Fighting drugs might involve more than scary ads.
Elizabeth Warren visited Kermit, West Virginia, Friday to talk about her plan to fight opioid addiction in America. Yes, of course she has a policy paper, too. Even though more than 80 percent of voters in Kermit (population 360) voted for Donald Trump, she received a warm welcome and lots of applause -- even from some people wearing Trump stickers to her town hall. Kermit became notorious in 2016 when the Charleston Gazette-Mail won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on a local pharmacy that received over nine million hydrocodone pills in a two-year period. The Warren town hall took place in a fire station just a few blocks away from the now-closed pharmacy. When Warren asked members of the audience to raise their hands if they knew anyone affected by addiction, nearly every hand went up.
Driving people to the polls is fraud? Sure why not.
Just wanted to check in with you all to remind you that the Texas Senate passed a really awful voter-suppression bill last month, since as you may have noticed, the whole thing blew up on Twitter all over again yesterday. As far as we can tell, there's not any new news about the bill, introduced by rightwing fartsack state Sen. Bryan Hughes, but we are very glad to see it getting renewed attention. Maybe even enough attention to make its passage in the Texas House a little less likely. No telling -- Texas Republicans have never liked voting, especially if poors or browns do it. And since the Texas secretary of state's attempt at a big voter purge failed in March, Hughes's Senate Bill 9 seems like the best shot for the Rs to take another swing at the ol' voter suppression piñata.
Frederica Wilson for Secretary of Labor?
Democrats in the House and Senate have introduced a great big labor bill that would outlaw "right to work" laws and other practices aimed at squelching unions. Called the "Protecting the Right to Organize" (PRO) Act, the bill takes aim at several of the Right's cherished weapons for attacking organized labor. As we know all too well, for most of American history, government has joined business interests in fighting against workers' rights, particularly in the past forty years, resulting in a steady decline in union membership and a huge wealth gap. The PRO Act is a step toward letting workers have some real rights at work again.
The bill is sponsored by a raft of Big Names in both houses. Its House sponsors include Democrats Bobby Scott (Virginia), who as head of the Education and Labor committee is taking the lead on the bill, as well as Frederica Wilson (Florida), and Pramila Jayapal (Washington). In the Senate, the sponsors are Patty Murray (Washington), Jacky Rosen (Nevada), and Sherrod Brown (Ohio), all of whom have wide labor support.
One of the first things you might notice about the bill itself (and the Democrats' talking points about it) is that "right to work" isn't mentioned by name, presumably because that's a union-killing scheme that, like Voldemort, shouldn't be said aloud. Seems fair enough, since of course those "right to work" laws never explicitly say they're out to kill unions. "Right to work" laws can't ban unions -- instead, they undermine unions by removing their ability to collect a "fair share" fee from non-union members, which covers the union's costs of negotiating on workers' behalf. Here's the explanation from the Dems' detailed summary of the bill:
Underwood's ACA 2.0 will keep you from dying or going broke.
Lauren Underwood is one of our favorite new congressional bad asses. The youngest black woman -- ever -- to serve in the House, the former registered nurse flipped a seat in Illinois's solidly Republican 14th district. You might also remember Underwood from the time she grilled former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen about her child torture hobby. Underwood campaigned on protecting the Affordable Care Act, and she's still dancing with the issue that brought her to Congress. Most of her freshman class has signed onto Medicare For All, and while Underwood supports universal coverage, she wants to strengthen the ACA until we get there.
Underwood recently introduced HR 1868, the Health Care Affordability Act. It's part of a bundle of health care legislation from House Democrats that's intended to "shore up and expand" the ACA. Her co-sponsors are House representatives Jimmy Gomez from California and Tom O'Halleran from Arizona. HR 1868 qualifies more Americans to receive tax credits, expands eligibility for premium tax credits, and lowers premiums.
It is the saddest thing in the whole wide world.
New York Magazine ran a piece today about the collective freakout from big pocket donors in the financial industry. There's "tremendous fear" that Democrats will nominate someone who'll force them to do something socially embarrassing like vote for Donald Trump. Look, they don't want to do it, but Democrats might give them no choice.
Democrats on Wall Street, the supposed "masters of the universe," say they're trying to save the party from a hostile takeover by the loony left. Bernie Sanders is "too crazy" to even imagine in the White House (and when you consider who's already there, that's saying something). And while they see "co-front runner" Elizabeth Warren as "less crazy" and "way more competent" than Sanders, she scares the pants off the average Gordon Gekko.
"She would torture [the financial industry]," one banker told me. "Warren strikes fear in their hearts," explained a New York executive close to banking leaders from both parties
We're so old we remember when we copy-and-pasted this from Rebecca yelling at Jamie Dimon, because it was right now:
You know who went out of his way to not put any of you fuckers in jail? Barack Obama. And how did you respond? You whined that he had poisoned your relationship and also wept you were having your heads cut off like the French Revolution, because Barack Obama said "maybe don't give yourself a billion-dollar bonus this year, on account of you should actually be in jail."
So it is ... rich maybe that the Wall Street people who were already whining about Democrats being too GOSH DARN MEAN TO THEM are whining more, harder, uncutter about it now.
Hint: One of them is FOR and one is AGAINST!
Is Donald Trump scared of Smokin' Joe Biden? We personally avoid searching for any rational motives behind Trump's spontaneous verbal farts. However, Trump directly responded to Biden's campaign launch video from yesterday. Remember, there are 20 Democrats running for president and almost all of them have stated that Trump is a racist embarrassment, unfit to govern a country that still leads the world in Avengers movies. How did Biden provoke the sundowner in chief? He attacked the president's horrific handling of the 2017 Charlottesville Klan-bake.
BIDEN: We saw Klansmen and white supremacists and neo-Nazis come out in the open, their crazed faces illuminated by torches, veins bulging, and bearing the fangs of racism. Chanting the same anti-Semitic bile heard across Europe in the '30s. And they were met by a courageous group of Americans, and a violent clash ensued, and a brave young woman lost her life.
And that's when we heard the words from the president of the United States that stunned the world and shocked the conscience of this nation. He said there were 'some very fine people on both sides.' Very fine people on both sides?
With those words, the president of the United States assigned a moral equivalence between those spreading hate and those with the courage to stand against it. And in that moment, I knew the threat to this nation was unlike any I had ever seen in my lifetime.
No wonder Trump's pissed. He's committed at least a dozen more racist acts since then. He's referred to brown nations as "shitholes" and separated families at the border. His actual policies directly resulted in the deaths of two children. Why is Biden criticizing his "Hard Day's Night" period when he's already moved on to "Sgt. Pepper"?
This morning, Trump defended his racist statements -- the ones from 2017, about Charlottesville, if you're trying to keep track. We think it's weird that Trump let Biden control the conversation. Most Republicans at the time supported Trump's Charlottesville response, because most Republicans are terrible. Maybe Trump wants to let his faithful deplorables know he's still got their back and they shouldn't pay attention to the other incredibly old white man behind the curtain.
She should've let the machine pick up.
"They had a private discussion where he shared with her directly his regret for what she endured and his admiration for everything she has done to change the culture around sexual harassment in this country," said the deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield.
Now that's some banal, disassociated corporate speak. Was he downsizing Hill? If she has any questions about her severance should she follow up with Human Resources? Biden doesn't really acknowledge that they've met. This is what you'd say to Hill if you bumped into her at the airport.
This is the normal level of stupid dumb idiocy we'll have again after Trump.
We swear that John Cornyn is an honest-to-goodness US senator. Yet this is what the Texas Republican (or at least his campaign team) is tweeting while serious people are discussing impeaching the president.
Team Cornyn's tweet quickly found itself a resident of Ratio-ville, where the presiding mayor is Howard Schultz. But why did this crack team of political savants scour Twitter for old-ass tweets from one of the new Mads on "Mystery Science Theater 3000"? Is Patton Oswalt running for Senate? He's certainly more fit for office than Donald Trump. No, apparently, the comedian is just a supporter of a Senate candidate. Democrat MJ Hegar just launched her campaign today to unseat Cornyn in 2020, and Team Cornyn's rapid response was to attack someone who once said nice things about her. Seriously, they have no other connection.
Mueller Report DEFINITIVELY debunked that he was behind the email hack, but what are 'facts' to Fox and Wikileaks?
The Mueller Report pretty conclusively disproved the rightwing (and left!) Wikileaks-Seth Rich conspiracy theory. That was where Sean Hannity and a few DemExit dead-enders agreed that the 2016 leaks of DNC and Clinton campaign emails came not from a Russian hack, but from Seth Rich, a data guy who worked at the DNC -- until he was murdered in a botched DC street robbery or, according to the conspiracy theory, by Hillary Clinton.
But as the Mueller Report showed, Rich was murdered four days before Julian Assange even got his hands on the hacked DNC data, and Assange continued to communicate with his (Russian) hacker sources long afterward. As our Robyn pointed out in the link above, that hasn't slowed down the crazies in the conspiracysphere a single bit, because after all they have never been susceptible to liberal plots like evidence and logic. But how about the far more high-profile organizations like Fox News and Wikileaks, "journalism" home to Julian Assange himself? Now that they've been proven wrong -- Assange himself had a tendency to strongly hint multiple times that Rich had been murdered after leaking the data to Wikileaks -- we bet they're just all kinds of embarrassed, and are in a hurry to clarify the record, because after all, they are Responsible Journamalism Outlets!
As Rolling Stone's Andy Kroll reports, there doesn't seem to be much urgency to set the record straight. Possibly because, in the wake of the Mueller Report, Sean Hannity is very busy proving what a threat to national security Hillary Clinton is. Maybe once Americans know the real truth about her email server, he can get around to un-slandering a murdered DNC staffer.
Rudy Giuliani Talking In Stupid Circles Till You Get So Dizzy You Have To Hold On To The Kitchen Floor
It's your Sunday Show Rundown!
After Attorney General Bill "The Worst" Barr (beating Roseanne for the title) released a five-page memo and gave Trump almost a month to positively spin the Mueller Report, the real Mueller Report (with redactions) was finally released on Thursday. And despite Barr giving a pre-release preamble of bullshit, it was not good for Trump. So it was time to load Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani into a trebuchet of bullshit and launch him into the Sunday shows to say stupid things!
'How about if we just send all Democrats to jail?'
Just a little more than a month after a federal judge told Texas not to try purging its voter rolls of suspiciously brown people based on very bad drivers license data, the state Senate is back with a whole NEW load of voter-suppressing fuckery, once again in the name of fighting "voter fraud," which is exceedingly rare to start with. This time the vehicle for reducing turnout is a steaming pile called Senate Bill 9, which passed Monday and will now head to the state House. SB 9 will treat submitting "false information" on a voter registration form as a "state jail felony," even if the incorrect information is an honest error -- like writing the wrong zip code. And that's just for starters!
She probably hasn't been pretending to be a progressive for the last 20 years just to Manchurian Candidate us all.
Within the last few weeks, Elizabeth Warren has churned out a number of absolutely fantastic and incredibly progressive policy ideas -- from plans for universal child care and affordable housing and breaking up big tech to plans to actually tax the super wealthy and the large corporations that are currently paying no income tax. Functionally, at this moment, they are better, more numerous and more specific than anyone else's policies. If your primary concern is what actually gets us from Point A to Point B, Elizabeth Warren is your gal.
Also, within the last few weeks, we have heard a lot about how Elizabeth Warren used to be a Republican. A fairly apolitical and noncommittal Republican who only ever voted for Gerald Ford and Arlen Specter, but a Republican nonetheless. (No, according to her, she did not vote for Ronald Reagan.)
To many people out there in social media land, whom I am far too gracious to call out as individuals, this means that she is not a real liberal or a real progressive. That she is, to revive a term, a poseur. That, hypothetically, were she to become president, she would immediately turn her back on everything she has been doing and saying for the last couple decades and suddenly, I don't know, morph into Rush Limbaugh. That she is simply not to be trusted.
In terms of people who might have room to talk in this regard, I would rank pretty high. There is almost no present-day lefty purity test that I would not have passed with flying colors when I was in elementary school in the late '80s and early '90s. This includes support for single payer health care, reparations, and gay rights and never, ever, sitting quietly while some other kid was getting bullied. This wasn't because I was magically born an incredibly authentic progressive, it was because I had a super smart and super politically and socially aware mother whom one might describe as very far left, though she prefers the term "prematurely correct."
Now, it took a lot of people -- presumably many of those "concerned" about Elizabeth Warren's past life as a Republican -- a long ass time to get to where I was when I was a child. Lots of people who are now saying, at least in their delightful conversations in my mind, "Wow, Robyn, you were right all along! Health care is a human right, labor rights are totally important, and it is very weird that anyone ever thought that 'civil unions' made any sense to begin with." I could easily judge all of them, but this is not 9th grade and I'm not going to sneer at someone's Doc Martins because I was listening to The Ramones while they were still listening to Debbie Gibson. In the words of another '80s pop singer -- I don't care how you get here, get here if you can.
After all, it sure would be hard to get any of this stuff done by myself.
That is how I feel about Elizabeth Warren having been a Republican prior to 1996. She took a longer path? So what? She's here now and she's doing good shit. Why would I complain about that? That's good! The whole point of everything is to get people and things to change.
Rather than being concerned that her change -- for the last 20+ years -- was not truly authentic, I happen to appreciate the fact that she was convinced by evidence that her previous views were wrong. That is a good thing! Right now we have a president who could be shown all the evidence in the world that he is wrong and still stick to his story, and that is terrifying.
And jeez, haven't people ever heard the line "fire of the converted" before? People who go through the whole "Oh man, everything I thought was right my entire life was a lie!" thing tend to be really devout. They're also the ones who are going to be able to effectively persuade others while people like me are standing around being like "It sure is weird that you hate poor people so much and want them to die."
When someone tells me, "Oh, that guy acts like an asshole, but deep down he's a really good guy" or "Sure, what this one person said or did is racist or sexist, but I know they are not racist or sexist in their heart," I believe that person is full of shit. I do not believe in a "deep down," I do not believe in an "in their heart," I believe people are defined by their actions. What someone does is what defines "who they are," not the other way around. In fancy terms, this is called existentialism.
I believe the opposite is true as well. If someone does good things, they are a good person. If someone changes what they do and what they think, that is who they are now.
Let me tell you what I think, as the purest of the pure -- I do not give a flying shit who gets the shit done as long as the shit gets done. I don't care if the person getting everyone healthcare and childcare was a Republican 25 years ago. Hell, I don't care if they are a Republican right now, at this very moment. I don't care if their voice is grating or if they yelled weird one time or, frankly, whatever the hell else they have done in their lives, assuming they have not murdered or sexually assaulted anyone. And honestly, depending on the scenario, murder might not even bother me that much at this point. I could be persuaded.
Once things are not a giant garbage fire, we can talk. We can disqualify people for stupid mistakes and for things they thought 20 years ago. We can be super judgy about their voice or their dorky hair or what they eat or whether or not they gesticulate in a way someone finds off-putting, we can talk about the indefinable thing that makes you not trust them, and we can speculate wildly about how all or any of those things actually reveal that they are secretly bad in some way. Right now, we do not have that luxury, Right now, we do triage.
If you don't think Elizabeth Warren is the one with the best plan to get shit done, that's fine. Talk about what you don't like in her policies, and why you like about someone else's policies better. That is what is important right now. And if you truly don't trust her because she was a Republican 20 years ago, save that hot take for the voting booth and your own kitchen table because it is helping no one and, frankly, it makes you sound stupid.
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Won't even let them eat the poor.
Fox News graciously invited presidential candidate Bernie Sanders onto its network for a town hall Monday night. And like your typical two-faced hosts, they ragged on their guest as soon as he'd left the building. Sean Hannity kicked off his show with a drive-by attack on "Crazy Bernie" (a mature nickname he swiped from Donald Trump) and the "radical socialist Democratic Party."
HANNITY: That was hard to watch! Bernie Sanders for two hours, wow! Gee, let's hear every communist idea we possibly can.
That's a fair criticism, we guess, from someone whose show airs between an hour of Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. Sanders, by the way, is not a communist. He didn't spend two hours reading his favorite sections of "Dialectical and Historical Materialism" to the audience. He just wants to raise rich people's taxes. When an actual real live socialist is running for president, you shouldn't have to make up shit. It's like when right-wing conspiracy theorists claimed Barack Obama wasn't even born in the US. C'mon, the guy's black. Have a sense of sportsmanship.
It's The Sunday Show Rundown!
Kellyanne Conway appeared on "Meet The Press" Sunday with Chuck Todd fresh off her defeat of Kirstjen Nielsen to become the top lying, conservative blonde in the Trump administration.
I don't like this "Highlander" Remake. media3.giphy.com
Help help he's bein' repressed!
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London this morning after finally pissing off the Ecuadorian government -- his hosts for almost seven years in their embassy there -- one too many times. After Ecuador withdrew his asylum status, Assange was arrested by London's Metropolitan Police, who had been invited into the embassy to see the gentleman out, please, according to a statement from the coppers. The initial arrest was on a 2012 charge of skipping bail while evading arrest on Swedish rape charges (since dropped), but police confirmed Assange was also arrested a second time in connection with a warrant from the USA, and that he would face extradition.
Here's some video of the arrest from, appropriately enough, Russian propaganda outfit RT:
EXCLUSIVE: Assange arrested & escorted out of Ecuadorian Embassy www.youtube.com
He sure is playing up the whole "Help! Help! I'm bein' repressed!" thing with the tripping and foot dragging, isn't he? The Daily Beast notes Assange shouted, "The U.K. must resist!" and appeared to be holding -- title plainly visible in case anyone might miss it -- a copy of History of The National Security State, by Gore Vidal. Undoubtedly it was just what he happened to be reading when the Goon Squad grabbed him.
Get ready for an even bigger flood of terrible judges.
Mitch McConnell, that salmonella-infected old turtle who's poisoned American politics ever since he vowed to block Barack Obama on everything forever in hopes of making him a one-term president, has gone nuclear and changed Senate rules to get quicker confirmations of Donald Trump's judicial and sub-cabinet nominees. We saw this coming just days ago when McConnell sobbed great big fake tears about the mean obstructionist Democrats who insisted on using the existing rules to slow confirmation of Trump's herd of idiot judges chosen by the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.
The new rules voted in Wednesday cut the amount of time allowed for debate on district court nominees from 30 hours to just two hours, meaning that when the next total loser who's never actually overseen a trial of any sort comes up for approval, the moron will be approved without any troublesome opposition from Democrats. The same rules will apply to executive branch appointments for anyone below the level of the actual Cabinet, so count on a lot more faithful GOP donors and industry flunkies staffing all levels of government. Unlike legislation, which is subject to filibuster by the minority, rules changes only need a simple majority.
McConnell put on a great show of crying over how the Democrats MADE HIM DO IT:
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