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Monday, August 29, 2022

A threat

Graham predicts ‘riots in streets’ if Trump is prosecuted over classified records

Amid growing fears about political violence in the US, a senior Republican senator predicted “riots in the streets” if Donald Trump is prosecuted for mishandling classified information.

Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, made his remarks about the ex-president while speaking to Fox News’s Sunday Night in America, hosted by Trey Gowdy, a former Republican congressman from the same state ...

Nice country you've got there. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it.

Trump's devoted toadie, Lindsey Gtaham, makes the threat explicit: Trump is so powerful that he is above the law, and if you dare to hold him accountable for his crimes, he will unleash his zombie horde upon the nation.

Sunday, August 28, 2022


Watching Meet the Press. As Democrats do better than expected in special elections because of the issue of abortion, some Republican politicians are trying to moderate their messaging on the subject, backing away from total bans on and criminalization of abortion. Now they are bringing up compromise ... maybe a 15 week cut-off and a ban on late term abortions.

The Republicans are lying, of course: they don't want to compromise. A compromise was what Roe v Wade was. Now it is way too late for either side to compromise, even if Republicans really did want to.

Friday, August 26, 2022

The affidavit

Takeaways from the Mar-a-Lago search warrant affidavit


Alphabet soup shows high sensitivity of docs Trump took from White House

The affidavit used a handful of acronyms when describing the sensitivity of the documents that were recovered from Mar-a-Lago earlier in the year. This alphabet soup is probably confusing to most Americans, but national security experts have said it reveals the horrifying scope of this security breach.

Some of the classified documents that Trump brought with him from the White House to Mar-a-Lago contained markings for “HCS, FISA, ORCON, NOFORN, and SI,” according to the FBI affidavit.

“HCS” indicates that the material is about human sources, or spies, that often work with the CIA. “FISA” relates to court-ordered surveillance collecting foreign intelligence, including wiretaps. “ORCON” means the document is so sensitive that its originator must approve any request to share it. “NOFORN” means the material can’t be shared with any foreign entities, even allies, without permission. “SI,” short for Special Intelligence, relates to signals intercepts, which are typically handled by the National Security Agency.

These phrases confirm what many feared – that the documents that may have been illegally mishandled at Mar-a-Lago contained some of America’s most sensitive secrets ...

Whether the documents were classified or not, they didn't belong to Trump - he stole them. But now that we know there have been (and may still be) classified documents at his residence, the question arises ... why did he take them? To write his memoirs (snort)? To put in his Presidential In-N-Out Burger, oops, I mean Library?

I'm thinking it was for some kind of personal gain.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Loan forgiveness

From the Editorial Board of The Washington Post: Biden’s student loan announcement is a regressive, expensive mistake

[...] After weeks of anticipation, Mr. Biden announced he will extend the pause on student loan payments until the end of the year. He will also forgive up to $10,000 for those making less than $125,000 a year — and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients under that income threshold. Both measures are ill-conceived and misdirected.

The loan pause, which President Donald Trump instituted in March 2020, was an emergency measure at a time when people were struggling to find jobs or had to remain home due to the pandemic. Thankfully, the situation is very different today: The unemployment rate for people with bachelor’s degrees and higher is just 2 percent. It’s hard to make the case that college graduates are still facing an unprecedented crisis.

The loan-forgiveness decision is even worse. Widely canceling student loan debt is regressive. It takes money from the broader tax base, mostly made up of workers who did not go to college, to subsidize the education debt of people with valuable degrees. Though Mr. Biden’s plan includes an income cap, the threshold does not reflect need or earnings potential, meaning white-collar professionals with high future salaries stand to benefit. Student loans, moreover, are a poor proxy for household income: An analysis by policy researcher Jason D. Delisle found that, in 2016, students from high-income and low-income families were just as likely to take on debt for their first year in an undergraduate program — and students from high-income families borrowed the largest amounts ...

I think Biden's decision is a bad one. If you want to help needy people with loans, forgive the loans of people who failed to graduate with a degree, or forgive the loans of people who are financially struggling (the $125,000 cap is too high).

I went to state colleges and didn't need a loan for my 4 year degree, but after I graduated with a BA in art and philosophy, I was hit with a double whammy ... I didn't get accepted into the graduate program in art, and I was diagnosed with a rare degenerative eye disease.

I flailed about desperately (and got an essentially useless MA in history at the state college). But I just coulsn't find a good job with my degrees (this was the 70s), and I didn't know what I would be able to do in the future with damaged vision. The Dept. of Rehabilitation offered to get me a job putting sandwiches in vending machines ... I declined. I had a part-time job then, wotking for a laywer, and he suggested I go to law school because one can be a lawyer and be blind. I took his advice and signed up for the LSAT.

I didn't do that well on the test and it was late in the year, too late to get into the state university law school nearby, so I choose an expensive private school ... they would have accepted a chimp if it could pay the tuition. The only way I could go was if I took out a loan. I was terrified, but I was desperate and decided to do it.

Long story short, a really shy person is not cut out for law school ;) I went at night so I could work in the daytime. It took 4 years to complete the degree, but I was kicked out after 3 years. I had no degree and a student loan to pay back.

A lot happened then ... I got married, got a full-time job at a hospital that had nothing to do with my degree, and deferred paying my student loan by going to school part-time. Then my husband dumped me, I dropped out of school and my loan came due, and I moved to Oregon to be with my sister.

It took me almost a year to find a job there, and the one I finally got at another hospital didn't pay well. Every month I had that student loan bill to pay. That was back in the day when the bank to which the government had sold my loan could send me threatening bills with inch-high red lettering, when they could phone me and suggest I take out another loan to pay back their loan, etc.

After 3 years I came back here ... my sister had moved to Japan and I was lonely. I was again jobless and I finally consulted a lawyer about the loan I'd been slowly but dutifully paying back. He told me that people deemed disabled could have the unpaid portion of their loans forgiven. I was able to qualify for that. Thank God.

I know what it's like to worry about paying back a student loan, and I know what it's like to have that loan forgiven, but Biden's loan orgiveness plan doesn't really seem like a good way to help the needy ... the government does realize that there are over half a million homeless people in the US, right? This plan seems more like a bribe to get young upper-class people to vote for the Democrats (and I say this as a Democrat). I think this is a mistake.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022


Nearly every marine species will be at risk of extinction within 78 years if greenhouse gas emissions are not limited, study finds

How can anyone vote for Republican politicians when they continue to pretend that climate change doesn't exist?

Monday, August 22, 2022

Dr. Fauci

We were so lucky to have someone as brilliant and ethical as Dr. Fauci to help us through COVID.

Then & now

Electric Light Orchestra, then (1975) ...

And now (2017) ...

Sunday, August 21, 2022


If you expand the photo, you can see Vicky the cat napping, still a prisoner in my mom's bedroom (for 10 months!). Hope we can find a home for him.

Saturday, August 20, 2022


Another spreading disease. Great. I'm pessimistic about this one ... Monkeypox Can Survive for Weeks in Water and on Refrigerated Food and Monkeypox virus can linger on common household items, shows US govt study

And then there's polio .... eeeeeeek!

Friday, August 19, 2022


Thursday, August 18, 2022

Get Back

This week's movie rental was The Beatles: Get Back ...

a 2021 documentary series directed and produced by Peter Jackson. It covers the making of the Beatles' 1970 album Let It Be (which had the working title of Get Back) and draws largely from unused footage and audio material originally captured for the identically titled 1970 documentary of the album by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. The docuseries has a total runtime of nearly eight hours, consisting of three episodes between two and three hours, each covering roughly weekly periods of 21 days of studio time ...

Here's a review: The Beatles – Get Back review: Peter Jackson documentary is a seven-hour masterpiece

I've only seen the first disk so far, which ends when George Harrison, upset with how he is being treated, quits the band. Yoko is there every minute, it seems, but also visiting are Paul's wife Linda and Ringo's wife Maureen. I noticed a couple of things. One was the way Paul easily created songs out of thin air, on the fly. The other was how unhappy George seemed, and how often he mentioned his friend Eric Clapton.

A couple of clips ...

I'm looking forward to the next 2 disks.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Top secret

- In 1934, Hitler became Germany's head of state with the title of Führer und Reichskanzler (leader and chancellor of the Reich). Wikipedia

As I watch the news surrounding Trump and the government documents. I'm getting pretty depressed.

Trump stole government documents. Then he lied about that and refused to give them back. It doesn't matter if they were classified or not, or what they were about ... an ex-president has no right to take government documents.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to rile up his gun-toting thugs against the FBI and the DOJ. Republican voters do not care what Trump has done .... he is their god. And Republican politicians do not stand up for "law and order" but instead do their master's bidding. The Republican party that cared about "the blue" is dead ... there is only the cult.

The question before us is not "is Trump guilty of a crime?". He is. The question for us is "have we reached the point in America where a demagogue is now so powerful, he can't be held to account by the government?". I'm afraid we are almost there.

Time to brush up on your Germany-in-the-30s history.

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Star Trek

The latest books I've been reading are in a series ... Star Trek Autobiographies

The first one I read was The Autobiography of James T. Kirk, which I wrote about here back in 2017: The Autobiography of James T. Kirk . It was pretty good.

Since then I have read The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway, and right now I'm reading The Autobiography of Mr. Spock: The Life of a Federation Legend

If you are a fan of the original Star Trek, you may well like the books. I thought the first one, the one about Captain Kirk, has been the best.

Friday, August 12, 2022


I've been thinking about trees. Many of our trees have been struggling and some have died because of the drought. Very sad. I wanted to get some new trees but they're pretty expensive, so I looked for free ones.

It turns out that our electric company gives people free trees to help cut energy costs. I had to apply and have a virtual meeting with a county forrester, and she decided I could have three trees - yay!

They had a number of trees to choose from and I picked ones that were fast growing and drought tolerant ...

- An interior live oak for the side yard ...

- A trident maple for the back yard ...

- And my favorite, based on its name, the bibba desert Willow for the frontt yard ...

They will probably just be little twigs when they first arrive. I hope my black thimb doesn't kill them off before they grow up.

Here is the tree map the forrester gave me, showing where to plant the new trees. Not really up to date, as the tarps still seem to be on the roofs ...

Golf course

We await the unsealing by the Court of the search warrant for Trump's property ... he has said he wants it released.

If it turns out that nothing unusual was found, there's a conspiracy theory that can explain that ... Wild conspiracy theories swirling online attempt to tie the late Ivana Trump to her ex-husband's legal issues

In this scenario, Ivana was the FBI informant, and the documents in question have been buried with her at Trump's NJ golf course.

I've got to say, this actually sounds way more plausible than the right-wing conspiracy theory that the wolrd is ruled by a pedophile cabal of blood-drinking, satan-worshipping lizard people.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

AG Garland

Wow, Attorney General Merrick Garland has called Trump's bluff.

Since the moment the FBI executed a search of Trump's digs, Trump and his zombie mouthpieces have been lying their asses off about the subject, saying that Democrats sent the FBI, that none of his people were there at the scene during the search, that the FBI planted evidence, etc. These lies have the likelihood of increasing possible violence from Trump's unhinged followers.

What Trump and his toadies have all avoided like the plague is the reason for the FBI search in the first place ... the fact that Trump had stolen ... stolen ... government (nuclear) documents to which he had no right. They also didn't mention that the government tried asking for those documents, then tried a subpoena too, but Trump refused to return them, lying about their existence at his home. They also didn't mention that one of their own told the DOJ that government documents were still there, hiden in a basement with golf shoes and other top secret stuff. And they haven't mentioned why Trump stole the documents in the first place ... what did he plan to do with them? Sell them? Let's not forget, he owes millions of dollars to unnamed entities.

But now we will know all, because Garland has asked the Court to unseal the warrant and the inventory list of what the FBI retrieved.

Unless ..... I'd say probable that Trump will object to this information being released to the public. After all, he has had that information since the search took place and has been free all this time to tell the world what the FBI found. But he hasn't.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022


Tuesday, August 09, 2022


Republicans rush to Trump’s defense after FBI executes search warrant at Mar-a-Lago

Trump's brain-dead zombie horde of voters are apoplectic about the search warrant. What an insult to their Master! Facts about the basis of the warrant and facts about what Trump has done to deserve it will not matter to them ... they really do believe that their god/king is above any law.

But the Republican politicians who are blustering and threatening and posturing ... they are doing this not because they think Trump is above the law, but because they have made the calculation that this stance will serve them best. I have just one question for them. What was the price of your souls?

Monday, August 08, 2022

FBI raid

F.B.I. Searches Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Residence in Florida

[...] The search, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation, appeared to be focused on material that Mr. Trump had brought with him to Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence, when he left the White House. Those boxes contained many pages of classified documents, according to a person familiar with their contents.

I thought Trump turned all those documents over to the National Archives months ago. My own personal belief (who knows?) is that Trump has planned to sell classified nformation to the highest bidders among his dictator peeps ... MBS, Putin, Xi, Kim Jong-un? Now he will use this situation to enflame his crazy base of voters, in the hopes of riding their hated of Democrats into the White House again in 2024.


A new cat has appeared in the yard. I was hoping he was just visiting but he has really moved in. The other cats don't like him much but at least he's not as bad as Timmy the Terrible was. We've named him Dash, after the character in The Lost City :) ...

And here is Inky. She has been visiting here lately but always goes back to where she lives ...

Here she is again with her friend Mango, who comes with her to visit. They both have tipped ears, so they're spayed/neutered, which is a relief ...

And here's Olive. He's not very happy about all these newish cats ...

Friday, August 05, 2022

Vader syndrome

"Vader syndrome," I said. "There's no ally so impressive, encouraging, and well loved as an ally who was an enemy that made you shake in your boots a couple of minutes ago." - Dead Beat

Today I saw an example of Darth Vader syndrome (remember when Vader turned on the evil emperor?).

Here is Dick Cheney, from a liberal perspective a rather scary guy, sticking it to the Trump monster ...

The comments

From The Washington Post ...

Catholic bishops spent big on Kansas abortion vote — and maybe lost bigger

[...] Analysts were quick to frame the result [of the Kansas abortion vote] as a setback for the antiabortion movement, but activists and experts say it also amounts to a rejection of the Catholic Church hierarchy, which had shelled out massive sums of money in support of the amendment’s passage. The vote may hint, too, at a mounting backlash against the church’s involvement in the nation’s abortion debate — not least among Catholics themselves.


According to financial disclosures and media reports, the Kansas City Archdiocese spent roughly $2.45 million on the effort this year, with the Catholic dioceses of Wichita and Salina together spending an additional $600,000 or more. Some individual Catholic parishes across the state chipped in, as did the Kansas Catholic Conference, an advocacy group tied to the state’s bishops, which reportedly spent $100,000. Separately, the conservative advocacy group CatholicVote raised around $500,000 for the pro-amendment Do Right PAC, according to the news outlet Flatland.


The church officially decries abortion, but U.S. Catholics, generally supportive of legal abortion, have grown more liberal on the issue over time: According to a recent PRRI poll, the percentage of White Catholics who believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases jumped from 53 percent in October 2010 to 64 percent by June of this year. The shift among Hispanic Catholics was even more dramatic, from 51 percent in 2010 to 75 percent in June ....

There's a post too at America Magazine about the Kansas vote ...

It was at the top of the magazine right after the vote, but now it seems to have disappeared, but you can find it here ... Abortion win in Kansas was a wake-up call for the pro-life movement.

The article was pretty disingenuous and what one would expect from pro-life professro Charles C. Camosy, but what was surprising even to me was the tone of the comments from readers. There were 115 and counting today when I looked, and almost all of them are pro-choice, and many are angry at the church's stance on abortion. Check them out.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Viktor Orbán

Conservatives at CPAC, and Trump at his golf course, welcome their favorite fascist, Viktor Orbán.

Those aware of Orbán often mention his anti-immigration and his anti-gay views, but it's not just that. Hungary is a majority Catholic country and Orbán, who camr to religion late in life, has made Christian Nationalism one of his main talking points.

As for women in Hungary, with Orbán's policy of boosting birth rates and making abortion more difficult to access, he was happy to sign the Geneva Consensus Declaration ...

an anti-abortion declaration cosponsored by the governments of Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Uganda, and the United States. It was signed by 34 countries on October 22, 2020. Initiated by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo .... [it is] A commitment to prevent access to abortion, where that is the position of a nation's law .... On January 28, 2021, United States President Joe Biden removed the United States from the declaration.

No wonder the Republicans love him.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022


* Follow the money: Who is funding Kansas abortion amendment ads?

Catholic churches, conferences and affiliated organizations funded nearly two-thirds of the $5.4 million spent by the Value Them Both campaign in 2022, and gave the campaign nearly three-fourths of all the money it raised this year. Unlike with partisan political candidates, federal tax regulations allow churches to donate to and campaign on ballot measures. Of the nearly $3.5 million funneled to the campaign by Catholic donors this year, $2.45 million came from the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. The archdiocese is the largest single donor to either campaign.

* Millions in Advertising Help Shape Closely Watched Abortion Vote in Kansas

Value Them Both reported raising $2.45 million in 2022 from the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Kansas City, Kan., and $550,000 from the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, accounting for a majority of the group’s cash donations this year.

Tuesday, August 02, 2022


Kansas votes to protect abortion rights in state constitution

Kansans secured a huge win for abortion rights in the US on Tuesday night when they voted to continue to protect abortion in the state constitution ...

That this would happen in Kansas, a red state which was once the home of the notorious anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, is a sign that Republicans and religious extremists will *not* be able to drag the country backwards in time.

Why We Did It

The latest book I'm reading is Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell by Tim Miller.

Scenes From the Republican Surrender to Trump Why We Did It: Tim Miller’s GOP tell-all.

[...] Miller’s book takes the form of a series of psychological profiles of Republican officials responding to Trump, beginning with himself. Miller came up through the ranks of mainstream Republican hackery, attaching himself to generally respectable figures (Jon Huntsman, Jeb Bush) and party organs. Despite his initial contempt for Trump, it took a couple years for Miller to summon the clarity to break fully with the party. This process of internal wrestling gives Miller an inside perspective of the pressures bearing down on his little tribe.

After concluding his self-examination, Miller turns his lens onto several of his colleagues whose breaks with Trump took longer, or, in some cases, did not occur at all. He finds a subtle blend of rationalizations. And while the specifics of every Trump-supporting Republican differ, one motif of his subjects is a failure to summon the imagination and moral courage to break free from their career path and social identity. By the time you have attained a job in Republican politics that carries enough influence to matter, you have enough at stake professionally and socially that truly abandoning the party becomes as difficult to imagine as a fish leaving the water for land ...

I'm famliar with Tim Miller, as he is often on the news shows, commenting on politics. Also, I think I've exchanged comments with him in the distant past at some Catholic sites. He's an interesting person ... a gay pro-life Catholic and former Republican, but pretty liberal on most social issues ... it's intriguing to me that someone can hanfde all those conflicting loyalties.

Here's Tim talking about his book ...