Dec 182017
 

It has been sometime since I last posted an Open Thread.  I have wanted to but just could not wrangle enough time to get it done before the issues became old news.  I have been working at this and a second piece all day, kept company by my 3 cats.  I did not even do my feature, “My Universe”, in the interests of my time.  Now I will post this to Care2 and start on TomCat’s offerings.

Short Takes

Washington Post — Shortly after Democrat Doug Jones wrested back one of ­Alabama’s solidly Republican U.S. Senate seats for the first time in more than two decades, President Trump offered an optimistic and forward-looking assessment on Twitter, congratulating Jones on his “hard fought victory.”

But by Wednesday morning, as Trump watched the unflattering portrait of the loss unfold on television, the president grew piqued at the notion that he, somehow, was responsible.

“I won Alabama, and I would have won Alabama again,” Trump said, according to a senior administration official. …

The president himself spread the blame. He faulted his former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, for selling him what one outside adviser described as “a bill of goods” in urging him to support Roy Moore, and he faulted Moore himself for being an abysmal candidate.

In the lead-up to Tuesday night, he had also groused about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), saying he had been too aggressive in trying to push out Moore.  …

A senior administration official, however, argued that Trump often acts as his own senior strategist and the White House doesn’t necessarily need an official political cranium.

There is the biggest problem — Trump does not listen to advice and consider it thoughtfully — Trump only listens to himself.  The next big problem, he gets lousy advice, whether he takes it from himself or from an adviser.

Open Media — Bell is desperate to censor Canada’s Internet. First they tried through NAFTA.1 Now they’re at it again through the CRTC.

Their radical proposal for website blocking with no court oversight would result in sweeping Internet censorship and put Canada’s robust Net Neutrality rules at risk.2

Shaw has come out in support of the proposal.3 But Telus and Rogers are still on the fence.4 If we can get them to come out against this proposal we can split Big Telecom on the issue, and significantly weaken Bell’s position.

Tell Telus and Rogers to oppose Bell’s censorship plan and stand up for Net Neutrality.

Canada, like the US, is fighting against telecoms which are threatening net neutrality.  Click HERE to bring up the letter to Telus and Rogers, 2 of the big 4 telecoms in Canada who have not yet expressed support for Bell’s position.  If you can help us with your signature, that is great!  Thanks

Newsweek  — The 25th Amendment to the Constitution may define the conditions for suspending a president’s authority, but it does not constrain the reasoning behind it.

As written, the amendment states that if a president “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office,” the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet can suspend him. Historically, such an inability was attributable to illness or medical problems, but, in light of President Donald Trump, I offer we expand our interpretation: Medicine aside, it is clear Trump is unfit to serve, and lawmakers must invoke the 25th Amendment against him.

Fears of physical disability were certainly foremost in bringing about the amendment. Going back to at least the 1890s, when President Grover Cleveland had surgery to remove a cancerous growth on his jaw, the country had been in jeopardy of being governed by a chief executive who had lost his physical capacity to lead the nation. In 1919-1920, when a stroke immobilized Woodrow Wilson, and his wife largely ran the executive branch, Americans worried about finding a way to overcome temporary or permanent presidential incapacity.

Franklin Roosevelt’s tenure in the White House added to the sense of urgency about replacing a disabled president. By 1944, it was clear to people around Roosevelt that his health was in decline and that he might not live out a fourth term, which proved to be the case.

Ten years later, in the midst of the Cold War, when Dwight Eisenhower served in the Oval Office and suffered a heart attack that temporarily sidelined him, the need to do something about presidential health became more compelling, or so it seemed to the country’s governing authorities. With Lyndon Johnson in the White House, and questions swirling about his rationality in response to the stalemated war in Vietnam, political leaders from both parties saw the wisdom of passing the 25th Amendment.

Years later, in 1981, after Ronald Reagan had been shot and temporarily incapacitated, and then in 1998, when I revealed John F. Kennedy’s hidden medical problems that surely would have barred him from the presidency in 1961, people were all the more convinced that we could no longer turn a blind eye to a presidential candidate’s or a sitting president’s ability to conduct the affairs of state.

In all this, however, nothing was explicitly said about questions of personal temperament to acquit one’s presidential duties. There were glimmerings of this concern not only with LBJ but even more so with Richard Nixon during the Watergate crisis in 1973-74. Rumors about Nixon’s excessive drinking, as the crisis engulfed him, raised fears that the country was in jeopardy of dangerous presidential actions. The country had to wait until Nixon’s taped conversations reached the public 30 years later before it understood the extent to which Nixon’s irrationality had put the nation in peril. In a drunken stupor, he had slept through an unauthorized decision by Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and White House chief of staff Al Haig to raise the country’s defense condition (or DEFCON) in response to a Soviet threat to interfere in the Yom Kippur War between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

The rise of Trump to the presidency now brings the question of presidential competence back into focus. Trump’s stumbling performance in his first 11 months represents a new low in the history of the modern presidency. It cannot be chalked up to medical disability, at least not at this juncture, but Trump is vulnerable under the amendment anyway.

We have all said it here at Politics Plus — Trump is unfit to be POTUS.  In my opinion, mental illness is a medical disability, and clearly, Trump has mental health issues that should lead to his ousting under the 25th amendment.  I am not a psychiatrist nor a psychologist, so my opinion does not count. 

NBC News — Matthew Petersen, the judicial nominee who was widely ridiculed last week after a video went viral of him struggling to answer basic legal questions at his Senate confirmation hearing, withdrew from consideration on Monday.

Petersen, a member of the Federal Election Commission, said in his resignation letter to President Donald Trump that it “become clear to me over the last few days that my nomination has become a distraction — and that is not fair to you or your Administration.”

Trump nominated Petersen or a seat on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which carries a lifetime tenure.

The brightest thing this oaf has done is to withdraw his name from consideration.  One thing that annoys me however is that his announcement is made as a “so I am not a distraction to the work of the administration” rather than the truth . . . “I am not qualified to hold such a position.”  He really looked like an incompetent fool in the interview.

Common Dreams — A United Nations independent expert presented a searing indictment of the wealth gap in the United States, saying that “contrasts between private wealth and public squalor abound” and that the Republican tax plan “is essentially a bid to make the U.S. the world champion of extreme inequality.”

The recent statement by Philip Alston, U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, follows his two-week visit to Alabama, California, Georgia, Puerto Rico, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.. Based on the fact-finding mission, he said, “The American Dream is rapidly becoming the American Illusion as the U.S. … now has the lowest rate of social mobility of any of the rich countries.”  …

He added: “at the end of the day, particularly in a rich country like the USA, the persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power. With political will, it could readily be eliminated.”

Doing so requires “democratic decision-making, full employment policies, social protection for the vulnerable, a fair and effective justice system, gender and racial equality, and respect for human dignity, responsible fiscal policies, and environmental justice.” “Currently,” Alston said, “the United States falls far short on each of these issues.”

So much for American exceptionalism.  Trump campaigned on “Make America Great Again”, but what he and Republicans are doing is stealing the country’s future and its hard fought for reputation built over the decades.  For many of us on the outside looking in, it has been apparent what is happening, and I dare say, we all have our thoughts on this.  For myself, it all comes down to power and greed, power and greed that is systemic in many institutions.

 

Posted to Care2 http://www.care2.com/news/member/775377582/4080848  (open in new window)

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Dec 152017
 

I’m sure you all know that  The Republican Party has murdered Net Neutrality.  Yesterday Freya pointed me to a petition to urge Congress to override the decision, which they may do, but I have no realistic hope that the Republican Reich would consider, let alone pass such a measure.  Your ISP must tell you if they regulate any content, so read every word of the flood of fine print that’s coming.

1215net-neutrality

Like many other celebrities, late night hosts were not happy to learn that the Federal Communications Commision (FCC) voted down net neutrality rules, rescinding customer protections that inhibit Internet service providers (ISPs) from slowing down, blocking, or charging more for certain content…

Inserted from <USA Today>

Stephen Colbert

 

Seth Meyers

 

Jimmy Kimmel

 

I fully believe we will get Net Neutrality back, but either the lawsuits being filed must win, or we have to take back Congress.

RESIST THE REPUBLICAN REICH!!

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Dec 112017
 

I’m running a but late today as I had a lot of record keeping to catch up.  The air is still stagnant and upsetting my COPD, but not badly.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 5:31 (average 12:14).  To do it, click here.

Religious Ecstasy:

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Would someone please make sure I’m conscious.  This is so unbelievable that I think someone spiked my coffee with wacky tobackey.

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Trae Crowder Channel): Liberal Redneck – To Hell with Roy Moore

 

Amen Trae. We know there’s a good South. Look at Pat, Vivian, Freya and more! RESIST!!

From YouTube (Inequality Media Channel): Why We Must Protect Net Neutrality

 

The Reich on the left is right.  Protect Net Neutrality!! RESIST!!

From Media Matters: Conservative news outlet The Weekly Standard has been approved by Facebook to partner in fact-checking "false news," a partnership that makes little sense given the outlet’s long history of making misleading claims, pushing extreme right-wing talking points, and publishing lies to bolster conservative arguments.

The Weekly Standard’s history of publishing false claims on topics such as the 2012 attacks on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, the Affordable Care Act, tax cuts, and the war in Iraq, among many others, raises doubts that Facebook is taking the challenge of fact-checking seriously.

As The Guardian reports, The Weekly Standard is the first “explicitly partisan” outlet to partner with Facebook in their effort to fact-check fake news. The decision by Facebook raises concerns over the decision to give a conservative opinion outlet with a history of misinformation unearned influence over the fact-checking process.

Fascist bias is one of the reasons I don’t do Facebook. Those of you that do should make a big stink over this. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Nov 222017
 

I have a major mess today.  Safeway’s computer system is dawn, so my grocery delivery from Safeway.com, which was supposed to be here by now, has been indefinitely delayed.  I have to wait up until they arrive, which means I get no rest  How frustrating!  Wendy will be here this evening.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:46 (average 4:38).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Daily Kos Channel):  Former Trump economic adviser draws moral equivalency between child molestation and pro choice

Barf Bag Alert!!

 

Under Republican moral code, "choice" includes justifying any perversion. RESIST!!

From All In: Texas sheriff threatens charges over anti-Trump sticker

 

Based on this update, I like this gal! A Saguaro suppository for the fascist Sheriff. RESIST!!

From NY Times: The Federal Communications Commission released a plan on Tuesday to dismantle landmark regulations that ensure equal access to the internet, clearing the way for internet service companies to charge users more to see certain content and to curb access to some websites.

The proposal, made by the F.C.C. chairman, Ajit Pai, is a sweeping repeal of rules put in place by the Obama administration. The rules prohibit high-speed internet service providers, or I.S.P.s, from stopping or slowing down the delivery of websites. They also prevent the companies from charging customers extra fees for high-quality streaming and other services.

The announcement set off a fight over free speech and the control of the internet, pitting telecom titans like AT&T and Verizon against internet giants like Google and Amazon. The internet companies warned that rolling back the rules could make the telecom companies powerful gatekeepers to information and entertainment. The telecom companies say that the existing rules prevent them from offering customers a wider selection of services at higher and lower price points.

FIGHT for Net Neutrality!! RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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Jul 172017
 

Except for a grocery delivery from Safeway.com in the next seventy minutes, I finally have everything ready for tomorrow’s cataract surgery.  I have to report at 7:15 AM for 8:30 surgery.  I should be able to leave by 10:30.  When I return, either I will post a Personal Update, or Wendy, who is taking me both ways, will do so on my behalf.  On Wednesday, I plan to post a Personal Update in the morning.  I have to go to Christine’s office for a day one follow-up appointment in the afternoon, and Wendy will pick me up from there on the way to my normal shower evening.  Then I’m done with medical mayhem for eight days, god willing.  The groceries came and I have put them away.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:33 (average 4:37).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Tree Crowder Channel): Liberal Redneck – (Internet) Freedom Isn’t Free

 

If I wanted crying dwarf porn, I’d watch Republicans in Congress. Demand Net Neutrality! RESIST!!

From Daily Kos: Donald Trump announced his candidacy back in June of 2015, and though he got some mention in other articles, I went all the way to November before I did my first piece entirely donated to Donald.

Sixty million people died in World War II, but fascism won. It didn’t win on the battlefield. It didn’t win right away. It won because the same fears, the same greed, the same hatred that fueled its growth in the first part of the twentieth century never went away.

The symbols of fascism became anathema, but the causes … went deep. And gradually, slowly, one step at a time, all those vices became first tolerated, then treated as virtues, and then as the only acceptable view.

That was my view of Trump then — the manifestation of how America had grown not just to accept, but celebrate, all the hatred, prejudice, fear, and repression that marks the worst authoritarian dystopias. And the most horrible thing about what’s probably the most horrible article I ever wrote, is that all of it fell utterly short of being horrible enough.

Like too many people, I thought “no, we’re past that, Americans will never accept this level of racism.” I was wrong. I thought “Americans will never tolerate such blatant sexism.” Wrong again. I thought “Christians will never hand their banner to a man who openly, proudly, daily shapes his life around vengeance, a man who thinks forgiveness itself is contemptable.” I was very, very, wrong.

The author, Mark Sumner, and I seem to have an awful lot of thought in common here. Click through for the rest. RESIST!!

From NY Times: Sometime in the next few days the Congressional Budget Office will release its analysis of the latest version of the Republican health care plan. Senator Mitch McConnell is doing all he can to prevent a full assessment, for example by trying to keep the C.B.O. from scoring the Cruz provision, which would let insurers discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Nonetheless, everyone expects a grim prognosis.

As a result, White House aides are already attacking the C.B.O.’s credibility, announcing in advance that whatever it says will be “fake news.” So why should we believe the budget office, not the Trump administration? Let me count the ways.

First, this White House already has a record of constant, blatant lying about health care that is, as far as I can tell, without precedent in modern history. Just a few days ago, for example, Vice President Mike Pence made the completely false assertion that Ohio’s expansion of Medicaid led to a cutback in aid for the disabled — a lie that the state’s government had already refuted. On Sunday, Tom Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services, claimed that the Senate bill would cover more people than current law — another blatant lie. (You can’t cut hundreds of billions from Medicaid and insurance subsidies and expect coverage to grow!)

The point is that on this issue (and others, of course), the Trump administration and its allies have negative credibility: If they say something, the default assumption should be that they’re lying.

Click through for the rest of this fine Paul Krugman editorial. The only time Republicans stop lying is after someone nails the lid on. Our choice is simple. RepubliCare dies, or we do. RESIST!!

Cartoon:

0717Cartoon

Even though I made this cartoon in 2011, InsaniTEA still comes in the same flavors.

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Jul 132017
 

I slept poorly last night because of the high humidity, and I missed my morning nap, because of my Prosthetist appointment, from which I just returned, so I feel very tired.  Amanda put new shoes on both George and I.  After wearing nothing else on my foot for a year and a half, it feels strange.  She adjusted George, and I will be going back next month for new liners and shrinkers.  Tomorrow afternoon I have an appointment with Megan for surgical clearance.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:16 (average 4:07).  To do it, click here. How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Funny or Die Channel): The Yelling Man Takes On Net Neutrality

 

Defend Net Neutrality! RESIST!!

From YouTube (MoveOn Channel): I’m one of the lucky ones

 

Tell ALL Senators! RESIST!!

From NPR: In defiance of a court order, the Justice Department is refusing to release part of a security form dealing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ contacts with the Russian government.

On June 12, a judge had ordered the agency to provide the information within 30 days, a deadline that passed on Wednesday.

What is he hiding? Could the next smoking gun come from KKK Beauregard? RESIST!!

Cartoon:

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