Reason Roundup

This Stuttering Prankster Just Poked a Big Hole in Trump's Claim to Secure Communications: Reason Roundup

Plus: Groups launch a constitutional challenge to FOSTA and a leaked draft bill "provides Trump a license to raise U.S. tariffs at will."

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Clinton Wallace/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

"Stuttering John" proves president will call back any idiot. "Whether you're a republican or democrat you should be truly scared by how easily I got through to the President," says comedian, actor, and podcaster John Melendez. "This is not partisan. It's just plain scary."

Last Thursday, Melendez—a Howard Stern and Tonight Show alum also known as "Stuttering John"—got through to the president by pretending to be Sen. Bob Menendez (D–N.J.). "Sen. Menendez" called Trump as he was traveling on Air Force One, and Trump returned the call.

The comedian teased the podcast as the one "where I prank call the President," followed by:

After a few more attempts to publicize his prank, with scant results—this was the day of the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis—Melendez tweeted that he found it "astounding that the news media's not picking up the fact that I totally duped the President & got in touch within less than 2 hours while he was on Air Force One." That one finally got some attention.

Melendez was quiet online for a few days, but on Saturday he claimed that Secret Service was at his door. "I guess my old friend Donald wants to continue this," Melendez tweeted. "Stay tuned."

He claims he did not answer his door and the agents left (a time period during which Melendez managed to fire off a bad prison rape joke and several other tweets). On Sunday evening, he stated that he was headed to talk to the Secret Service at 10 a.m. Monday and that Michael Avenatti had agreed to be his lawyer.

Whatever happens to Melendez, the incident has already set up a new line of criticism against Trump—led in large part by Melendez himself.

"I flew on Air Force One with President Obama … and their security systems are supposed to be pretty tight," he told CNN. "There's a whole protocol for making phone calls and receiving phone calls. I'm shocked this was able to get through, and it really does raise questions about what kind of security filter do we have on Air Force One, presumably the most secure set of communications in the world?"

"It's a very chilling thing to contemplate," Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia) told Wolf Blitzer on CNN. A White House spokesperson told the news agency:

The President wants to be accessible to members and likes engaging them and wants them to have the opportunity to connect. The downside of that is sometimes the channels are open too widely and mistakes like this happen.

During the fake phone call with "Sen. Menendez," Trump congratulated him on his recent acquittal for corruption. "You went through a tough, tough situation, and I don't think a very fair situation," said Trump. The pair discussed border security and Supreme Court picks as well.

Meanwhile, Melendez's new lawyer had this to say about the situation:

FREE MINDS

First FOSTA challenge in the works. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing to invalidate the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 ("FOSTA"), the recently-enacted law making prostitution ads a federal crime.

"The law was written so poorly that it actually criminalizes a substantial amount of protected speech and, according to experts, actually hinders efforts to prosecute sex traffickers and aid victims," says the organization, which is joining forces with the Internet Archive, "two human rights organizations, an individual advocate for sex workers, [and] a certified non-sexual massage therapist," EFF notes.

Although the law was passed by Congress for the worthy purpose of fighting sex trafficking, its broad language makes criminals of those who advocate for and provide resources to adult, consensual sex workers and actually hinders efforts to prosecute sex traffickers and aid victims. EFF strongly opposed FOSTA throughout the legislative process. During the months-long Congressional debate on the law we expressed our concern that the law violated free speech rights and would do heavy damage to online freedoms. The law that was ultimately passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump was actually the most egregiously bad of those Congress had been considering.

Read more from EFF here—and expect a lot more on this suit here at Reason in the days and weeks to come.

See also: What is "Switter," and why it matters.

FREE MARKETS

America to abandon WTO rules? leaked draft of a bill "ordered by the president himself" was obtained by Axios and "would declare America's abandonment of fundamental World Trade Organization rules." More from Axios:

The draft legislation is stunning. The bill essentially provides Trump a license to raise U.S. tariffs at will, without congressional consent and international rules be damned.

[…] The bill, titled the "United States Fair and Reciprocal Tariff Act," would give Trump unilateral power to ignore the two most basic principles of the WTO and negotiate one-on-one with any country:

  1. The "Most Favored Nation" (MFN) principle that countries can't set different tariff rates for different countries outside of free trade agreements;
  2. "Bound tariff rates" — the tariff ceilings that each WTO country has already agreed to in previous negotiations.

"It would be the equivalent of walking away from the WTO and our commitments there without us actually notifying our withdrawal," said a source familiar with the bill

Read more here.

QUICK HITS

NEXT: Mexico Just Elected a New President. Is He the Left-Wing Version of Trump?

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  1. “Stuttering John” proves president will call back any idiot.

    Even Melendez.

    1. Or Menendez, come to think of it.

  2. After a few more attempts to publicize his prank, with scant results?this was the day of the Capital Gazette shooting in Annapolis…

    So now we know the truest victim.

  3. Stuttering John has made fun of many people over the years. He is good at it.

    He got through various levels of military personnel and White House staff before speaking with Trump.

    I could get Hillary to call me back by simply telling her that I had something on Trump.

    Run with Reason, you didn’t look foolish enough on the open border and separated parents immigration stuff.

    1. So do it. Let us know how it goes.

      1. In the 1990s at my military base, we got a direct line to Bill Clinton’s Chief of Staff and called.

        Its not that hard if you are lucky and can track down a good phone number.

    2. “Run with Reason”

      Is this a fundraising drive to buy Gillespie a new leather jacket?

      1. Stupid tablets dont work well on Reason and it cut off, “Run with it Reason….”

        Most besides Tony and Buttplug are smart people. I figured you would figure it out.

    3. I couldn’t stand him and the Stern show got better without him.

      1. Late ’90s, going to play golf after class and I see a guy toking up by the cart maintenance shed at Kissena in Flushing. Lo’ and behold it was stuttering John. My friend and I broke his balls, he was a good sport about it – just funny to have that whole scenario unfold.

    4. Is the BUT HILLARY reaction genetic, or more of an acquired trait?

      1. Actually, pointing out that something has been common to other politicians and government officials is a rational response to statements of the form “Trump’s action is unprecedented / unpresidential / outrageous.”

  4. “There’s a whole protocol for making phone calls and receiving phone calls. I’m shocked this was able to get through, and it really does raise questions about what kind of security filter do we have on Air Force One, presumably the most secure set of communications in the world?”

    PUTIN COULD ACTIVATE HIS MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE WHILE HE’S IN THE AIR!

    1. I feel like I’ve seen these wild Russia fever dream conspiracy theories before.

      Is it odd that David Frum and Reason pimp the same talking points at the same time or should we just accept that there’s little difference between neoconservatives and whatever Reason is at this point?

  5. “Whether you’re a republican or democrat you should be truly scared by how easily I got through to the President,” says comedian, actor, and podcaster John Melendez. “This is not partisan. It’s just plain scary.”

    I mean, you have to do A LOT of mental gymnastics to make the fact that the president will promptly respond to senators on both sides of the aisle into a bad thing

    1. Seriously.
      I don’t get what the big deal is here.
      What are the risks? Somebody talks to Trump? Trump talks to somebody (rather than tweeting to all the twits)?
      What is the issue? What is the problem?

      1. Trump looks stupid, because that wasn’t actually a senator. Ok- what is the new development here?

        If anything, the fact that he would promptly take a Democratic senator’s phone call makes him look less petty than I anticipated.

        People throw the acronym “TDS” around a lot, but this take is pure TDS

        1. Perhaps there is hope in so far as the story wasn’t picked up right away, he had to push it on the media.

      2. “I don’t get what the big deal is here.”

        It gets “Trump” in a headline and something, something.
        TDS is its own justification.

        1. Must be a slow news day if this is the best morsel available to feed the Trump outrage machine

          1. Yeah, well, the thread on the new Mexican lefty is something, something, Trump, something, so they haven’t yet scraped bottom.

        2. The urge you guys have to defend Trump on every little thing is quite fascinating. Trump Fellation Syndrome?

          1. Chipper Morning Baculum|7.2.18 @ 11:26AM|#
            “The urge you guys have to defend Trump on every little thing is quite fascinating. Trump Fellation Syndrome?”

            Of course you’re entirely too stupid to understand, but pointing out a fixation =/= ‘defending’ anyone, dimbulb.

            1. I was also just pointing out a fixation, dumdum.

              1. Are you serious on this point? Do you not see how insane this criticism is?

                1. I was not moved to complain about it online. It did not elicit any emotions from me rather than mild amusement, followed by annoyance that Melendez could not think of anything funny to say during the call.

    2. I was reading this and wondering what the big deal is. So a guy was able to pretend he was somebody important and get through to Trump. What’s the point? Trump answers his phone? I get robocalls all the time and I still pick up because I’m an idiot.

    3. If he hadn’t gotten through, he’d be chimping out that “LOBBARD PLUMPH IS TOO SCARED TO TAKE MY PHONE CALLS!!” If this is the best the left can come up with to get their base fired up for the mid-terms, the Dems are going to get waxed.

  6. You went through a tough, tough situation, and I don’t think a very fair situation…

    Sure, Trump would think that. The whole thing was set in motion because Menendez wouldn’t vote for the Iran Deal that the current president hates.

  7. Please tell me that he said “Baba Booey” before hanging up!

    1. I wouldn’t know. I tried listening to the phone call when this came out last week and could not understand a damn thing Melendez was saying. The audio was horrible.

  8. Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen says he is not a “villain of this story” and won’t “be a punching bag” as part of any “defense strategy.”

    You’re going to be a metaphorical punching bag for someone, buddy.

    1. All Mr. Cohen needs to do is tell the truth.

      He doesn’t even need to do that. He could spend the rest of his life in prison, catching tidbits of news about how his family was bankrupted.

      1. So you support malicious prosecution and targetted families? And you accuse conservatives of being fascist authoritarians? No one can lack so much self awareness, you have to be a parody.

  9. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) is pushing legislation to give all federal employees 12 weeks of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of children.

    Bureaucrats aren’t reproducing fast enough to keep up with demand.

    1. To be fair, she’s recognizing that 12 weeks of federal employees not being at their desk is probably beneficial for the country as a whole.

  10. Never Trumpers Suffer Yet Another Utter Humiliation
    Never Trumpers blame Trump (and, by extension, uppity normal like us who dared defy them) for taking that all away, for prying them out of their safe, lucrative sinecures feeding the suckers the line that they were there in the swamp fighting for us. We figured out that they had really reached their own secret truce with the establishment. The official conservative opposition pretended to fight and the establishment pretended it was really an opposition.

    The punchline pundits like George Will still cling to the hope that someday, somehow the rubes will fall back into line and things are going to be back to business as usual. Will started the week off by announcing, to great fanfare among the liberals who wish his ilk was still the soft, yielding, useful face of conservatism, that all of us should vote for Democrats in November to show Trump who’s boss. But this conservative insurgency is all about us showing George and his doofus pals who’s boss. It’s not them. Not anymore.

    1. People still don’t get that Trump, and to an extent Sanders and the ex-waitress Millennial soon-to-be congresswoman on the other side, represent a political realignment that happens every 40-50 years. Whites are now shifting away from the Democrats in larger numbers. This will start going into overdrive once the older white Boomers like Pelosi and Feinstein start exiting the political stage, in favor of affirmative action demagogues like Tom Perez, Ocasio-Cortez, and Keith Ellison, and wannabes like Elizabeth Warren.

      The party’s apparatus no longer even pretends to care about class issues, and if the activists at our nation’s universities are any indication, they’ll be exclusively devoted to increasingly esoteric wedge issues and proudly anti-white and anti-male in order to fuel their anarch-tyrannic visions.

      Milquetoasts like Will and neocons like Kristol and Jennifer Rubin will migrate over to the Democrats eventually because they think by doing so they’ll be the last ones against the wall.

      1. There just aren’t enough yahoos to float your right-wing electoral coalition, goober. And the future will be worse for you.

        America becomes less rural every day. That’s fewer half-educated, backwater, downscale goobers.

        Less white. Fewer stale-thinking bigots.

        Less religious. Fewer gullible rubes.

        Less backward. Fewer Republicans.

        Less intolerant. Fewer conservatives.

        Your betters should not become overconfident about continued American progress, however. If conservatives perfect a machine that mass-produces rural, religious, backward, white, bigoted, selfish, easily frightened, economically inadequate, poorly educated, old southern males — and Republicans figure a way to register the newly minted knuckledraggers to vote — the future for right-wingers could be bright.

        Carry on, clingers.

        1. Hicklibs gonna hicklib.

          Carry on, soyboys.

        2. “the future for right-wingers could be bright.”

          We’ve pretty much ruled the world for the last 400 years. So… I don’t know why it wouldn’t be.

          1. You have? Which country did you personally run?

            1. Wakanda…. DUH!

        3. Less white. Less religious. Fewer gullible rubes. Less backward. Less intolerant.

          Do your part to make it so: jump off a bridge already!

        4. Less white. Less religious. Fewer gullible rubes. Less backward. Less intolerant.

          Do your part to make it so: jump off a bridge already!

  11. “The New York Times is worried about conservatives “weaponizing free speech.”

    My God, the NYT is hot garbage. There are no redeeming qualities to their editorial page. It’s just retard all the way down

    1. There is not a chance in hell I’m clicking a link there to find out WTF that even means.

      1. Nevermind the irony of a newspaper claiming that speech can be a weapon. That’s certainly one way to petition the government to put you up against a wall first.

  12. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) is pushing legislation to give all federal employees 12 weeks of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of children.

    Up it to 52 weeks and you’re getting somewhere.

    1. Comstock is nauseating. Social engineer of the right.

  13. Iowa’s Supreme Court has struck down a law requiring a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.

    Dammit, I had something on, something with gun purchases. Pita predator?

  14. The New York Times is worried about conservatives “weaponizing free speech.”

    Mr. Editor, we must not allow a speech gap!

    1. The time has come for common sense free speech control. For the children

  15. 52 weeks of vacation without pay. The “Give Government Employees a Permanent Vacation Act”

    1. That leaves them working one or two days a year.

      Think of what a NIGHTMARE the DMV will be.

  16. Doctors will be prevented from prescribing opioid painkillers as they see fit…

    Patient suffering is a small price to pay for a legislative win.

    1. No pain, no gain.

  17. Weekend immigration protests in Portland were heated.

    If you didn’t want immigrants you shouldn’t be so close to a border.

    1. Sounds like global warming is to blame for this. Plus Portland still allows the use of plastic straws

      1. Don’t the ‘progressives’ understand that we’re just trying to bring all of the U.S. up to Mexico’s average temperature, so our beloved guests feel right at home?

  18. Free minds and free markets…..

    The Chicago Model: Population Replacement and the Transformation of the USA
    What are the origins of this program to transform the nation? The roots of Obama’s politics are to be found in the uni-party politics of Chicago. It has been the aim of the national Democratic Party to use Chicago as a model and then impose that political model on the United States.

    The Chicago model requires, first of all, population replacement. Population replacement leads to voter replacement and then cultural replacement. Once population replacement is accomplished, voting will eventually reach a point where it becomes irrelevant.

    1. The person who wrote this article knows very little about Chicago’s history or its present state. Chicago wishes they could grow their population at this point, let alone replace it.

      Have fun sustaining a city of transient singles!

      1. He didn’t say anything about growing. A city of transient singles is in fact a perfect example of the “replacement” he was talking about.

        1. I was turned off by his discussion about Englewood transforming from predominately wealthy whites to predominately poor African Americans. Englewood stayed “white” because of city policies that kept it white. If anything, the change in Englewood was counter to the City’s intention.

          1. I don’t know anything about Englewood but his description fits a pattern that happened in cities across the US. By letting crime get out of control and by letting teachers unions suck all the money out of schools, anyone who could afford to, got the hell out. City (and state) governments were directly responsible for those things. Whether they planned it that way – actually plotted to get permanent Dem machines running cities coast to coast – yeah, I’m not sure I buy that.

        2. A city of transient singles is in fact a perfect example of the “replacement” he was talking about.

          It’s not really a coincidence that modern progressivism and global corporations both emphasize social rootlessness and atomization. People who are tied to their communities and their neighborhoods over generations are much harder to instill with the low-grade social anxieties necessary to tribalize along corporate brands and party lines.

  19. Sex without affirmative consent can now be prosecuted as rape in Sweden.

    His papers were nicht in Ordnung.

    1. I’m assuming this is aimed at Julian Assange.

    2. So Sweden is pushing another anti-immigrant law.

      1. As if “refugees” can be tried for crimes…

  20. NY Times: How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment
    Conservatives, said Justice Kagan, who is part of the court’s four-member liberal wing, were “weaponizing the First Amendment.”

    The two decisions were the latest in a stunning run of victories for a conservative agenda that has increasingly been built on the foundation of free speech. Conservative groups, borrowing and building on arguments developed by liberals, have used the First Amendment to justify unlimited campaign spending, discrimination against gay couples and attacks on the regulation of tobacco, pharmaceuticals and guns.

    1. That whole article just shows that neither tribe is principled when it comes to free speech.

      In the past it was conservatives who wanted to censor people they didn’t like, such as dirty hippies or violent music lyrics or works of fiction with pearl-clutching dirty words.

      Now it’s liberals who want to censor people they don’t like, such as ‘Nazis’ or works of fiction with pearl-clutching dirty words.

      You can’t trust either one of them.

      1. Actually, I don’t recall the WSJ arguing that “Free Speech has been weaponized”. How did you get “both sides”?

        1. Is there a National Review article that suggested this? Or did I miss the fact that it was not in fact Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Kennedy, and Gorsuch who voted to preserve First Amendment protections in three cases during this term? Because this “both sides” talking point is ringing more and more hollow every day.

          I’m certain that if it were the reverse, like it was in the 90’s, we would never see “both sides” being used.

          1. From the 1940s to the 1970s, a lot of the free speech fights are basically conservatives saying “you can’t say that! (becuz of Jesus or the children or it offends my sensibilities).” In the modern world, a lot of the free speech fights are “that’s not really free speech! (becuz of racism or sexism or it supports conservatives or it offends my sensibilities).”

            If conservatives were in power and could enforce their speech preferences, we’d see a fair few liberals fighting for free speech within twenty years.

            1. “If conservatives were in power and could enforce their speech preferences, we’d see a fair few liberals fighting for free speech within twenty years.”

              Why hasn’t that happened now that Republicans control all three branches of the federal government? Probably because people keep pretending like liberals are still the dominant force within the Democratic Party, rather than acknowledging the fact that progressives are the dominant force and they could care less about individual rights

              1. That, and conservatives have power in government but not in media or the public sphere. Therefore, the left views the free speech of others as a threat. If and when their speech begins to be quashed, we’ll see them bitching about free speech. It’s happened before.

        2. He said “in the past”. Clearly referring to the latter half of the ’60s and the early ’70s, when the right wanted to shut down the anti-war and civil rights protesters free speech rights. Or the famous “Piss Christ” art exhibit. Or violent lyrics in music (although to be fair one of the leaders on that front was Tipper Gore). There are dozens of possible examples.

          Now the sides have flipped. Given enough time, they’ll flip again. It’s what they do.

          The tribes ignore this, though, because their tribe is the best thing since the invention of air conditioning and the other tribe is a bunch of mongrel dogs. Nobody notices that they’re basically just mirror images of one another.

          1. Funny how I don’t remember “both sides” being used in the 90’s when it was clearly “one side”. And now that it’s “one side” again, we’re suddenly hearing “both sides”. That’s interesting

            1. I can’t help what you’re hearing. I can just point out long-term observations and you can either accept them or not.

              Back in the Nixon years UC Berkeley was a bastion of free speech. Look at them now.

              In the same period, Nixon sued the NYT to try to keep them from publishing the Pentagon Papers. The WP published them instead. Or maybe I have that reversed and I’m too lazy to go look it up. Either way, jeff’s pont is accurate. The sides have flipped on free speech.

              And if both of us are still alive in 10 or 20 years, we can discuss how they’ve flipped again.

              It’s what they do because they have no principles. Either side.

              1. Back in the Nixon years UC Berkeley was a bastion of free speech.

                It only seemed that way because they were criticizing the status quo, not because their free speech rights were being oppressed. The university radicals of the 60s had no problem whatsoever getting their agendas passed within the institutions themselves, thanks to professors and administrators who were both sympathetic and doing the Benjamin Spock tactic of giving the Boomers what they wanted in hopes they’d eventually shut up.

                If Nixon had really wanted to suppress the Berkleyites, he would have had no trouble because most of the country thought the radical left were simple anarchists that needed to be smacked down.

                1. “If Nixon had really wanted to suppress the Berkleyites, he would have had no trouble because most of the country thought the radical left were simple anarchists that needed to be smacked down.”

                  And he would have gotten himself impeached even faster than he managed to do anyway.

                  Thank you for making my point.

                  1. And he would have gotten himself impeached even faster than he managed to do anyway.

                    The National Guard troops who fired on college students didn’t get so much as a hand slap. Same thing with the Chicago police who cracked hippie skulls at the 68 Dem convention. Same thing with the Hard Hat riots.

                    The idea that Nixon would have been impeached for going after the radical left during his presidency is laughable.

                2. Nixon didn’t need to. Reagan (governor then) sent troops with helicopters dropping tear gas.

                  http://picturethis.museumca.or…..ley-campus

                  1. Reagan (governor then) sent troops with helicopters dropping tear gas.

                    So, basically the same thing every government institution does during riots.

                    1. I guess he could have ordered up a Kent State?

          2. I thought the issue of Piss Christ was the attempt to pull the FUNDING for the exhibit. Nothing in regards to banning it. I do not expect people to FUND speech they find offensive.

            1. So the government can take the speech contents into consideration when distributing funding?

              1. No, the question is why the government is funding art at all?

              2. It shouldn’t be funding art period. It certainly is not obligated to fund any particular piece.

                1. But if it is funding, it cannot discriminate based on viewpoint.

        3. How did you get “both sides are arguing that free speech has been weaponized” out of “neither side is principled when it comes to free speech”?

          Did you not read the second sentence of the comment – In the past it was conservatives who wanted to censor people they didn’t like, such as dirty hippies or violent music lyrics or works of fiction with pearl-clutching dirty words.?

      2. Verbal gymnastics.

        In the past it was conservatives who wanted to censor people they didn’t like, such as dirty hippies or violent music lyrics or works of fiction with pearl-clutching dirty words.

        Who had the power then? Who was in charge? Kennedy, Johnson, Democrats. That’s who censored the hippies, who shot down the civil rights activists. Democrats. It was Democrats who created the PMRC–“pearl-clutching” over “dirty words”.

        Democrats who will be referred to as hated ‘southern conservatives’ for this purpose–and lauded for their actions to achieve progressive goals in the next.

        The same people who’ve always wanted to censor–still want to censor.

        1. Who tried to ban flag burning?

    2. Admit it New York Times – you are against free speech. As if it wasn’t obvious to everybody but your readers.

      1. The NYT is all for free speech, for themselves. They go all frothing-at-the-mouth over Citizens United and the idea that corporations should have free speech rights, ignoring their own status as a corporation. Because that’s different – they’re a good corporation and they’re talking about evil corporations.

        1. Watching an entity that is wholly dependent on the First Amendment for its very existence advocate against the First Amendment is damned ironic. Shows a total lack of self-awareness on their part.

        2. Also, when the Founders talked about “freedom of the press,” they were totally anticipating the 21st century meaning of “press,” i.e. mass media outlets. They were absolutely not speaking from the 18th century idiom in which “press” meant “means of communication,” no sir.

          1. Also, when the Founders talked about “freedom of the press,” they were totally anticipating the 21st century meaning of “press,” i.e. mass media outlets. They were absolutely not speaking from the 18th century idiom in which “press” meant “means of communication,” no sir.

            Please.

            Please say this is sarcasm.

            I’d love to be able to just see that it is, but lately, reason and so many commenters have taken such an illiberal path that it is just possible that someone could seriously be making the musket argument here.

            1. It’s definitely not impossible. I’ve seen similar comment over on Volokh, but meant completely in earnest and defended vigorously.

  21. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing to invalidate the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (“FOSTA”), the recently-enacted law making prostitution ads a federal crime.

    No standing.

  22. Under the new law, sexual activity not preceded by a partner’s spoken agreement or other clear demonstration of consent could be considered rape. The law does not permit passivity as a sign of voluntary participation or as a defense.

    So you can take your man’s boner as consent, ladies.

    1. Does the fact that she ordered the most expensive thing on the menu count as affirmative consent?

      1. “Fuck, yeah!”

      2. Practically begging for it.

    2. What we have here, little yellow sister, is a magnificent specimen of pure Alabama Blacksnake consent.

  23. Progressive California’s growing race challenge
    In the past decade, Democratic progressives have benefited enormously from African American and Latino voters, who support them by wide margins. As California has become dominated by racial minorities, now over 60 percent of the population, it has drifted towards a status of a one-party progressive state.

    But, as the report makes clear, Democratic protestations of solidarity have not worked out well on the ground. “The imposition by the state’s Democratic Party leaders of highly regressive climate schemes have engendered disparate financial hardships on middle and lower income workers and minority communities,” they write. This, they continue, “represents a significant departure from more traditional Democratic Party values.”

    1. Cost-of living adjusted poverty measures available from the Census Bureau show that California’s true poverty rate is easily the nation’s highest. According to the Census Bureau’s supplemental poverty study, eight million Californians live in poverty, including two million children, about the same population as Austria. Other cost of living adjusted measures indicate that 28 percent of California African Americans are impoverished compared to 22 percent nationally. Fully one-third of California Latinos, now the state’s largest ethnic group, live in poverty compared to 21 percent outside the state.

  24. The law was written so poorly that it actually criminalizes a substantial amount of protected speech

    That *can’t* be right.

    Everyone who enabled this legislation *took an oath* to uphold the Constitution!

  25. Absolutely terrifying analysis from CNN’s Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin: See the new @USSupremeCourt clearly: Abortion illegal; doctors prosecuted; gay people barred from restaurants, hotels, stores; African-Americans out of elite schools; gun control banned in 50 states; the end of regulatory state.

    I hope those of you who refused to vote for Hillary Clinton are feeling pretty stupid right now.

    Well, we can’t change the past, but we can do the right thing going forward. It’s time for libertarians to join with Democrats in #Resisting this illegitimate takeover of the Supreme Court. Did you know that Kennedy’s son has a relationship with Drumpf that goes back decades? Call your Senators and tell them no new justices should be confirmed until we get to the bottom of this conflict of interest!

    1. Did you know that Kennedy’s son has a relationship with Drumpf that goes back decades?

      Meh. All those celebrities hang out together.

      1. Even if the Kennedy connection is just a coincidence, Orange Hitler should not be allowed to put anyone else on the SC until Mueller has completed his investigation.

        #TrumpRussia
        #ItsMuellerTime

        1. IT WAS HER TURN!

    2. Agreed. Toobin is a hack and mildly unstable.

    3. “Gun control banned”

      That phrasing is genius

    4. Toobin worries too much.

      The tenth and eleventh justices will diminish any short-term problems we might experience.

      1. It says a lot about the proglydyte hive mind that they adopted and began disseminating this talking point so quickly.

        1. I’m amused that they think they will be able to find more people to fill those seats than there are people willing to kill them in broad daylight.

  26. Donald Trump’s mainstream immigration policy
    On the issue of separations, Penn began with a threshold question: “Do you think that people who make it across our border illegally should be allowed to stay in the country or sent home? Sixty-four percent (83 percent of Republicans, 47 percent of Democrats, and 66 percent of independents) said they should be sent home. Thirty-six percent said they should be allowed to stay.

    Then, Penn asked: “Do you think that parents with children who make it across our border illegally should be allowed to stay in the country or sent home?” The presence of children made little different in the result: 61 percent (81 percent of Republicans, 40 percent of Democrats, and 66 percent of independents) said they should be sent home, while 39 percent said they should be allowed to stay.

    1. Continuing: “Do you think that parents with children who make it across our border illegally should be sent home while the children are allowed to stay in the country?”

      1. The libertarian solution would be to reduce laws that make border crossings unlawful.

        1. Does that mean that American’s should be allowed to freely cross in Mexico for work, or is emigration still going to be restricted by bordering governments who happen to not be the U.S. Federal Government?

          Asking for logical consistency, since functionally you’re advocating for more rights for non-citizens than citizens which is a curious standpoint to take.

          Let me guess, you don’t care because you personally don’t want to go work in Mexico? Seems about your speed.

      2. “Do you think that parents with children who make it across our border illegally should be sent home while the children are forcibly held in this country?”

        FTFY. It’s not like the children are being asked if they want to stay or be sent back with their parents.

  27. That’s it! That’s the solution. We each need to pretend that we are someone important that Trump respects, have a voice that’s similar enough to this person (as heard on a cell phone connection), and prank call Trump to tell him about our “wonderful, tremendous” idea to downsize government.

    “Hi, Donald, this is your old friend Howard Stern here. It would be so classy of you if you ended the War on Drugs. We could call it Trump’s War for Liberty. Sounds great, huh?”

    1. I really don’t understand what the problem is here. So you have a problem with Trump taking phone calls from senators on both sides of the aisle? If you have a problem with that then you suffer from a severe bout of TDS. This is a rather insane thing to complain about.

      If anything, the call makes him look less petty.

      1. There are valid criticisms of Trump, but this most assuredly is not one of them. People who criticize this should not be taken seriously. They are suffering from mental derangement.

      2. If anything, this call makes government electronic monitoring look less petty.

      3. Trump didn’t actually talk with Bob Menendez. That’s the problem.

        1. “Will the *real* Dr. Melendez report to Neurosurgery *immediately*?!”

        2. So the problem is that he got punked? Good one?

          Clearly a crisis of democracy.

          1. “Trump is a petty authoritarian who is dismissive of Congressional authority”

            and

            “Trump is an idiot for taking a phone call from who he thought was a Democratic senator and also vocal critic of his, because it was actually a comedian”

            Pick one.

        3. Its even funnier that Congress has never paid for the president to have a phone system that can tell the difference between Stuttering John and Bob Mendez.

          Trump literally cannot be a tyrant without Congress paying for it.

        4. “”Trump didn’t actually talk with Bob Menendez. That’s the problem.”‘

          That’s one side of it.

          Also, pretexting to be an official member of government may be a problem too.

  28. Well of course no mere peasant should ever be able to speak with the President. What does he think this is, a democracy?

  29. #NeverTrump: Objectively Pro-Democrat
    Let’s be real emphatic here: by pushing for votes for Democrats to “punish Trump” or “save the Republican Party” that’s what you’re advocating. Voting for Democrats means voting for their policies. And remember, Trump’s superpower is his willingness to make deals and desire to Close The Deal. If you think Trump would not then ally with the Democrats in favor of Closing The Deal ? well, it’s not the way I’d want to bet.

    It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. But then, Jonah Goldberg ?and Bill Kristol ? and Jennifer Rubin ? and George Will aren’t required to justify themselves to me.

    I just don’t understand how they can justify it to themselves.

    1. Just look at that filthy dirty illegal invader scum. He’s probably some MS-13 gangbanger.

      1. Deport his ass no matter what lefties say.

        1. I admit it. It does kinda make me want to separate him from his family permanently.

      2. Your virtue has been signaled. You may return to your starbucks and iphone.

  30. Rex Murphy: Isn’t it ironic? Trump-haters have become even nastier than him
    Just as enlisting in the grand cause of global warming invests the recruit with the immeasurable gifts of infallibility, moral superiority and boundless righteousness, so too does opposition, even to hatred, of Trump free the mind from all obligation to moderation, custom, or articulate argument. It is the ultimate pass to be as nasty and crude as anyone could wish, and ? with rarely noted irony ? even to be more nasty and crude than the great boorish Trump himself. How odd: to oppose Trump is to become a more clangorous version of him.

    1. “…so too does opposition, even to hatred, of Trump free the mind from all obligation to moderation, custom, or articulate argument.”

      For example:
      “”Stuttering John” proves president will call back any idiot. “Whether you’re a republican or democrat you should be truly scared by how easily I got through to the President,” says comedian, actor, and podcaster John Melendez. “This is not partisan. It’s just plain scary.”

  31. Some liberals now say that free speech disproportionately protects the powerful and the status quo.

    SHUT UP!!

    1. “the powerful and the status quo”

      OUR side is just a bunch of idealistic young people and little old ladies who believe in democracy; while THEIR side is a bunch of rich gazillionaires creating astroturf movements to fool the people.

      1. When the left wins, then free speech is sacred and money doesn’t influence politics.

        When they lose it’s because evil rich people like the KKKoch brothers used their money to unfairly influence people.

        Principals, not principles.

      2. OUR side is just a bunch of idealistic young people and little old ladies who believe in democracy; while THEIR side is a bunch of rich gazillionaires creating astroturf movements to fool the people.

        I have definitely seen this argument from both sides, in different forms.

  32. This is not partisan.

    Says the “comedian” who’s palled around with Obama.

  33. OT: So I saw a YouTube video about a month or two ago that was really weird. It was CGI, starred two almost-identical characters who were trying to fight each other, and the dialogue was weird but entertaining. It ran about 3 minutes and the title was just “.” which is why I haven’t been able to find it. Does ANYBODY know what I’m talking about and where to find it?

    1. Have you tried called the President?

      1. HE’S ON LINE 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        ARRGRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

    2. Like the “robot theater” they did on Red Eye?

      1. Kind of, but not political and with better (?) animation.

  34. Update on our efforts to curb the nuclear programs of our adversaries:

    North Korea:

    “SEOUL?North Korea is completing a major expansion of a key missile-manufacturing plant, said researchers who have examined new satellite imagery of the site, the latest sign Pyongyang is pushing ahead with weapons programs even as the U.S. pressures it to abandon them.”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/no…..530486907?

    I don’t think anyone was expecting full and total compliance to an agreement that hasn’t yet been made, but if they were dismantling it, that would be better.

    1. Was there an agreement to de-rocket the Korean peninsula? I think selling missiles and missile tech on the black market is something DPRK has been doing for a while.

      1. There wasn’t much of an agreement on anything but to continue negotiations to pursue a nuclear free Korean peninsula. This could be a bargaining chip. The North Koreans will never live up to their side of the agreement without enforcement procedures and penalties in place–that was always true and remains so. They’ll keep trying to get away with whatever they can get away with until it no longer behooves them to do so.

        It was that way with China, too. The reason they’re not as belligerent towards us as they used to be is because our trade relationship is more important to them than posing strategic military threats. As soon as we can justify getting North Korea on the same boat China was, we should do that. Nothing realigns strategic interests like trade, and the sooner North Korea is treated like China, the sooner the military threat they pose will fade in importance.

        1. The North Koreans will never live up to their side of the agreement without enforcement procedures and penalties in place–that was always true and remains so.

          Fixed that for you. Trump can do whatever he wants, but I think he’ll hit a brick wall.

          I can hope he doesn’t, and that this is some kind of Nixon moment, but I’m not holding my breath. North Korea is far too evil, as evidenced by what it’s done to it’s own populace.

          Much like the Germans vs. the Jews in WW2, America doesn’t give a fuck about concentration camps and mass execution as long as we think the people doing it can’t threaten us. You see this attitude all over American media, who entirely ignore the domestic atrocities occurring over there.

          1. The North Koreans are negotiating now because they want to escape the negative consequences of their nuclear program.

            The need for negative consequences for misbehavior will need to continue.

            We haven’t yet solved the problem of armed robberies in America either, but that doesn’t mean that prosecuting criminals is pointless. Prosecuting bank robbers every time we catch them will remain an integral part of the solution until the cows come home.

          2. America doesn’t give a fuck about concentration camps and mass execution as long as we think the people doing it can’t threaten us.

            Yeah, this was basically the point I was trying to make below. If WWII Germany had been a major trading partner, I doubt we’d have gone to war with them either.

        2. The reason they’re not as belligerent towards us as they used to be is because our trade relationship is more important to them than posing strategic military threats.

          Well, frankly, it’s not like we’re going to present any sort of significant military opposition to them as long as they mostly stay calm and continue selling us cheap shit.

  35. Iran:

    “Spreading unrest in Iran raises the prospect of broader antigovernment protests as the political leadership in Tehran faces mounting pressure from a Trump administration effort to cut the country’s oil sales.

    Hundreds of people took to the streets in the southwestern city of Khorramshahr over the weekend in a demonstration prompted by anger at dirty drinking water that turned into an expression of broader grievances against the government in Tehran.

    The upheaval came after thousands of people swarmed Tehran’s Grand Bazaar last week, as the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani struggles to deal with soaring unemployment, a collapsing currency and other economic woes. Businesses in the bazaar shut down for days.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/ne…..530476940?

    If Iran continues to insist on enriching their own uranium, when they could purchase uranium sufficiently enriched for civilian use from Russia or elsewhere–even at the cost of a collapsing currency, civil unrest at home, and out of control inflation?

    We should all ask ourselves why.

    P.S. The wars Iran could afford to fight since Obama let them off the hook are on Obama’s hands.

    1. “P.S. The wars Iran could afford to fight since Obama let them off the hook are on Obama’s hands.”

      What war is Iran fighting?

      1. Are you kidding?

        1. What war? Syria? Where Hezbollah is fighting ISIS? If anything, Iran is taking the same position espoused by Trump in Syria: eradicate ISIS and maintain stability. The only difference is that Trump is indifferent to whether or not Assad goes, whereas, Iran want so prop up their ally.

          1. Excuse me, are you justifying Iran fighting in Syria, or are you saying they’re not fighting in Syria?

            What about Yemen?

            Is this all about Obama? You don’t like me saying bad things about Obama–to the point that you’d prefer not to believe that Iranian Revolutionary Army are involved in Syria and Yemen because that might make Obama look bad?

            Have you had your coffee this morning?

            Are you hung over or sick?

            1. This has nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with an Iran obsession among some. It’s just as crazy as the recent Russia obsession.

              Iran is in Syria, no more than Turkey and Saudi Arabia are in Syria. Yemen is more shameful to the American and Saudi side then the Iranians. We are starving that country, because they ousted the Saudi backed government.

              1. One of the primary complaints in the thousands of protests that broke out all over Iran back in December and January was that the Iranian government is fighting wars elsewhere, when the economy at home is suffering.

                They’re sending troops, money, and equipment to Yemen and elsewhere–even as the value of Iran’s currency has fallen by half since a year ago? Why wouldn’t average Iranians be upset about that?

                Your obsession with people’s Iranian obsession is approaching Jane Fonda levels if it leads you to imagine that Iran isn’t fighting in Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere–because you don’t want people to think that Iran is the problem?

                Beware Jane Fonda syndrome. No need to climb onto an AA gun–and even Jane Fonda during the worst of her Nixon Derangement Syndrome didn’t argue that the North Vietnamese weren’t actually fighting a war.

                Meanwhile, the fact that the Iranian government would prefer to suffer unrest because of sanctions and the currency falling through the floor than give up enriching their own uranium remains telling–and open up question that remain unanswered by you.

      2. Russia and Iran live rent free in the minds of people with different political dispositions. I guess some just need a bogeyman

  36. Tesla churned out 5,000 Model 3s last week:

    “Musk said the company hit its target of 5,000 Model 3s in a week, according to an email sent to employees on Sunday afternoon and seen by Reuters.”

    http://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/29…..mbers.html

    Elon Musk to the haters: Eat shit.

    1. What a punch-face. No mention of the punk’ing back from Ford? “7000 cars, 4 hours”.

      1. If Ford could buy Tesla, they would, though, right?

        1. They can. It’s publicly traded, but has never made a dime other than peddling government certificates.

          1. Ford would buy it for the name brand and the technology.

            Tesla’s stock valuation isn’t smoke and mirrors–especially if Musk can hit production targets. The stock has tremendous earnings potential, and if Ford could buy it, they would.

            Ford has a market cap of $43.2 billion and a p/e ratio of 6.

            Tesla has a market cap of $58.6 billion and a p/e ratio of infinity.

            The market is certainly not being irrational in its estimation of Ford’s earnings potential, and if Ford could acquire Tesla and get some of multiple applied to their own earnings, they would.

            They can’t. Ford doesn’t acquire Tesla because they can’t.

            1. It’s relatively easy to hit “production targets” when you keep shifting the target dates forward.
              Musk is a contemptible shit ? America’s prime venture socialist. The PT Barnum of crony capitalism.

              1. And he could still be successful.

                If he’s successful and we never said he couldn’t be, at least we can still argue that the technology would have been successful without the crony capitalism.

                Claim his successes are all failures, and eventually we risk being laughed out of the conversation entirely.

            2. “Tesla’s stock valuation isn’t smoke and mirrors–especially if Musk can hit production targets. The stock has tremendous earnings potential, and if Ford could buy it, they would.”

              Yes, Tesla’s stock valuation is smoke and mirrors. No, he can’t hit production targets. In it’s entire existence, Tesla has never even once met a single production target.

              Musk thought he could redesign the automotive production process, while introducing significant changes to the design / engineering of an automobile, from scratch. He thought he could fix what he saw as flaws in the production process of the incumbent automakers while ignoring everything they were doing right. It has been a total failure, but Musk refuses to recognize/admit that it has failed.

              1. You seem to have some fundamental misunderstandings.

                Tesla’s valuation is based on technology and that technology’s earnings potential. They’re aggressively pursuing profitability by cost cutting. They laid off almost 10% of their workforce two weeks ago. They’re meeting their production targets–to the satisfaction of buyers and holders of the stock.

                If you sell Tesla’s stock right now, you don’t get smoke or mirrors for it. You get real cash. If you want to buy Tesla’s stock, you’ll need to cough up some cash, too. Smoke and mirrors won’t cut it.

                Technology has earnings potential regardless of whether you approve of the methods that brought it to market, and if other people come to imagine Tesla’s success or failure is somehow emblematic of how capitalism works because of your personal biases, then they’re being led astray–regardless of where Tesla lands in the end.

                1. “and that technology’s earnings potential.”

                  What earnings potential, Tesla hasn’t had a single profitable quarter yet.

                  “They’re meeting their production targets”

                  Bullshit. Compare any quarter’s results from the projections Musk issued in the prior quarter, they aren’t even close.

                  “If you sell Tesla’s stock right now, you don’t get smoke or mirrors for it. You get real cash. If you want to buy Tesla’s stock, you’ll need to cough up some cash, too.”

                  All that proves is that there are a lot of delusional idiots who’ve drunk the Kool-Aid being passed out by Musk’s cult of personality.

    2. Beating a self-imposed deadline, the final car rolling off the assembly line on Sunday morning, several hours after the midnight goal set by Musk, two workers at the factory told Reuters on Sunday.

      I don’t know how else to read this sentence other than ‘They failed.’

      I mean, it was close and all and good on them for getting them pushed out, but that’s a lot of words to say that ‘the goal was met hours after the deadline.’

      1. Hey, according to weather forecasters, the low temperature on Tuesday morning is listed as “Monday’s” low. So there’s precedent.

        1. So there’s precedent.

          Yeah, I’ve seen that movie. I can only assume the all-electric Elon Musk version is much more lame.

  37. I think I’d actually be more concerned about Trump returning a call from the real Menendez.

  38. this tells me trumps is very accommodating unlike the obama

    1. Who’s accommodating are all the women he fucks or rapes outside of his marriage.

      1. It’s just sex, you prude.

  39. “Whether you’re a republican or democrat you should be truly scared by how easily I got through to the President,”

    Why?

  40. At first I weirdly read that one bit about children as meaning that when someone gives birth, ALL federal employees go on a 12 week vacation to celebrate.

  41. How is a bad thing that a citizen can speak to the President? Back in the 19th century, the White House was open to the Public and privaye citizens could even approach the President. Isn’t it better for a representative republic that a private citizen can speak directly to their elected leaders, rather then the current system were a flunkee screens calls?

  42. How is a bad thing that a citizen can speak to the President? Back in the 19th century, the White House was open to the Public and privaye citizens could even approach the President. Isn’t it better for a representative republic that a private citizen can speak directly to their elected leaders, rather then the current system were a flunkee screens calls?

  43. OT: Given her 100% turnaround in things she opposed/supported under Obama and under Trump, is it time to wonder if Jennifer Rubin is just a racist who REALLY

    1. hates black folks? I mean, Trump does what she claimed Obama should have done and she hates him for it. So, it seems, her issue is that a black dude was doing stuff.

      Should the WaPo be employing such a bigot?

  44. I’m pretty sure the left would cry foul if Milo called Pelosi pretending to be Trump to get her to say a bunch of stupid stuff.

  45. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) is pushing legislation to give all federal employees 12 weeks of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of children.

    We should definitely not be incentivizing federal employees to breed or otherwise raise children.

  46. You want transparency? Then what’s wrong w being able to phone the prez?

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