Ron Johnson gushes Conspiracy Theories, doesn't Trust FBI and CIA, before and now after.    

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Ron Johnson became Wisconsin's Senator because he didn't understand the Affordable Care Act, and hated a program offering more people access to affordable health insurance. He even said...


And it only got worse from there. In Washington, Johnson's blathering idiocy became the talk of the town:

And then he got reelected...true!

Johnson plays Trump as Victim, says he's "...never seen a president, administration, be sabotaged from the day after the election: Amazing. Let's remind our clueless Dumb Ron Johnson why that's not true either:
1. Here’s John Boehner offering his plans for Obama’s agenda: “We're going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.”

2. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed up his plan to National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

3. Mike Pence, underscored the point with a clip from Patton, showing the general rallying his troops for war against their Nazi enemy: “We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time! We’re going to go through him like crap through a goose!”

4. Even though the economy was in free fall, not one House Republican had voted for the effort to revive it, prompting a wave of punditry about a failed party refusing to help clean up its own mess and dooming itself to irrelevance.

5. Have we forgotten that right when President Obama took office in 2009, the Republican leadership in Congress planned a no-honeymoon strategy of all-out resistance to Obama, even though the country was in an economic meltdown? Then-Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) said that “if [Obama] was for it, we had to be against it.”
So it's mind-bending to hear Dumb Ron Johnson whine about the supposed "attacks" on the grifting Trump family presidency:
Johnson: "I have never in my lifetime seen a president after being elected, not having some measure of well wishes from his opponents; I've never seen a president, administration, be sabotaged from the day after the election; I've never seen no measure of a honeymoon what-so-ever." 
Johnson, chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security committee, rambled from one conspiracy theory to another (just like every Trump cultist), and admitted he doesn't trust the CIA or the FBI.
Johnson: "No, I don't — absolutely not. No, and I didn't trust them back then."


So, Nothing like this ever happened under Obama? Trump Investigations plays into GOP Victim-Hood: Here's just a quick reminder below. Note: Remember Trump's own attempts to seek out Obama's birth certificate to prove he was not a U.S. citizen and a secret Muslin:
MSNBC: Republicans made aggressive use of their investigative powers ... matters involving Hillary Clinton, her use of email as secretary of state, her conduct of foreign policy and the Clinton Foundation ... House Republicans unleashed a barrage of subpoenas ... a half dozen GOP-led House committees conducted protracted investigations of the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya ... investigations of the 2009-2011 Operation Fast and Furious episode – a botched initiative against drug cartels that ended up putting guns in the hands of murderers ... investigations into the IRS's treatment of conservatives, and his administration’s loan guarantee to the failed solar-panel startup, Solyndra. And much more.
Who can forget Johnson's imagined "secret society?" 


Or this Johnson gem:


Ron Johnson now has his eye on the governorship in Wisconsin. Just a little advice to anyone thinking about moving to a state who's economy is held hostage by the gerrymandered Republican Party determined to not change a thing because after 8 years of control, everything is perfect now; DON'T. 



          

WWE clarifies the Hell in a Cell finish   

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Sean Waltman perplexed by HIAC finish   

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Sean Waltman said "I know you might not have me back for one of these but how the HELL do you get DQ'd in a HIAC match?!" pic.twitter.com/o4kwj2zRqr — Dave (@DaveMuscarella) October 7, 2019 X-Pac’s reaction to the ending of Hell In A Cell. He probably will not he invited back. Posted by Tru Heel […]
          

Betting odds for tonight’s Hell In A Cell 2019 pay-per-view   

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With just a few hours to go for the Hell In A Cell pay-per-view, there’s still only four matches announced and we will take a look at all the odds available for the show. Seth Rollins will be defending the Universal title against The Fiend inside the Hell In A Cell structure and Wyatt is […]
          

The Voice Myanmar Contestant Brings Slipknot’s “Spit It Out” to the Stage   

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A performer on The Voice in Myanmar impressed the hell out of the judges with a Slipknot song.

The post The Voice Myanmar Contestant Brings Slipknot’s “Spit It Out” to the Stage appeared first on MetalSucks.


          

Profit, not politics: Trump allies sought Ukraine gas deal   

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KYIV, Ukraine – As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump’s main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.

Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine’s massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.

Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose conversation with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump.

But the effort to install a friendlier management team at the helm of the gas company, Naftogaz, would soon be taken up with Ukraine’s new president by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who is one of Perry’s past political donors.

It’s unclear if Perry’s attempts to replace board members at Naftogaz were coordinated with the Giuliani allies pushing for a similar outcome, and no one has alleged that there is criminal activity in any of these efforts. And it’s unclear what role, if any, Giuliani had in helping his clients push to get gas sales agreements with the state-owned company.

But the affair shows how those with ties to Trump and his administration were pursuing business deals in Ukraine that went far beyond advancing the president’s personal political interests. It also raises questions about whether Trump allies were mixing business and politics just as Republicans were calling for a probe of Biden and his son Hunter, who served five years on the board of another Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.

On Friday, according to the news site Axios, Trump told a group of Republican lawmakers that it had been Perry who had prompted the phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for a “favor” regarding Biden. Axios cited a source saying Trump said Perry had asked Trump to make the call to discuss “something about an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant.”

While it’s unclear whether Trump’s remark Friday referred specifically to the behind-the-scenes maneuvers this spring involving the multibillion-dollar state gas company, The Associated Press has interviewed four people with direct knowledge of the attempts to influence Naftogaz, and their accounts show Perry playing a key role in the effort. Three of the four spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The fourth is an American businessman with close ties to the Ukrainian energy sector.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Energy Department said Perry, a former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, was not advancing anyone’s personal interests. She said his conversations with Ukrainian officials about Naftogaz were part of his efforts to reform the country’s energy sector and create an environment in which Western companies can do business.

Perry was asked about the AP’s reporting on Monday while in Lithuania, where he was meeting with officials from Ukraine and other eastern European countries to discuss energy security and cooperation. He said any suggestion that he tried to force a management change at Naftogaz was a “totally dreamed up story.”

“We get asked for our recommendations about people who are experts in areas, various areas,” Perry said. “Folks who have expertise in particular areas. Obviously having been the governor of the state of Texas, I know a lot of people in the energy industry.”

The Trump and Giuliani allies driving the attempt to change the senior management at Naftogaz, however, appear to have had inside knowledge of the U.S. government’s plans in Ukraine. For example, they told people that Trump would replace the U.S. ambassador there months before she was actually recalled to Washington, according to three of the individuals interviewed by the AP. One of the individuals said he was so concerned by the whole affair that he reported it to a U.S. Embassy official in Ukraine months ago.

THE BUSINESSMEN

Ukraine, a resource-rich nation that sits on the geographic and symbolic border between Russia and the West, has long been plagued by corruption and government dysfunction, making it a magnet for foreign profiteers.

At the center of the Naftogaz plan, according to three individuals familiar with the details, were three such businessmen: two Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.

Parnas and Fruman have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations to Republicans, including $325,000 to a Trump-allied political action committee in 2018. This helped the relatively unknown entrepreneurs gain access to top levels of the Republican Party – including meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago.

The two have also faced lawsuits from disgruntled investors over unpaid debts. During the same period they were pursuing the Naftogaz deal, the two were coordinating with Giuliani to set up meetings with Ukrainian government officials and push for an investigation of the Bidens.

Sargeant, his wife and corporate entities tied to the family have donated at least $1.2 million to Republican campaigns and PACs over the last 20 years, including $100,000 in June to the Trump Victory Fund, according to federal and state campaign finance records. He has also served as finance chair of the Florida state GOP, and gave nearly $14,000 to Giuliani’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.

In early March, Fruman, Parnas and Sargeant were touting a plan to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the company, Andrew Favorov, according to two individuals who spoke to the AP as well as a memorandum about the meeting that was later submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, formerly known as Kiev.

Going back to the Obama administration, the U.S. Energy Department and the State Department have long supported efforts to import American natural gas into Ukraine to reduce the country’s dependence on Russia.

The three approached Favorov with the idea while the Ukrainian executive was attending an energy industry conference in Texas. Parnas and Fruman told him they had flown in from Florida on a private jet to recruit him to be their partner in a new venture to export up to 100 tanker shipments a year of U.S. liquefied gas into Ukraine, where Naftogaz is the largest distributor, according to two people briefed on the details.

Sargeant told Favorov that he regularly meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and that the gas-sales plan had the president’s full support, according to the two people who said Favorov recounted the discussion to them.

These conversations were recounted to AP by Dale W. Perry, an American who is a former business partner of Favorov. He told AP in an interview that Favorov described the meeting to him soon after it happened and that Favorov perceived it to be a shakedown. Perry, who is no relation to the energy secretary, is the managing partner of Energy Resources of Ukraine, which currently has business agreements to import natural gas and electricity to Ukraine.

A second person who spoke on condition of anonymity also confirmed to the AP that Favorov had recounted details of the Houston meeting to him.

According to Dale Perry and the other person, Favorov said Parnas told him Trump planned to remove U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and replace her with someone more open to aiding their business interests.

Dale Perry told the AP he was so concerned about the efforts to change the management at Naftogaz and to get rid of Yovanovitch that he reported what he had heard to Suriya Jayanti, a State Department foreign service officer stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv who focuses on the energy industry.

He also wrote a detailed memo about Favorov’s account, dated April 12, which was shared with another current State Department official. Perry recently provided a copy of the April memo to AP.

Jayanti declined to provide comment. Favorov also declined to comment.

On March 24, Giuliani and Parnas gathered at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with Healy E. Baumgardner, a former Trump campaign adviser who once served as deputy communications director for Giuliani’s presidential campaign and as a communications official during the George W. Bush administration.

She is now listed as the CEO of 45 Energy Group, a Houston-based energy company whose website describes it as a “government relations, public affairs and business development practice group.” The company’s name is an apparent nod to Trump, the 45th president.

This was a couple of weeks after the Houston meeting with Favorov, the Naftogaz executive. Giuliani, Parnas and Baumgardner were there to make a business pitch involving gas deals in the former Soviet bloc to a potential investor.

This time, according to Giuliani, the deals that were discussed involved Uzbekistan, not Ukraine.

“I have not pursued a deal in the Ukraine. I don’t know about a deal in the Ukraine. I would not do a deal in the Ukraine now, obviously,” said Giuliani, reached while attending a playoff baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. “There is absolutely no proof that I did it, because I didn’t do it.”

During this meeting, Parnas again repeated that Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, would soon be replaced, according to a person with direct knowledge of the gathering. She was removed two months later.

Giuliani, who serves as Trump’s personal lawyer and has no official role in government, acknowledged Friday that he was among those pushing the president to replace the ambassador, a career diplomat with a history of fighting corruption.

“The ambassador to Ukraine was replaced,” he said. “I did play a role in that.”

But Giuliani refused to discuss the details of his business dealings, or whether he helped his associates in their push to forge gas sales contracts with the Ukrainian company. He did describe Sergeant as a friend and referred to Parnas and Fruman as his clients in a tweet in May.

As part of their impeachment inquiry, House Democrats have subpoenaed Giuliani for documents and communications related to dozens of people, including Favorov, Parnas, Fruman and Baumgardner’s 45 Energy Group.

Baumgardner issued a written statement, saying: “While I won’t comment on business discussions, I will say this: this political assault on private business by the Democrats in Congress is complete harassment and an invasion of privacy that should scare the hell out of every American business owner.”

Baumgardner later denied that she had any business dealings in Ukraine but refused to say whether the replacement of Ambassador Yovanovitch was discussed.

Sargeant did not respond to a voice message left at a number listed for him at an address in Boca Raton.

John Dowd, a former Trump attorney who now represents Parnas and Fruman, said it was actually the Naftogaz executives who approached his clients about making a deal. Dowd says the group then approached Rick Perry to get the Energy Department on board.

“The people from the company solicited my clients because Igor is in the gas business, and they asked them, and they flew to Washington and they solicited,” Dowd said. “They sat down and talked about it. And then it was presented to Secretary Perry to see if they could get it together.

“It wasn’t a shakedown; it was an attempt to do legitimate business that didn’t work out.”

THE ENERGY SECRETARY

In May, Rick Perry traveled to Kyiv to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at the inauguration of the county’s new president.

In a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed the Ukrainian president to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Attendees left the meeting with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former diplomat and energy representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone “reputable in Republican circles,” according to someone who was in the room.

Perry’s push for Ukraine’s state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz to change its supervisory board was first reported by Politico.

A second meeting during the trip, at a Kyiv hotel, included Ukrainian officials and energy sector people. There, Perry made clear that the Trump administration wanted to see the entire Naftogaz supervisory board replaced, according to a person who attended both meetings. Perry again referenced the list of advisers that he had given Zelenskiy, and it was widely interpreted that he wanted Michael Bleyzer, a Ukrainian-American businessman from Texas, to join the newly formed board, the person said. Also on the list was Robert Bensh, another Texan who frequently works in Ukraine, the Energy Department confirmed.

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department’s special envoy to Ukraine, were also in the room, according to photographs reviewed by AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation, said he was floored by the American requests because the person had always viewed the U.S. government “as having a higher ethical standard.”

The Naftogaz supervisory board is supposed to be selected by the Ukrainian president’s Cabinet in consultation with international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union. It must be approved by the Ukrainian Cabinet. Ukrainian officials perceived Perry’s push to swap out the board as circumventing that established process, according to the person in the room.

U.S. Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said Perry had consistently called for the modernization of Ukraine’s business and energy sector in an effort to create an environment that will incentivize Western companies to do business there. She said Perry delivered that same message in the May meeting with Zelenskiy.

“What he did not do is advocate for the business interests of any one individual or company,” Hynes said Saturday. “That is fiction being pushed by those who are disingenuously seeking to advance a nefarious narrative that does not exist.”

Hynes said the Ukrainian government had requested U.S. recommendations to advise the country on energy matters, and Perry provided those recommendations. She confirmed Bleyzer was on the list.

Bleyzer, whose company is based in Houston, did not respond on Saturday to a voicemail seeking comment. Bensh also did not respond to a phone message.

Perry has close ties to the Texas oil and gas industry. He appointed Bleyzer to a two-year term on a state technologies fund board in 2009. The following year, records show Bleyzer donated $20,000 to Perry’s reelection campaign.

Zelenskiy’s office declined to comment on Saturday.

In an interview Friday with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Perry said that “as God as my witness” he never discussed Biden or his son in meetings with Ukrainian or U.S. officials, including Trump or Giuliani. He did confirm he had had a conversation with Giuliani by phone, but a spokeswoman for the energy secretary declined to say when that call was or whether the two had discussed Naftogaz.

In Lithuania on Monday, Perry said he could not recall whether Bleyzer’s name was on the list provided to Zelenskiy. But Perry confirmed he had known Bleyzer for years and called him “a really brilliant, capable businessman.”

“I would recommend him for a host of different things in Kyiv because he knows the country,” Perry said of Bleyzer. “He’s from there. So, why not? I mean I would be stunned if someone said that would you eliminate Michael Bleyzer from a recommendation of people you ought to talk to about how to do business in the country, whether they’re knowledgeable. It’d be remarkable if I didn’t say, `Talk to Michael.“’


          

Comment on Why you should Forgive your Parents and How to do It by Sarah Hart    

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Some of the best advice I received was when I was experiencing a lot of pain confronting the abuse I endured from my family and later romantic relationships. I opened my heart to a pastor about the hurt in my life and he told me "you don't have to make yourself feel vulnerable in person and forgive someone face-to-face. Forgiveness can be done at anytime from a safe distance." I never looked at things that way and it helped me let go of pain and guilt I felt throughout my life. As my parents are still alive, although I have distanced myself for my overall wellbeing, I still had the need to reach out because I recently found out my husband and I are expecting a baby of our own and I wanted to say how I felt to lay my feelings to rest once and for all. It was cathartic to write out my feelings and realize how strong of a person I am and how my family has missed out on knowing me thinking I'm good for nothing. I was able to Express how I am passionate about raising my child in a loving environment free of violence and apathy and it felt good to express how I feel without the need for validation and no expectations. The response I got was apathetic and stoic, histocially as they have behaved towards me, they never claimed any responsibility for their actions I expressed in my letter nor validated my feelings (which was the source of my pain for years) but it didn't matter to me because I know I did what I felt I needed to do - I needed to confront the hell they put me through, their lack of love and support and share despite that I forgive them and I still love them because that's the woman I am, I recognize they brought me into this world and now I have the opportunity to do better because if the woman I have become. I am a strong and beautiful being despite them, I didn't have their support then and I don't need it now because I have an inner strength that has sculpted me to be steadfast. I reached out to them to express how I feel and face them at the same opportunity, I did this so when they pass I know I gave them the chance to be open hearted, I forgave them and they chose otherwise (I can release myself from feeling like my feelings are unsolved or have any guilt). I'm a spiritual person so I wanted to honour my parents and treat them as I want to be treated and release myself from feelings of unworthiness and powerlessness because their limiting beliefs don't have to be mine anymore. Everyone copes with pain and trauma differently, and the rejection and abuse by your birth family can be damaging as society puts so much emphasis on close family bonds being the norm. Something that has brought me a lot of peace is that 'family' doesn't have to be defined by those connected to us by DNA, by letting go of my birth family it has made room for real love and peace in my life. I felt a void in my life by not having my parents to stand by me or siblings who cared about me and I filled that void by being a sister and child to those without that connection (seniors, orphaned and neglected children, etc). Everyone copes differently so what works for some may not work for others but for me reaching out and volunteering (formally and informally) has brought a lot of love into my life. I never developed a close bond with my parents but there are hundreds if not thousands of people I opened my heart to and had a genuine connection with, making the world a little brighter. In reading others feedback I do agree there is the danger of making bad choices by feeling "needy" for love and validation - hence how I ended up in abusive relationships over the years, making unhealthy choices. That's why I talk about my experiences and own upto my mistakes to maybe help others from undergoing the pain I experienced when feeling unworthy and seeking validation in all the wrong ways (binge drinking to 'fit in' and 'numb out', having numerous flings and seeking validation from men, etc). I also spoke to counselors and other survivors of abuse to work through the trauma and make healthy choices, it took me a lot of years of pain and suffering to realize I don't need to revictimize myself, I deserve better and need to love myself for me and I need to be selfish and put myself first, approve myself and be proud of myself. I didn't need my family to do that for me, I needed to love myself. Just like forgiving my family, it allowed me to forgive myself for my mistakes and move on. I hope this helps.
          

Dr. Richard Daystrom on (News Article):US Navy pilot Says Mystery ‘Dark Mass’ Emerged from Ocean and Swallowed Torpedo   

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US Navy pilot Says Mystery ‘Dark Mass’ Emerged from Ocean and Swallowed Torpedo

Commander David Fravor shot to fame for his account of the USS Nimitz UFO encounter – but he has now claimed something even spookier was spotted

By Katy Gill  Video News Reporter

11:07, 7 OCT 2019   UPDATED 11:46, 7 OCT 2019

A high-ranking US Navy pilot has claimed a chilling "dark mass" was seen coming up from the depths of the ocean moments before a torpedo disappeared – 10 years before a world-famous incident.

Retired US Navy pilot commander David Fravor first shot to public attention in 2017 after describing how his squadron witnessed a 737-sized object just under the surface of the water during training exercises in the Pacific Ocean, 160km off the coast of San Diego.

The incident – which happened in 2004 – became known as the USS Nimitz encounter after pilots then saw a tic-tac UFO in the skies near the mass. In an explosive new account, the pilot has shared another UFO mystery that has "come out of the woodwork" since his story first emerged.

Talking to Joe Rogan, Cmdr Fravor said another pilot once had a similar encounter in the late 1990s off the coast of Puerto Rico. He explained the pilot was flying a CH-53 and was going to pick up a BQM (an unmanned drone used by the US Air Force).

A diver was dropped into the water to hook it up and to then fly back, when something truly bizarre happened. "They’re 50 feet (15 metres) above the water, he sees this kind of dark mass coming up from the depths,” he added.

“As they hoist the BQM up, he’s looking at this thing going, ‘What the hell is that?’ And then it just goes back down underwater. "Once they pull the kid and the BQM out of the water, this object descends back into the depths.”

The pilot thought the incident was “pretty weird” but, incredibly, the same thing happened a few months later. ISS live feed captures 'triangular US Space Force ship' hovering over Earth

Fravor said: “He’s out picking up a torpedo, they hook the diver up on the winch, and as they’re lowering him down, he sees this big mass. “He goes, ‘It’s not a submarine’, he’s seen submarines before, once you’ve seen a submarine you can’t confuse it with something else.

"This big object, kind of circular, is coming up from the depths and he starts screaming through the intercom system to tell them to pull the diver up, and the diver’s only a few feet from the water.”

"And all of a sudden, he said the torpedo just got sucked down underwater, and the object just descended back down into the depths. "They never recovered it.” Cdr Fravor said the helicopter pilot was adamant the torpedo “didn’t sink” as it “literally looked like it got sucked down”.

 

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How the hell can we be congratulating these Commies for seven decades of massacre and depravities?    

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While Trump Congratulates Communist China on Its 70th Anniversary, Senate Republicans Condemn It
President Donald Trump marked the 70th anniversary of the “People’s Republic” with the following congratulatory tweet: “Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!”
But Senate Republicans have marked the anniversary with condemnation of the regime.
Missouri senator Josh Hawley: “Seventy years ago, the Chinese Community Party seized power from the Chinese people. Since then, its ruthless rule has resulted in the deaths of millions of its own citizens.”
Arkansas senator Tom Cotton: “To see the price of the PRC’s anniversary celebration, look no further than what’s happening in Hong Kong: a ceaseless war against those who wish to live in freedom. From the Great Leap Forward to the Cultural Revolution to the camps in Xinjiang today, it has been a ghoulish 70 years of Chinese Communist Party control.”
Nebraska senator Ben Sasse: “Today Chinese tyrants celebrated 70 years of communist oppression with their typically brutal symbolism: by sending a police officer to shoot a pro-democracy protester at point-blank range. The freedom-seekers in Hong Kong mourn this anniversary, and the American people stand with them against those who deny their God-given dignity.”
Rod's Comment: I understand that the government of China is not as bad as they were during the Great Leap Forward when they caused massive starvation that killed millions as they implemented a fantasy of entering the modern industrial age by requiring farmers to smelt their farm implements.

They are not as bad as they were during the Cultural Revolution in which thousands were murdered and many more were abused and sent to reeducation camps for wearing reading glasses or owning Classical records or books.

I understand that they are not now following an orthodox Communist economic model  but have adopted elements of a market economy. I understand that the Chinese people have more freedom of expression than they did when everyone wore drab Mao suits. I understand we have to work with them. I understand Trump wants a better trade policy.

While they may not be as bad as in the past, they are still evil. They are a one-party authoritarian regime, trampling liberty in Hong Kong and expanding their boundaries and turning much of Africa into client states.

It is unfortunate that Trump has a soft spot for tyrants.  I long for the age of Ronald Reagan when we had a president with the courage and convictions to call a despotic regime, "the evil empire."
          

Google Acquisitions: 10 Most Expensive Acquisition By Google   

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Google parent Alphabet Inc is the biggest tech company in the world.  Google is the god of virtual world, could you imagine your life without Google? Your answer would be – No or I never think about it. You must be thinking about what the hell I am talking about. Well, in this article I’ll […]

The post Google Acquisitions: 10 Most Expensive Acquisition By Google appeared first on .


          

Trump's abandonment of the Kurds should scare the hell out of everyone   

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Fox News reports:

The White House announced late Sunday that Turkey will soon move forward with a planned military operation in northeast Syria, as U.S. troops who have been deployed and operating with Kurdish-led forces in the area began pulling back from their positions.

The decision sent shockwaves through the region and Washington, with U.S. officials telling Fox News that top Pentagon officials were “completely blindsided” and “shocked” by the order to pull back hundreds of U.S. troops, a move that effectively green-lights the Turkey operation. President Trump spoke with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by telephone.

Some officials see the move as a betrayal of the Kurds, whom the U.S. supported against ISIS for years.

Speaking on "Fox & Friends" Monday morning, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called it an "impulsive decision" by Trump that would undo U.S. gains in the region and give ISIS fighters a "second lease on life."

He tweeted: "If press reports are accurate this is a disaster in the making."

...The decision to give Ankara the green light was seen by the Kurdish fighters as a major shift in U.S. policy. Over 11,000 mostly Kurdish fighters in the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been killed fighting ISIS in Syria.

One U.S. commander who helped lead the anti-ISIS effort told Fox News the decision amounts to a propaganda victory for China and Russia, saying those countries can tell would-be U.S. partners that America will abandon them.

“No one will ever partner with us again,” the commander said.

As for Turkey's intentions with the Kurds, the senior military officer said: “They are going to slaughter those cats.”
One of the problems with Obama was that he abandoned traditional allies and tried to ally with America's enemies.

Trump is doing the exact same thing, no matter what justification he is using. Turkey is not America's friend and the Kurds were tremendous allies in the fight against ISIS. Not to mention that their own national aspirations are far more justified than those of most stateless peoples.

If Trump can abandon the Kurds in a quick decision without talking to the experts first, he can abandon anyone.

Including Israel.




We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.
          

Climate Sceptics & Boris   

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I'm seeing rather a lot of negative posts on Facebook as regards Greta Thunberg and kids in general. The thrust of the argument, if you can call it that, is that they enjoy all these gadgets that they're wedded to, all of which consume power. Because of that, and their stance on climate change, they should give up the gadgets and go to live in a cave. It's a pure Tu Quoque fallacy.

The people posting these memes seem ignorant of the fact that there's no need to eschew gadgets at all, or cars, if we move to renewable power generation. Simple really, when you stop to engage your brain - which they rarely do.


Another argument is that if you want to give up eating beef, you're a hypocrite because you wear leather shoes. Stopping to think, once again, shoes last several years or more - a steak lasts till tomorrow's dinner time. It will require far fewer cattle to keep me in shoe leather than steaks. Let's use the meat only of cattle that are used for the production of leather and use less plastic.

While on the subject of gadgets, why the hell is my TV called a Smart TV when I have to spend ages using a keyboard on the screen with a cursor to type the letters of a search in iPlayer, Netflix or any of the other myriad catch-up services? If the TV is so smart, why can't I just talk to it and tell it to look for a particular TV programme, to switch on or off, to change the brightness or to change the volume? That would be snart.

Daily Brexit Bulletin:

Boris' speech to conference was stirring and inspirational stuff, but was the usual electioneering promises devoid of feasibility and logic. How he's going to plug the National Debt, overcome the 6% hit on GDP that's forecast for Brexit and spend, spend, spend on infrastructure and tax cuts is a mystery. These buggers have been in power for 11 years, for God's sake, and have had plenty of time to correct their mismanagement of public services. Then to wax lyrical about the NHS when all and sundry know the Conservatives would like nothing more than to sell the whole thing off is pure theatre.

As for a 2nd referendum on what was meant to be the best deal ever (certainly better than being in the EU) and in the quickest time ever, he said it would destroy people's confidence in democracy. No - my confidence in British democracy was trashed by the bare-faced lies, Facebook shenanigans and electoral fraud perpetrated in the 1st referendum.

Boris touched, as all Conservatives do, on the myth of them clearing up the financial mess left by the last Labour government, neglecting to mention at all the global financial crisis of 2008/9 and the havoc it wreaked on almost all developed countries. But that's what you'd expect.

Conference speeches were liberally peppered with the word elite when referring to Remainers. Do they mean these chaps?


Perhaps they meant the intellectual elite who can see through myth, bluster, lies and false promises because they have a few brain cells.



          

Profit, not politics: Trump allies sought Ukraine gas deal   

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KYIV, Ukraine – As Rudy Giuliani was pushing Ukrainian officials last spring to investigate one of Donald Trump's main political rivals, a group of individuals with ties to the president and his personal lawyer were also active in the former Soviet republic.

Their aims were profit, not politics. This circle of businessmen and Republican donors touted connections to Giuliani and Trump while trying to install new management at the top of Ukraine's massive state gas company. Their plan was to then steer lucrative contracts to companies controlled by Trump allies, according to two people with knowledge of their plans.

Their plan hit a snag after Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko lost his reelection bid to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose conversation with Trump about former Vice President Joe Biden is now at the center of the House impeachment inquiry of Trump.

But the effort to install a friendlier management team at the helm of the gas company, Naftogaz, would soon be taken up with Ukraine's new president by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, whose slate of candidates included a fellow Texan who is one of Perry's past political donors.

It's unclear if Perry's attempts to replace board members at Naftogaz were coordinated with the Giuliani allies pushing for a similar outcome, and no one has alleged that there is criminal activity in any of these efforts. And it's unclear what role, if any, Giuliani had in helping his clients push to get gas sales agreements with the state-owned company.

But the affair shows how those with ties to Trump and his administration were pursuing business deals in Ukraine that went far beyond advancing the president's personal political interests. It also raises questions about whether Trump allies were mixing business and politics just as Republicans were calling for a probe of Biden and his son Hunter, who served five years on the board of another Ukrainian energy company, Burisma.

On Friday, Trump told a group of Republican lawmakers that it had been Perry who had prompted the phone call in which Trump asked Zelenskiy for a "favor" regarding Biden, according to a person familiar with Trump's remarks.

The person, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to describe a closed conversation among GOP officials, recounted that Trump said it was Perry who asked him to make the July call to discuss "something about an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant." Trump's remarks were first reported Saturday by the news site Axios.

While it's unclear whether Trump's remark Friday referred specifically to the behind-the-scenes maneuvers this spring involving the multibillion-dollar state gas company, The Associated Press has interviewed four people with direct knowledge of the attempts to influence Naftogaz, and their accounts show Perry playing a key role in the effort. Three of the four spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation. The fourth is an American businessman with close ties to the Ukrainian energy sector.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Energy Department said Perry, a former Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate, was not advancing anyone's personal interests. She said his conversations with Ukrainian officials about Naftogaz were part of his efforts to reform the country's energy sector and create an environment in which Western companies can do business.

Perry was asked about the AP's reporting on Monday while in Lithuania, where he was meeting with officials from Ukraine and other eastern European countries to discuss energy security and cooperation. He said any suggestion that he tried to force a management change at Naftogaz was a "totally dreamed up story."

"We get asked for our recommendations about people who are experts in areas, various areas," Perry said. "Folks who have expertise in particular areas. Obviously having been the governor of the state of Texas, I know a lot of people in the energy industry."

Perry also confirmed he had urged Trump to call Zelenskiy, but said the subject was the potential growth of Ukraine's energy sector.

"Absolutely, I asked the president multiple times, 'Mr. President, we think it is in the United States' and in Ukraine's best interest that you and the president of Ukraine have conversations, that you discuss the options that are there,'" Perry said, recounting his conversations with Trump.

The Trump and Giuliani allies driving the attempt to change the senior management at Naftogaz, however, appear to have had inside knowledge of the U.S. government's plans in Ukraine. For example, they told people that Trump would replace the U.S. ambassador there months before she was actually recalled to Washington, according to three of the individuals interviewed by the AP. One of the individuals said he was so concerned by the whole affair that he reported it to a U.S. Embassy official in Ukraine months ago.

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THE BUSINESSMEN

Ukraine, a resource-rich nation that sits on the geographic and symbolic border between Russia and the West, has long been plagued by corruption and government dysfunction, making it a magnet for foreign profiteers.

At the center of the Naftogaz plan, according to three individuals familiar with the details, were three such businessmen: two Soviet-born Florida real estate entrepreneurs, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, and an oil magnate from Boca Raton, Florida, named Harry Sargeant III.

Parnas and Fruman have made hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations to Republicans, including $325,000 to a Trump-allied political action committee in 2018. This helped the relatively unknown entrepreneurs gain access to top levels of the Republican Party – including meetings with Trump at the White House and Mar-a-Lago.

The two have also faced lawsuits from disgruntled investors over unpaid debts. During the same period they were pursuing the Naftogaz deal, the two were coordinating with Giuliani to set up meetings with Ukrainian government officials and push for an investigation of the Bidens.

Sargeant, his wife and corporate entities tied to the family have donated at least $1.2 million to Republican campaigns and PACs over the last 20 years, including $100,000 in June to the Trump Victory Fund, according to federal and state campaign finance records. He has also served as finance chair of the Florida state GOP, and gave nearly $14,000 to Giuliani's failed 2008 presidential campaign.

In early March, Fruman, Parnas and Sargeant were touting a plan to replace Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev with another senior executive at the company, Andrew Favorov, according to two individuals who spoke to the AP as well as a memorandum about the meeting that was later submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, formerly known as Kiev.

Going back to the Obama administration, the U.S. Energy Department and the State Department have long supported efforts to import American natural gas into Ukraine to reduce the country's dependence on Russia.

The three approached Favorov with the idea while the Ukrainian executive was attending an energy industry conference in Texas. Parnas and Fruman told him they had flown in from Florida on a private jet to recruit him to be their partner in a new venture to export up to 100 tanker shipments a year of U.S. liquefied gas into Ukraine, where Naftogaz is the largest distributor, according to two people briefed on the details.

Sargeant told Favorov that he regularly meets with Trump at Mar-a-Lago and that the gas-sales plan had the president's full support, according to the two people who said Favorov recounted the discussion to them.

These conversations were recounted to AP by Dale W. Perry, an American who is a former business partner of Favorov. He told AP in an interview that Favorov described the meeting to him soon after it happened and that Favorov perceived it to be a shakedown. Perry, who is no relation to the energy secretary, is the managing partner of Energy Resources of Ukraine, which currently has business agreements to import natural gas and electricity to Ukraine.

A second person who spoke on condition of anonymity also confirmed to the AP that Favorov had recounted details of the Houston meeting to him.

According to Dale Perry and the other person, Favorov said Parnas told him Trump planned to remove U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and replace her with someone more open to aiding their business interests.

Dale Perry told the AP he was so concerned about the efforts to change the management at Naftogaz and to get rid of Yovanovitch that he reported what he had heard to Suriya Jayanti, a State Department foreign service officer stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv who focuses on the energy industry.

He also wrote a detailed memo about Favorov's account, dated April 12, which was shared with another current State Department official. Perry recently provided a copy of the April memo to AP.

Jayanti declined to provide comment. Favorov also declined to comment.

A Florida lawyer representing Sargeant, Christopher Kise, issued a statement Monday confirming that his client was at the Houston dinner with Parnas, Fruman and Favorov, but insisted he was there only to offer "broad industry guidance and his expert view on the challenges presented by operating in foreign markets."

"Attending a single, informal dinner in Houston does not place Mr. Sargeant at the center of any Naftogaz or Ukrainian business plan," Kise said. "Mr. Sargeant never discussed any role or participation in any Ukraine venture, nor any specifics regarding the potential business ventures of the other dinner participants."

The statement did not address whether Yovanovitch's fate was discussed at the dinner. Kise also said Sargeant has not met at Mar-a-Lago with Trump since he became president.

On March 24, Giuliani and Parnas gathered at the Trump International Hotel in Washington with Healy E. Baumgardner, a former Trump campaign adviser who once served as deputy communications director for Giuliani's presidential campaign and as a communications official during the George W. Bush administration.

She is now listed as the CEO of 45 Energy Group, a Houston-based energy company whose website describes it as a "government relations, public affairs and business development practice group." The company's name is an apparent nod to Trump, the 45th president.

This was a couple of weeks after the Houston meeting with Favorov, the Naftogaz executive. Giuliani, Parnas and Baumgardner were there to make a business pitch involving gas deals in the former Soviet bloc to a potential investor.

This time, according to Giuliani, the deals that were discussed involved Uzbekistan, not Ukraine.

"I have not pursued a deal in the Ukraine. I don't know about a deal in the Ukraine. I would not do a deal in the Ukraine now, obviously," said Giuliani, reached while attending a playoff baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins. "There is absolutely no proof that I did it, because I didn't do it."

During this meeting, Parnas again repeated that Yovanovitch, the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, would soon be replaced, according to a person with direct knowledge of the gathering. She was removed two months later.

Giuliani, who serves as Trump's personal lawyer and has no official role in government, acknowledged Friday that he was among those pushing the president to replace the ambassador, a career diplomat with a history of fighting corruption.

"The ambassador to Ukraine was replaced," he said. "I did play a role in that."

But Giuliani refused to discuss the details of his business dealings, or whether he helped his associates in their push to forge gas sales contracts with the Ukrainian company. He did describe Sergeant as a friend and referred to Parnas and Fruman as his clients in a tweet in May.

As part of their impeachment inquiry, House Democrats have subpoenaed Giuliani for documents and communications related to dozens of people, including Favorov, Parnas, Fruman and Baumgardner's 45 Energy Group.

The House Intelligence Committee also issued sweeping document requests to Parnas and Fruman, due Monday, and scheduled depositions for later in the week.

John Dowd, a former Trump attorney who now represents Parnas and Fruman, said he and his clients have not yet decided whether to comply. Democrats on Monday threatened to issue subpoenas if they don't show.

Baumgardner issued a written statement, saying: "While I won't comment on business discussions, I will say this: this political assault on private business by the Democrats in Congress is complete harassment and an invasion of privacy that should scare the hell out of every American business owner."

Baumgardner later denied that she had any business dealings in Ukraine but refused to say whether the replacement of Ambassador Yovanovitch was discussed.

Dowd said it was actually the Naftogaz executives who approached his clients about making a deal. Dowd says the group then approached Rick Perry to get the Energy Department on board.

"The people from the company solicited my clients because Igor is in the gas business, and they asked them, and they flew to Washington and they solicited," Dowd said. "They sat down and talked about it. And then it was presented to Secretary Perry to see if they could get it together.

"It wasn't a shakedown; it was an attempt to do legitimate business that didn't work out."

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THE ENERGY SECRETARY

In May, Rick Perry traveled to Kyiv to serve as the senior U.S. government representative at the inauguration of the county's new president.

In a private meeting with Zelenskiy, Perry pressed the Ukrainian president to fire members of the Naftogaz advisory board. Attendees left the meeting with the impression that Perry wanted to replace the American representative, Amos Hochstein, a former diplomat and energy representative who served in the Obama administration, with someone "reputable in Republican circles," according to someone who was in the room.

Perry's push for Ukraine's state-owned natural gas company Naftogaz to change its supervisory board was first reported by Politico.

A second meeting during the trip, at a Kyiv hotel, included Ukrainian officials and energy sector people. There, Perry made clear that the Trump administration wanted to see the entire Naftogaz supervisory board replaced, according to a person who attended both meetings. Perry again referenced the list of advisers that he had given Zelenskiy, and it was widely interpreted that he wanted Michael Bleyzer, a Ukrainian-American businessman from Texas, to join the newly formed board, the person said. Also on the list was Robert Bensh, another Texan who frequently works in Ukraine, the Energy Department confirmed.

Gordon D. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, then the State Department's special envoy to Ukraine, were also in the room, according to photographs reviewed by AP. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation, said he was floored by the American requests because the person had always viewed the U.S. government "as having a higher ethical standard."

The Naftogaz supervisory board is supposed to be selected by the Ukrainian president's Cabinet in consultation with international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the United States and the European Union. It must be approved by the Ukrainian Cabinet. Ukrainian officials perceived Perry's push to swap out the board as circumventing that established process, according to the person in the room.

U.S. Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said Perry had consistently called for the modernization of Ukraine's business and energy sector in an effort to create an environment that will incentivize Western companies to do business there. She said Perry delivered that same message in the May meeting with Zelenskiy.

"What he did not do is advocate for the business interests of any one individual or company," Hynes said Saturday. "That is fiction being pushed by those who are disingenuously seeking to advance a nefarious narrative that does not exist."

Hynes said the Ukrainian government had requested U.S. recommendations to advise the country on energy matters, and Perry provided those recommendations. She confirmed Bleyzer was on the list.

Bleyzer, whose company is based in Houston, did not respond on Saturday to a voicemail seeking comment. Bensh also did not respond to a phone message.

Perry has close ties to the Texas oil and gas industry. He appointed Bleyzer to a two-year term on a state technologies fund board in 2009. The following year, records show Bleyzer donated $20,000 to Perry's reelection campaign.

Zelenskiy's office declined to comment on Saturday.

In an interview Friday with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Perry said that "as God as my witness" he never discussed Biden or his son in meetings with Ukrainian or U.S. officials, including Trump or Giuliani. He did confirm he had had a conversation with Giuliani by phone, but a spokeswoman for the energy secretary declined to say when that call was or whether the two had discussed Naftogaz.

In Lithuania on Monday, Perry said he could not recall whether Bleyzer's name was on the list provided to Zelenskiy. But Perry confirmed he had known Bleyzer for years and called him "a really brilliant, capable businessman."

"I would recommend him for a host of different things in Kyiv because he knows the country," Perry said of Bleyzer. "He's from there. So, why not? I mean I would be stunned if someone said that would you eliminate Michael Bleyzer from a recommendation of people you ought to talk to about how to do business in the country, whether they're knowledgeable. It'd be remarkable if I didn't say, 'Talk to Michael.'"

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Biesecker and Lardner reported from Washington. Associated Press reporter Alan Fram contributed.

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Key findings from this story are summarized at the AP News website.

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Follow AP investigative reporters Desmond Butler at http://twitter.com/desmondbutler, Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck and Richard Lardner at http://twitter.com/rplardner

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Contact AP's global investigative team at Investigative@ap.org.

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This story has been corrected to show Bleyzer's first name is Michael, not Robert.


          

New to Apple Arcade? Here are all the games you can play right now   

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Apple has created the mobile arcade to triumph over all mobile arcades, and we are excited! Apple Arcade showcases more than 100 new and exclusive games. It is available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. So if you are an Apple user on any device, you can take advantage of this gaming subscription! Currently available in Apple Arcade Floor is Lava (Literally) Hot Lava Staff Pick This game is determined to be your favorite game since it probably was from your childhood too. Play alone or join your friends on an epic adventure of jumping from couch to ceiling to avoid the lava. Play Hot Lava Escape the Dungeon Exit the Gungeon Race to escape the hell dungeon while dodging and going through treacherous obstacles and opponents. Play Exit the Gungeon Sequels galore Shantae and the Seven Sirens You play as Shantae, who is a half-genie hero who visits what seems to be a tropical paradise. Trouble arises, and you will have to explore new towns, escape labyrinths and defea...
          

Comment on [Update: Rolling out again] The Play Store is finally getting a dark theme by Piotr    

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My play store got dark on ANDROID 9 on huawei p20 pro. What the hell google? It does not matter if my system theme is white or black - play store is always dark and what is even worse PATCHNOTES to any application ARE NOT VISIBLE. You enter "my apps", check apps waiting to be updated or recently updated, click on a little arrow to see changelogs and... nothing happens. Google just broke my play store, gj!
          

What The Hell Is Going On?   

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https://img-hws.y8.com/cloud/v2-y8-thumbs-video-thumbnails-001/269444/s640x360_video_thumbnail.jpg Things were okay until he started moving his legs legit upside down, making it look like there is a fixed mirror around him.


          

This Is Sad Nibba Hours Again   

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https://img-hws.y8.com/cloud/v2-y8-thumbs-video-thumbnails-001/269386/s640x360_video_thumbnail.jpg Oh my god, the eyes of the pussy almost got me crying for heaven’s sake. Watch this amazing pussy waiting to cry the hell out with teary eyes. Sad hours of the day man!


          

What the hell ever happened to…   

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Yeah, I’ve gone dark for a while now.  Again. Not to say that I haven’t been up to a lot; I’ve just been staying off the radar. But I think it’s time to dust the cobwebs off this blog, and this is as good a time as any. Where to start is the bigger question. So I’ll start with... Continue Reading →
          

What We’re Writing by Jenn McKinlay   

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First, last week’s winners from our guest bloggers are…

The winner of Ellen Byron’s FATAL CAJUN FESTIVAL is – Ramona Long!
 and
The winner of Nancy Coco’s FUDGE BITES is – Jamie Gillespie!

CONGRATS, Readers, the authors will be in touch!

JENN McKINLAY: Revisions! Revisions! I have no idea why but I can’t speak these words. Oh, no, they must be sung out loud to the tune of “Tradition” from Fiddler’s Roof. Why? Because I’ve been on a writing bender for the past two months that would have turned a demure church lady into a drunk, like, pirate Jack Sparrow drunk. Seriously, pass the rum! 

Normally, I love revisions. It’s usually a tweak, a twist, a tightening of the screws. Not this time. This was like shearing a sheep in possession of a donkey kick with only a rusty pair of toenail clippers. And no, I am not overdramatizing the situation! 


In two weeks, I removed ninety pages (90!!!), jigsaw puzzled the remaining chunks that were left, and then wrote a brand spanking new sixty-five (65!!!) pages to stitch it all together. And now we’re gearing up for round two. 

The book in question is PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA, coming out in July 2020. It is my first stand alone, a rom-com that I love as intensely as only a mother could. 

In short, it’s a story of self-discovery as our protagonist Chelsea Martin is forced to confront the reality that she has become a raging workaholic with no life when her widowed father announces he’s getting remarried. At her sister’s suggestion, Chelsea decides that in order to find herself again she must go back to the year she spent abroad and find the three men she once loved – Colin in Ireland, Jean Claude in France, and Marcelino in Italy – and try to reconnect with open hearted, happy young woman she once was. Basically, she's looking for a life do-over. 

Here’s an early look at the opening of PARIS IS ALWAYS A GOOD IDEA:

Chapter One
     “I’m getting married.”
     “Huh?” 
     “We’ve already picked our colors, pink and gray.”
     “Um...pink and what?”
     “Gray. What do you think, Chelsea? I want your honest opinion. Is that too retro?”
     I stared at my middle-aged widowed father. We were standing in a bridal store in central Boston on the corner of Boylston and Berkeley streets and he was talking to me about wedding colors. His wedding colors.
     “I’m sorry, I need a sec,” I said. I held up my hand and blinked hard, while trying to figure out just what the hell was happening.
     I had raced here from my apartment in Cambridge after receiving a text from my dad, asking me to meet him at this address because it was an emergency. I was prepared for heart surgery not wedding colors! 
     Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. I wrestled the constricting wool scarf from around my neck, yanked the beanie off my head, and stuffed them in my pockets. I scrubbed my scalp with my fingers in an attempt to make the blood flow to my brain. It didn’t help. Come on, Martin, I coached myself, pull it together. I unzipped my puffy winter jacket to let some air in, then I focused on my father. 
     “What did you say?” I asked.
     “Pink and gray, too retro?” Glen Martin, aka Dad, asked. He pushed his wire frame glasses up on his nose and looked at me as if he was asking a perfectly reasonable question. 
     “No, before that.” I waved my hand in a circular motion to indicate he needed to back it all the way up.
     “I’m getting married!” His voice went up when he said it and I decided my normally staid fifty-five-year-old dad was somehow currently possessed by a twenty-something bridezilla.
     “You okay, Dad?” I asked gently not wanting to set him off. “Have you recently slipped on some ice and whacked your head? I ask because you don’t seem to be yourself.”
     “Sorry,” he said. He reached out and wrapped me in an impulsive hug, another indicator that he was not his usual buttoned down mathematician self. “I’m just…I’m just so happy. What do you think about being a flower girl?”
     “Um…I’m almost thirty.” I tipped my head to the side and squinted at him.
     “Yes, but we already have a full wedding party, and you and your sister would be really cute in matching dresses, maybe something sparkly.”
     “Matching dresses? Sparkly?” I repeated. I struggled for air. It was clear. My father had lost his ever lovin’ mind. I should probably call my sister. Dad needed medical attention, possibly an intervention. Oh, man, would we have to have him committed?
     I studied his face, trying to determine just how crazy he was. The same brown-green hazel eyes I saw in my own mirror every morning held mine, but where my eyes frequently looked flat with a matte finish, his positively glowed. He really looked happy.
     “You’re serious,” I gasped. I glanced around the bridal store that was stuffed to the rafters with big, white fluffy dresses. None of this made any sense and yet here I was. “You’re not pranking me?”
     “Nope.” He grinned again. “Congratulate me, peanut, I’m getting married.”
     I felt as if my chest was collapsing into itself. Never, not once, in the past seven years had I ever considered the possibility that my father would remarry.
     “To who?” I asked. It couldn’t be...nah. That would be insane.
     “Really, Chels?” Dad straightened up. The smile slid from his face and he cocked his head to the side which was his go-to disappointed parent look. 
     I had not been on the receiving end of this look very often in life. Not like my younger sister, Annabelle, who seemed to thrive on “the look”. Usually, it made me fall right in line but not today.
     “Sheri. You’re marrying Sheri.” I tried to keep my voice neutral. Major failure as I stepped backwards, tripped on the trailing end of my scarf and gracelessly sprawled onto one of the cream colored velvet chairs that were scattered around the ultra feminine store. I thought it was a good thing I was sitting because if he answered in the affirmative I might faint. 
     “Yes, I asked her to marry me and to my delight she accepted,” he said. Another happy stupid grin spread across his lips as if he just couldn’t help it.
     “But…but…she won you in a bachelor auction two weeks ago!” I cried. “This is completely mental!”


So, how about you Reds and Readers, have you ever had a time in your life when you wanted a do-over?



          

North Vs. South   

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Last night, from 8pm-midnight on KJHK 90.7FM, I played some of the finest music representing next weekend's North Vs. South Music Festival. The brainchild of legendary songwriter Mike McCoy, the festival is a means of bringing together friends old and new. Austin, Texas and Minneapolis, Minnesota have produced numerous quality rock and roll groups in the last 20-50 years. All is showcased here on neutral ground in Lawrence, KS annually. The best from north and south perform live on the anniversary of Quantrill's raid on Lawrence in 1863. This year's festival takes place August 16-18 at Louise's Upstairs, the Replay Lounge, the Replay Lounge patio and the Jackpot Saloon. I spun music from this and past year's performers. Listen for stuff from Honeywagen, the Bitter Spills, Grand Champeen, Kruddler, the Rockland Eagles, the New Vintage, the Meat Purveyors, the Brannock Device, the Red Flags, Chooglin', Pong, Ben Hayter & the Ex-Rays, the Undesirables, Charlie Parr, God's Favorite Band, Truck Stop Love, and many more. Playlist: Kruddler Beer and a Half Tuesday Night Lie Kruddler Terms of Engagement They're Here Rockland Eagles Steve Austin Rock! Fight! Win! the Bitter Spills I Saw the Light Sing Folk Songs Vol. 3 the Meat Purveyors Round and Round All Relationships Are Doomed to Fail the New Vintage War On Brains The New Vintage Honeywagen Bleeding Payday the Red Flags 1972 The Red Flags Chooglin' Take Mine Down Chooglin' Grand Champeen Nothin' On Me Battle Cry For Help Ben Hayter & the Ex-Rays Glitter Girls Ben Hayter & the Ex-Rays the Undesirables Devil Caught My Tongue World Wide Web the Brannock Device One Hell of a Shortcut Live On KJHK 10/1/99 the Brannock Device Dowsers '98 Live On KJHK 10/1/99 the Brannock Device Where the Hell Is Johnny Vic? Live On KJHK 10/1/99 the Brannock Device John Henry's Hammer Live On KJHK 10/1/99 the Brannock Device Monument Live On KJHK 10/1/99 Charlie Parr Worried Blues King Earl the Afterparty Candy Girl The Afterparty God's Favorite Band History in the Making Down to the Filter God's Favorite Band The Man Who Holds the Cans In Through the Outhouse Truck Stop Love How I Spent My Summer Vacation How I Spent My Summer Vacation Truck Stop Love Stagnation Truck Stop Love Dead Girls Ruin Everything All Is Forgotten What A Perfect Ending Cher UK BaBaBaBaBa Berdella Mr. Marco's V7 Shanty / Cirrhosis Sandoval split
          

This is the angry   

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Well, sorry for this being a day late. I got all caught up with school and my new radio show and music staff over at KJHK that I plumb forgot to do a podcast this week. For that I am sorry. I imagine you all are somewhat upset with me, and feel the need to give your frustrations sufficient voice. For that reason, I give you this podcast. I'm in a great mood, and I just feel like yelling. Track listing: The Bronx - Bats! Converge - Eagles Become Vultures AFI - Third Season Deftones - Bored Sick Of It All - Step Down I Killed The Prom Queen - Sharks In Your Mouth H2O - Family Tree Comeback Kid - All in A Year Suicide Machines - In The End Blood For Blood - All This And More Pantera - Drag The Waters Dethklok - Birthday Dethday Reggie & the Full Effect - What the Hell is Contempt Soulfly - Eye For An Eye Poison the Well - Slice Paper Wrists Guns 'n' Roses - My Michele Stretch Arm Strong - For The Record Coalesce - You Can't Kill Us All Avenged Sevenfold - Bat Country
          

A #Retrospective on #Blogging, Or Why All These #Literary #Rejections Are Important   

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Something occurred to me this morning: totes random, for sure, but still worth sharing. For years on this blog, smart alecks from all corner of the InterWebs told me that I should stop blogging (read: complaining, moaning, bitching, and whining) and get back to writing my opus. The sentiment behind the dig was: "Why do you spend ALL this time blogging when you COULD BE writing."  I consistently rebuffed the implied insult by saying, "I spend plenty of time writing, thank you." And in truth, I am always writing to deadline for my paid consulting gig as a medical writer, and in my spare time I am always writing as fast as I can on my own creative projects. How else would I have a published a book of short stories (okay, granted: when I was a mere child of 28) and then a published novel (okay, so I'm slow: nearly twenty years later when I was 47) not to mention the collection of linked stories coming out in the fall?  I barely even dare to mention the unpublished book of essays no one wants, the nonfiction travel book at a silent retreat and spiritual journey that I can't get any traction on, and the book about being disinherited that is kicking my ass: I'm on version 5 and I STILL don't like it (That's right: version five; tone is everything in this book, and I'm getting closer, I think.) So, yeah, I write plenty. I happen to be fast at it, even though the publishing has come slowly.  And also, here's something I learned recently, all those years of so-called "wasted blogging hours" (that someone was always pointing out to shame me) WERE contributing absolutely to the ultimate success of my so-called literary career. I mean, people LOVE a literary genius (if you happen to be one, which I am not) but they don't come looking for you, and they surely don't let you sit around and be brilliant without dusting off the old dog-and-pony show and taking it on the road virtually and IRL.  So, in essence, though maybe the whole enterprise is pretty insignificant in the world of the written word, I don't regret a single minute I spent on this blog. Especially because--this is important--it is hard to find community and comfort and consolation as a writer, or just a regular person, in this culture. And I found that here with all the patchy, scratchy, and sometimes illustrious mice who came around to complain or boast or start a fire.  I really needed you guys on my darkest days, and on most of my light days, too. So, thanks, you all, for being part of LROD. Even the trolls who used to drive me crazy and don't come around any more.  I miss the days when blogs were relevant, and maybe they still are. Surely, I still come around to write a word or two here, even if you can find literary rejections and iterations of this dumb idea all over the floor of the Internet. I guess, you could say my work here is done in the initial sense of pulling publishing out of the closet and into the light a bit.  Or whatever the hell this is.  That's all for now.  Keep writing and plugging away and sending your work out and believing in yourself (even when you don't...and especially then) because before long you will look back and see that it amounted to something very important: your life. 
          

“The Exorcist” (Extended Cut) at the Byrd Theatre   

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Wednesday, Oct. 9 A horror classic that made audiences hurl, as well as reports of heart attacks and miscarriages, “The Exorcist” holds up for several reasons: creepy story, gnarly special effects, spooky-ass music, and its most controversial scene, which allegedly gave the band Red Kross its name, is still controversial today. In 1973, how the hell did that make it into a film? Some critics speculated the movie was too expensive to get an X-rating. 7:15 p.m. $6. byrdtheatre.org.
          

Mountains of Ketchup   

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By Rebelstar without a cause
 
Genre: Adventure sauce
 
Mountains of Ketchup (a pun on the ZX Spectrum adventure classic Mountains of Ket of course) marks Rebelstar’s 15th entry to this year’s CGC.  First impressions suggest a rather simple poorly presented BASIC adventure (though is faithful to Ket’s layout) but don’t be fooled – still condiments run deep.



I like the use of action keys instead of typing commands, and the fact there is no limit on how much you can carry (though I’m not sure if I could carry a lawnmower and a mine detector at the same time in reality).
 
I’m not going to spoil the surprise but in addition to the simple text puzzles, there are some built in arcade style mini-games embedded in MOK which brought the biggest smile to my face.
 

Mountains of ketchup is tinged with tripe but is an excellent kernel of an idea that I’d love to see expanded upon.  I have to say I was disappointed it finished so quickly!
 
It’s crap, but play it, really – it’s great.

Thankyou Rebelstar!

<What the hell are the slippers for?>
 
Download here.
Download Game Map.

          

DjDrake Party Mix June 2019   

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itunes pic
DjDrake Party Mix June 2019 Playlist 01-Dj Kool-What The Hell U Come In Here For 02-Dj Kool-How Low Can u Go 03-Sam The Beast-Sumtimes I Feel Like a Nut 04-DjSirRj-Take it Off 05-Master P-Rock It 06-Choppa=Choppa Style 07-Too Short-Blow Your Whistle 08-Tamia-Leave it Smokin 09-Colonel Loud-Serious 10-Lil Duval-Smile(1st Mastered Version) 11-Dj Bobby Black & Dj Mars-Bend & Stretch 12-Will Traxx-Shine A Light On Em 13-Beyonce-Before I Let Go(Homecoming Live Bonus Track) 14-Beyonce-Before I Let Go REMIX Ft Fatman Scoop 15-Missy-Work It Remix ft 50 Cent 16-Future Fambo & Beenie Man-Drinking Rum 17-Av8-Where The Ladies At 18-Reggae Mega Mix 19-Patra Ft Yo-Yo-Romantic Call 20-Kenny Dope-Supa 21-JayZ-I Just Wanna Love u 22-Dj Khaled & Drake-For Free
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