Oct 192017
 

It’s been another busy day.  I scheduled medical appointments, and lift bus rides.  I ordered a new cover for Stumpy.  Last night, I asked Wendy to measure my circumference three inches back from the tip.  You should have seen the look on her face, when she asked me what on earth for.  So I told her.  She was most relieved, I was talking about Stumpy. Angel

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:15 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Funny or Die Channel): Republican Tax Plan: How Much Does Jared Kushner Get?

 

They got that right! How much does Kushner get? Too! RESIST!!

From 11th Hour: Fmr. CIA boss Brennan: World may wonder if Trump’s just reckless

For the first time, fmr. CIA Director John Brennan takes on Trump’s foreign policy – issuing dire warnings on the threat of war with North Korea and Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.

 

For a former CIA Director to make such a public statement is unprecedented. RESIST!!

From NY Times: President Trump on Wednesday backed away from his endorsement of a bipartisan Senate proposal to stabilize health insurance markets, throwing the legislative effort into doubt even as the chief architect of the deal predicted that it would become law before the end of the year.

The latest actions by the White House confused Republicans on Capitol Hill and irked Democrats — but in the end, their effect was not clear. The effort to calm roiled insurance markets appears destined for a showdown in December, when supporters of the compromise, drafted by Senators Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, and Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, will have the most leverage.

The mixed signals began Tuesday, when Mr. Trump appeared to give his blessing to the deal to restore subsidies to health insurers that he said days before he would cut off. Mr. Alexander and Ms. Murray agreed on legislation that would continue federal payments to insurance companies through 2019 to reimburse them for discounts that they are required to provide to millions of low-income people who have coverage under the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

I just received an email from Jeff Merkley [D-OR] that he supports it, but as I said yesterday, the chance of passage is slim at best. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

1019Cartoon

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Oct 182017
 

It’s a busy day for me.  I’m waiting for Store to Door to deliver groceries, and will finish writing, after I put them away and have lunch.  Wendy is coming this evening to de-stink the sweaty TomCat.  Perhaps I should have warned her to bring a gas mask.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:04 (average 5:05).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Jig Zone Puzzle:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Donald Trump is F*cking Crazy

 

I have a small bone to pick with Keith… a VERY small bone. Keith needs to find another expletive to pair with ‘crazy’. ‘F*cking’ requires far more meat than Putin’s Piddle Pervert has. RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: Former President Barack Obama has started calling every person in America to offer consolation about Donald Trump being President, Obama has confirmed.

“It’s something I meant to do right after the Inauguration,” Obama said, during a brief break from the phone calls. “I feel terrible that I didn’t get to it sooner.”

The former President said that, although the phone calls are a small gesture, he felt that he had to do whatever he could to extend his sympathy about Trump being President.

“There’s a lot of pain out there that a phone call from me can never fix,” he said. “Still, I want people to know that I care.”

Thanks, Andy! It’s about time Obama got around to doing that! RESIST!!

From NY Times: Two leading senators, hoping to stabilize teetering health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, reached a bipartisan deal on Tuesday to fund critical subsidies to insurers that President Trump moved just days ago to cut off.

At the White House, virtually as the deal was being announced, Mr. Trump voiced support for it while insisting that he would try again to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health law.

The plan by the senators, Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, and Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington, would fund the subsidies for two years, a step that would provide at least short-term certainty to insurers. The subsidies, known as cost-sharing reduction payments, reimburse insurance companies for lowering deductibles, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs for low-income customers.

Without them, insurance companies said, premiums for many customers purchasing plans under the Affordable Care Act would shoot up, and with profits squeezed, some of the companies would probably leave the market.

“In my view, this agreement avoids chaos,” Mr. Alexander said, “and I don’t know a Democrat or a Republican who benefits from chaos.”

There are several things about this deal that I do not like, but I think I prefer it to the Republican plan to eliminate cost sharing reduction payments. I’ll reserve judgment, until I can count the beans in the can.  Getting it through the House might be impossible.  RESIST!!

Cartoon:

1018Cartoon

And are they sad that we did, or what?

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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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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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Jul 312017
 

Eye torture day.  I’m in a big rush.  I’ll comment when I return, if I can.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:18 (average 4:32).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NY Times: A little more than a year after the Russian effort to interfere in the American presidential election came to light, the diplomatic fallout — an unraveling of the relationship between Moscow and Washington on a scale not seen in decades — is taking its toll.

President Vladimir V. Putin bet that Donald J. Trump, who had spoken fondly of Russia and its authoritarian leader for years, would treat his nation as Mr. Putin has longed to have it treated by the West. That is, as the superpower it once was, or at least a major force to be reckoned with, from Syria to Europe, and boasting a military revived after two decades of neglect.

That bet has now backfired, spectacularly. If the sanctions overwhelmingly passed by Congress last week sent any message to Moscow, it was that Mr. Trump’s hands are now tied in dealing with Moscow, probably for years to come.

House and Senate Republicans got their quid, when the Fuhrer took the White House. They don’t care if Putin [R-RU] gets his quo. Trump [R-RU] signed the bill, only because he knew Congress would override a veto. Passing sanctions helps Republican legislators hide their seditious participation in covering-up Trump’s Treason. RESIST!!

From Washington Post: Even if they weren’t able to snuff out Obamacare, Republicans appear determined to ensure its marketplaces accelerate their meltdown.

Over the weekend, President Trump castigated the Senate for failing to pass multiple versions of legislation repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act, despite a marathon health-care debate that spanned four days last week. The president has few options left at this point, but he does have power over one crucial part of the ACA marketplaces: payments covering cost-sharing discounts (or CSRs) that insurers must offer to the lowest-income customers. These payments are estimated to total $7 billion this year — making up about 15 percent of all federal subsidies on which marketplace plans are counting.

At this moment, it’s up to the administration whether to make the monthly CSR payments to insurers. So far, it has delivered them around the 20th of each month. But the president tweeted on Saturday that he’s considering withholding the next batch (presumably in August), if Republicans don’t find a way to mov past their seemingly insurmountable gridlock on health care:

Click Through. I would hope the insurers could sue the Reich. Howl, Protesters! Howl! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0731Cartoon

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Jul 302017
 

Wendy left a short time ago, and I desperately needed destinking.  Portland entered an excessive heat warning starting yesterday and extending through the entire week.  Today is only 89° (60% humidity).  Thursday is forecast at 109°.  ARGH!  Tomorrow I have my semi-annual eye torture by Alison, my eye cancer surgeon, to make sure there has been no recurrence.  Ultrasound on the eye is like scratching a chalk board inside your head.  I’ll be gone most of the day and will be fully dilated and useless when I return, so please expect no more than a Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:07 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (RWW Channel): RWW News: Rick Joyner Says Chaos Is Proof Trump Is An ‘Extraordinary Leader,” Just Like Jesus

Barf Bag Alert!!

What a crock from this Republican Supply-side pseudo-Christian. However, Trump is just like Republican Supply-side Jesus (the exact opposite of the Real Jesus). So where is Supply-side Judas when we need him? RESIST!!

From Daily Kos:

Senate Republicans failed in their latest attempt to take health coverage from 16 million people with so-called “skinny repeal.” So how’s Donald Trump responding? By lamenting the failure and promising to do what he can to blow up the system so that at least a few million people lose coverage:

 

Very presidential. So populist. What a champion of working people. After sleeping on it, Trump expressed the deep thought that “If Republicans are going to pass great future legislation in the Senate, they must immediately go to a 51 vote majority, not senseless 60”—after a 51-49 vote.

What an idiot!! RESIST!!

From NY Times: President Trump’s admonition that the police should not be “too nice” while transporting suspects drew laughter and cheers from a crowd of officers on Friday, but police officials swiftly made it clear they did not find the words funny.

From New York to Los Angeles, law enforcement authorities criticized the president’s remarks. Experts worried that his words could encourage the inappropriate use of force. A defense lawyer even signaled that he might use video of the speech in court.

The criticism online started shortly after Mr. Trump’s comments, which came at an event in Brentwood, N.Y., which was intended to support the police in their fight against La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, a gang that has been accused of several murders on Long Island.

After calling for more immigration officers to help arrest the gang members, Mr. Trump told officers, “Please don’t be too nice.”

“Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over” their head, he said, putting his hand above his head for emphasis. “I said, ‘You can take the hand away, O.K.?’”

To the best of my knowledge, no President has ever publicly called for criminal police brutality. But the Fuhrer is a Resident, not a President. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0730Cartoon

Redux time!

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