Nov 262015

Yesterday my first baby steps were most unsteady, and I would have nosedived without help.  It was too late for the shower.  I did most of my research last night, because I want to finish early.  I have a couple friends coming, and we’ll eat in the café on the first floor of the hospital.  Rush mode engaged.

Short Takes:

From FAIR: CNN host Michael Smerconish (Huffington Post, 11/23/15) brought onto his November 21 show former CIA officer Michael Scheuer, who said that if the US is going to go after ISIS, it should

take out every piece of infrastructure—hospitals, universities, irrigation systems—that make it impossible [sic] for the Islamic State to raise money, to provide electricity, sanitation, potable water. Do exactly what we did to the Germans.

Asked by the CNN host whether the US public would tolerate the “so-called innocent civilian death count,” Scheuer replied:

They should. What’s the difference? They’re not Americans.

Here is the peak of Republican love.  Kill a Muslim for Republican Supply-side Jesus (the polar opposite of the real Jesus).

From Daily Kos: Chalk up another win for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and in fact, another win for the American consumer. In this case, it’s members of the military who have new protections from predatory lenders. The CFPB worked with the Pentagon to develop new rules for how the military discretionary allotment system works. Military personnel can designate a portion of their paycheck to be paid automatically to financial institutions or to people, and previously had no legal protections if they used those automatic payments for personal property—vehicles, appliances and consumer electronics. That’s where unscrupulous companies could exploit them.

The new rules shut down that loophole, and will only allow the automatic payments for “the purpose of savings, insurance premiums, mortgage or rent payments, support for dependents, or investments.” That’s one of the final loopholes closed by the CFBP—the agency that Republicans want to gut—for military personnel who have been big targets for consumer fraud. With all these protections, the CFPB has recovered over $98 million for thousands of service members. You know, the troops Republicans supposedly have so much respect and feeling for.

As of the agency’s third birthday back in July, it had recovered more than $4.6 billion—yes billion for consumers harmed by illegal practices by financial institutions.

No wonder Republicans have never stopped trying to hobble the CFPB!!

From Media Matters: Fox News host Megyn Kelly denounced the scene of a young African American protester standing in front of a police officer during a peaceful protest in Chicago following the announcement that police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with the first-degree murder of an African American teen.

Protests erupted in Chicago following the release of a video showing the shooting death of 17 year old Laquan McDonald. Fox News covered the peaceful protest noting the silent protest of one young black man looking at a police officer. Fox’s Megyn Kelly interrupted her show to comment on the protester, arguing that the protestor was not “appropriate,” because the police officer “hasn’t done anything wrong.” From the November 24 edition of Fox News’ The Kelly File:

Barf Bag Alert!!


Actually, I’m shocked that others on her show were able to counter Megyn Kelly’s racism, without having their microphones cut off.



Nov 222015

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 nutty InsaniTEA can become.  As TC would say, I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception.

Republican politicians and presidential aspirants fell all over each other this week, trying to be as offensive, spiteful and Islamophobic as possible. Let’s review some of the lowest of the legion of low-lights.

1. Ben Carson’s truly offensive and clearly intentional metaphor.

Reports of Ben Carson’s stupidity and inability to grasp foreign policy may (or may not) have been greatly exaggerated. But reports that he is an evil mother*cker have not. In his usual semi-somnambulant state, Carson compared Syrian refugees to “rabid dogs” this week in a piece of rhetoric that really does, no exaggeration, rival Hitler.

"If there is a rabid dog running around your neighborhood, you're probably not going to assume something good about that dog. And you're probably going to put your children out of the way," Carson said at a campaign event in Mobile, Alabama. "Doesn't mean that you hate all dogs, by any stretch of the imagination. But you're putting your intellect into motion and you're thinking, how do I protect my children?

Hmmm, let’s see, how many dog whistles can he blow at one time?

"By the same token, we have to have in place screening mechanisms that allow us to determine who the mad dogs are, quite frankly," Carson continued obviously pleased as punch with his metaphor. "Who are the people who want to come in here and hurt us and want to destroy us? Until we know how to do that, just like it would be foolish to put your child out into the neighborhood knowing that that was going on, it is foolish for us to accept people if we cannot have the appropriate type of screening." 

The fact that these horrifyingly inflammatory remarks are uttered in Carson’s soft cadence, and by a doctor no less, somehow compounds their vileness. He’s fully capable of generating lots of metaphors, but he chooses this one. In what way exactly is that not evil?

Click through the rest of the Alternet article.  It defies logic how some Americans can become so enthralled by these idiots.  But then that is playing on fears, and they are masters of fear.

Nov 222015

I have been able to accomplish quite a bit today so I am a happy camper. Tomorrow will be a day to visit with my mother.  I bought her some adaptive clothing so we may have a "fashion show" to try them on for fit and hopefully to see my mother smile.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:15 (average 5:20). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Vancouver Sun — But he believes that building cities is about more than just constructing houses and towers and roads to connect them. It’s also about creating social infrastructure and inclusive societies.

Vancouver property developer Ian Gillespie is offering Syrian refugees temporary accommodations. 'We're in the property business, so it seemed an obvious place to start.'

So, Gillespie’s Westbank Properties is handing over 12 fully furnished and fully stocked apartments downtown to the Immigrant Services Society of B.C. for a minimum of four months. Those multi-bedroom units will be used as transitional accommodation until more permanent housing can be found for some of the 3,000 Syrian refugees expected to arrive in Vancouver within the next several months. 

Click through for the rest.  This attitude is certainly in contrast to that of US state governors, many of whom have said flat out "no refugees", and to the US House which voted "no" to refugees.  But many US Christians are seriously stepping forward in support of the Syrian refugees.  Vancouver developer Daljit Thind, himself an immigrant, has housing available. Vancouver's Temple Sholom has raised money to sponsor a family and is working with Mosaic immigrant services.

Washington Posth/t JLA — Completing a long-shot bid that ran counter to the conservative tide sweeping the Southern states, Democratic state Rep. John Bel Edwards was elected governor of Louisiana on Saturday, defeating his Republican rival, U.S. Sen. David Vitter.

Edwards was the top vote-getter in the state’s open primary last month and then built a lead over Vitter that he never surrendered.

With 1,800 out of 3,945 precincts reporting, Edwards led Vitter 55 percent to 45 percent, prompting the Edwards campaign to declare victory late Saturday evening.

Click through for the rest of the story.  Although this article states "1,800 out of 3,945 precincts reporting", the Huffington Post's story says "Edwards won 56 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of precincts reporting.".  And from Mother Jones

Edwards has pledged to sign an executive order authorizing the expansion of the program on his first day in office. That's a really big deal. Such a move would provide coverage to about 225,000 residents in one of the poorest states in the nation.

It certainly looks like things are looking up for Louisiana.  About time!

Think Progress — When a parking lot attendant dared to recycle trash he picked up outside an upstate New York Walmart, the store fired him. Now generous strangers are trying to help cushion his sudden fall.

Thomas Smith, 52, had been earning $9 an hour at an upstate New York Walmart for less than three months when his manager terminated him over the cans. Smith was in charge of rounding up shopping carts from the lot outside the store, and started collecting trash from the lot while making his rounds. After storing up cans for a couple months, he recycled them in the store’s machines in early November. He got $5.10 for them.

Click through for the rest of the story.  I think the following line from the story sums up the situation: "That thief was white. Smith collected trash while black."

My Universe — 

Nov 192015

Well the wind finally stopped yesterday afternoon and the rain along with it . . . well at least for now.  More rain is on the way and Friday promises to be wet.  With colder temperatures and rain wherre I am, the mountains behind my house are guaranteed to be getting snow.  Some of the local ski hills are scheduling to open this weekend,  Some did not open at all or only for short periods last year because of the lack of snow.  May this year be better for them.  Today is a "lazy" day with 2 chores . . . the litterbox and some laundry, mostly linens.  Of course, I have tomorrow's articles and cat snuggling too!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:48 (average 4:24). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

Alternet — Twitter user @HistOpinion (Historical Opinion) tweeted out polls from 1939 and 1938 showing what Americans thought of political refugees, most of whom were Jewish, on the eve of World War II. On the question, "What’s your attitude towards allowing German, Austrian & other political refugees to come into the US?" the numbers are, in retrospect, devastating:

Indeed, a fear of "Jewish-Bolshevism" was very real as Juan Cole noted in Truth Dig:

Jews were also seen by some US Neanderthals as having socialist tendencies and so were kept out as radicals. There was talk of the Jewish-Bolshevik conspiracy. (Hatred of Jews was irrational, so that they were blamed for being bankers [they were less than 1 percent of bankers] at the same time they were excoriated for being Marxists.) There was also the Society for the Defense of Christianity, so fundamentalists did their part.

An article in the Huffington Post takes a more personal look at the issue of admitting refugees, postulating that we should be proclaiming "never again" when it comes to ethnic refugees desperately fleeing their foe. Anti-refugee attitudes of the late 1930s have returned with a new Islamic target.

Déjà-vu?  I am inclined to think that the hysteria exhibited by many politicians, particularly Republicans, is reminiscent of the 1930s.  There are parallels that we should examine if the "never again" is to survive.  It is true that there have been genocides in the world since WWII, but none on the magnitude of the Holocaust.  We must ensure "never again" is very literally NEVER AGAIN and be compassionate.

Daily Kos — How ISIS is funded:

As ISIS fighters expand their control, it is in the border region, in villages like Besaslan, where the Islamic State group can make some of the money it needs to finance its wars. Oil-smuggling operations involving millions of barrels have recently been uncovered […]

Besides revenue from oil smuggling, the group receives money through donations from wealthy sympathizers in countries including Qatar and Kuwait.

There’s a reason the US is bombing ISIS/Daesh’s oil infrastructure. 

"We know the oil funds more than 50 percent of ISIL's operations," Warren said, using an acronym for Islamic State. "This is something we want to take away from them."

baiji oil refinery - iraqi forces guard

Iraqi soldiers guarding Baiji oil refinery after taking back from Daesh

Click through for the rest of the article.  In an article from the Wall Street Journal: U.S. Airstrikes Target Islamic State Oil Assets 

The U.S. has stepped up its attacks on Islamic State’s industrial base, striking more than 100 tanker trucks used to transport oil that helps the militant group earn tens of millions of dollars each month, an American military spokesman said Monday.

I remember hearing a saying about defeating something: you must cut off the head of the snake so the body will die.  This seems appropriate for Daesh.  Remove the source of much of its funding and Daesh will be weakened, perhaps easier to defeat.

Think Progress — Responding to the Paris attacks in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, presidential candidate and former governor Mike Huckabee (R-AR) said that he could not think of any group targeting innocent civilians except for radical Muslims. Huckabee used this argument to justify the intensifying call for discriminatory policies toward Muslims seeking refugee status.

Click through for some statistics on terrorist attacks.  To quote Assistant Attorney General John Carlin,

“[O]ver the past few years, more people have died in this country in attacks by domestic extremists than in attacks associated with international terrorist groups,”  “[I]t doesn’t get discussed as much as it should.”

My Universe — One of these is different.  Can you tell which one it is?


Nov 132015

Well, it has been raining all day.  Tonight, ferry sailings have been cancelled due to heavy seas, rain and wind warnings.  Believe me, it takes a lot to cancel a ferry sailing.  I was on a sailing years ago when cars were bouncing as much as 25 cm off the deck and then coming down with a thud.  Subsequent sailings were cancelled.  So here I sit with my little girl curled up at my feet, all warm and toasty and dry!  For us, at least half the weekend is supposed to be like this.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:57 (average 4:46). To do it, click here. How did you do? 

Short Takes

The New Yorker — These are not abstractions. And this is where the arguments about the freedom of speech become most tone deaf. The freedom to offend the powerful is not equivalent to the freedom to bully the relatively disempowered. The enlightenment principles that undergird free speech also prescribed that the natural limits of one’s liberty lie at the precise point at which it begins to impose upon the liberty of another.

Click through for the rest of the article.  Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are two current flashpoints.  But should they be flashpoints?  I don't think so . . . my freedoms end at the tip of my nose, while yours end at the tip of your nose.  The systemic racism and definition of rights in the US leaves me scratching my head.

Common Dreams — On September 21, Pah, a 16-year-old student at Oakland’s Street Academy, spoke out against the export of coal through the Port of Oakland to City Council members: “I’m opposed to this coal export because it will make my community in West Oakland sick. I support jobs, but not the kind of jobs that make us sick. There are clean job alternatives, like Community Choice energy, and this will be good for the health of my community. This is my generation; I want to have a healthy life.” 

Click through for the rest of the article.  A promising arrangement for greener and cheaper power.  What's not to like?  Living in British Columbia where power is controlled by a Crown Corporation and utilities are currently highly regulated, I wonder how such a system could work here, if at all.

Washington Post — Less than three months before the kickoff Iowa caucuses, there is growing anxiety bordering on panic among Republican elites about the dominance and durability of Donald Trump and Ben Carson and widespread bewilderment over how to defeat them.

Party leaders and donors fear that nominating either man would have negative ramifications for the GOP ticket up and down the ballot, virtually ensuring a Hillary Rodham Clinton presidency and increasing the odds that the Senate falls into Democratic hands.

The party establishment is paralyzed. Big money is still on the sidelines. No consensus alternative to the outsiders has emerged from the pack of governors and senators running, and there is disagreement about how to prosecute the case against them. Recent focus groups of Trump supporters in Iowa and New Hampshire commissioned by rival campaigns revealed no silver bullet.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I know that I cringe at the thoughts of a President Trump or a President Carson.  Neither is fit, in my mind, to be president.  But then, I don't think any of the current Republican aspirants is fit.

Mother Jones — One thing every Republican presidential candidate can agree on is that they hate President Barack Obama's plan to tackle climate change. Now Hillary Clinton might have a way to remedy one of their biggest concerns.

… Today Clinton produced her own $30 billion plan, which would use a smattering of tax incentives and grant funding to support public health, education, and entrepreneurial initiatives in coal communities from Appalachia to Wyoming. 

You can read the full plan here. It follows the lead of a similar but much smaller initiative Obama rolled out last month. Much of it is targeted at rebuilding infrastructure—highways, bridges, railroads, broadband networks. The Clinton campaign says that kind of development would not only create new jobs to replace those lost in the coal industry, but be vital for growing new industries.

Click through for the rest of the article.  I remember coal being delivered to my home, and later to the apartment building where I lived.  Unfortunately, our apartment was directly above the coal bin and coal dust was a part of life unfortunately.  But that was in the 1950s and 60s.  Coal has been in decline for years but politicians in coal states are mired in the coal dust of the past rather than looking forward to new opportunities.  It seems that Hillary has beat them to the punch!

My Universe Cuteness overload to usher in the weekend!

Yeah Weekend cat

Nov 122015

It recently came to my attention that someone in the Oregon Department of Justice was racially profiling Black Lives Matter activists, making them targets for investigation by several law enforcement agencies.  I was appalled and almost blasted Oregon DOJ.  But I decided to wait and see how the Kate Brown administration dealt with the news.  I’m glad I did.

1112BLMAn Oregon Department of Justice investigator used a search tool to racially profile Twitter users who used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, the state’s attorney general said in a letter to a civil rights organization Tuesday in which she said she was “appalled” by the practice and has suspended the investigator.

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum, responding to complaints form the Portland chapter of the Urban League, wrote Tuesday that she has ordered her department to stop using the online search tool and launched an investigation, saying the practice “raises many troubling questions” about law enforcement profiling throughout the state.

One Twitter account targeted by the probe belonged to Erious Johnson, director of civil rights for the state justice department and husband to Nkenge Harmon Johnson, the Urban League’s president.

“On a personal note, I have now seen firsthand how devastating profiling can be — written on the face of a member of my team,” Rosenblum wrote in the letter. “It must not continue.”

Rosenblum said she did not learn about the incident until she received a letter from the local chapter of the Urban League. That letter alerted her that it is “improper, and potentially unlawful, for the Oregon Department of Justice to conduct surveillance and investigations on an Oregonian merely for expressing a viewpoint, or for being a part of a social movement.”

We are concerned that such unwarranted investigations are racially motivated, and create a chilling effect on social justice advocates, political activists and others who wish to engage in discourse about the issues of our time,” continued the letter, which was also signed by the local affiliates of the NAACP, American Civil Liberties Union, and the AFL-CIO… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

I’m please to report that, here in Oregon, Black Lives DO matter.  I called AG Ellen Rosenblum’s office and requested that the perpetrator, who was suspended, be terminated.

Nov 112015

The visit to the doctor was good . . . I don't have bronchitis . . . yet!  But I am on the verge so I do have to rest, not go out and take Tylenol and cough syrup.  The doctor also nailed me for my flu shot.  There was a new patient in the waiting room, an elderly lady in a wheelchair, with whom I struck up a conversation and reassured her that the doctor was very nice.  Just before I was called in, I leaned over and told her the doctor was real eye candy.  At 93 years, she was giggling like a school girl.  Then she said her eyes were not good.  When I told the doctor about this, he started laughing.  I might have felt crappy, but at least I was able to make 2 people laugh.  Interesting though, 2 other patients joined in with positive opinions of the doctor.  I think he's a keeper!

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:01 (average 4:23). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

Alternet — "So this is weird for me," Noah said. "The media is saying 'those rumors about you haveing a clean record and being an upstanding member of society are true', and Ben Carson is like 'Bullshit! I'm dangerous and I try to kill people and I'm a bad person who should be President."

The Daily Show host would save the worst bonehead moment for last: Carson's belief that the Egyptian pyramids were used to score grain and were not a tomb.

Click through for the rest.  Unfortunately, I could not embed the video, partly because I am Canadian and partly because there is no embeding url.  Also, I could not find it on YouTube.  For Canadians click here for the Canadian version.  Noah's monologue on Carson starts at the 1:48 mark.

Mother Jones — … the conservative American Action Network will run an ad opposing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the consumer watchdog agency that Warren created following the financial crash. Per Everett, the group is spending half a million dollars to run the ad during the debate and later this week.

The commercial paints the CFPB as a Kremlin-like bureaucratic nightmare, with Warren as the Stalinesque figure barring regular Americans from collecting loans. Warren's face is plastered on a giant red banner in the background, alongside that of CFPB director Richard Cordray. The Soviet imagery is not subtle.

Related to this is Warren's tweetstorm following the airing of the ad.  I can just hear Elizabeth Warren following up with "And that's a promise!  Make my day, punk!"

Think Progress — Three white supremacists plotting to bomb and shoot up black churches and synagogues were charged Monday with a felony after allegedly attempting to buy guns and explosives from an undercover FBI agent. The two men, based in Virginia, were preparing for a “race war,” according to the FBI, by buying up land and weapons.

This is domestic terrorism at its worst . . . preying on innocent people because of the colour of their skin.  The Southern Poverty Law Centre says there are more deaths of Americans from domestic terrorism than from jihadi attacks.  Shameful!

The New Yorker — Arguing that the voters have tired of “gotcha questions,” the Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson said that he hoped Tuesday night’s debate would “focus on the real issues facing this country, like finding the lost city of Atlantis.”

“The American people don’t want to hear personal attacks,” Carson told reporters. “They want to know which candidate has the best plan for locating Atlantis and recovering its storied treasures.”

Carson said that finding Atlantis was central to his plan for reviving the U.S. economy. “We could start paying down the national debt with one jewel-encrusted trident,” he said.

Oh Andy that does so sound like Carson insanity.  Click through for the rest.

My Universe — 


Nov 062015

TGIF!!!!!  Mind, when you're retired, it doesn't make a big difference.  Well I had a wonderfully long sleep last night which was great.  As you may have seen, TC's 10 year old laptop committed suicide so he will be scarce for awhile. But rest assured, we will continue to keep you abreast of his activities, including wheelies in the halls and nurse chasing.  I am off shortly to teach but will return late this afternoon. 

Puzzle — Today’s took me 2:53 (average 5:32). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes

Alternet — Rubio replied he would like to have a beer with football legend Dan Marino, Russian chess prodigy Gary Kasparov and Malala Yousafzai.

Click through for the rest of this short piece.  Does this remind you of anyone from the Republican 2012 Presidential race . . . maybe Herman Cain?  To wit, I offer evidence of Cain's stupidity which looks a lot like Rubio's.  Hang your head in shame Marco!


Mother Jones — Elizabeth Warren wants to give seniors the same pay raise enjoyed by CEOs—and to raise taxes on some executive pay in the process. The liberal senator from Massachusetts is introducing a bill on Thursday to boost Social Security payments for 2016 with a one-time bump in benefits.

Click through for the rest of the article.  If CEOs can get a raise of average 3.9%, then surely SS recipients should be entitled to an increase.  Let's see, SS recipients are faced with price and cost increases daily but they haven't had an increase so they aren't even keeping up.  But CEOs don't have to spend all their money on the necessities of life as do  SS recipients, yet they get a 3.9% average increase.  There is a big disconnect here.  Go Lizzie!!!

From the files of "You've Got to be Kidding!" — Continuing the Republican party’s rich history of condescending to black voters and assuming rap is the only language African-Americans speak or understand, Ben Carson unveiled a new hip-hop radio ad today. And it is just as unhip, patronizing and irrelevant as you might expect! Check chickity-check it out for yourself, hippity-hoppin’ homies!

laughing cat

Check out rappin' Ben Carson at Alternet.  All I can say Ben is don't give up your day job, whatever it is, because with disingenuous garbage like this, you are going nowhere!

Mother Jones — The exclusion of black people from juries is a hot topic this week, as the United States Supreme Court considers the case of Timothy Foster, a black man charged with murdering an elderly white woman in Georgia some three decades ago. In 1987, Foster was convicted and sentenced to death by an all-white jury, after prosecution lawyers used their so-called peremptory strikes to disqualify all the blacks in the jury pool, citing "race-neutral" reasons.

Up until this point in the case, the courts had accepted those alternative rationales. But the prosecutors' notes from jury selection, which were finally revealed thanks to a Public Records Act request, suggest a deliberate exclusion strategy. On the list of prospective jurors, the black names were circled, highlighted in green, and marked with a "B." They were also ranked, as an investigator for the prosecution noted in an affidavit, in case "it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors." Ouch. 

Whatever happened to the right to be judged by a jury of the defendants peers?  Click through for the rest of the article.

My Universe — 

I cracked up when I saw this picture because this is like one of my exercises at physio.  Keep the cats away!

Oct 192015

I was at church this morning.  The sign on the lawn read: If 99% of us voted, it would not matter what the 1% voted for!  Of course this is a reminder to get out and vote in Canada's federal election which is tomorrow.  The turn out for the advance polls, which I voted in last weekend, were 71% higher than in 2011 with quite a few first time voters. Elections Canada is expecting a high turn out tomorrow and has a contingency plan for long lineups.  One problem though, the Blue Jays play game 3 of their 5 game series, and it is a do or die situation.  Will Blue Jay fever reduce the turn out?  Last month our church sign read: Adam and Eve, the first people who failed to read the Apple terms and conditions.

Puzzle — Today’s took me 3:27 (average 5:05). To do it, click here. How did you do? For those that don't know, we always do the 48 piece classic.

Short Takes 

Mother Jones — In 1958, Fred Koch, the founder of the Midwestern oil and cattle ranching empire that would become Koch Industries, became a charter member of the John Birch Society, the fiercely anti-communist organization whose members believed Soviet influence was infecting all aspects of American society. The Birchers attempted to place their weight on "the political scales…as fast and as far" as they could, but their movement was quickly sidelined to the ideological fringe. Two of Fred's four sons, Charles and David, have carried forward the conservative torch, and they have succeeded where their father and his allies failed. Their father's company, meanwhile, has grown into a multibillion-dollar conglomerate that is the second-largest private corporation in the country.

Continue reading to see how and where the Kochs have spread their influence.  The Kochs are like an ivy plant . . . it looks great on the surface, but pull the vines aside a bit, and you see the ivy penetrating the walls it grows against.  It penetrates the very foundations of a building weakening it. In education for example, the donations to universities come with substantial caveats about what is taught.  Most donations come with some caveats, but the Kochs' caveats are especially onerous.

Alternet — The Monsanto public relations machine has done a stellar job in recent years of reducing the GMO debate to one that pits “pro-science advocates” against “anti-science climate-denier types” — with Monsanto portrayed as being squarely planted in the pro-science camp.

But that well-oiled machine may be starting to sputter.

Turns out that Monsanto executive solicited pro-GMO articles from university researchers, and passed the “research” off as independent science which the biotech giant then used to prop up its image and further its agenda.

If you can't go through it, you can't go under it, or you can't go over it, then you go around it.  And that is exactly what Monsanto is trying to do.  Using a PR approach, it is orchestrating "unbiased" scientific support for its GMOs.  There is a petition at the end of the article which I hope you'll sign, that says:

Biotech giant Monsanto has several ways in which it could push through H.R. 1599 without going through the normal Senate process. If passed, H.R. 1599 would block states from requiring labeling of genetically modified foods. We must put pressure on Congress to reject this blatant assault on our right to know exactly what is in our food. Tell the U.S. Senate to reject a Monsanto “sneak attack” that would pass the DARK Act without due democratic process.

Mother Jones — In the modern-day fight against racial inequality, activists and policymakers alike should look to the past to change the present.

That's the message Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent on Sunday in a stirring speech at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston. Warren called for wide-ranging civil rights reforms to combat racial inequality, from the restoration of voting rights to changes in policing practices.

This is a long video at 55 minutes however Elizabeth Warren starts her remarks at about the 12 minute mark, and it is well worth watching/listening to.  Her talk finishes at the 40 minute mark and then there is a Q&A.  Love me some Elizabeth Warren!

Think ProgressBarf Bag Alert — The United States criminal justice system could be improved if we sell poor people convicted of crimes into slavery, according to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

The former Arkansas governor weighed in on our nation’s current criminal justice system during an appearance yesterday on Mickelson in the Morning, a leading Iowa radio program.

Jan Mickelson of Mickelson in the Morning is a far right wing radio personality with some outrageous ideas.  Couple him with Huckabee and you get supply-side pseudo Christianity almost at its worst. There is absolutely no resemblance to authentic Christianity.

My Universe


THIS is what I think of Mondays!

Oct 182015

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

1. There’s a reason Rand Paul has become completely irrelevant.

The fact that Rand Paul was once touted as the savior of the Republican Party does not speak well of either of them. But just to drive the point home that Paul is definitely not suited to play the role of level-headed grown up in the room, the Kentucky libertarian got a little hysterical this week about Bernie Sanders.

Just a tad.

The word “socialist” can do that to right-wing libertarian types—sending them into paroxysms of wild-eyed terror. On a conservative South Carolina radio show, Paul suggested that a Bernie Sanders presidency might set off “mass genocide.” In his view, that’s what happens when you try socialism. Apparently, he has never heard of Scandinavia, where genocide really hasn’t been a thing.

“It amazes me and it actually kind of scares me,” Paul told radio host Vince Coakley. “I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the times when socialism has been tried that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it. Stalin killed tens of millions of people. Mao killed tens of millions of people. Pol Pot killed tens of millions of people.”

Granted, Paul is not the only Republican who is confused about Sanders’ use of the word socialism, and certainly not the only one using ridiculous rhetoric to scare people to death. Texas state Rep. Jason Villalba,

Villalba compared him to Hitler on Tuesday, later backing off, and going the other way to Stalin.a

So clearly, we can expect a lot more of this nonsense.

This past week, the former staffers of Rand Paul, who are also former staffers of his father, were on trial and Ron Paul was testifying.  But in addition to waxing stupid over Bernie Sanders, Paul tried to, in his own inane way, divert attention from the trial.  In the process, he managed to make himself even more irrelevant. 

This is just one of the absurdities of right wing America.  To be sure, there are more than five, but publishing space is limited.  Read about the other four enumerated in Alternet.  

Oct 112015

Yep, it's Saturday night and time for Right Wing Follies brought to you by the Republican Party of the US and their right wing associates. 

Guano Girl!  She's baaack!!

3. Climatologist and biblical scholar Michelle Bachmann has a theory about floods.

Where there is horrifically bad weather in America, there will always be some kook proclaiming it is God’s wrath for America’s sinful ways. Same sex marriage, blah blah, abortion, yah de yah de yah.

This week the storm in question was the flooding in South Carolina, and the kook in question was Michelle Bachmann. Turns out that the severe flooding in South Carolina and parts of North Carolina, yep, God’s wrath, people. What’s God pissed off about now? U.S. policy on Israel. “US turns back on Israel, disasters following,” Bachmann tweeted, employing some headscratching grammar. She helpfully included dramatic flood pictures from South Carolina, so her followers would know which biblical flood she was referring to.

How exactly the US is turning its back on Israel is not explained. Of course, this is not the first time Bachmann has pointed out that President Obama’s foreign policy is hastening the End Times. They are nigh, people! Time to take that crash course in arc building. 

I have a theory about a flood . . . specifically the flood of nonsense that eminates from Guano Girl!  It seems that if she is denied an audience for any length of time, she comes right off the rails! . . . even more than usual!

Read about the other four Right Wing Moments this Week in Alternet and don't forget the popcorn.

Sep 302015

It is hard to believe that Ben Carson is a serious contender for the Republican nomination for POTUS.  To have a Republican candidate for president "guilty of being president while being black" is truly mind boggling since that has been the Republican attitude towards Mr Obama.  Perhaps there is some nefarious purpose that even Carson does not know about.

From Alternet

Now we know for sure that education is no hedge against mindblowing irrational thinking. Our proof? None other than Dr. Ben Carson, highly trained pediatric neurosurgeon, man of science, leading GOP presidential contender and batsh*t crazy Bible-thumper in the first degree.

Last week, the soft-spoken former doctor, continuing a surge begun in late summer, closed the gap with longstanding frontrunner Donald Trump. Carson accomplished this feat after weeks (nay, months, years!) of spewing what can only be regarded as stupefying nonsense, including last week’s argument at the Values Voter Summit that a blatantly unconstitutional religious test be administered to Muslims seeking office in order to protect the Constitution.

1. Gayness must be a choice, because prisoners who are raped come out gay.

Like any generic homophobe, Carson has no problem repeating tired falsehoods about how legalized gay marriage will lead to bestiality and pedophila. But he got some points for originality when he told Chris Cuomo in an interview that homosexuality was absolutely a choice "[b]ecause a lot of people who go into prison go into prison straight— and when they come out, they're gay."

Cuomo’s jaw dropped long enough for Carson to add: "So, did something happen while they were in there? Ask yourself that question."

This could absolutely take the cake for comedic idiocy, if only homophobic violence and prison rape were not horrific real-life problems.

What it proves is that Carson will say anything. And that, even when it comes to medical science—the preponderance of which indicates that homosexuality is not a choice—the doctor is out.

Read the other six follies brought to you by Ben Carson, Republican presidential candidate.  OMG!!!  The thoughts of Carson as POTUS is absolutely sickening.  Please someone, tell me I'm having a nightmare!