5TtRT: Hate crimes, CA’s fires, Jim Acosta, John Kelly & Kirstjen Nielsen, & the attorney general controversy

Today’s topics include a (so far) three-year increase in hate crimes in the US, CNN suing to get Jim Acosta’s press pass back, John Kelly and Kirstjen Nielsen possibly getting fired, and the State of Maryland suing to get Rod Rosenstein named acting attorney general. Also, brief mentions of “Game of Thrones” and the new “Detective Pikachu” movie.

Apropos of nothing else in this post, the 2019 Game of Thrones teaser trailer is out this morning. The season’s scheduled for April 2019. Let’s all hope we make it that long.

Also, a trailer dropped yesterday for Detective Pikachu, a live-action Pokemon movie starring Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Pikachu. This movie is going to be a white hot mess and I am here for it, y’all.

5 Things to Read Today

⚖️ AP: FBI: 17% Spike In Hate Crimes In 2017 Marks Rise For 3rd Year In A Row

Hate crime reports were up again for 2017, making three years for increases in hate crimes. Hate crimes against Jewish people were up 37% in 2017.

🔥 Lifehacker: What Trump Gets Wrong About California’s Wildfires

Trump’s been blaming “bad forest management” for the California wildfires, which is BS. These are “urban interface” fires, which means they started in areas where people had built homes around flammable areas. The reason the fires are so bad is – drum roll, please – climate change, of course.

📰 CNN: CNN sues President Trump and top White House aides for barring Jim Acosta

CNN just filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to get Jim Acosta’s access to the White House restored.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration has changed their story about why Acosta’s press pass was taken in the first place. The White House initially said they yanked Acosta’s press pass because he hit one of the press interns, and tired to back that claim up with an altered video of the incident. Clearly that wasn’t going to fly, so now they’re trying to say Acosta’s press pass was pulled because he wouldn’t yield the mic to the intern.

🏛️ ABC News: Trump planning shakeup, eyeing new chief of staff and DHS secretary: Sources

Apparently Trump’s fixin’ to fire John Kelly, his Chief of Staff, and Kirstjen Nielsen, Kelly’s handpicked replacement at Homeland Security.

Trump’s decided he hates Kelly, and that’s fine, because Kelly’s a hateful trash person. Unfortunately, he’s also one of the so-called “adults in the room,” and god only knows what slow-motion train wreck Trump’ll get to replace him.

Kirstjen Nielsen is the hardline hate machine responsible for enacting Kelly’s plans for separating children from their parents at the border, the child concentration camps, and other atrocities, and she’s apparently being fired for not being enough of a hardline hate machine.

Hold on, kids. Shit’s gonna get real rocky before the Dems take the House in January.

👨‍⚖️ NBC News: State of Maryland asks judge to declare Rosenstein acting attorney general

To wrap things up, Maryland is asking a federal judge to declare Rod Rosenstein the acting attorney general, instead of Matt Whitaker, the toady Trump tired to – possibly unconstitutionally – appoint to the job.

I’m not sure that’ll actually work? I dunno, folks, we’re getting deep in the weeds when it comes to the legal guts of government.

As far as I can tell, Rosenstein should have become acting attorney general when Sessions was fired, and Trump should not have appointed a replacement, because there was already a chain of command in place. That seems to be the prevailing argument at any rate.

5TtRT: CA Fires, Democracy, Hush Money, North Korea, & Donald Trump

Today’s topics cover the fires in California, what the Democrats plan to do when they take over the House in January, Trump’s latest impeachable offense, what’s North Korea’s been getting up to, and the Republican election shenanigans.

We had a busy weekend news-wise, what with the California fires and Trump being trash in France, but I’m starting the week off with a quick look at what’s trending in the news this morning.

5 Things to Read Today

🔥 AP: Death toll rises in California wildfire, matching deadliest

Twenty-nine deaths so far in the hellscape that is currently California.

📜 NPR: Democrats Say Their First Bill Will Focus On Strengthening Democracy At Home

The Democrats are currently planning to make their first bill after they take power in January a bill that will “remove obstacles to voting, close loopholes in government ethics law and reduce the influence of political money.” The tricky part will be getting it passed.

⚖️ CNN: Rep. Jerry Nadler says hush payments ‘might very well be an impeachable offense’

And again: It doesn’t really matter right now if something is “impeachable” or not, because we don’t have the votes in the Senate to impeach Trump. There’s no point in impeaching him in the House if you can’t get the Senate to vote to remove him. Democrats are better off spending their political capital on curtailing Trump in other ways.

🇰🇵 New York Times: In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception

Surprise! North Korea has hidden missile bases and their missile program is ticking right along just fine. I mean, of course it is. They always pull this stunt.

🗳️ ABC News: Trump, without evidence, calls Florida ballots ‘massively infected,’ demands end to recounts

I know I’m preaching to the choir, here, but the Democrats are not up to any voting shenanigans. Not in Florida, where they’re still counting the initial vote; not in Georgia, where Kemp cheated in basically every way possible; and not in Arizona, where the Democrat is now winning. Voting shenanigans came from the Republican side.

Just to wrap things up, I want to point out these two stories over at Axios:

FYI, as far as I can tell Axios just prints whatever their high-value sources in the White House tells them to print, so I’d take any reporting by them with, just, like, an entire Utah salt flat.

It’s nice to hear about “subpoena cannons” and how much we all hate each other or whatever, but I wouldn’t take Axios too seriously, here, is all I’m saying.

A few things about the 2018 Midterms…

As far as I’m concerned, last night was a banner night. We took the House of Representatives, and that’s a lot.

As far as I’m concerned, last night was a banner night. We took the House of Representatives, and that’s a lot. It’s protection from the Republican legislation agenda, protection from everything Trump needs Congress to get done, protection from a lot that Trump thinks he can do by executive order, and protection for the Mueller investigation.

We had some defeats. We lost Democrats in the Senate, but not as many as we thought we might back in 2016, so that’s something. Some crappy state measures got passed here and there. Beto O’Rourke lost, and it looks like Stacey Abrams did too. (Well, “lost,” I guess, since it’s pretty obvious that her opponent cheated like a dog to win.)

But overall, I’m tickled pink with last night’s results.

Meanwhile, Trump’s apparently pretty damned cranky this morning. He had one of his lunatic press conferences and basically unloaded on everyone. He yelled at a bunch of reporters, particularly CNN’s Jim Acosta, and told a bunch of them to shut up and sit down, including April Ryan.

So, a few quick things to keep in mind.

First: Trump’s going to turn Nancy Pelosi into his new Democrat boogiemonster. He’ll also be trying to play her against McConnell, because he thrives on conflict and doesn’t know any other way to proceed.

Second: There are a lot of Democrats and progressives out there who are mad because Pelosi’s said she’s not going to pursue impeachment right now. Stop that. Of course we’re not going to pursue impeachment right now, because we can’t.

We can’t get the 67 votes needed in the Senate to impeach Trump, and anything less than a total impeachment, kicking him right out of office and into a jail cell, is a win for Trump. We are not in the business of handing wins to Trump, are we?

Besides, there are plenty of things we can do to Trump short of impeachment. Investigations, subpoenas for tax returns, all kinds of legal things we can do, just piles of stuff we can do to make the next two years a giant pain in his ass, while also helping to build a case against him. We have the House. We can have all sorts of fun now.

Third: You are never going to hear about that caravan of migrants in Mexico again.

Fourth: If the midterms showed us anything it’s that going forward our first agenda should be cleaning up the elections process. Fair elections where everyone gets to participate. Fair drawing of districts. That’s our first order of business.

You’re gonna hear a lot about how our “blue wave” didn’t show up, but let me assure you, that’s bullshit. It definitely did. I mean that statistically. Something like 9% more people voted Democrat than Republican in last night’s elections. Previous years that have been called “blue waves” only managed like 7% or 8% more.

The reason it didn’t seem like a “wave” is because Republicans have gerrymandered and voter suppressed and diddled elections to the point that Democrats need massive turnouts just to make small gains.

Step one is free, fair elections and gerrymandering reform.

Okay. Here’s a few things to read. I gotta go get some actual work done now, since I haven’t been able to get squat done in like two weeks.

Vote.

For every time in the last two years you wondered who in the hell was going to save us from this godawful mess. You are. The time is now. Vote.

For every Muslim banned from the country. For every child torn from their parents at the border, kept in a cage, and lost in the system. For every shitbag nazi who feels safe marching with a torch. Vote.

For every black person shot by a racist cop. For every single one of Donald Trump’s and Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual assault victims who got no justice. For every time the GOP attacked Planned Parenthood. Vote.

For every mass shooting. For every person of color, everyone in the LGBT+ community, every woman. For every Native American voter who lost their voting rights in North Dakota, and every other disenfranchised voter in this shitty election. Vote.

For every tragedy and travesty. For Puerto Rico. For every necessary regulation rolled back. For every lie Trump told. Vote.

For every time in the last two years you wondered who in the hell was going to save us from this godawful mess.

You are.

The time is now. Vote.

Vote in the 2018 Midterms Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Election Day. This might be one of the most important elections you ever vote in.

Tomorrow is Election Day. This might be one of the most important elections you ever vote in. Get ready to vote: www.BallotReady.org.

Other Voting Resources:

Vote tomorrow. Even if you’re tired. Even if you have to get up early or stay out late. Even if it’s raining. Even if it’s freezing. Bring water, bring a snack. Stay in line. Vote. Even if you think it doesn’t matter, because I assure you, it absolutely does. Vote Democrat. Don’t “protest vote” for 3rd party candidates who have no chance of winning. Don’t vote Republican. Suck it up and vote for Democrats. We can fix the Democrats and start viable third parties after we save the country. Prioritize, people.

5 Things to Read Today

Some of these might be repeats. Read them again anyway.

What to Do if Something Weird Happens at Your Polling Place Tomorrow

On ending Birthright Citizenship & other such BS

So. Birthright citizenship. Trump wants to end it by executive order.

My morning routine goes like this: My alarm goes off at 6:30am and, angrily, I thrust one arm out from underneath the covers to slap around on my bedside table until I find my damn phone. I fumble it up to my face, poking and swiping blearily and randomly at the screen until the noise stops.

I sit up, annoyed, and swirl an extra blanket around my shoulders to stay warm. I blink, glaring at the darkness in the bedroom and through it at the world beyond in dull irritation at its audacity in starting up at so ungodly an hour.

I open my phone, squinting into its brightness until my eyes decide to start focusing. I check my email. I check Facebook. Then, bracing myself, I check Twitter.

Email and Facebook rarely have anything of portent. It’s usually just spam and family updates.

Twitter is where I find out what’s on fire today. This particular morning Twitter was burning down over Trump’s announcement of his intention to end birthright citizenship, the principal that if you’re born in America, you’re an American citizen.

This is the downside of living on the west coast. By the time I wake up, the day’s already gone to hell.


So. Birthright citizenship. Trump wants to end it by executive order.

Birthright citizenship is the idea that if you are born on American soil, you’re an American citizen. This idea is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1894 when Wong Kim Ark, who was born in San Francisco, was barred from re-entering the US after a trip to China. He took his case to the Supreme Court, which ruled 6-2 in his favor that he was a citizen by birth. You can read the history on Vox.

Despite the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court decision, and the way we’ve generally applied both over the decades, there’s some contention over who exactly gets birthright citizenship in America.

Actually, let me clarify that. The only people arguing against birthright citizenship are racists and people who hate immigrants (illegal or otherwise, as the legality of someone’s immigration is often just the corner a racist sets their chisel against when they start trying to pry non-white folks out of the country). Birthright citizenship came about because of the Dred Scott case, and the arguments against it have always been racist at their core.

In the more racist, Nazi-ish corners of the US there’s been a push to end birthright citizenship and/or repeal the 14th Amendment for some time now, because racists think non-white people shouldn’t be citizens automatically.

Let me state that again, and plainly: The push to end birthright citizenship is racist on its face and a move to make it so only white people can be citizens.


Trump announced his intention this morning to sign an executive order that would take birthright citizenship from babies born in the US to illegal immigrants. Lots of journalists and pundits are arguing this morning that he can’t do that, but here’s how this would shake out.

Trump signs the executive order. Someone – probably the ACLU at the least – sues to stop the order, like with the Muslim ban executive order. Legalities ensue, and eventually the executive order ends up in the Supreme Court.

You remember that Trump and Mitch McConnell packed the Supreme Court, right? Kavanaugh, Gorsuch. It happened about 487 Trump years ago.

The lawsuit goes to the SCotUS, where, thanks to Trump’s judges, the executive order gets upheld.

There you go. That’s how it happens. Now you’re not necessarily a citizen just because you were born here anymore. It’s that easy.


That’s just step one. The chisel has been set. Don’t think for one single second that the Trump administration won’t be hammering away at that chisel night and day. The end goal of the Trump administration is an all-white United States.

And if you’re thinking, “Hey, well, I’m white, so…” let me just ask you: Are you sure you’re the right kind of white person?

Because that’s the next step.

Are you conservative? Straight? Male? Christian? Because if your answer to any of those questions is “No.” then you should be nervous.

Those of you who are straight, white, male, conservative Christians… have you checked your ancestry lately? Are you sure you’re white enough? You’re sure you don’t have any Jewish or Catholic ancestors someone might dig up? Maybe a Native American or black ancestor a few generations back that someone might find?

Can you prove that? Conclusively? If you can’t, can you be absolutely sure you’re not going to piss anyone off who might find that information or lie about it to get you in trouble?

Because that’s where this journey leads, eventually. And it might be a faster trip than you thought.


Maybe you think this sounds alarmist. You might. It kind of does. Because I’m alarmed. I’ve read enough history to know the lay of this land.

The midterm elections are 7 days away. Vote. Vote for Democrats. I don’t care if you hate Democrats, or think they aren’t liberal or progressive enough, if you’re mad because Bernie didn’t get elected or think “Oh, they’re all the same.”

They are not. Vote. For. Democrats. Vote Democrat straight across the board, for every race, without hesitation.

Our only hope right now is to bring the government to a screeching halt for two years, until 2020, when, for the love of little puppies with heart-shaped spots, please, we can vote Trump out.

Seven days. Vote Democrat. Vote like your life depends on it. It does.

5 Things to Read Today

Topics include young people voting, Fox News, amnesty for immigrants, Gab, and solutions to gun violence.

Busy day ahead, folks. Here’s a few things to read today. Topics include young people voting, Fox News, amnesty for immigrants, Gab, and solutions to gun violence.

🗳️ Young people say they plan to vote at near-historic highs: “A high number of young voters could turn out in the 2018 midterms, according to a new poll from the Harvard University Institute of Politics.”

🦊 A Country Awash in Fox’s Dark Toxins: “It seems clear that had I not happened to see it and share it to my relatively large following on Twitter and TPM with a bit of explanation of the rhetoric, it would have gone entirely unnoticed and be just another example of the torrent of anti-Semitic and racist conspiracy theories that routinely flow over the Fox networks.”

💡 The case for amnesty: “Of course an amnesty would accomplish what squishy liberals want to accomplish in terms of offering a humane solution for well-meaning people in their families. But it would also move the ball forward on almost everything restrictionists say they want, turning up the heat on both genuine dangerous criminals and scofflaw employers. What’s more, granting legal status to long-settled workers will increase tax revenue and give them more opportunities to save and invest, thus boosting the economy.”

👉 Gab, Site Where Synagogue Shooting Suspect Posted, Is Suspended: “Gab.com is a social network that touts itself as an alternative to Twitter and Facebook to give conservatives a platform for free speech. But it also has been criticized for providing a platform for anti-Semitism and white nationalism. The site has come in for increased scrutiny since the shooting.”

📌 I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery: “In my coverage of these shootings, I’ve always focused on solutions through studies and policy ideas that would tamp down on the number of shootings. The good news is there are real solutions out there.”