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Ukraine

Lev Explains It All, Episode Two: How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Talking To Rachel Maddow

All this needs to be investigated, but hoo boy.

Did you watch the first night of Lev Parnas on the Rachel show? And most importantly, did you read Wonkette's recap of it, because it took us a long time to write? If you have not done those things, you have five hours of homework, and then you can read this post, which is Wonkette's recap of NIGHT TWO of the Lev Parnas on the Rachel show!

Rachel Maddow started last night's episode of the new hit CW MSNBC show Lev Splains It where we started our recap yesterday, with a discussion of why precisely exactly Lev Parnas, who was indicted by the SDNY, is doing what he's doing right now. The first night, Maddow said what came across in her discussions with him is that he feels that by spilling his guts about what he knows, he is rendered safer than if he were a man who could, we dunno, fall out of a window like a common Russian journalist (either they are particularly bad at knowing which one is "window" and which one is "door" or Vladimir Putin is a murderer), taking his secrets with him.

And yes, it sounds like he is scared of that. We want to emphasize at the outset, though, that we actually don't know Lev Parnas's true motivations in what he's sharing right now. (Marcy Wheeler is skeptical, but also acknowledges that a lot of what Parnas is saying is tracking with what we already know.)

But Parnas said last night that what he fears more than these "criminals" is his shadow spiders the monster under his bed

BILL FUCKING BARR.

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(We will replace this grody poop-smell picture of Barr as soon as MSNBC uploads the fucking video, please.)

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News

Sorry, Texas, Judge Says There's No 'Racist Dicks Can Reject Refugees' In 'USA'

Loosely paraphrased.

A federal judge in Maryland ruled Wednesday that Donald Trump's executive order giving state and local officials the power to reject refugee resettlement is "unlawful" and doesn't "appear to serve the overall public interest." The executive order, issued in September when the Stephen Miller administration announced the US would slash refugee admissions to the lowest level in modern history, had required that before any refugees can be resettled, state governors or local officials would have to give their express written consent.

In his ruling, US District Judge Peter J. Messitte wrote that

Giving states and local governments the power to consent to the resettlement of refugees — which is to say veto power to determine whether refugees will be received in their midstflies in the face of clear Congressional intent.

If you're a nerd who enjoys reading court decisions, check it out. It's very clearly argued, and you get the sense Judge Messitte found the government's arguments insultingly bad.

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Media/Entertainment

Oh, Sarah Palin, How We've Missed Your Crazy Talking, Dumbass Self

Palin wows us again with her stream-of-consciousness, truth-adjacent America-isms.

Hey, what do you know? Sarah Palin's emerged from her spider hole. In case you've blissfully forgotten, Palin is the former governor of Alaska who Republicans like to blame for why Meghan McCain's father, John, lost to a black guy. I think she gets a bad rap. It's not like Republicans learned their lesson and nominated another war hero related somehow to Megs McCabe but unencumbered by a narcissistic simpleton as a running mate. No, they doubled down and put Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. The modern, know-nothing, insult comic GOP is the party of Palin not Lincoln or even Reagan.

Palin was a guest on "Good Morning Britain!" the morning show hosted by Piers Morgan, the living embodiment of "what's that on my thigh? I should have a doctor look at it." He asked Palin about the Frontline documentary A Serial Liar, and that was a little awkward because the title refers directly to her. It's like if someone asked me about the upcoming documentary Middle-Aged Flabby Black Man. It's all you can do not to cry on air. Palin kept what amounts for her composure when Morgan read a quote from former Republican strategist Steve Schmidt. Schmidt's the guy who once met Palin and thought she should be an elderly man's heartbeat away from the presidency.

SCHMIDT: She is the first of a generation of politicians who live in a post-truth environment. She was, and there's no polite way to say it, but, a serial liar.
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Ukraine

Lev Parnas? President Truth-Mouth Doesn't Know Her.

PAR-NASS? I'm not sure I know a PAR-NASS!

Donald Trump lied in the Oval Office today:


Sure, Jan.

All week we have been discussing Lev Parnas, who appears to have the RECEIPTS, GIRL on Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani and their international criminal derp-spiracy to force Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election for Trump's benefit, for which he was impeached and the Senate has now been sworn in to hold his trial.

Which is weird, because there's President Truth Serum up there saying he doesn't even know her.

LOL.

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Ukraine

Trump Finally Gets Ukraine To Announce Criminal Investigation, LOL

NO, NOT THAT ONE!

Wompity womp womp womp. Womp.

Well boy howdy, that Lev Parnas interview and alllllll those Lev Parnas texts sure are making some waves, all the way over to the nation of Ukraine! And wouldn't you know it, but Ukraine has announced a criminal investigation, just like Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani have been begging them to do for over a year now.

'Cept it is not an investigation into Joe Biden or Hunter Biden or how Hillary Clinton and Ukraine conspired to steal the election from herself and give it to Donald Trump so Nancy Pelosi could impeach him right in the balls, SAD TROMBONE.

It is instead a criminal investigation into whether former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was actually under surveillance, as batshit nutfart landscaper congressional candidate stinky Robert F. Hyde seemed to suggest in his WhatsApps with Lev.

And they want the FBI to help.

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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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2020 Congressional Elections

Martha McSally Insults CNN Reporter, Makes In-Kind Donation To Mark Kelly's Campaign

McSally calls reporter 'liberal hack' on her way to serving as Trump's political hack.

You could almost feel sorry for Martha McSally (please don't). Arizona's junior senator was appointed to her job after voters already rejected her. Now she'll have to face Democrat Mark Kelly in a real election this year, and real elections are hard. She tried raising money like a good Republican. McSally Inc brought in more than $4 million in the final three months of 2019. Her total fundraising for the year was $12 million, and she rang in 2020 with more than $7.6 million cash on hand. That is objectively good news if viewed in a total vacuum.

Ruh-roh! Kelly, who rejected corporate PAC money and must soldier on with just "pocket change," outraised McSally. He brought in $6.3 million in the last quarter, and he's sitting on top of $13.6 million in cash. He's consistently outperformed her fundraising numbers, and she's the incumbent senator. Of course, Kelly has the advantage of not sucking.

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Ukraine

Here's Your Lev Parnas Rachel Maddow Recap, OH MY GOD

And there's a second hour of it tonight!

WOW. We do not know what exactly we were expecting when we sat down to watch Rachel Maddow's interview with Rudy Giuliani's good old pal Lev Parnas last night, but it turned out to be not that. First of all, we might call him a chucklefuck around these parts, but he did not come across as chucklefuck! He was calm, well-spoken, thoughtful, and dare we say, he seemed credible, at least for a person currently indicted by the SDNY related to Trump and Giuliani's scheme to defraud the United States out of another free and fair election by trying to force Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden to help Donald Trump.

It was an hour-long interview (and there's a second hour tonight!) and it was just headline after headline after headline, and every single thing Parnas said needs to be investigated to determine its veracity. So take it with a grain of salt! That said, we can look at what we know -- and also the things Wonkette is pretty sure we've figured out along the way -- to see how much it lines up. Spoiler, it lines up a heck of a lot. In fact, Parnas didn't say anything that surprised us, at least not because it made us think of the situation in a new way. Our jaw was on the floor for a full hour more because we were sitting there going, "JUST LIKE WE FUCKING SAID!"

The interview paints Donald Trump as a person who knew exactly what was going on, because he was directing it all from the top. It also implicates Mike Pence, who, according to Parnas, was tasked to do Trump's dirty work pressuring Ukraine to announce fake investigations into Joe Biden starting a long time ago. And regarding that pressure, Parnas says that going all the way back before Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected in a landslide on an anti-corruption platform, getting that Biden investigation announcement was the only motivation for every single thing they did.

Oh yeah, and Attorney General Bill Barr needs to call his lawyer.

Before we jump into clips from the show, though, one of the most interesting parts to us happened at the end, as Maddow handed off to Lawrence O'Donnell for the 10 p.m. hour and he asked the question on so many people's minds, which is why the hell is Lev Parnas doing this? Why is he going on Maddow and spilling? How does this help him or his case? Maddow said the feeling she got from talking to Parnas is that by him coming clean and spilling everything he knows, it keeps him "safer" than if he didn't, because if his secrets were still his secrets, we guess it'd be a lot easier to dispose of him and them. It's kinda sick that we're talking about this in the United States of America, but this is a scandal partially financed by a Ukrainian billionaire the FBI has assessed to be BFFs with the Russian mob, so, we guess we understand what he is saying.

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2020 presidential election

Vanity Fair: Political Genius Trump Has Advantage With Idiots

'Low-information voters' are Trump's ideal constituency. No shit, Sherlock?

Vanity Fair has a piece this week about the "low-information" voters who are going to help re-elect Donald Trump. See, those of us in the Twitter political "bubble" just don't understand what actually concerns the average Jane/Joe. Reporters who are in the same bubble have the benefit of passing conversations with "normies" in airports and are here to enlighten us.

[T]he stories and micro-scandals that obsess political and media insiders—often played out in episodic fashion on Twitter—matter little to voters who are too busy and too well-adjusted to follow every nanosecond of the political news cycle.

This assertion is hard to accept, considering that people were overly concerned with a lot of stupid crap prior to Trump's election. There was Barack Obama's tan suit and his un-American use of French mustard. They weren't all nuisances that Obama could ignore and laugh about later, like the "hilarious" claims that he wasn't a legitimate president. Obama's numbers with white voters cratered when he defended his friend Henry Louis Gates Jr. after a police officer racially profiled the distinguished professor in his own home. Shirley Sherrod lost her job at the Department of Agriculture after a Breitbart hit job. Anyone who spent years reflexively deleting email forwards from conservative relatives can attest to their high-information capacity for matters of low importance. They got worked up over all the people Hillary Clinton didn't actually murder, but suddenly they're "too busy and too well-adjusted" to care about Trump's marathon of scandals? How do you explain that?

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Post-Racial America

Trump Drops Another Shoe On Puerto Rico

You want this disaster aid, don't you?

We were skeptical yesterday when we saw the Trump administration had finally ended its illegal delay of disaster relief to Puerto Rico. The $8.2 billion in aid was appropriated by Congress last year to pay for rebuilding after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and the funds should have been made available in September. But the Department of Housing and Urban Development refused to release it, citing worries about "corruption" in the Puerto Rican government. No, it probably wasn't legal to hold the aid, either.

Then, last Tuesday, the island was hit by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that killed one person and has done at least $110 million in damage, though that amount is expected to rise as Puerto Rico continues to be hit with aftershocks. Yesterday, HUD officials announced they were very generously releasing the aid that should have been distributed months ago, and we wondered what new fuckery might follow.

Puerto Rico, if there's anything to magical thinking, we're sorry. There's new fuckery. For Puerto Rico to actually get the aid, it will have to jump through a whole bunch of new hoops imposed by the administration -- conditions that states on the mainland haven't had imposed on them following disasters. Gosh, why could it possibly be that Puerto Rico was singled out for special treatment? If only we could guess. It just might be because Trump's a goddamn racist and a petty asshole.

That's our working theory at least.

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Impeachment

Susan Collins Sets New Olympic Record For Susan Collins-Ing

Collins is less interested in the 'truth' than she was during Bill Clinton's impeachment.

We covered extensively yesterday the corrupt, underhanded shadiness unearthed in texts from Giuliani pal Lev Parnas, about the scheme to pressure Ukraine into meddling in the 2020 election on Donald Trump's behalf that's landed the president in impeachment. The House Intelligence Committee dropped the bomb Tuesday, and Senator Susan Collins -- famed Senate "moderate" -- wants to know why she's only hearing about this evidence now and not earlier or, even better, well after she's voted for Donald Trump's acquittal.

She'd probably planned to spend the summer chilling on a beach, drinking pina coladas, and softly caressing piles of Republican donor cash. But House Democrats spoiled all that with their revelation of inconvenient truths.

Look at Collins throwing shade on Nancy Pelosi's impeachment raiders! We predicted Susan Collins would eventually Susan Collins about this, but she certainly Susan Collins-ed earlier than we assumed she'd Susan Colins. All she needs now is for some anti-Trump protestors to sass her and she'll have every excuse she needs to hop on the Mitch McConnell Sham Trial Express.

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Congress

This DOES Sound Like Matt Gaetz!

Did Matt Gaetz make up a sex game in the Florida lege where he and Squi and Tobin would get points for boning lobbyists, staff and married legislators? That would be on-brand!

When we were covering the confirmation of accused boofing sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court, we realized one of the reasons we absolutely believed the women, part of why their stories were so absofuckinglutely believable, was because, as a person who also went to private schools, we know that guy.

Yes, this post is about GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, but give us a second.

At the time, we wrote about our realization about which guy Brett Kavanaugh was, at his private high school and in college:

You see, we think we have figured out which drunk rich asshole white guy Brett Kavanaugh was in high school. He wasn't one of the guys who was "popular" in the sense of all the girls had crushes on him (and some of the guys too!) and wanted to go necking with him at Boner Cove even on school nights. That was Trevor and Rob and Johnny, and they were #dreamy and Johnny had a Camaro and your mom said Johnny was a total Eddie Haskell but even your mom acknowledged that Johnny was pretty cute.

Kavanaugh, we are guessing, was "popular" in that he was a partier and he spent a lot of time with his "bros," and they probably jacked off in a big circle in their parents' basements only sometimes. They had access to drugs and Natty Light, but secretly, deep down, they were incredibly jealous of Trevor and Rob and Johnny and Johnny's Camaro, because what makes those guys so great anyway? GRANTED, Trevor's ass is perfect and Rob's eyes can make any human melt and Johnny has that Camaro (and is hung like a wild horse), but NO FAIR, WHY THEY GET ALL THE GIRLS? Anyway, we are just saying Brett Kavanaugh's friend group was probably the type that knew where to buy GHB before anybody else at school even knew what that was.

We don't know if Matt Gaetz ever had a claim to even that sort of popularity in school, but it's possible. Like Kavanaugh, his head is misshapen, and his face gives off a certain whiff of desperation. Consider:

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Another example of that guy? Donald Trump Jr., who allegedly used to drunkenly piss himself silly during college, to the point that he earned the nickname "Diaper Don."

Also the badly shaped head thing.

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Anyway, the Matt Gaetz story we are about to tell you reminded us of Brett Kavanaugh, and also Donald Trump Jr., and not just because, like Kavanaugh and Junior, Gaetz has been known for being LI'L BIT DRINKY DRINKY in his time, in a particularly douchey and unfuckable way.

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White House

Puerto Rico Finally Getting Its Damn Disaster Aid

For the 2017 disaster, not the earthquake this month.

A week after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Puerto Rico on January 7, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has decided it will finally release $8.2 billion in aid that Congress appropriated to help the island rebuild after Hurricane Maria in 2017. HUD officials readily admitted to Congress in October that they'd blown right past a September deadline to release the aid, because the department was worried about "corruption" in the territory's government. Since then, the department hasn't said anything at all about the continuing delays.

Fun trivia fact: When Congress appropriates money, federal agencies have to spend it. It's the law, as you may remember from other Trump administration abuses of power as one of the very things for which Donald Trump is being impeached. Agencies aren't allowed to withhold aid because the "president" has a racist rage-boner over Puerto Rican officials who fail to recognize his response to a hurricane was perfect.

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Impeachment

Eric Swalwell Being Mean To Chris Cillizza Like A Common Wonkette, Awwww Yay!

Here for it.

Aw, Rep. Eric Swalwell, bless your heart, this is what we do on Twitter all day too!

Swalwell's link was to the House's newly released (partial) tranche of evidence handed over by Rudy Giuliani's Ukrainian-American chucklefuck pal Lev Parnas, which, if you haven't heard yet, includes HOLY SHIT OMG and also THE FUCK YOU SAY?

Chris Cillizza's link, meanwhile, was to one of his own shithole hack articles about how Nancy Pelosi has completely "gambled and lost" with her impeachment delay. Cillizza was paid actual money to write that shithole hack article, which was published mere minutes before the House Intelligence Committee released all that Parnas evidence.

So, Chris. Do you want to update it? Hahahaha, no, he does not.

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Class War

California Gonna Battering-Ram Homelessness! Wait, No, That Was The Squat Oakland Families Were Living In

Timing is everything.

The homelessness task force appointed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom has put forward a list of proposals aimed at tackling the state's homelessness crisis. The most important item calls for a mandate that state and local governments provide adequate shelter for people who don't have a place to live. If those jurisdictions don't provide shelter, they could be sued so a judge can order them to do so. California would have to amend its constitution to impose such a mandate; it could go to voters in this November's election.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who co-chairs the task force, told Politico that local governments need a better incentive than good intentions, saying California is "long past the time that everything we do around homelessness should be optional." He also explained to nonprofit journalism collective CalMatters that the goal is to

give the courts a legal "last resort" to address pleas to supersede political gridlock, just as federal laws have in the past armed judges to combat other social crises. "It's analogous to desegregation," Steinberg said.

Damn straight. We knew we liked this guy when he warned against letting Donald Trump pursue roundups of people who don't have homes.

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Impeachment

Nancy Pelosi's Impeachment Managers IS A COP! (Or At Least Val Demings Is.)

All of them are pretty badass, TBH.

It's all happening! No seriously, all of it is happening! Later this afternoon, the House will vote on officially transferring the imepachment articles to the Senate, after which they will be loaded into the back of a 1987 Dodge Caravan and ceremonially driven through the hallways of the Capitol and dumptrucked into Mitch McConnell's turtle butthole, as required by the Constitution.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced this morning the appointment of seven impeachment managers for the trial in the Senate, whom the House will formally vote on later. (Impeachment managers are the reps who prosecute the trial in the Senate.) This is a tighter operation than the Clinton impeachment, where there were 13 of them.

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