Liveblogging The Republican Impeachment Response, Which Will Be Duuuuuuhhhhhh (Day Five)

Good Saturday morning to you! Come on in, Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone and Pam Bondi and Ken Starr and maybe Not Trump's Lawyer More Like Just Some Guy Supposed to Say Some Things But NOT TRUMP'S LAWYER OKAY (Alan Dershowitz) who are all preparing very hard to wow us with some legal WHEREFORES and HEREBYS and a whoooole lotta conspiracy theory.

It's going to be SOME DUMB, we are saying! Here's a livestream! Ready? GO!

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TAKE HER OUT! HEADS ON PIKES! Trump Impeachment Trial Liveblog, Day Four!

OK! Here we go! One more day of impeachment trial liveblog and then this week will be ov-HAHAHA just kidding, this shit runs on Saturdays too. Trump is upset about that, because his very good lawyers will be beginning their case on Saturday, which he says is "Death Valley" of TV. And they are such very good lawyers too!

Or maybe they are not very good lawyers?

Wow, for once in our entire lives, we agree with Matt Gaetz. Trump's lawyers are so fucked right now. Maybe it is good (for them) that they have to start their business on Saturday.

Anyway, let's see what else is happening, oh nothing except for LORDY THERE ARE TAPES. And they are ... Igor tapes?

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We *Think* Democrats Would Like Some Witnesses And Documents. Impeachment Liveblog, Day Three!

You guys, the Democrats are so fucking on message, and it is a sight to behold. As we've watched the first two days of the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump, we've noticed that, on top of how the Trump idiot lawyers are so outgunned and outmatched and big stupid idiot, the Democrats, led by Adam Schiff, are just brilliantly bringing the fight for witnesses and documents to the forefront every five minutes, so nobody will forget the cover-up the Republicans are trying to pull off.

"Don't you want to see that State Department cable John Bolton ordered Ambassador Bill Taylor to send? Wouldn't that be a cool document to get to read with your own eyeballs?"

Chuck Schumer and the Senate Democrats gave a presser this morning, and when Mazie Hirono wasn't making fun of Trump lawyer Pat Cipollone for saying Trump is a "man of his word" (she said she wrote in her notepad "what a wHoPpeR!!11!1"), Schumer and the others were blasting Trump's lawyers for how unprepared they are, and also too talking about witnesses and documents. Schumer noted that Democrats aren't even sure what the documents they are requesting say -- they could be totally exculpatory for the president! (He helpfully defined "exculpatory," we guess in case Trump was watching.)

Funny how Dems are willing to take that risk, yet Republicans are bedshitting terrified of it. It's almost like they know how guilty Trump is.

Republicans have been whining about how, despite how they are all paying really good attention, except for when they keep leaving the room for long stretches even though it is against the #rules, they are just not seeing anything new, waaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAH! (They are also whining that the Democrats say too many words.) Schumer -- or maybe it was another Senate Democrat, we forgot -- noted that if they are in the mood for #NewThings, he has this idea, and it is called subpoenas for witnesses and documents.

What a novel idea, for a trial!

In conclusion, Lindsey Graham says Adam Schiff is good at #talk:

Let us go forth and liveblog!

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John Roberts Not Our Real Dad, Can't Make Us Be Nice. Impeachment Trial Liveblog, Day Two!

Hola! Time for the opening arguments part of the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump.

Late last night after we went to bed, apparently there was some kind of dust-up where Jerry Nadler and the Democrats were tired of the constant lying and bullshit from Donald Trump's lying bullshit lawyers, and Trump assface lawyer Pat Cipollone acted like a real dick too, and Chief Justice John Roberts felt the need to "admonish" both sides like a common Chuck Todd and "remember [you] are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body." (Objection! Asserts facts not in evidence.) Roberts even pulled an olden-timey term out of the spare gavel he keeps inside his bottom (allegedly), and referenced a 1905 impeachment trial where a guy got in big trouble for "pettifogging."

For the record, this is all Jerry Nadler said that was supposedly so bad:

"Either you want the truth and you must permit the witnesses or you want a shameful cover-up. History will judge and so will the electorate," Nadler argued.

Whatever, that is just true.

Anyway, John Roberts is not our real dad and not your real dad either and he can't tell us what to do, so we will not be nice, and we'll continue calling Trump's lawyers the lying loser assholes they are, making jokes all the way about how they are booger-staining their careers for all eternity and will be remembered in the history books just like that, as booger-stains.

Also they are bad at TV.

Shall we watch the opening arguments together? Democrats start things off, for the next three days or so probably, after which Trump's lawyers will fill up to 12 hours of opening arguments by lying and yelling "PERFECT CALL!" or something. We don't envy their position, having to defend the world's stupidest criminal.

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Pompeo Attempts To Stick Up Reporter, Winds Up Shooting Himself In The D*ck

Ladies and gentlemen, your Trump administration.

Breaking! Achtung! Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is a hot sack of garbage! Okay, that's not really news. But really, this weekend Pompeo has outdone himself.

It started yesterday when NPR's Mary Louise Kelly, who has been a national security reporter for 20 years, sat down for an interview with Pompeo at the State Department. The Secretary blurped nonsense for several minutes about how the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, which caused Iran to restart its uranium enrichment program, is actually a sign of Trump's rousing success in stopping that country from getting nukes.

KELLY: My question, again: How do you stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?

SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.


SECRETARY POMPEO: We'll stop them.

KELLY: Sanctions?

We'll stop them. The president made very clear – the opening sentence in his remarks said that we will never permit Iran to have a nuclear weapon. The coalition that we've built out, the economic, military, and diplomatic deterrence that we have put in place will deliver that outcome. It's important, because this will protect the American people.


Please note how Kelly does not just transcribe what Pompeo says and move on. Which may explain his ... displeasure at what happened next.

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sex crimes

And Then The Saints Came Marching In

Foosball team suing to prevent release of emails advising the archdiocese on child sex abuse.

In 2018, the Archdiocese of New Orleans released the names of more than 50 clergy members credibly accuse of sexually abusing children. But before doing that, they emailed the owners and management of the New Orleans Saints football team for advice on how to manage the crisis. As one does.

Now, attorneys representing the two dozen men suing the archdiocese want to release those 276 emails, which they say prove that the Saints helped the archdiocese with their messaging, and aided in a "pattern and practice of concealing its crimes," and the Saints are taking them to court to prevent this.

Via AP:

"Obviously, the Saints should not be in the business of assisting the Archdiocese, and the Saints' public relations team is not in the business of managing the public relations of criminals engaged in pedophilia," the attorneys wrote in a court filing. "The Saints realize that if the documents at issue are made public, this professional sports organization also will be smearing itself." [...]

"The information at issue bears a relationship to these crimes because it is a continuation of the Archdiocese's pattern and practice of concealing its crimes so that the public does not discover its criminal behavior," wrote plaintiffs' attorneys Richard Trahant, John Denenea Jr. and Soren Gisleson. "And the Saints joined in."

The team's executives have a long-standing relationship with the archdiocese. Gayle Benson, who recently inherited the team after the passing of her husband, is a devout Catholic and friend of Archbishop Gregory Aymond. The emails include correspondence with a number of Saints personnel, including Senior Vice President of Communications Greg Bensel, who advised them on messaging during the crisis.

The emails are at issue because of a litany of lawsuits against the church regarding former deacon George F. Brignac, who was just indicted last month on charges of raping a little boy back in the 1970s (there is no statute of limitations for child sex abuse in Louisiana). Although Brignac was defrocked in 1988 after being accused of molesting a 7-year-old boy, the Church kept him around for years and years afterwards, allowing him to continue as a lay minister and in a leadership position in the Knights of Columbus. Although, to be fair, the church did have him sign a paper swearing to not molest any more little boys "for the good of the Church," and surely that kept him on the straight and narrow.

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Terry Crews Throws Gabrielle Union From Back Of The Bus Into Oncoming Path Of Another Bus

Crews is a regular 'see no sexism, hear no racism' about 'America's Got Talent' set.

Gabrielle Union is the badass sister who was unceremoniously fired from "America's Got Talent." Variety reported in November on the NBC production's "toxic culture," as well as the racist treatment Union personally received. For instance, she was reportedly told that her changing hairstyles were "too black" for the reality TV show audience. White folks coped just fine with Whitney Houston's rotating wigs almost 40 years ago but in the Trump era, we have to tread lightly.

Terry Crews is still a host on "America's Got Talent." I will never judge how a brother pays his bills unless he's on the Supreme Court chipping away at my rights. But Crews was a guest on hour eleven of the "Today" show Friday and when asked about the "Gabrielle Union controversy," he went full Mariah Carey on my girl.

CREWS: First of all, I can't speak for sexism because I'm not a woman.

What is he talking about? Of course, he can "speak for sexism." He's a man and we're the ones who bring the sexist. Without men, it's just Paradise Island and Amazons on horseback. Sexism isn't some horror movie monster that preys on women but is invisible to men. We just wonder what happened to that lady in sales: "We were both up for the same promotion. Then she vanished. That's peculiar."

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Culture Wars

They've Found This Year's Culture War And It's Drag Queens, Books

Oh, and put those damn fool librarians in jail, too, for America.

A Missouri state representative has heard about all these Drag Queen Story Time shenanigans at public libraries, and he is very upset at the thought of all those communist preverts practicing their commie preversions in the sight of little kids, what with the drag queening and the reading and the proximity of people wearing things he does not approve of in the presence of children. Clearly, the answer is to comb through library collections and censor all the books that might upset parents, which is why state Rep. Ben Baker has introduced the Parental Oversight of Public Libraries Act, which would require all library districts to elect a review board that would have the authority to approve all library materials and events. Any library that failed to set up such a censorship board would lose its state funding.

Baker told NBC News the bill isn't aimed at censoring anything, heavens no! Instead, he explained, he just wants these danged drag queens stopped.

They've had these drag queen story hours, and that's something that I take objection to and I think a lot of parents do [...] That's where in a public space, our kids could be exposed to something that's age-inappropriate. That's what I'm trying to tackle.

See? Not a bit of censorship; Baker just wants to protect the innocent children from people reading picture books while being fabulous. And if any librarian allows "age-inappropriate sexual material" in the library, that would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $500 fine. Gotta let those com-symp Library Science majors know who's boss. No word on whether the bill would also take action to eliminate the "sexy librarian" stereotype.

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Man Who Has Almost Definitely Paid For His Share Of Abortions Gives Speech At Forced Birth Rally

And no, they don't care.

Yesterday, Donald Trump became the first US president to attend the March For Fetuses Who Can Go Fuck Themselves The Moment They Leave The Womb. He even gave a little speech. You know, because he very sincerely gives many fucks about abortion and is definitely not just groveling before the religious Right in hopes of keeping their approval, as if any of them even believe, as their signs say, that he is "the most pro-life president ever." We know and they know that he has probably paid for at least a few abortions in his time, and that he's almost certainly never cracked open a Bible.

Oh, how the man who put babies in cages and cut benefits to our most vulnerable families waxed on about how much he loved children. How in awe he was of all the wonderful, smart, kind people who showed up that day to agitate for the right to keep us all barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen where we belong.

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Liveblogging The Republican Impeachment Response, Which Will Be Duuuuuuhhhhhh (Day Five)

It's Liz's Impeachment Party, grab a lei and a breakfast pina colada, and hula on in!

Good Saturday morning to you! Come on in, Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone and Pam Bondi and Ken Starr and maybe Not Trump's Lawyer More Like Just Some Guy Supposed to Say Some Things But NOT TRUMP'S LAWYER OKAY (Alan Dershowitz) who are all preparing very hard to wow us with some legal WHEREFORES and HEREBYS and a whoooole lotta conspiracy theory.

It's going to be SOME DUMB, we are saying! Here's a livestream! Ready? GO!

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Wonkette's Weekly Top 10? YUP, IMPEACH!

Come read your top 10 stories RIGHT NOW!

Hola hola! We are all in our places with bright shiny faces, and we are EARLY! Because at 10, Jay Sekulow is going to come out and do his surely incredibly well-prepared, and knowledgeable, and not lying rebuttal to the Democrats, who are terrible, we know because one of those disinformation guys said so:

LOL is right! Anyway, join me and Liz and possibly some WEEKEND EVAN! Could it be? Eh, maybe. In the meantime, ladies and gentlemen, it is this week's WINNERS of "people read it."

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TAKE HER OUT! HEADS ON PIKES! Trump Impeachment Trial Liveblog, Day Four!

The president is neither an innocent man nor a well man.

OK! Here we go! One more day of impeachment trial liveblog and then this week will be ov-HAHAHA just kidding, this shit runs on Saturdays too. Trump is upset about that, because his very good lawyers will be beginning their case on Saturday, which he says is "Death Valley" of TV. And they are such very good lawyers too!

Or maybe they are not very good lawyers?

Wow, for once in our entire lives, we agree with Matt Gaetz. Trump's lawyers are so fucked right now. Maybe it is good (for them) that they have to start their business on Saturday.

Anyway, let's see what else is happening, oh nothing except for LORDY THERE ARE TAPES. And they are ... Igor tapes?

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Nancy Drew And The Mystery Of Why Some Dude Writer Thought It Would Be A Good Idea To Kill Her

Can't we have anything?

Yesterday, a bomb was dropped upon a nation still reeling from the untimely death of Mr. Peanut: Dynamite comics would be "celebrating" the 90th anniversary of Nancy Drew, Girl Detective, by straight up killing her and, wait for it, having the Hardy Boys investigate her death.

That is just rude. Carolyn Keene must be rolling over in her imaginary grave right now.

Via Newsarama:

All bets are off, as the series by writer Anthony Del Col (Luke Cage: Everyman, Kill Shakespeare) and artist Joe Eisma (Riverdale, Morning Glories) opens with Nancy's iconic friends, the Hardy Boys, at Nancy's grave. Through twists and turns, this dark noir-infused story unfurls as the biggest Nancy Drew mystery of all time. Nancy's mysterious death follows one of her highest stake investigations into organized crime. Del Col and Eisma are joined by colorist Salvatore Aiala and letterer Crank! for this case. [...]

"Over the years, there have been a lot of difficult mysteries to solve in the lives of Nancy Drew as well as the Hardy brothers," said writer Anthony Del Col. "But I wanted to top them all, and so put together the ultimate case – solving Nancy's death! Joe Eisma and I have had a blast really coming up with some twists and turns that all fans – new and old – of Nancy, Frank and Joe will enjoy."

Oh yeah, that's a great way to celebrate the 90th anniversary of one of the most iconic girls in all of children's literature. Killing her, and then letting some dudes no one cares about handle it. The Hardy Boys are gonna solve Nancy Drew's murder? I don't think so. They simply don't have the chops for that. They better call in Trixie Belden for this one.

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Immigrant Teens Not Yet Being Waterboarded, So Why All The Fuss?

It's not like tying kids to chairs and putting bags over their heads makes us the baddies. Does it?

In Part Nine Million of our series "the cruelty is the point" (credit Adam Serwer), we bring you this story from Mother Jones about the treatment of migrant kids at a juvenile detention center in Virginia, one of just two juvie lockups where the government stores "unaccompanied minors who are deemed threatening." The story, by Samantha Michaels, traces the ongoing legal case against the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center, which started with a lawsuit in 2017 accusing the facility of using harsh disciplinary methods against migrant teens who haven't committed any crimes but are locked up because of their immigration status. (Not that harsh discipline is healthy for any kids in lockup, regardless of their rap sheets!) This week, the case is getting new attention because a crowd of nationally recognized prosecutors and even a few state attorneys general have filed an amicus brief as the case moves forward on appeal. We'll get to those details in a moment.

The suit argued that instead of getting the kids necessary mental health care for PTSD and other disorders stemming from their experiences as migrants, staff at the facility instead subjected them to punishments like being routinely tied to chairs for misbehavior, sometimes with a bag over their heads so they could get the full Gitmo Jr. experience.

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Trump Big, Peach Small! How He Will Fit Into This Roundup?


Did you miss Adam Schiff's closing speech last night? It was a stemwinder and you should watch it right now if you weren't hanging out with Evan last night for the neverending liveblog.

Colonel Vindman said, "Here, right matters." Here, right matters. Well, let me tell you something. If right doesn't matter, it doesn't matter how good the Constitution is. It doesn't matter how brilliant the Framers were. It doesn't matter how good or bad our advocacy in this trial is. Doesn't matter how well written the oath of impartiality is. If right doesn't matter, we're lost. If the truth doesn't matter, we're lost. The Framers couldn't protect us from ourselves if right and truth doesn't matter.

And you know that what he did was not right. You know that's what they do in the old country, where Col. Vindman's father came from, or the old country that my great grandfather came from. [...]

No Constitution can protect us if right doesn't matter. And you know that you can't trust this president to do what's right for this country. You trust that he will do what's right for Donald Trump. He'll do it now, he's done it before, he'll do it for the next several months, he'll do it in the election if he's allowed to. This is why, if you find him guilty, you must find that he should be removed. Because right matters. Right matters. And the truth matters. Otherwise we are lost.

And right on time, Donald Trump's leaning on those senators to do what's right for Donald Trump.

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Cops Behaving Badly

St. Louis Top Prosecutor Kimberly Gardner Suing EVERYONE For Balls-Out Racism

Yeah, seems like the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 is pretty on-point!

A prosecutor suing her own police force for perpetuating a racist conspiracy is not something you see every day. But that's what Kimberly Gardner, the chief prosecutor for St. Louis, Missouri, is doing.

Kimberly Gardner is the first African American circuit attorney in the history of St. Louis. She was elected in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in nearby Ferguson. Gardner won her election after running on a platform of rebuilding trust between law enforcement and St. Louis's black community.

Since taking office in 2017, Gardner has sought to reform both her office and the practices of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. And the city's white establishment has fought it, kicking and screaming at every turn, even going as far as to appoint a special prosecutor to criminally investigate her.

Now, Gardner is suing the City of St. Louis, the St. Louis Police Officers Association labor union, a special prosecutor appointed to investigate her office, and others for violating her civil and constitutional rights through a "racially motivated conspiracy to deny the civil rights of racial minorities."

The suit argues that the local officials targeting her have violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution and makes explosive allegations, like, "On information and belief and based on recent media reports, there are white supremacists on the St. Louis police force."

As the complaint notes,

The stakes are high. This case cries out for federal enforcement.
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History Facts

Betsy DeVos Flunks History, Human Decency

Education secretary compares abortion to slavery like a horrible person with limited knowledge of history.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said some stupid crap the other day. She's an incredibly stupid person and likes to stay on brand. DeVos, who bought her Cabinet position at a GOP donor auction, took on the horrors of reproductive freedom at a Colorado Christian University event. She went so far (and so low) as to compare abortion rights to the enslavement of human beings. She might've also suggested that Donald Trump reminded her of Abraham Lincoln. It was a hot mess.

DEVOS: [Lincoln], too, contended with the "pro-choice" arguments of his day. They suggested that a state's 'choice' to be slave or to be free had no moral question in it. Well, President Lincoln reminded those pro-choicers that there is a vast portion of the American people that do not look upon that matter as being this very little thing. They look upon it as a vast moral evil. Lincoln was right about the slavery 'choice' then, and he would be right about the life 'choice' today. Because as it's been said: Freedom is not about doing what we want. Freedom is about having the right to do what we ought.

Congratulations, Ms. "Education" Secretary, you just failed seventh grade history.

DeVos is comparing something she doesn't like to something everyone (mostly) agrees is terrible. This rhetorical tactic is called "being an asshole." So abortion is just like slavery and zucchini on pizza. This intellectual laziness works equally well in reverse: Charter schools are like freedom and Girl Scout cookies. Her insulting argument falls apart under the slightest scrutiny.

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Trump Murders Last Broadcast Journalist. Jim Lehrer, 1934-2020

We're getting old, aren't we?

Jim Lehrer has signed off for the last time. PBS announced the longtime "PBS NewsHour" anchorman died Thursday at his home in Washington DC at the age of 85. Working alongside Robert MacNeil, Lehrer was the Texas-accented half of the news team that respected viewers' intelligence enough to cover stories for more than three minutes.

When I was a college student in the early 1980s, just figuring out that TV news wasn't just something to endure before the entertainment shows started, the half-hour "MacNeil-Lehrer Report" was what you watched after Walter Cronkite (Later Dan Rather, or maybe Peter Jennings, but pffft, not Tom Brokaw, he wasn't serious) so you could act like you understood the news. An entire half hour devoted to a single story, every damn day! Broadcast news being such a fleeting, ephemeral thing, I honestly can't say I recall a single news story or discussion that stuck with me -- that may reflect more badly on my media consumption than on the quality of the journalism.

But I do remember that nearly every evening, hearing the theme music -- it was a whole song -- and seeing that logo, that I felt like it was possible to understand some of what the hell was going on in the daily chaos of the Reagan administration. I do recall often talking about it with friends, so something must have at least stuck in the short term. Heh, and we thought REAGAN was dumb and chaotic! (Oh, he was. Never forget.)

The news of Lehrer's death has me right back in college, watching a black-and-white TV in my little shithole apartment in the dark of a cold Flagstaff winter. Proust had his cookie, and we TV babies have nostalgia via TV intros. It's as potent as hearing the old synthesizer arrangement of NPRs "All Things Considered" theme.

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Gun Dealers So Happy They've Scared Women Into Buying More Guns

Las Vegas gun show targets women, other first-time buyers.

Gun manufacturers love to sell more guns, despite all the related, senseless deaths, and an emerging market is women. Rifles, shotguns, and other large penis substitutes were usually the guests of dishonor at the annual Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas. Now, the SHOT show (get it?) is highlighting "small, lightweight and concealable guns" because that's what girls like.

The Crime Prevention Research Center, a gun-rights group, boasted that the number of Americans with concealed-carry permits rose to almost 18.7 million in 2019. It was a still depressing 12.8 million in 2015. Gun lovers don't consider this statistic evidence that Donald Trump has made America significantly less safe. No, Trump's actually delivered exponentially more freedom for us than that tyrant Barack Obama. We're now free to secretly pack heat in the event someone at the supermarket tries to take the last melon from us.

Oklahoma and Kentucky legalized concealed carry without a permit last year, which on the one hand is really dumb but on the other, bloodier hand is great for business. Other states have reduced the cost of permits (firearm populism!) and "simplified" the tests for permits. We presume it's something like "How mad are you right now?"

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Post-Racial America

Black Guy Stuck In Racism Infinity Loop When Bank Won't Deposit His Discrimination Settlement Checks

This is so damn exhausting.

It seems that a black man can't deposit his settlement checks from a racial discrimination suit without experiencing more racial discrimination. Sauntore Thomas opened the Russian nesting doll of racism at a Michigan bank that assumed his checks were funny money and sicced the cops on him.

Thomas sued TCF Bank for alleged race discrimination Wednesday (presumably, his third racial discrimination suit will be free). He claims the Livonia branch "mistreated and humiliated him." The bank instigated a fraud investigation and called in four police officers all because he was trying to deposit legitimate checks, which is usually standard bank activity.

TCF Bank spokesman Tom Wennerberg insisted that his employer "abhors racism" and that race wasn't a factor in its response. No, the checks simply had a watermark stating VOID when they were scanned in a web viewer, so the bank had no choice but to release the hounds. Thomas countered that the checks cleared at another bank just 12 hours later. He was a TCF account holder for two years, so he wasn't thrilled when two officers grilled him while two others stood guard outside.

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