Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

(Chris Britt, Illinois Times)

(Jeff Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune)

The Threat Of Sessions' Theocratic Crusade

When Confederate States Attorney General and bigoted theocratic elf Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III announced yesterday that he was establishing a so-called "religious liberty task force," he was checking off one more box for extreme right-wing Christians who want to strictly govern our lives according to their warped beliefs. In his prepared remarks before the "Religious Liberty Summit", Beauregard made it clear that he was about stripping First Amendment rights from people that don't share the far right's zealotry and bigotry:
"A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated.

This election, and much that has flowed from it, gives us a rare opportunity to arrest these trends.  Such a reversal will not just be done with electoral victories, but by intellectual victories.

We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law; where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit; and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a 'hate group' on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs."
(our emphasis)
"Hate group" like the rabidly anti-LGBTQ Westboro Baptist Church, Beauregard? Or just run-of-the-mill evangelical Bible-bangers whose liturgy is more Old Testament "fire and brimstone" than "do unto others as you would have them do unto you?"

The mission of the task force would be to skew Justice Department actions away from fighting discrimination against protected groups toward protecting the bigoted actions of the ones discriminating, all in the bogus name of "religious freedom." We should recall that the same "religious freedom" argument was also used to justify segregation, by people with the same reactionary views that Beauregard advances today.

The framers of the Constitution were nearly all secular products of the Enlightenment, who didn't want the establishment of a particular "official" religion. Progressive Baptist minister Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove writes that:
"Plenty of Americans still value the separation of church and state and, along with it, the establishment clause’s guarantee of freedom of conscience for all people. Outside the circles of the extreme right, religious liberty has long been a progressive value, celebrated by abolitionists, tax resisters, conscientious objectors and religious minorities alike. [snip] But when (Christian right groups) talk about religious liberty, they are really talking about liberty for one specific religion — Christianity. In this context, the phrase has become a rallying cry for Christian conservatives whose religious and political interests align around issues like reversing Roe v. Wade and rolling back LGBT protections. Indeed, in their study 'Make America Christian Again,' sociologists Andrew Whitehead, Samuel Baker, and Joseph Perry conclude, independent of other influences, Christian nationalism was the single most determinative indicator of support for candidate Donald Trump in the 2016."
Beauregard Sessions represents the nexus of right-wing politics and Christian nationalism, in the service of white supremacy. His task force is the leading edge of the movement to roll back protections against religious bigotry practiced by those Christian nationalists.

BONUS: The Bible-bangers are not only bigots, they're unpatriotic Putin admirers, like despicable "preacher" Jerry Fallwell, Jr.

(image: rmuse.net)

Rethug Voter Views On Mueller Investigation

Sunday's CBS News Battleground Tracker poll indicates some interest among Rethuglican voters about what the Mueller investigation will find, with some believing that Russian asset and con man Donald "Rump" Trump has done something wrong with regard to the 2016 election and Russia.

While nearly half of Rethugs say the investigation makes them want to defend Rump, the other half either says "wait and see" what the facts are, or they suspect Rump is guilty of something.

Almost three-quarters of Dems already think he's done something wrong related to the elections and Russia, while nearly a quarter are willing to wait and see the facts in the case. Apparently four percent of Dems are either brain dead or lying about their party registration.

Trump Wants To Give Wealthy Another Multi-Billion Dollar Tax Cut

As we noted yesterday, the Republican wealthfare tax cuts from last year are succeeding in making the wealthy wealthier while having a negative effect on workers' wages.  Well, it seems that wasn't enough sociopathic wealth redistribution for the plutocratic regime of Putin puppet Donald "Rump" Trump.  Now they're considering another $20 billion giveaway:
The Treasury Department is considering a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans through a change that would not need approval from Congress, officials said, a move that would follow a package of tax cuts last year that also benefited the super-rich. 
The agency is studying whether to allow investment income, known as capital gains, to be adjusted for inflation in a way that shields more of it from taxation. Most capital gains are paid by wealthier Americans, who disproportionately hold large portfolios of investments. [snip] 
Leonard Burman, an institute fellow at the [Tax Policy] center, found that such a change, depending on how it was designed, could cut taxes by up to $20 billion for the wealthiest Americans and make it easier for sophisticated investors to create tax shelters.
Some of our favorite loathsome reptiles would be cheering this along:
Several congressional Republicans have introduced plans that would legislatively index capital gains to inflation, including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Devin Nunes of California. The idea has also been promoted widely by Grover Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform and a leading conservative voice on tax cuts.*
We have proof of what economists told us would be the outcome of the 2017 wealthfare corporate tax cut:  corporation buybacks of stock to increase the wealth of stock- holding CEOs, with cosmetic one-time "bonuses" for workers that Rump could trumpet.  This is just more of the same, a looting of the Federal treasury that will only profit the wealthy/ "sophisticated investors."

As with the Trump- Russia scandal, these jamokes are out there not even bothering to wear masks while they assault and rob us.

BONUS:  Philip Bump has a good read about Rump's two- track strategy-- "The rich get richer, and the poor get distracted."

* This "leading conservative voice on tax cuts" once infamously said, "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."  This, on top of last year's trillion dollar wealthfare tax cut, certainly moves us in that direction.

"A Closer Look" At The Trump/ Ghouliani Collusion Clown Show

Seth Meyers takes "A Closer Look" at the collusion clown show surrounding un- indicted co- conspirator Donald "Rump" Trump, Michael Cohen, and Rudy "Ghouliani" Giuliani, who "lurched out of a fog bank" to further incriminate Rump. Great characterization of Rump and Ghouliani at 5:07.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Tweets Of The Day -- And The "Winner" Is...

The Golden Shovel Award goes to...

Presenting the award will be Robert Mueller.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(Darrin Bell, Washington Post Writers Group)

(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)

The Workings Of Trump's Susceptible Mind

In an op-ed article in today's USA Today, Dr. Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, looks at the behavior pattern of sociopath and pathological liar Donald "Rump" Trump and concludes that he suffers from "sympathetic audience control." While disagreeing with 27 mental health professionals who have deemed Rump a danger due to his malignant narcissistic personality disorder and other issues ("The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump"), Epstein believes that Rump is controlled in small time "windows" by reactions he gets from his audiences, either positive or negative:
"Not only do his views shift, he also has no trouble denying, entirely without guile, in my view, what he said yesterday. All that’s shiny and real to him is what friends or foes are saying inside those small time windows. Everything else is fuzzy, and that’s why he can so easily tell so many lies. From his perspective, lying has no meaning. Only reacting has meaning. Trump reacts." (our emphasis)
Rump's mood shifts from, for example, insulting "Little Rocket Man" Kim Jong Un to lavishing praise on him just weeks later are a manifestation of this audience control syndrome: if his audience is critical, he's belligerent, if his audience is friendly, he's fawning, telling them what he thinks they want to hear to get their approval. How many times did we hear Rump praise a dictator like Putin because "he said nice things about me?" It's also the basis for his incompetent governing style and lack of results. Epstein continues:
"The small time window and sympathetic audience control also explain why Trump always seems to be creating foreign policy on the fly, why his meetings with world leaders rarely produce tangible results, why he can’t get congressional deals, and why he is almost certainly incapable of negotiating those famous bilateral agreements that were supposed to replace the multinational treaties he has swept aside."
While Epstein may diverge from his mental health colleagues on Rump's mental disorders, he's no less worried about the consequences of Rump's behavior:
"If I’m right, and I’m pretty sure I am, Trump is capable of only a minimal level of analytical or critical thinking. Perhaps more alarming, our president — the putative leader of the free world — doesn’t believe in anything and he rarely, if ever, means anything he says. The impulsive tweets, the conservative court appointments, the unfunded tax cuts, the obsession with a wall, the swipes at immigrants — all are byproducts (dross, if you will) of sympathetic audience control operating in small time windows. There are no principles operating here, just gusts of wind.

And if I’m right, Trump will continue to function this way — blindly, erratically and reactively, without principle or direction — for the rest of his life."
(our emphasis)
We don't give a flying fig about the "rest of his life" after the Presidency. Maybe he'll buy a nice dacha outside of Moscow. It's the severe damage he's doing now to this country and its democratic institutions, while careening from one tweet to another, and from one lie to the next playing for his audience's approval.

"Eye-Popping" Corporate Executive Payouts Resulting From Republican Tax Law

Spoiler alert: The Republican re- distribution of wealth to the wealthiest is working!
Some of the biggest winners from President Donald Trump’s new tax law are corporate executives who have reaped gains as their companies buy back a record amount of stock, a practice that rewards shareholders by boosting the value of existing shares. 
A POLITICO review of data disclosed in SEC filings shows the executives, who often receive most of their compensation in stock, have been profiting handsomely by selling shares since Trump signed the law on Dec. 22 and slashed corporate tax rates to 21 percent. That trend is likely to increase as Wall Street analysts expect buyback activity to accelerate in the coming weeks. 
“It is going to be a parade of eye-popping numbers,” said Pat McGurn, the head of strategic research and analysis at Institutional Shareholder Services, a shareholder advisory firm.
In other words, the Republican wealthfare tax law is working precisely as desired and as predicted by everyone not a Republican (see links here, here, here, ad nauseam).

So what about the economically anxious "forgotten man" that the Republican tax boondoggle was supposed to help?

Spoiler alert:  Suckers!
Just stick with the Republicans and their sociopathic party- before- country, comfort the comfortable / afflict the afflicted politics.  Yeah, that'll work out well for you (if you're a corporate CEO).

Give This Clown A Bigger Shovel [UPDATED]

Ever since disgraceful camera hog Rudy "Ghouliani" Giuliani spent tens of millions in the 2008 Rethuglican Presidential primaries only to end up pathetically with one delegate, he's been searching for the political spotlight to revive his reputation, which was built largely on his role as mayor of New York City during the 9-11 attack. Unfortunately for Ghouliani, that reputation was bogus, as 9-11 survivors and emergency response officials have noted. His errors in judgement cost the city dearly during and after the attack, something that he'd like everyone to ignore.

He finally found the spotlight that he craved as Russian asset Donald "Rump" Trump's TV lawyer. Ghouliani always imagined himself in the White (Supremacist) House, even if vicariously, and even if he had to lash himself to a corrupt, treasonous figure. His continuous appearances on TV have made him an object of ridicule, with Rump even chiding him for not getting his facts straight (i.e. blurting out the truth). It got so bad that Rump was tempted to pull him off the air. His latest role is in smearing any witness to Rump's misdeeds, foremost of which is Rump's former fixer Michael Cohen. Ghouliani described Cohen as "honest" just a few weeks ago, but called him a "pathological manipulator and liar" this weekend, after sources close to Cohen said he was ready to testify that Rump knew in advance and approved of the Don Jr. / Russians meeting in June, 2016. That Giuliani's attacks betray a level of fear within the Rump circle has become clear.

In addition to his flip-flops on Cohen and his shaky grasp of facts and the law, Ghouliani's now moving the goalposts regarding the issue of "collusion" with Russia (if charges are brought, they'll be conspiracy and fraud, since "collusion" has no legal meaning), and Rump's involvement in the Don Jr. / Russians meeting:

Federal prosecutors are paying attention to Ghouliani's statements, as idiotic as most of them are. They reveal a strategy within Rump's circle: we can't disprove our illegal behavior, so we'll just claim it's not illegal. No doubt Robert Mueller will have something to say about that at the right time.

BONUS:  Ghouliani has a fan --
UPDATE: Did bumbling Ghouliani just make matters worse by disclosing a Trump Tower meeting that hasn't been made public involving Don Jr. to strategize about the infamous Russian meeting? Shovel, stat!

Monday Reading

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

David Wallace-Wells asks "How Did the End of the World Become Old News?"
...[T]his July, we already seem much farther along on those paths than even the most alarmist climate observers — e.g., me — would have predicted a year ago. In a single week earlier this month, dozens of places around the world were hit with record temperatures in what was, effectively, an unprecedented, planet-encompassing heat wave: from Denver to Burlington to Ottawa; from Glasgow to Shannon to Belfast; from Tbilisi, in Georgia, and Yerevan, in Armenia, to whole swaths of southern Russia. The temperature of one city in Oman, where the daytime highs had reached 122 degrees Fahrenheit, did not drop below 108 all night; in Montreal, Canada, 50 died from the heat. That same week, 30 major wildfires burned in the American West, including one, in California, that grew at the rate of 10,000 football fields each hour, and another, in Colorado, that produced a volcano-like 300-foot eruption of flames, swallowing an entire subdivision and inventing a new term — “fire tsunami” — along the way. On the other side of the planet, biblical rains flooded Japan, where 1.2 million were evacuated from their homes. The following week, the heat struck there, killing dozens. The following week. 
In other words, it has been a month of historic, even unprecedented, climate horrors. But you may not have noticed, if you are anything but the most discriminating consumer of news...
Wallace-Wells discusses the reasons why the media and scientists self- censor in talking about discrete events rather than connecting the dots to paint the accurate -- and horrifying -- picture of a world being destroyed.

When it comes to attempts to obstruct the Mueller investigation, conservative Jennifer Rubin is thinking what we're thinking:
An investigation into Republican House members’ antics is critical if we want to hold them responsible for actions injurious to our criminal justice system. It is also necessary in order to uncover who if anyone they were colluding with on the White House side of the operation. Any White House official and/or lawyer — with or without the president’s knowledge — scheming to obstruct the investigation in concert with members of Congress needs to be investigated and held accountable. 
In sum, for now, the focus of the Russia investigation properly has been on the president’s action and those of others in the White House and Trump orbit. However, we shouldn’t forget about Republican representatives’ malfeasance and the goings-on between Trump loyalists in Congress and those in the White House. Rather than simply play defense on behalf of Rosenstein and the Russian investigators, defenders of the rule of law need to go on offense, demanding [Devin] Nunes, [Mark] Meadows and ["Gym"] Jordan come clean on their actions in support of a president trying to thwart a legitimate investigation. It all needs to come out. 
There's a rat's nest in Congress made up of Trump followers, compromised pols and spineless enablers (eg., "Republicans").  It needs to get cleaned up, too.

Here's more on Russian ties with right- wingers in this country, via E.J. Dionne, Jr.:
... Long before Russia’s efforts to elect Trump in the 2016 election became a major public issue, Putin was currying favor with the American gun lobby, Christian conservatives and Republican politicians. 
In a prescient March 2017 article in Time magazine, Alex Altman and Elizabeth Dias detailed Russia’s “new alliances with leading U.S. evangelicals, lawmakers and powerful interest groups like the NRA.” 
Evangelical Christians, they noted, found common ground with Putin, a strong foe of LGBTQ rights, on the basis of “Moscow’s nationalist and ultraconservative push — led by the Russian Orthodox Church — to make the post-Soviet nation a bulwark of Christianity amid the increasing secularization of the West.
Meanwhile, this is the frightened, desperately projecting un- indicted co- conspirator they're going down with:

Translation:  more indictments are coming soon!

Finally, you have a great link round- up waiting for you, compiled by Infidel 753

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Across The Universe, Cont. -- The Milky Way's Big Sister

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, July 23, 2018:  This image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) shows a beautiful spiral galaxy called NGC 6744. At first glance, it resembles our Milky Way albeit larger, measuring more than 200 000 light-years across compared to 100 000 light-year diameter for our home galaxy.

NGC 6744 is similar to our home galaxy in more ways than one. Like the Milky Way, NGC 6744 has a prominent central region packed with old yellow stars. Moving away from the galactic core, one can see parts of the dusty spiral arms painted in shades of pink and blue; while the blue sites are full of young star clusters, the pink ones are regions of active star formation, indicating that the galaxy is still very lively.

In 2005, a supernova, named 2005at, was discovered within NGC 6744, adding to the argument of this galaxy’s liveliness (not visible in this image). SN 2005at is a type Ic supernova, formed when a massive star collapses in itself and loses its hydrogen envelope.

Credit:  ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

Trump's Continuing Border Abomination

The stories of the 2,551 immigrant children separated from their parents at the southern border have been shocking and horrific. The casual cruelty and human rights violations occurred right in front of us and in our names. The separations weren't an unintended consequence of sociopathic bigot Donald "Rump" Trump's "zero tolerance" policy, they were the main feature, the weapon of choice to dissuade the immigration of families.

Another court-ordered deadline passed on Friday, with hundreds of children still separated from their parents. with some 650 children classified as "ineligible" to be reunited with their parents by the Rump administration. The reason for their ineligibility was a deceptive form they were pressured to sign that allowed their children -- some very young -- to pursue asylum and stay as long as the parents would agree to be deported. The cold and sinister Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen "Shame" Nielsen explained the situation this way:
"'If the parents contact us and they want to be reunited, of course we will work with them. But as you know, as part of the way the process works, the parents always have the choice to take the children with them,' Nielsen said, making no commitment to reunifying deported parents by a hard deadline.

Nielsen said the parents could reach out to the U.S. government through consulates in their home countries. But Leon lives in rural Guatemala, 7 hours away from the capital."
(our emphasis)
Some despicable trickery was used by the goons of Nielsen's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to get the signatures:
"For many of the 463 parents, the waivers they signed did not clearly explain their rights. One form first given by ICE to separated parents asked them to sign on one of two lines, indicating they would leave the country with or without their children. It did not state that they were waiving their right to be reunified in the future and it did not allow parents to consider whether they still had a chance at asylum." (our emphasis)
Until these human rights violations are resolved, the court needs to hold every official from "Shame" on down through the ICE organization in contempt, with stiff fines attached.

Sunday Funnies: Canadian Slang

Our wonderful, noble neighbors to the north have a unique way of expressing themselves. Canadian slang is funny, clever and endearing. Btw, "Newfies" are Newfoundlanders, sort of their rubes or hayseeds. Here's the hilarious Torontonian Will Arnett giving us brief lesson.

Signs, Everywhere The Signs

Nothing's more fun than a well-aimed message on a billboard. Classic political Americana.

For Trump lackey and Kremlin stooge Devin Nunes:

For ossified corn stalk Chuck Grassley:

For California Rethugs, matryoshka dolls:

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Trump's Looking To Bench Jared

We've speculated in the past that sociopath and perv Donald "Rump" Trump wants his son-in-law Jared "Mr. Ivanka Trump" Kushner to fail in his multiple assignments so he can show daughter and object of his lust Ivanka who's the real man in the corrupt family. According to this article, he also wanted both of them to return to New York at various times in the last 18 months, realizing that they added nothing to his incompetent administration but more incompetence.

In addition to an interesting little aside in the article is that Kushner wasn't Rump's choice for a son-in-law, quarterback Tom Brady was, there's this:
"Trump reportedly joked to a number of people that he 'could have had Tom Brady' as a son-in-law, but he 'got Jared instead.' He also said 'Jared hasn’t been so good for me,' on a few occasions, and told friends and chief of staff John F. Kelly that he wished Jared and Ivanka would go back to New York, the Times reported." (our emphasis)
Kushner had advised Rump to fire James Comey, thereby triggering the appointment of a Special Counsel, something that Rump undoubtedly remembers. His "ultimate deal" in the Middle East is a non-starter. He also pushed Rump to endorse Rethug primary loser Sen. Luther Strange in the Alabama U.S. Senate race, and on and on.

At least Brady can throw a spiral.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Scott Stantis, Chicago Tribune)

(Jeff Danziger, The Rutland (VT) Herald)

Tweets Of The Day -- On The Campaign Trail With The Dick Pic Lady

News Item: Don Jr.'s Uday's new squeeze, Kimberly "The Dick Pic Lady" Guilfoyle, reportedly was recently forced out at Fox "News" because she showed pics of male genitalia to co- workers.  What's the plan for the Dick Pic lady now you didn't ask?

"Mother" Pence "is going to be PISSED!"  LOL.

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept. -- Safaris To Trumplandia Edition

In this morning's Washington Post (serial curator of Trump voters' exquisite sensibilities and Real Americanism):
Thank you for the incisive front-page, above-the-fold coverage of Alabama evangelical Christians on the same day as the Washington Post Magazine feature about the next generation of Trumpian Republicans. Clearly this is the coverage we benighted elitist Post readers need to remind us that the only relevant Americans are people who are not benighted elitists. 
Would The Post be so kind as to point me to similar coverage of Democratic voters not couched in terms of “Hillary vs. Bernie,” “mainstream vs. insurgent,” or “can the Democrats win with their scabrous attacks on the only relevant Americans”? 
Jeff Porten, Philadelphia
Whether it's the Post or The New York Times, we've all seen enough of these safaris to deep, dark white Trumplandia to last us a lifetime. Media outlets need push- back when they, consciously or not, portray Trump voters as the only ones worthy of consideration and coverage.  We already know what those voters are.

BONUS:  This --

(h/t M. Bouffant/ Web of Evil & Ennui)

Collusion Day Second Anniversary

Today marks the two-year anniversary of Kremlin asset and conspirator Donald "Rump" Trump's public request "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing." Apparently, they were listening, because later that day, Russia's military intelligence service launched its first cyber attack on Hillary Clinton's server, as explained in Special Counsel Mueller's July 13 indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officials.

A campaign, #collusionday, has been mounted to demand that Rethuglicans pass legislation protecting Mueller's investigation as it heats up and approaches Rump and his corrupt family and inner circle.  While the chances that Rethugs in Congress will do that are almost nil, they need to be on the record for posterity as siding with a foreign adversary and their asset in the White (Supremacist) House over their country.

Rump will be pulling out all the stops in undermining and obstructing the investigation as it becomes an existential threat to him by exposing his treasonous ties to Moscow. We need to pull out all the stops -- even the long shots -- to resist his efforts.

BONUS:  Oliver Willis has a quick summary of the changing Rump position on collusion with Russia:

Friday, July 27, 2018

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Darrin Bell, Washington Post Writers Group)

(Chan Lowe, via gocomics.com)

Tweet Of The Day: A Trump Mistress Pregnancy?

That Michael Avenatti has three more Trump mistresses under his wing is not unsual, but the pregnancy angle is. We and others have written about the suspicious story of Rethuglican mega donor and large potato sack Elliott Broidy, who allegedly had an affair with Playboy model Shera Bechard and impregnated her. Interestingly, Broidy used Trump fixer Michael Cohen as the fixer/paymaster for an abortion and her silence, although Avenatti's hint might mean a break in that story, potentially implicating Trump in Bechard's pregnancy and abortion. A Trump-financed abortion may send some wingnut "evangelicals" reaching for their Bibles, but don't hold your breath with those perverse hypocrites. Stay tuned.

Weekend Birthday Song

A belated happy birthday to the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, who turned 75 (!) yesterday. An undeniably major force in rock & roll for five decades, Jagger's someone whose libertine public face and freewheeling personal life belies his conservative political views. Nevertheless, anyone with the backstory of Jagger and the Stones who made it to 75 deserves a tip of the hat, and this birthday salute (we eagerly await Keith's 75th birthday coming up in December!). Here is the original Stones lineup in 1965 performing "The Last Time" in Dublin at the Adelphi Theater. Hope you enjoy.

"No Collusion!" Yeah Collusion

CNN reported late yesterday that sources close to Trump's former lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen say he is ready to tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller that he witnessed Kremlin asset and pathological liar Donald "Rump" Trump give approval to his weaselly son Don, Jr., to meet with Kremlin representatives to get "dirt" on Hillary Clinton on June, 2016. Significantly, Cohen indicated that there were other witnesses to the conversation. Rump and Jr. have maintained that he only found out about the meeting more than a year later. 

If proven, Rump's approval and involvement could open himself up to charges of obstruction, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and other felonies. Junior may also be in serious additional trouble for lying under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. Rump's foreknowledge of the Russian meeting in Trump Tower would also explain some actions around that time:
"Trump's critics have long doubted these denials. They point to a series of phone calls Trump Jr. made to a blocked phone number before and after the meeting. They also note that two days before the meeting, Trump mysteriously announced plans to give a 'major speech' about Clinton's scandals. Trump Jr. says he didn't get any dirt at the meeting -- and the speech never happened." (our emphasis)
If Mueller has sufficient phone records, e-mails, and other documentation specific to that meeting with the Russians, along with witnesses that are willing to back up Cohen's account, this would be the most significant development by far.

BONUS:  After attempting to hijack the news cycle with an atypical public statement about 2nd quarter economic news, Rump scurries away from reporters asking about Michael Cohen's bombshell:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Tweet Of The Day -- Following The Money


Michael Cohen was Trump's consigliere;  this guy is his Fast Eddie.

Beto For Texas

Texas Democrats (and independents) have a real fighting chance to send unctuous fraud Sen. Ted "Lyin' Ted" Cruz home in November by voting for charismatic Dem candidate Rep. Beto O'Rourke for U.S. Senate. While Cruz is ahead for now in this normally red state, O' Rourke has been gathering momentum as he visits each county in Texas, spreading his positive message of inclusion and opportunity. Here's his first TV ad:

You can make a difference in contributing to his grass roots campaign.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Stuart Carlson, via gocomics.com)

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

(Ellis Rosen, The New Yorker)

Shock Jocks Mock NJ's Sikh Attorney General

Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco

New Jersey's Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, who is an American-born Sikh, was mocked by two right-wing shock jocks on NJ 101.5 FM, who continuously referred to Grewal as "turban man" on their Wednesday afternoon show. Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco have been suspended by the station pending "an investigation." At one point during the segment, Malloy said, "Listen, if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban, man, and I’ll remember your name.” 

Attorney General Grewal was restrained and classy in his response to these two hopeless morons, tweeting:

If you want to let NJ 105.1 know what you think about this bigoted duo's hate speech, you can register your views on their Facebook page, or avail yourselves of their contact list here.

These two clowns need to find other employment as far away from a radio mic as possible. Let's help them with that career move.

(photo: Why can't everyone look like these two?)

Trump Trade Moves: He's "The Bobby Fischer Of Being A Moron"

As noted below, the trade wars initiated by world- class numbnut Donald "Rump" Trump are coming back to bite his large ass.  Stephen Colbert looks at the mess "the Bobby Fischer of being a moron" has gotten us into on trade.  Now the moron is going to use $12 billion to compensate farmers for the damage done by his tariffs ("That's a good deal. Normally Trump only pays 130 grand to people he's screwed" - rimshot).

Trump Backs Off On EU Tariff Threats (UPDATED)

After yesterday's meeting on tariffs between the U.S. and the European Union, widespread praise is being given to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for getting Very Stable Genius Donald "Rump" Trump to back off of his threats to impose sanctions on the EU. Just last month, Rump was talking tough about hitting the EU with tariffs on a range of goods, especially autos and auto parts. His stump speeches to his rabid base constantly include shots at the EU for "ripping off" the U.S. and creating a trade deficit. Juncker used his considerable Old World charm -- including some smooching -- in getting the volatile and reckless Rump to go along with the EU on very limited actions involving increased imports of U.S. liquified natural gas and soybeans:
"The former Luxembourg premier  [Juncker] and 30-year veteran of EU backroom haggling and his aides stressed the limits to what was achieved — well aware of Trump’s ability to change tack. And though Germany cheered that Juncker had bought their car makers time while talks are launched on freeing up trade, France sounded more cautious on possible new U.S. farm imports.
Yet there was widespread praise among European governments and business for the Commission’s strategy, in renewing offers that Trump had dismissed in the past for more free trade talks and sticking to its own threat of retaliation against U.S. products by the world’s biggest economic bloc." (our emphasis)
The EU, with 28 member nations, has considerable bargaining power, with Germany as the greatest economic powerhouse and Rump's consistent nemesis over economic and NATO issues. Yesterday was a win for the EU overall -- and Germany in particular -- and yet another walk back for Rump.

UPDATE:  Maybe it wasn't all charm;  maybe they used "simple", colorful cue cards to 'splain things to the Very Stable Genius.

"Freedom Caucus" Republicans File Articles Of Impeachment Against Rod Rosenstein

News Item:  Ultra- right Freedom Freedumb Caucus House Republicans file articles of impeachment in an attempt to oust Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and derail the Trump- Russia scandal investigation.

That's quite a collection of Trump ass- kissers and lowlifes, among them Jim Jordan ("wrestling" with an Ohio State sex abuse scandal), Matt Gaetz (DUI arrest), Scott DesJarlais (pressured his mistress to get an abortion), Jody Hice (doesn't think American Muslims deserve First Amendment rights), etc.  "Accomplices" seems too gentle.  "Traitors" sounds more to the point.

Trump Approval Slipping In Key States

A new NBC News/ Marist poll in three pivotal midwestern states shows that compromised demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's approval ratings have slipped below 40%, and only about 3-in-10 voters in these states say Rump deserves to be re-elected (28% in Michigan, 30% in Minnesota, and 31% in Wisconsin).

Moreover, Rump's job approval ratings are 36% (Michigan), 38% (Minnesota) and 36% (Wisconsin). Demonstrating the drag that Rump has on Congressional races in those states, voters have a preference for Democrats over Rethugs in House, Senate, and Governor's races: 45% (Michigan, +9), 48% (Minnesota, +12), and 47% (Wisconsin, +8).  If Rethugs were counting on the economy to sway voters, only 40% give some credit to Rump, while a third say Rump doesn't get credit, and a quarter say that the economy hasn't improved for them.

Voters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan were polled from July 15 to July 19, just before and right after Rump's obsequious, treasonous performance in Helsinki with his handler Russian thug and kleptocrat Vladimir Putin.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Weird, Wingnutty West Virginny (UPDATED)

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate race in which conservadem Sen. Joe Manchin (WV) is defending his seat got a lot stranger. Failed Rethuglican candidate and former convict and murderous mine operator Don "Big Shit" Blankenship announced that he would run on the November ballot as the nominee of the Constitution Party, a far-right, states rights party. The catch, for now, seems to be a West Virginia law, passed last spring, that precludes primary election so-called "sore losers" -- a group to which Big Shit clearly belongs -- from running in the general election. Big Shit's vowed to take the matter to the courts to get on the November ballot, where he would likely siphon votes from his Rethuglican nemesis, West Virginia's Attorney General and New Jersey carpetbagger Patrick Morrisey. The Rethuglican primary featured Big Shit and Morrisey competing for which one could be the most like their cult leader Donald "Rump" Trump.

We fondly hope that Big Shit realizes his goal of getting on the ballot. His propensity for making crude and racist comments (like those concerning his nemesis, human/turtle hybrid Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell and his wife Elaine Chao, with her "China family") is a journalist's and pundit's dream. He seems to be angrier at the Rethuglican establishment represented by Morrisey and McConnell than he is at Manchin, who must be happier than a possum in a compost pile.

Grab some popcorn (not to mention a jug of West Virginny moonshine). It's going to be an interesting race if Big Shit's on the ballot.

UPDATEAw, shucks!

(photo: Inside every flag-wearing politician, there's a felon hiding.)

"Dear Mr. Zuckerberg..."

The parents of a Sandy Hook elementary school victim have something to say to amoral Facebook founder Mark "F*ckerberg" Zuckerberg:
Dear Mr Zuckerberg,  
Our names are Lenny Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa. We are the parents of Noah, who on 14 December, 2012, at the age of six, was gunned down in his classroom at Sandy Hook elementary school. Since that day, we, as well as the parents, family, and friends of the 25 other victims, have been embroiled in a constant battle with social media providers, including Facebook, to protect us from harassment and threats. [snip] 
While terms you use, like “fake news” or “fringe conspiracy groups”, sound relatively innocuous, let me provide you with some insight into the effects of allowing your platform to continue to be used as an instrument to disseminate hate. We have endured online, telephone, and in-person harassment, abuse, and death threats. In fact, one of the abusers was sentenced to jail for credible death threats that she admitted in court she had uttered because she believed in online content created by these “fringe groups”. In order to protect ourselves and our surviving children, we have had to relocate numerous times. These groups use social media, including Facebook, to “hunt” us, posting our home address and videos of our house online. We are currently living in hiding. We are far from alone in our experiences, as many other families who have lost loved ones in mass shootings and other tragedies have reported the same continuing torment. 
Our families are in danger as a direct result of the hundreds of thousands of people who see and believe the lies and hate speech, which you have decided should be protected. What makes the entire situation all the more horrific is that we have had to wage an almost inconceivable battle with Facebook to provide us with the most basic of protections to remove the most offensive and incendiary content.
You can read the entire, heartbreaking open letter here.

A main purveyor of the Sandy Hook hoax hate speech is, of course, Alex Jones -- who also recently made threats of physical violence against Special Counsel Robert Mueller via Facebook and YouTube.  That, too, is apparently something F*ckerberg considers not violating Facebook's rules.

Facebook and F*ckerberg are not your friends.

Also, what Chris Hayes said:

BONUS:  Sad!  Facebook's stock plummeted 23% today in after- hours trading based on lower quarterly earnings than expected. F*ckerberg personally lost $17.6 billion in the sell off.  Sweet.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Matt Bors, via gocomics.com)

Mid-Week Entr'acte Song

The award-winning, New York based Solera Quartet has been gathering accolades for their superb interpretation of classical music from Beethoven and Mendelssohn to Caroline Shaw. They are the String Quartet in Residence at the University of Notre Dame, and winners of the 2017 Pro Musicis International Award, the first American chamber quartet so honored. They have a lot of heart, too: in addition to their full touring schedule, they created their own prison outreach program, providing inspiring chamber music concerts to inmates across the country. Here's their performance of Caroline Shaw's "Entr'acte", as recommended by dear friend and reader P.E.C.

Trump's "Star" Reduced To Pothole

Apparently someone who doesn't like treasonous demagogues took a pick axe to treasonous demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump's star in Hollywood early this morning.



Of course, an alternative could have been to paint the star red, with a hammer and sickle. May we say, without generally endorsing vandalism, bravo!

Lordy -- The Trump-Cohen Tape (UPDATED)

As revealed on CNN last night:

Tick. Tock.

UPDATE:  Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis says Cohen "has turned a corner in his life" and that “This is about truth versus lying, and ultimately Donald Trump is going to be done in by the truth.”

Translation:  Cohen's not looking for a pardon, he's looking for a deal.


Big Brother Trump

The draft-dodging Kremlin puppet Donald "Rump" Trump (a.k.a. Cadet Bone Spurs) spoke to the Veterans of Foreign Wars yesterday and went on an Orwellian rampage about who to believe, his lying ass or the free press. Many "patriots" in the audience applauded, not caring that Rump's "personal Viet Nam" was avoiding STDs during the war that he dodged while their buddies died. It was so ugly and cultish that the VFW had to scold the members who threatened the press in attendance. We thought we'd passed "1984" thirty-four years ago.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Ivanka Trump Shuts Her Clothing Company

After months of tepid sales and controversy over her foreign sweatshop-made clothing and accessories, First Shady and object of her father's lust Ivanka "Complicit" Trump announced that she is shutting her "fashion" brand. While the reason given by her company's spokesliar was limitations from ethics rules placed on her (when has that stopped a Trump?), it's clear that the business suffered from controversy and boycotts targeting companies that sold her pretentious kitsch.

Early on in her corrupt father's administration, Complicit used her platform in the White (Supremacist) House to hawk her brand, a clear ethical violation. She even had help from Trumpist harpy Kellyanne "Smellyanne" Conway, who was caught telling people to buy Complicit's products on TV.

Now, she can focus on....wait, what the hell is she doing here in the first place?


BONUS II: Andy Borowitz has the scoop that Complicit's the new Business School dean at Trump University. Bwahaha!

(photo: Pa pawing in plain view. "My eyes are up here, daddy!")