Barack Obama find common ground with GOP, but then Beto IS white.
Presidential candidate and blogger Beto O'Rourke is currently selling "post-partisanship" as the answer to our dysfunctional politics. We hope he gets more takers than we did recently for our gently used Betamax. Look, there are a thousand Democrats running for the 2020 nomination and if O'Rourke thinks he can distinguish himself with a "hope and change" remix platform, who are we to remind him that Republicans exist? As Rodney King once asked, "Can't we all just get along?" Although, in fairness, King had recently suffered traumatic head injuries from a vicious police beating. It's uncertain why any politician fully in possession of their faculties would think they can find common cause with scumbags who pull shit like this:
Beto spoke with Chuck Todd while campaigning Sunday in Waterloo, Iowa. Todd couldn't zing him about being "over-prepared" like he did Hillary Clinton, so he instead asked how O'Rourke planned to make good on his promises of a big bipartisan orgy in DC and who'd have to oil down Mitch McConnell?
Like last time, they swear this will never happen again.
Facebook has a problem. On top of being a repository for ugly baby pictures, racist uncles, and a testing ground for Russian brainwashing, it is hemorrhaging users, has a slumping stock price, AND 2020 candidates are accusing it of operating a monopoly on social media. Then there's the FTC investigation, the DOJ's Cambridge Analytica investigation, and now federal prosecutors are investigating Facebook's secret trading of user data. Oh, and our notes say something ... hhmm ... Oh, Mark Zuckerberg might have lied to Congress. Oops.
The latest case Zuck seems to have caught appears related to a story the Times broke back in December, right around the time we were all busy being righteously pissed about Trump's baby jails and the looming government shutdown. The story is pretty simple: In order to rapidly grow its user base, Facebook traded access to its database of 2.2 BILLION users to phone companies, search engines, and other media platforms. Businesses got access to Facebook's treasure trove of shitposts and drunken selfies in exchange for letting Mark Zuckerberg wrap his tentacles around everything in the digital toilet we call the 21st Century. Per the Times from last December ...
Every corporate partner that integrated Facebook data into its online products helped drive the platform's expansion, bringing in new users, spurring them to spend more time on Facebook and driving up advertising revenue. At the same time, Facebook got critical data back from its partners. The partnerships were so important that decisions about forming them were vetted at high levels, sometimes by Mr. Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer, Facebook officials said. While many of the partnerships were announced publicly, the details of the sharing arrangements typically were confidential.
Facebook couldn't exactly tell anyone they were essentially selling access to user data, nor could they straight-up sell user data like credit card companies without starting a riot. Instead, Facebook built a switchboard thingy to turn certain data points ("capabilities") on and off. Capabilities ranged from being able to read email addresses and view user feeds in real time, all the way up to reading, writing and deleting private messages. Apple struck a deal to give it overriding access to contact numbers and calendars, even if you opted out, and worked with Facebook to hide its snooping. Microsoft's Bing got access to religious affiliations from user profiles. Yandex, the Russian version of Google, even had a sweetheart deal to scrape user data through 2017, which they then shared with the Kremlin.
You may be wondering, "HOW IN THE HAMSTER DANCE IS THAT LEGAL?" The good news is that it's not, but Facebook did it anyway. Since 2011, Facebook has been bound by a consent decree with the FTC that says it has to keep user data private. It's OK if an app needs specific data to work, like your email address or profile access, as long as the app asks permission. But some hooded cyborgs inside Facebook found this really harshed Facebook's global domination vibe. Facebook's brass began to see their data sharing agreements as "partnerships" that fell into a legal grey area. The data sharing partners weren't bound to the same privacy rules, and nobody at Facebook bothered to check what capabilities their partners were using. And now we know why Facebook was SO SURPRISED when Cambridge Analytica was caught sucking up massive amounts of data for the Trump campaign.
Fun Fact: If Facebook is found to have violated the consent decree it faces a $40,000 fine per use per day for each user. Since these violations could span years, the fines could be in the billions, if not trillions of dollars. Mind you, the FTC is supposed to audit Facebook's compliance with the consent decree, but it doesn't have enough staff thanks to Republican budget cuts. Instead, they farm that out to a third-party. One of these audits happened while Cambridge Analytica was busy hoovering up your drunk rants about HER EMAILS. Obviously the audit didn't find anything. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
All this leads to a very interesting pickle for Mark Zuckerberg. Most of these data sharing agreements went away after people found out the Russians were scraping Facebook for the Trump campaign, but not all of them! Since some of these partnerships were still in place in the summer of 2018, it also raises questions as to whether Mark Zuckerberg lied to Congress last April when he said, "Every single time that you share something on Facebook or one of our services, right there is a control in line where you control who you want to share with," (see pages 49 and 50) or if the company lied when, two months later, it finally responded with bullshit answers to the 43 different questions Zuckerberg dodged in order to keep from perjuring himself. IF he lied, we're sure he's sorry.
Wonkette is ad-free and reader supported, and we need money for a spreadsheet of Facebook's ALLEGED crimes!
Let's take a look at this new Vanity Fair thingamajig about Beto's thingamajig!
Did you see the new Vanity Fair cover story about Robert Francis O'Rourke AKA Beto AKA Bingo AKA Sir Roberto Duvallier Francisco Domingo O'Rourke, XIV, Esq.? Clearly the new issue was timed with the roll-out of Beto's presidential campaign (COLLUSION!), and everybody's talking about it, so we'll talk about it, too!
First of all, we should note that That Thing is happening again, that happens to many candidates (especially women candidates!), where #TheMedia does a clickbait headline that isn't quite accurate, and before you know it, Twitter is off to the races saying OH YEAH, BETO? YOU WERE BORN TO DO THIS? IS THAT WHAT YOU THINK? GUESS I BETTER NOT READ THE ARTICLE TO SEE IF THAT'S WHAT YOU THINK, BECAUSE UHHHHHHHHH I SEEN THE PICTURE!
SEE? WHERE DOES HE GET OFF?
Let's see what he actually said.
"This is the fight of our lives," he continues, "not the fight-of-my-political-life kind of crap.
But, like, this is the fight of our lives as Americans, and as humans, I'd argue."
The more he talks, the more he likes the sound of what he's saying. "I want to be in it," he says, now leaning forward. "Man, I'm just born to be in it, and want to do everything I humanly can for this country at this moment."
Oh. That's different.
Class act, this one.
This has not been a good week for Fox News. There was the Jane Mayer article in the New Yorker about how the station is deeply in cahoots with Donald J. Trump to the point of being obvious propaganda. There was Judge Jeanine Pirro trying to suggest that the fact that Rep. Ilhan Omar wears a hijab means that she is devoted to Sharia Law and thus opposes the Constitution (which is particularly interesting in light of the fact that Pirro is herself a Catholic, and for many years the line on Catholics was that they were too loyal to the Pope to be loyal to America). Then there was Tucker. Tucker being worshiped by white supremacists, Tucker defending child rapist Warren Jeffs, Tucker saying a bunch of racist shit, Tucker saying he wanted a racist president, etc. etc.
All the controversy has led to many advertisers deciding that they may not want their brands associated with such people. Several have decided to take their dollars elsewhere. Given that the MyPillow guy cannot singlehandedly support the station on his own, Fox will be having a special emergency pitch meeting to Madison Avenue executives in hopes of keeping more of the advertisers they still have and perhaps reaching new ones. They plan to highlight the "real news" portion of their programming, which at this point is close to non-existent, as well as the fact that they are the most watched cable news network in the nation.
They may have a little trouble doing that, given that there has been yet another dump of Tucker Carlson's comments from the Bubba The Love Sponge show -- in which he, once again, appears to get very excited about the prospect of sex with underage girls.
The year was 2007, and a young lady named Caitlin Upton had just made a damn fool of herself on national television when, in the Miss Teen USA pageant, she answered a question in a not-very-smart way.
More unearthed audio reveals Tucker Carlson saying incredibly racist things, as he is known to do.
On Monday night, Media Matters released a second set of recordings from Tucker Carlson's appearances on the Bubba the Love Sponge show, all of which were incredibly racist and would be very shocking, had they been said by almost anyone who wasn't Tucker Carlson. (The child-rape defenses were covered the day before.) There is a reason why all the neo-Nazis swoon over Tucker Carlson, and it's not because of his fashion sense. It is because he says the exact same things they do, every weeknight on national television.
In this second set of recordings, Carlson shared his feelings on a variety of subjects. On immigration, he said that all immigrants should be required to be "hot" or "smart," because "picking lettuce" won't help us build a stronger country years from now. Tucker Carlson, of course, would not be shit if it hadn't been for people working on farms -- he owes everything to the fact that his stepmommy was the Swanson frozen dinners heiress.
He also noted that white men "created civilization," a popular white supremacist talking point (and lie), called Iraqis "semiliterate primitive monkeys" whom he does not care about because they don't use "toilet paper" or "forks," claimed that the Congressional Black Caucus exists to unfairly "blame the white man" for everything, and shared a variety of incredibly racist thoughts about Barack and Michelle Obama.
Let's go to the tape, shall we?
Hey Dems, just give Trump what he wants for, you know, DEMOCRACY!
David Frum argues in the April issue of The Atlantic that "the political rise of Donald Trump has radicalized many of his opponents on immigration." Conservatives often lament that Trump's extreme views have caused an equal and opposite reaction from Democrats. For instance, the Trump administration callously locks up immigrant children and Democrats politely suggest we maybe not do that. It's really getting out of hand.
Frum specifically singles out presidential candidates Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand. Castro supports a pathway to citizenship for all immigrants currently living in the US illegally. That wacky idea was part of the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" reform bill that died in 2013, back when Trump was safely still a reality TV host. Harris refused to reopen the government unless Dreamers were protected, but the Dream Act also predates Trump. Now, Gillibrand did denounce ICE as a "deportation force," which is probably a reaction to a lot of crappy stuff they've done under Trump. Frum pats Gillibrand on the head and wonders how the silly senator thinks we could ever enforce border security without a "deportation force." Gillibrand's actual views were more more complex than that.
Somehow, these measured positions are so far outside the mainstream that they risk driving Americans to embrace Trump's totalitarian fascism. Sure, fine, whatever.
Carlson refuses to apologize for his defense of Warren Jeffs.
On Sunday afternoon, Media Matters For America released a series of audio tapes of Tucker Carlson making regular calls to the Bubba the Love Sponge show in which he made a variety of disturbing comments, not the least of which were several defenses of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs and his habit of marrying young girls himself or forcing them to marry other older men -- a crime Tucker Carlson does not consider all that bad if it is even a crime at all.
(If Bubba the Love Sponge sounds familiar to you, by the way, it's because Bubba, aka Todd Alan Clem, previously made the news after he filmed his wife, Heather Clem, having sex with Hulk Hogan -- a tape which then "somehow" found itself in the hands of Gawker Media. Also he was somehow involved with Howard Stern, don't ask us, we don't care.)
While most people in Carlson's position would apologize and do the whole "I know better now" rigamarole, he is refusing, and has instead released a statement telling people to watch his show.
Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago. Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I'm on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.
The newly released tapes reveal that in 2006, Carlson defended Warren Jeffs by saying that he didn't do anything that bad because he didn't rape any of those underage girls himself, insisting that forcing a girl to marry an old dude and have sex with him the rest of her life just is not as bad as pulling a stranger off the street and raping her.
It's The Sunday Show Rundown!!
Let's begin our Sunday show rundown this week with Republican "strategist" and Mr. "
Kamala Harris/Cory Booker/Obama black primary" himself, Alex Castellanos. On ABC's "This Week" with
George Stephanopoulos Martha Raddatz, the panel began with a discussion about Ilhan Omar's unfortunately worded comments about Israel, and Nancy Pelosi's decision to focus a House resolution on denouncing hate and bigotry in all its forms. The vote itself received bipartisan support in condemnation of hate ... except for 24 Republicans.
While many sensible people would see this as a larger victory in condemning hate, Alex Castellanos is NOT one of these people:
Trump's bigass budget, the horse race for 2020, and Erik Prince miiiight have lied to congress. Your morning news brief!
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
We are telling you to CLICK on a David Brooks article? We just don't know anymore.
David Brooks is for reparations now? He IS? We ... go ahead and CLICK.
Nearly five years ago I read Ta-Nehisi Coates's Atlantic article "The Case for Reparations," with mild disagreement. All sorts of practical objections leapt to mind. What about the recent African immigrants? What about the poor whites who have nothing of what you would call privilege? Do we pay Oprah and LeBron?
But I have had so many experiences over the past year — sitting, for example, with an elderly black woman in South Carolina shaking in rage because the kids in her neighborhood face greater challenges than she did growing up in 1953 — that suggest we are at another moment of make-or-break racial reckoning.
Back never, our eyeballs clearly need fixing.
'Assassinated and Buried Alive' but somehow he's still here...
We, your wonderful saviors at Wonkette, have been cancelling R. Kelly for nearly a year now, as we have chronicled the trials and tribulations this "God-fearing" crooner has endured at the hands of Lucifer. Oh Satan, why hast thou forsaken thine own favored son? For some, the recent assassination of R. Kelly is a much needed change for our culture; for R. Kelly, it is all some amazingly indecipherable plot to steal his joy, set him up, and trick starry eyed young ingenues into believing that the lying Devil is in fact, R. Kelly himself. Will he ever receive justice? In order to restore the world to its proper order, R. Kelly took his crazy ass to sit for an interview with Gayle King (who is NOT Robin Roberts, okay Jesse Waters?) so he could defend himself. It was all supposed to clear his name, and prove to the all the haters and the lying vicious whooores that Daddy Kelly don't lock no girls up in closets and chains, and also, that the youngest of ladies love strange ass orgies with midlife-crisis-having misanthropes. Seems legit.
The full interview won't be out until Friday (my b-day, awesome gift, Jesus, you shouldn't have, really) but lucky for us, R. Kelly is so damn crazy, the few minutes of clips they have released so far gives us PLENTY of insight into this ... situation.
Identity Evropa chat logs were released by the media collective Unicorn Riot.
On Wednesday, the media collective Unicorn Riot leaked several hundred thousand chat logs from the Identity Evropa Discord server, giving the world a nauseating glimpse into the secret online world of white supremacists. Evropa Discord is best known for tactics like posting creepy racist posters around campuses and attempting to infiltrate college Republican groups, the military, and the GOP itself.
The release contains more than 770,000 messages exchanged by group members, all of which have been helpfully compiled into a searchable database.
Notably, Identity Evropa also helped to organize the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, and you may recall the unfortunate time that the group's current leader, Patrick Casey, appeared on the Today Show in order to have quick chat about their sartorial choices and plans to infiltrate college campuses.
Founded in 2016 by convicted armed robber Nathan Damigo, Identity Evropa is a white supremacist/white separatist group that aims to act as a fifth column, pushing right-wing conservatives to embrace white separatist ideology with the intended goal of making America a 90% white country. Which, you know, is not happening. People of color are not going to just magically disappear or all move to different countries, along with allllllllll of the white people who don't want shit to do with groups like Identity Evropa just so these spoiled twerps can have their special homeland. They are more than welcome to leave if they want to, though I doubt any other country would want them either.
But that doesn't mean they're not going to try.
Trump's stonewalling and screaming, Republicans are squirming, and a lovely tribute for Rep. John Dingell. Your morning news brief!
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
He should moonlight as a motivational speaker.
New York Times columnist David Brooks has an opinion about Medicare for All. It's not a good or even all that interesting an opinion, but he's going to share it with us anyway.
See? Medicare for All is impossible. Health care expert and political genius David Brooks said so. We can all give up now and move on to more important matters, like carefully considering the feelings and bruised egos of bigots. Brooks also dismisses Medicare for All as just a big dream, like the one we often have where the New York Times hires decent columnists.
Brooks is a rich guy with reliable access to health care, but that doesn't mean he has no skin in this game. Maybe one of the valets at his club died from a preventable illness. It's not as though Brooks thinks universal coverage is a bad idea. His buddies in Britain and Canada, after all, all swear by their single-payer systems. He just doesn't understand how you could possibly make that work in the United States. And if Brooks -- a card-carrying white man -- can't figure it out, how on earth could Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris?
It's your Sunday Show Rundown!
Let's begin today's Sunday show roundup with National Security Adviser and least favorite Bolton (after Michael and Ramsey), John. Trump's NSA appeared on CNN's "State of The Union," proclaiming the "unquestionable success" of the second Trump/Kim summit, even though no deal was reached and Trump was humiliated. Jake Tapper asked Bolton about Trump's statements regarding Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was sent home in a coma from North Korea and died shortly after being returned to the US; Trump said at a press conference that Kim Jong Un denied knowing anything about Warmbier, and so case closed. Trump stated, "He tells me that he didn't know about it, and I will take him at his word. Those prisons are rough. They're rough places, and bad things happen. But I don't believe he knew about it."
TAPPER: He's going to take Kim Jong-un at his word that he didn't know about it. The Warmbier family put out a statement. They disagree. They say Kim Jong-un is responsible. Are they wrong?
BOLTON: Look, the president made it very clear he considers what happened to Otto Warmbier an act of brutality that's completely unacceptable to the American side. I have heard him before the summit itself, before the press conference, talk about how deeply he cared about Otto Warmbier and his family. The fact is, the best thing North Korea could do right now would be to give us a full accounting of what happened and who was responsible for it.
That's quite a change or non-commitment for Bolton. Especially when, shortly after Otto Warmbier's death, Bolton was basically egging on a full scale regime change in North Korea.
Trump's humps a flag, Bernie's back, and Fox News is calling from INSIDE the White House. Your morning news brief!
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
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