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rpannier

rpannier's Journal
rpannier's Journal
December 29, 2023

Donald Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association, is dead

He was 85 and died from complications from dementia.
From where I sit he's always been demented

December 15, 2023

Luke Combs helping a fan who almost owed him $250,000 for selling unauthorized merchandise

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Country singer Luke Combs is making amends to a disabled Florida woman who sells tumblers online after she was ordered to pay him $250,000 when she got snared in a crackdown his lawyers launched against companies that sell unauthorized merchandise with his image or name on it.

Combs in an Instagram video posted Wednesday said he told his attorneys to remove Nicol Harness from a lawsuit they filed in an Illinois federal court and that he was sending her $11,000. She had sold on Amazon 18 tumblers she had made with his name and likeness for $20 each, grossing $360.

The singer, who recently topped the country charts with his remake of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” also said he would start selling his own tumbler with the proceeds going to pay Harness’ medical bills — she has heart disease and was recently hospitalized. He also said he would fly Harness and her family to an upcoming concert so he could meet her.

He said his lawyers were only supposed to go after big companies that sell unauthorized goods, not fans who have a little business on the side. Most of the 45 other sellers sued appear to be large operations in Asia, court filings show. Under U.S. copyright law, sellers of unauthorized goods can be hit with stiff penalties and have their assets seized. They can also face criminal charges.

https://apnews.com/article/luke-combs-lawsuit-unauthorized-merchandise-fan-6c58df6889a207236381f68065e12525

December 3, 2023

Paraguayan official sacked after signing deal with fictional country

A high-ranking political official in Paraguay has been forced out of office for dealings with an imaginary country made up by a man on the run from sexual assault charges.

Armando Chamorro was required to resign from his post as chief of staff of Paraguay’s agriculture minister on Wednesday after signing a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with representatives of the United States of Kailasa.

The fictional country had been presented to Mr Chamorro as a real South American island by Swami Nithyananda, a self-declared Hindu mystic on the lamb from rape and sexual assault charges in India going back to 2019.

https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/paraguayan-official-sacked-after-signing-deal-with-fictional-country/ar-AA1kT98N?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=a9562c977e1549ad887c7e9945c0b7c0&ei=43

November 7, 2023

'Cheaper than beer': Laos meth prices plummet as Myanmar chaos fuels trade

Front-line workers say methamphetamine pills are now being sold for as little as $0.25 each as traffickers flood the country with unprecedented amounts of drugs.

Vientiane, Laos – Keo remembers the day he consumed so much yaba that he “lost his mind.”

The 37-year-old from Laos took more of the drug – a potent combination of methamphetamine and caffeine – than he had ever done before.

snip

In Laos, the poorly-resourced police are facing a deluge of narcotics as the country has become a vital trafficking corridor in Asia’s drug trade. The surge has pushed prices down to record lows, with front-line workers saying pills are now being sold for as little as $0.24 cents each –cheaper than most basic necessities like food and water and making the drug affordable to all in one of Asia’s poorest countries.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/11/7/cheaper-than-beer-laos-meth-prices-plummet-as-myanmar-chaos-fuels-trade

November 3, 2023

So good of the Sharks to start the season as a total disaster

Now we don't have to worry about them pulling a late-season or post season collapse

10-1 to Vancouver.
God are the Sharks terrible

October 24, 2023

From Dickens to the 21st Century. We have the boy and it is named MAGA

“They are Man's and they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance and this girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”

The Republicans helped to create them both, and continue to nurture both Want and Ignorance. One only need to look at Iowa and Indiana to see Want grow more desperate. And through their promotion of charters and home schools, and Hillsdale College programs in places like TN and FL, and their right-wing networks Ignorance becomes more so.

October 22, 2023

They really need to stop blaming Matt Gaetz

Though Matt Gaetz is obnoxious and annoying, and he may have the most punchable face in the House, they (Republicans and Media) need to stop blaming Matt Gaetz for what is happening in the House. To listen to Republicans, and many in the media Mc Carthy was a beloved figure around space and time, and had it not been for the evil machinations of this one guy from Florida, Mc Carthy would still be Speaker.
The majority of the blame rests on Mc Carthy and the Republican Party. They (Republicans) embraced (Trump) a nihilistic, self-centered, vain, incompetent anarchist who appealed to people's demons, instead of their angels, because he brought them tax cuts, and unqualified judges who would outlaw abortion, all the while he played his petty anarchistic terrorist card every chance he got.

It was Mc Carthy, not Gaetz, who was so desperate to get that gavel that he made the bargain, where the 21st century version of Newt Gingrich's more evil, odious and obnoxious twin was able to wield the Sword of Damocles like an eight year old, swinging it around the room without any adult telling the little boy to stop -- because there are no adults in their room, thus providing him the opportunity to bring SINO Kevin down. SINO Kevin (Speaker In Name Only) made that deal thinking (though I doubt he thought that long, and certainly not hard, about it) that he could control the dragon. Instead of recognizing that caving to a terrorist just emboldens them to be demand more. In fairness to Gaetz, that's what Republicans have been doing since the 90s; threatening to tear everything down if they don't get what they want.
So see? Gaetz is a Republican
And even with Gaetz's call to vacate, there were other Republicans who voted to unseat SINO as well. So Gaetz could have called to vacate the Chair, sat in the corner holding his breath, his face turning a deep purple, and it wouldn't have mattered had the rest of the caucus held firm. That the leadership was surprised that Rep Mace voted against Mc Carthy shows how little their leadership really understands their membership, or what a horrible crank Mace is -- or both.
That their second choice, Scalise, was a guy who compared himself favorably to David Duke is not Gaetz's doing. Scalise is a well- thought of, well-respected member of the Republican House caucus. Their leadership proudly claims a member of the most secret of House caucuses, the Klan Caucus, as a leader of their Party. Gaetz didn't put him there. I don't know if Gaetz wants him there, or not. But even if he did, he's still just one member with one vote.
That their next choice, Jordan, was an individual so vile that about half of his own caucus loathed him, again is not because of Gaetz's brilliant Dr No-like genius. They did this to themselves. It was painfully laughable to hear the only person who is less of a team player than Gaetz cajoling his colleagues to pull together to for the good of the country. That from a man who wouldn't have voted with his members if it meant saving his best friend's life without demanding tax cuts, or kicking the poor down the stairs. Jordan's new found emphasis on team is laughable and pathetic coming from a guy who was a coach of a university sport.
Jordan's other biggest failing; you know other than he is a loud-mouthed, self-centered, non-team playing, incompetent jerk who has collected a paycheck for the last dozen years without actually having accomplished anything close to passing a single piece of legislation (not even a post office in someone's name), is that he's a poor fundraiser. Because... well... people hate him. SINO Kevin may have sucked, but he does know how to raise a lot of cash.
Gaetz just gets the attention because the Republicans and the media (you know, the liberal media) will not acknowledge the mess that is the Party disembowelling the House -- though, in fairness, Gaetz does seem to like the attention.
But we can all take heart that some guy in his first term in the House has announced that he's running for Speaker.
Oh... and Trump doesn't want the guy from Minnesota to have the Speaker's Chair because he said early on that Biden won.
So there we are
And none of that is because of Matt Gaetz.
And yes Matt Gaetz does suck and is horrible and is responsible for a lot of ignorant and stupid things. Just not this

October 21, 2023

Five Stories from Europe You May Have Missed

5. Armenian President Ratifies Country's ICC Membership Despite Russian Warnings

President Vahagn Khachaturian has signed into law a decision by the Armenian parliament to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), putting the Caucasus nation in the jurisdiction of the Hague-based institution despite warnings from its longtime ally Russia.

snip

"On October 13, the President of the Republic of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturian signed a statement on the ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court signed on July 17, 1998 and on the adoption of a statement 'On the retroactive recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court by the Republic of Armenia' based on Article 12, Part 3 of the Statute," the statement said.

On October 3, 60 Armenian lawmakers, mostly representing the ruling Civil Contract party, voted for the ratification of the treaty while 22 lawmakers voted against.

The Kremlin, which last month warned that Armenia’s move would worsen a growing rift with Moscow, called the parliament's ratification an “extremely hostile” move toward Russia and "an incorrect decision."

https://www.rferl.org/a/armenia-international-criminal-court-president-signs-russia-khachaturian/32637368.html


4. Bulgaria Defends Decision To Impose Tax On Russian Gas Transit As Hungary, Serbia Vow To Respond

Bulgaria's government has defended its decision to impose a new tax on Russian gas transiting through the country as Hungary and Serbia -- which rely on supplies from Moscow -- vowed to respond to the move, which they called a “hostile” step.

Bulgaria imposed a tax on Russian gas transit in the amount of 20 leva ($10.80) per megawatt-hour last week, prompting reactions in Budapest and Belgrade, which receive Russian gas through Bulgaria.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov on October 18 defended the move, saying that “there is a good chance that this [tax] would create real competition” on the gas market “from which the whole of Europe would benefit.”

“We protect Bulgarian interests. These are revenues that can enter the state budget,” Denkov added.

https://www.rferl.org/a/bulgaria-defends-tax-russian-gas-hungary-serbia/32643100.html


3. Italy ordered to compensate 3 migrants for ‘inhumane and degrading treatment’

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered Italy to compensate three Tunisian migrants for the “inhuman and degrading” treatment they were given when they stayed on the island of Lampedusa between 2017 and 2019.

The three arrived in Italy illegally and were then brought to a reception centre in Lampedusa. They stayed there for several weeks, during which the ECHR ruled they were “subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment”.

The ruling mentioned that there were only two toilets for 40 people, and some people were forced to sleep on mattresses outside because there was not enough space for everyone inside the centre.

https://www.euronews.com/2023/10/20/italy-ordered-to-compensate-3-migrants-for-inhumane-and-degrading-treatment


2. Chechnya Forms Male-Dominated Group To Advance Women's 'Interests.' Critics Say It's Just For Show.

The government of Kremlin-backed Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, who has said women should "know their place," has set up an official council to advocate for women's concerns. The initial appointees were seven men and one woman: Kadyrov's daughter, Deputy Prime Minister Aishat Kadyrova.

Chechen human rights activists say it's not a step toward greater gender equality in the North Caucasus region, long accused of trampling on the rights of women and minorities including the LGBT community. Instead, they assert, it's only for show.

The council was formed on October 1 to implement Russia's 2023-2030 National Strategy of Actions in Women's Interest, which, according to the state news agency TASS, aims to bolster women's health and social welfare and expand their role in the country's "socioeconomic development" and public affairs.

With little or no publicity, how the Chechen council plans to go about meeting that mission is unclear.

https://www.rferl.org/a/chechnya-womens-rights-interests-show/32647885.html

1. New video shows Greek Coast Guard pushing back migrants in the Aegean Sea

A video shared by a Norwegian nonprofit shows new evidence of the Greek Coast Guard pushing migrants back in the Aegean Sea toward Turkish waters on the morning of 6 October.

According to the group, Aegean Boat Report (ABR), a boat carrying 47 Afghans was sailing outside the island of Lesvos when the Greek Coast Guard stopped.

“The people in the small rubber boat tried the best they could to avoid being stopped, but a rubber boat was no match for a Greek coastal patrol vessel, and the Lambro 57, ID marking ??-602, stationed on Lesvos, eventually stopped the boat,” the group wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

snip

The group then reports that all 47 migrants were taken aboard the Greek Coast Guard vessel and transported back close to Turkish waters, where they were “forced into two life rafts and left helplessly drifting, in direct violation of international laws and human rights.”

https://www.euronews.com/2023/10/16/new-video-shows-greek-coast-guard-pushing-back-migrants-in-the-aegean-sea
October 18, 2023

Would a BRICS Common Currency Work?



A really good presentation.
Why BRICs likely will not work at supplanting the US Dollar partially because of China's tight controls over its markets

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