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A man of Auction

Congressman Billy Long (R-MO) has a unique way to shut down right wing-nuts when they start to blather.

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Jimmy Kimmel Knows Who Wrote NY Times Op-Ed on Trump

Apparently, Washington (and everywhere else) is going crazy trying to figure out who wrote the bombshell anonymous op-ed published in the NY Times.

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Congenital Lying

Of course Donald Trump is attacking Bob Woodward’s book. What else would we expect?

In fact, the strangest thing about this is that the book announcement caught Trump off guard initially (even though he knew about the book and that it would be negative). But after a couple of days, Trump eventually did what he always does, and tweeted:

Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost. Don’t know why Washington politicians don’t change libel laws?

First of all, if the libel laws were changed to make it easier to respond to libel, Trump himself would end up being sued constantly for all the lies he has tweeted about people. If you don’t believe me, read the immediate responses to that tweet.

What takes this to the level of being a hypocritical lie is that before he was president, Trump berated the Obama administration for attacking Bob Woodward, tweeting “Only the Obama WH can get away with attacking Bob Woodward.” But now, Trump seems to think he can get away with attacking Woodward. Sad!

On top of that, Woodward already released an audio recording of a phone call from just a month ago, where Trump tells Woodward “I would’ve loved to have spoken to you [for the book] … I think you’ve always been fair.” But a month later, he claims that Woodward totally makes up stories?

And of course, we now have the NY Times op-ed that corroborates what Woodward says in his book. As if that weren’t enough, within hours additional senior administration officials reached out to Axios to validate the substance of the op-ed, saying that the author stole the words right out of their mouths. These people claimed that there are “dozens and dozens” of people in the Trump administration that feel the same way.

Has this become a full-blown coup? If not an actual coup, this is certainly a constitutional crisis. The constitution has tools for removing bad presidents: impeachment and the 25th amendment, but a group of administration officials (who were never elected) secretly subverting the president? That is a constitutional crisis.

In response to the anonymous op-ed, Trump tweeted “TREASON?”. Someone needs to inform him that verbally attacking the president isn’t treason. If it were, then Trump himself would be guilty for all the things he said about president Obama.

Trevor Noah does an excellent job of summing up why all this should scare the shit out of us:

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The Internal Resistance

The NY Times just published an article by a senior Trump administration official titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration“. The name of the author was withheld (for obvious reasons), but is known to the newspaper.

The article echos what Bob Woodward is saying about the administration in his upcoming book.

Meanwhile, Trump is claiming that Woodward’s book is complete fiction. I guess we’ll see.


© Clay Bennett

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Donald Trump has a Funeral Problem

Ok, I admit it, I’m almost enjoying watching the news from John McCain’s funeral. This is a double whammy for Trump, who absolutely needs to be the focus of attention. And on top of that, everyone involved in the funeral, including the speakers, the family, and even the deceased, are making sure that Trump knows that they don’t like him. Not one bit.

How long before he can’t stand it anymore and explodes all over Twitter? We’ll see.

There is also a very interesting article in Politico. Apparently, this is not the first time that Donald Trump has had a funeral problem. Most of us know that Trump was not invited to the funeral of Barbara Bush. Nor was he invited to the recent royal wedding in the UK.

But it goes back even farther. Back to the funeral of Fred Trump, Donald’s father. Apparently when the son eulogized his father, he spent most of his time talking about himself and his successful real estate projects.

And then there was the funeral of Roy Cohn, lawyer to Joe McCarthy and later longtime mentor to Trump. But Trump had shut Cohn out when Cohn was diagnosed with HIV. Shortly before he died, Cohn said “Donald pisses ice water.” Trump did attend the funeral, but he stood at the back of the room, reportedly pouting and glowering.


© Lalo Alcaraz

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Gun Manufacturers for Democrats?

The Wall Street Journal reports that sales of AR-15 assault rifles and other “long guns” have cratered. Revenues are down 50% since Trump got elected, most likely because gun lovers believe their second amendment rights are safe now that Trump is in office.

What’s a gun manufacturer to do? Maybe they should work to get more Democrats elected so they can get their boogey man back and make money again.

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Joe Biden on John McCain

I love listening to Joe Biden speak. Do me a favor and watch this. Don’t read about it. Don’t watch a short highlights video.

And please, let’s try to leave politics out of it. No discussions about campaigns, or parties, or any current political analysis.

I hope that America still has the ability to just listen to a complete, coherent accounting of human emotion and love. If you aren’t sure, just give it a try.

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Reality TV Politics

Tom Tomorrow
© Tom Tomorrow

How will this end? The Atlantic has an interesting article that compares the likely coming fall of Donald Trump to a Shakespearean play (namely, the “Scottish play”). A tragedy, or as Trump would say, “SAD!”

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The Best People? Hah!

When Donald Trump was running for president, he promised that he would “surround myself only with the best and most serious people”. Hilariously, he even said that they would be “top-of-the-line professionals.”

But let’s look at the people that Trump with whom has actually surrounded himself. And I’m not going to count porn stars and playboy bunnies.

There is Trump’s attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Trump is complaining about Sessions almost daily and insulting him.

Or Omarosa Manigault Newman, who was a former aide to the President. Trump called her a “that dog” after she quit.

More than half of Trump’s White House staffers, his “best people people”, have already left their jobs. For example, Trump has gone through five communications directors.

And even those who remain are regularly insulted by Trump as being losers. When Trump appointed Wilbur Ross as his commerce secretary, he said that Ross was one of his “killers”. But in May, Trump said that Ross was “past his prime” and “no longer a killer”.

And then there are the people he tried to surround himself with but failed to, like White House physician Ronny Jackson. Jackson was forced to withdraw when it turned out that instead of being a “top-of-the-line professional” he was was really bottom-of-the-barrel.

And then there is Trump’s family, an example of blatant nepotism.

Going back earlier, Trump picked Paul Manafort as his campaign manager. Manafort is now a convicted felon who cheated on his taxes and lied.

Even before Trump even ran for president, he was surrounding himself with dubious people. Like Michael Cohen, who was Trump’s personal lawyer for 13 years and a vice president of the Trump Organization, but has now pleaded guilty to eight felonies including tax fraud and bank fraud.

I think the truth is that Trump desperately needs people to blame for everything that is going wrong. So he appoints potential patsies to positions of power. As a result, he can pretend that nothing is ever his own fault. Trump doesn’t care if he is himself a loser, as long as he can blame it on someone else.

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Is Fox News turning against Trump?

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Fighting Racism in America

This powerful article, written by Katherine Fugate, speaks the truth about how we all have the ability to fight racism and xenophobia.

If you are concerned about the current level of racism in this country, I recommend you read it.

And I’ll throw in a comic about racism just for fun:


© Brian McFadden

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Lock her up?

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Lurking

I know it has been a while, but I just wanted to give a heads up that I might resume posting a bit before the midterm elections.

As I’ve said before, I’m not really upset at Donald Trump. I mean, he is who he is and he doesn’t even hide the fact that he is a racist who only cares about himself. What bothers me are the one-third of Americans who continue to support him no matter what happens.

If his supporters were around 15% or less, I wouldn’t care. Traditionally almost anyone can find that many Americans to support them, no matter how crazy they are.

My question is, what will it take for ardent Trump supporters to stop supporting him? What would he have to do or say that would turn the people who continue to believe that Donald Trump is a great president to turn against him? For example, would they have to stop watching media Fox News? If Fox turned against Trump, would that be enough?

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Hibernation

I’ve been publishing Political Irony since May 2008, during the run up to the election of Barack Obama as president. I started this blog for several reasons.

Primary was my frustration with the US political situation under George W Bush (my wife and I moved to New Zealand for almost 5 months when he was re-elected after lying us into a terrible war). I knew I had to do something for the 2008 election or risk regretting my inaction for the rest of my life. In addition to the blog, I volunteered for the Obama campaign (even got to shake his hand) and did other political work.

A secondary reason was that I make my living programming computers, which I’ve been doing since I was a child. I had started several companies, so I had done some marketing for technical products, but I was really curious how one goes about marketing a popular blog. And the best way for me to learn is to do.

And finally, I’ve always believed that people tend to live up (or down) to other’s expectations of them. I’m a friend of Ward Cunningham (I often have lunch with him), who invented the wiki. This was in the age where the term “internet troll” became popular. Who would have thought that crowdsourcing entire websites would result in anything better than screams and obscenity, but somehow most wikis survived and even prospered. Why?

At the time, most political websites were inundated with insulting and obscene comments, so websites in general were cracking down on viewer participation; at worst turning off comments, but even at best requiring people to log in and prove who they are. I was determined to allow people to leave comments anonymously, and without providing their email address or other personal information. I even ran the blog under a pseudonym “iron knee” (a pun on “irony”), as a way to reinforce the point that it is the ideas that are important, not who they come from. I worked hard to establish a culture of respect for other people’s opinions, and intolerance of personal attacks. And it worked.

During the almost 10 years I have been running this blog, I have only needed to delete a small handful of comments. In most cases, other readers let flaming newcomers know that they were welcome to join in the conversation but not welcome to attack others. Some people whose first comments on PI were outright flames have evolved into thoughtful readers whose insights have changed my opinions about things. I am grateful for them having the courage to stick around a generally progressive website, and pleased that they felt comfortable expressing their opinions here.

So why am I posting this? What’s my point?

Several things have happened pretty much at the same time. The first one you have probably noticed. I’ve been working at Google for over three years now, and my new role is keeping me very busy. I love my job, and I want to spend more time on it. I just got back from a trip where I spent almost 6 weeks giving a dozen talks in 7 countries. It was fantastic but exhausting, and I had almost no time to post in PI.

Second, I have come to the conclusion that blogs (including mine) that are giving Donald Trump all the attention he so clearly craves are only making the political situation worse. I find myself getting tired of reading about him, let alone posting articles about him. I wanted to try to post articles that were only about political things other than Trump, but he is very good at sucking the air out of every situation. It may be that he purposely wants to exhaust his opposition, so I am embarrassed that he seems to have succeeded in accomplishing that with me.

Two more things just happened, and I think they are the straws that broke the camel’s back. First, I got a notice from my hosting provider that (once again) my website has been hacked into. This used to happen from time to time, and always took quite a bit of work to clean up after and to take measures so it would not happen again. And secondly I got a notice from Google (how ironic) that PI seems to be something of a click-bait site, so they turned off my ads. I don’t know if this is because of being hacked into again, or if it is just that companies like Google and Facebook are trying to crack down on all the propaganda and misinformation they are hosting or supporting, and are a bit overzealous just now. I can appeal to them but that too would take time. Besides, the payoff from my one ad a page was barely covering my hosting fees and isn’t worth fighting for.

What am I going to do? I don’t know. I have announced in the past that I was shutting down the blog, only to find later (soon later in some cases) the time to resurrect PI. But for now I really want to focus on work, and I really want to ignore US politics for a while. It was quite wonderful to be out of the US for over a month and not hear the latest stupid thing or daily outrageous lies from our president.

Of course, things change, and I may have more spare time and more inclination to do something about US politics in the future, so I reserve the right to jump on this again. Just not now.

In case you are curious, the project I am working on at Google is called Flutter. It is a new platform for building mobile apps. You can read about it on flutter.io.

Meanwhile, I will leave the site up (but might disable comments for a while, depending on what got hacked), so you can always find links to most of my sources. I encourage everyone to read Electoral Vote to keep up with things (I just wish they allowed comments).

And in case this is good-bye, I really want to thank all of my readers, even the ones who never commented. And thank everyone who commented and challenged me, and made me think. I never expected to do this past the 2008 election, but you have made it all worthwhile.

Gratefully,
Wm Leler (aka, Iron Knee)

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Niger = Benghazi?

One of the few things we know about what happened in Niger a few weeks ago is that four American soldiers died. We don’t know why those soldiers were there, what mistakes were made that led to their deaths, why one body was left behind (requiring it to be retrieved). We also don’t know why Donald Trump remained completely silent about the deaths for almost two weeks, and didn’t send any condolences, despite the fact that the White House staff had them prepared and ready to send.

Doesn’t this sound like there is a cover-up going on? Even a fellow Republican and chairman of the Senate armed services committee, John McCain, doesn’t think the administration is being up front about the attack.

So what’s the difference between this and the Benghazi attack, where four Americans also died, and there were accusations of a cover-up (but only from the opposing party)? As far as I can tell, the only difference is that there were 33 separate congressional hearings and 7 full investigations into the Benghazi attacks. Doesn’t Niger deserve any similar scrutiny?

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