Thursday, August 31, 2017

Uncle Ruckus Turns In His Badge

In a bizarre move, Milwaukee County's despicable sheriff David "Uncle Ruckus" Clarke abruptly resigned his position while attending a National Fraternal Order of Police meeting in Nashville. Uncle Ruckus, a favorite of neo-fascist fraudster Donald "Rump" Trump, did not state a reason for his resignation in the resignation letter.

Uncle Ruckus has been the subject of scandals in the running of the Milwaukee County jail, including inmate deaths, and in his frequent absences from his job while out promoting his wingnut brand of law enforcement. This past spring, he was hinting that he was about to get a position with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a boast that proved to be false. We'll see what actually drove him to resign so unexpectedly. The former sheriff, and the turmoil he created, won't be missed in Milwaukee County, as he rides off promoting himself.

(photo: Uncle Ruckus in his western sheriff cosplay outfit, ridin' the mean streets of West Allis? Cudahy?)

Tweet Of The Day: Bad Hombres

Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox, a long time, strong critic of neo-fascist bigot Donald "Rump" Trump lets Rump have it right in the cojones, er uh face. Here's the story about the generous bakers referenced in the tweet.

Our Dangerous National Embarrassment

It's common knowledge that man-baby and reckless demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump is viewed with a mixture of horror, disgust and confusion among our closest allies. His antics at the NATO meeting in May, where he declined to endorse the concept of mutual defense, to spilling secrets from an ally (Israel) to the Russians in the Oval Office, have alarmed our friends and emboldened our adversaries. His subservience to Russia's autocrat Vladimir Putin is there for all to see, especially those in Europe who are threatened by a resurgence of Russian expansionism.

Reuters reports that one of those close allies, Japan, has chosen to deepen relationships with the adults in the White (Supremacist) House and administration. Building bridges to, for example, Secretary of Defense Mattis and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is seen by Japanese government officials as the best solution to keeping bilateral relations normalized, given the erratic, ignorant and puzzling behavior of Rump.

Working around Rump may be the only sensible way to deal with the U.S. government at this point. But one has to wonder what would happen if his delicate ego catches on that he's being quarantined by the adults. We can only imagine the tantrum he'd have, as he takes international relations into his own, incompetent and bullying hands.

States Rights.....To Prosecute

Yesterday's heartening news won't make wannabe dictator and sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump happy. The essence:
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team is working with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on its investigation into Paul Manafort and his financial transactions, according to several people familiar with the matter.

The cooperation is the latest indication that the federal probe into President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman is intensifying. It also could potentially provide Mueller with additional leverage to get Manafort to cooperate in the larger investigation into Trump’s campaign, as Trump does not have pardon power over state crimes." (emphasis added)
Eric Schneiderman is a brilliant bulldog of a state attorney general, prosecuting many white collar crimes and organized crime cases (he sued Trump "University" for scamming people and won). The coordination with New York State is important, too, since the campaign was, and Rump's business is, headquartered there, so New York criminal statues apply. As the Politico article notes, Rump's pardoning power only extends to Federal cases, not state cases. So, when Rump pardoned sinister Joe Arpaio, he sent a signal to persons of interest in the Russiagate scandal that he'd use his pardoning power recklessly. Now Special Counsel Mueller is end-running that option for Rump by coordinating with prosecutors at the state level to get leverage over key witnesses like Manafort.

It's interesting to note that the other state jurisdiction that Mueller's likely quietly coordinating with is the Commonwealth of Virginia (where Manafort and others reside), whose Attorney General is progressive Mark Herring, who while not as well known or accomplished as Schneiderman, would cooperate fully with Special Counsel Mueller in pursuing state criminal charges as applicable.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Leading By Example: NY & NJ Rush Aid To Texas

News item: "New York is sending additional resources to help those dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey...New York already sent more than 100 airmen, three rescue helicopters, another rescue aircraft, and several boats and watercrafts."

Texas' despicable weasel of a senator, "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz, keeps lying that he voted against Hurricane Sandy relief because two-thirds was pork unrelated to the emergency. The men and women of the New York Air National Guard are there to tell Tailgunner Ted: this is how Americans react when their fellow citizens are hit with a disaster, you disgraceful little man.

BONUS: New Jersey is also showing how decent people behave, not that Tailgunner Ted would care.

Cartoon Of The Day: Great Turnout

(click to enlarge)

Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee

A Hole In The Wall (That Mexico Will Pay For!)

The urgent need to fund Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery might be the last gasp for this coming fiscal year for bigoted narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump's wall on the southern border (that Mexico will pay for!).  Congress is facing deadlines not only for the 2017 spending bill but for an increase in the debt ceiling, which may be coupled with the 2017 bill / continuing resolution and hurricane relief. That added expense would give Rethuglicans an excuse for not providing funding for the wall (that Mexico will pay for!), despite Rump's threat to shut down the Government. Additionally, any refusal to increase the debt ceiling would tank the markets quickly.

Rump is certainly unhinged enough to veto the bill, but Congress would easily override his veto, and have the excuse of needing those funds for states impacted by Harvey. It's also interesting that a leader in the far right, so-called "Freedom Caucus" Rep. Mark "Sheep In The" Meadows is blowing cold on Rump's dream:
“In talking to a number of my members, if there was a vote for a continuing resolution next week that did not include border wall funding,” Meadows told ABC News, “the majority of those members would be supportive of that.”
Will Rump propose a separate supplemental funding bill for the wall (etc., etc.)? Probably, but there appears to be growing skepticism that he'll get anything beyond token funding.

Mid-Week Heart Song

Los Angeles-based indie pop band flor has a light, ethereal sound to their music, lifted by the voice of lead singer Zach Grace and the otherworldly sound of a synthesizer. Their debut album, "come out, you're hiding," was released three months ago to glowing reviews. Here's a track from that album, "Heart."

The Rain Continues, The Need Is Great

Photo: CNN

The sight of families in the flooded areas of Texas and now Louisiana being rescued in small boats and rafts by volunteers is gratifying. The images of destroyed homes and disrupted lives is depressing. Meanwhile, the storm that continues to drench that part of the country, while it threatens dams and reservoirs, will cost untold billions in recovery. We need to put ourselves in their shoes now.

We linked to the American Red Cross hurricane relief site the other day. Friend of the blog DivaNewYork also suggested another option: They're a local organization that operates with all volunteers, and they work in the evacuation centers and know the city well so they can target assistance where most needed. Please help them out.

BONUS: Charlie Pierce raises the question of whether Houston will be inhabitable due to the chemical leaks from multiple nearby refineries and petrochemical plants. Chilling.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Today's Cartoon Twofer: Pardon Us

(click to enlarge)

Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

So Rump's The Unifier Now?

We predicted yesterday that the Beltway media would give sociopathic demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump another "pivot" mulligan in the response to Hurricane Harvey, giving him a chance to show his unifying "leadership." The New York Times' Maggie Haberman took to Twitter and cited an article by her colleague Glenn Thrush about Rump's potential unifying power:

The reactions to her tweet and the referenced article are less than complimentary. Angling for another interview with Rump, are we? Nice little beat sweetener.

Meanwhile, the needy narcissist never misses an opportunity to bask in a political rally, even in the wake of the natural disaster. He couldn't resist remarking on the size of the crowd gathered at a fire station in Corpus Christi: "What a crowd, what a turnout!" The great unifier, indeed.

BONUS: Charlie Pierce weighs in here.

Says The Adulterous, Felonious Preacher

“If it happens, there will be a civil war in the United States of America. The Christians will finally come out of the shadows because we are going to be shut up permanently if we’re not careful.” --- convicted ex-con fraudster and moral sewer Jim "Unholy Faker" Bakker, describing what would happen if his earthly idol Donald "Rump" Trump is impeached and removed from office.  Presumably the "Christians" he's referring to would be wearing their white robes and waving the treasonous Confederate flag, too. Also, is this prophesying or sedition? We say the latter.

Trump's Creative Writing

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team is probing into the statement that lying sociopath and Putin ally Donald "Rump" Trump drafted in response to the New York Times story about the June 2016 meeting between Uday Donald, Jr and a collection of Russian operatives. Specifically, the investigators are trying to determine how much Rump actually knew about the meeting in Trump Tower and whether his intent was to hide the purpose of the meeting. The initial cover story was that the meeting was about Russian adoptions (an issue connected to Russian sanctions under the Magnitsky Act). The false story unraveled as a memo from Junior to Jared "Mr. Ivanka" Kushner and Paul Manafort described the purpose of the meeting as getting dirt from Russian intelligence on Hillary Clinton.

The deceptive statement was prepared as Rump returned from the G-20 meeting in Europe, and was described by his aides as something that Rump "weighed in on." It was later reported that Rump actually dictated the statement. According to a legal source knowledgeable of the investigation:
"Even if Trump is not charged with a crime as a result of the statement, it could be useful to Mueller's team to show Trump's conduct to a jury that may be considering other charges."
The phrase "consciousness of guilt" comes up frequently in observing Rump's actions regarding the Russia investigation. His behavior suggests that he has something to hide, because he does.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon

(click to enlarge)

Let's see how the Beltway media responds to tomorrow's photo op with unhinged sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump's trip to Texas. Prediction: largely deferential, even laudatory coverage of him pretending to be "Presidential"and caring.

Phoning It In [UPDATED]

White (Supremacist) House photo

While lapdog Vice President Mike "Dense" Pence held a meeting of the Cabinet and emergency officials to deal with the devastating flooding in Texas, and now Louisiana, sociopathic narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump was 50 miles away at Camp David, alone on a video hookup, wearing a "USA" cap. Such leadership, so Presidential. Hopefully, they worked his name into the discussion in order to hold his interest.

Rump will be traveling to Texas tomorrow to feign interest and concern for the flood victims. Maybe he'll wear the same cap.

UPDATE: Rump and his trophy wife will be avoiding the hardest hit areas Tuesday, but will talk to the officials coordinating recovery efforts. Such empathy.

The Rain Keeps Coming

Nick Oxford/Reuters

Another 12 to 20 inches of rain is expected to fall in coastal Texas over the next 3 days as the remnant of Hurricane Harvey stalls overhead. Many parts of Houston -- the U.S.'s fourth largest city -- are submerged in waist-high water. Reservoirs are bursting. Tens of thousands and counting have been displaced.

The America Red Cross is providing aid to that area. To help their efforts, go to their website.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Grifters Of A Feather

The business cons of Ivanka "Complicit" Trump have come under scrutiny for everything from using foreign companies that engage in labor abuses, to hawking her jewelry during the transition. Her bad judgement extends to the business partners she chooses, too, as reported in Politico. Moshe Lax, the son of a wealthy diamond dealer in New York, partnered with Trump in forming Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, but has left a trail of vendors that claim that he cheated them:
"His vendors call him a 'career grifter.' His father’s creditors claim he’s a fraud and a serial extortionist who shakes people down with trumped-up threats of criminal charges. With these and other allegations piling up in court records along with judgments—against him, his wife and his businesses—for millions of dollars, his lawyers are abandoning him, saying he’s a deadbeat. All the while, he’s been living in one of the most luxurious mansions in the Bronx."
Nice company you keep, Complicit. Here's more on his legal problems:
"In 2012, Lax’s company, Madison Avenue Diamonds, found itself in court after it accepted delivery of millions of dollars in diamonds but refused to pay for them, claiming that the vendor, KGK, had breached their agreement by delivering some computer files related to the diamonds late."
When Lax's father died in 2008, he left not only a fortune, but also a fortune in debt, including a multi-million dollar debt to a couple of Brooklyn real estate developers:
"The fallout from that loan has led to some of the most disturbing charges against Lax: that he has been extorting members of his tight-knit religious community, threatening to bring criminal charges against them if they do not pay him—and that he engaged in a massive financial fraud to hide tens of millions of dollars left by his father from the government and creditors."
The article is lengthy and details many questionable deals involving Complicit's business partner, which suggests that she either doesn't screen who she partners with, or doesn't care.

Sunday Funnies: Missy Vs. Rump

(click to enlarge)

Jeff Danziger, Washington Post Writers Group

Steve Breen, San Diego Union

Quote Of The Day: Speaking For Himself

"The President speaks for himself." -- Former Exxon CEO and Secretary of State Rex "Rexxon" Tillerson, on Fux News Sunday, when asked about neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's values, represented by his equivocating, "very fine people on both sides" response to the neo-Nazi riot in Charlottesville, VA. By implication and omission, Rexxon was saying that Rump doesn't speak for Americans values.

The humiliation and loathing that many officials in the Rump regime must be feeling is only surpassed by their moral cowardice in not resigning in protest.

Sunday Reflection

"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul." -- George Bernard Shaw

Watch who supports the Rethuglicans' tax "reform" legislation, one designed to increase the flow of benefits to the wealthiest, and cut corporate rates without plugging the loopholes that they use. The deceitful ads are already making their way to the airwaves, depicting "reform" as a means to lift the middle class and create new jobs. Three words: trickle down economics. Meanwhile, most Americans don't feel the need for the Rethuglicans' "reform," and see it as another giveaway to those that have made great income gains already. Resist.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Party Poopers

We noted yesterday that white supremacist rallies are popping up around the country, in support of neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's clear signals that they're "very fine people." A rally was scheduled today in San Francisco's Crissy Field by a group of thugs calling themselves "Patriot Prayer", but had to be cancelled after the right-wingers expressed fear for their safety (they'd be greatly outnumbered by counter protesters). It's more likely, though, that they were dissuaded by a more organic "safety" reason: many dozens of local residents have been taking their dogs to Crissy Field, the site of the rally, and allowing them to poop there with no clean up. Now, that's fighting dog poop with dog poop.

(photo: Stephen Lam, Reuters. Dogs prepare welcome for white supremacists in San Francisco)

Said The Unfit Sociopath

Another One Bites The Dust: Gorka Out

Last night, the White (Supremacist) House announced the firing of Islamophobic white nationalist Sebastian Gorka from his position as a terrorism advisor. Gorka, whose antagonistic and bullying interviews on national television in defense of sociopathic demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump were common, was a leading ally of fired former chief "strategist" Steve "Loose Cannon" Bannon. 

Gorka, born in the UK of Hungarian parents, a virtual unknown in the national security policy realm before his appointment, was notorious for his ties to Vit├ęzi Rend, a neo-Nazi group in Hungary, wearing a medal popular with the fascist group to an Inaugural Ball in January. He maintained ties with other white nationalist groups in Europe as part of his portfolio.

His firing, apparently of National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and chief-of-staff John Kelly, raises the question of how someone with Gorka's unsavory background made it into the White (Supremacist) House to begin with.....just joking! His racialist views fit in nicely with disgraced former NSA Michael Flynn, Bannon, and Rump himself, a troika of extremists. Much like Bannon's parting shot at the White (Supremacist) House that blasted his opponents there, Gorka's "resignation" letter released after his firing stated:
“Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan this week…The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost…"
Hell hath no fury like a jilted white nationalist. Enjoy your long descent into oblivion.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Unpardonable Act

The White (Supremacist) House just announced that narcissistic bigot Donald "Rump" Trump has pardoned Court-defying sheriff and bigot Joe Arpaio, formerly the sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County. The pardon was widely anticipated after Rump all but confirmed it at his hate speech rally in Phoenix on Tuesday. Arpaio's virulent anti-immigration positions mirrored Rump's. He vigorously supported Rump in 2016, and was a prominent racist birther.

Arpaio lost reelection in 2016 following his conviction on defying a court order to cease racial profiling of Latinos in his jurisdiction. He rose to national attention for his practice of making the inmates of his county jail wear pink underway as a form of humiliation and punishment, and housing them outdoors in tents in the blistering Arizona heat.

BONUS: AZ Senator John McCain, who has clashed with Rump, issued a statement saying that Rump's pardon "undermines his claim for the respect of the rule of law..."

BONUS II: The Arizona Republic, the state's largest newspaper, blisters Rump's pardon of bigot Arpaio: it reaffirms Rump's inclination toward "institutional racism."

White Supremacists To March Over Weekend

Last weekend's massive turnout of anti-Nazi / anti-white supremacist demonstrators in Boston dwarfed the small gaggle of depraved losers toting treasonous Confederate flags and demonstrating for white supremacy. That's the good news.

This weekend, though, several white supremacist rallies -- either couched in terms of preserving Confederate statues, or "free" (i.e. hate) speech -- are due to be held in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Knoxville. In the latter venue, the bigoted demonstrators will be protesting the removal of a Confederate monument to their (treasonous) soldiers that died at Fort Sanders, in the guise of Southern "heritage". In San Francisco, a white nationalist group from Oregon will be rallying in the cause of hate speech in Crissy Field, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Finally, on Sunday, a group of right-wingers will gather for a "No To Marxism In America" rally that's expected to draw the usual neo-Nazis and white supremacists to Civic Center Park.

Anti-Semitic white supremacists have been emboldened by neo-Fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's "both sides" wink and pass after Charlottesville. Ominously, dozens of anti-Semitic incidents have occurred in the wake of the Nazi riot in Charlottesville, as documented by the Anti-Defamation League. This rash of rallies by the degenerate goons of the far-right is the clearest symptom of Trumpism, and it needs to be opposed at every turn. Resist.

Weekend Music

Time to feature one of our favorite Canadians (and we have plenty of those), Neil Young. This is "Rockin' In The Free World" from his 1989 album, "Freedom." Hope you enjoy.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger)

(Jeff Stahler, via

RNC Split Over White Supremacy Resolution

Meeting in Nashville this week, the Rethuglican National Committee is split over whether to adopt a resolution condemning white supremacy. That's right, split. While the chairperson, Ronna Romney McDaniel (Mittens' niece), is urging passage, there are many RNC members who think the move looks "defensive." (We can't offend neo-Nazis and the KKK, who form the most rabid part of our base, can we?).

One Rethug, Colorado party chair Jeff "Jefferson Davis" Hays, objected to the resolution, saying:
"It's amazing that we have been lured into this argument that we're not racists. It's absurd. Why would we feel compelled to do that?"
He has a point, in that they would lose the argument that they're not racists, so why shine a light on it? Another white supremacist sympathizer, Pennsylvania Rethug party chair Val DiGiorgio, went further, backing up neo-Fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's statement that "both sides" were to blame for the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville, while knocking the media, saying:
"The president was not wrong to point out what the media has failed to point out."
Chairperson McDaniel had the most risible arguments for passing the fig-leaf resolution, coming almost two weeks after the right-wing violence:
"There's no debate. We're affirming we're the party of Lincoln. We are showing the moral high ground by disavowing hate and violence."
Right, "high moral ground" as the "party of Lincoln."  She's referring to the party that adopted the Southern strategy to appeal to racist Dixiecrats who then joined the Rethugs (Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Lester Maddox, etc.). The party that used code language to promote segregationist policies ("States rights"), and attack affirmative action and poverty programs. The party that is undermining voting rights for African-American and Latino voters, and the party that made a living from viciously attacking the first African-American President by appealing to white racial animus and birtherism. THAT party? High moral ground? Please. This kerfuffle should surprise absolutely no one, especially Ms. McDaniel.

Charlottesville's "Tragic Victim"

Alec Baldwin does Trump's Phoenix speech/ rant. Classic.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Tweets Of The Day - Venn Diagrams

Trump's Elmer Gantry Contingent

The "religious" right has always been a safe haven for bigots, hypocrites and con artists, and it's no different today, with their soul mate, narcissistic bigot Donald "Rump" Trump occupying the White (Supremacist) House. They appear at his public functions, showering praise on the secular, adulterous, pathological liar.  They recently appeared in the Oval Office to "lay hands" on him, as if performing an exorcism.

A good part of their love for "Two Corinthians" Rump, who has never demonstrated an inkling of his religious faith, is based on his support of their policy agenda, from kicking transgender soldiers and sailors out of the military, to easing restrictions on school prayer, to opposing reproductive rights for women, and so on. Moreover, the phony preachers themselves see Rump as a Christian success story, fulfilling the "prosperity" gospel, which dictates that money equals the deity's favor. But as Jack Jenkins writes in Think Progress, there's a nasty white Christian nationalist element to their support as demonstrated by "prosperity" gospel Bible-banger Paula White, Rump's laughable "spiritual advisor":
"They say about our president, ‘Well, he is not presidential.’ Thank goodness. Thank goodness. Thank goodness … he is not a polished politician. In other words, he is authentically — whether people like it or not — has been raised up by God. Because God says that He raises up and places all people in places of authority...It is God who raises up a king. It is God that sets one down. When you fight against the plan of God, you are fighting against the hand of God.”
Rump the "king," raised up by "God." Got it. Here's another latter-day Elmer Gantry, Robert Jeffress, passing along the almighty's permission to rain "fire and fury" on North Korea:
"When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary - including war - to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong Un."
His contingent among the decidedly un-Christian evangelical clergy is significant, and like the crowds they preach to, represent his most rabid base of support. They've stuck by him through every scandal: Pussygate, his corrupt Russia connection, his statement equating the neo-Nazi rioters with the counter demonstrators, and so on. Unlike the businesses, charities, and many independent and Rethuglican voters who are abandoning him, they'll stay with him. They all belong to the same "church" as Rump after all: the Unholy Church of Greed, Bigotry and Hypocrisy.

Today's Cartoon - What We Know Will Not Happen

(click on image to enlarge)

(Ruben Bolling, via Daily Kos)

Morning Reading - "Blank Sucking Nullity"

We've been seeing quotes from this piece by David Roth here and there, so we went to take a look. The whole essay, "The President of Blank Sucking Nullity," is a sharply written analysis, not only of Donald "Rump" Trump, but of the boot- lickers around him and the army of nitwits supporting him. While this paragraph about Rump supporters struck us as particularly on point, do yourself a favor and look at the whole read:
To understand Trump is also to understand his appeal as an aspirational brand to the worst people in the United States. What his intransigent admirers like most about him—the thing they aspire to, in their online cosplay sessions and their desperately thirsty performances for a media they loathe and to which they are so helplessly addicted—is his freedom to be unconcerned with anything but himself. This is not because he is rich or brave or astute; it’s because he is an asshole, and so authentically unconcerned. The howling and unreflective void at his core will keep him lonely and stupid until the moment a sufficient number of his vital organs finally resign in disgrace, but it liberates him to devote every bit of his being to his pursuit of himself. Actual hate and actual love, as other people feel them, are too complicated to fit into this world. In their place, for Trump and for the people who see in him a way of being that they are too busy or burdened or humane to pursue, are the versions that exist in a lower orbit, around the self. Instead of hate, there is simple resentment—abject and valueless and recursively self-pitying; instead of love, there is the blank sucking nullity of vanity and appetite.
We saw those thoughtless, howling yahoos reacting to Rump's unhinged babbling in Phoenix this week. It once again reminded us that of all the things that motivate these nihilist slugs, high on their list is their desire to let you know they don't give a damn about you or anyone else not like them. We saw it all during the primaries and the election, in the abstract and in the literal:

Well, guess what? We're just as tired of seeing, reading and hearing about these Rump- kissing morons. As Roth says, they're simply "aspirational Trumps" who share the same "howling and unreflective void" at their core that he does. Every society in the world has them in roughly the same proportion as we do, the unfortunate part for us being that they elected their avatar "president." If they ever had a sense of the duties and responsibilities of citizenship (which we doubt), it's long since been forgotten.

BONUS: Charles Pierce has also run out of f*cks to give about Rump supporters.

BONUS II: Not surprisingly and in fitting with their character, Rump's people think they're the oppressed ones.

(Photo: two of the worst people in the United States)

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Today's Cartoon Threefer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Joel Pett, Lexington Herald Leader)

(Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe)

(Chris Britt, Creators Syndicate)

Mid-Week Song

It's hard not to love singer / songwriter Pink, her songs, her bold style and her activism and philanthropy. Her evocative voice has powered her many hits, selling 47 million albums worldwide, and garnering 3 Grammy awards. In 2009, she was named Pop Songs Artist of the Decade by Billboard, and rightfully so. Her new album, "Beautiful Trauma," is due out on October 13, and a beautiful track from that album,"What About Us," is our mid-week song. Enjoy.

QOTD: Things We Wish Hillary Had Said

From Hillary Clinton, in her new book, "What Happened," an excerpt describing the uncomfortable feeling as unstable sexual predator Donald "Rump" Trump hovered behind her during the October 9, 2016 second Presidential debate:
"It was one of those moments where you wish you could hit pause and ask everyone watching, 'Well, what would you do?' Do you stay calm, keep smiling and carry on as if he weren't repeatedly invading your space? Or do you turn, look him in the eye, and say loudly and clearly, 'Back up you creep, get away from me! I know you love to intimidate women, but you can't intimidate me, so back up.'" (emphasis added)
Instead she kept her cool while the hulking figure of a slothful, narcissistic sociopath loomed behind her, frowning in displeasure that he was being bested by a woman, and that he couldn't just be handed the Presidency, as he was handed so much in life.

Trump's "Downright Scary And Disturbing" Rally In Phoenix

After his big boy teleprompter speech Monday outlining his (non)strategy in Afghanistan, deranged narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump was praised by the usual suspects because, as Charles Pierce noted, "he did not strangle himself with his own shoelaces and, thus, has been determined by various smart people to have been minimally presidential at the very least." One such ninny works for the Washington Post, who had this hot take after Monday's written- by- someone- else, teleprompter speech:

New! Improved!

Oh well.  But (surprise!) what a difference 24 hours makes!

Placed in front of an adoring audience of mouth- breathers, knuckle- draggers and all forms of fauna in between last night in Phoenix, AZ, Rump was himself again. For 77 minutes. Of lies, paranoia, malignant narcissism -- basically Real Rump, not Teleprompter Rump. Here's a decent summary of the lying narcissist's rally.

Former Director of National Intelligence and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper had a sober assessment of the Nuremberg- comes- to- Phoenix rally and Rump's "scary and disturbing" performance (h/t Crooks & Liars):

BONUS: Here's a picture of the narcissist in front of his very white and "poorly educated" base --

(Getty Images)

BONUS II:  He couldn't even fill the hall. Sad!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fear The Turtle?

The New York Times tonight:
The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises. 
What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine L. Chao, in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense. [snip] 
Mr. McConnell has fumed over Mr. Trump’s regular threats against fellow Republicans and criticism of Senate rules, and questioned Mr. Trump’s understanding of the presidency in a public speech. Mr. McConnell has made sharper comments in private, describing Mr. Trump as entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing. 
In offhand remarks, Mr. McConnell has expressed a sense of bewilderment about where Mr. Trump’s presidency may be headed, and has mused about whether Mr. Trump will be in a position to lead the Republican Party into next year’s elections and beyond, according to people who have spoken to him directly.  (our emphasis)
One of the "basics of governing" that's beyond the Man Baby is, "Don't alienate your party's leader in the Senate if you want to get anything done."

Rump is in Arizona tonight, the home state of one of the Republican Senators he's attacked recently, Jeff Flake. As a shot across Rump's bow, McConnell's PAC just put out a nasty ad attacking Flake's likely primary opponent, crackpot "Chemtrail Kelli" Ward, whom Rump has hinted he might endorse.  "Chemtrail Kelli" has also put out an attack ad declaring her undying love for Rump.

If Rump dings Flake tonight, that would certainly add fuel to the feud, which is good news for all of us. In the longer term, it might also give us a Democratic Senator from Arizona in 2018.

Today's Cartoons

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(Steve Benson, The Arizona Republic)

(David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

(Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

Random Reactions To Rump's Afghan Speech

We noted below that failing demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's speech last night on Afghanistan was shell-and-pea games in which he said virtually nothing. We've collected some random Twitter reactions to his "I'm-reading-this-for-the-first-time" speech:


Trump Yesterday And Today

After sociopathic demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's scripted, I-won't-tell-you-what-I'm-going-to-do speech on Afghanistan last night, many were left wondering what his strategy is, aside from a continuation of current operations, possibly with a brigade or so added to our forces there. As past Administrations have, he criticized Pakistan for harboring terrorist fighters, and called on Afghans to govern themselves. The oddest point was his encouragement of India to join in economic development and security efforts in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, as if India wants to help its nuclear-armed nemesis Pakistan in any substantial way.

Tonight in Phoenix, Rump will be back to campaign mode, likely going back to off-script messaging, where he's most natural in venting his rage and bigotry and which produce the most outrageous statements. His devoted cult there will cheer anything he says and does, which may include announcing a pardon for convicted bigot, former Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Notably, the state's Rethuglican governor, Doug Ducey, has apparently found better things to do than attend the rally with Rump, and certainly the state's two Rethug Senators and frequent Rump critics, John McCain and Jeff Flake, won't be there either. Flake in particular has been in Rump's doghouse over public criticisms, despite a 95% pro-Trump voting record in the Senate, and Rump has praised Kelli Ward, a wingnut rival of Flake's recently. In any event, expect Rump to be in his true element, reverting to the xenophobic, racist, vulgar authoritarian that his cult loves, while he basks in their cheering.

BONUS:  Not surprisingly, the "strategy" Rump recited from his teleprompter last night had only one bottom line:
Trump’s private deliberations — detailed in interviews with more than a dozen senior administration officials and outside allies — revealed a president un­attached to any particular foreign-policy doctrine, but willing to be persuaded as long as he could be seen as a strong and decisive leader. (our emphasis)
The Potemkin "President"!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Tweet Of The Solar Eclipse Day - We Were Warned!

Not fake news, it turns out.

Today's solar eclipse started in Oregon an hour ago.

BONUS: One moron didn't get the word that you need to wear special glasses to stare at the sun. Well, he's blind in so many other ways. Sad!

photo: Andrew Harnik, AP

About Those Confederate Monuments

We found this succinct explanation of the history of the traitorous and racist Confederate statues to hit all of the relevant points. The goal of the groups erecting them was to "celebrate" and sanitize the odious Confederacy at times when white supremacy was being challenged: during the Jim Crow era after the turn of the century and during the Civil Rights period. Via Mic:

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon

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(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

"Too Bad"

When neo-fascist chickenhawk Donald "Rump" Trump was asked to comment yesterday about the ten U.S. sailors from the USS John S. McCain missing after a collision with a merchant ship in the Malacca Straits, his immediate response to a group of reporters wasn't a heartfelt expression of concern, a commitment to finding the missing sailors, or even the reflexive "my thoughts and prayers." It was this: "That's too bad."

What's too bad is that we have a selfish narcissist as commander-in-chief that never thought to serve his country either in a military or civilian capacity, someone who mocked John McCain's POW war hero status, and someone who denigrated a Gold Star family because of their Muslim faith. He's not fit to polish the sailors' shoes, much less be their commander-in-chief.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Across The Universe, Cont. - Distorted Duo

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From NASA/ ESA, August 14, 2017:  Gravity governs the movements of the cosmos. It draws flocks of galaxies together to form small groups and more massive galaxy clusters, and brings duos so close that they begin to tug at one another. This latter scenario can have extreme consequences, with members of interacting pairs of galaxies often being dramatically distorted, torn apart, or driven to smash into one another, abandoning their former identities and merging to form a single accumulation of gas, dust, and stars.

The subject of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, IC 1727, is currently interacting with its near neighbour, NGC 672 (which is just out of frame). The pair’s interactions have triggered peculiar and intriguing phenomena within both objects — most noticeably in IC 1727. The galaxy’s structure is visibly twisted and asymmetric, and its bright nucleus has been dragged off-centre.

In interacting galaxies such as these, astronomers often see signs of intense star formation (in episodic flurries known as starbursts) and spot newly-formed star clusters. They are thought to be caused by gravity churning, redistributing, and compacting the gas and dust. In fact, astronomers have analysed the star formation within IC 1727 and NGC 672 and discovered something interesting — observations show that simultaneous bursts of star formation occurred in both galaxies some 20 to 30 and 450 to 750 million years ago. The most likely explanation for this is that the galaxies are indeed an interacting pair, approaching each other every so often and swirling up gas and dust as they pass close by.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Trump's Poll Numbers Dropping In Key States

A new NBC News / Marist poll out today indicates that support for neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump is slipping in key states that he carried last November, falling below 40% in Michigan (36% approve), Pennsylvania (35% approve), and Wisconsin (34% approve). Even more telling, the question of whether Rump's conduct makes you feel embarrassed that he's President, the numbers were even worse: Michigan with 64% feeling embarrassed, Pennsylvania with 63%, and Wisconsin with 64%.

Six in ten voters in all three states said that America's international role had been diminished under Rump. The poll also showed that voters in those key states would prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress by margins of 8% (Wisconsin), 10% (Pennsylvania), and 13% (Michigan).

The poll was taken after the white supremacist riot in Charlottesville on August 12 and during the week of Rump's "fine people on both sides" comment giving white supremacists moral equivalency with people protesting them.

Tweet/ Pic Of The Day - The Sign

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(Via Balloon Juice)

Sunday Reflection - Statue Symbolism

Some musings on statue symbolism this morning. As always, these are snippets; please go to the links for the full essays.

First, if you aren't already aware of the origins and true meaning of Confederate statues, Prof. Karen Cox is here to enlighten:
Almost none of the monuments were put up right after the Civil War. Some were erected during the civil rights era of the early 1960s, which coincided with the war’s centennial, but the vast majority of monuments date to between 1895 and World War I. They were part of a campaign to paint the Southern cause in the Civil War as just and slavery as a benevolent institution, and their installation came against a backdrop of Jim Crow violence and oppression of African Americans. The monuments were put up as explicit symbols of white supremacy.
(If you're familiar with the KKK- glorifying 1915 D.W. Griffith movie, "The Birth of a Nation," think of these statues as static representations of the same era and racial perspective.)

Infidel 753 on the claim that the Confederate statues represent Southern "heritage:"
To really see how bizarre this is, imagine if some Germans insisted on displaying Nazis flags and statues of Nazi leaders, but claimed that this was out of pride in their German heritage and nothing to do with anti-Semitism or fascism.  Germany as a culturally-distinct region is more than a thousand years old and can boast world-class achievements in science, technology, music, literature, architecture, and on and on.  To ignore all that, and choose symbols representing solely Germany's twelve-year lurch into the darkest depths of evil, would strongly suggest that what they were really commemorating was not German heritage at all, but rather that very evil.
So it is with the Confederate flag and statues.  To treat these as if they were the epitome of the Southern heritage, the symbols best suited to express it, actually demeans that heritage by presenting only its worst face as if that represented the whole. 
Christine Emba on why she's tired of explaining why she and other racial and religious minorities matter in the "debate" over Jim Crow- era monuments:
There are the appeals to reason, grown tedious for having been so often repeated: No, taking down a monument is not an “erasure of history.” No, it is not a slippery slope from removing mutinously erected statues of Lee to dynamiting monuments to George Washington. No, even if all the Confederate monuments disappeared overnight, we would not as a country forget that the Civil War ever happened or what it meant. After all, we still have books and museums and cemeteries and preserved battlefields and structural inequality. 
Then there are the analogies, the individual stories, all the more painful for being constantly retold: No — I can’t just “get over it,” because I can’t just take off my dark skin, which permanently marks me as the other. No, they aren’t “just statues”: They bring up personal, painful memories of current racism and marginalization — shall I recount those for you, again? [snip]
...Why would so many Americans rather undergo one million mental contortions than admit that someone else's safety matters? Why is it so hard for you to care? 
The answer, I think, is not one that I'll like. But perhaps you can take up the burden of explaining that to me.
Sadly, the majority of Americans (!) still believe the statues should remain, though at the same time they claim to oppose white supremacy and the KKK by large percentages. We have a lot of explaining to do, don't we?

(Photo: The Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, VA)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Tweet / Pic Of The Day

Gotta love those Bostonians:

Kudos to Dan Drezner for the Ken Burns-style message.

Today's Cartoon Twofer - Luckovich Edition

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(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Consititution)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Hate Radio Buffoon: "A Second Civil War" Coming

Yesterday, hate radio pustule and depraved opioid abuser Rush "Limpballs" Limbaugh attacked the anti-Nazi    counter protesters in Charlottesville, while weaving multiple anti-Semitic tropes into his tirade. Saying that the white supremacists "were not the problem,"  Limpballs blamed the violence on "people like George Soros and any other number of international financiers whose objective it is to take the United States out and down as a superpower.” He claimed the counter protesters represented an “ongoing effort to erase America by discrediting the entire premise of our culture, our history, our founding,” who "showed up in Charlottesville to create mayhem and cause hell.” Ominously, the porcine buffoon told his faithful audience that, “we are on the cusp of a second civil war.”

Limpballs has a long and ugly history of racist comments. Sadly, he has millions of angry, clueless "dittohead" followers, many of whom will take his "second civil war" comment to heart, continue to arm themselves, and act out their leader's direction in a violent way. Just wait.

BONUS:  Of course, Limpballs is only one of many mercenary crackpots pushing this seditious notion. So are Michael "Wiener" Savage (who is, not coincidentally, flogging his new book whose theme is "civil war") and the ever- porcine Alex Jones. We wonder what kind of a kickback these malicious weasels are getting from the NRA to rile up the morons and boost gun sales.

Letters We Wish We'd Written - Bearing Witness

In today's Washington Post:
Regarding the Aug. 16 front-page article “Trump again blames ‘both sides’ ”: 
I was a preschooler in Germany at the end of World War II. My generation learned the horrific history of the Nazis and how they pulled a whole country along with them. The shame and guilt continue to lie heavily on my generation. Now, as a longtime citizen of the United States, I watched in horror the events in Charlottesville. But more chilling were the words of the president. 
I can only imagine how descendants of slaves, Holocaust survivors and their descendants felt hearing the president equate those who had the courage to oppose with those who marched with the Nazi salute, the Nazi flag, torches, the Ku Klux Klan and the others Mr. Trump called “fine people” who marched along with them.  
I felt the beginning of Nazi history repeating itself. 
It is not enough for our representatives to denounce the alt-right. They must find the moral backbone to denounce those leaders, including the president, who have made excuses for the movement and its hateful ideology. They must refuse to be associated with the president’s party if it continues to value reelection chances and passage of its agenda over what is morally right and if it continues to tolerate this president, who has demonstrated that he lacks the moral authority to lead this great country. The danger is too great.
Ute O’Neal, Potomac
So far, we see very little evidence of Republican politicians willing to directly confront neo- fascist incompetent Donald "Rump" Trump, nor do we expect to see it any time soon if ever. As Brian McFadden portrays Sneaker of the House Paul "Lyin'" Ryan in the cartoon below, the only concern motivating these weasels is that they be able to shovel more of America's wealth upward as quickly as possible. No moral authority there.

Swamp Creatures: Carl Icahn Edition

The New Yorker magazine has a fascinating article (referenced briefly by Rachel Maddow last night) that looks into the dealings of billionaire investor and long-time corporate raider Carl "I Con" Icahn, who until yesterday, was an "advisor" to neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump for regulatory "reform", a euphemism for cutting regulations unpopular with corporations. What makes that particular connection galling is that Icahn -- who has long chafed under Federal regulations impacting his investments -- was more interested in boosting his profits through cutting regulations, particularly at the EPA, that were bothersome to his bottom line.

In particular, he was bleeding millions from his investment in CVR, an oil refinery in Texas, due to a requirement that ethanol be blended into their fuel or purchase "credits" from refineries that do. He wanted that requirement done away with, and he let Rump know that it was his top priority:
"Appearing on Bloomberg TV on August 16, 2016, [Icahn] vowed that Trump would put an end to 'these crazy regulations' on his first day in office. In fact, Icahn continued, he had spoken with Trump about the E.P.A. rule obliging his refiner to purchase renewable-fuel credits. If elected, Trump 'will stop that,' Icahn promised. 'That’s a hundred per cent.' Several weeks after Trump’s victory, Icahn tweeted, 'I’ve agreed to serve as a special advisor to the president on issues relating to regulatory reform.' [snip] 
In the months after the election, the stock price of CVR, Icahn’s refiner, nearly doubled—a surge that is difficult to explain without acknowledging the appointment of the company’s lead shareholder to a White House position. The rally meant a personal benefit for Icahn, at least on paper, of half a billion dollars." (emphasis added)
Icahn's brief stint as "advisor" to Rump on regulatory matters benefitted him greatly, perhaps even beyond the CVR caper. Financiers quoted in the New Yorker article joke that it was a corporate raid on Washington by Icahn, and "the cheapest takeover Carl's ever done." Drain the swamp, indeed.