1 in 14 Trump appointees is a former lobbyist, four times the rate under Obama

Trump Town is a Propublica/Columbia Journalism Investigations interactive database of everyone working in the Trump administration; the latest revision reveals that Trump has hired 281 former lobbyists to regulate the industries that used to sign their paychecks. Read the rest

What it would cost to build Trump's snake-and-alligator border moat

Earlier this month, we learned that one of the most enduring frustrations of Trump's presidency is that no one will take his suggestion of building a moat filled with man-eating alligators and poisonous snakes along the US border (something he's been talking up for at least 35 years!). Read the rest

CBP officer refuses to allow American journalist into the country until he admits he writes "propaganda"

Ben Watson is a reporter for Defenseone, a news site that covers "US defense and National Security" who formerly served in the US Army as a public affairs officer; last week, Watson returned to the USA after an assignment in Denmark, entering the country at Dulles Airport. Read the rest

Whistleblowers out Falwell's Liberty University as a grifty, multibillion-dollar personality cult

Jerry Falwell, Sr founded the Moral Majority, brought evangelicals into the voting booth, elected Ronald Reagan, and changed the face of American politics forever; his son, Jerry Jr now commands the Falwell empire, including Liberty University, which now has $3b in assets. Read the rest

Survey: Self-identified "pro lifers" are generally contemptuous of women

Supermajority's Gender Equality, the Status of Women and the 2020 Elections surveys likely 2020 voters (N=1912), finds a strong correlation between opposition and broad misogynistic beliefs, such as opposition to the idea that women and men should hold an equal number of positions of power; opposition to the #MeToo movement; a disbelief in the idea that access to birth control affects women's power in society (likewise, skepticism that the lack of woman role models in powerful positions is significant). Read the rest

The only path to victory in the Middle Earth election is to appeal to the moderate orc voter

David Howard, McSweeney's: "Let me tell you, it’s hard out here for an orc. We experience tremendous insecurity, not knowing whether we’ll have a job, or be able to raid peaceful villages, or if our friends will eat us. Sauron appeals to us economically challenged goblins because he offers us the chance of a decent wage, respect for our values, and renewed pride in being the corrupted spawn of Morgoth." (Image: Guise, CC BY-SA, modified; Chicago Costume Company) (via Bruce Sterling) Read the rest

Wisconsin commissioned an independent report on how to fix the Foxconn deal. Result: it can't be done.

In 2017, Trump and then-Wisconsin Governor (and Koch darling) Scott Walker announced that they would give Chinese manufacturing giant $3B in taxpayer subsidies to open the only flat panel display factory in the western hemisphere (the figure quickly grew to $4.1B), despite the company's long, documented history of lying to governments, sucking up subsidies, and never delivering the promised facilities or jobs. Read the rest

Fixing Equinox's "Commit to Something" in light of owner's plans to host a Trump fundraiser

Anthony Clune writes, "I fixed Equinox’s ‘Commit To Something‘ advertising campaign after Stephen Ross, chairman of parent company The Related Cos. announced he’s hosting a Trump fundraiser. Feel free to share!" Read the rest

Grifty "Students For Trump" founder pleads guilty to wire fraud for pretending to be a lawyer

John Lambert is a 23-year-old from Tennessee who has done a lot in his short years on this earth: in addition to co-founding "Students for Trump," he also co-founded a fake law firm called Pope & Dunn, where he pretended to be a lawyer called Eric Pope (law degree: NYU; finance degree: U Penn; years of legal experience: 15), and defrauded clients of $46,000. Read the rest

State department official alleged be behind white nationalist terror-supporter pseudonym: "[Whites] need a country of our own with nukes"

The Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch makes a compelling case linking US Bureau of Energy Resources foreign affairs officer Matthew Q. Gebert with a series of violent white nationalist identities that have advocated acts of terror within in the USA and have been involved with recruiting for and promoting white nationalist terror organizations. Read the rest

Leaks reveal that disgraced, hacked surveillance company wrote Republican Congressman's border security talking-points

Remember Perceptics, the Border Patrol contractor whose facial recognition database was hacked, along with hundreds of gigs' worth of internal files? Read the rest

Video effects used to improve the Trumpbot at Disney World's Hall of Presidents

The election of authoritarian racist garbage person Donald Trump to the presidency was attended by many controversies, but none so salient as his inclusion in Walt Disney World's Hall of Presidents, wherein each newly elected president is represented as an animatronic figure whose dialog that president gets to record, using their own human voices. Read the rest

Grifty conservative PACs raised millions pushing racist Obama conspiracies to elderly, low-income supporters, then kept almost all of it

Propublica and Politico have teamed up for a long, beautifully reported expose on the Conservative Majority Fund and other PACs that senior Republican operators founded to solicit millions from donors (many of them elderly and on low, fixed incomes), allegedly to combat racist, far-fetched Obama plans they claimed were in the offing, but almost all of the money ended up in their own pockets. Read the rest

Trade war: Hasbro is shifting manufacturing to Vietnam and India, drawing down production in China

Thanks to Trump's tariffs and saber-rattling, Hasbro is investing in factories in Vietnam and India, de-emphasizing its China operations: the world's biggest toymaker insists that the initiative -- which will cut China's share of its manufacturing from two-thirds to one-half -- is about "spreading our footprint and adding new geographies for production." Read the rest

#Rickyrenuncia: Bowing to popular pressure, Puerto Rican governor Ricardo Rossello has resigned

After weeks of mass demonstrations touched off by the publication of a trove of leaked chats and evidence of mass corruption by Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism, Ricardo Rossello has done what he swore he would not: resigned. Read the rest

Appeals court orders unsealing of the Jeffrey Epstein files

More than a decade ago, a federal prosecutor named Alexander Acosta set up a secret sweetheart deal for Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy, Trump-connected admitted multiple rapist of underaged teen girls who was thought to be running a trafficking ring for wealthy, well-connected sexual predators, that saw Epstein serving only 13 months in a minimum security facility, on a work-release program that let him spend most of that time out of a cell. Read the rest

Photos of dangerous overcrowding at US border patrol detention centers

On Tuesday the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General released a report on overcrowding at US detention centers. Buzzfeed ran photos from the report.

Inspectors detailed how, when they visited several the facilities earlier this month, they found adults and minors with no access to showers. Many adults were only fed bologna sandwiches, and detainees were seen banging on cell windows — pressing notes to the windows that detailed their time in custody.

Inspectors described the conditions as "dangerous" and "prolonged." Some adults were held in standing-room-only conditions for a week. There was little access to hot showers or hot food for families and children in some facilities.

The inspectors said the overcrowding and prolonged detention for the single adults represented a security risk for detainees, agents, and officers. Adults purposely clogged toilets with Mylar blankets and socks in order to be released from their cells, while some refused to return to cells after they had been cleaned. Others tried to escape.

Read the rest

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