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GOP Congressman Admits Debt Ceiling Fight Was About Helping 2024 Republican Nominee

A national default is OK as long as Republicans win the White House, according to this logic.

Representative Dan Bishop speaks at a podium on the House floor
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Representative Dan Bishop

One Republican congressman outright admitted his frustration that, if the debt ceiling gets resolved, the Republican presidential nominee won’t be able to run in 2024 on the chaos that would come if the country defaults.

“And what does the device of two years do?” North Carolina Representative Dan Bishop posed incredulously on Tuesday, flanked by far-right colleagues like Lauren Boebert and Byron Donalds. “It removes the issue from the national conversation during the presidential election to come. How could you more successfully kneecap any Republican president than to take that issue out of his or her hands?”

As Congress approaches a Wednesday vote to avoid the nation defaulting on its debt, far-right House Republicans have complained that a bill making the IRS more ineffective, imposing work requirements on more people, and ensuring military spending remains high is not enough.

Their intransigence apparently was not just about cutting as much as they could but also about carrying water for the eventual nominee—which, for most far-right members like Bishop, means Donald Trump. Republicans voted three times to raise the debt ceiling under the twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former president.

The admission by Bishop follows Matt Gaetz’s acknowledgment last week that the debt limit talks were just about holding the government (and America) “hostage.”

All this to say, if there is any guiding principle or through line between Republicans threatening economic disaster, then complaining about America avoiding it, all while having voted to avoid such disasters in the past—it’s simply: Live and die at Trump’s beck and call.

Conservatives Are Now Boycotting Chick-fil-A for Not Being Homophobic Enough

Right-wingers are mad that the fast food chain is turning woke.

Chick-fil-A sign
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Bud Light apparently went too far after influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who is transgender, posted an Instagram video promoting a March Madness contest. Target apparently went too far by selling shirts with rainbows. And now, conservatives are setting their brain-poisoned sights on … Chick-fil-A, for the crime of having an H.R. department.

Italian American political commentator Joey Mannarino—who says his pronouns are “Shut/Up”—was at the forefront of whipping up the outrage on Monday:

“It’s only a matter of time until they start putting tranny semen in the frosted lemonade at this point,” Mannarino continued, making up a very odd scenario. Mannarino tweeted his fears while linking to Chick-fil-A’s diversity, equity, and inclusion page, where the company highlights its efforts to create a culture of belonging, invest in scholarship funds, and fight hunger.

Mannarino later posted a video—sporting sunglasses on a nice-looking balcony in Miami—insisting that he is “not mad.” (After all, he says, “I’m chilling, drinking a glass of wine on a nice afternoon.”) But he went on to claim that DEI programs are the real racism and that it’s not crazy for him to say Chick-fil-A will put “tranny semen in the frosted lemonade” because Bud Light is already apparently doing that.

Mannarino’s posts have incited an uproar among far-right online users, from noted conspiracy-peddler Stew Peters to self-proclaimed “moderate” Tim Pool.

A basic fact-check first: The company has not “just hired a VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” The current vice president has in fact served in the role since November 2021.

The real humor, of course, is the idea of conservatives boycotting one of the more historically culturally conservative chains in America. As of 2012, Chick-fil-A had donated over $5 million to viciously anti-LGTBQ groups. At the time, as the company faced backlash for the revelations, Republicans like Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee even led vapid counterprotesting efforts, like “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, to reward the company for not supporting same-sex marriage.

And even while the company eventually promised in 2019 to stop donating to anti-LGBTQ groups, its owner, Dan Cathy, hasn’t. Cathy is a major donor to a far-right organization that bankrolled efforts to kill the Equality Act, which would have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Despite all that, online conservatives have whipped themselves up into a frenzy at the idea of a company embracing the notion of different kinds of people feeling equal and included.

The asymmetry of what people care about would be all the more funny—if it weren’t so depressing. Different factions of the left in America are boycotting deep-seated systems of power: anti-LGBTQ companies, the war machine, toxic fossil fuel interests, Israel and its treatment of Palestine. The far right, meanwhile, is attacking pretty much any entity that even expresses support or affirmation for diversity or queer people.

And they seem to have bountiful gratitude toward one individual in particular—who has platformed much of this conspiratorial brain-melting sludge, if not expressed support for it himself.

“@ElonMusk giving us back Twitter has allowed us to effectively organize and boycott companies where we can do genuine financial damage,” Mannarino proclaimed Monday.

Here Are the House Republicans Expected to Vote Against the Debt Ceiling Deal

Kevin McCarthy does not have his entire party behind him.

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Kevin McCarthy

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy seems confident that he can rally enough Republican votes to pass the new debt ceiling bill—but it doesn’t look like he’ll have an easy time.

Republican and White House negotiators finally reached a deal over the weekend to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default, just days before the U.S. government runs out of money. But the outcry from the GOP has been swift.

At least 25 Republican representatives have already stated they intend to vote against the bill. Others have expressed opposition to the measure, a sign that they will likely vote “no.” Texas Representative Wesley Hunt and Florida Representative Cory Mills both said they would not vote for the deal.

Matt Gaetz said he, Ken Buck, Tim Burchett, and Andy Biggs (who has never been a McCarthy fan) “have never voted to raise the Debt Limit for this woke and weaponized government.” Victoria Spartz said she “will NOT support this gamesmanship” and suggested giving negotiators more time to make a new deal—even though there’s no time left, thanks to Republican refusal to negotiate.

Nancy Mace said she would vote “no” on the bill and called Washington “broken.” (Take this one with a grain of salt though. Mace very publicly opposed three previous GOP leadership-backed bills: one to remove Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee, an anti-abortion bill, and McCarthy’s previous debt limit bill. She ultimately voted for all of those measures, so the odds are good she will pull a similar 180 here.)

Other definite “no”s include Chip Roy, Anna Paulina Luna, Byron Donalds, and Lauren Boebert—all members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus that vehemently opposed McCarthy’s bid for speakership and has been a thorn in his side ever since he won the gavel. McCarthy made multiple concessions to the caucus in order to become speaker, including restoring the motion to vacate, which would allow any single member of the House to call for a vote to remove him.

Members expected to vote “no” include Andy Ogles, Clay Higgins, and George Santos. Santos’s opposition is surprising, given he essentially owes his continued congressional career to McCarthy. The speaker has repeatedly been willing to overlook Santos’s many, many fabrications and legal troubles in order to keep the House majority. Mike Lee has also indicated he opposes the bill, tweeting that the House Rules committee should reject the deal and negotiators draw up a new one, “this time without the capitulation.”

This post has been updated.

Kevin McCarthy: We’re Putting Work Requirements on ... Kids?

That’s one way to sell your debt ceiling deal to the American public.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

On Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy took to the morning shows to boast about a deal made between Republicans and White House leadership to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for spending cuts and work requirements. And one of the benefits of the deal, according to McCarthy? Requiring kids to work for their benefits.

“In this family, we may have a child that [is] able-bodied, not married, no kids, but he’s sitting on the couch collecting welfare,” McCarthy said on Fox. “We’re going to put work requirements on that individual, so he’s going to have work requi—he’s going to get a job. And he’s gonna make the life easier.”

Presumably, McCarthy was referring to individuals above the age of 18 who may be living with their family (though, given the GOP’s recent hustle to become the party of child labor, uncertainty is understandable here).

It’s unclear what exactly McCarthy is referring to in his remarks. The debt deal proposes imposing new work requirements for food assistance, or SNAP, on childless adults aged 54 and younger—raising the current maximum age of 49. The bill also lowers the percentage of people states can exempt from work requirements for SNAP. But all homeless people, veterans, and young people aging out of foster care will be exempt from the requirements. There’s not much else the bill does to target “children” sitting on their parents’ couches.

As far as cash assistance goes, the bill modifies the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families formula, potentially making it harder for some states to disburse cash assistance at all.

All that is to say, McCarthy is doing his routes on the TV news circuit, boasting about putting work requirements on “children,” all while actually not doing so at all. He’s reminding the country of Republicans’ desire to turn kids into laborers, and also misleading conservatives who actually do want such work requirements.

Trump Lawyer Wasn’t Allowed to Search for Classified Documents in Mar-a-Lago Office

Evan Corcoran was stopped by someone from searching the exact place where many of Trump’s classified documents were kept.

Donald Trump raises his hand in a wave. He wears a white Make America Great Again cap.
James Devaney/GC Images

Donald Trump’s lawyer says he was prevented from searching for classified documents in the former president’s office at Mar-a-Lago, where the FBI later found the most sensitive materials kept at the resort.

Evan Corcoran found 38 classified documents in the estate storage room last June following a Department of Justice subpoena, and he told the department that that was all there was to be found. The FBI raided Mar-a-Lago two months later and seized 101 additional classified documents, including from Trump’s office. The documents found in the office were some of the most highly classified of the entire batch.

Corcoran told associates that several Trump aides told him all materials brought from the White House after Trump left were kept in the storage room, so he only needed to search there, The Guardian reported Tuesday. Corcoran said he asked whether he should search the office too, but was sent away from the room and never allowed to search it.

Corcoran did not specify who steered him away from the office, whether it was Trump himself or an aide. A Trump spokesperson has denied the allegation. But The Guardian points out that Corcoran’s new account suggests he was intentionally misled about the documents.

This wouldn’t be the first time Trump or one of his allies misled his own legal team about the documents. A judge ruled in March that some of Trump’s attorney-client privileges could be “pierced,” after prosecutors on special counsel Jack Smith’s team found that Trump intentionally misled his own lawyers, including Corcoran, about keeping classified materials when he left office.

U.S. Judge Beryl Howell ordered Corcoran to comply with a grand jury subpoena for testimony on six different lines of inquiry. She also ordered him to hand over records of Trump’s alleged “criminal scheme,” including handwritten notes, invoices, and transcriptions of personal audio recordings.

Some of those notes revealed that Corcoran had warned Trump about needing to comply with the Justice Department’s subpoenas. The notes reveal that Trump and his valet, Walt Nauta, knew exactly where and when Corcoran was planning to search for the documents at Mar-a-Lago. Nauta had previously testified that Trump asked him to move boxes out of the storage room both before and after the subpoena was issued.

According to Corcoran’s notes, Nauta had offered to help him look through the boxes in the storage room, which Corcoran declined. But Corcoran took breaks during the multiday search, leaving the storage room unattended multiple times. The Guardian reported that it is possible prosecutors are investigating whether Nauta knew exactly what was in the boxes he was moving.

In addition to Smith’s investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents and role in January 6, the former president is also under investigation in Georgia for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. He has been indicted on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records for paying hush money to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Trump was found civilly liable for sexually abusing and defaming writer E. Jean Carroll—and last week, she sued him for defamation again over comments he made about her during a CNN town hall.

Happy 100th Birthday, Henry Kissinger

Still a war criminal

Adam Berry/Getty Images

One hundred years.

More years than many of us may be so fortunate to have on earth, a place where every minute, every day we have can significantly impact the time others have on earth too.

For years, outlets and writers have defended, sought to explain or complicate, and even hailed Henry Kissinger and his legacy.

Today, we remember all the minutes, all the days lost, from all the days Kissinger has lived and still has to come.

Happy 100th birthday, Henry Kissinger. You have a lot to answer for.

Poll: Half of Americans Don’t Know if the Abortion Pill Is Legal or Not

Republican attacks on mifepristone are succeeding.

Packages of Mifepristone tablets
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
Packages of Mifepristone tablets

Almost half of Americans don’t know whether the abortion pill mifepristone is legal, a report released Friday found, a sign that Republican attacks on abortion access are succeeding.

Mifepristone, one of the medications used to induce an abortion, is still legal nationwide, but it has gone through a lot of legal back-and-forth over the last few months. In April, the Supreme Court temporarily halted lower court rulings that would have restricted access to the pill. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to rule on mifepristone soon. If someone hasn’t been following the case closely, it would be understandable if they didn’t know what was going on anymore.

As it turns out, that is exactly the case. A poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 45 percent of all adults are “unsure” whether medication abortion is available in their state. If people live in a state that restricts or bans abortion, they are less likely to know what options are available to them.

For instance, in the 25 states and Washington, D.C., where abortion is legal, about 60 percent of people know current medication abortion laws. But in the 14 states where all abortion is banned, only one-third of people actually know this. More than half are unsure, and 13 percent believe medication abortion is still legal.

The confusion is the point: If people don’t know whether they can get an abortion or not, then they will be less likely to seek one out of fear of the legal repercussions. This will mean fewer abortions overall, the same result as banning mifepristone altogether. So even if the pill remains available, anti-abortion activists have already won by leaving health care providers and patients scrambling to try to figure out what options, if any, they actually have.

KFF surveyed nearly 1,700 adults between May 9 and 19, shortly after the Supreme Court kept mifepristone legal. The poll also followed a series of bombshell reports that Justice Clarence Thomas secretly accepted lavish gifts for decades from billionaire Republican megadonor and Nazi memorabilia collector Harlan Crow. These were soon followed by reports that Justice Neil Gorsuch sold property to the CEO of a law firm whose lawyers have argued about two dozen cases before the Supreme Court and that Chief Justice John Roberts’s wife was allegedly paid more than $10 million by law firms, at least one of which has argued before the Supreme Court.

The scandals have tanked public opinion of the nation’s highest court. The KFF poll found that 58 percent of Americans disapprove of how the Supreme Court does its job. This matches a poll conducted by NPR, PBS NewsHour, and the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in late April that found that 62 percent of Americans say they have not very much confidence or no confidence at all in the Supreme Court. This is the lowest number since the NPR/PBS/Marist poll was first conducted in 2018, when almost twice as many people said they had confidence in the court.

The KFF poll went a step further and found that only 37 percent of Americans trust the court to decide on cases about reproductive and sexual health. Only about half of Americans trust the court to weigh in on cases about science and technology (55 percent), the role of the federal government (53 percent), and the Affordable Care Act (49 percent).

The Supreme Court has become increasingly politicized, from the appointment process to the justices themselves, and people are starting to see it. That politicization chips away at public trust in the institution. It’s no longer clear that the court will uphold people’s rights, as opposed to wielding its almost absolute authority to impose its personal beliefs on the country.

Matt Walsh Is Selling Plush Toys of Himself in a Diaper “for Your Kids to Play With”

The far-right commentator has led the charge about LGBTQ people grooming kids. Now he’s selling this monstrosity.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Far-right commentator Matt Walsh

Right-wing commentator Matt Walsh is selling plush toys of himself donning a diaper “for your kids to play with.”

“I’ve been informed that as of today you can get your own, very own stuffed sweet baby by purchasing yours from the Swag Shack at daily wire dot com slash shop,” Walsh said on his program.

The $24.99 product—marketed on the “Swag Shack” as being perfect “for your kids to play with—can be bought at a special premium too! Just $44.99 for a pair of twins.”

“I never asked for this, but some of you have,” Walsh said.

Who is asking for this?

Walsh’s career at this point is mainly dedicated to whipping up vicious conspiracy theories about LGBTQ people. He’s so far deep that in the aftermath of a mass shooting at a Colorado gay nightclub last year, which left five people dead and another 25 injured, Walsh didn’t express much concern at all for the actual victims of the hate crime. He instead threw a fit about some fictitious liberal agenda to use the mass shooting to force people to accept the sexualization of children (the logic, supposedly: Being gay means sexualizing children).

Earlier this week, Walsh menacingly said he’s “excited” for Pride Month, saying, “We have big plans.”

The plush toy sale, and Walsh’s eagerness for Pride Month, comes as the far right has increased its attacks on LGBTQ people and culture. This week, its new target has been … Target, for selling clothes with rainbows on them. Its issue is that one specific brand also makes a shirt that says, “Satan respects pronouns”—something not sold in Target. Nevertheless, figures like Walsh, Benny Johnson, Ben Shapiro, and others have targeted Target (and their minimum-wage workers) anyhow.

All that to say, this toy is already kind of weird for Walsh to be selling. But one need not even imagine how violently Walsh would respond if, say, any gay person on the street were selling a contextless plush toy of them in a diaper “for your kids to play with.” There’s not some sort of educational benefit to the toy, nor any practical use. Just a stuffed “sweet baby” Matt Walsh. In a diaper. For your kids to play with.

Sure, Walsh is hypocritical; but more than anything else, he’s just downright weird.

A Judge Has Temporarily Blocked South Carolina’s Extreme Abortion Ban

If it goes back into effect, the ban would block abortion before many people even know they’re pregnant.

Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Demonstrators at the South Carolina Statehouse on May 23

A judge temporarily halted South Carolina’s new draconian abortion ban on Friday, allowing abortions to continue until the state Supreme Court can review the measure.

Republican Governor Henry McMaster signed the measure, which bans abortion after six weeks, into law on Thursday. He did so behind closed doors, with no warning to doctors who could be about to perform a newly illegal procedure. The law went into immediate effect, and Planned Parenthood’s action arm sued the same day.

Judge Clifton Newman issued his ruling about 24 hours later, meaning abortion is once again legal up to about 20 weeks in South Carolina. “The status quo should be maintained until the Supreme Court reviews its decision,” Newman said. “It’s going to end up there.”

After Roe v. Wade was overturned, South Carolina enacted a six-week trigger ban, which the state Supreme Court blocked in January. One of the justices, John Few, said in a separate opinion that he had sided with the majority because he felt the 2021 law was poorly written and lacked proof that six weeks is enough time for someone to know they are pregnant (spoiler alert: It isn’t).

State Republicans have since tried to push through a new law that will circumvent the ruling, with new language aimed at swaying Few to vote in favor of it should the measure go up before the high court.

A similar ban had died in the legislature in late April after all the female senators, who span the political spectrum, banded together to filibuster the measure. But McMaster called the lawmakers back for a special session to consider multiple measures, including a new abortion ban, which finally passed the legislature on Tuesday.

With Newman’s ruling, South Carolina is once again one of the last states in the South to hold the line on abortion access; the only other state that does not restrict the procedure is Virginia. Florida and North Carolina codified new abortion restrictions in quick succession in recent months, decimating abortion rights in the Southeast.

Jamaal Bowman: Why Are We Negotiating With Economic Terrorists (Republicans)?

The New York representative does not see any need to negotiate with Republicans on the debt ceiling.

Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Jamaal Bowman is not impressed.

On Thursday, as Republicans continued their stall on allowing the government to increase the debt ceiling, the New York representative reiterated his urges to President Biden not to negotiate with “the economic terrorists here that are the Republican Party.”

“I’m very frustrated. I called on the president to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment and mint a coin, and do not negotiate with hostage-takers,” Bowman said to CNN’s Manu Raju. “I mean, we don’t negotiate with terrorists globally, why are we gonna negotiate with the economic terrorists here that are the Republican Party?”

Since then, the White House and Republicans have reportedly closed in on a deal that involves a two-year debt limit hike in exchange for maintaining the defense budget but cutting other spending, like $10 billion in IRS funding.

To Bowman’s point, Matt Gaetz outright admitted that the debt limit talks have just been about holding the government “hostage” (as if it was not already abundantly clear by Republicans’ actions). And while Republicans may not win every single one of the cuts they wanted—like instating work requirements on Medicaid and food stamps and repealing green energy programs—the cut in IRS funding is still worrisome. The additional funding Biden allocated to the agency has already led to massively faster support call times for Americans, and a cut of that size is expected to greatly limit the agency’s ability to audit wealthy tax cheats.

Most important is that none of these cuts had to happen, had the White House and Democrats put forth a stronger front earlier or even taken care of the debt ceiling before the new Congress was seated in January. Of course, it is Republicans’ fault for only now deciding to play hardball on doing something they happily did three times under twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former President Donald Trump. But Democrats know this is how the Republicans behave. And as Bowman said, it didn’t have to be this way.