Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Trump Supreme Court Pick: Worst TV Game Show Ever

July 2, 2018

Trump Supreme Court Pick: Worst TV Game Show Ever
President Donald Trump has accepted the resignation of Supreme Court Justice Whatshisname, and scheduled the announcement of his replacement nominee for July 9th. The president will ponder this momentous decision while spending the July 4th weekend in his Fortress of Solitude Trump Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey. There is said to be a shortlist of 5 possible contenders, none of them Gary Busey or Meat Loaf. “I may have two of them come up, like the old days to Bedminster,” said the president, “could be this weekend…It is exciting.” Suspense! Imagine the ratings. May the best conservative ideologue win!

There will be no swimsuit competition, even though two of the candidates are women. Senate Democrats and civil rights groups are asking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to delay the confirmation vote until after the midterm elections, but he just smiles.

More:

“Supreme Court Announcement Scheduled Just Like The World’s Worst Game Show,” Joe Patrice, Above the Law

“It’s ‘The Apprentice, Supreme Court Edition,’ as Trump Summons Finalists to White House,” Maggie Haberman, Michael M. Grynbaum, and Ron Nixon, New York Times

“Online bettors see Kavanaugh as likely U.S. Supreme Court nominee,” Reuters

“Chuck Todd: GOP ‘may fully pull that hypocrisy muscle’ by confirming SCOTUS pick in election year,” Jacqueline ThomsenThe Hill

“Mitch McConnell shows there’s no honor among Supreme Court thieves,” Scot Lehigh, Boston Globe

Updates:

“Trump Narrows Supreme Court Shortlist To 3 — With 2 On The Inside Track,” Nina Totenberg, NPR

“Gamblers betting on Kavanaugh as Trump’s Supreme Court pick,” Matthew Nussbaum, Politico

Related:

“Just Like LeBron James, Justice Anthony Kennedy Is Now A ‘Free Agent,’” Staci Zaretsky, Above the Law

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Next White House Chief of Staff?

June 29, 2018

Next White House Chief of Staff?

Word around DC is that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will be the next to leave the realty TV show that is the Trump Administration, and the president is looking for a replacement. We suggest Julie Chen, host of the CBS show Big Brother. She’s said nice things about Mr. Trump, and has the perfect résumé, 20 years of monitoring a bunch of immature, self-involved, bullying backstabbers.

More:

“Why a new chief of staff wouldn’t change Trump’s White House,” Annie Karni, Politico

Update:

“John Kelly, Scott Pruitt, and the Epic Turnover of the Trump Administration,” Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker

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Trump’s Celebrity Pardons

June 1, 2018

Trump's Celebrity Pardons

U.S. President and reality show host Donald Trump ramped up the “wow!” factor on the latest episode of Celebrity White House yesterday with a presidential pardon for confessed federal felon Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative trollTwitter abuser, conspiracy theoristadulterer, and Christian college official who admitted to making illegal campaign contributions. Ted Cruz is “positively gleeful.”

Mr. Trump, who prefers to govern by fiat, discovered his federal pardon power when he sprang racist Joe Arpaio from the pokey, pardoned perjurer Scooter Libby, and pardoned Sly Stallone’s pal Jack Johnson, “a person that, when people got to know him, they really liked him,” as the president put it. The chief executive is also eyeing relief for federal felons and former Celebrity Apprentice stars Martha Stewart and Rod Blagojevich.

Donald Trump isn’t all that interested in celebrity justice; he’s sending a message to his indicted collaborators Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn, and Paul Manafort that he can bust them out of prison with the stroke of a pen if they keep mum.

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Trump Wants Better ‘TV Lawyers’

May 15, 2018

Trump Wants Better 'TV Lawyers'

Celebrity Apprentice star and U.S. President Donald Trump wants to mount a more powerful legal defense, according to the Washington Post:

“The president vents to associates about the FBI raids on his personal attorney Michael Cohen — as often as ’20 times a day,’ in the estimation of one confidant — and they frequently listen in silence, knowing little they say will soothe him. Trump gripes that he needs better ‘TV lawyers’ to defend him on cable news and is impatient to halt the ‘witch hunt’ that he says undermines his legitimacy as president.”

So, ‘TV Lawyers.’ But who? Rudy Giuliani is no Perry Mason, and Ben Matlock won’t leave Atlanta for DC.

More:

“Trump expresses need for better ‘TV lawyers’ to combat Mueller probe: report,” Joe Concha, The Hill

“It’s Probably Killing Trump That Stormy Daniels’ Attorney Is Attractive And Great On TV,” Michelangelo Signorile, Huffington Post

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Reality TV Prez Names Reality TV Quack to Fitness Panel

May 8, 2018

Reality TV Prez Names Reality TV Quack to Fitness Panel
Donald J. Trump, TV personality and “the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency,” has nominated TV celebrity, Dr. Oz (Mehmet Cengiz Öz, MD) to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. A 2014 study determined that half of Dr. Oz’s medical advice was baseless or wrong.

Other Trump acquaintances and Council nominees include: former New York Yankee reliever and failed restaurateur Mariano Rivera; former New Jersey Generals football player Herschel Walker;  Trump endorser and LPGA pro golfer Natalie GulbisTrump-endorsing NFL Patriots coach Bill BelichickBrenda L. Becker of the Boston Scientific medical device corporation; Trump-campaigning former MLB outfielder and Celebrity Apprentice contestant Johnny Damon; “Incredible Hulk” and Celebrity Apprentice contestant Lou Ferrigno; “anti-aging medicine” promoter and “Sports Hall of Fame” founder Dr. Bob GoldmanBannon– and Weinstein-linked producer Trevor Drinkwater, whose failed company made classical music recordings for babiesTrump-supporting ex-congresswoman, private equity shill and former ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth; Palm Beach denizen and SlimFast CEO Chris Tisi, Matt Hesse, whose “nutritional supplement” firm is best-known for Ab Cuts snake oil; hunter and 2013 Ms. Wheelchair USA Ashlee Lundvall2016 GOP Delegate and health club owner Samuel James Worthington, Jr.; and “hockey & gymnastics mom” Linda Yaccarino of NBC Universal, who sold ads for Celebrity Apprentice.

Truly, with a Fitness Council like that, America is destined to be a nation whose “physical strength and stamina are extraordinary.”

More:

“Trump Picks TV Snake Oil Salesman Dr. Oz, of All People, to Serve on Health Council,” Tom McKay, Gizmodo

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A Trump Supporter Walks Into a Bar ….

May 3, 2018

A Trump Supporter Walks Into a Bar ....

Accountant Greg Piatek said he was kicked out of The Happiest Hour, a bar in Greenwich Village, for wearing a Trump “Make America Great Again” hat, and he sued the bar for damages. The plaintif’s lawyer, Paul Liggieri, claimed the bar violated Mr. Piatek’s right of religious freedom, because the “Make America Great Again hat was part of his spiritual belief.” He later admitted that his client’s faith was a “creed of one.”

Mr. Piatek wasn’t ejected for his headgear, said bar owner Jon Neidich, but for being an A-hole to the help:

“What’s gotten lost in this story is that the guest wasn’t kicked out because he was wearing a Trump hat- he was asked to leave after being verbally abusive to our staff, which is something we don’t tolerate regardless of who you are.”

Judge David Cohen decided that liking Trump is not a religion, and that bars may continue to refuse service to annoying louts.

Elie Mystal points out this is a case where Trump supporters are, once again, “trying to act like victims just because people stand up to their bigoted world views.”

“These are the very people who do think that you can discriminate against minorities when it comes to housing, or voting, or immigration. They think they’re being clever by ‘turning it around’ on people by claiming the same protections accorded to disadvantaged groups, when what they are really doing is mocking the struggles of others like it’s all some kind of game.”

— “Judge Rules You CAN Kick People Out Of A Bar For Supporting Trump: Please Proceed Accordingly,” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

 

A Chicago bar with a MAGA hat ban recently rescinded it.

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Cambridge Analytica Calls It Quits

May 2, 2018

Cambridge Analytica Calls It Quits

Cambridge Analytica and its British parent company SCL Elections are shutting down, according to a company statement. Cambridge Analytica is under attack for the shabby Facebook data mining operation and FB-based targeted advertising effort it mounted on behalf of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, and SCL has been under pressure for its pro-Brexit disinformation campaign, and is the subject of investigations by UK prosecutors and Parliamentary committees.

Cambridge Analytica was set up by UK-based SCL to advance the fiction that foreign citizens weren’t engaged in US federal election work, and was funded by the conservative Mercer family. Steve Bannon, who claimed he thought up the company’s name, was a Vice President. In addition to its UK operations, SCL worked on election campaigns in a number of other countries.

Ironically, the firm blames “the siege of media coverage,” fake news and negative publicity, for driving it out of business.

More:

“Cambridge Analytica closing operations in wake of scandals,” Khorri Atkinson, Axios

“Cambridge Analytica is shutting down,” Emily Stewart, Vox

“Cambridge Analytica Files for Bankruptcy After Misuse of Facebook Data,” By Nicholas Confessore and Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times

“Cambridge Analytica: Facebook data-harvest firm to shut,” BBC News

“Cambridge Analytica and parent SCL Elections shutting down,” Reuters

“Cambridge Analytica Parent Company Ceases Operations,” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

Update:

“Cambridge Analytica dismantled for good? Nope: It just changed its name to Emerdata,”  Shaun Nichols, The Register

“The Cambridge Analytica power players set up a mysterious new data firm — and they could use it for a ‘Blackwater-style’ rebrand,” Shona Ghosh and Jake Kanter, Business Insider

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WHCD Comic Didn’t Insult Sarah Sanders’ Looks, Just Her Lies

May 2, 2018

Someone who never saw the comedian’s act booked Michelle Wolf for the White House Correspondents Dinner, and right now that talent booker is probably looking for a new job. True to form, Ms. Wolf flamed the media and the public figures who are the White House correspondents’ meal ticket. Oddly, it was this relatively light toasting of Sarah Huckabee Sanders that caused the greatest uproar:

“I actually really like Sarah. I think she’s very resourceful. But she burns facts and then she uses that ash to create a perfect smoky eye. Like, maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s lies. It’s probably lies.”

Critics saw it as a gratuitous slam at Ms. Sanders’ looks, which it wasn’t. Why would they think that?

  1. Because that’s the kind of thing that critics expected, Sarah being a woman and all; and
  2. A combination of room echo and Ms. Wolf’s casual enunciation allowed some in the room to hear the word “facts” as “fat” (see #1); and
  3. Men in the audience didn’t recognize the allusion to a Maybelline “smokey eye” ad campaign.

Another joke likening Sarah Sanders to the Aunt Lydia character of the “Handmaiden’s Tale,” the enforcer of the patriarchy’s enslavement of women, was seen as a comparison to the physical appearance of the middle-aged actress who plays her.

The Michelle Wolf gag that really skewered the heart of America’s media, though, was this:

“You guys are obsessed with Trump. Did you used to date him? Because you pretend like you hate him, but I think you love him. I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you. He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric, but he has helped you.

He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off him. And if you’re going to profit off Trump, you should at least give him some money, because he doesn’t have any.”

Even in past years, when the White House Correspondents Dinner was a politician- and celebrity-infested “nerd prom,” the hoopla of the annual dinner overshadowed the event’s purpose, raising money for journalism student scholarships. Maybe next year’s WHCD (if it happens) will eschew comedy and feature singing, juggling, or mime.

More:

“Since when did ‘perfect smokey eye’ become an insult, America?” Jean Hannah Edelstein, The Guardian

“No, Michelle Wolf Didn’t Joke About Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s Looks,” Jen Chaney, Vulture

(more…)

Pruitt & Crapo ‘Put the Con in Condo’

April 25, 2018

Pruitt & Crapo 'Put the Con in Condo'

A new poster plastered around Capitol Hill (above) points out that Idaho’s Republican Senator Mike Crapo used the same energy lobbyist’s condo that Scott Pruitt bunked at for a fundraising event, and he got an even better deal than Pruitt’s $50 a day: It was free. Senator Crapo is on the Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources and Infrastructure — what a coincidence.

The phone number on the poster’s tear-off tabs belongs to the Federal Election Commission. Since Mr. Crapo didn’t claim use of the condo as an in-kind campaign donation, a complaint has been lodged with the FEC.

More:

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s Lobbyist-Owned Pad Was GOP Fundraising Hub,” Lachlan Markay, Sam Stein, Daily Beast

“Complaint claims Idaho senator didn’t report donated time at DC condo,” Cynthia Sewell, Idaho Statesman

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Trump: ‘Scott Pruitt Is Doing a Great Job!’

April 9, 2018

Capitol Hill celebrity Scott Pruitt, spoofed by Friends of the Earth. The tear-off phone number is that of the EPA Public Affairs Office.

In the face of mounting criticism for extravagant personal spending of public dollars and ethical lapses, EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt seems to be fighting for his job, but President Trump thinks he’s doing a great job of rolling back environmental regulations:

But it’s actually Scott Pruitt’s PR office that’s doing all the work. In reality, the process of rolling back regulations is as lengthy and difficult as establishing them. You can’t do it by press release.

More:

“The Myth of Scott Pruitt’s EPA Rollback,” Michael Grunwald, Politico

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Photo (“$50 a Night on Capitol Hill”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com. Read about the posters here.

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