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

Last night Robert Mueller accused Paul Manafort of lying (A LOT) about cooperating in the Trump-Russia investigation, and now they want to LOCK HIM UP for his "crimes and lies." Manafort's lawyers say he "believes he has provided truthful information." Similarly, conservative conspiracy dirtbag Jerome Corsi says he rejected a plea deal from Mueller about his contacts with Wikileaks and Nixonian hatchet man Roger Stone during the 2016 campaign. Corsi says he never lied to federal investigators about HIS EMAILS, he simply forgot. Once again, Trump woke up early and started shitposting on Twitter, so you know some shit is about to go down.

The Daily Beast is reporting that Trump's DHS has "gone batshit crazy" with the latest border chaos, and is "all-in" on gassing Mexican babies in order to keep from being "You're Fired." Contrary to agency reports, Trump is claiming three border patrol agents were badly hurt by migrants seeking pepper spray for their nachos.

With Cindy Hyde-Smith desperately clinging to his racist coat tails at two rallies in Mississippi, Trump ranted about the "nasty looking" barbed-wire fence he had built to keep out the invasion of Mexican-Muslim taco trucks driven by anchor babies. He also said immigrants aren't Elvis, that he looked like a blond Elvis, and called Democratic candidate Mike Espy a "socialist." With voters heading to the polls for today's runoff Senate election between Hyde-Smith and Espy, WaPo reports Democrats have been dropping massive resources into GOTV efforts that target black voters, while Politico reports the RNC is not happy it has to dump tons of money into holding a seat for a white power elephant.

With another government shutdown looming, Congress has just over a week to figure out how the hell it's going to kick the can down the road (again). There's over a dozen serious issues that still need to get figured out, from infrastructure and malnutrition programs, protecting abortion, "Dreamers," endangered species, and "premium cigars," as well as the UN Green Climate Fund. But the only thing anyone cares about is the "debate" over Trump's goddamn wall.

Why is that Hemorrhoid threatening to shut down the Government over a Wall budget? What happened to "and Mexico is gonna pay for it"??!!#ineversaidthat#yesthefuckyoudidmotherfucker
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) November 26, 2018

Late last night House Republicans unexpectedly dropped a 297-page bill to "fix" the Trump tax cuts (for the super rich) in the lame-duck session. There's no summary, cost analysis, and nobody really knows what's in it (yet), so Republican Rep. Kevin Brady wants a vote by the end of the week. #MAGA.

Current House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte says Ivanka Trump should get a mulligan on HER EMAILS because it's "awfully tough" to comply with laws on government communication.

The Government Accountability Office wants to know why the fuck Mar-a-Lago members were meddling in the Department of Veterans Affairs after Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Brian Schatz caught a whiff of stank coming from Trump's Florida trash palace.

Ol' Handsome Joe has an op-ed in Politico this morning talking about foreign dark money in our electoral process, and why we need to do something about it. #HesRunning

Republicans aren't very enthusiastic about jamming Jared Kushner's white-collar prison reform bill through Congress before the end of the year, so Trump is attempting to light a fire under their asses by whining about its support. "We'll see what happens."

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is moving to the Finance Committee where he's expected to go Benghazi on Medicare and Medicaid. Good thing big pharma and the insurance industry gave Grassley all that money to combat high drug prices!

With Democrats in and Jeff Sessions out, banks are beginning to lobby legislators for new rules on legal weed that would let banks do business with pot shops. Righteous!

Lottery winner and California Democratic Representative-elect Gil Cisneros is trying his luck at bucking Nancy Pelosi in this week's Democratic caucus nominations by signing on to that letter being passed around the cloakroom like a runny joint. Meanwhile, Roll Call is reporting the Democratic leadership in the House is expected to remain relatively unchanged because Nancy Pelosi actually knows how to count votes.

Things are about to get REAL BAD for outgoing Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Renacci! Not only did he just lose his job, but the House Ethics Committee is investigating Renacci's ALLEGED use of his official congressional website to mount a failed gubernatorial bid, and all the bribes trips he took in a strip club owner's private plane to campaign events for his failed Senate bid.

Lindsey Graham embarrassed himself (again) and proved that Godwin's Law still exists when he told Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to tour DC's Holocaust Museum after she noted that migrants at the southern border were within their rights to apply for asylum. Perhaps Justin Trudeau can remind Lindsey about the Jews on the St. Louis?

Democratic Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray conceded to indicted Republican Rep. Chris Collins following reporting from The Buffalo News that Collins had a 1,384 vote lead. In his concession speech, McMurray said he was starting a new organization, "Fight Like Hell," to help "more people to run for office, regular people, not millionaires, not people who cheat the system, but decent and kind people."

The AP has retracted its call for California's 21st Congressional District after Democrat TJ Cox pulled ahead of incumbent Republican Rep. David Valadao with 436 votes. The LA Times is reporting that there's still another several thousand votes to be counted, and it's entirely possible Democrats take 46 of California's 53 House seats, and net a total of 40 House seats. #BlueWave

After losing to Salt Lake City's Democratic Mayor, Ben McAdams, Rep. Mia Love delivered a salty concession speech yesterday calling Trump an asshole with "no real relationships, just convenient transactions," and added that Republicans, "never take minority communities into their homes."

NBC News is reporting that Democrats have broken the previous record for a midterm margin of victory with 53.1 percent, and votes are STILL being counted! #BlueWave!

Yes, people are actually wondering if Trump will dump Mike Pence on the 2020 ticket in favor of someone more loyal, ethnic, and/or feminine. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

In a new interview with the WSJ, Trump says he'll probably turn his trade war up to 11 with another $200 billion in taxes tariffs on Chinese imports. According to the ball fondlers at Axios, Trump still thinks taxes tariffs are good (shocker). It's likely Trump is throwing a bomb in a room and leaving his sycophants to deal with the fallout ahead of this week's G20 summit, but this assumes Trump is playing three-dimensional chess, not Snakes and Ladders.

Ukraine is bracing for war with Russia following the hostile seizure of three ships and 23 sailors. Yesterday, its parliament declared martial law, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of engaging in "hybrid war." In response to Russian aggression, NATO forces have begun increasing their military presence throughout the region, and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley called Russia's action "a violation under international law." Russian President Vladimir Putin is already gaslighting people (natch), even going to so far as to release a hostage video of a Ukrainian captain reading a scripted confession.

The Daily Beast is reporting that Fox News gave former EPA scumbag Scott Pruitt pre-interview questions and script approval before he came on Fox shows so that he didn't look like A Idiot and a grifter. In the world of journalism, that's a BIG no-no.

Fox News gave Diamond and Silk a web show because they think people will pay $6 a month to watch two shut-ins prattle on about censorship from behind a paywall.

Ted Cruz grew the saddest beard over Thanksgiving. It looks as bad as that Beavis and Butthead episode where they glue hair on their faces.

NICE TIME: Celebrity Chef José Andrés has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by 2020 Democratic presidential contender Rep. John Delaney, for his work in relieving world hunger and disaster relief.

SPACE TIME: NASA has confirmed the multi-country InSight lander has successfully touched down on Mars where it will now begin a two year mission to study the planet's interior for evidence of seismic activity. Unlike the rovers Opportunity and Curiosity, InSight will just sit around digging in the dirt looking for evidence of "marsquakers," and liquid water.

And here's your morning Nice Time! Otters!

Otters Dive into Holiday Dinner

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Image: Marriott Hotels

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.

In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

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