Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Today's Cartoon Twofer - Focus!

(click on images to enlarge)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution -- love those tiny hands on Rump!)

We eagerly await Rump's December 15 announcement to see how he'll continue to play the media and convince his base that he's addressed his epic conflict of interest problems.  Further down the road, similar diversions and light refreshments will be offered to play the media and convince his base that he's "reforming" social safety net programs like Medicare/ Medicaid, Obamacare and Social Security as the ax falls. Fun times!

BONUS:  Andy Borowitz' headline says it - Trump to Step Away from Making his Businesses Bankrupt to Focus on Bankrupting Country

Mid-Week Cloves Song

Cloves, the performing name of 20 year-old Australian singer Kaity Dunstan, released her new album, "XIII ", earlier this year.  After working her way up through clubs and gigs Down Under, she is currently on tour through Canada and the U.S. Here's her latest hit, "Don't Forget About Me."
"If I fall, can you pull me up?
Is it true, your watching out
And when I'm tired, do you lay down with me?
In my head so I can sleep without you?
Hey, hey
Without you there's holes in my soul
Hey, hey
Let the water in
Where ever you've gone?
How, how, how?
I just need to know
That you won't forget about me"

Trump Has Romney For Dinner

People are having fun with the picture of neo- fascist narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump dining last night on with fellow plutocrat Willard "Mittens" Romney at the Manhattan restaurant Jean-Georges. Willard is purportedly under consideration for Secretary of State, if he agrees to apologize for calling Rump a "fraud" and "phony" and puts his balls in a blind trust (truss?).  Here are two of our favorite tweets:

Just out of view in the cropped picture is Rump's new Chief of Staff Reince "Prepuce" Priebus, who was there to advise Mittens on his personal experience in putting one's balls in a blind trust.

BONUS:  This from Democratic Underground (click on image to enlarge) --

Treasury Secretary Designate Ran A "Foreclosure Machine"

The emerging assminstration of neo- fascist sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump has a new member swamp thang: Treasury Secretary- designate Steve "27 Cents" Mnuchin, a Rump fundraiser and former Goldman Sachs executive who gained notoriety during the 2008 financial meltdown for running a "foreclosure machine" that caused untold misery to thousands of home owners. That machine, OneWest Bank, carried out more than 36,000 foreclosures in California under Mnuchin, who later profited handsomely (as much as $200 million?) from the sale of the bank. Some of the bank's shady practices under Mnuchin look all too familiar.

Here's some background from Bloomberg:
Dubious lending practices. Bailouts. Foreclosures. Robo-signing. Huge executive paydays. If Steven Mnuchin is nominated for Treasury secretary, his confirmation process promises to dredge up every controversy of the U.S. mortgage meltdown almost a decade ago.
Mnuchin is a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner and movie financier with no government experience who spent the past six months working as Donald Trump’s chief fundraiser. Trump’s transition team recommended Mnuchin for the Treasury job, people with knowledge of the matter said last week, and a decision could come any day. The part of his background that’s likely to get the most scrutiny is the six years he spent running OneWest Bank, a Southern California lender. [snip]
The bank carried out more than 36,000 foreclosures during Mnuchin’s reign, according to the California Reinvestment Coalition, a San Francisco-based nonprofit whose deputy director, Kevin Stein, dubbed the bank a “foreclosure machine.” The group has accused OneWest of shoddy foreclosure practices and avoiding business in minority neighborhoods, claims the bank has denied. 
Then there are these victims of Mnuchin's bank:
If Mnuchin gets the nod, the world will hear more about people like Leslie Parks, who found the locks on her Minneapolis home changed during a blizzard in December 2009 after OneWest foreclosed. Or Rose Gudiel, who was evicted from her Pasadena home under circumstances she claimed were improper and inspired about 100 people to march on Mnuchin’s Bel Air, California, mansion in 2011.
Now, there's someone who fits the profile of a "populist," amirite?

One wonders how the nomination of banker, hedge fund millionaire and former Goldman Sachs "globalist" financier (we leave to your imagination the right- wing dog whistle there) Mnuchin will go over with the neo- Nazi/ white nationalist segment of Rump's base.  Or, perhaps we're expecting too much consistency from a mob that has a larger goal in mind -- that of implementing a white nationalist agenda regardless of the individual moving parts -- and who'll likely continue to "Heil Trump."  For the low- information, run- of- the- mill Rump voter (as Steve M. has noted regarding the likely demise of Obamacare), we don't see them blaming Rump or Republicans for any disaster that a Mnuchin- led Treasury may someday call down on their "economically anxious" heads.  That would be too reasonable.

BONUS: This sums it up nicely:
BONUS II:  Of course, he's a believer in supply- side, trickle down economics.

BONUS III:  Charles Pierce on the like-minded jackals Rump's stacking his cabinet with.

(Photo:  Protesters outside of Mnuchin's Bel Air estate in October 2011.)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

With A Little Help From His Friends

Two shameless enthusiasts of normalizing sociopathic liar Donald "Rump" Trump are the execrable duo of MSNBC's Morning Joke who provided him endless hours of fawning exposure for the past 18 months. Squint and the Meat Puppet (as Charles Pierce of has named them) are now reportedly huddling with the Rump team, with Squint "advising" Rump informally and the Meat Puppet scurrying into Trump Tower today for a session with The P*ssygrabber. The two briefly feuded with Rump during the primaries, and Rump famously threatened to "spill the beans" on the two's widely-assumed off-camera sexual affair, but have clearly patched things up since then.

These two fake journalists are celebrity-stroking opportunists who've managed to survive the morning cable TV wars....for now. But their failure to acknowledge responsibility for their prominent role in advancing Rump's political career marks them as amoral hacks, who surround themselves each morning with the usual yes-men whose job is to affirm Squint's brilliance while the Meat Puppet gazes at him affectionately. That doesn't stop them from frequent, clueless social media howlers, like this one on Twitter. The responses to the tweet -- some of which we've sampled -- are juicy.

Today's Cartoon - A Narcissist's Request

(click on image to enlarge)

(Matt Davies, via

That's also referencing Rump's complaining about the media using "unflattering" photos of him like this one (feel free to use!):

(h/t Tengrain, Mock Paper Scissors)

He's a narcissist, and we've all got to deal with it.

Another Inmate Will Be Helping Run The Asylum (Cont.)

In addition to neo- fascist nihilist Donald "Rump" Trump's Social Darwinist pick for Labor Secretary, meet another of today's "crackpots to be invested with authority over life- and- death decisions": Health and Human Services Secretary- designate Rep. Tom "You'll Pay The" Price (Tea Bagger- GA). He's quite the loon on a mission:
The choice, which Trump’s transition team announced on Tuesday morning, would appear to signal Trump’s determination to proceed with a major overhaul of federal health care programs ― including not just Obamacare, which Republicans have sworn to repeal, but also Medicare and Medicaid.

Price, 62, practiced as an orthopedist for about two decades before winning election to the House of Representatives in 2005.

Once in Congress, Price gained notoriety for his right-wing views ― first as chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, a group of conservative lawmakers, and then as a founding member of the Tea Party Caucus. A constant in his career has been a hostility to government interference with the practice of medicine.  [snip]
In 2015, Price was a chief architect of legislation to repeal Obamacare using the budget reconciliation process ― a special legislative procedure, reserved for certain fiscal matters, that is not subject to filibusters in the Senate.

Both the House and Senate passed a version of that bill earlier this year. And while Obama vetoed it, many Republicans are already pushing to use reconciliation as a way to get Obamacare repeal through Congress again in 2017 ― after which Trump, as president, would presumably sign it.
And Price has said he wouldn’t stop with Obamacare. In mid-November, not long after the presidential election, Price said that Republicans could also use reconciliation to change Medicare, as well. [snip] 
Price has also endorsed transforming Medicaid into a “block grant” ― in other words, giving states a fixed sum of money with which to run the program and then reducing the federal government’s spending on it. 
The Affordable Care Act. Medicare. Medicaid. They're going to do trash it all, regardless of (and perhaps because of) the suffering it will cause millions of vulnerable Americans (and to some, like us, who are not in the "gazillionaire" category like Rump's cabinet picks).

We're about to have at least 4 dark years of "elections have consequences" shoved down our throats.

BONUS:  If it's hard to picture what an out- of- the- mainstream kook this guy is, read on.

BONUS II:  Paul Krugman estimates how many Rump voters who have Obamacare just "shot themselves in the face" but, as Steve M. rightly predicts, won't ever blame Republicans.

(Photo: He's going to enjoy taking away your health and human services.)

Rump Set To Screw Labor With DOL Pick

For the millions of blue collar "economic anxiety" voters for neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump, their purported main issue was the economy, a canard promoted by the Rethugs and repeated by our broken Beltway media and discredited. Perhaps some of the more delusional among them thought that some of Rump's scamming money making success would magically transfer to them if he were President.

Those Rump voters who were banking on a bright (white) new day might want to look at the views of his likely Labor Secretary, a plutocratic Social Darwinist named Andy "Putz" Puzder, the CEO of the parent company of the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. burger chains. Putz is an anti-union,  trickle-down true believer who is adamantly opposed to any minimum wage hike or expanded access to overtime pay. If selected, he'd oversee the dismantling of thousands of regulations covering everything from collective bargaining to occupational safety and health, and he'd go after the task with a vengeance. Of course, Putz's main "qualification" is that he was a Rump fundraiser. He's been a key voice for supply-side economic quackery, arguing that paying higher wages destroys jobs (a lie disproven in cities like Seattle that have a $15 minimum wage in effect). This economic predator makes more in one day than a full-time minimum wage worker of his makes in a year, but he clearly believes that's not enough of a gap.

Sadly for them, Rump's anti-worker policies as implemented by Putz will come down hardest on the same hourly wage workers who have scapegoated immigrants and minorities for their lack of progress, with Rump leading the bigot parade. Welcome to Trumpland, suckers.

Giant Toddler* Trump Quotes 16-Year-Old's Claim Of Voter Fraud

Neo- fascist man- baby Donald "Rump" Trump has found an age- appropriate, emotional soulmate to bash CNN's Jeff Zeleny and help advance his risible, corrosive claim of widespread voter fraud -- a 16- year- old Tweeter (@Filibuster):

This appalling, unstable sociopath is a little under 2 months away from becoming Commander in Chief and getting the nuclear codes. It's hard to know what to say at this point. (h/t The Hill)

* h/t Quinn Cummmings.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Today's Cartoon And Video - The Trump Voter

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(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

This "lady" Trump voter, clearly suffering "economic anxiety," even has his tiny hand gestures down.  We don't know if this outburst of white grievance will make it onto the next SPLC update of Stormtrumper incidents of hateful harassment (over 700 ten days ago), but it's certainly unhinged behavior by someone who clearly feels empowered by the shitgibbon (h/t John Cole, Balloon Juice):

BONUS: You may have seen the viral video of the moronic Stormtrumper who disrupted a Delta flight from Atlanta, GA to Allentown, PA the other day with shouts of "Hillary bitches," etc. Well, Delta has issued a lifetime ban for him. That's nice if a bit late, but what about other airlines? What about the TSA?

BONUS II:  The woman in the video above, identified as Chicago area resident Jennifer Boyle, seems to be a repeat offender ranter.  Figures.

Rump's Inner Circle or Circular Firing Squad?

A while back, narcissist and pathological liar Donald "Rump" Trump was playing to the gullible corporate media and the Brooks Brothers wing of his party when he invited former critic and fellow plutocrat Willard "Mittens" Romney to his New Jersey golf club, allegedly for a chat about the Secretary of State position. It was meant to show "no hard feelings" toward Mittens after his refusal to endorse (or reportedly vote) for Rump, and, more importantly, to assure the Rethug "establishment" that Rump was open to working with them in a Rethug  "unity" government.  All seemed to be going according to plan, when former Rump campaign manager and piranha / human hybrid Kellyanne "Con For Short" Conway, in an interview with CNN yesterday, said that Rump's mouthbreathing base would feel "betrayed" if Mittens were to get the post of Secretary of State, among other slights aimed at Mittens.

With Rump trying to assemble his Cabinet of incompetents / dangerous wingnuts, Conway's public airing of her own opinions and agenda undercutting her boss was reportedly not appreciated by a "furious" Rump. Said one unnamed aide to the shitgibbon:
"Instead of driving Donald Trump's message, she's pushing her own agenda. It's dangerous."
Dangerous, especially to Con For Short, who later defensively insisted the reports of Rump's anger were "false" and (this is rich, coming from her) "sexist,"  and boasted that she could have "any job I want." Sounds like Rump's narcissistic personality disorder -- and perhaps delusional behavior -- has rubbed off on someone.

BONUS:  She may or may not be off message again, this morning issuing a vague threat to re- open Rump's campaign promise to pursue Hillary Clinton's imaginary "crimes." These people are the scum of the earth.

(photo: Careful of the bite.)

Trump's Vote Fraud Lie Is The Opening Gambit In Voter Suppression Drive

The adoption by neo- fascist loser Donald "Rump" Trump of far- right claims of massive voter fraud in the recent election (see Rump's tweet in the post below) is being seen as not only the wounded reaction of a narcissistic sociopath who sees himself as a "winner" in all things, but the opening shot in an aggressive voter suppression drive by his forming administration.  Instituting restrictive voter ID laws, which do nothing to prevent (non-existent) voter fraud but do everything to keep Democratic- leaning constituencies away from the polls, will likely be the first step. Here are the tells:

-- The involvement in the transition of Kansas Secretary of State Kris "Starts And Ends With Koch" Kobach.  Kobach is the nation's number one voter suppression expert, who's been out encouraging fellow right- wing election officials to adopt Kansas' methods of keeping right- wing office holders in place.  The Koch brothers' darling has been advising Rump on matters involving establishing a database of Muslims as well.

-- The involvement of the "True the Vote" racist voter suppression goons in ginning up the false claims.  As the "True the Vote" cranks say in a press release (via Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog, who has more on how the vote fraud conspiracy theory originated):
“True the Vote absolutely supports President-elect Trump’s recent comment about the impact of illegal voting, as reflected in the national popular vote. We are still collecting data and will be for several months, but our intent is to publish a comprehensive study on the significant impact of illegal voting in all of its many forms and begin a national discussion on how voters, states, and the Trump Administration can best address this growing problem.”
"... begin a national discussion..." on the non- existent voter fraud threat.  Yeah, we see where that's going.

-- Racist Attorney General- designate Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, soon to be in charge of what's left of Voting Rights Act "enforcement" -- 'nuff said.

When fascists come to power (and if you don't see nascent fascism here, you're not paying attention) they don't like to give it up through such messy niceties like democratic elections.  What we are beginning to see are the first steps in consolidating white nationalist/ fascist power in America;  there will be more as power is handed over to these knuckle- draggers. We've been warned.

BONUS: What Gene says.

BONUS II:  Ezra Klein on what is really scary about Rump's detachment from reality.

BONUS III:  Greg Sargent has more along the same lines.

(Photo:  The picture of Rump that he objected to as "unflattering" in his meeting with the New York Effing Times one week ago today - please disseminate far and wide.)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday Cartoon - Down For The Vote Count (UPDATED)

(click on image to enlarge)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Always remember, the only "mandate" delivered in this election was that of the majority of Americans who wanted Hillary Clinton as President, not the shitgibbon.

UPDATE:  The sick, whining Giant Toddler has an alternative reality he'd like to foist on you --
Loser.  Sad!

The Governing Business Tweet of the Day

As we marvel at neo-fascist sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump's contempt for ethics and civility, not to mention his gawd-awful selections for his Cabinet and his national security positions, his stop-me-if-you-can mix of government duties with his personal business may produce the worst conflicts of interest and corruption in government since the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s. Anyone expecting him to place the country's interest over his own selfish interests hasn't been paying attention to him for as long as he's been in public life.

Sunday Quotes And Reading

Here's Mark Sumner on the collection of plutocrats gathering in neo- fascist faux "populist" Donald "Rump" Trump's cabinet:
So we’ll get public schools shaped by people who’ve never attended one, law and order from people who’ve lived their lives behind security gates, health care from people who have personal physicians, and transportation policy from people who have their own jets. We’ll also get a lot of extra drug testing, reduced wages, and cuts to unemployment—because these billionaires know it’s you working people who are taking more than you’re worth.
Sumner refers indirectly to an article in Politico naming the various rich older white people either named or rumored to be in line for cabinet positions ("Trump's Team of Gazillionaires").  That article's also worth a look, to see who Rump will have in place to protect the interests of the White Working Class (spoiler alert: =snicker=).

While others at the New York Effing Times were busy affixing their lips to Rump's rump =cough= Maggie Haberman =cough= , Charles Blow wasn't going to go along to get along:
You are an aberration and abomination who is willing to do and say anything — no matter whom it aligns you with and whom it hurts — to satisfy your ambitions. 
I don’t believe you care much at all about this country or your party or the American people. I believe that the only thing you care about is self-aggrandizement and self-enrichment. Your strongest allegiance is to your own cupidity. 
I also believe that much of your campaign was an act of psychological projection, as we are now learning that many of the things you slammed Clinton for are things of which you may actually be guilty. [snip] 
You are a fraud and a charlatan. Yes, you will be president, but you will not get any breaks just because one branch of your forked tongue is silver.
Blow's op/ ed is worth saving and referring back to whenever the sight of the corporate media kowtowing to the non- popularly- elected shitgibbon becomes too much to bear.  It burns with the righteous intensity missing in most of the post- election chatter.

Joy-Ann Reid warns of the corporate media's dressing Rump in the "Emperor's new clothes," a process already well underway:
You may be asked, over the next four years, to accept things you never dreamed would be acceptable, and to turn a blind eye to vulgarity and hypocrisy and failure. You’ll be sold the pageantry of presidential succession, along with lighthearted stories about Melania’s New York shopping sprees or Ivanka’s parenting tips. Long forgotten will be questions about the former’s immigration lies or the fact that potentially any world leader has seen photographs of the first lady naked; or about the many times the latter has been the object of prurient commentary by her father. Religious leaders will grin and embrace the Trump presidency as if it was blessed by God almighty, even as they hover over bill signings designed to consign women and gays back to second class status and ignore the Biblical admonition  to see to the poor, the widow and the orphan.
While her message is addressed to fellow journalists as well as the public, the understanding is that the corporate media may already be too compromised to serve as a moral truth- teller in the face of Trumpism:
... [T]raditional media are bending under the weight of fake news and meme culture. And the tug of normalization is powerful; even pleasing, when reality is unthinkable. The urge to look away, to pretend to see fine threads when the king comes strolling by, with his bare belly jutting out, can be irresistible.
 For the good of the country, here’s hoping enough people resist.
Amen to that.

Finally, please go over and check out the great, eclectic links provided by Infidel 753.  It's a better digest than you'll get in the New York Effing Times Sunday edition.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Today's Cartoon Twofer - Twit In Chief

(click on images to enlarge)

(Clay Jones,

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

BONUS:  Case in point -- the Great Uniter is too busy exercising his tiny thumbs to bother with such things as intelligence briefings or finding competent people to run his government for him:

Another Inmate Will Be Helping Run The Asylum (Cont.)

Meet neo- fascist dimbulb Donald "Rump" Trump's pick for Deputy National Security Advisor, KT "Punctuation Optional" McFarland, from 2006 when she ran against then- Sen. Hillary Clinton (from the NY Post, via TPM):
Former Reagan-era Pentagon official Kathleen "KT" McFarland stunned a crowd of Suffolk County Republicans on Thursday by saying:  
"Hillary Clinton is really worried about me, and is so worried, in fact, that she had helicopters flying over my house in Southampton today taking pictures," according to a prominent GOP activist who was at the event 
"She wasn't joking, she was very, very serious, and she also claimed that Clinton's people were taking pictures across the street from her house in Manhattan, taking pictures from an apartment across the street from her bedroom," added the eyewitness, who is not involved in the Senate race.  (our emphasis)
On the hopeful side, perhaps she's been given medication in the intervening years to ameliorate her paranoia.  On the other hand, she's been in the hive as a Fox "News" contributor since 2010. So, nope. Also, this is another bomb- thrower who believes the magic incantation of "Islamic terrorism" is all we need to lead us to Victory!  She'll make a nice paranoid pairing with National Security Advisor Michael "Brig. Gen. Jack D. Ripper" Flynn.

Things are looking up, wouldn't you say?

BONUS:  Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog has more on "Punctuation Optional" McFarland.

(Image:  Let the culling begin.)

Cluck Clucking Quote of the Day

"Trump is the GOP's chickens coming home to roost. When you spend 40 to 50 years doing racially coded stuff in your campaigns, Trump is the illegitimate child that's born of that. He is the logical consequence of a lot of this coded language and dog-whistle stuff." -- African-American Charles Badger, long-time Rethuglican strategist, operative, and a Bush family rent-a-minority, bemoaning his party's choice of a racist demagogue for the Presidency. Yet, Mr. Badger apparently had no moral qualms working for the family that employed the likes of racist Machiavellian Lee Atwater and who cozied up to the Trent Lotts and Jesse Helms of America. He was toiling in the fetid swamp of the Rethuglican "Southern Strategy" as long as the checks kept coming, and as long as the "coded language" that he now deplores provided him some semblance of cover for his hypocrisy.

Fidel Castro Dead At 90

Cuban leader Raul Castro has announced the death of his brother, Fidel Castro, at the age of 90. Castro had been in ill health for many years. Castro ruled Cuba as a Soviet-style dictatorship from 1959, when his forces overthrew military dictator Fulgencio Batista, to 2008, when he stepped down and handed over the leadership to his younger brother, Raul. Cuba's alignment with the Soviet Union and anti-U.S. foreign policy led to an economic embargo of the island.  In 1961, exile Cuban forces attempted to overthrow the Castro regime in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion.  Castro later allowed the positioning of Soviet ballistic missiles in Cuba, causing 1962's Cuban missile crisis, which brought the U.S. and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war before the missiles were removed by the Soviets.

U.S. relations with Cuba thawed under President Obama who initiated the move toward full diplomatic relations, which were finally restored in July 2015 despite a continuing commercial and financial embargo of Cuba. Relations with Cuba have long been a sore point for thousands of conservative anti-Castro Cubans who fled Cuba and who largely reside in Florida, although younger generations have tended to favor better relations with Cuba.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Weekend Love Trumps Hate Song

The Box Tops,  featuring singer and guitarist Alex Chilton, came out of Memphis in 1967 with a monster hit, "The Letter," recorded when Chilton was only 16 years old.  In 1969, they released "Soul Deep," which was their last top 20 single.  Later, Chilton formed Big Star, a critically acclaimed and influential power pop band.  He died in 2010 at the age of 59.

Let's have a little "blue eyed Memphis soul" that tells us that "love is a river running soul deep."  Feel free to crank up the volume (after the ad)! Hope you enjoy.

Prophetic Tweet Of The Week

From Mrs. Betty Bowers, "America's Best Christian":

Cornucopia of Corruption Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

In countless ways, corrupt con man Donald "Rump" Trump is casting aside any semblance of ethics as he continues to use his coming position to advance his business interests.  From meetings with his Indian business partners, to cajoling the Argentinian President to cut corners on his new project in Buenos Aires, to interfering in the placement of wind turbines near his golf course in Scotland, and so much more, on Rump's first day in office he would be likely in violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution which prohibits Government officials from accepting emoluments or bribes from foreign states. Not that the corrupt Rethuglican Congress (or Rump's cult followers) will care, but those are impeachable offenses.

(cartoons: top, Tom Toles, center, Stuart Carlson, bottom, Steve Benson, all via

The Age Of "Firehoses Of Falsehood"

A fair amount of attention has been paid, far too belatedly, to the issue of right- wing "fake news" corrupting social media platforms like Facebook, Google and YouTube.  Now, two teams of researchers have concluded that a main generator of "fake news" was the vicious anti- democratic regime of Russian President Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin, and the intent was to undermine American democracy:
The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation. 
Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia. 
Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House. [snip]
There is no way to know whether the Russian campaign proved decisive in electing Trump, but researchers portray it as part of a broadly effective strategy of sowing distrust in U.S. democracy and its leaders. The tactics included penetrating the computers of election officials in several states and releasing troves of hacked emails that embarrassed Clinton in the final months of her campaign. 
The Russians have become increasingly sophisticated in sowing disinformation throughout Western democracies using Western technology and platforms. As one of the research groups noted, the interference in our recent election is by no means an anomaly:
The Rand report — which dubbed Russian propaganda efforts a “firehose of falsehood” because of their speed, power and relentlessness — traced the country’s current generation of online propaganda work to the 2008 incursion into neighboring Georgia, when Russia sought to blunt international criticism of its aggression by pushing alternative explanations online.
The same tactics, researchers said, helped Russia shape international opinions about its 2014 annexation of Crimea and its military intervention in Syria, which started last year. Russian propaganda operations also worked to promote the “Brexit” departure of Britain from the European Union.  (our emphasis)
Now Putin's dreams have been realized. An autocratic demagogue in the form of neo- fascist and Putin useful idiot Donald "Rump" Trump has become president- elect (thanks to an archaic, anti- democratic mechanism), after a vicious, post- truth campaign that left America more divided and cynical than perhaps ever before. Furthermore, the concept of a "firehose of falsehood" can be seen to have been successfully deployed not only by the Russian propaganda machine but by their favored candidate himself and his hordes of knuckle- draggers in the wingnut Wurlitzer.

The "firehose of falsehood" that Rump employed during the campaign has been amply documented by PolitiFact, the WaPo fact checker, Politico, and others.  No presidential candidate in modern history has been the source of such outlandish, demonstrably false and inflammatory nonsense as Rump.  No candidate in modern history relied on this deluge of lies, innuendo, and deception more than Rump did, in order to divert attention from that other "firehose":  his encyclopedic range of chicanery, scandals and offenses against decency that overwhelmed the senses on a daily basis. An overwhelmed corporate media whose business models dictated that they gave as much uncritical attention to the demagogue as possible was thus largely precluded from telling the truth about what was plain for all to see. They found it easier to harp on a few Clinton nothingburgers day after day than to deal with the avalanche of evidence that Rump was a fatal bacteria being inserted into the political bloodstream of the country.

As was once said in a different time, a lie will travel around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on. Today we're in a new age -- when you have firehoses of modern technology, combined with a sinister foreign government, a supine media, and a sociopathic demagogue for whom no lie is too outrageous or malicious if it advances him, all working in concert -- and we're not sure the truth has a chance at all anymore.

BONUS:  Another piece of the Putin/ Rump/ neo- Nazi picture emerges.

The "Mandate" Lie

Immediately after the election, a number of Rethuglicans rushed to the cameras to declare that sociopathic fraudster Donald "Rump" Trump had won a "mandate" based on his electoral college win. Among them were Ayn Rand acolyte House Speaker Paul "Lyin'" Ryan, who spent the campaign criticizing and avoiding Rump but who now wants to bask in Rump's orange glow, and Rethuglican National Committee chairstain and weasel / human hybrid Reince "Prepuce" Priebus, who worked behind the scenes to derail Rump during the primaries, but who later signed on and became one of his most servile sychophants.

With the popular vote margin for Secretary Clinton over Rump mounting (over 2 million and still counting), not to mention Rethug losses of two Senate seats and six seats in the House, the Rethugs are hard pressed to claim any "mandate," especially for issues that weren't even debated (prominently, the fate of the social safety net, i.e. Medicare privatization that Lyin' Ryan is eager to pursue). Currently, Clinton's percentage of the popular vote is approximately 48%, compared to Rump's 46%. When you add in the votes for the third party candidates, 53% of voters voted against Rump (we'll give you a full accounting when the final votes are tallied). Not a mandate, unless you live in the alternate universe of right-wing politics and math.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Today, we're gathering with family and friends, enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and remembering family that has passed before. We're thankful for what we have and prefer to celebrate the spirit (or myth if you wish) of the first Thanksgiving, when strangers to this land were met with food and fellowship.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

BONUS:  Just in case, if you need some facts to fall back on at the Thanksgiving table with angry Uncle Clyde, here you go. Or, alternatively, in the words of Stephen Colbert,
“This year, you have a family duty to treat your political opinion just like grandma’s jello mold. Choke it down and keep it down until the guests leave.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Today's Contrasting Portrait And Cartoon

(click on images to enlarge)

Posthumous portrait of President John F. Kennedy, painted by Aaron Shikler.

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

The New York Times Is Whitewashing History And Kissing "Mr. President" Trump's Ass, Too

The tweets don't lie (unlike some "journalists"):

Boehlert's referring to this "too stupid for words" analysis (with an emphasis on "anal") in the New York Effing Times:

Meanwhile, the transcript of the shitgibbon's meeting yesterday with the intrepid news hounds at the New York Effing Times comes out, so let's see what probing questions they asked:

Given that that NYT "reporter" is Trump enabler and "Hamilton" manners arbiter Maggie Haberman, one's expectations must be lowered considerably... oh, and Haberman, he's not the president yet, you slavering, ingratiating ass- kisser.
We all know the answer to that one (see, "Haberman, Maggie" for starters).

We'll No Longer Be Using "Alt-Right" To Describe White Supremacists And Nazis

From now on, we'll no longer be using the term "alt- right" to characterize the white supremacists/ white nationalists/ neo- Nazis that have come out from their hidey holes following the election of the shitgibbon. This is actually something we were first inspired to do by a Think Progress piece the other day, which said in part:
You can learn everything you need to know about the “alt-right” by looking at the man who popularized its name. Credit goes to Richard Spencer, head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute (NPI), and one of the country’s leading contemporary advocates of ideological racism. [snip] 
So you might wonder what, if anything, distinguishes the alt-right from more hidebound racist movements such as the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. The answer is very little, except for a bit of savvy branding and a fondness for ironic Twitter memes. Spencer and his ilk are essentially standard-issue white supremacists who discovered a clever way to make themselves appear more innocuous — even a little hip.
They say that they "won't do racists' public relations work for them." Neither will we.

We're finding a few news and opinion outlets are getting on the same page, too.

As Lindy West at The Guardian puts it,
... [I]f declaring the superiority of the white race, quoting Nazi propaganda, calling for “peaceful ethnic cleansing”, and provoking Nazi salutes from his audience isn’t enough to qualify one as a neo-Nazi, then where on earth is the bar? What is the hesitation? And, given the close ties between the “alt-right” and Trump’s cabinet, how is the top story on every front page not some version of “NEO-NAZIS ATTEMPTING TO SEIZE CONTROL OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT”?
KUOW, a Seattle news and information radio station is choosing to use white nationalism and white supremacism in place of "alt- right":
Alt-right, short for alternative right, is a loose, online community that Stephen K. Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist, has pushed as chief executive of Breitbart News. Breitbart News promotes racist and sexist stories like "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive And Crazy." For a while the news site designated some stories “black crime.” 
Given that bent, alt-right sounded too soft to us. Would our listeners understand that alt-right is another way of saying white supremacist? [snip] 
Cathy Duchamp, KUOW’s managing editor, wrote in a memo to the staff:

The takeaways:  ‘alt right’ doesn’t mean anything, and normalizes something that is far from normal. So we need to plain-speak it. 
This may change. Alt-right may become better defined and understood by the general public. But until then, we will avoid vague words that neutralize anti-social and abnormal ways of thinking. 
Lindy West concludes in her article, "Be brave, writers, and be honest. If you see a Nazi, say a Nazi." As you might imagine, we don't hold out much hope that the vast majority of the "mainstream media" will summon the courage to call these rat droppings what they are. Corporate media business models that depend on access, advertisers, clicks and not offending the offensive are powerful counterweights to speaking truth to power.

Well, we and others won't wait for writers and the media to be brave and honest. We'll just go ahead and do our small part regardless.

Mid-Week Not Ready To Make Nice Song

The Dixie Chicks are the top-selling all-female band in the last 25 years, with 13 Grammy Awards to their credit. But as you'll recall, in March 2003, the Chicks ran into a wingnut buzzsaw when during a London concert, they said that they were ashamed that Dumbya was from their home state of Texas. Even though this was nine days before the misbegotten Iraq War was launched, costing many thousands of lives, jingoistic right wingers in radio and in the country music world boycotted them for exercising their First Amendment rights. Their career bounced back eventually, and their song about the experience of being threatened and shunned, "Not Ready to Make Nice," won three Grammy Awards and remains their best-selling song to date. It's also a timely song in these days of threats against opponents of a certain shitgibbon and calls to "unite" behind him. Not ready to make nice, indeed. Enjoy.
"And how in the world
Can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they'd write me a letter
Saying that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tweets And Miracle Of The Day - Normalizing Media Edition

Notice in the tweet below how CBS News characterizes the reception afforded neo- fascist media bully Donald "Rump" Trump today ("... greeted with cheers") and then listen for yourself:

Like Jesus turned water into wine, CBS News has miraculously turned boos into cheers! Now that's news you can trust!  Welcome to Trump's America!  Booo!  (That's a cheer!)

Hours later the language of the tweet hasn't been changed by CBS News, even though the announcer clearly noted that there were boos. Rump really must have gotten to those network execs at his shakedown meeting yesterday (CBS President and Rump cheerleader Les Moonves: "How long would you like me to bend over and grab my ankles, sir?").

Some responses:

It goes on, but you get the idea - it's the same lying, normalizing, bar- lowering media we've come to loathe.

Today's Cartoon Threefer - The Art Of The Steal

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(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

BONUS:  Here's a short primer on the emerging Trump Kleptocracy by Paul Waldman.

Neutering Resistance To Trump: Beware The "That's Why Trump Won" Trope

Excellent point, but always keep in mind he didn't "win" the popular vote:

(h/t Balloon Juice)

"Carpe Crotch-Em" And The Art of Fraud

From the master satirist Stephen Colbert, riffing last night on the $25 million Trump "University" fraud case settlement paid to his victims by fraudster and master con man Donald "Rump" Trump, an address to the "graduating plaintiffs":

"...You are uniquely poised to take on that challenge, because real world experience is the best teacher. And you’ve been conned by a master. I hope and pray that you will take the lessons of Trump University with you. The future is what you make of it! And also, never take business advice from a man who can’t sell vodka or steaks....So go out there and be a shining example of Trump University’s timeless motto: ‘Carpe Crotch-em.’”
It's pathetic that the corporate media in this country decided that covering non-scandals of the Clinton Foundation -- which provides many millions to fight disease and poverty -- was far more important than covering Rump's real ones, among them Trump "University" (which drained the savings of thousands of trusting people) and his self-dealing "Foundation." Shame.

Today's Video - Driven To Distraction

Here's Seth Meyers on how the media's obsession with shiny objects distracts them from covering the burgeoning scandals of thin- skinned, bullying jackass Donald "Rump" Trump:

It would also seem that Rump's need for retaliation/ vengeance/ score- settling occupies more of his time and interest than does trying to disavow the neo- Nazi lice that are infesting his "movement." Revealing.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon - "Thankfulness Not Guaranteed"

(click on image to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Backscratching, Rump and the Media Edition (UPDATED)

If you thought our broken corporate media shamed itself in the last election in its both siderism and failure to investigate neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's numerous frauds and dangerous foreign entanglements, it shouldn't surprise you that the shitgibbon met with a gaggle of network news executives and anchors today - and it was all "off the record" (OTR):
"There is much for the group to talk about. Trump has long-standing relationships with many in the TV news business -- but he also waged an anti-media crusade during his campaign for president. There are many looming questions about whether Trump will provide the same levels of press access that past presidents have permitted, like a traveling 'press pool' and regular news conferences."
Translation: Rump will give access to the celebrity-obsessed "news" organizations only if those organizations "treat him fairly," i.e., only flattering puff pieces, no more stories about the nature of his connection to Russia and Putin, no more stories about his corrupt dealings during the transition, etc. The better coverage, the better the access, right? Many of these money-grubbing executives will take the bait, especially during the "honeymoon" period of the new administration and since they've already largely ignored his ongoing shocking corruption, as we note in the post below. By organizing this meeting, Rump's media "fixer," piranha / human hybrid Kellyanne Conway, thinks that she and Rump can cajole or scare enough of them to go along with her media strategy and continue to normalize Rump. Sadly for our democracy, she's on to something.

UPDATE:  According to some perhaps some self- serving =cough= Trump =cough= leaking, the meeting may not have gone well.  In addition, a meeting the shitgibbon was to have with the New York Effing Times today, well:
President-elect Donald Trump canceled a meeting with The New York Times Tuesday because it changed the terms “at the last minute,” a claim the paper disputes.  
Trump was scheduled to meet off-the-record with Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and a few other key representatives of the paper before participating in an on-the-record session with the reporters and editorial columnists, a Times spokeswoman told The Huffington Post on Monday. 
This is the giant toddler who will soon be in charge of the nuclear codes, Armed Forces, and intelligence services.

UPDATE II:  Shame on the servile, Groundhog Day media --

Forget Fake News - Here's How "Real" News Isn't Covered

Beyond the miasma that is right- wing "fake news," our elite mainstream, "liberal" media is also enabling the corruption of American democracy by assiduously downplaying the emerging conflicts of interest scandals of neo- fascist con artist Donald "Rump" Trump.  As this tweet points out, the "liberal" New York Effing Times made just such a decision yesterday on what was "important" for its readers to know:

(click on image to enlarge)

BONUS:  Notice the lower left column article: Rump son- in- law Jared Kushner is a "steadying hand?"  Do they mean the guy who is "leading the infighting" on the transition, pursuing a vendetta against Gov. Chris "Krispykreme" Christie and his original transition team?  That's one helluva beat- sweetening gambit, intrepid reporters (one whom is Rump- curious and boo- averse Maggie "Miss Manners" Haberman)!  Thus begins the process of members of the elite media selling their souls for access.

Sic transit gloria, America.

UPDATE:  The latest conflict of interest/ shakedown by Trump, Inc., that you won't hear or read about in the "mainstream media."

Meet Your Dudebro Fake News Entrepreneurs

If you want to get an insight on what kind of bottom- dwelling slug produces the fake news that millions of low- information/ high- "economic anxiety" Americans take as The Truth, look no further than this profile of two 20- something dudebros in Long Beach, CA. Moral ciphers Paris Wade and Ben Goldman run a creepy site called (please don't give them traffic!) that deals in the most hair afire, made up nonsense about progressives that you're likely to read (but, again, please don't). These two deplorables use social media platforms (notably Facebook) to generate revenue, and they don't much care how they do it because, well, it's so darn easy to fleece the rubes:
At a time of continuing discussion over the role that hyperpartisan websites, fake news and social media play in the divided America of 2016, LibertyWritersNews illustrates how websites can use Facebook to tap into a surging ideology, quickly go from nothing to influencing millions of people and make big profits in the process. Six months ago, Wade and his business partner, Ben Goldman, were unemployed restaurant workers. Now they’re at the helm of a website that gained 300,000 Facebook followers in October alone and say they are making so much money that they feel uncomfortable talking about it because they don’t want people to start asking for loans. (our emphasis)
"... they don't want people to start asking for loans." Or the I.R.S. asking for income taxes perhaps?

What follows in the article are some odious examples of the fake news sewage these two young hucksters like to gin up, but this exchange boils down their business model:
“All successful journalism has shock value,” Goldman says as he and Wade sit at their computers later that day.  
“There was once a lot more competition among newspapers,” Wade says. “It was like a race to see who could write the craziest s---.” 
“And whoever wrote the craziest s--- won,” Goldman says. 
“There used to be a joke that every single day a new world war started,” Wade says. “Because that’s what sold papers.”
In their world of living for clicks and page views, they write their fake news to attract the biggest audience possible, searching for those who are already disposed to accept the Alex Jones/ National Enquirer world view and style of "communication."  Thus, in their own words, they're in competition with the likes of those termites in the foundation of democracy to "see who could write the craziest s---."  And that pretty much sums up the product of their enterprise.

The kicker?
Raised in liberal homes, they both voted for Obama twice, but as they struggled to find better jobs, they began to doubt those votes, their college education and the progressive values with which they were raised.
It's all Obama's fault!

We'd have to say they may have been raised with those "progressive values," but they sure didn't stick very long.

(Image:  Writer for

It Was Much More Than "The Economy, Stupid"

As we suffer through the continual misreading of the election returns by corporate media talking heads and Republican-wired pundits, it's worth noting that the average voter for neo-fascist narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump was doing pretty well economically. Rather, he was hurting socially, longing for a time when whites (or more specifically, white males) were in control of the economy and culture, as Jack Schwartz notes in the Daily Beast:
"Make no mistake, this election was not primarily about the economy. For Trump’s adherents, it was about nothing less than saving the soul of the nation. Their quarrel with government was not that they were doing badly but that 'the others' were making inroads, catching up, and, if unchecked, they would somehow surpass the Real Americans. The impulses of Trump’s legions were not racial, but tribal. What was “elite” about their foes was not their finances but their fluidity, their openness to change, which conservatives saw as a challenge not to their pocketbooks but a threat to their belief system." (emphasis added)
There will be counter-arguments that because Rump won in white, blue-collar communities, his economic "message" (mainly deport immigrants and start trade wars) resonated with them. But within that "message" was a blatant appeal to racial resentment, misogyny, and religious bigotry. "The others" -- minorities, immigrants, women in the workplace -- were to blame for the Rust Belt's flagging economy (disregarding the jobs that had moved not across the border but to Dixie to companies in right-to-work states, among other factors). "The others'" gains needed to be rolled back, the Rump voter was told, in order for white America to "take our country back," or to "make America great again." However, the way Rethuglican policies are shaping up, for example, regarding Medicare, Medicaid, and affordable health care, his voters will have to live with the dire consequences of being conned into voting against their self-interests once again.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Across The Universe, Cont. - "A Subtle Swarm"

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ESA November 14, 2016:  This Hubble image shows NGC 4789A, a dwarf irregular galaxy in the constellation of Coma Berenices. It certainly lives up to its name — the stars that call this galaxy home are smeared out across the sky in an apparently disorderly and irregular jumble, giving NGC 4789A a far more subtle and abstract appearance than its glitzy spiral and elliptical cousins.

These stars may look as if they have been randomly sprinkled on the sky, but they are all held together by gravity. The colours in this image have been deliberately exaggerated to emphasise the mix of blue and red stars. The blue stars are bright, hot and massive stars that have formed relatively recently, whereas the red stars are much older. The presence of both tells us that stars have been forming in this galaxy throughout its history.

At a distance of just over 14 million light-years away NGC 4789A is relatively close to us, allowing us to see many of the individual stars within its bounds. This image also reveals numerous other galaxies, far more distant, that appear as fuzzy shapes spread across the image.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Acknowledgements: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)

That Was Then, This Is Now



No word on whether sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump grabbed Willard "Mittens" Romney by the p*ssy during yesterday's meeting, or whether he got that "lousy hat." Rethugs are nothing if not amoral hypocrites.

(photo: Associated Press)

Photo Of The Day - Here's The Swamp That Just Oozed Into Washington

(click on image to enlarge)

That's person semi- known for being semi- known Tila Tequila on the right (luckily her right arm isn't incapacitated for saluting) at this weekend's gathering of anti- Semites, alt- righters, neo- Nazis, "white nationalists" and other assorted misfits and loons at the white supremacist National Policy Institute's annual meeting in Washington, DC.  The other two saluting nitwits are unidentified.  (This picture is from her Twitter, and includes the mis-spelled message "Seig heil!")

Feeling emboldened by the "election" of their hero, neo- fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump, they're emerging from trash heaps, from under rocks and, of course, the swamp, to pledge their loyalty and take credit for Rump's election, when they're not busy spray painting swastikas, assaulting non- whites, or otherwise Making America Great Again.

This is what over 60 million Americans voted for, whether they want to admit it to themselves or not. This is "white nationalism," though it looks an awful lot like Nazism, salutes and all.

(h/t Little Green Footballs)