Nina Bo’Nina Brown and Me

Note: Spoilers throughout on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 9

 

So, as I have said before, I am an avid fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race. It is one of my all time favorite shows (and seriously, if you are not watching it, you are missing out on some very talented people who know how to give a good show).

Anyhow, season (season 9) has been very interesting on many levels. While not at the same caliber as say… Season 8 or Season 6, I find this to be a decently strong season with some great queens.

One queen, however, stands out.

Nina Bo’Nina Brown

Nina is a fierce queen with a fatal flaw: She has such a low self-esteem that she is unable to see compliments for what they are, and is constantly feeling outcast and separated from the group because of her own doubts and fears and insecurities in herself.

I see so much of myself in her.

Nina is a wonderful person. She is funny, she is talented, and she is smart. The problem is that she doesn’t believe it. Throughout the season, she has taken every compliment with a grain of salt. She dismisses compliments and blows out criticisms. She is her own worst enemy, and is the first to throw herself under the bus in order to fit the storyline she has created for herself: that she is the outcasted queen.

It can be hard to watch.

My entire life, I have struggled with self-esteem issues. I have a constant, persistent mode where anything positive or affirming said to me is deflected, dismissed, or diminished. There have been times when I have actively countered compliments with my flaws to prove that what they are saying is wrong. There have been times where I have sought approval and recognition, and then doubt its authenticity when it is given, because I feel like I was begging for the compliment and it is not real. I will often explain away good things by saying that it is not special, or that everyone can do it. It is something that I have learned early in life when at times, I was told by my parents, that despite all the good things said about me, I was, in reality, a terrible person and will amount to nothing because of my terribleness.

Looking back at much of my life, I can see where the Nina Bo’Nina Brown in me has caused a lot of strife in my life where none needed to be. My self-loathing affected my life back in my 20’s and I can understand why many people shied away from me. I also note how incredibly patient so many people in my life were when I would get into those dark places and literally hate on myself. Even know, I have period of self-loathing, and my husband is amazing and wonderful in weathering those periods.

Seeing the other queens react to Nina has been eye opening. In the Confessionals, you see how painstakingly they try to say the positive about Nina before talking about the frustration of her attitude, and how it affects them. You see the frustration on Shae’s face when she confronts Nina, only to be deflected again, and Nina feels that her prophesy that everyone will turn on her is correct, never realising that it is her attitude that makes the prophesy self-fulfilling.

I hate that I have done that to people. I have put people in that exact situation, and seeing it play out on TV is quite an eye-opener.

I wish I could say that Nina is a worse case than me, but in all honestly, I have been there before and I know how she feels. I just want to reach out and hug Nina so tightly and tell her I know exactly how she feels and how she *is* amazing, and to believe in herself and that those thoughts are not who she is. I want to tell her that this is a fight that she will have for the rest of her life, but it is a fight worth having, because she is worth something amazing. I want to build her up, not like the queens have tried to do this season, but I want to pull that confidence she has out, and cultivate it and nurture it so that she can believe in herself. I want to hold her and tell her that I understand that place, and it is not a place for her. I want to show her that you can have unconditional friends, and that while it is ok to wear your heart on your sleeve, it is important to protect your heart from your own torment.

I love Nina. I think she is fierce, amazing, and is hurting. She need to take RuPaul’s mantra, and take it to heart. Nina needs to learn to love herself. I hope she takes this experience, and see how much everyone cares for her, but also see the reality that she pushes people away unnecessarily.

And all of this is a reminder to myself to do the same.

 

 

On Manchester

And it continues. From Istanbul to Paris to Nigeria, Charleston, and now Manchester. It seems that we have come again to the trauma of terrorism.

These are terrible events, and each time, we are left with asking, “what do we do about this?” We still do not know who is behind this, or if this was a lone wolf attack, or something completely crazy. I don’t want to speculate about the politics of this moment, that will be in the days and weeks to come by many people.

I want to talk about the goodness of people.

I know that is a weird thing to talk about in a moment like this. Someone has done something evil and reprehensible and I want to talk about the goodness of people?!?!

Bear with me
Whenever these events happen, we focus so hard on the perpetrator. We look for their identity, we scour their lives as quickly as possible to gain some sort of reason as to why this has happened. The name, grainy photo is plaster on TV 24/7 for days. It is not too dissimilar to Mass Casualty events in the US, now it is just on a global scale.  A Media bent on knowing all the facts, and in the process creates a brief star, a supernova that burns bright and fast, that moment of glory, of recognition… before being snuffed out.

It’s sick to watch.

We only get to see, briefly, in flashes the humanity of the response. People rushing in to save others. People giving their homes to people to sleep and recover. Taxis giving free rides home for people in need to get home safely. Law enforcement trying to make sure everyone is safe, and that those in danger can be saved if possible. The paramedics who rush in to try and save those who need help the most. In these events, we see skylines change color, people give blood, donations from around the world, and an outpouring of sympathy and love, and understanding. In these moments, we see each other differently. Because we can see ourselves in this moments of trauma. Whether it is a Concert, or a church, or a school, or a Movie Theater, or Club. We could be them, and that outpouring of empathy is what makes us human, and what makes us good.

I hate these moments. I wish that the want and drive to hurt, main and kill was not apart of the human experience. I wish we didn’t have to face the reality and damage of hate personified. I do my best to find the humanity in these moments.  I say to myself, “despite this terrible moment, good people meet the challenge and do amazing things. ” And I hope that in those moments, if they befall me, that I will show the best of humanity, lest somebody needs it.

I mourn for Manchester and my heart is with them this evening.

But I still hope.

Food Pressure

So, after running a couple of errands. I spied a German Bakery. One of the things I have wanted to try are Bratwursts, so I park, go in, and see they have Brats (which is fairly rare in New Zealand, at least the types of bratwurst I am used to), I order two of them, and then I ask if I can just have the Sausage, and not the bun.
 
The woman did a double take.
 
Me: *interjecting quickly*  I know it is a bit weird request to have, but I can’t really have any bread, so I will just have the sausage.
 
Woman: “Why can’t you have a bun?”
 
Me: “Oh, well, I just can’t eat bread, that’s all.”
 
**Pause**
 
Woman: “How about a salad?”
 
Me *If I wanted a salad, I would have asked for a salad* “Nope, just the sausage is great.”
 
Woman: “Are you sure, you don’t want bread?”
 
Me: “I can’t have bread, I would love a Pretzel sometime, *points to rows of pretzels in the shop*, but it is just something I can’t eat anymore, the sausage only is great, please.”
 
Woman: “Oh, that is so sad! No bread.”
 
Me: **cheerful but also slightly annoyed**, “LOL, you’re reaction is why I don’t eat out much!”
 
Woman:” Oh! I’m sorry, it’s just dreadful to think of life without bread!”
 
Me: “It’s not hard really…”
 
She then went around to tell seemingly everyone working in the shop that I wanted a Bratwurst without bread, and what should they do about this? What container should we put it in? He says he can’t have any bread!
 
Eventually, they gave me my Bratwursts, which btw, were pretty good! They are better than any other few Brats I have had in NZ, though I still rank Germany, US, and Stand a Snag in Australia as better. She was very cheerful, but in that sort of “oh, I feel sad for you” sort of cheerful. I take the note and head out quickly.
 
***
 
It is interesting how food plays into expectations so much. I have heard other bariatric people talk about how wait staff can sometimes be quite aggressive or shocked if you are not eating a lot, or drinking a lot, but this is the first time I really came up against a server reacting hugely to my lack of eating something.
 
It makes me not want to go back. I mean, sure I could Grab the bun and throw it out, but that is wasteful, and could be used for someone else. But I’d rather not have that reaction to plow through every time I order. And while the woman was nice enough, it was also attention grabbing as several people became involved in the end. With Bread products being such a major way to hold, use, and transport food, not having it does feel odd. However, I am now almost 4 months without bread, and I find it is not something I really miss, so I really don’t mind it, unless other people bring it up.

It is definitely one of those things that I will need to get used to. 

-W

A Setback and progress.

It has been an interesting week for “The Journey” there was a big setback but also progress, so it is best to talk about both of these.

First, the setback.

A few weeks ago, I decided to set a new challenge goal for myself: walking the Milford Track. It is something I have wanted to do for years, and with the surgery and everything, I wanted to conquer the walk. (well, maybe not conquer, but at least finish). Space on Milford Track is limited, in order to keep the trail naturery and safe. They opened the dates to sign up last Wednesday, and dutifully I was online and ready to go and get those tickets.

Things did not go according to plan.

The site went down almost immediately (typical), and I had to try in vain to get in. At one point, I was signing onto what I wanted, and the connection dropped, forcing me to start over. Over the next 25 minutes, I continued to try and get on the site.

Then, worked beckoned. I was being pulled into an impromptu meeting, and it ran until a scheduled meeting I needed to have. By lunchtime, by the time I was able to access the site, I found that the two date ranges I wanted were fully booked, and it meant that I couldn’t go this year.

To say I was angry would be an understatement.

With so much planned for the next 18 months, the only time I could make to get to Milford were these two weeks, and it fell through. I am a bit despondent. Husband said that I could do another Great Walk, and then to Milford later, but… my heart was set on Milford, and doing a longer, more strenuous walk, and then Milford… would be a let down.

I could still do the Milford Track, and stay in Lodges… but… that is like 2k per person (or nearly 700 a night), and while it would be great to be in a lodge, I can’t justify that amount of cost. That would be a round-trip ticket to the US, or to Europe. (I was going to stay in cheap huts)

So, now I need a new challenge, something physical, something naturesque, and something that will push me emotionally and physically… that isn’t a walk in the bush. I’ve done Tough Mudder, I don’t want to do a marathon/run. I wanted to do something where I can go, take pictures, and have that epic moment.

So things I need to think about.

So, the Progress. After the second (or was it third) Plateau, I have been steadily losing weight. My walking regimen has been steady (5-6 days a week depending on the weather), and today, I hit 120kgs/265 pounds. marking 48 kgs lost since January. This was my secondary major “soft goal” weight wise, the first being set at 130kgs. To be frank, I wasn’t sure I was going to hit 120. Once I knew about the surgery estimates, I figured 130 woudl be the new normal, and I was mentally ok for that. My thought was, anything below 130 would be bonus.

Now, I am considering a new “soft” number goal. The obvious next milestone is only 2kgs away at 50kgs lost. This will mark the most I have ever lost in a single… “era” of weight loss. After that, 115 is around the corner, and then… 113. The barrier I have never been able to breach in my adult life. I have been wondering if that is my base level weight, but I am really nervous about that number. Before, getting to 113 required days of not eating, working out for 5-4 hours a day and drinking as little as possible (Water adds useless weight in my mind in those days). Now, I remind myself to eat, and I keep I am still not pushing exercise wise as hard as I could be. (I am not even going to a gym). I am definitely much healthier and happier with where I am now, but that emotional feeling of 113, and the mythical 112… that will be a big post if I ever get there.

But progress it good, and I am happy to see where this takes me. Slow and steady wins the race.

-W

 

The Tipping Point: Part 4

When will we hit the tipping point in the Trump Administration.

We are 110 days into the Administration and yesterday, it seemed was an appropriate time to fire FBI Director James Comey. While the “reason” for the firing was, inexplicably the handling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation during the election, the letter itself betrayed the likely reason.

letter

In a move that harkens back to the Saturday Night Massacre during the Nixon Administration, the move is seen as a bald faced attempt to shut down, slow down, or stymie the Investigation into collusion with the Russian Government to win the election.

It seems almost predictable that the GOP response has been muted, dismissive, and outright defensive. John McCain  did his standard approach: chastise the President while doing nothing. Mitch McConnell has pushed back against the possibility of a special prosecutor. Other GOP Senators have been on the spectrum of “worried” to “Difficult decision” to “unusual timing of events.”

Since this series started, I have focused on this story and wondering “When is the tipping point?” We now have a leader who has fired the person investigating him. We have his party pretty much walking lock step with him, despite the ridicule from the public. The moves are so transparent, so blatant, so easy to see, yet the party in power remains placated because as long as Trump is in power, he is their lightning road. They can dump all of their toxicity onto him with the hopes that once they get rid of them, they will be seen as competent.

Right now, Trump support has drifted down to 36%, and this is before the news on Comey. Worse even, the Democrats hold a 16 point lead on Generic House Ballots. That along would put the Democrats up dozens of seats and retake the majority in the 2018 elections. This may explain why Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash to say he is looking into legislation to introduce a special investigator. As the fallout from this move becomes more known, it could mean more defections from the GOP. It also could mean that we will see a response to Administration abuses of power.

But who are we kidding.

When Nixon fired the person investigating him, it was a watershed moment in the Watergate scandal, the Republicans deserted him, and it set up the final act of his Presidency. Only the most die-hard of supporters continued to back Nixon, and once it became apparent what he was doing, Country won out over Party loyalty.

I cannot say the same here.

The National GOP made a Faustian Bargain to attain power, and they will sacrifice everything; their religion, their ideology, their morals, their principals in order to retain that power. From Mike Pence to Mitch McConnell to Paul Ryan to rank and file GOPers in Congress, they turn a blind eye because they have what they wanted, and they will stick to it even as the ship is sinking. McConnell’s response is proof of that, Graham’s weedly explanation furthers that. These men will line up behind Mr. Trump for anything, because they have no choice if they want to stay in their positions.

Former President Obama said just yesterday to a crowd in Italy, “You get the politicians you deserve.” and it feels that the GOP, by sowing discord, dysfunction, and craven power-grabbing for the last decade that they finally have the politicians they deserve; ones that will lie to your face and make your lives worse off, politicians who will ignore the rule of law because they are above the law. They screamed so much of Democrats corruption, and double dealing, and “emails” they have decided to elect people who are categorically worse in every category, and consider it a win.

Now, Comey is such a weird situation, he has been critisised by both parties for his actions, and at a level, his ousting should have happened the moment the new Administration began. Had it happen then, this wouldn’t be an issue… (well, less of an issue), but now… with Grand Juries now out in the open, and Comey speaking to Congress regularly, its wholly unacceptable. It was incompetence that allowed Comey to stay, and it is corruption that led to Comey being fired. The Trump Administration has fucked up twice on this.

I personally do not hold out much hope that anything significant will be done before the Midterm elections. While I suspect that there will be major fallout over this, I suspect that the GOP-run Government will barrel through until Mr. Trump does something else insane, which will move the heat elsewhere. At this point, I think Trump could murder someone on 5th Avenue  and we would have to wait until a Democratic controlled chamber of Congress to do anything about it.

And that is the state of politics in America.

 

Impeachment of a President: A Trump Administration Themed “Clue/Cluedo”

In this game, it is your job to find out how President Trump is going to be impeached! Played liked the Classic Clue/Cluedo game, you must find out who told the Press about the Evidence for the Articles of Impeachment, and where they met the reporter to hand over the goods.

Here are the Suspects

Mike Pence

DeMint, Pence Holds Press Conference On Tax Relief Legislation

Vice President
“If you believe in limited government, you understand that the only check on government power in real time is a free and independent press.” – Source

Sean Spicer

mccarthy_spicer

Press Secretary

“[Trump] hasn’t given any indication that he’ll stop an investigation of any kind.” – Source

 

Kelly Ann Conway

17-kellyanne-feature-lede-new.w512.h600.2x

Senior Counselor & White House Chief Strategist

“Most honest people I know are not under FBI investigation, let alone two.” – Source

 

Steven Bannon

steve-bannon-435-1

White House Chief Strategist

“Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” – Source

Ivanka Trump

ivankatrump

Daughter/Senior Advisor

“While it’s sometimes easy to get caught up in ‘who said what about whom,’ especially if the people around you are doing it, focus instead on making a difference.” –  SourceSource

Jared Kushner

kushner090720_1_250

Son-in-Law/ Senior Advisor to the President/Head of the Office of American Innovation/Shadow Secretary of State/Middle East Envoy

“…”

Places

Of course we need to find the right place where the evidence was passed onto the Washington Times Reporter, and leaked to the Press, but where is it? Search the White House to search for Clues.

  • Oval Office
  • Press Briefing Room
  • Rose Garden
  • Roosevelt Room
  • Secret Bunker (With passages to the Oval Office and the Map Room)
  • Lincoln Bedroom
  • Map Room
  • Grand Staircase
  • Situation Room

The Article of Impeachment

The Evidence is right there, and once given to the Press, the Articles of Impeachment have begun! But which Scandal will the 110-day Administration fall to?!?!

Nepotism

//fave.api.cnn.io/v1/fav/?video=politics/2017/03/30/trump-nepotism-2006-lkl-mobile.cnn&customer=cnn&edition=international&env=prod

Sexual Harassment

pussy

Obstruction of Justice

letter

Emoluments clause/Conflict of Interest

china

Collusion with Russia

//players.brightcove.net/1155968404/r1WF6V0Pl_default/index.html?videoId=5368997177001

Gross Negligence

Trumptweet

Here is your chance to break up the story of the year! Play “Impeachment of a President today!”

The Journey: Social Wanderingexpat is back

Good morning! No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth, I have just been super busy, and trying to figure out how to fit my writing into the day.

This week, I started me new job, and thusly, I have had little time this week to write down my thoughts and my take on the news, sorry about that! I am working on it.

But this morning, I wanted to talk a little about the Journey.

Last night, I went to a dinner party of a friend of Husband and I. A and his fiance, H, are back in the country for his sister’s wedding, and hosted a get together with friends. We can refer to them ah AH! or HA!… or maybe AH HA!

Any how “Ah Ha” are two of the most incredible people I know. Their energy is boundless, they are both quirky and hysterical and great, kinda, and awesome people. Getting to see them is like going to an adventure park, you know you are going to have an awesome time when they are around.

But, this is… (or was?) typically something I shy away from. A Group of 15-20 people, all engaging in relative small talk can be torture for me, and it is hard to keep focus in situations like that. A cacophony of sound and soundbites of other conversations, I tend to get bored withmyself and float around the room until all light conversation is exhausted, then retreat and hope that at some point, the Husband wants to head home.

Last night was different.

Maybe it was the crowd (many I knew and I haven’t seen in months), but the conversations were good, fun, and interesting. I talked about the Surgery, and The Journey quite a bit, but as 1 hour turned into 2, which finally turned into three, I found the old social wanderingexpat coming through. Gregarious, jokey, and not hyper sensitive about what I was wearing, or how I was presenting to people. Being relentlessly open and talkative, I stayed away from the food, which ranged from Pizza bites to Sushi, to chips and hummus and guacamole, and the alcohol (easy to do), and it was *fine.* I didn’t slink off “to recharge” or try to doge conversations, I was present and apart of the event.

I kinda miss being social.

I feel that I am quite an introvert at heart. My M.O. is small 1-1 or a small group of 5-6 people. I love to be larger than life in those situations and at larger parties, but afterwards, I hibernate for a month to recover my social energy. Parties and gatherings usually exhaust me, but last night, it didn’t. Is it the walking? Is it the added energy? is it the gain in confidence with the weight loss? Perhaps. Maybe it was because I actually had something to talk about and hold up my end of the conversation for once.

I felt like the old me. The me that could engage more and fret less. And that is a big step for me.

This is not to say I will be be out every weekend, but I suspect I will start going out more.

Today, I broke the plateau, losing .4kgs. Not by a huge number, but by enough to breach the wall. I hope this trend continues. Tomorrow, I will hopefully plan the Milford Track with my walking buddy. So stay tuned for details there.

Also, in talking last night with a friend, (I will call him J-Bean) I was recounting what was in essence the last year for me. From losing one of the closest people in my life, to the massive depression afterwards, to getting the house, to Bailey the dog, Surgery, the Journey, getting made Redundant, and now the new job. I have had an *insane* 12 months. The last three months have mostly been incredibly positive, and even with setbacks like the Redundancy, I eventually came out ahead.

I told J-Bean that things are looking up, and that things have been really great this year, something I reiterated to Husband a bit later in the evening. 2017 has mostly been a good year for me, and I think the Journey was absolutely and utterly needed for me in this time in my life. I am glad that I began this, and I am focusing as much as I am on it.

And with that, I will let you go. Enjoy your day, and talk to you soon!

 

The Journey: changing modes

This week has been another plateau week. I tend to not post as much when I am on a plateau because I am usually starting to low key worry about numbers, and such.

This week was no different.

When I hit a plateau, I often will look at my diet, my exercise, and what is going on in order to figure out if this is a temporary thing, or my new normal. This week, I started going through what could change.

  • I am walking further (and faster) every day. Today, I did 5.5kms in 56 minutes (9:50 per km) which has me really pumped. While I hate running, I do enjoy walking, and if I can get to 6kms under an hour, I would be ecstatic.
  • I look at my water consumption. Currently, I have been drinking about 2 liters a day.
  • Food. I am currently eating one “big meal” a day, and I may have something “small” once a day.
    • By a “big meal”, I mean somewhere in the realm of 200 grams of food, mostly protein.
    • by “small” I mean like 20-60 grams of nuts, or 150 grams of Yogurt.

So, I look at this, and I go, “alright, how can I not be losing weight, and on some days, it seems like I am retaining weight? Since last week, I went from 123.7kgs, to 125.8kgs yesterday morning.

Thinking that maybe my diet (which is right now, mostly chicken) may be throwing it off, so while I still have frozen chicken in the freezer, after that is done, I will switch to something a bit leaner, or a different protein. At lunch yesterday, I decided to have a “big meal” and things were good. Drinking my water, all good. In the evening, I found I was hungry again, an despite my weight worry, had a second “big meal” (again Chicken, need to get that stuff out!)

This morning, I got up, got dressed, and took my walk. After coming home and a shower, I weighed myself. I am dreading the number that I am about to see.

124.3 kgs

*blink, blink*

I ate twice my normal amount and I lost over a kilo in a day.

I step off the scale, walk around, let it reset, and I try again.

124.3 kgs.

*Motherfucker*

This is the tough part. There is information everywhere. Everyone has their opinion on the idea of “starvation mode” or why you are not losing weight, and it can be a bit unrelenting on what to do. I shouldn’t eat more, and end up losing more. I mean, everyone runs by the adage of “Calories in, Calories out” and the fact that I am still under 1k in calories a day and walking 5kms a day should mean I should be losing weight. As someone who wants to look to science for the best answer, the answer is still murky. I am likely not in starvation mode, but I am likely not eating enough protein, and I may need to start lifting weights. Maybe there will be a lot more chicken in my future…

As this is a work in progress, I will have to keep an eye on things. Also, with me committing to do the Milford Track this summer, I want to make sure that I am physically do it, and not go crazy.

So that has been my plateau week. I promise to not be so numbers heavy next time (I suspect a lot of talk about the Milford Track)

 

*Facepalm*

Today, the US Congress has agreed to a funding bill that will carry the country until September. They deal was struck between Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, and for the most part, the Democrats got what they wanted; more domestic spending, planned parenthood is funded, more science funding, and no Border Wall funding. (though border security funding was granted, but with a proviso it cannot be used for a wall)

The GOP got a working budget and an increase in military spending, though less than what the Administration was hoping for.

It is weird to see a bi-partisan agreement in this day and age. It is something I fully embrace and would love to see more of… and by the sounds of things… that may actually happen.

I have longed believed that neither party has the complete answer. Ideological bents on both sides of the spectrum can (and will) bring everything to a halt, forcing the middle to compromise and move forward. When I see this article about how the Democrats now have a way forward in thwarting Mr. Trump’s agenda, and their tactic is bipartisanship it makes me laugh.

The GOP is a party in name only. It cannot pass a budget in the House by themselves, they cannot pass a bill that will pass the Senate. They cannot even agree on a Healthcare Repeal, one that they voted lock step on over 30 times during Obama’s tenure as President. Ryan is incompetent as Speaker, and honestly, if he were to step down, I would have a hard time seeing who, if anyone, would want to replace him. The Party’s Whips can even agree on a bill together, let alone get everyone else on the plan.

And even the fabled “Hasert Rule” has been destroyed.

The issues the GOP has in the last couple of years have not gone away with a victory in the White House. The GOP’s issue is that they gerrymandered themselves into a situation where the ideological bent of their party became the purity test for everything. The House GOP is now a den of various factions that cannot agree with each other lest they lose their ideological purity and piss off their base.

And they have the Administration poking holes in the ship left, right, and center.

The Trump factor in this is almost comical. The GOP did better when they froze out their own leadership. By giving Mr. Trump nothing in the Budget, the GOP embarrassed him more than any Democrat could. They made him irrelevant, and appropriately, he was chucked a fit in response.

In many respects, this is inevitable. The office of the Presidency has become rather powerful in the last 20 years, with George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Executive Branch has gained a lot of power in its ability to move and shape government. This is not the first time we have had a strong executive branch, but with Trump’s incompetence on full display, and the fact that Congress literally ignored him to get the budget (which he signed btw) tells me that the Executive Branch’s power moving forward will take a nosedive. The Pendulum is swinging back, I just hope we can get a more functioning Congress. Let’s hope that this budget is a sign of things to come. If the Democrats can lead from the back, and it protects the health of people, then so be it. It will make their 2018 campaign better.

It feels like the adults got tired of fighting the kid who is screaming, and are letting him scream while they calmly talk about their days.

****

And on the Subject of Trump.

I haven’t posted very much this week because it feels that a lot of news revolves around him. The North Korea situation, China, Philippines, even France, it seems it has always a connection back to Trump, and it is annoying. With Trump’s first 100 days now history, he gave a few (what the media calls) “bizarre” interviews.

Firstly, they are not “Bizarre.” Trump is showing obvious signs that he is in way over his head, and that his incompetency is a feature of his Administration, not a bug. The Civil War comment

*Facepalm*

I want to continue, but I feel that *Facepalm* pretty much sums it up for me. Get the dunce out of the White House, please, before he breaks something, or starts a war because his feelings were hurt.

 

News Roundup: May 1

Good Morning, today is Monday, May 1 and here are the stories that interest me.

Programming Note: As I start a new job next week, I may be shifting the time of this post to the evening. (think of it like the evening news). It takes a bit for me to compile the right stories, and I want to do it justice. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Wikipedia has been block in Turkey, under the cover of a law that bans websites that are obscene or poses a threat to national security. The move came this weekend as almost 4,000 government workers were fired in the latest round of purges to consolidate power for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan after a failed coup attempt last year.

Commentary: The issue with this situation is that Turkey is vying for attention from several regional powers and the US. Russia, the EU, and the US want Turkey on its side, and Erdoğan wants to stay in power. Russia (and now the US) will turn a blind eye to his power grab, while the EU is the odd person out. The US needs Turkey’s airbases, and it seems like the current Administration is approving of his actions, and Russia needs access to the Mediterranean Sea, so they will not stand in Erdoğan’s way. Unfortunately, we are seeing the final stages of authoritarian takeover of Turkey.
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Teresa May and the Conservatives are maintaining a 11-13 point lead in the latest polls ahead of the June 8 election. While down from last week’s shock 25 point lead, the Conservatives still maintain a commanding lead over Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party and the smaller opposition parties within the UK. Prime Minister May has called for the snap election to maintain the mandate for Brexit negotiations.

Commentary: It is very hard to see Corbyn being able to manage a win in this situation, from his own party establishment fighting him, it is going to be a hard slog. I did think that last weeks 25 point lead as a little much, but as the election draws closer, I expect a further tightening. I suspect however that Conservatives are going to rue this election in the future, the crud of the party is starting to show, and while they can ride the nationalist wave a bit, at some point, they are going to have to stop blaming immigrants, and start solving the problems that were there long before immigration became an issue.
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The Ringleader in a Maple Syrup Heist has been sentenced to at least 8 years in Prison and a 9.4 Million dollar fine in Canada.  The man, Richard Vallières, was sentenced in court with the proviso that if he could not pay the fine, he would serve an extra 6 years. The heist happened in 2012 when Vallières and several others, stole 3,000 tones of syrup from the Quebec Maple Producers, the regulatory group that manages the supply and trade of maple syrup. An inspection lead to the discovery of an empty barrel of syrup, which lead to the wider discovery. Identified as the ringleader, Vallières has proclaimed his innocence, and he is fighting through appeal.