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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Hot day

Smokey and 100°F in the capital city. Vicky is catching some Zs.

And Yoda is napping too, by the air conditioner ...

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Trump's taxes

The one area in which many Americans seem to trust Trump more than Biden is the economy. This is hilarious because Trump is known for being a terrible businessman.

Now, The New York Times has come into possession of some of his financial records and they show he is even more of a financial schmuck than first realized. Here are just a few bits from the article.

18 Revelations From a Trove of Trump Tax Records

Mr. Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years that The Times examined. In 2017, after he became president, his tax bill was only $750.

Many of his signature businesses, including his golf courses, report losing large amounts of money — losses that have helped him to lower his taxes.

He appears to have paid off none of the principal of the Trump Tower mortgage, and the full $100 million comes due in 2022. And if he loses his dispute with the I.R.S. over the 2010 refund, he could owe the government more than $100 million (including interest on the original amount).

In the 1990s, Mr. Trump nearly ruined himself by personally guaranteeing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, and he has since said that he regretted doing so. But he has taken the same step again, his tax records show. He appears to be responsible for loans totaling $421 million, most of which is coming due within four years.

If I did all this, I'm sure they'd reinstate debtor's prison for me. But Trump skates. Why would anyone vote for him on the economy?

Saturday, September 26, 2020


There have been a number of articles that opine that criticism of Amy Coney Barrett's beliefs ... against abortion and contraception, for women's subserviance, against marriage equality for LGBTQ people ... is a kind of anti-Catholicism. I don't believe this is true.

First of all, a majoority of US Catholics support Roe v Wade ...

Roughly equal shares of Catholic registered voters have identified with or leaned toward the Democratic and Republican parties in recent years (47% vs. 46%, respectively) ... 64% of Catholic Democrats and Democratic leaners say abortion should be legal in all or most cases — slightly lower than the share for Democrats overall (76%). On balance, however, Catholic Democrats are more likely to favor legal abortion than to oppose it. - Pew

And nearly 100% of Catholics use contraception.

And a majority of Catholics support women being treated equally with men in the church ...

Roughly six-in-ten Catholics say the church should allow ... women to become priests (59%) - Pew

And a mjority of Catholics support gay rights and marriage equality.

Are these Catholics anti-Catholic because they disagree with Barrett?

Amy Coney Barrett is an extreme traditionalist, and they are a finy minority in the Catholic church ... think of somewhere between the SSPX and cardinals addicted to serious man-lace.

Barrett's religious views are just as open to criticism as anything else, especially if she tries to force those views on others. Calling critics anti-Catholic is a tactic to avoid discussing the issues.

More: Amy Coney Barrett’s Extremist Religious Beliefs Merit Examination

[A]s a Catholic I find it offensive to see Barrett’s extremist beliefs equated with Catholicism or the views of American Catholics. We support a woman’s right to choose in most circumstances. An overwhelming majority support contraception, and Catholics are slightly more likely to back marriage equality than other Americans. Most American Catholics support parity in gender relations, and reject the notion that the man is the “head” of the family ....

Also as a Catholic, I find it hard to square Barrett’s conservative morality with her decision to accept a nomination from a thrice-married adulterer credibly accused of sexual harassment or assault by between one and two dozen women. I also question the morality and the judicial integrity of anyone who would agree to be nominated by someone who has all but said he expects the Supreme Court to weigh in on his side in the case of election “fraud.” If Barrett won’t recuse herself on the issues of abortion or, now, apparently, the death penalty, she should be required to recuse herself if the matter of Trump’s presidency comes before her as a justice. I doubt that she’d do that, but Democrats should grill her on that moral question just the same.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Bernie speaks

Senator Bernie Sanders spoke today about Trump's threat to not leave office if he loses the election. Thank you, Bernie!

Peaceful transfer?

When a reporter asked Trump if, given all the rioting, he would be willing to guarantee the peaceful transfer of power if he lost the election, Trump basically said that if we got rid of all the ballots, then we could and would have a peaceful continuation of *his* power.

He's leaving open the door for his gun-toting militia followers to use violence to keep him in office if he loses. After four years of Trump, I no longer doubt he really means this. With all his money and power, he has never in his life had to take 'no' for an answer, whether it was when he was raping someone or just stiffing someone on a business deal.

So, who can stop him? Republican lawmakers turned themselves into pretzels when asked to coment. They are actually worse than Trump is. They know they are lying, they know what's at stake, but all they care about is "more for me". I can't describe the level of loathing I feel for them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Two photos

Tried again to get an unfuzzy photo of Yoda, but that seems impossible. Here she is on one of her boxes ...

And here's an old deteriorated photo of me in Oxford, UK, on my 1976 family trip to Europe ...

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Make them pay

If we can't stop Republican senators from confirming Trump's Supreme Court pick, we should make sure that they pay as steep a price as possible for their perfidity.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The handmaid

Trump has a short list for the slot in the Supreme Court left by RBG's death ... two women are at the top: Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa. These are nakedly political choices. Trump is choosing a woman to get the votes of those suburban housewives he's so obsessed with. He is choosing Barret to get the conservative Catholic vote, and Trump gets a twofer in choosing Lagoa - the Catholic vote and the Cuban American vote in Florida.

I wouldn't be surprised if Trump chose Barrett or Lagoa because he and his administration have been inundated with Catholics, from Steve Bannon and Don McGahn to Kellyanne Conway, John Kelly, and Mike Flynn. Both Lagoa and Barrett are pro-life, of course, and one assumes also against equal rights for gay people (aka: religious liberty). I haven't read a lot about Lagoa, but here's a bit more about Barrett ...

She's a conservative Catholic who belongs to a charismatic non-denominational group called People of Praise. The group practices all the slain by the spirit stuff that you'd expect, and applies strict gender roles to its members .... women are not allowed to hold the highest offices in the group, and those who do lead specialized women's activities are deemed "handmaids" (a title recently changed to "woman leade" ;).

The group Barrett belongs to is all about complementarianism: keeping women under men's thumbs. Barrett would fit right in with the pope, the hierarchy of the church, and that minority of trads among the faithful.

But I will emphacize that Barrett and her beliefs do *not* represent most Catholics, and she will not, as a Supreme Court Judge, be speaking for most Catholics. For example, most US Catholics think Roe v Wade should remain the law of the land.

If Barrett is chosen, she will be another example of Trump and his hench-people trying to force an extreme and minority ideology on a country that moved beyond all the badness they embrace.

More reading - Newsweek: How Charismatic Catholic Groups Like Amy Coney Barrett's People of Praise Inspired 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Friday, September 18, 2020


So sad to see that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. Her last wish ...

We all remember when Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016 during President Obama's term, and Mitch McConnell refused to allow a vote on Obama's choice for the Court, Merrick Garland, becasue only eleven months remained of Obama's term. There was no precident for that decesion - McConnell just did that to benefit his party because he had the power to do so, saying "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president,".

Now, when there are only a few months left of Trump's term, McConnell has said he will go ahead with a vote for Trump's pick for the Court.

This is the kind of unfairness that will sow hatred and tear our country apart.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020


In the kitty world, TNR or trap-neuter-return refers to the strategy of limiting the stray cat population ... you capture them, sterilize them, and then send them back from whence they came.

Now, it appears that the Trump administration may be implementing the same plan against migrants ... Whistleblower Complaint Alleges A High Number Of Hysterectomies At ICE Facility.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised, given Trump's assertion that immigrants are "vermin" who are "infesting" the US.

Socrates & voting

Tonight I was watching a chilling news story on the percentage of the voting population that believes in nutty conspiracy theories like QAnon. Depressing and scary.

When I was in college I took a seminar on Plato/Socrates and the Republic. I was surprised to learn that Socrates was not a fan of democracy (Athens of his time was a direct democracy, though women and slaves and foreigners coulsn't vote).

Socrates just didn't have faith that the average person was capable of making a good voting choice without experience and education.

As a student, I was really disappointed in Socrates because of this, but I think now I'm beginning to understand why he felt the way he did. Is it only me, or do Alcibiades and the sweet shop owner seem a lot like Trump ;) .....

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Herd mentality

Monday, September 14, 2020


UPDATE: I just wanted to add this. People on the news this morning are asking why Trump, knowing how contangeous and deadly the virus is, would put his own supporters in harm's way with these rallies. The naswer is simple - I think it makes him feel important and powerful that people are willing to die for him, that he can cause death. Yes, I'm serious. As I mentioned below, think Jim Jones.

I hereby nominate all of Trump's rally-going followers for Darwin awards.

In case you don't recall, the Darwin Awards are this ...

The criterion for the awards states: "In the spirit of Charles Darwin, the Darwin Awards commemorate individuals who protect our gene pool by making the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. Darwin Award winners eliminate themselves in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species' chances of long-term survival."

The nomination comes as Trump begins again to have large indoor rallies stuffed with Republican voters who aren't wearing masks or socially distancing.

As someone on Twitter once commented, we've now entered the Jim Jones phase of the Trump cult.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Take on Me

Need something cheerful! The Norwegian band A-ha in 1985 doing Take On Me ...

Saturday, September 12, 2020


Edward Snowden was on The 11th Hour tonight. Here are a couple of bits of the interview ...

I hope he will someday be allowed to come back home, with no strings attached.

Friday, September 11, 2020


I live on the other coast, far from where the 9/11 attacks took place. Though I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the event occurred, I didn't really understand what was going on. This miniseries, The Looming Tower , helped me grasp the essentials.

Sixth mass extinction

While we're dealing with a global pandemic, and also dealing with a dictator trying to take over our country, it's easy to forget that we really have a much bigger problem, one we aren't dealing with at all ... the destruction of our planet's ecosystem.

The World Lost Two-Thirds Of Its Wildlife In 50 Years. We Are to Blame

Human activities have caused the world's wildlife populations to plummet by more than two-thirds in the last 50 years, according to a new report from the World Wildlife Fund.

The decline is happening at an unprecedented rate, the report warns, and it threatens human life as well. "The findings are clear," the report states. "Our relationship with nature is broken." ....

The report says that we could slow this devistation down if we wanted to. I'll add that I'm sure we won't. It also states that there are just too many people - the earth can't sustain us. But, as a former Catholic, I can tell you that people are too selfish to even consider limiting the number of children they have. We don't deserve this planet, and pretty soon will destroy our own ability to survive here.

If you think that's ok 'cuz we're moving to Mars, think again.

Heat Wave

Martha and the Vandellas do Heat Wave (1963) :)

Wednesday, September 09, 2020

His own words

By now we're all aware of Bob Woodward's new book, Rage, and of the audio tapes he has made of conversations with Trump.

Some of those conversations include Trump showing that back in February he was already well aware of how contageous the virus is, of how it is spread, and of how much more deadly it is than the flu. He also admits that he decided to lie about this to the American public, downplaying the danger, so as not to "cause a panic".

We know, of course, that this excuse is pure BS - he actually called the virus a "Democrat hoax". The real reason he played down the danger of the virus was to protect his re-election ...

The lemming-like members of Trump's cult won't care. And the Republicans in Congress? They'll be too busy to comment, down on their knees kissing the hem of Trump's garment.

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Rapist in chief

Justice Dept. intervenes on behalf of Trump in defamation case brought by woman who accused him of rape

The Justice Department on Tuesday intervened in the defamation lawsuit brought by a woman who says President Trump raped her years ago, moving the matter to federal court and signaling it wants to make the U.S. government — rather than Trump himself — the defendant in the case ....

The maneuver removes the case — at least for now — from state court in New York, where a judge last month had rejected Trump’s bid for a delay and put Carroll’s team back on course to seek a DNA sample and an under-oath interview from the president. It also means that Justice Department lawyers will be essentially aiding Trump’s defense, and taxpayers could be on the hook for any potential damages, if the U.S. government is allowed to stand in for Trump. Winning damages against the government, though, would be more unlikely than in a suit against Trump, as the notion of “sovereign immunity” gives the government and its employees broad protection from lawsuits ....

You will dubtless recall when E. Jean Carroll acused Trump of raping her (I posted about it in June of 2019: Voting for a rapist).

At the time, Trump first said he had never met her. Then followed the photo ...

Then Trump said he couldn't have raped her because she "wasn't his type".

Now Trump wants the US taxpayers to help him screw over his rape victim. There really is no depth to which he and his boot-licking AG will not sink. Of course, Republican lawmakers and Trump voters will be totally ok with this move.

Sometimes, when I despair, I recall this song and think maybe, maybe things will change for the better, and maybe then those people who have caused and enabled so much suffering will finally be held to account ...

Friday, September 04, 2020

Trump & the military

Doubtless you have by now heard of the story in The Atlantic about Trump and his opinions about the military - Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’

Today former mayor Pete Buttigieg, who served in Afghanistan, was on Deadline White House, commenting on the story ...

I can't pretend that I have been a super fan of the military ... I grew up during the Vietnam war ... but I do understand the anger Trump's comments and actions towards the military have caused. My grandpa was a full-bird colonel in the army who served in both WWI and WWII. My father, the one I never really got to know, served in the Korean war.

People are now saying that Trump is unfit for his job. I want to say to them, where have you been for the last four years!? I just hope that this latest revelation about Trump will finally be enough to bring him down. I'm not going to hold my breath.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Early vaccine 2

Another medical expert, Dr. Irwin Redlener, weighs in on the worries about Trump's plan to have a vaccine ready before the election ...

Early vaccine

Trump has forced the CDC to tell stattes to get ready for a vaccine *before* the election (CDC Asks States To Plan For Potential Vaccine Distribution Starting In Late October), in order to keep his job. I'm not sure I will take the vaccine, no matter when it comes out. Here is Laurie Garrett explainig why ...

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Blue Guitar

For about 5 years, the Moody Blues broke up and Justin Hayward and John Lodge made some music just by themselves as the Blue Jays. The most well known song from then is Blue Guitar (1975) ...