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Dumb as a Rock

Who hires people like this?


© Nick Anderson

We did! We hired Donald Trump. And he hired a bunch of crooks and liars, just like himself.

If you really want to see someone as dumb as a rock, consider that Trump decided to hold a negotiating session on live TV with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Which he not only lost badly, but he spent a bunch of time mansplaining to Pelosi. Yeah, that will surely win back women voters!

Next, Schumer set a simple trap for Trump and he fell for it. Yup, dumb as a rock.

But Trump is not just dumb. He even claimed that Mexico is going to pay for the wall. He’s either seriously delusional or he just can’t stop lying for a second.

Trump is going to shut down the government over funding for his wall. What a nice Christmas present for Americans.

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Ironic Immigration


© Jen Sorensen

Bad choices often come home to roost, but in this case, it is a vicious cycle where our reaction to a perceived problem just makes the problem worse.

Donald Trump rails against immigrants, both legal and illegal. But think about it a minute. Where are these migrants coming from? Mostly from the Middle East and Central America. Well, remember the Iran-Contra scandal where we sold arms to Iran (which was illegal) and used the profits to fund the Nicaraguan Contras in their fight to overthrow their government (also illegal)? As a side note, do you know who pardoned everyone involved in this sad affair? (Hint: he died recently.)

And then there was our invasion of Iraq in retaliation for 9/11 (which Iraq and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with). And killing Muammar Al Gathafi. And funding Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. And our invasion of Panama. And on and on.

So it was our actions that helped fuel the refugee crisis. Which led to politicians like Trump stoking fears about immigrants. But it isn’t limited to the US. The Brexit vote in the UK was driven by fear of immigrants. Nativist and populist politicians are increasing in power in many places around the world.

Another huge ironic aspect of this is the use of fear of disease to attack immigrants. Donald Trump said “Tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border.”

But a new study published yesterday in the medical journal The Lancet argues that this is completely backwards. “There is no evidence to show that migrants are spreading disease. That is a false argument that is used to keep migrants out.” In general, immigrants are healthier than people in their host countries.

In addition — and this is really ironic — a large percentage of health care workers are immigrants. In the US, 29% of doctors and 24% of dentists were born elsewhere. According to the study, “Rather than being a burden, migrants are more likely to bolster services by providing medical care, teaching children, caring for older people, and supporting understaffed services.”

Even if it were true that migrants were more likely to be diseased, our current actions seem intentionally designed to make the situation worse. The Trump administration is trying to make it more difficult for legal immigrants to get green cards if they have ever used Medicaid. Studies have shown that even legal immigrants are already afraid to sign up for public benefits because they are afraid they will be deported. According to the American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association, this will cost US taxpayers more as immigrants avoid getting health care and end up getting sicker than they otherwise would. If we are really concerned about the bad health of immigrants, wouldn’t it make more sense to make sure they have proper medical care?

Of course, we do have an example of immigrants bringing in “tremendous infectious disease”, but it happened hundreds of years ago. When Europeans “discovered” America, they brought with them smallpox, bubonic plague, chickenpox, cholera, diphtheria, malaria, measles, scarlet fever, tuberculosis, typhoid, typhus, whooping cough, even influenza and the common cold.

In the US, these diseases killed up to half of all Native Americans, and many smaller tribes went extinct. In Florida alone, the population of Native Americans dropped from 700,000 to 2000, a death rate of 99.7%. In Mexico, around 25 million indigenous people died due to introduced disease, which has been described as “the greatest genocide in the history of man.” And despite advances in medicine, we still suffer from most of these diseases.

But even if foreign germs were something to fear today, eliminating immigration entirely now wouldn’t make us any safer at all, because the vast majority of people moving across our borders are not immigrants (they are things like business people and tourists). And it wouldn’t stop diseases that come in other ways, like via rats on cargo ships or birds that easily fly over any wall.

And of course, even if it made any sense to stop immigration, building Trump’s wall wouldn’t stop enough immigrants to make any difference at all. After all, a wall wouldn’t stop immigrants coming in by sea, or who use underground tunnels. And according to people who smuggle in illegal immigrants, there are always border agents or customs officials who are willing to take a bribe and look the other way. And The Wall wouldn’t stop drug smuggling either, as most illegal drugs come in through ports of entry, not where the wall would be built.

If we are really worried about our safety, we would spend the ridiculous amount of money the wall would cost us on providing better health care.

But maybe the politicians who complain about immigration don’t really care if they stop it. After all, if they did that, they wouldn’t have anyone on whom to blame everything, and nobody would vote for them.

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More than a Laughing Matter?

It sure looks like Donald Trump fell into a trap set by Robert Mueller. But that won’t stop Trump from continuing to lie over and over, digging his legal grave even deeper.

I love how Don Lemon can’t stop laughing about the situation. It is pretty funny that the thing that will probably bring Trump down is the incompetence of Trump himself and all those “best people” he surrounded himself with. People like Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort.


© Michael Andrew

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Fair and Balanced?


© Jen Sorensen

It’s true. After the 2016 presidential election all of the news media wanted to know how they were so wrong in assuming that Donald Trump had no chance of becoming president. I’m not sure why. Heck, even Trump himself was surprised that he was elected.

The author of this comic, Jen Sorensen, commented on her own comic:

While I’ve seen some news stories about women voters, there’s been nowhere near the same adulation and obsessive fawning as there was over male Trump voters in 2016. The very notion of “authenticity” is gendered male, and Dem-voting women are not seen as “real” Americans by many in the media.

Now that the 2016 election resulted in a huge 40 seat gain for Democrats in the House of Representatives, are the media trying to figure out who all these people are who voted that way? Of course not, because they expected a blue wave for the Democrats. We even saw some of the opposite, with media initially saying that the expected wave didn’t materialize. It is all about expectations.

Of course, we never expected Trump to admit that the Democrats romped all over the Republicans in the 2018 election. Unlike Barack Obama, who after the 2010 midterm elections admitted that the Republicans had given his party a “shellacking”.

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Safety and Liberty

In 1775, Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, “They who can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

We should all remember that when we consider the actions and words of Donald Trump this Thanksgiving weekend, when he attacked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because they would not give him what he wanted on immigration policy. But he didn’t just attack the decision, he attacked the whole court:

Judges must not Legislate Security and Safety at the Border, or anywhere else. They know nothing about it and are making our Country unsafe.

There’s that safety word. Trump continued:

It is out of control, has a horrible reputation, is overturned more than any Circuit in the Country, 79%, & is used to get an almost guaranteed result.

According to PolitiFact, the Ninth Circuit is not overturned more than any Circuit in the country. The Sixth circuit has that honor, with 87%.

The decision Trump is complaining about says that he cannot bar immigrants who enter the US illegally from seeking asylum. The decision cites federal laws that make Trump’s decision unlawful.

So this is a two-fer. Trump is claiming that he can violate laws passed by Congress to do whatever he wants. And in addition, that courts can’t question his orders because they relate to safety.

But wait, there’s more. Trump continues:

Our great Law Enforcement professionals MUST BE ALLOWED TO DO THEIR JOB! If not there will be only bedlam, chaos, injury and death. We want the Constitution as written!

It sounds like he is also proposing a police state.

Ironically, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, disagreed with Trump’s opinion about the Constitution. So what did Trump do? He attacked Roberts. Doubly ironically, in order to overturn the decision of the Ninth Circuit court, it would need to be reviewed by the Supreme Court, so pissing off the Chief Justice may not help Trump’s case.

When did Trump become a dictator? (Answer: when politics crossed a penis and a potato. Get it?)

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Lock Her Up?

Donald Trump continues to lead his devoted followers in chants of “Lock her up!” at his rallies, because Hillary Clinton famously used private email for government business while she was secretary of state. So of course, we now find out that Ivanka Trump has been using a personal email account for government business. Ivanka used a Microsoft email account to communicate with Cabinet officials, White House aides, and others.

And it isn’t just Ivanka of course. The people in the Trump administration who have also used private email for government business include her father, the president, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn, and Stephen Miller.

My favorite part is that the White House responded by pointing out that, as opposed to Hillary Clinton, Ivanka Trump never set up a private server. However, breaking into a public email server is far easier than breaking into a private server.


© Nomi Kane

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Supreme Family

Some readers may have a problem with this one. And I admit that I still think that Brett Kavanaugh should not have been confirmed to the Supreme Court, even more because of what he did during his confirmation than what he did back in high school.

But now that he is on the Supreme Court, I agree with Sonia Sotomayor. The last thing we need is a Supreme Court that is so partisan that they disintegrate into factions. In an interview with David Axelrod (who was Chief Strategist for Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns) Sotormayor said that Kavanaugh was welcomed into the Supreme Court “family”.

When you’re charged with working together for most of the remainder of your life, you have to create a relationship. The nine of us are now a family and we’re a family with each of us our own burdens and our own obligations to others, but this is our work family, and it’s just as important as our personal family. We’ve probably spent more time with each other than most justices spend, who have spouses, with their spouses.

It was Justice [Clarence] Thomas who tells me that when he first came to the Court, another justice approached him and said, “I judge you by what you do here. Welcome.” And I repeated that story to Justice Kavanaugh when I first greeted him here.

Conservative, liberal, those are political terms. Do I suspect that I might be dissenting a bit more? Possibly, but I still have two relatively new colleagues, one very new colleague, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch. And we’ve agreed in quite a few cases, we’ve disagreed in a bunch, But you know, let’s see.

We all have families we love, we all care about others, we care about our country, and we care when people are injured. And unfortunately, the current conversation often forgets that. It forgets our commonalities and focuses on superficial differences whether those are language or how people look or the same God they pray to but in different ways. Those differences truly are not important. What is important is those human values we share and those human feelings that we share. But I worry that we forget about that too often.

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Let Helen cheer you up

Are you a Democrat who still feels like you didn’t get the blue tsunami you craved? Let Helen Philpot cheer you up. Yeah, I know, there were quite a few of us who dreamed of a US Senate without Ted Cruz. But other than that, this really was a blue wave by any measure. Heck, it was bad enough to piss off Donald Trump!

If you want to know just how deplorable Trumpsters are, this week they elected two indicted criminals, a Nazi and a dead brothel owner. And the fact that most people reading this are asking themselves “which Nazi?” is just bat shit crazy. To be honest, it could have been multiple Nazis, but it’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between a GOP Congressman and a Nazi these days. Some might be just your run-of-the-mill racists. You know what they say about old, white men standing in front of a flag, pledging allegiance to Donald Trump… they all look alike.

A dead brothel owner. I’m sorry. I just had to say that again. The party of family values elected a dead pimp. Bless their hearts but Republicans are nuttier than squirrel shit.

Now, I know that some of you Democrats out there, especially in Florida, Georgia and Texas, are filling a bit blue today and not in a good Blue Wave way. We’re feeling blue because we fell in love with Andrew, Beto and Stacey and hoped that racists in red states would be standing in line at a Cracker Barrel instead of a polling station. Damn you Cracker Barrel! What happened to your all-you-can-eat chicken fried opossum steak on Tuesdays?

Honestly, it was going to be an uphill battle and we got a bit ahead of ourselves. After all, this is Florida, Georgia and Texas we are talking about. They are GOP red mixed with a little scarlet, crimson, cardinal, ruby, magenta, brick, carmine, rose, vermilion, cerise, coral, and burgundy. The fact that Beto was even in the hunt and the other two are still too close to call is pretty amazing. Sure, it stung. But we really do have a great deal to celebrate. We took back the House. Our wave was big enough to overcome gerrymandering and voter suppression, sending several hundred state and federal members of the GOP packing.

If you are feeling a bit down, maybe this will pick you up. Here are a few of my favorite casualties:

Karen Handel. Remember her? This homophobic, she-devil in wolf’s clothing managed to destroy the otherwise stellar reputation of the Susan G Komen Foundation when she picked a fight with Planned Parenthood. Komen recovered somewhat but it never returned to its former glory. Well, now a Democrat in Georgia named Lucy McBath is my new favorite person and Georgia’s 6th Congressional District’s newest Representative. Kiss my ass Karen. The only organization I liked more than Komen was Planned Parenthood and you damaged one in order to attack the other. Don’t mess with Planned Parenthood. Ever. By the way, McBath ran on more gun control… in Georgia.

Kim Davis. This walking hairball in need of a hairstyle became famous in Kentucky for refusing to give marriage licenses to same sex couples, claiming Jesus told her to hate people. She then crashed a party pretending to be the Pope’s BFF and became the white trash darling for white trash religious nutjobs everywhere when she traveled to Romania to fight gay marriage there. Wait. What? Listen, folks. The cheese slid off this gal’s cracker years ago. Thank goodness that Kentucky Democrats dropped a house on Kim. To be honest, she lost by less than 700 votes, but that was to be expected considering she was related to, married to, divorced by and otherwise had children out of wedlock with a sizable percentage of the male voting population in the county. Hypocrisy is what the GOP now calls a family value.

Jason Lewis. I bet you don’t remember this asshat from Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District unless you’re a slut… I mean a woman… I mean a slut. Lewis complained that political correctness had gotten so bad that he couldn’t even call a woman a slut anymore without getting in trouble. He lost to Democrat Angie Craig. I don’t know you Angie, but I love you regardless of what Jason is most assuredly calling you at this moment.

Jack Phillips. He’s probably the most famous baker in Colorado, but not because his cakes taste good, bad or otherwise. Jack is the Colorado Baker who refused to bake a cake for a gay couple and took his argument all the way to the Supreme Court. He then tried to sue the Governor of Colorado because he didn’t want to bake a pink and blue cake for a transgender woman. Guess what? Jack now has a new Governor in Colorado. His name is Jared Polis and he’s gay. Please, please, please Governor Polis, order your inauguration cake from Jack if for no other reason than shits and giggles.

Kevin Yoder. I know nothing about this congressman from Kansas except he was a Republican in Kansas, which is rarely a good thing. He lost to a Native American woman named Sharice Davids. Now Sharice has a remarkable story and you should read about it. But I don’t want to talk about that now because I am being a little selfish. I just want to sit a minute and imagine Donald Trump watching Fox News on Tuesday when they gave a Democratic pick up seat to a woman who happens to be Native American and who also happens to be a lesbian and a mixed, martial arts fighter. Ah! Sweet mystery of life, at last I’ve found thee… Sharice honey, if you meet the President, please kick him where it counts.

Barbara Comstock. When Florida Parkland Students came to talk to her about gun violence, she refused to meet with them. Barbara lost to Democrat Jennifer Wexton. Bye, bye Barbara. Don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split you.

Listen. I was sad. I wanted Beto as much as anyone. I really did. But here in Texas we picked up so many down ballot Democrats because of Beto that I don’t think being sad is an appropriate way to remember Beto, or Stacey or Andrew. And maybe its not even over for Stacey who is still fighting the good fight. Good luck Stacey. Every vote counts. But no. We can’t be down. We have just too much to be excited about.

  • Chairman Elijah Cummings, House Oversight Committee
  • Chairman Adam Schiff, House Intelligence Committee
  • Chairwoman Maxine Waters, House Financial Services Committee
  • Chairman Richard Neal, House Ways and Means Committee
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the woman who gave us the Affordable Care Act the last time she had that title

That is huge. We took back the House and turned a huge section of the country blue, while Trump kept Georgia, Florida and Texas red… barely. We changed everything. He changed nothing.

Maybe the Blue Wave wasn’t as big in some parts of the country as others. As it swept from east to west across the country like an invading army of immigrants… no wait. As it swept from east to west, it hit patches of gerrymandering and mountains of voter suppression. But it indeed swept across the country no matter how large or small it seemed at times. One thing we know for sure, if left unchecked, Trump could bring out the worst in all of us. And sadly, he’s proud of that. But then again, he’s an idiot. The blue wave came, and it was big enough. I mean it. Really.

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Double Edged Sword?

Conservative media are unfailing boosters of Donald Trump and his administration, but this can also pose a significant (and surprising) risk. The problem is that Trump and his close advisors have become so comfortable with conservative media, that they are starting to say things that are extremely damaging.

We had another example of it this week. Trump was speaking with The Daily Caller (who love to give Trump glowing coverage) when he accidentally linked his appointment of Matt Whitaker as Attorney General to the effort to shut down Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump. In other words, Trump pretty much admitted to obstructing justice.

But it isn’t just Trump — Rudy Giuliani has often fallen into this trap. Giuliani told Fox News that Trump’s travel ban was meant to satisfy the president’s campaign promise to ban Muslims from entering the US. A religious ban would be a clear violation of the constitution.

In another example, Giuliani told Sean Hannity that Trump knew all about paying off Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet, and even provided the funds (even though Trump denied even knowing about it).

And Trump himself admitted that he knew about the Story Daniels payoff during a rant on “Fox and Friends”.

I guess when you surround yourself with “yes men” and media that always agree with you, you start thinking that you can do no wrong. Combined with people who can’t keep their mouths shut, this is a dangerous combination.

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Apparently, we can’t just get along

The FBI reports that in 2017 hate crimes increased by 17%, a particularly large jump. That’s the largest number of hate crimes in the last decade, and the third year in a row that hate crimes increased. Before that, hate crimes had been generally decreasing.

Hate crimes increased by an even larger amount against Jews (37%). And that doesn’t even include the recent event in Pittburgh, where a gunman killed 11 Jews at their synagogue. That was the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history.

Many experts in Civil Rights note that hate crimes are vastly under-reported, because victims choose not to report the crimes, or because some police agencies do not keep statistics on hate crimes. The Arab American Institute estimates that fewer than 5% of hate crimes actually show up in the FBI data. For example, they point out that it is hard to believe that the Las Vegas Police Force, who serve 1.6 million residents, reported zero hate crimes in 2017.

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Can’t we all just get along?


© Joel Pett

People, I just want to say, you know, can we all JUST get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids? … It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice … Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out. – Rodney King

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How to take a joke

Last week, SNL regular Pete Davidson made a joke at the expense of Republican Dan Crenshaw, who is a veteran of Afghanistan who lost one of his eyes in service to our country. Here’s the video, in case you didn’t see it:

This weekend, Crenshaw, who is now a newly elected Congressman from Texas, showed that he could take a joke, and do it with grace, humor, and dignity. It is worth a view, especially in these times of political division and rancor:

May we be blessed with more politicians like Crenshaw.

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Trouble keeping his lies straight?

“I can tell you Matt Whitaker’s a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.” – Donald Trump last month.

“I don’t know Matt Whitaker.” – Donald Trump yesterday, trying to distance himself from the new Attorney General he just put in charge of the Justice Department.

I think you can tell how bad a lie is by the number of times Trump repeats it. He lied about not knowing Whitaker four times in a row.

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Fired Up

The Camp Fire in northern California is now the most destructive fire in California history. With nine people already found burned to death, Donald Trump wasted no time rubbing salt in the wounds by threatening to cut off Federal aid to fight the fires:

There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!

Back in August, Trump claimed that there wasn’t enough water to fight the fires:

California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading!

Of course, this is completely false. Firefighters replied “We have plenty of water to fight these fires”.

Trump is so transparent. Do you see the pattern here? The “bad environmental laws” that Trump falsely claims are hurting fire fighting efforts are diverting water into the Pacific Ocean. Diverted? Silly me, I thought that rivers naturally flow into the ocean. In fact, isn’t that how endangered salmon reproduce? If rivers aren’t “diverted to the ocean” then salmon can’t spawn and will go extinct.

So who really needs that water? Large corporate farms, which account for 80% of California’s human water usage. Almonds alone use 10% of that agricultural water, and more than two-thirds of those almonds are exported (much of them to China).

Of course, Trump went ahead and overrode endangered species protections to access water that the firefighters say they don’t need. Because, um, emergency. You know, Republicans aren’t getting enough campaign contributions from agri-business.

Same thing with Trump’s accusation of bad forest mismanagement. When Trump says that we “must also tree clear to stop fire from spreading”, what he really wants is for lumber companies to again be able to do tons of logging, even if this destroys habitat for endangered animals and birds.

Oh, and scientists are saying that climate change is causing more severe wildfires. Seven of California’s 20 most destructive fires have occurred in the last year alone. I guess that must be fake news.

UPDATE: Latest news!


© Matt Davies

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Collusion?


© Steve Breen

The first thing that Trump did after the midterm elections is to get rid of his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Trump then replaced him with a toady who will certainly try to shut down the Mueller investigation.

But most constitutional lawyers say that what Trump did is unconstitutional. For example, here is a quote from lawyers Neal Katyal and George Conway:

President Trump’s installation of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general of the United States after forcing the resignation of Jeff Sessions is unconstitutional. It’s illegal. And it means that anything Mr. Whitaker does, or tries to do, in that position is invalid.

Some of you might have (like me) recognized the name George Conway. He’s the husband of Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to president Donald Trump. Kellyanne Conway has (of course) said that the appointment is perfectly legal.

At least we know that there is no collusion in the Conway household.

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