Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Bill Maher

This week is Bill Maher's last show for the current season. He'll be back in January. Must be nice. I hear they are planning a big New Years bash in Hawaii.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Narco-a-lago

Could Donald Trump and his family have been laundering Russian oligarch's money? Is Trump involved in a global money-laundering scheme? Will Nibiru destroy the Earth this coming weekend?

Yes, yes, and no.

Narco-A-Lago: Money Laundering at the Trump Ocean Club Panama

In the early 2000s, a series of bankruptcies meant Donald J. Trump was shunned by most lenders. Struggling for credit, he started selling his name to high-end real estate projects. This report examines in detail the criminal connections that propelled one such project – the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama – and how this case bears some of the same disturbing hallmarks as other Trump developments.
Since he became President of the United States, numerous investigations and articles have probed Trump’s business dealings and his alleged links to criminals and other shadowy characters. It is understood that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation under the Department of Justice will also examine his real estate business. This is important because it seems likely that, following his various bankruptcies, at least a part of Trump’s business empire has been built on untraceable funds, some apparently linked to Russian criminal networks.
Trump may not have deliberately set out to facilitate criminal activity in his business dealings. But, as this Global Witness investigation shows, licensing his brand to the luxurious Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama aligned Trump’s financial interests with those of crooks looking to launder ill-gotten gains. Trump seems to have done little to nothing to prevent this. What is clear is that proceeds from Colombian cartels’ narcotics trafficking were laundered through the Trump Ocean Club and that Donald Trump was one of the beneficiaries.


quite a bit more at the link

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

FFRF v Greg Abbott

FFRF wins another one in court, this time against Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The court ruled that Abbott violated FFRF's free speech rights. Abbott will, of course, appeal.

It's so sad to see so many people pushing their religious beliefs on everyone else. Why everyone wants to pay constant homage to a being that never answers their prayers (or does anything at all) is beyond me. No matter how disappointed the people get, their faith rarely wavers. Geez. 

I think that's just about the definition of insanity, and that's pretty much what religion is: insanity. Some are "touched" quite a bit more than others. Still others know it's all fake but know the power the idea holds over people, and play on those beliefs and fears. Far too many people do that.

FFRF defeats Gov. Abbott over Capitol nativity display 
FFRF has prevailed in federal court against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who ordered the removal of FFRF’s Bill of Rights Nativity display from the Texas Capitol in 2015. 

In his decision, handed down Oct. 13, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks for the Western District of Texas – Austin Division, ruled that Abbott violated FFRF’s free speech rights. 

FFRF’s Bill of Rights nativity display
was removed by Texas Gov. Abbott,
but a court decided that Abbott’s
action was unconstitutional.
FFRF had placed a duly permitted display celebrating the Winter Solstice and Bill of Rights Day, in response to a Christian nativity scene in the Texas Capitol. The display, depicting three Founding Fathers and the Statue of Liberty celebrating the birth of the Bill of Rights (adopted Dec. 15, 1791), had the requisite sponsorship from a Texas legislator (state Rep. Donna Howard). 

Abbott, as chair of the Texas State Preservation Board, ordered FFRF’s display taken down only three days after it was erected, lambasting it as indecent, mocking and contributing to public immorality. Abbott tweeted that he ordered the display removed because “mocking the Capitol Nativity scene is offensive.” 

“Defendants have justified removal of FFRF’s exhibit by arguing the exhibit’s satirical tone rendered it offensive to some portion of the population. That is viewpoint discrimination,” writes Sparks in a 24-page ruling. “Because the ostensibly mocking tone of the FFRF exhibit is defendants’ sole reason for removing the exhibit from the Ground Floor Rotunda, the court finds defendants have engaged in viewpoint discrimination as a matter of law.” 

The court also held that a reasonable official in Gov. Abbott’s position would have known that removing FFRF’s display based on its viewpoint would violate FFRF’s First Amendment rights, thus FFRF can sue Gov. Abbott in his personal capacity. 

Ken Herman, an op-ed writer for the Austin American-Statesman, agreed with the judge’s ruling. 
text that accompanied the Bill
of Rights Nativity display

“The foundation is a church-state separation group with a knack for making its points in ways that can upset some people who sometimes can benefit from a periodic upsetting,” Herman wrote. 

Sparks did not find that Abbott’s actions violated the Establishment Clause, but also ruled in FFRF’s favor that FFRF has the right to depose the governor for one hour. Abbott had fought the request for a deposition. 

Rep. Howard, who sponsored the display, noted that Abbott’s intervention came only one day before FFRF’s display was supposed to come down. “That does appear to make this more of a political statement,” she said. “It was going to come down anyway.” 

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor praised the ruling as a very strong decision for FFRF, for free speech and for the rights of nonbelieving citizens. 

“We’d rather keep divisive religious — and irreligious — views out of state capitols. But if the government creates public forums, and permits Christian nativities in them, there must be room at the inn for the rest of us.” 

Abbott says the state of Texas isn’t done with this issue. 

“Be assured,” Abbott tweeted after the ruling, “this will be appealed.” 

The case is Freedom From Religion Foundation v. Governor Greg Abbott, Case No. A-16-CA-00233-SS. FFRF was represented by Attorney Richard L. Bolton with FFRF Attorney Sam Grover as co-counsel.



Sunday, November 12, 2017

Moonmadness

Yes, I am excited that the musical band, Camel, is going on tour soon. They will be playing their "Moonmadness" album in its entirety. 

If you have never heard the LP Moonmadness, I urge you to take 40 minutes from your insanely hectic lives to give it a listen. Yes, some of it sounds dated, but a lot of it is just timeless. I have some chemical memories of this album that I will never be able to shake. That's a good thing.

See you in Europe? Their upcoming tour has 11 dates, so far, and can be found here.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Doug Jones

As the accusations pile up against Roy Moore in Alabama, the Democratic candidate Doug Jones should be getting another look. Apparently the word "Democrat" has been so thoroughly demonized that the citizens of Alabama would elect a pedophile instead of a Democrat, as long as that pedophile has an "R" after his name. That attitude is probably due to the toxic right-wing radio that permeates Alabama and the nation, not to mention Fox News' constant vilification of any and all Democrats. That, and racism, pure and simple. I would like to think that people make up their own minds about things, but I'm afraid they are already so brainwashed by religion and hate they cannot think clearly.