And that's why this stuff is important.
Yesterday, Judge Paul Malloy ruled that the state of Wisconsin must purge 234,000 voters who "may have moved recently" from the state's voter rolls, the majority of whom reside in Democratic strongholds.
The ruling was in response to complaint from the right-wing law firm, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, against the Wisconsin Elections Commission, alleging that they needed to purge the voter rolls of people who had not responded to recent mailing. Why? Because the fewer people who can vote, the better Republicans do.
"State agencies comprised of political appointees and unelected staff do not have the authority to invent or amend policy contrary to state law," the institute's president and general counsel, Rick Esenberg, said in a statement at the time.
The commission, however, said it was allowing voters to stay on the rolls through the spring of 2021 based on a June vote by the commission."The commission is confident that it is complying with Wisconsin law," Meagan Wolfe, the state's chief election official, said in a statement at the time.
Given that Donald Trump only beat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin by less than 23,000 votes, this may seem like a cause for alarm — and it is. But among the many wonderful things to be found in Wisconsin — supper clubs that look like the 1970s inside, the Mars Cheese Castle, so much discount cheese in general, the Laverne and Shirley tour, Milwaukee in general (after all, it is Algonquin for "the good land") — is same-day voter registration.
You go, girl!
Hey, Devin Nunes! You want to know what a real defamation suit looks like? Check out this slander claim by Karen McDougal against Fox News after Russia-loving trust-fund baby Tucker Carlson falsely accused her of extortion on live television. It's amazing what a real lawyer can do with an actual, cognizable, non-frivolous claim! She doesn't even have to dream up a bullshit explanation to park the case in some random court in rural Virginia -- she just files it where the actual injury took place. There's not a cow in sight! AMAZING, right?
McDougal was one of the women who sold the story of her affair with Donald Trump to the National Enquirer in the run-up to the election, only to find that Enquirer owner David Pecker and his pet snake editor Dylan Howard had a side deal to sell the rights to Trump so he could make sure it never saw the light of day. And while we may question the judgment of a person who voluntarily chose to bump uglies with Trump, in no universe is this woman an extortionist.
If it weren't for bad faith ...
The Inspector General's report on the FISA warrant for Carter Page has started to leak and it is TOTAL VINDICATION! Just like very serious journalist Maria Bartiromo tweeted last night before her interview with the dumbest dingbat on the Trump campaign, "an innocent American citizen was wiretapped by a cabal of people who wanted to stop @realDonaldTrump @POTUS bc they had the power to do it."
Or maybe the opposite of that.
The Washington Post reports that there was nothing wrong with the factual or legal basis for the FISA warrant on Page, meaning that there was no defect in the predicate. Which is YEAH NO SHIT, since the Russians had tried to recruit that nutter in 2013, long before he popped up on a presidential campaign that was being actively supported by the Russian government.
And speaking of quid pro quos ...
Before shit starts going down today, let's talk about Roger Stone and Donald Trump's shady, shady deal. This afternoon, a jury will decide whether Stone tampered with a witness and lied to Congress about his contacts with Wikileaks during the 2016 election. He didn't take the stand in his own defense, so prosecutors never got to cross examine him about his contacts with the Trump campaign. But they did get Steve Bannon confirming that he spoke to Stone multiple times about upcoming Wikileaks dumps of Hillary Clinton's emails. And they heard Rick Gates testify that Stone relentlessly flogged his connections to Julian Assange from April of 2016.
In late July, Gates was in the car with Donald Trump and two Secret Service agents during a phone call with Roger Stone; Trump turned to Gates and said that Wikileaks was planning further document dumps. All of which was documented in the Mueller Report, but after Bill Barr took a Sharpie to it, conveniently obscuring the firsthand account of Trump's collusion with Wikileaks and Roger Stone, it looked like this.
Why no, that is not what Donald Trump said in his written answers to Mueller's questions.
Roger Stone is shit scared. Literally. On Tuesday during jury selection, he had to leave the courtroom because of ahem food poisoning.
"I have Imodium in my chambers," Judge Amy Berman Jackson offered, after Stone excused himself yet again to tend to his churning bowels. But her generosity did not extend to slowing down the voir dire process for the defendant's tummy troubles, and by Wednesday morning the jury was ready for opening argument. Then the shit really hit the fan!
Roger Stone is charged with obstruction, lying to Congress, and tampering with a witness. He repeatedly told House investigators that he never spoke to anyone in the campaign about Wikileaks and the hacked Democratic emails, had no contact or go-between with Julian Assange, never tried to contact Assange, and had no communication regarding upcoming dumps of stolen DNC emails. None of that was true, as the FBI discovered when they recovered hundreds of emails and text messages with Jerome Corsi and Randy Credico off the Moron Squad's phones and hard drives.
But Roger Stone's lawyer has a most excellent defense to that one. See, when Adam Schiff asked if Stone had any correspondence with Wikileaks or a go-between to Assange, Roger Stone assumed he meant pertaining to Russia. It's like that game you played when you were fifteen and you added "in bed" to every sentence. Stone was mentally adding "in Russia" to all of HPSCI's queries, and so he had no "criminal intent" to lie to Congress.
Wisconsin GOP with some more ACTUALLY SHOCKING bullshit!!!
With Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin refusing to concede he lost yesterday's election to Democrat Andy Beshear, who received 5,000 more votes, and Donald Trump proclaiming the Kentucky election a huge success for the GOP, we're beginning to wonder whether this marks a new tool for Republicans to add to their bag of tricks: In addition to using gerrymandering and voter suppression to impose minority rule, why not just start ignoring the outcomes of elections altogether?
For a case in point, let's look at Wisconsin, where yesterday the state Senate ousted the Democratic agriculture secretary, months after all five Republicans on the Agriculture committee had voted to support his nomination. Why? Because the Republican leader of the state Senate wanted to teach Democratic Gov. Tony Evers that despite beating Scott Walker in 2018, Evers isn't really in charge. Republicans may have gotten only 46 percent of the statewide vote that year, but thanks to gerrymandering, they kept 64 percent of the seats in the state Assembly, and actually added a seat in the Senate. It's just one more example of Republicans' contempt for the state's voters, which started when they used their lame-duck session to limit the governor's power before he took office. And Evers better not forget it.
What's Up Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi Elections? Oh, There Are Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi Elections?
Why do so many former Confederate states hold odd-year state elections? Why would they insist upon opening the polls every single year, spending millions of additional tax dollars and forcing voters to take yet another day off work, just to keep local and national votes separate? Yeah, it's a MYSTERY! It's almost like the system is deliberately structured to depress turnout and keep the electorate as rich and white as possible to ensure Republicans hold power forever.
Tomorrow Kentucky and Mississippi will hold closely watched gubernatorial elections, and Virginians will go to the polls to determine which party will control the legislature for the all-important redistricting after the 2020 census. Here's what to watch for.
It’s another Ellen moment!
Democratic presidential candidate and local crackpot Tulsi Gabbard has a brand new BFF. Yesterday, after Hillary Clinton implied (correctly) that Vladimir Putin picked her from a Sears catalog of spoiler candidates, Meghan McCain rushed to Gabbard's defense on Twitter:
McCain suggests Gabbard "threatens" people instead of simply annoying them so much that they don't want to vote for her or give her money. "The View" host isn't a Democrat, yet Gabbard's lack of popularity among Democrats "baffles" her. McCain also couldn't resist dinging Clinton again for her 2016 comment about Trump supporters. I'm going to repeat it here in full because I'm tired of Republicans carrying this cross.
See Republicans, telling the truth isn't so hard after all.
The Senate Intelligence Committee issued the second installment of its report on interference in the 2016 election. This edition was subtitled "Russia's Use of Social Media," and SPOILER ALERT, the committee agreed with everyone outside the Wingnut Bubble that it was the Russians. We don't know who needs to hear this, but:
The Committee found that the IRA [Internet Research Agency] sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton's chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin.
LOL, we're kidding! We know exactly who needs to hear it, and it's Trump's Attorney General Bill Barr, who spent last week in Italy chasing down nutty professor Joseph Mifsud in an effort to prove that HILLARY CLINTON IS THE REAL COLLUSION because ...
Impeachment is like bankruptcy, it happens slowly and then all at once.
Donald Trump knew damn well that the Russians hacked our elections, and he invited them into the Oval Office to tell them it was TOTALLY FINE. Yes, this was at the same May 10, 2017, meeting where he told Russian Ambassador Kislyak and Foreign Minister Lavrov, "I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," because "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off." Don't worry about the cops, Sergei, hack away! And yes, this is one of the conversations White House lawyers stuck in the double-super-secret code word vault to make sure the American public never learned what a filthy traitor their president was. And yes, this shit is all coming out since the White House, which has always leaked like a sieve, is in total meltdown now that Nancy Pelosi has released the impeachment kraken.
(Although if we had to guess, we'd say this particular love note comes courtesy of "former official" John Bolton, who would have had access to the vault full of embarrassing transcripts and has been very clear that he's going to stick a shiv in Trump the first chance he gets.)
Bigfoot was also interviewed and is still pro-Trump.
As the House moves forward with an impeachment inquiry of Donald Trump, pundits and "experts" have pointed out the many risks for Democrats. Peter Trubowitz, professor of international relations at the London School of Economics, reminded us that Republicans "in 1998 lost the House after impeaching Bill Clinton." That depends on how you define the word "after." Republicans lost some seats but kept the House and gained the presidency in 2000. They didn't lose the House until 2006. A similar outcome for Democrats isn't a "risk," it's a boon.
Now deleted tweetTwitter
The New York Times took the impeachment question to the public. It interviewed two dozen voters across the country -- roughly the turnout for a special election. Times reporters found them "elated and wary, unsure and already exhausted." Before Trump, they were inspired. Now they're sad and tired. The article itself is like a 1970s sci-fi film set in the future: There are no black people present. The Republicans they spoke with have stuck with Trump through Russia, Stormy, and "Access Hollywood." They even forgave his brief career as a rap artist. They were generally "unmoved by the possibility that Mr. Trump committed impeachable crimes."
It's the Sunday Show Rundown!
We begin with Treasury Secretary and
actor/producer of the
hit film Rules Don't Apply, Steven Mnuchin, who appeared on CNN's "State of the Union" and NBC's "Meet the Press" to talk about the additional sanctions the Trump administration has put on Iran. But to Mnuchin's dismay, the main story was Trump seeking help from a foreign government (again) to get dirt against a political opponent (again) to win an election (again).
Focusing on "State of the Union," which spares us from Chuck Todd, Mnuchin tried the bold tactic of "I know nothing":
TAPPER: And just, as a general premise, is it OK with you for a president, any president, to pressure a foreign leader, a foreign leader that wants hundreds of millions of dollars from the United States in aid, to investigate a political rival? Is that acceptable?
MNUCHIN: Well, you're -- you're speculating that the president pressured. I don't have any reason to believe that the president pressured...
TAPPER: He brought it up eight times.
MNUCHIN: ... in any way. Again, you're speculating. Just...
TAPPER: That is not speculating. That is in "The Washington Post" and "The Wall Street Journal" that he...
MNUCHIN: So -- so, everything in "The Washington Post" and "The Wall Street Journal," we should assume, is always factual?
TAPPER: OK. So how many times did he bring it up, then?
MNUCHIN: I'm not aware.
Mnuchin flopped about when Jake Tapper asked my favorite rhetorical question:
TAPPER: But let me just close by asking, if, for instance, President Obama had pressured a foreign leader, Putin or the president of Ukraine, anyone, and said, I want you to look into Donald Trump Jr. or I want you to look into Eric Trump, international businessmen, both of them, would you not find that inappropriate?
MNUCHIN: Again, I'm not going to speculate on that...
For a second, Mnuchin almost sidestepped that question successfully ... but then he tried to help Trump's little Biden/Ukraine conspiracy and inadvertently hoisted himself by his own petard:
MNUCHIN: What I do find inappropriate is the fact that Vice President Biden at the time's son did very significant business dealings in Ukraine. I, for one, find that to be concerning. And, to me, that is the issue perhaps that should be further investigated.
TAPPER: I don't understand. So it is OK for Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump Jr. to do business all over the world, it's OK for Ivanka Trump to have copyrights approved all over the world while President Trump is president, but while Vice President Joe Biden was vice president, his son shouldn't have been able to do business dealings?
MNUCHIN: Again, I don't -- I don't really want to go into more of these details, other than to say...
TAPPER: Well, you're just setting a precedent that the president is violating.
MNUCHIN: Again, I think there is a significant difference in what you're saying, OK, or what I was saying between Biden and his son's relationship with the Ukraine oligarch and potential business dealings that the Trump Organization has had which predated his presidency.
Seems the only significant difference is that it's ok for Trump but not others. And like that, Tapper points out both the hypocrisy and projectionism of the Trump administration. For this and Mnuchin swearing more Iran sanctions work, here's the video:
We move on to former CIA Director and current Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Appearing on both ABC's "This Week" and CBS's "Face the Nation," he was asked a very simple question: If the Iran sanctions are working, then why is the situation worsening instead of improving? Pompeo gave the same condescending answer in both, partially because both were asked by women (Martha Raddatz on ABC and Margaret Brennan on CBS, respectively), but it was his answer on CBS that had an interesting caveat:
BRENNAN: This attack on Iran. It seems Iran's behavior is getting worse, not better, based on the Trump administration's campaign. You've been very aggressive with these sanctions. Why do you think sanctioning them leads to better behavior?
POMPEO: Margaret, you-- you start the clock at the wrong point. Nineteen-seven--
BRENNAN: I'm talking about what happened this summer.
POMPEO: Nineteen seventy-nine is the trajectory of the Iranian Revolution. Forty years of terror. Forty years of terror.
That's not how it works! You don't get to conveniently choose the point in which the clock starts on history. But since Pompeo decided the "clock" starts on 1979, here's an interesting historical overview of why THAT particular year is interesting:
So Pompeo wants to start at the point where the CIA-installed Shah of Iran was deposed -- or when the consequences of our intervention in another country's government leadership destabilized the region began. Of course, that's a very convenient time to "start the clock" for the former CIA director. But if Pompeo has a problem with 1979, has no one told him about
1986 or Oliver North? Maybe this will help:
Seems rather convenient to leave out the part where we sold weapons TO Iran to fund an illegal war in Central America, which destabilized THAT region and created the migrant refugee crisis Trump ignores or cages in detention camps. Pompeo condescension, here is the video:
We end with former Secretary of Defense and retired Marine General James Mattis. While appearing on ABC's "This Week" to promote his book on leadership, he was asked by Martha Raddatz what makes a good leader.
MATTIS: Well, I think the most important thing that you have to have to be a good leader, is you have to have the ability to build trust, and that starts with listening. I'll put it in George Washington's words: listening, learning, helping and then leading.
But right before this answer, Mattis was asked a very straightforward question that he decided to sidestep:
RADDATZ: Secretary Mattis, I just want to turn to something else that's in the news, and that's the whistleblower investigation. President Trump just said "I hope they can put out that conversation." Should a president be asking foreign leaders to investigate political opponents?
MATTIS: Yeah, Martha, this is not something I have background on. I don't know anything more than what I read in the news. And apparently no one has seen the complaint, so I really prefer to talk about things I know more about.
Leadership, or whatever.
Have a week!
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Give it a day.
So Puerto Rico has now had three governors (the equivalent of the president in any other country) in a week. Take that, mainland United States Congress!!!
After the Puerto Rico Supreme Court found that Pedro Pierluisi was unconstitutionally sworn-in as governor and told to him vacate La Fortaleza (The Fortress, the name of the governor's mansion in Old San Juan), Wanda Vazquez Garced became the Governor of Puerto Rico. On his way out, Pierluisi released a taped statement that appeared to be filmed in front of a green screen:
Pedro Pierluisi taped this short video for the people of Puerto Rico. It was released after he left the Governor's mansion but before Wanda Vazquez was sworn in as Governor. pic.twitter.com/rPqJmTenhm
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) August 7, 2019
Or on the set of Lex Luthor's library in Richard Donner's Superman.
Even had Otis doing sign language!
Your Mini-Constitutional Crisis Update!
When we last checked in with the United States most
ignored favorite colony, Puerto Rico had just forced their governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to announce his resignation effective August 2 after weeks of intense protests. The protests were sparked by years of corruption and 889 pages of leaked chats involving the governor, secretary of state, and other top officials. This forced many in the administration to resign and, after a disastrous Fox News interview, Rosselló soon joined them. But this was not a tidy happy ending.
Because the secretary of state (second in line for the governorship) resigned prior to Rosselló, there was no clear answer who was next in the line of succession. By Article IV of the Constitution of Puerto Rico, Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez Garced would have been the next governor until the 2020 elections. But amid protests due to various scandals and controversies outlined by the New York Times (and probably not wanting to be in charge in a shitshow), Ms. Vázquez Garced announced she didn't want the job.
With the deadline bearing down, Rosselló announced July 31 that he had chosen
Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia as the new secretary of state to fill the vacancy left by Luis G. Rivera Marín. This effectively made him the next in line and successor as governor, so crisis averted! Just kidding.
This guy again!
We will never be rid of Scott Walker. Wisconsin voters finally gave him the boot, but he's like a case of drug-resistant gonorrhea, never really gone. This time he's reared his little pinhead in Michigan to fight the scourge of voter-approved bipartisan redistricting commissions, which infringe on the sacred First Amendment right of Republicans to ratfuck themselves into permanent majorities forever. This tyrannical exclusion of politicians and party officials from the redistricting process based on the will of 61 percent of Michigan voters will not stand, man! Not if Scott Walker has anything to say about it!
Last November, Michigan voters approved a state constitutional amendment removing the redistricting process from the wildly gerrymandered legislature and putting it in the hands of a 13-member commission composed of four Democrats, four Republicans, and five unaffiliated voters. Commissioners will be randomly selected from a pool of applicants, using "accepted statistical weighting methods to ensure that the pools, as closely as possible, mirror the geographic and demographic makeup of the state," and the majority and minority leaders of both houses of the Michigan legislature will each be allowed to strike five applicants from the pool. Politicians, party officials, lobbyists, and their families are ineligible for positions on the commission, which pay about $40,000 per year.
Which all sounds pretty fair, right?
But lower-level Republican Party officials are howling like stuck pigs that the state is illegally discriminating against them and penalizing them for exercising their First Amendment right to affiliate with a political party and hold state office. Scott Walker's group The National Republican Redistricting Trust and its affiliate Fair Lines America (George Orwell would be proud!) are backing a consortium of GOP hacks in their lawsuit asking the US District Court in Grand Rapids to declare the entire law unconstitutional and return mapmaking power to the Republican-controlled legislature as White Jesus intended.
Meghan McCain, whom Wonkette recently exposed as John McCain's secret daughter, is the subject of an Elle magazine profile that is not in any way worth your time. The only interesting factoid revealed during the trip on the Megs McCabe Borderline Express is that she sometimes shows up drunk or hungover ALLEGEDLY for whatever it is she contributes to "The View" ... ALLEGEDLY. By her. She alleges.
[McCain] remembers one night last year when she went out with her colleagues for drinks and got tipsy. The next morning, when it was time to film, she carried the convivial attitude of the previous night onto the show, and a crass line slipped out of her mouth: "I call her Crooked Hillary!" she said. "I hate Hillary Clinton."
"Tipsy" is an interesting word choice. Doris Day got "tipsy." Megs McCabe likes to spend her free time at the creek, doing Jell-O shots and shooting guns. That lady (Wonkette is not judging) gets smashed.
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