Jun 202016
 

Well it has been a while since I posted and my laptop is acting up thereby taking me longer . . . and resulting in an incomplete post.  It has been very busy lately.  Teaching progresses and little Simon is a little monkey as usual.  Last Friday, he learned "ABCDE" as I was doing flashcards with Lucia.  At church he learned AMEN so says the word often.  My brother and his wife will be travelling from Toronto to Vancouver to board a cruise to Alaska.  They will come out 2 days early to see mother whom they have not seen since 2013.  Her condition will be a real shock.  I saw my mother last night and spent almost 3 hours brushing her hair.  At almost 88 years, she has had quantity of life so now my goal is strictly quality and brushing her hair fills the bill.  My furbabes always send a message to Nana — meow, meow, meow! — which makes her smile.  As many will know, TomCat's surgery was successful.  He posted a brief statement which I will post over to Care2 so everyone will know.

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 3:47 (average 5:27).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes

NY Times — It was April 1990, and Mr. Trump was officially opening his third gambling resort in Atlantic City, the biggest project of his career: the, and $1 billion Trump Taj Mahal.

“It’s truly going to be an incredible place,” he told reporters. “We’re calling it the eighth wonder of the world.”  …

Then Mr. Trump bought Hilton’s nearly completed casino in the marina district for $320 million, calling it Trump Castle. His company issued $352 million in bonds to finish construction and open the casino, and tacked on an additional $32 million. That casino opened in 1985 and competed directly against his partner’s first casino, Harrah’s Marina.

The following year, Harrah’s scuttled its partnership with Mr. Trump and sold him its stake in Trump Plaza for more than $220 million.

Next Mr. Trump went after the biggest casino of all, the Taj Mahal, which Resorts International, builder of Atlantic City’s first casino, was erecting. After buying a controlling interest in Resorts from the estate of its founder, Mr. Trump battled the talk show host Merv Griffin for control of the company.

In the end, Mr. Griffin got the company, while Mr. Trump won the still-unfinished Taj Mahal.

Even before the Taj opened, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission was concerned about the casino’s viability given its rapidly escalating costs and considered revoking its operating license. Regulators closely monitored the financial performance of the Trump casinos and the developer’s empire.

Mr. Trump told the commission in 1988 that he could rein in expenses, because conventional lenders were lining up to give him money at low interest rates. He said he abhorred junk bonds, which were then popular, because they carried a bigger risk of default and thus came with higher interest rates.

Within months, he reversed course, issuing $675 million worth of junk bonds, with a 14 percent interest rate, to finish construction and get the Taj open. In recent interviews, Mr. Trump has said that with each financing he routinely took money out of the casinos to invest in Manhattan real estate. Total debt on the Taj exceeded $820 million.

Less than two weeks before the casino opened, Marvin B. Roffman, a casino analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott, an investment firm based in Philadelphia, told The Wall Street Journal that the Taj would need to reap $1.3 million a day just to make its interest payments, a sum no casino had ever achieved.

“The market just isn’t there,” Mr. Roffman told The Journal.

Mr. Trump retaliated, demanding that Janney Montgomery Scott fire Mr. Roffman. It did.

“It was doomed way before the start,” said W. Bucky Howard, who was promoted by Mr. Trump to president of the Taj five days after it opened, in a recent interview. “I told him it was going to fail. The Taj was underfunded.”

Almost immediately, Mr. Trump had trouble making the debt payments on the Taj and his other casinos. It was also clear that the Taj was cannibalizing the Castle and the Plaza, whose combined gambling revenues dropped by $58 million the year it opened.

Video from Democracy Now.  Click on the link for a transcript.

While I was out at physio, I heard a report, or perhaps it would be better put as a prediction, that a Trump presidency would be a disaster for the US economy and indeed the global economy.  Think Progress has an excellent article on this prediction. 

The heart of Trump’s economic proposals come down to tax, trade, and immigration policy. He’s put forward a tax package that experts have found would cost $9.5 trillion and hand nearly all of the benefits to the wealthiest. He’s promised to levy huge tariffs on imports from countries like China and Mexico and he’s railed against trade deals. And he says he’ll deport 11 million undocumented immigrants while building a wall along the Mexican border.

If all of that were to happen just how Trump proposes it, Moody’s analysis finds that the American economy would dip into a recession beginning in 2018 that would last through 2020 — longer than the Great Recession. It estimates there would be 3.5 million fewer jobs and the unemployment rate would rise to a peak of 7.4 percent, as opposed to the current rate of 4.7.

This post is a detailed article by Russ Buettner and Charles V Bagli outlining Trump's "business acumen", something touted by his supporters as being very important to them.  If they only knew that Trump, in venture capital fashion, transferred debt to his properties, cheated contractors, investors and employees, and then declared bankruptcy, not once but four times.  He made millions while he left others holding the bag.  Is this the kind of performance that supporters want?  Unfortunately, his supporters won't understand what he has done or will do.  They believe and like his "straight talk", but it is all show and no go.  It is pure unadulterated bullshit!

CBC — Donald Trump suggested Sunday that the United States should "seriously" consider profiling Muslims inside the country as a terrorism-fighting tool, the latest example of the Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting increasingly backing positions that could single out a group based on their religion.

"Well I think profiling is something that we're going to have to start thinking about as a country," Trump said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CBS's Face the Nation. "It's not the worst thing to do."

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee added that he "hate(s) the concept of profiling, but we have to use common sense" over "political correctness."

And the hate just keeps on!  The Republicans allowed this travesty to happen so now they must own it even if it means the destruction of the party.  We can hope can't we?

Think Progress — The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that police can still arrest someone for an outstanding warrant even if they had no right to stop the person in the first place.  …

“This Court has given officers an array of instruments to probe and examine you,” she writes. “This Court has allowed an officer to stop you for whatever reason he wants — so long as he can point to a pretextual justification after the fact. That justification must provide specific reasons why the officer suspected you were breaking the law, but it may factor in your ethnicity, where you live, what you were wearing, and how you behaved. The officer does not even need to know which law you might have broken so long as he can later point to any possible infraction — even one that is minor, unrelated, or ambiguous.”

IMO, Sotomayor is correct and the Injustices, particularly Teabag Thomas, are wrong.  The 4th amendment to the US Constitution reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

What part of "unreasonable searches and seizures" doesn't Teabag Thomas understand?  I suppose he would argue that it is all in the meaning of the word "unreasonable", which I have to admit is rather subjective.  I wonder what would happen if a cranky old whirte man were stopped and searched.  Can we please have a fair impartial justice to replace Scalia!

My Universe —

 

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May 302016
 
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AlterNet has acquired a well-deserved reputation for doing what I call "Five-Most" articles. The obvious example is their weekly selection of five most absurd, most offensive, most delusional, most generally awful things that right-wingnuts have said during the week, which TC follows, and we follow with him, weekly.

They generally want to make me beat my head against the wall.

But this morning they featured a Five-Most article which made me smile, some of them even though bittersweetly, and I though it might be a good article to share.

As AlterNet points out in introduction, "The year 2016 is a hell of a time to graduate. Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, the past four months have successively been the hottest on record, the chasm between the rich and poor continues to widen, and bloody Andrew Sullivan is openly wondering if this whole Democracy thing has run its course. WTF!

Fortunately, this time of the year brings one reliable reprieve from the dispiriting caprices of our politics: commencement speeches. This year’s crop of speeches were as pointed, witty and incisive as ever, taking on hot-button topics ranging from political apathy to the big orange elephant in the room."

And here's one:

2. Lin-Manuel Miranda at University of Pennsylvania.

Zinger: “In a year when politicians traffic in anti-immigrant rhetoric, there is also a musical reminding us that a broke, orphan immigrant from the West Indies built our financial system.”

Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose hit musical Hamilton has garnered widespread critical acclaim and recently earned a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations, is having a huge moment right now. A child of Puerto Rican immigrants, Miranda is using his new platform as a celebrity to advocate for political causes he believes in: just recently, he performed a blistering rap about Puerto Rico’s debt woes on "Last Week Tonight."

At his University of Pennsylvania commencement speech, Miranda wisely took a different tack. He framed a relatively contemporary issue—the hateful rhetoric around undocumented immigrants—in its historical context, reaching all the way back to the nation’s founding for some perspective. This wasn’t coincidental. Many of the same people who cheer on anti-immigrant rhetoric tend to forget, or at least conveniently overlook, that our nation was founded by immigrants.

Ultimately, Miranda’s message was simple. Not only do immigrants have something to contribute to civic and cultural life in America, they’re the reason we’re here and that we enjoy many of the advantages we do. 

Click through for the other four, including one from Elizabeth Warren.  I hope they will make you smile too.

Cross posted to Care2 at

http://www.care2.com/news/member/101612212/3988347

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May 282016
 

It has been cool and wet here the past few days, but next week promises to be warmer, maybe too warm by my standards.  I've had fur babies around all day, one even trying to write articles for the blog.  Needless to say, they did not make a lot of sense so I deleted them.  Mind, they did make more sense than what any Republican, but especially Trump, could ever write.   

Short Takes

Alternet About a year after the launch of both Sen. Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns, it’s easy to conclude that the anti-establishment backlash of 2016 was somewhat inevitable. The incredulity that many in the establishment felt when these two candidates first climbed the polls and took their respective primaries by storm has passed, and now that Trump has locked up the Republican nomination, nothing seems beyond the realm of possibility (including, terrifyingly enough, a Donald Trump presidency).

While Donald is working to secure endorsements from the few remaining GOP holdouts, Sanders is still picking up primary wins against Hillary Clinton. The senator has won in 18 states and is banking on a big victory in California, even though Clinton’s delegate lead is near insurmountable. Barring an FBI indictment of Clinton, Sanders is unlikely to be the Democratic nomination—but he has accomplished more than just about anyone could have predicted (except perhaps H.A. Goodman), and the grass-roots movement that has formed around him represents the future of the Democratic Party.

The author has postulated that the neoliberal policies in vogue since Reagan no longer work.  The choice during this election year rests between a right wing egomaniac, Trump, and a social democrat, Sanders.  The FDR era represented a formidable advance in social democracy that lifted the US out of economic problems.  Unfortunately, Americans have forgotten the advances that brought prosperity.  What Trump offers is more for the elite and nothing for the middle or working class.  We have to keep bringing this to the fore so that everyone understands that Trump offers nothing but fear and hate . . . no positive gains for the average American.

Politico — "[Wasserman Schultz] has a seemingly boundless ability to create conflict for herself wherever she possibly can,” said a Florida Democrat, who, like all respondents, completed the survey anonymously. “In this campaign she has inexplicably managed to infuriate Bernie Sanders and his supporters, while simultaneously doing a disservice to Clinton in her handling of the debate schedule.”

“From the scheduling of debates to cutting off Sanders' vote builder access, [Wasserman Schultz] has seized every opportunity to make the process seem rigged for Clinton in a ham-handed manner,” added an Iowa Democrat. “She is the worst caricature imaginable of an out-of-touch Democratic insider who fundamentally has no faith in the principles of the party and holds the base in contempt.”

Wasserman Schultz's role within the Democratic Party has been controversial and in my opinion, is in danger of splitting the party at a time when the Party cannot afford any discension.  She should be trying to unify the Democrats but so far has done little to bring that to fruition.  Will she stay or go? 

DailyKos — A father of two children, a 7-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, was attacked when he brought both children into a Walmart bathroom with him during a shopping trip in Clinton, Utah.

"This guy walks in and goes to the bathroom, the urinal,” Adams recalled Tuesday. “Then he just, like, turns to me and starts freaking out, dropping the ‘F-bomb,’ and what he was freakingWill she stay or go? out about was that my daughter was in the men’s bathroom.”

Adams said the man told him it was “inappropriate,” and soon began to push him after Adams gave him a terse response.

With so many existing or proposed bathroom laws, this situation is likely to continue to happen over and over again.  Never mind that fathers have been taking their young daughters into the men's room for decades, and mothers have been taking their young sons into the women's room for an even longer period.  And why?  To protect their young children from sexual predators that prey on the very young.  To be very clear, I make no reference here to anyone in the LGBTQ community.  So, all of a sudden, people have started manufacturing conspiracies around the LGBTQ community and bathrooms.  The fear factor has no basis in fact.

WashingtonPostIt's official: Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee this fall.  He crested the crucial 1,237-delegate threshold earlier this week in North Dakota, taking what was a near-certainty and turning it into an absolute-certainty.

With the question of whether Trump will win out of the way, we can move on to trying to figure out who he will pick as his running mate. I did this once before, but so much has changed — for Trump and for the rest of the party relative to him — that it needed a total overhaul just a month later.

Jodi Ernst, Bob Corker, Chris Christie, Mary Fallin and Newt Gingrich — these are just 5 of the possible VP picks that Trump could make.  Of course there have been other suggestions such as Ben Carson.  One article I read earlier today suggested that any VP pick would be male, which given that Trump is a misogynist, makes perfect sense.  As to the influence of the RNC in this matter we'll have to wait and see.  In another article from Politicususa, the Trump campaign is reportedly broke as it heads into the actual presidential campaign and must rely on fund raising with the RNC.  A big name with apparent drawing power, perhaps like Newt Gingrich, may be the choice.

My Universe — h/t TomCat

 

 

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May 172016
 

The weekend was not kind to me.  Instead of feeling better each day, I was totally wiped out by Sunday afternoon.  Monday I stayed down and did not go to physio.  Apparently, there is a bug about which may be the cause of my malaise.  But it could also be cottonwood allergies that caused the sinusitis.  Either way, wearing glasses adds additional pressure to my nose and does not help the headaches.  No glasses, no reading.  My three beautiful furbabes have been wonderful companions.

Short Takes

National Law Journal Although the right to peacefully protest is enshrined in the Constitution, there is no constitutional or other legal right to commit criminal acts to make a point. Earlier this month, criminal disrupters in Arizona prevented many people from hearing Donald Trump by blocking a major highway leading to his rally and creating a 10-mile backup. The threat of arrests — only three reportedly occurred — and fines weren't much of a deterrent. What happened in Arizona was only the latest example of major disruptions of presidential rallies, with even larger ones now being openly planned.

The criminal justice system can't handle the problem alone.

Now spreading to political campaigns is what we have unfortunately all too often tolerated on college campuses — ­protesters who interrupt speakers to prevent ­others from hearing them, who physically block attendees' access, and who threaten violence to squelch speech. Unless we do something about it, the problem will persist — and could get worse.

I do not agree with all the points made by the author.  Based on various newscasts, police pay plenty of attention to disruptors.

"Disrupters who violate criminal laws know that their chances of actually being arrested are small, as more police forces yield the streets to their ­blockades, their "die-ins," and their tactics of ­chaining themselves to things. Police often are afraid to make arrests. There's also the ­attitude of allowing them to "let off steam," and, at times, there is sympathy with their cause."

But what the author seems to forget is the incitement of violence by politicians like Drumpf and that little has come legally against this incitement.  I also seem to recall that anti OWS protesters interfered with the peaceful OWS protesters with little backlash.

Alternet Charles Koch is known for being CEO of industrial giant Koch Industries and a chief financier of the massive conservative political operation he runs with his brother David. In recent years, student activists and investigative journalists have exposed another of Koch’s hats: mega-donor to hundreds of colleges and universities, often funding free-market-focused academic centers housed at public and private schools alike. One Koch-funded program is advocating cutthroat economics to grade school students, even sacrificing lives for profits.

Anti-tax industrialist billionaires like Charles and David Koch stand to gain a lot by financing higher education programs tailored to their ideologies. Richard Fink, the Kochs’ right-hand man for decades, laid out their “Structure of Social Change,” the plan they devised in the late 1970s to shape society with their libertarian ideals. The plan begins with funding academic programs that favor laissez-faire economics, resulting in academic papers promoting the free market and chastising regulation and taxation. Next, think tanks they fund repackage the academic work into more easily digestible policy proposals that “citizen activists” (actually Koch-funded “social welfare” groups like Americans for Prosperity) use to pressure lawmakers.

"Common sense economics" . . . what a misnomer!  The Kochs have learned too well that "wars" are fought on many fronts.  On this front, they are fighting for the future of their way, the Koch way, by indoctrinating future generations.  That is long term planning.

HuffingtonPost — Legislation to extend human-rights protections to transgender Canadians will be tabled in the Commons on Tuesday, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  …

"We must continue to demand true equality," Trudeau said. "We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and our reality."

This is a good start to enshrining legal and human rights protection to transgender people across Canada.  This from a CBC article today:

"I'm proud to say that moments ago, I introduced legislation, Bill C-16 … that would ensure that Canadians will be free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate," said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould adding that, "because as Canadians, we should feel free and safe to be ourselves."

Now, to work on changing the attitudes of the people who will oppose such legislation.  Kudos to Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, and the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.  Trudeau's father, PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and his Liberal government were responsible for the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977.

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Apr 252016
 

I don’t know why I’ve been feeling lethargic, but after doing my morning research, I needed to take a nap, so I’m running late again, and still feeling tired.  My green cloud is gathering strength.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:46 (average 4:04).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: In other states, Sam Brownback’s Kansas revolution is still being treated as a model for pared down government, but those close to ground zero are a bit less enthused.

… many of the same Republicans who helped pass Brownback’s plan are in open revolt, refusing to help the governor cut spending so he can avoid rolling back any of his signature tax measures.

If Brownback won’t reconsider any of the tax cuts, they say, he will have to figure out for himself how to balance the budget in the face of disappointing revenue.

Brownback sold the state on a flood tide worth of trickle down tax cuts, arguing that massive reductions would spur a surge of growth in the state and actually generate increased revenue. Instead, Kansas got a huge budget shortfall, education cuts, service cuts, and still more debt as top Republican economists proved for the nth time that they’re simply wrong. Oh, and instead of rocketing growth Kansas has actually underperformed neighboring states. 

When Republicans are in charge the only thing that trickles down onto the poor and middle classes is urine.

From NY Times: Even as his chances of winning the Democratic presidential nomination slip away, Senator Bernie Sanders and his allies are trying to use his popularity to expand his political influence, setting up an ideological struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party in the post-Obama era.

Aides to Mr. Sanders have been pressing party officials for a significant role in drafting the platform for the Democratic convention in July, aiming to lock in strong planks on issues like a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage, breaking up Wall Street banks and banning natural gas “fracking.”

Considering all the effort Bernie is making to transform the Democratic Party, those who would abandon the Party, if Bernie loses, would be working against Bernie.

From Alternet: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, elected last fall, campaigned on a promise that his Liberal government would legalize marijuana. Now, we’re getting an idea of just when that is going to happen.

Speaking at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs Wednesday, Canadian Health Minister Jane Philpott said the government will introduce legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana in spring 2017.

Does this mean our beloved Squatch will be getting even loonier? Angel

Cartoon:

0425Cartoon

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Mar 292016
 

As I was listening to the car radio this afternoon, there was  announcement of a new contest — identify the voice of the news maker of the week.  About 20 minutes later, the sound clip was played.  I recognised the voice immediately. It was that of Ted Cruz.  Now you might say "So what?".  I live in Canada!  The fractious Republican race seems to have taken over here too.  It has been a pleasant sunny day today.  Not the kind of day they like as they go back to work.  OGIM!!!

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) vetoed a bill Monday morning that would have allowed open discrimination against gay people, a huge victory for the LGBT community and for businesses that had been threatening to boycott the state if Deal signed the law.

“Georgia is a welcoming state. It is full of loving, kind and generous people. And that is what we should want,” Deal said during a press conference. “I intend to do my part to keep it that way. For that reason, I will veto House Bill 757.”

The bill would have prevented the government from taking action against organizations or people with “a sincerely held religious belief regarding lawful marriage between… a man and a woman.” It would have opened the door to all kinds of discrimination against same-sex couples. A state-contracted counselor, for example, could refuse to provide services to people in a same-sex marriage. Taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies could refuse to place children in their homes. Government employees, a la Kim Davis, could refuse to file official forms for same-sex couples.

While I was out today, I kept hearing about Gov Deal's veto of the so called "religious freedom bill" which is not about religious freedom at all but about discrimination.  At the beginning of March, Deal spoke out against the bill which had not yet reached his desk saying:

“I think what the New Testament teaches us is that Jesus reached out to those who were considered the outcasts, the ones that did not conform to the religious societies’ view of the world and said to those of belief, ‘This is what I want you to do,'” Deal said …  (from Raw Story)

Good work Nathan Deal!

Raw Story — The U.S. Secret Service will not allow people to carry guns into the July Republican National Convention in Cleveland, quashing the hopes of more than 45,000 people who have signed a petition saying attendees should be allowed to bring firearms.

The Secret Service said on Monday it has the authority to preclude guns from sites visited by the people it protects such as U.S. presidential candidates, presidents and former presidents.

Well we didn't have to wait a long time for an answer on open carry at the RNC in July.  Now, will it hold?

YouTube — Stephen Colbert: Now You’ll Be Able to ‘Binge-Watch the Death of the GOP’

I  always like a bit of humour . . . especially when talking about Republicans.

Alternet — New research findings from a team of progressive economists provides documentary evidence that the financial footing for Sen. Bernie Sanders visionary social change agenda is not only plausible, but would create far more socially productive jobs, as well as moving us down the road to the more humane society that is at the heart of the Sanders campaign.

In their push to vilify Sanders, Democratic Party acolytes from the media to academia have fallen in line attacking the economic foundations of his campaign for free public college tuition, Medicare for all, job creation through infrastructure repair, and other critical needs.

But a new report from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Political Economy Research Institute documents how a key Sanders proposal – a tax on Wall Street speculation -would bring at least $300 billion a year in new revenues from those who can most afford to pay it for the critical reforms the country so desperately needs.

The plutacrats really don't like Bernie's ideas because it means less money in their pockets.  I say Go Bernie!

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Mar 162016
 

It’s my week for getting stood up, first by my LIFT bus Monday, and then Lu didn’t show up yesterday, leaving me unshowered.  Her phone is out of order, so she has had one of her emergencies and has no way to let me know.  Unless she shows up this afternoon, I’ll have to give myself a whore’s bath in the sink tonight to prepare for my medical appointment tomorrow.  Please expect no more than a Personal Update tomorrow.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:41 (average 5:10).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Real Clear Politics: The latest delegate count.

State

Date

Delegates

Clinton

Sanders

Delegate

Allocation

Open/

Closed

(2,382 Needed to Win)

4763

1599

844

Delegates Won

4051

1112

806

 

 

Superdelegates

(712)

467

26

 

 

Iowa

February 1

44 (8)

23

21

Caucus

Semi-open

New Hampshire

February 9

24 (8)

9

15

Primary

Semi-closed

Nevada

February 20

35 (8)

19

15

Caucus

Closed

South Carolina

February 27

53 (6)

39

14

Primary

Open

Alabama

March 1

53 (7)

44

9

Primary

Open

American Samoa

March 1

6 (4)

 

 

Caucus

Closed

Arkansas

March 1

32 (5)

22

10

Primary

Open

Colorado

March 1

66 (13)

28

38

Caucus

Closed

Democrats Abroad

March 1-8

13 (4)

 

 

Primary

Closed

Georgia

March 1

102 (14)

72

28

Primary

Open

Massachusetts

March 1

91 (25)

46

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Minnesota

March 1

77 (16)

29

46

Caucus

Open

Oklahoma

March 1

38 (4)

17

21

Primary

Semi-closed

Tennessee

March 1

67 (9)

42

22

Primary

Open

Texas

March 1

222 (30)

145

74

Primary

Open

Vermont

March 1

16 (10)

0

16

Primary

Open

Virginia

March 1

95 (15)

61

33

Primary

Open

Louisiana

March 5

51 (8)

35

12

Primary

Closed

Nebraska

March 5

25 (5)

10

14

Caucus

Closed

Kansas

March 5

33 (4)

10

23

Caucus

Closed

Maine

March 6

25 (5)

7

15

Caucus

Closed

Mississippi

March 8

36 (5)

30

4

Primary

Open

Michigan

March 8

130 (17)

60

67

Primary

Open

Northern Marianas

March 12

6 (5)

 

 

N/A

N/A

Florida

March 15

214 (32)

130

63

Primary

Closed

Illinois

March 15

156 (26)

68

67

Primary

Open

Missouri

March 15

71 (13)

31

32

Primary

Open

North Carolina

March 15

107 (14)

59

45

Primary

Semi-closed

Ohio

March 15

143 (16)

76

57

Primary

Semi-open

I’m most pleased that Bernie is staying in the race, even though Hillary’s lead appears insurmountable.  The longer he stays in, the more likely the ideals of his vision of Democratic Socialism will be adopted.

From Daily Kos: Samantha Bee’s new show Full Frontal is off to a hilariously good start. The late night host gathered a group of hardcore Donald Trump fans and tried to understand their logic behind their unwavering support for the xenophobic and racist Republican frontrunner.

 

When Samantha talks about Trump’s "roid" rage, I think she means hemorrhoid, because he’s such a defective total asshole.

From The New Yorker: In 1980, the third-party Presidential candidate John Anderson succinctly summed up Ronald Reagan’s promise to simultaneously cut taxes, increase defense spending, keep government services intact, and balance the budget: “Reagan’s budget is constructed with mirrors.” Sure enough, Reagan presided over eight years of deficits that tripled the national debt. Yet the Republican faith that you can tax-cut your way to deficit reduction has never dimmed. This year’s Republican race is dominated by candidates whose budgetary plans make Reagan’s look downright reasonable.

Not surprisingly, the most extreme plan is Donald Trump’s. He would slash taxes across the board, reducing revenues by nine and a half trillion dollars over the next decade, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. Yet he has also promised to balance the budget, protect Social Security and Medicare, and not cut services. How? Well, he says he’ll get rid of “waste and fraud and abuse,” and abolish the Department of Education and the Environmental Protection Agency. And he thinks that the tax cuts would spur an economic boom, so that revenues will actually increase.

This is pure fantasy. Those spending cuts would save just a tiny fraction of what he claims, and the revenue projections have no basis in reality. Yet, unrealistic as Trump’s ideas are, they differ from those of his chief opponents only in degree, not in kind. Marco Rubio wants to couple a $6.8-trillion tax cut with significant increases in defense spending, while Ted Cruz has proposed an $8.6-trillion tax cut with—guess what?—significant increases in defense spending. Naturally, Rubio and Cruz have been vague about where they’d find the necessary trillions in cuts, and about how what the government does would be affected. This is par for the course. Paul Ryan’s infamous budget of 2012 would have effectively eliminated nearly all the federal government’s non-defense discretionary spending, even as he insisted that he wanted to “strengthen” the social safety net and keep the government investing in infrastructure.

The bottom line here is, when you strip away the window dressing, all the occupants of the Criminal Clown Car are just Republicans, armed with the same economic policies that Saint Ronnie Ray Gun proved were based only on lies. I call it Republican Tinkle Down Economics.  Note, however, that the Clown Car just barfed-up Border Booter Bot.  His campaign is no more.

Cartoon:

0316Cartoon

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Feb 232016
 

Earlier in the Democratic campaigns, I remember Bernie dealing with questions from Black Lives Matter.  His campaign seemed very "white bread" at the time, and he was heckled.  He struggled with the questions being put to him, but he developed a plan and spoke out with his usual authenticity.  Now Clinton is being confronted with similar concerns.

From The Nation:  Black voters have been remarkably loyal to the Clintons for more than 25 years. It’s true that we eventually lined up behind Barack Obama in 2008, but it’s a measure of the Clinton allure that Hillary led Obama among black voters until he started winning caucuses and primaries. Now Hillary is running again. This time she’s facing a democratic socialist who promises a political revolution that will bring universal healthcare, a living wage, an end to rampant Wall Street greed, and the dismantling of the vast prison state—many of the same goals that Martin Luther King Jr. championed at the end of his life. Even so, black folks are sticking with the Clinton brand.  

Image result for hillary clinton images

But what about a larger agenda that would not just reverse some of the policies adopted during the Clinton era, but would rebuild the communities decimated by them? If you listen closely here, you’ll notice that Hillary Clinton is still singing the same old tune in a slightly different key. She is arguing that we ought not be seduced by Bernie’s rhetoric because we must be “pragmatic,” “face political realities,” and not get tempted to believe that we can fight for economic justice and win. When politicians start telling you that it is “unrealistic” to support candidates who want to build a movement for greater equality, fair wages, universal healthcare, and an end to corporate control of our political system, it’s probably best to leave the room.  

But recognizing that Bernie, like Hillary, has blurred vision when it comes to race is not the same thing as saying their views are equally problematic. Sanders opposed the 1996 welfare-reform law. He also opposed bank deregulation and the Iraq War, both of which Hillary supported, and both of which have proved disastrous. In short, there is such a thing as a lesser evil, and Hillary is not it.

Click through for the rest of this interesting article to determine if, in the eyes of the author, Hillary deserves the support of African American voters.

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Jan 172016
 

Here in BC, the provincial Liberal government (no relation to the federal Liberals), has hitched their wagon to the development of liquified natural gas (LNG), some of it with PetroChina and other foreign corporations.  But much of the northeast LNG fields lie on Aboriginal lands, making access "difficult" fortunately.  Some of the foreign nationals are pulling out, or at least have threatened to because they want the drilling now, not after negotiations with First Nations.

China has joined the fracking revolution to meet some of its energy needs and to try to decrease their pollution.  I remember images of pollution in Beijing prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics.  The air pollution was so thick that one could cut it with a knife.  So now China is fracking to feed the economy and deal with pollution.  Not surprisingly, the Chinese are running into the same problems as everywhere else, problems that threaten its very survival.

From Mother Jones

The US-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum, sponsored by the US departments of Commerce and Energy, as well as China's National Energy Administration, has convened for the last 13 years. But the focus turned to shale gas in 2009, when President Obama and then-President Hu Jintao announced an agreement to develop China's immense resources. The partnership set the stage for companies in both countries to forge deals worth tens of billions of dollars.

Here at the 2013 conference, the first American to take the podium was Gary Locke, the US ambassador to China at the time.

 underlying all the talk of new energy was an urgency to wean China from its decades-long addiction to coal. Locke promised that shale gas would do just that: "We can make further strides to improve energy efficiency, produce cleaner energy, increase renewables, and increase supply," he asserted. "Unconventional gas, especially shale gas, is just the start."

Constituting a whopping 70 percent of China's energy supply, coal has allowed the country to become the world's second-largest economy in just a few decades. But burning coal has also caused irreparable damage to the environment and the health of China's citizens.  

Scientists wrote in the medical journal The Lancet that ambient particulate matter, generated mostly by cars and the country's 3,000 coal-fired power plantskilled 1.2 million Chinese people in 2010. In late 2013, an eight-year-old girl in Jiangsu Province was diagnosed with lung cancer; her doctor attributed it to air pollution. And earlier this year, scientists found that up to 24 percent of sulfate air pollutants—which contribute to smog and acid rain—in the western United States originated from Chinese factories manufacturing for export.  

But China's push to wean itself from coal has also triggered a rush to develop alternative power sources.  

By the time of our trip, villagers living near fracking wells had already complained about the deafening noise of drilling machinery, the smell of gas fumes, and strange substances in their water. 

The clouds faded as we climbed, revealing a quilt of farmland dotted withpingfang, or flattop houses. We drove down a road lined with new hotels, small restaurants, and hardware stores—the markings of a boomtown. Roughly the size of Minnesota, the Sichuan Basin—where many of China's experimental fracking wells are located—is home to some 100 million people, many of them farmers. It's not the only part of China with shale gas, butfracking requires a lot of water, and with a subtropical climate and proximity to the mighty Yangtze River, Sichuan has that, too, making it the nation's first fracking frontier.  

China's early fracking operations face many risks, but the incentives to keep drilling are too good to pass up. Based on early sampling, Bloomberg New Energy Finance's Liebreich estimates that China is currently extracting shale gas at roughly twice the cost of the United States. Analysts expect those costs to fall as China gains experience, but even at current levels, shale gas production has been up to 40 percent cheaper—and geopolitically more desirable—than importing gas.

"You've got this 'damn the torpedoes' development strategy that sets out all sorts of quotas, expectations, and productivity targets that are not constrained or balanced in any way by environmental protection or public participation to hold people to account," says Sophie Richardson, director of Human Rights Watch's China program. Throw in corruption, she adds, and you see a toxic mix, one that has contributed to an unprecedented level of social unrest.

Fracking may soon join that list. Protests have already stymied drilling operations in Sichuan. From 2010 to March 2013, the Wall Street Journalreported, Shell had lost 535 days of work at 19 of its shale gas wells due to villager blockades or government requests to halt operations. "There are a lot of people in China who don't want to take political risks—they have too much at stake," Osnos says. "But when it comes to something as elemental as their health, and that's what pollution really is about, then they're willing to take a risk."

The country's shale gas lies deeper underground and in more complex geologic formations than those deposits in the flatlands of Pennsylvania, North Dakota, or Texas. As a result, researchers estimated that the Chinese wells will require up to twice the amount of water used at American sites to crack open the reserves.  

In addition to his concerns about fracking's enormous appetite for water, Tian also worries about its waste: the chemical-laden water that comes back out of the rock with the natural gas. In the United States, it is typically stored in steel containers or open pits and later injected underground in oil and gas waste wells. In China's early wells, wastewater is often dumped directly into streams and rivers. If fracking—most of which takes place in China's breadbasket—contaminates water or soil, Tian argues, it could jeopardize the nation's food supply. In a seismically active area like Sichuan, leaks are a major concern: Even a small earthquake—which, emerging evidence suggests, wastewater injection could trigger—might compromise a well's anti-leak system, causing more pollution. In the past year alone, more than 30 earthquakes were recorded in the Sichuan area.  

As aJPMorgan research memo stated, "Unless the popular environmental concerns are so extreme, most countries with the resources will not ignore the [shale gas] opportunity."

As the drilling continued, Dai said, her groundwater started to run dry, and now only rain replenished it. She doubted the water was fit for drinking. "After you use it, there's a layer of white scum clinging to the pot," she said. They couldn't even use it to cook rice anymore. "You tell me if there's been an impact!".

Taken from Mother Jones, this article is from late 2014 but just as relevant.

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Jan 062016
 

Since the repeal of Glass-Steagall, Banksters have been an ongoing drain on the US economy, siphoning off what little equity Americans have left, and redistributing it to the 0.1%.  Republicans have been their active allies and supporters.  A few Democrats have also been purchased.  The remaining Democrats have tried, but have not been effective.  There is, however, a champion against the Bankster blight.

0106BernieBernie Sanders has declared war on the biggest players in Wall Street’s financial sector, saying they are overrun with “greed, fraud, dishonesty and arrogance,” and criticizing his top rival for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, as being naïve about what needs to happen to create a financial system that “works for all Americans.”

“To those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very clear,” Sanders said in a midtown Manhattan speech on Tuesday. “Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. And here is a New Year’s resolution that I will keep if elected president: If you do not end your greed, we will end it for you.”

Sanders laid out a 10-point program to deeply change the nature of the financial sector, while occasionally digressing to emphasize how much more sweeping his proposals are compared to Clinton’s. As always, he started by recounting how the “20 richest people own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans”—and said the finance industry has spent “billions” to get Congress and federal agencies to deregulate almost all areas of the financial industry while weakening consumer protection laws.

“They spent this money in order to get the government off their backs and to show the American people what they could do with that new-won freedom,” he said. “They sure showed the American people. In 2008, the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street nearly destroyed the U.S. and global economy. Millions of Americans lost their jobs, their homes and their life savings.” Sanders continued, “While Wall Street received the largest taxpayer bailout in the history of the world with no strings attached, the American middle class continues to disappear, poverty is increasing and the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider and wider.”

Here are the 10 major components to Sanders’ Wall Street reforms.

1. End too-big-to-fail.

The underlying logic of this federal policy is that the biggest banks cannot fail and shut down, even if they make terrible investments or wreak great harm to the economy, because the U.S. economy and millions of ordinary people would become financially destitute. Sanders said this “scheme…is nothing more than a free insurance policy for Wall Street.” Compared to before the crash of 2008, the biggest banks in the country are larger than ever, he said, adding, “if a bank is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.”

“In 2008, the taxpayers of this country bailed out Wall Street because we were told they were ‘too big to fail,’” Sanders said. “Yet, today, three out of the four largest financial institutions [JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo] are nearly 80 percent bigger than before we bailed them out. Incredibly, the six largest banks in this country issue more than two-thirds of all credit cards and more than 35 percent of all mortgages. They control more than 95 percent of all financial derivatives and hold more than 40 percent of all bank deposits. Their assets are equivalent to nearly 60 percent of our GDP. Enough is enough!”

Sanders concluded, “A handful of huge financial institutions simply have too much economic and political power over this country. If Teddy Roosevelt, the Republican trust-buster, were alive today, he would say, break ‘em up. And he would be right.”…

Inserted from <Alternet>

I have shared only the introduction and the first of ten steps in Bernie’s plan.  Click through for the other mine’  His plan is worthy of your support.

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