The Watering Hole, Monday, May 15th, 2017: Commence[IMPEACH]ment

On Saturday, Donald trump gave the commencement address at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Here’s the entire transcript, courtesy of Time Magazine. I’ll just provide this one excerpt, the opening of trump’s remarks:

“Thank you very much. everybody. And congratulations to the class of 2017. That’s some achievement.

This is your day and you’ve earned every minute of it. And I’m thrilled to be back at Liberty University, I’ve been here, this is now my third time, and we love setting records, right. We always set records. We have to set records, we have no choice.

It’s been a little over a year since I’ve spoken on your beautiful campus and so much has changed. Right here, the class of 2017 dressed in cap and gown, graduating to a totally brilliant future. And here I am standing before you as President of the United States, so I’m guessing — there are some people here today who thought that either one of those things, either one, would really require major help from God. Do we agree? And we got it.

But here we are celebrating together on this very joyous occasion, and there is no place in the world I’d rather be to give my first commencement address as President than here with my wonderful friends at Liberty University. And I accepted this invitation a long time ago. I said to Jerry that I’d be there, and when I say something I mean it.”

That’s more or less representative of how the rest of the address goes. There’s some semi-coherent and event-appropriate sentences, obviously written by someone other than the usual trump spokesvermin. But then trump’s off on tangents (the most lengthy one being about football), and the trump brand limited-edition, limited-vocabulary, limited-attention-span WTFery. I lost count of the lies and ignorant statements; however, I do recommend reading the entire thing. [WARNING: for those whose health (mental or physical) might be at risk, ask your doctor if reading trump’s commencement address is right for you. Your doctor may suggest adding a low-dose Xanax to your current medications.]

In better news, here’s something from the NY Daily News.

And here’s a website to track impeachment efforts.

This is our Open Thread–have at it!

The Watering Hole, Monday, April 24th, 2017: The Boob Tube Prez

In the same troubling vein as the recent Time Magazine interview with President trump, here’s a few disturbing articles about trump’s overriding fascination with all things TV.
A recent Raw Story article demonstrates the incompetence of both trump and his aides, and shows that trump’s is a presidency without anything resembling an “administration”:

“Some of President Donald Trump’s top aides worry that too much of his time is unsupervised, which — in the past — has led to serious unforced errors that undermine him and his administration.”

Yeah, not to mention the entire country, and world stability.

“And while some advisers support the president’s unconventional approach to the job, others worry that these holes in the president’s schedule are where he goes awry and “watches too much TV”, gets overexcited and posts inflammatory — frequently inaccurate — rants online or speaks by phone with people who encourage his worst instincts.”

What trump’s advisors SHOULD primarily be worrying about is the fact that there are so many “holes in the president’s schedule.” His aides should be scheduling tutors in remedial civics, the Constitution, presidential protocol, history, geography, oh, hell, EVERYTHING he doesn’t seem to have a clue about when it comes to the U.S. government. Maybe if they tried teaching him via videos on a big-screen TV – and kept referring to it as “Reality TV” – they might get him to learn something.

From a second Raw Story article:

“The Washington Post said Sunday that in addition to fretting over what the president will do if left alone too long, Trump’s aides and advisers struggle to keep the president from consuming too much TV or watching things that will upset him and cause him to erupt on Twitter.”

Yes, the President of the United States, the most powerful person in the world, needs a babysitter. I think it would be more helpful if they hired a boot camp drill instructor.

A few excerpts from the Washington Post article by Ashley Parker and Robert Costa:

““President Trump is someone who comes to the White House with a sophisticated understanding of how to communicate, the power of television, the power of imagery, the power of message, and how message, messenger and delivery all work together,” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president.”

Although Kellyanne managed to actually string words together that made a somewhat coherent sentence, her seeming point that trump’s TV savvy makes him better qualified as a president is ridiculous. The crudeness and ignorance of the actual content of trump’s communications, messages and delivery overshadow any “sophisticated understanding” of the medium used.

“He is also a natural showman. During the campaign, he riveted viewers with his raucous rallies, where he often spoke for more than hour without any notes or teleprompters. And in TV interviews, he sometimes offers tips on matters including lighting and chair placement, with an intuitive sense of what makes for good TV.”

Being a “natural showman” is all well and good for magicians, game-show hosts, carnival barkers, and snake-oil salesman, but again, it is not the top qualification for running a working government. And trump’s speeches where he rambled for “more than [an] hour without notes or teleprompters” are infamous for their non-sequiturs, weird tangents, and outright made-up bullshit.

“During a small working lunch at the White House last month, the question of job security in President Trump’s tumultuous White House came up, and one of the attendees wondered whether press secretary Sean Spicer might be the first to go.

The president’s response was swift and unequivocal. “I’m not firing Sean Spicer,” he said, according to someone familiar with the encounter. “That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”

Trump even likened Spicer’s daily news briefings to a daytime soap opera, noting proudly that his press secretary attracted nearly as many viewers.

For Trump — a reality TV star who parlayed his blustery-yet-knowing on-air persona into a winning political brand — television is often the guiding force of his day, both weapon and scalpel, megaphone and news feed.”

This is a president for whom “ratings” and appearance are more important than honesty and integrity. A president who is superficial, crass, and so limited in his ability to learn or mature that, at 70, he still bases decisions as president on what he sees on cable TV, particularly Fox, his favorite propaganda network. A frightening concept, right?

What I find almost as frightening is that the Washington Post article isn’t screaming “THIS PRESIDENT IS TOTALLY FUBAR”, or even “THIS PRESIDENT IS INCOMPETENT”, let alone “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!”

This is our Open Thread – say anything you want.

The Watering Hole: Sunday, April 16th, 2017: Easter Sunday Roast

The Tappan Zee Bridge, which crosses the Hudson not very far to the south of us, has just been equipped with a live-feed Peregrine Falcon camera. So now that April the giraffe has calved, one can switch gears and watch for a hatching and subsequent hatchlings.

Peregrine chicks are cute little balls of white fluff:

It’s hard to believe that those adorably ungainly hatchlings eventually turn into such impressively majestic birds of prey:

And for those who celebrate Easter, here’s the Easter Rat to wish everyone a Happy Easter!

This is our Open Thread – just go with it.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, April 15th, 2017: Eve of Destruction? Enjoy the View

If we’re lucky, trump and/or Kim Jong-Un won’t blow up the planet this coming week. Unless something insane happens during the imminent fly-by of asteroid 2014 JO25, on April 19th, at a distance of 1.1 million miles, we could get through the week.

And if we’re really lucky and make it safely through these fucked-up times, and humankind is still around ten years from now, another asteroid will be visiting us at approximately 236,000 miles, about the same distance away as our moon. If the scientists are off a bit in their calculations, who knows, perhaps 1999 AN10 will be merciful and finish us off.

In the meantime, enjoy these glorious pictures of a wide variety of places on this planet we call home.

This is our Open Thread-say anything.

The Weekend Watering Hole: Friday, March 24th, 2017: FAUX Pas

On Wednesday, March 22nd, TIME Magazine’s Washington Bureau Chief, Michael Shelton, interviewed FAUX president Donald trump. I give Shelton credit, he apparently did not laugh in the FAUX president’s face (which is the least I’d like to do to trump’s face on any given day at any given minute. But I digress.)  I have to feel sorry for poor Mr. Shelton, as there was no way that any human could possibly keep up with the gibberish uttered by the “Most Embarrassing Man In The World”(TM). ‘Sad.’

The following is an except from ‘President trump’s Interview With TIME on Truth and Falsehoods.’ If you’re not dizzy by the time you’ve finished reading it, you will be if you read the entire interview. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

FAUX POTUS: “Yeah well if you’d look at, in fact I’ll give you the front page story, and just today I heard, just a little while ago, that Devin Nunes had a news conference, did you hear about this, where they have a lot of information on tapping. Did you hear about that?”

SHELTON: “I have not, no.”

FAUX POTUS: “Now remember this. When I said wiretapping, it was in quotes. Because a wiretapping is, you know today it is different than wire tapping. It is just a good description. But wiretapping was in quotes. What I’m talking about is surveillance. And today, [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Devin Nunes just had a news conference. Now probably got obliterated by what’s happened in London. But just had a news conference, and here it is one of those things. The other one, election, I said we are going to win, we won. And many other things. And I think this is going to be very interesting.”

SHELTON: “So you don’t feel like Comey’s testimony in any way takes away from the credibility of the tweets you put out, even with the quotes?”

FAUX POTUS: “No, I have, look. I have articles saying it happened. But you have to take a look at what they, they just went out at a news conference. Devin Nunes had a news conference. I mean I don’t know, I was unable to see it, because I am at meetings, but they just had a news conference talking about surveillance. Now again, it is in quotes. That means surveillance and various other things. And the New York Times had a front-page story, which they actually reduced, they took it, they took it the word wiretapping out of the title, but its first story in the front page of the paper was wiretapping. And a lot of information has just been learned, and a lot of information may be learned over the next coming period of time. We will see what happens. Look. I predicted a lot of things that took a little of bit of time. Here, headline, for the front page of the New York Times, “Wiretapped data used in inquiry of Trump aides.” That’s a headline. Now they then dropped that headline, I never saw this until this morning. They then dropped that headline, and they used another headline without the word wiretap, but they did mean wiretap. Wiretapped data used in inquiry. Then changed after that, they probably didn’t like it. And they changed the title. They took the wiretap word out.”

Almost the last thing the FAUX president said in the interview was this:

“Hey look, in the mean time, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.”

So…I gather from all that Nunes held a news conference, and the NY Times took out “the wiretap word”, and voila! he’s magically vindicated. Oh, and also, too, he’s the president.  Badly.  So there!

Words fail me.

This is an early edition of the Weekend Watering Hole. Have at it.

The Watering Hole, Monday, March 20th, 2017: Comey, You Owe Us

After FBI director James Comey wantonly helped to destroy Hillary Clinton’s chances to win the Presidential election, thereby saddling us with the madman trump and his anti-semitic, white supremacist cabal, Comey owes all of us, big time. Today he has his chance to start making up for his treacherous douchebaggery.

Adam Schiff (D-CA) of the House Intelligence Committee stated yesterday regarding trump’s various claims about Trump Tower being wiretapped:

“I hope that we can put an end to this wild goose chase… What the president said was just patently false. And the wrecking ball it has created has just banged into our British allies and our German allies and it’s continuing to grow in terms of damage and he needs to put an end to this.”

In addition, both Comey and James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, will be testifying today in a hearing on the Russia-trump connections. According to Bloomberg,

“Committee chairman Devin Nunes said Tuesday that he has also invited National Security Agency chief Mike Rogers, former director of national intelligence James Clapper, former CIA director John Brennan, former acting attorney general Sally Yates and two executives from CrowdStrike Inc., a cybersecurity company, to the March 20 hearing.”

The Bloomberg article continues,

“The hearing will likely be the first in-depth public inquiry into allegations of connections between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government, as well as Russia’s efforts to influence the U.S. election…The House Intelligence panel’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, told reporters Tuesday that Comey wasn’t forthcoming with information when the panel held a closed hearing last week.

“The first obstacle we met was the FBI director’s unwillingness to answer questions,” Schiff said.

Comey had better overcome that “unwillingness to answer questions” and start being more “forthcoming with information” today. He owes it to the entire country, which is now becoming unrecognizable as a civilized nation under the trump regime. If Comey has the least tiny bit of patriotism in him, then he MUST be truthful and share any and all information that he’s hiding.

As I’ve said before, “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” OUR country demands no less.

This is our Open Thread – talk about whatever you want, but also, please post any updates you hear/read about today’s hearings.

The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Preet Bharara, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York who was fired by President Donald Trump last weekend, was so despised by Vladimir Putin’s Russia that he was banned from entering the country in 2013. According to The New York Times, Russia banned Bharara and 17 other Americans in retaliation for U.S. sanctions over human rights violations. The Russian government reportedly targeted Bharara because of his prosecution of Viktor Bout, a convicted arms dealer. Bharara, who is known for investigating officials regardless of political party, also prosecuted three Russian nationals for acting as spies in 2015. “The arrest of Evgeny Buryakov and the charges against him and his co-defendants make clear that – more than two decades after the presumptive end of the Cold War – Russian spies continue to seek to operate in our midst under cover of secrecy,” Bharara said at the time. Bharara was fired by the Trump administration on Saturday after he refused to comply with a request to resign. It was not immediately clear if Bharara was involved in any current investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Surprisingly, Bharara had been personally asked to stay on by Trump last November. Not surprisingly, he had been investigating Fox News at the time of his dismissal. Without directly saying so, Bharara hinted that he may have been investigating Trump, too. Before firing Bharara, Trump tried to call him to thank him for his service, but Bharara refused to take the call without the permission of his superiors. It would have been a breach of protocol for the president to call a US Attorney directly, and it would have been extremely awkward if Bharara was, in fact, investigating Trump. That said, if he did open a formal investigation, his successor could choose to continue that investigation, but they would probably do so at their own peril. Just ask former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates.

This is an open thread. Have fun.