Monday, January 22, 2018

Government To Reopen, Dreamers Still In Limbo


Senate Dems have apparently agreed to a 3-week continuing resolution to keep the Government open until February 8.  In exchange for their votes, they are relying on a commitment from human/turtle hybrid and slippery dick Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell to bring votes on DACA, hurricane funding and other issues up before that deadline. Well, Sen. Schumer, that's a lot of trust to have in untrustworthy charlatans. The continuing resolution does include funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, thankfully taking that issue out of the Rethugs' hands for now.

One scenario is that Missy reneges on his "commitment," or negotiates in bad faith, and the Government shuts down on February 8, with the status quo preserved and Dreamers screwed. Another one is that a bipartisan deal is struck on DACA and when it goes to the reactionary Rethugs in the House, it's defeated, with the onus clearly and obviously laid at the feet of social Darwinist and cold blooded reptile Squeaker of the House Paul Ryan. Yet another scenario is that draft dodging demogogue Donald "Rump" Trump blows up everything with a tweet or ten.

Caught in this continuing Rethug hostage-taking are the Dreamers, who are losing their status at a clip of 122 per day, or 2,200 by February 8 and become subject to deportation. After seeing the racist, vicious ads that "Donald Trump for President" has been running, should we believe the Trumpian Party will do right by them? Democrats will have a lot to answer for if Dreamers are left out in the cold. We need to tell them to stay in the fight.

BONUSDave Anderson at Balloon Juice has an optimistic take --
The deal removes one hostage (CHIP) from danger.  The Senate will probably pass a DREAM-like bill soon which jams the House where it either passes after Ryan Boehners himself or there is a clear accountability moment.  It is hard to enact a positive agenda when one does[n't] control any calendar/agenda setting power but this deal cleans things up a bit for another go at DACA/DREAM in three weeks.
More sussing from Ezra Klein here.

Let's take a deep breath and see how this pans out.

BONUS II:  Here's ShareBlue's Eric Boehlert's take (click on image to enlarge) -


BONUS III (click on image to enlarge):


(Lars Kenseth, The New Yorker)

Stephen Miller And The Bullhorn Racism Of Republicans And The Trump Regime


Morally rotted- out Republicans are working overtime to weaponize racial animosity in falsely framing the discussion around the continuing resolution and Dreamers/ DACA.  Since the vast majority of Americans (87%) want to keep Dreamers in this country, Republican white nationalists have decided to ignore the popular case for Dreamers and are going directly to flogging racist stereotypes that have nothing to do with extending protections to people who were brought into this country as children. Surprise, surprise!

Specifically, you may have seen this vile piece of racist misdirection from "Donald J. Trump for President" (or you may just want to take our word for it and skip it):




On Sunday's talk shows, when confronted with this steaming pile of un- American crap, former Koch brothers executive and current Man Baby's legislative affairs director Marc Short offered a mealy- mouthed non- disavowalKoch- coin- operated spineless weasel Rep. Paul "Lyin'" Ryan didn't have the courage to denounce the ad either. The lesson, once again, is that we should expect nothing less from the neo- fascists busily dividing us and undermining our democracy.

Meanwhile, Charles Pierce also offers his pithy review:
This thing makes the Willie Horton ad from 1988 look like Live From Lincoln Center. It is the equivalent of all those one-minute speeches from the House—unmoored from the facts, sailing aloft on hot rage and molten ignorance, and that is the state of play as the first business day of the shutdown comes along. There is madness abroad in the land. There are those who can coin it into advantage, which makes it effective, but no less mad.
So, with this level of mendacity to deal with, in addition to the ignorant Man Baby (a.k.a., "Cadet Bone Spurs")who's apparently swayed by the last person to see him, hopes for a resolution are as dim as Man Baby himself.  It's being reported in fact that Man Baby's staff are desperately trying to keep him out of the debate to avoid further damage to their distract and misdirect campaign.

One of the last people to see Man Baby when it comes to immigration is that vicious malignancy Stephen Miller. Yesterday, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry" Graham identified him as a specific reason why a deal on Dreamers/ DACA continues to get sabotaged:
"Every time we have a proposal it is only yanked back by staff members. As long as Stephen Miller is in charge of negotiating immigration, we're going nowhere," the senator told reporters.
In a statement attributed to White (Supremacist) House spokesperson Hogan Gidley (!), but sounding an awful lot like Miller's puerile "I'm rubber, you're glue..." mentality, Huckleberry's words were tossed back at him:
"As long as Sen. Graham chooses to support legislation that sides with people in this country illegally and unlawfully instead of our own American citizens, we're going nowhere. He’s been an outlier for years,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement Sunday night, according to several reports.
Sounds like we have a new candidate for the White (Supremacist) House's Adult Day Care ("Now, Hogan! Play nice! No taunting Lindsey!").

Make no mistake:  white nationalist Republicans want as little immigration as possible, and as for those already in the country who are contributing to making America better and stronger, they want them out. They'll stoop to the most blatant misdirection and racist tactics (with help from their Russian handlers -- see below) to achieve that goal, as we're now seeing in plain sight.

Moscow Helping Republicans With Shutdown Lies



Russian social media bots and trolls have entered the Government Trump shutdown storm. According to an organization that monitors Moscow's influence efforts through social media, Russian bots are flooding social media with the hashtag "#SchumerShutdown" to counter the #TrumpShutdown hashtag that was the top trending one in the past few days. The Alliance for Securing Democracy reports that as of last night, the "blame Schumer" hashtag had surpassed their "#Releasethememo" hashtag that pushes the diversionary smear -- that a broad, anti-Trump conspiracy exists in the FBI -- in order to discredit the Trump- Russia scandal investigation. Here's the Alliance's specific findings in graph form (click to enlarge):



If anyone thought the Kremlin's efforts to undermine our democracy were over after they put their asset / useful idiot in the Oval Office, their aggressive engagement in social media on behalf of Putin puppet Donald "Rump" Trump and his Republican Party should put that to rest.

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon


(click on image to enlarge)


(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Across The Universe, Cont. - Black Hole Burps


(click on image to enlarge)



From NASA/ ESA, January 15, 2018 Researchers using a suite of telescopes including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have spotted a supermassive black hole blowing huge bubbles of hot, bright gas — one bubble is currently expanding outwards from the black hole, while another older bubble slowly fades away. This cosmic behemoth sits within the galaxy at the bottom of this image, which lies 900 million light-years from Earth and is known as SDSS J1354+1327. The upper, larger, galaxy is known as SDSS J1354+1328.

Supermassive which can have a mass equivalent to billions of suns, are found in the centre of most galaxies (including the Milky Way). These black holes are able to “feed” on their surroundings, causing them to shine brilliantly as Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). However, this feeding process is not continuous as it depends on how much matter is available for the black hole to consume; if the surrounding material is clumpy and irregular, an AGN can be seen turning “off” and “on”, and flickering over long cosmic timescales.

This clumpy accretion is what scientists believe has happened with the black hole in SDSS J1354+1327. Scientists believe these two outflows of material are the result of the black hole burping out material after two different feeding events. The first outburst created the fading southern relic: a cone of gas measuring 33 000 light-years across. Around 100 000 years later, a second burst spawned the more compact and radiant outflow emanating from the top of the galaxy: a cone of shocked gas some 3300 light-years across.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Comerford (University of Colorado-Boulder)

Today's Cartoon Threefer


(click on images to enlarge)


(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


(Darrin Bell, Washington Post Writers Group)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Sunday Reflection


"Our best successes often come after our greatest disappointments."  Henry Ward Beecher, American abolitionist, 1813-1887.  Let that continue to be true throughout the coming, critical year.

Day Two Of The Trump Shutdown, And Day One Of Year Two


As we enter day two of The Trump Shutdown, here's a little insight into the Adult Day Care operation trying (unsuccessfully) to deal with Man Baby:
In a remarkable, televised 55-minute meeting with about two dozen Democratic and Republican lawmakers earlier this month, President Trump twice proclaimed that any immigration deal would need to be “a bill of love” — setting an optimistic tone for averting a government shutdown with a bipartisan solution.   
After the president ordered cameras out of the Cabinet Room that day, the group delved into the details. Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump’s homeland security secretary, and her staff passed out a four-page document on the administration’s “must haves” for any immigration bill — a hard-line list that included $18 billion for Trump’s promised border wall, eliminating the diversity visa lottery program and ending “extended family chain migration,” according to the document, which was obtained by The Washington Post. 
But one person seemed surprised and alarmed by the memo: the president. 
With Democrats and Republicans still in the room, Trump said that the document didn’t represent all of his positions, that he wasn’t familiar with its contents and that he didn’t appreciate being caught off-guard. He instructed the group to disregard the summary and move on, according to one of the lawmakers in the room, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe a private conversation. (our emphasis)
With this cypher in a position to wittingly or unwittingly sabotage any legislation coming his way depending on the last person who had his ear, expectations are for a long government shutdown, especially since on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue you have the Republican nut House and its ultra- right wing nativist "Freedom" Caucus holding government hostage, and shithole Senators like McConnell, Cotton and Perdue working to frame the debate as "illegal immigration" rather than Dreamers/ DACA.

Meanwhile, foreign leaders continue to cater to the Man Baby's pathological need for affirmation, especially when they're using him for their own agendas:
During a Jan. 4 phone call in which the South Korean leader briefed the American president on the plans for talks with North Korea, Trump asked Moon to publicly give him the credit for creating the environment for the talks, according to people familiar with the conversation 
(In these conversations, Trump calls his counterpart “Jae-in” — an unimaginable informality in Korean business etiquette. Moon calls Trump “Mr. President.”)  
Later that night, Trump tweeted that the talks wouldn’t be happening “if I wasn’t firm, strong and willing to commit our total ‘might’ against the North.” 
At a news conference six days later, Moon agreed Trump deserved “huge credit” for the talks
Moon is trying to manipulate Trump into effectively undermining his own policy: putting pressure on North Korea, said one former official, asking for anonymity to protect officials still in government.  (our emphasis)
Flattery, bribery or extortion all work equally well in getting Man Baby to see things your way.

Leonard Pitts writes about our diminished state under Man Baby as we enter year two of his regime, expressing feelings we experience every day:
If you are groping for markers by which to measure how profoundly we have been changed since Inauguration Day, here’s one you might want to consider: 
In January of 1998, reports surfaced of a sexual affair between President Bill Clinton and a 24-year old White House intern. It would mushroom into the biggest story of the year. 
In January of 2018, reports surfaced of an alleged payoff by lawyers for the present president to silence a porn star from talking about their alleged sexual affair. It wasn’t even the biggest story of the day.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more visceral illustration of how our sensibilities have been bludgeoned into submission in the last year. Surprises no longer surprise. Shocks no longer shock. We have bumped up against the limits of human bandwidth, find ourselves unable to take it all in. 
One simply cannot keep up with, much less respond with proper outrage to, all of this guy’s scandals, bungles, blame-shifting, name-calling and missteps, his sundry acts of mendacity, misanthropy, perversity and idiocy. It’s like trying to fill a teacup from Niagara Falls. It’s like trying to read the Internet [snip]
If that sounds bleak, well, that’s where we stand. Indeed, one year later, both our despair and our hope are encompassed in the same five syllables. 
One down. Three to go.  (our emphasis)
Do we dare hope that it won't be "three to go"? (Hurry, midterms and Special Counsel Mueller!) And, as has been frequently pointed out, Stormtrumpers will cleave to their shithole "president" as we all go right over cliff after cliff.  Best to focus on what we can do: fulfill our obligation to resist, organize and vote.

Finally, with his "a little something for everyone" links, you should check out this weekend's installment of Infidel's eclectic round- up.  It's the Niagara Falls of link round- ups (in a good way).

Duckworth Slams "Five Deferment Draft Dodger" Trump


Yesterday on the floor of the Senate, disabled Iraq War veteran Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth (Lt. Col. USA retired) delivered what may be the best slapdown of coward and demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump over his lying, cynical statement regarding harm to the military under the #TrumpShutdown.  Rump and the Rethugs are pulling out all the stops to shift blame for their shutdown fiasco to Dems, and Sen. Duckworth, for one, won't have it. She's an example of why we need more strong Democratic women in Congress starting in 2018.


Sen. Duckworth also gave us a priceless nickname for Rump: "Cadet Bone Spurs."

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Women's March 2018


Many many thousands of people marched in cities all across America today for women's rights and empowerment.

As one would expect, there were lots of signs, with this one expressing our sentiments exactly (h/t Raw Story):



BONUS: Pictures from cities around the country (New York City had an estimated 120,000 marchers, and Chicago 300,000).

Follow The Money, The Stormy Story Cont'd.


While incompetent buffoon Donald "Rump" Trump fiddles and rage-tweets as the Government shutdown enters its first day, more questions are being raised about the money that his lawyer paid to porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep their affair in 2006 secret. Consistent with his shady business practices of setting up limited liability companies (LLCs) to shield money and avoid tax liability and creditors, Rump had his consigliere lawyer Michael Cohen set up an LLC -- "Essential Consultants LLC" --  from which $130,000 was drawn to pay the porn star for her silence, according to no less than Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall). One major question is, did the funds originate from campaign contributions and were they reported to the Federal Elections Committee? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, last night on Bill Maher's show, author of "Fire and Fury" Michael Wolff suggested that Rump is involved in another adulterous affair right now, although he wouldn't name the individual, hinting that his book has the clues necessary to identify Rump's mistress. Would her name be Windy, or Sunny? Maybe Overcast or Blustery. No wait, that last one's probably Rump's Secret Service code name. Time will tell if there's anything to Wolff's allegation.

Finally, here's the suggested musical accompaniment for any Stormy Story.

The Trump Shutdown




From Trump's Director of the Office of Management and Budget:


Once again late Friday, the dolt in the Oval Office was big boy "negotiating" with Sen. Schumer (though Schumer must have seen it as a duel of wits with an unarmed opponent). After Schumer left, the white nationalist trolls =cough= John Kelly & Stephen Miller =cough= pulled him aside and talked the dolt into rejecting yet another bipartisan deal:
Earlier Friday, Trump had brought Schumer to the White House in hopes of cutting a deal on a short-term spending agreement. 
The two New Yorkers, who pride themselves on their negotiating abilities, started talking over cheeseburgers about a larger agreement that would have included greater military spending and money for a southern border wall. 
But the talks fell apart almost as abruptly as they started. In a phone call hours later, the president raised new concerns about the deal he and Schumer had discussed, according to a person familiar with the conversation. In a subsequent phone call with Schumer, chief of staff John Kelly said the deal discussed was too liberal. The White House did not immediately comment on that account.
To accentuate the shallowness of Rump's view of his governmental responsibilities, as the vote on a stopgap Congressional resolution was taken last night, this is what occupied his puerile mind:
The president watched the results from the White House residence, dialing up allies and affirming his belief that Democrats would take the blame for the shutdown, said a person familiar with his conversations but not authorized to discuss them publicly.
He's in for a big disappointment.

#TrumpShutdown.

BONUS: Keith Boykin has the facts:  

Friday, January 19, 2018

Russians Helping Rep. Nunes Flog Phony FISA Distraction (UPDATED)



There's a new move afoot by Republicans and their "allies" to discredit the Mueller investigation and distract from bombshells waiting to drop. One Republican in particular, who was on the transition team for Russian asset Donald "Rump" Trump, has been working overtime for the past year to derail any investigation into the Trump- Russia scandal (almost like he has something to hide as well, eh, Special Counsel Mueller?).  That, of course, would be California Republican Rep. Devin "Sherlock" Nunes.

So, here's the Business Insider headline: Russia-linked Twitter accounts are working overtime to help Devin Nunes and WikiLeaks. What are they helping him with now?
Republican lawmakers are pushing for the House Intelligence Committee to release a memo written by the panel's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, that outlines purported surveillance against then President-elect Donald Trump by former President Barack Obama's administration during the transition period. 
And Russia-linked Twitter bots have jumped on the bandwagon. 
#ReleaseTheMemo is the top-trending hashtag among Twitter accounts linked to Russian influence operations, according to Hamilton 68, a website launched last year that claims to track Russian propaganda in near-real time. [snip] 
The Russians and their agents at Wikileaks are plumping this distraction, too?  Whoodathunkit.

Nunes' memo must be loaded with solid intel!
A source with knowledge of the memo told Business Insider that the memo is "a level of irresponsible stupidity that I cannot fathom. Purposefully misconstrues facts and leaves out important details." 
Well, that certainly bears the Nunes hallmark all right!  And if it's an unfathomable level of irresponsible stupidity, it must be something Fox "News" Sean Hannity will be spoon feeding to his bug- eyed viewers in 3, 2, 1...

Let's hear from Rick Wilson again, shall we?



Andrew Janz is the leading Democrat challenging Sherlock in his red district (but recent polling shows Sherlock is vulnerable).  Let's see what we can do to help "retire" Sherlock so he can spend more time with his collusion.

UPDATEAxl Rose of Guns n' Roses was moved to comment on Nunes' perfidy for his 1.2 million followers on Twitter --

The best response to which used a Nunes pic from high school --

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


(Tom Toles, Washington Post)


(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)


(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)


(Stuart Carlson, via gocomics.com)

Republicans Already Losing The Blame Game


Sad!
A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds substantially greater Republican risk in a government shutdown, with Americans by a 20-point margin saying they’re more likely to blame Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress than the congressional Democrats if one occurs.  
Forty-eight percent in the national survey say they’d blame Trump and the GOP, vs. 28 percent who’d blame the Democrats in Congress. An additional 18 percent would blame both equally. 
As is often the case in Washington mud fights, political independents make the difference: They’re more likely to blame the Republican side by 46-25 percent. But there’s also a broad gender gap, with comparative GOP vulnerability among independent women and even among Republican women – notable results a day before the 2018 women’s marches on Saturday.   (our emphasis)
Clearly a plurality of our fellow citizens are paying attention.  That's very good.  But Democrats have to pound the message over and over that the existential problems continues to be the incompetent, extremist Republican Congress and their obeisance to the White (Supremacist) House of Very Stable Genius Donald "Rump" Trump, who refuse to act in good faith on Dreamers and other priorities.

Democrats have the public behind them;  they must lead.