Monday, October 5, 2015

Dumb and Dumber: Which Is Which?

The bumbling scion of the House of Bush, John Ellis "J.E.B.!" Bush, has been clinging desperately to 5th or 6th place in the Rethuglican Presidential poll, so he's been cranking up the crazy of late, including the despicable "stuff happens" comment on the Roseburg, OR mass shooting.  Desperately upping the delusional, rage-fueled rhetoric that appeals to the Republican base voter is to be expected.  But when we read that J.E.B.! is contemplating inviting his brother, failed President and bathtub portraitist George "Dumbya" Bush to campaign with him in South Carolina, we wonder whether he's suicidal.

Dumbya may poll well among dead-ender Rethugs who long for more wars in the Middle East, but he left office with a catastrophic 22% approval rating. While that's far higher than J.E.B.!'s current poll numbers, does he think that reminding the public of his brother's disastrous Presidency will help him, even in secessionist South Carolina? Will he laud his brother's running up the debt with two wars and a national prescription drug program unpaid for, and his handling of the cratering economy that saw 800,000 jobs lost just in Dumbya's last month in office?  It's hard to see the upside for a candidate who has been very shy about playing up his family name, but then we're not the "smarter Bush."

Letters We Wish We'd Written - Papal Party Poopers Dept.

From today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle:
The Vatican said that Pope Francis’s meeting with Rowan County, Ky., Clerk Kim Davis “should not be considered a form of support of her position.” But if Pope Francis told Ms. Davis “stay strong” and “thank you for your courage,” as he was reported to have done, then he was indeed showing her support.
I can’t help but think of all the people on whom Pope Francis could have put the spotlight — single parents, people battling disease and addiction, teachers, journalists, families of victims of gun violence. So many could have used his momentary approval. Instead, he chose to give more recognition to a woman whose “courageous” battle could be resolved with a new job. No matter who set up the meeting, what a wasted opportunity.
Linda Spollen Haile, Winchester  (our emphasis)
We've made note of the person who purportedly set up the Davis- Pope Francis meeting (and, if reports out of the Vatican are accurate, set up the Pope).   Now it's up to the Vatican to remove this backstabbing bigot from his post as soon as possible to prove the Pope wasn't endorsing "Dim" Davis' bigotry.

Carly Fiorina: Deadbeat Multimillionaire

The personality profile of "Snarly" Carly Fiorina is starting to fill out.  Heartless job killer. Check.  Pathological liar.  Check.  And now this:
Famed California pollster Joe Shumate was found dead in his home one month before Election Day 2010, surrounded by sheets of polling data he labored over for the flailing Senate bid of Carly Fiorina.
Upon his death, Fiorina praised Shumate as “the heart and soul” of her team. She issued a news release praising him as a person who believed in “investing in those he worked with” and offering her “sincerest condolences” to his widow.
But records show there was something that Fiorina did not offer his widow: Shumate’s last paycheck, for at least $30,000. It was one of more than 30 invoices, totaling about $500,000, that the multimil­lionaire didn’t settle — even as Fiorina reimbursed herself nearly $1.3 million she lent the campaign. She finally cleared most of the balance in January, a few months before announcing her run for president.  (our emphasis)
She seems nice.

She also attracts the best people:
“People are just upset and angry and throwing her under the bus,” said Jon Cross, Fiorina’s operations director for her Senate campaign. “If we didn’t win, why do you deserve to get paid? If you don’t succeed in business, you shouldn’t be the first one to step up and complain about getting paid.”  (our emphasis)
Yes, indeedy, "Double" Cross!  Why should anyone get paid for work they've done if they didn't "win."  By definition they're "losers," amirite?  With the exception of "Snarly" Carly, who paid herself back, of course.  She didn't "win," but she's not a "loser" like those flunkies on her campaign! She also didn't "win" at Hewlett-Packard, but she got a $40 million golden parachute when she got fired, unlike the 30,000 "losers" who lost their jobs! 

If that's not the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party zeitgeist of the last 40 years, we don't know what is.

(Photo:  "What -- I was supposed to pay those losers?!")

Sunday, October 4, 2015

"Supply Side Jesus" and Today's Republicans

Watch Bill Maher's take on the "Christian" right's interpretation of Christianity, and why egomaniacal buffoon Donald "Rump" Trump is their perfect candidate.  Throw in the cynical "prosperity gospel," and you have the right wing evangelic perversion of Christianity's teachings down pat.

Tweet of the Day

If you missed last night's season premiere of Saturday Night Live, you missed a classic sketch with Hillary Clinton playing a sympathetic bartender to SNL's resident Hillary impressionist Kate McKinnon. Clinton was a good sport and received some very gentle ribbing as well as some compliments. Her imitation of Donald "Rump" Trump's "loser" insult was priceless. You can watch the whole sketch here.

Sunday Funnies, Benghazi Boomerang Department

(click to enlarge)

Would anyone seriously doubt that Congressional Rethuglicans would be targeting Sen. Sanders with "investigations" if he were the prohibitive Presidential favorite in 2016?  Secretary Clinton appears before the partisan Gowdy committee later this month, and we hope her outrage over their politicization of the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi (not to mention millions in tax payer dollars used for political purposes) spurs the shutdown of this show trial.

(cartoon:  Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via

Saturday, October 3, 2015

American Gun Violence In One Chart

This chart was prepared as part of a report by the Center for American Progress, and shows the deaths from all wars America has been engaged in since 1776 and deaths from gun violence just since the end of the Reagan Administration (h/t Mother Jones).

(click on image to enlarge)

Are we a civilized nation?  This chart argues that we're not.

President Slams J.E.B.! 's "Stuff Happens" Reaction To Oregon Shootings

Clueless, cosseted scion of the Bush family John Ellis "J.E.B.!" Bush (a.k.a., the "smart Bush") had this reaction yesterday to the shootings in Oregon earlier this week:
"I had this challenge as governor. Look, stuff happens, there's always a crisis. And the impulse is always to do something and it's necessarily the right thing to do," Bush said, in response to a question about gun control.  (our emphasis)
At his news conference yesterday, President Obama was asked to react to J.E.B.!'s statement:
"I don't even think I have to react to that one," Obama said when asked for his reaction. "I think the American people should hear that and make their own judgments based on the fact that every couple of months we have a mass shooting."
Obama continued: "They can decide whether they consider that 'stuff' happening."
Clearly, the brother of the man who needlessly sent thousands of American servicemen to their deaths in Iraq (not to mention tens of thousands of collateral Iraqi deaths and casualties) has the same soulless sensitivity to human carnage.  F**k him.

(Photo:  Did we say "F**k him?"  Good.)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Republican Voter Suppression Well Underway in Alabama, North Carolina

Republican voter disenfranchisement efforts in Alabama and North Carolina are proceeding apace, thanks to the Republican Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act (Shelby County v. Holder).

On Sept. 30, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency announced that a budget cut of $11 million would force it to close 31 part-time driver's licensing offices across the state. [snip]

While the number of office closures was less dramatic than what the ALEA had threatened in August, when the state legislature was still working out its budget, the state's voter identification requirement for elections means that some eligible voters could be disenfranchised if they are unable to travel far beyond their county to obtain a license. Moreover, many of the areas that will now lack a part-time driver's license office are very low-income, majority African-American counties.
North Carolina:
A data-mining analysis of information publicly available from the North Carolina State Board of Elections has uncovered apparently systematic irregularities in voter registration efforts which are required of the state by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA; the so-called 'Motor Voter Act'). These irregularities, potentially disenfranchising tens of thousands of poverty-level North Carolina citizens, have all occurred during the Republican administration of North Carolina's current governor, Pat McCrory (R).
Under McCrory (who took office in January of 2013), North Carolina has become the tip of the GOP's spear in efforts to suppress voting by demographic groups which typically do not lean Republican (blacks, Latinos, youth, and the economically disadvantaged). McCrory's efforts culminated in 2013 with his signing into law of the nation's single most draconian voter suppression bill, The Voter Information Verification Act... [snip]
Today, North Carolina's voter registration rolls are missing some 40,000 or more poverty-level citizens (and still counting), due to what may prove to be systematic actions by the McCrory administration, in possible violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. To put that number of voters in perspective: in the 2014 election, Thom Tillis (R) beat incumbent Kay Hagan (D) for his current U.S. Senate seat by roughly the same number - just 45,608 votes.
Jim Crow is alive and well in the Republican South.  Maybe "Democracy" sounds too much like "Democrats" to them.

The Sheriff and The Shooter

Reports are emerging that the shooter at Umpqua Community College yesterday, Chris Harper Mercer, was a loner with white supremacist leanings.  He also reportedly asked the religion of the victims before he executed them, causing the mass shooting to be investigated as a hate crime.  Mercer, who accumulated 13 guns, of which 6 were brought to the campus, was obsessed with guns according to reports.

In today's press conference, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin said he wouldn't name the shooter because he said that it would lend undeserved fame to him.  But it appears the shooter had more in common with the sheriff than the sheriff wants to acknowledge.  Hanlin posted a video on his Facebook page in 2013 that claimed the Sandy Hook massacre was staged to usher in more stringent gun controls. Also, in a letter to Vice President Biden shortly after he posted the despicable video, Hanlin said,
"Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings. Any actions against, or in disregard for our U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights by the current administration would be irresponsible and an indisputable insult to the American people."
Small wonder that the sheriff didn't want the media to name the shooter or, presumably, dig into his background: that would hit too close to home.

BONUS:  Meanwhile, let's praise veteran Chris Mintz, who was shot seven times while trying to stop the shooter, and survived.

Weekend Gone Songs

JR JR is a Detroit- based indie band who just released their latest album, "JR JR."  This is a song from the album, "Gone;"  we think the video has a certain Rene Magritte quality to it.   In addition, we want to feature another "gone" song, "Already Gone," the great kiss- off anthem by the Eagles.  We would like both to be a musical goodbye "and don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you" to Weeper of the House John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner (R- Merlot), who will be "gone" at the end of the month, not that he was ever "here" to begin with.  Enjoy.

Papal Party Poopers (Updated)

As we noted yesterday, the admirable Charles P. Pierce at had a very intriguing article that makes at least a circumstantial case that the secret meeting between Pope Francis and malingering Bible-thumping bigot Kim "Dim" Davis was the result of a plan among Pope Francis' right-wing opponents in the Vatican to undermine the impact of the progressive elements of his agenda.  Among the usual suspects is the papal nuncio in Washington, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, who, as "coincidence" would have it, knows Dim's lawyer Mat Staver via some partisan "religious freedom" agitating.  Vigano is a loyalist of Pope "Emeritus" Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) and a member in good standing of the conservative bloc that's very unhappy with Pope Francis' positions on income inequality, climate change and other issues.  The key question is whether the Pope understood the significance of Dim's illegal actions and her role in the partisan culture war, and nonetheless went ahead and briefly met with her, or whether he was misinformed and set up.*  (An adulterous, serial bride, Dim also took a solemn oath to perform the duties of her office;  does the Church take issue with that?  Of course not.)

Add to the mix the Dim-friendly offices of ABC News, right-wing Catholic publications which are attempting to subvert progressive Catholic social doctrine, and a good-sized group of reactionary Cardinals aligned with Ratzinger who rue the election of this Pope, and you have a well-executed sabotage of an image of the Pope as a breath of fresh air.  In any event, that's the scenario that Pierce skillfully sketches.  A must read.

*UPDATE:  Vatican sources are now saying the Pope was "blindsided" by Dim and her entourage. Recalling Vigano would be a concrete sign that was true.

UPDATE II:  Reports are that the Vatican may be intending to "retire" Vigano in January.

(photo:  J. Ratzinger, left, and Vigano in happier times)

Today's Cartoon - Benghazi!!! Blows Up

(click on image to enlarge)

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

It was a genius, stealth Republican plan that no one ever could possibly have taken to be a naked partisan attack on Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, including our noble "mainstream media."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Here We Are Again

It never stops, does it?
A mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon on Thursday morning has left 13 dead, according to Oregon's attorney general. 
Sheriff John Hanlin at a press conference said he would not confirm the death toll, saying only that there were multiple fatalities and multiple casualties. At 10:38 a.m. local time, police received a 911 call of a shooter in a classroom.
Hanlin said officers exchanged gunfire with the shooter and he was neutralized. The shooter is deceased and has not been identified publicly. Oregon Governor Kate Brown said the shooter is 20 years old.
Spare us the ephemeral outrage.  Spare us the 36 hours of concerned media coverage.  Spare us the smarmy words from the unspeakably evil enablers at the N.R.A., their bag men in Congress, and every right-wing creep.

We have a sick political system in this country, and these are its casualties.

UPDATE:  Here's some of what is known about the shooter:
A posting on the Spiritual Passions dating and social networking site uses a picture that appears to be [Chris Harper] Mercer under the user name IRONCROSS45, which Mercer also used as his email.
He described himself on the site as a 26-year-old, mixed-race “man looking for a woman”. He said he was “not religious, but spiritual”, and was a “teetotaler” living with his parents and a conservative Republican. Socially, he said, he was “shy at first” and “better in small groups”.
We hadn't seen anything in the "mainstream media" about his political leanings and probably never will.

Jeb! Bush Whitesplains: Li'l Danny Snyder's Team Name Isn't Offensive (To Me)!

Man born with a silver foot in his mouth, John Ellis "J.E.B.!" Bush, has determined there's nothing to take offense at with the name of the Washington football team:
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said the Washington Redskins should keep their controversial name despite complaints from some Native American groups and members of Congress that it is racist.
"I don’t find it offensive," Bush said in a taped interview to air on Friday on the Sirius XM radio show "The Arena." "Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive.
Some Native American groups have said "Redskins" is a slur and are calling for the team to change the name.

"I don’t think (they) should change it," Bush said. "But again, I don’t think politicians ought to be having any say about that, to be honest with you."
But apparently it's not offensive when a politician takes a large bundle of money from that team's godawful owner.
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, who has said the name expresses respect toward Native Americans and that he will not change it under any circumstances, gave $100,000 to Right to Rise, a Super PAC supporting Bush's candidacy, according to a filing with the Federal Election Commission.
Once again, the Churchillian rule of thumb applies to Jeb!:  we've established what he is, we're only haggling over the price.

(Photo:  Li'l Danny Snyder - life size - and the other wealthy white man)