Tuesday, October 31, 2017
White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly, one of the supposed adults in the room, babysitter to President Strangelove, our last line of defense against the apocalypse, has demonstrated that he's really just another ignorant hole in the asshole casserole which is the Trump administration.
Last night he was a guest on a Fox News squawk show (an appearance which shows poor judgment in itself) and found himself defending states over country, and asserting that the Civil War was caused by the "inability to compromise."
Right. Was that General Kelly or General Longstreet?
These guys have really got to go.
It's "one of the best memories in the world," and "one of the greatest memories of all time."
Or maybe he means he chooses to recall only his "best memories." Because when it comes to remembering his Russian-tainted campaign aides, Comrade Trumputin's suddenly got amnesia.
"Manafort? No, never heard of him. Manicotti, yeah. I like manicotti!"
"Richard Gates? Hmm, let's see. Nope, no Richard. How about Bill? I met Bill Gates once."
"George who? Papa-what? Papadopoulos? Who's he? No, I don't remember him at all. Photo? Oh yeah, I think that was taken at my fantasy football league draft. I don't really know any of those guys. But I'm in first place!"
Monday, October 30, 2017
"Fox & Friends" is Donnie Destructo's favorite morning show. The same used to be true for our family dentist. It was always on at his office until someone finally told told him it was offensive, obvious propaganda and would sooner or later cost him business. These days, he gives us HGTV -- equally offensive, but not political. But I digress.
Today, as two former Trump advisers were indicted on twelve federal charges including "conspiracy against the U.S.," an intrepid reporter with a strong stomach watched two straight hours of "Fox & Friends" to get their take on it.
In a nutshell:
9:00: Well, it’s been two hours, and I think I have a pretty good handle on the Manafort and Gates indictments: Hillary Clinton is the problem, the leakers need to be locked up, Donald Trump is a victim, the left is conspiring to ruin the country and no one is paying nearly enough attention to the scandal surrounding Fusion GPS and Uranium One. Any questions? Didn’t think so.
Sunday, October 29, 2017
A neighbor of ours throws a Halloween costume party every year. She goes all out with lots of decorations and food, and most people show up in costume. It's always very nice.
The party was last night. Unfortunately, I had to leave early, for two reasons. One, some side effects of my meds began to kick in, and it was advisable that I be near my own private plumbing. And two, one my neighbors became intolerable.
I've known this guy for a long time, and have known his wife for longer than I've known the lovely Mrs. Gammons. Over the years, I've watched him descend steadily down through the Fox News-fake news rabbit hole, and now he's come out the other side as a sad stereotype -- the angry old, white, retired bigot. Last night at the party, he came in full-Richard Spencer mode. I kept trying to move around and mingle, but dammit, he kept finding me to chat me up with his random racism.
"So, how much will our property taxes go up?" (He's been a Tea-bagger since before there was a Tea Party, railing against any and all taxes, property and other.)
"You know why our taxes are going up, don't you? It's because we're a white island." (A what?) "Yeah, the city and the county are all black, and white neighborhoods' taxes pay for all of it. A white island." (Columbus is 62% white, and Franklin County is 76% white. Pretty big island.)
"You ever read the New York Times? That paper is just awful!" (I subscribe to the Sunday Times, think it's just great, and doubt this douchebag has ever even seen the NYT, let alone read it.)
"I never watch any NFL games anymore." Oh? "No, never." (No need to ask him why. I successfully waltzed away from this one before he could engage me in the asinine objections to black players taking a knee.)
At one point, our hostess came around taking pizza orders, asking if I would eat some. I said yes, I'd eat "a little, un poquito." Don't know why I dropped a Spanish word, but it prompted him to tell me that he'd been to a nearby McDonald's that morning, and "everyone working behind the counter was Mexican." (So what?) "Well, at least they weren't Muslims!" (Oh, puh-leeze!)
|"You really wanna hear what I think?"|
I think it was a catastrophe, a tragic mistake. The Orange Tub of Goo is a hideously unfit, racist, repulsive liar, the worst president in American history, a national embarrassment, and the idiots who actually voted for him -- like you! -- owe the whole country a huge apology!
Right about then I had to excuse myself and go home -- side effects were making me sick and so was this guy. I will never again willingly occupy the same physical space as this insufferable moron. It's for the best.
Although my Cleveland Indians were eliminated too early from the postseason, I have continued to enjoy the baseball playoffs. The Dodgers and Astros are all even at two games each in the World Series.
But to my amazement, three playoff teams have fired their managers. All three had successful track records, but fell victim to unreasonably high expectations: win it all, or else!
John Farrell of Boston has seven years as a big-league manager, with a .517 winning percentage. In his five years with the Red Sox, they were in the postseason three times. They were World Series Champs in 2013. This year, the Sox were AL East Division Champs. They lost to the Astros in the ALDS.
Joe Girardi of the Yankees has a .554 record in eleven years, ten of them with New York. He took the Yanks to the postseason six times and won the World Series in 2009. This season, the Yankees were a Wild Card, beat the Indians in the ALDS, but lost to the Astros in the ALCS.
Dusty Baker of Washington has a .532 record in 22 years as a manager, the last two with the Nationals. He's a three-time NL Manager of the Year, and has managed seven Division Champs. He led his team to the postseason nine times, and just missed it twice more. He took the SF Giants to the World Series in 2002. This year the Nats were NL East Division Champs, but lost to the Cubs in the NLDS.
Yes, they are all hired to be fired, but this is getting ridiculous. There are 30 teams in MLB, and every season only one can be the ultimate winner. If the current impatient trend continues, we may soon see 29 firings every year.
I'm glad the Indians have wisely chosen to not fire Terry Francona.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
When it comes to lying, our fake president has no equal. Cheeto Jesus emits a constant cloud of dishonesty and deception the likes of which the world has never seen. He lies not because it's in his interests; he lies because it's in his nature. It's just what he does. Those around him follow suit.
Sixteen women are on record accusing the Pussy-Grabber-In-Chief of sexually harassing them. Yesterday, Trump and his spokespeople reiterated their claim that they are lying. All of them.
Consider the source. If the liars are insisting that all sixteen women are lying, then logically the women must be telling the truth.
The kids of the White House press corps were invited to Trick-or-Treat in the Oval Office. Only Captain Blunderpants could turn a fun photo op with children into an awkward, creepy opportunity to make fun of their parents and say nonsensical things.
"Are you going to grow up and be like your parents? Mmm, don't answer that."
"She's Japanese? Wow. I'm going to be in Japan in two weeks."
"Well, you have no weight problems. That's the good news, right?"
"So, how does the press treat you?"
"They can stay. The parents, not so much."
Watch the video. It's three minutes of cringe-inducing weirdness.
Friday, October 27, 2017
Sorry to be repetitive, but you really should vote YES on Ohio Issue 2, and here's the clincher:
The opposition to Issue 2, a.k.a. "Ohioans Against the Deceptive Rx Ballot Issue," is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PhRMA, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the largest drug industry lobby in the country, and they have thus far spent $58 million to defeat Issue 2. The amount is the most ever spent in Ohio on a single ballot issue, and the final total is sure to exceed $60 million.
According to them, Issue 2 will never work, won't save any money, will actually cost us all more (wouldn't that be to PhRMA's advantage?), and so they're doing us all a big favor by spending $60 friggin' million to protect us from this deceptive nightmare.
Bullshit! They know Issue 2 will work, and they're investing $60 million to protect their own interests and keep drug prices high and unregulated.
Screw 'em! YES on Issue 2!
The Republican Budget Resolution which just narrowly passed in the Senate and the House (had 20 GOP "no" votes) is a bunch of hooey -- a right-tard's wish list. It's not law, not binding, just some radical recommendations to cut $1.8 trillion in discretionary healthcare and safety net programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP (food stamps), SSI (income to the disabled), and the Earned Income Tax Credit for those with low incomes. None of this is likely to occur to any significant degree. It's too stupid.
But it succeeded in its real purpose. Its passage changes the rules and allows the GOP to include its Tax Cut as part of the budget reconciliation, and thereby try to pass the Tax Cut with just 51 votes.
The Trump Tax Cut is a kleptocrat's wet dream. The sugar goes to Big Business and ruling class wealthy individuals. The rest of us get crumbs.
The main feature is a cut in the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%. It also eliminates the corporate alternative minimum tax. Understand that literally no business currently pays 35%. With allowable deductions, write-offs and loopholes, 70% of companies pay no corporate income tax, 20% of profitable companies had zero tax liability, and the effective corporate tax rate is about 16%. (Forbes, 4/20/16.) Eighteen large, profitable corporations, including General Electric, PG&E, AEP, and Duke Energy, have paid no taxes for 8 years running. (CBS MoneyWatch, 3/10/17.)
Slashing the corporate rate just lowers the bar, reduces the effective rate, and allows even more companies to pay even less.
The administration is claiming, incredibly, that the lower corporate tax rate will give the average American family an annual "raise" of $4000 to $9000! Their bed-time story is that all these poor, overburdened businesses have been suppressing our "natural" incomes by that amount, due to taxes, and if we cut their rate they'll gladly just hand it over to us. Now that is some trickle-down magical thinking!
On the individual side, the Trump Tax Cut has 3-4 tax brackets, with minor to non-existent rate decreases. It increases the rate on the lowest incomes; it eliminates the deduction for state and local taxes paid; it eliminates the $4050 personal income exemption; it eliminates an unspecified "30%" of itemized personal deductions; it does away with the alternative minimum tax for higher incomes; it repeals the estate tax, which applies only to the very wealthy.
The Swamp Creatures are calling this a "middle-class tax cut." It's not. Not even close. White House economic adviser Gary Cohn has said (without any evidence or proof) that it "could save $1000" for a family earning $100,000, which would allow them to "buy a new car or renovate their kitchen." Put down the crack pipe, Gary!
The Trump Tax Cut is pure, bald-faced greed -- a self-serving gift to those who don't need one. It will reduce federal revenue and increase the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion, and is therefore an exceedingly awful idea. We need more revenue, not less.
Senate Republicans couldn't muster the 51 votes needed in their rush-job to destroy Obamacare. Now they're trying another rush-job on tax cuts. Will there be enough Republican Senators of good conscience to scuttle this POS as well?
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Here's one of them from yesterday: "A fake dossier, they made it up, and the Democrats always denied paying for it."
The Lyin' King was referring to the dossier generated by Fusion GPS, a strategic research firm employed during the 2016 campaign. Their investigations found that Trump's Russian connections were far more extensive than disclosed. The report included the salacious allegations of Donnie's video-taped "golden showers" in a Moscow hotel room.
There's nothing wrong with Fusion GPS. They are as legit as any similar political research firm. They don't just make up fake news. Total B.S. isn't useful. They investigate, they dig for dirt.
There's nothing at all unusual about their research into Trump's activities, nor is there anything unusual about interested parties paying for it. In fact, Fusion GPS was first engaged in the campaign by a donor to one of Trump's GOP primary rivals. They were subsequently engaged by the Democratic National Committee on behalf of the Clinton campaign.
Like it or not, "oppo" research is a normal feature across today's political landscape. It can often produce unverifiable accusations, and it can sometimes uncover uncomfortable or embarrassing facts.
As far as the Fusion GPS dossier goes, it is publicly unclear if its contents are reliable or not. But you better bet your ass the Trump campaign was paying for oppo research too, not to mention all the free help he received from Russian government hackers, WikiLeaks, his own TV network (Fox News), the Wall Street Journal, Breitbart, Drudge, and all the alternative-fact fake news he could tweet. So STFU!
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Yesterday, prior to a meeting with GOP Senators in the Capitol, a protester threw a handful Russian flags at the fake president and yelled, "Trump is treason!" The photo of that moment provides an opportunity for a Clever Caption Contest.
Captions listed so far are from the FB page "Telling Sarah Palin She's Full of Crap." Please feel free to have some fun and leave your own caption as a comment to this blog post, or send me an email.
As election day draws near, I've been bombarded by Issue 2 ads, more "no" than "yes." If you're in Ohio and still undecided, let me simplify Issue 2 for you in three steps.
1. Stipulate to the fact that Ohio pays for prescription drugs for its Medicaid recipients and for certain state workers, and although the state receives a decent price discount, the Veterans Administration gets a better one.
2. Ask yourself the key question: Do you think a legal requirement that the state of Ohio pay no more for a given drug than the lowest price paid by the VA for that same drug will in fact save some money for the state?
I think it will.
If you agree, then all the arguments against Issue 2 are just speculation and scare tactics -- noise and propaganda peddled by Big Pharma, which has an obvious and huge vested interest in maintaining higher prices.
3. Vote YES on Issue 2.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
The GOP Congress, that is.
With straight faces, House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and House Oversight Chair Trey Gowdy (R-SC) have announced "new" investigations into:
- The FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation
- The FBI's decision to not prosecute Hillary Clinton
- The Obama administration's approval of the sale of uranium production capability to a Russian energy conglomerate
All are old issues, already investigated ad nauseum. The witch hunts found no witches.
This is just pathetic -- another shameless attempt to deflect and distract from Dolt 45's non-stop national disgrace, including his numerous and very real Russian entanglements.
Here's hoping that all individuals subpoenaed to testify in these kangaroo court fake hearings show some appropriate contempt of Congress -- just refuse to show up!
For decades, banks, credit card companies and other businesses have relied on fine-print forced arbitration clauses to protect themselves against being sued by consumers or employees. These mandatory clauses require that any dispute or complaint be settled by binding arbitration with no right of the individual to sue, join a class action, or appeal. The arbitrator is selected by the company, not the individual. This particular playing field is massively tilted in favor of business, not people. In a word, unfair.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently adopted a new rule to allow consumers to participate in class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card issuers. The rule doesn't eliminate arbitration, but it prevents companies from blocking group actions. This adds a degree of fairness.
Business, accustomed to having all the rights and advantages on its side, objects to the new CFPB rule and Congressional Republicans would like nothing better than to overturn the rule and oust Obama-appointee Richard Cordray, the CFPB Director.
Toward that end, the U.S. Treasury Dept. -- headed by the clueless fish-faced zillionaire Steve Mnuchin -- yesterday issued a report whining that the "unfair" rule will increase class-action suits and might cost American business $1.7 billion in legal payouts over 5 years. Waah! This partisan "analysis" pretty much confirms that mandatory arbitration has allowed these companies to screw consumers big-time for a long time.
Here in Ohio, some Democrats would love to see Richard Cordray step down from the CFPB so he could run for Governor in 2018. There's no doubt he'd be a strong candidate, probably the best, with a good chance of winning. And that would be great! (Useless trivia fun fact: Cordray's brother was Buster Jr.'s orthodontist!)
* Shit-ton, n. A measurement of quantity. A shit-ton is equivalent to 24 metric assloads, or 1/10th of a fuck-ton.
I've always suspected there must be some good, some integrity, some self-respect in at least some Republicans. In recent days and hours, Senators Bob Corker and John McCain have demonstrated they possess those virtues. I'm not a big fan of either, but they're doing the right thing, and I'm grateful.
It's just a goddam shame it took lame-duck status, brain cancer, and the historic disaster that is Donald Trump for them to display these admirable traits. But they finally spoke out. It will be another goddam shame if their Republican colleagues are too cowardly to join them. Robbie Portman, I am looking at you.
Monday, October 23, 2017
Richard Painter is the former ethics lawyer for the George W. Bush administration. The three men shown were arrested on attempted murder charges for firing a gun at protesters following a speech by white supremacist Richard Spencer at the University of Florida.