May 102016
 

I was seeing triple or more, until I awoke this morning.  When it comes to malignant nevi, Allison is the premiere Ocular Oncologist in the Pacific Northwest, so I feel confident that I am good hands.  I do have cancer, a Uveal  melanoma in my right eye,  I will need two outpatient surgeries, one to insert and one to remove a radioactive plaque.  It is close enough to the optic nerve, that I will probably lose vision in that eye from radiation damage two to three years later.  However the alternative is to lose the eye to the tumor in the same amount of time, while greatly increasing the risk of metastasis.  Before the surgery, there are a bunch of hoops I need to jump through.  I’ll need a complete physical, a CAT Scan of liver and lungs, an OK from my Pulmonologist, arrangements for home care for 24 hours after both surgeries, a consultation with a Radiation Oncologist.  I had so hoped my medical mayhem would level off, but it looks like it will continue through much of the summer.  ARGH!! Disappointed smile  TriMet called me to apologize.  The driver that screwed up George’s appointment with Sarah did not find me, because she announced at the building next door.  The rep said they will emphasize the importance of making sure they are in the right location to all drivers.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 7:44 (average 5:26),  (I saw 4 dawgs.)  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: President Obama’s commencement speech today at Howard University firmly and repeatedly challenged the central message of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. (C-Span link offers video and full text.)

The president was not attacking Sanders’ ideology of fairness. But he was clearly separating himself from Sanders’ dogmatic insistence on revolutionary transformation.

If you want to make life fair, then you have to start with the world as it is.

The balance between idealism and pragmatism was clearly at the forefront of the president’s mind.

Democracy requires compromise, even when you are 100% right. This is hard to explain sometimes. You can be completely right and you still have to engage folks who disagree with you. If you think that the only way forward is to be as uncompromising as possible, you will feel good about yourself, you will enjoy a certain moral security, but you will not get what you want.

This is one reason there has been somewhat of a class divide between Bernie and Hillary supporters. The “moral security” Obama refers to is an emotional and intellectual luxury if it doesn’t contribute to substantive change.

Obama makes a valid point, but his beef should be more with a small, but vocal, idealist minority of Bernie’s supporters, not with Bernie himself. Bernie has stated that his positions are goals and touted his own ability to compromise and work across the aisle.  Compromise has been impossible over the last several years, because Republicans have been unwilling to compromise.  Every time Democrats have agree to a compromise Republicans have proposed, Republicans have demanded even more concessions.

From NY Times: Austria’s chancellor resigned abruptly on Monday after seven and a half years in office, having lost control of his center-left Social Democratic Party amid a rightward shift fueled by anxiety over migration.

The chancellor, Werner Faymann, initially supported the decision last year by Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, to welcome migrants fleeing war and poverty and to refuse to set a limit on how many might come. But after a ferocious backlash, Mr. Faymann switched course, joining his coalition partner, the center-right Austrian People’s Party, in supporting border restrictions.

The policy reversal was not enough to stop the right-wing Freedom Party, which has run on a strident “Austrians First” platform, from capitalizing on the influx of migrants. In September, the party finished second in regional elections in northern Austria.

An even greater shock to the establishment occurred on April 24, when the Freedom Party candidate, Norbert Hofer, won the first round of the presidential election, capturing more than one-third of the vote. He will face a former Greens leader, Alexander Van der Bellen, in a May 22 runoff.

The two establishment parties — which have governed for the past decade in a so-called grand coalition, a political constellation that has dominated postwar Austria — together received just 22 percent of the first-round vote. No matter who wins the second round, the next president will not be from either mainstream party, for the first time in decades.

I offer condolences to the good people in Austria.  Could Hofer be following in the footsteps of a fellow Austrian, whose name also began with an H? That Austrian is the inspiration for today’s Republican Party, here in the US.

From Crooks and :Liars: Going into the West Virginia primary, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come out in opposition to a "lame duck" vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This takes her beyond her previous statements mildly opposing TPP. Clinton also made a strong statement criticizing our country’s trade agreements in general.

As reported in The Hill, in "Clinton opposes TPP vote in the lame-duck session," Clinton replied to a questionnaire from the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign, which consists of more than 25 labor, environmental and human rights organizations. When asked, "If elected President, would you oppose holding a vote on the TPP during the ‘lame duck’ session before you take office?” she replied, "I have said I oppose the TPP agreement — and that means before and after the election."

I know just how to respond to Hillary’s change of heart. Thank you, Bernie!

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May 082016
 

I’m getting another late start today.  When I finally finished with all yesterday’s tasks, I could not sleep, because the battery in my smoke detector ran low, and the damn thing started chirping at me every 30 seconds.  We have very high ceilings, and the desk clerk on duty was very short.  She could not reach it, even though she climbed onto mu desk.  I had to wait for shift change at 9:00 AM, when a tall guy came on, and he changed it.  However, I got almost no sleep.  This mourning I did research and took a Lona cat nap.  Tomorrow, please expect no more that a Personal Update.  I have a five hour appointment with my Ocular Oncologist to determine the best way forward for the probable melanoma in my right eye.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:47 (average 5:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos:

“The last time you signed a contract for a cell phone plan, a bank account, or a credit card, you probably signed away your right to go to court if that company cheated you. That’s because most contracts for financial products contain forced arbitration clauses buried deep in the fine print. These clauses prohibit consumers from protecting themselves in court, and they make it a lot easier for financial institutions to get away with cheating their customers.” —Sen. Elizabeth Warren, October 2015.

In a move The New York Times calls “the biggest that the agency has made since its inception in 2010,” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Thursday proposed a rule that would bar mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts with financial firms. Since it requires no congressional approval, the rule quite likely will go into effect after a 90-day public comment period in which opposition from business groups will no doubt be extensive, loud and bullshitty. (If you’d like to comment, you can choose a method here.) Foes of the rule, which could cost firms billions, include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce…

Thank God for Elizabeth Warren for championing the CFPB! I love this rule, but we need such a rule, banning forced mandatory arbitration for all companies!

From NY Times: Last November, Meg Muñoz went to Los Angeles to speak at the annual West Coast conference of Amnesty International. She was nervous. Three months earlier, at a meeting attended by about 500 delegates from 80 countries, Amnesty voted to adopt a proposal in favor of the “full decriminalization of consensual sex work,” sparking a storm of controversy. Members of the human rights group in Norway and Sweden resigned en masse, saying the organization’s goal should be to end demand for prostitution, not condone it. Around the world, on social media and in the press, opponents blasted Amnesty. In Los Angeles, protesters ringed the lobby of the Sheraton where the conference was being held, and as Muñoz tried to enter, a woman confronted her and became upset as Muñoz explained that, as a former sex worker, she supported Amnesty’s position. “She agreed to respect my time at the microphone,” Muñoz told me. “That didn’t exactly happen” — the woman and other critics yelled out during her panel — “but I understand why it was so hard for her.”

Muñoz was in the middle of a pitched battle over the terms, and even the meaning, of sex work. In the United States and around the globe, many sex workers (the term activists prefer to “prostitute”) are trying to change how they are perceived and policed. They are fighting the legal status quo, social mores and also mainstream feminism, which has typically focused on saving women from the sex trade rather than supporting sex workers who demand greater rights. But in the last decade, sex-worker activists have gained new allies. If Amnesty’s international board approves a final policy in favor of decriminalization in the next month, it will join forces with public-health organizations that have successfully worked for years with groups of sex workers to halt the spread of H.I.V. and AIDS, especially in developing countries.

In my opinion, prostitution should be decriminalized. Attempts to outlaw it over the last 5,000+ years have always been unsuccessful, as they always will be. Income from legal prostitution can be taxed. Legal prostitution can be licensed and regulated to protect sex workers from abuse and  protect public health.  Legal prostitution can be separated from the illegal drug trade.  While I don’t encourage it, it’s past time to end the exploitation and criminalization of sex workers.

From Huffington Post: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country would not use nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty is infringed by others with nuclear arms, in a speech broadcast on Sunday, and set a five-year plan to boost the secretive state’s moribund economy.

He has all the qualifications needed for Rump Dump Trump to want him as a VP candidate.

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Free Leonard Peltier!

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May 072016
 

George is furious at TriMet.  We saw the lift bus pass the door three times yesterday, but we often see Lift buses that aren’t mine go by.  I called, and dispatch told me that the driver had come here at 12:35, and I was not here.  I told her that was untrue.  I’m guessing that the driver went to the wrong building, because I had been waiting in the lobby since 12:20.  I talked to customer service and filed a complaint.  I had to cancel my appointment with Sarah, and George did not get his new ankle.  I’ll have to reschedule, after I know what’s going on with my eye.  I’m getting a late start today, because Julie was here from 7:30 – 11:30,  She helped me shower.  I’m a pampered puddy tat.  Then we worked together to do the dreaded task, cooked a half a dozen chicken breasts, and did some light cleaning.  After she left, I had lunch and did my research.  I’m getting tired already.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:38 (average 4:48).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From YouTube (Jeff Merkley Channel): Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley outlines the ‘Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act,’ legislation to crack down on some of the worst abuses of the payday lending industry and protect consumers from deceptive and predatory practices that strip wealth from working families.

 

Oregon and Senator Jeff Merkley still lead the way!!

From Daily Kos: Cassandra McWade got into a car accident on a stretch of highway in North Carolina. The 25-year-old McWade was fine, but her car wasn’t in any shape to drive and she needed a tow. Enter self-described “conservative Christian” Kenneth Shupe. He’s the tow truck driver that was called in to help McWade out.

When he saw “a bunch of Bernie Sanders stuff” he said he told the woman, “very politely,” that he could’t tow her car because she was “obviously a socialist” and advised her to “call the government” for a tow.

"Every business dealing in recent history with a socialist minded person I have not gotten paid," Shupe said. "Every time I deal with these people I get ‘Berned’ with an ‘e’ not a ‘u’."

Holy. Shit. There are too many things wrong here. First, should McWade call the government that employs tons of tow truck operators and pays for their services with citizens’ money? Second, I’m not calling Kenneth Shupe a liar when he says that “socialist minded” people have not paid him but let me put it this way—Kenneth Shupe is a liar.

Shupe, who runs Shupee Max Towing in Travelers Rest, said he is a conservative Christian who supports Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Shupe said he has drawn a line in the sand not to do business with Bernie Sanders’ supporters.

Trump supporters reflect the love passed down from their Fuhrer, Rump Dump Trump.

From NY Times: In a Europe struggling with a rise in Islamophobia, riven by debates about the flood of Syrian migrants and on edge over religious, ethnic and cultural disputes, London has elected its first Muslim mayor.

Sadiq Khan — a Labour Party leader, a former human rights lawyer and a son of a bus driver from Pakistan — was declared the winner after a protracted count that extended into Saturday. He will be the first Muslim to lead Britain’s capital.

The victory also makes him one of the most prominent Muslim politicians in the West.

If Rump Dump is elected, he would make the Mayor of London ineligible to visit the US.

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Apr 082016
 

My new A/C is certainly powerful enough to cool my tiny place.  It’s also very loud, and the noise bothered me last night.  I’m sure I’ll get use to it, and after a night of three, I won’t even hear it.  I’m about to leave to go to PT with Courtney.  Later.  Back and pooped.  George needs an ankle adjustment.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 2:48 (average 4:45).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The Guardian (H/T Daily Kos):A group of Polish women walk out of a church service to protest against a proposed tightening of the country’s abortion laws. The video, posted on Facebook, shows the women leaving as a priest reads out a letter in favour of the ban. In Warsaw, thousands of people have attended a pro-choice rally outside parliament, after the leader of the ruling party backed a call from Catholic bishops for a full ban on pregnancy terminations.

 

It looks like Poland has Republicans that hate women too!

From Daily Kos: In disappointing Tuesday news, the Wisconsin Supreme Court race went to Rebecca Bradley, a conservative. Bradley beat progressive candidate JoAnne Kloppenburg in the non-partisan election. Wisconsin residents are now stuck with Bradley for the next ten years.

It’s a sad end to an ugly race, and an ugly type of race at that. Judicial elections are rife with problems as a general matter—politics, bias, secret money, and low voter engagement, to name a few. But in Wisconsin the elections have been particularly grimy.

Bradley is so Republican, she makes Nancy Grace seem like a progressive. This is how she won.

From Media Matters: A Media Matters investigation of the discredited right-wing group Judicial Crisis Network (JCN), the main source of baseless smears against, and false characterizations of, Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, reveals a familial web of self-dealing between the organization, a major dark money funder of JCN called the Wellspring Committee, and a third nonprofit that also receives funding from Wellspring.

 

0408JCN_Graphic

Nepotism’R’Us, Nepotism (R-US), or just plain Koch sucking?

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Mar 242016
 

I took another nap this morning, because ii was cold, and I felt tired.  Portland is weird at this time of year.  When the sun hits the bricks in my building, it warms up and stays warm until late in the evening, but the temperature drops into the low 40°s at night, so my apartment is very cold in the morning.  Tomorrow I’ll be gone half the day or more for PT/OT with Courtney.  Expect no more than a Personal Update then, and I probably won’t be sending link messages at Care2.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:12 (average 5:15).  To do it click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: The infamous decades-long "War on Drugs" was actually a tool for the federal government to crack down on leftist protesters and "black people," a former Nixon White House adviser admitted in an interview published Tuesday.

John Ehrlichman, who served as counsel to former President Richard Nixon, explained the unfortunate use of the controversial policy in a 1994 interview with writer Dan Baum, that he revisited in a new article for Harper’s published this week.

"You want to know what this was really all about," Ehrlichman, who died in 1999, said after Baum asked him about government policies regarding drugs. "The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying," Ehrlichman continued.

"We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.” [emphasis added]

At the time, we leftist protestor-hippies knew exactly what was going on, but we had lost our credibility, because the Weathermen had turned the antiwar movement violent.

From NY Times: It turns out that the most important voice in the Supreme Court nomination battle is not the American people’s, as Senate Republicans have insisted from the moment Justice Antonin Scalia died last month. It is not even that of the senators. It’s the National Rifle Association’s.

That is what the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said the other day when asked about the possibility of considering and confirming President Obama’s nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, after the November elections. “I can’t imagine that a Republican majority in the United States Senate would want to confirm, in a lame-duck session, a nominee opposed by the National Rifle Association,” he told “Fox News Sunday.”

So Fecal Dump Trump would make Supreme Court Appointments up to The TEAbaggers at the Heritage Foundation, while Bought Bitch Mitch would make it up to Ammosexuals at the NRA.  ARGH!!

From Think Progress: Renewable energy investment set a new world record in 2015, with emerging economies led by China topping the investment of developed nations for the first time, according to a United Nations-backed report unveiled Thursday.

Last year, the world invested $286 billion in green energy — some 3 percent more than the last record set in 2011 — mostly on wind and solar, according to the report, put together by the Frankfurt School and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). On the other hand, coal and gas-fired electricity generation drew less than half the investment made in solar, wind, and other renewables.

“China is by far in the lead, but you also have quite a few others,” Eric Usher, head of UNEP Finance Initiative, told ThinkProgress. “In the lead table of the top 10 countries, six of them are in developing countries … so we see a transition taking place.” China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is responsible for about a third of worldwide investment, or $102.9 billion. The United States, the second largest emitter, is a distant second with $44.1 billion — 20 percent less than it invested in 2014.

Other countries in the top 10 list include Chile, Mexico, South Africa, Brazil, and India.

I consider this news mixed. World-wide, it’s great news, but for the US to be investing about 40% of the Chinese investment and 20% less than a year ago is terrible news.  That makes it more likely that China, not the US, will own most of the green energy technology and have most of the green energy jobs.  Republican seditious sabotage is to blame.

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Mar 182016
 

On 23/02/2016, I posted  5 of the Most Appalling Acts of Incitement From Israel This Week by David Sheen, part of the Grayzone Project.

"…AlterNet's Grayzone Project, a journalistic initiative that aims to confront Islamophobia and expose the role that Western military interventions and pro-Israel forces have played in inspiring this growing plague. You'll find a mix of investigative reports, breaking news stories, essays, first-person accounts, exclusive videos and documentaries, and a wide mix of coverage from our friends and partners."

As I said in February, there is no doubt that the Jewish people suffered grievously at the hands of Hitler and the Nazis during WWII.  Throughout history, the Jews have suffered through pogroms and wars.  But it seems to me that they, at the hands of Netanyahu and his cronies, have become the oppressor.  No group of people is all bad, nor all good.  People are people.  But when one group openly calls for the annihilation of another, genocide, it is time to take action.

From Alternet — Our latest edition of Israel Incitement Watch focuses not only on the racist statements of Israel's political and religious leaders, but on the first-ever Pew poll of Israeli Jews, which found that racist sentiments were not confined to a fringe, but are embraced by a large segment of the population.

3. Chief rabbi calls for killing attackers and cutting off contact with seculars.

Wading into an ongoing national debate over how Palestinians who attack Jews should be treated, one of the country's two chief rabbis declared that it is incumbent upon Jews to kill them on the spot. “If someone comes to kill you, you kill him first," Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said on March 12, telling Israeli soldiers to ignore legal and moral obligations to apprehend attackers with the minimum force necessary, whether these instructions come from "the High Court of Justice, or that some chief of staff" of the Israel Defense Forces.

In the same speech, Yosef renewed a biblical call to commit genocide of all "Amalekites." The Torah records the existence of a people called the Amalekites, though they have no known living descendants in the modern era. Nevertheless, this designation is routinely trotted out by right-wing rabbis to call for massacres of Israel's enemies du jour.

"If some terrorist comes to me now, and I know he's a terrorist, and we caught him. He doesn't have a knife in his hand, he doesn't have anything. And I know, Elijah the Prophet will come to me and tell me that he's from Amalek. Is it permitted to kill him on Shabbat? No. But Elijah the Prophet says that it's Amalek. Put him in prison, after Shabbat say a blessing and kill him," said Yosef.

Later in the week, Yosef called on religious Jews to prevent their children from socializing with children of secular families, even blood relatives.

This is the third example.  Click through for the other four.  So why is the US contributing so much foreign aid to Israel and its genocidal agenda?

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Mar 092016
 

I was out most of yesterday.  When I went to drop a storage box off at Lucia's, the house was in an uproar.  Lucia was at her new English class and Jonathan was chasing after Loliyo.  Arimina, the oldest girl, was minding the kids but things were really out of hand.  I stepped in, had the kids do their homework and ended up staying until Lucia arrived home.  The two youngest were in tears because of all the screaming.  I really need to find a strong male role model for Jonathan.  He's been on the Big Brothers waiting list for almost 2 years.  Tomorrow is physio and I hope a quiet afternoon.

NY Times — He has been depicted as a snarling demagogue in France, equated with Donald Duck in Spain, and described as worse than Lord Voldemort in Britain.

In Europe, the birthplace of the Enlightenment, Donald Trump has been treated variously as a disturbing curiosity or an entertaining political show barker. His nearly every move and pronouncement has been reported from Paris to Berlin to Helsinki, even as commentators on both left and right have dismissed the notion of President Donald J. Trump as the stuff of fantasy, or, at worst, a momentary lapse of reason.

That is changing. With a series of wins in key Republican primary states, and with the billionaire’s expected strong showing when 12 states hold primaries or caucuses on Tuesday, the European media, like its American counterpart, is adjusting to the prospect of a seemingly unstoppable Trump juggernaut. The reaction is a mix of befuddlement, outrage and panic, along with admiration in some unlikely quarters.

And satire. The Spanish newspaper El País recently published an imaginary letter from the grave in which Philip II, a 16th-century Spanish king who ruled a vast empire, offers advice to Mr. Trump. Noting that his nation had also suffered from roguish subjects demanding free handouts, and Muslim terrorists masquerading as peaceful citizens, the king advises Mr. Trump to “consider bringing back the Inquisition.”

I chose Hillary, but it was close. The truth is that from a pure ideological standpoint, I’m closer to Bernie but from a pragmatic standpoint, I’m closer to Hillary. That by the way is why I wanted Liz to run so badly as I believed her to be the perfect hybrid of the two.

Good approach in my view.  He's not looking short term, but also long term.

Global Research H/T Joanne D — Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres was shot and killed in her home in La Esperanza, Intibuca, Wednesday. While the killers’ ID remains unknown, activists, media observers and the Cáceres family pointed to the increasingly reactionary and violent Honduran government, which has frequently clashed with Cáceres over her high-profile activism against land dispossession and mining, and her defense of indigenous rights.

Berta Caceres (image: Goldman Environmental Prize)

There was widespread outcry and grief over her death, and the story was covered by major media in the United States. But there was a glaring problem with the coverage: Almost none of it mentioned that the brutal regime that likely killed Cáceres came to power in a 2009 coup d’etat supported by the United States, under President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Almost nothing is mentioned in the MSM about the 2009 coup d'état which has implications in the assassination of Berta Cáceres.  Here is how the Huffington Post reported her assassination:

But we need to call out the actors who share a moral responsibility for the murder of our friend and partner:

• the Honduran government, which leads the country with the world's worst track record of environmental killings, and which did not protect Berta Cáceres even though it had been ordered to do so by the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights; 

• the dam builder, Desarrollos Energéticos S. A (DESA), which has close contacts with the country's security forces and has orchestrated an intimidation campaign against Berta Cáceres in recent months;

• and finally, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), FMO, Finnfund and Voith-Siemens, the funders and corporations which underwrite the Agua Zarca Project with their loans and equipment contracts.

In terms of the current campaigning, how much of this revelation will come up and make a differtence?  Clinton is more hawkish than Bernie, and is that what the US wants and needs?

Mother Jones — Last week, Mitt Romney, the twice-failed GOP presidential candidate, delivered aspeech that blasted Donald Trump, the current Republican front-runner, calling the tycoon "a phony, a fraud" and citing Trump's "dishonesty" and his "bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third-grade theatrics." It was a clear move on Romney's part to rally the GOP establishment against the celebrity real estate mogul whose endorsement he warmly embraced during the 2012 campaign. Naturally, Trump responded in kind. Within hours, at a campaign rally in Portland, Maine, he lashed out at Romney.

Trump noted that Romney had "failed horribly" four years ago. He claimed that Romney had begged Trump to endorse him in that race: "I could have said, 'Mitt, drop to your knees.' He would have dropped to his knees." His audience roared with laughter.

The three faces of Trump?   Andrew Harnik/AP

His comment, not surprisingly, didn't cause a stir. He's been spraying a fire hose of outrageous remarks since he entered the presidential race, and this one got lost in the wash. It's also a statement fully in sync with his arrogant schtick that divides the world into winners and losers. Though he's now blasting Romney for the original 47 percent insult to Americans, Trump, too, apparently views many Americans as parasites. The only difference is that his estimate is higher.

It is amusing to see Romney criticising Trump for the same things for which he was criticised.  To me, it appears during these primaries that the Republicans are eating their own.

My Universe — 

 

cat sleep innovation Getting some Zs!!!

cat reading

A good book and thou!

 

cat head massage

A head massage! So relaxing!

 

 

 

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Mar 032016
 

Today was a "me" day.  After physio, I went out for lunch and read my book as I noshed on a turkey sandwich and a green salad.  Then home to do the PP monthly report.  Unfortunately, I am having some technical difficulties which I will try to rectify tomorrow.  I ended up using a Lona cat nap which was refreshing.

Short Takes

Huffington Post — Retired neurosurgeon and bestselling author Ben Carson said in a statement Wednesday he does "not see a political path forward" for his campaign after his poor showing on Super Tuesday.

Carson announced he won't attend the Fox News GOP debate on Thursday in Detroit, and said he would further discuss his political plans at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on Friday.

"not see a political path forward" sounds suspiciously like Carson is suspending his campaign, but when asked to clarify, he simply said "We'll see."  I guess we will, just like we will see tomorrow at 11:30 am EST when Mitt Romney is scheduled to give a major speech on the 2016 presidential race.  Will he enter the Republican fray?

Just in, the Associated Press obtained excerpts of Romney's speech.  Read the CBC report.

Alternet — Valentino’s Ghost lays bare the truths behind taboo subjects that are conspicuously avoided, or merely treated as sound bites by the mainstream American media: “Why do they hate us?” “Why do we hate them?” What were the events that led to the 9/11 attacks? What are the politics behind the U.S.-Israeli relationship?  Why is there a robust debate about these subjects in Europe, the Arab World and in Israel itself, but not in the United States? 

At the end of the article is the full 100 minute documentary "Valentino’s Ghost" which I encourage everyone to watch. The articles title tells us much "Valentino's Ghost: Powerful Documentary Explores How US Foreign Policy in the Middle East Drives Islamophobia at Home" as experts "explain how the U.S. media and govt are the source of fear and loathing of Arabs, Muslims and Islam."

Raw StoryFormer ABC News anchor Ted Koppel said on Wednesday that his Fox News counterpart Bill O’Reilly has undermined journalists’ ability to interview Donald Trump.  

You have changed the television landscape over the past 20 years — you took it from being objective and dull to subjective and entertaining. And in this current climate, it doesn’t matter what the interviewer asks him; Mr. Trump is gonna say whatever he wants to say, as outrageous as it may be.”

The real estate mogul’s audience, Koppel added, was not even a television audience, but one better suited for Twitter.

“They deal in messages of 140 characters or less, which keeps it nice and simple,” he explained.

Good on Ted Koppel for nailing O'Lielly!

Daily BeastThe intellectual leader of the tea party movement in the Senate is secretly holding up a bill to help the residents of Flint, Michigan, who have been poisoned by their own water supply.   

Lee [Republican, Utah] doesn’t like that the proposal is not being put through the ordinary and time-consuming gamut of Senate procedures known as ‘regular order’; has objections on how money from the stimulus is being repurposed for water infrastructure; and is concerned about the federal government getting involved in what he views as a local issue.

Lee, an intellectual?  So this is how Republicans look after American citizens in crisis through no fault of their own. What a putz!

My Universe — 

 

cat gifs, cats gif, funny cat gifs, funny cat gif, cute cat gif, best cat gifs, cute cat gifs, animated cat gifs, cat animated gif, hilarious cat gifs

I'm in training!  I must improve my time before the Olympic trials!

 

cat gifs, cats gif, funny cat gifs, funny cat gif, cute cat gif, best cat gifs, cute cat gifs, animated cat gifs, cat animated gif, hilarious cat gifs

Whoa! Aliens! I'm outa here!

 

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Feb 232016
 

I am not a fan of Israel the country and government, not the people.  There is no doubt that the Jewish people suffered grievously at the hands of Hitler and the Nazis duriing WWII.  Throughout history, the Jews have suffered through pogroms and wars.  But it seems to me that they, at the hands of Netanyahu and his cronies, have become the oppressor.

From AlternetThe worst cases of racism to emerge from Israel this week demonstrate how non-Jewish minority groups are maligned and demonized, and how hawkish forces in the country then use this incitement to manufacture consent for meting out harsh treatment against the same groups.

Murder-manual author convicted of sedition.

At the end of the week, an Israeli court convicted on charges of sedition the author of a how-to handbook directing Jewish supremacists to murder Palestinians. The book, Kingdom of Evil, details several assassination scenarios, including “setting a house on fire with the residents still inside,” Ha’aretz reports. In July 2015, Jewish supremacists put the book’s specific instructions into practice, torching a home in the West Bank village of Duma and burning to death the Dawabsha family, including their one-year-old baby, Ali.

The Israeli government has filed no charges, however, against the author of another popular publication, which does not explain how Jews should murder non-Jews, but rather why they should. Two months ago, Israel’s High Court of Justice backed the Attorney-General’s decision not to press charges against the authors of The King’s Torah, which uses religious arguments to justify the killing of even non-Jewish babies. The authors, rabbis living in a Jewish-only West Bank settlement, were paid state salaries when they penned the tract.

This is the first of five outrageous acts from Israel geared to incite violence.   Click through for the remaining four.  It seems that Israel has become that which she despised.

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Jan 132016
 

Madaya is besieged by Assad's forces, and until yesterday (Monday) had not received any food, water or medical supplies since last October.  Kefraya and Foah have been besieged by rebel forces since last March and are equally desperate.  Starvation is being used by all sides as a tool of war and is being investigated as a war crime by the United Nations.

Map showing besieged parts of Syria

Reuters — Residents of a besieged Syrian town have told U.N. investigators how the weakest in their midst, deprived of food and medicines in violation of international law, are suffering starvation and death, the top U.N. war crimes investigator told Reuters on Tuesday.

An aid convoy on Monday brought the first food and medical relief for three months to the western town of Madaya, where 40,000 people are trapped by encircling government forces.

Another United Nations official who oversaw the aid delivery described on Tuesday how he saw malnourished residents, particularly children, some of whom were little more than skeletons and barely moving.

The U.N. commission of inquiry documenting war crimes in Syria has been in direct contact with residents inside Madaya, the commission's chairman Paulo Pinheiro said in an emailed reply to Reuters questions.

The Guardian — Pawel Krzysiek, spokesman for the International Committee for the Red Cross in Syria, accompanied an aid convoy on Monday to the town of Madaya, which has been besieged by forces loyal to the Syrian regime since July. Supplies were delivered as part of a deal under which convoys also entered two Shia villages, Fua and Kefraya, that are surrounded by rebels. Krzysiek provided the following account, which is excerpted from an audio message he recorded after entering the town and a telephone interview with the Guardian while he was on the ground.

It’s really heartbreaking to see the situation of the people. A while ago I was just approached by a little girl and her first question was: “Did you bring food? I hope that you brought food to Fua and Kefraya and to Madaya because we are really hungry.” And I believe her, she looked hungry.

It’s very dark here as there is no electricity. But I see people on the street, women, children, many of them are coming and thanking us for coming, greeting us. But some of them were shouting and asking “why so late?”

People are asking us: “Did you bring food? Did you bring food because all we have eaten last week is water with spices.”

Huffington Post — Rebels opposed to President Bashar Assad are in control of Madaya, a mountain town about 15 miles (24 kilometres) northwest of Damascus. Government troops and fighters from the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah have surrounded the town. Opposition activists and aid groups have reported several deaths from starvation in recent weeks.

Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari denied anyone was starving in Madaya and blamed Arab television especially "for fabricating these allegations and lies."

Speaking at U.N. Headquarters, he blamed "armed terrorist groups" for stealing humanitarian aid and reselling it at prohibitive prices.

"The Syrian government is not and will not exert any policy of starvation against its own people," Ja'afari said.

But O'Brien, the U.N. humanitarian chief, said all the evidence the U.N. has shows there has been very severe malnourishment, severe food shortages, and reports of people "who are either starving or indeed have starved and died."

madaya

Syrian Red Crescent aid convoys carrying food, medicine and blankets, leave the capital Damascus as they head to the besieged town of Madaya on Jan. 11, 2016. (LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images)

BBC — Some 400 people in the besieged Syrian town of Madaya need to be urgently evacuated for medical treatment, says UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien.

Mr O'Brien was speaking after the UN Security Council held an urgent meeting to discuss the crisis in the rebel-held town near Damascus.

Earlier, an aid convoy brought food to 40,000 town residents who have been under government siege for months.

The UN says it has received credible reports of people dying of starvation.

Disturbing images follow

 Image result for pictures of madaya Image result for pictures of madaya Image result for pictures of madaya 

Comparatively few know the horrors that have been visited upon the people of Syria.  When I see the images of Madaya, Kefraya and Foah, I am reminded of the atrocities of the holocaust during WWII.  Some Syrians have been lucky to be able to get out, but others have not been so lucky. Words fail me. My heart aches for the innocents! Have we learned nothing from the past? . . . apparently not.  Ben O, Care2 several years ago shared some wise words with me:

Comfort the disturbed, disturb the comfortable.

 

 

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