Monday, October 15, 2018

"I Ain't Kanye" - T.I. posts video that shows a Melania Trump look-alike stripping, drawing White House ire

Twitter link to video here.

Mod: The folks over at the White House are not very happy about this. Then again, the not entirely brilliant Donald Trump did want to involve himself in the rap world, so there is that. The Kanye West fallout continues.

T.I. posts video that shows a Melania Trump look-alike stripping, drawing ire from the first lady’s spokeswoman (The Washington Post link): Melania Trump recently called herself “one of the most bullied people in the world,” and a new video short from T.I. featuring a nude Melania look-alike dancing suggestively — okay, way more than “suggestively” — on the desk in the Oval Office probably didn’t change her mind. “How is this acceptable?” Melania’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham tweeted Saturday evening, adding the hashtags “#disgusting” and “#boycottT.I.

The fuss began when the rapper tweeted out Friday a promotional video for his new album “Dime Trap.” The clip is only a minute long, but it packs a lot of shock into those brief 60 seconds.

It opens with real footage of President Trump walking alone to a helicopter. Dubbed over the video is a voice-over: “Melania Trump did not go to Mar-a-Lago with the president this weekend, which has a lot of people wondering.”

The chopper takes off, and the scene shifts to T.I., clad in a sharp blue suit, wandering around the Oval Office. He stares out the window for a moment, then walks to the desk and places his hand on it, as if the weight of the world is on his shoulders.

Then, a Melania look-alike struts in, wearing only heels and a green jacket emblazoned with the words “I really don’t care, do u?” — the same words on a jacket the actual Mrs. Trump wore on a visit to the U.S.-Mexico border, where migrant children were separated from their families because of the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

As T.I. lights a cigar, the Melania look-alike drops her jacket, revealing that she is wearing nothing underneath. She then begins dancing, climbing on the desk and tugging at T.I.'s tie.

The video ends with a montage of scenes, including Trump riding around in a golf cart wearing a MAGA hat, as well as the Melania look-alike spray-painting red X’s over the eyes of a portrait of Trump. Finally, the video cuts to a black screen with text promoting T.I.'s new album.

The tweet that accompanied the video had a simple message: “Dear 45, I ain’t Kanye.” Superstar Kanye West recently visited the White House for a bizarre conversation with Trump.

Mod: I guess the First Lady's spokespersons will try and make their case about this. However, the T.I. video is reminiscent of some of Melania's own modeling work.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Trump Political Organization is Selling the Personal Information of its Supporters to the Highest Bidder

Mod: If perchance you donated to the Trump campaign at one point in your deluded life, and if you thought your personal information was secure and protected, you need to think again. Your info could now be up for sale to the highest bidder. Business is business.

Now for Rent: Email Addresses and Phone Numbers for Millions of Trump Supporters (New York Times link): Early in his presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump dismissed political data as an “overrated” tool. But after he won the Republican nomination, his team began building a database that offers a pipeline into the heart of the party’s base, a comprehensive list including the email addresses and cellphone numbers of as many as 20 million supporters.

Now, consultants close to the Trump campaign are ramping up efforts to put that database — by far the most sought-after in Republican politics — to use, offering it for rent to candidates, conservative groups and even businesses.

It is an arrangement that has the potential to help the Republican Party in key midterm races, while providing a source of revenue for President Trump’s campaign and the consultants involved.

It has also set off concerns about diluting the power of one of Mr. Trump’s most potent political assets, while raising questions about whether his team is facilitating the sort of political profiteering that he disparaged during his campaign.

In recent weeks, Mr. Trump’s campaign, which is not known for its adherence to political norms, quietly signed a contract with a newly formed Virginia-based company called Excelsior Strategies to market the emails and cellphone numbers — what is known in the political industry as first-party data.

Excelsior is offering the chance to email Mr. Trump’s supporters at a rate of $35 per 1,000 addresses — or more if the renter also wants to push posts into the Facebook timelines of supporters — according to interviews and marketing emails obtained by The New York Times. The firm has also explored the possibility of clients’ being able to send text messages directly to the phones of Mr. Trump’s supporters, according to the marketing emails and interviews.

Mod: Nice. Hopefully the unwanted cell calls you'll be receiving will be from America.

Fox swooned over Kanye West at the White House. Here's how it covered rappers visiting Obama (Washington Post link): Kanye West’s visit to the White House — not as a musical guest, but as a potential policy adviser — was hailed by conservatives and rewarded with glowing coverage on Fox News.

Prime-time anchor Tucker Carlson could barely contain himself, admitting the musical artist came across as a bit scattered but calling West’s comments in the Oval Office on Thursday amazing, poignant and brave.

“Listen carefully to what he said,” Carlson said Thursday night. “Sprinkled throughout his ramblings are flashes of truth, real insights into the way the world actually is rather than the way they tell us it is. Nobody else is allowed to talk this way. Go ahead and try it at work, you’ll get fired. West doesn’t care. And that makes him dangerous to a system that is based almost entirely on piety and lying. If you’re benefiting from a system like that, Kanye West must be crushed.”

For years, Fox News hosts, contributors and anchors have used rap artists as a foil to make political points. Here’s a brief list of some of the ways the network talked about hip-hop and rappers during the Barack Obama years.

Mod: Tucker Carlson is probably the smarmiest asshole on cable news today. The article goes on to discuss how Fox News trashed artists such as Jay-Z, Rick Ross and Kendrick Lamar during the previous administration. Link above.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

'We’ve never seen anything like this': GOP overwhelmed by Democratic cash

Mod: Broke ass Republican candidates for Congress are finding that the Golden Elephant might not be able to bail them out this year. This is something that they are not used to, and apparently are quite upset.

'We’ve never seen anything like this': GOP overwhelmed by Democratic cash (Politico link): A deluge of Democratic spending in the final days of the battle for the House has triggered recriminations among Republicans and forced the party to lean on its biggest patron to salvage their majority.

Since the end of July, Republican candidates in the 70 most contested races have reserved $60 million in TV ads, compared to $109 million for Democratic hopefuls, according to figures compiled by media trackers and reviewed by POLITICO. The disparity is almost certain to grow, as former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg makes good on plans to spend nearly $80 million to help Democrats flip the House.

“From Democrat candidates to outside groups, we’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Brian Walsh, president of the pro-Trump America First Action super PAC. “They are dumping in cash by the truckload.”

Charlie Black, a longtime Republican Party hand who attended the breakfast, said the problem isn’t hard to diagnose: Democrats want to send a message to the president, so they’re pumping the war chests of House candidates with online donations.

“We’re raising more money than we usually do on our side, and they’re raising more than they ever do and it’s because of Trump," Black said. "He’s the great motivator.”

Mod: Dana Rohrabacher, the Orange County member of Congress often unkindly described as being Vladimir Putin's favorite, has been told by the GOP that he is on his own this year. 

Top GOP funding group snubs GOP incumbents Rohrabacher and Walters 3 weeks before midterm election (Los Angeles Times link): In a worrisome sign for two endangered Orange County lawmakers, a major Republican Party funding group has passed over the pair in its opening round of broadcast television advertising across Southern California.

The omission of Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Mimi Walters by the Congressional Leadership Fund, a political action committee closely aligned with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), comes at a crucial inflection point in the midterm election when the two parties begin assessing their likely winners and losers.

The decisions are particularly acute for the GOP, which is facing a tsunami of Democratic campaign cash ahead of a feared blue wave on Nov. 6.

Republicans are taking a cold-blooded look at races to decide where to put resources and where to withdraw resources to put somewhere else,” said Stuart Rothenberg, a nonpartisan election analyst who has spent decades sizing up campaigns.

The GOP has already cut loose several incumbents, including Reps. Mike Coffman in the Denver suburbs and Mike Bishop in southern Michigan.

Democrats need a gain of 23 seats nationwide to take control of the House.

Friday, October 12, 2018

White House will ‘Look Into’ Fox News' Decision to Stop Broadcasting Trump Rallies

Mod: It looks like the ratings for Trump's rant-a-thons aren't what quite they used to be, and Fox News has decided there are more important things to cover. You know, Hurricanes, international financial crisis, stock market collapse, boring stuff like that.

White House Will ‘Look Into’ Fox News' Decision to Stop Broadcasting Trump Rallies (The Daily Beast link): The White House has vowed to “look into” a decision taken by Fox News to stop broadcasting Donald Trump’s rallies live and in full because they’re no longer bringing in high ratings.

Politico reports viewing figures for Trump rallies have dropped and tend to be similar to, or even below, those for regular programming. The network only showed clips of his three rallies over the last week, rather than broadcasting the whole events uninterrupted. The report states White House figures are concerned Trump is losing control of a key platform ahead of the midterms.

One senior White House official told Politico they were unsure why the network is cutting away from the rallies, saying officials planned “to look into that” and that they expect White House Communications Director Bill Shine, a former Fox News executive, to be in touch with his former colleagues about the move.

Mod: The stock market might be in a state of collapse, and a deadly hurricane is ravaging the south, but bring on that insane Kanye West White House visit anyway.

Don Lemon Slams Kanye’s Oval Office ‘Minstrel Show,’ Says Rapper’s Mom ‘Rolling Over in Her Grave’ (Mediaite link): CNN’s Don Lemon tore into Kanye West‘s Oval Office meeting with President Donald Trump, incensed by what he called an embarrassment to the African American community and America itself.

“What I saw was a minstrel show today,” Lemon said Thursday during an interview with his colleagues at the network. “Him in front of all these white people, mostly white people, embarrassing himself and embarrassing Americans, but mostly African Americans because every one of them is sitting either at home or with their phones, watching this, cringing. I couldn’t even watch it. I had to turn the television off because it was so hard to watch.”

Earlier in the day, West had lunch with the president just after appearing in front of a room full of reporters in the Oval Office. Rather than participating in photo ops at the White House, Lemon said the rapper should address his mental health, imploring those who know him to “grab him, snatch him up and get Kanye together because Kanye needs help.”

Then, Lemon then took issue with those who sent cameras to the event.

“This has nothing to do with being liberal or a conservative,” he said. “This has to do with honesty. And we have to stop pretending, sitting here on these CNN panels or whatever network panels, and pretending like this is normal and let’s have this conversation about Kanye West. Who cares? Why are you sending cameras to the Oval Office for Kanye West?”

Mod: Sad to see Jared Kushner can't keep his stupid mouth shut. But not surprising.

Saudi crown prince bragged that Jared Kushner gave him CIA intelligence about other Saudis saying 'here are your enemies' days before 'corruption crackdown' which led to torture and death (The Daily Mail link): Sources have told that the prince – known by his initials MBS – has been boasting about his close relationship with the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, and the intelligence which he has told his circle Kushner passed to him. He also told members of his circle that the intelligence included information on who was disloyal to him. There is no way to independently verify the truth of the boast.

'Jared took a list out of names from US eavesdrops of people who were supposedly MBS's enemies,' said one source, characterizing how MBS spoke about the information. 

'He took a list out of these people who had been trashing MBS in phone calls, and said 'these are the ones who are your enemies'. 

Mod: The stock market collapse continued into its 6th day yesterday. Donald made sure to blame everyone else.

Dow drops nearly 550 points, sending its two-day loss total to nearly 1,400 points (The Washington Post link): U.S. markets suffered deeper losses Thursday, following on a global rout as investors lost their nerve over rising U.S. interest rates and fresh worries about an economic slowdown. 

Concerns about U.S.-China ties weighed heavily, too. U.S. markets rebounded briefly after it was announced that President Trump would meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at next month’s G-20 summit in Buenos Aires to discuss the intensifying trade conflict. 

The Dow Jones industrial average ended the day down 2.1 percent, or 546 points, pushing the two day loss to nearly 1,400 points. The broad-index Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was off 2 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq notched its second day of trouble with a 1.3 percent loss. 

The markets landed in the red despite a government report that showed consumer prices rose less than expected last month. U.S. consumer prices rose 0.1 percent in September, following a 0.2 percent increase in August.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Ivanka's Prayers Answered? America's very first 'Robot Brothel' opening soon in Houston, TX

Video link here.
Mod: It could be the perfect answer to all of Donald Trump's problems. Sex robots. They don't sue, they won't go blabbing to the New York Times, write any tell-all books, or hire Michael Avenatti. Plus perhaps the designer could put together a Ivanka sex bot made to the exact specifications of the Donald himself? Yes, finally, an opportunity to give daddy's happy little hands something else to do. And think of all the fine gentlemen from the conservative world who would line up for a dates. Who knows, designer Robot Brothels could become the ultimate GOP fundraising tool.

America's first 'Robot Brothel' could soon be in Houston, TX ( link): Yuval Gavriel operates "Kinky S Robots" in Toronto, Canada, where customers can rent life-like sex robots for $120 an hour and buy them for between $2,500 and $10,000. Now he's hoping to set up shop in Houston.

"We're ready as soon as we get the get-go," Gavriel said. "We're legal people."

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Wednesday he was asking the city's legal department to see if any existing ordinances apply to Kinky S Dolls and whether any changes need to be made.

"It's not the sort of business that we advertise for or seek to attract or quite frankly that I want in the city of Houston," Turner said.

Gavriel said he would like to get the mayor's blessing, but his attorneys told him it's not a requirement. "We want to open peacefully and without opposition from any group," Gavriel said.

He said Houston was chosen, in part, because it doesn't regulate sex robots.

A growing movement to stop Kinky S Dolls is being led by Elijah Rising, a Houston nonprofit dedicated to ending sex trafficking. The organization started a petition that now has 7,500 signatures.

"These rape bots are mechanized pornography and everything we know about porn fueling the demand for real women, real children in the sex-trafficking industry is going to apply to this robot brothel," said Executive Director Micah Gamboa.

Mod: If Houston doesn't go for it, maybe Sierra Madre would want to step up. Think of the tax opportunities. I'm sure there is plenty of space available at the Hotel Shirley.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The alt-right is devastated that Taylor Swift endorsed a Democrat

Mod: Most Neo-Nazis are snowflake fanboys at heart, and apparently Taylor Swift was their very special sweetheart. So imagine their bitter tears when it was announced that she will be voting for Democrats this fall, and not the party that best represents their agenda, the Republicans.

The alt-right is devastated that Taylor Swift endorsed a Democrat (New Statesman link): The notorious alt-right chat forum, 4chan, is beside itself with grief at the news that popstar Taylor Swift has officially endorsed a Democrat.

Swift broke her silence on party politics last night in a lengthy Instagram post, in which she announced that she would be voting for two Democrats in Tennessee in the upcoming American mid-term elections. “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions,” she wrote before going on to condemn Republican candidate for Senate, Marsha Blackburn, “but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”

The singer has previously remained almost silent on politics, to the extent she has been the subject of widespread criticism for not publicly denouncing the views of the far-right (especially Donald Trump), for not coming out in support of Democratic candidates, and remaining neutral during political elections for her entire career.

“Goodbye Tay”, “They took her from us”, “She was supposed to be our girl! Why did she break our hearts” are just a few of the hundreds of posts that have poured in over the last 12 hours from hard-right, alt-right, and neo-Nazi 4chan users stunned by the loss of their Aryan poster girl. Users are so shocked that many are hypothesising that she was paid to do this and her statement was ghost written, parsing out the message to argue that it linguistically didn’t match her usual style. “Ever notice how every celebrity seems to be reciting the exact same script,” one user posited. “That looks ghostwritten.” “All PR nonsense,” wrote another, “She just doesn’t want to be labelled as a white nationalist. Probably got paid to say all this.”

Taylor Swift has been an alt-right icon since her first record dropped; her blonde hair and blue eyes made her a magnet for neo-Nazi fandom. Her legal team has had to legally request bloggers to stop sharing her pictures and lyrics alongside Hitler quotes. She was also the inspiration of the now disappeared “Taylor Swift for a Fascist Europe” meme page (which accrued 20K likes), and her picture is plastered all over online Aryan fan boards on sites like Reddit.

In a broadly piece from 2016 entitled “How Taylor Swift Became A Nazi Idol”, Mitchell Sunderland wrote, “Every demographic chooses a pop icon. Gay men worship Cher, black women love Beyoncé, and neo-Nazis worship Taylor Swift.” The piece goes on to speak to a writer of the The Daily Stormer blog, Andrew Anglin, who explains that Swift is a “pure Aryan goddess” and “Athena reborn” and argues that Taylor Swift was secretly a Nazi, but was just waiting for Donald Trump to be elected to say so.

While many of Swift’s fans will be rejoicing after this news, there’s one sub-section now in full mourning. Now the alt-right will have to take time to refill the spot in their white arsenal after the fall of their original “Aryan princess”.

Mod: The alt-right is apparently filled with extremely pathetic people.

Taylor Swift's Instagram Post Has Caused A Massive Spike In Voter Registration (BuzzFeed News link): Since Taylor Swift flexed her star power Sunday with an Instagram post that encouraged her 112 million followers to register to vote, has experienced an unprecedented flood of new voter registrations nationwide.

"We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period since T. Swift's post," said Kamari Guthrie, director of communications for

For context, 190,178 new voters were registered nationwide in the entire month of September, while 56,669 were registered in August. In Swift’s home state of Tennessee, where she voiced support for two Democratic candidates running in this year's midterms, voter registrations have also jumped.

" saw [Tennessee] registrations spike specifically since Taylor's post," Guthrie said. The organization has received 5,183 in the state so far this month — at least 2,144 of which were in the last 36 hours, she said, up from 2,811 new Tennessee voter registrations for the entire month of September and just 951 in August.

Guthrie said the site had also seen a big jump in the number of visitors since Swift's post, with 155,940 unique visitors in the last 24 hours — second only to the number of people who visited on National Voter Registration Day on Sept. 25 when there were 304,942 unique visitors. (The average daily user count for the site is 14,078 in 2018.)

"Thank God for Taylor Swift," said Guthrie.

CNN poll: Democrats are fired up and maintain a strong 2018 lead (CNN link): Four weeks out from Election Day, Democrats remain well ahead of Republicans in a generic ballot matchup, with 54% of likely voters saying they support the Democrat in their district and 41% backing a Republican, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS. This is the widest margin of support for Democrats in a midterm cycle since 2006, when at this point, the party held a whopping 21-point lead over Republicans among likely voters. That's also when Democrats seized control of the House from Republicans, making Nancy Pelosi speaker

This year, Democrats' enthusiasm about their congressional vote has increased and 62% now say they're extremely or very enthusiastic to vote, up seven points since September among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Among Republicans and Republican leaning independents, enthusiasm has remained relatively steady, going from 50% in September to 52% in the most recent poll.

Democratic enthusiasm this year is more intense than it has been in previous midterm cycles, which typically engage voters less than presidential years. The 40% who call themselves "extremely enthusiastic" is the highest share to say so in a midterm election cycle since CNN first asked the question in 2009.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

It should be another really awful Sierra Madre City Council meeting tonight

Why beat around the bush? Tonight's meeting will be an opaque and deceptive mess designed to obscure some true City Hall nonsense, while hiding actual intents that most Sierra Madreans would reject should they ever be told. We might as well be back in the John Buchanan and Elaine Aguilar days. Except we're not. It is much worse.


The thing is that the City of Sierra Madre, when it casually capitulated and sold you out to the likes of One Carter developer CETT, agreed to a project that the city is not capable of handling. It is very large, and far too much work for them to deal with and still be able to take three day weekends. The time requirements on applications alone make the job impossible for so wee a planning department on a limited time budget.

So they must have always known they would have to outsource it all, and now they are. But try and find any admission of that in this report. You won't. That would be a little too transparent. So instead you get vapid jargon like "Contract Planning Services for Entitlement Processing."

Check out the agenda report and see how much this is going to cost you. I am not going to do everything for you. But while doing that also search your feelings and ask yourself how comforted you are to know that so sensitive a project is now going to be largely handled by an outside third party outfit whose main priority will be how to get this work done and still turn a profit.

It is one thing to be completely sold out by a City Council that claimed when running for office that it would fight such predatory development. It ought to be quite another discovering that you are now having to pay for it.

Also under consideration this evening is this bit of callow timorousness.


The driving force behind the need to "do something about Kersting Court" is the perceived legal requirement to remove any seasonal religious displays (read: Christmas) from government property. The city fears lawsuits from the usual nasty jerks. This is part of a much larger issue, and hardly limited to just Sierra Madre. It has been discussed here before and I won't be doing that again today.

But the City Council will once again refuse to share that information with you. They don't think you can handle it in a way that is convenient for them, and frankly they prefer not to use that much energy at meetings. Instead you will get condescending nonsense like this:

Were you aware that there is a move in town to get rid of the flag pole? Is there a "war on the flag pole?" You probably weren't in the know about this, most likely because such a thing isn't happening.

However, what this should inform you of is there will no longer be any room for traditional seasonal religious displays at Christmas time. Instead Kersting Court will now be filled with reverential "Native Drought Landscaping," which you will not be allowed to walk on.

Kersting Court will become a quasi-sacred plant museum designed a lot like the fussy shrubbery in front of City Hall. Look, but do not touch. Keep your kids under strict control, and a stout leash on Fido. Dispose of your Starbucks cups properly.

Again, the City Council will prefer not to discuss any of that with you. It is a real issue, and as is almost always the case with the Fab 5, they don't do reality. At least not for the likes of you.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Trump opponents rejoice as US President is snubbed for Nobel peace prize in favor of campaigners against sexual violence

Mod: Apparently the US president and Kim Jong-un had been considered frontrunners ahead of the announcement. Or at least they were according to reliable Putinists such as Lindsey Graham and Sean Hannity. It didn't happen, though. Proving that sanity still drives decisions in at least some parts of the world.

Was love not enough?
Trump opponents rejoice as US President is snubbed for Nobel peace prize in favor of campaigners against sexual violence (The Independent link): Donald Trump's opponents are rejoicing after the US president lost out on the Nobel Peace Prize.

Along with Kim Jong-un, he had been a frontrunner to win the award among bookmakers. He had been nominated by Republican lawmakers who said he should win "in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula, and bring peace to the region".

But the committee gave the prestigious award instead to campaigners who have fought against sexual violence. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad were praised by the committee "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict".

Many Twitter users took to the site to rejoice that the president had been skipped over for the award.

"How sweetly ironic that the Nobel peace prize winners are anti-sexual violence campaigners, when you thought you were in with a shout," one posted to the president. "Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un's nominations beaten by heroes," wrote another.

Allies of the president had already used the possibility he would win to mock his opponents. Lindsay Graham said that Mr Trump deserved the award for what he claimed were successes fighting Isis and taking on Iran.

"If Donald Trump gets the Nobel Peace Prize, liberals all over the world would jump out of buildings," the Republican senator said before laughing.

Mr Trump and his allies have been largely silent since the winners of the award were announced, which happened during the very early morning US time.

Mod: The following article appeared last May.

Trump: 'Everyone thinks' I deserve Nobel Prize (CNN link): President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday that while "everyone thinks" he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in the warming of relations with North Korea, the only prize he wants is a victory for the world.

Trump was asked by a reporter while holding a Cabinet meeting at the White House whether he deserved the honor, to which the President replied with a large smile: "Everyone thinks so, but I would never say it."

If Trump were to win the award, he'd be the fifth American president bestowed with the honor. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are all Nobel winners. During a recent campaign-style rally in Michigan, the crowd broke out into a chant of "Nobel, Nobel" while Trump was discussing his efforts in North Korea. Clearly enjoying the response, the President smiled and said, "Thank you, that is very nice."

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to two activists fighting sexual violence (Axios link): Dr. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to end "sexual violence as a weapon of war," the Nobel Committee said Friday.

The details: Mukwege, a 63-year-old Congolese gynecological surgeon, treats victims of gang rape, and Nadia Murad, a 25-year-old Iraqi Yazidi who was raped and held captive by ISIS, has spoken extensively about her experience despite the cultural shame associated with doing so.

Mukwege is a "global advocate for gender equality and the elimination of rape in war," the NYT reports. He has been targeted for his advocacy and outspoken views.

"It's not a woman question; it's a humanity question, and men have to take responsibility to end it." — Dr. Denis Mukwege

Murad was abducted and repeatedly raped by ISIS in 2014. After escaping, she insisted on being photographed and named, and traveled around the world speaking before international bodies.

"I will go back to my life when women in captivity go back to their lives, when my community has a place, when I see people accountable for their crimes." — Nadia Murad

Mod: I am not sure Donald Trump could have been considered a Nobel Prize candidate for fighting sexual violence. Which I suspect is the message the Nobel Peace Prize Committee was sending.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Texas Cops Confiscate Anti-Republican Yard Sign After Threatening Property Owner

Mod: It looks like a tender Texas snowflake named Sid Miller got his feelings hurt.

Texas Cops Confiscate Anti-Republican Yard Sign After Threatening Property Owner (Law & Crime link): A political yard sign in Central Texas was confiscated by local authorities last week after it upset the feelings of a Republican Party official in the Lone Star State.

The sign in question was homemade and didn’t offer support for any particular candidate. Rather, the sign–hand-painted in red, white and blue–featured an elephant with its trunk up a woman’s skirt. The woman in the painting had word bubble with the word “Help.” The sign was captioned, “Your vote matters.”

Other signs in the same yard promoted Democrats running for state and local offices, including gubernatorial candidate Lupe Valdez, agricultural commission candidate Kim Olson, U.S. House candidate Julie Oliver and U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Current Texas Agricultural Commission Sid Miller took note of the sign and posted about it on Facebook. In a post, Miller made an unsubstantiated allegation that the sign was an attempt to depict the daughter of Supreme Court nominee and alleged attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh.

After Miller’s Facebook post drew attention to the sign, Republicans called for Stanford’s arrest.

Local police then visited Stanford’s home. No arrest occurred but the sign was taken by police. “Police told me to remove the sign or they would take it and would arrest me,” Stanford said. “So I let them take the sign.”

Mod: This could be yet another case where a dirt dumb Trump supporter has claimed that the First Amendment is a threat to the United States Constitution. Oh, and it isn't like Hog Eatin' Sid doesn't have some legal problems already.

Abbott Says Allegations Against Miller Warrant Probe ( link): Texas Gov. Greg Abbott believes allegations that Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller misused state funds when he took two out-of-state trips a year ago should be investigated, a spokesman for the governor said on Thursday.

“The governor believes these allegations of misuse of taxpayer dollars warrant a thorough investigation by the Texas Rangers," said John Wittman, a spokesman for Abbott.

On Wednesday, the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed that the agency's Texas Rangers are conducting an investigation into whether Miller abused his position as commissioner by having the state pay for two trips — one to Oklahoma and another to Mississippi, in February 2015. Media reports have indicated Miller may have traveled for personal benefit.

Mod: Lock his big butt up.

Rare Quintuple Rainbow: Proof of the Existence of Unicorns?

Mod: For some reason unicorns are popular in Sierra Madre. I have no idea why this is, but it wasn't all that long ago that the topic used to come up in the comments a lot. All that said, there has been no real proof of their existence until now. Though some killjoys will say this is nothing more than a prism effect caused by the combination of water vapor and sunlight, the sighting of this rare quintuple rainbow is the reason some unicorn believers have found hope. 

Rare Quintuple Rainbow Captured by Photographer in New Jersey (Live Science link): While shooting a sunset in New Jersey recently, photographer John Entwistle got another gorgeous sight: a sky painted with what looked like a set of five rainbows.

"I could be wrong but that sure looks like a quintuple rainbow at sunset tonight over the Jersey Shore, NJ," Entwistle wrote on Instagram on Sept. 18.

Supernumerary rainbows like this one consist of a primary rainbow — the brightest and most vivid of the bunch — as well as at least two other, less brilliant, rainbows. In the case of the rainbow captured by Entwistle, five supernumerary rainbows were visible.

"In general, supernumeraries are quite common. There are many pictures of 2 or 3 supernumeraries," Gunther Können, a retired climate scientist with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, told Live Science in an email. "But the appearance in nature of 5 supernumeraries is exceptional."

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Trump supporter, 53, is charged after 'making threats to kill' Democrat senators and 'weak' Republicans if they vote against Brett Kavanaugh

Mod: Just another day on Planet Loon.

Trump supporter, 53, is charged after 'making threats to kill' Democrat senators and 'weak' Republicans if they vote against Brett Kavanaugh (MSN link): A man in Florida has been arrested after he threatened to shoot senators who don't support Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, authorities said. James Royal Patrick Jr. was arrested at 4pm on Wednesday and charged with making written threats to kill or injure, Polk County Sheriff's Office said.

Investigators say they received an email tip at 11am that day about threatening posts Patrick, 53, made on this public Facebook page last month. Authorities said that Patrick threatened to shoot members of Congress and their families depending on which way the confirmation vote went.

He also made threats against any local and federal law enforcement officers that might respond to his home.

Besides threatening Democrats and 'weak Republicans' who might oppose Kavanaugh, Patrick also encouraged conservatives to break into liberals' homes and kill them in their sleep.

'Getting ready if Kav is not confirmed….whoever I think is to blame may God have mercy on their soul,' he said in one post on September 22.

'I expect to be confronted and I will be ready to kill and ready to die.'

'I can tell it seems I will be sacrificing my life for my country,' he said in another post on September 27.

'But I am ready and will know who needs to be killed after the vote to put Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court.

'I believe democrats need to be afraid to do what they are doing right now and weak republicans that do not vote for him need to pay with their lives.'

In another, he said: 'I can't do this by myself! Need more conservatives going into liberals' homes at night killing them in their sleep!'

In other posts, he claimed he was selling his house and had made arrangements for his pets because 'I know I will not be coming home.'

'I am about to accept an offer on my house just to get more money to fund my plan to kill Democrat office holders and their families,' he wrote in one post.

'It is all I think about night and day. I even wake up in the middle of the night, most nights, thinking about it. Ultimately I will be killed but hopefully I will have killed many many liberal [sic] elected in Washington.'

In another, he claimed: 'Just bought 12 boxes of hollow point 50 caliber bullets….have plenty of ammo for my sniper rifle and bought a suppressor.'

'Have made sure all my arrangements have been made and care for my dogs because I will not be coming home.

'Have made extra precautions and added more supplies in the tunnel under my house in case local or federal law enforcement tries to stop me.'

Authorities noted there are no tunnels under his house.

Patrick's Facebook page also contained photos of him, along with photos of guns and ammunition. He has also shared posts supportive of President Donald Trump.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Donald Trump Boards Air Force One with Toilet Paper Stuck to his Shoe

Mod: Yesterday, Trump boarded Air Force One with toilet paper stuck to his shoe. Sums up his whole presidency rather well, doesn't it? 

Link to video here.

The best part? You know he got it stuck on his show when he was in the building, then walked down the hall, into the limo, and rode all the way to the airport, all before the video began, and even with all that nobody either noticed or told him. Wonder why.

Mod: Remember that anonymous column in The New York Times? And how angry Trump was, and how he was going to catch the guy and do terrible things to him? Looks like "anonymous" got away with it. Just like with the toilet paper on his shoe, nobody who works with Trump tells him anything. Which is pretty much just as anonymous said. The so-called president lives in a baby bubble.

Still Anonymous: White House hunt for op-ed author fades (Washington Post link): One month ago Friday, an unidentified Trump administration official set off a White House firestorm by claiming in a New York Times opinion piece to be part of a secret “resistance” force out to undermine parts of President Donald Trump’s agenda.

The article triggered cries of “treason” from Trump and a demand that the powers of the federal government be brought to bear to root out the disloyal officials.

And then ... not much happened.

The investigation, which existed more in name than practice, stalled. A move to clean house never occurred. The author’s identity is still a mystery.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Tonight's Sierra Madre Planning Commission Meeting

Once in a while I get asked why I don't write about this stuff so much anymore. It is a fair question. The answer being that I have already said pretty much everything I know, and none of it has had any effect.

I will say this. There is a myth that if somehow those residents concerned about community preservation can come up with new and exciting ways to state their case, then the City Council will somehow revive its interest in the cause and start to listen again. Which is quite a logical disconnect if you think about it. Or an unwillingness to deal with reality. Or even admit that they were played in last April's City Council election.

I don't mean to sound unkind or anything, but this City Council doesn't give a damn about community preservation. Despite what they've said. Have you seen any indication that they do? Lately? Their actions speak to something quite the opposite.

Even before that what did they really do? They established new rules for development. Are you surprised that they are now being put to use? If so, watch tonight's Planning Commission meeting. Notice how tightly their hands have been tied.

This City Council is concerned about one thing only. Keeping the city from going into financial receivership. That is their one priority. They're solely focused on raising money to cover millions in pension and bad bond debt, and everything is now up for sale. Including permitting for the big new development at One Carter, and soon the Passionist Monastery.

The only way this kind of predatory development can be stopped is by electing people to the City Council who are seriously dedicated to the community's preservation. Not people who say they are, but once the election is over work for the opposite thing. Which is what is there now.

However, since nobody like that seems willing to step up and make that run for glory, this whole thing has come to its logical end. You can't just keep coming up with new and novel ways of asking the same people to do what they have already repeatedly refused to do, and then make believe you're actually doing something.

Do you know what is really embarrassing? Some of the same people responsible for Sierra Madre's decades old debt problems are now behind the effort to build a new Library. What could possibly go wrong, right?

It is something that the majority on this City Council not only supports with an apparent careless abandon, but would even establish a parcel tax to make happen.

Is there any similar enthusiasm from them for community preservation?

No, obviously there is not. Quite the opposite, actually.

Does this tell you that the bad guys have won? I think so.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Jim Bakker: ‘Time-Traveling Demon’ Implanted Christine Blasey Ford With False Memories

Mod: I am surprised some of the Trump supporters who comment on this blog haven't been pushing this interesting theory more. It seems right up their alley.

Jim Bakker: ‘Time-Traveling Demon’ Implanted Christine Blasey Ford With False Memories (The Business Standard News link): Televangelist Jim Bakker has weighed in on the Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. And of course, he has a crackpot theory for it.

“After I watched the hearings, I had a dream and in that dream the Lord took me back to the party where Ford claimed she was raped,” said Bakker. “God showed me that a demonic spirit entered her at that time and created this false memory. And that demon is still working within her. The Devil knew that Brett Kavanaugh was destined for great things and wanted to take him down in the future.”

In spite of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s harrowing testimony, many conservatives refuse to believe her.

Wingnut Josh Bernstein claimed Ford was the aggressor, even though she broke into tears during the hearing and said she was scared to come forward.

Brett Kavanaugh was likely a victim—that’s right, a victim—of Christine Blasey Ford and her Holton Arms sexual culture,” he added. “If anything happened back then, 36 years ago, it’s likely that Miss Ford initiated it and was the aggressor. And if she wasn’t, at the very least, judging by all of the information that we now know about that school, she was a willing and consensual participant.”

Bryan Fischer, a commentator with the American Family Association, said the attacks against Kavanaugh were “spiritual warfare.”

“This is the biggest conflict between good and evil that we have seen in the last year,” Fischer declared. “This is big league spiritual warfare. This is major league spiritual warfare. This is Satan and the demons of hell coming against one man because he stands for what is right and stands for what is true. And all the forces of hell are arranged against him and we, ladies and gentlemen, have to stand in the gap for Brett Kavanaugh.”

In related news, FOX News media minstrel Kevin Jackson was fired after he attacked Ford. Jackson said Ford didn’t have an advanced degree, called her a skank and told her keep her legs closed. He was terminated before the end of the day.

Mod: More Devil's work?

Founder of Tea Party Nation Has Been Disbarred for Trying to Scam Timeshare Owners (General Counsel News link): The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the founder of Tea Party Nation has been disbarred for trying to swindle timeshare owners into thinking they canceled their timeshares. Tennessee attorney Judson Wheeler Phillips, a senior partner with Nashville-based Castle Law Group and founding member of the conservative Tea Party group, was accused of taking off with the money he earned from the fraudulent transactions, the Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled.

Federal lawsuits were filed against Phillips by Westgate Resorts and Orange Lake Resorts, both based in Orlando, as well as Las Vegas-based Diamond Resorts and Fort Lauderdale-based Berkley Resorts. More than 90 consumer fraud complaints also were filed.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Boycott Madonna: Is Len Blavatnik (Russian Oligarch & owner of Warner Brothers/Atlantic Records) Shoveling $Big Money to GOP Senator Lindsey Graham?

Lenny B's next glam rock act?
Mod: Full disclosure, I worked for the Warner Music Group for 20 years, though I have been gone for a little while. But just so you know, should you purchase let's say that Tom Petty "An American Treasure" retrospective that came out last week, remember into whose pockets you're putting your hard earned American dollars.

Lindsey Graham Received Campaign Donations From Firm Tied To Russian Oligarch (The Intellectualist link): Sen. Lindsey Graham received $800,000 from a Ukrainian-born oligarch with ties to Putin's inner circle. As President Donald Trump appears to sink deeper into legal trouble and special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation pushes forward, the relative silence of congressional Republicans becomes increasingly difficult to ignore.

But apart from the obvious reasons conservative lawmakers might steer clear of commenting on Trump’s situation — party loyalty and fear of inviting a presidential Twitter attack come to mind — it is worth remembering that several noteworthy Republicans have Russia links as well.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is one such lawmaker.

The Dallas Morning News reported last year that Graham was one of several Republican politicians to receive contributions from “a Ukrainian-born oligarch who is the business partner of two of Russian president Vladimir Putin's favorite oligarchs and a Russian government bank.”

During the last election, Ukrainian-born billionaire Leonard "Len" Blavatnik $6.35 million to Republican candidates and and incumbent senators, using two holding companies, Access Industries and AI Altep Holdings.

Graham received $800,000 of that money.

Lead singer of The Treasonettes?
Len Blavatnik, considered to be one of the richest men in Great Britain, holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and the U.K. He is known for his business savvy and generous philanthropy, but not without controversy.

Blavatnik's relationships with Russian oligarchs close to Putin, particularly Oleg Deripaska, should be worrisome for Trump and the six GOP leaders who took Blavatnik's money during the 2016 presidential campaign. Lucky for them no one has noticed. Yet.

Deripaska founded RUSAL, the second largest aluminum country in the world, and until earlier this year, he was the majority owner. In an agreement struck with the U.S. Treasury Department following financial difficulties due to Deripaska’s placement on the U.S. sanctions list, the billionaire stepped down as director and pledged to reduce his ownership stake to less than 50 percent.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Blavatnik owns a significant stake in the company as well and served on its Board until just two days after Trump was elected president.

Though Graham has been less shy than other Republicans about criticizing Trump on occasion, he was the first GOP lawmaker to signal openness to the president firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying Thursday that Trump is “entitled to having an attorney general he has faith in” and “there will come a time sooner rather than later where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice”, according to CNN.

Trump has taken fresh aim at Sessions in recent days as his legal exposure has increased significantly.

Mod: Suddenly Graham's unhinged screaming about the Kavanaugh investigation makes sense. He's getting paid. The rest of the article is available at the link.

ACLU is spending more than $1 million in TV ads comparing Kavanaugh to Bill Clinton, Cosby (The Washington Post link): The American Civil Liberties Union said it has spent a little more than $1 million on television advertisements to oppose President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh.

The campaign, announced Monday, is another sign that the ACLU, which describes itself as a nonpartisan organization, has energized its advocacy efforts in the Trump era. Two days earlier, the group’s national board voted to oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination — something it has done only three other times in the past century.

ACLU’s political growth and advocacy has increased since Donald Trump was elected president. We’ve had a massive growth in volunteer base and massive growth in financial resources,” said Faiz Shakir, ACLU’s national political director. “People have funded us, and I think they expect a return.”

Since Trump’s election, the ACLU said its membership has jumped from 400,000 to 1.84 million

Monday, October 1, 2018

Willie Nelson's new hit "Vote 'Em Out" performed before 55,000 cheering Beto O'Rourke fans in Texas

Mod: Famed country music legend Willie Nelson has just released a big new song, and it was premiered the other night in front of a whole lot of happy folks in Austin, TX

Link to video here.

Mod: Of course, this wasn't just a concert. It was also a very important political event.

Lyin' Ted Cruz missed the show.
BETO O'ROURKE HAD THE LARGEST POLITICAL RALLY FOR A CANDIDATE SINCE THE 2016 ELECTION: REPORT (Newsweek link): Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke hosted the largest single-candidate political rally in the country since the 2016 presidential election, according to a report in the Wall Street JournalO'Rourke's political rally was held Saturday alongside country music singer Willie Nelson in the outdoor Austin, Texas amphitheater, Auditorium Shores.

Campaign estimates for attendance were all in excess of 50,000 people, with local estimates placing the number in attendance at around 55,000, making it the largest political rally for one candidate since at least 2016.

Rep. O'Rourke, of El Paso, Texas, is in a heated U.S. Senate race with Republican incumbent Ted Cruz that has drawn continued national attention.

In August, President Donald Trump tweeted in support of a one-time political opponent he frequently called a liar, and whose father he once accused of involvement in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Mod: And then there is this important video news report.

Ted Cruz kisses his daughter ...  it doesn't go well (BBC Newsnight)

Video link here.

Mod: You do have to feel a little sorry for the kid. It is not easy or pleasant being kissed by someone who breathes through his tongue.