US Capitol, by Martin Falbisoner

We’re getting votes on reopening the government.

Heads up, y’all. McConnell’s finally allowing a vote on bills to reopen the government.

Via @SenateCloakroom: “The Senate has proceeded to H.R.268, Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2019. Votes Scheduled: At 2:30 pm on Thursday, January 24th, the Senate will proceed to 2 votes on the following in relation to H.R.268, Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2019: 1. Motion to invoke cloture on Amendment #5 | 2. Motion to invoke cloture on Amendment #6.”

One of the votes is for Trump’s “compromise” (which is not actually a compromise but a bunch of empty “promises” he will promptly backslide on) and one is for one of the House bills for govt. funding, but no funding for the wall. (Still sorting out which is which.)

Read this Twitter thread for instructions. TL;DR? Call your GOP senators (if you have them), particularly if your senator is Tillis, Gardner, Murkowski, Collins or Capito, and tell them to vote YES on the House bill and NO on the Trump compromise bill.

I Voted Sticker


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. Get ready to vote:

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.

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 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.


  • 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.)
Donald Trump, by Gage Skidmore

Only one thing to read today: the Trump administration is stealing citizenship away from Latino Americans on the border.

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.
– Martin Niemöller

From the Washington Post: U.S. is denying passports to Americans along the border, throwing their citizenship into question.

Hospitals are expensive. In some states that border Mexico, it’s common for poorer populations to use a midwife when they’re giving birth instead of going to the hospital, because it’s cheaper. In the past some midwives were caught issuing US birth certificates to babies who were not actually born on US soil. There’s no real way to find out how often that might have happened. We briefly tried to go after and prosecute fraudulent birth certificates issued this way, under Presidents Bush II and Obama, but it turned out to be pretty much impossible, then there were lawsuits, which the administrations eventually settled.

Basically the government threw their hands in the air at the impossibility of sorting it all out and the resultant litigation of doing so, and said, “Fine, hell with it, whatever, it wasn’t that many anyway.”

Now, right now, the Trump administration is using the occasional fraudulent birth certificate discovered in the past to justify yanking citizenship from Latinos who live in Texas near the Mexican border, who apply for passports. And of course, once a Latino’s citizenship comes into question, authorities can detain and deport them pretty much at will.

His official American birth certificate shows he was delivered by a midwife in Brownsville, at the southern tip of Texas. He spent his life wearing American uniforms: three years as a private in the Army, then as a cadet in the Border Patrol and now as a state prison guard.

But when Juan, 40, applied to renew his U.S. passport this year, the government’s response floored him. In a letter, the State Department said it didn’t believe he was an American citizen.

As he would later learn, Juan is one of a growing number of people whose official birth records show they were born in the United States but who are now being denied passports — their citizenship suddenly thrown into question. The Trump administration is accusing hundreds, and possibly thousands, of Hispanics along the border of using fraudulent birth certificates since they were babies, and it is undertaking a widespread crackdown. [Source]

Juan up there was asked to supply some pretty obscure documents to prove his citizenship: “evidence of his mother’s prenatal care, his baptismal certificate, rental agreements from when he was a baby.”

Do you have any of that? I don’t. Maybe my mother has some of it. She keeps a lot of paperwork. I kinda doubt she still has hospital bills from when I was born, though.

Also, I’ll point out that I’m currently lucky enough to still have two living parents, who still live where I was born, and who are the type of people who keep documents in an organized fashion. The hospital I was born in still exists, but man, would they have records of billing from 40+ years ago? And if they did, what kind of hellish hoops would I have to jump through to get it?

If your birth certificate didn’t count, could you prove you were born here?

In some cases, passport applicants with official U.S. birth certificates are being jailed in immigration detention centers and entered into deportation proceedings. In others, they are stuck in Mexico, their passports suddenly revoked when they tried to reenter the United States. As the Trump administration attempts to reduce both legal and illegal immigration, the government’s treatment of passport applicants in South Texas shows how U.S. citizens are increasingly being swept up by immigration enforcement agencies. [Source]

This administration has shown, well past reasonable doubt, that if you don’t meet their notions of what it means to be American, you are not. And if you are not, then they’re coming for you.

If you aren’t a straight white conservative male, or a straight white woman attached to a straight white conservative male, the Trump administration thinks you are not welcome here.

Do you fit that description? I could maybe pass for it in bad light if I had to, but I’ve been on the Internet spouting off my decidedly liberal opinions a lot, so I wouldn’t want to put money on it.

This is going to sound overblown. This will sound like hyperbole, hysterics. But people. This is it. The time is now. You better draw your line in the sand and stand by it, right here, right now, or this American experiment is over. You better march. You better get on the phone with your representatives. You better be raising all the hell you can. You better get your ass out and vote.

Either that, or you better get used to living in a fascist hellscape.