Sunday, April 23, 2017

Just in case you have not had enough opportunities to cringe today, here is Donald Trump congratulating a soldier for getting his leg blown off.

Courtesy of Mediaite:  

President Donald Trump congratulated an army sergeant for being wounded in Afghanistan during his visit to the Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday. Except, of course, that it’s not appropriate to “congratulate” a recipient of this type of award for almost getting killed.

The president and First Lady Melania Trump met with Barrientos and his wife at the hospital, and they had a small ceremony as Trump presented the sergeant with the Purple Heart. The medal is the longstanding award bestowed upon those wounded or killed in their service to the U.S. Military. 

“I heard about this and I wanted to do it myself,” said Trump. “Congratulations on behalf of Melania, myself, and the entire nation. Tremendous job.”

Not only does this soldier look like he would rather be just about any place else, but did you notice Trump slobbering on his wife?

You know I read that Trump got quite a lot of support from members of the military. I wonder how they are feeling about that vote right about now?

Donald Trump attempts to distract from the White House Correspondents' dinner, which he is too frightened to attend, by holding another of those celebratory rallies of his.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

President Trump on Saturday announced plans to hold a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on April 29, marking his 100th day in office. 

The White House did not offer additional details about where the rally would take place or what Trump's focus would be, referring questions to Trump's campaign apparatus. 

The campaign listed on its website an event scheduled for that night at 7:30 p.m. in Harrisburg, Pa. The rally will coincide with the annual White House correspondents' dinner, which Trump elected not to attend in a break from tradition.

Yes Donald Trump is avoiding a gathering which traditionally features comedians poking gentle fun at the current president, by holding a rally attended by only his most fervent admirers.

Why doesn't he simply wear a t-shirt saying "I am the most insecure man on the planet" and be done with it?

I would like to point out that even President Bush sat good naturedly while the great Stephen Colbert eviscerated him in front of the entire audience attending the 2006 White House Correspondents' dinner.

And President Obama actually turned the tables on the invited comedians and almost always emerged as the most entertaining speaker of the night.

Of course that was back when we had less thin skinned presidents who actually demonstrated some courage and the ability to poke a little fun at themselves.

Personally I think I will skip both of these events and instead spend my precious TV watching time enjoying Samantha Bee's "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" scheduled for the same night.

Wouldn't it be kind of awesome if THIS received the highest ratings of the night?

Reverend Sarah Palin preaches that we are weak, pathetic, and nothing without God. Well there's a happy thought!

You, that's right you, are weak and pathetic. Now don't you feel inspired?
Courtesy of Sarah Palin's online place of worship, called "The First Assembly of You All Suck!"

Let's dive right in shall we and let the inspiration wash over our very souls.

Scoot Over; Get Out Of The Driver’s Seat 

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 (Keep in minds kids that this is the person who claims that SHE is the real personification of feminism in this country, NOT those courageous women who demonstrated their ability to stand on their own without a man and demanded to be treated as equals. Clearly they were not weak enough.)

There’s nothing like the feeling you get as a mama or a daddy when a child reaches out to you. Little children, by design, are dependent on you for food, protection, and love. (Well I do agree with this at least.)

Guess what, Mom and Dad: We’re all designed to be dependent on God. In fact, we can’t get through life without Him. If you’re like me, you sometimes forget this. We think we’re in control, and – just like our kids – we sometimes forget the true source of our help and protection. (Yes citizens of the 21st Century, always keep in mind that you have achieved NOTHING and that there is an invisible man in the sky who is eternally seeing you as a needy helpless child.)

Only when the winds of persecution begin to blow are we reminded of our weaknesses. In the midst of spiritual battle, we have no one else to turn to but the One really in control. We come face to face with our humanity – our limitations – and we are left seeking the strength and perspective that only comes from above. (Or you could face your adversity, overcome it, and become stronger for the conflict. Just a thought.)

This, friends, is actually a blessing of difficulties, hardships, insults, and persecution: we’re given the opportunity to truly rely on our Maker. Persecution strips us of false notions we have about our own strength, and reminds us where the real stuff can be found – in the arms of our Heavenly Father! Sweet Freedom in Action (WTF?)

Take a break in the arms of the Father, even now. Ask for Him to take control of all areas of your life where you’ve insisted on being in the driver’s seat. (Okay now I think I understand why pedophilia is so rampant within the church. These people are conditioned to be victims.)

Look there is no sense in my suggesting that I understand this even a little bit.

As you know I am not a religious person and find the entire concept to be an obstacle to attaining our destiny as human beings. 

But seriously HOW does this kind of thinking help us to overcome life's many obstacles?

I was very fortunate to be taught at an early age to strive for perfection and to push my limits until I could push no more.

As a result I won championships, set records, and overcame my insecurities, none of which would have been possible if I were told to "delight in weaknesses."

I taught gymnastics to young people, self defense to women, and necessary life skills to the emotionally and mentally fragile.

At no time in my life have I ever told a single person that "when they are weak, they are strong."

Hell no! When you are strong you are strong, and when you are weak it is only because you are at the beginning of your journey to becoming strong.

As human beings we have proven ourselves to be capable of amazing discoveries, courageous adventures, and awe inspiring accomplishments.

Just imagine how much more we could have achieved if there were not those preaching to us that we are nothing, and can do nothing, without the assistance of a celestial patriarch?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had to explain the European Union to Donald Trump 11 times.

Courtesy of Business Insider:  

President Trump did not understand that the US cannot negotiate a trade deal with Germany alone and must deal with the European Union as a bloc, a senior German official told The Times of London. 

"Ten times Trump asked [German chancellor Angela Merkel] if he could negotiate a trade deal with Germany. Every time she replied, 'You can’t do a trade deal with Germany, only the EU,'" the official said. 

 They continued: "On the eleventh refusal, Trump finally got the message, 'Oh, we’ll do a deal with Europe then.'"

Merkel reportedly told her cabinet members that Trump had "very basic misunderstandings" on the "fundamentals" of the EU and trade. 

 The exchange occurred when Merkel met with Trump last month and reportedly convinced him to negotiate with the EU as a bloc after attempts by his administration to deal with individual countries were declined. 

If it is possible to die of shame the death rate in this country is about to spike considerably. 

I literally never thought I would be more embarrassed about the person occupying the White House than I was during the Bush years.

God, was I wrong.

FBI Director James Comey blabbed about Clinton investigation, and remained mum about Trump investigation, because he thought she would definitely win election.

Courtesy of the New York Times: 

Mr. Comey’s plan was to tell Congress that the F.B.I. had received new evidence and was reopening its investigation into Hillary Clinton, the presidential front-runner. The move would violate the policies of an agency that does not reveal its investigations or do anything that may influence an election. But Mr. Comey had declared the case closed, and he believed he was obligated to tell Congress that had changed. 

“Should you consider what you’re about to do may help elect Donald Trump president?” an adviser asked him, Mr. Comey recalled recently at a closed meeting with F.B.I. agents. 

He could not let politics affect his decision, he replied. “If we ever start considering who might be affected, and in what way, by what we do, we’re done,” he told the agents.

But with polls showing Mrs. Clinton holding a comfortable lead, Mr. Comey ended up plunging the F.B.I. into the molten center of a bitter election. Fearing the backlash that would come if it were revealed after the election that the F.B.I. had been investigating the next president and had kept it a secret, Mr. Comey sent a letter informing Congress that the case was reopened. 

What he did not say was that the F.B.I. was also investigating the campaign of Donald J. Trump. Just weeks before, Mr. Comey had declined to answer a question from Congress about whether there was such an investigation. Only in March, long after the election, did Mr. Comey confirm that there was one.

So why did Comey break a long standing guideline by revealing the reopened investigation into Clinton, while keeping quiet about the investigation concerning Trump's ties to Russia?  

An examination by The New York Times, based on interviews with more than 30 current and former law enforcement, congressional and other government officials, found that while partisanship was not a factor in Mr. Comey’s approach to the two investigations, he handled them in starkly different ways. In the case of Mrs. Clinton, he rewrote the script, partly based on the F.B.I.’s expectation that she would win and fearing the bureau would be accused of helping her. In the case of Mr. Trump, he conducted the investigation by the book, with the F.B.I.’s traditional secrecy.

In other words Comey believed, like all of us believed, that Hillary was certain to win the election, and that once she did, and the fact that he remained quiet about the newly discovered emails on Anthony Weiner's laptop was revealed, that he would face criticism for keeping the information to himself.

But why should he care about that?

Because he himself was already deeply suspicious of Hillary Clinton and his own supervisors in the Justice Department.

The Times found that this go-it-alone strategy was shaped by his distrust of senior officials at the Justice Department, who he and other F.B.I. officials felt had provided Mrs. Clinton with political cover. The distrust extended to his boss, Loretta E. Lynch, the attorney general, who Mr. Comey believed had subtly helped play down the Clinton investigation.

This suggests that though Comey admitted in his statement back in July that there was no evidence Hillary broke the law, that he still felt she was guilty and perhaps undeserving to be the Commander-in-Chief.

Which does little to convince me that Comey was not at least somewhat aware that his letter to the Congress would upend the election, stealing it away from Hillary and allowing Donald Trump to emerge victorious.

There is actually a lot more in this article about the Russian hacking, and the subsequent leaks, and how all of that informed some of Comey, and the Obama Administration, decisions, and it makes for an interesting read.

This can be found toward the end of the article:  

For all the attention on Mrs. Clinton’s emails, history is likely to see Russian influence as the more significant story of the 2016 election. Questions about Russian meddling and possible collusion have marred Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in the White House, cost him his national security adviser and triggered two congressional investigations. Despite Mr. Trump’s assertions that “Russia is fake news,” the White House has been unable to escape its shadow. 

Mr. Comey has told friends that he has no regrets, about either the July news conference or the October letter or his handling of the Russia investigation. Confidants like Mr. Richman say he was constrained by circumstance while “navigating waters in which every move has political consequences.” 

But officials and others close to him also acknowledge that Mr. Comey has been changed by the tumultuous year.

I am simply not going to be able to see James Comey as a sympathetic figure, his decisions had devastating consequences, and I do not see a clear path forward for redemption.

Perhaps however Comey is at least consumed enough by regret, whether he admits it or not, to vigorously investigate those ties between Donald Trump and his Russian benefactors until he has enough proof to end this presidency and perhaps even send several of these traitors to prison.

That may not be redemption, but it would be something at least.

Bruce Springsteen reveals new protest song directed at Donald Trump. Well it looks like I'm buying some new music.

Courtesy of Rolling Stone: 

Bruce Springsteen bashes President Trump as a "con man" on "That's What Makes Us Great," his new protest song with longtime collaborator Joe Grushecky. "Don't tell me a lie/ And sell it as a fact/ I've been down that road before/ And I ain't going back," Springsteen sings on the track, Pitchfork reports.

The song premiered Wednesday morning on SiriusXM and Grushecky's website. At one point in the sharply worded tune, Springsteen proclaims, "Don't you brag to me/ That you never read a book/ I never put my faith/ In a con man and his crooks." 

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Grushecky said he'd already written the song before initiating the collaboration. "I sent it to him and he liked it," he noted. "I said, 'What do you think about singing on it?' He gave it the Bruce treatment." The singer, who formerly fronted Pittsburgh rock band the Iron City Houserockers, added that Trump "lost [him] the moment he started making fun of special needs people," referring to an infamous speech where the Republican appeared to mimic a disabled reporter. "How could a person like that be president of the United States?"

As we know Springsteen was a huge Hillary supporter, and has become known as the musical voice of the middle class, so it should come as no surprise that he is fervent critic of Donald Trump's.

And the song is pretty good too.

Well you knew cartoonists would have fun with this.

You know it almost seems unnecessary to illustrate these four as they are essentially comic strip character come to life anyway.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

He's back! Barack Obama is about to reenter the world stage and the timing could not be better.

Courtesy of HuffPo: 

Barack Obama will make the first public appearance of his post-presidency life on Monday. 

Obama will join young leaders to discuss community organizing and civic engagement at the University of Chicago, the school where he once was a law professor. The former president began his career as a community organizer on the city’s South Side and is in the process of building his presidential library there. 

“This event is part of President Obama’s post-presidency goal to encourage and support the next generation of leaders driven by strengthening communities around the country and the world,” Obama’s office said in a statement, adding that students from schools in the Chicago area had been invited to the event.

This is just the first of many appearances that the former President has planned.

And this includes a visit with the current de facto leader of the free world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel:  

Former President Barack Obama’s upcoming trip to Germany is scheduled to coincide with President Donald Trump’s first meeting abroad with foreign leaders, potentially complicating the kick-off of Trump’s summer tour of Europe. Obama will arrive in Germany on May 25 to participate in celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. 

He’ll appear alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a panel discussion titled, “Being Involved in Democracy: Taking on Responsibility Locally and Globally.” Obama and Merkel will talk on stage in front of the Brandenburg Gate, a symbol of European unity where Obama spoke in 2013. 

There has been some recent talk lately as to who is the leader of the Democratic party, but I think I agree with his former Deputy Chief of Staff that it remains Barack Obama.
And yes despite what people may want to think Bernie Sanders DID just publicly reiterate that he is still an Independent and NOT a Democrat.

In order to lead the Democratic party you have to actually BE a Democrat. That is something that Bernie Sanders is not, and that Barack Obama definitely is. 

It appears that Obama is planning to play things cool, by offering advice to Democrats and young people in private while resisting the urge to take Trump on in public.

However considering what seems be coming down the pike for Donald Trump, and many of his associates, I am not at all sure that the former president will be able to stay on the sidelines for long.

Carl Bernstein states that the FBI believes the Trump Administration is attempting an "active coverup" to interfere with investigation into collusion with Russia.

Courtesy of Mediaite:

If Carl Bernstein knows anything, he knows how anonymous sources can reveal how a high-level criminal cover-up can take an administration down. So when he stated that the FBI had a “serious belief” that there was an “active coverup” in the alleged coordination/collusion between the Trump campaign and a Russian effort to reveal the election last night on AC360, we take notice. 

In a remarkably entertaining segment pegged to a CNN’s recent report, Bernstein dropped some knowledge about FBI suspicions. According the the Watergate legend, intelligence suggests that Russia tried to use advisers of Donald Trump to penetrate the presidential campaign. 

Can you believe that Jason Miller douchnozzle actually brought up Susan Rice's name?

You might remember Miller as the former Trump transition spokesman who was forced to quit his job after his affair with another Trump spokesperson came to light.

A.J. Delgado and Jason Miller, naughty, naughty, naughty.
Going back to what Carl Bernstein said that is a fairly explosive revelation and fits in well with another recent report that Trump associates had changed their behaviors when they found out about the FBI investigation.

If the FBI has evidence that they are actively involved in a coverup that could be perhaps even more damaging than the evidence of communicating with the Russians during the campaign.

Which reminds me of another lesson learned during Watergate, "It's not the crime, it's the coverup."

More good news, it appears that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates will finally testify before the House Intelligence Committee.

Courtesy of Politico:

The House Intelligence Committee is working to reschedule a hearing on Russia with members of the Obama administration, including former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. 

The committee announced Friday that it has invited Yates, along with former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, to testify before the panel. The open hearing would be scheduled after May 2, the committee said.

The three had been scheduled to testify in March, but Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) abruptly canceled the session after the Trump administration raised concerns about it. Nunes has since stepped aside from leading the Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, with Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) taking the helm. 

The panel’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, has been urging Republicans to reschedule the hearing — and has hinted that Yates’ testimony could be damaging for President Donald Trump.

Oh I think we can all rest assured that Yates' testimony will be damaging for Donald Trump.

That's why Nunes canceled her testimony the first time.

Personally I am pretty excited to hear what Yates has to say. It should be very enlightening.

The Trump Administration will not, repeat will not, repeal those sanctions stopping Exxon from completing that huge deal with Russian oil company.

Courtesy of CNBC:

The Trump administration will not grant special permission to U.S. companies, including Exxon Mobil, to carry out oil and gas drilling in Russia while sanctions remain intact, according to a statement from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Friday.

Exxon tried to secure a waiver that would let it drill in parts of Russia currently blocked by U.S. sanctions, The Wall Street Journal reported this week. That ban was related to Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. 

The push came about a month after former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson became secretary of State. 

The Treasury's decision on Friday came as the Trump administration changed its tone on Russia.

Okay to me this seems as if the investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians has really got the administration worried.

Because I will goddamn guarantee you that if there were not so much controversy about it, and so many eyes paying attention, that these sanctions would have been lifted so fast they would have left skid marks.

In fact I think it was this deal that convinced Trump to choose Tillerson, former CEO of Exxon, for the job of Secretary of State.

Now one has to wonder how Putin feels about throwing his support behind Trump knowing that he cannot do any of the things that he wanted him to do once he was elected president?

I would not be at all surprised to see Tillerson tender his resignation in the next few months.

Especially because it appears there is a whole lot of shit, about to hit a whole lot of fans, in the very near future.

It's Earth Day, do you know where your scientists are marching today?

Courtesy of USA Today: 

Thousands of people — scientists and their champions — are expected to descend on Washington Saturday and turn out in hundreds of cities worldwide to use Earth Day as a vehicle to show public support for what they feel is a trend against using scientific evidence for govrnment policymaking. 

While billing itself as nonpartisan, the March for Science movement, including rallies and marches in more than 600 communities, clearly sees the Trump administration, which has expressed skepticism of man's role in climate change and has eased regulations on coal and oil production, as a threat to science.

Of particular concern to critics is the Trump administration's budget that calls for sizable cuts in funding for the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

Organizers of the march encouraged scientists in their ranks to wear their lab coats, goggles, stethoscopes, field gear and other work clothes to make their presence known among a group that frequently shies away from public political displays.

Much like the Women's March the day after the inauguration this will be yet another demonstration of the public's concern about the danger posed by the Trump Administration, and the Republican party in general, to our civil rights and our ability to be informed.

There are literally marches all over the world, so if you want to participate take a look here to find one in your area.

If, like me, you are unable to attend due to work responsibilities or other considerations you can follow the marches on Facebook by clicking here.

Viva la Resistance!

Donald Trump has the lowest approval ratings of any other president elected since World War 2.

Courtesy of Gallup:

Donald Trump averaged 41% job approval during his first quarter as president, 14 percentage points lower than any other president in Gallup's polling history. Bill Clinton had the previous low mark of 55%. The average first-quarter rating among post-World War II presidents elected to their first term is 61%, with John Kennedy's 74% the highest.

You know I so want to celebrate this, but the fact is that this asshole represents all of us now so unfortunately this is also a reflection on the entire country. 

God I hate Vladimir Putin right now.

Why the discussion of religion is so important.

I often get blowback for my "attacks" on religion.

Those attacks of course are often simply a post about the lack of historic evidence or the ignorance of accepting things without a factual basis to support their existence.

However as I often suggest there is probably no more important topic to openly discuss, argue, and examine than the impact of religion in the world today.

For instance the case can be made that much of terrorism is fueled by religious fanaticism.

It also holds true that much of our current prejudices stem from a religious origin.

The same is of course true of sexism, after all patriarchal ideals are pervasive throughout the Old Testament.

And perhaps most currently impactful is that blind faith also opens one up to the kinds of manipulations that served the Russians so well when they interfered in our last presidential election.

Yes, I am suggesting that religious faith is a large part of the reason that we have Donald Trump as our president.

So yes, openly discussing religion is quite, quite important.