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2020 presidential election

Elizabeth Warren Has A Plan. It Is A Plan For Kicking Ass.

Guess some people just refuse to be erased.

Elizabeth Warren was ready to debate last night. It was kind of glorious. While most of her wrath — measured, well-spoke wrath, but damn! — was focused on Mike Bloomberg, she also went after other candidates on their policy weaknesses, and she left plenty of online commenters looking forward to how she'd go after Donald Trump in a national debate. If he showed up at all. While Warren categorically rejects the Citizens United notion that money is a form of speech, her campaign certainly heard some pleasant voices last night. To the tune of $2.8 million in donations by the end of the debate, Warren's best single-day total, according to her campaign.

I have to warn you, kids, this post may read a bit like fanfiction. We're bullish. But don't worry, there won't be a character named Doktor Sue who gets hired as a policy adviser.

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2020 Congressional Elections

Democrats Might Need Restraining Order Against Creepy Republicans Stalking Their Meetings

The NRCC will NOT be ignored.

We all know Donald Trump is wholly corrupt and will do whatever's necessary to rig the upcoming election in his favor. He was impeached for it, after all. But many of us don't appreciate just how shady the non-Trump Republicans are.

Politico reports that members of the National Republican Congressional Committee strolled over to the Capitol Hill headquarters of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and got all up in their business. The DCCC was holding a meeting for its "Red to Blue" program. Unfortunately, this innocent pack of doe-eyed liberals was discussing strategies for flipping Republican seats with "the blinds wide open," so any random corrupt political organization could see the information on display. But the NRCC didn't just look and move on, like when you (not me, obviously) walk past an advanced yoga class. They stopped and took pictures, which was, as the DCCC puts it, "totally out of bounds and downright creepy."

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Healthcare

HHS Sec Tells Senate Trump's Obamacare Replacement Is Not The Plan They're Looking For (Because He's Never Had One, Never Will)

Plan to replace the thing we're killing? Why?

At a Senate hearing today, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said the Trump administration won't offer a plan to replace Obamacare until after it's struck down by the Supreme Court. In other words, if the Court does exactly what the administration has been asking for and overturns the Affordable Care Act while Trump's still in office, Americans won't find out until then what Trump has in mind to replace it (not like Trump or Republicans have ever had a real plan, ever). Heck, healthcare is only a sixth of the economy. It's not like it's complicated or anything.

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Crime

Earwax Causes Hearing And Memory Loss. Here's The Best Way To Get Rid Of It. Tabs., Wed., Feb. 12, 2020

TABS.

This fucking asshole has been indicted (New York Times) thanks to an investigation prompted by this NY Mag HELLA HORRIFYING LONGREAD. (And of course that psycho runs in the Giuliani/Kerik/Trump/Felix Sater/mafia circles.)

RELATED: Fellow olds, remember The Bobs?

www.youtube.com

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Environment

GOP Will Save Climate By Painting Smokestacks Green, Hoping Everybody Fooled

You can't fix anything with recycled bullshit.

In December, a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that nearly three-quarters of adults and teens in America agree climate change is real, and humans are causing it. It even found that a majority of younger Republicans accept climate science and want the government to do something about it. So, ever attuned to the nation's political mood, at least some Republicans are making a big show of their desire to do something about climate, hooray! That led to headlines like "Are Republicans coming out of 'the closet' on climate change?" in the Washington Post, and "How House Republicans won over conservatives to gain consensus on a climate agenda" in the Washington Examiner. The latter piece even featured arch-Trumper Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) gushing, "Climate denial is a bad political strategy [...] At some point, you have to be for something to fix it." Oh, hooray for the new generation of GOP Climate Achievers!

Mind you, the "plan" Gaetz, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, and other rightwingers have unveiled has a lot more to do with marketing than with any real change that would slow global warming. It's all about looking like Republicans Care Very Much about whatever the kids are upset about, and will fix it with the "Free Market" Principles that got us into this mess in the first place. As John Roberts puts it at Vox, the conservative climate plans "are neither conservative nor plans."

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Ukraine

Graham Announces Joint Barr-Giuliani Investigation Of Bidens, Because We Are A Banana Republic Now

They're not even bothering to hide the corruption any more.

Slow your roll, Bill Barr! Don't want to blow that corruption wad in February and have nothing left for the rest of the year. Gotta save a little something for October when you'll need to announce a criminal indictment of whoever wins the Democratic nomination. Pace yourself, big guy!

Oh, it's funny — but not funny, haha — because it's true! This weekend, Donald Trump's BFF Lindsey Graham went on CBS's "Face The Nation" with Margaret Brennan to brag that the Justice Department will be going after Joe Biden in earnest now that Republicans have put that pesky impeachment business to bed. After acknowledging that Rudy Giuliani's insane arglebargling about Joe Biden might well be Russian propaganda, he said that our esteemed Attorney General Barr has a special hotline set up for Rudy Giuliani to bring sexxxxy Biden dirt right up to the highest levels of the Justice Department for vetting. And Bill Barr just confirmed it at a press conference this morning.

Cool cool. Who better than a political appointee whom the president said on his PERFECT PERFECT READ THE TDSJU7R11PT PHONECALL would coordinate the Biden smear with Rudy Giuliani, to ... coordinate the Biden smear with Rudy Giuliani from the comfort of his own desk inside the Justice Department? It's not like Barr tried three times to suppress the whistleblower complaint and then wasted whatever credibility the DOJ and Office of Legal Counsel had by insisting that congressional subpoenas were totally optional.

Oh, wait!

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Journamalism

Lindsey Graham's Post-Impeachment Victory Lap

It's your Sunday show rundown!

This week marked Lindsey Graham's first Sunday show appearance since the Senate failed finished their no witnesses impartial Impeachment Trial of Donnie Trumps. Graham seemed more subdued (or sober) than before the impeachment.

youtu.be

Of course, before Lindsey could even utter a word, Trump had to try to direct him like an overeager stage mom.

Margaret Brennan immediately asked Graham about this and he had to try to spin it to sound less ... power abusey:

BRENNAN: The President's up. He's watching, apparently, because he sent out a tweet this morning about you appearing on this program. He said, "DeFace the nation will tell Lindsey Graham they must start up the Judiciary and not stop." I'm not exactly sure quite what that means, but it sounds like he's giving you marching orders.

GRAHAM: I think what he's talking about is oversight of the FISA warrant system that failed. I can promise the President and your viewers that I'm going to call witnesses about--

BRENNAN
: Foreign surveillance warrants--the Horowitz report.
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Right Wing Extremism

Banning Mitt Romney From CPAC Might've Saved His Life, Says Hero Matt Schlapp

Schlapp just couldn't "guarantee" Romney's safety at the conservative conference.

We all enjoyed a good laugh when Mitt Romney was disinvited from the grand douchebag ball that is the Conservative Political Action Conference. This occurred with much pomp and circumstance after Romney voted, along with Susan Collins, to allow witnesses in Donald Trump's sham impeachment trial. The vote failed, but Romney was still denied the golden ticket to CPAC.

Romney is even less popular among the Trump faithful now that he's the lone Republican who voted to remove the president from office. The conservatives who write for the Washington Post or the New York Times, along with the entirety of "Morning Joe," all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude, but the conservative rank and file might just rip him to shreds like he's the unseen gay character in Suddenly, Last Summer.

That's Matt Schlapp's theory at least. During an appearance on Greta Van Susteren's "Full Court Press," the CPAC chairman suggested that yanking Romney's invitation was an act of kindness. He couldn't guarantee the sitting US senator's safety.

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Elections

GOP PAC Runs Ad Promoting Progressive, Dynamic Black Lady Senate Candidate ... Oh ... No?

Oh no, spending millions to promote progressives, how will we live.

Democrat Erica D. Smith is a North Carolina state senator who is now running for the US Senate. She co-chairs the Joint Legislative Women's Caucus and has served as second vice chair of the Legislative Black Caucus. Her primary opponent is Cal Cunningham, who is better funded and has the endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. All is not lost, however. Smith's campaign has attracted some unlikely assistance. The Republican-affiliated PAC Faith and Power formally launched a week ago and has already placed a $1.56 million ad boosting Smith in the Democratic primary. The ad will play in such major North Carolina markets as Charlotte, Greenville (not the real one in South Carolina), Raleigh, and Greensboro. This is quite the boon for Smith ... or not. Just what are those helpful Republicans saying about her?

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"Who's the Democrat for US Senate endorsed by progressives and unions? Erica Smith," says the ad's narrator. "Who's got the courage to vote for 'Medicare for All'? Erica Smith. The number one supporter of the Green New Deal? Erica Smith again."

"Erica Smith is one of us -- a high school educator, engineer, state senator and ordained minister," adds the narrator. "Vote Democrat Erica Smith for US Senate, the only proven progressive."

I didn't know much about Erica Smith before today, but now I've learned she has union endorsements and would support Medicare for All and the Green New Deal? Those are all great things, so, uh ... thanks? Republicans obviously have their own motives for promoting Smith, and I assume they are ulterior. The young, dynamic black woman is an easy TKO against the electoral powerhouse that mortals know as Thom Tillis.

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Mommyblogging

Elizabeth Warren Promises Little Girl She'll Close The Camps

Wingnuts: You mean OBAMA'S camps, hurr hurr!

At a campaign rally in Keene, New Hampshire, Tuesday, Elizabeth Warren took a question from a little girl about immigration policy. It was a pretty good question!

Girl: My name is Elizabeth [last name inaudible, thankfully for her family]

Warren: Oh wow! Double Elizabeth. I feel the power.

Girl: I'm seven years old.

Warren:
I'm not.

Girl: [purest loudest girly giggle you'll hear on video all week]
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2020 democratic primary

WTF, Iowa?

You are bad, and you should feed BAD.

WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? After an entire year of campaigning, and fish frying, and selfie lines, and millions in ad buys, and the national media camping out in Des Moines, the Iowa caucus was a spectacular, unmitigated disaster. There are currently no results to report from last night's first-in-the-nation Democratic contest. Because everything that could go wrong .... DID. There was never a good reason to allow a tiny, conservative, white state which can't even be bothered to vote like normal people to open our primary season, and this debacle should be the last time we let that happen. Iowa needs to go to its room and think about what it's done, for a long, long time.

Here's how it went down.

The Warning Signs

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Elections

Ben Shapiro's Constitution Literacy Tests For Voting Would Ensure Trump, GOP Can't Vote. LET'S DO IT!

What's a literacy test among friends?

Noted conservative scholar Ben Shapiro is just wondering why Americans can vote who aren't landowning super geniuses like himself. He's stuck in the ethical debates of the 19th Century. Next up is whether pantaloons are appropriate dinner attire.

Shapiro argued yesterday for some "required testing" before citizens receive the privilege of voting. He absolutely doesn't want a "fake poll test, literacy test designed to exclude black people ... or something." He just thinks we should have a real test that excludes people he doesn't like from exercising the franchise.

SHAPIRO: The idea that you'd have to have a basic knowledge of America's Constitution, for example, in order to vote. I don't see that as a horrible idea. I really don't.

This "idea" would exclude the president and most Republicans in Congress. Maybe Shapiro is fine with that, but I still think voting is a fundamental right and we shouldn't deny it even to presidents who don't know what Article Two (or Two Corinthians) is. Trump's hero, Andrew Jackson, was a big proponent of universal suffrage with the only tiny restriction being your race and gender. By 1856, the requirements for owning property or even paying taxes were eliminated. You could even still believe in witches and vote.

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2020 democratic primary

Judicial Watch Just Making Up Iowa 'Voter Fraud' Numbers, As If Iowa Needed Their Sh*t

And the (Republican!) secretary of state is pisssssed.

Judicial Watch is the conservative yet supposedly "non-partisan" activist group that exposes all several dozen of Hillary Clinton's murders. This weekend, the group made some shocking claims of voter fraud in Iowa. Judicial Watch issued a press release on its site declaring that eight Iowa counties had "total registration rates larger than [the] eligible voter population." There were allegedly 18,658 extra names on that state's voting rolls. That is alarming, but on the upside, it's also a big fat lie.

According to Iowa's (Republican!) Secretary of State Paul Pate, the official data from his office, as well as the US Census Bureau, showed that Judicial Watch's claim was false. From Pate's own press release on the subject:

"It's unfortunate this organization continues to put out inaccurate data regarding voter registration, and it's especially disconcerting they chose the day of the Iowa Caucus to do this," Secretary Pate said. "My office has told this organization, and others who have made similar claims, that their data regarding Iowa is deeply flawed and their false claims erode voter confidence in elections. They should stop this misinformation campaign immediately and quit trying to disenfranchise Iowa voters."

Iowa's voter registration statistics are publicly available on the Secretary of State's website. They are updated monthly. These numbers show that the ones claimed by Judicial Watch in their news release today are patently false.

Along with their false claims about the voter registration numbers, the organization's claims about Iowa population are greatly underestimated, according to actual data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

This still didn't prevent Judicial Watch's president, Tom Fitton, from promoting his debunked conspiracy theories on Twitter. Iowa has enough real problems with elections. It doesn't need this crap.

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2020 democratic primary

WTF Is An Iowa Caucus Anyway?

It's a hot mess is what it is! But we'll splain it to you.

You know how at the county fair you and your family of God-fearing Americans line up to place your bets on whichever little pig can run through an obstacle course the fastest, while you sit in the stands eating a corndog and a turkey leg and a fried oreo and a doughnut and a soft-serve ice cream cone? Caucuses are just like that, but at the end of the night, they make the winning pig president. More or less.

Anyway, let's skip the history lesson on WHY IS CAUCUS and move straight to the part you actually care about, which is WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TONIGHT? And also, WHY IS EVERYONE SAYING THIS WILL BE A SHITSHOW? The answer is ANYONE WHO SAYS THEY KNOW IS LYING, and OMG, ALL THE WAYS. Here's how it will go down.

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Ukraine

Lindsey Graham Is No Longer Welcome At Jill Biden, Her Husband's House

Dr. Biden unfriends Lindsey Graham on live TV.

Dr. Jill Biden, her husband's most enthusiastic supporter, was a guest on CNN's "New Day" this morning. During the interview, she officially declared the Bidens' friendship with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham "so yesterday." Ever since Graham became Donald Trump's personal wet wipe, Dr. Biden doesn't even know who he is anymore. (Hint: He's a sycophantic slimeball.)

DR. BIDEN: I don't know what happened to Lindsey. We used to be great friends. And friends with John McCain. We've traveled together with the foreign relations committee. We've had dinner. Now he's changed.

It's probably tough to accept, but there's a great likelihood that Graham himself hasn't personally changed. He's only changed toward the Bidens because they are no longer useful to him. I'm sure they had lots of fun together when the Bidens were more politically convenient. Graham's a Southerner and Southerners are charming. This is not a dig at Delaware, which I've always enjoyed driving through on my way to someplace else, but I don't think the Bidens were prepared for that level of a charm offensive.

At his core, Graham is a political scorpion who likes to hitch rides to relevance on the backs of trusting frogs. Ironically, Graham will never disappoint Donald Trump because everything in life is transactional to the president. Trump has never had a real friend in his entire miserable life -- just an ever-changing series of mutually advantageous alliances, and like any good supervillain team-up, it's only a question of who'll betray the other party first.

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Impeachment

Lamar Alexander, Ronna ​McDaniel​ Love It When Trump Does Crimes

It's your Sunday show rundown!

After the Republican-held Senate decided to vote against allowing new witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial of Donnie Trump, it was time for Republicans to go into two modes: Justification and Gloating.

On NBC's "Meet The Press," Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander went the excuse/justification route to explain why he's letting Trump's crime train keep rolling.

ALEXANDER: Well, I mean, if you have eight witnesses who say someone left the scene of an accident, why do you need nine? I mean, the question for me was: Do I need more evidence to conclude that the president did what he did? And I concluded no. So, I voted we don't --

TODD: What do you believe he did?

ALEXANDER
: What --

TODD
: What do you believe he did?

ALEXANDER
: What I believe he did, one, was that he called the president of Ukraine and asked him to become involved in investigating Joe Biden, who was --

TODD
: You believe his wrongdoing began there, not before --

ALEXANDER
: Yeah, but he --

TODD
: Not before?

ALEXANDER
: I don't know about that. But he admitted that. The president admitted that. He released a transcript, he said it on television. The second thing was, at least in part, he delayed the military and other assistance to Ukraine in order to encourage that investigation. Those are the two things he did. I think he shouldn't have done it. I think it was wrong. Inappropriate was the way I'd say -- improper, crossing the line. And then the only question left is who decides what to do about that.

TODD
: Well, who decides what to do about that?

ALEXANDER
: The people. The people is my conclusion.

So Alexander believes we don't need more witnesses because Trump really did crimes. The part where Alexander loses everyone is in "letting the people decide" while abdicating the responsibility thrust upon ALL elected officials to represent the people. This line of thinking also always conveniently forgets that the reason Trump is finally being held accountable is THE PEOPLE voting to do that in 2018! The fact the Senate is doing an impeachment trial is the will of the people, Alexander!

But Lamar Alexander tried one more excuse just in case after Chuck Todd called him out:

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