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No to Transparency

As part of Obama’s effort to increase transparency and participation in government, the website whitehouse.gov allows people to submit petitions, and guarantees that if any petition receives more than 100,000 signatures, it will receive a response.

It is somewhat ironic then that the response to a relatively popular petition was used to strike a blow against transparency. The White House, after a notable two-year delay, has finally responded to a petition that Edward Snowden be pardoned. That petition received 167,954 signatures, more than enough to require a response.

The response accuses Snowden of things he technically did not do:

Instead of constructively addressing these issues, Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.

While Snowden did steal classified information, it was news organizations (including the Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times, and others) who did the disclosing. And the government has not actually specified any “severe consequences” that can be independently confirmed.

More secrecy, less transparency.

The response says that Snowden “should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers.” But due to some of the secret laws that Snowden exposed, a fair trial for Snowden would be all but impossible. The Espionage Act would specifically bar Snowden from arguing that his leaks were justified, even though it is clear that they were. Snowden’s actions helped to expose illegal actions on the part of the government and led to Congress passing reforms.

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The Party of Lincoln

Pat Bagley
© Pat Bagley

That’s right, Rick Perry thinks that the proper response to the theatre shooting spree that left three people dead (including the shooter) and 11 injured is to have more guns in theatres.

What would Lincoln think about that?

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Late Night Political Humor

“Donald Trump’s campaign has raised about $100,000 in donations during the second quarter. Which raises an important question: Who is giving Donald Trump money? That’s like giving your money to a pile of money.” – Jimmy Fallon

“In a recent interview, John McCain addressed Trump’s campaign rally in Arizona and said that he just quote, ‘fired up the crazies’. Not to be confused with Trump’s show ‘Celebrity Apprentice’, where he just FIRED the crazies.” – Jimmy Fallon

“MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell is saying Donald Trump lied when he said he made $20 million a year off his ‘Apprentice’ series on NBC. NBC also denied Trump’s claim, saying, ‘We don’t have $20 million. We’re NBC.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Researchers here in New York created a robot that actually passed a self-awareness test. So if you’re keeping score, that’s robots: 1, Donald Trump, 0.” – Jimmy Fallon

“President Obama became the first sitting president to visit a federal prison yesterday. Obama said it was a good chance to talk about prison reform, and to catch up with so many former congressmen.” – Jimmy Fallon

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Double Speak

Rebecca Hendin
© Rebecca Hendin

I don’t get it. The Chicken Hawks seem to be claiming that the only way to avoid war with Iran is to go to war against them. Isn’t this the same logic that got us into trouble with Iraq and other countries?

As the book said, “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength”.

UPDATE: A new poll shows that more Jewish Americans support the Iran nuclear deal than oppose it (48% to 28%) with 54% of Jews saying that Congress should approve the deal. Interestingly, support for the deal is higher among Jews (48%) than among the general populace (28%). Has anyone done a study to see if Jewish Americans are less likely to watch Fox News?

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Not Dead Yet!

Amazingly enough, the Republicans have voted again to repeal Obamacare.

The vote failed.

Isn’t this the definition of insanity?

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Late Night Political Humor

“Earlier this week Donald Trump gave an interview with CNN at a winery he owns in Virginia. It turns out Trump’s winery makes two different kinds of wine: white wine and not-white wine.” – Jimmy Fallon

“A store in Houston is selling Donald Trump piñatas filled with candy. So finally something good is going to come out of Donald Trump.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama today became the first sitting U.S. president to visit a federal prison. And for a brief moment, there was some real excitement over at Fox News.” – Seth Meyers

“In an interview, Hillary Clinton said she likes nearly every flavor of ice cream. When he heard this, Chris Christie said ‘Hey, she stole my speech.'” – Conan O’Brien

“Over on the Democratic side, Martin O’Malley recently spoke about the need for Wall Street reform and said that he isn’t running for president to be quote, ‘wined and dined’ by executives. Then Chris Christie said, ‘And I am also not running to be wined.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“In a new poll of Democratic voters, presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee came in with zero percent support. Or in other words: We’re all tied with presidential candidate Lincoln Chafee.” – Jimmy Fallon

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Veteran Anger

[I’m quoting an article by Jim Wright from Stonekettle Station in its entirety (minus the addendum, which you should go read).]

The reality is that John McCain the politician has made America less safe, sent our brave soldiers into wrong-headed foreign adventures, covered up for President (Barack) Obama with the VA scandal and has spent most of his time in the Senate pushing amnesty. He would rather protect the Iraqi border than Arizona’s.
– Donald Trump, USA Today OpEd, 7/20/2015

Just stop with the fake outrage.

You’re not fooling anybody, Republicans, not even yourselves.

Donald Trump?

You’re mad at Donald Trump?

Because he disparaged John McCain’s military service.

Saturday, during a campaign stop in Iowa, Trump took a shot at Senator John McCain

He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.

Gasp.

I can’t believe Trump said that out loud. Oh how terrible. How insulting…

… If you’re a liberal.

Sure, liberals. Aren’t they the sissy sensitive ones? Always insulted and upset by blunt talk? Of course, you can see how liberals would be upset by Trump’s opinion of that loser McCain.

But conservatives? C’mon.

They hate that politically correct shit. Having to be polite. Diplomatic. Mind other people’s feelings. Watch your words. All that faggy sissy bullshit. Go cry me a river.

Well, you know, unless somebody calls Palin’s kid a retard, I mean, then, well, okay, maybe that’s a bridge too far even for blunt speaking Republicans. Sure, I think we can all agree on that one.

But most times, if you’re insulted well that’s just too goddamned bad, that’s how real Americans talk. Like Trump. Conservatives, see, they say it like it is. In your face, you bunch of pussies.

So, yeah, let’s talk about John McCain’s war record. Hero? Only a zero gets captured. Loser. Shitbag. John McCain, why he’s a regular Bowe Bergdahl who signed a confession and betrayed America on TV. He was in the Hanoi Hilton for years, who knows what that traitor told the NVA? That’s what we’re talking about, right? Just another fucking whiner, John McCain, complaining about what we owe veterans. A real genuine American hero would have fought to the death Rambo-style while singing God Bless America and taking a bunch o’ them Commie gooks to hell with him. That’s what you’re thinking right? Well, isn’t it?

Trump just had the big Red, White, and Blue American balls to say it out loud.

Hey, remember John Kerry? Conservatives sure had plenty to say about John Kerry, didn’t they? Back when that socialist coward Kerry was running for President of America against George Bush, a real genuine By God American Patriot and Star Spangled Veteran. I mean, Kerry, what kind of hero is awarded three Purple Hearts? The kind that’s too stupid to duck, I guess. Just another liberal traitor who hates America. You know, I like people that weren’t shot. Three times. In the service of their country. I’m just saying.

And what about Chuck Hagel? Good old Republican Chuck Hagel. He was a real hero … right up until he betrayed America by going to work for Barack Obama, right? We can say it, can’t we, Conservatives? What kind of hero, what kind of hero would do that? The guy probably has a poster of Chairman Mao tacked up on the wall in his den, right next to the autographed picture of Jane Fonda.

What was it Republican Joe Walsh said about Democrat Tammy Duckworth? Oh yes, I remember, “Now I’m running against a woman who, my God, that’s all she talks about. Our true heroes, it’s the last thing in the world they talk about.” LTC Duckworth lost both legs flying combat missions in Iraq, but you know, that stupid bitch should just keep her goddamned liberal mouth shut about it. Maybe throw a blanket over her lap so we don’t have to look at it. She’s no hero, isn’t that right, Conservatives?

How about me?

I’m a vet. I fought for America. Twenty-four years on active duty. I got a box full of decorations myself around here somewhere. But I’m a loser too, right? I get a hundred emails a week from conservatives, from flag-waving gun-humping Republicans, telling me that my service doesn’t count, that I’m a traitor and an enemy and a piece of shit because I’m not a conservative.

And you’re mad because Trump mocked John McCain’s service?

Answer a question for me, Republicans, how is what Trump said any different, any more outrageous, any more insulting or obnoxious, than the things you’ve been saying about your president? About your neighbors? About veterans like me?

You know who you people are?

You’re the ones who call black people “niggers” when you think nobody but “real” Americans are listening.

And then, one day, your kid uses that word in front of a black man. And you’re all embarrassed and upset. Heh heh, Mr. Negro, Sir. I have no idea, no idea, where little Donny learned that word. Bad, Donny, bad! You apologize right now to this inferior thug before he rapes Mommy and robs a liquor store!

Donald Trump is the face of the modern Republican party.

Trump has been polling at the top of the GOP field and you’re just now figuring out what a douchebag he is? Well, that’s just plain hysterical.

Trump badmouthed old Johnny Walnuts, insulted his military service, did he?

And you’re all insulted and outraged? Heh heh, sorry Mr. Veteran, Sir. I have no idea where Little Donny learned that behavior from, no idea. Bad, Donny, bad! You apologize to this faggoty liberal pinko commie traitor right now!

Gee, I wonder where Little Donny learned those words, learned his contempt, learned to Swiftboat a veteran. Gee, I wonder.

Donald Trump is the GOP personified.

Republicans don’t need anybody else. You don’t need Lindsey Graham or Rick Perry or Ted Cruz or Carly Fiorina or Scott Walker or Rand Paul or Rick Santorum or Ben Carson or Chris Christie or Mike Huckabee or Bobby Jindal or Marco Rubio.

Not when you have Donald Trump.

Trump is all 31 flavors of GOP crazy. He’s got it all. Donald Trump, this oafish, overfed, self-centered, posturing, loud-mouthed, jingoistic, money worshipping, science-denying, gay hating, government hating, immigrant hating, liberal hating, poor hating, Israel loving, birth certificate demanding, race baiting, draft dodging war-mongering obnoxious blowhard, this capering braggart, this Viagra-fueled comb-over right here is the very embodiment of the modern conservative.

Go on, Conservatives, put a cowboy hat on him and a pistol in his hand. Hang a pair of Truck Nutz from his Armani belt loop. Raise the Confederate Battle Flag. Yeehaw! America, fuck ya! Trump 2016!

Donald Trump is the perfect Republican.

No wonder he embarrasses them.

The point is that you can’t be too greedy.
– Donald Trump

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The Logical Conclusion for a Party that Worships Greed

Courtesy of Daniel Kurtzman at About.com, here are the top 10 crazy, vain, stupid, and just plain wrong things that have come out of the mouth of Donald Trump. The Republican Party can’t distance themselves from him. Trump is the current GOP.

“He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured.” – on John McCain

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems… they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

“I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” – Mr. “you’re fired!” announcing his campaign for president

“I have people that have been studying [Obama’s birth certificate] and they cannot believe what they’re finding… I would like to have him show his birth certificate, and can I be honest with you, I hope he can. Because if he can’t, if he can’t, if he wasn’t born in this country, which is a real possibility… then he has pulled one of the great cons in the history of politics.” – three weeks before Obama released his long-form birth certificate in 2011

“All of the women on ‘The Apprentice’ flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”

“I don’t think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.” – when asked how he would react if Ivanka posed for Playboy

“I have a great relationship with the blacks.” – lamenting that President Obama appeared to have locked up the black vote

“The Hispanics love me.” – from the man who earned an 81% unfavorable rating among Hispanics in a 2015 poll

“In life you have to rely on the past, and that’s called history.” – on Celebrity Apprentice, from the man who has gone bankrupt multiple times, and used to be a pro-choice, pro-socialized healthcare, pro-gun-control, Obama and Hillary-loving Democrat who wanted to raise taxes on the wealthy (until he changed his mind multiple times)

“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.” – which I guess makes up for a multitude of sins

UPDATE: Politico has an interesting article asking the question “Will the real Donald Trump please stand up?” They have some hilarious quotes about Trump’s shifting, eclectic, improvisational and often contradictory policy views:

His hair has been more permanent than his political positions. It’s a total random assortment of whatever plays publicly.

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Obama on the Daily Show

President Obama appears for an extended interview on the Daily Show, and discusses Iran, the media, partisanship, and public service. I wish more news were like this, and it is ironic that we have to watch a comedy fake news show to see it.

And I also want to point out that the Social Security and Medicare annual report just released says that because of the ACA and how it has dramatically slowed the growth of healthcare costs, Medicare funding will be stable for 13 years longer than projected before the ACA took effect.

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The Face of the GOP?

Lalo Alcaraz
© Lalo Alcaraz

As the things that come out of the mouth of Donald Trump become uglier and stupider, the more popular he gets with Republicans. He is now polling ahead of all other Republican presidential candidates. Doesn’t that tell you pretty much everything you need to know about the GOP?

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Late Night Political Humor

“Some bad news for Donald Trump. The controversial remarks he’s made since he began his presidential campaign have cost his brand as much as $80 million. You can tell things are rough for Trump because today he had to wipe his mouth with a napkin instead of a 20.” – Jimmy Fallon

“After severing ties with Donald Trump, NBC is reportedly in talks with comedian George Lopez to take over ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’ So Trump’s greatest nightmare came true. A Hispanic guy took his job.” – Seth Meyers

“Presidential candidate Donald Trump had a meeting with Ted Cruz. He said he does not know why he agreed to fly to New York to meet Ted Cruz and then he promised to bring that kind of leadership to the Oval Office.” – Conan O’Brien

“President Obama said yesterday that education is the key to reducing the prison population. Though apparently power tools also work.” – Seth Meyers

“Shepard Fairey, the street artist responsible for President Obama’s ‘Hope’ poster, is now facing vandalism charges in Detroit. It’s pretty serious. Detroit officials say the artist’s spray paint caused over $9,000 worth of improvements.” – Jimmy Fallon

“With more and more states legalizing marijuana, companies are lining up to create the first marijuana breathalyzer. Officials say the toughest part is getting stoners to stop trying to inhale off the breathalyzer.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Now that some economic sanctions are being lifted, Iranian citizens are apparently clamoring for Western products like iPhones. We should have just sent them iPhones in the first place. Then they’d never get any work done on a nuclear weapon.” – Seth Meyers

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Swift Boating Trump?

The Republicans are desperately trying to get rid of Donald Trump. I mean they have even asked him nicely to shut up, or at least dial it back a few notches. But Trump continues to be Trump, and he keeps rising in the polls. What’s a GOP to do?

Their plan was to wait for Trump to say something insulting, and then jump on him.

At a campaign forum on Saturday, Trump joked that he didn’t like McCain because he lost to Obama in 2008. And the moderator replied “He’s a war hero”.

Trump said “He is a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren’t captured, OK? I hate to tell you.”

The next day, Trump refused to apologize to McCain, and doubled down by accusing McCain of not doing anything for veterans, saying “He’s all talk and he’s no action”.

So the Republicans jumped on Trump – with both feet. Rick Perry said that if Trump doesn’t apologize, he is unfit to be commander-in-chief of the United States. “Don’t question the men and women of the military who sacrifice and sometimes pay a huge price for our safety and our freedom and our economics.” Jeb Bush agreed, calling for an end to “slanderous attacks”, as did Bobby Jindal. Lindsey Graham said that Trump’s statement was a “lack of respect for those who have served – a disqualifying characteristic to be president.”

The Republican National Committee released a statement saying “There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably.”

So, there’s just one problem with this mock righteousness by the GOP. Have they all forgotten the disgusting things they said about John Kerry?

UPDATE: And as some readers have pointed out, there is the smear campaign used against McCain himself during the 2000 GOP presidential primary. The attacks included slurs that McCain was crazy, a “Manchurian Candidate”, a traitor, that he fathered a black child (McCain has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh), that his wife was a drug addict, and that he was a homosexual.

During a break in a debate, Bush put his hand on McCain’s arm and told him that he had no involvement in the attacks. McCain famously replied “Don’t give me that shit. And take your hands off me.” Before the attacks McCain was leading, but afterwards he was effectively defeated.

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Time Delayed Hypocrisy

Chan Lowe
© Chan Lowe

Have all those Republicans who are condemning Obama’s nuke agreement with Iran forgotten it was Saint Ronnie who illegally and secretly sold weapons to Iran (even though Congress had passed an arms embargo against them) in order to fund a terrorist group in Central America? I guess when the GOP votes to “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” at least we will know more about some of the the weapons they would be using to fight back. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

Actually it does. Money received from cocaine smuggling was also used to fund the contras, with the assistance of the CIA.

And you know what? The Republican presidential candidates all condemned it so quickly, I’m sure that none of them even bothered to read it first.

Matt Wuerker
© Matt Wuerker

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Invasion of the Brain Snatchers

Jade Helm

Jade Helm 15 is underway in Texas, and unfortunately there is no invasion in sight. Fooled them again, didn’t we?

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Late Night Political Humor

“It was announced today that Iran has reached a deal with the U.S. to limit its nuclear program and send most of its uranium to Russia. Then Americans said, ‘That’s great! Wait, WHAT?'” – Jimmy Fallon

“The Obama administration announced a deal with Iran that would prevent the Iranians from making a nuclear weapon. In exchange, we’re giving the Iranians Netflix.” – Conan O’Brien

“The president of Iran prematurely announced the nuclear deal on Twitter yesterday before it was official. Which isn’t that big a deal until you realize the guy who almost had nukes is known for accidentally hitting ‘Send’.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Iran is celebrating the nuclear deal. The Iranians are going crazy. They’re drinking non-alcoholic champagne and thinking about dancing. That’s how excited they are.” – Conan O’Brien

“According to a new poll, 55 percent of Americans do not trust that Iran will abide by the terms of the nuclear deal. It’s the same 55 percent who are running for the Republican nomination.” – Seth Meyers

“Today Donald Trump’s official Twitter account accidentally tweeted a photo of him that also had images of Nazis in it. The Nazis are furious.” – Conan O’Brien

“According to a new nationwide poll, Donald Trump now leads all other Republican presidential candidates. But come on, if we elect him you know he’ll just leave us for a younger country.” – Seth Meyers

“Yesterday President Obama announced that he is commuting the sentences of 46 prisoners, most of whom committed nonviolent crimes. Then those 46 convicts said, ‘Actually we already escaped. Thanks for thinking of us, though.'” – Jimmy Fallon

“Mexico is offering a $3.8 million reward for information leading to the capture of the escaped billionaire drug lord, El Chapo. Mexico said they’ll get the money by borrowing it from El Chapo.” – Conan O’Brien

“A new survey shows 30 percent of Americans believe legalizing marijuana will make driving less safe. Though marijuana users believe that legalization will make driving less likely.” – Seth Meyers

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