Everything is 2016 again.
A while back, a certain part of the internet we rarely travel to published the definitive piece on Tulsi Gabbard, What Is Wrong With Her, which was actually called "Tulsi Gabbard Is Not Your Friend." It was at Jacobin -- which if we recall correctly is not the name of Neera Tanden's DNC Establishment Factchecking Studio, Bar And Grill -- and it went chapter-and-verse through all kinds of things about Gabbard that are problematic, to say the least, from her claims to being anti-war (she isn't, she's just very selective about what kinds of wars she likes, which involve lots of bombing) to her anti-LGBT record to her anti-Islamic rhetoric to her love for the very creepy prime minister of India, Narendra Modi.
Oh yeah, we should also mention that Gabbard is a major fucking bigtime apologist for Syrian murderer dictator Bashar al Assad. Jacobin didn't get far into that, but we're about to.
But we guess all that is forgotten now, because Tulsi Gabbard said kAmAla iS a cOp during Wednesday night's debate, and therefore certain parts of the internet we rarely travel to are going to now act like all the problems with Gabbard have gone away and Tulsi is good now:
Is it a "lazy slur" to say Tulsi Gabbard refuses to admit that Assad illegally murders his own people with chemical weapons on the regular, and that she refuses to call him a war criminal? It's not as lazy as saying "Kamala is a cop," but this post isn't about that.
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Gonna fix Iran good, you bet!
SHHHHH! Donald Trump just appointed Rand Paul as his double-super-secret backchannel to Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Kentucky's second worst senator is going to go convince those Iranians to give up their nukes and start playing nice. Hosanna, our long, national nightmare is over! But keep it under your hats because it's totally hush-hush, okay?
Politico reports that Sens. Paul and David Perdue went golfing with Trump this weekend at his New Jersey course -- paid for by you, the American taxpayer -- and the president gave his blessing to Paul's request to meet with Zarif to try to bring down the temperature a bit and keep us out of another pointless Middle Eastern war. Paul refused to confirm or deny that his plan involves praising Zarif's big, beautiful hands and promising half price taco bowls for life at the future Trump Tower Isfahan.
(Let him play all the golf he wants, they said. When he's out there on the links, he's not breaking shit, they said.)
So you know, there's that.
Well folks, we think we have a geopolitical relations first for an American president. We might need to consult with Doris Kearns Goodwin or Kevin Kruse, but we cannot recall a time one of America's purported enemies OR friends has called the president of the United States "retarded" or anything along those lines. We remember leaders hating American presidents. We remember them recoiling like UGH GET OFF ME when an American president tried to give them a friendly sensual love massage during the G8. We remember them literally attacking our democratic elections in order to prevent the inaugurations of potential presidents they despise and fear. But we don't remember anything like this.
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, commenting on Donald Trump after the Trump administration threw some new sanctions at Iran on Monday:
Iran warned Tuesday that new U.S. sanctions targeting its supreme leader and other top officials meant "closing the doors of diplomacy" between Tehran and Washington amid heightened tensions, even as President Hassan Rouhani derided the White House as being "afflicted by mental retardation."
Here is the full quote, in case you were wondering if something was lost in translation, like that time Vladimir Putin called Trump "brilliant" and Trump was so excited he left a ring of orange jizz around the bathtub, but what Putin actually said in Russian more accurately translates as "colorful" or "shiny." There's no confusion here:
This thing where vets get two votes seems iffy, too.
Damn, we knew Beto O'Rourke is trying to enhance his policy chops in an attempt to keep up with Elizabeth Warren's Plans For Everything, but his just-released proposal for a "War Tax" to fund care for veterans of any new wars is just plain bad, and he should feel bad.
O'Rourke has some fairly conventional -- and even good -- ideas for improving the Department of Veterans Affairs and making it easier for veterans to get services, but they're also not all that exciting, tending toward "innovation" and "[focusing] on veterans holistically" to build a "state of the art" VA medical system. Nice, wonky, and not gonna grab any headlines. And as Adam Weinstein points out at New Republic, Beto deserves credit for one huge achievement as a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee:
particularly in securing emergency mental health services for vets with "bad paper," i.e. those with less-than-honorable discharges often stemming from health issues that were undiagnosed or stigmatized in the service. It's a good start, in terms of returning what's due to those who have served in an unprecedented stretch of overseas wars and transitioned to civilian life in a deeply iniquitous, divided society.
Along similar lines, O'Rourke calls for making VA care more inclusive by also extending services to veterans who had less-than-honorable discharges, while presumably still excluding actual war crimers.
But oh, lordy, this "War Tax" thing. Oh fucking lordy indeed.
It's the Sunday Show Rundown!
After another week of cruelty towards immigrant children and barely sidestepping John Bolton and Mike Pompeo's Iran War erotic dreams, the Trump administration sent out one of its most shameless liars: X-Men villain and current Vice President Michael Richard Pence. (Trump also made a full episode appearance on NBC's "Meet The Press" ably covered by Five Dollar Feminist here.)
Mike Dick Pence practicing for his current treatment of immigrants.Marvel Comics
Pence made dual appearances on CNN's "State of the Union" and CBS's "Face The Nation." While most of the lies were identical, it was Jake Tapper who fact-checked Pence on the spot. Here are some of the highlights.
Not bombing Iran (yet) is the best that we could hope for, we guess.
Great news, guys! The Bumbler in Chief managed not to pratfall us into another land war in Asia last night. Please clap. At 7 p.m., DC was bracing for an imminent strike on Iran and the FAA closed Iranian airspace over the the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman to US flights. But then the New York Times reported that Trump had changed his mind, ordering planes already in the air headed to bomb Iranian missile and radar targets to stand down.
Naturally, Donald Trump has a rational explanation for why he launched an attack only to un-launch it moments later, and it is ... BARACK OBAMA IS BAD.
So, he's attacking Iran because Barack Obama entered into an agreement to halt their nuclear production, which they complied with? Did Obama shoot down a US drone that may or may not have been in Iranian territory? Or was it Joe Biden? This is all so confusing!
Oh, wait, he's still typing!
Are we going to bomb Iran? TUNE IN TO NEXT WEEK'S EPISODE TO FIND OUT!
What did we say this morning? Something about how "They want a war with Iran," and "Please do not listen to news reports about Trump telling his people to cool their jets with the Iran talk, because they want a war with Iran, and all they are looking for is their trigger"?
News came out early this morning that Iran shot down a US drone in the Strait of Hormuz, outside Iranian waters. Let's see what our president and his war-bonering GOP shitmouths in Congress have had to say about that:
Great. Just great. So what's happening now?
Awesome. Just splendid. Trump is having a cuddle party today with John Bolton (who's had a hard-on to bomb Iran since the Bush administration); Mike Pompeo (who's been making the rounds lying and saying Iran and al Qaeda are best friends, thus implying that it's very legal and very cool for Trump to strike Iran without congressional authorization, based on the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) Congress voted for five days after 9/11); and Patrick Shanahan, the outgoing acting Defense secretary, who will make way for another acting Defense secretary, because who needs real Defense secretaries? (The new guy, Mark Esper, is part of the meeting too.) And as Senator Schatz points out above, Trump is emotionally unstable and doesn't know dick about foreign policy, so it's just great that he's having an emergency meeting with these unhinged hawks about this right now.
Tell us what this all means, unhinged hawk Lindsey Graham!
2003 called. It wants its dumb fucking warmongering lies back.
It's 2003 all over again! Hip hip, fucking hooray!
The New York Times reports, in the article we were YELLING AT IN THAT TWEET, that Secretary of State JesusRapture McCowPatty has been briefing Congress to tell them that -- STOP US IF YOU'VE HEARD THIS ONE BEFORE -- Iran and al Qaeda are in cahoots, and have been for a long time!
Now, all historians not named Dinesh D'Souza are free to correct us, in case we have missed the epic historical event where Sunni and Shia Muslims decided that they are now best buds, as opposed to literally always being on opposite sides of every single conflict, a reflection of how they've been warring for centuries. If that happened and we missed it, then sure, we guess it is possible that Iran (Shia) and al Qaeda (hardcore Sunni) are cahootsing, which would at least give a little bit more weight to the argument Mike Pompeo is trying to make here, in which he is just subtly implying to Congress that because they already authorized the government to do war at al Qaeda 2001, then ergo ipso facto if al Qaeda and Iran are friends on Facebook, that means they can bomb Iran, just like John Bolton has been jizzing himself to do for years.
Folks, they are doing it again. And they are -- unbelievably -- going to try to use some of the same arguments they did last time. And we guess the New York Times up there is going to do the same thing it did last time, and help the criminal Trump administration beat the drums for another criminal war.
Knew this story was coming since January, did jackshit about it. Huh!
Acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan is out at the Department of Defense. The former Boeing executive will have to go back to plying his multi-million dollar ass-kissing skills in the private sector again since Donald Trump has withdrawn his nomination to the Senate "so that he can devote more time to his family." Safe bet that Shanahan's nomination as Father of the Year is on ice as well amid allegations of spousal abuse and his disgraceful behavior after his teenage son cracked his mother's skull with a baseball bat in 2011 after which Shanahan successfully argued that the 17-year-old should get a deferred adjudication and disappeared the kid's phone, which may or may not have contained evidence of an illegal sexual relationship with a much older woman.
YES, THAT'S JUST THE START.
Trump Promises To Deport ERREBODY, Because What Part Of INSANE FASCIST FREAKSHOW Don't You Understand?
Onstage executions during Trump rallies still in early planning stages.
Donald Trump is officially kicking off his reelection campaign at a rally in Orlando tonight, so it only makes sense he'd want to preview it by whipping up the base with some red immigration meat. That's why, during his late-night Twitter fit, the "president" announced the Goon Squad would be coming to town and rounding up "millions" of undocumented immigrants. We suppose it's a bit like the sort of celebratory atrocities you'd expect in bad science fiction: To mark the Tyrant's birthday, we'll vaporize the Rebels' home planet, YAY!
Millions! Trump appeared to be referring to one of immigration Obersturmbannführer Stephen Miller's dream projects, a plan for a "blitz" against thousands of immigrant families who have received court orders for deportation but are still in the country. Miller and Trump had been pushing the idea since last September. But earlier this year, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ron Vitiello put the kibosh on the plan, citing concerns that it would be a logistical clusterfuck, not to mention terrible publicity. They were also concerned that deporting undocumented parents of children who are US citizens would lead to messy situations and bad publicity -- not the morality, just the logistics and optics. So both Vitiello and Nielsen were shitcanned and replaced by new people who thought mass deportations would be just the right thing to promote the Rule of Law, especially if it means the Great Man is happy.
Acting ICE director Mark Morgan, who replaced Vitiello, confirmed earlier in June that an operation to remove families, as a deterrent to new migration, was very much in the planning stages, telling reporters, "I think we can't exempt anybody [...] That will include families."
Mind you, the Washington Post notes that surprise immigration sweeps generally involve a bit more "surprise."
Large-scale ICE enforcement operations are typically kept secret to avoid tipping off targets. In 2018, Trump and other senior officials threatened the mayor of Oakland, Calif., with criminal prosecution for alerting city residents that immigration raids were in the works.
In accordance with the rules of how these things always go, Trump's tweet left the immigration agencies struggling to find anything to say about it, according to WaPo:
U.S. officials with knowledge of the preparations have said in recent days that the operation was not imminent, and ICE officials said late Monday night that they were not aware that the president planned to divulge their enforcement plans on Twitter.
As for the scope of the operation Trump conjured up, "millions" seems a bit fanciful, but since we're living in the age of the Marching Morons, where a small inauguration crowd is the biggest event ever and moderate economic growth is a fantastic, unprecedented expansion unseen in history, it only makes sense that MILLIONS of undocumented families are about to be deported. The Post notes it's likely to be awful anyway, but not likely to involve anything like the scale Trump will nonetheless claim is happening:
Executing a large-scale operation of the type under discussion requires hundreds — and perhaps thousands — of U.S. agents and supporting law enforcement personnel, as well as weeks of intelligence gathering and planning to verify addresses and locations of individuals targeted for arrest.
The president's claim that ICE would be deporting "millions" also was at odds with the reality of the agency's staffing and budgetary challenges. ICE arrests in the U.S. interior have been declining in recent months because so many agents are busy managing the record surge of migrant families across the southern border with Mexico.
While the operation is likely to fall well short of the wholesale ethnic cleansing Trumpers dream of, there are plenty of opportunities for things to take a seriously evil turn:
The family arrest plan has been considered even more sensitive than a typical operation because children are involved, and Homeland Security officials retain significant concerns that families will be inadvertently separated by the operation, especially because parents in some households have deportation orders but their children — some of whom are U.S. citizens — might not. Should adults be arrested without their children because they are at school, day care, summer camp or a friend's house, it is possible parents could be deported while their children are left behind.
And when -- not if -- that happens (as it has been for years now), there'll be no shortage of Americans contentedly reminding us that the Bible tells us to follow the law, and a few hundreds, or thousands, of traumatized children are simply the price of being a nation of laws, at least for those who don't have the best lawyers and a TV network shilling for them. Besides, as we all know by now, the cruelty IS the point. There will be horror stories, and they will be trumpeted as proof that we're finally tough enough, and if people continue to seek asylum in the US, that will be seen as proof that liberals and courts have failed to allow the truly tough actions that are needed to finally stop this "invasion." Possibly some indiscriminate shootings would do the job.
But things appear poised to get much worse. Don't wait for the atrocities to start. We need to be organizing, supporting groups that help asylum seekers, and if at all possible, turning out for (or starting!) local efforts to stand up and say NO. Any of us, if we're not among the targets, must do what we can to get in the way.
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It's the Sunday Show Rundown!
Arkansas Republican Senator and evil Pinocchio turned into a real live boy Tom Cotton appeared on CBS's "Face the Nation" to discuss the attacks on oil tankers on the Gulf of Oman. And while the world is still trying to confirm IF Iran perpetrated the attacks due to conflicting accounts (the US says it was Iran with mines; the Japanese shipping operator says it was a “flying object"), that hasn't stopped GOP politicians like Cotton from trying to turn this into the justification they've been looking for, for great good glorious WAR.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You have long been defined as a hawk on Iran. You see these recent attacks, these are commercial vessels not military installations. What kind of response is warranted?
COTTON: Well Iran for 40 years has engaged in this kind of attacks going back to the 1980s. In fact Ronald Reagan had to reflag a lot of vessels going through the Persian Gulf and ultimately take military action against Iran in 1988. These unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike.
BRENNAN: Are you- you're comparing the tanker war in the '80s to now and saying that that's the kind of military response you want to see?
COTTON: We can make a military wreck- response in a time and in a manner of our choosing. But yes, unprovoked attacks on commercial shipping warrant a retaliatory military strike against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The goddamn “Tanker Wars"?! Oh ... you mean when, during the Iraq-Iran War, we waited until Kuwait formally asked for our assistance to escort Saddam Hussein's oil? When Reagan, without approval from Congress, reflagged Kuwaiti vessels? When Reagan got us involved in the Iraq-Iran War leading to a daylong naval battle between Iran and the US, known as Operation Praying Mantis? The conflict we jumped into that led to our mistaking an Iran Air commercial jetliner for an Iranian F-14, shooting it down and killing all 290 people onboard, including 66 children? That's what you want to repeat, Tom Cotton?! Also, whatever happened to our ally, Saddam Hussein?
They say that those who don't learn from history repeat it. Tom Cotton is here to prove Republicans never learn. Watch the video below for yourself:
Cotton says "unprovoked attacks
to oil profits" from Iran "warrant a retaliatory military strike"
While Tom Cotton was justifying a war with Iran on CBS, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was having a surprisingly harder time on “Fox News Sunday" than he did on CBS when he transparently insinuated what the Trump administration really cares about with Iran ( "Texas Tea").
Pompeo: Trump doesn't war with Iran but will "defend American
Seems Pompeo was upset that his “beating the drums of war" shtick was being interrupted to have to answer about Trump admitting (more like bragging) it was okay to take foreign assistance (and then walking it back when all the killjoys said it was illegal). After playing the ABC News clip, Chris Wallace asked a very pointed yet direct question. Pompeo's answer, however, was far from both:
WALLACE: Is accepting oppo research from a foreign government right or wrong?
POMPEO: Chris, you know you asked me not to call any of your questions today ridiculous ... You came really close right there. (awkward giggle) President Trump has been very clear. He ... he clarified his remarks later. He ... he made it very clear. Even in his first comment. He said "I'd do both." He said he'd call the FBI ...
WALLACE: He said "Maybe I'd do both."
POMPEO: President Trump has been very clear. That he will always make sure that he gets it right for the American people and I'm confident he'll do that here as well.
It was at this moment Pompeo thought he was golden because he's on Fox News and they never follow up! But clearly he forgot Chris Wallace doesn't play like that.
WALLACE: At the risk of getting your ire, the President told "Fox and Friends" on Friday, and I agree, he kind of walked it back...
POMPEO: He didn't walk it back.
WALLACE: Yes, he did. Because he said "maybe" on Thursday. And then on Friday, on "Fox and Friends," he said "he'd listen first AND then if the information was bad that he would take it to the FBI or the Attorney General." But he also made it clear to George Stephanopolous that he did not see this as "foreign interference." And I want to play a clip of the President's own words ...
Then Wallace played ANOTHER clip of Trump's idiotic words back to Pompeo. Then he asks Pompeo one more time:
WALLACE: He says "it's not interference, it's information." The country, sir, and I don't need to tell you, has a long history dating back to George Washington in saying that foreign interference in our elections is unacceptable. POMPEO: Chris, President Trump believes that too. I have nothing further to add. I came on to talk about foreign policy and I think that's the third time you've asked me about a Washington ... piece of ... silliness. That's just, that's just a story that's inconsistent with what I've seen from President Trump do every single day.
After an awkward pause and visible anger in Pompeo's face (really, do watch), Chris Wallace calls it a day ... but remembers to remind Pompeo he's a thin-skinned baby:
WALLACE: I will leave it there. I think I only asked you twice but that's alright Mr. Secretary. Thank you. Thanks for your time and Happy Father's Day, sir.
Watch the video below for yourself.
And that's all for this week in Trump's collusion and "wag the dog"/Saudi oil interest war chants. So let's end with a couple of pictures of my new puppy, Harley Quinn!
Might as well have one last nice thing before our next war or stolen election. Have a week!
OH LOOK AT THE PUPPY. Also give us money to pay the freelancers, if you are able, thank you we love you.
Oh, what a lovely war!
Looks like John Bolton may get that war with Iran he's always wanted! Ever since he was a little wee mustache in the George W. Bush administration, Bolton has wanted a war with Iran like some little girls want a pony. And now that he's Donald Trump's national security adviser, well by golly, it's time, especially now that troublesome peacenik hippies like Jim Mattis and HR McMaster are gone. (Generals are such pussies!) So how close to a shooting war in Iran are we? That's the wonderful thing about foreign policy in the Trump era -- we may not know until the bombs start falling! Depends who the guests on Fox News are over the next few days.
It's your Sunday Show Rundown!
Let's get right to it all with Secretary of State and least favorite Pompeo (Ellen being the favorite), Mike Pompeo. Appearing on ABC's "This Week" with guest host Jonathan Karl, Pompeo was first asked about North Korea firing tactical guided weapons into the East Sea. The "strike drill" was supervised by leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday, as reported by North Korea's state media. Of course, North Korea still firing any weapons comes as a "total shock" because of these "presidential" tweets:
Come over here for a sec!
Around this time in the month, you all usually get a very funny post from your editrix Rebecca, where she tells you stories and DEMANDS MONEY. That is not happening this month, because instead we are writing it!
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What we are talking about is the simple fact that times are tough for journalism and publishing, and every single day we hear about some website that's doing layoffs or a newsroom having to cut out its "news" section because "news" has a well known liberal bias that isn't pleasing to its new corporate conservative owners. But not Wonkette!
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Oh GOD, who put another adorable dog picture right there?
Well, since SOMEBODY brought up dogs, did you hear our idiot Lula sent us to the emergency vet AGAIN, this time on our BIRTHDAY? "Ha ha! I bet you have plans with people who are not the dog tonight! I will show you!" That is what we are pretty sure she was thinking.
Anyway, it was just some kind of fucked up tummy thing this time, but while we were there, the X-rays showed that she, the 14-year-old dog, has developed spondylosis, which is basically like bone spurs on the spine. (That's right, Donald Trump, BONE SPURS. And she ain't even fakin' it!) It's pretty normal for old lady dogs her size, but it can be painful, so obviously we had to start looking at pain management. Long story short, the first prescription involved TEN PILLS PER DAY. (Not ten different kinds, just two prescriptions that came out to ten pills per day, blah blah blah.) Obviously we wanted to do whatever we needed to do for her and make sure she's out of pain, but that seems a bit excessive, yeah? At least enough to get a second opinion?
SO OFF TO THE VET WE WENT AGAIN. And it wasn't some vet we found on the side of the road either, but another vet we had a great relationship with in the past and who takes care of a lot of our friends' and family's pets. Point being, after a full exam, THAT VET wasn't even sure Lula needed any pain management at this point. That's quite a second opinion, right? So ultimately we ended up meeting in the middle, keeping one pain pill prescription that actually seemed to be helping, and now she also gets CBD oil twice a day in peanut better chewies that she thinks are THE SHIT.
End result is that she seems like she's easily a couple few years younger now than she did before she started the new regimen, most likely because of the CBD oil, and also because her damn back doesn't hurt.
What we're saying is that when we say "We love you, you pay our rent," what we really mean is "We love you, you buy our dog cannabis drugs."
And we appreciate that very, very much.
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There's infighting and backstabbing, and maybe Ollie North grifting like a big-ass grifter.
The Wall Street Journal brings us an epic tale of an ancient and secretive dynasty struggling for its survival in a changing world, and the palace intrigue that's erupted into a contentious struggle for power. We only wish there were some ice zombies to up the stakes, though everybody's pretty white to start with, regardless of where they're walking. It seems the National Rifle Association is suing its longtime ad agency, Ackerman McQueen Inc., and accusing it of not providing details to justify all the money the company has billed the nonprofit, which has been running a deficit for two years now. Even the NRA board of directors is split, with "a small group of pro-Ackerman McQueen directors against other board members and an outside NRA attorney." Such riveting drama!
Gosh, we sure hope there aren't any bloody sword fights. That would be terribly anachronistic.
The NRA has been losing money since its great big spending spree in the 2016 election, and some board members are wondering what exactly Ackerman McQueen is doing with all the money it gets -- $42.6 million in 2017 according to tax filings. The agency is the NRA's single biggest contractor, and "has been widely credited with helping to transform the NRA from a grass-roots operation to a powerful national advocacy group." What's more, Ackerman McQueen actually produces the online streaming outlet NRATV, the source of constant publicity for the parent organization -- we were going to say "embarrassment" too, but nah, the NRA wouldn't know what that is.
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