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  • During today's House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearings, Rep. Ted Lieu exposed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as being more interested in speaking at the CPAC convention than in dealing with the coronavirus.

    Earlier in the day Trump's Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney claimed the media is focusing on the coronavirus just to bring down Donald Trump and he also told Americans (not making this up) to ignore what was happening.

    "The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president," Mulvaney concluded. "The reason you're seeing so much attention to [the coronavirus] today is that they think this is going to be what brings down the president. That's what this is all about."

    During his questioning of Mike Pompeo, Rep. Lieu asked if he agreed with Mulvaney's assessment that the coronavirus was the "hoax of the day?"

    Instead of answering the question directly Pompeo said the State Department was doing everything it could to protect American citizens.

    Rep. Lieu, once again asked him if he believed the coronavirus was a hoax of the day and Pompeo continued to refuse to answer.

    Then the California Congressman directly asked him, "Do you believe the coronavirus is a hoax?"

    "You can't even answer that question?" he said.

    Pompeo hesitated and Rep. Lieu said it's not even a gotcha question.

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  • On Wednesday, Milwaukee became the site of the latest mass shooting. Anthony Ferrill, a 51 year old electrician and long time employee at the Molson Coors brewery chose to bring two handguns - one equipped with a silencer - to his job site. He shot and killed five coworkers before turning one of the handguns on himself, committing suicide.

    Authorities have not given an official motive, but it is known that Ferrill was a gun nut and was often seen going around the neighborhood carrying a gun. We also know that Ferrill had an ongoing dispute with one of the victims and felt that he was being discriminated against due to being African American. It also appeared that he had a dysfunctional thought process:

    About a year ago, the co-worker said, Ferrill started saying he believed brewery workers were coming into his home, bugging his computer and moving chairs around.

    "I was: 'Are you serious, Anthony? What?' We all kind of joked about it, saying we should maybe get him an aluminum hat. Things just started getting weird. But he was dead serious about it," the co-worker said.

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  • In another impressive exchange during yesterday's budget hearing, Betsy DeVos exhibits the selective ignorance so common in the GOP cult of Trump, but this time in relation to her precious charter schools. Oh, don't you come for her charter schools, Rep. Mark Pocan.

    Don't you dare question the charter schools that, according to a recent study from the Network for Public Education, has wasted $1 billion of its grant money, illegally discriminated against children in the admissions process, pushed out low-performing students, and whose CMOs (Charter Management Organizations) had serious conflicts of interest with the schools they managed. The authors of that study just "had it in" for charter schools, can't you see that?

    REP. POCAN: Madam Secretary, I think just the fact that you couldn't answer yes or no, and you look at this terrible rating of charter schools, this is why people have a worry that there could be a conflict or something else...

    DEVOS: You're wrong about charter schools.

    REP. POCAN: They're not performing academically. 40% are closing down that you're giving grants to. That's a waste...

    DEVOS: That is not true.

    REP. POCAN: That's a waste...

    DEVOS: That has been a totally debunked report. It was nothing but propaganda by an individual who has an IN for charter schools.

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  • It's very important not to punch down when making one's point.

    So, when we tell you that 38% of Americans surveyed said they wouldn't buy Corona beer "'under any circumstances' because of the outbreak" of coronavirus, it is not for the purposes of making fun of them. It's simply too easy to draw that line between that 38% and the 38% of people who think Hair Fürer is doing a swell job kEaPiNg AmeRiCa GrEaT. Low-hanging fruit, y'all.

    We can just leave that to Twitter.

  • Rights advocates expressed outrage and severe concerns after the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday it is creating an official task force devoted to "denaturalization"—the process by which the government strips citizenship from foreign-born Americans, or naturalized citizens.

    "Of all the dystopian shit—a department of denaturalization at DOJ might take the biscuit," tweeted activist Joel Braunold. "Means immigrant Americans (such as myself) will always have a threat to displace us if we step out of line."

    The Justice Department claimed in its announcement that the motivation for the new unit stems from a desire to strip citizenship from terrorists or sex offenders whose citizenship was "illegally procured" by lying about past crimes.

    "When a terrorist or sex offender becomes a U.S. citizen under false pretenses, it is an affront to our system—and it is especially offensive to those who fall victim to these criminals," Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said in a statement.

    Officially termed the "The Denaturalization Section," Hunt said the unit "will further the Department's efforts to pursue those who unlawfully obtained citizenship status and ensure that they are held accountable for their fraudulent conduct."

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  • You cannot make this stuff up:

    One day after briefing the press in an attempt to calm nerves about the spread of the new coronavirus, President Donald Trump spent 45 minutes talking to the lead actors of a low-budget conservative play about the so-called Deep State.

    Phelim McAleer, the playwright behind the play FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers, told The Daily Beast that the meeting with Trump had originally been scheduled for just 15 minutes but went 30 minutes longer than that.

    "We went for a 15-minute meeting that took 45 minutes," McAleer said. "We were there for 45 minutes in the Oval Office, and he loves it, he loves the play."

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  • If you're a regular follower of the music club, you may know that yours truly will soon be moving to a few states away from the one I've been living in most of my life. There's a lot to situate and do and little time to get it all done right.

    After tonight, I am turning over my keys of the music club to very capable hands so I can get such things done.

    It's been great fun to turn you on to tunes I've been digging over the last four years and some months and, who knows, maybe once I am settled in at my new digs and a new work gig, I will return and kick out some more jams for you.

    Until then, let me leave you with the first big rock band I ever saw live. It was Cheap Trick at the small arena in my hometown of Port Huron, Michigan in 1981. I was 14 years old and was a massive fan of the band. It ruled!

    If you wanna keep up to date on my adventures from now until whenever, you can find me at Twitter, Instagram and, of course, at Smashin' Transistors.

    Oh, by the way, what are you listening to tonight?

    Editor's note: We're so grateful for Dale's contribution to C&L and wish him every happiness in his new digs! The Music Club is moving to Saturday nights, and you'll see a lot more music posts in our nightly open threads as well. As always, feel free to share what's playing on your hi-fi in open threads every night here at Crooks and Liars.

  • NOTE: Be sure to stop by tonight's music club. Tonight is Dale's last post as he retires from C&L to enjoy new opportunities. We wish him well! We'll be posting more music in open thread format and start our new feature, C&L's Saturday Night Music Club, tomorrow night. -- Eds.

    Open thread below...

  • Americans haven't seen or heard a White House press briefing in almost a year since Sarah Huckabee Sanders left the position. It's affecting the country and public at large.

    Whether it's complimenting some very fine white supremacists, the ever-changing reasoning behind the killing of an Iranian general or Sharpie-gate revolving around hurricane directions, Trump's briefings have been a disaster.

    And that hasn't been more evident since we had the Coronavirus health crisis.

    Donald Trump took over all press events from the day Stephanie Grisham was appointed White House Press Secretary, and now they've become far and few between, limited in scope to whatever jag or rant he goes on.

    Instead of informing the public, he brags about his own greatness, and then constantly lashes out at his critics and political rivals even when he's at a prayer breakfast

    Meanwhile, Americans are suffering.

    Trump hijacked the coronavirus briefing last week because it was a photo opportunity to promote himself. His presence wasn't reassuring and had nothing to do with the possible pandemic but all to do with his reelection campaign.

    And to make it worse, Trump was incoherent and talked nonsense about the virus and even the flu and had to be contradicted by the medical community because he spread so much false information.

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  • The Mahablog: Will somebody do something about the damn debates?

    Mock Paper Scissors: Questionable claims from Mick Mulvaney.

    Press Watch: Big media is covering up Trump's terrifying incoherence in a time of emergency.

    John Pavlovitz: You can't gaslight a pandemic, Donald.

    This installment by Batocchio. E-mail tips to mbru AT crooksandliars DOT com.

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