There can be only one.
There is much handwringing across the Internet as our old NEMESIS (not our nemesis) ThinkProgress announces fuck it, they're done. Most of the handwringing on Twitter has been to remind people that the tweeter in question used to work there, so it wasn't ONLY peopled with neoliberal corporatist sheeple from the Center for American Progress. (They also slam Neera Tanden a lot, but most of the journalistic "interference" they cite from ThinkProgress's umbrella organization, CAP, was either A, Israel yeah for sure, or B, the time CAP bigfooted ThinkProgress because they offended Bernie Sanders by pointing out he stopped saying "millionaires" when he became one.) Some tiny bit of the handwringing has been to remind folks that there is no longer any "center-left" thinktank-funded journalism in all the land, while John McCain's son-in-law Ben Domenech got fat and bloated sucking off whoever funds The Federalist.
While Wonkette would be delighted to buy ThinkProgress, Wonkette does not have three million dollars a year to cover TP's operating shortfall. But thank you in advance for suggesting it in the comments.
ThinkProgress is not the only website Wonkette has defeated. Wonkette has defeated Gawker. (Well, maybe some billionaire vampires did that.) (And okay, we guess it was "bought" by Bustle.) (Like Mic.) (They're both pretty well and truly dead.) (Good luck to recent Bustle purchase The Outline, we're rooting for you.) Wonkette has defeated your twee writerly favorites -- and ours! -- The Toast and The Awl. We have beheaded the excellent Videogum and the decidedly not excellent Weekly Standard and the not-not-excellent PS Mag and the not-not-not-excellent -- actually I've no idea -- Snowden archives, which the Intercept stopped hosting because its billionaire got bored or Glenn Greenwald needed MOAR DOGS. We've also noted with resignation, just weeks ago now, the passing of the often-difficult Shakesville, understanding implicitly her final post about the dagger to your soul and body of sitting on this ungodly Internet 12 hours a day, watching President Fuckhead fuck heads.
Lots of Parliament, very little Funkadelic.
Like most Americans, Yr Wonkette has only the vaguest idea of how Britain's Parliament works. We believe it has something to do with owls. Currently, Parliament is in, on, or adjacent to a bit of a sticky wicket because of The Brexit, because Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made it his goal in life to force the UK to leave the European Union without any formal deal, by October 31. Unfortunately for Johnson (and WTF-unately for Britain as a whole), his Conservative Party (also known as the "Tories" or "Those Fookin' Gobshites") lost its majority in Parliament yesterday when Conservative MP Phillip Lee bailed on the party and literally walked to the other side of the House of Commons to sit with the Liberal Democrats. So much for the Tories' one-seat majority! (Don't worry, there's no relation between Lee's changing seats and the speech being made in the video below, as far as we can tell.)
As they say in Old Blighty, it's a quite the load of kippers, or bollocks, or something!
By asking them to please not open carry. SAME THING.
Following the horrific massacre at a Walmart in El Paso last month, plus a spate of threats from gunhumpers who wanted to shoot up Walmarts themselves, the Walmart company announced today it would stop selling ammunition in calibers used for handguns and for rifles like the AR-15 and AK-47 (and their knockoffs). What's more, the retailer said it would ask shoppers to no longer openly carry firearms in its stores, even in states with open carry laws.
We haven't looked extensively at Twitter, but we'll assume it's full of messages from wits explaining Walmart won't have to tell them to leave their guns home, because they're now BOYCOTTING this intolerable assault on liberty. Like this one dude with seven followers:
That's pretty good: Walmart only understands the "power of an uneducated mob rule populous," so I'm going to make you listen with a mass boycott. My uneducated mob will REALLY make the point.
Go watch 'Norma Rae' ... Or 'Matewan' ... Or maybe 'Office Space.'
Yr Dok Zoom wrote this Labor Day column in 2017. Here it is again, revised and updated to reflect The Current Moment!
Since Ken Layne wrote America's Ultimate Snarl about Labor Day in America in 2013, it seems a bit redundant to try saying anything more. Honestly, go read it. It's every bit as bleak as the title, "Labor Day Is a Scam To Keep You Poor and Miserable Forever," suggests. And funny as hell.
The thing about Labor Day is that while it was, at least for a few decades during the "Progressive Era," something that workers and unions actually marked with parades and demonstrations and stuff, it's been a long time since Labor Day has really been marked by anything but furniture sales and the mandatory newspaper piece on The American Worker and/or the Decline Of Unions.
The basic irrelevance of Labor Day, as a thing people give any thought to, means the federal holiday succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of those who made it official. The very first Labor Days in the 1880s were organized by labor unions, who went on strike to call for recognition of the union movement; the first organizers picked September 1 as a convenient date because it fell halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. The establishment of the federal holiday was a fairly cynical move meant as a sop to angry trade unionists, in hopes that they'd be happy with a gesture from the government saying "OK, you exist. Good for you!"
You are welcome, America.
As you may recall, last week, Tomi Lahren debuted her new line of "athleisure wear," which she assured us were way more American and patriotic than all of the other commie athleisure brands out there. As you may also recall, just a few hours after Wonkette published my little article on Tomi's latest venture, I discovered that this very patriotic line of $80 yoga pants for women who don't hate America was, in fact, made in China.
How is this not high crimes and misdemeanors?
In a follow-up to its earlier reporting on Donald Trump's obsession with making WALL as cruel as possible, the Washington Post published an astonishing story Wednesday on Trump's drive to build WALL before the 2020 election, because he promised WALL, his slob picnic crowds love chanting WALL, and he must have WALL, even if a few laws have to get broken in the process. Greater good and all that.
The story notes Trump has pressured the Army Corps of Engineers to rush contracts for construction, bypassing the normal bidding process, and has told aides to ignore dumb environmental regulations and eminent domain rules too so that private land can be grabbed up and WALLed, for "national security." Trump's goal is a total of 500 miles of WALL by election day 2020, which is going to take some doing. The Army Corps has only built 60 miles of fencing so far -- yes, despite Trump's lies to the contrary --and that's all replacing old sections of fencing in "areas that previously had border infrastructure."
In a completely Trumpian move, officials who attended Trump's frequent meetings on the need to WALL faster said he had promised pardons if anyone had to break some dumb laws in order to build WALL:
When aides have suggested that some orders are illegal or unworkable, Trump has suggested he would pardon the officials if they would just go ahead, aides said. He has waved off worries about contracting procedures and the use of eminent domain, saying "take the land" [...]
"Don't worry, I'll pardon you," he has told officials in meetings about the wall.
"He said people expected him to build a wall, and it had to be done by the election," one former official said.
Asked for comment, a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Trump is joking when he makes such statements about pardons.
Trump insisted on Twitter Wednesday that the Post had completely "made up" that part, because that's exactly how journalism works. Which sort of makes us wonder why a White House official would say Trump was only joking about that thing he never said at all. (And what's the "joke"? Is he ... not going to pardon people who commit crimes for him? LOL, joke's on them!)
Donald's point of view was this: Take whatever you can grab.
Donald Trump closed out the Group of Seven meeting in Biarritz, France, with a thought about the next summit: How about we hold it at my place next year? Not just the USA, since it's the USA's turn, but literally his place, the Trump National Doral golf resort, because it's literally the best possible location for an international summit, as long as you don't mind the host making money off all the delegations. Here's the "president" of the United States doing what presidents have always done: giving an infomercial about what a terrific resort he's willing to make available for everyone. For the full price, no Groupons please. And he won't even make a profit, because shut up.
We like the part where he explains he's actually losing BILLIONS of dollars by being "president," because he just loves America so much. We dunno, could be true -- the Trump brand certainly has repelled plenty of people.
In which we speak ill of the dead. He earned it.
David Koch, the billionaire who along with his brother Charles funneled vast wealth into building the infrastructure of the modern right wing, is dead at the age of 79. He had retired from (or was forced out of) his family's politics-and-money business last year. We're supposed to be impressed that he donated a great big $1.3 billion of his massive $42.2 billion fortune to philanthropic causes, but let's not fool ourselves: the man was an American oligarch who helped remake America's politics and economy to serve his own ends, and our only regret at his passing is that as far as we know, Rod Serling will not be constructing a personal hell for him where he will personally experience the less charming effects of unrestrained capitalism, like watching his child die because he can't afford insurance, or perhaps being a Banglasdeshi whose entire family is wiped out by coastal flooding due to global warming.
Instead, his defunct meat will be buried in a grave somewhere that decent people won't even be allowed to piss on, and where's the justice in THAT?
Thanks a lot, ICE!
Just in case you thought there's something awfully hinky about the Trump administration's war on immigrants, here's one more suggestive anecdote: In New York, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents scooped up an undocumented Chinese worker while he was in the process of testifying in a deposition against his former employer, who he says owes him $200,000 in back wages. Isn't that, as Dana Carvey in drag used to say, convenient?
Add this one to the distinct lack of any charges -- at least not yet -- against the seven chicken processing plants in Mississippi that ICE raided earlier this month, resulting in arrests of nearly 700 undocumented workers. Why, it's almost enough to make a cynic think the goal is to help rotten employers get away with sleazy business practices, it is. Somebody on Fox ought to complain about what a poor moral example Donald Trump is setting for the nation's impressionable capitalists.
Pity the main response will be 'Hurr hurr, Pocahontas!'
Elizabeth Warren is doing her best to put together a comprehensive package of interlocking policies that could make the American economy and government fairer, more equitable, more kind, and just all around better. It's pretty damned impressive -- and on the whole, probably the most progressive set of policy reforms since the New Deal. For instance, take a look at her proposal for remaking policy concerning Native Americans and other indigenous Americans. It's frankly the most serious, comprehensive proposal we've ever seen for addressing the problems facing Tribal nations -- which is saying something in itself, since most candidates do well to even mention them as part of vague statements about minority groups in general. For most of American history, presidential involvement with Native people could be typified by that old photo of Calvin Coolidge stiffly wearing a suit and Lakota headdress.
The pity is, most coverage of Warren's detailed proposal will probably look like Politico's: the very briefest mention of its content with some solemn chin-stroking about whether it will be enough to overcome Warren's perceived weakness with Native Americans in the wake of her dumb DNA test, plus speculation on just how much mileage Donald Trump will get from the One Joke That Is Funnier Than Anything. The three Republicans who even read the proposal will complain Warren is merely promising Free Stuff to buy votes, which is only allowed when you're talking about oil and coal companies.
Trump's New Black Friend, A$AP Rocky, won't be doing any jail time on that assault charge he racked up in Sweden, and, maybe too, he won't end up being Trump's New Black Friend after all. At least Trump will finally be able to say he helped a black man out for free, and not have it be a complete fucking lie. And to be sure, it actually looks like Trump may be partially the reason Sweden gave A$AP Rocky a pass, and said "you don't come need to back, just pay $1,300."
Trump has spent weeks playing hostage negotiator, and believe me, he sure got tough with mean old Sweden. He HAD to. Everyone knows Sweden is such a brutal dictatorial regime that they'll put bananas, peanuts, chicken, cream, bacon, and chili sauce in a casserole, and follow you around trying to get you to "Just try one bite, you'll LOVE IT!" He had no choice.
The president ramped up the pressure on Sweden, a longtime ally, beginning with a cordial phone call to the prime minister, then critical messages on Twitter, and, finally, by dispatching a special envoy for hostage affairs, Robert O'Brien, to watch over the trial.
Yes, that says he sent in a goddamn hostage negotiator for a low level assault case. Um? Okay. I think it may be time for me to start rapping, just in case I ever fuck up so bad I need Trump's help. No, on second thought, just let me die, I don't want Trump to get any credit.
Endangered species thrown under the Trump Train.
The Trump administration announced new federal rules yesterday that would gut the Endangered Species Act and allow more development, logging, drilling, and mining in areas where vulnerable wildlife may be affected. Whatever Trump's fate may be in the 2020 elections, he has at least brought to fruition one of Republicans' wettest decade-long dreams. The shuddering orgasms from lobbyists' offices could be heard across the nation, and will soon be followed by the dying gasps and gurgles of millions of birds, mammals, and fish, not to mention plant species, though they tend to at least expire silently. Stupid natural world should have hired better PR firms if it wanted to be taken seriously. Show us a big fat check from Mother Earth to the Trump Inaugural Committee and maybe we'll talk.
The new rules, first proposed last July by now-quitfired Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, will go into effect next month, assuming they aren't sued into oblivion. Thanks for loading up the courts with pro-Trump judges, Mr. McConnell! Guess eliminating a bunch of turtle species will be a fitting revenge for all the mean jokes!
Trade wars are dumb. And really, really dumb.
Bad Santa strikes again! After sending global stock markets reeling with his August 1 Twitter declaration that the remaining $300 billion of un-tariffed Chinese imports would face a 10 percent levy starting in September, our demented leader has just announced that some of those tariffs will be delayed. So don't say he never gave you anything!
The US Trade Representative's website explains, "Certain products are being removed from the tariff list based on health, safety, national security and other factors and will not face additional tariffs of 10 percent." Which of these public welfare exceptions cover the "cell phones, laptop computers, video game consoles, certain toys, computer monitors, and certain items of footwear and clothing" that will escape tariffs until December 15? Not clear! Perhaps it dawned on the Stable Genius that adding 10 percent to the cost of every gift under the tree might not endear him to the Real Murikans in the White Jesus Heartland.
Aw, we're just funnin' ya! Everyone knows it's the Chinese who pay those tariffs, while Americans get richer and richer.
Perhaps Quillette should stick to phrenology.
On Thursday, noted right-wing phrenology site Quillette published an op-ed (archived link) from a fella calling himself Archie Carter. Carter was a self-described Marxist-Leninist union construction worker, a devotee of Saul Alinsky, and a Mets fan — and boy, was he ever unsatisfied with his experience going to meetings of the Democratic Socialists of America. "The DSA Is Doomed," the tantalizing headline read.
It was the reddest of red meat for Quillette. A real working class Marxist-Leninist-Alinskyist union guy talking about how he tried to go to some meetings of the Brooklyn chapter of the DSA because he was sick of the two-party system and was looking for an "alternative." He attended their meetings, and all their sit-ins and protests, only to discover just how out of touch all those latte-sipping liberals at the DSA really were with the actual working class.
Give it a day.
So Puerto Rico has now had three governors (the equivalent of the president in any other country) in a week. Take that, mainland United States Congress!!!
After the Puerto Rico Supreme Court found that Pedro Pierluisi was unconstitutionally sworn-in as governor and told to him vacate La Fortaleza (The Fortress, the name of the governor's mansion in Old San Juan), Wanda Vazquez Garced became the Governor of Puerto Rico. On his way out, Pierluisi released a taped statement that appeared to be filmed in front of a green screen:
Pedro Pierluisi taped this short video for the people of Puerto Rico. It was released after he left the Governor's mansion but before Wanda Vazquez was sworn in as Governor. pic.twitter.com/rPqJmTenhm
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) August 7, 2019
Or on the set of Lex Luthor's library in Richard Donner's Superman.
Even had Otis doing sign language!
It's Warren rural pluralism!
Elizabeth Warren is at it again with another policy proposal, this one aimed at revitalizing rural America, which she says has been squeezed by increasingly consolidated agribusinesses, and largely ignored by Washington. It's a good old progressive agenda for the heartland that should shut up anyone who thinks reaching out to rural voters means you have to sound like Donald Trump without the overt racism. Warren, who grew up in Oklahoma, knows better, as does Yr Editrix's mom.
The plan also makes an overt call for Democrats not to write off red-state progressives. Yes, there are more Dems in the urbs and suburbs, but you can't ignore such a big chunk of the country. (Hello, 50-state strategy!)
A strong America requires a strong rural America. Rural communities are home to 60 million people, hundreds of tribal nations, and a growing number of new immigrants who account for 37% of rural population growth. These communities feed our nation. And they are leading the country in sustainable energy, generating 99% of America's wind energy and pioneering efforts to harness solar energy.
As with many of her policy proposals, Warren emphasizes America is paying a huge opportunity cost by centering the economy on the already rich and the financial sector. Invest in rural areas, and millions of families will be able to create and develop wealth, benefiting the country as a whole. While we're at it, maybe it would be a good idea to notice that rural areas are on the front line of climate change -- if the nation's food supply is imperiled by changing growing conditions and invasive species, we're in a spot of trouble, no? (Wouldn't you know it, feral hogs are among the malign critters whose range and numbers are increasing with warmer climate. Fuckers are everywhere, though not in the Warren policy paper.)
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