Friday, November 30, 2018

Tweet Of The Day -- "No, It Won't"

From historian Kevin Kruse:

"Individual 1" & Friends (UPDATED)

As reported yesterday, more pieces of the evidence puzzle for Putin puppet Donald "Rump" Trump's treasonous, criminal behavior have fallen into place.  
In two major developments this week, President Trump has been labeled in the parlance of criminal investigations as a major subject of interest, complete with an opaque legal code name: “Individual 1.” 
New evidence from two separate fronts of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation casts fresh doubts on Trump’s version of key events involving Russia, signaling potential political and legal peril for the president. Investigators have now publicly cast Trump as a central figure of their probe into whether Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government during the 2016 campaign. 
Together, the documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities.
Meanwhile, the beyond- odious Republican Senate leader Mitch "Missy" McConnell refuses to allow a bill that would aim to protect the Special Counsel's investigation come to the floor for a vote. For the entirety of his "presidency," Republican leaders like McConnell and Sneaker of the House Paul "Lyin'" Ryan have enabled this cancer to assault the foundations of our system of government, to abuse power and destroy America's image and credibility in the world for what amounts to 30 pieces of silver.  They had the same eyes and ears the rest of us have to witness the ugliness of their unfit leader yet chose to back him up and indulge him at every turn. They're every bit the un- indicted co-conspirators in Rump's rule of graft, greed, treason and criminality.

History won't be kind to Republicans for a whole host of reasons, but their continuing support for this manifestly unfit,  treasonous mob boss will always be the worst of their transgressions.  If/ when they jump ship, it will already be too late for them to escape history's judgement.

UPDATE:  Republican weasels have coined a new phrase for the recent developments: "process crimes."

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Kevin Siers, Charlotte Observer)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

(Brendan Loper, The New Yorker)

Pics Of The Day: Two Giddy Killers

("We've got Trump in our pockets!")

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin (Bone Saw) Salman and Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin share yuks at the G-20 summit in Argentina this morning. Both have notched the killing of journalists, the most recent being Bone Saw's ordering the killing and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

For the full vid of the nauseating, celebratory greeting the two despots gave each each other, watch:

BONUS: Check out their BFF Donald "Rump" Trump's face in the background. Sad!

Weekend Music

Singer- songwriter Jessica Pratt declines to accept the musical label of "folk artist," so for the sake of this blog, we'll just say she makes and sings beautiful music. This is "This Time Around" from her forthcoming third album "Quiet Signs."  Hope you enjoy.

Australia: Proud Boys Founder Of "Bad Character"

ABC Australia reports that the former leader of the far-right extremist group Proud Boys, Gavin "McOutiss" McInnes, has been denied a visa to enter Australia. Australia cited as its justification for the denial that McInnes was of "bad character." The white supremacy promoter recently left the organization he founded after it was classified by the FBI as an extremist group tied to "white nationalism", i.e. neo-Nazism. Looks like the head rat knows when the ship is sinking.

The so-called Proud Boys are a cowardly collection of misfits, losers and thugs who ambush progressive protesters and others deemed to be enemies of the "white race." Recently in New York City, a group of them brawled with members of Antifa and seven of the group have now been arrested on various assault charges.

(photo: "McOutiss", center, with his red-hatted Stormtrumpers)

Yes, Virginia, There Is An ERA

With increasing numbers of women elected to positions in state and Federal government, there is hope that a long-deferred Constitutional amendment may finally pass with the vote of the state legislature in Virginia, though it might still face a challenge in the Supreme Court. The Equal Rights Amendment, long a bugaboo of the far-right, was introduced in its current form in 1972, and has slowly garnered the support of state legislatures over the years since. The late, execrable Rethuglican loon Phyllis Schlafly led the scurrilous fight against the ERA for decades, effectively crippling the advancement of women generally, and working women in particular.

Three-quarters of the legislatures of the 50 states must approve Constitutional amendments, and the ERA has had one of the longest waits. Virginia would represent the 38th state to ratify the amendment, making it part of the Constitution. The amendment is striking in its simplicity: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex." It's outrageous to think that this amendment has languished for so long. Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Follow The Money (Laundering)

On a day when pathological liar and con man Donald "Rump" Trump's personal fixer pled guilty to lying about Rump's corrupt dealings with the Kremlin over Trump Tower Moscow, another development in Germany could also spell problems for him. German police raided the Frankfurt offices of Deutsche Bank (DB) to collect evidence of the bank's participation in money-laundering schemes involving false front offshore businesses.

The investigation is an offshoot of the infamous Panama Papers scandal, which revealed that hundreds of wealthy individuals (Russia's Putin apparently among them) had used DB to avoid taxes by parking funds in offshore accounts, many in Panama and the Caribbean. While Rump may have been a player in this massive money-laundering scheme, it's more interesting that DB "loaned" Rump an estimated $300 million (which has not been repaid) during a time when his multiple bankruptcies made him poison to U.S. banks and institutional lenders. Whether some of the laundered money found its way into the "loans" to Rump might be of interest to German authorities. The incoming chair of the House Financial Services Committee Maxine Waters (D-CA) has promised to look closely at DB's dealings with Rump once Dems gain control of the committee. Last year, Special Counsel Mueller subpoenaed DB's financial transaction records of Rump and his criminal organization and family, all of which will be treated in the Special Counsel's report on Russian influences over Rump.

(photo: Ouch, that'll leave a [Deutsche] mark.)

"Jamal Khashoggi Way"

This would be nice, and fitting:
A group in the District is sending an international message related to the murder of journalist and Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi. 
During a meeting Wednesday, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A, which represents the Foggy Bottom and West End neighborhoods, voted to rename a section of street outside the Saudi Embassy “Jamal Khashoggi Way.”
The name change is pending approval by the D.C. City Council.  Do it.

Today's Cartoon Threefer

(click on images to enlarge)

(Michael Andrew, via

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

Tweet Of The Day

"Paul Manafort Auditions For A Pardon"

Steven Colbert on the cabal of dunces -- Donald "Rump" Trump, Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tweets Of The Day -- Executive Time

Managing the Giant Toddler means not over-taxing his Big Brain:

Well, at least he's making the best use of his morning "Executive time":

We wonder what might be bothering him today?

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Lalo Alcaraz, LA Weekly)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune)

(Stuart Carlson, via

(Chan Lowe, via

Mid-Week Music

Coleman Hawkins (a.k.a., Hawk) was a pioneering jazz tenor sax player whose career lasted from the early 1920's to the mid- 1960's.  Over his long, distinguished career, he played with such jazz greats as Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Django Reinhardt, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and John Coltrane.  Fellow tenor sax great Sonny Rollins considered Hawk the major influence on his music.  This is a recording of the classic show tune "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," from his 1962 album, "Good Old Broadway."  Joining him are Tommy Flanagan on piano, Major Holley on bass, and Eddie Locke on drums.  Hope you enjoy.

Read And Weep

The expression "carrying coals to Newcastle" has long pertained to any further, redundant, exhausting illustration of the unfitness and the sheer, numbing ignorance of Donald "Rump" Trump. However, it bears chronicling for posterity, I guess.

This world-class boob, "elected" by other boobs with an assist from an America- hating tyrant, was recently interviewed by Washington Post writers.  As you would expect, the brain rot is there for all to see:

On global climate change and the recent National Climate Assessment warning of the dire consequences of inaction:

“One of the problems that a lot of people like myself, we have very high levels of intelligence but we’re not necessarily such believers."

“As to whether or not it’s man-made and whether or not the effects that you’re talking about are there, I don’t see it.”

“If you go back and if you look at articles, they talk about global freezing. They talk about at some point, the planet is going to freeze to death, then it’s going to die of heat exhaustion.”

Keyword: "exhaustion."

On air and water pollution:

“You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including many other places, the air is incredibly dirty, and when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific. It flows and we say, ‘Where does this come from?’ And it takes many people, to start off with.”

Keyword: "blows."

On "raking" to prevent forest fires:

“You go to other places where they have denser trees, it’s more dense, where the trees are more flammable, they don’t have forest fires like this because they maintain. And it was very interesting I was watching the firemen, and they were raking brush. . . . It’s on fire. They’re raking it, working so hard. If that was raked in the beginning, there would be nothing to catch on fire.”

Keyword: "dense."

The author of the aforementioned National Climate Assessment has an epic takedown of Dolt 45 and his spokesliars lies;  you can check it out here.

Meanwhile, is Mueller filing more indictments? Is the Mueller report out? Is it 2020 yet?

QOTD -- Testing The Theory

I think that a lot of what’s going on has been a large group of people frightened by the changing face of the nation. There seems to be an awful lot of fear. The founding fathers were pretty good at confronting their fears and the fears of the country. And it’s the old cliché where geniuses built the system so an idiot could run it. We are completely testing that theory at this very moment." -- Bruce Springsteen, in a soul- baring interview in Esquire magazine.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Tweets Of The Day -- Growing Authoritarianism

Hey! Someone doing their job:

Putting Huckleberry in his place:

With an assist:

(If you want some fresh examples of the hatred, take a quick look at the responses to this thread in Ms. Ocasio's twitter feed -- mmm-boy those Republicans love their dehumanizing memes!)

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Rob Rogers,

(Chan Lowe, via

(Nick Anderson, Washington Post Writers Group)

(Clay Jones,

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

InSight On Mars

(click on image to enlarge)

Image from the Mars InSight Mission web site:
Sol 0: Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC) 
NASA's InSight Mars lander acquired this image using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC). 
This image was acquired on November 26, 2018, Sol 0 where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 14:04:35. Each IDC image has a field of view of 45 x 45 degrees. 
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Briefly, the mission of InSight:
InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a Mars lander designed to give the Red Planet its first thorough checkup since it formed 4.5 billion years ago. It is the first outer space robotic explorer to study in-depth the "inner space" of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core. 
Just when you despair of scientific and human advancement in the Age of Trump, something like this comes along.  (h/t Infidel 753 for the mission link)

"Paul Manafort Just Did Something Very Stupid" (UPDATED)

Marcy Wheeler has a must- read piece on sleazeball Paul Manafort's breaching of his plea agreement with the Special Counsel, and the peril it entails for him and corrupt sociopath Donald "Rump" Trump:
Now, it is true that Trump can pardon Manafort (though that probably won’t happen right away). That’s the only sane explanation for Manafort doing what he did, that he is still certain he’ll be pardoned. But many of these charges can still be charged in state court. 
Just about the only explanation for Manafort’s actions are that — as I suggested — Trump was happy to have Manafort serve as a mole in Mueller’s investigation. 
But Mueller’s team appears to have no doubt that Manafort was lying to them. That means they didn’t really need his testimony, at all. It also means they had no need to keep secrets — they could keep giving Manafort the impression that he was pulling a fast one over the prosecutors, all while reporting misleading information to Trump that he could use to fill out his open book test. Which increases the likelihood that Trump just submitted sworn answers to those questions full of lies. 
And that “detailed sentencing submission … sett[ing] forth the nature of the defendant’s crimes and lies” that Mueller mentions in the report? 
There’s your Mueller report, which will be provided in a form that Matt Whitaker won’t be able to suppress. (Reminder: Mueller included 38 pages of evidence along with Manafort’s plea agreement, which I argued showed how what Manafort and Trump did to Hillary was the same thing that Manafort had done to Yulia Tymoshenko.) (our emphasis)
Here's the Special Counsel's filing on Manafort (pdf).  Here's a quick review of Manafort's legal history with the Special Counsel.

Of all the crooks and traitors snared to date in the Special Counsel's investigation, Manafort is arguably the most hardcore corrupt.  But Manafort is also a stupid man, whose overwhelming greed and hubris resulted in amateurishly doctored financial statements and easily discovered tax evasion, crimes that can and certainly will be prosecuted at the State level to assure Manafort will do significant time regardless of any prospective Trump pardon (and, no, double jeopardy doesn't apply). Meanwhile, knowing Manafort was sharing information/ strategy with the Trump legal team all along, the Special Counsel simply waited for Dolt 45 to submit his responses to the Special Counsel's questions before pulling the rug out from under Manafort, potentially catching Rump in that ol' "perjury trap."

That he thinks he can outmaneuver the Special Counsel on the promise of a pardon from Dolt 45, and that his problems will disappear, indicates that the former Roger Stone business partner and professional Republican ratf*cker may have just made the most stupid mistake of his life.

UPDATE:  You think maybe the ratf*cker was at the center of it all from the get- go?
Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort held secret talks with Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and visited around the time he joined Trump’s campaign, the Guardian has been told. 
Sources have said Manafort went to see Assange in 2013, 2015 and in spring 2016 – during the period when he was made a key figure in Trump’s push for the White House. 
It is unclear why Manafort wanted to see Assange and what was discussed. But the last meeting is likely to come under scrutiny and could interest Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor who is investigating alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. 
A well-placed source has told the Guardian that Manafort went to see Assange around March 2016. Months later WikiLeaks released a stash of Democratic emails stolen by Russian intelligence officers.
This would be another confirmation of the validity of the Steele dossier:
According to the dossier written by the former MI6 officer Christopher Steele, Manafort was at the centre of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” between the Trump campaign and Russia’s leadership. The two sides had a mutual interest in defeating Clinton, Steele wrote, whom Putin “hated and feared”. 
In a memo written soon after the DNC emails were published, Steele said: “The [hacking] operation had been conducted with the full knowledge and support of Trump and senior members of his campaign team.”

Monday, November 26, 2018

Your Big Blue Wave Update

Wave, or tsunami?
...[T]he Democratic lead in the U.S. House popular vote is up to 8.1%, and it may yet inch higher. For comparison purposes, note that in 2010 – which was widely seen as a GOP “wave” cycle – Republicans won the U.S. House popular vote by 6.6%. In 1994, which was seen as a Republican “revolution,” the GOP won the U.S. House popular vote by 7.1%., with one House race (CA-21) still uncalled:
Overall, Democrats have won 234 seats, Republicans 200. That's a net gain of 39 for Democrats.  

Reminder to Mississippians:  the Senate special election runoff is tomorrow, Tuesday, November 27. Defeating racist dimbulb Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and replacing her with Democrat Mike Espy would give Democrats their 48th seat in the Senate, and their third flip of a Republican seat.  Democrats haven't won a Senate seat there since 1989, so it's a rough slog -- but if you don't show up and vote, it's on you!

GM Closing Five Plants, Laying Off 15,000 Workers

So much winning!
General Motors will lay off 14,700 factory and white-collar workers in North America and put five plants up for possible closure as it restructures to cut costs and focus more on autonomous and electric vehicles. 
The reduction includes 8,100 white-collar workers, some of whom will take buyouts and others who will be laid off. Most of the affected factories build cars that won’t be sold in the U.S. after next year. They could close or they could get different vehicles to build. They will be part of contract talks with the United Auto Workers union next year. 
Plants without products include assembly plants in Detroit; Lordstown, Ohio; and Oshawa, Ontario. Also affected are transmission factories in Warren, Michigan, as well as Baltimore. 
About 6,000 factory workers could lose jobs in the U.S. and Canada, although some could transfer to truck plants.
GM says among the "headwinds" facing the company are the tariffs on imported steel imposed by the Trump regime earlier this year.  The steel tariffs have also caused Ford Motor Company last October to look to layoffs, in part to ameliorate the tariffs' negative effects.  A lot of workers trusted Trump's bald- faced lies about saving manufacturing and coal jobs.  Now the reality (assisted by his boneheaded tariffs) is maybe sinking in, albeit two years too late.


Today's Tomorrow Cartoon -- Big Brain Detective

(click on image to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Monday Reading

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

Several writers discuss the drift toward authoritarianism by neo- fascist nitwit Donald "Rump" Trump, starting with E.J. Dionne, Jr.:
The past week has shown that those who feared Trump’s despotic inclinations were neither deluded nor alarmist. His shameful indifference to the killing and dismembering of the Saudi journalist and Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi was an act of cold collaboration with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s coverup. [snip] 
On the same day Trump was standing in solidarity with a regime implicated in assassination, the New York Times reported that the president told White House counsel Donald McGahn this spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and former FBI director James B. Comey. 
McGahn held Trump off, but nothing could be more autocratic than proposing to corrupt the criminal-justice system by weaponizing it against political opponents.
Karen Tumulty focuses on the appointment of Rump stooge Matthew Whitaker as "Acting Attorney General following the revelations about Rump wanting to prosecute Clinton and Comey:
The presidency is an institution invested with enormous power and enormous leeway for how to use that power. Trump’s two years in office have revealed how few legal and political tools there are for curbing a chief executive who does not feel constrained by norms — or, for that matter, by shame, ethical standards or fear of public backlash. 
Nowhere is the potential for overreach more dangerous, however, than in the application of our laws. Using that power to reward friends and punish adversaries marks the dividing line where a president becomes a tyrant — and it is one that Trump seems determined to cross(our emphasis)
The more he feels threatened, the closer we are to him crossing that line.  We each need to be prepared to do what our consciences tell us to do when that time comes.

You know who else has been emboldened by Rump's kowtow to Sawdi Crown Prince Bone Saw?
Russian warships seized three Ukrainian naval vessels on Sunday in a narrow waterway that provides access from the Black Sea to the much smaller Sea of Azov near Crimea, ramping up already bitter tensions between the two countries. 
On Sunday, Russia dispatched warplanes to patrol the area after the Ukrainian navy tried to send the ships through the Kerch Strait, a waterway with strategic significance for both countries that passes under a newly built Russian bridge. 
In May, President Vladimir Putin personally opened the bridge over the Kerch Strait, connecting the Crimea peninsula — which Moscow seized in 2014 — to Russia's mainland. 
The 12-mile-long span has been touted by Russia as a claim to Crimea. Ukraine, along with nearly every other country in the world, refuses to recognize that claim. 
Russian vessels rammed one of the Ukrainian boats and opened fire on the other two before seizing all three, along with their crews. Ukrainian officials have said six of its sailors were injured; Russia has said three. The boats were towed to a nearby port.
Putin knows full well that Puppet Rump isn't going to intervene in any meaningful way to stop Russian aggression.  The Putin Puppet will deny, delay and defuse any actions the U.S. government might take to constrain Putin's expansionist designs on Ukraine (see "Sanctions, Trump dragged kicking and screaming").  The 2016 election is the gift that keeps on giving for Putin.

On the day that the Nazi pig who killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville goes on trial, there's a WaPo analysis of global terrorism that shows, well, you probably already have guessed:
Over the past decade, attackers motivated by right-wing political ideologies have committed dozens of shootings, bombings and other acts of violence, far more than any other category of domestic extremist, according to a Washington Post analysis of data on global terrorism. While the data show a decades-long drop-off in violence by left-wing groups, violence by white supremacists and other far-right attackers has been on the rise since Barack Obama’s presidency — and has surged since President Trump took office. 
This year has been especially deadly.Just last month, 13 people died in two incidents: A Kentucky gunman attempted to enter a historically black church, police say, then shot and killed two black patrons in a nearby grocery store. And an anti-Semitic loner who had expressed anger about a caravan of Central American refugees that Trump termed an “invasion” has been charged with gunning down 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue, the deadliest act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history. [snip]
Terrorism researchers say right-wing violence sprouted alongside white anxiety about Obama’s presidency and has accelerated in the Trump era. Trump and his aides have continuously denied that he has contributed to the rise in violence. But experts say right-wing extremists perceive the president as offering them tacit support for their cause(our emphasis)
"White anxiety."  So, it's not "economic anxiety" any more?

We close with our usual recommendation to check out Infidel 753's outstanding link round- up.  Among our many favorites, check out the slingshot (that's all we're saying -- you have to go find it!).

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Across The Universe, Cont. -- Generations Of Stars

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, November 19, 2018Star clusters are common structures throughout the Universe, each made up of hundreds of thousands of stars all bound together by gravity. This star-filled image, taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), shows one of them: NGC 1866.

NGC 1866 is found at the very edges of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small galaxy located near to the Milky Way. The cluster was discovered in 1826 by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop, who catalogued thousands of stars and deep-sky objects during his career.

However, NGC 1866 is no ordinary cluster. It is a surprisingly young globular cluster situated close enough to us that its stars can be studied individually — no mean feat given the mammoth distances involved in studying the cosmos! There is still debate over how globular clusters form, but observations such as this have revealed that most of their stars are old and have a low metallicity. In astronomy, ‘metals’ are any elements other than hydrogen and helium; since stars form heavier elements within their core as they carry out nuclear fusion throughout their lifetimes, a low metallicity indicates that a star is very old, as the material from which it formed was not enriched with many heavy elements. It’s possible that the stars within globular clusters are so old that they were actually some of the very first to form after the Big Bang.

In the case of NGC 1866, though, not all stars are the same. Different populations, or generations, of stars are thought to coexist within the cluster. Once the first generation of stars formed, the cluster may have encountered a giant gas cloud that sparked a new wave of star formation and gave rise to a second, younger, generation of stars — explaining why it seems surprisingly youthful.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Tweets Of The Day -- Overreach!

Trump's Swamp Breeds E. Coli

Let them eat cake!
For more than a decade, it’s been clear that there’s a gaping hole in American food safety: Growers aren’t required to test their irrigation water for pathogens such as E. coli. As a result, contaminated water can end up on fruits and vegetables. 
After several high-profile disease outbreaks linked to food, Congress in 2011 ordered a fix, and produce growers this year would have begun testing their water under rules crafted by the Obama administration’s Food and Drug Administration. 
But six months before people were sickened by the contaminated romaine, President Donald Trump’s FDA – responding to pressure from the farm industry and Trump’s order to eliminate regulations – shelved the water-testing rules for at least four years. 
Despite this deadly outbreak, the FDA has shown no sign of reconsidering its plan to postpone the rules. The agency also is considering major changes, such as allowing some produce growers to test less frequently or find alternatives to water testing to ensure the safety of their crops.  (our emphasis)
E. coli conservatism strikes again! Not surprisingly, there's a Trump fox in the chicken coop:
James Gorny, a former industry lobbyist whom the FDA hired in February to implement produce safety rules, told the group that the agency would not ask anything of growers in the interim. 
“The FDA has clearly stated, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing.’ We’re not asking you to do any more at this point in time,” he said. 
Gorny’s career is a classic example of the revolving door between federal agencies and the industries they regulate.  (our emphasis)
Who the hell cares about food safety if it comes at the cost of asking a grower to "do any more at this point in time," like testing water for E. coli?  It's just the price you're paying for freedumb!

We wonder if the tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue to growers from the recent romaine lettuce recall, not to mention loss of consumer confidence in the food supply system, was worth it.  We suspect, since this is only the latest of many instances of irresponsible practices on the part of the agriculture industry, they see it as part of the cost of doing business.  Maybe the Democratic House will see it differently.

So much rot and corruption, so little time.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune)

(Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News)

It's Who They Are

There's a Little Free Library in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC, dedicated to Michelle Obama that's been visited by some people not interested in the books:
The Little Free Library went up a week after the inauguration, its wooden walls painted to evoke the White House eight blocks away. But if the book box coincided with President Trump taking office, its tiny plaque pined for the previous administration. 
“In Honor of Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama,” it said. “Lawyer, writer, and First Lady of the United States.” [snip]
But then the library began attracting more attention for what was written on its outside than what was contained within. 
First someone wrote “eyesore” on it, although it wasn’t clear if the word was meant as criticism or merely a tagger’s moniker. Then came the broken window and the missing plaque. [snip]
One neighbor swept out the glass and painted over the graffiti. Another covered the library in patriotic decorations for Election Day, including a smiling portrait of Michelle Obama above an American flag. 
But the vandal — or vandals — struck again, tearing it all down. 
“Help restore the book exchange,” someone wrote on the broken window. 
So someone did, replacing the window with a new one. “Michelle Robinson Obama” appeared again in bronze painted lettering. 
Yet it was only a few days before a vandal crossed out her name and christened the library for Trump. 
Here's the library with the original plaque and the glass broken out:

(Photo: Michael E. Miller/ Washington Post)
Here's a later version of the library with the window out again and the Trump tag:

(Photo: Michael E. Miller/ Washington Post)

This happened in a neighborhood where only 4% of voters went for Trump, mind you. But it doesn't matter;  like the neo- Nazis who marched in Charlottesville and the "Proud Boys" Nazi street fighters, they feel empowered to wreck anything anywhere they see as a threat or a challenge to their white supremacy.  This library was a right- wing snowflake's trifecta:  Democrat, woman, African- American.

By their actions small and large, they've given us permission to hate them.  And we do.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Trump Regime Wants To Bury Dire Climate Change Report (UPDATED)

Surely, this was just a coincidence:
On Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, the federal government published a massive and dire new report on climate change. The report warns, repeatedly and directly, that climate change could soon imperil the American way of life, transforming every region of the country, imposing frustrating costs on the economy, and harming the health of virtually every citizen. 
Most significantly, the National Climate Assessment—which is endorsed by nasa, noaa, the Department of Defense, and 10 other federal scientific agencies—contradicts nearly every position taken on the issue by President Donald Trump. Where the president has insisted that fighting global warming will harm the economy, the report responds: Climate change, if left unchecked, could eventually cost the economy hundreds of billions of dollars per year, and kill thousands of Americans to boot. Where the president has said that the climate will “probably” “change back,” the report replies: Many consequences of climate change will last for millennia, and some (such as the extinction of plant and animal species) will be permanent.  (our emphasis)
You can read the report here.  It normally would have been released in December, but whoever ordered it released on the busiest shopping day of the year, right after Thanksgiving, clearly wanted to bury it. Imagine that.

In fact, the Trump regime ghouls are already dismissing the report produced by their own government. Here's deputy press secretary p.r. hack Lindsay Walters reading from the script:
“The report is largely based on the most extreme scenario, which contradicts long-established trends by assuming that, despite strong economic growth that would increase greenhouse gas emissions, there would be limited technology and innovation, and a rapidly expanding population.” 
The Chief Ghoul wanted to add his good brain to the discussion before the report came out.  He pulled this out of his fat ass for the enlightenment of his gullible, drooling base several days ago:

How to deal with this level of malevolent ignorance?  Waste no time in presenting facts to these deniers.  They're not going to be swayed because it's not about facts, of course.  It's about Republican tribal loyalty to a belief that experts are "elites" not to be trusted. It's about following the Chief Ghoul blindly off the cliff because he's your infallible leader. And yes, it's about something as dirt dumb as "owning the libs."

The way it's being dealt with is to bypass it. Individuals, cities, states, businesses across the country are taking the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The State of California (the fifth largest economy in the world) is ignoring Republican obstruction and moving forward with a Climate Strategy.  Ninety-six cities around the world, including 12 in the U.S., are part of the movement working to continue the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Grassroots organizations like Bill McKibben's are also leading the way.  The new Democratic House will be looking at policies to mitigate climate change, including a "Green New Deal" which could form the basis of action once we get the Chief Ghoul and his party out of power.

The well- known phrase "think globally, act locally" has never had more meaning, or relevance, than it does today.

BONUSLooks like the regime's scheme isn't working.

UPDATETrump gives us his big brain response on the report: "I don't believe it."

Friday, November 23, 2018

Tomorrow: The Game

A riveting commentary -- watch all the way to the end:

(h/t Silver Spring Bureau Chief)

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

(Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)

(Steve Benson, Arizona Republic)

Weekend Music

Fifty- five years ago yesterday, November 22, 1963. Dallas, Texas. And we were never quite the same country again.

Report: CIA Has Tape Proving MBS Ordered Khashoggi Murder

Although it's in Turkey's interest to bring down Sawdi Crown Prince Mohammed "Bone Saw" bin Salman, it's completely plausible to believe the CIA has this kind of evidence to support its "high confidence" finding that Bone Saw ordered journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder:
A Turkish opinion columnist on Thursday said the CIA had wiretapped a phone call in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called for the Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi to be silenced "as soon as possible." 
The news, citing unnamed sources and published to Turkey's Hurriyet news website, comes shortly after President Donald Trump on Tuesday issued a frantic proclamation saying the US would stand by Saudi Arabia despite the possibility that Crown Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi's killing. 
Of course, in the face of mounting evidence from his own intelligence service, sociopath and would- be autocrat Donald "Rump" Trump prefers to ignore the obvious in favor of kissing Sawdi heinie, making the whole sordid, murderous mess simply a transactional arrangement ("You keep oil prices down and defense contracts flowing, and you can do whatever you want"; and, likely, "You keep your financial leverage over the Trump Organization and Princeling Jared quiet, and you can do whatever you want").

Eugene Robinson sums up with a reality check:
In Riyadh, they must be laughing at President Trump. In Pyongyang, too, and in Tehran. In Beijing and, of course, in Moscow, they must be laughing until it hurts. They look at Washington and they don’t see a champion of freedom and human rights. They see a preening, clueless clown. 
Trump’s reaction — or non-reaction — to the Saudi regime’s brutal killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is a holiday-season gift to autocrats around the globe. It shows them that if you just shower Trump with over-the-top flattery, feed him some geopolitical mumbo jumbo and make vague promises to perhaps buy some American-made goods in the future, he will literally let you get away with murder. [snip] 
After weeks of hemming and hawing, the White House put out a statement Tuesday from Trump making clear that for the murder of Khashoggi — who lived in Virginia, was a permanent U.S. resident and had children who are U.S. citizens — the Saudi regime will face no consequences. Zero. Not even a slap on the wrist. [snip] 
In the statement — which is headlined “America First!” — Trump emphasizes what he calls the “record amount of money” that Saudi Arabia is supposedly prepared to spend in the United States. Trump goes on to make a series of false claims. No, there is no agreement for the Saudis to spend $450 billion on U.S. goods, despite Trump’s assertion. No, there is no firm agreement for $110 billion in arms sales; the actual figure is $14.5 billion. No, what Trump reckons as “hundreds of thousands of jobs” are not at stake. And no, the Saudis could not simply decide to buy Chinese or Russian arms, instead. 
The truth is that in the U.S.-Saudi relationship, the United States holds all the cards. We don’t need the Saudis’ oil and can easily do without their arms purchases. By contrast, without U.S. military assistance and American-made spare parts, the Saudi armed forces could not function.
Far from making our country "great again," Rump continues to weaken it, forsaking allies in favor of tyrants, undercutting our intelligence and law enforcement community, atomizing whatever is left of American moral authority in the world, and making it clear that we're being led by a "clueless clown" who's willing to sell America cheap to the dirtiest thugs in the world -- and then, of course, lie about it.

BONUS:  Democrats are, of course, primed to "go after Trump with a hatchet" (or maybe a bone saw?) on the Khashoggi murder and the Sawdi connection.  Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) puts it more delicately.

Tweet Of The Day -- Healthy Black Friday Reminder

(h/t Balloon Juice)

Re Black Friday: if you can avoid this corporation- produced mass hysteria, please do so (or buy at your local small business).  If you're compelled otherwise by an irresistible force, please keep in mind what retail workers face on this insane shopping day, and act accordingly.  Thank you!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving 2018

Gathering with family and friends, enjoying the traditional Thanksgiving meal, and remembering family that has passed before, we're thankful for what we have and hopeful for what lies ahead.

But let's also not forget those less fortunate.  Here's a link to Feeding America's website, and learn how you can be an advocate, make donations or volunteer at your local food bank.

Let's also not forget the People whose lives, culture, and voices were forever changed by Western colonization, and how we can be supportive today:

Now here's a little Colbert Thanksgiving humor:

Be safe out there!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Just Desserts

A periodic reminder that Robert Mueller isn't the only (or even the best) show in town:
... Trump told the N.Y. Times last year that Mueller would cross a red line if he started prying into his business affairs. But that's what key people in Trump's orbit worry is happening, tangentially, with the Southern District's investigation of Michael Cohen and his illegal activities while working at the Trump Organization. 
... These people have told us they're far more worried about the Cohen investigation in New York than they are about whatever Mueller comes up with. 
... When these federal prosecutors struck an immunity deal with [Trump Organization CFO Allen] Weisselberg — the man who knows more about Trump's business affairs than anyone — it suddenly raised the specter of a deep investigative dive into the financial affairs of Trump's business.
Just as there have been no leaks from the Mueller investigation, there has been silence from the Southern District of New York.  The wheels are turning.

Cranberries And Mashed Potatoes


President Donald Trump thinks President Donald Trump is the only real candidate for Time magazine’s 2018 “Person of the Year.” 
“I can’t imagine anybody else other than Trump,” Trump boasted to reporters outside the White House on Tuesday. “Can you imagine anybody other than Trump?”
How about the historic blue wave, 60 million voters who went to the polls to put some controls on your catastrophic regime and begin the process of healing America?


As soybean farmers gather around their Thanksgiving tables tomorrow, let them give thanks to the cancer many of them voted for:
President Donald Trump’s 'America First' trade policies have led to a 94 per cent cut in US soybean exports to China, forcing farmers in America’s midwest to stockpile crops and hope relief comes before the rot. 
After decades in which American soybean farmers were able to build considerable business by selling a huge share of their crop to China, farmers across the US are seeing the largest market destination for one of the country’s largest crops drying up.


Stephen Colbert, on turkeys of various sizes (can you say "banality of evil"?):

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Trump Wanted DOJ To Prosecute Clinton, Comey

The outrages are almost coming too fast now (NYT paywall - no link):
President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation. 
The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment. 
The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller spent a reported 30 hours interviewing McGahn;  it is inconceivable he doesn't have this information and hasn't added it to the bulging abuse of power/ obstruction of justice file of banana Republican moron Donald "Rump" Trump

Tweets Of The Day -- The Sawdis' Man In Washington

Another stain that will never wash out:

"Enemy of the state."  Yes, we saw that, too.

Voting Rights Include Fair And Proportional Representation

This adds to the case that the 2018 mid- terms represented a big blue wave at the Congressional level:

Steve Benen notes:
...[T]he Democratic lead in the U.S. House popular vote now stands at 7.8%, up from 7.7% yesterday, and it may yet inch higher. For comparison purposes, note that in 2010 – which was widely seen as a GOP “wave” cycle – Republicans won the U.S. House popular vote by 6.6%. In 1994, which was seen as a Republican “revolution,” the GOP won the U.S. House popular vote by 7.1%.
Unfortunately, decades of Republican gerrymandering in State legislative districts has led to results like this (click on image to enlarge):

The gain of over 300 State legislative seats was a great beginning for Democrats this year -- but only just that, a beginning.  Tellingly, in Michigan and several other states voters supported initiatives to end gerrymandering through independent redistricting commissions. 

At the Federal level, the courts are taking up cases to end gerrymandering of Congressional districts. The Brennan Center for Justice provides a snapshot of those efforts here.

Voting rights -- including the rights of voters to be fairly and proportionally represented -- will be an ongoing battle as the Republican Party seeks to maintain reactionary (white) power in an increasingly hostile political and demographic environment.  In the past, Democrats have been accused of being asleep at the switch in these partisan redistricting battles.  But with the 2020 Census looming and new Democratic control of a number of key Statehouses (including key Secretary of State wins), we have an opportunity to begin to level the playing field, and we know what we need to do and how important it is that we do it.

BONUS:  Good question --

BONUS IIHere's your answer. Sic transit gloria, America.