Monday, June 26, 2017

A New Here's to the State of Donald Trump

Just Some Links

This is a sad article from Ted Gup with a lot of sad numbers.

We know numbers can be numbing. Take the number 4,000. That is roughly how many are estimated to have died last year from drug overdoses in my home state of Ohio. That’s 60 percent of American deaths in all the years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Or half a million, the tally of overdoses nationwide from opioids and other drugs since 2000 — more than the number of Americans killed in World War II. As the totals grow, so does the numbness.

Must be numbers day. This is E. J. Dionne with 3 (potentially 4) big lies from the Senate on healthcare. 

Lie One: Democrats and progressives are unwilling to work with Republicans and conservatives on this issue.

Lie Two: This bill is primarily about improving health care for American families.

Lie Three: The Senate bill is a “compromise.

It'd be laughable if it wasn't so serious. 

A list of things that aren't normal from Amy Siskind. There are too  many to single out just a few.

And of course, Trump lies.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Changing Minds and Hearts

Yeah, probably not. PS LTTE:

     Hopefully enough time has passed so we can mention the shooting that wounded Rep. Scalise. As I write this, he is still hospitalized. We all wish him a speedy and full recovery. I also wish him and our representative a speedy change of heart.
     Mr. Scalise has received $18,900 from the NRA and Ms. Stefanik, $4000. Much has been said, in the wake of the shooting, about the lack of civility in our discourse. The NRA sells a T-shirt with an eagle clutching a rifle. The slogan is, "Because you can't fist fight tyranny." Classy. We have a healthy enough system of government and a free press to prevent tyrants from taking root. It's worked well so far and seems to still be.
     Maybe it's time for Congress to make gun policy without the aid of these lobbyists for the gun industry. Would merchants of death have been uncivil? It's past time to get rid of the Dickey Amendment prohibiting funding of the CDC to reduce gun deaths. Jay Dickey himself, before he passed, called for its repeal. How about our reps doing the very least they can to address the problem? They can do it while they wait for the white puffs of smoke from the Senate chimney portending the "new and improved" AHCA.

pro-gun t-shirts

Fuck the Green Party

John Cole went with fuck Jill Stein. He probably doesn't have a perennial GP candidate running for Congress in his district. A year from now I'll be listening to Matt Funiciello inform me, condescendingly, how there's no difference between Democrats and Republicans. Fuck the whole party.

Stein didn’t just attend the gala—dressed in a shimmering silver shawl, she sat at the same table as Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has barely disguised his glee at the political chaos that what he calls “patriotic” Russian hackers have unleashed in the United States. And she recorded a video from Moscow’s famous Red Square, in which she talked about “the need to rein in American exceptionalism” and replace “a U.S. policy based on domination”—words that sounded like they were ripped from Putin’s talking points.

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy nut myself, who knows what the Russians are capable of? Yes, I'm aware it sounds crazy. We'll see, though. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

PS Concern Trolling

The Post Star is concerned about the coarseness of our discourse after the shooting yesterday. The one where congressmen got shot not the one in San Francisco where 4 people died. I'll just recycle my comment from there. I'm Green like that and why mess with perfection.

Let’s end the jokes and the meanness and call out those who continue it.

Stop watching the cable news shows that have become a partisan divide and really try to understand an issue with some in-depth reading.

Turn off the late-night comics.

I suppose all of what you say is a nice thought. The comments preceding me shows that it's not going to happen. Personally, I don't watch TV and get my news from the WashPo and Guardian. Don't know how that places me as a partisan dweller with the editorial board of the PS. I know that my fellow commenters would say that that's "liberal media." Or worse. Not sure I even want to know what their news sources are. I have listened to right wing radio a bit. Don't ask me to give Breitbart or Drudge or Alex Jones a fair chance.

This latest gun tragedy, no not the one in SF where 4 people died, will do nothing to change our insane lack of gun laws and lack of concern about looking at ways to fix the problem. Repeal the Dickey Amendment! Many legislators' livelihoods depend on not doing anything about it.

I see that many on the right are pointing out that the shooter was a Sanders supporter (definitely not a HRC fan, FWIW). We can't allow his behavior to be generalized to all of us on the left. They cannot be allowed to use this to quash dissent toward the president's policies. I'm a little concerned that this editorial is leaning in that direction.

As far as "end the jokes" and "turn off the late night comics." Absolutely not! Satire is more essential than ever now. Sometimes comics go too far. Sometimes commenters go too far. That doesn't mean we should stop. Maybe an apology is in order occasionally. So be it. This is a president who has been married 3 times and cheated on, presumably (but certainly the first 2), all three wives. Then, he has the audacity (of chutzpah, not hope) to go in front of a group of evangelicals and say "we're under siege." Apparently Topo Gigio was in his pocket.  What? We're not supposed to joke about this guy? Do you take him seriously?

Don's and Ed's little friend. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Who Would Work for Deadbeat Donald?

Why would these law firms have represented him against people he hadn't paid? Why would they they think he was going to pay them?

And John Oliver on the Comey testimony

Someone's Got Muellergrets (or What Would J Edgar Do?)

Actually it seems like a few wingnuts do.

Popular conservative commentators like firebrand author Ann Coulter, pro-Trump radio host Bill Mitchell, Town Hall columnist Kurt Schlichter, and longtime Trump political adviser Roger Stone echoed Gingrich.

So, like Newt Gingrich, these people were for Robert Mueller before they were against him. I suppose Coulter is out trying to pump up her flagging book sales. Mitchell I've never heard of and likely few other people have either. Schlichter, I thought was the former quarterback with the gambling problem. I'm a little disappointed it wasn't. The only things said about Stone should be at his upcoming trial. 

So, they're all calling for Mueller to step down or be fired because James Comey talked to him about the testimony to make certain he wasn't saying anything he shouldn't. I'm sure he'll pack his bags and go home to satisfy this group of nobodies. 

Another Dissenting Voice on AHCA

The Albany Times Union finds much to dislike in Paul Ryan's monster.

The proposed federal legislation, currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate, would destabilize the individual health insurance market and increase premiums and out-of-pocket costs for lower-income New Yorkers who buy policies through NY State of Health, the state’s online exchange established under Obamacare.

Of particular concern for New York, the report said, are tax credits in the Republican proposal that are based on age rather than income or the cost of coverage, as under the current system.


Funding for about 25 percent of New York’s Essential Plan would also be cut under the Republican proposal, the UHF report said. The Essential Plan offers health coverage with premiums of $20 a month or less to about 650,000 New Yorkers above the income eligibility level for Medicaid.

Thank you, Governor Cuomo.

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signaled his intent to maintain Obamacare in New York, with the announcement of emergency regulations that would keep the federal law’s provisions intact and penalize health insurers if they withdraw from NY State of Health.

Of course, that was gentle compared to the Washington Post.

Key Republicans understand the damage they are doing. “Insurers have made clear the lack of certainty is causing 2018 proposed premiums to rise significantly,” House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) said Thursday, arguing that Congress should step in. As the administration still appears determined to stoke uncertainty, lawmakers would have to move quickly to prevent more damage.

The question of cost-sharing reductions is only the biggest of many fears the Trump administration is inspiring. The president’s maladministration could include lax enforcement of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance, inadequate efforts to enroll more people in coverage and other gratuitous subversions of the finely tuned system Obamacare sought to create.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Russian Collusion is Fun

But, let's get to the meat. And I say that as a (mostly) vegan.

We were reminded Tuesday afternoon just how vast Trump’s potential problems are when Forbes’ Dan Alexander broke the news that Eric Trump’s charitable foundation has been lying to its donors and funneling significant sums of money right into his father’s pockets.

Ripping off kids with cancer. Yes, that's certainly a start. I'm really holding out for the money laundering. Hey, the more charges the better, though. 

“Even if the Eric Trump Foundation had to pay the full rate for literally everything,” Alexander writes, “Forbes couldn't come up with a plausible path to $322,000 given the parameters of the annual event (a golf outing for about 200 and dinner for perhaps 400 more).”

Put the whole criminal family behind bars. 

Looking back over the course of Trump’s business career, it’s striking how frequently he’s been caught breaking the law.

Very early on in his casino career he avoided bankruptcy only with the help of an illegal loan from his father. And from his empty-box tax scam to money laundering at his casinos to racial discrimination in his apartments to Federal Trade Commission violations for his stock purchases to Securities and Exchange Commission violations for his financial reporting, Trump has spent his entire career breaking various laws, getting caught, and then essentially plowing ahead unharmed. When he was caught engaging in illegal racial discrimination to please a mob boss, he paid a fine. There was no sense that this was a repeated pattern of violating racial discrimination law, and certainly no desire to take a closer look at his various personal and professional connections to the mafia.

Trump even paid out a $25 million civil settlement to make fraud claims against his fake university go away. And, remarkably, the fact that his university was fake wasn’t even the fraudulent part.

Yes, lock up Barron, too. He comes from bad stock.

I know Trump said he was vindicated by Comey's testimony. I don't think he can take much more vindication like that. 

Religion is the Last Refuge of a Scoundrel

And here I'd thought it was patriotism.

President Trump sought comfort in the figurative embrace of his evangelical supporters Thursday as the FBI director he recently fired told Congress about their conversations. The president told a religious gathering that “we’re under siege” but will emerge “bigger and better and stronger than ever.”

Could that be any funnier? Bible dudes, he's not one of you. He's one of those false prophets Jesus talked about. 

Courtesy of Elise's FB Page

Can't believe how much great stuff is shared on my wingnut rep's FB page. Apparently someone went all Secret Agent Man Devin Nunes at a meeting Rep. Sally from Arizona had with some bankers.

McSally complained that President Donald Trump and his tweets were creating troubling "distractions" and "it's basically being taken out on me. Any Republican member of Congress, you are going down with the ship. And we're going to hand the gavel to Pelosi in 2018, they only need 28 seats and the path to that gavel being handed over is through my seat. And right now, it doesn't matter that it's me, it doesn't matter what I've done. I have an 'R' next to my name and right now, this environment would have me not prevail."

Admittedly, McSally was making these comments as she was asking the bankers to open their checkbooks for her reelection campaign, so it could well be that she was just doing the ol' fear-mongering-for-dollars act. 

Wonder if Elise is running around with the same spiel. I loved that 5 members of the Indivisible group got tickets to the talk, but then 4 were revoked. Oops, they missed one.

But the fifth member (whose identity The Skinny is not privy to) did manage to appear bankerly enough to crash the party—and the spy recorded McSally's entire speech for the Randall's group, and from there, it fell into our hands.

Yes, I believe she has a lot of Stefanik in her.

Randall says she's still hoping McSally will do some open town halls in Tucson so her group won't have to resort to subterfuge to try to find out her positions.

"I'm pretty angry that she was willing to talk to out-of-district bankers but she's not willing to talk to us," Randall said.

All we are saying is give town halls a chance.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Senator King Questions Mealy Mouthed Motherfuckers

And does anyone know how to pronounce herculean

Dan Coats is taking the “intelligence” out of “national intelligence director.”

Testifying with Trump administration colleagues Wednesday to the Senate Intelligence Committee, 

Coats read aloud from his written testimony about “herculean” efforts made by the National Security Agency.

“The NSA has made her-cyur-ROO-lian — this is hard for me to say,” said President Trump’s national intelligence director, a former Republican senator from Indiana. “They have made extensive efforts. Her-CYOO-lian, I think, is the, uh –”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, a fellow witness, intervened. “Her-cyoo-LEE-an,” he coached.

“Say that again?” Coats requested.

Bonus Angus.

The Price of Fake News

What Alex Jones and his ilk have wrought.

A Florida woman who sent death threats to the father of a boy who was killed in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School has been sentenced to five months in federal prison.

Lucy Richards, 57, who believes the shooting that killed 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, was all a hoax, was sentenced on Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale after pleading guilty to transmitting threats in interstate commerce.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

No Sword Dance For You

Mayor Khan of London is keeping the red carpet rolled up for Trump's visit in the fall.

“I think one of the things, when you have a special relationship, is no different to when you’ve got a close mate,” he continued. “You stand with them in times of adversity, but you call them out when they’re wrong. And there are many things about which Donald Trump is wrong.”

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mr. Chivalry

Nice Company You're Keeping, Elise

What the hell, though. This woman (and Elise) represent the crazy that makes up the Republican base.

NCPR was able to confirm that as early as 2011, Ashendorff was claiming inaccurately that Barack Obama is a Muslim who in Ashendorff’s words “hates Jews.”

In 2015, Ashendorff posted another inaccurate claim that then-CIA director John Brennan converted to Islam secretly while stationed in Saudi Arabia, a conspiracy theory distributed widely in far-right circles. 

Oh yes, she's a Seth Rich Truther, too. Done in by serial killer, Hillary Clinton, I believe. 

Blind Eye to Some Terror

Philip Bump on the difference in Trump response times to various acts of terror.

Critics of the president were quick to note how long it took Trump to get around to any mention of the Portland attacks, and from his secondary Twitter account. Compared with violent incidents that were a function of Islamic terrorism, the demure @POTUS tweet was remarkably late.

And Jen Rubin, bless her heart:

Meanwhile — and it pains me to write this — our president acted like a clod, a heartless and dull-witted thug in sending out a series of tweets. He — commander in chief and leader of the Free World — first retweeted an unverified, unofficial Drudge headline about the unfolding terrorist attack. Then he aimed to bolster his Muslim travel ban (which is not supposed to be a Muslim travel ban). “We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” he tweeted. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!” (Aside from the inappropriateness of President Trump’s tweet, he fails to grasp that the courts in these cases are reaffirming our rights against an overreaching, discriminatory edict.)

I have no doubt that it does cause her pain to write it. To experience her agony in full, go read the whole column.

Friday, June 2, 2017


I hope not.

Twelve years later, as Democrats swept back into the majority, their victories included the defeat of a 30-year incumbent from Iowa, Republican Jim Leach, and a 26-year veteran from South Florida, E. Clay Shaw Jr., who two years earlier had won with 63 percent of the vote.

That's funny. Elise got 63% in November. 

David Bromberg

I dropped a link at Infidels'. Why not end the week with a full concert.

And I have it on good authority that he is not a Randian. Around 43:15 is Danger Man. Think of Jared Kushner while listening to it. It's just eerily prophetic. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Charles Pierce on the Greatest Story Ever Yet To Be Told

Waiting, just waiting.

Weissmann is a wartime consigliere about this stuff. He has worked as both a prosecutor and a defense lawyer in the area of white-collar crime. His specialty is international financial fraud, and unwinding its complexities in such a way that the rest of us schmoes can understand. And we, the schmoes of the world, make up jury pools. Robert Mueller is not fooling around and, for all the bizarre behavior concerning secure comms and Russian ambassadors, he seems to have homed in already on the key to the whole sorry mess. Somewhere, at the heart of it, there's nothing more or less banal than the classic American hunger for a quick and easy buck. That's where this whole thing is headed.

Prudes in Hometown

I suppose I should show the cartoon first. Leave now if you're easily shocked. Don't say I didn't warn you.

On to the upstate NY blue noses. First up, Dean Pickett

The illustration in Saturday, May 20 Viewpoints was not fit for publication in any local paper that minors read. It is disgusting pornography designed to denigrate our president and in turn every citizen in this country. It is beneath the moral integrity of your publication and most of your subscribers.  

Second is an old favorite in Hometown, John Siebrecht. Such a favorite that his last name didn't even upset the spell check. Kudos John. 

Boo to The Post-Star for the outrageous "cartoon" of our president wearing only a leaf and depicted as a lazy pervert touching hands with the just recently departed Roger Ailes. Roger Ailes, a colleague of yours, is also naked with frightened children scattered about. One such child is down around Mr. Ailes’ waist, with only the back of his head visible.

I've been trying with some success to limit my LTTEs. There is only so much stupidity I can stand, though. 

       I'm writing in response to the two letters about the editorial cartoon, "The Creation ..." Dean Pickett says, "It is disgusting pornography designed to denigrate our president and in turn every citizen in the country." The cartoon was obviously inspired by "The Creation of Adam" which graces the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Maybe it has been described as "disgusting pornography," but probably not often. Personally, I didn't feel denigrated. But then, I've been called a nihilist. 
     John Siebrecht writes, "our president wearing only a leaf and depicted as a lazy pervert touching hands with ... Roger Ailes." It's hard to believe anyone ever looked at the original and opined that Adam was being portrayed as a "lazy pervert." Michelangelo didn't even cover him with a fig leaf. Creation, then Tree of Knowledge, then fig leaf; the rest is history. Ailes as God is the truly disturbing part. Mr. Siebrecht is also upset about the position of one "child" (the age is nebulous). I'll recommend an article, "6More Women Allege That Roger Ailes Sexually Harassed Them." It's online in New York Magazine. One of them was 16 at the time. At least he didn't draw smutty cartoons for the Post Star.
     The point of the editorializing was that Ailes is responsible for the Trump presidency. He was a right wing propagandist with no regard for journalism. I doubt any folks at the Post Star would claim him as a colleague, as Siebrecht suggests. Anyone upset by this drawing should probably leave the kids home if they visit the Vatican. The art it's based on is more explicit and much more realistic. 

Yes, you dear online reader get a link. If the cartoon shocked you, Ailes' behavior will be way beyond the pale, I'm afraid.