See what happens? This is what happens when you let black people vote!
In any sane reality, last week's vote to hold a new election in North Carolina's ninth congressional district following pervasive absentee ballot fraud by a GOP operative might provoke shame among Republicans. Or at least an attempt to condemn the fraud and insist that sort of thing has no place in the fine, upstanding Republican Party. Instead, ugly bag of mostly chutzpah and turtle meat Mitch McConnell insisted today that cheating by a Republican simply proves that Democrats are unbelievably corrupt when they say fraud by individual voters is not a serious problem (which of course it is not). Damn it, said McConnell, see what happens without voter ID? Also, please nobody point out that voter ID would have done absolutely fuck-all to prevent the fraud in NC-09, because the fraud didn't happen at the polls.
Guys, we think we've figured out why Republicans oppose the Green New Deal. Clearly, they worry eliminating fossil fuels might make gaslighting harder.
You guys, it got BUGFUCK INSANE.
The hearings into November's absentee ballot fraud fucktangle in North Carolina's Ninth District have taken a turn into gripping family drama. The Godfather maybe, or The Lion King. All we know is it got NUTS.
Yesterday, John Harris, the son of "winning" Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris, testified to the State Board of Elections that he had warned his father repeatedly that he believed Leslie McCrae Dowless had run an illegal ballot-harvesting operation in 2016, and that dad should steer clear of the guy, but that the elder Harris had gone ahead and hired Dowless to run his absentee ballot effort in two counties anyway. (Harris fils said he thought Harris père may simply have believed Dowless's insistence that his methods were on the up and up. Filial piety is nice, isn't it?) Today, it was Mark Harris's turn to testify, and holy crapweasels, what a display of craven cravenness! Also, there was a SURPRISE TWIST TODAY! Mark Harris suddenly realized how well and truly fucked he is, and called for a new election.
UPDATE: And now the Board of Elections has voted to hold a new election.
There is a lesson here, kids: Sometimes the apple falls a long way away from the tree. That, or maybe sometimes if a sanctimonious hypocrite preaches respect for law and doing the right thing, the kids pick that up and don't notice the parent is a hypocrite. (This lesson subject to later revelations that John Harris is himself a milkshake duck.)
Trump looked for vote fraud in all the wrong places.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections continued its hearings into pervasive absentee ballot fuckery in last fall's congressional election for a second day yesterday, and while the testimony wasn't quite as explosive as the first day's open admissions of ballot tampering, we learned a bit more about what the hell was going on behind the scenes. Today, the board will probably hear from Mark Harris, the "winning" Republican candidate in the 9th Congressional District. Harris has maintained all along that he knew nothing of any frauding, and keeps insisting he must nonetheless be certified as the winner because he got more votes and that's the will of the people, can't you idiots see that?
The big witness in Tuesday's hearing was Andy Yates, the head of political consulting firm Red Dome Group, the outfit that paid Leslie McCrae Dowless to direct Harris's absentee voting operation in Bladen and Robeson counties -- or so Yates thought, he said. Yates testified he had no idea Dowless might have been up to anything untoward, but also described an operation that was very loosely supervised. He also said that had he known any of the details that later came out about Dowless's super-fraudy absentee ballot tampering scheme, he would have either fired Dowless or, failing that, removed himself from the Harris campaign. Nothing! He knew NOTHING!
Must be the Democrats and the illegals. We're just sure of it!
Sad dillweed Baptist preacher man Mark Harris was so sure he'd been elected to Congress from the Ninth Congressional District of North Carolina last fall over Democrat Dan McCready. But then word got out about some pretty inventive fuckery with the absentee vote, and the state elections board got to investigating, and the interfering media kept finding even MORE evidence that absentee ballots in two counties had been well and truly rigged. And today, the elections board has opened its hearing on the whole mess, and poor sad Mark Harris can only stare on (sadly) as investigators and witnesses lay out just how rotten the vote-rigging was. How very sad this is. It's almost as if nobody's taking Harris's repeated calls to certify the election seriously anymore.
You can't secure an election with WALL!
A couple weeks back, Donald Trump's handpicked security chiefs sat before the Senate Intelligence Committee and reaffirmed that Russia fucked with the 2016 election, that it tried again in 2018, and that it will come back stronger than ever in the 2020 presidential election. They also said that other bad foreign actors like China are exceedingly likely to get in the game. They did not provide a status report on whether all of New Jersey's 400-pound election hackers have been rounded up and sent off to Gitmo, but don't you interpret their silence as inaction. We bet they're on that too, or at least they've lied to Trump's face and said they are.
Fast forward to now, and the Daily Beast reports that Trump's Department of Homeland Security is fingerbanging out of existence the very task forces assembled to, you know, protect election security in this here Homeland of ours.
What's Martha McSally gonna get appointed to after she loses this time?
Retired astronaut Mark Kelly announced today he's running for US Senate in 2020. Most people know Kelly as the wonderful husband of Gabby Giffords AND as the dude who served as the earthbound control subject while his twin brother Scott spent six months in space, resulting in minimal but measurable changes in Scott's gene expression (They both have very expressive genes). So you can't blame space radiation for Mark Kelly's decision to take the plunge into politics.
Kelly will be seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Martha McSally, who lost last fall's US Senate election to Kyrsten Sinema. But then Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey appointed McSally to fill John McCain's former seat as a consolation prize, because shouldn't all failed candidates get a participation trophy? The 2020 election will fill the seat until the end of McCain's term, then the seat will come up for regular election again in 2022.
Here's Kelly's very cool announcement video, which hits all the right notes for a Democrat running for national office from a politically changing Arizona: You got your appeals to patriotism and bipartisanship, as you'd expect from a guy running for the seat once held by Mccain, but you also have appeals to the power of good government to do things to make the world a better place. The vid is very subtly titled "My Next Mission" and is in what looks like an IMAX theater's aspect ratio.
Huge, if true.
Donald Trump has long enjoyed overwhelming support from evangelical Christians, but that support has slipped a little over the past few weeks. A recent NBC News poll shows Trump's approval among evangelicals has dropped from 73 percent in December to a still ridiculous 66 percent in January. Maybe religious conservatives are slowly discovering that Trump is a lying sack of garbage. This is a concerning trend for Trump's re-election prospects.
White House press hack Sarah Huckabee Sanders set out this week to rally the flock behind the wolf in shepherd's clothing. During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Sanders pointed out that God Himself was a major donor to Trump's 2016 campaign and still stands by the president.
SANDERS: I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president, and that's why he's there.
God selecting a thrice-married, adulterous failed casino owner to carry out His works on earth is a weird choice, but God is also reportedly responsible for the platypus and the work of Jackson Pollock. Who can figure Him? This also poses the philosophical conundrum of whether God could create an election He Himself could not fix without Russia's help.
OH, IT'S ON!
It's going down for real in the House Oversight Committee. Wonkette's Legislative Badass honoree Rep. Elijah Cummings, who has subpoena power now and ain't that a shame, just dropped a giant request for documents on new White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. Who's ready to find out how all these Russian assets in the White House got security clearances? WE SURE ARE!
The Committee on Oversight and Reform is launching an in-depth investigation of the security clearance process at the White House and Transition Team in response to grave breaches of national security at the highest levels of the Trump Administration, including by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and others.
Just a little "Welcome to the Team" gift for Cipollone. Don McGahn left some big shoes to fill, but we're sure Covington Catholic's most distinguished alum (yes, really) is up for the job. He can start by splaining why the White House has failed to report to Congress about its compliance (or otherwise) with national security clearance requirements in defiance of federal law.
HOW YOU LIVIN', JARED?
After that, Chairman Cummings has one or two small questions, such as:
- Why didn't you idiots suspend Michael Flynn's clearance when Sally Yates told you he was lying about his contacts with the Russian spy ambassador?
- Jared Kushner repeatedly failed to disclose his contacts with Russian officials, and you chuckleheads still let him see state secrets, WTF?
- Hey, Mike Pence, we Democrats on Oversight asked you like six times why you let Mike Flynn's idiot son Pizzagate Jr. work on the campaign without a clearance, and you fed us some BS about him doing "scheduling." Not gonna fly anymore!
- What's up with all the wifebeaters in your shop? You didn't think that was a security issue? REALLY?
- Care to splain why John Bolton is NSC when he's been hanging out with known Russian spy Maria Butina?
- A year into the Trump Administration, there were 130 people on temporary security clearances in the Executive Office of the President. Are you guys just incompetent, or are you spies?
(Wonkette may be paraphrasing here.)
Nancy keeps hammering away with her gavel of death.
Yesterday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Donald Trump not to bother showing his raggedy ass at the Capitol later this month for his lie-addled State of the Union address. This is a bummer for those of us looking forward to watching Pelosi roll her eyes and shoot death stares at Trump from her reclaimed seat of honor. Pelosi articulated very reasonable national security concerns for dis-inviting Trump. It's a tremendous undertaking to ensure the safety of everyone present, and most of the folks who do the heavy lifting are furloughed or otherwise victims of Trump's shutdown. Does Trump remember that he shut down the government?
GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy thinks Pelosi's move is "pure politics." He's apparently never watched "Designated Survivor." Pelosi said they could come up with another date for Trump to demonize Democrats and minorities once the government is reopened. Trump could also just lie to to the public from the Oval Office or even submit his address to Congress in writing (this is also how they should handle this year's Academy Awards). However, McCarthy insists that Pelosi inconveniencing Trump in any way during a domestic crisis of his own making is "unbecoming" of the speaker. Yes, he used the word "unbecoming" like he's Lord McCarthy in a regional production of Oscar Wilde's "Lady Windermere's Fan."
We hear the local KKK is hiring.
Republican Congressman Steve King will now have a lot more free time at work. GOP leadership kicked King off of all his committees after growing backlash from the racist drivel he told the New York Times last week.
There's been blood in the water for days. Democrats Bobby L. Rush and Tim Ryan each filed resolutions to censure King, and even Republicans are abandoning him. Mitch McConnell says King should "find another line of work." Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney both said he should resign. They have a point. King's constituents do deserve a representative who can actually do something for them beyond increase local tourism from Klan rallies. However, the majority did knowingly elect a racist nine times, so it's hard to resist saying to hell with them.
King is not taking this with the class you've come to expect from your finer Nazi sympathizers. He called out House Minority Leader (that's the GOP now!!) Kevin McCarthy on Twitter yesterday.
That there is some outside the box thinking.
OH, NOES! Did Donald Trump utter a scandalous cuss? However shall the republic continue when our elected leaders do befoul our precious civil discourse with vile profanities? We beseech you, good sirs, to think of the children!
On January 4, President Arty McDeals met with congressional leaders to bluster uselessly about the federal shutdown, then in its 14th day. Lest anyone think he'd come to negotiate, Trump's promise to keep the government closed for "months or even years" should have tipped off his staff -- it was just another round of brinkmanship from a guy who got where he is by always being the craziest liar in the room.
Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney provided the perfect foil when he suggested a compromise to fund WALL at some number between the president's $5.7 billion demand, and the Democrat's initial offer of $1.3 billion. Axios reports:
"Trump cut him off ... 'You just fucked it all up, Mick,'" the source recalled Trump saying. "It was kind of weird."
Another source who was in the room confirmed the account. That source said their impression was that Trump was irritated at Mulvaney's negotiating style. "As a negotiator, Trump was resetting," the source said. "Mick was not reading the room or the president."
Oh, but we are silly today! That's for brown ladies what don't know their place. Also, too, IOKIYAR.
Florida's former asshole governor Rick Scott and Florida's new asshole governor Ron DeSantis have been butting heads for the last week or so, making a bit of a hash of DeSantis's transition into office, according to a fun piece in Politico that makes one long for the classy rich-gal catfights of "Dynasty" or that episode of "Star Trek" where Captain Kirk's body was taken over by a lady. What we're saying here is that TV sure can be terribly sexist, huh? And also that Florida politics attracts grandiose weirdos like Rick Scott. We'd give the advantage in any "Dynasty"-style fight to Scott, by the by, as he has no hair for DeSantis to claw.
Politico details several slights and insults on Scott's part, the sort of thing that in another age might have pushed DeSantis to demand satisfaction on the field of honor (which is a good reminder for you to read The Field of Blood, Joanne Freeman's excellent book on violence on the floor of Congress in the 1830s-'50s). Apparently there had been a whole bunch of little tiffs that finally "burst into public view" on Tuesday, when Scott unceremoniously walked out of DeSantis's inauguration ceremony so he could fly off to Washington to get sworn in to the Senate. DeSantis had planned to thank Scott in his speech for being a wonderful governor and stuff, but was left having to ad-lib in the parts where we assume he'd written "hug Baldy" and "ask Bat Boy to stand up and take a bow."
Today's Congressional Badass: Lauren Underwood, Who Repealed And Replaced Illinois GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren
Dig this history-making candidate!
You might not have heard much about freshman Rep. Lauren Underwood from Illinois. No one's released a music video she made in college. She doesn't appear to have had a childhood nickname. She also hasn't publicly insulted Donald Trump, but the year is young.
Underwood is still worth your attention, starting with how she's the first woman and first black person to represent Illinois's 14th district. At 32, she's also the youngest black woman ever elected to Congress. She's a registered nurse who graduated magna cum laude from the University of Michigan and earned two master's degrees from Johns Hopkins University. That means she's smart, y'all.
She interned for Senator Barack Obama in 2006 and was an adviser at the Department of Health and Human Services when he was president. She helped implement the Affordable Care Act and later worked on public health emergencies, including the man-made water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Underwood wasn't thinking about personally running for office until Republicans tried to kill her (we're speaking only somewhat metaphorically). Underwood was diagnosed at age eight with a heart condition called supraventricular tachycardia, and the care she received from doctors and nurses as a child inspired her to pursue a career in the field. Like millions of Americans, she relied on the Affordable Care Act to ensure she wouldn't have to someday get her health plan from a bubble gum machine.
This is NOT GOOD. This morning, ABC broke the news of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's imminent departure from the Justice Department.
Sources told ABC News Rosenstein wants to ensure a smooth transition to his successor and would accommodate the needs of [William] Barr, should he be confirmed.
Rosenstein apparently had long been thinking he would serve about two years, and there was no indication that he was being forced out at this moment by the president.
All the major news outlets have confirmed the story, so it's safe to assume that once the Senate rubberstamps Bill Barr for AG, Rosenstein is noping out of DOJ and heading back to Baltimore, where we will all pretend not to know who he is, in keeping with local custom. (Seriously, that's why they make movies here. Baltimoreans would rather die than acknowledge a celebrity.)
Bad enough that Barr, who expressed open hostility to the Special Counsel's investigation and called it "fatally misconceived," will be heading up DOJ. FFS, the guy was hired after "spontaneously" sending Trump's lawyers a memo theorizing that it is legally impossible for a president to obstruct justice by derailing a criminal investigation! Worse still, the GOP will now get to replace Rosenstein, giving direct supervisory authority over the Russia investigation to whichever craven hack kisses Trump's orange ass the hardest. Maybe Gregg Jarrett from Fox News to Deputy AG?
That said, let's not panic right away. Bill Barr may be willing to suck up to an authoritarian president to advance his own career, but he's no Meatball. Matthew Whitaker careens between debacles -- Big Dick Toilets, patent scams -- and only ever made serious money pimping himself out to conservative astroturf groups. Barr is an IRL respected attorney who isn't going to stumble into the sharp end of a congressional investigation by accident. He's smart enough to know that stomping in and shitcanning Mueller will likely net him hours and hours in front of Congress, in addition to millions of dollars in legal bills.
Exit, stage-left even!
Mark Harris, the Baptist preacher turned Republican politician who "won" the fraud-soaked election for the US Congress in North Carolina's Ninth District, was in such a hurry to get away from local reporters that he fled a county building last night through an emergency exit, triggering a fire alarm. The state elections board refused to certify the outcome of the November race after credible allegations emerged that a skeevy contractor working for the Harris campaign had manipulated absentee ballots to throw the election to Harris over Democrat Dan McCready.
Naturally enough, when Harris showed up at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center to address the Mecklenburg County Republicans last night, political reporters were keen to ask him how he was doing in his efforts to be accepted as the true winner -- just in case the answer had changed from NOT WELL. Instead, when journalism reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled.
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