Jun 072016
 

Well, hear I sit with a free afternoon.  My 2nd student called and is sick so I have more time.  Tomorrow is busy with physio and a haircut — good thing I don't get charged by the kilo of hair that is removed!  We Sasquatches have a lot of hair!  It has been very hot here with Sunday at an unbearable 35 C (95 F) and yesterday 31 C (88 F) . . . and it isn't even summer yet!  Today is 25 C (78 F) so a lot cooler, but still hot!  I like 21 C (70 F) with sunshine and a gentle breeze.  We are scheduled for rain later this week, and based on May's total rainfall (12% of normal), we need a deluge.  From what I have read, Paris has been getting our rain as well as their own.

Short Takes

Texas Tribune — U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela took a poison pen to the Republican presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, in an open letter Monday morning.

"Mr. Trump, you’re a racist and you can take your border wall and shove it up your ass," the Brownsville Democrat wrote in a lengthy missive to the real estate magnate.

Later Monday, Vela elaborated on his remarks in an MSNBC interview. 

"Well, I would have liked to have spoken in a much more diplomatic fashion, but I felt like I had to speak to Donald Trump in language he understands," he said. 

Vela notes in the letter that he agreed with Trump on some policies, like improving veterans' care, addressing Mexican drug cartels and deporting criminal felons who are in the country illegally. But he also savages Trump for his rhetoric on those of Mexican descent and his promise to build a wall on the southern U.S. border.

Kudos to Vela for speaking in words that Drumpf would understand, although if Drumpf comments on this, he likely to accsuse Vela of being rude, or worse.

Crooks and LiarsGlenn Beck was suspended for a week by Sirius XM for not reining in his guest, fiction author Brad Thor, who hinted that maybe President Donald Trump should be "removed from office" by a "patriot" because the "feckless Congress" won't do it.

Glenn Beck Suspended After Guest Suggests 'Patriot' Should 'Remove' Trump

Talking Points Memo:

“With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President?” Thor said. “If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if he oversteps his mandate as President, his constitutional-granted authority, I should say, as President.”

Too bad they couldn't make the ban permanent!

Politicususa — Donald Trump’s appearances on CNN’s State Of The Union and CBS’s Face The Nation were total disasters for the presumptive Republican nominee after both networks used the interviews to call out his lies.

The trouble began for Trump after he repeated his claim that he always opposed the Iraq war.

Lying is a lot like juggling.  The more one lies, the harder it is to keep all the lies straight and in play, or in the world of a juggler, in the air.  And such is the juggling act called Trump.  Of course, like many liars, Trump claims to be misunderstood, or claims outright that he didn't say certain things.  Is this the demeanor of a head of state?  Trump is a pathological liar which is partly why The Huffington Post puts the following Editor's Note after articles about Trump:

Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

CBC — Canada's immigrant communities are not breeding grounds for terrorists, as some would argue, but should be enlisted to reduce any violent radicalization in their midst, says a newly released report.

The research, ordered by the Harper government in 2014, appears to repudiate Conservative measures that alienated Muslim communities in the months before last year's election.

The authors examined four diaspora communities in Canada — Afghan, Somali, Syrian and Tamil — and found them to be willing allies for rooting out extremism among their often young and isolated members.

Phil Gurski, a former CSIS analyst, says trust between Muslim communities and security officials was damaged by Harper government measures last year. (Phil Gurski)

"More resilient diaspora communities represent the best line of defence against violent extremism," says the March 30 report, obtained by CBC News under the Access to Information Act.

The issue of radicalisation is complex.  There is no "one size fits all" as conservatives would have us believe.  And it is not an "Islamic thing" solely.  As societies, we must work with all groups, all disporas, to make inclusive societies where all are welcome and safe.  I find it particularly interesting that it was the Harper government that ordered the study, the very government that alienated Muslim communities.

Huffington Post — To defend real estate mogul Donald Trump‘s claim that a federal judge is biased against him because of his “Mexican heritage,” his campaign spokeswoman argued on Monday that it also would be acceptable to accuse a female judge of bias on the basis of gender. 

“Well, it would depend on her past and decisions she made as a judge,” Trump’s national spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said.

I wonder what Drumpf would say if Antonin Scalia were to hear a Trump case and rule against him.  Scalia was a very conservative Justice of the Supreme Court, and one that one would think would rule in his favour.  Undoubtedly, Drumpf would likely say Scalia should recuse himself because he is the son of an Italian immigrant and a 1st generation American of Italian descent.  Or what about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, admittedly a progressive, but very learned and respected.  Would Drumpf insist that she recuse herself because she is a woman?  Drumpf has a BIG problem with anyone who does not agree with him!  It is great seeing part of the MSM calling him out.

My Universe Is there anything cuter than purring, fuzzy kittens?  Not to me!  Look at all this lovin'!

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Jun 052016
 

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 painfully horrid InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

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Former head of gun rights organization thinks it’s a good time to threaten democracy.

The NRA held its annual national confab this week: lots of heavily armed people discussing guns and where to store them. In the kids room! One expert suggested. No one will think to look there!

Meanwhile, making it abundantly clear whose political side the gun crazies are on, Larry Pratt former head of Gun Owners of America announced on “Gun Owners News Hour” radio show that if the Republicans don’t win the White House and appoint pro-gun judges to the Supreme Court, there could be hell to pay.

If the Supreme Court makes rulings that aren’t rabidly pro-gun, conservatives just might have to resort to the “bullet box,” the ballot box having failed them, he suggested. We might have “reassert the proper constitutional balance,” Pratt said. “And it may not be pretty.

This must be an example of those good guys with guns we’ve heard so much about.

h/t: RightWingWatch

From <Alternet>

Once again we have mainline Republican advocating the violent overthrow of the US government, it Republicans don’t win in November.  Can you imagine what America will be like, if they do win?

Vote Blue No Matter Who

This is only the fourth of five Republican doozies listed for last week alone.  Click through for the other four.

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Jun 022016
 

Well today has been a relatively quiet, relaxing day . . . the dreaded task was the priority which means walking up and down 2 sets of stairs.  Seven loads . . . my spring cleaning as far as the laundry goes.  Now the knees are sore but at least the laundry is done.  Today has been cooler with little sunshine, but no rain.  I thought it was to rain all day . . . maybe tomorrow.  Speaking of tomorrow, Friday is a teaching day so I'll get to see my little guy, Simon.  He's so funny . . . every white car he sees is mine in his mind.  He calls out my name driving his mom a little crazy.

Short Takes

CBCAn Ottawa bus driver is "overwhelmed" by the thanks and praise he's receiving online for coming to the defence of a student wearing a niqab after another passenger yelled Islamophobic taunts at her.  …

After that, he just continued calling me a terrorist and a freak, and at one point he even screamed at me to assimilate," she said. "I was angry, but you can't respond to hate with more hate, so I tried to keep it cool and just to explain to him. Other passengers at that point had started to speak up as well."

A few moments later, OC Transpo bus driver Alain Charette parked the bus and came to her defence, saying he had called authorities.

Kudos to the bus driver who stood up to haters!  More people need to do the same to make the world a better place.

ThinkProgress — Political pundits are struggling to comprehend Donald Trump’s rapid ascent to the Republican presidential nomination.

On MSNBC and in the New York Times, he’s been likened to segregationist George Wallace. Louis CK and Glenn Beck have compared him to Adolf Hitler.

Donald Trump has rejected these comparisons. But he is here to help.

Mahatma Gandhi

In February, Trump tweeted an image comparing his effort to secure the Republican nomination with Gandhi’s struggle for freedom through nonviolence.

This is one of six persons (3 are former US Presidents) to whom Trump compares himself.  Megalomaniac and demagogue are words that come to mind.  Blow hard too!!

HuffingtonPost — "Donald Trump’s ideas aren’t just different, they are dangerously incoherent,” she said. “They’re not even really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds and outright lies. He is not just unprepared, he is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability and immense responsibility.”

The election, Clinton added, presented “a choice between a fearful America that’s less secure and less engaged with the world and a strong, confident America that leads to keep our country safe and our economy growing.”

Clinton came out with guns blazing!  The next 5 months, presuming Clinton is the nominee for the Democrats, is going to be full of fireworks.  

Politico — Paul Ryan was the last holdout.

By bowing to Donald Trump, the new power inside the Republican Party, the House speaker and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have consummated the marriage that the GOP establishment has resisted all year long. Their political fates are now formally hitched to the bombastic businessman, and they'll have to deal with the consequences.

Love, though, this is not.

Both men have made clear that their support for Trump has its limits and that Republican candidates will be advised, even encouraged, to run as far away from the presumptive nominee as they need to.

If Trump strays too far from mainstream GOP views, they'll call him out. And Trump’s attacks on fellow Republicans need to stop, McConnell advised in an interview with CNN on Thursday.

OK, what most of us thought would happened eventually has happened — Lyin' Ryan and McTurtle have climbed on the Drumpf bandwagon.  But there are still some noteable holdouts as noted in this Huffington Post article.

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May 312016
 

Well it was a very busy day today.  I left the house at 9:30 this morning and did not return until 21:30.  I started with physio therapy, then a meeting with the financial planner who handles much of my mother's investments, and finally a visit with my mother.  After I fed her, I sat brushing her hair for two hours.  The care centre staff "don't like it" when I do that because my mother becomes so relaxed and then they have to rouse her to get ready for bed.  Truthfully, my mother becomes very relaxed such that you can see it in her face.  They truly do like to see her that relaxed.  She is one of their favourites.  Tomorrow will be much quieter.  The weather here is sunny and warm at 24 C (75 F) after a cold, wet weekend.  According to the news, Kansas and Texas are suffering through severe rain and flooding.  Too bad some of that rain couldn't fall in California where it is badly needed.  I hope all will be safe.

Short Takes

Alternet Emails obtained by The Intercept from the State Department reveal new details of Hillary Clinton's behind-the-scenes efforts to export fracking—a method of extracting oil and natural gas from underground shale deposits—to foreign countries during her tenure as Secretary of State. The emails, acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request, could be particularly damning in light of Clinton's recent attempts to ally herself with the anti-fracking movement.  …

The recently obtained emails appear to contradict the anti-fracking position the Democratic frontrunner takes in the spot. Recently, Clinton has tried to distance herself from the fossil fuel industry, fending off attacks from her opponent, Bernie Sanders, whose campaign argued that she "has relied heavily on funds from lobbyists working for the oil, gas and coal industry."

Several years ago now, there were protests and petitions regarding the sale of asbestos to developing countries by Canada, while the use of asbestos in Canada was banned.  Certainly in this regard, Canada was ethically challenged and deserved, in my opinion, to be censured.  Although there is considerable fracking in the US, federal and state governments and corporations are being challenged over fracking because of the many undesirable effects such as earthquakes and polluted water.  Clinton has allied herself with anti-fracking groups as part of her campaign.  Is Clinton being disingenuous about her position on fracking, or has she changed her position?

Politico — Donald Trump observed Memorial Day weekend on Sunday by speaking in front of the Lincoln Memorial at a rally of thousands of motorcyclists, where he praised veterans, called reporters “lowlifes,” thanked “the great Bobby Knight” for endorsing him and performed a derisive impression of a general he saw on television.

The presumptive Republican nominee took the occasion — the annual “Rolling Thunder” motorcycle rally, which raises awareness of unaccounted-for POWs and soldiers missing in action — to malign Hillary Clinton and tout his own electoral successes.  …

Trump spoke at a stage set up at the end of the reflecting pool closest to the Lincoln Memorial to a relatively sedate crowd of hundreds of bikers and assorted tourists, who did not entirely fill the space between the pool and the memorial. The businessman said it was not the scene he expected to encounter.

“I thought this would be like Dr. Martin Luther King, where the people will be lined up from here all the way to the Washington Monument,” said Trump. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a quarter-million supporters in August 1963.

Trump knows no bounds of propriety!  To turn a solemn occassion into a political event and then invoke MLK Jr . . . that is totally disgusting.  Dump Trump in the trash heap of history!

MotherJones — Randy Sutton, a spokesman for Blue Lives Matter, a national law enforcement group, told CNN last week that "it's usually people committing crimes like robbery, or that are being pursued by police, that turn to shooting officers." That, notes Padilla-Goodman, is essentially a concession that people don't usually attack cops because they hate them: "Somebody committing a crime against somebody because they're black didn't mean that the black person had to do anything" to provoke it.

Only in Louisiana (or another red state) would legislators consider adding police officers and other first responders to a list of people, who if attacked, would constitute a hate crime.  Interesting when a police officer counters that position.

Alternet — In an election year that's slated to produce the most unpopular candidates in history, there is one shining light—Senator Elizabeth Warren.

The Massachusetts senator/women's advocate/campaign finance reformer/human goddess has been dishing up truth bombs all year long. Utilizing social media with the skill of a millennial San Fransisco start-up owner, Warren slammed GOP candidates repeatedly for their asinine comments.  …

"Two weeks ago, he said that he was more than happy to dodge taxes because he doesn't want to throw his money, quote, 'down the drain,'" she said. "Nurses and teachers and dockworkers, they pay their fair share to keep Trump's businesses going … Donald Trump thinks that supporting them is throwing money down the drain? Then I say we throw Donald Trump down the drain."

Go Lizzie!  A national treasure is clobbering a national disgrace!

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May 292016
 

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 insane InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

0529kim

Is this the stupidest Fox Newsian of all?

There is huge, huuuuuuge, competition in the race for stupidest Fox Newsian of all. But now that Andrea “America is awesome” Tantaros has been sidelined, another contender appears to be leading the idiot pack: Kimberly Guilfoyle.

While Guilfoyle regularly spews a variety of nonsensical drivel, she managed to up her own considerable ante this week when she argued, wait for it, that when Donald Trump dubs Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas” in their ongoing Twitter feud, it actually can be seen as a compliment. “I said I wanted to be Pocahontas one time,” Guilfoyle reasoned this week in a telecast, bizarrely bringing up her own, one hopes, childhood to make her case. “I get the way he’s saying it,” she bravely persevered, “but I think ‘Pocahontas’ is quite complimentary when you think about it.”

Well, no, Kimberly, when you think about it, even for a millisecond, it is entirely offensive and not at all a compliment, and saying so is simultaneously nuts and offensive, for starters because it conflates all Native Americans into one stereotypical persona (based on an actual historical figure) popularized by a Disney movie.

Trump loves to ridicule the fact that Warren’s great-great-great grandmother was Native American, and that Warren is 1/32 Cherokee. He will also likely never ever tire of making this hilarious joke. He likes to call her “Goofy Elizabeth,” which Guilfoyle has yet to defend as “quite complimentary when you think about it,” but stay tuned. It’s quite possible that maybe Guilfoyle longed to be Disney character Goofy when she was young.

From <Alternet>

Kimberly, a former Victoria’s Secret model, was hired as a Faux Noise bimbette to exercise her non-journalistic talent to keep Bubba Bagger drooling in a hypnotic trance long enough for the brighter pundits to fill his small brain with Republican propaganda.  This is only the fourth of five insane Republican moments listed for last week alone.  Click through for the other four.

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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 282016
 

Republicans have been after the Clintons with one conspiracy theory after another.  Now that Hillary is close to clinching the Democratic nomination, they’ve been coming on strong.  I almost expect to hear a Republican revelation that Monica gave Hillary a BJ when Slick Willy wasn’t looking.  One thing should be clear to all.  Violating State Department work guidelines for email could not even justify misdemeanor charges, let alone a felony indictment.

0528clintem

Practically every week, we are inundated with futile attempts to reinvigorate Hillary Clinton’s ’email scandal’ by rival Democrats, the Mainstream Media and Republican opponents. This week’s revelation was just another nothing-burger deluxe with a side of lies. Late Show host, Seth Meyers does a phenomenal job explaining this ‘scandal’, or as he says, ‘the story that just won’t die.’

Let’s face it, they’ve got nothing new. That’s because this is a problem about work rules regarding email, rather than a VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW! ,,, [emphasis original]

From <Crooks and Liars>

Here’s the video.

I have to add that it saddens me to have seen some fellow Bernie Sanders supporters hoping that a felony indictment over the email scandal will drive Hillary from the race, clearing the way for Bernie.  Fortunately, that won’t happen.  There could not be a worse situation for Bernie and the Democratic Party.  I can see the attack ads claiming that Bernie is second best even in even a criminally flawed party, and therefore, does not deserve to be President.  Other attack ads would tie Democrats way downballot to the indictment. Those attack ads would work, probably well enough to install Trump in the White House.

I want Bernie to win, but I want him t win fair and square.  I’ve voted for him, campaigned for him on the phone, given him money, and written several positive articles about him.  But the one thing I will not do is stoop to promoting Republican conspiracy theories.  I could not stand the shame.

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May 242016
 

I have stayed true to my promise to be good to myself and I have been relaxing this Victoria Day long weekend.  The sinusitus is definitely almost gone!  Woo Hoo!!!  It has been cloudy today with temperatures around 14 C (58 F) and intermittent rain.  This week is another busy one so I'll have to remind myself not to do anything stupid to re-aggravate the sinusitis.  The babies have been napping around me all day, but as soon as I announce "bikkies", they will be fully awake and running downstairs to their food dish.  I can smell my neighbour's bar-be-que, probably fired up for steaks, which is making me hungry.  Chicken and salad for me tonight.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

Short Takes

Daily Beast — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is reportedly under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for $120,000 worth of campaign donations from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. …

Wang, the individual at the center of the investigation, also contributed $2 million to the Clinton Foundation. The investigation is ongoing. 

This investigation along with the SCOTUS decision on gerrymandering in Virginia has brought Virginia into the fore.  It will be interesting to see what happens with the DOJ investigation and how it impacts Democrats in this federal election year.  Also of concern is the perceived influence of Wang Wenliang, a Chinese businessman, on Hillary Clinton with his contribution to the Clinton Foundation.  I hope this does not turn normally blue voters away from the polls in November.

NYTimes — Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees on Wednesday as part of an effort to quell concerns that he would not select conservative jurists.

The unusual move comes as Mr. Trump is looking to unify the Republican Party behind him and win over critics who remain skeptical about his candidacy. While some Republicans who oppose Mr. Trump have considered supporting Hillary Clinton or sitting out the election, he has regularly reminded them that the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  …

… but Mr. Trump has previously said that he was seeking guidance from conservative groups such as the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Trump’s selections consisted of six federal appeals court judges appointed by President George W. Bush and five state supreme court justices appointed by Republican governors. All are white, and eight of the 11 are men.

"All are white, and eight of the 11 are men."  Indeed, the future of the Supreme Court is at stake.  A decidedly conservative court would affect generations to come, and not in a positive way.  Along with a Republican White House and Congress, the US will regress socially and economically.

Politico — … President Barack Obama on Monday signed the dissolution of the nearly 50-year embargo on selling arms to Vietnam, ending one of the last vestiges of the Vietnam War.

But what Obama had to say and do about open democracy here was as sparse as the turnout in polling places here just hours before Air Force One landed — despite, of course, government numbers putting nationwide turnout for the National Assembly elections at 98.77 percent.

Suspicious election results don’t usually come together with presidential visits, especially within hours, and especially when the president is arriving with a huge and much desired gift in the form of opening up arms trade.

Hanoi had been pushing Washington for years, as both a point of pride and out of desire for American weapons. The change is potentially huge for American interests, empowering pro-Western forces internally and sending a very charged signal to China, long Vietnam's regional adversary.  …

"I made it clear that the United States does not seek to impose our form of government on Vietnam or any nation … at the same time, we will continue to speak out on human rights.”

It seems that there is a contradiction here . . . selling weapons to Vietnam while at the same time speaking out about human rights.  In a time when the world should be coming together, weapons only serve to divide and destroy.  And the US, like all countries, has troubles with its own human rights record.

ThinkProgress — Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.

Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.

“The Second Amendment is under a threat like never before,” Trump said, repeating the NRA leadership’s claim that Hillary Clinton will dismantle the Second Amendment.  …

This is the most basic human right of all, and Hillary Clinton wants to strip it away,” Trump said. “I’m going to guarantee that law-abiding citizens have the right to self defense, 100 percent.”

Amazing how many times Trump flip-flops on his positions . . . pro choice now pro life; pro gun-free zones now eliminate gun-free zones; irreligious now religious; and there are more.  Trump is an opportunist, changing his stance to suit his goal of becoming POTUS.  I believe the expression is "whatever it takes" or the end justifies the means".

CBC — "I want to be out. I want, want, want, want — please God! — let us be out."

Councillor Yvonne Stevens is campaigning for Britain to vote to leave the European Union.

This is Yvonne Stevens, a local councillor for the U.K. Independence Party or UKIP. Its roots date back to the 1990s and British opposition to the signing of the Maastricht Treaty enshrining key tenets of European integration.

It's also a party that's played heavily on anti-immigrant sentiment, and immigration is one of the key issues motivating those who want Britain to leave the European Union in a referendum on June 23. Stevens is no exception.

"Let's say, 'No, let's stop,'" says Stevens, referring to unfettered immigration of EU citizens entitled to live and work in any EU country of their choosing.

The discussion of UK membership in the EU is known as "Brexit".  Whether the UK stays within the EU or opts out, there will be global repercussions.  In another CBCreport, Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has urged the UK to remain within the EU.  He said

"More unity is a path toward greater prosperity. We have a great relationship with a strong and united Europe and certainly hope that that continues," Trudeau said in an interview with Reuters. "Britain is always going to have clout, it's just obviously amplified by its strength as part of the EU."

You can read a short history of the UK's participation in the EU at "Brexit".

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May 222016
 

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.

0522Varney

Stuart Varney is so happy about that plane crash.

For Stuart Varney, the more plane crashes the better. Plane crashes are good for Donald Trump. They get people scared, and they also kill people, and that is just great.

Fox and Friends invited Fox Business' Stuart Varney [Faux Business Noise delinked] on to discuss the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804 and how it would affect the stock market, which is already cold-blooded enough. But Varney made his craven indifference to human life even more apparent by casting the tragedy in terms of what it does for Donald Trump’s potential presidency.

“I also think this may be good politically for Donald Trump,” Varney said, first commending the presumed GOP nominee for irresponsibly declaring the crash the work of terrorists before anything at all was known about it.

“He’s already tweeted out saying this is probably terrorism. I believe that's the nature of his tweet. He’s the guy who is saying, hands off, keep Muslims out temporarily whilst we figure out who comes in. An incident of this type is surely a plus for Donald Trump.”

Does he hear the words as they issue from his mouth?

From <Alternet>

If it actually was terrorism, Rump Dump Trump made a lucky call, aside from how dangerous such purely speculative guesses are. Varney's Trump Rump licking is only the fourth of six awful Republican moments listed for last week alone. Click through for the other five.

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May 212016
 

Well I still have sinusitis, albeit the end stages I hope.  I am at least able to, for the most part, wear my glasses and read.  Tonight is my last anti-biotic but I am still without a lot of energy.  I have been resting a lot and drinking a lot . . . the hard stuff . . . H2O.  I had physio on Wednesday which, despite being at a reduced intensity, tuckered me out.  Thursday, I took my mother for her annual eye exam and then later in the evening attended my course (next week is the completion).  Friday was more physio and then teaching.  I was really tired by the end of yesterday but had a good night's sleep.  So this long weekend is very low key, a gift I give to myself to hopefully build up some reserves.  This Canadian long weekend celebrates Queen Victoria's birthday and is unofficially the start of the summer season, although summer does not really start until about 21 June.  This is often the "first" camping weekend of the season, and, in many areas of Canada, flowers and vegetable gardens are not planted until after 24/05 because it is generally considered too cold.  When I lived in northern BC, the last snowfall was usually around the end of May.  Here in greater Vancouver, this is not the case as we have a more temperate climate.  Hope you are having a relaxing weekend.

National Law Journal In the alternate universe of John Banzhaf ("When the Rabble-Rousing Turns Criminal, There's A Civil Solution," The National Law Journal, March 28), protesters have taken over the streets and hijacked the political process. Police step back and do nothing. They "yield the streets," sometimes because they are "afraid to make arrests," sometimes because "there is sympathy with their cause." If arrests take place, protesters end up in court and "face only a token fine."

The real world of street protest bears no relation to what Banzhaf describes. In fact, the post-9/11 trend, of which his anti-protester screed is symptomatic, is of increasing hostility to street protest. In the crackdown on peaceful ­protesters, police show no "sympathy with their cause" and are entirely "[un]afraid to make arrests." As a consequence of the amped-up focus on security since 9/11, the "war on terror" has also become a war on dissent.

In my last post, I brought you a piece by law professor John Banzhaf.  In it, Banzhaf argues that protesters who prevent others from hearing a speaker, specifically Trump in that case, are guilty of obstructing freedom of speech and assembly for those attending a Trump rally.  He goes on to say that protesters face few penalties and that police are afraid to arrest protesters etc.  I think you and I would for the most part disagree with Banzhaf on his police point having witnessed police actions in Ferguson, Missouri and other locales.  Author Alan Levine, himself a practising civil rights and constitutional lawyer in NY, sees the current police attitude in general, as impinging upon the freedom of assembly and  the freedom of speech.  Have a look.

MSN — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking from the floor of an institution that once enacted racist policies against large-scale immigration from Asia until the 1960s, apologized Wednesday for the 1914 Komagata Maru incident.

“Mr. Speaker, today I rise in this House to offer an apology on behalf of the government of Canada for our role in the Komagata Maru incident,” he said, triggering a standing ovation with MPs of all major parties applauding. 

“More than a century ago a great injustice took place.”

Trudeau spoke in a chamber filled with MPs and Indo-Canadians from across the country, including a delegation of more than 100 from B.C. who were led by Premier Christy Clark.

Trudeau said Canada would have been richer if the 376 passengers – mostly Sikh along with a handful of Muslims and Hindus – had been allowed to disembark from that Japanese ship.

Many people, including many Canadians, are not aware of the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 in Vancouver.  It is not a proud moment in Canadian history, but I am sure that it is something that Herr Drumpf in the US would endorse.  This from Wikipedia:

The Komagata Maru incident involved a Japanese steamship, Komagata Maru, that sailed from Hong Kong, then a holding of the British Empire, through Shanghai, China, then on to Yokohama, Japan, and then finally to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, in 1914, carrying 376 passengers from Punjab, British India. Of them 24 were admitted to Canada, but the other 352 passengers were not allowed to land in Canada, and the ship was forced to return to India.[1] The passengers comprised 340 Sikhs, 24 Muslims, and 12 Hindus, all British subjects. This was one of several incidents in the history of early 20th century involving exclusion laws in both Canada and the United States designed to keep out immigrants of only Asian origin.

In the park where I walk, there is a memorial to the people of the Komagata Maru.  I'd like to think that we have come a long way since 1914, and maybe we have, but there is still a long way to go before we become a totally inclusive society.

The Economist He was for far too long underestimated. The same must not be said of the threat his egomania and pernicious nativism represents to America and the world.  …

Yet if Mr Trump’s supporters like his message, many are also motivated by disdain for the party bosses who so haplessly opposed him. Exit polls in Indiana suggested half of Republican voters felt “betrayed” by their party. This is a harvest the party sowed in two ways. First, though it is a caricature to suggest, as Mr Trump and others have, that the Republicans have long made fools of distressed working-class whites by offering them God, the flag and tax cuts to the rich, it is a caricature with some truth to it. None of Mr Trump’s 16 rivals spoke convincingly to the concerns of wage-distressed workers; none had a thoughtful answer to them.

Second, years of partisan grandstanding in Congress have discredited America’s entire political process, and the Republicans—especially those of them thrust to power by the party’s previous populist insurgency, the Tea Party—are mainly responsible. The several recent crises Republican congressmen have engineered over the passage of the federal budget, which they sought to hold hostage to their unrealistic and unconstitutional demands of Mr Obama, have earned the voters’ disdain. In that sense, the Trumpian revolt is not a continuation of the false promise raised by the anti-government Tea Party, but its successor. With Mr Trump’s nomination almost assured, its fires, too, must now rage and burn out.

Fear trumps hope!  There is no doubt in my mind that Republicans are finding themselves in a pickle.  But  Trump, as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is not backing down.  In this article and another, Trump's articulated platform will lay waste to just about everything.  To me, it seems that Trump is playing the "American exceptionalism" card.  Has he forgotten that negotiation is not the same as dictating the terms?

CBC WIL-bur-r-r-r-r-r

Actor-comedian Alan Young, who played the amiable straight man to a talking horse in the 1960s sitcom Mister Ed, has died, a spokeswoman for the Motion Picture and Television Home said Friday. He was 96.

The English-born, Canadian-educated Young died Thursday, according to Jaime Larkin, spokeswoman for the retirement community where Young had lived for four years. His children were with him when he died peacefully of natural causes, she said.

Young was already a well-known radio and TV comedian, having starred in his own Emmy-winning variety show, when Mister Ed was being readied at comedian George Burns' production company. Burns is said to have told his staff: "Get Alan Young. He looks like the kind of guy a horse would talk to."

I am sure that many of you will remember Mr Ed, the talking horse.  I used to delight in watching the programme and wondered how the horse learned and said his lines.  I was young and naive . . . what can I say!  Anyway, Alan Young, who played the "straightman" to the horse, passed away 19/05/2016.  Bamboo Harvester, the original Mr Ed, died in 1970.  Here is an episode of "Mr Ed" to take you back down memory lane.

And of course, the theme song for the programme is yet another earworm that Nameless mentions in his Friday post Friday Fun: A Coke – OR Koch – Earworm (In Memoriam) .

A horse is a horse, of course, of course,

And no one can talk to a horse of course

Unless the horse of course, is the famous Mr Ed.

My Universe

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