The Fifth Risk: Michael Lewis explains how the "deep state" is just nerds versus grifters

Michael Lewis is a national treasure, whose gift for explaining how finance grifters think and operate has spawned a whole genre, which he dominates with books like Liar's Poker (an insider view of the S&L crisis); The Big Short (a character-driven, crystal-clear explainer on the financial engineering that led to the 2008 crisis), and Flash Boys (the shitty math and bafflegab behind high-speed trading); and now, The Fifth Risk: an astounding and terrifying book about the experts who fill the ranks in the US government and the Trump-administration grifters who are destroying the work they do to keep us from dying of tornadoes, nuclear accident, food poisoning and a million other dangers, large and small. Read the rest

Trump's Acting Attorney General was an active participant in a scam company that marketed "masculine toilets"

Donald Trump fired Jeff Sessions and replaced him with Matthew Whitaker, a giant tool who thinks Biblical law should prevail in America's courtrooms. Read the rest

A dating website for Trump supporters leaked its customers' data ON DAY ONE

Donalddaters.com is an app for people who want to have sex with white supremacists; it launched today and promptly leaked all 1600 of its users' data: "users' names, profile pictures, device type, their private messages — and access tokens, which can be used to take over accounts." Read the rest

All levels of UK government have been paralysed by Brexit

The British government has been immobilised by Brexit preparations: hundreds of millions of pounds paid by insurers to the government to rebuild from flooding are sitting idle in savings accounts because no one can spare the time to spend them; ministers won't schedule out-of-London meetings because being away during a key vote would endanger the whisper-thin Tory majority; UK workforce productivity has fallen off a cliff while workers struggle to make preparations for the uncertain future; the government is incapable of legislating because the whole calendar is filled with Brexit bills; junior ministers are barely showing up for work because they don't believe they'll have careers after Brexit; the NHS's overriding priority is Brexit preparation -- everything, from top to bottom, is crumbling. Read the rest

App for UK Conservative Party conference exposes all attendees' private info

The UK Conservative Party's annual conference is about to kick off in Birmingham, and the Tories have distributed an app ahead of time to all attendees: senior ministers, government officials, members of the press, party members, and others. Read the rest

Court nukes Ontario's Trumpian government bid to gut Toronto city council

Doug Ford is the laughable bumblefuck who was elected Premier of Ontario by a roster of cheap Trumpian tricks and (literally) a promise to make beer cost $1 in the province (this promise was not fulfilled). Read the rest

22 states jointly petition the Federal Circuit appeals court to reinstate Net Neutrality

The Attorneys General of New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia have filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, asking it to reinstate the Network Neutrality rules killed by Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. Read the rest

Donations to help Puerto Ricans in wake of hurricane left to rot

I think we can safely say that the United States government's response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria was a rolling clusterfuck. Cronyism, red tape and terrible management practices on the part of FEMA, the National Guard and, in many cases, ill-equipped private contractors, turned what should have been a swift government controlled cleanup and restoration effort into a miserable quagmire. Many Puerto Ricans, a year after having their lives torn apart by hurricane-force winds and flooding, are still without permanent housing.

Difficult as it might be to believe, the ineptitude at every level of the government, both federal and territorial, has reached a new low. This past week, a large cache of donations--10 semi trailers full of medical supplies, diapers, food and water--that should have been handed out to Puerto Ricans in need of sustenance and other necessities, was found by an employee of Puerto Rican radio station Radio Isla. In a video taken by one of the radio station's employees, it's apparent that the supplies were left to rot.

According to Splinter, when the word got out that the rotting supplies had been found, the head of the National Guard for the region came up with an excuse for why the supplies had been left to ruin:

The Adjutant General of Puerto Rico, Brig. Gen. Isabelo Rivera, explained today that the merchandise stored in containers at the State Election Commission facilities, related to the collection center to help the victims of Hurricane Maria, will finish with its distribution in the next few days.

Read the rest

Trump's tariffs will kill making, especially STEM education, while encouraging US manufacturers to go offshore

With Trump poised to exact high tariffs on goods from China, it's tempting to declare the gadget party over: everyone is going to pay through the nose for electronics, from makers to Apple, and that's the end of the story, right? Read the rest

Republicans were so eager to pass the #TaxScam that they didn't notice they were taxing the churches they depend on

In the rush to vote through Trump's trillion-dollar-plus tax gift to the super-wealthy, Congressional Republicans voted on unfinished drafts full of notes, erasures, and incoherencies, with no one really sure what they were casting a vote in favor of. Read the rest

Scandal-haunted Scott Pruitt's staffers are shopping dirt on Ryan Zinke to create a distraction

Even by Trump administration standards, Scott Pruitt is a fucking mess, and as his day of reckoning looms, his staff are doing everything they can to take the heat off their boss, which is why Pruitt press-staffer Michael Abboud approached multiple reporters to give them dirt on Pruitt archrival Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Read the rest

All of Puerto Rico loses power

1.4 million people in Puerto Rico lost power yesterday in an outage that lasted for a day and left part of the island without power even after service was mainly restored. Read the rest

White House Chief of Staff in a rage after leak reveals that Trump congratulated Putin against Cabinet advice

After Vladimir Putin stole another Russian election, Trump placed an official call to the Kremlin; his national security advisors' briefing notes for the call included the all-caps instruction "DO NOT CONGRATULATE" -- naturally, Trump congratulated Putin. Read the rest

FCC chairman Ajit Pai receives heaps of insults after tweeting about his love for The Big Lebowski

Ajit Pai used his power as FCC Chairman to kill net neutrality. Read the rest

Paul Manafort's inability to save Word files as PDFs provided the evidence necessary to indict him for fraud

Paul Manafort, one-time Trump campaign manager, has been indicted for cooking his books in order to qualify for a loan; prosecutors secured the evidence of his fraud by searching his email, which contained attachments that clearly showed him doctoring his financial statements and then emailing them to his co-conspirator Richard Gates so Gates could convert them to PDFs, which literally just involves selecting "Save As..." and choosing "PDF." Read the rest

FCC opens corruption investigation into Ajit Pai, who likes to joke about being a corporate puppet

Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's tenure has been marked by a disregard for the rules under which his agency is legally bound to operate: his Net Neutrality killing order was made without satisfying the evidentiary burden required by law, on the basis of laughable lies (including more than a million fake anti-Neutrality comments from bots pretending to be dead people, nonexsitent people and people who support Net Neutrality) that even his own agency knew to be false, then stonewalling law enforcement attempts to identify the botmasters -- no surprise that Pai's Neutracide is going to be tied up in court for years. Read the rest

San Francisco judge says Trump can't kill DACA until lawsuits are resolved

The Trump administration won't be able to order the cancellation the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program until the outstanding lawsuits about the legality of such an order have been resolved, thanks to a ruling by Federal judge in San Francisco. Read the rest

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