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Cruise Ships Ain't Getting No Stimulus Money Just Because They're Not Even American, Isn't That Sad?

The coronavirus and resulting economic shutdowns have laid waste to such industries as restaurants, hotels, airlines, and, yes, cruise ships, those floating petri dishes where you go to fall in love and catch the measles. The Senate passed a hefty $2 trillion stimulus package this week, but cruise ships won't have access to $500 billion in aid for large employers. That's because they've previously spelled “relief" T-A-X-D-O-D-G-E.

From the Washington Post:

Language in the 883-page bill passed by the Senate says that to be eligible for aid from the $500 billion fund, companies must be certified as "created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States" as well as having "significant operations in" and a majority of employees based in the United States.

Major cruise companies like to base their primary headquarters overseas, so they can avoid pesky federal taxes and even more annoying US regulations, such as health and safety codes. They staff their ships with workers from the Philippines, Indonesia and India, which they don't do because they're big believers in the global village. No, they pay foreign workers around $2 an hour and work them plantation style. Business Insider reported that cruise-ship employees often work eight to 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

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White House Econ Crank Peter Navarro Icing His Balls After Unsuccessful Ventilator Evasion On CNN

Do you want to watch CNN's Brianna Keilar kick the White House's pet China loon in the dick this morning? Of course you do! It's the next best thing to wielding those steel tips yourself. And if there's ever anyone who deserved it, it's Peter Navarro, the economics crank Jared Kushner dug up by Googling "China + GRRRR + ARRRRGHH." Yes, really. (Well, mostly really.) The guy whose ideas are so mindbendingly stupid he had to invent a learned professor to endorse them, a professor whose name is an acronym of Peter Navarro. Yes, again, really. (Totally really.)

The subject was ventilators, of course, and how the Trump administration has been KILLIN' IT with its coronavirus response.

Keilar to Peter Navarro: You are wasting everyone's time www.youtube.com

"Peter, look, we know you are working with the private sector. It is heartening to see Hanes making thick fabric so apparel workers can make that into non-surgical masks. GM is partnering with Ventec. All of that is good news," Keilar began. "But why do you have prisons competing with the postal service and hospitals, and Kentucky competing with Illinois and Louisiana, FEMA, the VA, in order to get a lot of these supplies. The federal government is not stepping in to coordinate the purchase and allocation of this?"

As a threshold matter, no, they are not. Donald Trump has made it entirely clear he doesn't want to be the "shipping clerk" for the states, he's refused to actually use the Defense Production Act to conscript business, preferring to use it as "leverage" — whatever that means — and, oh, by the way, his administration spent weeks blocking states from using their own COVID-19 test kits.

Take it away, Ron Vara.

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How Is Trump F*cking Up The Coronavirus Ventilator Situation Today?

We knew it was bullshit when Donald Trump, freelancing like he so often does, lied at one of his corona-pressers and said all kinds of companies were right now starting to manufacture much-needed ventilators for COVID-19 patients. We knew it was bullshit when, after being pressed by a reporter, Trump said, yes, well, General Motors is doing it! No, they were not.

We knew it was bullshit when he said it again a couple day later at another one of his Dow-killing "briefings." Turns out that, according to facts, and also common sense, you can't just retool an entire auto factory overnight to make an entirely different product. It takes months.

And we also knew that whatever plan the White House had for getting much-needed ventilators to over-run hospitals, the Trump administration would fuck it up, and that Jared Kushner would somehow be involved in fucking it up.

Right on cue, the New York Times reports on one way they're fucking it up. Turns out they were going to announce an Art Of The Deal on Wednesday with GM and a company called Ventec Life Systems, to make "up to 80,000 ventilators." But then they called off the announcement, because FEMA needed more time to find out if TOO 'SPENSIVE, because it was going to cost more than a billion American dollars! And they'd have to put hundreds of millions down too, you know, to actually retrofit a factory to manufacture them! No fair!

Now, maybe they will still make this Art Of The Deal happen, but they need to look at a bunch of other bids, which they definitely have.

No, it gets better, because guess who's directing FEMA?

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Wonkette Announces Reader Aid Slush Fund NOT Overseen By Donald Trump

Friends, Wonkers, Terrible Ones, slush up our fund!

I am getting more and more worried about our friends (NOT US, WE'RE FINE, WE'LL TELL YOU WHEN WE'RE NOT) who are alone and just got (more) broke, and don't have any idea what to do about their rents and bills.

Because we are liberals and we solve problems by throwing money at them (AND WASHING OUR HANDS and STAY THE FUCK HOME), and we all want to help but didn't quite know how, we've decided to gofundme up a Wonkette Nation Slush Fund for YOU to donate to and US to distribute (possibly to you).

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coronavirus

Sit The Hell Down Meghan McCain, And Listen To A Fable

Early this morning, in what appears to have been a brief moment of some kind of clarity, Meghan McCain tweeted out a missive in which she seems to have considered that she and the rest of the "America is the greatest country in the world" brigade may have been slightly mistaken in their judgment.

I think one of the biggest heartbreaks for those of us who have said for years that this is the greatest country in the world — is it was literally unfathomable that we could be a mere 4 weeks away from complete and utter calamity… that our institutions are broken beyond repair.

It was not unfathomable to me, nor to anyone else who realized that we needed a national health care system and a solid safety net. It was not unfathomable to anyone who wasn't so blinded by pride and patriotism that they were unable to look around the world and see that other countries had their shit together in these ways a lot more than we did.

She has since deleted it. Probably after taking a look at the crap her husband is publishing over on The Federalist.

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popular

Is Trump Cutting Off Michigan's Nose To Spite Their Governor's Face? Probably!

This is normal!

Michigan currently has the fourth highest number of active COVID-19 cases in the country. One would think that, given this, the federal government would be rushing to its aid to give it the supplies it needs to fight the pandemic. Well, you know, in an alternate universe where the United States hasn't let that same state go without clean water for practically the last decade.

And sure! While some of this lack of action may be attributed to good old-fashioned American not-giving-a-fuck, Michigan's Governor Gretchen Whitmer believes that at least part of it is that Donald Trump is mad at her, in particular, for saying mean things about him. Because not only has the federal government told Michigan it is on its own, but vendors have said that they have been instructed to not send supplies to the state as well. Like, vendors were supposed to send them supplies, and then had to back out of it because they'd been told not to do that.

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News

Slumlord Jared Kushner Will Keep His NYC Buildings Fully Stocked With Mold, Roaches During Pandemic

His broke-ass tenants are still expected to pay their rent promptly.

Jared Kushner is not just a Ken Doll with its brain surgically removed, he's also a scumbag slumlord. Remember when he was running the Kushner Companies and used a scuzzy combination of fake documents and harassment to force out tenants from rent-regulated apartments? Or how he cheerfully evicted people from his sewage-and-mold infested crap holes? And you can't forget how he had judges order the arrest of poor people who were behind on their rent.

But that was all pre-coronavirus outbreak. Kushner is now the senior adviser to his father-in-law, Donald Trump, and has assisted the president in his half-assed response to the pandemic. (His "shadow coronavirus task force," which will never help anyone, also violates multiple laws.) Kushner should appreciate how the suddenly stalled economy has impacted lower-income people the most. Besides, it's almost impossible to shelter-in-place without shelter.

Mother Jones uncovered emails and correspondence from Westminster Management, which the Kushner Companies owns. (Kushner stepped down as chief executive when he joined the White House but he's still a major stakeholder in the company, because ethics smethics.) Tenants in multiple New York City buildings received notices about rent collection during the pandemic. Westminster was kindly launching a new online platform and would graciously accept payment by credit or debit card ... for a fee! They could even pay by e-check for an additional fee. But the notices didn't acknowledge that most of those tenants had likely lost their jobs. On March 21, tenants received an email telling telling them to sign up for the new payment platform "asap." The company wished the tenants would "all stay safe and healthy in these challenging times," but did not seem interested in making the times less challenging. Tenants were told to expect fewer services and that anything but emergency maintenance would have to wait until the crisis had passed. It's a good idea to reduce the physical interactions between the building staff and tenants, but the management company should rightly suspend or at the very least reduce payments until everything's back to normal.

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Conspiracy Theories

COVID-19 Not A 'Bioweapon' Manufactured In A Lab, But Try Telling The Conspiracy Theorists That

Like they're gonna be convinced by SCIENTISTS

Ever since COVID-19 first appeared on the scene, rumors have abounded that it is a bioweapon created by Chinese scientists that was either purposely or accident released from a lab. Why? Because there are always people who are gonna believe that crap. I mean, hell, there are people out there who think literally everything celebrities do is an elaborate secret code for "Oh boy, I sure like eating babies!" so of course there are people who think this.

This belief was helped along by a non-peer-reviewed analysis that claimed the virus had "bits of HIV in it." While the paper was quickly debunked and retracted, the tin foil at brigade assumed this was not because it was incorrect, but because it was being "covered up." The fact that The Wuhan Institute of Virology is in close proximity to a seafood market fueled fears that it had somehow gotten out of the lab and spread from there.

However, Kristian Andersen, an infectious disease researcher from California, decided it would be best to get a bunch of scientists together and make for absolute certain that the virus was not man-made.

Via Science News:

t was clear "almost overnight" that the virus wasn't human-made, Andersen says. Anyone hoping to create a virus would need to work with already known viruses and engineer them to have desired properties.

But the SARS-CoV-2 virus has components that differ from those of previously known viruses, so they had to come from an unknown virus or viruses in nature. "Genetic data irrefutably show that SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from any previously used virus backbone," Andersen and colleagues write in the study.

"This is not a virus somebody would have conceived of and cobbled together. It has too many distinct features, some of which are counterintuitive," [Virologist Robert] Garry says. "You wouldn't do this if you were trying to make a more deadly virus."

Other scientists agree. "We see absolutely no evidence that the virus has been engineered or purposely released," says Emma Hodcroft, a molecular epidemiologist at the University of Basel in Switzerland. She was not part of Andersen's group, but is a member of a team of scientists with Nextstrain.org that is tracking small genetic changes in the coronavirus to learn more about how it is spreading around the world.

Is this going to convince conspiracy theorists? Probably not! Nothing will. Unless maybe the scientists do a YouTube video about it from a basement in an undisclosed location and tell people it's information the experts don't want them to know, or distribute the information via email forwards through their brother-in-law's best friend's accountant. In fact, that is exactly what they should do if they want to get people to believe it. It would work. We can even start rumors that certain things celebrities say and do are code words for things like "stay the fuck home" and "wash your hands."

Like for instance, clearly this isn't just a video of The Real Housewives of New York's Ramona Singer not knowing how to use a toilet brush. No! She's doing it that way to signal to the other celebrities that the scientists in China would not have been able to construct a virus to these exact specifications.

I'm telling you. I think I'm on to something here.

[Science News]

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Weekly Top Ten

Wonkette's Top 10 Has Been Training For Shelter-At-Home All Its Life

You come read your top 10 stories of the week right now!

Welcome, big jerkers, to Wonkette's traditional Saturday morning countdown of our top stories of the week, chosen, this week, by some Draculas. (You know I didn't do the choosing because if I did, it would be all my stories, always, and the same goes for the rest of the staff. The fucking ego on them (Evan, really, not the rest of them, you know how he is).

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coronavirus

Lord Bless And Keep New Orleans As A New Storm Comes

And of course, Laissez les bon temps rouler. Someday soon, hopefully.

There is something that happens to me every time I cross the state line from Mississippi into Louisiana on Interstate 55, or more accurately, a few minutes later, as I pass through the towns of Hammond and then Manchac, where I see Middendorf's, one of the best seafood joints anywhere, off the highway to the left. Right there begins The Bridge, which you only understand if you've crossed it. From there, you've got 42 miles to New Orleans, and it's about the last time you'll see dry land until you get there, as you roll through swampland along the edge of Lake Pontchartrain. It doesn't matter whether it's daytime, late at night, or, as is most often the case, dusk. It doesn't matter if I'm the only one in the car or, as is most often the case, I'm in a car full of joyful people.

Something in my body, in my soul, just exhales, like I've been holding my breath since the last time I was on that bridge. It's a physical and spiritual reaction. Though I've never actually lived in the city of New Orleans — I dream of one day being able to, at least part-time — there is something about that city and that region that just whispers, "You're OK now. You're here." (There are bits of evidence in our family tree that maybe there is a deeper connection with the city running through our genes, if you believe in that sort of thing.)

Cafe Du Monde, Decatur Street, French Quarter, New Orleans… | Flickr live.staticflickr.com

New Orleans, as you might have heard, is fast becoming a frightening new epicenter for coronavirus in the United States. New Orleans, a city that's been through disaster too many times before, and that still bears the scars of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

According to the Johns Hopkins map, there are 1,170 confirmed cases in Orleans Parish, but we're sure that number is already expired. In the New Orleans metro area, it's getting close to double that. New Orleans is experiencing the fastest growth in the world, and the highest number of deaths per capita, in a city where 24 percent of the residents are below the official poverty level and many are homeless.

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Conspiracy Theories

Rush Limbaugh So Mad At Deep State Coronavirus Liars Like Dr. Fauci, He Just Might Die!

In which we invent the word 'corona-lingus.' Click for proper definition and to see it used in a sentence!

Rush Limbaugh is telling your Republican parents that it's cool to go outside and play right now, because the so-called "experts" in the White House are actually just Deep State plants sent (probably by Hillary Clinton) to make Donald Trump look bad.

You know, Rush Limbaugh has advanced lung cancer and he's not dead yet -- clearly -- but if he keeps going like this, ignoring the actual science about coronavirus, he might end up killing himself at least seven minutes before God planned to, and he might take a bunch of his old-balls-ass listeners with him in the process.

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Nice Time

Look For The Helpers. Find Them At Wonkette.

Here are some of the people you helped today.

Well, Nasty Vile Snark Mob, as of nowish, you have flooded the Wonkette Reader Aid Slush Fund Gofundme with $38,158, and we have used that money to send (checks spreadsheet) $24,400 in cash to forty-four Wonkers and their families, plus that one non-wonker homeless mom I couldn't say no to like a big jerk, even though for all I know she is a Nigerian prince. But she might not be!

Have an email from one of your Wonkette Nation compatriots!

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popular

This Is A Bad Way To Learn That Urgent Cares Don't Have To See Uninsured Dying Teens

Our beautiful American health care system at work!

This week, a 17-year-old California boy died from COVID-19, making him the first teenager in the United States to die from the virus. According to a video from the mayor of Lancaster, California, R. Rex Parris, he might not have had to be.

You see, this kid didn't have health insurance. So when he went to an urgent care center, he was denied treatment and told to go to an emergency room. Unfortunately, on the way there, he went into cardiac arrest. While the hospital was able to revive him for six hours, it was just too late and he died. Had he been treated at the urgent care facility, he might be alive today.

Urgent care centers, unlike most emergency rooms, are not bound by the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) and thus, unlike most emergency rooms, they do not have to treat everyone who comes in regardless of whether or not they can pay. They can send you away even if you are very clearly dying. They have absolutely no obligation to you unless you can pay up. Which this kid couldn't.

COVID-19 Daily Update (3/25/2020) youtu.be


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News

President Thug Life Will Take Care Of Any ‘Wiseguys’ Who Expect Him To Do His Job

Trump just wants to sing coronavirus backup and take all the credit.

Donald Trump claimed Thursday that he had a “terrific" meeting with the governors whose states he's failing to help combat the coronavirus outbreak. This wasn't true. During his conference call with about a dozen governors, he lavished unearned praise on himself. He said the federal government's response to the pandemic was at a level "that people find pretty impressive." Whoever told the president this is either dumb or just trying to flatter him enough so he'll do something, anything to keep people from dying.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said, correctly, that states are “desperate for supplies." He begged Trump yet again to use his presidential powers to mandate the production of medical supplies, which he can do under the Defense Production Act. Trump personally thinks this goes too far, even though he's literally ordered NFL players to stand for the National Anthem. Maybe it's just no fun for Trump to use his presidential powers unless he's abusing them.

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coronavirus

Cruise Ships Ain't Getting No Stimulus Money Just Because They're Not Even American, Isn't That Sad?

You get nothing!

The coronavirus and resulting economic shutdowns have laid waste to such industries as restaurants, hotels, airlines, and, yes, cruise ships, those floating petri dishes where you go to fall in love and catch the measles. The Senate passed a hefty $2 trillion stimulus package this week, but cruise ships won't have access to $500 billion in aid for large employers. That's because they've previously spelled “relief" T-A-X-D-O-D-G-E.

From the Washington Post:

Language in the 883-page bill passed by the Senate says that to be eligible for aid from the $500 billion fund, companies must be certified as "created or organized in the United States or under the laws of the United States" as well as having "significant operations in" and a majority of employees based in the United States.

Major cruise companies like to base their primary headquarters overseas, so they can avoid pesky federal taxes and even more annoying US regulations, such as health and safety codes. They staff their ships with workers from the Philippines, Indonesia and India, which they don't do because they're big believers in the global village. No, they pay foreign workers around $2 an hour and work them plantation style. Business Insider reported that cruise-ship employees often work eight to 20 hours a day, seven days a week.

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Right Wing Extremism

Neo-Nazi Attempted Hospital Bomber Was In Communication With Neo-Nazi Attempted News Station Bomber

Reportedly, they had some chats about building IEDs.

On Tuesday, 36-year-old aspiring neo-Nazi terrorist Timothy Wilson decided that it would be a really, really good idea for him to go bomb a Kansas City medical facility currently housing COVID-19 cases. Having most of what he needed, he headed out to Belton, Missouri, to pick up what he thought was a car bomb, only to be greeted by FBI agents. Predictably, Wilson did not go gently, there was a shootout, and he suffered injuries he later died from. In a hospital.

It turned out that the FBI had been watching Wilson for over a year; he'd come up on their radar due to communications between him and Jarrett William Smith, another neo-Nazi who had been arrested back in September for his plans to bomb a major American news network and assassinate Beto O'Rourke. While the FBI was investigating Smith, they found discussions between him and Wilson on how to build an IED.

Smith was an active Army soldier — though he did not join the military until after he had been radicalized and expressed his desire to go to Ukraine to fight along side the Azov Battalion, a far-right military group known for committing war crimes and being Nazis.

Wilson's goal was, essentially, to "capitalize" on the coronavirus outbreak — causing even more devastation by bombing a medical facility where people with the virus were staying. The FBI suggests that there may be more neo-Nazis out there looking to do this, but doubt that any are planning anything as severe as what Wilson was planning.

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coronavirus

White House Econ Crank Peter Navarro Icing His Balls After Unsuccessful Ventilator Evasion On CNN

And then, the murders began.

Do you want to watch CNN's Brianna Keilar kick the White House's pet China loon in the dick this morning? Of course you do! It's the next best thing to wielding those steel tips yourself. And if there's ever anyone who deserved it, it's Peter Navarro, the economics crank Jared Kushner dug up by Googling "China + GRRRR + ARRRRGHH." Yes, really. (Well, mostly really.) The guy whose ideas are so mindbendingly stupid he had to invent a learned professor to endorse them, a professor whose name is an acronym of Peter Navarro. Yes, again, really. (Totally really.)

The subject was ventilators, of course, and how the Trump administration has been KILLIN' IT with its coronavirus response.

Keilar to Peter Navarro: You are wasting everyone's time www.youtube.com

"Peter, look, we know you are working with the private sector. It is heartening to see Hanes making thick fabric so apparel workers can make that into non-surgical masks. GM is partnering with Ventec. All of that is good news," Keilar began. "But why do you have prisons competing with the postal service and hospitals, and Kentucky competing with Illinois and Louisiana, FEMA, the VA, in order to get a lot of these supplies. The federal government is not stepping in to coordinate the purchase and allocation of this?"

As a threshold matter, no, they are not. Donald Trump has made it entirely clear he doesn't want to be the "shipping clerk" for the states, he's refused to actually use the Defense Production Act to conscript business, preferring to use it as "leverage" — whatever that means — and, oh, by the way, his administration spent weeks blocking states from using their own COVID-19 test kits.

Take it away, Ron Vara.

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coronavirus

Republicans Perplexed That Nancy Pelosi Might Want More $$ For Workers, States, Paid Leave, Pensions

How are 'paychecks' supposed to help the economy?

The Senate's $2.2 trillion-with-a-t coronavirus economic relief package is heading for a vote in the House of Representatives today, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted at her weekly press conference the bill would pass with a "strong bipartisan vote." But Pelosi isn't done yet — she's already calling for a fourth relief package, possibly because she can read a record-setting unemployment graph as well as anyone else. Like for instance the team that laid out the front page of today's New York Times, which is so instantly iconic we're certain it'll be reprinted in history books for years to come:

Image: New York Times on Twitter

Pelosi explained Thursday,

The bill that was passed in the Senate last night and that we will take up tomorrow is about mitigation. There's so many things we didn't get in any of these bills yet in the way that we need to.

Republicans are already griping that it's far too soon to be talking about further spending to offset the crisis, because of course they are; some are already clutching their pearls at the idea that some laid-off workers may be spoiled rotten by emergency unemployment spending. The party that made opposition to the New Deal an article of faith isn't about to embrace helping people merely because the economy appears to be headed off a cliff. (That, apparently, is Wonkette's job.) Not even when that cliff is visualized as dramatically as on the front page of today's Times.

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coronavirus

How Is Trump F*cking Up The Coronavirus Ventilator Situation Today?

All of this is so predictable.

We knew it was bullshit when Donald Trump, freelancing like he so often does, lied at one of his corona-pressers and said all kinds of companies were right now starting to manufacture much-needed ventilators for COVID-19 patients. We knew it was bullshit when, after being pressed by a reporter, Trump said, yes, well, General Motors is doing it! No, they were not.

We knew it was bullshit when he said it again a couple day later at another one of his Dow-killing "briefings." Turns out that, according to facts, and also common sense, you can't just retool an entire auto factory overnight to make an entirely different product. It takes months.

And we also knew that whatever plan the White House had for getting much-needed ventilators to over-run hospitals, the Trump administration would fuck it up, and that Jared Kushner would somehow be involved in fucking it up.

Right on cue, the New York Times reports on one way they're fucking it up. Turns out they were going to announce an Art Of The Deal on Wednesday with GM and a company called Ventec Life Systems, to make "up to 80,000 ventilators." But then they called off the announcement, because FEMA needed more time to find out if TOO 'SPENSIVE, because it was going to cost more than a billion American dollars! And they'd have to put hundreds of millions down too, you know, to actually retrofit a factory to manufacture them! No fair!

Now, maybe they will still make this Art Of The Deal happen, but they need to look at a bunch of other bids, which they definitely have.

No, it gets better, because guess who's directing FEMA?

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