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Were you horrified yesterday when you read that the Trump Justice Department was noping out of its legal obligation to defend Obamacare in court? That they're only too happy to yank the foundation out from under the superstructure of America's healthcare system and watch the entire edifice come crashing down? That these heartless lunatics are craven enough to take Medicaid away from 12 million people and deprive American citizens of coverage for pre-existing conditions just to get rid of a law nicknamed after a black president?

OH, BUT IT GETS WORSE. Turns out that Attorney General Bill Barr knew damn well that the Justice Department had an obligation to defend the law. And Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, "Hey, guys. Do not do this! If you win, it will cause absolute chaos." (Allegedly.) But Budget Man/White House COS Mick Mulvaney and his goons said, "Let's just do it and be legends, man!" (Probably.) Then Trump said DEEEEERP, MCCAINGHAZI OBUMMERCARE HILLARYGATE. And that's how it all went down, according to Politico:

The Trump administration's surprising move to invalidate Obamacare on Monday came despite the opposition of two key cabinet secretaries: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General Bill Barr.

Driving the dramatic action were the administration's domestic policy chief, Joe Grogan, and the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, Russ Vought, according to three sources with direct knowledge of the decision. Both are close allies of White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who helped to engineer the move.

So much for Bill Barr the institutionalist, defender of the Justice Department and its proud traditions, and man of unimpeachable integrity. As University of Michigan law professor Nick Bagley put it in the New York Times:


The irresponsibility of this new legal position is hard to overstate. It's a shocking dereliction of the Justice Department's duty, embraced by Republican and Democratic administrations alike, to defend acts of Congress if any plausible argument can be made in their defense.

Gives ya that extra boost of confidence that Barr is being square with Congress about the Mueller report, don't it? YEAH, NOT SO MUCH.

Secretary Azar's representative insists that he "fully supports the Administration's litigation position in the ACA case." You bet!

For their part, Republicans in Congress have settled on a coherent response and it is ... to praise Trump for his infinite wisdom and sagacity in destroying the American healthcare system.

Okay, that's actually totally incoherent. Are they really saying that Trump putting a gun to the head of 12 million Medicaid recipients and threatening to pull the trigger is exactly the motivation Congress needs to gut the nation's healthcare system? And now that Democrats control the House, they're totally going to vote to repeal Obamacare this time, for sure?

Holy shit, that really is what they're saying!

"Congress needs to do its job and find a solution," said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who faces a tough re-election campaign. But Senate Republicans have no apparent plan to act if the law is struck down.

Other Republicans eager to see their party take another crack at health care said Trump was shrewdly pressing them into action.

"We shouldn't avoid this. And he's not going to let us," said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.).

Trump could offer these craven hacks a glass of warm piss, and they'd all swear it was the finest chardonnay. All except for Susan Collins, who is doing her very best Susan Collins.

Yes, Susan Collins is pulling out her most fearsome weapon: a letter to the editor. That'll show them!

So, to recap: Bill Barr and Solicitor General Noel Francisco will not use their considerable prestige to force the president to abide by his lawful obligation to defend a duly enacted congressional statute. Proximity to power and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to pack the judiciary are just too delicious, and they know that Democratic state attorneys general will almost certainly get this patently incorrect trial judge's ruling overturned. So Barr and Francisco will sacrifice the Justice Department's independence and integrity -- not to mention their own reputations -- on the altar of Trump's sniveling insecurity, which makes him an easy mark for anti-tax cranks like Mick Mulvaney, who are delighted to foist junk policies on the poor if it improves corporate profitability by a nickel.

So, fine. If they want to make 2020 about healthcare again, no complaints on our end.

Okay, Poppy. But maybe not in exactly the way you think.

[Politico / NYT]

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You guys, hi, hello, it is almost the holiday weekend, so we are going to share you a real video posted last night by "Doctor" Sebastian "Don't Call Me A Nazi" Gorka, that hilarious old knucklecuck. We guess now that he had to give up (or gave up voluntarily!) his Fox News contract, he just makes videos for the Twitter. Hoo ... ray?

Anyway, Gorka is super-excited that Donald Trump issued that order last night, giving Bill Barr all kinds of new powers to expose the Deep State for what it is and PROVE once and for all that the gremlins who live inside Trump's diarrhea are correct when they say Hillary ordered the Deep State to do an illegal witch hunt to Trump, yadda yadda yadda, you've seen these people huff paint before, we don't have to type it all.

Here is the video, after which Wonkette will either transcribe it OR we will provide our own dramatic interpretation. Which one will it be? We don't know! Would you be able to tell the difference between the two? We don't know!

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We want to say right here at the outset that we hate Julian Assange. Aside from the sexual assault allegations against him, and aside from the fact that he's just a generally stinky and loathsome person who reportedly smeared poop on the walls at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, while reportedly not taking care of his cat, an innocent creature, he acted as Russia's handmaiden during the 2016 election, in order to further Russia's campaign to steal it for Donald Trump. All signs point to his campaign being a success!

So we are justifiably happy when bad things happen to Julian Assange. We are happy his name is shit the world over, and that any reputation WikiLeaks used to have for being on the side of freedom and transparency has been stuffed down the toilet where it belongs. We are happy he looked like such a sad-ass loser when the Ecuadorian embassy finally kicked him out and he was arrested.

And quite frankly, we were OK with the initial charge against him recently unsealed in the Eastern District of Virginia. If you'll remember, he was charged with trying to help Chelsea Manning hack a password into the Defense Department, which is not what journalists do. Journalists do not drive the get-away car for sources. Journalists do not hold their sources' hair back while they're stealing classified intel. Assange is essentially accused of doing all that.

Now, put all that aside. Because -- and this is key -- journalists do publish secrets they are provided by sources. That's First Amendment, chapter and verse, American as fucking apple pie and fast-food-induced diabetes. And that is what much of the superseding indictment of Assange unsealed yesterday was about. (And nope, it wasn't about anything regarding Assange's ratfucking the 2016 election or Hillary's emails. Why would the Trump Justice Department prosecute anything about that? It's all about the older Chelsea Manning stuff, the stuff the Obama Justice Department considered charging Assange with, but ultimately declined, because of that little thing called the First Amendment.)

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