Sunday, July 31, 2016


Thanks, Marge!

Across The Universe, Cont.

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, July 27, 2016:  "This wide-field image from the Digitized Sky Survey 2 shows the rich starfields surrounding the exotic binary star system AR Scorpii."

Credit: Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin

Endorsement Of The Day

It sometimes takes a billionaire to pwn a billionaire fraudster.  First, Warren Buffett, then Michael Bloomberg, now Mark Cuban is stepping up for Hillary Clinton (you need Adobe Flash player to view, or Control-click):

(via Dailymotion)

Extra points for "jagoff."

And, no support for Trump from the Koch brothers network.  Sad!

BONUS:  For folks unfamiliar with Pittsburgh patois:

Sunday Reflection - Visions

President Obama, speaking at the Democratic National Convention last Wednesday night:
... What we heard was a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other, and turn away from the rest of the world. There were no serious solutions to pressing problems -- just the fanning of resentment, and blame, and anger, and hate. 
And that is not the America I know. The America I know is full of courage, and optimism, and ingenuity. The America I know is decent and generous.
One of those visions is not the America we know either ... at least pre- November 8 America. There's a good, optimistic vision of the future of America, and then there's an evil, pessimistic vision. It's up to us to shape which of those futures it will be, starting now.

Tweets Of The Day - "No Redeeming Qualities" (UPDATED)

A few Republicans are responding to Donald "Rump" Trump's slurs on the Gold Star family of Ghazala and Khizr Khan, though most are hiding in their undisclosed locations:

The moral cowardice of Republican "leaders" in refusing to take on the evil that is Trump must and will be remembered.  As Mr. Khan said today, Trump "is a black soul" (assuming he has a soul at all).

UPDATE:  The backlash from some (some) in his own party continues.

Quote Of The Day: Not Just Wrong, Evil

Mark Sumner says what we know to be true:
We’re used to dealing with politicians whose positions fall somewhere along a spectrum from left to right, and while we may often feel that they cling to these positions out of unenlightened self interest, what they are for the most part is wrong. Ronald Reagan was wrong when he pushed on America the idea of trickle-down economics. George W. Bush was wrong when he expanded the war into Iraq. They were wrong. 
Donald Trump isn’t wrong. Donald Trump is evil. 
It’s an old word. Old enough that it’s origins are obscure. It’s a word not much employed on the talk show circuit except when someone is trying to justify why they dropped on a bomb on some distant village. But it’s the appropriate term for Trump. 
Donald Trump is evil in the most basic, most banal meaning of the term. He’s malicious. He’s selfish. He is deeply depraved. 
His first instinct is to hurt. His second instinct is to hurt. His third instinct is to laugh over the pain.  (our emphasis)
We've been mocking neo- fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump for over a year now; mocking his ignorance, his racism, his misogyny, his narcissism, his pathological lying, his every abnormal thought and emotion.  But Sumner is right.  "Evil" is an appropriate term for Trump, shown most vividly in his reaction to the Gold Star parents over the past few days, but evident throughout his business and political life.  The maliciousness, the selfishness, the instinct to punish and hurt.

There's only thing keeping the unthinkable prospect of this... thing occupying the Oval Office: as President Obama said Wednesday night, "Don't boo, vote!"

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Trump "Sacrifices"

Neo- fascist sh*tgibbon and raging narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump was asked to respond to Army Gold Star father Khizr Khan's magnificent remarks at the Democratic National Convention, when he told Rump, "You have sacrificed nothing."  Rump's response was what we've come to expect from this world class turd:
“I think I’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I work very, very hard. I’ve created thousands and thousands of jobs, tens of thousands of jobs, built great structures. I’ve done― I’ve had― I’ve had tremendous success. I think I’ve done a lot.”
Obscene. Sick. Asshole.

Meanwhile, #TrumpSacrifices is trending on Twitter.  Here are some of our favorites (keeping in mind this fool is a deadly threat to American democracy and world peace):

Exposing The Sexual Torturers And Enablers At Fox "News"

Gabriel Sherman continues his pursuit of the despicable Roger "Jabba the Nut" Ailes and others at Fox "News" who enabled Jabba's perverse sexual pursuits over the last two decades.  It's an eye- popping look at the ugly, seedy culture that persists to this day at this propaganda arm of the Republican Party.  Here are a few snippets (skipping over the smarmy details of the harassment):
The morning after Fox News chief Roger Ailes resigned, the cable network’s former director of booking placed a call to the New York law firm hired by 21st Century Fox to investigate sexual-harassment allegations against Ailes. Laurie Luhn told the lawyers at Paul, Weiss that she had been harassed by Ailes for more than 20 years, that executives at Fox News had known about it and helped cover it up, and that it had ruined her life. “It was psychological torture,” she later told me. [snip] 
In late 2010 or early 2011, Luhn said, she wrote a letter to Fox lawyer Dianne Brandi saying she had been sexually harassed by Ailes for 20 years. Brandi did not acknowledge receipt of the letter, but, according to a source, she asked Ailes about the sexual-harassment allegations, which he vehemently denied. Ailes, according to the source, told Brandi to work out a settlement. Luhn hired an attorney to negotiate her exit from Fox.
Luhn settled with Fox for $3.15 million, with accompanying extensive nondisclosure agreements.

There's so much to digest in Sherman's reporting that you should really try to read the whole piece. For example, in addition to Dianne Brandi's role in protecting Jabba, Fox executive and possible Jabba successor Bill Shine was also reported to be an active enabler of the harassment and cover up.

Think of this for a moment:  beyond what Jon Stewart aptly called the "bullshit mountain" that is Fox's on- air identity, there's a behind- the- scenes culture that is as corrupt and perverted as what you see on- air.  This is as vile an organization as exists in America today, and no amount of "house cleaning" is going to remove the stench and stain.

"This Is The Time"

Last night on MSNBC, Khizr Khan, the father of Army Capt. Humayun Khan who died protecting his troops in Iraq, spoke directly into the camera to amoral Rethuglican midgets House Speaker Paul "Lyin'" Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch "Missy" McConnell, and asked them to repudiate their despicable nominee:
"There is so much at stake, and I appeal to both of these leaders: this is the time. There comes a time in the history of a nation where an ethical, moral stand has to be taken regardless of the political costs. The only reason they're not repudiating his behavior, his threat to our democracy, our decency, our foundation, is just because of political consequences." (emphasis added)
Will these two and others who have placed their family jewels in a lockbox and meekly lined up behind this country's homegrown demagogue and neo-fascist buffoon Donald "Rump" Trump have the guts to do what Mr. Khan asks? As Vice President Biden would say, "give me a break." They have cast their lot with a monster of their party's making, putting their political ambitions above the nation's well-being. This is in the DNA of banana Republicans: look out for yourself, your party and your country in that descending order.

Today's Cartoon Twofer - Toddler Trump 'n' Papa Putin

How do you say "release your tax returns" in Russian?  Here's neo- fascist banana Republican and Siberian candidate Donald "Rump" Trump caught in his lies about his Putin connections.  Here's a wrap up of the circumstantial evidence so far that Putin is engaging in election ratf*cking on behalf of Rump.

(click on images to enlarge)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger (NJ))

(Stuart Carlson, via

Voting Rights Victories In Wisconsin And Kansas

Following the news that the voter suppression law in North Carolina has been slapped down, courts in Wisconsin and Kansas have dealt serious blows to efforts by banana Republicans in those states to disenfranchise voters who normally vote Democratic.

Here's the editorial from the Kansas City Star on the immediate impact on that state:
The most crucial decision locally came in a last-minute victory for 17,500 Kansans, when Shawnee County District Judge Larry Hendricks essentially slapped down part of an overly restrictive 2013 state voter ID law. 
The upshot: The votes of those Kansans will count in all races in Tuesday’s primaries in Johnson and Wyandotte counties, and across the Sunflower State as well. 
Hendricks’ ruling was a sharp rebuke for Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature that approved the questionable law but especially for Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has stubbornly fought to enforce it.  [snip]
Kobach had told these 17,500 people that their votes would count only in federal elections, not in crucial state and local elections, because state law required them to provide proof of citizenship when they register to vote. 
They had registered to vote when they also registered their cars at motor vehicle offices. Under federal law, no proof of citizenship is required to get put on the voting rolls in that case. 
Hendricks properly brushed aside Kobach’s specious request to uphold the state law’s voter ID requirements.
In Wisconsin, where Koch brothers employee of the year and weasel/ human hybrid Gov. Scott "Koch Head" Walker and his pet Republican legislature have gone to great lengths to disenfranchise as many Democratic voters as possible, another hopeful development:
Finding that Republican lawmakers had discriminated against minorities, a federal judge Friday struck down parts of Wisconsin's voter ID law, limits on early voting and prohibitions on allowing people to vote early at multiple sites.  [snip]

Peterson also turned back other election laws Republicans have put in place in recent years. 
"The Wisconsin experience demonstrates that a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement, which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections, particularly in minority communities," U.S. District Judge James Peterson wrote. 
"To put it bluntly, Wisconsin's strict version of voter ID law is a cure worse than the disease."
Of course, the banana Republican Wisconsin Attorney General has vowed to appeal, and the 7th Circuit is over- loaded with Republican appointees.  One hopes that these judges will look at what's really going on here and come down on the right side of history.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Weekend Rise Song

Gotta go with Katy Perry's "Rise," which she performed along with "Roar" last night at the Democratic National Convention (sorry, not crazy about the campaign's choice of "Fight Song"). Katie's a staunch Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, and apparently a nice companion for a brief walk on the beach (inside family reference). Enjoy your weekend.

Federal Court Strikes Down North Carolina Voter Suppression Law (UPDATED)

Improving odds of North Carolina going blue again in November:
A federal appeals court has struck down North Carolina’s voter identification law, holding that it was “passed with racially discriminatory intent.” 
The ruling also invalidated changes the state made in 2013 to early voting, same-day registration, out-of-precinct voting, and preregistration.  [snip] 
The state could seek to appeal the decision to the full bench of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals or to the Supreme Court, but it seems unlikely those courts will step in to restore the voter ID law and other voting-related changes in advance of the November election.
Another banana Republican attempt to suppress Democratic voting goes down in flames.  Sad!

UPDATE I: Charles P. Pierce has his inimitable say.

UPDATE II:  The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC) editorialized:
North Carolina’s 2013 election law was advertised as preventing voter fraud. Instead, it has been exposed as fraudulent lawmaking – voter suppression in the guise of voting protections. 
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit delivered that stinging ruling Friday. A three-judge panel unanimously found that the requirement of a valid photo ID to vote and other election law changes made by the Republican-controlled General Assembly were targeted at illegally suppressing the votes of certain minorities, especially African-Americans. 
North Carolinians heading to the polls this November can put away their photo IDs. The full early voting period will be restored. Out-of-precinct votes will count again. People will once more be able to register and vote on the same day. And North Carolina will go back to being a state that encourages rather than obstructs voting. 
These will all be good restorations for North Carolina, but their return is a stain on the state’s Republican leadership. Not only did the Republicans deny many voters – the primary election saw thousands of votes thrown out under the new law – they claimed they were protecting voter integrity even as they failed to apply a photo ID to absentee ballots, which tend to support Republicans.
UPDATE III:  The Charlotte Observer adds,
We knew. Deep down, most of us knew. 
We knew that North Carolina’s 2013 voter ID law, like similar laws across the country, was not truly about voter fraud, but voter suppression. 
We knew Republicans were less interested in the integrity of elections than in building obstacles for their opponents’ supporters. 
We knew. Some Republicans even admitted it. And last week, in North Carolina, they got called on it.  [snip]
We knew. So did those lawmakers. And now, the 4th Circuit affirmed it: The fraud we needed to be protected from is what happened in the General Assembly.

Image Of The Day - Toddler Trump 'n' Papa Putin

(Image:  via Wonkette;  genius author as yet unknown)

A Hero's Father Blasts Rump (UPDATED)

The most powerful single moment at last night's Dem convention came in the short speech by Khizr Khan, a Muslim immigrant from the United Arab Emirates and father of Army Capt. Humayun Khan who was killed in Iraq while protecting his fellow soldiers. With his wife standing next to him and looking directly into the camera, Khan tore into neo-fascist draft dodger Donald "Rump" Trump, who has proposed a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and called for "monitoring" American Muslims here at home:
“Let me ask you, have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. Look for the words ‘liberty’ and ‘equal protection of law.’ Have you ever been to Arlington National Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending this country. You have sacrificed nothing.” (emphasis added)
Disgracefully, Rump said that avoiding the dangers of venereal disease while sleeping around was his "personal Vietnam." Let that sick, self-absorbed thought sink in for a while, and compare it to the ultimate battlefield sacrifice of a man of honor whom Rump would disparage and try to keep out of this country because of his religion. Like the contractors and workers on his projects that he's stiffed for payment, he stiffed his country during wartime and demonstrates each day why he's utterly unfit to serve as President.

BONUS:  Here's the visual...

UPDATE I:  Cancerous genital wart and Donald "Rump" Trump supporter (M)Ann Coulter had a vile tweet in response to the Mr. Khan (which we won't show);  she had some appropriately harsh takedowns.  Loathsome does not even begin to describe this ... thing.

Also, the Islamophobic slimeballs over at Fux "News" avoided airing Mr. Khan's speech, choosing instead to show -- despicably -- a paid Benghazi Benghazi! BENGHAZI!! ad from a wingnut group, after talking over the speech for the first few minutes.

(photo: Alex Wong, Getty Images)

"Her"story Is Made

Last night, Hillary Clinton made history when she became the first woman to accept the nomination of a major U.S. party, saying at one point that, "when there are no glass ceilings, the sky's the limit."

Clinton's acceptance speech (the transcript is available here) was a forceful rebuttal to Rethuglican nominee and neo-fascist homegrown demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's dark and hateful view of America and its place in the world. She reached out to Independents and Republicans dissatisfied with Rump:
"You heard from Republicans and Independents who are supporting our campaign. I will be a President for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. For the struggling, the striving and the successful. For those who vote for me and those who don't. For all Americans. Together."
Continuing the night's theme of "security," she leaned into that theme:
"You want a leader who understands we are stronger when we work with our allies around the world and care for our veterans here at home. Keeping our nation safe and honoring the people who do it will be my highest priority.

I'm proud that we put a lid on Iran's nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel's security. I'm proud that we shaped a global climate agreement – now we have to hold every country accountable to their commitments, including ourselves."
Then, in a clear message to Rump and his Russian financial and philosophical allies:
"I'm proud to stand by our allies in NATO against any threat they face, including from Russia."
It was a night and speech that neatly reappropriated many of the images and themes that Rethuglicans had stolen from the Dems over 40 years: optimism, patriotism, and confidence in our people. It was first and foremost a victory for all women, who (it's hard to grasp) just 100 years ago weren't even allowed to vote in this country. With that victory, and the unity that came out of the convention, she could say:
"That's why 'Stronger Together  is not just a lesson from our history. It's not just a slogan for our campaign.

It's a guiding principle for the country we've always been and the future we're going to build.

A country where the economy works for everyone, not just those at the top. Where you can get a good job and send your kids to a good school, no matter what zip code you live in.

A country where all our children can dream, and those dreams are within reach. Where families are strong… communities are safe…  And yes, love trumps hate."
 (photo: Megan Fishmann, via Daily Kos)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tweets Of The Day - Going High

Two smart takes on the tone of the Democratic National Convention and, in particular, President Obama's speech last night:

When you're dealing with a small man with low thoughts, as Michelle Obama said, "when they go low, we go high."

BONUS:  Claiming a new mantle.

"Lock Him Up" Indeed

Some are calling neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's call for Russia to intervene in the 2016 elections on his side as bordering on treason.  His financial connections to Russia and to its despotic leader Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin have yet to be exposed and explored, and relentless pressure needs to be brought to bear for Rump to release his taxes. One would think that the Russian intelligence collaborators brave centurions of freedom at WikiLeaks would help us with that.

Independent Voices From The Convention

More than 120 Republican national-security leaders recently warned that Donald Trump would, in their words, ‘make America less safe.’ He even mocks our POWs, like John McCain. I served in the same Navy as John McCain. I used to vote in the same party as John McCain. Donald, you’re not fit to polish John McCain’s boots!” (emphasis added) -- Retired Rear Admiral John Hutson, former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, speaking last night. (Of course, neither is former McCain running mate / protege and Rump supporter Sarah "Winky" Palin).

“Throughout his career, Trump has left behind a well-documented record of bankruptcies, thousands of lawsuits, angry shareholders and contractors who feel cheated, and disillusioned customers who feel ripped off. Trump says he wants to run the nation like he’s run his business. God help us. I’m a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one!" (emphasis added) -- Former Republican Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg, who is now an independent, delivering barrage after barrage at Rump last night.

President Obama Passes The Baton (After Whacking Trump With It)

President Obama was in full voice last night at the Democratic National Convention, contrasting the fear mongering,  dark vision of neo- fascist banana Republican and Siberian candidate Donald "Rump" Trump with the reality that most Americans live in:
"Ronald Reagan called America 'a shining city on a hill.' Donald Trump calls it 'a divided crime scene' that only he can fix.... He's just offering slogans, and he's offering fear. He's betting that if he scares enough people, he might score just enough votes to win this election.  
"And that's another bet that Donald Trump will lose. And the reason he'll lose it is because he's selling the American people short. We're not a fragile people. We're not a frightful people. Our power doesn't come from some self-declared savior promising that he alone can restore order as long as we do things his way. We don't look to be ruled. Our power comes from those immortal declarations first put to paper right here in Philadelphia all those years ago: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that We the People, can form a more perfect union. 
"That's who we are. That's our birthright -- the capacity to shape our own destiny."
He then wrapped up his speech, asking that "we reject cynicism and reject fear, and to summon what is best in us and show the world we still believe in the promise of this great nation."

Then, there was this:

One of our favorite lines from the speech: "This election isn't just about Donald Trump's judgment. It's about our own."

You can look at the full 45 minute speech here if you missed it last night.

BONUS:  Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo has some of the highlights of some of the featured speeches last night.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Today's Cartoon Twofer: Trump/Putin 2016!

(click on images to enlarge)

(Darrin Bell, via

(Steve Benson, Arizona Republic)

Mid-Week Mick Song

Stones legend Mick Jagger keeps rolling along, celebrating his 73rd (!) birthday yesterday ("rolling" doesn't cover the half of it: not only does the aging rocker have 29-year-old girlfriend, American Ballet Theatre ballerina Melanie Hamrick, they're expecting a baby together).

In September 1965, the Rolling Stones toured Ireland, and the tour was documented in a film, "Charlie Is My Darling." Here's their hit from 1965, "The Last Time," in a cut from that film, being performed in Ireland when their screaming fans could still fit into a good-sized theater.

Trump Asks Buddy Putin To Help Him Against Clinton (UPDATED)

Well, now neo- fascist banana Republican and Siberian candidate Donald "Rump" Trump is dropping the pretense and actually publicly soliciting his pal and business partner Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin to meddle in our elections:
“If they hacked, they probably have her 33,000 emails. I hope they do,” Trump said at a press conference at his resort in Doral, Florida.  
The Republican presidential nominee was referring to the widely held suspicion that Russia is responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee’s servers, resulting in the leak of tens of thousands of emails just days before the party’s nominating convention in Philadelphia. 
Trump said that he hoped the hackers had also accessed Clinton’s private email servers. “They probably have her 33,000 emails that she lost and deleted.” 
Trump then addressed the rogue nation directly, saying “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”
We'll let this Clinton campaign statement speak for us:
"This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent. That's not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue."
Maybe the Obama administration should reconsider the policy of giving this treasonous cancer national security briefings.

BONUS:  Here's Steve Benen asking the right questions.
What more could Trump do to convince people about the dangers of his candidacy? How is this not a disqualifying moment?  
Try to imagine – no, really, take a moment to think about – how significant a scandal it would be if Hillary Clinton publicly urged Russia to do her a favor, target a GOP rival, and help her win an election. How quickly would her career in public life end? How many congressional hearings and investigations would Republicans demand?
UPDATE:  Here's more reaction from the national security community on Rump's disqualifying comments.

Nyet! Trump Won't Be Releasing His Tax Returns

The Hill is reporting that neo- fascist banana Republican and Siberian candidate Donald "Rump" Trump, contrary to decades of custom, won't be releasing his tax returns.

We wonder why.

He's a tax fraud?

He didn't pay any taxes?

He lied about donating to charities?

He's dependent on loans from Putin oligarch buddies?

All of the above?

Coming on the heels of revelations that the hacking of the DNC e- mails was a Russian operation, curiously timed to benefit Rump and do damage to Hillary Clinton, added to the long- known fact that many of Rump's advisors have serious Russian connections, we're inclined to believe that what the Rump campaign fears most in his tax returns is that his business interests would be exposed as way too cozy and interdependent with the Russian despot, whose desire to weaken American interests is a given. Or, as Rump himself would speculate, "There’s something fishy about the whole thing... Obviously some people think it’s evil intentions. I think it’s incompetence. Regardless, a lot of people think it’s evil intentions... I don’t know. All I know is what’s on the Internet. Wow!"  (Credit to frequent blind squirrel Dana Milbank who riffs on this here.)

And "let's dispel once and for all with the notion" that having the IRS auditing you precludes release.  It doesn't.


Note to journalists (other than Franklin Foer and Josh Marshall):  Do your f*cking jobs!


Seth Meyers would like to get the attention of the shrinking pool of "Bernie or Bust" folks.  Listen up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bernie Makes It Official: Hillary Clinton Nominated

Glass ceiling shattered, and Sen. Bernie Sanders does the honors:

Confirmed: DNC Hacker Was Russian Agent

Donald "Rump" Trump IS "The Siberian Candidate:"
The hacker who claims to have stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee and provided them to WikiLeaks is actually an agent of the Russian government and part of an orchestrated attempt to influence U.S. media coverage surrounding the presidential election, a security research group concluded on Tuesday.  [snip]
That finding matches the political motive that U.S. officials told The Daily Beast they have seen in Russia’s hacking of the DNC. The FBI said on Monday that it was investigating the breach, which a growing number within the Obama administration believe was designed to embarrass Democrats, exacerbate tensions between Hillary Clinton and her former rival Bernie Sanders—as well as his voters—and ultimately to give a boost to Republican nominee Donald Trump.  (our emphasis)
So far, the facile media has focused largely on the contents of the e-mail leaks and not the bigger picture (surprise!).  Plus, booing!  And disarray!

If you haven't already done so, please take a look at this from yesterday, and the related Franklin Foer article we noted earlier today, and why this breach is actually worse than Watergate.  Unfortunately, we don't see any Woodward- Bernsteins in today's media.

BONUS:  We mustn't forget the contributions of douchebag rapist (allegedly!) Julian Assange in all of this.

That's The Ticket(s) Tweet of the Day

That would be funnier if it weren't so ominous.

Today's Cartoon - The Siberian Candidate

(click on image to enlarge)

(Tom Toles, once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle)

The question supporters of neo- fascist Siberian candidate Donald "Rump" Trump, or those who are considering supporting him, might want to ask themselves is "why would an anti- American foreign despot like Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin want to advantage Rump in this election?"  If the answer isn't obvious, you haven't been paying attention.

BONUS:  Franklin Foer's article is worth a read. "The DNC hack is Watergate, but worse."

BONUS II:  George Effing Will wonders (as did Willard "Mittens" Romney) about those undisclosed Rump tax returns:
“... Perhaps one more reason why we’re not seeing his tax returns, because he is deeply involved in dealing with Russia oligarchs and others. Whether that’s good, bad or indifferent, it’s probably the reasonable surmise.”

Quote of the Day: Message to Bernie-or-Busters

“Our immediate task, what we must do or forever look back in regret, is defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary is easy to boo, but it is harder to look your kids in the face who would be living under a Donald Trump presidency. Trump is the worst candidate for president in the modern history of this country.”  (emphasis added)-- Sen. Bernie Sanders heard some boos from his most ardent (delusional?) supporters at this morning's California delegation breakfast.  The California delegation seems to be one of the hotspots for the "Bernie-Or-Bust" faction who have yet to be (and may never be) sold on Hillary Clinton. Many of the delegates are kids themselves, but Sanders' message is clear: don't be responsible for screwing this election up.

It Was The First Lady's Night

Photo: Associated Press

There's nothing we could write that would do justice to the iconic speech that First Lady Michelle Obama delivered last night to the Democratic convention.* It was the absolute highlight of the night, perhaps an unintended one, but it was nonetheless. It's hard to imagine anyone topping the emotion, the intelligence and the soul of her words, which were a paean to family, children, decency and hope for the nation's future. The wonderful speeches that followed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders (giving a forceful, classy endorsement of Hillary Clinton) were overshadowed by the First Lady's. Without mentioning him once, Ms. Obama contrasted her vision and those in the hall with the dark, selfish and bitter one of the Republican nominee, and made it clear that the example he was setting was not one for our children to follow, not to mention the nation. The speech was so moving that it drew widespread praise across the partisan divide.

Some of the best images from the speech are captured here, but the one that hit home and reminds us how much we're going to miss the Obama family was this:
“This is the story of this country, the story that has brought me to this stage tonight, the story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”
The optimism, and fulfillment of the American dream expressed in that vivid, almost poetic image was the perfect antidote to the bile spewed against the First Family for the past 7½ years. Almost made you wish that she was the one breaking that "highest and hardest glass ceiling."

*BONUS II:  You can take our word for it, or you can watch it here:

Monday, July 25, 2016

President McCain Would Like To Share Some Thoughts

For those of you who might be panicking about those post- Republican sh*tshow polls coming out showing neo- fascist megalomaniac Donald "Rump" Trump with a lead over Hillary Clinton:  calm down and get to work.  (Also, what Gene Wang at PEC says.)

Let's go to the Wayback machine to see what the situation was at a comparable time in 2008:
This is neither a time to be complacent, nor a time to be despairing. We've got just over four months to secure a hopeful, inclusive, progressive future for America.  So, what time is it?  It's time to get to work.

Follow The Money, Putin And Rump Edition

Much of this week's breathless and superficial media coverage of the "disarray' in Dem ranks focuses on the catty and idiotic anti-Sanders e-mails by DNC staff.  Not surprisingly, the fascinating route those e-mails took to get in the public domain is largely being ignored by most in the media (Too complicated! Hard work!). More cyber forensic work needs to proceed, but it's certainly something our intrepid corporate media needs to get busy on. (Ed. -- Also, if the DNC hasn't already asked the FBI to look into the hacking -- likely by Russian intelligence sources -- then they're incompetent beyond belief). UPDATE: The FBI has announced minutes ago that they are investigating the hacking.

Regardless of how that develops, as we noted the other day, over at the excellent Talking Points Memo, Josh Marshall is pointing to here-and-now, demonstrable links between Russian autocrat Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin and neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump that involve huge investments and loans from Russian institutions controlled by Putin and individual cronies of Putin's in Trump's business ventures. Since Rump's business ventures have become toxic to American banks, he's had to seek financing abroad, the bulk of which is apparently coming from Putin's Russia. Here's Marshall's summary:
"There is something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence for a financial relationship between Trump and Putin or a non-tacit alliance between the two men. Even if you draw no adverse conclusions, Trump's financial empire is heavily leveraged and has a deep reliance on capital infusions from oligarchs and other sources of wealth aligned with Putin. That's simply not something that can be waved off or ignored."
Documentation of that reliance could be the "bombshell" in Rump's tax returns that former Republican Presidential nominee Willard "Mittens" Romney suggested last winter when trying to raise questions about Rump's fitness for the Presidency. That would certainly explain Rump's adamant and, for Presidential elections, unprecedented refusal to release his tax returns.  It's all the more reason to demand them and to follow the money.

"Dems In Disarray" Narrative Launches

Well, that didn't take long:

(Screenshot from this morning's "Today Show" on NBC)

It seems they're determined to blow this narrative into the equivalent of last week's Republican sh*tshow... because balance!  Also, what's the downside?  Trump's no existential danger!

BONUS:'s Charles Pierce marvels at how expertly Debbie Wasserman Shultz's DNC has served up a big turd on Hillary Clinton's plate on the eve of the convention, with the gleeful assistance of our broken media and Donald "Rump" Trump's friends in Russia:
"So thus does ideologically aligned press get a Dems In Disarray narrative to write, the ostensibly non-aligned press gets the Both Sides In Chaos story of its dreams, and the DNC under DWS demonstrates, for possibly the last time, that it would screw up a two-car funeral if you spotted it the hearse. These are the people standing between the Republic and El Caudillo de Mar-A-Lago."
And Wasserman Shultz still wants to speak tonight? Cut off the mic.

Adding fuel to the media's gas tank, Bernie-or-Bust holdouts:
BONUS II:  Paul Waldman has an important analysis of this narrative and who those protesting "Dems" really are:
... But for some of his [Sanders'] most ardent followers, joining the Democratic Party was never part of the deal. Many of the ones now protesting are quite open about the fact that their goal is to destroy the party, and if Sanders is no longer a vehicle for the achievement of that goal, they’re likely to turn their backs on him. [snip] 
... These are the kind of people who think that giant puppets are the key to creating lasting social change.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Across The Universe, Cont.

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ESA, July 18 2016:  "This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the vibrant core of the galaxy NGC 3125. Discovered by John Herschel in 1835, NGC 3125 is a great example of a starburst galaxy — a galaxy in which unusually high numbers of new stars are forming, springing to life within intensely hot clouds of gas.

Located approximately 50 million light-years away in the constellation of Antlia (The Air Pump), NGC 3125 is similar to, but unfathomably brighter and more energetic than, one of the Magellanic Clouds. Spanning 15 000 light-years, the galaxy displays massive and violent bursts of star formation, as shown by the hot, young, and blue stars scattered throughout the galaxy’s rose-tinted core. Some of these clumps of stars are notable — one of the most extreme Wolf–Rayet star clusters in the local Universe, NGC 3125-A1, resides within NGC 3125.

Despite their appearance, the fuzzy white blobs dotted around the edge of this galaxy are not stars, but globular clusters. Found within a galaxy’s halo, globular clusters are ancient collections of hundreds of thousands of stars. They orbit around galactic centres like satellites — the Milky Way, for example, hosts over 150 of them."

Credit:  ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)

The Incredible, Shrinking DWS (UPDATED)

Current Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is being told her role in the Democratic National Convention will be significantly curtailed, due to the kerfuffle over the calculated leaking of internal DNC e-mails that disparaged Sen. Bernie Sanders, and created the appearance of bias against him in his contest with Hillary Clinton.  Wasserman Schultz will no longer have a speaking role at the convention, and will likely be present only for the opening and closing gavel for the proceedings.

What led to this point is that over the past year, DNC computers were hacked by Russian intelligence and various documents, including those e-mails, were turned over by them to WikiLeaks. The Russian regime is known to favor the candidacy of neo-fascist Donald "Rump" Trump, who has questioned the need for NATO and whose campaign manager has consulted with the Russian government.

The hostility toward Wasserman Schultz among partisans who supported Sanders in the primaries is out in the open, and has caused the Clinton-Kaine campaign team heartburn that they didn't need just before the start of the convention. This would be a proper time for her to step aside and focus on her re-election for her Florida Congressional seat, but it's more likely that she'll have to be forced out to maintain peace in the Dem fold.

UPDATE:  She gone!

Sunday Cartoon - Has Trump Got A Deal For You!

(click on image to enlarge)

(David Fitzsimmons, (Tucson) Arizona Daily, via Crooks and Liars)

Sunday Reflection

On Friday, President Obama commented on neo- fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's dark, apocalyptic "Midnight in America" speech:
"The one thing that I think is important to recognize is this idea that America is somehow on the verge of collapse, this vision of violence and chaos everywhere, doesn't really jibe with the experience of most people.  I hope people the next morning walked outside and birds were chirping and the sun was out, and this afternoon, people will be watching their kids play in sports teams and go to the swimming pool and folks are going to work and getting ready for the weekend."
Everyone, take a deep breath.

Here's a nice antidote from Fareed Zakaria (h/t Crooks and Liars):

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Today's Cartoons - Scenes From Last Week At The Cleveland Asylum

(click on images to enlarge)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

The Trump Kremlin Connection (UPDATED)

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

This isn't yet getting the attention of the corporate media that it should, which is still trying to find ways to "normalize" Rump.  Here's how the demagogue weasel is using his Russian- provided hammer:

Among those trying to ring the alarm bells:

Lastly, et tu, Cardinal Douthat?

Ratings That Count, Tim Kaine Edition (UPDATED)

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

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

Trump's "Midnight In America" Speech Fallout

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

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

"Thin Skinned Narcissists" And Hypocrites

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

Friday, July 22, 2016

Clinton Picks Kaine

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

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

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

BONUS:  The plaudits are coming in.

Presidential! Trump Drones On About ... Grievances

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


Weekend Party Music

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

Quote of the Day: Begging To Be Ruled

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

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

Another Trump Promise Based On A Lie

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

(click on image to enlarge)

(Chart:  Justin Wolfers, via Twitter)

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

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

Heart of Darkness

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

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


BONUS:  The wonderful John Dingell:

(photo: John Moore, Getty Images)