Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jimmy Kimmel goes on a one man crusade against the Graham-Cassidy Trumpcare bill.

Courtesy of Yahoo News:

Jimmy Kimmel slammed Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana on his show Tuesday night for proposing new health care legislation that Kimmel said fails the "Jimmy Kimmel test" that Cassidy himself had proposed in an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" in May. 

Cassidy appeared on the program earlier this year after Kimmel made an emotional plea for health care legislation that would insure affordable health coverage for all, including people with pre-existing conditions and with no lifetime caps, in the wake of Kimmel's newborn son needing life-saving heart surgery. 

But Kimmel said Wednesday night the new legislation Cassidy and co-sponsor Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have proposed in the Senate did not meet those requirements. 

"Not only did Bill Cassidy fail the Jimmy Kimmel test, he failed the Bill Cassidy test," Kimmel said. "He failed his own test."

Jimmy Kimmel reaches over two million viewers each night, so his advocacy to protect Obamacare should not be taken lightly.

The conservatives like to mock celebrities getting involved with politics, but they do that because they know it is effective.

Right now Jimmy Kimmel is risking his career to protect our access to health care, let's not let him fight that all by himself.

By the way Bill Cassidy responded to Jimmy Kimmel's allegations this morning.
Yeah, that guy should never play poker, because the fact that he is lying is written all over his face. 

Robert Mueller investigation now shifts focus to Donald Trump.

Courtesy of the New York Times:

Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, has asked the White House for documents about some of President Trump’s most scrutinized actions since taking office, including the firing of his national security adviser and F.B.I. director, according to White House officials. 

Mr. Mueller is also interested in an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump had with Russian officials in which he said the dismissal of the F.B.I. director had relieved “great pressure” on him.

The document requests provide the most details to date about the breadth of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, and show that several aspects of his inquiry are focused squarely on Mr. Trump’s behavior in the White House. 

In recent weeks, Mr. Mueller’s office sent a document to the White House that detailed 13 different areas that investigators want more information about. Since then, administration lawyers have been scouring White House emails and asking officials whether they have other documents or notes that may pertain to Mr. Mueller’s requests.

Among the 13 areas for which Mueller is seeking documents are those pertaining to that meeting Trump had with the Russian officials the day after he fired James Comey.

Another deals with the circumstances surrounding the firing of Michael Flynn, and still another concerns that Trump Tower meeting that Junior had with the Russian attorney.

Mueller's team also recently questioned Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concerning the firing of James Comey.

You may remember how oddly important it was for Donald Trump to publicly state that James Comey informed him three different times that he personally was not under FBI investigation.

Well Donnie, you personally are most definitely now under investigation.

Donald Trump's first UN speech had some diplomats squirming in their seats while others did not even bother to show up in the first place.

Courtesy of The Independent:  

Donald Trump’s provocative address to the UN General Assembly had ambassadors squirming in their seats as the US President refused to hold back on attacking America’s enemies. 

Mr Trump went on a rambling crusade against a number of states, including North Korea, Iran and Venezuela - prompting awkward responses from delegates. 

Some representatives even refused to listen to the speech; North Korea’s UN ambassador walked out before Mr Trump arrived, leaving a more junior diplomat to represent the country.

Now it may not bother too many people that Trump ranted against North Korea and Iran, but they were not the only countries that Trump made uneasy.

Courtesy of McClatchy: 

The list of state leaders missing the international event is long and growing. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are two of the highest profile absences. But there are many whose faces were noticeably absent during Trump’s aggressive speech Tuesday on confronting North Korea, terrorism and communism, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro and Mexico’s Enrique Peña Nieto. 

Diplomats say they’ve learned it can be risky to share the spotlight with Trump, who can turn even the most well-intentioned exchange into an international spectacle, such as his notorious call with the Australian prime minister about refugees or the dressing down of NATO leaders at the unveiling of a new headquarters.

These world leaders and diplomats are clearly afraid of getting too close to the Donald and getting a little crazy on them.

CNN actually offers photographic evidence of the reactions of the diplomats in the room during Trump's speech.

South Korea
Well of course Netanyahu liked it, he is almost as unhinged as Trump.

At one point in his speech Trump said that "America stands for every person living under a brutal regime."

Talk about projection.

Trump campaign using reelection money and RNC funds to pay legal fees resulting from Russia probes.

Courtesy of CNBC:

U.S. President Donald Trump is using money donated to his re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay for his lawyers in the probe of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. 

Following Reuters exclusive report on Tuesday, CNN reported that the Republican National Committee paid in August more than $230,000 to cover some of Trump's legal fees related to the probe. 

RNC spokesperson Cassie Smedile confirmed to Reuters that Trump's lead lawyer, John Dowd, received $100,000 from the RNC and that the RNC also paid $131,250 to the Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, the law firm where Jay Sekulow, another of Trump's lawyers, is a partner.

It should be noted that they are still soliciting donations on the Trump reelection website.

That means that the party of Ronald "Tear down this wall" Reagan is donating money to help the campaign of the current president fight charges that they may have colluded with the Russians to steal this last election.

Just let that sink in for a moment.

However according to Law Newz there is nothing necessarily illegal about this:  

“I have a hard time envisioning the FEC having a problem with this,” Paul S. Ryan told Law Newz in a phone interview. He’s the Vice President of Policy & Litigation at Common Cause, a watchdog group. He said these expenditures are probably legal, especially after the passage of the “Cromnibus” bill in December 2014, which relaxed campaign finance rules. In short, yes, politicians can use campaign funds to pay for legal frees arising from an election. 

One major restriction is that such money cannot be used for personal bills. Ryan referenced the legal battle surrounding Ex-Sen. Larry Craig, who used campaign funds to defend himself after his arrest for an incident at an airport report. The courts ruled that he illegally used that money for personal use. But since the Russia probe arises from allegations linked to the election, Ryan said the Trump team has a strong argument to show that this is a campaign-related matter.

Keeping that last part in mind there is also this bit of news courtesy of Raw Story:

After revelations that President Donald Trump is using funds from his campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay for his legal defense, news broke that the RNC also paid almost $200,000 to lawyers representing Donald Trump, Jr. 

According to the Wall Street Journal‘s Rebecca Ballhaus, the RNC paid $166,000 to Trump Jr.’s personal lawyer Alan Futerfas, and paid another $30,000 to Washington, D.C.-based firm Williams & Jensen. Both payments took place in the month of August. 

Futerfas, Ballhaus pointed out, received a $50,000 payout a few weeks before Trump Jr.’s infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian operatives last June. 

In total, the RNC and the Trump campaign combined have shelled out at least $500,000 to defend the president and Trump Jr.

I would assume that since the Trump Tower meeting happened during the election, that they are still on relatively firm legal ground. Relatively firm.

However since this is supposedly a billionaire family, one might wonder why they do not pay their own fucking legal bills and leave the money donated to the RNC by hardworking Americans where it belongs?

Oh, and remember that promise to donate the left over inaugural funds to charity

Yeah, I'm going to assume that the money is now lining the pockets of Trump's legal team.

The push to repeal Obamacare intensifies.

Courtesy of Think Progress: 

Senate Republicans are on the cusp of passing a bill that will eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars worth of health funding, destabilize insurance markets, and eventually phase out Medicaid in its entirety. Less than two months after three Republican senators stopped an earlier effort to strip away much of America’s health care safety net, millions of Americans’ health care is now in very serious peril. 

The new Trumpcare legislation — often referred to as “Graham-Cassidy” after Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), its leading proponents — contains several provisions undercutting the Affordable Care Act. It eliminates subsidies helping many millions of Americans purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges and Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, replacing this funding with a less generous block grant to states.

Then, this block grant abruptly disappears in 2027, leaving many millions of Americans with nothing.

The Trump Administration is pushing hard to get this one passed.

Courtesy of Axios 

Vice President Mike Pence is throwing the Trump administration’s weight behind the latest Affordable Care Act repeal bill — and against a bipartisan effort to stabilize the marketplaces. In an interview on Air Force Two, Pence told me he’ll call on all Senate Republicans to support the bill by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy at a lunch meeting this afternoon, saying, "this is the moment. Now is the time.” 

The bottom line: It’s likely coming down to the votes of Sens. John McCain and Lisa Murkowski, two of the Republican holdouts (the others are Susan Collins and Rand Paul). Graham, who was on the flight with Pence, told me McCain will speak for himself — but added with a knowing smile that he feels good about McCain’s vote.

I have already made my phone call to Lisa Murkowski and I encourage others to contact their Senators as well.

It might provide some solace to know that there are heroes out there fighting the good fight.

Courtesy of The Hill: 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says Democrats are willing to jam up the Senate to stop the GOP's latest ObamaCare repeal bill. 

“We’re going to look at every possible way to slow this bill down," Schumer said during a Monday press conference. 

Mostly powerless to set the legislative agenda in the minority, Democrats have some delaying tactics at their disposal.

These Democrats deserve words of encouragement as well, so if you have a Democrat for a Senator they might also enjoy hearing from you.

Ultimately I hope that we are working our way toward single payer, but until then we need to fight tooth and nail to hang on to Obamacare for as long as we can.

“In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne. In July of 2017, I was raped again by Fox News."

Courtesy of the New York Times:

Fox News, which for more than a year has dealt with the fallout from an embarrassing sexual harassment scandal, was sued on Monday by the political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes, who claimed that she had been raped by the longtime anchor Charles Payne and was then retaliated against by the network after she came forward with her allegation. 

Mr. Payne, the host of “Making Money” on Fox Business, returned to the air this month after the network suspended him in July pending an investigation into his conduct. Upon his return, the network said that it had completed the investigation, which began after Ms. Hughes took her allegations to the network in late June. 

Mr. Payne’s lawyer, Jonathan N. Halpern, said in a statement on Monday that his client ”vehemently denies any wrongdoing and will defend himself vigorously against this baseless complaint.” 

“We are confident that when the evidence is presented in this case,” he continued, “Mr. Payne will be fully vindicated and these outrageous accusations against him will be confirmed as completely false.” 

In her lawsuit, Ms. Hughes said that Mr. Payne had “pressured” his way into her hotel room in July 2013 and coerced her to have sexual intercourse with him, even though she had refused his advances by telling him “no” and “stop.”

Hughes claims that she felt pressured to continue a sexual relationship with Payne for two years during which he promised that he would secure for her a  contract with Fox, but that never happened.

Instead Hughes claims she ended the relationship and reported Payne to the Fox News brass, after which she says they blacklisted her.

“In July of 2013, I was raped by Charles Payne,” Ms. Hughes said in an interview, referring to the allegations in her lawsuit. “In July of 2017, I was raped again by Fox News. Since then, I have been living an absolute hell.”

I have a problem with this in that while I am completely aware that Fox News has an atmosphere which seems to promote and cover for sexual harassment, this went on for two years and it appears that this Hughes woman only reported it to HR after Payne did not deliver on the career opportunities that he promised.

It does not really seem to help her case in that she seems to have willingly continued the relationship and only put the brakes on when he failed to deliver on his side of the bargain.

So now there's a gay Bible, where Rihanna is the Lord. Seems right.

Courtesy of Pride:  

Just weeks after becoming the Mayor of Hell, Michigan and banning all heterosexuals from entering the town, comedian Elijah Daniel has now rewritten the holy bible for the gays. 

The EDV (Elijah Daniel Version) translation has a few updates from previous editions; Rihanna is God, she made Adam and Steve, not Adam and Eve, and instead of wine, Jesus turns water into mimosas.

Well mimosas have vitamin C, so clearly that is a better choice.
I'm just confused as to when Rihanna became the gay icon.

I knew that Lady Gaga had replaced Madonna and Cher awhile back, but I am totally out of the loop concerning Rihanna's rise as a deity. 

But anything that irritates the snot out of the Fundamentalists works for me.

And clearly this does that.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Actor Morgan Freeman challenges Donald Trump to come out and admit that we are under attack by Russia.

Morgan Freeman has played Colonels, Generals, the Director of Intelligence, Presidents, and even God, so I definitely trust his opinion above that of a guy who just played himself a bunch of times in movies and TV.

And of course he is right.

We WERE indeed attacked in 2016, and since that attack actually caused more damage to the fabric of our Democracy than any conventional explosive device or military attack, then yes it is safe to say that it was an act of war.

However we all know that Donald Trump will NEVER declare that to be true, because he does not serve our interests.

He serves the interests of another.

And we need to remind the American people of that every single chance that we get, until even they can no longer deny the truth of it.

P.S. On an interesting side note I found this video over on YouTube, and when I visited it only had two comments, both from men with Russian sounding names, one declaring that Freeman was hired by the "deep state" and the other saying that he was "officially insane."

You cannot make this stuff up folks.

Donald Trump wants a huge military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue to show up the French.

Courtesy of WaPo: 

Who doesn’t love a parade? To a city that already offers many, President Donald Trump wants to add one that showcases U.S. military might. 

It would take place on July 4 in Washington with, as Trump envisions it, tanks and planes rolling down and streaking above Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Trump talked up the idea Monday as he sat down for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, who hosted the president and first lady Melania Trump for France’s military parade in the center of Paris on Bastille Day in July. Trump said the two-hour procession was a “tremendous thing for France and for the spirit of France” and suggested he wants the same for Americans. 

In typical Trump fashion, the president said he wants the parade to be bigger and better than the one he saw in France. 

“It was one of the greatest parades I have ever seen,” Trump said. “It was two hours on the button, and was military might, and I think a tremendous thing for France and the spirit of France.” 

“And to a large extent, because of what I witnessed, we may do something like that on July 4th in Washington, down Pennsylvania Avenue,” Trump said. “We’re going to have to try and top it.”

You may remember that Trump actually wanted a military style parade for his inauguration: 

“They were legit thinking Red Square/North Korea-style parade,” the source said, referring to massive military parades in Moscow and Pyongyang, typically seen as an aggressive display of muscle-flexing.

That plan was discouraged because Pennsylvania Avenue is not built to support tanks and huge military vehicles. I somehow doubt that the street has been reinforced since that date.

At this point I don't even think that Donald Trump has a tiny penis.

I think he has an inny where his manhood is supposed to be. 

By the way this was Chief of Staff John Kelly's reaction as Trump addressed the UN for the very first time today. 

Yeah, I don't think Kelly is going to be able to hang in there much longer.

Donald Trump Jr. dismisses his Secret Service detail, wants more privacy.

Courtesy of the New York Times:

Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has elected to forgo protection by the Secret Service, according to a senior administration official, and another top White House official is losing hers. 

The agency ceased protecting Mr. Trump, who lives in New York City and is an executive at the Trump Organization, last week. Mr. Trump, an avid camper and hunter, was said to be seeking more privacy than he can expect with a contingent of agents accompanying him everywhere. 

It was not immediately clear whether the decision applied to his family; he and his wife, Vanessa, have five children. Mr. Trump could not be reached, and the White House did not return a message seeking comment. 

Now we know that Junior is not going to walk around with no security because he is a high value target for kidnappers, and there are a whole lot of people who hate his daddy.

Which means that he is switching to his father's private security team. 

Folks directly paid by his father to help keep the family secrets.

It is almost like the Trump family has decided to no longer even pretend that they are not guilty anymore.

Also contained in this article, but apparently unrelated (Or is it?), is this tidbit.

Additionally, Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Trump, will no longer be covered by agents, according to an administration official briefed on the matter.

Well I am not going to go all Alex Jones with a conspiracy theory here, and I am pleased that our tax dollars will no longer go to protect his harpy, but isn't this all just a little TOO coincidental?

I'm just saying.

US officials wiretapped Paul Manafort way back in2014, and that continued during the campaign and may have included conversation he had with Trump. Update!

Courtesy of CNN:

US investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election, sources tell CNN, an extraordinary step involving a high-ranking campaign official now at the center of the Russia meddling probe. 

The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump. 

Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation. Two of these sources, however, cautioned that the evidence is not conclusive.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team, which is leading the investigation into Russia's involvement in the election, has been provided details of these communications. 

A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014. It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine's former ruling party, the sources told CNN.

The surveillance was discontinued at one point and the restarted as the FBI launched its investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

The fact that this surveillance has been going on for so long, and that Mueller has access to every recording should make it almost impossible for Trump to sleep at night.

And apparently that might be part of Mueller's strategy.

Courtesy of the New York Times:  

7The moves against Mr. Manafort are just a glimpse of the aggressive tactics used by Mr. Mueller and his team of prosecutors in the four months since taking over the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s election, according to lawyers, witnesses and American officials who have described the approach. Dispensing with the plodding pace typical of many white-collar investigations, Mr. Mueller’s team has used what some describe as shock-and-awe tactics to intimidate witnesses and potential targets of the inquiry. 

Mr. Mueller has obtained a flurry of subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify before a grand jury, lawyers and witnesses say, sometimes before his prosecutors have taken the customary first step of interviewing them. One witness was called before the grand jury less than a month after his name surfaced in news accounts. The special counsel even took the unusual step of obtaining a subpoena for one of Mr. Manafort’s former lawyers, claiming an exception to the rule that shields attorney-client discussions from scrutiny. 

“They are setting a tone. It’s important early on to strike terror in the hearts of people in Washington, or else you will be rolled,” said Solomon L. Wisenberg, who was deputy independent counsel in the investigation that led to the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999. “You want people saying to themselves, ‘Man, I had better tell these guys the truth.’”

Keep in mind that Mueller could not get these warrants or have the leeway to use these tactics, if he was not in possession of evidence that convinces judges to hand out these subpoenas like Halloween candy to his team.

Clearly Mueller is preparing to drop the hammer.

Update: Hammer is about to drop:  

The developments indicate that Mueller's investigation "is nearing the litigation stage," said Brookings Institution fellows and legal experts Benjamin Wittes and Susan Hennessey. 

"Combined with a flurry of stories about subpoenas, grand-jury appearances and other activity, it's reasonable to expect that Mueller is moving forward on a number of different fronts and is getting close to entering a litigation phase," wrote Wittes and Hennessey, a former attorney for the National Security Agency.

That sound you hear is the tightening of the noose. 

California Governor Jerry Brown compares Trump supporters to "troglodytes" as both "dwell in deep dark caves."

Courtesy of Politico:  

California Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday called President Donald Trump’s approach to climate change and North Korea “stupid and dangerous and silly,” sharpening his criticism of the president and comparing his supporters to cave dwellers. 

“They’re both kind of very similar,” Brown said at a climate change event in New York. “You should check out the derivation of ‘Trump-ite’ and ‘troglodyte,’ because they both refer to people who dwell in deep, dark caves.”

“President Trump is the null hypothesis, which he’s proven,” Brown said. “Everything he’s doing is … stupid and dangerous and silly. I mean, come on, really, calling the North Korean dictator ‘Rocket Man'? … He is accelerating the reversal through his own absurdity.”

While acknowledging he was making “lemonade out of a lemon,” Brown predicted Trump will “fail very soon” in the face of economic and other international forces. 

“These other powers are going to gang up on Mr. Trump, and he’s going to find out, ‘You’re fired,’” Brown said.

I'm really hoping that Governor Brown is correct with that last assessment. 

In my opinion Jerry Brown is essentially the anti-Trump in that he believes in the power of government, sees public service as an important responsibility, and makes decisions for the benefit of his constituents and not himself. 

I have been a fan of Jerry Brown since back in the days when he was dating Linda Ronstadt. 

Brown took what was essentially a smoking corpse of a state, and turned it around almost completely after Arnold Schwarzenegger spent two terms trying to terminate it.

If Jerry Brown were not already 79 years of age I would seriously consider him as the perfect presidential candidate for the Democratic party in 2020.

However there may be another option as California's Lt. Governor, Gavin Newsom, is only 49 years old and is just as forward thinking and progressive as his boss.

Newsom has run a business, been mayor of San Fransisco, is a promoter of public schools, and was an early advocate for same sex marriage.

I know it's early, but I think it's time to start thinking of strong Democratic candidates, and Newsom clicks all the right boxes.

Nazi armband wearing racist harasses black man in Seattle, gets tracked down knocked out.

Courtesy of Buzzfeed:

On Sunday afternoon, a Twitter account called @bigotbasher posted a photo of a man apparently riding Seattle's D line while wearing a swastika armband. 

The user wrote that the photo was submitted to them by a third party. @bigotbasher wrote in their tweet that the man in the armband was harassing a black man on the bus. BuzzFeed News has reached out to the person behind the @bigotbasher account for comment.

The picture was picked up by a few anti-fascist–affiliated Twitter accounts that quickly got to work trying to identify the man.

That all led to this post:

 Somebody took @teethinclaws up on his suggestion, and this was the result. (Warning: video contains brief violence and language.)

The gentleman who punched the neo-Nazi out has not been identified, but apparently he is NOT a member of AntiFa.

I am have a couple of opinions about all of this.

First I don't think that anybody should feel that it is okay to walk around adorned in Nazi paraphernalia. And to verbally harass a minority while wearing said paraphernalia is just looking for trouble.

And secondly I can tell you that if I were 30 years younger I would undoubtedly be applauding these actions and wanting to knock a few Nazi assholes out myself.

However I am NOT in my twenties and I know that as much as this asshole was asking for trouble he was not using physical aggression so did not deserve to be met with physical aggression.

Verbal interactions, however heated, are still only verbal interactions.

When you introduce physical violence, now matter how justified you may feel, you are now in the wrong.

Not only that but this will certainly be used by other Nazis and White Supremacists as a recruiting tool and to prove that the white man is under assault, which will then justify in their minds any violence that they may resort to in future confrontations.

If people are not more careful this all may actually lead to an honest to goodness race war, and I don't see how that benefits anybody. 

Host on conservative cable network suggests that Donald Trump should use DACA info to target parents of the Dreamers.

Courtesy of Media Matters:  

GRAHAM LEDGER (HOST): Well, here's the way that I look at this [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] issue, the 800,000 that, quote, "came forward out of the shadows and signed up for the program." I think we ought to take that list and use it as a road map to go after their parents. Not these DACA recipients, but the parents because, as the president just said, and the Democrats have been saying ad nauseam through no fault of their own, so whose fault is it? Well, it's the parent's fault. So we should be able to use this database as a way to go after the parents and deport the parents. At least we should start there, don't you think? Kind of makes sense. 

You may remember this One American News Network as the wannabe Fox News station that gave Sarah Palin a short term gig as host.

It has grown since then and is now competing with Fox to be the go to waiting room conservative propaganda network.

Fucking heartless is what they are.