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      (NB: post by Mandos.) Recent events suggest that, whatever they may have originally thought, the Trump administration is in the process of being pulled back into the overall historical attractor of US policy regarding Russia.  The Russian establishment had made no secret of its preference for Trump and its belief that Trump was a person […]
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Morning Morning

Today is the start of Carnival in Venice. I’ve been to Italy twice but never to Venice. As we head into Mardi Gras and Valentine’s Day, here’s bit of morning harmony to transport us. This is Anna Netrebko and Elina Garanca with the Prague Philharmonic singing Barcarolle from Tales of Hoffman by Offenbach. The title is Belle nuit, o nuit d’amour or Beautiful night, oh night of love. Lovely no matter when you hear it. 

Rise and shine. 

Trump voters need to face reality. 

It’s not that he doesn’t want to change the country and make you love him. It’s that he’s simply incapable of doing it. 

According to this post at Politico, Trump is having a hard time adjusting to the demands of the position. For example: 

Trump often asks simple questions about policies, proposals and personnel. And, when discussions get bogged down in details, the president has been known to quickly change the subject — to “seem in control at all times,” one senior government official said — or direct questions about details to his chief strategist Steve Bannon, his son-in-law Jared Kushner or House Speaker Paul Ryan. Trump has privately expressed disbelief over the ability of judges, bureaucrats or lawmakers to delay — or even stop — him from filling positions and implementing policies.

Ahh, yes, the “baffle them with bulls%^*” maneuver. I’ve seen that in many a presentation by someone who clearly doesn’t know his stuff. 

The White House is leaking like a sieve, staffers’ morale is at an all time low and there are a series of palace intrigues going on since the inauguration. 

If this is how he runs his businesses no wonder he’s been bankrupt more than once. 

And now he’s threatening to make some changes to keep us safe. I already feel safe. Crime is at an all time low, terrorism isn’t likely to take out a city and I’m not worried about illegal aliens raping and pillaging because, as far as I know, that doesn’t actually happen. 

Anyway, what’s wrong with the Patriot Act except for absolutely everything? 

He’s starting to round up illegal aliens as well. This week, ICE has stepped up its efforts with “unusual intensity”: 

U.S. immigration authorities launched a series of raids, traffic stops and checkpoints in at least half a dozen states across the country on Thursday and Friday, sweeping up an unknown number of undocumented immigrants, immigration lawyers and advocates said.

The raids, which appeared to target scores of undocumented immigrants, including those without criminal records, mark the first largescale episode of immigration enforcement inside the United States since President Trump’s Jan. 26 order to crack down on the estimated 11 million immigrants living here illegally.
It also appeared to signal a departure from the Obama administration’s prioritized immigration enforcement against criminals. Trump has pledged to deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants. 

[…]

Gillian Christensen, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), confirmed that ICE agents this week had raided homes and workplaces in Atlanta, the Los Angeles area and two other cities that she declined to identify, as part of “routine” immigration enforcement actions. ICE does not use the term raids.

But immigration activists said Friday that they had documented ICE raids of unusual intensity in the last 48 hours in Vista, Pomona and Compton, Calif.; Austin, Dallas, and Pflugerville, Texas; Alexandria and Annandale, Va.; Charlotte and Burlington, N.C.; Plant City, Fla.; the Hudson Valley region of New York; and Wichita, Kan.

There were also reports of ICE checkpoints, targeting immigrants for random ID checks, in North Carolina and in Austin.

Wait til the media starts showing videos of sobbing children as their parents are hauled away in the middle of the night. 

Can we get any colder, more callous and less forgiving as a country?

It ain’t pretty, people. His house of cards is starting to look very shaky.

Snow falling 

4I woke up to snow this morning. The street outside wasn’t plowed. I live on a hill. Thank god for anti-lock brakes.

Pittsburgh has many beautiful city parks and I wish I could be in one of them today, walking in the soft quiet snow, taking pictures.

And coming back to a warm room and a pile of books.

What do we know today that we didn’t know two days ago?

medium_9016253998-21Raise your hand if anything that has happened in the last couple of days has surprised or shocked you.  Betsy DeVos was going to be confirmed. The scorecard was predictive. The only useful power that the VP has is to cast a tie breaking vote. Would the GOP really confirm an unpopular cabinet nominee along party lines in spite of so much opposition from their voters? Of course it would. These are the same Republicans who would shut down the government and threaten its credit rating in order to throw red meat to their “Christian” conservative constituents who wanted to put a silver bullet through Planned Parenthood.

And making Elizabeth Warren sit down and shut the fuck up was a twofer. They got to disrespect Coretta Scott King and Warren at the same time. They were probably just waiting for the opportunity to do it, sharpening their knives for the day when they could humiliate Warren and tell a woman to know her place. It doesn’t matter if they finally gave in on the letter. That wasn’t the point. Defanging Warren was the point.

They really are that shameless.

For the next two years, they can do whatever they want. We’ve known this since the day after the election. That feeling of dread we all had in the run up to Trump’s inauguration? It’s all been justified.

Getting angry with righteous indignation will only get you so far. And if they know they can push our buttons, they’ll keep doing it like a rat on cocaine pushing the lever over and over again.

These are not nice people. They’re Stanford prison experiment guards with sunglasses people. The problem is that no one is going to stop this experiment early. It’s going to go on until at least November 2018. There will be no halt to the daily humiliations, the long term devastations, the collaborations with the Trump White House that are intended to keep us off balance and infuriated. They are teaching us learned helplessness.

Are we going to let them do that to us?

Don’t get mad. Get even.

“Come, you spirits

That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood.
Stop up the access and passage to remorse,
That no compunctious visitings of nature
Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between
The effect and it! Come to my woman’s breasts,
And take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers,
Wherever in your sightless substances
You wait on nature’s mischief. Come, thick night,
And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,
That my keen knife see not the wound it makes,
Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark
To cry “Hold, hold!”
– Macbeth, William Shakespeare
Show no mercy.

******************************************

Thanks to all of you who sent me messages and little gifts of music and I Ching yesterday. It lifted my spirits. I worked off my sleep deficit last night.

Fierce 

I woke up fierce this morning. Couldn’t sleep. I was thinking of a podcast I’d been listening to and my mind started clicking. More on the podcast later. 

This past weekend was the 40th anniversary of Go Your Own Way. So I put it on and felt suddenly young again. 

Got dressed. Significantly thinner now than in December. Wore a new sweater dress that’s a bit clingy. Still feeling pretty good. 

Got off the bus, earbuds screening me from everything but the jangling sound of Lindsay Buckingham’s guitar. I picked up the beat, walking down Liberty Avenue with my black leather jacket open to cool me down, having a good hair day. Sun’s coming up. It’s dawn. I’m looking forward to the rest of the day from the soles of my boots to the top of all 5 feet 9 inches of me. 

Got into work, still rocking in the elevator and swung down my corridor of IT geeks feeling my cheerios like Gisele Bundchen. 

Reached into my bag for my laptop, Stevie and Lindsay still yearning in my head only to find….

I left my laptop on my dining room table. 

Sigh. 

Back on the bus feeling stupid. 

Maybe if I listen to it again…

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuit- Revisited. 

The Washington Post ran a series of articles analyzing the Women’s March and Sister Marches trying to determine if the protest has staying power. But what about the reason we marched in the first place?  

2016 was the second time I campaigned for Hillary Clinton and lost. Both times were very painful experiences. The scenario is all too familiar. Her male opponent gets the prize while she wins the popular vote in both cases. 

This time we were so close. I started the day convinced that the next day, I would walk a little taller and that I could trust Clinton to steer the ship back into the future. 

What I didn’t get is why so many women didn’t see it that way. Why was the best candidate we ever had defeated by the worst who just happened to have a penis?  The other day, I reread The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuit that made me notorious back in 2008 and while the outcome didn’t turn out like I’d planned, I’m more optimistic now that it won’t be just women who will get the next Hillary or Kirsten or Tammy to the White House. Hillary’s strong popular vote win included many male voters, some of whom I canvassed, who were impressed by her credentials and intelligence. 

Yes, it still hurts. But this post channels something about our experience as women that gets to the heart of why we march. 

Disclaimer: I’m not into nail maintenance or Cosmos and I could only get through one chapter of Rebecca Wells’ first ya-ya book. The snark is strong in this one. 

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pantsuit

Posted on January 19, 2008 by riverdaughter | Edit

There I was on Thursday night, letting my Sandstone Pearl toenails dry while I reread one of Rebecca Wells Ya-ya books and trying to decide whether to watch Steel Magnolias or Terms of Endearment on the DVD, when I heard a familiar voice coming from the background noise of the Democratic Presidential Debate that I use to relax.”Campbell”, it said.Hmmm, there was something very knowing and mysterious about that voice. So, I backed up the DVR and replayed it.

There was Hillary Clinton in her light gray tweedy jacket and asbestos pants (and great makeup, by the way) gently chiding the gravid Campbell Brown.And it suddenly occurred to me: Karl Rove must be sweating big time. It will be so much harder to suppress the female voters than the African-American voters. Someone might notice. 

I mean, sure Campbell Brown is married to former Iraq CPA official, Dan Senor. Sure, she’s bought into the Villager cocktail party circuit, where they are no doubt planning her baby shower complete with Peg Perego stroller with a mini-bar, reclining seat and internet connection for the little tyke.

But when Hillary said, “Campbell”, we women instantly recognized the voice of authority of the high priestess reminding the backslid acolyte of her obligations to her sex. (Note to self: buy new candles for the altar and perform the rites tonight in the nude.)

I sipped my Cosmo pensively. I’m very concerned about Tweety. He will be so exorcised over this in the next week that if he doesn’t speak fast enough, he will surely drown in his own spit. The “He Man Women Haters Club” has no place for an upstart girl who will want to come in and reupholster the chairs in a Laura Ashley floral. There is no room in the tree house.

But Tweety has nothing to fear, really.

No, just because every woman can remember some time in her life when she was given a little less attention than the boys in math class or got less praise than Raymond C. Persic in Organic Chemistry (Nyah-Nyah, scored higher than you on the ACS exam), that doesn’t mean anything.

Or all of the times when our ex-boyfriends and ex-husbands called us “bitch” and “c$^t” when we dared to assert our rights. Or the times that our bosses gave the one raise in the department to a guy with a newborn- year after year after year, there’s no reason to think we might want to level the playing field.

Or the fathers who preferred our brother’s company after we became adolescents. Or all of the family members who told us we could never succeed in science or medicine or law because we were the first in our families to want to go to college and it was too much money to spend on a girl who was probably going to get married anyway, perish the thought of righteous indignation.

Or the husbands who questioned our expenses, by saying, “What did you spend your allowance on anyway?!” (You women my mother’s age know what I’m talking about.) Or just because of the men who said, “*I* make the money, I make the rules!”, we are not looking for a champion.

Or the church elders who chastised our skirt lengths while we were going through a growth spurt, simultaneously staring at our shapely calves and thighs. Or the priests and bishops and fundamentalists who condemned us to hell for having SEX out of WEDLOCK while setting the terms of that wedlock to be perpetual obedience to our husbands, does not mean that we have any expectation that a manly God will exact justice on our behalf.

No, Tweety, you have nothing to worry about. Do not be troubled that we might want to exercise a little authority, assert our rights, seek vengeance or see one of our own, who seems to know what the fuck she’s doing, succeed to the most powerful position on earth.

It’s not like Hillary Clinton is a personification of a pagan moon goddess who is going to re-establish our supremacy through some matriarchal social system, even if that did kinda work out for us. Ha-ha-ha!, that is so silly of you. I mean, there’s no reason to vote for her because she’s a girl

No, that would be petty and anachronistic and un-Christian and speaks of gender identity politics and that is soooo outre. We aren’t out to settle the score for the millenia of mistreatment and disrespect. Perish the thought!

Then again, I did detect a little glisten in Campbell’s eye. Just a little one. I saw it. And if I’m right about these things, Dan will completely miss it as Campbell gently kisses him on the lips and pinches the baby’s cheek just before she steps into that voting booth next year to worship at the Temple of the Sisterhood. 

{{facepalm}}

I’ve been in denial for several weeks because I knew that “President Trump” would be a two word combinination  that was going to provoke a gag response every time I had to say it. 

But it really hit me this morning just how bad the next X number of days are going to be when I saw this from Colbert. 

It’s not that he has no experience. Smart people can learn on the job. It’s not that he’s a Republican. I never thought I’d actually miss the Bush years, as bad as they were. We survived them. The constitution pretty much remained intact and the government hummed along. 

No, this is different. 

This is a sickening feeling brought on by the man’s complete incompatibility with the position, his inability to grow into it, and the incongruity of reconciliation between what is in his head and what he desperately needs to see is important. 

There is no better man in there waiting to get out. He really is as small as he looks. His heart will not grow five sizes plus two. 

He is just that bad – Another five words no one wants to say or admit. 

Denial time is over. No more daydreaming and distractions. Going to a huddle tonight.