Category Archives: Society

Problems with technology and other idiocy.

And Now?

Stonewalled by Trump, out numbered by McConnell, we’re staring Defeat in the face. If only there was a Democrat in the race for President who could realistically defeat Trump in November 2020. Since it worked the first time, he will undoubtedly cheat again somehow. Yet that is all that’s left. After Iowa, that’s not a very appealing idea.

Bernie Sanders strikes me as another angry old man, his “socialist” proposals like pie in the sky idealism. Biden appears to be a ghost of himself, not at all the “savior” he was promoted to be. Mayor Pete seems so far to be smart and likeable, but his life style may be a turnoff for many, and Elizabeth Warren may remind too many of the school teacher she used to be. The Democrats are a diverse lot. but all those folks are white. Why didn’t Harris and Booker gain enough support to stay in the race? Castro would have been an excellent candidate with party support. The party lost its chance to display its diversity, and to give its voters a real choice.

How is it fair for the Socialist to run as a Democrat? Doesn’t he pull funds and support away from the other candidates? I really don’t want to see Amy or Chang chewed up by lying, cheating, dirty player Trump.

So much for Friday Gloom.

Now What?

The House is done with its presentation. It’s the President’s turn.

Back in October, I pulled the following, and called it the Age of Shamelessnes:

In the Age of Shamelessness, you cover all your bases in defense: we didn’t do it, fake news, but even if we did do it, it’s not a crime, OK we did it, but everybody does it and we do it all the time. You can even backtrack to saying it didn’t happen after saying you do it all the time. It can be Fake News and Totally Normal, Nothing to See Here all at once. Because the truth doesn’t actually matter. Language and rhetoric are hammers you use to bludgeon the various enemies until they stop fighting back. Trump’s Republican allies will soon enough be saying that withholding military aid until a foreign power ratfucks your political opponent so you can win an election is good and smart. Also, it never happened.

This is the Alice-down-the-Rabbit-Hole Republican fantasy world we are living in. The attempted shake down of a weaker needy nation which may indeed have failed because it came to public light, is none the less the crime of attempted bribery, and therefore impeachable.

The attack by the “Mafia Don” in the Whitehouse

In the memorandum, Trump says to Zelensky, “I would like you to find out
what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say
CrowdStrike… I guess you have one of your wealthy people… The server,
they say Ukraine has it.”

Buzzfeed on this subject:

… for CrowdStrike to make its way into the
president’s conversation with a foreign leader — and to be subject of
mainstream news articles (like the one you’re reading right now) — is
vindication of a yearslong conspiracy theory. Here’s how CrowdStrike
bubbled up from the online sludge and into the mouth of the American
president — and may become part of the impeachment investigations.

2016, the Democratic National Committee hired CrowdStrike, which is
based in Sunnyvale, California, to investigate a breach into their
servers. The cybersecurity firm concluded that Russian government–backed
hackers compromised the network, rejecting the idea that the hack was
instead carried out by a lone wolf hacker named “Guccifer 2.0.”

CrowdStrike outlined their initial findings in a June 2016 blog post: “We
observed the two Russian espionage groups compromise the same systems
and engage separately in the theft of identical credentials.”

But the minute CrowdStrike released that conclusion — a full report came in December 2016
— they became a character in a sprawling online conspiracy, which
sought to debunk the Russians’ involvement. After BuzzFeed News reported on the findings, hyperpartisan website Breitbart raised concerns, based on CrowdStrike’s financial ties with Google.

That planted the seeds of doubt.

most commonly used 4chan archive, 4plebs, which doesn’t include
everything due to threads 404ing and disappearing, lists March 2017 as the earliest mention of CrowdStrike on the site.

did /pol/ spin the whole Trump under FBI investigation and the FBI and
DoJ saying that Obama didn’t wiretap Trump,” one user asks.

user responds with a timeline titled “Russia could not have been the
source of leaked Democrat emails released by Wikileaks. Please read.”
The user writes, “[The DNC’s] entire narrative around Russia has been
fictionalized with the help of the CrowdStrike private cybersecurity company.”True? Fantasy? Wishful thinking? There’s more, and it gets wierder and wierder. See the Buzzfeed piece.

There’s something about using the Internet that seems to make some people who might be lovers of casual gossip in their own neighborhoods dig for the slightest crumb that fits their preconceived idea of a dog-eat-dog world of chaos where the only certainly is that the rest of the world is “out to get them”. It turns people mean and vicious. It’s not just the Internet, either, although its reputation for bestowing anonymity on users certainly encourages nasty talk.
Question from listening to Trump’s lawyers: Does the House have to pass an enabling resolution before beginning an impeachment inquiry? This info from Wikipedia appears to say “yes”, but that goes against what’s said in the Congressional Research Service report of October 2015. their answer is “no”.
We are throwing away our freedom, our democracy, if we continue to allow the Republicans and Trump to do whatever they want no matter the legalities, the cruelties to the weak and needy, or the real risk of ending up as the 4th Reich.
I want whatever protesters are standing around in Washington to confront each and every Republican Senator with the one word “SHAME!”.

American Meanness

It’s time to start making a list of all the mean, hurtful, callous things the Trump administration has done. (is doing)

The Wall and its family separations, shutting out refugees
The picking away at benefits for Health Care, Social Security, tax breaks, tarriff wars that only other Americans pay for.
Closing of Planned Parenthood clinics in some states – punishing women? For what? For being women?
Voter restrictions. Gerrymandering. For the benefit of the mean Republican minority.
Neglect of the First Responders to 9/11

Concentration/Internment camps. No one should be offended at the terms used by Ocasio-Cortez and others. The “camps” that the Trump administration is establishing are similar in many ways to those horrors of history that people point to. Jewish people who seem to want to be the world’s most suffering victims, enclose the Palestinians in Gaza and make their lives as miserable as possible. The people of Japanese origin here in the US who were interned here during WWII suffered many of the same injustices as the people from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. There are camps of uprooted people in many countries around the world. The name we give these places doesn’t make the inhumanity inflicted on the occupants any better. Think of Burma, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, Kenya, and other countries in Africa. Think of Europe and the swarms from Africa and arab countries into their “migrant spaces“. To take offense at the use of a word as a name for something illegal and cruel is to trivialize both the illegality and the cruelty of the actual place(s). Human beings are not always the “nice” people we wish they were, and we are now in what seems to be an excdedingly mean period.

Americans have been “mean” since our beginnings. Indian tribes, slavery, anti “otherism” against those of oriental background. Essentially, we’ve been Trumpian foreever. We just haven’t been quite so blatantly mean as now, and sometimes we have shown a generosity toward others that allowed us to make a myth about how wonderful we are.


If he had a even hint of Honor and/or Decemcy in him, he would withdraw his name from consideration. So much for that expensive Catholic to Yale education! what happened to the the “Values” that were to be instilled? Will the Supreme Court become the place to get your legal “tangles” fixed? Trump’s get-out-of-jail card?

For the sake of the Court and the balanced administration of justice, this screamer/crier hysterical should never be allowed to preside or participate in judgements of his fellow citizens. I would be willing to bet that the Judge still drinks to excess. Looking at his wife’s sad face during his diatribe, makes it possible to believe that he remains a “mean drunk” even though that could be my own wishful thinking based on my experience with alcoholics.

Traitor in the White House?

A photo that seems to me to sum up Helsinki.


From the Washington Post Worldview July 19, 2018. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Putin looking like the cat who swallowed the canary with Trump who looks like the kid who just got chewed out in the principal’s office, busily searching his brain for excuses to tell his parents about his bad behavior.

Good grief, America! What have we done to ourselves, our USA? There is no doubt we have let ourselves be taken in by a con man who has no interest at heart but his own, who has been so twisted by reliance on the fringes of right-wing conspiratorial political thought that he could think of selling us out to our firmest of enemies. I suppose that he does not recognize the possibility that his behavior could have that result, but what, exactly, is he thinking?

I wrote that just after the disaster in Helsinki. My gut reaction to Trump now seems to have roots I have known about for a long time, but haven’t researched in any organized way. Today I came across an article in the Smithsonian by Sasha Isenberg that reminded me of the long history of the fundamentalist right in the USA with all the conspiracy theories and religious zealotry. It reminds me that Trump is not an aberration, but a continuation of line of political-religious fever that’s been part of this country practically since the beginning.
Trump’s rallies have a lot in common with the descriptions of camp meetings in Elmer Gantry by Sinclair Lewis.

One small detail from Isenberg’s article gives food for reflection. Hargis and Walker did their tour in 1963.

Walker arrived back in Dallas on April 8 to a
home filled with drifts of fan mail and financial contributions. Two
nights later he was sitting at a desk in his study, working on his
income-tax return, when a bullet shattered his window and lodged in a
wall just behind him, spraying metal shards into his arm. He grabbed his
gun and went outside to look for the shooter, but found no one.

… It would take months for Walker to learn the identity of his would-be assassin: Lee Harvey Oswald.

Irony of ironies.

Go read Main Street and Elmer Gantry and find what we now call Trumpism buried in our roots.

What’s fair?

I am trying hard to figure this out: why Trump has so many believers. 90% of Republicans!?

Another factor that seems to be driving

up support is a sense that no one is acknowledging Mr. Trump’s
successes, which they see as manifold, historic and irrefutable.

see,” said John Westling, 70, of Princeton, Minn., reciting a list of
the president’s accomplishments that he said no one in the media wants
to talk about. “Economy booming, check. Unemployment down, check. Border
security being addressed, check. Possible end to the Korean War that
started when I was 3 years old, 68 years ago, check.”

Economy booming? At least the stock market has been until he toughened his trade wars. Unemployment is down, but wasn’t it going down already under Obama? Border security being addressed. Really? Locking up toddlers? Internment camps for their parents? End to Korean War? Where’s the signed document that says that? The lies and bullying insults? Wishful thinking that all that fake glam is real? What do they really think about the undermining of the rule law?

I have to admit that I was offended when MSNBC made fun of Trump winning the return of soldiers lost in Korea. Maybe their parents are no longer living, but they would still (and did) have other relatives who are and who were grateful Sometimes the talking heads go too far. Melania’s jacket. So what!


Lots of talk about civility today. Do we even know what the word means? If we mean in-your-face nasty politics, that began a long time ago. Anyone remember the Tea Party rallies during the elections of 1999 and 2003? Sarah Palin? Lots of racial animus as an undertone then, but with the posters and yellings then we were pointed in the direction we have reached today. Trump just makes it all worse. If civility is as the dictionary says, formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech, I’m not sure we ever had it here in our United States politics. It seems more like something out of one of those English movies about Parliamentary history. If we knew more about our own history, we might remember the battles of earlier years when members of Congress threatened eachother with sticks, and duels between members were not uncommon.

The NPR program 1A Wednesday morning had a discussion on “civility” which I came in on the end of. One of the women, Christine Fair, seemed to support civility except when racism or her status as a woman were called into question. There, it seems to me, is the problem. People called names, asked to leave restaurants, denied a wedding cake or other service because of another person’s “deeply held beliefs” seem to have brought this on, at least among “liberals”.

Haven’t we been listening to childish name calling and meanness from the White House for the last year? Why the sudden hand-wringing about civility now? Does it do anyone any good to get in someone else’s face, because you disagree? What good does it do you to ask Ms. Sanders to leave your restaurant, to shout at diners in another restaurant, to call Stephen Miller a facist? Does it make Ms. Waters a better person? Will such behavior do anything to change people like Sanders and Miller or Trump?

Ms. Fair seemd to think that our very democracy was in danger of being destroyed, but she didn’t have the civility herself not to keep talking over the host, Joshua Johnson when he was trying to get her to stop. Yes, our democracy is in danger, but should we get down in the mud with Trump and his supporters. It seems far more important to do all we can to elect people who support democratic institutions and rule.

What threatens our democracy more is the retirement of Justice Kennedy giving Trump another chance to appoint a justice who will continue the assault on some of our freedoms.

And after several days, I’m still chewing on this topic. When has being civil gotten us anywhere? Civility didn’t halt the lynching of black people, the internment of Japanese, the slaughter and displacement of native Americans or the Chinese expulsion. At this point, Trump and his followers will probably see civility on the part of his opponents as weakness, and ratchet up the ugliness even more as Trey Gowdy and jim Jordan did yesterday in the Rosenstein hearings.

Take a look at this article in the Times, and reflect. Trump’s incivility seems to have gotten him elected. And if you’re still very down in the dumps about the future, read this.

Children as pawns


We now know that this particular child was not taken from her mother, but it doesn’t really matter. The symbolism of the photo is what matters expressing as it does the harsh cruelty of what Trump is doing with the migrants on the border. The cover should become the premier statement of the Presidency of Trump.

They say that the policy of separating parents and children is no longer in effect. If that is true, why is this 9-year old still in custody while his Mom is free? At least, she was able to locate him, but only from a chance conversation with another parent.

There was a time when the Trump admin incompetence seemed amusing. Not any more. No one, least of a a child, should be put through the terrors that incompetence and confusion have condemned them to.


In the New Republic, Jeet Heer says:

If  “zero tolerance” was suspended, it is only as a stop-gap measure. It does nothing to address the problem of family reunification for those already separated by the policy. Further, it is a temporary
measure which could be reversed once the administration has more resources in place to enact a renewed “zero tolerance” push. But the
larger story is that the White House has no real policy and different factions are making up rules willy-nilly.

In other words, those children and parents who have already been separated may have little or no chance of being reunited. Trump didn’t really back down. He just tweaked his cruel policy a bit in an effort to get the photos off the TV screens. Maybe Melania can show him that what he sees on Fox News is not true (no child actors).

I hope the photographers and reporters will continue to hunt down the sites where kids are being kept and manage somehow to show us what happens inside. When will we be able to see the inside of the facility those little girls arrived at last night in New York? Are they still there? Or have they been moved again? If so, where are they?

Bret Stephens thinks that Republicans have lost their moral sense (did they ever have one?). He also thinks we need immigrants. The space is waiting. The jobs are waiting. The demographics of an aging population tell us of our need.


If anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools, then opposition to immigration is the conservatism of morons. It mistakes identity for virtue, entitlement for merit, geographic place for moral value.

The Bully Backs Down ?

Finally, Trump has signed an order (according to the Washington Post) to keep border crossing families together – to stop tearing small children and babies from their parents. That takes care of what happens right away. I wonder how they will get the children they’ve detained back together with their parents, for our government is now responsible for seeing to it. What if parents have already been deported? Will DHS search El Salvador for them? Or will they set up some fancy phone system that will not work well and the moms from the highland towns without even spanish won’t understand.

Thank goodness Trump is sensitive to media coverage! But keep the pressure on. We still have the 2,000 or so children who need to be reunited with their parents and who are already scattered over the Texas and Florida landscapes. Did he really think he could trade interned kids for his wall?

Details. Will the kids now be detained by ICE with their parents? And if so how much difference is there? Ice can only detain for 20 days. Are we back to GPS anklets in the surrounding communities? From the New York Times:

“There is no system whatsoever to track these family separations, no

efforts systematically to reunite these families,” Mr. Enriquez said.
“There is no supervisor, there is no database saying, ‘child here,
parent there,’ so they can come back together.”