Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Confirmation for Donald Trump's pick to head the VA has been suspended amid accusations of misconduct on the job.

Courtesy of CNN:

Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee are raising concerns about allegations involving Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, and are reviewing them to determine if they are substantial enough to upend his nomination. 

Committee members have been told about allegations related to improper conduct in various stages of his career, two sources said. 

The sources say the committee is in talks to delay Wednesday's confirmation hearing as they try to figure out the allegations. 

None of the senators would publicly detail the specifics of the allegations. A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Senators may have not wanted to publicly detail the specifics, but they leaked out anyway.
You know the reason why all of this is so amazing is that Trump has bragged repeatedly that he "only picks the best people."

But as we know the ONLY reason that Trump thought that Jackson was in any way qualified for this very difficult position was because he lied for him about his most recent physical

It seems like EVERY SINGLE person that Trump nominates for the cabinet, or hires to staff the White House, is deeply flawed in some way.

Almost like he just does not want to be the only one.

In preparation for phone calls with foreign leaders State Department staff have to provide Trump with memos dumbed down to the level of Dick and Jane books for early readers.

Courtesy of The New Yorker:  

Before a phone call to a foreign leader, American Presidents are normally supplied with talking points prepared by staffers at the National Security Council, which is housed in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House. Because conversations between heads of state can range widely, such materials are usually very detailed. But Trump, as a senior Administration official recently put it, is “not a voracious reader.” 

The National Security Council has a comparatively lean budget—approximately twelve million dollars—and so its staff consists largely of career professionals on loan from the State Department, the Pentagon, and other agencies. When Trump assumed office, N.S.C. staffers initially generated memos for him that resembled those produced for his predecessors: multi-page explications of policy and strategy. But “an edict came down,” a former staffer told me: “ ‘Thin it out.’ ” The staff dutifully trimmed the memos to a single page. “But then word comes back: ‘This is still too much.’ ” A senior Trump aide explained to the staffers that the President is “a visual person,” and asked them to express points “pictorially.” 

“By the time I left, we had these cards,” the former staffer said. They are long and narrow, made of heavy stock, and emblazoned with the words “the white house” at the top. Trump receives a thick briefing book every night, but nobody harbors the illusion that he reads it. Current and former officials told me that filling out a card is the best way to raise an issue with him in writing. Everything that needs to be conveyed to the President must be boiled down, the former staffer said, to “two or three points, with the syntactical complexity of ‘See Jane run.’ ”

This. Guy. Is. Leading. Your. Country. 

It is not enough that Trump is an unqualified arrogant racist asshole, who is not so secretly working for the Kremlin.

He is also incredibly stupid on a level that makes George W. Bush look like a Mensa member in good standing.

Every word he speaks reveals his ignorance, while his tweets reveal his immaturity and pettiness.

To call Donald Trump the Toddler-in-Chief is now considered an insult to toddlers.

I know we are supposed to treat Trump voters like they are not the dumbest people on the planet, but that becomes near impossible with every revelation about the guy they chose over perhaps the most qualified person to ever make a run for the White House.

They had the same information that we had, and yet they could not see the obvious.

Perhaps if we had written it down for them on memo cards with the syntactical complexity of "See Jane run" it might have helped them to understand the obvious.

Or not, because let's face it some people are dumb to the bone.

Republican 2018 campaign ads to focus heavily on Hillary Clinton. I'm sorry, what?

And get this, they are STILL running against me.
Courtesy of the AP:

Almost 18 months have passed since Hillary Clinton lost the presidency. She holds no position of power in government. And she is not expected to run for office again. 

Yet Clinton is starring in the Republican Party’s 2018 midterm strategy. 

With control of Congress up for grabs this fall, the GOP’s most powerful players are preparing to spend big on plans to feature Clinton as a central villain in attack ads against vulnerable Democrats nationwide. The strategy, which already has popped up in races in Pennsylvania, Indiana and North Dakota, illustrates the resilience and political potency of Republican voters’ antipathy for Clinton. As difficult as it’s been for Democrats to move past the Clinton era, it may be even harder for Republicans. 

“STOP HILLARY. STOP PELOSI. STOP LAMB,” read pamphlets circulated during the special election in Pennsylvania earlier this year. 

That’s just a taste of what’s to come as the November elections grow closer, say those who control the GOP’s strategy in the first midterm elections of Donald Trump’s presidency. 

“I promise you that you’ll continue to see it — Hillary Clinton starring in our paid media. She’s a very powerful motivator,” said Corry Bliss, who leads the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super political action committee ready to spend tens of millions of dollars to shape House races this fall. “It’s about what she represents. What she represents, just like what Nancy Pelosi represents, is out-of-touch far-left liberal positions.”

Don't you just love the smell of desperation in the morning?

I mean come on!

The GOP are still leaning on the vilification of Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi to drive their voters to the polls?

And keep in mind that the reason is not because they are incompetent or a danger to the country, the reason is because they were TOO DAMN GOOD AT THEIR JOBS!

That is what terrifies conservative voters, competent Democratic leadership. 

And to prevent that they were even willing to send a twice divorced, habitually lying, reality show TV clown to the White House.

Well my advice to these desperate morons is to go for it.

You campaign against liberal competence, because I am sure you can guess what WE will be campaigning against.

That's right. Now let's see whose voters are more motivated to show up at the polls.

My favorite caption for this photo.

I saw this picture posted repeatedly on the internet after the funeral of Barbara Bush, but this caption was the one that made be LOL.

Mostly because we know it's true. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

There has been an uptick in Donald Trump's use of his personal cell phone because he does not want his Chief of Staff to know who he is calling. Oh that's not good.

Courtesy of CNN: 

President Donald Trump is increasingly relying on his personal cell phone to contact outside advisers, multiple sources inside and outside the White House told CNN, as Trump returns to the free-wheeling mode of operation that characterized the earliest days of his administration. 

"He uses it a lot more often more recently," a senior White House official said of the President's cell phone. 

Sources cited Trump's stepped-up cell phone use as an example of chief of staff John Kelly's waning influence over who gets access to the President. During the early days of Kelly's tenure, multiple sources said, Trump made many of his calls from the White House switchboard -- a tactic that allowed the chief of staff to receive a printed list of who Trump had phoned. Kelly has less insight into who Trump calls on his personal cell phone. 

While Trump never entirely gave up his personal cell phone once Kelly came aboard, one source close to the White House speculated that the President is ramping up the use of his personal device recently in part because "he doesn't want Kelly to know who he's talking to." 

The senior White House official said Trump "is talking to all sorts of people on it," noting Trump's barrage of private calls is a "recent development."

Though it gags me to say it out loud, this man is the president of the United States, and yet he conducts himself like a teenage girl sneaking phone calls to the boy from the wrong side of the tracks that her parents don't want her to see anymore.

Which really makes you wonder exactly WHO is Trump calling that he wants to keep off the official record and secret from his own chief of staff?

And does he look like this guy?

 Because I really that bet he does.

Reporter who has covered Donald Trump for thirty years says the evidence strongly suggests that he is a traitor.

This is from an interview with Pulitzer winner David Cay Johnston posted over at Raw Story:

Let me be very clear and quotable about this. At an absolute minimum, Donald Trump has divided loyalties, and the evidence we already have suggests that Donald Trump is a traitor. In fact, I would say that the evidence we already have, the public materials such as emails for example, strongly indicate that Donald Trump is a traitor. However, I don’t even think he understands what he’s done.

I have said this before but I think at this point the evidence to support that allegation is incontrovertible.

If it walks like a traitor and talks like a traitor, it's Donald Trump.

Johnston also had a few more observations to share.

About his feelings about Christians:

I think it is very important for religious Americans to know that Donald Trump says that his personal philosophy of life is revenge. He has called anyone who turns the other cheek — which is a fundamental teaching of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount — a fool, an idiot or a schmuck. Trump is a man who says things that are absolutely contrary to the teachings of the New Testament. He also denigrates Christians. Yet you see all of these ministers endorsing him. 

I’ve followed Donald for 30 years, I don’t see any evidence that he has changed and he certainly hasn’t repented, which is a fundamental Christian obligation. 

He is a racist through and through. He has been found in formal judicial proceedings to discriminate against nonwhites in rentals and employment. 

It’s important to understand that Trump is aggressively anti-Christian despite claiming to be one. He is bluntly a racist. Most importantly, he is literally ignorant about almost everything.

On Trump's removal from office: 

There is no good ending to the story. America will survive this, we’ll get past it, but whenever Trump leaves, there’s no good ending. If Trump is removed by impeachment or by the voters, whether in a Republican primary or a general election, I know what he will do. He’s already told us what he will do by his actions. Trump will spend the rest of his days fomenting violence and revolution in this country. 

He’ll be careful not to directly say “revolution,” but he will call the government illegitimate. He might even call it criminal, since he called Democrats who didn’t stand up during his State of the Union speech treasonous. If they’re going to impeach Trump, I believe they have to have a plan to indict, try, convict and imprison him. But Trump will be a role model for some people and there may well be violence over it.

Well, there's something to look forward to.

Keep in mind that David Cay Johnston has covered Trump for decades, and probably knows him better than just about any other journalist.

That cannot help but add weight to his predictions.

Waffle House killer was a sovereign citizen who wanted to meet Donald Trump. Update!

Courtesy of USA Today:

The suspected gunman on the run after riddling a Tennessee Waffle House with bullets dubbed himself a "sovereign citizen," before being arrested in July 2017 outside the White House. 

Travis Reinking, 29, used that term — which the FBI has also used to describe a group of anti-government extremists — during a clash last year with the Secret Service, according to a police report obtained by USA TODAY. 

Reinking told agents he needed to see President Trump and defined himself as sovereign citizen who had a right to inspect the grounds, according to an arrest report by the Metropolitan Police Department in D.C. He was arrested on an unlawful entry charge after refusing to leave the area. 

The FBI has said sovereign citizens "believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or 'sovereign' from the United States." 

The agency has also defined sovereign citizens as "anti-government extremists who claim the federal government is operating outside its jurisdiction and they are therefore not bound by government authority—including the courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, and even law enforcement."

You may remember that Alaska's own domestic terrorist, Schaeffer Cox, also identifies himself as a sovereign citizen.

So you know, they're crazy.

After that incident at the White House the Secret Service actually took Renking's guns away and gave them to his father. A solution that had only one problem.

Courtesy of Newsweek:

Police said the father of suspected Waffle House shooter Travis Reinking handed his son back an AR-15 found at the scene, after it had been seized by authorities in relation to another incident.

That's right, daddy gave his guns back.

After all this is America, right?

There is at least one hero here and that is the young man who actually disarmed this killer bare handed.
Courtesy of HuffPo: 

James Shaw Jr. said he was dining at the restaurant near Nashville with a friend when suspected gunman Travis Reinking, armed with an AR-15, opened fire at people outside and then inside the establishment just before 3:30 a.m. 

Shaw said he jumped behind a nearby door and suffered a minor gunshot wound to his arm in the process. As he waited to see if he would live or die, Reinking’s gun appeared to jam, giving him a chance to charge.

“It was about that time that I made up my mind ― because there was no way to lock that door ― that if it was going to come down to it, he was going to have to work to kill me,” Shaw said at a press conference. “I rushed him and it actually worked out to my favor.” 

Shaw tackled Reinking and grabbed the gun’s barrel with his bare hand, an act that badly burned him in the process. 

Shaw said he didn’t feel the metal’s scorching heat on his skin. Instead, he continued to grip the firearm before tossing it over a counter. He then proceeded to physically remove Reinking out of the restaurant. Reinking disappeared on foot and remained at large as of late Sunday afternoon. 

Thanks to Mr. Shaw's courage there were not more people killed of wounded in this attack.

However it should be noted that if there had been stricter gun laws, or if  Reinking's dad was not such a fucking idiot, Shaw's life would not have been put at risk in the first place.

Getting a gun, especially an AR-15, should not be as easy as buying a pack of gum.

There should be an extensive background check, a waiting period, and then a viable reason given for why you think you need a gun in the first place.

And if the answer given is I hear voices in my head, my bitch of a wife is getting a little mouthy at home, or I am a sovereign citizen and I want to defend myself in case the government comes to take me away, then the answer should be a resounding "NO!"

Update: They finally caught this asshole.
Courtesy of the New York Times:  

The police said Monday that they had arrested a suspect in the killing of four people at a Waffle House in Nashville, ending a wide search that had unnerved one of the largest cities in the South.

About 160 law enforcement officials had been involved in the search for the suspect, Travis Reinking, 29, who officials said used an AR-15 rifle to carry out a rampage at a restaurant southeast of downtown on Sunday morning. 

The police said they arrested Mr. Reinking on Monday afternoon in a wooded area near the apartment complex where he lived, bringing an end to a manhunt that had stretched into its second day.

Well at least that's some good news. 

Country singer suggests that if she were not Canadian she would have voted for Donald Trump. That does not go over well.

Courtesy of The Guardian: 

If she had been able to vote in the US election, she would have plumped for Donald Trump, she says. “I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

This comes from a rather long article all about Shania Twain's career, throat operation, the end of her marriage, etc.

However it was that statement up above that caught the attention of the internet.

And then all hell broke loose.

By the end of the day Twain was walking that remark back as quickly as she could.
I am not going to pile on with everybody else, mostly because Shania Twain was one of the few country artists who did not make me want to shove red hot pokers into my eardrums.

Having said that I just want to add that after reading her  ridiculous statement my response is "That Don't Impress me Much."

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

The takeaway from this is that Donald Trump is without a doubt the most divisive person in the country, and ANYBODY, including once huge stars who made country music palatable, who suggests that they either did or would have supported him should be aware that people will react in a very emotional manner. 

The Washington Post finds that since the Columbine shooting in 1999 there have been 208,000 children exposed to gun violence in 212 schools.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

The Washington Post has spent the past year determining how many children have been exposed to gun violence during school hours since the Columbine High massacre in 1999. 

Beyond the dead and wounded, children who witness the violence or cower behind locked doors to hide from it can be profoundly traumatized. 

The federal government does not track school shootings, so The Post pieced together its numbers from news articles, open-source databases, law enforcement reports and calls to schools and police departments.

Since March, The Post has taken a closer look at states with fewer local news sources and searched more deeply for less visible public suicides and accidents that led to injury. 

The count now stands at more than 208,000 children at 212 schools. 

The Post has found that at least 131 children, educators and other people have been killed in assaults, and another 272 have been injured.

In 2018 alone, there have already been 13 shootings — the highest number at this point during any year since 1999.

The Post goes on to make the point that school shootings remain rare, and only a small percentage of school students are affected by them.

But I would counter with the fact that in most developed countries the number of school shootings are close to zero.

Which does not seem to make ours all that rare. At least not in America.

Instead I would argue that they are becoming less rare every year.

Ohio mom with conceal carry permit accidentally shoots and kills her two year old daughter.

Courtesy of Cleveland.com:

A 2-year-old girl was accidentally shot and killed by her mother at a hotel Friday night, police say. 

The shooting happened just before 11 p.m. at a hotel on Euclid Avenue, according to a post on the Wickliffe Police Department's Facebook page. 

Police received a call about a child that suffered a gunshot wound. 

The first officer who made it to the scene performed CPR on the child and paramedics took over once they arrived. The girl was pronounced dead at Lake Health West Medical Center, police said. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the mother was handling the gun when it went off and a bullet struck the girl in the chest. 

The mother was in legal possession of the gun and has a concealed carry permit, police said.

It has not yet been determined whether or not the mom will face criminal charges. 

This literally makes me so sad that I cannot come up with anything snarky to say.

But let's just remind people that having a gun in your house, or on your person, increases the likelihood that a loved one will be shot and killed 100%.

No gun = no accidental shootings.

Gun introduced = dead two year old.

Trump brand Christianity.

I swear if these guidelines get any looser I might have to consider going back to church wearing my Black Sabbath t-shit and my Satanic Birkenstocks.

Just kidding, I'm never going back and they can't make me.