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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

More on shitholegate

A window into what went down at the infamous immigration meeting, from The Washington Post: Inside the tense, profane White House meeting on immigration. It should come as no surprise to those who read the article that General Kelly was instrumental in the argument *against* allowing people from "shithole" countries to immigrate.

Monday, January 15, 2018

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day ...

- President Obama at the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial

In this nightmare era of Trump, it's hard to remember that there was once a time when leaders tried to bring people together instead of pitting them against each other ...

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Merit-based immigration?

Trump's merit-based immigration policy is *not* what America is supposed to be about. Our actions haven't always matched out ideals, but we do have ideals ...

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

From the poem The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, which was used to raise money for the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty rests. The whole poem is engraved on a bronze plaque inside the pedestal.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Some music for Saturday

From JD Souther, 'You're Only Lonely' ...

Friday, January 12, 2018

Trump is a Tulpa

Are any of you guys fans of The X-Files? If so, maybe you'll remember a past episode in which Mulder and Scully encounter a Tulpa, a thought-form, a monster created from the beliefs of others. I want us to keep this creature in mind as we discuss Trump's latest horrible utterance about 'shithole' countries ...

Trump's animus towards the people from 'shithole' countries can come as no surprise. It's awful, yes, but anyone who has watched his campaign rallies before the election or who has been paying attention since then to his many racist remarks - who can forget his defense of the neo-nazis of Charlottesville - already knows Trump is a racist.

As disturbing as this is ... and I find it obscene the way Republicans have danced around this fact ... there is something else that is just as disturbing. That thing is that Trump is only president because he was voted for by people who like his racism, people who share it.

Trump is a kind of creation, an assemblage of the beliefs of Republican voters, an avatar to go forth into the world for them and make their beliefs manifest. And let's not pretend that those beliefs sprout from the righteous financial worries of the 'forgotten man'. Those beliefs are grown in contempt for the other people and the very world around us - they result in the desire to punish the poor, to keep women in their place, to use the environment as just a consumable product, to exclude racial/ethnic minorities, etc.

We can and should try to hold Trump accountable for what he says and does, try to get rid of him. But we have to own up to the fact that he is not some lone malefactor that we can eventually banish to make everything better. We have to face the fact that perhaps a third of our voters - Trump's base - have brought the Trump monster to life with their own deep beliefs, and they will not be as easy to make disappear.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Trump on immigration

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to African countries and Haiti. He then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries like Norway, whose prime minister he met yesterday. - Esquire

The Republicans' "stable genius" is an open racist ... they must be so proud.

More from Rachel Maddow ...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mark Felt and Watergate

This week's DVD rental is Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House ...

a 2017 American biographical spy thriller film directed and written by Peter Landesman, based on the 2006 autobiography of FBI agent Mark Felt .... The film depicts how Felt became an anonymous source ("Deep Throat") for reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, and helped them in the investigation which led them to the Watergate scandal. The film stars Liam Neeson, Diane Lane, Tony Goldwyn, and Maika Monroe.

Here's a trailer ...

The movie is pretty interesting because it gives the other side of the story of the investigation into Watergate than the film All the President's Men. What's eerie is the way it seems to foreshadow what's happening right now ... a president eyeball deep in a corruption conspiracy and warping the DOJ and the FBI in order to cover that up. Here's the beginning of a review from The New Yorker ...

“Mark Felt,” the Movie, and Donald Trump, the President

“Follow the money.” These are the words most closely associated with Deep Throat, Bob Woodward’s famous Watergate source, as memorably portrayed by Hal Holbrook in the movie version of “All the President’s Men.” As it happens, the phrase never appears in the book of that title, in which Woodward and Carl Bernstein chronicled their Washington Post investigations, and it is not spoken in a new movie, “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House,” about the real-life person who was Deep Throat, which opens this Friday. But Felt’s sentiment, if not his exact words—about the central role that money often plays in political scandals—strikes a resonant chord at a time when the nation is confronting another crisis of political legitimacy.

Felt, who was the deputy associate director of the F.B.I., died, at the age of ninety-five, in 2008, three years after confirming his identity as Deep Throat, a secret that Woodward and Bernstein had kept for more than three decades. In the new movie, Liam Neeson plays Felt with a kind of lugubrious sincerity. He’s an unhappy man, beset by professional and personal woes, and he makes his secret alliance with Woodward for reasons that are both admirable and vengeful. (Felt is appalled by Watergate, but he’s also bitter that he was passed over for the directorship of the F.B.I., following the death of his boss, J. Edgar Hoover, in 1972.) The follow-the-money sentiment refers to Felt’s instruction to Woodward to examine how the Watergate burglary was financed. Who paid the five men who broke into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate complex on June 17, 1972? Who paid for their lawyers after they were caught? Woodward learned that the money came from Nixon campaign contributors and people associated with the Committee for the Reëlection of the President (the notorious CREEP) ....

The movie didn't do well on the Tomatometer but if you're interested in Watergate stuff or simply like Liam Neeson :) you may find it worth a watch, as I did.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Dianne Feinstein releases the transcript

Today my Senator from California and a member of the Senate Judicially Committee, Dianne Feinstein, released the transcript of the committee's interview with Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS, the company that hired British agent Christopher Steele to look into Trump and Russia. She did this because Republicans on the committee had refused to make the interview public and had instead recommended that the DOJ charge Steele with some crime, all in order to protect Trump.

More from The New York Times - Democratic Senator Releases Transcript of Interview with Dossier Firm

And more on all this from Rachel Maddow ...

Read the transcript here.

My Senator is scrappy :) So eat that, Grassley and Graham!

If Trump talks to Mueller ...

We've all seen in the news that Trump's lawyers are negotiating terms under which Trump may speak in an interview to Mueller ... Initial talks underway about Trump interview in Mueller Russia probe. Today I came upon an interesting Twitter thread retweeted by Mark Hamill that explains step by step what this all means. Read the whole thing here.

'Surely heaven waits for you'

I've found that Wikipedia has pages for every year of music, with all the albums/songs released in that year. I've been going back and forth, finding stuff here and there - it helps distract me from all my worries, at least for a while :) Here's what I found today: Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas ...

Carry on my wayward son
For there'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond the illusion
I was soaring ever higher, but I flew too high
Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I'm dreaming, I can hear them say

Carry on my wayward son
For there'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know
On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about I'm like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune, but I hear the voices say

Carry on my wayward son
For there'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Carry on, you will always remember
Carry on, nothing equals the splendor
Now your life's no longer empty
Surely heaven waits for you

Carry on my wayward son
For there'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Monday, January 08, 2018

More about Fire and Fury

Here's a really interesting interview with Michael Wolff about his Trump book, Fire and Fury, on Morning Joe ...

Sunday, January 07, 2018

One year on

Steve Bannon apologises for what he said in the book about Trump, because his wealthy donor, the conservative Mercer family, is cutting him off in revenge. PS, the White House is portraying Bannon's words in the book as vindictive, but the information in the book was gathered long before Bannon was ever fired, while he was in good standing at the WH.

Meanwhile, the FBI's second in command, Andy McCabe prepares to retire at age 49 after being under constant attack from Trump, as the newly Trump-appointed head of the FBI leads two investigations against Trump's former political rival, Hillary Clinton.

Oh, and the Senate and the House committees investigating Russian involvement in our elections, run by Republicans, want to criminally investigate the British agent who alerted the FBI to possible problems in the first place - yep, Grassley and Graham have been quite busy kissing their master's ass.

This is what it's like to live in a dictatorship, where a wealthy leader, surrounded by his generals, tries to delegitimize the free press, muzzle dissent, and have his political opponents jailed, while stacking the courts and subverting the justice system. It only took a year.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Some music for Saturday

From Supertramp, The Logical Song ...

Thursday, January 04, 2018

No offshore drilling

- helping a turtle covered in oil after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

California offshore drilling could be expanded for the first time since 1984 under federal leasing proposal

Don't let Trump and Zinke screw up our coasts .... Tell Congress: Stop President Trump's Dangerous New Offshore Drilling Agenda

Fire and Fury

Much in the news today about the upcoming book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by journalist Michael Wolff. The Wikipedia page linked to give the basic info on it, and here's a first excerpt from the book in New York magazine: Donald Trump Didn’t Want to Be President. Especially interesting about the book - Steve Bannon believes Trump colluded. Here's something from Rachel Maddow on the book ...

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Trump's "button"

This is what the presidency has come to ... an unhinged old man making assertions about his "junk" while we teeter on the brink of nuclear war.

Republican, this is on you for caring more about being in power than about the fate of the whole effing world.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Pets are good for you

On the PBS NewsHour tonight there was a segment about how a study from Sweden shows that dogs (and I think all pets) can help people live longer, especially people like me who are alone ...

My numerous cats come with a lot of baggage, but I am so much less lonely now that they are here.

Monday, January 01, 2018

California legalizes dope

- From A Separate Reality

As of today, Recreational Pot Is Officially Legal in California

I was in high school and college during the years when drug use was both prevalent and illegal. Many people at school used drugs, including me, and marijuana was one of them. I wanted to fit in, but also to discover the secrets of the universe, à la The Doors of Perception and The Teachings of Don Juan. I didn't, and by the time I had finished school, I was finished with drugs too. Wonder hoe this new law is going to work out.