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Saturday, June 30, 2018

Trump, Justice Kennedy, and Deutsche Bank

Bad enough that Trump will have a second chance to nominate a Supreme Court Justice, it appears he finessed the retirement of Kennedy ...

Trump's business career is more connected to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy than we ever knew

The son of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was leading a real-estate division of Deutsche Bank as it gave President Donald Trump over $1 billion in loans to finance his real-estate projects when other banks wouldn't, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Justin Kennedy, the former global head of Deutsche Bank's real-estate capital markets division, was one of Trump's close business associates, The Times reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Because of Trump's inconsistent track record in business, which included multiple bankruptcy filings and frequent lawsuits, most other major banks would not lend to him. Deutsche Bank loaned Trump the funds to construct and renovate skyscrapers and other developments in New York City and Chicago, The Times reported.

After Trump's first address to Congress, in February 2017, he reportedly stopped to chat with Anthony Kennedy, saying: "Say hello to your boy. Special guy." ......

More from The New York Times: Inside the White House’s Quiet Campaign to Create a Supreme Court Opening

We will recall that the Mueller investigation has been looking at Deutsche Bank for at least six months for Russian money laundering and Trump connections: Trump, Russia, And Deutsche Bank: What We Know So Far

How convenient it will be for Trump when he faces an indictment from the Mueller investigation and he can turn to his two lackeys on the Supreme Court to save his ass.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Trey Gowdy runs his mouth

Congressman Trey Gowdy yelled at Rod Rosenstein about the length of the Mueller investigation yesterday, using several naughty words while doing it - oh my, what a real manly man he must be!

He's also as dumb as a brick and disingenuous with it ...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Goodbye to all that's good

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy is retiring and Trump has said he will appoint a new Justice who is pro-life. The Democrats will try to stop this, but they can only do this if one or more Republicans will decide that they don't want to be responsible for making abortion illegal in the US. I'm pretty depressed about this, and all I can think is ...

Goodbye women's reproductive rights, goodbye voter rights, goodbye LGBT rights, goodbye civil rights for minorities, goodbye clean air and water, goodbye decent public education, goodbye any limits on gun ownership, goodbye any help for the poor.

I recall when we were all voting in the Democratic primaries for either Hillary or Bernie. Many of the Bernie people felt themselves too pure to vote for Hillary and some even vowed to vote for Trump instead of Hillary ... Susan Sarandon: Trump Might Be Better for America Than Hillary Clinton. I blame you guys for where we find ourselves today.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In the news: A 28-year-old Democratic Socialist just ousted a powerful, 10-term congressman in New York

She was on Morning Joe today ...

I'm very happy to see such a liberal Democratic Socialist win a primary. This puts the lie to the idea that Democrats have to move to center/right in order to win votes. She is for housing as a human right, a ban on assault weapons, Medicare for all, the abolition of ICE, working to fix climate change, and many other good things. Here's what she has at her site on women's reproductive rights ...

Reproductive freedom is especially essential for all individuals of marginalized genders, including cisgender women and trans people. Alexandria does not accept any federal, state or local rollbacks, cuts or restrictions on the ability of individuals to access quality reproductive healthcare services, birth control, HIV/AIDS care and prevention, or medically accurate sexuality education. This means open access to safe, legal, affordable abortion, birth control, and family planning services, as well as access to adequate, affordable pre- and post-natal care, for all people, regardless of income, location or education.

She's alos a Catholic and has an article at America Magazine ... Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on her Catholic faith and the urgency of a criminal justice reform

Go Democrats :)

Monday, June 25, 2018

Sarah Sanders/Red Hen

In the news there's much about WH spokesperson Sarah Sanders having been asked to leave a restaurant because she works for Trump. Sanders wrote in a tweet about the event that she herself always treats people with respect .... that is a lie that would be apparent to anyone who watches the WH press briefings in which she routinely insults reporters and many others. But anyway, Trump and his supporters are loving this opportunity to express outrage, and even many liberals think it was a mistake for the owner of the Red Hen to ask Sanders to leave.

What comes to my mind first is the hypocrisy of Trump and his supporters. These are the same people who have championed a business owner's right to refuse service to certain customers. Think of the Supreme Court case of the wedding cake baker and the LGBT couple, and when Pence was governor of Indiana he signed a bill allowing businesses to refuse to serve gay people ... or recall the Republican state senator, Phil Jensen, who believes that businesses should be able to refuse to serve customers based on their race.

So why not allow discrimination based on politics too? Well, I think it would be better to just not discriminate at all. I understand the desire to hold Sanders accountable for her lies and nasty demeanor in the WH press briefings and also for her defense of Trump and his awful policies, but I don't think harassment will change anything for the better.

More than 40%

As Joe says, the most scary thing is not that there's a Trump, but that 40+% of Americans support Trump. That means that almost half of America doesn't care about what is true and what is false. Almost half of America is in favor of white supremacy. Almost half of America is happy to destroy the environment if it means they themselves will get more money. Almost half of America likes having a want-to-be dictator, a grifter, a professional liar, a pussy grabber as their avatar.

This Trump thing isn't just about politics, it's about human nature and the choice we make as to what kind of human beings we will be.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Vatican's child porn diplomat

In the news: At Vatican trial, former envoy tells of viewing and sharing child porn while in D.C.

[...] The church has been accused by critics for years of shielding alleged perpetrators from harsh punishment, and the Vatican — which rebuffed a request from the United States to drop Capella’s diplomatic immunity and have him prosecuted in a U.S. court — is under pressure to handle the case with transparency. Several pool reporters were permitted in the courtroom, where three judges also heard testimony from a Vatican police investigator, who described several dozen examples of child pornography found on Capella’s electronics ...

We will recall that when this came up, the Vatican sucked their child pornographer back to Vatican City instead of allowing him to be prosecuted in the countries (the US and Canada) where he had committed his crimes ... Amid Pornography Case, Vatican Recalls Priest From Washington Embassy.

Pope Francis also recalled another Vatican diplomat, one who was being investigated for the sex abuse of children in both Poland and the Dominican Republic, instead of allowing him to be prosecuted by civil authorities, refusing to extradite him ... Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski’s Extradition Declined: Former Papal Nuncio Accused Of Sex Abuse Remains In Vatican. That guy, Wesołowski, who was held on very loose house arrest in Vatican City, never made it to trial but was found dead in his room.

But back to child pornographer Monsignor Capella. At his Vatican trial he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years in prison and a fine of €5,000 ($5,800) .... Vatican ex-diplomat sentenced to five years on child pornography charges. This may sound like the Vatican is really doing its job of cracking down on the bad guys within its ranks, but let's look closer.

For some perspective, think back to 2013 when Catholic priest Shawn Ratigan was found guilty by civil authorities in Missouri of child pornography. His case was somewhat different, but he was sentenced under federal law to 50 years in prison ... Kansas City priest sentenced to 50 years in prison for child porn.

And one has to wonder how Capella will serve five years in a prison setting when Vatican City has no prison .... he will spend his five years, apparently, in his makeshift jail cell. Usually people convicted of crimes that call for prison in Vatican City are inprisoned by Italy. Why not this guy? ... How Does Vatican City Deal With Criminals?

Finally, why hasn't he been defrocked? At the end of his trial he said that he believed what he had done was just “a bump in the road of my priestly life”. Just wondering who would want as their priest a man who had collected images, videos, and comics of child porn, sharing them with his buddies online.

Saturday, June 23, 2018


Before there was Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, there was the Buffalo Springfield. I saw them once at the state fair. Here's one of their songs: Bluebird. I like the banko part at the very end best ...


Friday, June 22, 2018

Paul McCartney: Carpool Karaoke

Paul McCartney on Carpool Karaoke with James Corden in Liverpool. I was a total fan of the Beatles from when I was about 12 years old. Hearing their old songs still takes me right back to a time when I was naive and hopeful about life and the future.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Throwback Thursday

The college years. Me and an old boyfriend, plus our families ...

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Trump caved. But ...

Trump finally decided to sign an executive order to stop taking children away from their parents at the border. Of course, he lied about the whole thing, as did the two craven lackeys at his side, Mike Pence and Kirstjen Nielsen, pretending that he was not the one who created the policy in the first place, and overlooking all the lies he told about needing Congress and the Democrats to fix it.

The thing is, everything is not all ok now. The Trump administration is *not* going to reunite the thousands of children, including babies, that his policy has already taken from their parents. And it's possible/probable that at the end of 3 weeks, the separation policy may go back into effect ...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Black Panther

This week's movie rental was Black Panther ...

a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The film is directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa / Black Panther, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis.

In Black Panther, T'Challa is crowned king of Wakanda following his father's death, but his sovereignty is soon challenged by a new adversary who plans to abandon the country's isolationist policies and begin a global revolution.

I've been looking forward to seeing this movie since the film version of the character of the Black Panther was introduced in Captain America: Civil War (2016), but the Black Panther's homeland, Wakanda, has always been a part of the Marvel Universe, as that's where the extraterrestrial metal, vibranium, that comprises Captain America's shield, can be found. Here's a video showing his introduction in the Captain America movie ...

The plot: the Black Panther movie begins where the earlier film ended, with T'Challa taking part in a ritual to formally become king of Wakanda after his father's death. His first effort as king is to track down Ulysses Klaue, a South African black-market arms dealer who has stolen vibranium from Wakanda (which the evil Ultron used to make his new body, but that's another movie ;). While trying to do this, he encounters someone he hadn't known existed, a cousin who challenges him for his throne and also challenges his very idea of Wakanda's fated place in, and duty to, the rest of the world.

The film has been extremely popular and I myself really liked it and definitely recommend it. Here;s the beginning of a review in The LA Times ...

'Black Panther' is a royally imaginative standout in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

We didn't know we'd been yearning for it until it arrived, but now that it's here it's unmistakable that the wait for a film like "Black Panther" has been way longer than it should have been.

On one level this is the next-in-line Marvel Universe story of the ruler of the mythical African kingdom of Wakanda who moonlights as a superhero and has to contend with threats and problems both internal and external.

But "Black Panther," as co-written and directed by Ryan Coogler and starring a deep bench of actors of color, is an against-the-grain $100-million-plus epic so intensely personal that when the usual Marvel touchstones (Stan Lee, anyone) appear, they feel out of place.

A superhero movie whose characters have integrity and dramatic heft, filled with engaging exploits and credible crises all grounded in a vibrant but convincing reality, laced with socially conscious commentary as well as wicked laughs that don't depend on snark, this is the model of what an involving popular entertainment should be. And even something more ....

Here's a trailer ...

Now looking forward to Avengers: Infinity War which the Black Panther foreshadows and in which he appears ...

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A bridge too far? Maybe.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Trump admin discussed separating moms, kids to deter asylum-seekers in Feb. 2017

UPDATE 6/18: Today both Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen commented on their policy of separating children from their parents. Trump, as usual, lied, blaming Democrats. Nielsen took the Nazi route, saying in essence that she was following orders: *"We do not have the luxury of pretending that all individuals coming to this country as a family unit are, in fact, a family. We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job," Nielsen said. "We have sworn to do this job. This administration has a simple message. If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you."* ... (Defiant Trump refuses to back off migrant family separations)

This may be it - ripping children from their mother's arms may be the bridge too far for some Republican lawmakers and religious leaders (Leading Republicans Join Democrats in Pushing Trump to Halt Family Separations. The question is, will they make Trump stop this or will they wimp out? Meanwhile, most Republican voters actually like the idea (Poll: Republicans Approve of Trump’s Family Separation Policy).

Trump and most of his minions are still lying about the policy, trying to blame it on the Democrats, but Steve Bannon admits it's a Trump policy and even defends it ...

Few issues have brought to light how dismissive of core human values Trump and most Republicans are. There really is nothing they care about beyond getting more for themselves.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Beyond the Wabbitat

I'm going to try to build a little enclosure for Yoda the kitten. Right now she's always in her "Wabbitat" except when I take her out to eat and play. She's so small and fast that I'm afraid I might not be able to catch her for her medicine or that I might step on her. So I sent for an assemble-able thingy. Here's someone who made a video of how to put it together. She has pet rats - so cute. When I was in college we had a pet rat named Ratso :) ...

"The Lord hates liars"

Since members of the Trump admin seem so enamored of quoting the bible, I thought I'd share a bible passage with them - Proverbs 12:22 - "The Lord hates liars, but is pleased with those who keep their word.".

Trump and his followers admit he lies all the time .... in just the last day he has lied about his policy of taking immigrant children away from their parents, he has lied about the IG report from the FBI/DOJ, he has lied about his relationship to Paul Manafort, and so much more. Trump and his followers excuse this by saying it doesn't matter, that everyone lies.

They are being disingenuous: how would they feel if the doctor who was treating their illness lied to them about their test results, if the bank where they kept their savings lied to them about their balance, if the cop who answered their emergency call lied to them about their safety?

No one likes to be lied to, especially not be professionals on whom we all depend (like the President of the United States). What the Trump people and Trump himself want is to legitimize their lies to others, lies they hope will allow them to stick it to all those they resent.

Here is Lawrence O'Donnell on Trump's most recent lying ...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Police raid Catholic church in Chile

In the news: Chile police raid Catholic Church offices amid sex abuse scandal

Here is a pretty good examination from the PBS NewsHour of the whole recent sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church in Chile, the pope's involvement, and this police raid ...

The Catholic church cannot be trusted to actually hold accountable abusers and those who cover it up. We will have to count instead on civil governments to prosecute these people. To make this possible, statutes of limitation have to be relaxed ... as it now stands, the Catholic church spends a ton of money fighting against this happening ... Catholic Church spent $2M on major N.Y. lobbying firms to block child-sex law reform

The Catholic sex abuse problem will never go away as long as the church refuses to allow married men and women to be priests. I'm not saying that celibacy causes pedophilia. What I am saying is that any institution that promises to enforce lifelong celibacy in its employees is bound to attract a higher than average percentage of emotionally/sexually disturbed job seekers.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bullshit bible backup

Jeff Sessions and Sarah Sanders both have used a bible passage, Romans 13:1-7, to justify the Trump administration's immigration policy of ripping children from the arms of their mothers and detaining them in kennel-like conditions. As one reporter in the video above points out, that notorious bit from Paul has been used in the US in the past to justify the rule of King George and to justify slavery. Any Christian would know the bible suggests we care for strangers and foreigners and immigrants, not harass them.

In defense of separating immigrant families, Sessions cites same Bible passage used to defend slavery

[...] “Overwhelmingly, Scripture causes families to be kept together,” said Gabriel Salguero, president of the National Latino Evangelical Coalition. “Overwhelmingly Scripture causes us to defend families. As Evangelicals, we have a doctrine to be a pro-family-values people, you know. The Bible calls us to be pro-family, and I personally find it deeply lamentable that we are separating children from their parents at the border or anywhere.”


At a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Wednesday, the nation’s Catholic leaders strongly condemned the administration’s immigration policies as immoral, with one bishop going so far as to suggest that Catholics who help carry out the Justice Department’s policies are violating their faith and perhaps should be denied Communion ...

More: What the Bible says about welcoming refugees

My cat Thor

I think my cat Thor may be dead. Since I've been taking care of the sick kitten I haven't been able to spend as much time with the outdoor cats. I think Thor was getting sick for a while, but I just didn't notice. I noticed about a week and a half ago that he seemed under the weather. The next day he didn't come to eat the once-a-day canned food snack, which he loved and normally never missed. That was a Saturday and that night I found him and tried to feed him but he wouldn't eat. Because the vet was not open then and because I don't have a car, and because I was worried about the cost of an emergency place, I did the expedient thing - I decided to wait until Monday to decide what to do But I never saw him again. He has disappeared and I think he's crawled off somewhere to die :(

He lived here for the last four years, after appearing in the yard one spring as a kitten with his two sisters. He was very sweet and affectionate. I will really miss him.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Songs you can't get tired of

I hate to disagree with my favorite Jedi, but I too vote for Just What I Needed ...

I keep a small pile of songs on my computer desktop that I can listen to over and over without getting tired of them. A few songs by The Cars are in the pile, plus some Moody Blues songs, and some songs by the Beatles. And of course this song by Captain Hook. It took me a long time to memorize all the words :) ...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Trump administration is not America

From the LA Times ...

Trump throws Canada under the bus

[...] One senior Trump advisor told the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg that the Trump Doctrine could be summarized as “We’re America, Bitch.” That may not be an official policy statement, but that is the impression our allies are getting.

A message for Trump and his administration: You are not America.

What you are is an anomaly, an electoral fluke, lifted up to power by a minority of voters. As a group and as individuals you are notable for a devastating lack of intelligence, integrity, and courage. In the years to come American will look back on you as a mistake. It won't be pretty, but America will survive you.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Trump/Trudeau/Kim Kim Jong-un

Watching the news about Trump both attacking the Prime Minister of Canada and sucking up to the North Korean dictator. I see one thing: Trump is running the country in the same way a crime boss would manage his territory. There is no room for diplomats or policy, it's instead all about personal pissing contests.

Trump sees the decent and reasonable Justin Trudeau as weak and deceptive. Trump believes he can bully Trudeau. Trump is wrong. Trump sees Kim Jong-un as a fellow thug, someone whose motivations he understands and respects. He believes the two of them can be buddies who will together enrich themselves while crushing the weak. Trump is wrong.

How long, O Lord, before Mueller saves us from this excuse for a president?

Saturday, June 09, 2018

"I'm looking for a miracle in my life."

From the Moody Blues, a song I've always liked, especially the middle part ...


Friday, June 08, 2018

More on Giuliani/Stormy/Melania

In the news: No, Melania Trump Didn’t Tell Rudy Giuliani She Believes President’s Stormy Daniels Denial.

Here's Anderson Cooper on Melania slapping down Giuliani ...

More from Amy Davidson at The New Yorker ... Rudy Giuliani Attacks Stormy Daniels But Disgraces Himself

[...] Clifford [Stormy Daniels], in fact, seems to be doing fine on the self-respect front. She worked in adult films, then moved on to directing them—a “legitimate and legal, I’d like to point out, career that I’ve worked very hard to establish,” as she described it on “60 Minutes.” She is proud to have succeeded at it. It is more of an honest living than some New York real-estate developers make. Her profession shouldn’t mean that she ought to be automatically distrusted, let alone attacked with impunity. But she has also made it clear that she knew that she was taking a risk by opening herself up to this kind of attack—something that can demand integrity and courage. (Clifford has said that one of the new expenses she has taken on, in addition to her legal fees, is for security.) And Giuliani jumped in, seemingly intent on playacting the role of a beat cop from a past century, who, in dealing with the woman who comes to tell him her story, looks at what she is wearing, smirks, and turns away—or, as Giuliani suggested in his “cross-examine” remark, the role of the lawyer who has no better tactic than to try to humiliate a witness, labelling her a loose woman. That is a form of sexual exploitation far more corrosive than any film that Clifford has ever made.

But Giuliani’s comments went beyond whether Clifford could be believed to whether she could even be hurt. “Explain to me how she could be damaged,” he said. “She has no reputation. If you’re going to sell your body for money, you just don’t have a reputation.” But Clifford does not say that Trump, against whom she has filed a defamation suit (in the Southern District of New York, Giuliani’s old territory), damaged her by calling her an adult-film star. She says that he damaged her by saying, on Twitter, that her account of being threatened not to talk about their sexual encounter was “a total con job”—and that she, by implication, was a total con woman, conspiring to sabotage the project to Make America Great Again. On Thursday morning, when NBC asked Giuliani whether he regretted his remarks, he said that he did not, dressing up his denial with a vague reference to feminism and daughters. He also said, “I don’t have to undermine her credibility. She’s done it by lying.”

And where to begin with the matter of Trump’s credibility in the Clifford case? ......

I don't understand how any woman can possible support the Republican party or Trump, given the obvious misogyny that pervades all they stand for, all they say, and all they do.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

More on Yoda

We had a vet appointment yesterday for Yoda. She's had a cough lately and so they did an x-ray and it turns out she has pneumonia. Now she has to get a slimy raspberry flavored liquid antibiotic for two weeks. She's pretty perky, considering. Still hoping she may get adopted from the vet place, but that wouldn't happen as long as she's sick, so still hoping and waiting.

Giuliani tries to shame Stormy Daniels

File under "how to be a misogynist" ...

Rudy Giuliani tries to shame Stormy Daniels, contrasting her with Melania Trump ...

"I know Donald Trump. Look at his three wives. Beautiful women. Classy women. Women of great substance. Stormy Daniels? I respect all human beings, I even have to respect criminals, but I’m sorry, I don’t respect a porn star the way I respect a career woman or a woman of substance, or for a woman who has great respect for herself as a woman and as a person and isn't going to sell her body for sexual exploitation."

Strange, I guess Rudy missed that naked photoshoot in the UK GQ of Melania, that "classy woman of substance" who apparently "sold her body for sexual exploitation".

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Annihilation: the movie

This week's movie rental was Annihilation ...

a 2018 science fiction psychological horror film written and directed by Alex Garland, based on the novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer. It stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. The story follows a group of military scientists who enter "The Shimmer", a mysterious quarantined zone of mutating landscapes and transmogrifying creatures.

I had read the book a while ago (posted about it here), which won the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel. The movie changes the story quite a bit but, especially going more towards horror than straight SF, but it was still worth a watch, with lots of nice special effects. Here's a trailer ...

Trump threatens a witness

Trump has tweeted he can pardon himself, and , though his lawyer, has claimed he could legally murder a witness against him - former FBI director James Come. The Republicans in congress, on their knees busily kissing Trump's ass, do nothing.

Giuliani: Under constitution, Trump could shoot Comey and not be indicted

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Trump: L'Etat, c'est moi

In the news - made public is a letter Trump's legal team gave to Mueller as justification for why he can;t be held accountable for crimes, for why he is above the law ... Trump’s legal memo to Robert Mueller is a recipe for tyranny. Trump is channeling Nixon, who opined to David Frost ...

Or to quote a line attributed to the Sun King, Trump believes that "L'Etat, c'est moi" (the state, it's me).

More on this ...

Saturday, June 02, 2018

Muzak at the grocery store ...

A couple of songs I heard on the grocery store's muzak today ...

- Garden Party by Rick Nelson. When I was a little kid, I thought he was the handsomest guy in the universe :) ...

- Shiny Happy People by R.E.M. (with Kate Pierson of The B-52's) ...