Sunday, September 17, 2017

"They" Were Happy

My high school class had a mini-reunion yesterday, fried chicken and barbeque and sweet tea, with desserts from home. I live at the far western edge of the Research Triangle, so far that just past me the area code changes, probably to the great delight of the town fathers, who dream only of the good old days when there were textile and furniture factories, and a huge dog food plant smack in the middle of town. I punched in the coordinates of the reunion into Mr. Garmin and set off, caramel cake on the front seat beside me. It was an interesting tour of the sprawl, for in fact we have become, in the "Triangle," yet another Philadelphia. The Garmin took me in a sensible transit, on the diagonal, across the whole thing, with many roads included that I'd not been near for decades. I got to the destination within minutes of the prediction Garmin made at the outset! Bravo. The visit was fun, the food was great. I left kinda early as I also had a cake for my recouperating sister. Garmin once again got me out of the labyrinth and on to sis's place, which is on yet another extremity of the great sprawl, she picked the NW quadrant some decades back, where I'd picked the SW. Driving back home in the late afternoon, I was going mostly south, through hay fields and silage and fat cattle. I didn't need the Garmn for that leg.

So I got up this morning to check all the sites I check, it's actually a strategy to turn on my brain, and there's coffee involved I must tell you. Also a modest load of dishes in the sink to do. And here I find this article, right off the bat:

There is a pattern, a long-term trend. It's happened in Michigan recently, with the assault on city government in Detroit. It's happened here in NC, with the assault on city government in Charlotte and more generally. The "locals" are not to write rules about pay floors, or about bathrooms. Republicans view Democrats these days as merely representatives of the clamoring masses, aiming in one way or another to toss spanners into the spokes of industry. Democrats will not be quiet and let the system eventually provide its bounty in "appropriate" measure. "Why not just raise the minimum wage to $50.00 an hour?" they ask.

It's Sunday. After I finish up the dishes I might watch a little football, although there is a NASCAR race, and my man Kyle Busch might well win it. So the masters entertain us all, and we are not to notice that Mr. Kaepernick does not take the field again this Sunday, and very little will be said about the Administration's studied attempt this past week to pick off one of the critics whom they at least perceived to be amongst the weakest--a young black woman in the employ of a muddled sports network that had already fired a right wing jock loudmouth for ridiculing the transgendered, a class of Americans which seems to be, by Republican doctrine, the designated scapegoats of the era.

This is how they roll. The battle for sanity and compassion is endless. There's a blog I need to read sometime called "WTF is it now?" This is why now and again somebody decides to just say "fuck it" and punch Richard Spencer in the face while he's being interviewed. No, it ain't fair. But as the fine article in the link points out, on the other side there are alleged scholars who write paeons to colonialism which omit all reference to atrocities carried out in the name of the rulers. And in the early '60s the sainted conservative writer William F.Buckley, Jr.,, who is supposed in the Myth of William F. Buckley, Jr., to have driven all the Birchers plumb out of the Movement, not to mention driving the snakes out of Eire, argued on Public Television that of course the South was right to suppress the black vote.

Marcy Wheeler makes a good point today as well.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Jemele Hill

We finally got our internet back. The one that works, and doesn't stall out. Turns out it was a bad modem. Could have been much worse I think.

Yesterday I drove my sis home from a rehab center where she'd been for a couple of weeks, rehabbing a knee replacement. She's doing great, and it was a delight to see her so happy at the simple moment of walking into her own house again. She's a very determined person--trains dogs in agility skills if that tells you anything. I think she will make a full recovery, and she might even do the second knee, which is a tough choice after actually experiencing the first one.

The Trump reaction to the dreadful and ongoing hurricane tragedies is pathetic, no matter what some parts of the media say. Shilling his tax "plan" in the face of enormous aid demands from Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean US seems not only heartless, but plainly nonsensical, unless you entirely accept the Alice-in-Wonderland idea that all tax cuts yield even more government income, the great Laffer Curve scam Reagan perpetrated on the country in the early '80s. The tragedy in St. John, US VI, should humble anyone who can see beyond their own ego. I guess I should add, QED to that. It also seems like Pelosi and Schumer might should have just kept quiet after their little dinner with Mr. Trump. Why push him into the corner? The goal is to rescue some 800,000 real people from a US policy disaster. Let's get that done and worry later about who installed "amnesty" on whom.

From a great website, the conclusion to a good article on Trump's Charlottesville comments:

Finally, Trump said:

So this week, it’s Robert E. Lee, I noticed that Stonewall Jackson’s coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after. You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?

Wrong question: the proper question is: when does it start? When do we fully face our racist past? Looks to me as if we have started. We have started admitting what we should have admitted a long, long time ago: that our wonderful country has an ugly racist past and, worse, an ugly racist present. Some of us are dealing with it by removing Lee’s statue, It is happening fast. We have started with the traitors. Will we get around to Jefferson and Washington? Maybe. If we decide their own racism and enslavement of people means they don’t deserve a statue. That’s for us to decide and not for the racists and their allies, even if their allies are powerful media groups. Even if their allies are in the office of the President.

The sports pundit Jemele Hill was "repremanded" by her employer, ESPN, for asserting on air that Trump was a racist. ESPN was prompted to react to Hill, perhaps, by Sarah Sanders' assertion from her podium as White House Spokesman that Hill had committed a firing offense. By that logic, Trump should resign because of his support of Birtherism. Just sayin'.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Heck of a job, Brownie

This is who Mr. Trump pardoned, while hiding behind the likely worst hurricane disaster to ever strike the United States.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


We played a great house concert in a beautiful second-floor apartment located above one of the botiques that line that street mall in Charlottesville where the alt-right, white nationalist terrorist on Saturday drove his car into a crowd of pedestrians at about 50 mph, killed one and injuring many. We were there about three years ago. As the events unfolded I've found it hard to not stay riveted to the television. David Duke was up there.

Duke made a choice, many years ago. He's so desperate and needy, so limited in his notion of what his life might be, that he even came to where I live, little dying Siler City, NC, about two decades back. That visit was to try to start some sort of protest against the Mexicans and Central Americans who'd come here to work in the chicken processing plants. He found almost no support, and some opposition. The local guy who has wasted his life operating some sort of “white patriot” organization—when he's not pumping gas at his gas station—invited Duke. The visit came and went. A decade or so later the chicken processing companies for whatever reason decided to start moving their operations to other parts of the country and world. By then, many of the folks who came here to work had found somewhat better jobs, mostly small business things, or construction work. Their kids had gone to local schools, then college. The local high school had won a state championship in soccer. The saddest of the locals still dreamed of the return of the chicken plants, this time without the Mexicans. And Trump won the presidency.

Duke said on Saturday that it was his people, the Nazis and the Klan and the rest of them, the tiki-torch horde, that had won Trump his office. “We're taking the country back for him,” Duke said. The stormfront website thanked Trump for his laughable response to the Charlottesville murder. Trump on Saturday was as honest as he can manage, given that he has no sense of honesty at all and only views what he says as a means to some end or other. He was aiming at shifting the perspective to a general law and order one. He was hoping, and surely still hopes, to do some rounding up in the near future. The alt-right stooges are working to that end whether they know it or not, and Trump surely doesn't care if in the end he has to sacrifice a few of them to get at groups that continue to resist the drift into fascism and totalitarianism.

The Saturday statement was so at odds with the Charlottesville reality that it sank like a lead balloon. Finally Trump was actually forced, by his political counselors, to make some alterations in a second statement on Monday, the 14th. You could see his distaste for the effort. Some pundit said he looked like a hostage giving a staged press release. And he was. And he did not like it. When Mr. Trump doesn't like something, he immediately pouts and throws a tantrum. Before he could leave his own press conference he was not able to resist attacking the “fake news” press.

You couldn't write this any better, and in fact it might be critiqued as too unsubtle to be believable. The statement was supposed to be about a person who was murdered in a terrorist act perpetrated by a white nationalist. Before the ink was dry, the statement event was about Mr. Trump, and his continuing victimization by the so-called liberal press. The dead woman had vanished. Trump's apologists on the various news outlets were also hard at work reviving the both sides argument, and never mind that there was actual content at the center of the event: white nationalists and white supremacists and Nazis and the rest were there to start something, and people had decided that that sort of unAmerican sentiment was not going to be promulgated without some opposition.

The Republican party continues, mostly, to close ranks as soon as they can muster a bit of discretion. Senator Hatch's remarks were outstanding. “My brother died fighting the Nazis,” he said. A lot of people said that criticizing the Nazis was a political “no brainer.” It's just not where Mr. Trump lives. He believes he needs every Nazi vote to keep his base viable. And, judging by his record, he agrees pretty much with what the Nazis say. And then there's that transactional problem he has. There is film of him denouncing David Duke in 1999. In 2016 he'd never heard of Duke, and for months and months.

Nothing about Trump's beliefs and political positions should be a surprise at this point. If you're for him, you're for fascism and against American democracy. But it was rather poetic for Trump to be literally unable to convincingly say the words his handlers told him he had to say. He was quicker to denounce the black CEO who left his counsel of business leaders, by about 42 hours, and his denunciation was sharper. He still hasn't told David Duke and Richard Spencer to go fuck themselves.