Saturday, August 19, 2017

Donald and Melania Trump are skipping the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony because apparently they are too politically toxic.

I hate you so much. You are the reason I am shunned by society.
Courtesy of WaPo:

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have elected not to attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December amid a political backlash among those who will be feted at the event. 

The first family will not participate “to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Saturday morning. 

The announcement comes as three of the five honorees — television producer Norman Lear, singer Lionel Richie and dancer Carmen de Lavallade — said they would boycott the traditional White House reception related to the celebration. As for the other two, rapper LL Cool J has not said whether he would attend, and Cuban American singer Gloria Estefan said she would go to try to influence the president on immigration issues. 

Presidents and first ladies traditionally attend the Kennedy Center program each year. But the backlash against Trump was prompted by his handling of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last weekend, which ended in the death of a counter-protester.

As the New York Times reports other presidents have skipped this celebration in the past (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter to be precise.), but all of them were no shows because they had pressing presidential business to attend to, NOT because they were toxic assholes that nobody wanted to spend the evening with.

Probably for the best actually, after all nothing ruins an evening of celebration like having the Nazis show up.

The Kennedy Center itself responded by saying that they are "grateful for this gesture."

Hey, remember when THIS gorgeous couple received standing ovations during the Kennedy Center awards?

Good times.

Robert Mueller's Russian investigation is now focusing on Trump Jr..

Don't let them take me Dad, don't let them take me!
Courtesy of Buzzfeed:  

Federal prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller are focusing keenly on the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and are trying to determine his intent when he attended a controversial June 9, 2016, meeting with a Russian lawyer, according to a source familiar with the investigation. 

Trump Jr. has acknowledged that he was looking for negative information about Hillary Clinton when he, as well as Jared Kushner and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort, met with the lawyer. But he claimed he did not receive any useful opposition research. 

The source familiar with the investigation said that prosecutors have been trying to determine exactly what information was provided and are scrutinizing Trump Jr.’s statements about the meeting. 

Requesting or accepting anything of value for a presidential campaign from a foreign national violates federal election law, legal experts told BuzzFeed News.

Of course none of this will lead to actual imprisonment because Trump will DEFINITELY have his pardon pen out and at the ready for his son.

Now if this were Eric he might just let them take him, but this is Donnie Junior!

However I wonder how long these prosecutors could have to sweat Junior before he cracked like a two bit prison snitch?

Let's face it these Trump boys are soft from a life of extravagance and excess.

Just one night in a county jail and Junior would be giving up family secrets like an automatic Pez dispenser.

After Charlottesville the ACLU decides to stop representing hate groups that bring guns to protests.

Courtesy of The Hill: 

The American Civil Liberties Union took a new stance on firearms Thursday, announcing a change in policy that it would not represent hate groups who demonstrate with firearms. 

ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told The Wall Street Journal that the group would have stricter screenings and take legal requests from white supremacist groups on a case-by-case basis. 

“The events of Charlottesville require any judge, any police chief and any legal group to look at the facts of any white-supremacy protests with a much finer comb,” Romero told the Journal. “If a protest group insists, ‘No, we want to be able to carry loaded firearms,’ well, we don’t have to represent them. They can find someone else." 

The ACLU has come under fire after it filed a lawsuit in defense of the organizers who planned the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Va., after city officials denied them a permit to hold the rally around a statue of Robert E. Lee, which is set to be removed. 

The group was ultimately granted the permit for the Saturday rally, which later turned violent and resulted in one death and more than a dozen injured.

The ACLU just learned a valuable lesson that yes everybody deserves to have their rights protected, but fuck those gun toting assholes!

And why do these sacks of shit feel the need to bring a gun to a protest anyhow.

I go hiking in bear country all of the time with NO gun.

Are they trying to tell me that there is something at a protest that is scarier than a Grizzly Bear?

Because absolutely no, there is not!

James Murdoch criticizes Donald Trump's talking points, but he seems to get most of them from Fox News.

Let's face it Donald Trump is essentially taking the crap bloviated about on Fox News and making it a reality.

That is like giving life to the imaginary monsters that lived under our beds when we were children.

Terrifying.

If Murdock REALLY wanted to stop Donald Trump from tearing this country apart he would shut down his network, take his billions of dollars, and simply walk away from politics and cable news forever.

That would be so heroic that somebody might even put up a statue to honor his sacrifice.

Now that Steve Bannon is out of the White House he is ready to wage war....on pretty much everybody it seems.

It seems that the minute that Steve Bannon was fired from the White House he ran right back to Breitbart to prepare for the war to come.

Bannon also reached out to the Weekly Standard to give yet another angry, whiskey inspired interview describing what that war will look like: 

“The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over,” Bannon said Friday, shortly after confirming his departure. “We still have a huge movement, and we will make something of this Trump presidency. But that presidency is over. It’ll be something else. And there’ll be all kinds of fights, and there’ll be good days and bad days, but that presidency is over.”

(Personally I always imagine Bannon's words coming out in a kind of drunken slur.)

Bannon says that his departure was voluntary, and that he’d planned it to coincide with the one-year anniversary of his joining the Trump campaign as chief executive, on August 14, 2016. 

“On August 7th , I talked to [Chief of Staff John] Kelly and to the President, and I told them that my resignation would be effective the following Monday, on the 14th,” he said. “I’d always planned on spending one year. General Kelly has brought in a great new system, but I said it would be best. I want to get back to Breitbart.”

Other reports from inside the White House suggest that Bannon has been on his way out for some time, and that finally Trump had had enough of his constant attempts to take credit for Trump's election win and policy choices.

“Now, it’s gonna be Trump,” Bannon said. “The path forward on things like economic nationalism and immigration, and his ability to kind of move freely . . . I just think his ability to get anything done—particularly the bigger things, like the wall, the bigger, broader things that we fought for, it’s just gonna be that much harder.” 

Bannon assigns blame for the thwarting of his program on “the West Wing Democrats,” but holds special disdain for the Washington establishment—especially those Republicans who have, he believes, willfully failed to provide Trump with meaningful victories. 

And, he believes, things are about to get worse for Trump. “There’s about to be a jailbreak of these moderate guys on the Hill”—a stream of Republican dissent, which could become a flood.

Bannon believes that these moderate Republicans have purposefully interfered with Trump's attempts to keep his campaign promises about building that stupid wall and kicking all of the Muslims out.

“What Trump ran on—border wall, where is the funding for the border wall, one of his central tenets, where have they been? Have they rallied around the Perdue-Cotton immigration bill? On what element of Trump’s program, besides tax cuts—which is going to be the standard marginal tax cut—where have they rallied to Trump’s cause? They haven’t.”

“I think they’re going to try to moderate him,” he says. “I think he’ll sign a clean debt ceiling, I think you’ll see all this stuff. His natural tendency—and I think you saw it this week on Charlottesville—his actual default position is the position of his base, the position that got him elected. I think you’re going to see a lot of constraints on that. I think it’ll be much more conventional.”

Bannon is also under the impression that he has already made a lasting impact on American politics during his brief tenure in the White House, but now unshackled can do even more.

“I feel jacked up,” he says. “Now I’m free. I’ve got my hands back on my weapons. Someone said, ‘it’s Bannon the Barbarian.’ I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There’s no doubt. I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart. And now I’m about to go back, knowing what I know, and we’re about to rev that machine up. And rev it up we will do.”

"Hands back on my weapons," well this seems a little unsettling.

Especially since Trump significantly raised Bannon and Breitbart's profile, giving them the kind of mainstream conservative legitimacy that they struggled for before.

Bannon really could push Trump's agenda forward and shame Republicans for not supporting it, or turn on Trump like a rabid dog and help bring down his presidency.

Which clearly worries Trump enough that he is still smooching on Bannon's lily white, acne encrusted ass.

MSNBC is now the number one cable news channel. Deal with it!

Courtesy of Variety: 

MSNBC ranked as the number one network across all of cable in total viewers for the first time in its history, according to Nielsen data. 

For Wednesday, Aug. 16, MSNBC averaged 1.52 million viewers for the total day across all of cable, edging out second place Fox News, who averaged 1.5 million. CNN ranked fourth among all cable networks for the day with 1.13 million total viewers. Nickelodeon was third with 1.17 million. However, in the key adults 25-54 demographic, CNN was number one among the cable news networks for the total day, averaging 381,000 viewers in that measure. Fox News was second in the demo for total day with 353,000 viewers, and MSNBC was third with 343,000. 

In primetime, MSNBC was also first in total viewers among the cable news networks with 2.61 million viewers. Fox News was second with 2.4 million. CNN was third with 1.59 million. In the key demo for primetime, MSNBC was first with 613,000. Fox News narrowly outpaced CNN for second place with 560,000, with CNN averaging 557,000. 

Across all of broadcast in primetime, Wednesday’s episodes of “The Rachel Maddow Show” and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” were among the top 10 shows of the night in total viewers, with Maddow averaging 3.25 million viewers at 9 p.m. and O’Donnell averaging 2.54 million at 10. They were both the highest-rated and most-watched cable news programs in their respective time slots, with Maddow also nabbing 778,00 viewers in the key demo and O’Donnell nabbing 597,000.

This has been my go to cable news channel since 2004 so I am glad to see they are finally getting the recognition they deserve. 

Rachel Maddow still remains my all time favorite, but I am loving me some Joy Reid. Katy Tur, and Lawrence O'Donnell as well.

OK Cupid bans white supremacist for life.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

After a Vice documentary about last weekend’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville featured white supremacist Chris Cantwell, he was banned from Facebook. And on Thursday, he was kicked off OkCupid as well. 

The online dating site announced the decision via Twitter and followed up by tweeting that “there is no room for hate in a place where you’re looking for love.” The site also asked users to report anyone who appears to be involved in a hate group. 

Chief executive Elie Seidman gave a statement to Gizmodo saying, “OkCupid has zero tolerance for racism. We make a lot of [decisions] every day that are tough. Banning Christopher Cantwell was not one of them.”

Just in case you are having a little difficulty remembering who this Chris Cantwell douchbag is, it's this douchebag. 
I also heard that Pay Pal kicked him off and that he no longer has a source of income.

I am going to try and shed a tear for him just as soon as I am finished rolling on the floor and laughing. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

CNN's Brooke Baldwin lists all of the crazy things that have happened with Trump in the last four weeks.

Courtesy of Raw Story: 

“Steve Bannon has been fired,” Baldwin said. “It has been a chaotic four weeks, even by these White House standards, so let’s just all take a moment just to remind you what has happened, incredibly significant events, one after the other.” 

“So, in no particular order,” she began. “President Trump … fires his chief strategist, fires his chief of staff, hires a new one, hires a new communications director, fires him, hires a new one, his fourth in seven months, publicly shames his attorney general multiple times, loses a health care bill, publicly shames the three republicans who voted against it multiple times, bans transgender individuals from the military without telling the military, ticks off the Boy Scouts, makes up a phone call with said Scouts, makes up another phone call with the president of Mexico, thanks Vladimir Putin for expelling Americans, hundreds of them, takes days to sign a bipartisan sanctions bill and then blasts Congress for making him sign it, condemns leaks but then says he likes the leaks because it shows people love him.”

Baldwin then stops for a drink of water, before continuing:

“Encourages police to be rough with suspects during arrests, publicly shames the Republican leader he needs to get anything done—multiple times—embraces an unpassable immigration plan that sparks a debate about the Statue of Liberty and the definition of ‘cosmopolitan.’ He threatens North Korea with nuclear war, tells Guam it will help tourism, then his own chief strategist calls his bluff and says, no, there’s no military option in North Korea, threatens Venezuela with a military option, after a Nazi rally in which someone was murdered, the president blames both sides. After backlash, cleans it up, denounces those white supremacists, but then hours later erases all of it and makes everything worse by again blaming both sides, saying there were fine people there. No, they weren’t. They were Nazis.”

Whew!

Keep in mind that President Obama went through EIGHT YEARS in office without anywhere near this much chaos and drama in his White House.

God, Trump was right. All of this winning IS exhausting.

Tina Fey represented all of us on last night's Weekend Update. #sheetcake.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

Tina Fey is fuming about last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, home to her alma mater, the University of Virginia. 

In response, the former “Saturday Night Live” comedian and writer is spearheading a movement: “sheetcaking.” 

In a surprise appearance on SNL’s “Weekend Update: Summer Edition” Thursday night, Fey urged Americans not to get into screaming matches with neo-Nazis. Instead, she said, “order a cake with the American flag on it … and just eat it.” 

She proceeded to stuff her face with sheet cake as she bashed white supremacists, President Trump, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and conservative pundit Ann Coulter (“yard-sale Barbie”). 

With her mouth full of frosting, she seemed to capture the frustration of many Americans in the past week. Almost immediately, the hashtags “#sheetcakemovement” and “#sheetcaking” began circulating on social media.

I had a couple of thoughts while watching this genius at work last night.

First, why doesn't this woman have her own show right now?

Second, I totally feel everything that she was expressing. Totally.

And third, is that not the moistest cake you have ever seen?

I don't even usually like cake, and she was eating it like a rabid wolverine, and yet I still wanted some of it. Really bad.

So thank you Tina Fey for channeling all of our emotions to eloquently.

And thank you for the extra three pounds I am definitely going to gain when I sit down to eat my own entire sheetcake.

Steve Bannon is out! Update!

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion. 

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time. 

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va. 

Mr. Bannon had clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers and members of the president’s family.

Wait, Bannon submitted his resignation on August the 7th?

Does that mean his weird whack-a-doodle interview with the American Prospect reporter was just a way to force Trump's hand and make him accept the resignation?

Now we just need to start betting on how long it will be before Breitbart starts slamming Donald Trump once Bannon returns as its editor in chief.

My guess is almost immediately. But only subtly at first.

Update: Here's an interesting tweet from Robert Costa.

Bannon saw both Palin and Trump as figureheads for pushing his racist, hate filled, isolationist agenda.
And he was right, either one would have been just as easy as the other to manipulate. 

The Washington Post points out that Donald Trump is just successful version of Sarah Palin.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

From the moment Palin entered the national scene, the praise for her on the right was heavily tied to her image. After the 2008 vice-presidential debate, National Review editor Rich Lowry described her as “so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing, [sending] little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.” In one of the earliest conservative critiques of Palin, written in September 2008, Post columnist Kathleen Parker said of her initial interest in Palin: “She was the antithesis and nemesis of the hirsute, Birkenstock-wearing sisterhood — a refreshing feminist of a different order who personified the modern successful working mother.” Nowhere in the piece were Palin’s conservative viewpoints referenced; her views on, say, health care or school choice, or even abortion, went unmentioned. Palin’s problem, in Parker’s view, wasn’t her beliefs but her tendency to ramble. What mattered about the governor was what she could reflect back to a hungry Republican base: an “attractive, earnest [and] confident” woman in a position of power.

And Palin said what the base was thinking. She accused Barack Obama of “palling around with terrorists.” She praised those willing to “screw the political correctness.” She cheered the birther movement promoted by one Donald Trump. As the keynote speaker at the first-ever National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, she taunted Democrats, “How’s that hopey-changey stuff working out?” In turn, she was greeted with a standing ovation and chants of “Run, Sarah, run!”

The Post points out that Palin also attracted much criticism from Hollywood and the Left, which seemed to only make her more popular with her base.

Then of course her star faded after a number of years filled with failed reality shows, poorly selling books, and of course family brawls and brushes with the law.

But then:

Trump campaigned on the Palin model. In fact, he improved upon it. His identity was his trademark, rendering the constant shifts in policy goals and promises almost meaningless. His base saw in Trump what they wanted to see. Some saw a fighter who would stand up for them, others saw a vaunted truth-teller, and a few, truth be told, likely saw a potential white-nationalist hero. And he gave it to them: the image, the veneer, the blank slate upon which their deeply held dreams — for themselves as much as their country — could be written. His fans weren’t dissuaded by his past support for Democrats (including his 2016 opponent), or his lies, or his personal liberalism, or his crudeness, or his long history of mistreating small-business owners of the kind he claimed to champion, because his fans weren’t voting for Trump. They were voting for what Trump meant to them personally. 

In turn, his base will not leave him, because to abandon Trump would not be to abandon the current president but to leave behind deeply held beliefs of their own. His popularity is cultural, not political, resilient to the notions of truth and fiction and to Trump’s own failures. Even after his presidency, regardless of whether it ends in impeachment or in two consecutive terms in office, the image will remain undaunted.

In essence the Palin base never went away, they were just adrift waiting for the next completely unqualified politician to dog whistle in their direction and make them feel they are not the sad, pathetic human rejects that nobody wants to associate with at parties, or claim as a relative or friend.

But of course they are.

These people wanted to be heard, and Donald Trump pretended that he could hear them.

And now, well now they bear witness to the presidency that they, in their abject stupidity, helped to create.  To walk away from Donald Trump would be to admit that they were fooled, not once, but twice, by demonstrably ignorant morons who used them only for their vote.

Apparently admitting that is a choice even worse than the total destruction of the country, or perhaps even the world.

Trump Foundation suspected of being giant political slush fund for The Donald. Well duh!

Courtesy of The Daily Beast:  

The Trump Foundation, Donald Trump’s nonprofit organization, is under fire for allegedly operating as more of a political slush fund than a charity. The foundation is accused of violating rules prohibiting it from engaging in politics—prompting ethics watchdogs to call for public investigations. 

On numerous occasions this year, Trump’s campaign work and his foundation work have overlapped—putting himself at risk for penalties and his charity at risk of being shut down.

Trump is listed as the president of the foundation in the charity’s annual disclosures, and his children Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump are all listed as directors. Foundations like theirs are exempt from paying taxes, and as such are barred from engaging in political causes.

But in key early primary states this year, Trump handed out Foundation checks to charities at campaign rallies. This also calls into question “whether the foundation provided the campaign with an illegal in-kind contribution by providing services for what was a campaign event. Under the campaign finance laws… providing anything of value to a campaign for free or at less than fair market value is a contribution to the campaign,” said Larry Noble, the general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. 

And in 2013, the Trump Foundation donated $25,000 to a political organization supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi—an action the foundation is prohibited from taking, and which it failed to report on its disclosures.

Of course, of COURSE, Trump is using his bullshit "charity" foundation, how would anybody suspect otherwise?

Simply put Trump does NOT follow the rules, or obey laws, unless he it forced to do so by the courts.

New covers for The Economist and The New Yorker.

Anybody else sensing a theme here?

Fox news talking head breaks down while trying to defend Donald Trump.

I am trying very hard to feel sympathy for this blonde airhead.

Yep, I've got nothing.