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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Dec 032016
 

I’m quite pleased that the start of month rush is past.  I think I can safely say that the summer heat waves are also over, at least until February, and I need to adjust my thermostat, something that requires a long, difficult reach, even with George on.  The low is forecast at 25° F on Tuesday  night.  I have no appointments scheduled next week, so I’m looking forward to a restful time.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:10 (average 6:02).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: A once-prominent political career came to a shocking end on Friday as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was arrested for keying the limo of President-elect Donald J. Trump.

The incident, which rocked political circles in Trenton and Washington, happened in full view of the midtown-Manhattan crowds outside of Trump Tower, where the vandalized limo had been parked.

“Suddenly, this guy broke through security, whipped out his keys, and made a gigantic gash along the side of the limo,” said Harland Dorrinson, a tourist from Missouri who witnessed the incident. “Police started wrestling him to the ground, and I was, like, ‘Holy crap, that’s Chris Christie.’ ”

Fellow-Republicans reacted to Christie’s arrest with sadness and sympathy. “This whole transition period has been tough on a lot of folks,” former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said.

Sorry Andy! You can’t fool us into believing that PIGnocchio has the cojones to do such a gutsy thing.

From Daily Kos:

Trump knows very well about voter fraud. His people and the party he represents work diligently on suppressing the vote, while also engaging in some voter fraud themselves. Case in point: Brandon Michael Hall. The 27-year-old Trump supporter was convicted yesterday on 10 counts of election law fraud.

The 27-year-old Grand Haven resident, author of the West Michigan Politics blog and self-admitted political junkie, said the verdict wasn’t a surprise. Hall said that he had resigned himself to that possibility after the Michigan Supreme Court, during this past summer, determined his case should be tried as a felony.

In 2012, Hall forged signatures on a bunch of petitions in the hopes of placing a judicial candidate—Chris Houghtaling—on the ballot for Ottawa County District Court judge. Hall was done in when his cohort in the fraud Zachary Savage was granted immunity and agreed to spill the beans in court. Hall has a history of being a low-level corrupt little individual.

Hall had previous dealings with the law when he was convicted in 2010 for stealing from a school fundraiser while he was a member of the Grand Haven school board. He served two years of probation and performed 60 hours of community service.

When it comes to election fraud, Republicans are not only doing all the complaining about it, but also, committing all the fraud.

From YouTube (MSNBC Channel): Donald Trump Voter Lost Her Home, Blames Trump’s Pick For Treasury Secretary

 

I’m sorry she lost her home, but what a fool she is, just like everyone who believes the Fuhrer will help poor and middle class Americans!

From YouTube (MSNBC Channel): Bernie Sanders On Donald Trump’s Filthy Rich Cabinet

 

As always, Bernie hit the nail on the head.

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Nov 272016
 

Wendy is about to leave.  She rubbed and scrubbed a very stinky TomCat, did some light housework, and cooked me a rotini casserole.  We had eggs over easy and O’Brien potatoes for brunch.  She rubbed my shoulder with Icy Hot.  I’m listening to the Chargers v. Texans meditation, and my Broncos meditate with the Chiefs this evening.  May the holy Ellipsoid Orb shine its blessed light on your team, unless they live under an arch.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:52).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: President-elect Donald “I’m supported by fear and hatred and ignorance” Trump has a fantastic new tax plan. Well, it’s not “new.” It’s basically the same shitty Republican tax plan that destroys the poor and working classes every time it gets enacted. Trump says the largest tax reductions are for the middle class. He also has a bridge in New York to sell you if you believe that. If you are wealthy, guess what? You will get to pretend that you are going to “create jobs” with your new found wealth—on top of the wealth you already have. If you are in the middle class? Sorry, Charlie!

Most married couples with three or more children would also pay higher taxes, an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found. And while middle-class families as a whole would receive tax cuts of about 2 percent, they’d be dwarfed by the windfalls averaging 13.5 percent for America’s richest 1 percent.

How about single-parent households that make decent money?

“If you’re a low- or moderate-income single parent, you’re going to get hurt,” said Bob Williams, a fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

[…]

But Lily Batchelder, a visiting fellow at the Tax Policy Center and former deputy director of President Barack Obama’s National Economic Council, estimates that roughly 7.9 million families with children would pay higher taxes under his proposals. About 5.8 million are led by single parents. An additional 2.1 million are married couples.

This has always been Republican tax policy. It’s raise YOUR taxes to give massive tax cuts to billionaires, aka No Billionaire Left Behind.

From NY Times: Nearly three weeks after Election Day, Hillary Clinton’s campaign said on Saturday that it would participate in a recount process in Wisconsin incited by a third-party candidate and would join any potential recounts in two other closely contested states, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

It’s about time!!

From YouTube (TYT Channel): It’s Time to Stand with Standing Rock

 

Amen!!

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Nov 192016
 

Today has been "one of those days".  I slept late and then spent play time with my three cats which was very relaxing.  It was hard to tear myself away from my furballs, but I did.  After our play time I spent several hours at the local hospital visiting some of our church members who are on my pastoral care list.  One lady, who I call my second mum, did not look like herself at all when I first went in, but that soon changed and we had a wonderful visit talking a lot about her oldest grandson who was in my Sunday School class 20 years ago.  This weekend, I will be visiting my mother and hoping Patty Monster does not kick my butt at Fantasy Football!

Short Takes

CBC — President-elect Donald Trump on Friday named his earliest and staunchest supporter in the Senate, conservative Republican Jeff Sessions, to become the next U.S. attorney general, triggering an outcry from civil rights groups as well as some conservatives outside Congress who are uneasy about Sessions' positions.

jeff-sessions

Sessions is one of three senior leaders Trump has appointed  to his national security and law enforcement teams, including Representative Mike Pompeo as CIA director and retired Lt.-Gen. Mike Flynn as national security adviser.

If approved for the job by a simple majority in the Republican-dominated Senate, Sessions, 69, would lead the Justice Department and the FBI. He brings a record of controversial positions on race, immigration and criminal justice reform that Democrats may target.

OMG!!! or WTH(F)!!!  Can there be any other first reaction to Trump's choice of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General?  Sessions has a reputation as an unabashed racist.  From Wikipedia:

"In 1986, Reagan nominated Sessions to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. … At Sessions' confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, four Department of Justice lawyers who had worked with Sessions testified that he had made several racist statements in the context of the Marion Three case. One of those lawyers, J. Gerald Hebert, testified that Sessions had referred to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as "un-American" and "Communist-inspired" because they "forced civil rights down the throats of people"."

Sessiions has 4 years left in his Senate term which as I understand means that Alabama will appoint another person  (read Republican) to complete the term or run a byelection.  In 2014, Sessions ran essentially uncontested and received 97.25% of the vote, while in 2008 he received 63.36%, far ahead of his Democrat opponent.  I think we should have concerns over civil rights investigations and prosecutions.  Click through for the rest of the article.

Daily Kos — Irish Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin opened the upper house of the Irish legislature (Seanad Éireann) with a statement about the United States’ election of Donald Trump. Mr. Riordáin was responding to the hypocritical congratulatory reactions from fellow Irish politicians. Riordáin opened by quoting the Irish statesman, Edmund Burke.

The only way evil can prosper if for good men to do nothing.

It is good to know that other countries are looking at Trump's ascendancy to POTUS and recognising it for what it is . . . a fascist takeover of the US government.  Il Duce Trump.

Fiscal Times (MSN) — Throughout the presidential election, now-President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to undo the financial service industry reforms contained in the Dodd-Frank Act. The Trump transition team’s website makes it clear that the issue hasn’t been forgotten, saying that Trump will work to “dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act and replace it with new policies.”

In an appearance on Capitol Hill Thursday, Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen delivered her verdict on the suggestion: bad idea.

Yellen was delivering regularly scheduled testimony before the Joint Economic Committee when she was asked by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) for her thoughts on the law that placed new restrictions on the financial services industry in the wake of the financial crisis that led to the Great Recession.

Although Yellen does not mention Trump by name, she responds to his proposal to gut financial regulations (Dodd-Frank), she is very clear that this will send the country into a deeper recession than 2008, and we all know how that turned out.  Thank goodness Sanders and Warren are still strong in the Senate.  Although I have not specifically heard anything, it would not surprise me find that Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau becomes "unemployed", unfortunately.

Daily Beast — John Oliver, like most liberal comedians, did his damnedest to prevent Donald Trump and Mike Pence from reaching the White House. He tore apart the former reality-show host for bragging about sexually assaulting women, explained how his scandals were far worse than Hillary Clinton’s, and even offered up his Emmy to Trump if he’d deliver a concession speech and ensure a peaceful transfer of power upon losing.

Well, Trump managed the unthinkable: He won. He is now the president-elect. And Oliver, like more than half of Americans who cast their ballot, is shocked and terrified. 

“It’s true! That happened!” he exclaimed. “It turns out, instead of showing our daughters that they could someday be president, America proved that no grandpa is too racist to become leader of the free world.”

We can always count on John Oliver for some good commentary.  He is so spot on!

My Universe — I don't know the story behind all of these pictures, and a few may well have been staged, but just the thoughts of what is happening, people helping other people or animals is enough to give one hope.  Click through for the remainder.

faith-in-humanity-3Jacqueline Kiplimo, the world-class marathon runner, slowed for several miles to help a disabled man drink. She sacrificed the $10,000 prize for finishing first.

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Everyday Erinyes #51

 Posted by at 7:38 pm  Politics
Nov 182016
 

It's another week when I have many items 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."

Let me start with an article that does NOT call for erinyes action, but instead gives helpful advice for survival under the new regime, written by Masha Gessen, who, having lived most of her 49 years in one autocracy or another, should know.  I want to start with it because last week I pointed out the difficulty I anticipate of continuing to be able to feel outrage instead of becoming numb when outrages become too common.  Masha points out in her rule 4 the necessity of maintaining outrage:

[I]n the face of the impulse to normalize, it is essential to maintain one’s capacity for shock. This will lead people to call you unreasonable and hysterical, and to accuse you of overreacting. It is no fun to be the only hysterical person in the room. Prepare yourself.

I highly recommend clicking through to the whole article, bookmarking it, printing it out, whatever you need to do to keep remembering – because remembering will become harder and harder.  I am serious about this.  You. Will. Need. It.  But I will continue to report outrages here, and I will continue to focus on unreported and underreported outrages and hope to provide a stimulus to keep our outrage alive – and the Furies occupied.

With that in mind, I am sharing this story though it is "ancient history" because it is just recently coming to light.  The Reader's Digest version is that Mark Ober, the Hillsborough County (Florida) State Attorney, spent ten months walmartprosecuting a 57-year-old disabled mother for shoplifting $29 worth of flea medicine, in order not to upset WalMart, despite the fact that WalMart's own security tape shows every detail of an elaborate frame set up by the security guard who arrested her.  Yes, you read that right.  The case went all the way to a jury trial, where the defendant was acquitted in less than sixty seconds, which is one silver lining here (there is a civil suit in the works.) 

The other silver lining is that Ober lost his bid for re-election.  This is the same Mark Ober who refused to prosecute the rapist of a girl who was fifteen when he made her his sex slave because "she went with him voluntarily."  Though he's now out of office, I think he is worth going after, as is the security guard, Arismendy Rosario, who appears to have had no discernible reason for framing his victim.  Tisiphone, it sounds like it's up your street.

I suspect everyone here is watching the standoff over the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the atrocities being perpetrated there by law enforcement, not only North Dakota law enforcement, but tourist law enforcement from multiple states.  taraWhat happened to Tara Houska on Veterans Day is only one outrage among many, but she is educated (an attorney) and articulate, and was interviewed by Amy Goodman for Democracy Now:

Yeah, I was arrested for criminal trespass as I was, you know, leaving a peaceful demonstration and getting into my car on a public road. They arrested us and zip-tied us on the side of the road for two hours. We were then thrown into jail … and put in a dog kennel … for over six hours, while they didn’t even actually charge us with crimes. After that, I was strip-searched and then thrown into jail and, finally, late, late that evening, was charged with a crime.

Wouldn't you think that, with all the law enforcement from all the states that is there, they could have found actual handcuffs instead if having to use zip ties, and maybe even put their detainees into a squad car rather than a dog kennel?  Oh, wait, they probably are arresting so many people they ran out.  Silly me.  Do click though and find out more about who Tara is, and how confident the pipeline company is that President Trump will push their pipeline through.  Alecto, good luck with putting an end to the unending.  I'm afraid you'll need it.   (One piece of good news, though – yesterday Bank DNB announced it is pulling its money out.  Of course this not a solution, but it's a step.)

Speaking of Veterans Day, this also happened:

U.S. Army veteran Ernest Walker started recording video when a manager at awalker Chili’s restaurant in Cedar Hill, Texas, questioned his military service and took away his food.

Like some other establishments around the country, Chili’s offered free meals to veterans and active military service members on Veterans Day. Walker wrote on his Facebook page that he was eating at Chili’s with his service dog, Barack, when an elderly customer wearing a Trump shirt came up to him. “He said he was in Germany, and that they did not let Blacks serve over there,” Walker wrote.

Soon after, Walker said the restaurant’s manager approached him and said that a fellow customer said Walker was “not a real soldier because [he] had [his] hat on indoors.” He asked to see identification, and continued to question Walker. Eventually, he took his food away, even though Walker showed him his military ID and discharge paperwork.

This is a petty little thing, but, as a veteran myself, it eats at me.  Maybe more than it does at Mr Walker, who said "I believe if it wasn't for the temperature of America right now, I believe that man would have never reacted that way, because I think he's probably a good person.”  Well, I don't.  I don't think he's probably a good person at all.  I think he needs some re-educating, and I think Megaera is just the Fury to do it.  And the Chili's manager too.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4022028

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Oct 222016
 

I have previously reviewed and supported Oregon Ballot Measure 97.  It is necessary, because giant corporations  have been paying Oregon Income tax at the same or a lower  rate than poor people like me.  Recently, the Koch Brothers and their giant Republican Corporate Cronies have been flooding the airwaves with pure unadulterated lies about the measure.

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$18.3 million in mostly out-of-state corporate money buys a lot of ads and spreads a lot of disinformation, doubt and fear about Measure 97. Don’t be fooled. Below are some of the top arguments you’ll hear against Measure 97.

It’s a sales tax!  (Actually, it’s not.)

Oregonians do leave the state sometimes, so they know what a sales tax is: If you were to buy a smartphone, say, in Clark County, Washington, you’d pay 7.7 percent sales tax. It’s on the receipt. Oregon is one of just five states without a general sales tax, and Measure 97 won’t change that, because it isn’t a sales tax. Consumers wouldn’t pay it. Small businesses wouldn’t pay it. It’s a corporate minimum income tax that only the very biggest companies would pay. And that’s long overdue. Up to now, giant companies have employed legal and accounting maneuvers to claim that they make no profit — despite hundreds of millions in sales — and thus they pay almost nothing in state corporate income tax. For example, companies that donated to the anti-Measure 97 campaign had $600 billion altogether parked in offshore tax havens. That’s money they claim was earned in places like the Cayman Islands — so they can get out of paying state and federal income tax. If Measure 97 passes, they won’t get away with playing “poor” any more.

It’ll lead to higher prices on almost everything! (Actually, it won’t.)

Ask yourself this question: Are Cheerios more expensive in Vancouver than Portland? After all, tax systems vary quite a bit around the country. Do big companies like Target, Lowe’s, Toys R Us and Walmart charge more in states where they pay higher taxes? The folks behind Measure 97 wanted to find out, and teamed up with the non-profit Oregon Consumer League to do a study. They found that those companies charge exactly the same prices for their products in every state. Maybe it’s not surprising that companies that do business nationally set their prices nationally. But it definitely means there’s no reason to think they’ll raise prices just in Oregon if Measure 97 passes. [Skeptical of their findings? Thanks to the magic of the internet, you can do your own cross-state price comparisons here.] Oh, and one more thing: If the biggest corporations could just pass this tax onto the consumer via higher prices, why would they contribute $18.3 million to talk you out of voting for it?…

From <Northwest Labor Press>

Photo  Credit: Willamette Week

Please click through for more.

Reject RepubliCorp Lies! 

Vote YES on Oregon Ballot Measure 97

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