AMERICAblog NewsNews – AMERICAblog News A great nation deserves the truth // One of America's top progressive sites for news and opinion Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:22:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sh*tholeCongress & Trump’s porn collection Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:22:22 +0000 In today’s podcast, Cliff and I discuss the GOP Congress’ undying need to defend Donald Trump at all costs (the latest example being their determination to lie for Trump about Sh*tholeGate); a new report that Trump allegedly paid a porn star $130,000 to keep her quiet right before the election; and the importance of the recent civil defense snafu in Hawaii in an age in which Trump has North Korea, and everyone else, on pins and needles.

As always, you can access all of our premium podcast episodes, and support my work, with a minimum $5/month subscription to the UnPresidented Podcast. You can subscribe here, thanks!

(Stormy Daniels image attribution: © Glenn Francis,

2017 Year in Review Wed, 03 Jan 2018 16:22:30 +0000 I’m not such a New Years fan. I often find the demarcation between the years to be somewhat artificial. But this year has been so momentous, with Trump’s rise to power, that it’s worth taking stock of where we are and how far we’ve come. At the beginning of the year I was pretty despondent, now I’m rather hopeful. And here’s why.


I really believe Democrats are going to take back the US House in November 2018. We also have a good shot at taking back the Senate. Now, that’s looking at the numbers, and Democratic momentum, today. That can all change in a year. But, RIGHT NOW we are in a great position to take back the House especially, and that’s something we didn’t necessarily anticipate a year ago.

Democrats, progressives, assorted folks on the left are ticked, and motivated. Alabama, and Virginia before it, showed that Democratic voters are turning out, while GOP voters are not. Not only is the momentum on our side, the enthusiasm is as well. While many in the media want you to continue to be worried about Trump’s “base,” the real numbers show that even Trump’s base is losing energy. In Alabama, the Democratic base — black women and young people in particular — turned out in record numbers for an off-year election. On the GOP side, the numbers were anemic. I also think of a recent poll showing that Trump’s support is plummeting among Fox News viewers — there is no base any baser than that.

So all of Trump’s excesses are catching up with him. Now, we can’t get haughty about it. In 2016, we thought that Trump was so OBVIOUSLY unfit for office that he could never win, and he did. So the point is not to count our chickens before they hatch, but rather, to recognize that victory is within our grasp — and that’s something a lot of us didn’t think when 2017 started.


Having said that, we’ve still got challenges (and defeats) ahead of us. One need look no further than the recent tax bill that repealed the individual mandate (though not until 2019), and so screwed up the tax system that no one knows whether they’re even getting a tax cut at all (but we do know that Trump just gutted a huge property tax and state income tax deduction a number of us in the middle class used). But there’s hope. First, the Trump-Russia investigation…

Trump is in deep water on this one. The recent NYT story was a game-changer — it showed that Trump senior foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos was the person who got the entire FBI investigation rolling, rather than, as the GOP claims, it being due to the Steele (pee-pee tape) dossier. As the NYT reported, Papadopoulos was informed in late April, 2016 that the Russians had stolen “thousands” of Hillary Clinton’s email. Rather than reporting this to the FBI, Papadopoulos bragged about it over drinks with a senior employee of the Australian Embassy in London. The Australian reported it to his bosses, who then told the Americans, who then launched an FBI investigation of the Trump campaign’s growing, and troubling, secret contacts with Russian intelligence.

So the entire Trump-Russia investigation was started by Trump’s own campaign staff.

And it’s worse than that. Are we really to believe that Papadopoulos bragged about what he knew to an Australian diplomat but didn’t brag about it to his own bosses on the Trump campaign? Not credible. So who on Team Trump knew, and why didn’t anyone call the FBI? And why did Trump and his campaign keep claiming publicly that: A) They had no contact with the Russians; and B) The Russians weren’t responsible for hacking Hillary et. al.’s emails, when Trump’s campaign already knew it was true because Russian intermediaries told them, and perhaps even offered them the emails?

There is a whole lot of lying going on here, a whole lot of cover up, and a whole lot of conspiracy. Innocent people don’t act like this. They don’t secretly meet with the Russians, they don’t NOT tell the FBI when they find out about foreign espionage, and they don’t then lie about it in an effort to cover up the crimes of a foreign enemy of the United States. Also, real Americans don’t conspire with a foreign power to undermine our democratic elections. Only traitors do that.

Unless, they were involved.


So, we keep an eye on the Russia probe; but the prize this year is Congress. We have to take back the House, and/or Senate, next November. If we do, everything changes. First off, when that happens, Devin Nunes’ effort to undermine the Mueller probe ends immediately. Second, Democrats in the House will have subpoena power to investigate all the scandalds, from Russian election intererence to all the Trump corruption, including Trump’s efforts to use the FBI and Dept of Justice to investigate his political opponents. There’s also the small fact that Trump’s legislative agenda is dead in the water if the Democrats take back either house of Congress. I cannot emphasize enough how important this coming election will be.

For that reason, I’m devoting a lot of time this year to fundraising for Democratic congressional candidates. We did amazing work together helping Doug Jones beat accused-child-molester Roy Moore in Alabama. And if we can win in Alabama, we can win almost anywhere.


So, that’s my year in review, in a nutshell. As many of you know, I moved back to DC this year from New York City so that I could redouble my efforts to take on, and down, Donald Trump. I’ve formed an LLC, AMERICAblog Action, to help with those efforts, and have been growing my email action list with the express purpose of turning the Congress blue in November. If you can support my efforts with a generous donation, I would very much appreciate it.

Please support my work with a $25 donation.

Also, our new podcast, the UnPresidented Podcast, is doing really well in just these few short months since we launched. We’re asking folks to subscribe for a minimum $5/month donation, but you can still check out our free episodes (which are more or less every other episode). Here’s a particularly good snippet from our most recent episode about Trump’s disastrous recent interview with the NYT, in which he claimed nearly two dozen times that he didn’t collude with Russia.

If you like that snippet, you can hear the entire episode here for a $5/month premium subscription. I really want to build the podcast this year, and we have some big-name guests coming soon, so please do subscribe and help support progressive media.

Stay strong. I really think we’ve turned the tide, and 2018 is going to be a much better year than we expected.

Thanks, JOHN

PS For those who read this far, check out my interview, from 2008, with Star Wars goddess Carrie Fisher. It’s only 5 minutes long, and on video, and it’s pretty funny. She was an amazing lady.

And join our email action list to receive content like this.

You can listen to the free snippet here:

Trump’s hilarious denial of collusion with Russia Tue, 02 Jan 2018 17:16:28 +0000 Trump’s disastrous New York Times interview is the topic of our latest UnPresidented Podcast episode, in part because the NYT got a lot of heat for — some say — letting Trump get away with a lot of lies.

But also because Trump was so unhinged, even for him, that it’s a fascinating, and scary, way to end the year with a look deep into the psyche of a madman.

A lot of the interview, interestingly, dealt with Russia, and Trump’s incessant denials of collusion (which is what this clip is devoted to). The man is clearly freaked out about the Russia probe, and he also hasn’t gotten over the election yet. Enjoy.

You can hear a funny snippet below, and the entire episode here with a $5/month subscription.

Trump claims to have most effective administration since Truman. It’s another huge lie. Thu, 28 Dec 2017 18:06:48 +0000 Donald Trump yesterday claimed that he has had the most effective first-year of any president since Truman, who held the earlier record (Trump claimed) — but now, Trump has even beat Truman!

Except it was all a lie.

Trump didn’t beat Truman. Truman didn’t hold the record — Kennedy did. And in fact, Trump has had the least effective first-year of any president, including Truman.

CNN had a great chart this morning, listing the number of bills signed in each president’s first year. Trump fared the worst:

trump first year legislative recorda

All of this might be funny if it weren’t so dangerous. The man is a pathological liar, whose words mean nothing. That’s a dangerous trait for a president of the United States, whose words can start wars. But just as troubling is the fact that Trump seems not-all-there in the head. It’s difficult to imagine someone so willing to lie so boldly about a fact that’s easily checked. Sane people tend not to do such things. Trump, on the other hand, simply doesn’t care.

And to lie with such specificity — claiming falsely that Truman held the record before him. It’s creepy and troubling.

Had this been any other administration, and in particular a Democratic administration, there would be never-ending challenges to the White House about the president’s propensity for lying. Hillary was pilloried for getting wrong some of the details of her many foreign trips; as was Al Gore for misstating parts of his record. Trump lies with every breath, and we all roll our eyes with a Reaganesque “there he goes again.”

Here’s CNN’s quick report on it, with video of Trump’s claim:

Star Wars’ Carrie Fisher, my interview Tue, 26 Dec 2017 18:58:54 +0000 I had the joy of interviewing Star Wars star Carrie Fisher (aka Princess/General Leia) who passed away unexpectedly last Christmas. It was right before the 2008 elections, and Fisher one-woman show (Wishful Drinking) was traveling through DC, and a reader of my blog was able to snag us tickets, and even better, an interview back stage before the show!

I never laughed so hard in all my life. Carrie is hilarious, and brilliant, and insane.

My then-blogging-partner-in-crime Joe Sudbay and I met Carrie at her car in the parking lot behind DC’s Lincoln Theater. Carrie said hi, then threw glitter dust all over the both of us. We were covered in the stuff. She acted like it was totally normal. That was Carrie.

So we went with her to her dressing room, and talked for like 20 minutes before the actual on-tape interview. Oh how I wish I had taped that part. Carrie was brilliant, and quite serious, when talking about politics. She almost seemed as if she was being extra-careful NOT to be frivolous in discussing the upcoming 2018 election.

But she was hysterical in the pre-game before we taped, talking about the time she dated then- Senator Chris Dodd, and he took her to the Kennedy compound in Massachusetts for the weekend, and the Kennedy’s ridiculed her mercilessly (referring her to a floozy, in essence). Well, anyone who’s met Carrie knows that you take her on at your own peril. In the middle of a church, after one Kennedy had made one floozy joke too far, she responded, loudly, with a joke about Chappaquiddick.

Oh my god, I said, what did they do? She responded, the entire room erupted into laughter.

The interview itself, in the video below, was more serious. Carrie began by smearing more glitter on Joe’s face (photo to the right). Two parts, however, were lighter, so to speak. In one, Carrie talks about President George W. Bush’s little-known superpower (he can fart on command), and then she went off on Sarah Palin, calling her the c-word. I’m pretty sure Carrie had made the same comment before the show, and we had told her that she can’t say that on tape, especially only six weeks or so before the election — we didn’t want to divert attention from all the bad press Palin was getting. But Carrie being Carrie, she said it anyway. (I did bleep it in the video I posted on YouTube at the time, but still have the original, and will post it when I get back to DC where my copy resides.)

I’d have loved to have had her on our UnPresidented Podcast. What a gem. Here’s my 2008 interview:

Tell Congress to Hold Trump Accountable for Sexual Assault Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:40:47 +0000 On the same day that women are demanding justice for Donald Trump’s serial sexual assault, Senate Democrats are providing Trump cover.

Add your name: Demand that Democrats in Congress hold Donald Trump accountable for his already-confessed serial sexual assault.

In the past 24 hours, two Senate Democrats, Chris Coons and Ben Cardin, suggested that it wasn’t their job to hold Donald Trump accountable for sexual assault. The Democrats claimed that Congress has no mechanism to investigate Trump’s sexual assault (um, hearings anyone?), and, incredibly, they repeated an absurd Donald Trump White House talking point that the election last year exonerated Trump from such charges. (Here’s video of Coons.) Sarah Huckabee Sanders gave the exact same excuse today!

That’s preposterous. First, Hillary Clinton won the election last year — at least in terms of the popular vote. It’s absurd on its face to suggest that people voted in favor of sexual assault; but it’s equally false to make the claim when 3 million more people voted for Hillary. If anything, “the people” spoke AGAINST Trump.

The fact that two Democratic Senators made the exact same statement within a day of each other means they are repeating official Senate Democrat talking points. And that’s outrageous.

America is finally waking up to the horrors of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Democratic Senators went so far as to force Senator Al Franken to resign over such accusations. But when it comes to Donald Trump, we’re supposed to give him a pass?

I don’t think so.

Sign the petition, below or via this link, demand that Congressional Democrats hold Donald Trump as accountable as they do their own congressional colleagues.


Trump’s speech suddenly slurs during major Jerusalem statement Thu, 07 Dec 2017 01:10:54 +0000 During his statement today about his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Donald Trump’s speech suddenly slurred in the last minute of his address.

I’ve compiled a video comparing the first 30 seconds of Trump’s Jerusalem statement with the final 30 seconds or so. You’ll note that in the first few minutes, Trump is articulate and pronounces the letter “s” correction. At the end of the speech, Trump is slurring his words, can no longer pronounce the letter “s” — it comes across as “sh” — and then in closing the address, Trump even mispronounces the word “United States” as “United Shates.”

Some have wondered if Trump has dentures, others have noted that a sudden onset of slurred speech can be indicative of a stroke, or even a side effect of medication. (Trump’s sniffling and heavy breathing was back in this speech as well as well.) But Trump claims he’s perfectly healthy, and not on any medication other than statins. And he’s never admitted to wearing dentures.

Then what happened?

Below is my video comparing the beginning and the end of the Jerusalem statement, then a look at his signature today, compared to his signing of earlier executive orders:

Now have a look at Trump’s signature today, versus earlier signatures.

Here’s today’s — it’s somewhat sloppy and large:

Here’s a closer shot from C-Span — the signature is a mess:

Here’s an even better copy via the Washington Post. This copy looks less extreme than the earlier images, but you can still tell that in this signature the lines are jerky. It’s as if someone much older if drawing the signature slowly — no longer do you see the clean up and down motion in earlier Trump signatures. Look specifically at the way Trump draws the up and down lines to signify the letters “rum” in Trump — compare that to the way he used to do it in previous signatures. This one is messy, while previous signatures are drawn with very strong up and down lines. It reminds me of how my parents’ signatures degraded as they aged over the decades. But Trump’s degraded in a matter of months.

Compare that to earlier signatures, that appear cleaner, more firm and assured, and less shaky:

It’s hard to say. We do know that had this been any other American president, whose speech slurred inexplicably towards the end of a public appearance, there would be immediate public speculation about his health, and immediate demands for the White House to explain the incident the president experienced today.

But this is Donald Trump. And the fact that he issued a bogus statement about his health during the campaign, and attacked Hillary Clinton’s health with bogus claims that she was seriously ill in the final days of the campaign, makes his health just as much an issue. And in fact, it doesn’t matter that Trump has already made health an issue. He’s our president, and his health is a public mater. We deserve to know what happened.

The Alt Right is trying to destroy Sam Seder Tue, 05 Dec 2017 23:28:51 +0000 UPDATE: We won! MSNBC has rehired Sam Seder!


​Progressive icon and Majority Report host Sam Seder is under attack from the so-called “Alt Right.” Sam needs our help now.

Sign the petition at the bottom of this page, or via this link.

Far-right Republican “men’s rights activist” Mike Cernovich, with the help of Seb Gorka and Donald Trump Jr., are trying to destroy Sam. And they just might succeed, unless we stop them now. They’ve already gotten Sam fired from MSNBC, and now they’re trying to kill his podcast by going after his advertisers. ​

What was Sam’s sin? He criticized filmmaker Roman Polanski for being a pedophile who raped a 13-year-old girl. Yes, Sam took a public stand against the sexual assault of young girls, and now he’s paying with his career.

Cernovich, a well-known fake-conspiracy promoter, claimed falsely that Sam defended Polanski in a tweet Sam wrote ten years ago. In fact, Sam’s tweet did the opposite — he attacked those on the left who would forgive Polanski for raping a child, simply because Polanski “made good films.”

This isn’t the first time Cernovich has concocted a high-profile lie to advance his extreme political agenda. Cernovich was one of those behind the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that falsely claimed Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of the basement of a Washington, DC pizza parlor. That absurd allegation inspired a man to hold the restaurant hostage at gun point.​

As thanks for taking an unpopular stand against sexual assault ten years ago, Sam just lost his job at MSNBC, and Cernovich and the Alt Right are now targeting Sam’s advertisers on his podcast.

Enough is enough. It is outrageous that MSNBC would believe a known liar like Cernovich over someone with a long progressive record of defending all of our fights, including the rights of women. Not only was MSNBC wrong to fire Sam, but now the Alt Right is using the MSNBC move to urge other advertisers to drop Sam as well. MSNBC has quite literally take a fringe kook like Cernovich and turned him into a weapon to attack good progressives like Sam. And once he’s done with Sam, he’ll attack everyone else leading our movement.

Please sign this petition to MSNBC President Phil Griffin, demanding that he rehire Sam Seder and apologize for the harm they’ve already caused Sam’s reputation.

PS Here are some of Mike Cernovich’s views on women. This is the man who MSNBC is taking advice from on sexual assault:


Please sign the petition, and share this with your friends. Thanks so much. JOHN

NB My latest podcast with Cliff Schecter talks at length about the attack on Sam. You can listen to it here — but sign the petition first!

Trump’s latest tweet might get him banned from UK as an extremist Wed, 29 Nov 2017 18:41:39 +0000 Donald Trump may have just gotten himself banned from entering the United Kingdom under the country’s strict anti-extremism policies.

Add your name to the petition calling on the British government to endorse British law, and ban Trump from entering the UK.

Trump today retweeted a series of hateful anti-Muslim videos — at least one of which is a known fake, according to the Dutch government — from a notorious British hate group, “Britain First.”

British Prime Minister May’s official spokesman accused Britain First of spreading “hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.” He added, “The British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents — decency, tolerance and respect. It is wrong for the President to have done this.”

The Washington Post has more on the extremist group — they’re appalling.

The problem for Trump, and now PM May’s government, is that Trump should now rightfully be banned the UK for fomenting extremism.

Under UK anti-extremism guidelines, the government has the right to exclude non-UK nationals from entering the country if they use their position to disseminate hate. Specifically note the sections dealing with “using a position of responsibility” and “express[ing] views which…. foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.” May’s statement already admits that Trump did just that: “hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.”

Whether he’s embracing neo-Nazis, endorsing accused pedophiles, or fomenting anti-Muslim hate speech, Donald Trump thinks he can spread hate and extremism without consequence. In the interest of us all, the British government must enforce its own anti-extremism guidelines and ban Donald Trump from entering the UK until, as the guidelines require, he repudiates his extremist views.

Please sign the petition to Prime Minister May, and urge her to do the right thing.

Gorka get your gun Wed, 29 Nov 2017 17:14:34 +0000 Trump embarrasses the nation once again by using a racist slur about Native Americans in front of a group of Native American heroes at the White House; there’s growing evidence that former Trump aide, and far-right troll, Seb Gorka thinks he’s James Bond; and Trump, Roy Moore and their buddies at Project Veritas make a failed effort at tearing down the media.

That and more of the latest news in today’s latest episode of the UnPresidented Podcast. Just click the white arrow in orange circle below to listen.

Then, subscribe to the UnPresidented Podcast for as little as $5/month and get access to our weekly premium episodes to boot (and you’ll be supporting our work too!) Thanks, JOHN

(Gorka image by Gage Skidmore, and James Bond theme by Monty Norman.)

“Treason’s Greetings” – Resistance Xmas gifts Mon, 27 Nov 2017 22:14:09 +0000 We’ve got some last-minute stocking stuffer t-shirts that will only be available over the next week until Sunday, December 3 (so folks can get them in time for Christmas), and which help fund our Resistance work.

Here are the two new designs:



The first is our very-popular “Nevertheless, she persisted” design — personally, I think TIME is going to make women its Person of the Year 2017. Regardless, this is clearly our year of the woman.

And the second is a popular design I sold over ten years ago during the Bush administration, and just had to bring back for Donald Trump: “Treason’s Greetings.”

Here they are — they come in a variety of colors, unisex and women’s styles:

The shirts are $25 each — and a sizable portion of each purpose goes directly to fund my work. (The more shirts we sell, the better the commission.) Please have a look, buy some, and share them with your friends on social media.

Thanks so much!

The latest on Trump-Russia Thu, 09 Nov 2017 19:05:04 +0000 Lots of Trump-Russia updates, including Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner in increasing danger, the Flynn boys reportedly on the verge of being indicted, and the ongoing damage of Carter Page’s glorious public meltdown.

Will Trump & company escape with some last-minute pardons? Not if the NY attorney general has anything to say about it. All that and more in today’s Trump-Russia podcast — click the orange arrow to listen.

Please subscribe to the UnPresidented Podcast on iTunes  and leave us a rating & review. And access our premium shows by becoming a patron here on Patreon.

Trump’s panders to Asia while the GOP destroys all cultural norms Thu, 09 Nov 2017 17:12:12 +0000 Trump’s embarrassing trip to Asia, and the GOP effort to destroy any remaining cultural norms in politics (e.g., picking Quayle, Palin and Trump; trying to steal Al Franken’s seat, stealing the Supreme Court nomination), is the subject of our latest podcast.

We decided to split this longer podcast into separate episodes by subject. That way you can actually snit down and listen to 20 minutes or 30 minutes, instead of having to find an entire hour and a half. So here’s the segment on Trump’s trip to Asia, and the larger GOP effort to water down our political norms. Just click the orange arrow:

Please subscribe to the UnPresidented Podcast on iTunes  and leave us a rating & review. And access our premium shows by becoming a patron here on Patreon.

Papa John’s has a delicious Nazi pizza problem Thu, 09 Nov 2017 15:27:07 +0000 The GOP’s favorite pizza, Papa John’s, has a delicious Nazi problem.

It all began when the conservative owner of Papa John’s decided to weigh in on the NFL kneeling controversy — yes, the real victim of the police brutality controversy is Papa John’s — and the Nazis were so impressed they made him their official pizza.

Herr John was not amused, and hilarity ensued.

Cliff and I discuss this delicious dilemma in this short clip from today’s podcast — click the orange arrow to listen:

Please subscribe to the UnPresidented Podcast on iTunes  and leave us a rating & review. And access our premium shows by becoming a patron here on Patreon.

Yet another mass shooting, what it all means if anything Thu, 09 Nov 2017 15:13:52 +0000 In today’s podcast, Cliff Schecter and I discuss the mass shooting in Texas, and what if anything gun control advocates can do in a country that seems to have lost its mind.

You can listen to this segment of our podcast via the embed below, just click the orange arrow:



Please subscribe to the UnPresidented Podcast on iTunes  and leave us a rating & review. And access our premium shows by becoming a patron here on Patreon.

It’s time for a somber national discussion about [INSERT LATEST MASS SHOOTING HERE] Sun, 05 Nov 2017 22:26:58 +0000 This story, first published years ago, was inspired by some American mass-shooting long-forgotten. Sadly, we are forced to republish it on a regular basis.

It’s time to have a somber national discussion about the [insert shooting tragedy here] tragedy.

Before we get started, let’s go over a few basic ground rules.

1. In the wake of the __________ tragedy, it’s time for us all to come together as a nation and not assign blame. This is not the time, for example, to talk about how it’s easier to purchase a gun in America than it is to vote (or buy French cheese). I fact-checked the graphic below, it’s for real:


And I quote White House spokesman Jary Carney, speaking about the murder at Sandy Hook school in Newtown, Connecticut of at least 18 young children:

“I’m sure [there] will be rather a day for discussion of the usual Washington policy debates,but I don’t think today is that day,” Carney said.

Fortunately, the President’s subsequent statement was better.

2. And we won’t tolerate any second guessing of the Second Amendment right to carry assault weapons, or questions about how the Framers could have possibly envisaged an assault rifle over 200 years ago, or why a “hunter” needs six thousand rounds of ammunition, or kevlar, or smoke grenades to kill a pheasant.

Open Carry gun owner at JC Penney store in Utah

Open -carry gun owner at JC Penney store in Utah. What could possibly go wrong?

3. While the shooter may have been inspired by political fliers showing the victim in cross hairs, or may have come unhinged by inflammatory rhetoric about how said victim was coming for the shooter’s guns, discussing such motivation at this sensitive moment would be completely inappropriate. Not to mention, disrespectful to the __________ victims.

Sarah Palin showed US Rep. Gabby Giffords' district in crosshairs shortly before Giffords was shot in the head and nearly killed in an assassination attempt.

Sarah Palin showed US Rep. Gabby Giffords’ district in crosshairs shortly before Giffords was shot in the head and nearly killed in an assassination attempt.

4. If the tragedy involved someone flying a plane into a government building, or for that matter blowing up a government building, now is not the time to discuss people like Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity (no names, please), or Republicans generally (no political parties, please), incessantly trying to convince their audience that the occupant of the White House, or any government official, agency, or entire branch of government is evil and/or “un-American” and/or out to get them or our country or our freedom.


5. And definitely don’t mention the Republican party’s frequent claim and/or insinuation, including suggestions from the GOP candidate himself, Mitt Romney, that the sitting Democratic President is a socialist, which in American parlance actually means “communist,” which actually means “Soviet,” which was America’s deadliest enemy out for our utter destruction.

Sure, it would be entirely understandable why someone would take up arms against a Soviet takeover of the United States, but a Democrat said something mean once about a Republican’s dog, or something, so aren’t both parties really to blame, thus making the charge moot?

tea party

Tea Party rally. The Islamic symbol at the bottom right of the poster is a nice touch. Ira Bostic /

6. Never, ever mention the NRA.  Sure, they’ve proven themselves, time and again, incapable of passing laws that effectively keep guns out of the hands of crazy mass murderers, but that’s no reason to blame them for the _______ tragedy because it’s just too early to cast blame on anyone other than the shooter, who was obviously crazy, and thus this month’s anomaly.

Now, let’s discuss for a moment the race of the shooter and the race of the victims.

7. If the ______________ tragedy involved angry white men opening fire on brown people of faith, this is definitely not the time to replay clips of bombastic commentators and politicians getting white men in places like Kansas whipped into a frenzy over Manhattan’s zoning criteria for non-Christian houses of worship.

8. But feel free to discuss if all brown people, and thus the shooter, or his victims, were Muslims – sorry, I meant to say “radical Islamists.”  And even if neither was a Muslim, make sure you discuss that point incessantly – Muslim, Muslim, Muslim, Muslim – so as to eventually sow suspicion in the public’s mind as to whether there really is a Muslim angle to this story.

9. Speaking of which, this is not the time to discuss the more general fear mongering around words like “Muslim,” including the ongoing, successful, attempt by Republicans to convince their base that our dark-skinned President is one.

Okay, I think we’re ready now to discuss the ______________ tragedy.

First off: It is entirely acceptable for a Republican to opine that the tragedy could have been averted had the victims all been armed (please disregard previous tragedies where armed police officers, or members of the military, were themselves injured by the shooter).

Second: Poignant, but ultimately meaningless, gestures such as lighting tragedy candles at nighttime vigils, and posting anti-gun petitions on, are to be encouraged.

Finally: Clutch your pearls, and all together now, ask the purely rhetorical question: “How could this happen?”

Forty-eight hours after the shooting, return to talking about the Olympics and the latest Kardashian wedding until the next shooting occurs, then refer to point 1 above.

PS: If the victims of the ___________tragedy were black, ignore the above restrictions and take up a collection for the shooter’s defense fund.

Indicted: What you need to know about today’s Russia-related FBI indictments Mon, 30 Oct 2017 23:02:48 +0000 Two members of the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, have been indicted by FBI special counsel Mueller; and a third member of the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, has reached a deal where he is cooperating with prosecutors.

And Papadopoulos, who many had never heard of, is the real bombshell here. Papadopoulos ties Team Trump to Russia and Hillary Clinton’s stolen emails. It’s a huge story, and Cliff Schecter and I break it down for you. I think this is our best, and most important, podcast yet. You can listen via the box below, just click the orange arrow.

Please subscribe to the UnPresidented Podcast on iTunes ( and leave us a rating & review. And access our premium shows by becoming a patron here on Patreon.

Why GOP Sen. Flake’s anti-Trump speech mattered Fri, 27 Oct 2017 21:29:38 +0000 In our latest podcast, Cliff Schecter and I dissect why we both believe that GOP Senator Jeff Flake’s anti-Trump speech this week really did matter.

Now, it’s true that Flake has a horrible pro-Trump voting record, but I never expected Flake, a conservative Republican, to become a Democrat. I wanted Flake, and other GOP leaders, to start calling Donald Trump out, and telling the world that he’s unfit for office. And that’s exactly what Flake did.

And while I don’t think Flake’s speech was the final nail in Trump’s political coffin, I also don’t think it was as uneventful as some are saying. I think it mattered. And here’s why:

In order to hear the full episode, subscribe on Patreon for $5/month or more. Thanks so much, JOHN

F—–g Moron Thu, 26 Oct 2017 16:42:09 +0000 In our latest UnPresidented Podcast, Cliff Scehcter and I discuss:

The JFK files, quarantining people with HIV (yeah, this brilliant idea came from the spouse of a Trump cabinet secretary), Julian Assange weighs in on the evils of men who defend women, Seb Gorka lets loose his inner racist, the GOP House will investigate an anti-Hillary conspiracy theory, Trump vs. Mrs. Sgt. La David Johnson, Trump vs. Bob Corker, Trump vs. John McCain, and Bill O’Reilly vs. the women (and decent men) of America. Cliff and John discuss all this in today’s free episode (taped before the bombshell Flake news).

You can listen to this podcast simply by clicking the orange button below.

Please subscribe to the UnPresidented Podcast on iTunes and leave us a rating & review. And access our premium shows by becoming a patron on Patreon.

What really happened in Niger? Wed, 18 Oct 2017 21:22:01 +0000 Today’s White House press briefing was unusually illuminating. Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked a lot of questions about the growing scandal over Donald Trump’s mishandling of the failed Niger mission that killed four American service members.

Specifically, Trump has been hammered over why he failed to offer his condolences to the families of the slain Americans, or even comment publicly on their deaths — both things presidents normally do.

Earlier this week, Trump responded angrily, and seemingly blamed President Obama, claiming that Obama and other previous presidents never offered condolences to the family of our military heroes. In fact, that’s wrong.

You can listen to a portion of our latest podcast on this topic here:

Then, Trump brought up the fallen son of his chief of staff, General John Kelly, who was killed in the line of duty in Afghanistan. Trump suggested that Obama didn’t reach out to the Kelly family after their son died — in fact, they were invited to the Obama White House to an event with Gold Star Families, and were seated at Michelle Obama’s table. But regardless, what does that have to do with Trump’s response now?

Niger-mapTo make matters worse, CNN and the Washington Post have confirmed that when Trump called the pregnant widow one of the four soldiers killed, La David Johnson, Trump shocked the woman by telling her that her husband “knew what he signed up for.” Trump claims he never said it, but the soldier’s mother, who was listening to the speakerphone conversation, says Trump did, and the grieving spouse was mortified. (A Democratic member of Congress also heard the call, and confirms what Trump said.)

Then today, Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to deny that Trump told the widow “he knew what he signed up for.” She was asked to deny he said it, and she refused. But it gets better: Sanders then claimed that General Kelly, who NEVER talks about his son in public, is “disgusted” at how the deaths of our soldiers have been politicized. Does that mean Kelly is disgusted with Trump? Because either Trump got permission from Kelly in advance to use Kelly’s dead son as a political prop, or he didn’t. Either way, if Kelly had any dignity left, he’d resign.

But it gets even more interesting. Politico is now reporting that White House staff drafted a statement of condolence immediately after the troops were killed in Niger, and Trump for some reason refused to make it public. Why not? Then add another piece of news: Two reporters say that John McCain told them that Trump isn’t telling the full truth of what happened in Niger. CNN’s Manu Raju reported on Twitter:

Reporter: Is the Trump administration being up front about what happened in Niger?

“No,” McCain said, per @KilloughCNN

Others in Congress have also said that Trump isn’t being honest about what happened during the ambush that killed our soldiers in Niger. Those voices include GOP Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “We have a little bit of info, but not what we should.”

So what is Trump hiding? And, is that why he killed the statement of condolence, because he’s hiding something about the deaths of our soldiers in Niger?

If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say that Trump made some rash decision that got those soldiers killed. And now he’s covering it up.

In, fact, the French claim that the mission in Niger didn’t have enough intelligence backing it up, nor was there enough planning behind it.

A diplomat with knowledge of the incident said French officials were frustrated by the U.S. troops’ actions, saying they had acted on only limited intelligence and without contingency plans in place.

Does that sound familiar? It should. Back in January, a US Navy Seal was killed during a mission that many suggested Trump rushed. Trump made the decision to go in over dinner with Bannon and Kushner, rather than in the Situation Room where such decisions are normally made because the president has access to far more information. The mission was a mess, and it was a first glimpse into Trump’s seat-of-the-pants decisionmaking.

Did Trump rush the job and do it again in Niger? Because nobody signed up for this.

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