Oct 132017
 

I’m feeling tired, lethargic, and unmotivated, so it’s a good day for TGIF13!!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:50).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Is Mueller Trying to Stop Trump From Pardoning People?

 

The only people Trump would pardon, other than family, are people, who know enough about his own crimes to be dangerous, if they flip.  Mueller would not have to investigate this, unless he intended to indict Trump, his family, or people who can spill the beans on Trump.  Wooo Hooo!! One possible way is to bring simultaneous indictments in state and federal court. RESIST!!

From Upworthy: The city’s government unveiled an ambitious plan to ban gas-powered cars from the city by the end of the next decade.

"We have planned the end of thermic vehicle use, and therefore of fossil energies, by 2030," Christophe Nadjovski, Paris deputy mayor in charge of transportation, told France Info radio.

The city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, had already announced a plan to ban diesel-powered vehicles from the city by 2024.

Bravo à la France! RESIST!!

From Washington Post: President Trump is throwing a bomb into the insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act, choosing to end critical payments to health insurers that help millions of lower-income Americans afford coverage. The decision coincides with an executive order on Thursday to allow alternative health plans that skirt the law’s requirements.

The White House confirmed late Thursday that it would halt federal payments for cost-sharing reductions, although a statement did not specify when. Another statement a short time later by top officials at the Health and Human Services Department said the cutoff would be immediate. The subsidies total about $7 billion this year.

Trump has threatened for months to stop the payments, which go to insurers that are required by the law to help eligible consumers afford their deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses. But he held off while other administration officials warned him such a move would cause an implosion of the ACA marketplaces that could be blamed on Republicans, according to two individuals briefed on the decision.

Health insurers and state regulators have been in a state of high anxiety over the prospect of the marketplaces cratering because of such White House action. The fifth year’s open-enrollment season for consumers to buy coverage through ACA exchanges will start in less than three weeks, and insurers have said that stopping the cost-sharing payments would be the single greatest step the Trump administration could take to damage the marketplaces — and the law.

Trump’s idiocy is a major abuse of power. The job of the executive branch is to enforce existing law, not to refuse to enforce whatever the moron doesn’t like. It will also kill thousands of people, many of whom will be the deplorable idiots that voted for him. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

1013FridayThe13th

After my nap, I think I’ll go cross paths.

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Target: Manafart

 Posted by at 12:07 pm  Politics
Sep 192017
 

It could not be happening to a sleazier sphincter.  Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has  Trump co-conspirator Paul Manafart by the genitals like a starvation-crazed pit-bull, and I could not be more pleased.  I expected Mueller do do this, but I did not expect it so quickly or with such vigor and tenacity.

0919Manafart

Two stories that popped overnight suggest that special counsel Robert Mueller is aggressively pursuing Paul Manafort, the former chairman of President Trump’s campaign.

CNN reports that “U.S. investigators wiretapped former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort under secret court orders before and after the election”: “The government snooping continued into early this year, including a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Donald Trump. Some of the intelligence collected includes communications that sparked concerns among investigators that Manafort had encouraged the Russians to help with the campaign, according to three sources familiar with the investigation …

A secret order authorized by the court that handles the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) began after Manafort became the subject of an FBI investigation that began in 2014,” per Evan Perez, Shimon Prokupecz and Pamela Brown. “It centered on work done by a group of Washington consulting firms for Ukraine’s former ruling party … The surveillance was discontinued at some point last year for lack of evidence … The FBI then restarted the surveillance after obtaining a new FISA warrant that extended at least into early this year. … Sources say the second warrant was part of the FBI’s efforts to investigate ties between Trump campaign associates and suspected Russian operatives. Such warrants require the approval of top Justice Department and FBI officials, and the FBI must provide the court with information showing suspicion that the subject of the warrant may be acting as an agent of a foreign power.”…

The New York Times reports on its front page this morning that, after agents raided his home with a no-knock search warrant this summer, Mueller’s prosecutors told Manafort that they planned to indict him. The story says the feds decided to pick the lock on Manafort’s front door in Alexandria, Va., because they feared he might try to destroy evidence: “They took binders stuffed with documents and copied his computer files, looking for evidence that Mr. Manafort … set up secret offshore bank accounts. They even photographed the expensive suits in his closet.”… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Washington Post>

Rachel Maddow spent over 21 minutes sorting these out.

I have no doubt that Manafart knows where to find hundreds dump trucks full of dirt on the Fuhrer and on scores of his cronies.  He can either flip and tell all, or else two things will happen.  Pit-bull Mueller will turn him into a soprano, and he’ll be going away for a long, long time.  The Fuhrer won’t pardon him, because then he’d have to tell all.

So we’ll see what Manafart does.  Which Republican course will he take?  Is he a greater coward or a greater fool?

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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Sep 172017
 

My AC is off.  My window is open.  I feel comfortable!  Wooo Hooo!!  Wendy is due momentarily, so I’ll be brief, as I have a lot to get done, before I meditate on the holy Ellipsoid Orb.

Later: Wendy just left, we got everything done, and my AC is still off!

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:37 (average 6:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (MoveOn Chapter): Under Attack

 

Don’t let the Republican Reich steal their future. RESIST!!

From Business Insider: FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller reportedly obtained a search warrant for records of the "inauthentic" accounts Facebook shut down earlier this month and the targeted ads these accounts purchased during the 2016 election. 

The warrant was first disclosed by the Wall Street Journal on Friday night and the news was later confirmed by CNN.

Legal experts say the revelation has enormous implications for the trajectory of Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s election interference, and whether Moscow had any help from President Donald Trump’s campaign team.

"This is big news — and potentially bad news for the Russian election interference ‘deniers,’" said Asha Rangappa, a former FBI counterintelligence agent.

Rangappa, now an associate dean at Yale Law School, explained that to obtain a search warrant a prosecutor needs to prove to a judge that there is reason to believe a crime has been committed. The prosecutor then has to show that the information being sought will provide evidence of that crime.

Tick… tick… tick… RESIST!!

From Daily Kos:

This will not shock you. House Republicans are advancing legislation, H.R. 620, the so-called ADA Education and Reform Act of 201, that would gut the landmark law that has allowed millions of Americans to participate in public life. The Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law more than a quarter of a century ago, and has revolutionized life for many disabled Americans.

However, the job isn’t done and many more still face insurmountable barriers when it comes to accessing private businesses. Now Republicans are trying to push a change in favor of those businesses, putting the onus on their would-be customers to force them to comply with the law.

H.R. 620 would completely change the way in which a business is required to comply with the ADA. Instead of requiring that a business comply proactively, the bill would place the burden on the individual who is being denied access. This bill proposes that after an individual with a disability is denied access she must first notify the business owner, with exacting specificity, that her civil rights were violated, and then wait for six months to see if the business will make “substantial progress” toward access, before going to a court to order compliance.

As one confined to a wheelchair, I often have difficulty getting through doors, navigating aisles that are too narrow, using restrooms without rails, encountering crosswalks without curb ramps, etc.  If I had to wait for six months, just to see if I had access to a business, I’d be inclined to bitch, go elsewhere, and not go through all the hassle of following up. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0917Cartoon

I made this cartoon in 9/2011.  Was I prophetic or what?

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Sep 132017
 

I slept poorly again last night, because of the heat and extreme humidity.  In fact, I overslept this morning, so I missed my nap.  Today, I was able to turn off the AC for the first time in weeks.  I may be able to leave it off, as long as the sun does not hit the wall.  I expect Store to Door to deliver groceries within an hour, so there’s no point in trying to nap until this afternoon.  It may be October, before I’m caught up on my sleep deficit.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:56 (average 4:57).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Robert Mueller is Zeroing in on Trump’s Cover Up

 

How wonderful! Trump’s blood is in the water, and Mueller is a shark. RESIST!!

From YouTube (MoveOn Channel): Hotter Seas & Bigger Storms

 

The Republican position is that this is not an appropriate change to discuss climate change. What more appropriate time could there be? RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: The pornography industry has likely suffered permanent damage as a result of its unfortunate association with the Texas senator Ted Cruz, industry sources said on Tuesday.

Porn, which takes in annual profits of fifteen billion dollars, could see those revenues decimated if, as some industry experts fear, users begin to have intrusive thoughts involving Senator Cruz.

“For porn producers, this is a crisis with no simple solution,” Harland Dorrinson, an industry insider, said. “If you warn viewers not to think about Ted Cruz, there’s a real danger that that’s all they’ll think about.”

In the hours since porn first became associated with the Texas senator, traffic to porn sites has plummeted in what industry sources are ruefully calling “the Cruz effect.”

Dang Andy! I’m no connoisseur of porn, but seeing Cruz cavorting with his TRUS would cause my kitty dingles to retreat and not come out again for months!! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0913Cartoon

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Aug 112017
 

Whoever says that there is no such thing as climate change is out of their gourd!  We here in Metro Vancouver have had higher temperatures than usual this summer.  This follows a snowy winter that left substantial snow packs to feed the reservoirs.  This has meant basic water restrictions, but nothing like last year’s stage 3 restrictions.  The winter was severe for Vancouver, and a lot longer.  That really gets Metro Vancouverites testy.  Of course then there are the wildfires in BC’s interior which are even worse than the 2015 fires, which is saying something.  There has been so much smoke that the mid afternoon sun is literally blood red.  Hopefully some of the smoke will clear out this weekend.  My eyes and throat sure would appreciate that.  I can’t even conceive of what the 47,000 evacuees must be feeling, although that number is down to about 7,000 for now.  Storms elsewhere are bigger and nastier.  As a planet, we owe it to each other to get our shit together.  Totally unrelated, today is my 46th anniversary of when I started in the banking industry.  Thank God I am now retired!

CBC — In a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., between 16 and 23 citizens have reportedly been meeting in secret for weeks, tasked with deciding whether to bring charges in a probe of alleged collusion between U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Collectively, they’re known as a federal grand jury. And on Thursday, reporters learned they were “impanelled” — or brought together — by the all-star team of lawyers led by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Activating the grand jury is a sign Mueller’s Trump-Russia investigation is heating up. Equipped with this tool, Mueller can request the issuing of subpoenas for documents and testimonies.

It marks the next phase in his investigation — “the most critical phase,” according to attorney Seth Abramson, an assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire.

“That’s because it’s the phase in which he doesn’t have to rely on voluntary production of documents or voluntary testimony from important witnesses.”

Any requested documents — which could include phone records, text messages, hotel and restaurant receipts and emails — get shared with the grand jury for consideration as evidence against a target of the investigation.
Subpoenaed witnesses must appear in front of the grand jury to be questioned by first Mueller’s team then the jurors themselves. Witnesses can plead the Fifth Amendment to invoke their right against self-incrimination.

Click through for the rest of this interesting, albeit long, article about this part of the US judicial system.  It may be that some know of the workings, but my guess is that many Americans do not fully understand it if knowledge of political issues are any indication.  Personally, being a Canuck, I found it very interesting and it is from a trusted source, not that the CBC does not make mistakes, but Matt Kwong is thorough.

Canadian Press — Six Americans have been charged with bringing handguns across the New Brunswick border so far this summer, as a Canadian prosecutor says it’s proving difficult to let otherwise law-abiding people know they can’t bring firearms on vacation.

“The offences continue to occur with alarming frequency during the summer months,” federal prosecutor Peter Thorn said from Hampton, N.B.

Five men — three from Florida, two from New England — pleaded guilty and were fined between $1,500 and $2,000, he said.

Thorn, who has prosecuted these cases for years, said most of the people caught are “respectful and law abiding citizens of the U.S.A.” who are unaware handguns are prohibited in Canada. [emphasis mine] …

That same day, a handgun was seized from a 64-year-old Jacksonville, Fla., couple at St. Stephen. It was found, undeclared, in the woman’s suitcase, where her husband had hid it without telling her, Thorn said.

“(The woman) stated that she specifically told her husband not to bring his handgun into Canada,” said Thorn.

I bring this to you because bringing hand guns across the US northern border into Canada is a no-no!  Canada is a sovereign nation and all must respect her laws.  Unfortunately, this happens all across Canada.  Many times, Americans driving to Alaska will bring their guns, sometimes declaring them, other times not.  With heightened surveillance, Canada Border Services are catching more people.  If you are caught, the weapon is confiscated and your entry into Canada is usually denied.  Leave your weapons at home!  It is cheaper.  And husbands, always listen to your wives!

Vancouver Sun — For the first of his 111 random acts of kindness, David McCann donated three works of art worth $1,400 to a Vancouver school for them to auction, with the proceeds going toward school supplies for the students.

For his 71st such act, McCann on Friday delivered 2,000 Roger’s chocolates to the main station of the Vancouver Police Department, enough for all the officers and staff, his way of saying cheers.

“It’s a thank you for the VPD’s willingness to change over the past 50 years in how they view and deal with the Vancouver gay community,” McCann said. “In particular, how they have and continue to provide security so we can enjoy a safe and wonderful Pride celebration and parade.”

McCann pledged to carry out 111 random acts of kindness in honour and memory of his 111-year-old friend, Mary, his partner’s grandmother who died recently.

This is one of those “feel good” pieces — how one man performed 111 random acts of kindness and why.

The Intercept — If you ask Steve Bannon how he got the idea that Muslims in the Middle East are a civilizational threat to America, he will say that his eyes were first opened when he served on a Navy destroyer in the Arabian Sea. At least that’s what he told the journalist Joshua Green, whose new book about President Donald Trump’s senior counselor is a best-seller.

“It was not hard to see, as a junior officer, sitting there, that [the threat] was just going to be huge,” Bannon said. He went on:

“We’d pull into a place like Karachi, Pakistan – this is 1979, and I’ll never forget it – the British guys came on board, because they still ran the port. The city had 10 million people at the time. We’d get out there, and 8 million of them had to be below the age of fifteen. It was an eye-opener. We’d been other places like the Philippines where there was mass poverty. But it was nothing like the Middle East. It was just a complete eye-opener. It was the other end of the earth.”

That’s Bannon’s version. There are a few problems with it, however.

Read on for some of the problems that were unearthed.  And this is a trusted White House senior adviser?  He does not know the truth nor where he was at! I do not buy the idea that Bannon was a confused young naval officer.  Tell me again why Drumpf would have him as an adviser.  Oh, right — two racist peas in a pod.

Bloomberg — Mueller’s team of investigators has sent subpoenas in recent weeks from a Washington grand jury to global banks for account information and records of transactions involving Manafort and some of his companies, as well as those of a long-time business partner, Rick Gates, according to people familiar with the matter.  …

As prosecutors gather many years of information about his financial affairs, Manafort could be dragged deeper into any number of legal disputes. He has a history of doing business with oligarchs and politicians in Ukraine and Russia that predates his political work for President Donald Trump, with payments routed through foreign banks and investments in U.S. real estate.  …

As a practical matter, the blitz of recent subpoenas to global banks poses a challenge to Manafort’s ability to continue his day-to-day business activities as a consultant and investor, said one of the people familiar with the matter.  …

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan were investigating Manafort earlier this year, examining allegations that he laundered money from eastern Europe into New York properties, according to two people familiar with the earlier inquiry. The Southern District of New York handed off their work to the special counsel’s team once Mueller was appointed, the people said.

This is a follow-up to the piece that TC wrote about on 09 August 2017 Open Thread – 8/9/2017.

If I were Manafort, I’d watch my back because the Russian oligarchs are known to not play well with others when the game gets derailed.  Mueller’s investigation is broadening and the cast of characters seems to be growing.  When Drumpf was asked about the raid, he said “I was surprised to see it.  I’ve always found Paul Manafort to be a very decent man.”  I only have one question though, or more correctly, one statement . . . I’d like to know Drumpf’s definition of “decent”.  I doubt it is the same as mine.

Daily Kos — Popular vote loser Donald Trump’s sabotage of the Affordable Care Act isn’t limited to making threats and causing uncertainty for health insurers. He and his administration are taking active, destructive measures to wreck the law they were elected, and in the case of HHS Secretary Tom Price confirmed by the Senate, to uphold. The latest action by the administration is to halt federal outreach to Latinos, one of the communities that has the highest rate of uninsurance.  …

That labor of love included sending cabinet members to Latino communities, translating all the materials for enrollment into Spanish, working with Latino civil rights groups like LULAC and National Council of La Raza (now called Unidos), having townhall televised on Spanish-language channels, as well as an extensive advertising campaign in all forms of Spanish-language media. As a result of all the Obama administration’s efforts, the Latino population saw the largest decline in its uninsured rate of any ethnic community.  …

None of these groups has heard a peep out of the Trump administration about efforts to promote enrollments in the new plan year.

How many times have we heard Drumpf say that Obamacare was “bad” and it was “imploding”.  Drumpf said that he would replace it with something better and cheaper.  “You’re going to love it,” he said.  The numerous attempts to repeal and replace Obamacare fell flat, and rightfully so.  Imploding?  This is not the case.  Sure it has its faults, what plan doesn’t?  But when you look at the numbers of citizens covered by medical insurance now that previously had none, I call that success.  Well it looks like the Drumpf administration is going to assist in the decline of Obamacare — sabotage it — which is what I figured he’d do, one way or another.  It is time to show Drumpf and the Republicans the door out!

My Universe

You know that fishing trip you went on with your dad, way back when?  The cat went on his own fishing trip!

 

 

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