Monday, December 21st, 2020


Boxers or Debriefs

During a debriefing, Russian agent Konstantin Kudryavtsev gave new meaning to fire in my loins when he explained how Alexey Navalny was followed and then poisoned by toxins embedded in his underwear. The agent let it all hang out, sharing the details of his team's endowment plan. "But the agent was not speaking to an official in Russia's National Security Council as he thought. He was talking to Navalny himself, who almost died after being poisoned in August ... At times he is clearly apprehensive about talking on an unsecured line but Navalny, speaking at times in a brusque and urgent way, persuades him that senior officials are demanding a report immediately and says that 'all of this will be discussed at the Security Council on the highest level.'" Navalny's underwear was poisoned, but his foe was caught with his pants down. Taint that a shame. To avoid such horrors in my drawers, I always go commando. (Just kidding, I'm a neurotic, Jewish middle aged male. I wear one pair of briefs under my pants, and one pair over just to be safe.) CNN: Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny dupes spy into revealing how he was poisoned.


Stim Shot

After months of deliberations, Congress is finally set to sign off on a new stimulus package that includes direct payments, unemployment benefits, and "a new tax break for business meal expenses, nicknamed the 'three martini' deduction." Reuters: What's in the U.S. COVID-19 bill?


Individual One Not Done

Everyone in the administration is making plans for new gigs after January 20. But one person can't let it go. And it's a dangerous person. "President Trump remains defiant, refusing to publicly acknowledge that he lost on Nov. 3. In a recent meeting with allies, he discussed deploying the military to rerun the election and appointing Sidney Powell as a special counsel on voter fraud." Trump sat in the Oval Office chatting with the fully crazy Sidney Powell and the fully treasonous Michael Flynn about ways to overturn the election, including the use of the military. Everyone who said we were exaggerating about the risk posed by Trump was wrong. And while I don't usually believe in clairvoyants, telepaths, or psychics, Adam Schiff told us how things would play out if the Senate left Trump in office. And just about every warning has come true.

+ A week after the election, with the help of a psychoanalyst, I explained why Trump's spiral was inevitable. You can't imagine the internal pressure Trump is under right now. No sane person could. It's about psychic survival. Grand Theft Autogolpe. Here it is as a Twitter thread if you want to share.

+ Peter Wehner in The Atlantic: Trump Is Losing His Mind.

+ Barr says no need for special counsels to investigate election or Hunter Biden. (Barr lets a tiny bit of truth slip out and it's front page news.)

+ "Watching the Trump campaign's attacks on the election results, I now see what might have happened if, rather than nip and tuck the Trump agenda, responsible Justice Department attorneys had collectively — ethically, lawfully — refused to participate in President Trump's systematic attacks on our democracy from the beginning. The attacks would have failed." Erica Newland in the NYT: I'm Haunted by What I Did. So is America.


Fox Hounded

"Smartmatic wasn't even used in the contested states. The company, now a major global player with over 300 employees, pulled out of the United States in 2007 after a controversy over its founders' Venezuelan roots, and its only involvement this November was with a contract to help Los Angeles County run its election. In an era of brazen political lies, Mr. Mugica has emerged as an unlikely figure with the power to put the genie back in the bottle. Last week, his lawyer sent scathing letters to the Fox News Channel, Newsmax and OAN demanding that they immediately, forcefully clear his company's name — and that they retain documents for a planned defamation lawsuit." The NYT's Ben Smith on the lawsuit that is scaring the crap out of Fox News and other monstrous organizations posing as news outlets. Like social networks who won't shut off fake news and hate speech, this is their achilles heel: Money. The ‘Red Slime' Lawsuit That Could Sink Right-Wing Media.

+ Lou Dobbs airs stunning fact-check of his own election conspiracies after company threatens legal action. (When faced with a lawsuit, suddenly the network that gives zero Fox has a tail between its legs.)

+ Fox News Summed Up: Rupert gets vaccine as Tucker Carlson highlights bad vaccine reaction.


Meat Scraps

"To understand how things got to this point — how American cities came to be held hostage to global meat corporations — there may be no better place to go than Waterloo, where the outbreak at Tyson's pork plant took a stunning toll on both workers and the community.
The damage left behind illustrates what's at stake as key Republicans push for granting widespread immunity to corporations, shielding them from repercussions related to Covid-19. To date, at least 1,500 and as many as 1,800 of the 2,800 workers at the Waterloo plant have been infected with the virus, and eight have died." ProPublica: The Battle for Waterloo. The pandemic was a story of the powerful and the powerless, and nowhere was that more obvious than in American meat plants where owners made record profits and workers were dead meat.


Vaccine of the Crime

"Asked if the US could soon see 'up to 5,000 deaths a day', Trump administration vaccine adviser Dr Moncef Slaoui told CNN's State of the Union: 'I think, unfortunately, it will get worse, because we still are experiencing the outcome of the Thanksgiving holidays and the gatherings and unfortunately there may be more over the Christmas holidays, there will be a continuing surge.'" Moderna vaccine shipments begin as US reels under Covid surge.

+ NPR: Millions Of People Flying Despite Public Health Pleas To Stay Put. (There is a light at the end of the tunnel and millions of Americans are running in the opposite direction. Why?)

+ European nations are throwing up travel barriers to the UK over fears of a more transmissible strain of the coronavirus.


Love? Actually?

"Over the course of nine months, beginning in July 2018, Smythe quit her job, moved out of the apartment, and divorced her husband. What could cause the sensible Smythe to turn her life upside down? She fell in love with a defendant whose case she not only covered, but broke the news of his arrest. It was a scoop that ignited the Internet, because her love interest, now life partner, is not just any defendant, but Martin Shkreli." Stephanie Clifford in Elle with the holy crap story of the day: The Journalist and the Pharma Bro. (And you thought your 2020 was weird...)


Herd on the Street

Dating app Bumble files confidentially for IPO. "Bumble enables women to make the first move when matching with a prospective date. The firm was founded by Whitney Wolfe Herd in 2014. Herd is a cofounder of the dating app Tinder."


Jet Lag

"Just how meaningful was the Jets' win over the Rams? It resets the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, reshapes the conversation surrounding Sam Darnold's future, and could reorient the AFC pecking order for years to come." The Jets finally won. And it's terrible news for the Jets.


Bottom of the News

"Most people turn to OnlyFans for the money or exhibitionistic thrill — but these guys wanna use it as motivation to get yolked." The Guys Making P*rn as Exercise Motivation. (At my age, just watching p*rn is aerobic.)

+ My cat always wants to come on walks with my beagles. So we solved the problem.

+ Here are YouTube's top earners in 2020. (Warning: The top earner is 9.)

+ Mom Goes Viral After Keeping Trump Presidency Hidden From Her Son for Past Four Years. (I should have tried that with NextDraft. I'd have 80 million subscribers.)