Fucking fuck, everything is so stupid right now.
One of the genres of news story we love best (that's sarcasm) is when something breaks that's not actually totally new, but just more details on something we already knew the general parameters of, but then certain people treat it as BRAND NEW. For instance, look what Dillweed is tweeting about this fine morning:
Well that's just FAN-DAMN-TABULOUS. It's too "hot" to avoid, because "hot" needs quotation marks, any native English speaker would put quotation marks there.
So the New York Times says there are spies in Trump's underpants, and he's screaming TOLD YOU. Let's see what Pulitzer-worthy hot scoop that serves to validate Donald Trump's preconceived notions that couldn't come out at a worse time Adam Goldman and Michael Schmidt are serving us today, and yes, we are throwing shade, because that is kind of their thing:
SNOWBALLS IN HELL.
The Arctic is in big trouble. The region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, with worrying consequences -- like the thawing of permafrost releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and speeding up global warming even more. A major new study released in April -- this one surveying changes since 1971 -- put the situation quite bluntly:
The Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th Century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic.
That's scientist talk for Shit Is Very Bad. So of course we shouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that the Trump administration has been attempting to strip all mentions of climate change from an international statement that's supposed to be issued next week by the eight nations that make up the Arctic Council. While the rest of the countries with territory in the Arctic think science is real, Donald Trump's very good brain thinks otherwise, and don't you tell him different!
The Arctic Council nations meet every two years to discuss international policy at the top of the world, and they have always issued a unanimous statement about goals and principles like "Maybe we should try not to kill all the sea otters with crude oil" and "Indigenous People have rights, sure, we guess" and "Look! A Whale!" But not this year, reports the Washington Post:
Looks like somebody missed some thetans!
In this week's episode of Antivaxxers Fuck Everything Up, we learn that a small cruise ship with up to 300 passengers and crew has been quarantined in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia since Monday, when health authorities learned a female crew member on the ship was diagnosed with the measles. Not just any old cruise ship, though -- the virusboat has been identified as the MV Freewinds, the cruise ship belonging to the Church of Scientology. Huh!
Finally, an immigrant the GOP can sympathize with.
The GOP of Kootenai County, Idaho, went on record last week with a unanimous resolution to let an Austrian far-right figure come to the USA so he can marry his sweetheart, Twitter troll and rightwing irritant Brittany Pettibone, a resident of Post Falls. What? A white nationalist in northern Idaho? How novel! You know how it is with love -- sometimes the Coeur just won't stay in its d'Alene.
Hasan Minhaj is the coolest comedian to stick it to Jared Kushner's face since sliced bread. Wait, that doesn't even make sense.
Three cheers for Hasan Minhaj, a comedian we are about to have to follow on Twitter RIGHT NOW.
Minhaj, a former "Daily Show" correspondent who has his own Netflix show called "Patriot Act," was one of this year's Time 100 honorees. Another honoree was Saudi Arabian activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who is currently sitting in a Saudi prison as a thank you from the kingdom for her women's rights activism, such as fighting for women's right to drive, which is a thing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman supposedly deserves a pat on the back for.
And so it was that Minhaj, a first generation American who came from a North Indian Muslim family, was asked to give a toast at last night's Time 100 gala. Hey, remember how JARED KUSHNER, who is so close to Saudi Murder Prince MBS that they have "between us girls" convos on WhatsApp, was interviewed yesterday at the Time 100? Remember how he said some bullshit about how the Russian campaign to illegally install his father-in-law in the presidency was nothing more than a "couple of Facebook ads"? Remember how every patriotic American wanted to slap him in his fucking face after he said that, since his father-in-law's administration is a slap in the face to the entire US Constitution and all our institutions and also every American personally?
Yeah well anyway, Jared was at the Time 100 gala too. And Hasan Minhaj knew it. So he decided to use his toast to make a point about Loujain al-Hathloul, and how she is in a Saudi prison, and how it was just TOO BAD there weren't any high ranking American officials in the room who just happened to be stream-crossing buddies with the murder prince who put her in prison in the first place who might be able to help get her out. Because if there were somebody sitting in that room RIGHT NOW with an ill-begotten security clearance, who had the ability to talk to MBS on WhatsApp RIGHT FUCKING THEN, because that's a thing they totally do ... oh wait, there was somebody in the room who fit that exact description? Somebody who participates in all the Trump administration's decisions to ignore MBS's crimes, including jailing dissidents and bonesawing Washington Post journalists to death in Saudi embassies in Istanbul? THAT GUY WAS THERE?
Nobody knows the Troubles they've seen.
Well, goddamn it, a wonderful person we'd never heard of until last night is dead. Lyra McKee was 29, an investigative journalist who specialized in looking at the legacy of "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland. She was murdered by someone shooting at police during rioting in Derry, or perhaps Londonderry, depending on who you want to piss off by using either name for the city. The rioting broke out after police "started carrying out searches in the area because of concerns that militant republicans were storing firearms and explosives" in advance of attacks planned to mark the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. Police are blaming the violence and McKee's death on the "New Irish Republican Army," a radical republican group formed a few years ago from several smaller groups. Despite the name, the group has no ties to the old Provisional Irish Republican Army, which renounced violence and disarmed in 2005 following the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which was supposed to have brought peace to Northern Ireland, and kind of did, at least much of the time.
McKee is being remembered by colleagues and readers as a promising journalist who was expected to go far. A year ago, McKee signed a two-book deal with Faber & Faber; the first of the books, The Lost Boys, an investigation of eight young men who disappeared in Belfast during the Troubles in the '60s and '70s, will be published next year. A 2016 Forbes profile said "McKee's passion is to dig into topics that others don't care about." For instance, CNN reports, McKee spent five years investigating a story about the only rape crisis center in Northern Ireland and its long struggle to regain funding after the government eliminated it.
Jim Hoft and others are doing that hoodoo that they do.
It shouldn't be at all surprising that when US Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted her sympathies for the people of Paris (and her prayers for the firefighters), the Stupidest Man On The Internet and his compatriots at Gateway Pundit decided that was incredibly offensive because her tweet simply wasn't Jesusy enough.
The Omar story came on top of a whole raft of stories aimed at whipping up political outrage over what appears to have been an accidental fire, because why waste a good tragedy? Despite official announcements that the fire appears to be related to renovation work, Gateway Pundit suggested something more sinister: "French Media Confirms There Were NO CONSTRUCTION WORKERS at Notre Dame Cathedral at Time of Fire" (based on one tweet paraphrasing a news report). Hoft and his culture war battalion insisted, in two separate stories, that all Muslims everywhere were dancing on rooftops celebrating the fire, even if they didn't set it (but do you know for sure they didn't?). Fox's Shep Smith was scolded for cutting off a French municipal official who hinted the REAL cause of the fire would be covered up by "politically correct" officialdom, and just to be sure readers knew Muslims are bad, the site reminded them of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, too. Hoft's internet outlet also offered some uplifting stories about Parisians -- no, "Catholics with rosaries"! -- singing hymns as the cathedral burned, and proclaimed the survival of some parts of the interior a genuine miracle.
But then there was this horrible tweet by Ilhan Omar, a slap in the face to all Christendom:
Department of Heavy-Handed Metaphors.
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is burning. The central spire and a large part of the roof have collapsed, and people are trying to get their heads around how a landmark and cultural treasure that withstood 900 years -- including WW II and the Nazi occupation -- could simply go up in flames and apparently be gutted in a matter of hours. At least there was the low comedy of the president of the United States, being America's idiot guy at the bar, telling France to hurry up and do something.
No, we won't at all be surprised if we learn later that Trump put in an urgent call to Emmanuel Macron to offer this completely intelligent suggestion on a topic he knows absolutely nothing about.
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
We're going to pester a historian, help a great cartoonist, and meet a cat who is literally lord of a literal castle.
It's Palm Sunday, and you know what that means! Time to read one of Kurt Vonnegut's OK but not essential collections! Also, it means it's time to take a little time from the banal evils of the week and read some nice stuff, because dang, you look tense. You should relax some. Here, put your feet up.
Latin Mass or GTFO!
Former Breitbart publisher and Trump adviser Steve Bannon has found himself a new mission in life, according to NBC News. Bannon wants to "reform" the Roman Catholic Church the way he remade American conservatism, albeit perhaps with fewer memes of Pepe the Frog -- that part is still being decided. But definitely with an eye to telling nonwhites to fuck off, and making Holy Mother Church a Safe Space for Nazis again. Except, does it have to be so feminized? Holy FATHER Church would be much better.
Foreign correspondents Richard Engel and Kennett Werner bring us the straight dope on Bannon's dream of making Catholicism White Again, in a teaser report ahead of Engel's "On Assignment" TV show scheduled for Sunday night at 9 Eastern. Bannon explains he has a perfectly good reason for wanting to rescue Catholicism from that mean old Pope Francis and his SJW agenda:
He's the administrator of the church, and he's also a politician [...] This is the problem. ... He's constantly putting all the faults in the world on the populist nationalist movement.
That's a pretty victim-y way to whine about a pope whose real agenda seems to have a hell of a lot more to do with steering the institution toward caring for the least of those among us, like that radical social justice warrior from Galilee did a couple millennia back. But sure, Steve, make it all about YOU. And Francis definitely has talked about the dangers of unfettered capitalism, the need to care for immigrants and refugees, and yes, he's even condemned racism, damn his popish eyes.
We're only supposed to trust the Trump Department of Justice when it's Bill Barr covering up the Mueller report. YOU BETCHA, GLENN.
Glenn Greenwald is a person who cares about transparency and has only the purest of intentions, because his journalistic mission in life is to root out corruption and improper spying and all the bad stuff governments do, and ... um ... lots of other high-minded stuff. Yep, he is that kind of person. Or at least he plays one on TV.
Briefly, before we move on, a note. We get that many of our readers think well of Assange, and Greenwald, and Edward Snowden, and we understand that! It does not make you a bad person. But if you've got an hour, well, here's why you're wrong. It's not because the three are Ron Paul weirdo libertarian racists; that just means they should shut up about being more progressive than other people who are actually progressive. It's not because they're BIASSSSSSS. Wonkette is a practitioner of BIASSSSSS journalism its own self, because that is how the Founders intended. It's mostly because ... well, it's mostly because they really really really seem to be working on behalf of Russia, yeah we fucking said it, because they hated Obama and Hillary Clinton THAT MUCH. And hacking for Russia really ISN'T journalism, even if Glenn Greenwald is caterwauling NO HACKING NO HACKING YOU ARE THE HACKING.
Now let's continue!
Quick, know how many tweets Greenwald has sent since Julian Assange was arrested? TRICK QUESTION, because the asshole has been tweeting in such a rapid-fire manner over the past 24 some-odd hours that it's impossible for scientists to get a full and accurate count. And as you might expect, he is MAD. He's almost as mad about this particular violation of the sacred right of journalists (using the term loosely) to publish information in the public interest as he's been at Republican Attorney General Bill Barr for hiding the Mueller report from Congress and the American people! HAHA WE KID, Glenn has been totally fine with Barr's cover-up. It's almost as if he has one standard for alleged criminals he really loves and adores, like Julian Assange, and a whole different standard for those he deems DEEP STATE RUSSIAGATE FAKE COLLUSION WITCH HOAXERS.
Aaron Rupar from Vox found these two Greenwald tweets and placed them side by side:
If Glenn Greenwald did not exist, intrepid TV writers would have to create him. He's just ... WOW.
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.
When Salvador Met Harpo (also, this is your Open Thread!).
We're just stuffed to the gills with culture 'n' bookses today, Wonkers! Part One of our Wonkette Book Club discussion of Eric Rauchway's Winter War is over here, and for those of you who want to do Open Thread stuff, here is an Open Thread for you too! About another darn book, of course, this time a graphic novel adaptation of a seriously weird screenplay that Salvador Dalí wrote for the Marx Brothers. The title is perfectly Marx Brothersish: Giraffes on Horseback Salad. No, of course that isn't explained even one tiny bit, although there are some giraffes in the screenplay. They're on fire, not on horseback.
The yelling IS the policy.
Donald Trump quietly backed off his threat to close the US-Mexico border, at least for the moment, because apparently some of his Top People finally made it clear to him that the US would suffer very bad economic consequences. Instead, Trump said Thursday he would Very Definitely take SWIFT ACTION against Mexico -- in a year, maybe. And by then, who even KNOWS what crazy shit will be going on, so let's not get too bogged down in the details of what Trump ever says he's going to do.
Yes, you should definitely expect Trump to threaten to close the border again within the next month or so. Right after he suggests bombing Puerto Rico and banning wind farms to save eagles. Dude never lets any of his hobbyhorses alone for long.
At a press availability before a Cabinet meeting, Trump explained that nothing had changed at all, except maybe the timeline. And what would trigger the shutdown. And whether it would actually be a shutdown, or something else. But otherwise, EXACTLY the same as his insistence last week that he'd immediately shut the border if Mexico didn't end all illegal immigration in the space of a few days.
We need some pain, tell you what!
Now that Donald Trump has said shutting down the US-Mexico border would totally be worth a little economic pain, other deplorables are coming out of the woodwork to insist that a nice economic crisis is exactly what this country needs in order to Get Serious about immigration policy. Never mind that auto manufacturers would start shutting down assembly lines within days, or that supermarket produce sections would quickly look like Bulgaria after the collapse of the USSR. That would be just nifty, in principle, since closing the border with Mexico would totally end illegal immigration and anyone claiming asylum, which these geniuses know is actually just another word for illegal immigration since 100 percent of asylum claims are fake. If we shut the border, all our problems would be over, that is just OBVIOUS!
In case you missed Trump's official policy statement, here he is explaining why suddenly shutting off $1.7 billion in daily US-Mexico trade would be a great idea. Because "security" is a far higher good than mere money, especially since no autoworkers or produce farmers stay at Trump hotels:
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