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Wed Mar 3, 2021, 06:00 PM

Top 10 Conservative Idiots #10-6: Let Me Tell You About The Birds And The Bees Edition

Top 10 Conservative Idiots #10-6: Let Me Tell You About The Birds And The Bees Edition

Welcome back to the Top 10 Conservative Idiots! How’s everybody doing? We’re still coming to you from this blank, blue void in the back room of a Burbank comedy club for the foreseeable future which currently seems hopeless, I know. But look at that void! It’s so blue! We of course bring you last week’s news smack dab in the middle of the week, but this is our final Top 10! To be broadcast in this time slot, sorry, I should have finished that sentence. But starting on the 18th, we are moving to Thursday. This last year has been extremely difficult to deal with and staff complaints forced the move. This is my favorite Top 10 of the entire year because it’s time for Stupidest State 2021 and this year we’re introducing some new features to make this more interactive and to encourage you to get your brackets in! There’s some red hot newcomers to the tournament and some really exciting developments to the NFFSA. But we think you’ll be satisfied with this year’s developments! Plus if you check the Top 10 Twitter feed, and you absolutely should, it’s on Twitter @10Idiots, we will be adding some ESPN-style Bracketology advice starting today to help you fill out your brackets! Who do you think is going to go all the way this year and win the coveted DeLay trophy? I know who I have! Anyway that’s enough of the intro, we have a lof of idiocy to get to this week. But first John Oliver is back and he delves into America’s obsession with the police raid:

Another year, another time to visit the annual circus of insanity known as the Conservative Political Action Conference! To start with this week, we are going to bring you highlights of the conference (1) which includes literally worshipping Trump with praise, loyalty and statues. But they’re not a cult or anything. Taking the second slot this week, is of course our FORMER 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump (2) and we have highlights of what we think will be a completely predictable speech from him. Taking the 3rd slot this week is Trump sycophant Marjorie Taylor Greene (3). And Margie is going full on crazy this week with her war on trans people and a bizarre and probably totally unethical gun giveaway. At slot #4 this week is the plot against Andrew Cuomo and Gavin Newsom (4). The MAGA cult is out for blood against the east and west coast governors, and it’s going to get really ugly really quickly. Taking the 5th slot this week is our weekly investigative piece Top 10 Investigates (5) and this week, what does it mean to be “deplatformed”? We take a look at why conservatives are so hysterical about this social media phenomenon. And at the #6 seed this week, is of course our weekly visit to the Holy Church Of The Top 10 in “Holy Shit” (6) and this week with President Biden set to sign sweeping reforms against LGBT discrimination, the church is organizing a full out assault, and our resident pastor is telling you it’s going to get very ugly very quickly. Taking the 7th slot this week, we have a new “Beating A Dead Horse”, and Hasbro decided to introduce a new kind of Potato Head doll and it’s blowing conservative minds. Yeah shut up! In the #8 slot this week is a new edition of Conspiracy Corner (8) – we’re going to take a look at the insane theory being peddled by anti-vaccination crusaders that a microchip is being implanted in you when you get the COVID vaccine and then cross that with people who don’t think Q Anon exists and we’ve got a Clustertrump. In the number 9 (NEIN!!!) slot this week is a new “I Need A Drink” and we have to find out why Metallica hilariously and ironically got slapped with a DMCA claim during the bands’ own livestream performance at the virtual Blizzcon this year. But it’s not ending with Metallica either. Finally it’s that time, ladies and gentlemen! Time for the 5th annual Stupidest State contest! This year, the circumstances have changed but the spirit remains the same! Enjoy! And as always don’t forget the key!

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[font size="8"]CPAC 2021: America Uncanceled
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It’s the last week of February and that means that the annual Gathering Of The Deplorables, otherwise known as the Conservative Political Action Conference, is here. Now the thing is we could have spent literally the entire edition talking about how batshit crazy conservatives are. There was Ted Cruz and there was Josh Hawley, and there was Trump, and there was just an endless parade of psychos and crazy people. But this picture I feel perfectly sums up the conservative movement and the end of MAGA. Can we show that?:

I don't think I need to add any commentary to this one, it's a perfect metaphor for the remnants of the Trump administration at this point, isn't it? But what we got to talk about is the shape of the stage at CPAC. That was a very interesting topic of discussion.

It’s been said that you should never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Applying this maxim to the Conservative Political Action Conference makes it one of the stupidest organizations in American politics today, and that’s saying something.

As difficult as it is to get your head around, the stage at CPAC 2021 last weekend was built in the shape of a rebranded swastika, something called an odal or othala rune. This symbol was incorporated into SS uniforms and is frequently used by white supremacists. Neo-Nazis get tattooed with this thing. It was even on display at the 2017 Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville. Here’s a picture of the CPAC stage next to a picture of a Nazi uniform. Judge for yourself.

An extraordinary controversy erupted over this, as you would expect. Any normal person on being confronted with such a colossally idiotic mistake would blanch whiter than a Klansman’s hood and take immediate steps to fix the problem while profusely apologizing for the screw-up and Googling to see if the federal witness protection program was accepting volunteers. But not CPAC host Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the American Conservative Union.
A celebration of white supremacy

"Stage design conspiracies are outrageous and slanderous. We have a long standing commitment to the Jewish community. Cancel culture extremists must address antisemitism within their own ranks. CPAC proudly stands with our Jewish allies, including those speaking from this stage," he tweeted.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Wait. You’re blaming the design of the stage on cancel culture extremists? That’s rich! I don’t want to point fingers but a Nazi symbol is a Nazi symbol, am I right about that? But what does the hosting venue – Hyatt Hotels think about this? Are they happy or sad that they hosted a gathering of white supremacists and Neo Nazis? Which is exactly on brand for the modern conservative movement!

The Hyatt Hotels Corporation called symbols of hate “abhorrent” on Sunday after the design of a stage at the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at one of its hotels drew comparisons to a Norse rune used by Nazis during the second world war

High-profile Republicans including former president Donald Trump were attending the four-day event in Orlando, Florida, as conflict raged between Trump allies and establishment politicians trying to distance the party from him.

A photo of the CPAC stage went viral on social media on Saturday, with thousands of Twitter users sharing posts comparing its distinctive design to an othala rune, also known as an odal rune, one of many ancient European symbols that Nazis adopted to “reconstruct a mythic ‘Aryan’ past”, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The ceiling of the conference room featured a lighting display in the same shape as the stage, according to Reuters photographs.

Hyatt said all aspects of conference logistics, including the stage design, were managed by the American Conservative Union, which organized the conference.


Yeah seriously where are those guys when you need them? And I completely say this with all seriousness: Nazis can go fuck themselves. And the fact that the CPAC stage resembled a symbol from Hitler’s SS is appalling. But let’s move on to the main events shall we? There was Ted Cruz who was every bit as deplorable as you might expect.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz gave a fiery speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday, shouting about freedom, mask-wearing, and late-night comedians.

He also proclaimed the Republican Party is the party of working-class Americans and not just country clubs — but the conference itself seemed to be fixated on former President Donald Trump, a man who literally lives at one.

"The Republican Party is not just the party of country clubs, the Republican Party is the party of steel workers, construction workers, pipeline workers, police officers, firefighters, waiters and waitresses," Cruz said in his speech.

Cruz also emphasized his support of Trump in his speech, indicating that Trumpism is the future of the GOP.

"There are a whole lot of voices in Washington that want to just erase the last four years," Cruz said. "Let me tell you this right now, Donald J. Trump ain't going anywhere."

Yeah sorry Ted Trump is going away – we’ve had a collective ass full of him. And if Kimberly Guilfoyle’s entrance was anything to scoff at, they’re going out in a blaze of glory:

Yeah what the fuck was that??? And Ted you don’t get to walk away from what happened in Texas with a snappy one liner. Seriously… fuck you! But if there’s one takeaway from CPAC 2021 it’s that the conservative movement is only going to devolve into something more sinister if we let it.

Former President Donald Trump turned the Conservative Political Action Conference into his first post-presidential rally Sunday evening, pledging in a speech riddled with falsehoods to purge his enemies from the Republican Party and hinting repeatedly at another run for the White House in 2024.

But before Trump closed out the annual conservative gathering, held in Orlando, Florida, this year, a cadre of ambitious Republicans eyeing 2024 presidential runs of their own tried to put their spins on Trump's populist message, echoing his grievances against big tech, the media and liberal "cancel culture" in efforts to tap into the "Make America Great Again" base Trump built.

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley called for a break-up of leading tech companies. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem leaned into a cultural battle over statues of founding fathers. Florida Sen. Rick Scott promised not to intervene against pro-Trump candidates in primaries from his perch as the chairman of the Senate GOP's campaign arm. And Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the GOP is "not just the party of country clubs," a reflection of Trump remaking the party's base into a largely White, rural and working-class coalition even as the former President lives at a private club he owns.

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[font size="8"]Donald Trump
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You know it’s so nice not having to dedicate brain cells to the word diarrhea that comes out of the mouth of our now FORMER president Donald J. Trump isn’t it? Well unfortunately we had to this weekend because he was the headline speaker at CPAC. And as we predicted the word vomit that comes out of his head was extremely predictable. But here’s the thing – what is to make of the now former president? Is he just becoming a parody of what he once was? Or is he an emerging threat to American democracy as we know it? Or is he literally just a golden calf to anyone that’s to the right of the KKK? I mean he’s Trump The Golden Calf! But this is crazy that the CPAC has become a loyalty test to the darkest corners of the Trump cult.

Donald Trump emerged from his luxurious Palm Beach exile to wallow in the warmth of devotees at the Conservative Political Action Conference 170 miles away in Orlando. Is he a spent supernova, or a giant barely submerged land mine that could obliterate the landscape at any time? Either way, we've seen our future. There will be no avoiding him. Deputy Editorial Page Editor David Mastio and Commentary Editor Jill Lawrence consider his Sunday speech, all 90-plus minutes:

David: Trump’s CPAC comeback speech revealed a sad little man, angry at local courts and politicians and disappointed in the federal judges he seated, but who “didn’t have the guts or the courage” to bow to him. Trump tried to carry on as if he hadn’t been impeached after the Capitol was ransacked by a mob, but even the lies seemed faintly ridiculous. “We will win. We’ve been doing a lot of winning,” was the wacko fib he launched his speech with, as if he hadn’t cost Republicans control of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. Trump Republicans know that truth.

And even with a golden Trump idol on hand, 45% of CPAC attendees, in the organization’s straw poll, said they’d vote for someone other than the former president in the 2024 Republican primary. That’s a disappointing showing for a man out of the limelight for only a few weeks and way up from 2019, the last time the straw poll was taken, when fewer than 20% were looking for an alternative to Trump.

If he can’t get to 90% support at CPAC, the core of the Trumpian Republican base, he’s going to be weaker nationwide. Maybe Republicans are looking for a new messenger, even if they’ll stick with the redefined platform of Trumpism. That’s the one optimistic takeaway I saw anyway in a crowd happily nodding along to nonsense.

Yeah Trump can’t even get 90% of the voters at CPAC! They were split down the middle, and this is after a convention that saw speeches from the most deranged, hard right members of the cult like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. But let’s go through some of the zanier quotes from the speech. Yeah I didn’t watch it, so I’ll let someone else do the talking. And no, I don’t want Trump to do the talking either.

Donald Trump delivered his first major post-presidential speech on Sunday, an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference laden with falsehoods and attacks on his fellow Republicans -- suggesting absolutely nothing has changed since he ceased being president on January 20.
I went through the speech and pulled out the lines you need to see. They're below.
1. "Do you miss me yet? Do you miss me?"
At root, Trump wants to be loved. Forever. And away we go!

2. "I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we've begun together, we went through a journey like nobody else. There's never been a journey like it."
Never been a journey that incredible? Um, these two dogs and a cat would disagree.

3. "We've been doing a lot of winning."
During Trump's four years, Republicans lost the House majority, the Senate majority and the White House.

4. "We're not starting new parties. You know, they kept saying, he's going to start a brand new party. We have the Republican Party. It's going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party."
Some news! Trump says he won't start a Trump-centric third party! Of course, if you think he might not change his mind about that, well, you must have missed the last four years.

Yeah I kind of feel like Michael Scott when he saw Toby back at Dunder Mifflin after several months – like a bad weed that you keep having to spray weed killers on in order to get rid of, and it still grows back! But like any other boss, Trump has his own shit list of employees that he would like to get rid of if he had an opportunity to do so. Which would replace them with those who are the most loyal to his cause, and after 5 years, we’re still unclear of what that cause is.

After days of insisting they could paper over their intraparty divisions, Republican lawmakers were met with a grim reminder of the challenge ahead on Sunday when former President Donald J. Trump stood before a conservative conference and ominously listed the names of Republicans he is targeting for defeat.

As Democrats pursue a liberal agenda in Washington, the former president’s grievances over the 2020 election continue to animate much of his party, more than a month after he left office and nearly four months since he lost the election. Many G.O.P. leaders and activists are more focused on litigating false claims about voting fraud in last year’s campaign, assailing the technology companies that deplatformed Mr. Trump and punishing lawmakers who broke with him over his desperate bid to retain power.

In an address on Sunday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, his first public appearance since he left the White House, Mr. Trump read a sort of hit list of every congressional Republican who voted to impeach him, all but vowing revenge.

“The RINOs that we’re surrounded with will destroy the Republican Party and the American worker and will destroy our country itself,” he said, a reference to the phrase “Republicans In Name Only,” adding that he would be “actively working to elect strong, tough and smart Republican leaders.”

And here’s something you’re really not going to like. While we’re all moving on from the nightmare that was the 2020 election and Trump’s super spreader MAGA rallies, there’s one thing that is perfectly clear about this. At least even the most die-hard cults, like Charles Manson’s Helter Skelter cult, die out after they’re found out that they are frauds. It turns out that the MAGA cult may be the next victim of a long line of cults, and we couldn’t be happier about that!

The former president made a semi-Trumphant return on Sunday. Donald Trump’s rapturous reception at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, made clear that the conservative movement, as well as the Republican Party, belongs to him. Yet there were also signs that his brand is tarnished.

Trump made the expected attacks on President Joe Biden and the anticipated elbow tosses at Republicans deemed either insufficiently loyal or outright treacherous. There were nods and winks to a 2024 run, when he will win for “a third time.”
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And yet, the CPAC straw poll (which, in fairness, is notorious for not being so accurate) shows that the devotion is not quite total. Yes, Trump won, but he did so with a mere 55%. Meanwhile, not only did local boy Ron DeSantis come in second, with 21%, the Florida governor lapped the field with 43% in a separate survey with Trump not included.

Perhaps those results explained Trump’s surprisingly low-energy performance. The crowd in the room and at home got “TelePrompTer Trump,” as he stuck to the script and included few if any of the improvised bits that energize him and his audience. Trump upended a tradition (shocking, right?) by attacking his successor, but the criticism of Biden was … bland. It was the “most disastrous first month in history,” he said. Biden had taken the country “from America First to America Last,” Trump declared.

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[font size="8"]Marjorie Taylor Greene
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We need some music for this one!

Yeah let me tell you about the birds and the bees. And Marjorie Taylor Greene. There’s two things we know about Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene (Q – Batshit). The first is that her tenure in Congress is most likely going to be short lived. The second thing is that at some point in the next year and a half, Rep. Greene will get in a fist fight with another member of Congress. While we can’t guarantee that, we can guarantee that Greene has caused quite the shit show in the last few weeks and isn’t done yet. This week Greene took her fight to the transgender community and specifically attacked and intimidated Rep. Newman (D-IL), who has a transgender daughter. Yeah this woman is an incredibly vile piece of shit. And it seems the more we’re offended by her, the more it drives her. Which makes her a psychopath.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia Republican who's become a flashpoint for her promotion of dangerous conspiracy theories, on Wednesday placed an anti-transgender sign outside her office to mock Rep. Marie Newman, a Democrat from Illinois whose daughter is transgender, in a back-and-forth that quickly spread on social media and drew widespread outrage.

Newman and Greene are both freshmen members of Congress whose offices in the Capitol complex are located across the hall from one another.

The conflict between the two began after Newman spoke in favor of the Equality Act, a measure that's been proposed in multiple iterations over the past several decades. The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act to also prohibit discrimination or segregation in areas like employment, housing and more based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

"I rise today on behalf of the millions of Americans who continue to be denied housing, education, public services and much, much more because they identify as members of the LGBTQ community - Americans like my own daughter, who years ago bravely came out to her parents as transgender," Newman said Tuesday in remarks on the House floor that she later posted on social media. "I knew from that day on my daughter would be living in a nation where most of its states, she could be discriminated against, merely because of who she is. And yet it was still the happiest day of my life and my daughter has found her authentic self."

Man I wish we had an audience right now because this woman deserves all the booing and shaming that you can muster up. Seriously – calling Marjorie Taylor Greene a piece of shit, is an insult to actual pieces of shit. Because actual shit has useful purposes, like being turned into manure. This woman on the other hand does not. This woman is a colossal scumbag through and through. And like I said I would not be surprised to see her in an actual brawl on Capitol Hill sometime soon.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) tweeted that Greene’s actions represent “the hate- and fame-driven politics of self-promotion at all evil costs. This garbage must end, in order to #RestoreOurGOP.”

Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) called Greene’s poster “sickening, pathetic, unimaginably cruel” and added that “this hate is exactly why” the Equality Act is necessary.

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) said he put up a transgender flag outside of his office in 2019 and advised Greene to “probably avoid the Rayburn building, too, if she doesn’t want to see another’ symbol of love and acceptance.”

In an interview with CNN Thursday morning, Newman said that Greene was “welcome to her sign,” but that “no one’s buying it, and that is not science.”

Newman said Thursday afternoon that Facebook labeled her post as "hate speech" and temporarily took the post down from the site, despite allowing Greene’s video to remain on its platform.

By the way in case you’re wondering what actual trans people think of Greene, well, their opinion is not at all favorable. And this woman isn’t going away no matter how hard we would like to thwack her into the sun. But this woman is fueled by a diet of hate and conspiracy theories, and our animosity towards
her is only making her stronger. So how does someone this full of hate and egomaniacism sleep during the night? Well it’s going to be hard to tell.

HRC announced that over 2,800 parents of transgender, non-binary and gender expansive youth sent a letter thanking U.S. Representative Marie Newman (D-IL) for standing up on behalf of transgender youth everywhere.

“As fellow parents of transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive youth, we want to thank you for publicly representing our pride in and love for our children,” reads the letter. “Transgender youth are remarkable, honest, courageous, resilient, and deserving of the chance to live a full and authentic life. When you stood on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives and said ‘I’m voting yes on the Equality Act for Evie Newman, my daughter and the strongest, bravest person I know,’ we felt your words deeply.”

“Unfortunately, many of us also have a person like Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene in our lives,” continues the letter. “A person who is close-minded, mean, petty, and willing to say hurtful things about our loved ones and even vote against their rights. A person who clings to outdated notions of sex and gender and who refuses to learn from major medical and mental health associations — or from us and from our experiences. A person who promotes junk science and fringe theories in hate-filled attacks against trans youth and adults alike.”

Earlier this week, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) campaigned against the Equality Act and showcased behavior that was mean-spirited, cruel and vindictive. Rep. Greene escalated her campaign against the Equality Act and personally and intentionally misgendered her colleague Rep. Newman’s transgender daughter. Democratic and Republican lawmakers widely criticized Greene’s transphobic remarks, with one Congressman saying her actions were “sickening, pathetic, unimaginably cruel.”

Oh but you see? With Greene, the cruelty is the point! This woman has a media diet consisting of Alex Jones and social media fueled paranoid conspiracy theories that are getting increasingly amplified each and every day. Now here’s where it’s going to get even uglier. While embassies around the world are showing increasing acceptance of gay and trans rights, Marjorie Greene wants the exact opposite. Thank god the Dems retain control of the House right now. So Marjorie has a problem with the Pride flags, but no problem with the MAGA flag? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you!

Controversial Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene has co-sponsored legislation that would ban U.S. embassies from flying the LGBTQ Pride flag.

Greene, a freshman Republican from Georgia, has earned widespread criticism for her support for QAnon conspiracy theories, attacks on religious minorities, and suggestions that mass school shootings were “false flag” operations.

If passed, H.R. 85, the Old Glory Only Act, would require the secretary of state to ensure “that no United States diplomatic or consular post flies any flag other than the United States flag over such post.”

In a release issued earlier this week, Greene, 46, stated her support for the measure was a continuation of her “America First Agenda.”

“The federal government should only be flying the flag that represents ALL people, the American flag,” she said. “We need to bring back pride in our country and raise the Star Spangled Banner proudly. Old Glory represents our great American military and their sacrifices to ensure our freedom."

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[font size="8"]The Andrew Cuomo Scandal

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I was having a debate with my staff on how to approach this one. Because I know the name of this show is “Top 10 Conservative Idiots” and we are about to talk about the plot to take down New York governor Andrew Cuomo. Who currently is up to his ass in scandal. And we try to be fair here. But the simple fact of the matter is that Cuomo is about to get the Al Franken treatment (see: Top 10 #3-26. Remember that guy? Well this is that scandal but with an added dose of an unrelated COVID scandal! Yeah holy shit is right, and we haven’t even got to Holy Shit yet this week. But here’s what we know so far – it is a coordinated attack to take down one of the most powerful governors in the country and here’s how it is going so far, and it’s not pretty.

You could practically see and hear the ground shifting underneath Governor Andrew Cuomo. On Saturday evening The New York Times posted a devastating story: highly detailed, highly credible accusations of sexual harassment from Charlotte Bennett, a former aide to Cuomo, three days after another former staffer, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo had planted an unwanted kiss on her lips. The governor flatly denied Boylan’s claims; after the Bennett story broke, he released a fairly anodyne statement in which he was careful to make it clear he took her allegations seriously, said he never made any advances, and called for an outside review, adding that he would make no further comment until the review was complete. Behind the scenes Cuomo seemed to believe that he had been misunderstood by Bennett. As in other skirmishes, politicians who did not like him were taking shots, and he would calibrate—to use one of the governor’s favorite words—his way through the trouble, as always. He would fight this one out. He wasn’t going anywhere.

Most of which rapidly proved untenable, only deepening the crisis engulfing New York’s three-term governor—and calling into question whether Cuomo understood that the circumstances this time were very different from those of his previous political battles. In his initial Saturday night response, Cuomo appeared to be creating a home field advantage for the “independent” investigation, decreeing that it would be conducted by former federal judge Barbara Jones. Jones’s integrity is not in doubt—but the fact that the accused was selecting his interrogator, and that Jones had once worked with a longtime top Cuomo adviser, Steve Cohen, provoked a new fury. The backlash was also partly because of some thorny Cuomo history with investigations: In 2014, he abruptly unplugged the Moreland Commission, an ethics probe, when he decided it had served its purpose in pressuring the state legislature—and when the commission had started asking questions about Cuomo associates.

Yeah you can say that again! So yeah the news here is not good. And it’s only about to get worse for Gov. Cuomo. So now the debate rages – does Gov Cuomo resign or does he keep fighting against these accusations? Of course without proof, we have to assume that he’s somewhat guilty but in order for him to be innocent, we need concrete, actual proof of this. And no, we don’t need a bad court thingy just yet, there has to be a trial first!

(CNN)New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been pleading with lawmakers for support and even threatening political retribution against Democrats who have criticized him in an aggressive effort to contain political fallout from revelations that his administration had concealed the full extent of nursing home-related deaths during the Covid pandemic.

Describing an alleged exchange with the governor that has not been previously reported, Democratic Assemblyman Ron Kim told CNN that he received a call on his cell phone from the governor last week as he was bathing his children at home.
"Gov. Cuomo called me directly on Thursday to threaten my career if I did not cover up for Melissa [DeRosa] and what she said. He tried to pressure me to issue a statement, and it was a very traumatizing experience," Kim said. Cuomo proceeded to tell the assemblyman that "we're in this business together and we don't cross certain lines and he said I hadn't seen his wrath and that he can destroy me," according to Kim.

Cuomo's adviser denied that the governor threatened to destroy Kim.
DeRosa is a top aide to the governor who came under fire last week after she told state lawmakers in a private virtual meeting that the state had delayed sharing with the legislature the full scope of the Covid-related death toll of New York's nursing home residents because of concerns about a potential federal investigation by the Department of Justice. (The governor's office has since released a partial transcript of the call.)

Yeah so there’s that to deal with too. I mean this whole thing is going to get worse before it gets better and that’s if it gets better. And oh yeah I’m watching you too, Sean Hannity. If you’re going to accuse the media of being mobsters, and the thing is the “media mob” didn’t take down Brett Kavanaugh – he did that to himself. And he’s still in power! But just like Brett Kavanaugh, Andrew Cuomo could be the victim of his own demise. Watch the conservative blogosphere, it’s gonna get ugly very fast.

Last summer, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was must-see TV. Now, he’s a must-to-avoid, the skunk at the Democratic political picnic. His once-promising future is now in freefall — without a parachute.

Watching the self-immolation of any powerful figure is never fun. Failure is only laughable to those too naïve to know its enduring pain. And with Cuomo — frankly, with any number of political figures, from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas to New Jersey’s Chris Christie during his Bridgegate fiasco — it’s entirely understandable for critics to chortle: “Well, it’s about time” or “Justice is finally served” or “He had it coming.”

But when someone with promise stumbles and flops, the story is framed more by tragedy than comedy.

Such is the case with Cuomo.

As New York’s governor, he took the lead last spring and summer in speaking to America about our collective fears and sorrow over the spread of the coronavirus.

To understand Cuomo's profound impact, it's important to remember those somber days.

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[font size="8"]Top 10 Investigates: Social Media Deplatforming
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It’s time to investigate beyond the headlines! This is Top 10 Investigates!

The topics of “cancel culture” and “social media deplatforming” were all the rage this weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. After four years of having a president who thrived as a social media troll, it’s no wonder that conservatives are living in constant fear of saying or doing the wrong thing on social media. Because the conservative agenda deals with racism and sexism and it’s becoming increasingly clear that they want to do something to be able to voice their controversial opinions publicly without fear of consequences. In fact when conservatives get banned from social media, they go and seek out alternatives. This led to the creation of alternate media sites like Parler, Gab, and Telegram, where the policies towards speech are “anything goes”.

Gab, the controversial social media platform favored by right-wing users, has had 70 GB of data hacked and handed to Distributed Denial of Secrets, a whistle-blower site sometimes referred to as a successor to WikiLeaks.

Distributed Denial of Secrets founder Emma Best said the hacked data contains public posts, profiles and hashed passwords, as well as private account posts and messages.

"It contains pretty much everything on Gab, including user data and private posts, everything someone needs to run a nearly complete analysis on Gab users and content," Best wrote in a message to Wired.

Data of former U.S. President Donald J. Trump's account is included in the data hoard, according to an archived post by Gab CEO Andrew Torba (WARNING: Contains offensive language).

In a blog post Friday, Torba told users the company is undertaking a "full security audit" and cast doubt on the extent of the data stolen.

Yes think of the alternate reality social media sites like the refuge of the damned. These people clearly don’t care about what others think of them, and it shows. But conservatives are getting increasingly fearful of what the visible social media companies like Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram will do to them if they’re caught doing something that violates the platform’s terms of service, even though they do this daily.

From Washington DC to Wall Street, 2021 has already seen online groups causing major organised offline disruption. Some of it has been in violation of national laws, some in violation of internet platforms’ terms of service. When these groups are seen to cause societal harm, the solution has been knee-jerk: to ban or “deplatform” those groups immediately, leaving them digitally “homeless”.

But the online world is a Pandora’s box of sites, apps, forums and message boards. Groups banned from Facebook migrated seamlessly to Parler, and from Parler, via encrypted messaging apps, to a host of other platforms. My research has shown how easily users migrate between platforms on the “dark web”. Deplatforming won’t work on the regular internet for the same reason: it’s become too easy for groups to migrate elsewhere.

This year, we’ve come to see social platforms not as passive communication tools, but rather as active players in public discourse. Twitter’s announcement that it had permanently suspended Donald Trump in the wake of the Capitol riots is one such example: a watershed moment for deplatforming as a means of limiting harmful speech.

Elsewhere, the Robinhood investment platform suspended the trading of GameStop stocks after the Reddit group r/WallStreetBets (which had 2.2 million members at the time) coordinated a mass purchase of the shares. While the original Reddit group remained open, many r/WallStreetBets users had also been communicating via the social network Discord. In response, Discord banned their channel, citing “hate speech”.

Now this brings about a really tricky area of banning people from social media. Does this make things better or worse? There’s arguments that could be made for both sides. In fact one side is saying that it is making things better, but the other side is saying that it is making it worse. Stamping out trolls is more of a science than an art. You can ban them from the spotlight, but they aren’t going away. And it is driving them completely crazy.

From a technical perspective, deplatforming just makes things a bit harder. Amazon’s cloud services make it easy to manage computing infrastructure but are ultimately built on open source technologies available to anyone. A deplatformed company or people sympathetic to it could build their own hosting infrastructure. The research community has also built censorship-resistant tools that, if all else fails, harmful online communities can use to persist.

Does deplatforming have an effect on worrisome communities themselves?

Whether or not deplatforming has a social effect is a nuanced question just now beginning to be addressed by the research community. There is evidence that a platform banning communities and content – for example, QAnon or certain politicians – can have a positive effect. Platform banning can reduce growth of new users over time, and there is less content produced overall. On the other hand, migrations do happen, and this is often a response to real world events – for example, a deplatformed personality who migrates to a new platform can trigger an influx of new users.

Another consequence of deplatforming can be users in the migrated community showing signs of becoming more radicalized over time. While Reddit or Twitter might improve with the loss of problematic users, deplatforming can have unintended consequences that can accelerate the problematic behavior that led to deplatforming in the first place.

Ultimately, it’s unlikely that deplatforming, while certainly easy to implement and effective to some extent, will be a long-term solution in and of itself. Moving forward, effective approaches will need to take into account the complicated technological and social consequences of addressing the root problem of extremist and violent Web communities.

Yes probably. In fact you can deplatform users and they will regroup elsewhere. But you can’t get rid of the trolls altogether, or can you? Because they will start their own platforms. What happens when the entire platform gets deplatformed? Well for that we look to Parler, which recently got banned from both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store because there were users on this service threatening to murder elected officials. Yes, people. Trolling on social media can only get you so far then the death threats happen. It’s an inevitable way of life in the 21st century – life, death, taxes, and the social media death threat. If you get deplatformed for this, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

You can almost think of it in terms of moving house: Parler was evicted from Amazon, Apple and Google and has to find a new place to live. Just like there are more and less safe neighborhoods in the real world to live in, the same is true for the internet. Amazon, Apple and Google are among the safest neighborhoods on the internet. If Parler does move, it likely will be moving to a less safe neighborhood. This means that if you want to keep using Parler if it returns, you’ll likely be going to less safe neighborhoods on the internet to find it and should take extra steps to protect against related increased risks.

There are two areas of greater risk if you follow a deplatformed app to a new home: the app itself, and the web and cloud infrastructure that support it.

When an app is no longer available through the official App Store and/or the Google Play Store, the risks around getting and installing the app skyrocket. You can install apps from places other than those official outlets, but those other places don’t always have the same security checks that those official stores do.

Mobile apps downloaded from third-party sites are one of the main sources of mobile malware, especially on Android devices. Not only are there risks that the apps might have malware, but the sites offering the apps might themselves be risky in terms of malware and phishing. In addition, if you’re using an iPhone, the only way to install apps from anywhere but the App Store is to “jailbreak” the phone, a step that Apple strongly recommends against for a host of reasons, including the fact that it breaks the iOS license agreement and can leave you without help or support from Apple.

There’s also the fact that you can’t be sure that you will get what you think you’re getting. For example, Avast researchers found an Android app on January 16 (after Parler’s deplatforming) that claimed to be a “Parler Updater” and used the Parler logo. The app turned out to be a classic piece of spyware that would seemingly disappear after you installed it, yet it would have complete control of your device — including being able to install other (potentially malicious) packages. The naming, packaging and timing indicate that the people behind it may have been trying to capitalize on the deplatforming of Parler to spread their spyware.

That’s it this week for Top 10 Investigates. Good day.

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[font size="8"]Holy Shit
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Gather around my fair brothers and sisters! It’s time to take a seat in the virtual pew make an online donation in the LAWRD’s virtual collection plate, for the Holy Church Of The Top 10 has convened and it’s time to remind you that the holiest among us are the most full of:

My fair virtual congregation! You know it’s not all fun and games here at the Holy Church Of The Top 10, we occasionally do have serious stuff to talk about. Because America’s Christian right has been replaced with a dangerous and scary cult that is out for blood and revenge based on… reasons. Now that President Joe Biden has been with us for over a month and he is putting into place some sweeping protections for our LGBT brothers and sisters, the Christian right is hopping mad! In fact they are currently waging a war for equality! And this is something that does not sit well with us. They don’t abide by the church or to JAYSUS! Instead they abide by all that is dark and EVIL in society!

As President Joe Biden tells it, the nuns who taught the future president based their religious instruction on the Gospel of Matthew: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

That tenet was echoed during his first days in office, when Biden signed orders to ensure fair treatment for marginalized groups on housing and other issues.

“We’re all God’s children,” Biden said. “We should treat each other as we would like to be treated ourselves.”

Another of his earliest actions strengthened anti-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people. On Thursday, Biden was expected to sign a memorandum to protect the rights of LGBTQ people worldwide, including providing protections to gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.

But what to Biden is an “advancing equity” agenda grounded in his deep Catholic faith appears to some Christian conservatives as attacks on their own intensely held beliefs that will unravel the “religious freedom” protections championed by the Trump administration. Those protections treated religious beliefs as paramount, even if they conflicted with another person’s rights – to an abortion, to marry a person of the same sex, or to be transgender.

Religion for me, but none for thee! That’s the way the Christian fascists in the right do things and it’s not pretty. In fact it’s pretty ugly and that’s not what GAWD or JAYSUS would want now, is it? But that said since Biden cannot find religious allies among those in the US because they support the unholy, ungodly Dark One, he must seek answers elsewhere. Like for instance turning to Pope Francis, of which he shares a close alliance with!

The second Roman Catholic president in American history is a devout man who makes no secret of the importance of faith in his life. President Joe Biden is a regular churchgoer, often quotes St. Augustine and carries a rosary that belonged to his late son Beau. In one of the first images released of him in the Oval Office, a photo was visible behind his desk showing him with Pope Francis.

The Argentine-born pope and the new American president have both staked out liberal stances on issues like climate change and economic disparity, and have taken different positions from their "culture warrior" predecessors.

Biden diametrically differs from former President Donald Trump in his support for a more inclusive society, on issues ranging from immigration and health care to LGBTQ equality. Francis has moved away from Pope John Paul II's and Benedict XVI's emphasis on sexual morality, preferring to focus on social justice and the rights of the poor and marginalized. He has repeatedly lashed out at what he describes as the destructive effects of laissez-faire capitalism on society and the environment.

The pope and the president have a lot in common, says Paul Elie, a scholar of Catholicism at Georgetown University.

So let’s get this straight. The religious right want to continue to more to associate themselves with the most unholy, ungodly, disgusting excuse for a human being imaginable. A man who is so abhorrent that I do not allow his name to be spoken in my church! But an actual man of GAWD? He is cast aside because that’s not what the cult wants! What does the cult want? Now see GAWD forbid that anyone else have a different opinion or orientation that they do!

For most Americans, the question of same-sex marriage is a settled one.

Five years after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, a Gallup poll showed two-thirds of Americans believed such marriages were valid, marking the ninth consecutive year a majority of the country expressed a favorable opinion toward it.

As of this writing, two gay men — Richard Grenell and Pete Buttigieg — have served in presidential cabinets under Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The Wyoming Legislature currently counts several “out” members of the LGBTQ community among its ranks. And though discrimination remains a persistent issue in Wyoming, the question of whether same-sex marriage is legitimate is generally considered a non-issue.

To most.

On Jan. 25, the Wyoming Republican Party — whose platform remained opposed to same-sex marriage long after that 2015 ruling — released a statement on its Facebook page reaffirming that position. The post included a quote from evangelical pastor James Dobson suggesting homosexual marriage would lead to the downfall of civilization.

Now see? You got two independent thought alarms there! The religious right are coming for the marriage decisions whether we want them to or not! So in case you’re wondering what the religious right’s radical agenda is when it comes to the GAWD given rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters, well, it’s the exact opposite of what JAYSUS wants and believe me it’s not good. First they came for the gay community… As the old saying goes!

Radical right-wing commentator Josh Bernstein posted a video on his website Sunday night reacting to former President Donald Trump’s speech at CPAC earlier in the day in which Trump called on states to enact a variety of voter suppression measures, such as requiring voter ID and limiting the use of early voting and mail-in voting.

Bernstein agreed with Trump’s recommendations but faulted him for not going far enough.

“We cannot have early voting,” Bernstein declared. “We should have one day to vote, and no, it should not be [a day] off, OK? You either go before work, you either go on your lunch break, or you go after work. That’s it. If you can’t get there in that one day, then it wasn’t important enough for you, and to be quite frank, I don’t want you to vote. If you can’t make it in that one day, stay home.”

Bernstein said that only those in the military or who are sick should be allowed to use mail-in voting, but it should only be available the week before the election. He also called for the Constitution to be amended to outlaw the use of mail-in voting for any other reason.

Bernstein then insisted that we must “raise the voting age to a minimum of 21” and that every voter must provide “proof of income” at the polling place.

No we’re allowed to do that, Reverend. So that’s the evil agenda that the religious right is pursuing and they are not on the side of GAWD! Mass has ended, may you go in peace! That is it this week for:

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[font size="8"]Beating A Dead Horse: Mr. Potato Head
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By now you’re probably sick and tired of hearing about “cancel culture”. Well guess what? We’re going to talk about it again! Because social conservatives seem hell bent on driving this talking point into the ground, which is what they do. Which is also why this segment exists. Well this week they’re upset about not one, but two things being “canceled”. Look, we get it. Nobody wants to be derived of having a voice, and this shit is getting to be completely ridiculous. But imagine flipping through the channels to find that Fox News has effectively canceled the doll formerly known as Mr. Potato Head, and for a completely ridiculous reason at that. And really it’s the conservatives that are doing the canceling!

Hasbro is dropping the honorific "mister" from the "Mr. Potato Head" brand, renaming the shapeshifting plastic spud to the gender-neutral "Potato Head."

It's a notable change from one of the world's largest toy makers to untether one of its most famous products from a binary gender identity — something that was far less controversial in 1952, when Hasbro introduced the decidedly male and playfully anthropomorphic tuber.

"Hasbro is making sure all feel welcome in the Potato Head world by officially dropping the Mr. from the Mr. Potato Head brand name and logo to promote gender equality and inclusion," the company said. The rebranded toy launches this fall.

News of the name change emerged at an investors meeting on Thursday. Hasbro later tweeted about it, assuring fans that although the brand name is changing, the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head "aren't going anywhere." Those character names will still appear on the boxes under the new brand name.

Now come on! I mean in all seriousness, has Mr. Potato Head ever been anatomically correct? I mean seriously unless you’re actually checking the doll for a penis, and who hasn’t, then any outrage you have over this decision is completely null and void. Here’s where the conservative outrage comes in. They pick the pettiest and weirdest battles to fight don’t they? If you tuned into Fox News at all the last week, this is what you got.

Mr. Potato Head caused a lot of buzz last week, and Fox News played a big part in that. Over the past week, the plastic toy — and its gender — has been mentioned at least 35 times on Fox News and Fox Business combined.

"The conversations about Mr. Potato Head and trans kids or whatever the culture war narrative is are a huge distraction," author and CNN columnist Jill Filipovic told CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter on "Reliable Sources" Sunday.

Hasbro stirred the pot on Thursday when news of a Mr. Potato Head branding change emerged at an investors meeting. The toy company later tweeted about it, assuring fans that although the brand name is changing, the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head "aren't going anywhere."

On Saturday, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld said Mr. Potato Head was getting "neutered" and Sean Hannity invited Geraldo Rivera and Dan Bongino on air to talk about the "controversy and confusion" that was created by Hasbro's decision to rebrand the toy.

"There's something wrong when so-called cancel culture gets more attention than the struggles that millions of Americans are facing," Stelter said.

Oh come on! Of course it’s a distraction! Did you really think we’d see it any other way? If you’re keeping score at home – they are looking the other way on the Texas climate change disaster that happened last week. But Mr. Potato Head losing the “Mr.”? That’s the outrage to end all outrages and… sigh… that’s why we can’t have nice things. But they’re angry! And oh man are they angry!

Over the weekend Mr Potato Head came out as gender neutral, with Hasbro announcing that the toy would go forward being known simply as Potato Head. And, as expected, conservatives lost their damn minds over the news.

Despite early commercials for the toy explicitly stating that Potato Head could be turned into a woman with the different accessories included, and the fact that the character is literally a toy potato, conservatives were outraged.

Hasbro shared that dropping the “Mr” was done to promote more inclusivity beyond the “traditional” family structure, which will allow children to have full creativity when playing.

“Culture has evolved,” Kimberly Boyd, SVP and GM of Hasbro, told Fast Company. “Kids want to be able to represent their own experiences. The way the brand currently exists— with the ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’— is limiting when it comes to both gender identity and family structure.”

So why are conservatives outraged at this? I mean it’s not like we’ve had a killer virus, or a deranged, bloodthirsty cult storm the Capitol, or a catastrophic climate change disaster any time in the last couple of months. But no let’s be outraged that they removed the gender from a toy that really has no gender, and turn the outrage way past 11! I mean come on, Fox! Are you telling me you’re going to look for the penis on a Ken doll? And let’s be honest – if you answer yes to that question, you should probably be put on a sex offender watch list. But sadly conservatives were outraged enough that Hasbro is going to walk back on its’ claims somewhat.

Is it Mr. Potato Head or not?

Hasbro created confusion Thursday when it announced that it would drop the “Mr.” from the brand’s name in order to be more inclusive and so all could feel “welcome in the Potato Head world.” It also said it would sell a new playset this fall without the Mr. and Mrs. designations that will let kids create their own type of potato families, including two moms or two dads.

But in a tweet later that afternoon, Hasbro clarified that while the brand is changing, the actual Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters will still live on and be sold in stores. In a picture posted on Twitter, the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” names are less prominently displayed at the bottom of the box, instead of the top.

“While it was announced today that the POTATO HEAD brand name & logo are dropping the ‘MR.’ I yam proud to confirm that MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD aren’t going anywhere and will remain MR. & MRS. POTATO HEAD,” the company tweeted.

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[font size="8"]Conspiracy Corner
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Welcome back to our segment that attempts to explain the unexplainable, Conspiracy Corner! We are coming to you live from our underground bunker deep in the heart of the New Mexico badlands – undisclosed location of course. Just know that it is in New Mexico. And I say “attempt” because there’s no making sense of the Alex Joneses and the Mark Taylors of the world. So there are times when you just have to smile and nod at the ridiculous shit that they say and say “what the fuck”. This week we’re taking a look at a conspiracy being peddled by anti-vaccination crusaders about a microchip being implanted in you when you go to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. And I’m here to tell you this – you are wrong. Just let me adjust my trusty tin foil hat here for maximum government interference to tell you exactly why!

A new conspiracy theory making its rounds among the population of the unskeptical, including my own family members this time, alleges the COVID vaccines not only contain microchips, but also control your mind with them. There are a few reasons why this is neither possible nor practical.

The first and probably least severe roadblock to controlling humans via injected chip is size restrictions. COVID vaccines are reportedly 22 gauge, or less than half a millimeter across, and even the simple microchips commonly seen in pets is about 2 millimeters wide, or over four times as large. That’s a chip that has no internal energy source and is essentially a barcode, so it seems reasonable to assume that a device with necessary systems to control an entire human brain would be even larger, and certainly wouldn’t fit inside the vaccine needle.

Let’s say the microchip did fit inside the needle though. Now it needs to get from the injection site to the brain. The fastest and only practical way to move would be through the circulatory system, but because the vaccine isn’t administered directly into any veins, the chip would have to move itself into one. The only vessel known to freely travel undetected through the human body is The Magic School Bus, but unfortunately Ms. Frizzle retired over 20 years ago and she’s enjoying her golden years in Palau.

Of course we are, Milhouse! But that’s neither here nor there. But there’s plenty of things out there concerning the vaccine that would leave you to believe some insane bullshit. And there really is some insanity floating out there, folks. But the thing you have to remember is that Facebook is a place where disinformation and unchecked claims run rampant and it can be difficult to separate truth from fiction, but Facebook has a solution for that.

Facebook is expanding its ban on vaccine misinformation and highlighting official information about how and where to get COVID-19 vaccines as governments race to get more people vaccinated.

"Health officials and health authorities are in the early stages of trying to vaccinate the world against COVID-19, and experts agree that rolling this out successfully is going to be helping build confidence in vaccines," said Kang-Xing Jin, Facebook's head of health.

Social media platforms including Facebook have played a big role in the spread of false claims, hoaxes and conspiracy theories about the pandemic over the last year, despite efforts by tech companies to clamp down on harmful content and promote authoritative sources.

In December, Facebook said it would remove claims about COVID-19 vaccines that have been debunked by public health experts, such as posts saying, falsely, that the vaccines contain microchips.

Mmmmmmmmm…. Not really. But even the WHO themselves traveled to China with the idea of putting behind the ridiculous myth that the virus originated in a lab and the outbreak was the result of a careless worker. So why are there so many conspiracy theories out there? The answer is insane, and it’s insane that the WHO had to spend so much time, money, and resources into putting an end to this ridiculous myth!

World Health Organization investigators said Tuesday that they would no longer pursue research into whether the coronavirus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China.

Peter Ben Embarek, a food safety and animal diseases expert, announced the decision during a press conference to wrap up a visit by an international team of WHO experts to the city where COVID-19 was first identified in December 2019.

Embarek said there was not enough evidence to support a hypothesis that the virus escaped from a Chinese biosafety laboratory in Wuhan – the Wuhan Institute of Virology – and that the WHO stood by its previous determination that COVID-19 most likely entered the human population through an intermediate animal.

The WHO team has spent several weeks on a fact-finding mission in Wuhan. Experts from 10 nations have visited hospitals, research institutes and a wildlife market tied to the outbreak. However, WHO's field work and other activities in Wuhan have been closely monitored by Chinese officials and security officers, and Beijing has repeatedly resisted called for a completely independent investigation into the origins of the virus.

Not really, you’re among fellow conspiracy theorists, Bart. But then again the people who are watching the watchers are now denying that the watchers exist. That’s right – Q Anon, you know them as the protectors of the children from the child molesters of the world! While Facebook may be cracking down on Q related groups and misinformation, they still haven’t cracked the code. Hell I’m sure even the Q Anon idiots have cracked the code yet, it’s the Da Vinci Code for idiots! And they’re largely responsible for about 95% of the misinformation out there! And come on, who needs microchips when we have cell phones?

You’re not reading this on a smart phone or tablet, are you?

I hope not, for your sake. They say the government can use imperceptible fluctuations in the light to reprogram your brain waves, giving them complete control over your thoughts and actions. You’ll be Joe Biden’s zombie and you won’t even know it.

You think that’s crazy? Shows what you know. You probably think the moon landing was real. You probably think Kennedy was killed by a lone gunman. Heck, you probably think Kennedy was killed. (He was actually a crisis actor.)

If Bill Gates can track your whereabouts by injecting nanobots into your body through a vaccine that supposedly “protects” you from a virus, what makes you think your devices can’t be programmed to program you? If the federal government can paralyze Texas and leave millions in the dark using fake snow and the Green New Deal, anything is possible.

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[font size="8"]I Need A Drink
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Hey everyone I don’t know about you but I could really use a drink!

So you know the idea behind this is that we have some drinks and while we’re drinking we talk about literally anything in the news as long as it doesn’t relate to politics. Because there’s a lot of dark shit out there. Even coming from this blank blue void in the back room of a Burbank Comedy Club, drinking is still fun, damn it! This week we have to talk about a really crazy thing that happened involving legendary metal band Metallica. No, it doesn’t involve them robbing from the poor and giving to the rich. So tell me, virtual bartender, what goes well with a story about Metallica? Metallica beer? Made by Stone in San Diego? OK I’ll take an extra large glass of that please! So this week Metallica became victims of their own copyright claims. Remember Napster? Think of that but worse, and it seems while we all can’t wait to get back to having live events, your favorite livestream event may be in jeopardy!

You just hate to see it.

The Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch made a mess of things Friday during a livestream, and it couldn't have happened to a nicer band. Specifically, Metallica, known for (among other things) its 2000 lawsuit against the music-sharing service Napster, was streaming a concert for Blizzard Entertainment's annual news event, BlizzCon, when Twitch Gaming dubbed over the heavy metal with what sounded like elevator music.

While the immediate cause of the mess-up was unclear, fans were quick to speculate that the swap was a result of automated systems attempting to avoid any copyright issues inherent in streaming Metallica's music.

Importantly, however, the Future of Music Coalition — a "nonprofit organization supporting a musical ecosystem where artists flourish and are compensated fairly and transparently for their work" — was quick to point out that the reality of the situation isn't as cut and dry as many on the internet first assumed.

"When people are encouraged to direct all their ire at the DMCA (not at Amazon's failure to implement it correctly) or at the music biz, it improves Amazon's bargaining position in licensing negotiations, and imperils Congress's ability to achieve needed reforms," wrote the nonprofit.

Yeah so that happened! Metallica got hit with a taste of their own medicine. You remember the whole Napster incident right? At least you do if you were born before 2001. And it wasn’t just Twitch that got hit with DMCA claims either! Another Metallica live stream got hit with a similar claim and the hilarious part about this? They replaced Metallica’s signature classic “For Whom The Bell Tolls” with real, actual bells! So keep this in mind the next time you buy a ticket for that virtual event!

No matter what your favorite Metallica song is, when people watch the iconic heavy metal band in action they expect to hear hard-rocking songs and high-gain electric guitar galore.

Unfortunately for those tuning into Metallica's live BlizzCon 2021 performance, the only music they were treated to was a generic twinkly background track – complete with what sounds like, ironically enough, bells – after the official audio was muted amid fears of copyright take-down.

Performing a virtual set as part of Blizzard Entertainment's annual gaming convention BlizzCon, Metallica's appearance was posted live by popular streaming site Twitch, as well as on several other social media platforms.

Thousands tuned in to watch the highly anticipated performance, eager to witness the iconic band in action.

However, during the band's performance of For Whom the Bell Tolls, the audio was cut off and replaced with folky background music, following fears of a potential DMCA takedown.

Now here’s the thing – I am not a copyright attorney. But if I am reading these articles correctly, it could spell doom for certain music streaming platforms and certain games if these claims went any further in court than just a slap on the wrist. Blizzard is obviously very paranoid about selling and licensing this game for obvious reasons, and we don’t blame them one bit. As long as it doesn’t interfere with Diablo 4, we’re good!

Streamers who want to play retro game Rock N' Roll Racing may want to turn off the game's iconic music before going live, according to a new suggestion from Blizzard over the weekend.

"PSA: If you stream Rock N' Roll Racing from the Blizzard Arcade Collection, the game has a soundtrack of licensed music which is not cleared for streaming," said Adam Fletcher, a community development lead for Blizzard, in a tweet on Friday, Feb. 19. "If you choose to stream, please do so with the music turned off."

To celebrate the company's 30th anniversary, Blizzard announced the release of the Blizzard Arcade Collection during the first day of BlizzCon 2021. The collection includes three games from Blizzard's early years: Rock N' Roll Racing, The Lost Vikings, and Blackthorne, and it will be available for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch for $30.

As the name suggests, Rock N' Roll Racing included a chiptune soundtrack of several classic rock songs from artists such as Black Sabbath, Steppenwolf, and George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Although the game's songs are arcade-style covers of the original tracks, they are still licensable songs — and are therefore prone to copyright strikes.

Read More: https://www.svg.com/341241/the-real-reason-blizzard-is-warning-streamers-about-this-game/?utm_campaign=clip

Thanks I needed that! And come on! You can’t have a game called “Rock N Roll Racing” without some actual rock n roll! That would be like having a place called “Sal’s Famous Beer Bar” and then not selling any actual beer! But that said these are some very tricky waters to navigate and we suspect things will get worse before they get better. But that said, there are people who are attempting to find work arounds for Twitch’s ultra-strict policies.

DistroKid’s new partnership with Twitch may prove to be a step in the right direction for supporting artists online.

Music aggregator DistroKid has joined forces with Twitch, giving artists a path into their Twitch Affiliate Program, which will allow them to earn money via the platform.

Twitch is notorious for its strict enforcement of DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and has seen countless streamers punished and banned for the use of copyrighted music on their channel. While it aims to protect artists from having their music used unlawfully, it has seen many move away from the platform.

COVID-19 saw artists adapt their performances via an online platform, with many live-streaming their music on Twitch. DJ Dave Eckblad explains that another member of his artist collective “had to pivot and figure out some new stuff to do. And I was able to help him get that going quick. I had already been doing stuff on Twitch, on and off, so we worked to put a show together.”

[div style="padding: 20px; background-color: #ffffff; border-radius: 10px; box-shadow: 0px 2px 4px 1px #aaa;"][div style="font-family: arial, helvetica; font-weight: bold; border-bottom: 1px dotted #999; padding-bottom: 8px;"]
[font size="8"]Stupidest State 2021 Selection Sunday
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16 states will enter, and only one state will become the new Top 10 Conservative Idiots Stupidest State!

Welcome welcome welcome! We are back for an unprecedented 5th year in a row! Last year our season nearly got canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But now this year we’re in a place to better manage the tournament. Because the circumstances have changed, normally we would go to venues all over the country. But because we’re being advised against that, we’re consolidating everything into a bubble in Phoenix this year! Why Arizona? Because they’re one of the few places that is still allowing live crowds! That said, let’s do this thing!

[font size="6"]Statement From The Commissioner [/font]

Welcome, welcome, welcome!!! As the official commissioner of the NFFSA, it is my honor and privilege to welcome this year’s squad to the tournament! Last year we faced an extraordinary challenge and circumstance, and I want to thank the teams, their staff, and the NFFSA staff for their unrelenting support in carrying out this year’s games. Also, congratulations again to last year’s winner Florida, I hope that they are still enjoying that victory. This year we’ve got some red hot newcomers and some conference changes! Who will come out on top this year? Only time will tell! But our COVID bubble in Phoenix will make things extra exciting. Now to explain the rules, just like last year, this year will feature two matchups in round 1, then one matchup in round 2, then the Final Four, then the NFFSA championship! For Selection Sunday, we will also be providing you with the states, stats, odds, and info that you can use to fill out your brackets! Also new this year – follow the Top 10 Twitter feed for some Bracketology style info on your states! Now let’s do this thing!

[font size="6"]The Batshit Conference [/font]

The Batshit Conference is the oldest and most distinctive conference in the entire NFFSA with 22 states stretching over a good majority of the country. Diversity is the strength to this division, as is complete and utter batshit craziness. These people are not only crazy, they elect crazy. Batshit Conference winners often assert a distinct method of being unable to tell fiction from reality, and the farther out your conspiracy theories are, the better. It’s not enough that they believe in Bigfoot, aliens, and the Loch Ness Monster, these people believe in Pizzagate, Q Anon, and everything else that makes crazy go even crazier! The Batshit Conference: Still Crazy Since 1859!

1. Georgia: Now you might be thinking “Hey wait a minute, Georgia became a blue state in 2020!”. We are here to tell you you’re wrong! You can take Georgia out of the red, but you can’t take the red out of Georgia! This is the state that gave us batshit Q Anon congress critter Marjorie Taylor Greene, and is toughening laws to make it easier for conservatives to vote and harder for everyone who doesn’t have an R next to their name!
Smoking Gun: Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Batshit) became the quickest congress woman stripped from committees because of her beliefs in far right racist conspiracy theories!
Odds: 2:1 Georgia didn’t make the #1 seed for any reason, they had a strong regular season and are looking to win this whole thing!

2. Kentucky: One of the perennial favorites of the tournament has yet to win a title, but that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t win it all this year! The state that has given us our favorite punching bag, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also gave us Rand Paul! They are currently fighting a recall against governor Andy Beshear, which, as far as we know, has nothing to do with COVID.
Smoking Gun: Like the rest of us, Kentucky is sick of lockdowns and restrictions, but they’re actually considering limiting the governor’s powers on imposing more!
Odds: 5:1 Kentucky had a strong showing in the regular season, but a series of injuries have threatened to derail one of the best franchises in the league. They could go far, or not.

3. South Dakota: A newcomer to the tournament, the Mount Rushmore State had a strong showing last year, hosting a super spreader motorcycle rally at Sturgis in the middle of the worst pandemic in the last 100 years. On top that, governor Kristi Noem is taking one of the most lax approaches to the entire pandemic with an “anything goes” policy. South Dakota has an entire state population less than that of the city of Miami, but they have plenty of representation in Congress with some crazy representatives and senators!
Smoking Gun: At the height of the MAGA movement, the Trump administration met with South Dakota officials to add Trump’s bust to the historic monument.
Odds: 7:1 We were shocked by this team’s strong showing in the regular season. They could pull off some major upsets if capable.

4. Michigan: Now wait, you might be thinking that Michigan is a blue state! Well, you’re wrong – they’re mostly blue, but they have a dark red underbelly. The Wolverine State had a strong showing in the regular season with some stunning upsets and some of the craziest news in the entire country – most of which spawned the alt right protest movement called “The Boogaloo Bois” and Governor Whitmer becoming the target of hardcore Trump fans.
Smoking Gun: Last August, there was a bizarre plot to kidnap governor Whitman, which involved a bunch of alt right terrorists and a PT Cruiser. Yeah that happened!
Odds: 10:1 They are a long shot to win but could pull off some massive upsets if true.

[font size="6"]The Fiscal Irresponsibility Conference [/font]

Excessive greed is the name of the game in the Fiscal Irresponsibility Conference. It’s not enough that you have one yacht, your entire family has their own fleet of yachts! Yacht rock is for chumps. You can afford to have the real Pablo Cruise play your next boat party! And who needs frequent flyer miles? You've got your own fleet of private jets and selecting the right one for the occasion is a first world problem known only to you and your other billionaire buddies! And millionaires, really, who needs them at all? These people are billionaires and trillionaires! Well maybe not trillionaires, but these people have more money than you’ll ever see in a lifetime. While you’re drudging through an Amazon warehouse that’s visible from space on your third shift, your boss just bought the next 5 Amazon warehouses and will soon employ half the state! You will bow down to your corporate masters and like it, you worthless peasants! The Fiscal Irresponsibility Conference: Your misery is our pleasure since 1952!

1. Kansas The perennial favorites of the Fiscal Irresponsibility Conference have been going strong in the last 5 years. Fraud and billionaire insanity is rampant in Kansas. Kansas is the home to Koch Industries, which recently saw the death of one of the Kochs, and that’s concrete proof that you can’t take it with you! But in addition to the greed, Kansas is rife with insanity and one of the first states to completely lift restrictions all in the name of money!
Smoking Gun: Kansas shut down their unemployment system to deal with rampant, incriminating fraud in the offices!
Odds: 5:1 Kansas is usually the perennial favorite to win this conference, but they had a lot of injuries in the regular season. Expect if they win for them to go far.

2. Wyoming Wyoming is a newcomer to the Fiscal Irresponsibility Conference, but they have had some strong showings this year. In fact so much that your favorite celebrities and business tycoons are leaving Silicon Valley and Hollywood for Jackson Hole. The fresh air, low population, and lack of regulations means you can own plenty of land and not be bothered by the neighbors! It does a mind and wallet good!
Smoking Gun: The state is so broke because of the lack of taxes that they’re considering a whopping $100 million cut to education. That’s gonna leave a mark!
Odds 7:1 : Clear underdogs in the tournament, they could turn out to be a Cinderella story if they beat the reigning champs.

3. Nevada: The casino and gambling industry took a nose dive when COVID-19 hit as the once bustling Vegas strip became a virtual ghost town almost literally overnight. While many of Vegas’ most prominent institutions, like MGM and Caesar’s, are now finding new homes online, Vegas is looking to rebuild their tourism industry. As long as you don’t count the socially distanced homeless people sleeping in the casino parking lots.
Smoking Gun: The cancellation of Reno’s famed Burning Man festival cost the state a whopping $3 billion in much needed tourist revenue.
Odds: 7:1 The Silver State has a lot of competition in this category but they got hot at the right time so expect them to go far.

4. Iowa: The Hawkeye State makes its’ long awaited return to the conference championships and they’re out looking for revenge! There’s lots of farmland in Iowa and with it comes excessive greed and hardcore racism! Yes, the state that gave us Charles Grassley and Steve King has reelected these old racist coots for who knows how many terms they’ve served? And on the home front things look scarier and more dire than ever, and it really shows.
Smoking Gun: In a half assed attempt to reopen the state to revive the economy, Gov. Reynolds did not consult experts prior to lifting restrictions!
Odds: 7:1 – very evenly matched in this conference, they are looking to make a big splash in this year’s tournament!

[font size="6"]The Gun Nut Conference [/font]

If you’ve got an itchy trigger finger, a bullet-proof vest, and a massive safe full of the latest in fully automatic and semi-automatic protection, then this is the conference for you! You carry your guns in your belt, your sleeve, and your ankle holster, because you never know when you can't be too quick on the quick draw! It’s the conference where the debate between concealed carry and open carry is considered a contact sport! The cops will pull you over and ask for your driver’s license and your NRA membership. Waiting periods are for chumps! You want your guns and you want them now, and it doesn’t matter who you have to stomp on! Why not take your gun to Chili’s? You’re a raging maniac and you’ve deserved that write. There’s no amount of firepower that will satisfy you, you want all the guns and all the ammo! The Gun Nut Conference: Shooting first and asking questions later since 1896!

1. Florida: What is there to say about the Sunshine State that hasn’t already been said? The state once referred to as “America’s Wang” by Homer Simpson, is the home to Miami, which is where Trump lives now, and Orlando, which recently hosted CPAC. Florida loves them some guns, they have one of the highest capita of gun owners in the country, and they’re not afraid to use them! And in Florida you’re allowed to carry your guns everywhere.
Smoking Gun: Florida is proposing a law that would allow open carry of guns in churches! What could go wrong there?
Odds: 2:1 Last year’s champions are going to give any competitors a run for their money – provided that Florida Man doesn’t screw up first!

2. Texas: Our 2019 reigning champion loves them some guns and they are looking to make a comeback after getting trounced by last year’s reigning champion Florida. They say everything’s bigger in Texas – the guns, the spectacles, the COVID cases, and even the people! But big guns aren’t the only thing Texas has going for it! In fact they also harbor some old timey apocalyptic end of the world fantasy religion! Carrying out the apocalypse and doing it large, that’s the Texas way!
Smoking Gun: Texas’ complete lack of environmental restrictions meant the state suffered one of its’ worst climate change disasters in history!
Odds: 2:1 The odds on favorite to win this year’s conference and even the odds on favorite to win the Layover League, expect them to go far!

3. Idaho The Gem State switched back to the Gun Nut Conference after bowing out early last year, but they’re not giving up! Last year their gun credentials are strong! Idaho bought more guns than anyone else in the entire country, and this is during a raging pandemic! And rural Idaho (read every city in the state not named Boise) is packing some serious heat, and is a hotbed for NRA membership and you can bet that your neighbors are carrying!
Smoking Gun: After a record year of school-related shootings, Iowa is looking to pass a law aimed at allowing people to carry guns in school, what could go wrong there?
Odds: 7-1 Iowa had a strong showing at the beginning of the season but then injuries plagued their team. But they are looking to rebuild and go far.

4.Oregon The Badger State is looking to lick its’ chops after getting a serious beat down last year and they’re not going out quietly. Oregon may be the home to liberal utopia Portland, but Portland has become the battleground city for weekly cage matches between the Proud Boys and Antifa. Outside of Portland isn’t much better – the firearm rules all and it’s inspired some people to do some extremely crazy things, like take over bird sanctuaries. Oregon packs some serious heat and they’re not afraid to use it either!
Smoking Gun: Oregon’s GOP proposed a controversial law that would allow individual jurisdictions to decide open carry laws. What could go wrong there?
Odds: 9-1 A very long shot, they’ve got some strong competition ahead. But if they stay healthy they could shock the pundits.

[font size="6"]The Family Values Conference [/font]

All things are about Jesus in the Family Values Conference! The Bible Belt is proudly worn on your waist, sleeve, and magic underwear in this conference, where something is put in the holy water and it’s not the hand of God, either! Who needs the government when your parish is your governor? The lord of all things holy watches over each and every resident in these states, and going to church is the only form of entertainment most have! While you’re out committing those sins, you godless heathen, your electors are looking to strip away your rights and give them to the church, making the church the most powerful entity out there. It’s the states where the Red Hot Chili Peppers are replaced with Hillsong United on the radio and there’s more Chik-Fil-A locations than there are Starbucks. If you’re counting down the days until the rapture and wondering which prayer to say before breakfast, then the Family Values Conference is for you! The Family Values Conference: Proudly converting the non-believers since 1896!

1. Indiana The Sooner State got bumped up to the #1 seed this year after an abysmal showing last year. The state that gave us our now former Vice President, Mike Pence, also gave us Trump Supreme Court justice Amy Comey Barrett! And what’s fueling Indiana’s rise to the top? A super-secret underground Catholic Cult called People Of Praise that originated in South Bend at Notre Dame and came into the spotlight during the nomination!
Smoking Gun: People Of Praise has earned comparisons to an obscure Nazi cult from the 1940s, that can’t be good, right?
Odds: 2 – 1 They owned the regular season this year and impressed the judges enough to get bumped to the #1 seed! Expect them to go very far.

2. Ohio: The Buckeye State has some of the largest and oldest congregations in the entire United States of America. The home to The Ohio State University (don’t forget the “the”, damn it) and Jim Jordan is also the home to some old school fire and brimstone religion. The state is also home to some of the strictest abortion laws in the entire country! And they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in this conference!
Smoking Gun: Ohio’s controversial heartbeat law echoes the one recently passed in South Carolina that could deal a serious blow to women’s rights.
Odds: 5:1 They had a strong showing in the regular season but got hammered by injuries, playing #1 seed won’t help them but they could score a major upset if healthy enough.

3. Mississippi: The Magnolia State has a small but very loyal fanbase that keeps them coming back for more. The state has elected some absolutely crazy leaders in the last 20 years and is currently led by Tate Reeves, a man who is an old school fire and brimstone religious man who believes that Biden’s policy regarding trans people is a “social experiment”. Mississippi has also proposed numerous religious liberty cases, cementing their Bible belt beliefs!
Smoking Gun: Thanks to Mississippi’s religious nuts, they only have one abortion clinic in the entire state – which did not receive any medication in the last year thanks to a SCOTUS ruling.
Odds: 7:1 They are a long shot to win but could shock the conference if they pull off an upset against a 1 or 2 seed.

4. Arkansas Arkansas was one of the original winners of this conference. While they sat out last year due to injuries, they are coming back strong this year! The Natural State is a religious conservative playground with many small towns and many large churches! They’re also home to former governor Mike Huckabee. Arkansas also has one of the highest divorce rates in the entire country. The religious nuts in the state also oppose hate crimes bills and embraces old school LGBT restrictions!
Smoking Gun: Arkansas is planning a bill that would allow medical providers to discriminate based on religious reasons!
Odds: 7:1 They had a rocky regular season but could pull off an upset or two if healthy enough.

[font size="4"]The Schedule: [/font]

We’re doing things a bit differently this year because of COVID travel restrictions but here we go!

[font size="4"]The Bracket: [/font]

Here's the brackets! Fill them out and post your predictions!

[font size="4"]Next Week: [/font]

We are taking a week off but to kick things off starting on 3/18 it’s a battle of the Batshit as #3 South Dakota takes on #4 Michigan, while over in the Family Values conference, #1 Ohio takes on #2 Indiana in a rivalry showdown!

We’re going to take a short break next week, we’ll be back on 3/18/21 in our new Thursday time slot with a brand new edition and the kickoff of Stupidest State 2021! See you in two weeks!


Host: Initech
Top 10 Conservative Idiots Recorded At: Flappers Comedy Club, Burbank, CA
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