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cali's Journal
cali's Journal
June 16, 2016

Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund

When the presumptive GOP nominee doled out money to veterans’ groups over the past few months, he did so using the Trump Foundation—which, according to FEC rules, is not allowed.

The Trump Foundation, Donald Trump’s nonprofit organization, is under fire for allegedly operating as more of a political slush fund than a charity. The foundation is accused of violating rules prohibiting it from engaging in politics—prompting ethics watchdogs to call for public investigations.

On numerous occasions this year, Trump’s campaign work and his foundation work have overlapped—putting himself at risk for penalties and his charity at risk of being shut down.

It’s the latest example of Trump courting controversy: not merely through inflammatory rhetoric, but also through private dealings that raise serious legal questions—all of which indicate how he might govern if elected president of the United States.



June 16, 2016

Oklahoma Is Siphoning Money From Schools and Pouring It Into an Anti-Abortion Curriculum

Oklahoma’s schools are among the worst in the country, but at least state politicians are tackling that problem head-on with a law outlining an important new curriculum. With the help of a measure signed last week by Republican Governor Mary Fallin, educators will be newly prepared to convey the lesson “that abortion kills a living human being.”

The law, HB 2797, which goes into effect Nov. 1, requires both the state’s Department of Health and its Department of Education to work toward “the purpose of achieving an abortion-free society.” In practice, this means that the Health Department will be developing a barrage of “public service announcements, media,” and other agitprop; posting on its website that “The State of Oklahoma strongly urges you to contact them if you are pregnant”; and otherwise working to make women feel watched. The new law also says that “no program or state employee may refer any student to a medical facility or any provider for the performance of an abortion.” The Health and Education Departments have been directed to work together to create “education programs regarding the humanity of the unborn child” for Oklahoma’s ninth-through-twelfth graders. (Parents would be able to opt their children out of these classes, according to the Tulsa World.)

Critics have already raised concerns about what subjects might suffer to make room in the school day for anti-abortion propagandizing. “Adding yet another mandate on [teachers] and forcing them to have those very emotional and political conversations with young people just takes away instructional time from other areas,” Democratic State Representative Emily Virgin said, according to the World.

Time isn’t the only limited resource that Oklahoma can’t afford to pour into lecturing teenagers about how life begins at conception. Oklahoma has a $1.3 billion budget deficit, and that weight is falling heaviest upon its struggling school system: recently reported that Oklahoma’s $3 billion education budget had been cut by $58 million since January. Though the law technically establishes a “Public Education on the Humanity of the Unborn Child Fund”—“a continuing fund, not subject to fiscal year limitations”—to pay for the high school programs, it’s not at all clear where the money will come from to fill it. The Education Department estimated this spring that the it would cost up to $160,000 to develop materials for the program and about $10,000 per high school, or about $4.78 million total, to put the program into action.



June 16, 2016

This Will Not Shock You. Trump Lies. American Muslims Repeatedly Report

Extremist Threats, According to Officials.

(Reuters) - Muslim-Americans have repeatedly informed authorities of fellow Muslims they fear might be turning to extremism, law enforcement officials say, contrary to a claim by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump this week.

“They don’t report them,” Trump said in a CNN interview on Monday, in the wake of the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub of 49 people by an American Muslim who claimed allegiance to Islamic State. “For some reason, the Muslim community does not report people like this.”

But FBI director James Comey said, “They do not want people committing violence, either in their community or in the name of their faith, and so some of our most productive relationships are with people who see things and tell us things who happen to be Muslim.

“It’s at the heart of the FBI’s effectiveness to have good relationships with these folks,” Comey said at a press conference following the Orlando shootings.

Andrew Ames, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Washington field office, told Reuters on Wednesday that the agency has a “robust” relationship with the local Muslim community. FBI agents operating in the area have received reports about suspicious activity and other issues from community members.



June 16, 2016

Some of my heroes are dead white men

Sorry, but they are. I think of this because of the brouhaha over Yale's Major English Poets course and 'decolonizing' the English Department.

Many of my heroes are authors; poets, novelists. I turn to EM Forster and T.S. Eliot for solace in the times when I'm most soul sore. I love Shakespeare and Yeats. I love CP Cavafy and it was his poem Ithaka that came to mind immediately upon hearing about the horror in Orlando.

As you set out on the way to Ithaca
hope that the road is a long one,
filled with adventures, filled with understanding.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
Poseidon in his anger: do not fear them,
you’ll never come across them on your way
as long as your mind stays aloft, and a choice
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Laestrygonians and the Cyclopes,
savage Poseidon; you’ll not encounter them
unless you carry them within your soul,
unless your soul sets them up before you.

Hope that the road is a long one.
Many may the summer mornings be
when—with what pleasure, with what joy—
you first put in to harbors new to your eyes;
may you stop at Phoenician trading posts
and there acquire fine goods:
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and heady perfumes of every kind:
as many heady perfumes as you can.
To many Egyptian cities may you go
so you may learn, and go on learning, from their sages.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind;
to reach her is your destiny.
But do not rush your journey in the least.
Better that it last for many years;
that you drop anchor at the island an old man,
rich with all you’ve gotten on the way,
not expecting Ithaca to make you rich.

Ithaca gave to you the beautiful journey;
without her you’d not have set upon the road.
But she has nothing left to give you any more.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca did not deceive you.
As wise as you’ll have become, with so much experience,
you’ll have understood, by then, what these Ithacas mean.


Of course, in my heart's library- sorry if that's corny but it's how deeply I feel, there are authors who are women and people of color;
Chopin, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Emily Dickinson, Gwendolyn Brooks, Zora Thurston Neale, Radclyffe Hall.

I could rattle on and on.

I support diversifying English Departments because there are so many more who deserve to be read. But almost all college English Departments offer diverse courses that solely focus on LGBT authors, authors who are women and people of color.

So I find myself sorrowful about the demand of Yale students who want to do away with or radically alter the required 'Major English Poets'. Yes. They're white men. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Pope. But what they have to say is often universal. It's that capturing of universal humanity, emotion and perspective that makes Shakespeare, for example, timeless.

Why not add to the pantheon, rather than subtract from it?


I want to add a few verses from a poem that has gotten me through the most painful times in my life. It's a very religious poem. I am not religious. What speaks to me is the universal wisdom.

Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

June 15, 2016

Judge on Stanford attacker's consent claims: "I take him at his word"


A recently-released transcript of the sentencing hearing for Brock Turner, the ex-Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, sheds new light on a judge's controversial decision to sentence Turner to six months in jail.

At the June 2 hearing, Turner's lawyer Mike Armstrong argued that Turner has admitted digitally penetrating the woman, but says that "in his drunken state, he remembered consent." In explaining his sentence, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky's appears to believe Turner is being truthful in that regard.



June 15, 2016

Is this the hacked Trump oppo file from the DNC?

Gawker has obtained a massive document that could be the Democratic Party's opposition file on Donald Trump: a 211-page collection of Trump's public statements and actions. The leak comes a day after allegations that hackers tied to the Russian government broke into the DNC's servers last year, with one group keeping access through this April. Gawker says the document was forwarded by someone going by the name "Guccifer 2.0" — a reference to the Romanian hacker who most famously leaked George Bush's amateur paintings to the world. (An act for which the world is thankful.) It's not clear if this is really the DNC's opposition file on Trump, but it's definitely someone's opposition file, and whoever made it put in a lot of work.

“"It was easy, very easy."”

The hacker's motive, Gawker reports, is to be "a fighter against all those illuminati that captured our world." Gawker says the hacker also claims to have "about 100GB of data" from the DNC, but so far has only handed over the Trump file and a few other documents. That includes financial documents that Gawker did not publish, but says it independently verified as products of people affiliated with the Democratic Party. The hack "was easy, very easy," the informant told Gawker.

Most of the file is just publicly available information on Trump, including things he's said in interviews, public appearances, and on Twitter. The document, titled "Donald Trump Report," contains seven "top narratives" against Trump, and a pretty exhaustive list of the controversial things Trump has said and done, up to December 2015. Given everything Trump has said and done since then, the most recent version of this file is probably considerably longer.



June 15, 2016

With each passing day, odds of Congress passing the TPP before November,

grow slimmer.

Both Trump and HRC are on the record as opposing it.

So what happens if Obama and Froman can't get it passed before the election? (and I can't see it passing between November and inauguration day).

I think it likely that if HRC wins, she'll push it, saying that "changes" to the agreement have made it a positive pact. I don't know her position on the TTIP, but my guess is that she'll support that as well.

June 15, 2016

This Brewery Created an Anti-Trump Beer called 'Dumb Donald'

Has a presidential candidate ever been more polarizing than Donald Trump?

Sure, some people love him. But many simply loathe the man and can’t believe that he will be the next Republican nominee for president of the free world.

How to express that are-you-fucking-kidding feeling? How about naming a beer after him—a pejoratively titled beer, that is?

“Dumb Donald” beer is about to be released. The aptly named Spiteful Brewing of Chicago is releasing the double India pale ale, which is brewed with a key lime flavor. The label depicts Trump as an inferior step on the road of evolution, walking in an ape-like stance between monkey and man. Wearing a very long tie, of course.

An explanation on the label says that the reason the brewers are calling the beer “Dumb Donald” is this: “It’s like he got caught in a pause halfway through evolution.”

If that’s not clear enough for you, there’s more: “His brain still functions, at a minimal level with a vocabulary of a second grade student.”

Don’t keep it to yourself, Spiteful Brewing!

But wait, there’s more on the label: “You might even start to feel sorry for this man-child. Resist that urge, pop open this key lime DIPA and pretend you’re on a faraway island where people like Dumb Donald simply don’t exist.”



June 15, 2016

I've been quite impressed with Orlando's Mayor, Buddy Dyer

He's been articulate, compassionate and calm. No surprise, he's a democrat.

ORLANDO, Fla. - Mayor Buddy Dyer announced the opening of a one-stop location victims' families can get support after this week's deadly shooting at the Pulse Nightclub.

The Family Assistance Center officially opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Camping World Stadium, formerly known as the Citrus Bowl.

"The Funeral Directors Association has stepped up. So many churches have stepped up saying if you need a venue we're going to offer our venue for free," said Dyer.

Services available to the families and friends include:

• Air Travel
• Child And Family Services
• Consulate Services
• Counseling/spiritual Care
• Crime Victim Services
• Funeral Services
• Ground Transportation
• Health Care Assistance
• Identification Documents
• Language Translation
• Legal Aid
• Lodging
• Medical Examiner
• Senior Services

Each agency will be paying for the services themselves; the City of Orlando is simply providing the space to do it, said Dyer.

"Because we have suites, we can do more private activities. If somebody needs some private counseling, we have use of the whole building," he said.



June 15, 2016

Seth Meyers bans Donald Trump from his show for his bigotry and

for Trump's withdrawal of WaPo reporters' credentials.

Seth Meyers said Donald Trump hit a “new low” for his remarks in the wake of the mass shooting at an Orlando, Florida gay nightclub on Sunday.

“When it comes to bigotry, Trump keeps upping his game,” Meyers said on Tuesday’s episode of Late Night. “He’s like if Joseph McCarthy was exposed to gamma radiation and became a racist orange Hulk with tiny hands. Hulk mad, hands too small to smash.”

After the shooting, which left 49 people dead, Trump reiterated that as president he “will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there’s a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies until we fully understand how to end these threats.” (The Orlando murderer, Omar Mateen, was an American citizen, born in New York to parents who came to America from Afghanistan in the 1980s.) Trump later criticized President Barack Obama for his response to the attack, saying “there’s something going on” because Obama didn’t mention “radical Islam” in his post-shooting remarks.


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Hometown: born is LA, grew up there and in New Canaan CT
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Current location: East Hardwick, Vermont
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