Jun 292017
 

I’m sorry to say that the heat is returning.  Although today’s forecast is only 82°, the sun hit the outside wall at 6:00 AM, and by 8:00, I had to close the windows, lower the blinds, and turn on the AC.  It’s another muggy day.  Speaking of muggy, I put in the mug order last night.  Lona’s is the first I’ve customized, since my eye cancer surgery.  I hope I lined everything up right.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:17 (average 4:55).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The Rachel Maddow Show: Scientist says EPA asked her to change testimony to Congress

Deborah Swackhamer, chair of the E.P.A.’s Board of Scientific Counselors, talks with Rachel Maddow about the pressure she received from an EPA official to change her congressional testimony and how the EPA’s outside scientific review board has been "decimated."

 

Kudos to Deborah Swackhamer. She ought to take that hammer and swack Scott Pruitt upside the head. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Foreign-born recruits who signed up for the military with the promise of U.S. citizenship in exchange for their service are finally getting their thanks in the form of deportation. MAGA.

According to a new report, the Pentagon is considering ending the contracts of a large number of foreign-born recruits in the Military Accessions Vital to National Interest program—which puts service members with foreign-language and other speciality [sic] skills on an expedited path to citizenship—due to an “overtasked vetting process and heightened security risk.”

But according to one former official, this can be something as innocuous as having a foreign relative, which would be expected of a foreign-born applicant in the first place. And due to the fact that the federal government already has so much of their personal information on file, many of these recruits would be “prime targets” for immediate deportation.

Basically, “Thank you for your service. Now get out”

These people served our country honorably and in good faith.  It’s disgusting that Republican racists don’t consider promises made to folks they call mud-people binding. RESIST!!

From NY Times: President Trump’s nominee for general counsel of the Transportation Department, Steven G. Bradbury [Pig delinked], is coming under fire by Democrats and human rights advocates for his role in providing legal blessing for waterboarding and other torture techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency on terrorism suspects during the administration of George W. Bush.

Amid interruptions by anti-torture protesters at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, Democrats grilled Mr. Bradbury about interrogation memos he wrote as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel during Mr. Bush’s second term.

“You lacked the judgment to stand up and say what is morally right when pressured by the president of the United States, and I’m afraid you would do so again,” said Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democrat of Illinois, who wagged her finger at Mr. Bradbury and accused him of having a dangerous “rubber stamp” mentality. “I cannot oppose this nomination strongly enough.”

Like Tammy, I cannot oppose the appointment of a Republican War Criminal strongly enough, RESIST!!

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May 082017
 

I slept well last night, and although I’m still hurting whenever I breathe, it’s rarely excruciating, so I’m going to return to medical mayhem next week.  I have such a huge backlog of appointments put on hold, that I may be quite scarce at times.  I’m debating buttoning up the Cat Box and turning on the AC.  It’s only 65°, but when the sun hits my outside wall, the wall radiates heat.  OGIM!  (Oh God It’s Monday!)

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:11 (average 5:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (PBS Channel): Yates testifying on ousted national security adviser Flynn

 

I’m anticipating Yates’ testimony. Have you ever seen a TomCat drool? RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: On Sunday, the people of France annoyingly retained their traditional right to claim intellectual superiority over Americans, as millions of French citizens paused to enjoy just how much smarter they were than their allies across the Atlantic.

In bars and cafés across France, voters breathed a sigh of relief in the knowledge that arrogantly comparing themselves to the U.S. population, a longtime favorite pastime of the French people, would remain viable for the foreseeable future.

Pierre Grimange, a Parisian café-goer, sipped on a glass of Bordeaux and toasted his nation “for not being so dumb as the United States after all.”

Andy, that’s what I said yesterday. Great minds fall in the same ditch. RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Environmental Protection Agency has dismissed at least five members of a major scientific review board, the latest signal of what critics call a campaign by the Trump administration to shrink the agency’s regulatory reach by reducing the role of academic research.

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spokesman, J. P. Freire.

Putting this more realistically, the foxes are now in charge of hen house protection. RESIST!!

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Mar 062017
 

For the next week I may be a bit scarce.  I have a grocery delivery tomorrow from Safeway.com, because on Wednesday, I have to go out for an annual meeting, so expect only a Personal Update that day.  Next Monday I shall be 39 for the 31st consecutive time, but Wendy works and I have a Urologist appointment, so on Sunday Wendy wants to celebrate with a surprise.  In any case, please expect only Personal Updates both days.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:26 (average 8:31).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (LWT Channel): Dalai Lama: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

 

I have to admire the Dalai Lama’s positivity toward the enemies of his people. I can’t imagine being that positive to the Fuhrer. RESIST!!

From CNN: About two-thirds of Americans say a special prosecutor should investigate contacts between Russians and Trump campaign associates, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, and 55% say they are at least somewhat concerned by reports that some connected to the Trump campaign had contact with suspected Russian operatives.

However, the steady stream of news about investigations into those contacts doesn’t appear to have affected President Donald Trump’s approval rating, which ticked up only one percentage point — 44% to 45% — from January.

Concerns about the reported contacts are closely tied to partisanship, with 71% of Democrats saying they are "very concerned" about it while 54% of Republicans say they have no concerns "at all" about the reports.

It boggles my mind that 29% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans are not concerned that Republican campaign officials were in contact with Russian intelligence operatives at the same time Russian intelligence were conspiring and interfering to influence our election on Trump’s behalf. It means that 29% of Democrats are idiots and 54% of Republicans are idiots, traitors or both.  RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: With reports that unpopular orange-tinted President Donald Trump and Republicans plan on obliterating the EPA’s budget this coming year, many of the people who voted for him might be getting a rude awakening. States like Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin enjoy the waters of the Great Lakes, and the EPA is one of those agencies that tries to ensure that those lakes can be enjoyable for generations to come.

The National Association of Clean Air Agencies confirmed for the Free Press late  Thursday that an initial proposal from the White House Office of Management and Budget calls for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to be cut from $300 million a year to about $10 million.

[…]

If the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is targeted for such a drastic reduction — and it is by far the largest dollar cut on Davis’ partial list from the association’s data — it would decimate a program that has helped pay to restore wetlands and improve water quality across the Upper Midwest.

Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania — Great Lakes states that backed Trump in the election last year — have all received funding under the initiative, which many lawmakers of both parties in the region have steadfastly supported even when other Republicans have moved to reduce it.

Once again, it’s time for people, who voted for Trump to take the position to receive his thanks to you. Drop your pants, bend over, and grab your ankles. RESIST!!

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Feb 182017
 

I’m running late as I have a lot to do, so please pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:20 (average 5:06).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From All In: Scott Pruitt won’t get a warm welcome at EPA

An enemy of the Environmental Protection Agency has been confirmed as its leader. And the staff is revolting.

 

Kudos to EPA employees, but they are resisting.  Pruitt is revolting… VERY revolting!!  If those emails reveal what I think they will, Republicans will have another criminal scandal.  RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: The man who was reportedly tapped by Trump to replace the disgraced Michael Flynn as National Security Adviser has said no dice to this administration. Vice Admiral Robert Heyward has reportedly said thanks but no thanks.

Two sources close to the situation confirm Harward  Harward demanded his own team, and the White House resisted.

Specifically, Mr. Trump told Deputy National Security Adviser K. T. McFarland that she could retain her post, even after the ouster of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Harward refused to keep McFarland as his deputy, and after a day of negotiations over this and other staffing matters, Harward declined to serve as Flynn’s replacement.

Since then even David Petraeus, who earned the label Betraeus for goose-stepping behind Crawford Caligula, turned the Fuhrer down. Potential appointees in many areas are coming to realize that appointment in the Rectum Reich is a career ender. RESIST!!

From Right Wing Watch: On his “Pass The Salt Live” webcast yesterday, Religious Right activist Dave Daubenmire called on citizens to rise up with pitchforks and torches and arrest that “traitor” Barack Obama for undermining President Trump and trying to “destroy America.”

“Donald Trump, now we know his own CIA, FBI—what do they call those guys? The snoops—they’re not sharing all their information with the president now,” Daubenmire said. “They’re not giving him the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They’re undermining him at every turn. Why? Well, we have to understand that we’re in a war. We’re at war and to see what President Obama put into place, his desire to destroy America, I think he ought to be arrested.”

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Attributing mob violence to Jesus is what Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian Trump Nazis do. It is NOT what Christians do! RESIST!!

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Feb 162017
 

I slept poorly last night.  The highs and lows have been in the high 40°s, and with humidity at 100% for over 36 hours, it's just plain sticky.  Last night's chili dogs were delicious.  Fortunately for the Squatch, winds are currently out of the ENE.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 3:26 (average 5:05).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

Frons YouTube (GQ Channel): The Enormous Cost of Trump’s War on Immigrants | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

The Hate-filled Hairball and his Republican Reich are the nexus of incompetence and racism. RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: The Federal Bureau of Investigation is special-ordering a pair of “tiny handcuffs,” an F.B.I. spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.

The spokesman, Harland Dorrinson, downplayed the significance of the handcuff purchase, calling it “strictly routine.”

“In reviewing our inventory of handcuffs, we found that we only had models that fit normal-sized hands,” Dorrinson said. “This order is intended to remedy that.”

The F.B.I. spokesperson said that, if regulation-sized handcuffs were used on a suspect with “extremely small or tiny hands,” the suspect could slip out of them and elude capture.

If only it were so, Andy. However, the FBI is working with Trump, Beauregard, Bannon, Flynn, Stein, and Putin. RESIST!!

From Think Progress: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt (R), Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), might sail through a confirmation vote despite senators never seeing some 3,000 requested pieces of correspondence between his office and oil and gas companies.

Pruitt has been criticized for acting on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. As EPA chief, he would be responsible for enforcing environmental laws that govern how much and what kind of pollution those companies are allowed to emit.

Pruitt’s confirmation vote is expected to be held Friday afternoon, although a hearing over the emails is scheduled in Oklahoma for Thursday.

Center for Media and Democracy “is asking the judge to declare that Pruitt has violated Oklahoma’s Open Records Act and order immediate release of all of the requested emails and other documents,” the group said.

Unless more Republicans come on board, we can kiss the EPA goodbye. In all probability the damn bastards will keep goose-stepping behind the Fuhrer that represents them so fittingly. RESIST!!

From Raw Story: …On Wednesday, former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler provided some insight into the reaction of national security officials.

“Now we go nuclear,” he wrote on Twitter. “[Intelligence community] war going to new levels. Just got an [email from] senior [intelligence community] friend, it began: ‘He will die in jail.'”

“US intelligence is not the problem here,” Schindler added in another tweet. “The President’s collusion with Russian intelligence is. Many details, but the essence is simple.”

Unless they get him, he'll get us all. RESIST!!

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Everyday Erinyes #61

 Posted by at 8:06 am  Politics
Feb 042017
 

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."

I have some stories about local happenings which, though vile, are two weeks out of date: the restaurateur who threw a customer out for being black, a quadriplegic who was denied admission at a private school for being disabled, a climate activist killed for walking barefoot to draw attention to climate change, even a city councilman who boldly proclaimed (/s) that women have a right – "to be slapped."

But I would rather discuss the new "administration" directly, particulary since things are moving so fast that actual atrocities are sneaking under the radar, or so it seems.  For instance, everyone here had heard of Rex Tillerson and Neil Gorsuch.  Most of us have heard of Scott Pruit and Andrew Pudzer.  But Ajit Pai?  Did anyone know his confirmation had gone through?

The FCC’s new Chairman Ajit Pai has told 9 companies, who had just recently been given the green light, that they will not be allowed to participate in the Lifeline program that helps subsidize internet services to low-income homes. 

The move, announced Friday by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, reverses a decision by his Democratic predecessor, Tom Wheeler, and undercuts the companies' ability to provide low-cost Internet access to poorer Americans. In a statement, Pai called the initial decisions a form of “midnight regulation.” 

Last spring, the FCC moved to expand the Lifeline program in the hopes of bridging what’s called the “digital divide.” This is the expanse of information and technology unavailable to people who do not have a lot of money. Pulling back on nine companies is a huge step back to the program—which is what kleptocrats like chairman Pai seem to relish. 

Click through for more details, and also for a petition to sign.  Alecto, it's not just this person you need to – um – educate, it's the entire "administration,"  really.  Good luck with that.

While we are speaking of individuals in government, let us not forget Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is still the Chairman of the House Science Committee.  I'm sure we've all heard of him, just not for a while.  He is now trying to get his Secret Science Reform Act of 2015 passed, and his chances are much better than when the Senate previously quashed it.

  This bill would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from proposing, finalizing or disseminating any rule, regulation or other "covered action" unless all scientific and technical information relied upon to support that decision is made available to the public in a manner where the research can be independently analyzed and substantially reproduced. While this appears to be a reform that provides greater public transparency in agency rulemaking, these new requirements would force the EPA to ignore any scientific information related to personal health and other confidential data legally protected from disclosure – jeopardizing the agency’s ability to use best-available scientific data and weakening its scientific integrity….

Further, by requiring EPA to maintain detailed descriptions of all materials, data, codes and models used to create rules, as well as instructions on how to access and use them, the agency would be forced to waste limited funds working through burdensome reporting requirements instead of important public health protections. 

Haven't I said that, although they worship money, Republicans have no objection to spending it as long as they can punish someone by so doing?  Preferably a whole lot of someones.  Megaera, good luck to you too.

I am convinced that the reason we are being bombarded with "off" things by the new "administration" is exactly so that, while we are all looking at the shiny stuff, we will not see some of the darker stuff – like torture.  I can't tell this story any better than by re-quoting this quote:

IN MAY, 2013, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the head of the CIA’s clandestine service was being shifted out of that position as a result of “a management shake-up” by then-Director John Brennan. As Miller documented, this official – whom the paper did not name because she was a covert agent at the time – was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime.

As Miller put it, she was “directly involved in its controversial interrogation program” and had an “extensive role” in torturing detainees. Even more troubling, she “had run a secret prison in Thailand” – part of the CIA’s network of “black sites” – “where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques.” The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture also detailed the central role she played in the particularly gruesome torture of detainee Abu Zubaydah.

Beyond all that, she played a vital role in the destruction of interrogation videotapes that showed the torture of detainees both at the black site she ran and other secret agency locations. The concealment of those interrogation tapes, which violated both multiple court orders as well the demands of the 9/11 Commission and the advice of White House lawyers, was condemned as “obstruction” by Commission Chairs Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane. A special prosecutor and Grand Jury investigated those actions but ultimately chose not to prosecute.

That CIA official’s name whose torture activities the Post described is Gina Haspel. Today, as BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold noted, CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced that Haspel was selected by Trump to be Deputy Director of the CIA.

Ms. Haspel's profile is so low I could not find a confirmed photo of her.  There wasn't one with the linked article, but I looked anyway.  Tisiphone, this seems to me serious enough to call for you to investigate.  The very best of luck to you.

One other article at Daily Kos (or diary, as they call them) asks whether anyone is keeping score of the atrocities.  If someone is, I would be delighted to hear of it.  In the meantime, all I can do is try to scout out the stuff from which the distractions are trying to distract us.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4034763

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