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Let's Watch Republicans Sh*t On A Guy With A Purple Heart! (Impeachment Liveblog, Day Three!)

OK, here we go!

This morning, we have public testimony from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, Mike Pence's Russia advisor. One thing these two witnesses have in common is that both actually heard Trump's crime treason bribery extortion phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy firsthand. (And Vindman has said there are things about the transcript that are WRONG.)

Williams will also be able to testify more about Trump's crime spree from the perspective of the vice president's office, and oh yeah, Vindman has a Purple Heart and Republicans have been attacking him as a double agent traitor spy, because Republicans are wet garbage humans.

We'll fill in more details as the testimony happens. If you need something to do in the meantime, please read the HI-LARIOUS and embarrassing and ridiculous and dumbshit letter about the Ukraine scandal the Senate's stupidest Republican, Ron Johnson, sent to a couple of the House's stupidest Republicans, Jim Jordan and Congressman Moo Cow. He takes a particular shit on Alex Vindman. While you read it, remember that you're actually reading a letter from a SENATOR, and not from a dumpster fire that's learned to write letters.

Republicans are going to be AWFUL today. You know, because of the guy with the Purple Heart saying mean things about Republicans' shitmouthed collection of vaguely human-esque cells that calls itself a president.

Anyway, here's your video.

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WTF With Impeachment This Week And Like Such As? Let Us 'Splain You Easy!

Get ready, y'all, we are in for a WEEK in the impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump.

In case you've been wondering, ABC News/Ipsos did some polling this weekend on where people are after the first two big hearings, and we can report that everybody in America is on this plane right now, watching Marie Yovanovitch testify and going "Holy shitballs, this woman is incredible."

Just kidding! That is not what the poll says, and not least because it is unsafe to poll people when their trays are not in their upright positions!

Um anyway, what were we saying before we made that stupid and pointless joke? Oh yeah, POLL.

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Senate's Dumbest GOP Idiot Wishes Whistleblower Had Just Kept Trump's Ukraine Crimes To Himself

We are getting a wee bit of whiplash right now, and it is Chuck Todd's fault, LOCK HIM UP! Just fooling! We do not want Chuckles The Todd to be lock him upped!

But ever since this whole Ukraine Trump impeachment business started, we never know which Chuck Todd we're going to get. The one that occasionally commits light acts of journalism, or the normal Chuck Todd who is idiot? Last time we addressed the subject, it was normal idiot Chuck Todd. This time it is light journalism Chuck Todd.

America's Dumbest GOP Senator Ron Johnson went on the "Meet the Press" show on Sunday. Chuck Todd has been mean to Johnson before, so maybe there's just something about that guy that makes Chuckles remember his job description. Johnson, of course, is right in the middle of the Trump Ukraine impeachment, having attended Volodymyr Zelenskiy's inauguration in Ukraine along with the Three Amigo idiots, as Marie Yovanovitch was being pushed onto a plane back to DC so Trump's folks could go on a crime spree. Months later, Johnson "winced" when he found out Trump was tying Ukraine's congressionally appropriated military aid to his demand for bullshit investigations of Joe Biden, but his "wincing" got better when Trump said "NO QUID PRO QUO!" -- because if Donald Trump says that, it must be true, according to Ron Johnson, who really is that stupid.

On this "Meet the Press" appearance, Todd generally (generally) pushed back appropriately, and for that he wins one (1) Snausage of his choosing. (No weird flavors, Chuck, we're not going to multiple Petcos for this.)

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President Coronary Thrombosis Perfectly Healthy, Just Likes Making Surprise Hospital Visits

Did the president have a heart attack this weekend? We should know enough not to expect a straight answer. Donald Trump made an unscheduled trip Saturday to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Sources reportedly told Andrew Vernon, a contributor to The Hill, that Trump was being examined for chest pain. That seems a more likely explanation than what part time White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham offered us. She said in a statement that Trump had some down time so he proactively went to the hospital to have his oil changed.

GRISHAM: Anticipating a very busy 2020, the President is taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C., to begin portions of his routine annual physical exam at Walter Reed.

That's hard to believe even if the White House or the press secretary had any credibility. Trump is lazy. He's not someone who gets a jump on things. He's not my wife (thank God). Grisham implies that Trump's weekends are otherwise jam-packed with work, but he usually plays golf like a retired person with no interesting hobbies. He watched The Joker Saturday night, and that seems more like how Trump would spend all his non-crime-related free time. I just don't believe he would voluntarily go to a doctor unless he was in serious discomfort.

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White House

What's White House Press Sec Stephanie Grisham Lying About Today?

Press secretary claims Obama staffers hid all the bathrooms from her.

We've all seen this horror film: Young woman moves into an old home and the angry spirits of the former residents torment her and try to drive her insane. She finds messages from them everywhere: YOU AREN'T GOING TO MAKE IT! LEAVE NOW! YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE PRESS SECRETARY!

That's the Jordan Peele-style thriller part-time White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham is pitching. She doesn't often give interviews, but when she does, she likes to share Halloween stories two weeks late. This is what she told a Norfolk, Virginia, radio station today.

PROFESSIONAL LIAR: We came into the White House, I'll tell you something. Every office was filled with Obama books, and we had notes left behind that said, "You will fail." "You aren't going to make it."

This is the type of deranged, easily disproven lie that makes you question Grisham's sanity. I know it feels like 100 years ago, but the Electoral College gave us Donald Trump in 2016. People have cameras on their phone. If the ghosts of Obama administrations past tried to terrify incoming Trump staffers, we'd have known about it. This ain't Amityville

The Shining (1980) - Redrum Scene (5/7) | Movieclips www.youtube.com

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Impeachment

Not All Witnesses Are Heroes. (Afternoon Impeachment Day Three Liveblog!)

But maybe they will wear capes anyway!

Have you been impressed with the patriotism and dutiful service and love for country shown by all the impeachment witnesses so far? Are you SO SICK OF IT?

You are in luck, because this afternoon we have former Ukraine special envoy Kurt Volker, who may have lied A WHOLE LOT to Congress in his closed-door deposition, and who was one of the original Three Amigos deputized by Trump to do irregular extortion crime policy in Ukraine. We also have recently departed White House Russia adviser Tim Morrison, the GOP's STAR WITNESS (not star witness), who has determined that Trump has not committed any crimes. (Morrison confirms everybody else's testimony, though.)

Good news is this is still gonna totally blow for Donald Trump.

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Courts

Trump Plucks Steven Menashi From Under Bridge, Installs Him On Appeals Court

He is NOT GOOD.

Steven Menashi is bad. He has spent most of his adult life fighting against equality and justice and fighting for the rights of corporations and straight white males exclusively. And now, he has a lifetime appointment to a federal circuit court of appeals that makes decisions for nearly 24 million people.

Menashi's confirmation to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals wasn't always a sure thing. Early in the confirmation process, he faced bipartisan opposition and skepticism. Even reliable Trump lackeys like Lindsey Graham and John Kennedy expressed doubts. And Menashi didn't win himself any goodwill when he refused to answer basic questions from both Democratic and Republican senators.

But at the end of the day, Republican stooges almost always fall in line, which is exactly what they did late last week. The only Republican present to break ranks was Maine's favorite sycophant, Susan Collins, who faces a tough challenge from Maine's House Speaker, Susan Gideon, in 2020. (Yup, fake "moderate" Lisa Murkowski voted to confirm.) Although every Democrat present voted nay (even Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema!), Menashi was confirmed 51-41.

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Congress

Kamala Harris, Jerry Nadler Team Up To LEGALIZE IT

And no, marijuana isn't a gateway drug.

Kamala Harris wants to decriminalize weed. That seems a weird thing for the fuzz to do, but the senator and presidential candidate (yes, still) has co-sponsored with Rep. Jerry Nadler The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. The bill would legalize marijuana federally, remove it from the Controlled Substance Act, and expunge non-violent convictions. States would set their own reefer regulations. The bill also devotes funding to help victims of the so-called war on drugs, which disproportionately affected minority communities.

Nadler announced Monday that the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, would mark up the marijuana reform bill this week. Harris is leading the Senate companion to the bill, which would have to survive the GOP-controlled Senate. Some politicians and advocates believe only a more "modest" bill could reach Donald Trump's desk for Ivanka's signature. That's the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act, and you know it's shady because it forms an acronym. The STATES Act wouldn't deschedule marijuana from the CSA, and although it would protect cannabis-related companies, it doesn't really help people left out in the cold from years of unjust drug laws. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Gardner co-sponsored the bill in 2018. That was before Warren ran for president, so it's unlikely Trump would even look at the bill now. Our best bet is flipping the Senate, winning the White House, and going all the way.

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Impeachment

Let's Watch Republicans Sh*t On A Guy With A Purple Heart! (Impeachment Liveblog, Day Three!)

It's not hearsay IF THEY HEARD THE CALL.

OK, here we go!

This morning, we have public testimony from Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the Ukraine expert at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, Mike Pence's Russia advisor. One thing these two witnesses have in common is that both actually heard Trump's crime treason bribery extortion phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy firsthand. (And Vindman has said there are things about the transcript that are WRONG.)

Williams will also be able to testify more about Trump's crime spree from the perspective of the vice president's office, and oh yeah, Vindman has a Purple Heart and Republicans have been attacking him as a double agent traitor spy, because Republicans are wet garbage humans.

We'll fill in more details as the testimony happens. If you need something to do in the meantime, please read the HI-LARIOUS and embarrassing and ridiculous and dumbshit letter about the Ukraine scandal the Senate's stupidest Republican, Ron Johnson, sent to a couple of the House's stupidest Republicans, Jim Jordan and Congressman Moo Cow. He takes a particular shit on Alex Vindman. While you read it, remember that you're actually reading a letter from a SENATOR, and not from a dumpster fire that's learned to write letters.

Republicans are going to be AWFUL today. You know, because of the guy with the Purple Heart saying mean things about Republicans' shitmouthed collection of vaguely human-esque cells that calls itself a president.

Anyway, here's your video.

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News

Unusual And Inappropriate. Wonkagenda For Tues., Nov. 19, 2019

Impeachment driving GOP nuts, Trump's new rules, and some advice on a career in politics. Your morning news brief.

Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today or may not be because you know most of the day's going to be liveblog, right?

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Impeachment

WTF With Impeachment This Week And Like Such As? Let Us 'Splain You Easy!

The revolution will be liveblogged.

Get ready, y'all, we are in for a WEEK in the impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump.

In case you've been wondering, ABC News/Ipsos did some polling this weekend on where people are after the first two big hearings, and we can report that everybody in America is on this plane right now, watching Marie Yovanovitch testify and going "Holy shitballs, this woman is incredible."

Just kidding! That is not what the poll says, and not least because it is unsafe to poll people when their trays are not in their upright positions!

Um anyway, what were we saying before we made that stupid and pointless joke? Oh yeah, POLL.

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Impeachment

House Impeachment Investigators To Solve Ancient Mystery Of 'Is Trump Liar?'

OK, it's a bit more specific than that, but ...

BREAKING NEWS THAT IS BREAKING! The House impeachment investigators have decided to add another 'vestigation to their pile of 'vestigations, and it is whether or not Donald Trump is a liar.

BREAKING NEWS THAT IS MORE BREAKING THAN THE LAST BREAKING NEWS! The House is all finished! Trump is definitely a big liar!

OK, we are being silly, but one thing Rick Gates's testimony at the Roger Stone trial taught us that we didn't know already (read: did know already) is that Trump lied to Robert Mueller in his written answers. House attorney Douglas Letter told the DC Court of Appeals today, in the case over whether the House is entitled to the grand jury information from the Mueller Report, that the House impeachment inquiry is specifically looking at whether Trump was lying when he told Mueller in a number of his responses that he does not "recall" or have "recollection" of having foreknowledge of upcoming releases from WikiLeaks. He specifically said he does not "recall" having any such conversations with Roger Stone. It's been clear for quite a while that Trump absolutely did have foreknowledge, and testimony from Roger Stone's trial just firms that up.

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Trump impeachment hearings

The GOP Has Found Its Star Witness*

*Star witness will confirm all prior testimony and call it alarming but refuse to call it 'illegal' per se.

Republicans have seized on a rare piece of good news. National Security Council Senior Director Tim Morrison, a former House GOP staffer, testified that Donald Trump's shakedown call with President Zelenskiy was not, in his opinion, ILLEGAL. So NO IMPEACHMENT, pack it in Shifty Schiff, Witch Huntghazi is DUNZO!!!!1!! Plus Morrison threw some dirt on Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill, so hey BONUS!

Sure Morrison hotfooted it directly to NSC lawyer John Eisenberg directly after the president's perfect, perfect July 25 phone call, but that was only because he was worried about it leaking. Not because he was alarmed that Trump was extorting a foreign head of state to frame his likely electoral opponent, of course, but because he was "concerned about how the Ukrainians would internalize that" and worried that "politicizing Ukraine" would "cost bipartisan support" for that country.

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2020 presidential election

2020 Dems All Socialist, Except The Ones Who Are Only A Little Socialist

And John Delaney, too!

The Washington Post has published a handy guide to the 2020 Democratic candidates and their positions on a whole bunch of economic/social justice questions. It's a nice little tool you may want to bookmark in case you find yourself wondering where the candidates are on particular questions, like cancelling student loan debt. Bernie Sanders says cancel it all, while others (Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Julián Castro, Elizabeth Warren, and Marianne Williamson) would cancel debt based on various income levels. The rest want to take other action on student loan debt; notably, not a single one of them says the existing system is fair or just. Oh, and Andrew Yang would issue debt forgiveness based on number of automated looms the borrower is able to smash with a wooden shoe.

Also, Joe Sestak is included, for shits and giggles. So is Steve Bullock, which is the most visibility he's had in months.

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Trump

Lowlife Criminal President Trump Pardons Lowlife War Criminals

Let's hope Bill Cosby isn't next.

Donald Trump has a soft spot for criminals, and he apparently likes vicious psychopaths most of all. He used his vast presidential powers of corruption Friday to clear three armed services members who'd been convicted or accused of war crimes. The evidence of wrongdoing against all three men was far more compelling than whatever convinced Trump of the Central Park Five's guilt.

The president pardoned Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, whom the Army charged in December with the premeditated murder of an Afghan man. Golsteyn confessed to the 2010 shooting. He thought the man might be a terrorist bomb maker and might kill other people if he didn't kill him first. Trump didn't bother to wait for Golsteyn to stand trial, because he doesn't believe God created white men to sit around in a courtroom dealing with juries. He whined last month on Twitter that "we train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!" That's why we almost feel sorry for John Malkovich's character from In the Line of Fire, but it has crap all to do with real life and actual military engagement.

Trump also reversed the demotion of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher. This asshole was already found not guilty in July of the first degree murder of an ISIS prisoner and the attempted murder of civilians. Members of his own unit testified that Gallagher fired rockets randomly into civilian neighborhoods in Afghanistan, murdered an old man and a little girl with sniper fire, and stabbed a teenage detainee to death. This was pretty damning, but the defense appealed to the generation gap.

Prosecutors held [Gallagher's accusers] up as courageous whistle-blowers who broke the SEAL code of silence to stop a rogue chief who was on a track to higher leadership positions. The defense painted the accusers as scared and entitled millennials who could not meet their chief's high expectations, and fabricated war-crimes allegations to take him down.

OK, boomer, but Gallagher was convicted of posing for photos with the teenage prisoner's dead body. He admitted to this, and while ghoulish, it unfortunately lacked the "pizzazz" of confessing to ordering a "code red." He barely received a slap on the wrist. The commander in chief did congratulate him for legal victory, as if Gallagher had won the reality competition show "Who Wants To Get Away With War Crimes?"

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Impeachment

Senate's Dumbest GOP Idiot Wishes Whistleblower Had Just Kept Trump's Ukraine Crimes To Himself

If the whistleblower didn't tell everybody about the crimes, nobody would know about the crimes!

We are getting a wee bit of whiplash right now, and it is Chuck Todd's fault, LOCK HIM UP! Just fooling! We do not want Chuckles The Todd to be lock him upped!

But ever since this whole Ukraine Trump impeachment business started, we never know which Chuck Todd we're going to get. The one that occasionally commits light acts of journalism, or the normal Chuck Todd who is idiot? Last time we addressed the subject, it was normal idiot Chuck Todd. This time it is light journalism Chuck Todd.

America's Dumbest GOP Senator Ron Johnson went on the "Meet the Press" show on Sunday. Chuck Todd has been mean to Johnson before, so maybe there's just something about that guy that makes Chuckles remember his job description. Johnson, of course, is right in the middle of the Trump Ukraine impeachment, having attended Volodymyr Zelenskiy's inauguration in Ukraine along with the Three Amigo idiots, as Marie Yovanovitch was being pushed onto a plane back to DC so Trump's folks could go on a crime spree. Months later, Johnson "winced" when he found out Trump was tying Ukraine's congressionally appropriated military aid to his demand for bullshit investigations of Joe Biden, but his "wincing" got better when Trump said "NO QUID PRO QUO!" -- because if Donald Trump says that, it must be true, according to Ron Johnson, who really is that stupid.

On this "Meet the Press" appearance, Todd generally (generally) pushed back appropriately, and for that he wins one (1) Snausage of his choosing. (No weird flavors, Chuck, we're not going to multiple Petcos for this.)

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Healthcare

But How You Gonna PAAAAASSSS Medicare For All, Elizabeth Warren?

It's either a smart, practical transition plan or a complete betrayal of everything honest and good. We love primary season.

Over the weekend, Elizabeth Warren released her plan for transitioning to Medicare for All. It's a not-inconsiderable prospect, since America doesn't so much have a healthcare "system" now as it has a messy, incomplete patchwork of public and private providers and payment systems that leaves tens of millions of us with inadequate care, or no healthcare at all. (GoFundMe is not a healthcare system.) Warren's proposal lays out a two-stage roadmap for getting to single-payer: Phase in a very strong "public option" (including government-paid coverage for all children and low-income folks) first, then as people realize there aren't any death panels and Republicans are still lying to them, switch over to a true single-payer healthcare system like other industrialized countries have.

As Dylan Scott notes at Vox, the plan makes a "tacit concession" to where primary voters seem to be at the moment: They like the idea of single-payer, but they're also scared of remaking healthcare all at once. Fine, this plan says: Dip a toe in, and you'll see this works. The plan she suggests has M4A as the goal, but this transition allows her to put forward a package she can "argue is more likely to actually pass 18 months from now." Let's take a nice Policy Dive!

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News

Know What This Trump Impeachment Needs? More Pay-To-Play Horsesh*t!

How many crimes are these people committing at any given time? It is a miraculous wonder!

This Trump impeachment was boring and didn't feature near enough crimes Donald Trump has constantly accused Hillary Clinton of doing, when he was actually doing them himself. Dontcha think?

How about some PAY-TO-PLAY?

Trump's administration is notoriously understaffed, partially because it's damn near impossible to find competent people who actually want to work for him. (He's gotten lotsa incompetent right-wing judges confirmed, though!) And of the positions that are staffed, many are unqualified hacks like EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who donated a cool million to the Trump inaugural and somehow magically became the EU ambassador, which is an actual real job. (No offense to the Maldives or whatever, but some of these jobs are ceremonial and any idiot who may or may not be currently married to Newt Gingrich can do them. It's actually normal for some of those positions to go to donors.)

CBS News reports that it may have discovered an actual pay-to-play scandal, where a Trump idiot donated a lot of money maybe in exchange for the ambassadorship to the Bahamas.

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Trump

President Coronary Thrombosis Perfectly Healthy, Just Likes Making Surprise Hospital Visits

Don't go wishing for Trump's death in the comments, please. Even though.

Did the president have a heart attack this weekend? We should know enough not to expect a straight answer. Donald Trump made an unscheduled trip Saturday to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Sources reportedly told Andrew Vernon, a contributor to The Hill, that Trump was being examined for chest pain. That seems a more likely explanation than what part time White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham offered us. She said in a statement that Trump had some down time so he proactively went to the hospital to have his oil changed.

GRISHAM: Anticipating a very busy 2020, the President is taking advantage of a free weekend here in Washington, D.C., to begin portions of his routine annual physical exam at Walter Reed.

That's hard to believe even if the White House or the press secretary had any credibility. Trump is lazy. He's not someone who gets a jump on things. He's not my wife (thank God). Grisham implies that Trump's weekends are otherwise jam-packed with work, but he usually plays golf like a retired person with no interesting hobbies. He watched The Joker Saturday night, and that seems more like how Trump would spend all his non-crime-related free time. I just don't believe he would voluntarily go to a doctor unless he was in serious discomfort.

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