Saturday, November 28, 2015

Today's Cartoon - Not Hard To Connect The Dots

(click on image to enlarge)

(Clay Jones,

See post below.

The Terrorists Are Already Here (UPDATED)

Not Syrian refugees.  Not Muslims.  No, it's the usual mass- murdering terrorist of recent years in America:  a middle aged white man:
Robert Lewis Dear was identified as the gunman who allegedly killed three people and wounded nine others Friday during a shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, according to the AP.

Dear, who the AP reported is from North Carolina, was arrested Friday after an hours-long standoff with police.
Right- wing lies and demagoguery about Planned Parenthood don't have consequences?  We'll see how this shooting investigation plays out.  But there's no doubt the Republican Party, which has gone increasingly from dog-whistles to bullhorn hate speech during the term of our first African American President, has been waging war on the well- being of the American people and the institutions of civil society on a front ranging from affordable health care to immigration reform to minority rights to labor unions to climate science to women's reproductive health.  Should anyone doubt that the Republicans' inflammatory hate speech about Planned Parenthood could possibly connect with these evil consequences, remember this, and this, and this, and this, for starters from these loathsome cretins.

UPDATE:  Meanwhile, how did "The Most Trusted Name In News" handle the unfolding events? Joan Walsh captures our feelings:

UPDATE II:   When confronted with real consequences, the right- wing lies and demagoguery just ramp up.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Weekend Song

"Perfect Circle" is a song from influential Athens, Georgia- based R.E.M.'s first studio album, "Murmur," released in 1983.  We well remember first hearing their distinctive music on "progressive rock" FM stations as a substantive, welcome relief from the metal and "hair" bands then dominating the airwaves.  Thanks to Silver Spring Bureau Chief Brian for the musical suggestion!

Well Said

Rump's denial that he knew of the New York Times reporter's disability -- the reporter who was on a first name basis with him-- is just the most recent of his lies, and one which will do him no harm whatsoever with his rabid followers.

Your Morning Trump Reads

For those who are still digesting their Thanksgiving meals, we offer these collected thoughts on Republican front-runner and Mussolini of Manhattan Donald "Rump" Trump as potential cathartics:

Timothy Egan, New York Times:
[O]ver the last three months, in listening to plans of the Republican presidential front-runner and the views of his increasingly thuggish followers, I’m starting to have some dark fears should Donald Trump become president.

Take him at his word — albeit, a worthless thing given his propensity for telling outright lies and not backing down when called on them — Donald Trump’s reign would be a police state. He has now outlined a series of measures that would make the United States an authoritarian nightmare. Trump is no longer entertaining, or diversionary. He’s a billionaire brute, his bluster getting more ominous by the day
(our emphasis)
 Scott Eric Kaufman, Salon:
If Donald Trump wins the White House now, it will be impossible to forget that he did so, in part, because he persistently lied about American Muslims cheering 9/11 and used as evidence the reporting of former Washington Post reporter Serge Kovaleski — a man whose work Trump so vastly respects that he openly mocked the reporter’s disability before a crowd of cheering Republicans in South Carolina[snip]

In his speech Tuesday, Trump hooked his arms in front of his body and flailed around while saying, “now, the poor guy — you’ve got to see this guy, ‘I don’t know what I said! I don’t remember!'” The manner in which he curled and tucked his arms was a clear reference to the fact that Kovaleski suffers from arthrogryposis, a congenital disorder that limits the flexibility of his arms. 
(our emphasis)
 Judd Legum, Think Progress:
For the past several days, Donald Trump has claimed that “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey were celebrating the fall of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

The claim has been thoroughly debunked by multiple fact checkers. The New Jersey Attorney General investigated rumors of such celebrations immediately after the attack and found them to be “bogus.” Simply put, it did not happen. 
Trump links to, a conspiracy website that pushes the idea that 9/11 was an insidejob.

According to Infowars, the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary was a hoax, FEMA is setting up concentration camps and Andrew Breitbart was assassinated to prevent the release of damaging information about Barack Obama. 
(our emphasis)
As FOB Gene put it so well, "When Fascism comes to America it'll be wearing a day-glo orange toupee and be yuuuge and classy."

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Quote Of The Day

"It would be sad, and dare I say even catastrophic, were special interests to prevail over the common good and lead to manipulating information in order to protect their own plans and interests."  -- Pope Francis today in Nairobi, Kenya, decrying the possibility that the Paris global climate change summit starting next week might be derailed by "special interests."  Gee, what short-sighted, corrupt, awful people would do such a thing?

The Hypocrites Of Thanksgiving

Harold Meyerson tells us why on Thanksgiving, our "holiday of refugee commemoration," a certain party began to lose the spirit of the day long ago:
In Trump, the Republicans’ Southern Strategy — pioneered by Barry Goldwater and perfected by Ronald Reagan — has hit bottom. Just as the Southern economic elites found they could count on the electoral support of the region’s largely impoverished white working class by steering those workers’ resentment at their lot toward even more impoverished African Americans, so today’s Republicans look at their own (no longer just Southern) white working-class supporters — whose jobs have been offshored and whose paychecks have been shrunk by indifferent financiers and corporate executives — and steer their resentment toward immigrants and minorities.
Trump’s distinctive contribution to this decades-long process has been the rawness of his racism, the thuggish tone of his speech and the huge growth of anti-minority police powers that he has championed. In proposing to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and their U.S. citizen children, in suggesting that the government monitor mosques , he has positioned the Republican Party much closer to fascism than to the libertarianism toward which some mistakenly believed the GOP was headed [snip]
It’s all a far cry from the spirit of the holiday we celebrate today. For today’s Republicans — including Trump’s rival candidates afraid to call him out for what he is — celebrating Thanksgiving is an act of high hypocrisy.  (our emphasis)
Meyerson is right about the historical antecedents, but we don't think there's much hope for the post- truth Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ Crazy Party to steer in a different direction.  This is a party, ubiquitous right-wing media, and "conservative movement" that has for decades trafficked in lies, racism, sexism, nativism, homophobia, etc. ad nauseam -- in all, presenting a perverted vision of what America means and what it means to be an American.  This is part of their DNA, it's been their ticket to power, and it's not going to go away because a candidate or Republican graybeard calls it out today, tomorrow, or the next day.

Even cancelling out "Rump" Trump, you might have in his place a more clever and dangerous demagogue =cough= "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz =cough= or a slick cipher whose views don't stray all that far from Trump's =cough= Marco "Glug Glug" Rubio =cough=.  No, steering in a different direction isn't going to happen this election cycle, at the very least.

Elsewhere on the once great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's editorial page today, the editorial board references the novel "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis - a fantasy about how fascism came to America during the depths of the Great Depression - as a cautionary tale for our times.  Of course, it didn't happen in the 1930's because, thanks to the leadership of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Americans' faith in democratic institutions was strengthened.  However,
That faith in government has eroded in recent times, and the United States’ commitment to toleration is being tested by would-be leaders who seem to find it an impediment to their ambitions. But the truth is that our society relies on the kind of gratitude we express today — specifically on a “grateful acknowledgment” of the respect we owe to one another and to the principles of fairness, decent governance and free expression that underlie our good fortune in living here.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving 2015

Gathering with family and friends, enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and remembering family that has passed before, we're thankful for what we have and hopeful for what lies ahead.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Mid-Week Song

Celtic folk rock band The Corrs consists of three sisters -- Andrea, Sharon and Caroline -- and their brother James, who have been turning out great music since they formed as a band in 1990 in Dundalk, Ireland.  They've been nominated for two Grammys and have won the BRIT Award for their fusion of traditional Celtic folk sounds with modern rock. To their great credit, they are very active in philanthropic work, including promoting HIV/AIDS awareness in Africa, and various disaster relief fundraisers.  Their new album, "White Heat", is being released this week, and we're featuring a single off of that album, "Bring on the Night," recorded at Church Studios in London. Enjoy.

White Supremacist Right- Wingers Arrested In Minneapolis Shootings

Three genetically mutated white supremacists believed responsible for the shooting of 5 "Black Lives Matter" demonstrators in Minneapolis on Monday have been arrested:
Police arrested three suspects in connection with the Monday night shootings that wounded five protesters, and social media posts reveal a fascination with guns, video games, the Confederacy and right-wing militia groups.
Authorities arrested 23-year-old Allen “Lance” Scarsella following a brief SWAT standoff Tuesday afternoon in Bloomington, and two other suspects, 21-year-old Nathan Gustavsson and 26-year-old Daniel Macey, later turned themselves in.
It doesn't take long to go from getting beaten up at a Trump rally to this, does it?

Before the shootings, white supremacists went online to talk about harassing the BLM crowd, including BLM's white supporters, who they referred to this way:
“Best to act as much like a beta white cuck as much as you can.”
Some time in lockup will test how "alpha" these manly specimens are when they're not holding onto their "cuck" cock compensators. (h/t to Anonymous commenter)

(Image:  The Minneapolis white supremacist shooters (unconfirmed).)

Today's Cartoons - It's Not Just Trump!

(click on images to enlarge)

 (Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Tom Toles, once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle)

It bears repeating:  it's not just Trump; it's the racist, nativist, low information, neo- fascist right wing Republican base that's fueling this un- American ugliness.  And every Republican candidate will cater to this, to one degree or another, out of conviction, cynicism, desperation, or all of the above.

Colbert Mocks "NostraDonald"

On his show last night, Stephen Colbert took down narcissistic neo-fascist Donald "Rump" Trump for, among other things, thinking that he was one of the first to alert people to Osama bin Laden in 2000, several years after anyone who was paying attention knew bin Laden's name well as an international terrorist. It's hard to beat the surgical precision that Colbert uses in this clip to point out what a complete buffoon and liar Rump is (e.g., the nonsense about "thousands" of American Muslims cheering 9-11 in New Jersey).

BONUS:  Seth Meyers on "Late Night" also skewers the Mussolini of Manhattan.  In our current political culture, it seems it takes comedians to do journalists' jobs for them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Tous Fran├žais" Quote of the Day

From the joint press conference today of French President Francois Hollande and President Barack Obama, an excerpt of President Obama's heartfelt comments on France:
"We love France for your spirit and your culture and your joie de vivre. Since the attacks, Americans have recalled their own visits to Paris, visiting the Eiffel Tower or walking along the Seine. We know these places. They're part of our memories, woven into the fabric of our lives and our culture...When tragedy struck that evening, our hearts broke, too. In that stadium and the concert hall, in those restaurants and cafes, we see our own. In the face of the French people, we see ourselves. Nous sommes tous Fran├žais [we are all French]."

More Inversion Perversion

Here's a turkey just in time for Thanksgiving.  The huge American pharmaceutical company Pfizer is up to it's tricks again:
Pfizer Inc on Monday said it would buy Botox maker Allergan Plc in a deal worth $160 billion to slash its U.S. tax bill, rekindling a fierce political debate over the financial maneuver.
The acquisition, which would create the world's largest drugmaker and shift Pfizer's headquarters to Ireland, would also be the biggest-ever instance of a U.S. company re-incorporating overseas to lower its taxes. U.S. President Barack Obama has called such inversion deals unpatriotic and has tried to crack down on the practice.  (our emphasis)
You may recall a series of these corporate tax- dodging "inversion" deals from last year (one of which involved... Pfizer).  Alan Sloan provides some perspective:
Assuming this deal goes through, Pfizer PLC will pay lower income taxes while continuing to enjoy all the benefits that it and its employees derive from being in the United States. The U.S. corporate tax rate is 35 percent, compared with 15 percent for Ireland. But Pfizer, like many U.S. multinational companies, uses a variety of strategies to lower its tax rate considerably.
This is a very scary transaction. Not only is Pfizer big and prominent — it would become the first foreign member of the Dow Jones industrial average, the quintessential U.S. market indicator — but it takes tax avoidance to a whole new level. Once people examine the technicalities underlying this deal, other companies may well be inspired to structure their desertions the same way Pfizer has.
Because of the deal’s structure, as I will explain in a bit, Pfizer PLC will be able to play amazing tax games. Among other things, it will be able to get its hands on about $70 billion of profit it has held offshore to avoid paying U.S. income tax on it. Now, it will be able to access the cash without paying the tax. And it will probably be able to add to its reported profit some or all of the $20 billion it has set aside on its earnings statement for U.S. taxes on those foreign earnings — taxes that will now never have to be paid(our emphasis)
Doing a little checking here =taptapclickclick= 35% (current U.S. corporate tax rate) of $90 billion profit equals $31.5 billion maximum tax liability avoided.  Now that's a real "taker!" Check out the rest of Sloan's article (but take your blood pressure medication first).

Thinking that Congress will do anything to stop this type of corporate tax weaseling would be to grossly misjudge our compromised legislative branch.  Speaker Paul "Lyin'" Ryan (R- Galt's Gulch) is probably handing out Pfizer checks on the House floor right now.

If The Media Think Just Trump's The Problem, They're Part Of The Problem

Let's see what frequent blind squirrel Dana Milbank dug up this morning:
For months — years, really — Republicans have averted their gaze from Trump’s attacks on women, Hispanics and immigrants. Now the racism becomes more overt — and still, he goes unchallenged.  [snip]
[T]he front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination talks about the forced registration of Muslims. Republican leaders look away. And Trump surges in the polls, regaining the lead he had lost before the Paris attacks. For Republican leaders and rival candidates, these are the wages of cowardice.
Two months ago, after the second GOP debate, I saw signs that Republican hopefuls had begun to think it safe to take on Trump “consistently and jointly.” But that didn’t continue, and Republicans are now stuck with a collective-action problem. There’s no incentive for an individual Republican candidate to take on Trump only to get mowed down by his counterassault. Instead, some rivals are imitating Trump’s positions.
No shit, Sherlock!  Well, there's a reason they're the party of fear and loathing!  Milbank might wait until the final primary ballot is cast before he comes to the realization that the main difference between Rump and his rivals is that Rump is the ugly, nativist Republican id with the volume turned up and no filter, and the rest of the field simply prefers the volume lower with some weasel words to cover up the crazy.  Likewise, Milbank's editorial board at the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle is vainly looking for someone in the Republican ranks to "stand up" to the bully Rump, as though the party's problem is Rump and not the party's ignorant, nativist base that's been nurtured for 40 years to fear and hate. That's who the other moral flyweights in the party fear and to whom they knuckle under.

We'll see if The New York Times can do any better:
Mr. Trump relies on social media to spread his views. This is convenient because there’s no need to respond to questions about his fabrications. That makes it imperative that other forms of media challenge him.
Instead, as Mr. Trump stays at the top of the Republican field, it’s become a full-time job just running down falsehoods like the phony crime statistics he tweeted, which came from a white supremacist group.
Yet Mr. Trump is regularly rewarded with free TV time, where he talks right over anyone challenging him, and doubles down when called out on his lies.
This isn’t about shutting off Mr. Trump’s bullhorn. His right to spew nonsense is protected by the Constitution, but the public doesn’t need to swallow it. History teaches that failing to hold a demagogue to account is a dangerous act. It’s no easy task for journalists to interrupt Mr. Trump with the facts, but it’s an important one(our emphasis)
Why stop with Rump?  Why not interrupt every one of the craven, crackpot Republican candidates running for President and hold them accountable for their dangerous lies?  Is smarmy Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz any less a demagogue?  Or Dr. "Mental Ben" Carson?  How about the un-American views on religious tests for refugees spouted by "moderate" "J.E.B.!" Bush?  Or "Snarly" Carly Fiorina hallucinating about "100,000 Syrian refugees?"  And the imaginary "war" being waged on Christians, as seen by American Taliban demagogue Mike "Huckster" Huckabee? And on and on down into the sewer of American politics.

We would like to ask the frightened, "both sides do it" media to think about what it's costing our nation by failing to hold to account every one of these far- right candidates' disgusting, Islamophobic, homophobic, anti- black, anti- Hispanic, neo- fascist rantings.  Because, to this point, they've been getting away with it, and it's long past time for the media to be committing the most basic acts of journalism.