Sunday, September 30, 2018

Look At Miss Ohio

Gillian Welch, Amanda Shires, Rawlings & Isbell

Weekend Update: Brett Kavannaugh and Dr. Ford Testify

Michael Che and Colin Jost

Who best to judge the judge ?

From the pen of Adam Zyglis

And who hasn't fallen asleep ?

From the pen of Ed Wexler

R.I.P. Otis Rush

The man has paid his dues and now it is time for his sweet reward.

All it takes is one public execution

And since they have been getting away with murder for a long time, it is long overdue for the decision making executives at the makers of opioids to receive their just punishment.
Steve Williams, mayor of Huntington, a city ravaged by prescription pill and heroin addiction, said he wants to see executives face criminal prosecution, after it was revealed that a member of the family that made billions of dollars from the painkiller that unleashed the epidemic stands to profit further after he was granted a patent for an anti-addiction medicine.

“They are drug dealers in Armani suits,” said Williams. “You have the corporate executives that are the ones who make the decisions. Just because this person is working on a street corner selling drugs and this other person is working in the executive suite 50 storeys up, is there really that much of a difference? Just because you are in the executive suite doesn’t mean that you are immune from the results of the corporate decisions that you make. Just because you have billions of dollars at your disposal doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be held accountable. The decisions that have been made within the pharmaceutical industry have ravaged our nation.”

Activists have backed Williams’ call amid an increasing focus on the role of drug company executives in pushing opioid painkillers as the pharmaceutical industry fights off a flood of lawsuits over an epidemic estimated to have claimed at least 350,000 lives.

In June, Massachusetts became the first state to sue individual executives and owners of Purdue Pharma, the maker of the drug, OxyContin, which kicked off the biggest drug epidemic in American history, estimated to be killing more than 115 people a day. The lawsuit seeks to recover the billions of dollars in profit banked by members of the Sackler family, which owns Purdue and is divided between the US and the UK.

Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey, accused the company and its officials of knowingly profiting from overdoses and death.

“Purdue Pharma and its executives built a multi-billion-dollar business based on deception and addiction. The more drugs they sold, the more money they made, and the more people in Massachusetts suffered and died,” she said in announcing the lawsuit.

Purdue has vigorously rejected the accusations but the Massachusetts case is only one of more than a thousand against the firm and part of a wave of actions against opioid makers, distributors and pharmacies that some lawyers predict will result in a total settlement that dwarfs the $246bn paid out by tobacco companies over smoking deaths.

Williams was among the first mayors to pursue the drug companies. West Virginia has the highest drug overdose rate in the US. Huntington is capital of the county with the largest number of opioid deaths in the state although it has brought the toll of addiction down sharply over the past year.

Williams wants to see a substantial settlement agreed swiftly to help fund programs to deal with the consequences of the epidemic, such as residential addiction treatment and care of children orphaned by drug overdoses. But he is not alone in believing that the crisis spread unchecked for years in part because big corporations were allowed to pay fines or civil penalties when they broke the law and then carry on as before. The mayor questions whether civil suits alone are sufficient to call those responsible to account and to discourage what he regards as a lethal disregard for the law.

“I can guarantee you this, that if an executive all of a sudden knew that they were going to be hearing iron doors closing behind them that would immediately send a ripple throughout all of the corporate boardrooms. All it takes is one public execution,” he said.

That may come in the form of a pending prosecution against the billionaire founder and CEO of the drug-maker Insys Theraputics, John Kapoor, on racketeering, conspiracy and corruption charges. Kapoor has denied allegations of bribing doctors to prescribe a powerful and highly addictive opioid approved for cancer patients, Subsys, for people who did not have the disease. An Inysys sales manager has already pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks to doctors to prescribe Subsys and in August the company paid $150m to settle the justice department investigation into its practices.

But critics of the industry say Insys was a latecomer to profiting from the epidemic, opportunistically seizing on the chance to sell more drugs only in recent years. They point to Purdue and other firms pursuing a much longer strategy of misrepresenting and promoting opioid painkillers, including using political lobbying and well-funded front organisations to influence medical policy, and then resisting efforts to reduce mass prescribing even as the death toll rose in order to preserve profits.

Williams’ call for criminal penalties also comes amid growing anger at attempts by the drug-makers to defend themselves from lawsuits by blaming the victims of addiction and the doctors who prescribed the pills. Purdue is conducting a public relations campaign to portray itself as committed to combatting the epidemic. In newspaper adverts the company claims to be a “partner” in the fight against opioid addiction.

“We manufacture prescription opioids. How could we not help fight the prescription and illicit opioid abuse crisis?” it pleads.

But in court, Purdue is pursuing a legal strategy of blaming the “abusers” and their doctors not OxyContin or the manner in which it was sold.

“The alleged nuisance in this case is not caused by Purdue’s sale of its legal, FDA-regulated medications, but rather by doctors who wrote improper prescriptions and/or by third parties who caused persons without valid and medically necessary prescriptions to get opioid medications or illegal street drugs. Purdue has no control over those persons,” the company said in a legal defence against a lawsuit by the state of Tennessee.
Purdue has saturated the market with their product in part because it was marketed as far less harmful than it actually is. And its highly addictive propety means the users need for it does not end with the final pill in the prescription. And all along Purdue has been willing to provide the product whether through legal or less than legal channels. Hiding behind corporate protections, with an array of high priced lawyers and well paid politicians to man the battlements, it will be hard to bring justice to these perps.

His So-Called Ruined Life

Samantha Bee answers all those concerned about Boofin' Brett's fragile life.

Trump gave Brett whiny little bitch lessons

Bill Maher monologue

Cafeteria evangelicals

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Seven Falls

Laura Viers

O Canada!

The Canadian political satire show "This Hour Has 22 Minutes"

Nowadays you never know

From the pen of Jeff Koterba

Donny gets what he wants

From the pen of Jim Morin

R.I.P. Martyn Jerel Buchwald

You flew high on Airplanes and Starships and some great acid back in San Francisco. Time for your final bow Marty Balin

Elsewhere in the world

The people of the United States have pronounced inclination to focus on their own wonderfulness and ignore the balance of the planet. While the US was focused on the job interview of a clearly unfit judicial nominee, disaster was happening in Indonesia.
The preparations for a beach festival were underway, with dancers and other performers gathering by the sea, when an enormous tsunami triggered by a strong earthquake swept over the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday evening.

The twin disasters — a 7.5-magnitude earthquake, and the swirling wall of water it unleashed — killed at least 384 people in the city of Palu, the site of the festival, and destroyed thousands of buildings there, including a shopping mall, a hotel, seaside restaurants, beachfront homes and several mosques.

“We have found corpses from the earthquake as well as bodies swept up by the tsunami,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for the Indonesian disaster agency, said in a television interview.

Indonesian officials were preparing for a sharp rise in the death toll because search and rescue teams had yet to reach populous coastal settlements near Palu. Vice President Jusuf Kalla of Indonesia told a local news website that thousands may have died, with an unknown number washed out to sea.

Although Indonesia is chronically at risk of tsunamis, Andri Manganti, a resident of Palu who lost his home in Friday’s earthquake, said that no warning siren sounded before the tidal wave — estimated by officials to be a towering 18-feet high — struck the city. Text messages that were supposed to warn locals of a possible tsunami were foiled because cellphone towers had been downed by the earthquake, Mr. Sutopo said.

Indonesia’s meteorological and geophysics agency is facing criticism for having lifted its tsunami warning little more than half an hour after the earthquake struck. It is not yet clear whether the wave that was described by Mr. Sutopo as around 18 feet in height struck before or after the tsunami warning was lifted.

Cellphone video reported to have been taken in Palu showed a wave crashing over the roofs of one-story buildings, which then disappear beneath the turbulent water.

The video starts by showing that coastal buildings and a major street were already flooded, indicating that an initial wave had already hit the coast. Then, a large wave can be seen rolling toward the shore.

As the wave struck, people on top of the building shouted and scrambled to get away. The water surged around a mosque, whose large green dome had collapsed, probably from the quake.
It is still far too early to know the toll of this latest disaster but the immediate future does not look good. Fortunately Americans have The Orange Humperdoo to distract the,.

a petty vindictive rageaholic who loved Israel

Bill Maher rips Trump/God in New Rules

Trump at the UN

Trevor Noah

Trump's low bar

Friday, September 28, 2018

Best Revenge

Steff Mahan

Auditioning For A Snickers Commercial

Trevor Noah says 'Answer the phone Lindsey'

A better solution

From the pen of Pat Bagley

That time we all agreed

From the pen of Christopher Weyant

Refreshment break

From the pen of Jack Ohman

Truth in Advertising

A Court for the Ages

And it matters not that the ages involved are long past and consigned to the shit heap of history. It suits the Dark Money Lords to have a Supreme Court set up to overthrow any attempt to let the proles eke out more than a barren existence so the DML may enjoy the fruits of the proles labor.
“As we all know, in the United States political system of the early 2000s, what goes around comes around,” Judge Kavanaugh declared Thursday in one of several biting references to the brute force politics he is quite familiar with from his own time in the White House and the partisan arena.

That knowing observation points to one reason Republicans are so intent on advancing Judge Kavanaugh that they will stay in session this weekend despite furious Democratic objections that Republicans are rushing, and brushing aside credible accusations of sexual assault against him.

Republicans know this may be their last, best opportunity to cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court for a generation. They are determined to seize it despite evident political risk.

“Frankly we have a reached a point where it is time to end this circus,” Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, demanded Friday at a meeting of the divided Judiciary Committee. “It’s time to vote.”

Republicans are painfully aware that should Judge Kavanaugh stall and Democrats somehow take back the Senate in an election just six weeks away, Republicans could lose a historic opportunity to remake the high court because Democrats could block any nomination by President Trump. Democrats know they could block any Trump nominee for months or even years because Republicans did so to Judge Merrick B. Garland, Barack Obama’s nominee in 2016, and appeared to pay little political price for it. In fact, it worked to their benefit.

Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who rocked Thursday’s hearing and shifted the course of the Kavanaugh nomination with a scorching assault on Democrats, acknowledged Republican concern about the Democratic intentions.

“What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life, hold this seat open and hope you win in 2020,” Mr. Graham charged, referring to the next presidential election. “You want this seat? I hope you never get it.”
Aside from Ms. Lindsey being a pissy little bitch here, it is hard to destroy the life of a dudebro who is sitting on the Federal Appeals Court. That being said the likelyhood that the Senate will change hands could do a great deal to keep punch bowl turds like Boofin' Brett out of the federal judicial system and if Boofin' Brett doesn't make it, even the Supreme Court.

Colbert on the Hearing

In 2 parts

Situation ethics in action

Thursday, September 27, 2018

If You Catch Me Stealin'

Eilen Jewell

What is the value of women ?

From the pen of Jim Morin

Examination by his peers

From the pen of Jack Ohman

Someone has Ms Lindsey fired up

Or else they have a mortal lock on his balls. His defense of Boofin' Brett Kavanaugh is so impassioned you would think he was defending his boyfriend.
Sen. Lindsey Graham has made it his mission to aggressively, eagerly defend Brett Kavanaugh at all costs.

As the Senate Judiciary Committee prepares to hear testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and one of his accusers Thursday, the South Carolina Republican — a senior member of the panel— has crafted a role as a full-throated defender of the embattled D.C. Circuit Court judge.

“We’re not gonna let a thousand accusations stop” the process, Graham said Wednesday. “(Democrats have) said publicly they want to delay this and get the majority back and hold a seat open.”

He was indignant with reporters who questioned him about how and why he was so convinced Kavanaugh was innocent.

Of Christine Blasey Ford, who is alleging Kavanaugh attempted to rape her at a high school party in 1982, Graham said, “You can’t tell me the time. You can’t tell me the location. And the people you tell me were at the party, they say it didn’t happen. So what am I supposed to do? You couldn’t get a warrant based on that.”

Graham dismissed Deborah Ramirez, who told The New Yorker that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her at a party while at Yale, because Ramirez didn’t immediately want to share her account with the Judiciary Committee.

He was the most enraged about the accusations laid out in the latest allegation, a sworn declaration from Julie Swetnick that Kavanaugh was part of a group of high school boys who would drug young girls at parties in order to take advantage of them.

“I’m saying if you were going to parties where women are raped for a two-year period, you have an obligation to go tell the cops. I really believe that,” said Graham. “And the fact that you didn’t tell the cops and you don’t mention it for 36 years and you don’t mention it before two days before the hearing is very suspicious for me.”

When pressed, he said “I don’t know” if Swetnick was lying.

By maintaining his support for Kavanaugh even before he hears from Ford, Graham is doing more than just standing up for his party’s Supreme Court nominee.

He is wading into a highly emotional debate in the thick of the #metoo movement, where defending Kavanaugh’s integrity also means casting aspersions on three women who insist they were either victims of, or witness to, Kavanaugh engaging in acts of sexual violence more than three decades ago.

Graham is also echoing Republican talking points that characterize Democrats as engaging in a smear campaign to keep Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court, which in turn suggest Kavanaugh’s accusers are not credible.

“Y’all go do your homework about this last allegation, and (if) I were a true victim, the last person I would go to would be Michael Avenatti,” Graham said of Swetnick’s lawyer, a Democrat who also represents the adult film actress accusing President Donald Trump of offering hush money during the 2016 campaign to cover up an affair.

Asked what he would say to Democrats who are accusing him and members of his party as insensitive to women with their rhetoric, Graham shot back that “people who are criticizing us are hypocrites.”
Graham is showing more zeal for protecting his new BFF Boofin' Brett than he has shown for any GOP policy in the past. Even though he admits he has no idea if any of the multiple accusers are lying. How dare they attack his latest sweetie!

A Closer Look at Mango Mussolini's Struggles

Seth Meyers

Every one you know has charges against them

Stephen Colbert

Women and children first

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Contact High

Caitlyn Smith


From the pen of John Cole

Insane clown without a posse

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Sometimes Mitch blows the gaff

From the pen of Joel Pett

Still time to register to vote

Add caption

Working the room like an insult comic

Stephen Colbert

The Innocent Do Not Fear Examination

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


Wendy McNeill

Is it a distraction if you know about it ??

From the pen of R J Matson

Christians are all the same

From the pen of Nick Anderson

Jacking up the prices isn't enough

The greed of Big Pharma apparently knows no bounds and their latest attempted theft is targeted at the public Treasury.
Drug companies usually get what they want in public-policy battles on Capitol Hill, but a move by the pharmaceutical industry to grab $4 billion from the federal Treasury in a bill that is supposed to address the nation’s deadly opioid epidemic is meeting fierce resistance.

At issue is a small measure that the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, has deemed a “technical correction” to a bipartisan budget law signed by President Trump in February. The law required drug manufacturers to provide deeper discounts to Medicare beneficiaries whose spending on prescription drugs falls within a range called the coverage gap, or the “doughnut hole.” The discount, now 50 percent on brand-name drugs, is set to rise next year to 70 percent.

The change sought by the drug industry has nothing to do with the scourge of opioids, but such provisions are often tucked quietly into popular, swiftly moving bills, then discovered months later. In a sign of the times, members of Congress and consumer advocates quickly mobilized opposition.

The proposal “will increase prescription drug costs for older Americans while providing a windfall of billions of dollars to the drug industry,” said AARP, the lobby for 38 million Americans 50 and older.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the senior Democrat on the Finance Committee, said the relief for pharmaceutical companies would cost more than twice as much as the bill spends to prevent and treat opioid addiction.

Opponents said Monday that they were confident they could block the relief sought by drug companies, at least for now.

The Congressional Budget Office had initially estimated that the requirement for drug companies to provide larger discounts would reduce federal spending on Medicare’s drug benefit by a total of $7.7 billion through 2027. Shortly after the law was enacted, the budget office discovered additional information and raised its estimate of the savings to $11.8 billion.

Drug makers argue that Congress intended to save just $7.7 billion and should now give back the $4 billion difference. Medicare beneficiaries could still receive discounts of 63 percent, the industry says.
The pharmaceutical industry is truly something else. In a time of great profits and minimal corporate taxation they are trying to grab more. Is there no end to these pricks?

Cyber security is a real problem

And as most candidates are finding out, it takes money and expertise to counter the hackers and campaigns don't have enough money and too many people lacking the knowledge to keep it safe.
With some 40 days remaining to the crucial midterm elections, signs of digital meddling in campaigns are mounting. But most candidates have spent little or nothing on cybersecurity, and say it’s too hard and expensive to focus on hacking threats with all the other demands of running for office.

Only six candidates for U.S. House and Senate spent more than $1,000 on cybersecurity through the most recent Federal Election Commission filing period.

Yet those who monitor intrusions and digital mayhem say hackers are active. And various reports cite at least three candidates still in races or ousted in primaries were suffering attempted breaches of their campaigns.

“We get things literally every day to my team … to investigate everything from phishing attacks to ‘We think our data was breached’ to ‘We think there was a denial of service attack’ to ‘Someone’s listening on our cell phones.’ So we get, like, the whole range of things every single day,” said Raffi Krikorian, chief technology officer for the Democratic National Committee, the party’s governing body.

Even candidates deeply schooled in cybersecurity said the intense 24/7 nature of campaigning leaves them little time to raise money and buy technology to secure their cell phones, email networks and computers.

Jay Hulings , who ran for a U.S. House seat in West Texas’s 23rd Congressoinal District, knew that cybersecurity was important. Hulings had been a federal prosecutor and general counsel to the House intelligence committee, privy to classified secrets.

When Hulings mounted his campaign, he told his bare-bones staff to communicate through Signal, an encrypted messaging app, and avoid using email. Then reality sunk in. The staff expanded and the pace quickened.

“Raising money is hard, and you have to spend it on signs and staff and TV ads and radio and all the typical campaign things. So I don’t think we spent anything on cybersecurity,” he said, explaining how his staff eventually started using Gmail.

“You’re taking 22- and 23-year olds who are just doing something fun before they go to grad school. You don’t have time to train,” Hulings recalled.

In some cases, candidates downplay the likelihood that they could be targeted by Chinese, Russian or other foreign hackers.

“Most campaigns are not going to have a highly sophisticated foreign entity trying to hack into your campaign network unless you are a U.S. senator. On the House side, there’s too many to deal with unless it’s very high profile,” said Rep. Barry Loudermilk, a Georgia Republican who has an information technology background.

But Russian trolls did get involved in local Florida protests about a natural gas pipeline from Alabama to Florida., encouraging people through fake accounts on social media to get involved.

Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat who co-founded the congressional cybersecurity caucus, said the threat from hackers is everpresent and growing: “There are only those people who have been hacked and those people who don’t realize they’ve been hacked.”

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats cautioned in mid-July that “the warning lights are blinking red again” over possible foreign intrusions and that Russian hackers are undertaking “aggressive attempts to manipulate social media” around midterm campaigns.

Around the same time, Microsoft said it had detected and helped the U.S. government thwart hacking attempts against three congressional candidates without identifying them.
Like fleas and Republicans, hackers are everywhere and damned difficult to get rid of.

Trump remembered how dumb he is

Stephen Colbert

SCOTUS Calendar Boy

Trevor Noah

Don't worry about being like your parents

Such a base

Monday, September 24, 2018

Pablo Neruda

Patty Larkin

A Movable Denial

That intrepid reporter Tom Tomorrow brings us the full panoply of Republicans excuses for thr sins of Brett Kavanaugh.

It takes a woman to explain to a man

From the pen of Clay Bennett

A Tale Of 2 Denials

From the pen of Ed Wexler

A party so corrupt...

Even the next generation of politicos is tainted with scandal. While most people expect old, experienced politicians like Chris Collins to be so crooked he will need an extra large corkscrew to be buried, they are taken aback when the young ones show their skill at it.
Mr. Taylor’s race is emblematic of an emerging problem for Republicans as they seek to maintain an increasingly tenuous grip on the House: A seat once considered relatively safe is now imperiled because of scandal, expanding an already broad field of Democratic opportunity.

Democrats, facing comparatively few legal problems and seeking to portray a “culture of corruption” under Republican leadership, have tried to lump Mr. Taylor in with about a half-dozen other Republican candidates whose campaigns have veered off course over accusations of misconduct. They represent a small fraction of the 23 House seats that Democrats need to reclaim control, but in a year when Democrats were already expected to make gains, their fates could prove crucial.

Representative Chris Collins of New York was indicted on charges of insider trading last month. Last week he abruptly reversed a decision to step down and said he would seek another term, giving Democrats hope they could not have easily envisioned in a deeply conservative area. Representative Duncan Hunter of California was indicted last month on federal charges that he used campaign funds for vacations and personal perks.

Now Mr. Taylor’s reputation has taken a hit, pulling a congressman who won election by 23 percentage points two years ago into a race now considered a tossup by independent analysts. The petition controversy has received extensive coverage in Virginia’s Second Congressional District — which includes the state’s largest city, Virginia Beach — and his challenger, Elaine Luria, a retired Navy commander and graduate of the United States Naval Academy, has made a surprisingly strong run.

Mr. Taylor, 39 and in his first term, conceded that he was “aware of the effort to get signatures,” but added in an interview, “What I was not aware of at all was any wrongdoing by anybody at the time.” When he did learn of wrongdoing, he said, he took “swift action and fired senior staff.” He added that he had received assurances he is not personally under investigation.

“If people did something wrong, they should be held accountable for it,” he said. “Anyone, to the very top.” Democrats, he said, have overreached, and their attacks are serving to energize his electoral base.

Ms. Luria, 43, said she found Mr. Taylor’s explanation wanting. “I think it’s obvious that people call into question his integrity, his ability to lead and to stand up for what’s right,” she said. “When you are in the Navy and in command, you can delegate authority, but you can never delegate responsibility.”
The kids are supposed to wait their turn.

Fast to fuck it, slow to fix it

John Oliver examines Facebook

The Case for Universal Healthcare

From Samantha Bee

So Wrong

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Sweet Heart of the Rodeo

Dawn Landes

Before the staff polished it up

From the pen of Monte Wolverton

Only the very best character witnesses

From the pen of Brian McFadden

So what if the pizza is 3 years old

It looks and tastes as good as the day it was packaged. The US Army has 'perfected' a pizza MRE.
Now being shipped to military bases around the world, the newest of 24 current M.R.E. options is a humble three-by-five-inch Sicilian-style slice, scattered with melt-proof shreds of mozzarella and pebbles of mild pepperoni, sealed in a dun-colored laminate pouch.

It isn’t much to look at, even by free-pizza standards. But this is no ordinary slice. To qualify for M.R.E. duty, a food item has to be able to survive years of storage in a dank ship’s hold or a sun-baked shipping container, withstand Arctic freezes and tropical monsoons, stave off assaults by insects, and remain intact through a parachute airdrop or even a free fall from 100 feet.

Forget 30-minute delivery — Army regulations say it has to stay fresh for 36 months. And after all that, the pizza still has to be tasty enough to eat.

It’s a tall order, and the Army’s Combat Feeding Directorate, based at the Natick Soldier Systems Center in the suburbs of Boston, has been trying to fill it for more than 20 years. It took hundreds of failed attempts before the directorate finally came up with a workable version.
Read the article to see some of what they had to do to make it edible after 3 years. No word on whether they made it taste better than Little Caesar's cardboard delite.

Just because you are here legally

Don't think that you can avail yourselves of legally available public services. The Great Trump has ordained that only those they consider true blue AMericans can do so.
Trump administration officials announced Saturday that immigrants who legally use public benefits like food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under new rules aimed at keeping out people the administration deems a drain on the country.

The move could force millions of poor immigrants who rely on public assistance for food and shelter to make a difficult choice between accepting financial help and seeking a green card to live and work legally in the United States.

Older immigrants, many of whom get low-cost prescription drugs through the Medicare Part D program, could also be forced to stop participating in the popular benefits program or risk being deemed a “public charge” who is ineligible for legal resident status.

The move is not intended to affect most immigrants who have already been granted green cards, but advocates have said they fear that those with legal resident status will stop using public benefits to protect their status. The regulation, which the administration said would affect about 382,000 people a year, is the latest in a series of aggressive crackdowns by President Trump and his hard-line aides on legal and illegal immigration.

Federal law has always required those seeking green cards to prove they will not be a burden and has taken into consideration the acceptance of cash benefits. But the government has never before considered the use of other public benefits, like assistance for food.

Now, the new regulation — announced on the Department of Homeland Security website — will require that immigration caseworkers consider the use of public benefits to be “heavily weighed negative factors” for those who are applying to remain legally in the country on a permanent basis. Those who are deemed likely to become dependent on government assistance will probably be denied.

The rule would affect people seeking to immigrate to the United States permanently and others who are in the country on temporary visas — including students and workers — who seek to stay permanently.

Immigrants could be asked in limited cases to post cash bonds of at least $10,000 to avoid being denied green cards under the new regulation, which does not need congressional approval but must still go through a public review process before it becomes final. Officials said they expected the regulation to become final after being posted to the Federal Register in the coming weeks and undergoing the 60-day review period.
Any immigrant seeking to avoid this teutonic trumpery can get themselves a full Michael Jackson makeover. Looking white should solve most of your problems.

Is Kavanaugh setting up a distaff disaster?

In a mere 2 years in office The Orange Humperdoo has managed to really, truly offend a great many women who are now willing and ready to vote Democratic in the upcoming elections. With the imminent hearings with Kavanaugh and his victim Christine Blasey Ford, the Republicans may well kiis goodbye to most of their female support.
Yet in Missouri and other politically competitive battleground states, leaders in both parties are increasingly doubtful that Mr. Hawley and other Republicans can wield the Kavanaugh nomination as a cudgel without risking unpredictable repercussions in the midterm elections.

With Judge Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, tentatively scheduled to testify this week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and many women furious over President Trump’s attacks on Dr. Blasey, a Supreme Court nomination that was once seen as a political winner in many conservative-leaning states could, instead, rouse female voters and independents who otherwise may have cared little about the confirmation fight.

Suburban women are pivotal in this year’s campaign and many of them were already tilting toward Democrats because of their contempt for President Trump. If Republicans are too harsh in their questioning of Dr. Blasey, they risk inviting an even greater backlash at the ballot box in an election where their House majority is in peril and their one-vote Senate majority is teetering.

And with record numbers of women running for office, their voices and those of female voters could crescendo in highly competitive election-year states from Arizona to Florida to New Jersey in support of Dr. Blasey if she testifies as scheduled. Her story makes it far harder, Republicans say, for their candidates to treat Judge Kavanaugh as an unalloyed asset and excoriate Democrats who oppose him.

What alarms Republicans is that staunch defenses of Judge Kavanaugh, like the one made by Mr. Hawley, could haunt them if Dr. Blasey makes a compelling case before the committee. One Republican senator, Dean Heller of Nevada, has already come under political attack for describing Dr. Blasey’s allegation as “a hiccup” for Judge Kavanaugh.

And in a radio interview, Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, a Republican challenging Senator Heidi Heitkamp, minimized Dr. Blasey’s claims because, he said, “it was supposedly an attempt or something that never went anywhere.”
Republicans with their antedeluvian attitudes and responses toward women can expect a strong pushbsck from women who are now saying enough is too damn much from you bozos!

It's Never OK to rape someone

Samantha Bee on Kavanaugh

25 Things You Don't Know About Brett Kavanaugh

Bill Maher

Today's sermon

The GOP has some sick dudes

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Gonna Happen Anyway

Sad Sam Blues Jam

Grassley's preferred hearing

From the pen of Pat Bagley

He's got your back

From the pen of Bruce Plante

Drugs in the lunchpail

Once upon a time when you had a job, you waited until after work to shoot up or pop your choice of pills. Nowadays junkies are going to work stoned and occasionally overdosing on the job.
The first time he overdosed on the job, in 2013 at a Virginia construction site, a co-worker who is his cousin stealthily injected a dose of Narcan, an opioid antidote, into Mr. Sullivan’s leg. He woke up and went straight back to work.

The second time, in 2014, his cousin revived him again, and after resting for an hour in his car, Mr. Sullivan was back on the job. His boss told him not to let it happen again. But within a month, Mr. Sullivan had again overdosed on the job site. This time, another worker called 911. After a few hours at the hospital, he went back to work.

As the opioid epidemic continues to rage across the country, with a record 72,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2017, the fallout is increasingly manifesting itself at construction sites, factories, warehouses, offices and other workplaces. A stunning 70 percent of employers reported that their businesses had been affected by prescription drug abuse, including absenteeism, positive drug tests, injuries, accidents and overdoses, according to a 2017 survey by the National Safety Council, a research and advocacy organization.

At least 217 workers died from an unintentional drug or alcohol overdose while at work in 2016, up 32 percent from 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Workplace overdose deaths have been increasing by 25 percent or more a year since 2010. Those numbers don’t include the many more overdoses that don’t end in death, like Mr. Sullivan’s, or accidents caused primarily or partly by drug impairment.

Incident reports from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration paint a grim national picture of workplace overdose deaths: a mechanic at a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant in Michigan, a construction worker on a barge in Rhode Island, a crawfish fisherman in Louisiana and a Sam’s Club worker who died while stocking shelves in a Texas warehouse.

But despite the growing problem, many employers have turned a blind eye to addiction within their work force, ill-equipped or unwilling to confront a complicated issue they do not know how to address, according to researchers and business executives.

The National Safety Council survey, which was based on interviews with 501 managers at businesses with 50 or more employees, found that fewer than one in five companies felt extremely well-prepared to combat the opioid crisis. Just 13 percent were very confident they could identify risky use. And a little more than half said they screened all employees for drugs, but 40 percent of those had failed to screen for synthetic opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl.

“Employers have been asleep at the wheel,” said Dave Chase, co-founder of Health Rosetta, a company that certifies employer health benefits, and author of “The Opioid Crisis Wake-Up Call.” Some companies are “key, unwitting enablers,” he added.

It is not that businesses are unaware of the toll the crisis is taking. Large employers spent $2.6 billion on treating opioid abuse and overdoses in 2016, up from $300 million 12 years earlier, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker. Those numbers do not include the cost of lost productivity. Workers who misuse pain medication miss an average of 29 days a year, compared with 10 and a half days for other employees.

Yet, many managers are unwilling to acknowledge drug use at their businesses.

“If you ask them if they believe they have an opioid problem within their population, a very high percentage of them would say, ‘No, we don’t,’” said Pat Sullivan, executive vice president of employee benefits at Hylant, a large insurance broker in Indiana that manages benefit plans for more than 19,000 businesses. “And yet we have access to prescription reports that are absolutely telling me there’s abuse happening” among their workers.
In days past the work site first aid kit had bandages and antiseptics and maybe aspirin. Now it better have Narcan unless the boss can easily replace you. With heroin cheap and easy and opioid manufacturers cranking out as many pills and patches as possible, any workplace can now be where you go to die.

Is this another dick joke?

Stephen Colbert takes time off from Trump

If there was a nutrition label on his ass

Bill Maher on Trump's Narcissism

The women are outnumbered

You can see the difference

Friday, September 21, 2018

Autumn Leaves

Eva Cassidy

Trumps respects Brett

From the pen of Sean Delonas

Nasty Old Men

From the pen of David Fitzsimmons

Will she wear a white T-shirt ?

From the pen of Jack Ohman

Anger motivates voters

And one group that is getting motivated by The Orange Humperdoo is the Latino community. Which makes his choice of remarks at his latest taxpayer funded campaign rally a pretty bad one.
President Donald Trump asked voters to elect Republicans to Congress who will give him enough cash to build a massive border wall. He vowed to crack down on immigrants who commit crimes. And he blamed Democrats for supporting cities that refuse to cooperate with U.S. agencies trying to enforce immigration law.

“The new platform of the Democratic Party is radical socialism and open borders,” Trump told a raucous crowd at the Las Vegas Convention Center Thursday night.

But as he tries to appeal to voters in the swing state of Nevada where nearly one in five residents is an immigrant, Trump’s tough talk may end up motivating voters to help Democratic candidates in the midterm elections in November.

“For the Latino community, it is a huge issue. We’re living under an administration that has inflicted fear in our communities.” said Viridiana Vidal, state director for America’s Voice in Nevada. “I’m Latina. I’ve been living in Las Vegas for 15 years. And I know this is something that is moving my people. I know this is something that is moving my community.”

As Republicans try to hold onto control of Congress, Trump continues to campaign on immigration — often speaking about it at his campaign rallies, like the one he held in Las Vegas — even in states like Nevada that he lost to Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

Trump has campaigned in other states with high immigrant populations, including Florida, Texas and California, where polls show Hispanics are already more likely to vote for Democrats than Republicans.

“All over the world, they’re going to be pouring into California,” Trump said Thursday. “Republicans want to protect the safety net for the truly needed Americans. People who need help. Not for illegal aliens who come into our country illegally.”

Inside the convention center, the crowd chanted “build the wall” even before Trump mentioned the wall. Outside, a small group of protesters gathered, one holding a sign “my mom was an immigrant.”

In recent weeks, Trump has seized on calls by several prominent Democrats for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to be either abolished or reworked and dubbed it “soft on crime.”

In the battleground state of Florida, Latinos make up more than one of every six registered voters. In Texas, they make up one out of every four registered voters. Both states are home to competitive Senate races this year. More than 1 million Latin voters will cast ballots in both Texas and Florida, according to NALEO.
Attacking the group that makes up anywhere from 10 to 25% of the voters is a novel strategy and hopefully one that will fail miserably.

We didn't hear you because we didn't listen

Stephen Colbert on the Kavanaugh Whitewash

Lawnorder Mango

Seth Meyers takes a Closer Look

This is SO Yesterday

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Anna Tivel

Party Before Country

From the pen of R J Matson

It worked so well last time

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Always read the last chapter

From the pen of Jack Ohman

They are not skeletons on the porch

Trevor Noah Doesn’t Buy Senator Orrin Hatch’s Defense of Brett Kavanaugh

What has Brett Kavanaugh done to horses

Stephen Colbert

Not just for tax cuts anymore

Now that's a weenie

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

When It's My Time

Imelda May

Standard GOP Behavior

From the pen of Adam Zyglis

He said, He said

From the pen of Pat Bagley

One of the few countries left

Poland is one of the last countries in the world that doesn't play host to an Imperial American military base. And now the Polish president has asked Mango Mussolini to change not.
Despite espousing an “America First” foreign policy strategy, President Donald Trump is considering opening “Fort Trump” — a permanent military base in Poland.

Polish President Andrzej Duda told reporters after meeting with Trump at the White House on Tuesday that he quickly dubbed the base “Fort Trump,” an obvious appeal to the businessman turned U.S. president who has hotels, condos and golf courses around the globe named after himself.

“The presence of the U.S. armed forces in this area is absolutely justified,” Duda said. “I am convinced there is no more effective method of preventing a war than a decisive stance illustrating that we are ready at any moment to repel possible attack.”

Poland and other Eastern European countries have been lobbying the United States to increase the number of troops on the continent as they worry about combating an increasingly aggressive Russia.

Still, Trump’s decision is surprising because he has talked about bringing U.S. troops home from across the world since he was on the campaign trail talking about America First.

Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to punish countries if they don’t spend enough on defense, said he would only agree if Poland is willing to pay the United States.

“Poland would be paying billions of dollars for a base,” he said. “And we’re looking at that more and more from the standpoint of defending really wealthy countries and not being ... paid. It’s one thing when we defend countries that can’t defend themselves....We don’t expect anything for that. But when we’re defending immensely wealthy countries and they’re not the paying for the defense to the United States, they’re only taking advantage of us.”

Poland offered to spend up to $2 billion for the U.S. to build a permanent military base.

“The idea of a permanent U.S. base in Poland subsidized by Poland is an idea the Duda government came up with to satisfy Trump’s criticisms about US defense spending to NATO,” said Erik Brattberg, director of the Carnegie Endowment’s Europe program who is in touch with a few diplomats who are concerned about Trump’s possible reduction of troops. “Rather than going through the traditional NATO format, the Polish government hopes to entice Trump by striking a transactional, bilateral deal with the US and appealing to Trump’s self-aggrandizement. The meeting between the two leaders in the White House today suggests that this strategy might prove successful.”

A third of active-duty U.S. military troops overseas — more than 60,000 — are stationed in Europe, including 35,000 in Germany, 12,000 in Italy, 8,500 in the United Kingdom and 3,300 in Spain, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of information from the Defense Manpower Data Center, a statistical arm of the Defense Department. Thousands more rotate into other European countries temporarily.
Is it any wonder that we have more bases in other countries than we do in our own? And what do we get for it, bupkus!

The lights are on but...

The State Department is a large department because having someone who knows what goes on in each of the many countries makes it easier to interact with them. A region of importance to the US like Latin America has regional experts as well. Or at least it should if the Trump administration was able to keep people in place.
Diplomats say a revolving door of Latin American specialists at the White House and State Department has left the region’s leaders wondering who in Washington they can turn to on important matters of national security and other issues.

The sudden departure of Juan Cruz, the senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the White House’s National Security Council, and ongoing delays to install Kimberly Breier as assistant secretary of the State Department’s Latin America division along with many other departures has left diplomats convinced the region is not a priority.

“We want to know to whom should we talk,” said one South American diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity because the diplomat was not authorized to publicly discuss U.S. policy. “First, you cut everyone at the State Department. Now, after a year of getting to know people at the White House, you’re changing everything again.”

The concerns come as the White House wrestles with infighting across the administration, fleeing staff and a president, already distrustful of traditional Washington bureaucracy, tightening his inner circle and questioning who is on his side.

Diplomats have been left questioning whether they will be able to relate to the next person - and even asking reporters if the new officials will care about their country’s key issues.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged the vacancies during a news conference last week announcing new promotions. Citing a promise when he arrived “to get the team on the field,” he said there was still much work to be done.”

The places where we still have gaps, places like Western Hemisphere, where we have challenges in Venezuela and Nicaragua and in Mexico and the Northern Triangle – important areas, we need a leader,” Pompeo said.

It’s not just Latin America, Pompeo said.

The administration also doesn’t have an undersecretary for management or public diplomacy or an assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs and South Asian Affairs. There is no ambassador even nominated at 25 embassies around the globe and the ambassador post hasn’t been confirmed by the Senate in 75 embassies.

In fact, of 716 “key positions” requiring Senate confirmation, 157 have no nominee and 187 have been nominated, but not confirmed, according to data compiled by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonpartisan group that tracks political appointees.

Under former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the State Department lost 60 percent of the State Departments’ top-ranking career diplomats and new applications to join the Foreign Service fell by half, according to data from the American Foreign Service Association, the professional organization of the U.S. diplomatic corps.

But perhaps nowhere has the the brain trust been as noticeable than in Latin America.
Diplomacy works best when diplomats know who can say it and what it means. A constant churn of peoplein posts, if there is any one at all, creates confusion, uncertainty and doubt. This may work when you run for office but not when you do foreign policy.

How fucked up is the news?

Seth Meyers

Any day now

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Save This Heart

Molly Tuttle

And they ARE old enough to remember

From the pen of Pat Bagley

Not like that at all

From the pen of Jack Ohman

R.I.P. Alan Irwin Abel

The New York Times
believes your death is real this time. If so we have lost a a true blythe spirit.

Making it easier for BFF Putin

And doing his bit to obstruct the course of justice in his Russin conspiracy case, Orange Humperdoo has ordered the declassification of documents with th intention of making the FBI and the Intelligence community look bad. If he reveals details and processes used to the Russians, well that is just a bonus for his BFF Vlady.
President Trump ordered law enforcement and intelligence officials to declassify documents related to the Russia investigation and other inquiries, White House officials said on Monday, the latest instance of the president siding with Republican allies on Capitol Hill over federal law enforcement.

Mr. Trump decided to declassify text messages about the Russia inquiry from a handful of law enforcement officials, summaries of interviews in the case and documents related to the surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide investigated for his links to Russia. For months, Mr. Trump and some of his most fervent congressional supporters have clamored for the material’s release against the protests of the intelligence and law enforcement communities.

The move is all but certain to further deteriorate Mr. Trump’s relationship with law enforcement officials. As part of their monthslong attacks on the Russia investigation, the president and his allies have accused law enforcement officials of improperly obtaining a secret warrant to wiretap the campaign adviser, Carter Page. Little evidence has emerged to back the Republicans’ assertions, and Democrats have accused them in return of politicizing a legitimate inquiry with major national security implications.

Justice Department officials originally received authorization to wiretap Mr. Page from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in October 2016. Among the materials being prepared for release are nearly two dozen pages of the Justice Department’s application. The wiretap was renewed three times, including once by Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who supervises the special counsel investigation.

Much of the application was previously released in July, angering the intelligence community and members of the law enforcement who believed that the information should not have been made public and that its release set a dangerous precedent by making public secret methods of investigation.

Former and current F.B.I. officials have expressed concern that the Republican efforts to out the materials could have long-lasting consequences, making it harder to recruit informants willing to help with investigations who are the lifeblood of law enforcement.
Damaging the FBI's ability to investigate serious crime is a plus for Humperdoo.

Another win of US

When the Orange Humperdoo first broached the idea of an unnecessary trade war, he said it would be easy to win. And thanks to Hurricane Florence, Humperdoo is going to score a Yuge win in the Carolinas.
The tariffs President Trump has slapped on imports from foreign countries — including duties on $200 billion of Chinese goods announced Monday — are almost certain to raise costs on homeowners in the Carolinas hoping to rebuild and refurnish after Hurricane Florence.

While prices naturally rise after a natural disaster, given the spike in demand for building materials, Trump’s trade war has already boosted costs for imported plywood and lumber, which jumped 30 percent in the six months after the Trump administration announced tariffs on Canadian softwood timber in December.

In addition, Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports have boosted prices for furniture, washing machines and other appliances, and the president late Monday announced an additional 10 percent tariffs on a range of Chinese exports, which could increase to 25 percent by the end of the year.

“People should expect to find it will be more expensive to rebuild and refurnish their houses,” said Jock O’Connell, a trade economist affiliated with California-based Beacon Economics. “Whenever there’s a natural disaster, there will be spikes in prices, as demand goes up. This time it will be exacerbated by the impacts of tariffs.”

Homeowners confront an array of challenges rebuilding from the hurricane, including labor shortages and lack of insurance to pay for any rebuilding and losses. But higher costs for building materials and household items will add to those costs, said O’Connell and representatives of the building and retail industries.

Michael Carpenter, executive vice president of the North Carolina Home Builders Association, said U.S. duties on Canadian lumber caused home construction prices to spike sharply in the first half of the year, and then drop off in recent months. Hurricane Florence will help restore those higher costs, he said, in part because of the challenge of moving construction materials around.

“The disruption are going to be substantial, and in a lot of areas around the state,” said Carpenter. “There are are going to be some significant shortages of building materials for some time.”

Mark Adkison, a vice president for the National Housewares Association, said his trade group is most concerned about tariffs the Trump administration announced Monday on $200 billion of Chinese exports, which could rise from a 10 to 25 percent tariff by 2019. The proposed list subject to duties is broad and sweeping, affecting everything from gypsum used in sheet rock to electronics, textiles and everyday housewares and kitchen gadgets.

“The 25 percent proposal is really concerning,” Adkison said. “It is more than the supply chain can handle, and would result in significant price increases at retail.”

Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have enacted a series of tariffs against top exporters to the United States, including China, Canada, Mexico and the European Union.

The administration says these tariffs are aimed at protecting U.S. farmers, manufacturers and other companies that have been victims of foreign protectionism. But they’ve raised prices for consumers and various U.S. companies, including those that depend on foreign supply chains, and have hurt U.S. farmers and other exporters that have been subject to retaliation.
It is doubtful that the Trumpoons and other voters who supported his reckless rhetoric had any idea how much their support would cost them but for many another bill about to come due will be bigger than needed. And so far there is no sign of the big, easy win in Humperdoo's Unnecessary Trade War, just like all the other wars we are in.

Canadians don't need guns

Stephen Colbert

2 of his finest people - Manafort & Kavanaugh

Seth Meyers

Never trust a turtle

Maybe if Brett was tanned

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