Aug 102016
 

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how awful InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.  Now that the RNC is over, the Trump team is ramping up the craziness!  I wonder if Trump has figured out yet that there is no "I" in TEAM!

By no reasonable measure did Donald Trump have what is traditionally defined as a good week. As the candidate sunk to unforeseen new lows, speculation abounded about whether he might be mentally ill, Fox Newsians openly snickered about him and Republicans leaders began to publicly decamp.

But it’s been mighty hard to look away from the crashing and burning. Here are some of the lowlights from the Trump-o-verse during the week that was.

4. Sean Hannity apparently did not get the memo.

It’s hard to pluck out the most embarrassing thing Trump did or said this week given that he inhabits what has politely been called by the Poynter Institute a “post-fact world.” One excellent candidate for the booby prize was his claim to have seen a top-secret video of $400 million in ransom being taken off a plane in Iran to pay for hostages, a video which does not exist. Full stop. Over and out.

Uncharacteristically, faced with incontrovertible evidence, even Trump sort of admitted he was mistaken—that the plane he saw was actually in Geneva, that he saw it on TV and it was a "nice plane," and that it didn’t have money on it. And having set the truth bar so very low, Trump was even praised by some for making this brave and exceedingly rare admission that he may have gotten a few facts wrong.

But this did not prevent Trump fanboy and frontrunner for dumbest Fox Newsian Sean Hannity from continuing to perpetuate the myth of the Iran tape. In fairness, Hannity was still reeling from being called an idiot by Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens ("he’s the dumb ass,” Hannity retorted. Ooh, good one), so he may have missed Trump’s tweeted correction.

Having defended every other insane, racist and inflammatory thing Trump has said, Hannity swung into action to repeat Trump’s already retracted claim.

“You know, we now have video of the ransom that Iran is now showing," Hannity told a guest. "You know, for all the talk about how the president talked about, well, this great new Iranian deal, and we give them $150 billion, we give them $400 million in cash and I guess euros and francs, and we send it in an unmarked cargo plane and it’s on pallets and they get the cash.” 

And that's going to be used for terrorism yada-yada.

Hannity, always putting his intellectual gifts on display for the sake of the republic.

From Alternet — Click through for the other four delusional right-wing moments from last week.  It truly is amazing how the right-wing just keeps giving and giving.  I expect we will be posting another article next week about the disgusting things said by Trump and Team Trump since it is reported that he is turning up the trash talk.  Hey, when you have no ideas about policies that help the electorate, trash talk is all you have according to Trump.

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Aug 102016
 

It has been about 2 weeks since I last posted an article.  My laptop has been in and out of the computer hospital, and it is too difficult on my knees to be sitting at my desktop long enough to put a post together.  But the laptop, Bella, is working great now.  We had rain last night and this morning which was very welcomed.  Temperatures have cooled, at least for a few days, which makes me very happy.  The furbabes are happy about that too.  I completed the dreaded task today, and I am in the process of cleaning out my clothes closet.  Every time I open the doors, there are 3 babes that dart in getting fur all over everything!  Have a good week.

Short Takes

Alternet — Donald Trump was out of the spotlight for a while last week, and that was very hard to abide. When people did talk about him, they were mostly saying not nice things. Imagine that! Things like, “That’s treason,” when he invited Russia to interfere with an American election. Things like, “How dare you not release your tax returns as every candidate for president has done in modern history?”

The Democrats had put on a good show with plenty of razzle-dazzle, and that hurt. When Trump awoke from his semi-subdued state, it was as if he was determined to prove every damn negative thing that had been said about him was true.

Temperamentally unfit to serve as commander-in-chief? “I’ll show you,” he roared!

Photo Credit: FlickR/IoSonoUnaFotoCamera

5. Confused Republicans seem not to understand the concept of acting.

It was bad enough that there were so many more truly A-list celebrities at the DNC in Philadelphia than at the RNC in Cleveland. Worse still, there were glamorous big celebs in the audience in Philly—who weren’t even speaking—whereas people in pinwheel hats, open carry nuts and followers of Alex Jones mostly graced Cleveland with their presence.CBC

One celeb in Philly in particular confused the hell out of conservatives. American Sniper Chris Kyle sat right there in the audience of the DNC. Well, not actually Chris Kyle, but the actor who portrayed him, Bradley Cooper. Same thing, right?

“Traitor!” tweeted some conservative idiots unfamiliar with the concept of acting. One called “USA Citizen” was enraged: “Bradley Cooper’s DNC appearance indicates his next role will be Jihadi John. Liberal piece of (emoticon of smiling pile of brown stuff.)"

We think we know which party is offering a steaming pile of shit this election season.

This is the fifth of 5 Stupidest Right-Wing Moments This Week from the week ending 31/07/2016.  And just like the title suggests, stupidity reigns supreme with Republicans.  Click through for the other four.

CBC — Canadians widely believe that President Donald Trump would be bad for Canada. Fully 78 per cent of respondents said that a Trump presidency would be "bad" or "very bad" for Canada, an increase of 16 points from when Insights West polled on this question shortly after Donald Trump entered the race for the Republican nomination a year ago. Only 13 per cent of respondents thought President Trump would be good for Canada.

While there is far less worry about what the Democratic nominee would mean for Canada (and given the choice between the two, Canadians would opt for Clinton in a landslide), opinions on the former first lady and secretary of state are still divided. Just under half, or 47 per cent, of those polled thought that a victory by Hillary Clinton would be good for this country, while 37 per cent thought it would be bad for Canada.

In a related CBC article, Éric Grenier, political analyst and pollster for the CBC, wrote on 01/08/2016

After closing the gap on Hillary Clinton in the polls, Donald Trump is closer to taking the White House today than he has ever been before. But there is one way the Democrats could virtually ensure their party's hold on the presidency — making Canada the 51st state.

That's obviously not going to happen. But Canadians would be among the most reliable Democrats if, well, they were Americans instead.   …

Trump is deeply unpopular in Canada. The Mainstreet survey gave him a favourability rating of just 15 per cent, with 75 per cent of Canadians saying they hold an unfavourable view of the Republican nominee. Clinton, on the other hand, scored a favourability rating of 62 per cent, against 24 per cent unfavourable.

In another related CBC article, Grenier provides the following polling numbers from the US (interactive display at site)

Presidential Poll Tracker – Electoral College at 07/08/2016
Hillary Clinton – Democrat Donald Trump – Republican
347 Projected Votes 191 Projected Votes
HIGH: 374 HIGH: 265
LOW: 273 LOW: 164

Of course, the only true poll is the one done in the polling booth.  Let's hope that Éric Grenier is correct.

Youtube — And now, some truth in humour from John Oliver.  I think he is the only one who can make the Republican National Convention seem humourous. 

My Universe — Can you find the cat in the woodpile?

cat.jpg

 

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Aug 042016
 

Wendy has been here, and she fluffed, buffed, polished and shined the TomCat.  I think I’ve got the site back in reasonably good repair.  I’m very tired, as I have not had a Lona Nap since Sunday.  Tomorrow, please expect no more that a Personal Update, as I have PT with Courtney the Inquisitor.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:38 (average 7:26).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes: From The New Yorker: …Even if the Russian government is not responsible for the hack on the D.N.C., Putin’s affinity for Trump is clear. Some part of it may be a matter of kindred temperament. Just as Trump talks ominously about Mexican “rapists” and tens of thousands of “illegal immigrants … roaming free” in the land, Putin won early popularity by vowing to dispense with terrorists from the Caucasus: “We will ice them in their shithouses.” Trump is, after all, a kind of parody of Putin: the bluster, the palaces. As the historian Timothy Snyder puts it, “Putin is the real-world version of the person Trump pretends to be on television.”

The fellow-feeling between the two is complex, but it is not hard to see who gets the better of whom. Trump sees strength and cynicism in Putin and hopes to emulate him. Putin sees in Trump a grand opportunity. He sees in Trump weakness and ignorance, a confused mind. He has every hope of exploiting him… [emphasis added]

Is it any wonder that RT News has aired continual attacks against Clinton from a so-called progressive perspective? That’s a fire Putin [R-RU] and Trump [R-Hades]  will just keep on fueling, but when you see the RT logo, know that Putin controls the content.

From NY Times: Republican voters in Kansas rebelled against the policies of Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday, ousting his fellow conservatives in at least 11 state legislative primary races amid widespread angst about Kansas’s financial situation.

With some races still undetermined on Wednesday, but also leaning toward moderates, the primary was a tangible sign of the grumblings that have been going on under the surface in heavily Republican Kansas, as deep cuts to taxes, a centerpiece of the Brownback agenda, have left the state short on revenue and led to cuts to government services.

Republi-speak Dictionary
Moderate Republican: a Republican that dresses in hoods and sheets, but rarely attends a lynching anymore.

From Crooks and Liars: The ugliness of ignorant racial prejudice and hate in 2016 America is deeply unsettling, yet far too familiar in the age of Trump. White people saying slurs like ‘wetback’ to American citizens (who have the right to speak any damned language they choose) is exactly the type of climate a hateful Republican nominee has fostered.

The Flores family was forced to record an incident when a racist woman made horrible assumptions. The cell phone video has gone viral after someone from Univision viewed the ranting racist family attacking the Mexican-Americans.

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Pienso que las racistas estan completo de mierda.

Cartoon:

0804Cartoon

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Jul 272016
 

It is still hot and muggy! Today was up to 30 C and humidity over 70%.  At physio, I bike for a minimum of 20 minutes which really gets a sweat up with temperatures as high as they have been.  By the time I arrived home, I was ready for a cold shower.  The furbabes have basically abandonned me and are sleeping downstairs for much of the night.  Suppopsedly, temperatures are to go down through this long weekend, but I'll believe it when I feel it.  BTW TC, this Canadian long weekend was called a civic holiday across the country, but now, here in BC it is known as BC Day . . . just incase you are trying to add this to your calendar!

Short Takes

MSN.com — The U.N. weather agency says it suspects a 54-degree Celsius (129.2 Fahrenheit) temperature recorded in Kuwait has set a record for the eastern hemisphere.

A Kuwaiti man takes a shower to cool off 

YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP/Getty Images A Kuwaiti man takes a shower to cool off

The World Meteorological Organization said Tuesday it is setting up a committee to look into whether the temperature recorded Thursday in Mitrabah, Kuwait, was a new high for the hemisphere and in Asia. WMO's Omar Baddour says it's "likely" to be an eastern hemisphere record.

Now that is beyond hot!  Would the climate change and global warming deniers, who in the US are predominently Republicans, still deny global warming?  Perhaps we should send them to Mitrabah, Kuwait without the benefit of air conditioning and then ask them if their stance has changed after a week of this heat.  I wouldn't be surprised if the cool looking water of this man's shower were actually warm water.

Alternet — Chris Ladd is a Texan in exile. After growing up in Beaumont and working for more than a decade in Houston, he moved to suburban Chicago, where he is a Republican precinct committeeman.

He has a day job that he loves in the software industry. In his free time he has written for David Frum’s blog, the Washington Times Communities, the Houston Chronicle, and the Huffington Post.

Back in Texas he interned at the Legislature, worked on numerous state and local Republican campaigns, and volunteered for a statewide PAC. Chris graduated from Beaumont’s Central High, earned a degree from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas (the Harvard of Williamson County) and received his JD from the University of Houston.

He recently posted the following:

Chairman Cuzzone:

We come together in political parties to magnify our influence. An organized representative institution can give weight to our will in ways we could not accomplish on our own. Working with others gives us power, but at the cost of constant, calculated compromise. No two people will agree on everything. There is no moral purity in politics.  …

With three decades invested in the Republican Party, there is a powerful temptation to shrug and soldier on. Despite the bold rhetoric, we all know Trump will lose. Why throw away a great personal investment over one bad nominee? Trump is not merely a poor candidate, but an indictment of our character. Preserving a party is not a morally defensible goal if that party has lost its legitimacy.

Read Chris Ladd's entire letter HEREIt is very interesting and makes good points that don't show up in the Alternet article.  Not only is it an indictment of Donald Trump, but also of the Republican Party.  How many more Republicans will follow their conscience and step away from what the party has become?

CBC — Some of Canada's banks must stress test their ability to withstand a 50 per cent drop in housing prices in Metro Vancouver area and a 40 per cent drop in the Greater Toronto Area, the country's banking regulator says.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions also said Tuesday that the banks must all test for a 30 per cent downturn in valuations for all other areas of the country.

The OSFI said the test doesn't apply to the Big Six banks and HSBC. An OSFI spokesperson said the regulator and the Bank of Canada work together to conduct "regular macro" stress tests on the Big Six banks, which also do their own internal testing.

One of the major differences between the US and Canada is the strength of banking regulation.  IMO, Canada has a more robust regulatory regime.  It isn't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, however it did help avert a big crisis such as the US housing meltdown that occurred a few years ago.  But, housing prices in the two biggest markets, Metro Vancouver and Greater Toronto Area , have exploded over the past few years, such that ordinary people are almost unable to purchase a home. From CKNW.com:

"The benchmark price for a detached home in April in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley hit just over $1.4 million — which is a 30.1% increase over 2015.

The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $844,800, a 25.3% increase compared to April 2015."

Because of this wild market, OSFI has mandated stress tests for all deposit and lending institutions.  Basically, what happens to the viability and stability of these institutions if there is a 30% or 50% market correction?  The stress tests are to help gage the affect of these anticipated corrections.  This whole issue is more than "just about housing prices".

There are also other factors in the mix for the "hot" housing market.  In British Columbia, the provincial government has finally taken action now that it has realised this a hot topic and there is an election next year.  Their 15% property purchase surcharge on foreign buyers is their attempt to address the problem.  However, this misses those who are resident in Canada already but hold very large deposits off shore.  Those people bring the cash in for the purchase, but the buyer is deemed a resident so not subject to the new tax.  Also, there are purchasers who are buying and then reselling before the first sale completes, at greatly inflated prices.  Some of this was being orchestrated by realtors.  Because the real estate boards were self governing, this aspect likewise exploded.  The boards in BC are now regulated by the government hoping to eliminate this activity.  Where it had been fairly easy to get a real estate license, no longer.  The provincial government is late to the party, but OSFI, a federal agency is trying to protect the overall health of the banking sector.

As a matter of disclosure, I was a senior lending manager in Metro Vancouver primarily involved in mortgage financing with several of the big 6 banks and HSBC.  When Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC), a federal crown corporation created in 1946, introduced lower down payment criteria years ago, I was aghast because I could see problems.  Now that threshold has been restored.  If you want to see what CMHC does, go to CMHC (I set the link to English — all federal government websites are in French and English).  I hope I have not bored everyone with my commentary but as a 40+ year banker, 65% of it spent in mortgage financing, I become a little passionate.  Likewise, I believe in everybody having a reasonable chance to own their own home, which is why CMHC was originally created.

Politico — The nominee of the Republican Party — the party that takes credit for winning the Cold War — on Wednesday appeared to align himself with Russia over his Democratic opponent, in remarks that suggested to many he was urging Moscow to interfere in a U.S. election.

That break with longstanding bipartisan policy toward dealing with Russia, or any foreign nation, for that matter, succeeded in getting him the lion’s share of the media spotlight as Wednesday evening programming kicked off for rival Hillary Clinton’s Democratic National Convention. But it was a leap few fellow Republicans were ready to make — with some in the party suggesting it smacked of “treason.”

The backlash began immediately after Trump’s extended riff on Russia at a Wednesday morning press conference, in which he called for Russia to “find” and release 30,000 emails deleted from Clinton’s private email server. Trump went on to promise a better relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin if elected president, saying he’d “look at” easing sanctions and recognizing Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula—something at odds with current U.S. policy–but most of the focus came back to the emails.  …

“It’s bad enough he doesn’t understand the gravity of what he said, but that he’s giving encouragement to a hostile foreign power is unconscionable,” Nichols said. “I don’t think he’s joking. He doubled down on it. Once off the cuff, it’s a joke. Twice, it’s policy.”

How long are Republicans going to wait to whittle Drumpf down to size?  I hope his "dyed in the wool" supporters pay attention to this issue.  Drumpf has taken things way to far such that it is a national security problem.  Wouldn't it be great if he was charged with treason,  I have read a number of other pieces on this matter and on Drumpf's connections.  One article (I think Daily Kos) mentioned that American banks won't touch Drumpf and that he went to some Russian oligarchs for financing.  True or not?  But the specter of such and his failure to make his taxes public are only fueling the fire which with any luck will turn into a conflagration that will consume the Republican Party and send it into the dustbin of history.

My Universe — This is my favourite video.  Meet Kevin Richardson, lion whisperer, with one of his wild lionesses.  You can see more at http://www.lionwhisperer.co.za/

 

 

 

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Jul 252016
 

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how awful InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.  There is no doubt that the RNC has brought out the crazies!

Alternet — Thursday was a night of troubled sleep throughout the land. In his long-awaited keynote speech, Republican nominee Donald Trump managed not just to confirm all of our worst fears about him, but to amplify them, make them 10 times darker and bigger, make them huuuuuuge! He got the fear job done. Better than anyone in the entire history of the country has gotten it done!

Let us just review what an amazing accomplishment this was. Rudy Giuliani kicked things off, commanding everyone to be much more terrified about crime, ISIS immigration and Black Lives Matter. Chris Christie roused the crowds with chants of “lock her up,” and “guilty as charged!” Ted Cruz delivered his same lizard-like stump speech, the one everyone assumed they’d be spared after he dropped out of the race. The accumulating horror was enhanced by the realization that the slick-backed Trump sons have themselves acquired a taste for politics and now feel qualified to bash teachers and environmental regulations, celebrate gun culture and espouse other tired conservative talking points.

Trump_Face_Facial-ExpressionS

Thanks to Nameless for providing the picture.

But Trump took the crown! He patted his Ivanka on the butt, and then surpassed them all in 75 minutes of continuous bellowing horribleness. The moon was nearly full. A smoldering heat dome would come to blanket much of the country. Darkness descended. And the next day, the mainstream media sunnily gave him credit for his shout-out to the LGBTQ community.

2. Rep. Steve King doesn’t even bother to disguise his racism.

It’s very possible that Iowa rep Steve King has zero concept of white supremacy. It is simply the water in which this fish swims in. So perhaps it should not have been too much of a surprise this week when the rabid anti-immigrationist, tea partying congressman just came out and said during a live appearance on MSNBC that white people have basically been superior to all others throughout history and invented everything worthwhile.

His comments came about after host Chris Hayes asked a question about the racial makeup of the GOP.

Charles Pierce of Esquire was there and said: “If you’re really optimistic, you can say this was the last time that old white people would command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face.”

That did not sit well with King. “This whole ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” he said, all buddy buddy. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about? Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

Co-panelists were stunned. Hayes asked for clarification. Did he mean what it sounded like he just said?

He did.

We know this because, one, he said it really clearly, and two, he doubled down on his assertion of the superiority of the white European “subgroup” the next day. The man who tried to block Harriet Tubman from being on the $20 bill recently was 100 percent on-message for his party, as you'll see if you read on.

Republicans are so good at the fear game.  This go around, Drumpf and others have whipped up a frenzie of fear which is unfortunate because they are turning neighbour against neighbour.  Back in November 2015, according to Crooks and Liars, Trump said

“The real greatest resource is all of you, because you have all those eyes and you see what’s happening,” he told listeners in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

“People move into a house a block down the road, you know who’s going in,” Trump continued. "You can see and you report them to the local police.

“You’re pretty smart, right?” he asked his audience. "We know if there’s something going on, report them. Most likely you’ll be wrong, but that’s OK.

And of course, Steve "Cantaloupe Calves" King of Iowa is doing his best to increase fear and racism.  This is the second of five appalling right wing moments this past week.  Click through for the others.

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Jul 252016
 

It was very hot and muggy today — 30 C (86 F) — so I tried to stay quiet in some air conditioning for as long as possible, then home to the heat.  It is 23:00 hours and the temperature is still 22 C (72 F) with high humidity.  This week will be busy as I have physio, pastoral care calls to make, teaching and 2 medical appointments.  I hope it doesn't stay hot and humid this week.  Later — My wi-fi connection shut down before I could finish and post last night so this is 10 hours late in getting up.

Short Takes

Politicususa — Donald Trump is facing a new complaint that his use of the Trump Organization to do his campaign work is a violation of federal law.

The Democratic Coalition Against Trump announced their FEC complaint against the GOP nominee in a statement:

This morning the Democratic Coalition Against Trump filed a federal campaign complaint against Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign with the Federal Elections Commission. The complaint alleges five violations including illegally accepting direct corporate contributions, accepting services from a volunteer that were actually compensated, use of the Trump corporate name or trademark to facilitate campaign contributions, illegal use of corporate facilities by a campaign volunteer, and knowingly allowing volunteers to exceed the transportation expense limit.

The question is, will the FEC recognise this as the violation it is, or will it be bullied by Trump?  If I recall correctly, the Fartfuhrer of Fitzwalkerstan, Scott Walker, faced similar charges.

CBC — It is difficult to imagine that a democratic system has ever existed without some amount of exaggeration, cynicism and frivolity. For that matter, politics should not exclusively be the domain of serious wonkery. Some amount of theatre is natural and useful. Generous amounts of humanity are welcome. Anger and conflict are inevitable.

But ideally a nation's politics would not be predominantly cynical and frivolous, would not be defined by its worst aspects. What excesses of rhetoric or action did occur would be corrected for. And, over time, the system would improve, not fall into disrepair or despair.

An untrusted or unserious system is perhaps ripe for revolt or abuse.  …

Trump is destroying the generally accepted norms of American politics, and expanding the parameters of what a politician could get away with saying in a way that will have lasting impact on the United States. That suggests our democracies are more fragile than we might otherwise appreciate.

Some say that Canada and the US are the same, few differences at all.  I see the two countries as being quite different with some commonalities.  In the article, my former Member of Parliament, James Moore, Conservative, was "asked about Trump's relevance to Canadian conservatives and offered two other observations. First, that Trump isn't a conservative. Second, that the Conservative Party learned in 2015 that conservatism needs to be matched with optimism."  Looking south, I certainly do not see the optimism of which Moore speaks.  What I see is more doom and gloom, outright fear, coming from Republicans.

Alternet — The GOP’s new big dog blew the whistle Thursday night for nearly an hour and a half and it was loud and shrill enough to reach the ears of every angry, resentful, disaffected white American. The tone was divisive, dark, dystopian and grim. Here was the alpha dog of the von Trump family, baying at a blood-red moon that the hills are alive with the sounds of menace. According to Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, this land is rapidly becoming as bleak and dangerous as one of those twisted, vicious kingdoms in Game of Thrones, a place filled with violent crime and despair, a smoldering ruin overrun with foreigners out to take our jobs and terrorists bent on destroying our villages. It’s mourning in America. And only he can save us. This has been his message all year: I alone can fix it. Remember his tweet on Easter morning? “Another radical Islamic attack, this time in Pakistan, targeting Christian women & children. At least 67 dead,400 injured. I alone can solve."  …

But as Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee noted: “The dark portrait of America that Donald J. Trump sketched… is a compendium of doomsday stats that fall apart upon close scrutiny. Numbers are taken out of context, data is manipulated, and sometimes the facts are wrong. “When facts are inconveniently positive — such as rising incomes and an unemployment rate under 5 percent — Trump simply declines to mention them.

Here is a video from the Washington Post fact checking Trump's Thursday evening convenmtion speech.  Click HERE to view video.  Unfortunately, I could not imbed it.  Elizabeth Warren commented to Stephen Colbert that she didn't think Democrats were taking Trump seriously enough and that he is a dangerous individual, especially when he is so divisive and hateful.  I was amused by some of his early words in his acceptance speech at the RNC: (full transcript from syracuse.com incase you want to scan it without having to listen to his voice)

"It is finally time for a straightforward assessment of the state of our nation. I will present the facts plainly and honestly. We cannot afford to be so politically correct anymore.

So if you want to hear the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies, and the media myths—the Democrats are holding their convention next week. But here, at our convention, there will be no lies. We will honor the American people with the truth, and nothing else."

When did Drumpf become acquainted with any truth?

VOTE BLUE ALL THE WAY DOWN THE LINE!

being all in for hillaryAll in with Hillary!

My Universe —

cat8Hi! How ya doin'!

52f180dc-7b40-4fb4-8928-2449da34548dCat trap working!

 

 

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Jul 222016
 

This week has been fairly slow and I am enjoying that because I know it won't always be that way.  It has been rather humid and promised thunderstorms did not materialise — well the thunder could be heard but no rain.  Today was 31 C (88 F) with significant humidity.  Friday afternoon and the weekend are supposed to be hot — Arrggghhhh!!!!!  My laptop internet connection died on Tuesday.  I had to call Telus support who were able yesterday afternoon to get me up and running again.  Turned out that the powerbar into which my modem is plugged went TU.  I moved the power source and voilà, Houston we had lift off.  Now to buy a new powerbar and switch over my desktop which was also on the same failed powerbar.  Wouldn't it be nice to plug ourselves into a powerbar to increase energy!  I had a great "girls lunch out" date today and of course we got to talking about Drumpf.  No surprise, none of my white, elderly lady friends like Drumpf!  I guess we're just so social democratic!  I have teaching tomorrow with Lucia, but my other student is busy settling in since moving into a new house, so no teaching.  During the day, her husband, my physiotherapist, is busy working so settling in is slow. 

Short Takes

CBC — He's been called a kiss-up and a Mexican Uncle Tom, and he has felt anger from many within the Hispanic community, but Marco Gutierrez, a member of Latinos for Trump, forges ahead with full-fledged support for the Republican presidential nominee.

In many ways, he's no different from supporters here at the Republican National Convention who admire Trump's business credentials, who see him as a natural leader and who believe that he will, as the campaign slogan boasts: "Make America Great Again." …

Marco Gutierrez, a member of Latinos for Trump, says his internet-based group has 20,000 members.

C.J. Jordan, deputy director of political and community affairs for the Republican National Convention, said people need to understand that what is said during the heat of political battle does not necessarily represent one's views.

"… people need to understand that what is said during the heat of political battle does not necessarily represent one's views."???  Then what does it represent?  A political campaign is an opportunity to get to know a candidate, to get to the issues, to set a direction for the future if the candidate is elected.  IMO, clearly the people in this article are delusional, bought and paid for by the Trump campaign and the Republican Party.  They don't see the degree of racism and bigotry in the Republican platform.  Now THAT is scary!

Montréal Gazette — Everywhere he went, the prime minister solemnly remembered Ukraine’s past. He laid a wreath at the memorial complex recalling the many millions of victims of the genocidal Great Famine of 1932-33 in Soviet Ukraine, the Holodomor. He recalled the millions of Ukrainians who fought and died for their country during the Second World War, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And he paid his respects to the victims of the Nazis at Babyn Yar.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his son, Xavier pay their respects to the victims of the 1932-1933 great famine at the Holodomor famine memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 11, 2016 ANATOLII STEPANOV / AFP/Getty Images

Fittingly, Trudeau also directed attention to today’s Ukraine.

his first state visit to Ukraine, would not be his last. What I realized at that very moment was that Trudeau gets it, that he knows Ukrainians are today fighting and dying for the very same values that Canadians have always defended.

Countries formerly within the Soviet sphere are feeling the pressure of growing Russian aggression.  Of course, Ukraine is especially wary since they have already dealt with Russian aggression in Crimea . . . and it is not over yet.  Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, on his first state visit to Ukraine, explained to his son Xavier what happened in 1932-33 in Ukraine — the Great Famine.  It is another example of genocide from the 20th century . . . "man's inhumanity towards man."  This genocide is referred to as Holodomor. 

Holodomor "…was a man-made famine in the Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed an estimated 2.5–7.5 million Ukrainians, … Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by the independent Ukraine and 14 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet Union. …but believe it was a long-term plan of Joseph Stalin, an attempt to eliminate the Ukrainian independence movement. … arguing that actions such as rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs, and restriction of population movement confer intent, defining the famine as genocide; the loss of life has been compared to the Holocaust."

Will humanity ever learn?

Foreign Policy — Seldom does the global public have an opportunity to observe an endangered species in its natural habitat, but this week, wildlife enthusiasts received a rare glimpse into the poignant final days of the American Republican elephant.

Classified as "critically endangered" by international authorities, Elaphantidae republicanus, though native to the United States, has struggled for decades to adapt to its rapidly evolving biome.  The enormous pachyderm — once a noble animal that roamed the length and breadth of the nation, as common in America's cities as in it's rural areas — has, in recent years, seen its numbers dwindle and its habitat contract.

Georgetown University law professor, Rosa Brooks, has written this "as a naturalist's guide to the endangered American Republican elephant".  Although humourous, it certainly has the ring of truth.  If you are unable to read the entire article unless you "sign in", you can sign up and read 5 free articles per month — no cost.

Alternet — The Republican Party platform is a wish list for what Republicans in Congress and Donald Trump would like to impose on America. What’s surprising is that it goes further to the right than what’s even been heard on the campaign trail from Trump as he has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border and embrace the religious right’s long-held tenets opposing abortion, LGBT rights and more.

The GOP 2016 platform would make Christianity the official American religion, English the official American language, replace sex education with abstinence-only advice for teenagers, privatize almost all areas of federal services, cut taxes and regulations for the rich and titans of industry, and impose a belligerent foreign policy and military build-up.

Here are 50 excerpts from the 2016 GOP platform.

9. Appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices: "Only  a  Republican  president  will  appoint  judges  who  respect  the  rule  of  law  expressed within the Constitution and Declaration of  Independence,  including  the  inalienable  right  to life and the laws of nature and nature’s God, as did the late Justice Antonin Scalia."

10. Appoint anti-LGBT and anti-Obamacare justices: "Only such appointments will enable courts to begin to reverse the  long  line  of  activist  decisions  —  including  Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases — that have  usurped  Congress’s  and  states’  lawmaking  authority."

11. Legalize anti-LGBT discrimination: "We endorse the First Amendment Defense Act, Republican legislation in the House and Senate which  will  bar  government  discrimination  against  individuals and businesses for acting on the belief that  marriage  is  the  union  of  one  man  and  one  woman."

12. Make Christianity a national religion: "We  support  the  public  display  of  the  Ten  Commandments as a reflection of our history and our country’s Judeo-Christian heritage and further affirm the rights of religious students to engage in voluntary prayer at public school events and to have equal access to school facilities."

13. Loosen campaign finance loopholes and dark money: "Freedom of speech includes the right to devote resources  to  whatever  cause  or  candidate  one  supports. We oppose any restrictions or conditions that would discourage citizens from participating in the  public  square  or  limit  their  ability  to  promote  their ideas, such as requiring private organizations to publicly disclose their donors to the government."

14. Loosen gun controls nationwide: "We  support  firearm  reciprocity  legislation  to  recognize  the  right  of  law-abiding  Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and  their  families  in  all  50  states.  We  support  constitutional  carry  statutes  and  salute  the  states  that  have  passed  them.  We  oppose  ill-conceived  laws  that  would  restrict  magazine  capacity  or  ban  the  sale  of  the  most  popular  and  common  modern rifle."

15. Pass an anti-choice constitutional amendment: "We  assert  the  sanctity  of  human  life  and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a  human  life  amendment  to  the  Constitution  and  legislation  to  make  clear  that  the  Fourteenth  Amendment’s protections apply to children before birth."

These are just 7 of the 50 Republican platform planks.  Read through the remaining 43.  I don't think there is anything that we have not heard of or discussed in some form previously.  IMO, these provisions make a mockery of the very foundations of the US and the documents that Americans hold dear — the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  Republicans would control every aspect of life.  Can you say Fascism?  This is not what the Founders fought for.

1.Fascism

a. A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, a capitalist economy subject to stringent governmental controls, violent suppression of the opposition, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.  Any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism

b. A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.
2. Oppressive, dictatorial control.
 
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Jul 172016
 

Almost every week, Republicans join a competition to see who can say the most outlandish things, and in the process, they push the envelope on just how delusional InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

Newt must have thought he still had a shot.

NeuterNewtIn a way, we’re almost sad that the Newtster didn’t get the nod in Trump’s veepstakes this week. Think of the dumpster fire around which we’d all be warming our hands by now.

Gingrich did manage to use his brief moments of recent relevance to good effect, reminding us all how this atrocious idiot needs to be jettisoned to his rightful place on history’s dust heap ASAP. Still apparently auditioning for the job he did not get, Gingrich took to the airwaves before the dead in Nice had even been covered in sheets Thursday night, and called for thought policing Muslims in America. Because that’ll show the terorrists.

"Let me be as blunt and direct as I can be: Western civilization is in a war. We should frankly test every person here who is of a Muslim background, and if they believe in Sharia, they should be deported," Gingrich told Fox bobblehead Sean Hannity, who bobbled his head in whole-hearted agreement. "Sharia is incompatible with Western civilization. Modern Muslims who have given up Sharia, glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to have them next door."

Seriously? Do these two idiot boxes really think that will work?

No less hysterically, Donald Trump confirmed that we are indeed at war, and that blaming innocent people fleeing actual war is the right way to go. "We’re dealing with people without uniforms … we are allowing people into our country — we have no idea where they are coming from. They have no paperwork, no documentation," Trump told buddy-boy Bill O’Reilly. "This may be the great Trojan Horse of all time."

This is the calm (but tiny) hand that wants to steer our ship of state.

By Friday Gingrich was acknowledging his idea was a little unrealistic and a little unconstitutional, and tried to assuage the fears of Muslims, saying, "This is not about targeting a particular religion or targeting people who practice in a particular way."

Huh, really? Sure sounded like it

Newt hasn’t lost a step, spewing hatred on cue, but otherwise, he would have never had a chance.  This is the first of five delusional Republican moments listed from Last week alone.  Click through for the other four.

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Jul 162016
 

A lot has happened in the world since my last post a week ago and much of it saddens me — Nice, Turkey, racial anger in the US.  But there are also things that inspire hope — kids getting excited about a day trip to a mine, purring kitties, a young woman succeeding at learning to walk again after a traumatic brain injury.  My brother, his wife and their friends dock tomorrow here in Vancouver and then immediately fly home.  I am sure that they enjoyed their trip and will be sorry when the ship docks.  So far in July, temperatures have been about 3 C (5.5 F) below normal, which for me is great — no super hot days and nights — and we've had needed rain.  I had someone approach me at physio about doing some more ESL teaching.  I'll have to make sure I don't take on too much.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — It's so hot that the door to The Depanneur restaurant is propped open for air circulation. The smell of frying onions and then stewed chicken wafts outside into the steamy Toronto afternoon.

It's hard not to stop and peer at what's going on inside the crowded open kitchen in the back.

About a dozen women — some wearing headscarves, others in jeans — are busy cooking a three-course meal. But none are staff; they're Syrian refugees who have been in their new home of Canada for just three months.

"I like the smell of cooking," said Majda Mafalani. "It feels great to be cooking again. I feel that I was born again."

So far removed from their homeland torn apart by civil war, this natural and simple act of cooking has given them back a semblance of community and identity, and an unexpected foray into entrepreneurship.

newcomer kitchen syrian

Senater said: "She said to me, 'I like coming here because I am learning new recipes and learning more about being Syrian' and I said 'I like having you guys here because I learn more about being Canadian."

From refugees to entrepreneurs with some support from the local community.  Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to support refugees.  And that support leads to a stronger community, one filled with a great multitude of peoples.

Raw Story — A Kentucky county judge refused to officiate a couple’s wedding after they requested he respect their lack of religious beliefs, the Friendly Atheist reported.

Trigg County Judge/Executive Hollis Alexander confirmed that he turned away Mandy Heath and her fiancee when Heath went to file the necessary paperwork at the local courthouse on the day before their wedding.

Move over Kim Davis — you have company!  I guess it shouldn't surprise me that a judge, charged with upholding the constitution, doesn't understand it.  I'm going to go out on a limb, but Alexander must be a Republican.

Daily Kos — [Ten-year-old Carter Beckhard-Suozzi of New York] was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in May 2015. He underwent five months of grueling chemotherapy and surgeries before being told by doctors he had beaten the cancer, according to his mom, Jane Beckhard-Suozzi.

While Carter was in the hospital, he was visited by officials from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Months later, out of the blue, he told his mom what he wanted his wish to be.

Screen_Shot_2016-07-15_at_4.37.13_PM.png

“He said, ‘Mom, I figured it out. I want to meet President Jimmy Carter,’” Beckhard-Suozzi recalled. “When I asked why, he said, ‘We have three things in common. We have the same name. We both have survived cancer and we both love helping people.’

A moment of hope in a bleak week!  I just loved this so I had to share it.  Can't you just feel that awesome hug!  There is also a petition to sign thanking Jimmy Carter.

Washington Post — Mike Pence was a young lawyer on the rise, challenging a longtime Democratic congressman in a Republican-leaning Indiana district.

And then, scandal.

Campaign finance records from the 1990 effort showed that Pence, then 31, had been using political donations to pay the mortgage on his house, his personal credit card bill, groceries, golf tournament fees and car payments for his wife.

The spending had not been illegal at the time. But it stunned voters — and undermined Pence’s strategy to portray the incumbent, Rep. Philip R. Sharp, as tainted by donations from special-interest political action committees.

“It was a brazen act of hypocrisy,”…

Pence_drug_Ad_1988_composite21468605731.wdp

Pence was unapologetic at the time, telling reporters that he had taken a 30 percent pay cut to run for office and needed the money. “I’m not embarrassed that I need to make a living,” he said.

Finally, we have another extreme right wing politician to expose on a national level for all to see.  Trump = disaster.  Pence = disaster.  Trump + Pence = a disaster of monumental proportions whose destruction supercedes that of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

VOTE BLUE ALL DOWN THE LINE!!!

The New Yorker — Over the past couple of months, Donald Trump hasn’t done much right, but in picking Mike Pence, the staunchly conservative governor of Indiana, as his running mate, he probably made a wise choice. History suggests that Vice-Presidential candidates don’t make much, if any, difference to the outcome of Presidential elections, but here are some reasons why, from Trump’s perspective, Pence was the best bet: …

3. He’s a Midwesterner. Further to my previous point, Trump’s only realistic, or semi-realistic, chance of getting to two hundred and seventy electoral votes is to storm through the Midwest and the Rust Belt, racking up huge majorities of white votes. To this end, his ideal choice would have been John Kasich, the popular governor of Ohio, but Kasich didn’t want the job. Nor did Rob Portman, the Ohio senator who served in the Bush Administration, or Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin. And no one in Michigan or Pennsylvania was particularly suitable, either. That left Pence, who runs the most staunchly Republican state in the region. Although his ardent social conservatism may turn off some people in the suburbs of Detroit and Cincinnati, he can claim to be a Midwesterner through and through.

This is the third of seven reasons it made sense for Drumpf to pick Pence as his VP running mate.  Now it is up to voters to permanently retire these two Republican misfits who have absolutely no concern for the average American.

UltraViolet —

Gov. Mike Pence: 5 things you should know

Pence has been a big mistake for Indiana, and will be an even bigger mistake for the nation.

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cat and rubiks cubeAfter the mental stimulation of Rubik's Cube . . .

cat traps workingafter the physical stimulation of escaping cat traps . . .

5733a.giftime for a satisfying Lona nap!!!

 
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Jul 152016
 

Needless to say, most of my medical mayhem free Friday was consumed with medical mayhem.  On Monday I have my long awaited initial appointment with an arthritis specialist.  I received a packet of paperwork to fill out n advance, so I spent the morning trying to read and fill out six pages of very fine print that was clearly not designed with the slightest consideration for the visually impaired.  Then I paid medical bills and household bills.  So my plans for a morning nap have evaporated into thin air.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:47 (average 4:59).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: Over the last week, as the Republican platform committee added planks to their ever growing platform a pattern established itself. Again and again, libertarian forces in the party raised objections to the parts of the platform that drove Republicans ever deeper into social extremism. Again and again, the libertarians lost.

Meanwhile, every time extremists on the right put forward a new idea, whether it was Bundy-esque demands on federal land or gratuitous attacks on President Obama, the plank was accepted. The result is a document that’s far to the right of the 2012 platform, decades out of sync with social reality, and enormously intolerant.

If makes pseudo-Christian dogma a legislative guide, calls for teaching the Bible in public schools, calls for appointing judges who will elevate pseudo-Christian dogma above the Constitution, bars transgender people from public rest rooms, re-legalizes the use of forced conversion therapy for gay teens, builds the Rump Dump wall, pledges no limit on magazine sizes for assault weapons, plans to sell off National Parks and National Forests for fracking and coal mining, calls for overturning Roe v, Wade, and calls coal a source of clean energy. What a conglomeration of Caca!!

From Alternet: On "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert Thursday, Bill Maher, host of "Real Time With Bill Maher" did not mince words when asked about the tragedies of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the Dallas Police officers last week.

Bill Maher began the discussion with Colbert by admitting he’s a “bit of a cynic” who believes “civilization is a mile wide and an inch deep,”

Bill said something I have said often, and that is that the thin blue line mentality is a major problem in police culture. The people police have failed to police is their fellow officers. Unless that happens, there will be more Dallas tragedies.  They won’t be justified or justifiable, but as long as the injustice of good cops covering up for racist cops persists, the tragedies will happen.

From CNN: Donald Trump said Friday Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is his choice to be his running mate.

"I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate. News conference tomorrow at 11:00 A.M.," the presumptive Republican nominee tweeted.

I expected this. Pence is a lackey of the Theocon faction of the Republican Party and should serve to help shore up the Presumptive Rectum’s support among Talibangicals who hate gays, Muslims and Women’s rights. He also has a penchant for TEAbuggery and sucking Koch.  I guess that makes him the Presumptive Vice Rectum of the Republican Reich.

Cartoon:

0715RSSJ\

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