5 Things To Read Today

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

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.

2018 Midterm Elections - Blue Wave

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. 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.

I Voted Sticker

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

Vote in the 2018 Midterms Tomorrow

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

Donald Trump, by Gage Skidmore

On ending Birthright Citizenship & other such BS

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.