Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins) included the following comments with today's toon:
I have been known to toss out a few thoughts of my own on Twitter, and if you follow me there you may have seen me compare the last week to an episode of Doctor Who in which time breaks and all of history is happening at once. In *one week* we went from Comey confirming that there’s an active investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government … to the collapse of Trump’s imaginary “repeal and replace” healthcare plan. This cartoon went through a few rewrites, trying to keep up. The cadence of it was yet another attempt to capture Trump's narcissistic stream-of-consciousness verbiage, which careens and collides and always ends up at the same destination ("Trump Is The Best!"). I was inspired by this completely bizarre Time magazine interview, in which the most powerful man in the world said things like this:
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.
Not to mention:
Why do you say that I have to apologize? I’m just quoting the newspaper, just like I quoted the judge the other day, Judge Napolitano, I quoted Judge Napolitano, just like I quoted Bret Baier, I mean Bret Baier mentioned the word wiretap. Now he can now deny it, or whatever he is doing, you know. But I watched Bret Baier, and he used that term. I have a lot of respect for Judge Napolitano, and he said that three sources have told him things that would make me right. I don’t know where he has gone with it since then. But I’m quoting highly respected people from highly respected television networks.
I said Brussels is not what it used to be, very sad what has happened to Brussels. I was absolutely lambasted. A short time later they had the major attack in Brussels. One year ago today. Exactly one year ago today. And then people said you know Trump was right. What am I going to tell you? I tend to be right. I’m an instinctual person, I happen to be a person that knows how life works.
That last line made it into the second panel of the cartoon. A couple of other notes about this one: in case you missed it, he really did appear to have just learned that Lincoln was a Republican. And the reason his official White House portrait looks like it was taken while he was sitting constipated on a solid gold toilet is that he thinks the expression makes him look like Winston Churchill.
Until next time,
Dan (aka Tom)
Perhaps Il Douche's face resembles Winston Churchill's hindquarters, but this blog still holds that Il Douche just does a bad imitation of the real Il Duce.
Also, don't miss George Packer's indictment of Il Douche as unfit for duty. If this is a (fair & balanced) one-two punch, so be it.
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 Tom Tomorrow Reveals The Trump Diaries
 George Packer On Il Douche's "Official Duties"
[Dan Perkins is an editorial cartoonist better known by the pen name "Tom Tomorrow." His weekly comic strip, "This Modern World," which comments on current events from a strong liberal perspective, appears regularly in approximately 150 papers across the U.S., as well as on Daily Kos. The strip debuted in 1990 in SF Weekly. Perkins, a long time resident of Brooklyn, New York, currently lives in Connecticut. He received the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Excellence in Journalism in both 1998 and 2002. When he is not working on projects related to his comic strip, Perkins writes a daily political blog, also entitled "This Modern World," which he began in December 2001. More recently, Dan Perkins, pen name Tom Tomorrow, was named the winner of the 2013 Herblock Prize for editorial cartooning. Even more recently, Dan Perkins was a runner-up for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning.]
Copyright © 2017 This Modern World/Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins)
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Holding Trump Accountable
By George Packer
TagCrowd cloud of the following piece of writing
Section 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the Constitution allows for the removal of a President who can no longer discharge his duties but is unable or unwilling to say so. It empowers the Vice-President, along with “a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide,” to declare the President unfit and to install the Vice-President as Acting President. Section 4 has never been invoked. In 1987, when Ronald Reagan appointed Howard Baker to be his new chief of staff, the members of the outgoing chief’s team warned their replacements that Reagan’s mental ineptitude might require them to attempt the removal of the President under Section 4. Baker and his staff, at their first official meeting with Reagan, watched him carefully for signs of incapacity—but the President, apparently cheered by the arrival of newcomers, was alert and lively, and he served out the rest of his second term.
After a month in office, Donald Trump has already proved himself unable to discharge his duties. The disability isn’t laziness or inattention. It expresses itself in paranoid rants, non-stop feuds carried out in public, and impulsive acts that can only damage his government and himself. Last week, at a White House press conference, the President behaved like the unhinged leader of an unstable and barely democratic republic. He rambled for nearly an hour and a half, on script and off; he flung insults at reporters; he announced that he was having fun; and he congratulated himself so many times and in such preposterous terms (“this Administration is running like a fine-tuned machine”) that the White House press corps could only stare in amazement. The gaudy gold drapery of the East Room contributed to the impression that at any moment Trump might declare himself President for Life, and a flunky would appear from behind the curtain to pin the Medal of National Greatness on his suit jacket, while, backstage, officials and generals discussed his overthrow. Trump experienced such a deep need to get back on top by lashing out that he apparently overrode the objections of his advisers, felt much better afterward, then prepared to go to Florida to sustain his high at the first rally of his reëlection campaign.
While the White House isolates itself in power struggles, the Administration is in nearly open revolt. Career diplomats are signing statements of dissent or leaving the State Department, while key posts remain unfilled. Officials at the Environmental Protection Agency fought to stop Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pro-industry nominee, from taking over as their new boss. And other government officials, after weeks of hearing Trump belittle their agencies, are feeding the press information about Russian involvement with his campaign.
Foreign leaders, depending on their orientation, are watching this spectacle with disbelieving alarm or with calculating interest. Allies such as Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau, of Canada, and Shinzo Abe, of Japan, flatter the President in order to avoid the fate of Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull, whom Trump first berated and then hung up on during their get-to-know-you phone call. Vladimir Putin is already testing Trump, by sending Russian fighter jets to buzz a U.S. Navy ship. Xi Jinping is positioning China to fill the void in the Pacific Rim which will be left by Trump’s policy of America First. Pragmatists in Iran are trying to judge whether the new American government can be counted on to act rationally—exactly what US officials always wondered about the fractured leadership of the Islamic Republic.
It won’t get better. The notion that, at some point, Trump would start behaving “Presidential” was always a fantasy that has the truth backward: the pressure of the Presidency is making him worse. He’s insulated by sycophants and by family members, and he can still ride a long way on his popular following. Though the surge of civic opposition, the independence of the courts, and the reinvigoration of the press are heartening, the only real leverage over Trump lies in the hands of Republicans. But Section 4 won’t be invoked. Vice-President Mike Pence is not going to face the truth in the private back room of a Washington restaurant with Secretaries Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, and Wilbur Ross, or in the offices of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Republican leaders have opted instead for unconstrained power.
They need Trump to pass their agenda of rewriting the tax code in favor of the rich and of gutting regulations that protect the public and the planet—an agenda that a majority of Americans never supported—so they are looking the other way. Even the prospect of Russian influence over our elections and our government leaves these American patriots unmoved. Senator John Cornyn, of Texas, the Republican whip, made it plain: Trump can go on being Trump “as long as we’re able to get things done.” Senator Rand Paul, of Kentucky, explained, “We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans.”
The growing Russian scandal will challenge the willingness of the Party to hold the President accountable. So far, the situation is not encouraging. The heads of the key House and Senate committees are partisans who are doing as little as possible to expose corruption and possible treason in the White House. The few critical Republican voices—Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Susan Collins, and Representative Mark Sanford—are ineffective. Perhaps Party leaders are privately searching their souls; perhaps, as with the old Bolshevik Rubashov, in Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon (1940, 1980), ideology and power have rendered them incapable of independent moral judgment. Whatever the case, history won’t be kind to them.
An authoritarian and erratic leader, a chaotic Presidency, a supine legislature, a resistant permanent bureaucracy, street demonstrations, fear abroad: this is what illiberal regimes look like. If Trump were more rational and more competent, he might have a chance of destroying our democracy. ###
[After receiving a BA (government and international relations) from Yale University, George Packer served in the Peace Corps in Togo, West Africa. Packer has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since May 2003. His most recent books include The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq (2005), Betrayed (2009), and The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (2013).]
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