Monday, July 31, 2017

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon - This Is Normal, Believe Me

(click on image to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

To which you can now add 6) the end of the bromance with The Mooch after 10 stormy days -- an entirely normal guy with entirely normal behavior in this entirely normal White (Supremacist) House.

The Mooch Is Fired

We guess that all of that smooching of sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump's orange ass wasn't enough to save former White (Supremacist) House Communications director Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci, who was fired from his position today, the same day former Marine Gen. John Kelly took over as Rump's chief of staff. The Mooch had served in the position for only 10 days. The Mooch's violent and obscene tirade to the New Yorker magazine's Ryan Lizza last week made him the story for days, where he ripped new orifices for hapless hack Reince "Prepuce" Priebus and stategist/derelict Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon. Clearly, The Mooch's self-aggrandizing, mafia-style approach to communications didn't sit well with the new by-the-book chief of staff, who made it clear to Rump that The Mooch had to be fired. CBS News is reporting that The Mooch was escorted from the White (Supremacist) House grounds, presumably where he's free to sell postcards to tourists.

To borrow a phrase from the military, The Mooch screwed the pooch.


(photo: Kiss your ass goodbye, Mooch)

Send In The Clowns. Don't Bother They're Here.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

With the Beltway media chirping about the appointment of retired Gen. John Kelly to be the new senior day care manager White (Supremacist) House Chief of Staff and how "things may change now!", it's worth remembering that the one immovable, malignant object that counts remains: unhinged sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump. He thrives on "chaos" and watching reality show-like infighting among his staff to see who comes out the "winner."

This photo shows some of the contestants in Rump's Washington reality show gig: left to right, Seb Gorka, Omarosa, Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci, and Corey Lewandowski. Gorka's the ethnic Hungarian national security advisor who was involved with Hungary's anti-Semitic nativist Magyar Gárda group, and who was fired last year as an FBI consultant for his anti-Muslim hate speech. Next is former Apprentice reality contestant and Rump acolyte Omarosa, who owes her celebrity to Rump, in a sprayed-on, low-cut dress and a silver cross necklace because she's... a Christian, of course. Then The Mooch on a cell phone talking to goodness knows what media outlet, likely trashing the folks in the picture in an obscene tirade out of "Goodfellas." Finally Lewandowski, the former Rump campaign chief who was arrested for battery of a female reporter, now a lobbyist serving as an "outside advisor" to Rump.

The photo captures the salient features of Trumpism: greed, treachery, misogyny, hypocrisy and bigotry. Be sure to read Charlie Pierce's thoughts on this photo in Esquire. The excesses of 40 plus years of Rethuglican catering to bigots, charlatans and the deranged led to those people taking over the store, and this photo shows us some of the store's junior managers.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Across The Universe, Cont. - Merging Galaxies

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From NASA/ ESA, July 27, 2017This composite image, created out of two different pointings from Hubble, shows the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1512 (left) and the dwarf galaxy NGC 1510 (right). Both galaxies are about 30 million light-years away from Earth and currently in the process of merging. At the end of this process NGC 1512 will have cannibalised its smaller companion.

Credit: ESA/Hubble, NASA

This image shows the sky around the two interacting galaxies NGC 1512 and NGC 1510. NGC 1512 is clearly visible in the very centre of the image.

Credit: NASA, ESA, Digitized Sky Survey 2
Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin

Poll: Two-Thirds Want To Keep And Fix Obamacare

As dimwitted lickspittles of unfit narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump were out this weekend claiming his unhinged refusal to give up trying to dismantle President Obama's signal achievement was "popular" and "reflected the mood of the American people," there was this recent Reuters/ Ipsos poll
A majority of Americans are ready to move on from healthcare reform at this point after the U.S. Senate's effort to dismantle Obamacare failed on Friday, according to an exclusive Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Saturday. 
Nearly two-thirds of the country wants to either keep or modify the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, and a majority of Americans want Congress to turn its attention to other priorities, the survey found.

The July 28-29 poll of more than 1,130 Americans, conducted after the Republican-led effort collapsed in the Senate, found that 64 percent said they wanted to keep Obamacare, either "entirely as is" or after fixing "problem areas." That is up from 54 percent in January. (our emphasis)
So just who are Rump and his lickspittles thinking of as on board with their plan to take the American health insurance industry over the cliff?

Why, these "real American" morons, of course:
Among Republicans, three-fourths said they would like their party's leaders to try to repeal and replace Obamacare at some point, though most listed other issues that they would give a higher priority right now.
This includes subsets of Rump voters who (a) didn't think Rump would deport their spouse until he did, (b) thought Rump would get the Messicans to "build the wall!", (c) thought Rump would mature and "normalize" once in office, (d) thought Rump would bring back millions of manufacturing jobs that are gone for good - including coal mining jobs, and (e) thought Rump would hold true to another campaign promise, to be "the best president" for LGBTQ people.

All of which brings us back to health care, and this piece by Andy Borowitz, with the headline:

Trump Supporters Furious That They Still Have Health Care

Well maybe, if he has his way, Rump and the Republicans can still come through for them after all.  Sad!

Tweet Of The Day

Incompetent Republican man- baby Donald "Rump" Trump tweets threats about undermining the Affordable Care Act thus robbing people of their health insurance (and lives, in many cases), all out of petty personal pique.

Here's what Democrats have stood for, for over five decades now:

Compare/ contrast.

Sunday Reflection

"Like some kind of Shakespearean villain-clown, Trump plays not to the gallery but to the pit. He is a Falstaff without the humour or the self-awareness, a cowardly, bullying Richard III without a clue. Late-night US satirists find in this an unending source of high comedy. If they did not laugh, they would cry. The world is witnessing the dramatic unfolding of a tragedy whose main victims are a seemingly helpless American audience, America’s system of balanced governance and its global reputation as a leading democratic light." -- snip from The Observer's (est. 1791) editorial today.

Less Xenophobia And More Economic Honesty

Much of the rhetoric on the economy that's employed by demagogue and sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump centers around economic xenophobia directed at such countries as China. While China's explosive economic growth in the past 20 years has impacted world markets, as this opinion piece by Linette Lopez in Business Insider notes*, the "laissez faire" economic policies initiated by right-wing icon Ronald "St. Ronnie of Hollywood" Reagan and taken as gospel by Rethuglicans was equally responsible for the decline of jobs in America.

For example, when St. Ronnie's Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that corporations could repurchase shares of their own stock (to manipulate the price), it shifted corporate focus to shareholder interests, rather than reinvesting in the workforce and lowering prices. It made the investor class very wealthy at the expense of economic sustainability and competition with foreign companies. Meanwhile, wages flat lined as cost-cutting by corporations to meet investors expectations of maximized profits dominated their thinking. Lopez writes:
"....Since the 1980s, companies have invested less than 10 cents of each borrowed dollar. They've put far more effort into buying back stock which, thanks to the way executive compensation works, makes the C-suite richer and richer.

From 2003 to 2012, S&P 500 companies used 54% ($2.4 trillion) of their earnings for stock buybacks. That has also contributed substantially to the inequality we're seeing, as the main beneficiaries of buybacks are wealthy investors."
There's more that right-wing economic policies did to damage the economy: budget cuts, and deregulation among them. So when you hear demagogues like Rump blame China, Mexico, etc. for the economic decline of American workers, right-wing laissez faire economic policies have contributed mightily to that decline, something that they'll never acknowledge.

(*hat tip to our friend P.E.C. for the lead)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Today's Cartoons

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(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

(Jeff Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

Mrs. Mooch Files For Divorce. Sad!

There are reports that Deidre Ball, a.k.a. Mrs. Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci, has filed for divorce, and has indicated that her dislike for neo-fascist p*ssygrabber Donald "Rump" Trump and her husband's "naked political ambition" were the main factors.

According to the report,
“Deidre has left him and has filed for divorce. She liked the nice Wall Street life and their home on Long Island, not the insane world of D.C. She is tired of his naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end."
Ms. Ball was apparently disgusted by The Mooch's extreme obsession with getting a high position in the Rump White (Supremacist) House and his bootlicking support of a man she's offended by. His violent, obscene tirade last week about fellow Trumpists Reince "Prepuce" Priebus and Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon makes Ms. Ball's decision even more understandable.

We hope that Ms. Ball gets a very hefty divorce settlement from the oily, foul-mouthed opportunist.

Is Trump Considering An End Run To Stop The Russia Investigation? (UPDATED)

A disturbing scenario is being suggested by the vacancy at the Department of Homeland Security created by moving John Kelly into the White (Supremacist) House Chief of Staff position. It involves the Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 and lateraling evil elf Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sesssions III into the now- vacant position of Secretary of Homeland Security:
“The Vacancies Act says that — notwithstanding any kind of other rule, like the regular DOJ succession statute — that the president, and only the president, can appoint an acting head of the Department of Justice to that position as long as that person has been confirmed by the Senate,” Butler explained. “So if there’s another person who works in the federal government whose job requires presidential appointment and then confirmation by the Senate, then that person is entitled to be put in, in this case, as the acting attorney general.”
This article was written just before the move to put Kelly in the Chief of Staff job, and thus envisions Beauregard resigning in order for the dominoes to fall. With the DHS job now vacant, Beauregard could presumably be asked to resign to become the acting DHS Secretary (since he's already been confirmed by the Senate) and another Cabinet official (some gaming out centers on dimbulb Energy Secretary Rick Perry) could be appointed acting Attorney General. Perry or some other Senate- confirmed Rump lickspittle could then fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. So far, however, Beauregard has resisted calls to resign; another Cabinet position that's in his wheelhouse (immigration and border control) might be enough to dislodge him from Justice.

Rump sees the Mueller investigation as an existential threat. With the appointment of Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci as Communications Director and John Kelly as Chief of Staff, as well as his and his family's lawyering up, Rump is signaling that he's preparing for an all- out conflict, the kind of firestorm that would result from the firing of Mueller and attempting to end the investigation into his corrupt and treasonous dealings with Putin's Russia. He'll do anything to stop the investigation in its tracks, banking on Republican cowardice to keep him in office.

As a caveat, there may well be elements of the Act that would preclude this -- we'll leave that to legal eagles. But if the dominoes start falling, what's described above is exactly what's at play.

UPDATE:  Dumbya's former ethics czar throws a little cold water on the possible scheme because... Obstruction of Justice!

Quote Of The Day

"This is a Waterloo moment for Trump, the tea party and their alliance.  They have been stopped in their tracks not only by Democratic opposition but because of a mutiny within their own ranks. Although never particularly liked or respected, it is now clear that they are no longer feared. The bankruptcy of their ideas and their incompetence have been exposed. Their momentum has been dissipated. Their rejection of political norms has itself been scorned. Our long national nightmare may finally be coming to an end." -- Steven Perlstein in the Washington Post.  We can only hope (and continue to resist).

BONUS:  Steve M. has a good piece on why we should be very skeptical about premature reports of tea party/ Trumpism on the ropes.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Today's Cartoons

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(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Lee Horsey, Los Angeles Times)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger - Newark)

Priebus Sacked (UPDATED)

After letting him twist in the wind for months, the incompetent sociopath shitgibbon just tweeted (of course) his "f*cking paranoid schizophrenic" Chief of Staff Reince "Prepuce" Priebus is out:

Kelly is the current Secretary of Homeland Security. He must be a masochist.

BONUS:  The oft- maligned, often under fire Priebus was spotted shortly after leaving the White (Supremacist) House --

UPDATE:  Previously unreported fact -- Rump once summoned Priebus, in the middle of a meeting, to kill a fly that was annoying him.  But don't feel sorry for Priebus;  he's still a Rump lickspittle.

Weekend Martini Song

H/t to our friend P.E.C. for recommending today's Weekend Song. It's a song written and sung by China Forbes and performed with her "mini- orchestra," Pink Martini. Pink Martini originated in Portland, OR, about 23 years ago. They have a highly diverse repertoire, writing and performing music across several genres. The whimsical "Hey Eugene" is from their 2007 album of the same name. We hope you enjoy.

In Trump's Words

This morning:

From 2012:

From 2013:

Then there's this bigly ironic one from just days ago:

Thanks, indeed, also to Sens. Murkowski and Collins, to a unified Dem Senate, and to the millions of Americans who stood up to this train wreck and stopped it.

Stab 'Em In Front Vid Of The Day

Last night, Stephen Colbert gave us his take on the internecine warfare at the White (Supremacist) House and the role that foul-mouthed hedge fund huckster and communications caporegime Anthony "Mooch" Scaramucci played with his obscene rant to the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza.

So Much Winning, Please Continue!

Let's recap the past few days in the miserable life of sociopath and loser Donald "Rump" Trump:
As Resisters, we love this type of winning, and suspect it will not only continue, but proliferate under the incompetent and malevolent Rump. 

Obamacare "Skinny Repeal" Dies (UPDATED)

Late last night, in a surprise vote, this happened:
The final vote for the Health Care Freedom Act, designed to eliminate core components of the Affordable Care Act, went down on a 49-51 vote, with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joining with all 46 of the chamber’s Democrats and both of its independents to defeat the measure. 
Just before the vote, it became apparent that Republicans did not have the support they needed, as McCain came to the floor and told GOP leaders he planned to vote no. Collins and Murkowski had looked apt to vote no all week after opposing the motion to proceed to the initial legislation. 
For nearly an hour, Republicans ― including Vice President Mike Pence, who was on-hand to break a tie ― tried to persuade McCain and Murkowski to no avail. They had made up their minds.
So, Sen. McCain must've listened to the words he spoke a few days ago about the unprecedented violations of Senate norms by the unspeakably venal Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell. Good for McCain, Collins and Murkowski, and for us (for now).

It's too soon to say where the Republican efforts to take health insurance from millions of Americans goes from here. It would appear that there's not going to be any momentum to move forward on a Republican- only effort in the Senate. But we've seen this movie before, where defeat was snatched out of the jaws of victory in the House, and we can't be complacent.

More reaction today as things sink in.

UPDATE:  Charles Pierce has some interesting background on the goings- on before and after the vote.

UPDATE II:  As Diva notes in the comments, give lots of props to yourselves and to Sen. Schumer and Senate Democrats who stuck together all along.  Also, while the media is doing its usual slurping of McCain, let's not forget something:
(Unfortunately, Sen. Schumer then proceeded to "both sides do it" in his appeal for regular order. My gawd man.)

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Mooch Has Choice Words For Priebus, Bannon

Frick and Frack

The Mooch is on the warpath:
“They’ll all be fired by me,” he said. “I fired one guy the other day. I have three to four people I’ll fire tomorrow. I’ll get to the person who leaked that to you. Reince Priebus—if you want to leak something—he’ll be asked to resign very shortly.” The issue, he said, was that he believed Priebus had been worried about the dinner because he hadn’t been invited. “Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac,” Scaramucci said. He channelled Priebus as he spoke: “ ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ” (Priebus did not respond to a request for comment.) 
Scaramucci also told me that, unlike other senior officials, he had no interest in media attention. “I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock,” he said, speaking of Trump’s chief strategist. “I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.” (Bannon declined to comment.) . (our emphasis)
If this oil slick isn't Man Baby Trump's alter ego, we don't know who is. Crude, self- enamored, paranoid, undisciplined, bullying, attention seeking, etc., etc.

Has there ever been a more dysfunctional White (Supremacist) House (spoiler alert: nah!). Has there ever been a bigger collection of back- stabbing, lying morons in the White (Supremacist) House (spoiler alert: again, nah!).

Well, it momentarily takes the focus off of Trump's cyber bullying of his own Attorney General and acting FBI Director!  Sad!

Insurers Tell Republicans "Skinny Repeal" Will Have Bad Consequences

The Association of Health Insurance Providers is letting the Senate know the "skinny repeal" proposal being floated by pond scum Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell (R- Swamp) is a loser. Republican sociopaths are trying to use this as a vehicle for kicking the can to a conference committee with the crazies in the House.  The main features of the "skinny repeal" are purported to be elimination of the individual and employer mandates, and elimination of the medical devices tax. Here's part of their letter (pdf):
The mid-August deadline for finalizing 2018 premiums is rapidly approaching, yet significant uncertainties remain. This continued uncertainty – combined with targeted proposals that would eliminate key elements of current law without new stabilizing solutions – will not solve the problems in the individual market, and in fact will result in higher premiums, fewer choices for consumers, and fewer people covered next year. We would oppose an approach that eliminates the individual coverage requirement, does not offer alternative continuous coverage solutions, and does not include measures to immediately stabilize the individual market. [snip] 
... But policies that do not stabilize the market and simply drop incentives for people to buy coverage will repeat what we have seen in the past: premiums will rise rapidly, few or no affordable coverage options will be available, and more people will be uninsured....
On those points, the Congressional Budget Office has said a "skinny repeal" of the type being proposed would result in a 20 percent hike in premiums across the board and increase the number of Americans without health insurance by 16 million over 10 years. In other words, RepublicansDon't Care.

Pressure points seem to be Sens. Heller (NV), Capito (WV), and Portman (OH). The Republican governors of Heller's and Portman's states have sent a letter warning the Senate not to pass the "skinny repeal." Normally, that should provide some political cover for these cowards, but these are not normal times, and these are not normal cowards.

If you live in Nevada, Ohio or West Virginia, please call and let your voice be heard: vote no on the "skinny repeal."  Here are some contact points (and thank you!):

Senator Dean Heller (NV)

Heller DC: 202-224-6244

Heller Las Vegas: 702-388-6605

Heller Reno: 775-686-5770

Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (West Virginia)

Capito DC: 202-224-6472

Capito Charleston: 304-347-5372

Capito Martinsburg: 304-262-9285

Capito Morgantown: 304-292-2310

Capito Beckely: 304-347-5372

Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio)

Portman DC: 202-224-3353

Portman Columbus:  614-469-6774

Portman Cincinnati: 513-684-3265

Portman Cleveland: 216-522-7095

Portman Toledo: 419-259-3895

We Are Stardust, Literally

A fascinating report from the Royal Astronomical Society says that roughly half of the atoms that make up the human body originated outside of our galaxy, the Milky Way, and were driven here eons ago by intergalactic winds from exploding stars. Computer simulations of stars that exploded light years away over the span of eons indicate clouds of atomic particles ejected from them were absorbed within our solar system, and ultimately within living organisms, including humans.

Northwestern University astronomer Daniel Anglés-Alcázar noted that these intergalactic winds can travel millions of light-years carrying atomic elements around the universe. While this phenomenon was known to astronomers, the scale of the extragalactic "contribution" to life on Earth was new to the astronomers:
“The surprising thing is that galactic winds contribute significantly more material than we thought. In terms of research in galaxy evolution, we’re very excited about these results. It’s a new mode of galaxy growth we’ve not considered before.”
Says another astronomer involved in the study, Claude-André Faucher-Giguère:
“What we did not anticipate, and what’s the big surprise, is that about half of the atoms that end up in Milky Way-like galaxies come from other galaxies. It gives us a sense of how we can come from very far corners of the universe...Our origins are much less local than we thought. This study gives us a sense of how things around us are connected to distant objects in the sky.” (emphasis added)
It's awe-inspiring to think that many of the atomic elements that make up the human body -- carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen -- have come from incredibly far away from our galaxy, over many billions of years.

(picture: A pinwheel galaxy, NGC 5457, via European Space Agency)

Transgender Ban Blowing Up In Trump's Face [UPDATED]

When neo-fascist con man Donald "Rump" Trump announced, via his favorite policy communication vehicle Twitter, that transgender people would be banned from serving in the U.S. armed forces, the Pentagon was caught by surprise, despite Rump's tweeted lie that he consulted with "his generals."  Thousands of transgender people already serve in the military, and dismissing them from service would be a disaster for them and their families, not to mention wholly arbitrary and discriminatory against people who had met the training and fitness requirements for service. The shocking announcement even prompted some Rethuglicans to come out of hiding and express their opposition.

Facing the deepening scandal involving his political and financial entanglements with Moscow, Rump is trying to shore up his core support, including the bigoted "religious" right, which is adamantly opposed to LGBTQ rights in any form or fashion. This "ban" was a gift to that hardcore constituency at the expense of thousands who are serving now and who want to serve in the future. Transgender former Navy SEAL Kristin Beck, who served for 20 years as a SEAL in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and who was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, had this to say to Rump, who avoided military service:
"Let's meet face to face and you tell me I'm not worthy. Transgender doesn't matter. Do your service....Being transgender doesn't affect anyone else. We are liberty's light. If you can't defend that for everyone that's an American citizen, that's not right."
Beck's words will be lost on Rump, for whom service to your country is someone else's job, just not transgender people.

UPDATE: The Joint Chiefs of Staff apparently were not among those "generals" whom Rump consulted:
The incompetent shitgibbon strikes again. SAD!

Headline Of The Day

From Daily Kos:

Scaramucci brings the Trump team the unified message they've been seeking: We're all morons

"A Team of Rivals Morons."  Putin's plan is succeeding beyond expectations.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Authoritarian Nitwits

Two polls have pretty solid proof that the Republican base is full of authoritarian nitwits (but we knew that, right?).

The Economist/ You Gov poll shows that, when it comes to the First Amendment, Republicans prefer almost any other one. Forty- five (45) percent of Republicans believe that the courts should be permitted "to shut down news media outlets for publishing or broadcasting stories that are biased or inaccurate.” Eighteen (18) percent of Democrats, sadly, and twenty- five (25) percent of independents feel the same way.

In a Politico/ Morning Consult poll, forty- nine (49) percent of Trump voters think he won the popular vote in 2016.  Of course, he lost by almost 3 million.

See, that's the kind of news 45% of Republicans would like to shut down.

Trumpcare "Repeal and Replace" Bill Shot Down [UPDATED]

After yesterday's 51 - 50 motion to proceed vote in the Senate, the Rethugs are pushing bills through in succession. First up last night was the original Trumpcare "repeal and replace" bill, the so-called "Better (Wealth) Care Reconciliation Act", that would kick 23 million Americans off of their health insurance while taking $800 billion out of Medicaid to transfer to the top 1% income bracket and insurance companies. The vote wasn't even close, as nine Rethugs joined Democrats to defeat the bill 57 to 43. The nine were a mixed bag, ranging from Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK) to Lindsey Graham (SC) and Mike Lee (UT). Missing among the nine was great American hero maverick cop-out John McCain, who pledged in his sanctimonious speech yesterday that he wouldn't vote for the bill. He apparently thought no one was paying attention to his "yes" vote last night. All in all, the vote delivered a message to autocratic sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump: You're a loser!

Next up are the "repeal and two-year delay bill", which would leave 32 million without insurance and which is also expected to go down in bipartisan flames, and the so-called "skinny repeal bill" which would remove mandates from individuals and companies and strip away some taxes (on medical devices, for example) that are part of the Affordable Care Act, and would leave the door open for more sabotage down the road. It would also leave 15 million without insurance. A vote on the "skinny bill" may be the closest one.

Senate Rethuglicans of varying stripes (mostly yellow) are finding that voting for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act for seven years was much simpler than coming up with a decent alternative, which of course was never their intention anyway. Their long-standing focus on tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations led them to this impasse; affordable health care has never been on their list of priorities, ever. But they found that grabbing money from people's health care to pay for those tax cuts has consequences, even among their own supporters. Stay tuned.

BONUS: Read Charles Pierce's piece on McCain's hypocritical party-over-country vote.

UPDATE: The "repeal and delay" bill is shot down by a vote of 55 - 45 with seven Rethugs voting no. "Skinny repeal" nonsense is up next.

(photo: Visual representation of Trumpcare "repeal and replace" bill)

Mid-Week Prisoner Song

Ryan Adams is a prolific singer/songwriter, who has been nominated for multiple Grammys over his 17-year solo career. His latest album, "Prisoner," was released earlier this year. A number of songs on the album reflect his melancholy over his divorce from singer/actress Mandy Moore last year. Our song today is the title track from that album, "Prisoner," performed before a live audience.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Bastards Move Toward Repeal Of The ACA

Well, this happened a short while ago.

The only Republicans voting No on the Motion to Proceed were Sens. Collins and Murkowski. The other weasels (Sens. Heller, Portman, Capito) apparently didn't get their "get out of voting free card" from the despicable Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell.  Disgracefully, Sen. John McCain, who receives excellent care through his government health insurance, came back to Washington following his cancer surgery and voted to proceed along with the rest of the knuckle- draggers (hero!) Now, they'll go through the motions of debating Republican bills to repeal or gut Obamacare, an unknown version of which they're expected to vote on:
At least three options appear to be on the table, and each of them might be debated on the Senate floor. 
One is McConnell’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, which the Congressional Budget Office projects would result in 22 million fewer people with health coverage by 2026. It would eliminate many Affordable Care Act provisions and “replace” them with new reforms that would offer less help getting coverage to a smaller number of Americans, and it would cut Medicaid funding by more than one-quarter. 
There’s also the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act ― potentially leading to 32 million more uninsured, according to the budget office ― which would undo central components of the Affordable Care Act without any form of replacement. 
At the eleventh hour, however, another contender appears to have emerged, which has been dubbed a “skinny” repeal bill.
Haven't heard of the "skinny" repeal bill?  The Congressional Budget Office has:

Damn these horrible, slimy, lying, sociopathic bastard weasels to hell.

BONUS: Any West Virginians out there can especially thank Sen. Capito for being a craven coward --
Perhaps the most striking vote was cast by West Virginia's Shelley Moore Capito‏ (R), who assured voters just last week, "I will only vote to proceed to repeal legislation if I am confident there is a replacement plan that addresses my concerns." She appears to have broken her word: there is no replacement plan that addresses her concerns, but Capito voted the way her party told her to on the motion to proceed anyway.

Scout's Dishonor

It was, at times, a scene out of a Nuremberg rally, yesterday's appearance at the Boy Scout's Jamboree by bizzaro world Boy Scout Donald "Rump" Trump. As any sentient person might have expected, the increasingly deranged ("beleaguered?") Rump was bound to go off script on one of his delusional, self- serving, highly politicized rants. He didn't disappoint. But the Boy Scouts of America did.

After using the rally to plump for repealing the Affordable Care Act, blabber about the size of the crowd and his election "victory," say that more "loyalty" was needed, attack the "fake media," tell inappropriate stories about "hot" guests at cocktail parties, he prompted the scouts to boo Hillary Clinton and former President Obama (which many, but not all, in Rump's scout crowd happily did, since some are of the same developmental age and knowledge base as Rump himself). CNN has the most awful of Rump's comments that broke 80 years of tradition with presidential remarks to the scout group.

The Boy Scouts organization may be regretting its decision to give Rump a mike in front of 30,000 impressionable youth. They've issued a nopology of sorts and are rightly getting reamed out on their Facebook page (here are some top responses), where nearly every posting has reaction to Rump's foul remarks. Here are a few other reactions on Twitter:


Everything Is Bigly Happy In Trumpland

Alternative headline: Trump says the whippings will stop when morale improves. Us: Sad!

(h/t to Talking Points Memo)

Psychiatrists May Speak On Trump's Mental State

In a break with a decades-old position, the American Psychoanalytic Association (APA) has advised its 3,500 members in an e-mail from their executive committee that they may offer professional opinions on the mental health or stability of political figures, including unhinged sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump. The former position, commonly known as the "Goldwater Rule," prohibited psychiatric professionals from rendering opinions on the mental health of public figures without personally examining them. It was prompted  by right-wing Sen. Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign for President when some psychiatrists responded to a survey asking whether Goldwater was mentally unfit for the Presidency.

Increasingly, psychiatrists believe they have a "duty to warn" others of a person's mental instability especially if that person represents a threat to the public. Rump's narcissism, paranoia, seething anger, and erratic behavior have concerned many mental health professionals. According to Dr. Leonard Glass, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School:
“In the case of Donald Trump, there is an extraordinary abundance of speech and behavior on which one could form a judgment. It’s not definitive, it’s an informed hypothesis, and one we should be able to offer rather than the stunning silence demanded by the Goldwater rule.”
Rump's signs of mental instability have resulted in this association breaking with decades of tradition because they see the danger represented by him. Let's hear from more of them, particularly now as his actions and threats spin out of control and threaten a Constitutional crisis.

Prelude To An Ousting (UPDATED)

Deranged sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump is doing everything he can to push evil elf Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III from office, the better to end the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Rump's criminal dealings with Russia. Here's the twit- in- chief this morning:

(Note the addressee for the last tweet -- the shitgibbon's alter ego.)

The shitgibbon must be feeling the hot breath of Mueller's investigation on his fat neck. No one expects that this drumbeat of abuse can last much longer; expect Beauregard to exit one way or another very soon.

This is another illustration not just of Rump's banana republican call to use the Justice Department to investigate a political rival; not just of Rump's disloyalty to one of his most loyal supporters; but of Congressional Republicans' spinelessness in the face of Rump's clear attempts to obstruct justice. Were they to tell him that firing Sessions at this point would change the dynamic and put impeachment on the table, Rump and his stooges would have to think twice about pulling off such an obvious coup against the rule of law. But, as far as anyone knows, it's

(Actual photo of Republican House and Senate leadership)

If you have any doubts, check out the reaction of Republican Weasel of the House Paul "Lyin'" Ryan. Gotta get those tax cuts for the wealthy and screw everyone else!

UPDATE: Sources close to Beauregard say he's "pissed" at Rump's jabs, and won't give Rump the satisfaction of quitting. Popcorn anyone?

UPDATE II:  George Bush's former ethics czar says Rump's call for Clinton to be prosecuted is an impeachable offense.

Call: Vote "No" On The Motion To Proceed

If you are reading this and live in West Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, Kentucky, Utah or Alaska, please call these Republican Senators immediately and tell them to vote No on today's Motion to Proceed to a debate on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (h/t Daily Kos):

Senator Dean Heller (NV)

Heller DC: 202-224-6244

Heller Las Vegas: 702-388-6605

Heller Reno: 775-686-5770

Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (West Virginia)

Capito DC: 202-224-6472

Capito Charleston: 304-347-5372

Capito Martinsburg: 304-262-9285

Capito Morgantown: 304-292-2310

Capito Beckely: 304-347-5372

Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio)

Portman DC: 202-224-3353

Portman Columbus:  614-469-6774

Portman Cincinnati: 513-684-3265

Portman Cleveland: 216-522-7095

Portman Toledo: 419-259-3895

Sen. Mike Lee (Utah)

Lee D.C.: 202-224-5444

Lee Salt Lake City: 801-524-5933

Lee St. George: 435-628-5514

Lee Ogden: 801-392-9633

Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky)

Paul D.C.: 202-224-4343

Paul Bowling Green: 270-782-8303

Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)

Murkowski DC: (202)-224-6665

Murkowski Anchorage: (907) 271-3735

Murkowski Fairbanks: (907) 456-0233

Murkowski Juneau: (907) 586-7277

Murkowski Mat-Su Valley: (907) 376-7665

Murkowski Kenai:  (907) 262-4220

Murkowsi Ketchikan: (907) 225-6880

Jam their phone lines now!

Colbert Takes On The Mooch

We stopped laughing just long enough to post this clip from Steven Colbert's send- up of new White (Supremacist) House Communications Director and official ass- kisser to the "president," Anthony "The Mooch" Scaramucci:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Trump's Assault On Science In The Public Interest

The Union of Concerned Scientists has published an important  report on the first six months of the malignant administration of con man and pathological liar Donald "Rump" Trump, showing how destructive he and his appointees have been to the role of science in preserving our environment for us and future generations. The report, "Sidelining Science From Day One," presents a well-documented case of the historic anti-science rampage by the Trumpists (with the assistance of coin-operated Rethuglicans in Congress):
"Since President Trump took office in January 2017, his administration (aided and abetted by Congress) has waged a war on science—undermining the role of science in public policy, giving industry undue influence on decisionmaking processes, creating a hostile environment for federal scientists, and reducing public access to scientific information."
The report details the actions that have been used by the Trumpists to turn our national resources and scientific endeavors over to the predators for profit, including:
  • Sidelining independent science advice;
  • Appointing conflicted individuals to scientific leadership positions;
  • Revoking science-based safeguards;
  • Misrepresenting climate science and rolling back climate change safeguards;
  • Weakening science-based pollution standards without scientific justification.;
  • Altering scientific content on federal websites., and
  • Restricting communication of scientists
By putting foxes to guard the hen houses of science, climate policy and environmental protection, Rump is looking to protect the industries that the public needs to be protected from, industries that have contributed handsomely to his campaign and to those of other Rethuglican nihilists. The stakes are high for the nation to be served by science in the public interest:
"In coming decades, the United States will face some of the most difficult challenges in its history. Science and technology will play a crucial role in helping us meet these challenges. The public deserves independent, impartial scientific information, even—or perhaps especially—when that information indicates the need for politically unpopular or inconvenient action."
You can support the work of the Union of Concerned Scientists here, and, of course, Resist.

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon: Colluding To Serve Man*

(click on image to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

* For those of you who aren't Twilight Zone fans.

Portrait Of A Villain: Jason Chaffetz Update

There. Are. No. Words.
Jason Chaffetz, who recently stepped down from the House of Representatives and into a Fox News gig, wondered why congressional investigators are focusing on Jared Kushner instead of Chelsea Clinton. [snip]

“Republicans need to get a backbone,” Chaffetz said. “Every time the Democrats say they need to call up Jared Kushner or Don Jr. — call up Chelsea Clinton, call up the Clintons.” 
The president tweeted over the weekend that Republicans had not done enough to protect him from the Russia investigation, and suggested Hillary Clinton should instead be the target — which Chaffetz endorsed.
Good to see un- indicted co- conspirator Donald "Rump" Trump is getting his tweet material from the likes of this shitheel!

On second thought, there are words:  sleaze, liar, traitor, hypocrite, nihilist, flunky, weasel. That's just for starters.

See also.

On The Voter Suppression Commission

Unfit sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity Voter Suppression Commission had its first meeting on July 19, and the evil intent was apparent right from the get- go.  

E.J. Dionne, Jr., writes about the transparent nonsense at the heart of this sham effort:
Lest anyone believe Vice President Pence’s claim that “this commission has no preconceived notions or preordained results,” Trump was on hand last week to state clearly what its agenda is. [snip] 
Trump would not let the commissioners forget their reason for being there, his belief that those phantom votes really exist, although he put his own words into the mouths of unnamed “people,” who — surprise! — came to the same conclusions he did. 
“Throughout the campaign and even after it,” Trump said, “people would come up to me and express their concerns about voter inconsistencies and irregularities, which they saw. In some cases, having to do with very large numbers of people in certain states.(our emphasis)
The Washington Post editorial board noted that the Commission's vice chair, vote suppressor par excellence Kris "KKK" Kobach, was echoing Rump's unhinged tune to justify the Commission's efforts to disenfranchise Democratic voters nationwide:
In an appearance on MSNBC, Mr. Kobach, a Republican titan of voter suppression who has been repeatedly sued for his relentless efforts to cull voters from the rolls of his home state, was asked if he believed that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, as the official tally indicates. “You know,” said Mr. Kobach, “we may never know the answer to that question.” 
In fact, not a speck of evidence exists to cast doubt on the official tally of the popular vote, nor, for that matter, on the electoral vote. Still, the offhand remark was in keeping with Mr. Kobach’s years-long effort, along with that of other Republicans, to erode public confidence in American elections to provide a pretext for tough state laws whose real goal is to obstruct voting by minorities and young people, who tend to support Democrats.
Formed by Mr. Trump after he falsely asserted that 3 to 5 million votes were cast illegally in the 2016 election, the commission includes members, in addition to Mr. Kobach, known for their histories of voter obstruction. One, former Ohio secretary of state J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican, is notorious for trying to reject registration forms submitted on paper that was too thin, and for trying to impede voter registration drives. Another, Hans Von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department official, led a failed attempt to purge voter rolls in Missouri. (our emphasis)
The New York Times editorial board also weighs in on the crackpots, kooks and party- before- country Republicans manning the Commission:
The truth can’t be repeated often enough: The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which held its first meeting last week, is a sham and a scam. 
It was born out of a marriage of convenience between conservative anti-voter-fraud crusaders, who refuse to accept actual data, and a president who refuses to accept that he lost the popular vote fair and square. 
It is run by some of the nation’s most determined vote suppressors, the kind who try to throw out voter registrations for being printed on insufficiently thick paper or who release reports on noncitizen voting that are titled “Alien Invasion” and illustrated with images of U.F.O.s. 
Its purpose is not to restore integrity to elections but to undermine the public’s confidence enough to push through policies and practices that make registration and voting harder, if not impossible, for certain groups of people who tend to vote Democratic. (our emphasis)
The "marriage of convenience" is more precisely between a deranged, narcissistic dolt and ultra right- wing activists who know perfectly well what the "facts" and "data" are; that's why they're doing what they're doing!  Simply put, they're engaging in a systemic effort to achieve a permanent Republican oligarchy regardless of demographic changes that would otherwise threaten their vision of an ultra- right white people's republic.

Seven lawsuits have already been filed in Federal courts (and more in State courts) against this anti- American Commission. That's our first line of defense for now, but any success the vote suppressors have in limiting the franchise will only lead to more suppression. Getting these dangerous cranks out of office before they can permanently change our country is the only true defense we have against this relentless cancer.

(Photo: Kobach, Trump, Pence at their Voter Suppression Commission meeting)

Twit-In-Chief Wants Distractions and Protection

Unhinged sociopath and would-be dictator Donald "Rump" Trump continues to let his guilt show in his barrage of tweets, and he's blaming his Attorney General and evil elf Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III for not "investigating" Hillary Clinton to distract from his corruption:
Of course, Rethuglicans in Congress spent almost 2 years "investigating" her e-mails and Benghazi BENGHAZI !! in an attempt to damage her, and came up with bupkis. Asking why his own Attorney General (a "beleaguered" one at that) isn't conducting a show trial of Clinton is the clearest signal that Beauregard's days are numbered, as well as the lawlessness of the orange shitgibbon. He and his legal team know he's in ever-deepening legal trouble, some of which is because he can't keep his paranoid and enraged fingers off of Twitter. He also believes that his cowardly cohort of Rethugs in Congress is there to protect his royal ass, rather than be a check on his corruption:
The cynical party-before-country Rethugs in Congress may well continue to "protect" him, but as the prosecutorial evidence mounts that his "special relationship" with the Kremlin is based on criminality, the protection he seeks may be too little too late.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Across The Universe, Cont. - Fuzzy Galaxy

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, July 17, 2014:  Tucked away in the small northern constellation of Canes Venatici (The Hunting Dogs) is the galaxy NGC 4242, shown here as seen by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The galaxy lies some 30 million light-years from us. At this distance from Earth, actually not all that far on a cosmic scale, NGC 4242 is visible to anyone armed with even a basic telescope (as British astronomer William Herschel found when he discovered the galaxy in 1788).

This image shows the galaxy’s bright centre and the surrounding dimmer and more diffuse “fuzz”. Despite appearing to be relatively bright in this image, studies have found that NGC 4242 is actually relatively dim (it has a moderate-to-low surface brightness and low luminosity) and also supports a low rate of star formation. The galaxy also seems to have a weak bar of stars cutting through its asymmetric centre, and a very faint and poorly-defined spiral structure throughout its disc. But if NGC 4242 is not all that remarkable, as with much of the Universe, it is still a beautiful and ethereal sight.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Trump Effect? Macron Popularity Dives

French President Emmanuel Macron, hyper handshaker and host of big parades for neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump, has an approval rating problem. His approval numbers have dropped 10% in one month, the largest drop in 22 years in a similar timeframe. While the linked article indicates fights over military spending and tax issues were the factor, how hard is it to believe that Macron's oddly submissive, overly solicitous posture toward Rump offended many people in France, where Rump was unpopular to begin with?

Today's Cartoon Twofer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

(Nick Anderson, via

Sen. Franken Dismantles Trump's Efforts To Discredit Special Counsel's Team

Why we love Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), part infinity. Watch how he dismantles the emerging Trumpian attack on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's hiring of people who contributed to Democrats (h/t Crooks & Liars):

Sunday Reflection

"Nothing is more wretched than the mind of a man conscious of guilt." Roman playwright Plautus (c. 254 - 184 BC).

At the core of every malignant narcissist like Donald "Rump" Trump is denial, which makes them incapable of feeling guilt; rather they feel themselves the good "victim," and transfer guilt onto others. Rump is a pure textbook case of this. However, there are obvious "tells" that, while Rump may not be conscious of or feel guilt in a psychological sense, he instinctively knows there are things that need to be hidden, and he's reacting to that impulse (eg., his refusal to release his tax returns, his constant deflections and distractions, his efforts to co- opt law enforcement, his fawning attitude towards Putin, his dangling of pardons in front of potential witnesses against him - the latter being as close to a definition of obstruction of justice as you can get). That conflict is what's causing the anxiety that's showing itself in his unhinged tweets and bizarre behavior. Wretched indeed.

Love That "Transparency" (UPDATED)

From the White (Supremacist) House's new "communications" capo director, some world-class, Orwellian doublespeak:
Slick opportunist and future hair product endorser Anthony "So Mooch Love" Scaramucci is fresh off last Friday's sycophantic love nuzzle with crime boss and narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump, looking like someone from a casting call for "The Sopranos," to tell us he's being "transparent" when deleting his old tweets which criticized Rump, praised Hillary, and diverged from Rump cult beliefs. Sad!

UPDATE: The Mooch has been making the rounds of the Sunday shows, tripping over himself and the Trumpian party line of the moment --

See also here and here for more of the Mooch's ill- fated forays into the big time today. Luckily, Rump is prone to pick incompetents (loyal, though!) to defend him. Water seeking its own level.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Russia Sanctions Deal Reached in Congress

The Senate and House have reached a deal on the legislative package that will impose tighter sanctions on Russia, and eliminate Putin puppet and con man Donald "Rump" Trump's power to alter the sanctions without Congressional hearings and approval. The House is expected to vote on the bill Tuesday. The Senate passed a similar version of the legislation by a vote of 98-2 on June 29. The legislation also includes sanctions on Iran and North Korea. The bill also makes it clear that the Russian properties in Maryland and New York that were being used for espionage will not be returned, as Moscow (and Rump) wanted.

The limitations posed on Rump are a sign of bipartisan mistrust of his motivations and plans toward Russia, which Rump has shown an almost treasonous regard for in his statements and actions. Indeed, Rump was lobbying the House to weaken the bill to give him "flexibility" on the sanctions. Moscow's assistance to Rump in the last election is being probed by Congressional committees and more significantly by Special Counsel Mueller with the assistance of the FBI, along with potential money laundering by Russian government oligarchs using Rump's companies and properties.

Today's Cartoon Twofer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Those Repeated Omissions By Mr. Ivanka Trump

Below the signature block on Federal disclosure forms, whether they be for security clearances or for financial conflicts of interest, there's always a citation from the criminal code that, by signing, you affirm that the statements are accurate under penalty of law. We know, we've signed them before.

(Un) Presidential son-in-law and up and coming hustler Jared "Mr. Ivanka Trump" Kushner has an unfortunate tendency to "forget" to include pertinent information on such forms, notably on his SF-86 form for a security clearance which he's had to "revise" three times to disclose an increasing number of contacts with foreign entities. Two of the omitted disclosures loom over Russiagate: his meeting in December 2016 with a sanctioned Russian banker close to the Kremlin, and his meeting in June 2016 with Rump Jr. and a slew of Russians to discuss dirt on Hillary Clinton offered by the Russian government.

It was reported yesterday evening that Kushner failed to disclose 77 assets on his financial conflict of interest filing, assets ranging from municipal bonds to art work, omissions that one former ethics official called "a lot". Together, Kushner and Ivanka "Complicit" Trump claim to have assets in the range of from $206 million to $760 million. Tellingly, in his initial disclosure, Kushner didn't reveal business relationships with Goldman Sachs and loans totaling $1 billion from 20 lenders to properties and companies he partially owned. Those "lenders" might prove to be an interesting subject for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's review.

The above-the-law sense of entitlement by the Trumpanov prince and princess is evident in their cavalier regard for disclosing contacts and financial information. It also reveals a Trumpian habit of covering up facts that could prove embarrassing, or more likely, lead to criminal charges.