Meet William Barr! He's a VERY SERIOUS PERSON, and he sucks.
MOVE OVER, MEATBALL! Donald Trump has nominated a candidate for the attorney general position, which means Matthew Whitaker may soon no longer get to Meatball around the Department of Justice and loudly shout, "Carol! Hey Carol! This is just a friendly reminder that they are coming to install my EXCEPTIONALLY LONG PENIS TOILET for men who have EXCEPTIONALLY LONG PENISES like MY REMARKABLE PENIS today! You know how I like to eat a LUNCHABLE on the toilet without my KINGLY PENIS getting SOGGY!" (Possible paraphrase of a thing Matthew Whitaker might say.)
Confirming what the news has been speculating, Trump has chosen William Barr for the position, though we guess it's not official until he tweets it. (Oh hey look.) Trump announced the pick this morning, along with announcing that he's chosen en empty box of Kleenex from the Fox News studios to be our next ambassador to the United Nations. Let's look at the pros and cons to this William Barr character:
Trump now delegating embarrassing the nation before the world.
Donald Trump has settled on a replacement for Nikki Haley, who recently ran screaming from the flaming dumpster fire that's the current White House. He announced this morning that he plans to nominate State Department spokesperson and former Fox News anchor Heather Nauert to be the next US ambassador to the United Nations. 'Yeah, we don't know why either.
The Washington Post describes Nauert as a "foreign policy novice." That's adorable. I'm also a "novice heart surgeon," meaning if you let me near you with a scalpel, you're probably going to die.
Nauert joined the State Department last year with no government experience after a career as an anchor and correspondent at Fox News. She would replace Nikki Haley, who was twice elected governor of South Carolina but also lacked foreign policy experience.
The media just can't stop rationalizing Trump's wackier moves. Yes, Haley lacked foreign policy experience. Nauert is not even qualified to play a UN ambassador in a Hallmark holiday movie where she discovers the true meaning of Christmas and finds hunky love. Previous folks who have held this position in the past include George H. W. Bush, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and Madeleine Albright. None of them had Nauert's Q-Rating, though.
A stopped Rudy Giuliani is right twice a DERP.
As the old expression says, a stopped Rudy Giuliani is right twice a DERP. And Rudy Giuliani definitely fits the definition of "stopped." When he's not accidentally confessing to his client's crimes on live TV and giving seven different answers to one question in the space of five minutes on live TV, he's Deep Stating himself on Twitter by creating hyperlinks with his bad typing, which are then turned into hilarious Trump-hatin' websites by the Deep State.
All in a day of bein' Rudy!
But this is one of those few and far between times when he's right. Giuliani spoke to The Atlantic for a story about the White House's lack of a plan for confronting the upcoming report from special counsel Robert Mueller, and oh boy did he speak! Except instead of saying normal Rudy things, he just cold called his client A MORON.
The other day, after CIA Director Gina Haspel finished briefing a group of senators on not only the Saudi war on Yemen, but also what really happened to Washington Post journalist and legal American resident Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey (he got bone-sawed to death, almost certainly upon the direct orders of Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman), senators were PISSED. Not only were they pissed, but they were pissed BIPARTISANLY. Lindsey Graham said there was a "smoking saw," because Lindsey Graham is a very funny guy who knows how to do a play on words. He also said he won't support arms sales to Saudi Arabia while MBS is in power. Bob Corker said if MBS had to go before a jury, he'd be convicted within 30 minutes, and he also basically accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis of lying to their faces when they testified earlier in the week.
It seems like the only senator who wasn't pissed BIPARTISANLY was Rand Paul, who whined in the corner about how it was a very "DEEP STATE!" move for Haspel only to brief select committee leadership. What a trifling shitmouth he is.
Sounds like the Senate is still pretty pissed off, because on Thursday they introduced a BIPARTISANLY resolution giving MBS the business he deserves over the Khashoggi assassination-by-bone-saw, and the talking-to Donald Trump won't give him because Trump is a compromised piece of fuck who loves dictators more than he loves America.
The resolution has teeth, but we don't know if they are serrated teeth like on a bone saw.
The guy who's been under investigation for election fraud for two years. That would be he.
Big-time developments in the ongoing fuck-tussle of election fraud and weirdness that was November's election for the Ninth Congressional District in North Carolina. For starters, the Democrat who "lost" the race, Dan McCready, said in a TV interview that he is withdrawing his concession in the race. This just makes sense, seeing as how the "905-vote" "victory" of Republican Mark Harris is now "clouded" by all the alleged but pretty damn obvious election frauding by an operative hired to help the Harris campaign "get out" the absentee vote. (Also, to decide which absentee ballots to "keep in"!) McCready said, "we have seen the criminal activity come to light, and we have seen that my opponent, Mark Harris, has bankrolled this criminal activity," and so perhaps he'd been a bit hasty in assuming the vote tally the day after the election was real, huh?
Here, enjoy Dan McCready making his noncession official on Twitter and calling on Mark Harris to tell everyone "exactly what he knew and when he knew it."
On the larger topic of who knew what and when, let's all smack our foreheads and say, Jesus, these people while we look at yesterday's Washington Post story on the aftermath of May's Republican primary for NC 9. Three-term incumbent Robert Pittenger was turfed out (hi, Rachel Maddow, that is what you say!) by Harris, whose only qualifications for the seat were being a Baptist pastor and wanting to be in Congress real bad. Turns out, Pittenger suspected bad nastiness starting primary night, once he "lost" to Harris by just 828 votes.
Undocumented Lady Who Wiped Trump's Make-Up Off His Granny Panties Will Probably Be Deported Soon, So ...
WOW, this story.
With all of Donald Trump's xenophobic racist huffing and puffing about border walls and Mexican rapists and marauding caravans, would you have ever imagined that he employed undocumented workers at his trash palaces? (Yes. One million times yes.)
The New York Times published a hell of a story today, in which Victorina Morales, a housekeeper at Trump's Bedminster resort in New Jersey, and who is undocumented, is speaking out even though she knows full well she will probably lose her job and maybe even get deported for doing so. (NYT notes that Morales has applied for asylum, so Trump maybe will put her in a baby jail.) She's hurt and freaked out by Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric, and she's being very brave telling her story like this. God bless her.
TO THE LEFT, TO THE LEFT. Everything you own in a box to the left, Julian. It's last call for crazy cat ladies at the Ecuadorian embassy. AP reports that the Brits have agreed not to extradite His Stinkiness to the US without explicit guarantees that the death penalty was off the table. So it's time for Assange to take his litterbox and GTFO.
Ecuador's president has ramped up pressure on Julian Assange to leave his country's embassy in London, saying that Britain had provided sufficient guarantees that the WikiLeaks founder won't be extradited to face the death penalty abroad.
Lenin Moreno's comments in a radio interview Thursday suggest that months of quiet diplomacy between the U.K. and Ecuador to resolve Assange's situation is bearing fruit at a time when questions are swirling about the former Australian hacker's legal fate in the U.S.
"The road is clear for Mr. Assange to take the decision to leave," Moreno said, referring to written assurances he said he had received from Britain.
"I crashed my car into the bridge," Mr. Moreno added, "I don't care, I love it!" PROBABLY.
But sweet Christ, who would replace him?
The man who would be president, Mike Pence, might not even be vice president after 2020. (We mean BESIDES how they're gonna get their asses kicked. BESIDES THAT.) Those are the rumors circulating lately. Pence is much creepier than Donald Trump, who for all his faults doesn't call his wife "Mother." Sure, Trump sometimes calls the first runner-up lady "Melanie," but that's far less Norman Bates.
Gabriel Sherman in the latest Vanity Fair describes a strategy meeting for Trump's 2020 reelection where the topic was floated of dumping Pence in the nearest body of water like his ancestors used to do to suspected witches. Right off the bat you know Pence's standing is shaky when he's not present for a meeting related to the 2020 presidential campaign. Unless they're planning your surprise party, not getting invited to important meetings is a bad sign.
Remember Weird-Ass Russian Spy Maria Butina And Her Old-Ass American Boy Toy? Here's What's Up With Them!
Her case might be 'resolved' soon, and he might face charges as a RUSSIAN AGENT!
Rarely is the question asked, "Hey, I hope that Russian spy lady Maria Butina, who worked a spy plan to use the NRA to infiltrate the Republican party, is doing OK." And we're not askin' it here neither! But we have a few updates about her to share with you!
Rachel Maddow reported on Butina's case Wednesday night, noting that recent activity around the case suggests it's working toward some sort of resolution. Butina was supposed to be in court today, but that got canceled. However, attorneys for both sides had a conference call this morning that suggests negotiations for some sort of plea deal are still under way.
In case you need a reminder who the hell this woman is, we will remind you now. Butina was arrested this past summer, not long after she graduated from American University, because the feds got hip to her scheme to pretend to be a Russian "gun rights activist" (which is li'l bit different in Russia from how it is here, considering how Russia does not have a Second Amendment and is not a gun culture) and use the NRA to get Republicans and possibly the Trump campaign to do Russia's bidding. Somehow, back in 2015, Butina managed to be the very first person ever to ask Donald Trump about lifting Russian sanctions in public (spoiler alert, he liked the idea). It's funny because now we know that in late 2015, Trump was trying to make a Trump Tower Moscow happen (and lying to the American public about it), just like he had done a couple years before, but DOY! it didn't work out, because all the people and banks in Russia that could fund such a thing are under heavy US sanctions. It sure does seem that lifting those sanctions might be the quid pro quo for Russia helping steal the election for Donald Trump, but we won't be certain until Robert Mueller tells us the whole story.
Guess the optics of condemning murderous white supremacists were problematic.
A Trump appointee told the head of the diversity office at the Department of Veterans Affairs to please tone down her condemnation of the 2017 "Unite the Right" rally and the killing of Heather Heyer by one of the white supremacists, the Washington Post reports. Georgia Coffey, then the VA's deputy assistant secretary for diversity and inclusion, drafted a statement condemning the "repugnant display of hate and bigotry by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan." Coffey emailed it to the agency's public affairs office, asking that it be distributed within the department and to the public.
Instead, she was told to stop making such a fuss in an email by VA comms head John Ullyot, according to emails obtained under a FOIA request by nonprofit watchdog group American Oversight. Ullyot made it clear to Coffey that government officials shouldn't be contradicting the "president's" insistence that the violence in Charlottesville was the fault of bad people "on many sides -- on many sides."
It's good to have friends in dry places. Like if your hotel in New York is having a bad quarter, sometimes your buddy Mohammed from the desert will sweep in and book a whole block of rooms for his underlings -- MBS isn't staying at a Trump garbage palace, LOL -- and KA-CHING, you're in the black for the first time in ages.
But you can't have the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince here all the time. The guy does have a tendency to wild out with the bone saw, and then you wind up with the liberal media crawling all over you. Sometimes you need a more sustaining boost to the bottom line without all the publicity that comes from having a murderous despot in residence. Never fear, because Mohammed has a plan to bring the mountain to you!
The Post's David Fahrenthold reports,
Lobbyists representing the Saudi government reserved blocks of rooms at President Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel within a month of Trump's election in 2016 — paying for an estimated 500 nights at the luxury hotel in just three months, according to organizers of the trips and documents obtained by The Washington Post.
At the time, these lobbyists were reserving large numbers of D.C.-area hotel rooms as part of an unorthodox campaign that offered U.S. military veterans a free trip to Washington — then sent them to Capitol Hill to lobby against a law the Saudis opposed, according to veterans and organizers.
In 2016, Congress overrode Obama to pass the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), allowing Americans to sue foreign governments who sponsor terrorists. And the Saudis have one or fifteen reasons to fear that they might wind up getting sued in US courts for letting guys like Osama bin Laden recruit in their kingdom. So they came up with A PLAN.
Time for a refresher on Michael Flynn's fucked up Turkish literal actual foreign agent work!
When we wrote you words about Robert Mueller's sentencing memo for Michael Flynn, we noted that there was SO MUCH REDACTED BLACK INK, and that it appeared Flynn has been helping Mueller and the Department of Justice with a hell of a lot, both within the special counsel's investigation (SCO), and also apparently regarding two other criminal investigations, which are REDACTED. We had several ideas about what those REDACTED investigations might be, one of which was an outside investigation into Flynn's lobbying work for the Turkish government.
And it turns out maybe we were right!
Captain, by my calculations, in 30 days the fuckery will have displaced all matter in the galaxy.
We keep learning more daily about the endless fucktangle of shitweaselry in the absentee ballot fraud (at this point, do we need to say "alleged"? Fine, "alleged") that "won" North Carolina's Ninth Congressional District for Republican Mark Harris. Harris appeared to get 905 votes more than the Democrat, Dan McCready, but the state elections board, alerted to some serious fucking fuckery, refused to certify the result and is now investigating just what the fucking fuck happened. A criminal investigation is underway as well.
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported it looks like the architect of the fuckery, this one motherfucking Republican campaign operative named Leslie McCrae Dowless, has been at it for at least eight years, apparently working his magic on absentee voting in Bladen County in at least five different elections. (A whole bunch of mail-in ballots also went missing in neighboring Robeson County, but most of the attention has been on Bladen.) Maybe "architect" is too grand a term -- Dowless seems more the type to pound together election fraud in his garage out of two-by-fours and baling wire.
Rick Snyder is a creep, and a criminal.
Good news! Flint, Michigan, almost, maybe has clean drinking water again. Back in April 2014, the city switched its water source from Detroit's system to the toxic Flint River and failed to treat the river water with corrosion-control chemicals that would prevent children from suffering irreversible lead poisoning.
Outgoing (thankfully) Governor Rick Snyder took full responsibility for this man-made disaster and set up some patsies to take the fall. Residents of Flint were advised not to consume the city's tap water until all the compromised water service lines were replaced. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver was reportedly set to announce Tuesday that they'd replaced all of the lead and iron pipelines a year ahead of schedule or five years past when it never should've happened in the first place. (It all depends on if you're a "glass half full" of metallic sludge type of person.)
These initial reports were misleading, though. Weaver actually said that the city had excavated about 18,300 service lines but it's only replaced 7,700. The news might've gotten a little ahead of itself, but Weaver claims this is a "this is a huge step toward" Flint's efforts to move "from crisis to recovery."
The spies who loved Trump, more Republican election fraud, and Parliament airs Facebook's dirty laundry. Your morning news brief!
Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.
Pretty sure this guy's software needs A UPDATE.
Did you hear the one about how Rudy Giuliani is a stupid idiot dumbfuck who needs the internet to get off his lawn? Well!
Rudy Giuliani, who is not at all senile and is doing a bang-up job as Donald Trump's TV lawyer who barely implicates the president in any more than 10 crimes per week during nationally broadcast interviews, made a Twitter the other day.
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