Mike Pence, the GOP’s Emergency Backup Monster

There have been rumors that “Idiot-1” wants to replace Pence on the 2020 ticket with his favorite daughter — so maybe sending him down to Texas was an attempt to make him an expendable sacrifice to public outrage. Or maybe sending Moral Monstrosity Mike was a ‘gift’ to that not inconsiderable portion of the GOP base that wants to hurt people. Quite possibly both!

149 replies
  1. 1
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    There are two women in that delegation. The blonde in the white dress is Marsha Blackburn from TN.

    The shorter dark-haired woman in olive drab is Mother. When I saw this photo yesterday, I honestly didn’t recognize her.

  2. 2
    MattF says:

    The impure get the treatment they deserve.

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    He is a monster. Lindsey Graham looks shambolic. I wondered if he is getting dementia, but he was born in 1955 and is only 64.

  4. 4

    He’s an evangelical. There’s a reason evangelicals love Trump. It’s a cult whose foundation is hate, and they love this concentration camp stuff.

  5. 5
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I’ve been wondering where the Catholics (my ex-people) have been on this matter. Credit where due to the Bishop of Lexington, KY

    Bishop John Stowe @ BpStowe
    It is hard to believe that in recent days we have heard our own federal government argue in court that toothbrushes and soap were not necessary provisions for detained children. How can we allow this to be done by our government, in our name?

  6. 6
    Steeplejack (phone) says:


    Same. I think she is being eaten up by the disconnect between her (professed) Christian values and the shambles that has been made of them by her husband’s political ambition and deal with the devil. At some level she knows that her hypocrisy is visible for all the world to see.

  7. 7
    germy says:

    Mike Pence strikes me as uniquely sociopathic.

    He makes my psych radar crackle like a Geiger counter hitting uranium.

    He actually scares me more than Trump. Trump is straight narcissistic personality disorder. He’s seriously unhealthy but predictably so.

    Pence is scary.

    — The Hoarse Whisperer (@HoarseWisperer) July 13, 2019

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    I hope she’s upset because she realizes Trump is their last hurrah, and it’s eventually all going to come crashing down on them.

  9. 9
    Ohio Mom says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I had to check Mother against other photographs. She looks different here because grew her bangs out and isn’t wearing makeup.

    The olive green outfit is vaguely military. Maybe she is taking cosplay lessons from Melania.

    I took off from the internet after breakfast yesterday. It was a nice break but it wore off because how did our country get to be so horrid (rhetorical question)?

  10. 10
    trollhattan says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: @Steeplejack (phone):
    Assumes morals not in evidence. Morals for thee not me.

    Is Pence working on a second expression? Sterny McSternface is shopworn.

  11. 11
    MattF says:

    Somewhat OT. A NYT Book Review essay on William Gass’ ‘The Tunnel’— a 600 page prediction of the future. Doesn’t sound like a fun read, but I may go ahead and read it anyhow.

  12. 12
    germy says:

    @trollhattan: The footage I saw, it appeared that pence didn’t want to make eye contact with the detainees. He seems to be looking up over their heads.

    Maybe I’m naive, but I hope Mother is home with him right now nagging the shit out of him over what they witnessed. I know she doesn’t like drumpf. I won’t go as far as to say she’s her husband’s conscience, but I hope she’s communicating some disgust to him, and that it’s getting through. Not that he’d actually do anything, but at least he’d be uncomfortable for once in his life.

  13. 13
    Ohio Mom says:

    @germy: What made me totally scared of Pence was seeing a video of him in his disc jockey days.

    He’s relaxed and jovial in a classic disc jockey-way, not at all like his current ram rod straight persona.

    We all comport ourselves differently in different situations but we keep the same personality. In contrast, Pence is thoroughly calculated.

    It’s impressive really, how completely he wears the character he’s chosen. Totally manipulative.

  14. 14
    p.a. says:

    I will vote for anyone- ANYONE- whose platform is : arrests, transport to, trials in the Hague. Whole fucking crew. Top down.
    Sadly: and a pony.

  15. 15
    germy says:

    @Ohio Mom: Agreed. And I’ve heard lots of RW radio personalities in my time. Horrifying that one of them slithered up into the vice presidency.

  16. 16
    Steeplejack (phone) says:


    I hear “constipated gravitas” is in the works.

  17. 17
    MagdaInBlack says:

    @Ohio Mom:
    The man is miserable and so inflicts his misery on others.

  18. 18

    @trollhattan: he’s made it this far on one facial expression, why mess with success?

  19. 19
    Quinerly says:

    @germy: Has anyone read any details about her first marriage to medical student? I think the marriage was annulled since she was Roman Catholic. VP Pence was also reared Catholic. Both he and Mother left the Church in the’90’s.

  20. 20
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    I think it was in Michael Woolf’s book “Fire & Fury” that he related an anecdote about the Pences on election night 2016. He leaned over to kiss her and she said, coldly, “ You got what you wanted, Mike. Now leave me alone.” No idea whether it actually happened that way, but it seems to fit.

  21. 21
    lumpkin says:

    I have decided to take comfort by believing in eternal damnation and visualizing these people being poked in the ass by demons wielding red hot pitchforks. Forever.

    Same for bush, cheney and that crowd.

  22. 22
    germy says:

    @Quinerly: I had no idea about any of that.

  23. 23
    zhena gogolia says:


    He reminds me of Ted Bundy!

  24. 24
    debbie says:

    @Ohio Mom:

    If you scroll down in that thread, there’s a photo of the Pences visiting Auschwitz. She looks the same there. Maybe she’s just wearing her “Concentration Camp” face.

  25. 25
    zhena gogolia says:


    I think Harris might be closest to what you’re looking for.

  26. 26
    Quinerly says:

    Gag me:
    “After eight months of dating, Karen had the word “yes” engraved on a gold cross. She carried it around in her purse, in anticipation of Mike’s marriage proposal, according to the Washington Post.”

  27. 27
    germy says:

    Who is she doe? #PenceIsNotAChristian #Pence pic.twitter.com/x14XAE7dv7— Big Wayne Kennedy (@BigWayneKenned1) July 14, 2019

  28. 28
    sdhays says:

    @germy: i don’t believe in humanizing her or Melania by pretending they secretly despise these men, their husbands. As far as I’m concerned, she’s Trump’s lover and gets aroused by depictions of human misery. Just like rest of the American Nazi Party.

  29. 29
    Quinerly says:

    @germy: I just utilized the Google machine. Posted an article from June. Crazy long link from my copying/paste job. Interesting, though. Only part I knew was she’s a little older than him and had a first marriage. Had remembered they both originally were Catholic.

  30. 30
    noncarborundum says:


    The footage I saw, it appeared that pence didn’t want to make eye contact with the detainees. He seems to be looking up over their heads.

    He was just checking out the

    People … stand[ing] on toilets to gain breathing space.

  31. 31
    germy says:

    @zhena gogolia:

    Young Mike Pence . pic.twitter.com/C1q0sCxPEt— Jon Maas (@jondmaas) July 14, 2019

  32. 32
    Ksmiami says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: they are losing Catholics on this.

  33. 33
    germy says:

    @Quinerly: So she wasn’t a virgin when they married? I bet he brings that up every argument with her.

  34. 34
    Quinerly says:

    Double gag me (is that even a thing?)
    “Karen was able to give Mike her golden cross about a month later, along a canal in Indianapolis where the couple often strolled and fed ducks. Mike had hollowed out two loaves of bread, stowing a bottle of champagne into one and the ring in the other. The Washington Post reported the Pences later shellacked the bread to save as a keepsake.”

  35. 35
    Ksmiami says:

    @Baud: I have some cyanide tablets and a bunker they can use when their downfall comes

  36. 36
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Pence is a xenophobic abomination, like the rest of Donald’s inner circle.

  37. 37
    Bill Arnold says:

    Monster #1 not Pence, but this is good, by James Fallows. Apollogies if already linked:
    There’s No Understanding Donald Trump (James Fallows, July 13, 2019)
    He’s quoting a reader email(?):

    At some point I found myself trying to explain to a friend why Trump did something kooky. As I considered everything I concluded what he was doing was strictly for the attention. It was for one news cycle. No strategy, no planning, no idea about implications. And no intention of following up even a day later.
    That’s when it hit me: he’s running a reality tv show out of the Whitehouse. Every day is a new episode, and every single move is designed to get better Nielsen ratings, improve the brand, or whatever it is that drives that peculiar form of celebrity. Mostly he’s feeding the monster that is 24/7 cable news.

    I quibble only a bit; it is important to develop an accurate “predictive model” of D.J. Trump because if his short term moves can be anticipated, they can be preemptively countered.

  38. 38
    Quinerly says:

    Married in the Catholic Church.
    “During the first six years of their marriage, the Pences dealt with infertility. “We didn’t tell anybody we were struggling,” Karen told The Federalist. “… It’s hard because people who don’t go through infertility, I really don’t think they can really feel what it feels like when you just want that baby more than anything, and it just isn’t happening.”

  39. 39
    Matt McIrvin says:

    We should consider that sending Pence and releasing those pictures may have actually been good propaganda. It’s a pen full of men, which is a key difference from the pictures the Congressional delegation released. We look at these pictures and seen an atrocity in progress. Trump’s supporters, and probably some people on the margin, look at them and see scary criminal men straining at the fence that’s protecting us from them, with the fatherly silver-haired protector Pence on our side. One of the purposes of cruelty toward detainees is to dehumanize them in such a way that they’re not seen as human, to justify whatever treatment is going on.

  40. 40
    Quinerly says:

    Knew about being alone with a woman stuff. Did not know “Pence does not attend events with alcohol without Karen.”

  41. 41
    Steeplejack (phone) says:


    Yeah, I read that. But apparently she got over it, because she’s been appearing with him everywhere as the smiling, dutiful VP wife.

    Even given that, accompanying him to the border was a really stupid idea. It definitely wasn’t a “Let’s take the wives and make an social outing of it” kind of deal. Maybe she was worried he couldn’t keep his hands off Marsha Blackburn.

  42. 42
    rikyrah says:


    Just to get you to smile 😉


  43. 43
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Bill Arnold: Every day is a new episode, and every single move is designed to get better Nielsen ratings, improve the brand, or whatever it is that drives that peculiar form of celebrity. Mostly he’s feeding the monster that is 24/7 cable news.

    Just heard a reporter (Charlie Savage of the NYT) speculate that trump was ‘trolling the media’ with announcements on ICE raids, the implication apparently being that they shouldn’t cover every minute of the performance. But if the President is announcing what he’s going to do with federal LEOs, and what he’s announcing is to arrest people, terrorize people, break up families, put children in prison…. how do you not report that? /rhetorical frustration. Part of me agrees he gets too much attention, but he’s the fuckign POTUS, he can break a lot of shit, hurt a lot of peoplle, destabilize our domestic politics and the international order. How do you not report it?

  44. 44
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Correction: The anecdote about Karen Pence on election night was recounted in Michael Lewis’ “The Fifth Risk,” not Michael Woolf’s “Fire & Fury.”

    I actually trust Lewis as a careful reporter more than I do Woolf, so it’s probably pretty accurate.

  45. 45
    rikyrah says:

    He is a fake azz Christian 😠

  46. 46
    AliceBlue says:

    I fully expect Trump to blurt out the words “final solution” any day now.

  47. 47
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: also, you don’t have to read between the lines of that account to see that the source was Chris Christie. The title of that chapter might just as well be: “Chris Christie settles some scores.”
    I thought it was too bad that book didn’t get the attention Wolffe’s did, but I think that was partly due to outrage/scandal fatigue

  48. 48
    Steeplejack (phone) says:


    Imelda, She-Wolf of the Border Patrol!

  49. 49
    Anotherlurker says:

    @Quinerly: I could not get thru that article. I nearly vomited my wonderful breakfast of Eggs Benedict. So, I stopped reading. It would have been a terrible waste of a delicious meal.

  50. 50
    sukabi says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: would still like to know what Pence’s connection to Manafort is, and why Manafort chose him for VP.

  51. 51
    joel hanes says:

    Every discussion of Pence needs a link to this 2013 gloss by the much-missed James Briggs Stratton “Doghouse” Riley, who as a resident of Indiana, was a witness to Pence’s early career.


    Pence had been the #3 Republican in the House, in case that tells you anything you didn’t already know about Republicans in the House, but quit his post after the 2010 elections because the party wasn’t mixing enough Religious with its Mania anymore, and said that would be his final term.

  52. 52
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    The awful Alex Witt (Jackass- MSNBC) just used the phrase, for the second time, “racially-charged” to describe trump’s tweets this morning, and announced Ted Lieu is coming on to talk about them. I would love it if Lieu started out his segment asking AW to explain the difference between “racially-charged” and “racist”.

    I wonder if she’ll break out her signature, “Doesn’t the president have a point?” grimace for that segment.

    And I really need to turn off the electronics and go to the gym.

  53. 53
    Steeplejack (phone) says:


    Jeez, he sort of looks like Dubya’s long-lost brother in that picture.

  54. 54
    sdhays says:

    @Bill Arnold: Putting babies in cages is not calculated to win ratings. It’s to rape and pillage the most vulnerable and scare others.

  55. 55
    joel hanes says:

    @joel hanes:

    Apparently no working edit button.
    I am ashamed to have misspelled Riley’s last name.

  56. 56
    sdhays says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    Maybe she was worried he couldn’t keep his hands off Marsha Blackburn.

    Maybe he forced her to go so that he could invite Marsha.

  57. 57
    Quinerly says:

    @Anotherlurker: hence my gag reflex comment.
    I have a strong stomach though. Comes from years of putting hot sauce on everything. Don’t fret. I read it so you didn’t have to. 😈

  58. 58
    zhena gogolia says:


    Thank you, that is fabulous! I love the cat grooming the horse’s mane.

  59. 59
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @zhena gogolia: Ted Bundy had that intense sociopathic charm, which is what he was such a successful serial killer – he didn’t seem scary. Pence looks totally absent from the world, and he looks like someone who wants to hurt you. Bundy never did. Pence isn’t even good at being a sociopath, though he’s helped damage far more people than Bundy ever did.

  60. 60
    sukabi says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: well they could start by not promoting his tweets verbatim and focusing on his misspellings, but rather take what he spews, parse it for policy and go to those department heads and see if they’ve gotten direction / orders.

    Basically they need to starve drumpf of the attention feedback. Just because HE treats being president as a “reality show” doesn’t mean the media has to follow suit.

  61. 61
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I had totally forgotten that she had been previously married, and the she and Pence are both former Catholics, although I think I must have known those things at one time.

  62. 62
    sukabi says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: so Pence is the Charles Manson of serials.

  63. 63
    joel hanes says:


    He is a fake azz Christian

    He is a Christianist, and pretty typical of the sect.
    Jesus was not in favor of conspicuous piety (Matthew 6:1-8)
    Christianists seem to live for it.

  64. 64
    sdhays says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: All Bundy had to do was join the Republican Party and call himself a minister and they would have protected his activities as part of his “Christian” religion.

  65. 65
    Another Scott says:

    I see that Cornyn is lurking in the background of some of those photos.

    I hope MJ Hegar (and/or Beto and/or any other strong Democrats that run for that seat) hangs that visit and Donnie’s and Mikey’s policies around his neck.

    It’s all of the Teabaggers and their enablers – not just Donnie and Mikey.



  66. 66
    Mnemosyne says:


    When you meet someone who left the Catholic Church because it was too focused on social justice, turn and run the opposite direction.

  67. 67
    sdhays says:


    …and focusing on his misspellings

    Yeah. At what point is the fact that the President of United States is illiterate no longer news?

  68. 68
    Steeplejack (phone) says:

    @Bill Arnold:

    But that’s just it: his short-term moves can’t be anticipated, because they’re not based on any rhyme or reason. They’re just the eruptions of an unbalanced mind.

  69. 69
    Quinerly says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Really about nothing but I always thought it interesting that Santorum’s wife’s live in boyfriend when she was in her 20’s was an abortion doctor, 40 years her senior. I guess he’s in his 90’s now. Bonus tidbit… He was the doctor who delivered her.

  70. 70
    Another Scott says:

    @sukabi: +1

    Repeating his crap strengthens the meme. (Yes, I realize I do it too, too often.)


  71. 71
    MagdaInBlack says:

    I don’t know about anyone else here, but that set off my creep-o-meter.

  72. 72
    Quinerly says:

    So here’s a farmer who didn’t support Trump in 2016 and is struggling because of tariffs. He’s impressed with Trump and now supports him. Go figure.

  73. 73
    Quinerly says:

    @MagdaInBlack: It creeped me out years ago. I just Googled it again to make sure I had it all straight in my mind. Creepy Newsweek article from 2012 confirmed my memory. Someone mentioned that Mother wasn’t a virgin when Pence married her. 😎 I guess Mrs. Santorum had some miles on her in her 20’s too. 😈

  74. 74
    MagdaInBlack says:

    “Groomed from birth” came to mind.

  75. 75
    Quinerly says:

    @MagdaInBlack: From the Newsweek article about Karen Garver Santorum:
    “Karen was a lovely girl, very intelligent and sweet,” says Allen, who at 92 uses a walker but retains a sly smile. A wine aficionado who frequented the Pittsburgh Symphony and was active in the local chapter of the ACLU, he lives with his wife of 16 years, Judi—they started dating in 1989, soon after he and Garver split—in the same large detached row house where he lived with the woman who would become Santorum’s wife. He and Garver also lived for several years in another house a few blocks away. “Karen had no problems with what I did for a living,” says Allen, who helped start one of the first hospital-sanctioned abortion clinics in Pennsylvania. “We never really discussed it.” 

  76. 76
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Steeplejack (phone):

    Maybe she was worried he couldn’t keep his hands off Marsha Blackburn.

    Yes, that thought occurred to me as well.

  77. 77

    @Bill Arnold:

    Every day is a new episode, and every single move is designed to get better Nielsen ratings

    Close, but not quite. It’s all Trump shouting ME ME ME PAY ATTENTION TO ME, while venting his inner asshole and hurting whoever can’t fight back. Standard narcissist behavior. It does strongly resemble a reality show marketing campaign.


    I fully expect Trump to blurt out the words “final solution” any day now.

    He’s a Nazi, in the literal ‘Heil Hitler’ sense. He’s a compulsive bullshitter, and yet can’t bring himself to condemn Nazis. He wants concentration camps and they’re one of the only things he has fought for in his presidency, against a succession of white supremacists who told him that was a step too far. He retweets Nazis. Nazis think he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. He uses Nazi terminology. He wants military parades in his own honor. He loves brutal dictators, and sucks up to them. The evidence increasingly points to him actually thinking of himself as a Nazi, and being just barely socially aware and controlled enough to not say it out loud and in public. What I think mildly confuses people is that it’s brown people who he wants to commit genocide on, and Jews are instead his ‘model minority’. He has a record of stereotyping the Hell out of them, he just thinks being a greedy banker is admirable.

    EDIT – @germy:

    Trump is straight narcissistic personality disorder. He’s seriously unhealthy but predictably so.

    I disagree. As a narcissist, Trump is unpredictable and chaotic. He has very few principles, and is ruled by whim. Pence, while stupid as a rock, is ruled by a clear set of principles and is entirely predictable. He’s predictably evil on a grotesque scale.

  78. 78
    Quinerly says:

    @MagdaInBlack: from the Newsweek piece:
    “Although they had technically known each other since Karen’s birth, Allen doesn’t remember having contact with her as she was growing up; they reconnected when she called him looking for an apartment to rent near Duquesne. Her parents, Catholic with 11 other children, who lived in the nearby suburbs, were well acquainted with Allen; her father was a pediatrician who got many of his patients through referrals from the obstetrician. They knew he owned the building that housed his large practice and that there was a basement apartment. Allen, divorced for several years at that point with six grown children, had been living on two upper floors.

    Garver moved into the basement apartment, but she wasn’t there long, says Allen. “That first night, as soon as it got dark, she called to say she was scared and asked if she could come up. I figured it was a come-on, but that was OK.” Karen, he says, came upstairs, permanently.”

  79. 79
    mrmoshpotato says:

    This photo of Mike Pence and Lindsey Graham witnessing the concentration camps just before they praised the concentration camp staff will not fare well through the lens of history.

    So Graham will be in the docket too.

  80. 80
    MagdaInBlack says:

    Ok, dialing back the meter a notch….for now.

  81. 81
    Quinerly says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I heard touring concentration camps turns Marsha on. I think Mother heard the same rumor. It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  82. 82
    divF says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Narcissist Nazi = “Heil myself!” (h/t “The Producers”)

  83. 83
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I do remember that! Creepy as hell. And also seem to recall that the Santorums (Santora?) had a child who died shortly after birth and they took the dead baby home with them so their other kids could “meet” her.

  84. 84
    Quinerly says:

    @MagdaInBlack: didn’t mean to overwhelm you with this episode of “The Prior Sex Lives of Religious Republican Women and the Creepy Men Who Fuck Them.” 😈 (need brain bleach)

  85. 85
    Aleta says:

    @rikyrah: Thanks, that was wonderful.
    If anyone is interested, I see she has a gofundme to help with the extra needs (she describes) of two older horses she rescued. “I have two autoimmune disorders myself with expensive medical treatment and I’m really struggling to keep my gorgeous animals that I consider my family.”

    (THE updates have some very nice pictures of the happy rescue horses getting care.

  86. 86
    Eljai says:

    Sociopathic pompous preppy Josh Hawley was there too. He’s despicable.

    Josh Hawley
    It was an honor to meet with as many courageous border patrol agents yesterday in McAllen. They are doing tremendous work in the face of constant slander & vilification from the Dems & the media. They deserve better. America is lucky to have them

    Kudos to the commenter who responded: “Which Democrats forced them to join that Facebook group?”

  87. 87
    Quinerly says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: yep. (I dig the Santora reference… Let’s call Dan Savage 😈)

  88. 88
    Ruckus says:

    @Mary G:
    My father died from Alzheimer’s. He started showing outward signs at 65. It’s more normal that people start showing signs of dementia at a more advanced age, but then I remember than 10 of my friends have died in the last 2 1/2 yrs who were all younger than me, some under 65, a couple way under, including a friends mom who died from Alzheimer’s in her mid 60s.
    OTOH dense is a monster, no matter his age, his mental developmental level or his health. Like his boss. Not only did they never develop their humanity, they both have actively worked to destroy any humanity that may have strayed into their tiny little brains. Humanity is racist’s kryptonite.

  89. 89
    Quinerly says:

    Lyndsay is shrill on Fox this AM: “I don’t care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days, we’re not going to let those men go that I saw. It would be dangerous.”

  90. 90
    Anotherlurker says:

    @Quinerly: Thanks! You perform a great service, reading such things, so there don’t have to.

  91. 91
    MagdaInBlack says:

    They are definitely a sordid bunch 😖

  92. 92


    “Heil myself!”

    Yep. Trump is a person who looks at Hitler and says, “That should be me!” And not just about the power.

  93. 93
    Doug Gardner says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: “Mother” looks like something from a Women Doing Hard Time documentary.

  94. 94
    randy khan says:

    Reposting this from LGM:

    A friend of ours spoke this morning with a Secret Service agent who appears to have been on the Pence trip. The agent said the camp he saw was horrific (and showed her pictures he’d taken on his phone) – people sleeping in shifts because there isn’t enough space for everyone to sleep at once, and, well the whole litany of what we know – and told her he was in tears when he saw it.

    Again, this is a Secret Service agent, a law enforcement guy, trained to focus entirely on the mission of protecting his principal, not some random bleeding heart lib. In tears.

    That’s how far this Administration has sunk.

  95. 95
    Quinerly says:

    @Anotherlurker: I realize how delicate the commenters are here. Don’t fret. Balloon Juice has been gifted with me for a reason. A divine plan of sorts. 😈

  96. 96
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Doug Gardner:

    When I first saw the picture, she looked as though she ought to have an unfiltered cigarette dangling from her lower lip.

  97. 97
    John Fremont says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: The Catholic Bishop of El Paso Texas has been out in front too. But yeah, how come the Bishops aren’t calling for a Fortnight For Freedom for these refugees?

  98. 98
    Ruckus says:

    Charlie was more charismatic than dense. Didn’t smile any more often but was still more likable. More being a relative term, Charlie’s family was bigger and all of the members chose to be in it. How many people actually want to be in dense’s family? (A number much closer to zero)
    Don’t get me wrong Charlie was evil in human form, like dense and his boss. But Charlie didn’t have any real idea how to kill nearly as many people as drumpf and dense do. And have done. Charlie didn’t imprison thousands of children and then treat them like, well, like their concentration camp occupants.

  99. 99
    Chris Johnson says:

    @sukabi: Trump is run indirectly from the Kremlin: he is obviously Putin’s toy, and Melania is his handler, has been for a very long time. But Trump is first of all Trump, so he’s a petulant child and loose cannon and requires a handler and a whole rogue’s gallery to get him to perform.

    Pence is a straight-up traitor working directly for the Kremlin. This is what he wanted. He is just waiting for Trump to die so he can step in and claim everything is normal and fine now. If that does happen, America (at least the executive branch) will be run directly, not indirectly, by Russia.

    That is what he is. That is why Manafort wanted him. That is why ‘Mother’ hated him for it. But what choice does she have, now? They’ll kill her if she screws this up. Pence is trustworthy… to Russia. Pence can take orders and behave in whatever way they need. He is now doing exactly that, because he is not only the backup plan… he may be the REAL plan, on the assumption that the totally deranged and unhealthy Trump will flip out, stroke out, have a coronary or who knows what.

    You couldn’t get Pence elected directly. But, if you ran Trump and put him in as veep and made him run a really tight ship and say and do nothing objectionable… which Pence can do, and Trump cannot.

    And there’s a concern, I think, that if you impeach Trump or remove him somehow, you must simultaneously remove Pence or you have just handed control of the country directly to the Kremlin and given them an obedient intermediary who can fuck with you far more effectively. I think that is a huge problem with attacking the Executive Branch right now, and has much to do with why Pelosi doesn’t want to go directly at Trump as if that would help.

    But for whatever reason she doesn’t think she can spill the beans on where we are all at. It is tantamount to admitting we are totally fucked.

    Which we are, but we knew that already. But it ain’t gonna play in Peoria.

  100. 100
    Ruckus says:


    Just because HE treats being president as a “reality show” doesn’t mean the media has to follow suit.

    I wonder if most media actually believes that as much as he does? The media owners don’t live the same lives as most of the watchers/followers of the media.

  101. 101
    Kay says:

    Mike Pence was a terrible, incompetent governor who was really unpopular even in Indiana:

    In his single term as governor of Indiana, Mike Pence has slashed taxes, enacted conservative health care reforms, tightened abortion restrictions and boasted deep support among the lucrative political network of Charles and David Koch.
    Even so, there are plenty of Republicans in his home state who would be glad to see him abandon his re-election campaign to serve as Donald Trump’s running mate.

    He’s facing a tough rematch against Democrat John Gregg, a former state legislator who lost to Pence by three percentage points in 2012, even as Mitt Romney won the state by 10 points.
    Pence’s job approval rating is underwater at 40 percent, according to a May poll, and even among Republicans only six-in-10 supported his re-election.

    Like the rest of the Trump Administration- a low quality hire. Donald Trump hires people who are terrible. It’s what they all have in common.

    Why can’t they even operate the detention camps properly? They’re burning thru hundreds of millions of dollars. WTF are they doing with it? They POUR money into this. Where does it go? Is one of the sleazy hires skimming 40% off the top or something? Can we get an accounting from someone competent, so not prepared by anyone Trump hired?

  102. 102
    Kay says:

    Pence wouldn’t have been re-hired as governor of Indiana- bad at his job- so the Trump Family rescued him with one of the make-work jobs they give to their (otherwise unemployable) family retainers.

    I think that’s where the slavish, ass kissing loyalty comes from- Trump hires know they can’t work anywhere more competitive.

  103. 103
    Kay says:

    What happened to the new press secretary the public is paying? Is this a no-show job handed out by the crime bosses?

    Sanders didn’t do anything to earn her paycheck and now the other one doesn’t work either.

    I think I saw this on the Sopranos. How many no-show jobs are there? Hundreds? Thousands?

  104. 104
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Quinerly: You know what? I don’t give a flying fuck about anyone who is still supporting Trump. They are broken in ways that I have no idea how to fix and they aren’t reachable. Any effort spent trying to understand and/or reach out to them is a waste of time.

    I am interested in the people who were prevented from voting in 2016. They were (IMO) unconstitutionally denied the right to vote. Fighting for them is is the right thing to do both on principle and for practical reasons. How often does doing the right thing get rewarded in real time? I am interested in people who thought the two parties were the same so they didn’t bother voting; reaching out to them may be worthwhile. I am less interested in the Never-Trumpers, and I see no reason to reach out to them other than to say vote for Democrats or we will know that you are full of shit. No concessions on policy for them. They can shut up and do the right thing; show me they’ve learned from their mistakes and aren’t just opposing Trump because he is so fucking tacky or they can just fuck off.

  105. 105
    Citizen Alan says:


    One of the reasons that I’m opposed to impeachment is that for all he is innumerable flaws, Fat Bastard has enough sense of self preservation to not start World War 3. Pence, on the other hand, is quite certain that he will be raptured and thus would have no compunctions.

  106. 106
    Ohio Mom says:

    @Quinerly: Of course the Pences can’t imagine anyone being able to show empathy since they can’t.

  107. 107
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    What happened to the new press secretary the public is paying?

    Honestly, I can’t even recall her name at the moment although I think I’d recognise it if I heard it. Guess I could look it up, but why bother?

    You’re right, though. She’s another no-show, just like SHS.

  108. 108
    Ruckus says:

    @Chris Johnson:
    That’s a nice story for a Sunday morning. Not saying that it lacks plausibility or possibility, but it is a bit out there. Let’s revise it just a bit.
    dense wants to be a powerful person. But he didn’t get the moniker of dense without reason. Now if I was Vlad and wanted to ruin the US a good way would be to install a totally ineffective and probably destructive leader. drumpf certainly fills that bill and as a bonus is as toxic as dense. But Vlad couldn’t risk doing all the work to get drumpf installed and having him die off within months, a seemingly high possibility. And given our structure he needed a back up. What better back up could he get than a power hungry moron who could be persuaded rather easily to be an asshole moron if push came to shove? And who better than dense to be that backup? I think that Vlad would want someone who knows who owns him, because he, Vlad, had arranged a few pennies to float his way. That’s drumpf. He’d want a backup who knew who got him there and who knew he could be killed if he fucked up, and dense is that backup. He has more power over drumpf, drumpf is more manipulatable – all it takes is a word here or there and drumpf is his. Even turning his back on drumpf is manipulation and is taken as ownership by drumpf. dense he probably has to threaten. That has much more physical risk of not working. drumpf is malleable and therefore ownable and has been for a long time, dense is just ownable.

  109. 109
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Citizen Alan: So you think that the Senate would remove Trump?

  110. 110
    Quinerly says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I hope someday you will tell us how you really feel. Perhaps a newsletter? I would subscribe. 😉

  111. 111


    Why can’t they even operate the detention camps properly?

    They don’t want to. It’s the same as when they took no records of kids being separated from their parents. It’s not exactly deliberate. Why bother when you consider any suffering the victims experience a good thing? You don’t need to plan their suffering, just throw them in a cage and watch it happen.

  112. 112
    James E Powell says:


    Close, but not quite. It’s all Trump shouting ME ME ME PAY ATTENTION TO ME, while venting his inner asshole and hurting whoever can’t fight back.

    Also too, the press/media and Republican voters shouting MORE MORE MORE! GIVE US MORE!

  113. 113
    jimmiraybob says:


    The shorter dark-haired woman in olive drab is Mother.

    Wait. What? That’s Mother? My shame for being so gullible but I was assuming….hoping that she was behind the scenes praying to Jesus for forgiveness for the administration’s crimes against humanity. But there she is. Complicit in the “inspection and approval” process. I hang my head in shame.

    It’s no wonder they want to redefine human/natural rights and every other damn inconvenient right.

  114. 114
    James E Powell says:


    I fully expect Trump to blurt out the words “final solution” any day now.

    If he does, Republicans will deny it has any relation to the Nazis and the press/media will condemn any Democrat who says it does.

  115. 115
    Kay says:

    It’s been interesting to watch the religious Right not just completely abandon refugees, but actively harm them.

    I live in a very conservative area and it wasn’t that long ago that they made active efforts to help and then convert refugee/immigrants. 20 years ago. I was told at the time that this was a directive in the Bible. So apparently they’ve cut out that whole part of the Bible in 20 years. This book is going to be three pages long by the time they’re done.

    And for what? A sleazy NYC real estate developer and his wholly corrupt and cynical cronies? That’s what they traded everything for? They’re as bad at deal making as he is. They deserve each other.

  116. 116
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Quinerly: The Cletus safaris piss me off. If they want something new and different for their papers and need to talk to white people (because of course they do), how about some white guys who would claw their own eyes out before they would vote for Trump or any of his fascist posse?

  117. 117
  118. 118
    Kay says:


    I feel like Democrats could JUST do financial oversight of the Trump spending and work 12 hours a day, 7 days, until 2020.

    They could put these people in motels for less than we’re paying for the Trump prison camps. Which low quality hire is skimming?

  119. 119
    Kay says:


    I had a Trump supporting lawyer tell me he’s worried about the Trump Administration spending. He made a joke about how Social Security will be means tested by the time we get it because they’re burning money- I get it- we know each other well and he’s throwing me a bone, admitting he’s a bullshitter and a hypocrite, but I refuse to validate their poor choices and make them feel better about themselves so I wouldn’t play along. I just looked at him.

    Some of them know. Some of them are ashamed. They don’t do anything about it so we have no duty to make them feel better about themselves, but they know they made a deal with the devil.

  120. 120
    Ruckus says:

    You might be right but it seems to me that they actually enjoy watching the pain and suffering. They have the power to end it as easily as they started it. And they don’t, they actively act like they enjoy watching the kids suffer. They really are monsters, they really are no different than the true nazis were/are. They are sociopaths. They value themselves and their special group as better than everyone else. And not just a bit better, like everything else they apply a value to those they “dislike.” And that value is zero or likely less than zero. That negative value is a liability and liabilities must be removed. Life doesn’t have a value per se to them, it’s more white and black, so to speak. Values are simple to them, like everything else. Your value is + if they like you and – if they don’t and therefore must be removed. They don’t like gold, they worship it. They don’t dislike minorities, they hate them. Their world doesn’t have subtle, it’s like DC current, it’s positive or negative.

  121. 121
    Ruckus says:


    They deserve each other.

    They certainly may.
    The rest of us don’t deserve them though. We certainly don’t deserve them in power.

  122. 122
    Ruviana says:

    @sdhays: Bundy *was* a Republican! If I remember correctly he was an aide to the governor of Washington. Didn’t try to found a religion tho…

  123. 123
    Kay says:


    I agree. The farmers will lose though. Their land value will drop and that’s their only real asset. Farm ground has no value other than as farm ground because most of it is in the wrong place to be used for anything else, so my hope is prices fall and that allows different, new people to enter the market. People who aren’t so emotionally and culturally tied to what is bad government. People who make better business decisions and are not such poor judges of character.

  124. 124
    dww44 says:

    @Citizen Alan: Would you support impeachment because Trump has committed and continues to commit provable “high crimes and misdemeanors” which compels the Congress ( i.e Pelosi and the Dems) to fulfill its constitutional obligation to hold him accountable, no matter the likely outcome in the Senate?

    I honestly believe that Pelosi is hurting us electorally by refusing to do what’s so clearly is her constitutional obligation. She needs to quit waging war with her “allies” and focus only on the real threat to our country…. the man in the WH and those who enable him.

  125. 125
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @dww44: I honestly believe that Pelosi is hurting us electorally by refusing to do what’s so clearly is her constitutional obligation

    There are at least three MoC on record as actively opposing impeachment. I suspect there are a lot more who just don’t want the attention. I think they’re wrong, I think formal impeachment hearings should’ve been initiated when the WH started ignoring subpoenas, but it’s not just Nancy Pelosi. If hearings started, and Jeff Van Drew and Abigail Spanberger ran to CNN to say “Oh god, we mustn’t!” do you think that would help the cause?

    She needs to quit waging war with her “allies” and focus only on the real threat to our country….

    I really don’t want to get into “what aboutism”, and Pelosi has handled this badly– she is not a great communicator, but this “war” was started Ocasio-Cortez’s CoS, who was tweeting out that Dems he doesn’t like are just like Jim Crow segregationists. Unless you think Lacy Clay and Teri Sewell are just providing cover for Nancy Pelosi

  126. 126
    Another Scott says:

    @dww44: Quinnipiac University Poll (May 2):

    American voters say 57 – 28 percent that Donald Trump committed crimes before he became president, according to a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today.

    This compares to results of a March 5 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh- pe-ack) University National Poll, before release of the Mueller Report, in which voters said 64 – 24 percent that President Trump committed crimes before he was elected.

    In today’s survey, 46 percent of voters say Trump committed crimes since he became president and 46 percent say he did not commit crimes.

    [ In other words, the Barr/Fox noise machine succeeded in gumming up public opinion. ]

    But American voters say 66 – 29 percent that Congress should not begin impeachment of President Trump. Democrats support impeachment 56 – 38 percent. Opposition to impeachment is 95 – 4 percent among Republicans and 70 – 27 percent among independent voters.


    One of the reasons why the House has elections every 2 years is so that Representatives are “closer to the people” and are more keenly aware of opinion in their districts.

    Maybe Nancy knows what she’s doing?


  127. 127
    Ruckus says:

    I often wondered if all you do all day is look at dirt and inhale pesticides and insecticides, how good a business person/judge of character one might end up.
    When I moved to OH and bought a house in 95, the cornfields were 2 blocks away. The world looked simple, it looked pretty empty, and about the only thing around to fill the time was bars/drinking. The art district downtown was actually pretty nice and every Thursday night was sort of an open house. It was nice to walk around. The rest of the time I spent around home was, well boring. Turns out I’m not a farm country boy. I like the great outdoors just fine. But row upon row of farm goods isn’t the great outdoors. It’s just outside. It’s quiet and somewhat peaceful. But it’s just green stuff, pesticides and insecticides. And so much of it any more isn’t just food. It’s commerce, money being made slowly. It’s not great patriotism, it’s supposed to be making money. It’s commerce. I’ve owned two small businesses and yes the goal was to make money, just like that farmer, make money, make a home. Different methods, same goal. Neither was patriotism, just business.

  128. 128
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @dww44: I do think that we should be moving carefully and deliberately toward impeachment. I also think that the House needs to dot every i and cross every t in the investigation process and we do so.

    Now, that being said, where in the Constitution does it state that there is a constitutional obligation to impeach?

  129. 129
    RdDirtGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: I didn’t know she was allowed to wear pants!

  130. 130
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    and even if the entire Dem Caucus declared they were ready to go, a successful impeachment process– by which I mean: impeachment in the House and Mitch McConnell just ignores it but some of the low-info voters who currently don’t like trump but think impeachment’s a bridge too far are moved by what they hear– requires judges who will enforce subpoenas and witnesses who will tell the truth. Neither is a given.

  131. 131
    Ruckus says:

    @Another Scott:
    There is a reason that a 79 yr old woman was elected by her fellow reps to be speaker. She knows what she’s doing. She’s been in the house for 32 yrs. This is her second run as speaker. She’s not close to a stupid person. She knows how the place works. How many of us have any real clue about the rules/working of the house? How many new reps might have that level of that knowledge? Probably more than zero, but I’d bet in single digits.
    We live in a representative democracy. Our reps are supposed to know more about the inner workings of the government, because they see it most every day. We do not. We may see pieces but they have a better picture, or at least should. Some of them could be out foxed by a cardboard box but a lot of them are smart people. Our job is to elect the smarter ones and let them do their job because in a country this size, having an actual democracy would be impossible. I’m going to assume that Nancy Pelosi knows more about politics and congress than I do. I’d bet that’s a good assumption. The reason I’d bet this is that I’d also bet it’s a pretty good assumption that I know more about being a machinist than she does. Or that my doctor at the VA knows more about medicine. Or that the bus driver of the bus I was on the other day knows about driving a bus. I could go on but my point is probably already boring and obvious.

  132. 132
    James E Powell says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I do think that we should be moving carefully and deliberately toward impeachment. I also think that the House needs to dot every i and cross every t in the investigation process and we do so.

    Agreed. And I think they need to choose three to five of the best arguments and focus on those. Pound them into the narrative.

  133. 133
    Another Scott says:

    @James E Powell: NBC News from May 27:

    At least 14 Democratic-led House committees have been investigating various aspects of President Donald Trump’s businesses, campaign and his presidency since the beginning of this year, an NBC News review shows. In all, those committees have launched at least 50 probes into Trump world.

    A big summer recess is coming up and the House and Senate won’t be back in session until the second week of September. And Mnuchin tells us that the US is going to crash against the Debt Ceiling before then.

    Patience grasshopper. I expect the investigations to gather steam and public opinion to continue to grow towards impeachment in the fall and winter. It takes time.


  134. 134
    glory b says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Gor me, it’s Megna Chakrabarti on On Point (npr) saying :Well, to be fair…” when she’s about to slide into both siderism.

  135. 135

    There have been rumors that “Idiot-1” wants to replace Pence on the 2020 ticket with his favorite daughter…

    Given the whole history of American Politics, we have NEVER – even with dynastic families like the Adams, Roosevelts, Kennedys, or Bushes – had someone run WITH a brother/sister or sire as a VP running mate. Just never. It’s insane. It reeks of royal ambitions on a scale that should offend every honest citizen.

    Except it won’t, will it? The goddamn Republicans will spite the history of the Republic to pull this shit off.

  136. 136
    SWMBO says:

    @Kay: All of them. Don’t think that anyone’s palm isn’t getting greased here.

    @Ruckus: Vlad certainly got a twofer this time. IF Trump is given permission to replace Pence, do you think Vlad would let it be Ivanka? Or someone else? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

  137. 137
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @PaulWartenberg: I think the one he really wants to replace Pence is Nikki Haley, but I don’t think she wants to tie herself that closely to him. Like Christie, she’s keeping a supportive distance to keep the goobs on her side for 2024. IMHO.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if he tries to send Princess Grifterella to the UN, though

  138. 138
    SWMBO says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: After all, she has mixed and mingled with world leaders with impressive results. //
    Just because they didn’t cut your throat doesn’t mean they want to do business with her. Ever.

  139. 139
    low-tech cyclist says:


    Mike Pence was a terrible, incompetent governor who was really unpopular even in Indiana

    When Trump was looking around for a VP, there still weren’t many Republicans of any stature who wanted to be that closely identified with Trump. Pence and Christie were about the only ones indicating interest. So the answer to others’ question about why Pence is probably just that they weren’t sure about Christie.

    I suspect that if Trump were removed from office, the whole thing would collapse under Pence. He lacks Trump’s weird charisma, and his following is almost entirely evangelicals. The coal-rolling rednecks who don’t give a damn about church, and make up a significant part of Trump’s following, aren’t going to support Pence with anything near the same fervor.

  140. 140
    James E Powell says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    When Trump was looking around for a VP, there still weren’t many Republicans of any stature who wanted to be that closely identified with Trump.

    That’s only because they all thought he was going to lose. Christie would not have worked, Republican voters hate him because he accepted aid from Obama. And I don’t think anyone could be as much of a toady as Pence.

  141. 141
    low-tech cyclist says:


    It’s been interesting to watch the religious Right not just completely abandon refugees, but actively harm them.

    I live in a very conservative area and it wasn’t that long ago that they made active efforts to help and then convert refugee/immigrants. 20 years ago. I was told at the time that this was a directive in the Bible. So apparently they’ve cut out that whole part of the Bible in 20 years. This book is going to be three pages long by the time they’re done.

    Oh, it’s all over the freakin’ Bible. Probably a dozen places in Deuteronomy alone, for instance Deut. 10:18-19:”[The Lord] defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

    Seems pretty explicit, as if “love your neighbor as yourself” didn’t suffice.

    What’s impressive is how they still can tell themselves they believe in Biblical inerrancy, even as they abandon a Biblical theme.that’s repeated many times in the Law, the Prophets, and in the words of Jesus. Quite a bit of doublethink there.

  142. 142
    J R in WV says:

    @Another Scott:

    I agree with you — the investigations the House committees are running right now are work towards a potential impeachment committee hearing next year. I’m sorry these wheels turn so slowly, but the legislative process is created to be deliberate and, yes, slow by design.

    There will be many court cases, we have yet to see if Trump and his minions will violate a court order to provide evidence and testimony. If they don’t, that’s a whole different story line right there.

    I give up attempting to predict or understand anything Trump does.

  143. 143
    Chief Oshkosh says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Totally agree about Never Trumpers. Jenghazi has yet ANOTHER piece today telling progressives how to appeal to Never Trumpers. How about “Here’s your chance to not be an absolute horror of a human being: Vote Democratic.”

    Of course, being absolute horrors of human beings is their default mode, so we do risk not getting those votes.

  144. 144
    Ruckus says:

    Well trying to speculate what drumpf will or won’t do is pretty easy.
    Will do. Whatever makes the least sense, is the most wrong and will cause the biggest fuck up in history.
    Won’t do. The right thing.

  145. 145
    Ruckus says:

    @low-tech cyclist:

    Quite a bit of doublethink there.

    I don’t see a lot of big thinking going on in evangelical circles. I see a lot of following of people who are scamming their followers. Jonestown comes to mind. A lot of people have no big picture projector in their minds. The screen is there but the projector isn’t. They are not necessarily ignorant, but they are followers. They never lead, even if forced. They aren’t capable. They follow. I think that the republican party is their projector. Which might be OK if what the republican party projects wasn’t hate and if what the republican party wasn’t really about was theft. But it is what it is, this is who they are.
    There is no doublethink going on there is hate and theft. Which are the tools of the gop.

  146. 146
    SWMBO says:

    @Ruckus: And in all this talk of impeachment, how is putting Pence in the WH going to improve things? Impeaching the MF is one thing. What do we do about the consequences?

  147. 147
    SWMBO says:

    @James E Powell: Christie wouldn’t have worked because he put Jared’s dad in prison. Jared would have shot him in the street before he would let him assume a position of power in the administration.

  148. 148
    Jinchi says:


    Why can’t they even operate the detention camps properly? They’re burning thru hundreds of millions of dollars. WTF are they doing with it?

    They’re giving it to their friends in the private detention industry.

    GEO Group and CoreCivic receive multi-million dollar contracts from DHS to run detention facilities. Since 2017, ICE has signed over $450 million worth of contracts to GEO Group, and $280 million to CoreCivic, according to USAspending.gov. The more people locked up in detention facilities, the more money private contractors receive.

  149. 149
    Ruckus says:

    I believe that dense was a Vlad backup pick. And that it was done so that people wouldn’t want to impeach drumpf, as I said upthread.
    I agree that dense wouldn’t be an improvement and would possibly be even worse. He’s actually been a governor, abet a horrible one even by repub standards, but that experience is far more than shit for brains has.

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