in another failed effort to gut the health law in an election year.

Republicans are giving up on their years-long dream of repealing Obamacare.

Though the GOP still controls both chambers of Congress and maintains the ability to jam through a repeal-and-replace bill via a simple majority, there are no discussions of doing so here at House and Senate Republicans’ joint retreat at The Greenbrier resort. Republicans doubt they can even pass a budget providing for the powerful party-line “reconciliation” procedure used to pass tax reform last year, much less take on the politically perilous task of rewriting health care laws in an election year.

Democrat wins special election in Trump heartland Missouri

Democrats won a Missouri special election on Tuesday for a state house seat in a district that President Donald Trump won in a landslide victory during the presidential election.

Since Trump’s inauguration, Democrats have flipped 35 contested seats, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee said in a statement

Mueller indicts 13 Russian nationals over 2016 election interference

Special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election, charging them with conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Department of Justice announced Friday.

In addition, three defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.
“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States, with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said.

Gates finally flipped, y’all and that is a BIG F-ING DEAL:

Former Trump campaign official Rick Gates pleads guilty to 2 charges

Rick Gates, a former top official in President Trump’s campaign, pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to conspiracy and lying to the FBI, striking a deal to cooperate and provide information to special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s ongoing investigation.

The plea caps a tumultuous 24 hours for Gates in which he was hit with fresh charges, changed lawyers and admitted crimes.

The guilty plea also marks a busy period for Mueller’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and related issues. He charged 13 Russians this month with participating in a criminal scheme to disrupt the election and a London-based lawyer pleaded guilty Tuesday to lying to FBI agents on the case.


Conor Lamb won!!!

One reason that the results are especially scary for Republicans — Democrat Conor Lamb is the apparent winner1 in a district that President Trump won by 20 percentage points — is because it came on reasonably high turnout, the sort of turnout one might expect in this year’s midterms.

The high-turnout wins in Pennsylvania and Alabama ought to reassure Democrats — and worry Republicans — because there had previously seemed to be a pattern in which Democratic results were most impressive in low-turnout special elections.

Thus, Republicans have one less excuse for their string of really awful special election performances.

And there were signs of an enthusiasm gap even within Pennsylvania 18 on Tuesday night. According to the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman, turnout in Democratic-leaning Allegheny County equaled 67 percent of presidential-year turnout, but voters turned out at only 60 percent of presidential levels in Republican-leaning Westmoreland County. That sort of turnout gap suggests that registered-voter polls could be underrating Democrats in this year’s midterms — and could turn a challenging year for Republicans into a catastrophic one.

Smithsonian moves Michelle Obama portrait due to ‘high volume of visitors’

Michelle Obama was so popular she needed more space.

The distinctive Amy Sherald painting of the former first lady, unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery last month, has relocated to a different part of the museum due to demand.
“We’re always changing things up here. Due to the high volume of visitors, we’ve relocated Michelle Obama’s portrait to the 3rd floor in our 20th-Century Americans galleries for a more spacious viewing experience,” the National Portrait Gallery tweeted.

Black Panther becomes highest-grossing superhero film in North America

Marvel and Disney’s “Black Panther” became the highest-grossing superhero film in North America on Saturday, stealing the title from 2012’s “The Avengers.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Black Panther” surpassed “The Avengers,” which grossed $623.4 million from its North America release in 2012.

In passing the milestone, “Black Panther” has become one of only seven films to earn at least $600 million domestically, according to the Reporter.

Red-state teacher rebellion hits Oklahoma, grows in Arizona

A teacher rebellion that started in the hills of West Virginia spread like a prairie fire to Oklahoma this week and now threatens to reach the desert in Arizona.

In the deep red state of Oklahoma, the Republican-led Legislature approved money for teacher raises and more school funding, even hiking taxes on the vaunted oil and gas industry to do it. Republican Governor Mary Fallin rushed to sign the measures into law Thursday.


F.B.I. Raids Office of Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Michael Cohen

The F.B.I. raided the office and hotel room of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, on Monday, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including payments to a pornographic film actress.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating Mr. Cohen for possible bank fraud, and the documents identified in the warrant date back years, according to a person briefed on the search.

The prosecutors obtained the search warrant after receiving a referral from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III

The searches open a new front for the Justice Department in its scrutiny of Mr. Trump and his associates: His longtime lawyer is being investigated in Manhattan; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is facing scrutiny by prosecutors in Brooklyn; his campaign chairman is under indictment; his former national security adviser has pleaded guilty to lying; and a pair of former campaign aides are cooperating with Mr. Mueller. Mr. Mueller, meanwhile, wants to interview Mr. Trump about possible obstruction of justice.

The search is an aggressive move for the Justice Department, which normally relies on grand jury subpoenas to obtain records from people who are represented by lawyers and are cooperating with authorities. Search warrants are more often used in cases in which prosecutors do not trust people to preserve or turn over the records themselves. Justice Department rules require prosecutors to first consider less intrusive alternatives before seeking records from lawyers.

Huge news with Gorsuch giving Trump an immigration defeat!

Gorsuch was the tie breaking vote by joining all of the liberal justices in handing Trump  and the conservative justices a defeat on immigration and deportation this morning.  Case is Sessions v. Dimaya, 15-1498.

SCOTUS first heard this case in January 2017 but deadlocked when there were only 8 Justices because Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat had not yet been filled — because Senate Republicans would not even hold a hearing for Pres Obama’s nominee — Merrick Garland.

SCOTUS heard this case again after Justice Gorsuch was confirmed.  Today, SCOTUS ruled against the Trump Administration in a 5-4 vote with Gorsuch voting with Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor and Kagan .

The Court today ruled that part of a federal law that makes it easier to deport immigrants convicted of crimes is too vague.

‘Imploding’: Financial troubles. Lawsuits. Trailer park brawls. Has the alt-right peaked?

Eight months after a white-nationalist rally in Charlottesville ended in the death of a counterprotester, the loose collection of disaffected young white men known as the alt-right is in disarray.

The problems have been mounting: lawsuits and arrests, fundraising difficulties, tepid recruitment, widespread infighting, fierce counterprotests, and banishment from social media platforms. Taken together, they’ve exhausted even some of the staunchest members.

One of the movement’s biggest groups, the Traditionalist Worker Party, dissolved in March. Andrew Anglin, founder of the Daily Stormer, the largest alt-right website, has gone into hiding, chased by a harassment lawsuit. And Richard Spencer, the alt-right’s most public figure, canceled a college speaking tour and was abandoned by his attorney last month.

“Things have become a lot harder, and we paid a price for what happened in Charlottesville. . . . The question is whether there is going to be a third act,” said Spencer

“Imploding” is how Beirich now describes the alt-right. “The self-inflicted damage, the defections, the infighting is so rampant, it’s to the point of almost being pathetic.”


Richard Spencer Was Supposed to Lead the Alt-Right to Victory. Now He’s Begging for Money.

Richard Spencer was supposed to lead the alt-right to legal victory over the nation’s liberal universities. Now he’s giving up on his war on colleges, and begging for help in a serious lawsuit against him.

Spencer, a white nationalist, became a figurehead of the alt-right during the movement’s rise to prominence in the 2016 election, after which Spencer reworked a Nazi chant to praise Donald Trump during a speech condemning Jews. A series of media profiles described Spencer as a well-dressed leader who could legitimize the alt-right.

That was then.

In March, his longtime lawyer publicly quit the alt-right. Last week, one of Spencer’s assistants quietly filed an order dismissing Spencer’s last lawsuit against a college. Days later, Spencer was on YouTube asking supporters for $25,000 to support him through a lawsuit against him and other actors in the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia last August.

Spencer announced the cancellation of his college speaking tour, blaming anti-fascist demonstrators who opposed him at every tour stop.

In his Friday video, Spencer begged supporters for $25,000 for his legal defense fund. He issued a similar plea on Twitter, asking his backers to please send him Bitcoin. The Bitcoin wallet he linked to has received just over 0.3 Bitcoin (currently worth about $2,763) since November 2017.

The Triumph of Transgender Rights in New Hampshire Is a GOP Rebuke to Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Senate passed a landmark bill outlawing discrimination against transgender people in housing, employment, and public accommodations. The state House of Representatives has already passed the measure, and Gov. Chris Sununu has confirmed his intent to sign it. What’s remarkable about this victory is that Sununu is a Republican, and both houses of the state legislature are controlled by the GOP. Democrats pushed hard for the bill and supported with near-unanimity. But it was Republican legislators who carried it over the finish line.

This bipartisan triumph for transgender equality contrasts sharply with Donald Trump’s unrelenting assault on transgender rights. Indeed, it should be been seen as a rebuke to his persistent attacks on LGBTQ Americans.

America’s incarceration rate is at a two-decade low

America’s incarceration rate fell to a two-decade low in 2016, according to a recent reportby the US Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

In 2008, the incarceration rate hovered at an all-time high — with a rate of 1,000 per 100,000 people. Since then, the incarceration rate has fallen to 860 per 100,000. That still means that 2.2 million people were incarcerated at any given period in 2016, but that’s a big drop from the 2.3 million just a few years before.


U.S. Supreme Court rules against police over motorcycle search

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday for the second time this month put restrictions on police searches of vehicles, ruling that officers unlawfully searched a stolen motorcycle parked on private property in Virginia because they did not have a court-approved warrant.

$4,000 a minute pours in to help reunite separated immigrant families

in less than three days, a California couple has raised over $3 million — and counting — through Facebook to help reunite undocumented families that have been separated at the border.

The Willners originally started their fund-raising campaign named “Reunite an immigrant parent with their child” on Saturday morning with the goal of $1,500. But soon their efforts went viral.
By Monday night, the campaign surpassed its new $3 million goal with over 78,000 people donating to the cause.
“The run rate over the last 3 hours was nearly $4k every minute,” posted Dave Willner on Facebook.
RAICES confirmed to CNN that the organization has been in contact with the couple since Saturday.

Republicans give up on Medicare overhaul

Republicans on Capitol Hill are giving up on what might be their last best chance to overhaul Medicare, just as they’re losing their leading champion on the issue, House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The quiet surrender on a subject that’s energized GOP fiscal hawks for the better part of a decade comes as new projections show Medicare’s trust fund in its worst shape since the recession, partly because of Republicans’ other chief obsession: their sweeping tax cuts.

That’s left conservatives unsure how to agitate for a politically unpopular Medicare overhaul — one that President Donald Trump detests — and raises new questions about who will take up the entitlement reform mantle as Ryan heads for the exits.

“It takes two houses of Congress and a president to want to do that,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), lamenting the party’s apathy over Medicare. “No matter who’s been in the House or who’s been speaker, we have not been able to get entitlement reform done.”

Supreme Court rules that warrant is needed to access cell tower records

The Supreme Court on Friday put new restraints on law enforcement’s access to the ever-increasing amount of private information about Americans available in the digital age.

In the specific case before the court, the justices ruled that authorities generally must obtain a warrant to gain access to cell-tower records that can provide a virtual timeline and map of a person’s whereabouts.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the 5 to 4 decision, in which he was joined by the court’s liberal members.


Mueller probe indicts 12 Russians for hacking Democrats in 2016

A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring to hack Democrats during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to a new indictment in the probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

The 12 were members of a Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU and are accused of engaging in a sustained effort to hack the computer networks of Democratic organizations and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

A Family Of Woodchucks Ate Paul Ryan’s Car

House Speaker Paul Ryan explained Thursday that a family of woodchucks moved into his Chevy Suburban recently, eating the wiring and rendering the car useless.

“My car was eaten by animals,” Ryan said, to laughs from an audience at an event hosted by The Economic Club of Washington D.C. “It’s just dead.”


Tribune Ends Deal With Sinclair, Dashing Plan for Conservative TV Behemoth

Last year, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the nation’s largest operator of local TV stations and a leading voice for conservative views, made a $3.9 billion bid to expand its presence by agreeing to buy Tribune Media. The consolidation would have created a company that could reach seven out of 10 American households.

President Trump cheered the move, but not everyone was thrilled about the prospect of a company that could potentially challenge Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News as the country’s pre-eminent media outlet on the right.

And once a key government agency turned against the deal, it became clear Sinclair would not be realizing its dream. That was made official on Thursday, with the announcement by Tribune that it was ending its merger agreement with Sinclair and would sue for breach of contract.

Trump on Friday said that he was canceling plans for a military parade, blaming a $92 million price tag and local politicians in Washington, D.C.


Pecker’s apparent decision to corroborate Cohen’s account, and implicate Trump in a federal crime, is another vivid example of how isolated Trump is becoming as the walls close in and his former friends look for ways out. “Holy shit, I thought Pecker would be the last one to turn,” a Trump friend told me when I brought up the news. Trump and Pecker have been close for years. According to the Trump friend, Pecker regularly flew on Trump’s plane from New York to Florida. In July 2013, Trump tweeted that Pecker should become C.E.O. of Time magazine. “He’d make it exciting and win awards!”

Longtime Trump Organization CFO Weisselberg granted immunity in Cohen probe

  • Allen Weisselberg, longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization, has been granted immunity by federal prosecutors as part of their investigation into President Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
  • Weisselberg’s ties to the president go back decades: He has overseen the Trump Organization’s finances, been involved in the Trump Foundation, the president’s charity, and has managed Trump’s private trust alongside his eldest sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
  • Weisselberg was subpoenaed by prosecutors earlier this year to testify before a grand jury as part of that probe.

Michael Cohen’s Guilty Plea Is a Massive Victory for Robert Mueller’s Divide-and-Conquer Strategy

Donald Trump has a lot more to worry about than just Robert Mueller. That much has been clear since April, when details began to emerge from public court filings regarding the FBI raid on Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a number of criminal charges, including some stemming from his work for Trump.

That raid wasn’t the work of Mueller. Instead, it was carried out by FBI agents acting in coordination with Robert S. Khuzami, a deputy U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. Mueller had referred the Cohen case to Khuzami’s office, but that was as far as his involvement apparently went. As I wrote at the time, the distribution of the investigation to a second office served to “potentially inoculate [it] from Trump’s attacks against Mueller and potential meddling in the broader Russia investigation.” Samuel W. Buell, the former lead Enron prosecutor, told me that would make it much more difficult to kill the investigation with a Saturday Night Massacre–style firing spree. “The network of federal law enforcement professionals with experience and reputations, in different respected offices, involved in these matters makes it much harder to come up with a plausible way to surgically stop this,” he said at the time over email.


Michael Cohen spoke to Mueller team for hours; asked about Russia, possible collusion, pardon: Sources

President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has participated over the last month in multiple interview sessions lasting for hours with investigators from the office of special counsel, Robert Mueller, sources tell ABC News.

Add Russia Investigation as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Russia Investigation news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

The special counsel’s questioning of Cohen, one of the president’s closest associates over the past decade, has focused primarily on all aspects of Trump’s dealings with Russia — including financial and business dealings and the investigation into alleged collusion with Russia by the Trump campaign and its surrogates to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, sources familiar with the matter tell ABC News.

Investigators were also interested in knowing, the sources say, whether Trump or any of his associates discussed the possibility of a pardon with Cohen.

A Trump effect at journalism schools? Colleges see a surge in admissions.

The Trump era, overflowing with news, and the emergence of new ways to tell stories appear to be giving a jolt to journalism schools that in recent years struggled to cope with industry contractions. Students such as Ready are more fired up than ever about learning the tools of newsgathering, educators say. And at some prominent schools, there’s evidence of growing demand for journalism degrees as applications and enrollment rebound and investigative reporting classes fill up.

At the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, an estimated 130 freshmen are entering the journalism college this fall, up 50 percent compared with the previous year. The incoming master’s class of 26 students is also bigger than the year before.

“Every time [Trump] calls journalists the ‘enemy of the people,’ or says something about ‘fake news,’ or gets a crowd at a rally to jeer at the White House press corps,” said Lucy A. Dalglish, dean of the Merrill College, more students decide “they’re going to major in journalism.”

PayPal bans Alex Jones, saying Infowars ‘promoted hate or discriminatory intolerance’

PayPal is terminating its relationship with Alex Jones and his website, Infowars, the online payment service said Friday.

After an extensive review of Infowars and its related sites, PayPal said in a statement, the company “found instances that promoted hate or discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions, which run counter to our core value of inclusion.”


 global tipping point: Half the world is now middle class or wealthier

something of enormous global significance is happening almost without notice. For the first time since agriculture-based civilization began 10,000 years ago, the majority of humankind is no longer poor or vulnerable to falling into poverty. By our calculations, as of this month, just over 50 percent of the world’s population, or some 3.8 billion people, live in households with enough discretionary expenditure to be considered “middle class” or “rich.” About the same number of people are living in households that are poor or vulnerable to poverty. So September 2018 marks a global tipping point. After this, for the first time ever, the poor and vulnerable will no longer be a majority in the world. Barring some unfortunate global economic setback, this marks the start of a new era of a middle-class majority.

Roberts assures audience Supreme Court will serve ‘one nation,’ not one party or interest

MINNEAPOLIS — Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for the first time Tuesday addressed the recent bitter partisan fight over new Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court, seeking to “assure” an audience that the court will serve “one nation” and not “one party or one interest.”

Before being interviewed by a law professor at the University of Minnesota, Roberts told an audience of 2,700 that he wanted to speak to the “contentious events in Washington in recent weeks,” and to “emphasize how the judicial branch is, must be, very different.”

“I have great respect for our public officials; after all, they speak for the people, and that commands a certain degree of humility from those of us in the judicial branch, who do not.

“We do not speak for the people, but we speak for the Constitution.”

Big advertisers still shunning Ingraham’s Fox News show months after boycotts

It’s not unusual for advertisers to flee temporarily when controversy strikes a television program. But the sustained loss of advertising minutes and big, nationally recognized brands from “The Ingraham Angle” shows the power of activist-led boycotts and the depth of major corporations’ concerns about offending would-be consumers in the hyperpoliticized era of President Donald Trump.



and with our victories, three of the biggest Trump fables died.  They are:

Trump has magical political powers, and his lies are “working.”

Democrats have no answer to the nationalist backlash.

Democrats can’t assemble a multi-racial majority to confront Trumpism

Judge denies Trump’s request for stay in emoluments case

A federal judge on Friday denied President Trump’s request to stay a lawsuit alleging he is in violation of the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments, a decision that paves the way for plaintiffs to seek information from his business as it relates to his D.C. hotel.

This is the second civil case in which Trump’s business is now subject to discovery, after Trump agreed Tuesday to produce portions of his calendar from 2007 and 2008 in a defamation lawsuit brought by former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos.

Supreme Court allows trial on Census citizenship question to go forward

The Supreme Court refused Friday to delay an upcoming trial in which a number of states and civil rights organizations allege that there was an improper political motive in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.

The trial is scheduled for next week in New York. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Neil M. Gorsuch would have granted the Trump administration’s request to delay the trial.

Judge orders Trump administration to restore CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s White House press pass

A federal judge on Friday granted CNN’s request for a court order that would temporarily reinstate network correspondent Jim Acosta’s White House press pass, which had been suspended indefinitely in the wake of a fiery exchange between the reporter and President Donald Trump a week earlier.

The ruling from Judge Timothy Kelly, who was appointed by Trump, was the first victory for CNN in the ongoing case.

“I want to thank all of my colleagues in the press who supported us this week, and I want to thank the judge for the decision he made today,” Acosta said outside U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

“Let’s get back to work!” he added.


Legal walls close in on Trump is the theme of the month!

Individual 1’: Trump emerges as a central subject of Mueller probe

In two major developments this week, President Trump has been labeled in the parlance of criminal investigations as a major subject of interest, complete with an opaque legal code name: “Individual 1.”

New evidence from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation casts fresh doubts on Trump’s version of key events involving Russia, signaling potential political and legal peril for the president. Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign.

Together, the documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.

Trump often grows aggrieved seeing Cohen on TV, aides say. Among White House advisers, ­Cohen is seen as an existential threat — as much or more so than the Mueller investigation itself because of his longtime role as Trump’s fixer. Trump’s legal team did not learn until Thursday that Cohen had sat for dozens of hours of interviews with Mueller’s office, according to a senior administration official.

Michael Cohen’s plea agreement is bad news for Donald Trump Jr.

He said he had nothing to do with a Russia project. Michael Cohen’s plea deal suggests otherwise.

Mueller Is Telling Us: He’s Got Trump on Collusion

The special counsel is connecting the dots and it doesn’t paint a pretty picture for the president.

a flurry of recent activity this past week all points in the same direction: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will likely implicate the president, his campaign, and his close associates in aiding and abetting a Russian conspiracy against the United States to undermine the 2016 election.

Trump Inauguration Spending Under Criminal Investigation by Federal Prosecutors

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations, people familiar with the matter said.

In the FBI’s Michael Cohen raids, agents obtained a recorded convorsation between Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, an ex-adviser to Melania, who worked on inaugural events. In the recording, Wolkoff expressed concern about how the inaugural committee was spending money

In addition:

99 Good News Stories You Probably Didn’t Hear About in 2018

this is a great article with lots of great news items.  I can’t list them all here, but below are the categories into which they are sorted:

Another year of hard-fought wins in conservation

Some extraordinary new milestones for global health

A kinder, more tolerant planet

Living standards improved for most people in the world

The clean energy transition in action

War, crime and violence continued their inexorable, long term decline

An economy that doesn’t cost the earth…

…and a turning point in the global effort to reduce plastic waste

And one of the biggest news items from the year is the fall of the NRA:

The NRA couldn’t stop shooting itself in the foot in 2018

The NRA had a terrible 2018.

This year was full of setbacks for the most prominent alliance of gun extremists in the country. Even with a staunch ally like Trump boosting them from the White House, the NRA faced a crisis in public support, electoral strength, and financial resources.

The NRA has been experiencing major cash shortages due to falling membership dues; its receipts in 2017 were down $55 million from the year before. The group was so strapped for cash that it even cut off free coffee and watercoolers for employees at its Fairfax, Virginia headquarters.

The group’s reputation just got worse and worse

But 2018 was the year Americans finally decided they wouldn’t be bullied anymore — and made the NRA pay for its dangerous behavior.

And some promising prognosticating for 2019:

Why 2019 will be a tough year for populists

First, the more populists exercise power, the more apparent the costs of populism become. In Britain, the prospect of a chaotic “hard Brexit” has prompted a sense of panic and strong pushback among the Tories

Second, despite recent controversy over the U.N. Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in a handful of European countries, most notably in Belgium, the salience of immigration as an electoral issue is falling.

Third, in contrast to conventional wisdom, populists are just not very good at commanding popular majorities. Viktor Orban’s Fidesz received more than 50 percent of popular vote in Hungary only once, in 2010. Its recent parliamentary supermajorities are as much a result of an electoral system tailored to the party’s needs. Similarly, the appeal of Donald Trump — who famously lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton — beyond a narrow, overwhelmingly white, male and rural America is extremely limited. That, of course, bodes extremely ill for the future of a Trumpified Republican Party.

Perhaps the pendulum will also start swinging back in the East. Notwithstanding the cold weather and the holiday season, Hungary has lately experienced large protests against a range of government policies. In next year’s election in Poland, the Law and Justice Party is unlikely to sustain its current parliamentary majority. In Greece, which is also due to elect a new Parliament next year, the reformist center-right New Democracy is firmly leading in the polls.

with U.S. party affiliation down relative to the 2000s, it is not a stretch to imagine that a radical, hyperpolarized politics does not really speak to “silent majorities” in the United States or Europe. The challenge of 2019 will consist of giving those voters a voice and a compelling policy agenda that will reinvigorate and strengthen our democracies.

There was a lot of heartache and pain in 2018, but there were also a lot of victories. And I fully expect even more victories in 2019.  For one thing: WE HAVE THE HOUSE.  For another, I really think Trump’s days in office are numbered (see above).

Happy New Year everyone!  I am so proud, grateful, and amazed to be in this with all of you ❤️

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


  1. Impeachment is too good for him. He needs to be censured and thrown out of office in shame. I hope Mueller has the goods on him and he will loose all his money and wealth. Put him behind bars that corrupt and despicable human being. His family too.


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