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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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Election! Vote!

Today is election day, and I am totally afraid to predict what might happen. That’s both the result of the election, or what the reaction might be. I wouldn’t be surprised by anything that might happen.

Will someone hack into the voting machines and throw a few elections? We know it could be done.
Will there be violence? Duh, we’ve already had violence.
Will young people finally realize that they need to vote? That looks promising.
The only thing I’m sure of is that America will become even more divided.

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The only thing we have to fear…


© Rob Rogers

Could this election get any sillier? Is the dominant topic really a small, ragtag bunch of refugees fleeing Honduras in Central America? They have just only crossed the border into the most southern part of Mexico, and their numbers are already decreasing. Apparently they are going to walk north across mountainous country full of dangerous criminal organizations. Hardly anyone thinks that many, if any at all, will even make it very far, let alone within spitting range of the US border. And yet Donald Trump is sending US troops to the border now, even though it is illegal for the military to operate as police inside the US.

This is not our greatest problem in the US. In fact, it is almost not worth any mention at all. But even Fox News is talking about it nonstop. Don’t believe me? Here’s actual footage from Faux News:

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The Fabulous Falsehoods!

From electoral-vote.com, talking about how Donald Trump seems to be going for a all-time world record in lying:

For the first year of his presidency, he was averaging about five lies a day, and in the second year that slowly crept up to about 7.5 a day. In October, though, his average jumped to a staggering 35.6 lies a day, including one day (October 22, the day of the Ted Cruz rally) where he issued forth with an amazing 83 whoppers. To squeeze that many in, you pretty much have to lie about everything.

So last night, Trump said:

And I say, all I’m doing is just telling the truth, what can I say?

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winning liar!

What is even more frightening is that his insults are literally leading to injuries. Again from Electoral Vote:

Of course, the biggest problem is not the lies, per se, but the fact that lots of people take what he is saying as the truth and as a call to action. In the case of Robert Bowers, of Tree of Life Synagogue infamy, it is about 95% certain that he was egged on by the President’s words and actions. In the case of pipe bomber Cesar Sayoc, it is about 99% certain. And on Friday, we got our first 100%. The Nigerian army, among the world’s most cruel and corrupt military forces, opened fire on rock-throwing protesters and killed at least 40 of them. Then, they posted a clip to their official Twitter account of Trump’s Thursday remarks about opening fire on rock on throwers.


© Matt Bors

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A nation of immigrants

Stephen Colbert is on a roll. And Donald Trump is out of control.

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Happy Halloween!

The scariest things this Halloween are Fox News and Donald Trump. Even though they are trying to scare everyone by claiming that the US is being invaded by immigrants. You know, immigrants, like the ancestors of almost everyone in the US. Indeed, the immigrants already invaded, long ago.


© Keef Knight

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Birthright Citizenship

Yesterday, Donald Trump said he was going to end birthright citizenship, which is the right of people born on US soil to become US citizens. Trump claims he can do this with an executive order.

Most of the response to this concentrated on pointing out that you can’t just overrule the 14th amendment to the US constitution with an executive order. For example, House Speaker Paul Ryan responded “You cannot end birthright citizenship with an executive order.”

And of course, these days Trump does not seem to be able to open his mouth without a lie coming out, and an easily disproved lie at that. Trump claimed that the US was the only country that has birthright citizenship. Turns out that our two nearest neighbors, Canada and Mexico, both have it. As do many other countries in the western hemisphere. In fact, there are three dozen countries that have it. Here’s a map:

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Rage

In April 2016, Donald Trump was interviewed by Bob Woodward and Bob Costa. They asked candidate Trump if he needed to tame the rage in the Republican Party. Trump replied:

Yes, yes, but I bring that out in people. I do. I’m not saying that’s an asset or a liability, but I do bring that out. …

I bring rage out. I do bring rage out. I always have.

In an interview yesterday, Bob Woodward was asked about that interview in 2016, and replied:

He’s clearly proud of it. We now know, as president, that is part of the strategy of, blame the news media, get the environment roiled up as much as you can. And in some ways, it’s worked. And so, he’s embracing rage. And of course, rage is fury, uncontrolled anger.

When he blames the media, when he goes up in these rallies, I mean, they are all designed to raise the boiling point, raise the temperature.

We know presidents have extraordinary power. He has probably more power than any president I’ve reported on, going back to Nixon. And he has seized it with the communication channel — with the tweeting, and the rallies and the press conferences.

Let’s not kid ourselves … He’s stoking the fires.

A president has the great opportunity to heal things, to make things better. … Even his supporters know that they’re being riled up, and a lot of people like it.


© Jen Sorensen

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Speaking Truth to Lies

Yes it is true. Donald Trump, who says that Hillary Clinton should go to jail because she used a supposedly unsecured email server, is using an unsecured iPhone, and there is evidence that Chinese and Russian spies are listening in on his phone calls.

Even crazier, if you listen to what Trump is saying about his “middle class tax cut”, he contradicts himself one sentence later (in the video below). First he says they will pass such a tax cut before November. Then, when asked about the fact that Congress isn’t even in session until after the November election, he admits that Congress won’t vote on it until after the election. So he isn’t going to pass it before November at all, is he? He isn’t even very good at making stuff up!

On top of that, Trump claims that he is currently working with the Republican leadership on this, but none of them knew anything about it until after Trump started promising it.

There is more about this fictional tax cut starting at 6:10 in Stephen Colbert hilarious monologue on the Late Show. You should watch the whole video, as it is all about Trump’s exploding number of lies, often featuring clips of Trump lying.

UPDATE: On Saturday, Trump tried to justify his decision to hold two campaign events (a campaign rally in Illinois and a speech at an agricultural convention) the same day as a mass shooting killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

And with what happened early today — that horrible, horrible attack in Pittsburgh — I was saying maybe I should cancel both this and that. And then I said to myself, I remember Dick Grasso, a friend of mine, great guy. He headed up the New York Stock Exchange on September 11. And the New York Stock Exchange was open the following day. He said — and what they had to do to open it you wouldn’t believe. We won’t even talk to you about it. But he got that exchange open.

There’s just one problem. Trump made this all up. The NYSE didn’t reopen until Sept 17, the longest amount of time it was shut down since the Great Depression.

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Problem Solved!


© Tom Tomorrow

And of course, now the latest scandal fades from our memory, replaced by a new scandal. And so it goes.

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