S**T IS GOING DOWN! Wonkagenda for Wed., May 1, 2019


Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

Robert Mueller was NOT happy after reading Attorney General Bill Barr's four-page book report on his damning Trump-Russia findings. Mueller was so pissed at his supposed friend that he took the unusual step of sending a sternly worded letter to Barr to let him know how angry he was. Mueller said specifically that Barr's letter "did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office's work and conclusions," and that Barr's letter "threatens to undermine" the "public confidence in the outcome of the investigation." With Barr set to appear before Congress today and tomorrow, the question on everyone's mind is whether or not Barr lied under oath, with some legislators calling for Barr to step down. [Morning Maddow]

Bill Barr will testify before the Senate Judiciary committee this morning! In his opening statement, Barr says he didn't do anything wrong, and attempts to frame his past statements about the Mueller report as NO COLLUSION, TOTAL EXONERATION, blah blah blah. Evan will be liveblogging Barr's masterclass in swamp logic, so come back for that!

Live at 9:30 a.m. ET: Attorney General William Barr testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee

A federal district judge in DC has greenlighted a lawsuit by congressional Democrats claiming Trump has been violating the Constitution's emoluments clause. The whole thing is probably going to end up in SCOTUS since Trump's DOJ is likely to appeal the ruling and say that the payments from foreign governments to Trump trash palaces aren't "bribes."

In what's likely an effort to change today's headlines, Trump has tweeted over 50 times this morning. Just before 5:00 a.m. Eastern, Trump began retweeting ALLEGED fireman who said they were voting for Trump (likely in response to the International Association of Fire Fighters endorsing Joe Biden). Upon closer inspection, it would seem that many of these accounts are bots and bullshit.

Yesterday Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer emerged from Trump's White House and said he'd agreed to a $2 trillion infrastructure plan, but there still aren't any details about where the money will come from. However, Mick Mulvaney pissed all over it during an interview with Fox's "money honey" Maria Bartiromo, saying an infrastructure deal in 2019 was unrealistic.

The House Rules Committee held its first hearings on a "Medicare for All" bill proposed by Washington Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal. The hearings were kicked off with heartfelt testimony from activist and ALS sufferer Ady Barkan, who told members, "We have so little time together, and yet our system forces us to waste it with bills and bureaucracy." Democrats used their time to point out how issues of cost were a red herring and lacked substantial evidence, though several moderates were skeptical of going all-in. Florida Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala -- a Clinton-era secretary of Health and Human Services -- later told CQ Roll Call that it was the "smartest hearings I've ever been in." As usual, Republicans struggled to to refute the nerds brought in to science the shit out of health care policy, casting a move to single-payer as an expensive end to the world as we know it. [Barkan Testimony]

Ady Barkan Complete Opening Statement (C-SPAN)

Yesterday the House Armed Services Committee held hearings about the Feres Doctrine, a 1950s rule that bars service members and veterans from suing the federal government for for medical malpractice. Legislators heard heartbreaking testimony from Gold Star families and terminal service members who spoke about inexcusable stupidity. California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier later introduced a bill to amend the Federal Tort Claims Act, allowing malpractice lawsuits.

The Trump administration will send another 320 troops to the southern border to assist in the Mexican-Muslim anchor baby taco truck invasion. Rather than assisting CBP in throwing kids in baby jails, deployed personnel will transport migrants between baby jails, assist with legal functions, and dole out Pop-Tarts and MREs.

The Trump administration will keep the USS Harry Truman floating despite widespread opposition from Congress and military nerds. Legislators had opted to save oodles of Ameros and decommission the Truman 25 years early in light of new Chinese and Russian weapons that threaten to make older aircraft carriers useless, but the administration's fondness for obsolete crap from the old timey days prevailed. During confirmation hearings for the new Chief of Naval Operations and Marine Commandant -- both of whom are expected to sail through the confirmation process -- Adm. Bill Moran defended the use of the outdated carrier air wing with a karaoke rendition of Kenny Loggins's "Danger Zone."

Trump's attempt to raid military coffers for his war on Central American asylum seekers threatens two super important US air bases that have been ravaged by natural disasters. The Air Force needs $1.2 billion to make serious infrastructure repairs at Florida's Tyndall Air Force Base and Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, in addition to another $366 million to keep 80 percent of fighter craft up in the air (and that's on top of an additional $3 billion for new toys). Congress has promised to deliver the money, but the deadline is today, and outgoing Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has already warned that a failure to deliver would result in a cascading series of expensive clusterfucks as resources and projects get mothballed.

The rumor mill off the Hill is that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is getting ready to announce #HesRunning. Bullock has been making some big hires over the last few weeks while he tours early primary states. On Friday, Montana Public Radio reported Bullock recorded SOMETHING at Carpenters Union Hall in Uptown Butte, but attendees were asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. [The chatcave finds this very ANGERMAKING and says STOP IT. NOBODY ELSE GETS TO ANNOUNCE, IT'S TOO LATE, THE END, IT'S DONE. GAH ANGER!]

If you ask Republicans, the number of Democrats declining to run for Senate shows a recruiting problem among leadership, but political wizards note that the party has been holding its cards very close to the chest and pointing to the GOP's staggering 2018 losses as proof that it's actually Republicans who are running scared in 2020.

A former college sportsballer player, Ted Gradel, is among the challengers taking on Illinois freshman Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood. Gradel is hoping his recent six-figure cash haul, sportsball bonafides, and white privilege will convince the Chicago suburbs he's more qualified than Underwood, a registered nurse, to talk about healthcare. Underwood is currently sitting on a huge war chest, and the fortune tellers rate the race as a "toss-up."

The special election to replace the late Rep. Walter Jones in the the North Carolina Third Congressional District is headed to a runoff between the two Republican candidates. Eventually, one of those two fools will face former Greenville Democratic Mayor Allen Thomas.

Police in North Carolina are trying to determine why someone walked into classes at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and began shooting, killing two people, and injuring four others. HOT TAKE: The fact that school shootings have now become minor stories due to their increasing frequency is deeply troubling, and suggests WE HAVE A FUCKING PROBLEM!

Ninth-grade students at a posh high school in the DC suburbs put on blackface and now the principal, police, and local politicians are pissed. The incident is only the latest in a series of escalating racist behavior. Fun Fact: The school sits smack in one of the wealthiest areas of the country, and is down the road from Justice Rapey McPrivilege. Figures.

Shit is going down in Venezuela. After Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó called for the military to overthrow the country's dictator, Nicolás Maduro, violence broke out across the country, with some videos showing armored vehicles driving into crowds of Guaidó supporters outside of a military base. With the US military guarding against Russian fuckery, ISIS fuckery, and taco trucks on the southern border, it's unlikely the US will be invading with anything other than harsh language -- which is why the Trump administration made stupid threats about sanctions and embargoes (IN ENGLISH) to Cuba. Yesterday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went on CNN to say Maduro was being pressured by Russia to stay in the country and fight Guaidó, then made his own rather empty threats. It should be noted that military uprisings against Venezuela's socialist dictators have been a common occurrence for about 20 years, and this is a complicated issue dividing both the left and the right -- even Tucker Carlson is confused!

Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in a British prison for jumping bail. At the trial, Assange's attorney claimed he was afraid he'd be ultimately kidnapped by the US and sent to Gitmo, but the judge wasn't buying it and noted Assange used his "privileged position" to insult the British court system and forced the British police to spend almost $21 million to secure the Ecuadorian embassy where he'd squirreled himself away.

The California Highway Patrol rescued a baby sea lion from the busy 101 yesterday. A CHiP officer even snapped a photo of the lost little critter, and IT'S ADORABLE!

Randy Rainbow has a brilliant song breaking down all the "Hucka-speak" and horseshit Trump World has been hurling since the release of the Mueller Report.

BARR! - Randy Rainbow Song Parody

And here's your morning Nice Time: BABY GOATS!

Reluctant Cat Babysitter & 23 Goat Kids

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Dominic Gwinn

Dominic is a broke journalist in Chicago. You can find him in a dirty bar talking to weirdos, or lying in a gutter taking photos.

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.

Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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