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Texas senator's big 'gotcha' moment in DOJ confirmation hearing made him a laughingstock

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President Joe Biden’s nominee for U.S. assistant attorney general began going through the very partisan vetting process of a Senate committee hearing Wednesday. Kristen Clarke will become the first woman of color to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in its 46-year existence. It’s an important position, highlighted by the recent national reporting on the continuing epidemic of Black citizen deaths at the hands of our country’s law enforcement apparatus. The NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) has lauded the nomination, saying that “Ms. Clarke is precisely the person to restore the original spirit of the Civil Rights Division. She has dedicated her entire career to the enforcement and expansion of civil rights. Her extensive record of civil rights advocacy and enforcement, as well as her deep commitment to justice and professional integrity, makes us confident in her ability to excel as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.”

The right wing of the country, having very little to offer but fear when it comes to race and civil rights discourse, has decided that the best way to attack Kristen Clarke’s nomination is to create the impression that she “hates white people.” It’s the old reverse racism argument used by racists, while they stare into the mirror with horror and fear of retribution for their sins. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, famous for voting against all of the things he tells the electorate he secretly didn’t want to vote for, seems to have been under the impression that he had a real gotcha question and piece of evidence to unveil during the committee hearing. He didn’t. And he looked as pathetic as you might expect.

Sen. Cornyn began by passive aggressively saying, “Well maybe there’s a misprint, but I’m sure you can clear it up for me,” before bringing out evidence that when she was a young student at Harvard, she “argued that African Americans were genetically superior to ah [sic] Caucasians. is that correct?” (I left in the “ah,” because John Cornyn put it in there.) Without knowing what John Cornyn is talking about I can very confidently say that no, that is not correct. But let’s watch Ms. Clarke try not to laugh out loud while giving a serious answer to a clown of a senator.

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How people don’t just say “What the f!@#$ are you talking about?” all day long to people like Sen. John Cornyn is beyond me. You can read the article in question, written as a letter to The Harvard Crimson editors. Even if you are a slow reader, the “letter” takes only a couple of minutes to read. Sen. Cornyn and his staff are either too lazy (catastrophically incompetent in their laziness in this case) or they have decided to pretend it isn’t very clearly a baroquely pseudoscientific attack on the unbelievably pseudoscientific dreck written in Murray’s The Bell Curve. In fact, after reading the scientific bullet points laying out why Black people are superior to everyone according to the shiftless criteria of The Bell Curve, Clarke wrote this in her op-ed’s summation.

Attacks on Black people such as those in The Bell Curve are not unique. Black children face this abuse daily through television shows, jokes aired on the radio, textbooks with truncated history, etc. Liberal whites underestimate the damage which racism causes on the minds of Black children, and conservative whites know all too well how to enlarge that damage. No matter how rich or supportive a Black person’s home might be, by the time she is ready to take the SAT or apply to college, she has struggled far more extensively than any white person of the same social and economic background.

In the video it is clear that the hot air really evaporated from Cornyn’s sails. But later on Sen. Cornyn, forever disappointing the Founding Fathers who probably hoped for at least a particle of intelligence from elected leadership, defended his dead-end questioning on social media.

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What-about? The problem with Brett Kavanaugh’s pre-professional career was that it is marked with credible accusations of multiple sexual assaults and inappropriate behavior, none of it considered “satire” by anyone, and never has anyone claimed Kavanaugh’s actions to be “satire.” This is not an apple-and-oranges comparison: It is an apples-and-alleged alcoholic sexual assaulter comparison.

They Are Just So Damn Tedious

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In case you hadn’t noticed — In addition to all their other failings, republicans are extremely tedious.  Where most people aspire to be the best and the brightest, republicans are focused on becoming the worst and the whitest.  It’s just so damn tiresome.

Its principals no longer include responsibility, decency, integrity or honesty.  The republican party is broken.  It can no longer function as a viable partner in governance.  They have completely ceded any pretense to the moral high ground.  That will be the ultimate cause of their downfall.  As a fundamentally corrupt organization, they cannot sustain themselves, except through subterfuge.

It looks like the republican party has stolen the clown car from the idiot circus and been busy filling their ranks with the occupants.  I am astounded by just how many soulless parselmouthed Qlowns they’ve welcomed.

I think we are all heartily sick of the constant pattern of another day, another republican outrage or scandal.  If it happened and it’s vile or villainous it must be republican is the saddest commentary we can make on the current state of the party.  There are a container ship load of parallels to draw.  Fortunately, we are making those comparisons, and we are not being quiet about it.

Moving forward, our enemies are our own complacency, coupled with corporate media incompetence.

We just have to stay alert, committed. and vocal.

Up the Resistance

(to republican depredations)

By the way, in case you forgot, this is still an ongoing thing.

And if that’s not enough to get you to smile, here’s another:

There’s some stuff in the news that might brighten your day.  Or fuel your resolve.

Damn You, Corporate Media

I think there’s something happening in Congress today.  What it is ain’t exactly clear.  And that’s because the media isn’t doing their actual job.  It’s a good thing the Columbia Journalism Review is around to hold their journalistic feet to the accountability fire.

Whenever some uninformed cretin tries to bothsider the January 6th Select Committee, just point them at this excellent CJR article to blow away any fig leaves they are using to cover for republican bad faith.

Columbia Journalism Review:  Jon Allsop:  The absurd coverage of the January 6 committee

In late May, over the Memorial Day weekend, the top story on NBC’s Meet the Press was a recent vote by Republican senators to kill the prospect of an independent, fully bipartisan commission to investigate the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6. (Six Republicans backed the commission, but their votes weren’t enough to overcome their colleagues’ filibuster.) At the top of the show, Chuck Todd, the host, correctly noted that it was Republicans who blocked the commission. Then, however, he called the vote “a stress test for our democracy” that “our democracy failed, and failed big time.” He said that top Republicans had plainly torpedoed the commission for reasons of electoral self-interest, then said that “this Congress” had voted it down. He interviewed Barbara Comstock, a former Republican Congresswoman who supported the commission, about the reasons for her party’s opposition, then asked Jason Crow, a Democratic Congressman, whether his party’s leadership in the House would voluntarily retain the commission’s proposed bipartisan structure in any replacement investigation it may constitute, in order to ensure its “credibility.” Todd also asked, “​​On this Memorial Day weekend, if Congress can’t even agree on an independent January 6 commission, what can it agree on?”

Todd’s framing reflected the variety of motifs found in other media coverage of the January 6 investigation, and of Washington politics more broadly: there was some moral and factual clarity, but it was muddied, both by impersonal language that obscured lines of accountability, and the twin implications that bipartisanship is desirable, and that Democrats bear responsibility for upholding it—even in the face of explicit Republican obstructionism. As the story has developed—with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi establishing a select committee to investigate January 6 in lieu of a commission—these motifs have persisted; last week, they crescendoed, as Pelosi blocked two Republican Congressmen—Jim Banks and Jim Jordan—from appointment to the panel, leading Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, to pull all five of his picks.

Banks had been overtly hostile to the prospect of the committee and Jordan may be a material witness to Donald Trump’s complicity in the insurrection; both men voted to reverse Trump’s defeat in key states, abetting the Big Lie that incited the insurrection in the first place. Pelosi’s decision not to seat them thus looked like a move to shore up the credibility of the committee’s investigation against inevitable bad-faith attacks from within. And yet a number of journalists and commentators reached very different conclusions. Rachael Bade, of Politico, said that Pelosi had given a “gift” to McCarthy: “He wanted this panel to look partisan and political. Now it’s definitely going to look partisan and political.” Politico’s DC Playbook team, of which Bade is a member, wrote that, while it had called out Republican “cowardice” in rejecting the idea of a commission, Pelosi’s decision “will make the investigation even easier to dismiss for people who aren’t die-hard members of Team Blue,” arming the GOP with a “legitimate grievance.” Chris Cillizza, of CNN, told anyone still harboring hopes that the committee might deepen public understanding of January 6 to “give up on those hopes now,” because Pelosi had just “doomed” them. (Confusingly, Cillizza then went on TV and pinned most of the blame on McConnell.) The Hill wrote that Pelosi had helped Banks burnish his “brand.” And so on.

Broken News from the Fraudit Front Lines

You might think the fiasco in Arizona couldn’t get any more ridiculous.  You’d be wrong.  The fellow appointed by the folks who started the whole mess (the Arizona Senate) to watch over what was happening is being barred from the premises.  Let that sink in a minute.  The Senate’s own choice is too honest to leave in place.  If you are missing your village idiot, he’s likely a republican serving in the Arizona Senate.

Huffington Post:  Mary Papenfuss:  Arizona Senate Liaison Threatens To Quit When Cyber Ninjas Bar Him From Audit Site

The official liaison of the Arizona Senate Republicans in the vote recount they launched has threatened to quit after the controversial Cyber Ninjas operation shut him out.

Former secretary of state Ken Bennett, a Republican, said he was “shocked” when he was not allowed into the building last Friday where the Maricopa County audit — which he is charged with overseeing — was taking place.

Bennett said Monday that he was frozen out after he expressed several concerns about the operation, including what appeared to be sloppy and inconsistent spreadsheet tallies of votes. He called the issue “just the tip of the iceberg” of problems.

“The reason that I am that close to stepping down as liaison is that I cannot be a part of a process [when] I am kept out of critical aspects along the way that make the audit legitimate and have integrity when we produce the final report,” Bennett said on “The Conservative Circus” program on KFYI-550 radio.

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is Murdoch

We should make IOKYAR instances into crimes, punishable by relentless mockery (and a community service requirement to spend 200 hours cleaning public restrooms).

Huffington Post:  Amanda Terkel:  Oh, So Now Fox News Is Suddenly Against Ambushing People

A man confronted Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Friday while he was out shopping at a fly fishing shop in Montana.

The man told him he was “the worst human being known to mankind,” according to video of the interaction posted to social media. Carlson appeared to be with his family, because the man said he didn’t care that Carlson’s daughter was there.

Fox News was appalled that Carlson would be bothered while going about his normal, everyday life.

Fox News is outraged when their big-name hosts are ambushed, but it is totally fine with its big-name hosts doing the ambushing. Ambushes were a central part of the show of Bill O’Reilly, who was Fox’s most prominent host for years. (He left in 2017, under the disgrace of a series of sexual harassment allegations.)

Lindsey, You Are Such a Putz

Michael Steele had to take time out of his busy day to slap the stupid stick Lindsey was chewing on right out of his feeble, Former Guy kissing mouth.  Fact check:  The violent crime rates have risen faster in South Carolina than in any of the states Lindsey railed against.

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Undoing the Damage

The Boondoggle at the Border was the prime signature unneeded and unwanted idiocy of the previous administration.  The sooner we put the wall and its adherents into our rear view mirror, the better.  The only wall we need is a sound-proofed impenetrable one wrapped tightly around our insurrectionist traitors, their despicable enablers, and their weasel-mouthed fellow travelers.

Mother Jones:  Hannah Levintova:  “Not Necessary”: The Biden Administration Just Canceled More Border Wall Contracts

On Friday, the Biden administration canceled two border wall contracts along 31 miles of the Rio Grande in South Texas—continuing the process it began this spring of dismantling one of the Trump administration’s signature initiatives.

The two contracts had previously been funded in 2020, but Biden’s Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday that they are “not necessary to address any life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements.”

The Trump administration had planned to spend about $15 billion to construct a border wall along the Southwest border of the US in an effort to crack down on crossings by undocumented immigrants, whom they deemed a threat to American security. Immigration and environmental activists alike blasted the wall plan—the former for imperiling immigrants fleeing dangerous or difficult circumstances, and the latter because wall construction threatened to disrupt natural habitats and endanger more than 100 threatened animal species who roam at the border. Nor do some portions of the wall constructed under Trump appear to do much to prevent border crossings, as they are easily scaled with a ladder.  

Now We Just Have to Get Them to Take the Pandemic Seriously

Even in the regressive political backwater, known as Tennessee, office holders are taking baby steps to disavow one of the worst racist hatemongers in our history.  Although, I’ve heard the Texas Senate wants to give the now homeless statue a place of honor in their republican cloak room.  In other news, the Tennessee government is still busy denying science.

Wonkette:  Doktor Zoom:  Forrest Dumped (​Nathan Bedford, That Is, From Tennessee’s Capitol)

Yet another monument to treason and enslavement came down today, and it was a significant one: Tennessee legislators and visitors to the state Capitol in Nashville can now go about their business without walking past the bust of slave trader, Confederate general, war criminal, and early Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. The bust was hardly a precious part of state history, having only been placed in the Capitol in 1978; the Capitol itself dates back to shortly before the Civil War.

The treasonous murderer’s bust is gone, and will be moved to the Tennessee State Museum. Unfortunately, it will not be converted into a urinal in its new location.

 After years of public calls for the bust to be removed from its place of honor, and of Confederate confederates insisting the horrid thing stay, last year Gov. Bill Lee said it was time for the bust to go. The State Building Commission voted yesterday to move the bust, the last formal requirement necessary. Workers hauled it away this morning.

We Are So Over Her

There’s a sad, sad huckster who needs to have her microphone surgically removed.  After years of lying incessantly for The Former Guy; saying other exceptionally stupid things for her own aggrandizement; and generally being a horrible excuse for a human being;  Sarah Slanders (and her odious papa Mike) need to retire back to the outhouse basement from whence they sprung.  For the idiots, by the idiots, and of the idiots, forever.

Raw Story:  Sara K. Burress:  Sarah Huckabee Sanders caught with blatant lie in her op-ed about COVID vaccine

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was often criticized for lying to the press so many times that PolitiFact lists her false claim rate at 66 percent. After her tenure in the White House, Vanity Fair also crafted a list of some of her most egregious lies.

So it isn’t surprising that in her latest op-ed, she continued the trend. Writing for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Sanders falsely claimed that Vice President Kamala Harris said that she would never take a vaccine that former President Donald Trump created. She sang the praises of the vaccine that many Trump supporters have refused to get and complained that Trump isn’t getting enough credit for fast-tracking the vaccine people complain they won’t take because it was fast-tracked.

CNN White House correspondent John Harwood explained that Sanders was mischaracterizing what Harris said. In fact, Harris said that she wouldn’t take a vaccine on just Trump’s word. She explained that she trusted Dr. Anthony Fauci to sign off on the vaccine. He did. So, Harris took the vaccine.

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My Borowitz Fix

I think I might have a problem.  I can’t make it through a GNR without adding a column from Andy Borowitz.  I wonder if there’s a 12-step program for this?

The New Yorker:  Satire from the Borowitz Report:  Republicans Protest Lack of Rioters on January 6th Commission

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Casting a dark cloud over the select committee investigating the January 6th insurrection, congressional Republicans protested, in no uncertain terms, the panel’s “utter lack of rioters.”

Leading the charge was House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who called the commission “little more than a gussied-up festival of anti-riot propaganda.”

“Nancy Pelosi’s handpicked Democratic panel members all have one thing in common: none of them took part in the riot,” McCarthy said. “Without an equal number of rioters on the panel, we’ll never get to hear both sides of this thing.”

Beam Me Up, Scotty

There’s been a lot of coverage surrounding the dueling dicks in space.  But, the hard core science fictiony stuff is making progress, too.  Admittedly, all of this is still mostly a though experiment.  But, we’re seriously talking about the technology of space bubbles and bending time.  I couldn’t manage to do a proper job summarizing the article, so all you get is the introduction.  You’ll have to check out the actual article for all the geeky goodness.

Scientific American:  Robert Gast:  Star Trek’s Warp Drive Leads to New Physics

For Erik Lentz, it all started with Star Trek. Every few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Captain Jean-Luc Picard would raise his hand and order, “Warp one, engage!” Then stars became dashes, and light-years flashed by at impossible speed. And Lentz, still in elementary school, wondered whether warp drive might also work in real life.

“At some point, I realized that the technology didn’t exist,” Lentz says. He studied physics at the University of Washington, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on dark matter and generally became far too busy to be concerned with science fiction. But then, at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Lentz found himself alone in Göttingen, Germany, where he was doing postdoctoral work. He suddenly had plenty of free time on his hands—and childhood fancies in his head.

Lentz read everything he could find on warp drives in the scientific literature, which was not very much. Then he began to think about it for himself. After a few weeks, something occurred to him that everyone else seemed to have overlooked. Lentz put his idea on paper and discussed it with more experienced colleagues. A year later it was published in a physics journal.

Great News from a Great City

The ring road around Madrid is called the M-30 (pronounced emmay trainta).  I lived inside it for a little more than a year, cough-cough years ago.  It is still one of my favorite places on the planet.  This story made me feel all warm and fuzzy and nostalgic remembering remembering late nights carousing along the Paseo de la Castellana,  enjoying the endless tapas bars and far too many copitas.

GoodNewsNetwork:  Andy Corbley:  Madrid is Planting a Huge Forest Ring Around the City to Lower Heat Levels and Cut CO2 Emissions

Whether you’re from the U.S. and call it a “Beltway” or Europe and call it a “Ring road,” Madrid will be calling it the “green way” soon enough, as the Spanish capital aims to combat their city’s island of heat by encircling themselves with a sea of green.

Their urban forest project will involve planting nearly a half million trees on a 46-mile perimeter (75-km) around the city. When the trees have reached maturity, they should absorb around 175,000 tons of CO2 per year.

Black pine, beech, Spanish juniper and various oak species can all be found in the arid middle of Spain wherein lies the Spanish capital, and it is these native trees which require little water or specialized soil conditions that will constitute the new forest.

My First Ever Tiny Bit of Entertainment News

Presented without my usual brand of commentary.  Just the fact that this is trending is enough.

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Musical Interlude

Something new from Songs Around the World, 30 years after its initial release.

WineRev’s History Lesson

Our resident history professor’s always interesting history lesson will appear here as soon as I notice he’s posted it in the comment section.  Until then look for it in the comment section.

Take it away, WineRev

>>>>>After lots of screeching from Amy Farrah Fowler’s lab monkeys (AKA known as national Republicans near a microphone) the January 6th Select Committee holds its first public hearings today. The opening set of witnesses testifying will be several Capitol Hill police officers who will recount the “ordinary tourists looking for the men’s room” on that day and politely asking for directions to the nearest public facilities. Chairman Thompson (who’s national profile will be rising day by day before your eyes) has arranged that one of today’s witnesses, Officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack and a brain injury (that thankfully did not lower his cognitive abilities to that of Eric Trump or Louie Gohmert), will testify in full uniform. Hey, if Michael “Seditionist” Flynn can do it, so can Officer Fanone (who merits his uniform more than the Flynn-flan man…..)

July 27ths that will be remembered by the cats here in the Wisconsin house-sitting house as the Good and Goofy day when strangers came in, kept us four-paws out of the breezeway room all day, replaced 4 windows and converted an 8 foot (barely) sliding glass patio door into a 6 foot (actually working) sliding glass door (all from about 1968) and promised to be done by supper time so we can eat in out usual spots, and also remembered for other stuff that happened in the last 2000 years.

                 82  (A TWO-digit date!) Jerusalem, Judea (now Israel)   Wealthy guy Joseph (and, since this is a very common name, this is the one from the village of Arimathea) dies today. As is the custom he is buried this same day in an elaborate tomb that he had had constructed decades before. Its not quite a new tomb; about 50 years ago it was used, borrowed you might say, but just for 2 nights for a body, in an emergency, hurry-up burial, without the customary rites and rituals. Then, on the first day of the week at early dawn, some women came to Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, carrying spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. While they were perplexed about this, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?…….”  Millions have died in, and millions of others still live in, this same hope…..

             1377  Rugusa (now Dubroknik) Republic of Venice (now Serbia)  Before vaccines, there was prevention. Before antibiotics, there was prevention. Before proof of viruses, there was prevention. Before the discovery of germs, there was prevention. Before medicine ceased being a sideline for barbers, there was prevention. Before healing separated from religious rituals, there was prevention. (Before stupid,…..well, there was STILL stupid.) In one of the first recorded successful examples of society-wide prevention, enforced by law enforcement, the city council of Rugusa this day passes a law saying newcomers from the plague will not be allowed inside the city walls until they have remained in supervised isolation for 30 days and shown no signs of the disease. (“Our Freedom to LIVE outweighs your freedom to move around for weeks!”) This was later raised to 40 days, “QUARANTA” in Italian (and now I’ve learned the root of quarantine!)

              1586 London. Walter Raleigh brings the first samples of tobacco home to England and explains its use. The beginning of the idea of planting a Virginia colony to produce a cash crop for the mother country, ensuring the colony (starting in 1607, so it still took 21 years of talking and planning) will continue and be supported.   And, on a DOUBLEHEADER DATE in one of the ironies of history, on this day in 1965 in Washington DC, President Lyndon Johnson signs a bill into law requiring warning labels about diseases caused by tobacco products to be printed on all packaging of those products, a very wide spread effort to eventually cut smoking (to date) by half.

              1867  Lleida, Spain   Birth of Pantaleón Enrique Joaquín Granados Campiña, composer. Son of a Spanish army captain, Enrique showed fine promise at the piano, studying in Barcelona. At age 20 he went to Paris but failed the entrance exam to the Conservatory. However, one of the professors took him on as a private student for several years. He made a living for over a decade as a professional pianist with various theater companies (and composing on the side.) He was finally slated for his solo premiere in Paris premiere (at age 47) for some of his piano sonatas when World War I erupted. With the stage name of Granados he took a ship to America and premiered in New York; later on he even had a chance to perform in Washington DC for President Wilson. He later returned to England; soon after he and his wife took a ferry for France, but the ship was torpedoed by a German submarine and the couple was killed. Granados wrote extensively for the piano, yet after his death many of his pieces were transcribed and re-scored for classical guitar, making his work a key piece to this day of that instrument’s repertoire and giving him a massive reputation in Spain.

              1921  Toronto, CA   At the University of Toronto (Go Blues!), medical researchers Frederick Banting and Charles Best this day isolate the molecule of insulin, and come up with a few ideas how to produce it. Because of their discovery, diabetes is no longer fatal but becomes treatable.

           1929  Geneva, Switzerland   This city, the founding place of the International Red Cross, and lately the home of the League of Nations, this day sees a solemn ceremony. Dignitaries from 53 nations (more added later) gather to sign a treaty on the treatment of sick, wounded and enemy soldiers who are prisoners of war. The Geneva Convention set rules (admittedly, often honored in the breech) for proving our humanity under hard conditions; and we’ve tried, with uneven success, to prove it.

            1940  Across America   When you get settled in with popcorn and a soda, there’s this week’s newsreel, and then a short feature or cartoon before the main picture. On this day across American movies screens there is a new cartoon, “A Wild Hare” starring a carrot-chomping wise guy rabbit, Bugs Bunny. Tex Avery’s creation in his debut also debuted his signature line, “What’s up, doc?”

            1949      Near Southampton, UK   The 36-seat jet-propelled De Havilland Comet 1 has it’s maiden flight today. It was the world’s first passenger jet. (It was also cramped, noisy and had square windows, which proved to be an aerodynamic problem. Passenger jets soon moved to windows with rounded off corners.)

           1953   Panmunjon, Korea. After three years of at times bitter fighting, and several months of peace talks, this day the Korean armistice agreement is signed, ending the fighting (if not yet establishing peace) between the United Nations and North Korea. Divides the peninsula into North and South Korea. 68 years sometimes jittery years later, the truce holds.

May all your News be Good, comforting and inspiring.

Shalom.

On the Lighter Side

What makes a republican tick? — You start out with your run-of-the-mill blood sucking republican leech. Give him a red hat.

In republican circles, the bottom line has come to mean the line at the bottom of the barrel above which republicans are forbidden to cross.

Sure, both sides do it.  The difference is the republican side does it 100 times as much.

White supremacists (aka republicans) have real trouble with proper pronunciation.  They pronounce “traitor” as “patriot.”   We shouldn’t be surprised.  They’ve been making the same error since 1861.

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Quote(s) of the Day

If publishers and editors exert themselves to keep certain topics out of print, it is not because they are frightened of prosecution but because they are frightened of public opinion. In this country intellectual cowardice is the worst enemy a writer or journalist has to face, and that fact does not seem to me to have had the discussion it deserves. — George Orwell

When we say, ‘One nation under God, with liberty and justice for all’, we are talking about all people. We either ought to believe it or quit saying it. — Hubert H Humphrey

Rats and roaches live by competition under the laws of supply and demand; it is the privilege of human beings to live under the laws of justice and mercy. — Wendell Berry

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward. — Franklin D. Roosevelt

Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals. — Mark Twain

Required Pet Photo

I don’t think I’ve ever shown you a picture of Feisty before.  She had a bit of a shoe fetish.  Sadly, she left us before Pressley had a chance to meet her.  She was fierce and I wonder how they would have gotten along.

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What the hell do you think you’re looking at?

Pressley’s Picks

This is the kind of cancel culture that is completely unacceptable.  Ignoring customers just because they don’t have opposable thumbs is about as discriminatory as it gets.  Runaway specieism is a blight on our society.

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I think you already know — we do all the dirty work.

I could do this if I felt like it — I don’t.  Although, that CPR thing looks like something to try tomorrow morning.

Bonus Pick:  I’m trying to convince NNNE to try this.  It would help if you encouraged him.  He’s been known to cave to peer pressure.

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Closing Notes

Thanks for slogging on through to the end of another Roundup.  Remember to stay active and involved, while also looking out for your health.  Your country needs you!

hpg keeps on keeping on.  Last night’s Evening Shade:  PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN—DAY187—Evening Shade-Monday

Back in 1978, Jimmy Carter was president.  The Camp David Accords were signed on September 17th.  The day before that happened, The Grateful Dead closed out their three-night run at the Gizah Sound & Light Theater.  Here’s Row, Jimmy, Row from that final show.  Check out the background shot at 5:42 (as well as Jerry’s pigtails).  Not so coincidentally, there was also a full lunar eclipse that night.

We also have this, from Bob Weir, remembering a highlight of his experience playing in Egypt (transcribed from the 2015 Netflix documentary:  The Other One: The Long, Strange Trip of Bob Weir)

I felt the weight of the antiquity. Time went away. Future, past, all of it was right here…when the Pyramid was lined up with the Sphinx, I would hear echoes that seemed to go far beyond this place in time. At dusk, the mosquitoes come out, and I looked at my arm and it was covered by mosquitoes. And I’m thinking ‘OK, welcome to Hell.’ And then something flies by my face–it was a bat! I look across the stage, and the stage is swarmed with bats, and they’re taking out the mosquitoes, they’re saving our asses! Here’s a rock ‘n roll band on a thousands-of-years-old stage at the foot of the Great Pyramid, surrounded by a cloud of bats…and I think to myself ‘take me now, Lord, I wanna remember it just like this.’

Disclaimer:  They really are that bad!

Poll

303 votes Show Results

Do you daydream about cruel or unusual punishments you’d like to see visited on the republican criminals trying to destroy the country?

303 votes Vote Now!

Do you daydream about cruel or unusual punishments you’d like to see visited on the republican criminals trying to destroy the country?

Yes, of course. Isn’t everyone?
170 votes
Yes, but I feel a little guilty about it.
52 votes
No. (It’s ok to lie when I answer a poll, right?)
7%
20 votes
No. I cry a lot instead.
3%
8 votes
No. How dare you? I am above all that.
3%
9 votes
I plead the Fifth.
4%
12 votes
Hell with pleading, I’ll just drink a fifth.
6%
18 votes
Pie (no one asked for my recipe last time, so I’m on strike for better voting conditions)
4%
12 votes
This is your dumbest poll yet. I will SHOUT about it in my hypercritical comment.
1%
2 votes

Cartoon: Lemmings

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CDC asks Americans to wear masks regardless of vaccination status as new COVID-19 cases soar

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As expected, the new surge in COVID-19 infections across the country is now causing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to revise previous pandemic safety recommendations. If you’re in a region with rapidly spreading cases, the CDC now advises you wear a mask in indoor public spaces whether you’re vaccinated or not. In addition, reports The New York Times, the CDC will now recommend all students and staff wear masks inside schools, regardless of community infection rates.

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2021 · 10:03:55 PM +00:00 · Hunter

The CDC is also recommending that even vaccinated individuals get tested 3-5 days after a known COVID-19 exposure—further evidence of official concern that vaccinated Americans could still cause pandemic spread even though they themselves are not likely to fall ill from the exposure.

While the previous CDC recommendations lifting mask mandates for vaccinated Americans were widely criticized for creating public confusion since it’s impossible to tell whether an unmasked American inside a public place is vaccinated or is simply defying masking orders, the impetus for changing mask recommendations now is the widespread surge of the delta variant now causing hospital beds to fill again. Nearly all hospitalized COVID-19 patients are among the unvaccinated—but that doesn’t mean vaccinated Americans can’t get the virus. They’re just far less likely to do so.

And even though vaccinated Americans are only very rarely getting sick enough to require hospitalization, health officials remain concerned that vaccinated Americans may still be able to spread the delta variant even if they themselves have no symptoms of infection.

The advice to resume wearing masks even if you have received a COVID-19 vaccine is an effort to quickly slow the new surge before it causes the collapse of regional health care systems. Vaccinated or not, wearing a mask in public provides a second line of defense that will further reduce the possibility of becoming infected or spreading that infection. It’s especially important to keep yourself out of harm’s way as hospitals fill: Do not make them take care of you. They may not have a bed for you.

States that don’t suck will likely incorporate these new recommendations into their own pandemic emergency rules in the coming days, meaning you’re likely to see local mask restrictions tighten to match these guidelines. The surge may soon result in a change in federal vaccination requirements as well: President Joe Biden is now saying that a vaccination mandate for federal employees is “under consideration.”

The nation could likely have avoided the delta surge and new mask requirements had Americans gotten vaccinated in sufficient numbers to stop community spread; due mostly to widespread Republican condemnation of pandemic safety measures, that did not happen. Our most urgent task is to stop community spread now, before new mutations of the virus develop that may be able to evade current vaccines and before hospital systems in low-vaccination areas are forced to again resort to parking lot tents to house pandemic patients and the bodies of pandemic patients.

Keep wearing masks in public until the pandemic danger has fully passed. It’s easy, and it may very well save the life of someone you didn’t even know was counting on you. There’s not a single good reason not to.

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'Terrorists': Officers who defended Capitol on Jan. 6 spare pro-Trump rioters nothing at hearing

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The inaugural hearing of the congressional investigation into Jan. 6 kicked off with a palpable display of anguish from four officers who worked to hold the line that day as pro-Trump supporters sought to storm the Capitol and overthrow the U.S. government. 

Terrorists” was the word several officers invoked to describe the perpetrators of the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the four officers left no doubt about who incited them to action: Donald Trump.

“All of them—all of them were telling us Trump sent us,” testified Sgt. Aquilino Gonell of the U.S. Capitol Police. “Nobody else—there was nobody else. It was not antifa, it was not Black Lives Matter, it was not the FBI. It was his supporters that he sent them over to the Capitol that day.”

The visceral testimony left no doubt about the violence the pro-Trump terrorists unleashed on the U.S. Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police forces laboring to defend the Capitol complex that day. “What we were subjected to that day was like something from a medieval battle. We fought hand to hand, inch by inch, to prevent an invasion of the Capitol,” recounted Sgt. Gonell. 

“I vividly heard officers screaming in agony, in pain, just an arm’s length from me,” Gonell said, noting that some of those cries were coming from MPD officer Daniel Hodges, who was wedged in a doorway by attackers in video that later went viral. “I too was being crushed by the rioters,” Gonell continued, “I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself, ‘This is how I’m gonna die.'”

Officer Hodges recalled wrestling with a rioter for control of his baton. “I retained my weapon,” he said. “After I pushed him back, he yelled at me, ‘You’re on the wrong team!’… Another [shouted], ‘You will die on your knees!'”

The harrowing accounts also made crystal clear that none of what unfolded on Jan. 6 is over for these officers. The weight of hearing each others’ testimony appeared to bear down on the officers as they listened to their colleagues’ dramatic stories. But they not only bear the scars of the violence itself, they also continue to be traumatized by the efforts of GOP lawmakers to gaslight the horrific event out of the nation’s conscience.

“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend, are downplaying or outright denying what happened,” explained MPD Officer Michael Fanone, a self-identified Republican who has become an outspoken critic of those trying to whitewash the actions of the mob. “I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room, but too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist or that hell actually wasn’t that bad.”

The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful!” Fanone continued, angrily slamming his fist to the desk in one of the most powerful passages during the opening statements. Fanone said his law enforcement training had prepared him to deal with some aspects of the siege and its aftermath. “But nothing—truly nothing—has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day, and in doing so, betray their oath of office,” he added.  

Fanone later, without explicitly identifying parties, called the members of government who helped incite the riot and then later tried to whitewash the events “representative of the worst that America has to offer.”

Capitol Police Pfc. Harry Dunn told the committee he has sought therapy and continues to struggle with emotional wounds left by the assault, which became racially charged for him as a Black member of law enforcement. “January 6 isn’t over for me,” he said bluntly.

At one point, Dunn described the terrorists turning on him after they asserted that “nobody” had voted for Joe Biden. Despite the fact that Dunn said he usually tries to keep politics out of his job, he challenged the assertion. “Well, I voted for Joe Biden,” he offered. “Does my vote not count, am I ‘nobody?'”

That triggered what Dunn described as a “torrent” of racially offensive epithets.

“You hear that guys, this n***** voted for Joe Biden,” one rioter said. “Boooo! Fucking n*****!” they screamed, recalled Dunn. “No one had ever, ever, called me a n***** while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police Officer,” Dunn added.

Dunn joined the other officers in urging the panel to “get to the bottom” of what happened on Jan. 6. “If a hitman is hired, and he kills somebody, the hitman goes to the jail,” he told the committee. “But not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hired them does. There was an attack carried out on January 6 and a hit man sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.”

While the officers’ gripping personal accounts figured most prominently on the day, another notable feature of the hearing was the two Republican members of the committee performing their congressional duties like duty-bound, reality-based individuals. “If those responsible are not held accountable, and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democracy system,” GOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming offered during her opening statement as the hearing began.

The other Republican member of the panel, Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, expressed his deep gratitude to the officers in a rare show of emotion. While they may “individually feel a little broken,” Kinzinger said, choking up, “You guys won, you guys held. Democracies are not defined by our bad days,” he continued, “We’re defined by how we come back from bad days—how we take accountability for that.”

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida also extended her deep gratitude to the officers. She recounted being trapped in a small basement office with another Democratic member, Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York, only 40 feet away from where Gonell and Hodges were working with other officers to hold back the mob. They could hear it all.

“I listened to you struggle. I listened to you yelling out to one another. I listened to you care for one another,” Murphy said. “I’m telling you, you were our last line of defense,” she added.

Murphy said their efforts afforded both congresswomen the chance to escape to safety down another hallway. “I think it’s important for everybody, though, to remember that the main reason rioters didn’t harm any members of Congress was because they didn’t encounter any members of Congress,” Murphy said. “I have a ten-year-old son and a seven-year-old daughter, and they’re the light of my life,” she offered on a more personal note. “And the reason I was able to hug them again was because of the courage that you and your fellow officers showed that day, and so just a really heartfelt thank you.”

The first hearing of the select committee to investigate Jan. 6 provided a compelling, sometimes excruciating window into the events of that day and its aftermath as experienced by some of the heroic officers who managed to keep lawmakers safe at great cost to themselves. The notable absence of any delusional GOP flamethrowers was a welcome reprieve from the way House Republicans have disgraced nearly every other proceeding over at least the last handful of years.

The nation owes these women and men in uniform a profound debt of gratitude for protecting our democracy against the fascist insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol. Four of those officers were able to speak for themselves today—to tell their stories—without the insulting distractions of GOP lawmakers seeking to score political points with Donald Trump. That uninterrupted testimony was made possible by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who blocked GOP attempts to inject the hearing with their usual brand of delusional insolence. Pelosi undoubtedly made the right call by the officers, the congressional members they solemnly worked to defend, and the nation as a whole. 

Below is taste of the day’s hearing.

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Infrastructure week continues with more GOP bad faith, nudge from Biden to Sinema to just finish it

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Last week, Senate Republicans in the bipartisan infrastructure gang insisted that by Monday, they would have enough done on the proposal to be able to vote on moving forward with the bill. They only filibustered an attempt by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to move their agreement forward because they would have something concrete this week to vote on.

They lied.

Just a few days later, we learned that they were still disputing essentially every element of a hard infrastructure proposal: transit funding, water system funding, broadband funding, and where that funding was going to come from. While COVID-19 is resurging with the delta variant, they want to take COVID-19 relief funding that hasn’t yet been spent to pay for more roads to carry more fossil-fueled vehicles. As of Monday, Republicans had rejected a “global” offer from President Biden and Democrats addressing all those issues. They rejected it out of hand.

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A Democratic source involved in the negotiations told CNN that Republicans are “goalpost moving.” That source used funding for water systems as an example: There had been an apparent agreement on $55 billion in new spending for water systems, with an additional $15 billion to specifically address replacing poisonous lead pipes delivering drinking water. Sen. Mitt Romney, that bipartisan hero, proposed something “completely unworkable,” the Democratic source told CNN, blowing up another part of the agreement.

But Republicans on the committee are still insisting that it’s in reach. Just give them more time. They always need just a bit more time. They are always “about 90% of the way there,” as Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, said this weekend. Portman, Romney said, is now negotiating with White House adviser Steve Richetti on the remaining issues. It’s not clear whether a Democrat, i.e., a representative of the majority party, is also involved in that.

In the background, Republicans not in the thick of it on the bipartisan committee are trashing the whole idea. That would include Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who told CNN’s Jake Tapper that to him it is “very, very important” that the government doesn’t spend money on rebuilding infrastructure and combatting climate change. “Now we’re talking about another $600 billion on top of the ordinary spending,” he said, pointing specifically to this bipartisan effort.

“This is completely out of hand. There are people who think this is Monopoly money, but it’s not, Jake. And so I’m concerned. I think the way we should pay for this increase in infrastructure spending is by re-purposing money we already approved, but hasn’t yet gone out the door.” That would be the COVID-19 relief money.

It’s not all Republicans driving this bipartisan car, potentially. President Biden is meeting Sen. Kyrsten Sinema on Tuesday to “discuss progress on the bipartisan framework and finishing it up soon.” A presidential nudge on just getting this damned thing done is entirely appropriate right now. Let’s hope it takes.

Studies show COVID-19 helping to remove Republicans from gene pool in more than one way

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For more than 18 months, it’s been clear that the SARS-CoV-2 virus—originally better known as the “novel coronavirus”—can call serious lingering illness, as well as death. Many people whose initial brush with COVID-19 appeared to be mild have found themselves suffering lingering effects, including heart issues, lung issues, joint pain, dizziness, hearing loss, and memory problems that can mimic or lead to Alzheimer’s. COVID-19 has also led directly to thousands of instances of amputations. COVID-19 patients have found themselves needing kidney, lung, double-lung, or heart-lung transplants. And then there’s the little matter of over 600,000 deaths (more likely close to a million) in the United States alone. 

It might seem that all of that would be enough to make anyone rush to the nearest available source of vaccine and elbow their way to the front of the line. In fact, that seems to be happening in other countries. In Canada, 71% of the total population is at least partially vaccinated. That’s a full 15% higher than the United States. But then, Canada—though it certainly has vaccine protesters—doesn’t have a major faction of its people dedicated to the idea that accepting rationality is surrendering to the enemy. 

As Civiqs shows, Republicans are still locked into a vaccine hostile position, with 44% saying they will not take the vaccine. This number has not been dented by the delta variant surge, or by the lukewarm endorsements of the vaccine cautiously mouthed by GOP politicians. It seems that there may be nothing which will change Republicans’ minds and get them to take action that’s not only vital for the nation, but for themselves. We might as well give up and …

Oh, wait a sec … Dear Republican men, COVID-19 makes your dick limp. Please form an orderly line.

Market Watch may not seem like the first name to turn to for medical news, but Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, the author of the Market Watch article, is also one of the members of a team which found that COVID-19 causes both erectile dysfunction and infertility in men.

For months, rumors have been circulating about the COVID-19 vaccines causing such issues. Those rumors are simply untrue. There is no evidence that the vaccines can cause infertility among men or women.

But the disease certainly can. 

In a study that included dissecting the testicles of six men (all dead, so stop screaming), Dr. Ramasamy and a team or urologists found that half of those tested had reduced sperm count. Oh, and sampling from a survivor (you can resume screaming now) showed that not only were sperm counts reduced, COVID-19 can continue to live in the testes months after the initial infection.

And that isn’t even the part of this news that will cause most men to flinch. Because another study involved “an analysis of penile tissue” from two men who needed “penile implants” after COVID-19 led to severe erectile dysfunction. The suspected cause here is the same thing that is thought to be behind much of the damage COVID-19 can do to the heart, brain, and other organs—blood clots. Those clots lead to decreased blood flow. Decreased blood flow leads to frustration and embarrassment.

On the other hand, a new study shows that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are fine for the male reproductive system. That’s something that Republicans might want to keep in mind going forward, especially as they hammer their “no votes for the childless” theme. Those who have been vaccinated will at least have that option, those catching COVID … maybe not so much.

From the beginning, there have been Republicans out there screaming about how the vaccine involved “population control.” And it turns out they’re right. Because by turning down the vaccine, Republicans may be not just putting their lives at risk, but taking themselves right out of the gene pool.

California restaurant demands diners to prove they aren’t vaccinated before being served

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Despite the current coronavirus surge unvaccinated individuals are driving across the U.S., a California restaurant insists only those who are not vaccinated dine at the establishment. According to ABC News 7, signs taped to the doors of Basilico’s Pasta e Vino in Orange County insist that proof of being unvaccinated is required before being served.

“Notice: Proof of being unvaccinated required. We have zero tolerance for treasonous, anti-American stupidity. Thank you for pondering,” the signs read. 

While the Huntington Beach restaurant claims it needs proof, an employee confirmed it isn’t actually checking vaccine status—and to be honest, it has no way to confirm whether someone is vaccinated or not. But the restaurant’s owner, Tony Roman, told the Los Angeles Times that he placed the sign to make a point “in defense of American liberty and freedom.”

“With warning signs of another impending lockdown, and many business owners again emboldening those who I refer to as ‘the lockdown tiny tyrants’ — this time by imposing proof-of-vaccination policies — we chose to fire another missile of defiance to further make our point in defense of American liberty and freedom,” Roman said.

In another statement to the Los Angeles Times, Roman said the purpose of only allowing unvaccinated individuals was fighting government policies that he believes are harmful.

Of course, given the current state of the pandemic and numerous variants being spread—especially amongst the unvaccinated—the restaurant’s decision received heavy backlash.

Reviews on Yelp and social media found people bothered by the announcement, with dozens not only leaving low ratings for the restaurant but comments including one that read: “What a slap in the face to all those who died from COVID-19.”

However, some—including neighboring shops and restaurants—noted no issue with the announcement, comparing it to restaurants and establishments requiring individuals to be vaccinated prior to entry.

According to the restaurant’s social media, since the announcement the restaurant has received “non-stop phone calls, haters, threats and hundreds of one-star reviews.” But despite the backlash, the restaurant stays firm in its anti-vax and anti-mask status.

“Here comes the haters, and with it, the harassing non-stop phone calls, threats and hundreds of one-star reviews. And guess what? We at Basilico’s Pasta E Vino wear it all as a badge of honor,” the restaurant said in a Facebook post. “We feel blessed to go into battle against all of you in defense of American liberty and freedom, so bring it on!”

This isn’t the first time Basilico and its owner have come under fire. The restaurant made headlines earlier in the pandemic for continuing indoor dining despite regulations in place not to, the Los Angeles Times reported. Additionally, it declared itself a “mask-free zone” even when masks were made mandatory. During this time, they required customers to remove them before entering.

In June it even began advertising $25 T-shirts with the phrase, “Leave the vax, take the cannoli,” a play on a line from The Godfather.

“Imagine if Americans would have refused mask mandates, or better even banned the masks like we have throughout the lockdowns,” the restaurant posted on Instagram. “The tiny tyrants then would have never dared to think they could try and force vaccine mandates.”

According to John Carr, a spokesperson for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control,  an investigation was launched into the restaurant last month that could result in penalties ranging from fines to the revocation of the restaurant’s liquor license. The fines are based on a series of violations, including failing to establish a COVID-19 prevention program, not providing safety training, and not providing masks for employees, according to state records, the Los Angeles Times reported. While Roman has not appealed the citations, in a video posted to Instagram he made his intentions of not paying the fines clear, referring to the department as “American traitors at OSHA.”

Basilico’s latest move to place the signs comes at a time in which Orange County has seen a significant rise in COVID-19 infections. Since the economy reopened on June 15, the number of cases has increased by 10 times. According to ABC News 7, data indicates the spike was mainly among unvaccinated individuals. The seven-day average case rate per 100,000 for unvaccinated residents was 15 out of 100,000 on Monday, which is much higher than the three out of 100,000 it was for the vaccinated population.

About 55% of Orange County residents are fully vaccinated, and about 62% are at least partially vaccinated, according to county data. Data compiled by the Los Angeles Times found that California has reported an average of nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases a day, more than quadruple the number from a month ago.

Cartoon: 2020 Told-Ya-So: Election Defense Task Force

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Okay, I’m not saying I told you so, but I told you so. (The New York Times told us all about it a few days ago.)

In reality, the fraud and deceit of the Trump campaign was even worse than I satirized in this cartoon from just after the 2020 presidential election.

And here I thought the final line, “recurring payment automatically deducted from your bank account every odd-numbered day of the month,” was clever satire. In reality, it was actually happening at the very time I created this animation.

Those poor suckers, who I really have a hard time feeling sorry for…

No matter what President Trump said in his 46-minute rant from the White House, he lost the election. He’s losing support among key state Republicans and even appears to have lost his ol’ pal, Bill Barr. Never mind, there’s grifting to do!

The Trump crew has realized that contributions from conspiracy-addled MAGAheads pour in at a faster pace when the president rants about conspiracies and nefarious plots to remove him from office. (Never mind that the “plot” was a free and fair election.)

Just like he has done for his entire business career, Trump is finding a way to lie his way into making money. He’s a grifter, through and through. And now, with a virtually no-strings-attached PAC that is accumulating money at a faster rate than his campaign coffers ever did, he’s fleecing his supporters who have bought his deep state sob story hook, line and sinker.

Enjoy the cartoon, and remember, if you want to support my work (no PAC for me), you can join me over on Patreon and get behind the scenes goodies, prints, videos and more!

Democratic senator says he's halting border nominee's hearing until he gets answers about Portland

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More than six months into the Biden administration, Democratic Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden said he’s failed to receive adequate answers into the deployment of untrained federal officers in his hometown of Portland by the previous administration last year. CNN reports that a letter sent to the Biden White House in June in anticipation of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) nominee Chris Mangus’ Senate hearing has gone unanswered.

Wyden has now said he’s halting Mangus’ hearing until he gets needed responses. “While it is clear that Customs and Border Protection faces pressing issues, as the senior senator from Oregon, I am unable to advance this nominee until DHS and DOJ give Oregonians some straight answers about what they were up to in Portland last year, and who was responsible,” BuzzFeed News reports Wyden has told the Biden administration.

“Members of Congress, local officials, and the public have expressed concerns about CBP’s presence and questionable actions—especially given the agency’s track record of abusive policing tactics and use of excessive force,” groups said last year in suing for information about the deployment of officers to protests following the police murder of George Floyd last year. Among officers sent to terrorize demonstrators in Portland were members of a special tactical unit that then raided a humanitarian medical camp in the border desert. 

“At the time, Wyden had sought answers from then-Attorney General William Barr and former acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf about the deployment of federal officers, calling the response on the ground ‘intolerable,’” CNN reported. Wyden again relayed his concerns to their successors, Merrick Garland and Alejandro Mayorkas. The Washington Post reports that while he has received some information from officials, “the answers fell short.”

“As they have not provided [responses], Sen. Wyden informed the administration this week he would not be able to hold a hearing until his questions are sufficiently answered,” CNN reports Wyden’s office said. Mangus, Biden’s nominee to officially head CBP, is “a progressive police chief who promoted community policing efforts while overseeing departments in Tucson and Richmond, Calif,” The New York Times reported in April.

While the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) inspector general released a report in April saying the department had authority to ploy officers from CBP, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Secret Service, they were unprepared. “Specifically, not all officers completed required training; had the necessary equipment; and used consistent uniforms, devices, and operational tactics when responding to the events in Portland,” the report said.

Jenn Budd, a former senior border agent turned whistleblower, told The Guardian last year that the special tactical unit deployed to Portland is among “the most violent and racist in all law enforcement.” Humanitarian organization No More Deaths, which exists to prevent the horrific deaths of migrants in the border wilderness, said that members of CBP also stabbed gallons of water during the raid on its camp last year. Border agents already have a disgusting history of destroying water intended for migrants. They’ve even been caught on tape in the act.

Then-candidate Biden slammed the previous administration’s attacks on protesters, saying in a statement at the time that “Homeland Security agents—without a clearly defined mandate or authority — are ranging far from federal property, stripped of badges and insignia and identifying markings, to detain people. They are brutally attacking peaceful protesters, including a U.S. Navy veteran.”

Trump Rants Maniacally About Crime to Deflect From the January 6th Hearing

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Tuesday morning the House of Representatives held its first hearing to investigate the January 6th insurrection incited by Donald Trump. The bipartisan committee is looking into what happened, what caused it, and what actions were taken to respond. Much is already in the public record, and most of it incriminates Trump and his Republican confederates.

The committee has already been dismissed by Republicans as partisan, despite the fact that GOP House Leader, Kevin McCarthy, is the one who refused to allow three of his members to take seats on the panel. Now he’s whining about the absence of the GOP perspective that he prohibited. Meanwhile, Fox News covered portions of the hearing with a chyron that politicized and belittled the probe reading “Pelosi-Selected Committee Holds First Jan 6 Hearing.”

However, as usual it is Trump who is desperately yearning to be the center of attention. Consequently, he released another of his pseudo-tweets that is a pitifully transparent attempt to deflect from the hearings that he knows expose his guilt. Trump began…

“The fraudulent nightly network newscasts have devoted ZERO minutes to crime recently, even though crime is eating away at our cities and our Country.”

That is an easily provable lie. All of the cable and broadcast news networks have been reporting regularly on crime. Trump must be watching channels that don’t cover news, like Fox “News,” Newsmax, and OAN. He went on to babble that…

“They don’t want to talk about it because it will hurt the political narrative of the Communist Democrats.”

Trump has called Democrats “communists” before, but now he is doing it almost daily. For him it is just a handy epithet in his 3rd grade vocabulary, because he surely couldn’t define it if his life depended on it. And he went on to say…

“Just think, six months ago we had the most secure border in our history. Today, it is the least secure in our history with criminals illegally flooding into our Country-many spreading COVID  into our communities-and other Countries prisons being emptied into out neighborhoods.”

There isn’t a single word in that that is true. It is merely more of Trump’s robo-talking points. Refugees at the border have a COVID positivity rate of less than 6%, lower than the Texas average. And there is no evidence whatsoever of “prisons being emptied.” Trump just makes this stuff up as he goes along.

[By the Way: It should not go without notice that Harrington’s postings are blatant violations of Twitter’s terms of service that prohibit attempts to circumvent a suspension. (more on that here). She has posted Trump’s pseudo-tweets at least 60 times just this month. Harrington’s account should be reported and suspended for her repeated breach of Twitter rules]

Trump and the Republican Cult are struggling to malign Democrats in order to avoid being held accountable for their complicity in the insurrection. Lindsey Graham went on Fox News Monday night to lie to Sean Hannity about crime. He blamed it all on Democratic states like California saying that…

“If you do this crap in South Carolina, you’ll be lucky if you go to jail. You’ll be lucky if someone doesn’t shoot you. So I say that because we’ve lost deterrence. These big Democratic cities and states have lost deterrence. People no longer feel afraid to assault someone in the street. Nobody feels afraid to go into Walmart and clean out the place because nobody in the prosecution level is gonna do a damn thing.”

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Graham apparently knows nothing about his own state, much less California. South Carolina is currently #7 nationally for homicides (11.0 per 100,000), a ten year high. That’s more than twice the rate of California at #29 (4.5 per 100,000), a ten year low.

So using crime as a deflection from the January 6th hearings might not have been a very good idea after all. But then again, what else do they have? They could reprise the old “lock her up” chant about Hillary Clinton. Or they could complain about the dozen or so Trump associates who have been indicted on felonies. Or they could brag that Trump is only responsible for a few hundred thousand of the 600,000 dead Americans due to his negligent and incompetent mismanagement of pandemic. After you’ve been called a war criminal by Carl Bernstein, there really isn’t any place left to go.

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