Saturday, June 30, 2018

Buh-bye: Creepy Hugh Hewitt's Show Dumped

Far-right pundit and death star cyborg with a creepy smile Hugh Hewitt announced this morning that his Saturday morning show on "liberal" MSNBC has been cancelled. Two thoughts: he had a show on MSNBC? And, why did he have a show on MSNBC? We suppose because MSNBC's top suit Phil Griffin still thinks it's worth milking a buck or two from people who like their Saturday breakfast with a side of Trumpist crap and a glass of mendacious bile. Sad!

It was Griffin who failed to renew the great Joan Walsh's contract last December (she's on CNN now, and is sharp as ever), and who has had an attraction to right-wing talking heads over the years, despite MSNBC's counter-programing strategy balancing Fux "News." Our guess is if Hewitt had produced ratings above those of a dead cactus, he'd still be on the air.

Time to return to the death star to recharge your ion crystals.

Thousands Rally To End Trump Family Separation Evil

Here are some pics from our (hot) rally in Washington, DC (photos by Astrid Riecken, via Washington Post):

There were tens of thousands here (in Lafayette Park across from the White (Supremacist) House).

More from around the country here, here, herehere, and here.

QOTD -- Backlash

Dana Milbank today in the Washington Post:
The backlash is coming. It is the deserved consequence of minority-rule government protecting the rich over everybody else, corporations over workers, whites over nonwhites and despots over democracies. It will explode, God willing, at the ballot box and not in the streets. 
You can only ignore the will of the people for so long and get away with it.
We can let them feel the backlash around the country today at the "Families Belong Together" rallies (see post below).

BONUSInfidel 753 tells us we're in the majority and should never give up.

Friday, June 29, 2018

"Families Belong Together" Rallies On Saturday

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 30) there will be hundreds of "Families Belong Together" rallies across the nation to send a message to neo- fascist child abuser Donald "Rump" Trump and his white nationalist supporters that the American people won't tolerate the administration's cruel policy of separating children from their families at the southern border.  No internment camps! No delays in re- unifying families!

You can go here to see where there's a rally near you (you can register if you wish, but showing up is the most important thing). Thank you!

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Darrin Bell, Washington Post Writers Group)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Stuart Carlson, via

(Rob Rogers, via

The "Forrest Gump Of Republican Politics"

With evil sociopath, cynical obstructionist and human/turtle hybrid Sen. Mitch McConnell (R- Donor Class) promising to advance the Supreme Court nomination from neo-fascist unindicted co-conspirator Donald "Rump" Trump this summer, numerous candidates are being mentioned from the list put together by the right-wing Federalist Society. A leading candidate to replace Anthony Kennedy on the Court is someone that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) once called the "Forrest Gump of Republican Politics," D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Unlike Gump, who turned up in all the right historical places, Kavanaugh turned up in all the wrong political places.

Starting in the '90s, Kavanaugh was part of the scurrilous posse headed by Ken Starr trying to bring former President Clinton down with the "Whitewater" faux scandal, where he was on the team "investigating" the suicide of Vince Foster. Whitewater morphed numerous times over several years before arriving at Clinton's zipper, and Kavanaugh was right there sniffing. After covering himself with glory there, Kavanaugh found himself on the legal team of Preznit George "Dumbya" Bush during the hanging chad episode, after which the Rethuglican Supreme Court directed that ballot counting be halted and Dumbya be anointed President-elect. As a reward, he ended up on the White House legal staff, where he helped select Federal judges for nomination. Not surprisingly, his name popped up when a vacancy opened up on the D.C. Circuit Court, and Dumbya tapped him to fill the vacancy.

Given Rump's recklessness and volatility, there's no telling who he may nominate. If he listens to his treasonous son Donald Jr., he could pick Fux News shrieker and unhinged Trumpist "Judge" Jeanine Pirro.  Whomever he picks will represent a clear danger to women's reproductive rights, voting rights, economic equality, and so many other achievements of progressives. Whomever he picks will participate in decisions over Rump's potential prosecution resulting from the Mueller investigation and indictments. Whomever he picks needs to be fought with every tool we can muster.

Tweet Of The Day

One of the most gutless, worthless members of the Senate (and that's quite a distinction) -- reverently termed a "moderate" by the puerile media and a purported "pro choice" Republican -- sets us all straight:

Bank on fellow invertebrate Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski (that's her trying her best to look serious/ thoughtful in the pic above) to follow suit.

Especially if you're a Maine or Alaska voter, let them know what you think.

Existential threat Donald "Rump" Trump is also assiduously working three conservaDem Senators, Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Donnelly (IN), and Joe Manchin (WV), all of whom are up for reelection this year.   Especially if you live in those states, tell them cozying up to Rump on this will depress Democratic turnout for them -- best to stick with the rest of the party and be on the right (and popular) side of history.

Weekend Won't Back Down Music

Through the late great Tom Petty (with an assist by George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne and Mike Campbell), we send this message to Democrats everywhere. We like to play this song whenever there's a defining time in our history. This is one of those times.

Homeland Security Mimics Neo-Nazi Slogan

Just in case you might have had a fleeting thought that the vile administration of racist demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump wasn't filled with white supremacists, compare this title of a Department of Homeland Security press release:
"We Must Secure The Border And Build The Wall To Make America Safe Again"
with the infamous "14 words" white supremacist slogan used ubiquitously on the neo-Nazi far-right:
"We Must Secure The Existence Of Our People And A Future For White Children"
The latter phrase, created by a white supremacist by the name of David Lane who belonged to the racist organization The Order, is a call to action to the "white race" to resist the "rising tide of color" that is being controlled by Jews. The Trumpists have managed to go from dog whistle to bullhorn.

Disgusting? Yes. Reprehensible? Yes. Surprising? No.

Following Tragedy, A Paper Carries On (UPDATED)

The morning after yesterday's mass shooting at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, MD the paper published it's morning edition in a display of striking courage, resilience and professionalism. Five of the paper's staff were shot and killed, three more were seriously wounded before police disarmed and arrested the 38-year old shooter with a long-standing grievance against the paper. The poignant images of the murdered staff on the front page was moving; yesterday at this time, they were starting their day.

The first thought that occurred to so many people was the vicious anti-press atmosphere that's been whipped up by sociopath, demagogue and serial liar Donald "Rump" Trump whenever he's confronted with facts that he wants buried. He often refers to the press as the "enemy of the people" and routinely points them out to his rabid followers at rallies. Police presence at several news organizations in New York City and other locales was elevated as a precaution.

Rump could live ten thousand years and never have a scintilla of the courage of the journalists at The Capital, doing their jobs today in the midst of grief, going forward in the finest spirit of a free press.

UPDATE:  The shooter apparently marinated in the miasma of the alt- right.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Trump's Next Capitulation: Helsinki

With the meeting set between Russian thug and neighbor invader Vladimir Putin and his American manager and first fan Donald "Rump" Trump in Helsinki on July 16, the question isn't whether, but how much Rump will give away to his idol and mentor. He's already indicating that he has doubts about the role of the Kremlin in securing his election, contrary to every Federal intelligence agency, and he'll no doubt bring Putin some interesting intelligence from his meeting the day before with NATO leaders in Brussels. Our allies are very nervous about the reason behind his meeting with Putin, coming so close on the heels of the disastrous G7 summit in Quebec.

What we've recently called Rump's "performance review" from Putin will likely be a disaster for the Atlantic Alliance, which has already felt Rump's animus toward NATO and tariffs while noticing Rump's slavish affinity to and regard for Putin. It's not as though Russia has much to offer: Sen. McCain once described Russia as a gas station with nuclear weapons, it has an economy that's only half the size of California's, and they'll only make things worse in Syria. But what it does signify-- as Mueller's investigation may likely reveal -- is Rump's business' dependence on Russian oligarch money, whether laundered or hard wired to outfits like the Bank of Cyprus or Deutsche Bank. There may have also been commitments made by Kremlin representatives to Rump to reel him in as a Russian agent of influence for grand projects in Russia in years to come. Putting his personal business interests over the interests of the U.S. should be one of the primary articles of impeachment for the odious Rump.

Whatever the outcome, Rump has gone from defensiveness on Russia to flagrantly thumbing his nose at the appearance of cozying up to Putin, even as the Russia investigation heats up toward a climax. These are the actions of someone who feels emboldened by his rabid base's loyalty and his virtually unopposed discrediting of the institutions which are on his trail, digging for the truth about Rump's corruption and potential treason.

(photo: Getty Images. Putin likes what he's saying.)

Tweets Of The Day

Today's Controversial Cartoon

(click on image to enlarge)

(Brendan Loper, New Yorker)

No "Doormat Caucus" This Time!

Rachel Maddow last night on the imperative that Democrats not be the Doormat Caucus in the fight over the next Supreme Court justice:
Now, no matter the specific policy positions or the liberalness or the conservatism or the complicated home state politics of any particular Democratic senator, no Democratic senator has a reason to volunteer to be a doormat on the issue of the Supreme Court, right? Democrats as a unified block, every single one of them, they have no reason to go along with any meetings and hearings, any votes on the Supreme Court nominee before the election, right?... 
Every Democratic senator in the country is about to hear from every single one of their Democratic constituents every day from now until the election until it’s clear that the Democrats will all be unified on that no Doormat Caucus point.
TPM has a list of Democratic Senators who have either said there shouldn't be a vote before the elections, or who have not committed to that. You can let those who are equivocating (i.e., potential Doormats) that you expect them to stand up and fight the way Republicans fought to keep Merrick Garland off the court for a year, and will vote accordingly in the future.  If you live in Maine or Alaska, you can always give Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski a call since they purport to be pro- choice Republicans (good luck).

Here's the directory for the Senate.  For those who have already made the call or written the letter, thanks. For the rest, get cracking.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Ocasio-Cortez Win: It's Generational

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's surprisingly large victory last night over high- ranking House Dem Joseph Crowley may have been due to several factors, but one lesson must be learned by Democratic leaders:
What to make of that lightning bolt that struck the Democratic Party Tuesday night when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley in their primary—and I mean crushed him, by 16 percentage points? Most people are going to see it as a left vs. establishment story, and sure, that’s legit. 
But I see it in another context, too, one that I fear will be overlooked. It’s a generational story, and a story about how to be in touch with younger Democratic voters, which Democratic leadership [Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Schumer] did a horrible job of demonstrating this week in its responses to RedHenGate. And those Democratic leaders better be aware of this and change their game accordingly, or they will fail to communicate to their voters that they understand what’s at stake in this election. (our emphasis)
We're far, far closer to Nancy Pelosi's and Chuck Schumer's age than Ocasio-Cortez, so we feel liberated to say that having 70- somethings Pelosi, Rep. Steny Hoyer, Rep. James Clyburn and Schumer as the face of the Democratic Party (especially as a timid, cluck- clucking face) is the closest thing to a gift that existential threat Donald "Rump" Trump has in the opposition.  They may be savvy legislators, but they seem to be missing the import of the times rather badly;  too many collegial club happy hours with the nihilists, perhaps.

On Pelosi, in particular:
As it happens, Pelosi seized an opportunity earlier in the week to demonstrate just how shockingly out of touch she is in how she rebuked Maxine Waters for her controversial remarks about the Sarah Huckabee Sanders restaurant matter. Waters went too far, as she sometimes does. So it wasn’t crazy for Pelosi to decide to put a little space between herself and Waters. 
But get the language of Pelosi’s tweet: “In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea.” [snip]
Democrats need to keep their eyes on the prize here. They are not going to win this fall playing a game of defensive caution. They need young voters and women voters of the sort who carried both Ocasio-Cortez and [Conor] Lamb to victory. If the spirit of that Pelosi tweet is the spirit that’s getting through to those voters come October, they’re doomed. 
Infidel 753 makes the related point that the leadership (in the form of the DCCC, but could also be DSCC or DNC) needs to understand the energy candidates like Ocasio-Cortez bring and harness rather than resist it:
... It's true that NY-14 is so solidly Democratic that Ocasio-Cortez will almost certainly win even without DCCC support, but that's not the point -- the leadership needs to demonstrate that it supports the "big tent" and recognizes that winning as many seats as possible is more important than getting exactly the candidates it wants.  She represents the wave of the future and the kind of candidate that enthuses the party's real base, which is critical to its success, especially in an off-year election. (our emphasis)
Here in the Maryland gubernatorial primary, the Democratic establishment went all in on respected party fixture County Executive Rushern Baker (58), who lost big to charismatic Ben Jealous (45), the former head of the NAACP.  Jealous ran passionately on an unabashedly progressive agenda versus Baker's more "pragmatist" moderate stance.  Beyond an almost one generation age difference, Jealous' grasp of the base of the party's activist zeitgeist seems to have been the deciding factor.

In 2018 and beyond, we need all Democrats to be pulling in the same direction, which is to take the House and possibly the Senate back, and as many State gubernatorial and legislative races as possible.  The leadership issues will sort themselves out accordingly after November, but in the meantime, be assured that "the times they are a-changin'."

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

(Steve Benson, The Arizona Republic)

(Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe)

(Lalo Alcaraz, LA Weekly)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

BREAKING: Justice Kennedy Announces Retirement

Great.  The possibility of another Gorsuch- style ultra- reactionary SCOTUS nomination for malignant narcissist Donald "Rump" Trump.  Let's hope that Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor stay healthy, right?

As to Kennedy:  thanks a lot for nothing you dessiccated reactionary.

Here's what the immediate impact is likely to be:

Tweet Of The Day -- Your Republican SCOTUS

Quite a record to be ashamed of here:

You can also add their decision on crisis pregnancy centers.

Mid-Week Magic Song

Los Angeles-based jazz pianist Brian Culbertson has been featured here before a couple of times. His flowing piano style has won him numerous awards in the genre. From his latest album "Colors of Love," we're featuring "You're Magic." Enjoy.

Republican Supreme Court Ruling Deals Blow To Public Sector Unions

The old, male Republican reactionaries on the Supreme Court strike again, in yet another egregious 5-4 ruling:
The anti-worker right, bankrolled by conservative billionaires, has finally gotten the victory it’s been looking for through years and repeated well-funded Supreme Court challenges to a 40-year-old precedent. Janus v. AFSCME once again challenged the requirement that people represented by public sector unions who choose not to join the union still have to pay a fair share fee to cover the direct costs for representing them. That is, they’re paying the costs of collective bargaining and other things from which they personally benefit, not for any union political activity. But Republicans and their wealthy donors saw an attack on even that fair share fee as a way to weaken unions. And now, on the third try in recent years, with Neil Gorsuch on the court, the right got its win.
The ruling, written by the vile Samuel Alito, overturned a 40- year precedent, decided in Abood v Detroit Board of Education, which held that public sector unions could collect fees from non- union members to cover costs of workplace negotiations, but not for political activities.

We'll say it again:  elections have consequences (also: "But her emails!").

You can also thank this POS, trolling us with a pic of the crucial 5th SCOTUS vote he engineered:

Trump Campaigns On The "Tallahassee Trail"

Seth Meyers takes "A Closer Look" at deranged narcissistic dolt Donald "Rump" Trump's rambling cradle of sedition South Carolina rally, his endless bragging, his delusions, his pettiness, his "super elite" supporters, his "travel" ban, and more.  For our sanity, let's keep laughing until we can get this supernova of a shitstain out of office.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock

Fueled by information gleaned from the media and likely from the treasonous Rethuglican cabal led by House Intelligence chair, and friend of Russia, Rep. Devin "Devilish" Nunes, it's increasingly apparent that Putin loyalist and corrupt sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump is getting frantic about the Mueller investigation. Reports indicate that the Mueller team is seeking to accelerate the investigation into Rump and his campaign's conspiracy with Moscow to tilt the election toward him. Mueller hopes to prepare his conclusions as to Rump's obstruction of justice by, for example, firing former FBI Director Comey and for dictating a false narrative about his son Uday Don Jr.'s meeting with Russian envoys from the Kremlin in June 2016 to seek dirt on Hillary Clinton.

That Rump is plainly scared about the investigation is manifest in the obsessive tweets in the past few months:

Twenty two is just the number through June 23. With rumors of his fixer Michael Cohen ready to turn witness against Rump, the intense pressure being placed on jailed former campaign manager Paul Manafort to cooperate, and the latest news that go-between with Russia and death merchant (the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos) Erik Prince turned over his computer and phone to Mueller's team, all must have Rump in a mild state of panic.

Today's Cartoons

We can't resist a few more parting shots at Red Hen-gate.

(click on images to enlarge)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

Republican Supreme Court Upholds Trump's Muslim Ban

Another dark day -- but not unexpected -- thanks to a solid 5 Republican "justice" hack majority on the Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that President Trump has the authority to ban travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries if he thinks that it is necessary to protect the country, a priority of the president’s since his first week in office. 
The vote was 5 to 4, with conservatives in the majority and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing the opinion.
Roberts' opinion was a twisted masterpiece in evading the bald- faced evidence, provided by the shitgibbon himself, that the travel ban was instituted as a ban on people practicing the Muslim faith:
Roberts wrote that the presidential proclamation that led to the ban “is squarely within the scope of presidential authority.” And he rejected arguments that it was based on the predominant religion of most of the affected countries. 
“The Proclamation is expressly premised on legitimate purposes: preventing entry of nationals who cannot be adequately vetted and inducing other nations to improve their practices,” he wrote. “The text says nothing about religion.” 
How conveeeenient!  It was so nice of the Stormtrumpers, during the course of months of appeals, to erase any textual language mentioning a religion, even though every sentient person knows what the intent of the ban has always been. Lower courts consistently struck down the ban for very obvious reasons: the shitgibbon's bull- horned, oft- repeated prejudice against Muslims and his equating his "travel ban" with a Muslim ban so many times.  And how curious that six of the eight countries covered by the ban are Muslim- majority:
The current ban, issued last fall, barred various travelers from eight countries, six of them with Muslim majorities. They are Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela. But restrictions on North Korea and Venezuela were not part of the challenge. Chad was later removed from the list.
But, hey, hack Roberts and his hack Republican cohorts didn't read the word "Muslim" so, perfectly legit.

Recall that in the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, the hack Republicans went way out of their way to sniff out any possible bias against the Christian loons who wouldn't make a damn cake for a gay couple, but were unable in this case to smell the rancid odor of anti- Muslim bias from the shitgibbon's order.

Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor spoke the plain truth and for what we used to stand for as a country. This is part of Sotomayor's dissent:
The United States of America is a Nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our Founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment. The Court’s decision today fails to safeguard that fundamental principle. It leaves undisturbed a policy first advertised openly and unequivocally as a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” because the policy now masquerades behind a façade of national-security concerns. But this repackaging does little to cleanse Presidential Proclamation No. 9645 of the appearance of discrimination that the President’s words have created. Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus. That alone suffices to show that plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their Establishment Clause claim. The majority holds otherwise by ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent, and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the Proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens...
The decision can be read here, with concurrences and dissents (pdf).

How different this and other cases might have been had a Supreme Court seat not been uncivilly allowed to be vacant for the last year of President Obama's administration, or had roughly 70,000 votes switched in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2016.

(Image: No checks and balances on the hack Republican Supreme Court.)

Uneasy Rider

With the full impact of neo-fascist demagogue and bungler Donald "Rump" Trump's trade war yet to be felt, we can judge from his finger-pointing tweets reacting to Harley-Davidson's move to more overseas production that Rump has no clue about, well, anything besides grifts. He must have slept through the international trade course at Trump University Wharton, because he has made a mess of the issue of trade and tariffs.

Even the right-wing, Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal sees the disaster unfolding in Rump's moronic tariffs, which will fortuitously impact his cult most of all:
"Donald Trump’s trade war has been an abstraction for most Americans so far, but the retaliation has now begun in earnest and the casualties are starting to mount...But the biggest losers Monday were the American workers who make Harley-Davidson motorcycles whose jobs will soon be headed overseas thanks to the Trump tariffs. [snip] 
Harley hasn’t provided details about how its American workforce will be affected. But Harley employs more than a thousand unionized U.S. steelworkers—the very folks the President claims he’s protecting."
 As Rethuglican Sen. Ben Sasse noted in the above-linked NPR story,
"This will go over like a Vespa at Sturgis. The problem isn't that Harley is unpatriotic — it's that tariffs are stupid. They're tax increases on Americans, they don't work, and apparently we're going to see more of this."
(photo: Very Stable Genius shoots Harley-Davidson in the middle of Fifth Avenue....)

QOTD -- Let Them Eat At Trump Grill

The wonderful Michelle Goldberg, yesterday in The New York Times:
...The civility police might point out that many conservatives hated Obama just as much, but that only demonstrates the limits of content-neutral analysis. The right’s revulsion against a black president targeted by birther conspiracy theories is not the same as the left’s revulsion against a racist president who spread birther conspiracy theories. [snip] 
... [T]here’s an abusive sort of victim-blaming in demanding that progressives single-handedly uphold civility, lest the right become even more uncivil in response. As long as our rulers wage war on cosmopolitan culture, they shouldn’t feel entitled to its fruits. If they don’t want to hear from the angry citizens they’re supposed to serve, let them eat at Trump Grill.
Enough about "civility;"  now we need to continue to focus on those issues and actions that make progressives want to be heard.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Civilitay! At All Costs Civilitay!

Please spare us.

With all of the vile policies and existential threats to our democracy that here are to respond to during these nightmare times, our damn lightweight media and politicos are tizzying out about "incivility" that somehow has suddenly crept into our national dialogue with "The Red Hen Incident." Certain ossified Democrats have started to form their civility circular firing squads (please STFU and get out of the way), and the pearl clutchers at the WaPo have hit the fainting couch with a particularly noxious call to let Stormtrumpers eat in peace.  Notably, there was this tidbit of Fred Hiatt- generated ahistorical nitwitticism:
... How hard is it to imagine, for example, people who strongly believe that abortion is murder deciding that judges or other officials who protect abortion rights should not be able to live peaceably with their families?
Does he mean like the family of Dr. George Tiller or the families of the dozens of doctors and other family clinic personnel killed or wounded over the past 25 years by "pro- life" fanatics?  Or the bombings, arsons, etc., that have terrorized family clinic personnel for decades?  Or, hey, how about the separated families on the border who're not "able to live peaceably with their families"? Wow, turns out it wasn't hard to imagine at all!  And please go fuck yourself, Fred. (Is that uncivil?)

A few tweets to sum it up:

BONUSGreen Eagle delves into the media concern trolling past and present (h/t One Fly in the comments).

BONUS IIHunter takes the bark off the WaPo editorial.

Filth Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

After his morning covfefe and cheeseburger during "Executive Time" this morning, Very Stable Genius and man overseeing the world's largest nuclear arsenal, Donald "Rump" Trump took note of his spokesliar's distress at being refused the opportunity to fill her face last Friday at Virginia's The Red Hen restaurant:

Aside from the absurdity (and illegality) of using his official position to Twitterbomb and damage a small business, Rump may want to work on the filthy conditions at some of his own restaurants:
"The kitchen at Trump’s private Mar-A-Lago club was found to have 13 violations during an early 2017 inspection, including three 'high priority' violations that could allow the presence of illness-causing bacteria on plates in the dining room.

DJT steakhouse at Trump International Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip was cited for 51 violations during a routine inspection in 2012.

The kitchens at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster have been cited at least 17 times for health code violations between 2011 and 2016.

A guest settled with Trump Organization in May 2017 over an alleged bedbug infestation at Trump National Doral Miami resort the previous year."
It looks like someone needs to "focus more" on cleaning up his own restaurants....not to mention his pants.

(image: Photoshopped image. Original photo by David Moir/Reuters)

The Fraud Of Trump's Tax Cuts

Last December, when sociopathic con man and pathological liar Donald "Rump" Trump celebrated his massive tax giveaway to corporations and the top 1% in front of grinning Rethuglican members of Congress, they mistakenly believed it would be a big winner with the public. After all, they had sold their trickle down, supply side tax policy for over 30 years to large, gullible swaths of the public before, even though it created massive deficits and never produced the prosperity it promised. Why not go for it again? The Rethugs tried to make it an issue in the spring primaries against Dems in districts that they should have retained, but they failed. They found that people losing their health insurance, or seeing rates rise as a result of Rump's personal, malignant attack on Obama's Affordable Care Act is far more important.

Writing in American Prospect, William Rice explains how the corporate "raises and bonuses" were temporary PR moves demanded by Rump of corporations eager to please the vengeful clown in the White (Supremacist) House, while giving workers virtual crumbs from their massive windfall. For example, media giant Comcast got Rump's appointees to kill net neutrality after it offered $1,000 one-time bonuses to 100,000 employees. A big publicity blitz by Rethugs followed the December announcement, with too many complicit media outlets going along:
"Maybe, just maybe, the GOP and their big-money supporters had been right when they claimed corporate tax cuts help the little guy.

It proved to be a tough sell. Tax cuts are traditionally popular (who doesn’t like free money?), but opponents of this bill had done a good job letting people know it was the rich and corporations who gained from the new law, not working familiesmillions of whom would actually pay higher taxes once the law was fully phased in. The bill was so unpopular that for the first time in recent legislative history, not a single Democrat—not even conservative senators up for re-election in states Trump won—voted for a Republican tax cut.

Indeed, the very necessity of the corporate bonus propaganda campaign was itself a sign of the Tax Act’s toxicity. After 35 years of trickle-down, supply-side orthodoxy (only occasionally broken by lapses into more sensible policies), Americans were all too aware of the stagnant wages, widening economic inequality, and neglected public needs that resulted. They had understandably become weary, wary, and wise. Corporations knew that this time they would have to show them the money up front."
(our emphasis)
Now, the realization is spreading that these "raises and bonuses," if delivered at all, were the smallest of small potatoes:
"While anyone less wealthy than Trump and his cabinet would find an unexpected bonus of $1,000 a welcome surprise, the bonuses were—relatively speaking and in the proper context—crumbs. And they’re crumbs that few workers are actually receiving...[Americans for Tax Fairness] has determined that as of mid-June, only 4 percent of workers have received any kind of tax-cut-related bonus or raise (and by dollar value, two-thirds are one-time bonuses and only one-third are ongoing wage increases). Belying the idea that workers were sharing deeply in the tax-cut bonanza, those payouts represented less than 10 percent of the companies’ savings from the new law. The biggest corrective of all to the feel-good bonus propaganda is that wealthy shareholders (including a healthy dollop of foreign investors) are projected to get 69 times as much from stock buybacks this year as American workers will get from bonuses or raises—$484 billion versus about $7 billion." (our emphasis)
As with everything Rump and his supine Congressional cultists touch, it's reverse Midas. The hole blown in the deficit will mean higher consumer prices (coupled with his tariff idiocy) and enormous debt into the future, while providing an excuse for Republican cuts to social welfare programs. Quite the bonus.

(photo: J. Ernst/Reuters. Rump and his gang celebrate enriching themselves.)

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon -- Baby Snatchers

(click on image to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Monday Reading

As always, please go to the links for the full article or op/ ed.

E.J. Dionne, Jr., reminds us that we never forget the routine cruelty of the Trump Republican Party, which is part of their DNA:
We can welcome the fact that the president’s family-separation policy aroused the indignation of a broad empathetic majority. This instinct for compassion and justice should also be mobilized to stop efforts that will, quite literally, take food off the tables of Americans who already have great difficulty making ends meet. 
And can we please stop using the word “populist” to describe a crowd that would slash programs for the neediest to help finance a deficit-inflating tax giveaway that disproportionately benefits the very wealthiest people in our country? There is nothing populist about transferring money and power to those who already have a great deal of both.
You can add proposals to cut Medicare/ Medicaid/ Social Security to the pile, also (and Trump proudly claiming his Trump Republican Party "gutted" Obamacare).

John Stoehr writes about why Trump's weakness in the family- separation debacle will have an impact.
...The appearance of strength is the truly only thing that matters to his constituency. They don’t care that he’s a fraud. They don’t care that he’s corrupt. They don’t care about budgets. That don’t care about values. They don’t care about threats to democracy. 
They do care about the president punishing people whom they believe do not belong in the American franchise, people whom they believe threaten the privilege, status and power that generally come from being white. This week, they saw something new: Their Great White Hope was not only bloodied. He was knocked out cold.
Stoehr goes on to say that, while Trump's cult won't abandon him, he believes their enthusiasm (turnout) won't be quite the same.  (Beyond that, we would argue it's just one more egregious un- American action that will further energize Democrats and sentient independents.)

Speaking of egregious:
President Trump on Sunday explicitly advocated for depriving undocumented immigrants of their due-process rights, arguing that people who cross the border into the United States illegally are invaders and must immediately be deported without trial or an appearance before a judge. 
Trump’s attack on the judicial system sowed more confusion as lawmakers struggle to reach consensus on immigration legislation and as federal agencies scramble to reunite thousands of migrant children and their parents who were separated at the border under an administration policy that the president abruptly reversed last week.
Can you say "un- Constitutional"?

Taking this with a grain of salt since it's "Politico Playbook," but wouldn't this be a nice summer treat:
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-Va.) hosted a dinner Friday night for more than 100 guests at his house on Martha’s Vineyard as part of the DSCC’S annual Majority Trust retreat. OVERHEARD: Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, joking to the crowd: “If you get me one more glass of wine, I’ll tell you stuff only Bob Mueller and I know. If you think you’ve seen wild stuff so far, buckle up. It’s going to be a wild couple of months.”

John Dingell, you American treasure!

To cap off your reading, please go to the excellent link round- up at Infidel 753 ("Various interesting stuff I ran across on the net over the last week").  The selection never ceases to impress.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Across The Universe, Cont.

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, June 21, 2018This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the diverse collection of galaxies in the cluster Abell S0740 that is over 450 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Centaurus. The giant elliptical ESO 325-G004 looms large at the cluster's centre. Hubble resolves thousands of globular star clusters orbiting ESO 325-G004. Globular clusters are compact groups of hundreds of thousands of stars that are gravitationally bound together. At the galaxy's distance they appear as pinpoints of light contained within the diffuse halo. This image was created by combining Hubble science observations taken in January 2005 with Hubble Heritage observations taken a year later to form a 3-colour composite. The filters that isolate blue, red and infrared light were used with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard Hubble.

Credit:  NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Tweets Of The Day: Henpecked

White (Supremacist) House spokesliar Sarah "Hucksterbee" Sanders was miffed at the folks at The Red Hen in Lexington, VA for not serving her on Friday because they have standards on truth, decency, and cruelty, which Sanders does not. Here are some reactions from our Twitter friends:

And the former Director, Office of Government Ethics points out a problem for Sanders:

How About Tariffs On Trump's Business?

As neo-fascist con man and sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump pauses ever so briefly from child abuse along the border with Mexico, the tariffs he's promised to impose on Canada and our European allies are set to take effect in July. Those tariffs will serve to drive up prices for U.S. consumers, while forcing some economic sectors to lay off workers (many of whom swallowed his "America First" nonsense). Of course, Rump carefully tailored some of the tariffs to avoid doing damage to his or his family's scams abroad, witness Chinese textiles being exempt so that object of his lust daughter Ivanka's can export her cheap, sweatshop knock-offs from there.

Some creative thinkers among our allies are suggesting that Rump's organization abroad (branded hotels, resorts, etc.) might be good targets for tariffs in those countries. In a fascinating article in Macleans, former Canadian diplomat Scott Gilmore sets the stage:
"As I’ve pointed out before, the President can be successfully engaged, and countries like Ukraine, China, and Qatar have demonstrated this. When they want something from the United States, they skip the State Department, and even the White House staff. Instead of approaching their problem state-to-state, they go state-to-man. These countries focus on what Trump wants on a personal level – to enrich his family. So Beijing granted Ivanka trademarks, Qatar invested in one of Jared’s office towers, and Ukraine, with Slavic candor, simply wired half a million dollars to the President’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

For the most part, the western allies understand that if we want the U.S. to do something we must negotiate with the man himself. What we have not grasped yet is, as strange as it sounds, the President of the United States is more concerned about promoting his interests than defending America’s.
" (our emphasis)
According to Gilmore, therein lies the key to pressuring Rump to back off of his tariff war on our allies, while giving him a richly deserved kick in his yuuuge ass:
"Until this President, every previous modern occupant of the White House divested their assets upon assuming office.... Trump, by refusing to give up his businesses, and by flagrantly violating the emoluments clause, has inadvertently handed us the perfect stick.

I propose that instead of taxing the import of American serviettes, we tax Trump. In the spirit of the Magnitsky Act, Canada and the western allies come together to collectively pressure the only pain point that matters to this President: his family and their assets. This could take the form of special taxation on their current operations, freezing of assets, or even sanctions against senior staff. Canada could add a tax to Trump properties equal to any tariff unilaterally imposed by Washington.  The European Union could revoke any travel visas for senior staff in the Trump organization. And the United Kingdom could temporarily close his golf course."
Will it happen? We'd love to think so, but our allies also know they're dealing with an unhinged, vindictive narcissist whose ego is wrapped up in his shady organization. He's capable of all sorts of evil against them if he's cornered (and even when he's not). But taking him and his corrupt family down this way would be a dream come true.

Nunes' Sabotage Of Mueller Investigation, Cont'd.

The Justice Department has acknowledged that it provided the Rethug-controlled House of Representatives over 1,000 new documents relating to the national security investigation into the Trump campaign's connections with Russian agents on Friday. Dems know that these and previously released documents will find their way quickly to the White (Supremacist) House and be cherry-picked and distorted to smear the FBI's investigation into neo-fascist and Putin loyalist Donald "Rump" Trump's 2016 campaign, and to prime Rump's legal defense. He's being aided an abetted by slimy coward Squeaker of the House Paul "Lyin'" Ryan, who, when the going gets tough, retires and hides.

House Intelligence Committee Ringleader Chairman and Rump lapdog and courier Devin "Devilish" Nunes (R-Rump's Rump) had threatened to "impeach" Justice Department officials if they didn't comply with his committee's partisan request for documents. Nunes has been pressing to learn about the confidential informant that the FBI used in the initial stages of the Russiagate investigation, presumably to discredit him and the subsequent Mueller investigation on behalf of Rump. He's also demanded transcripts of conversations between Rump campaign officials and confidential human intelligence sources, whose disclosure could damage other U.S. intelligence operations. That part of the request has been referred to the Director of National Intelligence.

Nunes, at Rump's behest, has been working to sabotage any investigation into Rump's connections with the Kremlin almost from the outset of the Rump administration. In serving Rump, he and his Rethug colleagues in the House have been willing to wage war on our law enforcement and intelligence communities that are so vital to our national security.

Andrew Janz is running against Nunes in the fall. You can find information about him and where to donate here. Nunes is just one of the treasonous Rethugs up for reelection, but his defeat would be a win for America.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Paul McCartney Gets Back

May this magical mystery tour "carpool karaoke" in Liverpool with Sir Paul McCartney and James Corden give you the same chills it gave us.  What a touching, amazing, wonderful 24 minutes.

Twit Tweet, Thwap


Twit tweet:


Also proving the rotten apple didn't fall far from the tree.


The Trump Republican Party's assault on the health of our planet continues unabated:
Four Republican senators this week demanded an investigation of the National Science Foundation’s grants, accusing the federal agency of “propagandizing” by supporting a program to encourage TV meteorologists to report on climate change.  
In a letter sent to the agency’s inspector general Wednesday, the senators ― Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.) and James Lankford (Okla.) and Jim Inhofe (Okla.) ― said the $4 million Climate Matters program, which sponsors classes and webinars for meteorologists and provides real-time data and graphics with TV stations, went beyond the scope of the National Science Foundation’s mission of funding “basic research.” They urged the inspector general to probe whether the grants violated the 1939 Hatch Act, which bars government agencies from engaging in partisan activity. 
They couldn't possibly be operating out of any corrupt motive, could they?
The senators who authored the letter are among the biggest recipients of fossil fuel donations. In a ranking of all U.S. senators over the last three decades, Cruz came in third for the all-time largest total of direct contributions from oil and gas companies, receiving over $2.7 million since he took office, including during his presidential campaign, according to data collected by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. Inhofe ― who infamously brought a snowball to the Senate floor as proof of climate scientists’ supposed folly ― ranked seventh, with nearly $1.9 million. Lankford ranked 16th, with $1.1 million. Paul fell well below the others at $284,328. 
Cruz is running scared this year against Democratic challenger Rep. Beto O'Rourke. Let's see if we can help Beto (and our planet) win in November, and rid us of one of these four malevolent creatures of the fossil fuel industry.

Meanwhile, Sneaker of the House Paul "Lyin'" Ryan and his merry band of Republican sociopaths and nihilists are doing what only they can do:  after cratering the deficit by passing a trillion dollar tax giveaway to corporations and the wealthy, they now see the need to address that deficit by sticking it to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security recipients:
House Republicans released a proposal Tuesday that would balance the budget in nine years — but only by making large cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare, that President Trump vowed not to touch. 
The House Budget Committee is aiming to pass the blueprint this week, but that may be as far as it goes this midterm election year. It is not clear that GOP leaders will put the document on the House floor for a vote, and even if it were to pass the House, the budget would have little impact on actual spending levels. 
Nonetheless the budget serves as an expression of Republicans’ priorities at a time of rapidly rising deficits and debt. Although the nation’s growing indebtedness has been exacerbated by the GOP’s own policy decisions — including the new tax law, which most analyses say will add at least $1 trillion to the debt — Republicans on the Budget Committee said they felt a responsibility to put the nation on a sounder fiscal trajectory.
Wow. No one could've seen this coming from this bunch of assholes! (Are we being uncivil?)

Comforting the comfortable and afflicting the afflicted is all Republicans ever have done, are doing and will do.

"The Blaze" Going Up In Smoke

It seems like ages since we wrote about right-wing flamethrower Glenn "Dreck" Beck. Dreck was one of the first proto-Trumpian media figures at a time when con man and sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump was still stiffing contractors on his real estate projects. So, it's with a great deal of schadenfreude that we see where Dreck's shabby nutzoid enterprise "TheBlaze" is burning out.

A new round of firings have left Dreck's right-wing conspiracy site with a skeleton crew:
"The right-wing cable and digital media company—founded by Beck shortly before he exited Fox News in 2011—fired another round of staffers this week, shrinking a workforce that has already been reduced to less than 50 employees, according to two sources who spoke with The Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity. The two sources also confirmed that more than a dozen employees had been laid off over the past several days."
While Dreck has always been a hardcore, unhinged wingnut, he apparently had some initial qualms (envy?) about Rump, qualms which he dispensed with after seeing that it wasn't helping his media scam:
"Beck’s flair for conspiratorial, right-wing rants were largely seen as a precursor to the Trumpism that has overtaken conservatism in recent years. But as his empire began to crumble, right around the time Trump was elected to office, Beck—who likened Trump to Hitler—began to team up with mainstream media and liberal celebrities, rebranding himself as a born-again champion of civility. That seemingly failed, however, as his business continued to struggle. Ultimately, he flip-flopped on that conciliatory reinvention, donning Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hat in May and declaring on-air: 'I will vote for him in 2020! Gladly!'”
Sadly, we doubt that this will be the last we see of Dreck, given all the money sloshing around in the Wingut Welfare System that he's able to tap into, so we won't shed a tear for him. He has his own ample tears for that.

(photo: Precursor to the Very Stable Genius)

Time For Trump's Performance Review From Putin

With a summit between Russian autocratic thug Vladimir Putin and his pawn, corrupt neo-fascist and treasonous buffoon Donald "Rump" Trump in the offing next month, it's worth considering just how much Rump could concede to his idol and confidante. If it were a performance review, Rump would get high marks from Putin for any number of Russia-friendly actions: Rump's attacks on our longtime allies in the G7 and NATO, his degradation of America's image through his embrace of murderous North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and his ugly treatment of immigrant families crossing the southern border, and imposing tariffs on our trading partners who may now be looking to Russia as a new free trade partner. From Politico:
"Trump has made clear that he is eager for warmer relations with Russia — and as long as president’s mercurial nature continues to upend the global order and open doors for Moscow, Putin will be more than happy for Trump to simply continue being Trump.

Putin’s agenda for the potential summit is clear, according to experts. For Putin, the best outcome of the summit is a tacit — or even explicit — endorsement from the American president on par with the praise Trump heaped on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un after this month’s summit in Singapore.

Such global recognition could help Putin toward some of his longer-term goals, including the recognition that Russia was right to annex a portion of Ukraine in 2014, a commitment to respect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s continued rule in Syria, or even a pledge to end the expansion of NATO, the North American-European military alliance that serves as a counterweight to Russian aggression.

And Trump has already endorsed another long-term Putin goal — readmission into the G-7 — a group of major world economic powers that banished Russia over its intervention in Ukraine.
Rump's malignant narcissism and addiction to images that flatter him will cause him to promise nearly everything to Putin in order to emerge with a photo-op that diverts from the story that he's given away the store to an adversary....again. Putin knows this, and knows how to pull Rump's strings, and he won't even have to threaten to cut off Russia's money spigot to Rump's enterprises.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Today's Cartoon Threefer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)