Tuesday, January 31, 2017

European Union Leader: U.S. Now A "Threat" Under Trump

Neo- fascist chaos moron Donald "Rump" Trump sure has made a mark in just over a week:
The leader of the European Union put longtime ally the United States in a “threat” category on Tuesday, insisting that President Donald Trump is contributing to the “highly unpredictable” outlook for the bloc. 
In a letter to 27 EU leaders before Friday’s summit in Malta, EU President Donald Tusk mentioned the Trump administration as part of an external “threat” together with China, Russia, radical Islam, war and terror.  (our emphasis)
Nearly 70 years of post- World War II alliance- building and relative peace and stability -- changed, perhaps never to be quite the same again.  Sic transit gloria, America.

(Photo:  What would that moron know, or why would he care?)

Russian Military Attacks Surge In Ukraine

Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine (Donbas) have stepped up their attacks on Ukrainian military forces, according to reports from the region. The separatists launched an attack on the eastern city of Avdiyivka, resulting in eight Ukrainian troops killed and 25 wounded. A cease fire was signed two years ago, and remains in effect despite numerous skirmishes between the Russian-backed forces and Ukrainian military. Russian autocrat Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin has visions of a "Greater Russia" that would include part or all of Ukraine and other former Soviet republics (most likely the Baltic states). His invasion and annexation of the Ukrainian area of Crimea in March 2014 resulted in sanctions being placed on Russia by the U.S. and its NATO allies. Sociopath and Putin poodle Donald "Rump" Trump has indicated a willingness to look at lifting the sanctions, again raising concerns about his undisclosed ties to Russia and the gratitude he may feel toward them for their help in the election.

Last Saturday, Rump phoned Putin and discussed restoring more "stable" relations with Russia, including joint actions in Syria and the situation in Ukraine. Whether Rump signaled Putin that his subversive military activities in Ukraine were not of concern to the U.S. remains to be seen, but the new aggressiveness of Putin's forces there is likely no coincidence.

Compare And Contrast Photos Of The Day - NSC Edition

Though we believe you shouldn't "judge a book by its cover," we are making an exception in the case of the membership of the re- shuffled National Security Council.

Here is the newest member, empowered to attend all "principals committee" meetings:

(White nationalist Trump advisor Steve Bannon)

Here is the member disempowered to attend only those NSC meetings "relevant to his portfolio":

(Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, USMC, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff)

Really gives you an enhanced sense of ... national security, doesn't it?

Today's Cartoon Threefer - National Shame

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

(David Horsey, Los Angeles Times)

National Shame

You couldn't toss a rock this morning and not hit a news story, an editorial or op/ ed about neo- fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's un- American Muslim ban.

Our first order of business is to debunk Rump's and his cast of lying sycophants' claim that only 109 people are being affected by the Muslim ban. That would be off by a magnitude of several tens of thousands: it's more like 90,000.  Always remember these poor excuses for human beings are pathological liars.

Now, here are a few opinions that caught our eye (as always, please check out the full piece at the link).

Frequent blind squirrel and former Bush speechwriter Michael "Mushroom Cloud" Gerson rips Rump a new one:
The image of President Trump, flanked by Vice President Pence and Defense Secretary James Mattis, signing an executive order that (among other things) excludes Syrian refugees from the United States, is indelible. Three powerful American leaders, targeting and dehumanizing some of the most vulnerable people on Earth. A picture of bullying. A picture of cruelty. A picture of national shame.
You can skip Gerson's last paragraph, where he feels obliged to cite Ronnie Reagan as a counterpoint. Reagan, of course, is the spiritual father of these assorted white nationalists and nihilists running the show now. Look it up on Breitbart or WND ("wing nut daily"), Gerson. They see all kinds of similarities.

Catherine Rampell reminds us of the colossal cowardice and hypocrisy that's part of the Republican Party's DNA:
Where, exactly, is the red line for Republicans in Congress right now? 
We have a president with pronounced authoritarian tendencies, who believes he “alone can fix it”; who signs sweeping executive orders reportedly without even briefing relevant Cabinet members on the logistical, humanitarian and national security consequences; who directs his staff and surrogates to lie about the tiniest and most ridiculous and easily fact-checkable of details; and whose staffers brought us to the brink of a constitutional crisis when they ignored federal court orders. [snip] 
A mere year ago, Republican leaders condemned Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the United States. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) said it was “not conservatism.” Then-Gov. Mike Pence (Ind.) called it “offensive and unconstitutional.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) called it “completely and totally inconsistent with American values.” Senator and then-presidential-candidate Marco Rubio (Fla.) agreed, saying, “It violates a lot of the things that we think about our country.”
Maybe when perceive that their own skinny necks are on the electoral chopping block they'll suddenly see that "red line." Or not.

Jonathan Alter on "the least American president of the United States":
The most striking thing about President Trump’s first 10 days in office is that the ardent nationalist who pledged to put “America first” is emerging as the least American president of the United States. 
By least American, I mean least connected to the larger democratic values that define the country. 
Our national identity is unique in the world because it’s based not on race, religion, or country of origin, but on ideals that transcend party 
Such ideals are at odds with a president who lies promiscuously, destabilizes the government with impulsive, discriminatory, and inhumane policies backed up with jarring firings, and cannot allow his White House to apologize or admir error under any circumstances, even for neglecting to mention Jews in a Holocaust commemoration. Those are the telltale signs of a foreign dictator, not an American leader. 
This morning*, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to confirm as Attorney General slimy neo- Confederate weasel Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (KKK- AL) who is said to have had his hand in the Muslim ban order as well as other un- American actions by this White (supremacist) House junta.  With that knowledge alone, as we say in the post below, if there's one Democrat on the committee or in the full Senate who votes for this "thing," he or she should be written out of the Democratic Party.  Period.'

* The vote today was delayed, not in small part because the Russo Republicans couldn't keep their half-assed members in the room long enough to vote.

White Nationalist Terrorism In Canada

The horrific mass terrorist shooting at a Quebec City mosque on Sunday was committed by a white nationalist admirer of French right-wing leader Marine LePen and an "anti-feminist," according to reports. The killer, Alexandre Bissonnette, killed 6 and wounded 5 in his rampage. The day before the killings, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent a message of welcome to refugees being turned back by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers at U.S. airports.

Some on the staff of White (supremacist) House of sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump share the Quebec City killer's fondness for the European neo-fascist right, in particular Rump's chief "strategist" and white nationalist propagandist Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon.  The addition of racist Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to Rump's cabinet as Attorney General would bolster the cabal. Any Democratic Senator that votes to confirm his nomination should be shunned and shamed for betraying what once were America's core values.

Easy, If You're White and Christian

TV host James Corden conducted a simple test at LAX of how simple it is to navigate security and board a flight....if you're white and Christian.

Meanwhile, the chaos unleashed over the weekend and after last night's firing of courageous Acting Attorney General Sally Yates continues to breed anger and dismay over this unhinged administration's actions.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Acting Attorney General Says Justice Dept. Won't Defend Trump Muslim Ban (UPDATED)

 Standing up for the law and the Constitution at Justice:
In a stunning announcement Monday afternoon, acting Attorney General Sally Yates said the Justice Department won’t defend President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking all refugees and certain foreign nationals. 
“I am responsible for ensuring that the positions we take in court remain consistent with this institution’s solemn obligation to always seek justice and stand for what is right,” Yates, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote to Justice Department lawyers, the New York Times first reported. “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful.” (our emphasis)
Whether they'll fire her before or after the Russo- Republicans confirm Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General is the only question now.

The response from the White House, via "Baghdad Sean" Spicer?
... In a startlingly combative response, White House spokesman Sean Spicer challenged those opposed to the measure to resign. 
"They should either get with the program or they can go," Spicer said. 
FU you amoral little weasel.

UPDATE:  Rump fired her Monday night.  Karoli at Crooks & Liars has a revealing clip from Ms. Yates' confirmation hearing.

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon - The Mad King

(click on image to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

"Constitutional Crisis" Over Trump's Defiance of Court Order

In a show of lawless defiance, the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been defying an emergency stay order by U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema to allow attorneys to speak with detained Muslims at Dulles International Airport. Democratic Congressmen including Jaime Raskin (MD), Gerald Connolly (VA), and Don Beyer (VA) went to Dulles to insist that the court order be obeyed, but were rebuffed by CBP agents. The defiance is apparently at the direction of the DHS, following ill-conceived and unvetted orders issued Friday by authoritarian bigot Donald "Rump" Trump. In some instances, detainees were forced by CBP agents to surrender their "green cards," which document their legal resident status, in a chaotic atmosphere of confusion about Rump's order. Congressman Beyer later tweeted:

To see where your representative stands, go to this link, and raise hell if they support this assault on due process under the Constitution.

The CEOs of major companies are going on record opposing Rump's order, which excludes countries where Rump's companies are doing business (including the Wahhabi nest of the 9-11 terrorists, Saudi Arabia). Senate Democrats, let by Sen. Chuck Schumer (NY) are introducing legislation to void Rump's order, as he pledged in emotional remarks in New York yesterday.

Chart Of The Day - Rare Events

Always remember, it's not about "safety," it's about white nationalist bigotry.

(click on image to enlarge)

Malevolence Only Exceeded By Incompetence, And Vice Versa*

What you might expect from a neo- fascist nitwit Donald "Rump" Trump's Russo- Republican administration -- astounding incompetence:
As President Trump signed a sweeping executive order on Friday, shutting the borders to refugees and others from seven largely Muslim countries, the secretary of homeland security was on a White House conference call getting his first full briefing on the global shift in policy. 
Gen. John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, had dialed in from a Coast Guard plane as he headed back to Washington from Miami. Along with other top officials, he needed guidance from the White House, which had not asked his department for a legal review of the order. 
Halfway into the briefing, someone on the call looked up at a television in his office. “The president is signing the executive order that we’re discussing,” the official said, stunned.  (our emphasis)
When even the Bushie neo- cons desert you:
Former CIA director Michael V. Hayden said that the order and other possible measures have probably forced U.S. diplomats, military commanders and agency station chiefs abroad into damage-control mode. 
“We’ve got good people who will work hard at it, but there is no question that this has already created an irretrievable cost,” Hayden said. The refu­gee order “inarguably has made us less safe. It has taken draconian measures against a threat that was hyped. The byproduct is it feeds the Islamic militant narrative and makes it harder for our allies to side with us.”  (our emphasis)
And, from Eliot A. Cohen:
There was nothing unanticipated in this first disturbing week of the Trump administration. It will not get better. Americans should therefore steel themselves, and hold their representatives to account. Those in a position to take a stand should do so, and those who are not should lay the groundwork for a better day. There is nothing great about the America that Trump thinks he is going to make; but in the end, it is the greatness of America that will stop him.
And, dog help us, even from the fount of evil himself:
"I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from," Cheney said [snip] 
Cheney called Trump's plan a "mistaken notion" and said to solve refugee and immigration problems, the U.S. must examine why they need to leave their countries in the first place.
[At which point he combusted in a flaming, sulfurous ball.]

It takes a special level of crazy to get the attention of those folks. That's where we are right now.

* h/t LGM.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Tweets Of The Day

On the fiction that neo- fascist pathological liar Donald "Rump" Trump's immigration executive order was not a "Muslim ban" (in violation of the Immigration Act of 1965), watch Rudy "Noun Verb 9/11" Giuliani shit the bed for Rump:

Along with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration, an influential voice speaks out:

Why none should fear standing up to the vile toads in the White House:

Across The Universe (Cont.)

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, January 23, 2017:  The lesser-known constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs), is home to a variety of deep-sky objects — including this beautiful galaxy, known as NGC 4861. Astronomers are still debating on how to classify it: While its physical properties — such as mass, size and rotational velocity — indicate it to be a spiral galaxy, its appearance looks more like a comet with its dense, luminous “head” and dimmer “tail” trailing behind. Features more fitting with a dwarf irregular galaxy.

Although small and messy, galaxies like NGC 4861 provide astronomers with interesting opportunities for study. Small galaxies have lower gravitational potentials, which simply means that it takes less energy to move stuff about inside them than it does in other galaxies. As a result, moving in, around, and through such a tiny galaxy is quite easy to do, making them far more likely to be suffused with streams and outflows of speedy charged particles known as galactic winds, which can flood such galaxies with little effort.

These galactic winds can be powered by the ongoing process of star formation, which involves huge amounts of energy. New stars are springing into life within the bright, colourful ‘head’ of NGC 4861 and ejecting streams of high-speed particles as they do so, which flood outwards to join the wider galactic wind. While NGC 4861 would be a perfect candidate to study such winds, recent studies did not find any galactic winds in it.

Credit:  ESA/Hubble & NASA

Department of Extreme Understatement

"This was an extreme vetting program that wasn't properly vetted." -- Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, dryly commenting on CNN on authoritarian sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump's abrupt order banning travel from several Muslim countries, even for those in transit holding valid visas. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice were given little or no warning of Rump's executive order, which apparently is going to be the seat-of-the-pants "management" style of his White (supremacist) House, and specifically that of wingnut propagandist and chief "strategist" Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon.  Rump's chief of staff and human/weasel hybrid Reince "Prepuce" Priebus contradicted himself on NBC this morning, seeming unsure of what Rump's policy actually was. 

We suppose in one sense we're fortunate that they're so incompetent, and their vicious "policies" are so poorly thought out and executed, it gives the opposition greater leverage and chances of winning in the Federal courts -- and ultimately in the court of public opinion.

Sunday Reflection

A reminder that we're supposed to be better than the dystopia of neo- fascist white nationalist Donald "Rump" Trump:

“The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respected Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges…” -- George Washington, the anti- Trump.

Rump's Insane Move For The NSC

We note in the post below that White House chief "strategist" and former right-wing hate website executive Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon has been in the thick of the un-Constitutional order to detain and deport Muslims with lawful visas without due process. In another inexplicable move, delusional neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump has purged the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from regular meetings of the National Security Council (NSC), and given Bannon a permanent seat on the NSC. It's hard to imagine a more dangerous step to place a vile propagandist on the National Security Council while limiting the heads of the military services and the Director of National Intelligence to an "invitation only" status. The National Security Council advises Presidents on national security and foreign affairs matters, areas in which Bannon has no credible experience. It points to right-wing politicization of national security matters over experience-based  counsel. It could also be a forewarning that Rump intends to use the Council for domestic "security" purposes -- a chillingly real possibility.

Along with placing wrecking balls at the head of various Departments in order to undermine their missions, Rump has now given a white nationalist loon a permanent chair on the National Security Council, while disinviting officials who are best equipped to advise him on an ongoing basis. That is insane.

Deranged Trump Thinks Muslim Ban Is "Working Out Very Nicely" (UPDATED)

(click on image to enlarge)

(Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune; the image refers to this abomination)

From the mouth of the delusional crackpot himself:
"It's working out very nicely," Trump told reporters. "You see it at the airports. You see it all over. It's working out very nicely and we're going to have a very, very strict ban, and we're going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years."
For visual evidence of how the crackpot's Muslim ban policy is "working out very nicely," let's take his lead that "You see it at the airports," and go here for how it's working at the airports in Seattle, Chicago, Dallas/ Ft. Worth, San Diego, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis and Philadelphia (there was also a huge demonstration at Washington Dulles). Also, here.

CNN reports on the reality of the clusterf*ck that has evil eminence Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon's fingerprints all over it:
The policy team at the White House developed the executive order on refugees and visas, and largely avoided the traditional interagency process that would have allowed the Justice Department and homeland security agencies to provide operational guidance, according to numerous officials who spoke to CNN on Saturday. 
Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Department of Homeland Security leadership saw the final details shortly before the order was finalized, government officials said. 
Friday night, DHS arrived at the legal interpretation that the executive order restrictions applying to seven countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen -- did not apply to people who with lawful permanent residence, generally referred to as green card holders.
There had been some debate whether green card holders should be even allowed to board international flights. It was decided by the Department of Homeland Security they could fly to the US and would be considered on a case-by-case basis after passing a secondary screening. 
But the guidance sent to airlines on Friday night, obtained by CNN, said clearly, "lawful permanent residents are not included and may continue to travel to the USA." 
As of Saturday afternoon, Customs and Border Protection continued to issue the same guidance to airlines as it did Friday, telling airlines that fly to the US that green card holders can board planes to the US but they may get extra scrutiny on arrival, according to an airline official. 
Before the President issued the order, the White House did not seek the legal guidance of the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that interprets the law for the executive branch. A source said the executive order did not follow the standard agency review process that's typically overseen by the National Security Council, though the source couldn't specifically say if that included the decision to not have the order go through the Office of Legal Counsel. 
Separately, a person familiar with the matter said career officials in charge of enforcing the executive order were not fully briefed on the specifics until Friday. The officials were caught off guard by some of the specifics and raised questions about how to handle the new banned passengers on US-bound planes. 
Regarding the green card holders and some of the confusion about whether they were impacted, the person familiar with the matter said if career officials had known more about the executive order earlier, some of the confusion could have been avoided and a better plan could be in place.
(It doesn't warm our hearts much to know that, had "career officials" known more about the executive order, they could have helped put a better plan in place. That's exactly what we need - a bureaucracy willing and eager to enable this fascist's un-American plans in a more efficient way.)

As the folks at Lawyers, Guns and Money have it: "The Trump Administration’s Incompetence Is Exceeded Only By Its Malevolence, And Vice Versa".

Following a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, a Federal judge ordered a temporary restraining order blocking part of Rump's ban (judges in Seattle, Boston and Virginia have also weighed in):
Late Saturday night, a federal judge in Brooklyn temporarily halted parts of President Donald Trump’s sweeping executive order that aimed to block the entry of Syrian refugees and impose a de facto ban on travelers coming from several Muslim-majority countries. [snip] 
“The petitioners have a strong likelihood of success in establishing that the removal of the petitioners and others similarly situated violates the rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York wrote in her order.
Being the lawless, illegitimate fascists they are, Rump's Homeland Security (at the behest of Bannon, who is point fascist on implementation) is defying the court order and says it will continue to uphold Rump's directive.

And we're 8 days into this nightmare.

UPDATE: Rump's despicable order strands Iraqis with lawful visas that served as interpreters and aides to the U.S. military in Iraq. The next time we reach out for assistance from them to fight terrorists, does anyone think they'll risk their lives and those of their families to help us? Hell no.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Tweet Of The Day

This is what strong, enlightened, humane leadership looks like:

Take that, Cheeto Benito, you affront to humanity!

Alternate Facts, Alternate Hands

Not only is the White (supremacist) House of delusional and plainly insecure Donald "Rump" Trump engaged in "alternate facts" spewing, it looks like they're also doing a little creative enlargement of Rump's delicate hands. Compare the original Getty Images with the White House photo in this gif: There's some serious overcompensation going on here.

(h/t to Wonkette)

Today's Cartoon Twofer - A Conning Linguist

(click on images to enlarge)

(Ed Hall, Halltoons.com)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Plus, he'll throw in a scholarship to Trump University.

Mosque Fire In Texas Following Muslim Ban

Hours after bigoted demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump signed an Executive Order banning Muslims from specific countries from entering the U.S. for up to 120 days, a mosque in Victoria, Texas was set on fire last night. No one was injured in the fire, according to local fire officials, who are working with State and Federal law enforcement officials in their investigation. The mosque was burglarized last week, making arson as the cause of the fire more likely.

The fire also follows an anti-Muslim forum in Austin, Texas on January 26 attended by Islamophobes, among them wingnut shrieker Pam Geller of "Ground Zero Mosque" infamy. The investigation into the fire at the mosque should determine connections, if any, but the confluence of that "forum" and Rump's order with the subsequent mosque fire is striking.

BONUS:  Rump's order is already causing refugees, including people who worked for the U.S. Government in Iraq, to be detained at airports.  This is a developing shitstorm that's unnecessary, counterproductive, and highly immoral.

Lying and Delusion: Maher On Rump's First Week

Check out Bill Maher's monologue from last night's show looking at the first week of delusional narcissistic demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump.  Maher covers everything from Rump's obsession with crowd size (here a metaphor for Rump's insecurity about his own manhood), to his delusion about "millions" of illegal voters skewing the popular vote, to his constant lying, capped off with the "alternate facts" gaffe by Rump surrogate and piranha/human hybrid Kellyanne "Orwelly Anne" Conway. No wonder sales of George Orwell's novel "1984" are booming.

Executive Powers, Then And Now

You can file this under "IOKIYAR:"
For the past eight years, Republicans skewered President Obama as an "emperor" who acted outside of his "legal authority" for the executive orders he issued from the Oval Office. Now, they are cheering President Donald Trump as he issues a raft of his own. 
Trump has signed a dozen executive orders in his first few days in office, tackling everything from rolling back the Affordable Care Act's mandate to beginning construction on the Southern border wall to freezing federal hiring. Some Republicans cheered him on, while others, charged with overseeing and investigating executive oversight, have remained silent. 
The article quotes the "then" and "now" positions of some of the dimmest bulbs in the Republican chandelier, including Rep. Steve "Cantaloupe Calves" King (Tea Party- IA) and Sen. Ron "Small" Johnson (Plutocrat- WI).  Here's some more situational opining by dimbulb Reps. Mike "On The Ball" McCaul (Yahoo- TX) and Raul "Arf Arf" Labrador (Sovereign Citizen- ID).  You may remember that McCaul, chair of the Homeland Security Committee, was speculating about filing impeachment charges against Hillary Clinton ("assuming she wins") back in early November, so you can appreciate he's a man of consistently high moral standards and vision.

If a giant sieve was placed under the United States to collect only the basest, worst people, the remaining dregs would be the Republican Party.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Tweet Of The Day - Holocaust Remembrance Day (UPDATED)

From the Twitter account "St. Louis Manifest" ("On Holocaust Remembrance Day #WeRemember the victims of Naziism turned away at the doorstep of America in 1939. #RefugeesWelcome.") one of many poignant messages from the Jewish dead:

What does the "St. Louis Manifest" signify?
The MS St. Louis was a German ocean liner most notable for a single voyage in 1939, in which its captain, Gustav Schröder, tried to find homes for 908 Jewish refugees from Germany. After they were denied entry to Cuba, the United States, and Canada, the refugees were finally accepted in various European countries, and historians have estimated that approximately a quarter of them died in death camps during World War II. 
America has been here before and is on the verge again.

UPDATE:  Don't for a minute think that "reasonable" Cabinet members will be a barrier to Trump/ Bannon's worst instincts:

Weekend Musical Twofer

Minneapolis- native alt- country/ rock band The Jayhawks released their latest album, "Paging Mr. Proust," co- produced by R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, in April 2016. This is one of the cuts from that album, "Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces."

Our second selection was released in 1970 by Los Angeles- based blues/ rock band Canned Heat, "Let's Work Together," which made the top 10 in both the U.S. and U.K.  We endorse the lyrics as timely for the Trump resistance;  of course feel free to boogie, as the band intended.

Together we'll stand, divided we'll fall
Come on now people, let's get on the ball
And work together, come on, come on
Let's work together, (now now people)
Because together we will stand
Every boy, every girl and man

People, when things go wrong, as they sometimes will
And the road that you travel, it stays all uphill
Let's work together, come on, come on
Let's work together
You know together we will stand
Every boy, girl, woman and man

Honoring Holocaust Remembrance Day -- With A Criminal Alien List

What fresh evidence is there of the reality of the Orwellian shitpile we fell into a week ago today? There's so much to choose from -- paying off Putin by lifting economic sanctions, the "voter fraud" investigation that will end up as a cover for more voter suppression, the sabotaging of economic ties with major trading partner Mexico --  ad infinitum, all in a mere 7 days.  But this deserves special attention for that certain je ne sais quoi ripe odor of American fascism:
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Yesterday, however, Donald Trump decided to “celebrate” a day early by signing an executive order requiring the Secretary of Homeland Security to “make public a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens” — which is a thing the Nazis did back during the days of the Third Reich in a little magazine known as “The Criminal Jew!” Trump hopes this will convince people that all the immigrants are bad criminals whom we should hate, just as the Nazis… well, you know.
Perhaps neo- fascist authoritarian Donald "Rump" Trump, who reportedly kept a copy of speeches by Adolf Hitler by his bed, came up with the "idea" on his own. Or perhaps unhinged toad Steve "Bubble Boy" Bannon just cooked it up, without consulting adults. After all, the ex- Breitbart fascist's electronic rag was known to publish lists of crimes committed by African Americans under the tag "Black Crime" as a counterpoint to the Black Lives Matter movement, so we can well imagine this is another sick "idea" from this loathsome creep.

A Muslim registry (a revival of NSEERS?) is already in the works, after all.  But, their Islamophobia may only go so far: they may be exempting people from Muslim countries where (wait for it) there are Trump hotels and properties.

We know, surprising.

BONUS: By the way, guess who omitted mentioning Jews in his Holocaust Remembrance Day statement?

Assault On Liberty Cartoons of the Day

(click on images to enlarge)

Tom Toles, Washington Post

Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A flurry of executive actions -- many of which are likely to be challenged in court -- have issued from the White House of delusional autocratic narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump. From punishing "sanctuary cities," to muzzling Government climate science findings, to manufacturing a bogus "voter fraud" effort both to cater to Rump's fragile ego and to suppress anti-Trump votes, all point to the beginning of an authoritarian regime that will curtail civil liberties (starting with the First Amendment) and quell dissent. It's a regime that must be resisted if we want our democratic republic to survive.

Morning Reading

A few things to look at this morning. As always, please check out the entire articles at the links (our emphasis throughout).

Catherine Rampell on neo- fascist incompetent Donald "Rump" Trump's "management" style:
If this is what “running government like a business” looks like, it’s no wonder President Trump’s companies kept going bankrupt. 
One week into the presidency, we’ve gotten a taste of Trump’s management style. And so far it’s been plagued by many of the bad habits common to poorly run businesses.  
From what we had years to observe, Rump was a con artist, a fraud, an incompetent, and a world- class narcissist.  That he would be a teetotal disaster bringing those "skills" and temperament to the presidency was not lost on a majority of the voters. (And the incompetence trickles down, as they say.)

Adam Gopnik on why George Orwell would recognize Rump's America, with Rump's "voter fraud" witch snipe hunt as an example:
... Watch: there will be a “commission” consisting of experts borrowed from Breitbart; it will hold no hearings, or hold absurdly closed ones; or hold ones with testimony from frequent callers to “The Alex Jones Show”—and this clownish commission will then baldly conclude that there is, indeed, widespread evidence of voter fraud. And Trump will reassert the lie and point to his commission’s findings as his evidence. 
Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress, thoroughly intimidated, fear shining from one eye and cupidity from the other, will exploit the “question” of voter fraud to pursue policies of actually suppressing minority voters. 
Speaking of Congressional Republicans, Infidel asks of those who are whispering about Rump's unbalanced behavior:
My question to those "Republican officials" who are now suddenly so alarmed, though, is this -- have you been living in a cave for the last year and a half?  Trump didn't suddenly start behaving like this six days ago.  Throughout the whole primary and general-election campaign, he displayed the mental stability of a foul-mouthed, bad-tempered toddler.  Why didn't you stop him?  The Republican establishment's anti-Trump efforts are already going down in history as the epitome of fecklessness and cowardice.  "Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world," with H-bombs on standby yet, and now all of a sudden you've noticed that this guy is too unstable and impulsive to occupy the position you helped him get "elected" to?
Opinion writers and us bloggers are one thing. But reporters at the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle are possibly joining us in the reality- based world (several months too late), if you can judge by how their ledes are, for now, being written. Here's today's example.

Ashley Parker and Sean Sullivan have a "reality check" for Rump:
Many of the sweeping actions President Trump vowed this week through his executive orders and proclamations are unlikely to happen, either because they are impractical, opposed by Congress and members of his Cabinet, or full of legal holes. 
The reality — that yawning gap between what Trump says he will do and what he actually can do — underscores his chaotic start, which includes executive actions drafted by close aides rather than experts and without input from the agencies tasked with implementing them.
We'll be keeping an eye on the new articles and media reports to see how well and how long they keep pointing to Emperor Rump's lack of clothes and his catastrophic Russo- Republican administration.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump Approval Down To 36%

A new Quinnipiac poll released today shows that authoritarian narcissist and popular vote loser Donald "Rump" Trump has a job approval rating of only 36% of American voters after the first five days of his term in office. Forty-four percent disapprove, with 19% undecided / comatose. The split among women is 33% approve of President P*ssygrabber's job, while 50% disapprove. Only among Republicans were Rump's numbers solid: some 81% approve of his performance in the first five days, versus 77% of Democrats disapproving. Roughly the same number that approve of his job performance believe that Rump will be a better President than President Obama (37%), while 50% say he'll be worse.

It looks like the white supremacist / xenophobic / delusional core of Rump's support remains firm at around one-third of the voting public, and will probably remain in that range whatever disaster he brings about.

Tweet Of The Day: "Trump Is Deeply Disturbed"

It's gotten to the point where Republicans are starting to question his mental stability, and we're not even a week into his Presidency.

"Our President Is A Pathological Liar"

There's a great, hard-hitting column by Charles Blow in the New York Times this morning about the damage narcissistic liar Donald "Rump" Trump is doing to this country because his damaged mental state won't allow truth to penetrate and undermine his narcissism. Excerpts from the column:
"Donald Trump is a proven liar. He lies often and effortlessly. He lies about the profound and the trivial. He lies to avoid guilt and invite glory. He lies when his pride is injured and when his pomposity is challenged.

Indeed, one of the greatest threats Trump poses is that he corrupts and corrodes the absoluteness of truth, facts and science....

And Trump for his part continues to rage about three to five million illegal votes causing him to lose the popular vote in November. This, too, is a lie. A lie. Not the euphemisms you hear on television, like 'unsubstantiated,' or 'unproven,' or 'baseless.' It is a lie, pure and simple.

But Trump won’t let it go. His pride is hurt, his vanity tarnished. The man who prides himself on winning lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly three million votes, the biggest popular vote loss by a winning candidate in American history. That stings....

This is just like Trump, whose inclination is never to admit a mistake, and instead to redouble his self-righteousness even in the midst of his wrong. This statement weakens our democracy and strengthens voter suppression efforts.

We all have to adjust to this unprecedented assault on the truth and stand ready to vigilantly defend against it, because without truth, what’s left? Our president is a pathological liar. Say it. Write it. Never become inured to it. And dispense with the terms of art to describe it. A lie by any other name portends the same." (emphasis added)
The charge of lying was frequently leveled against Rump during the Rethuglican primaries by everyone from  Sen. "Tailgunner" Ted Cruz to drowsy Ben "Benny the Blade" Carson. Anyone expecting him to act differently now that he has Presidential powers needs to have their lunch money put in a safe place.

Today's Cartoon Twofer With Cartoonish Photo Bonus

(click on images to enlarge)

(David Horsey, Los Angeles Times)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

See the two people in the center of the photo below submissively smiling at neo- fascist authoritarian and Putin poodle Donald "Rump" Trump?  That's Democratic "leaders" Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Is he telling them how he's screwing their base?  Did he grab  Pelosi *somewhere*?  Did he call Schumer a "clown" again?  Hint: The man you're fawning over is a disturbed, adolescent nitwit who has bonkers thoughts that are going to end up as policy. Have some self- respect and stop with the goddamn phony comity, you spineless weasels!

This Is What Fascism Looks Like (A Continuing Series)

It's been less than a week (!) since the installation of neo- fascist authoritarian Donald "Rump" Trump, and the scope of outrageous attacks on American democracy has been nothing less than jaw- dropping. From gag orders on Federal agencies, to drafting an order that would allow torture in re- opened "black site" prisons, to undermining Obamacare, to taking down climate change data from EPA's web site, to repeated lies about "massive voter fraud" in order to justify more voter suppression, and on and on, Rump's Russo- Republican regime is acting quickly before opposition can fully form (with some hand- wringing Democrats, it may never form -- check out the blowback Senate Dems are getting on their lame "tactics").

But one action deserves particular opprobrium:  the restriction (essentially a ban) on Muslim refugees from entering the U.S. The leader of one group that stands with particular historic moral authority said what most Americans now believe about such an immoral action. Here's the executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect:
The Statue of Liberty weeps over President Trump’s discrimination,” Steven Goldstein wrote in a statement on Facebook. “President Trump is beyond the wrong side of history. He is driving our nation off a moral cliff.”  [snip] 
“President Trump is now exacerbating the largest global refugee crisis in history,” Goldstein wrote on the center’s Facebook page. “His slamming America’s doors on the starving, the wounded and the abused is a grotesque blot on our nation’s history of freedom. The President’s actions are an embarrassment to the timeless vision of America as inscribed by Emma Lazarus to “give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” 
Demonizing refugees and immigrants, and spending billions of taxpayer dollars to keep them out of our nation, will go down in American history as one of the most tragic deviations from our national conscience,” Goldstein concluded.  (our emphasis)
In additional white nationalist news, Rump has also directed that work begin on a wall on the Mexican border and threatened an assault on "sanctuary cities" with loss of Federal financial aid if they fail to cooperate in his deportation agenda.  Joining the Anne Frank Center in condemning Rump's vile discrimination were other religious leaders, including:
... Rev. Steven Martin of the National Council of Churches offered solidarity with the Muslim community as well as other immigrants who will likely be affected by Trump’s policies. 
I cannot believe that state sponsored persecution against a class of Americans is taking place,” he said. “Even though I’ve been watching it grow, I cannot believe it.” 
Martin said that the National Council of Churches, which represents roughly 45 million Christians from 38 religious denominations across the U.S., supports sanctuary cities and condemns “any attempts to define terrorism as a product of any one religion,” as well as “any attempts to place a religious test upon refugees attempting to build their new lives in the United States.” 
“This is a big, big deal,” he added. “Today is the day for action.” (our emphasis)
It will turn out that every day from now on is a day for action.  The fact that they're coming at us fast and furious makes this all the more important to grasp and respond accordingly.

BONUS II:  If you didn't catch David Muir's interview of Rump on ABC, here's the transcript; Charles Pierce was rightfully horrified.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Senate Democrats' "Reasonableness" Will Get Us All Screwed

Senate Democrats bringing knives pillows to a gunfight, as usual:
... Less than a week into the new administration, these Democrats are concluding that the best path back to power is not necessarily through steady opposition but through picking specific, fruitful fights. 
“We can’t very well be at a fever pitch on everything,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “The door swings both ways in Washington. At some point we’re going to want a Democratic president to stand up a Cabinet. So we’re trying to be reasonable when the nominees are reasonable.”  (our emphasis)
"The door swings both ways in Washington"?  It mostly hits Democrats in the ass, Senator. Where have you been for the last 8 years of total obstruction?  And who's a "reasonable" nominee that 15 Democratic Senators voted to confirm (including, we're sad to say, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown)??  "Benny the Blade" Carson - who correctly admitted months ago he wasn't qualified for a Cabinet position!

Rather, we fully endorse the Golden Rule, McConnell corollary:  Do unto others as they have done to you for the last 8 years: Resist!

This is how you demoralize your base.  This is how you lose turnout. This is not reasonable behavior given the historic, existential challenge to our democracy posed by the Russo- Republicans. We're less than a week into Dystopia, and they're happy to play patty- cake with the thugs in the deluded hope they'll play nice if the tables are ever turned. In their cosseted Senate world, what will it take to get them to understand it's not business as usual when you're dealing with a deranged authoritarian whose agenda to dismember decades- old progressive achievements is well underway? If three million people in the street doesn't give these clueless people a spine, we're not sure what will.

BONUS:  Jennifer Bendery has a good read on how the base is moving past a slow- footed Democratic leadership.

Mary Tyler Moore 1936 - 2017

Beloved television legend and executive, juvenile diabetes and animal rights advocate, and feminist Mary Tyler Moore passed away today at the age of 80:
The former dancer turned comedic actress was taken to a Connecticut hospital on Wednesday where she had been listed in grave condition. 
Moore has long battled diabetes, and underwent brain surgery in 2011. 
Moore caught the public’s eye as Laura Petrie, wife to television’s Dick Van Dyke in a show that ran from 1961 to 1966. She later returned as the star of her own show, playing plucky Mary Richards in the eponymous Mary Tyler Moore Show, which led to spin-offs Rhoda — starring Valerie Harper — and Lou Grant starring Ed Asner.
Moore later moved back to film, earning an Academy Award nomination for best actress, playing the brittle mother of a suicidal teen in Robert Redford’s 1981 film ‘Ordinary People.’ 
During her career on television, the Brooklyn-born Moore won five Emmy’s for her acting as her Mary Tyler Moore Production company became a television powerhouse.
Some people that you grow up with on TV, like Ms. Moore, you always remember in the place and time of your youth.  That's how we'll remember this beautiful, accomplished woman.

Here's more about her career and causes, and how we'll remember her:

Pictures Of The Day: Resist

A group of several Greenpeace activists climbed a construction crane this morning at 15th and L Streets, just blocks from the White House, and unfurled a large banner with the word "Resist" on it.

Just in the past 24 hours, con-man-in-chief and serial liar Donald "Rump" Trump approved the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline projects that will transport liquified oil shale -- perhaps the dirtiest of carbon products -- across the U.S. to the Gulf coast where it will be processed and shipped to global oil markets. Along with the nomination of climate change denier Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator and a media blackout of EPA demanded by Rump, "Resist" will be an imperative.

(photos: top, Associated Press, bottom, Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty)

Today's Cartoon And Tweets - The Illegal Voter Witch Hunt Is On [UPDATED}

(click on image to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

After the logical question was asked of the White House "if you think there was massive voter fraud, why haven't you investigated?" neo- fascist liar and conspiracy theorist Donald "Rump" Trump's bluff was called.  So, here we go down the rabbit hole (note the time signature on the tweets BTW):

He's nuts.  But, then, we already knew that.

What are the odds he'll put Kellyanne "Alternative Facts" Conway and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III in charge of the "investigation"?  He's already presuming the "results" will require that we "strengthen up voting procedures!" (a.k.a, voter suppression).

BONUS I: No question that this will be as legitimate as his bogus "investigation" into President Obama's birth certificate.

BONUS II:This would be human/weasel hybrid and White House staff chief: And that's not the worst of it. Rump daughter Tiffany, Treasury Secretary designee Steve Mnuchin, and Rump's white supremacist senior advisor Steve Bannon are all registered to vote in more than one state.

Mid-Week Birthday Blend Song

The beautiful and talented singer/pianist Alicia Keys celebrates her 36th birthday today, and if you saw her live or on TV last Saturday at the Women's March in Washington, you had to be impressed with her political awareness, charisma, and ability to inspire the marchers. We're featuring a song that this 15-time Grammy winner released last fall, "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)", which is about "blending" her stepson (in her case, her producer husband Swizz Beatz's son by his former wife, singer Mashonda) into a loving, extended family. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Quotes Of The Day - Frightening Surreality

"Oliver Wendell Holmes famously summed up Franklin Roosevelt as a second-class intellect but a first-class temperament. Trump has a third-class intellect and a third-class temperament. The frightening surreality of what has happened to the United States has only begun to sink in." -- Jonathan Chait, in New York Magazine, January 23, 2017.

"Nearly a dozen of Trump’s closest confidantes helped plant an embarrassing news story about how their boss can’t handle embarrassing news stories. Which is to say: A president who prizes loyalty in his subordinates has already been betrayed by a huge swath of his inner circle." -- Eric Levitz, also in New York Magazine, January 24, 2013.

Alternative Facts Cartoon Twofer

 (click on images to enlarge)

Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Steve Breen, Creators Syndicate

He Can't Handle The Truth (UPDATED)

More confirmation (if any were needed) that neo- fascist narcissistic sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump is a sick man:
Days after being sworn in, President Trump insisted to congressional leaders invited to a reception at the White House that he would have won the popular vote had it not been for millions of illegal votes, according to people familiar with the meeting. 
Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that widespread voter fraud caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, even while he clinched the presidency with an electoral college victory. 
Two people familiar with the meeting said Trump spent about 10 minutes at the start of the bipartisan gathering rehashing the campaign. He also told them that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote.  (our emphasis)
Let's for a moment review the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (via the Mayo Clinic):
-Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance    
-Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it     
-Exaggerating your achievements and talents     
-Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate    
-Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people    
-Requiring constant admiration    
-Having a sense of entitlement   
-Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations    
-Taking advantage of others to get what you want    
-Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others    
-Being envious of others and believing others envy you   
-Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Ding- ding- ding! We have a winner!  Twelve out of twelve, a perfect score for Cheeto Benito!

Now, getting back to the alternative facts at hand, this continual need to lie, even when telling a lie to the faces of sophisticated people who know you're lying, is the mark of someone with a serious mental illness.  But rather than continuing to practice psychiatry without a license, we'll defer to Steve Benen's analysis:
The rationale for the president’s brazen lying is easy to understand. Americans were given a choice between two major-party candidates; Trump lost by nearly 3 million votes; and he lacks the tools necessary to deal with the implications of the results. 
As a result, the president apparently finds it necessary to keep reality at arm’s length, because the truth hurts his feelings. It leads him to embrace a comforting, albeit ridiculous, lie – or to use the Trump White House’s preferred parlance, alternative facts. 
That said, this is the sort of lie that should give pause to all Americans, including Trump’s most ardent Republican followers. 
The idea that Trump secretly won the popular vote after excluding illegally cast ballots is plainly bonkers. After he made the claim the first time, it was thoroughly researched and proven to be demonstrably wrong. Trump’s own lawyer said, in print, under penalty of court sanction, that the claim isn’t true. 
Trump, comforted by the fiction he created, nevertheless still believes his lie, raising as-yet-unanswered questions about the new American president’s critical thinking skills, discipline, and capacity for evaluating evidence. (our emphasis)
We would take issue with Benen's formulation of "as- yet- unanswered questions": we believe those questions about Rump's capacities, unfortunately for humanity, have been answered long ago. Simply put, he's unfit for the office of president. What must happen going forward is that he not be pampered or indulged. It's going to be an ongoing struggle to keep rebutting his simpleton lies while at the same time fighting the very real reactionary policy and legislative agenda that's emerging from his Russo- Republican administration. We can and must be prepared to do that, while we put forward a smart, progressive agenda (like this, for starters) that we can run on in 2018.

*UPDATE:  Rump's lapdog Mike "Dense" Pence can't handle the truth either, judging from this whopper (which, as a participant in the DC march, I can testify is 100% lie):
Vice President Mike Pence is getting in on the "alternative facts" fun. 
Pence or his team made the claim that "well over half" of the huge crowds out protesting Trump's inauguration during Saturday's Women's March in Washington were actually fans of the new president in a Facebook post, the latest example of top Trump administration representatives choosing to misstate basic facts.
"Our Administration is proud to stand with American women and of our supporters' significant role in this cause. Despite the misleading Liberal Media's claims, we clearly saw that well over half of the participants in yesterday's march were Trump supporters," reads a post on Pence's official Facebook page posted on Sunday.
*[Ed. Note:  We picked up on the Pence story which was also run in the New York Daily News, but it turns out it's a spoof -  Snopes has the debunking here.  We apologize for spreading the (unfortunately credible given the past few days) fake news.]

Riiiight!  So why was Rump reportedly "enraged" at the size of the Women's March crowd?

UPDATE II:  "Baghdad Sean" Spicer doubles down on the lie in today's press conference. The madness is all around.

Firehose. Of. Falsehoods.