TGIF! I’m still running on a sleep deficit as humidity remains is 93%, having just dropped below 100% for the first time in three days, so I’m already fighting droopy eyelids. I hope you all have a peaceful, Republican-free weekend.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:15 (average 5:27). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From NY Times: Harry van Bommel, a left-wing member of the Dutch Parliament, had persuasive allies in convincing voters that they should reject a trade pact with Ukraine — his special “Ukrainian team,” a gleefully contrarian group of émigrés whose sympathies lay with Russia.
They attended public meetings, appeared on television and used social media to denounce Ukraine’s pro-Western government as a bloodthirsty kleptocracy, unworthy of Dutch support. As Mr. Van Bommel recalled, it “was very handy to show that not all Ukrainians were in favor.”
Handy but also misleading: The most active members of the Ukrainian team were actually from Russia, or from Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine, and parroted the Kremlin line.
The Dutch referendum, held last April, became a battering ram aimed at the European Union. With turnout low, Dutch voters rejected the trade agreement between the European Union and Ukraine, delighting Moscow, emboldening pro-Russia populists around Europe and leaving political elites aghast.
It looks like Trump is not the only traitor Russia manipulates. Lona, how could Bommel be considered "left wing" by the Times, when he acts like a damned Republican? RESIST!!
From YouTube (GQ Channel): Is The Trump White House High? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann
In Keith’s choice between high or what, I actually have to answer "what". I gave not done drugs for over 30 years, but was a stoner in my day. I never dis a drug that could make someone as stupid, as deplorable, or as evil as the Potomac Puppet and his Reich. RESIST!!
From Salon.com: President Donald Trump’s new secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, doesn’t seem to have a lot of pull in the White House.
Despite a contentious nomination hearing in which Tillerson was confirmed by a party-line vote, Tillerson’s influence is so minimal that senior state department officials need to ask foreign diplomats about President Trump’s impending foreign policy decisions, according to a report by The Guardian. Tillerson has also avoided press questions, such as during his meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. While this could simply be a residual habit from years running a secret multibillion dollar corporation, it could also be the result of Tillerson simply not being knowledgable about the Trump administration’s foreign policy plans.
It’s been a very busy day. Store to Door came early, and Wendy is coming this evening. There will be no Monthly Report for January and only a partial report for February. A screw-up at our HSP, the site that owns the servers where Politics Plus lives, trashed all the usage data that I collect to put in our Monthly Report from 1/12 through yesterday. It’s fixed now, but rather than risk that happening again, I signed up for Google Analytics and bought a plugin to incorporate it into the Dashboard that I, the Administrators and the Editors use. Next month I will have a redesigned Monthly Report for the partial month of February. Unlike with most plugins, I had to hand install the Pro version onto our servers, something I had not done before, so it took me several hours. I’m running way late.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:25 (average 4:31). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From The New Yorker: In a blistering attack on the media, President Trump said on Monday that the press has consistently refused to report the voices he hears in his head every day.
Trump praised the “really terrific information” he gets from the voices, which often speak to him when he is roaming the White House in his bathrobe in the middle of the night.
“They tell me that I won by the most votes ever and had the biggest Inauguration crowd ever,” Trump said. “These are fantastic voices and they’re doing a great job.”
Trump said the refusal to report what the voices tell him makes the media “the most dishonest people on earth.”
“There might be a hundred people protesting outside the White House, and at the exact same time, five hundred voices talking to me inside my head,” he said. “Guess which the press will write about?”
I wonder how a whole bunch of very stupid Trump voters are going to feel when they scream for ObamaCare to be repealed, until they realize their health insurance is gone. RESIST!!
From Raw Story: Historian Ron Rosenbaum spoke out this week about how President Donald Trump is using Adolf Hitler’s “playbook” from Mein Kampf for undermining democracy.
In a recent column for Los Angeles Review of Books, the author of Explaining Hitler breaks his silence about the recent U.S. election, and about how the “normalization” of Trump is strikingly similar to the Nazi Party’s march to power.
“What I want to suggest is an actual comparison with Hitler that deserves thought,” he writes. “It’s what you might call the secret technique, a kind of rhetorical control that both Hitler and Trump used on their opponents, especially the media.”
According to Rosenbaum, Trump is using the Mien Kampf “playbook” to throw the media off balance and to normalize actions and statements that would have been unthinkable just months ago.
“It looked like the right-wing parties had been savvy in bringing [Hitler] in and ‘normalizing’ him, making him a figurehead for their own advancement,” Rosenbaum notes. “Instead, it was truly the stupidest move made in world politics within the memory of mankind. It took only a few months for the hopes of normalization to be crushed.”
I’ve been saying the Fuhrer is using Nazi methods since he usurped the White House, but folks, who don’t know me, have no reason to believe me. Rosenbaum, on the other hand, is an expert. RESIST!!
It now looks like Alternet author Janet Allon has a new series, the "Despicable Things …This Week", or words to that effect. This is her third in the series and I am sure it is not her last. Trump and the right wing nutjobs are not likely to disappoint in providing suitable fodder for her new series. This article, like her previous series, is guaranteed to have you doing deep sighs and shaking your head.
The past few days have been somewhat boring as I stayed off the snow covered streets — my concern is other drivers because I know my driving abilities, but too many others don't understand driving to conditions. I finally went out late Sunday afternoon only to have a man tell me I'd never get out of the parking slot, let alone the lot. He watched as I backed out and was amazed. Silly man didn't like a woman showing him how it's done no doubt. Today was a beautiful day, clear skies and lots of sunshine. Temperatures are low with day's high -2 C (28 F). Tomorrow is supposed to be more of the same with overnight plunging to -10 C (14 F). Ah, retirement!
CBC — For Angela Keizer, there's more than one Santa Claus — and they all wear steel-toed boots.
Last month the Dartmouth, N.S., woman was running out of options, out of money and fearing her family would soon be without a home.
Attempts to rebuild after a house fire came to a halt after problems with Keizer's contractor, but the unexpected generosity of strangers from as far away as Ontario has put the project back on track.
"Three weeks ago … I thought I was going to have to walk away," Keizer said Tuesday. …
"I was always a trusting person before, and then when this disaster happened, that died. But there's so many people that have restored that faith. There's a lot of good people out there."
I could start off my comment with how these contractors are helping Keizer so that they get free advertising and more contracting jobs etc, and in so doing, wouldn't I be the "Grinch who stole Christmas"! But that's not me. This is a "feel good" story that has no other meaning than to celebrate that people can be compassionate and love their neighbours no matter how far away they live.
TIME — For nearly 17 months on the campaign trail, Trump did what no American politician had attempted in a generation, with defiant flair. Instead of painting a bright vision for a unified future, he magnified the divisions of the present, inspiring new levels of anger and fear within his country. Whatever you think of the man, this much is undeniable: he uncovered an opportunity others didn’t believe existed, the last, greatest deal for a 21st century salesman. The national press, the late-night comics, the elected leaders, the donors, the corporate chiefs and a sitting President who prematurely dropped his mic—they all believed he was just taking the country for a ride.
I was astonished that Trump was made Time's Person of the Year, but then I remembered the criteria. As Jim Kelly,a Chief Editor of Time, put it in 2001: "Well, the classic definition of TIME's Person of the Year is the person who most affected the events of the year, for better or for worse. I think what has happened over the years is that the Man of the Year title, Person of the Year title, has become non-honorific. It was never meant to be solely that." To no one's surprise, Trump sees it only as an honourific. But then, narcissist that he is, that is the only way he is capable of seeing it. There is no doubt that Trump has had an immense affect on the politics of the US, but unfortunately, IMO, it is all negative. He is a demogogue, a narcissist, a liar, he is mendacious and arrogant. He is not fit to be POTUS. BTW, I heard Drumpf at a rally comment on being Time's Person of the Year, he called out "It should be Man of the Year. What do you think ladies?" Is there any doubt he is a misogynist!
Washington Post — The simmering distrust between Donald Trump and U.S. intelligence agencies escalated into open antagonism Saturday after the president-elect mocked a CIA report that Russian operatives had intervened in the U.S. presidential election to help him win.
The growing tensions set up a potential showdown between Trump and the nation’s top intelligence officials during what some of those officials describe as the most complex threat environment in decades.
Trump’s reaction will probably deepen an existing rift between Trump and the agencies and raised questions about how the government’s 16 spying agencies will function in his administration on matters such as counterterrorism and cyberwarfare. On Friday, members of Trump’s transition team dismissed the CIA’s assessments about Iraq’s stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
“Given his proclivity for revenge combined with his notorious thin skin, this threatens to result in a lasting relationship of distrust and ill will between the president and the intelligence community,” said Paul Pillar, former deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.
President-elect Donald Trump as well as Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Dec. 11 reacted to the CIA’s assessment that Russia intervened to help Trump win the election.
The CIA's report into Russian activities related to the US election was leaked to the public last Friday, although top congressional leaders had seen it behind closed doors in September. Trump is still denying the report as the work of the Democrats. He says there is no evidence. He puts no stock in the advice of the intelligence community, a community that historically has credence with conservatives. He's smarter than them . . . just ask him! It is going to be a long four years if the Electoral College doesn't do it's constitutional duty.
CBC — We went looking for them as part of a report on the proliferation of extreme-right, xenophobic and anti-Semitic groups in Hungary, clothing themselves as nationalist defenders of the land. It didn't go well.
The bikers' leader, Imre Meszaros, demands the right to veto the work of journalists who interview him, even presents them with a legal document to sign right off the bat.
We didn't agree, but met with him at his apartment in a well-to-do suburb of the Hungarian capital in the hopes of changing his mind.
Meszaros was soon raising his voice, pointing fingers in our faces and railing about the fickle media.
After a brief off-the-record chat, we ended the conversation and said goodbye. But not before Meszaros stepped into the elevator with us to warn there would be "consequences" if the conversation was reported anywhere.
It wasn't a threat, he said, just "information," and he has friends in Canada, the Hells Angels.
I told him I know a threat when I hear one, and the non-interview was over.
Later he emailed our translator, making the same threat. Intimidation of the media is a hallmark of the extreme right in Hungary.
We have Hungary reverting to its fascist past when it worked in league with the Nazis to eliminate Jews and Roma. How many times will we ignore this resurgence of fascism before we take action as a global community?
Politico — On a presidential debate stage five years ago, Rick Perry blanked on the Energy Department's name when trying to include it in a list of agencies he promised to abolish — memorably concluding with "oops."
Now Donald Trump has chosen the former Texas governor to lead the sprawling department, which oversees the security of the nation's nuclear weapons and has played major roles in President Barack Obama's climate agenda and nuclear deal with Iran. Three sources close to the transition confirmed the choice Tuesday.
Conservatives had favored the former Texas governor for the job, viewing him as someone with management experience who would be willing to question the agency’s status quo. They believe Perry might bring serious reform to the agency because he isn't wedded to energy programs, such as DOE's fossil and efficiency offices, that conservatives have criticized as unnecessary, market-distorting schemes.
There is only one thing to say to Drumpf's announcement — OOPS!!!!
My Universe — They can get along. Why can't humans?
Last night I slept very poorly. City street cleaning equipment was scraping the asphalt6 and making such a terrible racket that it awakened me shortly after midnight, and I could not get back to sleep. OGIM!!!
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:44 (average 7:51). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From Daily Kos: The AP has a story about a Trump voter that lost her property due to foreclosure by Mnuchin. As I predicted yesterday. Those foreclosures screwed a lot of people including many Trump voters. Perhaps they will learn not to vote against their own interests. Will this be the first of many such stories? I can hope. How might one get a list of people foreclosed by OneWest, reportedly thousands, to find more examples of this buyers remorse?
When Donald Trump named his Treasury secretary, Teena Colebrook felt her heart sink.
She had voted for the president-elect on the belief that he would knock the moneyed elites from their perch in Washington, D.C. And she knew Trump’s pick for Treasury—Steven Mnuchin—all too well.
OneWest, a bank formerly owned by a group of investors headed by Mnuchin, had foreclosed on her Los Angeles-area home in the aftermath of the Great Recession, stripping her of the two units she rented as a primary source of income.
The buyers’ remorse is just starting, but don’t feel sorry for Colebrook. Feel sorry for the millions her stupidity is helping to destroy.
From NY Times: President-elect Donald Trump refused to release his tax returns during the campaign and there is no sign that he will, ever. He broke longstanding tradition and set a terrible precedent for future presidential candidates.
Good government groups have been wringing their hands about what to do. Now comes an excellent idea from a New York State senator, Brad Hoylman, a Democrat from Manhattan, that would could force candidates to disclose their tax returns by making it a requirement for getting on the ballot.
Mr. Hoylman says that he plans to introduce a bill that would require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose up to five years of their tax returns 50 days before the general election. The state’s Board of Elections would publish the returns on its website.
Candidates who fail to provide the documents would not appear on the state ballot and the state’s Electoral College electors could not vote for them. This is a smart proposal not just for New York but for other states as well. Even if a handful of states imposed the requirement, all major party nominees would have to disclose their tax returns.
This is an excellent idea and I fully support it. I could certainly prove useful, if the US has elections in the future.
From Washington Post: Donald Trump is talking about Taiwan again — and so is China in angry and mocking comments Monday that questioned whether the president-elect grasps a core element of relations between the world’s top economic powers.
In an interview broadcast Sunday, Trump said the United States would not necessarily be bound by the One China policy — the diplomatic understanding that underpins ties between Washington and Beijing, and leaves China’s rival Taiwan on the diplomatic sidelines with the United States.
Trump suggested the policy could be revisited unless America could “make a deal,” potentially on trade between the two countries.
The remark elicited an sharp response from Beijing, with the Foreign Ministry expressing “serious concern” and a party-controlled newspaper calling the president-elect “as ignorant as a child.” By appearing to treat Taiwan as just a bargaining chip for trade deals, he may also have irked Taipei, experts said.
If I start selling NBC suits, I could make a fortune from this Republican deplorable diplomacy.
Now we know what Teabag Thomas and co-Fuhrer Putin have in common.
It’s been a day for surprises. Late this morning, Store to Door called to tell me that my grocery order was cancelled, because my regular driver is snowed-in. I asked them, if there was any way they could put my order, which had already been shopped, onto another route, because confined to a wheelchair, I have no way to get out for emergency supplies. They checked and said they could, but my food would probably not come until between 4:00 and 5:00 PM. So I got an intentionally late start writing to be finished later. Just as I started writing, Store to Door came several hours early. I’m not complaining. I’m just grateful to have my food. One year ago today, I came home from three months in the hospital.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 4:55 (average 6:07). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From YouTube (GQ Channel): Let’s Take a Look at Trump’s Cabinet of Villains | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann
After the November disaster, I had nightmares about the Fuhrer’s Reich. I’m sorry to share that the coming reality is far worse.
War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Fuhrer Drumpfenfarten is watching you!
From NY Times: World War II and Korean War hero. First American to orbit the Earth. Kennedy family friend and confidant. The only four-term senator in Ohio history. An astronaut again at the age of 77.
Newspaper writers and evening news broadcasters will detail John Glenn’s one-of-a-kind biography — and most of them will surely observe that his passing on Thursday at the age of 95 marks “the end of an era.”