Saturday, July 30, 2016

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Khan!


By Patrick

Sometimes our post do not need words at all, because others are speaking powerfully enough.





Click to watch Khizr Khan and his wife on Lawrence O'Donnell. As important and powerful as the original speech.


Their son, Humayun Khan:




INFORMATION FROM THE ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY WEBSITE (EXCERPTS):





When I hear about fallen soldiers, I often have to think about this song:



Monday, July 25, 2016

The Democratic National Convention has started! Now let's stick together and save the USA and the world from a madman!


By Patrick

Well, it's game on! You can have a lunatic as a president who loves dictators, or you can have Hillary Clinton, who is an accomplished politician whose husband left the the USA with a very strong economy and a big budget surplus when he left office in 1998.

Quite a lot of people want this guy, apparently:




A guy whose favorite book looks like this...




...and whose policies won't make America great again:




Some people who "felt the Bern" might think like that:



But in the end, we all need to be united:



Thursday, July 21, 2016

The last day of the Republican National Convention has started, so the horror will soon come to an end! - BONUS: Meet the real Michelle Obama!


By Patrick

Yes, the last day of the horror show has started! It really was a bad as everyone expected. Ted Cruz caused a little upset, but he had not much to lose anyway. I still expected Cruz to endorse Trump though, to be honest. In any case, Donald Trump will pretty soon be history, as his chances to win a general election are virtually zero.

I enjoyed the fact immensely that Sarah Palin was absent from the Convention. Everybody knows that she is so toxic that not even her buddy Donald Trumpolini had the power to bring her to Cleveland. The GOP just wants one thing: To forget about Sarah Palin, and I am pretty certain that the same fate awaits Donald Trump as well.

Naturally, it had been a great time for cartoonists all over the nation as well. 

Don't miss the brilliant bonus clip at the end! :-)









+++

MUST-SEE BONUS CLIP - MEET THE REAL MICHELLE OBAMA:



Monday, July 18, 2016

The Republican National Convention has started - let the fun begin!

The Republicans have gathered: Sheep or not be sheep? That is the question.

By Patrick

The Republican National Convention has started. I still believe that it could be a mass brawl. We will see!

There is a very good live stream at the Washington Post.

Actually, it already starts to get pretty rowdy.

Watch for updates.

Very useful is also the live stream at MSNBC which provides additional footage.

Also, here is the live stream at NBC.

+++

Also, please read the excellent article by Jane Mayer about Donald Trump at the "New Yorker": "Donald Trump's Ghostwriter Tells All."

+++

UPDATE:

Not just Trump's ghostwriter Tony Schwartz is speaking out. In addition, Donald Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio also gives a very revealing interview - on Austrian television:



Saturday, July 16, 2016

Donald Trump chooses Governor Mike Pence as his VP-candidate, but in the end, Donald Trump will always be about Donald Trump


By Patrick

So Donald Trump has finally a running-mate. A white man with white hair who is a rabid ultra-right-winger. Who would have thought!

Funnily, even before announcing Mike Pence as his VP, Trump already managed to make quite a fool out of Pence - Josh Marshall writes on TPM:

Newt Gingrich didn't do quite as badly. But it was close. According to the Times Gingrich confirmed by email that he still hadn't heard from Trump about his final decision, only minutes before Trump tweeted it to almost 10 million followers around the world. The pattern was the same, a deepening cycle of greater submission and more abject humiliations.

And now we have Mike Pence.

Trump apparently chose Pence or got very close to choosing him and then decided against him or got extremely cold feet. Pence, it seems, finally had to give Trump an ultimatum that he had to commit, publicly, before Friday's noon filing deadline. But now the Trump forces have managed to spread the word, through some largely irrelevant mix of intention and indiscipline, that Trump spent a day trying to get out of his commitment to Pence, doubting Pence was really someone he even wanted. So Pence gets the veep slot but at the cost of being publicly branded as someone Trump didn't want. Junk that was forced on Trump, someone to whom he owes nothing, except possibly contempt. As the Times put it in tonight's article, after his audience with Trump earlier today, "Mr. Pence did not respond to questions about Mr. Trump’s reported vacillation over choosing him."

Eventually he won't be able to ignore that question. And what will his answer possibly be? Trump has already managed to take Pence the governor of a major state and recast him as a ridiculous figure, the guy who managed to bag the vice presidential pick only to have the guy at the top of the ticket broadcast to the world that he'd rather not have him. This will hang over Pence regardless of how the ticket fares. He's also now publicly renouncing various past statements about Trump and his policies. Almost every vice presidential candidate has to do some version of this. But Trump's positions are far more extreme and the criticisms of them are too. So Trump's Muslim ban goes from being "offensive and unconstitutional" to ... well, awesome.

(Many thanks to our reader KalenaSmith for linking to this article by Josh Marshall!)

But in the end, Donald will always be about Donald, regardless the VP-choice. Donald Trump is a self-absorbed clown who does not care anything else apart from him. He is a very dangerous clown, as has often been pointed out. That some conservatives are now trying to help him coming to power is no less more dangerous than some deluded German conservatives bringing Adolf Hitler to power in 1933.




Donald Trump wants to rule as a dictator. He does not know anything else. He managed to crush the GOP-opposition, because he sensed that brute force could dominate an oversized primary-competition. He would attempt to do the same with opponents in the Senate, for example, and would most likely be successful. The immense power of the American Presidency would make it fairly easy for Donald Trump to get his way in the end.

Donald Trump is therefore also not overly concerned about the fact that the GOP might lose the Senate:

But Trump presents a much more complex weather system for his ticket-mates to navigate than either of these cases. His views are not wedded to a coherent ideological movement within his party (as Goldwater’s were), nor is his unpopularity a simple judgment on his record (as Carter’s was). Instead, Trump is a sui generis figure who must be accepted or rejected on his own terms, not artfully hedged around in the way politicians are accustomed to doing. And while Trump was undoubtedly the most popular Republican primary contestant in a field of 17, it’s still not clear how many of his opponents’ supporters will vote for their party’s pick on Election Day. For an at-risk Republican senator this fall, to back away from Trump is, by extension, to snub his millions of die-hard loyalists, the one group of party voters that is sure to show up on Nov. 8. But to go all-in for Trump is to take leave of your Republican bona fides and embrace life as a Trump Mini-Me — a gamble that not a single Republican senator up for re-election this fall appears to have the stomach for.

None of this seems to overly concern Trump. When I asked him recently whether the party’s maintaining its majority in the Senate meant anything to him, he replied: “Well, I’d like them to do that. But I don’t mind being a free agent, either.” Trump has shown similarly little interest in helping his party’s committees build the sort of war chests typically required in a campaign year. After winning the presidential nomination on a shoestring budget and with fewer paid staff members than the average candidate for governor, he has been visibly reluctant to help build much in the way of national campaign infrastructure, sending a clear message to his fellow Republicans: This fall, you’re on your own. As Ryan Williams, a strategist with the 2012 Romney presidential campaign, told me: “Traditionally, the nominee has a robust campaign that absorbs the R.N.C. effort and works in tandem with the down-ballot campaigns. We did that with Romney in 2012. This time around, there’s a complete void at the presidential level. Trump’s trying to play a game of baseball and hasn’t put out an infield.”

In addition to Kirk, there are five Republican incumbents running in states that Obama won in 2012 whose fortunes are now lashed to those of the Trump campaign: Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Marco Rubio in Florida, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Rob Portman in Ohio. In May, Ayotte offered her “support” for Trump, but a spokeswoman quickly clarified to reporters that Ayotte “hasn’t and isn’t planning to endorse anyone this cycle.” Johnson supplied messaging advice to the Trump campaign during the Wisconsin primary in April and declared the day after Trump vanquished Ted Cruz on May 3 that “I am going to certainly endorse the Republican nominee.” Two weeks later, however, Johnson ratcheted down his endorsement to Ayotte-esque “support,” warily adding that he would “be concentrating on the areas of agreement with Mr. Trump.”

Rubio, meanwhile, has remained in a state of Trump-induced torment ever since his drubbing in the presidential primaries. Before announcing that he would run again for the Senate, Rubio said that he would be “honored” to help his party’s nominee, but later hedged, saying he did not expect to speak at the Republican convention on Trump’s behalf — and finally declaring he would not attend the convention at all. “I think that the Senate needs to fulfill its role as a check and balance on the president, no matter who it is,” he said last month. This was clearly intended to suggest that, if re-elected, he would not blindly do the bidding of a President Trump — a notion that has prompted belittlement from Rubio’s Democratic opponents. “What’s so funny about that premise is that Rubio’s the only Senate candidate we’re running against who has proven he’s ineffective at standing up to Donald Trump,” Sadie Weiner, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s communications director, told me.



So let's hope that Mike Pence is not becoming the next Franz von Papen, who once wanted to "tame" Hitler:



+++

One more cartoon:


+++

Have a nice weekend, everybody!

+++

COMEDY BONUS:



Saturday, July 9, 2016

In "Gun Nation USA", everybody is a victim


By Patrick

In "Gun Nation USA", everybody is a victim.

The police.

The black.

The white.

The old.

The young.

The children.

The mothers.

The fathers.

The Christians.

The Muslims.

The Jews.

The Atheists.

The good,

The bad.

The citizens.

The foreigners.

The illegals.

The gun owners.

The ones who don't own guns.

+++

What more is there to say?

It should not be like that.

+++

Some documentaries for education and reflection:

"Gun Crazy USA":




Inside Story Americas - What fuels the love for guns in the US?




Crossfire : The politics of gun rights and gun control - the fifth estate




The following last clip is particularly good...

The state of gun violence in the US, explained in 18 charts:



+++

In addition, this chart from the BBC-website speaks for itself:


+++

Pray for the victims, and for America:



Zed Nelson, photo from "Gun Nation": Columbine High School shooting victim John Tomlin Jr.'s pick-up truck in the school parking lot. He parked his truck the morning of April 20, 1999, and never returned to pick it up. The following day people began to lay flowers and notes on it. In the days following the tragedy the family visited the truck, and sat in the cab and cried, and left their own flowers and messages, trying to make sense of their sudden and unexpected loss. It was still there ten days later, piled high with wilting flowers.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit: It's like having a very bad dream, except that it's not a dream


By Patrick

Yes, it's Brexit again, because I am still pretty, pretty upset. Rabblerousers like Nigel Farage and others managed to convince a majority of the Britons that "Brexit" would be good for them, would give them back their "freedom" and would remove all these strange foreign looking people from the streets. What they didn't tell them is that "Brexit" would cause a catastrophe of epic proportions, and would economically devastate Britain for decades to come. What a shame.

Some people might believe that the EU is just part of an evil German conspiracy, with Angela Merkel trying to conquer Europe and suppress the other member states. Nigel Farage probably believes something like that. He is an idiot, and together with other idiots, like Boris Johnson, now leads Britain into the abyss.

The EU spent billions of British pounds in Britain each year, in order to help those regions which are disadvantaged, as well as in order to help farmers.

Cornwall in England for example received billions of pounds from the EU over several years, but the majority of the voters still voted for the "Brexit." They are now waking up to a grim reality:




So what has the evil EU been doing in Cornwall all these years?

Quote:

Newsagent Nick Carey is one of the 182,665 Cornish people who voted to leave the EU even though Brussels has ploughed many millions of pounds into the area where he lives and works.

His arguments are familiar ones: “I want our sovereignty back. I want control. And, yes, I’m worried about immigration. It’s fine to share what we’ve got with others, but let’s make sure we’re OK first. Since the result and all the fuss, I must admit I’ve got a bit worried the economy may suffer, but we’ll get through – the British stiff upper lip and all that.”

The Cornish result was stark. Seventy-seven per cent of the county’s population turned out, of whom 56.5% opted for Brexit.

According to figures from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the region was on course by 2020 to have benefited from a total of £2.5bn of funding – EU cash matched with public and private investment – since the turn of the century.

Headline projects completed with EU backing have included a £132m scheme to bring super-fast broadband to the far south-west, three innovation centres, rail line improvements and the development of a glitzy university campus at Penryn, near Falmouth.

It wasn’t going to end there. Between now and 2020, key projects supported by EU funding were set to include exciting work around aerospace – with Newquay touted as a possible site for the proposed spaceport announced in the Queen’s speech – and in geothermal energy.

The UK farmers will also soon be confronted with the reality after "Brexit" - from the "Brexit-friendly", conservative Daily Telegraph:


Farmers are demanding that the victorious Leave campaign honours its promise to provide them with financial support to replace the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, which currently provides 55pc of their income.

Pro-Brexit farming minister George Eustice insisted during the campaign that a “Brexit dividend” meant the Government could and would do so.

Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers’ Union, called for a new “British agricultural policy” with “guarantees that the support given to our farmers is equal to that given to farmers in the EU, who will still be our principal competitors”.

UK farmers receive between £2.4bn and £3bn in subsidies from the EU each year, while the average income of a farmer was just over £20,000 in 2014. Farmers also want to see the bureaucracy of the CAP, which was widely criticised by eurosceptics, replaced with a simpler scheme tailored to Britain’s needs, and assurances that they will still be able to access seasonal labour.

Yes, they will all want something, the poor regions and the farmers.

There is only one little problem:

They will only receive very little or nothing, because they money will simply not be available any more. "Brexit" will lead to a loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK, and the tax revenue will fall dramatically. 

Also, another fact well know to anyone who has ever lived in the UK: The British conservatives despise nothing more than poor people, so the poor regions should not expect much pity from the government in London.

Good luck with celebrating your new "freedom"...!




Finally, three new clips about "Brexit", for entertainment and education:

John Oliver:




Samantha Bee:




The German international channel "Deutsche Welle" (in English):




But why do I even bother - it's too late. The British have democratically decided to cripple themselves, this is a fact.

I am very hopeful, however, that the Americans will not repeat the same mistake and will make the right choice in November. Yes, they will!

Good night and good luck!