Jun 252016
 

I have not been able to follow the Brexit news as closely as I wanted to, but felt dismayed to learn that the Brits have surrendered their prerogative to call Americans stupid, as Andy put it so well.  However there are a couple silver linings.  First, the UK Tory government is toast.  More important the secessionist seditious Republicans in Texas want to follow suit.  That’s the one really good thing for the US!

0625texit-tnm

They’re at it again. Sarah Palin was encouraged by the Brexit vote to call for the US to divorce the UN. But in Texas, they aim for something bigger.

Never mind that the United States Constitution forbids it: Inspired by Brexit, the Texas Nationalist Movement [Republican seditionists delinked] wants to #Texit. Just as Donald Trump failed to realize Scotland did not vote to leave the EU, Daniel Miller, president of the TNM, doesn’t seem to realize that not only do most Texans not want to leave the Union, but they couldn’t if they wanted to…

Miller irrelevantly lamented to news.com.au,

“The vast majority of the laws, rules and regulations that affect the people of Texas are created by the political class or unelected bureaucrats in Washington.”…

…Honestly, given how Texas is governed, it’s not surprising that the uneducated and poorly informed would think it’s the Federal Government and not their own Republican Party running their state down…

From <PoliticusUSA>

Republicans love the idea! Here’s a Republican fascist calling for Texit!!

Barf Bag Alert!!

There is one thing about this that boggles the mind.  If Texas secedes, they could make Rump Dump Trump correct about Mexico cooperating with the US in building a wall… a wall to surround Texas!

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Jun 232016
 

It is late, very late, and I am just finishing off the Open Thread for today.  And yes, my computer is still acting up, although either I am becoming accustomed to its antics, or it isn't happening as much.  It has been a very busy day with 2.5 hours of physio and an extended teaching session helping my student ready herself for an English test on Friday.  It has rained a bit late this afternoon but we are scheduled for thunder storms tonight and Thursday.  Last week we were told that our local reservoirs were at 91% of capacity and that the snow pack had not made it down from the mountains yet.  We are looking good for water this year but we still have water restrictions in place.  Summer is here and it is a long time until the cooler temperatures of autumn.

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 3:50 (average 5:42).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes

The New Yorker In what some are calling a sign of its desperation to raise cash, the Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump is auctioning off New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the popular e-commerce site eBay, campaign officials have confirmed.

Christie, who is described on the site as being in lightly used but good condition, is believed to be the first sitting governor ever to be auctioned on the Internet.

According to the description of Christie on eBay, the governor can perform a full range of escort duties and has “extensive experience in chauffeuring, door-opening, umbrella-holding, reflexive clapping, and soothing end-of-the-day foot massages.”

Speaking at Trump Tower, in Manhattan, the presumptive Republican nominee said that he was still considering financing his general-election campaign himself, but he added, “First I wanted to see what I could get for Chris.”

I think Drumpf is in for a surprise — Christie is damaged goods and not likely to bring in much even from the staunchest Republicans!

Daily Kos — Georgia Rep. Rep. John Lewis, the heart, the soul of congressional Democrats, is leading his colleagues in a sit-in for a vote on gun safety legislation. You won't see it televised, because the Republicans controlling the House also control the cameras. C-SPAN, however, is replaying the speeches of Democrats leading up to the action.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who led the talking filibuster to force the votes in the Senate earlier this week is on the House floor in solidarity.

 

This courtesy of Raw Story

As I travelled about today, I kept hearing news of the Democratic sit-in in the House of Representatives over bringing gun control bills up for a vote.  The Republicans, who control the House, attempted to bring order but ended up shutting off the cameras and calling a recess.(Raw Story)  According to a story in Politico, when Paul Ryan slammed his gavel, Democrats started chanting.  Members of the public in the gallery joined Democrats in the chanting.  According to some sources, 80% of Americans favour some common sense gun control measures but Republicans continue to obstruct.  The people's House?

CBC — Contagious cancers are a scary idea to begin with, but scientists have made some startling new discoveries about them – they are likely more common in nature than originally thought, and some can even spread between species.

A new study has found a contagious, leukemia-like disease appears to be widespread among shellfish with hinged shells, called bivalves, such as clams, mussels and cockles. And, for the first time, researchers have found evidence of the cancer spreading from one species to another.

Spanish scientists collected cockles (Cerastoderma edule) in the ria of Arousa in Galicia, Spain. Contagious leukemia was found in cockles, mussels and golden carpet shell clams.

Mussels living off the coast of British Columbia, along with cockles and golden carpet shell clams in Spain, are all prone to the contagious cancer, similar to one that has devastated soft-shell clam farming operations in P.E.I., the Canadian, U.S. and Spanish scientists reported Wednesday in Nature.

"It may be more widespread in nature than we know," said Jim Sherry, an Environment Canada scientist based in Burlington, Ont., who co-authored the study.

Because cancers originate from the mutated cells of an individual and are genetically similar to that individual, genetic analysis of the cancer cells allows scientists to figure out their origin.

I thought it would be appropriate to have a short break from US politics — one can only take so much Drumpf!  This contagious cancer  crossing between species is interesting, and presents the possibilities of cancer cell transfer with other species.

My Universe — OK, so I figured I'd have to give some page time to dawgs!  From Petcha.com

The dogs take turns scoring the ice and making it hail all over the kitchen floor. The video is called Ice Cube Jackpot, and that’s exactly what it looks like.

 

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Jun 212016
 

I hope you all saw TomCat's Personal Update which he posted here and to Care2 at http://www.care2.com/news/member/527046926/3994080

Today has been another difficult computer day and I might yet commit computercide!  I was typing away and suddenly everything since my previous save disappeared.  This is so very annoying!  We have been having a lot of rain of late, including earlier today.  In Dawson Creek which is in northern BC and where I lived from 1983 to 1987, they declared a state of emergency after receiving over 100 ml of rain in one day.  That may not sound like a lot, but it washed out roads and bridges in this rural community.  Tomorrow I have physio and teaching so I will be very late in posting.

Jig Zone Puzzle

Today’s took me 2:52 (average 4:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes

Alternet — A new report by Politico’s Ben White reveals major donors to Hillary Clinton’s campaign may revoke their support of the candidate if she chooses Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as her running mate for the general election.

Several donors, interviewed under the condition of anonymity, told Politico that Clinton’s Wall Street base would “leave her” if she picks Warren. “They would literally just say, ‘We have no qualms with you moving left, we understand all the things you’ve had to do because of Bernie Sanders, but if you are going there with Warren, we just can’t trust you, you’ve killed it,’” one donor said.

I was one that said a few years ago that I'd like to see Elizabeth Warren run for POTUS in 2016.  But now, I see things differently.  Even having Warren as VP would tend to muzzle her, making her impotent at what she does best.  The reaction of some of Clinton's Wall Street donors shows just how tenuous Clinton's hold on Wall Street could be.

Think Progress — A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that internet providers must abide by the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality regulations, which prohibit them from blocking or slowing broadband connections, and providing special access through paid fast lanes.

The White House-backed net neutrality rules issued last year came with a promise to treat all internet access equally. But those rules, and how the FCC justified them, drew major criticism from Republicans and broadband companies.

Very good news!  However the decision does not prevent future challenges.  And I'm sure that the telecoms will be biting at the bit to overturn that decision supported by their Republican servants.

Huffington Post — Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday questioned the faith of Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama, insinuating that neither may really be a Christian.

He told a group of evangelical leaders that he doesn’t believe there is enough public information about Clinton’s religious beliefs.

“She’s been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there’s no, nothing out there. There’s like nothing out there,” he said. “It’s going to be an extension of Obama, but it’s going to be worse, because with Obama you had to have your guard up. With Hillary you don’t and it’s going to be worse.”

Drumpf is at it again! . . . or should that be still?  When did a religious test become necessary for the right to hold public office?  There is nothing in the Constitution about it.  If we equate a religious test with a poll tax, then the 24th amendment certainly covers voters, but what about aspirants?  Additionally, the US was not created as a Christian nation.  The founding fathers left Europe, particulary England, because of religious strife.  They would not set the new nation up for the types of wars and battles that they left behind.  Drumpf needs to "put a sock in it"!  Drumpf might want to consider his own position before throwing mud.

Some Drumpf humour from the pages of Huffington Post.  See more at the end of the article above.

The artist TABBY has dropped several Trump-inspired stencils across Vienna in recent weeks. "Trump is everything that's right and wrong with America and the world," TABBY told The Huffington Post. "He's the American Dream of being super wealthy and saying what you want, while being totally out of touch with reality."

TABBY says "Don't Feed The Trolls," also in Vienna, was created because the GOP front-runner can "say anything and the more that people get angry and talk about him because of it, the more known and stronger he becomes."

My Universe —

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Jun 072016
 

My appointment with the Radiation Oncologist was very informative, and I’m proud to have resisted the temptation to use "well" in association with Dr. Hung’s name.  I won’t glow in the dark or lose my hair.  I have jumped through all my hoops.  Now it’s just a matter of working out the timing and polishing the details with Shirley, who is Allison’s (my Ocular Oncologist) anal retentive assistant.  She is better suited to a career as a Dominatrix than as a medical professional.  She is one size fits all, talks through people, not to them, and does not listen well enough to hear.  I’ve been very assertive, and have not blown up at her, but… Steaming mad  I was completely exhausted and spent the morning using up my supply from Lona the Napster.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:11 (average 5:14).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Real Clear Politics:

State

Date

Delegates

Clinton

Sanders

Delegate

Allocation

Open/

Closed

(2,382 Needed to Win)

4763

2383

1569

Delegates Won

4051

1812

1521

Superdelegates

(712)

571

48

The fat lady will sing tonight, after Hillary gets 214 or more pledged delegates, but AP was out of line to declare it over last night.

From Daily Kos: Louie Gohmert, America’s dumbest Congressman (courtesy of disgraced former Majority Leader Tom Delay) proves once again why he is worthy of his title—this time with dire warnings about gay astronauts and the end of the world:

I really wonder how many people in this body who had the ultimate power to decide whether humanity would go forward or not, whether there was an asteroid coming or something that would end humanity on Earth as dinosaurs were ended at one time—okay …

If you could decide what 40 people you would put on the spacecraft who would save humanity, how many of those would be same-sex couples?  You are wanting to save humankind for posterity—basically, a modern-day Noah. You have that ability to be a modern-day Noah. You can preserve life. How many same-sex couples would you take from the animal kingdom and from humans to put on the spacecraft to perpetuate humanity and the wildlife kingdom?

Yes, he really said that.

Go-Go-Goose-step. Does it again!! Actually, the best mix to save humanity would be to send all progressive lesbian couples with each woman pregnant from a different progressive man and also sperm samples from a completely different set of progressive men That would triple the gene pool on the space craft. The key is to keep the gene pool closed to Republican swimmers.

From Alternet: Political polarization in America is growing, and it’s not just due to the presidential election. But according to psychiatrist Gail Saltz, if we only knew how the other side’s brains work, we’d be able to communicate better.

"What’s really fascinating is that there have been a number of recent studies looking at brain structural differences between liberals and conservatives," said Saltz. "And what’s been found in several studies is that liberals tend to have a larger anterior cingulate gyrus. That is an area that is responsible for taking in new information and that impact of the new information on decision making or choices. Conservatives tended on the whole to have a larger right amygdala. Amygdala being a deeper brain structure that processes more emotional information—specifically fear-based information," Saltz explained.

We’ve seen similar studies before. Democrats tend to have brains that are better suited for problem solving and communications, while Republicans have brains that are better suited to fight of flight, or put another way, lizard brains.  That’s why the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, keeps hyping fear

Cartoon:

0607Cartoon.

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Jun 022016
 

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

Short Takes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mahatma Gandhi

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

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

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

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

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

Politico — Paul Ryan was the last holdout.

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

Love, though, this is not.

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

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

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

My Universe

 

 

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May 312016
 

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

Short Takes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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May 282016
 

It has been cool and wet here the past few days, but next week promises to be warmer, maybe too warm by my standards.  I've had fur babies around all day, one even trying to write articles for the blog.  Needless to say, they did not make a lot of sense so I deleted them.  Mind, they did make more sense than what any Republican, but especially Trump, could ever write.   

Short Takes

Alternet About a year after the launch of both Sen. Bernie Sanders’ and Donald Trump’s presidential campaigns, it’s easy to conclude that the anti-establishment backlash of 2016 was somewhat inevitable. The incredulity that many in the establishment felt when these two candidates first climbed the polls and took their respective primaries by storm has passed, and now that Trump has locked up the Republican nomination, nothing seems beyond the realm of possibility (including, terrifyingly enough, a Donald Trump presidency).

While Donald is working to secure endorsements from the few remaining GOP holdouts, Sanders is still picking up primary wins against Hillary Clinton. The senator has won in 18 states and is banking on a big victory in California, even though Clinton’s delegate lead is near insurmountable. Barring an FBI indictment of Clinton, Sanders is unlikely to be the Democratic nomination—but he has accomplished more than just about anyone could have predicted (except perhaps H.A. Goodman), and the grass-roots movement that has formed around him represents the future of the Democratic Party.

The author has postulated that the neoliberal policies in vogue since Reagan no longer work.  The choice during this election year rests between a right wing egomaniac, Trump, and a social democrat, Sanders.  The FDR era represented a formidable advance in social democracy that lifted the US out of economic problems.  Unfortunately, Americans have forgotten the advances that brought prosperity.  What Trump offers is more for the elite and nothing for the middle or working class.  We have to keep bringing this to the fore so that everyone understands that Trump offers nothing but fear and hate . . . no positive gains for the average American.

Politico — "[Wasserman Schultz] has a seemingly boundless ability to create conflict for herself wherever she possibly can,” said a Florida Democrat, who, like all respondents, completed the survey anonymously. “In this campaign she has inexplicably managed to infuriate Bernie Sanders and his supporters, while simultaneously doing a disservice to Clinton in her handling of the debate schedule.”

“From the scheduling of debates to cutting off Sanders' vote builder access, [Wasserman Schultz] has seized every opportunity to make the process seem rigged for Clinton in a ham-handed manner,” added an Iowa Democrat. “She is the worst caricature imaginable of an out-of-touch Democratic insider who fundamentally has no faith in the principles of the party and holds the base in contempt.”

Wasserman Schultz's role within the Democratic Party has been controversial and in my opinion, is in danger of splitting the party at a time when the Party cannot afford any discension.  She should be trying to unify the Democrats but so far has done little to bring that to fruition.  Will she stay or go? 

DailyKos — A father of two children, a 7-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl, was attacked when he brought both children into a Walmart bathroom with him during a shopping trip in Clinton, Utah.

"This guy walks in and goes to the bathroom, the urinal,” Adams recalled Tuesday. “Then he just, like, turns to me and starts freaking out, dropping the ‘F-bomb,’ and what he was freakingWill she stay or go? out about was that my daughter was in the men’s bathroom.”

Adams said the man told him it was “inappropriate,” and soon began to push him after Adams gave him a terse response.

With so many existing or proposed bathroom laws, this situation is likely to continue to happen over and over again.  Never mind that fathers have been taking their young daughters into the men's room for decades, and mothers have been taking their young sons into the women's room for an even longer period.  And why?  To protect their young children from sexual predators that prey on the very young.  To be very clear, I make no reference here to anyone in the LGBTQ community.  So, all of a sudden, people have started manufacturing conspiracies around the LGBTQ community and bathrooms.  The fear factor has no basis in fact.

WashingtonPostIt's official: Donald Trump will be the Republican presidential nominee this fall.  He crested the crucial 1,237-delegate threshold earlier this week in North Dakota, taking what was a near-certainty and turning it into an absolute-certainty.

With the question of whether Trump will win out of the way, we can move on to trying to figure out who he will pick as his running mate. I did this once before, but so much has changed — for Trump and for the rest of the party relative to him — that it needed a total overhaul just a month later.

Jodi Ernst, Bob Corker, Chris Christie, Mary Fallin and Newt Gingrich — these are just 5 of the possible VP picks that Trump could make.  Of course there have been other suggestions such as Ben Carson.  One article I read earlier today suggested that any VP pick would be male, which given that Trump is a misogynist, makes perfect sense.  As to the influence of the RNC in this matter we'll have to wait and see.  In another article from Politicususa, the Trump campaign is reportedly broke as it heads into the actual presidential campaign and must rely on fund raising with the RNC.  A big name with apparent drawing power, perhaps like Newt Gingrich, may be the choice.

My Universe — h/t TomCat

 

 

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May 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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