Saturday, April 30, 2016

There Are No Mirrors In George Will's House

It seems that right-wing ninny and owner of a well-thumbed Roget's Thesaurus George F. "Effing" Will is refusing to hop on the bandwagon of neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump. Moreover, in his latest scribblings, he has some scolding words for those "quislings" who are hopping on board:
"Donald Trump's damage to the Republican Party, although already extensive, has barely begun. Republican quislings will multiply, slinking into support of the most anticonservative presidential aspirant in their party's history. These collaborationists will render themselves ineligible to participate in the party's reconstruction." (emphasis added)
Most anticonservative? Really, Effing? Dwight Eisenhower was the father of one of the largest public works undertakings in history: the Interstate highway system. Nelson Rockefeller was pretty "anti conservative" when he ran in 1964 and was defeated by your guy, the extremist Barry "Nuke 'Em" Goldwater. By extension, does Effing believe that Rump's followers are "anticonservative", too? That's rich. Please proceed:
"(Voters) already know the only important thing about Trump's choice: His running mate will be unqualified for high office because he or she will think Trump is qualified."
OK, point taken. Effing then dissects Rump's well known weaknesses with female voters, Hispanic voters, and others. Effing suggests that a four-year term for Clinton would be bearable, versus one for Rump, if it would mean a "reconstruction" (rebranding again?) of the Republican / New Confederate / Stupid / Shooters Party from the ashes of a Trump defeat. He's assuming that Rump's angry, unhinged supporters will simply recede into the backwoods, clearing the field for Effing Will's brand of elite corporate conservatives to recapture the party in 2020.  Good luck with that. Why? Because Rump's supporters -- perhaps half of the party -- are the dedicated children of your movement, Effing, conceived during the Presidency of St. Ronnie of Hollywood, and they are the ones who think the "quislings" are your "establishment." Indeed, that also goes for "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz's supporters, who are only slightly less deranged.

Finally, there's this bit of unintentional hilarity from Effing:
"Were he to be nominated, conservatives would have two tasks. One would be to help him lose 50 states — condign punishment for his comprehensive disdain for conservative essentials, including the manners and grace that should lubricate the nation's civic life. Second, conservatives can try to save from the anti-Trump undertow as many senators, representatives, governors and state legislators as possible." (emphasis added)
We've seen "conservative essentials" in practice for some 40 years, and they have nothing to do with "manners and grace": wedge politics, smearing Democrats as not patriotic, the "Southern strategy" of dog-whistle racism, and the dirty work of every Rethug ratf*cker from Murray Chotiner to Donald Segretti to Lee Atwater to Karl Rove to Roger Stone, and on and on. It's your conservative movement that needs lubrication, jackass.

Not-So-Strange Bed(sheet) Fellows

Neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump received an endorsement on Friday from a key demographic of his: the Ku Klux Klan.  The "Imperial Wizard" of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, who bravely didn't divulge his name, said that Rump's views are shared by the Klan.  This isn't the first endorsement from white supremacists: Klansman David Duke and white nationalist William Johnson of the "American Freedom Party" have also embraced Rump's bigoted views and proposals, most notably banning all Muslims from entering the U.S. and deporting all 11 million undocumented (overwhelmingly Hispanic) immigrants.

Meanwhile, the Beltway political media continues its search for opportunities to call Rump "presidential." Maybe a yoooge presidential cross burning will do.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tweet Of The Day - Rhetorical Question

As if more evidence were needed, there's this.  And this.  Don't look for them on your national tee-vee news or newspaper.

Weekend Lost And Sentimental Music Twofer

The Damnwells are a Brooklyn- based indie band that (like The Wild Feathers from last week's music selection) has shared a billing with Bob Dylan.  This is "Lost," a single released about a year ago.

Today is the birthday of the great artist Duke Ellington (1899-1974).  We'll slow things down and celebrate with his gorgeous composition, "In A Sentimental Mood," with Ellington on piano and who else but John Coltrane on saxophone, in this 1962 recording.

History Will Remember

We will be continuing to note the latest amoral, craven, cowardly Republicans to succumb to neo- fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump:
Two prominent GOP establishment congressmen — Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, who chairs the House Transportation Committee, and Jeff Miller of Florida, who chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee — endorsed Trump on Thursday.
There are so many reasons to despise man- bat hybrid and Florida Republican Gov. Rick "Voldemort" Scott.  Now you can add this to the list:
“Donald Trump is going to be our nominee, and he is going to be on the ballot as the Republican candidate for President. The Republican leaders in Washington did not choose him, but the Republican voters across America did choose him. The voters have spoken.” 
There's a list of the dregs of American politics supporting Rump here.   We have to make sure these moral ciphers and cowards, and what they stood up for, are remembered.

Why?  Because remembering is the enemy of Rump and all the narcissists, demagogues and charlatans before him.  Our past forgetfulness as a nation allowed for them and Rump to come along, polluting political life and ripping at the social fabric of America.  As Charles Pierce says today in a very timely essay,
The 2016 presidential campaign—and the success of Donald Trump on the Republican side—has been a triumph of how easily memory can lose the struggle against forgetting and, therefore, how easily society can lose the struggle against power. There is so much that we have forgotten in this country. We've forgotten, over and over again, how easily we can be stampeded into action that is contrary to the national interest and to our own individual self-interest. We have forgotten McCarthy and Nixon. We have forgotten how easily we can be lied to. We have forgotten the U-2 incident and the Bay of Pigs and the sale of missiles to the mullahs. And along comes someone like Trump, and he tells us that forgetting is our actual power and that memory is the enemy. 
We believe (hope?) history will remember, mainly because it won't be written by puerile politicians or our ethics- free media* -- but, as a people, will we remember, this time?

* BONUS:  Wonkette decimates the Rump- curious wankers at Salon. Let's be sure to remember them, too.

The Joker's Wild Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

The recent comment by neo-fascist vulgarian Donald "Rump" Trump that former Secretary of State Clinton was playing "the woman card" is yet another misogynist smear out of the mouth of someone who is viewed negatively by 70% of women. He can't help himself from nasty, sexist statements about women, whom he patronizingly says he "cherishes" ("collects" would be more apt).

Clinton had the perfect smack down to Rump's "woman card" slur when she pointed to her policies for equal pay, etc. and said "deal me in." The joker in that round turned out to be (not surprisingly) Rump.

Bibi Bomb Bomb's Latest Outrage

The Obama Administration is prepared to provide Israel with an unprecedented amount of military aid under a new 10-year agreement beginning in 2018, but right-wing Likudnik Bibi "Bomb Bomb" Netanyahu is trying to stiff arm the Administration by holding out for even more in an attempt to embarrass Obama once again. The current amount on the table is $40 billion over 10 years, the largest amount ever provided to any country for military aid. Bomb Bomb reportedly wants $50 billion in total. The U.S. is also seeking a commitment by Bomb Bomb and his Likudniks not to lobby Congress while the 10-year agreement is in effect, something that they are in the habit of doing since both houses have shifted to Republican control. Since the current agreement doesn't expire until 2018, the Likudniks think they may be able to force a better deal out of the next President and Congress. It might be well to advise Bomb Bomb that the extraordinary package being offered will be reduced by $100 million each month that the agreement remains unsigned, and see how fast he gets to the negotiating table.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Prince Of Darkness Quote Of The Day

“Lucifer in the flesh,” the former speaker said. “I have Democrat friends and Republican friends. I get along with almost everyone, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life.” - - Former Republican Weeper of the House and man with no more sh*ts to give John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner, when asked his opinion of Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz, yesterday at Stanford University.

BONUS: Rethug Rep. Peter King (Irish Republican Army-NY) says on CNN that "maybe (Boehner) gives Lucifer a bad name by comparing him to Ted Cruz." Love the internecine Rethuglican war!

(Gif:  Wonkette)

Disarray Quote Of The Day

"Trump pretty much wraps up the Republican nomination and the longest-serving Republican Speaker of the House gets fifteen months in prison. It must be time to write a few 'Democrats in disarray' columns."  Martin Longman (BooMan), yesterday.  You can be sure they're  on their way.

Rump's Narcissism Revealed Again

As the usual Republican-wired Beltway media hacks were trying to polish the turd known as Donald "Rump" Trump after his foreign policy speech disaster yesterday, a sober and frank voice stood out in the person of widely-respected Foreign Policy editor David Rothkopf, who said on CNN:
"This speech was incoherent, it was fact-free, you know he -- his solution to almost everything was, let me handle it. You know, Russia, I'll talk to them. China, I'll talk to them. ISIS, I got a plan, I'm not going to tell you what it is. But, you know, saying that, you know, your personality is going to solve every problem isn't a foreign policy. It's really a kind of narcissistic personality disorder." (emphasis added)
Time and again, in all of his speeches, rallies and interviews, Rump's assurances that his negotiating and executive prowess will do what no one else can do, his belittling of others, his preening about his education and intelligence, all fit the definition of a narcissistic personality disorder (read the Mayo Clinic's definition and marvel at how closely it matches Rump's persona). That should alarm everyone who claims to be serious about electing our nation's chief executive -- and commander-in-chief, with his finger on the nuclear trigger.

BONUS:   History will remember those who enabled Rump.  Like this fella:
Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called it “a very good foreign-policy speech in which he laid out his vision for American engagement in the world.”
And this fella:
After Donald Trump's big speech yesterday on foreign policy, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said on Twitter, "Washington elites mock Trump for mispronouncing Tanzania. They don't get it. He said the most important word correctly: America. He gets it."

BONUS II:  For clear- eyed reactions to Rump's Big Speech, here's Fred Kaplan and Daniel Drezner.

(Image:  Stein-Olsen)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Shaking Mid-Week Song

Alabama Shakes, a modern blues/rock band that formed in Athens, Alabama in 2009, has drawn critical praise and a growing following, after their first album was released and garnered three Grammy nominations for "Hold On," one of the tracks on the album. Lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard has a rich, earthy voice that draws you in.  Here's a song from their latest album, "Sound and Color," entitled "Gimme All Your Love."

Nasty / Nastier 2016!

News item:  Sociopath and far- right extremist "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz says if nominated (riiiiight!) he'll name failed candidate, corporate job killer and fellow sociopath Carly "Snarly" Fiorina to his ticket. Well, they've definitely locked down the reptile vote at the zoo.

BONUS:  Andy Borowitz on the Power! of this ticket. Bwahahaha.

BONUS II:  Snarly's little song that she sang to Tailgunner's daughters at the roll-out seems to have creeped everyone out. After this stunt crashes and burns, Snarly has a future in voice overs for horror films, or as Tailgunner Ted's nanny:

(photo: Slither and slime in prime time -- game changer!)

Tweets Of The Day - History Will Remember Mark Halperin

Words came out of neo- fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's mouth today, and some, like the putrid Mark Halperin, were impressed.  History won't remember the speech*, but history will remember Rump's enablers:

Yes, it was almost... Presidential!

The responses to Halperin's "analysis" are wonderful.  Here are just a few of many examples:

Count on a lot more of this from Halperin and others in the amoral media.  We'll keep track.

BONUS: Rump's sworn enemy, Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry" Graham had a few burning tweets about Rump's speech:

*BONUS II:  Charlie Pierce takes apart Rump's big foreign policy debut.  And then there's this:

Republican Crime Blotter - Hastert Going To Jail

It's a busy day for Republicans in the judicial system.  Let's catch up with longest- serving Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert:
Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) was sentenced Wednesday to 15 months in jail for bank fraud charges after admitting he had sexually abused students while working at a high school decades ago.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Durkin sentenced Hastert to the jail time, followed by two years of supervised release, and issued him a $250,000 fine. The former speaker must also attend sex offender treatment and will not be allowed to contact his alleged victims, Durkin added.  [snip]
“Nothing is more stunning than having ‘serial child molester’ and ‘speaker of the House’ in the same sentence,” Durkin said.  [snip]
Before retiring from politics in 2007, Hastert championed tough punishment for child predators and worked extensively on health care laws.  
That's a real piece of work for you.

Republican Crime Blotter - Breaking Bad Edition

Once again confirming that the sociopaths and hypocrites have assembled under the banner of the Republican Party:
Sen. John McCain’s re-election fundraisers all list the same name as the RSVP contact, but that name also showed up as a person arrested during the bust of a meth lab Tuesday.

In Maricopa County, Arizona, sheriff’s deputies made arrests when they found an operational meth lab as well as other illicit drugs when they were carrying out a search warrant for the woman’s home. According to The Arizona Republic, the sheriff’s office identified Emily Pitha, 34, who is a former staffer of retired U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ). She also has worked most recently as a campaign fundraiser for McCain’s 2016 reelection
The sheriff’s office spokesperson said that they were alerted to the activity after a package was in transit from the Netherlands, which had over 250 grams of MDMA, which is raw ecstasy. Pitha’s boyfriend, 36-year-old Christopher Hustrulid, was the individual who signed for the packaged when it was finally delivered Tuesday afternoon before the search warrant was served.

Officers report an unspecified amount of LSD, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, about $7,000 in loose currency and counterfeit money was also found along with the meth lab.

The couple will face numerous drug charges but also possible child-endangerment charges for exposing two children in the home to the drugs
(our emphasis)
Crank, heroin, coke, LSD, counterfeit money and, oh, child endangerment.  They seem nice.

We're quite confident that McCain's opponent this November, Ann Kirkpatrick, doesn't have any would- be Walter Whites or Jesse Pinkmans working for her.  Please consider donating to her election fund.

(Photo/ mug shot:  Republican staffer/ fundraiser Pitha and her boyfriend)

"It Takes A Party"

Betty Cracker at Balloon Juice saw the Harvard Institute polling referenced below on millennial voters' movement leftwards, and says:
I don’t know about you, but for me, reading that is a tonic after a week of hearing comments that echoed the disastrous run-up to Nadergeddon 2000, e.g., “duopoly” and “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference,” etc.

The Democratic Party isn’t perfect, but it is the vehicle we have to effect change. Secretary Clinton, who will be our nominee, understands this better than most. That may make her the perfect woman for this particular time in history.

Here’s hoping Senator Sanders’ younger supporters won’t wait for Secretary Clinton to court them but rather will roll up their sleeves and take on the hard tasks of party building to create the political future they want to see. Because it takes a party.
Fact is, the party ails, and we need all the reinforcements we can to force change. That’s why party affiliation matters. If you want to ditch the (D) label to become an independent, reconsider. If you are a left-leaning independent, consider switching to (D). You want to influence the party and move it to where we all want it to go, you do it from the inside. Become or remain an independent, and you no longer have a say in the direction the party is going. Why would you surrender that chance? You prove nothing by being independent, other than that you don’t want to fight for your party. Of course you want to fight for it, your involvement in the Sanders campaign proved it! So if you really are part of a long-term movement, then do what real movements do, and fight to win!
Michael Cohen in the Boston Globe, in an open letter to Sen. Sanders:
Rather than raising money to run more ads that likely aren’t going to move the polling needle, start raising money for liberal Democrats in swing districts, Democrats who, with that little extra boost from your supporters, might be able to win in November. After all, if you want a political revolution, don’t you need to elect a few more like-minded Democrats to Congress? And with Trump as the likely GOP nominee, the chances of a Democratic wave in the House and the Senate are that much greater. Maybe focus on local races in places like Florida or Ohio or North Carolina, where Republican-dominated state legislatures are putting up restrictions on abortion rights, voting rights, and LGBT rights. You have the megaphone and the money to get your supporters involved in the nitty-gritty of local politics that Democrats have ignored for far too long. You want to beat the Democratic establishment? Become the Democratic establishment. 
This period in American politics presents an imperative opportunity for us to build on President Obama's progressive legacy; to turn back the reactionary tide that has overwhelmed state and local politics in the United States, particularly in the last 6 years;  to show that government can work for people and that "Trumpism" does not represent America or true American values.  But, it takes people organized, with a clear sense of the stakes involved and moving in a common direction to prevail.  It takes a party -- the Democratic Party.

On Yesterday's Primaries

Yesterday's primary results would appear to improve the chances of a November contest between neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Rump swept all of the primaries on the Rethuglican side, while Clinton picked up every state but Rhode Island, whose open primary was won by Sen. Sanders.  For those in the Beltway punditocracy and corporate media who want us to believe that Rump is "pivoting" to a more "Presidential" persona, one only need look at last night's rambling, self- congratulatory victory speech by Rump, which was marked by very nasty personal, misogynist attacks on Secretary Clinton of the kind he normally reserves for his Rethug opponents.

In the Democratic race, with Clinton needing only 36% of the remaining delegates, the focus is on how Sen. Sanders campaigns in the states yet to vote (and no one should be calling on the Senator to drop out;  people in those remaining states deserve to have their ballot count, regardless of the final outcome). Clinton praised Sen. Sanders for his role in championing Medicare-for-all, raising the minimum wage and attacking income inequality, and getting dark money out of politics. Sanders' best option in the coming weeks would be to turn his guns more on the threat to America of a Rethug Presidency represented by their frontrunner, while not shying away from policy-oriented debates with Clinton.

One very interesting poll that's being discussed in the context of "millennial" voters is the one out of Harvard's Institute of Politics.  The poll indicates that these young voters, including many who have been inspired by Sen. Sanders' campaign, have shifted away from Republican politics, most significantly in the past year as the bigoted policies and extreme rhetoric of Rethug elected officials and Presidential candidates moved further and further to the right. That's bad news for those wishful thinkers in the broken media who were hoping for a tighter horse race in November. It's worse news for the Republican / New Confederate / Stupid / Shooter's Party, whose demographic is inexorably dying off and not being replaced by younger voters and whose cynical "rebranding" stunt after their 2012 defeat wasn't bought by their raging, overwhelmingly white constituents, or the "millennials."

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Today's Cartoons - Geniuses!

If, as expected, neo- fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump continues his execrable, inexorable march to the Republican nomination with big primary wins today across the Northeast and mid- Atlantic states, it will mark yet another failure of Republican "stop Trump" forces (most recently, the desperate Cruz- Kasich Axis of Ineptitude alliance- for- convenience).

(click on images to enlarge)

(Matt Davies, via

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Today's Neo-Fascist Fan Fic

Recently, we called out the once great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's dim- witted David Ignatius for an op/ ed suggesting the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ Shooter's Party look for the very model of a modern major-general to save it in 2016.  (David Petraeus?!?)

Not to be outdone, former Bezos Bugle stenographer and Politic-ho founder Jim VandeHei has now written a "think piece" minus the "think" for Rupert "Aargh!" Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, in which he talks about a third party candidate representing "Normal America" (no link - there's a WSJ paywall we refuse to deal with).  Two of his points of reference are his hometown of Oshkosh, WI, and current home Lincoln, ME.

We'll let Jamelle Bouie commence with the disembowelment:

VandeHei's ideal candidate and campaign sounds suspiciously proto- fascist (Trump with impulse control is the model):
Exploit the fear factor. The candidate should be from the military or immediately announce someone with modern-warfare expertise or experience as running mate. People are scared. Terrorism is today's World War and Americans want a theory for dealing with it.
"Bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran."

But who he ends up with as potential presidential timber, mmm, not so much (wait for it): Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg!  Keep in mind VandeHei is the caliber of pundit that is treated as a Very Serious Person by, well, other Very Serious Persons.  As such, he is ceded valuable space on the nation's opinion pages.

As Bouie concludes,

BONUS:  Steve Benen says VandeHei has met "Establishment Ameerica," and it is VandeHei.

BONUS II:  Charlie Pierce facetiously wonders if VandeHei's piece is a satire - if only.

BONUS III:  Five Thirty Eight clues VandeHie into what "Normal America" really looks like.

The Trump "Pygmalion Project"

The New York Times editorial board expounds on the "Pygmalion project" to re-brand the odious neo- fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump, led by his new campaign chief and despot hired gun Paul Manafort:

... Yet the Trump on the stump is the true man. However copiously applied, cosmetics cannot obscure his brutish agenda, nor the narcissism, capriciousness and most of all, the inexperience paired with intellectual laziness that would make him a disastrous president.

Come Wednesday, with Tuesday’s primaries safely out of the way, Mr. Manafort’s makeover efforts will enter a new dimension — Mr. Trump’s first foreign policy address. The campaign promises no less than “a clear, consistent long-term foreign policy for making America safe and prosperous.” That’s sure to be an interesting test, given that until now Mr. Trump has demonstrated limited knowledge of foreign trade policy, Middle East issues or geography. A sometime adviser, Roger Stone, said in an interview released Monday that the presidency “is show business” to Mr. Trump, who Mr. Stone said lacks the bandwidth to read a 40-page briefing book.

Whatever persona or good manners Mr. Trump chooses to display from now on, he can’t hide his unfitness for the presidency.
As we've said, history will not be kind to those who play along with Rump's ludicrous attempt at a makeover and choose to ignore the danger that he poses, simply for cynical, craven personal or political reasons.

BONUS:  Seth Meyers does a pretty creditable job satirizing this re-branding effort and the "low bar" Rump set that has many suckers in the media fawning over how Rump's tone was now becoming "more presidential:"

Monday, April 25, 2016

Tweet of the Day: Two Car Funeral Edition

The plan by the campaigns of sociopath "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz and human bowl of oatmeal John "Who?" Kasich to step aside in states where the other has a better chance of defeating neo-fascist vulgarian Donald "Rump" Trump has drawn the ire of Rump. Interestingly, the Cruz/Kasich tactic may backfire, as it seems to support Rump's claims that the nomination is being rigged for the "establishment" candidates and may draw more angry Rethugs into the voting booths to vote for Rump. We'll see. Everything the anti-Rump forces have tried up until now has failed and backfired.

BONUS:  Charlie Pierce sums up the late and lame effort to derail Rump at this stage in the game:
With conspirators like these, Caesar would have spent March 15 in a brothel, avoided the Senate for a month, and died of old age in his summer place in Gaul.

Fighting With Intelligence

Earlier today, President Obama announced the deployment of 250 special operations troops to Syria to combat ISIS, joining 50 special operations troops already providing support and intelligence to Syrian fighters. Just a week ago, the White House announced the deployment of over 200 special operations troops to Iraq to assist Iraqi and Kurdish forces against ISIS fighters concentrated in northern Iraq.

The U.S. has been engaging in an increasingly successful effort against ISIS in Iraq, and now Syria, using the surgical knife of special ops forces, avoiding civilian casualties whenever possible. Contrast that approach with the war criminal "turn-the-sand-to-glass" or "kill their families" approach to defeating ISIS that's heard from Rethuglican candidates and their followers.  There have been reports in the last few months that ISIS is losing territory and manpower, and is lashing out with the attacks we witnessed recently in Brussels and Paris, trying to inspire radicals in those countries and to provoke the U.S. and its allies into overreaction.  Recently, it's been reported that ISIS has been executing some of its leaders for command "failures" and its soldiers for losing battles. All signs are that ISIS is increasingly faltering and cracking, and that's happening without carpet bombing or tactical nukes, or a massive invasion by U.S. ground troops. Imagine that.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Across The Universe, Happy Anniversary Hubble Space Telescope Edition

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA: "April 21, 2016: Twenty-six candles grace NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's birthday cake this year, and now one giant space 'balloon' will add to the festivities. Just in time for the 26th anniversary of Hubble's launch on April 24, 1990, the telescope has photographed an enormous, balloon-like bubble being blown into space by a super-hot, massive star. Astronomers trained the iconic telescope on this colorful feature, called the Bubble Nebula, or NGC 7635. The bubble is 7 light-years across — about one-and-a-half times the distance from our sun to its nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri. The Bubble Nebula lies 7,100 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia."  Go here for more information, and here for a zoom-able version.

Sunday Reflection - Demagogues

“You [demagogues] are like the fishers for eels; in still waters they catch nothing, but if they thoroughly stir up the slime, their fishing is good; in the same way it's only in troublous times that you line your pockets.”  --  Aristophanes, "The Knights," 424 B.C.  Sounds familiar 2,440 years later, no?


Today, in a double broadside, the editorial board of the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle and columnist Dana Milbank provide loads of reminders why, in the face of an increasing number of Republicans (and media) cozying up to a "rebranding" neo- fascist bigot Donald "Rump" Trump, we need to "remember the real Donald Trump."

The editorial contains 25 (we counted) things to remember about Rump that demonstrate his manifest unfitness for the Presidency.  They forecast "multitudes of office- seekers and sycophants to follow Chris Christie's craven path to believing, or pretending to believe, in a presidential Trump," and conclude with this:
“Winning is the antidote to a lot of things,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said earlier this year. As Mr. Trump marches toward 1,237 delegates, others will emulate that amoral embrace.
So remember. Winning is not an antidote to bigotry, violence, ignorance, insults and lies.
In the spirit of Passover, Milbank offers his "10 plagues of Trump," recounting the most memorable of Rump's outrages, and notes that he and a colleague "are compiling a comprehensive list of Trumpisms."  He invites us to email our favorites to

He concludes,
But even if we only had these Ten Plagues of Trump, it would be enough — dayenu, as we say during Passover — to make Trump’s rebranding impossible.
Rump's rebranding may or may not be impossible, but there are plenty of suckers in the media, and craven shysters and amoral Republican Party hacks like Priebus, Christie, Michael Steele, and Rump's chief strategist Paul Manafort that will jump on his bandwagon as it rolls toward and through Cleveland.  They should be remembered, too, and we're going to do our small part to see that history won't forget those who lacked the moral courage to stand up to this appalling demagogue.

Sunday Funnies

(click to enlarge)

As the broken, horse-race focused Beltway media searches for ways to confer a "Presidential" aura on neo-fascist vulgarian Donald "Rump" Trump regardless of his despicable campaign, we can't allow creepy sociopath "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz to slip by as a "less threatening" alternative.  He's in many ways more dangerous than Rump: more sly and deceptive, more radical, more disciplined and totally fanatic in believing he's divinely chosen to be President. Watch the media work to "reinvent" the Tailgunner as the Rethug convention approaches.

(cartoon: Jim Morin, Miami Herald via

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Wankers Of The Week - George Will And The Competitive Enterprise Institute

This week, as we celebrated Earth Day, the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle has chosen to cede valuable space on its op/ ed page to the likes of Sam Kazman and Kent Lassman (Kaz and Lass, man!), of the Competitive Enterprise Institute who are claiming Oppression! at the hands of environmentalist gummint.  It appears Attorneys General in 16 States have subpoenaed the Institute's funding records to show the extent to which they were/ are paid shills of the fossil fuel industry and associated right- wing plutocrats;  more specifically, the Institute's role in disseminating cooked disinformation about global climate change over the past decade or more in order to delay action. (What is the Competitive Enterprise Institute?  It's a libertarian rats nest that's been funded by the Koch brothers, other right- wing crank wankers like the Scaifes and, of course, completely uninterested parties like Exxon/Mobil and Texaco.)  OK, so we know where those grifters are coming from.

Well, in what appears to be a coordinated attack, Fox "News'" and once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle columnist- for- sale George "Effing" Will just happens to have pooped out a column that joins the shills in decrying the gummint's attempt to smoke out the weasels "shut down debate" on climate change.  Never one to miss an opportunity to take a shot at his bete noire, the sneering Will (who seems to have been in full backpedal mode on climate change recently, along with the rest of his reactionary party, btw) blames it all on "authoritarian" progressives:
Authoritarianism, always latent in progressivism, is becoming explicit. Progressivism’s determination to regulate thought by regulating speech is apparent in the campaign by 16 states’ attorneys general and those of the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, none Republican, to criminalize skepticism about the supposedly “settled” conclusions of climate science. 
Supposedly settled.  Hmmm.  Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know, yeah, it's settled -- but go ahead and ask rocket scientists.  Remember, Will's not a climate scientist!  He's a skeptic because Progressivism!  Also, Al Gore!  Also, delay, delay, delay!

Finally ("Is it irresponsible to speculate?  It would be irresponsible not to!"-- P. Noonan), we wonder if opening the books of the Institute would cause some discomfort among certain shall we say bow- tie- wearing columnists who may have received remuneration for disseminating the Institute's non- fact- based "skepticism" on climate change over the years?

(h/t P.E.C.)

He'll Be Sooo Presidential, You Just Wait!

This is neo- fascist, racist fart bubble Donald "Rump" Trump yesterday in Delaware.  On viewing this clip as just Rump's latest in a long, small- bore, ugly history of insults to minority populations and foreigners, we would like to ask, "How could this buffoon become 'more Presidential' when he doesn't have a 'Presidential' bone in his entire bloated body to begin with?"

What, Me Worry?* Vid of the Day

Stephen Colbert had this hilarious take on the fake calmness that Republican National Committee Chairstain and human / ferret hybrid Reince "Prepuce" Priebus is projecting while the destructive circus occurring in his Party looms large.  Colbert has a field day with Prepuce's specific "I'm not pouring Bailey's on my cereal" claim.  Also, there's the sight gag of Prepuce saying that he's not pulling his hair out, while the camera behind him shows his bald spot. Priceless. A Colbert classic.

* h/t to this young Republican.

Friday, April 22, 2016

(Another) Quote of the Day, Harriet Tubman Edition

From the late great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's Eugene Robinson, on right-wing outrage that a black woman will replace Andrew Jackson, slaveowner and oppressor of Native Americans (see, "Trail of Tears"), on the $20 bill:
Conservatives should be delighted that Harriet Tubman’s likeness will grace the $20 bill. She was a Republican, after all, and a pious Christian. And she routinely exercised her Second Amendment right to carry a gun, which she was ready to use against anyone who stood in her way — or any fugitive slave having second thoughts....Critics who polluted social media with invective after (Treasury Secretary) Lew’s announcement seemed to look past Tubman’s deeds and focus on her identity. Yes, she was a black woman. If anyone can’t deal with that fact, and doesn’t want to use the new bills when they finally come out, feel free to send them to me." (emphasis added)
She was African American and a woman:  two strikes against her in the eyes of bigots "conservatives." Oh, sorry. She fought for her freedom and that of others by rejecting slavery.  Three strikes.

Earth Day And An Important Signing

Today is Earth Day 2016, a celebration of the Earth's fragile resources and beauty.  The first Earth Day was celebrated 46 years ago to bring attention to the damage being done by man to his environment. A goal of the Earth Day movement is to plant 7.8 billion carbon dioxide-absorbing trees, and to make the Earth's cities 100% renewable energy-powered.

At the same time at the United Nations, 175 countries are expected to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, including the United States and China, which combine for some 40 percent of the world's carbon emissions.  Ratification of the agreement by all signatories is hoped for before the 2020 deadline, so that carbon control standards can be enforced worldwide.

Here's Secretary of State John Kerry signing for the United States, with granddaughter Isabel in his lap:

(Photo:  AP Photo by Mark Lennihan)

Weekend Music Twofer

The Wild Feathers are a Nashville- based quartet who've toured with Bob Dylan.  (We knew we'd like them when we learned that the late Gram Parsons was one of their musical heroes.)  This is their first single, "Overnight," from their recently released album, "Lonely Is A Lifetime," which features some lush guitar work (and, to our ears, a little Gin Blossoms):

Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats are a Denver- based soul/ R&B group that's been getting a lot of attention lately.  This is their third single off their 2015 self- titled album, the rollicking "I Need Never Get Old."

Quote Of The Day - They're No Cheap Trick

The Republican National Committee called our office and offered us $100,000 to play at their convention in Cleveland.  We turned it down.  Then we had second thoughts.  Maybe we should have accepted it – but we would all have got swastika guitars made.”  -  Cheap Trick singer Robin Zander, on April 6 (two days before their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). 

The Con Continues, Media-Assisted

There were reports yesterday that a senior official with the campaign of neo-fascist narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump approached the Republican National Committee to assure them that Rump's angry white bigot persona was going to change in order to con the general electorate in November.  The Rump official, Paul Manafort, a former business partner of fellow ratf*cker Roger Stone, told the Rethuglican officials, according to an audio tape:
"The part that he’s been playing is now evolving into the part that you’ve been expecting. The negatives will come down, the image is going to change."
That surely put a smile on the faces of some unsettled Rethug party officials, who have practiced the big "move to the middle" con for the general election time and again, and which is why their rabid right-wing base despises them.  We'll see if Rump implements the strategy, and if his mouthbreathing followers revolt as a result.

The con is also what the broken, Republican-wired media eats up, witness their swooning over Rump's "Presidential" persona after the New York primary, which turned out to have a shelf life of a few hours. Along with the Rethug establishment, they'd love a close race in the fall, not only to boost ratings, but because they've loathed Secretary Clinton for years and want to take her down.

BONUS I:  Steve M. covers the media and the #NeverTrumpers who are rising to the bait of the "New Coke Trump."

BONUS IIAs BooMan says:
Let's try not to forget how this campaign began. It began with widespread boycotts of Trump and Trump's businesses because his campaign announcement had been so racist against Mexicans. 
We've gone from that to the media applauding him for "presenting a more businesslike and presidential “persona.”"

That's amnesia, right there, and widespread media-assisted amnesia is Trump's best hope for November.

(click on image to enlarge)

(Tom Toles, once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Jobless Claims Drop To Lowest Level In 43 Years

Thanks a lot, Obama:
Jobless claims unexpectedly decreased to the lowest level since 1973, indicating the U.S. labor market remains a pillar of support in the world’s largest economy.New applications for unemployment benefits fell by 6,000 to 247,000 in the week ended April 16, data from the Labor Department showed Thursday. The median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 265,000 claims. The number of Americans already on benefit rolls declined to a more than 15-year low.
“Claims are probably the single best indicator of the health of the economy,” said Mike Englund, chief economist at Action Economics LLC in Boulder, Colorado, whose forecast for 252,000 was among the lowest in the Bloomberg survey. “We assume the labor market will continue to outperform most measures.”
 If they were smart, Democrats would be out stumping on The Economy.  "If", we say.

Prince, 1958-2016

Shocking announcement today:
Prince, the legendary musician who brought us countless hits, such as “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry,” has died. He was 57.

The singer’s publicist confirmed the tragic news to The Huffington Post on Thursday.

“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57,” the rep said in a statement. “There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time.”
Earlier this week, the performer was treated for the flu after his plane made an emergency landing.

A representative for Prince told TMZ that the singer was feeling under the weather during his shows last week and began to feel worse on the plane. After the emergency landing, he was treated at a hospital and released three hours later.
In one of the tributes to Prince, we read a story about how guitar god Eric Clapton responded when asked "how does it feel to be the world's greatest guitarist?" Clapton responded, "I don't know, ask Prince."

Another artist gone far too soon.

Tweet Of The Day - Lowered Expectations All Around

As we noted yesterday, the amoral corporate media is in full tizzy mode working to rehabilitate the image of likely Republican nominee and neo- fascist hair ball Donald "Rump" Trump. It's just another example of an ethically unmoored media in its symbiotic relationship with Rump.  It would appear their willingness to be grifted knows no bounds:

That lowering of expectations also works with expectations of the media, which for us couldn't get much lower than they are now.

BONUS:  Steve M. highlights a few more of the media's easily conned, including the once great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's odious Beltway CW puke funnel Chris "Lizard" Cillizza.

The Republican War On Women - House Of Cards Edition

Yesterday, a festering sore known as the House Select Investigative Panel on Infant Lives (a.k.a., the Planned Parenthood witch hunt) held a meeting, chaired by Republican War on Women cat's paw Rep. Marsha "How Many Holes In" Blackburn (R-  The panel is intent on resuscitating the debunked smear that Planned Parenthood is engaged in "making a profit selling baby parts" for research.  Twelve Republican- led states conducted similar witch hunts and concluded that Planned Parenthood did not illegally sell fetal tissue (in fact, a Texas grand jury indicted the perpetrators of the doctored video that ignited the current activity for felony tampering with a government record).  The way it started, it appears the Panel might outdo Rep. Trey "Howdy" Gowdy's (R- Cradle of Secession) Benghazi! witch hunt for sheer laughable, transparent partisan futility.

Impartiality?  What a card!
On the eve of her panel’s Wednesday’s hearing, Blackburn went over to Georgetown University to participate in a protest against Planned Parenthood, the very entity she is supposed to be investigating. According to the Right to Life organization, she gave a speech at a gathering called “Life-Affirming Alternatives to Planned Parenthood,” part of a series of events in opposition to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards’s speech at Georgetown on Wednesday. 
A factual, evidence- based approach? Surely you jest!
... Blackburn gave an opening statement mentioning the buying and selling of “baby body parts” no fewer than seven times.
And the evidence that abortion clinics profit from the sale of these body parts? That would be in “Exhibit G,” handed out by Blackburn’s staff. “The AC [abortion clinic] has no costs so the payments from the PB [procurement business] to the AC are pure profit,” it said.
But this incendiary “exhibit” — asserting that any abortion clinic that receives any payment for fetal tissue is breaking the law — turned out to be not evidence but an undocumented claim by the Republican staff.
Keep in mind, this Panel has subpoenaed the names of fetal tissue researchers and workers at women's health clinics in a blatant attempt at intimidation that could also lead to their being the targets of an anti- abortion loon like the one who shot up the clinic in Colorado.  Keep in mind, also, that the end desired by these repugnant right- wing yokels is to ultimately shut down a vital source of health care for women.  Fortunately for all of us, Planned Parenthood isn't going to let them get away with it, and neither should we.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Is That "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz In Drag?

Inquiring minds want to know!

(h/t Silver Spring Bureau Chief Brian, TCIITM)

Charges Filed In Flint Water Poisoning

Michigan's Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette today announced that three mid-level officials have been charged with a variety of misdemeanors and felonies regarding the Flint, Michigan water poisoning. The officials, one the former Flint Utilities Commissioner and two officials with the State's Department of Environmental Quality, face lengthy prison terms and big fines for their roles in concealing data that showed Flint's water supply contained high quantities of lead. Schuette said that the investigation will proceed, and that "no one is off the table," presumably including elected or appointed officials in his own Party.  Riiiight.  (For what a pile of sewage Schuette is, see here.)

It remains to be seen whether Michigan Gov. and e-coli Republican Rick "Get Sick" Snyder will be one of those on the table, since his mania to pinch pennies and cut corners caused his appointed "emergency manager" for Flint to decide to use water from the Flint River without treating it for corrosion control. Subsequently, the water from the river caused corrosion in the aging lead pipes that serve the city.  Get Sick Snyder sat on the information that the city's water was unsafe until last fall, while the city's residents -- especially the vulnerable children under 12 -- continued to drink and bathe in the tainted water.  Long-term health effects from lead consumption, including developmental problems and tumors, are particularly acute for young children.

Post-Primary Tweet of the Day

Sadly, you won't see that fact mentioned in the mainstream press and punditocracy that's determined to take down Secretary Clinton (like this piece of grudging dreck from the Bezos Bugle's Dan "No" Balz).

BONUS: Our broken, intimidated media is caught lauding neo-fascist wig stand Donald "Rump" Trump for being "Presidential" after the NY primary.  Me want to fwow up.

BONUS II: More media fawning over the "new," gentler Trumpenf├╝hrer.  This borders on media masochism.

Bridges and River Mid-Week Song

Artist Leon Bridges' soulful gospel / r&b music has echoes of Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and other great singers. His latest album, "Coming Home," has drawn critical praise, and he's made appearances at the White House, and on popular shows like Saturday Night Live, and Austin City Limits, where he sang the haunting "River," accompanied by vocalist Brittni Jessie.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Oklahoma City, 21 Years After The Horror

Today marks the 21st anniversary of the bombing of the Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people, including children at a day care center, in the worst act of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil. The perpetrators were right-wing extremists angry at Federal law enforcement actions against the Koresh cult compound in Waco, TX.  The evil bomber, Timothy McVeigh, was executed for the mass murder, and his accomplice, Terry Nichols, is rotting away in Federal prison for life.

The horrendous murder of so many and the destruction of the massive building silenced right-wing anti-Government voices temporarily, as Federal law officials looked at the connection of McVeigh and Nichols to right-wing militia groups. Ironically, the chief Justice Department investigator and prosecutor for the Government was Merrick Garland, President Obama's nominee to replace the late "Justice" Antonin Scalia, whose nomination is being held hostage by right-wing Republican Senators (something that the worthless, cowardly Timothy McVeigh would have approved of).

Some lessons are never learned.

(photo: The searing, heartbreaking image of a firefighter carrying the body of a young child from the bombed Murrah building)

Trump Saw Police And Firemen "On 7-11, Down At The World Trade Center"

What a nitwit:
“I watched our police and our firemen down on 7-11, down at the World Trade Center, right after it came down, and I saw the greatest people I’ve ever seen in action.” -- Donald "Rump" Trump, Monday in Buffalo.
Getting Slurpees?

Must have been when he wasn't watching imaginary American Muslims cheering the towers coming down.


BONUSDana Milbank piles on.

Tomayto, Tomahto Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

With today's primary in New York, a win by either of the Democratic candidates will produce a large haul of delegates. Secretary Clinton maintains a double-digit lead in the state she once represented in the Senate, but Sen. Sanders' voters are highly motivated and energized. Let's hope the recent heat generated between their campaigns can be shifted increasingly toward the insanity on the Rethuglican side, where neo-fascist narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump holds a commanding lead over John "Who?" Kasich and creepy theocrat and enemy-of-dildos "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz.

Polls close at 9 p.m. EST.

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

Morning Read - "Debunking Republican Health Care Myths"

A good read this morning from the New York Times editorial board:
Disaster.” “Incredible economic burden.” “The biggest job-killer in this country.”

Central to the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz has been the claim that the Affordable Care Act has been a complete failure, and that the only way to save the country from this scourge is to replace it with something they design.

It’s worth examining the big myths they are peddling about the Affordable Care Act and also their ill-conceived plans of what might replace it.
Of course, it's not just Trump and Cruz, it's the entire Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ Shooter's Party that's dedicated to lying about and ultimately killing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), because they're all about afflicting the afflicted.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

28 Pages Quote of the Day

"The site of the World Trade Center has been completely rebuilt. The Pentagon is back up and running. And there is a lovely memorial in Somerset County in Pennsylvania to the people killed defending Flight 93. There have been movies made of the event. It belongs to history in every way but one. It does not yet fully belong to history in its truth, a vital part of which remains hidden away in a locked room, the final bit of our common history hidden away for fear of inconveniencing a medievalist regime that has the gall to threaten the one country that has guaranteed its safety against its bellicose neighborhood, a neighborhood in which the Saudis have done their level best to agitate, and which has done so at the expense of a considerable amount of its moral credibility in the world. Shut up now, and take your medicine." -- Charles P. Pierce weighing in today on the growing pressure to release 28 pages of classified evidence from the 9-11 Congressional Inquiry Report that purport to implicate members of the Saudi Arabian government and others in the planning and execution of the September 11 attacks. The Saudi-friendly Bush Administration insisted on withholding the pages on the grounds of "national security."

The repressive Saudi government, which for years has been tolerant, and even supportive, of the extremist Wahabbi form of Islam that's embraced by al Qaeda, has threatened to sell off billions of dollars in U.S. securities if the 28 pages in question are released to the public, something that would cause heavy economic damage. All but two of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi nationals, and were the recipients of financial and logistical support from some entity while in the U.S. prior to the attacks. Both Sen. Sanders and Secretary Clinton support legislation to make the information public, while the White House is resisting.  The Saudis need to come clean, and stop with the threats.

Megyn Kelly And Donald Trump Had A "Peace Summit"

... and Jimmy Kimmel makes it hilarious:

Our Broken Media: Deep Thoughts

As you read the following paragraph, keep in mind the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle's Robert Costa and Philip Rucker are being paid to put this "analysis" on the paper's front page:
A bungled and possibly contested convention could have lasting repercussions not only for the eventual nominee but also for the Republican brand. Party leaders fear that a week of contentious floor fights, inflammatory rhetoric and potentially violent protests could project a negative image to voters nationwide(our emphasis)
Golly, gee, ya think?!  (As our octogenarian grandfather once said when viewing a piece of abstract expressionist art, "I could do that!")

First, "the Republican brand" (i.e., nativism, homophobia, misogyny, racism, hypocrisy, greed and selfishness - and any other Seven Deadly Sins we forgot)??  That "Republican brand" is so stained, tattered, compromised and ass- wiped that is has ceased to be a "brand" and has been a full- blown stigma for years.  For Costa and Rucker, though, it remains "a brand" that has yet to suffer any "repercussions," apparently.  They may need an intervention.

Second, the convention "could project a negative image to voters nationwide?"  As if nearly a year of violent neo- fascist rallies, the crudest comments on male and female genitalia, vicious attacks on non- white/ non- straight/ non- Christian Americans, apocalyptic threats, and non- stop outright lies and slander hasn't already accomplished that feat?  Where the hell have these two elite "journalists" been hiding?

We would like to believe they know better but are simply playing the Beltway media game of keeping your sources (in this case various Republican "insiders" and bosses) returning your phone calls.  Unfortunately, it's what passes for "journalism" at a time when having a clear voice of reality would be most welcome.  But at this point in time, it's the media's "brand" that has suffered "lasting repercussions."

Sic transit gloria, America.

Tailgunner Ted's Dildo Policy Explained

The illustrious Mother Jones magazine published a story recently about smarmy theocrat Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz (Jebus - Canada) fighting a ridiculous battle as Texas' solicitor general defending a state law against the sale of sex toys. A memorable line from his defense of the idiotic law was that there was "no right to stimulate one's genitals." Widespread mockery and ridicule ensued, notably including the Tailgunner's freshman roommate at Princeton.

Now, the Tailgunner is facing...uh...penetrating questions about his role in defending the "no dildos" law in Texas, including this exchange on New York City's WABC radio:
Cruz, asked by WABC radio host Curtis Sliwa if he would ban "the sale of sexual toys, dildos, or anything that sexually stimulates you," answered that he would not.

"Look, of course not, it's a ridiculous question, and of course not," Cruz told Sliwa on Friday. "What people do in their own private time with themselves is their own business and it's none of government's business." 
Hmmm. "What people do in their own private time with themselves is their own business..."  That sounds like those "New York values," Tailgunner Ted. It sort of goes against the grain of your extreme, faux-Christian theocratic views against marriage equality, women's reproductive rights, etc., that you would impose on others as < gack > President. Besides, if sex toys were banned by a Tailgunner administration, what would Ms. Cruz do for "stimulation?"

BONUS:  We like this as a possible Tailgunner Ted campaign slogan:

(photo:  A face that only a blow-up sex doll would love)