“We are now at one of those points. With the revelation on CNN Thursday night that, according to the network’s sources, Michael Cohen is ready to testify that the president* knew in advance of the now-legendary meeting in June of 2016… we stand as a self-governing republic at a stark, unclouded moment—either you believe the president* of the United States is utterly illegitimate, having conspired with a hostile power to gain the office he now holds, and that every act he has taken in that office, up to an including swearing the oath of office, is equally illegitimate, or you do not.”
– Charles P Pierce, “If Cohen Is Telling the Truth, That Ought to Be Ballgame”, Esquire
That stark, unclouded moment comes as we have 100 days to do the work of wresting our country back from the grip of the illegitimate forces – Trump, Putin and Republicans – that attacked our election in 2016 and “won” it. We can and must continue to hold the line against the damage being done by their cruelty and lunacy. But the only way to truly stop the damage is to start by taking back the House – and the Senate – this November. We need a “blue wave” big enough to knock the Banana Republicans out of power and we can’t take any chances.
Signs at this moment seem to be favorable. Polls are looking pretty good, districts are being moved closer to the blue column by analysts. That’s great. But think of it this way. This is a fight we cannot afford to lose. If Trump is allowed to continue to control the reins of government unfettered, we may never get our democracy back. This is almost certainly our last chance. We will also have to contend with cheating, from the Republicans who are purging voter rolls as you read this, to the Russians, who have been hacking Democratic candidates’ offices, to Emerdata (formerly Cambridge Analytica) which still, I imagine, has the metadata that will allow them to micro target susceptible voters where it counts.
So we can’t turn out just a few extra voters and we can’t assume we know what it will take. We have to do as much as we possibly can and we need to enlist everyone we can to join us. And when we win, we’ll be proud to have played a part in this defining moment.
The saga of the children torn from their parents is still going on, despite the heroic efforts of the ACLU and others and the help of Judge Dana Sabraw. Sabraw had ordered that all children be returned to their parents by July 26th. By that day, about a third remained separated. Part of the problem was that the government had made no provisions for reuniting families at the time they were being torn apart, so that matching them back up was a nightmare. Compounding the problem was that the government wasn’t prepared to care for and protect the children, so reports of abuse and maltreatment have surfaced. And, as always with Trump, part of the problem is that the government appears to be acting against its will, still looking for ways to harm families, even while it’s under a court order to do the opposite. So far, no consequences. I would have preferred to see DHS Secretary Nielsen and HHS Secretary Azar behind bars by now for failing to comply.
In Other News
- Trump began the week with an ALL CAPS tweet threatening mass destruction of Iran. What looked like imminent nuclear catastrophe dissipated, apparently, over the course of the day. Who needs this shit?
- In another fit of pique, the president* threatened to revoke the security clearances of past security officials, such as former CIA Director James Brennan and former FBI Director James Comey, among others, because they’ve been critical of Trump – a violation of their First Amendment rights. The threat remained just that. Another day in Trump’s dictator-land.
- Trying to staunch the loss of support from farmers being harmed by his trade wars, the regime on Tuesday announced $12B in payments to farmers to offset their losses. Or was it to buy their votes? So hard to tell. The transportation infrastructure in the northeast is in grave need of repair, but there doesn’t seem to be a spare $12B to send there. Wonder if it’s because their votes can’t be bought.
- “Just remember, what you are seeing and what you are reading is not what’s happening” – Donald Trump, Kansas City rally, July 24th.
- "The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command... and if all others accepted the lie, which the party imposed, if all records told the same tale, then the lie passed into history and became truth" – George Orwell, 1984
- In the middle of insanity, a bright spot, when on Tuesday CMS decided to reinstate risk reduction payments to insurers, as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The regime had threatened to withhold the promised payments, intended to compensate insurers who happened to end up with catastrophically expensive patients by balancing the risk across “pools”. Insurers complained loudly (so did we!) and it seems to have done the trick, for now.
- Mid-week, Trump held a press conference with EU Commissioner Jean-Claude Junker to announce a trade “deal”. Like his North Korean Summit-Show, the “deal” appears to be hollow, a Potemkin agreement.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was grilled by Congress about the Helsinki Summit. He was evasive and unhelpful. And he’s adopted his boss’s “witch hunt” lie, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in his ability to see the Russian danger clearly.
- A federal judge gave the green light to a case brought by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia against Trump for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution. As President*, Trump is not allowed to accept “emoluments” or payments from other governments, regardless of whether or not there’s any quid pro quo. His DC hotel is an emoluments factory and the case may crack open tax returns and business practices as it proceeds.
- House ‘Freedom Caucus’ members Mark Meadows and Jim “Gym” Jordan put forward a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The resolution isn’t going anywhere, but they at least need to change their name to the ‘Kremlin Caucus’.
- At the end of the week, Facebook lost $100B of it’s market valuation, in response to it’s continuing temptation to abuse users’ privacy in order to make money. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving company.
- And, finally, late Thursday night former Trump ‘fixer’ Michael Cohen announced that he would be willing to testify that Trump knew in advance about the Trump Tower meeting between Don, Jr, Manafort and Kushner and Russians promising “dirt” on Hillary. Well, of course he did. But having proof of the ‘collusion’ Trump keeps denying would be excellent. As Charles Pierce wrote in the article quoted above, “…that’s the ballgame. Or ought to be.”
What will you be able to say you did in the final 100 days before the midterm elections? Wrote postcards to voters? Text-banked? Phoned? Canvassed? Registered voters? We can get you connected, now, to the kind of action that fits you and will help make a difference – the difference. Join us!
– Tom Benthin
A reminder: a key resource for tracking all the abnormal events from the past week of the Trump presidency is Amy Siskind’s Weekly List: theweeklylist.org .
Before the disaster of the 2016 election we could follow the events that affected our lives by checking the news or seeing occasional posts on Facebook. Since then, with Trump’s erratic, aggressive and autocratic behavior and the Republicans’ unceasing attacks on our government and their efforts to transfer ever more money from working Americans to the rich, it has become much more difficult – and more important – to find our way through the weekly onslaught of news. To get ourselves grounded in the facts and to prepare for the week of action ahead, we provide this weekly summary of critical events to help us cut through the distractions and stay focused and informed as we fight to preserve our democracy.