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 212016
 

After a while, the embarrassment of foreigners treating the US as a laughingstock over Rump Dump Trump’s rise to prominence, as he plumbs depths of TEAbuggery never before encountered, becomes painful, at best.  That they are right is makes it even more embarrassing.  However, now it’s my turn.  Euro-TEAbuggery is alive and well.

0521eu_far_right

Donald Trump’s campaign is truly testing the limits of the old saying “Every cloud has a silver lining.” Unless one operates under the assumption that a hate-filled platform fueled by bigotry, xenophobia and sexism is what the world needs right now. In which case, the Trump cloud appearing on the horizon is seen by some as an invitation to open their arms in exaltation, awaiting the inevitable Trumpian shower to follow.

The attributes of a Trump-thumper are pretty easy to identify. Mostly it’s a hatred of immigrants coated in a fine patina of pseudo-nationalist rhetoric. George Packer writing in the New Yorker recently described it as “white identity politics.” Given Packer’s diagnosis, it’s safe to say America is not alone in this category. And so, from the continent well-versed in such terminology, below is a list of eight far-right political party leaders from Europe eagerly awaiting Hurricane Trump…

Belgium

If King Leopold’s miserable corpse were still around to tweet, he’d surely have added Belgium’s vote to the pro-Trump camp. But not to worry, instead we’ve got Filip Dewinter, proud heir to the former genocidaire and leading member of Belgian far-right party, Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang).

Here he is offering his endorsement by way of YouTube. Though, by opening with “Mr. Trump, we have this in common, we speak the truth,” Dewinter has in essence told anyone watching that whatever follows should be taken with a bucket-load of salt..

From <Alternet>

Belgian Barf Bag Alert!!

 

It seems the European version of Republican hate is much more subdued in presentation that it is from Rump Dump.  This is just the fifth of eight European Republicans listed.  Click through for the other seven.

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May 172016
 

The weekend was not kind to me.  Instead of feeling better each day, I was totally wiped out by Sunday afternoon.  Monday I stayed down and did not go to physio.  Apparently, there is a bug about which may be the cause of my malaise.  But it could also be cottonwood allergies that caused the sinusitis.  Either way, wearing glasses adds additional pressure to my nose and does not help the headaches.  No glasses, no reading.  My three beautiful furbabes have been wonderful companions.

Short Takes

National Law Journal Although the right to peacefully protest is enshrined in the Constitution, there is no constitutional or other legal right to commit criminal acts to make a point. Earlier this month, criminal disrupters in Arizona prevented many people from hearing Donald Trump by blocking a major highway leading to his rally and creating a 10-mile backup. The threat of arrests — only three reportedly occurred — and fines weren't much of a deterrent. What happened in Arizona was only the latest example of major disruptions of presidential rallies, with even larger ones now being openly planned.

The criminal justice system can't handle the problem alone.

Now spreading to political campaigns is what we have unfortunately all too often tolerated on college campuses — ­protesters who interrupt speakers to prevent ­others from hearing them, who physically block attendees' access, and who threaten violence to squelch speech. Unless we do something about it, the problem will persist — and could get worse.

I do not agree with all the points made by the author.  Based on various newscasts, police pay plenty of attention to disruptors.

"Disrupters who violate criminal laws know that their chances of actually being arrested are small, as more police forces yield the streets to their ­blockades, their "die-ins," and their tactics of ­chaining themselves to things. Police often are afraid to make arrests. There's also the ­attitude of allowing them to "let off steam," and, at times, there is sympathy with their cause."

But what the author seems to forget is the incitement of violence by politicians like Drumpf and that little has come legally against this incitement.  I also seem to recall that anti OWS protesters interfered with the peaceful OWS protesters with little backlash.

Alternet Charles Koch is known for being CEO of industrial giant Koch Industries and a chief financier of the massive conservative political operation he runs with his brother David. In recent years, student activists and investigative journalists have exposed another of Koch’s hats: mega-donor to hundreds of colleges and universities, often funding free-market-focused academic centers housed at public and private schools alike. One Koch-funded program is advocating cutthroat economics to grade school students, even sacrificing lives for profits.

Anti-tax industrialist billionaires like Charles and David Koch stand to gain a lot by financing higher education programs tailored to their ideologies. Richard Fink, the Kochs’ right-hand man for decades, laid out their “Structure of Social Change,” the plan they devised in the late 1970s to shape society with their libertarian ideals. The plan begins with funding academic programs that favor laissez-faire economics, resulting in academic papers promoting the free market and chastising regulation and taxation. Next, think tanks they fund repackage the academic work into more easily digestible policy proposals that “citizen activists” (actually Koch-funded “social welfare” groups like Americans for Prosperity) use to pressure lawmakers.

"Common sense economics" . . . what a misnomer!  The Kochs have learned too well that "wars" are fought on many fronts.  On this front, they are fighting for the future of their way, the Koch way, by indoctrinating future generations.  That is long term planning.

HuffingtonPost — Legislation to extend human-rights protections to transgender Canadians will be tabled in the Commons on Tuesday, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.  …

"We must continue to demand true equality," Trudeau said. "We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions and we must work diligently to close the gap between our principles and our reality."

This is a good start to enshrining legal and human rights protection to transgender people across Canada.  This from a CBC article today:

"I'm proud to say that moments ago, I introduced legislation, Bill C-16 … that would ensure that Canadians will be free to identify themselves and to express their gender as they wish while being protected against discrimination and hate," said Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould adding that, "because as Canadians, we should feel free and safe to be ourselves."

Now, to work on changing the attitudes of the people who will oppose such legislation.  Kudos to Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice, and the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.  Trudeau's father, PM Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and his Liberal government were responsible for the Canadian Human Rights Act in 1977.

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May 142016
 

Well it has taken me several days to get this OT finished because I am in the midst of a bout of sinusitis, which among other things, has played havoc with my eyes and my ability to concentrate (headaches).  So now, with too much rest and some anti-biotics, I am starting to feel better.  I must say though, the sun has been too bright for the eyes, and the temperatures too hot — 27C (80F).  I have been binge watching Games of Thrones videos and NCIS:Los Angeles videos, which while enjoyable programmes, are too much for 3 days straight.  My sweet Primo, who I affectionately call Primolicious, has been close at hand the entire time.  He's not a lap cat but likes to be close.

Short Takes

CBC — The blackened landscape around Fort McMurray is far from a dead zone, despite a wildfire that has reduced more than 229,000 of hectares of boreal forest to cinders and ashes.

Amid the charred skeletons of spruce and still smouldering muskeg, Alberta's fire-loving insects are on the move.

"Its really spooky if you ever go to a burn after it's gone out," said Peter Heule, an insect expert with Edmonton's Royal Alberta Museum.

Tar sand beetle

These long-antennaed creatures move quickly into areas torched by wildfire to find a nicely charred spot to lay their eggs. (Royal Alberta Museum )

"Every step you take, there is just ash and soot, and you see these little beetles shimmering like little jewels on these black-burned trees, laying their eggs and doing their thing."

Out of the ashes of destruction springs new hope.

Politico — Nine House committee chairmen are formally uniting behind Donald Trump’s campaign, announcing their endorsement of the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee Friday as the only pathway to winning the White House in November.

02_Donald_Trump_gty_1160.jpg

Trump’s camp announced the endorsements of chairs Steve Chabot (Small Business), Michael Conaway (Agriculture), Jeb Hensarling (Financial Services), Candice Miller (House Administration), Jeff Miller (Veterans’ Affairs), Tom Price (Budget), Pete Sessions (Rules), Bill Shuster (Transportation and Infrastructure) and Lamar Smith (Science, Space and Technology). Though publicized in a statement encompassing the support of the range of chairs, some of the individuals named Friday had already voiced their support of the real estate mogul as recently as this week.

How the general election shakes out will largely be dependant on how Democrats respond to the Drumpf challenge.  There is no room for complacency.  No room for Bernie/Hillary supporter divisivness.  VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO!!! 

NY Times — After meeting with Donald J. Trump this week, SpeakerPaul D. Ryan uttered the words many in his party longed to hear: “I do believe that we are now planting the seeds to get ourselves unified.”

It is hard to win without party unity, as both Democrats and Republicans have learned. But neither party has confronted the prospect of a candidate denounced by some of its leading lights as a pathological liar unfit to be commander in chief and in need of therapy.

Here are four reasons congressional Republicans are desperate for unity this year, and for Mr. Ryan to endorse Mr. Trump.

1. Do the math

Congressional districts are far more gerrymandered than they were even 20 years ago; Republican members of Congress, by and large, come from very Republican districts. In the relatively few swing districts, Republicans cannot afford to alienate their base voters, many of whom may have voted for Mr. Trump in the primary (or other Republican presidential candidates) but could stay home in November if they are put off by party infighting.

And in Senate elections, no-show voters are a threat to incumbency. “Parties want to win, and if they have sharp divisions it makes it that much more difficult” down the ballot, said Robert Dallek, a presidential historian.

Click through for the other three reasons.  Are Republicans really starting to unify behind Drumpf or is this all smoke and mirrors trying to present a unified face to voters?

Huffington Post — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said Friday his state would give up all federal education funding in order to avoid complying with the gender equity law Title IX in how trans students are treated.

The result of forfeiting the $10 billion currently flowing from the U.S. government to schools and public universities in Texas could leave thousands of college students without a way to pay tuition, grind to a halt a majority of research taking place on the campuses, and leave low-income children without support for meals. 

“[President Barack Obama] says he’s going to withhold funding if schools do not follow the policy,” Patrick said Friday at a press conference. “Well, in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States.”

The bluebonnet state is at it again, or should that be still!  It would endanger the lives of all Texas students by denying them a proper education rather than complying with a gender equality law.  They sure do grow them bigger in Texas . . . right wing nutjobs that is!

NY TimesThe casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson told Donald J. Trump in a private meeting last week that he was willing to contribute more to help elect him than he has to any previous campaign, a sum that could exceed $100 million, according to two Republicans with direct knowledge of Mr. Adelson’s commitment.

As significant, Mr. Adelson, a billionaire based in Las Vegas, has decided that he will significantly scale back his giving to congressional Republicans and direct most of his contributions to groups dedicated to Mr. Trump’s campaign. The two Republicans familiar with Mr. Adelson’s plans spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

A while ago, I seem to recall that Adelson (and the Kochs among others) said he was stepping out of campaign financing finding the then crop of Republican presidential misfits lacking.  Fast forward to today and the dye is cast with the drumpfing of all other candidates but he who must not be POTUS.  Should we maybe say that Adelson is holding his nose as he writes the cheques?  VOTE BLUE NO MATTER WHO!!!

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May 112016
 

I have had a busy time of late.  After feeding my mother Sunday night, I spent several hours brushing her hair which is very relaxing for her.  Monday was teaching and physio.  Tuesday, I had a dentist appointment and then was a pampered Sasquatch getting my hair cut etc.  I rounded out the evening with a 2 hour meeting of our Pastoral Care committee at church.  I have my first assignments but they will have to wait because I have come down with something.  It may well be allergies since the cottonwood trees and broom are both out.  We'll see.  I'm using my laptop much more but I can't seem to get a mouse to work with it.  That means that I can't do TC's jigsaw puzzles.

Short Takes

Think Progress — New polling released by the Center for American Progress on Monday, however, indicates that the public has turned hard against the GOP’s plan to simply ignore Garland’s nomination. Among other things, the poll finds that registered voters overwhelmingly support giving Garland a hearing and a confirmation vote:

Garland Poll

It appears that Republicans are committing hari kari.  In playing their little games over the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, Republicans appear to have put themselves at a disadvantage with voters.  Just how long will they insist on blocking Obama just because he is Obama and wilfully ignoring the needs of the country?

NY Times — An Alabama judicial oversight body on Friday filed a formal complaint against Roy S. Moore, the chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court, charging that he had “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority” in ordering the state’s probate judges to refuse applications for marriage licenses by same-sex couples.

As a result of the charges, Chief Justice Moore, 69, has been immediately suspended from the bench and is facing a potential hearing before the state’s Court of the Judiciary, a panel of judges, lawyers and other appointees. Among possible outcomes at such a hearing would be his removal from office.

A start to the end of Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court?  Be still my heart!

Huffington Post — After being welcomed to Canada with open arms, Syrian refugees in Calgary are now giving back to their neighbours up north.

syrian refugee support group

Members of the Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary fill hampers to send to Fort McMurray evacuees. (Photo: Saima Jamal/Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary)

A group of newcomers part of the Syrian Refugee Support Group Calgary are offering up what little they have — Walid Ajram is collecting hampers of necessary supplies, while Rita Khallas is collecting $5 donations — for evacuees fleeing Fort McMurray's wildfire.

On Wednesday, refugee Naser Nader spurred hundreds to action when he wrote on Facebook about his wish to repay Canadians by helping those affected by the blaze.

Are these the people so many Americans, especially politicians, fear?  They are genuinely jumping in to help during a disaster in Fort McMurray any way they can.  They truly understand what it is like to lose everything.

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May 072016
 

Here I am, wide awake at 2 am having gone to bed at 10 pm because I have a very early start Saturday morning.  Young Loliyo has a dance competition and I will babysit her younger brother and sister, Simon and Regina, while Lucia goes to watch Loliyo compete.  I have to be at Lucia's house at 7 am.  OMG!!!  That's too early for this old Sasquatch!  I was up very early Friday because I was originally told that the competition was Friday.  Speaking of Friday, Simon is now officially 2 years old and a little devil.  I would like to take he and Regina for a walk but my knee won't take it so they'll have to be content to have a water fight with a soaker gun in the yard.  The weather is scheduled to be hot today, around 28 C (80F) so hopefully the water will cool the kids off and run off some energy.  Of course I'll have to be careful as we already have water restrictions in force.  Please say a prayer for me that I survive the diaper changes.  I haven't changed a diaper in 45 years!

Short Takes

CBC — No, Donald Trump is not going to be president, or invade Mexico, or deport all immigrants, or disenfranchise women voters, or drop nuclear bombs in Syria and Iraq.

What he almost certainly is going to do, though, is trigger an enormous disruption of the Republican Party, or even its breakup.

As much as the Republican Party establishment loves to hate Donald Trump, he won't be the one to ultimately bring down the party, writes Neil Macdonald.I use the word "trigger" deliberately here, because Trump himself won't actually bring about the end of his party. He's only the catalyst.
But let's be clear: it isn't the hated liberals or the politically correct left that are doing this to the GOP. It's a gloriously Republican self-immolation.

President Barack Obama was wrong when he snarked at the media last weekend, asking us if we're proud of ourselves for paying so much attention to Trump, whose candidacy, according to Obama, was really just an attempt to boost his hotel business and not worthy of constant coverage.

In fact, Trump's run has been democracy in action.

Creative destruction and all that. A perfect free market solution for a party that adores market forces.

How can we not cheer such a thing? You go, GOP.

Isn't that just a great description . . . Republican self-immolationThere are so many divergent factions within the Republican party — the pseudo Christian fundamentalists, the xenophobic white nationalists, the Tea Party, the corporatists etc — and they don't know how to come together.  Trump has said he will unite the party, but his actions and the temperment of the party say otherwise.  It will an interesting and chaotic 6 months.

MSN“I think the real subliminal message Trump is saying is this: The U.S. can afford to survive and prosper without any allies if it was forced to cut off all ties, but the converse isn’t true,” said Chung Min Lee, a professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul. He added that Mr. Trump was forcing allies “to come up with convincing elevator speeches on the key benefits they bring to the U.S., and thus far, none of them have done so.”

There is no doubt that Trump's vague and off-the-cuff foreign policy pronouncements have set tongues a wagging internationally.  And while I might agree that 70% of NATO costs is a bit steep for the US to bear, the US has also, IMO, assumed that cost when it declares itself to be the leader of the free world.  Trump talks about negotiations, but he does not have the temperment for international negotiations.  He has demonstrated that diplomacy is far from being his forté.

Alternet — You’ll recall that after the last shellacking in 2012, the Republicans famously did an “autopsy” of what went wrong. And they identified a very specific list of problems that contributed to their loss, not the least of which were their problems with young people, Latinos and women. The party’s perceived hostility to these groups or simple lack of interest in their concerns were found to be so severe that unless the GOP changed course and found ways to better appeal to them, it would sink into a demographic quagmire from which it could not recover.

It’s obvious that Donald Trump (and, frankly, the rest of the field as well) has gone in the opposite direction. Trump is working overtime to alienate women, at this point sitting on a 70 percent disapproval rate among that half of the population. A recent poll of millennials conducted by Harvard University’s Institute of Politics revealed 61 percent of young Americans likely would vote for Clinton while 25 percent would support Trump. Only 17 percent have a positive opinion of him.

And since Trump’s signature issue is deportation of millions of Latinos and building a wall to keep them out of the country, it goes without saying that the GOP outreach to that demographic isn’t going too well. He has a 77 percent unfavorable rating.

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent pointed out yesterday that despite the best efforts of Speaker Paul Ryan to do the right thing for once, the GOP Congress is helping Trump alienate Hispanics even more with its inane refusal to help Puerto Rico restructure its debt. (This by Matthew Yglesias at Vox is a good explanatory piece on the issue.)

And the party has not learned its lesson.  Go through the motions to identify issues around the 2012 defeat, but Republicans have failed to actively cultivate a change in the party.  Instead, they have set themselves up for defeat again like an out-of-control train.  This time though, the train is accelerating with Drumpf at the helm.  Republicans are going backwards . . . but then, that is nothing new for them.

Alternet — Here are seven things we know about Trump and what his candidacy will likely mean, even as the country heads into new territory led by a crazed super-celebrity billionaire.

1. Trump won’t keep his mouth shut. Any notion of better behavior or a classier act has repeatedly shown itself to be a mirage. His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, has said that Trump will continue to be Trump, because he is “a person who tells it like it is.” That means building himself up by putting others down, whether it’s attacking Mexicans, Muslims, women who question him or his values, and anybody else for any headline-grabbing reason.

4. He’ll split the party into factions. After Trump won Indiana, Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus called for the party to line up behind the presumptive nominee. That will be much harder for Republican candidates running this fall, who, looking at their own futures, will have to decide if they’ll run with him, in spite of him, or against him. All those shades are already occuring, with many longtime party leaders saying never. These fissures are likely to cost the GOP its U.S. Senate majority.

Before Trump’s clinching the nomination, there were predictions the Senate was ripe for a Democratic takeover. Twenty-four of the 34 Senate seats in play this fall are held by Republicans. Democrats only need to pick up five for a majority. The party has strong candidates in states that turn out blue majorities in presidential years, such as Illinois and Pennsylvania. Trump not only weakens these GOP incumbents, his candidacy raises a question of what may happen in the House, though GOP gerrymandering after 2010’s redistricting still deeply favors House Republicans. Nonetheless, there’s little to suggest that Trump is about to become the great unifier, meaning Republicans could face a historic meltdown and defeat this fall.

Click through for the remaining 5 ways Trump Is About to Turn the GOP into a National Freak Show.

 

Huffington Post — Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and is open to being his running mate, CNN reported on Thursday.  …

In July 2015, Perry said Trump’s campaign was a “cancer” to conservatism.

OMG!  Perry is at it again . . . thinking he is still relevant.

 

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cat-eats-raven-birdA poet is born !

ccat24All boxed in!

ccat18Talk about being fenced in!

ccat14Just been shopping and I'm bagged!

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May 032016
 

To quote TomCat: "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 despicable InsaniTEA can become.  I trust that you will believe it, when I tell you that last week was no exception."

The week was overflowing with right-wing assholery mixed with a generous dollop of buffoonery. As Trump’s inevitability grew stronger, he launched his sexist Hillary-bashing campaign in earnest. 

4. Glenn Beck reacted entirely reasonably to John Boehner’s criticism of Ted Cruz.

Oh, hahahahaha. No he didn’t. He covered his face in Cheeto dust.

It was a hard week for Beck. First, his “divinely inspired” boy Ted Cruz lost all five states to Donald Trump on Tuesday, giving Cruz no realistic shot whatsoever at the nomination. Then Cruz named his vice presidential running mate anyway, the immensely likable Carly Fiorina, who sang a song that reminded everyone of an evil witch in a fairy tale. Then Cruz stunned everyone in Indiana with his stupidity about basketball. Then John Boehner made a rare appearance and told his truth about Ted, which is that he is “Lucifer in the flesh” and a “miserable son of a bitch.”

In a dazzling act of protest against the conspiracy of the orange men, Trump and Boehner, and to simulate their hue, a begoggled Beck performed a faceplant in a bowl of Cheeto dust.

Wanna see? Here’s video that will not scare the children, although it may make you lose your lunch.

Posted from Alternet

Well now we know . . . Glenn Beck has the IQ of a Cheeto!  Click through for the other four moments.

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May 032016
 

I completed the Alzheimer's Walk for Memories on Sunday 01/05/2016 but managed to do in my knee.  It was swollen to the size of a grapefruit and I managed to mess up my hamstring where it connects to my left knee on the lateral side.  I was scolded by my physio for overdoing it, but the walk was only 2 km.  I did raise $1,645 and our little team raised $8,000.  So I am happy!  Not only did our fundraising go over the top, but so did the temperatures.  It was about 27 C (80 F) and yesterday was just as bad.  I am using my laptop more but have not figured out how to highlight something for copy/paste.  Copy/paste is no big deal using the keyboard commands.  Another nice part of the laptop is the touch screen.  I'll have to remember to never eat a sticky cinnamon bun while using the laptop.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Mark Salter, who served as chief of staff to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and worked as an adviser on both of McCain’s presidential campaigns, says he’ll be supporting Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump this fall.

In a January Esquire essay, he [Salter] described the candidate as “a cartoon villain, a fake, a cheat, a liar, a creep, a bullying, bragging, bullshitting, blowhard kind of asshole.”

How's that for a ringing endorsement?

Raw Story — An online petition to boycott Target over the store’s policy that transgender individuals can use the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity has gathered more than 1 million signatures. Conservative activists said they are worried that men will take advantage of the policy and enter women’s restrooms.

It turns out they may be right that some men are taking advantage of the policy — but those men are the conservative activists.

This really is getting rather ridiculous in my view.  When I think back to my pre-teen years, there were no cautionary signs on the doors that men could not enter, yet I am sure there were transgendered people then too.  If a man wants to enter a women's bathroom for other than peeing, he will find a way.  What are the bathroom police going to do to monitor this? . . . stand at the door and say to everyone to "drop your drawers" before they can enter??  And lest I be seen as sexist, what about predatory females in the men's restroom?  What about pedofiles in either bathroom?

Truthdig — In this stand-up bit from his 2005 show “Life Is Worth Losing,” Carlin explains the way America works and why politicians don’t have much power.

George Carlin has always been a favourite of mine.  And although he uses a lot of blue language, he gets to the truth very quickly.

Daily Kos — Never one to be timid with her political views, singer, actor, director, and activist Barbra Streisand, decided to chime in on one of the many alleged conspiracy theories (CT) against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. One of the latest CTs circulating charges that the former New York senator and U.S. Secretary of State is holding back some deep dark secrets contained within her Goldman Sachs speech transcripts, based on the fact that Clinton was paid well. Streisand, who is a proclaimed Hillary Clinton supporter, feminist, and Medal of Freedom recipient tweets: 

Barbra Streisand 

What's the issue about Secretary @HillaryClinton getting $225k a speech when Pres Bush 41/43 got $1m/Trump $1.25m. OK for men but not women?

11:39 AM – 28 Mar 2016

It is pretty hard, in my mind, not to agree with Streisand's logic.  The fees are high in my mind, but when compared to Baby Bush and Drumpf? . . . she knows more than both put together.

My Universe

ccat16

Giving new meaning to getting your knickers in a twist!

ccat22

I love when I can play in the gym!

ccat8

Why didn't you tell me it would explode?

ccat4

Read my mind!

 

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Apr 282016
 

I'm back again.  I have my course in liberal biblical studies tonight which is interesting but somewhat time intensive — 4 hours of homework in addition to 3 hours of class time plus dinner each week.  The course goes for another four weeks after tonight.  Tomorrow is teaching at Lucia's house, and then Sunday is the Alzheimer's Walk for Memories and a visit with my mother.  Once the course is done, I'll have a bit more time.

Short Takes

NY Times — Senator Ted Cruz of Texas often casts himself as the rightful heir to Ronald Reagan’s mantle of conservatism, and on Wednesday he took a page directly out of the former president’s playbook.

By tapping Carly Fiorina to be his running mate, Mr. Cruz becomes the first presidential candidate since Reagan to name a vice-presidential pick without having the nomination locked up. In 1976, Reagan teamed up with Richard S. Schweiker, a Pennsylvania senator, in a desperate attempt to grab the nomination from President Gerald R. Ford as it was slipping away. At that point, Mr. Ford’s delegate lead had become virtually insurmountable.

Rachel had this to say about Cruz's announcement.

Carly Fiorina??  The word 'dafted' comes to mind as a description for Cruz.  He is trying to reignite his campaign but he may just blow it up!  After all, this tactic didn't work so well for the patron saint of Republicans, Saint Ronnie Reagan in 1978.  He lost to Gerald Ford who then lost the general election to Jimmy Carter.

Daily Beast — As the self-proclaimed Islamic State trumpets its global terrorist campaign, U.S. special operations forces have quietly killed more than three dozen key ISIS operatives blamed for plotting deadly attacks in Europe and beyond.

Defense officials tell The Daily Beast that U.S. special operators have killed 40 “external operations leaders, planners, and facilitators” blamed for instigating, plotting, or funding ISIS’s attacks from Brussels and Paris to Egypt and Africa.

That’s less than half the overall number of ISIS targets that special operators have taken off the battlefield, one official explained, including top leaders like purported ISIS second-in-command Haji Imam, killed in March.

The previously unpublished number provides a rare glimpse into the U.S. counterterrorist mission that is woven into overall coalition efforts to defeat ISIS, and which is credited with crippling ISIS efforts to recruit foreign fighters and carry out more plots like the deadly assault on Paris that killed 130 last fall.

As proof of the campaign’s overall success, Pentagon officials this week said the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria had dropped from up to 2,000 a month last year to just 200, and the overall size of ISIS from a high estimate of 33,000 a year ago to between 19,000 to 25,000 fighters.

I spoke with an Iraqi woman yesterday who said that she hoped Trump would become POTUS for only one reason . . . he'd go after ISIS.  Well I don't support her choice of Trump and told her so.  But no worries, she lives in Canada. She is sick of the destruction of her native country by ISIS and is quick to say that ISIS does not believe in Islam. They are about power and greed, nothing more.

Alternet — White, who’d been sickened by the debilitating, irreversible and often fatal disease at work in a foundry, watched in disgust as Republicans attempted to overturn the rule that the Labor Department said could save more than 600 lives and prevent more than 900 new cases of silicosis annually.

Last week, GOP House members conducted a hearing to further their case against saving those lives. They did that just days before Workers Memorial Day, April 28, when organized labor renews its solemn pledge to strive for workplace safety rules and formally commemorates those who have died on the job in the previous year.

The totals aren’t in for 2015 yet, but the year before, 4,679 workers died on the job. That’s nearly 90 a week, 13 a day, seven days a week. Twenty-eight members of my own union, the USW, died on the job since Workers Memorial Day 2015.

But the GOP position is clear. Republicans will do whatever it takes to ensure that corporations can sicken and kill workers with impunity. (emphasis added)  If the argument is that workers’ lives and lungs must be sacrificed to ensure that foundries and fracking operations and construction companies can make bigger profits by releasing silica particles under 40-year-old standards now considered dangerous, then the GOP will take the side of CEOs who value workers as trivial.

This one image from TC says it all:

RepubliCare

My UniverseThere is nothing cuter than baby animals.  Be prepared for the Aww factor!  Here are just a few but click through for the rest of them.

The smiley bunch . . .

baby giraffe

baby sloth

The hungriest . . . 

baby hippo

The cuddliest . . .   ?

baby alligator

The most timid . . . 

baby foxes

Aw shucks . . .

baby duck

Y'all come back now, ya hear!

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Apr 232016
 

As I have said many times, I like to share Bill Maher clips with you almost whenever I can, because he is not only spot on 90% of the time, but also, because he’s funny as hell.  Unfortunately for us, Fecal Dump Trump and TRUSed Uranus Cruz, not to mention other Republicans, provide him an endless stream of material for ridicule.

Maher

Admitting that he has a secret passion for tabloid magazines that dispense tidbits of inside information on celebrities, Real Time host Bill Maher ticked off a selection from his own 25 things you didn’t know about GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Using a recent article in US magazine that disclosed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enjoys hot sauce on her meals, Maher’s writers came up with a similar fun fact list for the Texas senator.

“We have something called ‘equal time’ in America so now the other candidates are getting their 25 things you don’t know about me,” Maher explained before sharing a few…

Inserted from <Raw Story>

 

FOMCPIMPROTFLMAO!!

And from about a month ago…

Now we know Bill’s cocktail of choice, when he sees that he needed a Barf Bag Alert!!

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