Aldous Pennyfarthing

Watch: This video of Ted Cruz getting out of a big rig is the mental health break we need

If there’s anything more pathetic than Ted Cruz being pusillanimous, it’s Ted Cruz trying to act tough. Lately he’s been supporting the D.C. trucker convoy—the shambolic caravan of dead-ender, pro-death troglodytes that suddenly seems as culturally relevant as C.W. McCall’s seminal 1975 hit “Convoy.”

Of course, being Ted Cruz, he’s been nothing but openminded and inclusive—at least when it comes to diverse strains of Klansmen. And since his favorite pastime appears to be ineptly faking genuine human emotion, we’re treated to spectacles like this:

Jesus TruckNutz-Festooning Christ. The only thing missing is Michael Dukakis’ tank helmet. How much you wanna bet that beard is, like, 98% glued-on gibbon pubes?

Now, I’m not saying I’d do any better than Ted did here. Then again, I’m not trying to pretend I’m a man of the people by encouraging working-class truckers to endanger their lives, their long-term health, and their families’ futures for no discernible reason.

Of course, this is far from the first time Sen. Cruz has fallen on his face attempting to be an everyman. Remember when he called a basketball hoop a basketball “ring”?

Or the time he left his hardworking constituents behind to freeze to death while he Cancuned it out of the country?

Image via Twitter.

But this is arguably more embarrassing, because it explodes the tough-guy myth he’s meticulously tried to cultivate.

Needless to say, I’m not the only one who noticed …




Ah, Ted. One day you’ll be accepted. Not by humans, of course—but I can only assume you’ll be a key collaborator for the Reptilians of the Draco Constellation once they finally reveal themselves. Until then ... keep on suckin’.

Sen. Chris Murphy expertly debunks GOP lies about Biden and gas prices

Over the past several days, as they’ve continued to search for new and exciting ways to dishonestly smear President Joe Biden, congressional Republicans have let us know in no uncertain terms that if we simply drill … into their heads, we’ll still find nothing.

Since the brutal gelding of Mr. Potato Head didn’t have quite the impact on Biden’s political fortunes they’d hoped, they’ve glommed onto an issue that Americans actually do care about: gas prices. Unfortunately, basically everything they say on the topic is a grotesque lie. In MAGA-world, gas prices are high because Joe Biden is an evil America-hater. Or because he wants us all to replace our SUVs with nonbinary, hemp-powered, sparkle-fart-propelled unicorns. Or maybe it simply comes down to communism because, you know, it sounds bad, and none of their voters have any clue what it actually is.

None of that is true. Biden didn’t tirelessly fundraise, build out an elaborate campaign infrastructure, and endure a grueling Democratic primary simply because he hates freedom. That would be Tulsi Gabbard. But man oh man, Republicans sure are trying to make it look like he somehow did this on purpose.

Fortunately, as usual, the facts are on our side.

In the following Twitter thread, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, systematically debunks the GOP’s latest talking points regarding energy prices. (If you don’t do Twitter, click here to see the unrolled thread.)





Really? It all comes down to corporate greed? No way! And here I thought Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was finally telling the truth about something.

Of course, after digesting all this background information, it seems silly to imagine that the now-canceled Keystone XL pipeline could have had a significant effect on current gas prices. But, hey, that’s exactly what conservatives are trying to get you to believe.

Exhibit 1:

FOX ANCHOR SANDRA SMITH: “Perhaps ... opening up the Keystone pipeline is not off the table for this White House? What did you take away from that?”

FORMER OBAMA ECONOMIC ADVISER ROBERT WOLF: “I think XL is off the table. Let’s recall a few things. One, it’s the worst type of oil you can have. It’s tar sands going from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. It wasn’t going to really change anything to do with our oil supply. It was to export from the Gulf of Mexico ...”

SMITH: “Hmm, that’s debatable ...”

WOLF: “Okay, it’s not actually debatable. It has nothing to do with oil fields. It’s a pipeline. It was going to end at the Gulf of Mexico. That’s a fact. You should look it up. And with respect to President Trump … only 10% of it was even done under his four years. So it’s not about XL, it’s about how do we become energy independent?”

Exhibit 2:

HERMEY THE CHRISTMAS ELF’S VESTIGIAL TWIN, PETER DOOCY: “Is a restart of the Keystone XL construction completely off the table as long as Joe Biden is president?”

WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JEN PSAKI: “Well, why don’t you tell me what that would help address?”

DOOCY: “I’m asking you if it is an option—you guys say all options are on the table—is restarting Keystone construction one of them?”

PSAKI: “If we’re trying to bring about more supply, that does not address any problems.”

DOOCY: “It’s supply from Canada, a friendly ally, instead of Saudi Arabia or Iran.”

PSAKI: “We’re already getting that oil, Peter. The pipeline is just a delivery mechanism, it is not an oil field. So it does not provide more supply into the system.”

DOOCY: “Is it possible that Joe Biden will ever say, you guys can go ahead with construction of Keystone XL.”

PSAKI: “There’s no plans for that, and it would not address any of the problems we’re having currently.”

Wait, that almost makes it sound like they’re using this Keystone pipeline thing as a red herring to confuse people who don’t understand anything about oil markets! But that would be far too cynical a ploy even for Republicans, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it?

But, sure, let’s all just pretend that a single canceled pipeline in one country somehow has more of an impact on global energy prices than banning oil imports from one of the world’s major producers. That totally tracks.

If you thought Republicans suddenly got tough on Putin because they love America, you can think again. They figured banning Russian oil would predictably lead to price spikes that they could use as a cudgel against Biden and the Democrats in advance of the November midterm elections. Of course, if they really loved America, they’d have barred Putin’s oily Manchurian candidate from our shores long ago.

Sadly, at this stage in the game, it’s far too late for them to pretend that they seriously care about democracy—here or in Europe.

'It’s a huge scam': Trump is using political donations to prop up Trump Tower

While my writing ordinarily focuses on McDonaldland characters locked in a stunning array of ill-considered Kama Sutra positions, my second-favorite topic is likely Donald Trump and his infinite scams.

The dude oozes dishonesty—and God knows what else. Which, of course, means he never stops grifting. It’s his default setting.

The latest? He’s using his donors’ money to “fill” one of the empty office spaces in his eponymous Manhattan tower. Because his cult followers’ naiveté is bottomless and his appetite for fraud is inexhaustible, Trump is hoovering up another $375,000 in political cash to feather his filthy nest. And that money is supposedly going to rent office space in the building, even though his political action committees are all located in Florida.

HuffPost:

“It’s a huge scam,” said one former aide with direct knowledge of Trump’s political spending. “I can’t believe his base lets him get away with it.”
The ex-aide’s assertion was confirmed by a Trump Tower employee who screens traffic to offices above the floors that are open to visitors. When asked for permission to visit Trump’s political office recently, the employee told HuffPost that Save America and its related entities did not have offices there.

A huge scam? Trump? Next you’ll tell me the guy masturbating on our front lawn on Christmas Eve 1971 wasn’t really Santa Claus.

According to HuffPost, Trump’s Make America Great Again PAC spent $37,541.67 in each of 10 months during 2021 to rent space at Trump Tower. It was the same amount his campaign spent on rent from 2017 through 2020—a period during which his campaign was actually based in northern Virginia.

In all those months, there was at most one person who periodically visited the 7,000-square-foot office in Trump Tower, the former aide said. But Trump insisted on having the campaign continue renting there ― as it had during the 2016 election ― because the building was having trouble finding tenants, he said. “They knew they couldn’t lose that money because the building is hurting so bad.”

Hmm, Donald Trump grifting his witless followers. Where have I heard that before?

Years ago, Trump attempted to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills. Every day I curse the gods who prevented that from happening. Why couldn’t he have focused his energies on destroying the National Football League instead of the entire country?

Oh, I know why. Because purchasing the Bills might have required him to release his tax returns. Apparently, the POTUS gig isn’t nearly important enough to require such trifles.

Trump’s latest financial trouble 'explodes the national security risk by a factor of 10'

Donald Trump is naught but an oozy, malodorous mound of id, so it stands to reason that he’d sell out our country for a full set of Happy Meal Pokémon cards and/or a languorous reach-around from Mayor McCheese. So the thought that he’d be even more compromised if he were to win a second term is both jarring and, when you really think about it, pretty much exactly what you’d expect.

President Joe Biden’s refusal to back down from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s naked aggression—or to pull us out of NATO, which Trump reportedly wanted to do during the second term he was (thankfully) denied—shows why it’s important to have a real president in the White House. Even more important is having a president who isn’t so up-to-his-shifty eyeballs in conflicts of interest that he’d burn our country’s alliances for a face-saving loan.

Now that Mazars, the Trump Organization’s longtime accounting firm, has disavowed the ocher arschloch, some people are wondering if Trump’s latest troubles might actually endanger national security.

This will either be extremely alarming or just another fraught moment on this lush, fragile, spinning rock of ours—depending on how enthusiastically you took to huffing industrial paint solvents as the clammy orange murder-ape squatted (quite possibly literally) in the Oval Office from 2017-2021.

“This explodes the national security risk by a factor of 10, because now he's going to be desperate for new loans,” Joseph Cirincione, a fellow at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, told The Daily Beast. “Legitimate banks are not going to touch him. So it expands the universe of shady characters who could offer him loans in return for favors that might include disclosing U.S. national security secrets.”

Thank God Trump never read the president’s daily brief. I can only imagine he’s frantically calling his old CIA directors right about now to ask if they still have the padlock combination for the national Roswell alien warehouse in Hayward, Wisconsin.

Cirincione continued: “Whether it is the Saudis, Russians, narcoterrorists—anybody with access to hundreds of millions would be in the running for Donald Trump’s new loan officer. That is why you don’t give security clearance to people who are financially compromised.”

So, yeah, it’s pretty important to keep him from winning again and having access to more government secrets. He might actually pay attention this time.

Incidentally, at least one source whom The Daily Beast described as part of Trump’s “inner sanctum” noted that the Mazars letter could actually augur serious trouble for Trump.

“I’ll be honest with you: I have said for years that this whole thing is one big fishing expedition,” one source told the outlet. “I’ve expected it to just fizzle at some point, or to turn up ticky tacky shit that can score prosecutors big headlines. The Mazars news was the first time I started thinking, ‘Hey, this might be serious.’ Could Donald Trump [and his business] be screwed? I don’t know, but I’m not as confident as I once was in saying, ‘No.’”

Oh, tell me more, people who know things!

“It’s incredibly significant. And frankly, I’ve never heard of a situation where an accounting firm is going back retroactively 10 years,” said Steven J. Solomon, a prominent bankruptcy attorney at GrayRobinson. “This would be a trigger point. If your lender doesn’t have confidence in you because it can’t rely on the information, you can’t be friends anymore.”

Meanwhile, former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res, who in 2020 released a Trump retrospective called Tower of Lies, notes that much of Trump’s current legal peril can be chalked up to a dearth of responsible babysitters. In the past, she said, “people didn’t let him do things like that. We controlled him. But he reached the point where he no longer had anyone who’d say no to him.”

Now? “If he gets away from this, there’s no God, and no reason to live,” said Res.

Well, to be precise, there’d be no reason for many of us to live. Trump, on the other hand, would have more reason than ever.

Aaron Rodgers proves he's not immunized against being a loser

It’s a weird feeling when the team you’ve rooted for your entire life is led by a man you truly despise. Every former wide-eyed Wisconsin boy who ever imagined himself in a Packers uniform feels an almost gravitational pull toward his ancestral homeland when the team plays—and especially when it’s poised to make big waves in the playoffs.

Then again, the schadenfreude potential of seeing the world’s biggest needle baby fall on his face is equally as powerful, if not more so. Needless to say, I was pulled in separate directions Saturday night as my Packers took on the San Francisco 49ers in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, and while I was admittedly rooting for evil, in the end good prevailed. Niners 13, Packers 10. Throughout much of the game Rodgers appeared bemused and ineffectual. In the second half he basically looked like an injured toad trying to escape from a Folgers can. And it was another monumental postseason fail for the greatest regular season quarterback to ever play the game.

Yes, Aaron Rodgers settled in for another early playoff dirt nap, and all was right with the world. Unless you were Aaron Rodgers. Or a Packers fan. Or a bettor who saw that this was arguably the Packers’ best team in years and thought they could somehow overcome the refulgent loser stink waves pouring off Rodgers like the hearty musk of a Chernobyl reindeer’s asshole.

Of course, going into last night’s game, I had already seen the following Rodgers bons mots, in which he simultaneously doubles down on his anti-vax fuckery and slyly suggests that Joe Biden may not be a legitimate president.

ESPN.com:

In December, he was not happy when President Joe Biden, while taking a tour of tornado-ravaged towns in Kentucky, joked with a woman wearing a Packers jacket that she should tell Rodgers to get the vaccine.
"When the president of the United States says, 'This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated,' it's because him and his constituents, which, I don't know how there are any if you watch any of his attempts at public speaking, but I guess he got 81 million votes," Rodgers said Thursday. "But when you say stuff like that, and then you have the CDC, which, how do you even trust them, but then they come out and talk about 75% of the COVID deaths have at least four comorbidities. And you still have this fake White House set saying that this is the pandemic of the unvaccinated, that's not helping the conversation."

Oh, no! My quarterback is attacking my president! Whoever shall I side with? Hmm. I’ll get back to y’all. But I’m leaning in one direction, just so you know.

Of course, because Rodgers never knows what the fuck he’s talking about with respect to the pandemic and the vaccine, ESPN was forced to issue a contemporaneous correction:

(Editor's note: The CDC study found that in a group of 1.2 million people who were fully vaccinated between December 2020 and October 2021, 36 of them had a death associated with COVID-19 -- and that of those 36 people, 28, or about 78%, had at least four of eight risk factors.)

So the CDC was talking about the vanishingly small number of deaths among the fully vaccinated, not the general population. In other words, the vaccine is highly effective against the worst possible outcomes unless you have a lot of serious unrelated health problems. And even then the number of deaths is minuscule compared to the total number of vaccinated people.

Hmm, a Joe Rogan fan who doesn’t have his facts straight? No. Fucking. Way.

There’s been speculation all season long that Rodgers will fly the coop in the offseason so he can be free to make someone else’s playoff nightmares come true, and I really hope he does. He’s poisoned my team long enough. I’d prefer a plucky, up-and-coming 7-10 team with a young quarterback who doesn’t prize freedom phlegm over the health of his teammates. Indeed, #AllYouNeedIsLove.

Frankly, I’d love for Rodgers to see the light, get vaccinated, and then do a series of PSAs touting the safety, efficacy, and lifesaving potential of the jab. Then again, I guess I’d prefer that a winner take on that burden. This dude can’t even see wide-open receivers. Must have been wearing homeopathic contact lenses or something.

Well, there’s always next year, Packers fans. Unless you’ve taken Aaron Rodgers’ advice on vaccines, that is—in which case, maybe you should hold up on reordering those season tickets for the moment. Just a hunch.

Right-wing radio clown who vowed to quit over employer's vax mandate is still on the job

Yeah, Donald Trump also said we’d never see him again if he lost to Joe Biden. We all know how that turned out. After all, Trump is never really gone—as long we remember him. We see his eternal light and essence in every irregular, half-priced Grocery Outlet yam. Every time a bully farts on a weaker kid’s head, he is there—in spirit—gently guiding the bully’s sphincter. You see him in the wide, wonderstruck eyes of every tender moppet who stumbles off the Tilt-A-Whirl vomiting circus peanuts and orange Fanta on his sister’s brand-new Chucks.

But the fucker never actually left, so there’s no need to rely on any of those reminders.

This seems to be a pattern. Conservatives love to talk shit and set ultimatums, but when their “sincerely held beliefs” run up against their “careers,” they somehow find the moral wiggle room to show up for work.

Meet radio talk show host Dan Bongino, who is one of these characters:

Two months ago, Dan Bongino sounded ready to give up one of the best slots in conservative talk radio over his objection to his employer’s coronavirus vaccine mandate.

“You can have me, or you can have the mandate, but you can’t have both,” he said on Oct. 18, threatening to stop hosting his three-hour program on Cumulus Media — which launched in March — if the radio giant did not back down from health requirements imposed on employees this fall.

A lot has happened since then, but not much has changed for Bongino and his bosses. He is still hosting the same show, even though Cumulus Media does not appear to have changed its mandate. That’s led some radio hosts and industry observers to question Bongino’s commitment to his ultimatum. Talk radio historian Brian Rosenwald said “there was a stunt element to it.”

A conservative media figure involved in a performative stunt? Nooooooooo! You don’t say!

Of course, much as pro-COVID crusader Tucker Carlson almost certainly is, Bongino is definitely vaccinated. He received the shot on advice from his doctor after a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. But he stands tall in his commitment to preserving every American’s sacred, God-given right to die for silly reasons—or no reason at all.

After telling his listeners in October that he was going to fight on behalf of his Cumulus colleagues who have not fully slaked their thirst for gruesome, unnecessary death, he took a week and a half off and returned in early November.

“I’m not going to let this go,” he said before his hiatus. “Cumulus is going to have to make a decision with me if they want to continue this partnership, or they don’t. I want something to change, and I’m giving them an opportunity to do it. But if they don’t, this is going to be an entirely untenable situation going forward.”

Well, we’ve gone forward, and this preening peacock is still on the air talking shit, so …

At least one key industry observer The Post talked to thinks Bongino may have overplayed his hand.

Talkers magazine publisher Michael Harrison said Bongino “painted himself into a corner and threatened to leave and then didn’t make good on that threat.” He added, “With all due respect to Dan Bongino, who is extremely talented and appears to have a potentially bright future in talk radio ahead of him, I think he miscalculated the level of his clout as a talk-show host and employee of Cumulus Media. Platform usually wins in these spaces, and Cumulus Media is a very large and powerful platform.”

Of course, this sort of thing is a problem for a lot of right-wing hosts who want to keep their jobs. Fox News has done some Leni Riefenstahl-worthy work on behalf of rampant, preventable death, but the suits at the company have decided an office full of disease vectors is nevertheless bad for business. In fact, Fox recently tightened up its already strict vaccine mandates, requiring all its New York City employees to get the jab in lieu of opting for daily tests. (Bongino also hosts a show on Fox.)

So the very corporations allowing poisonous rhetoric to proliferate unchecked on their airwaves also know what it takes to stop this pandemic. They just don't care. As long as they can squeeze enough outrage and cash out of the viewers who remain after the culling, they won’t worry so much about their dead audience members. They’re just marks, after all.

Of course, Tucker Carlson should have been fired months ago for his anti-vaxxer agitating, and Cumulus should have told Bongino to pound sand, but they’ll just keep letting their highest-profile hosts destroy lives as they cover their own asses.

Sounds like par for the course for these ghouls.

Yale professor and expert on authoritarianism says 2024 Trump coup is 'underway'

If U.S. democracy falls this century, it will likely be at the hands of a stubby-fingered sack of extra-piquant donkey farts who likely never bothered to read the Constitution he swore to uphold—and certainly didn't understand it if he did bother. In other words, we're at the stage in the Siegfried & Roy show where the tiger starts picturing Roy as a semi-ambulant canned ham.

Donald Trump is a buffoon, but he's an evil buffoon, and it doesn't actually take a smart man to demagogue against democracy. You simply need zero shame, a preternatural instinct for bullying, and a party full of Q-besotted quislings to go along with your rotten plans.

On Friday's episode of The Beat With Ari Melber, Yale history professor Timothy Snyder didn't mince words when it came to the ominous, anti-democratic forces that are currently gathering to storm the gates of our venerable republic.

After Melber noted that several Big Lie proponents are running—with the backing of the ocher abomination—for secretary of state positions in several U.S. states—which would give them a great deal of control over the 2024 election in some key swing states—he had an unsettling talk with Snyder, an expert on authoritarianism and author of the book On Tyranny.

Watch:

Transcript!

ARI MELBER: "When you see this effort to put this much pressure on installing partisan officials who've embraced lies and tried to overturn elections in these official positions for next election, how concerned should we be? What, if any, foreign analogs do you see?"
TIMOTHY SNYDER: "Well, as someone who follows contemporary Russia, there is a Russian phrase that comes to mind, which is 'the administrative resource.' What the administrative resource means in Russian is that, sure, you have an election, but the people who are running the election are going to determine how the election turns out. What the Republicans are going for is precisely that thing—the administrative resource.
Historically speaking, what we know about a big lie is that, because of its very scale, it's not about truth or not-truth, it's about living in a kind of alternative reality. And what we're looking at is people who believe in or pretend to believe in this Big Lie actually carrying out our elections. And the problem with this, or one of them, is that, since these people have already claimed that the other side cheated, that basically legitimates their cheating. In other words, if you talk about the Big Lie now, you're basically promising to cheat the next time around, and that's very concerning."

Snyder has special insight into authoritarian regimes and movements, but anyone who watches sports also recognizes this tactic. It's called "working the refs." By complaining about every call, this theory goes, you're more likely to get favorable treatment in the future. Now imagine if every Super Bowl was decided by referees who were handpicked by one side because they thought their team had been ripped off the previous year.

MELBER: "How worried are you that the United States could face a situation where coordinated efforts by these kind of officials could actually swing an election?"
SNYDER: "Oh, we don't need the 'could' ... I mean, I would say we should be thinking of this as what is happening, and then ask ourselves what we can do to prevent it. I mean, it's very clear that some combination of people who talk about the Big Lie being in important administrative posts, along with nonlegal or extralegal reviews of the election, perhaps along with states claiming for themselves the right to allocate electoral votes against the wishes of their own people. Some combination of that is clearly in the works, alongside voter suppression, which has a long and dark history in our country.
The scenario for 2024, for most influential people around Donald Trump, which unfortunately means one of the political parties, is precisely to be installed without winning the election. That's very consistent with everything Mr. Trump has ever said—in 2016, 2020, and now. So I don't think it's something that could happen; I think it's something that's underway, and the question is, can we accept this reality in time to take the measures we need to take to prevent it?"

It can be easy to forget that Donald Trump has been undermining confidence in our elections for at least six years. He claimed fraud in the election he won. He also tried to claim Ted Cruz stole the Iowa Caucus from him. This is what he does. Part of it is just garden-variety childishness. His ego can't sustain the kind of wound that comes with losing a presidential election. But he also appears to be plotting to rig the game ahead of time. The guy pulled out all the stops in the last election, and only the actions of a few brave election officials and secretaries of state saved us from a full-blown constitutional crisis. What if those people are sidelined next time around?

And the potential problems aren't simply at the secretary of state level. On Thursday, Talking Points Memo explored Michigan Republicans' recent efforts to place Big Lie adherents on local boards of canvassers.

For example, Robert Boyd, a new member of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, which certifies vote totals for the Detroit area, is still convinced the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump.

Talking Points Memo:

[Boyd is] one of several new members of such boards around the state, chosen by local Republican leaders, who are replacing incumbents who voted to certify the last election under immense, nationwide pressure from their party. The Detroit News first reported on the wave of replacements last week, including incumbents who wanted to be renominated but weren't.
Unlike the canvasser he's replacing, Boyd says he would not have certified the 2020 vote. Even now, after numerous local audits and a Republican-led state Senate investigation found no basis for Donald Trump's lies about a stolen 2020 election, he remains unconvinced.
"That's one side," Boyd said of the investigation. "The other side, as I say, is thinking that there was some hanky panky going on."

Donald Trump doesn't tell the truth for the simple reason that he doesn't care about it. It's irrelevant to his fantasy, in which he's the greatest president, human, and sentient being in the history of the universe. He wants a rigged game, and he's been greasing the skids for fascism by constantly accusing the other side of exactly what he's doing.

As Snyder warns, we need to wake up now, because democracy is on a razor's edge, and the bleeding has already started.

Future historians — 'if there are any' — will be 'astonished' we let the planet burn to protect coal: Paul Krugman

Somewhere along the line I got the impression that humans were smart. You know, tool use and written communication and reduced fat Corn Nuts and all that. Unfortunately, just because Grandma can open a can of Chef Boyardee without throwing it against a big tree like an ape or Donald Trump might doesn't mean we're going to save our planet in time to secure a viable future for humanity.

Of course, the solutions for combating climate change are available to us—in theory, anyway. That's because we do have many brave, smart people working on these things. But you have to take those solutions off the shelf and implement them, and that's when we start breaking drill bits trying to get to the gooey nougat center of Joe Manchin's head.

The world is burning, but as long as the wildfires don't touch Manchin's scattered piles of coal cash, he's more than willing to let it burn. The West Virginia senator is defying his own constituents' wishes when it comes to his party's potentially transformative Build Back Better agenda, and one of his biggest sticking points is the climate change portion of the reconciliation package. Manchin opposes the bill's Clean Electricity Performance Program, which many climate activists say is the linchpin of President Biden's climate change plan. Why is he holding up meaningful climate action based on a dying industry with no future?

Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is wondering the same thing:

For the nontweeters:

KRUGMAN: "Future historians — if there are any future historians, that is, if civilization doesn't collapse — will be astonished that we let the planet burn for the sake of an industry that employs less than 3 percent of workers even in West Virginia"

I mean, I get it. I've poured untold resources into dying relationships with no future, but eventually I smartened up. And I was just hurting myself, not every other person on the planet. But somehow I get the feeling that Manchin isn't exactly looking to the future. He is the blithe, noxious farter whom everyone else on the elevator has to deal with, and his legacy will linger for decades even after he leaves.

And sadly, as Krugman and others know, because of the fundamentally undemocratic way our Congress and Electoral College are set up, big money and narrow interests are, for the moment at least, carrying the day.

GOP congressman appears unaware of how unemployment insurance works — so Ocasio-Cortez helps him out

Tim Burchett is an actual U.S. representative from the state of Tennessee, and he apparently has no idea how unemployment insurance (UI) works. As in, we don't (very rarely, anyway) pay people who quit their jobs. The people who are quitting are frequently applying early for Social Security and/or living off whatever savings they managed to claw back from the hulking dragon hoard of our oh-so-magnanimous cabal of hardly working plutocrats.

Okay, so we're dusting off the bleached bones of this talking point? I'm starting to miss the intellectual heft of the Dr. Seuss/Mr. Potato Head wars. It's like everything Republicans say these days was crafted and focus-grouped by a think tank that shares coworking space with painter Jon McNaughton and a meth lab.

But, hey, why let reality get in the way of a fun narrative?

Unfortunately, this bullshit story is so old it should be meeting Ronald Reagan's "welfare queen" trope at Perkins every morning to double-fist Sankas and parse the latest Bonanza fanboy theories.

For the nontweeters:

TIM BURCHETT: "4.3 million workers quit their jobs. We need to quit paying folks not to work."

Good gourd, that's ignorant.

The tweet caught the attention of 10th-level Twitter ninja Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has turned down numerous overtures to join me at Perkins for late-night Sanka bacchanals. It's starting to make me feel just a little uncool.

For the nontweeters:

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: "Y'all already did over a month ago despite everyone having data that ending UI doesn't push people back to work. Conservatives love to act like they're 'fiscally savvy' yet remain puzzled as to why people can't work a job whose pay won't even cover the childcare costs to work."

Yup. As many people who aren't members of Congress know, extended federal UI benefits expired in early September, and their removal didn't meaningfully goose hiring rates, even though Republicans were convinced that "free money" was the sand in the gears preventing more robust recovery from the pandemic.

In fact, 26 states stopped those payments early, and it did bupkis.

Slate:

The hiring boom many seemed to expect has yet to materialize. Job growth actually skidded in August, despite the fact that 26 states had already cut off federal aid. Employers added just 235,000 workers to their payrolls, and the leisure and hospitality industry, which had arguably complained loudest about the effect of UI on hiring, tacked on precisely zero. Surveys from Indeed.com suggest that online job searching has yet to meaningfully pick up and Bloomberg reports that applications in the restaurant sector have actually declined in each of the last nine weeks. Meanwhile, employment hasn't grown any faster overall in states that decided to drop out of the UI programs early than in the ones that continued them into September.

Not only did ending enhanced unemployment benefits do little to boost hiring, the states that ended the programs early also damaged their own economies. According to a paper released in August from researchers at Columbia, Harvard, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the University of Toronto, the decision to end benefits early actually resulted in a significant financial hit.

CNBC:

The employment dynamic — a loss of benefits without resulting job income for most people — led households to cut their weekly spending by 20%, according to the paper. As a result, economies of the cutoff states saw a reduction of nearly $2 billion in consumer spending from June through the first week of August.
"They turned down federal transfers and that money didn't come back into the state [from new job income]," University of Toronto assistant professor Michael Stepner said. He also co-authored the paper.
A 20% spending cut amounts to a big reduction in quality of life for these households, which are largely lower-income, Stepner said.

As Ocasio-Cortez notes, people are starting to realize that working a job (or two, or three) that doesn't pay all their bills—or even all the expenses related to getting back into the workforce—is sort of pointless. Without a strong push for human infrastructure—which includes government support for child care—you'll never get some of these people back to work, because they literally can't go.

But since Republicans found a talking point that works for them, they're going to dry-hump it into humiliated mounds of lint. Never mind that it's a total lie. Their die-hard base doesn't know that, after all. All they "know" is that Joe Biden is the next Che Guevara. And they don't want communism—unless, of course, Donald Trump tells them it's okay.

Hack in charge of partisan Wisconsin election review admits he doesn't know how elections work

When Donald Trump inevitably chokes to death while trying to swallow an entire Costco rotisserie chicken, you can pretty much guarantee he'll still be clinging to his nonsensical claims about the 2020 election. His belief that he was robbed last November is simply impervious to facts. Meanwhile, any meager morsel of evidence that supports his febrile stolen-election fantasies, no matter how bonkers, immediately gets stovepiped into his creaky, ramshackle husk of a brain.

This would all be super funny if Trump were languishing in a Long John Silver's bathroom stall clinging to a bottle of spent Boone's Farm wine like he should be by now. Unfortunately, a massive cohort of Republicans somehow believes the serial liar who suggested they should look into injecting disinfectant, so now we're being threatened with a raft of grievously stupid election reviews.

First up was Arizona, which allowed the Cyber Ninjas, an outfit with zero auditing experience to—oh, wow, this can't be right, can it?—conduct an audit. You know, because they were convinced the historically unpopular guy who bragged about passing a dementia test and isn't smart enough to work as an assistant glory hole attendant anywhere in the contiguous United States couldn't possibly have lost an election.

And now? Oh, right. Now Wisconsin is ready to shit itself in public, too. And you won't believe what the guy they've put in charge of their election "review" is saying:

The attorney leading a partisan review of Wisconsin's 2020 election acknowledged this week that he doesn't understand how elections are supposed to be run.

Not a great start, but okay.

"Most people, myself included, do not have a comprehensive understanding or even any understanding of how elections work," [Michael] Gableman said in an interview late Tuesday before addressing the Green Bay City Council about his plans.

Gableman's acknowledgment that he does not know how elections work comes 10 months after he told a crowd of supporters of former President Donald Trump without evidence that elected officials had allowed bureaucrats to "steal our vote." Recounts in the state's two most populous counties and court decisions determined Joe Biden won by more than 20,000 votes, or 0.6 percentage points.

Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Gerrymanderland) hired Gableman, a former state Supreme Court justice, to review the election. He gave him a $676,000 budget, which is a huge waste considering you can thoroughly make a fool of yourself in Wisconsin for $11 worth of Jägermeister—and the hangover will be far less severe.

But hey, maybe there's more method to this madness than meets the eye. Except that, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes, "A spokeswoman for Vos did not say why the speaker hired someone who does not know the ins and outs of elections, rather than an expert on the issue."

Oops.

Also—apologies for burying the lede—Gableman attended Pillow Man Mike Lindell's barmy cyber symposium in South Dakota in August. So, yeah, this is another grotesque shitshow, and we all get front-row seats whether we want them or not.

Gableman recently issued subpoenas to the mayors of Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, and Racine—which, by some wild coincidence, are home to some of the largest communities of color in the state. In response, Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said, "This constant rehashing of the 2020 election is not only demoralizing for our clerks, it is corrosive to our democracy. There is no wrongdoing to investigate which justifies subpoenas and interrogations."

Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Mark Spreitzer, a member of the Assembly Elections Committee, stated the glaringly obvious: "If you are going to investigate an election, you should start by educating yourself about how elections work. How can we trust the findings of a person who doesn't understand how elections work?"

Yeah, you can't. But this isn't about building trust. It's about stirring up enough mud to give Donald Trump and his cronies cover for all the awful things they still plan to do to our democracy—experience be damned.

'War on Christmas' manufactured early this year with hyperventilating reaction to Fauci comments

The War on Christmas comes earlier every year. Sadly, I fear it's become far too commercialized and has totally lost the spirit of the first War on Christmas, which was all about wholesome, time-tested traditions, like driving a vicious wedge between Americans based on religious belief and preference. You know, as God intended.

Journalist and tweeter extraordinaire Aaron Rupar has collected some of Fox News' opening salvos in this year's War on Christmas, and—oh, guess what!—they're totally dishonest about what's really happening. It's almost as if they're bringing this up just to rile Christians, who are so monomaniacally devoted to their worldview they think Jesus walks on water or something.

But before we watch them blow holiday rum balls out of their nostrils in a performative, minotaur-like rage, let's take a look at what Dr. Anthony Fauci actually said on CBS' Face the Nation on Sunday to kick off this year's phony fight against the "socialism rules, Yule drools" crowd.

MARGARET BRENNAN: "Do you think we can gather for Christmas, or is it just too soon to tell?"

FAUCI: "You know, Margaret, it's just too soon to tell. We've just got to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down and not try to jump ahead by weeks or months and say what we're going to do at a particular time. Let's focus like a laser on continuing to get those cases down, and we can do it by people getting vaccinated ..."

Okay, well, it's nice to know Americans are still No. 1 in the world when it comes to manufacturing outrage, because Fox took that reasonable, measured answer to a specific question about Christmas and ran naked out into the street with it. Enjoy:



Okay, let me explain it to these folks like they're kindergarteners. If you eat your spinach, you get dessert. And if enough Americans take the vaccine, all this awful stuff will be over before you know it. And then Dr. Fauci—who, to be clear, isn't ordering anyone to stay home on Christmas Day—will fade back into obscurity, which I can only imagine is exactly where he'd like to be.

Unfortunately, Fox News is at the vanguard of our country's crusade to kill more and more humans, so the most straightforward and most workable solution to our nearly two-year-long collective nightmare is a nonstarter. Instead, they'll just scream some nonsense about Dr. Anthony Fauci wanting to strangle the baby Jesus in his crib.

I'm certain God would approve. He's all about gifts and grifts, after all. Preserving and honoring human life? Not so much, it appears.

Current and former Blue Origin employees say it's a hellish workplace — like another Bezos company

So remember when multibillionaire e-tailer Jeff Bezos got shot into space and acted like it was something brand new that a monkey hadn’t done seven decades ago? And how he thanked his long-beleaguered Amazon employees for paying for his ride, and did it all while wearing a cowboy hat that made him look like a 6-year-old posing for sepia-toned GlamourShots at a half-occupied mall outside of Boise, Idaho?

Yeah, you remember.

At the time, some of us thought that maybe he should have brought back old-timey pee breaks instead of small-brained-primate space travel, but apparently Bezos was laser-focused on making his Blue Origin employees just as miserable as his Amazon grunts.

At least that’s the takeaway from a new open letter penned by 21 current and former Blue Origin employees, who complained of … well, practically everything.

The Daily Beast:

Twenty-one current and former employees at Jeff Bezos’ rocket company, Blue Origin, published an open letter on Thursday, saying they suffered from “dehumanizing” treatment that left some staffers with suicidal thoughts—all while the firm allegedly sacrificed safety measures in favor of speed.

“When Jeff Bezos flew to space this July, we did not share his elation. Instead, many of us watched with an overwhelming sense of unease. Some of us couldn’t bear to watch at all,” the workers said.

Alexandra Abrams, Blue Origin’s former head of employee communications, was the only named signatory on the letter, which outlines a wide range of grievances. She was fired from Blue Origin in 2019 and now works at Oracle. Others opted to remain anonymous, telling Fortune that they had signed non-disclosure or non-disparagement agreements and feared retaliation. In the letter, they said that they were “terrified of the potential consequences for speaking out against the wealthiest man on the planet.”

Yes, Bezos is wealthy, but is he really that scary? Sure, he's suing NASA. And he could probably pass for a James Bond villain, if he didn't wear hats large enough for the Duck Dynasty cast to use for a team sponge bath. But is Bezos really so diabolical?

You can judge for yourself. The entire letter, which was written by Abrams and 20 others, can be viewed here.

Here are some of the more jarring excerpts.

All of us joined Blue Origin eager to innovate and to open access to space for the benefit of humanity. We believe exploring the possibilities for human civilization beyond Earth is a necessity. But if this company's culture and work environment are a template for the future Jeff Bezos envisions, we are headed in a direction that reflects the worst of the world we live in now, and sorely needs to change.

Yeesh. That doesn't sound good.

Workforce gender gaps are common in the space industry, but at Blue Origin they also manifest in a particular brand of sexism. Numerous senior leaders have been known to be consistently inappropriate with women. One senior executive in CEO Bob Smith's loyal inner circle was reported multiple times to Human Resources for sexual harassment. Even so, Smith personally made him a member of the hiring committee for filling a senior HR role in 2019.

A male-dominated corporate culture that creates a toxic working environment for women, whose complaints go largely unheeded? Guess Bezos is reinventing the 1950s office climate as well as the 1950s space capsule.

And don't forget the hypocrisy. We got your hypocrisy right here! Red hot!

What are the blind spots of an organization whose stated mission is to enable humanity's better future, yet is rife with sexism? Blue Origin's flaws extend further, unfortunately. The company proclaims it will build a better world because we're well on our way to ruining this one, yet none of us has seen Blue Origin establish any concrete plans to become carbon neutral or significantly reduce its large environmental footprint.

That's pretty bad. And just in case you thought the working environment was only poisonous for women, think again. Just as Amazon is a shitshow for everyone with a urethra, Blue Origin is apparently a sad place for anyone with emotions or a rapidly fraying sense of basic dignity. The letter states that "Memos from senior leadership reveal a desire to push employees to their limits, stating that the company needs to 'get more out of our employees' and that the employees should consider it a 'privilege to be a part of history.' One directive held out SpaceX as a model, in that 'burnout was part of their labor strategy.' Former and current employees have had experiences they could only describe as dehumanizing."

The signatories also claimed that Bezos' rush to beat fellow rich dudes Elon Musk and Richard Branson into space compromised their missions' safety: "At Blue Origin, a common question during high-level meetings was, 'When will Elon or Branson fly?' Competing with other billionaires—and 'making progress for Jeff'—seemed to take precedence over safety concerns that would have slowed down the schedule."

It's interesting—and perhaps not entirely coincidental—that this story broke right as congressional Democrats are wrangling over the size and scope of their Build Back Better infrastructure plan, and the means to pay for it. We used to do these kinds of projects for the sake of pure scientific inquiry, technological advancement, and national pride, not to launch giant dildos into space—or even the penis-shaped rockets that carry them.

Seems like just a portion of Bezos' hulking dragon hoard could be productively applied toward making thousands of kids' dreams come true, instead of just one obscenely well-heeled dork's masturbatory fantasies.

As Abrams and her colleagues conclude in their letter, "At a minimum, Jeff Bezos and the rest of the leadership at Blue Origin must be held to account, and must learn how to run a respectful, responsible company before they can be permitted to arbitrarily use their wealth and resulting power to create a blueprint for humanity's future. But beyond that, all of us should collectively, urgently, be raising this question: Should we as a society allow ego-driven individuals with endless caches of money and very little accountability to be the ones to shape that future?"

No, no, we shouldn't. Actually, the choice could not be more clear now, could it?

Senator’s unhinged rant on Build Back Better plan shows how desperate GOP is to stop it

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) appeared "exclusively" on Fox Business' Sunday Morning Futures With Maria Bartiromo this week to weigh in on Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion Build Back Better human infrastructure plan. I guess the interview was "exclusive" because no one else was talking to her at that very moment, other than the tiny right-wing, Harley-riding Jesus who lives in the part of her brain they scooped out to stop her from eating airplane glue.

Anyway, she's not a fan of the 10-year, $3.5 trillion plan—probably because it would help people other than oil company executives and apoplectic ex-presidents. In fact, the individual provisions of the bill—in addition to the bill as a whole—are so popular, the only thing Republicans can do at this point is lie about it. Fortunately for them, they've had lots of practice.

That said, this take is just a rootin’, tootin’, Jethro Tull-flutin’ cornucopia of unhinged crackpotter.


BLACKBURN: “Maria, we know that the Build Back Better agenda has become the Biden Build Back Broke agenda, and the American people have figured out that what they’re trying to do is institutionalize socialism. They’re trying to do a takeover of the country in one vote. They want government control of your kids, they want to look at your bank account for every transaction over $600. Anything that you do on Venmo or PayPal, they want a part of that transaction. They want government control of health care, they want to demoralize the military, close the churches, destroy your faith in the American system, and then here they’re going to come with the socialist program to run your life from cradle to grave, daylight to dark."

BARTIROMO: “Unbelievable ..."

Yes, it is unbelievable, Maria—though more in the literal sense of “that which cannot be believed.” Not sure that the government ensuring reliable and affordable child care so Americans can afford to go back to work is an example of “running your life from cradle to grave,” but we can agree to disagree on some of the particulars.

The point is, the Build Back Better plan—which provides help paying for child care, establishes universal pre-K education, extends the child tax credit, expands Medicare, provides paid family and medical leave, boldly addresses climate change, and much more—is total jazz pants*, and Republicans simply can’t let you know that or the jig is up. (*I’m trying to get “jazz pants” going as a saying/interjection. I’ve wasted most of my life eating expired Funyuns, and I just want to be remembered for something. The other day I got a senior discount at my weed dispensary. I was so depressed I skipped my regular early bird special at Perkins, went home, and nodded off at 7:30 in the middle of my programs. So, please, drop “jazz pants” into your everyday conversations.)

Anyway, Donald Trump campaigned as a populist who would fight on behalf of the forgotten working class, but his one big legislative “victory” was a tax plan that simply larded the coffers of his billionaire friends. And then, of course, he lied about it.

Blackburn and the rest of the GOP are now panicking at the thought that Biden will get a substantial portion of his plan through Congress, and then Americans will actually see the benefits—which would be a disaster for Republicans, who have become accustomed to Democrats going small and nibbling around the edges while Republicans continually swing their arms and break things.

A big Democratic victory here would expose the GOP as the phony populists they are, and Blackburn simply can’t have that—so they need to scaremonger about Venezuela and communist takeovers and widespread church shutdowns as much as possible.

Because they’re simply brimming with bullshit, and more than anyone else, they fucking know it. It made comedian Sarah Silverman say, “THIS IS FUCKING BRILLIANT,” and prompted author Stephen King to shout “Pulitzer Prize!!!” (on Twitter, that is). What is it? The viral letter that launched four hilarious Trump-trolling books. Get them all, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

Koch-funded group provides pointers for harassing your local school board

There's a meme commonly shared on social media that goes something like this: "If you drank from a garden hose, stayed outside till dark, rode in the back of a pickup truck, ate dirt, licked random amphibians, taunted apex predators, and slapped yourself repeatedly in the face just to feel something in the midst of your cosseted, banal, utterly meaningless existence, then SHARE." I may be paraphrasing, but the meaning is plain enough. Kids these days need fresh air and a maybe a good dose of COVID-19 to teach them that life is an adventure!

The problem with that meme is that the person who drank from a garden hose and got a parasitic condition that turned their brain to ricotta cheese before they briefly took up prop comedy, and then unceremoniously shuffled off to an Elysian afterlife (where premium champagne flows 24/7 from sketchy garden hoses) never gets to share that meme. Because they're fucking dead.

So, we're a nation of rugged individualists. I get it. Unfortunately, that attitude has put us behind the eight ball when it comes to COVID-19 mitigation. As in, we pretty much suck at it. Because too many of our fellow citizens are, well, pretty fucking dumb.

Enter the Koch brothers. Or, rather, the Koch brother. (David Koch drank from too many garden hoses, apparently, and is no longer with us.) Turns out that the same deep-pocketed creeps who were behind the astroturf tea party are now associated with a burgeoning movement to keep masks off the faces of our precious, cherubic children. And I could not be more depressed.

The Washington Post has obtained a form letter suggesting that the recent "grassroots" effort to turn our schoolchildren into little disease vectors of freedom is not so grassroots after all. The Koch(s) is (are) behind it.

According to The Post, a letter that sounds "passionate and personal" has been circulating among parents who are concerned that their kids might be called nerds or something (really, who knows what the fuck they think?), and they've been pestering local school officials with it.

The Washington Post:

But the heartfelt appeal is not the product of a grass roots groundswell. Rather, it is a template drafted and circulated this week within a conservative network built on the scaffolding of the Koch fortune and the largesse of other GOP megadonors.

That makes the document, which was obtained by The Washington Post, the latest salvo in an inflamed debate over mask requirements in schools, which have become the epicenter of partisan battles over everything from gender identity to critical race theory. The political melee engulfing educators has complicated efforts to reopen schools safely during a new wave of the virus brought on by the highly transmissible delta variant.

The document offers a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a well-financed conservative campaign to undermine regulations that health authorities say are necessary to contain the coronavirus. The frustration of many parents who want a greater say is deeply felt, school superintendents say. But their anger is also being fueled by organized activists whose influence is ordinarily veiled.

Why? Seriously, why? What is it about the freedom to spread virus globules from sea to shining sea that's so appealing?

The letter has been distributed since Tuesday to members of the Independent Women's Network (IWN), which calls itself a "members-only platform that is free from censorship and cancellation." Unfortunately, these "mothers" don't appear to care if COVID-19 cancels their kid.

You can follow the link to the form letter the group is circulating, but if you'd rather not step into that den of disinformation, here's a particularly egregious excerpt:

It's a great blessing that COVID doesn't pose as serious a health risk to children as it does to adults. Critically, young kids do not significantly spread COVID either. Furthermore, now that the adults in our community (teachers, school staff, parents and family members) have had a chance to get vaccinated, the risk to adults of serious illness from COVID infection is even smaller.

Uh, no. As one doctor interviewed by The Post noted, that's totally wrong. David Kimberlin, a physician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said the data "clearly [show] that children can transmit the virus, perhaps to a lesser extent than older adolescents and adults, but that second part is still not clear."

Kimberlin added that letters like the one promoted by the Koch-funded Independent Women's Network "will cause more deaths, more funerals and more white flags on the National Mall."

Meanwhile, the phony grassroots aura that the IWN has cloaked itself in stands in stark contrast to most parents' attitudes about masking mandates. According to an August Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 63% of parents think unvaccinated students and staff should be required to wear masks in school. But, hey, they tend not to show up on the news, ripping masks off people's faces while screaming anti-intellectual nonsense.

So what's the anti-mask furor about, really? Hell if I know. It's like these people are from another planet. And with an entire major political party already on the side of the virus, knowing that big, evil money is backing this dangerous nonsense is beyond depressing.

Jan. 6 insurrectionist wants ankle bracelet removed because it embarrasses him in front of clients

The blizzard of snowflakes that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 is rapidly melting under the klieg lights of consequences. It's hard not to laugh sometimes, and of course the funniest part is that these salty traitor tots' putsch not only failed to keep their wayward wad of amoral protoplasm in the White House, it also inconvenienced them so egregiously you'd think they were involved in serious lawbreaking or something.

Of course, historically speaking, these insurrectionists are being treated with the velvetiest of kid gloves. It's not like they're all being crucified along the Appian Way—or whatever the modern American equivalent of that would be.

Well, if you ask alleged Jan. 6 insurrectionist Gabriel Augustin Garcia, the 21st century take on the ancient Romans' cruel and unusual punishment would be "wearing an ankle bracelet that beeps too much." Oh, yes. And the dude is outraged, apparently.

NBC News:

Attorneys for a former Army captain charged with breaching the Capitol on Jan. 6 are asking that his ankle monitor be removed because its random beeping could lead to embarrassing interactions with prospective business clients.

The GPS device also is a safety hazard, said lawyers for Gabriel Augustin Garcia, a Florida man who was arrested in January.

"The monitor has randomly started beeping loudly around potential clients, immediately followed by an embarrassing phone call from pretrial services asking for his exact location," the lawyers said in court documents filed earlier this month.


Facepalm www.youtube.com

Holy shit. How many of the Planck-length violins currently playing for Garcia could fit on the head of a pin? I really want to know.

His lawyers continued: "The monitor around his ankle is unsafe and a work hazard; he climbs ladders and the GPS monitor often gets stuck on the next ladder step when climbing; one time, he almost fell off a ladder."

He almost fell off a ladder? I almost lost my democracy. His perfidious pelvis would have healed eventually. Our country, not so much.

Garcia, who owns a roofing business in Miami, has been charged with several crimes related to his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, including civil disorder, obstructing an official proceeding, and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building. He's currently free on bond and has pleaded not guilty.

According to the FBI, Garcia posted videos on Facebook during the uprising. In one, he allegedly said, "We just went ahead and stormed the Capitol. It's about to get ugly." He also allegedly told his fellow Trumpies to "storm this shit," referred to Capitol Police as "traitors," and shouted, "Nancy, come out and play!"

So, yeah, he needs to run free like the proud, majestic lion he is.

I don't know about you, but I kind of thought the whole point of the criminal justice system was to keep people from doing criminal shit. Trying to overthrow the legitimate government of the country you live in certainly qualifies as criminal.

He should thank his lucky stars that he wasn't immediately clapped in chains and disappeared to a work camp. In other words, he's lucky he lives in America. And if we all do our part, maybe we can keep this country more or less intact for the foreseeable future, no thanks to folks like Garcia.

Jim Jordan spoke with Trump more than once on Jan. 6 — urged him to call off the dogs: report

Judging by Jim Jordan's caginess whenever he's asked about his Jan. 6 conversations with Donald Trump, you'd think thousands of MAGAs had stormed the U.S. Capitol searching for college wrestlers to interview. But, no. This is simply how he comports himself when he's backed into a corner. The gendarmes may be closing in now, and he's looking for a tricked-out submarine to whisk him back to his volcano lair.

While Jordan has been more vocal than most in his defense of the mephitic amalgam of antediluvian skin blotches, pancake makeup, and ignominy who was still cosplaying as president in January, he also appears to understand that his contacts with Donald Trump on the day of the big guy's bumblefuck putsch are, at the very least, bad optics.

So you get hilarious videos like these:


Clearly, that conversation left some blood in the water, and this reporter sniffed it out:


Nice. That first video was pretty bad, but the sequel made him sound like a tweaker trying to get through airport security with two bursting duffels full of Sudafed.

Well, now he's, shall we say, "altering" his story once again.

Politico:

SCOOP: MORE THAN ONE JAN. 6 TRUMP-JORDAN CALL — We know that DONALD TRUMP and Rep. JIM JORDAN spoke once on the day of the Capitol riot, but the Ohio Republican has said he doesn't remember when their conversation took place. We have some new details that could help clear up that timeframe — including confirmation of at least one more phone conversation between Jordan and the then-president during the siege.

"Look, I definitely spoke to the president that day. I don't recall — I know it was more than once, I just don't recall the times," Jordan told our Olivia Beavers. He later said that "I'm sure" one of the Trump-involved calls took place in the safe room "because we were in that room forever." ... Jordan would not get into the specifics of what he discussed with the president, though he said that like everyone, he wanted the National Guard to get involved.

Jordan has previously disclosed that he spoke to Trump on Jan. 6, but not the existence of more than one call on the day — a rare piece of new information on the former president's moves during the riot at a time when House Republicans are loath to discuss such specifics. Trump-Jordan discussions are likely to be of keen interest to the Democrat-led select committee on Jan. 6, which is expected to soon seek phone records of members of Congress themselves in its probe.

Politico also noted that both Jordan and Rep. Matt Gaetz were on a call with Trump in which they "implored" our insurrectionist prez to "tell his supporters to stand down."

Hmm. Maybe these two need to testify to the House select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6. What d'ya think?

It's interesting, of course, that this revelation comes just days after this CNN story broke:

The House Select Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot is poised to send notices to various telecommunications companies requesting that they preserve the phone records of several people, including members of Congress, multiple sources tell CNN.

Preserving communications records is the first step in an investigatory process that could eventually lead to witness testimony. The notices are set to go out as soon as this week and provide the first window into the kinds of information the committee plans to pursue.


While it remains unclear which members' records the committee is interested in, several Republican lawmakers, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, have acknowledged speaking to then-President Donald Trump by phone on January 6.

It's bound to get more uncomfortable for Ol' Gym as fall sets in and the committee members fix their icy stares on the congressional rogue's gallery of (alleged) coup enablers. The congressman may want to put on a jacket, because if he tells the truth under oath, he can expect an eternal MAGA freeze-out.

Anti-vaxxers are now freaking out about blood donations from the vaccinated

Assuming we don't all die of the Omega! Omega! Omega! COVID-19 strain sometime before the year 2050, it's easy enough to imagine future archeologists rooting through our scattered, bleached bones seeking explanations for why TruckNutz suddenly disappeared from the fossil record in 2040 or so. Eventually, they'll discover that the Americanicus dumbfuckerus branch of the great apes' evolutionary tree suddenly shriveled up, died, and was employed for a time as God's go-to backscratcher before He noticed it gave Him a really gross rash.

Sometimes I wonder how Charles Darwin, the inventor of evil-ution, would have reacted to what's going on these days in Florida and other boggy redoubts. After all, there's a certain piquant irony to the fact that the very people who don't believe in natural selection are eagerly proving its validity every day.

The latest? Well, it's not enough that anti-vaxxers kill themselves with their scientifically ignorant rejection of vaccines. They've upped the ante by making non-COVID-19-related procedures and emergencies problematic, too.

The Daily Beast:

With nearly 60% of the eligible U.S. population fully vaccinated, most of the nation's blood supply is now coming from donors who have been inoculated, experts said. That's led some patients who are skeptical of the shots to demand transfusions only from the unvaccinated, an option blood centers insist is neither medically sound nor operationally feasible.
"We are definitely aware of patients who have refused blood products from vaccinated donors," said Dr. Julie Katz Karp, who directs the blood bank and transfusion medicine program at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia.

Sheesh. I may have to hire an assistant to face-palm me every 10 to 15 minutes so that I don't have to stop typing.

It's no exaggeration to say that anti-vaxxers are literally destroying this country right now, in that they're endangering and killing its citizens—both the vaxxed and un-vaxxed. One of these pestilent pod people has infiltrated my own family. I'd pray for her, but 1) I don't believe in God, per se, and 2) if God does exist, He's obviously made preventing COVID-19 a low priority, somewhere behind sopping up every last bit of moisture in the American West and killing off enough organ donors to allow Dick Cheney to install a new heart every time he changes the smoke detector batteries in his bunker.

You might think, all things being equal, that you'd want blood with COVID-19 antibodies in it. But some people are apparently more worried about getting vaccine "components" mixed in with their pure alpha-man blood than dying on an operating table. And according to Dr. Michael Busch, director of the Vitalant Research Institute, approximately 90% of the blood available for transfusions currently has COVID-19 antibodies in it, either because donors were vaccinated or they previously had COVID-19.

As a result, these requests are impossible to honor. But that hasn't stopped people from pressing their concerns.

Many patients expressing concerns have been influenced by rampant misinformation about vaccines and the blood supply, said [Dr. Geeta] Paranjape, [medical director at Carter BloodCare]. "A lot of people think there's some kind of microchip or they're going to be cloned," she said. Other patients have balked at getting blood from people previously infected with COVID, even though federal guidance greenlights donations two weeks after a positive test or the last symptom fades.

They're afraid they're going to be cloned? Cloned?

Are we sure that's not already happening? It seems to me there are lots of people in this country who were clearly gestated in bathtubs full of homemade gin. And they're afraid of the vaccine because they think it has computer chips in it.

I can't even with these people. It may be too late to reach many of them, but here's an idea: Can we at least make sure we teach our kids what science is? Because most Americans' knowledge of the subject appears to have been drawn from Spider-Man movies.

That's all I ask. Until then, Darwin will be tucking into hot, steamy Jiffy Pop on his tricked-out La-Z-Boy for the foreseeable future.

Fox News contributor’s Afghanistan evacuation plan: 'Walk through the streets and kill everyone I see'

In the direct the wake of a 20-year failure that began with chest-thumping jingoism, reckless saber-rattling, and fatally naive notions about American exceptionalism, Fox News is still feeding us (or, rather, its viewers) brutal nonsense like this.

Donald Trump was elected in the first place because he sounded exactly like the drunk at the end of the bar who's read two Tom Clancy novels and several tweets about vaccines' supposed link to autism and so naturally sounds like the smartest guy in the room. After all, they're drunk, too, and he's just like them, except marginally more erudite because, you know, he's read two books and they haven't read any. (Honestly, all the think pieces about why Trump appeals to his base could probably be thrown in the trash. Occam's razor, folks. They like him because he's just as gutter stupid and racist as they are. I don't think it goes very far beyond that.)

So now, because Trump handed Joe Biden a footlong shit sub in the guise of a Taliban peace deal, our president gets to endure perpetual second-guessing from the Forever War network that played an outsized role in getting us in this mess in the first place.

But, hey, why not float one more simple, unnecessarily violent, hoo-rah solution to the current crisis? On Friday, Fox invited regular contributor Rob O'Neill on the air to argue for, erm, far more chaos. O'Neill is a motivational speaker and former Navy SEAL who ostensibly violated the SEALs' code of silence when he claimed—controversially—that he killed Osama bin Laden all by himself. So, yeah, that's the kind of deep thinker we're dealing with here.

Watch:

O'NEILL: "I don't want to be in charge, but if I was—oh, I want to get the Americans? Cool. Give me nine guys. I'm gonna walk through the streets, and I'm gonna kill everyone I see, and I'm gonna grab the Americans. It is not difficult, but we have these people who are in charge that are a disgrace. I am amazed that there hasn't been at least 30 generals and admirals that haven't resigned or been fired today. But we won't because we have a commander in chief that was put there through whatever happened at 4 in the morning on election night."

WHOOOOOO! FUCK YEAH! It's just that simple. Go in with guns blazing, and to hell with anyone who complains! Let's make our exit from Afghanistan a microcosm of our foreign policy over the past 20 years. Sure, we've already evacuated 14,000 people since the end of July and 9,000 in the past week, but by all means, let's make this a thousand times harder!

It's nice to see that Fox has learned so much from its serial, bloodlust-inspired errors. Honestly, they should really shut down the network for at least a day to engage in some somber self-reflection. But why do that when you can once more tickle the taint of the "Kill 'em All and Let God Sort 'em Out" crowd?

Why do I get the feeling that the next Forever War is lurking around the corner waiting for a big, warm bear hug from Fox News and the so-called "liberal" press? Unfortunately, we'll never learn so long as ambulant war hard-ons like O'Neill are given time to spout their "patriotic" poison.

Lindsey Graham tried to mend friendship with Biden after attacking his son Hunter. It didn't go well

I used to assume that Lindsey Graham's fulsome Trump toadying must be a result of blackmail. The man who'd gravely warned against electing Donald Trump—famously calling him a "a race-baiting, xenophobic bigot"—had so swiftly and thoroughly slithered into Trump's good graces that only a videotape showing Lindsey and Ted Cruz vigorously snorting lines of Pixy Stix off Princess Luna's sparkly ass at a Brony convention could adequately explain Lindsey's embarrassing genuflections to feral Trumpism.

But after reading this lengthy New York Times profile about Graham's death grip on Trump's increasingly threadbare coattails, I have to agree with ex-GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, who likely got an up-close view of Graham when he served as senior campaign strategist for Lindsey BFF John McCain: "The way to understand him is to look at what's consistent. And essentially what he is in American politics is what, in the aquatic world, would be a pilot fish: a smaller fish that hovers around a larger predator, like a shark, living off of its detritus. That's Lindsey."

The Times piece delves into Graham's childhood and his "abiding need to be in the room" (as one South Carolina GOP political consultant put it), as well as his compulsion to sidle up to "alpha dog" father figures. He apparently saw Trump as the only game in town, and decided to bend his knee instead of standing up for what's right.

You may feel compelled to read the story, given that there are no biographies of Waylon Smithers or Salacious Crumb available on ThriftBooks that I'm aware of. It all depends on how interested you are in Lindsey Graham's nauseating obsequiousness.

That said, here's the key takeaway: You can't make everyone happy all of the time, and if you choose your new friends poorly, you're bound to lose your good, faithful old friends—such as our current president, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.:

In mid-November, as he was publicly urging Mr. Trump to keep up the election fight, Mr. Graham made a previously unreported phone call to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., to revive a friendship damaged by his call for a special prosecutor to investigate the overseas business dealings of Mr. Biden's son Hunter.

It was short, and not especially sweet, according to three people with direct knowledge of the exchange. Mr. Graham told Mr. Biden that, in attacking Hunter, he had done only the bare minimum to satisfy Trump supporters back home. (A Graham spokesman disputed that account.)

Mr. Biden, who viewed Mr. Graham's statement as an unforgivable attack on his family responded by saying he would work with any Republican, but dismissed the approach as Mr. Graham trying to have it both ways, two people close to the president said.

A few days after that phone call, Biden told The Late Show's Stephen Colbert, "Lindsey's been a personal disappointment because I was a personal friend of his."

"Was." So, sorry, Linds.

Of course, as the story makes clear, Lindsey is still skittering down to Mar-a-Lago at seemingly every opportunity to keep his new favorite shark swimming and, therefore, politically viable.

Graham is also "determined to steer Mr. Trump away from a dangerous obsession with 2020," asking the ocher abomination, "Do you want January the 6th to be your political obituary? Because if you don't get over it, it's going to be."

Ha ha ha ha! Oh, that's hilarious. Lindsey thinks he can stop a locomotive of a Trump obsession just like that? Sorry, Linds. It has to derail first. And if you don't jump off now, you're going in the river with the rest of them. Hopefully you can find a big, bottom-feeding carp to stir up some tasty mud morsels for you. And then your failure will be complete.

Trump still isn't paying 'close to broke' Rudy despite huge fundraising haul

Donald Trump doesn't pay his bills, and he isn't loyal to anyone. This is like saying the sky is blue and the sun sets in the west. It's as plain as the pug nose on Trump's jowly ape scrotum of a face, and if you end up getting burned by this universal MAGA maxim, you need to load up on aloe and simply take your lumps and/or blisters.

I mean, even Satan lives up to his obligations when, say, he loses fiddle contests. Trump can't even admit losing to Joe Biden. He's as good as his word—so long as that word is "knobcheese."

So I'm not sure what Rudy Giuliani was thinking while traversing the country in the wake of Donald Trump's election defeat, spritzing his enchanted brain effluent out the sides of his shrunken apple head in order to bewitch we common plebs into thinking Trump was the legitimate president-elect.

Sure, Rudy did a terrible job. Trump would have gotten better legal advice by waterboarding Jeanine Pirro with a few slop buckets full of Stoli, but Rudy really did stick his neck out for Trump. Sure, he might have been hanging out at that Philly dildo store anyway, but without Trump's electoral obstinance, at most two or three middle-aged men would have been gawking at him during his shambolic jerk-off session … instead of the whole world.

So, naturally, this short tweet thread from New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman is as pathetic as it is predictable:


For the nontweeters:

Giuliani allies are looking at the Trump $ - even if it isn't $82 million - and are aghast that Trump isn't helping Giuliani with legal fees. Giuliani's friends say he is saying he is close to broke, and his interview w @MelissaRusso4NY makes clear he knows he's in legal jeopardy
Trump aides have been clear they see no mechanism for paying Giuliani's legal bills that isn't problematic for Trump, and they think Giuliani took actions a lawyer should have known were problematic, even if the client wanted it.

But this is of note in the context of Trump having had a previous lawyer who pleaded guilty and then cooperated with an investigation into Trump.

They see no mechanism for paying Giuliani's legal bills? How about Venmo? Personal checks also work. As do Spanish doubloons. Or Bitcoin. Any form of currency, really. I mean, at the very least, Trump could send Grampa Fiddle-Pants whatever's in his wallet right now, even if it's just a half-stamped Subway Club card and a few random shekels.

Trump has reportedly built a political war chest in excess of $100 million, but Giuliani has about as much chance of seeing even a small portion of it as he does of securing Ivanka's betrothal.

As for Haberman's ominous final tweet? Yes, please! What could be more entertaining than Rudy Giuliani flipping on Donald Trump? Other than Michael Cohen flipping, that is.

Rudy's already professionally and morally bankrupt. Does he have to be financially bankrupt, too? Well, apparently Donald Trump thinks so. And he calls the shots for all these clowns.

Former RNC Chair Michael Steele merrily rips into Jim Jordan's selective Jan. 6 amnesia

You'll have fun watching this—but not nearly as much fun as Michael Steele had recording it, apparently.

Steele, a former GOP state lieutenant governor and one-time head of the Republican National Committee, is now an anti-Trump apostate and member of The Lincoln Project, which exists almost solely to get under Former Guy's paper-thin skin and lay spider eggs in the shallow folds of his swiftly putrefying brain. Whatever else you want to say about him (he was the fucking Republican National Committee chair, FFS!), he drew the line at endorsing the misrule of a screaming gonorrheal yam whose appreciation for our grand American experiment is strictly limited to intermittent flag-humping episodes.

Not only does Steele have little patience for the ocher abomination, he's done listening to the baby-man's toadies as well.

Enter Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, the jacketless jackass and problematic ex-wrestling coach who's never seen a rock too slimy for him to slither underneath.

As Daily Kos' Kerry Eleveld recounted Saturday, Jordan has been just a wee bit defensive lately when asked about the conversations he had with Donald Trump on Jan. 6, the day of the infamous Bumblefuck Putsch.

Jordan was pretty cagey in this interview with Fox News' Bret Baier ...


… but things really went off the rails during this follow-up discussion with Spectrum News' Taylor Popielarz.


Wow, that's some fast talking. If meth sweats could speak, they'd be like, "Whoa, Gym. Calm the fuck down already." I mean, seriously. Does he think he's auctioning off pigs at the Ohio State Fair?

Needless to say, there was plenty to mock here, and Steele—with a Mike's Hard Lemonade in hand (yes, really)—was up to the task, appearing on the Lincoln Project's Breakdown with Tara Setmayer.


Transcript!

STEELE: "I can tell you the time, the place, the date of every conversation I've ever had with every president of this country, period, going back to Bill Clinton. I can tell you where I was. I can tell you what was said. This son of a bitch is sitting up there acting like, 'Well, I don't know if it was before, I don't know if it was after. Oh, lordy Jesus, I don't remember. I gotta look at my notes.'

You know, bitch, what time you called the president, and you know what you said. You're a grown-ass man. Stop acting like you're 10 years old and you got caught masturbating by your mama. Stop that."

And here's the full Steele interview, complete with boozy drinks—and a lengthy comparison of Donald Trump and Steele's bottle of Mike's. The discussion of Jordan's stammering starts at about an hour and 12 minutes in.




That was fun, though using gendered slurs is never okay, even when mocking a yawning asshole like Jordan.

Jim Jordan appears to have a perpetual case of amnesia—at least with respect to things he wants to hide. And (allegedly) supporting an active insurrection just happens to be one of those things.

Jordan may be in some legal hot water over what some see as his likely role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. And he may at least want to throw on a lifejacket if nothing else, because what is now a trickle could become a deluge before he knows it—particularly if his weird, cagey answers are any indication of his culpability.

CA secretary of state candidate says she knows Trump won state because she's an empath who can 'feel the vibe of places'

You know, if we're just going to go with our hunches about political races and assume they mean something, then I must insist that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election by a final score of 154 million to, I don't know, 8. Total votes, that is. Because I simply can't fathom why anyone not named Trump would ever vote for anyone who is named Trump. It would be like putting up a big, star-spangled yard sign to let your neighbors know you have chlamydia. Only far more embarrassing.

Unfortunately, my visceral hunches are worthless, as evidenced by my warehouse full of unsold Michael Dukakis tank-helmet action figures. Luckily, though, I don't rely on hunches, astrological charts, chicken entrails, Dick Morris, or any other wildly unreliable yardstick to determine who wins elections. I rely on counted and certified votes. Yes, I know. Quaint.

Rachel Hamm, a "children's ministries director at a large evangelical church," is nevertheless attempting to use something akin to witchcraft to ascertain the true winner of California's 2020 electoral votes. She's also a candidate for California secretary of state who's been endorsed both by Pillow Man Mike Lindell and Roger Stone, so you know she's legit.

On the July 28 edition of Steve Bannon Molts His Larval Alien Husk Before Your Astonished Eyes, Hamm was asked how she knew Donald Trump won California. (Narrator: He didn't.)

It went a little like this:

Key member of bishops' group that wanted to deny Biden communion resigns after Grindr use exposed

Masturbation is still a big no-no, according to the Catholic Church. The catechism calls it "an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." But it's only a mortal sin if you're doing it right. For those of you who weren't raised Catholic, you should know you should know that dying in a state of mortal sin is a pretty big deal.

According to the great doctors of the Catholic Church, including St. Augustine of Hippo and St. Thomas Aquinas, if you happen to go udders up in such a state you're—and I believe this is a direct quote, translated from the original Latin—"fucked sideways."

Similarly, the Catholic Church deems homosexual acts as "intrinsically disordered." And while I haven't participated in homosexual acts, I can't imagine why they'd be any less tidy than heterosexual acts. It's not like I've ever arranged my Hummel figurines in neat, OCD-friendly rows while having sex. And, yes, I know that's oversharing. I mean, why should you care about my Hummels?

All of this is to say that if you're a prominent U.S. Catholic who's sitting in judgment over other U.S. Catholics, it might be a good idea to lock down your Grindr account.

The Washington Post:

The top administrator of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops resigned after a Catholic media site told the conference it had access to cellphone data that appeared to show he was a regular user of Grindr, the queer dating app, and frequented gay bars. [...]
Monsignor Jeffrey Burrill has since last fall been the general secretary of the USCCB, a position that coordinates all administrative work and planning for the conference, which is the country's network for Catholic bishops. As a priest, he takes a vow of celibacy. Catholic teaching opposes sexual activity outside heterosexual marriage.

If the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops rings a bell, that's probably because of this:

The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States, flouting a warning from the Vatican, have overwhelmingly voted to draft guidance on the sacrament of the Eucharist, advancing a push by conservative bishops to deny President Biden communion because of his support of abortion rights.
The decision, made public on Friday afternoon, is aimed at the nation's second Catholic president, perhaps the most religiously observant commander in chief since Jimmy Carter, and exposes bitter divisions in American Catholicism. It capped three days of contentious debate at a virtual June meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The measure was approved by a vote of 73 percent in favor and 24 percent opposed.

In fact, none other than Msgr. Burrill himself announced the vote tally calling for the pooh-poohing of our president.

Awkward.

More from The Post:

The resignation stemmed from reporting in the Pillar, an online newsletter that reports on the Catholic Church. Tuesday afternoon, after Burrill's resignation became public, the Pillar reported that it had obtained information based on the data Grindr collects from its users, and hired an independent firm to authenticate it.

According to The Pillar, "A mobile device correlated to Burrill emitted app data signals from the location-based hookup app Grindr on a near-daily basis during parts of 2018, 2019, and 2020—at both his USCCB office and his USCCB-owned residence, as well as during USCCB meetings and events in other cities. … The data obtained and analyzed by The Pillar conveys mobile app date signals during two 26-week periods, the first in 2018 and the second in 2019 and 2020. The data was obtained from a data vendor and authenticated by an independent data consulting firm contracted by The Pillar."

Okay, so I've had a bit of a bone to pick with the Roman Catholic Church ever since they assigned an abusive priest to our parish when I was in grade school. He'd offended before arriving at our parish, so I can only assume they did it on purpose. This all came out years after the fact, of course.

Also, if all masturbators are in a state of mortal sin, I imagine I should have several Costco-sized pallets full of Jergens Lotion FedEx'd to hell before I shuffle off this mortal coil. I assume there'll be lots of takers, and my forward-thinking will surely make me the Duke of Hades. And I bet I'll be able to gouge Burrill at the underworld bookstore after Satan disables all his apps, leaving him with naught but dog-eared copies of 1950s men's fitness magazines.

In the meantime, I'll be supping on sweet, sweet schadenfreude as this story unfolds. Stay tuned.

The Hill serves up what may just be the most absurd headline in media history

The "just wait, he's gonna turn presidential any moment now" crowd is still at it, months after Donald John Trump skulked away from the White House with his schwanz between his atrophied, KFC-bucket-balancin' gams.

For more than five years after his rambling, racist campaign launch speech, Trump has had every opportunity to prove there was more to him than meets the eye. There isn't. I've looked. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Trump's are more like splotchy peepholes into John Wayne Gacy's crawlspace. There's nothing there but rank evil, soul-crushing emptiness, and half-slurped McNugget sauces.

Sure, it's possible Trump could still see the light, renounce his numerous past outrages, and embrace Western liberal democracy. It's also possible I'll suddenly improve upon my 4-inch vertical and join the Milwaukee Bucks roster just in time to snag an NBA championship ring. (Go Bucks! As a native Wisconsinite, I need something to distract me from Ron Johnson's perpetual awfulness.)

That said, Trump's legion of apologists is keeping the faith. The guy was president for four years, after all. He must have learned something along the way about fair and effective governance. (Narrator: He didn't.)

Witness one Conrad Black, the author of A President Like No Other: Donald J. Trump and the Restoring of America. Black apparently thinks there's still something salvageable in this tire fire of a human being, and he's decided to die on this Hill.

Buckle up, folks. This will get weird, starting with the headline. Unless you want to spray your beverage halfway to Alpha Centauri, make sure you're not drinking anything when you read this. You've been warned.

"How Trump can win again: Become the calm, moderate candidate," Black posits. It just gets goofier from there.

First, the lede:

The political scene is evolving so quickly that I presume to offer some advice to President Trump: He can now win in 2024 by being the potential candidate of calm and moderation.

Sure, Trump can do that. Or he can suggest nuking hurricanes, try to overturn a free and fair election, incite a deadly riot, lobby for putting alligator-filled moats at the southern border, promote unapproved drugs, act like a freshly gelded howler monkey when asked anodyne questions by the media, and generally behave like a marginally less grounded Randy Quaid.

The uncharacteristically incautious comments of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that, in effect, the dreadful Trump specter had passed and they could all go back to being the good-natured losers of the Bush-McCain-Romney eras was effectively retracted within a few days. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) has disgraced herself by joining the Trump-hate operation of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and, in Republican terms, is sinking without a ripple as a consequence.

Hmm, the Bushes won three out of four of the elections they competed in after becoming their party's nominees. John McCain and Mitt Romney lost just as many elections as Trump. And George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush both won the popular vote at least once, whereas Trump never did. What on Gaia's green globule is this fucknut talking about?

Black rambles on for a half dozen anti-Democrat paragraphs before arriving at the pièce de résistance.

Now, as time passes, the public irritation with Trump's bombastic behavior, of his being in the nation's face day and night for four years, will recede and gradually be replaced by the spectacle of a comatose Biden administration, floundering and dissembling, fecklessly struggling with the various crises it has created. There will be, soon enough, nostalgia for Trump instead — and if he is wise, he can become a winning figure of comparative Olympian serenity.

Nostalgia for Trump? Uh, no. The guy is seared into our memories, I'll give you that. But "nostalgia" implies fond memories. I have nostalgia for eating Cracker Jack on a picnic bench during the summer of '76. I don't have nostalgia for the raucous pink belly I received from my reprobate siblings 10 minutes later.

But this. This! "… if he is wise, he can become a winning figure of comparative Olympian serenity."

Trump isn't wise, and never will be. (See also: nearly every news story from the past half-decade.)

Trump's a loser. Full stop.

A "figure of comparative Olympian serenity?" Next to Trump, Crispin Glover circa 1987 was a figure of comparative Olympian serenity. But Trump himself never, ever will be.

It's normal for historians and especially partisans to want to rehabilitate a former president's image and reputation, but Trump's rep is trashed. He might as well have smeared those feces on the inner walls of the U.S. Capitol himself. There's no forgetting Jan. 6—or any of the other 1,460 days he cosplayed as president.

And no amount of gaslighting after the fact can possibly make us forget, no matter how much devotees like Conrad Black try.

Disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker says America has 'slidden' backwards under Biden

Apocalypse-pancake purveyor and disgraced mammal Jim Bakker is not feeling the Biden era. Bakker, who was convicted on 24 counts of fraud in 1989 over his role in the wide-ranging PTL scandal, thinks we've "slidden" backwards since those halcyon days when Donald Trump's sudoriferous arse was regularly irrigating the linens in the presidential boudoir.

Of course, the nice thing about using a Christian template for your con is that one of the religion's core tenets is forgiveness. Don't get me wrong, that's a noble feature. The problem is, it's really fucking easy to turn repentance into a vaudeville act without ever actually, you know, repenting.

That's how conmen like Bakker—and now, Donald Trump—keep their grift going ad nauseam.

Bakker is always chock full o' nuts, of course, but sometimes he's a humble Almond Joy and sometimes he's an incandescent Hindenburg crammed with forests full of squirrel shit. Today was such a day.


BAKKER: "You realize this is coming, right? You realize where we are. You realize what America has done. Does it scare you that America would be so strong in turning their backs on God? It just drives me crazy to see this happen in our country. I felt like the last year we were doing pretty good in America. Of course, COVID hit and all that kind of stuff. … Do you think we have, in the last few months, since the election, America has, if we were in a religious forum, we would say backslid. America has slidden [sic] backwards more than in my entire lifetime, and I'm 81 years old."

Eighty-one years old, huh? So that means he was born in 1940. I don't know, I can think of at least one setback that happened in December of the very next year. And then there was that whole Vietnam kerfuffle. And Watergate. And the Great Recession. And, you know, that shit from last year. CO-something. That was a wee bit of a backslide, don't you think?

Or is Bakker talking about the recovering economy ... or the receding COVID-19 pandemic ... or the fact that we no longer have a literal insurrectionist in the White House? Yeah, I can see why he'd be so upset.

Or maybe he's down about 2021 because of this …

ABC News:

Jim Bakker and his southwestern Missouri church will pay restitution of $156,000 to settle a lawsuit that accuses the TV pastor of falsely claiming a health supplement could cure COVID-19.
Missouri court records show that a settlement agreement was filed Tuesday. It calls for refunds to people who paid money or gave contributions to obtain a product known as Silver Solution in the early days of the pandemic.
The settlement also prohibits Bakker and Morningside Church Productions Inc. from advertising or selling Silver Solution "to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any disease or illness." Bakker, in the agreement, does not admit wrongdoing.

Ah, yes, Jim Bakker's magic silver solution. Sure, you can be 100% healed through the power of prayer, but why not hedge your bets by coating your arteries with a heavy metal that only occasionally turns people into bulgy Smurfs? What would Jesus do? Oh, he'd almost certainly seize control of the FDA and immediately approve all of Jim Bakker's quack cures.

I'm not quite sure what Joe Biden has done to earn the wrath of the official pancake vendor of the omniscient, immanent, ineffable godhead, but I doubt Bakker has many specifics. Not any that hold up under scrutiny, anyway.

But then Bakker will keep grifting until the day he dies—or turns into Violet Beauregarde. Whichever comes first.

'Unforgivable and un-American': US Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick's longtime partner calls out GOP

I envision a day—perhaps not that far in the future—when Donald Trump and his doofus-y name are radioactive, not just to the decent people of the world but to a wide swath of Republicans, too. Will that happen? I'm trying to be an optimist, so I say yes. Trump himself is doing his best to make that reality come to pass.

Of course, in the wake of Jan. 6, far more hardbitten cynics than I (I know it sounds impossible, but they're out there) no doubt thought Trump was—at long last—shit on toast. He couldn't recover from this, could he? Ah, but these gimlet-eyed observers vastly underestimated the GOP's pusillanimity. After House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy flew down to Mar-a-Lago to do 108 full prostrations before his slovenly Buddha, the floodgates opened and Trump was on his way to being fully embraced, once again, by the Republican rank-and-file.

That capitulation to indecency came to a head late last month when Senate Republicans decided to filibuster the bill that would have created a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission. Republicans "won" the vote 35-54—meaning 19 more senators wanted to advance the bill than wanted to scuttle it. (Yay, filibuster!)

Perhaps no one was more horrified by that outcome than Sandra Garza, the longtime partner of Brian Sicknick, a Capitol police officer who died in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. And now she's speaking up.

In a CNN op-ed, Garza, a clinical social worker who was with Sicknick for 11 years, wrote that she couldn't watch the Jan. 6 footage for a month after the attack, but eventually gutted it out and took a look.

But before his memorial a month later, something came over me: I wanted to see everything I could and understand what happened that day. As I watched the videos, I couldn't believe my eyes. I saw officers being brutalized and beaten, and protesters defying orders to stay back from entering the Capitol. All the while, I kept thinking, "Where is the President? Why is it taking so long for the National Guard to arrive? Where is the cavalry!?"
As the months passed, my deep sadness turned to outright rage as I watched Republican members of Congress lie on TV and in remarks to reporters and constituents about what happened that day. Over and over they denied the monstrous acts committed by violent protesters.

Garza didn't name those members of Congress, but they're not hard to identify. There was Sen. Ron Johnson, who said he was never concerned about the insurrection because the rioters were "people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement"—and not scary antifa or Black Lives Matter protesters. There was Rep. Andrew Clyde, who compared the insurrectionists to tourists, even though footage from that day showed him fixin' to drop a chimichanga or two into his Simon Bar Sinister Underoos. And there was Trump himself, who infamously said that the insurrection posed "zero threat" and that his supporters were "hugging and kissing" the Capitol police.

Eventually, Garza joined Sicknick's mother, Gladys, in her campaign to convince GOP senators to vote in favor of the commission. But as we all know, their heartfelt pleas were ignored. Garza writes that during her and Gladys' outreach campaign, "some Republican senators were very pleasant and polite. Others were dismissive, and others could barely hide their disdain."

Sounds about right. Of course, in the wake of Republicans' nearly unanimous betrayal of democracy, Garza feels she's being retraumatized.

By denying or downplaying the viciousness and trauma that occurred on January 6, members of Congress and the people who continue echoing their false narrative are engaging in a specific kind of psychological harm that is familiar to people who work in mental health. It's known as "secondary wounding." Secondary wounding, described by psychologist Aphrodite Matsakis, occurs when people "minimize or discount the magnitude of the event, its meaning to the victim, [or] its impact on the victim's life."

The kicker? Before the Capitol insurrection, both Garza and Sicknick—who adored blueberry pancakes and wiener dogs alike—were Trump supporters. Not anymore: "To know that some members of Congress—along with the former President, Donald Trump, who Brian and I once supported but who can only now be viewed as the mastermind of that horrible attack—are not acknowledging Brian's heroism that day is unforgivable and un-American."

Eventually, anyone who puts their faith in Donald Trump gets burned. Ask … well, pretty much anyone. Most people don't suffer this much for their obtuseness, but just about everyone who hitches their wagon to his collapsing star gets a rude awakening.

It's sad that it took the loss of a loved one for Garza to finally wake up, but if she can keep warning others, maybe the day when Trump is truly—and forever—radioactive will come sooner rather than later.

DeSantis beats Trump in presidential straw poll

Want to nip Ron DeSantis' likely 2024 presidential bid in the bud? Tell the kaiser of GQP-land there's another rooster in the henhouse. If there's one thing a cult leader won't abide it's a threat to his authority.

It's way too early to determine which malodorous heap of seething white grievance and unworkable ideas will rocket to the head of the Republican pack in 2024, but at least one straw poll indicates Donald Trump's vise-like grip on the party's pendulous, purpling nads could be loosening in favor of one of the big man's most loyal surrender-generals in his non-fight against COVID.

Ron DeSantis, who did more than any other governor to spread freedom phlegm throughout the lower 48, was the winner of a recent straw poll asking conservatives about their 2024 presidential preferences.

The Week:

On Saturday ... Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) edged Trump in a straw poll taken at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver. In-person and online attendees were asked to vote for all the potential candidates they approve of out of a 31-person field. Trump and DeSantis were neck-and-neck at the top, but there was some hefty distance between them and the third-place finisher, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). Former Vice President Mike Pence finished 10th.
Obviously, at this stage, a straw poll could simply be a mirage, but DeSantis has looked like a contender elsewhere, finishing second to Trump in the 2024 straw poll conducted at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. Trump has also said, if he does make another bid for the White House, he'd consider the controversial, but popular governor as a potential running mate.



Up until now, DeSantis has been a loyal Trump acolyte, but knowing Trump, this has already gotten underneath his skin. DeSantis can expect a severed manatee head on his pillow any day now.

Interestingly, Mike Pence, the man who perfected the art of assembling IKEA furniture inside Donald Trump's sigmoid colon, was way down the list in 10th place—probably for the same reason he got heckled at an ultra-conservative Faith & Freedom convention last week. His political career turned a whiter shade of pale as soon as he refused to overturn the 2020 election in his own favor—a show of insolence that enraged his master. And now he's milquetoast. (Or more so, anyway.)

Even Donald Trump Jr., who's more amphetamine than man at this point (maybe; people are saying; many, many people), edged out Pence.

But Donald Trump can only screw over one potential rival at a time, and for the moment, that appears to be DeSantis.

Do your thing, baby-man. Cut DeSantis off at the knees. You know you want to.

Trump's tour with Bill O'Reilly conflicts with August reinstatement theory — driving QAnons bonkers

Seeing QAnon adherents puzzle their way through reality is a bit like watching Donald Trump try to sound out a raw vegan menu. Eventually he orders the portobello mushroom steak—and then we sit back and wait to see his face contort into ever-lower depths of bafflement as he deluges his entree with enough ketchup to drown a baby rhino. And that's before the German carob cake shows up.

At some point, the Q folks all changed their internal default font to Zapf Dingbats, and now literally nothing they say makes any sense to anyone—except their fellow travelers.

The latest? They can't imagine why Donald Trump is promoting a December tour with Bill O'Reilly when he's supposed to be back in the White House in August and O'Reilly is presumably scheduled for a series of painful face-splotchectomies.

Newsweek:

QAnon supporters have acted with dismay and confusion after Donald Trump announced the December dates of his upcoming speaking tour with Bill O'Reilly, which coincides with when he is meant to have already been reinstated as president.

The announcement was shared by a number of popular QAnon telegram accounts, one of which has nearly 75,000 subscribers on the encrypted messaging service app.
Supporters of the radical movement expressed concerns that Trump going on a speaking tour later this year surely means that he will not be returning as president—a false claim they have continued to believe since he lost the 2020 election more than seven months ago.

I really wonder what these people will do when Sept. 1 comes around and Trump is still ensconced, Taft-like, in his toilet. How many times can they move the goalposts before they—like the QAnon people themselves—are on another planet?

According to the announcement, Trump and O'Reilly have several December dates scheduled in Florida and Texas. But if Trump really thinks he'll be back by then—which has been widely reported to be the case—then why is he fixin' to go on tour with Pile O'Bile-y?

Newsweek collected several alarmed responses from QAnon cultists posting on Telegram about this vexing bait-and-switch.

A sampling:

  • "OK I GUESS MY QUESTION IS TRUMP COMING BACK? WHY WOULD HE BE DOING A TOUR THRU THE END OF THE YEAR WITH O'REILLY. HMMMMMMMMM SOMETHING DOESN'T FEEL RIGHT?" — Telegram user Peace Lilly
  • "So nothing will happen until December?" — Tina N.
  • "Man I sure hope we don't have to wait that long before you're back in office." — Jack Miller
  • "So basically the August thing is a bunch of bull because a reinstated President doesn't go on tour." — Angela Baldwin

Oh, Angela Baldwin, you are sharp. I imagine that's exactly how Archimedes felt just before shouting "Eureka!"

Of course, many QAnoners and other Trumpy dead-enders are hanging their hopes on either Pillow Man Mike Lindell's barmy assurances or the Arizona fraudit, which they believe will touch off a domino effect wherein one blue state after another falls back into Donald Trump's column. Because there's zero chance that the most vulgar, deceitful man on the planet—a man who never polled over 50% percent approval at any time during his presidency—could have possibly lost a national election.

Of course, some QAnoners appeared to be hedging their bets: "It's only a few dates close together...it could be done if it works out like it should...could cancel....but yup..kinda a gut punch statement," one wrote. "But we are in an information war, so who the hell knows."

Who the hell knows? Not you, that's for sure. But most of us do, oddly enough—because we're not getting our information from rando kookaburras on Telegram.

And, yes, it's possible that Trump will cancel his serial sexual harasser tour with O'Reilly, but not because he'll be president. It'll be because his muscles have taken on the texture of Gerber's mashed pears and he can't get through the auditorium doors without a crowbar and a can of Crisco.

Or maybe—just maybe—he'll be defending himself in court. A man can dream, right?

Trump admin lawyers having trouble finding jobs post-Jan. 6 insurrection

BREAKING NEWS: Saruman's orcs are having a hard time finding jobs in the new post-Mordor economy. Several Uruk-hai have applied for au pair positions in the Shire and been flatly refused. Who knows why? Might have something to do with their brazen attempt to sack Gondor, but it could be anything, really.

Won't someone think of the orcs? They need to eat, too!

By all rights, having worked for the Trump administration should essentially bar you from any kind of work—with the possible exception of squeegeeing the ex-pr*sident's kingly moobs once a fortnight ... or whenever he orders a 12-piece Chicken McNugget with extra sauces. And while that's certainly more than a one-person job, unfortunately it's not going to help the dozens of traitors who stuck with this doofus through thousands of lies, two impeachments, dozens of outrages, and one full-blown insurrection against the legitimate government of the United States.

According to a recent Bloomberg story, lawyers who served in the Trump administration are facing higher hurdles than members of past administrations when it comes to securing employment.

Bloomberg:

Trump lawyers have been more difficult to place than those who served in previous administrations, particularly if they were closely connected to his most controversial policies or if they lacked the experience past alumni had, said Lauren Drake, a partner at search firm Macrae.

Several companies and law firms distanced themselves from Trump after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Corporate law firm Crowell & Moring called for Trump's removal from office and urged others to make the same demand. Law firms Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Seyfarth Shaw dropped Trump and his businesses as clients.
"I don't think anyone coming out of the George W. Bush administration was told, 'We can't hire this person,'" [former Trump administration Homeland Security attorney Ken] Cuccinelli said. "I'm sure Jan. 6 made it that much worse than it ever would have been."

Gee, ya think? Jan. 6 made it much worse? You'd think lawyers for the Trump administration would have about as much chance of being hired elsewhere as Capt. Hazelwood did of getting another oil tanker gig, but that's an unfair comparison ... because the Exxon Valdez spill was a fucking accident.

Cuccinelli, the deputy secretary of Homeland Security from late 2019 to early 2021, has personally discovered just how radioactive Trump was and is. After being considered for one particular corporate job, and being turned down, Cuccinelli told Bloomberg, "They just decided they didn't want Trump people. It was just flat out—you can call it Trump discrimination."

Sure, you can call it Trump discrimination. You could also call it common decency. The latter rings more true to me.

Of course, there are competing theories as to why major law firms are showing such a reluctance to soil their pantaloons in public.

Reed D. Rubinstein, who worked for the Trump Education Department, said the lack of interest in Trump's henchmen has to do with "the extent to which Big Law has been captured by the political left."

"To protect the middle and working class, we directly challenged the control, legitimacy, and power of the credentialed managerial class and their corporate institutions," Rubinstein told Bloomberg. "So it's not a surprise to me that they are hostile to Trump administration alumni."

Sure, Reed. Whatever helps you sleep, my man.

Of course, this dynamic could change as Republicans proceed in their campaign to flush Jan. 6 down the memory hole. But for now, I'll relish this limited—and perhaps temporary—comeuppance.

As far as I'm concerned, most Trump lackeys should be shunned from polite society altogether. Or impolite society, for that matter. Send them to Snake Island. They'd fit in better there anyway.

Susan Collins is very concerned that people who drive electric cars don't pay gas tax

New idea for a drinking game: Every time Susan Collins says she's concerned about something, drink an 18-gallon Rubbermaid tub full of yak phlegm and battery acid.

The latest thing she's concerned about? Paying for Joe Biden's ambitious infrastructure plans. And, no, she's not thinking about a moderate rollback of Donald Trump's plutocrat-friendly tax scam, which led corporations across the country to engage in stock buybacks and other economic wheel-spinning ventures. Oh, no. She wants to … erm … tax people who are going out of their way to help save the planet.

On the June 13 installment of Face the Nation, hosted by John Dickerson, Collins regaled us all with her hoary reasonable-Republican shtick—and yet there was scant reason to be found anywhere in her comments. Discussing various ways to pay for crucial investments in a 21st century clean-energy economy, Collins waved away the obvious solution—making corporations and the already wealthy pay a little more for the infrastructure they rely on to build their silly dragon hoards—in favor of a remarkably stupid alternative. (She explains her "pay-for" scheme at 1:25.)



DICKERSON: "And what about the sticky question about how to pay for all of this? I've heard there's reports that it might include a gas tax increase?"

COLLINS: "There won't be a gas tax increase, and we won't be undoing the 2017 tax reform bill. Let me talk about three of the pay-fors. One is the implementation of an infrastructure financing authority. That's very similar to the state revolving funds that we used for sewer and water projects, and it's a bipartisan proposal that was first put forth by Sens. Mark Warner and Roy Blunt. A second would be to repurpose some of the COVID funding that has not been spent in the $1.9 trillion package that was enacted in March. There were restrictions on what the funding could be used for. It could be used for water, sewer, and broadband. We would make it more flexible so it could be used for infrastructure projects. And third, there would be a provision for electric vehicles to pay their fair share of using our roads and bridges. Right now they are literally free riders because they're not paying any gas tax."

Okay, this is a gobsmackingly stupid idea. Yes, people who drive EVs obviously don't pay gas taxes, which help pay for a lot of roads and bridges. But most people agree that electric cars are the wave of the future, and if we're going to successfully transition to a clean-energy economy, we need to encourage as many people as possible to use them. That means making electric vehicles more appealing, not less. We're in a climate emergency, and what Collins is proposing would be a little like taxing people's COVID shots and face masks while charging them a nominal fee to wash their hands.

But, hey, we need a "reasonable" way out of this impasse—which naturally can't include slightly increasing the tax rates of the ultra-wealthy, even though that's exactly what most Americans want.

Mainers, what on Gaia's verdurous spinning space globule were you thinking when you returned this glitching, bromide-besotted Furby to the Senate? One more Democratic senator sure would have been nice, huh? In fact, it would have gone a long way toward saving this planet.

But hey, you can rest assured that when Kennebunkport is under water, Collins' "concern" will be off the charts—as will a not-insignificant number of Maine's coastal communities.

A staggering number of GOP cultists think Trump will be reinstated as president this year: poll

I'll never understand why anyone listens to Donald Trump on any subject. He wanted to nuke hurricanes. He wanted to put alligator-filled moats along the southern border. He thinks windmills cause cancer, asbestos is swell, and exercise is bad for you. He seriously suggested pumping our bodies full of UV light and disinfectant. He thinks we have planes that are literally invisible, for God's sake!

Nevertheless, millions of Trump fans have bent their brains into pretzels trying to make his doofus proclamations sound presidential—or even marginally nonsimian (see also: hydroxychloroquine).

We've pretty well established that Trump's brain is, at best, masticated circus peanut and, at worst, Lucifer's molten boom-booms, and yet when he dry-heaves utter batshit nonsense, plenty of his fans seem all too ready to lick it up like feral purse poodles.

Case in point: Fully 29% of Republicans think Donald Trump is returning before the year is out—possibly riding in on a cloud or a flaming chariot or (more likely) a golf cart with a cupholder and custom-installed deep fryer.

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll asked survey respondents this straightforward question: "How likely do you think it is that former President Donald Trump will be reinstated as U.S. President this year, if at all?" The question was no doubt included in the poll because Trump himself has been telling insiders that he thinks he'll be back in office by August. (Narrator: He won't.)

The results? (You still have time to bail if you've had your yearly quota of frothing insanity. You're still here? Okay, gird your loins.)

Among Republicans surveyed, 17% think it's "very likely" that Trump will return to the White House this year, 12% think it's "somewhat likely," and 10% don't know or have no opinion. Taken together, this shows that two-fifths of Republicans have not yet accepted that Joe Biden won the presidency.

Of course, that wasn't the only eye-opening result. Asked whether things are going in the right direction in the U.S. or on the wrong track, only 15% of Republicans thought things were going in a positive direction, while 85% said we're veering off course. Guess 85% of Republicans prefer raging pandemics and collapsing economies to Democratic presidents.

Is this what it's like to lick hallucinogenic toads for breakfast in lieu of frosted Pop-Tarts? At some point, do you just surrender to the unreality of your environment?

Over at Civiqs, even more Republicans report they're worried; a stunning 93% of card-carrying GOPers think we're all gonna die.

If you enjoy watching Donald Trump eat the Republican Party from within, like a genetically modified tropical eyeball worm, you'll be happy to know that the Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 80% of Republicans want to stick around so they can see him play either a major (59%) or a minor role (21%) in the party going forward. If you'd prefer he stay in Florida chucking oyster shells at flamingos from his balcony, you'll likely be disappointed by the 13% of Republicans who want him to slink away.

There's also some good news, of course. President Biden's approval rating is at 53% among all registered voters, with 28% of respondents "strongly" approving of the job he's doing, 25% "somewhat" approving, 43% disapproving, and the rest offering no opinion.

Meanwhile, 66% of registered voters want Congress to pass an infrastructure bill—so maybe we should get that done, huh?

There's still some sanity left in the world, so long as you look in the right place. And that right place is clearly nowhere in the vicinity of the right wing. I invite Republicans to hurry on back to planet Earth. The water's fine. At least it is for now—unfortunately, only 12% of Republicans consider passing a bill to address climate change a "top priority."

Go figure.

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