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Post-Racial America

Shut Up, Old Man! Wonkagenda For Tues., Dec. 18, 2018

An angry, racist grandpa yells at the internet, the economy slides into the toilet, and Twitter hates black women. Your morning news brief!

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

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News

Court Rules Betsy DeVos Must Stop Being Asshole

At least as far as forgiving defrauded students their loan debts goes!

Thursday, the Trump administration decided out of the goodness of its court-ordered heart to follow Obama-era policy and cancel thousands of borrowers' federal student loans. This was a bummer for so-called Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who had fought against protections for student loan borrowers because she (allegedly) gets off on watching people go bankrupt like some Disney villain. A federal judge ruled in September that her efforts to stop the "borrower defense" regulations from taking effect were illegal. DeVos will have to take comfort now in one of her 17 yachts and her Tim Burton-designed summer house.

These borrowers aren't, as Fox News might lead you to believe, avoiding repayment of the loans they took out to study advanced pottery and women's "herstory." Most of these borrowers were affected by school closures or outright defrauded by a lousy for-profit "college." The Education Department today will start notifying around 15,000 borrowers that they qualify for loan discharges. The debt totals approximately $150 million, or about four of DeVos's best yachts.

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WARBLOGGING

'Crime Of Interpretation.' Wonkagenda For Dec. 14, 2018

Trump trips over his toad penis, and Senate slaps Dr. Bonesaw. Your morning news brief!

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

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Elections

'Merry Christmas, Ya Filthy Animal!' Wonkagenda For Thurs., Dec. 13, 2018

Michael Cohen's secrets, and Rudy Giuliani's (allegedly!) drunk texts! Your morning news brief!

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

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Russia

'I Am Not A Crook.' Wonkagenda For Tues., Dec. 11, 2018

Trump has 'no Plan B,' and wants to shut the government down over his goddamn wall. Your morning news brief!

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

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Russia

President Grandpa. Wonkagenda For Mon., Dec. 10, 2018

Nobody wants John Kelly's job, and Jared has a bromance with MBS. Your morning news brief!

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

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Elections

In Michigan And Wisconsin, GOP Lame Ducks Armed And Dangerous

If you see a Republican state legislator, DO NOT TOUCH! Get away! Call an adult!

It's a fine day for the idea of bipartisanship, as all the somber editorials remember what a swell guy George H.W. Bush supposedly was, reaching out to both parties for bipartisan consensus now and then, at least when it came to confirming David Souter and going to war in Kuwait. (Let's not talk about the cramming of Clarence Thomas unto America's throat.) To mark the passing of Poppy Bush, that gentle statesman, the Republican legislatures in Michigan and Wisconsin, where the GOP held on to legislative majorities through the magic pixie dust of extreme gerrymandering, are doing their best to demonstrate that the era of 'peaceful transfer of power' truly has gone straight down the shitter. Both legislatures are using special lame-duck sessions to wrest as much power away from the Democrats who voters foolishly elected last month before they take office and start appointing members of MS-13 to your local school board.

Fine, so maybe it's more of a tribute to the Lee Atwater side of ol' Poppy.

So far, the fuckery in Michigan has just been getting started, since Republicans there were busy getting ready to screw with voter-passed initiatives they didn't like. With that important correction of the voters' silly mistakes taken care of, now the Rs can focus on more efforts to provide an undertow to the Blue Wave. With Democrats set to become governor, secretary of state, and attorney general, the Rs want to shift some of the powers of each office to the legislature, because after all, those Democrats might govern wrong:

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US of America News

V.A. Will Definitely Maybe Reimburse Vets For Missed Benefits. LOOK, A ILLEGAL ALIEN!

There just HAS to be a way to blame this on Obama.

As everyone knows, Donald Trump says he loves no one more than Our Great Military, unless it is Our Great Veterans. He is VERY GOOD at saying he loves Our Great Veterans, and insisting he's made everything much better for them. To demonstrate how much he loves the troops and the vets, Trump has managed not to visit any soldiers deployed in war zones, couldn't be bothered to go to Arlington on Veterans Day, and also skipped a visit to an American WW I cemetery in France because it was raining.

Oh, yeah, and his Veterans Affairs department has fucked over a whole bunch of veterans receiving educational benefits under the GI Bill because the VA's antiquated computer systems were deeply confused by a change in benefits. in 2017, Trump signed the "Forever GI Bill," which expanded stipends for tuition and housing, which is a good thing! But the VA's IT foul-ups in calculating the new housing stipends left hundreds of thousands of vets waiting on payments for housing while attending college -- many for months. Some have lost their apartments, and others are at risk of being kicked out of school. Many have had to take on loans or credit card debt. (Thank goodness the Trump administration is a friend to the payday lending industry, huh?)

The VA has promised it would fix the computer problems and reimburse vets right quick, although so far the problem is still not fixed. On Wednesday, there were two new developments. First, the VA announced it would just give up trying to implement the new housing stipend rules this year, pushing them off until December 2019. Instead, housing assistance would be paid using the Defense Department's Basic Housing Allowance rates, even if that meant some students might be overpaid. Any veterans who had benefits owed them would be reimbursed, the VA said -- at the DoD housing rates, at least, which might or might not be the amount the vets would get under the Forever GI Bill. Depends on your Zip Code. Yes, really.

Later -- also on Wednesday! -- NBC News reported the VA had notified congressional staffers that the paperwork involved in making accurate retroactive payments to vets would create an unbelievable headache and create even greater delays, so reimbursements for gaps between the new law and the DoD rates simply wouldn't happen, tough cheese.

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Elections

'Individual 1.' Wonkagenda For Fri., Nov. 30, 2018

Mueller's is eyeballing the entire Trump family. Your morning news brief!

Morning Wonketariat! Strap in, here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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Russia

Hard Rain's Gonna Fall. Wonkagenda For Thurs., Nov. 29, 2018

Robert Mueller's hunting rat fuckers, Republicans run from the Saudis, and Julian Assange lost his cat. Your morning news brief!

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

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News

'Very High Levels of Intelligence.' Wonkagenda For Wed., Nov. 28, 2018

Trump brains goodly, baby jails are getting worse, and MUELLER IS COMING. Your morning news brief!

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

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Russia

Let The Eagle Soar! Wonkagenda For Fri., Nov. 16, 2018

Robert Mueller is about to LOCK THEM UP, Julian Assange coming out from the cupboard under the stairs, and Ocasio-Cortez hits the ground running. Your morning news brief!

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

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Elections

Senator Sinema. Wonkagenda For Tues., Nov. 13, 2018

Sinema wins Arizona election, Trump's just going to "You're Fired" everyone, and the Facebook tries to fix its shitshow. Your morning news brief.

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

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Elections

20 Questions With Jess Phoenix, Actual Damn Scientist

Back off, man. I'm a VOLCANO scientist.

I had the privilege of interviewing Jess Phoenix, the politically active volcano scientist who I mentioned to you in this AMAZING piece of journalism. Read below and get her thoughts on science, politics and candy corn.

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Culture Wars

Congressman's Office Threatens Professor For The Violence Inherent In The ... Fart Joke

These people are fucking insane.

A couple weeks ago, some very bad people did a very bad vandalism to a campaign sign for US Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska: They painted on Fortenberry's face big googly eyes, and changed his name to "Fartenberry." You SHOULD NOT laugh at it, because it is far worse than a juvenile joke: it is vandalism, and political violence, said Fartenberry in a tweet:

Political violence, including the vandalism we see right here in Lincoln, is a threat to good citizenry and free expression in our republic. It is not funny. It is never acceptable.

Probably worth noting that a photo of the violently vandalized sign was posted to Facebook on October 21 by the group "seeing Red Nebraska." The next day, of course, a bomb was left in George Soros's mailbox, and on Tues., Oct. 23, bombs addressed to prominent Democrats were found all over the place. So yes, Fartenberry was glomming on to national concerns over a bomb plot directed at Democrats to whine Poor me! because someone made fun of his name, the poor dear.

Most of us -- like me, Farty Smelley -- are able to let go of childhood insults by the time we grow up, but even being elected to Congress hasn't erased the sting for poor Jizz Fartenberry, STOP LAUGHING IT IS NOT FUNNY.

Of course, if that's all there was to Fartenberry's petulance, it would have been a no-day story, people would have mocked him on Twitter for being too touchy, and everyone would have moved on to laughing at Jacob Wohl and his conspiracy pal who held a presser with his fly open, as we actually did. But of course there was more idiocy to be milked from this, because apparently everyone who works for Jeff Fartenberry is an asshole, too.

You see, the Sunday the photo hit Facebook, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln political science professor, Ari Kohen, saw it, snort-laughed, and hit "like" on his phone, because *snerk, "fartenberry"!* Unfortunately, it turns out a Fartenberry campaign staffer in Lincoln saw that Kohen had "liked" the photo, so that staffer screengrabbed the offensive "like" and sent it to Fartenberry's DC office. Fartenberry's chief of staff, Dr. William "Reyn" Archer III, knew what had to be done, so he called the naughty professor and left a message demanding to speak to him.

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Post-Racial America

George Soros Is A Goddamn HERO

And it's time we started saying so!

Huddle up, kids! I'm about to tell you Uncle George Soros's One Weird Trick for making money. READY?

Figure out the difference between reality and the BS people believe because they want it to be true, and bet the spread. You can call it arbitrage, or use his own "Theory of Reflexivity" terminology, but that's basically it. George Soros didn't invent it, and he sure as hell didn't make the laws that allow it, but he did use them and his own prodigious intellect to make billions betting against the British pound in 1992. For which he was labeled "The Man Who Broke the Bank of England." Welcome to being a Jew in the modern world -- play the game by rules you didn't set up, then get called a cheater when you win.

Yes, this is less worse than African Americans having to work twice as hard to get half as far. But we are not in competition for world's most oppressed minority. It's not a zero-sum game, and we all need to lift each other up. Indeed, George Soros spent tens of billions of dollars lifting up poor people across the globe and promoting democracy. And that's why Republicans hate him. Because in their screwed-up worldview, a man who put up $35 million to secure matching federal funds to get every poor kid in New York City $200 for school supplies is an existential threat to the American way of life. Very Christian!

And he did flee the Nazis, by the way. Trump's bigoted base happily swallows lies peddled by Fox and the wingnut demimonde that Soros was a collaborator who led Jewish deportees to their deaths, or even that he was an SS officer. In fact, he was a 14-year-old Jewish boy in Hungary, using false papers claiming to be a Christian child, who fled to England, started out hawking souvenirs, and wound up with a master's degree from the London School of Economics. He became the most successful hedge fund manager in history, and went on to donate at least $20 billion to making the world a fairer place through various pro-democracy and pro-Democratic efforts. Which is philanthropy and political activism when your side does it, but is nefarious fifth-column stuff when the donor is on the other side. And so much the better if he's an un-photogenic Jew with an accent!

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