Come on Trump, you know you don't want to endorse a lady!
Congressman Doug Collins is about to make Georgia's US senate race a whole lot more interesting. Yesterday the ardent Trump supporter announced that he's running to fill out the remaining two years of Johnny Isakson's term after the senior senator retired on December 31 for health reasons. The problem is that Georgia's Republican Governor Brian Kemp already appointed someone to that seat, and it isn't Doug Collins.
The GOP may appear to have whittled itself to a party of one, catering only to the whims of an orange manchild with brains the consistency of ramen noodles, but still Brian Kemp, who only beat out Stacey Abrams in 2018 by the tiniest of margins, managed to resist Donald Trump's pressure to appoint Collins to the vacant seat. He opted instead for gazillionaire Kelly Loeffler, who can dump $20 million into the campaign and maybe use her two X-chromosomes to stanch the party's bleeding with suburban women.
Which is NO FAIR for Doug Collins, who filibustered that House impeachment hearing like an auctioneer hawking a 2012 Dodge Ram on the East Asscrack County courthouse steps. He earned this one fair and square, and now he's taking it.
It's your Sunday show rundown!
We begin today's Sunday show roundup with Republican Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma. Making appearances on both CNN's "State of The Union" and ABC's "This Week," Lankford did his best to be a one-man version of the "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil" monkey.
On CNN, Lankford pretended to be offended that Adam Schiff referred to a report that Trump had threatened senators if they didn't stand with him while simultaneously "seeing no evil" by ignoring Trump's C-level gangster threats towards Schiff when pointed out to him. (We covered it here.) On ABC, Lankford decided to go with "hear no evil" as he told George Stephanopoulos why we shouldn't see new witnesses -- like saying that the House "rushed" impeachment by not waiting on courts to decide subpoenas. Stephanopoulos wasn't having it.
It's Liz's Impeachment Party, grab a lei and a breakfast pina colada, and hula on in!
Good Saturday morning to you! Come on in, Jay Sekulow and Pat Cipollone and Pam Bondi and Ken Starr and maybe Not Trump's Lawyer More Like Just Some Guy Supposed to Say Some Things But NOT TRUMP'S LAWYER OKAY (Alan Dershowitz) who are all preparing very hard to wow us with some legal WHEREFORES and HEREBYS and a whoooole lotta conspiracy theory.
It's going to be SOME DUMB, we are saying! Here's a livestream! Ready? GO!
We need to get money out of politics, for real.
Tuesday's Democratic debate in Iowa will be as white as, well, Iowa. Cory Booker dropped out of the race today because he didn't make the cut. Neither did Andrew Yang or even wannabe Obama Deval Patrick. As a presidential candidate, Patrick is like the alien race on Doctor Who that you only remember exists when you're looking right at them. Hey, no one ever said politics was easy ... or diverse. The candidates who didn't make it this far just didn't have a message that connected with voters. That's Tom Steyer's story, and he'll pay you good money to believe it.
Steyer has spent $116 million in television advertising. This marketing budget normally reserved for Star Wars movies was focused on Nevada and South Carolina. Steyer has started to see a return on his investment. Recent polls have him at third place in Nevada with 12 percent support and second place in South Carolina with 15 percent. Yes, you read that correctly. Steyer is second -- the one after first -- in South Carolina. That's also the state where his campaign "borrowed" voter data from Kamala Harris, so I don't know why he's still allowed to compete at all. It's insulting.
What's even more insulting is that Steyer won't cop to trying to buy the primary. No, he just has a great message that the poor bastards in Nevada and South Carolina can't escape.
Beware of misleading social media videos from guys named Vlad.
During the 2016 election, Russian trolls targeted a lot of misinformation at black voters. A common theme was that because Hillary Clinton said "super predators" once, she was just as racist -- if not more! -- than Donald Trump, who'd been Donald Trump his whole life. Russia and the Trump campaign had an eerily aligned goal -- suppress turnout among black voters. Trump and Republicans in general don't need black people to vote for them. They're fine if we don't vote at all, either because our closest polling place is on Mars (thanks, Chief Justice Roberts!) or we think Hillary was a Goldwater Girl klansman with a Confederate flag in her hippie dorm room.
The usual suspects are pulling the same scam with Joe Biden. Uncle Joe has his problems. We've written about them and will continue doing so during his likely presidency. However, whatever racial or gender blindspots he might have doesn't make him Donald Trump, who's what appears in the Oval Office if you say "racist!" three times in a mirror. Early this week, the Twitter account "@mooncult" posted some clips from a Biden speech that were deceptively edited to make him look terrible. Here's the one that made the most rounds on the Twitter-mobile.
If there were any bodies, they were long gone.
We'll probably never know what happened in the 2016 election. It's not in dispute that Russia "hacked" the US election system by spamming social media with mindless shitposts, but whether or not Russians were capable of changing voter rolls or election outcomes will always be the subject of conspiracy theories. In the end it was a combination of Russian voter fuckery, shady business practices, and the gullibility of ignorant elections workers that created the perfect storm of stupidity that Donald Trump rode to Washington. And it's with that that Politico takes an exhausting look back at what happened with just one company during the 2016 election.
Attempting to reconstruct what the hell went wrong in the 2016 election will make your brain bleed even before you can slam your head into the closest solid object. Politico's 6000-plus-word investigation attempts to do just that by highlighting existing public documents and non-answers from the jackasses involved.
TLDR: IF Russia was able to break into local polls and voter rolls we'll never know what they did once they got inside. People involved with investigations took their sweet-ass time, and nobody involved will admit they might have fucked up.
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.)
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