As much as Tuesday’s special election result in Alabama was welcome, events over the rest of the week have been ominous in many ways, and in fact the Alabama results might have sped them along.
Republicans now seem to have accepted that they will lose big in 2018 and they are desperately trying to change the game. While the CDC has forbidden the use of seven terms like “fetus” and “evidence-based,” the FCC has cynically repealed the net neutrality rules that activists and expert had worked so long to win (without regard to concerns about consumer harm or barriers to new internet-based enterprise). Meanwhile, the tax bill came out of conference with even more benefits for rich passive investors and real estate speculators like Donald Trump, along with the previous cuts in corporate taxes and the estate tax. These are all massively unpopular policies. As Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman have observed, it looks like the Republicans in Congress are trying to jam a lot of their politically toxic policy priorities into law to pay back their donors and lobbyist friends while they are still in power. It’s consistent with their acting on the belief that this Hail Mary pass will generate lots of donor money to flood the Fox- and Sinclair-dominated mass media with lies about the policies and their effects ahead of the 2018 elections.
But the worst of this is their defense of Trump. This week, most of them showed that they have forgotten all the nice things they’ve said about Robert Mueller and about their respect for the rule of law. They are preparing the ground for his firing. Today, after the news that Mueller obtained from GSA a trove of emails (on government servers) from the transition, and Trump’s defenders calling this (without much basis) illegal, a rumor went around the Hill that Trump plans to fire Mueller on December 22. Here is Seth Abramson’s Twitter feed–he’s on the case.
Clipped below is Josh Marshall’s take on it (I put it below in case the link hits a paywall.) [Removed for copyright concerns – ed.] It’s scary, folks. They seem to be playing to gum up the process in order to keep Trump’s crimes hidden–both to avoid the additional electoral liability and to make sure that, should Dems flip both houses, there would be insufficient evidence upon which to impeach and remove Trump. And there’s also the possibility (according to this piece in the Dallas Morning News) that many other R’s, not just Trump, got Russian money laundered to their campaigns, and they know Mueller knows this.
So we have to get ready. Here is the Move On page that lists events and groundrules for immediate and sustained protests around the country. Note that one is planned for Park Square in Pittsfield. Our local Indivisible group (Greylock Together) and the Four Freedoms coalition will be out in force. If you plan to go to DC, there’s a sign-up on this page too. Make plans to couch surf with a friend or relative, if you have one there, for a couple of days. In any case, if you go in a group, remember that cellphones did not work during the Women’s March, so get in touch with someone down there with a landline (calls could be local) and ask if they could be the contact point for members of your group (calling from public or borrowed landline phones) should you get separated.
But taking to the streets can be only part of the plan. It will be easy for the right-wing to characterize protesters as crazies, and you can bet that the right will plant property-destroying agents provocateurs in a few places when the cameras are rolling, and whatever antics Antifa engages in will be sure to make the front page. So if you cannot get out, or even if you do, we have to flood the circuits of Congress and major right-wing news organizations so that they cannot ignore this. Call on our Dem politicians to engage in civil disobedience so that there will be no business as usual until the investigation is allowed to proceed to its lawful conclusion.
Not exactly the relaxing holiday you might have planned, but at the risk of sounding histrionic, there’s a republic to save.
Thanks and best wishes,
James E. Mahon, Jr.
Woodrow Wilson Professor of Political Science
Josh Marshall: The Threats Are Mounting
I don’t want to be hyperbolic. I not only believe generally but think we have seen evidence of the resilience of our system and core institutions over recent months. But we can see a number of developments, building over recent weeks and accelerating in recent days, aimed at ending the Russia investigations.
[More at TPM (sub req’d – $50/year) — removed from here due to copyright concerns — ed.]