Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father – The New York Times

In the end, the transfer of the Trump empire cost Fred and Mary Trump $20.5 million in gift taxes and their children $21 million in annuity payments. That is hundreds of millions of dollars less than they would have paid based on the empire’s market value, The Times found.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-tax-schemes-fred-trump.html

The Year-Long Week

It’s become common in my circles on Twitter  to joke that time moves extremely slowly in Trumpland, but at the same time the news cycle moves at light speed. Every day, every night, something new happening.

 

This nomination brawl for Brett Kavanaugh has become all-consuming. I don’t want hard-right, anti-abortion, partisan operative on the Supreme Court. Politically, for me, he’s the worst choice I can think of for women, minorities, the disabled, the poor, labor, and anyone who opposes the issues that the donor class wants.

That’s BEFORE all of the allegations started coming out. The events of the last two days have shown me, and America, who Brett Kavanaugh really is: a mean, angry, vindictive, and entitled man who is unfit for the Federal bench, let alone the Supreme Court of the United States. 

I believe Dr Blasey Ford. I don’t think she’s mistaken in her identification of Kavanaugh as her attacker. I don’t believe Kavanaugh’s protestations. I think he’s forgotten a long-ago, fumbling attack on a young girl…and not merely because he and his friend Mark Judge drank to blackout stage. I think her testimony was extremely effective and sincere. And I think his testimony was appalling – revealing him to be temperamentally unfit for the office. 

Brett Kavanaugh reacts smugly to Lindsey Graham’s calculated tirade.

I think that either it was so commonplace and trivial for him that he can’t possibly pick out this single instance out of all the others.

OR, he didn’t think “humping” a smaller, weaker female counts as an assault. He didn’t get any, so it didn’t happen. So he forgot about it, as she wasn’t one of the elite girls he had to treat with more respect.

It’s been a rough week for assault and abuse survivors. I’m one of the lucky ones that didn’t suffer anything more serious than being poked and groped by “handsy” boys. And yes, dammit, it’s not right that those boys thought they could touch girls without consent. Somehow, I escaped anything worse once I went on to college. I heard dark rumors of things happening out of sight at frat parties, but I do remember feeling the need for groups of girls to look out for each other at parties (especially when leaving).

The turmoil of today’s Senate Judiciary committee meeting, with the odd flakiness of Senator Flake’s fakeout vote, which both enabled Kavanaugh to proceed on to the full Senate for a vote, but with a week’s delay for the FBI to finally reopen the background check to look into “current allegations.”

And Trump has actually authorized this, but I suspect Mitch McConnelll still controls the floor vote and could disregard the “pause” for the FBI.

The other allegations that are currently out there? I don’t know how far they’ll go toward coming in to testify or not.

Meanwhile, I have questions.

What’s the reason the Rs were all screaming about holding the SCOTUS seat open until 2020? As far as I know, the Ds hope to defeat this nominee’s confirmation…. but delaying until after the midterms is a pipe dream, let alonge until 2020. Is it because the Rs fear they will not only lose big in the midterms, but lose the White House in 2020? And what should they worry? Trump won’t stick around long enough for that, he’lll resign in a hissy before the Dems get a chance to air his dirty-money laundry.

Why did the Rs think having a female prosecutor asking questions for them was a good idea? They dumped her as soon as she got too close to the truth about a very intriguing date: July 1, 1982.

Finally, who else thinks Lindsey Graham’s job interview for AG went well? 

The American Bar Association had concerns about Kavanaugh 12 years ago. Republicans dismissed those, too.: History repeated itself. At least it had a spell of deja vu when the American Bar Association released an extraordinary statement at a crucial moment that raised concerns about Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination to a powerful judicial position — just as it had done 12 years earlier. – by AVI SELK – Tags: politics – https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/28/american-bar-association-had-kavanaugh-concerns-years-ago-republicans-dismissed-those-too/

Survivors feel both hope and fear after Kavanaugh hearing, advocates say: (Reuters) – For sexual assault survivors, Christine Blasey Ford emerged as a new hero on Thursday, triggering a surge in calls to a national rape hotline as she told senators that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they were teenagers. – by Jonathan Allen, Gabriella Borter – Tags: politics – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-kavanaugh-women/survivors-feel-both-hope-and-fear-after-kavanaugh-hearing-advocates-say-idUSKCN1M82VH

Under pressure, Trump orders FBI Kavanaugh probe, causing week delay: WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump, under intense pressure from moderates in his own party over his Supreme Court nominee, on Friday ordered an FBI investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh at the request of Senate Republicans, a move that will delay the con – by David Morgan, Richard Cowan – Tags: politics – https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-kavanaugh/under-pressure-trump-orders-fbi-kavanaugh-probe-causing-week-delay-idUSKCN1M8174

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

Why Silence From Trump and Iowa GOP On Celia Barquín Murder?

Richards was sent to prison last year only after he tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana, failed to complete an anger-management course he started four times and didn’t pay court-ordered fees to a halfway house, court records show.

Even then, the two-year sentence was reduced to about seven months after credit for good behavior and some jail time already served.

After his release, Richards was arrested weeks later for public intoxication. Soon, he was living in a tent in a homeless encampment in the woods near the Coldwater Golf Links in Ames. He told an acquaintance that he had an urge to “rape and kill a woman,” police said. He allegedly stabbed Barquin and left her body in a pond near the ninth hole.
— Read on www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-iowa-stabbings-reaction-20180919-story.html

Apparently murdering while brown, employed, but undocumented is a terrible, very bad thing that becomes a national outrage.. Murdering while white, homeless and an incorrigible ex-con does not merit commentary from the national GOP/NRA sound machine, or even a tweet from the Scrotus En Queef.

In both cases, the victims were young women who were engaged in solitary athletic pursuits – running and golfing. Women who dare to be alone, sweaty, and physically fit in public must really be triggering to these predators.

Get Ready. Long Blog Post Percolating.

It seems like forever since I wrote anything longer than a tweet. Especially since @Twitter went from 140 to 280 characters. And I’ve stayed off of Facebook mostly to avoid seeing propaganda ads (sorry friends and family).

And even “forever” is longer now in the Drumpf era. Today on Twitter, I joked that if dog years are 7 human years, 1 newscycle day is 24 years, and one newscycle year is 14,600 human years. How long ago was it that we thought “One Scaramucchi = 11 days” was funny?

I haven’t even touched my desktop computer in months (ie., several thousand years) because I’ve been avoiding some necessary tasks, so even blogging after a long Drumpf-inspired hiatus is a form of procrastinating.

Events of the last few weeks/experiential years have had me pondering various topics and themes – the #MeToo movement, the current debate in the national press and online communities over the #Kavanaugh nomination, and the insidious influence of the Washington elite old-boy network that seems to secretly run the Kabuki-theater proceedings, at least on the Republican/Theocrat side.

Phew, that last paragraph was exhausting. As is life as a sentient, progressive American these days.

My extreme Twitter addiction can be seen over there in the right column. Gradually, over the last 2 years, I’ve been spending more and more time on the microblogging platform, because of the immediacy of breaking news, crazy fads, and the possibility of interacting with celebrities. As in “ZOMG that one time @Rosie retweeted me!” Or the time @Lawrence “liked” my comment reacting to a recent @TheLastWord commentary.

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My Twitter addiction goes hand in hand with my @maddow dependency. Not long after returning from our 2016 vacation (we were in Hawaii, so we filed absentee ballots), I met new friends at church who were looking for a spiritual home with a side of progressive community. The older lady exclaimed “I can’t get to sleep now unless I watch Rachel to tell me what the hell is going on!”

And I have to agree, except that the last few months, I’ve been staying up later and later watching Rachel and Lawrence on @MSNBC, I’ve been watching former GOP operatives who’re now #NeverTrumpers (and who are responsible for getting people like Roberts, Gorsuch, and McConnell confirmed are re-elected) till all hours. And I keep checking Twitter through the night, hoping for some late-breaking ray of hope.

And aside from such delightful distractions as the #MPRraccoon and #CivilWarPotluck it’s really not good for me or my health.

Bike? I haven’t ridden any of my bikes since July, and very little before that.

Self care? I’ve been eating crap food, and let’s not speak of my love for Payday bars.

Laundry? My husband David does most of it. My clean but unfolded laundry is everywhere.

Much of what I’ve read, commented on, and brooded over has been pinging around in my head, not all of it to do with the travails of women who report being sexually assaulted or raped whenever they damn well decide is the right time to declare it. I don’t have much to report on the #MeToo front, fortunately. I certainly partied and took risks by accepting rides, etc. I never fit the profile of the easy target, so I survived my young womanhood mostly unharmed except for unwanted buttgrabs.

The recent piece on obesity and self-acceptance struck a chord, though. Especially with the photographs of the interview subjects, who got to direct their own photoshoots to show them exactly as they wanted to be portrayed. The images are revelatory.

“My son and I both like to play the hero. There wasn’t necessarily any intentional symbolism in the costumes we chose, but I am definitely a member of the rebellion, and I see my role as an eating disorders researcher as trying to fight for justice and a better world. Also, I like that I’m sweaty, dirty and messy, not done up with makeup or with my hair down in this picture. I like that I’m not hiding my stomach, thighs or arms. Not because I’m comfortable being photographed like that, but because I want to be—and I want others to feel free to be like that, too.”— ERIN HARROP

I love this image. This is Erin Harrop and her son. So much awesome strength.

All of this makes higher-weight patients more likely to avoid doctors. Three separate studies have found that fat women are more likely to die from breast and cervical cancers than non-fat women, a result partially attributed to their reluctance to see doctors and get screenings. Erin Harrop, a researcher at the University of Washington, studies higher-weight women with anorexia, who, contrary to the size-zero stereotype of most media depictions, are twice as likely to report vomiting, using laxatives and abusing diet pills. Thin women, Harrop discovered, take around three years to get into treatment, while her participants spent an average of 13 and a half years waiting for their disorders to be addressed.

Woops, this sounds disturbingly familiar. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment next week that I’ve canceled and rescheduled once already because I’m supposed to be setting up several routine but not particularly pleasant “checklist” health procedures. I haven’t lost weight, I stopped exercising and eating right (in contrast to 2-3 years ago when I was much more motivated and less obsessed with Drumpfian corruption). I don’t want to be lectured by the doc for my “noncompliance.” Maybe I’d better figure out my login for the medical practice website to see her recommendations again.

Some of the other peoples’ quotes about being bullied for being bigger resonated with me. I’m bigger than an average-sized woman; taller and heavier, with an appearance best described as “unconventionally not too horrible.” I was bullied as a kid for being bigger than most, looking different than almost everyone, and not going to the right church in order to fit in. Still, I had it easy, compared to some.

Not fitting in seems to be the common thread for young (and older) women who speak out about being abused or raped. Dr Christina Blasey Ford is currently in hiding, getting death threats and more for going public with her allegation of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh dating back to the early 80’s. She was popular then, but she’s sure getting the outcast treatment now.

Compare that to Amber Wyatt, a young woman who was raped in high school in Arlington, Texas (rather horribly). Back then, she didn’t fit in socially with the well-to-do kids whose parents enabled them to throw massive drunken parties, although she was a cheerleader and was about to move up in the social strata. After the awful event, she became a pariah, was eventually forced to transfer to another school, spiraled down into drugs and self-destruction, and eventually recovered.

More than a decade later, a very thoughtful piece by a reporter who happened to go to the same high school has resulted in Amber receiving an outpouring of support, compassion, and even apologies from some of the people who tormented her AFTER her assault, because she reported it immediately.

Apparently, in America, if you speak out against your attackers, it’s almost a worse crime than being violated….if you’re female and they’re male.

So all this has been on my mind, and has been the big narrative of the last couple of week-centuries. Thinking about the bullying now happening to Dr Ford (by the US Senate, various patriarchal/theocratic astroturf groups, and the Idiot in Chief) led me to think on my own experiences as a bullied or ostracized kid.

It could have been a lot, lot worse. It was bad enough at the time. But thanks to Google, I just stumbled across the current name of my worst old childhood nemesis, the person who made grade school and junior high a daily gauntlet of taunts, physical abuse, humiliation, and desperate attempts to escape any way I could.

But that’s for the ACTUAL long blog post. This was just a foreword; I’m just happy to have survived yet another Infrastructure Week.

Technical Difficulties, Please Stand By

A horrible thing happened Friday night. My iPhone went for an unexpected swim. There was a scream of horror, right after the most awful kerplunk sound ever.

I fished it out and turned it off as quickly as I could, but I wasn’t quick enough. David had pounded upstairs to see what was the matter, and quickly found a container of rice we still had – we stopped cooking rice for dinner quite a while ago. Into the rice it went and I waited, phoneless, for 2 days.

I blame a phone commercial that shows someone dropping their phone in a lake, I’m sure it suggested something to me.

Meanwhile, 2 days later, David brought the phone to me, we powered it up and charged the battery. It seemed to be working, until I tried to use if for the thing you’re supposed to use a cell phone for: making a phone call. I couldn’t seem to connect, or hear if the call was connecting. Turns out, it was.

It took some attempts and texts to discover that my earpiece speaker was fried, and also the speaker for playing music.

Well, shit.

However, all is not lost; David just bought an iPhone 8, and his previous phone could be wiped and reassigned to me. So I’ve bee somewhat frustrated today – using a familiar interface, but a bigger form factor. I’ve been mostly using it as I normally do, but keep running up against missing passwords (most made it over, not all) and signing back in to apps and tools.

Even for posting on this blog, the app I use is causing me problems; I can log in to all my blogs on the iPad version of the app, but I can only log in to 3 blogs on the iPhone. Not a big deal, but it’s frustrating – the WordPress app and the WordPress.com ”jetpack” plugin have these weird behaviors where I have to remember NOT to use the temptingly easy Gmail login, because that leads to duplicate logins that I made inadvertently. And inconsistencies between iPad, iPhone, and desktop “saved passwords” were causing me grief.

Still, at this point I have a working iPhone that I can live with, but I’d rather have my previous one; for one thing, I really like my case, which may be a dumb reason but it matters to me. A repair may be possible, and it’s not paid off yet, which really irks me; how I wish I had not fumbled it into the deep.

Meanwhile, at least I’m still able to keep an eye on the news and on Twitter; and I even texted a friend in Alabama to urge her and her husband to vote tomorrow. Get out the vote, Alabama- vote for Doug Jones and the future. Not for the man who represents the shameful past.

What I’m really thinking: the mother of a redhead via @TheGuardian

I bet my mom could have related to this article.

She got comments about me like this ALL the time. Her hair was auburn; my dad’s hair was fiery red when he was younger. I had no choice in the matter.

Cereal is still the best meal of the day.

We are not supposed to be offended. Yet if you replace ginger with any other unusual body part, it suddenly seems less acceptable

Link: What I’m really thinking: the mother of a redhead | Life and style | The Guardian

The collapse of Monarch: inside the doomed airline in its last days | Business | The Guardian

I’d never heard of this airline before last week. Then I caught a call from someone who’d been booked on them. There was no other way to help him, had to sell him a new ticket on a new carrier, and he’ll pursue refund with them himself.

In the week running up to the collapse of Monarch Airlines, one crew member noticed that something was awry. The soap had run out on a flight back to Gatwick and a request to replenish supplies was left unanswered. A few days later, on Monday this week, Monarch was no more: almost 2,000 staff would be laid off and the travel plans of 860,000 passengers would be disrupted.

Link: The collapse of Monarch: inside the doomed airline in its last days | Business | The Guardian