Friday, October 19, 2018

never compromise with the mystery tramp

     About a week ago Tom Nichols, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, wrote an article for The Atlantic --

[excerpt 1]

-------------------- I spent nearly 40 years as a Republican, a relationship that began when I joined a revitalized GOP that saw itself not as a victim but as the vehicle for lifting America out of the wreckage of the 1970s, defeating the Soviet Union, and extending human freedom at home and abroad. ---------------

[excerpt 2]

---------------- But whatever my concerns about liberals, the true authoritarian muscle is now being flexed by the GOP, in a kind of buzzy, steroidal McCarthyism that lacks even anti-communism as a central organizing principle.  

The Republican Party, which controls all three branches of government and yet is addicted to whining about its own victimhood, is now the party of situational ethics and moral relativism in the name of winning at all costs.

So I'm out.  The Trumpers and the hucksters and the consultants and the hangers-on, like a colony of bees that exist only to sting and die, have swarmed together in a dangerous but suicidal cloud, and when that mindless hive finally extinguishes itself in a blaze of venom, there will be nothing left. ------------------------- [end, excerpts / Nichols article, 2018]


[Hunter Thompson, 1973, excerpt] ---------------------- How long, O Lord . . . How long?  Where will it end?  The only possible good that can come of this wretched campaign is the ever-increasing likelihood that it will cause the Democratic Party to self-destruct.  A lot of people are seriously  worried about this, but I am not one of them.  

I have never been much of a Party Man myself. . . and the more I learn about the realities of national politics, the more I'm convinced that the Democratic Party is an atavistic endeavor -- more an Obstacle than a Vehicle -- and that there is really no hope of accomplishing anything genuinely new or different in American politics until the Democratic Party is done away with.



Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"to be hopeful in bad times"

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any."

~ Alice Walker, American novelist and poet


headlines today

 Trump Jumps to the Defense of Saudi Arabia in Khashoggi Case

----------------- President Trump accused Saudi Arabia's critics of presuming guilt, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi leaders in Riyadh to help defuse a crisis.

The New York Times

^   Biden says Trump "seems to have a love affair with autocrats"

CBS News

^   Newport Beach surgeon charged with drugging and raping 5 more women

The Los Angeles Times

 Officer to kids:  'I could've killed you'

CNN News

^   2018 Midterms Projected to be Most Expensive on Record

------------------- Center for Responsive Politics says total to hit $5 billion

Bloomberg News

^   Chief Justice Roberts Tells Audience Supreme Court Will Work for 'One Nation'

----------------- Roberts says history shows the court has made great decisions when it doesn't yield to political pressures or passions.

NPR News / national

^   Author Alice Walker:  Trump Has 'Inferiority Complex,' Envied Obama


^   Pompeo says Saudi Arabia determined to 'get to the bottom' of writer's disappearance

NBC News

^   Fracking / Protesters walk free after court quashes 'excessive' sentences

The Guardian-UK

^   US requests Khashoggi 'murder' tape

BBC News


"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect)."

~ Mark Twain, American writer, 1835 - 1910


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

...the more you're slip slidin' away...

At the presidential level, there is a mismatch between the talents needed for campaigning and the skills needed for governing.  Political amateurism in the White House is one product of a primary system that rewards anti-Washington showmanship more than it does a proven capacity to forge the coalitions necessary to govern.

The Power Game:  How Washington Works, by Hedrick Smith.  Random House (New York).  1988.

     ^^  Now, with two miscreants sitting on the Supreme Court 

instead of only one, the Court loses some of the trust which we, the people, have given them in the past.  In his book, The Power Game, Hedrick Smith wrote that power is like mercury -- it slips and slides around.  It can be one place, and then if it's pressured, it can slip/zip over to another place.  One person or group of people forfeits power by misuse, or some other reason, and then another person or group picks up the power and starts using it.

     Kavanaugh is not all Trump's fault, this president was advised on who to nominate, probably by such corporate-funded organizations as the Heritage Foundation and the Federalist-something, and he took their advice, to move the high court further to what political people call "the right."

     One looks at Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh and wonders, Why can't conservatives find candidates for these positions who do not have narcissistic boundary issues?

     Another idea:  besides reading one serious news article every day, to keep up and be aware of what's happening in our country and in the world, I think  maybe we as American citizens have to keep track of Supreme Court cases and decisions, too.  

I used to never think about the Supreme Court because in our society you tend to just believe they will do a good job and you ignore them and concentrate on your own life and work and priorities (and delights).  

But now it seems like we need to increase our awareness of what's going on, pay attention, and participate.  (Like the advice you always hear about traveling, or being in a strange city:  Be aware of your surroundings.)  We Americans sat back and relaxed, and tuned out ("I never pay attention to politics"), and now look what we've got....  

     I have to find out, What's the best way to keep up with the Supreme Court business.  

Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

...A source with actual information, not 8 billion websites that say EVERY DECISION THE SUPREME COURT MAKES IS GREAT!, "balanced" with 8 billion websites that say EVERY DECISION THE SUPREME COURT MAKES STINKS!  

Those kinds of sites that just try to wind us up and make us mad are propaganda, not legitimate information.  So I have to try to find a good source.  (I'm not reading 8 billion websites...).


     Contemplating the mercurial nature of power -- slipping and sliding -- reminds us of a very good song:

Type in

Slip Slidin' Away, Paul Simon

and turn it up!


Monday, October 15, 2018

the nearer your destination...

     On You Tube, I saw a video about people from the United States and Great Britain who have moved to Mexico and formed what the reporter called "an expat community."  

("Expat" is short for the word expatriate, which means a person who lives outside their native country.  I first heard of the word expatriate when I was in college, reading a biography of F. Scott Fitzgerald.  In the 1920s, Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and other writers and artists left America to live and work in Paris, France, for a while.  

They traveled around Europe too, I think, but Paris was sort of their home base.  That was right after World War I.  Although they didn't call it World War One then, because no one knew there would be another world war in 20 years.  I think they called the first one The Great War.  Not "great" as in fabulous, but "great" as in huge and terrible.)

     If I remember correctly the Fitzgerald biography I was reading was The Far Side of Paradise, by Arthur Mizener.  The title played off of This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald's first novel, published in 1920.  One of the other students in the dormitory asked me which class I was reading the Mizener book for; it wasn't for any of my classes, I was just reading it.  It was kind of like in the summer after, I think, sixth grade, my family took vacation time at a cottage by Lake Erie. 

 And I was typing out a mystery book that I wrote, using my dad's Smith Corona manual typewriter, "hunting & pecking" with two fingers.  

My cousin Eddie and one of his friends were there one day, and the friend asked me if I was writing the book for school.  And I had to answer No, I was just writing it.  He thought I was a little crazy to do homework that wasn't assigned, in the summertime.  He didn't say I was crazy, but I picked up a feeling that that's what he was thinking.  (Maybe it was the way he slowly backed out of the room -- LOL, not really...)

     Anyway, the "expats" who live in this one community in Mexico were interviewed on this You Tube video -- they say they like living there because it's more peaceful and friendly, and there's more of a positive attitude than in the U.S.  (And the British people say the same thing, comparing it to their countries of origin.)  

One American guy said, "Every time we go back to the United States to visit, there's another shooting."  

They showed some people doing some local entertainment -- an audience watching children onstage singing a song from The Sound of Music.  They talked about the food -- lots of locally grown organic vegetables and fruits.  It showed someone cooking outdoors, laying out banana slices on top of a tortilla or something....

     A couple of different people interviewed in the film remarked that in Mexico the highest value is "Family."  I picked up on that, because a friend of mine who used to be in the state legislature back in the '80s recently made an observation about the Hispanic population which our town now has, and did not have in the past.  He said, "One thing I notice with those people, they are very big on family."

     ^^  Reading one serious news article per day.  Since I recommended that for other people, thought must do so myself.  Last week I was reading my Serious Article -- a story in the New York Times about false information being spread over the Internet (Facebook and Twitter), to try to influence our upcoming election.  

It was not a very long article, and it was interesting, but partway through I wanted to check this Cat Blog I like.  I wanted to see and be delighted by the beautiful kitties.

     The news article was not delighting me.

     But then I remembered the advice I typed for other people, here on this blog, and said to myself, No, I can look at the cat blog later.  First, serious news story.  Salad before sherbet.

     Today I selected a serious news story and read it.  It was B.S.!  Some guy who left his job at Instagram -- the headline implied that something was amiss at Instagram/Facebook, and that's why he left, but then he skirted around that topic in the article.  No real information.  (Well -- a hint, and then you just had to guess.  [Don't tell me Mr. Zuckerberg is a jerk...!?])  All bun and no hamburger.  That was on CNBC News.



Friday, October 12, 2018

Avalon, my home town, always on my mind

     Reading about bluesman Mississippi John Hurt (1893-1966), you learn that a record collector found Hurt by listening to the song "Avalon Blues," a.k.a. "Avalon, My Home Town."  

     He looks it up, (not on the Internet, back then)... and locates the musician.  Like an underground detective.

     Find a town named "Avalon," like the song, in the state of "Mississippi" since that's part of the guy's stage name...

     That image stays in my memory.  Finding someone by studying a song.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Keith Richards For President



U.S. Senate bipartisan leadership