Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Gotham City News

     When the news breaks, we're the ones holding the hammer.

     Remember all those blonde jokes you've been hearing for years? They were all inspired by Fox "News'" Tomi Lahren. Now granted, Tomi Girl has come out with some whoppers over the years, going back to before she was fired by Glenn Beck on the Blaze. Then, in the very personification of the Peter Principle, Lahren just kept stumble bumbling her way to the top, eventually getting summoned to Rupert Murdoch's mother ship on Fox "News." But then today on Fox and Frauds, Tomi said that Trump can't be impeached because "he won the election."
     Which I'm sure will come as a huge relief to Slick Willie.
     You know who actually can't be impeached, Tomi? Dictators for life, such as the one Trump wants to be.

     Donald Trump has a lawyer problem. John Dowd quit, Ty Cobb's not too far behind, Cohen's mired in the center of the Stormy Daniels scandal, Jay Sekulow isn't even remotely qualified for this kind of litigation and he's nominally leading the Trump defense team that's essentially made up of himself. Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing wanted no part of the chaos at the Trump WH. All that and word has it even WH Chief Counsel Don McGahn's got one foot out the door. Essentially, Trump has no legal defense against Mueller.
     But that's not to say ordinary Americans aren't pitching in to help Dear Leader, as this Craigslist ad shows.

     If you're in the UK and voted for Brexit, then you might want to read this. You've been had, thanks to the octopus tentacles of Cambridge Analytica.

     America: A nation in which white kids who kill 17 people in a school shooting are merely crying out for help according to a white sheriff but black men such as Alton Sterling are shot on sight when someone yells the word "gun." And then get away with it.

     Facebook's got its hand full dealing with the fallout from the Cambridge Analytica scandal in which the sensitive information of at least 50,000,000 user accounts. It, predictably, at the same time that was blowing up, this other scandal involving Facebook easily flew under the radar. Apparently, Facebook had long ago gave up on its social media agenda and have since gotten heavily involved in opinion-shaping and even using censorship of Palestinian journalists to that end because Israel pressured them to.

     Finally, I guess the only thing left to do now is pick out Jeff Sessions' pimp name.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Enough is Not Enough

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
Emma Gonzalez stood on the stage before almost a million after having read the names of her 17 slain classmates, her head bowed for six minutes and 20 seconds, the time it took for Nikolas Cruz to murder them at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High. Over a million, according to the MarchforourLives crowd estimate, joined her. Her place in history is as secure as an AR15 in the cradling arms of a red state ammosexual, as is the name of her high school. Because Marjory Stoneman Douglas has now ossified into lasting posterity as much as Columbine High. But there's a difference.
     Nothing meaningful in the way of actual gun control happened after Columbine. In fact, all Columbine and other schools did was ban trench coats such as the ones worn by Harris and Klebold. That's where Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has them all beat. Columbine, Virginia Tech, even Sandy Hook Elementary. Because this was the mass school shooting that finally woke up a somnolent, gun-obsessed nation in which many, especially in the deep South, clutch and cradle their guns while terrified parents clutch and cradle their kids after a school shooting. Marjory Stoneman Douglas was the straw that broke the camel's back and we began saying, Enough is enough.
     But enough has proven to be not enough, Enough is what comes to my mind when I think of  the middling measures taken by the last administration led by a man who on the campaign trail ridiculed people in the deep South who clutched their Bibles and guns and they reviled him for telling the truth about them. The Obama administration had taken some half measures, just enough to mollify the gun control crowd while not inciting the 2nd amendment ammosexuals from open insurrection.
     And it can't be said Donald Trump didn't play a part in bringing about the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High on Valentine's Day. The winter before last, Trump had signed an executive order rescinding an Obama-era Executive Order that would have required the Social Security Administration to report to the FBI anyone who was judged to be mentally ill trying to purchase a firearm.
     Nikolas Cruz legally obtained the AR15 that he'd used to murder 17 of Emma Gonzalez's classmates. Because in Trump's America, there is no longer any such thing as needing to be sane enough to buy a semi-automatic rifle or even a full auto variety. Whatever Obama's half-hearted centrist measures, his enough wasn't enough. Don't forget, Sandy Hook happened on his watch, too, and dozens of other school shootings.
      If it wasn't for Emma Gonzalez and her fellow students, one of the most meaningful "gun control" measures would be a Pennsylvania superintendent's brilliant idea to arm students with a bucket of rocks in case of a school shooting incident. Yes, rather than install metal detectors and implementing real gun control measures, we're arming our children with stone age and Biblical technology with which to confront a gunman with an automatic rifle and extended clips.

The Children Take us to School
The #MarchforourLives protest is global. The one in Chicago alone has choked Cook County into utter paralysis. There are protests in Copenhagen Denmark and in virtually every civilized nation on earth, nations that don't suffer nearly the rate of gun violence that we do. Granted, most of these protesters are adults from every walk of life but the very nucleus is a small handful of children from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High who had just made the cover of the latest Time Magazine.
     If Emma Gonzalez wanted to achieve world domination, she has it. Meanwhile, establishment right winger cranks such as Tucker Carlson are sneering that articulate teens such as David Hogg is "an extremist." An obscure Maine political candidate dismissed Emma Gonzalez as a "skinhead lesbian." (Gonzalez is bisexual, as if that matters.) An aide to a Florida lawmaker claimed the Parkland students were paid crisis actors and was immediately fired.
     How soon they choose to forget, to strenuously avoid knowing that, were it not for a momentary whim of a crazed gunman, Emma Gonzalez or David Hogg would not now be in our nation's capital holding hundreds of thousands in thrall but would be in a grave in Florida along with nearly a dozen and a half of their classmates. These people who are jeering and sneering at these students look so small in comparison their names hardly deserve to be mentioned next to those of these kids.
     I've seen people on social media, grown adults who list themselves as liberals, progressives and centrists, who publicly gripe about these kids "hijacking" the national discourse about guns, that they shouldn't be telling us mature adults what to do, that we shouldn't be allowing them to write policy.
     They are doing no such thing. In the infancy of their future fame, David Hogg had a microphone stuck in his face and he said, "We're just kids. You're the adults. Act like it." And that, and Emma's emotional eloquence at the Florida State Capital in Tallahassee that proved to be a mere dress rehearsal for today, set this whole movement in motion.
     And the children are taking the adults to school because they know what's going on. Not bought and sold Republicans, not NRA mouthpieces and lobbyists, not right wing pundits. As with Vietnam and the younger generation derided as hippies and potheads who were right about Vietnam. so the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High students have the right ideas and know what's going on. They've dodged the bullets that those right wing pundits in climate-controlled sound stages and NRA talking heads at CPAC never had to.
     And if we adults acted like adults and prized the lives of these children and gave them a safe environment in which to learn, we wouldn't have to take our moral cues from those who aren't even old enough to vote. But we do have to.
     Emma Gonzalez is not merely the face and name of the new gun control movement. She is our national conscience, reminding us all what we should do and should have done generations ago. She is the new Joan of Arc, listening not to voices in her head but her own conscience and inviting us to listen in on that conscience. We baby boomers have failed her generation because if our ideas, policies and implementations were worth a shit, we wouldn't need these kids to detour from their path to higher education.
     Enough is not enough. And we're barely beginning to realize that.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Remember Way Back When...

     ...when Trump said he was satisfied with John Dowd and his whole legal team?
     I'll be writing about this at greater length later.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Words Kill

     I suppose I should be writing about the hit job that was done by Donald Trump and his thugs on Andrew McCabe and I suppose I should at a later date. But there's something else I want to talk about today. Bullying and the suicide that all too often succeeds it.
     I follow and am friends with literally thousands of other authors on Facebook. They range from Jeffery Deaver, Scott Turow and Anne Perry all the way down to obscure indie authors like me. So when I saw this on the feed of one of my friends, Robert Gregory Browne, I saw red. This is what Browne wrote today just before announcing he was taking a sabbatical from Facebook over this very same incident:
I don't know Lee Ching. But I've just learned that she attempted to take her own life because people on Facebook were encouraging her to. Told her she was worthless and should kill herself. Why? Because apparently she used the same stock art on a book cover as someone else and the designs were similar. According to what I read, EIGHTY authors and author sycophants were part of this bullying. One after another called her the "C" word and told her to slit her wrists, told her she would never work in publishing again. These weren't eighty brainless teenagers but eighty ADULTS, telling someone to kill herself. OVER A BOOK COVER.
I'm a nonbeliever, but I now hope Hell exists.
    Not that I'm conflating the two because there's just no comparison. But this juvenile, sociopathic behavior reminds me of what had happened 11 months ago when some British hack named Katerina Diamond decided to engage in a one-way flame war with me. Lord only knows what was said about me behind my back but this kicks up bad online behavior several notches. I only lost two dozen so-called "friends" over that non-incident. This girl almost took her life. Many if not most of us have illusions about our fellow writers being mature, compassionate people but I have no such illusions even among my Facebook "friends." And Katerina Diamond and her hysterical shrieking would've disabused me of the notion, if I'd harbored any, that such petty and sadistic behavior is solely in the domain of self-published authors.
      It is not. If anything, the reverse is true. A FB friend once shared a story about Dave Chadwick, my own personal stalker and frustrated self-pubbed author, who'd once belonged to a writing group she ran. She said Chadwick harassed a female author so much she actually had a nervous breakdown, unpublished her books and had to republish them under a pen name to get away from Chadwick. (Chadwick's indirectly, if not directly responsible for the death of a friend of mine, btw).
      But online conduct such as this is inexcusable and intolerable, to say the VERY least. I see posts all the time with which I don't agree. I see book covers all the time that are absolutely dreadful. I almost always pass over them without comment because I don't feel it necessary to waste my time to insult someone or their work and hurt their feelings in the process. But to actually encourage someone to kill themselves and over something as petty as a book cover?
     Now, places such as Photobucket and Shutterstock sell images and clip art to people like Lee Ching and my own graphic designer. And sometimes designers use the same royalty-free images when making book covers for their clients. It happens. It's no worse than two women showing up at the same party wearing the same dress.

     For instance, my first graphic designer, when looking for a picture for Scott Carson while working on the cover for Tatterdemalion, chose a fairly common picture that others had used. I've seen that model (far right) used on two other book covers, including The Whip, which I own.

     The shadow outline that you see in the cover for my upcoming novel Blue Blood is one that I've seen on at least one other cover and is also commonly sold on Shutterstock, one which I'd provided to my second and current designer. It's an occupational hazard in this business. Again, it happens. It's not a matter of life and death. But some people think plagiarism, which wasn't even close to being proved in Ching's case, is a capital offense.
     Words kill because you need to allow that some are more sensitive than others and calling them "snowflakes" or such ridiculous names is not doing the right thing. A beautiful, talented and sweet young lady almost killed herself in South Africa yesterday because of ugly words from even uglier people.
     Sorry but if you're that vicious of a human being and encourage others to kill themselves, might I suggest you lead by example?

Saturday, March 17, 2018

'T is an Oldie But Goodie, 'T is

     A conservative Irish judge went pub crawling after a hard Friday at court. He was known as a law and order judge and had an image to maintain but after such a hard day, his Irish thirst was raging.   
     After he crawled out of his 6th pub, he vomited all over his brand new suit and racked his reeling brain for what to tell his teetotaling wife Brigit. Then he got a brilliant idea.
     He poured himself through the front door and said in an outraged voice,
     "Ah, Brigit, you'll never guess what happened to me this very night. I was walking home from the courthouse and this drunken yobbo staggers up to me and threw up all over me brand new suit. Well, I had him arrested and when I see him in court on Monday, I'll be givin' him 30 days in gaol, I will. Now, be a dear, Brigit, and clean me suit, will you? There's a lass."
     "Very good, your honor," said Brigit and she set about cleaning his suit.
     The weekend passed and Monday morning arrived. The conservative judge, dressed in his newly-cleaned suit, thought it prudent to reinforce his lie one more time. At breakfast he said to his wife,
     "When I see that suit-soiler in court today, I'll be givin' him 30 days, I will!"
     "Well, your honor," began Brigit, "you'd better be giving him 60 days because he shit in your pants, too."

Friday, March 16, 2018

Gotham City News Digest

     We digest the news. The rest is up to you.

     From the "Duh, Thank You, Congressman Obvious!" files...
     House Republicans are now beginning to suspect that maybe, perhaps they acted a bit too hastily in ending their so-called Russia probe a teensy bit too early, and in the process, so says Alternet, with tongue fully in cheek, "undermined their credibility."
     Credibility. This is the same intelligence committee that saw fit to make Devin Nunes their chairman. You remember Devin, don't you? He was the guy who was caught sneaking in and out of the White House in the dead of night like a back door lover with classified intel to give to the Trump junta.

     Well, this is certainly interesting. By now you must know that Donnie Dumbo Junior's wife filed a divorce suit. Bet you didn't know that she hired not a divorce attorney well-versed in family law but a criminal defense attorney at the same time that Mueller's probe is closing in.

     And this is the woman who's been vilified by the right wing for decades for being a liberal icon? Folks, this isn't your parents' Democratic Party. This is your grandparents' Republican Party. One guy told me on Twitter after Jesus' General (11 on a manly scale of 10) retweeted this, "If given the choice between a Republican and a Democrat that votes like a Republican, I'll vote for the latter." So, in other words, my esteemed colleague, if given the choice between a shit sandwich with the crust and a shit sandwich without the crust, will choose the latter without looking for something better on the menu. Smart. Good luck with that.

     Because Mike Pence is just too damned unutterably masculine to be seen with a homosexual. Maybe he was embarrassed because of that tightness in the crotch of his pants when Trump put his hand on his knee at Billy Graham's service. Perhaps someone's due for an intervention. But poor Pence couldn't bear to be seen or photographed with a gay man, even if he was the Irish Prime Minister. But this is why they pay you the big bucks, to hobnob with homos so Donald Trump doesn't have to. So suck it up, Mikey. In a manner of speaking...

     Speaking of the Tangerine shitgibbon, he has a shockingly brilliant theory as to why there's so much antisemitism going on since he became "president": The Jews are doing it to themselves to make him look bad! So, you see, the Jews aren't the victims, they're the perpetrators and Trump's the actual victim!
    
     As proof, note these undercover lib'rals at Charlottesville last year who were financed and planted by the likes of George Soros and the skeleton of Saul Alinski.

     This is what inevitably happens when you vote in nothing but Republicans- Financial ruin. God only knows why they gave these massive tax cuts to the oil and gas industries. It wasn't if the companies could just take their oil and gas fields and set up shop elsewhere. Look what happened in Kansas during the Brownback administration. So what's the obvious solution? Raise taxes on cigarettes! (Which a court struck down). Uh, cut social services and school budgets!
     Which was the fucking plan all along. Then they can bring in the charter schools that Betsy DeVos has been slavering for so they can finish bankrupting the state until Oklahoma is nothing but an empty bank vault with a few scattered pennies on the floor.

     "Secretary Zinke, my grandfather suffered so greatly in the Japanese internment camps that it took him until late in life before he could speak of it."
     “Oh, Konnichiwa!
     Someone please slam that $139,000 door on his balls? Like, repeatedly?

     Have you ever wondered why evangelical nut bags still support a guy who's had five children with three women, cheated on every one of his wives and is a Biblically illiterate homunculus (despite them being evangelical nut bags)? Well, wonder no more. They see him as bringing about the End of Days they're slavering for.

     So, "Obama was a liar, too, so it's OK if Trump does it"? Yes, Obama was a liar. He just wasn't quite as prolific as Trump.

     For them there Allerbammer sheriffs, those mirrored sunglasses and Sam Browne gun belts cost money! And so do $750,000 beach houses. Money shot: This kind of graft is perfectly legal in Alabama even if inmates are forced to eat corn dogs twice a day for weeks on end to save money. Now you know why so many of them run for public office.

     And, lastly, in case Nancy "I Love Blue Dogs" Pelosi has forgotten (and she obviously has), this is what a real liberal Democrat looked like.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Truth is Flexible

     (By Cyril Blubberpuss, Conservative-American)
     "The truth is flexible," as my brother Cecil used to say while ogling male Olympic gymnasts, "as flexible as those studs, yeah," he'd breathe, face inches from the screen before bemoaning the fact the male gymnasts were never as young as the females.
     Truer words were never spoken, I say, and as the very avatar of alternative facts and flexible truths, I give you my old friend Donald John Trump, President of the United States! Take his latest fundraising speech in Missouri, in which he related this fascinating tale of the malleability of so-called facts.
“Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin. He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please,’ Nice guy, good-looking guy, comes in — ‘Donald, we have no trade deficit.’ He’s very proud because everybody else, you know, we’re getting killed.
“... So, he’s proud. I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. ... I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’ You know why? Because we’re so stupid. … And I thought they were smart. I said, ‘You’re wrong, Justin.’ He said, ‘Nope, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Well, in that case, I feel differently,’ I said, ‘but I don’t believe it.’ I sent one of our guys out, his guy, my guy, they went out, I said, ‘Check, because I can’t believe it.’
‘Well, sir, you’re actually right. We have no deficit, but that doesn’t include energy and timber. … And when you do, we lose $17 billion a year.’ It’s incredible.”
     Now that, my friends, is some magnificent improvisation designed to look as if Trump is fully prepared with facts and figures that he doesn't ever, in fact, have. In other words, as the 70's expression goes, "If you haven't got your shit together, dazzle them with bullshit," or words to that effect. It works for the best poker players in the world, so why not the President of the United States? Of course, with Trump's propensity for making shit up as he goes along, that anecdote could also be a load of horse shit but who cares? Certainly not me or his other voters!
     Flexible truth, or what Crack Whore Barbie, as I affectionately call Kellyanne Conway when I visit Trump at the White House, refers to as "alternative facts" is absolutely necessary in our nation and the world because those of us who know the real facts are the only ones who can handle the truth. Why, just the other day at that same White House, Trump was trying to impress me with how much classified knowledge he had.
     "Cyril," he said pointing to his double-woven head as we sat in the Oval Office, "you wouldn't believe the classified shit people tell me. It's great, just great! You wanna know something about Area 51? OK, here ya go-
     "There are no UFO's there. They built that big ass base there during this project they called Skunk Works just to mislead the American public. The buildings are empty! There ain't nothin' goin' on at Area 51! At least, that's what the Joints Chiefs tell me every time I bring it up. 'Nothing to see there, Mr. President', they always say while lookin' at each other. Then I wink at these guys with scrambled eggs on their hats, these admirals and generals and I say, 'Right. Keep up the good work, men' and I give 'em a thumbs up."
     You see, the truth is completely unpalatable to those of us not in the know, such as the fact that Donald Trump, after 14 months on the job, is really no more knowledgeable and probably less intelligent than the guy at the end of every bar constantly reliving and bragging about his one good year in high school. That's something that's been ably kept by the actual sane and pragmatic men and women with whom Trump has to surround himself.
     Because we can't let it get out to North Korea that Trump's softer than a Hefty bag full of baby shit and even crazier than Kim Jong Un. It'd be like when Kennedy met Khrushchev for the first time and that liberal asshole walked out with the Russian Premiere's footprints all over his aching back.
     I remember sitting in on what was supposed to be a classified meeting between Trump and the skeleton crew of the State Department. I was sitting on the couch eating some Chicken McNuggets that Trump always has in a candy dish at the table. Tillerson didn't want me there and Trump just kept telling him, "Shut the fuck up, Rex, and read the report to me."
     Tillerson glared at me while arching those weird Thomas Edison-like eyebrows while I stuffed my face. Then he tried to tell Donnie that getting into a nuclear war with North Korea would be a bad idea because #1, we have 32,000 troops along the border and, #2, it would inevitably draw in North Korea's only ally, China.
     "Yeah, but what's that gotta do with cost of tea in China?" Trump brilliantly retorted while Tillerson looked at him for a full 30 seconds before pinching the bridge of his nose.
     A week later, Tillerson was gone. Because he couldn't handle the truth that our President is a raving fucking lunatic who gives the middle finger to the portrait of every Democrat in the White House.

     Sometimes he'd have Kennedy's portrait shipped to Mar-a-Lago or where ever he's playing golf that weekend just he can wave his genitals at it ("See how Kennedy's looking down?" he once told me with a wide, lopsided grin, "It looks like he's admiring my junk, huh?").
     Bet you wish you didn't know that, huh?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Lamb in Wolf's Clothing

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
"(H)e said he would not support House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic leader if a blue wave swept the House in 2018, echoing his support for the Second Amendment, and telling voters he personally doesn’t believe in abortion,,," - Ella Nilsen, Vox, 3/14/18
It wasn't an "upset." Let's just get that out of the way right now.
      Capping off a wild, almost surrealistic day that dragged well into the morning like a party that didn't have the sense to quit, Conor Lamb edged out Rick Saccone in PA18. It was a day in which three administration officials were fired, including the Secretary of State, one Cabinet official (Mike Pompeo) tentatively snapped off at Langley and snapped on at Foggy Bottom to replace Tillerson. And it was also a day in which famed physicist Stephen Hawking, who was born exactly 300 years after Galileo died, passed away on Einstein's birthday and National Pi Day.
     Lamb won by just 627 votes in a district in which he was unknown until January, that Trump took in 2016 by about 20 points. With about 227,000 votes cast, those 627 votes comes out to a 0.2% difference. Luckily for Lamb, Pennsylvania's election laws don't mandate an automatic recount if certain thresholds aren't reached in non state-wide races. If Saccone wants a recount, he'll have to pay for it out of his pocket.
     This special election was billed throughout this winter as a David vs Goliath battle in which Lamb didn't stand a chance. Trump went to PA18 twice, dispatched Don Jr and Ivanka to stump for him in the 11th hour, timed his tariff announcement so Saccone could revel in its dubious reflected glory. The RNC and right wing special interest groups pumped $10.7 million in mostly out of state money. Nonetheless, Conor Lamb, who'd outraised Saccone by a margin of over 4 to 1, persisted.
     Yet as many of the races in last year's pre midterm elections showed time and again, even winning Democrats are too scared to run as true progressives in Bernie Sanders' mold. They're more inclined to be #Stillwithher than Bernie Bros. And last December, Doug Jones, the bluest of the Blue Dogs, proved that when he beat Roy Moore by just 1.5% in crimson Alabama. The GOP had enjoyed a 15 year stranglehold on PA18, due entirely to the incumbency of Tim Murphy, who was forced to resign last year when it came out that he pressured his paramour to have an abortion.
     But Lamb is personally as much a pro-lifer as Murphy was purported to be. He was also pro-gun, pro-tariff and pro-coal. It was essentially a sheep in wolf's clothing opposing the actual thing. In fact, Lamb was so right wing during his brief campaign that House Republicans and the Trump White House are even claiming credit for his win by bringing up that he was aligned with Trump's policies. In fact, last night Lamb actually thanked Trump supporters for voting for him, giving additional insight as to why his nickname is "Lamb the sham."
     That's not entirely true. Nor is it entirely untrue.

I Am Number Five
So, the US House Democrats shift a bit more toward its goal of retaking that chamber this November. But at what cost?
     Lamb essentially beat a guy who'd shamelessly billed himself as "Trump before Trump was Trump." Saccone is either an idiot who can't read the tea leaves or he had a lousy focus group. That group should've reminded him that the last four guys in a row Trump had personally endorsed had crashed and burned (Luther Strange being #3 and Roy Moore being #4). The reason Lamb had won was because he brilliantly and sleazily embraced Trump's policies without even mentioning Trump's name. In other words, hate the sinner but love the sin.
     Saccone's mistake was in synonymizing Trump's name with his policies. Remember, the Affordable Care Act is popular among a lot of right wingers until you call it by its colloquial name, Obamacare. And Saccone didn't stop there: He wanted to remind people that he was Trump 1.0, the prototype.
     This special election was billed, as were all the ones going back to last year, as a referendum on Trump's policies, another bellwether of the so-called bloodbath to come this November, Yet in last year's pre-midterms, Blue Dog after Blue Dog got elected with very few actual progressives winning more than state-wide seats. And many of them were races just as tight as last night's, meaning liberal voters who salivate over a Sanders/Warren 2020 ticket aren't yet ready to embrace the FrankenDemocrats exemplified by Conor Lamb and Doug Jones.
     It proved nothing except that so-called Democrats such as Conor Lamb haven't got the guts or the ideological purity to run as actual progressives, especially in red states such as Alabama or districts such as PA18. And now, all the Democratic pundits are telling us that Trump lost Pennsylvania, a state he'd taken from Hillary by a mere 1.3 percentage points in the 11th hour trifecta of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin that sealed his Russian-backed win.
     He did not. Trump is like a custodial parent who lost physical custody of a child but retained legal custody of it. Remember, Lamb would've lost this race if a few streets in PA18 went for the real deal. If it weren't for absentee ballots, which traditionally skew Democratic, he would have lost. He almost lost simply because he ran as a Democrat. Progressives stayed at home and waited for their real deal that will not arrive any more than had Godot.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Out With the Old, In With the Slightly Less Old

     This time the rumors were true: Rex Tillerson's been voted off the island.
     And so's his assistant Steve Goldstein for contradicting the White House about it. He'd been on the job only since December 4th.
     Oh, and Rob McEntee, Trump's body man, is also out. But he landed softly as he got rehired by the Trump campaign.
     It's barely afternoon as I write this (1:37 PM).
     What you see above are just 22 of the 36 people that have either been fired or had resigned within the first 14 months of Trump's International Rolling Dumpster Fire Show. Note that three of them were around so briefly or were so furtive in their duties that they never had official portraits done. Their blank avatars stick out in that graphic like three Unsubs in an FBI organized crime chart.
     Which is a more apt description than we know.
     In keeping with Trump's dickish management style, he never personally told Tillerson he was being fired. In fact, the Secretary of State didn't know about it until he read Trump's tweet announcing his termination. Which is more or less how former FBI Director James Comey found out about his termination last May 9th.
     So, who's going to replace Tillerson at State? Well, Trump's got that covered, comrades- He's going snap off Mike Pompeo at the CIA and try to snap him on at Foggy Bottom pending Senate Republicans rubber-stamping the nomination. Which is going to be very interesting considering Pompeo is one of 17 intelligence chiefs who unanimously agreed that Russia did indeed meddle with our election.
     Statesmanship by social media. Beautiful thing, isn't it?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Prince of Toads

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
I remember telling him that if Franklin Roosevelt could work with Joseph Stalin to defeat Nazi fascism, then certainly Donald Trump could work with Vladi­mir Putin to defeat Islamic fascism.” - Blackwater founder Erik Prince before Congress, November 2017
Erik Prince is your classic Dollar-a-Year Man. But, as with the Iraq War off of which he'd profited very handsomely, he could wind up making much more than a dollar a year of tax-payer funds if Trump decides to hire Prince and his private security arm of the killer elite that formerly went under the name Blackwater.
     But first things first. Just yesterday, it emerged that Robert Mueller could have more on Donald Trump than even the most wildly expectant of us could've asked for. And Erik Prince's name popped up. It seems, thanks to the testimony of one George Nader, a Lebanese businessman who'd helped broker a meeting between Prince and another prince, this one Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi. But the skeikh wasn't the only one in attendance at this Seychelles meeting that took place around mid January last year, or about a week before Trump''s inauguration.
     Prince had also met with an Emirati delegate as well as Kirill Dmitriev, the head of a hedge fund controlled by the Kremlin. So, what was so alarming about this seemingly innocuous business meeting to which Prince went, so he averred to Congressional investigators last November, as a private businessman?
     Several things, actually. While laughably denying he was there as an envoy for the incoming Trump administration, it's come out from Nader that Prince asked the Russians for a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the White House. You know, sort of like what Kushner had tried just the month before.
     This isn't a wild guess or an unsubstantiated conspiracy theory. We, and the Mueller team, got this straight from Nader himself, who'd brokered the Seychelles meeting about a year before he was picked up by the FBI and served search warrants. He's reportedly testified before the grand jury at least once and with Mueller's team on several occasions.

Another Nader as Spoiler
George Nader, not to be confused with the late TV and film actor or Ralph Nader, the spoiler in the 2000 election, was chosen to broker this meeting for obvious reasons. Being a Lebanese-American, Nader had done business on countless previous occasions with the UAE as well, apparently, Trump's senior aides. He could be trusted to navigate Prince and others through what is obviously very complicated diplomatic waters in the Middle East.
     When Nader was picked up at Dulles, he was on his way to Mar-a-Lago supposedly to celebrate Trump's first year in office. Making this meeting especially suspicious was the fact that just after the 2016 election, Crown Prince Mohammed visited Trump at Trump Tower without even notifying the outgoing Obama administration. And this was at the exact same time Kushner met with Sergei Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the US, about setting up the back channel between the Kremlin and the White House.
     Then there's also the UAE's vast sums of money, much of it being funneled into Dmitriev's Kremlin-controlled hedge fund (specifically, $6 billion in 2013). This raises the issue of whether the Trump campaign accepted foreign money, which is strictly forbidden. And it holds out the very strong likelihood that Prince lied in his testimony before Congress last November about the meeting.
     That would be the infamous "after meeting" between Prince and a member of the Emerati delegation, which Prince risibly downplayed as just a friendly 30 minute-long chat between two guys having a beer. If it's ever proved that Prince was there to set up a back door channel between Putin and Trump, it means he perjured himself when testifying before Congress (which wouldn't be the first time) when he claimed he went to the Seychelles as a private businessman.
     And that brings us to Prince lobbying hard to set up his own intelligence network within the government with the avowed purpose of fighting so-called "deep state enemies" within the established government intelligence community that Trump's been sneering at since he was on the campaign trail. As proof of how scummy this hare-brained scheme is, they've even brought in Oliver "Snow Tires" North (who'd also lied to Congress after Iran-Contra was broken) for credibility's sake and that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is fully on board with this plan to undermine his own agency.
     Which, as Prince's sister Betsy DeVos had proved time and again, is exactly the reason why Trump picked his kakistocratic Cabinet.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Maybe He Shouldn't Have Handed Out So Much Free Candy

     Roy Moore is in dire financial straits and he needs your help!
     Because Alabama's most beloved pedophile (whose Facebook page is still inexplicably named "Judge Roy Moore for US Senate," even though he was fired twice as a judge and is no longer running for the US Senate) has legal fees for an unspecified charge. And all he needs is a quarter of a million dollars of your hard-earned money!
     What follows below is the full text of what Moore put out a couple of days ago on his dead campaign's Facebook page. It's got some whoppers in it, enough so that Moore was trending earlier today on Twitter.
First, I wanted to write you to say thank you most sincerely for your support and prayers for my campaign for the U. S. Senate. Your financial contributions helped me fight over $50 million dollars from Washington insiders who did not want me to bring the truth about God and our Constitution to Washington D. C.
     I don't know where the fuck he got $50 million dollars (sic) from, since the DNC establishment and the Democratic Senate essentially let Doug Jones twist in the wind until literally the last minute. Notice right wingers start whingeing and whining about big money in politics only after they get outspent and out voted.
I have no regrets!
     I regret nothing!
Together we fought the good fight, we finished our course, and we have kept the faith. And we do not intend to quit! The future of our children and grandchildren is at stake.
     ...because Roy Moore is still on the loose in Alabama.
I now face another vicious attack from lawyers in Washington D. C. and San Francisco who have hired one of the biggest firms in Birmingham Alabama to bring another legal action against me and ensure that I never fight again.
     However, nowhere in his constant hard begging for hundreds of thousands of dollars does Moore ever tell us why he's being sued and what the charges are.
However, I will trust God that he will allow truth to prevail against the unholy forces of evil behind their attack.
     You would think an evangelical bozo such as Moore would know enough to capitalize the pronoun "He" when speaking about God. Then again, everything this asshole knows about the Bible is in Leviticus. And, gee, I've never heard of a Blue Dog Democrat such as Doug Jones being included in with "the unholy forces of evil."
I have lawyers who want to help but they are not without cost and besides their fees, legal expenses could run over $100,000. I have had to establish a “legal defense fund, anything you give will be appreciated.
     So, just on the safe side, I'm going to ask for two and a half times that amount. Trust me, it'll all get spent on billable hours. Or, something...
The liberal media, in association with some who want to destroy our Country do not want my influence in the 2018 elections and are doing everything they can to stop me.
     Note that Moore, a shitty Christian but ever the white nationalist, makes sure he capitalizes "Country" even when it doesn't have to be. And doing "everything they (could) to stop (him)" was called a free election in a democracy.
Gays, lesbians, and transgenders have joined forces with those who believe in abortion, sodomy, and destruction of all that we hold dear. Unless we stand together we will lose our Country.
Christians can no longer afford to remain silent in these “perilous” times. For we know that in such time men shall be come lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
      Gays, lesbians and transgenders such as this. for instance?
     And if the incontinent are included among your enemies, does that mean David "Huggies" Vitter is one of your antagonists?
     And don't ask me why he put "perilous" in scare quotes. These certainly are perilous times, thanks in large part to his reluctant cheerleader, Donald Trump.
     But Moore may have a point about men who are lovers of selves. After all, that's the kind of man who would endlessly bitch and complain about losing an election in which... Oh, wait. He meant that in an Onanistic way. Gotcha.
We must fight, an appeal to the God of Heaven is all that is left us! Please help me fight this battle for the heart and soul of this Nation. Your financial contribution to my legal defense fund is crucial. After over 40 years of public service I cannot back down now.
     We will fight them on the playgrounds, we will fight them in the Chuck E. Cheese's and the McDonald's ball pits...
When I stood to bring these values and truths to Washington D. C. I was forced to fight the Washington establishment, the Republican Party, the Democrat Party, the ultra-liberal media and people such asGeorge Soros, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and many others who fear the truth. I’m sure that you cannot imagine how this has taken a toll on my wife, my children, and even my friends.
     You mean the Republican Party that was holding out some vain hope that you would, pardon the phrase, pull it out so they could get your vote on the tax scam bill? And what's this "ultra-liberal media" of which you speak, stranger? Perhaps, compared to your Apocalyptic world view, Fox "News" would look a little less conservative than it is but it's impossible to see what you mean by an ultra-liberal media.
My resources have been depleted and I have struggled to make ends meet
     OK, time out here, time out. Do you not own a 4300 square foot home in Etowah complete with a seven car garage and horse stables well-stocked with horses and had the valuation of your home reduced by over $41,000 to lower your property taxes? Did you not skim over $1,000,000 from a nonprofit charity you ran with your wife? Is the land upon which your charity sits not valued at $540,000? Do you not receive $180,000 annually for part time work for said charity after claiming you had no regular income?
     I suppose that's all "ultra-liberal" bullshit troweled out in your own financial disclosure forms.
But I have not lost my faith in our God, who is our true source of strength and will never leave or forsake us. I am truly thankful for your support, your cards, letters and words of encouragement.
     He especially likes the cards with little girls on the front.
As I was writing this letter, a young lady handed me a note from her brother, Steven and a cash contribution of $84. This is what Steven wrote:
“I read your book and am currently reading your court opinion on gay marriage. Sir, you are an American hero. You have inspired me. I won’t forget the poems of yours that I’ve read or the stands you’ve made against those trying to disfigure our Country and its heritage. I and so many others are with you, sir, and will help in any way to defend your character.”
     I guess part of that "disfigurement" is insisting that America was not exactly at its best during the days of slavery. At least, that isn't as bad a disfigurement as Roy Moore's ultra right wing poetry disfigured the English language.
Steven’s $84 will be deposited in my defense fund as he wished, and his words of encouragement will continually remind me of others who have expressed similar sentiments.
     Because, considering Steven's odd amount, I will just naturally assume it is not all his allowance or babysitting money he's given me and I'll make sure it gets spent on artificial insemination for Sassy. And if she foals a boy, I'll be sure to name it after you.
I do not profess to be a hero, but I will not forget so many who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve this land and our form of government, with which we have been truly blessed.
     Good thing, too, because I can't think of any heroes who were barred from a mall for ogling underage girls.
Thank you in advance for anything you can give to help me in my defense, and if you can’t give, I would appreciate your prayers and moral support.
May God bless you!
                    Sincerely,
                    Judge Roy Moore
     How about thoughts and prayers, instead? I'll think of you being in prison and pray it happens within my lifetime.
P.S. The political Left is filled with men and women whose sole aim in life is to overthrow our God-ordained rights which are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. It is your responsibility and mine to stand up to this vile encroachment on our rights, and defend that for which the Founding Fathers sacrificed so greatly. Please send a generous gift today to the Roy Moore Legal Defense Fund to help me defeat, once and for all, those who would destroy America in order to usher in their anti-Christian “kingdom.” May the Lord richly bless you as you stand with me in this critical fight!
     Would those be the Founding Fathers who put up that wall separating church and state, a wall you'd unsuccessfully tried to knock down as if it was a sand castle built by a five year-old and which got you fired as Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice for the first of two times?

Shots at the White House

     Shots have been fired at the White House. How's that lack of working, guys? Our country's turned into an action movie.
     

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Intergender Wrestling Title is Not Safe

     Because Jailbird Joe Chadwick has got his sights set on it. And, unlike Andy Kaufman's stunt in the 80's, this ain't performance art.
     Today, a well-placed source gave me this tip that's the best, yet. And while I hate writing about this evolutionary dropout who's been stalking and harassing me for going on four years, how could I not write about something like this?
     That's Chadwick's GoFundMe page for funding to further his dream of being a professional wrestler. Yes, at age 37, he's trying to break into the ranks of men who are essentially steroid engorged human dinosaurs and he needs just $15,000 of your hard-earned money for him to achieve that end. (To date, he's only collected $148, $50 from his twin brother Danny, just enough for a large jar of protein powder or maybe 50 Intergender Champion tee shirts).
     Now, far be it for me to drag the stylus across any middle aged guy playing "Gonna Fly Now" while he prepares to run up and down the steps of the Weber County Sheriff's Department and get chased by Farr West's trailer park sterno bums and stray dogs. But I'm thinking this is, to put it charitably, a new career path for our Pal Joey. He's back in Farr West, to judge from the visits I've been getting lately from a certain IP address using one of XO Communications' free wifi access networks and the usual idiotic comments that get deleted unread as spam.
     I'm thinking this completely different career trajectory is a response to getting shit-canned from King Solomon, which graciously allowed Chadwick to fail upward after he couldn't cut it as a content creator and was made an executive that essentially consisted of him screaming on the phone to elderly authors and extorting money from them to get their own rights back.
     Even though Jailbird Joe never told his so-called fan base about it, he never mentioned that sweet deal at Masada/King Solomon or his move to Israel (His profile on GoFundMe lists him in Ogden, Utah). I think maybe this time, actually mentioning that gig that he got 23 months ago would be an equivocation. Because leave it to Dickhead Dave Chadwick to fuck up the sweetest gig that he ever had handed to him in his privileged, right wing excuse of a life.
     So, are you listening, Vince McMahon? There's a new wrestler in town and all he needs is $14,852 more to realize his dream of maybe tag teaming with his other obsessive interest, Becky Lynch. He needs money for training, for theme music (Like this, for instance). After all, we've seen novelty wrestlers such as midgets. Why not open a division for mental flyweights?

Breaking News

     ...and Welcome Back to Gotham City ensures it stays broken.

     Looks as if Ben Carson might be having a yard sale of barely-used furniture. By now, you may have heard that our hoity toity HUD Secretary ordered over $31,500 of custom dining furniture as part of his office's renovation. Anything over $5000 for an official's office renovation requires Congressional approval. Carson claims to be completely surprised by this order to renovate his own office even though his wife Candy (Yes, her actual name is Candy) strong-armed an aide to find a way to circumvent the $5,000 spending limit. This apparently, was so excessive that Trey Gowdy, who recently announced he's not seeking re-election, found his inner fiscal hawk and sent Carson's soon-to-be renovated office a three page letter explaining the order. Trump's also pretty furious about it. You know, the guy who bankrupted the Secret Service within six months.

     Last week, you may heard about the son of Sun Myung Moon planning on holding a blessing ceremony for parishioners' AR-15s. Well, the stupid bastards went ahead and did it, and they terrorized the local community so much, the nearby school canceled classes for that day.
     Here's an actual shot of them during their blessing ceremony. I don't know, maybe it's me but does this remind anyone of something else that looks familiar?
     Yeah, that's it.
     Hey, at least these Moonies aren't religious fundamentalist extremists like those other guys, huh?

     Cue "Another One Bites the Dust". Today, Hope Hicks, who'd just testified that she'd told "little white lies" for Donald Trump before the House Intelligence Committee, became the 33rd administration official to leave or get fired in the 13 months of this reality shit show we're forced to call an administration. To put that into better perspective, that''s an average of nearly three departures a month and Hicks is the third Communications Director to leave or get fired, making that post the Star Trek red shirt of the US government. Apparently, Trump's former squeeze and wife beater Rob Porter's former squeeze and woman-abusing Corey Lewandowski'a former squeeze, was berated by Trump right after her testimony, calling her "stupid." Even for a woman who continually gets romantically involved with misogynists, this was too much for her.
     Yes, Trump called her stupid, the same stable genius who said we need to do something about women giving birth in their ninth month.

     By now, you no doubt have heard about Jared Kushner's security clearance downgrade. There are three major reasons for this: Russia, Russia and Russia. It also had something to do with four different nations (surprisingly, neither of the ones listed by the WaPo included Russia) that spoke about how to exploit Kushner partly because of his financial troubles and using that for leverage (Kind of like something out of a mob movie: "Do dis fer me an' th' slate'll be rubbed clean, capish?"). Another reason is Kushner lying on his SF86 form and the two subsequent revisions to it that gave him two more opportunities to come clean about over 100 contacts with Russian officials, including the now infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Don Jr, Kushner and Manafort with a Kremlin-linked lawyer and spy and a former KGB agent. And the biggest reason why Kushner had his clearance downgraded was because of the Mueller probe, which has Trump's son in law squarely in its cross hairs. Amazingly, despite lying about over 100 Russian contacts, some with very high-ranking officials and spies, this man still has a job at the White House.

     Gee, trickle down economics doesn't work... again! Who could've predicted that?

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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