Jun 122017

Well the Cat is back!  Although he posted two pieces today, he has to remember to pace himself lest he end up in trouble again.  As he said, he is still in some pain and no doubt a little tired from lying around in a hospital bed.  TC has medical appointments and eye surgery coming up, so while I will back off a little now, I will be back.  Today was a relaxing day for me, such is not the case for the rest of the week.  I ate all that good cheese/herb and garlic fococcia so now I don't have any for supper . . . but oh it was sooooooooo good!  I have to go out tomorrow so I'll be at Cob's Bakery to get some more.  I may not keep my friends but I'll have a happy tummy!

Short Takes

The HillLegislation introduced in the House on Monday would prevent President Trump from receiving federally subsidized flood insurance amid warnings that the effects of climate change could cause parts of his Mar-a-Lago resort and other south Florida properties to be underwater in coming years.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) bill – titled the Prohibiting Aid for Recipients Ignoring Science (PARIS) Act – would ensure properties owned by a president or family members can’t have access to subsidized insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.

An analysis by Coastal Risk Consulting found that the Mar-a-Lago grounds in Palm Beach, Fla., could be under at least a foot of water for 210 days a year because of tidal flooding.

To quote Jackie Gleason, "How sweet it is!"  Love the acronym —PARIS!  Oregon leads the way?!  While I applaud this, it will go nowhere with a Republican Congress.

CBC — Canada's longest-serving chief justice of the Supreme Court will retire from the bench on Dec. 15, 2017.

In a statement sent to reporters Monday, Beverley McLachlin said she would leave the court after serving for 28 years, including 17 years as the presiding judge.

The 73-year-old jurist was appointed by former prime minister Brian Mulroney in 1989. She became the first woman to hold the top job on the country's highest court after she was elevated to chief justice by former prime minister Jean Chrétien in 2000.

"It has been a great privilege to serve as a justice of the court, and later its chief justice, for so many years. I have had the good fortune of working with several generations of Canada's finest judges and best lawyers. I have enjoyed the work and the people I have worked with enormously," McLachlin said.  …

Moreover, McLachlin, the daughter of prairie farmers, encouraged the court's nine justices to come to a consensus, which resulted in a rate of unanimity substantially higher than that of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mulroney said Monday his appointee has "performed so well under difficult circumstances," and dismissed criticism from some Conservatives that she has been too activistic in her approach. "She was just doing what the constitutional amendment of 1982 told her to do," he said, speaking of the introduction of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"I think her greatest achievement probably wasn't a particular case, rather it was that she provided such strong leadership, in a collegial and widely admired fashion across Canada by lawyers, judges and many politicians," he said in an interview Monday on CBC News Network's Power & Politics, adding McLachlin has played a strong leadership role in the "evolution of Canada."

A sad day for the country, but I am sure a good day for McLachlin.   I mention this because the Supreme Court of Canada performs quite well, especially when contrasted to SCOTUS.  McLachlin was appointed by a Conservative Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, and elevated to Chief Justice by a Liberal Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien.

The HillRep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) unveiled a proposed article of impeachment Monday against President Trump for allegedly obstructing justice in a federal investigation.

The legislative text argues that Trump’s alleged attempts to pressure since-fired FBI Director James Comey to drop the agency’s investigation into former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn amounts to obstruction of justice.

“In all of this, Donald John Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States,” the proposed article of impeachment states.  …

“As the investigations move forward, additional evidence supporting additional Articles of Impeachment may emerge. However, as to Obstruction of Justice … the evidence we have is sufficient to move forward now. And the national interest requires that we do so,” Sherman wrote. 

It should be noted that the Democratic leadership thinks it is premature.  In a related article, The Hill notes

"We’re still very early in the investigative process.”

Rep. Linda Sánchez (Calif.), vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said Schiff’s view reflects the “overwhelming sentiment” among the Democrats.

“A majority of the Caucus is of the belief that we ought to allow the investigation to continue to its logical conclusion before making any determination,” she told reporters in the Capitol.

From a Reuters piece concerning Preet Bhahara, the fired US Attorney for the Southern District of New York,  

Bharara stopped short of saying whether he thought Trump had obstructed justice in his conversations and subsequent firing of Comey.

However, he said he thought there was "absolutely evidence to begin a case" into the matter.

Some caution is warranted.  The ducks need to be properly lined up so as not to interfere with any investigation.  One thing though, the Democrats have to be united in their actions or suffer the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" as Shakespeare would say.

YouTube — Comey's Testimony – Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

I have removed the original video and replaced it with this shorter version.  This part is contained in the original.  John Oliver offers his take on Comey's testimony with his usual humour.

My Universe

This is especially for Nameless who has trouble getting his puddy into the carrier.


Trump vs. Comey

 Posted by at 1:38 am  Politics
Jun 112017

The lonliest man in the world in a room full of people.

I don't know what people were waiting for most, James Comey's testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, or Trump's reaction to it.  Of course, to get the second, you must have the first.  They are part and parcel.

While James Comey was giving testimony under oath to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday 08 June 2017, Trump was speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, DC.  According to the Washington Post

"… just as Comey was wrapping up his public hearing, Trump recited Isaiah 1:17, which states: “Learn to do right, seek justice, defend the oppressed. Take up the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

Then the president added in his own words: “The entrenched interests and failed bitter voices in Washington will do everything in their power to try and stop us from this righteous cause, to try to stop all of you. They will lie, they will obstruct, they will spread their hatred and their prejudice, but we will not back down from doing what is right.”

“Because as the Bible tells us, we know the truth will prevail,” he added. “Nothing worth doing ever came easy. . . . We know how to fight better than anybody, and we never give up. We are winners, and we are going to fight.”

I am sorry, but when did Drumpf or a pseudo Christian ever heed the true meaning of scripture?  Righteous cause?  Drumpf was playing the audience like a maestro plays the violin, and they bought itlock, stock and barrel.

From The NY Times, these highlights from The Senate hearing:

‘Lies, plain and simple’

Mr. Comey said Mr. Trump lied to the American public when he said that the F.B.I. was in disarray and that agents had lost confidence in Mr. Comey.

“Those were lies, plain and simple,” Mr. Comey said in brief opening remarks.

Mr. Trump made that claim when he fired Mr. Comey last month. Mr. Comey said he was confused and concerned by Mr. Trump’s changing explanation for why he fired him.

‘We know how to fight,’ Trump says

Mr. Trump, appearing at a meeting of faith leaders and politicians in Washington as Mr. Comey testified across town, railed against the media and his political opponents.

“We know how to fight better than anybody and we never, ever give up — we are winners and we are going to fight,” he told hundreds of supporters at the annual Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

Mr. Trump recited Isaiah 1:17, then continued by saying that “entrenched interests” in Washington “will lie, they will obstruct, they will spread their hatred and their prejudice, but we will not back down from doing what is right.”

“We know the truth will prevail,” he added. “Nothing worth doing ever came easy.”

A short time later, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, issued a statement denying Mr. Comey’s testimony that the president pressured him to drop his investigations into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia. He also said Mr. Trump never demanded “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty” as Mr. Comey testified on Thursday.

“Contrary to numerous false press accounts leading up to today’s hearing, Mr. Comey has now finally confirmed publicly what he repeatedly told the president privately: The president was not under investigation as part of any probe into Russian interference,” Mr. Kasowitz’s statement said. “He also admitted that there is no evidence that a single vote changed as a result of any Russian interference.

Mr. Trump watched part of the hearings with the lawyer, and Mr. Kasowitz’s statements tracked closely with emails and talking points issued by the Republican National Committee, who think the former director hurt himself by acknowledging he leaked a memo detailing his private interactions with the president.

Click through for more highlights.  You can also read a transcript of the hearing at  NY TimesIt is decidedly faster than listening to the three plus hours of testimony, although the nuance of tone and body language is lost. 

Rachel Maddow provides some analysis of the day's proceedings.

So, who were the winners and losers after Comey's testimony?

The Hill I have provided the first "winner" and the first "loser".  Click through for the remaining winners and losers.  So Trump, who has the big L on the forehead now?  You do!

Former FBI Director James Comey
Comey rode into the Thursday hearing on a wave of positive press. He figures to go back to civilian life on the same high.
Comey’s seven-page opening statement was praised for its prose and will be remembered for its portrayal of excruciating personal interactions involving a president at war with his FBI director.

Comey’s reputation for being “politically savvy” will grow after he revealed that he engineered the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia by sharing his notes about conversations with Trump through an intermediary to The New York Times — for the express purpose of getting the counsel picked.
There will definitely be some blowback for Comey, who had criticized leaks while serving as FBI director. His admission of sharing the notes underlines his image as a Washington player — and perhaps not in a completely complimentary way.
Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz ripped Comey at a presser after the hearing, criticizing the leak as improper and insisting that Trump never asked for his loyalty.
Yet the bipartisan praise he won from senators on the Intelligence panel will make it more difficult for critics to tar him.
And Comey’s reputation as someone who looked out for an independent FBI is unlikely to be shaken.
President Trump
There was much to be relieved about after Thursday’s hearing if you were Trump or his staff.
The legal case against Trump didn’t grow from Comey’s testimony, which included no new bombshells.
There is still no evidence that Trump campaign officials colluded with Russia, and Comey would not say that the president sought to obstruct justice by asking him to “lift the cloud” over his administration and the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Comey also said Trump was not under investigation while he was at the FBI, validating public remarks by the president.
Still, it’s never a good day when an FBI director accuses you of being a liar and defaming the federal law enforcement power.
Overall, it was another bad day in politics for Trump, who has had many of those in recent weeks.
The Comey drama and the Russian probe are badly hampering Trump’s ability to govern. The president’s job approval rating hit a new low this week and his agenda has stalled in Congress. 
Comey’s testimony will only thicken the “cloud” of controversy that Trump, according to the former FBI director, really wanted to see lifted.
Trump's reaction to Comey's testimony the following day as reported by Reuters:

President Donald Trump called James Comey a "leaker" on Friday, the day after his former FBI director accused him in a U.S. Senate hearing of lying and trying to quash an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. 

"Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication … and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" Trump tweeted in his first comments since Comey appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

If I had to sum up the activities in Washington in ten words or less, I think I'd use a headline from CNN:
James Comey just went nuclear on Donald Trump.
I am sure that when TomCat is up to it, he will provide more analysis of Comey's testimony and where he sees this circus going.
Jun 112017

Well, the nurses at Providence Portland Medical Centre are sick and tired of having a mangy, grumpy old TomCat lying about so they are shipping him home Saturday afternoon.  He still needs more recovery time, after all, one does not donate their gallbladder to science without feeling a bit tired.  Your continued healing thoughts and prayers are very much appreciated.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Today’s took me 3:22 (average 5:26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes

Alternet — This week Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel faced off in their first Special Election Debate for Georgia’s District 06 seat. Handel has been running scared for some time—since running as a Republican these days is like wearing a gasoline body spray at a factory that only produces sparks. At one point, the candidates were allowed to ask one another a question. Handel, having virtually nothing worthwhile to stand on as a candidate herself, decided to try to push the Republican narrative that Jon Ossoff is some carpet-bagging elitist who is going to turn your kids into musical theatre dancers with newfangled iPhones and solar energy lust.

As the subheading to the article says, "Karen Handel stepped on a land mine during Georgia's special election debate Wednesday" and it went KABOOM!!!.  That Georgia Peach is sour  . . . as sour as can be!  For those that don't remember her, Handel was involved with the Susan G Komen Foundation and the controversy from a few years back.  On special election day 20 June 2017, let's make that Georgia Peach fall right off the tree!

Think Progress — For most politically active, progressive 16-year-olds, participating in the democratic process might involve volunteering for a campaign or joining a high school young Democrats club. Tahseen Chowdhury has a different idea.

Though he isn’t old enough to vote, the junior at Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School launched his campaign last month for New York state senate. Chowdhury will be challenging Sen. Jose Peralta (D) in Queens’ District 13 in September 2018.

Chowdhury is unconcerned that he’s not a known politician. He said he’s counting on two phenomena emerging in 2017 to bolster his campaign: The growing number of first-time politicians deciding to take a stab at politics and voters’ anger toward President Trump, which is also being directed toward local lawmakers.

“If people don’t trust their representatives on the federal level, they have to make sure they’re represented adequately in the state and local level,” he told ThinkProgress by phone from his high school office. “And they’re not being represented well.”

Click through to see what motivates this teen.  I predict good things from this young man in the coming years.  With the Labour gains in the recent UK election, the rejection of Marine LePen in France, and the protests against Drumpf and Republicans in the US, young voters are saying enough to false promises and austerity.

Daily Kos — On Thursday, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) praised the recent Islamic State attack in Tehran as a “good thing” and suggested that maybe the United States should work with the militant organization.  …

"We have recently seen an attack on Iran, and the Iranian government, the mullahs, believe that Sunni forces have attacked them. This may signal a ratcheting up of certain commitments by the United States of America. As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think, isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us? Isn’t that a good thing? And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.”

How do these idiots like Rohrabacher get elected?  Of course he is a Republican!  Saints preserve us!!!


Resist and Persist!!!

My Universe


Jun 092017

It has been a busy week and next week looks the same.  It rained most of yesterday and a bit last night, but today has been dry with some sunshine.  Earlier this week, Wendy said that she expected TC would go home Friday or Saturday.  So far, I think he is still in the hospital as he still has pain and did not outright say he was home.  However I know he is very relieved that the liver spots are benign.  Please say prayers or keep healing thoughts for TC front and centre.  I hope everyone has a good weekend.

Jigsaw Puzzle

Yesterday’s took me 3:32 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do? No, I'm not barkin' mad!

Today’s took me 4:27 (average 5:46).  To do it, click here.  How did you do? 

Short Takes

Politico — House Republicans on Thursday united to pass a comprehensive bill that would dismantle the landmark banking regulations enacted after the 2008 financial crisis.

The legislation, approved without a single Democratic vote, represents the GOP's opening salvo in the debate over easing the rules on the financial system, a move sparked by the election of President Donald Trump and Republican control of Congress. 

Hensarling argues that the economy and consumers would benefit from his vision in which market forces rather than government regulation would keep the financial system in check.

Among the bill's most controversial measures is the elimination of most of the powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the independent regulatory agency that is Democrats' crown jewel in Dodd-Frank.

The legislation would rename the weakened CFPB the Consumer Law Enforcement Agency and make it more beholden to Congress and the president. 

The bill would also repeal a pillar of Dodd-Frank that allows regulators to manage the failure of a major financial institution, replacing that power with an updated version of the bankruptcy code.

While people were distracted by the Comey testimony, Lyin' Ryan and the Republicans rammed through a piece of legislation designed to all but kill the CFPB.  Not good at all!

Raw Story — A former Republican congressman who voted to impeach former President Bill Clinton called out House Speaker Paul Ryan as a hypocrite.

Ryan argued Thursday that congressional Republicans would not be calling for the impeachment of a Democratic president accused of the same activity as President Donald Trump — but former representative Bob Inglis dismissed those claims as nonsense.

“You know this isn’t true,” Inglis tweeted to Ryan. “You know that you would be inquiring into impeachment if this were a D.”

There have been 2 attempts to impeach sitting presidents in modern times: Richard Nixon — the Judiciary Committee approved Articles of Impeachment in July 1974 but Nixon resigned in August 1974 before the whole House could vote on the impeachment; and Bill Clinton — the Judiciary Committee approved Articles of Impeachment in December 1998 but he was acquitted in the Senate.  I won't go into detail on the charges but both presidents were charged with obstruction of justice as well as other charges.  See Nixon charges here and Clinton charges here.  In my non legal mind, it is apparent that Drumpf has obstructed justice and I hope that Mueller's investigation will bear that out at the very least.  It is a long process which will hamper Drumpf to do his job effectively.

YouTube — What We Now Know From James Comey | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ              

As the days proceed, I am sure that Mueller's investigation will raise more questions and hopefully some answers.  Comey has not heard the end of the public testimony and I dare say there will be all manner of speculation about the closed session.  Truth win out!

The New Yorker — The White House was on lockdown Thursday morning after a television was hurled out of a window, the Secret Service reported.

The incident, which occurred shortly after 10 A.M. E.S.T., caught the attention of the Secret Service after agents heard the sound of smashing glass emanating from the Oval Office.

“The sound was consistent with that of a large object, such as a television set, being thrown through a closed window,” a Secret Service spokesman said.

The television, which crashed to the ground outside the Oval Office, injured no one, the Secret Service confirmed.

I think Andy is back to straight reporting again.  I can quite imagine that the pResident was really foaming at the mouth listening to Comey's testimony.  His staff tried to keep him away from Twitter, but when they could contain no more, he let loose with this tweet "Despite so many false statements and lies, total and complete vindication … and WOW, Comey is a leaker!" .  

My Universe

I particularly like #3. 

Reminds me of my Annie who is almost 9 years old now.

Jun 082017

Well yesterday was a busy day for me and although I did get an OT started, I could not finish it for you.  We have had word from TC which you may have seen here on the site, but I will repeat just in case.  Tom had a successful surgery to remove his gallbladder but in the process, the doctor found a spot on his liver which they biopsied.  Those results will not be known for a few hours at least.  The prancreatitis has improved marginally but TC will know more later.  According to Wendy he has recovered enough to start bossing Wendy around rather than the nurses.  TC says Wendy is the BOMB!  So continued prayers or good healing thoughts or both are very much appreciated for TC.  We need our Puddy Tat back to help get us through this reign of terror lead by Drumpfenfarten and the Republicans. 

Update: TC posted at 1810 hours — the liver spots are benign!

Jigsaw Puzzle

Today’s took me 3:45 (average 5:14).  To do it, click here.  How did you do? That's no neigh-gative experience!

Short Takes

CBC — Russian hackers attacked at least one U.S. voting software supplier days before last year's presidential election, according to a government intelligence report leaked Monday that suggests election-related hacking penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than previously known.

The classified National Security Agency report, which was published online by The Intercept, does not say whether the hacking had any effect on election results. But it says Russian military intelligence attacked a U.S. voting software company and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials at the end of October or beginning of November.

There is no doubt that the infaltration of the US by Russia has been going on longer than believed.  It did not just start with the DNC hack, and it would be myopic to think that there are no more hacks.  I find myself wondering what the next revelation will be.

YouTube — Did Trump Himself Meet With the Russian Ambassador? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ     

With Drump's record of lying continuously, it is nearly impossible to think that he did not meet with the Russian ambassador and was not involved with the case of collusion.  I listened to some of the Comey testimony today.  Afterwards, Drumpf's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, said Mr Trump felt vindicated because Comey was seen as a liar. And The Telegraph reported "…Sarah Huckabee Sanders stating during an off-camera briefing at the White House: “I can definitively say the president is not a liar." I would certainly disagree with that.

The Guardian — Theresa May has declared she is prepared to rip up human rights laws to impose new restrictions on terror suspects, as she sought to gain control over the security agenda just 36 hours before the polls open.

The prime minister said she was looking at how to make it easier to deport foreign terror suspects and how to increase controls on extremists where it is thought they present a threat but there is not enough evidence to prosecute them. 

She said: “But I can tell you a few of the things I mean by that: I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences. I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terror suspects to their own countries.

“And I mean doing more to restrict the freedom and the movements of terrorist suspects when we have enough evidence to know they present a threat, but not enough evidence to prosecute them in full in court.

“And if human rights laws stop us from doing it, we will change those laws so we can do it.”

May is on a very slippery slope and now that it is likely that May has a minority government as a result of today's election, she may not get the chance to implement this.  For those who are not familiar with the Westminster system of Parliament, the party that has the most votes but not enough for a clear majority, forms a minority government.  This government can be struck down by a non confidence vote at which time the Parliament is dissolved and a new election called.  As of writing, the UK Conservative Party is in a minority position.  Here are the early results:

636/650 seats declared · Last updated 2017-06-09 1:10 AM EST

Get well quickly, TC!!!

  No lying about!!!   

Jun 062017

I have a meeting to go to shortly.  I am a member of the Family Council and a liaison to the Board of the care centre where my mum lived and the board is meeting tonight.  The Family Council meets next week.  Tomorrow is physio and teaching so there will likely be no Open Thread for tomorrow.  We have had no additional word from TC yet, but when we know, we will pass it on.  In the mean time, please keep TC in your thoughts and prayers.

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 3:39 (average 5:52).  To do it, click here.  How did you do? Try not to get all wet with this one!

Short Takes

YouTube — If He Were Doing Any Other Job, Donald Trump Would Have Been Fired by Now | The Resistance | GQ  

I should think that Trump would understand this phrase: "You're fired!"  Or perhaps this one: "Go straight to jail.  Do not pass Go."

Resist and Persist!!!

The New Yorker — In a dramatic announcement from the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Donald J. Trump pronounced the planet Earth a “loser” and vowed to make a better deal with a new planet.

“Earth is a terrible, very bad planet,” he told the White House press corps. “It’s maybe the worst planet in the solar system, and it’s far from the biggest.”

When asked which planet he would make a new deal with, Trump offered few specifics, saying only, “The solar system has millions of terrific planets, and they’re all better than Earth, which is a sick, failing loser.”

Trump’s remarks drew a strong response from one of the United States’ NATO allies, Germany’s Angela Merkel. “I strongly support Donald Trump leaving the planet Earth,” she said.

I'm with Angela Merkel!

Resist and Persist!!!

Think Progress — …Sen. John Wiles (R) knew that if he could lift Georgia’s law that banned outside groups from purchasing anonymous mailers, he could transform the way his party conducts campaigns. He declared at the time that he would “not support any effort to regulate anonymous political speech.”

Wiles was able to get his colleagues on board, and they quietly passed legislation removing the ban. But the move earned him critics, including the top Republican in the state tasked with running elections.

Karen Handel, then Georgia’s Republican secretary of state, said she was “adamantly” opposed to Wiles’ political maneuver—she had recently launched a “transparency in government” program.

Handel is relying heavily on the same kind of spending she so recently fought against.

Outside groups have spent roughly $9 million supporting Handel’s campaign during the primary and leading up to the June 20 runoff. More than $250,000 of that total has been spent on anonymous direct mail. 

“Karen Handel was for a ban on secret political spending, but now that it’s clear she can’t compete with Jon Ossoff and his small-dollar, grassroots donors, her campaign is almost completely reliant on special interest money from groups that refuse to disclose their donors.”

So much for being "adamantly opposed" to dark money.  I did not like Karen Handel and her shenanigans when she was with Susan G Komen and I am disappointed to see her back in the limelight with her Republican talking points and lack of ethics.  The special election in Georgia's 6th district is set for 20 June 2017.  May it turn blue with Jon Ossoff who garnered 48.1% of the vote in the jungle primary.

Resist and Persist!!!

My Universe

Kung Fu Kitty!

Break dance kitty!