A Couple Of Wrong Uns 

Holy shit. Meanwhile, the gumflapper in the White House remains useless.

Kim Jong Un – wrong and bad
Donald J Trump – wrong, bad, and completely out of his depth. They’re both “wrong ‘uns.”

TOKYO — North Korea launched a ballistic missile Tuesday morning that flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, public broadcaster NHK reported. The government issued an alert for residents in some prefectures to take cover.

Source: North Korean missile flies over Japan, escalating tensions and prompting an angry response from Tokyo  – The Washington Post

Trump Org Was Negotiating For Moscow Tower During Candidacy – Sater

If this had gone through last summer, would it have been a deal breaker for the Trumpist base?

Probably not. Make Moscow Great Again!

Nevertheless, the details of the deal, which have not previously been disclosed, provide evidence that Trump’s business was actively pursuing significant commercial interests in Russia at the same time he was campaigning to be president — and in a position to determine U.S.-Russia relations. The new details from the emails, which are scheduled to be turned over to congressional investigators soon, also point to the likelihood of additional contacts between Russia-connected individuals and Trump associates during his presidential bid.

White House officials declined to comment for this report.

Source: Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president – The Washington Post

Trump asked Sessions about closing case against Arpaio

This is outrageous. The President of the United States does not simply “let a case go to trial” as if he (or she) has any say in the process.

As Joseph Arpaio’s federal case headed toward trial this past spring, President Trump wanted to act to help the former Arizona county sheriff who had become a campaign-trail companion and a partner in their crusade against illegal immigration.

The president asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions whether it would be possible for the government to drop the criminal case against Arpaio, but was advised that would be inappropriate, according to three people with knowledge of the conversation.

After talking with Sessions, Trump decided to let the case go to trial, and if Arpaio was convicted, he could grant clemency.

This is infuriating. Trump ignores the Constitution with every dollar he rakes in at one of his properties, and he treats the Judiciary as a nuisance. No wonder he was angry at Sessions recently, he was getting static over pardoning his birther buddy.

How far will Congress let this go? Pretty far. The Republicans are starting to get restless and so far only a few ex-members are willing to speak out (with the exception of Arizona’s senators, McCain and Flake).

Can we expect more pardons for much more serious crimes? Yes, especially if they’re closer to the President and bring him into focus in the ongoing Mueller investigations.

I am so disgusted with this… hairball.

Source: Trump asked Sessions about closing case against Arpaio, an ally since ‘birtherism’

4 Pocket Links Wed Aug 23 20 20:06:13 2017

Aside

Here’s a pocketful of links, stacked up for easy viewing.

Flickr: Repository of Resistance Memes: A really useful collection of Resistance memes, many were used in a recent “tweetstorm Google doc created by Jhamel. – by Honey DemForce – Tags: politics, theresistance, trump – https://www.flickr.com/photos/151634815@N03/sets/72157685219931514

CaptainsLog2017 on Twitter – by Herr Trump in, CaptainsLog2017 ??, Scarlet Witch 2017 ? – Tags: trump – https://twitter.com/CaptainsLog2017/status/900220349593374720

CaptainsLog2017 on Twitter PHX pics: #PhoenixRally pics thread – by East Coast, Deb, Dani G, Vicki Ringer, Dracula’s Spatula, Eric DeBlackmere, Kenny J #Resist, Cynthia Pease, Mrir, C Barker Congdon, CaptainsLog2017 ??, Scarlet Witch 2017 ? – Tags: trump – https://twitter.com/CaptainsLog2017/status/900219373956341762

The strange story of a ‘Blacks for Trump’ guy standing behind the president at his Phoenix rally: At a number of political rallies over the last two years, a character calling himself “Michael the Black Man” has appeared in the crowd directly behind Donald Trump, impossible to miss and possibly planted. Almost always, he plugs his wild website, Gods2.com, across his chest. – Tags: trump – http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/The-strange-story-of-a-Blacks-for-Trump-guy-11952070.php

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

That Was No Single Voice

The delusion is strong with this one. There were several hundred voices heard OUTSIDE. Maybe a lot more than that.

A few hundred people (or more) protested in 105-degree heat in Phoenix

“Don’t bother,” Trump said, as the crowd booed. “It’s only a single voice. And not a very powerful voice.”

Source: As Trump ranted and rambled in Phoenix, his crowd slowly thinned

For some time now, since the awful night of the US Presidential election, I’ve been spending far too much time om Twitter, trying to process what happened, and trying to resist in some way. In December, Star Wars and Star Trek themed “memes” started going around, and they really resonated with me. As a lifelong science fiction/fantasy aficionada, stuff like this really spoke to me:

And late in December, Carrie Fisher died, and that really hit me hard. 

Somehow I fell in with a bunch of people running “resistance” Twitter accounts based on Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Dr Who, and many other fictional universes. I choose to be a lone wolfess-type character from ST: Next Generation called “Ro Laren.” She’s obscure she goes her own way, but she does her best to resist tyranny.

They were somewhat loosely coordinated by this guy, “Captain’s Log,” and today he’s recovering from a huge protest rally and march in Phoenix.

He even got called out by Ezra Levin of the Indivisibile Guide for helping to organize and motivate turnout.

So Trump and his Trumpettes can crow and strut and boast all they want, hundreds of people were out there in the heat shouting, chanting, and resisting. It was not a single voice, it was a chorus of many hundred voices.

Much of this was coordinated through Facebook, Twitter, and various Indivisible local groups in Arizona. The wall is going up, but it’s built with people power, and resists the intolerance that Trump is trying so hard to dismiss and normalize.

We are the Wall. We are a chorus of many voices.

And in the case of the recent protests in Boston, we are many thousands, and we have tubas, sousaphones, and trombones.

4 Pocket Links Mon Aug 21 21 21:56:18 2017

Aside

Here’s a pocketful of links, stacked up for easy viewing.

GOP senator unsure if Trump will be 2020 nominee: Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) told MSNBC that she was unsure whether President Donald Trump would be the party’s presidential nominee in 2020. – Tags: politics – http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/08/21/susan-collins-unsure-trump-2020-msnbc-sot-erin.cnn

Jeh Johnson: Confederate Statues Are ‘Neo-Nazi Rallying Points’: Martha Raddatz filled in on ABC’s “This Week” charged with the arduous task of eliciting some semblance of logic from Jerry Falwell Junior’s rationalizing of Trump’s deplorable defense of White Nationalists, KKK members and Neo-Nazis. – by Leftofcenter – Tags: politics – http://crooksandliars.com/2017/08/jeh-johnson-confederate-statues-are-neo

Angry Trump Grilled His Generals About Troop Increase, Then Gave In: WASHINGTON — President Trump’s skepticism about America’s involvement in Afghanistan was no secret to his staff. But his top national security officials were still taken aback at a meeting in the Situation Room on July 19, when an angry Mr. – by Maggie Haberman, MARK LANDLER – Tags: politics – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/21/world/asia/trump-afghanistan.html

Michael Snyder Wants To Take Over The GOP And Fill Congress With ‘InfoWars Candidates’: Michael Snyder, a radical Religious Right prepper pundit who is among the Republicans candidates running for Congress in Idaho for the seat being vacated by Rep. Raul Labrador, is a kindred spirit of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and a regular guest on his radio program. – by Kyle Mantyla – Tags: politics – http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/michael-snyder-wants-to-take-over-the-gop-and-fill-congress-with-infowars-candidates/

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

Optics: Stern And Tough Cabinet, or Reality Show Cast Photo?

This photo requires some context: Bannon is out, this is the currently constituted Cabinet as it was during the weekend meeting on Afghanistan, and Trump has just signed some bill that’s more of a symbolic resolution.

Let’s break down the looks — and messages sent via those looks — for each white man of the 13 white men and 1 woman in the photo. Side note: I have to believe the attendees were told not to smile due to the seriousness of the topic discussed. Otherwise, the sheer spontaneous seriousness is truly beyond belief. (Huge thanks to CNN’s Jim Acosta for helping ID everyone.)

Source: Everything is going great! in 1 amazing Trump photo – CNNPolitics

They look so angry, grim, and determined. And it looks more like the beginning of Season 2 of “President Apprentice.”

This looks more like the kind of photo that gets updated as cast members are eliminated.

One Term Wonder Joe Walsh: Who’s The Ass Again?

So glad this guy got booted out after just one term, and now the IL-08 district is reliably blue.

Why is it that when Dems leave office, they disappear? When Republicans get bounced, they go on talk shows or create their own.

Joe Walsh, a radical Tea Party congressman who was voted out of office after one term amid a variety of financial problems and has since become a right-wing radio host, is none too pleased about Presi

Source: Former Rep. Joe Walsh: Obama Is An ‘Arrogant, Immature, Anti-American Ass!’

If You’re Young, Here’s Why Old Bernie Sanders Looks Good

Young voters, please read this article in @HuffingtonPost: you won’t remember the shit that went down in the 90’s, but Bernie Sanders is free of all that baggage.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-goodman/bernie-sanders-will-be-sworn-in-as-americas-45th-president_b_8909356.html

President Sanders? President Bernie? It seems unlikely, but is it really? The Goodman article makes the case that Bernie Sanders’ support is broad and far-reaching, his fundraising is good, and he’s gotten a lot more individual donors than even Obama’s record-breaking totals. That means that Bernie’s appeal is unexpectedly big, and the political media don’t cover the unexpected very well. So if he does well in his first 2 or 3 primaries, Hilary Clinton is not the inevitabilty of 2016, but more like the Inevitability of 2008. Which is kind of a sad thing because I think she would be a good leader, but her political baggage is always going to be there, standing at her elbow. Bill Clinton’s presence both helps and hinders her, and as much as I liked him and prospered during his presidency, I really don’t want a repeat of those 8 years of bullshit, craptastic “investigations” from the Right. I just want the country to get on with pressing matters, like global warming, repairing our crumbling infrastructure, and making our technology and manufacturing the best in the world again, instead of a hollow lie built by Chinese slave labor.

The Hufffpost piece by H.A. Goodman covers a lot of the essential background on the current crop of Presidential candidates and serves as a good primer for those of us whose memories of recent events aren’t as clear as they should be. It’s also worth printing out to give those of our acquaintance who just plain can’t be bothered to pay attention to politics until there’s a rah-rah-sis-boom-bahfest to get them out to vote for their team’s tribal totem-bearer. For those deliberately uninformed types, I suggest you roll up your printout and whack them gently about the noggin and suggest that they need to smarten up and vote right.

Or left, as the case may be.

Gore’s loss in 2000 is also correlated directly to America’s fatigue with the Lewinsky scandal, even though Starr’s investigation was politically motivated and Gingrich also had an extramarital affair during the investigation. For Democrats, a Hillary Clinton presidency filled with future scandal could easily lead to a Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio ticket in 2020.

Source: On January 20, 2017 Bernie Sanders Will Be Sworn In as America’s 45th President | H. A. Goodman

FATIGUE with the LEWINSKY SCANDAL. If you’re younger than about 25 years old, but will be old enough to vote in November 2016, you probably won’t remember HOW EXHAUSTING the political witchhunts were. And the Lewinsky scandal was just one little part of it, but the investigation, impeachment hearings, and breathlessly reported developments were never-ending.

I’d just like to unpack this one paragraph from the article, because it reminded me of what it was like to live through the 90’s, when President (William) Clinton was in office and the GOP Right Wing were constantly investigating every little conspiracy theory they could dig up out of the muck on Clinton. They hated him, and no rumor was too unsubstantiated for them to follow to ridiculous lengths in their desire to find something, anything, on Clinton that they could use to bring him down.

The 90’s were good to me personally, in the main; in the middle of the decade I finally met the love of my life, and moved to the Chicago suburbs to get married and get on with my suburban life. Some of my favorite television shows and movies (the ones that are part of my inner life, that I always return to for context and emotional reference) were on the air in the 90’s, and one of them led directly to my meeting my husband David.

And yes, the Clinton scandal-hunters even touched that show, and one of its spinoffs. One of the recurring stars of “Highlander: The Series,” Elizabeth Gracen, who later went on to be the star of her own (brief) spinoff had to be careful about appearing at fan conventions in the US because she was under subpoena by Kenneth Starr, who was leading the investigations of Clinton. Gracen denied it at first, but she had an affair with Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas back in the early 80’s. That was potientially a bombshell, but it it was a minor blip on the “Investigate and Impeach Bill Clinton For Something, Anything” narrative that the GOP Congress pushed at the time.

Gracen actually had to pass on appearing in person at the last big HL convention I attended, which was “Celebration” in April 1998 in Anaheim (which was a shame, because she deserved one last hurrah with people who enjoyed her character). She settled for appearing via satellite link as she was filming her show in Europe (which was a great way to avoid the investigation). An old post at alt.tv.highlander gives a good impression of what great fun that was, and how friends from all over the WORLD met each other (sometimes for the first time, sometimes as a reunion) to bond over a (stupid) television show. I was sorry and angry that she had to miss it.

Anyway, Elizabeth Gracen had to miss out on all of that; in fact, not long after her spinoff show was cancelled, she ended up declaring bankruptcy, which was probably related to her former association with Bill Clinton, and the anti-Clinton backlash that still festered in the US as the Bush administration began. You have no idea how tiresome and boring it all was, and maybe that’s the point: make politics so boring that people no longer pay attention to it. Until their votes are needed to elect assclowns, that is. Just add water, stir and shake well, and you have Instant Angry Pitchforks!

If Hilary Clinton is the nominee, she will probably be elected with a hard-right GOP Congress mostly in place (given the political realities of demographics, gerrymandering, and turnout), which means that we will all get to enjoy ALL THAT NONSENSE again. And you will get to experience it as an adult for the first time, but for me it will be like that long-awaited sequel of a beloved movie that turns out to kind of suck.

At least, if Hilary Clinton becomes President Hilary Clinton, Peter Segal will be able to reuse a throwaway joke from one of the earliest episodes of WBEZ’s “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me” radio quiz show. I’ve never forgotten that joke, because it was both funny and true. It may have been on an episode from November 1998 that featured the impeachment proceedings as part of the “Not My Job” segment, and I wish I could have found a clip but maybe someday… the gist of it was as one of the end-of-show “player predictions” for the next week’s news; either Peter Segal or Adam Felber quipped “And next week, Kenneth Starr will investigate ME for making THIS JOKE.”

Why do I remember a joke that is nearly 20 years old? Because it was funny, and it was true; we can all expect incessant Congressional hearings, investigations, RWNJ rumors, and endless roiling of HRC’s handling of Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi. And many, many people will find themselves under subpeona who might shed “light” on her email server scandal, the suspiciously masculine cut of her pantsuits, and her subversively anti-family cookie recipes if necessary.

Out of self defense, we will have to laugh. Thank God John Oliver will be there for us, along with the WW!DTM! panelists. I only wish Jon Stewart will issue occasional biting commentary from his farm/animal refuge.

For what it’s worth, I really do not give a damn that Clinton (Bill) messed around on Clinton (Hillary). It’s none of my business as long as it didn’t prevent him from doing his job or open him up to blackmail by a foreign power. The Right’s obsession with morality, when they themselves have always been the least moral people in government, is one of their (many) failings. I don’t understand why people forget this, as it keeps happening and will go on happening as long as people are silly enough to vote these clowns into office.

Please, potential voters younger than me, you will need to know (since you probably don’t remember) that George W. Bush was more or less appointed by the Supreme Court in 2000, as the election in Florida was so messed up that the recounts had to be set aside by their fiat. Along with the infamous “chads” on their poorly designed ballots, Florida had screwed up on purging (mostly Democratic-leaning brown and black) voters, which a certain GOP governor didn’t start but certainly finished, and they also messed with polling times and places that affected black churchgoers the most. Ultimately, that meant that Al Gore was probably our elected President, but the election was ruined by Florida’s electoral incompetence, and who was governor of Florida then? No one other than Brother Jeb! who was aided and abetted by Katherine Harris, who was discarded after she was no longer hot, useful, and marketable.

President Obama has been something of a disappointment to me personally – I had great hope for him but his Hawaiian-style compulsion to seek “kokua,” or cooperation on matters of mutual interest meant that the GOP opposition could stop everything he wanted to get done except for the ACA in his first 2 years. I thought that a community organizer would, you know, encourage people to ORGANIZE to better themselves and their communities and Lord knows, he’s tried. Unfortunately, the Tea Party’s stranglehold on the alleged hearts and minds of a small but passionate subset of Cryptofascist-Americans means that the GOP is being led around by the trunk (or some fleshly appendage located farther South on the Republican Elephant in the room). Unless and until “low-information” voters get whacked with the facts by concerned friends and relatives, the Tea Party will continue to embarrass the nation in the eyes of the world (not that they care about the opinions of people who are NOT Cryptofascist-Americans).

So: Bernie Sanders. He has no Clinton I-era baggage, he won’t have any Clinton-II era baggage. He will Get Things Done, or Shake Things Up when he’s inevitably blocked by what I expect will be a GOP Congress full of foam-at-the-mouth religious nutjobs, thanks again to the stupid gerrymandering of Congressional districts. Please try to remember also to organize, organize, organize at the local level to get those state legislature ninnyhammers out of office. I know it’s not sexy or hip (currently) but please try to make it so.

Politically, he’s to the left of just about everybody in the Senate, and is rated about the middle of the pack in terms of “leadership” by GovTrack, meaning he’s co-sponsored a middling number of bills. Note that he bills he chooses to sponsor and the committee memberships he holds means that he’s doing a lot of thinking about issues that affect a lot of us “ordinary Americans.”

Committee Membership

Bernard “Bernie” Sanders sits on the following committees:

Ranking Member, Senate Committee on the Budget
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Member, Subcommittee on Energy
Member, Subcommittee on National Parks
Member, Subcommittee on Water and Power
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
Member, Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety
Member, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Water, and Wildlife
Member, Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security
Member, Subcommittee on Children and Families
Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Bills Sponsored
Issue Areas

Sanders sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:

Armed Forces and National Security (27%) Health (18%) Labor and Employment (11%) Energy (10%) Education (9%) Government Operations and Politics (9%) Taxation (8%) Finance and Financial Sector (7%)
Recent Bills

Some of Sanders’s most recently sponsored bills include…

S. 2399: Climate Protection and Justice Act of 2015
S. 2391: American Clean Energy Investment Act of 2015
S. 2398: Clean Energy Worker Just Transition Act
S. 2242: Save Oak Flat Act
S. 2237: Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015
S. 2142: Workplace Democracy Act
S. 2054: Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2015

That’s like a progressives’ wish list, right there. I wish all of those bills would get enacted but it’s doubtful that they will. Thanks, GOP. About 97% of his contributions in this cycle come from individual donors, which speaks to his appeal to ordinary people, and not corporate interests that want to buy the election while evading taxes by offshoring themselves.

Sanders expresses himself clearly on the issues, and is refreshingly free of the political doublespeak that turns so many of us off:

So young people, take a good look at the old guy. He’s probably your best bet for the future, he’s someone we could trust to work for the common good, and he’s free of political and corporate baggage.

Although, if he’s elected, you can probably count on his being impeached for being a democratic (small-d) socialist (small-s), but that’s just Bernie being Bernie. The GOP would make complete fools of themselves denouncing him, and then how will they look if his policies benefit the country and the world? Pretty stupid, actually, and that’s something I’d love to see.