THE KING CAN DO NO WRONG: Trump's lawyers are out there arguing that the president can't obstruct justice because he's the president. The Washington Post reports:
The brazen assertion Monday by one of President Trump’s lawyers that a president cannot be found guilty of obstruction of justice signaled a controversial defense strategy in the wide-ranging Russia probe, as Trump’s political advisers are increasingly concerned about the legal advice he is receiving.
This should come as news to the members of Congress who drafted articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. Clinton was successfully impeached for obstruction of justice, Nixon resigned before he could be impeached. (Clinton was impeached by the House but the Senate didn't vote to convict, so Clinton got to serve out the rest of his second term.) It'll also come as news to Jeff Sessions, Trump's racist shit stain of an Attorney General, who argued that president can so obstruct justice when, as a member of the U.S. Senate, he voted to convict Bill Clinton. (Sessions will probably issue a clarification later today: Democratic presidents can obstruct justice, Republican presidents cannot.)
"When the president does it, that means it is not illegal," Nixon believed. That didn't work out for Nixon. Reaching further back in history, King Charles I made the same argument Nixon made then and Tump's lawyers are making now: "No learned lawyer will affirm that an impeachment can lie against the King," Charles told the High Court of Justice, "[because] the King can do no wrong." And how'd that argument work out for Charles? Oh, right:
That's not a 17th Century Kathy Griffin holding a prop. That's the executioner holding up the lifeless head of Charles I, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc., after the incompetent, blundering, tyrannical monarch was put to death on January 30, 1649. Charles Stuart's eldest son would one day sit on his throne — meet Charles Stuart, Jr. — so, yeah, here's hoping history doesn't repeat itself. Impeachment and conviction? Bring it on. A beheading at dawn? No, no, no. Not unless you like the sound of "President Donald J. Trump Jr."
SERIAL SEXUAL PREDATOR BOOSTS SERIAL CHILD PREDATOR: "The Republican National Committee is reinstating its support of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore after initially cutting ties over allegations of sexual misconduct," The Hill reports. "[The] RNC had decided to step back into the race just hours after President Trump fully endorsed the controversial candidate." I'd play a game of Let's Pretend here — let's pretend a gay candidate for Senate was banned from a mall for chasing teenage boys around and was credibly accused of molesting a 14-year-old boy — but it's too depressing. And playing Let's Pretend with Trump — let's pretend a black candidate for president fathered four children by three different women, bankrupted numerous businesses, admitted on tape to sexually assaulting scores of other women, etc. — didn't keep Trump from winning the election.
TAX PLAN DESIGNED TO SCREW BLUE STATES: We knew this, right? "While the Republican tax overhaul would add up to an overall tax cut for individual taxpayers, at least through 2025, millions could still immediately receive a tax increase," the New York Times reports. "For many, particularly in Democratic areas, the increase would come from the repeal of the state and local tax deduction, known as SALT."
SHE'LL SEE YOU IN COURT: "A New York judge will hear oral arguments Tuesday afternoon about whether a defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump should be allowed to proceed," BuzzFeed reports. "Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump’s reality TV show The Apprentice, has said that he kissed her and grabbed her when she went to see him in 2007 about a possible job at the Trump Organization. She filed suit this past January, after Trump said her claim was a lie."
TWO TROUBLING SCOTUS MOVES: The Supreme Court let stand a Texas state Supreme Court ruling that threatens to gut the rights of married same-sex couples and SCOTUS allowed Trump's Muslim travel ban to go into effect. The average age of the conservative justices is 62 (not including Kennedy), the average age of the liberal justices is 69 (not including Kennedy). Include Kennedy with the liberals — Kennedy has authored every major gay rights ruling — and the average age of the liberals on the court jumps to 71. The three oldest justices are Ginsberg (84), Kennedy (81), and Breyer (79). Once again, the election of Donald Trump was a catastrophe. Evangelical/conservative voters who didn't support Trump thought of the Supreme Court and held their noses and voted for Trump. Way too many liberals and progressives refused to think of the Supreme Court — and the harm a court with one, two, three, or four Trump/Pence appointees could do to women, queers, people of color, Muslims, Native Americans, the environment, etc., etc., — and vote for Hillary Clinton. Elections have consequences, as they say. So does political purity.
SPEAKING OF SCOTUS: Oral arguments will be heard today in the "Gay Wedding Cake" case, aka "Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission." A ruling in favor of the baker — who refused to sell a wedding cake to a same-sex couple because same-sex weddings are sin-icky — could shred legal protections for LGBT people. Amanda Marcotte posted an explainer on the case over at Salon, and John Corvino did a deep dive (a thick slice?) in an editorial for the New York Times. Sure could've used a Merrick Garland up there today.
WEAK ON CRIME: Trump attacked the FBI and the propagandists at Fox News immediately fell in line...
The point is clear: the #FBI is out of control and not just in the @realDonaldTrump investigation. An agency charged with enforcing the law clearly considers itself above the law. That's a threat to you, and every American, no matter who you voted for. #Tucker @FoxNews
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) December 5, 2017
CALIFORNIA IS BURNING: Another city is on fire. "A fast-moving, wind-fueled wildfire swept into the city of Ventura early Tuesday, burning 31,000 acres, destroying homes and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate," the LA Times reports. "About 150 structures — including at least one large apartment complex — were consumed by flames, and many more were threatened as the fire crept about a quarter mile away from City Hall." The fire exploded so suddenly that people were forced to flee in the middle of the night and people in my timeline on Twitter were urging their followers to call anyone they new in Ventura to wake them and urge them to flee. But remember, kids: climate change is hoax.
WE ARE KILLING EVERYTHING: "The world’s oceans are under the greatest threat in history, according to Sir David Attenborough," The Guardian reports. "The seas are a vital part of the global ecosystem, leaving the future of all life on Earth dependent on humanity’s actions, he says. Attenborough will issue the warning in the final episode of the Blue Planet 2 series, which details the damage being wreaked in seas around the globe by climate change, plastic pollution, overfishing and even noise." Sooner or later the earth is going to shrug off three of four billion of us. At least. The only is whether we're going to succeed in killing absolutely everything else first.
WILL THEY COMPLY? Will the tech giants comply with Seattle's election laws? Something they're, you know, kindasorta legally required to do? "The amount being spent on digital ads in local Seattle races is a sign of digital media's growing importance in winning votes," Eli Sanders reports. "And what the Russian campaign showed us is that digital ad buys can — and will — be used by pretty much anyone, anywhere who wants to quietly influence elections with disinformation and other malicious propaganda. If that ever happens in a local Seattle race, or if it's already happening in local Seattle races, how will we know?" Eli is trying to find out. Read the whole thing here.
THE THREAT OF SINGLE FAMILY HOUSING: NIMBY's aren't just pricing working people, poor people, and middle class people out of Seattle by blocking efforts to rezone the city to increase density, walkability, and affordability. They're blocking one of the best ways to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, David Roberts
argues proves (with data and facts and science and stuff) over at Vox.
DOGGIN' DURKAN: Protesters likely to be a regular feature at new Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan's public appearances, Capitol Hill Seattle predicts.
ARMPIT OF THE DAY: This is an advent calendar...
...and it is not sexy because Christmas is not sexy and photoshopping shaved and oiled up armpits over trees and fireplaces and fairy lights isn't going to make Christmas sexy. So stop.