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- Joe Biden Whispers In Your Ear: You And Me, Baby, 2020Former Vice President Joe Biden finally ended all the suspense today and announced his candidacy for president, so finally people can stop saying "but he's not even RUNNING" when the early polls put him in first place. Now it's time to switch to pointing out that in early 2003 polling, Joe Freakin' Lieberman was the front-runner. Biden announced he was running with a video taking a very direct shot at Donald Trump, noting that Charlottesville, Virginia, is where Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, but that's not what anyone today thinks of when they hear the name: Joe Biden For President: America Is An Idea http://www.youtube.com It's a pretty good video! As rhetorical contrasts go, you can't find many greater chasms than that between the idealism of "All men are created equal" -- and props to Biden's writers for including a note that Jefferson didn't live up to that ideal himself -- and "some very fine people on both sides" of the white supremacist march that left a young anti-fascist marcher dead. Biden says Trump's awful moral equivalence to Charlottesville crystalized his own determination to stop Trump from a second term: "In that moment, I knew the threat to our nation was unlike any I'd ever seen in my lifetime." Referencing an opinion piece he wrote for the Atlantic at the time, Biden says, We are in the battle for the soul of this nation [...] I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time. But if we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House, he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation, who we are, and I cannot stand by and watch that happen.Beyond that "We are all Americans and we don't stand for hate" messaging, the video doesn't go with specifics, because everyone knows who Joe Biden is by this point, and presumably the policy stuff will come later. And if it doesn't, Elizabeth Warren will release a policy proposal about THAT, and it will be brilliant.Donald Trump, or in this case, someone tweeting on the "Donald Trump" account, was quick to share an insult that was at least Trumpian in its lameness: Sick and demented ideas like providing people affordable healthcare and addressing climate change, o, the horror. Yr Wonkette is still waiting for The Onion to weigh in on the 2020 run of the man it turned into a crazy old-fart slacker icon with its story about Biden washing a 1982 Trans Am in the White House driveway while blasting Night Ranger. (Fact Check: Biden owns a 1967 Corvette that he wasn't allowed to drive while veep.) As for the guy who did the second most to make Biden a national figure, Barack Obama is carefully saying nice things about Biden, through a spokesperson, while not endorsing any of the 2020 Democratic candidates. "President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made," said Obama spokeswoman Katie Hill. "He relied on the Vice President's knowledge, insight and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today."Yr Wonkette hopes Old Handsome Joe has fun running, and that someone else gets the nomination, because it is 2019 and Biden's handling of Anita Hill's testimony in 1998 is still disqualifying, not to mention his not entirely serious response to women pointing out that unwanted hugs and hair-sniffing is just gross. Dude, joking about it is not how it's done. Then there's the crime bill, which he wrote, and the bankruptcy bill, and a host of others that are -- how shall we put this boringly -- "not where the energy of the Democratic base is at the moment." Maybe we could find him a job as permanent fun pretend VP somewhere. Or just permanent VP. That'd be fine! We love Old Handsome Joe. Just not for president, not now, not when there's Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris (OR BOTH!) on the stage.Biden will appear on ABC's "The View" tomorrow for his first TV interview after announcing, and is scheduled to hold a campaign kickoff event Monday in Pittsburgh, emphasizing union themes. So that's all fine, that's nice, it's ... sigh, okay.Now here's your T-shirt (and mug, and tote bag), for old times' sake! https://wonkettebazaar.com/products/joe-biden-2020-mens-and-womens-tees [CNN / WaPo / Joe Biden on YouTube]Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations! Please help Yr Wonkette juggle all 20 Democrats running in 2020 by sending us some money! How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Milo Yiannopoulos C*ckblocked In Oklahoma :(Poor sad Milo Yiannopoulos. Having fallen from what passes for the heights of alt-right glory, he's now reduced to begging people to please show up and be offended by him, like in that old Onion story about Marilyn Manson going door to door hoping to shock people. And even that grift isn't working so great for Yiannopoulos, it turns out, since he's been left in the lurch by the sponsors of a talk at a community college in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Were it anyone else, we'd suggest he might feel some empathy for the average subcontractor who did work for Donald Trump, but we suspect he'd look at us blankly and say, "No, this was ME getting stiffed. How could this happen to ME?" Yiannopoulos announced his latest sad news in a post on Instagram, a truly insufficient medium since it doesn't let you see the tears and impotent rage: Such a sad fellow, and SO ILL USED! Poor lad can't even blame "The Left." I regret to announce that my sponsor for the Oklahoma events has failed to produce the funds needed for the events, and left me in debt to designers, lawyers and admin staff. I couldn't get a response out of him for days after three missed payment deadlines and today he confirmed he's dropping out entirely! Ho hum. Thank goodness, Milo knows who's really suffering here. It is him, HO HUM. Also, his throngs of adoring fans! Sorry to the hundreds of fans who have been writing excitedly over the past few weeks. Doesn't look like these speeches will happen now.Oh, and the "designers, lawyers and admin staff"? Yeah, sucks to be them! Maybe he'll pay them. Or not. In any case, now Milo can look forward to his next adventure in grifting. Maybe a dinner theater production of To Kill a Mockingbird, with Milo playing all the parts, including Brett Kavanaugh.[Tulsa World / Image: LeWeb13 Conference at Wikimedia Commons]Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations! Send us money so we won't have to stiff anybody, especially you, our readers, who get all our very best political dick jokes. How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Rudy Giuliani Tells Arby's Drive-Thru Lady That Hillary Better GET A LAWYER!Let's check in with Rudy Giuliani and see what sorts of small children and house pets he's frightening today. From yesterday's edition of "Honey, I Shit The Couch," AKA "Fox & Friends": Giuliani fires back at Hillary Clinton's remarks on Mueller probe http://www.youtube.com How this ever got started in the first place is the next investigation. And Ms. Clinton better get a lawyer. When he says "how this ever got started," he's talking about the investigation into Russian election interference, specifically the part about why the FBI started an investigation into whether Trump or his associates were coordinating with Russia's attempts to steal the election for Trump. (Which is stupid, because WE ALREADY KNOW HOW. George Papadopoulos was cavorting with unsavory characters overseas, got some intel from a guy who knew a ton of Russians close to the Kremlin who told him Russia had Hillary's emails and was going to use them to ratfuck the election, and proceeded to drunkenly spill that information all over an Australian diplomat, who notified his government, which notified our government, etc. BUT REPUBLICANS HAVE SUSPICIONS.) When Giuliani says "Ms. Clinton better get a lawyer," that is a very stupid thing to say because she already has a lawyer. Jesus, she is Hillary Clinton, she carries the best lawyers in the country around in her purse. They are next to the hot sauce. Anything else, Roodles? There used to be a DOJ standing policy you cannot indict a Clinton no matter how much they obstruct justice, no matter how much evidence they destroy and how often they lie and no matter that they committed perjury. Haha, Republicans have been mentally ill since the 1990s and they actually believe this stuff. This is why so many of us don't go home for the holidays anymore. WOMP WOMP. If you hate yourself and have nothing pressing on your to-do list, Roodles said much more to the "Fox & Friends" morons, which you can watch in the clip above. Giuliani, of course, has been making the rounds ever since the redacted and incomplete Mueller Report was released by Attorney General GopherMouth McCoverUp, declaring victory for Trump for all Fox News viewers who will definitely get around to reading it for themselves as soon as "Wheel Of Fortune" is over. The report shows conclusively (without Mueller actually making an official determination) that Donald Trump criminally obstructed justice approximately ONE-THOUSAND ELEVENTY times, in order to fuck with the lawful investigation into whether he or his campaign illegally conspired with Russia to steal the election. And though Mueller "did not establish" a specific criminal conspiracy he could indict, he found ONE-THOUSAND ELEVENTY gross and weird and likely compromising connections between Trump people and Russians, he found the Trump campaign had foreknowledge of the WikiLeaks email releases and planned campaign strategy around them, and he found that Paul Manafort the entire time was passing internal Trump polling to a Russian spy to give to a Russian oligarch, and we don't know exactly why because Manafort lied and because he concealed and destroyed evidence, HEY RUDY GIULIANI, WHAT WERE YOU SAYING ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON AGAIN? Oh yeah, and he found that Russia engaged in a "sweeping and systematic" operation to help steal the election, for Donald Trump. Period, full-stop. So there's that. Of course, Giuliani is on message with this, even if it's a particularly senile version of the message that sounds like the bleating of a goat with STDs. Just look at these screengrabs from Hannity last night: Yeeeeeeeeeah. Who could have ever imagined that Fox News and the GOP would try to distract from the truly grotesque conclusions of the Mueller Report by screaming BUT HILLARY! And it will only get worse now that she's penned an op-ed in the Washington Post on how America should respond to the Mueller Report. Hey, Rudy, what did you think about Hillary's op-ed? Oh, you thought HILLARY'S URANIUM, a conspiracy theory that's been debunked by Fox News? Please refer to what we've been saying about goat STDs. Like we said, they're all on message. Hillary paid for the DIRTY DODGY DOSSIER written by British spy Christopher Steele, and the FBI started a fake news deep state witch hunt investigation solely based on it, because Hillary Clinton is the shadow CEO of the FBI, it is just so obvious. And, disturbingly, Natasha Bertrand reported last week that the forthcoming report from Michael Horowitz, the IG of the Justice Department, is likely to focus on the FBI's reliance on Steele and his dossier to, among other things, procure FISA warrants on Carter Page, and on Steele's reliability as a source in general. That's funny, because we didn't realize Horowitz was that much of a hack. Did we say something is "disturbing"? How about this? Even Bob Woodward, who should fucking know better but occasionally sounds like a common Rudy Giuliani these days, has said it's just disgraceful the way the CIA used the FAKE HILLARY DOSSIER to start the investigation, which ISN'T. WHAT. FUCKING. HAPPENED. BOB. It's scary that this madness is seeping into the mainstream, even if it's only a little bit. It's not that they don't know what really happened in 2016. The truth slips out occasionally, even on Fox News: But cool, whatever. Hillary will get a lawyer, because LOCK HER UP, and out here in the real world, we'll just keep uncovering the truth about the shitmouthed criminal Russia helped install in the White House. The next 12 months are going to be awesome. Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE! Wonkette is ad-free and funded ONLY by YOU, our dear readers. Click below to keep the lights on, please. We appreciate you, most of the time. How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Students For Trump Co-Founder Turns To Life Of Crime And Fake LawyeringLast week, federal agents arrested 23-year-old John Lambert of Tennessee for pretending to be a high-powered New York City attorney and then bilking his "clients" out of over $16,000. Lambert, calling himself Eric Pope, set up a website for a fake law firm called Pope and Dunn, creating biographies for all of his fake lawyers by copying and pasting from the website for an actual NYC law firm, Cravath, Swaine and Moore.On Wednesday, The New York Law Journal reported that this John Lambert is the same John Lambert who co-founded the Students for Trump PAC with another student named Ryan Fournier at Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, back in 2015. At the time the two founded the group, they were the subject of several insipid profiles about millennials who love Trump. Lambert appeared on NBC and Fox, and even made appearances with the equally skeevy Milo Yiannopoulos.Lambert appears to have left the group and the college in 2017 in order to embark on his life of crime with an unnamed co-conspirator who has been cooperating with the FBI since April of 2018. In that short amount of time, he scammed several companies and several consumers who were having issues with their credit rating. In one particularly gross instance:One of the consumers took money from his or her 401(k) account to pay "Pope" more than $10,000, but the phony lawyer eventually stopped responding to emails, the agent said.Wow, he sure sounds like he might be a sociopath. However, looking over the logistics of his scheme, he is a sociopath who is actually terrible at crime:As of Wednesday morning, a profile for "Pope and Dunn," Lambert's purported law firm, was still available on the freelancing website Upwork. The profile linked to a defunct website whose archived version from 2017 includes a snazzy logo and claims the firm "protected" more than $380 million for more than 2,000 clients. It also lists five "attorney" profiles that appear to have been partly copied from Cravath's website.One of the supposed lawyers, Howard Whittington, is described as helping banks "in a wide variety of domestic and international financial transactions, including financing of mergers, acquisitions, recapitalizations and spin‑offs, working capital financings and various special‑purpose financings." That phrase appears word-for-word on the Cravath profile of retired partner James Cooper.Pope and Dunn's website also called its supposed lawyer Gregory Shapiro "one of the foremost leaders in the field of intellectual property, including intellectual property management and strategy, the development of global intellectual property norms, laws and practices as well as commercialization and enforcement of innovation‑based assets." That is just one word off from the Cravath profile of partner David Kappos.It sure is hard to be a criminal mastermind when your entire scheme can be undone with one fell Google search. I am not in the business of offering crime tips, but jeez -- if you're gonna try and pull something like this, you should at least have the sense to write the fake biographies for your fake lawyers yourself. That is just obvious. This may not be the first time Lambert has been involved in shady dealings. In February of 2018, Students For Trump got in trouble with the FEC for refusing to tell them what they were doing and who was funding them. Although Lambert was no longer with the group by then, members told The Daily Beast that those issues were actually all his fault. The group, for the record, has still not filed any income or spending reports. Naturally, they plan to be active in 2020 and currently have an article on their Facebook about how Nixon was the real victim in the Watergate scandal. It's not clear what kind of sentence he'll receive, but if he's not in there for long, he may still have a bright future as Jacob Wohl's protegé. [The New York Law Journal]Wonkette is independent and fully funded by readers like you. Click below to tip us!How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- A CHALLENGER APPEARS! Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 25, 2019Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today. Former Vice President Joe Biden announced his third presidential run this morning. In his announcement video Biden talks about beating the bejesus out of Trump and his sycophantic army of white supremacist asswipes (with votes), with many outlets reporting he'll adopt a center-left platform. Politico reports Biden, in order to quickly close big gaps in the money primary, will be leaning heavily on labor unions throughout the Rust Belt, and his connections to Obama. Joe Biden For President: America Is An Idea http://www.youtube.com At the first ever She The People Presidential Forum in Houston, Texas, Democratic presidential candidates were forced to get specific on issues important to women of color, like abortion, gentrification, voter suppression, trans rights, sentencing reform, and police shootings. Among the notable highlights, Beto pledged to support the Equal Rights Amendment, Sen. Kamala Harris promised to pardon low-level drug offenders, Cory Booker (again) promised to pick a woman for VEEP, and Elizabeth Warren told men to stop crying about women in power. Political wizards think South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg might be stumbling in South Carolina in his efforts to woo older black voters due to an amalgam of issues. Still, Buttigieg has been hauling in cash thanks to a vast network of donors in the LGBT community, and he'll probably make a hell of a lot more since Franklin Graham started screaming about Buttigieg being the gay anti-Christ ushering in the homopocalypse. Hallelujah! Along with stonewalling investigations into Trump's tax fuckery, Russian fuckery, and legal fuckery, Trump's White House is now adding census fuckery to the list of things it hopes to "run out the clock" on. Trump's DOJ says it won't comply with a congressional subpoena that seeks to drag an administration official up to the Hill unless the stooge's lawyer can come along. In a statement, Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings scoffed and (in so many words) said "Motherfucker, YOU ARE A LAWYER!" Trump's probably going to be pissed when he finds out Deutsche Bank has started turning over financial records to the New York attorney general as part of an investigation into shady loans for multiple Trump Organization trash palaces in New York, Miami, and Chicago, as well as Trump's failed attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills. Gee, it would be a shame if those records were leaked to some enterprising reporters... Yesterday Trump threatened to go to the Supreme Court if House Democrats begin impeachment proceedings. Legal geeks note SCOTUS has abso-goddamn-lutely nothing to do with impeachment. Democratic House members returning home for their first town halls since the 2018 midterm elections are finding most of their constituents are more interested in kitchen table issues like healthcare, anti-vaxers, public education, infrastructure, and immigration reform than they are about the Mueller Report. "If you wake up thinking you're being deported every day," Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips tells Politico, "the Mueller report doesn't really matter to you." In a new op-ed, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells everyone to calm the fuck down instead of screaming to #IMPEACH, arguing we should let the investigative process play out. "A crime was committed against all Americans," says Clinton, "and all Americans should demand action and accountability." The CDC reports 695 cases of measles in 22 states, and calls it "the greatest number of cases reported in the United States since measles was eliminated from this country in 2000." Health officials are begging people to put down their magic herbs and chakra crystals and get their brats vaccinated in order to prevent an easily avoidable epidemic. The NRA is suing the city of Los Angeles in an attempt to shoot down a new city ordinance that forces city officials to disclose any ties with the gun lobby. In a related story, as the NRA loads up for its annual convention this weekend, Everytown For Gun Safety has unveiled a new ad campaign calling the ammosexual org "more fringe and more toxic to the Americans it has long claimed to represent." A top aide for former New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie who was thrown under the bus during Bridgegate was sentenced to 13 months in prison. Speaking to reporters outside the courthouse, an emotional Bridget Anne Kelly maintained her innocence and blamed everything on Christie (again), adding, "you are a bully and the days of you calling me a liar and destroying my life are over." Just prior to her sentencing, Kelly told the New York Times, "I was a loyal soldier in the sense that I got to work every day, commuted farther than anyone in that office ... Let's be clear, he was a micromanager. If I suggested mac and cheese, he wanted the buffalo mac and cheese. Details were important to him." Illinois's super rich Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker, his wife, and brother-in-law are under federal investigation for tax fuckery, according to Chicago NPR affiliate WBEZ. The Chicago Sun-Times was first to publish documents showing the Pritzkers removed all the toilets from their fancy Chicago mansion in order to declare the property "uninhabitable," devaluing the property and ultimately netting them a cool $331,000 in tax breaks. This would be pretty shitty in any other city or state, but it's business as usual in Chicago. The FBI raided Baltimore's City Hall and the home of Mayor Catherine Pugh. The raid is widely believed to be related to an on-going corruption scandal involving Pugh, her self-published kids books, and the University of Maryland Medical System that saw Pugh raking in $700,000 in exchange for city contracts. Federal officials want to know why the hell Uncle Sam's Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty news services were spewing propaganda in favor of Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon. Nerds and US officials have long complained about Rahmon's corruption, nepotism, and history of snuffing out dissent and religious freedom since he began his reign in 1992. North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and Russian dictator Vladimir Putin met in Vladivostok earlier today for their first-ever talks. State media agencies have shockingly called the meetings a big success despite statements from Moscow that the meeting will amount to nothing more than both leaders pissing in the face of Donald Trump. Police in Brazil arrested a parrot for snitching. According to police, the bird began squawking, “Mamãe, polícia," as police moved in on two suspected crack dealers. Local media outlets have reported the bird is not cooperating with police. And here's your morning Nice Time: 180° OF PIRATE BIRDS! 'Pirate Birds' of the Tropics 180 | National Geographic http://www.youtube.com Follow Dominic on Twitter and Instagram! We're 100% ad-free and reader-supported, so consider buying us coffee, or get a subscription! How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- OH HELL YEAH, HASAN MINHAJ, SAY IT TO JARED'S STUPID FACE!Three cheers for Hasan Minhaj, a comedian we are about to have to follow on Twitter RIGHT NOW. Minhaj, a former "Daily Show" correspondent who has his own Netflix show called "Patriot Act," was one of this year's Time 100 honorees. Another honoree was Saudi Arabian activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who is currently sitting in a Saudi prison as a thank you from the kingdom for her women's rights activism, such as fighting for women's right to drive, which is a thing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman supposedly deserves a pat on the back for.And so it was that Minhaj, a first generation American who came from a North Indian Muslim family, was asked to give a toast at last night's Time 100 gala. Hey, remember how JARED KUSHNER, who is so close to Saudi Murder Prince MBS that they have "between us girls" convos on WhatsApp, was interviewed yesterday at the Time 100? Remember how he said some bullshit about how the Russian campaign to illegally install his father-in-law in the presidency was nothing more than a "couple of Facebook ads"? Remember how every patriotic American wanted to slap him in his fucking face after he said that, since his father-in-law's administration is a slap in the face to the entire US Constitution and all our institutions and also every American personally?Yeah well anyway, Jared was at the Time 100 gala too. And Hasan Minhaj knew it. So he decided to use his toast to make a point about Loujain al-Hathloul, and how she is in a Saudi prison, and how it was just TOO BAD there weren't any high ranking American officials in the room who just happened to be stream-crossing buddies with the murder prince who put her in prison in the first place who might be able to help get her out. Because if there were somebody sitting in that room RIGHT NOW with an ill-begotten security clearance, who had the ability to talk to MBS on WhatsApp RIGHT FUCKING THEN, because that's a thing they totally do ... oh wait, there was somebody in the room who fit that exact description? Somebody who participates in all the Trump administration's decisions to ignore MBS's crimes, including jailing dissidents and bonesawing Washington Post journalists to death in Saudi embassies in Istanbul? THAT GUY WAS THERE?Here is the video. Afterward we are going to print most of the transcript for you, because it is that fucking awesome. [Y]eah, I have a Netflix show, just plugging it, just a quick little humble brag. [...] I know why I'm here. We did an episode from Saudi Arabia, if anyone from the kingdom is here, hey, I'm sorry. But yeah, yeah, yeah, after the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, I came in, I had a super hot take, I was like "Murder's bad," and then the kingdom didn't like it, they pulled the episode, they banned me from The Mecca, not Madison Square Garden, there's a place called The Mecca, it's Muslim, you know what it is. So I can't do that anymore. [...]But I'm very lucky, I'm very lucky that I get to be here in America and I can make jokes about very powerful leaders, and I have the safety of being here in America. We have a lot of incredible rights here in America and safeties that we take for granted oftentimes. And there are people on the front lines that cannot be here, like Loujain Al-Hathloul, who is a Saudi activist who helped fight to lift the women's driving ban, and she is currently in prison. She cannot be with us here tonight. She has been tortured. And a lot of times as comedians we get a lot of credit. People come up to us and they go, "Thank you so much for pointing a light on that issue," but that's all we're doing, we're pointing. And I just want to say thank you to Loujain for being the light.This is a very — this is a very powerful room, and you know, I know there's a lot of very powerful people here. It would be crazy if — I don't know, if there was just like a — I don't know, like, if there was a high-ranking official in the White House that could WhatsApp MBS and say, "Hey, maybe you could help that person get out of prison because they don't deserve it," but that would be crazy. That would be — that person would have to be in the room, but that's just a good comedy premise.Not only is it a good comedy premise, THAT SNIVELING MOTHERFUCKER WAS LITERALLY IN THE ROOM.After the show, Minhaj said he was dead serious. Hey Jared, for real, get out your WhatsApp. We know you have it. The intel community doesn't call you "Mindblowing Fuckin' Security Risk Jared" for no reason! (Allegedly.)So yeah, Hasan, you fucking kick ass, and thank you on behalf of all good Americans and all good Saudi Arabians, none of whom are Jared or his cuddle buddy the murder prince.Too bad Jared doesn't have a soul and is probably not planning on doing anything about it. That would be silly! Jared and Trump don't ask Bonesaw to do stuff, Bonesaw tells them what to do.Anyway, open thread, have one.[Time]Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE!Wonkette is ad-free and funded ONLY by YOU, our dear readers. Click below to keep the lights on, please. We appreciate you, most of the time.How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Nice Time! US Won't Open Baby Jail At Guantanamo! (Yet)As part of its effort to imprison as many asylum seekers as inhumanly possible, the Trump administration briefly considered housing arrested migrant kids at the US military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the New York Times reports. That is, of course, insane. And for once, the administration didn't go with the completely insane option, so let's all be thankful for small mercies, while remembering that with this crowd, no terrible idea ever really goes away, so that's one more awful possibility for which we now need to keep an eye on the bastards.In an article on overcrowding in federal immigration detention facilities due to both increased arrivals of asylum seekers and Trump's devotion to jailing as many as he can get away with, the Times explains,In one initiative examined earlier this year, Department of Homeland Security officials looked at housing migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which has a dormitory facility that has been used in the past to hold asylum seekers. As for why that plan was dropped, the insider who spoke to the Times really attributes more capacity for shame to this administration than it deserves: The proposal to house migrant children from the Southwest border [in Gitmo] has not gained traction, perhaps because of the optics of housing young people adjacent to terrorism suspects, according to one official who had seen the proposal but was not authorized to discuss it publicly.That is a really funny joke! As if Stephen Miller and his Band of Merry Creeps have ever worried about "optics"! Also, yet another symptom of the crazy shit that's become normal in the last two years: The Pentagon wouldn't even deny the option had been considered.While there were no "immediate" plans to house migrant children at Guantánamo Bay, the Defense Department is attempting to identify military bases that might be used for that purpose, a department spokesman, Tom Crosson, said on Monday.Just no immediate plans! How very reassuring! The military has already "awarded a $23 million contract in February to build a 'contingency mass migration complex' at Guantánamo," capable of holding up to 13,000 migrants and 5,000 staff in a tent city. Supposedly, that facility would be reserved for people fleeing some still-hypothetical crisis in the Caribbean, although the Times points out "it could theoretically be used to house Central Americans." Not mentioned in the story but always a consideration when we're talking about Gitmo: Are the fuckers thinking that housing migrant kids on an island military base leased from Cuba would place them beyond US law and its pesky limits on how long children can be detained? It would be irresponsible not to speculate. Beyond that holy shit! Gitmo detail, the article examines the growing problem the New Cruelty is having with finding enough places to imprison asylum seekers and other immigrants the administration wants to deport. While it's true that in recent months, the number of Central Americans arriving at the border has reached a decade-long high, the Trump policy of detaining everyone has been one of the biggest drivers in the shortage of long-term detention space. As the Times notes,ICE is currently housing 50,223 migrants, one of the highest numbers on record, and about 5,000 more than the congressionally mandated limit of 45,274. In 2016, President Obama's last year in office, the average daily population of immigrants in detention dipped to 34,376.And now on top of that, Attorney General William Barr has directed that even more asylum seekers be imprisoned until their cases are adjudicated, which is likely to add thousands more detainees to long-term detention. Barr very generously pushed the effective date of his order back by 90 days so ICE could find more room -- for all we know, at dark sites in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Ever optimistic that the USA can become cruel enough, a DHS press officer told the Times Barr's order might actually ease crowding in ICE facilities by "deterring" people from seeking asylum. Exactly like taking children from their parents didn't. Non-insane people keep pointing out that the reason the detention system is filling up is quite simple: Trump and Miller want it that way, so it can claim it's ending "catch and release" of immigrants. "[It] is a choice to jail asylum seekers, and it is a choice that is at odds with international human rights norms," said Heidi Altman, director of policy at the National Immigrant Justice Center. Ms. Altman pointed to case management programs that have been used in the past to ensure that immigrants show up for court. Studies have shown that the programs are both cheaper than detention and have a proven track record of near universal court compliance.Thanks for trying, Ms. Altman! We keep pointing at that Family Case Management program, too, although it's very important to note that while it made sure 99 percent of participants made it to their immigration hearings, it was also a very bad program because 1) it was put in place by Barack Obama and 2) it still let people have asylum hearings, which Trump would rather get rid of all together. Still, the current crowding problem has had one not-horrible side effect: Since there are now so many single adult asylum seekers and other migrants being held, families in detention are now even more likely to be released pending their hearings. After all, there's no Flores agreement limiting how long single adults can be imprisoned! Because most migrant families are being released to await the outcome of their asylum cases, ICE's three family detention centers are largely empty now. Facilities certified to house families only have a capacity of about 2,500 people, in any case. Currently, 675 members of migrant families are being detained in one of those facilities in Dilley, Tex. A second one in Karnes City, Tex., has been converted to house adults, to help with overcrowding elsewhere. And the third in Leesport, Pa., is empty.So ... yay? [NYT / Christian Science Monitor / National Immigrant Justice Center]Yr Wonkette can't get by without your donations! Your money keeps the writers paid, the servers humming, and our contingency plans operative for publishing from an island somewhere. How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Trump, Fox Weep For Real Victim: The Navy SEAL Locked Up For Murdering ChildrenEdward Gallagher, a Navy SEAL platoon leader and human garbage, is accused of committing a number of horrific crimes while in Iraq. This includes (allegedly) stabbing a teenage prisoner to death, firing rockets at random neighborhoods, and picking off a little girl and an old man from a sniper's perch. The last one is eerily familiar. SEALs under his command were rightly repulsed and spoke out, attempting to blow the whistle on him right and left, but months passed without any official action. It was as if they'd reported Gallagher for re-heating fish in the office microwave. Seven platoon members raised their concerns in a private meeting with their troop commander last year. They provided "bloody details," according to the New York Times, but rather than launch a formal investigation, the troop commander and his senior aide, both buddies of Gallagher, threatened their careers. No one liked a snitch, even if the "snitchee" was a remorseless killer. They were also warned that investigating Gallagher could take down other SEALs, raising the scary prospect that Gallagher wasn't the only psychotic in the bunch. But this was the part of the movie where the brave SEALs risk everything and force the matter beyond the influence of Gallagher's cronies. They had to threaten to go to the top of Navy command and even to that dread enemy of the people, the media -- but in September, Gallagher was finally arrested on more than a dozen charges, including murder and attempted murder. He denies all charges because he is in denial. How did Gallagher get away with this for so long? The confidential Navy report reveals a "disturbing [...] subculture within the SEALs" that prizes aggression and protects some of the worst offenders. They are basically more bad-ass cops. Gallagher thrived in this environment. He was singled out for praise in formal evaluations. Months before his arrest, he was awarded a Bronze star for valor. There was nothing valorous about Gallagher's actions in Iraq. On the morning of May 4, 2017, Iraqi troops brought in an Islamic State fighter who had been wounded in the leg in battle, SEALs told investigators, and Chief Gallagher responded over the radio with words to the effect of "he's mine." The SEALs estimated that the captive was about 15 years old. A video clip shows the youth struggling to speak, but SEAL medics told investigators that his wounds had not appeared life-threatening. A medic was treating the youth on the ground when Chief Gallagher walked up without a word and stabbed the wounded teenager several times in the neck and once in the chest with his hunting knife, killing him, two SEAL witnesses said. If you're at all tempted to dismiss Gallagher's atrocities as just the unfortunate part of fighting terrorism, we should point out that investigators claim Gallagher "showed little regard" for the safety of his own, all-American team members. Their job was to advise Iraqi forces and provide more advanced assistance as necessary. Gallagher preferred to just blow stuff up and set things on fire like a common Joker. He also reportedly tried to run over a Navy police officer at a traffic light. And Gallagher's treatment of Iraqi civilians should appall decent people. He bragged about the number of people he killed, like any homicidal maniac. This included women, children, and old men. Two SEAL snipers told investigators that one day, from his sniper nest, Chief Gallagher shot a girl in a flower-print hijab who was walking with other girls on the riverbank. One of those snipers said he watched through his scope as she dropped, clutching her stomach, and the other girls dragged her away. Another day, two other snipers said, the chief shot an unarmed man in a white robe with a wispy white beard. They said the man fell, a red blotch spreading on his back. Gallagher should rightly rot in prison for the remainder of his life, but shockingly, not shockingly, prominent Republicans have defended him, including whatever is passing for our president right now. The Navy had confined Gallagher to the brig because he was trying to intimidate witnesses. Gallagher's brother, Sean, told Fox News that Gallagher was just "venting in text messages to his friends." He also said strange things about nails. SEAN GALLAGHER: A SEAL is a shiny, golden nail where if you take them down it makes you look good. In our experience, removing nails, regardless of their color, just leaves unsightly holes in your wall. We're unsure where Gallagher's brother is going with this metaphor. Does he know a lot of nail collectors?Congressional Republicans signed a letter last month requesting the Navy free Gallagher pending trial. None of the 40 members who did this likely fear a potential Willie Horton albatross around their political necks. Donald Trump, who probably has a soft spot for witness tampering, announced on Twitter that Gallagher would be moved to "less restrictive confinement" at the Navy Medical Center in San Diego. This was in honor of his past service to our country. Presumably, not all of it was murdery. Conservatives have voluntarily donated $375,000 to Gallagher's defense through a website you'll never find a link for on Wonkette. They are also selling "Free Eddie" T-shirts. Gallagher stabbed a frightened teenager in the chest. We hope those T-shirts are still comfortable in hell. [NYTimes] Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter. Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please send us money to keep the writers paid and the servers humming. 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- Fired White House Staffers Delighted To Go Bankrupt/To Jail To Protect President, You Bet!Time to send Bezos out for an econo-box of antacids, because we're clearly heading into two years of trench warfare. Hooray! After two years of Gowdy, Goodlatte, and the rest of the House GOP allowing them to refuse to answer questions JUST CUZ, the Trump administration is finally facing real oversight from a Democratic House. Consistent with the Rule of Laws Pat Cipollone Just Pulled Out of His Ass in a Desperate Effort to Run Out the Clock, Team Trump is now stonewalling all document requests and instructing witnesses to ignore subpoenas and risk contempt of Congress charges."I don't want people testifying to a party, because that is what they're doing if they do this," Trump told Bob Costa at the Washington Post. "I allowed my lawyers and all the people to go and testify to Mueller — and you know how I feel about that whole group of people that did the Mueller report ... I was so transparent; they testified for so many hours. They have all of that information that's been given." Then this morning on the White House lawn Trump confirmed that "we're fighting all the subpoenas" citing the very cool, very legal argument of "the Democrats are trying to win 2020." If we might translate the president's sophisticated legalese, that means DON'T WANNA YOU CAN'T MAKE ME!!!!Yesterday, just hours after Carl Kline, Jared Kushner's security clearance concierge, defied a summons from the Oversight Committee, the Post reported that the administration has decided to invoke executive privilege to stop former White House Counsel Don McGahn from testifying in response to a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee. Executive privilege is an IRL legal doctrine with an articulable standard -- as opposed to vague allusions to "privacy" which they used to fob off Democratic inquiries when the GOP held the House -- and the White House has shied away from invoking it thus far. But, here we are, really discussing Steve Bannon's stupid fucking Hot Tub Time Machine Executive Privilege Defense like it's actually a real thing.OH, FINE. One time in an absinthe torpor, Steve Bannon saw a goblin that said, "Special Counsel is part of executive branch. So nothing Trump minions say to him has left the executive branch. You have only to shout, 'By the power of Grayskull, I have the executive power!' and all your foolish words will come back home to you." And then the demon vanished in a puff of foul, green smoke. Allegedly! Anyway, these assholes really think they can magically claw back witness testimony about stuff in the Mueller report by invoking executive privilege now.There's only one problem with that theory, of course. And it is that the White House already didn't invoke executive privilege over the substance of that testimony when Bill Barr okayed it for publication. Even if Bannon's goblin was right, the time for the He-Man and She-Ra cosplay was before Evan spent three longass days liveblogging all 448 pages of the Mueller report. You can't make something secret after everyone in the country already read it. As Richard Nixon's chief of staff H.R. Haldeman famously said of the Watergate testimony, "Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it's going to be very hard to get it back in." And, by the by, that guy went to jail for 18 months.Actually, there's another problem. And it is that Donald Trump is a vindictive dick. If he wanted Don McGahn to stick his neck out for him, President Arty McDeals probably shouldn't have spent the weekend firing his law firm and shit-tweeting about his former employee. Marcy Wheeler has an interesting theory that McGahn wants to testify against Trump:I suspect this is a friendly subpoena — a subpoena giving the witness an excuse for testifying. I say that not just because McGahn is a self-promoter who likes to pretend he's the hero of saving Trump from prison, but also because McGahn got noticeably more chatty with Mueller's office as Trump grew more unmanageable and the risk to McGahn's future increased. Indeed, because he leaked his heroic role to the press, he ended up getting called in for further interviews.Guess we'll find out soon, won't we! But we already know that Don McGahn, and Reince Priebus, and John Kelly, and Rex Tillerson, and Kirstjen Nielsen, and Rob Porter, and Hope Hicks, and Corey Lewandowski, and everyone else who got more or less unceremoniously kicked to curb, are out there on their own. No one is paying their astronomical legal bills, no one is going to jail with them if they are convicted of contempt of Congress, and no one will be there to save their professional reputations if shit goes totally south and Trump throws them under the bus. Again. Which probably accounts for Grandpa Dementia's extreme batshittery these past couple of days since the House started raining down subpoenas in response to the Mueller Report. Or maybe it's syphilis. Anyway, we're going to have a nice lunch of antacids, and we suggest all those potential congressional witnesses do the same. Because if Donald Trump loses in 2020, the new Justice Department might take a dim view of people who obstructed Congress. Just sayin'. media1.giphy.com [WaPo / Empty Wheel]Follow your FDF on Twitter!Please click here to donate to the Wonkette Tums, Rolaid, Prilosec, and Maalox fund!How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Hero Judge Blocks Trump's Terrible Abortion Gag Rule... For Now.Back in February, the Trump administration announced that it would be making the global gag rule on abortion truly global by implementing it right here in the United States. The new rule will bar family planning centers that refer patients to abortion providers from receiving Title X funding. The $286 million will instead be given to "faith-based" groups like Obria that, uh, pretty much just provide pregnancy tests for people who apparently don't know you can get pregnancy tests at the dollar store, and tell people about the rhythm method and adoption, for people who are somehow unaware that those things exist as well.It's bad. It's ... it's really, really bad. And it's set to go into effect on May 3.But (PHEW) we may be granted a reprieve. Late on Tuesday night, after hearing arguments from Planned Parenthood, the American Medical Association, and a coalition representing 20 US states and the District of Columbia, US District Judge Michael J. McShane, an Obama appointee, announced that he would grant a preliminary injunction against the new rule. The judge also granted a preliminary injunction against another stupid new rule that would prohibit Title X family planning centers from being housed in the same place as abortion providers. He says he will issue a formal opinion soon. Via The Oregonian:McShane said the so-called "gag rule'' -- barring physicians from referring patients who don't want to continue their pregnancies to an abortion provider -- prevents doctors from behaving like medical professionals.The judge also found that it would create a class of low-income women who couldn't receive a full range of medical care options, foster a "geographic vacuum'' in reproductive health care clinics and likely cause an increase in abortions due to more unwanted pregnancies.He said the rule, which is set to go into effect May 3, represents an "arrogant assumption'' that government is better suited to direct health care instead of providers.Damn, Judge McShane gets it. Attorney Andrew M. Bernie, who represented the federal government in the lawsuit, tried to argue that the rule would not cause any "irreparable harm" and also that it wasn't politically motivated at all. Which, duh, is absolute bullshit. And the judge was more than happy to call him out on it. "We are looking for good health outcomes. Are these rules going to bring about good health outcomes?'' McShane repeatedly asked Bernie. McShane presented a hypothetical scenario, saying if he went to his doctor and asked for a vasectomy and his doctor referred him only to a fertility clinic, "that would seem insane to you, right?''The judge said the government hadn't provided him with any data to counter medical experts' assertions that restricting medical professionals from discussing all reproductive health options with patients would result in increases in unwanted pregnancies, use of ineffective contraceptives and increases in sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.WHOOO. Anyone know if this judge is single? Asking for a friend. Who is me. Bernie then tried to argue that the new statute is a totally reasonable extension of Section 1008 of the Title X statute, which prohibits Title X funds from being used to perform abortions (which is a terrible statute in and of itself). This has been an easy thing to push through, because most Americans who do not work in non-profits have no idea how non-profits even work. Which is fair. I think most of us don't know how a lot of jobs we've never had work. But because of this, unscrupulous types have convinced people that it is somehow possible that Title X funds are being used to provide abortions or to do things like "keep the lights on" which then aids in the abortion performing. This is not true. Here's how it actually works. Someone writes a grant, saying, "We need X amount of money for condoms, X amount of money for birth control, X amount of money for breast exams, etc., etc., this is how we plan to use this money, this is the population we serve, yadda yadda yadda." Then, when the year is up, the organization has to send a report back showing the receipts and detailing the impact the grant has had. This is what that report looks like. The things Title X pays for are not things that Planned Parenthood would otherwise have to pay out of pocket for (which is not to say that they wouldn't, but that this has nothing to do with any kind of profit margin). They are providing a service to the government, and doing a thing the government cannot do themselves because the government does not own its own family planning services. That is the basic purpose of all federal grants to non-profits -- we have determined that this benefits us as a nation, we can't do it ourselves, so we're going to give you the money to do it for us.Taking away Planned Parenthood's Title X funding does not hurt Planned Parenthood's "bottom line." It hurts the people who benefit from Title X funding. If I were to give you 100 condoms to give away each month and then stop doing that, your financial situation is going to be exactly the same as it was before I said "Hey, go hand out these condoms for me." The people who would be impacted by that would be the people who were getting my donated condoms. We are currently in the middle of a pretty goddamn severe ob-gyn shortage in America and more than half of the counties in the country do not even have one, never mind one that actually takes Medicaid or ACA insurance as Planned Parenthood does. It is, perhaps, not the smartest idea to go around making rules that put up barriers to people getting that care. It's good to know that there are people out there fighting against this, and a relief to see that at least one judge has found in their favor so far. Because if this does go through, a lot of people are going to be royally screwed. [The Oregonian]Wonkette is independent and fully funded by readers like you. Click below to tip us!How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Quick, Nobody Do Anything About Russia Ratf*cking 2020 Election For Trump, HE'S SENSITIVE ABOUT ITIn the Mueller Report, we learned that one of the many times Donald Trump tried to obstruct the lawful investigation into Russian ratfucking of the 2016 election for his benefit, and his campaign's enthusiastic welcome of that Russian ratfucking for his benefit, was in summer 2017, when Trump asked Corey Lewandowski (a private citizen) to call the Justice Department and tell the recused Jeff Sessions that they were only allowed to investigate Russian interference OF THE FUTURE, and to stop focusing on 2016. And if Sessions wouldn't do that, then Trump just might have had to fire him. We assume Trump felt this way based on combined factors of his own criminal knowledge of the Russian active measures to aid and abet his campaign, plus the fact that he is a very weak and sad man with extremely thin skin who views any investigation of election interference as an insult to the legitimacy of his illegitimate election.But FUTURE election interference, that's just fine, you betcha, WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE, as if Trump could ever be elected associate dogcatcher without Russian interference. (Have we discussed that the great majority of Americans despises him, always has, and always will?)Well, according to the New York Times, Trump's not really into protecting elections of the future either (this is not news), specifically based on how former Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly TRIED AND TRIED AND TRIED to take a break from putting babies in baby jails lined with beds made out of baby knives (OK maybe not that last part), and instead focus on the important job of shoring up America's election security heading into 2020. But amid her efforts, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said whatever you do, don't tell Trump you're doing that, we guess because he already has thin skin about his imaginary Russia-fueled 2020 election victory and definitely not because he's already counting on Russia to fuck up the election for him, in a rat kind of way, again.Officials said [Nielsen] had become increasingly concerned about Russia's continued activity in the United States during and after the 2018 midterm elections — ranging from its search for new techniques to divide Americans using social media, to experiments by hackers, to rerouting internet traffic and infiltrating power grids.But in a meeting this year, Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, made it clear that Mr. Trump still equated any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory. According to one senior administration official, Mr. Mulvaney said it "wasn't a great subject and should be kept below his level."Therefore don't do your job, Secretary Nielsen, but if you INSIST on doing your job, under no circumstances let President Babyshits find out you are doing your job, because how can you protect Trump's re-election if you insist on protecting America's elections from hostile foreign ratfuckery? It is just not mathematically possible.The Times says Nielsen even tried to get the Cabinet together for an all-hands-on-deck meeting to protect the 2020 election, but she gave up.Now, this is the New York Times, so we need to be on the look-out for former and current Trump administration officials whispering in reporters' ears to make themselves look good, so we will just ask right now: Is the "former senior administration official" talking in Maggie Haberman's ear about how hard Nielsen tried to work on election security for 2020 a person whose name rhymes with "Birjjjjjjjjstejjjjjjn Bielsjen"? And will the Washington Post eventually follow up with more interesting and nuanced reporting that doesn't paint former Secretary JJJJJJJJJJJJJJ as a fuckin' hero? We do not know.As the Times notes, just a few months back, Trump's intel chiefs released their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment, which stated clear as fuck that Russia is going to be back in 2020, in bigger and more creative ways than before, and their accompanying testimony to Congress reflected that fact. If you'll remember, just after that, Trump got so mad at his intel chiefs that he rage-tweeted about how they need to "go back to school." We remarked at the time that it must be hard for Trump, that he has such a difficult time finding intel chiefs who are as compromised by the Kremlin as he obviously is. Oh well, WOMP WOMP.So, if this reporting is correct, then Homeland Security and the other departments are trying, but they can't get shit from a White House where National Security Advisor John Bolton has cut cybersecurity staff and the president's feelings are too easily hurt to call a meeting about protecting American elections from the type of foreign interference without which the president wouldn't be stinking up the Oval Office in the first place. We kid the Times about its access journalism, but we'll note that Jake Tapper has confirmed a lot of this by talking to some other senior admin official, who says it's just as bad as the Times says, and that moreover, Kirstjen Nielsen's DHS really did try. Here are a couple of his tweets: Kirstjen Nielsen tried, Dan Coats is trying, JOHN BOLTON (who has his own curious Russian ties) wants them all to fuck off, and it's just not a good idea to say "Russia" in front of Donald Trump, because he's sensitive.What a fuckshow. What a compromised-by-Russian-intelligence fuckshow.Happy 2020 election, everybody![New York Times]Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE!Wonkette is ad-free and funded ONLY by YOU, our dear readers. Click below to keep the lights on, please. We appreciate you, most of the time.How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- President Kamala Just Grabbed Your Guns, How Will You Compensate For Your :( Dick NOW???Kamala Harris rolled out a plan yesterday on what she wants Congress to do about guns within her first 100 days as president -- and if Congress won't do it, she'll take executive action. Get ready for the usual gunhumpers to moan that her plan would simultaneously destroy liberty and do absolutely nothing.From Congress, Harris wants to see, finally, a universal background check law. That's certainly doable; the House passed such a bill earlier this year, although of course it's currently DOA in the Senate. We could change that in 2020 maybe! In addition, Harris wants Congress to bring back the assault weapons ban and repeal that stupid 2005 gift to the NRA, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), which prohibits liability lawsuits against gun manufacturers and gun dealers. And if Congress still has enough Republicans who keep voting with the NRA to block those and other measures, Harris will take executive action, by which we mean, of course, "do tyranny," like the time Barack Obama did tyranny with a cell phone fee of four dollars a year. If universal background checks aren't passed, Harris offers a couple of suggestions that might work from an administrative standpoint. Currently, all federally licensed firearms dealers must do background checks, but about a fifth of gun purchases take place between private parties -- at gun shows or through online sales. And that's a BIG loophole, Team Harris notes:As a result of this loophole, these gun sellers are not required to conduct background checks by federal law, and millions of guns are sold each year with no questions asked in the 30 states without universal background checks. This is how dangerous people buy guns: about 80% of all firearms acquired for criminal purposes are bought through unlicensed sellers.So if Congress won't regulate those sales, Harris would change the definition of which sellers need a federal firearms license: Any business or person selling five or more firearms a year would now be a "dealer" who needs licensure, and hence would have to do background checks. Yr Wonkette is not a lawyer, but that sounds like it would probably fall within the executive branch's authority. Sure, the guy selling stolen guns out of his van won't be applying for a license, but this policy would also hand prosecutors another tool to go after such already-illegal activity. And if the Merchants of Death Protection Act isn't revoked altogether, Harris nonetheless sees some options, like revoking the federal firearms license of gun dealers that flagrantly break laws.Under our plan, any willful and serious violation of federal, state, or local law will lead to a license being revoked. This includes conduct the PLCAA often protects, such as violating negligence laws by selling a gun to a straw purchaser, violating public nuisance laws by supplying dealers that consistently sell guns used in crimes, or violating unfair business practices statutes by marketing assault weapons to children in video games.That last line, frankly, sounds kind of dumb to us, but the rest looks viable. Further, Harris would pursue federal lawsuits against bad actors in the gun business. But what about the PLCAA's prohibition on suing gun manufacturers and dealers? The proposal points out that while the law "may prevent victims of gun violence from taking bad actors to court, it can't stop the federal government." Crafty! In a related suggestion, she would direct that fines levied on firearms dealers be dedicated to funding mental health treatment and violence prevention programs. Harris would also take action to close the "boyfriend loophole" in laws prohibiting gun sales to people convicted of domestic violence. It's already illegal for abusers to buy guns, but that prohibition may not apply when the abuser was dating their victim but not married to or living with them. Since "nearly half of all intimate partner homicides are committed by a dating partner," Harris wants that loophole closed. As the proposal says, "People convicted of domestic abuse shouldn't be able to buy guns just because they're not married to the person they abused." Finally, Harris would close another loophole the Trump administration opened up through through administrative action of its own:In February 2017, the Trump Administration quietly narrowed the definition of "fugitive from justice" for purposes of determining when a person is prohibited from buying a gun. Now, a gun sale is not denied to a fugitive from justice unless it can be shown that individual fled a state "for the purpose" of avoiding charges. Christ, that's nuts. The proposal points out there was a 65 percent drop in gun sales being blocked by that "fugitive from justice" prohibition after the rule change, resulting in "thousands of gun sales being approved to individuals with outstanding arrest warrants." Then again, almost all of those crimers were American citizens, and since the only bad guys with guns Republicans care about are undocumented immigrants, what's the big deal? Harris pledges that this proposal is only a start on what she'd like to see in terms of reducing the carnage for guns; for the first 100 days, this isn't bad! We'd love to see other candidates say they'd do the same -- or more?[Kamala Harris / NYT]Yr Wonkette is funded ONLY by reader donations! Send us money if you liked this post?How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Who Is Jesus? Steve King Is Jesus!Steve King is in a political purgatory. He's isolated from his party, stripped of his committee assignments, and facing a primary challenge next year. This apparently makes him just like Jesus Christ, if the King of the Jews had a soft spot for Nazis. King made this comical comparison during a town hall in Cherokee, Iowa. He's got nothing better to do, so he's holding white sales at every county in his district. A 90-year-old pastor named Pinky Person, who we think used to date the Fonz, asked King about all the "persecution" Christians are facing in the United States. King strapped on his crown of thorns and explained that he knows all about persecution. KING: It's been, for all that I've been through, it seems even strange for me to say it, but I'm at a certain peace, and it's because of a lot of prayers for me. Back in February, King asked his constituents to pray for the soul of his career, but he admitted to the town hall that their thoughts and prayers weren't worth a damn. This is probably because just wishing for something to happen won't make it so. And if God exists, She doesn't waste Her time responding to the cries of white supremacists. King weirdly performed his own Passion play, likening his slap-on-the-wrist rebuke from his own party to the public beat down Jesus received. KING: And when I had to step down to the floor of the House of Representatives and look up at those 400-and-some accusers — you know, we've just passed through Easter and Christ's Passion — and I have a better insight into what He went through for us, partly because of that experience. Is King implying he was a Nazi for our sins? Because Christ suffered and died so we'd have eternal salvation through rock operas, whereas King paid a (small) price for his long history of racist remarks. All this faux-crucifixon he's suffered makes King appreciate representing a district that is predominately Christian and white. After all, Jesus was at least one of those things. King contends that Christianity "defines American culture." No one's dreaming of a white Ramadan. He boasted of once having schooled a radio host who dared suggest that nowhere in the Constitution does it state the US is a Christian nation. KING: There's plenty in our history, plenty in our culture and plenty in the experiences and the lives of our Founding Fathers that says otherwise. This is a Christian nation, and I'll prove it to you. You'd think his argument would involve writings from the founders or maybe some speech Ronald Reagan gave. Instead, King used a really bizarre metaphor involving canine homicide. If someone runs over their neighbor's dog, mortally wounding it, their "natural response" is to explain what happened to their neighbor, maybe complain about them letting the dog run around without a leash. KING: That's called confession. Yes, only Christians ever confess to wrongdoing. They are also notable for their lack of horns. King observed that your Christian dog killer of dubious driving skill would immediately apologize: "I didn't mean to, I'm sorry; I'm sorry I killed your dog." KING: That's called repentance. That's also where we call bullshit, because King himself refused to apologize for his racist remarks in the New York Times interview that got him into this mess. He also blamed the media for distorting his statements and running over his neighbor's dog. But let's skip to the part of the suburban fable King likes the most: The neighbor forgives you for turning Fido into a grease spot. KING: That's called redemption... If it were any other way, we wouldn't be the America we are, and probably wouldn't be an America at all.King doesn't seem to extend the concept of "redemption" to any undocumented immigrants, regardless of circumstance. After Donald Trump torched DACA, King callously suggested that the people affected could either "live in the shadows" or get the hell out of the country. KING: That's the law and if you're going to waive the application of the law, to groups of people, it is amnesty and amnesty in America, with regard to immigration, is a reward for immigration lawbreakers and is a pardon for immigration lawbreakers coupled with their reward of the objective of their crime.But DREAMers didn't even run over America's dog. It was their parents. King's eloquent blasphemy at the town hall especially moved Pastor Person, who double downed on the Christ comparison.PERSON: When [King] came home for Easter and he realized what has been done to him in the House of Representatives — what has unjustly been done to him — he had an inkling of what it was like to have everyone against you, like everyone turned against Jesus.Jesus H.! That's the big downside of possible impeachment proceedings against Trump -- all the wackadoodles coming out and claiming their president's getting crucified by Speaker Pontius Pelosi. Person says in all seriousness that Trump is an "ally to Christians." In reality, Trump would probably taunt a fasting Jesus on Twitter: "So-called 'son of God' is starving. Loser won't take my advice and turn stones into bread. Sad!" [WaPo] Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter. Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please send us money to keep the writers paid and the servers humming. Thank you, we love you. 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- We Need To Talk About Trump's Deranged Digital DiarrheaDonald Trump's schizodementiasyphilomania is acting up again. Or whatever it is. And it was acting up yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that, and it's usually a good thing to mostly ignore whatever comes out of the dark bowels of Trump's Twitter, because after all, he's the stupidest person currently alive on Planet Earth, and he's also a lazy fuck who doesn't go to work until Whatever Thirty in the afternoon, but ... Well, either the Mueller Report, which paints him as an absolute criminal, is sending him spiraling into highly disturbing levels of mental decay, or it's possible that he knows something. Or maybe it's both. Maybe he's losing it because he knows the House is coming for him, and despite everything his White House is saying right now, he knows he has zero legal standing to stop the tsunami. Could be that!So far this morning Trump has sent nine 10 tweets. He started here, with a deranged conspiracy theory from an obscure conservative fake news outfit about the United Kingdom spying on him, the day after the White House announced he's finally getting the state visit to the UK that nobody in the UK wants to give him, and which will probably be greeted by Brits pissing in the general direction of his motorcade: You know, a good indicator of being literally crazy is being the only person in the room screaming about the Brits spying or the ghosts invading your underpants or the voices in your head or ... or, the Mexicans invading the underpants worn by the voices with British spy accents in your head. Speaking of Mexicans: But then he went back in a different direction, to the Mueller Report, which VERY ABSOLUTELY exonerates him, and you can tell it does that by how cool, calm and collected he is about it: We know the president isn't a reader, but we are, and millions of Americans are, and we've all actually read the Mueller Report. It lays more than a few gloves on him, both in exposing his campaign's foreknowledge of WikiLeaks releases, his campaign manager feeding polling data to the Russians, and oh yeah, about eleventy-thousand criminal counts of obstruction of justice. (To name just a few things in the Mueller Report.)But what does he think he would do at the Supreme Court if he was impeached? Whine to Judge Rapey McKegstand? Impeachment is impeachment, motherfucker, and if the Senate convicts, YOU LEAVE.Also, if he thinks $35 million is "unlimited money," then boy oh boy, that man is not as rich as he says he is. Has he ever even SEEN $35 million in his life? Would he get jizzy like a lottery winner if he got to hold it in his hands? Sad.In case you didn't know he was upset about the Mueller Report ... In case you didn't know he was upset about Mexicans ... In case you didn't know he was upset about the Mueller Report ... Yes, those were in chronological order. The president's brain is flailing back and forth, boomeranging to Mexicans and then back to home base, AKA the fractured dead space known as his central processing unit, then boomeranging to Mueller, then back to CPU. You'd think somebody in the White House would go check on him, but it's doubtful anybody loves him enough to care.This comes after this whine from Trump last night: Will Trump be given credit for the stock market? No. And what does that have to do with ... NO COLLUSION? Tuesday morning -- before his bizarre private meeting with @Jack from Twitter -- Trump tweeted what your dead great grandpa would tweet about Twitter, if your dead great grandpa were to rise from the dead and immediately start imbibing Fox News conspiracy theories about the Illuminati and faked moon landings and Obama's fake birth certificate and Twitter shadow-banning: "They're takin' people off the list! Nobody can sign on!" (He's mad he just lost a lot of Russian bot followers, AKA his most devoted followers. Seriously. That is reportedly why he pulled @Jack into his office, because his follower count went down.)Also yesterday morning, he was upset about "Morning Psycho (Joe)," which we guess is his new clever "Nick (Name)" for Joe Scarborough: And he was nostalgic for the "Old (Days)," which are a complete figment of his imagination, when the president was "immune from criticism" if the economy was good. Oh yeah, and then there were his weird psychosexual fantasies where the New York Times gets down on his knees and sucks his dick for forgiveness, which included lies about the Times apologizing to him after the 2016 election, which is a thing that obviously did not happen. [Rebecca, who has a much less kind view of the New York Times, thinks it absolutely fucking did.] We could go on. (And on and on and on and on and on and on.)The man's digital diarrhea, as we said before, has been nonstop for quite a few days, and shows no sign of abating. Chris Cillizza tallied up the stats (yeah we know, "Cillizza," but let the man do what he gets paid untold riches to do, which is count up tweets) on Trump's recent activity, as of yesterday afternoon:[O]ver the past 24 hours, Trump has tweeted (and retweeted) 52 things. In a 30-minute span on Monday night, he retweeted 24 items -- about nine different topics and from 15 people.Cillizza asks the over-asked question "what if Obama had done this? What if Dubya had done this?" And those are fine questions, but seriously, what if your slightly forgetful DAD was behaving like this? Wouldn't you be worried he had turned the corner you always knew might come but were hoping never would, and was running headlong into full blown dementia? Wouldn't you convene your family (the "Cabinet") and see if maybe it's time to at least take the car keys away from dear old Dad (one might call this "invoking the 25th Amendment")?We are just saying, impeachment might be too long to wait. And since there's hardly anybody in the White House who actually follows Old Dipshit's orders, why don't y'all all drop the act and just do what's good for your country, OK? President Brain Leak could be happily playing with blocks in a nursing home by dinnertime. Don't you think he'd love that? We think he'd love that.Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE!Wonkette is ad-free and funded ONLY by YOU, our dear readers. Click below to keep the lights on, please. We appreciate you, most of the time.How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- What Part Of FREE Don't TurboTax Bitches Understand?In the weeks leading up to tax day, you may have seen one of TurboTax's many amusing ads for its "free" income tax filing product. Quite humorously, the dialogue is nothing but the word "Free," so you get the point, ha ha -- if you meet certain qualifications, you can file your taxes for FREE. Of course, in practice, those troublemaking busybodies at ProPublica explain, actually getting to the completely free tax filing site is made very tricky by Intuit, the publishers of TurboTax software. For instance, if, like some idiot, you saw the ad and went straight to Turbotax.com, it's very difficult for lots of taxpayers to actually find the free product, because Intuit's website is designed to steer them toward versions that require payment. Anyone who makes under $66,000 a year should be able to file their taxes online for free. All you need to do is find the right online tax preparation company and meet whatever conditions the company might impose on customers wanting to file for free. And that's where the fuckery starts! For instance, if you're naive enough to click on the first thing that comes up in search results, you're fixing to be plucked. Tell us, troublemaking busybodies!Our first stop was Google. We searched for "irs free file taxes." And we thought we found what we were looking for: Ads from TurboTax and others directing us to free products. (image by ProPublica) As ProPublica notes, that very first ad says "free" five times, so it sure must be free, huh? (Spoiler alert: Nope, the ads suck, you really want the fifth item on the list, to irs.gov.) But at Intuit's site, you definitely get more "free" verbiage, complete with a smiley lady who enjoys her free tax filing! Image by Wonkette. Bet you could tell! But then, once the reporters started a fake profile and going through the tax prep steps for a "house cleaner who took in $29,000," things got un-free very quickly. We entered extensive personal information. TurboTax asked us to click through more than a dozen questions and prompts about our finances. After all of that, only then did we get the bad news: TurboTax revealed this wasn't going to be free at all. Turns out the house cleaner didn't qualify because he is a independent contractor. The charge? $119.99. So they backed out and tried again, this time with a new fake taxpayer, a Walgreens cashier without health insurance, entering personal information and giving the company lots of sensitive data. Again, TurboTax told us we had to pay — this time because there's an extra form if you don't have insurance. The charge? $59.99. Haha, you fool! You can only file for free with TurboTax if you have a very simple tax situation, you dope. At least, from the home page -- Intuit will charge you for any exceptions, because the site is coded to steer people to the upsells. While suckers may be born every minute, the real money goes to clever companies who figure out how to exploit those suckers: [If] you start the process from TurboTax.com, it's impossible to find the truly free version. The company itself admits this. Propublica imageNow, there really IS an edition of TurboTax that lets any damn fool with income under $34,000 file for free, but to find it, you have to know it's called "TurboTax Freedom," and if you google THAT, you can find it. Why yes, that's a much lower income than the $66,000 maximum allowed under the IRS's free file program, because the tax prep companies get to set their own rules for which types of returns they'll process for free service. Intuit seems to be especially aggressive in such restrictions; Yr Dok Zoom uses another outfit that really is free, so it's mostly a matter of finding one that fits your situation through the IRS Free File website. And even once you get there, the TurboTax "free" site STILL lets you click on a link that'll send you off to the pay version. Isn't that cute?As ProPublica explains, none of this is an accident. Thanks to lots and lots of lobbying, Congress has largely done whatever the tax prep companies have asked it to when it comes to the Free File program. The House recently passed the misleadingly titled "Taxpayer First Act," which would enshrine the Free File program in law and actually prohibit the IRS from ever developing its own truly free online tax software. If the bill passes the Senate and Donald Trump signs it, taxpayers wanting free online services will have to use for-profit companies where they can be targeted for paid "upgrades." It doesn't have to be this way -- in 2016, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders cosponsored a bill that would have mandated the IRS estimate people's simple returns for them automatically, since it already has our wage information anyway. Taxpayers could then either sign off on the IRS calculation or have the option of using free, IRS-developed software to pay their taxes. For-profit outfits would no longer be the default option. You can see why that went nowhere!The tax prep industry likes to tout the fact that anyone with income under $66,000 can file for free, but makes far less noise about the percentage of those who actually do manage to: only about 1.6 percent. It doesn't help that the IRS budget for promoting Free File is exactly ZERO. Here, have a listen to an "On the Media" interview with UC Davis tax scholar Dennis Ventry, who wrote an influential op-ed that effectively stopped the "Taxpayer First Act" in the Senate last year. You may want to make sure you don't have a tax attorney to hurl across the room. [ProPublica / The Hill / WNYC]You know who scrupulously pays their taxes? Yr Wonkette. Please send us money to help us keep bringing you the stories you love! How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Jack A Dull Boy. Wonkagenda For Wed., April 24, 2019Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today. In order to save avoid creating more political, ethical, or legal scandals for Congress to investigate, Trump's White House intends to erect a WALL built on white executive privilege whenever Congress subpoenas either documents or current/former White House officials. Last night Trump told WaPo he doesn't "want people testifying to a party, because that is what they're doing if they do this," adding that he already "allowed" his "people" to testify to Robert Mueller's justice league of extraordinary investigators. Law nerds point out that tantrums are not an effective legal strategy, and that Trump's efforts to hide his tax returns, disregard subpoenas, and hide documents are setting up a constitutional crisis. For their part, unnamed (natch) officials gossip that Trump is trying to "run out the clock" believing it's better to just drag shit on and on. Another Trump advisor tells Politico, "No one should be surprised that this White House is following a time-honored tradition of ignoring partisan subpoenas."After ignoring yet another deadline to submit Trump's tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin bitches in a 10-page letter that the request violates both the Constitution and privacy (it doesn't). Mnuchin now says he'll make a "decision" on releasing Trump's tax returns by May 6, but we're not holding our breath. Axios gossips American prince Jared Kushner has been telling Republicans on the Hill that he has a "neutral" immigration plan to counter whatever horribly racist crap Stephen Miller is cooking up in the bowels of the White House. Nobody knows what's in the plan, but rumormongers whisper Kushner's magical cure-all has been crafted with the aid of senior Senate Republicans, the Koch network, and a bunch of other rich SOBs who look after corporate America. ACTING DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan tells NBC's Lester Holt that Trump's family separation policy is "not on the table" and that it was "not worth it." McAleenan says the policy "does deter behavior" from all the spooky brown people invading the southern border with their taco truck driving anchor babies, but admits Trump's baby jails "do not work if you lose the public trust." McAleenan goes on to say that the administration never meant to create a generation of orphaned immigrant children raised in concentration camps, and that it now intends to keep families together. Caving to pressure from the Trump administration, Mexico is now detaining migrant caravans headed to the US-Mexico border. The Wall Street Journal reports many of the migrants are women and children from Central America, but there is an increasing number of asylum seekers from Asia and Africa. Similarly, the New York Times reports ICE officials are scrambling to find places to stash immigrants, including renting jails and dumping immigrants at GitMo. Once again, Trump woke up and started shitposting about spooky brown people this morning, and threatened to close the southern border. Border patrol agents found a 3-year-old immigrant boy crying in a cornfield near the Texas border on Tuesday morning. According to officials, he has his name and a phone number written on his shoes. It's believed the boy was traveling with a larger group who ran when they spotted border patrol agents. STOP! It's emergency baby goat time! Everybody Jump Jump http://www.youtube.com AG Bill Barr is attempting to kick down the doors of an investigation into money laundering in Trump's re-election fund. The Eastern District of New York is digging into funny money raised by shady people and foreign nationals, including a Malaysian fugitive who donated $100,000 of stolen money to the Trump Victory committee.Former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tried to get a bunch of Trump's Cabinet officials together to create a plan for countering Russian fuckery in the 2020 election, but ACTING Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney scuttled the idea because he was worried it would hurt our God-Emperor's delicate feelings. The investigation into Navy Special Operations Chief Edward "Eddie" Gallagher ALLEGEDLY murdering civilians in Afghanistan has a "frag radius" that threatens to fuck up a big chunk of military culture. The New York Times got its hands on documents that show members of Gallagher's platoon were told to shut the hell up or risk losing SEAL status (or worse) if they tried to report Gallagher and the (ALLEGED) cover up. Chief Gallagher faces more than a dozen charges, including posing with the lifeless body of a teenage Islamic State prisoner during the Battle of Mosul for his re-enlistment ceremony.Trump's last surviving Fed pick, TV economist Stephen Moore, is crying that all the feminazis are "pulling a Kavanaugh against [him]" after people dug up all the sexist bullshit published a little more than 10 years ago. Moore is also blubbering that he's "taking a 60 percent pay cut to do this job," and we should respect his dedication to public service. Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan went to New Hampshire to say he too is considering a 2020 challenge to Trump. Hogan said a "growing" number of Republicans are begging him, and that he owes it to them to "give it serious consideration." Hogan added that there was "some very disturbing stuff" found in the Mueller Report, later telling the Baltimore Sun that Trump "tried" to obstruct justice "over and over again."Here's a long profile on former Massachusetts governor and 2020 Republican candidate Bill Weld. It's a nice story if you're into Republican masochism. Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King is now comparing himself to Jesus after he was roasted and ratioed for making (more) white supremacist comments. "I have a better insight into what He went through for us, partly because of that experience," King proselytized to a gaggle of God-fearing geriatrics at a town hall. King then used an analogy about running over a dog as a way to prove that #Murica is a "Christian nation."Iowa state Rep. Andy McKean, the longest serving Republican in the Iowa state legislature, has become a Democrat. Mckean says that Trump, as the leader of the party, is a YUGE reckless asshole and sets a bad example for the children. McKean ultimately concludes, "If this is the new normal, I want no part of it."Trump woke up praising the guy who pushed the Michelle Obama "whitey" tape conspiracy in yet another bid to accuse the Obama administration of spying. Media Matters's Matt Gertz notes that back in 2017, Sean Spicer sparked an international incident by quoting the same lying asshat. Fox News's Martha MacCallum -- lauded by Fox as being a "straight news" anchor -- let Rush Limbaugh bloviate racist diatribes and conspiracy theories on her show yesterday. Shortly thereafter, Trump shitposted a video of the segment, so Hannity kept up the circlejerk.On Sunday Twitter nuked about 5,000 pro-Trump bot accounts spewing "the phrase "RussiaGate hoax" on Mueller Day last week. According to nerds and security officials, the accounts seem connected to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and whoever was operating the accounts was trying get the phrase into Twitter's trending topics. As usual, Trump was pissed about losing "followers" and summoned Twitter's fuckwit douchebag CEO, @Jack Dorsey, to nerdsplain bots and cyber fuckery. The two of them then tweeted a bad photo and some horseshit about creating an open dialogue. Trump might hate the White House press corps, but he sure loves the photographers. BRB, gotta vomit and find a telephoto lens that shows Trump's makeup caked pores and skin lesions. And here's your morning Nice Time: OKAPI ZOOMIES! Okapi Calf Debuts at the San Diego Zoo http://www.youtube.com Follow Dominic on Twitter and Instagram!We're 100% ad-free and reader-supported, so consider buying us coffee, or get a subscription! How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Hey Jared Kushner, It's STFU-Thirty, AND YOU'RE LATE!Oh good, Jared Kushner decided to pick today to come out from the hidey hole where he back channels with Russians and the Saudi Murder Prince while lustily fingering the security clearance unlawfully procured for him by an unelected president.That's just super.It was at the Time 100 event, not because Jared was on the Time 100 this year, but we guess because he was on it in 2017. His profile back then was written by Henry Kissinger, who predicted he would be a "success." We guess this happened during a part of the event called "The Time 100's Biggest Bloopers, OMG" ... oh wait, hold on, Wonkette has just been informed that Time was being serious when it invited Jared. Our bad.Say something stupid in reaction to the release of the Mueller Report, J-Kush: You look at what Russia did, you know, buying some Facebook ads to try and sow dissent and do it, it's a terrible thing. But I think the investigations and all of the speculation that's happened for the last two years has had a much harsher impact on our democracy than a couple Facebook ads.You know, that was not actually the question. The question was if Jared might feel like he was being stupid and naive taking all those meetings with sanctioned Russian bankers and looking for back channels to the Russians during the Trump transition, knowing what he knows now. We understand that Jared may not have felt comfortable giving a truthful answer, considering how he probably has a lot to hide, but we are so very fucking tired of Trumpers and their Greenwald-ian fluffers acting like the "investigations" and the "speculation" (read: journalism trying to figure out what the hell was going on) were somehow worse than the actual Trumpo-Russian crimes themselves. Because, to be clear, the "couple of Facebook ads" were a Russian troll farm operation that was part of a "sweeping and systematic" campaign directed by the Russian government to damage American democracy, as the Mueller Report put it. Those "couple of Facebook ads" were actually a full active measures operation that reached 126 million Americans on Facebook, not to mention who they reached on Twitter, Instagram and probably Tinder (probably not Tinder), in order to sow discord among American voters. The project started in 2014, but by the early days of 2016, the Russians directing the operation had laser focused away from just sowing discord, and zeroed in on directing people TOWARD VOTING FOR DONALD TRUMP (Jared's father-in-law) and away from voting for Hillary Clinton. (Also, they openly acknowledged in their internal communications that they were cool with Bernie in the Democratic primary, and wanted to drive a wedge between Democrats.)Of course, that wasn't the only part of the Russian active measures campaign. Another huge chunk of it involved Russian military intelligence hacking Democratic emails and releasing them through various cut-outs (most primarily WikiLeaks) at well-chosen times during the Democratic primary and general election season, so as to create maximum damage for Hillary Clinton and help to barely squeak Donald Trump (Jared's father-in-law) into the Oval Office based on 70,000 extremely questionable votes in three Rust Belt states. Another huge chunk of it was the SEVENTEENFUCKINGMILLION approaches the Russian government made to the Trump campaign, as detailed in the Mueller Report, seeking leverage and sanctions relief and promising dirty dirts on Hillary Clinton in return. As we all know, the Russians had varying levels of success with this. Hey, JARED knows something about those, since he was the target of so many of them, probably because when you're a spy looking for an easy mark, chances are YOU WENT TO JARED at some point in your career! (No really. US Intelligence has intercepted foreigns talking about Jared being the ENTIRE WORLD'S patsy. It is really fucking embarrassing.)We still don't have all the answers on exactly why Russia's goal of undermining American democracy really found its wings in supporting the Trump campaign, but when you consider that THEIR FUCKING GOAL WAS TO HURT AMERICA, it's kind of alarming to realize that a Trump presidency was a natural next step in Russia's wet dream to break America from the inside out.We bet a lot of those answers are in the counter-intel part of Robert Mueller's report -- the part we haven't been allowed to see; the part that the 40 FBI agents embedded in Mueller's operation transmitted to different parts of the FBI; the part that deals with the question of whether Donald Trump himself (Jared's father-in-law) is a literal actual agent of the Russian Federation, either wittingly or unwittingly.Look at this section from page 13 of Volume I of the Mueller Report: " ... whose purpose was to review the results of the investigation and to send -- in writing -- summaries of foreign intelligence and counterintelligence information to FBIHQ and FBI Field Offices. Those communications and other correspondence between the Office and the FBI contain information derived from the investigation ..."Oh, did Jared think that part of the probe was over? Did he ... not notice that there wasn't any classified information in Mueller's report? (NBC News confirmed that this part of the investigation is ongoing.)That's the part most likely looking at questions like why Donald Trump jizzed classified information all over the Russian foreign minister the day after he fired James Comey; why he rolls over like a Pomeranian every time Vladimir Putin walks into a room; why he constantly does Putin's bidding and seems to see foreign policy through an acutely Kremlin-infected lens; and why he -- AND JARED -- seem to undermine American foreign policy at literally every turn, in service of Putin and the Saudis and any other thug dictator who tells them they're pretty.Hell, it probably now includes looking at just how compromised JARED is, what with his big boy security clearance and his willingness to share late night secrets during slumber parties with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. AND SO MUCH MORE! All the little questions the Mueller Report seemed to leave hanging, they're still out there. Where's the part of the Mueller Report about why Moscow's Alfa Bank was communicating almost solely with a Trump Organization server? And whose bidding exactly was Cambridge Analytica doing? Maybe they're still being investigated ... somewhere.Or maybe there's something about that in those 12 redacted cases Mueller transferred out of his office, all of which are listed as ongoing in the Mueller Report. Point is that of all people alive on this earth right now, Jared Kushner needs to STFU about what is and is not hurting America, and stop protecting his beloved fucking Russians. Or maybe he just should STFU entirely, about all things, forever.Now YOU do not shut up, because this is your OPEN THREAD. Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE!Wonkette is ad-free and funded ONLY by YOU, our dear readers. If you have any money, GIVE IT. How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Sen. John Cornyn All Aquiver About Patton Oswalt's Dirty, Pretty MouthWe swear that John Cornyn is an honest-to-goodness US senator. Yet this is what the Texas Republican (or at least his campaign team) is tweeting while serious people are discussing impeaching the president. Team Cornyn's tweet quickly found itself a resident of Ratio-ville, where the presiding mayor is Howard Schultz. But why did this crack team of political savants scour Twitter for old-ass tweets from one of the new Mads on "Mystery Science Theater 3000"? Is Patton Oswalt running for Senate? He's certainly more fit for office than Donald Trump. No, apparently, the comedian is just a supporter of a Senate candidate. Democrat MJ Hegar just launched her campaign today to unseat Cornyn in 2020, and Team Cornyn's rapid response was to attack someone who once said nice things about her. Seriously, they have no other connection. Republicans gave this bad-ass Air Force veteran, who received a goddamn Purple Heart for her service, the childish nickname "Hollywood Hegar," because no one respects the military like the party of President Bone Spurs. The nickname sounds like she's a former pro wrestler who sparred with Nature Boy Ric Flair (that'd be awesome). We guess though she is "Hollywood Hegar" because celebrities like her, which is bad, except when it is "Hollywood Reagan" or "Hollywood Trump" who are good. Hegar is even brazen enough to highlight her celebrity support in her fun new ad. We officially love her because she describes Cornyn as "that tall guy lurching behind Mitch McConnell in basically every single video." Because we are also childish, we will now start calling Cornyn "Lurch," which is admittedly "Addams Family" libel. Hegar narrowly lost her 2018 House race against Republican John Carter. She's now pulling a Beto and taking a shot at an even higher office. Last June, she released the campaign ad "Doors," which went viral and gained the attention of Lin-Manuel Miranda, George Takei, Oswalt, and other celebrities. Why were these "coastal elites" so amped? Did Hegar wipe her ass with the flag while performing a late-term abortion? No, the ad just detailed the story of an incredibly brave woman who was shot down over Afghanistan while rescuing soldiers in active battle. This is why it's not worth messing with Republicans. They resent liberals so much that even their embrace of all-American, "Yo Joe!" heroics is seen as a negative. "Doors" was more like an awesome short film than a simple campaign ad. Oswalt praised both "Doors" and Hegar on Twitter. This apparently warranted publicly tarring Oswalt like James Gunn, except Oswalt's tweets aren't even slightly offensive. They just use foul language. Cornyn should try logging on to Wonkette! Cornyn also pointed out that Hegar receives out-of-state donations. Uhh, so does Susan Collins, but that's different somehow. Hegar's donors include "Hollywood liberals" like Rosie O'Donnell. Exit to Eden was objectively awful, but Republicans talk about O'Donnell like she literally lopped off someone's head. She's not ISIS, she's just some liberal lady supporting an American war hero. Republicans are inconsistent when it comes to free speech or just consistently hypocritical. They rallied behind child rape apologist and racist phlegm Tucker Carlson after Media Matters dug up his repulsive former comments. Cornyn called Don Willett a "star" of the Texas judicial system and Willett's Twitter feed would've embarrassed Archie Bunker. TwitterThen there's this guy, who we think Cornyn knows professionally. Check the date. This was on Good Friday. If the president can say "bullshit" on a not-so-good day for Jesus, a moderately famous private citizen can kinda but not really say "fuck." Case closed. Republicans have no moral claim to offense so long as they defend the pussy grabber in chief. TwitterNow go break open your swear jars and donate to Hegar's campaign. Help her send Cornyn to the Old Political Hacks Home. Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter. Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please send us money to keep the writers paid and the servers humming. Thank you, we love you. How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Trump White House Tells Employees Subpoenaed By Congress To Flip Them Off And Sh*t In Their EyesCarl Kline is the former White House official who allegedly overrode career staff to greenlight security clearances for Jared, Ivanka, and 23 other Trump officials despite "a wide range of serious disqualifying issues involving foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use, and criminal conduct." Which is bad enough on its face, but Kline is going to make a uniquely terrible witness for the government. You may remember Kline as the boss from hell who took revenge on whistleblower Tricia Newbold, by moving files physically out of her reach so she couldn't do her job. Newsweek reports: Newbold, who was born with a rare form of congenital dwarfism, said Kline began placing dossiers and paperwork she needed on high shelves or filing cabinets beyond her reach. To her, that maneuver, coupled with Kline overriding her security warnings, not only threatened national security but assaulted her self-esteem, hard-earned through three excruciating, months-long series of surgeries in her teens that had stretched her tiny body from 3-foot-5 to 4-foot-2 and given her access to the workforce. Her new physique allowed her to completely shed her sense of herself as disabled, she says. Then came Kline. "That was the first time I ever felt disabled," she tells Newsweek in a wide-ranging interview in early April. "It was really hard for me to accept who I was. I'd never accepted I was little, I never identified with being little, and here it was." At work she remained strong, but at home at night her composure would crack. Until last year, she says, her children "didn't even know what the word dwarf meant." But by late last year, she says, her 11-year-old daughter "had to dry my tears more than any child should ever have to do for their parent." If you were the White House, would you want Carl Kline on the stand?And thus did acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney inform House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings that despite his lawful subpoena, he would not have the pleasure of Mr. Kline's company. Welcome to the unending constitutional crises of the next two years! Dear Chairman Cummings: As you are aware, on April 18, 2019, I wrote to the Committee on Oversight and Reform ("the Committee") regarding the attendance of a representative from the Office of Counsel to the President at the deposition of former White House Personnel Security Director Carl Kline. The letter indicated that unless the Committee would allow a representative of this office to attend with Mr. Kline, in order to preserve and protect Executive Branch confidentiality interests, Mr. Kline, would be instructed not to appear on April 23, 2019. On April 22, 2019, the committee responded that "[t]he committee will not permit a representative from [this] office to attend the deposition." Letter from Elijah E. Cummings, Chairman to Pat Cipollone, Counsel to the President (April 22, 2019) at 2. Accordingly, and for the reasons stated in our April 18, 2019 letter, the Acting Chief of Staff to the President Mick Mulvaney has directed Mr. Kline not to appear on April 23, 2019. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss this matter.White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Mick Mulvaney insist that Kline can only testify with a minder from the White House Counsel's office present to protect the privacy of government employees and stop him from discussing any particular clearance determination or Ms. Newbold's pending EEOC complaint. They insist that Congress is only allowed to discuss prospective security clearance procedures, ignoring the fact that the Oversight Committee is routinely granted access to those same documents -- most recently, the Committee reviewed Michael Flynn's SF86, back when Republicans were pretending to do a modicum of actual oversight. In fact, as Cummings wrote to Cipollone yesterday, House rules explicitly prohibit witnesses from bringing anyone other than their own lawyers into the hearing: The Committee will not permit a representative from your office to attend the deposition. As your letter correctly notes, Committee Rule 15(e) prohibits officials from your office from attending. That rule states: Witnesses may be accompanied at a deposition by counsel to advise them of their rights. No one may be present at depositions except members, Committee staff designated by the Chair of the Committee or the Ranking Minority Member of the Committee, an official reporter, the witness, and the witness's counsel. Observers or counsel for other persons, or for agencies under investigation, may not attend. Nonetheless, Cipollone's deputy Michael Purpura purported to relieve Kline of responsibility to answer the subpoena, telling his lawyer, "The Department of Justice is aware of and concurs with the legal position taken by the White House that Mr. Kline does not need to appear for his deposition if no representative of this office is permitted to attend." But surely Robert Driscoll, one of the pre-eminent white collar defense attorneys in DC, knows this hall pass isn't worth the paper it's printed on. Kline is responsible for his own substantial legal fees, and if he goes to jail on a contempt charge, Cipollone and Purpura won't be next to him in that cell. Driscoll's letter to Chairman Cummings tries to paint Kline as an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire, rather than someone who tried to bully his employee into changing clearance denials because Donald Trump was throwing a tantrum over not being able to install the prince and princess at his royal court. Ah, the old My Client May Have No Legal Leg to Stand On, So We're Going With The Guy Who Signs Our Checks defense -- works every time! And the entreaties to get the records by "substitution of compulsory process" is a nice touch, since Cipollone has been telling Cummings to piss off with those documents requests for months. Which brings us to this afternoon, when Chairman Cummings followed through on his threat and moved to hold Kline in contempt of Congress. Your move, Carl! The White House asked you to defy Congress, but they didn't give you a legal leg to stand on. They're not going to be able to spring you from the pokey if the Democrats follow through and lock you up for contempt. And they're sure as hell not helping you with the hundreds of thousand of dollars in legal bills it will cost you to fight this thing. Which is, if we might interject, kind of the point. Kline is a current Defense Department employee, but he's still essentially on his own in this battle against Congress. And Congress is about to work its way up the food chain, dumping subpoenas and contempt charges on all the little and medium-sized fish in Trumpland to see who'll break under pressure and flip on their boss. Let's see who wants to liquidate their IRA to protect Donald Trump, and who wants to take a grant of immunity? Sweet, sweet music, isn't it? POLITICS. AIN'T. BEANBAG. [Purpura Letter to Cummings / Newsweek / Cummings Letter to Cipollone] Follow your FDF on Twitter! 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- Must Be Hannity And Assange Calling Seth Rich's Family To Apologize!The Mueller Report pretty conclusively disproved the rightwing (and left!) Wikileaks-Seth Rich conspiracy theory. That was where Sean Hannity and a few DemExit dead-enders agreed that the 2016 leaks of DNC and Clinton campaign emails came not from a Russian hack, but from Seth Rich, a data guy who worked at the DNC -- until he was murdered in a botched DC street robbery or, according to the conspiracy theory, by Hillary Clinton. But as the Mueller Report showed, Rich was murdered four days before Julian Assange even got his hands on the hacked DNC data, and Assange continued to communicate with his (Russian) hacker sources long afterward. As our Robyn pointed out in the link above, that hasn't slowed down the crazies in the conspiracysphere a single bit, because after all they have never been susceptible to liberal plots like evidence and logic. But how about the far more high-profile organizations like Fox News and Wikileaks, "journalism" home to Julian Assange himself? Now that they've been proven wrong -- Assange himself had a tendency to strongly hint multiple times that Rich had been murdered after leaking the data to Wikileaks -- we bet they're just all kinds of embarrassed, and are in a hurry to clarify the record, because after all, they are Responsible Journamalism Outlets! As Rolling Stone's Andy Kroll reports, there doesn't seem to be much urgency to set the record straight. Possibly because, in the wake of the Mueller Report, Sean Hannity is very busy proving what a threat to national security Hillary Clinton is. Maybe once Americans know the real truth about her email server, he can get around to un-slandering a murdered DNC staffer. Hannity relentlessly flogged the Rich story in the summer of 2017, because if an insider sent the emails to Assange, then the Russia investigation would magically vanish in a big puff of pursed lips and raised eyebrows, and as an added bonus, there'd be one more victim added to the Hillary Clinton Body Count. Hannity kept pushing the bullshit even after Fox News retracted its story, saying the reporting didn't live up to Fox's high standards. Eventually, Hannity said that while he was still certain the Russia story was all just a big hoax by Democrats, he would stop talking about Seth Rich out of "respect" for the Rich family -- but that he would also keep searching for the REAL TRUTH. Make no mistake, he promised on Twitter, he would tell all, because his investigation was about to bear fruit! Don't go looking for that tweet, though, because it was quietly sent down the Memory Hole sometime after December 2018. Imagine that! Assange, that avatar of journalistic openness, exploited and amplified the fake story about Rich to cover up his own complicity with Russia in distributing the hacked emails, as Kroll summarizes:Mueller's office devotes an entire sub-section of its final report to what it calls Assange and WikiLeaks' "dissembling" about the source of the stolen Democratic Party materials. Mueller notes that Assange and WikiLeaks made various statements about Rich after receiving the stolen documents, including offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of his killer or killers and alluding to him in subsequent television interviews. "Beginning in the summer of 2016, Assange and WikiLeaks made a number of statements about Seth Rich, a former DNC staff member who was killed in July 2016," Mueller wrote. "The statements about Rich implied falsely that he had been the source of the stolen DNC emails."The Rich family has issued statements thanking Mueller for clearing that up, and calling on those who spread the lies to "take responsibility for the unimaginable pain they have caused us," as Seth Rich's brother Aaron put it. As Kroll discovered, anyone holding their breath waiting for Fox, Hannity, or Assange to do that would definitely not be in a position to share sensitive stolen emails, no sir: Rolling Stone sent detailed questions to representatives for some of the most influential promoters of the Rich conspiracy theories — Fox News, Sean Hannity, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. We asked whether they planned to correct, retract or apologize for past comments about Rich, the DNC hack and WikiLeaks after Mueller's debunking. None of them responded to multiple requests for comment. (The request for Assange, who was arrested in London almost two weeks ago and faces one count of conspiracy in the U.S., was sent to his American lawyer.)So look for the Rich family to keep pursuing the one strategy that has worked so far: suing outlets for defamation and demanding a retraction. In March 2018, Aaron Rich sued a one-time Fox guest, a pro-Trump blogger and the right-leaning Washington Times newspaper for defamation after they accused him of helping his brother steal documents from the DNC and providing them to WikiLeaks in exchange for money that went to Aaron Rich's bank account.The lawsuit managed to wring apologies and retractions from the Washington Times and from conspiracy monger Jerome Corsi. A judge dismissed a lawsuit by Rich's parents against Fox News and other defendants; that decision is currently under appeal. In the meantime, a separate defamation lawsuit by Aaron Rich was given the OK by a federal judge in March, and should eventually go to trial. Media Matters notes that the "internal investigation" Fox News promised of its reporting on the Seth Rich murder has now lasted longer than Robert Mueller's entire probe -- 674 days for Mueller, compared to 700 days since Fox said it would get right on that. But come on, Media Matters: Nobody at Fox is really suspected of "investigating" a damn thing. How could they, with results like this?The author of the initial FoxNews.com story apparently still works at the network (though she hasn't published a story since August 2017), its editor has been promoted, and on-air commentators who pushed the conspiracy theory such as Sean Hannity, Newt Gingrich, and Steve Doocy are still comfortably ensconced at Fox.Following the precedent of the Mueller inquiry, we expect Sean Hannity to demand an immediate investigation of Media Matters. [Rolling Stone / Media Matters]Wonkette is ad-free and supported only by YOU. 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- President 'I'm F*cked' Entirely F*cked, According To PollsBad news for Donald Trump and Bill Barr and the government of the Russian Federation, because the American people are not buyin' it. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after the release of the heavily redacted Mueller report shows Trump with one of his lowest approval ratings ever, 37 percent. Reuters notes that's down from 40 percent a little over a week ago and 43 percent just after Bill Barr circulated his initial mash note that cleared Trump of all Russian and obstruction crimes past, present and future. If only Bill Barr wasn't a dipshit with the face of a syphilitic gopher who's really bad at cover-ups!Moreover, in the newest poll, solidly half of Americans think somebody in the Trump world conspired with Russia to ratfuck the election, maybe because they've heard about how Trump had foreknowledge of the WikiLeaks releases, or maybe they're just really wondering why the hell Paul Manafort was passing polling data to a Russian spy with the understanding it'd go to Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch Manafort worked for lo those many years. Another 58 percent say it's pretty obvious Trump criminally obstructed the investigation, we guess because 58 percent of Americans can read.Reuters notes that most respondents haven't actually changed their minds since the report came out, but that of the small fraction who did (15 percent), they changed their minds against Trump, rather than suddenly seeing him in a better light. Imagine how those numbers might change once the House really gets going dragging all of Trump's dirty laundry into view, as they procure his financial records and bring every person Trump's ever met to testify before the House Judiciary Committee over the course of the next year and a half. (We should point out here that Americans are at the moment pretty evenly split on whether or not Trump should be impeached. Again, bring on the House hearings!)Digging deeper into the poll, we find:51 percent think Republicans are shitting on the FBI/DoJ in order to protect Trump, whereas only 46 percent think the shitting is being done in the opposite direction, so at least the truth is slightly winning out over Fox News Fantasyland.52 percent are still pretty sure there's some sort of cover-up happening and want to see the WHOLE ENTIRE FUCKING REPORT, PLEASE AND THANK YOU, BILL FUCKING BARR.60 percent of Republicans are definitely supporting Trump in the 2020 Republican primary, whereas the rest of them either choose "somebody else" or "don't know." (WAIT WHAT?)Yep, we just read that part again, that is what it says.Lest you think this poll is an outlier fake news poll from the Deep State, Politico/Morning Consult finds similar results, putting Trump's approval at a measly 39 percent, which is also a steep drop from their poll last week, where Trump had 44 percent approval. Politico notes that this ties its lowest poll result ever for Trump, which just really makes you wonder why Trump and his minions kept saying the day of the Mueller Report release was the best of his presidency. (Politico does show slightly weaker support for impeachment, but, you know, all things in due time, let's not blow our loads early like half the internet seems to want us to do.)Oh, and the Politico/Morning Consult poll specifically asked if Bill Barr is super fine, or if he should go suck goat taint, and only 30 percent said he was super fine, and moreover only 32 percent are certain his announcements about the Mueller Report haven't been full of lies. Anyway, the point here, obviously, is that Donald Trump, when Robert Mueller was appointed, reportedly slumped back in his chair and started whining about how his presidency was over and "I'm fucked," whine whine whine whine whine WHINE WHINE.If his poll numbers are already this bad and we've only had Mueller's report -- the redacted one Bill Barr drew dicks all over with his big Sharpie marker -- in our hands for approximately five minutes, imagine how bad things will get for Trump in the next few months. In other words, YEP, HE'S FUCKED.Mazel tov![Reuters / Reuters/Ipsos poll / Politico]Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE!Wonkette is ad-free and funded ONLY by YOU, our dear readers. Click below to keep the lights on, please. We appreciate you, most of the time.How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Puke Along With Us To Fed Nominee Stephen Moore's Five Foulest 'Writings' Oh My Sweet Jesus For RealDonald Trump's hopes of filling the Federal Reserve with idiots who "agree" with him on economic policy -- whatever it is on any given day -- hit a couple of big bumps yesterday. Herman Cain withdrew his name from consideration, and Stephen Moore, the other Trump pick waiting to be formally nominated, is facing scrutiny over wildly misogynist stuff he wrote in the National Review between 2000 and 2004. Moore's defense, however, is airtight: He was just joking! Don't you people know a joke when you see it? Moore had already faced some skepticism over his personal expertise in finance, since the IRS placed a lien against him for $75,000 in unpaid income taxes, and he was held in contempt of court after failing to pay his ex-wife more than $300,000 he owed her as part of a divorce settlement. On top of that, there's also his basic incompetence as an economist, not that Republicans would have held a minor problem like that against him. But yesterday, CNN looked closely at some of Moore's columns from the National Review from the turn of the century, and found a guy who sounded like he might have fit in quite well with gentlemanly thinkers from the turn of the previous century. Consider his very amusing 2002 observations on how college basketball could be improved, mostly by getting rid of slimy girls. He was very sad about certain "un-American" developments in sportsball that needed fixing:No Women. How outrageous is this? This year they allowed a woman ref a men's NCAA game. [sic] Liberals celebrate this breakthrough as a triumph for gender equity. The NCAA has been touting this as example of how progressive they are. I see it as an obscenity. Is there no area in life where men can take vacation from women? What's next? Women invited to bachelor parties? Women in combat? (Oh yeah, they've done that already.) Why can't women ref he women's games and men the men's games. [sic]I can't wait to see the first lady ref have a run in with Bobby Knight. Moore went on and on about the crisis of the "feminization of basketball generally," bemoaning the very existence of women's basketball on ESPN at all, and the horrifying statistic that USA Today devotes "almost half" of its NCAA coverage to women's basketball, as if it were even a sport! He lamented America "being force fed lady hoops," even though it is a fact no one actually likes or even watches women's basketball. (Let's also note right here that he was mostly mining a 2001 joke from "Futurama," but went on for multiple paragraphs.) He went on to sigh about women thinking they should be able to play informally against men, despite being girls! Sure, as a middle-aged dude, he can't dunk, but if he could, he certainly would take "no joy" in "dunking over someone named Tina." Haha, ladies even have silly names. And so he offered rule changes to save America, and his boner:No more women refs, no women announcers, no women beer venders, [sic] no women anything. There is, of course, an exception to this rule. Women are permitted to participate, if and only if, they look like Bonnie Bernstein. The fact that Bonnie knows nothing about basketball is entirely irrelevant. 2. Bonnie Bernstein should wear a halter top. This is a no-brainer, CBS. What in the world are you waiting for? To quote the immortal Wayne of Wayne's World, "If Bonnie were president of the United States, she'd be Babe-raham Lincoln. This was a decade after that movie came out, and he thought that was a nifty joke. Sexism aside, he cannot be allowed to hold a position of public responsibility. Mind you, Moore explained to CNN, "This was a spoof. I have a sense of humor." Oh dear, Rebecca has fired us all and hired Stephen Moore instead :(Moore -- at the time, the head of the Club For Growth, so a very serious economics thinkerer -- also went all Bobby Rigg in a column from 2000, explaining that ladies simply don't "get" economics, cursed with tiny little lady brains as they are: The women tennis pros don't really want equal pay for equal work. They want equal pay for inferior work [...]If there is an injustice in tennis, it's that women like Martina Hingis and Monica Seles make millions of dollars a year, even though there are hundreds of men at the collegiate level (assuming their schools haven't dropped the sport) who could beat them handily. While this column doesn't have any leering comments about halter tops, it's also stronger evidence Moore shouldn't be allowed anywhere near economic policy, since he explicitly links women athletes' supposed inferiority to all issues of pay equity, because after all, that's a fake issue made up by whiny feminists and liberals Let the market decide, because sexism is all a figment of the liberal imagination. Gross. The New York Times chimed in with additional evidence that Moore is actually the Dabney Coleman character in 9 to 5 (now there's a timely movie reference). Not just in his writing, but in his 2010 divorce. Here's hoping his ex, Allison Moore, is called to testify if he gets as far as a confirmation hearing. According to filings, in 2010 Mr. Moore started a sexual relationship with a woman he met through an online dating service. His wife found bills that showed Mr. Moore pumping gas in the morning near the home of the other woman and buying an airplane ticket in her name. At their son's graduation ceremony, Mr. Moore said to his children, in earshot of Ms. Moore, "I have two women, and what's really bad is when they fight over you."Oh look, there are more columns, too! In 2000, Moore cried that his dumb wife "voted against every candidate that I voted for," even though she surely knew that his livelihood as a conservative pundit and think-tanker depended on George W. Bush winning the presidency. The silly woman said she changed her mind in the Virginia governor's race because of a campaign commercial. Why are women even allowed to vote, fellas, am I right? The poor, exasperated man wrote, "Women are sooo malleable! No wonder there's a gender gap," and fretted that his entire ballot was offset by his irrational wife's irrational votes for "parks" and "school bonds" and other wasteful stuff that means higher taxes. Thank heavens, he noted, he could rely on his two sons to vote for Republicans -- at least once they became old enough in 2012, ha ha -- so his family could really make an electoral impact for good. The Times also found a whole bunch of other times when Moore used his National Review column to mock the little woman, all in good fun, christ, get a sense of humor, ladies!Before the divorce, Mr. Moore frequently teased his ex-wife in his National Review columns. In 2001, he wrote that "she's been acting as if it's her patriotic duty to single-handedly revive the American economy with her frenetic pace of consumer spending." In 2003, he wrote that "Allison consumes but she still doesn't produce." In 2004, he wrote, "Here's the best news of all: For once, Allison isn't pregnant."Well then. Guess he really IS the perfect choice for a Trump appointment. [CNN / NYT]Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. 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- Ex-White House Counsel Don McGahn Ready For His Close-Up, Mr. DeMille!Former White House counsel Don McGahn is about to be famous, and he has Donald Trump to thank for it, just like the winners of "The Celebrity Apprentice," hosted by Donald Trump! Except it's sort of a backhanded "thanks" McGahn owes Trump, because he's gonna be famous because Trump constantly asked McGahn to commit crimes for him, McGahn repeatedly refrained from doing so, and he took notes of all that stuff and told it to special counsel Robert Mueller, and now he gets to go tell Congress all about it in front of a live studio audience.Trump is going to be so fucking pissed. Hell, he's already so pissed at McGahn for cooperating so well with the Mueller investigation -- because Trump told him to! -- that in retaliation he fired McGahn's law firm Jones Day this weekend from working for his campaign. Yes, he fired the only decent law firm in DC still willing to work for him, because of his sad wounded ego feelings.In the New York Times, Michael Schmidt refers to McGahn as the "unofficial narrator" of the Mueller Report, and having read all four-hundred-eleventy pages of it, we can attest to the truth of that. (His name comes up 157 times, per Schmidt.) If/when the Mueller Report is turned into a hilarious Broadway musical, the role of McGahn will be the narrator figure who moves the action along, and sometimes joins in it for himself.Jerry Nadler has subpoenaed McGahn to come narrate the action for the House Judiciary Committee on May 21. Because McGahn was there for ALL OF IT.He was there for all of Trump's improper attempts to interfere with Jeff Sessions's recusal, and he participated in them in at least one instance. He was there for most of the events surrounding the firing of James Comey, and he MADE NOTES. He was up close and personal with the original "you're fired!" letter Trump and Stephen Miller drafted, where Trump admitted he was firing Comey over the Russia investigation. He heard Trump say before Comey's testimony to Congress that it would be the "last straw" if Comey wouldn't publicly say Trump wasn't under investigation. Once Mueller was appointed, Trump called McGahn at home and begged him to call the Justice Department and have Mueller fired, because of bullshit "conflicts" Trump pulled out of his ass. He was so disturbed by it, by Trump trying to make him do what he called "crazy shit," that he literally went to the White House to get his things, in anticipation of resigning rather than carrying out the unlawful order. His chief of staff Annie Donaldson was also prepared to resign, and McGahn documented every bit of this.When the news found out about Trump's illegal orders to McGahn, Trump went ballistic and tried to get McGahn -- who was already cooperating with the special counsel's office -- to publicly lie and deny the story, and to create a fake White House record saying Trump never ever asked him to get Mueller fired. McGahn wouldn't do it. During this time, Trump met with McGahn -- a guy he considered a "lying bastard" -- in the Oval Office and bitched at him for taking notes (did we mention McGahn took copious notes?), because the Roy Cohn-type lawyers Trump likes never take notes. McGahn responded that he takes notes because he's a "real lawyer," hey President Dipshit, ever met a real lawyer? (They're the ones who are usually sitting across the center aisle in the courtroom from you, if you catch our drift.)Here, it is our favorite passage from the Mueller Report: And these are just the stories Mueller asked McGahn about. One would imagine that, in his role as White House counsel in the most lawless White House in American history, he has MANY MORE STORIES to tell. Plus, as the White House counsel is not the personal attorney of the president, but rather for the presidency itself, he won't have to deal with a whole bunch of stinky privilege issues in deciding what stories to tell. Of course, the attacks have already started. Rudy Giuliani has said McGahn is just hopelessly "confused" -- yes that's right, Rudy Giuliani called another human confused -- and accused McGahn of telling multiple versions of stories, which probably tells us more about Rudy Giuliani's reading comprehension than it does about McGahn's memory. As for Trump, OH HE HAS BEEN SO MAD: Did we mention how Donald Trump really doesn't like lawyers -- or people, for that matter -- who take notes? Sometimes they write down Trump's crimes! It is definitely for real Presidential Harassment.Can you imagine what Trump's going to be like in the days leading up to McGahn's testimony, and also afterward? If the point of Jerry Nadler's subpoena was to drive Grandpa Dementia Shits into a hilarious white hot rage in which he embarrasses himself in front of God and every other world leader alive, subpoenaing Don McGahn was not a bad idea.May 21 is coming. Enjoy it, Don McGahn, because we know we will![New York Times]Follow Evan Hurst on Twitter RIGHT HERE, DO IT RIGHT HERE!Wonkette is ad-free and funded ONLY by YOU, our dear readers. Click below to keep the lights on, please. We appreciate you, most of the time.How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Other Tim Ryan Running For President, Does Not Get Wonkette T-ShirtMassachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton announced Monday that's he's running for president. Why not? Everyone else is. Still, we've gotta ask: What kind of crackpipe exploratory committee decides that Moulton can beat anyone in the already crowded Democratic primary field? He's the McSpaghetti of candidates. Notice how weird and wrong yet blandly unappealing the McSpaghetti is? That's Seth Moulton. Maybe he's just in this to see if he can "win" at coming in last. Moulton and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan probably have a private bet going. If so, Ryan is gonna owe Moulton a Coke soon. At least when Ryan announced his doomed candidacy, articles didn't appear hours later with headlines like this one from Vanity Fair. OuchVanity Fair Last year, Moulton made national headlines in a failed attempt to take down Nancy Pelosi back when no one knew what the fuck a Buttigieg was. He succeeded only in uniting freshman star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez behind the once and future House Speaker. He also tried to tangle with AOC, who's still probably unaware of his existence. Now, just five months later, the congressional representative for more than 600,000 people is dismissed as the fake Fendi bag version of a small-town Indiana mayor. Buttigieg even denied Moulton arguably the one interesting thing about his candidacy. Moulton's 40, so if he won, which he won't, he'd be the youngest president in history. However, Buttigieg is 37 and his chances of becoming president are slightly greater than Moulton's, which are "being struck by lightning while winning Powerball." Moulton is also not in any plausible way the next Beto O'Rourke. He lacks charisma and no one at Wonkette finds him remotely attractive. If there was a gun to our head, we'd probably do him over Ted Cruz but we'd want to see the gun first. Moulton, an Iraq War veteran, thinks he can distinguish himself with a platform focusing on national security and defense. That's so not where the energy of the party's base is right now, but who are we to question the savvy political instincts of someone Pelosi publicly humiliated? Here's Moulton's rambling, eloquence-free explanation for his candidacy. MOULTON: I'm running because we have to beat Donald Trump, and I want us to beat Donald Trump because I love this country. We've never been a country that gets everything right. But we're a country that, at our best, thinks that we might. No, Seth, wanting to beat Trump and loving America is why you'd vote for Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, or any of the other candidates who are far more accomplished and qualified than you. Trump is not a dilemma whose only solution is Seth Moulton. We're not the only ones who aren't taking Moulton seriously. When he appeared yesterday on Buzzfeed News's "AM to DM" morning show, one of the hosts declared that he resembled actor Bill Pullman from the "1996 classic, Independence Day." He does not and the film is not a "classic." Maybe that's just a nice way for young people to call something or someone old. Way to connect with the youth vote. Buttigieg would've at least been compared to Matthew Broderick from the actual classic Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Moulton vowed not to build a wall between Earth and Mars and would "start with diplomacy" in response to any alien invasions. Oh, good on him for having a sense of humor about his hilarious campaign. We shall now diplomatically ignore Moulton until he withdraws shortly before Iowa. [Politico] Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter. Now here are some T-shirts, which Seth Moulton does not get. https://wonkettebazaar.com/collections/elizabeth-warren-2020 https://wonkettebazaar.com/collections/kamala-2020 https://wonkettebazaar.com/collections/beto-2020 https://wonkettebazaar.com/collections/kirsten-gillibrand-2020 https://wonkettebazaar.com/collections/nancy-pelosi-ride-or-die Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please send us money to keep the writers paid and the servers humming. Thank you, we love you. How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Nope, No Impeachment Here! (WINK, WINK)Can we all just take a breath here and ask ourselves WHAT EXACTLY DOES A WIN LOOK LIKE? A real life win, not some fantasy where Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Jim Jordan, and Devin Nunes all lose in 2020, Justices Thomas and Alito announce their retirement, and President Warren/Harris/Sanders/Buttigieg replaces them with Neal Katyal and Preet Bharara. Because we all know damn well that this Senate isn't going to impeach Donald Trump, no matter what the House does. Jesus Christ himself could descend from Heaven in a golden chariot and write "Impeach His Orange Ass" in fire across the sky, and Republicans would still insist that President Pussgrabber was God's holy anointed leader and Golden Chariot Jesus is Fake News. He's not going away. Which is not to say that we should NOT impeach Donald Trump. As is so often the case, Elizabeth Warren is our spirit animal here. Damn right! The rule of law has to mean something, or else as a country we're totally screwed.The question is how to do it. Because if we force every member of Congress to walk the plank and vote on impeachment in July or August without laying the groundwork, the Senate will kill it and then the whole thing will be over. Trump will get to spend the subsequent 14 months saying the Russia/obstruction inquiry is settled and he was exonerated, like, even more than by the Mueller Report! Meanwhile, Democrats like Abigail Spanberger, Abby Finkenauer, Lucy McBath, and Colin Allred will have to defend their impeachment votes in swing districts. And Trump will have a clear field to dominate the nightly news howling about MS-13 rapists at his pitchfork rallies. Or, we could drag this out for a year, permanently denying Trump a good news cycle by holding hearings at least once a week, force Evan to liveblog continuously, meticulously lay out a case for impeachment, and hang Trump like an albatross around the neck of every Republican, all while baiting that jackass into acting like a raving lunatic every day between now and November 3, 2020. As Nancy Pelosi said last night in a letter to her Democratic colleagues: While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth. It is also important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings. As we proceed to uncover the truth and present additional and needed reforms to protect our democracy, we must show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice, strictly on the presentation of fact. Because we still have not seen the full Mueller report, I have enclosed the bicameral letter Democratic leaders sent rejecting Attorney General Barr's effort to provide the remainder of the report to only a few members of Congress, and only in a classified setting. We insist on the public's right to know, so that the American people can learn the truth and Congress can make our decision on how to proceed. Whether currently indictable or not, it is clear that the President has, at a minimum, engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior which does not bring honor to the office he holds. It is also clear that the congressional Republicans have an unlimited appetite for such low standards. The GOP should be ashamed of what the Mueller report has revealed, instead of giving the President their blessings. Yes, it would be extremely satisfying if the Speaker banged her gavel this morning and shouted IMPEACH THE MOTHERFUCKER. It would also be distinctly unhelpful, since the Congress is supposed to be fulfilling its constitutional mandate to impartially investigate and bring charges if the sitting president is accused of high crimes and misdemeanors. (The Senate, if there are charges, conducts the trial.) So how about we stop bitching that Nancy Pelosi hates progressives for a hot second and think about how to get from here to where we want to be. Maybe we can start with some subpoenas? Oh, lookie loo! House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler just subpoenaed Don McGahn to testify publicly on May 21. Donald Trump finally worked out that the former White House Counsel blabbed about the eleventy hundred times the president tried to obstruct justice, and he is pissed. This weekend, Trump threw a tantrum and fired McGahn's law firm Jones Day, which will no doubt endear him to his former employee. How freaked out is Donald Trump at the prospect of Don McGahn testifying about all the "crazy shit" he refused to do for the president on live television? Okay, that's enough of that. Has Rudy Giuliani told Trump that Bannon's Hot Tub Time Machine Executive Privilege Defense will magically dissolve everything McGahn said in a bathtub of meth? Because it already appeared unredacted in the Mueller report -- that toothpaste is never going back in the tube. McGahn can hand over those notes which never existed, and then he can look into the camera and tell Mr. Nadler all about the times Trump ordered him to fire Robert Mueller, then ordered him to falsify the record with a memo to the file saying that it never happened. Sounds like fun, huh? You know, if we were a betting man, we'd wager that Reince Priebus's time in the Judiciary Committee barrel is coming soon, too. And don't forget, Mueller and Barr are both scheduled to testify before Congress next month as well. Gosh, if the House were revving up an impeachment referral, those four guys are exactly who they might start with. If they were doing impeachment. WHICH THEY'RE NOT, OF COURSE. Hey, remember that funny time when Steve Bannon told Michael Wolff, "They're going to crack Don Junior like an egg on live TV"? LOL, can't wait for them to get that far down the witness list. Who do you think will go first with DJ? Adam Schiff? Elijah Cummings? Auntie Maxine? Jerry Nadler? Sounds like DJ might have to come back a few times, just to give everyone an adequate opportunity to ask their questions. Because by then Chairman Schiff will have seen the redacted portions of the Mueller Report. And Chairman Cummings will probably have pried the Trump Organization's financials loose from the accountants. And Chairman Waters will have gotten all the Trump loan documents from Deutsche Bank. And Chairman Nadler dropped subpoenas on every witness in the Mueller investigation, which will have kicked up God only knows what. World's stupidest omelette, COMIN' UP!Yeah, we're a long way away from impeachment. Hours and hours and hours of excruciating, news-dominating, Trump-baiting hearings away. Take your time, Congressmen. Take your time.Follow your FDF on Twitter!Please click here to fund your Wonkette, who is very anxious to watch Junior get cracked like an egg on live TV!How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- GET OUUUUUUUUT. Wonkagenda For Tues., April 23, 2019Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi held a conference call with House Democrats about impeaching Trump. Roll Call gossips that Pelosi is urging Democrats not to go crazy with calls for impeachment, with the chairs of most committees agreeing to follow an investigative process that starts with House Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler's subpoenas for former White House counsel Don McGahn, and calls for testimony from Attorney General William Bar and Special Counsel Robert Mueller. A number of House Democrats said, "Fuck that noise," arguing that we should impeach the motherfucker now. Last night 2020 Democratic candidates Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren stated that, while it's unlikely to make it through the Senate, the House should do some flexing and start the process. [AND THAT'S WHY THEY HAVE T-SHIRTS.]CNN hosted a marathon of back-to-back-to-back town halls last night featuring Senators Amy Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. The 2020 candidates mostly drove home similar policies with a few key differences on voting rights for felons, impeaching Trump, getting "Hillary'd" (that's ... a word?), and student debt. Most of the candidates took the time to take some cheap shots at their rivals (and Trump), while others stumbled head first into well-intentioned gaffes. During her town hall, Sen. Kamala Harris announced she would take executive action on gun control within her first 100 days if she were elected and Congress couldn't get its shit together. Harris's plan includes universal background checks, closing the "boyfriend loophole," and repealing a law that protects gun dealers and manufacturers from lawsuits by victims. Harris said, "There are people in Washington DC, supposed leaders, who have failed to have the courage to reject a false choice which says you're either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone's guns away."Now that Herman Cain has shucky duckied his ass out of consideration for a seat on the Fed board -- because of the "pay cut" -- Trump's other TV economist tapped for the Fed, Stephen Moore, is facing considerable backlash over columns bitching about women who want equal pay, treatment, and fairness in the workplace. Beginning in 2000, Moore wrote about women demanding "equal pay for inferior work," and called to bar women from college sportsball, going so far as to say it's "un-American" to have women referees, announcers, and beer vendors unless they're blonde, busty bimbos in halter tops. He seems nice. White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Carl Kline not to testify to the House Oversight Committee about all those security clearances he passed out like candy. Kline's lawyers say there are "legitimate legislative questions." Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling on his supporters to pressure Congress to override Trump's veto on a joint resolution to end US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, but the GOP is just throwing those letters in the trash. Axios gossips that Joe Biden is expected to announce #HesRunning either tomorrow or Thursday. Some advisors whisper he'll come out swinging with a message about the "climate of the nation," and, "it'll sound like "a third Obama term, a second Hilary term — take your pick." According to Politico, Biden has been busy courting big labor unions and calling donors ahead of his expected 2020 rollout -- HOWEVER, the Philadelphia Inquirer cites two aides saying Biden hasn't pulled the trigger (yet), and notes that some rather important paperwork has yet to be filed.Here's a rather ugly graph about where political ad dollars are going (if you're into that sort of stuff). Hot Take: Trump's already flushed over $8 million down the internet toilet since the 2018 midterms. Washington state Republican Senator Maureen Walsh is SUPER sorry she called nurses lazy SOBs who sit on their asses playing cards. Walsh says she was "tired." Just imagine how tired she'd be after a 12-hour shift juggling lives and logistics without a pee break. Two Pulitzer Prize-winning Reuters reporters investigating the massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar lost an appeal and will rot in jail for the next seven years. The reporters argue the government set them up by planting government documents on them. A federal appeals court has denied Chelsea Manning's bid to be released from prison due because she still won't comply with a subpoena to testify about Julian Assange.Thirty-one people caught up in Cindy Yang's old hand job factory are suing to force Florida authorities to destroy the video evidence that allegedly shows people like Robert Kraft paid money for sex. According to a federal class-action suit, the people say the cops illegally videotaped them getting actual back rubs in their effort to find rich old dudes who wanted their genitals massaged. And here's your morning Nice Time: SPACE TURTLE! Turtle Travels Through Desert | Earth From Space | BBC Earth http://www.youtube.com Follow Dominic on Twitter and Instagram!We're 100% ad-free and reader-supported, so consider buying us coffee, or get a subscription! How often would you like to donate? 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- Herman Cain't Be On Federal Reserve :(Donald Trump announced on Twitter this afternoon that one of his choices for the Federal Reserve Board, pizza human and Pokemon enthusiast Herman Cain, has noped right out of contention for the position. Too bad! Cain, the sexually harassy former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, hasn't said why he changed his mind after vowing last week to walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain and do anything he could to keep Donald Trump happy with monetary policy. But don't worry -- this is the Trump administration, which never gives up on a bad idea, so just wait a few months and we'll be hearing about Herman Cain, Secretary of the Space Force or some damn thing. Trump, for his part, was far more gracious to Cain for not taking a job in his administration than he is toward two thirds of those he actually appoints: Stands to reason Trump would call the handsy stupid millionaire who was proudly ignorant of foreign places a "truly wonderful man." The not-quite nomination was doomed when four Republican senators announced they would oppose Cain's confirmation. Still, Cain made all sorts of noises about soldiering on, at least last week, when he told the Wall Street Journal he was "very committed" to the confirmation fight. He even wrote an op-ed for the Journal in which he argued the Fed board has too many damned educated people on it, arguing it was time to end "the professor standard" for membership on the Federal Reserve: The Fed still operates on the "professor standard," enshrined with Bill Clinton's nominations of pure academics. Their textbooks say strong economic growth, particularly strong wage growth, causes inflation, which Fed policy should temper. Both the Bush and Obama administrations perpetuated the professor standard, and both presided over income stagnation.That's also sort of like, nuts, because while Yr Dok Zoom is no Agronomist, even I know that curbing inflation has been the Fed's raisin d'eternity since forever. Still, Cain said what America really needs is a dollar that is strong like bull, and who better to deliver that than a close personal friend of Donald Trump? "The professor standard will not challenge itself — that much has been proved," he explained, because professors only like other professors. "That's why my voice is needed at the Fed." He has a point: No one would ever call him professorial, or even necessarily sentient. (Also, he seems not to have noted just how much backstabbing is involved in academia.)The New York Times points out that Cain wasn't altogether without a nice-looking line on his vita: "Mr. Cain is a former businessman and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City[.]" Trump probably thought that was quite the big deal, although it turns out that was "an advisory position that largely involves linking the regional Fed bank to the business community." The Times also points out Cain has had an awfully flexible set of opinions about monetary policy, particularly his shifting views on interest rates, which Mr. Cain said should be higher under President Barack Obama, when the nation was struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, but now says should stay low under Mr. Trump, when the economy is growing.In any case, now Herman Cain will have to wait a while for his next grifty comeback, and we can look forward to learning even more embarrassing news about Trump's other Fed pick, TV pretend-economics expert Stephen Moore. Poor lad has had a heck of a time lately, what with having an IRS lien against him for $75,000 in unpaid income taxes, and also having been held in contempt of court for failing to pay his ex wife over $300,000 in alimony, child support and other money in a divorce settlement. It's the sort of minor oversight anyone could make, can't see why anyone would have a problem with financial policy being set by a deadbeat. God, you people are so picky. It is now your open thread! [NYT / CNBC / Guardian / Headline pun stoled from Erich Rauchway on Twitter]Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations! Money us, please, and we promise to never take financial advice from Herman Cain.How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Bullsh*tting About Science With Rep. Don Beyer, Cool F*cking GuyHey! We talked to Don Beyer, US Representative from Virginia, about Everything Science Committee. IT WAS A GOOD TALK. Let's go!Wonkette: You were born in the Free Territory of Trieste, with a surface area of 285 square miles. Later in life you were our ambassador to Liechtenstein with a surface area of 62 square miles. Do you have a soft spot for tiny countries? Don Beyer: And I have one of the smaller congressional districts, I don't know the square miles on it, but it's not that big. W: Any plans for moving to Monaco?DB: No I don't, but I've been thinking about Andorra. That or San Marino.When I was ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, most ambassadors also had the Vatican. Yeah, because Switzerland and the Vatican are the only countries with square flags. And of course the Swiss Guard protects the Pope. So I made the argument back to the State Department that they should eliminate the ambassador to the Vatican and let me do it, which would have given me another small jurisdiction, but they resisted my entreaty.W: What made you decide to be a politician and particularly why make the move out of state government to the US Congress?DB: Well, I grew up in Washington DC and three of my four grandparents were New Dealers working for Franklin Roosevelt. So I have a terminal case of Potomac fever. I just always imagined myself in public service of some kind. Now the move from state government was involuntary. I ran for governor and lost by 13 percentage points. That was 1997 and I spent many years after that just volunteering … helping other people. I then worked for Barack Obama and he actually won which gave me the unexpected opportunity to go to Switzerland. And then when I came back I really thought I'd be in the family business but my congressman decided to retire after 24 years and I thought, well, I live 12 minutes from the Capitol and if I could ever win it, it would be wonderfully fulfilling to be able to do public service at the national level.W: Do you have a mentor or idol that inspired you early in life? Scientist? Politician?DB: My best mentor was my grandmother who lived to 98 years old. She was born on a chicken farm in Northern California, of Danish immigrants. She was one of two women to graduate from UC Berkeley in 1915. She was recruited to Washington in 1917 and spent 50 years in the federal government. She was the grandmother who was the inspiration for all of us in terms of our commitment to community, to public service, politics and public affairs. She lived long enough to see me elected to lieutenant governor. She sent me clippings throughout the campaign. I like to think that since I'm the only one of the 12 grandkids who ran for public office, that I became her favorite grandson.W: You're on both the Ways and Means Committees and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Obviously, I'm biased towards the latter, so let's focus on that bunch. Something like 40 members, right? How do you guys get anything done with that many?DB: Yeah, it's pretty big now. We have at least one hearing a week and I'm on three of the subcommittees. I'm including "Space," which is the coolest one. The subcommittees also have at least one hearing per week. I just love the committee. Now "Ways and Means" is one of those exclusive committees in that you're not allowed to be on any other committee, but I asked for permission to get on the Science committee which happily they granted.Last week we had a chance a to meet with four of the scientists who photographed the black hole. Last year or the year before we had a chance to meet all the folks that discovered gravitational waves. And as you know, I had the chance to fight for WFIRST in the budget, because the president and Mick Mulvaney keep trying to zero it out. If you're a science nerd, it's the coolest place to be. I'm not a professional scientist like Bill Foster, but I might be the biggest non-professional science nerd on the committee.W: Do you just deal with funding issues and projects for the agencies under your purview or do you deal with other, broader science issues?DB: Yeah, very much so. Obviously the original stuff is the authorizing bills and there's always little fights over whose jurisdiction is it. We often try to expand the range of what we're looking at and wait until somebody says something. There's enough work to go around and I don't think there's a lot of fighting over turf.W: I'm a big fan of Rep. [Eddie Bernice] Johnson, your chair, and she has a medical background and so does the Vice Chair, Rep. Ami Bera. You also have two engineers, a physicist, an OB/GYN, a surgeon, a dentist, an actual rocket scientist in Bill Posey ... but the majority of your committee do not have science backgrounds and there are a lot of lawyers. How do you deal with that when you have to make recommendations on funding for our science agencies? Do you guys defer more to the science savvy types?DB: No, I don't think so. All of them, whether they are lawyers, political scientists or mathematicians, they all have science people on their personal staff and certainly we have science people on the professional staff, the one led by Dick Oberlin, that are really sophisticated.W: What are the top three priorities for your science committee in the next two years?DB: I can tell you that my number one priority will be increasing our US federal budget commitment to science and research. The NSF and the NIH in particular … they talk about how a generation ago they could fund 30 to 40 percent of projects rated "excellent," now they're at 8 to 10 percent. There's so much good science out there waiting to be done, but they are dependent on the federal government for the investment.Priority number two (and I may get my priorities wrong) is going to be the contribution we make to climate change, I mean, we won't be the committee that argues about carbon pricing, but we'll be looking at everything else. Can you do carbon capture from the air or the water or with much more sophisticated smoke stacks? Obviously, a lot of the genetic stuff and while some of it, CRISPR and such, is obviously health related, some of it is going to be energy related. Can you do a very short carbon cycle with algae that can be converted into fuel?And then obviously a third priority is going to be space and space science. What's happening with dark energy and exoplanets and how far back into the universe can you see … there's just lots and lots of fascinating knowledge to be discovered and deployed out there.One of my personal priorities, unfulfilled, is to try and develop a body of law and protocol around artificial intelligence and that comes from some REALLY interesting hearings we had last year with a variety of experts in neural net architecture and artificial intelligence talking about the positive prospects and the negative prospects for AI.W: Do you think it's important to have more science-literate government officials?DB: YES! Absolutely. Over the years there have been embarrassing incidents where members of the Science Committee had no idea what the scientific method was. And then people would ask really silly and embarrassing questions.W: What worries do you have about the Trump administration and the current state of science in this country?DB: Yeah, yeah, in every respect. [Scott] Pruitt was an absolute disaster at EPA, you know, the whole science advisory board …throw out the scientists and bring in the industry experts. There's still no presidential scientific advisor. This is clearly not an administration that has almost anybody in it excited about science, interested in science, perceives the contribution that science makes on our overall health and welfare. This is an administration run by real estate developers.W: You are helping to battle climate change. Do you think it's practically, if not theoretically, too late to reverse it?DB: I only know what I read, but I read a lot. Yes, it's too late to reverse or too late to avoid many, many of the inevitable effects of the carbon we've put into the atmosphere in the last 400 years. But that still leaves us with the obligation to make sure it's 1-2 degrees Celsius rather than four or five. Let's limit sea rise to three or four feet rather than 20 feet. Let's do everything we can. I'm a big fan of negative net carbon. Let's continue to look for the technological solutions to take the carbon out of the atmosphere.W: What do you think about Vice President Pence's thoughts about wanting manned missions back to the Moon?DB: You know, that was a really interesting debate that we were not the deciders on. Do you go directly to Mars or do you go to the Moon and gas up and then go to Mars. And the scientific consensus came down that: let's go to the Moon because that will make it easier to go to Mars. That seems reasonable. It also upsets me that we haven't been to the Moon since 1972.W: And now for question one of my two question litmus test. Star Trek the original series or Star Trek the Next Generation?DB: Next Generation. Clearly. There's greater sophistication in the Next Generation, and not just in production values. I also think the science is more interesting.W: Part two. Star Wars or Star Trek?DB: Oh, Star Trek, definitely. Star Wars is fun, but there's no science in it all. He just took a bunch of archetypes and threw them together.W: What's the last book you read? DB: I just finished the Bloomsday Dead by Adrian McKinty and I loved it. I'm reading The Border now, by Don Winslow, which is about the Mexican drug war. The last science book I read that I'd really recommend is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker. It totally changed my life. I've given it away about 20 times. It's about the incredible importance of sleep in our lives. Another one I really loved is Gary Taube's The Case Against Sugar. W: Last question. A pet peeve I have is when folks refer to representatives such as yourself as "Congresspeople" but not senators. I mean, Congress is both houses so senators AND representatives are "Congresspeople." Does that bother you and your peeps in the House at all or is it just a weird thing I have?DB: Maybe just a weird thing you have. People can call me senator if they like. I'm too young to be in the Senate. I'm in the people's house were we get things done.W: Closing thoughts?DB: I don't know about this new class, but I like to brag that I'm the only certified automobile mechanic in the Congress. And I think that Bill Foster and I are the only two members of Congress that could explain special relativity to someone. But that may not be true now with this new class that are really smart and may have really good physics backgrounds. The hat reads "Make the EPA Great Again"There, we're done. Give us money. FOR SCIENCE.How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- President Elizabeth Warren Just Canceled Your Student Loan DebtGuys, Elizabeth Warren is at it again, unveiling a proposal to cancel outstanding student debt and provide free higher education at public colleges and universities to anyone who wants it. Good lord, higher education for everyone? Fox News is going to have a fit. That will surely only leave the tiny vast majority of Americans who think higher education is a good investment susceptible to Warren's sneaky call for opportunity for everyone. This latest policy proposal -- Warren is so addicted to these -- starts off on a delightful and hilarious personal note. I managed to get a college scholarship, but then things turned upside down. The first boy I ever dated swooped back into my life and said he wanted to marry me. So I did what any sensible, mature 19-year-old would do: I said yes and dropped out of college. Fortunately, once she got her head back on, she could afford the tuition -- just $50 a semester -- at University of Houston. She could even afford it on a waitressing salary, so she went back to school, got her degree, and became a teacher of special needs kids in elementary school. Higher education opened a million doors for me. It's how the daughter of a janitor in a small town in Oklahoma got to become a teacher, a law school professor, a U.S. Senator, and eventually, a candidate for President of the United States. Unfortunately, she says, that kind of opportunity seems a lot less common today, since states have cut back on funding higher education and costs have risen. (The annual cost for U of Houston -- including room, board, and books -- is $24,000 for in-state students today. In-state tuition alone is $8,724 a year). And now, most students who aren't already rich end up taking out tons of student loans. Warren notes all that student debt isn't just a bummer for students -- it's a drag on the economy. It's reducing home ownership rates. It's leading fewer people to start businesses. It's forcing students to drop out of school before getting a degree. It's a problem for all of us. And we're in this mess because of decisions made by government at both the state and national level: Instead of treating higher education as a social good, an investment in the future, like public schools, the costs of higher education have been left up to families, making it ridiculously costly and pricing higher education beyond the reach of millions. Warren's plan for college education has two parts: Eliminate most student debt, and then make sure anyone who wants a college education can get it. First up, Warren's plan would cancel the first $50,000 in student debt for all Americans with household incomes under $100,000 a year -- and then would phase out slowly up to a limit of $250,000 household income. About 42 million Americans would benefit. Warren's team estimated that cancellation would affect 95 percent of the Americans who have student loan debt, and would completely wipe out the student debt of 75 percent of them. Eliminating student loan debt would be especially beneficial to black and Latinx families, and would help to close their wealth gap with whites. And you want to talk economic stimulus? Forget cutting taxes on the already wealthy, who just plow the savings into making themselves richer. Eliminating all that student debt would free millions of middle class Americans to buy houses, start businesses, and spend money that would otherwise be going to service debt. Hey, it's that "growth from the middle" that Barack Obama was so fond of! An economic analysis of the plan shows that the greatest beneficiaries of debt cancellation would be at the lower and middle economic strata, directly benefiting far more people than the Rich Fuckwads who have gotten richer off the last four decades of Republican tax cuts. Here, have a chart! Beyond the personal gains for those folks, the resulting economic boost is likely to be substantial: The experts also conclude that my plan will likely provide a boost to the economy through "consumer-driven economic stimulus, improved credit scores, greater home-buying rates and housing stability, higher college completion rates, and greater business formation." Not mentioned by Warren: the very real improvement of mental health among people who will no longer be lying awake at night wondering how they'll ever pay their loans. A frightening number of people think about killing themselves over their impossible student debts, and a substantial portion actually do. A study published last year on student loan debt found Overwhelming debt prevented 80% of borrowers from saving for retirement, 56% from buying a home, 42% from buying a car, and 50% from contributing to charity, according to the report. More than 85% said student loan debt was a major source of stress, and one in three said such debt is the biggest stress in their lives. [emphasis added -- Dok] Maybe the US would take a tick or two up on those indexes of national happiness, even. Then there's the Free College plan, which again, wouldn't just be nice for people wanting to study history and basket weaving, but would be a huge boost to the economy. Warren says, hey, why are we missing these opportunities, damn it? The cost of college deters people from attending college. And it forces people to drop out before completing their degrees. Only about two-thirds of students complete a four-year public college degree in six years and only about a third of students complete a two-year public college degree in six years. The financial strain of attending college — the need to work many hours to cover costs — is a top reason so many people drop out. Warren would have the federal government cover all tuition and fees at public two- and four-year colleges and universities. Beyond that, non-tuition costs of higher ed, like room and board, and those $400 biology textbooks, have grown 80 percent since the 1970s. That's beyond inflation. So Warren would also help families by pumping $100 billion into the Pell Grant program over 10 years, and expanding eligibility for grants. On top of that, Warren would use her college initiative to address the educational and financial legacy of racism -- she doesn't use the word "reparations" here, but this would be part of addressing historic discrimination. Her plan would create a fund to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as other institutions that primarily serve minority students, and would create federal incentives to steer extra education aid to states that improve enrollment and graduation rates for low-income and minority students. in another small policy sure to freak out the rightosphere, she'd also "prohibit public colleges from considering citizenship status or criminal history in admissions decisions." Best of all? She'd move toward banning for-profit colleges, which are terrible for everyone but often prey on minority students, from receiving federal aid of any kind: student loans, Pell grants, or GI Bill benefits. It would be phased in after "an appropriate transition period," and would mean for-profit schools could "no longer use taxpayer dollars to enrich themselves while targeting lower-income students, servicemembers, and students of color and leaving them saddled with debt." We hope Betsy DeVos just shivered in fear. Best, Warren already has a pot of money in mind to pay for the whole thing: her big beautiful Eat The Rich wealth tax on those with assets over $50 million. That's estimated to generate $2.75 trillion over a decade. Warren's boffins estimate her entire college proposal -- both the debt elimination and the free tuiition -- would cost 1.25 trillion over 10 years, leaving plenty of Eat The Rich funds available to also fund her proposal for universal daycare and pre-K. Damn, we would enjoy living in Elizabeth Warren's Swedish version of America! There's already been pushback from exactly the sort of assholes you'd expect, like this schmuck at the Washington Examiner who says eliminating student debt for millions would be a "slap in the face" to people who struggled to pay off their own student loans. Lord knows that since many have suffered under an insane system, we must keep EVERYONE suffering. Well isn't that special! Yr Editrix wasn't impressed: Still, it's an inventive argument! We shouldn't reform sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders, because it's a slap in the face to those who did 20 years for possession of a joint. Advances in medical treatment? A slap in the face to those who died honestly from diseases. We shouldn't have ended slavery, because wasn't that a slap in the face to all those who suffered in involuntary servitude! Still, we can see some use to such logic: Forty years of skewing tax policy to benefit the investor class really HAS been a slap in the face to middle and lower income Americans. So how about we fix THAT? [Elizabeth Warren on Medium / HuffPo / Forbes] You know who's still paying off student loans? Us. Give us money please, if you are able!How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
- Trump Sues Congress For NO TAXES NO TAXES YOU ARE THE TAXESOYEZ! Another day, another bullshit lawsuit from the great legal minds in Trumpland. Last week, the House Oversight Committee dropped subpoenas on Trump's longtime accountants at Mazars, USA, instructing the company to hand over all Trump's financials ASAP. Mazars had refused to comply with a voluntary request, insisting on a "friendly" subpoena for CYA purposes. And even though ranking member Jim Jordan wrote a memo telling the pencil pushers to just ignore that mean black dude with the gavel, and then Trump's esteemed counsel lobbed a nastygram putting Mazars "on notice" that the president was going to sue them if they complied, Mazars seems inclined to cough it up. So now Trump's lawyers Stefan Passantino and William Consovoy are suing the Oversight Committee and Mazars, which is exactly how shit goes down when you have nothing at all to hide! Not to get hypertechnical, but this lawsuit is horse puckey. 1. The Democrat Party, with its newfound control of the U.S. House of Representatives, has declared all-out political war against President Donald J. Trump. Subpoenas are their weapon of choice. 2. Democrats are using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump's personal finances, businesses, and even his family. Instead of working with the President to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically. They have issued more than 100 subpoenas and requests to anyone with even the most tangential connection to the President.Yeah, yeah. Save it for Hannity, assholes.The crux of Trump's "legal" argument is that the Oversight Committee is only allowed to oversee stuff they might legislate and thus their subpoena is ILLEGAL. Also, too, if Donald Trump committed loan fraud or tax fuckery, it happened before he took office, so it doesn't count. Which is extremely, HAHAHA, FUCK YOU, since we remember the hearings on the Clinton Foundation -- not to mention a certain land deal in Arkansas that somehow morphed into the Starr Report on the state of a young intern's dress -- thankyouverymuch.The whole lawsuit is offensively stupid, but this section here takes the cake:Plaintiffs bring this suit to challenge the validity and enforceability of Chairman Cummings' subpoena. Now that the subpoena has issued, Mazars faces an unfair choice: ignore the subpoena and risk contempt of Congress, or comply with the subpoena and risk liability to Plaintiffs if the subpoena is invalid or unenforceable. To resolve these conflicting commands, the D.C. Circuit has instructed third-party accountants like Mazars to hold onto the subpoenaed materials until the dispute over the subpoena's validity is finally resolved in court: "[AICPA] Rule 301 … explains that it 'shall not be construed ... to affect in any way the member's obligation to comply with a validly issued and enforceable subpoena or summons.' But [the client] challenges the enforceability of a subpoena …. Thus [the accountant] c[an] refuse to produce the documents, thereby allowing [the client to litigate the subpoena], without violating its obligation to comply with enforceable subpoenas." United States v. Deloitte LLP, 610 F.3d 129, 142 (D.C. Cir. 2010). Congress thus cannot take any action against Mazars until this litigation is finally resolved.OKAY, WE'LL PLAY.First of all, Mazars does not "risk liability" to Trump if it complies with a facially valid Congressional subpoena, even if the subpoena is later held by a court to be invalid. (Which it won't be.) That's a misstatement of both the law and the very American Institute of CPA's (AICPA) Code of Professional Conduct that Passentino and Consovoy cite in their complaint. The member's disclosure of confidential client information in compliance with a validly issued and enforceable subpoena or summons would not violate the "Confidential Client Information Rule" [1.700.001]. .02 When complying with such subpoena or summons, the member is not required to notify the client that its records have been subpoenaed or that a summons related to the client's records has been issued. The member may also wish to consult with legal counsel to determine the validity and enforceability of the subpoena or summons and the specific client information required to be provided. The member may also wish to consult with his or her state board of accountancy. The Accountant's Creed says five times that subpoenas override an accountant's obligation of confidentiality and that she must comply. This shit ain't hard!Second of all, the DC Circuit has not "instructed third party accountants like Mazars to hold onto the subpoenaed materials until the dispute over the subpoena's validity is finally resolved in court." In U.S. v. Deloitte, the accounting company chose to litigate a subpoena from the IRS on grounds that the documents demanded were covered by the work product privilege. The court allowed Deloitte to withhold the documents while the subpoena was litigated, but it didn't instruct the company to do so at the behest of its client Dow Chemical. Besides which, that was a civil enforcement action, not an investigative subpoena from Congress.(And while we're on the subject of bogus case cites, relying on one case from the 1880s and two from the 1950s arising out of the House Un-American Activities Committee is some WEAK SHIT.)Third of all, Congress is in no wise constrained by Trump's nuisance litigation. The Oversight Committee is perfectly within its rights to hold Mazars in contempt of Congress, and Stefan Passentino's made-up rules to the contrary are ballsy, but irrelevant. And Jim Jordan can write letters attempting to give Mazars legal cover if it chooses to fight, but Cummings's subpoena remains facially valid and legally enforceable. In fact, courts are loath to interfere with the political prerogatives of the other two branches of government, as demonstrated by another case Trump's team cites. In Eastland v. United States Servicemen's Fund, the Supreme Court was highly deferential to the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security's right to demand financial documents from an anti-Vietnam War non-profit, refusing to second-guess the Committee's legislative purpose.TL, DR? This case is crap. It's a political document, intended to bully the accountants into refusing to comply with Congress. And the DC District is highly unlikely to take it seriously.THANK U, NEXT.[Trump v. Cummings / AICPA Code of Professional Conduct / United States v. Deloitte LLP, 610 F.3d 129 (D.C. Cir. 2010) / Eastland v. United States Servicemen's Fund, 421 U.S. 491 (1975)]Follow your FDF on Twitter!Please click here to fund your Wonkette, who reads this nonsense for YOU! You're welcome, and MONEY US.How often would you like to donate? Just once Monthly Select an amount (USD)$2$25$5$50$10$100$15$500$20$1000
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Title image: Bizarro, by Dan Piraro.