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I'm not going to go into a full-blown "analysis" (read: Monday morning quarterbacking, since I'm not anywhere close to being a law enforcement officer, much less a Las Vegas or Nevada law enforcement officer) of the events of October 1st, but here's my 2 cents on it:

Yes, you have a right to own a gun. And even use it, either for self-defense, hunting or other legitimate uses. That's not what the maniac who shot up Vegas did. He brought 23 - I repeat, 23 - pieces to the Mandalay Bay with the express purpose of killing as many people as possible, and he apparently had about 19 more that he left at home. If anyone is going to make any sort of an argument legitimizing his ownership of enough firepower to give an entire infantry platoon pause, I only have one thing to say to you: you're fucking delusional.

60 people got turned from human beings into non-breathing inanimate objects by only one of those guns. Care to guess how many more he could've killed if he only had more time on his hands before he offed himself?

This is not about your right to keep and bear arms. This is about badly needed, sane limitations on having enough damn guns to storm Normandy all over again all by your lonesome self, and whether or not any politician will bother to listen to any reasonable effort to stop this from happening all over again.

Because it will.

And I'm starting to get so revolted by it that my instinct for just packing up and leaving the country before it kills itself dead is starting to kick in with a vengeance.
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Alabama elected this guy the GOP nominee for US Senator. Hence the observation.

As most jokes go, it's a sick one. As most realities go, it might be time to move somewhere else.
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International Relations Theory (fourth edition) by Scott Burchill et al., because apparently I had a need to indulge in some breezy light reading during the early fall.
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Namely, this. Oy gevalt.

I try my damnedest to be positive about anime fandom and anime conventions in general, but it's shit like this and the entire creeper debacle at Project A-Kon back in 2013 that remind me what a mistake that can be. I wish I could sit back and say things like this never happen, but that's simply not the case.
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Considering who actually did it and why, that is.

Is it too early to consider future plans for a bomb shelter, yet?
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If you thought that this was the sort of America I'd hope to end up being a citizen of as a grown adult, you're out of your fucking mind.

A major problem with all of this, it seems, is our very own Mango-in-Chief, who not only took his time in equivocally "condemning" the violence there but certainly saw fit to take an utterly graceless swipe at the CEO of Merck for daring to leave one of his pet projects because it seems to be sponsored by someone who made a ton of political capital from the same "hatred, bigotry and group supremacy" Kenneth C. Frazier mentioned in his tweet.

Then again, this is something I've expected to happen ever since the Mango got elected. No one should've been surprised at all that this was going to happen. If you are, you've either been living in a cave since late 2015 or are incredibly naïve.

Regardless of that, I suspect there are dark days ahead for everyone in this country if this sort of bullshit is allowed to continue; the only problem is that we seem to have a "President" who seems utterly incapable - or just plain unwilling - to put a stop to it.
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So, then. Where to begin...?

I could start off by President Unintelligible giving this insane - but utterly in character - speech to a Boy Scout jamboree, or his continuous hectoring of his own hand-picked Attorney General, or his handpicked new White House Communications Director's harassment of his previously handpicked White House Chief of Staff, or his bizarre race-baiting during a speech in Youngstown, Ohio, or his demagoguery-fueled attempt to ban transgender troops from serving in the armed forces via Twitter that seems to have not phased anyone serving in the military who's actually associated with making such policy decisions.

Yeah, I could've started with any of those, really.

But where does it end?

Does it end?
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Pain Management by Andew Vachss. And yeah, I did finish it before I updated this thing.
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Eric Trump continues to be himself, which is hardly pleasant for the rest of us.

Then again, this is a guy whose brother decided to help get Dear Old Dad elected by (at least graphically) allying himself with quite a few equally unpleasant people, so I guess we shouldn't be shocked at the phrase "not even people" being used by Eric.

I feel that Eric Trump is definitely a person, however.

He's also a complete idiot.
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There weren't nearly as many surprises as some people might have been expecting in James Comey's Senate testimony, but this passage makes me wonder how much Team Unintelligible was damaged by it:

After Comey's testimony, Trump's lawyer Marc Kasowitz said Comey "admitted that he unilaterally and surreptitiously made unauthorized disclosures to the press of privileged communications with the President."

As NPR's Scott Horsley reports, the lawyer also accused Comey of misstating the timing of the leak.

"Although Mr. Comey testified he only leaked the memos in response to a tweet, the public record reveals that the New York
Times was quoting from these memos the day before the referenced tweet."

In fact, Comey's timeline appears to be correct.

Trump tweeted on Friday, May 12, that "James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversation before he starts leaking to the press."

Comey said it was that tweet that prompted him to ask a friend to reveal the contents of the memo to a reporter the following Tuesday, May 16. The
Times ran a story about the memo contents later that day. Although the Times also reported on May 11 — before Trump's tweet — about Comey's private dinner with the president, that story made no reference to Comey's contemporaneous memos. New York Times reporters corroborated Comey's timeline on Thursday after Kasowitz's statement.

So that's it? The biggest weapon in Kasowitz's arsenal for discrediting Comey's testimony is an assertion about its timing that isn't even correct?

This is going to be a long, hot summer.

Just not for Comey, IMO.
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Of course, if you're Eric Trump you just might be like your old man in a lot of respects - none of them apparently good:

Eric Trump, Mr. Trump's second-oldest son, told Forbes all the money from the annual golf tournaments at Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York benefited children with cancer, and he did not pay to use his family's golf course.

"We get to use our assets 100 percent free of charge," he told Forbes' Dan Alexander.

But IRS tax forms Forbes obtained show use of the course wasn't free after all. The for-profit Trump Organization received payments from the not-for-profit Eric Trump Foundation for use of the golf course, part of the $1.2 million that has no documented receipts beyond the Trump Organization, according to Forbes.

More than $500,000 in donations raised from the tournaments was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, according to Forbes. Four such groups held their own charity tournaments at Trump golf courses at later dates. The nonprofit Donald J. Trump Foundation also donated $100,000 to the Eric Trump Foundation to cover tournament costs, money that was then redirected to Trump businesses, Forbes claims.

According to Forbes, it was now-President Trump himself who demanded that the Eric Trump Foundation be charged for the use of the golf course.

Seriously, if Team Unintelligible keeps going this way it's not like they'll need a Democratic landslide in the 2018 congressional elections to sink their administration - they're doing an incredible job of that all by themselves.
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It's not much of a surprise that President Unintelligible may have, oh, openly attempted to get his former FBI director to drop a case or two because an old buddy of his was feeling the pressure, but then again nothing that narcissistic idiot does these days surprises me much.

Now, Trump acting like an adult during Comey's testimony, that would be surprising.

Then again, perhaps not.
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If you really needed any more explanation from a source outside President Unintelligible Central about why his budget would be especially hard on scientific and medical research, look no further than the following post from the American Association for the Advancement of Science:

The double-digit percentage cuts President Donald Trump is proposing in his fiscal 2018 budget plan for science and technology programs would “devastate America’s science and technology enterprise” and weaken the nation’s economic growth, Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said Tuesday.

Pointing to the budget blueprint the White House delivered to Congress Tuesday, Holt said, the plan, if enacted, would make steep cuts to science and technology programs and “negatively affect our nation’s economy and public well-being.” He cited several agencies and programs facing particularly “severe” cuts.

For instance, the proposal calls for sharp reductions in science and technology programs, including 11% from the National Science Foundation, which champions basic scientific research across all fields except medical topics; 22% from the National Institutes of Health, the world’s largest biomedical research agency; and 44% from the Environmental Protection Agency’s science and technology programs.

“Slashing funding of critically important federal agencies threatens our nation’s ability to advance cures for disease, develop new energy technologies, improve public health, train the next generation of scientists and engineers and grow the American economy,” said Holt.

The Energy Department’s scientific research efforts also face deep cuts. Its Office of Science, the government’s central energy research agency, largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences and the home of a renowned network of national research laboratories, would be cut by 17% and its Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy would face a 69% reduction. The budget proposal also calls for the department’s Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy program to be eliminated altogether by fiscal 2019.

The Agriculture Department’s research programs were not immune to proposed reductions. Funding for the Agriculture Research Service, for instance, would shrink by 38%; the National Institute for Food Agriculture would face an 8% decrease; and the Forest Service research programs would be cut by 10%. The Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey, which maps the Earth’s systems to help officials monitor natural hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides, is slated to be cut by 15%.

At the Commerce Department, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a scientific agency, which uses satellite data to forecast and track severe weather and conducts research on oceans, fisheries and climate, would see funding fall by 9%, while the National Institute of Standards and Technology that leverages measurement science to advance innovation would see a 23% decrease.

Holt stressed that the budget proposal in now in the hands of Congress where it is up to lawmakers to accept, reject or shape, a reality that was on full display when the Republican-controlled Congress restored many of the cuts Trump outlined in his fiscal 2017 budget plan.

During an afternoon press conference, Holt noted that the administration’s budget proposal deviates from how the scientific enterprise has long been viewed. “It has been regarded as an investment that leads to economic growth and human welfare,” said Holt, noting that the fiscal 2018 plan “is completely contrary to the idea of investment.”

Holt applauded Congress for “prioritizing federal research and development” when lawmakers finalized spending on May 4 for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, which ends after Sept. 30.

He called on Congress to continue to make research and development investments a priority and “to once again act in the nation’s best interest and support funding for R&D in a bipartisan fashion – including both defense and non-defense programs – in FY 2018 and beyond.”
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Although the following Washington Post editorial co-authored by Mary and Joel Rich - the parents of murder victim and current conspiracy theory target Seth Rich - was intended to stop the nonsense being spouted about the circumstances of his murder, I'm under the sad impression that it'll fall on mainly deaf ears (for one thing,opportunistic ghoul Sean Hannity didn't give up repeating it even after Fox News did, so why should he stop now?) considering who it was intended for.

Regardless of that, the editorial bears repeating - especially since this is becoming more and more like Vince Foster all over again, and for no good reason other than what only a hardened cynic might be able to dredge up in their worst imagination.

Imagine living in a nightmare that you can never wake up from. Imagine having to face every single day knowing that your son was murdered. Imagine you have no answers — that no one has been brought to justice and there are few clues leading to the killer or killers. Imagine that every single day, with every phone call you hope that it’s the police, calling to tell you that there has been a break in the case.

Imagine that instead, every call that comes in is a reporter asking what you think of a series of lies or conspiracies about the death. That nightmare is what our family goes through every day.

Our beloved son Seth Rich was gunned down in the early hours of July 10, 2016, in his Washington, D.C., neighborhood of Bloomingdale. On the day he was murdered, Seth was excited about a new job he had been offered on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Seth had dedicated his life to public service, and he told us that he wanted to work on the campaign’s effort to expand voter participation because he loved our country dearly and believed deeply in the promise of democratic engagement. Seth had been walking around, calling friends, family and his girlfriend, pondering the broader picture of what the job change would mean. He wondered how he would pick up and move to New York City for four months, the strain that might put on his relationships, and how it would all affect the life he had built for himself in Washington.

We know that Seth was abruptly confronted on the street, that he had been on the phone and quickly ended the call. We also know that there were signs of a struggle, including a watchband torn when the assailants attempted to rip it off his wrist. Law-enforcement officials told us that Seth’s murder looked like a botched robbery attempt in which the assailants — after shooting our son — panicked, immediately ran and abandoned Seth’s personal belongings. We have seen no evidence, by any person at any time, that Seth’s murder had any connection to his job at the Democratic National Committee or his life in politics. Anyone who claims to have such evidence is either concealing it from us or lying.

Still, conservative news outlets and commentators continue, day after painful day, to peddle discredited conspiracy theories that Seth was killed after having provided WikiLeaks with emails from the DNC. Those theories, which some reporters have since retracted, are baseless, and they are unspeakably cruel.

We know that Seth’s personal email and his personal computer were both inspected by detectives early in the investigation and that the inspection revealed no evidence of any communications with anyone at WikiLeaks or anyone associated with WikiLeaks. Nor did that inspection reveal any evidence that Seth had leaked DNC emails to WikiLeaks or to anyone else. Indeed, those who have suggested that Seth’s role as a data analyst at the DNC gave him access to a wide trove of emails are simply incorrect — Seth’s job was to develop analytical models to encourage voters to turn out to vote. He didn’t have access to DNC emails, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee emails, John Podesta’s emails or Hillary Clinton’s emails. That simply wasn’t his job.

Despite these facts, our family’s nightmare persists. Seth’s death has been turned into a political football. Every day we wake up to new headlines, new lies, new factual errors, new people approaching us to take advantage of us and Seth’s legacy. It just won’t stop. The amount of pain and anguish this has caused us is unbearable. With every conspiratorial flare-up, we are forced to relive Seth’s murder and a small piece of us dies as more of Seth’s memory is torn away from us.

To those who sincerely want to get to the bottom of Seth’s murder, we don’t hold this against you. We don’t think you are monsters, and we don’t think you are terrible people. We know that so many people out there really do care, don’t know what to think and are angry at the lack of answers.

We also know that many people are angry at our government and want to see justice done in some way, somehow. We are asking you to please consider our feelings and words. There are people who are using our beloved Seth’s memory and legacy for their own political goals, and they are using your outrage to perpetuate our nightmare. We ask those purveying falsehoods to give us peace, and to give law enforcement the time and space to do the investigation they need to solve our son’s murder.
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I still have a hard time believing this.

I'm having an even harder one accepting it.


October 2017

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