Category Archives: Politics

Money

Our federal deficit went up 17% over 2017 because of the GOP tax cuts.

Busy day ahead again, but I just want to point this out real quick. Here’s the story in the New York Times: Budget Deficit Jumps Nearly 17% in 2018.

In 2017, the federal budget deficit was $666 billion. In 2018 it’s $779 billion. That’s due to the GOP’s big tax cut, the benefits of which largely went to the rich. Your average person hasn’t seen much, if any, increase in their paycheck.

Because the deficit’s exploding, Mitch McConnell and his GOP minions are now talking a big game about cutting spending on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. Because of course they are; it’s what they do.

Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare are all programs that we pay into via taxes to help take care of the poor, sick, disabled, and elderly.

The GOP voted in a drastic tax cut written to give fat wads of cash to rich people. Now they want to pay for that tax cut by stealing money from those among us who are the most in need of help.

The Republican party is stealing from you and lying to you about it.

Look, you can say what you want about the Democrats. They have plenty of faults to complain about. But at least they aren’t actively trying to kill you by taking away your healthcare while stealing the money out of your pockets and the food off your tables.

Donald Trump, by Gage Skidmore

Trump’s trashtweeting again this morning…

Donald Trump trashtweets, 10/16/18.

Trump’s trashtweeting again this morning, which usually means some bad news (for him) is about to drop. Not always, but usually. Keep an eye out.

5 Things to Read Today

Keep an eye on Trump’s fundraising and spending, because I highly, highly doubt that he’s getting that much money from his fanboys.

Meanwhile, go get your damn flu shot, people. Like 80,000 people died of the flu last year.

5 Things To Read Today

Today: Elizabeth Warren, Trump’s ’60 Minutes’ Interview & More

I’ve got a busy day ahead and I stayed up too late last night, so we’ll make this one quick.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren released DNA test results that show she has at least some Native American ancestry. Trump doesn’t care.

Also, Trump “promised” back on the campaign trail that he’d give a million bucks to Warren’s charity of choice if she took a DNA test and it showed she had Native American ancestry. When asked about it today, Trump said it never happened, despite the fact that it’s on tape.

Meanwhile, Trump did an interview on 60 Minutes last night where he pretended the Russian interference in the 2016 elections wasn’t a big deal; ignored humans rights abuses in favor of getting along with dictators and murderers; claimed General Jim Mattis was “sort of a Democrat” and dodged answering if Mattis was leaving the administration; crapped on our international allies again; denied climate change and tried to claim it would reverse itself anyways; and admitted that the White House is a swirling storm of chaos, that he doesn’t trust anyone there, and that he likes it that way. Read about it here.

Want to give to charity? Find out how to give to good charities and get the most bang for your buck right here.

Hurricane Michael basically scrubbed the Florida panhandle flat. You can read about the destruction here, here and here. Trump’s on his way to visit.

And, to wrap things up, Sears declared bankruptcy.

Weekend Loading

Friday Round-Up

Every year in October I tell myself that I’m gonna review all my TV show episodes and every year I fail almost immediately, so this year I’m not gonna try that hard at it. I watch a lot of TV and it’s hard to keep up. Especially with all this “life” and “work” and “Trump” junk that keeps getting in the way.

5 Things to Read Today

Jamal Khashoggi is a Saudi journalist who was an American resident and a columnist for the Washington Post. He went “missing” recently, and it seems pretty damn certain that Saudi Arabia had him assassinated. Trump is, of course, doing nothing about it, because the guy works for a paper Trump hates and he’s a non-white person. Also because the Saudis own Trump.

Black Lightning Season 2

Black Lightning

I am consistently thrilled with Black Lightning. It’s excellently written, has fantastic acting, and it’s topical. It’s one of the best superhero shows the CW is putting out right now.

Riverdale Season 2

Riverdale

Riverdale is my guilty pleasure. This show is a melodramatic soap opera packed full of terrible people doing stupid things, but the acting and writing are great and the show is frequently hilarious. Plus, Cheryl, who is my Patronus.

Supernatural Season 14

Supernatural

We re-watched the whole run of Supernatural over the summer, which was the first time I’d ever done that, and it was a lot of fun. You forget how far these characters have come. I’m pretty tickled with the setup for this season. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Newspapers, JonS on Flickr

News Stories You Probably Missed

Last week was a busy week, news-wise, but the Kavanaugh debacle swallowed everything else up. Here’s a quick handful of important stories you might have missed or forgotten about.

💰 Donald Trump’s Businesses Are Basically a Criminal Endeavor

This is one of those stories where you’re like “Well, yeah, duh, obviously,” but seriously, pay more attention to this. The Trump Organization is pretty much a giant cesspool of crimes and frauds.

⛈️ Climate Change Is Worse Than We Thought and We’re on a Ten-Year Time Clock

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a new report on climate change and the news is all bad. The report says that in order to avoid catastrophic changes to our climate, the kind of changes that will pretty much kill us all and make us miserable the whole time it’s doing it, we need to enact painfully drastic changes right now. Since the odds of that happening are slim to none… I mean, I guess we’re screwed.

  • Washington Post: The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say – This is the Post’s article summarizing the IPCC’s report.
  • Washington Post: What climate change is actually expected to do – Does what it says on the tin. It’s tricky to predict what’ll happen exactly with climate change since our climate is a hugely complicated system, but here’s the experts’ best theories. Remember that in science terminology, “theory” doesn’t mean “guess,” it means “this is an idea that we have a lot of evidence for.”
  • Washington Post: Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100 – The Trump administration’s own report predicts a 7-degree rise on global temperatures in less than 100 years. Such an increase would be… is there a word for something worse than “catastrophic”? I mean, that basically turns us into Venus, right? The Trump admin’s report concludes that we’re screwed so there’s no point in trying to fix anything and we might as well go full steam ahead.

The thing is that it’s already too late to completely correct the effects of climate change. But if we act right now, we could avoid the worst effects of climate change. That’s the ten year time clock. We have ten years to make it so we can still exist in some level of comfort on our own planet.

⚖️ The Department of Justice is Going After Anti-Trump Protesters

💻 Bloomberg’s Big China Hacking Story

When it comes to computers I’m not a hardware girl, but I follow a lot of hardware people on Twitter, and they all think there’s something hinky about this story. The general gist of their opinion seems to be that Bloomberg got close to a story, but what they reported isn’t actually accurate.

Both Apple and Amazon strenuously deny Bloomberg’s reporting, and folks in tech security and the government are all, “We have no idea what Bloomberg’s going on about.”

Apparently there were rumors of this sort of thing going around months back, but no one could confirm it. Bloomberg went ahead and reported it, so they seem to think they have it confirmed, but no one with any expertise in the arena agrees with them.

The upshot being, something’s not right with this story. @SwiftOnSecurity, a Twitter account that seems at first glance like a joke but that is run by someone with plenty of knowhow and expertise, has a long Twitter thread full of expert thoughts and resources on the story: Twitter thread.

Featured Image: Newspapers, by JonS on Flickr. Source and licensing.

Judge Brett Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh passes cloture vote, heads on to confirmation vote.

Okay, folks. The Senate voted on the cloture motion this morning and it passed, which was expected so don’t panic or anything. This is not carved in stone.

Let me say that again: Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is not carved in stone. It is not a sure thing. Republicans would like you to think it is, but there are still unconfirmed votes out there.

Call your senators, people. Especially, especially if your senator is Jeff Flake, Joe Manchin, Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski. If one of these guys belongs to you, you must bring an unbearable amount of pressure down on them.

UPDATE (1:50 p.m.)

Senators Manchin, Collins and Flake have all said they’re voting to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, which gives Republicans the votes they need. Barring some sort of miracle, Kavanaugh’s getting confirmed.

The next fight happens at the state level, folks. We’re going to need to pass state legislation to protect abortion rights, other women’s rights, and protections for non-white people and the LGBT+ community. It’s time to take a look at who represents you at the state level and work to turn your local and state governments blue.

(I mean, you should have already been doing that, but people get caught up in the federal level stuff.)

In case you feel like unleashing your rage upon the Republicans like a fountain of fiery bees from your mouth:

Judge Brett Kavanaugh

The Senate’s getting ready to vote on Kavanaugh this week.

Okay, kids, this is it. The Senate is getting ready to vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court this week.

Mitch McConnell filed a motion for cloture on the Kavanaugh nomination yesterday evening.

Cloture is a procedural thing. You file the motion, which needs the signatures of sixteen senators. Once the motion is filed, you wait two days to vote on it. If the motion passes a floor vote, then debate on Kavanaugh’s nomination is limited to 30 hours. After the 30 hours are up, Senators will vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

You can read about it in more detail here.

What all this means is that sometime this Saturday, the Senate will be voting on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.


Call Your Senators

  • The US Senate switchboard number is 202-224-3121. Call and ask to be transferred to your senators’ offices.
  • Call your senators at their Senate offices and at their home offices. You can use CallMyRep.co to find out who your senators are and get their in state and Senate office numbers.
  • Call only your senators. Do not call senators in other states. They’ll ignore you and you’re just tying up phone lines that constituents could be using.
  • When you call, identify yourself by name and location, state that you are a constituent of the senator, and ask how your senator plans to vote on the Kavanaugh nomination. If the answer is anything but a firm “no,” briefly and politely state your case for voting “no” on Kavanaugh.
  • If your senator is voting “no” on Kavanaugh, remember to thank them for doing so.
  • If you need scripts, you can find one below.

Calling Script

Hi, my name is [name], and I’m a constituent from [location]. I would like to know how Senator [senator’s name] is voting on the Brett Kavanaugh nomination.

If No: Thank you. I believe Brett Kavanaugh is unfit for a seat on the Supreme Court. Please tell Senator [senator’s name] thank you for voting against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

If Yes: I ask that Senator [senator’s name] oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh has perjured himself in testimony to Congress, displayed an aggressive and partisan temperament that makes him unfit for a seat on the Supreme Court, dodged questions about his questionable finances, has advocated and ruled against the interests of women, people of color and the LGBT+ community, and is facing credible allegations of sexual assault. He is unfit in every way for a seat on the Supreme Court.

Thank you for your time and attention. [end call]

If leaving a voicemail: Remember to leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied, and if you want a response, leave contact information.

If Your Senators Are Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), or Susan Collins (R-ME)

These are crucial senators, so if they belong to you, get ready to work.

Jeff Flake is likely a firm yes on Kavanaugh, but when you call him, be ready to shame him for his stance.

Heidi Heitcamp and Joe Manchin are Democrats in red Senate districts and they’re wavering towards “yes.” Get on the phone. Get to their offices. Hold their feet to the fire.

Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins are Republicans who have voted against the party line in the past, have expressed doubts about Kavanaugh, and have been facing a lot of anti-Kavanaugh sentiments from their constituents. Get on the phone. Get to their offices. Hold their feet to the fire.

What Else Can You Do?


I’m going to be honest with you. It’s more likely than not that Kavanaugh will be confirmed to the Supreme Court. And once he’s there, it’s basically going to be impossible to get rid of him.

In theory, Congress can impeach a sitting SCotUS Justice. However, doing so would require an astronomical amount of political will and capital. It is extremely doubtful that the Democrats, even if they were able to take the Senate back in the midterm elections, would be able to manage it.

That doesn’t matter. This is one of those fights that you take all the way to the bloody, bitter, ugly end, even if you lose. Because there is no other moral option.

Brett Kavanaugh is a liar who wantonly perjured himself in testimony. His finances are shadier than the dark side of the moon. He’s aggressively partisan. He’s facing credible allegations of sexual assault, and there’s a better than average chance that he’s a rapist.

He believes women, non-white, and LGBT+ people don’t deserve the same basic rights as everyone else. He will work to take rights away from those groups.

In every way, Brett Kavanaugh is unfit for the Supreme Court of the United States. The only reason he’s gotten this far is because a morally bankrupt and wildly corrupt political party has used their power to ram him through to a seat on the court to further their own ends.

So you fight. You take it all the way to the mat. And if we do lose? Then you get up, dust off, and get ready to start lobbying for reform of the Supreme Court. Because this system is clearly broken beyond repair.


UPDATES

  • Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) is a “No” on Kavanaugh, according to CNN’s Jim Sciutto. Call her offices and thank her for voting no, folks. (10/4, 11:18 a.m.)
  • There’s a massive protest happening in D.C. now. Video: 1, 2. (10/4, 11:30 a.m.)
  • Sen. Flake is apparently “still having issues” with Kavanaugh, according to the Atlantic’s Elaina Plott. If he’s your senator, now is your time to call. (10/4, 12:30 p.m.)
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) has filed a motion to expedite the consideration of his request for a temporary restraining order against the vote to confirm Kavanaugh, according to BuzzFeed’s Zoe Tillman. No idea if that’s gonna go anywhere. (10/4, 2:50 p.m.)