Mar 072017
 

As we have seen in  recent articles here part of Trump’s standard modus operandi has been to engage in deals in which he profits from helping corrupt Russian billionaires launder money.  In this crime du jour, Trump appears to be helping to launder money for the Corleones of the Caspian, and helping them launder money for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

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President Donald Trump and his eldest daughter developed a hotel in Azerbaijan that appears to be a corrupt operation run by a family known as “the Corleones of the Caspian” with links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

The Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku — conceived in 2008 as a luxury apartment building but converted in 2014 into a hotel — has never opened, and both local observers and international experts are baffled by the building’s existence, reported The New Yorker.

The project was intended as an “ultra-luxury property” with both hotel and residential space, but both its location and timing are odd, according to the report.

Trump Tower Baku is located in an underdeveloped part of the city’s downtown, across the street from a discount shopping center and miles away from the main business district.

“Why would someone put a luxury hotel there?” said former top official in Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Tourism. “Nobody who can afford to stay there would want to be in that neighborhood.”…

From <Raw Story>

I encourage you to click through and read both this article and the New Yorker story it references.

Raxhel Maddow covered the story in two segments.  In the first. she clarifies the issue after setting it up with one of her magnificent wandering A blocks.

In the second, she interviews Adam Davidson, author of the New Yorker article.

There is just too much smoke here for there not to be a fire, and not just a fire.  This is a conflagration of corruption of epic proportions.

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Jan 092017
 

Getting my medications squared away is taking me a lot longer than I anticipated, and and I also have other chores.  Since I figure you’ll find out about the contraindications between the  charming and talented Meryl Streep and Buckaroo Bullshit from several hundred other sources, this is my only article today. 

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:49 (average 5:05).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The Daily Beast: The passing today of Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, president of Iran from 1989 to 1997 and a key figure from the 1979 Islamic Revolution, will have earthshattering consequences not only for Iranian reformists and moderates but also Iran’s immediate political future.

At the time of his death, Rafsanjani was president of the Expediency Council, an influential advisory body to the Supreme Leader. Reformist elements in the council have now lost a powerful protector. But this is the least of the inevitable impact of Rafsanjani’s passing.

For the past ten years, within the upper echelons of power, Rafsanjani was the main protective shield for Iranian reformists and other similar factions currently out of power. His fearlessness in confronting hardliners and even the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, with skillful use of the media to do so, created a balance in Iranian politics between moderates and hardline “principlists” largely loyal to Khamenei. The loss of Rafsanjani now causes an overwhelming vacuum that will upset the balance of power between hardliners and more moderate groups in the Islamic Republic.

This could be disastrous for peace with the US, because it will pit extremist Shia hardliners against an Islamophobic Fascist megalomaniac.  RESIST!!

From recordonline.com: According to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the time is nigh to play hardball with the Republicans. Under the tutelage of Mitch McConnell, they became the standard bearers of a do-nothing Congress — and that was never more evident than when President Obama nominated mainstream judge Merrick Garland for a seat on the bench of the Supreme Court.

It would require a supermajority in the Senate to confirm a new SCOTUS judge, and Garland never stood a chance with McConnell deciding the day that Antonin Scalia died that there would be no hearing on a pick by Obama for a replacement.

"I said in February of [2016], to a hail of controversy, that I thought it best if the American people decided this appointment," he said.

And now with President-elect Donald Trump set to appoint his own pick for the Supreme Court, the Democrats and Schumer are threatening a similar blockade — lest it be another "mainstream" pick to their liking. That pits the two counterparts against one another, effectively continuing the partisanship over the nation’s highest court.

I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’d be shocked, if Republicans failed to employ the nuclear option.  RESIST!!

From Raw Story: A Republican plan to replace President Barack Obama’s health care reform law would turn employee health benefits into taxable income and shift more tax savings to high earners.

In a report over the weekend, congressional correspondent Jamie Dupree revealed that buried within an Obamacare replacement bill proposed by the Republican Study Committee in the House is a provision that would create a standard deduction for health insurance (SDHI) of $7,500 for individuals and $20,500 for families.

To pay for the deductions, the Republican plan would remove the tax exemption for employee health care, instead treating the benefits as taxable income.

The plan differs from the Affordable Care Act, which would only tax so-called “Cadillac” health insurance plans with annual premiums exceeding $10,200.

But the poor and middle classes will still get the RepubliCare Death Benefit: Can’t pay? Die for free.  RESIST!!

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For how much longer?  RESIST!!

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Aug 092016
 

I actually got to watch the Olympics for a few minutes last night.  I hope I live through the 2020 games.  I’d hate for my last Olympics to be the one I could not see well.  It’s a busy day with lots of paperwork to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:57 (average 5:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: At a speech in Detroit on Monday, the Republican Presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, spelled out the details of his economic plan, which calls for every American to inherit millions of dollars from his or her father.

“There are people at my rallies, desperate people, desperate because they want jobs,” he told his luncheon audience at the Detroit Economic Club. “Once they inherit millions from their father, they will never want a job again.”

Using an anecdote to show how his economic plan would work, Trump explained, “A man with zero dollars who inherited forty million dollars from his father would become forty million dollars wealthier.”

“We are going to make America rich again,” he said.

So, Andy, do you plan to return to doing satire?

From Daily Kos: And now for some friendly advice for my Republican friends. If you want to criticize President Obama on anything having to do with Iran, don’t waste your energy seething about "Iran" and "ransom" and "hostages" and what Ronald Reagan would do. It won’t end well for you. After all, it wasn’t Reagan’s inauguration that secured the release of 52 Americans held captive in Tehran, but months of negotiations by the Carter administration. And as it turned out during the Iran-Contra scandal, the American president who actually paid a "ransom" and "negotiated with terrorists" was none other than St. Ronnie himself.

In the midst of Republican accusations about Iran, don’t forget that Republicans love to project, accusing Democrats of vile sins against God, nature, and their patron Saint Ronnie, when the one who actually committed them was Saint Ronnie Ray Gun, himself.

From Alternet: “None of us will vote for Donald Trump,” a letter signed by 50 of the right’s top national security officials read. Dozens of top aides and cabinet members for President George W. Bush issued the letter Monday to warn against the Republican presidential nominee as a “risk” to America’s national security.

“From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief,” read the letter drafted by legal adviser at the National Security Council and the State Department under former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice. Several of Rice’s many of closest aides at the White House and the State Department are all signatories to the anti-Trump letter, although the former secretary of state has issued no public statements on Trump’s White House bid.

In March, more than 100 GOP national security advisers signed a similar anti-Trump letter, calling the political neophyte “fundamentally dishonest” who “would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe.” Monday’s letter, however, is signed by several, even more prominent national security officials who cited Trump’s recent remarks about Russia as a catalyst for action. More on the signatories from the New York Times:

Among the most prominent signatories are Michael V. Hayden, a former director of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency; John D. Negroponte, who served as the first director of national intelligence and then deputy secretary of state; and Robert B. Zoellick, another former deputy secretary of state, United States trade representative and, until 2012, president of the World Bank. Two former secretaries of homeland security, Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, also signed, as did Eric S. Edelman, who served as Vice President Dick Cheney’s national security adviser and as a top aide to Robert M. Gates when he was secretary of defense.

I hate to say it, but that’s 100 endorsements we don’t want, considering that around ninety of them should be tried for war crimes.

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It’s either Republicitis or Republicosis!!

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Mar 012016
 

I’m continuing to improve, but I’m so far behind on everything that I’m completely swamped.  Therefore this is today’s only article.  Hugs!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:14 (average 4:51).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Adding a new wrinkle in an already unpredictable election year, Donald Trump saw his poll numbers plummet on Monday after receiving a surprise endorsement from President Barack Obama.

The long-awaited downfall of the abrasive billionaire came in startling fashion, as few had expected the President to offer a full-throated endorsement of Trump, especially on the eve of the all-important Super Tuesday primaries.

Praising the Republican front-runner during a nationally televised address, the President said that, despite media reports to the contrary, Trump shared his views on such important issues as immigration and religious tolerance. “In every way that matters, Donald and I are on exactly the same page,” Obama said, pointing to a framed picture of the billionaire on his Oval Office desk.

Uh Oh!! Andy put InsaniTEA in his Wacky Tobacky!! Dang!!

From Daily Kos: Only hours ago, in an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN, Donald Trump repeatedly refused to repudiate a political endorsement of Trump’s candidacy from KKK leader David Duke, pleading ignorance of Duke and what he represents (white supremacy):

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Hateful Hairball has already demonstrated his racism.

From NY Times: Nearly three years after Iran’s reform-minded president was elected, the most reactionary voices in Iranian politics are losing ground to moderates buoyed by the sweeping nuclear deal with big powers, including the United States.

Though hard-liners still control the most powerful positions and institutions of the state, two national elections last week appeared to build on the slow but unmistakable evolution toward a more moderate political landscape — now and into the future.

It’s a pleasure to report good news for a change.

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Feb 292016
 

I have stayed low for the weekend hoping my foot would do some healing.  And it has!  Tomorrow is physio and teaching.  My physiotherapist will be taking another shot at my foot.  Starting 07/03/2016 Lucia will be taking an ESL class with other students and she won't have her 2 youngest to worry about.  I am going to see if I can sit in on a class or two so that I can tailor our Friday 1-on-1 to her classroom needs.  I am really excited for her as she will have a much better time learning without her 2 youngest children interrupting.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani won a strong vote of confidence and reformist partners secured surprise gains in parliament in early results from elections that could speed up the Islamic Republic's emergence from years of isolation.

Foad Izadi, an assistant professor at the Faculty of World Studies in Tehran University said the reformists' strong showing was prompted by Rouhani's success in reaching a nuclear agreement between Iran and international powers, the removal of most of the sanctions that had strangled the country's economy over the past decade and restoration of relations with the West.

"It is a sweeping victory for Tehran but for other cities it is not yet clear cut. It is beyond expectations," he added.

Etemad, a reformist newspaper whose managing-editor Elias Hazrati won a seat in Tehran, chose the headline of "clean up in the parliament."

Along with hope of a parliamentary clean up comes hope for better economic times.  As noted in a Foreign Policy article,

Hassan Rouhani had been president for almost a year, and Iran and the group of six world powers — the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany — had inked an interim nuclear agreement in Geneva. For the first time in years, Kaveh no longer felt hopeless about the future of his country. Members of the business community, like him, believed Rouhani had the political grit necessary to fight corruption and bring economic change. The prospects of a nuclear deal had them revitalized, he told me. Kaveh had become a senior executive at a private aviation firm and was especially excited because sanctions for aviation had been relaxed; his company had launched talks with a European firm to buy new airplanes. International delegations were trickling in for business talks, and there was even talk of trade with America, Kaveh said excitedly.  …

… in 2016, Kaveh’s attitude has again shifted. Although there are glimmers of hope on the horizon of the Iranian economy, he tells me true change will take longer than he once thought.

There is change, but it will take time to reconnect economically.  When there are 2 intractable players like the US and the Iranian hardliners, it will take that much longer to repair the economic damage.  Click through for the remainder of these two related articles.

Right Wing Watch — After vowing to go after journalists who write critical stories about him at a rally in Texas today, Donald Trump bragged about the support his presidential campaign has received from conservative evangelical voters, touting endorsements from televangelist Paula White, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Sarah Palin.

Trump even brought Robert Jeffress, the conservative televangelist notorious for his anti-gay, anti-Catholic and anti-Mormon preaching, onto the stage to sing his praises. Jeffress called Trump a patriot “who is truly pro-life,” unlike Hillary Clinton, whom he warned would be “the most pro-abortion president in history.”

“God bless Donald Trump,” Jeffress declared. Trump had a much bleaker message: “Christianity is under siege. Every year it gets weaker and weaker and weaker.”

He said he would restore Christianity to greatness by scrapping IRS regulations pertaining to church engagement in partisan political activity on behalf of candidates or campaigns.

Listening to this ass is frightening.  He panders . . . panders to the evangelicals and the haters.  He panders to their fears without true regard to the consequences.  In an Alternet article, "…McConnell reportedly told colleagues that the party will drop Trump “like a hot rock” if he is the nominee."  I guess we wait a little longer.

Truthdig — “There is a clear contrast between our two candidates with regard to my strong belief that we must end the interventionist, regime change policies that have cost us so much,” she [U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii] wrote. “This is not just another ‘issue.’ This is THE issue, and it’s deeply personal to me. This is why I’ve decided to resign as Vice Chair of the DNC so that I can support Bernie Sanders in his efforts to earn the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential race.”

From the beginning, it seems that the deck has been stacked against Bernie.  Not only has the press virtually ignored him, but the DNC has as well.  I question whether the chairperson of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, has been equally concerned about neutrality since she was a Clinton 2008 national campaign co-chair.

My Universe

I hate that animals are brutalised like Duffy was, but I love the transformations!

Now if people could only get the message that animals and people should not be brualised, not abused but LOVED!

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Jan 212016
 

Yesterday stayed busy.  After my shower-aide left, Safeway.com delivered groceries, which I put away.  Then my helper friend came.  We did laundry, and I tried on everything in my closet to determine what to keep and what to throw away.  The goal is to make the clothes I wear more accessible.  This morning I spent a couple hours doing volunteer work, researching two potential appointees to the Parole Board.  We want thee board to diversify.  A Board consisting only of Prosecutors, Parole Officers, and Victims’ Rights Advocates insures bias against prisoners, rather than a fair hearing.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:00 (average 4:44).  To do it, click here.  How did you do.

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: In a clip from her upcoming special "Marriage Material," Esposito tackles gun culture.

 

This is a big take-down of Republican Ammosexuals.

From Daily Kos: Rachel Maddow points out the inconvenient truths about Ronald Reagan as GOP candidates attempt to live vicariously through a misremembered idol. It has been the modus operandi of Republican candidates as they wrap themselves in their parties icon. It is no different than Hillary Clinton wrapping herself in President Obama during the 4th Democratic Debate.

Recently GOP candidates have been attacking President Obama on the deal he made to bring the hostages home from Iran. Marco Rubio told Chuck Todd he would be like Ronald Reagan in dealing with Iran. Unfortunately Rubio is severely misremembering a Ronald Reagan who traded arms for hostages in Iran. He admitted it on national TV. Many of his National Security team were indicted. It was known as the Iran Contra scandal.

 

This is Rachel’s original video, as the clip included with the article did not embed. Today’s Republicans prefer not to remember either the crimes or the “librul” tax increases perpetrated by Saint Ronnie Ray Gun.

From NY Times: Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in the historical record by far, breaking a mark set only the year before — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.

In the contiguous United States, the year was the second-warmest on record, punctuated by a December that was both the hottest and the wettest since record-keeping began. One result has been a wave of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed.

Scientists started predicting a global temperature record months ago, in part because an El Niño weather pattern, one of the largest in a century, is releasing an immense amount of heat from the Pacific Ocean into the atmosphere. But the bulk of the record-setting heat, they say, is a consequence of the long-term planetary warming caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases.

“The whole system is warming up, relentlessly,” said Gerald A. Meehl, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

The faster we convert top green energy, the less catastrophic the effects will be.

The faster we convert top green energy, the less catastrophic the effects will be.

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