Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Mueller: Barr Misrepresented My Report [UPDATED]

The New York Times has revealed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller sent a letter to Trump defense attorney and arrogant shill William "Low" Barr in March complaining about Barr's brief summary of his report that seemed to clear Trump of possible obstruction of justice. From the Times report:
"The letter adds to the growing evidence of a rift between them and is another sign of the anger among the special counsel’s investigators about Mr. Barr’s characterization of their findings, which allowed Mr. Trump to wrongly claim he had been vindicated.

It was unclear what specific objections Mr. Mueller raised in his letter. Mr. Barr defended his descriptions of the investigation’s conclusions in conversations with Mr. Mueller over the days after he sent the letter, according to two people with knowledge of their discussions."
Barr's misleading "summary" was followed by roughly three weeks in which he was taking his time in redacting portions of the report, allowing Trump and his regime to spin the findings as an "exoneration." Barr was scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, but declined because he objected to Committee legal staff participating in the questioning. Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) has indicated he would subpoena Barr if he failed to appear.

UPDATE: The Washington Post has seen a copy of Mueller's letter (hat tip to donnah in comments) which contains the following:
“The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions. There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.” (our emphasis)
 Barr should resign, and if he doesn't, should be impeached for his attempted cover up.

UPDATE II: Lying in sworn testimony is an impeachable offense.

Today's Cartoons

(from top, Tom Curry, Bill Day, Nate Beeler)

Tweets Of The Day: Is Banks Learning?

Chase, in an attempt to scold us for not saving enough, gets a clapback from their nemesis Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Chase's tweet: cheap. Warren's response: priceless.

(h/t to Mock Paper Scissors for the find)

Abrams Won't Run For Senate And That's Too Bad

The talented and inspiring Stacey Abrams of Georgia announced today that she won't challenge incumbent Trumpist Rethuglican Senator David "Perdon't" Perdue for the Senate in 2020. Abrams lost a very close (and dubious) race for Governor of Georgia against Georgia's vote-rigging Secretary of State Brian Kemp in 2018. She also delivered an uplifting response to bigot and con man Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump's State of the Union earlier this year. She allegedly was courted by former VP Joe Biden to run as his ticket mate, something that she declined to do.

The Senate is winnable in 2020, with Dems needing to flip three Rethug seats (and hold on to Sen. Doug Jones' tenuous seat in Alabama). Rethug Senators Gardner (CO), Collins (ME), and McSally (AZ) look vulnerable at this stage. A fourth and fifth flip by Dems would provide insurance, and we were hoping that Abrams would challenge one of Trump's most ardent supporters and flip Georgia. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was hoping to reverse a mixed 2020 Senate Dem candidate recruiting run, too.

Whether she will join the multitude who are running for the Dem nomination remains to be seen. She's clearly a rising star for the Dems, but we'd hoped she would have used that star power to help flip the Senate.

BONUS: When one door closes, will another open? Georgia native Yates would be great.

Colbert On Trump's "Young,Vibrant Man" Delusion

Last night, Stephen Colbert took on delusional con man Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump's claim to be a "young, vibrant man," among other nonsensical statements. Colbert does concede that Trump's related "I'm the youngest" non sequitur could be justified (mimicking Trump):
"I have no object permanence, I have a limited vocabulary, I'm wearing a diaper, and everything I see I put in my mouth."

Here Come The Rethuglican Ratf*ckers

Ratf*cking, the practice of playing dirty tricks on your political opponent, has been in the Rethuglican / New Confederate / Kids-In-Cages Party's DNA for decades, going back at least as far as the sinister crowd that populated the Nixon Administration. Later, it was adopted by such lowlifes as Roger Stone, Lee Atwater, Karl Rove and other Rethug operatives and used in such campaign smears as Bush 41's Willie Horton ad from 1988, the years-long Whitewater/Travelgate hoax against President Clinton, and the slimy Swift Boat attack on John Kerry in 2004.

While con man and sociopath Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump's campaign may have outsourced some ratf*cking to the Russian Federation in 2016, he still has some homegrown help these days. Enter two pieces of human flotsam, Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman, who concocted a scheme to enlist Rethuglican gays (a self-loathing group if there ever was one) to falsely accuse Dem Presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg of sexual assault. From the Daily Beast's lengthy article:
"A Republican source told The Daily Beast that lobbyist Jack Burkman and internet troll Jacob Wohl approached him last week to try to convince him to falsely accuse Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, of engaging him sexually while he was too drunk to consent.

The source who spoke to The Daily Beast said Burkman and Wohl made clear that their goal was to kneecap Buttigieg’s momentum in the 2020 presidential race."
Initially the ratf*cking duo conned a Michigan man to accuse Buttigieg of assault, which later fell apart when the man categorically denied it.

Wohl is currently under investigation by the FBI for making false sexual assault allegations about Special Counsel Robert Mueller through a fake "company" of his. Burkman's main claim to infamy was his role in launching the despicable conspiracy theory about murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich in order to cover for Russia's role in the hacking of documents during the 2016 campaign. It's about time that serious charges were brought against these two gutter dwellers.

(photo: Burkman and Wohl appear in 2018 at disastrous press conference where they attempted to smear Robert Mueller with false accusations of sexual assault)

Monday, April 29, 2019

Fool Me Once, Please Keep Fooling Me

"Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." -- old proverb.
It seems that master con man and sociopathic liar Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump has found a Rosetta Stone of sorts in communicating twaddle to his cult followers. They believe so many of his obvious lies because he knows that his lies resonate with the delusional population that's been groomed for years by the far-right media. Here are three of 10 lies, via Michael Hayne at Alternet.org, that they've swallowed, hook, line and sinker:
"1. Trump is a devoted Christian.

The thrice-married, pu$$y-grabbing Trump is actually quite the exemplary Christian, at least in the minds of his supporters. They are so convinced of this fake fact that they welcomed Trump at Jerry Fallwell’s Liberty University this past weekend, where the president was given an honorary doctorate. [snip]
3. ‘Millions voted illegally’ (without a single shred of proof).

Not too long ago, a poll found that 55 percent of Trump supporters believe his daft conspiracy theory that the only reason he lost the popular vote is because “millions voted illegally” for Hillary Clinton. Ignorance is bliss, right? [snip]
6. Trumpcare is great while Obamacare is awful.

Okay, this one is especially heinous. During Trump’s presidential campaign, he talked constantly about how easy it would be to gut Obamacare and impose a version of his own that would cover everyone. Here are the facts:

a. Around 24 million people will lose their health insurance—many of them his most vocal supporters
b. Premiums, especially for Americans 50 and older, will increase dramatically.
c. States can opt-out of protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
d. Coverage will get worse.
e. Medicaid will be gutted."
Trumpkins have to believe his lies, because they're also their lies, ones they've been brainwashed with for years, decades. To do otherwise would mean a denial of their long-held beliefs and the root of their bigotry and false grievances. They'd have to admit to themselves and everyone around them that they were conned, and conned over and over again.

BONUS: As Anonymous points out in the comments, Trump made an obscene, lying and incendiary claim last Saturday about doctors and nurses "executing" newborns. There is no bottom for him, only deeper filth.

Today's Cartoons

(click to enlarge)

(from top, Steve Sack, Lalo Alcaraz)

Van Jones: We Have "Trump Derangement Syndrome"

In a revealing interview with Marlow Stern at The Daily Beast, CNN personality Van Jones talks about his various projects, from criminal justice reform to environmentalism to teaching at-risk children to code, in addition to popping up on CNN at every turn. His latest venture for them is to unite victims of crime with the perpetrator in an attempt to provide some ratings-boosting video. But late in the interview, Stern comes back to what many object to in Jones: his disturbing normalizing of sociopath Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump.

The most memorable instance of Jones doing this was his commentary on CNN after Trump's first address to a joint session of Congress, when he declared that Trump "became President in that moment", apparently because he read a prepared text by his speechwriters concerning a fallen Navy SEAL. When Stern asks if he wants to take it back, Jones replies, "No, I'm proud of it." When pressed, Jones becomes prickly, shifting the conversation to his criminal justice reform activism (which he partnered in with Jared "Mr. Ivanka Trump" Kushner no less), at one point saying, "so I'm going to be done with this and talk about something else." He just wants to talk about his "deeds and achievements."

Stern does a good job of pinning a defensive Jones down, at one point getting a telling admission from the CNN pundit:
"Every time they do something right, I’m going to scream, holler and cheer; and every time they do something wrong, I’m going to scream, holler and boo. And if you look at my record, 99% of the time I’m booing. But I am not going to be a part of this Trump-derangement syndrome that says you have to boo them even when they’re right because they’ve been wrong."  (our emphasis)
Stern quickly points out that when Trump does something "right," it could have more to do with a cynical political motivation rather that decency. Jones turns prickly again:
"It turns out that sometimes some politicians do things for political reasons. If we’re gonna freak out about that, then we can’t engage with any politician."
See, it's about access, baby. Engagement. Jones is busy constructing a prominent career at CNN, and with his varied activist enterprises, based on exploiting that.

(photo: Van Jones smooches former CNN hack and Trumpanzee Jeffrey Lord. Can't we all just get along?)

Lowering The Barr

We shouldn't be surprised that Trump's defense attorney William "Low" Barr is a coward, in addition to being a partisan hack. He's "threatening" to not appear this week before the House Judiciary Committee if the committee allows its staff counsel to question him. It's also another double standard from Rethuglicans:

We trust that Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) is warming up a subpoena for this oath-violating hack.


As of April 27, pathological liar and demagogue Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump has lied 10,111 times since his inauguration (828 days), according to fact checkers at the Washington Post. Moreover, it's not just the sheer volume. His pace has increased dramatically lately:
"It took President Trump 601 days to top 5,000 false and misleading claims in The Fact Checker’s database, an average of eight claims a day.

But on April 26, just 226 days later, the president crossed the 10,000 mark — an average of nearly 23 claims a day in this seven-month period..."
The Post's fact checkers break down some of their findings:
"The president’s constant Twitter barrage also adds to his totals. All told, the president racked up 171 false or misleading claims in just three days, April 25-27. That’s more than he made in any single month in the first five months of his presidency. (our emphasis)

About one-fifth of the president’s claims are about immigration issues, a percentage that has grown since the government shutdown over funding for his promised border wall."
So when he fails, he lies. And lies and lies and lies. Also, when he succeeds, he lies. And lies and lies and lies. The Post, which has long applied the "Pinocchio" standard to lies by politicians, has a new category for Trump:
"Trump’s penchant for repeating false claims is demonstrated by the fact that The Fact Checker database has recorded nearly 300 instances when the president has repeated a variation of the same claim at least three times. He also now has earned 21 'Bottomless Pinocchios,' claims that have earned Three or Four Pinocchios and which have been repeated at least 20 times." (our emphasis)
One could dismiss this as "well, all politicians lie." But not like this, not even close. This is truly in the realm of pathology, a mental as well as a deep moral flaw.  And none of it matters one bit to his frothing base.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Across The Universe, Cont. -- Sparkling Burst Of Stars

(click on image to enlarge)

From NASA/ ESA, April 22, 2019This sparkling burst of stars is Messier 75. It is a globular cluster: a spherical collection of stars bound together by gravity. Clusters like this orbit around galaxies and typically reside in their outer and less-crowded areas, gathering to form dense communities in the galactic suburbs.

Messier 75 lies in the constellation of Sagittarius (The Archer), around 67 000 light-years away from Earth. The majority of the cluster’s stars, about 400 000 intotal, are found in its core; it is one of the most densely populated clusters ever found, with a phenomenal luminosity of some 180 000 times that of the Sun. No wonder it photographs so well!

Discovered in 1780 by Pierre Méchain, Messier 75 was also observed by Charles Messier and added to his catalogue later that year. This image of Messier 75 was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Credit:  ESA/Hubble & NASA, F. Ferraro et al.

Sunday Reflection: The Duke

"I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues." -- American musical great Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, who was born 120 years ago today in Washington, DC. He passed away in 1974.

That he wrote some blues is a monumental understatement. Ellington was one of the greatest pianists and composers of American music -- blues, jazz and music that he referred to as "American music."  His career spanned more than 50 years, and he received many honors for his music, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the French Legion of Honor. He was a giant.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

(Clay Jones, claytoonz.com)

Contrasting campaign swag --

(Bill Day, caglecartoons.com)

(Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News)

QOTD: Contempt

If you live in the Midwest, where else do you want to live besides Chicago? You don’t want to live in Cincinnati or Cleveland or, you know, these armpits of America.”--  Republican ninny Stephen Moore, Trump nominee to the Federal Reserve Board, in a 2014 speech to the right- wing Heritage Foundation.  The quote is from a must- read op/ ed by Paul Krugman, in which he contrasts the victim- blaming and contempt right- wingers have for people in the "heartland" with progressive proposals to deal with the problems those Americans face.

The 50- plus years of lies, misdirection, and gaslighting of people in rural America by Republicans has certainly paid off.  If you polled a sample, most of them would likely see "coastal elites," "left- wing libruls," "gun grabbers," and other boogeymen crafted by years of constant drilling by hate radio, Fox "News" and other Republican fronts as their mortal enemies.  Krugman notes it's a hard stereotype to fight, but it's long past time we turned the tables on the liars.

Tweets Of The Day -- White Supremacy

Please check out the rest of his thread on this (and you can interchange any religious or ethnic minority with "people of color.")

Another Day, Another Hate Crime

Yesterday, it was in Poway, California:
A 19-year-old man armed with an assault rifle walked into a suburban San Diego synagogue Saturday morning and opened fire, killing one person and injuring three others, including a child, in a mass shooting that the mayor cast as a “hate crime.”
The San Diego Sheriff's Office said that John Earnest of San Diego had been arrested in connection with the shooting at the Chabad of Poway but they didn't believe there were any other suspects. Police said he has had no prior contact with police and was being questioned by local detectives and local FBI agents Saturday afternoon.
What do we know about the shooter?  Take a guess!
Sheriff William Gore said authorities were looking into a rambling, multi-page manifesto that was published minutes before the shooting by a person with the same name, in which the writer claimed Jews were destroying whites and praised attacks in Pittsburgh and New Zealand. [snip]
Authorities were also “looking into the possibility” of Earnest's involvement in a mosque fire in nearby Escondido last month, a claim that is made in the manifesto, Gore said.
The shooting came 6 months to the day from the horrific murder of 11 congregants at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA.

Now, for the chasers from the white nationalists' commander- in- chief:

This follows the Trump regime's decision to disband the domestic terrorism intelligence group in the Department of Homeland Security, including reassigning its last two experts on white nationalist terrorism.  That's no unfortunate coincidence, folks.

BONUSTo say these thugs have been emboldened would be an understatement.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Glass Houses QOTD: Young and Vibrant

"I'm a young and vibrant man."  -- pathological liar and likely dementia onset victim Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump yesterday, contrasting himself to former Vice President Joe Biden.

We're guessing that Biden doesn't have trouble drinking from a glass or a bottle of water (could be Trump's little hands))

Or his odd slurring of words:

So it's probably best for this unstable sociopath to go easy on the contrasts with Biden, or anyone else for that matter. He's not going to come out the winner.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com)

(Kevin Siers, The Charlotte Observer)

(Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)

(John Darkow, The Columbia Missourian)

(Jeff Danziger, The Rutland Herald, VT)

Twit Tweet, Thwap: Sad Birthday Edition

Some Trumpist flunky in the White (Supremacist) House was assigned to wish First Second Third Lady Melania "Melanie" Trump a happy birthday (49 yesterday). What resulted was this:

Such a sad, Sad! image, alone on the couch, everyone's attention apparently focused on the narcissistic lump of racist venom that she married seated out of the frame. Others noticed, too, and the mocking commenced:

U.S. Withdraws From Arms Treaty; NRA In Crisis

If you didn't think the National Rifle Rampage Association pulls the strings of every Rethuglican, politician from unhinged con man Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump on down, you'd be mistaken. Even though they're allegedly facing some financial hard times, they still exercise disproportionate clout over the Rethuglican / New Confederate / Kids-In-Cages Party. The latest example of their control was unveiled at the NRA's convention yesterday by Trump, where he announced the U.S. would be withdrawing from the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty that regulates $70 billion in arms sales to prevent them falling into the hands of human rights abusers internationally. It's purely an economic matter for the NRA, which fronts for the gun manufacturing industry. The U.S. is the world's leading exporter of arms, so the industry would stand to lose billions in weapons sales to countries on the U.N.'s human rights watch list.

By his action, Trump accomplishes two goals: solidify support among the NRA dead-enders, and erase another achievement of President Obama who signed on to the treaty. Abby Maxman, President of Oxfam America, a human rights organization, reacted to Trump's decision saying,
“The United States will now lock arms with Iran, North Korea and Syria as non-signatories to this historic treaty whose sole purpose is to protect innocent people from deadly weapons."
That's some fine company we're joining. As with the Paris Climate Accord, Trump has chosen to undermine our support for vital issues in order to appeal to his violent white nationalist base, to reward the gun manufacturers and corrupt donors to his campaign, and to try to diminish President Obama's legacy.

BONUS: It looks like an internal NRA power struggle is claiming its first, well-deserved victim: lying, terrorist gun-runner Ollie North. Sad! Let's go to the video tape:
More here. Good times! It's true that everything Trump touches dies.


(photo: The would-be dictator showing one of his ubiquitous, treaty-shredding "Executive Orders" to the NRA crowd. Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Robert E. Lee's (And Others') Treason

In the 154 years since the end of the Civil War, the losing side and generations to follow promoted the obscene myth of the "lost cause," an attempt to portray a noble Confederacy as fighting for "states' rights" and the Southern way of life, thus gaslighting the causes and goals of the Civil War over time. To be clear, the war was waged by the Confederacy for the preservation of the evil of slavery, period. When Robert E. Lee led an armed rebellion against the United States of America, he committed treason. So did every other person who joined Confederate armies, from privates to the likes of Generals Braxton Bragg, John Hood and A.P. Hill (for whom, disgracefully, U.S. Army bases are actually named). Statues to treasonous Confederates  proliferated early in the 20th century as a way to defy the reality of the rebellion and what it was defending. The Lee statue in Charlottesville, VA is one of them, and statues of that kind are a rallying symbol for the KKK and neo-Nazis wanting to impose their racist views, a symbol that led to the deadly "Unite the Right" riot there in 2017.

It's with that context that neo-fascist demagogue and pathological liar Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump yesterday defended his despicable "very fine people on both sides" defense of the Charlottesville tiki torch racist rioters. He did so by referring to the very statue of Robert E. Lee that was the rallying point for the racists and referring to how great a general he was, an assertion that some historians are questioning.

Trump, in refusing to deal with his own racist comment from 2017 by deflecting to the statue argument embraced by "lost cause" racists, showed once again who he is.

(photo: Trump's "very fine people" chanting "Jews will not replace us." Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Friday, April 26, 2019

Bang Bang, You Shot Me Down

Eariler today was sentencing day for Russian agent Maria Butina, pin up girl for NRA loser incels. She received a 18 month sentence for acting as an unregistered Russian agent who infiltrated wingnut organizations to attempt to influence them. Allowing for time served, Butina will likely serve up to 9 months in jail.
"Butina is a 30-year-old Russian national who came to the U.S. to study at American University in Washington, D.C. and courted gun-rights and conservative activists, especially in the National Rifle Association. She was arrested last July and charged with violating a U.S. law that bars people from acting as foreign agents without telling the attorney general—a charge Justice Department lawyers characterize as 'espionage-lite.' Butina pleaded guilty in December and agreed to cooperate with the government." (our emphasis)
It gets more interesting:
"While living in the U.S., Butina communicated with then-Russian Central Bank official Alexander Torshin about her efforts to build relationships with Americans. In one instance, she claimed she had influence over who would become Trump’s secretary of state. In December 2015, she even helped arrange for a delegation of NRA leaders to visit Moscow, where they met with powerful figures in the Russian government." (our emphasis)
That delegation included some prominent right-wing fanatics like the former NRA president David Keene, and former "sheriff" of Milwaukee County, WI, bling-happy loon and dress-up cowboy David Clarke.

Ironically, Butina's "mission" to seduce right-wingers may have flopped in the sense that she was exposed as a Russian agent, but it succeeded in exposing the "win at any cost" traitorous behavior of the neo-fascist movement's key players. Thank you for that.

(photo: Russian fanboy and sinister NRA official Wayne LaPierre and Butina, via Twitter)

Poll: Trump Slump In Ohio

Offered with the usual caveat that we're 18 months from the 2020 election, Ohio is winnable:
Ohio is a toss-up for the 2020 presidential election, and the Democrats have a good chance to take the pivotal state if they can focus on the right issues and put forward the right candidate. Those are among the findings of the recent “Northern Poll” conducted by Ohio Northern University. [snip]

The recent Northern Poll shows that 50 percent of Ohioans are dissatisfied with how Trump is handling his job as president, compared to 35 percent being satisfied and 15 percent who are neutral. [snip]
Another warning sign for Trump can be seen when respondents were asked who they would support for president if the election were to be held right now. Forty-one percent said they would support a Democrat, 34 percent would support Trump, and the rest were either unsure or said they would support neither party.
Even within the GOP, Trump’s support is measured, with 36 percent of Republicans preferring that another Republican candidate challenge Trump in the primary. Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the top choice as a challenger.
Oh, and the Mueller report?
“The survey indicates that a plurality of voters looks at the Mueller report favorably, and this poll was taken before the release of the full report. My sense is that the credibility of the report has probably grown some since then, which will likely add to concerns over Trump’s leadership. So, although Trump dodged collusion charges from the report, his already-damaged image may have taken some more hits.”

Weekend Music

Aussie band Tame Impala's lush, dreamscape songs are written and produced in the studio by lead member Kevin Parker.  Once the song is recorded by Parker, the other band members learn their parts for live performances.  This is a new single just released a few weeks ago, "Borderline."  Hope you enjoy.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Jimmy Margulies, New York Daily News)

(Jeff Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Another Hack Reveals Himself

Any sense that this Republican hack was a "hero" and "institutionalist" at any point in the Mueller report saga can now be dispelled forever:
Speaking publicly for the first time since the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections, Assistant Attorney General Rob Rosenstein did not mince words.
In a prepared speech delivered to the Public Servants Dinner of the Armenian Bar Association, Rosenstein criticized the Obama administration for failing to act on what he says should have been a “real-time reaction to Russian hacking.” 
“The previous Administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls, and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America,” he said.
Of course, it was turtle/ human hybrid and "Man Who Broke the Senate" Mitch "Missy" McConnell (R- Quid pro quo) who blocked a bipartisan statement just prior to the 2016 election, saying he would denounce any effort by the Obama Administration to call out Russian meddling as "an act of partisan politics."  Rosenstein chose not to remember that episode.

But, being the Republican tribalist he has always been, he did remember the noble thoughts and pure motives of his Dear Leader:
He only mentioned Trump once in the talk, praising the president’s approach to the law. “The rule of law is our most important principle,” Rosenstein said. “As President Trump pointed out, ‘We govern ourselves in accordance with the rule of law rather [than] … the whims of an elite few or the dictates of collective will.’”
Please, go straight to hell.

BONUSWonkette has a more fulsome farewell.

BONUS IIThe compromised skunk told Trump he'd "land the plane" (i.e. the Mueller investigation), and "I'm on your (Trump's) team."  Not America's team, that is.

Putin's Sly Offer

Yesterday's meeting between Russian thug and autocrat Vladimir Putin and murderous North Korean despot Kim Jong Un was ostensibly to "'promote strategic communication and tactical collaboration' over the security situation on the Korean Peninsula." Translation: Russia and North Korea are trying to gain strategic leverage together over incompetent sociopath and Putin pal Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump regarding the fate of the Korean peninsula. Indeed, following the meeting, Putin indicated that Kim "asked" him to intervene with Trump, and "explain the nuances of North Korea's position..." We'd suggest a coloring book format.

Putin's insertion into the North Korea denuclearization issue is another example of Russia's attempts to regain status on the world stage as a major player, much like their malign involvement in Syria. Everywhere Russia gains advantage -- whether it's with "nationalist" movements in Eastern Europe, or in the Middle East -- the U.S. and western democracies are diminished in influence there. It fits in with Putin's dream of a "Russian Empire," like his beloved Soviet Union but run at home as a criminal plutocracy with him at the top of the corrupt pyramid. Expect him to get support from Trump in his quest for power.

(photo: V. Sharifulin)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Trump Consented To Warmbier Ransom Payment

A $2 million invoice for hospital care ransom was authorized to be paid to North Korea by dictator-loving sociopath Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump just prior to the release of college student Otto Warmbier in 2017, according to a report in the Washington Post. Days later after arriving in the U.S. in a coma, Warmbier died after his brutal treatment in a North Korean prison:
"North Korea issued a $2 million bill for the hospital care of comatose American Otto Warmbier, insisting that a U.S. official sign a pledge to pay it before being allowed to fly the University of Virginia student from Pyongyang in 2017.

The presentation of the invoice — not previously disclosed by U.S. or North Korean officials — was extraordinarily brazen even for a regime known for its aggressive tactics.

But the main U.S. envoy sent to retrieve Warmbier signed an agreement to pay the medical bill on instructions passed down from President Trump, according to two people familiar with the situation. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly."
(our emphasis)
As any expert will tell you, once you start paying ransoms, you'll get more hostage taking. Warmbier was sentenced by North Korea to 15 years hard labor for pulling down a propaganda poster in a hotel in Pyongyang in 2016. In the first two years of Trump's regime, Trump has gone from threatening North Korea with "fire and fury" for continuing their ballistic missile tests, to a "we fell in love" relationship (at least from Trump's perspective). Apparently, some of that "love" had to do with the agreement to pay, the type of transaction that Trump is familiar with in his "love" life.

(photo: "Did you get the $2 million I OK'ed? By the way, I love you!" Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Sprechen Sie "Fraud"?

The New York State Attorney General's office, headed by the fierce Letitia James, subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for fraudster and con man Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump's financial records last month, and CNN reports that the bank is in the process of providing the requested records, a development that Trump must find terrifying given his misrepresentation of his assets and liabilities on financial documents, not to mention the source of those funds. It's worth noting that Deutsche Bank is known for its role in money laundering, particularly for Russian oligarchs / friends of Putin. From CNN:
"The bank is in the process of turning over documents, including emails and loan documents, related to Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC; the Trump National Doral Miami; the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago; and the unsuccessful effort to buy the NFL's Buffalo Bills. [snip]
The bank is already the subject of a joint investigation between the House Financial Services and Intelligence committees into Trump's businesses and money laundering.
Deutsche Bank has been one of the few big banks willing to lend to the Trump Organization in recent years."  (our emphasis)
State Attorneys General in New York, Maryland and DC, the Southern District of New York, the multiple sealed referrals by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to various District Attorneys, his status as "Individual-1" all bode ill for the corrupt clown in the Oval Office. Sad!

(photo: Trump's approximate reaction on learning of Deutsche Bank's compliance with the subpoena)

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Nick Anderson, Washington Post Writers Group)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

(Clay Jones, claytoonz.com)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

White Evangelicals' Shifting Morality

Going back at least as far as the bigoted Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" scam, right-wing political "evangelicals" have been an appendage of the Rethuglican / New Confederate / Kids-In-Cages Party, selective with their moral outrage at Dems, while ignoring or giving a pass to their deeply corrupt Rethug brethren. So it's no surprise that the flower of this multi-decade hypocrisy, namely corrupt sexual assaulter and lying fraudster Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump, has been embraced by the right-wing political evangelicals.

In their article in today's Washington Post, David Campbell and Geoffrey Layman describe the gyrations of the right-wing political evangelicals as they defend an immoral black hole like Trump just years after piling on President Clinton for his moral failings. The self-righteous blast by far-right hardcore bigot Franklin Graham at Dem Presidential hopeful Mayor Pete Buttigieg for being gay is just the latest example of the deep corruption of these self-described religious leaders.

This passage from the Post article sums up their double standard nicely:
"In 2011, a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) and the Religion News Service found that 60 percent of white evangelicals believed that a public official who 'commits an immoral act in their personal life' cannot still 'behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.' But in an October 2016 poll by PRRI and the Brookings Institution — after the release of the infamous 'Access Hollywood' tape — only 20 percent of evangelicals, answering the same question, said that private immorality meant someone could not behave ethically in public." (our emphasis)
Gee, who'd a thunk it, a 40 point drop in outrage? It's apparent that they have some major philosophical disconnects when it comes to their own right-wing politicians' immoral behavior. With this crowd, it's really never been about morality, otherwise they'd be at the southern border demanding a halt to the brutal treatment of immigrants (hypocrites), renouncing the wealthy "prosperity gospel" hucksters (golden calf), etc. You'll see that when "hell" freezes over.


(photo: American Talibangelist leader Pat Robertson delivering his sermon on brotherly love)

And Biden Makes 20

Former Vice President Joe Biden formally announced his candidacy for President this morning in a video, followed by a rally at the Wilmington, DE train station named after him. The video prominently features Biden attacking bigot and sociopath Donald "Not Exonerated" Trump's response to the Charlottesville, VA riot by "Unite The Right" marchers made up of KKK and Nazis, whom Trump labeled as "very fine people."

Biden will need to catch up in fundraising to the current frontrunners, but he has a deep reserve of support going back long before he was President Obama's right hand man. He also picked up some endorsements within minutes of announcing, not that endorsements matter so much. A comment short of an endorsement from Obama's spokesman noted that the former President said that picking Biden as his running mate was one of the best decisions he's ever made.

Biden's announcement should have the effect of drying up contributions for some of the mid-and-lower tier Dems in the race, driving some out within the next couple of months. With a cast of thousands running on the Dem side, that would have happened eventually without him running.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

QOTD -- The One-Man Crime Wave

"Following the release of the Mueller report, Trump claimed with his usual arrogance and ignorance that he has been vindicated. In truth, the Mueller report revealed that Trump is a one-man crime wave."  -- former Massachusetts Republican Gov. William Weld, who's making a quixotic run for the Republican presidential nomination.  Nice burn, though!

MJ Hegar's Ready To Ride Against Cornyn

Air Force veteran and Dem MJ Hegar had a spectacular campaign video ad last year when running (unsuccessfully, sadly) for the House of Representatives in Texas' 31st Congressional District. But she was narrowly defeated by 3% in district where Dems normally lose by 20%. In 2020, she's running against dress-up rhinestone cowboy Sen. John Cornyn, the Rethuglican Senate Whip and minion of human-turtle hybrid and treasonous nihilist Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell. She has another viral campaign video that's ingenious. Watch.

PLEASE consider donating to her campaign. She'd make a superlative U.S. Senator.

BONUS:  You may have noticed a very brief shot of tweets by comedian Patton Oswalt in the video.  Well, the skeered Cornyn campaign dipshits tried to make something out of it, with some humorous blow-back from Oswalt and others here and here .

Media Equivocations Cosset Trump, Constitution Edition

The underlying story is awful enough (please read), but look how the Washington Post characterizes it:
President Trump suggested Wednesday that he would ask the Supreme Court to intervene if Democrats move to impeach him — a notion that legal experts said showed a misunderstanding of the Constitution[Ed.:  "legal experts"? We only play legal experts on this blog, but we don't think you need to be a "legal expert" to call absolute bullshit on that "notion".]
It was unclear how Trump would legally justify such a move, since the Constitution delegates impeachment proceedings to Congress, not the courts. [Ed.:  No shit, Sherlock.] Trump mentioned the idea briefly in morning tweets in which he lashed out at Democrats who are continuing to investigate him following the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report.  (our emphasis)
Would it be so difficult (albeit truthful) to say that, as usual, the dolt- in- chief doesn't know what he's talking about?  That it's another example of his willingness to trample on the Constitution and it's system of checks and balances?

These are the "Democracy Dies In Darkness" people, fergawdsakes.

Alas, the cosseting of this incompetent moron continues unabated in the media.

BONUS: Check out some of the reactions to the moron's tweet.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Ken Catalino, gocomics.com)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

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

(Chris Britt, Illinois Times)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Mike Thompson, USA Today)

(Jeff Stahler, gocomics.com)