Goal: 50 Blue States

 Posted by at 12:09 pm  Politics
Aug 292016
 

When a Presidential election year becomes focused in an individual, who is thoroughly evil to the core, it’s far too easy to lose sight of the fact that Trump is nothing more than a an unfiltered reflection of Republican policies and values. In reality, there are Republicans at every level of government who are just as cruel, making every red state an open wound in need of repair.  Fortunately, we have Paul Krugman to point out such things.

0829medicaidSomething terrible has happened to pregnant women in Texas: their mortality rate has doubled in recent years, and is now comparable to rates in places like Russia or Ukraine. Although researchers into this disaster are careful to say that it can’t be attributed to any one cause, the death surge does coincide with the state’s defunding of Planned Parenthood, which led to the closing of many clinics. And all of this should be seen against the general background of Texas policy, which is extremely hostile toward anything that helps low-income residents.

There’s an important civics lesson here. While many people are focused on national politics, with reason — one sociopath in the White House can ruin your whole day — many crucial decisions are taken at the state and local levels. If the people we elect to these offices are irresponsible, cruel, or both, they can do a lot of damage.

This is especially true when it comes to health care. Even before the Affordable Care Act went into effect, there was wide variation in state policies, especially toward the poor and near-poor. Medicaid has always been a joint federal-state program, in which states have considerable leeway about whom to cover. States with consistently conservative governments generally offered benefits to as few people as the law allowed, sometimes only to adults with children in truly dire poverty. States with more liberal governments extended benefits much more widely. These policy differences were one main reason for a huge divergence in the percentage of the population without insurance, with Texas consistently coming in first in that dismal ranking.

And the gaps have only grown wider since Obamacare went into effect, for two reasons. First, the Supreme Court made the federally-funded expansion of Medicaid, a crucial part of the reform, optional at the state level. This should be a no-brainer: If Washington is willing to provide health insurance to many of your state’s residents — and in so doing pump dollars into your state’s economy — why wouldn’t you say yes? But 19 states, Texas among them, are still refusing free money, denying health care to millions.

Beyond this is the question of whether states are trying to make health reform succeed. California — where Democrats are firmly in control, thanks to the GOP’s alienation of minority voters — shows how it’s supposed to work: The state established its own health exchange, carefully promoting and regulating competition, and engaged in outreach to inform the public and encourage enrollment. The result has been dramatic success in holding down costs and reducing the number of uninsured… [emphasis added]

From <NY Times>

I’ve been using the joke, "Please don’t Californicate Oregon!" for around thirty five years.  That needs to be updated: "Please Californicate Texas!!!"

Every Republican in office is

one Republican too many!

Share
Aug 282016
 

This article is a laundry list of what people should know before casting their vote.

Trump Scandals

Donald Trump has been the center of scandals way before his entrance to politics. From dishonest business dealings and racial discrimination to other horrible incidents have been rampant throughout Trump’s lifetime. While some scandals are larger than others, all are immoral and show a side of ‘The Donald’ that he seems to be rather proud of.

We will take a trip to Trump’s past to witness his mafia ties and alleged marital rape, to racial discrimination and ‘the Great Wall of Mexico’, we’ve covered it all in this collection of Donald Trump scandals that goes back to the 70s.

21. That’s not available to you (1971 – 1975)

photo_0161601954wlyffz

In 1973, the Department of Justice sued Donald Trump and his father for Trump Management’s discrimination against people based on their race and color – people who wanted to rent from one of Trump’s 39 sites around New York. At the time, the New York Times reported that the company would tell people of color that apartments were not available or require different terms and conditions from them because of their race.

20. He hired undocumented illegal immigrants (1980)

photo_0161601957cyhslb

In all his talk of immigrants “taking” jobs from people, Trump hired 200 undocumented Polish workers to demolish the Bonwit Teller store when constructing Trump Tower. The workers weren’t able to follow safety procedures as they weren’t given hard hats, slept at the construction site, and got paid $5 per hour for all of it – if they were paid at all! The illegal immigrants were threatened with deportation when they complained or asked about payment.

18. He executed a hostile takeover (1986)

photo_0161602000qwmcbo

Wanting to expand his Atlantic City casino empire, Trump planned and executed a hostile takeover of Holiday and Bally’s in 1986. He bought up stocks in the companies with an attempt to gain control and avoid paying the control premium, but thankfully, Bally’s realized what the cunning Trump was trying to do and sued him for antitrust violations.

12. Third Bankruptcy (2004)

photo_0161602018mvrcge

Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts was $1.8 billion dollars in debt and once again filed for bankruptcy in 2004. They reemerged as Trump Entertainment Resorts with Trump no longer having a controlling stake, but still chairman of the new company.

7. ACN Scam (2010)

photo_0161602015cuqewf

In 2010, which was a hop and a skip away, Donald Trump opened up an investment company called ACN. In it, investors had to hand over a $500 sign-up fee and then build a consumer base of new investors. How did he even get away with this pyramid scheme? Obviously, the entire thing toppled over and investors lost hundreds of thousands of dollars while Trump walked away with millions.

From UpVibes 

Click through for the remaining 17 incidents from Trump's past that indicate how he would likely run the US.  Words such as fraud, liar, racist, xenophobe, opportunist, manipulator and more all come to mind.  I would love to slap that smug mug at the top of the page.  Unfortunately, the article is spread over numerous pages but it is worth plugging through to remind ourselves just what a "criminal" he is. Fortunately, each page is short. Trump likes to remind everyone of "Crooked" Hillary.  With this past, he's the crook.

Share
Aug 282016
 

There seems to be no end to the bluster of Donald Trump.  Truth is not in his lexicon while shameful lying and manipulation are.

Trump anoints himself as civil rights crusader at N.H. rally: Hillary Clinton's policies "failed and betrayed communities of color in this country"

At an afternoon rally Thursday, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump repeatedly brought up “inner-cities” as part of an ongoing appeal to minority (primarily African-American and Hispanic) voters — with whom he’s polling abysmally — offering his go-to “What the hell do you have to lose?” rhetorical argument.

Democratic policies, Trump said, “produced only more poverty, complete joblessness, and failing schools.” And Clinton’s policies “failed and betrayed communities of color in this country … She has brought nothing but pain and heartache and broken promises to your inner-cities. On top of that, she wants to raise taxes on African-American-owned businesses to as much as nearly 50 percent more than they’re paying now.”

“She supports open borders that violate the civil rights of African-Americans, giving their jobs to people here illegally,” he continued at the Manchester, New Hampshire event. “She supports trade policies that have closed factories in African-American communities and put millions of African-Americans and others — all of us — out of work.”

From Salon

"…broken promises to your inner-cities…"!  This struck me as condescending, racist and very, very Trumpish!  It is very apparent that not only is Trump manipulating the "facts", it is corporate decisions, greed and Republican policies for the most part that have lead to corporations moving elsewhere in search of dirt cheap labour among other things.  GREED!  Can you smell it?

 

Share

Everyday Erinyes #40

 Posted by at 12:05 am  Politics
Aug 272016
 
furies

I have three items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them. In honor of the 40th post, I am going to start numbering 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."

Normally I shy away from calling the Furies' attention to a corporation or group.  There were no corporations in ancient Greece, not as we understand the term; and while there were some groups, they just weren't of the sizes and in the quantities we have today.  I want them to be comfortable doing work they know how to do.

But, in this case, a corporation has acted so much like a particularly despicable individual, that I simply have to address it.  Also, I have a name.  Also, I have a signed letter.

You may have read that Aetna (originally Aetna Insurance Company, later Aetna Life Insurance Company, still later Aetna U.S. Healthcare, now apparently just Aetna) is pulling out of Obamacare in 11 of the 15 states it has been serving.  You may have read this pullout has been attributed to financial loses in those states.  You may have read that Republicans are delighted by this turn of events. 

You may even have read that the pullout is not really due to financial losses, but is retaliation against the administration (and, incidentally, every citizen previously covered by them under Obamacare) because their request to but Humana was denied.

You may or may not have read that Huffington Post has obtained, through the FOIA, a copy of a letter sent to the Justice Department by Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini which in essence said (my reconstruction) "Nice Affordable Care Act you got there.  Be a shame if anything happened to it.  Give us our merger and we won't pull out."

So now, because Bertolini didn't get his merger, Obamacare and ordinary Americans who need health insurance will suffer the consequences.  Obamacare is already facing an uphill battle with regard to critics of the law's suatainability.  By leaving a system which relies on subsidized public-private health insurance plans, Aetna's move will only further tip the scales in favor of Obamacare's criticn [sic] and drive up costs.

Incidentally, Aetna is officially claiming that the letter and the pullout are unrelated.  Right.  I call it extortion.  What do you say, Megaera?  (And what can you expect from a company named after a volcano?)

Meanwhile, back in Tulsa, OK, a family named Jabara has since 2013 or earlier been living next door to a terrorist named Vernon Majors.  I don't know how much earlier, but it was in 2013 that Haifa Jabara, the materfamilias of the Jabara family, filed a protective order against Majors.  He had been sexually harassing her, knocking on windows late at night, stalking her, and subjecting the entire family to racist remarks.  (The Jabaras' family background is Lebanese, but the racist remarks included "dirty Arabs," "filthy Lebanese," "AY-rabs," "MOOS-lems," and he had a whole vocabulary beyond that for use with Mexicans and black people.) 

In 2015 Haifa's son, Khalid, also filed a protective order against Majors.  Majors had been harassing Khalid, stalking him and following him around, leaving notes on the door, and vandalizing the inside of the house.  Wait – what?  Vandalizing the inside of the house?  This creep had been actually getting inside their home to do damage? Eeeeeeww!!

And then in September of 2015, Haifa was jogging in the neighborhood when Majors drove by, aimed his car at her, clearly attempting to run right over her, which he didn't quite do, but he did put her in the hospital.  A broken shoulder, collapsed lung, broken ankle, broken nose, head trauma, and fractured ribs were only some of the injuries she sustained.

Well, he did get locked up then, charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon (which he admitted, providing the motive "filthy Lebanese"), and was awaiting trial, but in May he posted bond.  It was originally set at $30,000.  The prosecutor asked the judge to, first choice, hold him without bond, second choice, set bond at $300.000.  Instead the judge made it $60,000, and he bonded out immediately.  He was released wih no additional conditions – no ankle monitor, no drug/alcohol testing, nothing.

Now, despite having been arrested for a felony, and having been previously convicted of a felony in California, and thus ineligible under Federal law to own a gun , somehow he had one.

The day Khalid was murdered, he called the police to tell them this terrorist had a gun.  The police came and said there was nothing they could do.  Thirty minutes after the phone call, Khalid was dead.

This next thing has nothing to do with the case, it just struck me, so I have used both pictures.  A blind person on a fast horse riding by could see that Khalid is better looking than Majors (much, MUCH better looking.)  Is it my imagination?  Or is he also whiter than the so-called white guy?  A thing like that should not matter to any sane person, of course.  But then Majors apparently isn't.  Sane.  Tisiphone, if you will follow the case and guide at strategic points to make sure the community in general and the Jabara family in particular are never in danger from him again, maybe even instigate the DOJ to investigate as a hate crime – two hate crimes –  it will be most appreciated.

Next, from the "You don't have to be black to get killed by police" files, comes the story of Daniel Patrick Harris, 28, of Charlotte, NC.   Harris is – excuse me, was -profoundly deaf, and he communicated using American Sign Language (ASL).  He was able to drive, and was pulled over, or at least an attempt was made to do so, this month.  The best guess of those who have been covering the story is that he may have been speeding, but that is unconfirmed.

Also unconfirmed is whether Mr. Harris simply did not hear any sirens, or whether he trying to get home, where family were present who would be able to interpret for him,  or some combination.  He was a few within feet of his home, when the two cars collided.  Mr. Harris then got out of his car and started signing to the officer, who, according to neighbors, shot him as soon as he got out, killing him.

The officer, trooper Jermaine Saunders, is on administrative leave while the investigation goes on, and is not giving interviews.  Mr. Harris is dead, so we can't ask him.  The most we can do is speculate.  Did Trooper Saunders think Harris was flashing gang signs?  Did he think Mr. Harris was making threatening gestures?  We don't know.  We only know that Mr. Harris is dead..  Oh, yes, and that he liked turtles. 

Alecto, I didn't have anything specifically for you last week.  But I would say that this is in a category of things that happen All. The. Time.  Let us know what you find out.

Finally – I seldom do humor here, for obvious reasons, but I guess if Shakespeare can use comic relief, I can try.  So here is a little trivia question.  Based on the news from this week, one can conclude that that

a.  Not all gun nuts live in the United States.

b.  Having had a taste of entertainment from the filming of "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit," New Zealand parents have started training their children to star in some future remake of "Game of Thrones."

c.  Both of the above.

Click through for the answer ( spoiler: "c" is correct).

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4007417

Share
Aug 252016
 

Yesterday the heat returned, groceries were delivered, and Wendy came for kitty-primping.  When I got out of the shower and dried, by the time I got back to my apartment, I had to dry off the sweat.  Finally, the site turned to mud, so I spent the first couple hours after breakfast on the phone with tech support.  The problem was that PP was chocking the cache system designed to speed up page load, because we have thousands of graphics that are poorly optimized.  She turned off the cache system and that fixed the problem.  However, cobbling the site together by someone who isn’t an IT pro (me) has taken its toll over the years.  The tech sent me detailed instructions on how to optimize all aspects of the site.  It looks like I have many hours of work to do in the coming months.  Tomorrow, I need to venture into the heat to submit to torture from Courtney, my Physical Terrorist.  Therefore I will probably have no more then a Personal Update for you tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 4:56).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: Another Earth could be circling the star right next door to us.

Astronomers announced on Wednesday that they had detected a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest neighbor to our solar system. Intriguingly, the planet is in the star’s “Goldilocks zone,” where it may be neither too hot nor too cold. That means liquid water could exist at the surface, raising the possibility for life.

Although observations in recent years, particularly by NASA’s Kepler planet-finding mission, have uncovered a bounty of Earth-size worlds throughout the galaxy, this one holds particular promise because it might someday, decades from now, be possible to reach. It’s 4.2 light-years, or 25 trillion miles, away from Earth, which is extremely close in cosmic terms.

When I first heard this, I thought it might be a good place to put Republicans, but on further consideration, a mere 4.2 light years is just too damn close!!

From Daily Kos: Many people who are prone to allergic attacks are also prone to having their throat air passages close from the internal swelling and inflammation. Without immediate treatment this can cause many children and adults to suffocate and die. They die a terrifying death of asphyxiation.

In 1977, the life-saving Epi-Pen was created. The self-injecting shot of adrenaline can sometimes halt the air passages from closing further, for a brief period, which gives the victim more time to seek emergency care.

A pharmaceutical company called Mylan [capitalist pig delinked] acquired the EpiPen in 2007, and immediately began hiking up the prices to a whopping 600%. That’s wonderful for the multi-billion dollar company, and it’s been awesome for Mylan CEO Heather Bresch who gave herself a big fat pay raise. Reports show that from 2007 to 2015, Bresch’s total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068 [capitalist pig delinked] — yet she can’t afford to offer her “generic” drug at a fair price in order to save the lives of those who are in need and don’t know how to obtain the life-saving medication any other way.

As a former volunteer firefighter, I have used an EpiPen to save a life. I have seen what it does and now necessary it is for someone suffering a life-threatening allergic reaction. Heather Bresch’s Republican greed is obscene!

From The New Yorker: Calling it “the best use of our resources at this time,” the Republican National Committee has decided to pull money originally earmarked for Trump campaign ads and spend it on alcohol instead.

According to the R.N.C. chairman Reince Priebus, the decision to reallocate the funds from television advertising to alcoholic beverages came after careful review of the polling in crucial battleground states.

“With about seventy days to go until the election, we had to consider what was the optimal way for us to get through those seventy days,” he added. “We are confident that we have found that way.”

“The decision was unanimous,” he added.

Dang Andy!! If you’re right, that’s the most intelligent idea for Republicans I’ve heard.

Cartoon:

0825Cartoon

Share
Aug 172016
 

It is late and I cannot sleep because of the heat and humidity, currently at 88%.  To make matters worse, my one neighbour has been in and out slamming the door each time, as well as running up and down her stairs with lead feet.  This is not the first time for her antics.  I have been awakened by her before.  Temperatures on Friday and into the weekend are supposed to hit 33 C (92 F) — oh joy! NOT! — with high humidity.  Tomorrow I have physio and then I will relax in the heat if I can.

Short Takes

CBC — Mauril Bélanger, the long-serving Liberal member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier, has died at age 61. Bélanger was diagnosed wIt is late and I cannot sleep because of the heatith ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, following the 2015 federal election, and his condition had deteriorated rapidly. 

mauril belanger

Mauril Bélanger 15/06/1955 – 16/08/2016

Honourary Speaker of the House

At the moment when Bélanger should have been celebrating his eighth electoral triumph as the member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier, he had struggled to find his voice to make a victory speech.

And yet even in his final days, Bélanger summoned his remaining strength eight months later to attend a vote in the House of Commons where his colleagues backed his private member's bill to make the lyrics of the national anthem more representative of all Canadians. 

That vote on 15 June 2016, Bélanger's 61st birthday, resulted in the approval of Bill C – 210 which changed the second line to "in all of us command " from "in all thy sons command".  And as sick as he was, he came into the House to vote.  In the video above, if you are trying to listen to the words, the first two lines are in English, with some subsequent lines in French.  I know the French version and can tell you it does not translate directly to the English version.

I brought to you short takes about Mauril Bélanger back on 30/01 and 12/03/2016.  This is an incredible legacy for Mauril Bélanger who championed this change for years.

RobertReich.org — It looks increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton, a self-described “progressive who likes to get things done,” will have her chance starting next January. But how much that’s progressive will she actually be able to get done?

The Senate may flip to the Democrats but there’s almost no way Democrats will get the sixty votes they need to stop Republicans from filibustering everything she says she wants to do.

She’s unlikely to have a typical presidential honeymoon because she won’t be riding a wave of hope and enthusiasm that typically accompanies a new president into office. She’s already more distrusted by the public than any major candidate in recent history. On Election Day many Americans will be choosing which candidate they loathe the least.  …

Even if Hillary sincerely intends to raise taxes on rich Americans in order to pay for universal child care, affordable higher education, and infrastructure spending, the moneyed interests have the clout to stop her.

They’ll also resist any effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $12 an hour, require employers to offer paid family leave, or push them to share their profits with employees.

The heart of American politics is now a vicious cycle in which big money has enough political influence to get laws and regulations that make big money even bigger, and prevent laws and rules that threaten its wealth and power.

Before Hillary can accomplish anything important, that vicious cycle has to be reversed. But how?  …

The pragmatist in her must know that the only way her ideas will make it in real life is if the public is organized and mobilized behind them.

Which means that once she enters the Oval Office, she’ll need the countervailing power of a progressive movement – ironically, much like the one her primary opponent championed.

I read an article recently that stated that the Green Party needs to build its base substantially in order to be viable.  Recently, TC commented (probably not for the first time) that any third party needs to start building on 15 November of an election year.  Bernie has miraculously built a substantial base, one that challenged Clinton during the primaries.  He launched a political revolution and has committed to moving forward with it.  Part of that commitment means holding Clinton's feet to the fire.  Personally, I think Bernie has a better chance of revolutionising the Democratic Party than the Greens have of becoming viable.

Raw Story — Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) revived and justified Republican criticisms against Khizr Khan on Tuesday, telling CNN host Jake Tapper that the Democratic Party “used him” irresponsibly during their party convention last month.

“Because he had a son that he lost to terror, that gives him a free ride to say what he would like against a candidate that he’s not for?” Perry asked Tapper. “That’s not proper, that’s not correct.”

Lost a son to terror??  Capt Khan was killed in Iraq during a war started by George W Bush and his cronies over oil but under the guise of weapons of mass destruction.  How is that terror?  And since when can one not comment on a political candidate who is in a race to run the nation (in the case of Drumpf, to 'ruin the nation')?  That is a prime time to gather facts, form opinions etc.  And of course, the first amendment — freedom of speech — also applies to Mr Khan.  I also take exception to Perry claiming he is for service families because he writes the letters.  But hey, did he lose a son as did Mr Khan?  Little Ricky Oops! Perry is milking this for his own glory.

Youtube — This one is strictly to make you smile.

My Universe — This is a truly magnificent sight!  My understanding is that these kayakers were near a nursing humpback and her calf.  The breaching was likely done by the rest of the pod to protect the mother and babe.  The location is near Campbell River BC, on the east coast of Vancouver Island,  little more than half way up the Island.  More over, this is a well known playground for various types of whales.

 

And now a little humour . . .

Share
Aug 142016
 

It is Saturday night, the end of a very hot and miserable day as far as I am concerned — 31 C (88 F) late this afternoon.  It is 0100 and 20 C (68 F) with  humidity at 78%.  Days like this just sap my energy and affect my breathing (asthma).  So I have been drinking like a fish and staying quiet.  Later Sunday, I will going to visit my mother so at least I'll have the benefit of AC in the car.  I hope everybody is surviving the heat wherever you are.

Here it is, Sunday afternoon and the temperature is back up to 30 C (86 F) 60% humidity.

Short Takes

Common Dreams — Bernie Sanders bore down on Donald Trump's economic agenda in a series of tweets on Friday morning, calling him "the poster child of failed trade policies."

Photo published for Donald Trump’s new tax plan could have a big winner: Donald Trump’s companies

The social media take-down began with Sanders posting a link to a Washington Post story from earlier this week, which revealed how a "little-noticed provision in Donald Trump's tax reform plan has the potential to deliver a large tax cut to companies in the Republican presidential nominee's vast business empire."

Click through to see a string of Bernie's tweets.  Go Bernie!  I'd also suggest reading the Washington Post story (click on "revealed") because it certainly does outline how Drumpf and other high income earners would disproportionately benefit from Drumpf's plan.  And to the point of these business entities taking those tax "savings" and reinvesting them in the business, according to Forbes, corporations are still sitting on large cash piles on their balance sheets, much of it sitting offshore.  The figures used are from 2013-14.

Raw Story — Mr. Speaker,

When Donald Trump suggested on August 9 that Hillary Clinton could only be stopped from nominating judges by “Second Amendment people,” most of the world gasped, realizing he was inciting violence against his opponent for the presidency. It was unprecedented, beneath contempt. But he didn’t apologize. Given my long experiences with Trump, I knew he would soon string together a babble of words in hopes of twisting his statement beyond recognition. And so he did, with an assist from sycophants like Sean Hannity of Fox News, who nodded like a bobblehead doll as Trump told him he didn’t mean that gun lovers should assassinate Clinton. He only meant they should be voting for him to keep her out of the White House.

That makes no sense, and here’s a crucial thing to know about Trump: He never tries to make his lies or delusions or fantasies make sense. He just spews to explain away the inexplicable.

Call for Assassination

Let’s examine the words that got him into so much trouble: “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know. But I’ll tell you what, that will be a horrible day.”

Trump’s post hoc interpretation: He doesn’t know if gun lovers will vote to keep Clinton out of office. Or he hopes gun owners will vote for him. Or only Trump voters with guns could keep Clinton out of office. None of that makes sense.

Read the original statement again. Did he mean it will be a horrible day when Second Amendment people stop her from picking judges? That’s a call for assassination. Or did he mean it will be a horrible day when a President Clinton picks judges and only Second Amendment people might be able to stop it? Another call for assassination.

Trump then blamed the media for applying the rules of grammar and sentence structure to him, instead of being like his acolytes, for whom words and sentences no longer have agreed-upon meanings.

This, Mr. Speaker, is what you would be dealing with in a Trump presidency, and this flagrant disregard for the facts, for the truth, is why I am writing this, my second open letter to you. Trump must be stopped. Let the GOP lose this election. It is the only way to save the Republican Party, and the nation. Even some of his most deranged supporters recognize the danger he poses—one caller into C-SPAN last week said he knew his candidate might start a nuclear war but at least America would win.

Click through for the rest of this fairly long piece.  Author  Kurt Eichenwald goes on to lay out many of Drump's inconsistencies and lies, some of them sworn under oath in depositions or in Congressional hearings.  This is, IMO, the kind of information that needs to get broad exposure, especially with likely Drumpf supporters and voters.  Drumpf is a menace to a civilised society.

Alternet — Nearly 100% of likely voters are set on their November 8 presidential pick and the debates won't even start for another month. So, who really is the media fanfare for at this point? After all, as Noam Chomsky points out, the voting decision is really a lot simpler than the pundits have built it up to be.  …

Chomsky has consistently declared Donald Trump would be a disaster, and urges voters in swing states to cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton. 

There is another video at the end of the article which shows Chomsky giving the same advice to Clinton supporters in 2008.  As Chomsky says in 2016 "… I would vote against Trump … you hold your nose and vote Democrat … I don't think there is any other rational choice.  Abstaining from voting or say voting for a candidate you prefer, a minority candidate, just amounts to a vote for Donald Trump … "  Wise words.

Politico — Republican insiders are more convinced than Democrats that Donald Trump is so far behind Hillary Clinton that he can't win in November.

Roughly half of Republican members of The POLITICO Caucus — activists, strategists and operatives in 11 swing states — believe that Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes is basically shut off after another week in which the GOP nominee appears to have ceded ground in national and most battleground state polls.

Democrats, however, aren’t breaking out the champagne just yet. Seventy-two percent of Democratic insiders said despite Clinton’s clear advantage at this stage of the race, the presidential election isn’t effectively over.

Democrats cited the unpredictability of the 2016 campaign, along with some of Clinton’s own weaknesses, for their bridled optimism. It’s a message that fits neatly with what party leaders are saying publicly and behind closed doors: Don’t get too cocky, even with Clinton well ahead of Trump in the polls.  …

“Trump is underperforming so comprehensively across states and demographics it would take video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of ‘Death to America!’ But in 2016, stranger things have happened.”

Democrats are much less confident about the outcome of the presidential race than Republicans, thankfully.  This is not the time to sit back.  And it is VERY important to get out the vote.
 

My Universe

No way

… in my own time!

Proof that cats take a message and get back to you, later if you're lucky!

 

Fifty shades of love

Friends! … not dinner.

vicious treadmill

Dinner on the go!

Share
Aug 142016
 

Wendi should be here momentarily, and I don’t know how much I can do.  I’m still feeling queasy and quite lethargic, and I think I may have had a reaction to a tetanus vaccine received Friday.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with my Urologist (routine), so please expect no more than a Personal Update.

Wendi just left, so the TomCat is primped and polished.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:35 (average 5:37).  To do it, click here.  Hoe did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: When you’re busy accusing political opponents of founding terrorist organizations, and you’re tired of saying just kidding, what are you going to do about it? When you finish your political show trials for opponents you’ve accused of consorting with the devil, just where are you going to lock her up?

A President Donald Trump might push for Americans accused of terrorism to be tried in military tribunal at the U.S. Navy base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the Republican nominee told the Miami Herald on Thursday.

“I would say they could be tried there, that would be fine,” Trump said in a brief interview ahead of his speech to home builders in Miami Beach.

Regular US prisons are too good for them. And of course, ordinary justice is too good for them. Those accused by the pointing orange finger get special treatment.

I’ve been calling it the GOP Gitmo Gulag for years. Was I wrong?

From The New Yorker: Clarifying his position on a key national-security issue, Donald Trump said on Friday that as President he would be willing to use nuclear weapons, “but only in a sarcastic way.”

“People who are worried about me having the nuclear-launch codes should stop worrying, O.K.?” Trump told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “If I ever used nuclear weapons, it would be really obvious that I was just being sarcastic.”

Pressed by Blitzer to explain the difference between a sarcastic and non-sarcastic nuclear attack, Trump responded, “You’d use the weapons and everything, but then you’d say, ‘Just kidding.’ ”

Andy, evilly is the only way Republicans would use nukes, but I can sure see them saying that.

From Alternet: Why are they still supporting him? In Krugman’s view, because their proposals are con jobs, and all they want to do is reduce taxes on the rich, which will be much harder to do if Clinton wins. That’s the short answer.

Krugman suggests that the key to Republican thinking lies in one number: 34.

What’s that? It’s the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the average federal tax rate for the top 1 percent in 2013, the latest year available. And it’s up from just 28.2 in 2008, because President Obama allowed the high-end Bush tax cuts to expire and imposed new taxes to pay for a dramatic expansion of health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Taxes on the really, really rich have gone up even more.

If Hillary Clinton wins, taxes on the elite will at minimum stay at this level, and may even go up significantly if Democrats do well enough in congressional races to enable her to pass new legislation. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that her tax plan would raise the average tax rate for the top 1 percent by another 3.4 percentage points, and the rate for the top 0.1 percent by five points.

But if “populist” Donald Trump wins, taxes on the wealthy will go way down; in particular, Mr. Trump is calling for elimination of the inheritance tax, which these days hits only a tiny number of really yuuuge estates (a married couple doesn’t pay any tax unless its estate is worth more than $10.9 million).

So if you’re wealthy, or you’re someone who has built a career by reliably serving the interests of the wealthy, the choice is clear—as long as you don’t care too much about stuff like shunning racism, preserving democracy and freedom of religion, or for that matter avoiding nuclear war, Mr. Trump is your guy.

Preserving inherited wealth in a nutshell is the mainstay of the conservative movement. How noble!

Greed from Republicans is expected. It is shocking that they dupe so many on the right and even a few on the left to vote against their own interests.

Cartoon:

0814Cartoon

Share
Jul 122016
 

The past few days have been busy with my brother and SIL, and their friends, in town for a few days before boarding a cruise ship for Alaska.  We had a chance to spend Friday afternoon with my mother and then go out for a great dinner.  Even my 3 furbabes got in on the action eating prime rib leftovers which they very much enjoyed!  Although the weather was supposed to be rainy, we lucked out with clear skies at all the right times.  I certainly was tired and sore from a lot of walking, but it wasn't as bad as I had feared.  I wanted to take them to the Britannia Mine Museum but an auto accident on the highway brought that activity to a screaming halt, and the plan B was Stanley Park.  I have several meetings, a haircut and a teaching session with Lucia during the rest of the week.

Short Takes

Alternet — Blame abounds in the wake of the brutal slaying of five police officers in downtown Dallas. But while most people place the responsibility for this tragedy squarely in the hands of the man who shot the police officers (who were by all accounts monitoring and protecting protestors), some on the right believe other people are to blame.

Here's a roundup of some of those (besides the gunman himself) who are being blamed for the Dallas shooting.

2. President Barack Obama

As expected, the annals of Twitter were immediately inundated with charges that “Barack is smiling his smug little smile.” Unfortunately, the notion that President Obama bears any responsibility for the Dallas shooting was hardly limited to the fringes of the internet.

“3 Dallas Cops killed, 7 wounded,” former Illinois GOP congressman-slash-ostentatious-right-wing-radio-host Joe Walsh wrote on Twitter. “This is now war. Watch out Obama. Watch out black loves matter punks. Real America is coming after you.”

Walsh has since deleted the tweet, but he continued posting video of the chaos in Dallas throughout the night. 

“10 Cops shot. You did this Obama. You did this liberals. You did this #BLM. Time to defend our Cops. Wake up,” Walsh posted.

He later added that Obama “stoked the flame” and “defends Islam.” Eric Trump, son of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, reportedly retweeted a post by Walsh accusing Black Lives Matter of calling for the death of police officers.

Walsh later clarified he “wasn’t calling for violence, against Obama or anyone.”

William Johnson, the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, also blamed Obama, taking issue with the president’s completely accurate statement that “when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately it makes it more deadly and more tragic, and in the days ahead we are going to have to consider those realities as well.”

"The Obama administration is the Neville Chamberlain of this war,” Johnson told Fox News. “I think their continued appeasement at the federal level with the Department of Justice, their appeasement of violent criminals, their refusal to condemn movements like Black Lives Matter, actively calling for the death of police officers, that type of thing, all the while blaming police for the problems in this country has led directly to the climate that has made Dallas possible.”

Other GOP groups took issue with a statement Obama gave Thursday addressing the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of police. “To be concerned about these issues is not to be against law enforcement,” Obama said. ”When people say black lives matter, it doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter.”

“Obama lectures nation on racial disparities hours before assassination of Dallas police officers,” the conservative group GOPUSA said in an email.

“It was bound to happen,” the email reads. “It was a Daily Beasttime bomb. Every time Barack Obama speaks on race, things get worse.”

For his part, Obama spoke out forcefully against the Dallas shootings Friday morning.

"I believe I speak for every single American when I say we are horrified over these events, and we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas,” Obama said, calling the assault a "vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement.”

"We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations, but let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these types of attacks," Obama said. "Anyone involved in the senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.”

This is the second of 4 absurb right wing reactions to the killing of 5 Dallas police officers.  Click through for the other three.  As is usually the case, this is totally insaniTEA!

Daily Beast — Donald Trump is all about branding, and here’s a striking irony: while his political brand is built on Muslim-bashing, Hispanic-bashing, and, not least, China-bashing, his hotel brand appears to be thriving here in Asia.

Last October, well after Trump’s xenophobic and sinophobic presidential campaign got under way, Trump’s man in China, Eric Danziger, told Chinese state-run media that the Trump Hotel Collection is actively seeking expansion opportunities in Asian metropolises, including Chinese cities like Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen.  …

A former Chinese public servant who acquired a green card through the EB-5 program told The Daily Beast that he never expected a profitable return on his $500,000 investment. This is common, as many projects funded via EB-5 become inactive or are poorly managed. For Trump, who has had four businesses file for bankruptcy, the program is perfect. 

 

 

In fact, during the application process, details of the investor’s previous employment were never called into question—how did a low-level official accumulate half a million dollars to burn, with plenty to spare? The former public servant never had to provide an answer.

 

 

Congressional overseers and the Department of Homeland Security have pointed out the vetting process for EB-5 is lacking, and could be a portal for dirty money and those who possess it to enter America.

So, let’s be clear: Trump-branded procriminal enterprisejects have ignored concerns raised by government overseers and might be actively creating channels for money laundering.

Is this the kind of POTUS that Americans want . . . one that indulges in criminal enterprise for his own profit?  So if elected president, what will come first . . . the country or his profit?  I still really like Huffington Post's disclosure on Trump articles:

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.

Dear Huff Post, I think you need to add some more descriptors for Drumpf like 'criminal' and 'narcissist'.

Think Progress — G.T., who escaped from Eritrea due to political and economic turmoil, works as a steward at a Washington, D.C.-area Hilton hotel. He cleans and washes dishes among other tasks, makes $14.85 an hour, and saves up a portion of his paycheck because he aspires to go to college one day. His life is far different from when he left Eritrea to escape a lifetime of forced military conscription.

Now, G.T. earns a steady paycheck and has become a success story of a controversial refugee resettlement process in the United States that some politicians want to restrict on fears that terrorists could come into the country through this manner.  …

Last year, U.S. politicians began tearing into the refugee resettlement process, claiming that terrorists could potentially come into the country disguised as refugees because the country lacks a rigorous refugee application process. As testimony to their fears, as many as 31 state governors rejected refugee resettlement in their states after the terrorist attacks in Paris, France. Roughly 800,000 people have been resettled in the country since 9/11, but not one refugee has been arrested on terrorism charges.

In spite of these vicious claims against refugees, G.T.’s successful integration into U.S. society stands out as an example of the reciprocal, beneficial relationship that refugees and local communities can have on one another. Some local politicians see refugee resettlement as a way to revitalize their cities and to harness talent and skills for entry-level jobs that many native-born Americans may not necessarily want to do.

So what is the Republican line . . . shiftless, lazy, uneducated, thieves, and terrorists?  All refugees are not alike but the vast majority are honest, hard working people who want nothing more than safety and the opportunity to properly provide for their families.  Properly supported, refugees will add to the community making it a more vibrant place to be.

My Universe — OK, equal time for all the dawg lovers out there!

 

 

 

Share

Everyday Erinyes

 Posted by at 10:04 am  Politics
Jul 092016
 

I have two items today 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."

Frankly, I did not expect to be sharing this story of grudgingness today.  I try to find outrages that go under the radar, as it were, and, although this is a followup to an earlier story you may remember, I still expected it to be picked up by other sites and get a lot of publicity.  I was wrong.  I find that sad.

"Please accept our condolences on your loss,” explained a letter from the Higher Education Student Assistance Authority of New Jersey. “After careful consideration of the information you provided, the authority has determined that your request does not meet the threshold for loan forgiveness. Monthly bill statements will continue to be sent to you.”

The recipient of this letter received no direct benefit from the loan in question, and indeed, no indirect benefit, such as being related to someone who has increased earning power, which sometimes comes to those who graduate from college.  The student, the borrower, was her son.  And he was murdered last year.

The loans were not Federal loans.  The Federal Government has provisions to give some relief to borrowers who experience life-changing circumstances – such as losing a job.  Wken non-Hodgkins lymphoma survivor Chris Gonzales was laid off by Goldman Sachs, the Federal Government suspended his federal student loan payments.  However, he had also received some loan funds from New Jersey – which sued him and confiscated his state tax refund.

Marcia DeOliveira-Longinetti, the bereaved mother who received the letter quoted above, has been forced to make 18 monthly payments of $180 to the state.  Only 92 to go.

Not every state administers its own student loan program (states that do not do administer their states' share in the Federal loan programs.)  Two that do are New Jersey and Massachusetts.  But, in Massachusetts, there is automatic debt forgiveness if the borrower dies or becomes disabled.  New Jersey, on the other hand, goes aggressively after loan repayment regardless of the circumstances.  And, since federal law does provide some possibility of relief, New Jersey pretty much stopped giving federal loans some years ago, substituting their own loans instead.

But New Jersey will sell students taking out loans life insurance!  My, what a big heart!  Knock yourself out, Megaera.

There is another story, this one of vengeful destruction, which needs to be told.  THere is a church in Kansas where a volunteer in 2014 attempted to rape and electronically solicit two girls under fourteen who attended the church.  Last year he pleaded guilty to these charges.

The volunteer, who was seventeen, at the time of the crime, had a string of past sexual conduct and crimes behind him, but was still allowed to be around children without supervision.  On June 9 of this year, the girls and their families filed a lawsuit against the church, alleging that the church violated its own protocols, thereby allowing the assaults to occur.

Naturally, the church has filed a petition asking the court to require the victims and their parents to identify themselves publicly before the case can proceed.

Wait a minute, you are probably saying to yourself.  What is this church?  Westboro Baptist?  That's in Kansas, right?  Well, no, it isn't Westboro Baptist, though it is a Southern Baptist church.  It's just creepily similar.  Its name is Westside Family Church.

David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has been a victim advocate for 28 years, and has never seen a petition like this before in a case involving children, and only occasionally when the victim(s) are adult.  And children these victims still are.  If they were under fourteen in 2014, they cannot now be older than sixteen.

Clohessy called the move "a shameful move by officials who profess to be 'Christians.'"  I concur.  Tisiphone, you know what to do.

(Note: the photo of mother and son shows the mother and son in the story.  The photo of the girl is a stock photo from Shutterstock, which AlterNet picked to illustrate the narrative.)

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross-posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/3997742

Share