Oct 232016

I’m already tired.  I was up at 5:00, eating and starting my research.  Wendy arrived at 7:00.  After she scrubbed and buffed the TomCat, we cleaned the counters and floors,  collected and filled out 20+ pages of information to apply for my insulin manufacturers senior assistance program, made a casserole for the week, and made potato’s and eggs for brunch.  As I write, I’m listening to the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb in the background.  My pillow is calling.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:07 (average 5:40).  To do it, chick here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (TYT Channel): Donald Trump’s Epic Fail With Salma Hayek!!


Considering what Rump Dump considers important and the size of her implants, her height was never even slightly important to him.

From YouTube (SNL Channel): Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton Third Debate Cold Open – SNL


That was all too close to the real one!

From NY Times: Just months ago, Senator Marco Rubio was seen by the Republican establishment as one of its best hopes for taking back the White House. Now, Representative Patrick Murphy, a second-term congressman, is within striking distance of defeating Mr. Rubio in the senator’s race to keep his seat.

I am proud to endorse Patrick Murphy against Marco "Border Booter" Rubio (R-FL), infamous for goose-stepping with the Republican Party in support of their hatred of and bigotry against Latinos.




Everyday Erinyes #48

 Posted by at 12:08 pm  Politics
Oct 222016

It's another week when I have so many items today which seem to call for the efforts of the Greek Furies (Erinyes) to come and deal with them that I won't be able to share them all. 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 am pushing all the other stories to the back to start with this one:  The Pentagon is demanding the return, by California National Guard veterans who servied in combet ten to fifteen years ago, of enlistment bonuses that they were paid.  As a veteran, this just frosts me.bonuses

Most of my ten years in service were spent in the Disbursing field (as the Navy and Marines call it; the Army and Air Force call it Finance.  Prmarily it means payroll.)  We used to have an in-joke about the complainer:

Hey!  you shorted my paycheck this month!

Well, yes.  That's because we overpaid you last month.  You didn't say anything then.

Well, one mistake I can forgive, but not two in a row!

In other words, yes, we did make mistakes, and had to correct them, and it wasn't always pleasant.  But our mistakes were things people might be expected to have been aware of.  This is an entirely different situation.  These are people who were paid large sums of money essentially to go into indentured servitude for years of their life.  Many received life changing injuries during this period of servitude.  There is no way they could have known or predicted that any money they were receiving was paid incorrectly.  And it darned well is possible to write them off.  Some of them have been.  But not everyone has the resources to fight.

One retired major, an Iraq veteran, is being required to repay a $20,000 bonus because no one can find a copy of the contract he signed.  Ironically, his current job is as a financial crimes investigator.  He's close to exhausting his appeals.

A sergeant first class from Oroville filed a class action lawsuit in February on behalf of all soldiers who got bonuses, on the ground that the California Guard "conned" them into enlisting or reenlisting.  In August he got a letter from the Pentagon waiving repayment of his bonus.  (He still owes for some student loans, but loans are loans, I can grasp that.)  Then, the US Attorney petitioned the court to dismiss the suit on the grounds that it was now moot since the SFC's debt had been waived.  My, my.  That's a cheap way to get out of a lawsuit.  The motion is expected to be ruled on by January.

Megaera, I think maybe the best person to target here is this judge who will be ruling on the motion to dismiss the class action suit.  Don't let that happen.  The suit will not put people's lives back together, and it certainly will not put people's bodies back together, but at least, if won, it will reach groups of people rather than individuals, and they won't have to be fighting alone.  Good luck.

Of course the veterans affected by these recoupment efforts were all honest soldiers.  Unfortunately, there are also a lot of crusaderswhat I might call dishonest soldiers – dishonorable soldiers – deplorable soldiers? – in our midst.  Three of them, calling themselves "Crusaders," were arrested a bit over a week ago, and, perhaps because they were arrested and were off the street facing charges, have not attracted a lot of attention.  Not that they deserve it, but the swamp from which they came does deserve at least some of our attention. 

These three individuals, Curtis Allen, Patrick Stein, and Gavin Wright, were arrested on October 14 on charges stemming from a plot to attack a housing complex which includes a mosque in Garden City, Kansas.  The complex is home to a number of Somali immigrants.  The "Crusaders" were going to put four explosive-laden vehicles, the explosives in question including ammonium nitrate, as used by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City in 1995, at the four corners of the complex.

They also had a long "to-do" list of other buildings to target, including but not limited to churches that have supported the relocation of refugees.  All the locations were referred to as "cockroaches."

They do seem to realize that they are not socially acceptable, seeing as they operate largely through closed Facebook groups.  One of these groups, "III% Security Force of Kansas," has members who include Patrick Stein – and 45 other people.  I did have to chuckle over the name of the group that they at least have the consistency to eschew Arabic numbers.  Most wingnuts aren't that consistent.

Dear Tisiphone, perhaps you could infiltrate one or more of these groups – and then give them a little explosion of their own, as only Erinyes can.  But don't neglect following the court case and ensuring conviction and effective sentencing.

Speaking of courts, some of us may remember the sad case of Kalief Browder.

Kalief Browder was arrested in 2010 at age 16 for allegedly stealing a backpack, a charge he adamantly denied. Unable to afford the $3,000 bail, Kalief was sent to Rikers Island to await trail. He was incarcerated for three years—the majority of which was in solitary confinement—awaiting his day in court. That day never came. The charges were dropped, and he returned home in 2013.  (emphasis mine)

In 2015, at the age of 22, Kalief, who had shown obvious personality changes after his release, hanged himself.  His family filed a $20 million wrongful death lawsuit against the city of New York.  But closure, if it comes, will be too late for his mother.kalief-browder-mural-main

Venida Browder succumbed to heart complications on Friday, Ocrtober 14.  Her lawyer told the New York Daily News that she "literally died of a broken heart."

Earlier this year, she has spoken with the Marshall Project for the upcoming video series We Are Witnesses.  If you click through you can see that video.  If you can bear to.  One quote: “[Prison guards] told him, ‘We’re going to break you,’ ” Browder said. “That’s what they told my baby, that they’re going to break him, and in reality they did.”

Alecto, although it is too late for Venida, Kalief's brother Akeem is still fighting.  The lawsuit may help him get some closure.  Althoug I am pretty sure he would feel even more vindicated if you were able to shut down Riker's Island completely.  Good luck with that.

The Furies and I will be back.

Cross posted to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/4017308

Oct 152016

I had several extra chores to get done this morning, including renegotiating my cable/internet package.  While I’ll never be a big fan of Xfinity, it’s my only option, because my building does not allow dish service.  I did manage to more than double my Internet speed, without raising the cost.  I’m feeling more tired than I should, and think it’s the Lyrica.  Tomorrow is a holy day in the Church of the Ellipsoid Orb.  My faith has already been shattered for the week, but may the Holy Orb shine its blessed light on your team.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:30 (average 4:24).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: We knew this was coming. It came in his speech tonight.

Donald Trump lashed out at global elites who undermine American sovereignty through “international banks” — and many observers couldn’t help but notice the underlying anti-Semitic message.

* * *

Throughout the speech, Trump used harsh language that evoked old and ugly anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about international bankers who supposedly infiltrate national governments and control the global agenda. Citing recent Clinton campaign emails published by WikiLeaks, Trump told the crowd that "Clinton meets in secret with international banks in order to plot the destruction of US sovereignty." Echoing the rhetoric of Alex Jones and other conspiracy theorists, Trump repeatedly referred to "globalists" as the true enemy and Clinton as their handmaiden.

The “international bankers” trope is nearly as old as Anti-Semitism itself and needs little explanation. But for those who are unfamiliar, there is Wikipedia.

As other Republicans distance themselves (without withdrawing their endorsements), Rump Dump is lining up all the more with the Alt-Right Nazi Republicans.

From The New Yorker: Hillary Clinton is “plotting to rig the election by getting more votes than I do,” Donald J. Trump warned his supporters on Friday.

Speaking at a rally, Trump detailed what he called Clinton’s “vast conspiracy” to accrue more votes than he does on Election Day.

“The media won’t tell you this, but Crooked Hillary is going around the country every single day, trying to get more votes than I do,” he said. “That’s how she’s going to rig it, folks.”

He called the current sexual-assault allegations against him “a plot by the Clintons to draw attention away from Hillary’s evil plot to get votes.”

But Andy, all Republicans go bananas when Democrats use this strategy!!

From Common Dreams: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Friday called on President Barack Obama to remove one of his top hand-picked financial regulators, saying the current chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had driven the agency off its course.

In a 12-page letter (pdf) to Obama, Warren took aim at SEC chief Mary Jo White, a Republican-leaning Independent who has refused to work on a rule that would enforce transparency in corporate political donations. The Massachusetts senator wrote that White has consistently engaged in "extraordinary, ongoing efforts to undermine the agency’s central mission" since her appointment in 2013, and urged Obama to use unilateral authority to oust her and tap a more qualified SEC member.

"I do not make this request lightly," Warren wrote. "I have tried both publicly and privately to persuade Chair White to direct the agency’s resources toward pressing matters of compelling interest to investors and the public, and toward completing those rules that Congress has required it to implement. But after years of fruitless efforts, it is clear that Chair White is set on her course. The only way to return the SEC to its intended purpose is to change its leadership."

I fully agree with Liz, White is acting like a Republican, and should be ousted.




King Midas?

 Posted by at 11:48 am  Politics
Oct 132016

"The most famous King Midas is popularly remembered in Greek mythology for his ability to turn everything he touched into gold. This came to be called the golden touch, or the Midas touch.  … According to Aristotle, legend held that Midas died of starvation as a result of his "vain prayer" for the gold touch." — Wikipedia

Glasser: Based on what you know about his personality from having studied it and written about it, how do you see him handling the next three weeks, given that he’s now in this hole? To me, his combative behavior since the release of the tape, his lack of remorse, his going on the offense, his complaining that it’s not fair, essentially, his going to war even against his own party seems very consistent with the person that you all have done such a good job of describing. So what does he do for the next three weeks? Is there a point at which he gives up, stops fighting? How can he be a loser for three weeks before the actual election?

O’Brien: I think he is just going to wage a scorch‑the‑earth campaign for the next three weeks. And if he loses, which I think he’s going to—I think he’s going to lose badly—he’s then going to come up with a scenario in which it was stolen from him, that the election was rigged, because he’s survived by creating alternate realities. And he’ll never say to himself he lost because he had a skeletal campaign operation, which he did; that he lost because he’s unappealing to a large swath of the voters; that he lost because he’s willfully ignorant about public policy; that he lost because he’s a nasty and unappealing bigot. He’ll never, ever acknowledge any of that. He’ll just come up with an alternate reality that said, “It was rigged against me.” 


O’Brien: Yeah. I don’t feel like I’ve seen or learned anything new about him. I think a lot of the way he’s approached this presidential race parallels all of the strengths and weaknesses of his business career, personally and professionally. He’s a profoundly narcissistic person who has been insulated from the realities of his own bad decision‑making by wealth and other people’s needs to kind of glom onto him, and I think he really did repeat so much of his past mistakes throughout this political season. He came into it with an opportunity and an advantage that he could have really built something on. But because of his myriad flaws—you know, he’s financially undisciplined, he’s emotionally and intellectually undisciplined, and he’s incapable of building teams and leading other people, profoundly incapable of those things—he blew those opportunities.

And I don’t think he really cares. I think he’s been more than satisfied to be on a big global stage and have everybody paying attention to him, and he’ll never characterize himself as a loser in this process, even if he ends up one. 

D’Antonio: I think he’s addicted to this kind of attention and addicted to being taken seriously, or at least in his own estimation being taken seriously. So whatever he does, it will be devoted more to politics and media than what he’s done so far, and the kids are going to pick up the pieces of the real estate and branding empire. I’m working on a piece with some people who are evaluating his business, and he’s really suffered an erosion of his brand, even among the people who supported it. So the kids may have seen some of their inheritance go down the drain here.

From Politico

Click through for this long but interesting piece about Trump, his personality, foibles and actions and the future, as told by four of his biographers.  As I read the piece, I thought of King Midas and his golden touch.  I see Trump in a similar light.  Trump sees himself as the man with the golden touch — he'll make America great again, if you buy his press, which I do not.  But like Midas, who wanted gold and starved because of it, Trump, accustomed to getting what he wants, will starve from the attention that he does not want, the attention ascribed to a loser.



Oct 132016

I haven't posted for some time for a number of reasons, most recently because I fell out of bed in the middle of the night and landed on my shoulder/arm and neck and then got a cold that turned into a wicked sinus infection for which I am still taking anti biotics.  So here we go with an Open Thread and another separate piece.  Not much else going on.  The furbabies, like usual, are here beside me sleeping peacefully.

Short Takes

Maclean's — Canada is a leader when it comes to collaborating on global issues, rockstar Bono said Saturday during his keynote address at a Montreal conference to fundraise for AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

“It’s just great to see Canada leading on this,” he said. “You’ve always been ahead of the curve in realizing we can do more if the international community works together and subsuming your ego into the grand plan.”

Bono was joined onstage by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates for the second and final day of an international donor conference that hopes to raise $13 billion to replenish the Global Fund for the fight against these three major infectious diseases.

Canada has already promised more than $800 million for the 2017-19 funding period.

Thank you Bono!  Another reason I am a proud Canadian.

CBC — No hard feelings, eh.

Canada, spurned not long ago at the United Nations, is once again staking out a coveted spot at the foreign policy dais.

Justin Trudeau will address the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, delivering his maiden speech as Canadian prime minister at the high-level diplomatic forum that had an acrimonious relationship with this country's previous government.

The 71st annual session of the largest diplomatic conference in the world presents the first opportunity in a decade for Canada to rebrand itself under a new Liberal leadership — not just as a global power broker, but as the progressive voice of international diplomacy.

Six years have passed since the country's historic loss in its bid for a seat at the UN Security Council; five since Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird struck a combative tone at the Assembly, telling the chamber in New York that Canada refuses to "go along in order to get along" on international affairs.

Baird once dismissed the UN as a "debating club for dictators."

Although this article is a little dated now, to me it is still relevant.  In 1964, a UN peacekeeping force was created to, according to Wikipedia "…prevent a recurrence of fighting following intercommunal violence between the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to contribute to the maintenance and restoration of law and order and to facilitate a return to normal conditions."  Canada, under PM Lester Pearson (Lib) was part of that force.  I was 12 at the time.  In 1993, Canadian L Gen Roméo Dallaire was the Force Commander for the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, a supposed peacekeeping mission in Rwanda which unfortunately failed.  (http://www.romeodallaire.com/).  Jean Chrétien (Lib) was the Prime Minister.  This is how I like to see my country's actions — peacekeepers — and it is when I have been most proud of it.  So to see PM Justin Trudeau grab the bull by the horns and launch Canada back into peacekeeping commitments was, well, the way it should be.  Harper and his harlots had ecshewed the UN in no uncertain terms.  So, we're baaaack!

Raw Story — First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday directly addressed allegations that Donald Trump groped and touched women inappropriately.

“The fact is that in this election, we have a candidate for president of the United States who, over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning, I simply will not repeat anything here today,” she told a crowd in Manchester, New Hampshire. “And last week we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women. And I can’t believe that I’m saying that. A candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women and I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this."

Well said Michelle Obama!  It is about time that people of influence denounced Trump and his Republican sycophants for their shameful rhetoric and lies about women and girls.

ReutersAmericans should vote for Donald Trump as president next month or risk being dragged into a nuclear war, according to a Russian ultra-nationalist ally of President Vladimir Putin who likes to compare himself to the U.S. Republican candidate.

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, a flamboyant veteran lawmaker known for his fiery rhetoric, told Reuters in an interview that Trump was the only person able to de-escalate dangerous tensions between Moscow and Washington.

By contrast, Trump's Democratic rival Hillary Clinton could spark World War Three, said Zhirinovsky, who received a top state award from Putin after his pro-Kremlin Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) came third in Russia's parliamentary election last month.

Another one for the books!  Click through for more and a video.  Definitely a "Barf Bag Alert" needed!


My Universe


Oct 062016

Yesterday’s supper was delicious, and we sent a green cloud north in search of the Squatch.  Tomorrow, I have an appointment with Courtney, my Physical Terrorist, so I may have nothing more than a Personal Update.  If you are in Matthew’s path, please take care.  You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:54 (average 5:00).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From KOIN: The Republican candidate for Oregon governor drew boos at a Portland debate Friday when he suggested successful women aren’t susceptible to sexual violence.

Dr. Bud Pierce’s remarks came after his Democratic opponent Gov. Kate Brown also disclosed she has been a victim of domestic violence.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that Pierce said “a woman that has a great education and training and a great job is not susceptible to this kind of abuse by men, women or anyone.”

The line drew groans and boos from the audience at the Portland City Club.

I proudly endorse Kate Brown, Oregon’s only rational choice for Governor.

From CMD: Bayer announced this month that it plans to purchase Monsanto, the controversial chemical corporation that has been sued around the world over its products. Nowadays, Bayer has a more consumer-friendly corporate reputation, but has a checkered past too. (Bayer’s history as a German company during the Nazi era is well documented.)

According to Vox, if regulators approve the $66 billion deal, the merger would create the largest agribusiness giant in the world, “selling 29 percent of the world’s seeds and 24 percent of its pesticides.”

Selling nearly a third of the world’s seeds actually means owning a huge portion of the seed stock on the planet. And, Monsanto has spent decades genetically modifying seeds to make them compatible with its chemical pesticides and herbicides, as with Roundup-ready corn. Those are the kinds of chemicals and modifications that can’t be washed off.

In the U.S., citizens have been waging major campaigns to try to get GMO products labeled and/or to prevent the use of GMO crops in their communities. These efforts have been attacked by Monsanto and other chemical corporations, which have worked to defeat citizen democracy through subterfuge—as with the deceptive ads that beat back California’s proposition on GMO labeling and with a “preemption” bill in Oregon to trump local ballot measures that passed overwhelmingly in two Oregon counties that banned GMO crops.

I hope you already know just how evil I consider Monsanto to be, but Bayer is just as bad. They became a corporate giant using slave labor in concentration camps and conducting bizarre medical experiments on camp prisoners, working closely with the infamous Mengele Brothers. Their record continues to be horrid. Click here for more details.

From NY Times: Donald J. Trump’s support has plunged across the swing-state map over the last 10 days, wiping out his political recovery from September and threatening to undo weeks of Republican gains in the battle for control of Congress.

For his party, Mr. Trump’s reversal in fortune comes at the worst possible moment: Having muted their criticism of Mr. Trump in hopes that he could at least run competitively through Election Day, Republicans must decide in the next few days, rather than weeks, whether to seek distance from his wobbly campaign.

Should Mr. Trump falter badly in his second debate with Hillary Clinton on Sunday in St. Louis, Republican congressional candidates may take it as a cue to flee openly from their nominee, said two senior Republicans involved at high levels of the campaign who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private party strategy.

Mr. Trump has already slipped perceptibly in public polls, trailing widely this week in Pennsylvania and by smaller margins in Florida and North Carolina — three states he cannot afford to lose. But private polling by both parties shows an even more precipitous drop, especially among independent voters, moderate Republicans and women, according to a dozen strategists from both parties who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the data was confidential.

Hillary’s tactic of treating Trump as separate from the Republican party is wrong.  We need to keep tying Trump and every Republican candidate from Dawg Catcher up together. The only difference between most of them and Trump is that they try assure their base of their hate-filled positions and policies using dog whistles, at the same time that they deceive the general public about them. On the other hand, Trump articulates those same positions and policies clearly. In short, he’s just another Republican, and they are just junior Trumps.

From YouTube (Move-on Channel): Complacency is Not an Option


Listen to the Reich on the left, Robert Reich. Defeat the Reich on the Right, the Republican Reich in an election day blow out! If you think that it’s OK to waste your vote, because it’s not needed to defeat Trump, it’s not OK. Your vote is needed!  Don’t play Russian Roulette with Putin’s Pup!!