It was a Dark and Stormy Monday Read …

Joan Miró, This is the Color of My Dreams, 1925

I’d say good morning Sky Dancers but the first Monday of the torture that is known as Daylight Savings Time was bleak and foggy. I suppose the fact my morning walk with Temple looked a bit like I was in a horror movie was only fitting as I look through today’s headlines for today’s suggested reads. This may seem disjointed because I’ve started it while waiting for AAA to take the Mighty Mustang in to the mechanic once more.  It seems the new fuel pumping isn’t pumping.  At least it’s under warranty.  As I approach my 20th year of being in my kathouse and zooming around in the mighty mustang I realize that we’re all not what we used to be and are in desperate need of a lottery win to be rejuvenated.

That being said I’m hoping this is the year I get my solitude among huge trees.

So, here’s one on Jared Kushner’s buddies that needs some time to absorb.  “Trial of prominent Saudi women’s rights activist Al-Hathloul to start this week, family says”.  Saudi Arabia is not an easy place to be a woman.

The trial of Loujain al-Hathloul, one of nearly a dozen prominent Saudi Arabian women’s rights activists detained since last year, will begin on Wednesday, her family said on Twitter.

Activists claim some detainees, including 29-year-old Hathloul, were held in solitary confinement and subjected to mistreatment and torture, including electric shocks, flogging, and sexual assault. Saudi officials have denied those allegations as “false.”

The arrests have intensified international criticism of Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul sparked global outrage.

Three dozen countries, including all 28 EU members, called on Riyadh last week to release the activists, the first rebuke of the kingdom at the U.N. Human Rights Council since it was set up in 2006.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his British counterpart have also said they had raised the issue with the Saudi authorities during recent visits.

The Saudi government communications office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the public prosecutor’s office said earlier this month it had completed its investigations of the detainees and was preparing their trials.

Pablo Picasso: Prostitutes at a Bar, 1902 (Blue Period)

Loujain al-Hathloul has been seeking women’s right to drive in the country.  Concern has been growing about her status and that of other women for some time. Our country has not been outspoken recently on human rights violations and the creepiest of the international creeps are taking advantage.

In 2014, a 25-year-old Saudi woman, Loujain al-Hathloul, got behind the wheel of a car and drove from the United Arab Emirates into Saudi Arabia. She took a video in which she’s shown wearing sunglasses, a headscarf and a huge smile.

For women, driving was banned in the ultra-conservative Saudi kingdom, and Hathloul’s road trip landed her in jail for more than two months.

Despite her arrest, Hathloul, who had a driver’s license from the UAE, continued to battle for Saudi women’s right to drive. But her efforts took a more grave turn last March, when she was arrested in the UAE, says Adam Coogle, a Middle East researcher with Human Rights Watch.

“She was … pulled over while she was driving and apparently taken and put on a plane to Riyadh in very murky circumstances,” he says. She was briefly detained in Riyadh before being released. Then, Coogle says, in May, just before Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on female drivers last June 24, Hathloul was “picked up again in the larger crackdown against the women’s rights movement.”

Coogle says between 10 and 12 women, including academics and journalists, were swept up in that crackdown. Saudi authorities still haven’t clarified why the women, most of whom remain in prison to this day, were arrested.

“When they arrested them, they accused them publicly of treason and ran a smear campaign against them,” he says. “In fact, the women have not actually been presented with any charge.”

Music Pink and Blue II, 1918 by Georgia O’Keeffe

The Trump itty bitty tiny inauguration celebration sure did contain a lot of grift and graft and illegal stuff.  From the UK Guardian: “Trump inauguration took money from shell companies tied to foreigners. Creators of firms that donated revealed by Guardian as Indian financier, lobbyist with links to Taiwan and Israeli real estate developer.”

Donald Trump’s inauguration received tens of thousands of dollars from shell companies that masked the involvement of a foreign contributor or others with foreign ties.

The Guardian has identified the creators of three obscure firms that contributed money to Trump’s inaugural committee, which collected a record $107m as he entered the White House in 2017.

The three companies each gave $25,000 to Trump’s inaugural fund. At least one of the contributions was made for a foreign national who appears ineligible to make political donations in the US.

A spokesman for Thomas Barrack, the chairman of Trump’s inauguration committee, declined to comment. The contributors denied wrongdoing.

Federal prosecutors in New York and the attorney generals of New Jersey and Washington DC have in recent weeks issued subpoenas to the committee, demanding records and information on its contributors and spending.

US election law prohibits non-resident foreigners from contributing to political campaigns, including inaugurations. Donors or campaigns who “knowingly and willfully” breach this rule may be fined or prosecuted.

One of the $25,000 donations to Trump’s inauguration was made through a Delaware shell company for a wealthy Indian financier based in London, who appears to not hold US citizenship or residency.

Another was made by a company formed in Georgia by a lobbyist with connections to the Taiwanese government. His wife said the firm was funded by Chinese investors. One of their daughters was later given an internship in Trump’s White House, which they said was unrelated to the donation.

A third $25,000 contribution was made through a company formed anonymously in New York by an Israeli real estate developer who has helped other foreign developers with legal issues in the US. The Israelideveloper said he held US residency, commonly known as a “green card”, which permitted him to contribute legally.

Ann Ravel, a former commissioner at the federal election commission (FEC), said the use of anonymous companies was the biggest problem for authorities trying to ensure transparency and legality in political donations.

Edgar Degas. Dancers in Blue ,1890

We’ve all known Tucker Carlson is a jerk for a very long time.  His conversation with Bubba the Love Sponge unearthed should ruin any bit of thought he’s a nice person or a clean cut family dude.  This is from Audrey McNamara at The Daily Beast.

Fox News star Tucker Carlson once argued that women are “extremely primitive” beings who “just need to be quiet and kind of do what you’re told,” according to newly unearthed audio of the host ranting on a shock jock radio show.

According to the media watchdog organization Media Matters, Carlson repeatedly called into the popular radio program Bubba the Love Sponge between 2006 and 2011 and let loose with sexist and misogynistic language—often at the expense of well-known female figures, including Arianna Huffington and Elena Kagan, a then-Supreme Court nominee and now an associate justice of the Supreme Court.

Carlson was working for MSNBC and Fox News while he was reportedly devoting about an hour a week to these rants, in which he appeared to defend statutory rape and called for the elimination of rape shield laws, among other things.

During a 2009 conversation about polygamist cult leader Warren Jeffs, who was convicted of felony rape as an accomplice, Carlson suggested Jeffs was only sent to prison because “he’s weird and unpopular.”

On Jeffs facilitating marriages between grown men and underage girls, Tucker said: “I just don’t think it’s the same thing exactly as pulling a child from a bus stop and sexually assaulting that child.”

“The rapist, in this case, has made a lifelong commitment to live and take care of the person, so it is a little different. I mean, let’s be honest about it.”

When the show’s co-host called the defense “twisted” and “demented,” Carlson responded by doubling down on his defense of Jeffs. “He’s not accused of touching anybody, Carlson said. “He is accused of facilitating a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 27-year-old man.”

Carlson also called the charges against Jeffs “bullshit.” Jeffs was convicted of two felony counts of child sexual assault in 2011, for which he is currently serving a life sentence plus 20 years.

Carlson also suggested that if he were to “make the laws,” Warren Jeffs would not be in prison.

Vincent Van Gogh. Starry NIght over the Rhône , 1888

You may follow the link for more disgusting misogyny or better yet, start phoning and writing his few remaining advertisers and suggest they stop funding this horrid man.

Well, it appears the love affair between the two craziest leaders in the world is off according to The Hill’s Ellen Mitchell.  US-North Korea tensions approach boiling point.”

The Trump administration — which canceled two large-scale spring war games between the United States and South Korea in an effort to move along nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea — is now grappling with reports that Pyongyang is preparing to launch a missile soon.

The reports follow President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s failure to reach an agreement at their summit last month. North Korea’s account for the failure differs from Trump’s, a fact that has increased tensions between the countries.

Experts warn that tensions could rise before negotiations move forward.

“I worry a little bit that this could get worse before it gets better because both sides want to try to figure out how to get the other side back to the table,” said Victor Cha, a former official in charge of Korea relations in the George W. Bush administration. “And they may say pressure is the way to do that.”

National security adviser John Bolton on Sunday said Trump would be “pretty disappointed” should North Korea carry out a nuclear test or a missile launch.

Bolton had been asked about new commercial satellite images taken Friday that show activity at a North Korean missile site near the border with China. Beyond Parallel, a project started by the Center for Strategic and International Security (CSIS), said North Korea “has continued preparations on the launch pad” at the Sohae launch facility, a sign the country is readying for “the delivery of a rocket.”

The long-range rocket launch site was previously shut down as part of a promise made between Kim and Trump at their first summit in June in Singapore.

Experts view the rebuilding as “deliberate efforts by North Korea in response to the inconclusive results of the Hanoi summit — to send a message, really, to President Trump and the world,” according to Cha.

Cha, now with CSIS, warned Thursday that tensions could continue to rise between Washington and Pyongyang before things cool down.

Okay, so the tow truck is approaching and I’m going to turn this over to you rather than come back to it.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

22 Comments on “It was a Dark and Stormy Monday Read …”

  1. dakinikat says:

    see you later!

    Here’s something from the Des MOine Register for yoU!

    Iowa Poll: Registered Republicans like Trump but 40 percent want a GOP challenger

    • NW Luna says:

      If they want a challenger they may not really like Trump all that well. It’s still mind-boggling that so many are just fine with fraud, treason and corruption.

  2. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Did she sell access? Of course. I expect there are more of these out there, waiting to be uncovered, and Trump gets a kickback from each one in addition to what’s going into the MarALago coffers.

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. Enheduanna says:

    Good luck with your car Dak! I have two 20-something vehicles myself.

    Glad to see Carlson’s true colors have come to light. Lots and lots of men seem to think it’s AOK to ignore age of consent and coerce young girls. He has daughters, too – right? I hope this ruins him.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m just waiting to hear. I need new tires badly so I’m hoping the pump is all it is and I can move to that project instead of replacing something else. I did a lot of work at the start of December and she was running well up until about a few weeks ago.

      Carlson has always been creepy icky. I hope this pulls him off the air. He’ll probably become Drumpf’s communications director at this rate!!!

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Love the “blue” artwork.

    • NW Luna says:

      I do too.

      And I hate the Daylight “Saving” time change.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I love it. I don’t like it when it gets dark at 4PM. But I would like to be on daylight saving all year round. It’s the only thing that makes sense up here in New England. One thing I miss about Indiana is summer days when it stayed light till almost 9PM.

        • NW Luna says:

          I agree that having DST all year around would be the best solution. But aren’t you far enough north in Boston to have light stay quite late in summer? I know here it stays light until 9:30ish during the height of summer.

          • jackyt says:

            It’s a longitude thing, not latitude. My uncle lived on the coast of Maine, I live in south central Ontario. We’re both in the Eastern time zone, but the sun set on him a full hour before it set here … and there’s still a l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g drive west before you get to the central time zone.

          • NW Luna says:

            I was referring to the effect of the Earth’s tilt so that in summer the northern latitudes have longer hours of daylight than do latitudes closer to the equator. Of course, we have the reverse in winter.

    • dakinikat says:

      Thanks. I saw the Miro thing about blue dreams and such sorta riffed from there … knew Picasso would be an easy find and then it opened up all kinds of painters I love. O’Keefe’s painting I had seen before but the blue dancers was new to me.

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. NW Luna says:

    Trump proposes big cuts to health programs for poor, elderly and disabled

    Cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, CDC, adult cancer research. Even Rethugs didn’t agree with some of this. My heart sinks. We’ve got to stop him.

  9. NW Luna says:

    • quixote says:

      FB is either unbelievably stupid to be making her point for her. Or so sure of their power, they don’t care.

      Or both, I guess. They’re not mutually exclusive.