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    • What Protests in Lebanon, France, Chile and Ecuador Have In Common
      There’s some important events happening today: another Brexit vote, and the Canadian federal election (whose results are not obvious), but we won’t know how either of those end till later, so let’s discuss some popular protests of massive size. In France the protests were sparked by an increase in diesel taxes. The demands included an […]
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Brief observations, Hillary Clinton edition.

Hillary says Tulsi is a Russian asset who is being groomed to be a spoiler third party candidate.

Tulsi protests too much, methinks.

But oddly enough, there are a LOT of people who are siding with…

…wait for it…


The argument is that she’s been right about everything else and maybe she knows something we don’t.


Then yesterday, the State Department cleared her again on the email server thingy that will not die. Yep, it went through zillions of emails. No national security secrets were compromised.

Maggie Haberman announced that by twitter referencing the WaPo post. Then the NYTimes did it’s own post this morning.

In general, we’re seeing a lot fewer “Sit down and STFU, Hillary!” BS from the insidery punditry and stupid young journalists.

It’s almost like her reputation is being rehabilitated. That’s not a given. No one has to do this for her. So why now, three years into Trump’s term?

Maybe the powers that be have decided that they’ve gotten a whole lot out of the Republican Party and Trump and the country will struggle mightily to overcome the entrenched plutocracy going forward?

Maybe the sense is that the political vacuum that resulted in disrespecting Clinton and her 65000000 voters is counterproductive in times such as these?

Maybe the threat Trump poses to national security is alarming enough for journalists and other power brokers to finally break the glass and get Hillary on the rescue squad in some capacity?


Except that for Trump, it sure must feel like “the end is near”. Dogs and cats are actually living together.


Saw something earlier this morning about why a Mulvaney may still be working as acting chief of staff: he knows about all of the other stuff.


There are some days…

… when I am so relieved to be standing on mthe side with the white hats.

No hat is perfectly white because nobody’s perfect.

I’m just glad to not have to feel guilt or shame about the last three years.

But is it a virtue if you’ve never even felt the temptation to join the other side?

And how do the people who joined the other side justify what they’ve tolerated in their names?

Events are happening so quickly now. It seems like a national emergency to get Trump out of the White House. There’s a sense of impending catastrophe, that the Russians have infiltrated our system.

It’s nerve wracking and exhausting. I feel like I’ve spent three years concentrating my will towards setting things right.

The white hats have to redouble their efforts and not let up until it’s done. Whatever happens as a consequence is going to be much better than leaving Trump in office.

Do whatever it takes to legally get it done.


Here’s Mitt Romney, breaking away from the pack and criticizing Trump for letting the Turks pwn us:

And here is my prediction from November 2018 that Pelosi will make a deal with the Republicans to let Romney serve out the rest of Trump’s term. Some of this prediction didn’t hit the bullseye but I stand by my Romney thingy. It’s plausible:

Ok, so here’s my wildly improbable scenario. Mueller continues to do his thing. The truth gets very close to coming out. Trump strikes out like a cornered animal and someone finally realizes that when the Senate comes back, the numbers may not have changed all that much but the players have. There are a couple of wild cards in there now. Some of them are pretty ambitious people. Ambitious people with experience in running an executive branch. Ambitious people who may have been humiliated by Donald Trump. I’m talking about Romney. It’s too soon to tell whether he’ll be another Jeff Flake.

But what if he wouldn’t have to be? What if Pelosi and Republican Senators make a deal? Get Trump and Pence out of office and let Romney serve out the rest of Trump’s term. Sort of a Gerald Ford shuffle remix.

This has several advantages to the Democrats. First, they get rid of the big orange and his bootlicker. Second, the pundits get the President they always wanted. Third, Pelosi looks like a practical peacemaker and the Democrats get political capital for brokering a deal that spared the country a lot of turmoil. We only have to wait two years before we run against him. Fourth, whatever dark secret Trump is hiding, and I’m betting it’s a very big one, may never see the light of day. It might be one of those secrets that we would all be better off not knowing, like Oumuamua really was a interstellar sunsail engineered by intelligent lifeforms from a planet orbiting the star Vega, which is only 25 lightyears away from here.

Ok, my brain is a little busy tonight.

I might want to revise this prediction. Maybe Nancy has enough info on the Republicans that she can broker whatever deal she likes.

And there’s the risk that Romney would run for his own term in office – and win. As BiFF would say, “He’s got executive hair.”

Sooooo, there’s that…

Moar Innoculation

First, this Mulvaney quote should be rolled out any time the Republicans scream bloody murder that impeachment inquiries are “political”, as if that was a baaaaaad thing.

I’m not saying that Democrats are being political when it comes to impeachment inquiries. At this point, I think they have bigger concerns than politics. But let’s not let Republicans get away with it anymore.

Second, Trump and his party, that he owns, lock, stock and barrel, seem to think that ALL politicians have the same smarmy motives and practice the same unscrupulous behavior. Clearly, this is not the case or we would see a lot more indictments of Democrats for doing unethical, unconstitutional, cheating and backstabbing. We just don’t see it.

That doesn’t mean that Democrats are perfect or smarter than everyone else. But it does suggest that their motivations might be more intrinsic than extrinsic. Maybe more Democrats go into politics because they like public service more than Republicans. That’s a theory I would like to see tested or data collected or something.

But to assume that all politicians behave this way and that it’s ok to craft foreign policy around elections, in spite of the head of the FEC saying this is definitely NOT allowed is flat out lying.

You’d have to look long and hard to find anyone but Trump and his party who does it to this degree and I would challenge anyone to find evidence that even one Democrat has EVER done it.

Elijah Cummings (1951-2019)

Elijah E. Cummings, a Democratic congressman from Maryland who gained national attention for his principled stands on politically charged issues in the House, his calming effect on anti-police riots in Baltimore, and his forceful opposition to the presidency of Donald Trump, died early Thursday morning at Gilchrist Hospice Care, a Johns Hopkins affiliate in Baltimore. He was 68.

The Post reports that he died after a procedure for a long standing condition. In all likelihood, he was already dealing with this condition when he delivered this message to Michael Cohen last May:

We will miss his no-nonsense yet compassionate voice.

Let’s hope Trump doesn’t say something inappropriate.

Debate Fallout

Sorry, guys, I fell asleep. But I heard there was some tension between Biden and Warren. And Buttigieg and Warren. And {{fill in blank}} and Warren. The issue was how to pay for healthcare for all.

I’m sure she has a plan for that.

Also, there were still too many candidates on the stage and that no one would miss Tulsi, Yang, Beto.

What else happened? Who won?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: what not to say

Before we start, if you’re not interested in this topic, I won’t be upset if you skip this post. But I know that there are several regular commenters here who have gone through this and I just want to say “thank you” to them for knowing what to say. They all told me how long it had been since they kicked their thing. And that was it. That was exactly right for me.

But there are other people who gave me advice and while I understand they cared about me and were well intentioned, this advice was not as helpful. Here’s a video by Jen Rozenbaum, breast cancer survivor, who explains what this is like:

I’m a big believer in chemo. That shouldn’t be surprising considering my pharma R&D background. I have less understanding of how it works than an oncologist but probably more understanding of the biological mechanisms than the average person. So, when I was told I was going to need chemo, I could not wait to get it. The faster the better. I wanted to shrink my thing before it spread anywhere.

I got a lot of advice about how bad chemo was for my liver and what alternative medicine I could add to my regimen or replace it with altogether. But if I were to take some of these additional things, they might have actually interfered with my treatment. That’s because some natural products can actually have an effect on your body. Where do you think chemo drugs come from? Many of them are derived from natural products. They might be improved in the lab to make them more potent. But they started in a plant. My chemo consisted of paclitaxel and doxorubicin. Paclitaxel’s origins are in the Pacific yew tree. Doxorubicin’s originates from the streptomyces bacteria. It’s one of the most powerful chemo drugs ever discovered. It’s so cytotoxic that I was a walking biohazard for a few days after every treatment.

That’s what it takes to kill cancer cells. There is no kinder but gentler way to treat the kind of cells I had. There are some more targeted medications for other cancers with fewer side effects but almost everyone needs chemo of some kind and it’s going to be rough on the body. That’s just the way things are.

Some natural products that were suggested to me by relatives and friends when ingested could possibly interfere with that process. The effects of chemo are carefully monitored so adding another substance into the mix might have had unintended consequences. Wearing essential oils in a lava stone bracelet- good idea. Swallowing the oil? Not recommended at all. This isn’t because they don’t work. It’s because they do have physiological effects that could make the chemo experiment harder to manage.

I did make some changes to my lifestyle. I stopped drinking alcohol. I did this so that my body would heal better between infusions and also because some metabolites of alcohol may be carcinogenic. I also tried to eat a clean diet of mostly protein and vegetables to keep my blood sugar on an even keel. I didn’t have to do that. I’m not diabetic or prediabetic. But why feed a cancer cell? Sure there were lapses. Who can resist chocolate? But I took my coffee without sugar. Little things, who knows if they made a difference? I just added it to the discipline I felt I needed.

Anyway, my chemo was wildly successful. I followed all directions my chemo nurses told me religiously. I never missed a medication, kept every appointment. Yes, I lost my hair. I decided to shave it all off when it started falling into my food. I didn’t miss it. Wigs these days are great. I missed my eyebrows the most. But losing my hair was a minor sacrifice.

It’s not the end of the world.

The liver has an amazing power to recover itself.

Hair grows back.

Chemo, if you’re lucky and caught it early, doesn’t last forever.

It may not cure you but it has extended many lives for years and years. And my quality of life wasn’t awful. I truly was one of the lucky ones and my body coped pretty well.

The most helpful advice was …. nothing at all. The best help I got was for someone to listen to what decisions I made and to go along with them, offering support no matter what.

Go and do likewise, even if you personally don’t believe in chemo.

Your cancer fighting friends and relatives will love you for it. Well, they’ll love you regardless but especially if you let them and their doctors figure it out.

Now, I’m not going to be arrogant and say that I got through chemo and that’s why prognosis is good. That would be stupid. There are plenty of people for whom chemo doesn’t work. Some of these people were diagnosed when their cancer had already spread. That’s when cancer becomes more difficult to treat and radiation therapy, surgery and clinical trials are necessary add ons to chemo.

That’s why early detection is so important. So, if you think something doesn’t look or feel normal to you, get it checked. It could be nothing or it could be early enough to save your life.


One last thing: as Jen mentions in the video above, there is no “cure” for cancer. There’s only effective chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy and surgery. That can “cure” you but there is no silver bullet that the pharma companies are withholding from us. And if you just thought for a moment about that conspiracy theory, you would realize how absurd it was. Why would any pharma want to sit on a silver bullet? Are you kidding me? They’d rush that sucker to market so fast our heads would spin. It would be the most expensive drug on earth because everyone would want it. They know this.

I think this conspiracy theory exists because we all want to desperately believe that there is an answer and maybe, when the time comes for US, pharma will release it and cure our cancer.

Maybe someday there will be cures for lots of different cancers. That’s my expectation. But I also suspect that it’s going to involve chemo and stuff you wouldn’t normally put in your body. If you were 100% certain it would cure you, wouldn’t you put up with the temporary side effects?

You know you would.