May 012017
 

It’s been a very long day and I’m very tired from setting up a new poll and from doing the research and preparing the graphics for tomorrow’s Monthly Report.  Please pardon my brevity.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:29 (average 5:01).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Commenting on Donald Trump’s first hundred days in office, Vice-President Mike Pence told Fox News on Sunday, “To tell you the truth, I really thought I’d be President by now.”

“When I agreed to run on the ticket with him, I said to myself, ‘Mike, after he’s been in the White House for a few weeks, he’ll be a total train wreck and you’ll be able to slide into the big-boy chair,’ ” Pence said. “I never in a million years thought he’d last a hundred days. My best guess was thirty.”

The former Indiana governor said that, with such seemingly fatal missteps as Trump’s failed health-care plan and travel bans, as well as any number of unhinged outbursts, “It feels like I’ve come close to getting in there maybe ten or twelve times. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”

Calling the past hundred days “the longest hundred days of my life,” Pence said that he has no choice now but to “sit and wait for my moment.”

Andy has made it clear that impeaching Trump is not enough. We also need to dump dozens of Republicans in the Presidential succession queue simultaneously. RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: A man armed with a machete and a bag full of knives seriously injured a Kentucky student Friday morning in a politically motivated attack at a campus coffee shop….

“The day of reckoning is here,” the man said, according to witnesses.

He then approached two women at the café.

“He asked the first girl if she was a Democrat or a Republican, she said Republican, (and) he said okay, then asked some other girl,” said witness Michael Soder. “By that time, some of my friends were running out and yelling for us to leave, and I tried to stay behind to see if — I mean I didn’t know what to do, I wanted to help, but I knew I should get out of there.”

Another witness shared a similar account.

“He asked somebody what their political affiliation was, they said ‘Republican,’ and the guy said, ‘You are safe,’ and then I realized what was going on and started getting people out,” said witness Tristan Reynolds.

The assailant, who police said was a former student, then pulled out a machete and attacked a woman in the café. [emphasis original]

I guess I need to retire the term Al Dubya after all these years. Al Drumpfenfarten is a greater terrorist threat to America and the World than al Qaeda or the Daesh ever were.  RESIST!!

From NY Times: Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan agreement on Sunday to fund the government through September, effectively ending any suspense about the possibility of a government shutdown next weekend.

The agreement, which still must be voted on by lawmakers, includes increased funding for the military and for border security. But it does not include funding for the wall that President Trump wants to build along the border with Mexico, one of his major campaign promises.

The deal increases funding for the National Institutes of Health, despite the Trump administration’s request that its budget be reduced for the rest of the fiscal year. And it provides millions of dollars to reimburse costs incurred by local law enforcement agencies to protect Mr. Trump and his family — a boon to New York City, which has had the costly task of helping to protect Trump Tower.

The spending package would be the first significant bipartisan measure approved by Congress during the Trump presidency. Republicans, despite having control of both houses of Congress and the White House, were unable to pass any marquee legislation in the president’s first 100 days.

I’ll reserve judgment until I have more info, but it appears we got as much as we gave up or more, and the compromise appears better than a government shutdown.  RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Open Thread – 4/25/2017

 Posted by at 1:19 pm  Politics
Apr 252017
 

It’s another day that the pain remains severe, but I did get enough sleep to publish.  I expect to publish tomorrow as well, as I have to be up to receive a grocery delivery.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 4:04).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Bill O’Reilly’s Downfall (And Trump’s, Too?) | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

All should boycott all things Trump. As I said…

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… and a few more. RESIST!!

From The New Yorker: In an appearance at the University of Chicago on Monday, former President Barack Obama unloaded a relentless barrage of complete sentences in what was widely seen as a brutal attack on his successor, Donald Trump.

Appearing at his first public event since leaving office, Obama fired off a punishing fusillade of grammatically correct sentences, the likes of which the American people have not heard from the White House since he departed.

“He totally restricted his speech to complete sentences,” Tracy Klugian, a student at the event, said. “It was the most vicious takedown of Trump I’d ever seen.”

“About five or six sentences in, I noticed that all of his sentences had both nouns and verbs in them,” Carol Foyler, another student, said. “I couldn’t believe he was going after Trump like that.”

Dang Andy! It must be an attack on the Fuhrer for Obama to have used the science of grammar! RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Donald Trump still insists that Mexico is going to pay for the border wall. Except Mexico stubbornly refuses to send an up-front check for something that would cost as much as their national budget, is designed to wreck their economy, and is basically the world’s biggest and “most beautiful” screw-you. So until Trump figures out exactly how to get Mexico to shell out for a giant slap in the face, there’s the problem of finding that money in your pocket.

Last week Trump budget director, and chief torturer of both reason and common decency, Mick Mulvaney, proposed that Trump might let slip a dollar worth of health care for every dollar that Democrats provided for hate concrete. Mulvaney insisted that the Wall was a must-have, take-it-or-leave-it item, but his healthcare for hardware exchange was not exactly a deal anyone rushed to embrace.

As it turns out, there was no need to, because faced with the idea of hitting a government shutdown on Day 99 of his regime, Donald Trump appears ready to fold like a gaudy gold napkin in the Mar-a-lago dining and strategic planning room.

Trump has two choices, fold or face the consequences of his shutdown. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0425Cartoon

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Apr 222017
 

It’s another day with lots of pain, but enough sleep.  There has been a small demonstration, marching under my window.  Some chanted "What do we want? Educated science! When do we want it?  After peer review!"  Others chanted, "Science says, ‘Dump Trump!’"  A small group of Republican hecklers marched and chanted, "Science trumps niggers!  Trump trumps niggers!"  I apologize for using that hateful word, but I consider accurately condemning Republican racism more important political correctness.  Please expect no more than a personal update tomorrow.  It’s a Wendy day, and there is much to do.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:53 (average 4:58).  To do it, click here.  Hpw did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (MoveOn Channel): Happy Earth Day from MoveOn.org!

 

What Republicans are doing to the earth is unBEARable. RESIST!!

From Sen. Jeff Merkley: Keep It in the Ground

Climate change is already wreaking havoc on our farming, fishing and forests—and without dramatic action in the near future, it will get much worse. Our society is still dependent on fossil fuels, but affordable and reliable technology exists to gradually transition to clean energy and clean transportation. Making that transition happen smoothly should be a central priority of the federal government.

A key starting point is to stop the expansion of fossil fuel production on our public lands and waters. Rather than serving coal, oil, and gas companies, our public lands should serve the public and accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels and towards a cleaner energy future.

Learn more about Keep It in the Ground

The Keep It in the Ground Act is one step we can take to slow the pace of climate change and prevent some of its most serious consequences. Click here to learn more about Keep It in the Ground and click here to download a short summary of the bill.

To see the full text of the bill, click here.

To download a copy of our Keep It in the Ground PDF pamphlet, click here.

Sign Up for Jeff’s Climate Updates

To sign up for Jeff’s climate change updates and the latest Keep It in the Ground Act news, sign up here.

 

Please Support Jeff’s Keep It in the Ground Bill, It won’t pass during a Republican Reich, but it shows voters that Democrats are superior stewards of our world. I could not be more proud of Jeff. Oregon leads the way! RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Donald Trump wants nothing more in the world than to build that "big, beautiful" nativist status symbol he promised at every campaign stop from the moment he announced his candidacy. Yes, indeedy, that border wall is emerging as so very important to the popular vote loser that his minions are willing to risk it all.

Despite the fact that Republicans have no path to securing enough GOP votes alone to pass Trump’s budget priorities—funding the wall, increased defense spending, and adding more border agents—the White House is preparing to wage what amounts to a game of chicken with Democrats in advance of the April 28 deadline, writes Politico:

With almost uniform Democratic opposition to nearly all of the Trump administration’s spending proposals, the fight could lead to a government shutdown next Friday — the day government spending expires, and right before the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency. Officials could also strike a one-week compromise, giving them more time for a broader agreement.

I warned that this was coming. As painful as it might be, Democrats cannot bow to Republican blackmail using the American people as hostages. There is only one response. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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A dark day!

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Mar 222017
 

Another day, another nickel!  I am still feeling a little lost time wise since my mother passed.  I know things will right themselves before too long, if no other reason than I have taxes to do for the end of April, and of course I still have my mother's estate to prepare.  I am running into a few bumps in the road estate wise, but nothing I can't handle.  The rest of the week is busy but I hope to be back with another OT.

Short Takes

YouTube — Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – World War Trump (HBO) March 15, 2017              

The Atlantic — As it turns out, this was only a warm-up for the dual press conference the two leaders held later Friday afternoon, during which Merkel stood beside Trump as he ridiculed a German reporter, lied about his statements on his baseless conspiracy theory that President Obama surveilled him, and refused to back down on claims that have set off a diplomatic incident with the United Kingdom.

The fact that it might be a tense conversation was clear from the two leaders’ opening statements. Trump, during his, once again complained about the cost of NATO. “I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost defense,” he said. “Many nations owe vast sums of money from past years and it is very unfair to the United States. These nations must pay what they owe.”

As for Merkel, she used her own statement to issue a veiled scolding for Trump, who previously said she was “ruining” Germany with a “catastrophic mistake” of an open-door refugee policy. “I've always said it's much, much better to talk to one another and not about one another, and I think our conversation proved this,” Merkel said.  …

During the press conference, the American journalist Mark Halperin asked Merkel a question about whether she thought Trump’s “different style” than past president was good for the world. The chancellor gamely tried to answer.

“For Germany I can say, well people are different, people have different abilities, different traits of character, have different origins, have found their way into politics along different pathways,” she said through a translator. “Which, well, that is diversity, which is good! Sometimes it’s difficult to find compromises, but that’s what we’ve been elected for.”

The fact that Merkel had to work hard to say something diplomatic in response to such a softball question said a great deal about the press conference. But give the chancellor credit for effort—Trump didn’t even bother to try diplomacy.

Drumpf knows nothing of diplomacy.  He is like the proverbial "bull in a china shop" and it is quite obvious that he doesn't care.  The National Post ran an article in which it recorded the following,

President Donald Trump said Saturday that Germany owes "vast sums of money" to NATO and the U.S. "must be paid more" for providing defence, reiterating his stance that European allies need to end their part of the bargain if they are to continue benefiting from the military alliance."

It is quite clear that Drumpf does not know or understand the funding formula that was agreed upon in previous years.  The NATO agreement was signed on 4 April 1949 and constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.  I probably know more about NATO than Drumpf does, and that can't be good.  In the picture, this handshake is the most awkward looking handshake.  Drumpf looks like a downright nasty beast.

msn.com (USA Today) — The Pleasant Run Elementary students had just won a robotics challenge at Plainfield High School, and the students — new to bot competition this year — were one step closer to the Vex IQ State Championship.

The team is made up of 9- and 10-year-olds. Two are African American and three are Latino.

As the group, called the Pleasant Run PantherBots, and their parents left the challenge last month in Plainfield, Ind., competing students from other Indianapolis-area schools and their parents were waiting for them in the parking lot.

“Go back to Mexico!” two or three kids screamed at their brown-skin peers and their parents, according to some who were there.

More despicable behaviour as a result of Drumpf's targeting of minorities.  What well adjusted young people that are putting the hate behind them and enjoying the learning experience and the competition.

Washington Post — On the 60th day of his presidency came the hardest truth for Donald Trump.

He was wrong.

James B. Comey — the FBI director whom Trump celebrated on the campaign trail as a gutsy and honorable “Crooked Hillary” truth-teller — testified under oath Monday what many Americans had already assumed: Trump had falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping his headquarters during last year’s campaign.

Trump did not merely allege that former president Barack Obama ordered surveillance on Trump Tower, of course. He asserted it as fact, and then reasserted it, and then insisted that forthcoming evidence would prove him right.

But in Monday’s remarkable, marathon hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Comey said there was no such evidence. Trump’s claim, first made in a series of tweets on March 4 at a moment when associates said he was feeling under siege and stewing over the struggles of his young presidency, remains unfounded.  

Comey did not stop there. He confirmed publicly that the FBI was investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign officials and associates with Russia, part of an extraordinary effort by an adversary to influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. election in Trump’s favor.

I'll bet that "He was wrong." was hard to swallow for narcissistic Drumpf!  . . . or did he really hear and understand it?  Will he demand Comey's resignation?  Who knows.  My bet says he will bring it up again.  . . . and again . . . and again.  He doesn't know when to quit!  After all the Monday drama, in dire need of some adulation to feed his narcissistic soul, Drumpf headed out to Missouri for yet another rally that is nothing more than a love fest so his supporters thinking he is looking after them.  Or should I say to fleece his flock?! 

YouTube — The Most Telling Thing About the FBI’s Probe into Trump | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ  

Keith hits it out of the park, doesn't he!

YouTube — The Only True Surprise? Trump’s an Idiot | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ              

Another fine piece by Keith.  "These people are idiots!"  Truer words have not been spoken!

 

Resist and Persist!!!

 

My Universe — This gives new meaning to going postal!

 

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Mar 172017
 

Happy St Paddy's Day

Well tomorrow is St Paddy's Day and the green beer and blarney will be overflowing.  You certainly should be familiar with blarney after listening to Drumpfenfarten and his minions.  So dust off your dancing shoes because tomorrow it is time for an Irish jig!

Jig Zone Puzzle — It took me 4:43 (average 7:27).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

I enjoy doing these puzzles so much that I thought I'd throw one in from time to time.  I will be choosing a puzzle that we haven't, to the best of my memory, had before.

Short Takes

The New Yorker — Notching the first major achievement of his Presidency, Donald Trump has broken the world record for unconstitutional travel bans, the White House confirmed on Wednesday.

In an official statement announcing the new world record, the White House called Trump’s second unconstitutional ban “especially impressive” because it came only thirty-eight days after his first.

PHOTOGRAPH BY OLIVIER DOULIERY / BLOOMBERG VIA GETTY

“In addition to the world record for unconstitutional travel bans, President Trump has also smashed the speed record for signing them,” the statement read.

Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, touted the new world record in a press briefing that sometimes resembled a victory lap.

“After the first unconstitutional travel ban, a lot of people questioned whether the President could follow it up with another unconstitutional one so quickly,” a gloating Spicer said. “I think he silenced a lot of doubters today.”

Does Drumpf do anything that is not unconstitutional!  This smells a lot like straight reporting Andy!

OtherWords.org —

Cartoon removed pending clarification.

Khalil Bendib/ OtherWords.org

Having only recently discovered Khalil Bendib's work, I find it quite good and as JD remarked on the last one, worth more than a thousand words.

Common Dreams — Just as his unverified wiretapping claims were seemingly dispelled, President Donald Trump stuck his foot further in the mire and is now facing accusations he may have let slip highly classified information during a televised interview Wednesday evening.

When asked by Fox News host Tucker Carlson why he hasn't gone to the agencies he is "in charge of," to "gather evidence" to support his claim that President Barack Obama tapped Trump Tower, Trump said: "Because I don't want to do anything that's going to violate any strength of an agency. You know we have enough problems. And, by the way, the CIA—I just want people to know—the CIA was hacked and a lot of things taken. That was during the Obama years. That was not during us."

That information, it appears, was not for the public.

On Thursday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which has asked the administration to provide evidence of the alleged tap, accused Trump of "leaking" classified information.

Click through for the rest of the read.  Drumpfenfarten would argue red is green, and green is red.  He hasn't a clue what he is talking about.  Evidence?  I doubt there is any that is credible, and the ravings of a twitterhead should not be considered credible.  Even members of his own party are calling him out.

Huffington Post — A presidential budget isn’t so much a policy proposal as a statement of an administration’s moral vision for the country. The budget presented by President Donald Trump on Thursday is a document fundamentally unconcerned with the government’s role in improving the plight of its most vulnerable citizens.

That message is clear in the budget’s topline proposals and its deeper details. Trump calls for a $54 billion boost in defense spending and immigration enforcement. More border patrol agents, more Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, more fighter jets that don’t work, and a border wall with Mexico. To offset those fresh expenses, he wants to take an ax to a host of anti-poverty programs ― everything from public housing to food programs helping elderly people with disabilities.

This was an ideological choice. When explaining why it would eliminate a $35 million affordable housing program, the administration declared the endeavor simply wasn’t the government’s business: “This program is duplicative of efforts funded by philanthropy and other more flexible private sector investments.”  …

That Trump’s budget is devoid of even modest nods to social welfare is not something that the administration is trying to hide. Instead, they’ve turned the argument on its head. At a press briefing Thursday afternoon, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was asked how he could justify cutting programs for the elderly and the poor while ramping up spending in other areas. In response, he insisted that, on the contrary, taking food from the mouths of hungry children should be seen as an act of “compassion." 

“I think it’s one of the most compassionate things we can do,” Mulvaney said, referring to reducing anti-poverty spending. The government, he declared, has an urgent moral priority to ensure that “the single mom of two in Detroit” doesn’t pay for programs that don’t serve “a proper function.”

For a so called moral document, this budget is very immoral!  Since when does taking food from hungry children constitute compassion?  And Meals on Wheels benefits the elderly and those with disabilities who cannot get out. It is also a social lifeline and contributes to better health outcomes.  This administration is morally bankrupt and the budget proposal proves it.  I wonder if the Republican Congress will  rubber stampthe proposal.  There are indications that not all are onboard the Drumpfenfarten train.

 

 

 

My Universe —

 

 

 

 

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Dec 112016
 

If you read the monthly reports, you will find that Politics Plus readers tend to be older, poor, and more female that male (although of course both are represented.)  Those of us living in the Unitd States who fit that description are probably living mostly or totally on the earned benefits of Social Security.  I know I am.

So I thought that the content of this article from Mother Jones should be posted to Politics Plus.

Now, it's nothing new that Republicans want to cut Social Security (or should I say gut Social Security?)  That has been true since it was created in 1935.  But usually, when government programs are cut that people depend on, current recipients at least are "grandfathered" in so that the cuts will apply to future beneficiaries.  Well, that's not exactly true of this bill.

The Mother Jones article includes the complete first draft of the bill, but also refers to Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo, from whom I'd like to quote:

[Y]ou're out of luck even if you're a current beneficiary….  [R]eviewing the summary of the GOP bill, keep the following in mind. If you've been working for any number of years, but especially if you've been working for two or three decades, you've been paying in not only money for current beneficiaries but additional money which was invested in US government bonds to make it possible for Social Security to pay benefits of Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers….  This plan appears to foresee the government never paying that back to Social Security. In other words, your payroll taxes have been socking away additional money to cover the growing senior population. But this bill says too bad. That money goes for high income tax cuts.

Nancy Pelosi had this to say:  "Apparently nothing upsets House Republicans like the idea of hard-working people getting to enjoy a secure and dignified retirement."  Yes, she went into more detail, but that sums it up.

Even Yahoo! Finance has a scary article: 

The bill introduced by Johnson, who was recently acting Chair of the Ways and Means committee, slashes benefits, adds means testing, and would raise the retirement age from 67 to 69.  For most workers, the bill would cut Social Security benefits substantially. As Michael Linden, associate director for tax and budget policy at Center for American Progress, pointed out on Twitter, a letter from Social Security’s Office of the Actuary calculated workers making around $50,000 would see checks shrink by between 11% and 35%.  Nearly every income bracket would see a reduction….

The Mother Jones article is the only one I found which has the actual complete text of the draft bill.  It is 54 pages long.  I haven't finished reading it myself yet – I am still dreading it.  But I wanted to get this up so we can all share.

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