Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Making Life Worse, Every Day In Every Way (Cont.)




The Trump regime's assault on our environment continues apace:

The Trump administration plans this week to revoke California’s long-standing right to set stricter air pollution standards for cars and light trucks, the latest step in a broad campaign to undermine Obama-era policies aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change, two senior administration officials said.

The move threatens to set in motion a massive legal battle between California and the federal government, plunge automakers into a prolonged period of uncertainty and create turmoil in the nation’s auto market. [snip]

Already, 13 states and the District of Columbia have vowed to adopt California’s standards if they diverge from the federal government’s, as have several major automakers. California leaders on Tuesday said they will fight any challenge to their autonomy.

“While the White House has abdicated its responsibility to the rest of the world on cutting emissions and fighting global warming, California has stepped up,” Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said. “It’s a move that could have devastating consequences for our kids’ health and the air we breathe, if California were to roll over. But we will not.”  (our emphasis)
While this reactionary policy undoing decades of progress may be stayed by the courts for now, the assaults won't end until these despicable vandals are kicked out on their asses. 

Mid-Week Tribute Songs: Ric Ocasek


The lead singer and composer for The Cars, the iconic "new wave" rock band of the '70s and '80s, Ric Ocasek died last Sunday at the age of 75 of cardiovascular disease in New York City. His style -- personal and musical -- set him and his band apart from the crowd of disco and hair bands of that era. Their eponymous debut album spawned three top ten hits and was one of the most successful debut albums of all time, powered by Ocasek's hook-laden compositions.

The Cars were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, and after the band broke up, Ocasek became a sought-after record producer to many bands and artists, offering guidance and encouragement. His sudden death prompted tributes from across the music and entertainment business, including a heartfelt one by Stephen Colbert shown below. RIP to a groundbreaking composer and musician.

Off of their debut album, "My Best Friend's Girl":



On Ocasek's "Drive," bandmate Benjamin Orr sings the lead vocals, and Ocasek's wife-to-be, model Paulina Porzikova, is featured.



Colbert remembers Ric Ocasek:

Back To School, Never To Return?


This new ad from Sandy Hook Promise is an utterly chilling reminder that parents across the nation are terrified by the prospect the their child might go off to school and be a victim of a mass shooting.
Mass shooting drills are replacing fire drills / duck and cover drills as a "normal" way of life, and that's disgraceful and unacceptable. You can lay that on the doorstep of the corrupt and dangerous Republican Party.

Bye Bye Bibi?



With nearly all votes counted in Israel's elections, it appears that the Likud Party of Prime Minister Bibi "Bomb Bomb" Netanyahu has fallen short in a close election. Former General Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan Party has a one seat lead, with the Arab Joint List Party finishing third. The big challenge now will be to form a government. Gantz has pledged to form a broad "unity" government, and is talking with the Joint List Party leaders among others to do that. Sixty one seats are needed to form a government.

In an echo of his ally, demagogue and bigot Donald "Rump" Trump, Netanyahu is refusing to concede and is blaming the Israeli media for his apparent loss. His last minute appeal to bigotry against Israeli Arabs appears to have backfired, too.

It will take a while to see if a government can be formed with a coalition of several disparate parties. But it's looking more and more like Bibi Bomb Bomb has lost his grip on the Prime Minister position. Worse for Netanyahu are corruption investigations that are ongoing and may result in charges. Another commonality with Trump.

(photo: A campaign billboard with Trump and Netanyahu, who went to great lengths to tie himself to Trump)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Today In Moscow Mitch




On the same day the House Oversight and Reform Committee is set to open an investigation of his wife's possible ethics violations, cosmically foul Sen. "Moscow Mitch" McConnell is the subject of a devastating profile in Rolling Stone: "Mitch McConnell:  The Man Who Sold Out America."  The profile traces his too- long political career as one of the most destructive persons ever to occupy a position of power in American government (and touches on the aforementioned shady lady's use of Moscow Mitch to advance her family's interests).  This is just a small taste;  please take the time to read the whole profile -- if you have the stomach:
For so many years, McConnell has seemed maddeningly invincible. But now, just a few years after achieving his lifelong goal of becoming Senate majority leader, it appears that every political sin the man has committed on his relentless march to power is coming back to haunt him at once. He has welcomed infamy, and now it has arrived on its own terms, bringing with it a previously unthinkable possibility: Could 40 years’ worth of devil’s bargains finally be catching up with Mitch McConnell?

For all the damage he’s inflicted on American democracy, for all the political corpses he’s left in his wake, Mitch McConnell has never betrayed an ounce of shame. To the contrary, like the president he now so faithfully serves, McConnell has always exuded a sense of pride in the lengths to which he’s gone to achieve his ambitions and infuriate his enemies.  [snip]

It was already becoming clear that, in the political world of Mitch McConnell, convictions and campaign pledges were fungible things, easily tossed aside. Throughout his career, as the Republican Party veered right, and then further right, McConnell moved with it. “It’s always been about power, the political game, and it’s never been about the core values that drive political life,” John Yarmuth, Kentucky’s lone Democratic congressman, told Alec MacGillis, author of the 2014 McConnell biography The Cynic. “There has never been anything that interested him other than winning elections.”
Moscow Mitch is the perfect paladin for the Republican Party -- ruthless, amoral, destructive, cynical, and interested in power for power's sake, not for promoting the general welfare of the American people.  Even though his approval is around 18 percent in Kentucky, we'll need a big blue wave to carry him out of office, and Amy McGrath is best- positioned to build that wave in 2020.  The fight is just beginning;  let's carry it through to the end.

BONUS:  It's winnable.  Don't believe otherwise -- 


Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Andy Marlette, Pensacola News Journal)


(Dave Whamond, caglecartoons.com)


(Jeff Stahler, gocomics.com)


(Stuart Carlson, gocomics.com)


(Paul Szep, gocomics.com)


(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)


(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)


(Ed Wexler, PoliticalCartoons.com)
 
(Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)


(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)


(Jen Sorensen, gocomics.com)

The Saudi's "9/11" Mockery



This comparison is obscene, but consider the source:
"A top State Department official told Congress Monday evening that the Saudis view the massive attack on their oil infrastructure as their 9/11, according to two congressional sources. [snip]

Brian Hook, the Trump administration’s special representative for Iran, made the 9/11 comparison during a telephone briefing on Capitol Hill about the administration’s latest thinking on the attack. [snip]

The 9/11 reference, made less than a week after the 18th anniversary of the attack which killed over 3,000 Americans, came despite the uncomfortable fact that 13 of the 19 hijackers who attacked the U.S. on that day were Saudi citizens."
As corrupt sociopath and draft dodger Donald "Rump" Trump awaits "intelligence" and instructions from Saudi Arabia's murderous Crown Prince Mohammed "Bone Saw" bin Salman on if/ how to proceed with our military forces, the sheer arrogance and perversity of the comparison is breathtaking. It's also breathtaking that the Saudi regime is expecting the U.S. to supply the military forces in any conflict with Iran, despite the provision of billions of dollars in advanced military equipment to the Saudis in order to defend themselves. Of course, they've been using that hardware to fight a vicious war in Yemen against Houthi rebels, who are supported by arch-enemy Iran. As it should be, Trump's pathetic fealty to the Saudi crown is producing widespread criticism.

Trump and his family are financially beholden to Saudi money that has been invested in their properties. and his concern is over his own financial interests over the national interest. So instead of telling Saudi Arabia that they will be at the front of any conflict with Iran, Trump is pledging our servicemen and women as mercenaries to fight their battles for them. If they believe it's their "9/11" let them muster the resolve we had after 13 of their citizens attacked us on the real 9/11.

Eight Years Of Trump Taxes Subpoenaed



In another attempt to get at the tax returns of fraudster and con man Donald "Individual-1" Trump, the Manhattan District Attorney's office has subpoenaed eight years of his tax returns and those of his organization. They have specifically issued a subpoena to Mazars USA, the longtime accounting firm that handles Trump's personal taxes and those of his often bankrupted organization.

Trump's legal team has vigorously fought any release of his tax returns, including a mandatory request from the House Ways and Means Committee, ignoring subpoenas despite Trump's false pledge during the 2016 campaign that he would release his tax returns. The Manhattan DA's subpoena was issued from a grand jury investigating Trump's illegal hush money payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougall prior to the 2016 election:
"Prosecutors are looking into whether the Trump Organization filed any false business records in how it accounted for the reimbursement of the payments to Cohen, a source familiar with the matter told CNN last month after the Manhattan DA's office sent subpoenas to the Trump Organization and American Media Inc. 
Those subpoenas sought communications between the company and representatives for Daniels and Karen McDougal, who also alleged to have an affair with Trump more than a decade ago."
Don't expect to see any of these returns soon, given Trump's willingness to throw every legal obstacle in the path of investigators. There's something so damaging to Trump in those tax returns that it raises the question of what on earth exactly is he hiding?

Our "Top Un-Intelligence Official" Awaits Further Instructions


Steven Colbert covers the crisis in the Persian Gulf region, with America's "top un- intelligence official" awaiting instructions from a certain murderous Saudi:


Monday, September 16, 2019

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept. -- Solving Homelessness


A modest proposal in today's Washington Post:

Given the president’s obvious humanitarian concern for the homeless, I suggest he consider offering them accommodation at his various Trump properties [“Homeless camps a new focus for Trump,” front page, Sept. 11]. Not only would this help to promote civic hygiene in otherwise “rodent infested” cities, but also it would alleviate the vacancy problem that seems to plague several of Mr. Trump’s facilities. The formerly homeless probably wouldn’t mind the bedbug problem if they could get room service.
John Williams, Fairfax Station
Mr. Williams, you're our new bff!

"Funny How That Works" -- Trump's Iran War Tweets Edition


(click on image to enlarge)


(Source:  democraticunderground.com)

Tweets Of The Day -- Dementia Don, Cont.




Let's go to the videotape!



Doubtless, Trump's waiting for further instructions from Mohammed "Bone Saw" bin Salman.

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon: The Stupidverse


(click to enlarge)


Saudi Arabia, Trump Needs Instructions!


Mr. "Locked and Loaded" had something to say about the drone attack a few days ago on some Saudi oil facilities:

Draft dodging demagogue and would-be tough guy Donald "Bone Spurs" Trump is known for his empty bluster and tough talk up until his adversary plays him with a sweet letter or a flattering phone call. But in this instance, he's showing his hand by claiming to rely on the Saudi regime's intelligence to determine the "culprit" (the Houthi rebels have already claimed credit), and, pathetically, how to proceed. He's willing to let his BFF and murderous thug Crown Prince Mohammed "Bone Saw" bin Salman call the shots, which could put U.S. servicemen's lives in harms way. Outsourcing responsibility for what could be war between us and a hostile Iran to the corrupt Saudis seems like a departure from "America First," although it would be "America Alone" when it comes to our allies joining the fight.

Yet another example why national security policy by reckless tweet is endangering us.

BONUS:



Monday Reading


As always, please to to the links for the full articles/ op eds.

In case you missed it, Sofia Tesfaye writes about how functionaries lick- spittles in the Trump regime are attempting to silence a whistleblower in the intelligence community who has "urgent" information possibly concerning serious misconduct by Putin's puppet:
According to Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a whistleblower who lodged an urgent complaint about wrongdoing within the intelligence community has gone ignored and left unprotected. In a letter released on Friday, Schiff accused a “top intel official of illegally withholding” a “whistleblower” complaint described as “urgent” by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (IC IG) — and one that could implicate the White House.
"A month ago, a whistleblower within the intelligence community lawfully filed a complaint regarding a serious or flagrant problem, abuse, violation of law, or deficiency within the responsibility or authority of the Director of National Intelligence," Schiff said in a statement. The IC IG first notified the committee of the whistleblower complaint on Sept. 9. The next day, Schiff requested a full, unredacted copy of the complaint, the ICIG's findings related to the matter, and all records connected to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s (ODNI) involvement, "including any and all correspondence with other Executive Branch actors including the White House."
In what may be the clearest example yet of obstruction in the Trump administration, acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, in direct contradiction to an unambiguous rule worked out in the wake of Watergate, is refusing to hand over the whistleblower’s complaint to Congress... [snip]
"The Committee can only conclude, based on this remarkable confluence of factors, that the serious misconduct at issue involves the President of the United States and/or other senior White House or Administration officials," Schiff wrote in a letter accompanying his subpoena of Maguire. He continued: "This raises grave concerns that your office, together with the Department of Justice and possibly the White House, are engaged in an unlawful effort to protect the President and conceal from the Committee information related to his possible 'serious or flagrant' misconduct, abuse of power, or violation of law."   (our emphasis)
Party before country and Trump before all else.

Need to plumb the shallow puddle that is Trump's persona?  James Poniewozik has you covered in this excellent op/ ed:
Mr. Trump has been playing himself instinctually as a character since the 1980s; it’s allowed him to maintain a profile even through bankruptcies and humiliations. But it’s also why, on the rare occasions he’s had to publicly attempt a role contrary to his nature — calling for healing from a script after a mass shooting, for instance — he sounds as stagey and inauthentic as an unrehearsed amateur doing a sitcom cameo.

His character shorthand is “Donald Trump, Fighter Guy Who Wins.” Plop him in front of a camera with an infant orphaned in a mass murder, and he does not have it in his performer’s tool kit to do anything other than smile unnervingly and give a fat thumbs-up.  [snip]
The taunting. The insults. The dog whistles. The dog bullhorns. The “Lock her up” and “Send her back.” All of it follows reality-TV rules. Every season has to top the last. Every fight is necessary, be it against Ilhan Omar or Debra Messing. Every twist must be more shocking, every conflict more vicious, lest the red light grow bored and wink off. The only difference: Now there’s no Mark Burnett to impose retroactive logic on the chaos, only press secretaries, pundits and Mike Pence.

To ask whether any of this is “instinct” or “strategy” is a parlor game. If you think like a TV camera — if thinking in those reflexive microbursts of adrenaline and testosterone has served you your whole life — then the instinct is the strategy.

And to ask who the “real” Donald Trump is, is to ignore the obvious. You already know who Donald Trump is. All the evidence you need is right there on your screen. He’s half-man, half-TV, with a camera for an eye that is constantly focused on itself. The red light is pulsing, 24/7, and it does not appear to have an off switch.
This is the cipher endangering our democracy every moment he's in office, surrounded by careerist sycophants and true believers desperate to keep the show from being cancelled.

Speaking of which, E.J. Dionne, Jr., writes about the sham FBI non- investigation of credible sexual assault claims against beer- loving *Justice* Brett "KavaNo" Kavanaugh and the institutional failures triggered by the rotted out Republican Party:
We focus, rightly, on the damage President Trump is doing to our institutions. But the wreckage goes beyond Trump and involves the other two branches of government as well. The right wing’s determination to control the Supreme Court is undermining its legitimacy as well as confidence in the U.S. Senate’s approach to confirming nominees.
For the GOP, nothing will be allowed to derail its effort to create a generation-long conservative majority on the court. And that helps to explain why Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh was railroaded through his confirmation hearings last year after what amounted to a pretend inquiry into the various charges against him.
Remember, the Republican Senate voted in lockstep to confirm this sexual predator.  Every damn one of them.  If you've got one in your state up for re- election in 2020, you know what to do.  Especially with these two:


As always, we close by recommending you pay a visit to Infidel 753's link round- up.  He covers so much territory every week that you're bound to find lots of "interesting stuff" (as he puts it) to engage you.