Humour: A New Weapon In The Arsenal

I came across this piece by Nicholas Kristof yesterday and thought it quite fitting!  Rather like a spoiled toddler, Trump thrives on attention, even negative attention, but the one thing he cannot stand is to be made fun of, to be mocked.  And let’s face it … there is much to mock from his inability to string together a coherent sentence to that creature residing atop his head!


To Beat Trump, Mock Him

The lesson from pro-democracy fighters abroad: Humor deflates authoritarian rulers.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof

Opinion Columnist

Can critics of President Trump learn something from pro-democracy movements in other countries?

Most Americans don’t have much experience confronting authoritarian rulers, but people around the globe are veterans of such struggles. And the most important lesson arguably is “laughtivism”: the power of mockery.

Denouncing dictators has its place, but sly wit sometimes deflates them more effectively. Shaking one’s fist at a leader doesn’t win people over as much as making that leader a laughingstock.

“Every joke is a tiny revolution,” George Orwell wrote in 1945.

American progressives have learned by now that frontal attacks aren’t always effective against Trump. Impeaching Trump seemed to elevate him in the polls. A majority of Americans agree in a Quinnipiac poll that Trump is a racist, yet he still may win re-election. Journalists count Trump’s deceptions (more than 20,000 since he assumed the presidency) and chronicle accusations of sexual misconduct against him (26 so far), yet he seems coated with Teflon: Nothing sticks.

America has had “Baby Trump” balloons, “Saturday Night Live” skits and streams of Trump memes and jokes. But all in all, Trump opponents tend to score higher on volume than on wit. So, having covered pro-democracy campaigns in many other countries, I suggest that Americans aghast at Trump absorb a lesson from abroad: Authoritarians are pompous creatures with monstrous egos and so tend to be particularly vulnerable to humor. They look mighty but are often balloons in need of a sharp pin.

Even before it collapsed, the moral authority of the Soviet Union had been hollowed out by endless jokes. In one, a secret policeman asks another, “What do you think of the regime?” Nervously, the second policeman replies, “The same as you, comrade.” At that point the first one pulls out handcuffs and says, “In that case, it is my duty to arrest you.”

Are the stakes too serious to laugh? Does cracking jokes devalue a democracy struggle? I don’t think so. One of the most successful examples of laughtivism came two decades ago when university students took on the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia. Milosevic committed genocide and isn’t an obvious target of humor — but the students’ wit helped topple him.

A typical stunt: They taped a picture of Milosevic on the side of a barrel and invited passers-by to take a swing at it with a baseball bat. The resulting photos of the police “arresting” the barrel and hauling it away were widely publicized and made Milosevic seem less mighty and more ridiculous. In 2000, Milosevic was ousted and handed over to an international tribunal to be tried for war crimes.

Here in the United States, we’ve also seen the power of wit. One of the most effective critics of “Boss Tweed” and Tammany Hall in the 19th century was Thomas Nast, the cartoonist. And Senator Joseph McCarthy’s nemesis, and the man who coined the term “McCarthyism,” was the cartoonist Herblock.

(Don’t tell my editors, but cartoonists, now an endangered species, are often more incisive social and political critics than columnists.)

In South Africa, the cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro skewered President Jacob Zuma so deftly and often that he was arguably one reason Zuma was forced to resign in 2018. Zuma sued Shapiro, whose response was a cartoon in which Zuma rages that he will sue for “damage to my reputation.” Shapiro coolly responds, “Would that be your reputation as a disgraced chauvinist demagogue who can’t control his sexual urges and who thinks a shower prevents AIDS?”

In Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak was toppled the same year in part because of the work of another cartoonist, Zulkiflee Anwar Haque, who persevered despite prosecutions and physical attacks.

That’s one gauge of the power of humor: Dictators fear mockery. The Committee to Protect Journalists says it has intervened this year alone to defend seven cartoonists around the world who were arrested, threatened with prosecution or threatened with death.

In Russia, the dissident Aleksei Navalny uses withering sarcasm in his efforts to bring democracy to Russia. Navalny, now recovering in Germany from what apparently was an attempt by Russian officials to murder him with Novichok nerve gas, responded to Russian suggestions that he had poisoned himself:

“I boiled Novichok in the kitchen, quietly took a sip of it in the plane and fell into a coma,” he wrote on Instagram. “Ending up in an Omsk morgue where the cause of death would be listed as ‘lived long enough’ was the ultimate goal of my cunning plan. But Putin outplayed me.”

Leaders like Trump who pose as religious are particularly easy to skewer, as Iranians have shown in their use of humor to highlight the hypocrisy of their own mullahs. Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi is still nicknamed “Crocodile” because of a cartoon many years ago by Nik Kowsar, who now lives in exile in America because hard-liners arrested him and threatened to murder him.

No, I won’t be drawing cartoons or trying stand-up. I know my limitations. But I’m frustrated by the lack of traction that earnest critiques of Trump get, and I think it’s useful to learn lessons about how people abroad challenged authoritarians and pointed out their hypocrisy with the simple precision of mockery.

I’m also frustrated that some forceful criticisms of Trump sometimes come across to undecided voters as strident or over the top. People like me are accused of suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, and our arguments are dismissed precisely because they are so fervent.

Something similar happens in many countries. Citizens who aren’t political are often wary of pro-democracy leaders who are perceived as radical, as irreligious or as overeducated elitists. But those ordinary citizens appreciate a joke, so humor becomes a way to win them over.

“The grins of the people are the nightmares of the dictators,” wrote Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 while in prison. He is best-known for his eloquent essays calling for democracy, but he argued that humor is also essential in undermining authoritarian rulers.

Liu generously added — and this may be relevant to a polarized country like the United States — that satirizing an authoritarian is good for the nation because it makes the eventual downfall and transition softer and less violent.

“A clown needs less revenge than a monster does,” he observed.

For Decades ALEC Has Kept Workers’ Wages Stagnant While They Inserted A Leader Like Trump

Gronda is baaaaack! Want to know how the current occupant of the Oval Office is getting by with murder? The answer is in this post. Thank you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Syndicated cartoon: Negative campaign ads; secret donors; dark money | Columnists | tulsaworld.com

It’s my contention that the current Trumpian GOP political candidates have become so addicted to the easy monies provided by GOP dark money conservative ALEC type donors to where they fear the money spigot being turned off  more than any backlash from even their own voters.

My question is, Why isn’t there more recent media coverage to out these “dark money (Alec/ Federalist Society) rich donors who have been using their power to pull the strings of President Trump, the Supreme Court and to cut off the legs of legislators who don’t kowtow to their demands?

Try this experiment. Whenever President Trump acts in a way that seems politically clueless, ponder as to how his actions benefit conservative GOP ALEC type corporate leaders and then, you’ll figure out what’s really happening.

Note: This blog is based on a previously published post on 12/29/2018.

As per the EPI Economic Policy Institute…

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Think Trump’s Not Moving Toward Total Autocracy? This International Analyst Knows the Signs Too Well…

Earlier today, I re-blogged a post from Annie of annieasksyou fame, and this evening I am sharing another. Annie has collected a series of observations made by International Analyst Michael McFaul that paint a picture that is … chilling. Please do take a minute to check it out. Thanks again, Annie!

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Michael McFaul, Stanford University

[Note from Annie:I’ve extracted from Twitter a series of observations made by Michael McFaul last week after viewing the Republican National Convention that I think form a compelling picture of the dangers we’ll face if we don’t remove President Trump from office in November.(The emphases are mine.)

McFaul served as Special Assistant to President Obama and Senior Director for Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council at the White House from 2009 to 2012, and then as the United States Ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014. The author of several books and an academic at Stanford, he cites his research interests as American foreign policy, great power relations, and the relationship between democracy and development.]

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For those of us who study autocracies, including elections in autocracies, there were a lot of familiar messages, symbols, and methods on display this week…

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The Choice

Blogger friend Annie posted this post earlier this month (where has September gone???) and it is an excellent and timely reminder for those who may still be sitting on the fence about the November election. Please take a few minutes to read. Thank you, Annie & Infidel!

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[Note from Annie: I feel the post below, written by my fellow blogger Infidel753, is so thoughtful and persuasive that I’m featuring it here.Infidel’s highly informative, provocative, and often entertaining blog may be accessed at infidel753.blogspot.com.]

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This November, one of two things will happen. Either Biden will be elected president, or Trump will be re-elected. Many people fervently believe there should be some third option. There isn’t. It’s going to be one of those two.

This post is addressed to those who, for whatever reason, don’t like Biden. Maybe you consider him too centrist or too old or too old-fashioned or “Republican-lite” or whatever. Maybe you think the Tara Reade accusation has credibility (though there are good reasons to believe otherwise). Maybe you think the process by which millions of rank-and-file Democrats chose the nominee (from among a remarkably large and varied group of candidates) was tainted…

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Roger Stone Strikes Again

I have long been against the death penalty, but I think I could make an exception in the case of Roger Stone. On July 10, Trump commuted a 40-month prison sentence that was handed down to Stone after he was convicted of lying to Congress and tampering with witnesses as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into 2016 election interference. Namely, Stone lied to Congress about his contacts with WikiLeaks, which released hacked emails with the aim of boosting Trump’s prospects. In the weeks leading up to the commutation, Stone made a number of media appearances where he asked Trump to grant him clemency and said that in exchange, he could be a more effective campaigner for the president’s 2020 reelection efforts.  Well, he is living up to that promise.roger-stoneLast Thursday, Stone made a video appearance on Alex Jones’ conspiracy theory program, InfoWars.  Stone declared that the only legitimate outcome to the 2020 election would be a Trump victory. He made this assertion on the basis of his entirely unfounded claim that early voting has been marred by widespread voter fraud.

Stone argued that “the ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshalls and taken from the state” because “they are completely corrupted” and falsely said that “we can prove voter fraud in the absentees right now.” He specifically called for Trump to have absentee ballots seized in Clark County, Nevada, an area that leans Democratic. Stone went on to claim that “the votes from Nevada should not be counted; they are already flooded with illegals” and baselessly suggested that former Senator Harry Reid (a democrat from Nevada) should be arrested and that Trump should consider nationalizing Nevada’s state police force.

Are you growling yet?  Just wait … it gets even better.

Stone recommended that Trump consider several actions to retain his power. Stone recommended that Trump appoint former Representative Bob Barr, a republican from Georgia, as a special counsel “with the specific task of forming an Election Day operation using the FBI, federal marshals, and Republican state officials across the country to be prepared to file legal objections and if necessary to physically stand in the way of criminal activity.”

Stone also urged Trump to consider declaring “martial law” or invoking the Insurrection Act and then using his powers to arrest Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, “the Clintons” and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity.”  Apparently, Stone defines “illegal activity” as anything that is not supportive of Donald Trump!  In essence, I am engaging in illegal activity by his definition simply by writing this post. roger-stone-3Now, it’s easy enough to write Stone off as the nutcase he is, but the danger here is that in the past he has been one of the people Trump listened to.  Is he still?  Are there saner heads in the Trump administration who would … or could … talk Trump out of following Roger Stone’s clearly unconstitutional advice?  Would the republicans in Congress finally grow a pair and understand that this behaviour is in essence burning the U.S. Constitution, breaking the highest law in the land?  Would the military refuse to do Trump’s bidding, should he decide to follow Stone’s advice?  Would William Barr finally decide to do his job instead of toadying up to Trump?

Yes, I hear you saying, “It’s not possible.  Even Trump wouldn’t act in such an irresponsible dictatorial manner.”  Think again.

The ‘norms’, the restraints on presidential power that are built into the Constitution, the checks and balances we once believed would ensure that we would not lose the democratic principles on which the nation was founded, have all been shattered in the past three years.  You also never imagined a president would turn on the people of this nation, calling them anarchists and criminals, simply because we don’t agree with him.  You also never dreamed a president would have so little regard for our lives that he would keep the secret of a deadly virus and encourage us to go out and be exposed, and if we die, well, “it is what it is”.  Think back … there are hundreds of things he has done that you never thought possible.

I told you this morning how the Trump administration is once again playing Russian roulette with our lives, altering and manipulating CDC data so as to not “make Trump look bad”.  The agencies we have always counted on to protect us are now agents of Donald Trump and are diligently seeking to undermine our freedoms, our Constitution, our alliances, and in fact our very lives.  So, is it really such a stretch to believe that Trump might impose martial law, or break the law to devalue our election?  Are we really so sure the safeguards are strong enough to hold against a corrupt president and his band of boot-licking sycophants?  Think about it.

“It Is What It Is” Says He

According to the latest reported numbers, the U.S. now has 6,676,601 total cases of the coronavirus, and 198,828 total deaths.  Both of those statistics are under-reported.  Let’s be clear, the daily “new cases” number has been significantly smaller of late, but NOT because we have fewer cases!  It is a result of a combination of things, including less testing being done, per Donald Trump’s orders.  Remember when he said that if we did less testing, we would have fewer cases?  Only an imbecile would make such a statement, but it is Trump we’re talking about here.  But there’s more … there seems to be some outright manipulation of the numbers.

From a Politico report yesterday …

The health department’s politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals.

In some cases, emails from communications aides to CDC Director Robert Redfield and other senior officials openly complained that the agency’s reports would undermine President Donald Trump’s optimistic messages [emphasis added] about the outbreak, according to emails reviewed by POLITICO and three people familiar with the situation.

Now listen, folks.  I know all about political gaming and I know that with Donald Trump, everything is a game, is all about him, his image, his profit, and what benefits him.  BUT these are our lives he and his adoring sycophants are playing with and I’m sick and damn tired of it!  We are not simply Donald Trump’s chattel to play with as he wishes!

The story continues …

But since Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign official with no medical or scientific background, was installed in April as the Health and Human Services department’s new spokesperson, there have been substantial efforts to align the reports with Trump’s statements, including the president’s claims that fears about the outbreak are overstated, or stop the reports altogether.

Caputo and his team have attempted to add caveats to the CDC’s findings, including an effort to retroactively change agency reports that they said wrongly inflated the risks of Covid-19 and should have made clear that Americans sickened by the virus may have been infected because of their own behavior, according to the individuals familiar with the situation and emails reviewed by POLITICO.

Caputo’s team also has tried to halt the release of some CDC reports, including delaying a report that addressed how doctors were prescribing hydroxychloroquine, the malaria drug favored by Trump as a coronavirus treatment despite scant evidence. The report, which was held for about a month after Caputo’s team raised questions about its authors’ political leanings, was finally published last week. It said that “the potential benefits of these drugs do not outweigh their risks.”

As a CPA, I once worked for a company that asked me to make the monthly revenue numbers match the predictions the managers had sent to the corporate offices earlier in the month.  In other words, alter the facts to mirror the projection.  I refused and gave my notice the next morning.  It’s called ‘integrity’.  Facts and statistics cannot be tampered with to make a corporate manager or politician look good, for at that point they are no longer facts and statistics but are mere fantasy. Just as financial reports should have integrity, so should reports about how many people are sick and dying because of the greed and cruelty of the so-called president.

We the People cannot make wise decisions if we don’t have the facts.  Period.  If we had believed Trump back in the first quarter of this year, we would have gone on about our merry way, exposing ourselves on a daily basis … oh wait, that is what a lot of people, mainly Trump supporters, did, and that is why our death toll will surpass 300,000 by the end of this year!

And we now know, thanks to Bob Woodward’s book, Rage, coming out on Tuesday, that not only did Trump lie to us, but he did so fully knowing that lives would be lost as a result of his lies.  And now … he’s trying to fit a square peg into a round hole as he has his minions trying to manipulate the actual numbers.  Now, we have no credible source of information.  Now, we are entirely on our own to try to figure out what is safe and what isn’t.  And we will never know how many cases there actually were in the U.S., nor how many died as a result of the pandemic when they could have been saved if only Trump had put us ahead of his own financial & political gain.  Remember last month, when in an interview where he was being questioned about the death toll, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “It is what it is.”  That is how much he cares about you, me, or anybody else.

trump-coronavirus

Snarky Snippets Sunday!

Ol’ Snarky is back with more Snippets …


It would seem that the power of the office of the president has gone to Trump’s head, giving him the mistaken illusion that he controls far more than the law allows.  But then, ol’ Bill Barr has said that Trump is “above the law”, so I guess he figures he can do whatever he likes.  Much of what he has done could be challenged as overstepping the bounds of his position, but perhaps his greatest crime is his assault on the freedom of the press.  The latest?  He is ‘demanding’ that a reporter be fired.

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the article in The Atlantic detailing Trump’s denigration of the military, of men and women who gave their lives for this country.  Other news outlets picked up on the story, some adding their own knowledge of incidents of Trump’s insulting attitude to American soldiers.  Even Fox ‘News’ national security correspondent, Jennifer Griffin, confirmed in a Twitter thread that Trump called soldiers “suckers”, had questioned why anyone would want to become a soldier and had not wanted to honor war dead at the Aisne-Marne cemetery in France.

“Two former sr Trump admin officials confirm .@JeffreyGoldberg reporting that President Trump disparaged veterans and did not want to drive to honor American war dead at Aisne-Marne Cemetery outside Paris.

According to one former senior Trump administration official: “When the President spoke about the Vietnam War, he said, ‘It was a stupid war. Anyone who went was a sucker’.”

This former official heard the President say about American veterans: “What’s in it for them? They don’t make any money.” Source: “It was a character flaw of the President. He could not understand why someone would die for their country, not worth it.”

I read the source a few quotes from The Atlantic article. This former Trump admin official said, “The President would say things like that. He doesn’t know why people join the military. He would muse, ‘Why do they do it’?”

Re: trip to mark 100th anniversary of WW I

Source: “The President was not in a good mood. Macron had said something that made him mad about American reliability and the need perhaps for a European army. He questioned why he had to go to two cemeteries. ‘Why do I have to do two’?”

President Trump’s staff explained he could cancel (his visit to the cemetery), but he was warned, ‘They (the press) are going to kill you for this’.” The President was mad as a hornet when they did.

When asked IF the President could have driven to the Aisne-Marne Cemetery, this former official said confidently:

“The President drives a lot. The other world leaders drove to the cemeteries. He just didn’t want to go.”

Regarding Trump’s July 4th military parade, during a planning session at the White House after seeing the Bastille Day parade in 2017, the President said regarding the inclusion of “wounded guys” “that’s not a good look” “Americans don’t like that,” source confirms.

Regarding McCain, “The President just hated John McCain. He always asked, ‘Why do you see him as a hero?” Two sources confirmed the President did not want flags lowered but others in the White House ordered them at half mast. There was a stand off and then the President relented.

And now, Trump is calling for her to be fired …

“Jennifer Griffin should be fired for this kind of reporting. Never even called us for comment. Fox News is gone!”

If it were The Washington Post, New York Times, or any other legitimate news outlet, I would not be concerned, for they would just ignore him.  But this is Fox, his bootlickers, owners of such characters as Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.  Keep an eye on this ball, folks, for if she is fired, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that Trump will target other journalists and chip away at the freedom of the press even more than he has already done.


I found a bit of humour in this one.  Yesterday, there was an event organized on Lake Travis, near Austin, Texas.  The event, organized on Facebook, was called Lake Travis Trump Boat Parade.  Steve Salinas, one of the organizers of the event, said it was “one way that Trump supporters can get out and express themselves without causing too much trouble or congestion in streets.”

Now, it seems unclear how many boats were on the lake for this event, but all of a sudden, the boats started sinking!  It is also unclear just how many boats sank … the Travis County Sheriff said it was still uncertain, and the New York Times reports at least four, possibly more.  The weather was only a bit breezy, not enough to cause boats to sink. Lake-Travis-boatFirefighters rescued several people and there are no reports of death or serious injury.  Last I checked, the cause was still ‘under investigation’, but the Sheriff’s Department says there is no reason at this time to suspect foul play.  My granddaughter suggested that perhaps Mother Nature is trying to tell Trump supporters something!

Some of the comments on the Facebook page were fun …

  • On Twitter they have dubbed it #Dumbkirk 😂
  • This was obvious antifa/BLM sabotage
  • Boater suppression!!
  • Insurance companies will deny the claims, since the boats had pre-existing conditions.
  • This is good, but I look forward to the trump Hindenburg parade in November even more

Another similar boating event, Nation’s Capital Trumptilla Boat Parade And Rally, is scheduled for 1:00 this afternoon on the Potomac River.  While I hope nobody is injured, I can’t help wishing them to have the same luck as the bunch at Lake Travis had!


Once again, the Republicans have proven just how low they are willing to stoop.  You may remember the name Marjorie Taylor Greene, the republican from Georgia who, despite her affiliation with the hate/conspiracy group QAnon, won the Republican primary for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Doug Jones.  Well, she seems to have a nasty streak longer than my right arm.marjory-taylor-greeneThis week, she posted an advertisement on Facebook featuring an image of herself holding a rifle with photos of three liberal congresswomen of color and the vow to “go on the offense” against members of the “Squad,” an unprecedented threat against lawmakers from a probable future colleague.

The three congresswomen, of course, were the same three that Donald Trump said should “go back” to the countries they came from: Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from New York, and Representative Rashida Tlaib from Michigan.  All three women, by the way, are U.S. citizens and all but Ms. Omar were born in the U.S.

Ms. Greene’s post claimed …

“Hate America leftists want to take this country down. Politicians have failed this country. I’m tired of seeing weak, Establishment Republicans play defense. Our country is on the line. America needs fighters who speak the truth.”

Facebook removed the post on Friday, saying it violated its policies against incitement of violence.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday called on top House Republican Kevin McCarthy to condemn Greene’s “dangerous threat of violence against Democratic Congresswomen.”  But, of course, McCarthy is just another Trump bootlicker, and Trump has already expressed his support for Ms. Greene and his disdain for the three duly-elected congresswomen.

Ms. Greene is person of little or no character, rather like Trump himself, and the Republicans in Congress who fail to denounce her behavior have shown themselves to be of equally low character.  Period.  I hope to see the vast majority of them voted out of office in November, and I further hope that Ms. Greene never sees the inside of the Capitol!

Liars And Cheaters!

Steve Scalise is 54 years old and a member of the United States House of Representatives from the state of Louisiana.  Dan Scavino is 44 years old and currently serves as the White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and Director of Social Media.  Both of these men are legally and by most standards considered to be adults.  And yet, they have behaved in a manner more befitting 12-year-old children.

Steve-ScaliseSteve Scalise tweeted a video that spliced together footage from an interview between, Ady Barkan, who has ALS and speaks using a computerized artificial voice, and Biden.  In the original video, Barkan asks Biden if he can agree that “we can redirect some of the funding,” for police departments toward mental health services, to which Biden replies, “Yes.”

The clip tweeted out by Scalise, however, splices in the words “for police” from one of Barkan’s other questions to make it sound as if Barkan is asking Biden if he agrees they can “redirect some of the funding for police.”

Scalise used the tweet to promote the popular and false talking point that Democrats are responsible for sowing unrest as protests continue nationwide following shootings of Black people by police, adding in his tweet: “No police. Mob rule. Total chaos. That’s the result of the Democrat agenda.”  Barkan did not appreciate Scalise’s little trick, saying …

“These are not my words. I have lost my ability to speak, but not my agency or my thoughts. You and your team have doctored my words for your own political gain. Please remove this video immediately. You owe the entire disability community an apology.”

Ady-BarkanI had never heard of Mr. Barkan until tonight, but he gets two thumbs up from me!  Scalise did take the tweet down, but that isn’t the point.  The point is that an adult, a member of one of the highest governmental authorities in the nation, would lie and cheat, for that is exactly what a doctored video is … a lie, an attempt to cheat.  I thought Steve Scalise was a better man than that, but obviously I was wrong.

Dan-ScavinoDan Scavino also posted a manipulated video, this one purporting to show Joe Biden falling asleep during a live television interview.  According to Snopes …

This was not a genuine video of Biden during a television interview.

This was a mashup combining a 2011 clip of singer Harry Belafonte and a misleading clip of Biden during the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

The video of Belafonte comes from an appearance the then-84-year-old singer made on KBAK, a California television station, in October 2011. After the video went viral, Belafonte’s spokesperson released a statement blaming the singer’s “nap” on a technical glitch. The spokesperson said that Belefonte’s earpiece wasn’t working and that the singer was meditating while the issue was being worked out.

The clip of Biden comes from the 2020 Democratic National Convention. The manipulated footage appears to show Biden sleeping, but it’s clear in the original footage that Biden was never actually asleep.

The segment used in the manipulated footage comes from the moment during the DNC in which former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton endorsed Biden for president. In the full video from C-SPAN, Biden can be seen momentarily looking downward, but it doesn’t appear that he ever actually falls asleep.

The video shared by Scavino loops together a few seconds of footage from this video in which Biden either has his eyes closed or is looking downward and then plays it beneath unrelated audio of a person snoring.

Again, an adult with a responsible position, taking a salary of $179,700 per year that we the taxpayers provide, and this is the behaviour we must tolerate?

Personally, I would like to think the good people of Louisiana will abhor this juvenile behaviour on the part of their representative, Steve Scalise, and elect his democratic opponent, Lee Ann Dugas.  And as for Mr. Scavino, I will take great joy in knowing that he is likely to be fired in about five months when Joe Biden takes office.

The real danger here, folks, is that far too many people get their ‘news’ from social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or others.  These are people who are not highly educated, don’t understand much about how government works, or should work, and tend to believe whatever they read on their favourite social media platform.  They won’t stop and ask a question, or go digging for further information, or seek a fact-checker to find the truth.  Even though Scalise’s tweet was removed, by that time it had already received tens of thousands of views.  The same is true of Scavino’s tweet.  People saw, they will believe, and they will remember.  Once seen, it is unlikely to be forgotten.

Just another of the many ways in which Trump and his band of thugs are attempting to rig this election in his favour.  I wonder if there is a single republican in our government who actually possesses a conscience?  Obviously, Steve Scalise and Dan Scavino do not.

Snarky Snippets Waiting For The Asteroid

A few days ago, I read that there is a slight possibility … about .04% … that an asteroid could hit planet earth before election day.  My first thought was to cross my fingers that it lands squarely on the head of Donald Trump.  My fingers are still crossed.asteroid-trump

Meanwhile, I shall open the vent and let off some steam in the form of snarky snippets …


Penalizing the Free Press???

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist David Fahrenthold is under fire by the Trump administration.  Why?  Because of his report in The Washington Post on Thursday exposing the way in which Trump’s company has been gaining financial benefit from the Secret Service when he travels to his own properties.

“Federal spending records show that taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel …

Trump Organization charged the Secret Service — a kind of captive customer, required to follow Trump everywhere. In addition to the rentals at Mar-a-Lago, the documents show that the Trump Organization charged daily “resort fees” to Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Pence in Las Vegas and in another instance asked agents to pay a $1,300 “furniture removal charge” during a presidential visit to a Trump resort in Scotland.”

Apparently, Trump & Co took umbrage, though Mr. Fahrenthold has the facts to back up every statement in his story.  Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere issued a ‘statement’ …

“The Washington Post is blatantly interfering with the business relationships of the Trump Organization, and it must stop. Please be advised that we are building up a very large ‘dossier’ on the many false David Fahrenthold and others stories as they are a disgrace to journalism and the American people.”

Say WHAT???  Mr. Deere has a B.A. in Political Science and History from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, but apparently he never managed to take a course in Constitutional Law, else he might have a better understanding of the First Amendment as it relates to freedom of the press!

No doubt such a dossier would go back to Fahrenthold’s best-known article, the one that exposed Trump describing how he felt stardom gave him permission to assault women on the Access Hollywood videotape.

Fahrenthold responded to Deere’s threats …

“If you think the Washington Post got something wrong in a story, we want to know about it. Doesn’t have to be in dossier form, and you don’t have to be the president. We listen to everybody.”

Trump & Co need to tread very cautiously here, for their own house is riddled with vermin, the latest being multiple violations of the Hatch Act in their campaign rally known as the Trump Circus earlier this week.  We the People will not tolerate our free press being infringed upon!  We the People have every right to know where our hard-earned tax dollars are being spent, and I for one salute Mr. Fahrenthold for uncovering the fact that Trump’s businesses are benefitting from his travel.  This is a blatant ethics violation and should be public knowledge.  It only makes me wonder how many other abuses of our money are being hidden from us.


Speaking of that Hatch Act …

Doesn’t it seem to you that the “president”, the person who is tasked with ensuring the laws of the land are enforced, should … obey the laws?  Well, we all heard Attorney General Bill the Boob Barr say that Trump is ‘above the law’, but that immunity does not extend to his family and members of his administration!  There were numerous violations of the law known as the Hatch Act this past week, and this wasn’t the first time, but what made it worse this time was the blatant, in-your-face violations by more than a few people in the Trump administration, including his daughter, Ivanka.

The Hatch Act prohibits civil service employees in the executive branch of the federal government, except the president and vice president, from engaging in some forms of political activity.  Any way you cut it, the Republican National Convention is political activity.  And yet … Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared from Jerusalem, where he was on official state business, to make a campaign speech with the Old City as backdrop. Melania Trump delivered a speech from the White House Rose Garden. And acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf performed a naturalization ceremony on television as Trump looked on.

Ethics officials warned that using the White House (which, technically, belongs to We the People) as a backdrop for campaign speeches could constitute a violation of the Hatch Act, but their concerns were ignored.  And White House chief of staff Mark Meadows proved his complete disrespect for all of us when he said …

“Nobody outside of the Beltway really cares.”

Oh yes, Mr. Meadows … I REALLY CARE!  This was reminiscent of when Donald Trump first refused to make public his tax returns, saying that nobody would understand them.  BULLSHIT!  I would understand his tax returns (far better than he does, no doubt), and I DO care about the people in this administration using the power of their positions for political gain!  If we cannot trust them to follow one law, then in my opinion, we cannot trust them to obey any law.  Which makes them lawless.


Heads will roll …

The U.S. now has 187,000 deaths that we are aware of as a result of the coronavirus.  So far, Trump has pushed his uneducated theories that ingesting household disinfectants could be a cure, and has claimed that an anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, is also a cure.  Neither are true, both can be lethal, but this is what happens when you let an idiot dictate to the scientific community.  His latest promotion is for another treatment, blood plasma treatment.  This, too, is unproven as a cure for the coronavirus and may well have negative effects.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can no longer be trusted and has gone along with Trump’s touting of the blood plasma treatment, authorizing its use without further testing and against the warnings of the medical community.  FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn initially said that 35% of people could be saved by this unproven treatment.

Mr. Wayne Pines served 10 years in senior positions at the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He was FDA’s chief of consumer education and information, chief of press relations and associate commissioner for public affairs. He was the chief media spokesman for the FDA for seven years and also was the founding editor of FDA Consumer magazine.  Mr. Pines was fired last week.  Why?  Because he recommended that Hahn reverse his misleading claim on blood plasma.  Such is life in the Trump administration … you either go along, or you go out the door!

Hahn later admitted that he had “oversold” the treatment and it was more likely that only 3-5% of people might … might be helped by blood plasma treatment.  Another FDA staffer, Emily Miller, was also fired this week, after only 11 days in her job as Assistant Commissioner for Media Affairs, although I’m unclear of the reason, for she was playing along nicely with Mr. Hahn’s myth.  Perhaps she was the ‘sacrificial lamb’.


A double whammy …

The poor people of Louisiana … first they are hit with Hurricane Laura, and then in a double whammy, they are hit with Hurricane Donnie.  Donnie went to Louisiana and Texas to “survey storm damage and receive briefings on emergency operations and ongoing relief efforts”.  His appearance helps nobody and accomplishes nothing, but is yet another photo op.  Ask yourself, if he weren’t campaigning, fighting to retain his title, would he have bothered?  I think not, and I can only wonder if he took a case of paper towels to throw at people as he did when he toured Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.  Ask yourself this:  how much did this photo op cost U.S. taxpayers?  I wouldn’t begrudge any amount of money to actually provide help to the victims of the storm, but I absolutely do not wish to fund Trump’s pointless trip.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 8/29

As always on Saturday, our friend TokyoSand has picked the cream of the crop in this week’s political cartoons. She also shares a story of one of those cartoons that appalls me and I think it will you, too. Thank you, TS, for all your work on this. By the way … I did go follow Luckovich on Twitter and re-tweeted this important cartoon!

Political⚡Charge

ByMike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

As a lifelong admirer of editorial cartoonists, I love looking for the cartoons that grab my attention throughout the week and compiling my favorites for all of you. This week, the cartoonists were primarily focused on the GOP convention and the ongoing fallout from the police violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In a slight departure from what I normally do on Saturdays, which is to let the cartoons speak for themselves, I do want to point out that I picked Mike Luckovich’s “Active Shooter Drill” cartoon as the header for a very specific reason. That story is at the end of today’s roundup.

GOP Convention

ByMatt Davies, Newsday

ByClay Jones

By David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Daily Star

ByAnn Telnaes, Washington Post

ByPat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ByMichael de Adder

ByMatt Wuerker, Politico

ByTom…

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