• Tips gratefully accepted here. Thanks!:

  • Recent Comments

    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Winging it at Twitter
    Propertius on Winging it at Twitter
    Beata on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    riverdaughter on Winging it at Twitter
    Propertius on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    riverdaughter on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Ivory Bill Woodpecke… on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Isabel on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
    Seagrl on Happy Birthday to Me, Bit…
  • Categories


  • Tags

    abortion Add new tag Afghanistan Al Franken Anglachel Atrios bankers Barack Obama Bernie Sanders big pharma Bill Clinton cocktails Conflucians Say Dailykos Democratic Party Democrats Digby DNC Donald Trump Donna Brazile Economy Elizabeth Warren feminism Florida Fox News General Glenn Beck Glenn Greenwald Goldman Sachs health care Health Care Reform Hillary Clinton Howard Dean John Edwards John McCain Jon Corzine Karl Rove Matt Taibbi Media medicare Michelle Obama Michigan misogyny Mitt Romney Morning Edition Morning News Links Nancy Pelosi New Jersey news NO WE WON'T Obama Obamacare OccupyWallStreet occupy wall street Open thread Paul Krugman Politics Presidential Election 2008 PUMA racism Republicans research Sarah Palin sexism Single Payer snark Social Security Supreme Court Terry Gross Texas Tim Geithner unemployment Wall Street WikiLeaks women
  • Archives

  • History

    September 2022
    S M T W T F S
     123
    45678910
    11121314151617
    18192021222324
    252627282930  
  • RSS Paul Krugman: Conscience of a Liberal

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • The Confluence

    The Confluence

  • RSS Suburban Guerrilla

  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • Open Thread
      Use to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. Facebook Twitter WhatsApp LinkedIn
  • Top Posts

The Fool

I don’t know what else to call this post. The topic for today is why should we believe that the FBI planted evidence at Mar-A-Lago?

Yesterday, Judge Aileen Cannon once again demonstrated just how unfit she is for the office she holds by putting her thumb on the scales for Trump. Special Master, Judge Dearie, asked Trump to be specific about the documents that were collected at Mar-A-Lago on August 8, 2022. He wanted Trump to detail exactly which ones were declassified and what was taken from the residence. In other words, put up or shut up about whether the documents were declassified and inventory all of the items that were Trump’s and all the things on the inventory that were not Trump’s. The assertion that Trump is making is that some of the items recovered were not originally among the documents he took.

Judge Cannon said, “yeah, Trump doesn’t have to do that. AND we’re extending the deadline to sometime in December to get all Trump’s challenges heard. That drags this whole process out a lot longer. You’re welcome!”

There’s just one little problem with the new big lie that the FBI planted evidence at MAL (it’s too long to type it out with the hyphens. I’m going to the abbreviation from now on). This is the argument that I’ve heard from career prosecutors in espionage cases. It goes like this:

The documents that were recovered were so secret that some FBI agents aren’t even allowed to know about them. That makes them unuseable as evidence during trial. That’s right. You can’t present this evidence to a jury that doesn’t have the right level of security clearance.

So, recovery of TS/SCI documents from MAL is irrelevant from the prosecution standpoint. If the FBI was going to plant evidence, it wouldn’t be nuclear defense type stuff that requires compartmentalization and “need to know” stipulations. That would be foolish. It doesn’t help their case and they couldn’t bring an indictment because there would be no way to present the actual evidence. It would have been a colossal waste of time, money, resources etc etc etc. No evidence means no conviction. From what I understand, that’s not how DOJ works.

They’re not stupid.

We can only assume that Trump thinks his base are fools.

Only the dumbest f{#%s in America are going to believe that the FBI intentionally planted evidence at MAL that it can’t use.

If they’re going to prosecute, they’ll most likely use something lower down in the classification scheme as evidence and for that, it recovered 43 empty folders. It’s almost as if someone knew what could and couldn’t be used as evidence and got rid of the stuff that was the most prosecutable. I could be wrong about that because Trump doesn’t appear to be the smartest bulb in the pack. But he does have an uncanny knack for running out the clock. That’s why Judge Cannon is so handy.

Nevertheless, Dearie released those 100 secret and top secret documents to the FBI and they’re doing a criminal investigation. I guess we’ll see what they come up with. Hopefully they’ll have fingerprints and DNA traces and will know exactly who’s seen the secrets that no one should have been seeing. The actual contents might not be knowable but the illegal exposure? There’s probably something there or they wouldn’t bother.

Fortunately for the FBI, they didn’t have to plant anything. The Fool had it in his office for the last year and a half.

Once they’re in, you can’t vote them out

I rarely put clips from Maddow on this blog. She’s only on one day a week on Monday’s so we hear from her less frequently. MAGA Republicans don’t appreciate Maddow’s style. She reports the news by telling a story. These stories happen to be based on the historical record. As her narratives unfold, she picks up strands from history and current events and shows how we got to where we are. There’s nothing new under the sun when it comes to the nature of power. History repeats but people tend to forget. Sometimes, you have to touch the darkness before you can recognize the light. But wouldn’t it be nice, less deadly and costly if we could learn from the mistakes of others?

Last night was one of her best narratives. It centered around the election of Giorgia Meloni as Italy’s new prime minister (or is it president? So hard to keep these parliamentary democracies straight).

Meloni is a hard right politician with a strong nationalist streak like Victor Orban and Marine LePen. What makes Meloni unique is the direct descent of her party from Benito Mussolini’s Fascist party.

By the way, did you ever notice that when there’s a word that ties a negative concept to the Republican Party suddenly that word pops up everywhere? It’s like when you are a kid and you start thinking about a word and by saying it over and over and over again in different ways, it loses all meaning. I did that once to the word “door”. Interesting fallout from that. For the longest time, I had a hard time associating the word with the physical object. Eventually, I got over it but you know, experiments sometimes don’t turn out the way you think they will.

I’m pretty sure the Republican psyops masters do the same thing. They repeat a word in many different ways until it loses all meaning and that’s how they inoculate their audience so that the brain no longer responds to the concept. It’s my theory and I’m sticking with it. So even though the republicans are objectively and evidentially displaying strong fascist characteristics right now, the word has been played out and everybody is a fascist. Nevertheless, fascism is alive and well and we need to talk about what happens when they take over.

So I’m playing the clip from Maddow’s monologue last night. It’s worth it to watch the whole thing from start to finish. It’s about 20 minutes long and the images of Mussolini from WWII are chilling.

But about 2/3 of the way in, she starts to review what the fascists are really after. Why go through all this trouble? What’s the point of the “election integrity” shtick? What’s with the “Potemkin referendum” in the occupied areas of Ukraine? Why are elections meaningless in Hungary under Victor Orban? What are they up to?

The answer is that they want to pick their voters because once they are in power and elections become a pre-ordained formality, they can do what they want and you can never vote them out again. Once they are in office, they immediately set about to fix the system of government so that only their voters count and only they count the votes. Ladies and gentlemen of the American states, we are already about halfway there. They’re on a tear. If we are not careful, this election may be the last one that counts for a very long time.

And what would drive American fascists in the Republican Party to do this? Well, they never did like the New Deal. They were dead set against Social Security. Think about that. Why would they oppose giving workers security in their old age? What does that mean to laissez faire capitalism in a dog eat dog, everyone for themselves, put your thumb on the scale society when workers can always leave a job for another one without worrying too much about retirement? Same with Medicare.

Oh, they wouldn’t do that, would they? Sure they would. Look at what they did to 50 years of precedent on reproductive rights. Affirmative action is on the block. Who knows what else?

I’m a firm believer in capitalism but I want the rules to be fair so all of us can play without being screwed. I want our water to be clean. I want energy diversification. I want safe drugs and food. But all that regulation costs money and the way Republicans have been tearing through the regulatory state shows what their intent is. They don’t care what the rest of us want. And they will care even less when they make sure that votes no longer count.

Anyway, here’s the clip from Maddow last night. Pass it around:


I’m back! Thanks to everyone who contributed to my latte and margarita fund. The weather cooperated nicely though the boat started rocking on Wednesday as the waves generated by Fiona finally reached us. That made for an interesting trip up and downstairs as the boat rolled from side to side. It took me a couple days to lose my sea legs. So that was fun.

I’m thinking of a walking tour of the British isles for my next vacay. Is anyone interested in making this a party? Maybe next year? Mayish? Let me know.

The Welcome Escape of a Mystery

We will certainly get back to politics, and all the bad people out there trying to ruin things for everyone but themselves, very soon. I am glad that RD seems to be having a very nice vacation, which she more than deserves!

I just wanted to share a couple of mystery stories: a book from 1940, and a movie from 1948, that I had very recently read and seen again. The book is “Sad Cypress,” by Agatha Christie, one of her very best novels. The movie is “I Love Trouble,” certainly not a great noir film, but a very good one, with elements which make noir so much fun to watch. It was on Eddie Mueller’s weekly feature, “Noir Alley,” I had seen it before, but one can see a good noir over and over.

These two works are obviously different, from the two different genres of mystery. “Sad Cypress” is an absolutely elegantly plotted and written mystery novel of the British form, and the so-called “Golden Age of Mystery,” which may generally have been from 1930-1960. There were so many classic mysteries written during that period, so many fine writers. Of the British style of mystery., Agatha Christie was the very best, with dazzling plots and a very fluid and entertaining writing style.

Oh, she is not Graham Greene or Dickens or Emily Bronte, but Christie does not get enough credit for writing ability in my view. “Sad Cypress,” the title from a poem in Shakespeare’s play “Twelfth Night,” may be her best novel. It has a haunting quality, as if it took place in a distant era, though the characters are of the time. It features a very compelling leading character, Elinor Carlisle; and the novel begins with her being on trial for the murder of a young woman whom her longtime love, whom she was soon to be married to, had fallen in love with.

The chapters are interspersed with the testimony at her trial, as we learn the story. What makes this story so special, is that it could have been a novel without the mystery. Agatha wrote novels under the name Mary Westmacott, which I have not read, but which been favorably reviewed. And most of her mystery stories did have interesting human plots, the characters seem to matter.

This is the thing which distinguishes her, and the other great mystery writers, such as Ross Macdonald and P.D. James, from the more run-of-the-mill writers in this genre. The characters are not cut-out figures, just there to serve the mystery elements, the clues and surprises. Those are always fun, but a really good mystery is about people who seem real; and often one wants to know more about them after the story has ended, but of course you almost never do.

All of the characters in “Sad Cypress” are interesting, and well drawn. The story is in some sense a tragedy of a life which was not allowed to reach its potential, due to the evil of another. There is a happy ending; Agatha seemed to be a romantic at heart, and more than a few times created a well earned and happy result.

The thing that always impressed me so much about her writing, is that the climax, the solution, almost always seems psychologically understandable. She never seemed to be just tossing in an ending, trying to fool you with the least likely suspect, as some people who do not read many mysteries seem to think. The solution, the identity of the murderer, and his or her motivation, makes sense; and one does not feel manipulated or misled, though of course there are red herrings and misdirections.

If you like Christie’s mysteries, but have not read this one, you definitely should. It is a masterpiece. I read some review of screenwriter/director Rian Johnson’s high-grossing “Knives Out,” a movie which I hated. I will not risk boring you with where I thought the plot did not hold together, where characters acted in ways which did not make logical sense within the mystery. This reviewer said something about how Agatha Christie’s work does not measure up to the greatness of Johnson’s mystery, which made me want to yell loudly at him for such an idiotic perception. Johnson is a self-indulgent amateur who thinks he is far cleverer than he is. He said that he was influenced by such movies as “The Last of Sheila,” but that is a superb mystery movie, and “Knives Out” is a third-rate knockoff. So now he’s got another one, which I will never see, and I am sure it will make hundreds of millions. Read “Sad Cypress” instead.

As to the movie “I Love Trouble,” I am just writing about that because it was on the other night, and while it is not a classic, it is a lot of fun. It was written by a young Roy Huggins, who did a few more movies, then became famous for creating TV hits like “The Rockford Files,” “Maverick,” and “77 Sunset Strip.” This movie was from a novel he had written. It was directed by S. Sylvan Simon, who seemed to have much talent, but sadly died at a young age, from a heart attack.

The story is Chandleresque, and Eddie Mueller seems to think that Huggins was copying, but I know all of Chandler’s novels, and this was a different story, though certainly many writers wanted to emulate Chandler’s remarkable style. This movie involves a private detective in 1940’s Los Angeles, always such an evocative setting. He is played by Franchot Tone, whom I had not seen too much, but he is fine, though obviously not Bogart. He is first seen shadowing a woman in what looks like Mid-Wilshire, as part of an assignment working for an influential businessman.

The story thus has him going to various places, and meeting the kind of people who populate the noir landscape. The plot itself is quite circuitous, and I was left wondering about some of it at the end, but it made some sense, it was not just cobbled together. But the best part of the film is the forward pacing, it always moves ahead, and is never boring. The dialogue is quite clever at times, but never lapses into a cuteness which can grow tiresome. You want to see what will happen next.

Tone meets the apparent sister of the woman he is looking for, who is the wife of the businessman. She is played by a bright, charming, and even sexy Janet Blair. Their repartee has an innocence to it, underneath the wariness. He also meets Janis Carter, who I think should have been a big star; she was not only beautiful, but was excellent in the noir movies “Framed,” and “The Night Manager.” He also encounters Adele Jergens, and other attractive women who always seem to like him, but he is polite. And his assistant/secretary is played by Glenda Farrell, who starred in such roles, as the quick-thinking and wisecracking sidekick. Also, Sid Tomack was great as the former comedian Buster Buffin, who now runs a fish diner but is always looking for an angle.

Oh, and there is a great scene in a diner, where Tone is trying to find out something from the woman at the counter, who has a snooty New York accent, and refuses to tell him anything. He calls her Millie, because that is the name on her blouse, but she says that the woman who used to work there had that badge, and she took it. She says, “My friends call me Jackie.” He addresses her by that name, and she says again, “MY FRIENDS call me Jackie.” He says, “What shall I call you?” “Miss Phipps.” He then says that he bets that she has a certain piece of information. She says, what do you want to bet? He says, $5, and he hands her the bill. She looks at for a minute, puts it away, and says, “You lose.” A great scene, one of the treats which sometimes come up in a noir. The actress was Roseanne Murphy, and the scene is written and played beautifully.

The bad guys include John Ireland, always menacing in that role, and a very brief appearance by Raymond Burr. The print is not good (the one I got when I bought it, was worse), and the soundtrack is not good. But the movie is lot of fun, it is well acted, there is a mystery, and 1940’s Los Angeles atmosphere. It is definitely worth a watch if it shows up on TV.

What a classic British mystery novel, or a well done late-’40’s American noir movie offers, is escape. to a different milieu, a different time. Any good book or movie can do that, but I think that mysteries, if well written, and populated with interesting characters, can be particularly appealing in that regard, a very welcome respite from the anger and agenda which we hear more than enough of as we try to keep abreast of current events.

“Pet Peeves”

I remember that when I was starting junior high school, the school paper sometimes had a column, “Pet Peeves.” I don’t remember what was in there, and it didn’t run very long. Maybe things like people not throwing their trash in the baskets, or running too fast down the halls. Maybe more general things. I remembered the column, though, and of course the phrase was not original, it seemed to be from that general period.

There are all sorts of things which I might put into that category. I think most people have those. One shouldn’t let oneself get too angry at them, because they are just part of the way things are. (But they shouldn’t be!) And technology, with its concomitant lessening of personal treatment and individuality, has accentuated this. So I could probably write a book on them, except that by the time the book came out, there would be other ones. I will just indulge myself a bit by listing a few, some of which you might find amusing, or sympathize with.

Companies which have sought to save money by having voice mail systems installed, the goal of which is to avoid having to hire people to answer the calls, and so route the caller to the internet, or frustration and hanging up You have a question about a bill, or how to handle some matter with the company; and whereas at one time in the past, you would get an actual person who might try to help, now you get the inevitable recording, which is usually probably what they call a bot.

This recording of a real person or a bot, tries to get you to push other buttons; which if you do, will tell you to push other buttons. You are very lucky if you actually reach someone. And of course the question you had cannot be answered by the bot, because if it could, you wouldn’t be calling. So what could have been a ten-minute call turns into a half hour of pushing buttons, listening to stupid music play over and over, interspersed with ads for the company. “Did you know, that you can…?” “Have you tried our….?” For the sake of fairness, since they all do it, I will not mention the names of places which give me the choice of hanging up, or listening to fifteen minutes of ads before someone might answer, or you hang up anyway.

Large corporations’ endless search for more money, leading to them taking over the rights to various broadcasts, and forcing people to pay for them. For example, people had been able to watch Thursday Night NFL football on television. One had to have a cable package; mine is $145 a month, as it goes up every year, even though I really do not watch that much TV besides news and sports and TCM, and the station which shows noir films twice a week. But just to get TCM, I have to have the package which includes dozens of stations which I don’t want. The cable network, and they are a monopoly in any locale, knows what people like to watch, so they bundle those few stations with other ones, forcing someone who likes TCM to add $50 or so to the bill just to get it.

But the network which used to show the Thursday games, this year does not; it is now the property of Amazon Prime, which one has to join to see any of the games. Also, various Dodgers baseball games are now farmed to Apple TV. Some games are farmed to YouTube networks. The end result is what was predicted decades ago, that the consumer is going to be charged for virtually every program he wants to see. Squeeze them out of every cent, boys!

Rap music. Somehow someone decided that rap music must be played at intros to every game shown on TV. I do not like rap music at all, I don’t even think it is music, more like some kind of haranguing with a loud beat behind it. Yes, I know that some people love rap music, and that there is a cultural component, but it has become like a ritual; they have to play rap on the intros. I won’t mention the people who have their car windows open, their radios turned up as high as possible, blasting rap music out to anyone stuck at the light next to them.

Commercials in general, proliferating at an astronomical rate. I might write a whole essay on that sometime, but perhaps no more needs to be said, though the techniques of advertisers are interesting, if insidious in many cases.

The concept of “Influencers,” paid large sums to try to convince others to do what the payers want them to do.

The rapid decline in literate writing, particularly online. Oh, one does not expect great writing, but at least try to know what the words mean. Try to find more words than “hilarious,” “gonna,” “kinda,” “it’s genius.”Sometimes I think that they have a list of about thirty words, and thus must use them over and over.

“Race counting,” where almost nothing can be shown without some people adding up all the people of various races who are in it, and complaining. Diversity is a necessary value, but art is ruined or at least diluted when the focus is not on the story or dialogue, but about how diverse the cast is.

“No sauce, please.” I do not like sauce on foods, unless it is a light butter sauce, perhaps. Many do, which of course is fine. But try to tell someone at a restaurant, particularly if you are taking out a meal, not to put sauce on it or in the package. I emphasize it, in a polite way, and the person taking the order nods and repeats it–and inevitably the bag is filled with packets of sauces, some of which drip out. One has to look at everything before taking it, or else you are sure to find sauces in there. A corollary: do any of you like your hamburgers plain and dry? I do. I learned from a food server that you should say “plain and dry,” or else it doesn’t work. So I do it, but then they ask me, do I want this or that on it? I say no. Then they ask if I want this or that other thing. I say, ”No!” in a polite manner. And then sometimes they put it in anyway.

Well, those are just a few of my “pet peeves.” Do you have any to add to the list?

A Very Good Day

I could say that yesterday was a great day, but of course we’ve still got the midterms, and Russia threatening to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, and the hurricanes on Puerto Rico. and migrants being flown and dumped as “a big joke against the liberals.” Things never get all fixed. But in things related to Trump, it was quite good.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed a civil case against Trump, his three oldest children, and the Trump Organization, for fraud in the calculated inflating and deflating of the value of his assets, to defraud the IRS, banks and other institutions, and the general public. The suit will seek to shut down the company in New York, make it impossible for them to obtain any loans in New York. and additionally seeks $250 million in damages.

She also suggested the possibility of some body filing a criminal case against them. though she pointedly did not refer to the Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg, who has refused to file any criminal case, though he once again says that “the investigation is ongoing,” perhaps like O.J. Simpson’s “search for the real killers.”

Trump responded in very typical Hitlerian fashion, by calling James a racist who is allowing crime to flourish in New York City, and who is very unpopular and incompetent. This is his stock in trade, he never defends the accusations, he turns them into a rallying cry for his forces to destroy the person who is criticizing him, investigating him, or suing him.

What will be the result of this lawsuit is of course uncertain. The State of New York would need to convince a jury that Trump’s obvious misstatements of value were deliberate, and intended to defraud. It seems obvious to me.

Trump pleaded the Fifth Amendment 400 times in his deposition, and his son Eric pleaded it 500 times. Trump said in 2016, regarding Hillary Clinton staff who were brought before a Congressional Committee, and took the Fifth because they knew that if they said one thing the Committee didn’t like, or got one date or former address wrong, they would be charged with perjury, that “only the Mob takes the Fifth.”

There is immense evidence that Trump had been egregiously lying about his financial assets for his whole adult life; getting loans, and probably helping Russia launder money, while doing favors for him which he has been obliged to repay ever since. As to why Deutsche Bank continued to loan him money, that is a story in itself, but while one could ask why other banks in the past did not do more diligence in assessing property values, that doesn’t get him off the hook for lying about them. And there is undoubtedly a dark story about corruption from many quarters; the very rich helping each other, with the costs ultimately being paid by the non-rich.

Trump may hate AG James, but she is relentless, and the highly regarded investigative reporter David Farenthold praised the depth of her research in this matter. And some respected people suggest that this ultimately will mean the end of the Trump Organization. We will see, but I would not dispute that, even with all the history of Trump getting away with everything.

And then we just had a three-judge panel from the Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court, finding in a per curiam opinion, that various rulings by District Court Judge Cannon were wrong, and not supported by fact or logic. The essence of the opinion is that The DOJ can look at the hundred or so documents with classified markings that they found on Trump’s property, and continue their investigations. The Special Master does not need to deal with that issue, the Appeals Court decided it.

The only recourse Trump would have is to appeal to the Supreme Court, where he would very likely lose, even with those Justices, because Cannon’s rulings were disgraceful, she made up law as she went along. and somehow was contending that DOJ had the burden of proving the material was classified, even though Trump never actually claimed in filings that it was not classified, nor did he bring up any evidence to show that he declassified any of the documents. Plus, the panel held that the markings were a red herring, because it is the contents which are important, and Trump had no legal right to them. Of course, an appeal to the Supreme Court would buy Trump more time, so he could well do it.

This led to the inevitable moment of high, or low, comedy, where Trump said to Sean Hannity that he could declassify documents just by thinking about it. Yes, he said that. This is so megalomaniacally delusional, that it doesn’t even seem worth it to ask if he could then reclassify them five minutes later, in his version of “Red Light, Green Light,” or whether President Biden could do the same thing, or maybe did it five minutes after taking office? One does blanch even thinking about how this person became President. If he somehow does again, he will become Tyrant Emperor, executing people with a wave of his hand, or a thought.

The main thing, for now, is that DOJ can look at these documents, and try to somehow staunch the damage which Trump has done. And if DOJ does undertake a full investigation, as they seemed to be trying to do, Trump is going to be found guilty of various things. Some say that DOJ will let him escape if he accepts a bar from ever running again, but that would not at all be sufficient in my mind. This needs to be delved into in all its depths, even though there are things which DOJ would keep from the public.

When Trump has no other recourse, as with the redlining of rental applications made by Black people on property he owned, or with the fraud that was Trump University, he settles, or accepts a fine. He cannot get away with this again. He stole Classified and Top Secret documents from the government, kept them at his home, refused to give them back, lied about what he still had. And then course the darker questions as to why he took them, what he did with the information in them, what he was planning to do with any of the rest of it. Judge Cannon gave him a few weeks delay time, now hopefully the investigation can continue.

As with everything related to Trump, the result will not be known for perhaps a long time, and there is no assurance that justice will be done. But big steps were taken toward that end yesterday. And that is enough to make it a very good day, at least in that context.

Upon a painted ocean

Day after day, day after day, 
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

That image was taken just after Dawn from the back of the ship. If you’re wondering where the wake is, there isn’t one. We’re just drifting – intentionally. It’s a sea day.

Wake up song along the deck 12 running track:

The more I see, the less I know

Hey did you know you can work out on this ship? I got up at dawn and went to the fitness center for a two mile run. The view is amazing.

We are docked at Coco Cay. I’m having breakfast and my beach bag is packed. I slipped an orange and apple into it to munch later on a hammock on the beach. Ahhhh…

The weather is spectacular. Keep up the good work with the weather gods.

Here’s my new favorite song to add to my run playlist. Say Hey (I love you):

Once More Into the Breach

I watched more of the coverage of Queen Elizabeth: the ceremony, the mourning, the appreciation, and the funeral, in the last ten days, than I thought I would. I watched it on MSNBC, and a little on BBC. I am a big fan of Chris Jansing, who anchored much of MSNBC’s coverage. I don’t think there is anyone better than she at covering major events, so that was more of an impetus for me to watch. And so many good guest commentators from Britain, adding perspective and history, and a look forward.

Actually, I am going to miss the coverage. Not that it was not suffused with sadness, but it was still a nice change from what we will now go back to, which is coverage of all the bad people and things threatening our country and our democracy. Does anybody really want to see a picture, even with muted sound, of Trump glowering and shaking his fist in the air,? Hear Graham or McConnell or McCarthy with their propaganda which they make part of every sentence? Listen to more dire predictions about Democrats from people who would profit from being right about it?

Watching the enormous crowds in London and the rest of England, well-mannered and respectful; seeing and hearing the ceremonies, was rather encouraging, as we saw a nation which put other values over endless political rancor. There is something to be said about having a Constitutional Monarchy; which is not saying that I would want one here, though it would be nice to have someone of respect and some power, overarch the partisan politics, and the absolute evil, lies, inciting to riot, that comes from the Radical Right fascist theocrats who make up the Republican Party at all levels.

Of course, there have been bad monarchs, too. I know a fair amount of British history, though not at the level of the scholars. I was thinking that Queen Elizabeth II may well have been the best monarch they have ever had, though most of the rest of them were not very admirable . Her father, King George VI, was a decent man, and obviously she had a good role model in that regard. Of course she was not perfect, but taking into account the challenges she immediately faced, even while a girl while he was king; then her ascension at such a young age; her intelligence, general decency and kindness; appreciation for the ordinary working person; tact, almost unerring sense of how to handle things, she was incredible. And that is why she was, and will always be, loved by so many people.

The mourning is for her, and it is also a mourning for an Age which seems to have ended. Consider that she likely had met Franklin D. Roosevelt, and of course had known Churchill as a girl, and then worked so closely with him. For her to be alive and ruling, in her constitutional monarch way, was to somehow feel like things would be all right; she had helped to have gotten Britain and America through the storm, seen the defeat of Nazism and Fascism. I thought yesterday about how awful it would have been for her to see America possibly turn into what the two countries had given so much to defeat. If nothing else, we can try to honor her by continuing a fight which they thought had ended in 1945, but really never ends.

I am not English, I am not Christian or Anglican. But I still liked to feel that there were people in charge there who believed in humanity and democracy, and who had the background and sense of history to help it prevail. Queen Elizabeth will be profoundly missed.

As to the monarchy, that is a British issue. I don’t expect too much from Charles III, but maybe he will do decently, whatever that exactly means. At least he cares about fighting global warming, though of course he will have very limited power in that regard. It is said that Elizabeth’s daughter, Princess Anne, would have been the best heir, but the rules at that time did not allow for a woman to inherit the throne if there were a male sibling. This may be greatly regretted in that context. Then we have to wait for William and Kate, whom I like. Maybe George and Charlotte could help! Charlotte already knows all the protocols!

As to Harry and Meghan, I personally think that the focus of much of the media and public on them is not very useful. They left England to live in America, and Harry gave up his role as a ‘working royal.” No one kicked them out, the Queen wanted them to stay. They will get plenty of publicity here, but the monarchy goes on without them. I hope that the British press tones things down, out of respect for Queen Elizabeth. if nothing else.

We now go back to primaries to worry about, and corrupt judges, and literal nazis running for office, like the Republican candidate for Governor of Pennsylvania. A seemingly relentless onslaught, which we have to defend against. Queen Elizabeth, in her 90’s, still represented, and actually was, a foundation against those forces. Her spirit and example will always be there. But we will need others to step in, if we are going to preserve what her and her courageous father’s and husband’s life were dedicated to.

And for various people who are complaining on Twitter that this was a waste of time, they should have been covering the attempted fascist takeover, and had more about the hurricane which hit Florida, I understand the concern, but I don’t think that they realize that Queen Elizabeth II was one of the greatest public figures of the last hundred years; and that she represented far more than pomp or pageantry to the British people, while she and her family were an emblem of strength and steadfastness at a time when much of the world was filled with immense foreboding, not too much different than now..

And we’re off

We’re leaving murky Miami behind and there’s blue sky and sunshine ahead. Keep up those prayers to the weather gods to keep Fiona away.

Haven’t had my margarita yet but I think it’s time. Thanks to all of you for fueling my 5 days of idleness and dissipation.

This song sums it up for the last 10 years. Five o’clock could come soon enough.

Good night.

And away we go!

Now, if I can only get from Fort Lauderdale Airport to the Port of Miami without spending all my latte money on Uber…