Tuesday Reads

Good Morning!!

Trump came up with another shiny object for his fans today. He told Axios that he plans to issue an executive order ending birthright citizenship. That would involve invalidating the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. There would be legal challenges and the question would end up in the Supreme Court. Would the Kavanaugh court go along with Trump? The New York Times:

President Trump said he was preparing an executive order to end birthright citizenship in the United States, his latest attention-grabbing maneuver days before midterm congressional elections, during which he has sought to activate his base by vowing to clamp down on immigrants and immigration.

“We’re the only country in the world where a person comes in and has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years, with all of those benefits,” Mr. Trump told Axios during an interview that was released in part on Tuesday. “It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous. And it has to end.”

In fact, dozens of other countries, including Canada, Mexico and many others in the Western Hemisphere, grant automatic birthright citizenship, according to a study by the Center for Immigration Studies, an organization that supports restricting immigration and whose work Mr. Trump’s advisers often cite.

Um . . . no.

Doing away with birthright citizenship for the children of undocumented immigrants was an idea Mr. Trump pitched as a presidential candidate, but there is no clear indication that he would be able to do so unilaterally, and attempting to would be certain to prompt legal challenges….

To accomplish the idea he floated on Tuesday, Mr. Trump would have to find a way around the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The amendment means that any child born in the United States is considered a citizen. Amendments to the Constitution cannot be overridden by presidential action, and can be changed or undone only by overwhelming majorities in Congress or the states, with a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or through a constitutional convention called for by two-thirds of state legislatures.

Hillary Clinton predicted in 2016 that Trump would try this.

Trump is really going all out with the hate leading up to November 6. This is just one more disgusting example of his pandering to the far right while trying to get the media to stop talking about violence attacks that he has contributed to with his rhetoric at his vile Hitler rallies.

Despite pleas from Pittsburgh’s Mayor and members of the Jewish community, Trump plans to go to visit the grieving city this afternoon. NPR: Trump To Visit Pittsburgh Despite Objections From Mayor, Jewish Leaders.

President Trump plans to travel to Pittsburgh on Tuesday afternoon, as the city continues to mourn Saturday’s massacre that claimed the lives of 11 worshippers at a synagogue.

When Trump arrives, he is expected to meet with members of the local Jewish community. But the visit comes despite the wishes of some political and religious leaders who felt that the president should come at a later date — or not at all.

The visit is the same day of the first funerals for those killed at the Tree of Life synagogue.

The city’s Democratic mayor, Bill Peduto, urged the president not to come while friends and families were burying their loved ones.

“I do believe that it would be best to put the attention on families this week and if he were to visit, choose a different time to do it,” Peduto told CNN.

CNN: Local, national officials decline to appear with Trump in Pittsburgh.

Local and national officials are declining to appear with President Donald Trump on Tuesday when he visits a grieving Pittsburgh, where funerals for slain congregants at the Tree of Life synagogue are set to begin.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were all invited to join the President on his visit but declined, according to two congressional sources.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pennsylvania, was also invited to join Trump in Pittsburgh but declined, according to a spokesman, citing previous commitments in another part of the state.

A spate of local and state officials also said they would not appear with Trump when he visits a hospital and pays respects to the 11 victims of Saturday’s massacre.

The White House has declined to say who the President will meet with when he travels to Pittsburgh on Tuesday afternoon. One official described the visit as “understated.” He’ll be joined by the first lady, as well as daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who are Jewish.

You’d think Trump would postpone this trip when even Mitch McConnell declined to accompany him. I wonder what he’s up to?

And then there’s Mike Pence and his fake rabbi. Pence asked a “rabbi” from “Jews for Jesus” to speak at an event he held in Michigan. The Jewish News: ‘Jews for Jesus’ Rabbi Speaks at Campaign Rally with VP Pence, Lena Epstein

An invocation from messianic Christian rabbi Loren Jacobs at a campaign rally in Waterford for Republican congressional candidate Lena Epstein has sparked outrage mere days after 11 Jews were murdered in Pittsburgh because of their faith.

Vice President Mike Pence, a devout Christian, was at the rally for Epstein. A spokesperson for Pence said he did not know Loren Jacobs of the Messianic congregation Shema Yisrael when he invited him to offer a prayer for the Tree of Life synagogue victims gunned down by an anti-Semite last weekend.

“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God and Father of my Lord and Savior Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, and my God and Father too,” Jacobs, wearing a tallit, said. Jacobs was ordained at an evangelical seminary and uses the title “rabbi.” As Pence stood next to him, Jacobs ended his prayer by saying, “in the name of Jesus.”

Jews for Jesus, as many call messianic Christians, are not accepted in mainstream Judaism as one of their main missions is the conversion of Jews to Christianity. After Jacobs’ prayer, many took to social media to express their anger that a Jewish rabbi had not been asked to give the invocation.

A Pence aide told the Associated Press that Jacobs was invited to pray at the event by GOP congressional candidate Lena Epstein…..Rabbi Jason Miller said on Facebook that Epstein could have chosen any one of at least 60 rabbis on a directory of Michigan rabbis. “Yet the only rabbi they could find to offer a prayer for the 11 Jewish victims in Pittsburgh at the Mike Pence rally was a local Jews for Jesus rabbi? That’s pathetic!”

Epstein attempted to justify her recommendation–you can read her statement at the link. It certainly appears that Trump and Pence are trying to signal to their followers that more anti-Semitic violence will be met with shrugs from the administration.

Please check out this Twitter thread by Rafael Shiminov.

Shiminov writes that Jacobs (the fake rabbi) offered prayers for Republican candidates and the Republican Party and did not even pray for the victims of the massacre in Pittsburgh until Pence brought him up after the event to amend his remarks! Shiminov says this sends a clear message to Trumpists.

One final depressing story before I end this depressing post (h/t Delphyne).

The New York Times: 2 Sisters Were Found Dead in the River, Duct-Taped Together. Police Have Few Answers.

A person strolling through Riverside Park last Wednesday afternoon spotted something jarring on the riverbank and called the police.

There, below a small pier that juts out from the park at 68th Street, lay the bodies of two young women, bound together by duct tape at their waists and ankles. They had not been in the water long, the police said. Clad in similar black leggings and black jackets with fur trim, their bodies bore no obvious signs of trauma.

The police initially had trouble identifying the young women. Hints that they might be related surfaced a day after they were found when police sketches revealed striking similarities: the same curly dark hair, the same build, the same skin tone.

By Friday, detectives had learned the women were sisters from Saudi Arabia who lived in Fairfax, Va.

Rotana Farea was 22; Tala Farea was 16. They had a history of going missing, and they had recently requested asylum in the United States, the police said.

But beyond that, the circumstances of their deaths have remained a mystery. Investigators have struggled to piece together how two young women from a city more than 250 miles away turned up along Manhattan’s Hudson River shoreline.

The police are investigating the possibility that the sisters may have carried out a suicide pact, taping themselves together and throwing themselves in the river. But detectives have not ruled out murder. The medical examiner’s office has yet to determine the cause of death. No one has claimed the bodies.

Here’s Twitter thread about this story by Mona Eltahawy.

That’s about all I can handle for today. Please post your own thoughts and links in the comment thread below.

44 Comments on “Tuesday Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Trump and Stephen Miller are about to “test” the SC through their choice of Kavanaugh.

    Will he or won’t he vote in favor of this policy? We all know Kavanaugh is in favor of expanding “presidential powers”, even overruling the Constitution itself.

    Trump will stop at nothing to get what he wants. This latest is merely a test on how far the SC is willing to go to appease him.

    Another breach in the rule of law.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Whitey Bulger has been found dead after being moved to a new prison, according Pete Williams on MSNBC. Bulger was 89. It’s not known yet whether he was murdered.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Apparently someone is trying to frame Robert Mueller.

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. NW Luna says:

    I’m surprised that tallit stayed on Jacobs.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. NW Luna says:

    I woke up this morning, checked Twitter which was full of Trump moves to overrule US Constitution, and Hillary Was Right Again You M-fcking Idiots. Then I turned to the WaPo which was sedately talking about the interesting legal questions involved with getting rid of the 14th Amendment. Well, some of their coverage was realistic, but they are still doing bothsiderism. Bothsiderism like this will kill democracy sooner rather than later.

  8. dakinikat says:

  9. bostonboomer says:

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  11. dakinikat says:

  12. OG says:

    The Surprem Court could rule that the 14th does not apply to children of parents who are not permanent residents of the US unless one of them is a US citizen.
    I think that is a reasonable way to interprer the law. That is basically the rule in most countries with a few exceptions.
    I don’t agree that it is right for a citizen and resident of another country to come to the US for a week do their child would be a US citizen. That should not be the law.

  13. quixote says:

    (bb, there was an unclosed “blockquote” which was affecting the formatting. Went in and fixed it. Hope that’s ok!)

  14. Riverbird says:

    For the first time since I cancelled cable TV years ago, I wish I could get MSNBC. Beto O’Rourke is on Hardball right now.

    • Riverbird says:

      Although I couldn’t watch, I found an audio stream. Beto did very well and Chris Matthews didn’t interrupt him.

      • dakinikat says:

        whoa … didn’t interrupt? That’s a rare thing!

        • Sweet Sue says:

          It sure is. I can’t tell you how many times I scream “shut up” to the TV when Matthew’s bloviating.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I don’t watch him anymore, but Ari Melber is almost as bad and I’ve stopped watching him too.

            I’ve noticed that Matthews tends to interrupt women more than men. He will let Malcolm Nance talk uninterrupted, for example.

  15. dakinikat says:

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  18. dakinikat says:

    For those of you wondering WTF Ghouliani has been up to …

    • NW Luna says:

      “The conference program listed him as appearing on a panel that also included a Russian currently on the U.S. sanctions list …”

      Because of course. Everything about Trump leads back to Putin, corruption, or both.

  19. NW Luna says:

    Suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue shooting is charged in 44-count hate-crime indictment

    The indictment charges Bowers, a truck driver, with killing 11 people, and for each of those victims he faces separate counts of obstruction of free exercise of religion resulting in death and of using a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence.

    He also faces charges of attempting to kill people exercising their religious beliefs and civil rights charges related to injuring several police officers who responded to the attack.

  20. NW Luna says:

    Amazing work — look at the photos if you can access the WaPo story. I changed “quilts” to “textile art” when I tweeted this because women’s textile art is so often downgraded to the merely utilitarian.

    As the immigration debate rages, she quietly counts the dead along the border — and memorializes them with quilts

    [Jody] Ipsen has dedicated countless hours to recognizing and remembering those people who died seeking a better life. She’s the founder of the Migrant Quilt Project, an organization that makes a quilt each year with volunteers who stitch the names of the deceased. The 17 quilts that have so far been stitched have incorporated scraps of clothing found in desert migrant camps.

    In 2007, Ipsen, now 48, came up with The Migrant Quilt Project and the idea to use scraps of clothing found in the migrant camps to memorialize those who had died. She and other volunteers decided to make a quilt each year, and also for each year going back to 2000, when the medical examiner first began recording the number of migrant deaths.

    quilters never use clothing that came directly from deceased migrants …. “It’s heartbreaking to cut the embroidered word ‘baby’ from a piece of clothing and insert it into a quilt block,” Laird said. “The dead were so hopeful of a better existence, fleeing from impossible circumstances. I am honored to embroider their names.”