Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekend Youth Sunshine Music

We're featuring a song today from an American group for a change!   Cheerleader is an indie group from Philadelphia, PA, who recently finished a tour of the UK and is now touring in the States.  This is "The Sunshine of Your Youth" from their album of the same name, released two months ago.  Enjoy your weekend... and "be honest with yourself."

Scott Walker, The Hog Ridin' Fool*

The major claim to fame (infamy?) Koch brothers employee of the year puppet Gov. Scott "Koch Head" Walker (R-Kochland) enjoys with fellow right-wing Republicans is his single-minded resolve to kill unions in Wisconsin (starting with public unions, in a "divide and conquer" strategy), because Democrats!  Well there's a certain shall we say hypocrisy involved with Koch Head's riding on and promoting Harley-Davidson motorcycles, a Milwaukee- based company:
"He's trying to make a name for himself by saying 'I took on 100,000 union workers' - and he's on our bikes," said Andy Voelzke, 57, who works at Harley's plant just outside Milwaukee and is a member of the United Steelworkers union. [snip]
Harley’s unions in Wisconsin could be affected by Walker's "right to work" reform passed this year. Voluntary membership could leave unions with less money to pay for negotiators and lawyers. The company will also have more power to fire employees for not agreeing to additional tasks, such as overtime shifts.
Koch Head is a hog ridin' fool, and a bold and brazen one at that.

* Apologies to S. Clay Wilson and R Crumb.

The Republican War On Women - Planned Parenthood Edition

As Congress moves toward its summer recess, plans are afoot among the knuckle-draggers to deal a crippling blow to Planned Parenthood:
With conservatives hungry for a confrontation over Planned Parenthood, and Democrats moving to protect the organization, the battle is brewing over a must-pass spending bill that Congress has to deliver to the president’s desk by Sept. 30 to avoid a repeat of the 2013 shutdown
Conservatives figure using the power of the purse is the best way to force the action, while Democrats say that strategy plays into their hands and will tar Republicans with another shutdown.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is promising to block any effort to strip Planned Parenthood’s federal money, and though the White House hasn’t weighed in officially yet, Democratic aides insist President Barack Obama would not sign any spending bill that eliminates the funding.
This is, of course, fallout from the continuing release of debunked, highly edited video and audio tapes produced by the extremist, ironically named "Center for Medical Progress," and is part and parcel of the far-right's long-term strategy to destroy pro-choice organizations and associated women's health services in general. (Planned Parenthood annually serves approximately 3 million women in America, providing cancer-  and HIV-screening and contraception through roughly 700 clinics.)  This latest gambit has been clearly coordinated between the knuckle-draggers and their co- crackpot, craven Republican politicians fundraisers.  Far-right Republicans, however, have a long history of not being willing or able to learn from their mistakes ( "Fool me once, shame on ... shame on you. Fool me... You can't get fooled again!'"), and will doubtless try to pass this spending bill with the poison pill Planned Parenthood defunding included, shutdown be damned!

When all is said and done, we heartily endorse Sen. Harry Reid's (D-NV) response to Republican threats to shut down government over Planned Parenthood funding:

Pity The Plutocrat Quote of the Day

"My friend Ed Whitacre at AT&T: if there’s ever been an exploited worker—even though they made a big deal about him getting $75 million when he retired, the man added billions of dollars of value. He was exploited!" -- thus sayeth former Rethug Senator and an architect of the 2008 financial meltdown Phil Gramm before the House Financial Services Committee earlier this week.  (As with most things numeric, Gramm had the severance package off by a mere $83 million; Whitacre got $158 million).

What makes this defense of the plutocracy particularly offensive (aside from calling this corporate tycoon an "exploited worker") is Gramm's role in undermining banking regulations that had been successfully in place following the Great Depression.  Specifically, his Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 removed barriers between commercial banks and investment banks, leading to the mortgage lending bubble and collapse as investment banks made risky investments unchecked by banking regulations.  The fact that House Rethuglicans wanted to hear his opinions at all is telling.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Deadly Dentist Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

The story of the Minnesota dentist bow hunter who killed the iconic lion Cecil in Zimbabwe a few weeks ago has gone viral, and caused the brave white hunter to go into hiding after his social media and dentistry practice were deluged with angry messages.  Protesters surrounded his dental office, which had to be closed, as his patients vowed to find another dentist.

The lion was lured from the sanctuary, where he was shot by Walter Palmer, but took an agonizing 40 hours to die.  He was then skinned and beheaded by Palmer and his guides.  This isn't the first illegal kill that Palmer's been involved in, either.  Not surprisingly, Dr. Micro Penis has had a sexual harassment case filed against him, which he settled out of court for a six figure sum.  Oh, and to complete his portrait, he donated $5,000 to Willard "Mittens" Romney in 2012.

Now he's being hunted -- by Zimbabwean and U.S. officials.

(cartoon:  Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via

Clueless: A Tragi-Comedy In Two Scenes

Here are two prime examples of why we can't have nice things in this country (with editorial asides). First, regarding Donald "Rump" Trump supporters:
Bloomberg Politics' John Heilemann sat down Wednesday night with a focus group of 12 Trump supporters in the Granite State who riffed on why they thought the billionaire was the best candidate in a crowded GOP presidential field.
“He's like one of us," Janet, a former dog breeder, explained. "He may be a millionaire (sic), which separates him from everybody else. But besides the money issue, he's still in tune with what everybody is wanting.” [Ed.:  Yes, aside from his TEN BILLION DOLLARS, he's a man of the people!]
Many also cited Trump's vast wealth in identifying with him.
"I knew that he was a wealthy, successful man and I remember asking my mother if I could write him a letter to ask him how he made his money so that I could do it too," Jessica, a data analyst, said.  [Ed.:  He inherited it from his daddy. And he filed for bankruptcy 4 times.  A regular Horatio Alger success story.]
Heilemann further asked the focus group what they believed a Trump presidency would look like.
“Classy,” Cheryl, a real estate agent, answered confidently. [Ed.:  (head hitting desk top)]
Then there were these folks at an African American church in Manning, South Carolina, following a "sermon" by Preacher Mike "Huckster" Huckabee:
There were signs in Manning that Huckabee, at a minimum, will find a friendly audience. After the former governor led a prayer for Tricia Bouttry, a black congregant who is battling breast cancer, she said, “I didn’t know anything about him, but his speech was so uplifting and his prayer was so heartfelt, I cried.  [Ed.: Maybe you should find out more about him.]
“I’m a Democrat, but he would have my vote,” said Bouttry, 51, a mental health worker. “I want somebody who’s spiritual in the White House — a pastor that knows the word as president.”   [Ed.:  "The Christian Republic of America, Mike Huckabee, Pastor- in- Chief"]  [snip]
Huckabee preached in Manning at the invitation of Pastor Leon Winn, an active Republican who last year ran unsuccessfully against Rep. James E. Clyburn (D).  [snip]
When the service concluded, Nathaniel Pugh, 55, a black man who works as a heavy-equipment operator, greeted Huckabee and posed for a picture with him.
“I’m a Democrat, but I might cross the line to vote for him,” Pugh said afterward. “We can talk till we’re blue in the face, but until our hearts get right, there still will be racism. For Governor Huckabee to come into our little town and talk about this, that’s huge. He got my attention.”   [Ed.:  You're a discerning man, Mr. Pugh, to have identified Huckster as someone who's heart is in the right placeMmmhmm.]
As long as low-information, distracted, and (o.k. we'll go there) downright stupid voters like this can be swayed by demagogues like Rump,  Huckster, and the rest of the Republican field, we will suffer as a nation.  Sic transit gloria, America.

UPDATE:  Huckster goes full Juan Peron.

Happy 50th Birthday, Medicare!

It's helped millions of seniors deal with costs of health care, it's a program Republicans would love to reform kill, and it's 50 years old today:
[T]he situation is far better than it was five decades ago, when half of the elderly population had no insurance at all. Studies have shown that Medicare has meant substantially smaller out-of-pocket spending for seniors and maybe (though not certainly) longer lives. The financial protection that the program provides to beneficiaries helps explain why just one in 10 seniors now lives in poverty. That’s roughly a third of what it was in the mid-1960s.
Although Medicare (and Medicaid and Social Security) are firmly embedded in American life, to Republicans it all represents "big gummint" taking us down the path to dependence and socialism (the linked Jonathan Cohn article contains a hoot of an embedded video of Republican St. Ronnie of Hollywood denouncing Medicare as taking America down the path to a "socialist dictatorship" - a reminder that the apocalyptic rhetoric of the far right wasn't any more sane 50 years ago than it is today).  As Cohn notes:
These days, perhaps mindful of the program’s popularity, conservatives use more delicate language when they talk about Medicare. Rather than focus on the supposed havoc the program wreaks on America's medical system or psyche, they dwell on the toll it takes on the American taxpayer -- and call for changes that supposedly would not affect workers at or near retirement age. Just last week, Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor seeking the Republican presidential nomination, told a conservative audience that we "need to figure out a way to phase out this program for [younger people] and move to a new system that allows them to have something -- because they’re not going to have anything.”
The Republican approach that J.E.B.! favors, "phasing out" Medicare for future generations, addresses the potential of future shortfalls by shifting to a program that offers seniors a sum of money and let's them fend for themselves in the private market (essentially the Social Security privatization scheme floated by Republicans like Rep. Paul "Lyin" Ryan (R-Galt's Gulch)).

As far as Medicare, we'll let the Baltimore Sun summarize for us:
... It's easy to lose track of what life was like for seniors in the United States before the program arrived. Five decades ago, only about half of seniors had health insurance coverage and, largely as a result, about 30 percent lived below the poverty line. Today, nearly all seniors have coverage, and the percentage living below the poverty line has fallen by an estimated 75 percent.
That's made Medicare among the most successful federal programs ever devised. The quality of life for older Americans has been raised astronomically, and the public's broad support for Medicare is likely to thwart ill-considered efforts to close it to the next generation. It's still possible to make the system more effective and efficient, of course. In Maryland, the waiver granted a year ago to the state by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has reduced Medicare-related hospital reimbursements substantially by providing a stronger incentive to keep beds empty. We need to employ that kind of "smarter" health care to meet 21st century needs cost-effectively, not to abandon a "Great Society" program that's worked for generations.
(Photo: President Lyndon Johnson signing the Medicare act in Independence, MO, July 30, 1965 - with President Harry S Truman, at right, looking on.  At the ceremony, Truman became the first American enrolled in Medicare and the first to get a Medicare card.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Trump Reveals His Health Care Plan

And YOOOGE, no doubt.  And Classy!

There's your Republican front-runner, ladies and gentlemen.

Congressman Fattah Indicted

We would be remiss if we didn't note the following:
Fattah was charged with bribery, fraud, and money laundering, among other crimes, in a 29-count indictment. Fattah's congressional District Director Bonnie Bowser, his former aide Karen Nicholas, campaign contributor Robert Brand and lobbyist Herbert Vederman were also charged in the indictment.
Just a reminder that, despite evidence to the contrary, no party has a complete monopoly on bad behavior.

Republicans Line Up To Kiss Some Koch Ass

From Politic-ho:
Four leading GOP presidential candidates – Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker – are traveling to a Southern California luxury hotel in coming days to make their cases directly to the Koch brothers and hundreds of other wealthy conservatives planning to spend close to $1 billion in the run-up to the 2016 election.
The gathering – which also will include former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, but notably not Sen. Rand Paul — is hosted by Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the umbrella group in the Kochs’ increasingly influential network of political and public policy outfits. It represents a major opportunity for the candidates at a pivotal moment in the presidential primary.
It's not just the ultra-right Koch brothers who will get a slavish tongue bath at the candidates' try-out;  representatives of Likudnik Smelly Shelly Adelson and hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer will also attend, along with approximately 450 Republican high-rollers.  The slobbering and groveling is expected to be intense and non-stop, so candidates, please apply your Chapstick generously.

In-Fighting In The Republican Party Hits New Level

With the Republican clown car bus debates looming in early August, we've seen a circular firing squad already beginning to form among the 16-odd (and we do mean odd) candidates, with incoming and outgoing insults every day.  The turmoil isn't contained to the campaign trail, it seems, as the frothing natives in Congress are also increasingly restless and combative:

-- Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz (Tea Bagger-TX) recently claimed -- on the Senate floor no less -- that his Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell lied to him and other caucus members over holding a vote on the re-authorization of the Export-Import Bank, which led McConnell and others to publicly humiliate Cruz (yay!);

-- Cruz's acolyte, Sen. Mike "Mini Me" Lee (Tea Bagger-UT) was just caught trying to get right-wing organizations to support his rule-flouting effort to demand a vote repealing Obamacare as an amendment to the pending transportation bill, causing McConnell to rip him a new one in a meeting of Senate Republicans;

-- Rep. Mark Meadows (Tea Bagger-NC) filed a "motion to vacate the chair" in a parliamentary maneuver to remove Speaker of the House John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner. Meadows' motion read, in part:
[the] “Speaker has, through inaction, caused the power of Congress to atrophy, thereby making Congress subservient to the Executive and Judicial branches, diminishing the voice of the American People. Whereas the Speaker uses the power of the office to punish Members who vote according to their conscience instead of the will of the Speaker.”
We like that "voice of the American People" line, although we think the voice Rep. Meadows may be hearing is coming through the fillings in his teeth.

BONUS:  Nancy LeTourneau on the right-wing media that's largely the cause as well as the beneficiary of the turmoil.

Cheesehead Scott Walker Blows Cheesesteak Outing

Wisconsin Gov. and Koch Industries' employee of the year Scott "Koch Head" Walker is a bit of a dim bulb when outside his comfort zone of busting unions and cashing checks from big donors.  In a photo-op yesterday in South Philadelphia, Koch Head visited two famous Philly cheesesteak emporia, and proceeded to trip on his clown shoes by cutting in line and cluelessly ordering a distinctly non-Philly cheesesteak with American cheese and no onions (comparable to eating pizza in New York with a knife and fork).  Then, as a final classy move, Koch Head left trash on the outdoor table (neither place he visited has table service).  Fortunately, he was shadowed by a few hecklers, a couple of whom carried placards with colorful sentiments.  Bwahaha.

Successful campaign stop by Koch Head in the Italian-American stronghold of South Philadelphia?  Fugettaboutit.

(photo:  "The people of Philadelphia gave me this cool sweater!")

Mid-Week Song

Singer-songwriter Andrew McMahon released his latest album last fall, which reached #3 on Billboard's Independent Albums chart.  One of the tracks on that album is "Cecelia and the Satellite," a song named after his 18 month-old daughter.  McMahon, who has battled leukemia, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Today's Video Selection - "The GOP's Mad (Not A) Scientists"

Trump Spousal Rape Charge Denied By Ranting Trump Lawyer

In an obscenity-laced rant, a lawyer for blowhard winger Donald "Rump" Trump vigorously denied an old charge that Rump had raped his former wife Ivana and threatened legal action against The Daily Beast reporters on the case.  The charges stem from a 1993 biography of Rump, "Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump" by Harry Hurt III, in which Ivana Trump claims that in 1989 her husband went ballistic over scalp reduction surgery that her surgeon had performed, and forced her to have sex with him.  Ivana Trump later modified her story, which was told in a matrimonial deposition, indicating that the sex left her feeling "violated" and lacked "love and tenderness," but that it wasn't strictly rape.

Rump lawyer Michael Cohen, when learning that The Daily Beast planned to resurrect the claims from Hurt's book, went on an obscene tear, saying among other things,
"I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know. So I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?”
Cohen later issued an apology to The Daily Beast, via CNN, saying that his threatening comments were "inarticulate."

This is yet another view into the dark soul of the Retrumplican party, and typifies the kinds of angry, belligerent people Rump surrounds himself with and appeals to.

Huckabee Apprentices For Trump; Israelis React To "Door Of The Oven" Comment

(click on image to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The grits are still hitting the fan for Cornpone Republican who- will- never- be- President Mike "Huckster" Huckabee who's now getting flak from the Israeli government for his outrageous comments on the Iran nuclear deal, which were intended to give him some oxygen in the ever-crazier Republican clown car bus race, but have only exposed him as a "Trump lite" demagogue.

Then there was Jon Stewart's speechless reaction.

The Jeb! Bush Bust In Florida

Time for an extended excerpt from Jim Tankersley's excellent article today on the Florida bust that Bush Dynasty scion John Ellis "J.E.B.!" Bush would like you to believe was a smashing success under his governance.  The article demonstrates the failure of J.E.B.!'s regulation- gutting and trickle- down economic policy of tax cuts for the rich, which made the housing bubble collapse with even more devastation in Florida than elsewhere in the country. Tankersley's article is quite detailed, so please take time to read it. 
On the campaign trail, Jeb Bush has repeatedly emphasized his record overseeing Florida’s boom economy as the state’s governor. He says it’s an example of an economy that created a huge number of jobs and benefited the middle class — an example of what he could do as president. “I know how to do this,” he said in Maitland, Fla., on Monday.
But according to interviews with economists and a review of data, Florida owed a substantial portion of its growth under Bush not to any state policies but to a massive and unsustainable housing bubble — one that ultimately benefited rich investors at the expense of middle-class families.
The bubble, one of the biggest in the nation, drove up home prices and had many short-term benefits for the state, spurring construction, spending and jobs. But the collapse of the housing bubble as Bush left office in 2007, after eight years of service, sent Florida into a recession deeper than that in the rest of the country, and hundreds of thousands lost their homes.
“Who got hammered? Lower- and middle-class America,” said Marshall Sklar, a real estate investor who, like other well-off financiers operating in the state, has benefited from the wreckage.  [snip]
It is a “huge stretch” for Bush to hold up Florida’s growth as a model for the country, said Stan Veuger, an economist at the ­conservative American Enterprise Institute who is not affiliated with any presidential campaign. “I don’t think you can replicate that growth, from a state with one of the hottest housing markets in the nation, in any sustainable fashion,” he said.  [snip]
In the four years after Bush left office, median income in Florida declined by $5,700 — more than a 10 percent drop and double the percentage drop for the nation as a whole. The typical Florida family’s net worth fell 60 percent in that time, according to the Census Bureau. In a state where so much of the economy revolves around real estate, and where many foreclosures that began years ago are only now winding through the court system, there are 200,000 fewer families who own their homes than there were in 2005.
Many of those families now pay rent to Wall Street firms. Institutional investors have bought up huge inventories of Florida condos and single-family homes, often at foreclosure auctions where they pay less than the assessed value of the properties. They’ve watched the value of those properties rise as the housing market heats up again — and they’ve charged escalating rents to people who no longer own their own homes. Florida metro areas have the largest concentration of investor-owned homes in the country, according to RealtyTrac data.
This whole thing,” said Thomas Ice, a former corporate lawyer and real estate speculator who now represents hundreds of South Florida homeowners fighting foreclosure, “has been one of the great land grabs — transfers of property to the oligarchs — in the history of the United States.”  (our emphasis)
The article shows "J.E.B.!" to be the candidate of the oligarchs that he is:  gutting regulations, tax cuts for the wealthy, making a deep recession deeper, crashing median income and net worth for middle class families, ending up with fewer homeowners at the end of his term.  But, to "J.E.B.!" it's a success story because, as Mr. Ice says, he presided over "one of the great land grabs - transfers of property to the oligarchs - in the history of the United States."

So if you want to see wealth squeezed even further from low- and- middle-income households in order to fatten the bank accounts of speculators and Wall Street oligarchs (and work more hours, too!), by all means "J.E.B.!" is your man.

(Photo:  The Brothers Bush - the economy was never their strong suit;  that's the "smart" one on the left.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon

(click to enlarge)

An alien hair parasite might explain hatemeister and  Rethug idol Donald "Rump" Trump, but what's the explanation for the rest of the clown car bus riders' outrageous spewings?

(cartoon, Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

NY Times Botches Clinton E-Mail "Story"

Along with the Benghazi, Benghazi, BENGHAZI! nothing burger that's been created by the Rethuglicans and kept alive by an enabling Beltway media, the Clinton e-mail story has been a feeding frenzy for a political press corps that -- let's face it -- dislikes Secretary Clinton and wants to rough her up.  It's not that they believe they'll find something damaging, it's that they want to find something damaging, to hell with accuracy or checking sources.

As we noted in an update last week, the latest example of malfeasance in the service of a political smear sadly comes from the august New York Times.  A headline and story indicating that there was a "criminal investigation" of Ms. Clinton over the e-mails turned out to be far, far less.  It was such an egregious misfire on the part of the Times that they had to print a mealy mouthed explanation of how they got it wrong in today's edition.  It reads, in part:
"The online headline read “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email,” very similar to the one in print. But aspects of it began to unravel soon after it first went online. The first major change was this: It wasn’t really Mrs. Clinton directly who was the focus of the request for an investigation. It was more general: whether government information was handled improperly in connection with her use of a personal email account."
They were called out by sources familiar with the inquiry, particularly by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, whose Rethug leadership is using the Committee to attack Ms. Clinton in advance of the 2016 elections.  Of course, the damage has been done, as the Times acknowledges:
"But you can’t put stories like this back in the bottle – they ripple through the entire news system. So it was, to put it mildly, a mess."
When the mainstream media willingly takes anonymous dreck from Rethuglican "sources" and catapults it to the general public on their front pages without applying the "smell test," they become part of the political apparatus of the right wing.

Strong Support For Iran Nuclear Agreement (Updated)

A new Public Policy poll says Americans support the Iran nuclear agreement by a wide margin:
-Only 38% of voters are opposed to the Iran deal, compared to 54% who are supportive of it. Democratic voters (75/17) are far more united in their favor for the agreement than Republicans (36/54) are in their opposition to it. Voters within every gender, race, and age group are in support of it, reflecting the broad based mandate for the deal.
-Similarly 54% of voters want their members of Congress to vote to allow the agreement to move forward, compared to just 39% who would like to see it blocked. (our emphasis)
Despite a well-bankrolled, wildly misleading p.r. campaign to discredit the agreement, led by a front group of A.I.P.A.C., so far Americans aren't buying the increasingly shrill attacks meant to sabotage the accord.  However, a vote in Congress isn't due until September and opinion can move in the direction of the Likudniks and chronic crackpots of the Republican Party, though not likely enough to garner a veto-overriding 2/3 majority in either house of Congress.  Nevertheless, we need more, louder and sustained pushback like this (in this case from President Obama):
“We’ve had a sitting senator [Sen. Tom "Ear to Ear" Cotton] call John Kerry Pontius Pilate. We’ve had a sitting senator [Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz], who also happens to be running for president, suggest that I’m the leading state sponsor of terrorism. These are leaders in the Republican Party.”
Let's not obscure who these crackpots and seditionists are, please.  Let's name them and shame them for the dishonor they bring upon America (and Israel, for that matter).

UPDATE Jewish Americans aren't fooled by the extremist rhetoric, either:
By a wide margin [49% to 31%], American Jews support the recently concluded agreement with Iran to restrict its nuclear program, and a clear majority of Jews wants Congress to approve the deal. In fact, as compared with Americans generally, Jews are more supportive of the “Iran deal,” in large part because Jews are more liberal and more Democratic in their identities. It turns out that liberals (Jewish or not) support the deal far more than conservatives (Jewish or not), just as most Democrats are in favor, while most Republicans are opposed.

The Cosby Cover Girls

An extraordinary New York Magazine issue and cover, with the stories of 35 women who've accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault (with an empty chair for victims who have yet to come forth): 

If ever a picture's worth a thousand words, this is it.

Question And Answer On A Competitive Republican Race

From today's "Couch Slouch" column by sportswriter Norman Chad:
Q. If competitive eating becomes a big-time sport, can competitive pooping be far behind? (Peter Wolfe; Seabrook, Md.)
A. We already have that — it’s the Republican Party race for the presidential nomination.
No wonder they stink so bad.

Great Moments in Republican Rhetoric, Cont'd.

We realize that in order to compete for oxygen in the Rethuglican clown car bus it's necessary for other candidates to top the inflammatory hate speech of bloviating braggart Donald "Rump" Trump.  One can't overestimate the rabid right's appetite for outrageous, slanderous speech.  Latest case in point, from theocrat and girl's shower fantasizer Mike "Huckster" Huckabee as interviewed by the far-right Breitbart crapfactory:
"This president’s foreign policy is the most feckless in American history. It is so naive that he would trust the Iranians. By doing so, he will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." (emphasis added)
Equating the nuclear arms agreement between the U.S. and five international powers and Iran with the murder of 6 million Jews is obscene and a denigration of the victims of the Holocaust.  A comment like that should disqualify Huckster from public office, but the rabid right lives on that type of hate speech toward this Administration, so he outdid Rump this weekend.  What a low bar.

UPDATEHuckster's being called out for his outrageous remarks:
“The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are part of a general pattern that we’ve seen that would be considered ridiculous if it weren’t so sad,” Obama said, speaking from Ethiopia. “Maybe it’s just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines.” [snip]

“Whatever one’s views of the nuclear agreement with Iran – and we have been critical of it, noting that there are serious unanswered questions that need to be addressed – comments such as those by Mike Huckabee suggesting the president is leading Israel to another Holocaust are completely out of line and unacceptable,” commented Jonathan A. Greenblatt, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


It bears repeating and repeating and repeating:  Donald "Rump" Trump is the Republican brand:
They say he’s [Trump's] trashing the Republic brand. They say he’s “stirring up the crazies,” in the words of Senator John McCain. But Trump is the brand, to a sizable degree. And the crazies have long flourished in the Republican media wing, where any amount of gaseous buffoonery goes unchallenged.  [snip]

Trump is a byproduct of all the toxic elements Republicans have thrown into their brew over the last decade* or so — from birtherism to race-based hatred of immigrants, from nihilists who shut down government to elected officials who shout “You lie!” at their commander in chief.
It was fine when all this crossing-of-the-line was directed at President Obama or other Democrats. But now that the ugliness is intramural, Trump has forced party leaders to decry something they have not only tolerated, but encouraged(our emphasis)
He's still polling strong among Republicans even after his comments on Sen. John "McAngry" McCain's status as a war hero, and notwithstanding his ongoing attacks on his Republican rivals.  "Trumpism" is not going away, because it's the beating heart of the inchoate, angry id of the Republican base, and the fact that he has no filter to soften the ugliness appeals to that base.  Because of that (and his "TEN BILLION DOLLARS"), he'll be in the race for the long-run.

 For that, Republicans can thank their own toxic, increasingly extremist politics over the past half-century, their right-wing rabble-rousing media, and the "mainstream media" that has been too neutered or co-opted to report honestly on the slow-motion radicalization of the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party and the conservative movement that drives it.  In the meantime, it's important now that Rump continue to have the high profile his poll numbers and ego demand, because he's the most accurate reflection and best spokesperson for a party and movement gone mad than anything else in this election cycle.  Let's see how long that fact can be ignored.

* Steve M. points out, as we do above, that it's been a lot longer than a decade.

(Photo:  Trumpnado - "Oh hell no!")

Quote Of The Day - Birfter Trolling Edition

"I suspect that some of my critics back home are suggesting that I'm back here to look for my birth certificate. That is not the case." -- President Obama speaking yesterday at a state dinner in Nairobi, Kenya, trolling (to much applause and laughter) the "birfer" conspiracy cranks who think he was born in Kenya.

BONUS:  Unsurprisingly, some of the frothing cement heads don't get the joke (hint:  it's on you, you cretins).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

"Pretty Much A Radical Republican"

That would be this guy... the words of right-wing TV host and enabler Calvin Floyd of WLTZ in Columbus, GA, describing Lafayette, LA theater shooter John Russell Houser.  Houser was a frequent "contributor" to Floyd's program, whenever they needed someone to spew hate against women or gubmint taxes.

It's interesting how wingnuts in the media are shocked, SHOCKED! when the hate speech they promote bites some innocent people to death.  It's disturbing when "mainstream media" consistently fail  to call out the rabid organs of right-wing hate speech before the damage is done.

Wisconsin's Other Toxic Demagogue: Sen. Ron Johnson

Since we're on the topic of toxic, dangerous Wisconsin Republicans this morning, there may be one who gives Scott "Koch Head" Walker a run for his money:  multi-millionaire Sen. Ron "Small" Johnson.  Here is a sampling of the wisdom of the paleo-right Johnson:

-- He said "The Lego Movie" was "insidious" anti-business "propaganda;"

-- He lost a suit in which he tried to block Obamacare subsidies for Members of Congress and their staff;

-- He accused the League of Conservation Voters of engaging in "environmental jihad" because of their efforts to warn of global climate change;

-- He used his time during the recent Senate hearings on the Iran nuclear agreement to quiz Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on the possibility of an electromagnetic pulse attack on the U.S. shoreline;

-- A PAC supporting him used a photshopped image of President Obama "shaking hands" with the president of Iran to discredit the nuclear agreement;

-- In a recent radio interview, he referred to "idiot inner city kids," a Freudian slip he later tried to walk back.

On The Google Machine, there's much more of this idiocy from Johnson, who married into a family plastics fortune and never had to worry much about health insurance or where his children were educated.  He's in a closely-watched race with former Sen. Russ Feingold that will help determine if the Democrats can retake the Senate in 2016.  If you get a chance to contribute to Russ, it may help retire one of the worst Senators we've seen in a long time, who's a blight to the fast-fading, honorable political tradition for which Wisconsin used to be known.

(h/t friend of the blog P.E.C.)

Armed and Dangerous Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

Imagine another darkened theater with an armed loon firing away.  Now imagine a few armed "good guy" citizens blasting away at random, too.  Deaths of innocents from friendly fire?  You bet your ballistics.

The only true "good guy" with a gun is a trained officer of the law, and while they can't be everywhere an armed nutcase is, wounding or killing additional innocent civilians in a public area by untrained "good guys" would be kept to a minimum.  Just don't tell that to the gun lobby.

(cartoons: top -- Jim Morin, Miami Times; bottom -- Darrin Bell, via

The Dangerous Demagogue Scott Walker

In this long excerpt, we see that Dana Milbank is on to Koch brothers marionette Gov. Scott "Koch Head" Walker (R-Kochland):
This is the essence of Walker’s appeal — and why he is so dangerous. He is not as outrageous as Donald Trump and Sen.­­ Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), but his technique of scapegoating unions for the nation’s ills is no less demagogic. Sixty-five years ago, another man from Wisconsin made himself a national reputation by frightening the country about the menace of communists, though the actual danger they represented was negligible. Scott Walker is not Joe McCarthy [ed. note: "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz is], but his technique is similar: He suggests that the nation’s ills can be cured by fighting labor unions (foremost among the “big government special interests” hurting the United States), even though unions represent just 11 percent of the U.S. workforce and have been at a low ebb. [snip]
The bulk of Walker’s stump speech to the Koch-brothers-financed ALEC was about how his “big, bold reforms took the power out of the hands of big government special interests” — namely, unions. Left unmentioned: how his big, bold reforms produced only about half the number of jobs he promised and resulted in delayed debt payments and deep cuts to education to overcome a budget deficit. [snip]
But deception is the demagogue’s tool. Walker spoke Thursday about “the death threats not just against me and my family but against our lawmakers” and about the nails put in the driveway of one lawmaker to puncture his tires. Such behavior is beyond the pale — though hardly unique to Walker’s opponents. And some of Walker’s claims — including the alleged threat to “gut” his wife “like a deer” and of protesters “beating” and “rocking” a car he was in — could not be substantiated by independent authorities.
Such deception, however, is in the service only of the larger deceit at the core of his candidacy: By scapegoating toothless trade unions as powerful and malign interests, he enlists working people in his cause of aiding the rich and the strong(our emphasis)
Perhaps, slowly, the media and the American public is getting to know the real Scott Walker the way the majority of his constituents in Wisconsin know him.  Which makes his recent attempt to portray himself as a "uniter" all the more laughable and Kafkaesque.  Dangerous demagogue, indeed.

BONUS:  More on Walker, a "dictator" in waiting.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Is Ted Cruz Just Now Figuring Out That Mitch McConnell Is A Liar?

In a speech that violated norms of Senate decorum and party loyalty, Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz (R-Calgary) called out his Republican Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell on the Senate floor today (!) over what Tailgunner Ted thought were McConnell's assurances that the Export-Import Bank re-authorization would not be coming up for a vote in the Senate (it will):
"Not only what he told every Republican senator, but what he told the press over and over and over again, was a simple lie," Cruz said.  [snip]
"We now know that when the majority leader looks us in the eyes and makes an explicit commitment that he is willing to say things that he knows are false."  (our emphasis)
Some people are just slow learners. (Or maybe Tailgunner Ted is a liar?!  This is getting to be like eleventy- dimensional chess.  Let's just posit that all Republicans are liars until proven otherwise.)

It's hard to imagine it getting any crazier, or better.

(Obvious musical accompaniment)

Jobless Claims Fall To Lowest Level In 40 Years

More disastrous economic news!  Thanks, Obama!
Jobless claims plunged by 26,000 to 255,000 in the week ended July 18, the fewest since November 1973, a report from the Labor Department showed on Thursday in Washington. [snip]
Claims continue to hover near historically low levels as employers are retaining workers to cater to a pickup in demand following a slump in early 2015. Combined with steady hiring across states, the improvement will help sustain household spending, the biggest part of the economy.
Oh, unemployment's at 5.3%.

Weekend "Nautical" Twofer

We continue our obsession cavalcade of artists from the UK today with one often-featured performer and a new one.  Florence + the Machine have appeared several times here;  the selection below is "Ship to Wreck" from her 2015 album "How Big How Blue How Beautiful."  The other performer we're featuring is alt rocker James Bay, whose debut album "Chaos and the Calm" was released last year;  this song is "Hold Back the River," which rose to #2 in the UK charts.  Enjoy your weekend.

Rejecting The Iran Nuclear Agreement Would Be "A Historic Mistake"

We're offering two good reads this morning on the Iran nuclear agreement which, to absolutely nobody's surprise, is under mindless assault by "just say no" Republicans and Likudniks alike.  Here are brief tastes, but please read the entire op/ eds.

Fareed Zakaria lays out some facts that make opposition to the agreement all the more incomprehensible and appalling:
Let’s imagine that the opponents of the nuclear agreement with Iran get their way: The U.S. Congress kills it. What is the most likely consequence? Within one year, Iran would have more than 25,000 centrifuges, its breakout time would shrink to mere weeks and the sanctions against it would crumble. How is this in the United States’ national interest? Or Israel’s? Or Saudi Arabia’s?
Philip Gordon takes a historical perspective and concludes:
If the U.S. Congress kills the current Iran deal and the alternative approach leads the Iranians to come back to the table and accept a much better agreement, it will deserve enormous credit. If, as seems far more likely, the death of this deal instead leads Iran to resume the expansion of its nuclear program even while under sanctions and the threat of force, just as it has for the past decade, Congress will have made a historic mistake. And the next generation will wonder why we did the same thing all over again and expected a different result
In the meantime, diplomats from Great Britain, France and Germany (all co-signers of the agreement with Iran) are in Washington to argue the case for the agreement.  We hope they're not wasting their time with Republicans, who want to deliver a defeat to President Obama no matter what the cost to U.S. and Israeli security;  best to deal with potential spineless Democratic defectors (=cough= Sen. Menendez =cough=) who may be influenced to do the right thing.

Distress and Death (Updated)

President Obama yesterday, in an interview with the BBC:
"If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it's less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it's in the tens of thousands. For us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing."
News from Lafayette, LA a few hours later:
[Reuters] An Alabama drifter opened fire inside a crowded movie theater, killing two women in Lafayette, Louisiana, on Thursday evening, police said, in the latest act of random gun violence to shock the United States.
We've become so used to mass shootings that the deaths of four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga by a domestic terrorist, and yesterday's shooting in a Louisiana theater have become an almost routine, expected part of life here.   That's not the way it should be.

UPDATE:  The shooter, John Russell Houser, was a Confederate flag-flying teahadist wingnut, whose internet rants against President Obama, the "gubmint" and America's "moral decline" are being revealed.  He also expressed his admiration for Hitler.  Surprised?

Former Weekly Standard Deputy Publisher Suspected In Restaurant Burglary

Times must be tough for this former colleague of neo-con "Wee Willie" Kristol of the wingnut "Weekly Standard":
Prominent Washington PR agent David Bass is a suspect in the theft of two bottles of liquor from VIP hotspot Café Milano earlier this month, according to records obtained by the Washington Post.
D.C. police released a surveillance video which shows two men entering the Georgetown restaurant through the kitchen in the early morning hours of July 1 after it had closed for the night. One man is seen grabbing two bottles — one Grey Goose vodka, the other Campari — from behind the bar, while the other appears to act as the lookout.
At least a dozen acquaintances of Bass’s who have reviewed the footage say the second man is Bass, and records name him as a suspect.
A fixture on the Washington social scene, Bass, 49, is the president and CEO of communications firm Raptor Strategies and was deputy publisher of the Weekly Standard from 1997 to 2004(our emphasis)
Burglarizing a restaurant to steal... a bottle of Grey Goose and a bottle of Campari??  What was it, a (felonious) scavenger hunt?  Bass's firm Raptor Strategies's home page declares "The Rules Have Changed."   Not when it comes to theft and breaking and entering it hasn't, pal.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Scott Walker Creates Wealth -- For His Donors

When Koch brothers employee of the year Gov. Scott "Koch Head" Walker (R-Kochland) "privatized" the State of Wisconsin's commerce department, creating the "Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation" (WEDC) in 2011, he promised it would boost job creation in the state.  Four years later, Wisconsin has one of the worst job creation records of any state in the Midwest.  But, Walker's WEDC does like spreading taxpayer money around, mostly to donors to Walker's campaigns.  You know, to Republicans who like their government small, but their payoffs big.

Brian Murphy at TPM has a great article detailing the rot and corruption Walker has visited on this once-proud state:
WEDC didn’t seem to care whether the jobs materialized or not. One underwriter said that “it was almost like they couldn't say ‘no’ to anybody.”
All of which raises an obvious question: if this agency isn’t creating jobs, what is it actually for?
Well, the list of recipients of WEDC grants and its generous taxpayer-funded forgivable loans is populated with Walker campaign donors. Five awards worth $10.5 million went to cheese manufacturers who gave $104,000 to Walker’s campaigns. Diane Hendricks*, a billionaire involved in construction who gave $500,000 to Walker’s 2012 recall campaign, won a $2 million tax credit. Another smaller, $500,000 loan was given to different construction firm, also owned by a Walker donor, who met with Walker’s chief of staff and the man Walker eventually put in charge of WEDC, Mike Huebsch. Huebsch was pushing for a $4.3 million package for the donor, William Minahan, even though his company was on the verge of collapse. The $500,000 loan was extended instead – and without review.
These are just a few examples from a very long list.
* You may recall Diane Hendricks from this episode - a real piece of shit work. (Viewer advisory:  she's a scary-looking harridan.)

You have to read the entire article, then you may want to get in a shower, because the backscratching and cupidity of these small-bore "small government" hypocrites will make you feel, well, cheesy (Wisconsin pun intended).   But any such story wouldn't be complete without invoking the Justice Anthony Kennedy Citzens United disclaimer that  "... [I]ndependent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."


Self-Correcting Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

Electing Republicans who are dependent on contributions from the fossil fuel industry will ensure that man-made climate change will proceed apace.  The "I'm not a scientist" dodge that they are using to have it both ways won't work, as we noted earlier this week, given overwhelming scientific evidence of man-made climate change.

Pope Francis has made reversing climate change and man's damage to the Earth a moral imperative, and, as a consequence, drawn jibes and criticism from right-wing Republican Catholics, who just want him to focus on reproductive and sexual identity issues, and avoid talk of climate change, social justice and economic fairness.  It should be interesting to watch his reception by the Rethugs in Congress when he addresses the body on September 24.

(cartoon:  Tom Toles, Washington Post Bezos Bugle, via

J.E.B.! Bush Wants To Phase Out Medicare. No, Really

Third rail alert! Platinum-plated scion of the Bush Dynasty, John Ellis "J.E.B."! Bush told a plutocrat Koch brothers- sponsored event yesterday in New Hampshire that zombie- eyed grannie starver Rep. Paul "Lyin'" Ryan (R-Galt's Gulch) was on to something:  phasing out Medicare:
“And I think we need to be vigilant about this and persuade people that our, when your volunteers go door to door, and they talk to people, people understand this. They know, and I think a lot of people recognize that we need to make sure we fulfill the commitment to people that have already received the benefits, that are receiving the benefits. But that we need to figure out a way to phase out this program for others and move to a new system that allows them to have something – because they’re not going to have anything.”
As Steve Benen explains (at the link), the rate of Medicare spending is down significantly since the passage of the (horrors!) Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  But, with clueless pols like Jeb! pushing for non-starters like a Medicare phase-out instead of strengthening it,  it's likely we'll have the same stasis that's been keeping us from moving forward as a nation.

(Photo:  The "Smart" Bush, with Millionaire Mitt Romney.)

Trump: The "Rough Beast" Created By Republicans

This is E.J. Dionne, Jr., on the sudden rush by Republican politicians to take down blowhard wig-stand Donald "Rump" Trump, a gas giant they once courted assiduously:
The problems that bother us most are the ones we bring on ourselves. This is why Republicans are so out of sorts with Donald Trump. The party created the rough beast it is now trying to slay.
Like Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry Butchmeup" Graham (R-Secessionland):
“Hey, didn’t this guy call me, like, four years ago?” he [Trump] asked about Graham. According to the Republicans’ provocateur-in-chief, Graham wanted a “good reference” to “Fox & Friends,” a show on the network that conservatives revere, and then to know whether “he could come and see me for some campaign contribution.” 
How about future Lenscrafters spokesmodel Rick "Oops" Perry:
Trump struck again on Wednesday, tweeting a picture with another of his Donald-come-lately critics, former Texas governor Rick Perry, “in my office last cycle playing nice and begging for my support and money. Hypocrite!”
Then we've got Republican "Elder Statesman" Millionaire Mitt Romney:
... When he accepted Trump’s endorsement during the 2012 Republican primaries, Mitt Romney was giddy about how cool it was to be with the man who emblazons his name on gaudy hostelries.
“There are some things that you just can’t imagine happening in your life,” Romney enthused when he got Trump’s backing at the Trump International Hotel in Las Vegas. “This is one of them. Being in Donald Trump’s magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight. I am so honored and pleased.”
As Dionne notes, this kissing up was going on at a time when Rump was in full birther mode, continuing to question President Obama's citizenship long after definitive proof had been provided. Dionne concludes it's hard to be sympathetic when the beast starts biting the hands that have fed it for so long:
Sorry, but the real Donald Trump has been in full view for a long time, and Perry’s new glasses can’t explain his newfound clarity. I don’t credit Trump with much. But he deserves an award for exposing the double-standards of Republican politicians. They put their outrage in a blind trust as long as Trump was, in Perry’s words, “throwing invectives in this hyperbolic rhetoric out there” against Obama and the GOP’s other enemies. (our emphasis)
Rump's impact on this and future election cycles may well be that, in voicing the ugly id of the Republican Party, he shows what a collection of craven hypocrites the party "leaders" are.  

Letters We Wish We'd Written - Ongoing Smear of Planned Parenthood Dept.

From today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle, this letter comes in response to an op/ed by Republican shill Kathleen Parker:
Using legally donated fetal tissue to advance medical research and possibly even treat diseases that debilitate millions of people is hardly, as Kathleen Parker contended in her July 19 op-ed column, “A modern proposal,” an action “made in hell.”
Donations of organs and tissues are selfless acts. Heaping such animus on Planned Parenthood for taking part in medical donation — and making judgments on the basis of eight edited minutes taken from a nearly three-hour video — is a sad reflection of how politicized and demonized abortion and the women who choose it have become in our society.
Savaging medical practitioners and a network of medical clinics that provide a comprehensive range of essential health services and resorting to such hyperbole as asserting that fetal livers are “selling like hotcakes” do nothing to further any honest, nuanced and intellectually curious conversations about abortion.
 Sarah Erdreich, Washington
As we note below, Republicans and their goons in the anti-choice movement are pushing this discredited "evidence" as a means of destroying Planned Parenthood while energizing their bible-thumping base.  Media enablers like Parker give them a bigger megaphone, which is why it's important to confront them at every opportunity, as Ms. Erdreich has done.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Ongoing Smear of Planned Parenthood (UPDATED)

A deceptively edited video alleging that Planned Parenthood sold fetal tissue for profit has been debunked after an investigation by  The group behind the video has also been revealed to be an extremist anti-choice organization, the so-called "Center for Medical Progress," which has connections to the violent "Operation Rescue" organization. Fetal tissue is used by a range of medical research organizations, including the National Institutes of Health and university medical centers, to find a cure for such illnesses as Parkinson's disease, HIV, hepatitis, and congenital heart defects. When requested, Planned Parenthood provides such tissue to medical research at cost, with no profit involved.

Rethuglican politicians fighting for restrictions on women's reproductive rights had pounced on the fraudulent  video, while they resumed their attacks on Federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  However, as the New York Times editorial board wrote today about the edited video:
"….it is the latest in a series of unrelenting attacks on Planned Parenthood, which offers health care services to millions of people every year. The politicians howling to defund Planned Parenthood care nothing about the truth here, being perfectly willing to undermine women’s reproductive rights any way they can."
Another day, another lie propagated by the extreme right, their Rethuglican representatives, and their media enablers.

UPDATE:  Democrats are now requesting the Justice Department investigate the "Center for Medical Progress"  and it's discredited "sting" operation on Planned Parenthood. 

Marco Rubio: Staying Classy

Republican- who- will- never- be- President, Sen. Marco "Glug Glug" Rubio (R-Lightweight) managed to pinch this out between gulps of water today on that classy show "Fox and Friends:"
We already have a president now that has no class.”
Spoken as a true arbiter of "class," Glug Glug!  After all, you're a man who:

 - Used his Republican Party credit card for personal items and then failed to report them on his tax returns - classy!

- Lied about Embellished his family's anti-Castro regime roots and reasons for immigrating to the U.S. - classy!

- Abandoned the immigration reform bill he helped author after getting heat from the mouth-frothing Republican base - classy!

- Is petrified to admit that climate change is real, man-made and will devastate his State, for fear of getting more heat from the same mouth-frothing Republican base - classy!

Clearly, there are no classy mirrors in Casa Glug Glug.

(h/t Mock Paper Scissors)

Your "Liberal" Media Proves Otherwise -- Again

We have two articles today, by two ostensibly "liberal" newspapers -- the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle and New York Times --  that demonstrate just how Republican-wired their national news staffs are (not to mention the Bezos Bugle's neo-con editorial board).  Let's begin with this front page Bezos Bugle story on ... the delay in lowering the flag for the five service members killed in Chattanooga (!).  Gee, unless you're a reader of right-wing propaganda sheets you might not have known this was an issue.  Thanks, Bezos Bugle, for catapulting the bullshit!  The title of the piece is "Under Fire for Inaction, Obama Orders Flags Lowered for Chattanooga Victims."  Here's the lede:
President Obama, facing growing criticism from conservatives and some veterans, ordered all American flags on federal grounds to be lowered to half-staff for the remainder of the week to honor the five service members killed at a naval reserve center in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The move was announced Tuesday, five days after the shooting rampage and just minutes after Obama delivered a speech here at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention...
So, clearly the President, weak and unpatriotic as he is, had to be shamed into lowering the flag, right "reporters" Steven Mufson and Greg Jaffe?  This is certainly worth an above- the- fold front page "news" item!  For a little insight, let's note at this point that both Mufson and Jaffe were hired from the right-wing Wall Street Journal, which even before its acquisition by the ever-foul Rupert "Arrrgh!" Murdoch was a mouthpiece for the Republican establishment.  A little later in their piece they note:
The midsummer tempest highlighted how Obama — six years into his tenure as commander in chief — continues to be pressed to defend his patriotism, his support for the military and his toughness.
Those questions have grown especially pointed in the wake of the agreement with Iran to limit its nuclear program. Republican critics of the deal have blasted it as too weak and conciliatory, and insisted that tougher sanctions and threats of force would have been more effective in bending Iranian will.  (our emphasis)
Well, with water carriers in the media like Mufson and Jaffe, the Republicans have had no trouble spreading "questions" about the President's "patriotism, his support for the military and his toughness" ever since he took the oath of office.  All you have to do is say, "It's out there," and let the bullshit fly.  Also, the segue into the Iran nuclear agreement:  what, are these two on AIPAC's payroll, too?

Turning to the New York Times, Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog picks up on a Times article on Donald "Rump" Trump and his personal and ideological relationship with Fox "News" that would have left you grossly misinformed:
If you read this story, you don't even learn the basic fact that Trump had a regular weekly segment on the morning show Fox & Friends from April 2011 until last month -- nor do you learn that the April 2011 start date coincided with a period when Trump was pondering a White House run while obsessing over birtherism, a subject to which Fox dedicated 52 separate segments over a two-month period, from February to April 2011. (With regard to Fox & Friends, Trump praised the show's hosts -- "they're great people" -- at a campaign appearance yesterday.)

If you read this story, you never learn that Fox gave more coverage to Trump than to any other Republican presidential candidate in June of this year...
There's a lot more that Steve covers in terms of the rather obvious (but missing in the article) links between Rump, Murdoch and Fox "News" Chief Roger "Jabba the Nut" Ailes.  But, again, who were the "reporters" for the Times?  Former Wall Street Journal writer Amy Chozick and former Bezos Bugle writer Ashley Parker.  As Steve says, "It's terrible reporting," except if you're a Republican-wired shill embedded in what is supposed to be a straight news operation.  In that case, as with the Mufson/ Jaffe "reporting," job well done!

UPDATE:  It seems the New York Effing Times is having its credibility shred in its pursuit of Hillary Clinton.  Bastards.