Saturday, October 31, 2020

A Really Good Thing Emerges From donnie's Darkness

 America has been great because America has been lucky.

In no apparent order here are a few examples.

If the Japanese hadn't gotten screwed up about which planes ought to be on deck during the battle of Midway, North East Asia would probably be a sprawling Japanese empire with us as a minor agricultural vassal.

If Washington hadn't decided to make a hazardous winter time crossing of a frigid river in the middle of the night and attack what - he hoped would be - a disheveled, drunken and disordered component of the British army, there wouldn't have been an us to talk about, making subsequent luck a moot point.

If Harry Truman had been an asshole and demanded that any post war aid to Europe be named the Truman plan there would neither be a European Union nor the Union's attendant years of European peace; instead Harry told his Secretary of State to call it the Marshall Plan because, while he knew Congress hated him - Harry Truman - he also knew that they revered General Marshall.

If Abraham Lincoln had yielded to his myriad maladies, personal tragedies and malaises we would be three countries, not one, engaged in never ending intrigue and war; but Lincoln rose to the occasion, and we are one country: the United States of America.

That's our real story: amazing and unique people rising to the occasion and submitting to the acid test of history and coming out the other end successful - for America.

And that is the luck of America: it's people realizing what they are and reaching beyond that realization for what can, could or should be.

8 November 2016 it looked as if our luck had finally run out: our better angels had fled and their inverse had taken the field.

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

One of the few things that has kept me as sane as I ever have been likely to be has been my nightly meeting with Yamiche Alcindor, PBS' whitehouse reporter.

I can't count the number of times that clips of her standing toe to toe with trump  in the rose garden - and always winning (brains will always drive a bully from the field) have sent me to the rest of my day with the glimmer of our luck still dominating the horizon.

So I am really glad that an association of her peers has recognized her for what she is: proof that our luck really hasn't run out; it's just on lunch break.

Friday, October 30, 2020

A Rose, Glass On The Seine, A Woodpecker And A Butterfly

 





A Known Commodity

 This guy lacks any tangible leadership ability, any tangible manifestation of intelligence, any tangible human characteristics, any tangible manifestation of anything one might call knowledge, curiosity or critical thinking - hell, thinking even - so I guess the fact that the country that got stuck with him as pretend president is about to start losing more than 5000 of its citizens weekly to a deadly virus that this guy says doesn't exist is not surprising.

But then I guess that the people who vote for this guy also are convinced that the virus doesn't exist.

It's nice when a shepherd and his flock are so well aligned.

It's just too bad that we can't send them all off together to some mountain fastness where the only people they can hurt are each other.

And really - I just heard a voice say - you're kidding that this guy is president of the united states; surely, surely you are kidding.

So goes my never ending mobius looped nightly nightmare track.

Sadness is loose upon the land; some have even mistaken it for the return of the Nazgul.



Wednesday, October 28, 2020

One Of The Major Whiners

 Here is what Lindsey Graham said recently in relation to the state of his campaign to be re-elected to the Senate:

"The left is going nuts," Graham told Ingraham. "You need to get on the internet right now. My opponent has raised more money than anybody in the entire history of the United States Senate because I've been with Kavanaugh, Barrett and I'm helping Trump."

A post I put up a couple of days ago attempted to explain to dum dum Graham how massive numbers of small contributions work in the service of Democracy (dum dum is launching an investigation into ActBlue because he says the democrats have one gigantic corrupt cash cache that they are dribbling out disguised as small contributions from contributors like me).

In that post I included a Quicken report showing my ActBlue contributions through September - there are a lot more in October not in Quicken yet.

I guess dum dum's whine on that is - non respective to the premise of his impending investigation - "Noel can't contribute to Jaimie Harrison; Harrison is in South Carolina; Noel is in Washington State".

Hey dum dum: Americans can contribute to the campaigns of anybody they want (you probably need to launch an investigation into that); now that you've got coney barret in there - the rabbit lady (coney is an archaic word for rabbit; I couldn't help but notice a similarity in breeding habits  - sorta like an aptronym).

If you want to know, dum dum, why a Washingtonian would be interested in a Senate campaign in South Carolina, please refer to the highlighted text, above.

That's democracy dum dum; that's something you republicans abhor.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Sudan Crosscheck

donnie announced yesterday that he had made deal in which Sudan has made peace with Israel. 

A little later I heard the truth to that lie on the BBC. 

donnie blackmailed the fragile transitional government of Sudan: you need money; sign this and we will let you participate in the world’s financial system. 

So they signed some sort of trumped up kluge of words. 

BUT, it needs to be signed by a parliament that currently doesn’t exist. 

And, most of the citizenry are violently opposed to the VERY CONCEPT of such a deal, if such a deal had been signed, which it hadn’t: it is an agreement for Sudan to by limited agricultural stuff. 

What a deal for peace. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

What I Would Have Done

If I had been Biden. 

After the moderator’s first question about his handling of the COVID pandemic and donnie giving his answer, when the moderator turned to me with the question what would I do ...

I would have started with a pregnant pause and then would have said “this guy has just unleashed a bevy of lies interlaced occasionally with a fantasy; if that’s all we are gonna get we are wasting an hour and a half. Now, here’s what I will do ...”.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Are republicans ALL Whiners?

 And ill informed?

Here is a cut and paste from an email I just received from Daily KOS.

"Noel, in the past year, Democrat Jaime Harrison received a tsunami of small donations, totaling a record-breaking $86 million to defeat Lindsey Graham, forcing Graham to appear almost nightly on Fox News to beg the audience for money. He even used the Senate Judiciary Committee pulpit during a hearing on Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination to complain about all the money, issuing a plea for donations to help him because he was delivering the Barrett nomination to the Senate, despite the public outcry. It was not only pathetic, but it might have run afoul of the law, which “prohibits soliciting or receiving campaign contributions on federal property.”

In short, Graham and McConnell underestimated YOU and our collective rage.

In fact, Graham is so upset at the record donations that came into the South Carolina race that he has indicated he wants an investigation after the election. In an interview with The Hill, Graham whined, 'Where’s all this money coming from ActBlue coming from? How easy would it be to just have a bunch of pre-paid credit cards?'"

That whiney ignoramus.

I ran this Quicken report.

It shows my contributions through ActBlue through September.

Just as everybody says, and the republicans smell a rat due to this, they are all small contributions.

But millions of them add up.

This month I have added a little over $200 to the tally, but it isn't in Quicken yet.

I had to turn the report into an image to get it into this post so it's a little blurry.

Also, the dollars are red and minus signed because this is from a credit card account.

Lindsey: You've of credit cards haven't you?

I suggest every one of us who has contributed to our cause this year send Quicken reports of the Act Blue component of those contributions to Dum Dum Graham.

By the way, I contributed to Jamie Harrison on this report and again this month.

I also contributed to Daily KOS through ActBlue this month.







Towhee Musings

 Our place in Seattle has a back yard of sorts.

It has been landscaped into a cobblestone patio with a gradually ascending collection of little plateaus, all terminating at a huge laurel thicket that, along with chain link, makes for a barrier between us and our uphill neighbor.

The plateaus were originally planted with the obvious stuff: rhododendrons.

There was also some slightly less obvious stuff: evergreen huckleberry, red pacific coast huckleberry, wild currant and sarcococca.

There is also a walnut tree, usually called English walnut.

Over time most of the rhododendrons and all of the native plants have died.

Except the evergreen huckleberry.

The sarcococca has thrived.

And various things have added themselves as if by magic: butterfly bush, a black walnut tree, a hazelnut bush and frais de bois - wild strawberries among others.

If you pay attention in the spring the strawberries produce fruit that is excellent.

There have always been some towhees in our neighborhood but there were none in our back yard before the restructure.

To give the landscaping and planting some sort of meaning, early on I decided that I would consider it all worthwhile if towhees decided to nest in our back yard: towhees are ground nesting members of the sparrow family so they really like thickets for habitat.


Several years ago I was on the back deck having an early evening martini when I heard, somewhere in the rapidly increasing volunteer underbrush, the unmistakable rasp of a towhee.

I don't know if it was nesting, but it was there.

And it - they - have been ever since.



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

A Bunch Of Images

 

Nightshade in the sun

Grape hyacinths

I think this was in a garden in Rome.

Paris, obviously

Paris again

Jardin de Luxembourg on a sunny winter day

Not far from la Tour Eiffel; Paris starlings are a lot better looking than their American cousins.

Fish

In Jardin des Plantes

Le D├ępart St Michel

Across the river from the Louvre

I usually have the soup.

My favorite church

Canal St Martin

Arch du  Carrousel 


Aquarium Tropical in Paris

Rabbit in the frost

Native honey bee of the Pacific Northwest

Grebes

Butterfly conference

A Bewick's Wren


A Sad Progression

 Jesus built his Church on a rock called Peter.

That was about 2000 years ago.

Jesus himself got crossways to the power structure of his time and he ultimately was executed by exponents of that power structure.

Peter and his followers went underground for a time: ten days.

Then the eleven - those left over after Judas' unfortunate betrayal of Jesus - all together, it is said, were huddled together wondering what was next when "next" came upon them.

It was Sunday.

It was the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit imbued the eleven with the gift of tongues and they went forth and used that multi-lingual gift and preached Jesus' word to the known world; and it was a message ripe for adoption: its followers became legion and, as such, they became a threat to Rome.

So Rome started feeding vast numbers of the followers of Jesus to lions and other assorted large carnivores.

But there was a problem: the more followers the Roman power structure fed to the carnivores, the more followers came tramping down the road to Rome - and its outlying districts; it was kind of a zombie apocalypse.

This went on for quite a while.

But accommodation began to creep in; people need to live their lives after all; going to the Colly to watch the lions eat the Christians (by this time the followers had adopted an opprobrious term that had been assigned to them as their go-to-the-lion-feast marketing name, and it has stuck ever since) gets to be dull after just so much of it; besides, the barbarians were beginning to storm the gates over night and that made alternate news in the six o'clock time slot.

The Christians got a break: their god was sorta added to the approved god list of Rome and things moved on with a new religious viewpoint mixed unofficially into the polyglot population that was Rome.

Finally a woman named Helena convinced her son Constantine that it was time to give the Christians special status.

Constantine was emperor at the time so he could do whatever he wanted and he made the religion and god of the Christians Rome's sole official cult.

Constantine eschewed membership, but being a pragmatist who could count, he knew when to buckle and when to resist; there were just too many Christians out there (Paul had set up the world's first wildly successful multi-national franchise) and it was pointless fighting over the fine points with the majority of his subjects: one god, or a lot of gods, after all, from a political viewpoint were pretty much the same thing.

At least that's what Constantine thought.

Not long after that the barbarians got through the gates one night and things went dark for quite a while.

As the light gradually returned there was a whole new deal.

All the barbarians had become Christians and even the rulers of the myriad kingdom-descendants of the Empire were under the thumb of Peter's then in power successor; and he lived in Rome.

Even though the temporal rulers had absolute power over all their hapless subjects, the rulers themselves were under the thumb of the guy in Rome: he could cast any ruler that crossed him into the outer darkness of excommunication - from the one true church.

That temporally overwhelming power - the power of excommunication - made even the least among the guy-in-Rome's factotums (factota?) known locally as The Clergy, overwhelmingly powerful.

By this time everybody was calling the guy in Rome "papa".

Somewhat later somebody decided that papa was holy.

Somewhere in there the guy in Rome called all his high level clergy to Nicaea where they decided that Jesus was really god.

Somebody later decided that "Pope" was a good shorthand for the name of that guy in Rome.

So the Pope's guys had a lot of power.

One of their powers was that they could read; they were pretty much the only people at that time who could read; that gave them a lot of power: the handbooks of personal behavior of the times were two books - the Old Testament and the New Testament, mainly the New Testament.

You were supposed to live according to the tenets of those two books (actually they were surviving documents cobbled together over time by various men with agendas, but Paul was not the first marketing guy, so things had begun to get organized millennia before the Pope and his boys) but there was a catch: if you couldn't read you had no idea how to live according to the tenets of the handbook.

No problem: the Pope's boys could read; they could tell you what the handbook said; all you had to do was go to meeting and be told what to do and what, and how, to think; maybe a little offering now and then for the upkeep of the Pope's guys would be appropriate.

And that seemed to work.

For a long time.

Then some guy invented a way to mass-produce words on paper.

The obvious thing to print - there wasn't much else except in the library in Alexandria, and that was full of old pagan shit, so a good christian wouldn't print any of that - was the handbook.

So the bible got printed.

One of the side effects of mass production is low unit cost.

So if you had a little accumulated wealth you could afford to buy a bible, and there were a lot of people who did have some wealth - things had been looking up economically for quite some time - and a lot of them bought a bible, just to have it around; they still couldn't read, but a bible made nice coffee table object, a sign of your economic clout and, as it turned out, a ticking time bomb.

I don't have any idea how it came to pass that large numbers of people learned to read, but somewhere before, during and after the production of the mass produced bible they did.

At first things remained placid; people bought bibles and more and more read them.

Then the shit hit the fan.

"This isn't what the Pope's guys say this thing says" was heard throughout the land; before long what the bible meant had as many interpretations as there were readers of the thing.

Massive dispersion of interpretation of the bible was followed by massive consolidation of interpretation: inevitably, stronger intellects dominated weaker, or less interested, intellects.

Consolidated groups of interpretation emerged; some failed and disappeared; some prospered and grew; some grew to a size and success that made them ripe for fracture and schism; whole new interpretations emerged and joined the dialectic process of consolidation and dispersion.

The Pope's guys pretty much disappeared.

They were replaced by every form and type a charlatan, scamp and ne'er-do-well imaginable.

But they couldn't lord it over the populace any more.

Because that populace could read and therefore could think.

A multi component revolution had been unleashed upon the land: religious thought, political thought, philosophical thought, sociological thought, scientific thought - Renaissance; Enlightenment; Revolution; Constitution.

What happened?

How did we get from the Constitution, the Declaration, Federalist Papers, two hundred years of thought, culture and literature of all stripes, to You Tube, Facebook, Twitter and trump with a 42% approval rating?

Anything above 0% is in the danger zone.

So a question becomes obvious.

Has the ability to read, to write, to think, to express and to evaluate abandoned America?

Or have the Pope's guys changed their clothes and come back with a vengeance?


Monday, October 12, 2020

Last Minute Plea

 I have contributed periodically during this election cycle to Jaimie Harrison, Kim Mangone, Flip the Senate, Bernie and Pete - when they were still candidates, and $25 to Biden/Harris after they became the ticket.  

Last month I jumped to $100 each to Biden/Harris and to Flip the Senate.  

Now that it is mid-October, I just did nine small transactions to Jaimie, Joe and Kamala, Flip, Adam Schiff, Daily KOS (they need money to keep going) Kim, Mark Kelley and some others.  

I am posting about this because maybe my revelation of paltry late-season contributions will get some more of you thinking about chipping in during the waning hours.  

Remember "Corporations are People" and we - the (non-synthetic) people - need to do our best to counter that ugly supreme court assertion. 

And the only counter is money.



Saturday, October 10, 2020

donnie Should Read His History

 donnie keeps railing about the rigged election we have scheduled in a couple of weeks.

Among his irrational stream of conscious shrieks is his demand that the Presidential election results be declared on election night.

Of course, except for Network News declarations, the outcome of a Presidential election is frequently in doubt for more time than can be crammed into election night.

I was curious, for example, how long it took to count the votes in 1788.

”The 1788–1789 United States presidential election was the first quadrennial presidential election. It was held from Monday, December 15, 1788 to Saturday, January 10, 1789, under the new Constitution ratified in 1788. George Washington was unanimously elected for the first of his two terms as president, and John Adams became the first vice president. This was the only U.S. presidential election that spanned two calendar years.”

So that count took 25 days.

Spanning two years.

I think part of the reason that the results weren’t declared on election night, December 15, 1788, on National TV, was that the votes needed to come in via the US Postal Service.

I guess the Father of our Country was lucky that he didn’t have an opponent shrieking about mail-in voter fraud.

In 1788 everybody seemed satisfied with the results, and satisfied with the postal system.

But then they didn’t have a lying sack of shit waving his arms and screaming and spewing coronovirus into the stratosphere.

They didn’t have donnie the dildo.

They were lucky.

Probably why the US has gotten this far down the track of history.

Too bad it’s over.