This is our shocked face.
If ignoring Kayleigh McEnany would make her go away forever, we promise we would. Unfortunately, the worst White House press secretary in history (and this includes Sarah Huckabee Sanders) can't stop reminding us how terrible she was at the job. It's like she's posting her own negative LinkedIn testimonials.
On Sunday, which is the Lord's day to golf, McEnany spoke to the Turning Point USA Young Women's Leadership Summit in Dallas. She insisted she'd never lied while working for Donald Trump, himself a singularly graceless liar.
MCENANY: And then there was the question, "Will you ever lie to us?" and I said without hesitation, “No," and I never did, as a woman of faith.
Don't bring God into this, lady. As Billy Flynn said, stick where you're better acquainted. McEnany then pulled the classic lie maneuver of couching lies within objective truths. You know: “It's raining today, and the check is in the mail" or “The earth revolves around the sun, and trickle-down economics works."
MCENANY: As a mother of baby Blake, as a person who meticulously prepared at some of the world's hardest institutions, I never lied. I sourced my information, but that will never stop the press from calling you a liar."
The problem is that McEnany's lies are so virulent they infect any surrounding truths. You're left wondering if her baby's name is actually “Blake" or if she's even a mother at all. You just can't trust anything she says.
Jake Tapper correctly described McEnany as someone who "lies the way that most people breathe." Now that's the truth. McEnany told big, democracy-shredding lies about the election Trump lost and even small, silly lies about the gender makeup of Trump's senior White House press staff.
Tapper also said McEnany “can't acknowledge reality." She's in a different headspace than your typical con artist. It's as if she lives in her own world where people break into musical numbers about how wonderful she is. Maybe the tacky Jesus jewelry she wears isn't an act and she really believes she's a “woman of faith," and not the one practiced by the neighbors in Rosemary's Baby.
McEnany said she told the press she'd never lie to them “without hesitation," but liars easily make promises they won't keep. Remember when Trump claimed the coronavirus would just disappear, like a “miracle"? McEnany earned a “Pants on Fire" rating from Politifact when she said in September that Trump had “never downplayed the virus." And he was still downplaying it, even as she was speaking.
But to McEnany, the press were the true dissemblers. Trump's professional liar told the group of terrible Republicans in Dallas that her motto as press secretary was “offense only."
MCENANY: Because I knew what we were up against. Republicans always get the bad headlines, always get the false stories, always get the lies, if I can use that word, told by the press. There is one standard for Democrats and another for Republicans, and we must be on offense, confident, bold and willing to call it out. We cannot be silent.
McEnany probably has well-muscled arms from bearing all that false witness. She's now expanding to the other nine commandments, particularly the one against envy. She's several shades of Kermit over White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who most people like and respect because she's good at her job and doesn't lie all the time. You'd consider buying a used car from Jen Psaki.
When it was announced that Psaki was going to receive a fancy photo shoot courtesy of Annie Leibovitz, McEnany whined about how systemically unfair it was for liberal magazines to shower Democrats with flattering profiles and not Republicans, who have to settle for adoring coverage on Fox News. She complained the other day, "It's just so sad that you have a fawning press corps like this, a fawning media sycophantically covering members of the Biden administration. They asked Jen Psaki yesterday about Joe Biden's cat. I mean, it's incredible the kinds of questions that they ask."
Of course, Psai does in fact brief the press on more than just President Biden's cat, on a regular basis. Reporters might've asked McEnany some cat questions if Trump had a pet or demonstrated any normal human behavior.
We were going to end this with a compare and contrast of a Psaki press briefing with whatever it was McEnany did, but who needs that shit on a Monday? Psaki to us!
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This is some crazy Nixon shit!
Attorney General Merrick Garland will meet today with representatives from the New York Times, CNN, and the Washington Post to explain how their reporters wound up having their phone and email records swept up via secret subpoena in an apparent attempt by the White House to root out leakers. It promises to be an unpleasant conversation, but not nearly as unpleasant as the grilling the AG will face when Congress eventually gets to ask how Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell and 71 staffers and members of their families wound up under state surveillance.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is some crazy Nixon shit. Or maybe even worse, which is probably why Jeff Sessions, Rod Rosenstein, and Bill Barr all raced to the nearest reporter to deny knowing anything about it.
"What the administration did, the Justice Department, the leadership of the former President, goes even beyond Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon had an enemies list. This is about undermining the rule of law," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN's Dana Bash.
Leave aside for the moment whether anyone should believe that sitting members of Congress were surveilled without sign-off at the highest levels of the Justice Department. That all three of these guys felt the need to run, not walk, to get out in front of this story, when they've consistently asserted executive privilege over other internal deliberations at DOJ, is a pretty good indication they know it's really bad.
Not that we needed further proof. If DOJ took as a given that the universe of possible leakers or leak-ees on the House Intelligence Committee included only Democrats, then it's basically prima facie evidence they engaged in a politically motivated witch hunt. Or WITCH HUNT, as the wingers like to scream. Particularly since one Republican on that committee had a widely reported track record of receiving classified data from the White House that he later made public. And it cannot be a coincidence Trump's favorite media targets were the ones targeted by his own law enforcement apparatus.
But this weekend a new wrinkle in the story emerged when the Times reported that DOJ also obtained a secret subpoena for White House Counsel Don McGahn's phone logs back in 2018. McGahn's subpoena was issued by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia, the same jurisdiction that housed part of the Mueller prosecution of Paul Manafort. The article notes that "It is not clear what F.B.I. agents were investigating, whether Mr. McGahn was their specific focus or whether he was swept up in a larger net because he had communicated with someone who was under scrutiny."
What is clear, though, is that it was standard operating procedure for DOJ to engage in secret TAPPS of media and political targets throughout the Trump administration, with documented initial subpoenas between 2017 and 2020, and multiple annual renewals of the gag order spanning the tenures of Sessions, Barr, and Matthew "Big Dick Toilet" Whitaker. This is a sharp break with prior practice, and it frankly beggars belief that it was done without the knowledge of anyone at the White House, where Trump screeched about leakers on Twitter on the daily.
CNN's Executive Vice President and General Counsel David Vigilante describes receiving an order from a federal magistrate judge in EDVA demanding information on reporter Barbara Starr's emails. Vigilante doesn't mention if a grand jury was involved, but does say he was threatened with obstruction charges if he told anyone besides his legal team about the demand to hand over data stored on CNN's servers. CNN fought the subpoena and managed to get a US district judge to narrow the scope.
And Apple and Microsoft probably would have had a similar result if the companies had stuck up for their own customers the way Twitter did when DOJ tried to unmask one of the Devin Nunes parody accounts. But they didn't.
"In this case, the subpoena, which was issued by a federal grand jury and included a nondisclosure order signed by a federal magistrate judge, provided no information on the nature of the investigation and it would have been virtually impossible for Apple to understand the intent of the desired information without digging through users' accounts," Apple said last week of the subpoena signed by a federal magistrate judge in DC on February 6, 2018. "Consistent with the request, Apple limited the information it provided to account subscriber information and did not provide any content such as emails or pictures."
In Apple's telling, it had no idea who Adam Schiff and Eric Swalwell were and could not have figured that out "without digging through users' accounts." Which is about as credible as Sessions, Barr, and Rosenstein saying they didn't know about the subpoenas in the first place.
Microsoft put out a similarly nonsensical statement about its own compliance with a request for data on an account held by a congressional staffer.
"In 2017 Microsoft received a subpoena related to a personal email account," the statement said. "As we've said before, we believe customers have a constitutional right to know when the government requests their email or documents, and we have a right to tell them. In this case, we were prevented from notifying the customer for more than two years because of a gag order. As soon as the gag order expired, we notified the customer who told us they were a congressional staffer. We then provided a briefing to the representative's staff following that notice. We will continue to aggressively seek reform that imposes reasonable limits on government secrecy in cases like this."
And by "continue," presumably the company means it will start fighting the government, since it appears to have done exactly nothing for four straight years as the government sought and obtained three renewals of the gag order. How shitty is that Bing search engine that Microsoft couldn't even plug in the staffer's name and find his or her LinkedIn page?
In summary and in conclusion, this is fucking crazy. Trump's DOJ was wilding out and trampling the First and Fourth Amendments of reporters and Congress, and the tech companies did fuck all to stop it. And speaking of tech companies, seems like a big one is thusfar missing from this conversation.
What gives, Zuck? Did you hand over the deets on those DMs, or what? We are just asking questions.
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Sorry, Rod Dreher, slash is real.
Rod Dreher, the minor league rightwing pundit who has complained that liberal women are too busy masturbating to love their children, and who mourned the death of George Michael by wishing the late singer had been straight (Why? Dunno, maybe so Jesus could get his autograph?), has found a new Culture War thing to worry about, and it is woke academics ruining J.R.R. Tolkien with their wokeness.
In what might be the laziest culture war rant we've ever seen, Dreher, following up on a reader tip, warns that the Tolkien Society's summer seminar, scheduled to be held online July 3, is on the topic of "Tolkien and Diversity," and can you imagine, now those crazy liberals, not content with having poisoned the modern world with their wokeness, have gotten their hands on Middle Earth!
Dreher's entire column consists of a two-sentence intro, a copy-paste of an email announcing the conference, a list of the paper titles, and then a very funny joke about Hobbit buttsex.
Obviously, the seminar must be worthless, since as we all know, Tolkien's world is exclusively white, straight, and probably Christian, or at least the man himself said that The Lord of the Rings is "a fundamentally religious and Catholic work." And now I have done more research for this blog post than Dreher did for his.
Mostly, Dreher just wants his readers, if any, to laugh at the ridiculous paper titles, because really, pfft, there's no race or gender stuff in Tolkien! So we're invited to mock titles that are clearly ridiculous and bad, just because.
A sampling (we won't copy over the full roster, because we're less lazy than Dreher):
- Gondor in Transition: A Brief Introduction to Transgender Realities in The Lord of the Rings
- The Problem of Pain: Portraying Physical Disability in the Fantasy of J. R. R. Tolkien
- The Invisible Other: Tolkien's Dwarf-Women and the 'Feminine Lack'
- Projecting Indian Myths, Culture and History onto Tolkien's Worlds
- Pardoning Saruman?: The Queer in Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
- Queer Atheists, Agnostics, and Animists, Oh, My!
- Hidden Visions: Iconographies of Alterity in Soviet Bloc Illustrations for The Lord of the Rings
- Questions of Caste in The Lord of the Rings and its Multiple Chinese Translations
- Stars Less Strange: An Analysis of Fanfiction and Representation within the Tolkien Fan Community
Dreher doesn't even bother fulminating about possible Communist influence in that paper about Chinese translations.
But the title that Dreher loves the most is "'Something Mighty Queer'": Destabilizing Cishetero Amatonormativity in the Works of Tolkien," because 1) Academic woke jargon and 2) Haha, that's so GAY! In fact, that's the only one Dreher has time to comment on, after which he's completely finished:
I, for one, cannot wait for the destabilization of cishetero amatonormativity in the works of Tolkien. I figure it's going to be about Sam pitching and Frodo catching.
Good grief, is this ever stupid. Wokeness ruins everything, doesn't it?
That's it, kids. The seminar is proof that the Tolkien Society has succumbed to political correctness, and instead of pursuing proper assessments of Tolkien, like why didn't Sam and Frodo have the eagle fly them straight to Mount Doom, they're acting as if Chinese translations of the trilogy even matter, or that there's somehow something trans about the epic, which there is NOT. It's just a perfectly hetero story in which Gandalf the Grey literally transforms into Gandalf the White and would prefer not to be deadnamed, thank you.
In any case, it sure is sad to see all these extraneous ideas popping up for the first time in the Tolkien Society, whose previous seminars have stuck to normal topics like "Tolkien the Pagan? Reading Middle-earth through a Spiritual Lens" (2018), "Women in Tolkien" (2009)*, and "Politics and Middle-earth" (2008).
*(both of them, har har har!)
In conclusion, there are also some angry dorks complaining about Mindy Kaling's upcoming "Velma" animated series for HBO Max, in which the most sensible passenger in the Mystery Machine will be voiced by Kaling, reimagined as being of "East Asian descent," and living in a "different world" with the other human characters, but no dog or van.
To which we can only say we second this suggestion from The Mary Sue:
Honestly, the real question we have is whether or not the series will address Velma's status as a queer girl icon. Let Velma kiss girls, you cowards!
It's Friday, have a great weekend and be good to each other in this, your OPEN THREAD.
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Newsmax Panel Wants To Force Student Into Military For Referring To God As 'Allah' (Which Means 'God')
Boy do they love free speech.
For the past several years, conservatives have been trying to frame themselves as the censorship-hating defenders of free speech and the First Amendment. This is largely because they seemed to have realized that their history of loving censorship and hating free speech has traditionally made them very uncool with the kids.
Of course, being that this is a new path for them, they don't really "get" what free speech is about. They keep desperately trying to twist it in order to claim that no one can criticize them, Christians are allowed to discriminate against people they don't like, and social media sites can't have Terms of Service, rather than "the government cannot censor you." Because they still really like it when the government censors people. They cry about "cancel culture," which — to the extent that it is even a "real thing" — is not only not a violation of the First Amendment but an expression of it.
A panel on Newsmax on Thursday, full of people who surely hate cancel culture and love "free speech," discussed a recent incident in which the senior class president at Justice High School in Fairfax, Virginia, replaced the word "God," in the Pledge of Allegiance with "Allah," which is the word for "God" in Arabic.
"My jaw dropped. That's an absolute disgrace." said panelist Melanie Collette, host of a radio show called "MoneyTalk." "You're doing the pledge on behalf of a group of people, you're supposed to be doing it on their behalf. That's ridiculous."
You know what? It is ridiculous. Which is why many of us think it is ridiculous for everyone to say the "Under God" part, because not everyone believes in the Christian God or any God for that matter. If this is something that is meant to be for everyone in the United States, it should not exclude people.
Republican strategist and former congressional candidate Amanda Makki was the first to explain how this whole incident was the fault of Joe Biden.
It kinda makes you wonder if this is where President Biden has just made it so easy for people to just do whatever they want and say the things that they want, irrespective of the laws and the rules.
It's not so much that President Biden has made it easy for people to say the things they want, it is that the Constitution has made it easy for people to say the things they want. Or legal, rather.
You know, but look, we're a Judeo-Christian nation and our Pledge of Allegiance says "One Nation Under God" and it has since 1942.
This would be a great point if the pledge were written in 1942, which it was not (and if it were correct, which it is is not). The pledge was written in 1892, by Francis Bellamy, a socialist. Bellamy was, in fact, a Christian, though apparently not the kind that needed to force everyone else to also be a Christian. It was amended to include "under God" more than 60 years later, in 1954, because ... communism.
GOP strategist Mark Vargas, however, took shit directly off the damn rails and somehow ended up incorporating D-Day into the whole thing.
Well, you know, it's un-American, it's unpatriotic and it's quite frankly upsetting. You know I served my country as a civilian in combat, I deployed to Baghdad 14 times to a combat zone and I saw firsthand the sacrifice, the selflessness of the men and women who wear our uniform and we're just coming off of Memorial Day, where we honor those that paid the ultimate sacrifice. And just this past Sunday, D-Day, the greatest seaboard invasion in the history of the world that not only freed Europe but ended World War II and that was led by the American soldiers.
Perhaps if he had served in "our uniform" instead of being a mercenary or whatever it was he did, he would have been aware that there is not a faith test for the United States military and Muslims can and do join up.
Now, we are all frequently told that people in the military are fighting for our "freedoms." Which freedoms those are, we're not sure, but we're at least supposed to pretend that's what they're doing, because it makes everyone feel much better about using them as cannon fodder in obviously unjust wars founded on lies. Two of the freedoms we have in this country are freedom of speech and freedom of religion — so one might say that not exercising these freedoms is an insult to the things we were pretending these people fought, killed, and died for.
Vargas continued, hopping on the "This is Biden's fault!" train.
We shouldn't be surprised by this, because remember it was Joe Biden, the first president to remove God from the National Day of Prayer proclamation.
So my question to President Biden and Vice President Harris is, "If we can't pray to God, who do we pray to? Bernie Sanders or AOC?"
Yes. Absolutely. That is what we want. In fact, we want prayers to Bernie Sanders and AOC in school, every day, in place of the Pledge of Allegiance. And you have to pray for the Green New Deal, single-payer health care and a living wage for all. And unions.
Melanie Collette continued to be confused about what is and is not religion.
I don't really understand how it is that we got here, but people need to get on board with being in the United States of America, and really honing in on the word "United." We're united as a country and of course that entitles us to worship how we want according to the First Amendment and that is wonderful, but again, when we're saying the Pledge on behalf of a group of people, we say it correctly. We don't say it how we want, we don't include our own God. That's not what we do.
That is literally what the United States did in 1954. They included the Christian God — who, by the way, is the exact same God as "Allah." It's not like the student threw Zeus in there. Allah is just the Arabic word for God.
As if that wasn't all batshit enough, the panel then expounded on the cruel and unusual punishments they would like to inflict on students who say such things. Amanda Makki's suggestion was to take away their diplomas in hopes of just ruining their lives.
Why not strip them of their diplomas, make them learn a hard lesson, that you can't go off script. If something's been approved, that's what you're gonna say. Because otherwise you're gonna have copycats do it and we're already seeing that happen.
Mark Vargas went further, suggesting they be forced to serve in the military for their crimes.
There needs to be consequences for this, and I suggest that this young student perhaps serve a year of serving in the military, and I think that would change their perspective.
Your valiant defenders of freeze peach, everybody!
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