Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

"
If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"
Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot,
by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse.
" -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Lie Lie Lie.
Lie Lie Lie Lie, Lie Lie Lie.

The "top" cop Donald Trump claimed earlier this week to have met in Chicago was simply a "qualified" officer, the GOP nominee's spokeswoman admitted Wednesday.

Trump was caught in an apparent fabrication during an interview with Bill O'Reilly Monday, when he told the Fox News Channel commentator that he had met with a "top" Chicago Police Department officer with whom he discussed how "tough police tactics" could help quell the city's violence.
Right. The Donald had a little chat with Officer Muldoon and thought he was talking with the Commissioner?

Does he not understand that he's under the microscope? Does he not realize everything he says is going to be fact-checked? Does he not get that, absent proof otherwise, it's being taken for granted that every word that comes out of his mouth is a lie, including the conjunctions and articles?

This is just really stupid shit for Trump to bullshit about.

Pharma Bro's Spiritual Sister

(Followup post)
EpiPen prices aren't the only thing to jump at Mylan. Executive salaries have also seen a stratospheric uptick.

Proxy filings show that from 2007 to 2015, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch's total compensation went from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, a 671 percent increase. During the same period, the company raised EpiPen prices, with the average wholesale price going from $56.64 to $317.82, a 461 percent increase, according to data provided by Connecture.
The story goes on to note that during the same period, Mylan increased their congressional bribery lobbying by four-fold, which resulted in the FDA's requiring that EpiPens be sold in two-pen sets, not singly, and that schools were given grants to stock them. Given that Bresch is the daughter of a U.S. Senator, it probably wasn't a terribly hard lobbying project.

That's what you're paying for in drug prices: Greedhead executives raising their own pay from "stratospheric" to "unconscionable" and spreading money in D.C. to get more corporate welfare.

Isn't capitalism wonderful?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

It's Not Just PharmaBro That is Evil, It's All of Them

The recipe for the pharmaceutical companies: Take something that has been in the marked for decades, that people need, and then hike the ever-loving shit out of the price.
A steep increase in the price of the EpiPen, a lifesaving injection device for people with severe allergies, has sparked outrage among consumers and lawmakers who worry that parents won’t be able to afford the pens for children heading back to school.
...
Mylan, the pharmaceutical company, acquired the decades-old product in 2007, when pharmacies paid less than $100 for a two-pen set, and has since been steadily raising the wholesale price. In 2009, a pharmacy paid $103.50 for a set. By July 2013 the price was up to $264.50, and it rose 75 percent to $461 by last May. This May the price spiked again to $608.61, according to data provided by Elsevier Clinical Solutions’ Gold Standard Drug Database.
Mylan, a collection of scum-sucking, tax-dodging asshats, is no different in morality than PharmaBro, who at least, may be headed for the prison cell that he so richly deserves. You can't argue that your industry serves a public good when the pricing is done by the methods employed by robber barons.

Other than the quibble that their products are legal and heroin is not,* there are few differences between Big Pharma and the drug cartels, other than (i) there is more competition with regard to illegal drugs, (ii) legal drugs usually aren't stepped-on and (iii) Walgreens and CVS rarely engage in gun battles over turf.

The top layers of management of both the cartels and Big Pharma truly rival each other when it comes to amorality.
____________________________
* A distinction without much of a difference when it comes to opiods.

Guess Nobody Clued in Melania Trump about the Streisand Effect

A lawyer for Melania Trump said Monday that he had informed several news organizations, including The Daily Mail, that they could face legal action for publishing articles that Ms. Trump contended were defamatory.

In an email, the lawyer, Charles J. Harder, said Ms. Trump, the wife of Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, “has placed several news organizations on notice of her legal claims against them, including Daily Mail among others, for making false and defamatory statements about her supposedly having been an ‘escort’ in the 1990s.”
I supposed I should comment that saying that Melania was once a whore is by no means worse than the thousands of things that the alt-right has been saying about Michelle Obama or, for that matter, about Hillary Clinton for the last quarter-century. But let's let that one alone.

I hadn't previously heard any allegations that Melania had been an "escort", and chances are, neither had you. But thanks to her lawyers, now everybody will know of the rumors that Mrs. Trump was once a hooker. Because even if they all retract the story, the retractions won't have the legs that the original stories did.

Which is what the Streisand Effect is all about.

Dumbass.

Disposable Country Music

Pretty much all the same, nowadays.


Charmin or Cottonelle, take yer pick.

(H/T)

Death by Bagpipe?

I didn't know that was a thing. But apparently, it is:
A 61-year-old British musician died from “bagpipe lung,” a disease triggered by fungi living inside the much-loved, much-hated instrument, doctors claim.

The research team, which detailed the case in “Thorax” medical journal Monday, urged bagpipers to regularly and carefully clean their pipes to avoid developing the disease, known more formally as hypersensitivity pneumonitis.
Apparently, it's not completely unknown and it has happened to musicians of other wind instruments.

Maybe it's worse for bagpipes, can they blow-back from the bag and up the inflation pipe? Not knowing anything about their construction, I'd guess that the bag of the thing has to be a great host for fungi, what with warm, moist air being blown into it by the piper.

Seriously, Folks, is Trump Mentally Ill?

I don't particularly like using the term, for I know people who have mental challenges. It seems cruel to even suggest that The Donald is in the same category.

But still: Last week, Trump said that he regretted saying hurtful things about people. And then his newest (temporary) campaign manager implied that things were changing.

That didn't last long. The Donald watched "Morning Joe" yesterday and then launched into one of his trademarked Twitter rants, because he didn't like what was said about him.
The man's skin is so thin, it might as well be made of cheap plastic wrap. Write or say something that The Donald doesn't like and he has an overpowering urge/need to strike back. So imagine that little thin-skinned, short-fingered psycho with the power to order around Federal cops, the armed forces, the DoJ and the IRS.

But beyond that, if you're a Republican, I almost feel bad for you. The Democrats nominated their most beatable candidate in two generations and, through a long primary/caucus process, you folks chose somebody who is even worse.

Even Johnnie E. Bush would stand a good chance of beating Clinton like a Taiko drum. A Republican who could appeal to independents and right-of-center Democrats, such as Kaisch, would be mopping the floor with the Clinton campaign. Right now, Kaisch would be running a low-profile campaign and let Clinton twist in the glare of the continuing flap over her emails. Maybe toss in a few comments about the Clinton Foundation and whatnot and watch her poll numbers evaporate. The Democrats would be cursing Joe Biden for not running.

But no, not Trump. He cannot keep his yap shut. He persists in marching back and forth through a minefield whilst wearing clown shoes. He has an apparent compulsion to keep the spotlight on himself, even if he is insulting people or making a condescending pitch to people who despise him so much that, within the margin of error, he's lost the votes of people who won't be born for another five years.

With a moderate Republican candidate, the GOP wouldn't be worried about losing a lot of House seats. They wouldn't be contemplating losing control of the Senate. All of which they are now sweating.

But hey, you guys chose The Donald. Enjoy the ride.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Olympic Waste

You don't have to look very hard to find photo essays of Olympic venues and parks falling into ruin around the world. They are a colossal waste of money. It is as dumb as it would be if the city that hosted the Stupor Bowl each year had to scratch-build a stadium for it.

So here's an idea: Pick one place for each set of games, winter and summer, and have them there. Permanently.

Of course, that'll never happen. The IOC is full of grifters, even if the grift is limited to subsidized travel and free stays in top-flight hotels (which it isn't). Sure, the outright bribery that came to light in the late `90s may be gone, but you can bet the farm that it still goes on in some fashion or another.

The Donald Now Open to Giving Amnesty to Illegal Immigrants

So much for what he's been saying over the last fifteen or so months.

Be interesting to see how The Donald's supporters, including these racists, will take such a monumental flip-flop. Trump flip-flopping on immigration would be like Hillary Clinton proposing to give all high-school graduates a free AR-15.

Of course he's denying that he's changing his mind, even though it's pretty clear that he's considering abandoning a core foundation of his campaign. But the Trump campaign is showing a talent for denying that he said what he said. Even when confronted with the evidence. The first trick for a new Trump hire is mastering the flip-flop. (The "new, non-insulting Trump" lasted less than a day.)

One of the signature verbal tics that Trump uses when his his speaking off-the-cuff is to say "I have to be honest with you". It's a pretty good clue that what comes next is going to be both hyperbole and a pants-on-fire lie.

Meanwhile, other than running ads, you don't hear much from the Clinton campaign. They're following the old political rule of "when your opponent is fucking up, don't stand in his way." They are, though, starting to measure the drapes a little too early for my taste.

"We'll Take Away Their Liberty for Your Security"

The last time the Feds planned to round up large numbers of law-abiding people for nebulous security reasons was in 1987. Functionaries in the INS, following the orders of the Reagan Administation, wrote a 40 page memo outlining how to arrest and detain several thousand people.
The 40-page memo described a government contingency plan for rounding up thousands of legal alien residents of eight specified nationalities: Libya, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan and Morocco. Emergency legal measures would be deployed—rescinding the right to bond, claiming the privilege of confidential evidence, excluding the public from deportation hearings, among others. In its final pages, buried in a glaze of bureaucratese, the memo struck its darkest note: A procedure to detain and intern thousands of aliens while they awaited what would presumably become a mass deportation.
A 100 acre concentration camp was to be carved out of the backwoods of Louisiana to hold people who were (a) in the country legally, and (b) had not done anything wrong, other than to be from a certain set of countries.

The plan was to revoke people's visas, declare them to be illegally in the country, lie to the immigration judges about having "classified evidence" and deport them all en masse.

If you've followed some of the terrorist cases over the last 15 or so yours, you may have noted repeated attempts by the Feds to say "we've got evidence, but we can't show you". There's nothing new, is there?

Time and time again, government, both large and small, has viewed the Constitution as an inconvenient piece of paper. It takes the scrutiny of the press, lawyers and public attention to force them to to honor it.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise


They don't get much smaller (or less practical) than a Cri-Cri jet.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

For Social Media, Let's Just Knock That Shit Off.

The "shit" being "politics". Just knock it off, everyone.

Here's the thing: People are on social media to connect with each other. Distant relatives, service buddies, former co-workers, school classmates. You're looking to see if the kid who was with you in band has been enjoying his retirement. Did your nephew score well on her SATs. Someone lost their job, another got divorced, a third landed a job, a fourth just had twins. The kid across the street's son in your hometown got a pilot's job with American, his sister flys F/A-18s. Your cousin adopted a rescue pet. All that stuff.

But as for politics on social media, guess what, Bucko? Nobody fucking cares. This is a polarized election and I will hazard a guess that everyone who is planning on voting knows who they are supporting. Even if you're going to throw your vote down a rathole (voting for Johnson or Stein), you know who you're voting for.

So when you post about that shit on social media, all you do is likely piss people off. They're your friends and relatives, why would you hector them?

There was an old conversational rule in the Navy: Three topics were off-limits-- Sex, religion and politics. That rule kept the discussions civilized and mostly at a calm level.

Blogging isn't social media, it's more opinion media. You pretty much know what you're going to get. You don't want to read someone mocking The Donald for trying to pitch to black voters by talking to lily-white audiences, then you've come to the wrong place.

On social media, it's like going into the basement rec room and finding your half-drunk crazy uncle ranting about shit. You just leave the room. And yes, the cyber-equivalent of leaving the room is what I've been doing on social media, and I suspect that I'm not alone.

Can we have one corner of the Internet that is not polluted by politics, people?

Caturday

Moms are the best places for napping!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Crazies Are Coming Out of the Woodwork

[Some Asshole] was apparently enraged at the sight of a black man and a white woman kissing on the streets of Olympia, Wash., Tuesday night. But police say he hid his violent intent behind a stony face until he was close enough to strike.
...
[Asshole], 32, walked up to the couple and, without warning, yelled a racial slur and lunged with his knife, police say. The blade grazed the woman and went into the man’s hip, according to a news release from Olympia police.
...
After the attack, [Asshole] ran off as stunned onlookers dialed 911. The 47-year-old male victim, not realizing how badly he was injured, chased [Asshole] and “tripped him up,” said Lt. Paul Lower, a police department spokesman. [Asshole] hit his head on the ground and was knocked unconscious.
...
“He tells them, ‘Yeah, I stabbed them. I’m a white supremacist,'” Lower said. “He begins talking about Donald Trump rallies and attacking people at the Black Lives Matter protest.”
And I'll bet that he's just the kind of asshole who is going to be baffled at the fact that he is going to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law and he'll spend a few more decades back in stir.

When Evil is Done in Your Name.

What do you do when you are confronted with proof that your country engaged in unspeakable war crimes and atrocities as it tried to hold on to a crumbling colonial empire?

I'm guessing that denial and blaming those who uncovered the crimes will be the order of the day. Just like it is here. and elsewhere. The Turks deny the Armenian genocide. Have the Belgiums ever confronted that King Leopold II was "the butcher of Africa" for killing a tenth of the population of the entire continent?

Just close your eyes and whistle a jaunty tune as you walk past those piles of moldering corpses. It's what humans are good at.

More Lies from The Donald

"Sometimes in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don't choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that," the GOP nominee, reading from prepared text, said at a rally in Charlotte, N.C. Thursday night. "And believe it or not, I regret it - and I do regret it - particularly where it may have caused personal pain."
*Tweet* Flag on the play- 100% Bullshit.

Trump regrets nothing. That's his personality. He not only stood by every hateful thing that he's said over the last year, but whenever questioned about it, he doubled down on them, both in his spoken remarks and on Twitter.

Another clue he doesn't believe a word that he's saying: He read his so-called regrets from a prepared statement. In order to try to come across as a decent human being, he had to use a Teleprompter.

This is like putting a wedding dress on a pig.

But if he really wanted to make a fresh start, he can begin by kicking some unregistered foreign agents out of this campaign.

UPDATE: Manafort is out. Rick Gates, not so much.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Everyone Needs a Good Chuckle; Wal-Mart Edition

Towards the end of a piece of how Wal-marts are crime magnets came this whopper:
“We absolutely understand how important this is. It is important for our associates, it is important for our customers and across the communities we serve,” says Judith McKenna, Walmart’s chief operating officer for the U.S. “We can do better.”
Sure, they care, in a pig's eye, they do. I've heard rumblings that the local police department has toyed with slow-footing calls made by the local Wal-mart because of frustration over the amount of departmental resources being sucked up by them. Other retailers take crime control seriously, but Wal-mart has dumped it on the local communities. Just like they've dumped the societal costs of having low paid workers on everyone else.

In my town, one of the local discount grocery stores will sell food to charitable clubs holding fundraisers (cookouts, golf tourneys) at their cost. Another grocery store has shopper-club cards, and the shoppes can designate local charities to receive a bit of love whenever they buy stuff. The only thing that Wal-mart does is let the Girl Scouts set up to sell cookies and lets the United Way set up donation kettles and bell-ringers for the holiday season. As far as I know, Wal-mart does fuck-all and I'm pretty sure of that, because if they did, they'd be issuing press releases as though they had free paper.

If Wal-mart ever was a "good local citizen", that ended as soon as Sam Walton's body reached room temperature.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Trump Doesn't Believe in Intelligence

Hours before he is set to receive his first classified intelligence briefing, Donald Trump said he does not trust information coming out of U.S. intelligence agencies and indicated he would cease relying on the bulk of the intelligence community’s massive workforce.

During an interview aired on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning, Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, was asked whether he “trust[s] intelligence.”

“Not so much from the people that have been doing it for our country,” Trump responded. “I mean, look what’s happened over the last 10 years. … It’s been catastrophic.

“Very easy to use them, but I won't use them, because they’ve made such bad decisions,” he said, pointing to apparent intelligence failures ahead of the United States's 2003 invasion of Iraq. At the time, George W. Bush administration officials appeared convinced that Saddam Hussein’s government was creating weapons of mass destruction, though that was not the case.
Guess Trump is unaware that the "intelligence findings" to support the invasion of Iraq were dictated out of Dick Cheney's office and that anyone who disagreed with that per-determination was pushed aside. (Eric Shinseki, anyone? Larry Lindsey?)

Is he aware that the president is the decider-in-chief and that the intel boyos mostly make recommendations and then implement the policy (and specific) decisions made by the president? Does His Orange-Haired Awfulness really believe that the Iraq and Afghan Wars were ordered by the CIA/NSA/DIA on their own initiative?

And what, pray tell, would President The Donald use for sources of information--- the FSB, through Paul Manafort?

OK, then:
FOR SALE OR LEASE: Two large office complexes in the Metro DC area. Class A office buildings, with many secure office spaces and security gates. Amenities include firing ranges, helicopter pads and interrogation rooms. P.O.R. Contact Melania Trump, leasing specialist, at 202-456-1111, beginning January 21, 2017.
You guys at the CIA, NSA and DIA had best start polishing your resumes. The mall-cop jobs are going to go fast. And then you can see if former American, Chinese tool and current merc-honcho Erik Prince is hiring.

Profiles in Political Cowardice or Tone-Deafness; Trump Edition

Speaking at a rally on Tuesday night in the rural town of West Bend, 30 miles from Milwaukee, Trump, who has branded himself the “law and order candidate”, told an almost exclusively white audience that the rioting was “an assault on the right of all citizens to live in security and to live in peace” – and said black people were the biggest victims of violence in their neighborhoods.

“Law and order must be restored. It must be restored for the sake of all, but most especially for the sake of those living in the affected communities,” Trump said.

“The main victims of these riots are law-abiding African American citizens living in these neighborhoods. It’s their job, it’s their homes, it’s their schools and communities which will suffer the most as a result.”

Trump said he was asking for “the vote of every African American citizen struggling in our country today who wants a different future”.
Making a pitch to black people by speaking to a white audience is about as moronic as making a pitch to Jewish voters while speaking to a hall full of Southern Baptists.

At this point, it's becoming apparent that The Donald is, if only subconsciously, doing everything he can to throw the game.

Hacking the NSA (Plus, Your Daily Donald)

A bunch of hacking tools developed by the NSA are now out in the wild. There are claims that the NSA has been hacked. I'm a bit skeptical, more likely somebody did something stupid and either stored the files in an insecure location or something like that. As the old maxim goes: "Never attribute to cupidity that which can be attributed to stupidity."

But we'll all probably know more in the coming days.

Meanwhile, The Donald is shaking up his campaign.
Donald Trump moved to overhaul his troubled campaign on Wednesday, hiring the head of conservative website Breitbart News as chief executive officer and promoting a seasoned political operative to a senior role.

Stephen Bannon, the combative executive chairman of Breitbart, was named CEO, the Trump campaign said in a statement. It also said Kellyanne Conway, who has been an adviser, will take on the role of campaign manager.
Other than demoting an alleged Russian operative, I don't know what is served by putting a former Goldman Sachs bankster and professional loudmouth in charge. If the recent polling is akin to reports of icebergs, Trump just rang up a flank bell.

Hillary Clinton has some real problems. Problems a seasoned pol would have no trouble exploiting. But The Donald is not a professional pol, but a professional huckster, a con artist. He can't count on Clinton to make stupid unforced errors.

The reverse, so far, isn't true. Against a non-batshit crazed candidate, Clinton would be in a serious fight and would stand a good chance of losing.

Oh, and Republicans should give up their fantasies about sending her to jail. If she does lose, you can bet your paycheck on whose name is going to be on a presidential pardon on the morning of January 20th. It'll be one last "mic drop" aimed at the GOP.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Grifters Gotta Grift; PAC Edition

A long article about how the various Tea Party PACs served mainly to profit those who ran them.

Even the Wounded Warrior Project isn't that corrupt.

(H/T)

I Didn't Do It, See! I Wuz Framed, See! I'm Innocent, See!

Which is pretty ironic, coming from a state attorney general.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane was convicted Monday of perjury, obstruction and other crimes after squandering her once bright political future on an illegal vendetta against an enemy.

Four years after Ms. Kane’s election in a landslide as the first Democrat and first woman elected attorney general, a jury of six men and six women found her guilty of all charges: two counts of perjury and seven misdemeanor counts of abusing the powers of her office.

She does not have to resign as Pennsylvania’s top law enforcement official — at least not immediately. The state constitution says public officials convicted of certain offenses, including perjury and other “infamous crimes,” must step down. Over the years, however, court decisions have allowed officials to remain in office until sentencing.
If you regard prosecutors as being part of law enforcement, then the chief law enforcement official in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, who may still be on the job for the next three months, is a convicted criminal. And two of her deputies dodged prosecution only by testifying under grants of immunity.

Which makes the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Attorney General's Office sound more like a mob operation than an office for upholding law and order.

There's one really dirty house that needs a full-scale cleanup.

UPDATE: She quit.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Legume Season, politically speaking

I had to cool my heels for a little bit at the courthouse today, waiting for a case to be called, so I went to Goat's Butt* to see what some people were doing.

Somebody I know shared a post from somebody else. The person whose post was shared was proclaiming that since Wisconsin is calling out the National Guard because what has happened in Milwaukee, that President Obama would use that as an excuse to seize a third term.

I had the urge to comment and ask if the original poster might have been dropped on his head a few times when he was a young child. Maybe it's not PC, but if you really believe that drivel (as the OP apparently did), then you probably should be seeking professional help, before the nice men in white come for your with their butterfly nets.

And speaking of somebody who apparently was dropped on her head a few too many times:
Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson on Monday accused “left-wing reporters” of “literally” beating Trump supporters.

“The voters want someone that’s gonna fight back because they are tired of seeing left-wing reporters literally beat Trump supporters into submission into supporting policies they don’t agree with,” Pierson told Fox Business Network.
Before she opens her shoe-receptacle again, she ought to watch Word Crimes about fifty times with the volume turned up to 120%.

And then there is Rudy Giuliani, who is apparently suffering from some sort of brain-sickness:
Speaking in Youngstown, Ohio ahead of Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, who was the mayor of New York City on 9/11, declared that Islamic extremists hadn't carried out any terror attacks on American soil before Barack Obama's presidency.

"Under those 8 years, before Obama came along, we didn't have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the US," Giuliani told the crowd. "They all started when Clinton and Obama came into office."

But before I could write this post, I had to fix my computer, as Chip managed to change the screen orientation.


It's a real PITA trying to look up how to do that when the screen is 90deg out of whack. I gave up and asked Siri, who actually got me to the right place to find out.
___________________________
* Bad French joke.

RNC, Good Luck With That.

The GOP wants Trump to reach out to African-Americans, and at least one of his staffies agrees:
Conceding that she is “extremely concerned” about Mr. Trump’s standing among blacks, Omarosa Manigault, his director of African-American outreach, said she wanted to bring him before black audiences.

“I am now looking at opportunities for Mr. Trump to get in front of key partners in the African-American community, particularly civil rights groups and faith groups, particularly historically black colleges and universities,” said Ms. Manigault, who achieved fame as a contestant on the first season of Mr. Trump’s television show “The Apprentice.”
The problem is that Donald Trump's history with African-Americans includes repeated cases of housing discrimination.
Before he became the king of Atlantic City casinos, before he put his name on steaks or starred on reality television, Donald Trump served his own apprenticeship in the less glamorous family business of renting apartments.

Trump, in his autobiography, recalled learning valuable lessons from his father, Fred: Hunt for bargains. Chase out deadbeats. Spend some money on paint and polish.

Some alleged there was another part to the Trump formula: Make it tough for black people to move in.
Of course, he'll deny it. But the proof was pretty damning.

And people don't forget shit like that.

Gays Who Are in Favor of Getting Their Heads Bashed In

Morons, most, if not all, of them
Hundreds of gay activists will begin a campaign of civil disobedience and direct action against gun companies and their supporters on Monday, to demand an end to the epidemic of gun violence blighting the US.
Ya, sure, they all live in places where the cops and the courts will treat gay-bashing as a serious crime and the authorities all treat gay-owed bars and other businesses with respect.

Not true in a lot of places, guys.

The Worst Criminals in America

Not guys with guns, drug lords, or even banksters.

They're employers, stealing well over one hundred times as much as do criminals:
All the property taken in all the thefts and robberies of all types in 2012, solved or unsolved, amounted to a little under $341 million .... research suggests American workers are getting screwed out of $20 billion to $50 billion annually.
If criminals were stealing fifty billion dollars worth of shit each year, we'd have troops in the fucking streets and neighborhood watch groups that would make George Zimmerman look like Mother Theresa.

So why is it pretty much OK for companies and business to steal from their employees?

Stooges; One of Putin's

On a leafy side street off Independence Square in Kiev is an office used for years by Donald J. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, when he consulted for Ukraine’s ruling political party. His furniture and personal items were still there as recently as May.

And Mr. Manafort’s presence remains elsewhere here in the capital, where government investigators examining secret records have found his name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former President Viktor F. Yanukovych.

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
Manafort, of course, denies everything, but one of the beauties of cash is its deniability.

One guess as to where at least some of the money came from:


Imagine the outrage by the RWNM if Clinton had an (alleged) Russian agent working as her campaign manager.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

So Much Trump to Choose From

Any of these topics would be worth a full-on post in their own right.

Let's lead off with Trump's inability to grasp one of the principles of democracy: A free and independent press. His campaign is denying press credentials to non-sycophantic news outlets. Let's be clear about this: Trump regards "unfair coverage" as "stories which displease His Orange-Haired Mightiness". He truly does not understand the role of press in politics. Trump thinks that the reporters should all be licking his boots. He would have hated H.L. Mencken.

Of course, Trump blames the media for doing such egregious things as reporting what he's said. No doubt that Fox News and his online echo chambers will start parroting that line.

Next:  We all know that Trump is surrounded by Russian stooges.

But now, it appears that Trump has surrounded himself with idiots:
Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said on Saturday the US' military effort in Afghanistan "was Obama's war." ... "If you want to go way back, we can look at the troop surge, and after 2007 al Qaeda was essentially in ashes," Pierson said. "It was Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who then destroyed the entire rollout by wanting to pull out early... That is the reason why ISIS is a global issue."

Then Pierson pivoted to the Afghanistan theater.

"Remember, we weren't even in Afghanistan by this time. Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem," Pierson said.

Blackwell asked her to clarify, and she said, "That was Obama's war, yes.
So much fail in so little time. The Status of Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq, which mandated the 2011 pullout, was negotiated and signed by George W. Bush. Furthermore, American troops have been in Afghanistan for nearly fifteen years, beginning in 2001. The presence of troops in varying numbers has been continuous since then.

But hey, isn't it a bit of a stretch to expect anyone in the Trump campaign to have even a minimal understanding of those inconvenient things called "facts"?

Next:   Trump appeared at a rally in Connecticut yesterday. It's been 28 years since the state went for a Republican presidential candidate. Other than Fairfield, CT being an easy trip from his home, why the fuck would he waste his time there? Why wouldn't he hold a rally in a state where he has a chance of winning?

Either Trump is too lazy/arrogant to bother to mount a real campaign or he is, at this point, just phoning it in.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

The Red Arrows at an airshow a few days ago:


The videographer had some trouble deciding which airplane to track.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

NYC Mosque Shooting: We'll See If the Obvious Conclusion Holds

The leader of a New York City mosque and an associate were fatally shot in a brazen daylight attack as they left afternoon prayers Saturday.

Police said 55-year-old Imam Maulama Akonjee and his 64-year-old associate, Thara Uddin, were shot in the back of the head as they left the Al-Furqan Jame Masjid mosque in the Ozone Park section of Queens shortly before 2 p.m.
...
"There's nothing in the preliminary investigation to indicate that they were targeted because of their faith," said Deputy Inspector Henry Sautner of the New York Police Department.
On the other hand, there's apparently nothing in the prelimiary investigation to indicate that they wren't so targeted.

And since the RWNM always begins bleating "terrorism" whenever the perp of a killing is a Muslim, in advance of any evidence to support that conclusion, perhaps one can be forgiven for suspecting that the execution-style slaying of two observant Muslims on the street was indeed a hate crime.

Trump: Blowhard, Liar or Unindicted Felon?

That was then:
Trump called on Obama to release his college applications, transcripts and other records, asking how such a “terrible student” got into Ivy League schools. The business executive also demanded that Obama release his passport records and, most famously, his birth certificate, declaring in a video released before the 2012 election: “We know very little about our president.”
This is now:
He has refused to release many of the same documents that he demanded from Obama, including college transcripts and passport records. He has shirked the decades-old tradition of major nominees releasing their tax returns and other documentation to prove their readiness and fitness for office. And he has yet to release records showing why he received a medical deferment during the Vietnam War and whether he has actually donated the millions of dollars he claims to have given to charity.
What is Trump hiding? Could his college transcripts show that he was accused of nefarious things such as plagiarism and sexual assault of his roomie? Has he lies about his business dealings? Has he actually given very little to charities? Do the records show payoffs to government officials to smooth the way for his developments? Colluding with banks to shut off credit to rivals? Was Melania in the country illegally and did he know that?

Nobody knows.

Still, the argument that The Donald put forth to support his demand for records about President Obama applies equally to him. We know very little about The Donald, other than the lies and bullshit that he has spread about for the last forty-odd years.

Come clean, Trump.

Caturday

A new arrival at the local shelter.


Spay and neuter your critters, people!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The GOP Musters the Circular Firing Squad

More than 70 Republicans have signed an open letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus urging him to stop spending any money to help Donald Trump win in November and shift those contributions to Senate and House races.
And, of course, Trump responds:
Donald Trump on Thursday issued a threat to stop fundraising for the Republican Party after a report emerged that party officials could focus resources on down-ballot candidates.

"I mean, if it is true, that's OK too because all I have to do is stop funding the Republican Party," Trump said on Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor" when asked about the Republican National Committee potentially diverting funds away from the presidential race.

"I'm the one raising the money for them," he continued. "In fact, right now I'm in Orlando, I'm going to a fundraiser for the Republican Party. If they want to do that they can save me a lot of time and a lot of energy."
The GOP may be committing demographic suicide in chaining itself to Trump especially considering that Trump may cost them a very large group of future voters.

But if the GOP's party apparatchicks fail to stand behind Trump, that will be self-immolation. For not supporting The Donald is going to be seen as a betrayal by the hard-core base that voted for Trump in the primaries.

Elsewhere, The Donald says that he's only kidding when he calls for people to kill Hillary Clinton or says that President Obama founded ISIS. In essence, he says that he's a known liar and a bullshit artist and that nobody should ever believe anything he says. Of course, this comes after days of saying that he wasn't kidding and that he meant exactly what he said about Obama founding ISIS.

Sounds exactly like what a bully and an abuser would say when he is pinned down about his actions.

No wonder the professionals in the GOP are sidling or running for the lifeboats.

Because It's Friday

UP 844 is back out from her overhaul:


True foamers will note that the "safety diesel" is a railroad rockstar in its own right, as the sole remaining operation Centennial-class locomotive.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Trump and His "Daily Dose of Stupid"

Donald Trump is now accusing President Barack Obama of founding the Islamic State group that is wreaking havoc from the Middle East to European cities.

"In many respects, you know, they honor President Obama," Trump said Wednesday during a raucous campaign rally outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "He is the founder of ISIS."

He repeated the allegation three more times for emphasis.
And what's the headline for this story?

TRUMP ACCUSES OBAMA OF BEING THE 'FOUNDER OF ISIS'

So, for another news cycle or two or three, the focus again is going to be on the recurring story of "Stupid Shit Said by Donald Trump". Because only a few seconds of research will reveal that ISIS was (a) founded in 1999, and that (b) President Obama was an Illinois state senator at the time. Which is hardly a position of power and influence, at least outside of the state's borders.*

At this point, as much as the Right Wing Noise Machine blathers on about Clinton's emails and whatnot, it barely matters. The narrative of this election, which the Clinton campaign has only had to nudge along, is that Donald Trump is a dangerously unhinged racist who is drooling at the chance to use nuclear weapons.

Update: Trump the Stochastic Terrorist.
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* Quick: Without the use of your computer, name a state senator in a state that is not adjacent to your own.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Grifters Gotta Grift; The Donald Ed.

One of the main beneficiaries of Donald Trump's tax plan would be, you guessed it, Donald Trump. It would lower the tax rate on a lot of his income from 40% to 15%.

Trump said that under his tax plan, rich people would pay their fair share.

Just not him. Or everyone else who is like him.

Because grifters gotta grift.

ASAT Test-1959

From NJT comes this video of a series of air-launched ballistic missile tests in the late `50s:


The missile's code name was High Virgo. The ASAT test failed. At the same time as the High Virgo program, the Air Force was running the Bold Orion ALBM tests, air-launched from a B-47. The ASAT test, a few weeks after the High Virgo attempt, did get close enough to a satellite to destroy it with a nuke warhead.

At a time when there probably weren't a dozen satellites in orbit, the Air Force was already playing with how to shoot one down. Brute force ASAT weapons, as the Chinese accidentally demonstrated, would end up denying everyone the use of orbital satellites.

When You'll Know that the Game is Up for Trump

I suspect that it will be when the Senate, all of a sudden, quickly votes to accept Merrick Garland for the Supremes.

What they'll try to do is to forestall President Obama withdrawing Garland's nomination the day after Hillary Clinton is elected, saying, in effect: "You fuckers said you wanted the next president to nominate a judge to fill the seat. Wish granted."

ATF FUBAR?

I stopped by a gun shop on my way home, looking for a set of grips for that Model 60. One of the clerks was behind the counter, holding a phone, with some 4472s on the counter.

What I was told was that the ATF changed its website for submitting online 4472s and it went live yesterday, and it promptly crashed. So the dealers have to call in and ATF isn't staffed to do it that way. The clerk had been on hold for nearly two hours.

If you're buying a gun in the next few days, or at least until ATF gets their e-shit together, be prepared for delays.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Donald Trump Calls for the Assassination of Future President Hillary Clinton

Donald Trump has hinted at the assassination of Hillary Clinton by supporters of gun rights.

The Republican nominee was speaking at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, about the next president’s power to appoint supreme court justices. “If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” he said, adding: “Although the second amendment people – maybe there is, I don’t know.”
That orange-haired lunatic isn't dog-whistling to the crazies, he's blowing a fucking steam-whistle.

Those those who read this blog and support him: How far does Trump have to go before you repudiate him? Does he have to go to a cross-burning? Wear a brown uniform and start giving his speeches in German?

For Chrissake, what the hell do you guys think will happen to our gun rights if some moron heeds the Donald's call and assassinates her? In 1968, we damn near lost the right to own handguns (notwithstanding the fact that President Kennedy and Dr. King were killed with bolt-action rifles).

Trump is playing a very dangerous game. Those of you who have supported him so far had best think about whether or not your loyalty to your party is more important to you than your country.

(Yep)

Update: Trump blames the press for reporting what he said.

From the "Do Want" File

I'm not a fan of motorcycles, but this one is just neat:

Delta: It's Not Only Your Luggage That Won't Arrive


They lost power to their computer system in Atlanta and everything shit the bed. A day afterwards and Delta's schedule is not back to normal.

I'm guessing that there is at least one airline that is going to be shopping for some big honking backup generators.

(Sorry about the bad link.)

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Upcoming Golden Age of Political Corruption

Because there are far fewer reporters watching what they do, and there will be fewer still, in years to come.

No, I'm Not a Big-Game Hunter

Hell, I don't mess around much with rifles. But it might be fun to have a .404 Jeffery.

Ammo's not cheap, $5/round or so. Brass is $2/hull. Even cheaper dies are just under $100. The bullets are over $1/apiece.

Apparently some dude in RSA is making a few of them for about $2,200, but good luck on importing one. CZ will make one for Lord knows how much. Other than that, the used ones in decent shape are about five times that, or better.

Oh, well.....

Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely; Fox News Edition

Because none of the Murdochs were interested in paying attention to what Roger Ailes was doing, so long as he showed a good profit, Ailes was (allegedly) running a black ops operation out of Fox News, targeting anyone he didn't like.

Does anyone continue to doubt that Fox News is partisan and unhinged?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Not Exactly Retail Theft, But.... LGS Edition

I was browsing the revolver cases at a local gun shop. My M.O. is to support the gun industry by buying the guns people traded in so they could buy other guns.

Anyway, lumped in with a bunch of new Charter and Taurus stuff was this S&W Model 60-13:


MSRP on the new ones is $759, street price is often lower. When I see them in regular gun shops,* $700 or so seems to be the norm. The few used guns that I've seen offered in good condition have been priced around $500.

This one was marked $329. I checked the timing and looking down the barrel, shined a light by the recoil shield to see if the cylinder lined up. There wasn't any detectable endshake. It came with its original box, complete with the fired cartridge case, dated 2010.

When I reached for my wallet, I didn't break my arm, but it was close.

What one gets for an additional inch in barrel length are better sights and a good boost in performance over a 2". Over a K-frame, one loses a round and about 12oz in weight.

What might be better would be a 3" Colt D-frame, either a Detective Special or a Police Positive. But if you could find one, it would be priced into unobtainium levels. Or if you could find a beater, you could have it rebarreled, which will run at least $250 for the upgrade.

But yeah, I think I got a good deal.
________________________________
* not Gander Mountain, home of MSRP pricing.

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

Su-35 at an airshow:

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Trump: Grifters Gotta Grift

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have options on their websites allowing supporters to set up recurring credit-card donations to their campaigns. But unlike Clinton’s, Trump’s website has no option to cancel those donations.From Trump's viewpoint, that's not a bug, it's a feature.

Oh, his campaign will say that it's a mistake, but they're lying. Having a cancel donation selection is a basic and ethical part of setting up a donation page. But by now it should be clear to even the most casual of observers that when it comes to ethics, Trump never tested out very good. If there was even an ethics class in his MBA program, it probably was an elective and he slept through it.

Caturday

"Crackers", a friend's cat.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

But the Pilots Will Have to Handle the Dreaded "Thirteen-Engine Approach!"

NASA has begun working on a new X-Plane, officially designated X-57 but nicknamed “Maxwell.” The electric aircraft will be powered by an impressive fourteen electric motors. Maxwell is the first new X-plane designated research aircraft from NASA in a decade.
"Maxwell"? That would make sense if it was the X-86.



(Origin of the headline)

The GOP's Orange-Haired Dumpster Fire Continues Unabated

Donald Trump has been bragging that he is good to disabled people because he complies with the American with Disabilities Act.

In other Trump news, there is now hard proof that he has tiny hands. So he's been lying about that.

Elsewhere:
Fox’s Meghan McCain chided Donald Trump and his family for casting aspersions on her father’s record of service when they had no understanding of military or veterans’ issues.

Speaking on Outnumbered Wednesday afternoon, McCain noted that her two brothers had had multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan among other places and “served with honor while [Trump’s] sons were doing reality television shows.” She continued, “So being told that my family doesn’t understand war and veterans and veterans issues breaks my heart.” ... “I know what it’s like to watch my brothers deploy and think that they’re not going to come back,” Meghan McCain concluded. “I know what that feels like. And the Trumps do not.”
Sen. McCain's sons go overseas with weapons to fight America's enemies. Donald Trump's sons go overseas with weapons to kill animals for their heads.

And if you want an idea what life is like in a place where a thin-skinned jerk can order about the cops, go read this.

It's probably not escaped your notice, Gentle Readers, that Hillary Clinton has been lying low and not making news. When your political adversary is making a fool of himself, a wise candidate steps back and lets him continue.

UPDATE: Thin-skinned, to boot.