Besides, I'm also gonna use your donations for microphones and software to produce a bangin' podcast (god, my soul died a little writing that phrase, but, truly, I have some cool ideas for it). And some videos. And even another trip to Los Angeles to be on Stephanie Miller's Happy Hour podcast, where she gets me good and drunk and talkin' dirty and revealin' secrets.
So you can hit that PayPal button over there on the right. Or you can just click here. I show you mine almost every day. You can show me yours.
As I do every anniversary and fundraiser, I open the floor for questions from rude readers (and I'm still accepting them - you don't even have to give any money).
Karen V. wants to know the answer to the same question I always get: "Why don't you allow comments on your blog?" And I'll give the glib answer first: Have you read the comments elsewhere? The bigger answer is that I don't wanna have to monitor that shit. But you can wander over to the mighty Book of Face and join the Rude Pundit page where the dialogue is free and nasty.
Andrew R. asks, "Who do you think will last longer in his job, Speaker Ryan or Trump?" Paul Ryan is the kind of vermin that is almost impossible to get rid of, like roaches or Dudebros. But I do think that Ryan is not long for his speakership because Democrats will likely win back the House in November 2018. However, I give better than even odds that Trump is gone before that and not bad odds that he's gone long before. So I'll say, "Fuck Trump."
Send more. Send money. Send love. Once this is over, the fundraiser disappears for at least another two years.
Saudi Arabia is the only place on the planet that still doesn't permit women to drive. Today, Manal al Sharif celebrated as she began this fight against oppression in 2011.
Source: New York Times
Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it would allow women to drive, ending a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the repression of women in the ultraconservative kingdom.
The change, which will take effect in June of next year, was announced on state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington. The decision highlights the damage that the no-driving policy has done to the kingdom’s international reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform.
Saudi leaders also hope the new policy will help the economy by increasing women’s participation in the workplace. Many working Saudi women spend much of their salaries on drivers or must be driven to work by male relatives.
Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, is a Muslim monarchy ruled according to Shariah law. Saudi officials and clerics have provided numerous explanations for the ban over the years.
Donald Trump has an excuse for his neglect of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands:
"This is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean," he insisted. "It’s a big ocean, it’s a very big ocean."
As Twitter Jillian Hurley pointed out, we have a Navy to cross those big oceans and bring aid and comfort.
She Who Might Have Been President mentioned the Navy a couple of days ago.
I don't often actually recommend watching a Fox News clip, but in this case, I'll make an exception. It's not every day, after all, that you get to see a Fox News panel go entirely off the rails when one of the panelists reasonably suggests that Jared Kushner's use of private email is a story unto itself, without talking about Hillary Clinton.
Before I get into specifics, I want to note that the "One Lucky Guy" is Antonio Sabato, Jr., who has declared his intention to run for Congress in MY district. I consider his appearance on this show to be an in-kind campaign contribution and I am considering filing a complaint with the FEC over it, especially since I see no disclaimer about his candidacy anywhere.
Sabato led off the Hillary Clinton bashfest with the typical misogyny we expect from the right wing. It isn't in the video, but here's the gist: "[Clinton] is Ms. Hypocrite. She is a person who over her entire career has never given back to the working people," he spewed, as if he gives one rotten damn about working people or ever has. Ramping up the misogyny even more, he went on. "The more she talks, the worse it goes for the Democratic party...We know who she is."
Who, Antonio? Who is she? ALL THE FOX NEWS THINGS. "Benghazi, Iran and all the deals she made over her entire career and have been devastating to this country."
"This is an island sitting in the middle of an ocean. And it's a big ocean; it's a very big ocean," Trump exclaimed, as if he had just discovered the Atlantic. Later, in a press conference with the prime minister of Spain (who Trump kept calling "President"), he used his children's encyclopedia knowledge even more: "This isn't like Florida where we can go up the spine; this isn't like Texas where we go right down the middle and we distribute. This is a thing called the Atlantic Ocean; this is tough stuff." He added, "It's the most difficult job because it's on the island, it's on an island in the middle of the ocean. It's out in the ocean. You can't just drive your trucks there from other states."
Donald Trump seems like the kind of rich asshole who everyone has always told is brilliant no matter what vile, idiotic, obvious, and/or worthless shit dribbles down from his tiny brain and is ejected by his hideous mouth. "I think I should own multiple casinos that will compete with each other in a small area" is greeted with the same enthusiastic brown-nosing that "Damn, that bitch is hot. I could totally bang her" is. No one has ever looked into his blank, emotionless eyes and said, "You motherfucking moron, you're completely and utterly wrong. Get the fuck out of here." So, of course, he can proclaim the definition of "island" and be told that he's really onto something there.
This tangerine Golem has lived his entire life without any accountability. He was always the boss's son or the boss at his business. One thing that's always bugged the shit out of me that received very little attention during the 2016 election is that Trump never took his company public. He never put up stock for sale, which would have been the easiest way to get an infusion of cash. But Trump didn't do that, so he was never even accountable to a board or stockholders or the SEC. He only had to tell his children and lackeys what to do and pretend that he was worth far more than he was.
I asked financial wizard and economics writer Barry Ritholtz about this recently, about why he thinks Trump never offered stock in the Trump Corporation, and he offered a straightforward answer:
"1. His companies were never that valuable
2. REITs [Real Estate Investment Trusts] for real estate (apartments, malls, offices) usually require expert managers for things like taxes, maintenance, low vacancy rates, etc.
3. He was always a dicey credit risk.
4. Not paying your bills is not an acceptable business model."
I'd add one more thing to it. Shareholders demand to know the truth about the business. Trump traffics in bullshit, shenanigans, and fraud, and he has made so many desperate, shady deals that there is no way it could stand up to any kind of scrutiny. He's about to find out how right he was if Robert Mueller's investigation finally unleashes the firestorm that we hope will engulf Trump and his entire perverse administration.
Back to Puerto Rico, of course Trump made it about him because of course he did. With Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy by his side, Trump glowed about the "tremendous reviews" he thinks he's gotten for how he's dealt with the crisis. Earlier, before a meeting with the members of the House Ways and Means Committee, he bragged that "we've gotten A-pluses on Texas and on Florida, and we will also on Puerto Rico." And the mayor of San Juan and Puerto Rico's governor have been very "generous" in their praise of Trump, according to Trump.
He also offered this assessment of the Americans in Puerto Rico: "These are great people -- wonderful people. They're hardy people." Ah, a hardy people, ready to work your fields and build your houses, facing down the malevolent forces of nature with nary a blink. Damn, the colonial mindset is always there.
But while Trump is promising all the help in the world, which is no different than promising that his shitty steaks were delicious or that his shitty real estate deals were the pinnacle of capitalism, chances are that the White House won't formally ask for disaster funding for Puerto Rico for several weeks.
Out here in real America, in the cities where the majority of us live, we are begging for accountability for this dolt, this chintzy clown from a bankrupt circus, with his threadbare costume, his fading makeup, and his sad act so very predictable that we don't need to see how it ends. For fuck's sake, get the hook.
It ended up not being decisive because of Michigan and Pennsylvania, but vote suppression in Wisconsin could have altered the outcome of the presidential election, and could definitely affect election outcomes going forward:
A comprehensive study released today suggests how many missing votes can be attributed to the new law. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison surveyed registered voters who didn’t cast a 2016 ballot in the state’s two biggest counties—Milwaukee and Dane, which is home to Madison. More than 1 out of 10 nonvoters (11.2 percent) said they lacked acceptable voter ID and cited the law as a reason why they didn’t vote; 6.4 percent of respondents said the voter ID law was the “main reason” they didn’t vote.
The study’s lead author, University of Wisconsin political scientist Kenneth Mayer, says between roughly 9,000 and 23,000 registered voters in the reliably Democratic counties were deterred from voting by the ID law. Extrapolating statewide, he says the data suggests as many as 45,000 voters sat out the election, though he cautioned that it was difficult to produce an estimate from just two counties.*
“We have hard evidence there were tens of thousands of people who were unable to vote because of the voter ID law,” Mayer told me.
The study, which was funded by Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, provides some of the firmest evidence yet that new restrictions on voting lead to voter disenfranchisement. It’s a strong rebuke to supporters of voter ID laws like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has claimed that the notion the voter ID law reduced participation is a “load of crap.” (Wisconsin saw its lowest turnout since 2000, and there were 41,000 fewer voters in Milwaukee compared with 2012.)
After the study’s release, McDonell and Milwaukee County Clerk George
Christenson joined together in calling for an immediate suspension of the law. “It is completely unacceptable that thousands of voters were deterred from exercising their sacred right to vote due to this law. Citizens’ basic belief in their democracy is seriously eroded when those in power target some for exclusion from self-government,” said McDonell.
Admittedly, this doesn’t seem as important as telling unfalsifiable just-so stories about the campaign tactics of someone who will never run for public office again.
During a joint presser with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, the president doubled down on his criticisms of the NFL and its players for protesting social injustice by law enforcement.
Trump has been playing to his base by swapping what NFL players are protesting and what he wants them to be protesting.
Fox News' Shep Smith described it perfectly.
Steve Holland Of Reuters asked Trump if he was too preoccupied with the NFL to properly deal with the devastation in Puerto Rico.
Trump replied, "I wasn't preoccupied with the NFL, I was ashamed of what was taking place."
He continued, "To me that was a very important moment. I don't think you can disrespect our country, our flag, our national anthem. To me the NFL situation is a very important situation. I've heard that before about, was I preoccupied? Not at all."
In America, you can disrespect our country, our flag, and our National Anthem if you so choose. That's what living in a free country means.
The more Trump talks, the more confused he gets.
Trump said, "Not at all. I have plenty of time on my hands."
Huh? We know you play an insane amount of golf on the tax payers dime, but still.
"All I do is work. To be honest with you, that's an important function of working. It is called respect for our country."