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      There was a time when almost no one would have put forward anything like the below, today, guillotine references are routine. Today’s parents have forgotten that children’s play should teach them how to be responsible adults. pic.twitter.com/bGprm9rv09 — Will works for the working class (@ClassFirster) December 3, 2020 Back in the 2000s I spent a […]
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WTF does he mean??

Trump is having another covfefe moment. This time, he is planning a “Pittsburgh, not Paris” rally to celebrate getting out of the global climate accord. 

Really??

I don’t even know what that means. Clinton won Allegheny County by 14000 more votes in 2016 than Obama won it in 2012. Pittsburgh is NOT Trump Country. The collective IQ here is still pretty high. Most of us are literate. We don’t even need secret hand signals to identify ourselves. We can easily avoid the raving fanboys and sTrumpets who bore us to death from their portable tables in the mall.

The Trump supporters here are outnumbered. They just haven’t come to accept it and understand that we consider  their willful ignorance tedious.

Or does he mean that Pittsburgh circa 1960 will become the new model with all the pollution from the coal generated smoke and sandblasting that turned our air into a dirty chunky mess? Like this?  

Well, this is what happens when you never actually get out of your vehicle on the way to your pre-election rallies. The steel mills are mostly gone and Pittsburgh is a robotics and IT center these days with a well educated urban population. Oh sure, there are Trump people here who can’t be reasoned with but like I said, they are outnumbered. 

Pittsburgh belongs to the rest of us. Don’t drag our beautiful, clean city into your stupid fight with the rest of the planet, Donald. 

Well… It’s here

happy-new-year-2017-images-hdWho list his wealth and ease retain,
Himself let him unknown contain.
Press not too fast in at that gate
Where the return stands by disdain,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

Americans are spoiled. We haven’t had war pounding on our door for 150 years. If we want to engage in warfare, we have to join someone else’s war or create one of our own somewhere else. Yes, Yes, there was that whole Pearl Harbor thing but you know, it’s not the same when it happens halfway around the world.

Not that there’s going to be a war this year. Or at least not a new one. I hope.

It’s just to say that Americans don’t really know hardship. Well, SOME Americans know hardship rather well. They’ll probably adapt better than the rest of us. It helps to have been laid off in the Great Recession. That will give you a good perspective on things, like when’s the best time to plant your garden.

All this is to say that 2016, as awful as it was, is going to be nothing compared to 2017. In 2017, I expect to see a fire sale of the various working pieces of government as there is a rush to privatize absolutely everything. The Congressional Republicans will try to replace Medicare, which you have paid for all of your working life out of your salary, with scrip that you can only use at the company store for inflated prices.

The high mountains are blasted oft
When the low valley is mild and soft.
Fortune with Health stands at debate.
The fall is grievous from aloft.
And sure, circa Regna tonat.

I expect that they will also use generational warfare to stick a shiv deep into the thoracic cavity of Social Security. They will lie about how broke the program is. But it’s not broken if they raise the limit on the payroll tax. Simple, simple fix that will harm almost no one. That’s not how these people roll though. So expect them not to do the simple thing. Expect them to dismantle it piece by piece, giving the elderly Fox News crowd a temporary sense of false security.

There are surely some elderly out there on fixed benefits who use Medicare who are saying, “They would never do that. Why would they do that?! No one would put up with that.” It’s just INCONCEIVABLE that these paragons of Christian virtue would permanently vitiate your future or current retirement or medical benefits. You’re an American, after all. That kind of thing only happens in Greece.

I hate to break it to the Fox News contingent but the people you have been following probably don’t care about your suffering. They’re very good at deflecting blame. But they are in office for a reason. You voted them in or did nothing to prevent it. It’s a little like listening to the seductive whispers of the vampire. Once you invite them in, they get a little blood thirsty and the honeymoon is over.

These bloody days have broken my heart.
My lust, my youth did them depart,
And blind desire of estate.
Who hastes to climb seeks to revert.
Of truth, circa Regna tonat.

As for Obamacare, it was doomed when Obama and the Democrats went all soft and squishy on setting the cost of procedures and prescription drugs just like every other nation with an operating national health care system.

{{banging head on keyboard again and again and again}}

Ok, I’m better now. Where was I?

Who to blame? Well, I’m not going to blame myself or any of the GOTV people I worked with this year who were magnificent and dedicated and took their mission very seriously. I’m sure as hell not going to blame the candidate who performed so brilliantly at the debates that the fog of indecision lifted for millions of voters to such an extent that it had to be brought crashing down again quickly by a poisoned letter.

The bell tower showed me such sight
That in my head sticks day and night.
There did I learn out of a grate,
For all favour, glory, or might,
That yet circa Regna tonat.

There are several culprits in this whole bad thing coming our way. First, there was the unforgiveably long recession brought on by what appeared to be criminally negligent and fraudulent behavior on the part of the finance industry. We were crippled by that and the fact that when we needed the government to work on our behalf, it did a really half-assed job of it. Someone needed to get serious and courageous with the stimulus package. Someone didn’t.

Second, there is the media. There’s just no getting around it. I hope someone has a plan to deal with this problem. Because the good guys are not able to control the message.

Anyway, long winded rambling. We’ve heard it all before.

It only remains to be seen how brazen Trump is going to be. I think we can expect him to go up to the line and cross it – routinely. Expect palace intrigue, a survival of the fittest attitude at the White House as the wealthy and powerful discover with intense self-reflection that they are the most virtuous and deserving. This gives them the responsibility to take whatever they can get so it doesn’t fall into the hands of the unvirtuous and undeserving.

Regrettably, Trump’s supporters may find that without the requisite proof of their virtue, say, $100 Million or so, they will fall into the latter group.

The absence of attention at the top is only going to encourage the courtiers and advisors to fill the vacuum, probably by stepping on the metaphorically dead corpses of their colleagues.

What is bewildering is that we have seen this before and still ended up here. Don’t set your sights too high or climb the ladder too fast in the court of a volatile, self centered king.

By proof, I say, there did I learn:
Wit helpeth not defence too yerne,
Of innocency to plead or prate.
Bear low, therefore, give God the stern,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

Next time, if there is a meaningful next time, don’t sit at home on election day. Vote.

Circa Regna Tonat, “About the Throne the Thunder Roars”, Thomas Wyatt, 1536

GOTV Dry Run Weekend 1

cvylzyiueaezkwtHi guys,

I’m hosting the GOTV in my neighborhood. We are doing the dry run this weekend and next. If you have some time, you too can volunteer. We are looking for canvassers, van canvassers, phone bankers. Pick your degree of sedentariness. But if you are like me, you can work off the pounds by walking some neighborhoods. Here in Pittsburgh, we’ll give you some turf with some grades. What am I saying? Almost every turf has a grade.

Breaking News: Donald is feeling vengeful.  He just said this in Gettysburg:

“Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over”

You know what I call this?

Trump’s ground game.

He says something outrageous, the media covers it over and over again, his crowd gets all “fired up and ready to go”.

Do you want this man as your president? Well do you?

Damn straight you don’t.

Find a GOTV site, volunteer to canvass or phone bank, and let’s elect the person with the most practical experience, the most poise under pressure, the one with actual plans.

Let’s elect Hillary in a landslide.

Addendum: Canvassing really is useful. Two canvassers just returned to say that the people they were talking to in their turf did not know that their polling place had changed.

If you aren’t sure where your polling place is, you can check IWillVote.com.

 

 

The Cheese Stands Alone

wellesley-hrc-lake-waban2

Hillary Rodham, then, now, forever.

What’s in a name?

According to recent history, Hillary Rodham changed her name, the name she loved and was determined to keep since she was a child, in order to help her husband win re-election to be Governor of Arkansas. This article from The Atlantic explains why she did it:

When The New York Times profiled the newly-elected Governor Clinton, it noted that he “is married to an ardent feminist, Hillary Rodham, who will certainly be the first First Lady of Arkansas to keep her maiden name.” The Arkansas Democrat reported, “Despite the fact that she keeps her maiden name, the wife of Arkansas’s new governor, Bill Clinton, claims she’s really an old-fashioned girl.” (I’m indebted to Karen Blumenthal’s forthcoming biography for these anecdotes.) Clinton himself later told The New Yorker’s Connie Bruck, “Hillary told me she was nine years old when she decided she would keep her own name when she got married. It had nothing to do with the feminist movement or anything. She said, ‘I like my name. I was interested in my family. I didn’t want to give it up.’”

Bill Clinton lost reelection in 1980, but decided to run to reclaim his seat two years later. That’s when Hillary Rodham decided it was time to take on Bill’s name, to assist the effort. Here’s how Bill Clinton explained it to Bruck:

“When she came to me and said she wanted to change, I could see in her eyes that she had made the decision to do it. And I said, “I do not want you resenting me. I would a lot rather lose the election than lose you.” She said, “I’m not going anywhere.” I said, “I know, but I don’t want you to resent this for the rest of your life. You made this decision when you were a child. I like it. I approve of the decision. I don’t care about it.” And she said, “Look, Bill, we cannot—this is stupid! We shouldn’t lose the election over this issue. We shouldn’t run this risk. What if it’s one per cent of the vote? What if it’s two per cent? You might win or lose the election by two per cent.”

Two paths in a golden wood and she took the one most travelled by when it comes to names. Were it not for Bill’s re-election, we would be electing President Rodham this year. With the decision to change her name, she tied her fortunes to his.

And this points to what I think is the last barrier between women and the White House. No one who has acceded to the Oval Office has defined himself in terms of another person. Hillary has been associated with Bill Clinton as his wife as much as she has as senator, Secretary of State and presidential nominee. This is what the Republicans and Donald Trump are counting on.

It’s too late for Hillary to change her name back but it’s not too late to reclaim her identity as a person of merit, accomplishment and dignity upon whose shoulders we can rest the heavy weight of the burdens and responsibilities of the most powerful nation of the world.

When she becomes president, it will be she alone who will have the authority and power. hqdefaultTo break the last glass ceiling, she needs to define herself as her own person without reference to any man in her life.

She has the heart of a president, and a President of the United States too. This is the night to show it.

Sniff!

I know, I know, that’s not nice.

But it sure is funny.

We can’t wait for Saturday Night Live.

Poor Ivanka looked so embarrassed.

 

The Mother of All Debates

id-debate-2016Hi guys, I’ve got volunteers at my house phone banking! Did speed cleaning when I got home. Ikea bags are the best thing for cleaning- EVER.

Hope you have friends with you watching the debate. Well, we’re friends here, right? Tonight, I made a pot of chili, crock pot mac and cheese, a salad with red bell peppers, cucumbers, sliced avocado and tomatoes. We have green iced tea, diet iced tea, four flavors of seltzer, soda, a bottle of white wine and some ginever. Plus hummus, chips, crackers cheese. It looks like I’ll have leftovers for a week. And cookies!

I’m not going to give any pre-debate commentary. There’s been  plenty of stoopid commentary all day long. Most of it has to do with strategy, debate tactics, what Hillary has to do, (not sound like a school marm. Can we say offensive, boys and girls?). What Donald has to do (try to pay attention for 90 minutes.). Yadayadayada.

But if Hillary is out there, I would like to say that no matter what happens tonight, we know you are a winner and smart and experienced and honest and determined and unflagging. And we hope that the rest of the country who has never seen you debate before is as impressed with you as we are. No matter what happens tonight, we volunteers in PA have your back and are with you all the way to the end.

I won’t say Good Luck because luck favors a prepared mind and we know you are ready. So, have a good time.

Love Trumps Hate.

 

Righteous Indignation speaks to Asshole Idiot

Malcolm Gladwell has a new podcast called Revisionist History where he deconstructs what we think is how the world works. In his last episode of the podcast’s first season, The Satire Paradox, he explains why Jon Stewart packed it in last year and went off to become a hermit on his wife’s farm for rescued animals- satire doesn’t work.

This year, we’ve seen Stephen Colbert try to make the transition from satire to mainstream late night with mixed results. The other night, he connected. It wasn’t satire. No, it was something else. It sounded like Stephen turned out collective exasperation with Trump into something more like righteous indignation %^&*ing the lying asshole. He makes Donald look like an old, stupid conman and his supporters like a bunch of chumps. Trump’s going to lose his combover when he sees this. This is NOT satire. You can push a liberal too far:

 

 

Damn, that was good. I need a cigarette.

He’s going to have to go to Confession for that.

 

 

Stealing Iraq’s Oil is a War Crime

“Unlawful wanton destruction or appropriation of property” is considered a Grave Breach of the Geneva Convention.

If we invaded Iraq under the pretense of preventing the use of weapons of mass destruction, which as we all know now did not exist, and ended up taking its oil as Donald Trump says we should have done, at the very least, then the United States of America could have been tried in an International Criminal Court.

At the present time, we are the most threatening power on the planet. We should not be throwing our weight around to take another country’s property.

That’s not what we’re about, Donald.

Bad!

Update: I heard a general for Trump (there’s a club that I wouldn’t want membership in) say that Donald didn’t mean that we should steal the oil. No, he meant we should have left forces there to prevent the oil from falling into ISIS’s hands.

And that would almost make sense if Trump hadn’t said, “To the victor goes the spoils”. Sooo, there’s that.

Sounds like it could be the motto of his presidency. If he’s the victor, what is going to stop him from taking all the spoils of power?

 

Playing with my gadget; Watching Donald squirm; Adam Davidson

Some quick notes:

1.) The other day, I was looking for something in my secretary and found an old iPhone. I don’t even know how old it is. It’s probably been in that drawer since before I moved out of NJ to PA three years ago. There’s also an iPhone 5 in the bottom of my bag that I take to work with me. I haven’t used this since March but for some reason can’t bring myself to get rid of an expensive piece of equipment even though it’s unusable. (It’s broken).

The point is, we all have gadgets we haven’t used in awhile. We shouldn’t be surprised that Hillary went through a bunch of Blackberries. In fact, Blackberry always had a kludgy OS.  My daughter had one for awhile. I never liked it. Too many screens, too many layers of stuff to go through to get to what you want. But I’m sure you can make it work for you if you have a few hours to play with your gadget. If you’re Secretary of State, you probably don’t have that luxury. Instead, you might go through a few phones until you find the one that works for you and when they upgrade the OS, you have to relearn everything. In that case, 13 might make sense.

Some of them are probably in the bottom of Huda’s bag.

2.) OooooOOOoooo! Donald is now being asked about his birther history. He doesn’t want to talk about it. His surrogates are being asked about the pay-for-play deal he had with the AG of Florida Pam Bondi. But they don’t want to talk about it. One of his surrogates was pinned down on MSNBC and forced to talk about Donald’s taxes. They always start off talking to the host like they are sharing insider jokes about Hillary. I guess the media was all too willing to play along with that for most of the last two years. But some media types were shamed in the last week to be more critical of Donald. After all, there’s only so much traction you can get out of an email “scandal”.

Michelle Goldberg gave an interview to TrumpCast yesterday where she finally acknowledges that Hillary’s indiscretions pale in comparison to the avalanche of bad juju in Trump’s biography. It probably won’t last but I’ll take it. Maybe Schlafly dying and Roger Ailes being exposed and Fox News imploding has something to do with it. We shall see.

3.) I’m really beginning to despise Adam Davidson. Not only did he intentionally and aggressively go after Elizabeth Warren in 2008 with one of the most ridiculous arguments in favor of the banks after the financial disaster, he seems to be behind the curve on jumping on the “we all hate Hillary, let’s not invite her to sit at our lunch table” bandwagon. His “insider” story about the Clinton Global Initiative completely misses the point of having a president demanding large sums of money from rich people in order to get their pictures taken with him. Only Bill Clinton could sweet talk someone like Exxon to fork over money for a climate change initiative. (I have no idea if this is an actual case but you get the point).

Adam kind of reminds me of one of those ratings agency employees  in The Big Short who gave glowing reviews to the banks on their securities and funds because they were hoping to move up to Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch someday.  Adam has the aroma of public radio all over him.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it doesn’t exactly scream success in the Uber-capitalism American ideal sense of the word where you have to be an entrepreneur making bucket loads of cash on what is essentially ad based software or capturing the last full time gig with bennies at the New York Times.

Anyway, Adam’s not as bright as he thinks and his timing is off.

Tales from 2016 GOTV: True Story

devjhhr5Yesterday was a beautiful day for voter registration in PA. I’ve been doing these events every weekend for about a month now. I live in the eastern suburbs of Pittsburgh and this territory includes some of Pittsburgh’s most diverse neighborhoods. Yesterday, I was in East Liberty.

East Liberty has been through cycles of prosperity and decline. It’s now on the upswing. Some of the typically hipster stores are there now: Whole Foods. Trader Joes, West Elm. The population is beginning to look like the future: Techies, immigrants, African Americans.

My method is to keep moving and to talk to everyone on the sidewalk, asking them if they’ve registered to vote. The response is overwhelmingly positive even from people who are already registered to vote. I get a lot of support. I’m registering on behalf of PA Dems but my schtick is non-partisan. We’ll register anyone because we have future canvassing events planned to try to persuade even the Trump supporters.

Anyway, I met an African American man on the sidewalk eating his lunch and we started to talk. He was registered and he said there was no way in hell he was going to vote for Trump and I said something flippant like, “Yeah, especially after what Trump said last night”. The man stopped and looked at me and said, “Tell me what he said”

And I found that I really couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I was so ashamed of the whole condescending, ignorant, insulting crap that vomited forth from Trump’s mouth. I just stood there and stammered and said, “Sir, I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”.

But he persisted. He wanted me to say it looking him right in the eyes. So, I gulped and told him what Trump said about jobs and poverty and “What have you got to lose??” It was awful.

Then he must have seen how upset I was so he gave me a hug.

Every conversation is an opportunity. I spend too much time behind a monitor talking through a keyboard and connecting to digital thoughts. But voter outreach is a different kind of digital diet that allows us all to be human.

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

Another true story: My sister is undecided. I talked to her last night and I was like, “How in the HELL are you UNDECIDED?? Isn’t this an obvious choice? This is not difficult.”

I can’t blame her entirely. People are herd animals. That’s our nature. And she lives in conservative semi-rural Central PA. Probably everyone she knows votes Republican. They might not even remember why they started to vote that way but that’s what their families and neighbors and co-workers do so, you know, vote Republican or you’re not going to have much of a social life.

Maybe I should be relieved that she doesn’t see Trump as an option for her this year. But she’s been marinated in so much anti-Hillary propaganda for so long that even though intellectually she knows there’s no THERE there, the taint of wrongdoing lingers around Hillary like a silent but deadly fart.

I gave her my best stories about Hillary from a personal point of view. Like when I got to ask her a question about infrastructure at YearlyKos in 2007. Infrastructure is one of the highlights of her 2016 campaign so I like to think I was ahead of the curve there. And then there was the time in 2008 when she set up a conference call with all of us unofficial bloggers to thank us for continuing to champion her during the primaries. Katiebird might remember because she got to talk to her while we all listened patiently- for a long, LONG time, but I digress. (I wanted to throttle Katiebird for bogarting the phone call but I’ve given her plenty of reasons to throttle me and we’re still friends.) That was before we went PUMA after the RBC meeting and we were all infuriated with the party for trashing our primary votes.

Anyway, my sister said she might reconsider if she could talk to Hillary personally. And it occurred to me that this was probably a good idea, not that Hillary can have a private conversation with everyone’s sister. But Hillary already has fans like us. We’re going to vote for her. She can put our ballots in her pocket. I won’t be upset if she ignores us for the rest of the campaign. But the thing is we line up and wait for hours to see her campaign events and we are genuinely enthusiastic and like her- because we know her and have had some experience that makes her human to us.

But people like my sister have only heard what comes out of the TV from Fox News and other media outlets that for some reason are desperately frantic to keep Hillary out of the White House and will stop at nothing to smear her reputation. They’re very good at it now. Well they’ve had 25 years of practice.

So, if you’re out there Hillary, consider a small, intimate event in a place like Central PA with a dozen or so undecided Republican women. My sister says she’ll take your call. You know how to reach me.