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Mar 25, 2017, 09:46 AM
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 21 
 on: Today at 05:15 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
What can NASA do to save Curiosity's wheels?

Surprises on Mars have led to unexpectedly severe damage to Curiosity's wheels, once again forcing NASA to do more with less.     

Charlie Wood
CS Monitor   

March 25, 2017 —It’s not easy off-roading on an alien planet. Harsh conditions abound, and you can’t call AAA if you get a flat.

NASA’s car-sized Curiosity rover continues to experience exactly these challenges. A routine inspection on March 19 uncovered two breaks in the raised ribs that reinforce the left-middle wheel’s delicate skin, further evidence of the wear and tear that has been a constant challenge for the mission. Scientists say the unwelcome discovery doesn’t jeopardize scientific goals, but it underscores the need for continued careful driving and perhaps some creative thinking.

"All six wheels have more than enough working lifespan remaining to get the vehicle to all destinations planned for the mission," said Curiosity project manager Jim Erickson in a press release. "While not unexpected, this damage is the first sign that the left middle wheel is nearing a wheel-wear milestone.”

Each of Curiosity’s six knee-high wheels features a skin just half as thick as a US dime. Much-needed reinforcements come in the form of zigzag ribs about as thin as an iPhone. A suspension system evenly distributes the buggy’s 800-pound Martian weight over the finely machined cylinders.

Designing the wheels required a balancing act weighing the need for strength with the intricate landing system. Upping the thickness by just four hundredths of an inch would have added more than 20 pounds, which would have complicated the physics of the “seven minutes of terror” sky crane scheme used to land the rover on the surface of Mars, according to science journalist and planetary geologist Emily Lakdawalla.

Driving nearly 10 miles on the Red Planet has come at a cost. Various punctures and holes in the wafer-thin wheel skin have been worrying scientists for years, but they were largely cosmetic blemishes. Horrible to look at, but not structurally significant.

Last week’s check caused concern because it revealed the first and second instances of rib breakage, a sign that the middle-right wheel has been significantly weakened.

The good news is that scientists suspect they’ll be able to complete their current objectives as planned. "This is an expected part of the life cycle of the wheels and at this point does not change our current science plans or diminish our chances of studying key transitions in mineralogy higher on Mount Sharp," said Curiosity project scientist Ashwin Vasavada.

The farthest potential target sits 3.7 miles up the mountain from Curiosity’s current location, and to get there, mission planners will have to rely on a bag of driving tricks they’ve developed ever since the damage first started cropping up four years ago.

For rover driver Matt Heverly, the worst day of the mission came a little more than year in. “When we saw these images, we saw a hole that was much larger than we had expected. This did not match anything we had seen in our tests. We didn't know what was causing it. We didn't know if it was going to continue," he said at a JPL event celebrating the second anniversary of the landing.

The problem was a never-before-seen feature of the Martian surface: pointy rocks embedded in the ground that didn’t give or roll out of the way.

"We misunderstood what Mars was," Mr. Erickson told Mrs. Lakdawalla. "There is very hard rock that doesn't erode away uniformly. And you get ventifacts [wind-eroded pyramidal rocks] that are sharper than we'd like, and that are cemented into the ground. And so when you drive over them, they don't skitter out of the way, they don't get pressed into the sand, they just are something that you have to have the wheel go up and over.

After the discovery, NASA sought out places on Earth with similar conditions and ran extensive tests with a Curiosity clone, finding that mileage until wheel failure depended on what the driving surface was like: from five miles on rocky bedrock to essentially indefinite driving on sandy plains, according to Lakdawalla’s blog post on the topic.

Equipped with a better understanding of the problem, NASA scientists have learned to be better drivers and route planners. The name of the game is avoiding the rocks. Early on in the mission there were more long drives, where the rover would navigate “blind” from A to B without worrying too much about what’s in the middle.

Now NASA does more short drives, especially in bad terrain. Using Curiosity’s cameras to peer dozens to a hundred feet ahead, drivers can micromanage the path to avoid any particularly spiky-looking rocks. This approach has slowed down the mission, but can significantly extend the wheels’ lifespan.

Another possibility for the future is to put the rover into reverse. While the weight falls evenly on all six points of contact, the front and middle wheels bear the brunt of the burden because they’re constantly being driven into oncoming rocks, while the rear wheels drag behind.

"The rear wheels are still almost pristine," Erickson told Space.com in 2015.

Driving backwards for a while could even things out, but it too comes at a cost. The rover would be riding blind with antennas blocking the view, and turning it back around at the start and end of each drive would add over 30 extra feet to each drive, spending an increasingly valuable currency.

But NASA has a history of long-lived rovers and using creative engineering to restore capacity after a system failure. No one expected exploring Mars to be easy, and every broken rib offers new insight into the challenges Curiosity’s successor will face.

"It's just one of these cases where Mars is going to give us a new deal, and we're going to have to play the cards we get, not the ones we want," Erickson said.

 22 
 on: Today at 05:12 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
March 25, 2017

New rotavirus vaccine could save 600 children every day

by Chuck Bednar
Red Orbit

A new, low-cost oral vaccine against rotavirus that could prevent 600 to 1,300 children per day from dying as a result of the diarrheal disease has proven effective in clinical trials, according to new research published earlier this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The randomized, placebo-controlled trial, led by Doctors Without Borders and conducted in the Maradi region of Niger, showed that three doses of the oral vaccine BRV-PV had an efficacy of 66.7% against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis in trials involving more than 3,500 infants.

During an interview with The Guardian, Doctors Without Borders medical director Dr. Micaela Serafini called the study “a game changer,” in part because the vaccine is heat resistant and can survive for several months at a time in desert-like conditions. “We believe that the new vaccine can bring protection against rotavirus to the children who need it most,” she added.

BRV-PV, the researchers explained, can remain stable for up to one year at temperatures of 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) or for six months at 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) without being refrigerated. Furthermore, it costs only $2.50 (£2) to produce and is most effective against the rotavirus strain found in sub-Saharan Africa, the UK newspaper noted.

Vaccine could provide treatment where it is needed most

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among infants and children worldwide, and youngsters who live in lower-income countries are most affected due to the lack of clean water and proper sanitation.

In fact, The Guardian reported that more than four-fifth of all global rotavirus deaths take place in the world’s poorest countries, as the highly contagious pathogen is spread due to contaminated objects such as toys or surfaces, or through tainted food or water. However, they noted, vaccines have been proven to reduce diarrhea-related fatalities by up to 50 percent.

While, as NPR explained, this is not the first rotavirus vaccine, it is the first designed specifically for use in sub-Saharan Africa, and the Niger trial is the first to have been approved in an African country. The study found no significant safety concerns with the treatment, and experts hope that it will help overcome the lack of availability of alternatives that require refrigeration.

“This is a fantastic new development,” Zulfiqar Bhutta, a global health expert from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto who was not involved in the trial, told NPR. “You don't have to lug a cold box scores of kilometers to reach kids in very rural places. This is important for increasing the reach of the vaccine, for reaching those who need the vaccine the most – the poorest of the poor.”

“The success of this trial shows that research and development into vaccines that are specifically adapted for use in low-income countries yield results,” Dr. Serafini added, according to CBS News. “The quicker this vaccine is prequalified by the WHO, the sooner it can be used to prevent the deaths of thousands of children in the countries where it is needed most.”

 23 
 on: Today at 05:10 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
March 25, 2017

Two-thirds of cancers are caused by bad luck

by Chuck Bednar
Red Orbit

Cancer is brought on by errors in genetic material, and two-third of all cancer-causing errors come from arbitrary mistakes, not as a result of heredity or ecological factors, according to a new report in the journal Science.

The errors, or mutations, cause cancer because even a small error in genetic material can make cells grow out of control, the study said.

Past research has shown two big factors play a role in the generation of cancer-causing mutations: Either the mutation was passed down, or it was brought on by external factors that harm DNA, like cigarette smoke or radioactivity.

However, cancer can also arise from arbitrary errors. When a cell divides to reproduce, it duplicates its DNA so that each one of the new cells will have its own copy of the genetic code. However, every time this copying occurs, there is a chance for a mistake to happen. In many cases, these errors can lead to cancer.

"It is well-known that we must avoid environmental factors such as smoking to decrease our risk of getting cancer. But it is not as well-known that each time a normal cell divides and copies its DNA to produce two new cells, it makes multiple mistakes," study author Cristian Tomasetti, assistant professor of biostatistics at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, said in a statement. "These copying mistakes are a potent source of cancer mutations that historically have been scientifically undervalued, and this new work provides the first estimate of the fraction of mutations caused by these mistakes."
Looking at Cancerous Mutations

To reach their conclusion, the researchers looked at the mutations that cause abnormal cell growth in 32 cancer types. Then, the created a mathematical model using DNA sequencing information from The Cancer Genome Atlas and epidemiologic information from the Cancer Research UK database.

The study team's mathematical model showed the driving forces behind many cancer types. For instance, 77 percent of key mutations in pancreatic cancers are as a result of arbitrary DNA copying errors, 18 percent to environmental factors, like smoking, and the final 5 percent to heredity.

The researchers say their method is similar to efforts to figure out why typos happen when typing a book. They might be due to a bad keyboard (hereditary issues), typing while tired (environmental issues) or random chance.

"You can reduce your chance of typographical errors by making sure you're not drowsy while typing and that your keyboard isn't missing some keys," said study author Dr. Bert Vogelstein, co-director of the Ludwig Center at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center."But typos will still occur because no one can type perfectly. Similarly, mutations will occur, no matter what your environment is, but you can take steps to minimize those mutations by limiting your exposure to hazardous substances and unhealthy lifestyles."

He added that people who develop cancer despite avoiding known risk factors should not feel guilty, based on the study’s findings.

"It's not your fault," Vogelstein said. "Nothing you did or didn't do was responsible for your illness."

 24 
 on: Today at 05:09 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
March 25, 2017

Scientists think they’re on the cusp of reversing aging

by Chuck Bednar
Red Orbit

In what could be a significant anti-aging breakthrough, researchers from Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands have discovered a molecule that could restore the stamina, coat of fur, and in some cases, even organ function in elderly laboratory mice.

According to BBC News, Dr. Peterde Keizer and his colleagues discovered that by using a specific type of peptide (a short chain of amino acid monomers linked by covalent chemical bonds), they could reverse aspects of aging by flushing out cells which no longer divide.

Specifically, as the study authors reported Thursday in the journal Cell, they used a modified FOXO4-p53 interfering peptide to combat retired or “senescent” cells that tend to accumulate with age and have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and other conditions.

De Keizer’s team was reportedly studying how these senescent cells manage to survive when they made a startling discovery: while these damaged cells should be cleared out of the body by a protein called p53, a second protein, FOX04, was preventing that process from happening.

The FOX04 protein, explained Science, latched onto the p53 protein and kept it from doing its job. However, De Keizer’s team designed a new peptide that carried a shortened segment of the FOX04 protein. Doing so would keep the second protein from preventing p53 from doing its job, allowing senescent cells to die off normally while causing no harm to healthy cells.

Experts call it ‘a landmark advance’ while urging caution

The researchers tested the peptide by injecting it into mice that were genetically altered to age rapidly and found that the molecule increased the density of their fur, allowed them to run in an exercise wheel for longer periods of time, and even reversed early signs of kidney damage.

Next, they tested the molecule in normal elderly mice and found similar results – it helped their fur and kidney function, and even made them more willing to explore their surroundings, Science explained. De Keizer told BBC News that they found no evidence of side effects and believe that the peptide would have little to no effect on normal, healthy tissues.

He and his colleagues said that they are hopeful that the treatment will have similar benefits in humans, and that they are planning to conduct human trials sometime in the near future. Stem cell scientist Dr. Dusko Ilic of King’s College London told BBC News that the work was “impossible to dismiss,” it was “better to be reserved” until “more high-quality research is done.”

“It’s definitely a landmark advance in the field,” cell and molecular biologist Francis Rodier of the University of Montreal in Quebec, who like Dr. Ilic was not involved in the study, added in an interview with Science. “This is the first time that somebody has shown that you can get rid of senescent cells without having any obvious side effects.”

 25 
 on: Mar 24, 2017, 12:23 PM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Adam Schiff slams intel chair Devin Nunes for caving to White House and canceling key Russia hearing

Brad Reed
Raw Story
24 Mar 2017 at 11:37 ET                   

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) unleashed a blistering attack on his colleague, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), for cancelling a major public hearing on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

During a press conference on Friday, Schiff said Nunes made a “serious mistake” by cancelling the open session that had been planned for this coming Tuesday that was set to feature former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Schiff then slammed Nunes for doing a “dead-of-night” review of documents related to surveillance of President Donald Trump’s associates — and then running to share their contents with the White House before even notifying his own colleagues on the House Intelligence Committee.

“We don’t welcome cutting off access to public information,” he said.

Schiff also said that there was likely some “pushback” from the White House that caused Nunes to want to cancel the open hearing.

On Twitter, Schiff also accused the GOP of trying to “choke off” information on the Russia probe from the public.

    BREAKING: Chairman just cancelled open Intelligence Committee hearing with Clapper, Brennan and Yates in attempt to choke off public info.

    — Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) March 24, 2017

Watch video below:

    Schiff: "We don't welcome cutting off public access to information when we have witnesses" willing to testify https://t.co/TwUSEZBmfq

    — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 24, 2017

*****************

The Russia Scandal Takes A Mind-Blowing Turn That Could Destroy The Republican Party

By Sarah Jones on Fri, Mar 24th, 2017 at 11:58 am
PoliticusUSA

It wasn't Donald Trump alone who had ties to the Russians during the 2016 campaign. It turns out that the Republican National Committee used a firm with ties to Russian intelligence to dig up dirt on Hillary

This is truly mind-blowing.

Perhaps you’ve been wondering how establishment Republicans were so happy ignoring the looming treason scandal of their President. It very well could be because they, too, have something Russian to hide.

So it wasn’t Donald Trump alone who had ties to the Russians during the 2016 campaign. It turns out that the Republican National Committee used a firm with ties to Russian intelligence to dig up dirt on Hillary Clinton.

The RNC used former CIA officers’ firm the Hamilton Trading Group, which has “particular expertise” in Russia, to dig up dirt on Clinton according to a Politico report.

“RNC officials and the president and co-founder of Hamilton Trading Group, an ex-CIA officer named Ben Wickham, insisted the payments, which eventually totaled $41,500, had nothing to do with Russia,” Kenneth P. Vogel and Eli Stokols reported.

The RNC claimed the payments were for “security.”

“But RNC officials now acknowledge that most of the cash — $34,100 — went towards intelligence-style reports that sought to prove conflicts of interest between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and her family’s foundation.”

Oh.

So the RNC was perfectly comfortable working with a firm that raised eyebrows for its Russian connections, at a time when the intelligence community was telling them that Russia was interfering in the U.S. election.

To say this again, as Putin has bragged about information warfare as the new war, a major U.S. political party sided with a country that declared information warfare, or war if you will, on the U.S.A.

Yes, it is an act of war, it is meant to destroy western democracy in the end.

Russia uses “rigged polls and fake news to sway foreign elections,” the Wall Street Journal reported, on a dossier showing an example of how Russia operated in Bulgaria.

The entire Republican Party had strange ties to a government at war with this country, the country to which Republicans are supposed to be loyal.

Strange things are afloat. No wonder Congressional Republicans are doing everything they can to ignore the screaming treason of the White House. They are quite possibly in on it themselves.

If this scandal comes to a head, that is to say if the intelligence community turns on the Republican Party in an effort to force them to deal with the possible collusion with a hostile foreign power in the White House, the Russia scandal could bring down the Republican Party for a generation.

Republicans should be smart here; this will come out. They should get on the right side of history before it’s too late. Sadly, this party’s elected officials have shown little allegiance to their country.

What is going on here is a scandal that will go down in history. One of two major parties in the U.S. system working with a foreign power that has declared war on the U.S.A. That is not to say they colluded with Russia to bring the U.S. down, but they did work with them as Russia was attacking the election, an act of war. That much is in evidence.

The collusion evidence, the circumstantial collusion evidence, in this case could be as simple as Republicans knew Russians were attacking the U.S. elections when they worked with this firm with ties to Russian intelligence. To be clear, there is not public evidence of direct collusion in terms of quid pro quo right now. There is evidence that the RNC was deceptive about their connections with Russian intelligence in this regard, and that they had it during the campaign.

The fact that the head of the RNC at the time is now in the Trump White House is even more troubling, as Trump has hired people at all points whose contacts with the Russians during the election have already caused one of them to be fired and another to step down from overseeing an investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.

This should now be amended to the Republican Party’s ties to Russia. Lucky for them, they are in power of both chambers of Congress and trying to get their Supreme Court nominee in as the last gatekeeper in a checks and balances system. The only way this scandal is going to come out is through the intelligence community leaking to the press.

And that’s why Republicans are so outraged about leaks.

But this is not Republicans trying to protect our national security secrets. This is Republicans trying to make sure they cover up the fact that Russia has eyes and ears in the situation room, and has access to our national secrets because of Trump and the GOP.

It was true that going to the extremist corner they did, Republicans could not win a national election without cheating. They knew this, everyone knew this. So it was a shock when Donald Trump, the most extreme of the extreme, won.

But now, it’s not such a shock because it wasn’t won without cheating. It was won with the help of a hostile, aggressive government whose goal is to bring the U.S. down in order to kill the hope of democracy.

This might be why a former NSA analyst warned that if there is ever a real investigation, a whole bunch of Republicans will be indicted for major crimes in RussiaGate.

***************

Adam Schiff Is  Shitstain Trump’s Worst Nightmare: A Prosecutor Who Has Taken Down A Kremlin Spy

By Sarah Jones on Fri, Mar 24th, 2017 at 12:46 pm
PoliticusUSA

Democratic Ranking Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff is turning out to be a secret weapon for freedom amidst the growing Republican Russia scandal.

In case you’re wondering why ranking member Democrat Adam Schiff (D-CA) appears to know more than the Chair of the Intel Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, it’s because he has experience prosecuting a crooked FBI agent who was working for the Kremlin.

As Assistant U.S. Attorney in the 90s, Schiff was the government’s prosecutor against Richard Miller, who was the first FBI agent ever accused of espionage according to the Los Angeles Times. “… (t)he first FBI agent ever accused of espionage, was found guilty Tuesday of passing secret documents to the Soviet Union in exchange for a promised $65,000 in gold and cash.”

This fact was brought to my attention by John Schindler, who observed Friday morning, “As a Federal prosecutor, Schiff sent a crooked FBI agent who was spying for the Kremlin to the slammer. It shows.”

    Schiff reiterates call for 9/11 Comm-like independent inquiry into #TrumpRussia: "This week's event have made that all the more necessary"

    — John Schindler (@20committee) March 24, 2017

Schiff called Nunes out Friday morning for canceling an opening hearing in an effort to choke off public information:

    BREAKING: Chairman just cancelled open Intelligence Committee hearing with Clapper, Brennan and Yates in attempt to choke off public info.

    — Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) March 24, 2017

Schindler observed:

    Rep Schiff brutally summarizes the HPSCI's week from hell: "A zero validation of the President, even if you accept what [Nunes] has said."

    — John Schindler (@20committee) March 24, 2017

Republicans might be wishing Adam Schiff would just go away, as he can see right through Nunes’ reckless propaganda efforts for the Trump White House.

Schiff isn’t someone who is just going to sit by while Nunes sells out the Intelligence Committee’s responsibility to the United States citizens.

Schiff is uniquely qualified for this unlikely situation. Thank you, Democrats, for putting people in positions for which they are actually qualified.

 26 
 on: Mar 24, 2017, 10:24 AM 
Started by Deva - Last post by The Otherside
Hi Everyone,

I have to admit now with adding all this new information the task at hand seems rather daunting. For one my understanding of the depth of each archetype is very limited at this time in my studies as well as I am finding it really hard to write about a chart that we don't have any information about. There is no story or context for this Soul to work with and only bits and pieces are available to analyze. The possibilities really are endless and to write about this in full would be exhaustive as every Soul is unique and uses the energies inherent to them in there own unique way. So all I can do is write about the bottom line of what this soul might be coming in with and because I do not have any information or context to add to my interpretation the only thing I can lean on is balance and polarity points. I know we are talking about the past orientation that the Soul is coming in with now but for me to understand that I cant help but think about the polarity points. Pluto in Virgo 10th polarity Pisces 4th south node in the 3rd Libra polarity 9th in Aries and the ruler of the south Venus in 11th in Scorpio polarity Taurus 5th.

Everything we are looking at  here really depends on how evolved and balanced this Soul is. I am having a hard time seeing the strong balance here unless this Soul is highly evolved. With Pluto in Virgo in the 10th we are examining the whole Virgo Pisces axis as well as the whole Capricorn Cancer axis. This is a Soul who is coming in with a security and desire linked with having a voice of authority in society a position a role of substance linked with the Virgo archetype of service to the whole Now we add the south node in the 3rd in Libra the orientation to that desire is linked with facts information and communications through a diversity of relationships and with the ruler of the South being Venus in the 11th in Scorpio a Soul who most likely is highly identified with  group mentality and these groups will have a Scorpio flare so psychologically based.
I thought about this for a while and then went back to my original thoughts that this Soul will be working on liberating from the constructs of the mind in this life. Now with adding the new information it makes it even more specific to liberating from relationships that are conditioning the mental constructs of the mind. Most likely this Soul will be coming in with an over attachment to relationships, south node in Libra especially when you consider the ruler being Venus in the 11th security linked with others and the group and this is double with the fact that Venus is in Scorpio being a fixed sign and its natural ruler is Pluto. Unconscious security linked with relationships based on group mentality. The possibility of unbalance  is likely here when we are talking about Venus with the outer side of Venus being Libra others and how we relate to others, now with Venus being in Scorpio with Pluto in Virgo we are talking about a highly analytical and psychological orientation to life. This Soul will be purging to  the bottom line of the system of the social sphere it finds itself in as well as to the bottom line of how it is psychologically  geared and how others are geared as well as how to use these things to actualize that Pluto in the 10th in Virgo. If there is a lot of unbalance  then you could see how this might lead to an inappropriate desire for power and authority especially if this chart indicates that this Soul if over identified with others and is not following its own natural instincts. With Venus being in Scorpio in the 11th  the ruler of the South node in Libra in the 3rd  I would think this is where the Soul would be working on analyzing how relationships are effecting or conditioning or even controlling ones own mental structures and in turn how one will go about actualizing itself in society and with in the family because of this. The Soul will most likely be coming into this life getting to the bottom line of where it actually feels authentic, getting to and analyzing who they are what they stand for and how others color and that. The Soul will be coming into this life evaluating the  purging of relationships with others intimately and as well with in groups that are not in true alignment with the Soul. This evaluation will most likely come through the form Crisis in the external environment and through work and family functions.

In the Consensus state a Soul would most likely be highly attached to group mentality as well as relationships with others and will most likely adopt or osmose others into themselves and the group mentality. Security will be linked with others in some sort of position of authority in society and there may be a strong desire to lead others or be lead. There may be a highly critical orientation to life and to others that do not fit into the Souls ideals relations or group mentality. At this level of development the Soul most likely will only relate and take in information from  those that fit the ideals and the Soul could  be very attached to groups and people who do. The work functions and social position seem to be a strong ideal here as well as the Soul may be completely over identified with its family and upbringing and anyone who does not fit into this will be in an essence almost obsolete to the Soul. There will be a strong attachment to finding some sort of positon that allows the soul to feel that it is providing a service to others and the position desired could be one that is liked with authority and power especially if there is a lot of unbalance in relating with others.

In the Individual State the Soul will be coming into this life with a two fold orientation one that is linked with rebelling the system in some way and groups and people that do not fit into the Souls inner orientation as well as the Soul will still be linked with others and groups of like mind and will have a strong orientation there. In this state this could be a Soul that is attached to elitist groups in some way that rebel against society or consensus reality. This could be a Soul that desires to link its identity through groups that perform unique services to society like the alternative healing field. There will be strong desires linked with psychologically understanding how to undermine the system and make it different or better to find a place of authority and service in society linked with some sort of genius capacity that the Soul has to give back to society.  

In the Spiritual state this could be a Soul that is highly psychologically geared and understands the system as well as the physical and metaphysical world. The relationships formed to others and to the group through instinct will be of like mind for the greater good of service to society on a whole.

In all cases though we are talking about a Soul who is coming into this life with a strong attachment to others through relationships and through groups and the Soul will be peering to the bottom line of its own psychological dynamics and others psychological dynamics the soul forms relationships with to understand itself and others and how others could be influencing the Soul and the mental constructs in a positive or negative way.  This will be a strong orientation coming into this life and so relationships of all kinds whether in the group or personally will be the platform that this Soul comes to understand these things about themselves through. Therefor how one actually links itself to the social role and work role in society and provides a service to society  and how one relates to its functions with in the family and with others really depends on how balanced and evolved the Soul is. You can see how this can really go in so many different ways but certainly a Soul that could be a powerhouse for the greater good or greater bad in society depending on its ability to relate to others in a balanced and healthy way.

Heather



 27 
 on: Mar 24, 2017, 10:00 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Poll: Scandals solidify Shitstain Trump’s voter base

International Business Times
23 Mar 2017 at 16:17 ET    

The first two months of President Donald Trump’s administration have been plagued by a revolving door of scandals and accusations. But a new Morning Consult/Politico poll released Thursday found that while a plurality of voters viewed Trump less favorably after the scandals, his supporters have found him to be more likeable.

Conducted online from March 16 to Sunday, the poll measured Trump’s favorability based on seven scandals that have engulfed the White House since he assumed office in January. Those included Trump’s allegations that former President Barack Obama had his “wires” tapped in Trump Tower, the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd, his criticism of the media and two involving his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia during the election.

In all seven, Trump supporters’ largely favored him more. The president’s accusation that the media is “the enemy of the American people” scored him the biggest improvement of 31 percent among those who voted for him. That was compared to a 15 percent drop when all voters were considered.

Trump’s base also favored him by 21 percent when he accused Obama of spying on him during the election.

When it came to now former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation due to back-channeling with a Russian ambassador, as well as Attorney General Jeff Session’s meetings with the same diplomat, Trump still scored 16 points better with the his voters.

The only scandal that seemed to affect all voters was his handling of North Korea’s missile test launch while he visited his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida. Trump saw a 27 percent decline in favorability from all voters and only a two percent bump from his base after it was reported he and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had discussed a response to the launch in front of the resort’s guests.

The poll’s results appeared to largely reflect Gallup’s daily job approval rating of the president. As of Wednesday, 56 percent of Americans disapproved of Trump’s work compared to 39 percent approving, the second-lowest approval rating in the early stages of his presidency.

A new poll Thursday suggested President Trump's supporters view mostly favor him more when asked about his administration's early scandals. Photo: Reuters

The poll surveyed 1,927 voters and had a margin of error of 2 percent.

 28 
 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:12 AM 
Started by soleil - Last post by Skywalker
Make America Great Again!

 29 
 on: Mar 24, 2017, 06:03 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
USA

The Washington Post Calls For the Investigation of Rep. Devin Nunes

By Hrafnkell Haraldsson on Fri, Mar 24th, 2017 at 9:01 am
PoliticusUSA

The editorial board of The Washington Post is calling for an end to Devin Nunes’ investigation of Trump/Russia contacts and instead investigating Devin Nunes himself.

It is bad enough, as national security expert John Schindler tweeted, that Nunes’ and Trump’s claims about Obama wiretapping amount to a “nothingburger”:

    Until there's some evidence — not "Devin saw TS stuff nobody else did" — allegations that Obama abused IC USP protections = nothingburger.

    — John Schindler (@20committee) March 24, 2017

To false accusations leveled against our last president must be added Devin Nunes’ own leak of classified information – right after complaining about the leak of classified information. As the Post explained,

    REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-Calif.) on Monday denounced what he described as the illegal leak of classified information concerning conversations between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials. He insisted that those who described those contacts to the press be tracked down and prosecuted. He demanded that FBI Director James B. Comey confirm that such revelations “violate . . . a section of the Espionage Act that criminalizes the disclosure of information concerning the communication and intelligence activities of the United States.”
     
    Forty-eight hours later, Mr. Nunes himself held a news conference in which he cited a confidential source to describe what clearly appeared to be classified information about intercepted communications involving Trump associates. He did this outside the White House, where he had rushed to brief the president about the intercepts — even though the House Intelligence Committee he chairs is supposed to be investigating the Trump campaign’s possible connections with Russia.

There is no arguing with the editorial board’s verdict that Rep. Nunes “deserves to be subject to the same leaking probe he demanded for the previous disclosures.”

Nor is there any arguing with the editorial board’s conclusion that,

“Mr. Nunes’s antics serve only to underline the urgency of a serious, nonpartisan and uncompromising investigation into Russia’s interference in the election and any contacts between Moscow’s agents and the Trump campaign.”

Devin Nunes represents the Republican Party’s willingness to go to any lengths, including tolerating treason, to push the conservative agenda. Nunes, who is supposed to be investigating the Trump administration, has shown himself instead to be serving the interests of Donald Trump.

House leaders should, as the Post demands, “put an end to the embarrassing travesty being directed by Mr. Nunes” and we should turn our attention instead to the investigation of Nunes himself.

Nunes was trying to protect Trump. What has resulted is a historically significant tragicomedy in three acts, and it is for this the Trump administration will be remembered by future historians.

In the end, Nunes’ efforts have only shown how essential it is that instead of committee investigation, a select committee is appointed instead.

No Republican will be able to protect Trump then, and all Nunes’ dubious antics have accomplished then is to doom the man he sought to protect.

***********

House Intel Committee Member Suggests Devin Nunes Is Engaging In Trump/Russia Cover-Up

By Jason Easley on Fri, Mar 24th, 2017 at 10:47 am
PoliticusUSA

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) accused House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) of trying to muddy the waters and help Trump cover-up the Russia scandal.

During an interview on MSNBC, Speier was asked what Adam Schiff knows that we don’t about the evidence of Trump/Russia collusion being more than circumstantial.

She answered:

So that’s what’s really interesting, because both Adam Schiff and Devin Nunes, the chair and ranking members of the committee, have access to information that the whole committee does not have access to. It’s only afforded to what’s called the Gang of Eight, which includes the Speaker, the Democratic Leader, the ranking and the chair on the House side, and similarly on the Senate side, so if we have Adam Schiff who is a prosecutor by training say that this is not just circumstantial evidence, I believe that Devin Nunes knows the same information, and I think this could be an effort to make everything look much murkier.

The reason why I’m suspicious is that the president on Tucker Carlson, another show, said last week, said that there is going to be information coming to the committee, and this is going to clarify it for the American people. Well, I think this whole thing is, excuse the pun, is trumped up.

What Rep. Speier was doing was suggesting that the chair of the House Intelligence Committee is working with the White House to create a diversion that will distract the committee from investigating the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Speier was suggesting that Nunes knows information that Adam Schiff describes as more than circumstantial, and his wiretapping claims this week were an attempt to help the White House cover-up the real story.

Calls are growing for Nunes to be investigated as the Trump/Russia scandal is going beyond the White House and implicating the Republican Party.

If Republicans were so desperate to win that they either colluded with Russia or turned a blind eye while Trump colluded with Russia, they would have committed a crime against their country that has the potential to stain their party for generations.

**************

Healthcare bill hangs in balance as Republicans agonise over Shitstain Trump's vote gamble

Late-night meetings prove inconclusive as president forges ahead with Friday vote on flagship promise despite fears bill may fail

Tom McCarthy and Ben Jacobs
Guardian
Friday 24 March 2017 04.01 GMTFirst published on Friday 24 March 2017 03.21 GMT

After weeks of legislative bets and bluffs, Donald Trump decided on Thursday night that it was time for everyone to show their hand on healthcare reform.

As Republican legislators gathered for emotional late-night meetings on Capitol Hill, Trump sent over his most trusted advisers – Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Reince Priebus and budget director Mick Mulvaney – to try to help craft majority support for legislation to replace Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

The message from the White House was plain: vote on the bill on Friday. Let opponents cast their votes publicly. And if the legislation fails, there won’t be another effort to make good on the flagship Republican promise to replace Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The president was moving on, his advisers told legislators.

New York Republican Chris Collins, a longtime Trump ally, told reporters it was now or never on repealing Obamacare. “The president said tomorrow there’ll be a vote,” he said. “It’ll go up, it’ll go down – but we are then going to move on to the rest of his agenda.

“At some point you do have to move on,” Collins said. “In the private sector, if you lose a deal you move on to the next deal ... if [Trump] can’t get the votes tomorrow, he’ll never get the votes and it’s time to move on.”

The Republican leadership dutifully scheduled multiple votes for Friday, making room for amendments that could nail down conservative support and for other changes to a bill whose contents were still in flux.

“For seven and a half years we have been promising the American people that we will repeal and replace this broken law, because it’s hurting American families,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said late Thursday. “And tomorrow we’re proceeding.”

The anticipated changes to the bill on Friday, just hours before members were likely to vote on it, were not minor. One amendment would erase a requirement in the Obama law for insurance plans to cover basic services, called “essential health benefits” such as hospital visits, prescription drugs and maternity and newborn care. Instead, individual states would decide whether health insurance plans were mandated to cover those services.

The stakes of passage were high, with Trump apparently betting that the political stain of failure would not be attached to him. A new Quinnipiac University poll showed that Americans disapprove of the healthcare overhaul by a margin of 56% to 17% – with support among Republicans hovering at just 41%. However, the same poll also showed that a majority of Americans wanted at least some changes to Obamacare.

Activity on the bill proceeded too quickly for analysts to keep pace. Early Thursday evening the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report finding the amended bill would cost more than the original version while doing nothing to prevent the anticipated ejection of 24 million people from health insurance rolls in the next decade. The report became almost immediately obsolete as new amendments and agreements were hooked on.

To make it to the Senate, where the bill would be expected to undergo yet another extensive overhaul, the legislation could afford no more than 22 Republican defections in the House, according to anticipated vote attendance. Interviews with many Republican House members on Capitol Hill Thursday night made it clear that passage was a very open question.

Republican members exiting their conference meeting before 9pm gave mixed assessments of the bill’s prospects. Asked whether the bill had the votes to pass, Charlie Dent, a member of the centrist Tuesday Group, said “I don’t know.”

“I’ve declared my opposition to the bill,” he said.

Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska said the bill was “improving” after “a very strong meeting. Deeply emotional.”

“There are some people who have principled objections,” he said.

Joe Barton, a conservative member of the Freedom Caucus who planned on voting yes, thought it would succeed but not by much. “I think they’ll be a vote and I think it will pass.” When asked by the Guardian to make a prediction, he gave the odds of success at 50.1% to 49.9%.

The president deployed his signature method for coaxing votes Thursday night, tweeting that “Disastrous #Obamacare has led to higher costs & fewer options” and exhorting members to “#PassTheBill”.

Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania described it all as typical legislative sausage-making. When asked what type of sausage, he insisted: “Tasty!”

Many Republicans were willing to accept an imperfect bill that resulted from this sausage-making. Scott Taylor, a freshman from Virginia, said of the bill: “Personally I believe 85% of something is a hell of a lot better than nothing so I think it’s important we move in the right direction.”

There was still plenty of skepticism from moderates, who have been far less prone to rebellion than conservatives in the past. Some like Dan Donovan of New York and Leonard Lance of New Jersey insisted to reporters they were still voting against the bill. Lance told reporters: “I am a no.”

He expressed his hope that failure of the bill would force bipartisan negotiations. Lance said that if the legislation did not succeed on Monday “I hope that the Democrats will come to the plate and I am critical to the Democrats for not coming to the plate. I think they have a responsibility because the exchanges are in significant difficulty.”

On the other wing of the Republican conference Trent Franks, an arch conservative member of the Freedom Caucus, praised his group’s efforts in negotiations to strip the essential health benefits from the bill. “The Freedom Caucus have paid some pretty profound dividends here in the last few hours in that there is going to be a new amendment going into the bill.”

The Arizona Republican touted his group’s efforts, saying: “I am convinced of this one thing that what they might have called acrimony on behalf of House Freedom Caucus is creative tension that improved the bill in a pretty profound way.”

Franks also argued this action had major political benefits. “The thing that is of consequence in that regard is that has the potential to actually reduce the premiums,” he said. “I think that will not only be very very good for the American people but might sustain us in an off-year election and keep the gavel out of Nancy Pelosi’s hands who would do the worst with it.”

Matt Gaetz, a Tea Party Republican from Florida, said he hoped Republicans were unified and the bill would pass. “I sure hope so,” Gaetz said, “or we’ll have the opportunity to watch a unified Democrat caucus impeach Donald Trump in two years when we lose the majority.”

*************

GOP Leaders Are Now Trying To End Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions, Young Adults

By Sean Colarossi on Thu, Mar 23rd, 2017 at 8:59 pm
PoliticusUSA

If there is one thing just about every American agrees on, it's that these two parts of the Affordable Care Act should remain untouched.

As Republicans frantically negotiate with each other in order to get enough votes to pass unpopular Trumpcare, some GOP leaders are asking for the provisions covering pre-existing conditions and young adults – the most popular aspects of the Affordable Care Act – to be removed from the Republican plan.

According to reporting by MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, some of the more conservative members of the House of Representatives are saying they may support the legislation if those two critical components are removed.

Video:

    MSNBC’s @kasie reporting that some Republicans now considering nixing coverage for pre-existing conditions, young adults. #Trumpcare pic.twitter.com/lKglGRvtUJ

    — Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) March 23, 2017

Kasie Hunt reports:

    These conservatives who have opposed it have essentially come out and said, ‘Look, this is Obamacare-lite; it’s the opposite of what we’re trying to do.’ It’s very hard to move off of that position once you’ve drawn that line in the sand … The problem is, the more concessions they’ve given over there, it’s worn down the moderate members that they still do need … And now I’m hearing they’re talking about pre-existing conditions, they’re talking about kids who are on their parents plans until the age of 26 and for moderates, that’s a complete non-starter.

Not only would taking an ax to those two provisions turn off moderate members of the GOP, it would be devastating to millions of Americans who have relied on those components of Obamacare to get insurance coverage and life-saving treatment.

If there is one thing just about every American agrees on, regardless of party, it’s that these two parts of the Affordable Care Act should remain untouched. Republicans are so desperate to win over conservative members of the house that they’re forgetting that.

The GOP no longer cares what impact this legislation has on the country – just that they’re able to get it through Congress and score a political victory. After Trump promised to cover everybody under his plan, millions more Americans would be without health coverage and pay more out-of-pocket for care – all so this childish president could get something, anything done.

***************

New Analysis Finds Shitstain Trumpcare Would Be Even More Catastrophic Than Originally Thought

By Sean Colarossi on Thu, Mar 23rd, 2017 at 7:31 pm
PoliticusUSA

Trumpcare will cost more than initial estimates – and none of the cost increases will go toward covering the 24 million Americans that will lose health insurance under the plan.

An updated analysis of Trumpcare by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office was released on Thursday, and it found that the GOP health care plan would be even more catastrophic for the country than originally thought.

Not only would Donald Trump and the Republicans kick 24 million Americans off their health insurance policies – roughly the same as originally estimated – but it would cost even more than the CBO initially found.

More from the updated CBO analysis:

    CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under the legislation than under current law. The increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number under current law would reach 21 million in 2020 and 24 million in 2026 (see Table 4). In 2026, an estimated 52 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

While the number of Americans without insurance under the GOP plan remains relatively the same as the original CBO analysis, it would cost even more than the organization’s first estimate found:

    On March, 13, 2017, CBO and JCT estimated that enacting the reconciliation recommendations of the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce (which were combined into H.R. 1628) would yield a net reduction in federal deficits of $337 billion over the 2017-2026 period. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 1628, with the proposed amendments, would save $186 billion less over that period.

So if you’re keeping score at home, Trumpcare will cost more than initial estimates – and none of the cost increases will go toward covering the 24 million Americans that will lose health insurance under the new plan.

The release of the new CBO score came as Republicans delayed a vote on the unpopular legislation because the self-proclaimed deal-maker-in-chief couldn’t convince members of his own party to support the plan.

Trumpcare was political suicide before, and it remains political suicide at this hour as the GOP works tirelessly to make sure fewer Americans have access to health care.

**************

Rep Mike Quigley On Russian Collusion: 'Probable Cause To Believe There Was Coordination'

3/23/17 8:00pm
CrooksAndLiars

Rep. Mike Quigley joined Chris Matthews on Hardball tonight to discuss the latest news coming out of the House Intel Committee, which is currently being run by former Trump Transition Team Member (and current Trump bootlicker), Devin Nunes.

When asked about whether Nunes can be considered impartial after he chose to run to the White House with shady intel he may he received via a leak (ironic) versus talking to the Intel Commitee, Quigley said the following:

    "Well, it makes it far more difficult for him. He has to overcome this assumption he has a different master than a chairman of this important investigation. I have to be fair the first two years that I have served with him, he has been a good chairman. He's run his meetings very well. Ever since Mr. tTrump has become President, though, unfortunately, it's been a different story.... I can't stress enough. This is the most important investigation of a President in our history since Watergate. The person investigating it has to be of an open mind and has to understand he cannot serve the President, he's a member of Congress."

After a little chit chat they went back Matthews proposed that the White House may have put some "heat on" Nunes to take a stand to support Trump.

Mieke Eoyang from the National Security Program responded "I think that's absolutely right and people forget that when Nunes talks about the wiretapping of the Trump transition team the person at the head of the transition for administration was Devin Nunes, He has been on both sides of this thing from the beginning. So now as the committee chairman, he is grading the work as national chairman he was putting together as the head of the transition."

Back to Quigley...

Matthews pulls up the Congressman Schiff clip from just yesterday where he talks about actual collusion, not just circumstantial and then asks Quigley what he thinks.

    Matthews: Congressman, do you go on more than circumstantial evidence at this point?

    Quigley: As an old trial attorney I'd say there is probable cause to believe there was coordination.

Wow. Not just evidence but probable cause. For those not up on legalese, probable cause is the legal standard by which a police officer has the right to make an arrest or obtain a warrant for a search or an arrest. This is not a term that any lawyer or politician would make lightly. This means he believes there is enough proof to pursue possible charges against Trump or someone in his campaign and that the charges, combined with the evidence, would be enough to convict in a court of law.

This is not smoke. This is fire.

************

Bernie Sanders Drops A Reality Bomb And Brings Down Trump With One Simple Question

By Jason Easley on Thu, Mar 23rd, 2017 at 1:16 pm
PoliticusUSA

During an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) asked the one question that will bring down the Trump presidency. Sanders asked, “What do the Russians have on Trump?”

Sanders said:

Here is the reality, and the American people understand that there are key people in Trump’s campaign who had very very close ties with Putin’s operation, and I think we’ve got to ask ourselves a very very simple question. How does it happen when you have a gentleman, a person, a leader like Putin who is moving his country in a very authoritarian direction, is not a great respecter of democracy, has engaged in a very imperialistic foreign policy. How does it happen that we had a candidate and a president who had nothing but nice things to say about Mr. Putin?

That sounds pretty strange.

And the question that a lot of people are asking, you don’t have to get into the classified information to raise this question is, what do, if anything, the Russians have on Mr. Trump? What we do know, I believe we know is true is that Trump needed financial help for some of his business efforts, and it appears, and I can’t be definitive about this, that he got some help from the Russian oligarchs in Russia.

Do they have something on him, which is veering him towards a pro-Russian foreign policy at the expense of American interests? Those are the questions that have got to be discussed.

The reality that Sen. Sanders was talking about is the fact that Trump’s Russia tainted presidency hangs over him and the Republican Party like a dark cloud every single day. It is a simple question that the American people deserve to have answered, and it is also the question that could bring down the Trump presidency, and Republicans that conspired with this president to hide his secrets.

**************

GOP Smoke Screen Falls Apart: Devin Nunes Won’t Deny The Source For His Wiretap Claim Was Shitstain Trump

By Sarah Jones on Thu, Mar 23rd, 2017 at 12:50 pm
PoliticusUSA

Unable to provide evidence or even say who his "source" is, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) refused to confirm or deny if his "source" was the Trump White House.

Nunes is sorry. So sorry he went to President Trump and the press with “evidence” that Trump was not lying when he falsely accused President Obama of wiretapping him.

Unable to provide evidence or even say who his “source” is, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) refused to confirm or deny if his “source” was the Trump White House. Nunes further said he couldn’t show his committee the information the “source” provided to him.

“At the end of the day, sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you don’t,” Nunes said Thursday. “It’s a judgement call on my part,” Nunes said when asked why he raced to the White House with his “evidence” that no one has seen yet instead of, say, sharing it with the intel committee he chairs, and which is investigating Trump for his possible collusion with Russia.

    BREAKING: GOP House intel chair Nunes expresses some regret abt going to press & president before Democrats on his own committee. pic.twitter.com/Gxe2G6DX3j

    — Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) March 23, 2017

If the “source” of his “evidence” wasn’t the Trump White House, which is known for seeing events that never actually happened and standing by these thin conspiracies no matter the facts, it seems like Nunes would have been happy to announce that.

Instead, we have the bomb thrown yesterday to muddy the waters and feed the Trump cult, who still believe that Obama wiretapped Trump and that Nunes’ revelation that there were multiple FISA warrants under which Trump was caught colluding with Russia somehow exonerates him.

Nunes won’t say his source wasn’t the White House and he won’t show anyone his evidence.

This is the person Republicans chose to run the House Intelligence Committee.

Nunes gives all appearances of working as a propaganda machine for President Trump rather than serving as Intel Chair of a very serious investigation that impacts our national security and sovereignty.

Nunes can’t be working to prop up President Trump’s baseless claims while he pretends to be impartial about an investigation that let’s face it, he never should have been in charge of in the first place given his own position on the Trump transition team – the very team his panel is supposed to be investigating.

***************

Democrats To Block Gorsuch And Force Republicans To Get 60 Votes For Supreme Court Nominee

By Sarah Jones on Thu, Mar 23rd, 2017 at 12:16 pm
PoliticusUSA

Chuck Schumer was on fire Thursday when he announced his opposition to President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, forcing 60 votes for confirmation.

Democratic Leader Senator Chuck Schumer was on fire Thursday when he announced his opposition to President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch, forcing 60 votes for confirmation.

“After careful deliberation, I have concluded that I cannot support Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. His nomination will have a cloture vote, he will have to earn sixty votes for confirmation. My vote will be “No.” And I urge my colleagues to do the same,” the top Democrat said, according to the Senator’s floor remarks sent to PoliticusUSA.

“To my Republican friends who think that if Judge Gorsuch fails to reach 60 votes we ought to change the rules I say: if this nominee cannot earn 60 votes, a bar met by each of President Obama’s nominees, and President Bush’s last two nominees, the answer isn’t to change the rules – it’s to change the nominee.”

Schumer laid out the reasons he’s voting no, starting with “Judge Gorsuch was unable to sufficiently convince me that he’d be an independent check on a president who has shown almost no restraint from executive overreach.”

“Second, he was unable to convince me that he would be a mainstream justice who could rule free from the biases of politics and ideology…. And finally, he is someone who almost instinctively favors the powerful over the weak, corporations over working Americans. There could not be a worse time for someone with those instincts.”

Schumer called Gorsuch out for evading questions, “Let me repeat: there is no legal standard, rule or even logic for failing to answer questions that don’t involve immediate and specific cases that are or could come before the court. It is evasion, just evasion, plain and simple. And it belies a deeper truth about this nominee.”

And then Schumer got to the glaring Republican disgrace of their unprecedented and willfully partisan and political obstruction of President Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland, “In the hearings, Judge Gorsuch repeated the hollow assertion that judges don’t have parties or politics. He said there are no “democrat judges or republican judges.” But if that were true, we wouldn’t be here, would we? If that were true, and if the Senate was merely evaluating a nominee based on his or her qualifications, Merrick Garland would be seated on the Supreme Court right now.”

That was a rather brilliant point. We would not be here if Republicans weren’t treating the Supreme Court like a partisan get out the vote tool, or perhaps an offer to Russia tool, which is by extension, it seems, a Republican get out the vote tool.

“Merrick Garland is not a Justice. We all know why. We all know that my friends across the aisle held this Supreme Court seat open, for over a year, in hopes that they would have the opportunity to install someone hand-picked by the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist Society to advance the goal of big-money interests entrenching their power in the courts.”

Schumer slammed them for proceeding as Donald Trump is under FBI investigation for colluding with a hostile foreign government that attacked the U.S. in an act of war, “They don’t even mind that this nomination is moving forward under the cloud of an FBI investigation of the president’s campaign. The Republicans held a Supreme Court seat open for a year, under a Democratic president, who was under NO investigation, but now are rushing to fill the seat for a president whose campaign is under investigation. It is unseemly and wrong to be moving so fast on a lifetime appointment in such circumstances.”

“That’s all the evidence my colleagues should need to vote no – and I urge them, and will urge them in the days ahead, to do so,” Schumer concluded after a long, detailed explanation about why he doesn’t think Gorusch is fit.

Liberals, Democrats, Independents, and anyone who values tradition, the Constitution, justice, and the sovereignty of the United States should rejoice at Schumer’s stance.

Democrats have limited power to stop Gorsuch, but there is absolutely no justification for moving forward on his confirmation when Trump has already appointed Russian gatekeepers in all other positions of government that might serve as a check to him/Russia.

All investigations into Donald Trump’s campaign and their possible collusion with Russia need to be completed before a lifetime appointment is made by what seems to be a Russian Trojan Horse of a president.

Chuck Schumer is leading Senate Democrats to be the patriots who took a stand for democracy and their country when Republicans would not. It’s not easy for Democrats to say no, and be unwilling to try to make government work. Democrats have a deep belief in the ability of the government to do good, and indeed its responsibility to do good for the people.

This belief has been exploited by Republicans for too long, but Schumer saying no isn’t a petty move. It is a patriotic move, and a courageous move, because it could result in McConnell changing the Senate rules.

But enough with Republican terrorism. Sometimes people need to stand up for what’s right even when it could be very costly. One thing is certain, the majority of the base will be very, very happy with Schumer – as will Independents and those Republicans who are side-eying the current administration and wondering what happened to their party.

 30 
 on: Mar 24, 2017, 05:47 AM 
Started by Rad - Last post by Rad
Have Germany’s Social Democrats found a winner in Martin Schulz?

Party hopes ‘Sankt Martin’ will bring them victory, first in Saarland on Sunday then in Germany’s federal elections in September

Kate Connolly in Berlin
AFP
Friday 24 March 2017 07.00 GMT

Nelson Radames-Strube is a little overwhelmed by all the attention. The 14-year-old is the youngest of new recruits to the Berlin branch of the Social Democrats (SPD) and has been called on to the stage at a welcome party for the newcomers.

He had watched the party’s new leader, Martin Schulz, giving a speech on television after Angela Merkel and decided to join. “I found him more convincing than her, so that’s why I’m here,” he said. “I think he can bring order to the party and to Germany”.

The arrival of “Sankt Martin”, as he has been dubbed, has already seen the SPD, after nearly two decades in which it has haemorrhaged support, boosting the number of its card-carrying members by thousands, while polls have shown voter support has risen by about 10 points.

Even three months ago it would have hardly have seemed possible to seriously contemplate anyone having a chance of beating Merkel. But Schulz, a former president of the European parliament, whose only political role in Germany so far has been that of a provincial mayor, is being seen as a very credible successor in the 24 September federal elections.

Unprecedented in the party’s 153-year history, Schulz received 100% of the votes at a special party conference last Sunday. Kurt Schumacher, the party’s popular postwar leader, only managed to secure 99.71%.

The euphoria the party is feeling across the country at the change in its fortunes was on display in Berlin as 500 new members gathered to celebrate Schulz on Wednesday evening at Festsaal Kreuzberg, a popular cultural venue in the south-east of the capital.

Wearing T-shirts and badges emblazoned with the 61-year-old’s bespectacled, bearded face and the slogan “Time for Martin”, members greeted him like a pop star as he entered the room to chants of “Martin, Martin!” Some carried balloons printed with the words “A breath of fresh air”.

The party is hoping that the so-called “Schulz Effekt” will work its magic when elections take place this weekend in Saarland, Germany’s smallest state. Although home to just 1 million people, it is being seen as something of a miniature Germany where its well-liked 54-year-old conservative prime minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, is a leader very much in the Merkel mould.

The vote is the first electoral test for the resurgent SPD under Schulz’s leadership and its result could offer a foretaste of the federal election when Merkel stands for a fourth term.

Campaigning in the state, Schulz was able to emphasise the man-of-the-people image he has been keen to promote by dropping in on his own relatives for a cup of coffee.

He has stressed the importance, to him, of social justice – Gerechtigkeit – which has become his campaign buzzword. At a time when the widening wealth gap is making itself increasingly felt, he has promised that if elected he will make amendments to Agenda 2010, the labour market reforms introduced by one of his predecessors, Gerhard Schröder, that were largely responsible for the party’s popularity dive.
Chips and sausages fortify Martin Schulz on the campaign trail in Saarland.

Saarland, a former coalmining region on the border with France, which has recreated itself as a relatively successful research and IT hub, has been ruled by the Christian Democrats (CDU) since the mid-1950s, alone or in coalition, except for a 13-year period when it was run byOskar Lafontaine, a politician who switched from the SPDto the far-left Die Linke and campaigned under the slogan: “We’ve paid enough – now it’s the turn of the rich.”

The SPD in Saarland is between only one and five points behind the CDU, in contrast to the 12-point lead the conservatives enjoyed in January. If the SPD won under its candidate, the 40-year-old economic affairs minister – and record-holding shot putter – Anke Rehlinger, it would hope to join forces with Die Linke and the Greens (Die Grünen), a so-called red-red-green formation that also has the potential to work on the national level.

A threat to both mainstream parties is the rightwing populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), which, despite experiencing a drop in support recently, is expected to enter Saarland’s parliament for the first time, thereby gaining representation in 11 of Germany’s 16 states.

Schulz, who has been branded a populist but rejects the label, reserves his angriest words for the AfD, calling them “pure and simply a disgrace for Germany”.

On stage, he cuts a surprisingly charismatic figure. He offers a sweeping history lesson of the SPD’s proudest moments, recalling how party members resisted the Enabling Act which gave Adolf Hitler the power, in March 1933, to enact laws without involving parliament, and remembering the historical reconciliatory genuflection of the SPD leader Willy Brandt at the memorial for the Warsaw ghetto uprising in 1970.

“Forty-five per cent of people voted for Brandt in 1972 – 45%!” he says. “Can we repeat that?” At which point, the room erupts with enthusiastic applause.

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