Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Tjeerd Royaards, @Newsweek_JAPAN)

(Jeff Darcy, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat Gazette)

(Guy Parsons, politicalcartoons.com)

(Jack Ohman, Tribune Content Agency)

(Nick Anderson, Reform Austin News, TX)

(Frank Hansen, caglecartoons.com)

(Daniel Boris, dailycartoonist.com)

(Andy Marlette, Creators.com)

(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(Paul Fell, Artizans.com)

(Dan Misdea, @airmailweekly)

Tweets / Xeets Of The Day


Hopefully Noem's political obituary is being written --




Judge Merchan fines Trump $9,000 for violating gag order. Jail time coming soon? -- 


The Malignant Loser's unbiased "legal scholars" --

Speaking of "legal scholars," wingnut provocateur Charlie Kirk isn't one -- 

Students "liberate" Columbia's Hamilton Hall (armed with Blue Books and backpacks?) -- 

The urgency of rushing anti-missile defenses to a Ukraine under criminal Russian attacks --



Demagogue Sen. Tom Cotton, another blatant MAGA liar and hypocrite --

Amen. --

No hard seltzer was harmed in the making of this video --




QOTD -- "If He Wins"


TIME's Eric Cortellessa conducted a wide- ranging interview of the Malignant Loser/ Don Snoreleone that's out today.  As you might expect, the sociopathic narcissist had a plethora of bizarre, un-American, un-democratic views bolstered by lies and his deranged, disordered "thinking."  One paragraph, which touches on the likelihood of Coup 2.0,  is as illustrative as any:

"... Trump does not dismiss the possibility of political violence around the election. “If we don’t win, you know, it depends,” he tells TIME. “It always depends on the fairness of the election.” When I ask what he meant when he baselessly claimed on Truth Social that a stolen election “allows for the termination of all rules, regulations and articles, even those found in the Constitution,” Trump responded by denying he had said it. He then complained about the “Biden-inspired” court case he faces in New York and suggested that the “fascists” in America’s government were its greatest threat. “I think the enemy from within, in many cases, is much more dangerous for our country than the outside enemies of China, Russia, and various others,” he tells me..."

To quote Colin Jost, "And the race is tied?!?"  Chalk it up to the Malignant Loser's "poorly educated" MAGAts?

If you have the stomach, read the entire interview, then show all or any part of it to anyone you know who is unsure who they'll vote for in November.  

BONUS:  This doesn't end with the Malignant Loser.  His fascist followers are working at the state level to weed out democracy in all it's heinous forms.  If you can't win elections, don't let people vote in them!

Scratch Another Off Trump's VP List


They're falling like rotten apples from a rotten tree:

"Former President Donald Trump has reportedly expressed disappointment in South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem after she revealed that she killed her puppy.

In the upcoming book, Noem wrote about how she was forced to shoot Cricket, her dog, because of its aggressive personality. [snip]

Noem, a Republican Governor, has reportedly lost her opportunity to be Trump's Vice President pick.

The loss comes after an excerpt from her upcoming book, "No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward" was released.

Sources close to Trump revealed to the New York Post that the ex-president's team was shocked to hear of Noem's detailed story about how she shot and killed her dog in the book.

An insider said, 'She was already unlikely to be picked as VP, but had a shot. After this, it's just impossible.' Noem was rumored to be an option for Trump's Vice President position.

Another source told the publication that the former US president 'likes Kristi a lot' but was very 'disappointed' to hear the story about her dog." (our emphasis)

When the zealous, lying loser Kari "Shallow" Lake was banished from Merde O'Lardo (story below), the cruel governor of South Dakota must have thought her chances of being on the Malignant Loser's ticket were improving. Her abject sycophancy was on display a few years ago when she presented the Malignant Loser with a four foot replica of Mt. Rushmore with his face added.  Until her "political suicide" over killing an unruly puppy was published, she was appearing in numerous venues as a Malignant Loser surrogate. The story has outraged most people across the political spectrum, and the fact that she's out defending it tells you everything you need to know about this horrible person.


Scratch One Off Trump's VP List


Looks like we can scratch failed Arizona MAGAt loon Kari "Shallow" Lake off the Malignant Loser's potential running mate list:

Former president Donald Trump has long had a soft spot for his acolyte Kari Lake, the expected GOP Senate nominee in Arizona, joking that Lake would pivot to his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen even if she was asked about the weather.

But since Lake jumped into the race, Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about her political prospects in a state he sees as key to his bid to return to the White House, and has shown annoyance with her frequent presence at his Florida resort, according to five people close to him, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe his comments.

At one point last year, after grumbling for months that she was at his Mar-a-Lago Club too often, Trump gently suggested to Lake that she should leave the club and hit the campaign trail in Arizona, according to a person with direct knowledge of his comments. Trump has also asked others if she can really win in Arizona and if she might drag down his own poll numbers as he seeks the presidency again in 2024, advisers said.

So far, there has been no public schism between Trump and Lake, and the Senate candidate was at Mar-a-Lago again this month for a fundraiser. But Trump’s frustration with Lake has only increased over the past year, heightening the tension between the presumptive GOP presidential nominee and one of his most prominent followers — casting doubt on whether Republicans can present a sufficiently united front to win a key U.S. Senate contest and a presidential battleground state.

Trump has now all but ruled out Lake as a vice-presidential pick, remarking to multiple advisers that he would not choose her as vice president because she lost the 2022 gubernatorial race in Arizona, which he believed was winnable. “She didn’t win,” he told one political ally over dinner at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year...

Spoiler alert:  she won't win again (and neither will the Malignant Loser -- you heard that right).

Overstaying her welcome at Mar-a-Lardo like an impoverished distant relative, Lake was likely hoping for lots of face time to convince the Malignant Loser to pick her as his VP running mate, so she could avoid losing again in Arizona.  Bad gambit!  

With South Dakota's psycho MAGAt Gov. Kristi Noem's self- inflicted wound over the puppy- killing admission in her book, the Malignant Loser's options for a female running mate are running low.  Who next?  Incompetent lawyer Alina Habba (who would prefer to be wife #4)?   Parodied puerile drama queen Sen. Katie Britt (Alabammy)?  Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (um, she supported Bootsie -- no loyalty!)?   Melania and Ivanka are avoiding him like grim death. 

He may have to run with the next best thing:  Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry" Graham.

(Photo: a love affair gone sour -- hey, watch those hands!/ Antranik Tavitian, The Republic via USA Today Network)


Monday, April 29, 2024

Vid Of The Day: "Partisan Derangement Syndrome"


New ad from Republican Voters Against Trump highlights some of the spineless enablers that the Malignant Loser / Al Caporn is counting on to cave and boost his campaign, and put party over country:

Tweets / Xeets Of The Day


He must've taken President Biden's WHCA remarks to heart --



Sunlight is the best disinfectant --


Evergreen --


It's a conundrum --


It might be a conundrum if Thomas had ethics --


... or shitstains like Bill "Low" Barr --


... or lying MAGAt sleazebags like Santos/ Kitara/ Anthony Devolder --


Bootsie kisses the ass ... er, ring.  Weak!  --


The MAGAt mindhive is alive and well in Georgia and New Jersey --



Dem Rep. Moskowitz trolls potential Trump VP pick, puppy killer Noem --



Comments As Week 2 Of Trump Trial Begins

Salon.com's Chauncey Devega has collected some observations as the second week of the Malignant Loser / Don Snoreleone / Rip van Stinkle's trial in the hush money / election interference case begins. Some excerpts

Cheri Jacobus, ex-Republican strategist:

"Trump seems small, shriveled, old, pathetic, and weak, falling asleep, (among other things), and whining in pressers and on Truth Social to the point where anyone else would have been tossed in the slammer for violating the gag order. He has no family with him, no friends, and mistakenly thought the streets around the courthouse were blocked because the streets were void of pro-Trump protesters. In fact, the main street was open and only one Trump supporter showed up. [snip]

 Trump's cartoonish image of "strength" fed to the unwashed masses at his rallies and who watch FOX News does not hold up in the harsh reality of a Manhattan courtroom. His makeup is gaudy and weird, he doesn't get the special lighting, there is no music for his "entrance", and no sea of MAGA red hats."  (our emphasis)

Dr. John Gartner, psychologist and author of "The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President":

"Trump's trial in Manhattan is providing more evidence of his apparent cognitive decline. Trump fell asleep 4 out of 6 days of his own trial. Falling asleep is not in and of itself particularly specific to dementia. I fall asleep at dinner parties, because I’m old and work too hard. Bill Clinton was famous for it. But can you remember a criminal defendant repeatedly unable to stay awake at his own trial? I can’t. It’s obviously very rare. [snip]

However, dementia patients frequently pass out during the day. And come to think of it, this may be the first criminal trial I’ve been aware of where the defendant appears, in my opinion, to have dementia. Is it a coincidence that it’s also the only one I’ve ever known where the defendant can’t remain awake most days? Trump appears to be losing control of his basic biological functions. One is sleep-wake. The other may be excretion. Twitter blew up when both Ben Meiselas and George Conway reported they had heard from multiple credible sources in the courtroom that Trump was loudly passing gas, and the smell was overpowering.This was judged by Snopes to be unconfirmed. But, personally, I happen to trust the people who reported it. I don’t believe they would make that up. There have been unconfirmed reports of Trump using adult diapers.

Normally, this would be a personal matter, but America really needs to know if Trump is incontinent. His apparent disease is progressing rapidly before our eyes and yet we’re being gaslit that this is 'Trump being Trump.' That’s true, but it is also Trump appears to be dementing, and the mainstream media doesn’t seem to want to report on that story." (our emphasis)

There are more observations from David Rothkopf and Brynn Tannehill, so please read Devega's entire article.  


Today's Tomorrow Cartoon


 (click to enlarge) 

 As protests and counter protests appear to spread at campuses over the dire situation in Gaza, college and local officials are presented with the problem of allowing protesters the right to demonstrate while not allowing hate speech and intimidation of students to occur. Calls for involving the National Guard are extreme, as are some protesters' genocidal call for "free Palestine" / the elimination of Israel. A steady and patient approach on the part of officials is what's needed at this point, but may not hold given the heated and volatile environment.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly


The good:

A history professor whose formula has successfully predicted the outcome of all but one presidential election since 1984 has indicated that President Joe Biden is tracking to win in 2024.

Allan Lichtman, who has been teaching at American University for five decades, uses a system of 13 “keys” to the White House to make his call.

In a recent interview with the Guardian, Lichtman noted that Biden has already got two keys under his belt: the incumbency key, and the contest key, after he faced no serious contenders for the incumbent party nomination.

“That’s two keys off the top. That means six more keys would have to fall to predict his defeat. A lot would have to go wrong for Biden to lose,” Lichtman said.

He will likely make his final prediction in August, according to the Guardian.

The other keys, which are structured as true or false questions, include whether or not the incumbent candidate has been tainted by a major scandal, whether there has been social unrest during the term, whether the incumbent has achieved major military successes or failures, and whether or not the challenging candidate is charismatic or a national hero.

The only blemish on Lichtman’s record is in 2000, when he predicted that Al Gore would defeat George W. Bush.

But Lichtman claims that call was nonetheless correct, since Gore won the popular vote. He contends that Gore would have won the election was he not wronged in Florida, which Bush won by a razor thin margin, prompting a recount dispute and highly controversial Supreme Court decision.

He was among a select few who predicted former President Donald Trump’s win in 2016...

As with polls six months out from an election, take this with more than a ton of salt, and keep doing the necessary hard work to win (volunteer, donate, vote).  But, let's face it: he does have a better record than any polling outfit we've ever seen.

The bad:

“I’m profoundly disturbed about the apparent direction of the court,” J. Michael Luttig told me. “I now believe that it is unlikely Trump will ever be tried for the crimes he committed in attempting to overturn the 2020 election.”

I called Luttig, a former federal judge with extensive conservative credentials, to solicit his reaction to this week’s Supreme Court hearing over Donald Trump’s demand for absolute immunity from prosecution for any crimes related to his insurrection attempt. On Thursday, Luttig posted a thread critiquing the right-wing justices for their apparent openness to Trump’s arguments—but that thread was legalistic and formal, so I figured Luttig had a lot more to say.

And did he ever. Luttig lacerated the right-wing justices for harboring a “radical vision” of the American presidency, and pronounced himself “gravely” worried that Trump will never face accountability for alleged crimes committed in attempting to destroy U.S. democracy through extensive procedural corruption and the naked incitement of mob violence.

Luttig’s fear that Trump may very well skate centers on the lines of questioning from the court’s right-wing majority about Special Counsel Jack Smith’s ongoing prosecution of Trump. As many observers noted, those justices appeared largely uninterested in the question before them—whether Trump’s alleged crimes related to the insurrection constituted official presidential acts that are immune from prosecution after leaving office.

Instead, the justices dwelled on the supposed future consequences of prosecuting presidents for crimes, and seemed to want to place some limits on that eventuality. That suggests the justices will kick the case back to lower courts to determine whether some definition of official presidential acts must be protected (and whether Trump’s specific acts qualify).

The corrupt Republican Supreme Court already showed its hand by accepting an appeal on what was a slam-dunk finding by the appeals court, then dragging out hearings until the end of its term in April.  That they appear at best to be headed toward a mixed bag of opinions and possibly remanding it back to the trial court means more delay and judicial obfuscation in service to one Malignant Loser.

The ugly

Dueling demonstrations on the UCLA campus Sunday resulted in skirmishes between groups showing support for an encampment of pro-Palestinian protesters and counter-protesters rallying around the university's Jewish students.

A group of demonstrators "breached a barrier that the university had established separating two groups of protestors on our campus, resulting in physical altercations," according to a statement from Mary Osako, vice chancellor of UCLA strategic communications. "UCLA has a long history of being a place of peaceful protest, and we are heartbroken about the violence that broke out."

The Westwood campus protests followed similar demonstrations on the campus at the University of Southern California, amid a controversy over the school's decision to cancel the valedictorian's speech. The USC protests also experienced some minor clashes in the crowd, along with dozens of arrests.

It's unclear if anybody was arrested at UCLA on Sunday. Video showed most of the confrontations involved pushing and yelling. Some minor injuries were reported...

When legitimate protests turn violent, the reaction is for police to be called in and start cracking heads. That serves no one except some police who like to beat up people and some people who like being beat up for the cameras.  All that is needed is for someone, somewhere to be seriously injured or killed and the fat will be in the fire.  The evil Hamas terrorist attack and Netanyahu's unrestrained response now have consequences that have washed up on our shores.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Across The Universe, Cont. -- Little Dumbell Nebula


(click on image to enlarge)

From NAASA/ESA, April 23, 2024: In celebration of the 34th anniversary of the launch of the legendary NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers took a snapshot of the Little Dumbbell Nebula (also known as Messier 76, M76, or NGC 650/651) located 3400 light-years away in the northern circumpolar constellation Perseus. The photogenic nebula is a favourite target of amateur astronomers.

M76 is classified as a planetary nebula. This is a misnomer because it is unrelated to planets. But its round shape suggested it was a planet to astronomers who first viewed it through low-power telescopes. In reality, a planetary nebula is an expanding shell of glowing gases that were ejected from a dying red giant star. The star eventually collapses to an ultra-dense, hot white dwarf.

M76 is composed of a ring, seen edge-on as the central bar structure, and two lobes on either opening of the ring. Before the star burned out, it ejected the ring of gas and dust. The ring was probably sculpted by the effects of the star that once had a binary companion star. This sloughed-off material created a thick disc of dust and gas along the plane of the companion’s orbit. The hypothetical companion star isn’t seen in the Hubble image, and so it could have been later swallowed by the central star. The disc would be forensic evidence for that stellar cannibalism.

The primary star is collapsing to form a white dwarf. It is one of the hottest stellar remnants known at a scorching 120 000 degrees Celsius, 24 times our Sun’s surface temperature. The sizzling white dwarf can be seen as a pinpoint in the centre of the nebula. A star visible in projection beneath it is not part of the nebula.

Pinched off by the disc, two lobes of hot gas are escaping from the top and bottom of the ‘belt’ along the star’s rotation axis that is perpendicular to the disc. They are being propelled by the hurricane-like outflow of material from the dying star, tearing across space at two million miles per hour. That’s fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in a little over seven minutes! This torrential ‘stellar wind’ is ploughing into cooler, slower-moving gas that was ejected at an earlier stage in the star’s life, when it was a red giant. Ferocious ultraviolet radiation from the super-hot star is causing the gases to glow. The red colour is from nitrogen, and blue is from oxygen.

The entire nebula is a flash in the pan by cosmological timekeeping. It will vanish in about 15 000 years.

[Image description: A Hubble image of the Little Dumbbell Nebula. The name comes from its shape, which is a two-lobed structure of colourful, mottled glowing gases that resemble a balloon that has been pinched around a middle waist. Like an inflating balloon, the lobes are expanding into space from a dying star seen as a white dot in the centre. Blistering ultraviolet radiation from the super-hot star is causing the gases to glow. The red colour is from nitrogen, and blue is from oxygen.]

Credit:  NASA, ESA, STScI, A. Pagan (STScI)


Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(John Buss, @repeat1968; context here)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

(Ted Littleford, @tedlittleford)

(John Deering, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News)

(J.D. Crowe, Alabama Media Group)

(John Branch, Houston Chronicle)

(Ivan Ehlers, The New Yorker)

Vids Of The Day -- Decency


We already posted a quote from last night's White House Correspondents' Association dinner (a.k.a., "nerd prom"), but we wanted to share two clips of emcee Colin Jost of SNL that also spoke truth to the assembled "journalists."  Worth a look:




Lawsuits Take On Tesla's Autopilot Failures

Right-wing egomaniac and our would-be overlord Elon Musk has a big problem at Tesla. It's not only that the company's stock value is falling, and sales are dropping. His company is being sued in multiple venues for the car's Autopilot failures, which have resulted in numerous serious crashes. From the Washington Post:

"At least eight lawsuits headed to trial in the coming year — including two that haven’t been previously reported — involve fatal or otherwise serious crashes that occurred while the driver was allegedly relying on Autopilot. The complaints argue that Tesla exaggerated the capabilities of the feature, which controls steering, speed and other actions typically left to the driver. As a result, the lawsuits claim, the company created a false sense of complacency that led the drivers to tragedy.

Evidence emerging in the cases — including dash-cam video obtained by The Washington Post — offers sometimes-shocking details: In Phoenix, a woman allegedly relying on Autopilot plows into a disabled car and is then struck and killed by another vehicle after exiting her Tesla. In Tennessee, an intoxicated man allegedly using Autopilot drives down the wrong side of the road for several minutes before barreling into an oncoming car, killing the 20-year-old inside."  (our emphasis)

Meanwhile, Musk is arrogantly predicting AI will be the savior of his company, as he is staking much of his electric vehicle efforts on what he calls the "robotaxi":

"To allay investors’ concerns, Musk has made lofty promises about launching a fully autonomous 'robotaxi' in August. Soon, he said during Tuesday’s earnings call, driving a car will be like riding an elevator: you get on and get out at your destination.

'We should be thought of as an AI or robotics company,' Musk told investors. 'If somebody doesn’t believe Tesla is going to solve autonomy, I think they should not be an investor in the company. But we will.'”

Musk's "lofty promises" are causing too many to put their lives in his greedy and indifferent hands, while he works on solving autonomy. It's hard to comprehend that this erratic mogul's SpaceX company also has a virtual lock on NASA's space flight program, and its subsidiary Starlink satellite system which Ukraine relies on. It's like giving a James Bond villain the the nuclear codebook, which may be his next goal.


Sunday Reflection: Prejudice And Faith

"Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends." - from "Go Set a Watchman", the second and final novel by author Harper Lee (4/28/1926 - 2/19/2016). Her bestselling masterpiece "To Kill A Mockingbird" won Lee the 1961 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She later went on to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts for her work.

(photo: Lee in 2010. Penny Weaver)


QOTD -- Deaf Ears?


"... I'm sincerely not asking you to take sides. I'm asking you to rise up to the seriousness of the moment. Move past the horse race numbers and the gotcha moments and the distractions, the sideshows that have come to dominate and sensationalize our politics, and focus on what's actually at stake..." -- President Biden at last night's White House Correspondents' Association dinner, admonishing our puerile media to recognize what's at stake in this election, even more so than it was in 2020 -- the preservation of our democracy.  Sadly, this likely fell on hundreds of deaf ears in the audience.  If you Google the dinner, you'll find the predominant top line coverage is of the President's "zingers" in describing the Malignant Loser, and of the pro- Palestinian protests outside the dinner venue.  Sic transit gloria, America.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Today's Cartoons


(click on images to enlarge)

(Bill Bramhall, New York Daily News)

(Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune)

(Ann Telnaes, Washington Post)

(Matt Wuerker, Politico)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press)

(Bruce Plante, caglecartoons.com)

(Robert Ariail, Spartanburg Herald-Journal, SC)

(Ward Sutton, The Boston Globe)

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

(Steve Breen, Creators.com)

(Jack Ohman, San Francisco Chronicle)

(Ali Solomon Mainhart, @alisolomain)

QOTD: Republican Governors And Unions

Thom Hartmann, writing for CommonDreams.org about the recent victory by the UAW to organize in the hostile South:

"The UAW’s successful unionization effort last week at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee—the first successful unionization effort at a car factory in the South since the 1940s—is breaking the brains of Republicans in that region. They’re truly astonished that workers might not trust their corporate overlords with their working conditions, pay, health, and retirement. [snip]

Southern autoworkers, though, aren’t listening to the GOP’s BS any more: A unionization vote is set for the week of May 13 at a Mercedes plant in Alabama, and more than half the workers there have already signed a card indicating their desire for union representation.

The problem for Republicans is that unions represent a form of democracy in the workplace, and the GOP hates democracy as a matter of principle. It’s why conservatives have opposed every effort to expand voting rights from the Jim Crow era, through fighting woman’s suffrage, to opposing voting rights legislation from 1965 to this day." (our emphasis)

The six MAGA Republican governors' statement that Hartmann reproduces is a reactionary, pre-New Deal screed that belongs in the 19th century, as does their corrupt party.

The UAW's successful fight against the major automakers last fall provided a big spark to union organizing, with President Biden walking the picket lines as the most pro-union President. The UAW got wage increases that reflected the wages and benefits they gave up when the industry was struggling, only to have the corporations deny them later.


Tweets / Xeets Of The Day


Corrupt Republican SCOTUS will find a way --


Yoo- hoo, Melon Melania! -- 




Puppy-killing Republican VP material --





More trash Republicans --



Slovakia (and Hungary) deserves a government worthy of its citizens --



Rejected with prejudice --




The Master Of Corruption And His Subjects


We're offering this extended excerpt from Francis Wilkinson's op/ ed in yesterday's Los Angeles Times because it powerfully distills the essence of the rot pervasive in the cult of the Malignant Loser, most recently seen in the corrupt workings of the Republican Supreme Court:

I have badly underestimated Donald Trump. Thursday was the day that his justices — it turns out that they are indeed his justices on the Supreme Court, just as he claimed — got it through my thick head: Trump is not just competent but masterful. He is not just capable, he is supreme.

Because Trump is clumsy at his alleged crimes, surrounding himself with flagrant thugs, telling obvious lies, leaving prolific trails of damning evidence, offering ridiculous defenses for indefensible conduct, I had long concluded that he is incompetent at crookery along with his other manifest failings. That’s true as far as it goes. But for all his mad greed and compulsive lawlessness, for all his sleaze and stupidity, crime is ultimately not Trump’s game. Trump is nothing like a master criminal. But he is a master of something far more sinister and complex: corruption.

Crime is a largely private endeavor. Corruption is public. It seeps into the muscle and sinew of democratic society and institutions; it devours from within. The Supreme Court, drunk on arrogated power, cut loose from rudimentary ethics, has been eaten alive by it. But the court is just one plot of a vast terrain that Trump has conquered — not with crime, but corruption.  [snip]

Trump has already succeeded at corrupting much of what’s corruptible. Government. Elections. Foreign policy. Democracy. Religion. Above all, people, and mostly men. Truckloads, boatloads, tiki-torch-parade-loads, courtloads of weak men all standing in the shadow that Trump casts.

The Republican Party has been corrupted absolutely. House Republicans have combined McCarthyism with Larry, Moe and Curlyism to twist Congress to comically corrupt ends — all to serve the greater degeneracy of Trump. In the Senate, the young hyenas, Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), study Trump’s demagogy and lick their chops, hoping for a turn at democracy’s carcass.

The establishment has utterly caved. Former Atty. Gen. William Barr’s endorsement of Trump this week, after having called Trump unfit, a psychologically damaged incompetent who cares only about himself, was barely newsworthy. What is Barr but another in the long line of weak men, one more debased Republican offering fealty to the grease king? Trump thanked Barr by humiliating him again.

But it was the Republican Supreme Court — mostly men again — that put the shiv a little deeper in democracy’s back this week. Originalists or textualists, all sounded more or less Trumpist as they seriously entertained Trump’s argument that his assaults on the constitutional order are protected by the Constitution itself. There is no way to make honest sense of such a liar’s mash. But Larry, Moe and Curly aren’t just chairing committees in Congress. They wear robes and furrowed brows now, too. And they seem eager to pretend that crimes are just constitutional exercises of power, and that one ex-president is a king.

Richard Nixon, a self-made, and self-corrupted, man who studied geopolitics and government assiduously, never achieved such a broad subjugation of American values and institutions. Trump, the ignorant, n’er-do-well heir to his father’s crooked fortune, has achieved so much more. Trump hasn’t just captured the trenches of conservative America, he has taken the commanding heights. He owns all of it, from the most racist backwater saloon to the Federalist Society clubhouse. They are his corrupted subjects. He is their corrupt and demented king. If he can somehow get through the next few perilous months, he may yet render corruption sacred, and the republic irredeemable.

We may yet be irredeemable as a democratic republic, whether or not the Malignant Loser succeeds in winning the election.  Rot this pervasive isn't eradicated by one or two elections.  Does anyone doubt that if he loses he will call for a violent reaction?  Does anyone doubt that if he wins he'll forever change our country into the dystopian authoritarian regime he so admires in Russia, China, North Korea and elsewhere?  Institutions?  We've seen Masha Gessen's timeless warning that our institutions will not save us repeated over and over again.  For now, we need to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

(Photo:  Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast on Feb. 6, 2020, following the Senate's acquittal of him in his first impeachment trial / Evan Vucci, AP)