Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Cruz vs. Beto: The Beef

August 13, 2018

Cruz vs. Beto: The Beef

In what may be the most Texan comment in this year’s Senate race between incumbent Ted Cruz and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, Cruz spokesperson Emily Miller called Beto “a Triple Meat Whataburger liberal who is out of touch with Texas values.” The beef (ahem) started when the Fort Worth Star-Telegram claimed the O’Rouke logo looks like a Whataburger Spicy Ketchup packet.

Note: Unlike Emily Miller (Baltimore) and Ted Cruz (Canada!), Whataburger and Beto O’Rourke were both born in Texas.

More:

“What Could Ted Cruz’s Campaign Have Meant When It Called Beto O’Rourke a ‘Triple Meat Whataburger Liberal’?”  Dan Solomon, Texas Monthly

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Showtime!

July 9, 2018

Showtime!

It’s spectacle showtime for charlatan-in-chief Donald Trump, who’ll select his prime-time pick for America’s next top model Supreme Court justice tonight at 9PM Eastern. Suspense mounts! Which conservative ideologue will win? Who will go home with a consolation prize?

More:

“How Trump turned the US Supreme Court into prime time television,” Ephrat Livni, Quartz

“Trump pushing for another reality-show reveal of Supreme Court pick,” Andrew Restuccia, Politico

“A ‘Supreme’ show: Trump savors big reveal for court choice,” BY Catherine Lucey and Zeke Miller, AP via Charlotte Observer

“Trump’s New Pageant: SCOTUS Pick Will Have To Look ‘All-American,’ Jibe With Trump,” Nicole LaFond, TPM Livewire

“Trump Is Picking His Supreme Court Nominee Like He’s Casting the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition,” Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

“The Supreme Court Show,” Ross Douthat, New York Times

“The most interesting late development in Trump’s Supreme Court derby,” Aaron Blake, Washington Post

Inside Baseball:

“The Five Frontrunners,” Adam Feldman, Empirical SCOTUS

“Trump’s 2018 Supreme Court Shortlist and Their Views on Administrative Law,” Chris Walker, Notice & Comment

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Top image (“Let’s Make a Supreme Deal!”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Trump Narrows Supreme Court Picks Down to Three

July 6, 2018

Trump Narrows Supreme Court Picks Down to Three
Drama! Suspense mounts on the reality-TV show known as the Trump presidency as we near the prime time Monday night announcement of Mr. Trump’s nominee to replace Supreme Court Justice Whatshisname. The president has narrowed the list prepared by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society to three possible nominees, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Raymond Kethledge. While Republicans argue about which one is the most stalwart conservative ideologue, Mr. Trump makes personnel decisions based on a candidate’s looks. That’s certainly worked out well for him so far!

More:

“Trump pushing for another reality-show reveal of Supreme Court pick,” Andrew Restuccia, Politico

“Trump’s New Pageant: SCOTUS Pick Will Have To Look ‘All-American,’ Jibe With Trump,” Nicole LaFond, TPM Livewire

“Trump Is Picking His Supreme Court Nominee Like He’s Casting the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition,” Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

“The Supreme Court Show,” Ross Douthat, New York Times

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Top image (“Let’s Make a Supreme Deal!”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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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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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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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

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

Update:

“John Kelly intends to remain as Trump’s chief of staff through 2020 reelection,” Philip Rucker, Washington Post

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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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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 Blames Dems for His Own Parent-Child Separation Policy

May 31, 2018

Trump Blames Dems for His Own Parent-Child Separation Policy

During the weekend, President and part-time parent Donald Trump blamed Democrats for a U.S. policy separating undocumented parents and children at the border. “Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents once they cross the Border into the U.S.,” he tweeted on Saturday.

But there is no such law, and it wasn’t Democrats who instituted that policy, it was the Trump Administration. “If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions on May 7th. “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

Separating parents and children isn’t cruel, explained White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.“The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever.”

More:

“Trump is blaming Democrats for separating migrant families at the border. Here’s why this isn’t a surprise.” Seung Min Kim, Washington Post

“Hidden Horrors of ‘Zero Tolerance’ — Mass Trials and Children Taken From Their Parents,” Debbie Nathan, The Intercept

“Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ at the border is causing child shelters to fill up fast,” Nick Miroff, Washington Post

“Trump administration preparing to hold immigrant children on military bases,” Nick Miroff and Paul Sonne, Washington Post

“Ivanka Trump photo with son sparks backlash over border separations,” Tom McCarthy, The Guardian 

“How the Trump Administration Got Comfortable Separating Immigrant Kids from Their Parents,” Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker

“Blowback over border separations amps up tensions inside Trump administration,” Nancy Cook and Ted Hesson, Politico

“A moral crisis grips the US border. Yet the religious right is shamefully silent,” Marilynne Robinson, The Guardian

“U.S. Border Stations Are Now Overflowing With Migrant Children,”Ashley Hackett, Pacific Standard

Updates:

“UN says US must stop separating migrant children from parents,” AFP via The Guardian

“I work with children separated from caregivers at the border. What happens is unforgivable.” 

“Federal judge advances ACLU lawsuit challenging separation of parents, children at border,” Brooke Seipel, The Hill

“Trump quadruples down on false claim that ‘Democrat rules’ are forcing his administration to separate immigrant families,” Summer Meza, The Week

“Honduran Man Killed Himself After Being Separated From Family at Border,” Benjamin Hart, New York Magazine

“‘They just took them?’ Frantic parents separated from their kids fill courts on the border,” Michael E. Miller, Washington Post

“Separating Children From Their Parents Is a New Low for Our Immigration System,” Michelle Chen, The Nation

“‘Children are being used as a tool’ in Trump’s effort to stop border crossings,” Liz Goodwin, Boston Globe

“‘Mothers could not stop crying’: Lawmaker blasts Trump policy after visiting detained immigrants,” Amy B. Wang, Washington Post

“Report: Trump administration looks to build tent villages for migrant children,” Stef W. Kight, Axios

“Hugh Hewitt to Jeff Sessions: Why Is It Necessary To Separate Parents From Children When Detained At Border?” Tim Hains, RCP Livewire

“Immigrant moms in SeaTac prison ‘could hear their children screaming,'” Casey Martin, KUOW

“President of Catholic bishops group calls policy separating migrant families ‘immoral,’” Luis Sanchez, The Hill

“CNN: Jailed Immigrant Mother Says Child Was Taken During Breastfeeding,” Matt Shuham, TPM Livewire

Related:

“Dr. Ruth, Dr. Kissinger, and Trump’s Cruelty to Families,” George Packer, The New Yorker

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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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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

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