Dec 292016
 

News is still in short supply, unless one wishes to repeat the same stories, day after day, where only the individual identities of the targets of hatred from the Fuhrer and Republican Rectum Reich are new.  Nevertheless, I’m back in the saddle.  Yesterday’s bank run proved most interesting.  In the shower, Stumpy had bee3n hanging down without a shrinker, causing him to expand, and the hot water made it worse, so as I dressed to go out, Stumpy would not fit into George.  Thankfully, Wendy accompanied me to the bank, and in return, I treated her to burritos from a neighborhood food cart.  Fortunately George popped on without difficulty today.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: As the Republican Congress prepares to vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, gutting Social Security benefits for seniors and the disabled, and other measures to please their billionaire donor base, they are apparently deathly afraid of the American public seeing them do it, and even more afraid of allowing the public to see the Democrats’ response:

House members could be fined and referred to the Ethics Committee if they break rules governing electronic video and pictures in the House chamber under a new rule proposed by House Republicans more than six months after the Democrats’ guerrilla sit-in over gun control.

"Any subsequent offense will be assessed at the higher amount, regardless of whether it is connected to any other offense by time or proximity," part of the proposal reads.

The “fine" would be $500 for the "first offense" of photographing or videotaping, with $2500 for every "subsequent offense," according to the proposed Rule.

In addition, the new Republican rule would ban anyone from seeing organized protests by the opposition, because sit-ins in the House well will be banned as well.

The First Amendment is suspended for the Republican Rectum Reich.  RESIST!!

From Robert Reich: [Resident]-elect Donald Trump is accusing President Obama of putting up “roadblocks” to a smooth transition.

In reality, I think President Obama has been too cooperative with Trump.

In the waning days of his administration, I’d recommend Obama take the following last stands:

1. Name Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives the President power to fill any vacancy during the recess of the Senate. The Supreme Court is no exception: Justice William Brennan began his Court tenure with a recess appointment in 1956. Any appointments made this way expire at the end of the next Senate session. So if Obama appointed Garland on January 3, the appointment would last until December 2017, the end of the first session of the 115th Congress.

The Reich on the left is right. I shared one. Click through for the other six. I particularly like number three.  RESIST!!

From The Rachel Maddow Show:

Taking credit where credit is NOT dueVice President Biden’s Former Economic Advisor Jared Bernstein talks to Ari Melber about how Trump is trying to take credit for job growth when his policies could very well undermine his constituents.

 

You can be sure that, as soon as the Pumpkin Plutocrat is responsible for any economic developments, he will give "credit" for them to Democrats.  RESIST!!

Cartoon:

1229Cartoon

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Dec 132016
 

I’m waiting for Store to Door to call to take my grocery order.  I put George on for the first time this week to force Stumpy back into shape in time for Physical Terrorism with Courtney on Thursday.  The sun came out and has been hitting the brick facade for about an hour, so the room is getting hot, even though the temperature outside is 36° and the window is cracked about three inches.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:34 (average 5:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Fantasy Football Report:

Here’s the latest from our own Fantasy Football league, Lefty Blog Friends.

Scores:

14Scores

Prepare for the demise of the universe.  I won twice in a row.

Standings:

14Standings

Congrats to Rob for winning the Regular Season Championship.  At least I wasn’t dead last.  If Vivian had beaten Dusty, I would have moved up to 8th place and made the playoffs.  This the first time in many many years that I have ever failed to do so, but my season is now over.  Rest assured, I will continue to maintain the league and report the results of the next three weeks of playoffs for the rest of you.  I have already notified the site that we will continue next year, if Trump doesn’t destroy us first.

Short Takes:

From YouTube (GQ Channel): Is There a Russian Coup Underway in America? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann

 

I agree with everything he said. It’s exactly what I have been saying. RESIST!

From The New Yorker: Donald Trump stirred controversy on Monday by revealing that he intends to spend only half his time as President at the Kremlin—and the remainder at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

His decision to limit his time at the Kremlin reportedly stemmed from his wife Melania’s desire not to uproot the Trump family by relocating full-time to Moscow.

“It was part of the deal when he ran for President that he would go to the Kremlin and she would stay behind in New York,” a source close to the Trumps said.

Appearing on Russian television, Trump surrogate Kellyanne Conway said that Trump’s decision to split his time between Moscow and New York would have “no impact whatsoever” on his ability to function as an integral part of the Kremlin team.

Dang Andy!! I think the Fuhrer thinks the Russian Protest group, Pussy Riot, is something Putin put there for the Fuhrer to grab.

From Daily Kos: This is what doing the right thing looks like:

Saying that cyberattacks by foreign governments pose "grave threats" to U.S. national security, the senators’ statement said: "This cannot become a partisan issue. The stakes are too high for our country."

Two Democratic senators — Chuck Schumer of New York and Jack Reed of Rhode Island joined two Republican senators — John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina — in issuing the statement.

"We are committed to working in this bipartisan manner, and we will seek to unify our colleagues around the goal of investigating and stopping the grave threats that cyberattacks conducted by foreign governments pose to our national security,” the statement said.

Is it real, or is it what Republicans normally mean by bipartisanship?

bipartisan_b2284

Cartoon:

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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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Nov 172016
 

The Senate Democrats announced their leadership team yesterday and I consider them a mixed bag that's moving in the right direction, but only in part.  I'm somewhat slow to condemn, because I realize that the Senate is one of the most tradition bound institutions in government, where seniority takes precedence.

1117berniesanderselizabethwarren

After Senator Charles Schumer of New York was elected as the new leader of the Senate Democrats earlier on Wednesday, he gave both Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren leadership roles in the upcoming first Congress under President-elect Donald Trump.

Their roles are less meaningful than those of others on the leadership team, but their appointments are a sign that Democrats recognize and are responding to the progressive tilt in their party. Schumer had faced pressure to add the senators; earlier this week, dozens of protesters staged a sit-in outside of his office. Some liberals are skeptical of Schumer’s ties to Wall Street, while both Sanders and Warren are high-profile critics of big banks.

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, faced off against Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary. Even after it became clear she would win the nomination, he held on to his presidential bid and resisted endorsing Clinton. During that time he won major concessions while pushing the Democratic Party into approving the most progressive platform in its history, including seeking a $15 federal minimum wage and a carbon pricing regime to combat climate change.

Schumer had hoped to become Senate majority leader under a Clinton administration. But with Trump’s stunning victory last week, he will have to deal with a Republican in the White House and both houses of Congress under Republican control. Schumer will replace Harry Reid, who is retiring at the end of this year.

Senator Dick Durbin will continue in his role as party whip—the second-ranking Democrat—and Senator Patty Murray will assume the new title of assistant Democratic leader and be the third-ranking party member. Schumer’s team also includes Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian senator to hold a leadership role, and Senator Joe Manchin, a moderate…

From <Newsweek>

I'm not pleased with Schumer, but he was in line for the job.  While OK on most issues, he's too cozy with Wall Street Banksters and Vulture Capitalists.  According to GovTrack Durbin is better and ranks as 6th most progressive member of the Senate.  Patty Murray is 13th. Tammy Baldwin is 7th.  Joe Manchin, a horrid DINO, is 46th.  He should NOT have a leadership role.  Of course, my favorites are Bernie, who ranked 4th and Liz, who ranked 1st.

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Nov 102016
 

I'm sure it will come as no surprise to anyone here that I am a big fan of Keith Ellison. When he was appointed to the Democratic Platform Committee, and issued a mass invitation for Dems to tell him their thoughts, I posted it here (and it got a lot of attention LOL).

Bernie Sanders is a fan too (He was a Sanders appointment to the platform committee). 

Now, Keith has expressed interest in being the chairman of the DNC, and frankly, I can't think of a better idea.

Bernie says so too.

Keith is a true progressive champion.  He is often described as a "Climate Hawk," but he is progessive on everything, not just climate.  As the DNC Chair, he will be in a position to encourage and assist candidates and potential candidates whose values are in ine with ours – "ours" referring to those of us who are regular readers and posters here (and on Care2).  And it will be a position where he will be interacting mainly with Democrats, hence less likely to be exposed to ugly Republican Islamophobia on a daily basis.  He may or may not care about that (and he is strong enough and smart enough to face anything they throw at him), but I do. 

There is a petition on MoveOn, addressed to the DNC, in support of his candidacy.  Here's a quote from it:

Rep. Ellison has been endorsed by Sen. Sanders for the job, and has the experience, principles, and organizational skills to lead the Democratic Party in opposition to the Trump-Pence-McConnell-Ryan-Roberts administration. He is the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a member of the House Democratic Steering & Policy Committee and the Congressional Black Caucus, and the founder of the Congressional Consumer Justice Caucus. 

I hope that many will sign this petition, and I thank in advance any who do.

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Oct 262016
 

I'm having a very busy day.  I have a grocery delivery coming in the next couple hours, and need to unpack them and put them away.  Later Wendy is coming to scrub and de-stink the TomCat, tighten down the nuts and bolts on my power chair, do some light cleaning, and eat both the supper I prepared for her and some sweets to contribute to the Southern Exposure Project.  Tomorrow I'm going to the prison to help facilitate a Victims Impact Meeting, involving several outside victims and up to 100 of my guys.  Because I won't be home until quite late, please assume that I will be publishing Personal Updates only and Thursday and Friday and will not be sending links messages on Care2, so please don't worry.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today's took me 4:10 (average 5:30).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From NBC: Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the Pentagon on Wednesday to stop clawing-back the bonuses that thousands of soldiers got for reenlisting to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There is no more important responsibility for the Department of Defense than keeping faith with our people," Carter said in a statement. "That means treating them fairly and equitably, honoring their service and sacrifice, and keeping our word. Today, in keeping with that obligation, I am ordering a series of steps to ensure fair treatment for thousands of California National Guard soldiers who may have received incentive bonuses and tuition assistance improperly as a result of errors and in some cases criminal behavior by members of the California National Guard."

Carter's announcement was greeted with cheers in Kempner, Texas where Don and Susan Haley — both Iraq War veterans — had been struggling to pay back the bonuses they got when they reenlisted a decade ago in the California National Guard.

I trust JD will be most pleased with this.

From US News: A new report finds that the global gender pay gap will not be closed for another 170 years if current trends continue.

 Click through to watch the video.  I had to remove it because it autoplays.

A woman's place is in the House… and the Senate… and the White House… and above the glass ceiling!!

From NY Times: Thanks to recent gains, the Democrats now have a clear but vulnerable lead in the race for Senate control. Prediction markets give them a 78 percent chance of winning control, according to PredictWise.

There are nine competitive races, and the Democrats need to win at least five of them (if they also win the vice-presidency, which breaks Senate ties).

Every weekday, get thought-provoking commentary from Op-Ed columnists, the Times editorial board and contributing writers from around the world.

Democrats have seemingly safe leads over Republican incumbents in Illinois and Wisconsin and are also favored in Nevada, Indiana, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Missouri is a toss-up.

If you see new polls from Pennsylvania and Missouri, pay particular attention. Recent polls have shown the Republicans slightly ahead, but the prediction markets seem to think the polls haven’t yet caught up to the Republicans’ Trump-inflicted wounds.

Keep an eye on North Carolina and Florida, too. The Republicans — Richard Burr in North Carolina and Marco Rubio in Florida, both incumbents — are still favored, but the Democrats have a shot.

I happily endorse every Democrat. Even a DINO is better than a Rump Dump Rectumite!

Cartoon:

1026Cartoon

The military doesn't want the F-22, but Republicans won't allow its removal from the budget.

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