brutal
October 23, 2019

Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) has a few questions about Facebook's lesser-known employees.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the House Financial Services Committee to discuss his company's stake in the Libra cryptocurrency on Tuesday. And yet most of the committee's time didn't revolve around that development, namely a particularly tough few minutes of questioning from Porter.

Porter, a freshman Democrat, started her questioning by describing how Facebook's content monitoring employees are paid a minimum hourly wage to watch "murders, stabbings, suicides, and other gruesome, disgusting videos." Zuckerberg agreed with that characterization. Porter then mentioned how those workers don't receive health care benefits to treat the PTSD these jobs can saddle them with, and brought up a report saying those employees got "nine minutes of supervised wellness time" each day to "cry in the stairwell while someone watches them."

With that, Porter asked if Zuckerberg would be "willing to commit to spending one hour a day for a year" doing the job of content monitors. When Zuckerberg said he "wasn't sure" if that would be the best use of time, Porter took that to mean he's "not willing" to do the job. Watch the whole exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 19, 2018

One of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders' predecessors has offered a pretty brutal assessment of her job performance.

Joe Lockhart, who served as press secretary under former President Bill Clinton, told CNN Wednesday that Sanders is "not doing her job," per Mediaite. A White House press secretary has to "adhere to the truth," he said, arguing that she no longer does that. The CNN panel was specifically discussing Sanders' claim Tuesday afternoon that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was "ambushed" by the FBI, which she insisted is the case despite Flynn saying in court that the FBI did not entrap him and that he knowingly lied to them though he knew it was a crime.

Lockhart went on to say that the rest of the world used to be able to trust the U.S. government, but they don't anymore. "We don't send out Baghdad Bob or Tokyo Rose," he said. "We send out people that the rest of the people can count on. And right now we've abdicated that, across the board and in many ways." Watch Lockhart's comments below. Brendan Morrow

December 18, 2018

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan really spoke his mind during the sentencing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn Tuesday. Flynn was going to be sentenced, but after his attorneys requested a delay, Sullivan agreed to wait until March to allow Flynn to continue cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Sullivan in court said that Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contact with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, was an "unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the National Security Advisor to the President of the United States," which "undermines everything this flag over here stands for" and means that "arguably, you sold your country out," per CNN's Josh Campbell. The judge added that he couldn't hide "my disgust, my disdain" for what Flynn did, CNN's Evan Perez reports, noting that Flynn's lawyers seemed "stunned" by this.

What Flynn did is a "very serious offense," Sullivan also concluded, and he asked the special counsel's office whether they considered charging Flynn with treason, per CNN's David Gelles. When the prosecutor said this was not considered, Sullivan asked again if he could have been hit with that charge.

Sullivan warned Flynn that he can not guarantee he won't receive prison time, despite Mueller's recommendation that he remain free due to his "substantial assistance" to federal prosecutors. After a recess, the judge backtracked on some of his earlier statements, saying what he said about Flynn being an "unregistered foreign agent" was incorrect because Flynn's lobbying ended before he began serving in the Trump administration, per CNN's Dianne Gallagher. Brendan Morrow

May 23, 2018

Not all of Philip Roth's best work appeared in the pages of an award-winning novel. Roth, a celebrated author who passed away on Tuesday, once penned some devastating analysis on President Trump, calling him a "callow and callous killer capitalist."

In correspondence with The New Yorker last year, Roth drew parallels between Trump and aviator Charles Lindbergh, who features prominently in Roth's novel The Plot Against America as an isolationist president during the 1940s.

"It is easier to comprehend the election of an imaginary president like Charles Lindbergh than an actual president like Donald Trump," Roth wrote. "Lindbergh, despite his Nazi sympathies and racist proclivities, was a great aviation hero who had displayed tremendous physical courage and aeronautical genius in crossing the Atlantic in 1927. He had character and he had substance and, along with Henry Ford, was, worldwide, the most famous American of his day. Trump is just a con artist."

Roth went on to further eviscerate Trump, who he called "humanly impoverished" compared to other former presidents.

"Trump is: ignorant of government, of history, of science, of philosophy, of art, incapable of expressing or recognizing subtlety or nuance, destitute of all decency, and wielding a vocabulary of 77 words that is better called Jerkish than English," wrote Roth. Read more of Roth's comments on modern politics at The New Yorker. Summer Meza

January 3, 2018

It might be a rough day for President Trump and Stephen Bannon, but somewhere Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is … smiling.

Chaos erupted earlier Wednesday after The Guardian published quotes from a new tell-all book about the Trump White House, which cited Bannon, the president's former chief strategist, as he blasted Trump's top campaign aides over a highly-scrutinized meeting with a Russian lawyer (among other things). Trump quickly fired back at his one-time campaign CEO, issuing an official statement that claimed that "when [Bannon] was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind."

McConnell, of course, is no fan of Bannon, nor Bannon of McConnell. The Senate map is serving as something of a proxy war for the pair, with McConnell pushing mainstream Republican candidates while Bannon "is recruiting a small army of 'populist nationalist' congressional candidates," NBC News writes.

Needless to say, the official account for McConnell's re-election campaign didn't need to add any comment to the tweet it fired off Wednesday afternoon:

Cold. Jeva Lange

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