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Class War

Trump Budget Dude: THANKS OBAMA

But he did not really mean 'thanks'!

Yesterday's great big dipshit presser was the actual press briefing in more than 40 days, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders got most of the attention for saying you'll have to ask Democrats whether Donald Trump thinks Dems hate Jews. (Answer from a Democrat, me: He definitely thinks so if it gets applause.) But the presser started off with a pitch by Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Russell Vought, proclaiming that Donald Trump had met all his campaign promises by submitting a budget that, if enacted by Congress, will make the federal budget disappear eventually by slashing everything but the military. So please, nobody mention the debt-'sploding Big Fat Tax Cuts for Rich Fuckwads, OK -- they would pay for themselves, but Barack Obama and Congress -- controlled up to two months ago by Republicans -- eated all the money.

Here's the whole gory mess. We like Vought's big grin at "Happy Budget Day," since it may someday be the illustrative photo for "Death's-Head Rictus."

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Class War

Puerto Rico Cutting Food Stamps Because Mitch McConnell's A Dick

Let them eat paper towels.

Remember that weird story about how Donald Trump became convinced, on the basis of nothing, that Puerto Rico was mis-spending hurricane relief funds on its debt, and didn't want a single dollar in aid going to Puerto Rico? Turns out he may have gotten his way, since emergency aid has been bottled up in Congress since January. $600 million in additional nutrition assistance funding passed the House, but so far, the Senate hasn't touched it. So now Puerto Rico is cutting back on food stamp payments by an average of 25 percent, to make the existing funding last just a little bit longer. And there's no telling when more funding will be made available. Donald Trump is more interested in WALL right now, so those people on that island in the big water will just have to tough it out. They shouldn't have let that one mayor lady say mean things about Trump, probably. Hey, what's on "Fox and Friends"?

The cutbacks began today, and they're having an immediate effect, as the Washington Post reports:

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Class War

Wonkette Book Club: Oh F*ck It's Reagan Time

A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis, Part 3

Happy Daylight Savings Day, Wonkers! Are you as completely discombobulated as Yr Dok Zoom is, coffee or no? Here's hoping you are not! Nevertheless, let us wrap up our discussion of Erik Loomis's excellent A History of America in Ten Strikes, our Wonkette Book Club selection for this month. It's a hella good overview of labor history in a country that loves to praise hard work, just as long as workers don't get too uppity. Last week we closed with the labor movement at the peak of its power following World War II, when a string of presidents enacted mostly pro-labor policies, or at least tended not to explicitly side with corporate America's desires to gut the power of unions.

Things, as you already know, changed.

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economics

February Jobs Numbers: Could Be A Slowdown. Could Be The Weather. Could be DEMONS.

Fine, make the rhetoric guy write about economics.

The February jobs numbers are out, and the only thing anyone can agree on is that it's kind of weird that following two months of solid job growth, only 20,000 new jobs were created in the economy, compared to a forecast of 180,000 new jobs by people who supposedly know things. So is this good news or bad news? What we keep seeing -- at CNN Bidniss, the New York Times, and Bigass Accountants R Us -- is that a single month's job numbers don't really mean a lot, since they could be a blip, who knows? Or maybe they could signal the END OF THE WORLD, because economix is funny like that.

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2020 presidential election

Sherrod Brown Nixes 2020 Run To Keep Kicking Ass In Senate

Keep doing what you're doing, Sherrod!

Sen. Sherrod Brown announced today that he's not going to run for president, but will instead back whoever the 2020 Democratic nominee is, and keep fighting the good fight in the US Senate. On a conference call with Ohio reporters, Brown explained that's where he enjoys himself the most:

As you've heard me say many times, when you love this country, you fight for the people who make it work. I fight best when I bring joy to the battle, [...] And I find that joy fighting for Ohio in the Senate. So that's where I can be most effective.

Fair enough! Brown sure had looked like he was gearing up for a presidential run, what with going on a high profile "Dignity of Work" listening tour of states that just happened to hold the first few presidential caucuses and primaries. As Cleveland.com notes, the crowded primary field and Brown's expensive 2018 reelection campaign may have put him at some disadvantage, although Brown insisted on the call those factors had nothing to do with his decision:

"It's not fear of any specific opponent. It wasn't process. It wasn't money," Brown said. "I wrestled with this since talking with my family about it at Christmas."

Brown also said it was a "nonfactor" that if he'd actually won the presidency, his Senate seat would be filled with an appointment by Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine, a Republican -- and honestly, we can kind of buy that, since that's a pretty high level of chicken-counting anyway.

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Nice Time

Those Wacky Dems Want To Throw MONEY At Child Poverty!

It's an end-of-day Nice Time! Hooray!

Attention, Democratic candidates running in 2020 -- not just for president, but for ANYTHING: Get on board with the American Family Act, introduced today in the Senate by Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sherrod Brown of Ohio. In the House, it's been introduced by Democratic Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Suzan DelBene of Washington. It's a ridiculously simple way to make middle-class and working families better off through fairly simple tweaks to the existing child tax credit, as Dylan Matthews explains at Vox.

Currently, the Child Tax Credit (CTC) helps out fairly well-off people, but does little for families with low income. The American Family Act would change that significantly, turning the CTC into a monthly child allowance available to every family with children (and phasing out for families at the high end of the income scale). The benefit would pay:

-- $3,000 per year, or $250 per month, per child ages 6 to 16
-- $3,600 per year, or $300 per month, per child ages 0 to 5

The benefits would be distributed monthly, in advance, so families could pace out their spending and smooth their incomes. Because the CTC, like the earned income tax credit, is currently paid out through tax refunds, it sometimes leads to a perverse situation in which families use it to pay down debt they never would've had to incur if they'd gotten the money earlier.

And what would this accomplish? It would boost the available income for families with kids, immediately, and particularly when kids tend to be especially expensive, in the first years of life, when, unfortunately, young parents tend to have their lowest earning power, too.

Researchers project this child allowance would have some amazing bang for the buck in terms of lifting kids out of poverty:

Poverty among children would fall from 14.8 percent to 9.5 percent, meaning 4 million kids would escape poverty. Deep poverty — the share of kids living on half the poverty line or less — would fall almost by half, from 4.6 percent to 2.4 percent.

Is there more, in terms of overall benefit for US America? You bet your sweet Great Society ass there is! How about improvements in health, reductions in crime, and overall benefits for education?

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2020 presidential election

Michael Bloomberg, Get The F*ck ... Okay Thanks!

Gonna use his billions to fight for green energy instead, so that's TWO good things!

Looks like Howard Schultz will remain the loneliest billionaire running for president, since former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided not to run for the Democratic nomination. Bloomberg announced his decision in an op-ed for Bloomberg News, which right there is one of those things that certainly calls attention to his being obscenely rich, huh? There's no Elizabeth Warren News Agency, is there? (Yes there is, it is Yr Wonkette.)

Bloomberg said he believed he could beat Donald Trump, but that he was also "clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field." He framed his decision not to run as a chance to get important stuff done before 2021:

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Environment

If We Blame Hillary For This Uranium/Bears Ears F*ckery, Maybe Fox Will Care!

Lol, but we do amuse us!

As part of their ongoing witch hunt against nice corporations who simply want to make America and their profits great again, House Democrats plan to investigate exactly how the Trump administration made the decision to vastly cut the size of a national monument in Utah. In particular, the House Natural Resources Committee wants to know how much of the decision was pushed by mining and other corporate interests. Roll Call brings us the radioactive dirt on a uranium company that met with Team Trump well before the administration announced it would "study" shrinking the boundaries of several national monuments established by three previous presidents.

Natural Resources chair Raúl Grijalva wants to know whether corporate greedheads gave Ryan Zinke and the Interior Department help in its decision to chop away some 85-90 percent of the Bears Ears National Monument, which Barack Obama established in 2016. Utah Republicans and representatives of extractive industries opposed Bears Ears and other monuments because there were all sorts of neat resources to dig up, and besides, there's no way to monetize scenic beauty and sacred/threatened Native American sites. As Roll Call reports, the rollback just might have had a little help from a uranium mining and processing company:

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Blacktacular

Republicans Say Stupid Sh*t Lies, Weekend Show Edition!

It's your Sunday Show Rundown!

Let's begin today's Sunday show roundup with National Security Adviser and least favorite Bolton (after Michael and Ramsey), John. Trump's NSA appeared on CNN's "State of The Union," proclaiming the "unquestionable success" of the second Trump/Kim summit, even though no deal was reached and Trump was humiliated. Jake Tapper asked Bolton about Trump's statements regarding Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was sent home in a coma from North Korea and died shortly after being returned to the US; Trump said at a press conference that Kim Jong Un denied knowing anything about Warmbier, and so case closed. Trump stated, "He tells me that he didn't know about it, and I will take him at his word. Those prisons are rough. They're rough places, and bad things happen. But I don't believe he knew about it."

TAPPER: He's going to take Kim Jong-un at his word that he didn't know about it. The Warmbier family put out a statement. They disagree. They say Kim Jong-un is responsible. Are they wrong?

BOLTON: Look, the president made it very clear he considers what happened to Otto Warmbier an act of brutality that's completely unacceptable to the American side. I have heard him before the summit itself, before the press conference, talk about how deeply he cared about Otto Warmbier and his family. The fact is, the best thing North Korea could do right now would be to give us a full accounting of what happened and who was responsible for it.

That's quite a change or non-commitment for Bolton. Especially when, shortly after Otto Warmbier's death, Bolton was basically egging on a full scale regime change in North Korea.

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News

'I'm Totally Off Script Right Now.' Wonkagenda For Mon., March 4, 2019

Trump's humps a flag, Bernie's back, and Fox News is calling from INSIDE the White House. Your morning news brief!

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

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Culture

Wonkette Book Club: America's Strikingly Bloody Labor History

A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis, Part 2

Railroad robber baron Jay Gould probably never said, "I can hire one-half the working class to kill the other half" (though he may have said something similar about farmers). The quote may be apocryphal, but it's endured in the popular imagination because it sums up much of American history. The wealthy have never wanted for support in their attempts to keep workers from getting too powerful, often through outright murder. And as Erik Loomis's A History of America in Ten Strikes keeps reminding us, American government at all levels has almost always been happy to side with the robber barons to fight uppity workers. Loomis might almost have called his work a history of America in twenty or thirty massacres -- at least until labor fights became slightly more civilized in the middle of the 20th century -- and even then, only barely.

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Healthcare

Pramila Jayapal Introduces REAL Medicare For All, And IT'S SPECTACULAR

Sexy AF.

While everybody was watching Michael Cohen alternate between answering questions and being called a filthy liar who lied (for Donald Trump) Wednesday, elsewhere on Capitol Hill Washington state Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal introduced the House's leading version of a Medicare for All Bill. It's pretty darned ambitious, and would switch the US healthcare system from a tangled mess of private and public health insurance plans to a single-payer system that genuinely covers everyone in the country. Jayapal's proposal (summary here) would actually cover even more healthcare needs than Bernie Sanders's Medicare for All proposal in the Senate. For that matter, it would provide even more wide-ranging coverage, with fewer direct costs to the consumer, than any of the existing single-payer systems in the world. Take that, Old Europe!

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Class War

Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez Pays Staffers Decent Wages. What Is This, VENEZUELA?

REAL Americans like low wages, just like Fox News viewers.

Good lord, that monster Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez seems determined to wreck America by utterly destroying our beloved institutions and traditions. Her latest violent assault on all things holy? She announced last week she'd pay even the entry-level members of her congressional staff enough that they won't have to take second jobs and burn out trying to make rent. What is this country coming to, we ask you?

Needless to say, Fox News was simply outraged by the very idea that a member of Congress would decide to make a somewhat unconventional choice about how to spend the fixed pile of money each member is allotted to pay staff, because what the hell is even wrong with that lady and WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK! Here, just look at the socialist horror of people being paid enough to live on, from Sunday's "Fox & Friends." If you can even bear to hear about the destruction of a once-great nation, that is.

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News

Ivanka Trump Has Something Stupid To Say About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez And Money

Ivanka is Horatio Alger in her own mind.

Ivanka Trump has a fake job for a fake president, but reporters still solicit her opinion on important matters as if she's had a single compelling thought in her pampered life. During a foot massage interview on Fox News, Trump was asked to comment on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's Green New Deal, specifically its federal jobs guarantee. Not sure why anyone would think Trust Fund Barbie is the best answer to America's Socialist Sweetheart, but here's what Trump had to say. It's absurd enough that we need to take it line by line.

CLUELESS HEIRESS: "I don't think most Americans, in their heart, want to be given something."

Yes, searching for a job is the whole point of life. Actually having one is like the last few seconds of The Graduate when you realize you've made a terrible mistake and have to live with it. The economy needs people sending in resumes, going on pointless third interviews, and telling the hiring manager their greatest weakness is "caring too much." Nothing good can come from just skipping to the working for compensation part.

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Nice Time

Let's All Relax With Some NICE THINGS

Why cats AREN'T psychopaths, some podcasts, and other coolness

Time for an abbreviated Nice Things, your weekly escape from the daily stream of terrible terribleness! We'll be a bit shorter than usual this week because Yr Dok Zoom is a terrible planner and took far too long on the Book Club this week. Maybe next week we'll figure this all out. Or not!

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History Facts

Wonkette Book Club: Union Maids, Slavery, And Wild-Eyed Radicals

A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis

Break out your Woody Guthrie music, kids (or your Billy Bragg, maybe), because it's time to talk about the history of labor in America and the weird relationship we have with work. Americans love to extol the idea of hard work, but many of us hate our jobs, and the Right has done an astonishingly good job of skewing the national discourse in favor of employers, those merciful job creators who must be appeased lest they pick up and move to China -- so be quiet and accept your crumbs. Historian Erik Loomis looks at how the hell we got here in his 2018 book A History of America in Ten Strikes (oh look, a linky to get it with a nice kickback for Yr Wonkette!). Loomis also offers some strategies for revitalizing labor in this country. It's a telling of American history from an angle we don't see often enough, and which is usually overlooked in the sanitized version of history found in too many schools, unless you had a flaming radical like my high school history teacher, Jack Wallace, Crom bless him.

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