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As expected, Steven Mnuchin ended the day Monday by inviting Congress to conduct oversight of his wrinkly, white ass. In a five-paragraph letter, Mnuchin informed the House Ways and Means Committee that the Justice Department has discovered this one weird trick to make unwanted congressional document demands disappear. They haven't actually told him the trick yet -- Bill Barr will whisper those magic words in his ear "as soon as practicable" -- but in the meantime, ummm, Alla Kazam, Alla Kazoo, Fuck You and MAGA, No Tax Returns For You!

More or less.

In reliance on the advice of the Department of Justice, I have determined that the Committee's request lacks a legitimate legislative purpose, and pursuant to section 6103, the Department [of Treasury] is therefore not authorized to disclose the requested returns and return information.

The statute mandates that the IRS shall hand over any tax return upon request, but one time in 1975 the Supreme Court suggested in a footnote that courts might have the right to determine whether a congressional subpoena has a legitimate legislative purpose. And even though Steven Mnuchin is in no wise a court, and even though this statute has nothing to do with Eastland, and even though section 6103 makes no mention of legitimate legislative purpose, and even though Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal was very careful to supply a legislative rationale for the request for Trump's taxes, Steven Mnuchin is now the final arbiter of what is and what is not a legitimate legislative purpose.

And we are, quite frankly, sick to death of explaining that no, the law does not say that. No one at the Justice Department actually believes that the Supreme Court is going to agree that Steven Mnuchin's determination of CONGRESS HOW DO IT GO overrides the plain language of the statute. This argument is transparently bullshit, and everyone knows it. The only issue now is whether Justice Roberts allows Trump to drag it out past November 2020. Third verse, same as the first.

So let's talk instead about Sally Yates. In January 2017, Donald Trump ordered Acting Attorney General Sally Yates to go to court to defend his facially illegal Muslim travel ban, and she refused. Because the the law is the law, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, and she wasn't going to stand before a judge and make a patently false legal argument. Federal prosecutors swear an oath to defend the constitution, not the president. Our system of justice depends on having lawyers who swear to uphold the rule of law, and mean it. Sally Yates meant it, and she was willing to get fired rather than betray her oath. The 500 former federal prosecutors who signed onto that letter excoriating Bill Barr for his handling of the Mueller Report meant it. Even Jeff Sessions meant it, more or less.

BILL BARR DID NOT MEAN IT. He took that oath to protect the Constitution with his fingers crossed. He admitted as much in testimony to the House on April 9 when grilled by Rep. Matt Cartwright about the DOJ's abrupt decision to reverse its position and declare the entire ACA illegal.

"Do you think it's likely we are going to prevail?" Barr scoffed at Cartwright's suggestion that the Justice Department was advocating for 10 or 12 million Americans to immediately lose their health insurance. Barr himself had advocated against changing the DOJ's stance arguing that the entire statute must fall if the individual mandate was declared illegal. He knows he's taking a facially preposterous legal stance because Trump thinks, for whatever reason, that running against the ACA is a good position for the GOP in 2020. In Barr's mind, it's just fine for the Justice Department to make political arguments that are facially illegal, because the courts will sort it out in the end.

We're in litigation. We have to take a position. I'm just saying that if you think it's such an outrageous position, you have nothing to worry about. Let the courts do their job.

A lawyer in private practice does "have to take a position." He has to make the best argument he can for his client -- guilty or innocent, right or wrong. But a lawyer who has sworn to uphold the Constitution has to make the best argument under the law. And the fact that the sitting attorney general admits before Congress that his department makes arguments based purely on politics is a BIG FUCKING DEAL.

But back to Mnuchin. Let's make an educated guess as to why he came to Congress with this flimsy-ass letter telling them to piss off for legal reasons TBD. We already know what the legal argument will be -- we've seen Trump's lawyers spamming the IRS with their Eastland footnote nonsense. The problem is getting a lawyer who actually cares about the rule of law, not to mention her reputation, to put her name on it.

When Sessions withdrew Justice Department support for the individual mandate in 2018, one career DOJ lawyer resigned and two withdrew from the case. Last month when Barr switched the DOJ's position to REPEAL AND GO FUCK YOURSELF, not one single career Justice official was willing to sign onto it. And when the DOJ does finally barf up some nonsense to justify withholding Trump's tax return from Congress, we're betting there won't be any career employees willing to back it up. Because making a farcical legal argument as a blatant tool to delay legitimate congressional oversight violates the prosecutor's oath of office. In fact, it slips perilously close to obstruction of Congress. If the DOJ had lawyers willing to put their reputations on the line to do it, they'd have already done it.

For now it's just Mnuchin and Barr, the two cheapest whores in DC. And they'll do anything.

[Mnuchin Letter / Vox]

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Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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Once upon a time... about ten years ago, a group of entirely ridiculous men burst onto the scene wearing stupid hats and telling men that wearing stupid hats and telling men that walking up to women in bars and insulting ("negging") them would get them laid. This did not last long, as women also had televisions and computers and were completely aware of these tricks as well, so when some ass came up to us in a bar and said "Hey, nice nails, are they real?" we would laugh and laugh and loudly announce "Oh my god, this guy just tried to neg me! Can you believe that shit? HEY EVERYONE, THIS GUY JUST TRIED TO NEG ME!" and then refer to him as "Mystery" the whole night.

Most of the men who tried that shit only did so a few times before realizing that it wasn't going to work, and thus moved on to other things. Perhaps things that did not involve furry hats and coming off as a huge creep. We may never know, because I would assume that those who tried it are now extremely embarrassed and would never, ever admit to this to us.

Still, there were a few men willing to eat that shit up, as well as some grifters willing to take advantage of that. Said grifters tended to be extremely misogynistic and seemed more like they were teaching men how to be as despised by women as they were than teaching them how to actually be liked by women.

Some of them, like Roosh V, a creepy weirdo who actually does live in his mom's basement, actively encouraged men to rape women who were intoxicated to the point of being obviously unable to consent.

However, even that branch of the PUA tree is wilting away. Many "self-help" style PUA forums like Nextasf and RSDnation are shutting down or have already shut down. In March, Chateau Heartiste, a batshit crazy PUA turned White Nationalist/Alt-Right blog was shut down by Wordpress. This week, rape advocate Roosh V (whom you may recall once called yours truly a "Wonkette typist/clown face, would not bang") announced that he was renouncing his PUA ways and devoting himself to Jesus. He explained to the forum he manages that he would no longer be allowing anyone to discuss premarital "fornication."

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'Baby Geniuses' star Jon Voight took to Twitter early this morning to proclaim his undying love for Donald Trump, probably because there is no one left in his life who will listen to him talk about this, or anything else, in person. In this video rant, Voight encouraged members of the Republican Party, whom he apparently thinks are the only real citizens of the United States, to stand by Donald Trump and "acknowledge the truth" that he is the best President since Abraham Lincoln.


Part ONE:

People of the Republican Party, I know you will agree with me when I say our president has our utmost respect and our love. This job is not easy. For he's battling the left and their absurd words of destruction. I've said this once and I'll say this again. That our nation has been built on the solid ground from our forefathers, and there is a moral code of duty that has been passed on from President Lincoln. I'm here today to acknowledge the truth, and I'm here today to tell you my fellow Americans that our country…

Oh no, not our absurd words of destruction!

Part DEUX:

is stronger, safer, and with more jobs because our President has made his every move correct. Don't be fooled by the political left, because we are the people of this nation that is witnessing triumph. So let us stand with our president. Let us stand up for this truth, that President Trump is the greatest president since President Lincoln.

Does Jon Voight not know there have been... other presidents? Can he name them? Because really, it does not sound like it. Does he also not know that a very big chunk of the Republican Party actually does not care very much for Abraham Lincoln? Namely those defenders of Confederate statues that Trump called "very fine people?" Also, did he intentionally diss their beloved Ronald Reagan?

Who can know? Who can even tell what he is trying to say or why he is trying to say it. He doesn't appear to have tweeted much since 2016, so I'm guessing whoever's job it was to keep him from tanking his career quit. Either that... or after filming the seventh season of Ray Donovan, he found out it's going to be canceled or his character is getting killed off or something and he is now free to be a jackass? I don't know, I haven't watched the show, although my parents are very into it and mad that I haven't watched it. Literally all I know about it is that it has something to do with Boston, because they keep mentioning that to me like it's a selling point.

It seems useless at this point to note that the people who scream their faces off about how bad it is for Hollywood celebs to support liberal causes, and how they should keep their politics to themselves, etc. etc. make a way bigger deal than normal people do whenever a Big Time Hollywood Celebrity like Jon Voight or, uh, Scott Baio, supports their cause. Mostly because they're the only ones who have elected a reality TV star and the star of Bedtime for Bonzo (who by the way, also once practically ruined a perfectly good Bette Davis movie with his bad acting. Which is not to say that Dark Victory is not fantastic and probably the best thing to watch if you want to sob your face off, but he was very bad in it.) to run the country.

But we might as well do that anyway, because it actually never stops being funny.

[Jon Voight Twitter]

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