Saturday, July 23, 2016

Today's Cartoons - Scenes From Last Week's Asylum


(click on images to enlarge)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

The Trump Kremlin Connection




With the release of Russian- hacked Democratic National Committee files and a new attack angle from neo- fascist "Siberian candidate" Donald "Rump" Trump, Franklin Foer has an important read on the widespread connections between Rump and Russia, and the murky behind- the- scenes effort by the Russian government to boost Rump's fortunes. Here's a long excerpt, but the entire piece is worth reading:
We shouldn’t overstate Putin’s efforts, which will hardly determine the outcome of the election. Still, we should think of the Trump campaign as the moral equivalent of Henry Wallace’s communist-infiltrated campaign for president in 1948, albeit less sincere and idealistic than that. A foreign power that wishes ill upon the United States has attached itself to a major presidential campaign.  [snip]
Is Putin already meddling in this campaign? In his chilly way, he has signaled his rooting interest. He praised Trump as “very talented.” His mouthpieces are more effusive. Vladimir Yakunin, the former chairman of Russian Railways, has said of Trump, “He is addressing some internal failings of the American people.” The Kremlin doesn’t seem much bothered to disguise its help. Soon after the discovery of Russian intelligence hacking into Clinton servers, documents suddenly materialized on the web: a PDF of the DNC’s opposition research file and a trove of spreadsheets, including a list of donors to the Clinton Foundation. [snip]
In the end, we only have circumstantial evidence about the Russian efforts to shape this election—a series of disparate data points and a history of past interference in similar contests. But the pattern is troubling, and so is the premise. If Putin wanted to concoct the ideal candidate to serve his purposes, his laboratory creation would look like Donald Trump. The Republican nominee wants to shatter our military alliances in Europe; he cheers the destruction of the European Union; he favors ratcheting down tensions with Russia over Ukraine and Syria, both as a matter of foreign policy and in service of his own pecuniary interests. A Trump presidency would weaken Putin’s greatest geo-strategic competitor. By stoking racial hatred, Trump will shred the fabric of American society. He advertises his willingness to dismantle constitutional limits on executive power. In his desire to renegotiate debt payments, he would ruin the full faith and credit of the United States. One pro-Kremlin blogger summed up his government’s interest in this election with clarifying bluntness: “Trump will smash America as we know it, we’ve got nothing to lose.”  (our emphasis)
This isn't yet getting the attention of the corporate media that it should, which is still trying to find ways to "normalize" Rump.  Here's how the demagogue weasel is using his Russian- provided hammer:


Among those trying to ring the alarm bells:








Lastly, et tu, Cardinal Douthat?

Ratings That Count, Tim Kaine Edition (UPDATED)



Surprised? It's all contrary to the emerging narrative from our broken media, who want to minimize Kaine's progressive credentials in order to create a "rift" with Sen. Sanders' supporters and the Clinton/Kaine ticket.

UPDATE:  President Obama emailed his support for the choice of Kaine this morning.

Trump's "Midnight In America" Speech Fallout


The reviews are starting to roll in on neo- fascist hatemonger Donald "Rump" Trump's "Midnight in America" acceptance speech last Thursday night.  Here's a small sample of the (as far as we can tell) near- universal panning of his collection of lies, distortions and divisiveness:

Bloomberg:
... It was the most disturbing, demagogic and deluded acceptance speech by any major party nominee in the modern political era. It’s no wonder so many Republicans -- including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Ohio Governor John Kasich -- are refusing to endorse Trump.  When the idea of “voting your conscience” becomes a source of division within a party, something is terribly wrong. 
Washington Post:
DONALD J. TRUMP, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew. 
Jeff Greenfield:
In this speech, we have finally seen the answer to the perplexing question of just what political philosophy Donald Trump embraces. It is Caesarism: belief in a leader of great strength who, by force of personality, imposes order on a land plagued by danger. If you want to know why Trump laid such emphasis on “law and order”—using Richard Nixon’s 1968 rhetoric in a country where violent crime is at a 40-year low—it is because nations fall under the sway of a Caesar only when they are engulfed by fear. And the subtext of this acceptance speech was: be afraid; be very afraid. 
It is impossible to imagine anyone else giving an acceptance speech so disconnected from anything in the American political tradition. Whether voters see that departure as a cause for celebration or worry may help decide what happens in November.
Miami Herald:
Donald Trump’s angry, divisive, dark and, frankly, frightening acceptance speech, after a glowing introduction by daughter Ivanka, was pure Donald, unfortunately showing little growth from when he started on this journey: the threat of “roaming” and murderous illegal immigrants and vows to impose law and order. Like many a politician, he flaunted half-truths and selective, out-of-context assertions. And, of course, Hillary Clinton was an unpunished “criminal” salivating to throw open America’s doors to rampant, unrelenting immigration. Nonsense.
Finally, a humorous take from Andy Borowitz:
Donald J. Trump was jubilant Thursday night after accomplishing his goal of delivering a speech that no one will ever want to plagiarize, Trump aides confirmed. 
According to his staff, Trump and his speechwriters had been working overtime during the week to create a tirade that was sufficiently bloated, unhinged, and terrifying to discourage potential plagiarists from reusing excerpts in the future. 
Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, said that, right until the hour the candidate took the stage, the billionaire’s writing team was scrubbing the speech of any marginally coherent passages that might prove tempting to plagiarists. 
“There was one sentence toward the beginning that had traces of humanity and rational thought,” Manafort said. “Fortunately, we caught it in time.”
With Rump, what you see is what you get: not a "presidential" pivot, but an unrelenting display of ego, anger, authoritarianism, demagoguery, deceit and arrogance.

"Thin Skinned Narcissists" And Hypocrites


We're a little late out of the gate here:  Jon Stewart returns to skewer Roger "Jabba the Nut" Ailes, Fox "News", Sean Hannity, Donald "Rump" Trump and all the craven Republicans who've placed party over country yet again.  Nice to have him back, if only briefly (Trevor Noah, please take notes):

Friday, July 22, 2016

Clinton Picks Kaine



Sen. Kaine is a former Governor of Virginia, former Mayor of Richmond, VA, and former head of the Democratic National Committee. He serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Kaine, 58, is fluent in Spanish, having worked in Honduras with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps during a break at Harvard Law School.

In choosing Kaine, she won't particularly energize the voters that were drawn to Sen. Sanders, but she sends the signal that she wanted a solid mainstream Dem at her side who is fully qualified to assume the Presidency if necessary.

A footnote: Sen. Kaine has never lost an election in his entire career.

BONUS:  The plaudits are coming in.

Presidential! Trump Drones On About ... Grievances


Here's the raving narcissist nut the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ Shooter's Party just nominated to be Leader of the Free World ranting and rambling for four and a half minutes (!) about his ongoing grievances with Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz (R- Pariah) at a press conference this morning (lol - The National Enquirer's a "reasonably respected magazine").   This is also the first of what is likely to be many hostage videos featuring running mate Mike "Dense" Pence's dim, sh*t- faced expression, wondering what the hell he's gotten himself into.



BONUS:

Weekend Party Music


Band of Horses is an indie rock band that formed in Seattle, WA.  This past April they released their fifth studio album, "Why Are You OK."  Our featured music is a cut from that album, "Casual Party." Whether it's intentional or not, we like to think the video mirrors the recent Republican sh*tshow in its strange "menagerie" of party attendees, similar to Cleveland's noxious mob (and is that Trump's hair in the sink at 0:28?).

Quote of the Day: Begging To Be Ruled


"These were not people begging to govern. These were not even people begging to be governed. These were people begging to be ruled. For all the palaver about freedom and liberty, and all the appeals to the Founders and the American experiment, this whole convention was shot through with an overwhelming lust for authority. This was a gathering of subjects thirsting for a king." -- Esquire.com's Charles Pierce, seeing in the assembled Rethuglican convention delegates a mob of people yearning for a Fuhrer, a powerful leader.

See if these characteristics of an authoritarian/fascist mind ring a bell (from Theodor Adorno's seminal study in 1950, "The Authoritarian Personality"):
"1. Conventionalism: rigid adherence to conventional middle-class values.
2. Authoritarian submission: uncritical acceptance of authority.
3. Authoritarian aggression: a tendency to condemn anyone who violates conventional norms.
4. Anti-intraception: rejection of weakness or sentimentality.
5. Superstition and stereotypy: belief in mystical determinants of action and rigid, categorical thinking.
6. Power and toughness: preoccupation with dominance over others.
7. Destructiveness and cynicism: a generalized feeling of hostility and anger.
8. Projectivity: a tendency to project inner emotions and impulses outward.
9. Sex: exaggerated concern for proper sexual conduct."
It's worth noting that "The Authoritarian Personality" grew out of a desire by social scientists to study the origins of the Nazi movement, which led to World War II and the Holocaust.

Another Trump Promise Based On A Lie


"The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon—and I mean very soon—come to an end."  Neo- fascist Banana Republican Donald "Rump" Trump in his acceptance speech last night.

(click on image to enlarge)



(Chart:  Justin Wolfers, via Twitter)

So, what else is new?
The facts: According to PolitiFact, 59% of Trump's checked claims have been deemed false or "Pants on Fire" false, versus 12% for Clinton.
We're certain Rump's percentage went way up after last night.

BONUS:  President Obama does some more fact checking for Rump.

Heart of Darkness



In one hour and fifteen minutes of red-faced, shouting rage, neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump spoke to his audience and gave them what they wanted to hear: overnight solutions to complex problems to be delivered by a strongman figure; a dark, dystopian and fictional vision of America; ugly slurs directed at Hillary Clinton, and the old dog whistle "law and order" red meat that gets the howling rednecks on their feet. As Paul Begala noted, it was a "midnight in America" speech, in contrast to Rethug icon St. Ronnie of Hollywood's sunny (if cynical) optimism. It was also fact-free for the most part, with either false or highly misleading or twisted statements that were intended to paint a bleak picture of America under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, one which is far from true. For those of us who have a grip on reality, it was a disturbing to see the crowd in the arena eat it up in a worshipful frenzy. It's become more than a tribe; it's a cult of personality, not unlike those around Rump's admired Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-un.

The foreign affairs editor and deputy editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal (in no way a progressive institution) had these tweets on Rump's moment of darkness:

Indeed.

BONUS:  The wonderful John Dingell:




(photo: John Moore, Getty Images)

The Banana Republicans' "Noxious Gathering Of Short Bus Lynch Mob People"


Bill Maher captures the zeitgeist at the Republican National Convention Sh*tshow (h/t Crooks and Liars):



We all need a shower and delousing after the last 4 days.

More to follow ...

Last Night's Ewww Moment


Notice how she recoils?

Very creepy and degenerate. It recalls the time when he said if she weren't his daughter, he'd be dating her.

Then there's this summation from chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov:

We believe it was translated from the original German....

More reactions to come.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Today's Cartoon Threefer - The Republican National Sh*tshow


(click on images to enlarge)



(Darrin Bell, via gocomics.com)



(Matt Davies, via gocomics.com)



(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

If you've been looking for "ideas" or "policies" from the podium of the Republican National Convention Sh*tshow, you've been disappointed (?).  What you  have seen are a lot of fever dreamssome plagiarism, a little backstabbing, but mostly you'll get rage-gasms and more rage-gasms,  directed at Hillary Clinton.  They have nothing, zero, nada to offer except their uninformed hatred, conspiracy theories, lies and an unfit, dangerous demagogue as their nominee.

BONUS:  John Avlon echoes the mood at the sh*tshow:
And the illusion of being a party built on policies and principles, rather than cultural and economic resentments, seems lost to the latest generation of Know-Nothings. Free trade has been all but abandoned but the anti-gay platform has been enhanced. 
Hating Hillary, a time-honored pastime in conservative circles, has become the glue that holds this motley crew together. But even that partisan emotional outlet has crossed the line from typical team-ism to something darker and more surreal. A recurring theme in the convention hall is the chant to “Lock Her Up” while wearing T-shirts that say “Hillary for Prison.” There are countries where political opponents are threatened with imprisonment. America hasn’t traditionally been one of them. 
But this time it feels different. America is on the knife-edge of something dangerous. 

Official: Roger Ailes Out At Fox "News"



Fox "News" Chairman and CEO Roger "Jabba the Nut" Ailes is officially done at the Republican propaganda arm:
21st Century Fox today announced that Roger Ailes, Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, has resigned from his role effective immediately.    
Rupert Murdoch will assume the role of Chairman and acting CEO of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network. 
Not a word in the statement about the sexual harassment suit and allegations leveled by multiple Fox female employees, of course.   It remains to be seen whether Jabba acolytes and defenders Bill "O'Liely" O'Reilly, Sean "Heil" Hannity and Greta Van Cistern Susteren will follow Jabba out the door (they all have clauses in their contracts that allow them to leave if Jabba does).  Another question is whether this will result in any long- term change in Fox's geriatric rube- rousing, post- factual business model (Steve M. thinks it might);  after all, it can't get much worse, can it?

(Image:  Possibly the last time we'll get to use this, so let's blow it up!)