Make Of It What You Will

quizzical confused emojiI’m working on some number of projects at the moment … I say ‘some number’, for I have no idea what that number even is, nor do I have a clue how many will reach fruition.  (Mind bounce in the rabbit hole can be a chancy thing) But for today, I had a bunch of snippets, bits ‘n pieces that I came across this weekend, most of which leave me shrugging my shoulders, saying, “make of that what you will”.  Hence the title of this post.


Equifax?

You all remember last September when Equifax, one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies, reported that hackers had gained access to the data of some 143 million Americans, including social security and driver’s license numbers?  Well, two news stories this week about the Equifax breach are of concern.

About six weeks after the initial announcement by Equifax, they raised the number of people whose data may have been compromised from 143 million to 145.5 million, an additional 2.5 million people.  Then on Thursday, they added yet another 2.4 million to their estimate, bringing the total up to 147.9 million.  That is 147,900,000 people whose social security numbers, as well as other sensitive information may be in the wrong hands.

At the time, Richard Cordray was director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) and he immediately authorized an investigation into the Equifax data breach.  But Cordray resigned in November and was replaced by Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as acting director of the CFPB.  As acting, or interim director, Mulvaney did not have to pass muster by a senate confirmation.

Although there has been no official announcement, every appearance indicates that the investigation into the Equifax breach has been halted.  CFPB has shelved plans for on-the-ground tests of how Equifax protects data. No subpoenas have been issued. The CFPB also recently rebuffed bank regulators at the Federal Reserve, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency when they offered to help with on-site exams of credit bureaus.

Prior to becoming director of the OMB, Mulvaney was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina, and a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, the farthest-right group within the GOP.

Make of that what you will.


Trump praises Xi Jinping, and then …

“He’s now president for life, president for life. And he’s great.  And look, he was able to do that. I think it’s great. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot someday,” Trump said to cheers and applause from supporters.

Make of that what you will.


Roy Moore needs your help …

You remember ol’ Roy, right?  Last December he lost the election for the U.S. Senate seat previously held by current Attorney-General Jeff Sessions.  Roy, a former judge and a bigot, had been de-throned from the judiciary not once, but twice, for failure to uphold the very law he had sworn to uphold.  But that wasn’t likely what cost him the election, though it should have.  What cost him the election were the numerous (9 to date) credible accusations of pedophilia and other sexual abuses.

Well, ol’ Roy is now b-r-o-k-e, if he is to be believed. He is asking for help to pay his legal bills as he fights Leigh Corfman in court, a woman who claims she was molested by Moore when she was 14.

“Please help me fight this battle for the heart and soul of this Nation. Your financial contribution to my legal defense fund is crucial…My resources have been depleted and I have struggled to make ends meet.”

Moore is asking for $250,000, and has thus far received $32,000 in donations.

Make of that what you will.


Because Trump hasn’t said to do it …

Admiral Mike Rogers is a busy man … you can see it in his eyes, can’t you?  Mike is the director of the National Security Administration (NSA) and also heads up the Pentagon’s Cyber Command.  Nearly every single expert in cyber security has agreed that not only did Russia play a role in our 2016 elections in multiple ways, including cyber-hacking, but that they continue to do so and will no doubt do so in November when the mid-term congressional elections take place.

What are we doing to counter the Russian cyber-hacking?  Nothing.  That’s right … nothing.  Why?  Because Trump hasn’t said to do it.  Addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee last Tuesday, Admiral Rogers said …

“Clearly, what we’ve done hasn’t been enough. I need a policy decision that indicates there is specific direction to do that. The president ultimately would make this decision in accordance with a recommendation from the secretary of defense.”

Rogers also expressed frustration that Trump failed to implement the sanctions against Russia passed by Congress last year, saying the Russians “haven’t paid a price, at least, that has significantly changed their behavior”.

Trump has denied that there was any interference by Russia, and even when he admits it, he is lukewarm.  And he also insists that he has been ‘tougher’ on Russia than President Obama (he hasn’t).

Make of that what you will.


Bye-Bye FedEx …

Dozens of companies have severed their ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) in the two+ weeks since the tragic shooting that killed 17 in Parkland Florida last month.  All of the major car rental companies, which had previously offered discounts to NRA members, have stopped doing so, and Delta Airlines severed ties, in spite of the threat from Georgia lawmakers to revoke tax breaks that benefitted Delta to the tune of about $40 million.  But one company stands out … FedEx.

FedEx refused to discontinue discounts to NRA corporate members, offering some b.s. excuse that it would be ‘discriminatory’.  The truth is that FedEx gives some special consideration to gun manufacturers shipping weapons around the nation.  The rules are that all guns must be shipped using FedEx’ Priority Overnight service, and that they will not ship handguns via FedEx ground.  But … if you are Smith & Wesson, Colt, Glock, SIG Sauer, or the NRA itself … well, the rules can be bent to let you use 2-day shipping and save a bundle! And of course, FedEx gets some percentage of that bundle.

Fred Smith, President & CEO of FedEx

The good news, however, is that companies that use FedEx have said that if FedEx won’t distance itself from the NRA, then they will distance themselves from FedEx. So far it is just a handful of companies, but if the momentum grows, FedEx may live to regret their unholy alliances.

Make of that what you will.


And now, friends, I have given you enough to ponder on for the rest of the day.  Hasta mañana.

29 thoughts on “Make Of It What You Will

  1. ‘Have to try a shot at that,’….well apart from that being the most inappropriate choice of words in the current circumstances, my response is to use a very, very old saying from my home ground in South Wales…
    ‘It would take a man, not his dinner,’
    It the words of Bugs Bunny ‘ Wadda Maroon!’
    Imagine the who-hah on the Right in the previous Pres had said that.
    Yes, fancy that all those security numbers hacked and no one is trying to find out……I’ll be generous and suggest its all down to the sheer incompetence of the Whitehouse, which we have grown used to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like that South Wales expression … I will have to try to remember that one! I need to start a notebook of Roger-isms.

      Fox News criticized those of us who were not pleased with Trump’s remark, saying we don’t know a joke when we hear one. Uh-uh. He has been showing autocratic tendencies since before he even took office, so for him to make that remark at this time was beyond inappropriate. If he thought it was funny, then it was just asinine.

      You are quite right … if Obama had said it, he would have been drawn and quartered. But then, if Obama had done any single one of the things Trump has done, he would have been taken down quickly and we would have been saying President Biden. But hey, we may be saying President Biden after 2020 … I hear he’s considering a run!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You may be interested in this page? http://nisatapps.prio.org/armsglobe/ Guns are easily obtained around the world, that link demonstrates the big business they are. Bearing in mind the link is for small arms. For myself. It is all about a mindset of peaceful intention. Depending on where I lived? I might reconsider that? I have had no need to this point. I’ll say again. If only the police have guns you’ll get a police state. While it is of little recompense to any victim. Death is not an ending, it is a new beginning. Cheers Jamie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very interesting data! But did you notice the very low (relatively) numbers for most of Europe and the African nations? And they have very strict gun controls, almost zero private ownership of guns, and yet … no police state, at least in the European nations. I still think it is possible and desirable to take guns out of the hands of private citizens without causing a police state. Perhaps not in the U.S., for some of the gun-lovers would likely cause such a stink that we would have to have Marshall law for a time. But eventually, I think democracy can survive without citizens owning guns.

      If you are right, that death is a new beginning, I am coming back next time as a wolf. Cheers!

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  3. Make of it what you will? Come on, Jill, be honest, these things, all of them, need to be taken very Very VERY seriously. Even if someone is a Developed Trumpeter, the toll of the bells keep getting louder and louder, until soon even Donald, The will be unable to hear his own lies…
    Oh, but that’s what he wants, nobody to hear his lies. Someday he will find out, the only way to do that is wire his mouth shut!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, yes, yes, rawgod … every one of these topics must … MUST … be taken seriously. But my goal here was to put people in a position of having to think for themselves about them, rather than me spoon-feeding them, telling them what I think, or what I think they should think. My goal was to have people scratch their heads and think … hmmmm … WHY isn’t Equifax being investigated more vigorously? WHY hasn’t Trump ordered that everything possible be done to ensure that Russia cannot influence our elections in November? WHY are people donating money to a pedophile? And so on. Sometimes it’s too easy to accept somebody’s opinion, in this case mine, without ever thinking it through ourselves. I was trying to force people to think. Was I wrong?

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      • No, you are not wrong, and thinking for oneself is what I am all about. Fanatic about, to tell the truth. However (just another word for “but” though spelled differently) I know that sometimes, if you use a normal voice, no one notices. I actually prefer whispers, because then people think they are overhearing secrets and they listen more closely, and get hooked easier, But, when you are writing in a situation such as this, it is impossible to whisper (especially if you cannot change the size of your type, or the font). Therefore, and I stand behind this 100%, the next best thing is to say it loud, and say it clear. Do not be afraid to be direct. Your readers, if I gauge them correctly, mostly already agree with you. They have already thought about what you are saying.
        It is the few who haven’t heard you before, or the few curiosity seekers “from the other side,” the spies who are watching you, that you need to reach out to, and most of these are hard-headed types. You basically have to grab them by the nose and squeeze as hard as you can to get them to see the reality of what is going on around them… and I do not think you can get their attention through civil discourse.
        This, of course, is only my opinion. It is your right and privilege to write the way you want. If it works for you, do it, and don’t let anyone, especially me, change your way of being you. But do expect me to make comments as I choose to make them, or ask me to stifle myself, which I will gladly do for you because I respect you.
        Can you see what I am driving at? You are the Mayor of your blog. But if jou let me, I will be the Town Crier. It can be my job to bring to you the people you most want to hear you. If I can attract them to you, then you can work your magic–the way you want to work it.
        Besides, not everyone reads all the comments anyway, though they all read your posts. And that is up to them. From my own experience, I mostly only read all the comments available at the time I read the posts. Unless I am looking for something specific, or responding to your responses, I don’t always have time to look back to see how others commented after me. There is always a new post on the horizon, a new comment to make.
        But what I enjoy most are our (public) conversations in the comment sections, as this very conversation right now. They are more or less just two people sitting in a tea shop talking, with others around who can listen if they are so inclined. We get to know each other through these conversations, and I love getting to know you. Probably we will never meet in person, but that is not necessary for us. Knowing you, and getting to know more about you, is a privilege for me. I am very glad we share the same world at the same time, no matter how horrible we think this world can be… It is a beautiful world with you in it.
        ‘Nuff said.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I agree with you on the value of speaking in a whisper. In fact, I had a professor in college who once told me that when everybody else is yelling, we should whisper, because then they have to shut up to hear what we are saying. That stuck with me through the years, and I try to practice it. I guess that for me, using well-moderated speech rather than a rant is my way of ‘whispering’ in writing. There are some who, when I rant, close the shutters and read no further than the first sentence or two, so I have lost them at the starting gate. And then there are some who will not hear, will not consider what you say, no matter what tone you use. So, I mix it up … sometimes I DO rant and speak quite loudly, especially on topics that are close to my heart, such as racism and other forms of bigotry. Other times, I speak softly, but try to get my point across. I don’t know what works, but I just usually go with what seems apropos at the moment and for the topic. This “make of that what you will” piece was something new I tried, just wanted to see how it was received … and between you and me, I was not feeling well that night and didn’t feel like doing an in-depth analysis of any of those topics at that moment.

          I am happy to have you as the Town Crier of my blog! I always enjoy your comments, and quite often agree with you, though not always. Life is boring if we all always agree, don’t you think?

          And finally, thank you … I enjoy our back-and-forth in comments immensely and know that I can always count on you to have a ‘but’ or a ‘however’! 🙂 You also make me think, which I greatly appreciate, for I know that I don’t have all the answers and that sometimes I am off base by a little or a lot. And I am also enjoying getting to know you. I consider you a friend and am glad I’ve come to know you … a little, anyway, for I think you are a complex person who nobody probably completely knows!

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          • Nobody but me, usually. I have made a point of trying to learn who I am, but when I get too close I always throw a wrench into my mechanisms. As right now, I said to you writing about Dirty Toenails is destroying my spiritual connection to life, but that is not the only factor. Given that the three main negatives in my philosophy are god, gold, and government, I know I should not dabble in any of them. I’ve already learned how not to deal with God, or his minions. I make as many of them as possible my friends or acquaintances despite being an atheist. I am willing to break bread on common ground, and not go around shouting “god is dead.” (How can he be dead when he never lived?”) Then comes government, and the most vulnerable target I have ever seen. He produces daily fodder for his enemies, and his followers praise him for it. He is hard to resist daily lambastings. But it is gold that has me down right now, down lower than I think I have ever gone before. I started a home business last year, and it rapidly grew beyond expectations. Not that I was making money at it–in fact I was losing money at an alarming rate. But it felt so good doing it, putting smiles on the faces of customers who had not smiled for years. But while I turned out to be a good salesman because I used and understood the products I was selling. Meanwhile I was a horrible businessperson, and the more money I lost the more I wanted to make it back. And the more gold-grasping I became. And the more gold I grasped at, the more my spirit suffered. And I could see a breakdown coming, but I could do nothing to stop it.
            Now it is here. There are other extenuating circumstances, but it come down to the two g’s I let back into my life after banishing them many years before.
            Now I am hearing the cries of life, and the suffering overwhelms me. And I can feel the dying of life, and I have no will to rise up and defend it. I am exhausted, I who can help sustain life am too weak at its time of greatest need. I need to act, but all I do is whine…

            Liked by 1 person

            • rawgod … you are a good man, and I am saddened to hear you in such pain. I know that no words I could say (type) would help, for this is something you will have to deal with on your own. But I want you to know that I care, that I am your friend, and that you have my email any time you want to ‘chat’. That is the best I have to offer, but I think you already know all that anyway. And I do hope my snarky posts about the Delusional Turkey haven’t contributed to your angst. Those posts are, I think, my way of keeping my own angst at a manageable level. Hang in, my friend … you and I have both been through this before, and you know it’s a vicious circle, but one with both ups and downs. Smile, my friend … just a little one … there you go … I knew you could do it!

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              • Thank you, Jill. I know I can count on you, and may take yo up on your offer. I have a few other tricks up my sleeve, but do not know if they will be helpful.
                And don’t you ever think that your posts or Gronda’s or John’s or anyone’s can do this to be, though something might be said to the effect of the totality of the pain I am feeling. I know most psychologists would call it existential angst, but that’s usually for things that have aleaqdy happened. My pain is for aqnst yet to come, angst that may or not happen, but is certainly headed in that direction.
                I may not be so sensitive as others to individual pains, but what I am feeling right now is the pain of all life, of all living beings, and life is too important to let it end on the Dunce’s Toe, because we all know Putin will pull the ball away just as Determined Trier starts to kick at it.
                How are the eyes doing? I don’t want to rush your process, but the sooner it is over the happier I will be.

                Liked by 1 person

                • I understand, for my “trips down the rabbit hole” are much the same, I think. I look around, not just at what is happening in the U.S. with Trump & Co., but all around the world it seems that humanity is on the brink of … I’m not sure what. When I see pictures from Ghouta, it breaks my heart, yet the vast majority of the world’s population don’t care. And people are supporting the populist movement all over the world, for they believe it will make their own lives better, without a thought of what it will do to others. But, you and I cannot solve these problems. All we can do is shine a light on them and hope that the human race will wake up before it’s too late.

                  My eyes are doing so well! I am amazed, and when I went for my follow-up appointment on Tuesday, even the doctor was amazed, for he said I am seeing far better than even he expected! I am psyched by that and keep seeing things I never noticed before. Did you know that there are little loops on towels and washcloths? And guess what??? There are actually hands on that clock on the wall, and numbers too!!! Now, the downside is that I am also seeing dirt on windows and baseboards, as well as cobwebs on the ceiling that I did not know were there, so it is now SPRING CLEANING time!!! 😀

                  Hang in, dear friend! As you advised me the other day … go walk a worm, enjoy nature! Thinking of you …

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                  • Worms here are all hiding below the frost line,at least six feet under. They should be up bu middle of May, I hope. Am trying to feed my sparrows and a red poles daily, but have missed a few days. Pine Grosbeaks have disappeared for the spring, but should be replaced by Evening Grosbeaks in April. Blue Jays come and go at whim. Nature right outside our patio door. We call it Cat TV for our indoor pussy cats.
                    Very glad to hear your eyes are so much better. One of science’s little miracles
                    Might have more to say about one of your comments later. Right now too tired to sit up…

                    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, you have summarized a nice potpourri of topics. Equifax continues to scare us as they are one of our watchdogs, The CFPB is a terrific organization and was doing great work, but banks and Republicans hate it and it is now being run (like the EPA) by someone who has little respect for its mission.

    Judge Roy should have thought about his history before he ran. Child molesters don’t make good candidates.

    As for the President, he should be worry about completing his first term before he promotes lifetime privilege. Xi has a far better track record and is in controlling country.

    I hope Rogers is doing something as the likely compromised President sure is acting guilty. While the tariff decision surprised everyone, it may have been a Trump distraction from his awful week. He chose poorly as his week got worse. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Keith! Yes, the fiasco with Equifax may only be the beginning, for I suspect that Trans Union and Experian have mostly the same practices as Equifax. The scary part is that we have no control at all over what data they collect and store. What, if not to pursue an investigation of this sort, is the purpose of the CFPB? I suspect it is one of those agencies that, if Trump & Co have their way, will exist in name only before long.

      Moore, for my money, should be in prison … let him see what it’s like to be abused against his will.

      From what I gathered, Rogers said he cannot do anything without an order from the prez. Time is running out here, November is getting closer, and I would like to know that there will be some integrity in the election process! Likely, Trump doesn’t care, because a) he has bigger problems, at least in his mind, and b) he realizes that the GOP is likely to lose a number of seats to democrats in November based mainly on HIS behaviours and decisions, and he has decided to let Russia give the republicans a bit of help if they can. Just my take on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, Rogers said he was permitted under law to do some things. What I imagine is people trying to do their jobs to protect America have constant confidential dialogue on how to manage around their unfit commander in chief and some of his appointees who are at odds with doing the right thing for the mission of the agency.

        With that said, the military and intelligence community have been sounding the alarm to Congress that the President is making and has made the US and the world a less safe place. It would be nice if the sycophants cared more about our country than this man.

        I saw a great comment in a letter to the editor today. It said simply. To diehard Republicans the choice is no longer Trump versus Clinton. It is Trump versus Pence. Pence is far from ideal, but I would worry less about our safety with him in charge, especially with the President looking guilty and acting chaotically. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • I would have to agree that Trump has done more to make us and the rest of the world unsafe in such a short period than any other U.S. leader. I wonder if he truly doesn’t see the damage he has done, or if he does see it and simply thrives on chaos?

          It would, indeed, be nice to see our elected representatives in Congress caring more about the state of the nation and our safety, our well-being, than they care about how Trump views them. And as for Pence … I don’t like the man for his bigotry, and I tend to view him as somewhat of a wuss, but you are quite right … I believe he is at least capable of coherent thought and would not be as willing to lead us astray as Trump is. Who knows … Pence could actually be fairly intelligent (though still a bigot) and it just doesn’t show through as long as he walks in the shadow of Trump.

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  5. Make no mistake, it was always Dweebe Trump-up’s plan to make himself dictator of the US. He didn’t know how back when but he did what all would-be dictators do: he bought (with tax dollars) and got, the military on his side. That’s how it begins. And the CIA won’t even have to initiate a “regime change” with a “popular coup” in this case, it will just happen without a shot being fired, just a few tweets and some help from buddy Putin. Of course the DT may not succeed, but given the level of ignorance and political apathy, make that lethargy, extant in the US, his chances are better than average he’ll pull it off. Just give him one more term in office to buy more support with his cheap demagoguery and he’ll be in. Or if not this Trump, there are a couple of Juniors in the line up. They’ve infested the White House and without severe fumigation, even with Senior gone the infestation will remain. That’s how it always is with vermin once it’s allowed to take up domicile in a building. If they ooze out voluntarily it’ll be because the thing is sinking.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, I’m not so sure he has the military on his side at this point. He has not treated the generals he claimed to so love very well, and I think many of his decisions have actually turned the military against him, at least to a degree. The apathy … well, yes, it certainly exists, but that, too, may be turning around. At least I hope so. If Trump operated from any sort of an intellectual standpoint, I would be more concerned. But the fact is that he operates strictly on an emotional plane, and that in itself keeps him from being able to make a plan and stick with it. I don’t think he has what it takes to carry out any sort of coup, of change the Constitution, or get the backing he would need to make himself a dictator. True, he has definite autocratic tendencies, and I have written about those more than once, but he hasn’t the intellect or patience to follow through. I think. I hope.

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      • Re Trump and the military. Many dictators are hated by their military but they give them power, money and weapons just to get them to toe the line. If it means keeping him in power to get their goodies, they will. Hitler was (at first) openly hated by the Wehrmacht. It was only after he gave them some easy wins that they softened up some, but not totally, not ever. As for intelligence, that is never an asset for a dictator with violent, psychopathic tendencies. The intelligence of many historical dictators has been greatly overestimated. If they’d been intelligent, they would have avoided the pitfalls that brought their end – exceptions noted. Two shining examples of shining stupidity: Napoleon and Hitler. I wonder if Trump, as dictator, would engage a ground troop NATO invasion of Russia, just to make it strike three? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • You make some excellent points that I hadn’t considered. As for Trump invading Russia … doubtful, for I think he has too much personal investment to lose their. I think there are reasons he refuses to apply the sanctions against Russia that were approved by Congress last year, and a reason he praises Putin as he does. But, when it comes to Trump … who knows? He is unpredictable, for he operates on his emotion of the moment. The only thing predictable is that if it is sure to stir controversy, he will probably do it!

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