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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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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Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 12:04 am  Politics
Aug 202016
 
furies

I have two items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with 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."

First stop Raleigh, North Carolina, where a family in the Neuse Crossing neighborhood was having a y'all come party, and a neighbor (and probable Trump voter) named Chad Copley was having hallucinations.  If our nation had appropriate understanding of mental health issues like hallucinations, and adequate ways to treat said hallucinator without continuing to endanger the neighborhood, I might not be telling this story to the Furies.  But, with things as they are, I see no alternative.

So let's talk about Copley's hallucinations.  To begin with, he hallucinated that there was a Neighborhood Watch program in his neighborhood, and that he was in it, and on duty,

…residents and a manager of the Neuse Crossing Homeowners Association say the neighborhood where the fatal shooting happened does not have a neighborhood watch. And police say that where homeowners do organize neighborhood watch programs they are told to call 911 when they see suspicious or criminal activity, rather than take matters into their own hands.

Then, he hallucinated that guests at the party two doors away were "racing up and down the street," that they were armed, and that "there's some devil in them."

Jalen Lewis, who hosted a party at his home, two doors down from Copley’s, on the night of the shooting, said the victim was one of roughly 50 guests at the party, he told CNN affiliate WTVD.

He didn’t know Thomas personally, he said, and he didn’t see anyone armed or causing problems outside his home that night. Lewis told WTVD he has never interacted with Copley in the seven years he’s lived in the Raleigh neighborhood.

Thirdly, he hallucinated that there was a legal requirement for him to fire a warning shot (prior to doing what else, he didn't say.)

I yelled at them, ‘Please leave the premises,’ ” he said. “They were showing firearms, so I fired a warning shot and uh, we got somebody that got hit. …

“I fired my warning shot like I’m supposed to by law. … They do have firearms, and I’m trying to protect myself and my family.”

The dispatcher pressed for more information: Who’s been shot, how badly are they injured — and where, exactly, is the victim?

“Please just send a car,” Copley responded. “There’s friggin’ black males outside my friggin’ house with firearms. Please, send PD. Thank you.”

His "warning shot," which, it transpired, had been fired from a window in his garage, did kill someone: 20-year-old Kouren-Rodney Bernard Thomas, who was out near the street.  Thomas’s mother says he worked at a waffle house, and had a girlfriend about to begin college.

Copley has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder.  I would call that a step in the right direction.  Tisiphone, perhaps you can help keep this direction on track and ensure the one step is not the only step to secure this vengeful destroyer away from the public.

Meanwhile, over in Oklahoma – and I must say we all know there are many wonderful people in Oklahoma; this guy just isn't one of them – a retired agriculture teacher named Larry Long has made the news.  It seems that at a retirement presentation they were giving for him at the Oklahoma Career Tech Summer Conference in Oklahoma City he decided to show off what a fine sense of humor he has.Long

So he called a black colleague (probably not a coincidence that the colleague of color is the ONLY black agriculture teacher in the entire state) up to the stage with him, and presented him with a white robe and white hood (complete with Klan insignia), which he placed on the teacher, and then added a Confederate flag (as the bow on the package?)  Wow.  What a barrel of laughs.  Hundreds of people attended this "program," by the way.

I should be specific that CareerTech was not his employer, and he was not retiring from CareerTech.  CareerTech is a state agency, and it does not employ teachers to teach; it oversees them.  The employer from whom he had retired during the year was Elk City High School, where he had apparently worked for 49 years.  He must have been appreciated there, since the board of Elk City Public Schools recently voted to  name the high school's new agriculture building after him.

Those at the meeting were instructed not to speak of it, and to erase any and all cell phone video.  But someone sent an anonymous email to state lawmwkers, and it is now out in the open.

Retired teacher Larry Long issued a statement … in which he said he was trying to make a joke with a colleague who he respected and that he never intended to convey any racism.  He says he realizes his actions were "harmful, offensive, and hurtful."  Long says he has requested a meeting with members of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus, who expressed outrage at the incident.  A member of the caucus, Democratic Rep. Mike Shelton, says the group welcomes the meeting.  The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology says it is investigating the incident.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Nothing to see here, just move along.  Alecto, if that meeting hasn't already happened, maybe you'd like to be present at it.  Could be interesting.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news /member/101612212/4006109

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Aug 172016
 

It is late and I cannot sleep because of the heat and humidity, currently at 88%.  To make matters worse, my one neighbour has been in and out slamming the door each time, as well as running up and down her stairs with lead feet.  This is not the first time for her antics.  I have been awakened by her before.  Temperatures on Friday and into the weekend are supposed to hit 33 C (92 F) — oh joy! NOT! — with high humidity.  Tomorrow I have physio and then I will relax in the heat if I can.

Short Takes

CBC — Mauril Bélanger, the long-serving Liberal member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier, has died at age 61. Bélanger was diagnosed wIt is late and I cannot sleep because of the heatith ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, following the 2015 federal election, and his condition had deteriorated rapidly. 

mauril belanger

Mauril Bélanger 15/06/1955 – 16/08/2016

Honourary Speaker of the House

At the moment when Bélanger should have been celebrating his eighth electoral triumph as the member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier, he had struggled to find his voice to make a victory speech.

And yet even in his final days, Bélanger summoned his remaining strength eight months later to attend a vote in the House of Commons where his colleagues backed his private member's bill to make the lyrics of the national anthem more representative of all Canadians. 

That vote on 15 June 2016, Bélanger's 61st birthday, resulted in the approval of Bill C – 210 which changed the second line to "in all of us command " from "in all thy sons command".  And as sick as he was, he came into the House to vote.  In the video above, if you are trying to listen to the words, the first two lines are in English, with some subsequent lines in French.  I know the French version and can tell you it does not translate directly to the English version.

I brought to you short takes about Mauril Bélanger back on 30/01 and 12/03/2016.  This is an incredible legacy for Mauril Bélanger who championed this change for years.

RobertReich.org — It looks increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton, a self-described “progressive who likes to get things done,” will have her chance starting next January. But how much that’s progressive will she actually be able to get done?

The Senate may flip to the Democrats but there’s almost no way Democrats will get the sixty votes they need to stop Republicans from filibustering everything she says she wants to do.

She’s unlikely to have a typical presidential honeymoon because she won’t be riding a wave of hope and enthusiasm that typically accompanies a new president into office. She’s already more distrusted by the public than any major candidate in recent history. On Election Day many Americans will be choosing which candidate they loathe the least.  …

Even if Hillary sincerely intends to raise taxes on rich Americans in order to pay for universal child care, affordable higher education, and infrastructure spending, the moneyed interests have the clout to stop her.

They’ll also resist any effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, require employers to offer paid family leave, or push them to share their profits with employees.

The heart of American politics is now a vicious cycle in which big money has enough political influence to get laws and regulations that make big money even bigger, and prevent laws and rules that threaten its wealth and power.

Before Hillary can accomplish anything important, that vicious cycle has to be reversed. But how?  …

The pragmatist in her must know that the only way her ideas will make it in real life is if the public is organized and mobilized behind them.

Which means that once she enters the Oval Office, she’ll need the countervailing power of a progressive movement – ironically, much like the one her primary opponent championed.

I read an article recently that stated that the Green Party needs to build its base substantially in order to be viable.  Recently, TC commented (probably not for the first time) that any third party needs to start building on 15 November of an election year.  Bernie has miraculously built a substantial base, one that challenged Clinton during the primaries.  He launched a political revolution and has committed to moving forward with it.  Part of that commitment means holding Clinton's feet to the fire.  Personally, I think Bernie has a better chance of revolutionising the Democratic Party than the Greens have of becoming viable.

Raw Story — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) revived and justified Republican criticisms against Khizr Khan on Tuesday, telling CNN host Jake Tapper that the Democratic Party “used him” irresponsibly during their party convention last month.

“Because he had a son that he lost to terror, that gives him a free ride to say what he would like against a candidate that he’s not for?” Perry asked Tapper. “That’s not proper, that’s not correct.”

Lost a son to terror??  Capt Khan was killed in Iraq during a war started by George W Bush and his cronies over oil but under the guise of weapons of mass destruction.  How is that terror?  And since when can one not comment on a political candidate who is in a race to run the nation (in the case of Drumpf, to 'ruin the nation')?  That is a prime time to gather facts, form opinions etc.  And of course, the first amendment — freedom of speech — also applies to Mr Khan.  I also take exception to Perry claiming he is for service families because he writes the letters.  But hey, did he lose a son as did Mr Khan?  Little Ricky Oops! Perry is milking this for his own glory.

Youtube — This one is strictly to make you smile.

My Universe — This is a truly magnificent sight!  My understanding is that these kayakers were near a nursing humpback and her calf.  The breaching was likely done by the rest of the pod to protect the mother and babe.  The location is near Campbell River BC, on the east coast of Vancouver Island,  little more than half way up the Island.  More over, this is a well known playground for various types of whales.

 

And now a little humour . . .

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Aug 142016
 

It is Saturday night, the end of a very hot and miserable day as far as I am concerned — 31 C (88 F) late this afternoon.  It is 0100 and 20 C (68 F) with  humidity at 78%.  Days like this just sap my energy and affect my breathing (asthma).  So I have been drinking like a fish and staying quiet.  Later Sunday, I will going to visit my mother so at least I'll have the benefit of AC in the car.  I hope everybody is surviving the heat wherever you are.

Here it is, Sunday afternoon and the temperature is back up to 30 C (86 F) 60% humidity.

Short Takes

Common Dreams — Bernie Sanders bore down on Donald Trump's economic agenda in a series of tweets on Friday morning, calling him "the poster child of failed trade policies."

Photo published for Donald Trump’s new tax plan could have a big winner: Donald Trump’s companies

The social media take-down began with Sanders posting a link to a Washington Post story from earlier this week, which revealed how a "little-noticed provision in Donald Trump's tax reform plan has the potential to deliver a large tax cut to companies in the Republican presidential nominee's vast business empire."

Click through to see a string of Bernie's tweets.  Go Bernie!  I'd also suggest reading the Washington Post story (click on "revealed") because it certainly does outline how Drumpf and other high income earners would disproportionately benefit from Drumpf's plan.  And to the point of these business entities taking those tax "savings" and reinvesting them in the business, according to Forbes, corporations are still sitting on large cash piles on their balance sheets, much of it sitting offshore.  The figures used are from 2013-14.

Raw Story — Mr. Speaker,

When Donald Trump suggested on August 9 that Hillary Clinton could only be stopped from nominating judges by “Second Amendment people,” most of the world gasped, realizing he was inciting violence against his opponent for the presidency. It was unprecedented, beneath contempt. But he didn’t apologize. Given my long experiences with Trump, I knew he would soon string together a babble of words in hopes of twisting his statement beyond recognition. And so he did, with an assist from sycophants like Sean Hannity of Fox News, who nodded like a bobblehead doll as Trump told him he didn’t mean that gun lovers should assassinate Clinton. He only meant they should be voting for him to keep her out of the White House.

That makes no sense, and here’s a crucial thing to know about Trump: He never tries to make his lies or delusions or fantasies make sense. He just spews to explain away the inexplicable.

Call for Assassination

Let’s examine the words that got him into so much trouble: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”

Trump’s post hoc interpretation: He doesn’t know if gun lovers will vote to keep Clinton out of office. Or he hopes gun owners will vote for him. Or only Trump voters with guns could keep Clinton out of office. None of that makes sense.

Read the original statement again. Did he mean it will be a horrible day when Second Amendment people stop her from picking judges? That’s a call for assassination. Or did he mean it will be a horrible day when a President Clinton picks judges and only Second Amendment people might be able to stop it? Another call for assassination.

Trump then blamed the media for applying the rules of grammar and sentence structure to him, instead of being like his acolytes, for whom words and sentences no longer have agreed-upon meanings.

This, Mr. Speaker, is what you would be dealing with in a Trump presidency, and this flagrant disregard for the facts, for the truth, is why I am writing this, my second open letter to you. Trump must be stopped. Let the GOP lose this election. It is the only way to save the Republican Party, and the nation. Even some of his most deranged supporters recognize the danger he poses—one caller into C-SPAN last week said he knew his candidate might start a nuclear war but at least America would win.

Click through for the rest of this fairly long piece.  Author  Kurt Eichenwald goes on to lay out many of Drump's inconsistencies and lies, some of them sworn under oath in depositions or in Congressional hearings.  This is, IMO, the kind of information that needs to get broad exposure, especially with likely Drumpf supporters and voters.  Drumpf is a menace to a civilised society.

Alternet — Nearly 100% of likely voters are set on their November 8 presidential pick and the debates won't even start for another month. So, who really is the media fanfare for at this point? After all, as Noam Chomsky points out, the voting decision is really a lot simpler than the pundits have built it up to be.  …

Chomsky has consistently declared Donald Trump would be a disaster, and urges voters in swing states to cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton. 

There is another video at the end of the article which shows Chomsky giving the same advice to Clinton supporters in 2008.  As Chomsky says in 2016 "… I would vote against Trump … you hold your nose and vote Democrat … I don't think there is any other rational choice.  Abstaining from voting or say voting for a candidate you prefer, a minority candidate, just amounts to a vote for Donald Trump … "  Wise words.

Politico — Republican insiders are more convinced than Democrats that Donald Trump is so far behind Hillary Clinton that he can't win in November.

Roughly half of Republican members of The POLITICO Caucus — activists, strategists and operatives in 11 swing states — believe that Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes is basically shut off after another week in which the GOP nominee appears to have ceded ground in national and most battleground state polls.

Democrats, however, aren’t breaking out the champagne just yet. Seventy-two percent of Democratic insiders said despite Clinton’s clear advantage at this stage of the race, the presidential election isn’t effectively over.

Democrats cited the unpredictability of the 2016 campaign, along with some of Clinton’s own weaknesses, for their bridled optimism. It’s a message that fits neatly with what party leaders are saying publicly and behind closed doors: Don’t get too cocky, even with Clinton well ahead of Trump in the polls.  …

“Trump is underperforming so comprehensively across states and demographics it would take video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of ‘Death to America!’ But in 2016, stranger things have happened.”

Democrats are much less confident about the outcome of the presidential race than Republicans, thankfully.  This is not the time to sit back.  And it is VERY important to get out the vote.
 

My Universe

No way

… in my own time!

Proof that cats take a message and get back to you, later if you're lucky!

 

Fifty shades of love

Friends! … not dinner.

vicious treadmill

Dinner on the go!

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Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 12:10 am  Politics
Aug 132016
 
furies

I have a few items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with 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."

First, though, before handing off to the Furies, I want to follow up on July 30's story about "National Whistleblowers Appreciation Day."  You may recall I quoted from John Kiriakou and Tom Drake, and mentioned Jeffrey Sterling not being available as he is still locked up.  I have since received an email forwarded by Roots Action from his wife, Holly.  She states that he has served a bit over one year of his three-and-a-half year sentence, and there are a few things we can do ourselves. 

The need is threefold.  First, he is not getting appropriate attention for serious cardiac medical issues.  He has a history of atrial fibrillation (in the past he has been hospitalized for it) and is now experiencing chest pains, shortness of breath, and dizziness.  Holly has written to the Warden about his medical conditon, and has received no answer.  She would really appreciate if anyone who can would contact the prison warden, Deborah Denham, to advocate for medical attention for Jeffrey.  The email address is ENG slash ExecAssistant at bop dot gov (I'm spelling it the long way to avoid a link that's not to a site) and the phone number 303-763-4300.  (Personal note from me: if I can come up with any more accuracy or other alternatives I will add it/them in a comment.)

Second – I vividly remember when John Kiriakou was incarcerated how the family, his wife and three little girls, were up against the wall just to try to make the mortgage payments, and on top of that, they did not put him in the nearest prison, so that visiting was a challenge both in terms of energy and financially.  (They also threatened "diesel therapy" – a creative term for moving him between prisons without notice.)  Firedoglake was collecting for John, and, with help, they did not lose their home.  The Sterlings have a Sterling Family Fund set up for them on GoFundMe.  They want to appeal his conviction, and Holly would like to make the 800-plus mile trip to visit him once in a while, and both require money.  (There's also more background information there, should you be interested.)

Third, for those of us who are not locked up, it may be impossible to realize how much words of encouragement can mean.  Even if it's just a card.  He can receive snailmail at

JEFFREY STERLING, 38338-044
FCI Englewood
Federal Correctional Institution
9595 West Quincy Avenue
Littleton, CO 80123

And, yes, there is a petition .  It also has more background.

Now, moving right along, I'll whip quickly through a few stories of jaw-dropping – something.  First, let's go to Indiana, specifically to South Bend, where, in 2012, Vivian Franklin awakened to loud pounding on her door between three and four in the morning.  Three (warrantless) police officers shining a flashlight in her eyes  barged in.  They were looking for Dan, Vivian's older son, who was not there.  This did not stop them from hauling her younger son, DeShawn, 17, out of bed and assaulting him with fists and tasers.  In the process, a taser probe got stuck in DeShawn's side; the officers were unable to remove it and had to call an ambulance and EMT's to do so.  (I am restraining my snark here.) 

Where the incident goes right through the Looking Glass is that, while DeShawn was shouting he was not Dan, and Vivian was shouting DeShawn was not Dan, and the officers were insisting Dan must be there because they had trailed him to the home – Dan showed up.  Whereupon the officers opted not to arrest him. 

So in March, 2013 the Franklins reasonably filed suit.  Named in the suit were the three officers, the city, the mayor, and the police chief.  Finally, this year, the suit was adjudicated in Fort Wayne.

The jury found that the Franklins' constitutional rights had been violated.  They awarded damages of ONE DOLLAR. Yes, you read that right.  One dollar.

Grudging, I would say.  Megaera, I woudn't stop with the officers, the city, the mayor, and the police chief.  I'd definitely follow up with that jury.  Perhaps Indiana, or at least South Bend, really did deserve Mike Pence.

Let's now go to Watauga, Texas, where an unidentified man made a threat in a phone message to a local mosque, in which he threatened to decapitate Muslims who attended it.

The caller identified as a "Christian."  Police in Watauga are investigating but aren't treating it as a direct threat at the moment.  the FBI has also been notified.

Of course, Tisiphone, you will want to find this person.  But almost more chilling was the remark that "a caller made explicitly violent threats that went well beyond the kind of verbal abuse callers normally level against the mosque." 

It should NOT be "normal" for callers to "level verbal abuse" against ANY person or group.  And it is un-American that this happens.

So you may be digging out a long, long list.

Finally for this week, this happened in Punta Gorda , FL (one of only a few states we might expect it in).  I'll just quote:

A woman, identified as Mary Knowlton, was selected to participate in a “shoot or don’t shoot” training exercise at the Punta Gorda Police Academy. She was selected at random from a group of 35 citizens who were participating in a two hour Citizens Academy—a program created to teach local civics to civilians.

Mary Knowlton, 73, was shot during a role-play scenario in which the Punta Gorda police officer was playing a “bad guy” and fired several times at the woman who was supposed to be playing the victim, according to Sue Paquin, a photographer who was covering the event for the Sun and witnessed the incident.

Knowlton was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Mrs. Knowlton was originally from Austin, Minnesota and was retired in Punta Gorda. She had been a librarian in Scott County, Minnesota.

This incident may reflect more stupidity than malice (and once again I need to restrain my snark/sarcasm).  But things like this happen all the timeAlecto, maybe you can inject some sense here.  I certainly hope so.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4004933

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Aug 102016
 

It has been about 2 weeks since I last posted an article.  My laptop has been in and out of the computer hospital, and it is too difficult on my knees to be sitting at my desktop long enough to put a post together.  But the laptop, Bella, is working great now.  We had rain last night and this morning which was very welcomed.  Temperatures have cooled, at least for a few days, which makes me very happy.  The furbabes are happy about that too.  I completed the dreaded task today, and I am in the process of cleaning out my clothes closet.  Every time I open the doors, there are 3 babes that dart in getting fur all over everything!  Have a good week.

Short Takes

Alternet — Donald Trump was out of the spotlight for a while last week, and that was very hard to abide. When people did talk about him, they were mostly saying not nice things. Imagine that! Things like, “That’s treason,” when he invited Russia to interfere with an American election. Things like, “How dare you not release your tax returns as every candidate for president has done in modern history?”

The Democrats had put on a good show with plenty of razzle-dazzle, and that hurt. When Trump awoke from his semi-subdued state, it was as if he was determined to prove every damn negative thing that had been said about him was true.

Temperamentally unfit to serve as commander-in-chief? “I’ll show you,” he roared!

Photo Credit: FlickR/IoSonoUnaFotoCamera

5. Confused Republicans seem not to understand the concept of acting.

It was bad enough that there were so many more truly A-list celebrities at the DNC in Philadelphia than at the RNC in Cleveland. Worse still, there were glamorous big celebs in the audience in Philly—who weren’t even speaking—whereas people in pinwheel hats, open carry nuts and followers of Alex Jones mostly graced Cleveland with their presence.CBC

One celeb in Philly in particular confused the hell out of conservatives. American Sniper Chris Kyle sat right there in the audience of the DNC. Well, not actually Chris Kyle, but the actor who portrayed him, Bradley Cooper. Same thing, right?

“Traitor!” tweeted some conservative idiots unfamiliar with the concept of acting. One called “USA Citizen” was enraged: “Bradley Cooper’s DNC appearance indicates his next role will be Jihadi John. Liberal piece of (emoticon of smiling pile of brown stuff.)"

We think we know which party is offering a steaming pile of shit this election season.

This is the fifth of 5 Stupidest Right-Wing Moments This Week from the week ending 31/07/2016.  And just like the title suggests, stupidity reigns supreme with Republicans.  Click through for the other four.

CBC — Canadians widely believe that President Donald Trump would be bad for Canada. Fully 78 per cent of respondents said that a Trump presidency would be "bad" or "very bad" for Canada, an increase of 16 points from when Insights West polled on this question shortly after Donald Trump entered the race for the Republican nomination a year ago. Only 13 per cent of respondents thought President Trump would be good for Canada.

While there is far less worry about what the Democratic nominee would mean for Canada (and given the choice between the two, Canadians would opt for Clinton in a landslide), opinions on the former first lady and secretary of state are still divided. Just under half, or 47 per cent, of those polled thought that a victory by Hillary Clinton would be good for this country, while 37 per cent thought it would be bad for Canada.

In a related CBC article, Éric Grenier, political analyst and pollster for the CBC, wrote on 01/08/2016

After closing the gap on Hillary Clinton in the polls, Donald Trump is closer to taking the White House today than he has ever been before. But there is one way the Democrats could virtually ensure their party's hold on the presidency — making Canada the 51st state.

That's obviously not going to happen. But Canadians would be among the most reliable Democrats if, well, they were Americans instead.   …

Trump is deeply unpopular in Canada. The Mainstreet survey gave him a favourability rating of just 15 per cent, with 75 per cent of Canadians saying they hold an unfavourable view of the Republican nominee. Clinton, on the other hand, scored a favourability rating of 62 per cent, against 24 per cent unfavourable.

In another related CBC article, Grenier provides the following polling numbers from the US (interactive display at site)

Presidential Poll Tracker – Electoral College at 07/08/2016
Hillary Clinton – Democrat Donald Trump – Republican
347 Projected Votes 191 Projected Votes
HIGH: 374 HIGH: 265
LOW: 273 LOW: 164

Of course, the only true poll is the one done in the polling booth.  Let's hope that Éric Grenier is correct.

Youtube — And now, some truth in humour from John Oliver.  I think he is the only one who can make the Republican National Convention seem humourous. 

My Universe — Can you find the cat in the woodpile?

cat.jpg

 

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Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 11:22 am  Politics
Aug 062016
 
furies

I have a few items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with 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."

I try not to feature occurrences that are too new (like, say, yesterday) or which have received a lot of publicity – there are plenty out there under the radar more in need of the Furies' attention.  In this first item, the fact of it being under the radar actually IS the story.

On Friday, July 22, Germany was rocked by news of a terrible event – a young man shot multiple people outside a shopping center in Munich.  It became clear that the shooter, Ali David Sonboly, had Iranian ancestry; no one in the media hesitated to link him with Islam.  He was styled as "German-Iranian," and rumors spread that he had shouted "Allahu Akbat" before shooting (spoiler: he didn't.)  Right-wing politicians did their best to use the shooting to spread hatred and fear against Muslims, migrants, and refugees.

But once the dust cleared, the inident changed into a "classic shooting rampage" instead of an "act of terror," and quietly disappeared from news feeds.  Why?  He was not a Muslim, but a right wing extremist.  It wasn't the West he hated, but Turks and Arabs.  His hero was Anders Breivik who, five years to the day earlier, had killed 77 people in Norway.  His other hero was Hitler, with whom he considered it "an honor" to share a birthday.  Seven of his nine victims were Muslims or of Muslim background.

Sonboly's racist ideology was spawned in Central Asia, all right, but it was anything but Muslim.  Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan all consider themselves to be the cradle of the Aryan people (who lived 3,000-4,000 years ago and scientifically have little to do with the historical, or maybe I should say pre-historical Aryans.)  "Iran" actually means "land of the Aryans," and when Iran changed its name from Persia in 1935, both Afghanstan and Tajikistan responded with variations on "Who do you think you are?!!?"

German authorities mostly do not hesitate to link every rampage with Islam, but when right-wing terrorism takes place, they do their best to obscure the roots of the crime. This week, Bavaria's Interior Minister, Joachim Herrmann, insisted that Sonboly “probably had no links with right-wing networks.” And shortly after the massacre, Bavarian government and police officials claimed that there was no political motivation behind the massacre, claiming Sonboly had chosen his victims at random. According to this logic, a mass killer must shout “Allahu Akbar” in the midst of his murder spree for his political motives to be acknowledged. Everything else, no matter how clearly influenced by rightist ideology, is just a classic shooting rampage.

As long as right wing terrorism continues to be trivialized as isolated "rampages," and not treated as terrorism from the right, we in the west will make no progress toward suppressing terrorism at all.  Germany is by no means alone in this; it happens in the United States constantly.  Another case of decisions made on "facts" insteat of on facts are mostly very poor decisions.  Well, Bavaria is quite beautiful, Tisiphone.  Stop in to look at Neuschwanstein while you are educating Bavarian government officials.

I also have a couple of incidents related to rape culture, possibly appropriate in a week when a Presidential candidate and his number one son have said or implied that "strong women" do not get sexually harassed.  Yeah, right.

The situation in this story from Utah (but which could have happened anywhere) seems to me to illustrate just how extensively complaints of rape are routinely dismissed.  "In the most recent account, four women who reported that they had been raped by the same man were ignored by the Utah State University’s Title IX office, and by the police detectives investigating the complaints in Logan, Utah."

Had not reporter Alex Stuckey of the Salt Lake Tribune dug into this, no one but the victims (and the rapist) would even know the rapes had occurred.

Reporter Alex Stuckey of the Salt Lake Tribune conducted an in-depth investigation of a pattern of alleged rapes committed by an unnamed assailant. The first assault was reported in January of 2015; the fourth in December. The male student continued remained on campus until spring of 2016, when he graduated.

The four women did not know one another, and they all filed separate reports. Three of the women were Utah State students and reported the assaults to their school. Title IX, the federal statute passed in 1972 that mandates equal treatment of the sexes in education, requires that “schools must take action if there is a potential continuing threat to students.”

In stories that echo the disturbing details recounted in Jon Krakauer’s book, Missoula, which documented a spate of rapes in the Montana college town, police seemed more interested in helping preserve the reputation of the alleged rapist than in helping the women prosecute the man who had hurt them.

Click through for additional details of the attacks and the sham "investigations" conducted, if you haven't been nauseated enough by the brief summary I quote.  The prosecutor claims to be looking at the case more closely.  Alecto, maybe you can hold her feet to the fire.

Just in case anyone thinks the above story doesn't address sexual crime against strong women, this third story should lay all doubt to rest on that point.  It's had more exposure than the other two, as far as I can find (and I'm already late), so I'll be brief.

A prominent feminist writer and columnist said she is being forced to abandon social media after receiving rape and death threats against her 5-year-old daughter.

On Twitter, Jessica Valenti wrote: “This morning I woke up to a rape and death threat directed at my 5 year old daughter. That this is part of my work life is unacceptable.”

You know, after you've said that, what do you say?  Jessica goes on with several more tweets elaborating on the facts of this situation, and what an impossible position it puts her in.  I expect anyone here could have come up with every point.  Unacceptable?  Yes.  Of course.  But Facebook, Twitter, and law enforcement all seem to accept it just fine.  Megaera, everyone else already has an assignment.  But you are going to need reinforcements.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4003531

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