Saturday, September 30, 2017

Today's Cartoon Threefer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

Go Hang Your Head

Puerto Rico National Cemetery

While racist demagogue and draft dodger Donald "Rump" Trump was avoiding the draft during the Vietnam war with five deferments, including a suspicious one for a "bone spur," all the while chasing skirts around New York City, we should point this out:
"During the Vietnam War, an estimated 48,000 Puerto Ricans served in the four branches of the armed forces. Of a total of 345 Puerto Ricans who died in combat, 18 were listed as MIA's." (emphasis added)
In all wars, 1119 Puerto Rican Americans have lost their lives so far fighting for their country. When Rump goes to Puerto Rico, he should visit the Puerto Rico National Cemetery in Bayamon. There, he should hang his head for his treatment of the island.

Trump Attacks Mayor Of San Juan For Criticizing Him - Qué Mierda!

His tiny, racist fingers went on a tweet tirade this morning from the comfort of his New Jersey golf resort, attacking the Mayor of San Juan for criticizing his incompetent response to the Puerto Rico disaster. Presidential!

Yeah, those lazy, ungrateful Hispanics!

What a despicable, idiotic piece of shit. Qué mierda!

Please help our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, since Fat Donnie is too busy golfing and tweeting to bother. Here are some resources to consider. Thank you!

BONUSHere's what Fat Donnie was up to last weekend when the need for a massive response was building.


The Case Of Fat Donnie and Vladdy Bats

Here, crime investigator style, is a synopsis of the Russiagate scandal. Some of the nicknames are priceless. Optional sound effect.

Why We Can't Have Nice Things -- Obamacare Repeal Edition

 The stupid, it burns:
... GOP legislators know that their base isn’t interested in the mumbo-jumbo of actual health care experts. These voters are not interested in analysis, or extended debate. They don’t care who’s in favor of it or who’s against it, or for what reason. They’ve been told that Obamacare — which they hate — would be repealed, and the Affordable Care Act — which they like — would be improved.

If that sounds strange, remember that a third of all voters and about a quarter of GOP voters don’t realize these are the same things, and that’s the rub. No amount of expert testimony is going to change anyone’s mind about Obamacare. What the most vocal and angry part of the Republican base wants is a repeal of this thing called “Obamacare” because it is a political symbol and because President Trump promised them it would be repealed, totally and completely, on day one of his administration. What that would mean is as much a mystery to those angry voters as it is to many of the senators who supported that repeal.
(our emphasis) -- Conservative Republican and former Senate staffer, Tom Nichols.  
Going on half a century of lies, propaganda and appeals to the fears and basest instincts of people, amplified in the last 30 years by a well- funded, ubiquitous right- wing radio and cable media networks, have brought us to where we are today. Of course, it's not just Obamacare (excuse me, the Affordable Care Act). Republicans foster the same malicious, militant ignorance Nichols notes and apply it to every major political issue today, from immigration to climate change to racism to tax policy. It's who they are.

Sic transit gloria, America.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Price Reduction

High-flying Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom "For Sale At Any" Price has resigned been fired by sociopath and hypocrite-in-chief Donald "Rump" Trump. Price's extravagant travel costs -- over $1 million in just a few months -- drew attention away from Rump and his efforts to sell the tax giveaway to his wealthy supporters (and himself).

Price had a shady record as a Congresscritter from Georgia, which included some apparent insider stock deals with a company whose product was regulated by his Congressional Committee. Now, what about other high-flyers like Treasury Secretary Steve "Moochin'" Mnuchin, EPA Administrator Scott "Screw It" Pruitt, and Interior Secretary Ryan "Stinky" Zinke?

BONUS:  Charles Pierce offers his thoughts on Rump's high- flying cabinet --
All of this, of course, comes from more than simply a love for luxury on the part of people who’ve grown accustomed to it. It also flows from the now-nearly-genetic contempt that this particular breed of political fauna has for the very idea of self-government. Government is your alien enemy, they tell us, as they pick our pockets and destroy the political commonwealth and all of its manifestations—like, say, the national parks. Government is our alien enemy, too, they say, as they wreck the lives and nearly sink the international economy while sucking down bailout money. (Hi, Mnooch!) Government is there for them to loot and for us to hate. Why should they care? They’ve got theirs.
And the biggest looter of all sits in the White (Supremacist) House.

(Photo: The Swamp loses one critter, soon to be replaced by another. Also, eyebrows and 'stache must match.)

Republican Party Values - A Brief Lesson

You could have knocked us over with a feather:
The Republican tax plan would deliver a major benefit to the top 1 percent of Americans, according to a new analysis by a leading group of nonpartisan tax experts that challenges the White House's portrayal of its effects. 
The plan would deliver far more modest tax cuts to most other households — an average cut of $1,700 for households in 2027, according to the report. But the results would be unevenly spread, with 1 in 4 households paying more in taxes. 
Despite repeated promises from Republican lawmakers that the plan is designed to provide relief to the middle class, nearly 30 percent of taxpayers with incomes between $50,000 and $150,000 would see a tax increase, according to the study by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The majority of households that made between $150,000 and $300,000 would see a tax increase. 
Meanwhile, the study found that 80 percent of the tax benefits would accrue to those in the top 1 percent. Households making more than about $900,000 a year would see their taxes drop by more than $200,000 on average. (our emphasis)
So, off the top of our heads, dolt Donald "Rump" Trump and/or the New Confederate/ Stupid/ Plutocrat Party:

1) are letting federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program funding lapse;

2) are bumbling Puerto Rico aid and suggesting Puerto Rico may not be fully rebuilt;

3) are actively sabotaging the health care system for tens of millions of Americans;

4) have, to date, 4 cabinet officers wasting taxpayer dollars on private jet travel;

5) are fanning petty racial and cultural wars (the "Steve Bannon strategy"); and

6) just nominated a loathsome talibangelist for the Senate in Alabama and are okay with that because -- wait for it -- "he's going to be for tax reform."

With that, we've come full circle.

Ah, Republican values.

Are Rethugs About To Chop CHIP?

While Rethuglican focus has shifted from robbing 20 million plus Americans out of their health care to shoveling tax breaks to their wealthy individual and corporate contributors, the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is in danger of collapsing. On September 30, funding for the program that covers 9 million American children will expire, forcing states to scramble to fund the program into the new fiscal year without assurance of FY 2018 funds. States like Arizona, Minnesota, and North Carolina will run out of funds by December.  Other states are developing contingency plans to shut the program down if Congressional Rethugs don't act to reauthorize funding.

The Rethuglicans in Congress spent so much of their time and energy in trying to kill the Affordable Care Act that time ran out to reauthorize CHIP. There are also worries among Dems that CHIP will become a hostage to new attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, potentially with Rethugs amending any CHIP reauthorization to include provisions undermining the ACA. The Rethugs' political malice could delay or doom funding for the program well into the fiscal year. The health and lives of 9 million children (and pregnant women) are at stake, not that Congressional Rethugs actually give a damn.

Weekend Music -- More Groovies

A few months ago, we shared some songs from a great 1976 album, "Shake Some Action," by San Francisco's Flamin' Groovies (produced by Dave Edmunds).  We admit we've become a little obsessed with the retro sound of this album -- the chiming guitars and addictive hooks -- which flew in the face of the disco sound of that era. Here are two more cuts, "I Can't Hide," and "Yes It's True," to get your weekend started.

"This Is Not A Good News Story"

The Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, shows her disgust with the regime of neo- fascist incompetent Donald "Rump" Trump calling Puerto Rico hurricane relief "a good news story:"

Here is a helpful comparison that adds to the truth that the Rump regime's relief effort so far is not "a good news story" for the people of Puerto Rico:
After an earthquake shattered Haiti’s capital on Jan. 12, 2010, the U.S. military mobilized as if it were going to war. 
Before dawn the next morning, an Army unit was airborne, on its way to seize control of the main airport in Port-au-Prince. Within two days, the Pentagon had 8,000 American troops en route. Within two weeks, 33 U.S. military ships and 22,000 troops had arrived. More than 300 military helicopters buzzed overhead, delivering millions of pounds of food and water. 
No two disasters are alike. Each delivers customized violence that cannot be fully anticipated. But as criticism of the federal government’s initial response to the crisis in Puerto Rico continued to mount Thursday, the mission to Haiti — an island nation several hundred miles from the U.S. mainland — stands as an example of how quickly relief efforts can be mobilized. 
By contrast, eight days after Hurricane Maria ripped across neighboring Puerto Rico, just 4,400 service members were participating in federal operations to assist the devastated island, an Army general told reporters Thursday. In addition, about 1,000 Coast Guard members were aiding the efforts. About 40 U.S. military helicopters were helping to deliver food and water to the 3.4 million residents of the U.S. territory, along with 10 Coast Guard helicopters.
Take a moment to digest those comparisons between the response to the Haiti earthquake (undertaken by the Obama Administration) and the response in a similar timeframe to the Puerto Rico devastation and its impact on our fellow Americans.

For a regime distracted by kneeling NFL players, making sure their cabinet officials fly private jets, and launching a "wealth- fare" proposal to cut the taxes of their corporate and wealthy patrons, Puerto Rico seems like it was an afterthought almost a week following the disaster. That's not "a good news story."  Heckuva job, Rump!

To help relief efforts in lieu of the Rump regime's indifference, please consider these options.  Thank you!

BONUS: Retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who salvaged Hurricane Katrina recovery from the bumbling Bush Administration, had this to say about Rump's efforts in Puerto Rico:
"With all due respect to the White House for trying to put lipstick on this pig but it's moving too slow and don't have it scaled right. They need at least 100 helicopters there, there's less than 50 now. 15 ships, we've got less than 10."
Their bumbling is costing lives. American lives.

Huckabee Sanders' Moment Of Truth

White (Supremacist) House propagandist Sarah "Hucksterbee" Sanders trips over the truth in yesterday's press conference.

That's the way her boss sees it, too.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sabotaging Obamacare (UPDATED)

When he's not spending taxpayer dollars on private jets, weaselly HHS Secretary Tom "For Sale At Any" Price is having his press secretary munchkin put out lying screeds like this one, on why HHS isn't supporting Obamacare open enrollment events:
"... Obamacare has never lived up to enrollment expectations despite the previous administration's best efforts. The American people know a bad deal when they see one and many won't be convinced to sign up for 'Washington-knows-best' health coverage that they can't afford. For the upcoming enrollment period, Americans are being hit with another round of double-digit premium hikes and nearly half of our nation's counties are facing Obamacare monopolies. As Obamacare continues to collapse, HHS is carefully evaluating how we can best serve the American people who continue to be harmed by Obamacare's failures."
Last we checked, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is successfully insuring tens of millions of Americans and is still the law of the land. Contrary to Republican wet dreams, it's not collapsing, but that's not because Republicans aren't trying their damnedest to see that happen.

Down the road, these sociopathic clowns will want people to believe any failures of Obamacare are the result of the "collapse" of a "bad deal."  If this happens, we need to shove it back down their throats and say, "You broke it, you own it!" Better, we need to vote in a Democratic Congress that's going to protect our health insurance, not shovel tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy.

UPDATE:  Even a deep red Republican state is having none of it and is calling out Rump's sabotage. Good luck with that "It's not our fault" defense, shitheads.

Today's Cartoon Threefer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Lalo Alcaraz, via

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

Trump Blames Non-Existant Hospitalized Senator For Obamacare Repeal Failure -- AGAIN

Flash: Neo- fascist nitwit Donald "Rump" Trump can't add and he's delusional:
President Donald Trump said once again Thursday that the Senate would be able to pass an Obamacare repeal bill but for the missing vote of one hospitalized senator — despite the fact that no senators are currently hospitalized, and even with one extra vote in support of the measure, fewer than 50 senators would support it. 
On Wednesday, the office of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) corrected Trump multiple times: The senator was not in the hospital, they said, but rather at home recovering from treatment “for a urological issue.” 
Still, Trump asserted again on Thursday morning that “we have the votes” to repeal Obamacare, but that a hospitalized senator had halted the effort to pass the legislation with a simple 50 votes by Friday using reconciliation. 
So we don’t have enough time, because we have one senator who’s a ‘yes’ vote, a great person, but he’s in the hospital,” he told “Fox & Friends'” Pete Hegseth. “And he’s a ‘yes’ vote. So we can’t do it by Friday.”  (our emphasis)
Some salient observations:

Could someone in the White (Supremacist) House please hide the nuclear launch codes (if you haven't already)?

Puerto Rico's Existential Crisis, One Week Out

More than a week has passed since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and put the lives of 3.4 million Americans in extreme peril. Drinking water is scarce, electricity is out for the vast majority of the island, food supplies are dwindling, communication infrastructure is down, and efforts to get aid into the many communities hit are hampered by roads and bridges out.

Today, finally after more than a week, incompetent con artist Donald "Rump" Trump waived the requirements under the Maritime Act of 1920 (the Jones Act) that shipping between U.S. ports be restricted to U.S. ships. That will allow an increase in the flow of assistance to the island. But there are numerous reports that shipping containers full of supplies, equipment and medicine are sitting at ports with insufficient off-loading and trucking to move it around the island. This begs the question of why Rump hasn't activated key military resources, namely the Army Corps of Engineers, the Signal Corps, the Army Transportation Corps, and the Navy Construction Battalions (Seabees). They could be the difference in clearing and repairing roads and bridges, in setting up communications and water resources, and in transporting the supplies and materials needed by the people of Puerto Rico. Is it another example of his incompetence or his lack of interest? We'll see in the coming days.

Again, here's a list of organizations helping relief efforts. Please give generously.

Flying High On The Taxpayer's Dime (UPDATED)

Various watchdogs are now looking into the champagne travel costs of three of neo- fascist incompetent Donald "Rump" Trump's well- heeled cabinet members:  EPA's Scott "Screw It" Pruitt, HHS's Tom "For Sale At Any" Price, and Treasury's Steve "Moochin'" Mnuchin.

As EPA's Pruitt methodically cuts EPA staff and budget in service to the fossil fuel industry, he's not so careful about taxpayer money when it comes to his well- cushioned ass (our emphasis throughout):
Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency chief, has been criticized for his frequent travels back to Oklahoma, where the former state attorney general is discussed as a possible candidate for governor. Although he has mostly flown commercial, the high-priced fares suggest he was probably not traveling coach. 
In the latest development, the EPA confirmed Wednesday that Pruitt flew in a private jet round trip from Denver to Durango, Colo. He also reportedly flew a military plane from Cincinnati to New York. 
Separately, the EPA — which has also been targeted for deep budget cuts — is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on Pruitt’s round-the-clock security detail.
Mnuchin, the infamous foreclosure king of California, is also facing questions about using private jets for public business:
Mnuchin, a former Wall Street executive and Hollywood producer worth as much as $350 million, married Scottish actress Louise Linton in June at Trump International Hotel near the White House. He requested an Air Force jet for his honeymoon to Scotland, France and Italy. His office said he needed access to secure communications during the trip but withdrew the request after finding another option. 
Mnuchin did take a military jet last month from New York to Washington, saying once again he needed a secure phone line. The Aug. 15 flight cost at least $25,000, ABC News reported. 
HHS's Price, however, is determined to make his fellow hypocrites look like pikers when it comes to bilking taxpayers:
Price’s trips on chartered jets could prove more problematic. He has called for deep spending and staffing cuts at the Department of Health and Human Services, including a $6-billion reduction at the National Institutes of Health, opening him to charges of both poor judgment and hypocrisy. 
Politico has documented 26 flights by Price on private charter planes at taxpayer expense since early May, estimating the cost at more than $400,000. It found frequent, low-cost airline flights on some of the routes he took, as well as train fares as low as $72 for a trip between Washington and Philadelphia — as opposed to about $25,000 for his charter. 
Two of Price’s private jet trips paid for by the government were to places where he owns property — St. Simons Island, Ga., and Nashvile, Politico reported Tuesday. A department spokesman said Price conducted official business and visited family members and colleagues.
The ethically challenged Price, you may recall, was involved in shady insider stock trades when he was a Congressman from Georgia writing legislation to benefit those companies.  He was confirmed anyway by his fellow Republican crooks and crackpots.

BONUS: The great former Congressman John Dingell weighs in:

UPDATE: Uh-oh. Interior Secretary Ryan "Stinky" Zinke has a private jet problem too.

The Republican "Wealth-fare" Tax Framework

Republicans, led by their neo- fascist swindler- in- chief Donald "Rump" Trump, unveiled an outline of their "tax reform" proposal yesterday. Hopefully, it won't shock you to learn it was (as Sen. Schumer put it) "wealth-fare," loaded with yuuuge breaks for corporations and the well- to- do.

Here's a breakdown by Karoli Kuns at Crooks & Liars about what the Republican "wealth- fare" proposal would do:
1. Drop the number of personal tax brackets from seven to three: 12%, 25% and 35%... [T]his is "smoke and mirrors" because it doesn't effect prosperity, which is the justification Trump and the Billionaires use for tax cuts.... [F]ewer people will pay the highest rate, but they'll raise the lowest rate so that more people are paying more taxes. Socialize the cost; privatize the profit. It's how Republicans roll. 
2. Double the standard deduction to $12,000 for individuals, $24,000 for married couples. This is how they get around raising the lowest rate from 9.7% to 12%. It also supposedly gets rid of the marriage penalty and raises the tax credit for having lots of children, along with granting a whopping $500 tax credit for non-child dependents. 
3. Repeal the estate tax - We all know who derives benefit from this. 
4. Repeal the alternative minimum tax instead of fixing the indexing so that it doesn't catch middle-income earners in its grasp. Most people don't pay this. If it were properly indexed, it would tax high earners at a rate more appropriate for people who already have too much money. 
5. Drop the corporate tax rate to 20% which Trump claims is what he wanted all along, not 15% like he's been insisting upon. 
6. Drop the rate on "pass-through" (Subchapter S) corporations to 25%. Republicans swear this will help the mythical "small businesses" which are being terribly hammered by the higher tax rate, but the average income pass-through on these entities is $750,000. They don't need a tax break. They need to pay more.
Oh, and it would balloon the deficit by trillions of dollars, something Republicans only care about when a Democrat is in the White House.

The New York Times editorial board has more detail on the Republicans' "boondoggle masquerading as tax reform:"
After months of secret negotiations, the Trump administration and congressional leaders have come up with a tax plan — sort of. What they have really come up with is a wish list of tax cuts for the wealthy, with lots of “we’ll get back to you on that” promises where the details are supposed to be. 
This much is clear: The tax “framework” published by Republican leaders on Wednesday would greatly increase the federal deficit, would not turbocharge economic growth and could leave many middle-class families worse off by ending deductions they rely on. It would do little or nothing to improve the lot of the working class, a group President Trump says he is fighting for. It would instead provide a windfall to hedge fund managers, corporate executives, real estate developers and other members of the 1 percent. And can it be just a happy coincidence that Mr. Trump and his family would benefit “bigly” from this plan? [snip]
It’s hard to predict the economic impact of these skeletal proposals. But most experts agree that they could raise the federal budget deficit by trillions of dollars. As they have so many times in the past, Republicans will surely argue that the cuts would spur growth, and, in some measure, pay for themselves. This is the old supply-side hooey. In fact, over time the increased borrowing for unproductive tax cuts could depress growth by driving up interest rates. 
There are important public purposes that could justify increasing the deficit — repairing the country’s dilapidated infrastructure, for instance, or paying for hurricane recovery efforts. Making the rich richer is not one of them. 
(The editorial contains some useful graphics on historic marginal tax rates and the Alternative Minimum Tax - please check out the entire op/ ed.)

Once again, as with their Obamacare repeal efforts, Republicans don't seem to care about what the people want, or know that the public is on to them:
Cutting corporate taxes looks like a hard sell for Donald Trump and Republican Party leaders -- a new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 65 percent of Americans feel large corporations pay too little in taxes. 
Given what the public knows about it, they opposes Trump’s tax plan by 44-28 percent, with a substantial 28 percent undecided. Half of those polled expect the administration’s plan to reduce taxes on the wealthy, while just 10 percent think it’ll reduce taxes on the middle class. A quarter expect equal treatment.
We'll have more as this "boondoggle masquerading as tax reform" gets fleshed out.  But we'll leave you with an editorial cartoon we posted a few days ago that sums it up now and forever:

(click on image to enlarge)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nearly 6 In 10 Americans Say Trump Unfit For Office

The reality has sunk in for most:
President Donald Trump is not "fit to serve as president," American voters say 56 - 42 percent, and voters disapprove 57 - 36 percent of the job he is doing as president, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released today. 
There are deep party, gender and racial divisions on whether President Trump is fit to serve, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds:
-- Trump is not fit, Democrats say 94 - 5 percent and independent voters say 57 - 40 percent. Republicans say 84 - 14 percent that he is fit.
-- Men are divided 49 - 49 percent, as women say 63 - 35 percent he is not fit.
-- White voters are divided as 50 percent say he is fit and 48 percent say he is not fit. Trump is not fit, black voters say 94 - 4 percent and Hispanic voters say 60 - 40 percent.
... Voters say 51 - 27 percent they are embarrassed to have Trump as president. 
"There is no upside. With an approval rating rating frozen in the mid-thirties, his character and judgement questioned, President Donald Trump must confront the harsh fact that the majority of American voters feel he is simply unfit to serve in the highest office in the land," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. 
 O.K., we'll say it: "But her emails!"

Today's Cartoon Threefer - Taking A Knee

(click on images to enlarge)

(Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

Slimeball Roger Stone's Unanswered Question

Rethuglican hack and smear merchant Roger "The Dodger" Stone appeared yesterday before the House Intelligence Committee to answer questions about his role in coordinating Russian interference in the 2016 elections. But the answer to the most important question of who was his intermediary in working with Russian cut-outs like WikiLeaks went unanswered:
"Stone has claimed he only communicated with founder Julian Assange via an intermediary when WikiLeaks was mounting its campaign against Hillary Clinton. But after his three-hour, closed-door session with the committee, Stone told reporters he had declined to identify his claimed go-between."
It's almost certain that his go-between was connected to Russian intelligence services, specifically the GRU, Russia's military intelligence operation, which used the persona of "Guccifer 2.0" to mask their identity. These Russian agents then provided WikiLeaks with stolen e-mails. With apparent foreknowledge, dirty trickster Stone bragged about Clinton campaign official John Podesta having embarrassing e-mails days before they were released on WikiLeaks. He boasted that "my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon," referring to thousands of e-mails hacked from the Democratic National Committee five days before they were made public on October 7, 2016. Here's a good timeline to understand Stone's incriminating activities last year.

Stone is shaping up to be a key link between the campaign of demagogue and Putin pal Donald "Rump" Trump and Russian agents of influence, including the despicable fugitive Assange. His next appearance may be under subpoena, where he'll be compelled, under penalty of perjury and contempt of Congress, to identify the intermediary to WikiLeaks. The corrupt Stone, who sports a tattoo of Richard Nixon on his back and who has a colorful sexual history, may wish he'd answered fully this time.

Pictures Of The Day - Pew Pew! Ride That Horsey!

Here's Roy "Less Is" Moore, the Talibangelist Alabammy Republican voters in their wisdom selected as their Senatorial candidate yesterday:

(Getty Images)

Q.1.  Where do you put the coin in to get the little horsey to rock back and forth?
Q.2.  How many horses' asses do you see in this picture?

(CBS News)

"'Scuse me while I whip this out." Hey, that's not much of a penis compensator there, Roy!

As Adam Silverman at Balloon Juice put it:
Your Alabama GOP senatorial runoff winner is cowboy cosplayer and teeny weeny wheel gun aficionado Judge Roy Moore – the Last Law West of Ashkelon.
That sounds about right.

Kimmel On "A Day Of Great Relief For Millions Of Americans"

One man Graham- Cassidy scrotum- remover Jimmy Kimmel last night: "I haven't been this happy about something being dead since Bin Laden."

Mid-Week One More Light Song

Originating in Los Angeles, Linkin Park shot to fame over 20 years ago with their mulit-platinum album "Hybrid Theory." Since then, they've sold over 100 million records worldwide and garnered two Grammy Awards. Tragically, their lead singer and songwriter Chester Bennington took his own life this past July. The group released a re-cut video of their newest song, "One More Light" in tribute to Bennington, who performs the lead vocals. Their rhythm guitarist, keyboardist, and singer Mike Kenji Shinoda wrote a touching note for the video, saying in part,
"One More Light was written with the intention of sending love to those who lost someone. We now find ourselves on the receiving end. In memorial events, art, videos, and images, fans all over the world have gravitated towards this song as their declaration of love and support for the band and the memory of our dear friend, Chester."

Tweet Of The Day - Deflection

Seth Meyers captured the essence the other day when he said,
“Last weekend was in many ways a perfect distillation of Trump’s presidency ― feeding his base racial and cultural resentments in order to keep them on his side as his team of corrupt authoritarians try to swindle hard-working Americans out of their health care.”
By its chaotic, noxious actions that constantly need responses, Rump's "presidency" increasingly resembles a game of "whack- a- mole."

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Today's Cartoon Twofer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

Breaking: Senate Won't Vote On Graham-Cassidy!

For all of you who called, wrote, demonstrated, etc., now we think it's time to take a bow (until the next time they go after the Affordable Care Act and we have to go to work again!):
The Senate will not vote on the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal Obamacare, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Republicans in a closed-door meeting, three sources told CNN.
We can say (today):  The. People. United. Cannot. Be. Defeated.

(Photo:  Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry" Graham and fellow privileged old white guys - "Missed it by that much!" - Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP images)

Puerto Rico's Existential Crisis, Cont'd.

Photo: NBC News

We noted yesterday that our fellow citizens in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are suffering in ways we haven't seen before. The island is running out of food and fresh water, it has no electricity, and now there are reports that its hospitals and medical facilities are failing and threatening the lives of thousands. The island's 3.4 million people -- all American citizens -- are pleading for stepped up aid a week after the most damaging hurricane in a century battered the island. Puerto Rico's Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said the commonwealth needs more help than it's received thus far:
“We need more help. We need more help with resources. We need more help with people being deployed so that we can get logistical support elsewhere. And we need Congress to take action so we can have an aid package that is real for the American citizens that live in Puerto Rico and that is flexible so that we can take immediate action.”
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who represents thousands of Puerto Rican Americans in New York, has called for including Puerto Rico in any supplemental disaster relief package for victims of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and pledged support of the Democratic Party.  Meanwhile, bigoted sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump took time from tweeting about the NFL and Hillary Clinton to finally talk about aid, but had to link the disaster in Puerto Rico to the commonwealth's infrastructure and debt problems. Aside from his antipathy to anyone Hispanic (perhaps excluding Cuban Americans), Rump may be too ignorant to know Puerto Ricans are more American than he pretends to be.

Please be generous in contributing to these organizations who are struggling to get Puerto Rico back on its feet again. Your contributions will almost certainly save lives at this critical point.

Drive A Stake Into Graham-Cassidy

Although the third Republican Senator, Susan Collins (ME), has announced her "no" vote on the dangerous and ugly Graham- Cassidy bill probably killing it, it's worth calling Senators that still may be on the fence to run up the "no" vote. Alaska's Sen. Lisa Murkowski has voted consistently against repeal bills similar to Graham- Cassidy that demolish Medicaid and will cause millions to lose health insurance. Unfortunately, West Virginia's Shelly Moore-Capito has been susceptible to bribery: on the last vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, she took a multi-billion dollar bribe for opioid treatment programs in her state. Now that Graham- Cassidy has eliminated the opioid "West Virginny Gimme," let's help Capito muster some courage and vote for the bill's inevitable defeat.

In a final push, call these Senators (and your own Rethuglican Senators in particular) and urge them to add their votes to defeat Graham- Cassidy. Be firm but polite, and help put a decisive stake in the dark heart of that bill.

Murkowski:  202/224-6665
Capito:          202/224-6472

Another Week, Another Cover Protesting Trump

This is next week's Sports Illustrated cover.

(click on image to enlarge)

BONUS:  Highly respected San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich has some thoughts about the state of the nation. (h/t Silver Spring Bureau Chief Brian)

Consciousness Of Guilt, Part Infinity

Last night, neo-fascist Putin loyalist Donald "Rump" Trump sat down to dinner with a group of wingnut luminaries and proceeded to spew venom about his Confederate Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, according to reports. His deep anger at Beauregard centers over his recusal from the Russiagate investigation, where Rump wanted Beauregard to "protect" him from the inevitable investigative findings that Putin's Russia assisted him in becoming President, almost certainly with help from Rump and his campaign. Rump expected Beauregard's "loyalty" to him to override his oath to the laws of the U.S., including conflict of interest. It was the "loyalty" test that former FBI Director James Comey failed, leading to his firing over what Rump called "the Russia thing" and about which he boasted to the Russians, no less, in the Oval Office immediately after firing him.

As Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation bores in on Rump, his family and his associates, he'll be looking for more expressions of personal loyalty to him over the law of the land. This is the warped mind of an authoritarian dictator, who is conscious of his own guilt and will stop at nothing to escape justice.

Morning Reading - Dilettantes, Demagogues And Hypocrites

Catherine Rampell today in the Washington Post:
President Trump clearly has no clue what’s happening on health care, taxes or really any other major policy front. He has also made abundantly clear that he has no interest in getting up to speed. 
Unfortunately, Trump’s unseriousness has become so grotesque, so all-consuming, that it has distracted us from dozens of other dilettantes and demagogues in Washington — far too many of them other members of Trump’s own political party.  
Trump may be a toddler, we keep telling ourselves, but at least some (comparative) grown-ups on Capitol Hill are thinking things through. Maybe we don’t agree with them all the time; maybe they have a different vision for the role of government than many of us do. Still, at least a few thoughtful, moderate, principled, solutions-oriented people in the legislature are working to offset the White House’s abdication of policy leadership.  
The flaming turd that is Cassidy-Graham should disabuse us all of that notion. 
What’s been threatening the health-care coverage of tens of millions of Americans isn’t Trump. It’s the entire Republican Party.
Speaking of all- encompassing Republican incompetence, demagoguery and hypocrisy, the New York Times has this story about those trustworthy and honest souls around Rump:
At least six of President Trump’s closest advisers occasionally used private email addresses to discuss White House matters, current and former officials said on Monday. 
The disclosures came a day after news surfaced that Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, used a private email account to send or receive about 100 work-related emails during the administration’s first seven months. But Mr. Kushner was not alone. Stephen K. Bannon, the former chief White House strategist, and Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff, also occasionally used private email addresses. Other advisers, including Gary D. Cohn and Stephen Miller, sent or received at least a few emails on personal accounts, officials said. [snip] 
During the 2016 presidential race, Mr. Trump repeatedly harped on Hillary Clinton’s use of a private account as secretary of state, making it a centerpiece of his campaign and using it to paint her as untrustworthy. “We must not let her take her criminal scheme into the Oval Office,” Mr. Trump said last year. His campaign rallies often boiled over with chants of “Lock her up!”
As always, please read both pieces if you can.  Then channel your energies into getting as many of these sociopaths out of office as possible.

"A Perfect Distillation Of Trump's Presidency"

Seth Meyers on Late Night sums up the "presidency" of neo- fascist dimwit Donald "Rump" Trump:
“Last weekend was in many ways a perfect distillation of Trump’s presidency ― feeding his base racial and cultural resentments in order to keep them on his side as his team of corrupt authoritarians try to swindle hard-working Americans out of their health care.”
You could add to that Rump's failure to adequately address the suffering of more than 3 million Americans in Puerto Rico. Rather, the orange asshole likes to play a nonsensical blame game.

Here's the full clip, covering the latest evidence that Rump and his Republican sociopath cohorts are out to do as much damage to this country as they can:

Monday, September 25, 2017

CBO: Millions Would Lose Insurance Under Graham-Cassidy Bill; Sen. Collins Says NO

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has released the bare bones analysis of the monstrous Graham- Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill requested by the Coward Caucus.  Even without a full analysis, the findings are brutal:
The number of people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events would be reduced by millions compared with the baseline projections for each year during the decade, CBO and JCT estimate. That number could vary widely depending on how states implemented the legislation, although the direction of the effect is clear. The reduction in the number of insured people relative to the number under current law would result from three main causes. First, enrollment in Medicaid would be substantially lower because of large reductions in federal funding for that program. Second, enrollment in nongroup coverage would be lower because of reductions in subsidies for it. Third, enrollment in all types of health insurance would be lower because penalties for not having insurance would be repealed. [snip]
The decrease in the number of insured people would be particularly large starting in 2020, when the legislation would make major changes to federal funding for Medicaid and the nongroup market. CBO and JCT expect that market disruptions and other implementation problems would accompany the transition to the block grants created by the legislation—despite the availability of funding specifically designated to assist with that transition—given the short time for planning and making changes between now and then. (our emphasis)
In the meantime, it looks like this POS atrocity will get a "no" vote from Sen. Collins (R-ME). She saw this CBO analysis and finally gagged, it appears.  Look for Sen. Murkowski to follow suit -- she had many of the same issues and was being bribed the same way Sen. Collins was, to no avail.

Cautious optimism.

Today's Cartoon Twofer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Lalo Alcaraz, Andrews McMeel Syndication)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

Tweet Of The Day: American Hero Kneels, Too

Going viral:

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept.: Graham-Cassidy Edition

In today's Washington Post, a reader follows the money on the sociopathic Graham- Cassidy bill:
The latest GOP effort to eviscerate Obamacare has had its share of bad press and public outcry. The Sept. 22 editorial “How low will Republicans go?” summed it up. Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said he could list 10 reasons that it shouldn’t be considered. 
But the reason it is being considered and stands a chance of passage has nothing to do with better health care or the mistaken belief that the Affordable Care Act is detrimental to Americans’ well-being. Big GOP donors, including members of the infamous Koch brothers’ network, have made it clear that spigots spewing campaign money will remain shut until Senate Republicans repeal the ACA and its taxes on the wealthiest Americans. 
In other words, the political party that controls all the levers of power in Washington is willing to allow children to suffer, the poor to forgo medical treatment and cancer patients to die in order to maintain a flood of funding into their campaign coffers. There is no clearer evidence of the corrupt influence that money has on our politics today than this craven exercise of greed. 
Linda Foley, Potomac
This monstrosity isn't dead.  Votes haven't been taken. Don't trust the likes of Sens. Mitch "Missy" McConnell, Lindsey "Huckleberry" Graham, or even ostensible "no" voter "Ayn" Rand Paul. Keep the pressure on, especially on "leaning" Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). If you call, remember these are two Senators already inclined to be on our side.  Please urge a "no" vote for the good of the country and the tens of millions of Americans would would suffer under Graham- Cassidy.

Sen. Collins:  (202) 224-2523

Sen. Murkowski:  (202) 224-6665

BONUS:  You can also remind them Graham- Cassidy is polling at toxic levels --

(CBS News poll released today)

Puerto Rico's Existential Crisis (UPDATED)

Dennis Rivera Pichardo, Washington Post

While unhinged bigot and petty dotard Donald "Rump" Trump is bellowing about NFL players, Sen. John McCain and assorted peeves of his, Puerto Rico is on the verge of an existential crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which hit the island five days ago and just days after Hurricane Irma hit the island. Rump has said little about the massive destruction there, and since Puerto Rico has no voting member of Congress, others need to step up and make sure they get the recovery funding that big states like Texas and Florida are getting. The damaging effects of Maria may have set the economy and infrastructure back decades.

These are 3.4 million Americans who have seen their homes and livelihoods destroyed by the most catastrophic hurricane to hit the Caribbean in modern history. Food, water, and fuel are in dwindling supply; electricity is completely out as the island swelters in 90 degree temperatures. The Guajataca Dam in the island's northwest is threatening to break, endangering more people and property. Several organizations are collecting funds and supplies for our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico; you can start by finding them here and contributing generously. These are our people and they need us.

UPDATE:  This --

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Across The Universe, Cont. - Galactic Corona 150 Million Light Years From Earth

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, September 18, 2017:  Despite the advances made in past decades, the process of galaxy formation remains an open question in astronomy. Various theories have been suggested, but since galaxies come in all shapes and sizes — including elliptical, spiral, and irregular — no single theory has so far been able to satisfactorily explain the origins of all the galaxies we see throughout the Universe.

To determine which formation model is correct (if any), astronomers hunt for the telltale signs of various physical processes. One example of this is galactic coronas, which are huge, invisible regions of hot gas that surround a galaxy’s visible bulk, forming a spheroidal shape. They are so hot that they can be detected by their X-ray emission, far beyond  the optical radius of the galaxy. Because they are so wispy, these coronas are extremely difficult to detect. In 2013, astronomers highlighted NGC 6753, imaged here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, as one of only two known spiral galaxies that were both massive enough and close enough to permit detailed observations of their coronas. Of course, NGC 6753 is only close in astronomical terms — the galaxy is nearly 150 million light-years from Earth.

NGC 6753 is a whirl of colour in this image — the bursts of blue throughout the spiral arms are regions filled with young stars glowing brightly in ultraviolet light, while redder areas are filled with older stars emitting in the cooler near-infrared.

Credit:  ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

Today's Cartoon Threefer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Nick Anderson, Washington Post Writers Group)

(Jeff Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

(Drew Sheneman, Tribune Content Agency)

QOTD: Coach Kerr's Smackdown Of Trump

Yesterday, the NBA's Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr had what might be the best retort to bigoted dotard and bum Donald "Rump" Trump's unhinged call for players who kneel during the national anthem to be fired, when Kerr said:
The idea of civil discourse with a guy who is tweeting and demeaning people and saying the things he’s saying is sort of far-fetched. Can you picture us really having a civil discourse with him?....How about the irony of, ‘Free speech is fine if you’re a neo-Nazi chanting hate slogans, but free speech is not allowed to kneel in protest?' No matter how many times a football player says, ‘I honor our military, but I’m protesting police brutality and racial inequality,’ it doesn’t matter. Nationalists are saying, ‘You’re disrespecting our flag.’ Well, you know what else is disrespectful to our flag? Racism. And one’s way worse than the other.” (emphasis added)
As NBA star Chis Paul tweeted yesterday, Rump isn't man enough to confront the African-American players he's demeaning face-to-face, so he lets his little fingers do the talking.

NFL Owners, CEOs Speak Out Against Trump's Un-American, Divisive Comments

Contrary to our and Jemele Hill's expectations, a number of NFL owners are speaking out against neo- fascist racist Donald "Rump" Trump's vulgar and un- American comments in Alabama on Friday and subsequently about players who protest police violence in African American communities.

New England Patriots owner (and Rump supporter) Robert Kraft (click on image to enlarge):

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York:

New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch:

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross (click on image to enlarge):

Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy:
"It's unfortunate that the President decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL. We strongly believe that players are leaders in our communities and positive influences. They have achieved their positions through tremendous work and dedication and should be celebrated for their success and positive impact. We believe it is important to support any of our players who choose to peacefully express themselves with the hope of change for good. As Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely."

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti:

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank (click on image to enlarge):

Expect to see widespread displays of solidarity today with Colin Kaepernick and other players who have taken a position of conscience and exercised their rights as American citizens (like this).

UPDATE:  Welp, looks like just about every team owner has come out for the players' constitutional rights and against Rump's authoritarian claptrap.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

21 States' Elections Targeted In 2016

The Federal Government notified 21 states late yesterday that their election systems were targeted by hackers during the 2016 election campaign, including several key battleground states that neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump won. Rump's Department of Homeland Security dragged their feet in making the notifications to the states, delaying efforts by those targeted states to improve their cyber security. One of the states -- Illinois -- has confirmed that their election systems were actually breached. Election officials in at least two states (Wisconsin and Alaska) have confirmed that the hackers were connected with the Russian government.

Rump has consistently denied Russia's involvement to benefit him in the election, repeatedly calling such involvement a "hoax," despite every U.S. intelligence agency confirming it and new evidence that social media like Facebook were used by Russian operatives to plant fake news and rumors to benefit him. There's also evidence of Rump's campaign officials, namely the odious fascist Seb Gorka, involved in a Russian-sponsored Twitter account pushing false information damaging to Secretary Clinton.

LeBron Slam Dunks Trump's White House "Disinvite" To Stephen Curry (UPDATED)

Yesterday, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry indicated he would not vote to attend a White (Supremacist) House event honoring Golden State's winning the NBA Championship. Then, shortly after calling former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick a "son of a bitch" for kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem in protest against police brutality in the African American community, fat ass racist dotard Donald "Rump" Trump decided it'd be smart to lay one up against Curry:

If by "hesitating" you mean "saying hell no."

Rump was then posterized by more basketball royalty:

Bum Rump may want to stick to a game he knows:


UPDATE:  We'll give the last word to Robin Lopez of the Chicago Bulls:

No Time For Complacency - Rally Against Obamacare Repeal

Over the coming days, people are mobilizing to make sure the latest Obamacare repeal atrocity -- the Graham- Cassidy bill -- is dead.  Even though Sen. McCain has said he will vote "no" on the bill, the situation remains fluid and dangerous. We need to continue to make those calls, send those emails and participate in events.

There are 87 #KillTheBill events scheduled for this coming week around the country.

You are still urged to call or email your Senators (especially the Republican critters) to let them know you'll be remembering their vote at election time.

Remember, these repeal bills are wildly unpopular, except with the extreme right- wing plutocrats that line the pockets of Republican pols:

Let's use our time in the next week to make sure that "probably won't become law" becomes "is as dead as Bill Cassidy's eyes."

Trump's Strange Rally Last Night (UPDATED)

Last night at an Alabama rally for Republican Sen. Luther "Very" Strange, deranged dotard (heehee) Donald "Rump" Trump flailed at a number of favorite targets in a rambling, hour- and- a- half crock of a monologue: "Crooked Hillary"... Sen. John McCain ... "Little Rocket Man" Kim Jung-Un ... Colin Kaepernick?

Shifting oddly into a fake Southern accent (!) at times during the speech, Rump actually took time to throw this rotting red meat into the heavily soiled cage containing his knuckle- dragging, white yahoo base. Being students of the Constitution (Second Amendment only!), they loved it, as Rump knew they would.

NFL players, sports analysts, activists and civil libertarians not so much:

We know who the real son of a bitch is, though.

UPDATE:  Well, Jemele was wrong about Roger Goodell at least (though he didn't name names).