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


During his not at all secret trip to Iraq to distract people from his government shutdown, his failing foreign policies, the deaths of children at the border, and the stock market riding Santa's sleigh like the "Vomit Comet," Trump complained that flying with the lights off was the scariest thing he's ever faced since Robert Mueller started looking up his tax returns. In a rambling series of sentence fragments peppered with unnecessary adjectives about his wife, his wall, and Nancy Pelosi, Trump bitched in front of US soldiers serving in an active war zone that their lives were only as meaningful as the bottom dollar they saved the US. He lied to their faces about a 10 percent pay raise he didn't give service members, and said the US was "no longer the suckers" thanks to his doctrine of failed 19th century isolationism that has insulted the allies dying on the frontlines with our soldiers. Hashtag Support Our Troops

The reality of the government shutdown is beginning to hit Washington and Wall Street like the smell of rotting fish in a mid-summer heat wave. Even as Congress returns to the Hill, large parts of the government remain furloughed as Uncle Sam hacks off anything deemed "nonessential," like 2018 Census data, and almost 800,000 federal workers. While the Trump administration refuses to consider any spending compromise that doesn't include a goddamn wall, Wall Street is fearing that furloughed workers could cause dips in the stock market, and long-term pessimism in the overall economy. #MAGA

The Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett, tells the WSJ that Fed chair Jerome Powell "is 100 percent safe" from being "You're Fired" by Donald Trump the next time the stock market tanks because of an ignorant Twitter tantrum. Hassett adds that it's possible Trump will sit down with Powell for a crash course in Econ 101.

For the third night in a row, ICE began dumping hundreds of immigrant families into a small El Paso bus station. The random dumpings are expected to continue today as ICE officials reach the legal number of days they can keep asylum-seeking families detained in Trump's baby jails. With no food or money, local residents have come to the aid of many families with food, clothing, and temporary housing because that's what good people do for one another.

After the death of a second child in the custody of CBP officials, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says she'll go wander around one of Trump's baby jails in an attempt to make it look like the administration actually shed a tear over dead brown kids. Yesterday, Nielsen blamed it all on the children's parents, stating, "Smugglers, traffickers, and their own parents put these minors at risk by embarking on the dangerous and arduous journey north." Trump repeated those same humanitarian sentiments in a jetlagged tweet early this morning.

Even though the government is shut down, a US district court judge is still dragging Trump's DOJ to court to defend its intention to question the citizenship of people in the 2020 Census.

We are shocked -- SHOCKED -- to hear Acting AG Matthew Whitaker lied on his resume about being an All American honoree! Wait, the opposite of that.

In a farewell Christmas message, lame duck Republican Rep. Mark Sanford wrote a 4,000 word essay warning about the dangers of embracing a "future Hitler-like character." Sanford does make it explicitly clear that he was "not likening Trump to Hitler," before getting lost in a mountain of prose recalling his extramarital affairs.

Remember all the racist asswipes trying to out-MAGA one another in the Georgia GOP gubernatorial primary? Funny story! Republican state Sen. Michael Williams, the guy with the "deportation bus," has turned himself in on fraud charges stemming from an ALLEGEDLY fake burglary in which $300,000 worth of computer equipment being used to mine cryptocurrency (AKA: magical internet funny money) were "stolen." Bonus, he ALLEGEDLY lied to state investigators too! Naturally, his former campaign manager is calling it a "witch hunt."

Russia says it has a new nuclear toy that flies at 20 times the speed of sound. Vladimir Putin called it a "wonderful, perfect New Year's gift for the country." Whatever, here's a video of pretty kitty.

David Kaye, a UN special rapporteur, has called Donald Trump the "worst" perpetrator of disinformation and fake news in a new interview with Digital Rights Monitor. He goes on to state tech companies have an obligation to create a technical approach to pointing out bullshit.

The Mercer family is retreating from the political spotlight amid constant protests and backlash from high-snobriety. Rather than burn piles of cash backing crazy dingbats like "Chemtrail" Kelli Ward, the Mercers intend to dump cash into dark money Super PACs to push their lunacy into the mainstream, like treating PTSD-suffering vets with ecstasy.

Super rich Linkedin founder Reid Hoffman is super sorry he flipped the script on election fuckery in the Alabama Senate race earlier this year. Hoffman ALLEGEDLY dumped almost a million dollars into a group that used the same kind of Russian fuckery to defeat child predator Roy Moore. Hoffman says he had no idea what the group did until a secret cybersecurity conference back in September. Sometimes you fight fire with fire.

BONUS: WaPo has a nice retrospective of other presidents who weren't pissing their pants at the thought of rolling into war zones to #SupportOurTroops. FDR did it first, despite having polio, because FDR was an American Badass.

NICE TIME: Reggie Bullock, a sportsballer, spoke about LGBTQ acceptance, and love for his late transgender sister at the 29th annual GLAAD awards. In a powerful speech, Bullock stated, "I will do anything, go to any event, any parade, talk in any locker room about acceptance. I want the world to see what acceptance looks like, and hear that message from a straight guy, a professional athlete. Guess what – athletes have voices and we should be able to stand up for what we believe in. Am I right?" [Video]

And here's your morning Nice Time! PAINTED DOG PUPPERS!

6-Week-Old Painted Dog Pups www.youtube.com

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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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Nancy Pelosi is making news again today after her weekly press conference, mostly because she said this about yesterday's nutbag performance from President Stable Genius:

[T]his time, another temper tantrum — again — I pray for the President Of The United States. I wish him and his family, his administration and staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.

She prays for him. And she's just kind of suggesting that maybe the president is unwell, in his brain. She's being very subtle!

When Glenn Thrush asked afterward what kind of "intervention" she might be talking about, she suggested that Article 25 would be just fine.

But many folks out there right now are saying "BUT WHAT ABOUT INPEACH! They are not going to do an intervention, because the intervention is called INPEACH!" (They are taking her words very literally, it would seem.) Every other damn day lately, there is news about how "NANCY SAID INPEACH IS BAD" or "NANCY SAID TRUMP'S ACTIONS IS SELF-INPEACH-ATORY, WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN, NANCY!" and whatever else, we don't know, because we have muted all of Twitter until further notice. (Here is some news about the House Democrats' weekly meeting yesterday, most of which was about Democrats yelling INPEACH! while Nancy Pelosi gave them cold showers.)

Here's the thing:

In today's presser, Pelosi was clearer than ever about her feelings on impeachment -- she doesn't like it, and she'd really hate for the nation to get to a place where that's inevitable, she is just saying it would be truly terrible for them to have to do that -- but they might just be FORCED to go there. And wouldn't that be just terrible? Nancy Pelosi is praying about that just like she is praying for Trump, under a big oak tree that casts all the shade she threw at Donald Trump for her entire fucking presser.

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Happy Throwback Thursday! Remember Paul Manafort? He's still in jail, don't worry. But it looks like he might be getting some company soon from his old pal Stephen Calk, who just got indicted today by the Southern District of New York.

Calk was a simple CEO and COB at the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, but he had big dreams. He'd been an army pilot and a money guy, so he figured he was competent to be either Secretary of Treasury or Secretary of Army. He'd take Commerce or HUD, or even a cool ambassadorship to France, or the UK, or the UN -- he wasn't picky. Just any old position befitting a guy who is 100 percent going to be played by Michael McKean in the movie version of this nightmare.

Luckily Calk knew a guy on the inside. Sure that guy had recently been You're Fired from the Trump campaign for ratfucking the Ukrainian election, but Paul Manafort was still waving his bits all over Trumpland in the summer and fall of 2016, so Paul Manafort had the hookup that Calk needed. Luckily, Calk had what Manafort needed, which was MONEY. Manafort's fountain of untaxed cash had dried up since the Ukrainians gave his guy Viktor Yanukovych the boot, and he was in danger of losing multiple investment properties to foreclosure. So naturally Calk stepped up to the plate with $15 million in loans to keep the wolves at bay, because what are friends with more political ambition than scruple for, right?

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