Sunday Reads: “Horrideous”

 

Hey ho, morning to you all.

The title of today’s post comes from a tweet by Melissa @Shakestweetz, she has come up with a new word to describe something that is both horrible and horrendous. It was actually in response to a neck tattoo she saw someone sporting about…but I think it would be a perfect single word utterance to express the tRump display and performance during the entire Hurricane Humphrey disaster:

“Horrideous”

 

Has a nice ring to it, right?

I thought this reply from @lawngoon was just about in line:

 

Yup. Sounds like a winner to me.

Okay, so last night…or early this morning when I spotted this tweet, something major was going down. I saw it happening live, so to speak. North Korea was making a huge kaboom. Big enough to make the earth quake…first it was reported at 5.11 on scale…then it was increased, to 6.3:

According to that link via USGS site:

M 6.3 Explosion – 22km ENE of Sungjibaegam, North Korea

Possible explosion, located near the site where North Korea has detonated nuclear explosions in the past. If this event was an explosion, the USGS National Earthquake Information Center cannot determine its type, whether nuclear or any other possible type. The Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) is the sole organization in the federal government whose mission is to detect and report technical data from foreign nuclear explosions.

I mean…take it from this tweet here:

 

Well, it was a big bomb.

North Korean nuclear test confirmed in major escalation by Kim Jong-un | World news | The Guardian

The explosion was heralded by a 6.3-magnitude earthquake about six miles (10km) from North Korea’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the north-east of the country. It was felt over the Chinese border in Yanji.

South Korea’s meteorological administration estimated the blast yield at between 50 to 60 kilotons, or five to six times stronger than North Korea’s fifth test in September last year.

Kim Young-woo, the head of South Korea’s parliamentary defence committee said later that the yield was as high as 100 kilotons. One kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT.

The previous nuclear blast in North Korea is estimated by experts to have been about 10 kilotons.

tRump’s the Twit…Twitter’s response:

 

Moving on to another disgusting news item.

The next tRump “The President” reality show ratings waiting game:

Will Jesus be able to stay in the US and continue to save lives? Or will he be fired and kicked out of the country he has called home since he was a young boy?

Tune in next week…or Monday…maybe Tuesday?

This Paramedic Who Rescued Harvey Victims May Be Deported If Trump Ends DACA

Houston-area paramedic Jesus Contreras worked six days straight after Hurricane Harvey hammered through southeast Texas, rescuing people from flood waters and taking some of them to local hospitals.

“It was emotional because you’re seeing people go through some of the hardest moments of your life,” Contreras told BuzzFeed News. “It shook up our entire community.”

In between rescuing people and helping people who needed dialysis, insulin, or reach life-saving medical machines, Contreras didn’t have a lot of time to think about himself. That changed when he came home on Thursday to shower and saw the news that President Trump may end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

The Obama-era program protects undocumented immigrants who, like Contreras, were brought to the US as children from deportation, while also granting them permits to legally work.

“Hearing that my future in the United States is being threatened and possibly taken away was disheartening, it was disappointing,” the 23-year-old said. “It was like getting an extra kick to the face when you’re already down.”

 

 

🚒Houston-area paramedic Jesus Contreras worked six straight days after Harvey hammered through southeast Texas. But when he got home Thursday and saw the news Trump may end DACA he said it was "like getting an extra kick to the face." Repost @buzzfeednews

A post shared by UndocuMedia #HereToStay (@undocumedia) on

 

From the Buzzfeed link above:

Contreras was brought to the United States when he was 6 years old by his mother from the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. He said he was fleeing violence and local drug crime at home.

“We came here with the hope of being free and being able to work and make a productive life,” Contreras said. “My mom came here with the intention of giving me the best opportunities I could have and DACA has allowed me to do just that.”

The paramedic called the DACA program a “huge life-changing experience,” without which he would never have been licensed.

“There are countless people with DACA that are out here volunteering, coordinating with shelters and relief,” Contreras said. “I have this opportunity to share my story but I’m far from the only one and there are millions of people just like me doing even bigger things.”

On Tuesday, when the Trump administration is expected to be announce their decision on DACA, Contreras will be coming home from another shift at the Montgomery County Hospital District.

“I’m a man of faith and I have faith and hope that things will work out for us and we can rest easy,” he said. “I want people who are against us to know that we are proud Americans, we have a lot of pride in this country, and that we’re going to stay here to fight and to help each other.”

Read more about Jesus, go check out the story…

 

Meanwhile…

*Note the tRump t-shirt….

Then there is this shit:

I have to agree with Aravosis on this:

I hate this man:

Oh, and don’t forget this:

Maybe you may have missed this:

 

 

Photo by @mrobinsonchavez This photo was made in the small town of Nome, Texas which was battered by Harvey. Earl Williams' home, built by his father 40 years ago, was flooded. He hopes he can repair rather than rebuild the home. Currents and whirlpools still pose a danger in high water areas. #harvey #hurricaneharvey #texas #texasstrong #dignity #portraitphotography

A post shared by Washington Post Photography (@washpostphoto) on

Accurate 👌🏾I need this version of the game *El Culero = The Asshole #loteria Repost @vmejiaguevara

A post shared by UndocuMedia #HereToStay (@undocumedia) on

💯La mera neta #word #truth Repost @resist.now

A post shared by UndocuMedia #HereToStay (@undocumedia) on

On the Onion:

“These were patriotic business proprietors who followed the laws of their time to further their economic interests, and this new currency design finally recognizes these enterprising individuals for their success,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin at an afternoon press conference, explaining that the bills commemorating those responsible for enslaving the famed abolitionist, Civil War nurse, and women’s rights activist for the first three decades of her life would be in circulation by 2018. “For too long, we’ve overlooked the achievements of these upstanding citizens and prosperous agriculturalists. The new $20 note, which will feature a portrait of the Brodess family on the front and a depiction of the Maryland plantation they operated on the back, will at last give them their proper place in American history.” #TheOnion

A post shared by The Onion (@theonion) on

 

Not the Onion:

Terrible sad news today:

 

 

Latest on Irma:

This was some good news in all the muck:

Congratulations to superstar tennis player @SerenaWilliams on the birth of her baby girl. "Two weeks after we found out [about the pregnancy], I played the Australian Open. I told Alexis it has to be a girl because there I was playing in 100-degree weather, and that baby never gave me any trouble. Ride or die. Women are tough that way.” Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, May 2010.

A post shared by Vogue (@voguemagazine) on

 

Via Jezabel, The Williams Sisters Had the Best Day Ever

In case you missed it: on Friday, Serena had a baby, and Venus advanced to the fourth round at the the US Open. WPBF-25 news producer Chris Shepherd tweeted that the baby girl is six pounds, 13 ounces.

This is all for today, I have to go and clean up after the puppy…a migraine is beating me down, we have another crisis with my mom…this time it is a pea sized tumor in her breast. She has a biopsy scheduled for the 18th of this month, we are hoping it is just a fibroid cyst. Oh and so many other shit things, nothing to compare with what folks are going through in Texas…but it is so exhausting.

I will leave you with one of my favorite Steely Dan songs:

 

 

This is an open thread.

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Wednesday Reads: Eclipse From Reality…Hump Day Cartoons

Cartoon by MStreeter -

08/09/2017 Cartoon by MStreeter

 

The upcoming total eclipse is big news here in Georgia. I am sure it is making the rounds of top stories in states where folks will observe the complete and total event. In Banjoville they are closing the school:

Solar eclipse 2017: Some schools close on Aug. 21, traffic plans during eclipse | AL.com

Expect heavy traffic along the path of totality for the Aug. 21 complete solar eclipse. (Contributed photo/Department of Transportation)

Areas along the prime viewing path of the Aug. 21 complete solar eclipse are bracing for an influx of visitors and traffic.

In Nashville, the city’s school board has opted to close on the day of the eclipse. According to the Tennessean, more than 400 teachers and 100 bus drivers were scheduled to be off that day, with only a half-day possible for high schoolers and no pre-kindergarten. School officials cited other concerns in deciding to close, including heavy traffic.

Dubbed the “Great American Eclipse,” the main viewing path – or path of totality – for the complete solar eclipse spans from Oregon to South Carolina and includes portions of Tennessee. The Great Smoky Mountain National Park part of the viewing path and has several activities planned on that day.

My daughter works for the Georgia DNR, at Vogel State Park, and they are expecting to close the park because they will have reached full capacity within an hour after the park opens on Aug. 21st.

Concerns over traffic tie ups are growing as the eclipse nears. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, some 200 million people – a little less than 2/3 of the nation’s population – live within a day’s drive of the path of the total eclipse.

The traffic will not be the only effect this eclipse brings…5 surprising effects the total solar eclipse will have besides darkness

Subtle differences may be noticed in areas that only experience a partial solar eclipse, but much bigger changes will take place along the narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina that see a total eclipse of the sun.

1. 360-degree sunrise/sunset

While everyone’s attention will be focused on the sky, looking down can reveal another scene that not many have experienced.

Spectators that look at the horizon during totality will witness the colors of sunrise and sunset around them in every direction.

This 360-degree sunset effect is caused by the light from the sun in areas outside of the path of totality and only lasts as long as the face of the sun is covered by the moon.

2. Stars and planets

As the moon causes day to turn to night, the darkness will reveal the stars in the sky as well as a few planets.

People shouldn’t waste too much time looking for planets and constellations since many of these can be seen at night during different parts of the year. However, the eclipse will make it easy to spot Mercury, a planet that can be tricky to spot due to its close proximity to the sun.

I hope many of you get a chance to see these…Number 4 on the list has a historical record to match…

The celestial alignment will also reveal the sun’s corona, the area of hot gas the surrounds the sun.

A few lucky spectators may even be fortunate enough to see a meteor streak across the sky during the brief period of darkness.

3. Light pollution and city lights

Those watching the total solar eclipse from a city, parking lot or street corner may still see some light during the brief period of totality.

This light will not be from the sun, but rather streetlights that automatically turn on when it gets dark outside.

These automatic lights will not ruin the eclipse, but it may make it more difficult to spot planets and stars in the sky during totality.

4. Temperature change

Not only will an eclipse cause the environment to appear different, but also feel different.

“When sunlight fades at twilight, we always notice how things start to cool down. The same is true for the temporary dimming during a total solar eclipse,” NASA said.

Depending on factors such as the time of year, cloud cover and the length of totality, the air temperature can drop more than 20 degrees F.

During a solar eclipse in 1834, the air temperature in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania reportedly dropped by 28 degrees F.

Astronomers aren’t expecting the temperature to drop quite that much, but people may still feel the temperature drop by around 10 degrees F.

Here is a graph of the temperature change from a total eclipse in Zambia, 2001;Credit/Dr. Mitzi Adams NASA/MSFC:

temp change eclipse

The fifth thing you can see is something called Shadow Snakes. Now this one is a bit more tricky to witness, and does not always occur:

5. Shadow snakes

One of the rare phenomenon to look for during the total solar eclipse is something called shadow bands or shadow snakes.

“Shadow bands are thin, wavy lines of alternating light and dark that can be seen moving and undulating in parallel on plain-colored surfaces immediately before and after a total solar eclipse,” NASA said.

Some people also call these shadow snakes since their wavy motion can look like snakes slithering on the ground.

The article says if you want to see them, it is best to put a piece of white poster board or sheet on the ground and keep a close eye on the lookout for them. There is a video of the Shadow Snakes at the link, so please go and take a look at that…it took me a few minutes to realize what I was watching, until I noticed the faded glimpse of shadows streaking across the white portion of the screen. Very faint and difficult to see. It is almost like looking at those popular 3-d posters from back in the day…you would have to stare into them a long time and then pow…you saw it.

 

I have been actively avoiding the news the past week and a half. First because my aunt and family were in town, then it became a natural defense mechanism. The few times I did come out to see what was going on, stories of nuclear catastrophe caught my attention:

Trump Threatens ‘Fire and Fury’ Against North Korea if It Endangers U.S. – The New York Times

 President Trump threatened on Tuesday to unleash “fire and fury” against North Korea if it endangered the United States, as tensions with the isolated and impoverished nuclear-armed state escalated into perhaps the most serious foreign policy challenge yet of his administration.

In chilling language that evoked the horror of a nuclear exchange, Mr. Trump sought to deter North Korea from any actions that would put Americans at risk. But it was not clear what specifically would cross his line. Administration officials have said that a pre-emptive military strike, while a last resort, is among the options they have made available to the president.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Mr. Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., where he is spending much of the month on a working vacation. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

What the fuck? It made me welcome this bloody story out of Australia:

 

If you can’t see that video from Time magazine…here’s two articles for ya…

Flesh-Eating Sea Fleas Feast on Teen’s Feet at Australian Beach – Motherboard

It’s not shark jaws you have to be worried about, but microscopic pincers.

If you’re terrified of the ocean because of sharks, you should reconsider—the real thing you need to be afraid of is invisible.

As reported by Australian news outlet The Age, 16-year-old Sam Kanizay decided to cool off after a difficult football practice on Saturday night by taking a dip in the water at the Dendy Street Beach in southeastern Australia. When he came out, his legs were dripping with blood.

Sam Kanizay’s father, Jarrod Kanizay, told Australian news outletnews.com.au that his son didn’t know he was bleeding until he stepped out of the water.

“He went back to his shoes and what he found was blood on his legs. As soon as we wiped them down, they kept bleeding,” he said. “There was a massive pool of blood on the floor [at the hospital].”

But the culprit wasn’t sharks, stingrays, or any of the usual suspects in marine attacks on humans.

Tiny ‘meat-loving’ marine creatures ‘eat’ teenager’s legs at Melbourne beach | Australia news | The Guardian

Experts left stunned by possible sea lice bites after Sam Kanizay emerged from the beach at Brighton with severe bleeding

[…]

University of New South Wales marine invertebrates expert, Alistair Poore, said he had never seen a case like it.

Poore told Guardian Australia the biting must have been caused by a marine invertebrate, most likely sea lice. But he said a large number of sea lice would be needed to cause such extensive bleeding.

“If it is sea lice, then it is a pretty dramatic example of it,” Poore said.

He said often beachgoers mistook stinging from the remnants of jellyfish tentacles with bites. But Poore said the bleeding in this case appeared too severe for that scenario.

[…]

The next night, Kanizay went back to the beach with a pool net full of meat and captured the creatures he said were responsible.

“What is really clear is these little things really love meat,” he said of a video showing the bugs in a tray of water devouring chunks of meat.

Now that is some scary shit.

Forget all about Marabunta…

 

Now for some cartoons.

08/09/2017 Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies

Cartoon by Jimmy Margulies -

 

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 08/09/2017 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Trump vacation Tweets: 08/09/2017 Cartoon by Gary Varvel

Cartoon by Gary Varvel - Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Trump vacation Tweets

08/09/2017 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

08/02/2017 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -

08/09/2017 Cartoon by Kevin Siers

Cartoon by Kevin Siers -

08/09/2017 Cartoon by Joe Heller

Cartoon by Joe Heller -

08/05/2017 Cartoon by Joel Pett

Cartoon by Joel Pett -

Playing the Country Card: 08/09/2017 Cartoon by Jen Sorensen

Cartoon by Jen Sorensen - Playing the Country Card

Judge Jury and Executioner in the Philippines War on Drugs: 08/09/2017 Cartoon by Angelo Lopez

Cartoon by Angelo Lopez - Judge Jury and Executioner in the Philippines War on Drugs

Working Vacation: 08/09/2017 Cartoon by Adam Zyglis

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Working Vacation

This is an open thread….


Sunday Reads: London….This is London 


The above tweet found this morning….

I’m not in the mindset to come up with the words today. In fact, I doubt that my brain can wrap itself around any type of news that poured out of London late last night.

When I heard the sirens on the television, my parents were watching live coverage, I did not have to see the screen to know that some attack had taken place…and that the target was somewhere in Great Britain. You can tell by the sound of those sirens, distinctive bitches aren’t they?

Seven people have died after last night's terrorist attack in London Bridge and Borough Market and at least 48 people have been taken to hospital. Emergency services reacted quickly and report that the suspects were dead within eight minutes of the police receiving the phone call.

A post shared by The Guardian (@guardian) on

Reactions vary as expected:

(Incarcerate Deport Repeat? I think that phrase was already used on Veep already you fuckwad. )

Anyway, here’s some more reactions:

And then there is tRump:


** edited to add the screenshot of tRump latest tweets. 

I used to think that I hated certain politicians. Yeah, we all hate Ted Cruz and Santorum. Geez…remember the good old days of Bush 1 and 2?

But…the hate I feel for tRump is so deep, it almost disturbs me. Maybe my defenses are so worn down from what I’ve been dealing with…my mom and the rest. I don’t know…it has become a struggle to look at a news feed or read anything that connects to the outside world.

Every day there is a new onslaught of bad shit. Like a blitz of bad news that keeps proving tRump and all his merry men need to go…but still nothing is happening. I thought the despondent feeling I suffered from during the campaign was something I would not feel again.

Foolishly I thought:  Hey, once the stories started to break…people would finally snap out of it.

I can’t understand how folks who used to be so anti-Russian and all “fuck the commies” has turned into the kind of Putin loving population they are today. (I’m not talking the GOP politicians who obviously have been blackmailed or are otherwise indebted to Russian interests. ) I’m taking about the kind of people in towns like Banjoville who put tRump in office.  These are the people who still think that fluoridation is a conspiracy.

Can someone explain it to me?

Is it as simple as the repurposed neo-Nazi slogan tRump uses…Make America Great Again?

aka

Make America White Again?

Take a look at twitter now, after this latest attack, and see how the people around the world are reacting to tRump’s first Tweet when the news about #LondonBridge broke.  That asshole’s words reflects on our country no matter what anyone says. People around the world are disgusted with tRump. They are disgusted with us too.

Putin is succeeding, the people who want to see the United States fail are also succeeding. Our standing in the world is falling dramatically.

I know this post is about London and I have managed to turn it around into a rant about tRump and how he has brought our nation down.  But there is a point to all this.

Last night, when I heard those sirens on the TV, and knew something “terroristic” had happened in England…it no longer surprised me. I did not feel anything. Not even a hint of concern. I have become desensitized to the violence.

This realization, while staring onto a screen with bright lights from ambulances and cop cars which caused the living room to dance in colors of red and blue, I felt nothing. So what…I felt nothing. And, what’s more…that I was indifferent, meant nothing at all.

This is an open thread. Post whatever you want. I do not have the capacity to care anymore. What good does it do anyway?


Friday Reads: Death Spirals Real and Imagined

Good Afternoon!

It’s getting really difficult to find anything upbeat these days out there on the news front. Usually,there are several areas with persistent messes.  Today, things folks never thought we’d have to worry about are suddenly in play. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day nor did it fall in day. It seems like the US is on a downward spiral that rivals the speed of light or at least a hefty meteor.  Bets on how long we last at this rate?

Suggestions on how can we stop this?

Much of the destruction is going on inside the federal government while Kremlin Caligula puts on a show. We’ve learned that Trump and cronies are planting lobbyists and ideologues to cripple agencies.  The State Department appears to be one of the major functions of government that is in a death spiral. The Russian Connections between Trump and his cronies run deep. There’s no longer a need to connect the dots. It’s a four lane highway between Trump Tower with off ramps all over the place.
It appears that the Trump Syndicate may have been laundering money for Russian Oligarchs.  Here are some links to get caught up on the Russia fiasco.  Many of these are updates from stories that BB wrote about yesterday.

From CNN: “The super-secret division in charge of the Russia investigation“.

From the Palm Beach Post: “Trump in Palm Beach: Why did Russian pay so much for his mansion?”

From The American Interest: “The Curious World of Donald Trump’s Private Russian Connections”

By the late 1990s the actual chaos that resulted from Yeltsin’s warped policies had laid the foundations for a strong counterrevolution, including the rise of ex-KGB officer Putin and a massive outpouring of oligarchic flight capital that has continued virtually up to the present. For ordinary Russians, as noted, this was disastrous. But for many banks, private bankers, hedge funds, law firms, and accounting firms, for leading oil companies like ExxonMobil and BP, as well as for needy borrowers like the Trump Organization, the opportunity to feed on post-Soviet spoils was a godsend. This was vulture capitalism at its worst.

The nine-lived Trump, in particular, had just suffered a string of six successive bankruptcies. So the massive illicit outflows from Russia and oil-rich FSU members like Kazahkstan and Azerbaijan from the mid-1990s provided precisely the kind of undiscriminating investors that he needed. These outflows arrived at just the right time to fund several of Trump’s post-2000 high-risk real estate and casino ventures—most of which failed, since people doesn’t go to casinos that much anymore, people prefer to play and gamble online in different sites, for example here is a List of Betfred’s bonus codes for all their products. As Donald Trump, Jr., executive vice president of development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization, told the “Bridging U.S. and Emerging Markets Real Estate” conference in Manhattan in September 2008 (on the basis, he said, of his own “half dozen trips to Russia in 18 months”):

[I]n terms of high-end product influx into the United States, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.

All this helps to explain one of the most intriguing puzzles about Donald Trump’s long, turbulent business career: how he managed to keep financing it, despite a dismal track record of failed projects.4

According to the “official story,” this was simply due to a combination of brilliant deal-making, Trump’s gold-plated brand, and raw animal spirits—with $916 million of creative tax dodging as a kicker. But this official story is hokum. The truth is that, since the late 1990s, Trump was also greatly assisted by these abundant new sources of global finance, especially from “submerging markets” like Russia

Paul Ryan power point meme1
Rex Tillerson is incapable of doing an actual job.  The State Department is in disarray and it’s hard to see how Tillerson is doing anything to change that.  Here’s some analysis from David Ignatius writing for WAPO.

Tillerson’s State Department has been in idle gear these past two months. He doesn’t have a deputy or other top aides. His spokesman can’t give guidance on key issues, because decisions haven’t yet been made. Tillerson didn’t attend important meetings with foreign leaders.

As a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, Tillerson is accustomed to a world where a visible display of power is unnecessary, corporate planning is meticulous and office politics are suppressed. But this is Washington

“I am an engineer by training. I seek to understand the facts,” Tillerson said at his confirmation hearing. That sounds reassuring, but it doesn’t fit the glitzy, backstabbing capital that spawned the television series “House of Cards.”

“He may pay some cost up front for not meeting Washington expectations,” notes Stephen Hadley, national security adviser for President George W. Bush and a Tillerson supporter. “The short-term buzz was that he’s out of the loop, but Tillerson is playing for the long game.”

Tillerson couldn’t even get his choice for a deputy pass President Bannon.

The Republicans in the House and Senate are using the chaos to cover up their end game. Obamacare replacementThey’re trying to dismantle everything from Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA, the EPA, Social Security, Dodd Frank, and just about anything used to protect citizens from the malfeasance of of short sighted, profit-oriented business practices which rule the US commerce landscape.  The GOP is planning a full scale assault on Federal Regulations.

There is a flurry of anti-regulatory legislation floating around Capitol Hill, but it is becoming clear that the key Republican vehicle to rein in rulemaking will be Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s Regulatory Accountability Act. A 16-page draft of the legislation obtained by POLITICO was significantly less radical than several aggressive bills recently passed by the House of Representatives, but industry groups have pinned their hopes on this one attracting support from enough moderate Democrats to overcome a Senate filibuster and make it to Trump’s desk. And even if the Portman bill won’t automatically ensure “the deconstruction of the administrative state” promised by White House adviser Steve Bannon, it could still dramatically curtail the power of government regulators in the long run.

Portman has not yet introduced the bill, but behind the scenes in Washington it is already the subject of furious lobbying by more than 150 public interest groups that oppose it as well as more than 600 business groups that support it. It is much narrower than a bill the House passed last month with the same name, but would still revamp and insert new bureaucratic hurdles into the federal regulatory process, which the Obama Administration used to enact tough new restrictions on coal plants, Wall Street banks, for-profit colleges and other corporate entities. The Portman bill would add new obstacles for agencies to overcome before enacting economically significant rules, require them to choose the most cost-effective alternative, and give judges more discretion to block regulations when the regulated interests object.

“When I visit a factory or small business in Ohio, one of the complaints I hear most from employers is that there are too many costly and unnecessary regulations that limit their ability to invest in their business,” Portman said. “We need a smarter regulatory process that promotes job creation, innovation, and economic growth.”

Portman and the Washington business community are portraying his reforms as a pragmatic approach to burdensome red tape, hoping to distinguish them from more extreme Republican bills that would give Congress a veto over all major rules, eliminate the deference that courts traditionally give to federal agencies, and even forbid those agencies from implementing rules until every lawsuit against them is resolved. House Republicans have passed five regulatory reform bills this year, and have introduced a dozen more, but insiders say most of them are doomed to die in the Senate, where 60 votes are required to overcome a filibuster. That’s why Portman is now negotiating over his more temperate language with Democratic senators Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who are both up for reelection in 2018 in states Trump won easily. Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Nelson of Florida and independent Angus King of Maine have supported similar bills in the past.

Trump has not outlived his usefulness to the Republican Agenda of installing a warped Christian Theocracy and a kleptocracy capable of ruining the environment and killing people.  Portman obviously decided Trump was the way to sneak a lot of things through.

And then there’s Paul Ryan who thinks the only thing that should occur right now is decimation of the ACA regardless of the results.  It’s right there on his Power Point.  It pretty much looked like the Republican version was DOA yesterday but now Senate Republicans are actually talking about changing the Senate rules to get it shoved through one way or another.  This is despite the massive outrage about the repeal.

A growing number of conservative lawmakers on Thursday urged GOP leaders to push the limits of how much of the health law they can reshape under a powerful procedural maneuver known as budget reconciliation — and to overrule the Senate parliamentarian if she doesn’t decide in their favor.

Such a gambit would require the unlikely buy-in of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), a noted institutionalist who earlier this year avoided talk of changing his chamber’s rules to kill the ability to filibuster Supreme Court nominees.

If the Senate changes precedent for what can be passed under reconciliation now, a future Senate — whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats — could enact a wide range of legislation with just a simple majority.

“There are limits to what we can do” on Obamacare while complying with the Senate rules, Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Senate Republican, said in a Thursday floor speech. Under reconciliation guidelines, bills can be passed in the Senate with a simple majority and cannot be filibustered, as long as their provisions have a direct impact on spending or tax levels.

I wake up every day in fear of what’s coming next.  It seems that everything I’ve ever planned my old age around is now collapsing around me.  The Republican Plan is a massive DumpsterFire. 53_192516Paul Krugman has some great analysis.

 Obamacare rests on three main pillars. Insurance companies are regulated, prevented from denying coverage or charging higher prices to Americans with pre-existing conditions. Families receive subsidies linked to both income and premiums, to help them buy insurance. And there is a penalty for those who don’t buy insurance, to induce people to sign up even if they’re currently healthy

Trumpcare — the White House insists that we not call it that, which means that we must — preserves some version of all three elements, but in drastically, probably fatally weakened form.

Insurers are still barred from excluding the sick, but they’re allowed to charge older Americans — who need insurance the most — much higher premiums.

Subsidies are still there, in the form of tax credits, but they’re no longer linked to either income (as long as it’s below $75,000) or the cost of insurance.

And the tax on those who don’t sign up becomes a small surcharge — paid to insurance companies, not the public — on people who sign up after previously letting coverage lapse.

Affluent young people might end up saving some money as a result of these changes. But the effect on those who are older and less affluent would be devastating. AARP has done the math: a 55-year-old making $25,000 a year would end up paying $3,600 a year more for coverage; that rises to $8,400 for a 64-year-old making $15,000 a year. And that’s before the death spiral.

For the combination of price hikes and weakened penalties would lead many healthy Americans to forgo insurance. This would worsen the risk pool, causing premiums to rise sharply — and remember, subsidies would no longer adjust to offset this rise. The result would be even more people dropping out. Republicans have been claiming that Obamacare is collapsing, which isn’t true. But Trumpcare, if implemented, would collapse in a Mar-a-Lago minute.

How could House Republicans under the leadership of Paul Ryan, who the media keeps assuring us is a smart, serious policy wonk, have produced such a monstrosity?

The only thing that’s been fun about this is the Twitter Attack on Paul Ryan and his Power Points.

So, I know a few people that have been basically kidnapped by their families and put into conversion therapy.  This story of a survivor is chilling reading.

TC, a 19-year-old gay man who spoke to The Huffington Post anonymously for this article in order to protect his safety, is a survivor of conversion therapy practices.

TC was subjected to conversion therapy in 2012 when he was 15 years old after his parents discovered he was gay. The conversion therapy practices took place in the basement of a church after school hours, and were explained to TC and his parents as having two separate components. He told The Huffington Post:

The first step ― which usually lasted six months ― [is] where they “deconstruct us as a person.” Their tactics still haunt me. Aversion therapy, shock therapy, harassment and occasional physical abuse. Their goal was to get us to hate ourselves for being LGBTQ (most of us were gay, but the entire spectrum was represented), and they knew what they were doing…. The second step of the program, they “rebuilt us in their image.” They removed us of everything that made us a unique person, and instead made us a walking, talking, robot for Jesus. They retaught us everything we knew. How to eat, talk, walk, dress, believe, even breathe. We were no longer people at the end of the program.

TC said that the conversion therapy sessions would take place every weekday, with shock therapy treatments lasting approximately an hour, and aversion therapy lasting three.

This is torture. Pure and Simple.

So, this is what they’d fund while getting Insurance 101 wrong.

Paul Ryan actually said “The whole idea of Obamacare is…the people who are healthy pay for the…sick. It’s not working, & that’s why it’s in a death spiral.”

No Speaker that’s a risk pool and it’s how insurance works.

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Everyone pays into the pot and draws on it when they’re sick. Younger people, who tend to be healthier than older people, pay for health insurance like everyone else. They’ll rely on it when when they need it, probably more when they’re older and there are younger, healthier people filing in behind them. It’s the same with car insurance

. Some people pay for decades and never get into an accident and never collect on their coverage (though the likelihood of anyone never using health insurance is unlikely).That’s what actuarial figures are all about, so an insurance system can assess the risks of segments of customers to determine what everyone needs to put into the pot so there’s enough to pay out when someone needs the money.

Ryan has perhaps been on taxpayer-paid health insurance for so long that he has forgotten how the concept works. He believes that’s only the way it works for Obamacare. “The conceit of Obamacare,” he said at his press conference on Trumpcare, is that “young and healthy people are going to go into the market and pay for the older, sicker people.” That’s why Obamacare is in a “death spiral,” he noted.

Twitter had a pretty predictable response to Ryan’s summary of health insurance: Duh.

Meanwhile, every one except the stupid, the greedy, the mean, and the crazy resist.

Well, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday: Who Knew? GOP = #GrabOurPussies

 

Well, the GOP have been grabbing our pussies for a while now, legislatively….

It only follows that the letters actually stand for Grab Our Pussies!

I’ve got some images for you, before we get to the links…you have probably seen these already but they are too good to keep off the front page.

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I loved that comment from Edward…I hope he doesn’t mind me sharing it with y’all.

 

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As for Trump himself…he made a few comments this morning:

 

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All I can say is that tonight’s debate is going to be frightening. Let’s be sure to watch it together.

My post is not as eloquent as Boston Boomer’s was yesterday. I don’t have the patience to write anything today because the whole thing has me so disgusted and pissed off.

Let’s just say I am glad that the bomb has dropped but why the fuck has it taken so long for this to happen?

Some links to check out:

This one for instance:

Dent: Pressure on GOP Leaders to Pull Away From Trump

Two prominent Republican lawmakers on Sunday called for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to drop out of the presidential race.

“I have serious doubts now about Mr. Trump’s ability to beat Hilary Clinton. In fact, I don’t think he can,” Utah Sen. Mike Lee said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“I’m agnostic right now about who it needs to be,” Lee said when host Chuck Todd asked if vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence should the nominee.

Lee alluded to the many sitting lawmakers in his party who have pulled their support for Trump.

“I think people have to consider the totality of the evidence,” he said. “There were a lot of others who wanted to be persuaded, who hoped they would be persuaded.”

All those making the case for Trump to pull out? I think this tweet by Krugman says a lot about that:

From the AP via Daily Mail: Rumors Mike Pence is under GOP pressure to quit as Trump’s running mate | Daily Mail Online

Report: RNC redirecting funds away from Trump | TheHill

On this morning’s news shows:

Jake Tapper confronts Rudy Giuliani: ‘I have never heard any man ever brag about being able to maul women’ – Business Insider

Tapper blisters Giuliani: Your candidate thinks he can ‘grab women by the vagina — and it’s OK’

Getting ready for the debate tonight:

10 Emotional Abuse Tactics That Trump Blatantly Used in the First Debate — Everyday Feminism

The Ultimate Drinking Game: Clinton v. Trump Presidential Debate Bingo, Round 2

On the No Shit Sherlock list:

The deep disgust for Hillary Clinton that drives so many evangelicals to support Trump – The Washington Post

Sean Hannity defends Trump grabbing p*ssy: ‘King David had 500 concubines’

This is the last spastic breath from the Religious Right before its overdue death – The Washington Post

Poll: GOP voters standing behind Trump after lewd comments | TheHill

Yvonne Abraham: The misogynist in full – The Boston Globe

The worst thing about the Trump tape? When he meets Arianne Zucker | Jessica Valenti | Opinion | The Guardian

‘This is rape culture’: After Trump video, thousands of women share sexual assault stories – The Washington Post

 

Kate McKinnon’s ‘Day Off’ sketch on SNL makes us actually sympathize with the real Kellyanne Conway

 

Trump’s Tape Scandal: The Latest Updates – The Atlantic

 

Watch Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump ‘Apple-ogize’ for Pussygate on Saturday Night Live

 

 

 

More links to look over:

Inside Trump Tower, an Increasingly Upset and Alone Donald Trump – The New York Times

If that Groping women is not a joke video embed did not work, look at the video here.

Other tweets of note:

The U.S. has officially accused Russia of interfering with the election.

And the latest on Hurricane Matthew: Hurricane Matthew Toll Climbs to at Least 15 as North Carolina Suffers Record-Breaking Flooding – The New York Times

How Haiti can recover from Hurricane Matthew’s devastation (Opinion) – CNN.com

Cuban medics in Haiti put the world to shame | The Independent

This is an open thread. See you tonight.

 


Wednesday Reads

Good Afternoon!10252013_GOP_Elephant_Drinking

Well, I’m holding down the fort today!   Both BB and JJ are off surfing samsara which is my little way of saying they’re dealing with a series of life’s little unpleasantness.  That seems to be the order of the day.  There’s a war on life’s pleasantries out there!  The majority of us are losing the fight.

So, I watched the Republican Townhall last night. One hour with each of them is an hour wasted in Bizarro.  Ted Cruz is a sociopath. He dodged all questions choosing to spin a series of anecdotes with no relation to the question asked by Anderson Cooper or the participants.  The fact he thought these anecdotes charming given his self congratulatory manner–when they definitely were not–says a lot about his inability to even fake being human for short periods of time. He’s positively reptilian. Donald Trump is walking, savage ID.  He has no conception of anything remotely related to the rest of the world that hasn’t been directly in his face and interests.  The sentence I bolded below pretty much sums the Trump exchange.

During a CNN town-hall forum Tuesday night, Donald Trump reiterated the falsehood that Sen. Ted Cruz was responsible for spreading around an image of his wife Melania in a nude pose. “I thought it was a nice picture of Heidi,” Trump said of an image he retweeted clearly meant to make her look unattractive compared to his wife. “Come on,” Anderson Cooper responded. “I thought it was fine,” Trump insisted. Continuing to deny culpability, he said “I didn’t start it.” Cooper sensibly retorted, “That’s the argument of a 5-year-old.”

That sentence pretty much sums up the behavior of most of the politicians associated with the Republican Party who basically have not been doing their actual jobs for some time. They won’t examine or confirm SCOTUS nominees. They continually vote to get rid of the ACA when they know the bill will go no where. They are obsessed with Planned Parenthood based on outright lies. They deny the impact and causes of Climate Science. It’s the behavior of a 5-year-old that doesn’t get his way.

The unraveling of the Republican party is not good for this country.  Candidates like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are signs that something has gone supremely wrong.  Kasich appears to be the only sane one left unless you count Rubio who seems to be angling to hold on to his delegates in some weird hope that a brokered convention will anoint him. Both may be sane. Neither are presidential material. Rubio is dumb and Kasich wanders that ethereal wasteland between being pragmatic and preaching radical religious right sermons worthy of any common religious fanatic.

It is a full on war between the Republican Establishment and the white, working class base it has used as a foil to push through bad tax policy since the Pied Piper of Hollywood spun a tune to romance them into the Republican fold. Ronald Reagan’s dogwhistles and tales of a white utopia, a city on the hill, enticed them to vote Republican for a few decades. Dubya’s uncanny ability to sound homespun and create wars to appeal to their patriotic nature may have held them for awhile. But now they are unleashed with wide open eyes and a distaste of all things Romneyesque. The want real brutes. Karl Rove no longer can manipulate their lesser angels with empty promises and heads. They want the real deal.

If you listen to establishment gurus, you’d be led to believe that the Republican primary voter revolt was birthed by the governance of President Obama, creating fertile ground for the emergence of one Donald Trump. This fairy tale version of reality casts Trump as the villain who has swept in to capitalize on voter frustration with Obama’s alleged weakness, lawlessness and rampant liberalism.

The villain must be stopped or the Republican Party will be destroyed. Or so we are told.

The old saw that you have to first acknowledge that you have a problem to solve the problem applies here. What the GOP “leaders” refuse to accept is that Trump is not the problem. They are.

The dissatisfaction among a large cohort of GOP voters is directly attributable to their unhappiness with a party that they believe does not represent their interests. In exit polls, high percentages of GOP voters registered displeasure with their leadership. In Tennessee, 58% of Republican voters said they felt “betrayed” by their leaders, as did 47% in New Hampshire52% in South Carolina and 54% in Ohio.

Those who feel betrayed have been most likely to vote for Trump. Trump has been a particular draw to white working-class voters who feel left behind economically. Such voters have been treated with dismissal and outright contempt by the GOP establishment even as this group has become more critical to Republican success. Pew reported in 2012 that “lower-income and less educated whites … have shifted substantially toward the Republican Party since 2008.”

In other words, their peasants are revolting. Given this, how can the party’s elite make their way through a brokered convention when the party itself is so positively unmoored?  Its main policy goal is tax avoidance for the very wealthy.  After that’s accomplished, they throw bits and pieces of radical religious bills at the wall to see what will stick while railing against minorities, women, and immigrants.

The modern Republican Party has devolved into a tax avoidance scam for rich people. The scam is a masterpiece of psychological manipulation, in which the racial, cultural and economic anxieties of (mostly white) voters are exploited, in order to get those voters to support policies that transfer ever-greater percentages of wealth from themselves to the top 0.1 percent.

 It really isn’t any more complicated than that. Everything else – the “culture wars,” the continual hysteria about terrorism, the non-stop rhetoric about how the mainstream media, the universities, the scientists, and basically the rest of the modern world are all biased against conservatives – it’s all just so much noise, designed to solve the tricky problem of how to get ordinary people to support economic policies that make them poorer and rich people richer.

You couldn’t come up with a better illustration of this principle than the ongoing GOP campaign to eliminate the estate tax. Last year the House voted to get rid of it, and a majority of Republican senators have pledged to do the same.

The Republican propaganda machine has waged a multi-decade war against the estate tax, which it has rebranded the “death tax.” Because of these efforts, the tax has been watered down to the point where, under current law, only a tiny group of wealthy people will ever pay any estate taxes at all.

But of course that isn’t enough, since it means that some taxes still have to be paid on truly enormous inheritances, and protecting the economic interests of people who have a net worth in the eight, nine, 10 or 11 figures is the contemporary GOP’s entire reason for being.

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Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press

The emergence of Trump as a leading Republican candidate is something found incredulous by enabling media types who have been equivocating between Democrats and Republicans for some time.  They’ve refused to hold any one accountable for outright lies.

One of the most amazing things to see is the panic in our allies as major Republican candidates want to dump NATO, dally with war crimes and nuclear weapons, and ignore treaties and trade agreements. That’s how equivocal Republicans and Democrats really are from the view here on USA Main Street.  The one thing that’s been fairly consistent in American governance is the respect for pre-existing foreign agreements and diplomacy.  Each President–even while holding different visions of the country–basically finds value in remaining on a stable and predictable path in foreign affairs.  The Republican historical area of expertise used to be foreign policy until now.

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Lobbyists in Washington say they are being flooded with questions and concerns from foreign governments about the rise of Donald Trump.Officials around the globe are closely following the U.S. presidential race, to the point where some have asked their American lobbyists to explain, in great detail, what a contested GOP convention would look like. There is nothing conservative about Trump or the Republican party these days other than their tax avoidance schemes.  They are a party of insurgents and radicals hellbent on an agenda to turn back modernity.

The questions about Trump are “almost all-consuming,” said Richard Mintz, the managing director of Washington-based firm The Harbour Group, whose client list includes the governments of Georgia and the United Arab Emirates.

After a recent trip to London, Abu Dhabi and Beijing, “it’s fair to say that all anyone wants to talk about is the U.S. presidential election,” Mintz added. “People are confused and perplexed.”

The Hill conducted interviews with more than a half-dozen lobbyists, many of whom said they are grappling with how to explain Trump and his unusual foreign policy views to clients who have a lot riding on their relationship with the United States.

“We’re in uncharted territory here,” said one lobbyist with foreign government clients who asked not to be identified.

“The questions coming from the international community are not different than the things, categorically, we’re asking ourselves,” said Nathan Daschle, the president and chief operating officer of the Daschle Group, a firm run by his father, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).

“There’s an added level of bafflement because this is not the United States that they’ve been living with for so long,” Daschle said. “This is not the image the United States has been projecting.”

The questions about Trump often concern his foreign policy positions.

The businessman has boasted about keeping his options open on many crucial foreign policy questions, including on trade, troop-sharing agreements and the U.S. posture toward China.

“I don’t want to say what I’d do because, again, we need unpredictability,” Trump told The New York Times in an interview published over the weekend.

A second lobbyist who represents countries in Latin America, Asia and the Muslim world said answers like that have made Trump a “wild card” for leaders around the world.

“Nobody knows whether he believes anything of what he says because he’s changed his position so many times,” the lobbyist said.

Some of Trump’s comments — especially about Mexico, Muslims and trade with countries such as Japan and China — have also angered foreign leaders.

A third lobbyist for governments in Asia said part of his job has been telling countries how to react to some of Trump’s controversial remarks.

“If you come out and blast Donald Trump — for the people who are going to vote for Donald Trump, that could make them like him more,” the lobbyist, who also represents foreign companies with a large presence in the U.S., said he has told foreign leaders.

090415coletoonBut it’s not just Trump making these comments.  Cruz has suggested we carpet bomb all areas around ISIS including areas containing huge numbers of civilians leading our military leaders to suggest that they’ve trained their soldiers to disobey illegal and unconstitutional orders.  Kasich discussed redefining NATO in the debate last night.  There is nothing moderate or rational about any of these men.  But, how out of line are these outrageous views with Americans?  Polls still find that Americans approve of torture even though it violates our nation’s commitment to the Geneva Convention.  Chances are that this poll reflects a huge number resident in the Republican base.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe torture can be justified to extract information from suspected terrorists, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, a level of support similar to that seen in countries like Nigeria where militant attacks are common.

The poll reflects a U.S. public on edge after the massacre of 14 people in San Bernardino in December and large-scale attacks in Europe in recent months, including a bombing claimed by the militant group Islamic State last week that killed at least 32 people in Belgium.

Donald Trump, the front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, has forcefully injected the issue of whether terrorism suspects should be tortured into the election campaign.

This can only be the result of years of letting our political discourse sink to bottom feeder levels through vehicles like Fox News, right wing radio and blogs, and astroturf organizations like the Tea Party.  Former SOS Clinton indicated earlier this month that she was receiving tweets from World Leaders offering any help they can to her in the effort to defeat Trump in the general.  Its hard to imagine Trump, Cruz or Kasich receiving tweets from any one on that level even as one of them caroms towards their party’s nomination.

Hillary Clinton  says foreign leaders are privately reaching out to her to ask if they can endorse her to stop Donald Trump from becoming president of the United States.

“I am already receiving messages from leaders,” Clinton told an Ohio audience at a Democratic presidential town hall on Sunday night.

“I’m having foreign leaders ask if they can endorse me to stop Donald Trump.”

Trump has demonstrated virtually no knowledge of foreign policy.  How dangerous is his world view? 

He’s suggested using economic warfare to halt China’s territorial moves in the South China Sea and raised the prospect of a fundamental reconsideration of nuclear doctrine by musing about South Korea and Japan acquiring their own atomic arsenal. He says the U.S. should boycott Saudi Arabian oil if the kingdom doesn’t send ground troops to fight ISIS and believes NATO is an anachronism. And he warns he will renegotiate bedrock free trade deals, a prospect that could send serious reverberations through the global economy.

“It is rattling the windows of foreign ministries all over the world,” said CNN’s senior political analyst David Gergen, who has worked for a string of Democratic and Republican presidents.
Trump has gone to great lengths over the past week to explain his foreign policy views, which are often criticized as overly vague. He’s participated in extensive interviews with The Washington Post and The New York Times and delivered a speech — notable because it was carefully pre-written — to the leading pro-Israel group in Washington. He’ll have another opportunity to address foreign policy Tuesday night during a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The interviews reveal Trump as someone who is just as willing to flout the foreign policy establishment as he is the GOP elite. His statements appear to fly in the face of the longstanding assumption underlying U.S. foreign policy — that supporting allies financially, diplomatically and militarily promotes a global system of unfettered free trade, democracy and stability that is overwhelmingly in the national interests of the United States.

Andrew J. Bacevich–writing for The Nation today–argues that Ted Cruz is worse and represents the degeneration of Republican Foreign lk012216dAPC_363_264Policy conservatism.

As the embodiment of this truculence, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, today finding favor among Republicans desperate to derail Donald Trump’s bid for the GOP nomination, stands alone. From the very outset of his candidacy, Cruz has depicted himself as the one genuinely principled conservative in the race. And in comparison to Trump, who is ideologically sui generis, Cruz does qualify as something of a conservative. When it comes to foreign policy, however, Cruz offers not principles but—like Trump himself—raw pugnacity.

Cruz has gone out of his way to deride the pretensions of democracy promoters, mocking “crazy neocon invade-every-country-on-earth” types wanting to “send our kids to die in the Middle East.” On the stump, Cruz advertises himself as Reagan’s one-and-only true heir. As such, he endorses “the clarity of Reagan’s four most important words: ‘We win, they lose.’” Upon closer examination, Cruz is actually advocating something quite different: “We win, they lose, then we walk away.”

The key to “winning” is to unleash American military might. “If I am elected president, we will utterly destroy ISIS,” Cruz vows. “We won’t weaken them. We won’t degrade them. We will utterly destroy them. We will carpet-bomb them into oblivion…. We will do everything necessary so that every militant on the face of the earth will know…if you wage jihad and declare war on America, you are signing your death warrant.”

Yet rather than Reaganesque, Cruz’s prescription for dealing with Islamist radicalism represents a throwback to bomb-them-back-to-the-Stone-Age precepts pioneered by Gen. Curtis LeMay and endorsed by the likes of Barry Goldwater back when obliteration was in fashion. The embryonic Cruz Doctrine offers an approximation of total war. “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out!” he promises with evident enthusiasm.

Nowhere, however, does his outlook take into account costs, whether human, fiscal, or moral. Nor does it weigh the second-order consequences of, say, rendering large parts of Iraq and Syria a smoking ruin or of killing large numbers of noncombatants through campaigns of indiscriminate bombing. In essence, Cruz sees force as a way to circumvent history—a prospect that resonates with Americans annoyed by history’s stubborn complexities.

 Kasich is implying that he’s got the best creds for the job of commander in chief and America’s Top Diplomat.  He may have a better command of geography and history, but is his foreign policy any more sane?

Kasich has survived so far by keeping his head down and winning his home state of Ohio. But now that he is one of only three candidates remaining in the race, the former congressman and current Governor of Ohio will face the kind of media scrutiny that he has managed to avoid since he announced his candidacy. It will show that he is an outright mediocrity.

Kasich served on the House Armed Services Committee for eighteen years, where his strong beliefs on fiscal responsibility and budget cutting earned him the moniker of the “cheap hawk.” He accomplished next to nothing, apart from limiting the procurement of B-2 bombers.

During his long tenure in Congress, Kasich casted a number of votes on war-and-peace issues, voting for the Gulf War in 1991 but opposing Ronald Reagan’s decision in 1983 to send U.S. Marines to Lebanon for a peacekeeping mission. He reminds voters during town hall meetings and debates that the United States should get out of the business of nation-building and should stay far away from manufacturing democracies around the world. But he also floated the preposterous idea that the way to stop ISIS in its tracks is for the next president to create a new government agency to “beam messages around the globe” about the American credo of liberty.

At times, it is difficult to pinpoint what kind of foreign policy doctrine a potential President John Kasich would follow. He’s asserted that Russian President Vladimir Putin has gotten away with far too much during the Obama administration, including his annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, his military and economic support to separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, and his decision to send fighter jets into Syria to strengthen the defenses of Bashar al-Assad’s regime. “[I]t’s time that we punched the Russians in the nose,” Kasich told radio host Hugh Hewitt during a December presidential debate. “They’ve gotten away with too much in this world, and we need to stand up against them . . . in Eastern Europe where they threaten some of our most precious allies.”

On other issues, like the nuclear agreement with Iran, Kasich has oscillated between common sense (“You’re going to rip it up and then what?”), depressed resignation (“I’m sort of sick to my stomach about it because . . . Iran’s going to get a ton of money”) to defiant opposition (“if I were president, I would call them and say, I’m sorry, but we’re suspending this agreement”). With respect to the Islamic State, Kasich has emphasized coalition building with Arab allies similar to George H.W. Bush’s alliance building during the Persian Gulf War—a safe position that is just muscular enough to pass muster with Republican voters, but benign enough that it wouldn’t raise the eyebrows of realists who call the party home.

The looming question is whether John Kasich is hawkish enough for the GOP foreign policy establishment, a club that has been heavily influenced by neoconservative thinking for the past fifteen years.

At least “outright mediocrity” wont scare the children. It won’t scare ISIS either.ted-cruz-cartoon-sack

It’s been incredible to watch Bernie Sanders with his generalities and overreaching promises dodge serious foreign policies questions through out the Democratic Debates.  He tends to fall back on insisting that his vote against the Iran Resolution just says it all.  It doesn’t, however. His generalities fall way short of Clinton’s recall of names and her credentials as the nation’s chief foreign policy negotiator. I have to say that I learn a little bit more about the entire world each time she steps to the podium and takes a foreign policy question or makes a foreign policy speech.

Imagine what the debates and town halls in the general will look like when she takes on one of these candidates from the party in total disarray. My guess is that entire countries will be cheering for her.

I should close here but I’d like to share this with you so you can see that she will be our candidate for the fall despite the bleating and chest thumping of the cult of Bern. Here’s Nate Silver’s estimate of Bernie’s long shot path from today.  It is beyond improbable that he can get 988 more pledged delegates and romance the Super D’s. Yes, there is one more campaign out there in Bizarro and it’s not a Republican one.

If you’re a Sanders supporter, you might look at the map and see some states — Oregon, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Montana and so forth — that look pretty good for Sanders, a lot like the ones that gave Sanders landslide wins earlier in the campaign. But those states have relatively few delegates. Instead, about 65 percent of the remaining delegates are in California, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland — all states where Sanders trails Clinton in the polls and sometimes trails her by a lot.

To reach a pledged delegate majority, Sanders will have to win most of the delegates from those big states. A major loss in any of them could be fatal to his chances. He could afford to lose one or two of them narrowly, but then he’d need to make up ground elsewhere — he’d probably have to win California by double digits, for example.

Sanders will also need to gain ground on Clinton in a series of medium-sized states such as Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky and New Mexico. Demographics suggest that these states could be close, but close won’t be enough for Sanders. He’ll need to win several of them easily.

None of this is all that likely. Frankly, none of it is at all likely. If the remaining states vote based on the same demographic patterns established by the previous ones, Clinton will probably gain further ground on Sanders. If they vote as state-by-state polling suggests they will, Clinton could roughly double her current advantage over Sanders and wind up winning the nomination by 400 to 500 pledged delegates.

The nation and the world should breathe a collective sigh of relief when Clinton wins the nomination and the presidency.  The alternatives to Hillary are the stuff of national nightmares.  In fact, they would be a global nightmare and the majority of the US and the world knows it.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: “Brutal Baboon Battle” Winter came early for a family at zoo….

baboon on throne….a baboon family that is…after the big head mama dropped dead, a huge ass fight ensued over which top banana would take over the dead queen’s throne.

Actually, the fight has been ongoing, this past year there have been vicious attacks among the powerful females within the group, causing injuries…pretty bad ones at that. They have even had to close the exhibit and re-arrange the back enclosure to include additional, “escape routes.”

See this article from Toronto about the ongoing war:

Brutal baboon battle erupts for throne at Toronto Zoo after matriarch dies | Toronto Star

Medical records show numerous injuries among five of the six female olive baboons, from deep lacerations near their eyes to hair ripped out and tail injuries. At least two required surgeries to close deep gashes.

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The exhibit was closed for several days because “there were some injuries that we thought best to keep them at the back because our visiting public don’t know baboon behaviour,” said Maria Franke, the curator of mammals at the zoo.

The baboon house — the area not open to the public where the animals eat and sleep — also had to be modified to allow for more space and additional escape routes, Franke said.

Chris Dutton, the zoo’s senior veterinarian, said the animals are fine and are “incredibly tough and they heal incredibly well.”

Now, Dutton said, two females sit on the throne in an uncomfortable truce, with the rightful heir biding her time until the older one dies.

Baboons, both in the wild and at zoos, have societies that are run by females — and that dominance runs through family lines. So the oldest daughter of the matriarch is the rightful heir to become queen.

That’s what happened to Betty, the longtime queen of the 12-member troop who took the reins when her mother, Boss Lady, died.

But troubles began a year ago when keepers noticed differences in Betty’s behaviour, Franke and Dutton said.

“She was changing her naturally dominant behaviour and she was hanging out with the subordinates and starting to slow down a little,” Dutton said.

The medical records, obtained via freedom-to-information legislation, note Betty was “reported to be lethargic, losing weight and not eating well.”

By early December, Betty stopped eating.

So Dutton and his staff anesthetized her to figure out what was going on. An exploratory surgery revealed a tumour in her uterus that had spread to the abdominal wall. It was terminal, Dutton said, so they euthanized her on the operating room table on Dec. 5, 2014. She was 16 years old.

That’s when the brawling began.

So, in Canada…they need the freedom of information act to get records on…Baboons.

But I got distracted.

Let’s get on with the fighting, back to when the shit hit the fan:

Molly is Betty’s oldest daughter and baboon society dictates the throne was hers. But she was young at six years old, and not fully mature.

So Putsie, who at 18 years old is the enclosure’s oldest female, saw an opportunity.

“She’s fighting to be dominant because of age, I guess,” Franke said.

It’s unclear exactly who inflicted which wounds on whom, as the attacks happened mostly at night and away from the keepers. But over the course of the following year, Putsie had only one minor injury, while the remaining five animals fared worse.

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Molly and her sister, Susan, appeared to suffer the most attacks early on, according to the medical records.

Molly was attacked at least eight times over the course of three months. At one point, her left eye was swollen shut and she had deep lacerations above both eyes and a gash to the bone on her nose, the records show. Molly was anesthetized and one wound was stitched up.

By mid-month, Susan was attacked and suffered “severe lacerations” of the right side of her face that left the orbital bone exposed. The injury required surgery similar to Molly’s.

The eye itself wasn’t affected, the records say, “but the eye remains semi closed before and after suturing and cannot rule out muscle or nerve damage to peri-orbital structures.”

Three subordinate females, Kristina, Kate and Kalamata — all Putsie’s daughters — were also attacked. Kristina’s left eye was swollen shut after a fight, according to the medical records.

Kate had cuts on her face and several bites to her tail.

“Now all the aggression is occurring to the other animals, the least dominant, which is Kalamata,” Franke said.

Damn, the shit is getting real!!! Poor Kalamata is the one who is weakest, and of course, the one they are ganging up on.

“Most of the hair on top of her head has been ripped out,” the medical notes read. “This individual has been attacked multiple times within the last two months.”

She was attacked again this past October, Dutton said, when one baboon bit her tail.

Dutton and Franke only intervened when a baboon needed medical treatment. They were loathe to interrupt the baboon’s own game of thrones.

“You have to let their natural behaviour happen,” Franke said. “They have to sort it out. In the wild, a lot of times it’s to the death.”

She added a baboon has never been killed by another baboon at the Toronto Zoo.

Well, thank the gawds for that!

downloadA veterinary note that was attached to several baboons’ medical files suggests various interventions, including modifying the enclosure to add outdoor heaters and shelters so that the animals can have outdoor access at night without freezing.

The note also suggests looking into medical options for regulating aggressive behaviour.

Hmm, I bet you are wondering about pills right? Dope them up, eh?

As for medical intervention, Dutton said: “We don’t particularly want our animals on some form of mood-altering drugs of any kind because we don’t think that’s appropriate.”

I guess the Scientologist are pleased with that diagnosis.

 

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Earlier this week, the baboons lounged in the sun grooming each other and lazing around. Kalamata lay on a rock, a portion of her tail scabbed over.

Now, the name of the male in this next and last nugget of the piece made me laugh like hell….

Olive-baboon-jumping-across-waterThe only drama came when one male made a sexual play for a female.
Bwana Joe, the oldest and largest male, took offence and chased several baboons up the rock wall — but eventually succeeded in wooing one of the females himself.

I think we have a new nickname for Joe Biden…don’t you?

 

Today’s post is full of links, to a variety of stories. I am purposely not touching on the Planned Parenthood shooting, and the disgusting remarks from the fuckers on the GOP side. I can’t deal with it now, it will get me too upset.
My mind is in another place. Last night I read this headline, Unemployed Florida man tries shocking father to death – NY Daily News. You want to know what my first thought was? The guy coming out behind a bush or something and yelling boo! Seriously. I thought of that werewolf scene from High Anxiety:

High Anxiety Werewolf Scene on Vimeo

It never occurred to me that “shocked” meant…shocked, as in electrocuted.

After finding out he would get his father’s entire inheritance, an unemployed Florida man tried electrocuting his dad.

John Knudsen, 44, had a shocking ploy to take his 81-year-old father’s money — by killing him and reaping the inheritance. The Ormond Beach son learned that he would be the sole beneficiary of his father’s will, and pulled his charged stunt on Thanksgiving morning, according to reports.

maxresdefaultWith that in mind, here are your links for this Wednesday:

Black lives matter is in the news again. I was trying to explain to my parents the point behind #BlackLivesMatter on why they are not bringing up the black on black crime**…especially the most recent violence that we have seen in the news in New Orleans and the assassination of the 9 year old boy in Chicago (a supposed gang leader’s son). The point being that BLM is for the cause of certain specific things, i.e…..this:

Chicago police chief out, review launched over black teen’s death | Reuters

Chicago’s police chief was ousted on Tuesday after days of protest over a white officer’s shooting of a black teenager 16 times and the department’s refusal to release a video of the killing for more than a year.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced during a news conference that he had asked Garry McCarthy, police superintendent since May 2011, to resign. Emanuel also said he was creating a new police accountability task force.

The white officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged a week ago with first-degree murder in the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald. The video, from a patrol car’s dashboard camera, was released on the same day.

High-profile killings of black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement officers in U.S. cities have fueled demonstrations for some two years, stoking a national debate on race relations and police tactics.

96046-004-EA5AB482Illinois Attorney General Wants U.S. Civil Rights Probe Of Chicago Police

The Illinois attorney general called for a federal civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department on Tuesday, hours after Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired the superintendent for his handling of an officer’s killing of a black teenager.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent what she characterized as an urgent request to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking that the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigate Chicago police use of deadly force and the department’s internal review process, and determine whether there is a “pattern of discriminatory policing.”

“Trust in the Chicago Police Department is broken, especially in communities of color in the City of Chicago,” Madigan wrote.

Male-olive-baboon“An investigation into whether there are patterns and practices of civil rights violations by CPD is vital to bringing about the systemic change that is necessary here,” Madigan continued. “Chicago cannot move ahead without an outside, independent investigation into its police department that moves toward improved policing practices and increasing trust between the police and the community.”

Images Appear To Show Police Viewing The Now-Missing Laquan McDonald Video

Nearly an hour and a half of surveillance footage from the night of Laquan McDonald’s death is missing from the security system at a Chicago Burger King near the scene of the black teen’s alleged murder, and new evidence obtained by NBC Chicago suggests police may have been the last ones to view it.

Jay Darshane, district manager for the Burger King at Pulaski Road and 41st Street, told NBC Chicago in May that his cameras were fully operational when police came in on Oct. 20, 2014, the night of the shooting. While he wasn’t at the restaurant at the time, he said he authorized the manager on duty to give the officers access to the footage. He suggested that the video wouldn’t show the fatal 16 shots, but it might contain details about what happened directly before and after officer Jason Van Dyke killed McDonald.

2361942764_d3b34c16efThe next day, however, Darshane discovered an 86-minute gap in the footage, from 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m. Prosecutors say Van Dyke fired the first of 16 rounds at 9:57. Darshane — who testified about the missing video before a federal grand jury earlier this year, according to the Chicago Tribune — said he believes police deleted the key footage. But local law enforcement officials say they haven’t found evidence that the security system was tampered with.

Now NBC Chicago has revealed the two screen grabs below, which appear to show at least one officer reviewing security recordings at Burger King on the night of McDonald’s death.

Be sure to go to the links to those articles to read the rest of the stories. Especially the last one on the missing 86 minutes of tap, and the footage of officers reviewing the film at the Burger King.  I think that could be huge…in a holy shit sort of way.

In an interview with NPR last week, Chicago attorney Craig Futterman said he’d seen footage similar to the screen grabs obtained by NBC. He accused the police of erasing the key minutes.

“The officer went into the Burger King, and he erased all seven of those files,” said NAN5309Futterman, who aggressively lobbied for the release of a related video taken by the police dashcam. “The irony is, though, that the Burger King surveillance video was running while the officer erased them. And so there’s a videotape of the officer erasing the video.”

The grainy images don’t show exactly what officers are doing or for how long, but Darshane recently told the Tribune that police had come with their own information technology specialist and hung around the restaurant until about midnight. He also claimed that officers were having a difficult time operating the security system.

At a press conference last week, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez described the matter of the mysterious gap as closed. She said “forensic testing” had revealed no tampering, but refused to answer any further questions.

Also at the press conference, Garry McCarthy, then superintendent of Chicago’s police force, called allegations that his officers had altered the footage “absolutely untrue.” The missing video was the result of “technical difficulties,” he said.

Fuckadoodledoo!

baboons-gcooke480bAnyway, I tried to explain to my parents that the Black Lives Matter is focused on law enforcement and/or that kind of authority figures who many times get away with murder.

(I myself don’t understand the reason behind the BLM protesters attacking Hillary, when they should go after the assholes who don’t give a damn…like the GOP dickheads. But maybe someone can explain it to me?)

Then you have some in the black community who do speak out on such matters as black violence, like Spike Lee did a few weeks back: Spike Lee’s Comments on Black Lives Matter Might Piss You Off | News | BET

He says we “can’t ignore that we are killing ourselves, too.”

Spike Lee isn’t afraid to make people angry with his opinionated points of view, and he doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sharing his views on Black Lives Matter. The director, whose controversial film Chi-Raqhits theaters on December 4, tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he supports the movement, but that attention should also be paid to Black-on-Black crime.

“We cannot be out there” protesting police violence “and then when it comes to young brothers killing themselves, then mum’s the word. No one’s saying nothing? It’s got to be both ends,” Lee said, adding that he’s “all for Black Lives Matter,” but “we as a people can’t be blind” to Black-on-Black crime.

Lee said Black Lives Matter should focus on police brutality, “but you can’t ignore that we are killing ourselves, too. We can’t ignore that.”

Unsurprisingly, conservative blogs are picking up on Lee’s comments and using them to tout their own agendas, which will anger many who support the #BLM movement, but seeing that Spike has been immersed in the world of Chicago gun violence for at least the past year, his views are not that surprising.

Baboon+xgold+2013+genericOh, and those asses at the GOP really do use these words to their own advantage…just two words for you on that. Richard Sherman.

**As to the phrase, black on black crime: Myth of Black-on-Black Crime

Anyway, your thoughts on the subject?

Moving on, in a way: Bombshell: Alabama cops systematically framed blacks by planting drugs and guns for decades

And then, Black Friday breaks record with 185K gun background checks

More Americans had their backgrounds checked purchasing guns on Black Friday than any day in the on record, according to data released by the FBI this week.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, one of the largest retail sales days in the country.

“This was an approximate 5% increase over the 175,754 received on Black Friday 2014,” wrote Stephen Fischer, the FBI’s chief of multimedia productions. “The previous high for receipts were the 177,170 received on 12/21/2012.”

Previous spikes for background checks, conducted before a gun buyer can obtain a firearm, occurred after prominent mass shootings, like in December 2012 in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Other Black Friday shopping days in 2014, 2013 and 2012 occupied the FBI’s “top 10” list of the most background checks processed in a 24-hour period.

Since 1998, FBI data shows that the bureau has processed requests for more than 220 million firearm purchases.

Ugh.

I still think they need to regulate bullets. Like they do cough syrup…and Sudafed.

If there is a system in place to give over your license and sign in for OTC medicines like Sudafed, then by all means, make people accountable for the bullets they are buying. Fucking hell!

Baboon6_0427Did y’all see the latest shitfest from the GOP? This time a candidate from Iowa: Iowa State Sen. Mark Chelgren Suggests Death Penalty for Some Immigrant Felons – NBC News The dude wants to illegally kill immigrants that come back into the states:

An Iowa state senator running for U.S. Congress is getting blasted by both his Republican Party and Democrats after saying that immigrant felons who try to re-enter America illegally should be executed.

State Sen. Mark Chelgren’s controversial comments were published Monday by the Journal Express of Knoxville and Marion County, which presented his views on border security and immigration. The newspaper said the two-term state legislator believes in a fence to help protect the nation’s borders, and that if an undocumented person who committed a felony is deported and then tries to return to the U.S., he or she should be subject to capital punishment.

Damn, and it somewhat non-related news:

Annotated Hitler’s Mein Kampf to be published in Germany – BBC News

Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, with critical notes by scholars, is to be published in Germany next month – for the first time since the end of WW2.

The Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich says it will print up to 4,000 copies with some 3,500 notes.

IfZ director Andreas Wirsching says the text with expert comments will “shatter the myth” surrounding the manifesto.

But the move has been criticised by Jewish groups, who argue that Nazi works should never be republished.

I am concerned and don’t know how to feel about this. I think they should not publish it, but then free speech and all…I don’t know. With all this refugee stuff going on, and the anti-immigrant/migrant stance in Europe and here too…it could be dangerous.

Speaking of which: Few Syrians would choose to leave homeland for North America: poll | Reuters

1412956998089_wps_3_EXCLUSIVE_KRUGER_NATIONALIn other news:

O’Reilly Fact-Checks Trump on 9/11 ‘Thousands’ Claim, Finds No Evidence | Mediaite

Cuba Reimposes Limits on Doctors’ Departures From Country

Long-Hidden Details Reveal Cruelty of 1972 Munich Attackers – The New York Times

Senate GOP plans to beef up ObamaCare repeal package | TheHill – Jeezus, will they ever stop!!!

No More Domino Effect: Congress Must Renew the Tax Credits That Keep Families From Falling Down | Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

How A Single Manhattan Bank Hijacked The Highway Bill

Bipartisan Talks Yield $300 Billion Highway Bill – The New York Times

vintage everyday: Pictures of Cost of Living Sheets in the Past Show How Our Life Have Changed

Just a few more links and we are through…

The next series of links are from the Independent. I thought it would be interesting to see what is up across the pond, and this is the news on one of Britain’s front pages:

Syria vote live: Jeremy Corbyn urges MPs to remember past wars as Cameron refuses to say sorry for ‘slur’ | UK Politics | News | The Independent

  • Tory defence chair Julian Lewis speaks against strikes, saying ‘instead of dodgy dossiers, we now have bogus battalions’

1127px-Olive_baboon_NgorongoroSaudi Arabia accuses Jeremy Corbyn of ‘distorting’ truth over terrorism funding claims | Middle East | News | The Independent

‘Britain is on the verge of entering into a long war in Syria based on wishful thinking and poor information…’ | UK Politics | News | The Independent

David Cameron refuses to apologise for calling anti-bombing MPs ‘terrorist sympathisers’ | UK Politics | News | The Independent

Syria air strikes: Public support for air strikes falls as Parliament prepares to vote | UK Politics | News | The Independent

Syrian air strikes: Labour MP Stella Creasy forced to walk out of Commons debate over abusive phone calls to staff | UK Politics | News | The Independent

Dammit…that is some hot shit going on there.

Note the last link in the series. Yeah. Right.

But across the globe, a new government is preparing to take power: In step towards power, Myanmar’s Suu Kyi meets president, top general | Reuters

And in regards to the question I submitted to you all up top, as to why BLM activist protest at Hillary events…. Will Hillary Clinton Do More For Black America Than Did Obama? Is That A Low Enough Bar? | Black Agenda Report

We are in the final dash now folks:

No need to say it again, Ted Cruz is a fucking asshole, and idiot…but he can’t be this much of an idiot, I think he is just a prick who doesn’t give a damn.

Birth Control Access Is Far From An ‘Utterly Made-Up Nonsense Issue’

Another day, another boneheaded not terribly nuanced comment from a politician about women’s reproductive health, this one courtesy of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. He believes Democrats are lying about GOP efforts to limit women’s access to birth control.

“Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America,” Cruz said in a campaign stop in Iowa. “Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom, you put 50 cents in and voila. So yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them, but it’s an utterly made-up nonsense issue.”

Sadly for Cruz — and more pressingly, for women throughout the United States — that assessment is nothing short of absurd. The Supreme Court has ruled that some owners of private companies can deny birth control coverage because of religious beliefs. House Republicans have targeted family planning providers who provide health services to women, including pregnancy prevention. And Republicans have threatened to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides millions of women with contraception.

Because it unfortunately still needs to be said, for the 190,567th time, birth control is anessential part of women’s health care, and it is critical that women have access to a range of options. Sorry, Cruz, but the condoms you seem to think are readily available for 50 cents in every bathroom just won’t cut it. Here are just six reasons why:

We all know the reasons, so I won’t go there.

Last link, hurrah!

Who would have won the medieval Bad Sex in Fiction award? | Books | Culture | The Independent

 

That article is something you will have to just go to the link and read yourself!!!!!!!

What is on your mind today…