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Category Archives: General

ANything and everything. Observations on life in general and pet peeves

Puerto Rico Statehood – 97% Yes…But only 23% Vote

The Vote yesterday in Puerto Rico in a non-binding referendum to become a State is a bit misleading. 77% of the voters chose to sit out.

After years of fiscal mismanagement the “Colony” finds itself in dire straits. The vote, such as it was, is a pleas for help.

The likelihood that a Republican dominated US Congress would move forward to make Puerto Rico a state is nil. Much less the “Bigot in Charge” actually signing any bill to that effect being less than zero. It is not only driven by the fact that most Puerto Ricans vote Democrat, but the core racism of the Republicans in not wanting a Spanish language, ethnically Hispanic state to join the Union. Ergo, as we saw during the Chumph “election” – racism always wins with the white-right.

23% of Puerto Ricans Vote in Referendum, 97% of Them for Statehood

With schools shuttered, pensions at risk and the island under the authority of an oversight board in New York City, half a million Puerto Ricans voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to become America’s 51st state, in a flawed election most voters sat out.

With nearly all of the precincts reporting, 97 percent of the ballots cast were in favor of statehood, a landslide critics said indicated that only statehood supporters had turned out to the polls. Opposition parties who prefer independence or remaining a territory boycotted the special election, which they considered rigged in favor of statehood.

On an island where voter participation often hovers around 80 percent, just 23 percent of registered voters cast ballots. Voting stations accustomed to long lines were virtually empty on Sunday.

Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló of the pro-statehood New Progressive Party, said he planned to take the victory to Washington and press Congress to admit Puerto Rico to the union.

“From today going forward, the federal government will no longer be able to ignore the voice of the majority of the American citizens in Puerto Rico,” he said in a brief televised speech after the voting results were announced.

But his political opponents who do not want statehood argued that heading to Congress with such lopsided results would actually hurt the governor’s cause.

“A 97 percent win is the kind of result you get in a one-party regime,” former Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá said in an interview. “Washington will laugh in their faces.”

Puerto Rico has been a United States territory since 1898, when the island was acquired from Spain after the Spanish-American War. Sunday’s nonbinding referendum was the fifth time during Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States that Puerto Ricans voted on their future. They have generally chosen from statehood, independence and remaining a territory.

But the process is usually marred, with ballot language phrased to favor the party in office. In 1998, “none of the above” was the top winner. In 2012, 61 percent of counted votes went to statehood — and half a million ballots were left blank.

But this time, the vote came a few weeks after Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy in the face of $74 billion in debt and $49 billion in pension obligations it cannot pay. More than 150 public schools are being closed as a mass exodus of Puerto Ricans head for the mainland and those who remain brace for huge cuts to public services. Decisions are now in the hands of a bankruptcy judge.

Voters said that Puerto Rico needed the United States now more than ever.

“If there’s an earthquake in Puerto Rico, who is going to send the help? The Americans! This is their land!” said Gladys Martínez Cruz, 73, a retired tax clerk in San Juan’s Barrio Obrero neighborhood. “We need someone who is going to support us, send us money. There’s a lot of hunger in Puerto Rico, even with the help we get.”

Many Puerto Ricans, like Ms. Martínez, live off food stamps, public housing vouchers or other federal programs and worry that a change in political status could affect that aid. A huge publicity campaign warned voters that their citizenship could be at risk.

“I want my children and grandchildren to keep their American citizenship,” said Maira Rentas, a cardiac nurse in San Juan. “Little by little, with whatever votes we get, we have to try to become a state.”

Ana Velázquez, 50, a hospital secretary, said Puerto Rico’s economic problems were so great that they overshadowed other considerations, such as the language, culture and identity that could be lost if the island became a state.

“I don’t want to lose my hymn, my coat of arms, my flag. My beauty queen would no longer be ‘Miss Puerto Rico,’” Ms. Velázquez said. “I don’t see myself ever singing the United States national anthem. I really don’t. But Puerto Rico is in really bad shape, and it needs help.”

So she arrived at the same conclusion as many other Puerto Ricans: She did not vote.

Héctor Ferrer, the head of the Popular Democratic Party, which had urged a boycott, emphasized that eight out of 10 Puerto Rican voters chose to spend the day at church, on the beach or with their families. He argued that the governing party had manipulated the ballot language and even election law to fix the results.

“It was rigged, and not even with trickery could they win,” Mr. Ferrer said.

The ballot option asked voters who wanted to remain a United States territory to say they wished for Puerto Rico to stay “as it is today, subject to the powers of Congress.”

“The title of the law that made this plebiscite is ‘process to decolonize Puerto Rico,’ and one of the alternatives is ‘colony’ as defined by them,” Mr. Ferrer said.

Mr. Ferrer’s party complained about the ballot choices to the Justice Department, which withheld $2.5 million in funding for Sunday’s voting and had urged the Puerto Rican government to hold off until the ballot could be reviewed. Puerto Rico made changes but moved forward without money or approval from the Justice Department.

 

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Bad “Spellars” By State

Just for the fun of it, Google compiled a list of the word most frequently misspelled by state. Check out your state!

For those of us half-blind and who also can’t spell, go here for a larger image.

Honestly West Virginia and Connecticut – “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”?

 

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in General, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Mexican Mob “Lynches” Russian “Nazi”

Maybe I am just “Old School”. But I find folks are a lot friendlier if you don’t  abuse them, and denigrate their women folk. Somebody should have told this clown he wasn’t in America where he would have been a Trump “protected species”.

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Not the Nazi in question – But there are Russian Nazis

Mexican Mob Lynches Russian ‘Nazi’ in Cancun

Avowed Nazi sympathizer Aleksei Makeev made himself a nuisance online in Mexico. People who have no faith in police responded with mob justice.

“Kill him! Kill him! Kill him,” chanted a mob of roughly 100 angry Mexicans in Cancun, the popular tourist destination on the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico. “I’m going to decapitate you,” one man shouted at Aleksei Viktorovich Makeev, as the bloodied 42-year-old Russian resident of Mexico fled the interior of his home for a nearby rooftop while the mob pelted him with large rocks and jeered. When Makeev finally collapsed on the rooftop, covered in his own blood—and that of an unarmed teenager whom he stabbed moments before, after the teen attempted to enter the Russian’s apartment—the townspeople finally let him be, as reporters livestreaming from the scene claimed that Makeev had died.

In fact, after being beaten with sticks and stoned nearly to death, the half-naked Russian was transported to a local hospital and treated for his injuries. The townspeople had fractured his skull.

Makeev is now reportedly in stable condition, but remains in a drug-induced coma, paralyzed and likely brain-damaged, said Dmitry Bolbot, Mexico City’s Russian consul. But the 19-year-old youth whose last name has not yet been disclosed, “Lalo”—a nickname for Eduardo—bled out on the pavement as paramedics attempted to save his life. He was pronounced dead soon after Makeev stabbed him repeatedly in the stomach with a kitchen knife as he fled the home. The horrific stabbing was also caught on tape.

“The Russian has just stabbed this person. He’s losing a lot of blood,” someone said in one of many livestreams of the hours-long encounter, as thousands of social media users watched from their phones and computers, leaving comments like “Cut off [the Russian’s] head! Toss him in a ditch,” and “Finish him off! Get it over with!”

The mob descended on his home after local media reports began circulating on Friday about Makeev, who had spent the previous months uploading videos of himself on his personal YouTube channels surrounded by swastikas.

In the videos, one can see that he had made a hobby of disparaging the people of Mexico, speaking with particular loathing about indigenous women and infants. He was dubbed #LordNaziRuso on social media—Lord Russian Nazi—and outrage quickly grew.

Just past noon on Friday, Makeev posted on Facebook that he was “feeling adventurous,” along with the comment that “Terrorists are trying to kill me!”

Hours later, he posted a crude drawing that read “lick my dick Mexican piece of shit” as he laughed at the angry crowd that had begun to phone him and cover his Facebook wall with angry comments.

By dusk, as the mob formed outside the tiny one-room apartment in Cancun from which he often posted videos at his untidy desk—next to cans of peas and other food lining the windowsill—a local reporter with a drone began to film the lead-up to the lynching attempt, as Makeev sat at his desk and continued to poke the bear and mock the people online.

From that desk—seated next to a family-size bottle of ketchup and more pictures of swastikas and promotional material for his unpopular YouTube channels—the Russian had repeatedly posted videos complaining about both the Mexican people and their police in a mix of Russian and the occasional insult in English or Spanish.

Though he made himself completely unwelcome in Mexico, Makeev—who is originally from the small town of Elektrostal, on the outskirts of Moscow—had also previously made a name for himself in Russia where he was apparently put under review by the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2013, after footage posted online showed him shoving an elderly woman and child. He was reportedly interned in a Russian psychiatric facility for his erratic behavior as a result.

“If the government doesn’t want to do anything, if our authorities can’t, we’re going to get together and do this right,” said one man in a livestream Friday night, just before the lynching attempt began, inviting the people of Cancun to come down to the man’s home and get him. “We aren’t going to lynch him, because that sounds bad, but we are going to teach him a lesson.”

“Cancun deserves respect,” the man said, adding, “It’s the most beautiful place you could ever imagine.”

The bizarre videos Makeev became known for show his fanatical obsession with Madonna and knives, and that he far too often sat at the local McDonald’s in Cancun, invasively filming humble Mexican diners—zooming in on the faces of what he called their “bastard” children, and referring to the people as “monkeys” and “pieces of shit.”

In one video, filmed from a local rooftop, he stood shirtless next to a swastika and—wearing a clown nose—referred to “McDonald… Trump.” Many of his Facebook posts, in fact, relate to the various controversies involving the U.S. President’s alleged ties to Russia.

He had been getting on people’s nerves for a while, but had made at least a few friends locally. Just two weeks ago, he uploaded a video of himself interviewing an American man who called himself Roy, who claimed to have been beaten by the local police, after picking up some cash from a local Western Union. He said the cops “took [his] $200,” stranding him in Mexico without a passport.

“When I woke up, I’m on my hands and knees. And when I got up, I seen my teeth, so I picked ‘em up and put ‘em in my pocket, and the muth… uh, they had gone. They left. So, I was left with nothing, and I was left with this,” said a toothless Roy, pointing to a blackened right eye. “So I advise anyone coming here, be careful. The police are very corrupt.”

It was a common theme in his videos. When not complaining about Mexicans, he complained about their cops.

Last December,  he was locked up for a month in an immigration center in Quintana Roo and  declared persona non grata after repeatedly threatening the local Maya people. He complained in videos that he had not been given water, and had been treated poorly in detention. In a statement, the National Migration Institute said that Makeev’s “definitive exit from the country was ordered on January 19” of this year.

But Makeev, who was previously employed as a scuba instructor at AquaWorld Cancun, remained in the country regardless. When contacted on Saturday, the watersports company was unable to offer any comment, but said in a statement that he stopped working with them in November 2015, after they noticed that “his behavior had begun to turn aggressive.”

A statement reportedly from the Russian Embassy did not condone his actions in Mexico, but added that they “categorically reproach the manner in which Mexican citizens did not attempt to denounce [his actions] but instead took matters into their own hands,” asking Mexican authorities to help clarify these “unfortunate events.”

But citizens and residents had reported his behavior to immigration authorities in recent months, even after his recent detention. One local radio disc jockey, 55-year-old Fabricio Rechy, provided The Daily Beast with screenshots of a conversation he had with immigration authorities this past February, in which he sends authorities the worrisome videos he had come across, requesting that the Russian be removed for posing a danger to the local people.

During his conversation, the immigration employee at first implied that the videos were filmed in Russia, but the radio host pointed out that they were filmed inside the local McDonald’s. He even made it easy for them, providing screenshots of the man’s immigration documents.

“They thanked me for the information and said they would investigate,” Rechy said in a telephone interview on Saturday. “But I doubt they gave it any importance.”

“I stumbled on the videos, and saw the way he was threatening people, calling them shit, saying he was going to kill Mexicans, cut off their heads, and I thought he was a dangerous person, so I felt the need to report it. It’s my duty as a citizen,” he said. “There are videos that show him giving babies the middle finger, throwing coins at an old woman in a grocery store, hitting another elderly lady inside a bank, and stepping on children’s lunch on the beach.”

As for the incident that ended one young man’s life on Friday night, Rechy said, “It never should have happened.”

“The police arrived at night, but left saying they couldn’t do anything because the man was locked inside his home,” he said.

Later that night, “about half an hour after the lynching started,” when the riotous fighting was well under way, the police finally returned with backup. But by then the situation had become unmanageable.

As paramedics transported Makeev’s unconscious bloody body to the hospital late Friday night, smiling families cheered and screamed insults at him—at times chanting, “Mexico! Mexico! Mexico!”

The National Immigration Institute said in a statement that it would seek his repatriation back to Russia as soon as his legal situation in Mexico is determined.

But, Rechy noted, “None of this would have happened if they had just taken notice when I asked them to.”

“That boy would still be alive,” he said. “Unfortunately, this is a national problem in Mexico—the lack of authority, and the authorities’ inaction. I hate to say it, but we are used to corruption here in Mexico.”

“There just isn’t any trust,” he said. “People prefer to take justice into their own hands than deal with authorities. That’s how this works.”

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2017 in General

 

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Cornel West and Bill Maher Go At It in a Shoutfest

This one was fun!

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in General, The Post-Racial Life

 

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France’s Chumph Gets a Whuppin’!

I guess the French are whole lot smarter than your average American Red Stater.

This wasn’t just a landslide of the Chumph’s choice, the French people opened up a 55 Gallon Drum of Chateau Bordeaux whup-ass on Le Pen’s racist and far right wing politics.

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The New French President Emmanuel Macron, endorsed by President Obama

Macron won 66.1%, Le Pen 33.9% in French vote: final results

Emmanuel Macron won 66.1 percent of the vote against 33.9 percent for far-right leader Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election, final results from the interior ministry showed on Monday.

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White Right Loser, Marine Le Pen supported by the Chumph

Macron received a total of 20,753,797 votes, compared with 10,644,118 for Marine Le Pen, the ministry announced the day after the landmark election.

The abstention rate was 25.44 percent, the highest since the presidential election in 1969.

The interior ministry on Sunday reported a record number of blank and invalid ballots, accounting for nine percent of all registered voters, compared with two percent in the first round.

Together with the abstention rate, that means that one in three voters declined to choose between the two candidates.

The abstention rate was 22.23 percent for during the first round of the election on April 23, making it the first time since the 1969 election that turnout was lower in the second round than in the first.

Casting a blank ballot — traditionally used by disgruntled French voters as a protest vote — usually increases in the second round.

But this year it quadrupled, thanks in part to an unprecedented situation of neither the two mainstream left-leaning or right-leaning parties making it to the run-off.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2017 in General

 

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Electioneering in South Korea

A lot different than our hate fests…

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2017 in General, News, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Ronald Reagan’s Black Granddaughter

A bit of an untold story here, of Ronald Reagan’s daughter adopting a child from Uganda.

The Fascinating Tale of Ronald Reagan’s Ugandan Granddaughter

Ronald Reagan’s First Wife, Jane Wyman, and her granddaughter, Rita at Maureen Reagan’s Funeral

Maureen Reagan and her husband adopted a little girl from Uganda. How they got to America provides a lesson that Congress—and the president—should heed.

Sometimes a story grabs hold of you and won’t let go. President Reagan’s valiant fight against Alzheimer’s disease is in that category for me. I wasn’t a fan of Reagan’s policies, but there was something about the man, and the way he played the role of a lifetime. A visitor to his Century City office after he left the White House told the story of reminding Reagan that he was once President, and he asked, “How’d I do?”

Newsweek did a cover story on “the long goodbye” in the fall of 1995 when Reagan was still in the earlier stages of the disease that would take his life a decade later, in 2004. During the course of my reporting the story, Mrs. Reagan told me that one of the things that gave her husband pleasure was teaching the newest addition to the family how to swim in the heated pool at their Bel-Air home.

“Rita is a real ‘water baby,’ thanks to our pool and my husband,” Mrs. Reagan wrote in a written response to questions, describing then 10-year-old Rita Mirembe Revell, the child that her stepdaughter, Maureen Reagan, and her husband Dennis Revell, had adopted from Uganda. Newsweek asked for photos. We didn’t get them, but I always wondered what happened to Rita.

The last public sighting of her was at her mother’s funeral in 2001. Rita was 16; her mother was 60 when she died after a five-year battle with melanoma that had spread to her brain. Maureen Reagan was Reagan’s daughter with his first wife, the actress Jane Wyman. At her mother’s funeral, Rita was seen holding tight onto Wyman, who looked frail and distraught.

That’s more than 15 years ago, and Maureen’s siblings from Reagan’s second marriage to Nancy, Patti Davis and Ron Reagan, who knew Rita as a child, have not seen her since Maureen’s funeral, and don’t know where she is or what she’s doing. Ron Reagan, who was traveling in Europe when I reached out to him, responded in an email that “my late wife, Doria, and I knew her as a vivacious child when she first came to the U.S., but over the years–difficult years, many of them, for Rita, or so I heard secondhand –we lost track.”

He points out that when she lost her mother, Rita was a teenager, “a phase that is confusing and painful for many young people, even under the best of circumstances,” and that Rita drifted away. She did not attend Mrs. Reagan’s funeral last year, and her adoptive father, Dennis Revell, Maureen’s husband, did not include her name in a statement he released upon Mrs. Reagan’s death, in which he recalled spending many Christmases with his mother-in-law.

“That said, she may be thriving,” Ron Reagan wrote about Rita. “She was always bright and personable. There is no guarantee, however, that her story is positive or edifying.”

Rita is on Facebook with the surname Reagan and in her profile photo and the few pictures she has posted looks every bit as vibrant as the child Ron Reagan remembers. Her page is not fully public, and she did not respond to a message that I left explaining my interest in finding her. Dennis Revell, who heads a public-relations firm in Sacramento, responded to my email saying neither he nor Rita wish to cooperate in any story about immigration.

In a recent post on Facebook, she tells friends wondering what she’s up to, “I have been hiding and being sanctified.”

She’s certainly entitled to her privacy, and perhaps in due time she will tell her story. In these times of division and partisanship, the story of how President Reagan’s Ugandan grandchild became a permanent resident of the United States is worth telling, and worth hearing. It shows people of goodwill pulling together and overcoming barriers within a legal system that those in power can tweak to do the right thing when there is a common goal.

It begins with Maureen and her husband and their support of the Daughters of Charity orphanages in Uganda. They first met Rita when she was three years old. When Dennis made a return visit, this child who had been abandoned in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, and whose actual date of birth was unknown, clung to him and wouldn’t stop crying after he left.

“And I said, ‘Dennis, I think she’s adopted you. What do you think about that? And he says, “Fine with me.’ It took us five years, but we got her,” Maureen told ABC’s Barbara Walters in 2001, when what’s known as a “private bill” in Congress recognized Rita as the couple’s “immediate relative child.”

Uganda had very restrictive adoption laws, and the Revells initially gained custody as Rita’s legal guardians. They brought her home to California on a student visa. She was eight years old and attended a private parochial school in Sacramento.

By the time it was established under Ugandan law that Rita was an orphan, and eligible for adoption by the only parents she knew, Maureen was battling cancer and too ill to make the trip to Uganda to finalize the adoption.

That’s when Congress went to work. Utah Republican Orrin Hatch sponsored the private bill in the Senate to grant Rita permanent residence in the United States as did Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee in the House. Republican James Sensenbrenner chaired the House Judiciary committee then, as he does today, and Congresswoman Lee, a member of the committee then as now, entered into the record a statement about the facts of the case and, noting Maureen Reagan’s grave illness, and her inability to travel, that the only way to “assure that Rita remains a part of their family in the United States is through this private bill.”

The bill passed by unanimous consent in the House and Senate, where Hatch chaired the Judiciary Committee, and President George W. Bush signed it into law on July 19, 2001. “Rita is so excited because, like so many adopted children, her one wish was to have a family… Now, she not only has a family, she has a whole country. But also, she knows this news is the best medicine her mother could have received right now,” said Revell. Maureen Reagan passed away just weeks later on August 8, 2001.

From the time they first met Rita in the orphanage, the Revells had provided support for her, and they did everything they were supposed to in accordance with the legal systems in both countries, the United States and Uganda, first gaining legal guardianship, then a student visa, and finally, through the intervention of Congress, permanent residency for Rita.

In addition to having a compelling case, as the daughter of a president, Maureen Reagan had the clout and the connections to get legislative relief. Private immigration bills sponsored by lawmakers are not as common as they once were, and in the toxic political environment around immigration issues today, they hearken back to an earlier, less contentious time.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2017 in General, The Post-Racial Life

 

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