Goal: 50 Blue States

 Posted by at 12:09 pm  Politics
Aug 292016
 

When a Presidential election year becomes focused in an individual, who is thoroughly evil to the core, it’s far too easy to lose sight of the fact that Trump is nothing more than a an unfiltered reflection of Republican policies and values. In reality, there are Republicans at every level of government who are just as cruel, making every red state an open wound in need of repair.  Fortunately, we have Paul Krugman to point out such things.

0829medicaidSomething terrible has happened to pregnant women in Texas: their mortality rate has doubled in recent years, and is now comparable to rates in places like Russia or Ukraine. Although researchers into this disaster are careful to say that it can’t be attributed to any one cause, the death surge does coincide with the state’s defunding of Planned Parenthood, which led to the closing of many clinics. And all of this should be seen against the general background of Texas policy, which is extremely hostile toward anything that helps low-income residents.

There’s an important civics lesson here. While many people are focused on national politics, with reason — one sociopath in the White House can ruin your whole day — many crucial decisions are taken at the state and local levels. If the people we elect to these offices are irresponsible, cruel, or both, they can do a lot of damage.

This is especially true when it comes to health care. Even before the Affordable Care Act went into effect, there was wide variation in state policies, especially toward the poor and near-poor. Medicaid has always been a joint federal-state program, in which states have considerable leeway about whom to cover. States with consistently conservative governments generally offered benefits to as few people as the law allowed, sometimes only to adults with children in truly dire poverty. States with more liberal governments extended benefits much more widely. These policy differences were one main reason for a huge divergence in the percentage of the population without insurance, with Texas consistently coming in first in that dismal ranking.

And the gaps have only grown wider since Obamacare went into effect, for two reasons. First, the Supreme Court made the federally-funded expansion of Medicaid, a crucial part of the reform, optional at the state level. This should be a no-brainer: If Washington is willing to provide health insurance to many of your state’s residents — and in so doing pump dollars into your state’s economy — why wouldn’t you say yes? But 19 states, Texas among them, are still refusing free money, denying health care to millions.

Beyond this is the question of whether states are trying to make health reform succeed. California — where Democrats are firmly in control, thanks to the GOP’s alienation of minority voters — shows how it’s supposed to work: The state established its own health exchange, carefully promoting and regulating competition, and engaged in outreach to inform the public and encourage enrollment. The result has been dramatic success in holding down costs and reducing the number of uninsured… [emphasis added]

From <NY Times>

I’ve been using the joke, "Please don’t Californicate Oregon!" for around thirty five years.  That needs to be updated: "Please Californicate Texas!!!"

Every Republican in office is

one Republican too many!

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Aug 292016
 

Today is the last day in the 80°s, and then we have over a week of low 70°s forecast, and I’m really ready for the change.  Last night I slept well for the first time in a week, but feel almost as if I had no sleep at all, so I’m adding a nap to today’s to-do list.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:56 (average 4:31).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: When Dr. Amjad Bahnassi, a psychiatrist who lives in the central Massachusetts city of Worcester, wants to visit his son’s grave, he braces for the drive to the Muslim burial ground in Enfield, Conn., about 60 miles away. It is the nearest cemetery devoted solely to Islamic burials — and, he said, it is filling up.

Dr. Bahnassi, the chairman of the board of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, knew the area’s Muslims needed a closer place to bury their dead. The group thought it had found one in rural Dudley, about half an hour away: a patch of more than 50 acres, past a sweet corn stand and deep blue ponds, where there is unused farmland and wetlands hidden from the road by trees and tangled bushes.

But the organization’s proposal to build a cemetery there became a lightning rod in this small town. It was denounced at meetings and ultimately turned down by the Zoning Board of Appeals, prompting charges of bigotry and drawing scrutiny from the United States attorney for Massachusetts, who announced a civil rights investigation on Aug. 18 into the town’s actions.

“I’ve been here since 1983,” Dr. Bahnassi, 56, a Syrian immigrant and an American citizen, said last week as he stood on the land. “I don’t deserve to die here?”

I wonder what bogus explanations Republicans have for this bigoted cruelty. Do they fear being haunted by Radical Islamic Terrorist ghosts?

From Daily Kos: Rudy Mancuso has just put out a clever, funny, and all too real YouTube video showing those of us who have inquiring minds — just what the world might look like through the eyes of a Trump voter.

 

Funny, but all too true. When he reached the bathroom, he should have flushed the glasses, or better yet, flushed Trump.

From The Guardian: Climate change is going to halve the area suitable for coffee production and impact the livelihoods of more than 120 million of the world’s poorest people who rely on the coffee economy, according to a new report by the Climate Institute, commissioned by Fairtrade Australia & New Zealand.

The report findings follow stark warnings by some of the world’s biggest coffee producers, including Starbucks and Lavazza, who have said climate change is posing a severe risk to the industry. [emphasis added]

Dang!! When I regained consciousness after three weeks in a coma last September, the very first thing I asked to be given was coffee. They explained I could not drink it with my tracheostomy ventilator. I pointed to my IV. It’s time to get serious about climate change!!!

Cartoon:

0829Cartoon

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Keep Dreaming His Dream!

 Posted by at 12:20 pm  Politics
Aug 282016
 

0828KingDream

Martin Luther King, Jr. influenced my political thinking more than any other individual.  I was fortunate to have worked under him on Vietnam Summer and to have been present on the Washington Mall fifty-three years ago today on August 28, 1963. It’s hard to believe that we are once again fighting the battle to secure the voting rights won as a result of his dream, and to restore them, where racist Republicans are outlawing the right to vote. After his speech, I need say nothing more.

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Aug 282016
 

Wendy is already on her way here, and I want to get as much as I can written, before she arrives.  Other than dusting and polishing the TomCat, we’ll be cleaning, cooking, changing printer toner, tightening nuts and bolts on my wheelchair, and doing the dreaded task.

That’s as far as I got.  Wendy has come and gone, having accomplished all of the above.  I’m quite tired, so please pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:34 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: One day after an audio popped up incriminating Maine’s Republican governor for saying 90% of drug dealers are black and Hispanic, a second video was posted on Friday exposing even more extreme racist and dangerous hate speech. Here is the text is the short 34-second video along with the text where Gov. LePage is basically saying to shoot the enemy — and the enemies are blacks and Hispanics.

“That guy’s a bad guy. I don’t care what color he is.  When you go to war. If you know the enemy, the enemy dressed in red and you dress in blue, you shoot at red — don’ t shoot! Kem, you’ve been in uniform. You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy. And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming here (to the United States) are people of color, or people of hispanic origin.”

Barf Bag Alert!

 

The only reason this Republican racist keeps winning is that opposing votes are split between a Democratic candidate and a third party candidate.

From Alternet: Sarah Palin, still feeling the Trump love from afar, but a teeny bit worried.

Like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin loves her some Trump, even if his campaign has done its darndest to keep her at arm’s length after she made some truly incoherent speeches on his behalf. But like Coulter, Palin is a little worried that Trump might be going soft on all those rapists Mexico is sending here.

On Thursday, Palin decided to phone it in to Fox’s Eric Bolling, who was sitting in for Bill O’Reilly. Her main point: Donald is still going to build that wall. “Donald Trump understands that enforcing the laws and building that wall are paramount to what the will of the people is, and thank God, he’s still preachin’ that!” she reassured the worried Fox audience.

Hallelujah!

Apart from the wall, Palin also had some carefully considered, reality-based plans to discourage people who are here illegally. “Well, we have to quit incentivizing those who are here illegally, keeping them here, by not employing them, not giving them free health care, free college, free phones, free Happy Meals, free anything!” she said.

WTF is she talking about!

Perhaps Katrina Pierson summed up the whole Trump campaign words-to-reality-relationship best this week when she explained that contrary to appearances, Donald Trump was still the same old bigot he always was. “He hasn’t changed his position (on immigration),” she said. “He has changed the words he is saying.”

Well, that certainly clears everything up!

Maybe Bloody Bullseye Barbie will try labeling minority areas with gun sights. It worked when she did it to Gabby Giffords. This is just the fifth of five listed dumb Republican assertions from last week alone. Click through for the other four.

From Crooks and Liars:

Meet Jessica Jin. Texas Tribune:The Cocks Not Glocks movement was created by UT alumna Jessica Jin last October after she learned that sex toys, but not firearms, would still be banned in classrooms.

“As long as you have a dick on your backpack, people will be thinking about the guns inside of other people backpacks” Jin said Tuesday, dildo strapped to her backpack.

On the Cocks Not Glocks Facebook event, Jin wrote: “The State of Texas has decided that it is not at all obnoxious to allow deadly concealed weapons in classrooms, however it does have strict rules about free sexual expression, to protect your innocence. You would receive a citation for taking a dildo to class before you would get in trouble for taking a gun to class.

 

Kudos to the protestors, but they better not point their dildos at TX cops!! They’d be gunned down.

Cartoon:

0828Cartoon

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Aug 282016
 

This article is a laundry list of what people should know before casting their vote.

Trump Scandals

Donald Trump has been the center of scandals way before his entrance to politics. From dishonest business dealings and racial discrimination to other horrible incidents have been rampant throughout Trump’s lifetime. While some scandals are larger than others, all are immoral and show a side of ‘The Donald’ that he seems to be rather proud of.

We will take a trip to Trump’s past to witness his mafia ties and alleged marital rape, to racial discrimination and ‘the Great Wall of Mexico’, we’ve covered it all in this collection of Donald Trump scandals that goes back to the 70s.

21. That’s not available to you (1971 – 1975)

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In 1973, the Department of Justice sued Donald Trump and his father for Trump Management’s discrimination against people based on their race and color – people who wanted to rent from one of Trump’s 39 sites around New York. At the time, the New York Times reported that the company would tell people of color that apartments were not available or require different terms and conditions from them because of their race.

20. He hired undocumented illegal immigrants (1980)

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In all his talk of immigrants “taking” jobs from people, Trump hired 200 undocumented Polish workers to demolish the Bonwit Teller store when constructing Trump Tower. The workers weren’t able to follow safety procedures as they weren’t given hard hats, slept at the construction site, and got paid $5 per hour for all of it – if they were paid at all! The illegal immigrants were threatened with deportation when they complained or asked about payment.

18. He executed a hostile takeover (1986)

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Wanting to expand his Atlantic City casino empire, Trump planned and executed a hostile takeover of Holiday and Bally’s in 1986. He bought up stocks in the companies with an attempt to gain control and avoid paying the control premium, but thankfully, Bally’s realized what the cunning Trump was trying to do and sued him for antitrust violations.

12. Third Bankruptcy (2004)

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Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts was $1.8 billion dollars in debt and once again filed for bankruptcy in 2004. They reemerged as Trump Entertainment Resorts with Trump no longer having a controlling stake, but still chairman of the new company.

7. ACN Scam (2010)

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In 2010, which was a hop and a skip away, Donald Trump opened up an investment company called ACN. In it, investors had to hand over a $500 sign-up fee and then build a consumer base of new investors. How did he even get away with this pyramid scheme? Obviously, the entire thing toppled over and investors lost hundreds of thousands of dollars while Trump walked away with millions.

From UpVibes 

Click through for the remaining 17 incidents from Trump's past that indicate how he would likely run the US.  Words such as fraud, liar, racist, xenophobe, opportunist, manipulator and more all come to mind.  I would love to slap that smug mug at the top of the page.  Unfortunately, the article is spread over numerous pages but it is worth plugging through to remind ourselves just what a "criminal" he is. Fortunately, each page is short. Trump likes to remind everyone of "Crooked" Hillary.  With this past, he's the crook.

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Aug 282016
 

There seems to be no end to the bluster of Donald Trump.  Truth is not in his lexicon while shameful lying and manipulation are.

Trump anoints himself as civil rights crusader at N.H. rally: Hillary Clinton's policies "failed and betrayed communities of color in this country"

At an afternoon rally Thursday, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump repeatedly brought up “inner-cities” as part of an ongoing appeal to minority (primarily African-American and Hispanic) voters — with whom he’s polling abysmally — offering his go-to “What the hell do you have to lose?” rhetorical argument.

Democratic policies, Trump said, “produced only more poverty, complete joblessness, and failing schools.” And Clinton’s policies “failed and betrayed communities of color in this country … She has brought nothing but pain and heartache and broken promises to your inner-cities. On top of that, she wants to raise taxes on African-American-owned businesses to as much as nearly 50 percent more than they’re paying now.”

“She supports open borders that violate the civil rights of African-Americans, giving their jobs to people here illegally,” he continued at the Manchester, New Hampshire event. “She supports trade policies that have closed factories in African-American communities and put millions of African-Americans and others — all of us — out of work.”

From Salon

"…broken promises to your inner-cities…"!  This struck me as condescending, racist and very, very Trumpish!  It is very apparent that not only is Trump manipulating the "facts", it is corporate decisions, greed and Republican policies for the most part that have lead to corporations moving elsewhere in search of dirt cheap labour among other things.  GREED!  Can you smell it?

 

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Aug 282016
 

I'll keep this short and sweet — it has been dreadfully hot here in Metro Vancouver getting up to 36 C (97 F) in my area of town.  It wasn't as hot in the areas near the ocean which are the temperatures one normally hears on the news.  We had some lower temperatures today and Sunday is supposed to be about 19 C (66 F) with some rain.  Oh how nice for some rain!  I really don't know how people in Texas, Arizona and Florida, just to name three, can handle the heat.  I had difficulty with the heat when I lived in Ontario many years ago, and recently it has been as high as 40 C (104 F) perhaps hotter.  I hope everyone is finding ways to stay as cool as possible.

Short Takes

CBC — Syrian opposition activists have released haunting footage showing a young boy rescued from the rubble in the aftermath of a devastating airstrike in Aleppo.  …

The strike occurred during the sunset call to prayer, around 7:20 p.m local time, said Raslan, a correspondent for Al Jazeera Mubashir.

Five-year-old Omran Daqnee was pulled, bloodied and dazed, from the rubble of a hospital in Aleppo, Syria, following an airstrike Wednesday night.

Omran was rescued along with his three siblings, ages one, six, and 11, and his mother and father from the rubble of their partially destroyed apartment building, according to Raslan. None sustained major injuries, but the building collapsed shortly after the family was rescued.  …

Doctors in Aleppo use code names for hospitals, which they say have been systematically targeted by government airstrikes. Abu al-Ezz said they do that "because we are afraid security forces will infiltrate their medical network and target ambulances as they transfer patients from one hospital to another."  …

Syria Russia

A Russian aircraft drops bombs on Aleppo on Aug. 16. Activists were warned ahead of the airstrike on the M10 hospital that a warplane was en route from the Russian air base at Hmeimim. (Russian Defence Ministry Press Service/Associated Press)

And THIS is the same dictator that Drumpf would cozy up to?!  I know this is 10 days old, but I think it bears remembering and restating that Drumpf has some kind of 'bromance' going with Putin (R-RU), not to mention possible financial ties to the Russian oligarchs.  If he were POTUS, how would that influence his positions?  He must never be allowed to get into that position.  This appears to be a conflict of interest, a clear and present danger to the national security of the US.

Alternet — To American progressives, this retirement story should sound familiar. After decades of pension cutbacks and declining unionization, many retiring seniors depend increasingly on underfunded government-run programs. Amid rising inequality, some wealthy seniors can afford to retire, while others must keep working lest they lose their toehold in the middle class. The notion that seniors are entitled to a comfortable retirement is fading, and fast.

But this retirement security saga is unfolding not in the United States, but in Canada. The difference is that Canada, which confronts virtually all the same problems that plague the U.S., has decided to act.

On June 20, Canada’s federal and provincial governments agreed to expand what’s known as the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), a program analogous to American Social Security and one of three in Canada that supports retirees. The agreement, which officials expect to finalize by the end of the summer, could add thousands of dollars to the yearly retirement incomes of Canadian workers.  …

Expanding CPP is just one of three steps that Canada’s recently-elected Liberal Party has taken to protect current and future retirees. Led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the government also approved a 10 percent increase in the Guaranteed Income Supplement that the government provides to single, low-income seniors. Trudeau also dropped the previous administration’s plans to raise the age of eligibility from 65 to 67 for both the Guaranteed Income Supplement and the country’s third senior citizen pension program, known as Old Age Security.

To American liberals, Canada’s retirement-care progressivism is a frustrating reminder that in the U.S., public debate on Social Security has until recently centered not on how it can be expanded, but how it can be trimmed. 

Even  in Canada there are some issues with the expansion.  Québec and Manitoba did not agree in principle back in June 2016.  BC, which approved in principle, did not ratify the agreement by the 15/07/2016 deadline, instead opting for a series of public consultations.  It should be noted that while the BC government is "Liberal", it is a misnomer in my view as it is right of centre and it bears no association with Justin Trudeau's federal Liberal Party.  For the expansion to go through, 7 provinces representing 2/3's of the Canadian population must agree.  See First Reference Talks for a short description of the expansion.  So if Canada is having a few hiccups, the US with its general mindset and its Republican dominated Congress will have great difficulty — don't hold your breath.  Republicans are so bent about social security, continuing to say that it contributes to the deficit.  But it doesn't because it is made up of personal contributions.  Of course, social security expansion is one of Bernie's talking points.  Let's hope that Democrats take the WH and the Congress.  Then there is a possibility of an expansion, but not before.

Newsweek — Today there are more than 2,000 fighters from Russia on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq fighting on behalf of the Islamic State.

A large number of these fighters are Muslims originating from the Northern Caucasus, a fact that feeds a narrative back in Russia that has been growing since the 1990s.

Many Russians now link the Muslim populations of the North Caucasus with extremism and terrorism. That perception is not entirely without basis: the North Caucasus region has been rent by war, terror and brutal state crackdowns for over two decades.

Muslims attend morning prayer to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Moscow on July 5. Denis Sokolov writes that often, if a known Islamic activist is out of Russia, law enforcement will orchestrate a surprise search at the person's home where a hand grenade or ammunition is planted. The message is simple: "Do not come back or we will put you behind bars."

© Maxim Zmeyev/reuters Muslims attend morning prayer to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, in Moscow on July 5. Denis Sokolov writes that often, if a known Islamic activist is out of Russia, law enforcement will orchestrate a surprise search at the person's home where a hand grenade or ammunition is planted. The message is simple: "Do not come back or we will put you behind bars."         

But the story of the territory is as much about rapid social change as it is about conflict. Russian state policies over the past two decades have done much to build today’s pipeline of radicalized extremists originating from the North Caucasus to spread across Russia and beyond to the battle zones of the Middle East.

Now, who is copying who — Putin copying Drumpf, or Drumpf Putin?  This is a long but interesting piece.  Russia is supporting the Assad government of Syria, with some support from Turkey and Iran.  The US is standing with the rebels.  From Wikipedia"A special investigation by Reuters claimed that in the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Russian security services had allowed and encouraged militants to leave Russia to fight in the Syrian Civil War, in order to reduce the risk of domestic attacks."  These North  Caucasus fighters are Sunni which is inline with ISIL.  By bombing ISIL, Russia increases the chances of killing some North Caucasus extremists that played havoc at home.  It is very clear that Russia is trying to quel its Muslim population with the added "benefit" of fighting a proxy war with the US.  And there is no doubt in my mind that Drumpf sees the same extremism that exists in Russia being possible in the US.

MSN — If you’ve spent any time in downtown D.C., you’ve likely seen 80-year-old Wanda Witter.

Shock white hair, a determined, unsmiling set to her mouth, jeans. She may have asked you for some change and probably didn’t smile if you gave her some. This month you may have also been taken aback by the black eye and stitches across her face.

Social worker Julie Turner watches as homeless woman Wanda Witter chooses a pillow for her new apartment on Capitol Hill.

For years, Witter bedded down for the night at 13th and G streets in Northwest Washington, on the cement in her blue sleeping bag, pulled up tight to keep the rats and cockroaches out. Her tower of three suitcases was stacked on her hand cart and bike-locked to the patio chairs next to her.

She may have even told you that inside those bags is all the paperwork to prove the government owes her more than $100,000. And she was right.

Nobody should have to endure such bureautic incompetence that puts their life at risk!  Wanda Witter is one very strong, determined and smart woman . . . the kind of woman that I would like to talk to and know, smile or not.

The Weather Network — Warm temperatures in Wisconsin's upper atmosphere recently created a stagnant air mass that trapped hot air and toxic manure fumes over a farm, leaving a 29-year-old farmer and 13 of his cows dead.

The incident occurred at Biadasz Farm near Amherst.

Michael Biadasz was found dead Monday by workers who had arrived to remove manure from a tank on the property.

Coroner Scott Rifleman told the Associated Press he was "overcome" by methane or sulfur oxide present in the manure.

One has to wonder how the Congress manages to survive with all the toxic Republican BS and the heated rhetoric.

My Universe All hail Olly, Lord of Sainsbury's and guardian of the produce, bakery, meat and seafood departments!

The grim-faced tabby, a regular at the supermarket in the district of Brockley, London, has reportedly been showing up on store shelves since November. Despite efforts to keep the feline out of the store, he nearly always finds a new way to saunter right back in.

London animal of the week: The badass cat in Brockley Sainsbury's

One thing is for sure, Sainsbury's won't have a rodent problem . . . if it ever did!  Check for more pictures at the link.

 

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Aug 272016
 

In a recent conversation, I was asked to explain Alt-Right.  I said that it refers to a a loose coalition of Republicans, fascists, white nationalists, bigots, misogynists and and homophobes that usually encourages their followers to express their hatred through violence.

0827alt-right

Like all political movements, the alt-right has its own lexicon and memes, as well as its own interpretation of news events. Below you’ll find a brief list of terms you may use as a guide if you care to visit the swamps in which adherents to this 21st-century version of white supremacist ideology reside.

1. Alt-right. As Julie Andrews once sang before her character fled the Nazis: “Let’s start at the very beginning.” The term “alt-right” is shorthand for "alternative right." Just as, say, alt folk musicians envisioned themselves as a more modern, hipper iteration of the Dylan-era folk music that preceded them (which really wasn’t folk music at all, but I digress), alt-righties perceive their movement to be the tweaked-for-millennial-consumption adaptation of the ideologies professed by such uncool paleoconservatives as Cranky Uncle Pat Buchanan and Klanboy David Duke.

There are, however, disagreements among alt-righties on the scope of their hatred. The self-parodying Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, for example, wears his gay identity as a badge, even as he spews vitriol against Muslims and blacks. Others who wear the alt-right label, such as the Daily Stormer’s Andrew Anglin, spurn Yiannopoulos as a “degenerate.” Yiannopoulos’ latest badge of courage is being banned by Twitter for his racist dogging of actor/comedian Leslie Jones, a star of the all-female reboot of Ghostbusters. (Since then, Jones’ personal accounts have been hacked in a brutal cyberattack.)

One form of hatred that appears to unite alt-righties? Misogyny. Man, do they hate feminists! Yiannopoulos even did a lecture tour titled, “Feminism is cancer.”

Gearing up a Twitter offensive in advance of Hillary Clinton’s speech in Reno about the alt-right, #altright members on Twitter set out to define their own movement.

#AltRight means you don’t think a room full of white males is a problem to be fixed,” wrote @hateful_heritic.

#AltRightMeans it’s time to oppose HUD/Section8 housing moving blacks into the suburbs. Save our White neighborhoods”, added@_AltRight_, with an accompanying photo of a lone white man in a swimming pool, surrounded by dark-skinned people.Some posted Richard B. Spencer’s white-identity video, “Who are we?” (Money quote: “I’m a Roman, a Briton, a Dane…”)

From <Alternet>

Here is that "white identity" video.  It contains hateful propaganda to justify white supremacy.

Barf Bag Alert!!!

Note the closing implied call to violence, using "RISE" displayed within flames.

The article’s list of terms you need to understand Alt-Right has seven terms.  I shared one.  Click through for the other sic.

Thinking back to my original conversation, I think they should be called Alt-Wrong.

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Aug 272016
 

The excessive heat warning in Portland has been lifted, and we have three days in the 80°s before dropping into the 70°s.  However, it will take a few days for the building to bleed off the heat.  At 6:00 AM the temperature in the hallway right outside my door was 92°, and my A/C has not stopped running full blast trying to get the room temperature down to 76°.  I have completed most of the optimizing here at the site.  This morning, I took a Lona nap, and am ready for several more.  I can’t wait for my shower tomorrow morning.  I exchanged texts with Julie.  She and Killer Dawg send greetings.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:25 (average 4:19).  To do it, click here. (Yum?)  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Earlier this month Daily Kos endorsed Christina Hartman for Pennsylvania’s open 16th Congressional District, part of our effort to identify strong Democratic candidates targeting GOP-held seats this year who could benefit from your support.

Hartman’s Republican opponent Lloyd Smucker has noticed, and in a new fundraising email his campaign is sounding the alarm bells to supporters. Oh noes! The radical ultra progressives are on the move!

Recently, the Daily Kos, a liberal, left wing but influential website endorsed our opponent. They only support candidates who believe the same ultra progressive agenda that they do. Their agenda is bad for America and bad for the residents of the 16th district.This endorsement will open the floodgates of financial support for her.

And may Christina Hartman boot that Republican mother-Smucker right into the unemployment line!

From The New Yorker: Calling it a “scary moment” and a “close call,” Donald Trump’s campaign officials confirmed that they had recaptured Mike Pence after the Indiana governor attempted to flee the campaign bus in the early hours of Friday morning.

According to the campaign, Pence had asked to stop at a McDonald’s in rural Virginia so that he could use the bathroom, but aides grew concerned when the governor failed to reappear after twenty minutes.

After determining that Pence had given them the slip, Trump staffers fanned out across the Virginia backcountry, where the governor was believed to have fled.

News that Pence had vanished touched off a panic in Indiana, where residents feared that he might return to resume his political career.

LOL Andy! As I see it, Pence crucified himself the minute he became Rump Dump’s running mate.

From NY Times: He led his government to a crushing defeat at the polls last October, then ceded his office to Justin Trudeau and largely vanished from public view. Now, 10 months later, Stephen Harper, the former Conservative prime minister of Canada, says he is giving up his seat in Parliament and quitting politics.

I wish I had a video clip of the Squatch doing her happy dance!!

Cartoon:

0827Cartoon

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Everyday Erinyes #40

 Posted by at 12:05 am  Politics
Aug 272016
 
furies

I have three items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. In honor of the 40th post, I am going to start numbering them. As a reminder, though no one really knows how many there were supposed to be, the three names we have are Alecto, Megaera, and Tisiphone. These roughly translate as "unceasing," "grudging," and "vengeful destruction."

Normally I shy away from calling the Furies' attention to a corporation or group.  There were no corporations in ancient Greece, not as we understand the term; and while there were some groups, they just weren't of the sizes and in the quantities we have today.  I want them to be comfortable doing work they know how to do.

But, in this case, a corporation has acted so much like a particularly despicable individual, that I simply have to address it.  Also, I have a name.  Also, I have a signed letter.

You may have read that Aetna (originally Aetna Insurance Company, later Aetna Life Insurance Company, still later Aetna U.S. Healthcare, now apparently just Aetna) is pulling out of Obamacare in 11 of the 15 states it has been serving.  You may have read this pullout has been attributed to financial loses in those states.  You may have read that Republicans are delighted by this turn of events. 

You may even have read that the pullout is not really due to financial losses, but is retaliation against the administration (and, incidentally, every citizen previously covered by them under Obamacare) because their request to but Humana was denied.

You may or may not have read that Huffington Post has obtained, through the FOIA, a copy of a letter sent to the Justice Department by Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini which in essence said (my reconstruction) "Nice Affordable Care Act you got there.  Be a shame if anything happened to it.  Give us our merger and we won't pull out."

So now, because Bertolini didn't get his merger, Obamacare and ordinary Americans who need health insurance will suffer the consequences.  Obamacare is already facing an uphill battle with regard to critics of the law's suatainability.  By leaving a system which relies on subsidized public-private health insurance plans, Aetna's move will only further tip the scales in favor of Obamacare's criticn [sic] and drive up costs.

Incidentally, Aetna is officially claiming that the letter and the pullout are unrelated.  Right.  I call it extortion.  What do you say, Megaera?  (And what can you expect from a company named after a volcano?)

Meanwhile, back in Tulsa, OK, a family named Jabara has since 2013 or earlier been living next door to a terrorist named Vernon Majors.  I don't know how much earlier, but it was in 2013 that Haifa Jabara, the materfamilias of the Jabara family, filed a protective order against Majors.  He had been sexually harassing her, knocking on windows late at night, stalking her, and subjecting the entire family to racist remarks.  (The Jabaras' family background is Lebanese, but the racist remarks included "dirty Arabs," "filthy Lebanese," "AY-rabs," "MOOS-lems," and he had a whole vocabulary beyond that for use with Mexicans and black people.) 

In 2015 Haifa's son, Khalid, also filed a protective order against Majors.  Majors had been harassing Khalid, stalking him and following him around, leaving notes on the door, and vandalizing the inside of the house.  Wait – what?  Vandalizing the inside of the house?  This creep had been actually getting inside their home to do damage? Eeeeeeww!!

And then in September of 2015, Haifa was jogging in the neighborhood when Majors drove by, aimed his car at her, clearly attempting to run right over her, which he didn't quite do, but he did put her in the hospital.  A broken shoulder, collapsed lung, broken ankle, broken nose, head trauma, and fractured ribs were only some of the injuries she sustained.

Well, he did get locked up then, charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon (which he admitted, providing the motive "filthy Lebanese"), and was awaiting trial, but in May he posted bond.  It was originally set at $30,000.  The prosecutor asked the judge to, first choice, hold him without bond, second choice, set bond at $300.000.  Instead the judge made it $60,000, and he bonded out immediately.  He was released wih no additional conditions – no ankle monitor, no drug/alcohol testing, nothing.

Now, despite having been arrested for a felony, and having been previously convicted of a felony in California, and thus ineligible under Federal law to own a gun , somehow he had one.

The day Khalid was murdered, he called the police to tell them this terrorist had a gun.  The police came and said there was nothing they could do.  Thirty minutes after the phone call, Khalid was dead.

This next thing has nothing to do with the case, it just struck me, so I have used both pictures.  A blind person on a fast horse riding by could see that Khalid is better looking than Majors (much, MUCH better looking.)  Is it my imagination?  Or is he also whiter than the so-called white guy?  A thing like that should not matter to any sane person, of course.  But then Majors apparently isn't.  Sane.  Tisiphone, if you will follow the case and guide at strategic points to make sure the community in general and the Jabara family in particular are never in danger from him again, maybe even instigate the DOJ to investigate as a hate crime – two hate crimes –  it will be most appreciated.

Next, from the "You don't have to be black to get killed by police" files, comes the story of Daniel Patrick Harris, 28, of Charlotte, NC.   Harris is – excuse me, was -profoundly deaf, and he communicated using American Sign Language (ASL).  He was able to drive, and was pulled over, or at least an attempt was made to do so, this month.  The best guess of those who have been covering the story is that he may have been speeding, but that is unconfirmed.

Also unconfirmed is whether Mr. Harris simply did not hear any sirens, or whether he trying to get home, where family were present who would be able to interpret for him,  or some combination.  He was a few within feet of his home, when the two cars collided.  Mr. Harris then got out of his car and started signing to the officer, who, according to neighbors, shot him as soon as he got out, killing him.

The officer, trooper Jermaine Saunders, is on administrative leave while the investigation goes on, and is not giving interviews.  Mr. Harris is dead, so we can't ask him.  The most we can do is speculate.  Did Trooper Saunders think Harris was flashing gang signs?  Did he think Mr. Harris was making threatening gestures?  We don't know.  We only know that Mr. Harris is dead..  Oh, yes, and that he liked turtles. 

Alecto, I didn't have anything specifically for you last week.  But I would say that this is in a category of things that happen All. The. Time.  Let us know what you find out.

Finally – I seldom do humor here, for obvious reasons, but I guess if Shakespeare can use comic relief, I can try.  So here is a little trivia question.  Based on the news from this week, one can conclude that that

a.  Not all gun nuts live in the United States.

b.  Having had a taste of entertainment from the filming of "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit," New Zealand parents have started training their children to star in some future remake of "Game of Thrones."

c.  Both of the above.

Click through for the answer ( spoiler: "c" is correct).

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4007417

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