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

Defense Sec. Jim Mattis suddenly resigned in protest following Trump's insistence on pulling US forces out of Syria and Afghanistan. In a sternly worded letter of resignation, Mattis essentially called Trump a fucking idiot for ceding reconstruction and stabilization efforts to regional assholes like Iran, Syria, and ISIS/ISIL/whatever. In a not at all subtle dig, Mattis noted Russia and China are seeking "veto authority over other nations' economic, diplomatic and security decisions," and warned the US should really take threats from Putin and Winnie the Pooh seriously.

Senate Republicans seem to be suffering buyer's remorse as Mitch McConnell calls the Mattis resignation "regrettable," while Marco Rubio griped the US may be headed for "a series of grave policy errors" that could really screw up what little respect the world still has for US. The Wall Street Journal reports several Republican legislators, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, Sen. Tom Cotton, and Rep. Mac Thornberry, are in the running to replace Mattis, along with David McCormick, a super rich guy (natch). [Resignation Letter]

Yesterday, Trump ordered a massive withdrawal of 7,000 troops stationed in Afghanistan, about half the force currently there, shocking the bejesus out of Kabul and US defense officials, and leaving NATO allies holding their dicks in the desert. The Pentagon is declining to comment, but whispers leaking from the West Wing tell the New York Times that the US withdrawal could spur Taliban forces negotiating with a US envoy to cut a deal for control of Afghanistan. Yep, Trump negotiates with terrorists.

BREAKING: WaPo is reporting that Trump has delayed pulling US forces from Syria, and notes Turkey is still planning to ethnically "cleanse" the region of Syrian Kurds. And ISIS fighters too, so a little genocide seems a fair trade. Hold on, didn't we "defeat" ISIS?

WE'RE HEADED FOR A SHUTDOWN! With rightwing talking heads screeching about saving fly-over country from a border thousands of miles away, Trump continued to demand someone give him $5 billion for his goddamn WALL (now made with steel sluts slats!) after the House Freedom fuckers gave him a tongue lashing. Politico reports Trump suddenly backed away from backing away, told Paul Ryan to cancel his flight back to Janesville, and tried to blame everything on Democrats (again). House Republicans then found an extra $5.7 billion under their couch cushions, and promptly added it to the Senate's stopgap spending bill. This new poison pill is likely dead on arrival in the Senate, setting the stage for a Mexican standoff between Democrats, Republicans, and the crackpot Trump caucus. Early this morning Trump began ceaselessly shitposting on Twitter and threatening to shut the government down "for a very long time" if nobody gives him money. And Tea Party asswipe Sen. Steve Daines suggested using the "nuclear option" to build Trump's goddamn WALL. Wouldn't that make it more of a crater?

It's unclear if the Florida man scamming people into crowdfunding Trump's WALL can legally give the money to the federal government without congressional approval. So far he's bilked more than $10 million Ameros from almost 200,000 people, an average donation of about $55. Last night, Laura Ingraham brought the con artist on her show so he could whine about being banned on Facebook (for being a con artist).

The Trump administration hath decreed new "Migrant Protection Protocols!" Individuals seeking asylum from Central American "shithole countries" like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador shall henceforth reside in Mexico until our gracious king figures out a way to squeeze them in for asylum hearings. Maybe between "Executive Time" and lunch Time, but certainly not after "Policy Time" or during Hannity.

During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, DHS Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen began suffering from what can only be described as a series of blonde moments. Nielsen was unable (or unwilling) to answer basic questions about border security operations, like the number of people who've died in Trump's baby jails and tent cities, or the number of legal entry points along the US-Mexican border. Nielsen ultimately told Congress, "I would ask for WALL -- we need WALL."

For whatever reason, Stephen Miller screamed at CNN's Wolf Blitzer after he was asked questions about the administration's free fall into the mouth of madness. He then began stammering and shouting that Trump will continue killing babies until he gets WALL.

Just like everything else Trump touches, the stock market tanked (again) yesterday. The "Tariff Man" is pissed that people are blaming the market collapse on him, but geeks are quick to point out he's the one who started a trade war, gave tax cuts (to the super rich), raided government coffers, insulted the Fed, and throws tantrums that shutdown the government. WaPo reports that Trump is now worried he won't be able to make the stock market a cornerstone of his 2020 campaign as people grow increasingly pessimistic about the economy. SAD! A recession might even affect other people, too.

Congressional Democrats are determined to get their hands on Trump's tax returns by using a 1924 provision created in the fallout of the Teapot Dome scandal. TLDR: The Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee can get anyone's tax returns, but it's unclear if they can actually release that information without a full House vote. Vanity Fair gossips that Trump is terrified people might find out how poor he is, and plans to fight "tooth and nail."

It's anyone's guess who Trump will actually nominate to run the Interior Department now that Ryan Zinke is out. Roll Call reports that Cathy McMorris Rodgers already turned the job down, but lame duck Sen. Dean Heller needs a job after voters You're Fired him last month. He's facing competition from Rep. Jeff Denham and Rep. Rob Bishop who are gossiping to local news outlets they'd like new jobs too.

The DNC says it will hold 12 debates for the 2020 elections since everyone and their Mom is running.

In a rare showing of international cooperation, the Trump administration is forming a coalition with the UK and Canada to stop Chinese cyber attacks and economic espionage. Yesterday the DOJ unsealed indictments revealing two Chinese hackers spent a decade hacking computer networks in a dozen different countries, stealing major trade and defense industry secrets while working for China's state-sponsored hacking group, APT 10. The Chinese government is denying the allegations, calling the US hypocrites, and telling everyone to fuck off now that they've been caught. Sounds like a US "president" we know!

And here's your morning Nice Time! Today we celebrate the life of EDDIE THE OTTER! He was known throughout the world for dunking little basketballs to combat old age and arthritis (on top of being adorable)! Eddie was rescued off the California coast in 1998 when he was just a wee water sausage, and nursed back to health at the Oregon Zoo. Eddie spent the rest of his days shooting hoops and training other orphaned otters how to be super cute.

Remembering Eddie

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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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