Monday, April 30, 2018

White House Munchkins: COS Kelly Called Trump "An Idiot"



Another one goes under the bus in this chaos "presidency":
White House chief of staff John Kelly has eroded morale in the West Wing in recent months with comments to aides that include insulting the president's intelligence and casting himself as the savior of the country, according to eight current and former White House officials. 
The officials said Kelly portrays himself to Trump administration aides as the lone bulwark against catastrophe, curbing the erratic urges of a president who has a questionable grasp on policy issues and the functions of government. He has referred to Trump as "an idiot" multiple times to underscore his point, according to four officials who say they've witnessed the comments(our emphasis)
File under "No shit, Sherlock."

It's no secret Kelly has a low regard for the nitwit- in- chief (how could any reasonable person think otherwise?), coupled with a high regard for himself. While Kelly had a distinguished military service, his reputation (as with everyone who comes within the orbit of the nitwit- in- chief) has suffered significant tarnishing during his stint at the White House.  As the linked story notes, he amplified Trump's worst instincts on immigration and on White House misogyny and sexual abuse. It's also no secret "the kids" in the White House have chafed at Kelly's trying to run a tight ship, which no doubt has led to these concentrated leaks.

This is the kind of fight you'd like to see all sides lose.

(Photo: "An idiot.")

Bibi's Latest Bomb



After some initial problems with his mic, right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Bibi "Bibi Bomb Bomb" Netanyahu today launched into a full-throated attack on the Iran nuclear deal, standing in front of a screen on which were projected images of Iranian documents and photos of nuclear activities seized from a facility in Teheran by Israeli intelligence. While much of the presentation covered the old news of Iran's weapons program and their attempts to lie about it, Netanyahu claimed that the captured documents indicated the Iranians were moving ahead with their nuclear research programs and ballistic missile testing after the agreement was signed in 2015. The timing of the presentation was notable, coming right after French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British Prime Minister Theresa May have tried to convince neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump to stay in the agreement.

Yesterday, Netanyahu spoke with his close ally Rump to discuss the presentation, and to lobby against recertification, which is due on May 12. Clearly, Netanyahu saw these intense efforts to try to convince Rump (who hates the deal because it's part of the Obama legacy) not to pull out. At the conclusion of his presentation, Netanyahu said confidently that he was sure Rump would do the right thing and pull out of the agreement. Of course, that would mean Iran would likely move ahead aggressively with their nuclear program, likely triggering more sanctions, etc., putting everyone back where we started -- or much worse.

Whenever nuclear weapons in the Middle East are discussed, the elephant in the room is the refusal of Israel to acknowledge that it is the sole nuclear power in the region, with an estimated 400 nuclear warheads, third in the world behind the U.S. and Russia, with ballistic missiles with a range of up to 4,800 km.  That's a presentation we'd like to see Bibi Bomb Bomb give.

(photo: CNN. Netanyahu at UN in 2012. This time the production value was improved.)

Monday Reading


As always, please follow the links to the full articles/ op eds for the full reads.

Penn political scientist and communications professor Diana Mutz writes in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences about what many of us knew all along:  it wasn't "economic anxiety" that the media loves to cite as the reason for nitwit narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump's election;  it was another kind of anxiety.  From the Abstract:
Support for Donald J. Trump in the 2016 election was widely attributed to citizens who were “left behind” economically. These claims were based on the strong cross-sectional relationship between Trump support and lacking a college education. Using a representative panel from 2012 to 2016, I find that change in financial wellbeing had little impact on candidate preference. Instead, changing preferences were related to changes in the party’s positions on issues related to American global dominance and the rise of a majority–minority America: issues that threaten white Americans’ sense of dominant group status. (our emphasis)
With all the tail- dragging media safaris to Rump Country, they seem to have missed a rather glaring point, eh?

Erin Gloria Ryan weighs in on the snowflake media's desire to slam Michelle Wolf's roast at the WHCD as a deflection from their own sorry conduct, which continues apace:
I suspect that much of the umbrage over Wolf’s treatment of Sanders was actually a smokescreen for issues observers had with the uncomfortable truths Wolf said to a room full of people complicit in and profiting from the current awful state of American politics. For example, Wolf noted that Brzezinski’s relationship with her co-host Joe Scarborough was “like when a #MeToo works out.” Mean, but true. 
Wolf pointed out that cable news was oversaturated with Trump. Also not a lie. And that every show involves “a panel of four people who remind you why you don’t go home for Thanksgiving.” Also not a lie...  (our emphasis)
The complicit Brzezinski was one of the ones tweeting later about the false narrative of Wolf focusing on White House Spokesliar Sanders' looks:

No, no, no, you deplorable, ridiculous person you.

Ever heard of "Project Blitz?"  Paul Rosenberg alerts us to the danger:
... Its goal is to pass an outwardly diverse but internally cohesive package of Christian-right bills at the state level, whose cumulative impact would be immense. 
The agenda underlying these bills is not merely about Christian nationalism, a term that describes an Old Testament-based worldview fusing Christian and American identities, and meant to sharpen the divide between those who belong to those groups and those who are excluded. It’s also ultimately "dominionist," meaning that it doubles down on the historically false notion of America as a “Christian nation” to insist that a a particular sectarian view of God should control every aspect of life, through all manner of human institutions. Christian nationalists are not in a position to impose their vision now, and to be fair, many involved in the movement would never go that far. But as explained by Julie Ingersoll in "Building God's Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstruction" (Salon interview here), dominionist ideas have had enormous influence on the religious right, even among those who overtly disavow them.
These dangerous fanatics will keep trying to foist their religious views on everyone else if given half a chance.  Keep alert.

Last but not least, please check out the latest link round- up by Infidel 753, where you'll find an array of cultural, political and topical (not to mention the occasional comical) links to satisfy your cravings.

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon -- Fox And Friends' Friend


(click on image to enlarge)


(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Our Broken Media, WHCD Edition


Yesterday, we noted some of the righteous barbs comedian Michelle Wolf stuck into the inflated egos and stuffed shirts at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, including the one about the media in the room helping to create malignant existential threat Donald "Rump" Trump.  As many have noted, when you hire a comedian to do a roast, that's what you should expect -- unless you're clueless administration stenographers. (The "democracy dies in darkness" WaPo even gave Hugh f*cking Hewitt valuable space on its op/ ed page to lament Wolf's roast -- no link!)

But the barb causing many of our self- absorbed defenders of freedom to desperately clutch their pearls was this line about White House Spokesliar Sarah "Huckster" Sanders:
“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. She burns facts, and then she uses the ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”
The media herd sprung into action with outrage about a physical appearance slight that... wasn't. Here's just one of the herd in clueless solidarity with Sanders:

To which Michelle Wolf responded:
Others have noted the hypocrisy of the Rump- electing and enabling media in all this:








That would be this Rump speech.

And finally, after the head weasel of the White House Correspondents' Association apologized for Wolf's roast:

More reactions to the WHCA statement from real live journalists here.

While a budding autocrat spews lies and insults and threatens the rule of law every single day, this self- referencing chickenshit non- story is dominating the news for these self- involved jackasses? These are the brave hearts and truth tellers that are going to save our democracy?

BONUSMolly Roberts gets it --
That Wolf’s performance was not “normal” for the correspondents’ dinner is a testament to its timeliness and necessity — nothing is “normal” right now, and pretending otherwise out of a false sense of the fourth estate’s friendship with the executive would have been the real disgrace. Wolf called the Trump administration out for tearing down democracy. Then, the people who are supposed to care most about holding autocrats to account called her out in turn for, essentially, not being chummy enough.

BONUS IISo does BooMan.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Across The Universe, Cont. -- An In Between Galaxy


(click on image to enlarge)



From NASA/ ESA, April 23, 2018This pretty, cloud-like object may not look much like a galaxy — it lacks the well-defined arms of a spiral galaxy, or the reddish bulge of an elliptical — but it is in fact something known as a lenticular galaxy. Lenticular galaxies sit somewhere between the spiral and elliptical types; they are disc-shaped, like spirals, but they no longer form large numbers of new stars and thus contain only ageing populations of stars, like ellipticals.

NGC 2655’s core is extremely luminous, resulting in its additional classification as a Seyfert galaxy: a type of active galaxy with strong and characteristic emission lines. This luminosity is thought to be produced as matter is dragged onto the accretion disc of a supermassive black hole sitting at the centre of NGC 2655. The structure of NGC 2655’s outer disc, on the other hand, appears calmer, but it is oddly-shaped. The complex dynamics of the gas in the galaxy suggest that it may have had a turbulent past, including mergers and interactions with other galaxies.

NGC 2655 is located about 80 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Camelopardalis (The Giraffe). Camelopardalis contains many other interesting deep-sky objects, including the open cluster NGC 1502, the elegant Kemble’s Cascade asterism, and the starburst galaxy NGC 2146.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Fillipenko

Sunday Reflection - The Future


"The future won't be a retreat into the small and slow and traditional. It won't be about limits and lowered expectations. It will be bigger and faster and smarter, and more and more and more." -- from Infidel 753's reflections on "The Look of the Future."

QOTD - No Shutting Her Up


It’s 2018 and I am a woman. So you cannot shut me up unless you have Michael Cohen wire me $130,000.” --  comedian Michelle Wolf at last night's White House Correspondents' Dinner.  More priceless quotes here, including an unflinching burn on Kellyanne "Con Job" Conway.

BONUS QUOTE: On the media --
“I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you,” she added. “He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric. But he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you’re profiting off of him. And if you’re going to profit off of Trump, you should at least give him some money because he doesn’t have any.”
Every word true.

Avenatti's Priceless Photo Bomb



Stormy Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti was at last night's White House Correspondents' Dinner, and he took the opportunity to photo bomb Trump spokesliars Sarah "Huckster" Sanders and Kellyanne "Con Job" Conway while they were interviewed by CNN. Objection overruled!

BONUS: Here's the clip. Love his attitude.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tweet/ Cover Of The Day - Time To Flip



The distancing is underway. Message received?

Today's Cartoon Threefer


(click on images to enlarge)


(Stuart Carlson, via gocomics.com)


(Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader)


(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)

Nunes Losing Ground In His District



Larry Sabato, a top election forecaster with the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, has changed the rating for the re-election chances of Trump lackey and water carrier Rep. Devin "Sherlock" Nunes (R-Conspiracy) from "safe Republican" to "likely Republican." Nunes is infamous for his partisan defense of Putin loyalist Donald "Rump" Trump as chair of the House Intelligence Committee, shutting down the investigation and issuing a report that might as well have been written in the White (Supremacist) House.

While Nunes is still the odds-on favorite to retain his seat, his slavishly loyal service to Rump has had some Rethuglicans in his district wondering whether he's doing his job as a check and balance, not to mention simple constituent care and feeding. His likely opponent, Fresno County deputy district attorney Andrew Janz, has been fighting a good fight, raising more than $1 million from January through March of this year. This is one seat that we'd love to see flip.

In Bible-Thumper News Today......


It's no wonder that right-wing Bible-thumpers look the other way for a serial sexual abuser like Donald "Rump" Trump, a.k.a. President P*ssygrabber: it's because so many of them are just like him. Same goes for their unholy embrace of pedophile wingnut and Bible-quoting failed Senate candidate Roy Moore. There's a growing list of evangelical "pastors" who've been disgraced over the years by sex scandals, too.

Police in Lancaster, PA arrested 52 year-old Phillip Smith, a disc jockey for a "Christian" music radio station, on 18 counts ranging from forceable rape to sexual assault of a woman beginning when she was 15 years old. The radio station that employs Smith issued a statement which said, in part:
"At this time we only know what we read in the press. Please join us in praying for all those involved and that truth and justice will prevail."
That librul press, always reporting factually on the misdeeds of white, Christian men, after the county DA's office investigated and authorized his arrest by the police. Also, prayers for all involved, including pedophile Phil. And tune in later for a discussion of the moral decay of America brought on by secular humanists!

The Humiliation That Still Drives Trump



Tonight's annual White House Correspondents Dinner (WHCD), the incestuous mingling of Beltway journalists and the people they're supposed to be covering with a few celebrities sprinkled in, will be boycotted for the second year by neo-fascist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump.  In fact, he's attending a self-gratifying campaign-style rally in Michigan instead, because of his deep-seated insecurity and need for constant adulation.

The WHCD was the site of Rump's very public humiliation at the hands of his detested predecessor, President Obama, in 2011. Rump had been the leader in the vile, racist birther smear campaign against Obama, and Obama had a lot of fun poking fun at Rump's petty ridiculousness as the whole ballroom laughed. What made the evening more memorable after Obama jabbed Rump about his lowbrow "Apprentice" show (featuring has-beens like Gary Busey and Meatloaf) was the fact that the raid on Abbottabad to capture or kill bin Laden had been launched that night. It was a huge achievement for Obama that further shamed Rump's hollow birther smear.

There's been reporting that Rump, humiliated and incensed at the roasting by a black man, no less, made up his mind to double-down on the birther smears, and to consider a run for the Presidency. Of course, like so many other things he says he's going to do, he declined to run the following year, knowing that Obama would beat his large, sorry ass. His 2016 run was based on racism, xenophobia and revenge against the President that shamed him, and he found enough haters and low-information voters to get the Rethuglican nomination and ultimately the Presidency. His animating purpose now is to vengefully undo Obama's legacy in domestic and foreign policy, not caring at all about what to replace it with as long as he gets his revenge seven years later.

(photo: Rump glowering as he's mocked at the 2011 WHCD. C-Span)

Poll: Americans Trust Mueller's Investigation, Don't Want Him Fired





Friday, April 27, 2018

The Rethugs' Lovely West Virginia Problem



West Virginia Rethuglicans will have a choice in their May 8 primary of whether or not to select villainous ex-con and sociopath Don "Big Shit" Blankenship as their candidate for Senate, to go against Dem Sen. Joe Manchin. Big Shit's opposed by two other Rethuglicans, as well as Senate Majority leader and turtle-human hybrid Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell's political machine. We've followed Big Shit's ignominious career since 2010, when his skirting of mine safety regulations caused the Upper Big Branch Creek mine disaster, which resulted in the deaths of 29 miners. Thanks to his influence in the state, Big Shit was only sentenced to a year in prison for his role, a little under 2 weeks per miner.

Big Shit's campaign messaging is that the Washington "Republican Establishment" is against him because he'll come in and help fellow sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump "drain the swamp." He's recently targeted Missy's wife's family for a conflict of interest involving China trade. In return, McConnell-connected political funds have been paying for attack ads against Big Shit to deny him the Rethuglican ballot position, feeling that he's their least likely candidate to unseat Manchin in November (otherwise, he fits the Rethug base to a "t").

It would be poetic justice if Big Shit dumped on (sorry) the other two Rethug candidates and became the face of the party that so richly deserves him.

(photo: The face only a Trumper could love and vote for.)

The Doors Are Shutting On Paul Manafort


Another Hail Mary is intercepted by the justice system. Time to cut a deal.
A federal judge Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought by Paul Manafort challenging special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s criminal probe of Russian interference in 2016 U.S. elections. 
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson tossed out Manafort’s attempt to bar the special counsel from bring future charges against the President Trump’s former campaign chairman, citing the “sound and well-established principle” that potential defendants not use lawsuits to “circumvent federal criminal procedure” that already provide for individuals to challenge charges. 
Manafort’s lawyers had at first asked the judge to void Mueller’s appointment and dismiss all indictments against him already filed in the District and Virginia contending Mueller had overstepped his authority. Manafort’s attorneys later withdrew those requests.
 Better his attorneys be working on a plea agreement.

Weekend Music


It's no secret we're fans of The Jayhawks, and not because they're from the same Minneapolis- St. Paul as some of our ancestors.  It's because they create beautiful, original sounds. "Lovers of the Sun" is a cut from 2016's "Paging Mr. Proust" (where "Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces" is also found). Hope you enjoy this and your weekend.

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)


(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)


(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)


(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


(Jeff Stahler, via gocomics.com)

The Two Koreas Meet



Yesterday's historic meeting between North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In on the border between the two nations was cause for cautious optimism that talks would lead to a lessening of tensions and eventual denuclearization of the peninsula. There were the dramatic photos of Kim stepping across the cement sill that separates the two countries and of the two leaders embracing after signing an agreement, which was noteworthy in the pledge to work toward a formal end to the Korean War.

Much of the credit for the breakthrough meeting has to go to Moon, who as an election pledge, promised to improve relations with North Korea. Also, Chinese President Xi appears to have convinced Kim that further nuclear and missile tests would endanger his regime and any economic progress. China is North Korea's essential ally, providing the vast majority of goods to the North. On the outside looking in is sociopath and demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump, fresh off his deranged performance yesterday on Fox and Friends. But he wasted no time in elbowing his way into the picture in his breathless tweet (at 6:55 a.m. no less):

Get some sleep Executive Time,  President Spanky. And please do another interview soon on Fox and Friends.

(photo: AP. Kim and Moon step across demarcation line separating North and South Korea.)

Trump Breakdown Tell: "He Can't Stop Saying 'Business'"


Seth Meyers takes "A Closer Look" at the recent batsh*t interview/ rant malignant dotard Donald "Rump" Trump gave to his council of advisers, a.k.a., "Three Dolts On A Divan" (h/t Charles Pierce).  It's all here: Dragon Energy, Michael Cohen, Stormy Daniels, Melania. One of Meyers' best yet.



BONUS:



Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tweets Of The Day


What a swell guy:


What she would probably like is a check for $100 million and a divorce.

Trump's Fascistic Meltdown And His Legal Problems



There was so much to wade through on this morning's totally unhinged rant by unindicted con man Donald "Rump" Trump on his favorite show "Fox and Friends." Spoiler alert: his bellicose ranting got so deranged that even his loyal sycophants on the show felt compelled to cut the "interview" short. New York Magazine's Adam Raymond's summary tells the story:
"Instead of limiting his remarks to self-aggrandizement and exaggerated claims of his success, Trump treated the American public to the type of angry rant we’re used to hearing about secondhand from 'sources.' Even when the hosts tried to steer him toward lighter topics, such as Kanye West’s recent embrace of MAGA, Trump insisted on rehashing grievances about James Comey and the Department of Justice. He also may have done something he’s done before: create legal problems by running his mouth." (emphasis added)
Create legal problems for himself? Go on:
"On Thursday, lawyers representing Trump will be in court to explain how they plan to quickly and efficiently review documents seized from Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, in order to identify those protected by attorney-client privilege. Trump made their jobs harder Thursday morning when he attempted to distance himself from Cohen by claiming that the lawyer performs only 'a tiny, tiny little fraction' of his legal work. 
Prosecutors with the Southern District of New York are already using those words against him, arguing that Trump’s claim about Cohen means that it’s unlikely that many of the lawyer’s documents are privileged." (emphasis added)
And more on the Stormy front:
"Three weeks after denying all knowledge of Cohen’s $130,000 hush payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels, Trump appeared to change his story Thursday when he admitted that Cohen represents him 'with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal.'" (emphasis added)
Aside from these shots that Rump fired into his foot, he issued a very ominous threat that should have every decent person who cares about our country ready to rise up. At the end of the rant, Rump threatened to seize control of the Justice Department to prosecute his enemies and to shut down the investigations looking into his connections with Russia and his (likely overlapping) sketchy business dealings. Jonathan Chait observes:
"Trump is making his intentions perfectly clear. He wants the Department of Justice to lock up his political onents and witnesses to his misbehavior. And he wants it to stop investigating his own misdeeds."
The existential danger to the United States and its institutions posed by Rump and his cult cannot be overstated. After running his shady business as an absolute monarch, he sees no problem in applying his warped and unconstitutional view on America and its institutions, as an authoritarian dictator would do. Gutless Rethuglicans won't stop him; we have to at the ballot box and with our voices in the streets.

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Stuart Carlson, via gocomics.com)


(Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe)


(Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune)


(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

For "Populist" Trumpers To Contemplate


At the state dinner for French President and Trump cuddler Emmanuel Macron, the modest guest list reflected not demagogue and con man Donald "Rump" Trump's cult base, but the people he seeks to emulate but can't match:
"Eight of the world’s wealthiest people attended President Donald Trump’s first state dinner last night along with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron. [snip] The Trump administration has been good to his guests. Since his election in November 2016, the fortunes of the five wealthiest have surged almost 70 percent, more than triple the gains of the S&P 500 Index." (emphasis added)
Here's the graphic from the Bloomberg article (click to enlarge):




MAGA, suckers!

Kanye West Remains A Jackass



Rapper Kanye "Go, Just Go" West embarrassed himself at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when he rushed the stage during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for Best Female Video, proclaiming that Beyoncé should have won. President Obama called West a "jackass" for that rude, intimidating and narcissistic move. That must have hurt West's tender fee-fees, coming from the first African-American President, and he hasn't forgotten it.

Now, West has moved firmly into the camp of white supremacist and narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump, who has done everything possible to destroy Obama's legacy. Gauging from comments on social media, West's fans are abandoning him in droves after his embrace of Rump. Apparently, West was in a coma during the whole Charlottesville episode, when Rump proclaimed KKK and neo-Nazi marchers "very fine people."  Then again, West hasn't hid his occasional anti-Semitism either.

West's health has been a problem for several years, with fluctuations in weight and hospitalizations for "exhaustion." His ups and downs in mood have many mental health experts sounding the alarm. Whatever the reason for his bizarre embrace of bigot Rump, whether it's his embrace of a fellow narcissist or simply an emotional breakdown, time will tell. But if he was ever worth listening to, he's not worth it now.

BONUS:  Steven Colbert has some thoughts and advice--


BONUS II:  Celeb friends are un- following him on Twitter, as well.

(photo: In full MAGA gear. Maybe wife Kim can lend him a bra. Bahe/Backgrid)

Jackson Nomination Crashes (Along With Car)


The nomination drama of Rear Adm. Dr. Ronny "Candy Man" Jackson to be the Secretary of Veterans Affairs is over, with Jackson withdrawing this morning.

Jackson's nomination became untenable when 23 current and former uniformed military came forward, accusing him of intoxication on the job, unethical and abusive behavior, temper tantrums, dispensing opiods improperly, and crashing a Government car while drunk following a going away party. 

Neo-fascist sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump picked Jackson, who had no experience in running the type of huge bureaucracy as the Veterans Administration, apparently because of Jackson's glowing and obviously ludicrous medical evaluation of Rump.  Rump himself distanced himself Monday, saying that he wouldn't want to go through the scrutiny that Jackson was. Good to see his "loyalty" to Rump rewarded in such a humiliating, public way.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Tweets Of The Day - Cohen Takes The 5th



Indeed, President Spanky.

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)



(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)


(Adam Zyglis, Buffalo News)


(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)


(Matt Davies, Newsday)

Mittens: The Home Town "Sport" Guy



As we're painfully aware, vulture capitalist and humanoid facsimile Willard "Mittens" Romney is running for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Michigan Massachusetts Colorado California Utah, despite coming in second in delegates at the Utah Rethuglican convention. Wanting to be seen as a "regular guy," Mittens was pretending to be a fan Monday night at a Utah Jazz - Oklahoma City Thunder game in Salt Lake City wearing an oversized Jazz jersey over a blue button down shirt, taunting the Thunder's star Russell Westbrook after he fouled out. Mitten's "sport" loyalties (he always awkwardly refers to "sports" in the singular) change with where ever he parks his shoes at night. With homes in several states, he must have a separate dresser drawer for all of those "home town" jerseys. For the right real estate deal in Oklahoma, Mittens might even put on a Thunder jersey.

(photo: "This doesn't look like a Detroit Pistons jersey...oh wait.")

QOTD - Pay To Play Politics


We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress,” Mr. Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker from South Carolina, told 1,300 bankers and lending industry officials at an American Bankers Association conference in Washington. “If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.” -- OMB Director/ CFPB Director/ former ultra- right South Carolina Rep. Mick "Dick" Mulvaney, saying the quiet part loud. Mulvaney got almost $63,000 from payday lenders while in office.  Guess he talked to them a lot.

Happy National Dance Week Songs


April 20 - 28 is National Dance Week, so we're celebrating the week with some songs from different genres, perspectives, and eras of music. Starting off with Chris Montez's infectious "Let's Dance" from 1962, with a video from the old American Bandstand show (where you might see Grandma and Grandpa dancing), then moving to the psychedelic '60s and Cream's "Dance The Night Away," and finishing up with country music's Lee Ann Womack's song from 2000, "I Hope You Dance." Enjoy, and find a song to dance to.





Cruz Warns Of "Disaster Economics" In Puerto Rico



Ever since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico last September, San Juan's heroic Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz has been a fierce fighter for Federal disaster resources to rebuild the island and its infrastructure, frequently facing opposition or simple neglect from the malignant and corrupt administration of bigot and narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump. What makes the situation in Puerto Rico so troubling is the impending start of the hurricane season in just a few weeks.

Now, Cruz is warning of the exploitation of the island by "disaster economics" which threaten to privatize the island's public services, such as education and the electric supply system, and create even greater economic disparities.  Last week's island-wide power outage demonstrated just how precarious the all-important provision of electricity is to the people. Cruz is pointing out how for-profit opportunists are descending on the island in the hopes of switching public services to for-profit businesses. The outflow of Puerto Ricans from the island has resulted in the weakening of the public school system, which is under attack by private "charter school" hucksters wanting to take advantage of the situation.

Cruz has been the strongest voice for the citizens of Puerto Rico (who we shouldn't have to remind anyone are citizens of the U.S.). The island's governor, technocrat Roberto Rosselló, has been mostly ineffective in his job, initially flattering Rump in hopes that his "loyalty" would be rewarded. He was definitely wrong about that.  Cruz is said to be mulling a run for the governorship in 2020, and we hope she does, but we mostly hope that our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters fully recover from this disaster, natural and manmade.

(photo: San Juan Mayor Cruz in October, 2017. Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

Rethugs Practice Under Heavy Security


Roughly eleven months after the shooting at an Alexandria, VA baseball field where Rethuglican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was wounded by a gunman, Rethuglican members of Congress gathered for softball practice this morning, heavily guarded by Capitol and local police. You can be certain that each and every one of these self-important, cynical pols got significant campaign money from the National Rifle Rampage Association. The key point is that they're "heavily guarded," in a security bubble that the vast majority of Americans don't have the luxury of having. They'll continue to ignore public sentiment that background checks need to be strengthened, that sales of guns to kids under 21 needs to end, and that other control measures need to be taken (including banning assault style weapons -- 68%).

Here's hoping that no violence comes to these sheltered SOBs, but that the 2018 ballot will send them back to the minors.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Trump Doppelgänger Located?


OK, the body type checks out, as does the burnt orange face and straw-colored hair.


A closer look:


Newsweek has the story of this unfortunate lady in Spain, Delores Leis Antelo, who bears a resemblance to neo-fascist sexual abuser Donald "Rump" Trump.  Still, despite the resemblance, Señora Leis Antelo can rest in the knowledge that she's a far better person and she'd make a helluva better President than her "twin" in every way.

Tweets Of The Day -- Wife #4


Wife #3 loathes him:



Wife #4 loves him:


BONUS:  Steven Colbert --


Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)



(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)


(Tom Toles, Washington Post)


(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)


(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)

Raising Arizona?



For those of you reading this who are residents of Arizona's 8th Congressional District, if you haven't yet voted, why are you reading this?!

There's a special election today in a very red district pitting underdog Democrat Dr. Hiral Tipirneni against generic nasty Republican Debbie Lesko. The seat was vacated by Rep. Trent "Beans 'n'" Franks (R-Crackpot) when he resigned after it became known that he'd offered $5 million to office aides to be surrogate mothers for his baby -- but not using artificial insemination, if you know what we mean and we think you do.

It's shaped up as a tight race for Lesko, even though it's in a district carried by un- indicted co- conspirator Donald "Rump" Trump by 21 points.  Democrats have been outperforming polls in recent special and off- year elections, carried by enthusiasm -- which translates to rising turnout.  Let's hope the momentum continues today.

Polls close at 8 pm local time.

(Photo: Dr. Tipirneni)

A Troubled Diagnosis For Dr. Jackson [UPDATED]



When he stepped to the White (Supremacist) House podium earlier this year to absurdly proclaim demagogue and shady con man Donald "Rump" Trump the picture of excellent health, physician Rear Adm. Ronny "Fears Donny" Jackson looked nervous, unsteady and scripted. Under questioning by the press, he defended Rump's unhealthy lifestyle that mixes cheeseburgers, fried chicken and golf carts, explaining that some people "have great genes." When he announced that Rump's weight was 239 pounds, chuckling was heard in the audience (239 pounds is coincidentally one pound under the definition of "obese" for someone of Rump's height). He apparently did so well in dissembling about Rump's health problems that his loyalty was rewarded with a nomination to be the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Lacking any management experience that would be needed in managing the nation's second largest Federal department, Dr. Jackson's nomination was already on thin ice before yesterday's late breaking news of allegations regarding his conduct as White House physician. While details have yet to emerge, initial reports indicate that Jackson created a "hostile work environment," and improperly dispensed medications. That forced the Senate to indefinitely postpone his nomination hearing.

Don't expect Rump to go to bat for his hapless nominee, who may withdraw before he's rejected by the Senate. He did Rump's bidding, Rump returned the favor, but there are limits to Rump's "loyalty" as we know so well.

UPDATE: The wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round...look out Ronny! Rump's throwing you:
“I told Admiral Jackson just a little while ago, I said, ‘What do you need this for? This is a vicious group of people that malign. [snip] If I were him, actually in many ways I’d love to be him, but the fact is I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. What does he need it for?”
(photo:  "You know you're giving me an excellent health report, right Dr. Jackson?" Carolyn Kaster/AP)

A Regime And Party Of Cornered Rats


Seth Meyers discusses the Republican wealthfare tax cuts for billionaires, Scott Pruitt's corruption, Republicans distancing themselves from themselves, and Trump's fixer Michael Cohen. Best line about Trump: "If the feds put pressure on him, there's a good chance he'll flip on himself."  This is a regime and party of increasingly cornered rats.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Nashville Killer A "Sovereign Citizen"


The unhinged sociopath that shot and killed four people at a restaurant near Nashville called himself a "sovereign citizen," a subset of far-right wingnuts who are anti-Government and believe that they can decide what laws to obey, if any. Travis Reinking, 29, was captured today after a 36-hour manhunt. He had come to law enforcement's attention last summer when he was arrested after trying to enter White House grounds to meet with demagogue and bigot Donald "Rump" Trump.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) tracks the sovereign citizen movement, which included Oklahoma City bomber accomplice Terry Nichols. Many members of militia groups (of the kind that occupied Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Preserve in 2016) are self-described sovereign citizens.They were also a key component of the mob that occupied the Bundy Ranch over the deadbeat owner's failure to pay grazing fees to the Government. Their confrontations with law enforcement have often ended in violence.

But don't let StormTrumpers, right-wing media or politicians hear you call them "domestic terrorists."

Poll: Public Supports Higher Teacher Pay



It's been one of the insidious missions of the Rethuglican / New Confederate / Stupid / Shooters Party to eviscerate public teachers unions, not only to curtail public education which is supported by taxes, but to undermine their political clout as part of the Democratic coalition. We've seen recently where Rethuglican-controlled state legislatures in West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona have stonewalled public school teachers on pay raises, which in many cases would simply catch teachers up to the cost-of-living over the past decade. There are stories of countless teachers who have reached into their own pockets to pay for school supplies that their schools should have been buying, but can't due to local right-wing pressure on taxes.

In a poll released today by the Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, fully 78% think that the average school salary is too low, with only 6% (ed.: Sixth grade dropouts?) thinking that public school teachers are paid too much. Fifty percent of Americans would be willing to pay more in taxes to provide a pay increase to teachers, and 52% approve of teachers leaving the classroom to strike.

This poll presents a serious problem for Rethuglican politicians, who have been trying mightily to destroy public teachers unions, as well as all public sector unions. They're on the wrong side of public opinion, and as they fight to deny fair pay to teachers, that public should punish them from the school board level to the legislatures and governorships at the ballot box.

(photo: Teachers march in Phoenix. Ross Franklin/AP)

Monday Reading


As always, please follow the link to the full article/ op ed.

Sean Hannity is a hypocritical weasel?  The f*ck you say!
The records link Hannity to a group of shell companies that spent at least $90m on more than 870 homes in seven states over the past decade. The properties range from luxurious mansions to rentals for low-income families. Hannity is the hidden owner behind some of the shell companies and his attorney did not dispute that he owns all of them. 
Dozens of the properties were bought at a discount in 2013, after banks foreclosed on their previous owners for defaulting on mortgages. Before and after then, Hannity sharply criticised Barack Obama for the US foreclosure rate. In January 2016, Hannity said there were “millions more Americans suffering under this president” partly because of foreclosures. 
Hannity, 56, also amassed part of his property collection with support from the US Department for Housing and Urban Development (Hud), a fact he did not disclose when praising Ben Carson, the Hud secretary, on his television show last year. [snip]
The shell companies used to buy the properties are registered to the offices of Henssler Financial, a wealth management firm outside Atlanta. Bill Lako, a principal at the firm, has appeared on Hannity’s radio show as an expert on money issues. 
Lako recently wrote an article for the show’s website berating Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating ties between Trump’s 2016 election campaign and Russia, without noting his ties to Hannity. He did not respond to an email. 
We wonder what else HUD welfare queen Hannity is hiding behind that smug face.

Trump biographer and investigative reporter David Cay Johnston on Trump's DNA and what he is:
Here are the key things people should know about Donald Trump. He comes from a family of criminals: His grandfather made his fortune running whorehouses in Seattle and in the Yukon Territory. His father, Fred, had a business partner named Willie Tomasello, who was an associate of the Gambino crime family. Trump's father was also investigated by the U.S. Senate for ripping off the government for what would be the equivalent of $36 million in today's money. Donald got his showmanship from his dad as well as his comfort with organized criminals. [snip] 
Let me be very clear and quotable about this. At an absolute minimum, Donald Trump has divided loyalties, and the evidence we already have suggests that Donald Trump is a traitor. In fact, I would say that the evidence we already have, the public materials such as emails for example, strongly indicate that Donald Trump is a traitor. However, I don't even think he understands what he's done.
An antidote to this must be provided on November 6.

Greg Sargent notes that more and more Republicans are running for office as unabashed authoritarian Stormtrumpers:
Around the country, Republicans embroiled in tough primaries are increasingly emulating President Trump — by echoing his xenophobia, his veiled racist appeals, his attacks on the news media, and even occasionally his calls for imprisoning his political opponents.  [snip] 
So how long until multiple GOP primary candidates begin seriously running on the message that the Mueller probe is part of an illegitimate Deep State coup that justifies Trump shutting it down by any means necessary — that is, on a message of unabashed authoritarianism?
There are already ample signs they're using their usual toxic appeals to their racist base;  this would just add to the case for their defenestration from civil society.

As we noted on Earth Day, the focus this year is on ending plastics polluting our environment, most notably our oceans.  Looks like something's being done about it:
Scientists are preparing to launch the world's first machine to clean up the planet's largest mass of ocean plastic. 
The system, originally dreamed up by a teenager, will be shipped out this summer to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California, and which contains an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. 
It will be the first ever attempt to tackle the patch since it was discovered in 1997. The experts believe the machine should be able to collect half of the detritus in the patch – about 40,000 metric tons – within five years.  [snip] 
The system to tackle the largest swirling mass of rubbish in the Pacific has been designed by a non-profit technology firm called The Ocean Cleanup, set up by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat when he was an 18-year-old aerospace engineering student.
Now if we could just shut off the inflow spigot =cough= China =cough= Indonesia =cough=.

Also, please check out the link roundup over at Infidel 753's place for a great collection of the fun, the infuriating, and the informative on offer from the Internet recently.

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon


(click on image to enlarge)


(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Tweet Of The Day (And For Unknown Days Hereafter)


A tweet you can pin for the entirety of the nightmare we're living through.


("Other than that, did you enjoy the play, Mrs. Lincoln?")

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Across The Universe, Cont. - Lagoon Nebula


(click on image to enlarge)



From NASA/ ESA, April 19, 2018: To celebrate its 28th anniversary in space the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope took this amazing and colourful image of the Lagoon Nebula. The whole nebula, about 4000 light-years away, is an incredible 55 light-years wide and 20 light-years tall. This image shows only a small part of this turbulent star-formation region, about four light-years across.

This stunning nebula was first catalogued in 1654 by the Italian astronomer Giovanni Battista Hodierna, who sought to record nebulous objects in the night sky so they would not be mistaken for comets. Since Hodierna’s observations, the Lagoon Nebula has been photographed and analysed by many telescopes and astronomers all over the world.

The observations were taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 between 12 February and 18 February 2018.

Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI

BONUS:  Let's take a ride through the nebula --



Tweet Of The Day: Witches!


Trump's Dangerous Ignorance On North Korea


The prospect of ignorant, narcissistic sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump "negotiating" with a clever, focused and well-prepared adversary in Kim Jong-Un should be of deepest concern to our nation. Rump's reckless, impulsive acceptance of a meeting with Kim was clearly his attempt to create a diversion from the deepening legal problems that are poised to take down his presidency. Kim reaped a propaganda bonanza with Rump over-eager to meet him, like a schoolboy with a crush. The legitimacy Rump gave Kim was Kim's first win.

Rump's tweet this morning about North Korea shows his ignorance about just where we stand vis-a-vis North Korea's nuclear program:

"(T)hey have agreed to denuclearization..."?  Wrong, President Pee Brain, they've stopped their nuclear weapons testing program and intend to shut their troubled test site. "Denuclearization" would mean they've agreed to give up their nuclear weapons, and they're not about to do that since that's their insurance policy for survival.

Going into "negotiations" as ill-equiped and ignorant as Rump is would be bad enough. The fact that he always thinks he's the smartest man in the room and won't take advice (legal or otherwise) makes any upcoming meeting with North Korea frightening. He'll let Kim take his shirt if he can get a thumbs up photo-op that he can spin to his cult followers as a "win."

Earth Day 2018 Reflection




"Do we really have to destroy tomorrow in order to live today?"  --  the late Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), who was one of the founders of the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.

This year, Earth Day is focused on "mobilizing the world to End Plastic Pollution, including creating support for a global effort to eliminate single-use plastics along with global regulation for the disposal of plastics."  Here's where you can find out how to help -- Earth Day, and every day.

BONUS:  Here's David Attenborough describing an aspect of the problem (found via Hullabaloo)--

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Smiles At A Funeral: Tweets Of The Day