Monday, April 30, 2018

How Many Times Have You Broken My Heart?

Norah Jones

One of these days

Tom Tomorrow gives us a look at what might be the one Trump phone call to Fux & Fiends that is one call too far.

Donny's Swamp Thing

From the pen of Steve Sack

Ready, Aim, Kiss Ass

You say you need a job and you have no qualifications? Not to worry, just be willing to pucker up and kiss some yuge orange butt and you can get a lucrative position in the Trump administration.
There was just one problem: She had criticized Trump, repeatedly, during the 2016 Republican primaries. Flores’s prospects for a Justice Department job stalled, and Trump’s advisers knew there was only one way Sessions would be able to hire her: If she kowtowed to Trump.

So she paid her respects to the president in the Oval Office — a cordial visit during which she told the president she was on board with his agenda and would be honored to serve him, according to several people with knowledge of the meeting.

The early 2017 episode, which has not previously been reported, underscores the extent to which Trump demands loyalty in vetting administration officials — even well-qualified Republicans like Flores seeking jobs on the personal staffs of Cabinet secretaries, who historically have had considerable leeway to do their own hiring.

Credentialed candidates have had to prove loyalty to the president, with many still being blocked for previous anti-Trump statements. Hundreds of national security officials, for example, were nixed from consideration because they spoke out against Trump during the campaign. But for longtime Trump loyalists, their fidelity to the president is often sufficient, obscuring what in a more traditional administration would be red flags.

The failed nomination of Ronny L. Jackson, the president’s physician, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs was the latest example of the sometimes haphazard way Trump unilaterally elevates people with whom he has a personal rapport.

Trump’s operating principle is “ready, shoot, aim, as opposed to ready, aim, shoot,” said one White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to comment candidly,

A Republican strategist who works closely with the West Wing was even more blunt: “The Trump White House vetting machine is an oxymoron. There’s only one answer — Trump decides who he wants and tells people. That’s the vetting process.”

The result, as was the case with Jackson, is that many candidates who may not be considered qualified for their positions were thrust forward by the president before a thorough vetting of their professional and personal backgrounds could be completed — and without the necessary political support to help them weather challenges.

“They need to probably vet before they start throwing names out,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).

Walter Shaub, a former director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics who resigned last summer in protest of Trump’s conduct, said the president’s “ethics are based on loyalty.” Shaub said he repeatedly told administration officials that they should slow down and vet candidates.

He added, “When you make the announcement before you do all of the work, you could end up embarrassing the nominee.”
If you need confirmation it might be a problem but if you are any good a lying Trump will never know and you can count on Congressional Republicans rubber stamping you job unless you are truly vile.

Mike Pompeo happy with cross border murder

As long as it is done by our staunch friends the Israelis. After all, without some live fire targets, an army's marksmen can get rusty and fail the next time Bibi and the boys decide to attack another neighbor.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in Jordan at the end of a four-day, four-nation tour through the Middle East, expressed support on Monday for Israel and its response to weekly protests in Gaza that have left dozens of people dead.

“We do believe the Israelis have the right to defend themselves, and we’re fully supportive of that,” he said at a news conference with Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian foreign minister, when asked about the protests.

Mr. Pompeo, the former C.I.A. director who headed overseas almost immediately after he was sworn in on Thursday, also refused to fully endorse the two-state solution, the longtime policy of the United States before the Trump administration, to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“With respect to the two-state solution, the parties will ultimately make the decision about what the right resolution is,” he said. “We’re certainly open to a two-party solution as a likely outcome. We certainly believe the Israelis and Palestinians need to have political engagement. We urge the Palestinians to return to that political dialogue.”

Mr. Pompeo’s remarks came a day after he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, but there were no discussions with Palestinian leaders, who have cut off political contact with the Trump administration.

Mr. Safadi said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was the key to peace and stability in the Middle East, a long-held view by many in the region. Jordan is a crucial American ally — Mr. Pompeo’s predecessor, Rex W. Tillerson, signed an agreement in February that guarantees Jordan nearly $1.3 billion in annual assistance for the next five years, recognizing the country’s role in fighting extremism and taking in Syrian refugees — but on this issue, Mr. Pompeo did not entirely agree.

Mr. Pompeo called the conflict “important,” but he added, “So, precisely how to rank it among all the various challenges, I’ll defer on that. I know that it is an incredible priority for the United States to provide whatever assistance we can to allow the two parties to come to a resolution to this incredibly longstanding and important conflict.”

Protesters in Gaza have massed along the border with Israel for five straight Fridays, part of a series of demonstrations intended to draw attention to the situation for Palestinians, leading up to a final demonstration on May 15, when perhaps tens of thousands of people might rush the fortified barrier with Israel.

In the most recent demonstrations, on Friday, at least four people were killed and more than 1,000 others were wounded when Israeli troops fired on protesters.
With the blessing of Mikey in hand, perhaps the next event will be a joint live fire exercise involving the Israeli Navy, Air Force and Army artillery. Unarmed Palestinians should make a good warm up for Israel's next cross border assault.

A racist, warmongering homophobe

Samantha Bee looks at our new Secretary of State WASF

Good teachers

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Wanted Woman

Larkin Poe

Parents who respect the 2nd

From the pen of Monte Wolverton

Kim is negotiating with his South Korean brothers

And doing a nice job of portraying Trump as the looming menace to peace. And through it all, including the decommisioning of the current N Korean nuclear test site, the Trump officials who have been outside looking in, imagine they will achieve their goals in short order.
Keeping diplomatic developments coming at a head-snapping pace, the South Korean government said on Sunday that North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had told President Moon Jae-in that he would abandon his nuclear weapons if the United States agreed to formally end the Korean War and promise not to invade his country.

In a confidence-building gesture ahead of a proposed summit meeting with President Trump, a suddenly loquacious and conciliatory Mr. Kim also said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States to watch the shutdown next month of his country’s only known underground nuclear test site.

In Washington, Trump officials spoke optimistically about the chances of reaching a deal and laid out a plan for the rapid dismantling of the North’s nuclear program, perhaps over a two-year period.

That would be accompanied by a “full, complete, total disclosure of everything related to their nuclear program with a full international verification,” said John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser.

The apparent concessions from the youthful leader were widely welcomed as perhaps the most promising signs yet of ending a standoff on the Korean Peninsula frozen in place since fighting in the Korean War ended 65 years ago.

But skeptics warned that North Korea previously made similar pledges of denuclearization on numerous occasions, with little or no intention of abiding by them. Mr. Kim’s friendly gestures, they said, could turn out to be nothing more than empty promises aimed at lifting sanctions on his isolated country.
While Pompeo and Bolton play good cop/bad cop over North Korea, Kim has been talking to the most important person for him in these negotiations, South Korean President Moon Jae-in. And so far it is the two Korean leaders who are setting the agenda for the needs of the Korean peninsula.
While the two Korean leaders pledged to rid the heavily armed peninsula of nuclear weapons, they put no timeline on that process, nor did they set out a common definition of what a nuclear-free Korea would look like. Instead, they agreed to pursue a peace treaty this year that would formally end the Korean War after nearly seven decades of hostilities.

The talk of peace is likely to weaken the two levers that Mr. Trump used to pressure Mr. Kim to come to the bargaining table. A resumption of regular diplomatic exchanges between the two Koreas, analysts said, will inevitably erode the crippling economic sanctions against the North, while Mr. Trump will find it hard to threaten military action against a country that is extending an olive branch.

To meet his own definition of success, Mr. Trump will have to persuade Mr. Kim to accept “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization” of North Korea — something that Mr. Kim has shown no willingness to accept in the past, and few believe he will accede to in the future.

“This summit has put even greater expectations, greater hype and greater pressure on Trump,” said Victor D. Cha, a Korea scholar at Georgetown University who was considered by the Trump administration to be ambassador to Seoul. “He hyped this meeting with his tweets, and now the entire focus is going to be on his negotiating prowess.”

“This is a moment of his own making,” Mr. Cha added.

Characteristically, Mr. Trump betrayed no anxiety in recent days as he discussed the challenges of the summit meeting, which is scheduled for late May or early June in a location still to be determined. He took much of the credit for the diplomatic thaw on the Korean Peninsula, and he said he would not commit the mistakes of his predecessors, whom he said had showered the North with money and extracted nothing in return.
Trump has no clue what he is getting into and whenever Kim decides to do so, will no doubt provide the perfect excuse for Kim to break off negotiations and blame Trump.

The one pussy you can't grab

Michelle Wolf at the WHCD

Holy Shit

Saturday, April 28, 2018

I Need a Man

Janiva Mangess

The Ayn Rand version

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Donny is the vote magnet every Republican needs

Or so he has convinced himself. Republicans out in the wild are at best cautious about having Trump throw one of his Klan Kampaign Kovfefe's on their behalf.
President Trump is privately rejecting the growing consensus among Republican leaders that they may lose the House and possibly the Senate in November, leaving party officials and the president’s advisers nervous that he does not grasp the gravity of the threat they face in the midterm elections.

Congressional and party leaders and even some Trump aides are concerned that the president’s boundless self-assurance about politics will cause him to ignore or undermine their midterm strategy. In battleground states like Arizona, Florida and Nevada, Mr. Trump’s proclivity to be a loose cannon could endanger the Republican incumbents and challengers who are already facing ferocious Democratic headwinds.

Republicans in Washington and Trump aides have largely given up assuming the president will ever stick to a teleprompter, but they have joined together to impress upon him just how bruising this November could be for Republicans — and how high the stakes are for Mr. Trump personally, given that a Democratic-controlled Congress could pursue aggressive investigations and even impeachment.

If Mr. McConnell’s warning was not clear enough, Marc Short, the White House’s legislative liaison, used the dinner to offer an even starker assessment. The G.O.P.’s House majority is all but doomed, he said.

But Mr. Trump was not moved. “That’s not going to happen,” he said at different points during the evening, shrugging off the grim prognoses, according to multiple officials briefed on the conversation.

The disconnect between the president — a political novice whose confidence in his instincts was grandly rewarded in 2016 — and more traditional party leaders demonstrates the depth of the Republicans’ challenges in what is likely to be a punishing campaign year.

Mr. Trump is as impulsive as ever, fixated on personal loyalty, cultivating a winner’s image and privately prodding Republican candidates to demonstrate their affection for him — while complaining bitterly when he campaigns for those who lose. His preoccupation with the ongoing Russia investigation adds to the unpredictability, spurring Mr. Trump to fume aloud in ways that divide the G.O.P. and raising the prospect of legal confrontations amid the campaign. And despite projecting confidence, he polls nearly all those who enter the Oval Office about how they view the climate of the midterms.

According to advisers, the president plans to hold a fund-raiser a week in the months to come and hopes to schedule regular rallies with candidates starting this summer. But there is not yet any coordinated effort about where to deploy Mr. Trump, and there are divisions within his ever-fractious circle of advisers about how to approach the elections.
And so, likesome royal progress of olde, The Tangerine Shitgibbon will descend on a different poor schmuck each week to sing his own praises, whine about Mueller and, if the candidate is lucky, forget to mention his name.

All Ur Spit R Belong To Us

Once upon a time you believed when you sent your DNA to 23 and Me for analysis you thought the results would stay private between you and the company. Guess again. The body of law covering 3rd party possession of your DNA is extremely thin.
Major testing companies such as Ancestry and 23andMe quickly denied being the source of genetic analysis that led Sacramento County deputies to arrest Joseph James DeAngelo as the notorious East Area Rapist, also known as the Golden State Killer. But those companies are rapidly building the world's largest DNA databases, which they may not be able to keep private if law enforcement uses court warrants and other means to access the data.

Erin Murphy, a New York University law professor and expert on genetic privacy, said it's only a matter of time before investigators collect DNA from a crime scene, and then obtain a court order for a company like Ancestry and 23andMe to provide the identity of any matches, either direct ones or those of relatives.

"Absolutely that could happen," said Murphy, author of "Inside the Cell," an examination of forensic investigations. "Right now, that would be legally cutting-edge, but it seems completely plausible."

Jennifer Lynch, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that despite DNA testing's promise in detecting health disorders, learning about ethnicity and helping police solve crimes, there are privacy perils that many people ignore when they spit in a tube and send it to a testing company.

"It raises so, so many issues," said Lynch, whose California-based group advocates for consumers of digital technology. "What will happen if one of these companies goes bankrupt in the future? Will the personal data they have collected be sold off just like any other asset?"

Ancestry and other companies have long revealed to consumers, in privacy statements, that their personal genetic information could be released in response to a court order.

"If we are compelled to disclose your personal Information to law enforcement, we will do our best to provide you with advance notice, unless we are prohibited under the law from doing so," the Ancestry privacy statement says. Helix and other DNA testing companies issue similar warnings.

But many consumers skim over those disclosures while navigating the flashy websites these companies use to tout their family history services.

There's also the potential for law enforcement to make a false match, turning innocent people into suspects.

In 2014, police in Idaho Falls, Idaho, were trying to solve a cold case from 1996, in which a young woman was murdered in her apartment. Police obtained DNA from the scene, but could not match it in criminal databases. So they went to a then-public database started by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, which held results for roughly 100,000 DNA tests and had recently been purchased by Ancestry.

That analysis and other matches led police to question a man named Michael Usry Jr., a New Orleans filmmaker. But after police took a sample of his DNA, they found — many weeks later — it did not match the sample found at the crime scene.

Murphy cites the false match as a cautionary tale. On the one hand, she said, DNA absolved Usry of murder. But before that, it put him under a cloud of suspicion for weeks. "Imagine what that would be like," she said. "Imagine what that would mean if an employer, or a girlfriend, found out."
While the companies are legal and ethical at this time, the laws regarding future actions are few and far between. With the current trend toward increasing police powers as demonstrated by the spread of Right To Shoot Blacks among others,don't expect any increase in your protection.

Charlie Rose and Hijacked Fajitas

Stephen Colbert

When he says he's looking out for the little guy...

He means his dick.

Bill Maher's open letter to Roasanne.

There is a reason for the road less travelled

Friday, April 27, 2018

What He Wrote

Laura Marling

Greasy Thumb Mulvaney knows hats

From the pen of Kevin Siers

How do you make war on a gang of thugs?

Actually since the attack on the World Trade Center we have constantly been told we are at war with an ill defined gang belonging to no state. And now thanks to a military judge, we find out we have been at war with this gang prior to the WTC attack but we don't know exactly when it started. This state of war is necessary if we are to try 5 prisoners in Guantanamo in military courts so we can insure a guilty verdict without an pesky torture claims.
The United States was at war with al-Qaida at the time of the 9/11 attacks, the military judge presiding at the trial of the alleged plotters has ruled. But he sidestepped a crucial question: When precisely did the war begin?

For now, Army Col. James L. Pohl wrote in his 20-page ruling dated Wednesday, it is "unnecessary to decide a date certain for commencement of hostilities."

The ruling was a crucial pretrial threshold toward the capital trial at Guantánamo of accused mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four alleged al-Qaida accomplices in the attacks that killed 2,976 people in New York, Pennsylvania and at the Pentagon. If America was not at war on Sept. 11, 2001, the five men could not face trial by military commissions.

Pentagon attorneys for a Saudi man accused of conspiring in the 9/11 attacks, Mustafa al Hawsawi, raised the question in a motion to dismiss his charges. They argued that the U.S. was not at war during the time Hawsawi allegedly helped some of the hijackers with funding and travel to the United States, and could only face trial in federal, civilian court.

Prosecutors in their charge sheet date the start of hostilities to Osama bin Laden's 1996 "Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans." Lawyers for another alleged conspirator, Ammar al Baluchi, argue the war began when U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan Oct. 7, 2001, and plan to likewise later challenge the judge to set an alternative start date.

Hawsawi's lawyers argued in a series of pretrial hearings that the war court itself was bound by an international body of law, called the law of war, and that hostilities began with al-Qaida sometime after the terror attacks. Hawsawi, who was staying in the United Arab Emirates before 9/11, allegedly helped at least seven of the 19 hijackers either with travel arrangement or money transfers. Testimony in court showed that at least two U.S.-based hijackers wired him leftover cash advances before the 9/11.

Pohl's ruling concluded that the U.S. was at war before the attacks because Congress and two presidents have said so.

President George W. Bush created military commissions after the attacks to prosecute the perpetrators and Barack Obama reformed the system in collaboration with Congress. The Military Commissions Act of 2009 "contemplates prosecution for offenses occurring 'on, before or after Sept. 11, 2001,' ” Pohl pointed out. Moreover, he said, courts senior to the war court "have also acknowledged the existence of this conflict."

"The overall armed conflict against al-Qaida — a transnational terrorist organization operating primarily outside the United States —might itself be viewed as an anomaly under pre-Sept. 11, 2001 law of war standards," he wrote.

"However, the law of war is not static, and its precise contours may shift to recognize the changing realities of warfare. Military commissions by their nature are intended to have sufficient flexibility to address the needs presented by the armed conflict they address."
All of this smacks of ex post facto re-jiggering of the rules to insure you get the outcome you want. And the defendents lawyers now that if they are not tried before a real court, their clients are fucked.

A Closer Look at Trump's Confession

Seth Meyers

He also tried that line on Melania

Stephen Colbert

The 5th

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Comfortably Numb

Dar Williams & Ani DiFranco

Something for everyone

From the pen of Pat Bagley

Fed worried workers could begin to prosper

Why else would they fear that the economy is beginning to "overheat"? Corporations and the wealthy are doing very well as Republican tax scam redirects more of the nations wealth to them, but most workers are only now on the edge of getting better and that needs to be stopped now.
Ms. Jacks, who now earns $22,000 a year and said she couldn’t afford her health insurance deductible, is one of many Americans still waiting to feel the effects of an improving economy nearly a decade after the Great Recession.

“I don’t see evidence of the wages getting higher, except for specific types of jobs, like management, banking,” she said. “My attorney friends aren’t hurting.”

Yet Federal Reserve officials are beginning to worry about a possibility that seems remote to workers who still feel left behind: the danger of the economy’s running too hot, destabilizing financial markets and setting off a rapid escalation in wages and prices that could force the central bank to slam the brakes on growth.

Officials at the Fed have in the past few weeks escalated a public and private debate over how close the economy is to “overheating,” a condition when abnormally low unemployment can trigger spikes in inflation and destabilize financial markets.

The Commerce Department will report its first estimate of first-quarter growth on Friday, and economists expect it will register around 2 percent, short of the 3 percent that President Trump has promised will deliver large wage increases to workers across the board.

Forecasters expect growth to accelerate later this year, though. Those predictions, along with a recent uptick in the inflation rate, are prompting some Fed officials to push the bank to raise interest rates at a faster pace than it has been, in order to reduce the risk of overheating.

Fed officials have raised their benchmark rate to a range of 1.5 to 1.75 percent in a series of carefully orchestrated increases. Their most recent economic projections suggest they expect to raise rates two more times this year and three times next year.

While officials worried about overheating are pushing a faster pace of increases, other officials say it’s way too early to turn down the heat on the economy — and on workers who are still waiting for big wage increases to show up.

Both camps say they are concerned for workers like Ms. Jacks.

“When we think about the economy from the aspect of monetary policy, we can’t get it right for everybody,” Eric Rosengren, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, said in an interview last week. “We can get it right for the overall economy.”
They are looking at the big picture and most people are not a part of that picture. The low unemployment picture would change radically if people could get one job that paid a living wage that they could support their families on.

Trump hangs Cohen out to dry

And the man who said he would take a bullet for Trump may well be considering his position now. To which you can add that as a client, President Chauncey's constant disregard of his advice must have been very frustrating.
President Trump distanced himself from his longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, on Thursday, saying that a federal criminal investigation was focused on Mr. Cohen’s business dealings and had nothing to do with his legal representation of the president.

The president acknowledged that Mr. Cohen represents him in connection with Stephanie Clifford, the pornographic film actress known as Stormy Daniels who has asserted that she had extramarital sexual relations with Mr. Trump. Mr. Cohen paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 shortly before the 2016 presidential election as part of what she now calls a “hush agreement.”

But Mr. Trump said Mr. Cohen did nothing wrong in that matter. Mr. Cohen handled just “a tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work, Mr. Trump said. “But Michael would represent me and represent me on some things,” the president said in a telephone call to “Fox & Friends,” his favorite cable television show. “He represents me, like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me.”

“From what I see,” he continued, “he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this, which would have been a problem.”

“From what I understand, they’re looking at his businesses,” he added. Discussing Mr. Cohen’s decision to decline to testify in a lawsuit by Ms. Clifford, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, Mr. Trump said he was probably just following the advice of his own lawyers. “I’m not involved, and I’ve been told I’m not involved.”

The president’s mention of Ms. Clifford by name — or at least her professional name — was striking because he has mainly shown restraint in not discussing her.

And his comments about Mr. Cohen were among his most extensive since the F.B.I. raided the lawyer’s office, apartment and hotel room after obtaining a warrant from a federal court. Mr. Trump complained on Twitter afterward that the raid meant that “attorney-client privilege is dead!” But his remarks on Fox suggested that the investigation did not involve Mr. Cohen’s legal work.

“Michael is a businessman, he’s got a business. He also practices law,” Mr. Trump said. “And they’re looking at something having to do with his business. I have nothing to do with his business.”

He was not asked if he would consider a pardon for Mr. Cohen. When another journalist asked that at the White House earlier in the week, Mr. Trump snapped, “Stupid question.”

Michael Avenatti, Ms. Clifford’s attorney, quickly seized on the president’s comments, suggesting they would help her lawsuit trying to nullify the 2016 nondisclosure agreement by proving Mr. Trump’s involvement in the effort to keep her quiet before the election.

“Thank you @foxandfriends for having Mr. Trump on this morning to discuss Michael Cohen and our case,” he wrote on Twitter. “Very informative.”

He went on MSNBC and CNN to reinforce his point. “This case gets better every day, every hour, and one of the reasons why it gets better is that they step in to every trap that we lay,” Mr. Avenatti said on CNN.

“The president’s statements this morning are very, very damaging to him in our case,” Mr. Avenatti added. “It directly contradicts what he said on Air Force One relating to his knowledge, or lack thereof, of the agreement of $130,000.”

He said that “it is going to add considerable momentum to our efforts to depose the president and place him under oath, because now we have two contrary statements, made within the same month, relating to what he knew about the agreement, what he didn’t know, what his relationship was with Michael Cohen and we’re going to utilize that statement today to argue for his deposition.”
And within hours of his making his foolish remarks, the government prosecutors used them in court to prove that few if any of the papers seized in the raid on Cohen's office are covered by attorney-client privilege. No one has to give Donny more rope to hang himself, he keeps asking for more. And now would be a good time for Cohen to join the prosecution side.

A 6 minute review of the Macron visit

Stephen Colbert

Foreign policy or crayon doodles

Seth Meyers on President Chauncey's International Garden

Orange is the New Brown

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Two Cold Nights In Buffalo

Courtney Marie Andrews

They should know what to say

From the pen of Jim Morin

The perfect plan

If one is a purified piece of shit like EPA head Scott Pruitt. He is being called to account for a number of funbles, bumbles, bad ideas and outright criminality in his administration of the EPA. And like most cowardly pieces of shit, yes I'm looking at you Donny, he plans to blame his staff.
As Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency, prepares to testify before Congress on Thursday amid a series of spending and ethics investigations, an internal E.P.A. document indicates that he may blame his staff for many of the decisions that have put a cloud over his tenure at the agency.

The document, known as the “hot topics” list, appears to lay out talking points for Mr. Pruitt’s two sessions before the House of Representatives. It suggests that Mr. Pruitt is prepared to say that he now flies coach when traveling; that others were responsible for giving two close aides who used to work for him in Oklahoma substantial pay raises; and that E.P.A. officials who were reassigned or demoted after challenging his spending all had performance issues.

The document, which The New York Times has reviewed and the veracity of which the E.P.A. did not dispute, seemed to be a work in progress. Mr. Pruitt’s responses may change on Thursday when he appears before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee in the morning, and a House Appropriations Committee panel in the afternoon.

His testimony coincides with rising calls from both Democrats and Republicans for Mr. Pruitt to step aside. He has been criticized for spending more than $3 million on security in his first year in office, a figure that includes salary and overtime for his security detail of more than 20 people, some of whom have been dispatched to protect Mr. Pruitt on private trips to Disneyland, professional basketball games and the 2018 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Republicans in both chambers of Congress are increasingly raising concerns about Mr. Pruitt. “They’re not good reports,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate. “He has to answer those questions. There’s a lot of stuff out there that is certainly not helpful to his or the administration’s cause.”

Jahan Wilcox, a spokesman for the E.P.A., said in a statement that Mr. Pruitt was looking forward to discussing the agency’s efforts with lawmakers.

“Congressional hearings are an opportunity to reiterate the accomplishments of President Trump’s E.P.A., which include: working to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States, providing regulatory certainty, and declaring a war on lead, all while returning to Reagan-era staffing levels,” Mr. Wilcox said.

Mr. Pruitt, in his prepared opening statement, which the House Energy and Commerce Committee made public Wednesday morning, makes no mention of the ethics issues that have dogged him recently.
It's a shame that French President Macron has returned home as the upcoming hearings would provide an excellent example of American whines.

Even when you don't want them

Like fleas and kids, SuperPACs will show up. And one of the more successful candidates to renounce SuperPAC money, Beto O'Rourke has found that his disapproval is not enough to discourage a wealthy supporter from starting one in his favor.
A Texas Democratic donor is raising money for a super PAC to help Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke — against the wishes of the candidate, who has asked super PACs to stay out of the race.

Dallas lawyer Marc Stanley told the Star-Telegram Tuesday that his group is gearing up to try to unseat Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, following a Quinnipiac University poll this month that showed the race in a statistical dead heat.

Stanley said the poll, combined with a private survey his group commissioned in February, “shows the time is right” to unseat Cruz.

O’Rourke, a champion of campaign finance reform, has asked PACs to stay out of his race against Cruz. He’s raised $13.2 million for that contest, to Cruz’s roughly $12.6 million.

“I’m not listening to what Beto O’Rourke says, I’m doing what I think is right for Texas,” said Stanley, who chaired former Texas Gov. Ann Richards’s campaign in 1990 in Dallas County.

FTC PAC — short for Fire Ted Cruz — was registered with the Federal Election Commission in July, but formally launched its website last week.

O’Rourke says he wants to fund his campaign with mostly Texas money, and said 70 percent of the money he’s raised came from inside the state.

Stanley is interested in tapping into a national donor base to unseat Cruz.

“Ted Cruz is disliked not only by colleagues by millions of Americans and tens of thousands of Texans,” said Stanley. "We want to give [them] an opportunity to participate."
You can pick your friends but you can't stop others from saying they like you.

Stephen and The Killer Coal Baron

Colbert on Blankenship

More affection than he has shown Melania

Trevor Noah reviews the Trump-Macron Bromance

Checking in on the VA

Seth Meyers looks at the latest Trumpian clusterfuck

Well thought out arguments

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Touch My Blues Away

Jessy Martens & Band

The NRA Beau Ideal

From the pen of Milt Priggee

Rand Paul rolls over

And gets a great big belly rub from Mitch McConnell as thanks for voting for Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Now Mike will be able to join The Muttering Moustache of Mendacity in planning the discard of the Iran Deal and the follow on war with Iran for Bibi.
Sen. Rand Paul wanted assurances that Mike Pompeo would not advocate more war and that the White House would at least discuss curbs on government surveillance.

Once he heard what he needed to hear, the Kentucky Republican senator dropped his opposition to Pompeo’s nomination as secretary of state, delivering President Donald Trump a huge win Monday.

The reversal, though, did raise new questions about how far Paul was willing to go with his defiance. While he got assurances he’d get an airing, he got no concrete change in policy Monday.

He dismissed suggestions that he is developing a reputation of protesting but then falling in line.

Trump had lobbied Paul hard. The senator said he talked with both the president and Pompeo several times on Monday before the committee vote, which wound up sending the nomination to the full Senate with a favorable recommendation. Confirmation, which now appears all but assured, is likely later this week.

Paul said that Trump promised him a discussion on curbing government surveillance and databases.

“I haven’t been given anything or promised anything, I don’t get a bridge built somewhere, but I have asked that we consider the liberty of the individual and the Constitution,” Paul said.

He has long been a critic of government surveillance programs, warning that they are a breach of privacy. In December, he temporarily stalled confirmation of one of Trump's Justice Department nominees over concerns about warrantless wiretaps and surveillance.

Earlier this year Paul threatened to filibuster a measure to extend and expand massive U.S. surveillance powers.

Pompeo, now the CIA director, in 2016 endorsed a plan to have surveillance agencies collect "all metadata" and combine it with "publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database."

Paul said he was "absolutely, unquestionably, unequivocally opposed to more databases" particularly one that involves information about lifestyles. "That's just a recipe for 1984 on steroids," he said. But he said he'd talked to both Pompeo and Trump and they assured him there would be a discussion.

Paul also said he got guarantees that Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman who the senator criticized for hawkish views, won’t drag the president into more wars. The senator said that he got assurances that Pompeo agreed with Trump that the Iraq War "was a mistake" and that the United States "must end" its involvement in Afghanistan.
Is Randy Paul auditioning for the role of the next Susan Collins so she can retire gracefully ? Or does the Senate have room for both of them ?

The Anatomy of a Trump Lie

Trevor Noah examines the scat.

Nobody ever say Trump is innocent

Seth Meyers suggests Trump would f;ip on himself.

Box Car Donny

Monday, April 23, 2018

I'll Be Satisfied

Hope Waits

Perspective is everything

And Tom Tomorrow shows you what the #MAGAt perspective is when blinded by the gaslight.

The food is not as good

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Government workers perform necessary functions

But thanks to years of incessant lies from right wing conservative bullshitters, there are many people in this country who believe that they are lazy, unqualified and overpaid. In fact, when compared to right wing conservative bullshitters the opposite is true.
The anxiety and seething anger that followed the disappearance of middle-income jobs in factory towns has helped reshape the American political map and topple longstanding policies on tariffs and immigration.

But globalization and automation aren’t the only forces responsible for the loss of those reliable paychecks. So is the steady erosion of the public sector.

For generations of Americans, working for a state or local government — as a teacher, firefighter, bus driver or nurse — provided a comfortable nook in the middle class. No less than automobile assembly lines and steel plants, the public sector ensured that even workers without a college education could afford a home, a minivan, movie nights and a family vacation.

In recent years, though, the ranks of state and local employees have languished even as the populations they serve have grown. They now account for the smallest share of the American civilian work force since 1967.

The 19.5 million workers who remain are finding themselves financially downgraded. Teachers who have been protesting low wages and sparse resources in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky — and those in Arizona who say they plan to walk out on Thursday — are just one thread in that larger skein.

“I was surprised to realize along the way I was no longer middle class,” said Teresa Moore, who has spent 30 years investigating complaints of abused or neglected children, veterans and seniors in Oklahoma.

She raised two daughters in Alex, a rural dot southwest of the capital, on her salary. But when she applied for a mortgage nine years ago, the loan officer casually described her as “low income.”

The private sector has been more welcoming. During 97 consecutive months of job growth, it created 18.6 million positions, a 17 percent increase.

But that impressive streak comes with an asterisk. Many of the jobs created — most in service industries — lack stability and security. They pay little more than the minimum wage and lack predictable hours, insurance, sick days or parental leave.

The result is that the foundation of the middle class continues to be gnawed away even as help-wanted ads multiply.

Reducing state and local payrolls, of course, is a goal that has champions and detractors. Anti-tax crusaders, concerned about cost and overreach, have longed for a smaller government that delivers only the most limited services. Public-sector defenders worry that shortages of restaurant inspectors, rat exterminators, mental health counselors and the like will hurt neighborhoods. Pothole-studded roads and unreliable garbage pickup don’t entice businesses, either.

Yet whether one views a diminished public sector as vital to economic growth or a threat to health and safety, it is undeniable that it has led to a significant decline in middle-class employment opportunities.

“It’s a tough time to be working in government,” said Neil Reichenberg, executive director of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources. Once there were several attractions to public employment in addition to the mission of making a difference in your community, he added, but incentives like good health insurance and retirement benefits have disappeared. “There’s been a lot of cutbacks that have made government a less competitive employer,” he said.
Wealthy conservatives and corporations for years have been yammering for tax cuts to re-direct more of the value workers create to their coffers. This has the effect of severely limiting funds available for government employees. And if you have been demeaning and diminishing their standing for years it is no trouble at all to reduce their salaries and benefits if not outright eliminating their jobs. So when the food we eat starts to poison us and there is no one to answer our questions at Social Security and IRS and others, well it must be the failings of government. It certainly can't be the Republican program of starving the beast because everybody knows that nothing the GOP does ever works right.

The Lies of Hinky Zinke

A short one from John Oliver

Mike Pompeo gives rim jobs to gorillas

John Oliver explains the Iran Deal that President Chauncey Trump has no clue about.

Where the money flows

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Before You Called Me Baby

Caitlyn Smith

Major Evangelical announcment

From the pen of Gary Trudeau

Mitch takes the necessary measures

From the pen of R J Matson

Sensitivity Training in the coffee industry

From the pen of Brian McFadden

Stormy's Lawyer on Real Time

Bill Maher talks to Michael Avenatti

Is Sean Hannity A Serial Killer ?

Samantha Bee proves he is in her best Fox Nooz approved style.

One way the planet can win

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ain't No Cure For Love

Jennifer Warnes

But they are just friends

From the pen of Nate Beeler

It's always the little things that make trouble

Like the little Greek islands lying close to the Turkish coast. So far Turkey does not dispute their sovereignty but does object to their location inside what are otherwise territorial waters. The possibility of Greece claiming energy resources in that area because of the islands. Add to that an upcoming elecetion in Turkey where Caliph-In-Waiting Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes to solidify his dictatorship by running a strongly nationalistic campaign and all the ingredients for trouble are there.
In all, the number of incursions by Turkish military ships and jets into Greek territory has spiked in recent months, according to Greek officials, stoking concerns of a new military conflict in a region where Turkey is already embroiled in the war raging in Syria.

The biggest uncertainty involves Turkey’s strongman president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and whether his ambitions are fueling renewed claims to these Greek isles — particularly after he embarked on Wednesday on an election campaign in which he is expected to play heavily on nationalistic sentiment.

“With the people of Turkey, we don’t have problems,” said Mr. Raftis, 58. “The problem is with Erdogan, with the Turkish government. They want to make Turkey bigger.”

Indeed, though the border issue has simmered for nearly a century, analysts worry that the unpredictable nature of Mr. Erdogan makes the situation more volatile than ever between the countries, nominal NATO allies, who almost fought a war over an uninhabited island in nearby waters two decades ago.

In December, to the surprise of his hosts, Mr. Erdogan used the occasion of the first visit to Greece by a Turkish president in 65 years to call for a redrawing of the border. That did not go down well.

In recent years, Mr. Erdogan has often stoked tensions overseas in order to bolster his domestic standing, insulting several European governments, deploying troops in Syria, and lashing out at the United States.

“Erdogan is a little bit out of control — he’s picking a lot of fights and there is a lot of uncertainty about how far he’s prepared to go,” said Nikos Tsafos, who researches the politics of the Eastern Mediterranean at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank.

“The odds of something going wrong are increasing on a weekly basis,” he said.

The border issue has its roots in the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in the aftermath of World War I, and in subsequent international treaties that gave many islands that had once belonged to the Ottoman Empire — including Kastellorizo, the nearest permanently inhabited island to Ro — to other European powers.

Today, Turkey — which was formed from the rump of the Ottoman Empire — does not contest Kastellorizo’s sovereignty. But the government feels it is unfair that Greece should have the right to potentially exploit energy resources in parts of the Mediterranean seabed that lie within sight of Turkey but many hundreds of miles from the Greek mainland.

“At the fundamental level, there is a different perception of how the Aegean Sea should be treated,” Mr. Tsafos said.

Other recent developments have compounded the decades-old disagreement. Talks have broken down over the status of the island of Cyprus, which is divided between a Greek-backed and internationally recognized state in the south, and a Turkish-backed breakaway state in the north.

Greece declined to extradite eight Turkish servicemen who had fled following a failed coup in 2016; and the Turkish government has arrested two Greek border guards, seemingly in response.

“The potential for a military conflict between Greece and Turkey has never seemed as close since the 1990s,” said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Despite the elements of Both Sides Do It, Turkey ot perhaps more accurately Mr. Erdogan is pushing hard on Turkey while not yet revealing all he wants from this. And trouble awaits in the wings.

Weed is a Lifestyle

Bill Maher New Rules

Trump promotes No-Sex

And Stephen Colbert explains

Something good for a change

Friday, April 20, 2018


Bea Foote

Get High

Brandy Clark

Happy 420 to all

I guess it's OK now

From the pen of Jim Morin

They got tired of waiting

Alabama has claimed another benchmark
that most other states would not consider a distinction. They have executed the oldest person ever in the modern era of state sanctioned murder.
Walter Leroy Moody Jr., who used mail bombs to assassinate a federal appeals court judge and a civil rights lawyer in 1989, was executed Thursday night at the Alabama prison where he spent decades denying his guilt.

With his execution by lethal injection, Mr. Moody, 83, became the oldest prisoner put to death in the modern era of American capital punishment, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a research group.

Mr. Moody’s reign of terror — deadly bombings and thwarted attacks in three Southern states, as well as menacing letters to judges and the media — raised fears of racial violence and unsettled the federal judiciary. His complex case drew in people who would become household names of American law enforcement: Louis J. Freeh, a future F.B.I. director; Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election; and Jeff Sessions, now the United States attorney general.

Though Mr. Moody was found guilty on scores of federal charges, his execution was punishment for a 1996 state court conviction for the murder of Judge Robert S. Vance Sr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Judge Vance’s son, Robert S. Vance Jr., himself a judge in Alabama, said Thursday that he had not forgiven Mr. Moody because “he has not acknowledged any remorse or any acknowledgment that he was guilty.”

“I’m not a psychiatrist, but if you’re talking about using labels like psychopath, this seems to be the kind of person that would fit that description because of absolute lack of empathy or concern for others,” Judge Vance said.

Mr. Moody was pronounced dead at 8:42 p.m. on Thursday inside a South Alabama prison, ending a generations-long legal drama that began in 1972, when he planned a bombing against an automobile dealer who had repossessed his car.
Moody did like his bombs when he didn't get his way. And now he is gone.

NYC's shit doesn't stink in Parrish anymore

The trainload of sewage sludge that was parked in Parrish, Alabama for two months while the town the town of West Jefferson tried to stop its delivery to a landfill there has finally been moved, to the landfill in Adamsville.
But after a train full of human excrement sludge from New York City traveled to Alabama, only to be bureaucratically stuck outside the 1,000-person town of Parrish for more than two months, engulfing the town with a suffocating stench — yeah, that was a saga.

And now at long last, the saga is over. The odor, however, is lingering.

“It smells like rotting animals, or a dead carcass. It seems like there’s a dead animal nearby,” Mayor Heather Hall of Parrish said Thursday. “And it’s not like you just get a whiff of it where it’s just a subtle smell. It is so overpowering you cannot go outside.”

On Wednesday, Mayor Hall announced that she had “wonderful news”: The last of the sludge had been removed, and the town was free at last from the 42-car train with the awful nickname.

The foul odor had been difficult to avoid, permeating all two square miles of the town, about 40 miles northwest of Birmingham, she said.

A federal ban forbids New York from disposing of its treated sewage waste in the ocean. So the city routinely ships it to the South, where landfills can offer better bargains. A nearby one, Big Sky, had accepted the city’s sludge since 2017, according to The Associated Press.

But West Jefferson, a town near the landfill, was fed up with the smell as the loads were transferred from trains to trucks. The town got an injunction to stop the trains in January, at which point the train in question was parked in Parrish.

Parrish was not happy. Last week, the town’s council issued an ultimatum, saying it would file a lawsuit and injunction against Big Sky if the rail cars weren’t removed by April 23, according to the Daily Mountain Eagle, a local newspaper.

Big Sky did not return phone calls seeking comment on Thursday.

The ordeal came to an end as trucks hauled the contents off to the Big Sky landfill in Adamsville, about 20 miles to the west.
While I have sympathy for the people of Parrish who got stuck smelling that shit for 2 months I hope the will look to their own in-bred power structure that sought to profit from their misery. New York City did not just decide to ship its shit there for fun. Somebody local thought they could make some money from it and leave the locals breathing the stink. It will hapen again if they don't fix their own house.

A Series of Gunfortunate Events

Why the kids left school today

Why Black People should always show up late

Trevor Noah

Thw word innocent is nowhere to be found

Stephen Colbert

Need a lawyer ?

Help Memphis celebrate its Bicentennial

And in doing so give the in-bred, brain dead raceholes in the Tennessee legislature a great big Fuck You. It seems the Tenn Lege decided that in retaliation for Memphis ridding itself of certain traitor's statues it would withhold a $250,000 appropriation for the city's becentennial celebration. Wonkette has a more complete appreciation of the pettiness of this offical dick move. Among the responses by the local Memphis crowd was a GoFundMe page set up by Brittney Block to replace the missing appropriation. As of this writing it has $62,180.

Please help Brittney and Memphis reach their goal and join in their hearty FUCK YOU to the in-bred, brain dead raceholes of the Tennessee Legislature. And please share this with your family and friends.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Disappearing Act

Gretchen Peters

The price of distraction

From the pen of Nate Beeler

He will leave if he doesn't get what he wants

Presidunce Donald Trump
is declaring his willingness to dump his talks with Nork Leader Kim Jong Pudge if he doesn't feel he is getting anything of value. And to lighten the moment, he even said if he walked out of a meeting, “If the meeting, when I’m there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.” A sure fire laugh line knowing Donny Dimplebutt never does anything respectfully except kiss himself good night.
President Trump declared on Wednesday that he would scrap a planned summit meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, or even walk out of the session while it was underway, if his diplomatic overture was not heading toward success.

Mr. Trump continued to express optimism — verging on eagerness — about sitting down with the North’s reclusive leader. But as the momentum for a meeting grows in both Washington and East Asia, the president acknowledged that it was a perilous undertaking that could still end in failure.

“If I think that it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, standing alongside Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan. “If the meeting, when I’m there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”

Mr. Trump’s words reinforced his decision to send the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo, on a secret trip to meet Mr. Kim. Mr. Pompeo, nominated by Mr. Trump last month as secretary of state, played advance man for the president in Pyongyang, laying the groundwork for the planned meeting.

Among the potential hurdles for the gathering, Mr. Trump said, were three American citizens detained in North Korea. The president said that the United States was “fighting very diligently” to obtain their release and that there was a chance of positive developments.

Still, Mr. Trump conspicuously declined to make their release a precondition of his meeting with Mr. Kim. He also did not demand any new concessions from North Korea beforehand, underscoring how determined he is to make history by convening with the leader of a country he threatened with war a few months ago.

In preparing for the planned event, Mr. Trump’s decision to dispatch his C.I.A. director reflected the president’s trust in and comfort with Mr. Pompeo, as well as how diplomats were sidelined in brokering what could be a landmark encounter.

“Meeting went very smoothly and a good relationship was formed,” Mr. Trump said in an early morning Twitter post before he went golfing with Mr. Abe. “Details of Summit are being worked out now. Denuclearization will be a great thing for World, but also for North Korea!”
Kim must be drooling with anticipation at the thought of this meeting. After years of facing top level hard nosed diplomats in any meeting he now faces a schmooz with an amateur with a monstrous and easily manipulated ego. If Kim doesn't walk away with all of Korea and half of Japan, he is just not trying.

Donny's 80's Sitcom

Trevor Noah on Donny's World

Only the smartest bombs can miss everything

Stephen Colbert

Vipers remain dangerous until after sundown

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


Madeleine Peyroux

1st Law of Trumpodynamics

From the pen of Sean Delonas

And in the beginning

R.I.P. Bruno Leopoldo Francesco Sammartino

You hark back to a day when professional wrestling was fun and you threw your opponents, not your matches.

The transition continues

For the first time in almost 60 years the President of Cuba will not be named Castro. And for that little revolutionary island, it is a big deal.
Raúl Castro, who took over from his brother Fidel 12 years ago and led Cuba through some of its biggest changes in decades, is expected to step down as president on Thursday and hand power to someone outside the Castro dynasty for the first time since the Cuban revolution more than half a century ago.

During his two terms as president, Mr. Castro opened up his Communist country to a small but vital private sector and, perhaps most significantly, diplomatic relations with the United States. It was a notable departure from his brother’s agenda, yet it was possible only because he, too, was a Castro.

His handpicked successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, 57, is a Communist Party loyalist who was born a year after Fidel Castro claimed power in Cuba. His rise ushers in a new generation of Cubans whose only firsthand experience with the revolution has been its aftermath — the early era of plenty, the periods of economic privation after the demise of the Soviet Union, and the fleeting détente in recent years with the United States, its Cold War foe.

Officials started gathering here in Havana on Wednesday morning and put forward Mr. Díaz-Canel as the sole candidate to replace Mr. Castro, all but assuring his selection by the Communist Party.

Though Mr. Díaz-Canel’s path to the top office has been forecast for years, many an heir apparent before him has fallen by the wayside in the search for a successor to lead the country, whether because of party disloyalty, snide remarks or projecting too much power for the Castros’ liking.

In that delicate balancing act, Mr. Díaz-Canel, a former provincial leader and minister of higher education, has shown the sort of restraint prized by the Castros.

But that same caution has left him an enigma both inside and outside the country.

Cuba’s next president will be hemmed in from multiple sides: Raúl Castro is expected to remain the head of the Communist Party, and the diplomatic opening with the United States has closed abruptly under President Trump.

“There is nothing in his résumé to suggest he is going to take risks,” Theodore Piccone, a Cuba scholar at the Brookings Institution, said of Mr. Díaz-Canel. “But that is the way the system works — anyone willing to take the risk before now would not be in line to be the president.”

Mr. Castro is leaving office at a time of tremendous change on the island, both real and promised.

In just the last decade, Cuba has lost its defining leader, Fidel Castro, which made way for Raúl to take unprecedented steps to loosen the state’s grip on the economy and begin to nurture a private sector.

Then, two years ago, the nation brokered a détente with the United States, paving the way for the reopening of the American Embassy and the first visit of a sitting United States president in 88 years.

But change is often a managed affair in Cuba, orchestrated to maintain order while leaving little to chance or, especially, political uncertainty. While historic, the economic changes in Cuba have been halting, to the frustration of many Cubans hoping for better pay and more opportunity. So, too, has foreign investment, with leaders leery that it could grow to the point that they can no longer control it.

Now, the country’s next president will face a new set of challenges. Since coming to office, Mr. Trump has lashed out at Cuba and reversed, in spirit if not entirely in deed, the new relationship that President Barack Obama established with the Cuban government.

As Cuba seeks to modernize its moribund economy with a new generation of leaders less tethered to the past, the United States appears to be moving back toward a policy of isolation. Fewer American tourists are visiting Cuba and bringing dollars with them, in no small part because of Mr. Trump’s decision to undo some of Mr. Obama’s easing of restrictions on travel to the island.
Not being a Castro will limit the power Mr. Díaz-Canel may have but the transition, even under the watchful eye of Communist Party chief Raul, will continue and we can be certain that thanks the Orange Douche it won't involve the US.

The Exclusively Almost Hannity Crime Family

Trevor Noah shows us Sean throwing himself under the bus.

Stormy Tuesday

Stephen Colbert

And far too many buyers

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


Neko Case

Glad someone is enjoying this

From the pen of R J Matson

Let's not piss off Pooty

Everybody knows that it is a prime No-No to piss off one's boss. Even Donald Trump had that well beaten into him by his father. So it is no surprise that the latest announced sanctions against Russia have been reversed by American Viceroy Donald Trump.
President Trump rejected, for now at least, a fresh round of sanctions set to be imposed against Russia on Monday, a course change that underscored the schism between the president and his national security team.

The president’s ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, had announced on Sunday that the administration would place sanctions on Russian companies found to be assisting Syria’s chemical weapons program. The sanctions were listed on a menu of further government options after an American-led airstrike on Syria, retaliating against a suspected gas attack that killed dozens a week earlier.

But the White House contradicted her on Monday, saying that Mr. Trump had not approved additional measures.

“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said in a statement.

Speaking later with reporters aboard Air Force One as Mr. Trump headed to Florida, Ms. Sanders added that “the president has been clear that he’s going to be tough on Russia, but at the same time he’d still like to have a good relationship with them.”

Another White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations, said Mr. Trump had decided not to go forward with the sanctions. Mr. Trump concluded that they were unnecessary because Moscow’s response to the airstrike was mainly bluster, the official said.

Russia analysts said the whipsaw policy shift once again highlighted an administration struggling to find a coherent and consistent voice in dealing with Russia, which in the past four years has annexed Crimea, intervened in eastern Ukraine, sought to influence the American election in 2016, allegedly poisoned a former Russian spy living in Britain and propped up the murderous government of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Mr. Trump has mostly spoken hopefully of his efforts to forge a friendship with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, including congratulating him on a re-election widely denounced as a sham and even suggesting a White House meeting. At the same time, the Trump administration has imposed two rounds of sanctions against Russia in the last month, expelled 60 of Moscow’s diplomats and closed a consulate in retaliation for the poisoning attack in Britain.

“Trump seems to think that if he accepts what his advisers recommend on even days of the month and rejects their recommendations on odd days, the result will be a strategy,” said Stephen Sestanovich, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations and Columbia University who served as ambassador to former Soviet states in the 1990s.

“By and large, other governments don’t know whether to laugh or cry at all this,” Mr. Sestanovich said. “But in Russia, laughter is getting the upper hand.”
Leave 'em laughing is an old showbiz saying that has little relevance in modern statecraft despite it appearing to be the driving force of our Orange Diplomacy vis-a-vis Russia. Keeping Pooty happy seems for to the point.

There are no normal weekends

Trevor Noah on The Daily Show

Sean Hannity...

Stephen Colbert... 'nuff said, you listen


Monday, April 16, 2018

Mama Said

Cat Clyde

How Government Works

Tom Tomorrow
gives us a detailed look at how policy is decided and executed in the Great Orange Preziduncy of Donald Trump.

So Mueller is considering perjury too

From the pen of Steve Sack

Bend over, the GOP is giving it to you again

And this time, thanks to their massive tax giveaway for the wealthy and corporation, you won't have any help pay ing for the massive debts the GOP plans to run up.
By 2022, the U.S. government is projected to spend almost as much money on interest payments for its massive debt as it will on the Pentagon, more than $600 billion every year.

The spiraling expense underscores a frightening reality in Washington: President Trump and Congress have not only massively expanded the U.S. government’s debt, they have broken free of multiple guardrails intended to keep budgets balanced, freeing future lawmakers to further expand the yawning gap between what the government takes in and what it spends.

The latest increase has come at a time when Republicans control the White House and Congress, cementing a GOP indifference to balancing the budget despite making deficit reduction their rhetorical North Star during the Obama administration.

“There’s no serious effort on either the Republican or Democratic side to address it, and the president’s not for it,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said. “So if the president’s not for it, it’s not going to happen.”

Now, this borrowing binge appears impossible to reverse, despite a growing global prosperity that has prompted leaders of other major economies to shrink deficits that expanded during the recession a decade ago. Global finance ministers are scheduled to meet this week in Washington, and some visiting officials are expected to try to isolate the United States’ debt-binge approach as a dangerous outlier.

In February, Congress passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that shredded caps erected in 2010. It also waived the debt limit for the 15th time in the past 10 years.

In December, Republicans overrode unanimous Democratic opposition to pass a tax cut projected to add more than $1 trillion in deficit spending, as the GOP used a shell budget resolution and waived the federal law meant to prevent cuts like this from ever taking place.

During the debate, they torpedoed a provision that would have triggered an automatic tax increase if rosy economic growth projections did not materialize.

The author of that failed provision, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), has grasped for any way to limit the tax law’s impact on the debt. Even when his idea was rejected, he voted for the tax law anyway.

Four months later, eyeing his retirement at the end of this year, Corker signaled he might have made a mistake. He said a complete antipathy has taken hold of Washington, particularly when it comes to changing costly programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
How nice or Corker to now think he may have made a mistake. The simple fact of the matter is the Republican Party tax policy greatly unbalaces the equation. They have reduced the government's income at the same time they are going on a huge spending spree. But one important point to remember, the reductions were for the ones capable of doing the heavy lifting and us little folk now have to shoulder the burden of tax free Billionaires and Corporations.

Skimming the government

All told working for the government can be a very lucrative proposition above and beyond your publicly declared compensation. Reality has shown us you have to be as dumb and/or untrustworthy as Louie Gohmert to not increase your net worth. However, it takes a failed businessman to show us how to properly milk the government for $Millions.
President Donald Trump’s U.S. businesses have received at least $15.1 million in revenue from political groups and federal agencies since 2015, according to a new report to be released Monday.

The money went to Trump’s airplanes, hotels, golf courses, even a bottled water company during the presidential campaign and the first 15 months of his presidency, according to a compilation of known records of the spending by Public Citizen obtained by McClatchy.

But it was Trump’s campaign itself that spent the biggest chunk by far – about 90 percent, or $13.4 million.

It also includes more than $717,000 from the Republican National Committee; nearly $595,000 from Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee set up by the RNC and Trump’s campaign; and $9,000 from the National Republican Senate Committee.

Two political action committees, America First Action, dedicated to electing federal candidates who support Trump’s agenda, spent $33,000 and Great America Committee, Vice President Mike Pence’s group, spent $24,000.

Campaigns and committees supporting Republicans House members Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, Jodey Arrington of Texas, Tom MacArthur of New Jersey and Dana Rohrabacher of California also spent money on Trump businesses.

By comparison, in 2013 and 2014, political spending at his properties was less than $20,000.

The total amount is likely to be much more. There is no single place to find out how much the administration is spending at Trump businesses, though federal agencies have started to disclose some records in response to public record requests. Public Citizen analyzed Federal Election Commission data and federal agency records obtained from Freedom of Information Act requests by Public Citizen and Property of the People, a group comprised of legal experts and activists.

Before he was sworn into office, Trump eschewed calls to fully separate from his business interests.

Instead he placed his holdings in a trust designed to hold assets for his “exclusive benefit,” which he can receive at any time without the public’s knowledge. He also retains the authority to revoke the trust.
The Great Orange Chump has managed to take the concept of the "blind trust" and turn it upside dow so that rather than it being opaque to him, he sees whats where and all the rest of us are blind to his chicanery. I guess it makes sense when your idea of helping the poor is propping up a poor businessman.

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