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American poet Mary Oliver died this week.  Her poetry is sprinkled throughout this roundup.  By her own account, Oliver’s childhood was painful and difficult.  She was a victim of sexual abuse and parental neglect.  During those trying early years, Oliver found refuge in poetry and nature.  This led to her creating some of our most beautiful poems.
















It is stunning, really.  Out of the pain and difficulty of her life, Oliver was able not only to find beauty, but to spread that beauty to others.  What a blessing.  What grace.  We can learn so much from Oliver.  Not only from her poetry — which is breathtaking  — but also from the choice to acknowledge the pain in life and yet spread love and hope.

In this, Mary Oliver was the opposite of Donald Trump.

Although we can’t know the details of Trump’s life, we do know that he had a childhood filled with every advantage possible; that he has lived a life in which he has been held to account for nothing and given everything. He has every advantage in this world.

Despite that amazing luck of his birth, Trump has chosen to spend his life spreading hate.

We can talk for days about the damage Trump is inflicting on tangible aspects of our country and world, but it is the damage that he inflicts on our very nature that will be our most important battle ahead.

At this point, there can be no real doubt that Trump will fall (see the rest of the roundup for reasons why).  The only question is when it will happen.

But once he is gone, our battle will be far from over.  Will we use Trump’s example of success as a template for our interactions?  Will we become more crass, more cruel, less likely to play by the rules, and more likely to spread fear?  After all, it worked for him.  Perhaps we need a left-wing “street fighter” ready to get down in the gutter and take no prisoners to win in these times?

Or will we take the lesson of Mary Oliver?  Because like Mary Oliver, we have found solace in our dark years.  Oliver found nature and poetry; we found fellowship and the righteous shining beauty of fighting for one another.

Will we take our very real pain from these last few years and marry it with the beauty of community, connection, and hope?  Will we create something more beautiful, more hopeful, and more honest out of these dark and trying times?

Will we take our vision of the future, born through pain but based in love, and lead America forward with its light?

We can do that.  We have it in us.

I have seen us: at marches, in meetings, at rallies, in conversation, and right here in these roundups.  We have great power in the love we have built. Let’s use it.

Let’s be like Mary Oliver.


The Big Cohen/Trump News About Lying to Congress

So it is not clear at this point which parts of this story are accurate and which are not.

Let’s start with the story as reported by Buzzfeed:

President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project

Trump received 10 personal updates from Michael Cohen and encouraged a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin.

And even as Trump told the public he had no business deals with Russia, the sources said Trump and his children Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. received regular, detailed updates about the real estate development from Cohen, whom they put in charge of the project.

The special counsel’s office learned about Trump’s directive for Cohen to lie to Congress through interviews with multiple witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails, text messages, and a cache of other documents. Cohen then acknowledged those instructions during his interviews with that office.

If true, this violates multiple laws:

Here are some more laws

If Trump counseled, commanded, or induced Cohen to lie to Congress, then Trump himself is guilty of the same crimes as Cohen under the federal aiding and abetting statute, 18 U.S. Code Section 2. Moreover, inducing another person to lie under oath to Congress constitutes the separate crimes of subornation of perjury, 18 U.S Code Section 1622, and two flavors of obstruction of justice, 18 U.S. Code Sections 1505 and 1512.

If true, this would be a smoking gun in the Russia investigation

For much of the past 20 months, President Donald Trump and his administration have insisted that, for all of the smoke surrounding his 2016 campaign, there was no fire. A lot of people in Trump’s orbit engaging in conversations and relationships with Russian officials, but no evidence of collusion and certainly nothing that linked Donald Trump to any wrongdoing.

That very well might have changed Thursday night, with this report from BuzzFeed


actually, this is WORSE than what brought down Nixon because → If Donald Trump suborned perjury from Michael Cohen, he’s compromised by Russia.

If the president of the United States directed his personal attorney and fixer to help sabotage the Russia investigation by lying to Congress, there is no turning back for the nation. Given the independent corroborating evidence that special counsel Robert Mueller reportedly has to show that’s what the president did, things are only going to get worse for the White House from here.

What makes the Cohen lies even worse—and yes, far worse than Watergate—is that it exposed any U.S. officials who were involved in orchestrating his false testimony subject to blackmail by Russia.

Of course, we had the Mueller team partial denial last night. So it is tough to know how much of it is true.

One suspicious part (for me)  was that no one from the WH would deny it (except Rudy, who we should remember is just there as the TV lawyer and has no real role) → White House spokesperson repeatedly declines to deny that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress

Even Fox News found it suspicious.

Regardless of how much of this is true, don’t forget that this isn’t the only obstruction story out there.  So even if this ISN’T true (and it still may very well be true) there are a lot more people out there who seemingly lied to Congress in ways that benefited one person: Trump →

Before we go on to MORE possible promising news from Cohen, our first poetic break reminds us that we are not alone:


back to the good news:

That isn’t the only Cohen News that could potentially sink Trump

Cohen says Trump directed him to pay for poll rigging

Trump’s former “fixer” Michael Cohen said Thursday that he paid the head of a small technology company thousands in 2015 to rig online polls at “the direction of and for the sole benefit of” Trump.

Cohen has proof Trump knew of payment to rig online polls: V.F.

Emily Jane Fox, senior reporter for Vanity Fair, talks with Rachel Maddow about the Wall Street Journal reporting that Michael Cohen paid the CIO of Liberty University to rig online polls in favor of Donald Trump, and reports that Cohen has a document proving Trump knew about the payment.

Poetic Break #2 reminds us that we should live life like everything is a miracle:


The Evidence of Conspiracy is Already Strong And Mueller Hasn’t Even Spoken

It’s Already Collusion

We don’t need news reports to tell us that Trump is giving Putin what he wants. Take it from this longtime Russia hand: It’s staring us in the face.

Rudy Giuliani’s disastrous CNN interview created more problems for Trump

In a stunning revelation, Giuliani conceded that Trump’s campaign manager may have colluded with Russia.

Giuliani’s absurd ‘collusion’ walkback signals serious worry about Trump’s vulnerability

Everybody is having a grand old time with Rudy Giuliani’s buffoonish new comments on CNN about President Trump and “collusion” with Russia. But beyond the obvious comic relief here, Giuliani’s appearance potentially signals two important things: First, serious worry about Trump’s vulnerability; and second, the beginnings of an endgame to save him.

Poetic Break #3 reminds us to *live* our lives


Mueller is getting the goods on Trump

The circular firing squad: Mueller targets turn on each other

After Rudy Giuliani’s latest comments, it’s everyone for themselves. And it’s a prosecutor’s dream for the special counsel.

“Ya think!!!” one former Trump campaign official wrote to POLITICO when asked whether Giuliani was trying to protect the president at the expense of everyone who worked for him.

The Team Trump infighting has been a prosecutor’s dream for Mueller, opening up an ever-widening window into the behind-the-scenes workings of a rookie politician whose campaign has been under investigation for years.

Poetic Break #4 reminds us of the beauty of each simple moment:


William Barr is NOT Going To Let Trump Off The Hook

Why would William Barr take this job? The answer should alarm Trump.

But why would Barr come out of retirement, instead of spending “cherished time” with grandchildren, to take a job he already had — only to become a villain for covering up Mueller’s findings?

“You seem like a rational person,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) told Barr. “Why do you want this job?”

Barr’s answer to Durbin should have sent chills down the presidential spine as he munched on leftover Big Macs at the White House.

The rule of law, Barr said, “is the heartbeat of this country,” and he vowed to “protect the independence and the reputation of the department.” Trump’s treatment of subordinates “might give me pause if I was 45 or 50 years old, but it doesn’t give me pause right now,” Barr continued. He added, “I will not be bullied into doing anything I think is wrong.”

Barr spent decades building his reputation. Why would he throw it away now by becoming the guy who buried the Mueller report?

Trump startled by cozy Barr-Mueller relationship

President Donald Trump was startled Tuesday as he watched television coverage of his nominee for attorney general describing a warm relationship with the special counsel Robert Mueller in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Poetic Break #5 reminds us to be strong:


Trump’s Popularity is Sinking

Rasmussen poll shows Trump with lowest approval in a year

A conservative-leaning poll released Monday showed President Trump with his lowest approval ratings in almost a year.

57 percent of voters say they won’t support Trump in 2020

With the 2020 presidential election already underway, 57 percent of registered voters said they would definitely vote against President Donald Trump, according to the latest poll from the PBS NewsHour, NPR and Marist.

Another 30 percent of voters said they would cast their ballot to support Trump, and an additional 13 percent said they had no idea who would get their vote.

Trump Approval Down, Slips With Base

  • Down significantly among suburban men, a net-positive approval rating of 51-to-39 percent to a net-negative of 42 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove. That’s a net change of down 18 percentage points.
  • Down a net of 13 points among white evangelicals, from 73-to-17 percent approve to 66-to-23 percent approve.
  • Down a net of 10 points among Republicans, from 90-to-7 percent approve to 83-to-10 percent.

How unpopular is Donald Trump?


Poetic Break #6 reminds us that we all worry, but should try to do so less:


Trump is Losing the Shutdown Fight

Polls agree: Americans don’t like shutdown and they blame Trump

Six high-quality polls have been released this week touching on Trump, the shutdown, the Democrats in Congress and the wall.
Most confirmed what we already knew from before the shutdown started: Opposition to a border wall is widespread and deep. But beyond that general opposition, the new polls offer some consistent results, including:
  • Blame, in the public’s mind, rests largely at the White House
  • Many object to the shutdown, especially as a tactic to build the wall,
  • Few see a wall as an effective way to combat undocumented immigration.

Trump’s shutdown nightmare: A choice between the economy and the wall

If the government shutdown lasts much longer, President Donald Trump’s only way out may involve a choice between two pillars of his political viability — his border wall and his purring economy.

Poetic Break #7 reminds us that time is limited and amazing:


Democrats Are Being as Awesome As We Dreamed They Would Be When We Worked So Hard for The Election

The House Democrats’ Colossal Election Reform Bill Could Save American Democracy

The Democrats’ first order of business as they took control of the 116thCongress was introducing H.R. 1, the colossal “For the People Act.” This 571-page behemoth of a bill covering voting rights, campaign finance reform, ethics improvements, and more was a perfect reminder of just how much power the Constitution gives Congress to make elections better in this country

House Dems to introduce $15 minimum wage bill

House Democrats are slated to introduce legislation on Wednesday aimed at gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2024.

“I have the gavel”: Maxine Waters lays out an aggressive agenda at the House Financial Services Committee

The California Congress member is about to make a lot of powerful people — from the White House to the banking industry — uncomfortable.

Why One of Trump’s Biggest Legal Threats Is New York’s Attorney General

New York has jurisdiction over Trump’s family businesses

State prosecutors are especially tough on financial misconduct

New York prosecutors may have the clearest shot at indicting Trump while he’s president

Pelosi plays by her own rules and strikes out Trump

On Wednesday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced President Donald Trump, and her expanded Democratic caucus, to the big leagues.
First, the President will no longer deliver the biggest speech of the year on the date he selected
Second, Pelosi showed Trump and members of her own party why she is the boss.
Third, she reminded the American public that Trump has the power to end the shutdown.

Poetic Break #8 is a reminder that you are beautiful:


The Courts Are Still Strong

The Supreme Court Just Handed a Big, Unanimous Victory to Workers. Wait, What?

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed a victory to American workers, ruling unanimously that independent contractors who work in transportation may not be forced into mandatory arbitration. (Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who joined the bench after argument, did not participate.) The decision is a remarkable win for labor rights from a court that typically favors corporate interests over working people. And it will allow hundreds of thousands of contractors to vindicate their rights in court, collectively, rather than in costly and unjust arbitration.

Tuesday’s decision marks the triumph of the Gorsuch brief—a highly technical argument designed to nab the justice’s vote by fixating on the text of a statute and its meaning at the time of passage.

Judge blocks Trump effort to roll back birth control mandate nationwide

A federal judge in Pennsylvania stepped in at the last moment to pause Trump administration rules that would restrict the ability of some women to get birth control at no charge because their employers object on religious or moral grounds.

New York federal judge blocks Trump on the 2020 census

A federal judge in New York on Tuesday ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to include a citizenship question to the 2020 census, siding with critics who argue that it’s a partisan move that would lead to an inaccurate census count.

Federal judge strikes down Wisconsin Republicans’ lame-duck early voting rollbacks

A federal judge just chipped away at part of Wisconsin Republicans’ lame-duck power grab.

One important thing to remember: although we don’t like the conservative judges Trump is appointing to the bench, many of them are people who still respect the law and American values, even if they disagree with us on major issues.  They may slow us down, but they won’t stop us ❤️

Poetic Break #9 is a reminder to embrace joy:


The Future Is Bright

The next generation of voters is more liberal, more inclusive and believes in government

According to the survey, released Thursday, Gen Z teens and young adults have overwhelmingly adopted left-leaning beliefs similar to those of the millennials before them. They overwhelmingly disapprove of President Trump, believe the government should do more and reject American exceptionalism.

It’s not uncommon for young people to hold liberal views that moderate as they age. But Gen Zers grew up in a very different world than previous generations. The oldest among them was 11 when the first black president was elected. They became teenagers as same-sex marriage was legalized around the country. They also, according to Pew, will be the most racially diverse and well-educated generation.

and a final poem speaks our wish to be understood and to matter to others and about my own feelings, every Friday, when I sit down to write this roundup for you:


Love love love and more love to all of you as we make it through this wild and precious life together.  ❤️

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