Having a Wonderful Adventure from Somewhere on the Road

September 7, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Good morning:

Crane-Station and I were hacked rendering our computers inoperable. Our place was burglarized, our property vandalized and stolen. Our bank account was breached and money stolen.

Our lives were threatened.

We left Kentucky in a hurry to avoid a worse fate.

This problem began when someone burglarized our home and obtained the access code to our AT&T router, which wasn’t difficult to do since it was printed on the side.

Our apartment was trashed.

Then both of our computers were hacked. Our administrator privileges were usurped, our passwords were altered, and we could no longer log-in to our computers.

I was able to reset and restore my computer to the state it was in when I purchased it, but Crane ended up in the same place unable to log-in after she reset hers.

My computer now appears to be operating normally with assistance from HP Tech Support.

Looks like we offended some people.

Republican threats to shutdown the federal government is gangster activity

October 6, 2015

The Freedom Caucus, or Shutdown Caucus, which I prefer to call it, is an organization composed of approximately 40 radical right wing Republicans serving in the House of Representatives who regularly threaten to shut down the federal government unless their demands are met. This extreme tactic can cause serious harm. For example, Wikipedia reports:

The United States federal government shutdown of 2013 ran from October 1 to October 16, 2013. The primary issue of dispute between the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democratic Senate was the Republicans’ desire to delay or defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), signed into law in 2010. A bill to end the shutdown and fund federal agencies through January 15, 2014, passed the Senate and the House and was signed into law on October 17, 2013. Standard & Poor’s, the financial ratings agency, stated on October 16 that the shutdown “to date has taken $24 billion out of the economy,” and “shaved at least 0.6 percent off annualized fourth-quarter 2013 GDP growth.”

Threatening to shutdown the government in order to get what you want is a form of extortion. This time they believe themselves to be on a mission from God to defund Planned Parenthood (PP), which provides health care and family planning for women who cannot afford to pay for the services. PP also performs abortions of first trimester pregnancies as permitted by law. I use the term ‘mission from God’ because these Republican extremists oppose lawful abortion on religious grounds and they are determined to impose their belief on everyone who disagrees with them.

We are a democracy. Elected officials have a duty to abide by the law regardless if they disagree with it. Likewise, an elected official should never seek to forcibly impose his ideas on a majority of his colleagues who disagree with him. Yet that is exactly what the members of the shutdown caucus have been attempting to do. Even more egregious, they have lied and continue to lie by claiming that PP: (1) receives federal money to pay for abortions and (2) sells aborted fetuses for profit, despite an absence of any credible evidence that supports their claims. I use the word ‘credible’ because the evidence upon which they rely (i.e., videos produced by an anti-abortion group) does not support their claims. In short, they have been exposed as liars. Nevertheless, they have refused to backdown.

This is straight-up gangster activity. We have a word for it in the criminal law. We call it extortion.

But for Speaker John Boehner’s unexpected decision to resign on October 30th that threw the Republican leadership into disaray, the House would not have passed the CR last week. That would have precipitated a government shutdown that would have commenced last Thursday. During this 90 day lull in the Republican War against Planned Parenthood, the Republicans will choose a new Speaker to replace John Boehner.  Since the Democrats are unlikely to defund Planned Parenthood, despite the threat, I believe we are looking at a government shutdown when the 90 day period ends.

Happy Holidays!

Republicans continue lying deliberately about Planned Parenthood

September 30, 2015

Yesterday, Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood, spent over five hours testifying about the organization before the House Oversight Committee. In an extremely dishonest and amateurish effort to win the Gotcha Game, Republican Representative Jason Chaffetz from Utah confronted her with the following chart. Jennifer Bendery of the Huffington Post describes what happened.


As his time ran out, he put up a chart showing the rate of abortions increasing at the clinics while the number of “life-saving procedures” performed decreased, and demanded that she explain. Nobody seemed to know where the chart came from, and Richards said it was inaccurate. Her attorney finally leaned over and cleared it up.

“My lawyer’s informing me the source is Americans United for Life, which is an anti-abortion group,” said Richards. “So you might want to check your source.”

Zachary Ross of MSNBC explains what’s wrong with the chart, which appears to indicate that the PP performed far more abortions than cancer screening and prevention services in 2013, which is contrary to her testimony.

But look at the actual numbers in the graph. They show that in 2006, Planned Parenthood performed 2,007,371 anti-cancer services and 289,750 abortions. By 2013, the gap had closed slightly, but the group still performed many more anti-cancer services than abortions, 935,573 to 327,000.

Why does it seem otherwise? Because the “graph” has no y axis, which allows its creators to simply plot the results wherever they choose in order to create a compelling visual effect. That’s how 327,000 is made to look like a much larger number than 935,573.

This is yet another example of intentional deception by Chaffetz to go with Carly Fiorina’s lie about the so-called ‘Planned Parenthood video’ that she claimed proved the PP was performing abortions to harvest fetal brains for profit. According to Dr. Jen Gunter, the video is not from PP, given the procedures followed.  It’s likely more than 15 years old and it shows a premature stillborn birth, not an abortion.

The Republicans are willing to play games with women’s health and lie through their teeth to destroy Planned Parenthood. They are also planning to shut the government down on December 13th for as long as it takes to force the Democrats to defund PP.

They are insane and very dangerous. Fortunately, they also are stupid.

The chart is from PBS. Right-click on it above to view the complete image (or click the link).

(H/T to Malisha for providing the link to Dr. Jen Gunter’s website)

Donald Trump’s tax plan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

September 29, 2015

Donald Trump’s tax plan is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. MSNBC is reporting today,

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s tax plan would cost an eye-popping $12 trillion over 10 years, according a new estimate that runs directly counter to the billionaire’s pledge not to increase the deficit with the proposal.

The conservative Tax Foundation, which has been scoring candidates’ tax proposals throughout the race, found that Trump’s changes to the individual tax code would add $10.2 trillion to the deficit using traditional scoring methods, his corporate tax cuts would add $1.54 trillion and his proposal to eliminate the estate tax would add another $238 billion.

In addition, the gains from the cuts would disproportionately benefit ultra-wealthy Americans like Trump, whose personal income, business earnings and inheritors all stand to gain from a number of its provisions. According to the analysis, the wealthiest 1% of Americans would see their after-tax incomes increase by 21.6% versus just 1.4% for the poorest 10%.

It’s a wolf because it preferentially benefits the 1% compared to the 99% by a factor of 20 to 1. The wolf is concealed in sheep’s clothing because the 99% would also enjoy a substantial benefit. Josh Barrow of the New York Times writes,

Married couples would pay no tax on their first $50,000 of income and just 10 percent on the next $50,000. A married couple with no children earning $100,000 and taking the standard deduction would pay $11,437 in income tax under today’s rules; under Mr. Trump’s plan, they would pay just $5,000, a tax cut of 56 percent. Many people with low-to-moderate incomes would see their income tax bills reduced to zero, increasing the share of the population that pays no income tax at all.

Here’s Paul Krugman’s take on it today,

But I do want to weigh in for a minute on Donald Trump’s tax plan — which would, surprise, lavish huge cuts on the wealthy while blowing up the deficit. That’s in contrast to Jeb Bush’s plan, which would lavish huge cuts on the wealthy while blowing up the deficit, and Marco Rubio’s plan, which would lavish huge cuts on the wealthy while blowing up the deficit.

At this point there are no Republican candidates deviating at all from the usual pattern. Why, it’s almost as if nobody in the party ever cared about deficits except as an excuse to slash social spending, and is totally committed to redistributing income upward.

And there is, of course, no evidence — zero, nada, zilch — that cutting taxes on the rich will yield large economic benefits.

Basically, Trump’s plan is more Republican financially irresponsible bullshit to “blow up the deficit,” so that the 1%  can gorge itself on money while creating an excuse to cut, if not eliminate, Social Security, Medicare and Obamacare.

In two words, his plan is not only a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it’s dishonest and disgusting.

Meanwhile, Republican members of the House Oversight Committee insulted and disrespected Cecille Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood, cutting her off  and shouting her down as she attempted to respectfully answer their questions. They assumed the worst even though there is no evidence to support any of their accusations and their principal accuser, Carly Fiorina, is a proven liar..

We have a word for what they are: SCUMBAGS.

There, I said it.


Go here to read the Tax Foundation report.

Carly Fiorina needs to put up or shut up

September 28, 2015

Carly Fiorina has accused Planned Parenthood of keeping human fetuses alive so that their brains can be harvested. She also claims that she has seen a video that proves her accusation. Planned Parenthood has denied the allegation. Therefore, Carly Fiorina now has the burden of proof. She needs to produce the video. She obviously cannot do that or she would have produced it by now. Two videos have been produced. The second was produced by her own PAC. Neither one proves what she said. Therefore, she is lying.

The analysis is really just that simple. Let’s look at another example.

If I claimed that I saw a video in which Carly Fiorina sacrificed a newborn child on a stone altar before a statue of Satan by cutting out its heart and eating it in order to obtain his assistance in winning the election, and she denied doing that, I would expect her to challenge me to put up or shut up.

She is a liar and given the disturbing nature of the lie, I have concluded that she is unfit to serve as President of the United States.

I thought it was symbolically fitting that the curtain came crashing down behind her last night when she was speaking to a group of business women in San Antonio.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m glad no one was injured. I do not wish harm to anyone. But the symbolic significance of the event is striking.

Other Posts:

Carly Fiorina is morally and ethically unfit for public office (9/19/2015 FL)

Carly Fiorina continues to lie about the dying fetus video that does not exist (9/23/2015 FL)

Carly Fiorina stubbornly pretends fiction is fact (9/28/2015 msnbc)


2015 Values Voter Summit is a right-wing hate-machine conference in D.C.

September 26, 2015

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) keeps track of various right wing hate groups and issues regular reports (HATEWATCH) on what they are doing. In stark contrast to Pope Francis’s uplifting spiritual message encouraging acts of respect, love and hope for our planet and all of its life forms, especially the poor, the immigrants, the marginalized and the mentally ill, they remind us that the merchants of extreme hatred and twisted evil are alive and well nourishing and celebrating their hatred of all people of good will at the Values Voter Summit conference at the Omni Sheraton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Their report is titled Anti-LGBT and Anti-Muslim Extremists Dominate 2015 Values Voter Summit Lineup.

Here’s a sample,

Brigette Gabriel, head of the largest grassroots anti-Muslim group in the country, ACT! for America, is scheduled to address the VVS summit this year. Gabriel has been described by The New York Times Magazine as a “radical Islamophobe,” and it’s not hard to see why.

In a 2007 course at the Department of Defense’s Joint Forces Staff College, she said that any “practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah … who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen of the United States.” The same year, The Australian Jewish News quoted her saying, “Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim.” Four years later, she claimed that “[t]ens of thousands of Islamic militants now reside in America, operating in sleeper cells, attending our colleges and universities.”

In response to the Syrian refugee crisis, ACT has increased its anti-refugee rhetoric and organizing. ACT recently started a Refugee Resettlement Working Group designed to push back against the resettlement of refugees in the U.S., claiming that terrorists are gaining entry to the U.S. through this policy. It remains to be seen whether Gabriel uses her speech to focus on the refugee issue.

Lieutenant General William G. “Jerry” Boykin, retired, who was a member of a special-operations counter-terrorism unit and now serves as the Vice President of the Family Research Council, will be,

moderating a panel called “The Islamic Threat — Women Who Know the Truth — the Latest to make SPLC’s Hate List.” The panel is a response to an SPLC Intelligence Report article published earlier this year profiling the most prominent women in the anti-Muslim movement.

Joining Boykin are Diana West, a syndicated columnist and the author of two books, and Clare Lopez, a senior fellow at the anti-Muslim “think tank” Center for Security Policy (CSP) run by rabid Islamophobe, Frank Gaffney. The three are among the most predominant pushers of the conspiracy theory that Muslims are infiltrating the federal government to implement Sharia law. West, particularly, has targeted Hilary Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, calling her “a veritable Muslim Brotherhood princess” with “privileged access to U.S. policymaking.”

These people are dangerous and determined because they are full of hate, evidence-averse and ruled by their paranoid fantasies and desire for power. I recommend everyone read the linked article, which contains substantial additional information of which we should all be aware. Believe me when I say it gets worse.


Speaker John Boehner will resign from the House at the end of October

September 25, 2015

NBC News is reporting that the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, will resign at the end of October. Much speculation exists at this time regarding why he made this decision and we will have to wait to hear from him, but I think he is resigning in anger and frustration about the Tea Party Revolution and its continuing take-no-prisoners approach to politics and nonstop threats to shut down the government.

This is a big story. Stay tuned.

Pope Francis reminds us about what matters

September 24, 2015

Neither building walls nor hunting down and deporting millions of immigrants is the answer to the refugee crisis.

In a speech to both houses of Congress this morning, Pope Francis said,

“Our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Second World War. This presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'”

Deceptively simple, but so very true.

“Do not judge, lest you be judged.” (Matthew 7, 1-3)

“There but for the grace of God, go I.” (Uttered by John Bradford)

May we turn the page today and begin a new tomorrow based on respectful good faith dialogue to reach solutions that benefit the many instead of feeding the greed of the self-interested few.

He also called for an end to the death penalty, respect for all life, an end to income inequality and cooperation to end human-caused climate change.

He praised four Americans: Abraham Lincoln, Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton.

Dorothy Day was an American socialist.


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