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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

ALDOUS J. PENNYFARTHING: Sen. Tommy Tuberville's musician brother rebukes his racist sibling on social media

 WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 01:  Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) walks out of the Senate Chambers during a nomination vote in the U.S. Capitol Building on August 01, 2022 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Senate is scheduled to leave for August recess with action on several pieces of legislation still currently outstanding, including votes on Sen. Joe Manchin's (D-WV) Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the PACT Act, and the Respect for Marriage Act. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

By Aldous J. Pennyfarthing

06 June 2023 


Blue Country Gazette Blog

Rim Country Gazette Blog

They say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but apples do often roll in radically different directions: some end up in a rich and piquant Bavarian torte and others land in a McDonald’s pie that tastes like moist cardboard and appears destined for the quaggy, cankerous bowels of Donald John Trump. 

Similarly, siblings are often at opposite poles politically—and in numerous other ways. And these differences appear particularly stark when one sibling is a U.S. senator who continues to burnish his racist bona fides under the klieg lights of media scrutiny and the other is, well, not.

Such is the case with Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville and his brother Charles. Charles Tuberville, a Tulsa, Oklahoma-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist who’s played with notables such as B.B. King and Delbert McClinton, has taken note of Tommy’s frequent racist dog-whistling/vituperative vuvuzela-ing and is calling him out over his pig-ignorant comments.

RELATED STORY: Sen. Tuberville makes openly racist remarks on Don Jr.'s web show

The brother of U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville is speaking out on social media, saying he is “compelled to distance” himself from some of the lawmaker’s recent statements.

“Due to recent statements by him promoting racial stereotypes, white nationalism and other various controversial topics, I feel compelled to distance myself from his ignorant, hateful rants,” Charles Tuberville stated in a Facebook post.

“What I’m trying to say is that, I DO NOT agree with any of the vile rhetoric coming out of his mouth. Please don’t confuse my brother with me. Thanks, Charles Tuberville.”

Okay, so brothers often fight. That’s typical—and not really a big deal. And how bad can Sen. Tuberville’s public comments really be, huh? Well, we’ve researched this, and we now have an answer—and that answer is, “pretty fucking bad.”

For instance, in an interview last week on Donald Trump Jr.’s streaming show “Triggered,” Tuberville wondered aloud if teachers in the inner cities can even read. Because, you know, some sitting U.S. senators can barely read, and look how much they get paid for doing essentially nothing.

“The COVID really brought it out about how bad our schools are and how bad our teachers are, in the inner city. Most of them in the inner city, I don’t know how they got degrees,” Tuberville said. “I don’t know whether they can read and write. … And they want a raise. They want less time to work, less time in school. It’s just, we’ve ruined work ethic in this country. We don’t work at it anymore. We push an easy life.”

Yeah, imagine a country where a football coach who doesn’t know what the three branches of government are can just plop his ignorant ass into a U.S. Senate seat because he was endorsed by a shitty reality show host who spends the bulk of his morning tweeting obscenities on the toilet. That’s an education crisis of Brobdingnagian proportions. Also, if you’re trying to make a point about pervasive failures in our education system, maybe don’t start sentences with “The COVID.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Tuberville has worn his racism on his sleeve. For instance, earlier this month, when asked if white nationalists should be allowed to serve in the military, he said, in reference to the Biden administration, “They call them that. I call them Americans.”

He then went on to elaborate, because why stop when you’re on a roll? “We are losing in the military so fast. Our readiness in terms of recruitment. And why? I’ll tell you why, because the Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don’t believe in our agenda, as Joe Biden’s agenda. They’re destroying it.”

Yeah, I don’t know about you, but I really doubt that white nationalism makes our military stronger. How’s Vladimir Putin's anti-woke army doing these days? 

And last October, in the run-up to the midterm elections, Tuberville had this to say of slavery reparations: “They’re not soft on crime,” Tuberville said in reference to Democrats. “They’re pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparation because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”

Whoopsie. Looks like Tommy forgot his racist dogwhistle and was forced to trot out his Aryan airhorn. 

Many of us can sympathize with Charles, of course. Too many of us struggle to cope when family members—ignoring a coup attempt, bushels full of racism, overt mafia tactics, and literal calls to suspend the Constitution—go gaga each year over the return of their pumpkin-spiced Gotti

But imagine if your name were dragged through the mud on a daily basis like Charles’ is. You’d want to speak up, too. Thanks for letting us know what a shitheel your brother is, Charles. We get it. Oh, do we ever. But it’s nice to know not everyone in the Tuberville clan is quite as Klannish as Tommy.

Volunteers paint "Black Lives Matter" on a DC street.

Monday, June 5, 2023

Disney Welcomes Gay Days in Florida as the Feud With DeSantis Rages On

 Disney Welcomes Gay Days in Florida as the Feud With DeSantis Rages On  Christopher Casanova, left (with sunglasses) takes a selfie with Danny Eguizabal in front of the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on June 3 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (photo: Thomas Simonetti/WP) 

Mark Stegall and Robert Motz knew they’d made the right decision to travel to Florida when they spotted a sea of people wearing red T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Say Gay” in front of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

The partners from Galesburg, Ill., have been coming to the annual Gay Days celebration at Disney for years and ultimately decided they weren’t going to let travel advisories, new state laws targeting the LGBTQ community and a bitter public feud between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the entertainment giant keep them away.

“We’re here because it’s Gay Days, it’s that simple,” Stegall said Saturday. “Disney welcomes everybody. Maybe the governor of Florida doesn’t, but Disney does.”

The massive Pride Month gathering marked a show of defiance this weekend in a state where librarians have been pulling gay-themed books off the shelves, teachers are no longer allowed to discuss gender identity or sexual orientation and many LGBTQ families feel under attack. Organizers said reservations at the host hotel came in slower than normal. One event — the Taste of Gay Days — was scratched after restaurateurs voiced concerns.

But the show did go on. Rainbow-hued merchandise designed by Disney — including a plush Mickey Mouse waving a Pride flag — flew off the shelves almost as quickly as it could be restocked. Drag queen bingo was held. In the end, all 1,001 rooms at the host hotel were booked, though Gay Days chief executive Joseph Clark said travel warnings from civil rights and equality groups advising against travel to Florida had impacted turnout.

“For some it’s the safety aspect, for others, they don’t want to spend money in a state that doesn’t support them,” Clark said. “My message has been, ‘We need your help here in Florida.’”

Gay Days at Disney began three decades ago to bring together LGBTQ people and families in an environment where they felt included rather than marginalized. While the entertainment giant doesn’t sponsor the event, it has welcomed hundreds of thousands of Gay Days visitors through the years, making it one of the nation’s largest Pride Month events. Travelers dress in red shirts to identify themselves while at the theme parks. There is also an LGBTQ expo, pool parties and a Miss Gay Days pageant contest at other venues nearby.

“The birth of Gay Days was really about being visible at a time when it was dangerous to be visible,” said Brandon Wolf, communications director for Equality Florida. “The same is true now.”

The gathering has encountered head winds in Florida before. Religious groups including the Southern Baptist Convention have protested and boycotted the parks in the past. In 2013, a plane with the banner “Warning: Gay Day at Disney 6/1” was spotted flying around Central Florida. The Florida Family Association, a group that defines its mission as “defending American values,” said it had raised over $16,000 to fly the banners.

“The primary objective of this project is to warn families before they expose their children to Gay Day’s revelry,” the group said in a press release at the time.

Now as DeSantis spats with Disney, the park has become an epicenter for the governor’s culture war against all things “woke” — a term he frequently invokes to push legislation placing restrictions on the LGBTQ community. The feud has drawn criticism even from Republicans who say he has crossed a line in using the powers of the state to target an independent corporation. Disney recently sued DeSantis, alleging the governor violated its First Amendment rights when it was targeted after voicing disapproval of a law critics dub “don’t say gay.”

The Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits instruction on gender and sexuality in schools, was expanded earlier this year to cover all grade levels. Many teachers and school administrators say the vague language of the law has led them to remove rainbow flags and safe space stickers from their classrooms for fear they could spark a prohibited conversation.

A slate of additional laws targeting the LGBTQ community have recently gone into effect or will later this summer — including legislation banning gender affirming care for minors, prohibiting the use of preferred pronouns for students and teachers, and allowing medical providers to refuse treatment based on moral, ethical or religious beliefs.

DeSantis blames Disney and others for trying to indoctrinate children and has said his policies “protect” children.

“I know all these Republicans are lining up against me to take the side of Disney,” DeSantis said during a recent speech in Iowa, shortly after announcing his presidential campaign. “But I’ll tell you this. We stand for the protection of our children. We will fight those who seek to rob them of their innocence and on that point, there will be no compromise.”

Neither Disney nor DeSantis responded to a request for comment on the Gay Days event.

In the months leading up to this year’s Gay Days, some visitors called in, worried about their personal safety or expressing fear of arrest if they attended one of the event-sponsored drag shows, Clark said. DeSantis recently signed a law forbidding children from attending “adult live performances,” including drag shows, though it punishes venues, not parents. Organizers said they added extra security and medical personnel.

“I don’t blame them for thinking that maybe we’re playing with fire,” Clark said. “They have to trust me and the organization and know that we’re not going to put them at risk.”

For the most part, the event looked and felt like it had in years prior — with some exceptions. The “Taste of Gay Days” was scaled back after the “current political climate” sparked concern from a “large group of our restaurant partners,” the organization announced in a Facebook post.

“Though we adamantly tried to recruit additional vendors, it became clear that we would be unable to provide the exceptional experience that our guests have come to expect,” the group wrote.

Justin May was mingling at a pool party Friday dressed in a tangerine orange one-piece Marilyn Monroe-style bathing suit, getting ready for the next phase of the Miss Gay Days contest.

“I am literally what they’re targeting,” May said. “It’s all so disheartening. And the travel advisories are just keeping people away from supporting our community.”

Events like bingo and pool parties took place outside of Walt Disney World, but inside the Magic Kingdom and Disney’s other theme parks, Gay Days visitors filled lines for rides and souvenir shops — one visitor, dressed in a T-shirt with the words “Don’t Say DeSantis.”

“A lot of people are coming and telling me they love it,” Matt Thompson said.

Rights activists said it’s significant that Disney continues to embrace the event. The company is hosting the annual Out & Equal Workplace Summit, billed as “the largest LGBTQ+ workplace equality event in the world,” in September.

“It says something that Disney has been unwilling to kowtow to DeSantis and his brand of authoritarianism,” said Wolf, the communications director with Equality Florida. “I think that Disney’s refusal to be bullied into submission is a good reminder to others that in this moment, there is no negotiating with people like Ron DeSantis.”

Clark said many Gay Days fans were torn between making the annual pilgrimage to Orlando or staying away to honor the travel advisories. But he believes the current political environment is, “more of a reason to do what we’ve been doing on an annual basis for more than 30 years.”

“And that’s to show everybody that we have a community that supports each other, and that together we’re strong,” he said.

That is the message James Couick, of Orlando, and his friends hoped to send with their presence at the Magic Kingdom on Saturday.

“We’re being targeted by politicians, but our community is still strong,” Couick said. “We’re here to have fun, but we’re also here to say we’re standing up for ourselves.”

All we need to make this picture complete is a visit by Rhonda Santis.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Thou Shalt Not Be Dumber Than Dirt

Thou Shalt Not Be Dumber Than Dirt  
Garrison Keillor. (photo: The Birchmere)
Garrison Keillor / Garrison Keillor's Website

The bill in the Texas legislature to require public schools to post the Ten Commandments in every classroom means that teachers may need to explain to small children what “adultery” means and also “take the Lord’s name in vain” but the real problem is the commandment to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. A great many public schools send athletic teams to compete in weekend tournaments that make it hard for players to make it home for the Sabbath, especially if they’re Jewish. In Texas, a conflict between football and religious faith is not going to turn out well for religion. And taking the Lord’s name in vain is inextricably intertwined with sports. Golf, especially.

I grew up among devout Christians who did not say “gosh” or “darn it” because they took euphemisms seriously. My mother would say, “Oh fudge” but more likely, “Oh for pity’s sake.” I’m an old man and cursing still feels unnatural to me; I’ll bet plenty of Texas legislators who voted for the T.C. bill curse up a storm.

The tablets that God handed down to Moses did not constitute Ten Suggestions, they are Commandments. I don’t oppose posting the Ten Commandments, I only propose that they be taken seriously. And it’s hard to see how allowing people to shop on Sunday and order alcohol in restaurants is keeping the Sabbath holy. I am just saying it because it’s true.

I take Scripture seriously and so I eat beef as it tells us we can in Leviticus, and I also eat salads but not Caesar salads because he was a pagan emperor, but I admit to giving in to wrath, which goes against Scripture. I do it again and again. Like you, I am a bundle of contradictions.

Like many of my fellow Episcopalians, I maintain a progressive enlightened exterior while guarding my simple peasant biases such as my loathing of the use of fancy words like “ubiquitous” in simple conversation, it makes me want to give them a knuckle sandwich if it weren’t for the fact that I’m an author and must protect my hands. Or people who kill conversation by delivering extensive synopses of an article about political polarization that they’ve read recently — POW, right in the kisser.

I absolutely despise the little quiz that pops up on the screen when I finish a transaction online — “On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your experience ordering from Goodwill? Have you been satisfied with the used clothing you’ve purchased? How likely are you to recommend Goodwill to your friends?” — this sort of thing makes me want to throw my laptop out the window even if it might mean hitting an e-biker on the noggin and he hits the pavement and is run over by a guy on an e-scooter. But the T.C. forbid murder so I simply click Delete and move on. Scripture is very much in favor of deletion; deletion is crucial in matters of faith. Love and kindness are fundamental and the acquisition of wealth and power are not.

The verse I would paint on the walls of the Texas legislature is “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” A good verse for me and you too. To put it another way, “We’re too old to be this stupid.”

I was having lunch not long ago with two guys I’ve known since grade school and one said, “I hope I haven’t offended you” and the other said, “We’re too old to take offense, we’re eighty for gosh sakes.” It’s true: we’ve reached the age of gratitude at last, no more time for anger.

I believe that in 2024 the American electorate will start to wise up to the sort of performance-art politics of the T.C. sort and decide that public servants should serve the public good by dealing with actual problems.

California, Nevada, and Arizona did not deal with the Colorado River emergency by painting a verse on the walls of the Grand Canyon, “All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.” Nor did they curse the problem. They agreed on a (temporary) solution.

And if, on a scale of one to three, you give this column a two, I’m okay with that. Let’s go be wise and forgive Texas for its doggone stupidity and do unto others as we would have them do unto us. You kids stop hitting each other or I am going to send you to your rooms and I mean it.

First there was Sodom and Gomorrah.  Now there is Florida and Texas neck and neck with Tennessee coming up fast on the rail.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

ODE DE BULLSHITTE: Trump makes unconstitutional promise to racist base

Donald Trump at a 2018 rally

By Hunter for Daily Kos

Daily Kos Staff


3 June 2023


Blue Country Gazette Blog

Rim Country Gazette Blog

Seditionist Donald Trump is again a Republican candidate for president. Unfortunately for Trump's new campaign staff, "President" Donald now has an actual White House record behind him, and that's been causing complications. Much of what Trump is now vowing he'll do if put back in the Oval Office is the same stuff he promised to do before—but couldn't or didn't actually deliver.

Most of Trump's new campaign promises, in fact, have been falling into two broad categories. Half of the promises are overtly authoritarian vows, like Trump's threat to pardon the Jan. 6 insurrectionists who attacked Congress on his behalf; the other half are whining assertions that all that stuff he promised he'd do back during the first campaign are things he'll super-duper for sure do next time, just you wait.

The Trump campaign's latest ode de bullshitte combines fascist rhetoric, brazen lying, and a grubby chunk of base racism all into one alleged new promise: Trump says on his first day of office, he will sign an executive order nullifying the Constitution's grant of birthright citizenship to children born inside the United States.

If this sounds familiar, that's because it is. Trump very famously promised this during his last administration, making a big stink of it halfway through his term as a midterm campaign issue.

It didn't happen because the very idea is a goofy crank theory perpetuated by anti-immigrant and racist groups and one that's been widely scorned, if not laughed at, by every legal scholar who is not an outright far-right crank. What we call "birthright citizenship" is enshrined into the Constitution via the 14th Amendment; its validity has been settled law for over 120 years, and even the most fringe of conservative groups pin their hopes on Congress passing new legislation to theoretically strip those 14th Amendment protections.

That, then, is why "President" Trump's previous vow to issue such an order resulted in absolutely nothing happening; not even his own fringe-right advisers thought he could get away with it. Much like Trump's propositions to nuke hurricanes or purchase the whole of Greenland, Trump's advisers jingled some keys in his face or showed him an especially flattering magazine article and, eventually, were able to redirect his attention. It's showing up again now only because Trump has even worse advisers than he did the first time around, and because it's campaign season. Donald Trump will lie to his base about everything, all the time, even if it means retelling 8-year-old lies in the hopes that his scatterbrained supporters have the memory retention of goldfish.

There is, however, one odd bit of phrasing that caught our eye, if only for its vague twinges of Lovecraftian horror.

In announcing the new campaign pledge, the Trump campaign asserts that Trump's newly promised Day-One executive order "will explain the clear meaning of the 14th Amendment."

Now there's a thought. Forget 120 years of settled law, forget the courts, forget the rest of government: On Day One, Donald Trump will Trumpsplain what the 14th Amendment to the Constitution actually means.

Forget your Draculas, your mummies, your Mothras, and your Cthulhus. You want to know true fear? Imagine a future in which Donald Trump is again "president" and his White House announces that the Constitution of the United States now means whatever the hell the person, woman, man, camera, TV dementia-test-acing Trump thinks it means.

If you want to truly stare into the abyss, pull up a chair and watch the man Trumpsplain that the Third Amendment's prohibition against "quartering troops" in your house doesn't apply if they're all carrying nickels instead.

The Republican presidential primary race looks like it will be shaping up exactly as expected. If you're a Republican presidential primary voter who's really into fascism and being lied to, you don’t need to look any further than Trump. He’s got you covered. And it's not like Republican voters who still support Trump even after four years, two impeachments, one insurrection, and a criminal indictment might draw the line at Trump repeating previous campaign lies.

We could still be in for a surprise or two, though. The man could always jet off to Moscow, set up his own television studio, and spend his waking days Trumpsplaining our Constitution to us from half a world away. It'd be a lot easier on him than dragging himself up and down the White House stairs again, and have very nearly the same results. You might consider it, Donald!


Friday, June 2, 2023

Let's have the Space Force take out the mermaids

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: Gen. Jay Raymond (R), Chief of Space Operations, and CMSgt Roger Towberman (L), with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett present US President Donald Trump with the official flag of the United States Space Force in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on May 15, 2020. (Photo by Samuel Corum-Pool/Getty Images)

By Hunter for Daily Kos

Daily Kos Staff 


A few weeks back, we heard the unnerving news that America's newest military branch, the U.S. Space Force, was still struggling to define a mission for itself after three years of existence. This is generally not what anyone wants to hear from a group with large-scale military capabilities; when military generals start wondering what the scope of their own missions might be, they historically tend to conclude that their mission should involve a more proactive approach to blowing things up.

Put more bluntly: The growing frustration of Space Force generals trying to imagine larger and better-defined military roles for themselves is only going to lead to trouble, and we'd better come up with a Midnight Basketball program for troubled three-star and four-star generals real quick here if we want to avoid being cut off from our whole solar system due to sudden-onset Kessler syndrome.

That, then, is the newest possible existential crisis facing the country. It largely flew under the national radar, though, because a far more existential crisis cropped up at the same time, and when it comes to which of those existential crises is the newsier, more attention-grabbing version, there's simply no question.

I am speaking, of course, of the coming mermaid wars.

Rolling Stone gives us a brief transcription, and bless ‘em for it.

“I have never seen more images of more mermaids and water people in my life,” (Prophetess Amanda) Grace told the crowd, elaborating that these aquatic forces are “a division in the kingdom of darkness.” Underscoring the danger, Grace insisted that that these mer-people are “highly technologically advanced.”

“We have to understand the rules of engagement in spiritual warfare. And we are meant for hand to hand combat,” Grace instructed. “We are meant to bring our cries before the throne of God to bring judgment on the rulers of darkness of this world,” she added. “Because the rulers have set up a throne in this nation.”

Before you scoff, know that Amanda Grace is a prophet, because she says so, and she and other pro-Trump "religious" leaders had a whole lot more prophecies on hand, most of them revolving around Donald Trump acting as an instrument of God to smite conservatism's enemies, whether they be globalists or demons or mermaids. Grace cites God Himself as the source of her evidence of highly technology advanced "water people," so there you go. It's not like she's just linking to Wikipedia or Instagram for this one: God is giving the warning.

So now we have two existential threats on our hands. The first is that the generals of the Space Force are growing irritable about the hazy goals of their mission. The second is that highly advanced mermaids are coming to kick our—well, not kick, really, being mermaids—are coming to destroy us all, possibly through Met Gala fashion choices.

An unintelligent member of the public may only see two simultaneous crises. An intelligent person, however, is more likely to see opportunity. Taken together, the two problems solve each other.

If the Space Force needs a mission more engaging than their current one, whatever it is, all we need to do is task them with eliminating the mermaids.

The plan is almost self-evident in its simplicity. We are dealing here with "water people" who are "highly technologically advanced." There is no more advanced military force than the U.S. Space Force. A dullard might consider it the job of the Navy to wage war on the water people, but that would literally be meeting the mermaids on their own turf; the Navy is the branch of our armed services most in danger in a confrontation with mermaids. The Air Force can simply fly over the mermaid armies, dropping bombs unimpeded and turning the ocean into an unpleasantly tinted mermaid stew. The Army and Marines, if faced with a mermaid attack, can simply walk a few hundred feet inland and pick off each flopping fishtailed attacker as they try to heave themselves out of the surf.

But the Space Force? The Space Force is best-equipped of all to defend against the mermaid menace. The Space Force's primary assets are all in orbit, about as far from the mermaid danger zone as it is possible to get. And, to our knowledge, no matter how technologically advanced the hostile "water people" may currently be, there is no evidence they have a presence in space.

That, then, can be the new Space Force mission. To protect the United States from mermaids, technologically advanced or otherwise; to deprive them of any orbital presence which might threaten the country; to undertake worldwide satellite espionage looking and listening for mermaids so they can provide the earliest possible warning of real-life mermaid attacks. The Pentagon's annual budget is now in the neighborhood of a trillion dollars per year; spending a hundred billion or so to fight off the mermaid menace would be a small price to pay to keep Space Force generals content and their fingers on buttons that target the mid-Atlantic rather than anything on dry land.

It is impossible to come up with any argument against this plan. It furthermore will allow the Space Force to credit itself with complete success, both now and for the foreseeable future. So long as the mermaids do not establish an orbital presence, Space Force generals can boast that they have a 100% mission success rate. As long as the mermaids confine their assaults to Met Gala fashion and the occasional children's movie, Space Force can brag that the nation remains safe.

The biggest danger may instead be that the Space Force gets too big for its camouflaged Space Britches, and begins lording their mission success over the Navy, which has existed in this country since 1775 but apparently has failed to contain the mermaid menace, if Amanda Grace and her holy sources are to be believed. The resulting rivalry between the two military branches could get downright unpleasant at some future date—but that is for future America to worry about.

Present-day America simply needs something for the Space Force to do. Something that will keep the generals off the streets and out of the pool halls. Oh—and we have to defeat the mermaids, of course. This is a real mission, not something we just pulled out of a hat.


The Navy has existed in this country since 1775 but apparently has failed to contain the mermaid menace.  Cue the Space Force.

Thursday, June 1, 2023

SHADES OF WATERGATE: Lordy, there are tapes! Trump was lying in classified documents defense

STERLING, VIRGINIA - MAY 25: Former President Donald Trump looks on during the pro-am prior to the LIV Golf Invitational - DC at Trump National Golf Club on May 25, 2023 in Sterling, Virginia. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) 
Talk about looking too senile and out of it to be president!  This man looks halfway to Zombydom.  Where's Mike Pence when we need him?

By Hunter for Daily Kos

Daily Kos Staff 



Blue Country Gazette Blog

Rim Country Gazette Blog

In a new CNN scoop, the network is reporting that investigators probing the discovery of classified government documents kept in Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club after his presidency have an audio recording of a summer 2021 meeting in which Donald Trump referred to a classified document relating to a possible military attack on Iran.

That could be blockbuster evidence in special counsel Jack Smith's investigation of the documents Trump removed from the White House, because CNN's sources claim that Trump clearly referred to the document as classified, undercutting Trump's already sketchy claims that those documents were "declassified" merely by his retention of them.

The recording indicates Trump understood he retained classified material after leaving the White House, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation. On the recording, Trump’s comments suggest he would like to share the information but he’s aware of limitations on his ability post-presidency to declassify records, two of the sources said.

That would be the ball game. If Trump is indeed caught on tape acknowledging that the document in his possession was never declassified, thus limiting his ability to "share" it, it eliminates any Trump defense claiming he believed otherwise. At the time of the FBI's search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, Trump both knew he had classified government documents in his possession and attempted to hide those documents from investigators by claiming they did not exist and moving them after the government informed him they were seeking them.

The recording would cleanly prove that this isn't a case of a government official accidentally misplacing classified documents or forgetting to return them to the government. Trump is said to have asserted that he had a specific document, asserted it was a classified document, and acknowledged that he no longer had a supposed ability to "declassify" that document after leaving the White House.

CNN reports that prosecutors have asked witnesses about the recorded meeting during testimony to a grand jury, and that Gen. Mark Milley has been among those questioned.

Tricky, tricky: we almost miss you.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Biden wins big in debt ceiling deal

President Joe Biden stops to talk with reporters before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Friday, May 26, 2023, as he heads to Camp David for the weekend. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

The debt ceiling/budget bill worked out between President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will hit the House floor Wednesday afternoon, in a massive blow to the Freedom Caucus maniacs who have been rooting for the nation to default and for economic catastrophe. Their short rebellion fizzled, and McCarthy may get at least 150 Republican votes on the plan.

The major part of the drama was over once Rep. Tom Massie, a Kentucky Republican, said he would vote the bill out of the Rules Committee. Freedom Caucus Reps. Chip Roy, Texas, and Ralph Norman, South Carolina, couldn’t convince him to play spoiler, despite histrionics from Roy throughout the day and his dire warning that “The Republican conference has been torn asunder.”

SIGN: End the Debt Limit game of blackmail. Pass real reform.

What has been torn asunder is the control the Freedom Caucus thought they had over McCarthy. That was clear once members of the group started downplaying their one big card: the motion to vacate the chair. It takes only one member to start the ball rolling on ousting McCarthy from the speakership, and it became clear quickly that there was little appetite among the rebels to even try. Even “firebrand” Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene will likely vote for the bill in the end.

The deal pretty effectively neuters the Freedom Caucus and limits the damage House Republicans can do between now and Jan. 1, 2025. They can’t take the debt ceiling hostage again in the next year and a half, and they can’t shut down the government by refusing to complete spending bills without doing serious political damage to themselves.

From a progressive perspective, the bill isn’t great, and most in the Progressive Caucus probably won’t support it. They don’t have to. There will be enough Republican votes and votes from other Democrats to pass the bill. From a political and economic stability perspective, the bill is fantastic. It averts economic catastrophe and neutralizes the Freedom Caucus in one go. In other words, Biden wins in a big way.

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich