In seizing control over the Supreme Court, Poland's authoritarian rulers sought to consolidate power

Protests are boiling over across Poland after the ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) passed legislation that would allow the government to force the country's judges, all the way up to the Supreme Court, to retire, allowing them to appoint new, party-friendly judges in their place. Update: Thankfully, the president vetoed the legislation. Read the rest

Ted Cruz's Democratic challenger is a small-dollars fundraising monster who won't take PAC money

Rep. Beto O’Rourke [D-El Paso] raised over $2.1 million last quarter for a Senate race against bad person Ted Cruz [R-Satan's Asshole], in the form of 46,574 donations, primarily from in-state donors, with $0 coming from PACs. Read the rest

Talking Walkaway with Reason Magazine

Of all the press-stops I did on my tour for my novel Walkaway, I was most excited about my discussion with Katherine Mangu-Ward, editor-in-chief of Reason Magazine, where I knew I would have a challenging and meaty conversation with someone who was fully conversant with the political, technological and social questions the book raised. Read the rest

America is starting to realize that "liberal/conservative" labels exclude the left

On my first day at Michigan State University in 1992, a fellow student called me a "liberal" and I was shocked: as a Canadian who was often to the left of the social-democratic New Democratic Party, I identified "liberal" with the Liberal Party, a centre-right political party that had once imposed martial law in Canada. Read the rest

Watch Polish first lady drift past Trump's grabby little hand to shake Melania's first

Trump is an infamously domineering handshaker, who uses the gesture to impose and humiliate. Sometimes, a wily Trudeau or muscular Macron will get the better of him, but they're still playing his game.

Agata Kornhauser-Duda isn't, drifting right past his outstretched l'il smokies to greet Melania Trump instead, only turning to the orange morgellons monster once she had dealt with its much better half.

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Debullshitifying the free speech debate about CNN and Trump's alt-right wrestling GIF

In the wake of CNN threatening to out a critic if he does not limit his speech in the future, former federal prosecutor and First Amendment champion Ken White has published an eminently sensible post about the incoherence of the present moment's views on free speech, and on the way that partisanship causes us to apply a double standard that excuses "our bunch" and damns the "other side." Read the rest

Republican congressman shoots selfie video in Auschwitz gas chamber

Louisiana Republican congressman Clay Higgins shot video of himself talking about the need for invincible U.S. power—while wandering the gas chamber at Auschwitz.

In his five-minute ramble, Higgins explains the horrors that took place at the camp, where some 1.1m people, mostly Jews, where murdered by the Nazis during World War II. And that "this is why Homeland Security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible."

People keep talking about President Trump's behavior eroding international respect and trust for America. But he does get a lot of help from his friends.

Officials at the museum and memorial denounced him for using it as a stage for his politics, pointing out that there are signs asking for silence throughout the former death camp.

Higgins' politics have two sides, and so does his message, here. On one side, he's posing America—and its military power—as the force that overcame Nazi atrocity.

On the other, here's what he wants done to radical Muslims.

“Hunt them, identify them, and kill them,” declared US Rep. Clay Higgins, a Louisiana Republican. “Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”
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President Trump is ranting on Twitter about MSNBC host's "bleeding facelift"

Described by the BBC as a "stunning attack on a female news anchor" as if such a thing were at all unusual for the president of the United States of America, Trump's latest twitter barrage concerns the allegedly "bleeding badly" facelift of MSNBC's "low I.Q. Crazy" Mika Brzezinski.

Brzezinski tweeted back, to mock Trump's famously small body parts.

Anthony Zurcher explains why he does this: because he is always politically rewarded for it.

Mr Trump mocked people's looks (Rosie O'Donnell) as a businessman, and he was rewarded with reality television show stardom. He mocked people's looks (Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul) as a candidate, and he was rewarded with the presidency. Now he's mocking people's looks from his new home in the White House.
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Piers Morgan owned

Piers Morgan is a British journalist, pundit and Trumpkin who blew his big break in America and now presents breakfast television when not being nasty to women on Twitter. Here he is on Good Morning Britain getting savagely owned by copresenter Susanna Reid.

And here's a supercut of Reidian microexpressions, as she endures day after day of Morgan's vacuous, rambling bullshit:

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Grimly funny column from Fake Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell is the Republican leader who drafted the so-called "Trumpcare" bill in secrecy and hopes to ram it into law in a few days of arm-twisting, media feints and threats. As American lives hang in the balance, McConnell—as voiced by McSweeney's' Bob Vulfov—makes his pitch to the public.

My name is Mitch McConnell and I am the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. As you may have heard, the health care bill I secretly drafted would result in 22 million Americans losing their health care coverage. I understand your frustration with the bill, but you also have to understand my side of things. I’m in a serious bind here. I owe Thanatos, the God of Death, exactly 22 million human souls and he’s come to collect.

(h/t @davidcarneycr67) Read the rest

Disney World's Hall of Presidents Trumpbot will speak after all

Disney has denied rumors that the Trumpbot in Disney World's Hall of the Presidents would not have a speaking role due to a combination of the president's toxic reputation, Disney employees' animus for him, and Trump's own unwillingness to schedule a recording session. Read the rest

Sean Hannity doesn't gargle piss

Sean Hannity, the conservative firebrand and one of Fox News' last remaining ratings-grabbers, does not gargle piss, reports Clayton Purdom. The cable news pundit had publicly responded to a tweet saying "Sean you should drink more!!!" with "I need one" only for his interlocutor to change his name to "hannity gargles piss", thereby creating the unfortunate impression Hannity had cheerfully agreed he hankered for a nice pint of warm urine. Hannity, made aware of the clever switcheroo, decided to delete his tweet, thereby making clear that he does not suffer from a thirst that can be slaked only with a long draft of his own bitter pilsner.

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EU fines Google €2.42B for anti-competitive behaviour

The EU had been expected to fine Google a little over €1B for its anti-competitive practice of promoting its own shopping service over competitors' in search results: today's €2.42B comes as a surprise, as does the ongoing fine if it fails to change its behavior within 90 days -- up to €10.6m a day, or 5% of parent company Alphabet's total daily earnings. Read the rest

Watch the President of Costa Rica swallow a wasp

At a recent press conference, a wasp flew into the mouth of Costa Rica's President Luis Guillermo Solís.

"I ate it," he said in Spanish with a smile. "I ate the wasp."

As Weird Universe points out, it's similar to this memorable and unscripted moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark:

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Paul Ryan's Democratic challenger is a veteran, an iron-worker, union organizer, cancer survivor and Berniecrat

Randy Bryce wants to challenge Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan for the First District of Wisconsin, where Ryan beat his most recent Democratic challenger by 35 points. Read the rest

Sean Spicer expected to leave post

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, first held an off-camera briefing that had one reporter describe him as "just kind of useless", then was ridiculed by colleague and top Trump crony Steve Bannon as getting fatter, thereby explaining his unwillingness to be seen, and is now reported to be "searching for his own replacement." With luck it will be Laura Ingraham.

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A right-wing Dem Senator who voted to sell weapons to Saudi is being primaried by an environmental activist

Senator Joe Manchin [D-WV, @Sen_JoeManchin, +1 304-342-5855] is a right-wing Democrat Senator whose inglorious career includes breaking with his party to endorse President Trump's deal to sell record quantities of weapons to the Saudis. Read the rest

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