Dec 052016
 

It’s a chilly morning here in Portland.  It didn’t snow, but the temperature just warmed up to 36°.  My shoulder is improving.  I hope your weekend was safe and happy, but guess what?  It’s OGIM time!!  Oh God, It’s Monday!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:01 (average 4:59).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Almost Ecstasy:

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There is no true ecstasy with Republican Rectum Rage coming.

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos (Classic 10/2014)(Hat-Tip Pat A): Living with a cat for the first time, you quickly pick up on its behavioral quirks, many of which are common among other cats. What you soon find out is that cats aren’t Republican. Here are 12 reasons why not:

1. Cats are curious about what you do in your bedroom, but they don’t try to legislate away your freedom to do it.
2. Cats may take away your cushion, but they’ll give it back to you with a gentle push.
3. Cats give you attention and sympathy when you’re sick.
4. Females are treated with importance in the cat world.
5. Cats make use of solar power, often all day long.
6. Cats lick their own problems and take care of other cats too.

I shared six. Click through for the other six. Since CAT is where it’s AT, if even one fellow feline became a Republican, that would be a CATastrophe.

From NY Times: No one has offered more vivid testimony about the power of money in politics than Donald Trump has in describing his personal history of writing campaign checks to sway politicians. He claims great success in what he calls “a broken system” of special interests. “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do,” he said last year in an interview with The Wall Street Journal [Murdoch delinked]. “As a businessman I need that.”

He took his eyewitness accounting a step further in the primary debates, noting that some of his presidential rivals had previously done well by his checkbook. “Most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand, a lot of money,” he said. On the trail, Mr. Trump firmly promised reform: “Our campaign is about breaking up the special interest monopoly in Washington, D.C.”

All the more reason to sigh in regret, more than surprise, at the scale of big-money contributions from corporate and private donors that President-elect Trump’s inaugural committee is soliciting for its celebrations next month. Tiers of V.I.P. donors have been created, aiming to raise up to $75 million from special interests, which won’t be forgotten when the new administration gets down to governing.

The money tree is topped by a million-dollar-plus bracket promising donors a “candlelight dinner,” where Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, will drop by; a lunch with cabinet appointees and Republican congressional leaders; and special entree to inaugural balls and parties. The tiers bottom out at $25,000, the cheapest ticket in a kind of garage sale for plutocrats.

Will people ever start believing me, when I say that the only difference between the Fuhrer and other Republican politicians and pundits is that he proclaims what they dog whistle?

From Huffington Post: Our country’s privileged few used to exert their control through political surrogates. Now, thanks to Donald Trump, they’re taking a more hands-on approach.

If it weren’t for his appeals to hate, it would be easy to understand why so many voters were taken in by Trump. It’s not just that the middle class is dying, or that wages have flatlined and inequality has soared. It’s that there is real fear behind those numbers.

Millions of Americans, of all races, genders, religions, and national origin, are living in economic fear and distress. Two-thirds of us would have trouble meeting a $1,000 emergency.

That kind of economy is a breeding ground for grift. Studies like those conducted by Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research confirm what professional con artists have always known: people in financial distress are easier marks.

And make no mistake about it: Donald Trump is a con artist. Trump voters have been taken in by a grift so shameless he might as well have pretended to be calling from the IRS.

Trump was always a Trojan horse for the 0.01 percent. And now he’s forming a government of, by, and for the very elites he campaigned against.

Click through for a fascinating read on the Fuhrer’s coming Reich: government of, by and for the 0.01%.

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Nov 212016
 

I just returned from my Podiatrist.  Troy told me that, in the ten years that he has been seeing me, my foot is in the best condition ever.  I was gone four hours for the 20 minute appointment, and there was no wait at the Doctor’s office.  That’s about typical for the Lift bus.  I’m very tired, so this is my only article today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:18 (average 5:20).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: USA Today reporter got under Bernie Sanders’ skin when he asked the typical shallow questions we are all used to from our derelict media.

 

But gee! Bernie never did say who would be running in 2090. Seriously… Right-on!!

From NY Times: Now that he is president-elect, Donald Trump’s anti-corruption promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington lobbyists and powerful insiders seems to be rapidly dissolving in the swamp itself. An untold number of lobbyists and special interest players have been helping the Trump team’s transition to the White House, their path made easier, according to news reports, by vague and porous ethical standards.

The most mischievous of these is a rule by which applicants merely have to de-register as government lobbyists one day to be ready the next for transition and administration jobs. It’s not hard to imagine a lobbyist taking down his shingle on Monday and joining the Trump team on Tuesday, eager to rewrite government regulations that cover his former clients’ areas of interest… [emphasis added]

Employment as a lobbyist ought to disqualify one from government appointments for a minimum of ten years. As for the corruption of Fuhrer Drumphenfarten, the only people who this might surprise are the fools who voted for him.

From The Nation:

In the “Republican Wave” election of 2010, when brothers Charles and David Koch emerged as defining figures in American politics, the greatest beneficiary of Koch Industries largess was the newly elected Congressman Mike Pompeo. Since his election, Pompeo has been referred to as the “Koch Brothers’ Congressman” and “the congressman from Koch.”

Pompeo, who on Friday accepted President-elect Donald Trump’s invitation to take over as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is a foreign-policy hawk who has fiercely opposed the Iran nuclear deal, stoked fears of Muslims in the United States and abroad, opposed closing the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, and defended the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional surveillance programs as “good and important work.” He has even gone so far as to say that NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden “should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence.”

Pompeo’s open disregard for privacy rights in particular and civil liberties in general, as well as his penchant for extreme language and more extreme policies, mark him as a profoundly troublesome pick to serve as the head of a powerful intelligence agency. But he is also one of the most remarkably conflicted political figures in the conflicted city of Washington, thanks to his ties to the privately held and frequently secretive global business empire that has played a pivotal role in advancing his political career.

“Congressman Mike Pompeo was the single largest recipient of campaign funds from the Koch Brothers in 2010.”

Great! The entire foreign intelligence mission of the CIA will become Koch sucking.

Cartoon:

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His crimes seem small compared to those of Reagan.  His seem small compared to those of GW Bush, and his do not even hold a candle to what’s coming in the Fifth Reich.

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Jul 292016
 

It’s another hot muggy day with the high forecast in the 90°s.  I’m running late, because I could not sleep last night, as it was too muggy.  Once I finally did fall asleep, I overslept this morning and got a late start.  I got all the Canadian Holidays from my Outlook calendar by deleting them one at a time, through 2026.  Next July 1, I’m going to het a BIG bowl of chili and point my butt North.  It’s only 313 miles to Vancouver.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:49 (average 4:29).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

From Politico: Donald Trump said Wednesday that, if he is elected president, he would consider recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and lifting the sanctions against Russia.

At a wide-ranging news conference, Trump said he “would be looking into that” when asked about his stance on Crimea and Russia. The Crimean Peninsula has been part of Ukraine for decades, but Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed the territory in March 2014 after a popular revolt toppled Kiev’s pro-Russian government.

This is documentation of a claim I made in an earlier comment. No matter how little you may like Clinton’s foreign policy, which appears to be an extension of Obama’s (a major improvement over the Bush Reich), please don’t try to tell me that Trump’s is better.

From I Side With: Answer the following questions to see which 2016 Presidential candidate you side with.

Click through to take the test yourself,  Here are my results.

Hillary Clinton 97%
Jill Stein 97%
Rump Dump Trump 4%

The key thing here is how much alike Hillary and Jill are. Back when Bernie was still included, I got 100% Bernie. Considering how alike the three are to call Clinton the lesser evil is irrational.

From NY Times: After a string of high-profile defeats, the prosecutors who were unable to win convictions of police officers in the death of Freddie Gray defended themselves on Thursday and sharply accused the city’s Police Department of undermining them.

At a news conference the day after their boss, Marilyn J. Mosby, the state’s attorney for Baltimore, announced she was dropping charges against the three officers who still awaited trial, the lead prosecutors — both seasoned lawyers — said the police had failed to serve search warrants for the officers’ personal cellphones. The lawyers also echoed a charge made in court that a detective assigned to the case was sabotaging it.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it. As much as I appreciate and support the service the majority of police officers and condemn violence committed against police officers, the element of police culture that demands that good officers protect criminals in their midst from accountability must be ended. Every community needs a civilian review board with proportional community representation and teeth.

From YouTube: Bill Maher Live DNC Special Edition: July 28

 

Good points, in addition to…

FOMCROTFPIMPLMAO!

Cartoon:

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Making Trump products in an Asian sweat shop.

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Jul 012016
 

I want to get as much rest as I can this weekend.  Tomorrow is shower and housework day.  Monday is the Fourth.  Tuesday is break in a new home health aide day.  Wednesday is a two hour appointment to evaluate my residual vision.  Thursday is grocery delivery day, and Friday is Physical Therapy day.  So I’ll be scarce next week.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:13 (average 5:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: here is doing the good deed of calling U.S. Congress members to voice concerns—and then, there is doing that good deed while videotaping your calls. One woman named “Heather Calling” has decided to do both as she tries to get answers on why Republican lawmakers are doing nothing to stop the epidemic of gun deaths in America. You can subscribe to Heather Callings’ YouTube channel here.

In this first video, Heather Calling places a call to the office of Senator Mitch McConnell…

 

Sorry Heather, but Bought Bitch Mitch is not for sale to folks like us. He’s already bought and paid for by the 1%.

From NY Times: Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter on Thursday removed one of the final barriers to military service by lifting the Pentagon’s ban on transgender people serving openly in the armed forces.

“Effective immediately, transgender Americans may serve openly,” Mr. Carter said. “They can no longer be discharged or otherwise separated from the military just for being transgender.”

Kudos to the Obama Administration.

From Media Matters: Laura Ingraham Suggests People Wear Diapers Rather Than Share Bathrooms With Transgender People

 

I strongly suspect that Ingraham already wears adult diapers, as she clearly lacks the maturity to coexist.

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Apr 122016
 

Yesterday, Sarah, my Prosthetist, checked out George.  She ordered a new part to stabilize his ankle, and I’ll have to go back when it comes in.  I had to go to the bank, because I discovered over $100.00 was missing from my desk drawer.  I know it was there on Saturday, and only one other person had been in the apartment since.  So I need to get another shower aide.   I’m disappointed, but not angry.  Desperate people do desperate things, and the money I had lent her was used up.  I’ll tell her tomorrow that it is her last day.  I really needed to make the change anyway, because I have not had both weekly showers on time since January, when she moved out of the building, where I used to live.  I need to deal with people who add stability to my life, not destabilize it.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:38 (average 6:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: The war of words between the two Democratic camps heated up over the weekend, as the Clinton campaign accused Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders of “blatantly attempting to win the Democratic nomination for President.”

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” the Clinton campaign spokesman Harland Dorrinson said that Sanders’s actions in the past few weeks “left little doubt as to what his true intentions are—namely, to be the Party’s nominee.”

“He’s been raising money, he’s been running in primaries, and, yes, he’s been winning caucuses,” the Clinton aide said. “It’s time for Bernie Sanders to come clean with the American people and admit what he’s really up to.”

“It’s deeply troubling that what appeared at first to be a purely symbolic candidacy has turned into something else entirely,” he said.

In an interview on CNN, Secretary Clinton said that she would not “take the bait” when she was asked whether she thought Sanders was trying to win the nomination, but she stopped short of disavowing the accusation.

Dang, Andy!! Does Bernie have chutzpah or what?!!? The Nerve!! How dare he try to win Hillary’s nomination!! Winking smile

From Daily Kos: Vox is calling for a boycott of using any paid TurboTax product. So am I. If you’ve already filed, don’t use them again. If you haven’t yet filed, I urge you to use a different service, like Jackon Hewitt or TaxSlayer. Or go to an independent accountant.  

The reason, to put it bluntly, is that Intuit, the company that owns TurboTax, has teamed up with Grover Norquist to ensure that paying your taxes is as painful an ordeal as possible.

Intuit has spent over 13 million dollars to lobby AGAINST efforts to make taxes less complicated. After all, if taxes were made simple, then why would you need to shell out big bucks to use their convoluted system? (along with their ever-increasing fees.)

One such effort they oppose is so common-sense that even conservatives are having a hard time making the case against it. (But it’s not stopping them.) It’s called a "Simple Return." Essentially, the onus would be on the IRS, not you, for filling out the tax forms.

You see, the IRS gets all of the same forms in the mail that you do. They already know what you owe, so they would be required to send you a pre-filled out tax return telling you how much you owe (or, if you overpaid, how much you will get back). With one check of the box, you could either accept it, or simply say "No Thanks" and do the taxes yourself. It’s just an option.

I support Vox in this. I use TaxAct.

From Alternet: Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has declared April "Confederate Heritage Month," which has rightfully angered many residents in the state, “especially since the governor refuses to mention what the Civil War was really about—slavery,” The Young Turks co-host Ana Kasparian pointed out on Tuesday.

 

I guess that means Mississippi is now celebrating Republican Racism Month.

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Feb 242016
 

I was in sufficient foot pain yesterday that I could not concentrate to produce an Open Thread.  At physio today, my therapist looked at my foot and did some manipulations.  It is still quite painful, swollen and red, but nothing compared to yesterday.  Seems I have dislocated bones on the lateral side of my right foot so it is rest and ice with a follow up on Monday.  I have no idea how I dislocated the bones.  On a happy note, our gardens are blooming with crocuses, narcissus and forsythia.  Some daffodils and tulips are about 12-15 cm high and just developing their buds.  Even some of the trees are starting to bud!  Today the temperature was 16 C (61 F) although tonight it is supposed to go down to freezing.

Short Takes

Huffington Post  Many of the progressive wish list issues Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) advocate for as they campaign were achieved in Oregon in the last year. 

Since taking office, Democratic majorities in both chambers of the legislature have sent Brown bills addressing such progressive measures as expanding voting rights, access to birth control and background checks for gun purchases, as well as enacting paid sick leave and making community college nearly free for thousands of students. 

Brown has tried to balance "fighting for working families and making sure we open the doors of opportunity to every single Oregonian" and treading cautiously because she is acutely aware that voters did not actually elect her into office. 

Normally, I would leave this for TC, but with him sick, I elected to pass on the positive news.  The headline: The Political Revolution Is Close To Fruition In Oregon.  As TC would say, Oregon leads the way!

Alternet — In October 2001, the U.S. launched its invasion of Afghanistan largely through proxy Afghan fighters with the help of Special Operations forces, American air power, and CIA dollars.  The results were swift and stunning.  The Taliban was whipped, a new government headed by Hamid Karzai soon installed in Kabul, and the country declared “liberated.”

More than 14 years later, how’d it go?  What’s “liberated” Afghanistan like and, if you were making a list, what would be the accomplishments of Washington all these years later?  Hmm… at this very moment, according to the latest reports, the Taliban control more territory than at any moment since December 2001.  Meanwhile, the Afghan security forces that the U.S. built up and funded to the tune of more than $65 billion are experiencing “unsustainable” casualties, their ranks evidently filled with “ghost” soldiers and policemen — up to 40% in some places — whose salaries, often paid by the U.S., are being pocketed by their commanders and other officials.

economically speaking, how did the “reconstruction” of the country work out, given that Washington pumped more money (in real dollars) into Afghanistan in these years than it did into the rebuilding of Western Europe after World War II?  Leaving aside the pit of official corruption into which many of those dollars disappeared, the country is today hemorrhaging desperate young people who can’t find jobs or make a living and now constitute what may be the second largest contingent of refugees heading for Europe.

Click through for the rest of this interesting article.  Afghanistan is a country rich in natural mineral resources, but it is also a very poor country.  One natural resource that flourishes in this harsh environment is the poppy.  The economy, such that it is, is being supported by the poppy which makes its way around the globe.  This from Wikipedia:

… The cultivation of opium [in Afghanistan] reached its peak in 1999, when 350 square miles (910 km2) of poppies were sown … The following year the Taliban banned poppy cultivation, … a move which cut production by 94 percent … By 2001 only 30 square miles (78 km2) of land were in use for growing opium poppies. A year later, after American and British troops had removed the Taliban and installed the interim government, the land under cultivation leapt back to 285 square miles (740 km2), with Afghanistan supplanting Burma to become the world's largest opium producer once more.

Foreign Policy — For nearly 17 years, K.T. has been living with a secret. In 1999, during the conflict in Kosovo, she was gang raped by Serbian forces.

When her son found out, she says, he had a question for her: “Why didn’t you ask them to kill you instead?”

If that was the reaction of her own family, what would the neighbors say? Fearing the humiliation, she suffered in silence. She says she tried to commit suicide. When she talks about that day, she still sometimes says it would have been better if she had been killed.

Thousands of survivors of the wartime sexual violence in Kosovo that took place when Serbia fought against an independence movement here in the late 1990s still suffer from stigma like K.T.. So it was a significant step when the country’s parliament moved in 2014 to recognize them as war victims, entitling them to a state pension, after years of refusing to acknowledge them. Nearly two years later, the government is expected to soon form the commission that will begin accepting applications.  …

“I’m trying to convince other women who were raped to register, but very few will do it,” she said. “They’re afraid it will cause problems with their families — many are afraid their husbands would divorce and leave them. They say it’s been 17 years and we’ve gotten nothing, so why register now? The risk is too big.”

How would you react if your son said to you “Why didn’t you ask them to kill you instead?”​, all because you had been gang raped by enemy soldiers during war?  Society, by shaming these war victims, is blaming the victim rather than the perpetrator.  We say "That is in Kosovo.  It would never happen here.".  But it does happen in the US.  Just listen to Republican politicians talking about rape and abortion.  Victims are stigmatised.

Crooks and Liars — 

I kept hearing on the news that Trump said he likes uneducated people.  I found that offensive.  But it also tells us that he wants supporters that are uneducated so he can build his base with people that don't generally think critically.

The New Yorker — Making good on one of his key campaign promises, President Obama signed an executive order on Tuesday relocating the United States Congress to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The President seemed to relish signing the order, calling the relocation a “win-win for America,” and indicating that Congress could be moved to its new headquarters “immediately.”

“We don’t envision doing any renovations to the facility down there,” he said. “It is ready to house Congress right now.”

The President did not specify what the current U.S. Capitol building would be used for in the future, but he hinted that it could be the setting for historic reënactments in the manner of Colonial Williamsburg.

Is Andy onto something or what?

My Universe

Is this chick crazy?  The cat certainly is patient and tolerant!

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