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.
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
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?
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.
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?
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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!
I’m running late, because I took a nap from Lona this morning. I’m still quite busy. Tomorrow a friend, with whom I have done volunteer work is stopping by to learn how to collapse my power chart and see if she can load it into her car. If she can, we will probably go out for lunch. My guys in prison are having a Community Impact meeting later this month, and since it’s in the Visiting Room, I may be able to go. Monday I have a Urology appointment.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 4:26 (average 7:14). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From CNN: Residents of Flint, Michigan, began getting gravely ill and in some cases dying in summer 2014 in one of the worst outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in U.S. history, and a county health director says attempts to find the source were hampered when the state wouldn’t request federal assistance.
Genesee County Health director Jim Henry tells CNN in an exclusive interview he believes deaths could have been prevented, but the health department could not get help from the state of Michigan or the Centers for Disease Control to find the source. Eventually, 87 people got Legionnaire’s and nine died.
Henry, who was a supervisor at the time of the outbreak, says state officials purposely kept the CDC away once the county wanted to look at the highly corrosive Flint River as the Legionnaire’s uptick began. The state had decided to switch the water supply source to the Flint River, and soon brown water began flowing from taps in the city… [emphasis added]
Even if Flint River water was not the source of the infection, Republican Sturmbannführer Snyder murdered nine people by covering up his water crime, because his cover-up prevented the discovery of the source.
From Tampa Bay Times: The hedge fund manager boasted that he had traveled to "every country" in the world, studying overseas stock markets as he fine-tuned an investment strategy to capitalize on global companies’ suffering because of economic or political turmoil.
But the fund manager had an even more distinctive credential to showcase in his marketing material in June 2013: He was a "U.S. congressman," Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Orlando, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Now he is also among the leading Democratic candidates for one of Florida’s U.S. Senate seats.
The inquiry has become public, but emails and marketing documents obtained by the New York Times show the extent to which Grayson’s roles as a hedge fund manager and a member of Congress were intertwined, and how he promoted his international travels, some with congressional delegations, to solicit business.
Interviews and the documents show that Grayson told potential investors in his hedge fund that they should contribute money to the fund to capitalize on the unrest he observed around the world, and to take particular advantage when there was "blood in the streets."
I’m not going to hide from this story, because of my past support for Alan, and I do agree with the Nevada Leg Hound, Harry Reid, that Alan should leave the Senate race for Border Booter’s seat. Until and unless Alan can prove his innocence, he cannot succeed, anyway. However, Leg Hound Harry has also virtually convicted Alan. If he is guilty, he does deserve our censure, but allegations are not definitive proof, and Democrats need to stop running scared from Republicans and throwing our own under the bus, before the investigations conclude. That said, I have to admit, it looks bad, Maybe our readers from FL can enlighten us.
From PRWafch: In the face of the Republican-led Congress’ hostility to the IRS clarifying the rules for nonprofit political activity, the tax agency has apparently given up.
The IRS has granted nonprofit status to Karl Rove’s dark money political operation, Crossroads GPS, which for the past five years has pushed the legal envelope in order to influence elections but keep its donors secret.
Formed in the wake of Citizens United, Crossroads GPS has been one of the biggest secretly-funded political players, raising and spending $330 million on election-related ads attacking Democratic candidates or praising Republicans, but without doing anything that might be described as advancing "social welfare." Although the majority opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision endorsed disclosure of donors, in the five years following the decision, spending by secretly-funded 501(c)(4) nonprofits has exploded.
If Crossroads GPS can be granted nonprofit status, there may be few limits on how political operatives can use tax-exempt groups to dodge campaign finance disclosure laws. The Koch political network, for example, will have little fear of IRS enforcement as it spends almost $889 million this election cycle through its network of nonprofit groups.
If Rove Rat represents social welfare, rather than hidden election purchase, then this cat is really a dawg!
I’m running quite late today. Yesterday afternoon, my helper friend and I made six meals. Last night I filled two barf bags, trash can, my coffee cup, my shirt pocket, and George. Today Jeannie (shower-aide) left me with soft shiny fur. Arvilla (PT) gave me a hard workout including a toilet transfer with my quad-cane, without using the disabled rails. Then I walked around 225 ft. with my walker. That’s almost double my previous best. Then I did exercises, and maneuvered from the sink, paste the range, past the counter, to the refrigerator and back without my chair or my walker, using the surfaces for support. I’m pooped!! TGIF!!
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 4:19 (average 5:41). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From Daily Kos: The FBI has released video tonight of the shooting death of LaVoy Finicum to dispel any rumors that he had “had his hands up” and was trying to surrender to police. The FBI’s Special Agent in Charge Gregory T. Bretzing held a press conference to explain the events surrounding the arrest of Ammon Bundy (and others), along with the fatal shooting of LaVoy Finicum. Finicum can be seen running from the initial stop in his pick-up truck, with passengers Ryan Payne, Shawna Cox and a woman the FBI declined to identify. The video was captured by aerial camera and shows Finicum driving into a snow back, barely missing a law enforcement officer. He immediately jumped from the vehicle, at first with his hands up as he yelled at law enforcement, but then clearly reaching into his pocket multiple times, where the FBI says he did have a gun (update: a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic handgun.)
Here us a shortened, edited clip instead of the 26 minute clip included with the article. No significant parts were removed.
I have no doubt that the Republican terrorist was going for his gun, based on his previous statements and the loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol in the pocket. The officer was fully justified in shooting him. However, I would like to have seen a faster response time to try to save his life, if possible, after he was down.
…Blaming students for the student loan debt crisis ignores the facts and distracts from finding real solutions to America’s skyrocketing student debt burden.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Students should be able to pay for their education with their choice of military, national, or community service.
From NY Times: WHILE presidential candidates from both parties feverishly pitch their legislative agendas, voters should also consider what presidents can do without Congress. Agency rules, executive actions and decisions about how vigorously to enforce certain laws will have an impact on every American, without a single new bill introduced in Congress.
The Obama administration has a substantial track record on agency rules and executive actions. It has used these tools to protect retirement savings, expand overtime pay, prohibit discrimination against L.G.B.T. employees who work for the government and federal contractors, and rein in carbon pollution. These accomplishments matter.
Whether the next president will build on them, or reverse them, is a central issue in the 2016 election. But the administration’s record on enforcement falls short — and federal enforcement of laws that already exist has received far too little attention on the campaign trail.
I just released a report examining 20 of the worst federal enforcement failures in 2015. Its conclusion: “Corporate criminals routinely escape meaningful prosecution for their misconduct.”
Amen! Click through for the rest of this fine editorial by American National Treasure. Elizabeth Warren, and be sure to read her report.
Republicans want to take your money and give it to the 0.1%