Twenty Reasons To STOP PANICKING and Keep Fighting. WE ARE ON THE WINNING SIDE: Saturday’s Good News

Vince Alongi / Flickr Hope is a belief in a...
Vince Alongi / Flickr

Hey, guess what?  The president is a barely literate selfish man-child racist sexist grifting asshole treasonous moron.

But guess what also?  He has been for two years and despite warnings that it was the end of our democracy, we actually won 40 seats in a heavily gerrymandered House and over 400 state seats and have numerous investigations into him about to come to fruition and many court decisions already against him.

Summary: The Resistance is kicking ass and taking names.

If you feel horrified and pissed off and ready for this to end: congrats, you are paying attention and/or you are not a total asshole.

However, if you are feeling hopeless and panicked, then you are reading too much click-bait panic news-porn and spending too much time in echo chambers of doom and despair.

Put on your big girl pants, take a deep breath, and remind yourself of these 20 reasons for optimism and for motivation to keep fighting for our beloved democracy.

1. The Shutdown is terrible politics for Trump

The shutdown is awful, stupid and harmful.  But the blame for this is going right where it deserves: Trump.  And that is a great reason for hope!

Vast Majority of Americans Frustrated, Embarrassed by the Shutdown, Support Back Pay for Federal Workers

Three out of four Americans (74%) believe that the government shutdown is embarrassing for the country. Even though Democrats (87%) feel more strongly about this than Republicans (58%), a majority in both parties agree. Most Americans also believe that Congress should pass a bill to re-open the government now while budget talks continue (71%), once again with majority support coming from both Democrats (86%) and Republicans (56%).

Trump’s speech did little to restore faith in the American people, as only one in ten thought it brought the country closer to ending the shutdown (10%). 

More people watched chuck and nancy than trump

The New Year is kicking off pretty well for Nancy Pelosi as the past and current Speaker of the House of Representatives just hit Donald Trump where it hurts the former Celebrity Apprentice host the most – in the ratings.

With a 29.3/47 in metered markets results on CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, Pelosi and fellow Democrat and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer’s live rebuttal topped Trump’s Oval Office speech on the government shutdown and his demand for a wall on the southern border. Across the seven nets and down 4 from the opposition, the “temper tantrum” accused POTUS pulled in a 28.1/45 rating in the overnight metrics in the 9 – 9:15 PM ET time period.

Raging, weakened Trump is running out of options

Yet it’s increasingly obvious that Trump’s gestures of action are largely empty ones — and not just on the wall. This is evident on two of the biggest running stories right now — Trump’s flirtation with declaring a national emergency to build the border barrier without congressional authorization, and his legal team’s noisy public threats to try to quash public release of the special counsel’s findings.

As one GOP strategist puts it: “Republicans have pulled a gun and taken themselves hostage. When you’re mitigating the negative impacts against yourself, you have a political problem.”

Meanwhile, Politico reports that even people in the White House believe this dynamic is unlikely to change, because they recognize that Democrats have zero incentive to give him his way.

2. Trump is increasingly isolated

Trump wants all sorts of people to fight these battles with (for) him.  More and more that isn’t happening and that is a great reason for hope!

Trump wages intense but lonely campaign for his border wall

The president has griped about a perceived lack of public support for his shutdown stance and Syria withdrawal plan from within his administration.

Fighting a virtual one-man messaging battle for his border wall, President Donald Trump is growing frustrated that he doesn’t have more public defenders in his shutdown fight with congressional Democrats.

Privately, however, he was thinking something different. “He’s sitting there going, ‘Why the f— isn’t there anybody saying good stuff about me? Why is there nobody on TV that’s defending me?” said a former senior administration official.

3.  An ‘emergency’ power grab would only add to Trump’s problems

I know everyone is panicking about this emergency power grab BS but please stop.  First, even if he does make this stupid declaration, it will get fought and that fight will succeed.

 There is little doubt that courts would intervene to halt his effort to displace Congress’s appropriation power. Trump would lose and possibly receive a tongue-lashing from one or more federal courts (as happened when he tried to unilaterally change the asylum rules).

That’s not the worst of it, however. He has blamed courts in the past when his unconstitutional schemes have failed. Worse for Trump is that it will do nothing to slow the mutiny in progress — and perhaps accelerate it.

Indeed, a power grab to supplant Congress might be just the thing to push Republicans in the Senate over the edge and to convince even normally sympathetic House Republicans that Trump has gone too far

and it wouldn’t even get him the wall he wants:

Trump’s Emergency Powers Threat Could End Shutdown Crisis, but at What Cost?

While any such move by Mr. Trump is certain to prompt outrage from his critics and wild approval from his supporters, there is good reason to believe that it is unlikely to result in much immediate change. His push for a wall would be channeled into a lengthy court fight, keeping lawyers far busier than construction workers, at least initially, as his term ticks away.

“We’re going to be in 2020 before this gets resolved,” said Walter E. Dellinger III, a former solicitor general in the Clinton administration, adding: “If they are just planning where to build slats, judges are unlikely to decide that requires expedition in the Supreme Court. I think they would recognize the wisdom of going slow.”

If, in the end, the Supreme Court were to rule that emergency-power laws give Mr. Trump authority to proceed, he would probably face still more litigation with property owners over whether the government may use eminent domain to force them to sell their border lands. There may be little time left in his term after all that to add more than a few miles, if any, of barriers to the 1,954-mile border, which already has 654 miles of fencing.

not sure I agree with this, but some Dems even think it is a good move for us:

Some Dems like Trump emergency declaration — at least as far as reopening government

Some House Democrats are endorsing the idea of President Trumpdeclaring a national emergency at the southern border to dissolve a partisan standoff about funding his border wall and end a weeks-long government shutdown.

The supportive Democrats are quick to emphasize they don’t believe the president has the legal authority to declare such an emergency, predicting the maneuver would quickly lead to lawsuits that they themselves would support.

and if he does, it Dems are already ready:

3. Veselnitskaya is in big trouble and that will spread to others

this story got buried under all the shutdown and Manafort news, but this is a BIG deal.  This is the woman who said she had dirt on HRC and later claimed to not be connected to the Kremlin. But she was…..

4. The Manafort news from this week is HUGE

While we were freaking out about the shutdown, we skimmed past the fact that COLLUSION IS NO LONGER JUST A MAYBE.  Mueller has evidence that Manafort was colluding with Russia DURING THE ELECTION.  Boom!

Why the latest Paul Manafort news is a very big deal

On Tuesday we learned — thanks to a redaction error in a filing in the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference — that Paul Manafort met with a Russian-linked operative named Konstantin Kilimnik during the course of the 2016 campaign. And in that meeting, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, Manafort discussed policies related to the Russia-Ukraine relationship and shared polling data about the 2016 campaign with Kilimnik.

That. Is. Huge.
You’ll remember that President Donald Trump’s constant refrain when it comes to Manafort, who has already been convicted of a series of financial crimes related to his dealing with the Ukrainian government, is that any and all charges against him happened well before he entered Trump’s orbit.
Manafort, according to the filings, had conversations with Kilimnik, who is suspected to be a member of the Russian intelligence organization, while he was serving as the head of Trump’s campaign. (Manafort’s official title was “campaign chairman” but functioned as campaign manager during his time with Trump.) Those conversations apparently came even as Russian officials were hacking into the email servers at the Democratic National Committee — which led to a series of damaging leaks via the website WikiLeaks later in 2016.
Not only that, but Manafort’s legal team also acknowledges that he shared polling information with Kilimnik in those conversations, a fact that seems to make clear — as if it needed to be made any more clear — that this wasn’t simply a social call between two old friends.

and his lawyers aren’t even contesting this:

and it appears that Manafort communicated information TO TRUMP about this

And GATES is in on this and he has shared EVERYTHING with Mueller which means LOTS of evidence.

Summary: This is the week the game changed in the Russia investigation

here’s what President Donald Trump could say, roughly, before this week: There was never a whiff of collusion between the Russians and any serious person in my campaign. Most of these people who have pleaded guilty I have never heard of before. Manafort was the campaign chairman, yes, but everything he did wrong came long before he was affiliated with my campaign.

He just can’t say that anymore.

And that was BEFORE last nights NYT bombshell (more below)!

and the question that will be most relevant for POTUS –>

The Manafort revelations raise a haunting question for Trump

What did the president know and when did he know it?

The questions swirling around the Trump campaign are clearly different. Russia is an authoritarian state and an adversary of the United States in many global affairs. If the president did authorize efforts to solicit campaign assistance from an adversarial, if not hostile, power, it would be reasonable for people to conclude that his subsequent judgment regarding that power could be impaired. Under such circumstances, reasonable people could conclude that such a dalliance could constitute “high crimes and misdemeanors” and warrant impeachment and removal.

spoiler alert: there is no way he didn’t know

Happiness Break #(so full of joy!)

5. Tides are Turning

these jackasses may have the WH (for now) and the senate (for now) but the country is moving lefter and lefter and more and more accepting of differences and there is no stopping us.  Love wins.

Black Caucus sees power grow with new Democratic majority

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is set to hold unprecedented influence after a House GOP majority in which not a single African-American chaired a committee.

After 242 years, a woman is in charge of the State Senate

For the first time in the 242 years since the creation of the New York State Senate, a woman has become its leader.

Moments after her colleagues voted her as Senate Temporary President and Majority Leader, Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins looked out upon her audience in the soaring, Henry H. Richardson-designed chamber and marveled at what she saw.

Before her, 20 of the 63-member Senate body were women. “Wow,” she said.

Officially expired as of Wednesday afternoon: Albany’s long government insider tagline of “three-men-in-a-room.”

6. Checks Come From Unexpected Places

Contradicting Trump, Bolton says no withdrawal from Syria until ISIS destroyed, Kurds’ safety guaranteed

White House national security adviser John Bolton on Sunday outlined conditions for a U.S. troop departure from Syria that appeared to contradict President Trump’s insistence less than a month ago that the withdrawal would be immediate and without conditions.

Yes “John Bolton is the voice of reason” is not a phrase I like to hear, but it is good that trumps craziest of crazy policies-by-tweet are still getting walked back before they lead to war.  It is very good.

6. Mueller is on the case

The man is quiet, so it is easy to forget all he is doing.  Here is a little reminder of a fraction of what he knows:

here is just the publicly available info: Trump’s team had over 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to think tank analysis

Members of President Donald Trump’s campaign and transition team had more than 100 contacts with Russian-linked officials, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress think tank and its Moscow Project.

And Mueller has been on the poll sharing stuff for a long time: Robert Mueller met with Trump’s pollster

Special counsel Robert Mueller sought information directly last year from one of Donald Trump’s campaign pollsters who is also a former business associate of Paul Manafort’s.

Mueller’s team met with pollster Tony Fabrizio in February 2018, an interview that has not been previously reported and takes on new significance after Manafort’s attorneys revealed Tuesday that Mueller’s team is still interested in how Manafort shared polling data with his Russian intelligence-linked colleague.
In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests, according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.
the president’s activities before and after Mr. Comey’s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation, helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, took over the inquiry into Mr. Trump when he was appointed, days after F.B.I. officials opened it.
one takeaway from that stunning story from last night:

and this:

Basically, the article linked above makes the important point that the collusion investigation and the obstruction are the same thing.  This is because any obstruction was happening as a means of protecting the collusion going on.  If true, it means that any evidence of obstruction (and there is a LOT) is that much more damning and even potentially treasonous.

A big, big, big deal.

Nothing new to any of us who have been paying attention, but really good that the FBI has been onto it for so long and that other people are learning about it!

7. Having a Democratic Led House Means Worrying Less about Mueller Getting Sidelined

How the Democratic House Helps Mueller

The Democratic House could mean more perjury charges in Mueller’s Russia investigation.

a Democrat-controlled House might do more than shore up the checking-and-balancing function of the legislature under Article I of the Constitution. It could also add steam to the various probes into Russian interference in the 2016 elections—including the one headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller—by enabling more criminal prosecutions of Trump allies who may have lied to Congress in ways that benefited the president.

8. There are cracks in their government coalition

Shutdown impasse: 8 House Republicans break with Trump on shutdown strategy, back Democrats’ plan to reopen Treasury without new border wall funds

House Democrats passed a bill that would reopen the Treasury Department and ensure that the Internal Revenue Service would remain funded as tax season kicks off and millions of taxpayers begin to file their returns.

Eight House Republicans voted in favor of the bill, defying the president’s pleas for unity. But the measure has no path to passage, as Trump has said he opposes any legislation that does not include funding for the border wall.

12 Republicans join with Dems to pass transportation and housing spending bill

The House passed a spending bill Thursday to reopen the Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development, despite an improbable fate in the Senate and the threat of a presidential veto.

The vote was 244-180.

Twelve Republicans joined with Democrats to support the bill, four more than on Wednesday, when the House passed a bill to reopen the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service.

Border lawmakers spurn Trump’s wall proposal

Nearly every lawmaker who represents a district or state along the U.S.-Mexico border — including two Republicans — either opposes outright or more quietly declines to support President Donald Trump’s $5.7 billion request for a border wall, according to a survey conducted by POLITICO.

Happiness Break #2 (one of my favorite songs)

9. There are cracks in their relationship with the military

Retired generals warned us about Rumsfeld. Now they’re warning us about Trump.

Today, there are increasing signs that the nation’s security is again in great peril, and retired military leaders — all of them with four-star distinction — are again sounding the alarm. This time it is not the defense secretary whose policies and inclinations are perceived as the problem, but his boss: the commander in chief.

These military leaders’ expressions of dismay and alarm have been uncoordinated but earnest.

During the war in Iraq, when the retired generals assailed Rumsfeld’s leadership, they were saying in public what their friends still in uniform were saying in private. Then, the generals were worried about saving democracy in Iraq; today, the former military leaders speaking out are worried about something far more important: preserving the liberal world order. I would not be surprised if they have acted on behalf of their serving peers in an effort to save American lives and honor. I know for an absolute certainty that when these four-stars speak, we should be paying attention.

10.  there are even cracks in their propaganda network

Fox News’ Shep Smith and Andrew Napolitano agree: The Trump campaign colluded with Russia

On Wednesday, Fox News host Shep Smith and judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano agreed that Trump’s campaign appears to have colluded with Russia.

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto Busts Trump for ‘Constantly’ Saying Mexico Would Pay for the Wall

‘The president once said that Mexico would pay for the wall,’ Neil Cavuto said. ‘Apparently he didn’t mean it.’

“It was very consistent throughout the campaign, whatever you make of it, and of course it lit up his base by saying the Mexicans were going to foot the bill for this,” Cavuto said. “He was very, very clear, consistently—in fact, constantly—saying that the Mexicans were going to pay for this.”

Fox News cuts away from Trump roundtable after he describes human trafficking in grisly detail

Trump’s trip to the southern border on Thursday began with a roundtable event in which he promoted the baseless idea that undocumented immigrants are violent criminals and made a case for a border wall with bizarre (and false) comments like, “A wheel is older than a wall.”

But you wouldn’t have seen any of that had you tried to watch the event on Fox News. The conservative cable network cut away from the proceedings early on, returning to regularly scheduled programming, after Trump described human trafficking in grisly detail. Other cable networks declined to carry his remarks live.

11. Democrats Are Using Their New Power For Oversight

Dems Move to Block Trump From Lifting Sanctions on Russian Oligarch Oleg Deripaska

Congressional Democrats are gaming out strategies to try to reverse the Trump administration’s controversial decision last month to lift sanctions on businesses controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), a member of the House intelligence committee, told The Daily Beast he has been discussing the matter with other members. And he’s eager for Trump administration officials to answer lawmakers’ questions about their move.

12. Democrats Are Using Their New Power For Good Policy (And Good Politics)

House votes to protect health-care law as Democrats put GOP on record

In the first health-care vote since Democrats seized the House majority, the chamber on Wednesday gave itself the power to intervene legally after a federal judge ruled that the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.

Wednesday’s vote was largely symbolic — Democrats voted last week to authorize legal action as part of a broader rules package — but it was the first time that lawmakers were presented with a discrete measure dealing with what was a dominant issue in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

In forcing the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was crucial in ensuring passage of the 2010 law, now has Republicans on record on the lawsuit, and those votes could be used in campaign ads next year.

The measure passed 235 to 192, with all Democrats supporting it and all but three Republicans opposing it.

Liberals dare Trump to back their bills lowering drug prices

Challenging President Donald Trump to make good on his pledge to cut prescription drug prices, congressional liberals proposed legislation Thursday to bring U.S. prices in line with the much lower costs in other countries.

The Democratic bills stand little chance of becoming law in a divided government. But the effort could put Republicans on the defensive by echoing Trump’s pledge to force drugmakers to cut prices.

Happiness Break #3 (my kids’ favorite!)

13. Mom and Dad are Both Awesome 

I know not everyone shares my affection for Schumer, but I love that he and Pelosi are such a great team.

Chuck and Nancy’ present a united front in challenging Trump on border wall

Pelosi and Schumer are again working in tandem to battle a president, on a far bigger scale, as President Trump and his Republican administration try to wear down Democrats until they give Trump money for his prized border wall amid a partial government shutdown that has no end in sight.

No two principals in the shutdown fight have presented a more united front than “Chuck and Nancy,” as Trump has dubbed them. The two leaders have refused to make any key strategic moves in the shutdown fight without consulting each other and have become so simpatico that their staffs regularly joke that the two finish each other’s sentences.

14. But Especially Mom

although we all know Pelosi is the real star AND THE THIRD MOST POWERFUL POL IN THE COUNTRY!  boom!

Pelosi knows the magic word for beating Trump: ‘No’

Trump has always been able to bully, boast, deflect, pay off and lie to get his way. (It also helped to have a ton of his father’s money and ways to avoid paying taxes.) Now someone has sufficient power and is immune to his bullying, unimpressed by his boasting, tenacious enough not to let him off the hook and indifferent to his fortune. She’s smarter, tougher and far better at negotiating. This in a nutshell is why Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is running circles around Trump, who literally felt he had to flee when he couldn’t get her to capitulate.

Pelosi has managed to flummox Trump, prompt him to display childish behavior in public and mess up any legal strategy for his going around Congress. You wonder when Trump will get tired of losing — to a woman, no less.

15. The Blue Wave Continues

We CONTINUE to win elections.  We are the majority!

16. The Supreme Court is not a Shit Show

After we lost the Kavanaugh fight A LOT of people wrote A LOT of things about how this was the end of any good decision coming from the court and the court was just going to hand Trump all the power and women would end up chained up in basements and everything was awful.

Nope.

Don’t get me wrong — this is not the court I want and we will disagree with MANY of their decisions.

But these new justices are not rubber stamps.  They are thinking about cases carefully enough that they sometimes vote with us.  AND Roberts has been reasonable.

Here are some recent examples you might have missed:

Happiness Break #4 (we will survive!)

17. Doctors Say RBG should be just fine

Top cancer doctors expect Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg back on the bench by February

  • top cancer surgeons told CNBC they expect Ginsburg to be back on the bench in less than six weeks, with more than enough time to return for the court’s February sitting.
  • “I think a lot of people are getting scared because they are concerned about the balance of the court, but I’m confident she’s not going anywhere. She’s going to be back on the court,” said Raja Flores, the chief of the division of thoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
  • Sudish Murthy, the section head of thoracic surgery at Cleveland Clinic, said the best way to project a typical recovery period is to take the number of days the patient spent in the hospital and multiply by about eight to 10.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg shows ‘no evidence of remaining disease,’ Supreme Court says

“Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required,” said court spokesperson Kathleen Arberg.

18. Even IF we lose another seat on the court, we won’t lose all good and light in the world

This is from the amazing Jeremy Moses

It might not be as catastrophic as you think.  Roberts is clearly focused on his legacy, and has repeatedly voted with the left side. Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have also sided with the left, on immigration and apportion respectively.

The ACA would probably still be safe.

We’d see a whole slew of issues taking up massively increased importance at the state level.

And yeah, there would be plenty of shitty decisions. There always have been, on the Supreme Court. That would hurt, a lot. But at the same time—hey, remember those times that the Supreme Court gutted voting rights and seemed to be giving the OK to gerrymandering? And remember that other time, when Democratic midterm voters rendered gerrymandering all but irrelevant, by delivering such an epic ass-kicking? The Supreme Court can slow down progress a bit, but if we remain focused and keep going and voting, they’re incapable of reversing it

19. Blue States and Cities Continue to Lead the Way

20. Michael Cohen is going to spill the beans on Trump IN PUBLIC hearings

Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen will testify publicly to House Oversight Committee before entering prison

President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen will testify at the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7.

 

/BONUS:  21. In some important ways, 2018 Was the Best Year in Human History!

Once again, the world’s population was living longer and living better than ever before.

Each day on average, about another 295,000 people around the world gained access to electricity for the first time
Never before has such a large portion of humanity been literate, enjoyed a middle-class cushion, lived such long lives, had access to family planning or been confident that their children would survive.
nine out of 10 Americans say in polls that global poverty is worsening or staying the same, when in fact the most important trend in the world is arguably a huge reduction in poverty.

that is it for today.  Lots of good news, right?

We are stronger together ❤️ and we will make it through this as one ❤️

Sing us out, Jerry:

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