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2020 Congressional Elections

Martha McSally Is No Barry Goldwater, So She's Got That Going For Her

She'll also lose less spectacularly than Goldwater did.

A new political ad just dropped that attacks my favorite daytime soap opera villain, Martha McSally. It comes from the Lincoln Project, a collection of former or at least just dormant members of the Republican Party. Founders George Conway, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver, and Rick Wilson described the Lincoln Project in a New York Times op-ed as "an effort to highlight our country's story and values, and its people's sacrifices and obligations."

These guys all hate Donald Trump and the Republicans who enable him. McSally is one of the latter who isn't married to George Conway, so the Lincoln Project's ad really lets her have it. A mean girl narrator goes into taunting detail about how much of a big fat loser the non-elected senator is. Let's watch, shall we?

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History Facts

Wonkette Book Club: The Wishful Thinking War

Let them eat yellowcake.

Progressives are always being told we need to face reality. There's no way we can have health care for everyone because it's just not realistic. Controlling global warming can't be done because running an advanced economy on clean energy "defies the laws of physics" (according to an oil lobbyist with a BA in political science). A nation simply can't relieve poverty because the iron laws of economic reality mean there must be winners and losers, and the winners get to write the tax laws, sorry. Regardless of what Anne Frank said, people aren't "good at heart" and the sooner you accept that reality, the better. Anyone who says otherwise has their head in the clouds.

Oh, but as Michael Isikoff and David Corn explain in painful detail in our current Wonkette Book Club selection, Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, Republicans who want to get their war on don't need to be tethered to mere reality, because they know what they're doing.

In 2003, the wise conservatives of the George W. Bush administration went to war in Iraq because they were absolutely certain it had to happen. Further, they expected it would be a fairly easy win with little chance of failure and that the invasion would spark a wave of democratic reform across the region. Along the way, the executive-branch Deciders, from Bush on down, ignored or dismissed any information that pointed to inconvenient realities in Iraq, because their minds were made up. The war was necessary, and it would be easy. Anyone who said otherwise was either irrationally gloomy or outright disloyal.

The more I read Hubris, the more I'm reminded that Donald Trump and his many enablers didn't create "alternative facts." They've simply perfected the art of living entirely in a reality-distortion field. A self-created reality already took America into a disastrous war less than 20 years ago. Those "Just-So" stories the Bush administration told itself killed hundreds of thousands and made the region even more unstable.

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History Facts

Betsy DeVos Flunks History, Human Decency

Education secretary compares abortion to slavery like a horrible person with limited knowledge of history.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said some stupid crap the other day. She's an incredibly stupid person and likes to stay on brand. DeVos, who bought her Cabinet position at a GOP donor auction, took on the horrors of reproductive freedom at a Colorado Christian University event. She went so far (and so low) as to compare abortion rights to the enslavement of human beings. She might've also suggested that Donald Trump reminded her of Abraham Lincoln. It was a hot mess.

DEVOS: [Lincoln], too, contended with the "pro-choice" arguments of his day. They suggested that a state's 'choice' to be slave or to be free had no moral question in it. Well, President Lincoln reminded those pro-choicers that there is a vast portion of the American people that do not look upon that matter as being this very little thing. They look upon it as a vast moral evil. Lincoln was right about the slavery 'choice' then, and he would be right about the life 'choice' today. Because as it's been said: Freedom is not about doing what we want. Freedom is about having the right to do what we ought.

Congratulations, Ms. "Education" Secretary, you just failed seventh grade history.

DeVos is comparing something she doesn't like to something everyone (mostly) agrees is terrible. This rhetorical tactic is called "being an asshole." So abortion is just like slavery and zucchini on pizza. This intellectual laziness works equally well in reverse: Charter schools are like freedom and Girl Scout cookies. Her insulting argument falls apart under the slightest scrutiny.

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History Facts

Dennis Prager: A Lying Liar Telling Lies About Yr Wonkette

That Anne Frank kid just keeps causing trouble!

When we got back to work after the New Year, we enjoyed making fun of Dennis Prager, the rightwing culture warrior who thinks free school breakfasts for poor kids "weaken the parent-child bond," and whose fake "university" peddles dumb distortions of civil rights history. This time out, we took a look at Prager's thoughts on Anne Frank, whom he respects as the face of those who were murdered by the Nazis. But he rejects her dictum, "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart," because as a conservative, he knows humans are in fact basically bad, and need to be kept in line by wise leaders with good morals. Here again is his dumb video, the salient feature of which is his saying -- without much elaboration -- that he rejects Frank's view of human nature:

Her diary is very famous, and it gives a face to the horror of the Holocaust. I know she wrote that, and my answer is, it doesn't matter that she wrote it. I don't get my wisdom from teenagers.

Well! Turns out that a completely different publication, a little mommyblog called "Newsweek," said some things about Prager's take on Anne Frank that were very wrong! Newsweek ran a piece headlined "Conservative Radio Host Ridicules Anne Frank: 'I Don't Get My Wisdom From Teenagers.'" In his column at Ben Shapiro's Internet Tendency, Prager insisted the Newsweek piece stood as "one of the most glaring examples of a lie in my lifetime."

Dennis Prager is 71 years old. Gotta wonder if anyone's ever told him about "I have here in my hand a list of two hundred and five people that were known to the secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party" or "The initial attack on the destroyer Maddox, on August 2, was repeated today by a number of hostile vessels attacking two US destroyers with torpedoes." Or even that Americans really could say "Merry Christmas" before Donald Trump was elected.

Fine, he said "one of." So maybe Newsweek's hed comes just after those.

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Post-Racial America

Ilhan Omar Disrespects Fictional Memory Of Conservative MLK

We've gotta do this every year, don't we?

Rep. Ilhan Omar twice used the word "radical" yesterday to describe Martin Luther King Jr., and that annoyed conservatives who want to imagine the civil rights leader as a Bagger Vance figure who inspired America to fulfill its post-racial promise. They'd prefer we all join hands today and call no harm, no foul for the slavery and Jim Crow oppression. Omar set fire to the memo saying everyone should just tweet that "darkness cannot drive out darkness" quote and declare King's dream fully realized because Bad Boys For Life was number one at the box office this weekend. No, Omar decided to do something radical herself and talk about the Dr. King who actually existed.

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History Facts

Wonkette Book Club: How George W. Bush Turned An Obsession Into A War

We chose this month's Wonkette Book Club book selection shortly after Donald Trump wished the world a Happy New War by assassinating Iranian general Qasem Soleimani via a drone attack in Baghdad. Since then, Trump and his war heads seem to have backed off somewhat from any immediate plans for a shooting war with Iran -- at least until there's another event in the region that might put everyone on edge again. But what are the odds of new tensions in the Middle East?

We figured it might be useful to examine the last time a bunch of hot-headed Republicans got us into a war, and that's why we're reading Michael Isikoff and David Corn's 2006 book Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War, which as its title suggests isn't so much a military history as an account of the snow job George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and a raft of neocons did in convincing America to launch a war of choice in Iraq. There wasn't any need for them to convince themselves: again and again, Isikoff and Corn make clear Bush and company were already committed to ousting Saddam Hussein. Many had even wanted to before 9/11 provided a convenient national security crisis to exploit. And too many members of the media were perfectly willing to suspend their skepticism or even to aid and abet the liars.

As we read Hubris now, some parallels to the still unfolding Trump/Iran situation are obvious -- most notably the constant lies and spin around the motives for killing Soleimani (right down to a bullshit claim that he'd been involved with 9/11) and the facts about Iran's retaliatory missile strike. But the differences are striking, too. Bush et al lied us into a war that they'd wanted for a long time, for some very specific reasons. Trump, who acts based on a combination of longstanding bad ideas about the world plus whatever mood he happens to be in, doesn't seem to have any particular direction or consistent motives at all (beyond what he thinks will gain him money or votes). It remains to be seen whether that makes him even more dangerous than the Bush crew.

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Military

'No Americans Were Harmed' In Iran Missile Attack? Troops With Brain Injuries Might Say Otherwise

Trump is his very own Baghdad Bob.

When Donald Trump did his presser the morning following Iran's missile attack on American air bases in Iraq (we stole 'em fair and square and they belong to us) on January 8, he was very clear that both the Americans and the Iraqis at the bases were completely unscathed, HOORAY.

Here, we've cued the video up for you:

youtu.be

Since he was reading from a teleprompter, Trump delivered the news in a relatively straightforward declaration:

I'm pleased to inform you, the American people [sniffsnort] should be extremely [audible exhale] grateful and happy [sniff!] no Americans were harmed in last night's attack by the Iranian regime. [sniff] We suffered no casualties [snort], all of our soldiers are safe, and only minimal damage was sustained at our military bases.

He went on to add that "No American or Iraqi lives were lost," which to our knowledge still appears to be true. But the stuff about no Americans being harmed is, we learned yesterday, pure uncut Trumpian bullshit. Turns out that in mere reality, 11 American troops were wounded in the attack, and were evacuated to American military hospitals in Kuwait and Germany. Defense One reports the injured US personnel will

be treated for traumatic brain injury and to undergo further evaluation, several U.S. defense and military officials have confirmed[.]

The news of 11 casualties is rather different not only from what Trump said, but also from what Pentagon and White House sources said immediately after the attack, when they insisted the Iranian missile strikes had resulted in "no casualties, no friendly casualties, whether they are U.S., coalition, contractor, et cetera."

And now the administration is spinning furiously to explain there's no contradiction at all between the initial "no casualties" declarations and the inconveniently brain-injured soldiers being treated at military hospitals.

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History Facts

Republicans Take Brief Moment To Not Suck So Terribly

Honoring an American WWII soldier who saved Jewish troops, no less!

Here's a Nice Time break from all the ongoing madness: Congress is taking steps to honor a WWII hero, Roderick W. "Roddie" Edmonds, who after being captured during the Battle of the Bulge refused to tell a Nazi POW camp officer which of his fellow American soldiers were Jews. In 2015, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel recognized Edmonds, who died in 1985, as one of the "Righteous Among Nations," an honor given to non-Jews who helped Jews escape genocide.

Members of Tennessee's congressional delegation -- Republicans even! -- have introduced a bill to award Edmonds the Congressional Gold Medal, which is different from a Medal of Honor because that one's reserved for heroism in combat. But that doesn't take anything away from the courage Edmonds displayed in the face of very real danger.

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Nice Time

Virginia Makes It Official: Women Are People

WE GOT US A NICE TIME!

Virginia has quickly demonstrated all the good you can do when you literally "throw the bums out." Democrats won majorities in both chambers of the legislature last year. Women now lead both the House of Delegates and the Senate, and they're completing some unfinished business. Wednesday, the General Assembly passed the Equal Rights Amendment, making Virginia the 38th and final state necessary to approve the amendment.

House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn set off cheers in the Capitol when she declared, "For the women of Virginia and the women of America, the resolution has finally passed." Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy was the resolution's chief sponsor in the House, and it's been a long-fought battle. How long? Del. Vivian Watts demonstrated for the ERA in Washington 44 years ago. She proudly showed a photo of herself with her daughter, who was then 14 years old. She voted for the resolution yesterday while wearing the same sash she wore in the photo.

WATTS: It should be ancient history. Forty-four years is a long time to wait.
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News

Tulsi Gabbard Still Fighting 'Warmonger' Hillary Clinton For 2016 Dem Nomination

Tulsi Gabbard continues embarrassing herself and loved ones.

You might've noticed the hashtag #IVotedForHillaryClinton trending on Twitter earlier this week. People wanted to declare that they'd chosen sanity over what actually wound up in the White House. Donald Trump is marching us to a senseless war, as Republicans like to do whenever they're in office. Hillary Clinton tried to warn us. She didn't belabor the point. She often just pointed at Trump during debates and shouted, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

Some conservatives are claiming, however, that Clinton's Iran strategy wouldn't have differed much from Trump's. That assumes Trump actually has an Iran strategy and there's no evidence of this. His entire foreign policy is just a game of pin the tail on the dildo.

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History Facts

Dinesh D'Souza Branches Out, Gets Iran History Wrong Too

If only Carter hadn't been weak, the Shah wouldn't have had cancer, either.

It's been a good week for rightwing shitposter, convicted/pardoned felon, and habitual liar Dinesh D'Souza. Donald Trump, who D'Souza unironically compares to Lincoln, retweeted D'Souza's funny joke that it was perfectly fine that Democratic congressional leaders weren't informed in advance of the assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani because after all, "Neither were the Iranians, and for pretty much the same reason." Haw haw, both are sworn enemies of the USA, how true this is!

Over the weekend, D'Souza departed from his usual schtick of explaining that Democrats love slavery and Jim Crow because history stopped in 1964, and offered a very smart historical take on the current unpleasantness, explaining that if only Jimmy Carter had propped up the Shah of Iran in 1979, Donald Trump wouldn't have to be fixing things now.

If nothing else, D'Souza stands in his complete wrongness as a pretty useful proxy for how Americans think about history and foreign affairs, especially the notion that US-Iran problems started with the Shah's ouster and the hostage crisis in 1979. Add to that the dubious idea that American presidents have the power to shape world events, and you might end up with a deeply stupid conclusion, like claiming Jimmy Carter singlehandedly allowed the rise of Islamic fundamentalist radicalism because he was weak. You might also have to be super dishonest and partisan to get there, too, which is Dinesh D'Souza's special talent.

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foreign policy

Mike Pence Lies About Soleimani, 9/11 in Plain Sight Of Mother, Bible, Half-Eaten Apple Pie

The vice president shows off more of his vices.

Have we mentioned lately that Mike Pence is a lying weasel? The vice president tried to plant the bloody glove of 9/11 on Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. Pence claimed in a tweet Friday that Soleimani, who the US killed good and dead, "assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in the United States." These are all lies. But the New York Times reacted as if he just flubbed an answer on his early 21st century history midterm.

Sigh.New York Times

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Trump

President War Crimer Spends Weekend Cyberbullying Iran On Twitter

Classic #BeBesting!

Hillary Clinton warned us all that an unstable reality TV host would make a piss-poor commander-in-chief of the world's most powerful military. Unfortunately, she shrunk the testicles of insecure men in the rust belt, so here we are. Donald Trump, flush from killing Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, tweeted threats at Iran yesterday like a drunk-dialing Dr. Evil. Duck and cover, y'all.

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News

Other Than That, Rod Blagojevich, How Did You Like Trump's Impeachment?

Pardon me?

Like a seat in the US Senate, a presidential pardon is a fucking valuable thing. You just don't give it away for nothing.

Rod Blagojevich -- do you remember? -- is back, this time with an op-ed that compares both himself and President Pussygrabber to none other than Abraham Lincoln. In a piece for right-wing propaganda outlet Newsmax, titled "House Democrats Would Have Impeached Lincoln."

And, honestly ... it's amazing.

The man who was impeached and sent to prison for public corruption after trying to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat apparently has a lot to say about impeachment and public corruption. Some of it is a desperate attempt for a pardon from President Extortion. And the rest of it is a simultaneously sad and hilarious attempt to liken himself and Trump to Abraham Lincoln.

The piece is appropriately batshit and hits all of Trump's favorite nonsensical talking points. From invoking Queen Nancy as the bad guy ...

Recently I've wondered what would have happened had Nancy Pelosi been the Speaker of the House when Abraham Lincoln was president.

... to falling in line with the GOP pig manure about how today's Democrats are bad because Democrats in the 1860s were bad ...

In fact, at the time Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the Democrats of that day opposed it.

... and the false claim that impeachment is the same as undoing an election.

And the worst part of it is, that should this happen, those politicians are taking from the people their right to choose their own leaders though free elections.

Buckle up, kids. This is going to be a bumpy -- and hilarious! -- ride.

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White Nonsense

Look At This F*cking Hitler

Oh you can't, she got fired from 'cultural diversity trainer.'

Ding dong, the Nazis are gone.

Last month, a photo depicting 31 graduating West Virginia corrections officers doing a Nazi salute, with the caption "Hail Byrd" for one of the students' instructors, became public. Now, all of the cadets, the instructor they were saluting, and two other staffers from the Corrections Academy have been fired. Four additional instructors who saw the photograph and failed to report it to their superiors have been suspended with pay. And the Anti-Defamation League has been asked to help prepare Holocaust education for future Corrections Academy courses.

SHOCKINGLY, an investigation confirms exactly what we all expected it to.

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Culture Wars

Dennis Prager Will Not Be Bullied By Anne Frank

People aren't 'basically good' and teenagers are stupid.

Rightwing intellectual Dennis Prager, the Family Values guy who explained child hunger is OK because free school breakfasts "weaken the parent-child bond," recently took on another pernicious corrupter of the world's morals: Anne Frank. The teen diarist, who died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen in 1945, was absolutely wrong when she wrote "In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart." Oh yeah? Dennis Prager, like any good Puritan, knows that human nature is essentially corrupt and sinful, which is why the Nazis persecuted Anne Frank and her family in the first place. And to rein in sinful human nature, we need strong authority figures who'll enforce God's laws and preserve us from chaos.

Prager summarized that a bit more succinctly, though, explaining Anne Frank didn't understand basic morality because she was a "secular Jew," and besides, "I don't get my wisdom from teenagers."

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