He supports equality, sure, but not for everybody.
Senator Joe Manchin (D? -- West Virginia) announced yesterday he just can't bring himself to support national anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people because by gosh, it's got too much equality in it. That makes Manchin the sole Democrat in the Senate refusing to cosponsor the Equality Act, which would add protections for gender identity and sexual orientation to the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act. All other 46 Dems in the Senate signed on when the bill was introduced last week, but Joe Manchin says he just can't because what if trans kids in high school pee in a restroom bigots think they shouldn't pee in?
A new report in the New York Times suggests the bank has known Trump was screwing them all along, and they've just gone along with it. Totally normal!
We know a few things about Donald Trump's richness, or lack of it. We know he's been shall we say reticent about releasing his tax returns for several years running, and many suspect it's partially because they show that he isn't as rich as he says he is. We know Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Trump would rig up his financial statements, either to inflate his assets -- like when he was trying to buy something big like the Buffalo Bills or get financing for big projects, to make it look like he could afford it, AKA bank fraud -- or deflate them, like if he was trying to commit insurance fraud. ALLEGEDLY.
Rachel Maddow had a fascinating and hilarious report a couple weeks ago about a particular asset on those financial disclosure forms, Trump's Seven Springs estate in Bedford, New York, which he bought for $7.5 million in 1995, but suddenly in 2012 Trump decided for the purposes of a financial disclosure that it was worth $291 MILLION DOLLARS IN AMERICAN CURRENCY. The next year, the tax assessor put it at $18.9 million. (Trump is apparently bad at hiding these things in plain sight.)
Whenever the subject of Trump's weird money comes up, the discussion inevitably leads to Deutsche Bank, which has its own massive problems (Russian money laundering, anyone?), and which kept giving Trump money, long after every other American bank decided Trump was dead to them -- even after Trump personally screwed Deutsche Bank. And the question has always been OMG LOL WTF WHYYYYYYYYY?
Oh yeah, another thing we know about Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank? One of the times he tried to have special counsel Robert Mueller fired, it was because there were news reports that Mueller was requesting records pertaining to Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank. So that is interesting and strange and kind of screams "THERE ARE CRIMES HERE, LOOK HERE FOR THE CRIMES."
David Enrich at the New York Times published a gigantic thing yesterday that tells us one important thing, which is that it seems Deutsche Bank totally knew Trump was screwing them in real time, that they knew multiple times he was lying about his assets, and they ... just kept working with him anyway! Like you do!
Gillibrand Talks Immigration, Education, That Other Thing You Won't Shut Up About At MSNBC Town Hall
The junior senator from NY crushed it.
We have a special place in our heart for Kirsten Gillibrand, who was our home state senator during our last few years in New York. She's smart, gutsy, and knows her stuff. MSNBC hosted a town hall last night for the now official presidential candidate, who came out swinging against Donald Trump.
GILLIBRAND: One of the reasons why I'm running for president is because of what Donald Trump has done to this country. He's made her family afraid to worship. He has spread fear and hate and degradation across this country. He has spewed hate, racism, anti-Semitism and has inspired more.
A Muslim woman in the audience expressed concern for her community after the New Zealand mass shooting. She found no comfort in Trump's general "could give a crap" response to violence against Americans who worship differently than he pretends. Gillibrand vowed to "stand up to white nationalism." This truly goes the extra mile, because the current president won't even acknowledge white nationalism exists. We assume he passes by a mirror at least once or twice a day so that's pretty willful denial.
She's so fucking awesome.
Elizabeth Warren held a town hall at Jackson State University last night, and one member of the audience at the historically black university wanted to know about voting: What would Warren do to protect voting rights? Warren went one better than calling for laws protecting the right to vote; she'd like to see a constitutional amendment. That's good! And then she went a step further and said it's time to get rid of the Electoral College, which got one of her biggest ovations of the night.
Here, have some video:
Elizabeth Warren: Get rid of the Electoral College www.youtube.com
Warren's ideas went beyond the suite of voting protections in House Democrats' "For the People Act," a blueprint for voting reforms that can be enacted if Dems retake the Senate and presidency in 2020. To prevent fuckery, let's ensure voting rights through a constitutional amendment:
And AMI editor claims NO KNOWLEDGE.
Okay, Wonkers, grab those bonbons and settle in for your stories. It must be sweeps week, since we've got the Trash Twins and Jeff Bezos's Wandering Dick back in the rotation.
Back in February, The Daily Beast confirmed that Michael Sanchez was the National Enquirer's source for the leaked texts between Jeff Bezos and his sister Lauren Sanchez. You know, just in case anyone failed to work that out when Elkan Abramowitz, the lawyer for the magazine's parent company American Media (AMI), went on television and announced that the source was "well known to both Mr. Bezos and Miss Sanchez." Now The Wall Street Journal has gotten details of the contract, confirming that Sanchez did indeed sell a photo of his own sister's pink bits for $200,000. Stay classy, bro, we know you will!
What part of ILLEGAL doesn't he understand? Probably lots.
Another day, another dispatch from the New Cruelty: Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been holding Noé de la Cruz, an old man who has Alzheimer's disease and diabetes (and is in remission from cancer) in a detention center in Texas, pending the outcome of his request for asylum. His family -- his wife and daughter are citizens -- has requested he be released to their care, but nothing doing! ICE doesn't let dangerous old men loose into the community, because what if he disappears and takes some American's job, or tapes a bunch of women's mouths shut and drives them across the border, or starts a caravan and murders all of us in our sleep? We need a wall -- An anti-ALZHEIMER'S wall!
His daughter, Sandra de la Cruz, says she's worried her father, 72, isn't getting any treatment where he's imprisoned, ICE's Port Isabel "Service Processing Center" in Los Fresnos, Texas.
"He's going to get lost, and we don't have family over there who can take care of him," Sandra said. Speaking through tears, Sandra recounted instances where her father called "three, five, ten times a day" from the Port Isabel detention facility near Los Fresnos, Texas, asking the same questions over and over.
"He also says that he's getting into fights, but when we go to see him, he doesn't have bruises," Sandra said. "We think that the fights are happening in his mind."
(Some idiot somewhere: "So he's also violent, you say? Good thing he's in jail!")
The good news is that Trump is too stupid and ineffective to ever make anything like this happen in America. MAYBE.
President Vladimir Putin signed laws punishing online media and individuals for spreading "fake news" or material that's considered insulting to Russian officials.
Prosecutors can now complain about online publications to the state communications watchdog, which has powers to block access to the websites if their owners fail to remove the material promptly. Publications found guilty of spreading "unreliable socially significant information" may face fines of as much as 1.5 million rubles ($23,000).
Individuals also face fines and up to 15 days in jail if they publish material online that expresses "clear disrespect for society, the state, the official state symbols of the Russian Federation, the Constitution of the Russian Federation and bodies exercising state power."
That's about what we'd expect from the guy who, in 2013, banned "gay propaganda" to minors, by which they meant being open and honest about the fact that gay people exist. (That law is not all that different from a bill that has often been introduced in the shithole totalitarian nation of ... um, Tennessee.)
So anyway, with the signing of this new bill, you can officially get in trouble in Russia -- we say "officially" because you could already get murdered by Putin's thugs for saying something mildly critical about the government or being gay or being a journalist who tells the truth -- if you say mean swears about Russian government officials (all of whom should go fuck themselves with a Matryoshka doll) or if you propagate "fake news," which in an authoritarian state means news that displeases Dear Leader. (Also Donald Trump's definition.)
He only has a few billion left! HOW WILL HE LIVE!
Pity the poor oligarchs! Won't someone please think of the Russian billionaires so cruelly impoverished by the spiteful caprice of the Trump administration's attack dogs in the Treasury Department? However will Oleg Deripaska even afford to maintain all his yachts and houses and jets when the American government cuts him off so brutishly from the international financial system? Thus he has been forced to sue Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin for arbitrarily adding him to the sanctions list and forcing him to meager subsistence on canned caviar and lobster foraged from a suburban Moscow dumpster.
Deripaska's lawsuit, filed Friday in DC, is a masterpiece of melodrama and pathos. Really, Tolstoy would blush.
And what did your husband say about YOUR boss today?
Uh oh, looks like George Conway, husband of Kellyanne, is going to be sleeping on the couch for another week, because they are having That Fight They Always Have, the one where he says her boss (the president) is certifiably mentally unstable, and she's like "nuh uh," and we guess she reminds him that if that so-called certifiably mentally unstable person wasn't president, then she wouldn't be making a government salary for going on Fox News and lying to the American people.
It started this weekend with Donald Trump's latest Twitter rampage, which is still going on, and which avid watchers of Trump's Twitter habits agree seems to suggest that he is real upset about something. Like, more than usual. The sort of upset he gets when Robert Mueller is about to arrest his son, maybe. You know, ALLEGEDLY.
The rent is too damn high!
Hey, while every media outlet is doing exactly the same stupid horse-race political coverage they said nobody should be doing, the actual candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination are busily putting forward policy proposals -- the things pundits and voters keep saying they want to know about, at least in between discussions of "likeability" and whether Chuck Todd thinks candidates are bipartisan enough. So hey, here is a cool housing policy idea from Elizabeth Warren, who's trying to out-nerd everyone else with a proposal to make housing more affordable and even redress some of the nation's terrible legacy of housing discrimination. What a weirdo!
Warren outlines her housing proposals here, and we like 'em. There are even linkies to studies supporting her proposals, yay for info geeks! She notes that, for grownup adults, where you live (more precisely, where you can afford to live) has enormous consequences.
Housing is not just the biggest expense for most American families — or the biggest purchase most Americans will make in their lifetimes. It also affects the jobs you can get, the schools your children can go to, and the kinds of communities you can live in. That's why it's so important that government gets housing policy right.
Problem is, the federal government has spent decades getting housing policy very very wrong, from building racial discrimination into housing policy for much of the 20th century, to letting the big banks screw over homeowners and taxpayers as well. And of course, not doing much of anything to address the crunch in affordable housing for low and middle-income people. How's this for some real class warfare, via the supposedly invisible hand of the market:
Rosco P. Coltrane was more respectable.
South Carolina has produced some awesome local reporting lately. It's a vital public service because South Carolina law enforcement is corrupt AF. We shouldn't paint with too broad a brush, though. It's not like all the state's sheriffs are accused of breaking the law, just one in four.
The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, published an expose this weekend regarding rampant criminal acts among the state's sheriffs. We're talking embezzlement, bribery, and accusations of sexual assault. The newspaper requested spending records from all of the state's counties under the Freedom of Information Act, or what public officials like to call the "Oh Shit! Burn Everything!" Act. There's too much scuzziness to cover in one post so we're going to focus on a few of our favorite lowlights.
Donald Trump's feud with the ghost of John McCain continues.
If you are a normal American, you might have spent your Sunday celebrating St. Patrick's Day. Or maybe you just had brunch or maybe you cleaned your house or maybe you just lay around and watched Netflix. But if you were the president of the United States, you were celebrating the Day Of The Dead (Guy Who Refuses To Stop Hurting Your Feelings Even Though He Is Dead), which means you telegraphed your insecurities by tweeting insults at John McCain, who is, again, a dead person.
We feel like we say this a lot, but this is not normal.
He was KIDDING about forcing all Missourians to buy semiautomatic weapons, SHEESH!
There's been another massacre with a semiautomatic rifle, so naturally, gun sales will likely boom again, as every American gun humper worries Barack Obama is coming to take their precious precious guns away. And how will they prevent tyranny then, huh? Especially because in New Zealand, Barack Obama, or his puppet, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, announced New Zealand will tighten restrictions on guns and move to ban military-style semiauto rifles altogether. Fortunately, some Americans are speaking out, since they know Liberty rests on a solid base of owning a larger personal arsenal and trolling the libs.
For starters, there's weekend "Fox & Friends" host Pete Hegseth, who proclaimed yesterday that since Beto O'Rourke is calling for renewing the assault weapons ban, now is the time to get out there and start stockpiling weapons:
And Missouri state Rep. Andrew McDaniel (R-NRA) has found himself getting all sorts of attention for a pair of pro-gun bills he introduced last month, well before the massacre. One, the "McDaniel Second Amendment Act," would mandate that everyone in Missouri over the age of 21 purchase at least one handgun, and the other, the "McDaniel Militia Act," would require everyone between 18 and 35 buy an AR-15, because duh they are in the militia! McDaniel's Militia, apparently. It is a very smart law!
Any person who qualifies as a resident on August 28, 2019, and who does not own an AR-15 shall have one year to purchase an AR-15. Any resident qualifies as a resident after August 28, 2019, and does not own an AR-15 shall purchase an AR-15 no later than one year after qualifying as a resident.
The bill would only allow you to sell your AR-15 if you have or purchase a spare, so you always have an AR-15. And yes, it specifies that particular type of gun, because that is the most Americanest gun and an AK-47 or other semiautomatic rifle would not count.
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?
It's your Sunday Show Rundown!
New Zealand is still mourning after the horrific attacks on two mosques in Christchurch. As news and social media deal with their influence on the shooter, there were plenty of comments on CNN's "State of the Union." Let's begin with the US Ambassador to New Zealand, former Massachusetts senator and part-time male model Scott Brown. Jake Tapper pressed Ambassador Brown about New Zealand's prime minister's request that Trump show support for the Muslim community. After Brown affirmed HIS stance & support for the Muslim community, Tapper asked a very illuminating question:
TAPPER: Have you spoken with President Trump about this attack?
BROWN: I speak to the, obviously, the White House, the Situation Room and all parties to be on a very regular basis. There's no need for me to specifically speak to the president because I'm here as his representative and do what I have been doing, which is making sure that whatever the new Zealand government needs, including the prime minister or any of the other agencies, we make sure it's available.
So the answer is "NO," Ambassador Brown. Apparently while Trump hasn't had time to speak with his own ambassador to New Zealand, he's had time to feign ignorance that white supremacy is on the rise and trash the late Senator John McCain. Tapper continued:
We have a cussing botany guy, and we love him.
It's been another hell week, so how about we have some Nice Things? We'll all get back to the quotidian parade of horrors soon enough, that's for sure. For now, let's have a little break, with stuff that will make your brain feel better. (This is not a medical treatment. Side effects may include cat videos and glorious strings of obscenities. Actual brain health not guaranteed. Ask your doctor.)
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