Author Archives: Kris E. Benson

Full Name: Kris E. Benson Website:
Info: Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson
  you downplay just ONE genocide...

Helen Thomas Meets Deadline

Your Wonkette comes bearing sad news: Helen Thomas, “White House Crone,” died today at age 92 after a long and eventful tour through the halls of the White House. Younger Wonketeers may only know her from that 2010 video where she made anti-Semitic comments , but she was also the first woman assigned to a full time position as a White House reporter and, over the course of a half century, reported on every U.S. president from John Kennedy to Barack Obama. She was the only reporter to accompany Nixon to China. She asked hard questions that made G.W. appear almost — not quite, but almost — sympathetic in his bumbling idiocy, and — unlike many contemporary journalists (YOU KNOW WHO WE MEAN) could be combative and hostile to press secretaries and the presidents they worked for. For example, she practically called Dana Perino a warmongering hussy, right to her face, and asked Obama why the hell we were still in Afghanistan given the corruption of the Karzai regime, its inhospitable terrain, and the mounting death toll. And — in addition to doing all that — she stalked Stephen Colbert, which we present to you in her honor: Read more on Helen Thomas Meets Deadline…
  democracy is for suckers

Jimmy Carter Says NSA Surveillance Has Killed Democracy; Didn’t Notice Other Suspects Holding Bloody Axes (Updated)

Jimmy Carter, your Wonkette’s favorite elder statesman, caused a bit of a kerfuffle with statements made at a closed-door event in Atlanta for an Atlantic Bridge meeting:  “Amerika hat derzeit keine funktionierende Demokratie”, sagte Carter am Dienstag bei einer Veranstaltung der “Atlantik-Brücke” in Atlanta. No, the kerfuffle was not caused by Jimmy Carter speaking German at the Atlantic Bridge meeting; it is in German because no American press outlets showed up to cover the event. The kerfuffle resulted from the English translation of Der Spiegel‘s German translation of Jimmy Carter’s speech, as well as the context within which it was said. From HuffPo: Former President Jimmy Carter announced support for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden this week, saying that his uncovering of the agency’s massive surveillance programs had proven “beneficial” … “America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time,” Carter said, according to a translation by Inquisitr. UPDATED BELOW: Would you believe Jimmy Carter’s cool grandson, JE Carter IV, says nuh uh, never happened? Read more on Jimmy Carter Says NSA Surveillance Has Killed Democracy; Didn’t Notice Other Suspects Holding Bloody Axes (Updated)…
  Because Utah

Let’s Not Educate Our Kids Anymore, Suggests Genius Utah Senator

As we are sure you know, those laboratories of democracy have been very busy lately forcing women to have children against their will. But one Republican state senator from Utah is quite a multi-tasker! Because he has also found time to call for an end to mandatory education, looking to the Victorian era of Dickensian workhouses as a model for the state to pattern itself after: A Republican state senator in Utah is calling for the end of mandatory education in the state. State Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) wrote on the state Senate blogFriday that mandatory education in the state has forced teachers and schools to take on parenting responsibilities. Prior to the mandate taking effect in 1890, he wrote, education was “an opportunity” and parents were more engaged. Read more on Let’s Not Educate Our Kids Anymore, Suggests Genius Utah Senator…
  journamalism

American Government Propaganda is Not Actually Propaganda, Says Government Official

Congress has worse ratings than cockroaches, Genghis Khan, and Nickelback. More than half of Americans think that the country is heading in the wrong direction. Over half of Americans think of Edward Snowden as a whistle-blower rather than a traitor. Should the government: a) take a serious look at the country, its policies, and the general desires of the American people to consider how its institutions can better tailor their various goals and strategies to people’s needs or b) convince the American people that their opinions, needs, and desires are wrong. The answer, of course, is b) convince the American people that their opinions, needs, and desires are wrong. From Foreign Policy: Read more on American Government Propaganda is Not Actually Propaganda, Says Government Official…
  only commies want their workers off food stamps

DC Approves Living Wage Bill Despite Wal-Mart’s Threat To Take Its Ball And Go Home

Here is a number that has put District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray in the unenviable position of deciding who writes legislation for his city — Wal-mart, or the democratically elected city council: 12.50. See, the D.C. council, interested in shielding city residents from a cycle of endless poverty and government dependency, have voted for a living wage law mandating that retailers with indoor premises of over 75,000 sq feet and $1 billion in annual revenue pay their employees at least $12.50 per hour. Walmart is threatening to leave DC if the mayor does not veto the bill, saying it cannot possibly afford to pay employees at least $12.50 per hour, given that it can only afford to pay its CEO a paltry $20.7 million per year and is the number 2 company in the Fortune 500 list. Via the Washington Post: Read more on DC Approves Living Wage Bill Despite Wal-Mart’s Threat To Take Its Ball And Go Home…
  family traditions

Rand Paul’s Social Media Dude, The ‘Southern Avenger,’ Surely Only Southern-Avenging Non-Racist Things

After years of lurking in the shadows of his father’s success, Rand Paul has hired a racist, possibly anti-Semitic staffer to wrangle future Rand-tards using the power of the interwebs and help him assemble his own cadre of misguided white people. There is no way that this will end poorly, and soon it will be raining RAND paul-tards, lucky us! Oh, the name of this new staffer? Oh, it’s just the “Southern Avenger,” but don’t worry, he is not avenging anything that could possibly be construed as racist, like say annually raising a toast to John Wilkes Booth, so it’s fine! Read more on Rand Paul’s Social Media Dude, The ‘Southern Avenger,’ Surely Only Southern-Avenging Non-Racist Things…
  Money is overrated

Justice Department Now Paying Experienced Lawyers With Exposure Bucks, Whore Diamonds

What a tempting offer for our nation’s cadre of experienced lawyers: work for the Justice Department, reviewing applications for wiretaps in major federal criminal investigations. Probably this is pretty easy, given (as we’ve recently learned) that there is no reason NOT to ever wiretap! So if you want something a little more challenging, perhaps you can serve as a special attorney in the Office of Enforcement Operations. But wait! There’s more! Not only could you maybe work for the Justice Department for a year in either of these important positions, you can do it in exchange for absolutely no money! Yes! That’s right! You will get paid in Experience, which, like Exposure, is even better than money! Read more on Justice Department Now Paying Experienced Lawyers With Exposure Bucks, Whore Diamonds…
  let the hague sort it out

Wall Street Journal Wishes Egypt Could Benefit from Its Very Own Pinochet

Good news everyone! Egyptians have (once again) taken to Tahrir square by the millions, and, aided by the military, deposed a sitting president. What is the appropriate reaction here? Is it: a) indifference, because we are ethnocentric Americans who cannot even find Egypt on a map. b) elation, because, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  put it, “no one is free when others are oppressed” and the Egyptian people have once again proved that they are interested in controlling their own collective destiny. c) sadness, because the Egyptian people would be much better off if a psychopathic authoritarian dictator deposed a democratically elected president, killed or tortured thousands of people, and then imposed free market reforms. Duh, the correct answer according to the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board is: c) sadness, because the Egyptian people would be much better off if a psychopathic authoritarian dictator deposed a democratically elected president, killed or tortured thousands of people, and then imposed free market reforms. Read more on Wall Street Journal Wishes Egypt Could Benefit from Its Very Own Pinochet…
  no such acronym

NSA Recruitment Drive Goes Well, Under the Circumstances

Would you believe that holding a recruitment drive for the NSA is, well, not so easy these days? Apparently some Americans — probably just the ones who are not quite desperate enough for gainful employment and medical benefits — are a little bit uncomfortable with working for an agency that is explicitly tasked with secretly vi0lating (what little is left of) our Fourth Amendment rights. Here, let us enjoy the good parts of this recording of college kids yelling at the NSA, courtesy of student journalist Madiha R. Tahir: Tahir: “Do you consider Germany and the countries that the NSA has been spying upon to be adversaries, or are you, right now, not speaking the truth?” Recruiter 1: “You can define adversary as ‘enemy’ and, clearly, Germany is not our enemy. But would we have foreign national interests from an intelligence perspective on what’s going on across the globe? Yeah, we do.” Tahir: “So by ‘adversaries’, you actually mean anybody and everybody. There is nobody, then, by your definition that is not an adversary. Is that correct?” Yes, duh. What — do you think the Cold War is over or something? No, it is not over, which is why we are spying on those socialists in Europe. Also, we have a War on Terror going on at the same time, which means we have to collect metadata from all Americans, just in case one of them becomes a terrorist. What is a “terrorist,” you ask, perplexed about the fact that neither the international community nor the United States is able to present one unified, clear, coherent legal definition? Not important, let the secret surveillance court worry about that, dear. Seriously, can’t the NSA just hand out  highlighter pens that look like tampons and talk to kids without being harassed? Read more on NSA Recruitment Drive Goes Well, Under the Circumstances…
  I've had my share of the spying game

Edward Snowden Issues Statement from Wikileaks Website…Or Does He?

Did Edward Snowden actually write the statement that appears on the Wikileaks website? Maybe, maybe not, but your Wonkette has accessed the Wikileaks website for you, for the purposes of critical analysis re: said statement. Now the NSA will extra carefully target us for visiting Wikileaks, and just lightly target you all for visiting Wonkette, YOU ARE WELCOME. Here it is in full, via Wikileaks: On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions. We are not sure that an offhand comment at a press conference counts as a solemn “promise” in any case, but let us read on! Read more on Edward Snowden Issues Statement from Wikileaks Website…Or Does He?…
  how is babby amortized?

American Babies Cost Three Times as Much as European Babies, For Freedom

Baby-having time is a time of mixed emotions for most families. This is because they are excited about becoming parents (or becoming parents again, as the case may be), worried about preparing in time for the baby (or babies) and sad about the fact that Americans spend more per baby than just about any industrialized country but get poorer outcomes.  See, American babies cost anywhere from $4,000 to $45,000 for a complication-free delivery, depending on which insurance company you have. Our nephew, for example, cost around $7,000 in copays and $30,000 in hospital bills, making him a very expensive baby who is only appreciating with every doctor visit. Can any of you beat that? Probably, which is sad. Anyway, let’s catch up with this via the New York Times, which  accidentally filed this article in the “Health” section rather than where it really belongs,  the “Money” section: Read more on American Babies Cost Three Times as Much as European Babies, For Freedom…
  go directly to jail

Finally, Someone Is Going To Jail For What The Banks Did!

Yes, you read that right: finally, someone is going to jail for what the banks did! If this seems like it is too good to be true, Wonketeers, your instincts are correct because the person who is FINALLY going to jail is not anyone associated with the banks, but rather, a man who wrote mean words about banks on the sidewalk in San Diego. Did we forget to mention that the mean words were written in water-soluble chalk? Did we also forget to mention that the man’s impending prosecution comes after Bank of America’s Vice President of Global Corporate Security relentlessly pressured the city attorney to charge the man for writing mean words with chalk? Via the San Diego Union-Tribune: Jeff Olson, 40, faces 13 misdemeanor vandalism charges for the way he made his views known. He faces up to 13 years in jail and $13,000 in restitution, although prosecutors say incarceration is rare in vandalism cases. If the city loses the case, it might be chalked up to jurors who question if the city should be spending taxpayer money bringing charges against someone who plied his activism — or vandalism — using something that can be easily washed away with a hose. Read more on Finally, Someone Is Going To Jail For What The Banks Did!…
  dirty little fingers in everybody's pie

David Gregory Asks Important Question About Whether or Not He Should Go to Jail

Oh good, David Gregory, Serious Journalist, is on the scene to ask the important questions re: the NSA metadata/PRISM/wiretapping/megadata scandal. Like: how can we have a thriving democracy if we are subjected to cradle-to-grave surveillance what are the repercussions of a perpetual surveillance state, perceived or actual, on the administration’s ability to exert pressure on other countries with poor human rights records should Glenn Greenwald be subjected to criminal charges for helping Snowden tell all of us what our government is doing with our tax money, our infrastructure, and our private information? A fascinating question, especially from David Gregory, who plays a journalist on the Tee Vee: David Gregory: Final question…to the extent that you have aided and abetted Edward Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you be charged with a crime? Read more on David Gregory Asks Important Question About Whether or Not He Should Go to Jail…
  business...always business

More Wednesday Nice-Time! Here’s Elizabeth Warren Talking About How Big Business Owns The Courts!

We love Elizabeth Warren. There. We said it. WE LOVE ELIZABETH WARREN! So much, in fact, that sometimes we wish we could marry her. Or, if that’s not possible, we wish we could someday cast a vote for her, but we do not live in Massachusetts so alas, this dream will not be a reality until the day she decides to run on a presidential ticket. (Warren/Sanders 2016 because we are flaming liberals! Or for the centrists out there, Clinton/Warren 2016! Or just for the hell of it, Booker/Warren 2016!) Anyway, even though we don’t live in Massachusetts we can still fire up the old YouTube to watch her hand Ben Bernanke his own ass or try desperately to give us all the moneys or warn us about the corporate capture of the courts, like she did last week while talking to the liberal lawyers at the American Constitution Society. The entire speech  is here [pdf], but here are some of the highlights: Read more on More Wednesday Nice-Time! Here’s Elizabeth Warren Talking About How Big Business Owns The Courts!…
  coo-coo achoo

Governor Scott, Champion of Public Health, Bans Sick Pay

Nothing can improve your dining experience like having a sick waitstaff, except possibly knowing that the cook who prepared your food is also stricken with the flu. That also will improve your dining experience, because it will expose you to germs and build your resistance to them. Unless it gets you really sick, in which case, tough breaks but that is not Rick Scott’s problem: Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill Friday that would block local governments from enacting mandatory paid-sick-time measures, such as the one pending in Orange County The Republican governor sided with Walt Disney World, Darden Restaurants, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and a broad array of powerful business interests that argued the ban was needed to avoid a patchwork of local employment rules for companies. Well THANK GOD someone is out there standing up for a broad array of powerful business interests — you just don’t see that sort of principled stand much these days. Florida would just be a craphole otherwise. Read more on Governor Scott, Champion of Public Health, Bans Sick Pay…
  the torch & pitchfork outlet has been foreclosed too

Bank of America Whistleblowers Reveal Shocking Bank Wrongdoings, Surprise Surprise

Did you spend the past couple days so suspicious of the NSA that you had forgotten to set aside just a little bit of your suspicion for the banks? Don’t worry, we can fix that pretty quickly! Turns out Bank of America may have been foreclosing on homeowners who qualified for in-house loan modifications and the government-sponsored Home Affordable Modification Program because — get this! — it was more profitable to put the homeowners out on the street: Six former Bank of America Corp employees have alleged that the bank deliberately denied eligible home owners loan modifications and lied to them about the status of their mortgage payments and documents. The bank allegedly used these tactics to shepherd homeowners into foreclosure, as well as in-house loan modifications. Both yielded the bank more profits than the government-sponsored Home Affordable Modification Program, according to documents recently filed as part of a lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court. Read more on Bank of America Whistleblowers Reveal Shocking Bank Wrongdoings, Surprise Surprise…
  more reason for steve king to hide

White People Dying Out, Will Still Own Everything

Mark this day down as a day that will live forever in infamy: the day we started running out of white people. Via the Atlantic: According to a new Census Bureau report, 12,000 more white Americans died than were born between July 1, 2011 and July 1, 2012. As our James Hamblin notes, white deaths haven’t exceeded white births in at least a century. The Caucasian population only expanded thanks to 188,384 immigrants. So there’s still no net decline in white population. But now we gotta bring in ringers. This invites a series of important questions. For example, if white people are no longer a plurality, will America still be the greatest country on earth? (Answer: maybe.)  When there are barely any white people left, will 96% of our Senators still be white? (Answer: probably). Is this Obama’s fault? (Answer: definitely. His election just made white people give up on reproducing.  You could look it up.) Read more on White People Dying Out, Will Still Own Everything…
  breaking: landlords still not accepting "experience" as rent payment

Working Class Hero Judge Rules That People Must Be Paid to do Work

It is a small victory but your Wonkette will take it: U.S. District Judge William Pauley, hero to the working classes, issued a summary judgment this week affirming that people need to be paid for work. Yes, Wonketteers, we are still debating the relative merits and various philosophies behind paying people to do work (see previous iterations of this debate here and here) because this is 2013 and “exposure” and “experience” are the new moneys. This is why Fox Searchlight thought it was perfectly OK to have interns working for free on the set of The Swan, where they got “experience” and learned how to perform complicated tasks like getting lunch, organizing filing cabinets, tracking purchase orders, making copies, and running errands. Read more on Working Class Hero Judge Rules That People Must Be Paid to do Work…
  they hate us for our freedom -- why did we elect them?

Peter King & Lindsay Graham: NSA Scandal Proves Americans Need To Be Watched More Closely (Updated)

Peter King (R-Stasi) has taking the very brave position of calling for the prosecution of reporters that publish classified data. Presumably, he is only referring to the classified data leaked by whistleblowers, NOT the classified data accidentally revealed by Michele Bachman during primary debates, and definitely not the classified data selectively leaked to news outlets by the administration. In any case, Peter King is taking a helpful stance: since the terrorists hate us for our freedom, the best way to protect ourselves from attacks is to just have less and less of it as a precautionary measure. Below is Peter King’s response word for word, so you can be amazed at every logic-bending morsel.  So eloquent is he that he DOESN’T EVEN NEED to mention the Supreme Court’s per curium opinion in the Pentagon Papers case. Behold: Read more on Peter King & Lindsay Graham: NSA Scandal Proves Americans Need To Be Watched More Closely (Updated)…
  let them eat bootstraps

With Nothing Else to Worry About, Congress Cuts Food Stamp Budget

Hey, remember when the economy went to hell and one in ten workers were out of a job  and millions of Americans lost their homes? That was awful, but LUCKILY rich people have completely recovered from the Great Recession (and then some!), so Congress is now finally able to tackle the very pressing matter of cutting the food stamp budget against the wishes of the American people. This is Econ 101: in the event of a prolonged economic downturn, 1. fire as many government workers as possible, and then 2. make sure Poors cannot get enough to eat so they will be forced to start a bootstrap business and become makers instead of takers. We’ve already accomplished number 1, so now it’s time to get cracking on the poors: Monday night, the Senate passed a five-year farm bill that contained $4.1 billion in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over ten years. This ensures that the only debate now will be about how much to cut—and it’s likely to result in cuts much deeper than $4.1 billion. Read more on With Nothing Else to Worry About, Congress Cuts Food Stamp Budget…
  prism planet

Politicians Welcome Chance To Discuss This NSA Surveillance Monster They Hid In The Basement

Over the weekend, various security officials and congresscritters were forced to go on the morning yap shows or talk to the press about the secret data collection programs exposed by the Guardian over the weekend. Some of them took this opportunity to explain why they were glad, GLAD, that we are finally having a national conversation about the classified top secret eavesdropping and metadata collection programs that they hid from the American people. Others patiently warned us that this classified top secret eavesdropping and metadata collection program had definitely prevented terror but that they couldn’t tell us exactly HOW it prevented terror, because that is secret, silly! But it is definitely keeping us safe, although it also missed the Boston Marathon bombings, and the Times Square bombing attempt, and the Fort Hood shooting. And still others just stressed that the classified top secret eavesdropping program is somehow effective enough to prevent terrorism but not so effective as to actually compromise anyone’s privacy. Below, a rundown of the various machinations and meltdowns! Read more on Politicians Welcome Chance To Discuss This NSA Surveillance Monster They Hid In The Basement…
  Freedumb isn't Free!

A Children’s Treasury Of Pundits Saying Stupid Things About The NSA This Weekend

Unless you have been living in a cave on Mars with your eyes closed and your fingers in your ears — an increasingly attractive option, we’ll admit — you are aware that the Guardian and the Washington Post confirmed that the NSA has been spying on Americans’ phone calls, Facebook accounts, Google searches, emails, iTunes playlists, Skype video chats and AOL chat logs for, oh, five or six years now, give or take, no big deal. Of course, this revelation was not only the scoop of the century, but also a fantastic opportunity for everyone to take to the internet and announce THIS IS WHAT I THINK ABOUT PRISM AND THE NSA ETC. Some of the commentary was valuable and interesting but some consisted of privileged morons mansplaining to us about why it is totally OK for the government to monitor our virtual comings and goings. Would it shock you to learn that Andrew Sullivan, Bill Maher, a Forbes columnist, and a couple other white guys are TOTALLY OK with it, because the NSA never gets anything wrong, and that our national security apparatus only scoops up bad guys? Why all the worrying? Read more on A Children’s Treasury Of Pundits Saying Stupid Things About The NSA This Weekend…