Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Quote Of The Day - Blowin' In The Wind

"[H]is mojo as a deal maker, which we saw last week, went over like a fart in a hurricane." -- Rick Wilson, Republican strategist and never- Trumper, on neo- fascist dolt Donald "Rump" Trump's capacity to make deals with Democrats after his TrumpCare debacle, which we will now forever think of as the "FArt of the Deal."

(Image: =brrrrrrt=)

Trump's Approval Rating Continues To Tank - Now Just 35 Percent

All that winning must feel good, amirite?

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(Gallup Daily Tracking Poll, 3/26-3/28)

Today's Cartoons

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(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

(David Horsey, Los Angeles Times)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

So Much Winning: Build The Wall Edition

Fresh off of his Hindenburg experience with the disastrous TrumpCare failure, neo-fascist loser Donald "Rump" Trump may be facing another humiliating setback soon for his signature campaign promise: Congress may not fund a border wall separating the U.S. from Mexico this year. Reports indicate that Rethuglican congresscritters are worried that Dems will block passage of an April 28 debt ceiling bill allowing the Government to stay open unless the requested $1.4 billion in initial funding for Rump's wall this year is stripped out. As an alternative, Rethugs may propose a separate funding bill for the wall, which would also likely face defeat in a closely-divided Senate.

Adding to Rump's political problem is that the public is cold to building a wall especially if the U.S. ends up paying for it -- which it will. Then, there are the logistical challenges to construction, including terrain, and major swaths of private land that the wall would intrude on.

Will Rump continue to bat zero as this next promise of his evaporates? We certainly hope so, but we also hope that Rump expends massive political capital in his doomed boondoggle.

Tanton-lizing Mid-Week Song

Baltimore native Carter Tanton possesses an ethereal tenor voice that he honed in years of playing in clubs and other venues in and around Baltimore. Tanton has since relocated to London, where he recorded his latest album, "Jettison the Valley." Our mid-week song today is a cut from that album, "Twentynine Palms," featuring backup vocals by Sharon Van Etten.

No Puppet! No Puppet!

Owen Dorell at USA Today has pulled together facts about the many and long- term business relationships between neo- fascist Putin pocket pal Donald "Rump" Trump and very shady Russian and former Soviet republic oligarchs in a must- read article (our emphasis throughout).
The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering. 
Among them: 
• A member of the firm that developed the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York is a twice-convicted felon who spent a year in prison for stabbing a man and later scouted for Trump investments in Russia. 
•  An investor in the SoHo project was accused by Belgian authorities in 2011 in a $55 million money-laundering scheme. 
• Three owners of Trump condos in Florida and Manhattan were accused in federal indictments of belonging to a Russian-American organized crime group and working for a major international crime boss based in Russia. 
•  A former mayor from Kazakhstan was accused in a federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles in 2014 of hiding millions of dollars looted from his city, some of which was spent on three Trump SoHo units. 
•  A Ukrainian owner of two Trump condos in Florida was indicted in a money-laundering scheme involving a former prime minister of Ukraine.
The Trump Organization, through a spokesperson, has said, "The Trump Organization never entered into a single transaction with any of these individuals and the condominium units were all owned and sold by third parties — not Trump.”  Well, that should settle it-- wait what:
Trump's privately held company works through a network of subsidiaries and partnerships that make direct connections hard to trace, particularly since he has refused to release his tax filings. In addition, some of the Trump Organization's investors and buyers operate through shell companies and limited liability corporations that hide the identities of individual owners.
The article points out that Rump has a background in money laundering going waaay back to 2015 and his Taj Mahal Casino, which was fined $10 million for failing to report suspicious transactions =cough= money laundering =cough=.  What's more,
The Trump SoHo project "was largely financed by illegally obtained cash from Russia and Eastern European sources, including money provided by known international financial criminals and organized crime racketeers," former prosecutor [Joe] McCallion wrote on his blog in October. McCallion was an assistant U.S. attorney in New York from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s under presidents Carter and Reagan.
McCallion, who has spent years in the seamy world of Rump business dealings gets to the point that investigators will hopefully someday reach, "What do the Russians have on Trump?":
“The FBI is always concerned if public officials can be blackmailed,” McCallion said. “It’s Russian-laundered money from people who operate under the good graces of President Putin. If these people pull the plug on the Trump Organization, it would go down pretty quickly.”
For a skunk like Rump whose whole image is tied up in his business "success" and wealth, that's the strongest leverage you can have.

(photo: Washed his hair and can't do a thing with it.)

Elections Have Consequences, Part Whatever

Lest anyone believe Republican trolls are being distracted in any way from doing harm to our country and the world, they should reflect on this sampling of headlines from our hometown paper today:

The House just voted to wipe away the FCC’s landmark Internet privacy protections

Trump signs order at the EPA to dismantle environmental protections

Trump withdraws reappointment nomination of popular whistleblower advocate

Trump signs bill that kills Obama-era Worker Safety Rule

Panic spreads in Iraq, Syria as record numbers of civilians are reported killed in U.S. strikes

Just as there were similar stories yesterday, there will be more tomorrow.

It's funny how elections have consequences, especially when you turn the government over to weasels, vandals and nihilists.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tweets Of The Day - Good Doggy!

Today's Cartoons - We Think They're On To You!

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(Stuart Carlson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

(Steve Benson, Arizona Republic)

(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

The Trump - Russia Connection (And Coverup) Explained So Far

We've been seeing a lot of this Think Progress video around the ' tubes, giving the key knowns about the Trump - Russia connection, so we thought we'd post it as well:

As big as this story is, we believe at the core is the real question posed by Rep. Pelosi and others: "What do the Russians have on Trump?" Until we get an answer to that, the full extent of this potentially treasonous connection will remain unresolved.

Meanwhile, the obstruction of justice continues apace, with the White (Supremacist) House, acting in concert with House Intelligence Committee Chair villain Rep. Devin "Clouseau" Nunes (R- Trump's Pocket), trying to squelch testimony from former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates:
The Trump administration sought to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying to Congress in the House investigation of links between Russian officials and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, The Washington Post has learned, a position that is likely to further anger Democrats who have accused Republicans of trying to damage the inquiry. 
According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege. 
Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration. 
This only adds to what House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) observed: "[T]his is what a cover-up to a crime looks like."

UPDATE: The White (Supremacist) House is now claiming it "took no action" to muzzle Yates, which leaves a lot open to interpretation. They got the outcome they desired: the hearing Yates was to testify at was canceled.

Not Buyin' Ryan

With finger pointing running rampant in Trumpworld over the ignominious defeat of the TrumpCare turd sandwich, there's one individual on the receiving end of most of the fingers: Squeaker of the House Paul "Lyin'" Ryan. Ryan has spent the better part of his career in Congress peddling the notion that he was a man of "big ideas," if you consider converting Ayn Rand's dystopian, juvenile gibberish into "policy" as "big ideas." Strangely, he's still considered by many in the Beltway media to be a "policy wonk" when none of his plans have emerged without being discredited. As a former White House official notes:

As we noted Sunday, incompetent sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump has even used a Fux surrogate to call for Ryan's resignation as Speaker. Of course Rump would like nothing better than to pass the blame for his failure on to someone else, even though he has been the main "repeal and replace" voice for the last two years by far. Rump campaigned on delivering cheaper, better health insurance in almost every stump speech, seeming to relish the idea of personally destroying President Obama's main domestic legacy.

We hope the turmoil between the White (Supremacist) House and House Rethuglicans and Ryan continues to deepen and expand, threatening their reactionary and malicious agenda. However, it's not clear that Ryan will be stepping down as Speaker any time soon, since he wants his fingerprints on the upcoming corporate and plutocrat tax giveaway package that he's been salivating over for years. Even if he were to step aside, there's this consideration for House Rethugs:

(Image: "Woman, I shall grasp thee by the demesne 'twixt your thighs...stop, where goest thou?")

Trump's Assault On The Environment, Cont.

This shouldn't bother anyone, since neo- fascist planet destroying dolt Donald "Rump" Trump says climate change is just "a Chinese hoax" anyway:
President Trump will take the most significant step yet in obliterating his predecessor’s environmental record Tuesday, instructing federal regulators to rewrite key rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions. 
The sweeping executive order also seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions. 
The order sends an unmistakable signal that just as President Barack Obama sought to weave climate considerations into every aspect of the federal government, Trump is hoping to rip that approach out by its roots.  (our emphasis)
Encouraging more fossil fuel extraction while removing Federal requirements for climate considerations in policy development represents the opening round in the Trump regime's efforts to roll back advances in addressing climate change and environmental quality.  Still being debated is whether the U.S. will withdraw from the 2015 Paris agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, there are some legal obstacles to what the Trump regime would like to do:
The centerpiece of the new presidential directive, telling the Environmental Protection Agency to begin rewriting the 2015 regulation that limits greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants, will trigger a laborious rulemaking process and a possible legal fight.
The agency must first get permission from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where the rule is tied up in litigation, to revisit the matter. Then, agency officials will have to justify reaching the opposite conclusion of the Obama EPA, which argued it was technically feasible and legally warranted to reduce carbon pollution by about one-third by 2030, compared with 2005 levels. 
Keep in mind, this is all purportedly to resuscitate a coal industry that is non- competitive with other energy sources and whose only path to solvency is to shed jobs in favor of automation. It's also helpful to remember the coal industry's financial backing of Rump, and in particular the largesse of one Robert Murray of Murray Energy Corporation. Remember him?  Well, even this despicable slug admits Rump isn't bringing back coal jobs. But if he can make it easier to pollute streams and increase your profit margin, he's their guy.

This is what happens when a bankrupt ideology, in combination with a bankrupt industry, finds a morally and intellectually bankrupt dolt to do its bidding. We'll be lucky if we can limit the damage in the next 2 to 4 years.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Low Bar Quote Of The Day

We set a low bar for the president, and he rammed his head on it." -- Austan Goolsbee, former chair of the White House Council of Economic advisors and professor of economics at the University of Chicago, commenting on CNN about TrumpCare's ignominious collapse last week despite cajoling from incompetent buffoon Donald "Rump" Trump.

Trump Hits New Low Approval -- 36 Percent

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(Gallup Daily Tracking Poll, rolling average 3/23-3/26)

This polling follows the immolation of TrumpCare last week. Sad!

He Plays A Sheriff On TV

Over the past few years, Milwaukee County Sheriff and unstable rageaholic David "Uncle Ruckus" Clarke has become the darling of the far right, appearing often on Fux and at the Rethuglican National Convention last summer. What makes his value to the far right higher is that he's an angry conservative African-American (albeit a self-hating one). While Clarke is registered and runs --astonishingly -- as a Democrat, there's nothing in his political views that resemble Democratic policies (he's even encouraged African-Americans to leave the Democratic Party). He's a staunch advocate for neo-fascist bigot Donald "Rump" Trump, and was reportedly under consideration for Secretary of Homeland Security -- until someone took a closer look at his incendiary personality. Clearly, he has used the tag "Democrat" to fool many in the majority-Democratic Milwaukee County, but the sheriff's absence from his job while out promoting his right-wing views and Rump is getting more and more disapproving notice from the voters there.

Perhaps even more than his chronic absence from Milwaukee County to promote himself (and a new "book" of his), the deaths of four prisoners in his county jail in 2016, including one man who died of dehydration, have alarmed people. Tragically, the newborn child of a female prisoner died after the mother was ignored by jail officials for six hours while she was in labor and after. He's also stepped forward to offer his "services" to the harsh Federal immigration enforcement effort underway by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which would "deputize" sheriff's office officials to check immigration status on anyone processed through Milwaukee County jails for any reason -- even a minor infraction.

The good news is that this delusional and dangerous twit is up for re-election in 2018; the bad news is that unless Dems wake up and turn out in droves to defeat him, he'll remain in office to do damage to his community.

(photo: "Uncle Ruckus" Clarke playing wild west sheriff dress-up on the streets of Milwaukee. Easier than doing your real job.)