A Former And Current Democrat Wrestle Against A Moral Universe

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” It is a favorite quote of former Pres. Barack Obama (who had it woven into his White House rug) and cited by other politicians, often around MLK Day. But despite its good sentiment, some scholars have noted the meaning was taken out of context to excuse inaction all for a dream of “justice” we might never see in this world.

So, let’s keep this debate in mind when we discuss two specific guests on this week’s Sunday shows.

It’s the Kyrsten Sinema Show!

The senior senator from Arizona, part-time reseller and full-time asshole made a rare appearance on a Sunday show to answer some questions. She also made sure it was at the McCain Institute in front of a live audience with CBS’s “Face The Nation” so that she could receive maximum attention while being the feckless senator we all know.

For example, when Sinema criticized the Biden Administration’s border policy, host Margaret Brennan mentions an immigration bill Sinema and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma introduced. But when asked about passing it before Title 42 expires, Sinema joked about the uselessness of the Senate.

SINEMA: Oh, God, no, Margaret. This is the United States Senate. (laughter)

BRENNAN: That’s what I was saying.

SINEMA: I don’t think you can get agreement on a restroom break by next Thursday. The United States Senate is functioning at a fairly dysfunctional level right now.

Hahahahaha! Isn’t it truly hilarious that the people elected to govern can’t do a single thing?! And that they not only know they won’t take action to help their constituents but find it a joke??! Just hilarious, Sinema. Hardy Har Har …

Sinema was asked about Republicans holding the full faith and credit of the US hostage for draconian cuts with the debt ceiling and she outlined the real problem — “both sides.”

While Sinema admitted Biden is correct to want a “a clean debt limit to meet the full faith and responsibility of the United States of America,” she blamed him for not prioritizing Kevin McCarthy’s political career over destroying the American people’s lives or the global financial system.

SINEMA: […] Kevin McCarthy, as we all saw, took him a long time to become Speaker. Barely squeaked by with the votes, had to make a lot of concessions to get the job and he has a very, very narrow road to walk. So he has to thread a needle where he can get the votes he needs to pass a debt limit increase and continue to be Speaker. […] Reality is the bill that Kevin and his colleagues passed through the House is not going to be the solution. The votes do not exist in the United States Senate to pass that. But what the president is offering is not a realistic solution either. There’s not going to be just a simple clean debt limit. The votes don’t exist for that. […]

The votes DO exist to pass a clean limit, Sinema. You just need all the House Democratic votes and enough sane Republicans for a majority. But the reason that someone like Sinema or McCarthy can’t see that is because anything that doesn’t advance their careers or risks political power for their constituents is not seen as a solution.

Ironically, Sinema’s Senate career and McCarthy’s speakership might be over soon due to that very calculus.

Dick Durbin: The Susan Collins of Chuck Schumers

Speaking of political inaction, Senate Judiciary chair Dick Durbin was on CNN’s “State of The Union” with Jake Tapper.

Tapper asked Durbin about what Congress can do to solve the gun violence that led to ANOTHER mass shooting in Texas on Saturday.

DURBIN: There is something more that America can do, and it’s called an election.

Oh, fuck you, Dick. Your answer to why Congress can’t meet the demands for action from the majority of Americans tired of gun violence is “vote harder”?? Fuck off! Americans are united. It’s Congress who isn’t.

Even in a Fox news poll.

Record-breaking election turnouts in 2018,2020 and 2022 is why Durbin even has a chairmanship. Voters are doing/have done everything they can only to have their votes “rewarded” by political apathy.

But that’s too much to ask from someone like Durbin. When asked about Clarence Thomas’s recent revelations, Durbin at best could muster mild disappointment.

TAPPER: Some of your fellow Democrats on Capitol Hill say that this seems to go beyond ethical lapses; it rises to the level of corrupt behavior. Is that a word you would use, corrupt?

DURBIN: Well, I can tell you that the conclusion most people would reach is that this tangled web around Justice Clarence Thomas just gets worse and worse by the day. […] The question is whether it embarrasses the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice. […] This is the Roberts court, and history is going to judge him by the decision he makes on this. He has the power to make the difference.

History? You’re the Senate Judiciary Committee chair! It’s YOUR job, you feckless fossil! If you are waiting on history, which if I remember is written by the victors, we are all doomed.

Durbin, who can’t even stand up to end the bullshit blue slips, also made an idle threat about taking action about Thomas on Twitter like a telephone tough guy.

Tapper, who is no progressive, seemed almost as frustrated by this when he asked about Dianne Feinstein’s return to the Senate and let his inner sauciness out on Durbin’s bullshit about Feinstein’s wishes over the needs of the American people.

Republicans are pursuing evil, but politicians like Durbin and Sinema help gatekeep progress through incrementalism instead of fighting hard.

And Dick Durbin should know better.

Have a week.

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Herschel, Grifty Walker

Herschel Walker — Hey! Stop throwing stuff at me, this is real news! — appears to have been up to some some mind-blowingly grifty shenanigans during his failed 2022 run against Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) last year, according to reporting from the Daily Beast Wednesday. The Beast acquired a bunch of emails between Walker and a company owned by a longtime family friend of Walker’s, billionaire industrial mogul Dennis Washington, who made it big in molybdenum and copper mining in Montana in the ’70s and then expanded into industrialist stuff. (His novelty record, “Big In Molybdenum,” flopped, however.)

In March 2022, the Beast reports, Walker emailed an executive for one of Washington’s companies, conveniently named The Washington Corporations, to ask for money, which candidates do all the time, no big whoop. Except, as reporter Roger Sollenberger explains, candidates definitely don’t make the kind of ask Walker did, because it’s almost certainly illegal as fuck:

Walker wasn’t just asking for donations to his campaign; he was soliciting hundreds of thousands of dollars for his own personal company—a company that he never disclosed on his financial statements.

Emails obtained by The Daily Beast—and verified as authentic by a person with knowledge of the exchanges—show that Walker asked Washington to wire $535,200 directly to that undisclosed company, HR Talent, LLC.

And the emails reveal that not only did Washington complete Walker’s wire requests, he was under the impression that these were, in fact, political contributions

In the best possible circumstances, legal experts told The Daily Beast, the emails suggest violations of federal fundraising rules; in the worst case, they could be an indication of more serious crimes, such as wire fraud.

The story is very careful to point out that even though he’d never run for office before, Walker was very well briefed on campaign finance rules from the time he started running in 2021. In one of the emails to Washington, Walker even explained the limits that could be given to his campaign and to his super PAC, “34N22,” so he can’t very well claim he was just a simple country millionaire former football player who’d like to be a werewolf maybe.

While we do have to talk about donation amounts and such, we won’t be going into all the financial ins and outs, because 1) that’s already in the Daily Beast story, and also 2) that would be Math.

Sollenberger adds that after Washington’s people were informed by a third party that the money that had been wired to Walker’s company couldn’t actually be used for political purposes, an executive emailed Walker to ask if the money sent to HR Talent could be redirected to the super PAC instead, but that Walker “appears to have dismissed” those worries. The story now includes an update, noting that the day after it ran,

a spokesperson for Washington said Walker had refunded the money but did not respond to questions about when that happened.

Look, everything’s fine here, we’re fine. How are you?

When Walker was preparing for the runoff election against Raphael Warnock, a November 29 email from Tim McHugh, executive VP for the Washington Corporations, notes that after McHugh had spoken with Walker on the phone about a new $100,000 contribution to the campaign that Walker had requested, McHugh was informed that

“any funds sent to the HR Talent account cannot legally be used for political purposes. Political contributions must go to either the Team Herschel or 34N22 accounts. […] We will need your assistance to get the prior contributions made to the HR Talent account in March corrected.”

Sollenberger decodes that for us:

Walker was not allowed to solicit donations for the super PAC in excess of federal limits, which this amount of money explicitly was. But that was not McHugh’s concern; he was worried about the hundreds of thousands of dollars his boss had wired to HR Talent in March.

But instead of addressing those concerns, Walker wrote back with an email detailing how Washington and his two sons, Kyle and Kevin, could donate $10,800 to his campaign, his recount effort, and his super PAC, with the remainder to go to his company, HR Talent. Yes, again, right after McHugh said hey, I hear that can’t be used for your campaign.

As Sollenberger ‘splains,

The numbers suggest that Walker had worked out a $100,000 arrangement with each Washington, with 95 percent of their contributions going to Walker’s company instead of the super PAC. But while Dennis Washington’s $5,800 campaign donations from the time do appear in FEC records, the $95,400 never hit the super PAC’s account. Kyle and Kevin Washington did not donate any money after the November emails.

Long story short: There’s a lot of hinky stuff in the emails, and campaign finance experts told Sollenberger over and over that they’d never seen anything so insanely grifty:

Saurav Ghosh, director of federal reform at Campaign Legal Center, called the arrangement “jaw-dropping.” Jordan Libowitz, communications director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said if Walker “used the campaign to funnel money into his own business, that’s one of the biggest campaign finance crimes I’ve ever heard of.” Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance lawyer and deputy executive director of Documented, remarked that the exchanges were “stunning and, to my knowledge, without parallel in recent history.”

“Campaign finance laws are designed to prevent massive under-the-table payments like those described here,” Fischer said. “While we don’t have all the facts, these emails point to highly illegal, potentially even criminal activity.”

Libowitz even went so far as to suggest that Walker’s scheme appears to have out-Trumped Donald Trump, because while Trump used campaign donations at his own businesses over and over, there were actual goods and services being purchased at the going market rates (though perhaps on the high side of the going rate, ahem). “Here, the money isn’t being spent by the campaign on Herschel’s businesses,” Libowitz told Sollenberger. “The money never even goes to the campaign. It just goes straight to him.”

But wait, there’s more!

Ghosh, of the Campaign Legal Center, agreed that Walker appears to have violated campaign finance laws, calling the scheme “$500,000 of grift.”

“It appears to be a fake campaign solicitation, designed to just profit personally from someone. That’s brazen in a way that’s off the charts,” he said.

On top of that, Ghosh pointed out that campaign law requires candidates to report all their sources of income, so Walker’s failure to list HR Talent LLC in his financial statements appears to violate the law too. Further, Ghosh said, if Walker had misled Washington about where the money was going — as certainly seems to be the case — “Then we’re in the world of just defrauding somebody.”

“Sounds a lot like wire fraud if the money didn’t make it to the campaign or super PAC,” Ghosh said. “And the fact they tried to do it again shows they’re trying to squeeze this billionaire.”

So what happens now? That would be up to federal prosecutors, who we assume pay attention to the news. And golly, wouldn’t it be something if more on this came out, like with all the stuff on Clarence Thomas that started turning up after ProPublica did some digging?

If this does turn into an investigation, and an investigation turns into an arrest, we have two words of advice for the federal agents assigned to bring Mr. Walker in: Silver bullets.

[Daily Beast]

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The Flat Circle Of Republican Stupidity

Republicans long for a past that never was, and this inevitably leads them to sound like idiots as they twist themselves into pretzels trying to rationalize their calls for societal regression. Need examples? Let’s look at some in the Sunday shows!

We’re Not Book Burning, You’re the Book Burning!

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel was on “Fox News Sunday,” and while discussing the party’s post 2022 debrief report, she said a few things that were surprisingly truthful.

MCDANIEL: […] biggest takeaway we are taking is independents did not break our way, which has to happen if we’re going to win in 2024, which usually that’s what causes that red wave. And abortion was a big issue in key states like Michigan and Pennsylvanian. […] Republicans are migrating. They are migrating to red states. […] But it means the White House electorally isn’t available to us unless we go through a purple or blue state. And those states are getting bluer, because red voters are moving to the red states. […] the path to the White House runs not just through independents, but every single Republican getting on board.

It’s pretty shocking to hear anyone in the RNC, much less its chairperson, point out an objective reality. So what different actions or rhetoric do they plan to use to better their chances in 2024? Like, for example, abortion:

MCDANIEL: […] What abortion is a bad idea to Democrats? Ninth month, eighth month, seventh month? They can’t even articulate an abortion that’s a bad idea. Gender selection, if it’s a girl, you get to abort it. Tax-funded abortions for people where it’s against their religious conscience. […]

Nothing, then. They plan on changing nothing and expecting different results. If only there was a phrase for that.

Actually, correction, they do have another political strategy: The ole’ “we’re rubber, you’re glue”!

When asked about Republican attacks on trans people, which are politically unpopular, McDaniel attempted some very strained whataboutism.

MCDANIEL: […] the Democrats are using this word book banning. […] That’s a lie. There isn’t book banning. What Republicans are doing are protecting our children and parental rights […] But it’s good to know the Democrats playbook and we’re going to push on that, especially coming from the Democrat party that is banning freedom of speech, that is canceling people, that is destroying your life if you don’t think with their orthodoxy. This is the Democrat Party who is saying if you think outside of the box and everything, we are dictating to you, you will make you lose your job, we will destroy you.

Republicans have literally been fighting Disney because it dared exercised free speech, made book banning much easier, extended Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bigotry, and threatened to separate children from parents who are not bigoted toward their trans kids. But, sure, it’s the Democrats who are “destroying anyone who doesn’t conform to orthodoxy and taking their jobs while threatening to destroy them.”

Speaking of, how’s that dirt file on fired Fox News host Tucker Carlson?

Let’s Default Our National Debt!

House Republican Whip Tom Emmer appeared on CNN’s “State of The Union” and wouldn’t directly state that his party won’t force a default on the nation’s debt.

Host Dana Bash tried pointing out specifically how the cuts they want would hurt his constituents, but Emmer made it clear he will ignore them or just blame Nancy Pelosi when the reality doesn’t match his delusions.

GOP’s Vanity Tech Douche Candidate Returns

NBC’s “Meet The Press” had on Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. Although considering his polling, calling him a candidate is a bit too generous, but nonetheless, we are all subjected to his stupidity on TV and expected to take him seriously. So fresh from giving Don Lemon his last good journalistic moment on CNN, Ramaswamy made Chuck Todd look like Walter Cronkite.

When Ramaswamy brings up an example of a person who says their gender doesn’t align with their biological sex, he seems to know the difference between sex and gender. But when Todd questions his stance on gender being binary, Ramaswamy then perhaps deliberately conflates biological sex with gender.

RAMASWAMY: Well, there’s, there’s two X chromosomes if you’re a woman. An X and a Y, that means you’re a man.

TODD: There’s a lot of scientific research out there –

RAMASWAMY: There’s a biological basis for this —

TODD: There’s a lot of scientific research out there that says gender is a spectrum.

RAMASWAMY: Chuck, I respectfully disagree.

Funny how these transphobic clowns want to bring biology into this UNTIL scientific research disputes their transphobia and then they fall back on what they “feel” or disagree just because.

Ramaswamy also equates abortion with murder but says it’s a “states’ right issue.” That’s not how “states’ rights” work, even if a Republican nominee barely polling above skim milk says so.

Asa Hutchinson’s Decimal Points

Speaking of polling, Asa Hutchinson announced he was running for president almost exactly a month ago. He appeared on CNN’s “State Of the Union” this week to call for going back to a Republican Party that died long before Trump came down an escalator in 2015. So how are Republican voters embracing this? We’ll let this picture summarize it.

Can this change for Hutchinson? Likely not when he is polling lower than the fictional Conor Roy in “Succession,” who we actually compared to Hutchinson too optimistically.

Phrasing, Steve Scalise!

When asked about any possible tension between himself and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on ABC’s “This Week,” Steve Scalise chose an odd way to describe their closeness yet trust.

Could be worse: Scalise could have kept misunderstanding what “raw dog” is.

Have a week

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Arizona House, In Weird Twist, Expels Member Who Deserved It

The Arizona House of Representatives got on the expel-a-member bandwagon started by Tennessee last week, voting Wednesday to expel first-term Republican state Rep. Liz Harris for inviting a loonypants election denier to testify before a legislative committee in February. Harris no doubt thought that would be fine, since she herself is a loonypants election denier who insisted that her own election last fall was full of fraud and needed to be rerun.

Previously, On The Expulsion Chronicles:

Arizona Republican Demands Election She Won Be Overturned

TN House GOP To Expel Democrat Terrorists Who Called For Saving Kids’ Lives Without Permission

Forgive Them Lord They … Oh Wait. They Do. Tennessee House Lets Its Racist Freak Flag Fly.

OK, so maybe the only thing Harris’s situation has in common with the travesty in Tennessee is that it ended with expulsion. Unlike the Kafkaesque railroading of Democrats for a minor decorum violation in Tennessee, Harris was only removed — by a bipartisan vote — after an investigation by Arizona’s House Ethics Committee, which allowed Harris to present a defense. It probably didn’t help her case that the committee’s nine-page report determined that Harris had fibbed when she told the committee she absolutely did not know what her invited guest would say.

So no, not at all like the Tennessee expulsion, where the Republican supermajority ignored due process and just made things up as it went along. That said, we do think “Kafka Railroad” would be a really good name for a band.

And hoo boy, the Tennessee Three’s brief, unrecognized protest for gun control sure can’t hold a candle to Harris’s decision to invite a fellow election denier to testify in February before a hearing held by Arizona’s joint House and Senate Election Committee. Harris’s guest witness, Scottsdale insurance agent Jacqueline Breger, managed to out-crazy the average run of the mill election conspiracy tale, even in a state where the loser of the 2022 gubernatorial election, Kari Lake, insists she’s actually the governor.

Here’s the Arizona Republic’s summary of Breger’s testimony:

Breger shocked officials with accusations that Gov. Katie Hobbs, House Speaker Ben Toma, lawmakers, judges, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and others conspired with a Mexican drug cartel and received bribes through a scheme using property deeds.

Breger failed to mention that two women she claimed were key players in the scheme were the ex-wife and former mother-in-law of her boyfriend, John Thaler, a lawyer with a suspended license, who was the source of the claims. Thaler had previously outlined the same bribery scheme in court proceedings related to this divorce and child custody case; two separate judges in federal and Maricopa County Superior courts called the narrative “delusional.”

That brief overview barely scratches the surface of what a clownshow the February hearing was; the committee report also notes that Breger claimed the bribery scheme involved elected officials at every level of government in the state, from city court judges to the state supreme court, as well as members of the Legislature, city and county prosecutors, and “mental health providers as in court-appointed advisors, and related specialists.”

She also insisted that the LDS church secretly controls Arizona government agencies and is “integral to the laundering activities” that got the cartel bribes to what sounds like half the people in government jobs in Arizona. The weird fear of Mormons certainly fits with a lot of Evangelical folk belief, in which Mormons are a dangerous cult, almost as bad as Unitarians.

At one point during Breger’s testimony, a member of the elections committee asked how Breger had been invited to testify. When Breger said she’d been invited by Harris,

Representative Harris made a gesture moving her hand across her neck and mouthed something to Breger. […] Representative Harris subsequently stated that she hoped that the hearing was being presented by all national networks.

Harris got at least part of her wish. Breger’s claims blew up in righting media and, as the Arizona Republic reports,

Hundreds, if not thousands, of Arizona constituents and social media users apparently believed Breger’s testimony. Calls for the arrest of the governor spread on social media immediately afterward.

Later, Harris insisted she was simply helping a constituent voice concerns about the possibility of election integrity issues, in hopes of preventing “mal-administered elections.” When the Ethics Committee asked if she was aware what Breger would present to the Elections Committee, Harris replied, “Absolutely, positively, 100 percent no.”

Big surprise: The investigation found text messages between Harris, Breger, and Thaler, and they even consulted with each other on coming up with a title for Breger’s presentation that would be vague enough to not tip off anyone that it was a load of conspiracy cacadoody.

The Ethics Committee found that Harris “committed disorderly behavior, thereby violating Rule 1 of the Rules of the Arizona House of Representatives and damaging the institutional integrity of the House,” and referred the case to the House for discipline. The vote to expel her was 43-13, with 18 Republicans voting to remove her. All 13 votes against expulsion came from Republicans.

Before the vote, one Republican, state Rep. Alex Kolodin, defended Harris, saying that if she were expelled, the public “will perceive that they don’t have a true voice in this body,” presumably because the bugfuck nutso parts of the public need representation too. Kolodin explained that Harris’s constituents had chosen “somebody to rock the boat,” only to see her expelled, and what a sad day for democracy etc. He did at least acknowledge that Harris’s boat-rocking was “admittedly in the wrong way … a way that should have been better considered.”

As for Harris, TV journalists caught up with her as she was taking stuff from her office to her car, and she insisted the Ethics Committee report was “a lie,” and muttered that Republicans had taken her down to “make an example” of her to make members “toe the line.”


Also one of her supporters yelled that they loved her, and that now she’s been “set free from the vipers” in the Legislature. When a reporter asked Harris how she’s feeling emotionally, the same voice interrupts, “aren’t you relieved to not to deal with these vipers?” No word on whether these vipers are also RINOs, which would make for a cool chimera in a medieval bestiary.

Now that she’s returned to private life, Harris is ready for the wingnut welfare circuit. This morning, in fact, she’ll be doing an interview show at 10 EDT on Rumble with a couple of wingnut “journalists,” so that might generate some quotable lunacy about Mormons and vipers.

[CNN / MSNBC / Arizona Republic / Arizona House Ethics Committee Report]

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Republican Losers Club Update

The first Republican presidential debates are still a long way to come, but already we have seen those delusional enough to try to run for the 2024 nomination make fools of themselves. Two weeks ago, we saw Nikki Haley face-planting while defending her candidacy on Fox News. Last week, we saw Sen. Tim Scott repeat the same mistake as Haley while Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel offered up loyalty oaths and failed to condemn coups.

So let’s check up on two more 2024 Republican presidential contenders and see how their early attempts are faring.

Chris Sununu: The Susan Collins Of Mitt Romneys

“Meet The Press” with Chuck Todd hosted New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu because he’s considering running for the Republican nomination and the media will give anyone time who says so — especially those who have made their public image being a “good” or “sane” Republican. But this interview did a lot to both prove what a fraud Sununu is and how subservient a lemming he will ultimately be.

Sununu discussed his hopefulness for the future and the next generation of Republicans made up of optimistic, inspirational conservatives. Todd pointed out Sununu had spoken to the Club For Growth, which Todd pointed out supported Donald Trump and all his unhinged MAGA-endorsed candidates in the midterms instead of those that Sununu claims he wants.

Sununu tried again to explain how his supposed “change in approach’ is what the Republican Party really wants, but then Todd pointed out reality and how his sugarplum wishes for different primary voters won’t materialize.

TODD: I understand what you’re trying to do. At the same time you heard the former president at CPAC, and he certainly has as stranglehold on 25 to 35 percent of the party, we can have a debate about the specific number, and you know what those folks want. They want to make liberals cry, right? Like, that’s the message they want. They want that more than they want a big tent. So how do you appeal to those voters?

Sununu kept insisting that Republican primary voters want “leadership that is results-driven, that gets stuff done” and “if there’s that part of the party that wants to, as you said, ‘make liberals cry,’ or whatever it might be, you do it by winning, and you do it by getting stuff done, passing it through Congress, working on both sides.” The problem is that the old days of acting normal to get elected but then passing draconian laws won’t get you elected. You don’t win a primary unless you vow to make “the libs cry,” which then makes it infinitely harder to win the general election when suddenly those liberal and independent voters can tell you to kick rocks.

Sununu was also asked about the RNC’s required loyalty pledge to participate in RNC-sanctioned debates. Did Sununu, like Asa Hutchinson, say how bad the oath is if it supports insurrectionists?

Nope! Sununu will support anyone with an ‘R’ by their name, even if they tried to overthrow the government or actively represent the very things Sununu claims to oppose. Need further proof? Let’s see who Sununu could see winning the Republican nomination today.

SUNUNU: […]Right now if the election were today, Ron DeSantis would win in New Hampshire, there’s no doubt about that in my mind. I think Ron DeSantis would win in Florida. […]

Sununu didn’t say this in disgust or fear but to point out how the “new generation” of DeSantis would defeat Trump, even though ideologically DeSantis is the same as Trump. Sununu is basically selling “New Coke” to replace “Old Coke,” and that is not going to age well.

About as badly as the first time. For the product and the pitch person.youtu.be

Sununu was also asked about the Fox News/Dominion case revelations and he tried to “both sides” the issue, which Chuck Todd disputed (either out of journalism or fear of losing his “both sides” crown).

TODD: Yeah. Intentionally lying to viewers, though, that to me seemed to cross a line.

SUNUNU: Well, look –

TODD: You can make a mistake, but that wasn’t a mistake.

Sununu tried to bring up Hunter Biden’s laptop (which mainstream media never repressed but wanted vetted before reporting on it) and the possibility of COVID-19’s origin in a lab (which was reported based on the credible available evidence at the time). This proves the Wonkette theory of No-Good Republicans still holds strong — that and the Republican obsession with NSFW pics of Hunter Biden.

Pompeo Continued Delusional Tour Continues

Mike Pompeo, like the weasel he is, has been trying to distance himself from Trump and his administration despite leaning heavily on his past experience in said administration to justify his presidential run. Pompeo has hit Trump on the deficit and made a direct jab at CPAC on March 3. On “Fox News Sunday,” Pompeo was more subtle about it. He didn’t mention Trump by name but made the same case.

These are pretty strong words coming from a guy who helped add to that debt while serving as CIA director and secretary of State for the Trump administration. Pompeo was asked by Shannon Bream about his critiques of Trump and again Pompeo made vague allusions to him while avoiding his name.

Pompeo added:

[…] the moment for celebrity, the moment for stars is not with us. It’s the moment for America to go back to it’s conservative founding and it’s conservative ideas. And I am very confident […] we are headed that direction.

Three things:

  1. The Republican Party that has elevated Ronald Reagan, Trump, Fred Thompson, Clint Eastwood, Sonny Bono and Arnold Schwarzenegger have always been “star fuckers.” It’s why they bow for any conservative celebrity when they reveal themselves.
  2. The thing those celebrities have is some type of charisma or charm, which is why they are elected.
  3. Pompeo will never be president.

Have a week.

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Gosh, Wonder Why Arizona’s Republican AG Sat On Report Showing No Vote Fraud?

As yet another regular reminder that you should never trust Republicans when their lips are moving (or at any other time), the Washington Post reports (free gift linky) that former Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich ordered his staff to do a comprehensive investigation back in 2021 of claims of fraud and irregularities and shenanigans and HOOPLA in Arizona’s administration of the 2020 election. So how did that turn out, exactly?

Investigators prepared a report in March 2022 stating that virtually all claims of error and malfeasance were unfounded, according to internal documents reviewed by The Washington Post. Brnovich, a Republican, kept it private.

Instead of releasing the full report that debunked the Big Lie many Arizona Republicans fervently believed in, and ran on in the midterms, Brnovich issued a bogus “Interim Report” that just plain lied about the investigation, claiming it turned up “serious vulnerabilities” in Arizona’s election processes.

Oh, yes, it gets worse, too: not only did that “interim” report leave out “edits from his own investigators refuting his assertions,” Brnovich then sat on a second report from his investigators in September last year, an “Election Review Summary” that once again “systematically refuted accusations of widespread fraud and made clear that none of the complaining parties — from state lawmakers to self-styled ‘election integrity’ groups — had presented any evidence to support their claims.”

Brnovich never released it. It only came to light after Arizona voters elected Democrat Kris Mayes to replace Brnovich. Mayes released the documents to the Post this week in response to a request from the paper. The Post notes that Mayes “said she considered the taxpayer-funded investigation closed[.]” Hooray for sunshine!

The story also says Mayes has let leaders in Maricopa County know the state is no longer investigating the county’s election processes. Wingnut World has focused much of its rage on Maricopa, since it’s the state’s most populous, and is where all those liberal RINO city slickers who think they’re better than you obviously rigged the election for Biden. How could a large, diverse metro area possibly have voted blue without cheating?

Trump-endorsed dipshit Kari Lake has also accused Maricopa County officials of cheating her out of a win in the governor’s race last fall, either by incompetence or outright theft.

The Post explains that Brnovich advanced bullshit claims about the 2020 vote in Maricopa “that his own staff considered inaccurate.” As the story puts it as delicately as possible, the documents also “suggest” that Brnovich and his team “privately disregarded fact checks provided by state investigators while publicly promoting incomplete accounts of the office’s work.”

The story paints Brnovich as a wishy-washy mainstreamish Republican who immediately after the election said Trump lost, and even stood up to Trump’s attempts to get the vote thrown out. But in the run-up to last year’s GOP primary for US Senate, which he lost to eventual nominee Blake Masters, Brnovich tried playing in the MAGA sandbox.

On wingnut radio, Brnovich promoted his bullshit “interim report” — the one prepared after the real report found no evidence of fraud — and hinted that “It’s frustrating for all of us, because I think we all know what happened in 2020.”

That interim report was red meat to election deniers, who were certain it was proof of rampant cheating. Delivering it to then-state Senate President Karen Fann (R), Brnovich wrote in a cover letter that investigators had found “problematic system-wide issues that relate to early ballot handling and verification.”

No they hadn’t. They wrote on a draft of the letter that “We did not uncover any criminality or fraud having been committed in this area during the 2020 general election.”

For some dark depressing larffs, see the full draft of the “interim report” (no paywall) with portions of Brnovich’s text highlighted in yellow and the investigators’ NO WE DID NOT, FUCKSTICK replies in blue. For instance, Brnovich suggests maybe Maricopa County didn’t do a very good job of verifying signatures on mail-in ballots. There’s a note politely pointing out that the county hired a handwriting expert to train staff, and that they had a process to escalate iffy cases for further review. Brnovich claimed Maricopa County didn’t always reply to requests for records. The staff said YEAH THEY DID, YOU PUKE (a loose paraphrase).

Surprise, surprise: hardly any of their notes made it into the revision.

In September last year, a bit more than a month after Brnovich lost the Senate primary to Masters, Brnovich’s investigators wrote up an eight-page memo titled “Election Review Summary” that explained they received 638 complaints about the 2020 election, of which 430 were worth investigating. (The memo doesn’t say what sort of complaints they rejected; we’ll just speculate that any claims Maricopa County was infested with communists, demons, and pedophiles weren’t given too much credence. But there we go making up excuses for the cover-up.)

Out of the 430 investigations, just 22 cases went to prosecutors, and a whopping two cases of felons who voted illegally ended in convictions. The investigators also noted that “high profile allegations” of widespread fraud by groups like Cyber Ninjas, True the Vote, and from various politicians didn’t amount to a hill of beans. Cyber Ninjas, the outfit that did the months-long fraudit of Maricopa ballots, claimed to have turned up a long list of allegedly dead voters whose votes were counted, but “no one on the list of dead voters was dead, nor had they voted.”

And so on.

Mark Finchem, the Trump-endorsed election denier who lost his bid for secretary of state, claimed an unnamed “source” tipped him off to 30,000 fake votes in Pima County, home to Tucson, but he curiously didn’t tell the investigators this, “specifically stating he did not have any evidence of fraud and he did not wish to take up our time.” Finchem did provide four absentee ballots that had been sent to people who had moved from the addresses where they were sent, but the memo notes that the Postal Service doesn’t forward ballots, the envelopes weren’t opened, and Maricopa County hadn’t received any change of address information from the voters who’d moved. Fraud!

Again, Brnovich never made public any of these findings, even though the real report was ready in plenty of time for the midterms, in which virtually all the statewide Republican candidates promoted lies about massive fraud in 2020. Might have been useful information for voters, as Mayes, the new AG, pointed out:

“The people of Arizona had a right to know this information before the 2022 election,” Mayes said in an interview. “Maricopa County election officials had a right to know that they were cleared of wrongdoing. And every American had a right to know that the 2020 election in Arizona, which in part decided the presidency, was conducted accurately and fairly.”

Mayes has pledged to refocus the AG office’s “election integrity” task force. Under Brnovich, it had been sent to look for election fraud, and found practically none. Mayes thinks it would be a much better use of taxpayer funds for her office to ensure people are all able to vote, so the task force will now be weeding out illegal barriers to voting.

God damn, we love a happy ending.

[WaPo (gift link) / Photo (cropped): Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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#Gosh #Arizonas #Republican #Sat #Report #Showing #Vote #Fraud

John Fetterman Hospitalized For Depression, Everybody Awesome About It If You Ignore GOP

On Wednesday evening, Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pennsylvania) checked in to Washington’s Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to be treated for clinical depression, according to a statement from his office yesterday. Fetterman, the statement said, has long suffered from depression, but the condition has recently become “severe.” The Philadelphia Inquirer reports,

“While John has experienced depression off and on throughout his life, it only became severe in recent weeks,” his chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, said in a statement. “On Monday, John was evaluated by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the Attending Physician of the United States Congress. Yesterday, Dr. Monahan recommended inpatient care at Walter Reed. John agreed, and he is receiving treatment on a voluntary basis.”

Jentleson added that, “After examining John, the doctors at Walter Reed told us that John is getting the care he needs, and will soon be back to himself.”

Fetterman had also been hospitalized briefly last week after feeling lightheaded; tests determined he had not suffered another stroke, and his office said an EEG showed no signs of seizures, either. He returned to work in the Senate Monday for a vote.

Major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the US, affecting almost a tenth of all adults, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It’s a fucking bear to live with, although many of us manage pretty well with antidepressant meds, according to me. Also, a 2021 study found that rates of depression in the US increased during the early months of the pandemic in 2020. And of course, depression is very common among people who’ve survived a stroke.

Frankly, we’re pretty sure everyone in America has been in a state of existential crisis since election night 2016, at least if they’ve been paying attention. Shit has been unrelenting, and that has to go triple for people actually in the middle of things.

Fetterman’s wife, Giselle Barreto Fetterman, wrote on Twitter yesterday,

After what he’s been through in the past year, there’s probably no one who wanted to talk about his own health less than John. I’m so proud of him for asking for help and getting the care he needs. […]

Take care of yourselves. Hold your loved ones close, you are not alone.

The New York Times reports that aides to Sen. Fetterman expect he won’t be hospitalized longer than a few days, although no firm estimate of when he’ll be released home has yet been determined.

Fetterman’s health had been steadily improving since a stroke last summer, but the already stressful work of starting a new job as a senator has been complicated by the continued effects of the stroke, which left him with auditory processing difficulties, as we saw during his campaign debate against Republican snake oil merchant Mehmet Oz in October. Fortunately, there’s a lot of adaptive technology that has been helpful, the Times notes:

The sergeant-at-arms has arranged for live audio-to-text transcription for Mr. Fetterman’s committees and installed a monitor at his desk so he can follow proceedings with closed captioning. His Democratic colleagues in the Senate have been growing accustomed to communicating with him through a tablet that transcribes their words, technology he needs after suffering from auditory processing issues associated with his stroke.

The Times also points out that Fetterman simply never had the usual period of convalescence that would be the norm after a stroke, which

has become a source of pain and frustration for Mr. Fetterman and people close to him, who fear that he may suffer long-term and possibly permanent repercussions. His schedule as a freshman senator has meant that he has continued to push himself in ways that people close to him worry are detrimental.

The Inquirer adds that a “source close to Fetterman” said he had voted and attended hearings Wednesday, but that the stress was showing:

“He was doing everything. He’s been doing everything, he just hasn’t been himself,” the person said, asking for anonymity to disclose personal information. “He decided to get help, and the good news is, he’s getting the help he needs.”

And for Crom’s sake, he deserves that. Doesn’t everyone?

Reactions to Fetterman’s hospitalization have been — at least outside Troll World — overwhelmingly supportive and empathetic. The Washington Post notes that Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona) tweeted, “There is never any weakness in seeking help.” Gallego has spoken publicly about having experienced PTSD after serving in Iraq, and said the January 6 insurrection had triggered a recurrence. In addition,

Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.), who’s spoken publicly about her own battle with depression, also said Fetterman was displaying strength, “not weakness.”

Smith has spoken in Congress about dealing with depression in college, and while raising her children, and told the Post that she’s regularly approached by young people who say that her openness has made them feel able to talk about their own experiences with depression.

We’ve finally reached a point in our crazy society where mental illness can be talked about in the same register we’d discuss a heart attack or other serious physical illness, and that’s a hell of an improvement within my own lifetime. Recall that in 1972, George McGovern suddenly dropped his vice presidential nominee, Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-Missouri), when news broke that Eagleton had been hospitalized three times for severe depression, and that he’d also had electroconvulsive therapy.

A lot has changed in 50 years.

Here’s wishing all the best to John Fetterman and his family, and we hope — perhaps naively, we’re prone to that — that we’ll take this as a chance to talk about mental illness and how we’re all navigating this strange reality we’ve been in for over half a decade. We’re deliberately staying away from Twitter for a while for that reason.

Be kind to each other. Try to remember we’re all just trying to get through all this, and it isn’t fucking easy.

[Philadelphia Inquirer / NYT / WaPo / Photo: Office of Gov. Tom Wolf, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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#John #Fetterman #Hospitalized #Depression #Awesome #Ignore #GOP

The View harpies musta’ been sippin’ some SERIOUS stupid juice with THESE takes on the GOP House

One has to wonder about the mind of someone who deliberately watches The View for political opinions and takes. Yikes.

We get it, Joy Behar isn’t the brightest crayon in the box but c’mon … she does realize Republicans out-voted Democrats be FIVE MILLION yes? The only thing that kept Democrats in it at all was the redistricting she’s whining about in this clip.

Did this broad eat some paint chips at some point in her life or what?


Ugh, it’s not that she’s wrong that makes her annoying, it’s that she’s so cocky that she’s right when she’s wrong.

That and she always looks like she smelled a fart.


Nancy Pelosi.



Alrighty then.

Say what you will about the midterms, but the upcoming two years are gonna be FUN … and the reaction from these lawn flamingos is only the tip of the meltdown iceberg.



KICK-A*S thread points out ‘yesterday’s conspiracy theories’ that were TRUE all along (and boom)

Nancy Pelosi TORCHED for ridiculous thread claiming House Dems did GREAT … losing the House

ZUBY’s EPIC thread of the ‘silliest, least scientific pandemic policies’ is HILARIOUSLY infuriating


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