Saturday, November 30, 2019

Rethug Crime Blotter: Deadly Threats Edition

Because members of the Red Cap Cult are stone cold bigots, it wasn't that surprising that an aspiring Congresswoman from Minnesota engaged in some vile, hate tweeting aimed at Muslim-American Rep. Ilhan Omar. Wingnut Danielle Stella, one of Omar's Rethuglican challengers for the House, suggested Tuesday that Omar be tried for treason and hanged if she passed sensitive information to Iran, an outrageous nutjob conspiracy. Stella, who likes to parade around wearing a large crucifix around her (red) neck, was immediately banned from Twitter. Typical of a Red Cap Cultist, she whined about an "angry liberal mob" attacking her, and asked why the "HRC crime family, BHO, SOROS, and others" aren't tried for their imaginary crimes that fester in her confused brain. Maybe she should spend more time working on her propensity for felony theft.

And we're supposed to reason with the likes of her, to build bridges and sing Kumbaya? Riiiiight.

(photo: Mugshot of the felonious thief Ms. Stella, courtesy Bloomington, MN police department) 

Netanyahu's Trumpian Moves

From the editorial board of the Washington Post this morning:
"When Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert came under criminal investigation on bribery charges a decade ago, he took the honorable route and resigned, opening the way for new elections that brought Benjamin Netanyahu to power. Now it’s Mr. Netanyahu’s turn: Israel’s attorney general announced Nov. 21 that he plans to indict the sitting prime minister on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. To the detriment of Israel and its democracy, Mr. Netanyahu is taking the low road.

Rather than accede to the many calls for him to resign — and a poll showing that a majority of Israelis want him to go — Mr. Netanyahu has adopted what might be called, and what probably deliberately is, a Trumpian defense. The charges against him, he claims, are an “attempted coup”; the police investigators and prosecutors who spent years preparing them are guilty of a “witch hunt” and should themselves be investigated." 
The longer Bibi "Bomb Bomb" Netanyahu has stayed in power, the more he's become addicted to it and the more he's willing to stoop to demagogic tactics -- much like his corrupt American twin, Donald "The Chosen One" Trump. His indictment for bribery and other corruption is also the hallmark of a politician who had fed too long at the trough, and believes he is above the law.

Pics Of The Day: The Changing Face of Retail

With consumer dollars shifting to on- line buying, many once-popular malls and box stores are declining and abandoned, their vast parking lots empty.

(photos: Jesse Rieser. Abandoned big retail stores in Mesa, AZ)

Friday, November 29, 2019

Trump's "Cease Fire" BS

Pathological liar and con man Donald "Rump" Trump yesterday, during his photo op trip to Afghanistan, speaking about the Taliban:
“They didn’t want to do a cease-fire, but now they do want to do a cease-fire, I believe, and it will probably work out that way. And we’ll see what happens.” (our emphasis)
Suhail Shaheen, a member of the Taliban's negotiating team, shortly after Trump's brag:
“The Americans walked away from the negotiating table, and now the ball is in their side — it is up to them to come back if they want to solve this and get the document to signing and to the stage of implementation. Our positions remain the same.” (our emphasis)
The Taliban's position is "no cease fire."  Trump's "we'll see what happens" is his usual tell for "I'm lying, because I don't expect (fill in the blank) to happen."

Tweets Of The Day -- Sacrificing!

"Need To Impeach": Steyer's Forsaken Child

In a clear-eyed, frank moment, billionaire Dem candidate Tom Steyer would probably acknowledge he's a long shot to win the Dem nomination for President. Despite his presence on the Dem debate stage, he's polling about 1% in national polls, a number that hasn't moved much since he announced his candidacy this past summer. Before vastly wealthier billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced his candidacy, Steyer was criticized by other Dems for trying to buy the nomination though an aggressive TV and social media ad campaign.

It's not just his large purchases of ad time for his nomination run that rankles some, it was what they see as his use of his "Need to Impeach" campaign as a device to advance his personal political dreams. During the course of the "Need to Impeach" campaign, eight million donors were gathered, their names forming an enviable mailing list data base for a progressive candidate like Steyer. It also raised his public profile. Although Steyer said he wouldn't run for President as late as last January, he reversed that decision and offered his "Need to Impeach" staff the option of a modest severance or working on his new Presidential campaign.
"At the very moment Democrats need mass mobilization around impeachment, the guy who sank tons of time, energy, and money into the effort has instead embarked on what will likely be an ill-fated White House run. Though he’s polling well enough in some early states to make the debate stage, he’s averaging 1 percent support nationally in the polls. [snip]

As public impeachment hearings have kicked off, Need to Impeach merits a victory lap — something it once thought was dead in the water is actually happening."
What concerns the remaining staffers at "Need to Impeach" is the reduction of their resources that would have helped get the facts out that the House impeachment inquiry hearings have laid bare. In the view of some that were involved in that effort, the timing of long-shot Steyer's change in priorities couldn't have come at a worse time.

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Nate Beeler, Counterpoint)

(Kevin Kallaugher, Baltimore Sun)

(Dave Whamond,

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Jimmy Margulies,

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Weekend Hollow Coves Music

Singer/ songwriters Ryan Henderson and Matt Carins are the core of Hollow Coves, an indie folk band from Brisbane, Australia, who just released their first full- length album, "Moments," last month. We're featuring a song from that album, "When We Were Young."  (An alternate, equally lovely live acoustic version of the song is here.)  Hope you enjoy.

Deutsche Bank Boss Tied To Trump Loans Apparent Suicide

The favorite bank / money launderer for corrupt demagogue Donald "Rump" Trump has been Deutsche Bank. Over the past 20 some years, as American banks closed their doors to the frequently bankrupt Trump as a poor credit risk, Deutsche Bank kept the money flowing to allow Trump to keep his organization afloat, possibly with the help of Russian oligarchs tied to Putin. Recently, the bank has been the target of investigations into money laundering and has subpoenas from Congress specifically directed at customer Trump's apparent endless credit line.

So it was disturbing to see the news that Tom Bowers, the chief of the bank's American wealth-management division, who had signed off on the multiple loans to Trump over the years had reportedly committed suicide on November 19 in California. Bowers was the supervisor of Rosemary Vrablik, Trump's personal wealth manager, who managed the $100 million loan for Trump's purchase of his bedbug infested Doral resort. Bowers left Deutsche Bank in 2015, but was a key executive during the years when Trump borrowed some $2 billion from them. House committees and the New York State Attorney General's office are investigating Trump's curiously friendly relationship with the bank.

Bowers' suicide could have nothing to do with the Trump loans, but:
"Bowers isn’t the first Trump-connected Deutsche exec to commit suicide. In 2014, Deutsche derivatives analyst William S. Broeksmit, who reportedly had links to Trump and Russia, hung himself from a dog leash at his home in London."
Some things are coincidences, others are not, particularly when they are tied to Trump's finances.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Tweet Of The Day -- A Tale Of Two Families

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Joel Pett, Lexington Herald-Leader, KY)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

(Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News)

(Matt Davies, Newsday)

(Rob Rogers,

(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(Stuart Carlson,

(Ken Catalino,

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Steve Benson,

(Clay Jones,

(John Cole, Times-Tribune, Scranton, PA)

Giving Thanks: Facebook, Instagram Outages

You may already have experienced this if you've tried to do some Thanksgiving connecting.  (Sorry not sorry.)
Facebook has stopped working, amid a major Thanksgiving outage.
Users complained that the social network broke at the same time as Instagram, which is owned by the same company. WhatsApp, which is owned by the same company, did not appear to be affected by the issues.
Vast numbers of people complained about the issue, according to tracking website Down Detector. The issues were seen across the world, but not everyone appeared to be affected.

Many Facebook users said they were able to get on the site as normal, but that important parts of its functionality were broken. That included sharing new posts, for instance.
Facebook Messenger, which is part of the Facebook platform but exists as a separate app, was also affected by the problems.
A few (?) hours (?) without Trump ads, right- wing memes, lies and conspiracy theories being spread.  Thankful.

Russia Takes A Bite Out Of Apple

When Russia invaded Crimea and annexed the Ukrainian territory in 2014, the U.S. and its allies condemned Moscow's aggression and seizure of a neighboring country's territory. Russia was emboldened by the ease with which it took over Crimea, and proceeded to send its irregular armed forces into the eastern Ukraine region of Donbass, where they still remain after the killing of some 13,000 Ukrainians and counting.

Many of our tech companies are impervious to international conflicts, since their main focus is to turn a buck -- or ruble -- in even the most authoritarian countries. So, it was galling but not that surprising to see that Apple caved to Moscow's demand that its Apple Maps and Weather app show Crimea as Russian territory for users within Russia. Apparently Russia has made showing Crimea as part of Ukraine a criminal offense. So instead of, say, not providing Russian users the app altogether, Apple bowed to the Kremlin's dictate. They follow Google, which also adjusted their map app to show Crimea as part of Russia last March to please the aggressors.

For the price of doing business in Russia, these companies have complied with a regime that doesn't respect international borders and uses its military might to intimidate and invade their neighbors. They should be so proud.

BONUS:  Of course, we know Apple CEO Tim "Tim Apple" Cook has his nose far up Trump's ass, most recently groveling to him during a visit to an Apple facility in Austin, TX.  Some souls sell cheap.

(image via Reclaim The Net)

Thanksgiving 2019

While many of us will be enjoying traditional Thanksgiving meals with family and friends, please remember those less fortunate.  If you're so inclined, here's a link to Feeding America, where you can donate, learn how to be a hunger- relief advocate or volunteer at a local food bank.

Also, please remember this:

For a little seasonal humor, Seth Meyers covers the imaginary War on Thanksgiving, impeachment inquiry next steps and Trump's bungling consigliere Rudy "You Have A Fool For A Lawyer" Giuliani and his meathead associates:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

QOTD -- Very Little Understanding

"On Nov. 14, partly because the president had already contacted me twice, I sent him a note asking him not to get involved in these questions. The next day, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone called me and said the president would remain involved. Shortly thereafter, I received a second call from Cipollone, who said the president would order me to restore Gallagher to the rank of chief.

"This was a shocking and unprecedented intervention in a low-level review. It was also a reminder that the president has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices. " --
former Navy Secretary Richard Spencer, in WaPo op/ ed detailing his dealings with nitwit Napoleon Donald "Cadet Bone Spurs" Trump concerning accused war criminal CPO Edward Gallagher.  Spencer is displaying the cojones notably absent in some of the other former Trump regime officials who refuse to speak out about the clear and present danger in the White (Supremacist) House.  (our emphasis)

Tweets Of The Day -- Reality Check

Trump's "No Quid Pro Quo" Defense Crumbles

Among the many, many lies told by Russian asset and sociopath Donald "Impeachable Me" Trump regarding his Ukraine shakedown scheme was that withholding the vital military aid to Ukraine was all about reported Ukrainian corruption, not about getting political dirt on the Bidens in exchange. Trump's repeatedly threatened the whistleblower who reported the corrupt conversation he had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

There is reporting that Trump was forced by knowledge of the whistleblower's complaint (which Trump's own Inspector General for the intelligence community deemed credible) to abruptly release the aid on September 11. Simply put, the whistleblower disrupted Trump's bribery and extortion plot, which explains his fury at the person. As Greg Sargent points out, this reporting shatters two of Trump's remaining, ludicrous defenses:
"First, it refutes the absurd notion that, because Trump ultimately released the aid, this somehow shows the plot to pressure Ukraine into announcing investigations to help his reelection was never corrupt. We now know Trump knew it had been exposed before the aid was halted. 
In short: They got caught
But this new revelation also undercuts the “I want nothing — no quid pro quo” defense as well. It sheds light on another key subplot: the manner in which Trump appears to have corruptly directed Sondland to convey the extortion demand to Ukraine, while preserving plausible deniability for doing so."  (our emphasis)
Knowing that the whistleblower -- and then Congress -- already had the goods on him, Trump self-consciously and disingenuously said he wanted "nothing", knowing that his man Sondland would recall that under oath. But who, especially Trump, would use "quid pro quo" in a conversation if he hadn't already been tipped that his bribery and extortion scheme was about to be exposed, and discussed the complaint with his White (Supremacist) House lawyers?

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Stuart Carlson,

(Jim Morin, Miami Herald)

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Chris Britt, Illinois Times)

(Ken Catalino,

(Jeff Stahler,

(Jeff Danziger, The Rutland Herald, VT)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

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

Finally, R.I.P. to the iconic Gahan Wilson, horror- fantasy cartoonist with The New Yorker, who passed away November 21 at the age of 89.  Here's his take on the evolution/ devolution of mankind:

(Gahan Wilson, The New Yorker)

Mid-Week Watchtower Birthday Song

James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix would have turned a venerable 77 today, but he died far too young in 1970 of asphyxia brought on by barbiturate intoxication. Even in his short lifespan, Jimi Hendrix's impact on music was monumental. Often referred to as the greatest guitarist of all time (perhaps approached only by Eric Clapton), Hendrix mastery of that instrument -- as well as effects that expanded its range -- propelled him to the top of the charts with his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience. One of his most recognizable songs is Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower," which features his signature wah wah and fuzz effects. Enjoy.

Sign Of The Times: Orange Cockroach

(click to enlarge)

Now tell us what you really think....

(h/t to Crooks and Liars for pic)

Things That Go Boom: Texas Chem Plant Edition

The residents of Port Neches, TX, some 80 miles east of Houston, were awakened early this morning by a huge blast, blowing out windows and shaking homes at a good distance, as a chemical explosion rocked a plant there. Residents were ordered to evacuate near the petrochemical plant, which is owned by TPC group, and indication that a "chemical plume" was released in the explosion and fire. Three workers were reported injured, one with serious burns that required evacuation to a Houston hospital.

One local resident, a pistol-packing Judge no less, described his experience:
"Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick told Beaumont TV station KBMT the blast awakened him early Wednesday at his home, and that it initially sounded like someone firing a gun into his house.

“When I got out there and grabbed my pistol and ran to the front door, I saw that the front and back door were splintered and wood had flown everywhere ... I could see the flames from the backyard,” Branick said."
The physical damage from the blast and fire is one thing, but the ongoing threat is the expanding toxic plume:
"The Nederland Volunteer Fire Department warned people living south of Interstate 10 near the plant to minimize their exposure to the chemical plume by sheltering in place, closing windows and turning off their heating and air conditioning systems. A mandatory evacuation was ordered for everyone within a half mile of the TPC plant, and the fire department said that evacuation could expand to wider area." (our emphasis)
It was just three weeks ago that we saw a Dow Chemical plant in Plaquemines, LA producing petrochemicals suffer a large explosion, fortunately with no loss of life. Whether this or the Texas blast this morning are the result of relaxed regulations brought about by State and local bridge collapse/ E. coli conservatives and/or the environmentally-toxic Trump regime remains to be analyzed.  But two explosions at petrochemical plants in the oil and gas patch of Texas and Louisiana within a month is a powerful coincidence.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Trump Shoves Rudy Under The Bus

Surprise (not surprised)!
Donald Trump denied directing Rudy Giuliani to go to Ukraine to look for dirt on his political rivals, in an interview with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.
“No, I didn’t direct him, but he is a warrior, he is a warrior,” Trump told O’Reilly in an interview streamed on the internet on Tuesday.
Giuliani has said publicly that he conducted an investigation “concerning 2016 Ukrainian collusion and corruption” on Trump’s behalf.
Asked by O’Reilly what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine, Trump said “you have to ask that to Rudy.”
“Rudy has other clients, other than me,” Trump said. “He’s done a lot of work in Ukraine over the years. "  (our emphasis)
Coming next:  "I don't know him very well."

Then: "Who?"

Rudy, you're going down, so you better bring the receipts! 

Tweets Of The Day -- What Does Centennial Even Mean?

Caution:  Very Stable Genius at "work," getting things done:

Cheaters Gotta Cheat: Russian Doping Edition

Cheating in their own and in our elections are just a couple of things Russia cheats at. They famously cheat at sports. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has recommended that Russian athletes be banned for four years from international sporting events, following the discovery that positive drug tests were deleted from a Moscow lab's database. If those recommendations are approved by WADA's executive committee next month, the ban would result in Russian athletes being banned from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, among other major events:
"Wada’s compliance review committee has also recommended stripping Russia of sports events already awarded to the country 'unless it is legally or practically impossible to do so' and for Russian government officials to be barred from attending sporting events for the next four years. A ban for the same period on flying the Russian flag at major competitions would also apply." (our emphasis)
Ouch. If approved, the ban on Russian athletes would also extend to the next World Cup competition in Qatar in 2022. Of course, Russian doping of their athletes isn't a new phenomenon, it's in their < cough > DNA:
"Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang but was allowed by the International Olympic Committee to send a 168-strong team under the name Olympic Athlete from Russia. Those numbers were also restricted by the IOC, who vetted Russian athletes’ doping history and investigated whether they were implicated in any apparent cover-ups. [snip]
The news comes three years after a report by the Canadian law professor Richard McLaren concluded that more than 1,000 Russian athletes across more than 30 sports benefited from state-sponsored doping between 2012 and 2015.

McLaren said he had found 'a cover-up that operated on an unprecedented scale' and pointed the finger at the Russian ministry of sport, the Russian security services and the Russian anti-doping agency for creating what he called 'an institutional conspiracy across summer, winter and Paralympic sports.'” (our emphasis)
They apparently have never learned that they'll get caught if they dope their athletes, just like they got caught helping their asset Donald "Tovarich" Trump in 2016. The problem is, Russia hasn't been made to pay for the latter cheating scandal, and they left their dope in the Oval Office.

(photo: High -- very high -- jump champ Ivan Ukhov was previously banned)

Today's Cartoons

(click on images to enlarge)

(Nate Beeler, Counterpoint)
(Dave Whamond,

(Walt Handelsman, The Advocate, New Orleans)

(Tom Toles, Washington Post)

(Dan Wasserman, Boston Globe)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Clay Jones,

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee)

(Steve Breen, San Diego Union-Tribune)

(Dave Granlund,

(Jen Sorensen,