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Matt Gaetz's Moron Rebellion Leaves Mark On Impeachment Inquiry. A Skidmark.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper was about to start testifying behind closed doors -- in a SCIF -- for the committees leading the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, the first sitting Trump administration official from Defense to do so. (How's that NO CURRENT OFFICIALS ARE ALLOWED TO TESTIFY, BY DECREE OF TRUMP! letter workin' out for you, Pat Cipollone?)

But instead a bunch of Congress's frumpiest-ass-dumbass Republicans from the Freedom Caucus, led by Matt Gaetz, bashed their way into the room to yell stuff and things about UNFAIR! and WITCH HUNT! and WHIIIIIIIINE! Their grievance is that Adam Schiff is not being very "transparency" by having these meetings behind closed doors where Republicans can't even manufacture shitshows, and where Republicans who don't sit on the committees leading the impeachment inquiry aren't even allowed to attend. THE HORRORS! House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff answered all these yapping dildoes' complaints in a letter last week, but we guess they didn't read it.

Trump has been mewling about how Republicans aren't doing enough to save his orange scaly ass from impeachment. Clearly this is one of the House Freedom Caucus's ways of giving Trump nut-rubs and reassuring him that they have his back. Indeed, Trump met with a bunch of these idiots at the White House yesterday and was totally in to Republicans doing this today! Thought it would help. Thinks if the transcripts of the depositions come out, it will "exonerate" him. YOU BETCHA!

We'd call today's festivities a Brooks Brothers riot on Capitol Hill, except for again, these are frumpy people. Matt Gaetz always wears that fucked up ugly suit, and the rest of the Freedom Caucus isn't much fancier. Hell, Jim Jordan can barely be bothered to put on clean underwear before he goes a-Congressin', much less put on an expensive suit. Oh yeah, also the Brooks Brothers riot that stopped the Florida recount in 2000 was successful. This is merely gonna leave skidmarks all over the halls of Congress.

So let's call it the Burlington Coat Factory/Ross Dress For Less Riot of 2019.

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We Need To Talk More About The 'Deliverable' Trump Wanted From Ukraine

We want to spend a little bit more time with Ambassador Bill Taylor's explosive opening statement to Congress, because there's a thing we've noticed and others have noticed that may not have gotten enough attention. It's something about the "deliverable" referred to both in Taylor's testimony and in those State Department text messages, which goes a long way to explaining just how much Donald Trump's extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was NOT about fighting "corruption," but was squarely about helping Donald Trump politically, especially in his re-election campaign.

As we read in the State Department texts, on August 9, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and special envoy Kurt Volker texted about getting Trump to agree to a White House visit for Zelenskiy. Hearing that it's maybe about to happen, Volker excitedly says "Excellent!!" and asks Sondland, "How did you sway him?" with a smiley face emoji. Sondland responds, "Not sure I did," and says he thinks "potus really wants the deliverable." The "deliverable" was a statement of some sort from Zelenskiy saying he will do favors for Trump, specifically that he will investigate the Bidens and the conspiracy theories about the 2016 election and Ukraine that fester inside the president's meaty butt cavern. (WHERE'S THE DNC SERVER?? IS IT BURIED IN THE BACKYARD IN UKRAINE????)

What followed in the coming weeks was much negotiation involving the Ukrainian government and Rudy Giuliani and the other idiots on what Zelenskiy would say, whether the White House visit would be put on the calendar before the statement, and so on, with particular focus on making sure Zelenskiy says he will investigate everything, including "Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections." (Burisma, again, is the company that put Hunter Biden on its board.)

On September 8, Bill Taylor texted Kurt Volker to say his "nightmare" scenario is that Zelenskiy makes the statement and STILL doesn't get the military aid for Ukraine, which would basically be Trump selling Ukraine out to Russia, leaving them unprotected, and still getting his political assistance. We now know from Taylor's testimony that at this point, he's figured out that Trump is holding up not just a White House visit in exchange for the bullshit investigation statement, but also the military aid.

But in that text, Taylor refers to "statement" as "interview," something we found curious at the time, but not curious enough to ask a priest or a rabbi about it:

Turns out we should have been a little more curious!

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Sen. Josh Hawley (Stanford '02, Yale Law '06) Sick And Tired Of Snooty Elitists Hatin' On Reg'lar Heartland Folks

Senator Josh Hawley, the simple country lawyer who clerked for simple country Chief Justice John Roberts after graduating from simple country Yale Law School, has made quite a brand for himself as an avatar of wholesome midwestern values, an enemy of elitists, and as a "conservative nationalist" who wants to protect ordinary Americans from the globalist predations of the "cosmopolitan elites" -- not that he means Jews, not at all. So it shouldn't be any surprise that Hawley took GREAT OFFENSE at Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent when Sargent insulted the sacred honor of the Heartland. It's exactly the sort of underhanded move you'd expect from a "smug, rich liberal elitist" who is typical of America's oppressors, "the new left," which has nothing but "utter, open contempt for the people of the heartland and all we love."

You know, the rootless cosmopolitans again. The baddies. The enemies of everything real Americans care about.

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Bill Taylor's Testimony Is HOLY SH*T WOW And Trump Is F*CKED

We had a feeling when acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor sat down with Congress today that shit was gonna be lit as a motherfucker, and as usual, our feeling was right.

We got a clue when we saw this tweet:

Desiderio followed up to say that another source he talked to said all the gasping and sighing was in response to Taylor describing "how pervasive the efforts were to tie an investigation of Burisma and 2016 election 'interference' to a White House meeting and aid being released."

We also saw a thing about how when GOP Rep. Jim Jordan came out of the room for lunch, he didn't have a word to say. If Jim Jordan is STFU, you know it's bad.

Spoiler, it is bad, and Donald Trump is fucked.

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Ukraine

SDNY And Chicago Investigating Giuliani's Pals Together, Is That GOOD Or BAD For Rudy?

Gonna go with BAD.

God bless, there is too much news, and it was really distracting having to stop covering it to deal with MATT GAETZ'S LITTLE NATIONAL SECURITY BREACH STUNT. But we will persevere and survive and thrive, just like the skidmarks in Matt Gaetz's Big Lots discount boxer briefs (allegedly).

So, is it GOOD or BAD for Rudy Giuliani that prosecutors in SDNY who indicted Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, AKA Rudy's Chucklefucks, have been working with prosecutors in Chicago, who are trying the case of Dmitry Firtash, the Ukrainian oligarch under house arrest in Vienna who according to US prosecutors is a front man for the Russian mob (he denies this), who has curious ties to the Chucklefucks, and who has been supplying Giuliani (through his lawyers) with bullshit affidavits to wave around on TV written by corrupt former Ukrainian prosecutors, to "prove" that Joe Biden is the real killer?

GOOD? Or VERY BAD?

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2020 presidential election

Budget Hawks Hate Agreeing With Warren, Agree With Warren

Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, welcome, sort of, to the movement!

After last week's Democratic debate, which really did take place just eight days ago instead of in another era, the deficit-hawky Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget crunched some numbers on how to fund Medicare for All (M4A) and found that, heavens to Betsy, it would require some kind of tax increases on the middle class. This is hardly an astonishing conclusion, as we discussed last week. Of course, it's also just as clear that talking about taxes in isolation completely misses the point. You have to discuss the larger question of how much we already pay for our existing broken patchwork of healthcare systems.

The CRFB analysis, though brief, is worth a read, and it's especially valuable not simply because CRFB is a respectable think tank, but because CRFB is what you'd have to call a hostile witness, given the group's opposition to federal spending in general and its support for "reforming" Social Security and Medicare -- through big cuts -- in particular. It's a bit like that Koch-funded think tank that found M4A could actually cost a couple trillion dollars less than the current mess would, while covering everyone. When the deficit hawks tut tut that M4A would be expensive but really could reduce the cost of healthcare for many Americans, we're ready to look at their numbers. But remember: Just framing it in terms of taxes is bogus from the get-go.

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Impeachment

Matt Gaetz's Moron Rebellion Leaves Mark On Impeachment Inquiry. A Skidmark.

Let's call it the Burlington Coat Factory/Ross Dress For Less Riot of 2019.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper was about to start testifying behind closed doors -- in a SCIF -- for the committees leading the impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, the first sitting Trump administration official from Defense to do so. (How's that NO CURRENT OFFICIALS ARE ALLOWED TO TESTIFY, BY DECREE OF TRUMP! letter workin' out for you, Pat Cipollone?)

But instead a bunch of Congress's frumpiest-ass-dumbass Republicans from the Freedom Caucus, led by Matt Gaetz, bashed their way into the room to yell stuff and things about UNFAIR! and WITCH HUNT! and WHIIIIIIIINE! Their grievance is that Adam Schiff is not being very "transparency" by having these meetings behind closed doors where Republicans can't even manufacture shitshows, and where Republicans who don't sit on the committees leading the impeachment inquiry aren't even allowed to attend. THE HORRORS! House Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff answered all these yapping dildoes' complaints in a letter last week, but we guess they didn't read it.

Trump has been mewling about how Republicans aren't doing enough to save his orange scaly ass from impeachment. Clearly this is one of the House Freedom Caucus's ways of giving Trump nut-rubs and reassuring him that they have his back. Indeed, Trump met with a bunch of these idiots at the White House yesterday and was totally in to Republicans doing this today! Thought it would help. Thinks if the transcripts of the depositions come out, it will "exonerate" him. YOU BETCHA!

We'd call today's festivities a Brooks Brothers riot on Capitol Hill, except for again, these are frumpy people. Matt Gaetz always wears that fucked up ugly suit, and the rest of the Freedom Caucus isn't much fancier. Hell, Jim Jordan can barely be bothered to put on clean underwear before he goes a-Congressin', much less put on an expensive suit. Oh yeah, also the Brooks Brothers riot that stopped the Florida recount in 2000 was successful. This is merely gonna leave skidmarks all over the halls of Congress.

So let's call it the Burlington Coat Factory/Ross Dress For Less Riot of 2019.

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2020 democratic primary

Elizabeth Warren Scaring Billionaires So Much They're Going As Her For Halloween

Here, kids, have a toothbrush, a Chick tract, or a Klobuchar.

Corporate fat cats are soiling their solid gold pants over the possibility of President Elizabeth Warren. They've tried everything to stop her rise to frontrunner status. But no matter what they throw at her or how often they remind voters she's openly a woman, Warren keeps coming like the Terminator.

Politico has a hilarious article out today where "people of means" cry into their caviar about how Lizzie W. will take multiple whacks to income inequality. They're reportedly in a state of "existential panic" and feel helpless to do anything but fund mealy mouthed moderates and "pray."

"There's really not a damn thing you can do about Warren. There is nothing," said one prominent Wall Street hedge fund manager and Democratic bundler who is raising money for a Warren rival. "It's the same thing Republicans went through with Trump. You look at her and think what she is going to do is going to be horrible for the country. But if you say anything about it you just make her stronger."

Republicans in 2016 thought Trump was a bigoted moron and feared we lived in a country where bigoted morons couldn't win the presidency. They were only right about the first part. Mr. Prominent Hedge Fund Manager -- or "douchebag" for short -- is just worried Warren will heavily regulate an industry that periodically wrecks the economy and impoverishes the people who put his socks on for him.

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Trade War

Look Under Your Chairs, Fortune's Most Powerful Women! It's A Baby Kirstjen Nielsen Stole From Its Mommy.

Sorry not sorry.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appeared yesterday at Fortune magazine's "Most Powerful Women Summit," an event that had lost some participants, like Hillary Clinton and singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, because who wants to be onstage with an engineer of concentration camps? Fortunately, she was interviewed by "PBS NewsHour" correspondent Amna Nawaz, who didn't let Nielsen get away with any doubletalk -- or rather, tried not to let Nielsen get away with doubletalk, although every effort to fact check the former gulag chief was met by more bafflegab.

The Guardian notes the conference was "attended by people who paid a $13,500 fee to join Fortune's Most Powerful Women membership." Well worth it, since they all got their names listed in a handsome leatherbound book and received a certificate suitable for framing. That kind of thing looks very impressive to college admissions officers, we hear.

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Ukraine

Mo Money, Mo Problems For Rudy 'N' The Chucklef*cks

You get a subpoena, and you get a subpoena ...

Noted Chucklefucks about town Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman are in court this morning for arraignment on alllll the campaign finance charges. Big Mazel, fellas! May it be the first of many. Because a new article from the document demons at BuzzFeed says that a grand jury is all the way up the P&F Alleged Funny Money Laundrette's business, issuing subpoenas for "records detailing bank statements for several corporations controlled by Parnas, his wife, and Fruman, dating back at least three years." And what they're finding is a HOT MESS.

As these two wild and crazy guys partied their way through Ukraine, spending money like drunken sailors as they tried to scare up dirt on Joe Biden, they started to move large amounts of money in a "series of suspicious transactions in Parnas's accounts, which had hallmark signs of money laundering and fraud, according to two senior law enforcement officers."

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Ukraine

We Need To Talk More About The 'Deliverable' Trump Wanted From Ukraine

SAY YOU'RE INVESTIGATING JOE BIDEN! SAY IT ON CNN!

We want to spend a little bit more time with Ambassador Bill Taylor's explosive opening statement to Congress, because there's a thing we've noticed and others have noticed that may not have gotten enough attention. It's something about the "deliverable" referred to both in Taylor's testimony and in those State Department text messages, which goes a long way to explaining just how much Donald Trump's extortion of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was NOT about fighting "corruption," but was squarely about helping Donald Trump politically, especially in his re-election campaign.

As we read in the State Department texts, on August 9, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland and special envoy Kurt Volker texted about getting Trump to agree to a White House visit for Zelenskiy. Hearing that it's maybe about to happen, Volker excitedly says "Excellent!!" and asks Sondland, "How did you sway him?" with a smiley face emoji. Sondland responds, "Not sure I did," and says he thinks "potus really wants the deliverable." The "deliverable" was a statement of some sort from Zelenskiy saying he will do favors for Trump, specifically that he will investigate the Bidens and the conspiracy theories about the 2016 election and Ukraine that fester inside the president's meaty butt cavern. (WHERE'S THE DNC SERVER?? IS IT BURIED IN THE BACKYARD IN UKRAINE????)

What followed in the coming weeks was much negotiation involving the Ukrainian government and Rudy Giuliani and the other idiots on what Zelenskiy would say, whether the White House visit would be put on the calendar before the statement, and so on, with particular focus on making sure Zelenskiy says he will investigate everything, including "Burisma and the 2016 U.S. elections." (Burisma, again, is the company that put Hunter Biden on its board.)

On September 8, Bill Taylor texted Kurt Volker to say his "nightmare" scenario is that Zelenskiy makes the statement and STILL doesn't get the military aid for Ukraine, which would basically be Trump selling Ukraine out to Russia, leaving them unprotected, and still getting his political assistance. We now know from Taylor's testimony that at this point, he's figured out that Trump is holding up not just a White House visit in exchange for the bullshit investigation statement, but also the military aid.

But in that text, Taylor refers to "statement" as "interview," something we found curious at the time, but not curious enough to ask a priest or a rabbi about it:

Turns out we should have been a little more curious!

Keep reading... Show less
Post-Racial America

Montana High School Superintendent Won't Even Accidentally Apologize For 'Accidentally Offensive' Racist Video

Why is a simple 'I'm sorry' so hard these days?

Last month, freshmen at Valier High School in northern Montana released a video to "inspire enthusiasm" for their big homecoming game against rival school, Heart Butte High. One "enthusiasm-inspiring" scene showed a girl wearing a "feathered headband, braids and a red skirt" falling to her apparent death in the snow after being shot. When the video was posted on Facebook, there was immediate outrage. Valier High School Superintendent Julie Gaffney called all the fuss "unfair, unwarranted, and inaccurate." Oooh boy.

Montana has one of the largest populations of Native people in the US. Heart Butte High is on the Blackfeet Reservation and all but two students are Native. Valier High is outside the reservation and predominately white. Gaffney explained that each class makes theme videos for homecoming, and the freshmen's theme this year was the Revolutionary War. Valier represented the freedom-loving, slave-holding colonists, and Heart Butte was cast as the smug, tea-guzzling British. Valier students dressed in "traditional Native garb" to portray the Heart Butte Warriors. If the students weren't aware that red dresses have become a symbol for missing indigenous women in the area, at the very least their teachers should've known that British soldiers did not wear feathered headbands.

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News

Sen. Josh Hawley (Stanford '02, Yale Law '06) Sick And Tired Of Snooty Elitists Hatin' On Reg'lar Heartland Folks

We smell what he's steppin' in, that's for sure.

Senator Josh Hawley, the simple country lawyer who clerked for simple country Chief Justice John Roberts after graduating from simple country Yale Law School, has made quite a brand for himself as an avatar of wholesome midwestern values, an enemy of elitists, and as a "conservative nationalist" who wants to protect ordinary Americans from the globalist predations of the "cosmopolitan elites" -- not that he means Jews, not at all. So it shouldn't be any surprise that Hawley took GREAT OFFENSE at Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent when Sargent insulted the sacred honor of the Heartland. It's exactly the sort of underhanded move you'd expect from a "smug, rich liberal elitist" who is typical of America's oppressors, "the new left," which has nothing but "utter, open contempt for the people of the heartland and all we love."

You know, the rootless cosmopolitans again. The baddies. The enemies of everything real Americans care about.

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News

A 'Go To Phrase.' Wonkagenda For Wed., Oct. 23, 2019

Trump World in damage control, more problems for Giuliani's chucklef*cks, and Wall Street worries about Warren. Your morning news brief!

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

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Impeachment

Bill Taylor's Testimony Is HOLY SH*T WOW And Trump Is F*CKED

THIS IS NOT CLICKBAIT, FACEBOOK.

We had a feeling when acting ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor sat down with Congress today that shit was gonna be lit as a motherfucker, and as usual, our feeling was right.

We got a clue when we saw this tweet:

Desiderio followed up to say that another source he talked to said all the gasping and sighing was in response to Taylor describing "how pervasive the efforts were to tie an investigation of Burisma and 2016 election 'interference' to a White House meeting and aid being released."

We also saw a thing about how when GOP Rep. Jim Jordan came out of the room for lunch, he didn't have a word to say. If Jim Jordan is STFU, you know it's bad.

Spoiler, it is bad, and Donald Trump is fucked.

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News

Elizabeth Warren Made A Pit Stop In Chicago To Help Striking Teachers

She came to kick ass and chew bubblegum, but there's no gum allowed in schools.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren made a quick detour to Chicago this morning to show her support for a strike by the Chicago Teachers Union. Warren reminded the striking teachers that sometimes fighting for a better future means standing outside on a cold, rainy Chicago morning and shutting shit down.

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Elections

Who Watches The Ratf*ckers?

Not the Supreme Court!

Yesterday, the Supreme Court reversed an order for Michigan to redraw its completely ratfucked legislative maps before the 2020 election. Because if it involves voter enfranchisement, you can bet the Judicial Wing of the Republican Party Roberts Court will strike it down.

The reversal took the court just one sentence:

The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan for further consideration in light of Rucho v. CommonCause, 588 U.S. ___ (2019).

The decision in League of Women Voters v. Chatfield was bad, albeit expected. The case the order cites to, Rucho v. Common Cause, is the completely bullshit decision the Roberts Court dropped last summer, saying federal courts can't hear partisan gerrymandering cases BECAUSE THE GOP SAYS SO. As your FDF wrote at the time,

I got no jokes, people. This is a very bad day for democracy. We lost Rucho v. Common Cause, the gerrymandering case, in a 5-4 decision, with Chief Justice John Roberts giving Republican legislatures a thumbs up to ratfuck electoral maps forever.
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Featured

Violent Proud Boys Will Have To Be Proud In Prison For Next Four Years

Good.

Last October, former Proud Boy leader Gavin McInnes was invited to the Metropolitan Republican Club of New York for the purpose of speaking about and reenacting the assassination of Japanese Socialist Party leader Inejiro Asanuma at a political rally by a teenage member of a far-right group — an incident McInnes referred to as "inspiring."

And, it seems, some of his followers were indeed inspired. Because as soon as they left that speech, they chased down some folks they thought might be antifascists and proceeded to brutally assault them. And when their victims were finally on the ground, the Proud Boys kicked them while screaming, "Are you brave now, faggot?" at the top of their lungs. There is video of the attack here, but if you've already seen "A Clockwork Orange," you can get a good enough gist of what went on without needing to watch it. Following the attack, the Proud Boys recorded a now-deleted video in which they bragged about kicking a "foreigner" in the head.

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Ukraine

Meet Trump's Ukraine Puppetmasters: Putin, Viktor Orbán, And Dipsh*t Rudy Giuliani!

In other words, all the best people!

Today, Bill Taylor, the chargé d'affaires from the US Embassy in Ukraine, is testifying before Congress about his knowledge of the Ukrainium One scandal propagated by Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani to bolster Trump's re-election bid. You remember old Bill! He's the career guy in the quid pro quo-oooolyshit! State Department text messages who kept horning in like some kind of law-abiding public servant to say I THINK IT'S PRETTY FUCKING BATSHIT TO CONDITION MILITARY AID ON WHETHER UKRAINE MANUFACTURES ALLEGATIONS AGAINST JOE BIDEN AND FAKES EVIDENCE ON 2016 ELECTION INTERFERENCE IN ORDER TO HELP DONALD TRUMP AND RUSSIA IN THE 2020 ELECTION. (He wasn't all caps-y like that, but that's the treason paraphrase what he said. He called it a "nightmare.")

Either we'll get a bunch of leaks from that, or Congress will go radio silent, which means what he's saying is bad. We are guessing it will be the latter, but here's a thing while we wait.

But the Washington Post and the New York Times have new reporting on what State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent said to Congress last week. We had already learned that he was warning State officials as far back as March that Rudy Giuliani was leading a disinformation campaign against then-ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and the Bidens. Now we learn that he had some pretty serious information to share about who else was filling Trump's head with pubic lice and conspiracy theories about Ukraine. Surprise, it's those authoritarian dictators Trump loves so much!

Specifically, Hungary's Viktor Orbán and Russia's you-know-who:

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