On Sunday Mike Pence traveled to an NFL game where he knew there would be a protest by some of the players. (Seriously, didn’t we all know that?)  Then he left in mock disgust. He said he won’t tolerate disrespect of the flag.

But isn’t Mike Pence the VP to Donald Trump? The guy who

  • Dodged the draft refusing to fight for the same flag with 5 medical deferments
  • Insulted war veteran John McCain for being captured
  • Insulted a gold-star family who’s son gave his life in service to the country
  • Talked about sexually assaulting women with impunity due to his celebrity

I guess Mike Pence has slippery morals when it comes to his boss.

But let’s look at really what’s going on here. Pence believes that his voters are so incredibly stupid they won’t notice the hypocrisy. He’s right. But worse, he’s put that on display in what is probably the most obvious a political stunt so far this century. That is to say, who didn’t know that there would be a protest at Sunday’s game?

And the worst part of it all is that his voters will be outraged, not by his callous manipulation of their emotions, but by the protesters who really just want to bring attention to lingering racial injustice. Pence might as well just give minorities the finger. It’s more direct and less shady that his political games. Besides, his boss does it all the time.

And with some run of the mill Trump inflammatory demagoguery, suddenly the entire sports word is divided among itself. Blacks protesting police brutality and inequality. Trump supporters (who are more nationalistic than thoughtful) protesting the protesters.

Suddenly it’s fan against sport. That’s not how it’s supposed to be. Thanks, Prez.

While all this is going on, Puerto Rico is still without power. The island is in ruins, but Trump is tweeting about football. Is Houston still a thing? I certainly wouldn’t know from our Commander in Chief.

To make matters worse, Trump then called for a boycott of the NFL. This hurts the players, sure, but it hurts everyone else more. It hurts the fans, the vendors and their employees, the advertisers and their businesses, the sport and all the franchises. Basically it hurts everyone. Everyone but Trump who probably doesn’t care much for football anyway since it doesn’t involve golf.

If he had just kept his yap shut, none of this would be happening. I’m not sure how much more of Trump’s “leadership” we can handle. He’s about as toxic as cyanide these days and getting worse, not better.

Right now it’s football he’s screwing up, but remember North Korea has an atomic bomb… Kind of scary in a literal way these days. Let’s just say I hope he handles Kim better than he has the NFL.

I wonder if Putin is paying Trump to turn us against each other? That’s certainly what today’s revelation about Russian Facebook advertising buys during the election seemed to indicate. If I were Putin, I’d probably cut Trump a check even if he wasn’t on the payroll and tell him to keep up the good work. Trump probably wouldn’t get the joke – but he’d certainly cash the check.

I think it’s pretty clear to most impartial observers that the pardoning of Joe Arpaio was a cheap political stunt. Considering Joe wasn’t likely to go to jail, and was only convicted of a misdemeanor, it would be hardly worthy of presidential attention – unless the president stood to gain from the act. In this case, the president was kind enough to confirm it to us, as he mentioned that the Hurricane Harvey coverage would give him a larger soapbox from which to announce his action. (Thanks for letting us know, Don.)

But now that the dirty deed is done, it’s time to consider the ramifications of this ill-conceived act.

First and foremost, the pardon is something of a paper tiger. The only thing Trump can pardon Arpaio for is federal transgressions, not for breaking state law. So his pardon really only applies to the federal contempt conviction and not much else. And in Trump’s impatience to take advantage of the hurricane’s news cycle, he issued his pardon well before the case was even fully adjudicated because the appeal is still in process. This leaves the pardon in something of a gray area, legally speaking as Arpaio is seeking to have the conviction vacated completely and pardons historically imply the recipient has admitted guilt since the recipient is supposed to have demonstrated remorse.

And there’s more. Pardons aren’t typically issued for political purposes, as was this one, and so the natural consequence is that is raises constitutional questions that must now be answered by the courts. This is because the president can’t ignore the constitution while issuing a pardon. For instance, were the president to accept a cash payment in return for a pardon, he would probably be liable to some kind of prosecution for bribery.

All this will inevitably lead to months of uncertainty as the various legal wheels begin to turn and issues land before judges for rulings. Ultimately there could be one or more supreme court decisions that grant or limit presidential power with respect to issuing pardons. Either way, only one thing is absolute: the president doesn’t really have unlimited power to issue pardons after all, regardless of what Trump may currently think and say.

And that brings us to the final and most important point of all, and what may one day be judged as one of Trump’s biggest miscalculations. With all the legal challenges to this pardon, other individuals close to the president will begin to take notice and question whether or not Trump can really provide the legal cover he may have promised them if they broke the law at his request or for his benefit. So Trump has, in effect, squandered his power to suggest to others that he’s got their backs, which is a big deal when there’s a powerful independent council looking into your administration’s actions. Ultimately, he may have wasted his golden signature on a silly misdemeanor conviction for a racist, asshole sheriff.

People who might have been content to lie for Donald will and should be much more careful to consider whether or not it’s worth the risk, as they know other pardons he may issue will be looked at that much more carefully. If nothing else, this political stunt will place doubt in the minds of those around Trump who might now think that his pardon is not necessarily the get-out-of-jail-free card they imagined it would be. In the end, it was just another way for Trump to win short-term political adoration from his breathless followers but at the expense of any long term objectives he might have and the people who idiotically break the law expecting him to cover for them.

In the wake of the racist gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia last week, many places in the South are considering removing statues honoring confederate leaders. As a result the right wing is crying foul. “You’re attempting to rewrite history!” they charge.

But let’s be honest. This accusation is just another right wing talking point. And it’s baseless. Removing statues honoring people who fought to subjugate minorities is ultimately a winning argument, and it’s not about changing historical accounts. This is an argument about whether or not we should be honoring these people in the first place.

No one on the left is attempting to whitewash history. In fact, quite the opposite. If anyone has anything to gain by rewriting history, it’s the ruling whites in the South who, as a group, were responsible for administering and maintaining the institution of slavery. They would have the most to gain rewriting history while the left would have the most to gain by shining a bright light on what actually went on during that period. So not only is it an incorrect argument, but it’s something of an oxymoron.

So don’t let anyone tell you this fight over statues is about rewriting history, because it’s not. No one is advocating for that. It’s just a feeble attempt to keep repressive statues that honor people who fought for racial inequality. Those days and those people are gone, and those ideas should be gone with them. Let’s agree there are better choices for who we can honor.

One week after being diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer, John McCain rides back into Washington in epic – nay, historically epic fashion to cast the deciding vote opening debate on the repeal of Obamacare. The liberals despaired. How could this happen? The green mile had begun. Many wished him gone already, truth be told. How could a rich man with cancer vote against healthcare for the poor?

Fast forward one week. After 2 of the 3 main repeal proposals were soundly defeated in a majority Republican congress, the very same Mr. McCain walks up to the Majority Leader McConnell and looks him dead in the eye as he flashes his thumbs down, effectively killing healthcare repeal, maybe for good. The irony of his return, which some called heroic, leading to his deathblow of the repeal effort will likely linger in the halls of power until Trump is just an embarrassing memory. The same Republicans who toasted him only a week prior were now cursing his name. He had finally gone full rogue!

But dying men have a way be being honest – at least that’s my theory. And they have about as much tolerance for partisanship as a pilot does for anti-aircraft fire. McCain put his foot down knowing he wouldn’t own it for much longer.

Ever since McCain defended then-candidate Obama from a racist woman asking a racist question at one of his rallies, I’ve had respect for him, even if he did inflict Sarah Palin up on. Hopefully his noble actions will inspire some of his peers.

Putin:  Hello Trump. Now that you’re president I want you to know that we will never relinquish power over the province of Crimea or Eastern Ukraine. If you attempt to stop us, we will bomb you out of west and take the entire country. I’m just letting you know our intentions. You have no claim to Eastern Europe. Do we understand each other?

Trump: Who is this?

Putin: It’s Vladamir Putin, imbecile. Didn’t your secretary mention my name?

Trump: I thought she was talking about the carpet service. There’s a big stain in here where I dropped my margarita. Who is this again?

Putin: It’s Putin!

Trump: And what do you want, Mr Pooteen:

Putin: Ukraine. Are you listening to me? Is this connection working?

Trump: I heard there’s fighting over there or something. Why would anyone want that place? You must be some kind of lightweight.

Putin: Would you consider the awesome power of the entire Russian military a lightweight?

Trump: You have influence with the Russian military? Is that what you just said?

Putin: Yes, I did.

Trump: Do they eat a lot of meat in Russia?

Putin: What?!

Trump: Do they eat a lot meat in Russia? It’s not a hard question.

Putin: Well, I suppose we do, why?

Trump: What do say we sell them some good ol’ American Trump steaks? We could make millions!

Putin: Again with the steaks? Oh god. I need to talk to you about some serious state matters.

Trump: What’s more important than profit?  What’d you say your name was again?

Putin: I’ll call you back.

*Click*

*Dialing*

Putin: You did warn me, you American bastard.

Obama: Yep. Did you mention the Russian army?

Putin: I did.

Obama: He’ll have a Timesheets.com proposal on your desk by tomorrow morning.

Putin: Nope, he tried to sell me steaks.

Obama: Crud. Steaks again? You’ve got to be kidding me!

Putin: He never mentioned Timesheets.com. I knew he’d go with the steaks. Pay up.

Obama: I can’t believe he’s still hocking steaks. As if he was some kind of rancher or something! I guess I owe you 50 Rubles after all. Until next time…

Putin: Yes, until next time.

Today in Trump’s America, where naked bigotry and its ugliness is on the rise, the most candid display yet of hyped-up paranoia. Marches in 20 cities against, you guessed it, sharia law. Because, you know, that’s been a real problem here. Smh

Why don’t they just write “Get out, Muslims” on their picket signs and drop the pretext? The new Fuhrer is definitely inspiring his followers.