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

Monday, October 28, 2019

Trump Can't Go a Day Without Committing an Impeachable Act

It was a measure of the strained atmosphere in Washington that two top Democrats — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff, who heads the House intelligence committee — didn’t get a heads-up from Trump about the operation.

Trump didn’t trust them to keep it secret.

“Washington is a leaking machine,” Trump said. In this case, he said, “there were no leaks, no nothing. The only people that knew were the few people that I dealt with.”
That, of course, is bullshit. Trump wanted to poke a finger in their eyes and he did.

As far as I know, common procedure, if not the law, requires a president to inform the leadership of the Congress before military action takes place. Trump informed his masters in Moscow and he let his Senatorial Ass-Kisser, Lindsey Graham, know. That is an abuse of power, so let's add that to the many reasons why Trump should be removed from office (and disqualified).

Trump himself couldn't keep it secret, tweeting out a hint that something had happened.

Trump is a petty, vindictive, wannabee tyrant. That was on full display on Sunday morning, as he made the operation to kill al-Baghdadi all about Trump.

Al-Baghdadi was many things, all of them evil. But it is rather interesting that a man who did his utmost to avoid combat when he was of age has the gall to call anyone else a coward.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Caturday

Chip was supervising the painter who was touching up stuff.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Because It's Friday

Some very old English stuff:

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Respectfully Submitted: My Suggested Answer to All Republican “Demands” Regarding the Impeachment Inquiry

“Go fuck yourselves.”

Republican congressmen are involved in every step. There are Republicans there during the initial depositions.

The GOP’s thuggery will avail them nothing. Actually, less than nothing. It is putting on full display that the GOP has no defense to help Trump.

Trump did things meriting removal. Republicans know it. All they can do is make noise, following the old saying that when neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound on the table.

That’s what they are doing, throwing up bullshit, smoke, and noise.

Trump is, in all probability, done.

Republicans, other than Trump, know it. And deep in his shriveled lump of a brain, even Trump knows it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Coming Academic Apocalypse

According to a story about Hampshire College in the WaPo, the number of kids going to college will drop by 280,000. The cause, if you run the calendar back, is the fall in birthrates during the Great Recession. That's happened in every bad economic downturn.

It's not just colleges that are going to feel this. The military will find it harder and harder to meet recruiting targets.

In 2007, the birthrate for women was 2.12, the highest it had been since 1971. It's fallen since and is now at 1.76, which is also well below the replacement rate. Keeping our population up hasn't historically been a problem, thanks to immigration.

But with immigration-phobic Stephen Miller driving the Trump Train on this, we can no longer count on immigrants to boost our population.

Ukraine: Putin's Enemy is Trump's Enemy

Behind closed doors, President Donald Trump has made his views on Ukraine clear: “They tried to take me down.”

The president, according to people familiar with testimony in the House impeachment investigation, sees the Eastern European ally, not Russia, as responsible for the interference in the 2016 election that was investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller.

It’s a view denied by the intelligence community, at odds with U.S. foreign policy and dismissed by many of Trump’s fellow Republicans but part of a broader skepticism of Ukraine being shared with Trump by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his key regional ally Viktor Orban of Hungary.
Trump is going to say and even believe anything that Putin wants him to.

Because with Trump and Giuliani and now, for a portion of the GOP, all roads lead to Putin.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Steal This For Your Own Bumpersticker!

Innkeeper-in-Chief May Be Keeping Two Sets of Books

From here and added to my blogroll

Mike the Mouth Mulvaney admitted that Trump sees himself, not as president, but as an innkeeper:
Explaining why Trump had tried to steer an international summit to one of the president’s own properties before giving up on the idea, Mulvaney said Trump “still considers himself to be in the hospitality business.” That did nothing to allay concerns that the Republican president has used his office to enrich his business interests.
Concerns? Concerns?? It's a fucking established fact. The examples, by now, are so numerous that only the willfully blind won't acknowledge them.

Trump wanted to hold the G-7 in his resort in Miami, in June. Miami is a fetid swamp in June. Holding a conference in Miami in June would be like holding one in Duluth in December or January: Nobody in their right minds is going to do it.

So why Doral? Because, unless Trump is lying on his property taxes, Doral is failing:
Late last year, in a Miami conference room, a consultant for President Trump’s company said business at his prized 643-room Doral resort was in sharp decline.

At Doral, which Trump has listed in federal disclosures as his biggest moneymaker hotel, room rates, banquets, golf and overall revenue were all down since 2015. In two years, the resort’s net operating income — a key figure, representing the amount left over after expenses are paid — had fallen by 69 percent.

Even in a vigorous economy, the property was missing the Trump Organization’s internal business targets; for instance, the club expected to take in $85 million in revenue in 2017 but took in just $75 million.

“They are severely underperforming” other resorts in the area, tax consultant Jessica Vachiratevanurak told a Miami-Dade County official in a bid to lower the property’s tax bill. The reason, she said: “There is some negative connotation that is associated with the brand.”
You may wonder why I raised the possibility that Trump is lying on his request for lower property taxes. It's because that, arguably, seems to be his practice.
Documents obtained by ProPublica show stark differences in how Donald Trump’s businesses reported some expenses, profits and occupancy figures for two Manhattan buildings, giving a lender different figures than they provided to New York City tax authorities. The discrepancies made the buildings appear more profitable to the lender — and less profitable to the officials who set the buildings’ property tax.
...
A dozen real estate professionals told ProPublica they saw no clear explanation for multiple inconsistencies in the documents. The discrepancies are “versions of fraud,” said Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley.
The conclusion seems to be easy to reach: Donald Trump is a crook. He'll be gotten the same way that every other mob boss is gotten: By identifying those who facilitated his crimes and going after them until someone can't give a good answer to the question "Why are you going to prison for him?"

It's a fairly safe bet that, sooner or later, Trump and his adult kids are going to be inside prison cells.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Your Sunday Morning Turboprop Noise

Mitsubishi MU-2:


Mooney built them under license for a few years.

The MU-2 had a high accident rate. Roll control was via spoilers, not ailerons. What that meant was that on landing, a pilot could not "pick a wing up" by rolling the wheel in the other direction. Insurance companies stepped in by, in essence, requiring type training for pilots. That changed things.

Frank Borman owned and flew MU-2s.

For someone who recognizes that a MU-2 requires the discipline and training of flying a jet, they're available at pretty decent prices.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Caturday

Bella is chowing down.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Trump, the Reality Show

I'll pass over, for the time being, Nancy Pelosi's pithy observation to Trump: "All roads with you lead to Putin," as well as Mike Mulvaney's frantic pleas of "Who're you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?", for now.

Let's discuss Trump, the Reality Show. Trump isn't trying to run a government, he's trying to put on a show and scam the rubes out of their money in the process. He has to keep people's attention. So each week brings a fresh outrage and, these days, a fresh violation of the provisions of the Constitution.

He can't do anything else. He can't stop himself from saying and doing things that are going to get him impeached and, if the Republicans in the Senate can ever find their spines, convicted.

The search by Trump for more and bigger outrages is borderline insanity. He can't help himself.

Which means that, as his time in power draws to a close, one would not want to be within pistol-shot range of the man. For he's going to test out his theory that he can get away with killing someone.

Because It's Friday

Big Boy 4014 on the road in Wyoming:

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Nope, No Corruption Here

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters Thursday that President Trump blocked nearly $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in part to force the government in Kyiv to secure a politically motivated investigation of Democrats, a startling acknowledgment after the president’s repeated denials of a quid pro quo.

Mulvaney defended the maneuver as “absolutely appropriate.”
And this:
President Donald Trump’s suggestion that his Miami golf resort host next year’s Group of Seven summit became a reality Thursday, sparking an outcry from critics who called it the most blatant example yet of him using the power of his office to boost his business empire.
...
Mulvaney said the Doral was picked for its location and amenities, and the president will not profit because the resort will be booked “at cost.” But the decision takes Trump’s apparent conflicts of interest to a new level because, unlike foreign dignitaries who can choose to stay at his Washington hotel, they will have no choice but to spend money at his resort during the June 10-12 summit.
Anyone who believes that Trump didn't drive this has mush for brains, and anyone who doesn't believe that Trump won't make money on this is dumber than a stump.

But there's more!
Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, told House impeachment investigators on Thursday that President Trump delegated American foreign policy on Ukraine to his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, a directive that he said he disagreed with but nonetheless followed.
I don't see how anyone with a functioning cortex can defend Trump at this point. Even Miss Lindsey seems to be reaching a breaking point.

Erdogan Gave Trump's Letter the Consideration That It Merited

He read Trump's letter and threw it into the trash.

Officer Blood-Draw Sues

You might remember the cop who arrested a nurse because she wouldn't draw blood from an unconscious patient and who then got fired when the story went viral. (His boss got busted down to being a beat cop.)

Two years ago, the City of Salt Lake and the hospital agreed to pay the nurse $500K to not be sued.

Officer Blood-Draw is now suing, saying that he followed both orders and procedure and was thrown under the bus.

I'm thinking "good luck with that".

Whiner Isn't Quitting

Marianne Williamson says she's not quitting.

I wouldn't vote for her, nor would I consider voting to Tom Steyer. Neither one of them has ever served in any form of government. Neither of them has been in an environment where they have to cajole and make deals with people they can't stand in order to get a bill passed. Williamson, at least, tried a long-shot run for Congress.

We're going through a presidency by a guy who had no experience in government; only a Kool-Aid drinking chucklehead would think that he's been doing anything other than a horrible job. His main activities during the day has been ranting on Twitter and watching television.

Why on earth would a sane person, other than a Russian or Iranian troll, want to try that again?

Let's Just Starve the Kids a Little

The Trump administration has acknowledged that its proposed changes to the food stamp program could leave nearly 500,000 children without access to free school lunches.

The US Department of Agriculture released an analysis late Tuesday afternoon that showed the agency's proposed rule would mean nearly 1 million children would no longer be directly certified for free school meals based on their participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the formal name for food stamps.

About half of those children would continue to be eligible to receive free meals because they come from families with annual household incomes of no more than 130% of the federal poverty level, or $33,475 for a four-person family in 2019.
Children don't learn very well when they're hungry. What will happen is that states and school boards will try to step up to feed the children, at least in places that haven't been wholly captured by the Forces of Cruelty.

Our Drooler-in-Chief

What sort of adult sends a letter like this to a person they are trying to persuade to see things the writer's way?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

B-17 Crash

The preliminary report is out.

I don't see anything in the report that explains the crash.

Shutterbuggery

I've been getting back into photography.

One issue that I have is getting out of the Kodachrome mindset, which was my favorite film back in the day. For me, it was expensive, so I tried to put some thought into each shot and then take it. I haven't fully realized that I can take a bazillion shots of anything. Two 36-exp rolls' worth of shots isn't even enough to register on the capacity gauge of a 64Gb SD card.

Autofocus is sometimes problematic. On landscapes, with trees with leaves that are moving in the wind, the camera won't settle down. I have to keep my thumb by the switch to change to manual focus. (My last SLR was a straight stick-shift.)

It's a bit of an adjustment for me.

Operation Canned Meat; Hong Kong Edition?

A homemade bomb was detonated in Hong Kong on Sunday amid violent protests, the police said on Monday, indicating an escalation in the street-level arms race between police officers and the protesters.

The device was hidden in a bush and was triggered by a mobile phone as a police vehicle passed nearby in the Mong Kok district of Kowloon, Suryanto Chin-chiu, a superintendent of the Hong Kong police’s explosives disposal unit, said at a news conference.

The bomb caused no damage or injuries, but it was the first time such a device had been employed in weeks of clashes, the police said.
It may be exactly as reported.

But is it possible that the Chinese staged this attack? Absolutely.

Can the HK police be trusted to tell the truth? Not on a bet.

Goofy is on the Way to Talk to Erdogan

Targeting Turkey’s economy, President Donald Trump announced sanctions Monday aimed at restraining the Turks’ assault against Kurdish fighters and civilians in Syria — an assault Turkey began after Trump announced he was moving U.S. troops out of the way.

The United States also called on Turkey to stop the invasion and declare a ceasefire, and Trump is sending Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser Robert O’Brien to Ankara as soon as possible in an attempt to begin negotiations. Pence said Trump spoke directly to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who promised not attack the border town of Kobani, which in 2015 witnessed the Islamic State group’s first defeat in a battle by U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters.
Erdogan isn't going to give a shit. The world has learned that Trump is all mouth. He thinks that everyone is like him, that they can be bought like a piece of property.

Here is what the world has learned this month: The only reliable outside power in the Middle East of any consequence is Russia.

Monday, October 14, 2019

All I Can Say Is: Hooray for Body Cams

A white Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a black woman through a back window of her home while responding to a call about an open front door acted without justification and resigned Monday before he could be fired, the police chief said.

Police bodycam video showed Aaron Dean approaching the door of the home where Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was caring for her 8-year-old nephew early Saturday. He then walked around the side of the house, pushed through a gate into the fenced-off backyard and fired through the glass a split-second after shouting at Jefferson to show her hands.

Dean was not heard identifying himself as police on the video, and Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said there was no sign Dean or the other officer who responded even knocked on the front door.
And this:
Kraus said a criminal investigation is ongoing and he expects to release a “substantial update” by Tuesday on whether charges will be filed. The FBI also has been briefed to investigate possible civil rights violations, he said.
Compared to Chicago, which dithered and delayed when Laquan McDonald was shot to pieces by a cop and then tried to cover it all up, Ft. Worth has been moving at just under the speed of light.

And then there was this:
[Ft. Worth Mayor Betsy] Price further commented on the photos police released of a gun found in Jefferson’s home. She said the gun was irrelevant and that Jefferson had a right to have a gun in her home.

Kraus said police have previously released images of weapons to illustrate a perceived threat. But, he said, releasing the photos in this instance was “a bad thing to do.”
Because as they recognize in Ft. Worth, the 2nd Amendment applies to black people. Releasing a photo of her gun was an attempt to slur the victim, who did nothing wrong.

Before the days of body cams, Dean probably would have been yapping about "I was in fear for my life", figuring that he was the one live adult witness. But not any more.

Anyone Who Believes This Denial Has Mush for Brains

Donald Trump's 2020 re-election campaign has disavowed a parody video showing the US president massacring media outlets and political rivals.

The video was on display at a conference organised by American Priority, a pro-Trump group.
...
Mr Trump's head is superimposed on the body of a man who goes on a killing rampage inside "the Church of Fake News".

The heads of the people he kills have been replaced with the logos of media organisations, including BBC News, CNN and the Washington Post, and political opponents such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
There are more details here.

Does anyone seriously believe the denials of the Trump campaign or of his most loyal boot-lickers? Trump often uses eliminationist language. As has been shown by one mass murder after another, his supporters are getting the message: Go forth and kill those whom Trump hates-- Jews, Mexicans, reporters.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

President Cut `n Run

The United States appears to be heading toward a full military withdrawal from Syria amid growing chaos, cries of betrayal and signs that Turkey’s invasion could fuel a broader war.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday that President Donald Trump had directed U.S. troops in northern Syria to begin pulling out “as safely and quickly as possible.” He did not say Trump ordered troops to leave Syria, but that seemed like the next step in a combat zone growing more unstable by the hour.
Make no mistake about this: Every once of blood that has beeh shed by Kurds in the last week is on Trumps cowardly hands. The Kurdish political leader, Hevrin Khalaf, who was forced out of her car and murdered by Turkish proxies: Those deaths are on Trump's head.

To a lesser extent, the bloodshed and murdering, the release of IS fighters, all of that is also on the hands of those who have been defending this unstable maniac for the duration of his presidency.

I hope you guys are pleased with yourselves. You guys have spent years criticizing President Obama for withdrawing forces from Iraq under an agreement negotiated with Iraq by President Bush. There was no negotiation here, just Trump, on a whim, caving to the demands of a third-rate autocrat.

As I said: This is on you.

Villanous Tab-Clearing

Let's begin with a couple of reports in the NY Times today:

The Russians are deliberately bombing hospitals in Syria. They are using a UN list of medical facilities, part of what essentially is a "no-bomb list" to target them. But since Russia is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and Putin is butt-buddies with Trump, there's as much consequence for Russian war crimes as there has been for Russian or Chinese war crimes.

Second, why is Tulsi Gabbard the darling of the same groups of people who support Trump: American Nazis, libertarian nutjobs and the Russians?

Why is it that when corporations and individuals reach a certain amount of wealth and power, they automatically turn into Bond villians? Google, Amazon, Zuckerberg, the Koch Brothers?

Your Sunday Morning Rotor Noise

Hueys (Bell JetRangers) Down Under:

Nobody Wants Your Fucking Help, Jim

Headline to a NYT story:
James Comey Would Like to Help

The former F.B.I. director wants an end to the Trump presidency. And yes, he knows you might think he caused it.
Fucking A right he did. The polling at the time was clear as glass: Clinton held a solid lead until Comey opened his fucking yap.

He thinks history will judge him kindly. But who the hell else likes him? Democrats despise him for putting a thumb on the scales of the election. The Trumpist Republicans dislike him for backstabbing his boss. Comey is a hero in his own mind.

Most everyone would be happy if Comey shut the fuck up and went fishing for the rest of his life. But he seems to have a need to find people to tell him "Good boy, Jim, you did the right thing."

He interfered in the 2016 election as though he was a Russian operative. Fuck him.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Foley Guys: Fuck You

I've blogged before about their love of the four clicks of an 1873 Colt.

This time, I want to rant about cameras. A TV show had scene with a news conference. The sound clowns added the clicking of camera mirrors (OK), the sound of shutters (not KO) and the sound of motor drives (also not OK). Professional news photographers made the switch to digital as soon as the technology was practical. Newspapers loved that they could get rid of their darkrooms (sometimes letting nursing mothers use them for breast-pumping).

I'm somewhat surprised they don't add the sound of steam locomotives to railroad scenes.

Like Nobody Say This Coming

As expected, Trump is distancing himself from Giuliani.
President Trump told reporters Friday that he didn’t know whether Rudy Giuliani was still his personal attorney, adding that the two hadn’t spoken since Thursday.

“I don’t know,” Trump said, responding to a question about the lawyer as he prepared to leave the White House for a rally in Louisiana Friday evening. “I haven’t spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He’s a very good attorney, and he has been my attorney.”
Rudy's been thrown under the bus. Rudy is apparently too much in denial or too dumb to notice the treadmarks on his back.

Loyalty, to Trump, is a one-way street. He demands loyalty, but as soon as any associate or anyone else is inconvenient, he jettisons them like a used kleenex.

He will betray his friends and allies in a picosecond. Especially if a dictator Trump admires asks him to.

Caturday

Chip is interrupted mid-groom:

Friday, October 11, 2019

This Cries Out for Carpet-Bombing

Pearl-clutching

WaPo:
The attack on a German synagogue highlights the threat posed by do-it-yourself guns.
Information, once out there, is pretty damn hard to quash.

Giuliani May Be Headed for a Pair of Locking Bracelets

The business relationship between President Donald Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the men charged Thursday in a campaign finance scheme is a subject of the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by federal authorities in New York, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
I'm sure that, after the arrest, Trump will tell everyone that he barely knew Rudy.

Off to Prison, Asswipe

A white Florida man who told detectives he was irritated by people who illegally park in handicapped spots was sentenced on Thursday to 20 years in prison for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man outside a convenience store.

Circuit Judge Joseph Bulone called 49-year-old Michael Drejka a “wanna-be” law enforcement officer and a self-appointed “handicapped parking space monitor.”

Jurors found Drejka guilty of manslaughter in August. Drejka showed no emotion when the judge sentenced him.
Asswipe was shown to be a parking-space vigilante who persisted in doing that even when the store's owner asked him to knock that shit off.

Even with good behavior, in Florida, he has to do 80% of that time (sixteen years). See you in the thirties, Asswipe.

Because It's Friday

Along the Oregon coast.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Color Me Surprised; Not

Two Florida businessmen tied to President Donald Trump’s lawyer and the Ukraine investigation were charged Thursday with federal campaign finance violations. The charges relate to a $325,000 donation to a group supporting Trump’s reelection.

Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, associates of Rudy Giuliani, were arrested on a four-count indictment that includes charges of conspiracy, making false statements to the Federal Election Commission and falsification of records. The men had key roles in Giuliani’s efforts to launch a Ukrainian corruption investigation against Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
You can guess which two of these five crooks were arrested:


Reports are that both men had lunch with Giuliani at the Trump Hotel in D.C. before they went to Dulles Airport with one-way tickets out of the country.

Given that they were both fleeing the country, it's a fair assumption that neither one will be released on bail. It would be logical to expect that one, if not both, will be happy to tell the prosecutors everything they know to avoid spending a long time in prison.

Which could be that Giuliani is one rat-job away from being indicted.

Maybe the Bureau of Prisons can repaint Bernie Kerik's old cell for Rudy.

Saying That Trump is as Dumb as a Heap of Gravel Opens One Up to Being Sued for Defamation by Rocks

In the face of growing bipartisan anger, President Donald Trump defended his decision to allow a Turkish offensive in northern Syria by saying that the U.S.-allied Kurds — who led the ground campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and are under Turkish attack — did not help the U.S. during World War II.

“Now the Kurds are fighting for their land,” Trump told reporters during a press conference on Wednesday night. “They didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy, for example.”
One might point out that the French helped us during the Revolutionary War even though we weren't there for them during the Battle of Agincourt. Trump's comment is so glaringly idiotic that it's not worth the debate.

The fact that Trump has mastered aerobic respiration is a wonder.

Music for the Trump Investigations

Apple Bends to China

Apple removed an app late Wednesday that enabled protesters in Hong Kong to track police, a day after facing intense criticism from Chinese state media for it, plunging the technology giant deeper into the complicated politics of a country that is fundamental to its business.
...
Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, has become a deft diplomat in China. He has traveled there frequently and attended numerous Chinese government events. In recent months, Mr. Cook has argued for moderation in the trade war between the United States and China. Unlike in the United States, where he regularly speaks out on political issues like gun control and immigration, he has largely remained silent on Chinese politics, including the clashes in Hong Kong.
...
Apple also pulled the app of the news organization Quartz from the App Store in China less than two weeks ago. Quartz, which has been covering the Hong Kong protests, said that Apple sent it a vague notice about removing its app “because it includes content that is illegal in China.” Apple did not clarify what content was illegal, Quartz said. A Quartz editor tweeted that Apple removed it “at the request of China.”
This is what happens when one crawls deeply into bed with a murderous dictatorship. Cook is bleating about gun control, but you'll have to search far and wide to find where he has uttered a single word about China's ethnic cleaning of the Uighurs. (You'll probably find nothing.)

Corporations can be politically bought. In watching ABC News, it seemed that they barely mentioned the kerfuffle between the NBA and the Chinese Communists. A cynic might suspect that the fact that ABC's parent company, Disney, which has a large stake in China (Disneyland Shanghai, for example), doesn't want to incur the ire of the Chinese regime. (There do seem to be more stories on CBS News's website than ABC's.)

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

This is What Betrayal Looks Like

Turkey launched airstrikes and fired artillery across its border into northeastern Syria on Wednesday to open a military operation aimed at flushing out an American-backed militia, Turkish and Syrian officials said.

Turkish television stations broadcast video of fighter jets taking off, Howitzers firing and smoke rising from Syrian towns, while images posted on social media showed Syrians fleeing in trucks piled high with their possessions and children. Two civilians were killed and others were wounded, a militia spokesman and a local journalist said.

Turkey’s long-planned move to root out United States-allied Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria has accelerated rapidly since President Trump gave the operation a green light in a call with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Sunday.
Let's be clear about this: The word of the United States is now worth nothing. Only a fool would rely on American promises or security guarantees. If another nation or people ally themselves with the Americans, they can rest assured that, whenever it suits the United states, they will be stabbed in the back.

In this way, Trump is far, far worse than Neville Chamberlain. Trump's betrayal of the Kurds was done to please an autocrat who Trump admires.

Expect the Chinese and the Russians to be highlighting American betrayal for decades: "You really want to stand with the Americans? Don't you know that the Americans will cut and run whenever it gets difficult?"

If you are a Trump supporter, then you are good with this. You are an appeaser.

And if you are now going to point to Obama's withdrawal from Iraq, go fuck yourself. For you know, full well, that the withdrawal agreement was negotiated by George W. Bush (remember the flying shoe ceremony).

Trump the Petulant Child

The lawyers for Trump have told the courts that the House Impeachment proceedings are so, so unfair to Trump. They're upset that the full House hasn't voted on the matter before the committees began issuing subpoenas.

Here's the thing: Impeachment is a political act, not one governed by the court system. The House sets its own rules for how it conducts an investigation.

"Great and unmatched wisdom" or not, this is how Trump is setting himself up for impeachment. Every refusal to comply with a House subpoena is, arguably, a separate impeachable offense.

The question is, now, whether the House will go to court to enforce its subpoenas (getting a ruling that Trump has no right to defy the subpoenas) or just proceed straight to impeaching him.

And then we shall see where the Republicans' loyalty lies: To the Constitution of the United States or to Donald Trump.

DSLR Lens Update

(Earlier post and discussion)

So, for about the same price: New 55-200mm or used 70-300mm.

New lens with a warranty or more power?

Thoughts??

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Rep. Matt Gaetz Couldn't Outsmart a Hydrangea


Gaetz, bless his heart, doesn't know the difference between a 19th Century legal term and a children's television show.

But that is becoming true of Republican defenses for Trump: Both factually deficient and comical.

Update: An explanation of the two terms. As pointed out in the explanation, Gaetz is indeed dumber than a bag of hammers.

It's Almost Always the Coverup That Gets Them Nailed

Count II: Obstruction of the House's Inquiry.
President Donald Trump intensified his fight with Congress Tuesday over the Democrats’ impeachment investigation, as the administration blocked a U.S. diplomat from testifying behind closed doors about the president’s dealings with Ukraine. House committee chairmen said they would subpoena the envoy to force him to appear.
The tide is turning against Trump:
A majority of respondents in a new poll supports the impeachment inquiry into President Trump while almost half back his removal from office.

The Washington Post–Schar School poll released early Tuesday found that 58 percent say the House was correct to launch the inquiry, compared to 38 percent who disagreed.

Almost half — 49 percent — said lawmakers in the lower chamber should impeach Trump and call for his removal from office.
...
Support for an impeachment inquiry has risen among all three partisan groups since a July poll, with Democratic support rising 25 points from July, Republican support rising 21 points and independent support rising 20 points, based on the poll.
Republicans have two conflicting electorates. Their batshit base supports Trump. The general electorate may not. So they can lose in the primary or lose in the general election.

Only one choice keeps their integrity from shredding like cheap fabric.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Trump Shivs the Kurds in the Back

In a major shift in United States military policy in Syria, the White House said on Sunday that President Trump had given his endorsement for a Turkish military operation that would sweep away American-backed Kurdish forces near the border in Syria.
Anyone who stands with the United States under the presidency of Cadet Bonespurs runs the risk of being betrayed. Especially when Trump has some sort of twisted love for autocrats around the world. They are all members of a club Trump would dearly love to join.

Miss Lindsey Appears to be Suffering From Trump-Induced Dementia


On September 11, 2001, Barack Obama was an Illinois State Senator. He had no input on American foreign policy, unlike, say, a certain senator from South Carolina, whose picture will be forever in an illustrated dictionary under the entry for "sycophant".

Graham sold his soul to Trump. From what it appears, Trump overpaid.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Nikon Lens Help/Bleg

I have a D3100 with an 18-55mm lens. I'd like to get a telephoto, either 55-200mm or 70-300mm. (Which would be preferable for both nature and seashore use [boats, ships]?)

Are the Tokina, Tamron or Sigma lenses any good?

Is there a store you trust for used lenses?

Your Sunday Morning Jet Noise

A Mitsubishi-300.


The MU-300 eventually morphed into the Hawker 400.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Juror Oversleeps and is Imprisoned

A Florida juror has been sentenced to 10 days in prison after he overslept and missed the start of a court case.

Deandre Somerville, 21, of West Palm Beach, was chosen to serve on a jury in August.

But on the first day of the trial he overslept by at least two hours and failed to notify the court.

Judge John Kastrenakes held him in criminal contempt, also imposing 150 hours' community service and a $223 (£180) fine as well as the jail term.

After serving his time in prison, Somerville is appealing against the sentence, arguing it was "excessive".
I am rather skeptical about this one. An enterprising reporter might want to find out how many white guys the judge has sent to jail for anything similar.

The Press is Full of Shit (and So Are the Republicans)

They keep focusing on whether or not there was a quid pro quo with regard to Trump and Ukraine.

Asking for donations, whether in cash or in kind, from a foreign government is like soliciting prostitution: You don't have to get anything in order to be charged.

You can ask Robert Kraft about that.

Caturday

Chip


I broke out my D3100 and charged up the batteries. I do need to get a decent telephoto for outdoors. "Getting closer" doesn't work at the shore.

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Self-Impeaching President

President Trump acknowledged on Sunday that he raised corruption accusations against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during a phone call with Ukraine’s leader..
And:
President Trump said Thursday that China should investigate the business dealings of 2020 rival Joe Biden's son, Hunter, as he doubled down on his prior -- and controversial -- call for Ukraine to do the same.
Trump is violating Federal law in the open. Asking for foreign assistance for a political campaign is soliciting foreign contributions is illegal. No quid pro quo is required, no response is needed. The ask, in and of itself, completes the crime.

The naysayers are right: Trump could gun down someone in Times Square and his sycophants, such as Lindsey Graham, would praise his marksmanship.

Because It's Friday

At the Grand Canyon

Thursday, October 3, 2019

B-17 Crash

A B-17 crashed while returning to Bradley Airport with an emergency. At least seven people died.

A lightly-loaded B-17 should have easily been able to fly with one engine out. There is some speculation about that this may have been a fueling error, with the airplane refueled with Jet-A instead of aviation gasoline. Piston engines won't run on kerosene.

It'll be interesting to see what the NTSB report says.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

As a Nation, We Look Stupidier and Stupider

Shit like this is making us look both petty and retarded.
Kyle Kuchirka, 25, an actor and recent graduate of the University of Saskatchewan's drama department, said he tried to cross the U.S. border between Abbotsford, B.C., and Sumas, Wash., on Aug. 29.

Kuchirka, who is also a set designer, said he was on his way to volunteer his skills at the Sh'Bang Art Festival near Bellingham, Wash. But he was questioned at the border by an agent, who then directed him to a side room inside the large customs building.

After more than four hours of questioning, he said, he was handed a document informing him he was prohibited from entering the U.S. for five years. "You do not have work authorization," the document stated.
...
Inside the customs building, Kuchirka said the guard told him he would be taking American jobs.

Kuchirka replied that he was a volunteer, and his only payment was free meals. He was paying all of his own expenses.
I imagine that former Soviet customs offers can only look at our CBP people and say to themselves "we were never that mean-spirited."

The Acts of a Man with a Guilty Conscience

Pompeo has implemented his phase of the cover-up:
Taking a defiant stance in the impeachment inquiry, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday declared that House Democrats are trying to “intimidate, bully and treat improperly” five current and former career officials in seeking information in the Ukraine investigation.

Pompeo said in a letter to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as part of the chamber’s impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, that the requested dates for the officials to voluntarily appear for depositions were “not feasible.”
News broke within the last day that Pompeo was in on Trump's "perfect call," as Trump puts it, with the President of Ukraine.

Why did Trump release the transcript, a rational person might ask. It's because he sees the entirety of the Federal government as his personal plaything, in the same was that everyone at the Trump enterprises had to bow to his every whim. Trump cannot conceive of it being wrong to use the power of his office to benefit his campaign or to enrich himself.

Trump serves only himself. He serves no cause, no country, nothing other than his own naked self-interest. I know of no instance in Trump's life where he did anything to benefit anyone else. Even his much-promoted rebuilding of the Central Park ice rink was done to benefit Trump. He owns the company that operates the ice rink.

Trump is a grifter. His family are grifters. His cabinet is largely made up of fools who have sold what was left of their good names in order to have a seat at Trump's table. They have managed to con the base of the GOP, most of whom will never admit that they've fallen for the con. In some ways, I pity them.

iOS 13

If you have an iPhone and you have not yet installed iOS 13 on it, I have one word of advice: Don't.

iOS 13 is, first off, a battery hog. I put it on when it first came out and my battery life on my SE went to shit. That was a bit of a surprise, for part of the hype of iOS 13 was that it improved battery life.

iOS 13 was released on September 19th. Five days later, Apple released 13.1. 13.1.1 was released three days after that. Yesterday, or three days later, iOS 13.1.2 was released.

In other words, iOS 13 is as buggy as a Louisiana bayou.

If you're still on iOS 12, you may want to wait to upgrade until 13 gets to the point that it can go a few weeks without being patched/repaired/unfucked a little more.

Impeachable Don (and HK)

Cue up another article of impeachment!
A key House Democrat said he’s consulting lawyers about whether to make public a complaint by a federal employee about possible misconduct in the Internal Revenue Service’s auditing of President Donald Trump.

The complaint raises allegations about “inappropriate efforts to influence” the audit process, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in August. Neal told reporters on Friday that a decision on releasing the complaint depends on advice he receives from lawyers for the House of Representatives.
This is early, but if Mnuchin pressured the IRS to take it easy on Trump, that's a clear abuse of power. Then comes the question whether Mnuchin did it on his own or if he was told to by Trump.

Either way, ordering the IRS to go easy on the president is corrupt as fuck.

Meanwhile, China has significantly reinforced its garrison in Hong Kong:
Last month, Beijing moved thousands of troops across the border into this restive city. They came in on trucks and armored cars, by bus and by ship.

The state news agency Xinhua described the operation as a routine “rotation” of the low-key force China has kept in Hong Kong since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997. No mention was made of the anti-government protests that have been shaking the metropolis since June.
...
A month on, Asian and Western envoys in Hong Kong say they are certain the late-August deployment was not a rotation at all, but a reinforcement. Seven envoys who spoke to Reuters said they didn’t detect any significant number of existing forces in Hong Kong returning to the mainland in the days before or after the announcement.
A significant element of the reinforcements are not army troops, but internal security forces, the People's Armed Police. As the article explains, the PAP was greatly expanded when the Chinese government learned that using tanks and automatic weapons to suppress a demonstration didn't play well overseas.