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, August 21, 2017

Of Course Trump Looked Directly at the Sun




Maybe someone told Trump that Obama had tweeted a reminder to people to wear their eclipse glasses.

I can't even snark about the fact that we have a president who is so stupid that he doesn't know that one should not look directly at the Sun. Did he think the warnings not to do that were fake science?

The Great Eclipse



I didn't photograph it. I wanted to *see* it. And see it, I did.

Besides eclipse glasses, I bought a set of solar filters for binoculars and split them between two pairs. I taped lens covers over the non-projected objectives.


The group I was with had a shade tent by a tree. The tree acted like a pinhole camera:


Totality was quite possibly the most amazing thing I have ever seen, even more awe-inspiring than seeing the Grand Canyon from the south rim at sunset. The sky was dim and, all around the horizon, it looked like sunset. The temperature dropped. I removed the lens cover from the objective and looked at the corona around the black disc of the Moon. On the right side of the Sun, I saw the pink arc of a solar flare. There were planets and stars visible to the naked eye.

I understand, now, why people chase solar eclipses. If seeing one is not on your "bucket list", then take it from me: Put it there.

The next total eclipse that will be visible from the US happens in seven years. Make plans. And see it with a bunch of people.

Trump is Breaking the Secret Service

At least financially:
The Secret Service can no longer pay hundreds of agents it needs to carry out an expanded protective mission – in large part due to the sheer size of President* Trump's family and efforts necessary to secure their multiple residences up and down the East Coast.

Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles, in an interview with USA TODAY, said more than 1,000 agents have already hit the federally mandated caps for salary and overtime allowances that were meant to last the entire year.

The agency has faced a crushing workload since the height of the contentious election season, and it has not relented in the first seven months of the administration. Agents must protect Trump – who has traveled almost every weekend to his properties in Florida, New Jersey and Virginia – and his adult children whose business trips and vacations have taken them across the country and overseas.

"The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law,'' Alles said. "I can't change that. I have no flexibility."
Let's not forget that Trump was the guy who was lambasting President Obama for taking too much time off. Also, Obama used Camp David, which is already a federally-protected facility and to which he could travel by helo. Trump's gotta jet off to Mar-a-Lago by 747.

A great way to lose good people is by making them travel frequently and then not paying them, but offering them "comp time" that everyone knows will never be taken.

Collision at Sea, Again

Vessels from several nations are searching Southeast Asian waters for 10 missing U.S. sailors after an early morning collision Monday between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker ripped a gaping hole in the destroyer's hull.
I'm going to go out on a limb and speculate that the impact appears to be that of a bulbous bow riding high in the water.


Collisions between warships and merchants were exceedingly rare. Two in a handful of months is a hell of a coincidence.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Did Trump Self-Identify with the Nazis?

Go listen to his press conference, starting at the seven-minute mark. Or here.

He may have said "what about the alt-left that came charging at us"

I'm not certain of that, but it sure sounds like it. On the other hand, it's what I'd expect to him to say if he thought he could get away with it. so you an take that into account.

Also, the petty little bastard can't let go of the fact that McCain voted against the Senate bill on the Obamacare repeal. Smart politicians know that, whether you win or lose on the vote on any bill, the next day is a new day. But not to Trump. His deep sense of butthurt, his willingness to take offense over anything and everything, does not bode well for his administration getting much of anything done.

H/T

Current Events Images (Heavy on Sarcasm)




The Fragility of President* Trump

Of all of the batshit-unhinged things he said at his press conference lat Tuesday, this was one of the most nuts:
And honestly, if the press were not fake, and if it was honest, the press would have said what I said was very nice.
So what it comes down to is that Trump was suffering butthurt, because the commentators weren't lauding his statement that didn't outright condemn Nazis?

Well, I guess that should have been expected, given Trump's decades-long butthurt over the "short-fingered vulgarian" insult.

Or, more succinctly:




N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle Makes the Very Best...Fraudulent Products

Oh, this is going to be good:
A 325-page lawsuit filed in Connecticut this week by eleven plaintiffs claims that for more than 20 years, Nestlé Waters’ marketing and sales of Poland Spring water has been “a colossal fraud perpetrated against American consumers.”
...
Noting that Nestlé bottles 1 billion gallons of Poland Spring water per year, the complaint points out that even if the eight sites the company uses to bottle water did contain a spring, it would have to flow at an average rate of 245 gallons per minute. That’s more force than a two-inch diameter fire hose spraying at 40 pounds per square inch.

“Such a spring would be plainly visible – more like a geyser than a spring – and undoubtedly well known,” the lawsuit states. “Yet there is no photographic proof that even one such spring – much less eight – exists on or near defendant’s sites in Maine.”

To that end, the complaint claims there is no historical evidence for six of the purported springs, and that two are former springs that no longer exist.

“The famous Poland Spring in Poland Spring, Maine, which Defendant’s labels claim is a source of Poland Spring Water, ran dry nearly 50 years ago, decades before Defendant bought the Poland Spring brand name,” reads the lawsuit. “The ‘spring’ Defendant now claims exists in Poland Spring is at the bottom of a lake. It has never been proven to exist, and the evidence that Defendant itself filed with Maine regulators shows it does not exist.”
If the water in your area is sketchy, purified bottled drinking water is usually cheap enough.

Your Sunday Morning Bomber Noise

New and old:

Saturday, August 19, 2017

"Dear Mother: We Had to Turn Back. Resistance Was Too Strong."


The portly defender of slavery seemed to be a little dejected. He would have been an anomaly, anyway. The Confederate Army was pretty shitty at logistics. Most of their soldiers were ill-fed and ill clothed.

Anyway, the guesstimates seem to be that less than a hundred Nazis and their fellow-travelers showed up on Boston today for their rally. The number of counter-protesters was somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000.

Bangity

(A break from blasting Nazi and Klan thugs.)

I shot a match this morning, my first this year.

The course of fire was, all holster-draw:
---------------------------------------------------
5 yards: Five shots from a primary handgun (one hand hold) at a B-27 target in five seconds.
Five shots from a backup gun (one hand hold) at a 3x5 brain card in five seconds.

7 yards: Five shots from a primary handgun (one hand hold) at a B-27 target in seven seconds.
Five shots from a backup gun (one hand hold) at brain card in seven seconds.

15 yards: Five shots from a primary handgun at a B-27, two-handed hold, reholster, draw the backup, five shots at a brain card, in 20 seconds.

25 yards: Five shots with the primary handgun, two hand hold, reload, five more, reload, five more (barricade optional), in 60 seconds.
---------------------------------------------------
Scoring for the brain card was 10 points for a hit, zero for a miss.

It was pretty hard. Previous matches were all shot with one gun at a B-27 with the same round count. The top shooter before, who shot in the 445 range (450 max), was down around 420.

I pretty much sucked.

Caturday

A shelter cat contemplates jumping up onto some cat furniture:


He looks a lot like Chip, he even has a torn ear. But Chip's left ear is torn and Chip's tiger striping goes down onto his front legs.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Word! (Plus Bannon)


Steve Bannon, a forceful but divisive presence in President* Donald Trump's White House, is leaving.

Trump accepted Bannon's resignation on Friday, ending a turbulent seven months for his chief strategist, the latest to depart from the president's administration in turmoil.
"Voluntary".... right. Kind of like those Russian soldiers voluntarily going into battle with NKVD "encouragement troops" behind them. Trump probably should have been reminded about what LBJ had to say about Jedgar Hoover.

Do Women Owe Their Rights to Racism?
And, of Course, Our White-Supremacist-in-Chief

That's an arguable point. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was amended on the floor of the House at the last minute to include outlawing discrimination based on sex. It's been a long-standing premises that the amendment was a legislative poison pill that was added to increase the chances of killing the bill.

On the other hand, there's also an argument that the congressman who introduced it, who was a southerner, was a strong supporter of rights for women. So he might have seen it as a "win-win" situation: If the bill died as a result, his contributors constituents would be happy and if it didn't, one of his legislative goals would be achieved.

Now, back to Trump:
Another advisory group is walking away from President* Donald Trump after his equivocation on neo-Nazis and white supremacists, with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigning en masse Friday morning.

“We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” members write in a joint letter to Trump obtained by POLITICO, which ends by calling on the president to resign if he does not see a problem with what’s happened this week.
...
The PCAH is an official agency. That makes this the first White House department to resign.
Mitt Romney released a long statement on his FB page. This is the first paragraph:
I will dispense for now from discussion of the moral character of the president's Charlottesville statements. Whether he intended to or not, what he communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn. His apologists strain to explain that he didn't mean what we heard. But what we heard is now the reality, and unless it is addressed by the president as such, with unprecedented candor and strength, there may commence an unraveling of our national fabric.
Romney was crystal-clear that there is absolutely no moral equivalence between Nazis and those who oppose Nazis. And unless you want to be saddened by the number of Nazi-sympathizers who are screaming at him in fury, then don't read the comments.

You might want to check your local congresscritters' social media sites: Their web site, Twitter feed, FB page and see what they are saying about the Nazis of Charlottesville. Mine has been radio-silent. If yours has been, call them out as the cowards that they are.

I put no stock in this. Though I do agree that Trump does not, nor has he ever known the difference between right and wrong. He knows the difference between what he can get away with and what he cannot, but that's as far as it goes.

And yes, it's wrong to call for Trump to be assassinated. Jesus, is that even a debatable proposition?

Because It's Friday

A "steam speeder":

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Tear Down Those Confederate Statues. Every Motherfucking One of Them.

Statues are not put up to remember people. Statues of people are erected to honor them.

So I ask you: Why are we honoring men who turned their coats and took up arms against this country? Why do we have statues of traitors in our public places and in the halls of government buildings? Why do we continue to honor the memory of men who fought for the right of rich men to own slaves?

Funny how it's overlooked that over 100,000 white Southerners were in the Union Army. Apparently, every Southern state, other than South Carolina,[1] had at least one organized battalion (or larger) of white soldiers.

The only statue that I know of which depicts Benedict Arnold[2] is of his foot. We don't have statues of the Loyalists who fought for the British. We didn't erect a statue of Tokyo Rose, Axis Sally, Lord Hee Haw or Americans who fought on the other side in any other war.

There are a lot of people that whose names are taught in schools without having a worshipful statue to gaze at: General Cornwallis. General Howe. General Gage. Col. Tarleton. Kaiser Wilhelm. General Ludendorff. General Goering. Adolf Hitler. Vladimir Lenin. Josef Stalin. Mao Zedong. Ho Chi Minh. William Tweed.

We can remember the generals who fought for the Confederacy and slavery. But we sure as shit don't have to honor them.

Tear them all down.
______________________________________
[1] State Motto: "The Birthplace of Treason."
[2] And there is, as far as I know, no statue of Abigail Dolbeare Hinman, who tried to shoot Arnold in New London during his raid there in 1781. Her musket misfired.

Bet You Trump Doesn't Wait Two Days for "All of the Facts to Come In."

At least 13 people have died and 50 were injured after a van ploughed into crowds in Barcelona's famous Las Ramblas tourist area, police and local officials say.
Damn. I've had quite a few drinks there. It was a nice place to hang out and people-watch.

The Plans of President Bannon

But first, a few appetizers:



Now, to the main course:

Bannon gave an interview this week that is a little bit surprising.

Some things he said were things that have not emanated from Trump's mouth or twitter feed. For instance:
“There’s no military solution [to North Korea’s nuclear threats], forget it. Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us.”
He's also focused on getting a trade war going with China. That seems to be his only concern.

As to the white nationalists, the alt-right:
“Ethno-nationalism—it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more. These guys are a collection of clowns.”
It would seem that Bannon believes that if Trump can get past Trump's reflexive support of racists and focus on economic nationalism, that Trump can gather steam.

I'm not sure he's wrong about that. But Trump is clearly one of the more self-sabotaging politicians out there, one whom has been in the process of self-administering the political equivalent of "death by a thousand cuts," so it's not clear to me that Trump can survive politically long enough to carry out Bannon's master plan.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Historical Antifascist Photo for You


More Crap for the Nazis

Trump was talking yesterday about the "alt-left".

There is no such thing.
Researchers who study extremist groups in the United States say there is no such thing as the “alt-left.” Mark Pitcavage, an analyst at the Anti-Defamation League, said the word had been made up to create a false equivalence between the far right and “anything vaguely left-seeming that they didn’t like.”
Trump has begun using that term to imply that those who oppose Nazism are no different from the Nazis themselves. Because, to the alt-right, opposing their agenda of racism and antisemitism makes those people just as evil as the Nazis that they oppose.

If you are opposing the Nazis, then you are on the side of righteousness. Angels ride on your shoulders.

Anyway, to change gears a little, Trump's presser yesterday was so full of bullshit, I'm surprised that they didn't bring in a steam-cleaning rig afterwards. He claimed that he waited two days to denounce the Nazis because he wanted to wait for all of the facts to come in? Since when has Trump waited for facts on anything else? Some half-baked allegation crawls across the bottom of his TV set and he is up on Twitter in less than a heartbeat. Trump is the best friend that the racists have had since maybe Wilson. His whining that the Nazis are being treated unfairly by the media was unseemly. His defense of the "good people" on the side of the Nazis was, frankly, insane. If the Nazis are marching with you, then you are a Nazi. If you don't want to be thought of as a Nazi when the Nazis appear on your side, then go the fuck home.

If you continue to stand behind Trump, who has been unalloyed in his support of white supremacists (other than when he is reading a statement that was clearly written by someone else), then don't be surprised if that stench rubs off. If you work in the Trump White House and you stay on the job after all of this, you will be known, for the rest of your career, by the company that you are now keeping. Savvy corporate executives have broken that code. So should you.

This clip seems to be "slash-dotted" at the moment, but it's worth seeing:



Not much has changed in fifty years:



By the way: Where were all of these Nazis who are screaming about taking down statues honoring traitors when statues of Lenin and Stalin were being pulled down all over eastern Europe? Where were they when the U.S. Army pulled down statues of Saddam Hussein? Wasn't that also destroying history?

And, if you think, as Donald Trump does, that there is no difference between General Washington and General Lee (other than maybe competence), then I sincerely implore you to go commit an unnatural act upon thyself.

A Jewish Wedding Without Jews

That happened recently in Poland.

Maybe next, they'll set up a Jewish version of Colonial Williamsburg.

I wrote about this sort of thing nearly ten years ago. My opinion has not changed.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Keep Bringing Those Nazi Flags to Your Protests, Boys

Keep doing it.

For what you are going to do is tie your "Southern heros"[1] to the the Nazis and their crimes against humanity. You are helping to make the case that slavery was a form of genocide.

Every time you stand in front of a statue and wave the Swastika, you help make the connection. Every time you do that, you make it easier and easier for the decision to be made to confine those statues to a scrapyard.

The day will come when a battery of howitzers will line up, open fire on the carvings on Stone Mountain and pound them into rubble. When that day comes, those who have marched in Nazi regalia, marched under the Nazi flag, given the Nazi salute and yelled "seig heil" will have made destroying the symbols of the Confederacy politically possible. They might as well have pulled the firing lanyards, themselves.

If you think this is far-fetched, remember this: For over fifty years, the Confederate descendants fought the removal of the Confederate battle flag[2] from the Capitol Building in South Carolina. But then one young white supremacist went into a black church and murdered nine parishioners. Almost immediately, that flag came down.

So keep marching, Nazis.
_________________________________
[1] Or "Traitors".
[2] Or the Flag of Traitors.

Nazi-Punching

My view is that waving a Nazi flag is not only hate speech, but fighting words.

The Nazis industrially slaughtered over ten million people. When shooting and burying so many people turned out to be burdensome, they developed what could be described as factories of death-- industrial processes to murder all of the people who did not die of starvation or disease in their ghettos. Before the Nazis murdered a lot of them, Nazi "doctors" conducted "experiments" on them. Millions more died in the war of conquest that was unleashed by the Nazis.

All of that is factual. It is not open for discussion. (See, Rule 2.H)

If you wave a Nazi flag or wear a Nazi armband, then you are adopting that ideology. You are saying that you approve of all of the crimes committed by the Nazis. You are saying that, given the chance, you'd do the same.

And so, I maintain that waving a Nazi flag and wearing the swastika is not merely provocative speech or even hate speech. It is uttering fighting words.

Anyone who punches a Nazi or otherwise lays hands on them should be allowed to plead that the violence was justified because the Nazi(s) had it coming under the Toyota Rule:

They asked for it, they got it.

Toyota.

Hmmm. I Wonder If Trump Now Would Prefer That Everyone Was Talking About Russia.

Apparently the Russian government was very interested in Trump and early on.

And Robert Mueller may already have the tax returns of every person that he is interested in.

Even the Washington Times is falling out with Trump over the Russian investigation.

Meanwhile, back at Der Führerbunker Trump White House, business executives are fleeing his manufacturing council, because being associated with Donald "But Them Nazis Are My Peeps" Trump is not good for their corporate image. Trump is lambasting them far, far faster than he did his Nazi buds.

At this point, I don't know if even IG Farben would join forces with Trump. But still, the Party of the Confederacy is taking the stance one would expect.

By the way: Running over demonstrators is a wingnut thing.

Word! (But With Disagreement)


He's right that the "pencils down" moment for Trump to have said something effective was last Saturday night. It should have been easy to condemn the Klan and the Nazis. But he couldn't bring himself to do it. He didn't until, under political duress, he read a prepared statement two days later. Yet you can bet your ass if the Asswipe of Charlottesville was named "Achmed-Something", he would have been screaming about "Islamic terrorism" within 25 picoseconds.

I disagree with Mr. Meyers on one point: I think Trump has made his choice. He's in bed with the racists. As has been pointed out elsewhere, Trump has not been shy at lambasting everyone else.



We know where Trump's heart is in this. If you want to continue to support him, then don't be surprised if his stench attaches itself to you.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Andy Borowitz on Trump's woodenlike statement yesterday.

The Mooch was on The Late Show last night. That took quite a bit of stones, given how tough Colbert has been on Scaramucci for the last few weeks. He stated that while he didn't know of Steve Bannon is a white supremacist, one thing he didn't like about the Trump White House was their toleration of white supremacy.

At the end of his appearance, Mooch gave Colbert a front-stabbing knife.

And then there's this: