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Opposition to birthright citizenship by Republicans is often claimed to be about immigration.

It isn’t. This is good ole’ fashioned neo-Confederate pining for the return of slavery.

Birthright citizenship as created by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution exists for a reason, which is to both eliminate the slave class that existed at that time, and to prevent the emergence of a new slave class that can be exploited because its members are not citizens. Granted, we’re doing that to Mexicans right now… but only one generation’s worth. Their children are Americans with full rights, meaning that we’re not generating a perpetual slave class.

The authors of the 14th Amendment were clear: They wanted to not only eliminate the current slave class of the time, but to also prevent the creation of a new slave class based upon stripping or denying citizenship to people born in America. Opponents of birthright citizenship may claim they are not proponents of slavery, just as readers of Playboy may claim that they read it only for the stories and don’t actually support pornography. But that argument doesn’t hold water. If you’re paying for Playboy, you’re supporting pornography. If you’re eliminating the 14th Amendment, you’re supporting slavery. The fact that you claim you’re doing it for some other reason is irrelevant.

That is all.

– Badtux the Constitutional Penguin

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Virtually all economically wealthy people (and I mean people who are millionaires) got there by underpaying their workers. The workers are the people who created their wealth, the workers are the people who created the products and manufactured the products and sold the products to customers and maintain the products, the millionaire owners have simply kept more of the output of the workers than is justified by what they put into the business. If they shared the wealth created by the workers with the workers in proportion to the amount of that wealth that was created by the workers, they wouldn’t be wealthy. Well off, but not buy-a-Lear-jet-to-fly-to-my-vacation-home-in-the-Bahamas wealthy.

So yes, Elon Musk is evil. When his dot-com got sold he got a huge sum of money even though he himself did not create that dot-com, all he did was invest some money in it. The employees who built that dot com should have gotten their fair share of that wealth that they built, they were the ones who built the web site and back end infrastructure and everything, but they didn’t, Elon took a disproportionate amount. That’s what I mean by evil. Elon gets paid in stock grants that workers who created the wealth of Tesla don’t get (while they are otherwise working long hours for low pay in unsafe conditions). The fact that he has a flair for PR and has done some not-evil things with wealth that should have belonged to the workers who created that wealth doesn’t change the fact that Elon Musk is evil. It merely means he’s trying to absolve the stain upon his soul.

As for the PR stunt of promising clean water for Flint, the devil is, of course, in the details. I doubt Musk is going to spend $1.5 billion to rip up all the streets in Flint to put new water mains under them and new non-leaded laterals to houses, which is what would be required to actually fix it. For one thing, he doesn’t actually have $1.5 billion, not without selling all of his stock in his various ventures. My guess is that he’s going to fund some water filters for people’s houses. Yay. Big fucking deal.

A capitalist system with a working banking system doesn’t require oligarchs in order to start businesses and provide a fair return to the owners of capital. That’s what banks are for. Too bad we don’t have a capitalist system with a working banking system…

— Badtux the semi-Communist Penguin

Bigots are always saying “but *my* ancestors were *legal* immigrants, unlike these brown people who just walked across the border!”.

Yeah? Really? So, how’d those ancestors become legal immigrants?

Hint: It was the same fucking way that my own ancestors became legal immigrants: they just walked across the fucking border.

Deal being, until the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Immigration Act of 1882, there wasn’t a law anywhere on the books that kept you from entering the United States and becoming a citizen. You entered the United States, found a judge or magistrate somewhere to stamp your passport with an entry stamp, and five years later you took that passport to a judge or magistrate and turned it in for citizenship papers. That’s all there was to it. You just fucking walked across the goddamn border, and that was it. There was no such thing as a “legal” immigrant or “illegal” immigrant. There were just immigrants, who, five years later, became citizens.

You get these inbred redneck racist cretins who excuse their racist rantings with “well, *my* ancestors were *legal* immigrants” when their ancestors did the exact same fucking thing as the current immigrants — i.e., they just fucking walked across the goddamn border — and you know it ain’t about legality at that point. It was impossible to be an illegal immigrant back when their ancestors entered the country. There was no such thing as an illegal immigrant back then. All you had to fucking do was walk across the goddamn border and presto, you were a goddamn legal immigrant.

Nowadays, it’s pretty much goddamn impossible to legally immigrate to here from Latin American countries. For example, Mexico. A few years ago, 1.38 million Mexican citizens were waiting in line for a United States work visa or an immigration visa through a family member. But there were only 26,000 visas made available for Mexico that year. That’s a 53 year waiting list. Most of the people on that list are going to be dead before they actually get an immigration visa. The other Latin American countries have similar waiting lists, all of which basically boil down to, “we don’t want your kind here”.

To say that this is different from the way my ancestors came to America is an understatement. My ancestors from England and Scotland stepped off a boat, stepped across the border, and they were fucking legal. They did the exact same goddamn thing that all these recent refugees did — they stepped across a border — and that was all it fucking took, people. There wasn’t any such thing as an “illegal” immigrant back then. It was literally impossible to be an illegal immigrant back then. There was no such thing.

So saying your ancestor was a legal immigrant, when your ancestor came here before 1882, is ridiculous. There was no such as a “legal” immigrant back then, just as there was no such thing as an “illegal” immigrant back then. There was just immigrants, who, five years after stepping across the border, became citizens. That’s all it took — stepping across the border. Well, before 1882, anyhow. That was before racists took over our immigration policy, but that’s another story for another day.

– Badtux the Legal Penguin

By 2040 or so, because most young Americans (and immigrants) are migrating to the few large metropolitan areas in states where jobs are plentiful, 70 percent of Americans will live in 15 states. Meaning 30 percent of the population will choose 70% of the senators. And the 30% minority choosing 70% of the Senate will be older, whiter, more rural, more male than the 70% majority who are only getting to vote for 30% of the Senators.

I do not see how the United States is going to survive this. Not as a democracy, anyhow. We have a name for a nation where 30% of the population rules the other 70% of the population. That name is *not* democracy or even republic. That name is “tyranny”.

Americans have thus far shown a remarkable tolerance for living in a police state, as long as that police state is primarily targeting brown people. (For details of this police state, read Radley Balko’s columns in Reason and the Washington Post). But once 30% of the population is using police state powers to impose their rule upon 70% of the population, they may find that the tolerance of Americans is limited. I don’t see a good outcome from that end state. At least, not an outcome that is nonviolent.

– Badtux the Demographics Penguin

A former ICE chief counsel is facing prison time for stealing immigrants’ identities.

ICE defends America from the Singing Children of Mass Cuteness.

ICE commits 1,600 violations of the Constitution of the United States of America.

ICE has been violating its own policy as well as a court order and the Constitution by failing to exercise individual due process and instead doing mass incarceration. Turns out that due process requires that you make individual determinations, not a blanket “all of group X will be incarcerated”. Who coulda figured?!

Am I saying that a massive paramilitary organization with almost no oversight has ended up being a huge problem, overstepped its authority wildly, and turned into a terrifying force that threatens to permanently damage our democracy by trampling on our most fundamental rights at every opportunity? No way. Surely nobody in Congress could have seen that coming. It’s so unexpected. SNRK.

It’s built into the agency’s genome, people. By creating an agency that has only a single purpose — deporting as many people as possible — the Homeland Security Act created an agency that has an incentive to trample people’s rights in a lawless rush to deport as many people as possible (like, duh?). ICE is irredeemably corrupt. The agency should be abolished and re-established as a new combined entity with USCIS as INS, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, with a director who is as committed to naturalizing new citizens as he is to deporting wannabe-citizens. Having an entire department that is only about deporting immigrants — and not at all about naturalizing immigrants — gives them an incentive to trample on rights in order to deport as many people as possible, whereas a more balanced agency’s incentives work differently.

But hey, as long as it’s brown people having their rights trampled on, who cares, right? Right?!

– Badtux the Sadly Snarky Penguin

If every single member of the Walton family died tomorrow, nobody would notice until the next Walmart board meeting. Even then, all that would happen would be that the outside directors would appoint new board members. You would go to Walmart and it’d be operating as usual

If every single shelf stocker and cashier walked out of Walmart tomorrow and nobody took their place, Walmart would be done. There would be no more company. Because it is the cashiers and shelf stockers who keep the shelves stocked and the money flowing. Without merchandise on the shelves, without cashiers taking money in exchange for that merchandise, there is no Walmart.

Who, then, creates the wealth? It isn’t the Waltons. It is the shelf stockers and cashiers and the purchasing officers and the truckers who bring the goods to the stores and all those other little people. The Waltons are not billionaires because of their hard work or genius. They are billionaires because of government saying that they own the wealth created by all those shelf stockers. Without government police to enforce their ownership of this wealth created by others, they would be as impoverished as a Central American peasant on a subsistence farm. More impoverished, actually. The Central American peasants at least know how to grow their own food. I doubt any Walton has ever gotten his or her hands dirty in the soil, nevermind growing food with them.

If it makes me a socialist to say that the Waltons should be taxed in order to provide health care and education for the people who actually created their wealth, so be it. They are leeches who have wealth only because government allows them to take it from the actual wealth creators, the workers who work in their stores, and if government wants to take some of that wealth back after providing the men with guns that allow them to steal it from the workers in the first place… well, I don’t see what the problem is.

If health care and education for all Americans is “socialism”, then I’m a proud socialist. Economies exist to benefit *all* the people, not just a handful of billionaires who’ve managed to grift their way to the top by rigging the system so they can loot wealth created by others via government guns.

Carl Hiaasen’s younger brother was gunned down in Annapolis, Maryland today along with four others executed for the crime of being a journalist.

Unknown is whether the killer was a MAGAt, spurred into violence by his fascist overlords in the White House and elsewhere. It would not be the first time that fascists attacked newspapers. Their campaign was largely successful in Weimar Germany — of all of Germany’s newspapers, only one single newspaper, the Munich Post, dared to oppose Hitler directly. The rest of Germany’s press, cowed by the brownshirts / MAGAts, tried to be “fair” to the Nazis. For their trouble their reporters and editors ended up in the exact same concentration camps as the reporters and editors of the Munich Post. Appeasement, it turns out, is a rather ineffective tactic for dealing with fascists. As is civility.

Let us hope that our own newspapers have learned that lesson. I’m not holding my breath though.

– Badtux the News Penguin