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Here's Elizabeth Warren Yelling At Big Banks, In Case You Were Confused About That!

Is she ready to rummmmble????

Cripes the News has been awful lately! And so Yr Editrix suggested we find some good, positive news. Especially after we pitched writing a Wonket about this Mother Jones story on how global warming may be killing the whales, even though Donald Trump knows their prince. (Reply: "Nope. FOR SURE NOT THAT.") And so, as a reminder that a gooder world is possible and apropos of nothing at all that definitely didn't set your Editrix off on Twitter, where she has been stewing and bitching most shrillfully about the 2016 election and the 2020 election and any terrible similarities thereof and thereupon and therefore and thereto, we present a collection of videos of Elizabeth Warren yelling at big banks and calling for them to be broken up and their criminal operators to go to jail. Puppies and kittens will only get you so far, after all.

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Hope Hicks Is Not Allowed To Answer That

Today is Hope Hicks's big day before the House Judiciary Committee, and SURPRISE OF ALL SURPRISES, it is not going well.

As we noted when the House issued subpoenas to Hicks and Annie Donaldson, who was former White House counsel Don McGahn's deputy, these women do not work for the White House, and they testified all over the Mueller Report about the crimes they witnessed inside the Trump administration. In doing so, they effectively waived any kind of "executive privilege" Donald Trump might have tried to claim over their testimony.

And he hasn't exerted it! But, of course, there is somebody from the White House sitting right next to Hicks, telling her she's not allowed to say anything.

"Did you lie to Robert Mueller?"

I CANNOT TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT WHETHER I TOLD A LIE!

"Where was your desk?"

NO DESK! NO DESK! YOU ARE A DESK!

Jesus Christ. It's gonna be a real treat when we get the full transcript of this hearing later this week.

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Donald Trump Kicks Off 2020 Campaign With Solemn Vow To Defeat Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump held another great big slob picnic in Orlando, Florida, last night, where he "announced" the "start" of his 2020 campaign, which will be exactly like his 2016 campaign except for the minor detail that he's actually been in the White House since 2017, which is really a bummer, man. Still, it's no reason he can't run as an outsider who vows to protect everyday Americans who believe he's just like them. The rally was a mishmash of the same damn shit he's said a million times before, and the rubes loved almost every minute of it except for the boring parts when he talked about stuff he's supposedly achieved in office, because not even his supporters care about trade policy or tariffs. They want an enemy, and they want to be told they and Trump will destroy that enemy together because they are the real Americans. So that's what Trump gave them, again and again, a feast of fear and resentment designed to get them to the polls. It was enough in 2016, and Trump thinks it'll do the job in 2020.

If there was anything new in the speech -- which was mostly Trump reading from a teleprompter, plus the expected weirdass asides -- nobody has identified it. He complained about the press and the crowd chanted "CNN sucks," and he explained what a threat to the nation Hillary Clinton is -- in fact, he mentioned her eight times during the 80-minute rant.

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Trump's Sugar Daddy Has Lost That Horny Feeling

Is there ANY good news for the bumblefucking Trump re-election campaign these days? Their polling numbers are in the shitter, therefore Trump is firing the pollsters. Trump's Hitler rally kickoff event in Florida last night was ... whatever it was. Oh, and did we mention that they ain't got no money? Like, of course, not counting whatever Russian money they're not telling us about.

Don Jr. recently called a prominent donor and warned that Trump's money haul is falling behind where Barack Obama was early in his reelection, while Jared Kushner has privately complained to RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel that Trump's war chest is not as big as it should be at this point in the cycle.

Whiiiiiiiiiine. Guess they're gonna have to see if they can launder some rubles somewhere, ALLEGEDLY.

Gabe Sherman has some more bad news about Trump's shithole campaign, and it is that Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the father-daughter billionaire duo who bankrolled much of Trump's "victory" in 2016 -- including funding Breitbart, and also the part of the "victory" that comprised Cambridge Analytica, the data company they owned that may have done some real hinky stuff, possibly with Russia, in order to get Trump "elected" -- have zipped up their checkbooks and decided Trump can go eat dicks for all they care.

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Russia

Hope Hicks Is Not Allowed To Answer That

Surprise, Hicks's testimony for the House Judiciary Committee is going SUPER.

Today is Hope Hicks's big day before the House Judiciary Committee, and SURPRISE OF ALL SURPRISES, it is not going well.

As we noted when the House issued subpoenas to Hicks and Annie Donaldson, who was former White House counsel Don McGahn's deputy, these women do not work for the White House, and they testified all over the Mueller Report about the crimes they witnessed inside the Trump administration. In doing so, they effectively waived any kind of "executive privilege" Donald Trump might have tried to claim over their testimony.

And he hasn't exerted it! But, of course, there is somebody from the White House sitting right next to Hicks, telling her she's not allowed to say anything.

"Did you lie to Robert Mueller?"

I CANNOT TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT WHETHER I TOLD A LIE!

"Where was your desk?"

NO DESK! NO DESK! YOU ARE A DESK!

Jesus Christ. It's gonna be a real treat when we get the full transcript of this hearing later this week.

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Courts

Non-Alex-Jones Lunatics Lose Lawsuit On Whether Sandy Hook 6-Year-Old Ever Existed

No, it wasn't Alex Jones. Like we just said.

A judge in Wisconsin ruled Monday that a Sandy Hook truther's bullshit conspiracy-theory book-shaped object defamed Leonard Pozner, the father of the youngest child to die in the mass shooting, and set a trial date later this year to determine damages. The 2016 book, with the elegant title Nobody Died At Sandy Hook: It was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control, insisted, among other keen insights, that in reality the Sandy Hook school had been abandoned for years before the 2012 massacre, and that Pozner, father of six-year-old murder victim Noah Pozner, had faked his son's death certificate as part of an elaborate conspiracy to take America's guns away -- and besides, maybe the child never existed at all.

In an interview, Mr. Pozner told the New York Times,

This is a victory for myself and my family [...] It is also a victory for the survivors and victims' families of all mass casualty events who have been targeted by these people.

The case focused primarily on the contention that Pozner had fabricated his son's death certificate, a claim laid out in a chapter by the book's co-editor, James Fetzer, who himself lives in the geographically dishonest village of "Oregon, Wisconsin," and if that isn't a conspiracy we don't know what is. Fetzer, a philosophy professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, had claimed that a copy of a copy of god knows how many copies of the death certificate was clearly fake, because very stupid reasons involving seals and file numbers and the sort of dumb shit we all heard about Barack Obama's birth certificate.

Pozner's attorney, Jacob Zimmerman, demonstrated to the court's satisfaction that Fetzer's arguments were nonsense:

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Post-Racial America

Joe Biden's Strange Strategy: Praising Segregationists, Promising Rich People He Won't Hurt Em A Bit

There's our old 'electable' Joe.

What is going on in Joe Biden's head these days? He embarrassed not just himself but everyone who once loved him at a fancy-schmancy fundraiser in New York last night. We actually don't care if he schmoozes Wall Street tycoons. We're at war and we'll accept ammunition from anyone. But Biden could've danced on tables in nothing but a G-string and retained more of his dignity.

BIDEN: By the way, you know, remember I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, 'You know what I've found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people.'

Biden has never, at any point in recorded history, "got in trouble" with other Democrats because he suggested rich people can hump a flag with the same nationalistic zeal as broke-ass Americans. That's never happened. Just stop. It's such a weird observation anyway that a normal person would sort of shrug and say, "Sure, whatever." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is personally rich AF, would just thank Biden for the compliment and give him a couple bills to buy something pretty.

BIDEN: Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who has made money.

Is he sure that's not a joke? Why is Biden sounding like a common Howard Schultz? No one's "demonizing" rich people. They're not a maligned "other." Americans still would rather be rich than poor. Not even an army of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezes could change that. Biden went on to promise his wealthy overlords that their lifestyles won't change if he's elected president. Nothing at all, in fact, would "fundamentally change." Put that on a bumper sticker. He's gone from riding shotgun on "hope and change" to only offering hope of no change.

Jesus, why did we ever like this guy?

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Culture Wars

Happy Pride! Trump Got You This Federal Judge Nom Who Hates Gay People, Birth Control, Non-Christians, Joy

The Senate's set to put Matthew Kacsmaryk, who has one HELL of a paper trail, on the federal bench.

Rightwing extremist Matthew Kacsmaryk is set to be confirmed to a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.

Kacsmaryk is a Trump nominee to the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The Northern District covers a large part of the state, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and is home to nearly eight million people.

Kacsmaryk's current job is deputy general counsel to First Liberty Institute, an organization that promotes the belief that Christians in America are just constantly being persecuted. His nomination is opposed by a myriad of civil rights and public health groups and basically every LGBTQ rights organization.

As noted by Texas Observer writer Michael Barajas,

Matthew Kacsmaryk [has] worked to erode the firewall between church and state as lawyer for the First Liberty Institute, a Christian legal advocacy group that protects pastors who mobilize their flock to overturn local non-discrimination ordinances, county clerks who refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses and anti-abortion centers that trick women into thinking they're walking into actual medical clinics.

Initially, Trump nominated former First Liberty Institute lawyer Jeff Mateer for a federal judgeship in Texas, along with Kacsmaryk. Mateer's nomination failed after a 2015 speech surfaced in which he called transgender kids "Satan's spawn" and part of "Satan's plan."

Kathy Miller of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization that advocates for the separation of church and state, called Kacsmaryk's and Mateer's nominations "a clear signal that President Trump intends to make our federal courts the place where civil rights go to die."

Only the best people.

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News

​Turns Out 'When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife?' Is Pretty Fair Question For Senators To Ask Trump Nominees

You know, ALLEGEDLY.

Surprise, everybody! As we suspected, the Trump administration knew about the horrifying family domestic abuse stories in Patrick Shanahan's history, and they were trying to push through his Defense Secretary nomination anyway. We didn't assume they knew because the Trump administration is so very good at vetting people -- it clearly isn't. But, considering the enormity of the story, the question that kept bothering us yesterday when the Shanahan news broke was HOW IN THE HELL DID THEY THINK THIS WOULD STAY SECRET?

CBS News reports:

President Trump said as he departed for Florida Tuesday that he had only learned of Shanahan's family issues for the first time "yesterday."

But that is apparently a lie, or at least we should assume it's a lie, because we should always assume Trump is lying about each and every thing he says, in general. Anyway, whether El Dipshit was personally told, Trump admin people say ayup, they knew all about it:

One senior administration official told CBS News the White House was aware of the incident involving Shanahan's son, but didn't know about the 2010 confrontation. Another official said the White House knew about the 2011 incident dating back to when Bill Shine was White House communications director.

In case you need a quick refresher, the "2010 confrontation" is alleged domestic violence between Shanahan and his ex-wife, whose name is now Kimberley Jordinson, which was detailed in their divorce papers. (The ex-wife was arrested, not Shanahan.) The "2011 incident" is the one where Shanahan's 17-year-old son beat the shit out of his mom -- that same ex-wife -- with a baseball bat and left her in a pool of her own blood, and Daddy appears to have gone to great lengths to cover it up.

As CBS reports, some senators have been very curious as to why they were never informed of this way back in 2017, when Shanahan was nominated to be the deputy secretary of Defense. (He was confirmed.) Did the White House know then? Did Shanahan conceal it from everybody? Is that where the White House vetting process -- which is, again, just awesome, obviously -- went all wrong?

Or does the Trump administration just not think the nominee getting mutually fisticuffy with his wife, and trying to mount a coverup for his son when that son bludgeoned that wife with a baseball bat, is so bad, especially when you are trying to staff your administration with The Best People?

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popular

Gloria Vanderbilt Died, Which Means It's Time For CRAZY Q-ANON SH*T About Gloria Vanderbilt!

Seriously, what is WRONG with these people?

On Monday, Gloria Vanderbilt -- socialite, jeans lady, and mom of Anderson Cooper -- passed away at the age of 95. In more normal times, this would merely result in a few obituaries and tributes about her life, and the requisite few RIP tweets.

Unfortunately, we do not live in normal times. These days, no celebrity can die without it becoming the purview of the crazypants QAnon cult, followers of which believe that no one ever dies under normal circumstances, especially not 95-year-old ladies.

Vanderbilt and her family were already something of an obsession with these people due to several "Q proofs" accusing her of doing magic spells, wearing magic illuminati owl necklaces, and [checks notes] doing something involving "red shoes," which the QAnon people think people only wear if they love sacrificing children to Satan.

Yes, this is a thing. No, I do not know if they are also mad at Elvis Costello.

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2020 presidential election

Donald Trump Kicks Off 2020 Campaign With Solemn Vow To Defeat Hillary Clinton

Same shitshow, little bit louder, little bit worse.

Donald Trump held another great big slob picnic in Orlando, Florida, last night, where he "announced" the "start" of his 2020 campaign, which will be exactly like his 2016 campaign except for the minor detail that he's actually been in the White House since 2017, which is really a bummer, man. Still, it's no reason he can't run as an outsider who vows to protect everyday Americans who believe he's just like them. The rally was a mishmash of the same damn shit he's said a million times before, and the rubes loved almost every minute of it except for the boring parts when he talked about stuff he's supposedly achieved in office, because not even his supporters care about trade policy or tariffs. They want an enemy, and they want to be told they and Trump will destroy that enemy together because they are the real Americans. So that's what Trump gave them, again and again, a feast of fear and resentment designed to get them to the polls. It was enough in 2016, and Trump thinks it'll do the job in 2020.

If there was anything new in the speech -- which was mostly Trump reading from a teleprompter, plus the expected weirdass asides -- nobody has identified it. He complained about the press and the crowd chanted "CNN sucks," and he explained what a threat to the nation Hillary Clinton is -- in fact, he mentioned her eight times during the 80-minute rant.

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Post-Racial America

Mitch McConnell Has Thoughts About Reparations. They Are Humble, Generous Thoughts Just Kidding!

Happy Juneteenth!

June 19 is also known as "Juneteenth," the day in 1865 when former slaves in Texas learned, a couple years late, that they were free. The House will mark the occasion with its first hearing in a decade on the subject of reparations. It's a complex issue. How does America even start to make good on centuries of racial discrimination, including but not limited to slavery, and ... wait, why are we talking to Mitch McConnell about this?

McConnell is literally the devil incarnate but without honor, style, or a neck. Reporters asked the Senate majority leader about reparations yesterday, and he seemed to think we were all fully reparated already.

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News

Trump's Sugar Daddy Has Lost That Horny Feeling

Robert and Rebekah Mercer aren't happy with their 'investment.'

Is there ANY good news for the bumblefucking Trump re-election campaign these days? Their polling numbers are in the shitter, therefore Trump is firing the pollsters. Trump's Hitler rally kickoff event in Florida last night was ... whatever it was. Oh, and did we mention that they ain't got no money? Like, of course, not counting whatever Russian money they're not telling us about.

Don Jr. recently called a prominent donor and warned that Trump's money haul is falling behind where Barack Obama was early in his reelection, while Jared Kushner has privately complained to RNC chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel that Trump's war chest is not as big as it should be at this point in the cycle.

Whiiiiiiiiiine. Guess they're gonna have to see if they can launder some rubles somewhere, ALLEGEDLY.

Gabe Sherman has some more bad news about Trump's shithole campaign, and it is that Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the father-daughter billionaire duo who bankrolled much of Trump's "victory" in 2016 -- including funding Breitbart, and also the part of the "victory" that comprised Cambridge Analytica, the data company they owned that may have done some real hinky stuff, possibly with Russia, in order to get Trump "elected" -- have zipped up their checkbooks and decided Trump can go eat dicks for all they care.

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Immigrants

It's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Vs. Liz Cheney. Topic: Concentration Camps. 2019 Is TERRIBLE.

Time for a history lesson.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced Donald Trump and his administration's kiddie jails yesterday. She went so far as to call them "concentration camps." Her critics believe this is the worst thing someone could do. We guess the second worst thing would be actually running concentration camps, which the Trump administration is. The ghouls are literally holding migrant children in an Army base that was once used to wrongly imprison Japanese-Americans during World War II. The base should be a museum now not a revival house for the Stephen Miller Horror Show.

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popular

Florida Man Plays Greatest Hits. Wonkagenda For Wed., June 19, 2019

Trump goes back in time, and the rest of the world tries to avoid another war. Your morning news brief!

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

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Class War

Someone Got European Socialism All Over Frank Luntz's 5-Star Hotel!

Thanks Obama.

Great GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz, the guy who gave us the "death tax" and who urged the George W. Bush administration to talk about "climate change" since it was less politically motivating than "global warming," did some more of his characteristic word magic today! While staying at the Hotel Imperial in Vienna, Austria, Luntz offered this cautionary tale about the evils of socialism, as illustrated by the shoddy conditions in a 5-star luxury hotel owned by Dubai's "Al Habtoor" conglomerate and operated by Marriott:

Talk about your grim hellholes! Apparently, there's only one elevator in the entire building, and it's been broken for three days, proving that European-style socialism is a failure that should never be imported to the USA, where -- damn it! -- all buildings work!

As some smartass pointed out, now Luntz may have to take the STAIRS, like a common Bolshevik!

We're still trying to get our heads around how a delay in getting an elevator fixed in a luxury hotel owned by the United Arab Emirati proprietors of Dubai's

  • Habtoor Grand Resort
  • Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah
  • Habtoor Palace, LXR Hotels & Resorts
  • V Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City
  • Metropolitan Hotel Dubai
  • Al Habtoor Polo Resort

as well as

  • Imperial Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Vienna (Austria)
  • Hilton London Wembley (United Kingdom)
  • Hilton Beirut Habtoor Grand (Lebanon)
  • Hilton Beirut Metropolitan Palace (Lebanon)
  • President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (United States)
  • InterContinental Budapest (Hungary)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Budapest (Hungary)

is an example of the horrors of socialism, but then, we don't earn the big bucks like Luntz does. Austria is among the 14 richest countries in the world, so we're fairly certain it's not a commie hellhole. Then again, there is a very strong social safety net, so maybe people in subsidized housing stole all the elevator parts. Or perhaps the elevator would have been fixed sooner if only Austria didn't have such strong unions. It's a mystery.

Or maybe it's that NATIONAL socialism that's the problem, seeing as it has socialism RIGHT IN THE NAME!

Adolf Hitler, once a day labourer outside the Hotel Imperial Vienna, returned as the Führer and "delivered a speech to a rapturous crowd from [the hotel] suite's balcony, on 14 March 1938", according to www.famoushotels.org.

We suppose it's worth noting that the Imperial is decidedly not owned or operated by the Austrian government, where a far-Right coalition has recently imploded -- although maybe Luntz is confused about that, since official state guests are traditionally housed there. In any case, the elevator's busted, it's in Europe, Europe is socialist, and Frank Luntz is homesick for America, where no elevator ever goes unrepaired for an entire weekend. It simply has never happened because of our efficient free market!

Still, Luntz's tweet inspired some valuable reflections on how economic theory shapes the reality of everyday life. This is the kind of Austrian economics we can support.



In conclusion, capitalism always allocates resources efficiently and fairly, although that still doesn't explain why Frank Luntz has a job. And now it would be your DOKTOR ZOOM'S BIRTHDAY PARTY OPEN THREAD, if only the socialists would fix the elevator, the end.

Yr Wonkette is entirely supported by donations from you, the reader. Please send us money so socialists won't make us take the stairs.

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WARBLOGGING

Swing And A HOLY SH*T! Acting Defense Sec Shanahan Out After SWEET JESUS!

Knew this story was coming since January, did jackshit about it. Huh!

Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan is out at the Department of Defense. The former Boeing executive will have to go back to plying his multi-million dollar ass-kissing skills in the private sector again since Donald Trump has withdrawn his nomination to the Senate "so that he can devote more time to his family." Safe bet that Shanahan's nomination as Father of the Year is on ice as well amid allegations of spousal abuse and his disgraceful behavior after his teenage son cracked his mother's skull with a baseball bat in 2011 after which Shanahan successfully argued that the 17-year-old should get a deferred adjudication and disappeared the kid's phone, which may or may not have contained evidence of an illegal sexual relationship with a much older woman.

YES, THAT'S JUST THE START.

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Environment

How We Doin' On That Green Energy Thing? Better Than You Might Expect!

The good news is that it's not all bad news. Also, we need to change things radically is all.

Somewhat encouraging news for the prospects of human survival! Over at Vox, David Roberts offers a brief review of data from the "Renewables Global Status Report," an annual report on the world's use of renewable energy from a great big energy think tank, the "Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century." And the story, as he presents it in 12 graphs, is that we hu-mons are not doomed to Global Warm ourselves to death. What's that, you heard an implied "But..." there? What a very perceptive reader you are!

The really impressive news is that when it comes to generating electricity, renewable energy sources are growing faster than any other:

The shift in the electricity sector has effectively become unstoppable. Globally, more renewable energy capacity has been installed than new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity combined, for four years running. Some 181 GW of new renewables capacity was installed in 2018; it now makes up more than one-third of global installed power capacity. These are mainstream power sources, here to stay.

Also, global adoption of electric vehicles is rapidly growing, especially in China, where lots of city bus fleets are now electric. China is leading the world in green energy generally, which is pretty important since it's also got some of the dirtiest energy to move away from. As China adopts more solar photovoltaic generating capacity, the costs of solar panels is also dropping rapidly, and hooray, solar is also creating the most jobs!

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Russia

It's OK To Treat Trump Like A Russian Agent. The Pentagon Does.

This is a Pull The Fire Alarm moment. Nancy Pelosi, please pull the fire alarm.

We wanted to underline something we talked about yesterday, in our now world-famous article Oh Dear, Glenn Greenwald Pulled A Glenn Greenwald Again. The subject matter Greenwald was willfully misinterpreting and fucking up, like he does, was news that the New York Times broke on Sunday about the United States firming up its ability to get inside the Russian power grid and do funny business. It's serious, and probably quite necessary, because on top of its incursions into our election systems, Russia has also been escalating efforts to hack in to American power grids. This has been going on for a while.

But one of the striking things about that story, as Rachel Maddow noted last night, is Donald Trump's reaction to it, both this weekend and last night. Here were his first tweets when he heard the story:

The New York Times shed some light on why Dipshit up there might have been screaming FAKE NEWS, and it's because nobody told him this was happening:

Two administration officials said they believed Mr. Trump had not been briefed in any detail about the steps to place "implants" — software code that can be used for surveillance or attack — inside the Russian grid.

Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction — and the possibility that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation in Syria to the Russian foreign minister.

And that is what we need to underline right here. They're not holding back information from Trump because he's an idiot who ignores intel briefings anyway -- though he is definitely that, and we have heard rumors going all the way back to the beginning of Trump's presidency that the intel community sometimes hides the really good shit from him, for fear of what he'll do with it. But that quote, citing "two administration officials," says right out loud that "Pentagon and intelligence officials described broad hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern over his reaction," partially because they are worried he will leak it to the Russians just like he leaked code word level Israeli intelligence to the Russians the day after he fired James Comey in order to criminally obstruct the Russia investigation.

Got that? PENTAGON AND INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS are making this assessment. Not Wonkette. Not Elizabeth Warren. Not Rachel Maddow. THE PENTAGON. (By the way, yes we have heard that Patrick Shanahan has been pulled from consideration for the full big boy Senate-confirmed Defense Secretary job, likely linked to the bombshell domestic violence story that just dropped in the Washington Post. Could it also have something to do with this? We surely wouldn't be surprised if it did!)

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Immigrants

Trump Promises To Deport ERREBODY, Because What Part Of INSANE FASCIST FREAKSHOW Don't You Understand?

Onstage executions during Trump rallies still in early planning stages.

Donald Trump is officially kicking off his reelection campaign at a rally in Orlando tonight, so it only makes sense he'd want to preview it by whipping up the base with some red immigration meat. That's why, during his late-night Twitter fit, the "president" announced the Goon Squad would be coming to town and rounding up "millions" of undocumented immigrants. We suppose it's a bit like the sort of celebratory atrocities you'd expect in bad science fiction: To mark the Tyrant's birthday, we'll vaporize the Rebels' home planet, YAY!

Millions! Trump appeared to be referring to one of immigration Obersturmbannführer Stephen Miller's dream projects, a plan for a "blitz" against thousands of immigrant families who have received court orders for deportation but are still in the country. Miller and Trump had been pushing the idea since last September. But earlier this year, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ron Vitiello put the kibosh on the plan, citing concerns that it would be a logistical clusterfuck, not to mention terrible publicity. They were also concerned that deporting undocumented parents of children who are US citizens would lead to messy situations and bad publicity -- not the morality, just the logistics and optics. So both Vitiello and Nielsen were shitcanned and replaced by new people who thought mass deportations would be just the right thing to promote the Rule of Law, especially if it means the Great Man is happy.

Acting ICE director Mark Morgan, who replaced Vitiello, confirmed earlier in June that an operation to remove families, as a deterrent to new migration, was very much in the planning stages, telling reporters, "I think we can't exempt anybody [...] That will include families."

Mind you, the Washington Post notes that surprise immigration sweeps generally involve a bit more "surprise."

Large-scale ICE enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, Calif., with criminal prosecution for alerting city residents that immigration raids were in the works.

In accordance with the rules of how these things always go, Trump's tweet left the immigration agencies struggling to find anything to say about it, according to WaPo:

U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter.

As for the scope of the operation Trump conjured up, "millions" seems a bit fanciful, but since we're living in the age of the Marching Morons, where a small inauguration crowd is the biggest event ever and moderate economic growth is a fantastic, unprecedented expansion unseen in history, it only makes sense that MILLIONS of undocumented families are about to be deported. The Post notes it's likely to be awful anyway, but not likely to involve anything like the scale Trump will nonetheless claim is happening:

Executing a large-scale operation of the type under discussion requires hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of U.S. agents and supporting law enforcement personnel, as well as weeks of intelligence gathering and planning to verify addresses and locations of individuals targeted for arrest.

The president's claim that ICE would be deporting "millions" also was at odds with the reality of the agency's staffing and budgetary challenges. ICE arrests in the U.S. interior have been declining in recent months because so many agents are busy managing the record surge of migrant families across the southern border with Mexico.

While the operation is likely to fall well short of the wholesale ethnic cleansing Trumpers dream of, there are plenty of opportunities for things to take a seriously evil turn:

The family arrest plan has been considered even more sensitive than a typical operation because children are involved, and Homeland Security officials retain significant concerns that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children — some of whom are U.S. citizens — might not. Should adults be arrested without their children because they are at school, day care, summer camp or a friend's house, it is possible parents could be deported while their children are left behind.

And when -- not if -- that happens (as it has been for years now), there'll be no shortage of Americans contentedly reminding us that the Bible tells us to follow the law, and a few hundreds, or thousands, of traumatized children are simply the price of being a nation of laws, at least for those who don't have the best lawyers and a TV network shilling for them. Besides, as we all know by now, the cruelty IS the point. There will be horror stories, and they will be trumpeted as proof that we're finally tough enough, and if people continue to seek asylum in the US, that will be seen as proof that liberals and courts have failed to allow the truly tough actions that are needed to finally stop this "invasion." Possibly some indiscriminate shootings would do the job.

But things appear poised to get much worse. Don't wait for the atrocities to start. We need to be organizing, supporting groups that help asylum seekers, and if at all possible, turning out for (or starting!) local efforts to stand up and say NO. Any of us, if we're not among the targets, must do what we can to get in the way.

[WaPo / Politico]

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