Thursday, October 31, 2019

Meet The Newest White House Hire




It's Donald "Beelzebub" Trump's "spiritual advisor" (let that register), prosperity gospel grifter Paula White!  What will she be doing while on the public payroll?
Paula White, a televangelist based in Florida and personal pastor to President Trump whom he has known since 2002, has joined the Trump administration in an official capacity, according to a White House official.
Ms. White will work in the Office of Public Liaison, the official said, which is the division of the White House overseeing outreach to groups and coalitions organizing key parts of the president’s base. Her role will be to advise the administration’s Faith and Opportunity Initiative, which Mr. Trump established last year by executive order and which aims to give religious groups more of a voice in government programs devoted to issues like defending religious liberty and fighting poverty.
As you might expect, she's been having some pretty strong hallucinations that she can now have in the White (not Paula's) House:
Paula White, a televangelist who is a key spiritual adviser to and supporter of President Donald Trump, appeared on “The Jim Bakker Show” today, where she declared that Christians will stand accountable before God if they don’t vote for Trump in 2020, because he is filling the federal judiciary with judges who will not allow states to outlaw the Bible. [snip]
“If we can change the Supreme Court,” White said, “you don’t think all Hell is trembling right now?”
They have already passed legislation in states that says the Bible is a book of hate speech,” she baselessly claimed. “It is only a matter of time. Those laws are already passed.”  (our emphasis)
Get the net!

Then there's this:
Donald Trump's spiritual adviser has suggested that people send her money in order to transform their lives, or face divine consequences.
Paula White, who heads up the president's evangelical advisory committee, suggested making a donation to her ministries to honor the religious principle of "first fruit," which she said is the idea that all firsts belong to God, including the first harvest and, apparently, the first month of your salary.
"Right now I want you to click on that button, and I want you to honor God with his first fruits offering," she said in a video shared to her website, in which she encourages her followers to donate to her ministries to get blessings from God.
"If God doesn't divinely step in and intervene, I don't know what you're going to face—he does," she said.  [snip]
In her newest video, the pastor encourages people to send her money, stating, "Each January, I put God first and honor him with the first of our substance by sowing a first fruits offering of one month's pay. That is a big sacrifice, but it is a seed for the harvest I am believing for in the coming year. And God always provides!"  (our emphasis)
"Send me your money, or God knows what'll happen to you!"  So that's how the prosperity gospel works!

For more on the new White House employee pulling down a taxpayer- funded paycheck, just Google "Paula White grifter."  A great fit.

(Photo:  Is that what's called "laying hands on"?)

Tweets Of The Day -- Lackey Says Wut?









Rethugs Lie About "Do Nothing" Dems In House



In addition to cynically whining about the process of the impeachment inquiry, which House Dems have more than addressed, a recurring line from the White (Supremacist) House and their Rethug stooges is what a shame those Dems are focused on impeachment rather that the public's business. People that have been watching Congress over the past 18 months have surely noticed that the House Dems have passed a slew of legislation -- ranging from voting rights and election security to environmental and climate change protections -- only to be ignored by the despicable, evil nihilist Senate Majority Leader, Sen. "Moscow Mitch" McConnell who won't bring them up for a vote. "Do Nothing" is a label best applied to Moscow Mitch and his Rethugs. You can find the list of bills passed by the House and awaiting Senate action here, and it's a long list of more than 200 bills.

Knowing that their party / philosophy / record is built of a network of lies and distortions, it's no surprise that Rethuglicans are lying about this, too, and should be called on it every time it's brought up. Their Dear Leader in the Oval Office is the perfect manifestation of the dishonest, rotted out, shameless crew that they are.

House Authorizes Formal Impeachment Process


A short while ago, on a largely party line vote (232- 196), the House of Representatives passed H.Res. 660, "Directing certain committees to continue their ongoing investigations as part of the existing House of Representatives inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its Constitutional power to impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, and for other purposes."  You can read the resolution here (pdf).

Every Republican who voted against the resolution (as well as two spineless, careerist Democrats) voted against the national security interests of the United States, against free and fair elections, against accountability in government, and against the founding principles of our country as expressed in the Constitution.  History will remember, we will remember, and they will pay.

Today's Cartoons -- Boo!


(click on images to enlarge)


(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)


(Matt Davies, Newsday)


(Stuart Carlson, gocomics.com)


(Nick Anderson, Counterpoint)


(Phil Hands, Wisconsin State Journal)


(Andy Marlette, Pensacola News Journal, FL)


(Clay Jones, claytoonz.com)


(David Horsey, Seattle Times)


(Tom Toles, Washington Post)


(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)


(R.J. Matson, Roll Call)


(Signe Wilkinson, Philadelphia Daily News)

Now Trump Is Tampering With His "Jury"



The role of the Senate in the impeachment process is to consider the articles of impeachment brought by the House, and to act as jurors in a trial to determine whether to remove a sitting President, while the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides. Since pathological liar and corrupt con artist Donald "Very Stable Genius" Trump started soiling the Oval Office, he's been his own witness for the prosecution against himself. First, openly bragging that he removed former FBI Director James Comey because of "the Russia thing," then obstructing the investigation of the Russia interference scandal some 10 times (according to volume 2 of the Mueller Report), and then publicly calling for Ukraine and China to manufacture dirt on his political opponents.

Now, it's being reported by Politico that Trump is getting his fundraising operation to provide resources to a number of Rethuglican Senators who will be sitting as "jurors" in the expected Senate trial:
"President Donald Trump is rewarding senators who have his back on impeachment — and sending a message to those who don't to get on board.

Trump is tapping his vast fundraising network for a handful of loyal senators facing tough reelection bids in 2020. Each of them has signed onto a Republican-backed resolution condemning the inquiry as 'unprecedented and undemocratic.' [snip]  Trump is exerting leverage over a group he badly needs in his corner with an impeachment trial likely coming soon to the Senate — but that also needs him.

Republican senators on the ballot next year are lagging in fundraising, stoking uncertainty about the GOP’s hold on the chamber, and could use the fundraising might of the president. Trump’s political operation has raked in over $300 million this year."
With public opinion shifting in favor of impeaching and removing Trump, the infusion of cash into the reelection campaigns of key Rethug Senators is intended to buck up their support for Trump in the coming trial. Senators Gardner (CO), Ernst (IA), and Tillis (NC) are all in tight reelections, and may have considered splitting off from Dear Leader. But with his bribes, they are more likely to support the corrupt Trump as the evidence of his illegal activities mounts.

(photo: Fingering the guilty party)

The Smoking Gun


Seth Meyers covers the recent impeachment inquiry testimony, Republicans in disarray, nitwit crime family boss Donald "The Dumb Don" Trump's continuing self- incrimination, and more.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Twitter Banning Political Ads


Your move, Schmuckerberg --









And, swiping Schmuckerberg,



These are only a few tweets from Dorsey's thread; the entire thread is worth a read.

Whether this will resonate with the would- be Master of the Tech Universe Schmuckerberg remains to be seen (a small number of his employees have challenged his position on political ads), but it's a very welcome step in helping to put a dent in the flood of misinformation and the manipulation of our elections by malign actors here and abroad.

Rising Sea Level Impacts Greater Than Expected



In a new report from independent climate research organization Climate Central, climate scientists are now saying that the heat generated by human activity / climate change could push chronic floods further inland, impacting some 300 million people within 30 years. In addition, by 2100 roughly 200 million people could see a permanent loss of land to the sea.

The study notes that the threat is especially acute in coastal Asia, and could impact the economies and political stability of countries from India and Thailand to Indonesia and China. From the report:
"Start with mainland China. By 2050, land now home to 93 million people could be lower than the height of the local average annual coastal flood. Shanghai, which is the country’s most populous city, is projected to be particularly vulnerable to ocean flooding in the absence of coastal defenses. [snip] 
Next, consider India’s situation in 2050. By that year, projected sea level rise could push average annual floods above land currently home to some 36 million people. West Bengal and coastal Odisha are projected to be particularly vulnerable, as is the eastern city of Kolkata. [snip] 
Finally, take Bangladesh and Vietnam, where coastal land currently home to 42 million and 31 million people, respectively, could be threatened with saltwater flooding at least once per year at midcentury. By that time, average annual coastal floods are projected to rise higher than a wide swath of Bangladesh, including parts of the cities of Dhaka and Chittagong. In Vietnam, annual ocean floods are projected to particularly affect the densely populated Mekong Delta and the northern coast around Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, including the port city of Haiphong."
 It's an environmental and humanitarian disaster unfolding in front of mankind, and the U.S. fossil industry and their coin-operated Rethuglican Party are complicit in contributing to the climate crisis that's causing it.

(photo: Recent flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia)

Tweets Of The Day -- Stupid's Economy












Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)


(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


(Clay Jones, claytoonz.com)


(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)


(Tom Toles, Washington Post)


(Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe)


(Bob Englehart, caglecartoons.com)


(Bill Day, floridapolitics.com)


(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)


(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)


(Jeff Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)


(Jeff Stahler, gocomics.com)


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


Mid-Week Song


Brittany Howard, the talented lead singer of the blues / folk roots band Alabama Shakes, has her first solo album out, Jaime. Here is her acoustic version of her hit, "Stay High." Enjoy.

Ukraine Shakedown Call Memo Had "Crucial" Phrases Edited Out


While what was in the memorandum (not a transcript!) of the July 25 shakedown call between insipid crime family boss Donald "Dumb Don" Trump and the Ukrainian president was damning enough, it appears some of those ellipses in the memorandum hid more incriminating evidence.  What a surprise!

The revelation came from testimony yesterday by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman:
Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to include them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony.
The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.
Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.  [snip]
It is not clear why some of Colonel Vindman’s changes were not made, but the decision by a White House lawyer to quickly lock down the reconstructed transcript subverted the normal process of handling such documents, according to people familiar with the matter
In the whistle-blower complaint that was made public, the C.I.A. officer wrote that placing the rough transcript in the server was part of an effort to lock it down, restrict access and a sign that “White House officials understood the gravity of what had transpired in the call.”  (our emphasis)
Our reaction when we saw those ellipses in the memorandum was "what incriminating evidence did they edit out?"  By now, though, it's almost like carrying coal to Newcastle,  thanks to what they left in the memorandum anyway, multiple corroborating testimonies, and the blurting confessions by Dumb Don and his acting chief of staff.  But the selective editing and locking it down in the secure system could be evidence of a cover- up and obstruction of Congress, though there was no recording of the call on the American side to match to the memorandum and the rough transcript is locked away for now.  All things that would happen if you're totes not hiding more quid pro quo evidence.

Trump And His Minions Plumb New Depths


Stephen Colbert covers how Republicans (including the two- legged rats on Fox "News") have sunk so low that they're "fracking America's moral bedrock";  and Jimmy Kimmel covers the tough week for President Quid Pro Comb- over, with an amusing look at the White (Supremacist) House's joyless Halloween event.





Tuesday, October 29, 2019

You Don't Miss Your Water, 'Til Nestlé Takes It



As we watch ground water being polluted by unregulated industrial runoff and fossil fuel fracking under the Trump regime, there's a Swiss multinational food conglomerate -- Nestlé -- literally sucking fresh water out of our creeks and groundwater, bottling it in plastic and selling it for huge profits. Tom Perkins in The Guardian reports that Nestlé, which owns 51 water brands including Poland Spring and Ice Mountain, made billions of dollars worldwide from its bottled water sales. Perkins reports that in their drive to privatize water in the U.S., California has become a target despite the recurring drought conditions there:
"The network of clear streams comprising California’s Strawberry Creek run down the side of a steep, rocky mountain in a national forest two hours east of Los Angeles. Last year Nestlé siphoned 45m gallons of pristine spring water from the creek and bottled it under the Arrowhead Water label.

Though it’s on federal land, the Swiss bottled water giant paid the US Forest Service and state practically nothing, and it profited handsomely: Nestlé Waters’ 2018 worldwide sales exceeded $7.8bn.

Conservationists say some creek beds in the area are now bone dry and once-gushing springs have been reduced to mere trickles. The Forest Service recently determined Nestlé’s activities left Strawberry Creek 'impaired' while 'the current water extraction is drying up surface water resources'”.  (our emphasis)
The states of Maine, Pennsylvania and Oregon have also felt Nestlé's pressure in their search for fresh water, along with some obvious, and successful, attempts at buying off local communities with cash and public amenities. It's doubly damaging that Nestlé's multiple companies bottle the water in disposable plastic bottles, which are a huge separate problem for the environment.

Not surprisingly, corrupt sociopath Donald "Individual-1" Trump's small fingerprints are on the Government's laxity in preserving water on public lands. From Perkins' article:
"The Forest Service’s Strawberry Creek permit decision references a 2017 Trump executive order that seems to speak to the controversy. It requires federal agencies to “ensure that water users’ private property rights are not encumbered when they attempt to secure permits to operate on public lands.”

Former Forest Service special uses leader Gary Earney administered Nestlé’s water permit between 1984 and 2007 and is now one of its most vocal critics.

During that time, he witnessed 'devastating' Forest Service budget cuts that made it impossible to monitor Nestle’s activities or properly manage the forest, but Nestlé was there to help – it set up a nonprofit to solicit money for projects." (our emphasis)
This is a prime example of a profit-hungry multinational corporation overriding the public interest while a corrupt administration looks on and cheers. It won't stop until and unless we remove the current regime and their enablers from office.

(Photo: AP. The Nestlé Arrowhead Mountain water plant in California)

Tweets Of The Day -- A Lump Of Coal


What a totally unexpected development from this rancid p.o.s.:








Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)


(Stuart Carlson, gocomics.com)


(Clay Jones, claytoonz.com)


(Chris Britt, Illinois Times)


(Kevin Kallaugher, Baltimore Sun)


(John Cole, Scranton Times-Tribune)


(Jimmy Margulies, jimmymargulies.com)


(Bas van der Schot, De Volkskrant, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


(Jeff Stahler, gocomics.com)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


(Marty Two Bulls, m2bulls.com)


(Jen Sorensen, gocomics.com)

 
(Kim Warp, The New Yorker)

NSC Official To Testify About "Alarming" Ukraine Shakedown Campaign




Another White (Supremacist) House official who listened to the July 25 shakedown call between crime family boss Donald "Dumb Don" Trump and the Ukrainian president will confirm today that there was a specific request made by Dumb Don for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. There also should be immediate repercussions for morally-/ethically- /memory- challenged Amb. Gordon Sondland from this:
A White House official who listened to President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky will tell House investigators on Tuesday that he was so alarmed by the Ukraine pressure campaign that he twice alerted a top White House lawyer.

Lt Col. Alexander Vindman, who has served on the National Security Council since 2018, will recount overhearing U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland — a key player in the pressure campaign — discuss with Ukrainian officials the need for the country to launch investigations into the 2016 election and the Bidens in order to secure a Zelensky meeting with Trump[snip]
The conversation, according to the testimony, happened after a White House meeting with the Ukrainians had already been cut short by then-National Security Advisor John Bolton when Sondland brought up the request for the investigations.
“Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb.
Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into
the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma,” Vindman’s prepared remarks said. “I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push.”
[snip]
Vindman also listened in on the now-infamous July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, in which the President asked the Ukrainian leader for a “favor.”
“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen,” Vindman plans on saying. The statement goes on to say that were Ukraine to investigate the Biden family or Burisma — the gas firm on whose board Hunter Biden sat — “it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”
“This would all undermine U.S. national security,” the statement reads.  (our emphasis)
The text of Lt. Col. Vindman's opening statement is provided at the link above.

Given the White House's own account of the call, the admission on camera by Dumb Don and lickspittle twit Mick Mulvaney, and now multiple eyewitnesses, there can be absolutely no question about the nature or intent of the "request" that was made and what "deliverables" were being held in abeyance to get that request acted on by Ukraine.

Now Sondland's previous sworn testimony is called into question on several key points by at least three witnesses that we know of:  former Amb. William Taylor, former NSC staffer Fiona Hill and now Lt. Col. Vindman.  Both have stated there was a definite quid pro quo that Sondland was fully aware of and engaged in communicating.  Moreover, Sondland's own attorney attempted damage control over the weekend by leaking that Sondland, in private testimony, said he believed there was a quid pro quo involved in the Ukraine shakedown.  Watch today's testimony from Vindman spur Sondland to scurry back to the Hill to amend his public testimony.  Let's hope his resignation follows shortly thereafter.

BONUS: Trump's depraved cultists have already begun their McCarthyite smear campaign against Vindman, a decorated Army officer and a patriot.  Also, be sure to read this background on Lt. Col. Vindman from Philip Bump (with a Ken Burns tie- in), which makes the cultists' smears all the more depraved.

BONUS II:




BONUS III:  Sondland might not escape with a "let me just amend my previous lies, er, testimony, please" gambit --



(Photo: Lt. Col. Vindman)

"Take Him Out Of The Office"


Jimmy Kimmel compares the remarks of simpleton Donald "Rump" Trump on the killing of al- Baghdadi with President Obama's remarks on the killing of bin Laden:



How far we've fallen, part infinity.  Trump, of course, speaks with a 4th- grade level vocabulary, commensurate with his red hat cult.

Meanwhile, Stephen Colbert had some new lyrics to an old song:



Monday, October 28, 2019

Twit Tweet, Thwap -- Gaetz Strikes Out, Again


Prelude:



Twit tweet:


Thwap:







And, finally,

Trump Interfered In Pentagon Buy To "Screw" Amazon



The Pentagon has announced the award of a 10 year, $10 billion contract for cloud computing services to Microsoft, after most observers expected the award to go to Amazon Web Services (AWS), which controls a 48% share of the market. Amazon (owned by mega billionaire Jeff Bezos, a nemesis of demagogue and con man Donald "Quid Pro Quo" Trump) is the parent company of The Washington Post, which has been dogged in uncovering the multitude of Trump scandals. AWS pioneered the cloud computing business long before its competitors, which also include Oracle and IBM.
"The announcement came after an intense lobbying effort and a lawsuit filed by some of America’s biggest tech companies, which accused the military of favoring Amazon in a process that has dragged on for more than a year. During that time, Trump and other administration officials made it clear they did not want the contract to go to Amazon. Federal acquisition laws forbid politicians, including the president, from influencing contract awards."  (our emphasis)
This past July in a news conference, Trump directed his staff to look into the award, which proposed a single buy, rather than a piecemeal approach.
“I’m getting tremendous complaints about the contract with the Pentagon and with Amazon. … They’re saying it wasn’t competitively bid,” Trump said. “Some of the greatest companies in the world are complaining about it, having to do with Amazon and the Department of Defense, and I will be asking them to look at it very closely to see what’s going on.
The president said he had heard complaints from “companies like Microsoft, Oracle and IBM,” each of which were initial bidders along with Amazon. Soon after, he retweeted a link to a Fox News segment that referred to the JEDI contract as the “Bezos bailout.”
In a new book by Guy Snodgrass, an aide to former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Snodgrass confirmed Trump's hostility to Amazon / Bezos, writing that Trump wanted to "screw" Amazon out of the contract.

Amazon will almost certainly appeal to the General Accountability Office, using Trump's own words to demonstrate illegal bias in the procurement. Just another episode of Trump using his office to corrupt a process and get even with political opponents.

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon: (Un) True Believers


(click to enlarge)


Monday Reading


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

Far from being responsible for the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Dolt 45 nearly sabotaged the raid:
President Trump knew the Central Intelligence Agency and Special Operations commandos were zeroing in on the location for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State leader, when he ordered American troops to withdraw from northern Syria earlier this month, intelligence, military and counterterrorism officials said on Sunday.
For months, intelligence officials had kept Mr. Trump apprised of what he had set as a top priority, the hunt for Mr. al-Baghdadi, the world’s most wanted terrorist.
But Mr. Trump’s abrupt withdrawal order three weeks ago disrupted the meticulous planning underway and forced Pentagon officials to speed up the plan for the risky night raid before their ability to control troops, spies and reconnaissance aircraft disappeared with the pullout, the officials said.
Mr. al-Baghdadi’s death in the raid on Saturday, they said, occurred largely in spite of, and not because of, Mr. Trump’s actions. (our emphasis)
Let that sink in while you contemplate how he's managed to put our country on the wrong side of so many geopolitical issues, just as if he was operating as an asset of some hostile foreign autocrat...

Speaking of hostile foreign autocrats, this is the regime Dolt 45 aligns with, over our former loyal Kurdish allies:
UN chemical weapons inspectors have announced they are gathering information following accusations that burning white phosphorus was used by Turkish forces against children in Syria earlier this week.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Friday morning that “it was aware of the situation and is collecting information with regard to possible use of chemical weapons”.
The Kurdish Red Crescent said in a statement that six patients, both civilian and military, were in hospital in Hasakah with burns from “unknown weapons” and it was working to evaluate what had been used.
When you're engaging in genocide, you're not terribly particular about the weapon of mass destruction that you use.

Turning back to the impeachment inquiry, a key witness not known for being forthcoming spilled a large bean during private testimony:
Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland confirmed to House impeachment investigators during his testimony on October 17 that there was a quid pro quo in President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, according to Sondland’s lawyer.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday night that the lawyer, Robert Luskin, had told the outlet his client had answered in the affirmative when a House member asked if Trump’s demand that Ukraine investigate 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden and Ukraine’s alleged election interference in 2016 in exchange for a White House meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky amounted to quid pro quo.
Luskin said that in Sondland’s response to the question, the ambassador “cautioned that he wasn’t a lawyer but said he believed the answer was yes,” in the Wall Street Journal’s words(our emphasis)
We're not lawyers either, but it was a quid pro quo.

Also, a major court ruling bolsters the House's hand in the impeachment inquiry:
In an important development, a federal district court in Washington, D.C. has pointed the way to a possible resolution of the standoff between President Donald Trump and the House of Representatives over the legitimacy of the impeachment inquiry. The court’s ruling signals that at least part of the judiciary is prepared to help resolve the emerging constitutional crisis — by deciding in favor of Congress and against the president.
The court was not directly addressing Trump’s refusal to cooperate with the House inquiry, but rather the House Judiciary Committee’s request for otherwise-secret grand jury testimony generated as part of Robert Mueller’s investigation. Yet in an unwise attempt to block the Judiciary Committee from getting that testimony, the Department of Justice argued that a House committee can’t conduct an impeachment inquiry without a resolution passed by the whole House. That’s the same argument that Trump’s White House counsel has deployed to insist that the entire impeachment inquiry is unconstitutional — and that as a result, Trump doesn’t have to cooperate.
The district court squarely and convincingly rejected the Department of Justice’s argument. This result strongly indicates that other judges in the D.C. district court would similarly reject that argument if and when Congress asks them to enforce its subpoenas against Trump administration officials.
In case you missed it yesterday,  Jake Tapper provided a good rebuttal to Cadet Bone Spurs' and his flying monkey brigade's scurrilous attacks on former Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor for his truth- telling:



Last, as usual, we would recommend a visit to Infidel 753's link round- up for a compendium of links to a wide range of items from across the internet.  (It happens to be where we found the story about Turkey's possible use of chemical weapons against the Kurds in Syria.)  You might also give the same worthy person a helping hand while he's going through a tight time financially.  Thank you!

"This Isn't One Of Your Klan Rallies" (UPDATED)


Hardly 12 hours after the announcement of the al Baghdadi killing, would- be autocrat Donald "Rump" Trump attended last night's World Series game to bask in the glory with his posse of pusillanimous polecats (including Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry" Graham, Reps. Matt "DUI" Gaetz, Kevin McCarthy, Liz Cheney, Steve Scalise, Mark Meadows, and Andy Biggs).  Here's what greeted them:



Further reactions:







UPDATE:  For the right- wingers and media pearl clutchers --





Sunday, October 27, 2019

Across The Universe, Cont.


(click on image to enlarge)


From NASA/ ESA, October 21, 2019This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows IC 4653, a galaxy just above 80 million light-years from Earth. That may sound like quite a distance, but it’s not that far on a cosmic scale. At these kinds of distances, the types and structures of the objects we see are similar to those in our local area. 

This galaxy's whirling arms tells us a story about what’s happening inside this galaxy. Stars are generally brighter and bluer when they are younger, so the blue patches mark sites of new star formation. Studying the structures of other galaxies is a key way to learn about the structure of our own, given that humans can’t leave the Milky Way to look back and see what it looks like from the outside. It helps to compare our observations of our home galaxy with those of nearby galaxies we can see in their entirety. 
 
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Rosario (CEA, Durham University)

Sunday Reflection: Now


Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.” -- Pulitzer Prize winning poet and novelist Sylvia Plath, born this day in 1932. Fighting depression for most of her life, Plath's "confessional" style writing moved many, and her early death by suicide in 1963 shocked, but didn't surprise, those that closely followed her written thoughts in her landmark novel "The Bell Jar."

Trump Thanks Russia First On ISIS Raid (UPDATED)



In his preening, braggadocious announcement this morning of the raid that resulted in ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's welcome death, malignant narcissist and Kremlin asset Donald "Quid Pro Quo" Trump didn't disappoint when he chose to list Russia first as a nation that helped the effort. While he thanked Russia, he downplayed the role that the Kurds and the intelligence community played, especially the CIA, which has been the target of his "deep state" conspiracy smears for years. In fact, they played a pivotal role:
"One official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss operational details, said that troops from Delta Force, an elite military unit, conducted the operation with support from the CIA and Kurdish forces.  The official said that Baghdadi had been located in large part thanks to U.S. intelligence agencies intensifying their focus on Idlib province because of militants there with loose links to al-Qaeda." (our emphasis)
Not surprisingly, Trump said he notified Russian and Syrian officials before notifying key Democratic members of Congress, ostensibly to limit "leaks," but in reality to show disrespect for them in his own petulant way.

In a question and answer period that followed his brag fest, Trump may have also disclosed top secret information regarding the compound that al-Baghdadi was found in, including the detail that there were tunnels underneath the compound and that the front entrance had been booby trapped, something that only an on-site observer or ISIS insider would know about. He also disclosed that al-Baghdadi's travels had been successfully monitored, even as the ISIS leader changed travel patterns on a whim, information that would be useful to al-Baghdadi's successors. True to form, as with his infamous private meeting in 2017 with Russian officials, his bragging mouth may have tipped ISIS as to a human intelligence source in their midst whose life is now in danger. But Trump got his announcement, and that's all that matters.

BONUS: Despite his attempt at brown-nosing Russia, Trump got bupkis from the Russian Ministry of Defence, which said that they were "unaware of providing cooperation to U.S. air units" conducting the raid. Moreover, they're doubting that Trump's triumph happened at all:


Sad all that groveling was for naught.

BONUS II:  All should remember Trump's advice from a few years ago and apply it to him:

BONUS III:


UPDATE:  The quid pro quo for green- lighting Turkey's invasion of Syria and driving out our Kurdish allies:


We wonder how long our "friend" Turkey has been keeping the information about al Baghdadi to itself...
 

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)


(Dave Granlund, davegranlund.com)
 
(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)


(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)


(Phil Hands, Wisconsin State Journal)


(Gary Clement, National Post, Toronto)
 
(Steve Sack, Minneapolis Star Tribune)


(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)


(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)


(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)