Friday, June 5, 2020

Trump Recklessly Pushes To Fully Open Economy



In a reckless and desperate statement earlier today, malignant narcissist and con man Donald "COVID Donnie" Trump called for the immediate end to stay at home orders, focusing on only protecting what he called "high risk" populations. He's callously disregarding the morbidity of the virus across demographic lines, affecting old and young. In addition, the coronavirus pandemic is still ongoing, and there have been fears that people ignoring stay at home orders and social distancing, as they did during the Memorial Day weekend, will produce a new surge of the virus. Trump made the statement in the absence of medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been sidelined in recent weeks as Trump pushes to fully open the economy. We can't imagine that public health officials are at all on board with Trump's insane urging in the middle of a pandemic.

Trump sees a recovering economy -- not a recovering population -- as vital to his flagging reelection bid in November, so he's desperate to push people back to work, whether the virus is showing signs of spreading or not (but taking care to protect businesses from lawsuits by employees facing unsafe working conditions). He'll have more deaths on his hands, not that it's of any concern to him.

Taking It To The Streets: DC's BLM Tribute


In a great piece of slapdown, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser had 16th Street leading up to the White (Supremacist) House renamed "Black Lives Matter Plaza," and put an exclamation point on it by painting it in huge letters on the pavement. What if the 1600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue could be renamed Joe Biden Way, so that WH mail would have to be addressed that way?

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Tom Janssen, Trouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands)


(David Horsey, Seattle Times)


(Ken Catalino, gocomics.com)


(Chris Britt, gocomics.com)
 
(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)


(Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Examiner)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


(Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)


(Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com)


(Tom Toles, Washington Post)


(Michael de Adder, deadder.net)
 
(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)


(Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

Weekend Music


The album "My Favorite Things," a selection of standards from the Great American Songbook, was released in 1961 by the legendary John Coltrane.  One of the songs on the album, "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye" by Cole Porter, is our music to ease into the weekend with.  It features an all- star jazz lineup, including Coltrane on soprano saxophone, McCoy Tyner on piano, Steve Davis on double bass, and Elvin Jones on drums.  Hope you enjoy. (h/t Silver Spring Bureau Chief Brian)




Bigly Biblical




China Calls U.S. "The Double Standard Nation"


With the violent police tactics against largely peaceful demonstrations nationwide over the police killing of George Floyd, coupled with the incendiary tweets coming from neo-fascist bigot Donald "Bunker Boy" Trump, one foreign adversary is enjoying the spectacle increasingly: China. News reports suggest that China, which has had a year-long struggle with its democracy-seeking Hong Kong population, is seeing the U.S.'s overreaching "law and order" response to the demonstrations as vindication of their approach. Their state media is replaying criticisms that we leveled at them over the civil unrest in Hong Kong, and turning them back on us:
"Chinese and Hong Kong officials have also called out the US for applying 'double standards' in its response to civil unrest. 
'You know there are riots in the United States and we see how local governments reacted,' said Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam. 'And then in Hong Kong, when we had similar riots, we saw what position they adopted then.' 
The officials' view is shared by many Chinese social media users, who dub America 'the double standard nation'".
Not to justify China's vicious actions in Hong Kong in any way, but when one lives in a glass house.....

The situation exposes the deterioration of the moral credibility we may have had at one point long ago, and which has accelerated in particular under a deranged and desperate Bunker Boy. It gives authoritarian regimes around the world "permission" to abuse their citizenry, since they see it happen here in the U.S.

Weakness




Some gathered thoughts on banana Republican Donald "Bunker Boy" Trump's Fortress Un-America.

Washington Post reporters Rucker, Parker, Zapotosky and Dawsey:
The White House is now so heavily fortified that it resembles the monarchical palaces or authoritarian compounds of regimes in faraway lands — strikingly incongruous with the historic role of the executive mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, which since its cornerstone was laid in 1792 has been known as the People’s House and celebrated as an accessible symbol of American democracy. [snip]
Deborah Berke, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, said the White House barricaded as if it were a military base, with multiple layers of black fencing surrounding the limestone Georgian structure, conveys the opposite message and represents a physical violation of democracy.
“I think the need to fortify your house — and it’s not his house; it’s our house — shows weakness,” she said. “The president of the United States should not feel threatened by his or her own citizens.”  (our emphasis)

David Graham in The Atlantic:
[W]hat’s happening in the capital is mostly being done to soothe a president terrified of protest. It’s another version of the security theater Americans have been treated to at their airports for the past two decades—but this performance is being put on for the sole benefit of the president. And as Trump tries to project strength, he instead appears weaker than ever. [snip]
The president is now closed off on many sides. Polls pan his handling of both the protests of police brutality and the coronavirus pandemic. He’s facing unusual criticism from his former secretary of defense and a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as more muted but unmistakable pushback from the current holders of both positions. A series of recent polls shows him trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Trump has never been especially open to outside or contradictory opinions, and he has fewer of those available, as his administration is composed largely of loyalists.
Trump may believe the show of force in Lafayette Square makes him seem more powerful, but the more he closes up—physically and figuratively—the more isolated and smaller he becomes(our emphasis)

Eric Lutz in Vanity Fair:
The new fortification—which a Secret Service source told Fox News is “standard anti-riot fencing and ranges from seven feet to more than nine feet high”—comes amid days of largely peaceful protests outside the White House. On Friday, after some of those demonstrating against systemic racism and police brutality breached temporary fences near the White House, Trump and his family were whisked into a secure bunker—a sore spot for the president, who has spent days now trying to convince everyone that he wasn’t rattled by the episode and that he’s actually super brave. On Monday, he more or less declared war on protesters in the Rose Garden and made a show of walking off the White House grounds to a historic church that had been damaged in the demonstrations. But the tough-guy act was undermined by the fact that he used chemical agents and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters to clear the way for the stunt. Foiled in his initial attempt to save face, he tried a new tack on Wednesday: Claiming, hilariously, that he had actually only gone down to the bunker for an “inspection” of the space.
While the president is attempting to project a lack of concern about the protests, the escalation in security precautions suggest otherwise...  (our emphasis)

Meidas Touch:




New York Times' Nick Confessore:

 

Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Latest "Lindsey Must Go" Ad


The latest ad going after Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry" Graham (Rat-SC), one of the most reprehensible, despicable members of Donald "Cadet Bone Spurs" Trump's posse of treasonous sycophants:



A recent poll is showing Democratic challenger Jaime Harrison tied with Huckleberry. That same poll shows that 56 percent of South Carolina voters have an unfavorable view of Huckleberry. If you are able, you can help him defeat that cynical POS once and for all by donating here.

BONUS: Huckleberry pulled his head out of Trump's backside long enough to get a blonde dye job, in order to look more like his cult leader.

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Tom Toles, Washington Post)


(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)


(Ken Catalino, gocomics.com)


(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)


(Nick Anderson, Washington Post Writers Group)


(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)


(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)
 
(Rob Rogers, Counterpoint)
 
(Stuart Carlson, gocomics.com)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

How the world sees us:


(Steven Degryse, De Standaard, Bussells, Belgium)


(Hassan Bleibel, Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon)


(Alan Moir, Morning Herald, Sydney, Australia)


USPS Crippled When They're Needed Most



Part of demagogue and con man Donald "Putin's Puppet" Trump's election strategy is to delegitimize voting by mail as being rife with "fraud." By doing so, he wants to claim "fraud" if the election goes against him, and wants his corrupt enablers in Congress and at the state and local level to make it really hard to vote by mail. He's said before that making it easier to vote would mean "you'd never have a Republican elected in this country again."

It should come as no surprise that Trump and his Rethug enablers would like to cripple the U.S. Postal Service prior to the November elections, to undermine mail-in voting to boost their election chances. Recall that the original $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill contained funding for the Postal Service, but Trump threatened to veto the entire bill if aid to the Postal Service were included. That's how seriously he sees the threat to himself.

The Postal Service is struggling financially because of an insidious 2006 Rethug-imposed law that the Postal Service fund health care benefits for their retired postal workers -- most not even born yet -- 75 years in advance, something unique to government and the private sector. Those burdensome costs have transformed the Postal Service from a profitable operation to one struggling from year to year requiring infusions from Congress. By denying resources, and keeping the onerous burden of forward- funding benefits, Trump and his enablers plan to undermine the Postal Service and the elections in November.

QOTD: "Performing Fascism"


"A power grab is always a performance of sorts. It begins with a claim to power, and if the claim is accepted—if the performance is believed—it takes hold. Much as he played a real-estate tycoon in the most crude and reductive way, Trump is now performing his idea of power as he imagines it. In his intuition, power is autocratic; it affirms the superiority of one nation and one race; it asserts total domination; and it mercilessly suppresses all opposition. Whether or not he is capable of grasping the concept, Trump is performing fascism." Writer Masha Gessen in The New Yorker, writing about the events of this week on the streets of Washington, DC and beyond.

Neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Mango Mussolini" Trump's threat to deploy active U.S. military forces to put down peaceful demonstrations (like the kind we saw Monday, prior to his disgraceful photo op at St. John's church in Washington) is the "claim to power" that Gessen notes. If we as a nation accept that claim, we're giving a mentally unfit demagogue the power of a fascist dictator.

Bunker Boy Addresses The Nation


We're a little late in getting to this, but it's funny and timely nonetheless:



(h/t Crooks & Liars)

Unemployment Claims Up Nearly 2 Million; Unemployment Over 20 Percent


Nearly 2 million more Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the past week (now over 42 million total), largely the result of an incompetent response to the coronavirus pandemic by Donald "Disinfectant Donnie" Trump that cratered the economy:
An additional 1.877 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 30, exceeding economists’ estimates for 1.843 million initial jobless claims during the week. The prior week’s figure was revised higher to 2.13 million from the previously reported 2.12 million. Over the past 11 weeks, more than 42 million Americans have filed for unemployment insurance. [snip]
“In reality, the shadow unemployment rate, which includes people absent from work for other reasons, is much higher,” Morgan Stanley wrote in a note Wednesday. “There is considerable uncertainty as to how high the shadow unemployment rate could be due to compositional and categorization noise. For example, some people that were absent from work for other reasons are counted as employed, but are presumed to be unemployed. The Bureau of Labor Statistics could re-categorize this at any time, which could life the unemployment rate to as high as 25%, in our view.”
A weekly reminder of the toxic consequences of Trump's unfitness and incompetence.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Mattis Hits Trump's "Three Years Without Mature Leadership"; Trump "Tries To Divide Us"


The full, blistering statement of Gen. James Mattis (USMC, Ret.), former Trump Secretary of Defense (our emphasis):

In Union There Is Strength

I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.
 ___________________________

It's about time.  Thank you.

Tweets Of The Day -- Profiles In Cowardice And Immorality


NBC News reporter Kasie Hunt caught some rats masquerading as U.S. Senators scurrying by, who she asked to comment on the use of tear gas and rubber bullets to clear a path for autocrat wannabe Donald "BunkerBoy" Trump to get to his photo op in front of St. John's church on June 1.

(click on image to enlarge)

 
 (Screenshot via LGM)

What they do, or don't do, in these times will mark them forever.

Finally, there was the smarmy, evil junior senator from Texas, who will support to the end the fascist acts of the man who called his wife ugly and that his father was involved in the JFK assassination: