Oct 222017
 

You might never know it, given the way so many Americans abuse it, but the most precious of all our rights is the right to vote.  Voting is our only means with which to protect our other rights.  Failure to vote is the most heinous crime against ourselves that we can commit, followed closely by voting without due diligence.  If what we do top ourselves isn’t bad enough, Republican Secretaries of State are Stealing our right to vote.

1022Voting

In most states, the power to expand or curtail the right to vote is largely in the hands of an obscure official, the secretary of state. Thirty-one of these secretaries are currently Republicans or aligned with the GOP. And four of them have gone to extraordinary lengths to make it harder to vote.

Jon Husted of Ohio: Husted, who is running for governor next year, has purged more than 2 million voters since he took office in 2011. Voters are deemed “inactive” if they fail to respond to “purge notices” from the state, which are sent to residents who either move or don’t cast a ballot for two years. In Ohio’s three largest counties, voters in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods have been purged at about twice the rate of people in Republican-leaning ones. This fall, the Supreme Court will hear a case on Ohio’s practice of targeting voters for inactivity. If it rules in Husted’s favor, his brand of purging could catch on in other Republican-controlled states.

Brian Kemp of Georgia: Another 2018 gubernatorial candidate, Kemp recently came up with a similar way to remove poor and minority voters from the rolls. He instructed local election officials to mail notices to more than 380,000 registered voters, targeting people who had recently moved. Those who failed to respond within 30 days were placed on the state’s inactive voter list; they’ll be purged from the rolls if they don’t vote in two consecutive federal elections. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a petition in court alleging that some of the notices violated state and federal laws and that the scheme disproportionately affected low-income and minority voters. In response to the lawsuit, Kemp said his office would make sure that nearly 160,000 people who improperly received the notice would remain on the active list; the ACLU, apparently unconvinced, responded that Kemp had to notify those people of the change and take further action…

Inserted from <Mother Jones>

I shared two of four with you.  Click through for the other two. including Kris Kobitch.

Every Republican in Office Is One Republican Too Many!

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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Oct 082017
 

Today is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My Broncos are bye, so may the Orb shine its blessed light on your team, except for the players that start on the Squatch’s fantasy team.  Wendy is due in half an hour to destink the smelly TomCat and help with housework.  When she arrives, I’ll break from writing and finish when she leaves.

I feel much cleaner now!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:34 (average 5:29).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Sacramento Bee: Amid debate among California campaign officials over whether it would hinder their accountability work, Gov. Jerry Brown on Saturday signed a measure aimed at providing voters with more information about deep-pocketed groups that pay for political advertisements.

The California Clean Money Campaign sponsored Assembly Bill 249, calling it one of the most important disclosure bills in the nation. The measure, a multiyear effort supported by government transparency advocates throughout the state, will require political advertisements to include a list of the top three financial contributors to the committee paying for the ad.

“No more fine print,” Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, the South San Francisco Democrat who authored the bill, said in a statement. “California voters will now be able to make informed decisions, based on honest information about who the true funders are of campaign ads. This transparency is critical to our democracy and I am proud that California has taken this historic first step to shine the light on ‘dark money.’ Hopefully this will encourage others to follow suit.”

I fully agree with this. Kudos to California Democrats, and thanks to JL A for the tip. RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: Knowing what we know about Trump and what psychiatrists know about aggression, impulse control, and predictive behavior, we are all in mortal danger. He is the man with his finger on the nuclear button. Contributors to “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” ask whether this creates a “duty to warn.” But the real question is, Should democracy allow a plurality of citizens to place the lives of an entire country in the hands of a madman? Crazy as this idea is, it’s not a question psychiatrists can answer.  [emphasis added]

Click through to see how a group of 27 leading psychiatrists and mental health experts reached this conclusion. RESIST!!

From NY Times: FOR years, Republicans have effectively outsourced their thought leadership to the loudmouths at the end of the bar. But perhaps the most extreme example of that trend has been the issue of guns, where the party has ceded control to a gun lobby that has built its brand on absolutism.

And now, again, we are about to see the consequences of that abdication. Congress did nothing in the wake of the mass murder of children at Sandy Hook, and except for a largely symbolic ban on bump stocks, it’s likely that nothing meaningful will happen in the aftermath of the shootings in Las Vegas. Instead, Republicans will round up all the usual clichés and excuses for inaction.

We’ve seen this before, and it is a script written by the National Rifle Association. The N.R.A.’s blessing of restrictions on bump stocks — devices that make semiautomatic weapons fire faster — is designed to pre-empt anything more serious by giving the illusion of action. It substitutes accessory control for actual gun control.

I agree. Furthermore, most bump stocks are manufactured by a small company in Texas. The gun manufacturers that the NRA represents do not profit from their sale, so they are quick to agree to the ban. When it comes before the Senate, Democrats should propose many amendments. Republicans will defeat them all, but it’s important that they be forced to do so, as America grieves. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

1008Cartoon

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Sep 272017
 

Here is the ninety-seventh article in our Republicans on Parade series, featuring individuals who personify what the Republican Party has become. Today’s honoree is Republican Senate Nominee Roy Moore. He is so honored for his proven Ammosexual, White Supremacist and Dominionist stances on virtually every issue.

0927roy_mooreRoy S. Moore, a firebrand former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, overcame efforts by top Republicans to rescue his rival, Senator Luther Strange, soundly defeating him on Tuesday in a special primary runoff.

The outcome in the closely watched Senate race dealt a humbling blow to President Trump and other party leaders days after the president pleaded with voters in the state to back Mr. Strange.

Propelled by the stalwart support of his fellow evangelical Christians, Mr. Moore survived an advertising onslaught of more than $10 million financed by allies of Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader. His victory demonstrated in stark terms the limits of Mr. Trump’s clout…

Inserted from <NY Times>

Since Trump abandoned Strange while appearing on his behalf and seemed so pleased that Moore won, I have to suspect that the only reason he supported Strange at all was because Bought Bitch Mitch didn’t want another Senator he can’t control.

Lawrence O’Donnell discussed Moore with his panel.

I owe you all an apology for never having put Moore on parade before.  He combines all the worst traits of Trump and Pence, making him a most representative Republican, who certainly deserves his parade.  If he wins in December, Ted "Uranus" Cruz will no longer be the most insane Republican  in the Senate.

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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Jul 102017
 

I spent a lot of this morning getting prescriptions squared away and trying to deal with a potential conflict.  I think Allison’s semi-annual eye evaluation for cancer would put too much stress on my eye too soon after Christine does the cataract surgery.  And I’m trying to schedule the cataract surgery for the other eye.  I missed my morning rest and feel tired.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:21 (average 6:12).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Unlisted MoveOn Video): The Resistance is Local

 

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said this to people who are voting for pseudo-progressive spoilers with Republican funding and support, like Ralph Nader and Jill Stein, who also colluded with Russia, we could all retire on the proceeds. The time and place for progressive revolution to begin is years before an election at home, not in a national election for President with a no-win candidate. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: The video above [below], Chris Uhlmann reporting for Australia’s ABC on Donald Trump & the G20. There is little I can add to this.

 

I could not have said it better. AMEN! RESIST!!

From NY Times: After the nation’s worst mass shootings, in Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; Orlando, Fla.; and Columbine High School in Colorado, gun control advocates rose to demand more rigorous laws: stricter background checks, limits on magazine capacities, bans on assault weapons and tougher controls on gun shows and online firearms markets — almost always to no avail.

But in the weeks after the June 14 shooting of Republicans at a congressional baseball practice, the response has had a twist: Conservative lawmakers, some of whom were nearly the victims of gun violence, have pressed to loosen gun controls.

Three bills introduced in the Republican-held House during the past two weeks would allow lawmakers to almost always carry a concealed weapon. A fourth would allow concealed carry permits obtained in other states to be recognized in the District of Columbia. Still another would eliminate federal controls on silencers.

What Ammosexual InsaniTEA! People too incompetent to legislate (Congressional Republicans) are too incompetent to carry concealed weapons. In Texas, legal residence, 18 years of age, and no felony convictions are the only requirements for a concealed carry permit. Do we really want Washington DC flooded with Texan wing-nuts with hidden guns? And how is giving an Ammosexual assassin a silencer going to make us safer? RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0710Cartoon

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Everyday Erinyes #82

 Posted by at 9:03 am  Politics
Jul 082017
 

Experts in autocracies have pointed out that it is, unfortunately, easy to slip into normalizing the tyrant, hence it is important to hang on to outrage.  These incidents which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them will, I hope, help with that.  Even though there are many more which I can’t include.  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.”

Now, I don’t want to be picking on Canada to start here.  In fact, I have to doubt whether, if this had happened in the US, the family could have gotten anywhere near as quick action as this gentleman’s family did.  But it is horrifying nonetheless.

Georges Karam, 89, a resident in the Garry A. Armstrong long term care home for the last two years or so, kept suffering unexplained injuries, which concerned the family.  So his grandson, an attorney, obtained permission to install a video monitor camera in his room.  it was not a secret; besides being perfectly obvious and installed openly, the staff of the home was notified of it.  And then the video in this story was captured.

I admit I haven’t watched it.  The screen captures were more than enough for me.  And I won’t embed it, for that reason, and for copyright reasons (it is the property of DNG Nassrallah Law Offices.)  And I haven’t used a screen capture here, but instead, a picture from a happier occasion.  But those who have seen the video say that it shows the support worker, Jie Xiao, yanking Mr. Karam back and forth while removing his diaper.  Mr. Karam, apparently agitated, is seen taking “a couple of swipes” at Xiao while the diaper is being changed.

A third swipe, which came near Xiao’s face, apparently moved Xiao to grab one of Mr. Karam’s arm with his right hand, while, with his gloved left hand, he began to punch Mr. Karam’s face.  The sound of the fist making contact with the face is clearly audible.  “Gloved,” of course, refers to a disposable medical glove, not a padded glove which might protect a patient’s face.

Eleven punches were recorded in a period of 28 seconds.

Karam’s grandson, Daniel Nassrallah, an Ottawa lawyer who set up the camera, said he couldn’t believe what he was seeing when he first viewed the video just after 10 p.m. on the day of the assault. Nassrallah had set up the camera — which is about the size of a baseball, lights up in the dark and had wires running from it — on the wall so he could watch the video remotely over the internet.

“I literally stood up and fell down, my legs gave way because I didn’t know how to respond to this,” he said.

“We have a camera on him, and even that doesn’t deter him. To me, that’s mind blowing.”

Incidentally, Xiao has been arraigned and entered a guilty plea.

(In the States, our battle over healthcare in general has screened the fact that a rule change adopted in October 2016 designed to prevent Medicare and Medicaid residence providers from requiring agreement to arbitration as a condition of admission, which was being contested in court, has now been dropped by the current regime and will not go into effect.)

Megaera, I’m sure that the families of long-term-care residents in city-run homes (of whom there are about 700 in Ottowa) would appreciate any help you can give them.  Not to mention the roughly 6,800 who are in homes not run by the city, and the 3,500 more on waiting lists.

Meanwhile, in Florida, someone (probably several someones, and I’d go out on a limb and guess they wear a lot of sheets) is out to get the president of the Alachua County chapter of the NAACP.

The head of a Florida chapter of the NAACP found a Confederate flag on her lawn after receiving a series of late-night death threats from callers claiming ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Evelyn Foxx woke up Monday morning to go for a walk with her friend, and found the flag lying outside in front of her home, reported The Gainesville Sun.

The 66-year-old Foxx, chapter president of the Alachua County NAACP, and her friend at first thought it was an American flag and walked over to pick it up — but they called police after realizing it was a Confederate battle flag.

While a piece of cloth may seem tame next to guns and bombs and even ropes, we should consider this in the context of the phone calls she has been receiving since November  – in fact, since the election.  They usually come around one or two in the morning, and the callers say they are members of the KKK – and the calls are death threats.

I’d call the police too.  And the FBI, which she also did.  But I’m not sure I’d have much faith in them, in Florida, even if my BFF was married to a County Commissioner, as is the case with Ms. Foxx.  Commissioner Robert Hutchinson ised his Facebook page to call attention to the incident and to state, “There should be no doubt about the Confederate battle flag’s usage as a symbol of divisiveness, bigotry, and hatred, or that racists live among us who still cling nostalgically to their culture of tyranny and intimidation.”

Tisiphone, Please help.  Let us know what you need from us.

Living as we are under a regime such that many of us say at least daily, “How the he** did we get HERE?”, it may help to pay a bit of attention to others who are asking more specific questions designed to elicit essentially the same information.  Such a one is Ernest A. Canning, who writes for The BRAD BLOG, and one of whose articles has been picked up by truthout.  The title of the article is “What Will It Take for Americans to Understand the Basics of Election Integrity?”  Seems to me a darned good question.

Here’s a brief list:

1.  ALL electronically stored and/or processed data are vulnerable to malicious cyber intrusions.

2.  Vulnerability is not confined to external hackers.  Election insider manipulation is a separate vulnerability.

3.  Paper registration forms, poll books, and hand marked paper ballots are not vulnerable to electronic manipulation.

4.  The only way to ensure a transparent and verifiable count is to deploy hand-marked paper ballots, publicly hand counted.

5.  The core issue of election integrity is not fraud, but whether election officials have complied with procedures designed to ensure integrity.

He goes on to discuss some court cases in disputed elections, and how, in his opinion, the court have not just been looking at the evidence wrongly, but have been looking at the wrong kind of evidence.  I won’t go into detail on this, except to say in passing that it helps no one to discuss what went wrong with a candidate’s platform or personability and how a different plank, or a different candidate, might have changed the result, when the fact is we really don’t even know the result.

As a former election judge (poll worker) who has actually counted paper ballots (including once a judge of absentee votes – that was interesting), and a resident of a state which now has all mail balloting, I would point out that all-mail balloting IS done with paper ballots which are hand marked.  They present custody issues, but so do ballots which are voted at a polling place, and all mail ballots are IMO superior from a privacy standpoint.

Alecto, you have been familiar with elections since the ballots were ὄστρακα.  Please hang around to be helping those who want elections fair and with large participation, and hauling off to Hades those who want the opposite.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4060701

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Jun 212017
 

I’m feeling very tired, because I could not sleep last night.  I’m not sure why, but I suspect it was the excessive humidity.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries, and Wendy will be here this evening, because the TomCat is stinky beyond belief.  Tomorrow I have my preliminary eye examination, before my cataract surgery.  I will be fully dilated.  I will post a brief Personal Update before leaving.  I doubt that I will be able to reply on my return, as I will be almost blind for the evening.  Have a happy hump day, but never hump Trump.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:49 (average 4:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): So, Does Trump Have Tapes of Comey? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

FBI/Comey tapes? Interesting! I believe Trump did make tapes, because his ego is as big as his hands (etc.) are small. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: As Vice President Mike Pence inches closer to the presidency due to, you know, all that stuff his boss keeps doing, here is your periodic reminder, stolen from his Father’s Day rant way back in the Bush era, that Mike Pence is also a complete nut.

“Despite her delicate features and voice, Disney expects us to believe that Mulan’s ingenuity and courage were enough to carry her to military success on an equal basis with her cloddish cohorts. Obviously, this is Walt Disney’s attempt to add childhood expectation to the cultural debate over the role of women in the military. I suspect that some mischievous liberal at Disney assumes that Mulan’s story will cause a quiet change in the next generation’s attitude about women in combat and they just might be right. […]

From the original "Tailhook" scandal involving scores of high ranking navy fighter pilots who molested subordinate women to the latest travesty at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, the hard truth of our experiment with gender integration is that it has been an almost complete disaster for the military and for many of the individual women involved.”

This is in addition to his refusal to meet privately with professional women in the workplace lest he be overcome by their female wiles and, of course, a governance record in his own state that nobody in his party dares bring up these days.

This is a reminder that any attempt to remove Trump from office must include Pence. I have said from the beginning that pseudo-Pence is as bad as, or even worse than the Peach Pussy-grabber. RESIST!!

From Me:

I’m sad to announce that the evil Karen Handel defeated Jon Ossoff 52% to 48% in GA 6. Handel, a betrayer of women, ran mostly on hatred and patriarchy. Ossoff ran mostly on health care and jobs. I expect some in the regressive extreme of the left to claim the loss is evidence of the need to abandon the Democratic Party. It means no such thing. We almost took a district that has been in Republican hands since 1979, and was carefully gerrymandered to keep Newtered Newt in power for twenty years. In the end, a small majority who voted cared more for fostering hatred and keeping women barefoot and pregnant than they did jobs and health care. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0621Cartoon

I originally published this cartoon six years ago today.  Isn’t it sad that it’s as valid now as it was then?

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