IUY – Weekly Journal – #30 February 8 – 14, 2020

The Week of Saturday, February 8 through Friday, February 14, 2020 [#30]

The Week’s Most Notable:

The Current Assault on the Rule of Law could also be called an authoritarian transmogrification of the Department of Justice inspired by the wishes of President Trump as executed and adumbrated by the high priest of the Imperial presidency, Attorney General William Barr. We’ve known for some time that Trump wanted an Attorney General to be his fixer, his Roy Cohn. Barr has done better than that; he has spent much of his time devising ways to alter the nonpartisan mission of the DOJ to serve a political master. We’ve hazily known about some of his efforts, but this week provided clear information about multiple specific instances – interference in the Stone sentencing, insertion into cases in the Southern District of New York, investigations into Hunter Biden and the origin of the Mueller probe, a special prosecutor for the Michael Flynn case. These are indicative of an orchestrated widespread politicization. In short, an effort to turn a portion of the Department of Justice into a law firm serving the needs of an imperial president. In this scheme, the president is not only above the law but can bend the law to his purposes, such as helping his friends and punishing his enemies – the classic authoritarian profile. We know more about this now because Trump is in a vindictive mood and has used his tweets to highlight his repurposing of the DOJ.

Saturday, February 8

[William Barr’s DOJ] DOJ Has “intake process” for Giuliani Information About Bidens – While Barr maintained the “intake” was intended to vet Giuliani’s information, it also revealed the pattern of internally connecting not only Giuliani’s but all sources of information that could be useful in cases involving President Trump.

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IUY – Weekly Journal – #29 February 1 – 7, 2020

The Week of Saturday, February 1 through Friday, February 7, 2020 [#29]

The Week’s Most Notable:

It was a bad week for Demos – Democrats, democracy, and in Greek, the people. From the Iowa debacle, to the Trump acquittal, and by week’ s end the beginning of Trump’ s revenge, we saw a dispiriting panoply of political failure. As is often the case these days, some of the details were a surprise; but most of what happened was of a piece and anticipated. It turns out, failure of the vote tally software in Iowa didn’t surprise some people, but the failure of the organizers to plan effective backup looked and was very bad. Democracy was poorly served. Wednesday’ s pusillanimous GOP vote in the Senate to acquit Trump was long expected but then Mitt Romney’s stunning cri de courage was an unexpectedly significant detail because it robbed the Trump narrative of a claim to purity. Yet, as expected, Trump immediately launched his exoneration crusade, claiming complete innocence while at the same time beginning to crush his perceived enemies with further abuses of his power.

In any case, the principal impeachment saga is over. Elements of it will be carried forward: The House will continue investigating, Democratic campaigning must never let Republicans off the hook for what they have done, and Trump will continue to generate impeachment-worthy offenses. The final test is, as it arguably always has been, the general election.

Saturday, February 1

[Middle East] Arab Foreign Ministers Reject Trump Peace Plan – Basically, no Palestine participation, no peace plan. As expected, the Trump/Kushner plan is DOA except for domestic Israeli and U.S. politics.

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IUY Monthly Meeting February 12, 2020



Joe Biden said he felt gut-punched; we ALL feel gut-punched.

The Iowa Caucuses debacle, the Reality TV State of the Union speech, the Senate Impeachment Acquittal, the surreal “it was all bullshit” celebration, the first reprisals (Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, Ambassador Sondland). Maybe we all need a pep rally, but more likely we need to pick ourselves up from an obvious low point and one step at a time move forward into the work of removing Donald Trump in the election. That will be the principal focus of our next regular meeting:

Indivisible Upper Yellowstone Monthly Meeting – Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 6:30 PM in the Park County – Livingston Public Library in the Steveson room (lower floor).

Yes, we will talk about what happened and what appears to be happening (Bloomberg anyone?); But the topics for discussion are mainly about revving up for our election activities – both primary and general. We’re going to need some people to step up and lead efforts such as postcard writing, letters to the editor writing, and registration efforts. We also need to get going with raising money for our activity, especially advertising. In other words, like the general approach needed by the Democrats, we need to get practical, feature pocketbook issues, solve leadership issues, and collectively stop crying in our beer. We need some good ideas, inspiration is also welcome. 

See you Wednesday,
Nelson and Dixie


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Weekly Journal – #28 January 25 – 31, 2020

The Week of Saturday, January 25 through Friday, January 31, 2020 [#28]

The Week’s Most Notable:

There was a pivotal moment in the impeachment trial and quite possibly in American history. Senate Republicans voted to disallow witnesses and new documents for the first time in all federal impeachment trials, including for judges. Regardless of numerous polls showing that 70% to 80% of Americans wanted witnesses and documents, and the lack of a credible fig leaf to cover the naked power-play, Republicans chose a closely calculated political risk. Faced with either a protracted trial with potentially very damaging testimony and evidence against the president, or taking the hits from charges of coverup, they chose the whitewash. The vote also plowed the road for Trump’s acquittal next week. From now until the November election it will be the “exoneration crusade” vs “coverup and corruption.” May the best meme win.

Saturday, January 25

[Impeachment] Senate Trial: Trump Defense Opening – The abbreviated Saturday session staked out the argument not only of Trump’s innocence but of the illegitimacy of impeachment.

[Ukraine Scandal] Trump “Get rid of her!” Recording Surfaces – The full 90-minute recording provided by Lev Parnas documents Trump at a 2018 dinner where Ambassador Yovanovitch was dissed and he repeatedly called for her removal, just as Parnas claimed during interviews. Trump continues to maintain that he has no knowledge of Parnas.

[Iraq] Major Anti-U.S. Demonstrations in Baghdad – Tens of thousands marched through the streets in protest of General Soleimani’s and Iraqi commanders’ assassinations and the continued presence of American troops in Iraq. Protests and small-scale rocket attacks will be frequent while the U.S., Iraq, and Iran dance around a U.S. withdrawal.

[Media] Pompeo Doubles-Down on Upbraiding NPR Reporter – Apparently Pompeo was incensed by NPR host Mary Louise Kelly asking a question about Ukraine. He demanded that she find Ukraine on a blank map. She did (as a graduate of Harvard with a Masters in European studies at Cambridge ought to). She had also received permission by email to discuss Ukraine issues. Was Pompeo genuinely peeved or was this a staged outrage à la Sen. McSally’s blowup at CNN? At least it was a fine distraction much to Trump’s liking, “You did a good job on her.”

[Veterans] VFW Criticizes Trump for “Headache” Remarks – Not long ago, to cover up the seriousness of the Iranian ballistic missile attack on Iraqi/US bases, Trump first said there were no injuries, then backtracked to say some soldiers had headaches. The latest admission by the Pentagon is that 50 soldiers suffered potential traumatic brain injury from concussion. The VFW conveyed its anger at the presidential minimizing of serious injuries.

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Weekly Journal – January 18 – 24, 2020 #27

The Week of Saturday, January 18 through Friday, January 24, 2020 [#27]

The Week’s Most Notable:

Few things exemplify the “two-worlds” nature of American political tribalism better than the impeachment trial in the Senate. Not only do Democrats and Republicans tell stories with opposite premises and conclusions, which is not uncommon legal posturing for the media, but they appear to be working from two different sets of facts. The Democrats have drawn most of their facts from the House hearings’ documents and witness testimony, and accredited media reporting. Most of the Republican facts consist of denying the Democrats’ facts without specifying evidence to back their denials. Put another way, the Democrats appear to be building a case for history; the Republicans are building a case for Fox News.

Saturday, January 18

[Election 2020] Candidates Spar – As the Iowa caucuses draw nigh, the days are predictably spiked with various candidates attacking other candidates. The apparent rift between Sanders and Warren may or may not be personal but, in any case, seems to be a deliberate move to differentiate their candidacies. The spat between Biden and Sanders over what Biden claims is a doctored video on the subject of Social Security is typical misleading innuendo. And then there is Hillary attacking Bernie…

[Women’s March] Smaller Crowds Marked This Year’s Women’s March – Fewer than 10,000 marchers in Washington DC, compared to about half a million in 2017, was indicative. This can be interpreted in many ways, few of them encouraging.

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Not Your Usual GET ON THE PHONE Request

Indivisibles One and All,

We’ve been protesting for three years – scores of demonstrations, meetings, contacting congresspeople. Not all of it was urgent, much less pivotal.

This is both urgent and pivotal:

As of Monday evening, Senate Republicans posted their rules for the Senate Impeachment Trial. They are a type of gag rule. (Keep the public from as much information as possible.)

– Limit each side’s arguments to 24 hours over two days. (Midnight presentation entirely possible.)

– Presentation of new evidence, case by case, must be granted by majority vote.

– Presentation of old evidence, case by case, must be granted by majority vote.

– Witness testimony of any kind, case by case, must be granted by majority vote.

– All votes come after the principal arguments.

Why is this so important? This is the endgame of the impeachment process; there will be no other chance before the election. We know the Senate (GOP) will not convict Trump; so it is imperative that he not come away from the trial “looking clean.” Without evidence and witness testimony the public will know little or nothing about the most recent issues, such as the illegality of withholding military aid to Ukraine (per the GAO). Trump will still do an “exoneration tour,” but it’s crucial that it rings false.That can only happen if witnesses and evidence are given a real hearing – like every other trial, impeachment or otherwise.

Call our Senators, Daines AND Tester to show them Americans want a real trial, not a cover-up. Do it NOW, before the Senate has finished with the McConnell Exoneration Express. 

Senator Steve Daines  406-587-3446 (Bozeman)  202-224-2651 (DC)

Senator Jon Tester  406-586-4450 (Bozeman)  202-224-2644 (DC)

Never done this before? Don’t like to do it? Doesn’t matter, this time it needs everybody.

This is a focal point – will the public tolerate a sham? 


Nelson and Dixie

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Weekly Journal – January 11-17, 2020 #26

The Week’s Most Notable:

Lev Parnas will never be a hero but . . .he may have set in motion a change in the course of the third impeachment trial in American history. His public interviews and especially his confirmatory evidence may force the Senate to call witnesses and present new documents. If that happens, the GOP controlled Senate will still not convict, but Trump may have difficulty mounting an effective celebratory exoneration tour.

With a bit of awkward pomp and some confusing circumstance, the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump officially began this week. Unlike the Clinton trial, this one is not beginning with bipartisan agreement on how to proceed. We can expect intense argument and some tense votes about procedure, such as calling witnesses.


The Week of Saturday, January 11 through Friday, January 17, 2020 [#26]

Saturday, January 11

[Afghanistan] Taliban Bomb Kills Two U.S. Soldiers – Talks with the Taliban are “stalled.”

[Iran] Protests Over Plane Downing and Government Continue – The protests give the impression that the PR value of the missile attack on Iraqi/U.S. bases was weak. This impression needs verifying. [Update: On Sunday it was reported demonstrators were attacked with live ammunition.]

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Weekly Journal – January 4-10, 2020 #25

The Week of Saturday, January 4 through Friday, January 10, 2020 [#25]

The Week’s Most Notable:

The world experienced a serious brink-of-war event, and didn’t like it. If the U.S. and Iran did get into a full-scale war, there is no doubt that more than the Middle East would become involved. It was an ugly, frightening moment. Although the missile strikes were deliberately de-fanged and both sides de-escalated, retribution for the Gen. Soleimani assassination is not over: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “They were slapped last night, but such military actions are not enough.”

Explanations for killing Soleimani proliferate. President Trump now says that the Iranians were going to attack four embassies, not one. No one else, including the White House, had a clue what he was talking about. Lack of evidence has been the norm for all explanations. The Wall Street Journal claimed Trump made the fateful decision in order to help his 2020 campaign. That might not be a misrepresentation.

Short run – Trump looks good? Buried in revolving rationale-lies, the Iranian military stand-down, and the distraction of Iran’s troubles over shooting down the Ukrainian plane, Trump supporters think he has done well.  Most of the U.S. and the world are waiting for the other shoes to drop.

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Stop the Iran War Demonstration

Today (yes, today; this is a flash event under extraordinary circumstances)
Thursday January 9, 2020   4:30 PM  5th and Park Street
Temperatures will be around 27 F, slight wind, possible snow showers. Not bad.
We’ll be there about an hour. This is to make a statement. along with several 
hundred demonstrations nation-wide. There  may be other much larger events
in the near future, depending on what happens. For now, it’s important to show
there is strong opposition.
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Weekly Journal December 28, 2019 – January 3, 2020 #24

The Week of Saturday, December 28 through Friday, January 3, 2019 [#24]

The Week’s Most Notable:

Did anyone wake up the day after New Year’s Day expecting an act of war? The U.S. seems to be developing a taste for high stakes assassinations, but killing Qasem Soleimani, Iran’s top general? Is this a jump toward war with Iran? That’s probably the big question for most people. Right now, it looks like a boots-on-the-ground, death-from-the-air war is unlikely. Iran doesn’t want it; Trump doesn’t need it. He’s got his talking points and control of the narrative. Unless, of course, somebody makes an irreconcilable mistake.

We don’t know the details, but by word from several generals, there is intelligence of unusually significant pending terrorist activity under the aegis of Soleimani. Presumably something more draconian than usual terrorist orchestrations, but that’s what more information may tell us. Or not. The threat may turn out to be mostly hype. (We can’t help but remember Saddam’s stockpiles of WMD.)

This act of war will be spun many ways: In the short run, it distracts from impeachment, the Senate trial controversy, and new revelations. Follow-on incidents will command attention and provide Trump more opportunities for diversion. It is expected and probably intended to affect the election (recall that in 2013 Trump claimed Obama would go to war with Iran to ensure his reelection). If nothing truly upsetting happens, this will be a win for Trump. It already is for his followers. However, over time the ripples tend to spread into many unanticipated consequences – for example, increased Middle East instability, shifting geo-political alliances, weakening the world economy – as well as the predictable death and destruction from a cycle of vengeance.

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