I was just about to go under Pont Alexandre III.
Thursday, November 26, 2020
We watched another episode of the third season of The Crown last night: Coup.
Lord Mountbatten, recently forcibly retired Lord of the Admiralty and Uncle of Prince Phillip, is asked by a high level crowd of royalists, a newspaper editor and the head of the Bank of England among them, to head up a coup d'etat.
The Lord asks for 48 hours to think - he does deep research on the recent history of coups - and when he gets back his message is bleak: there are five factors present in successful coups; in England the first four are lacking; but the fifth, he says, a dictate from the Crown could save the day.
That was what he recommended: get the Queen to emulate several of her dodgy predecessors and invent, invoke and promulgate some British Constitutional (written in the minds and hearts of the British People) and Historically allusional mumbo jumbo and get rid of the Prime Minister.
The Queen gets wind of the plot, beats it back to England from America where she is doing deep research on race horse breeding, calls Mountbatten in to the palace, and tells him that the Crown considers the will of the people to be sovereign and that until that will changes Wilson and his government will remain.
That spread warm Nearly Republican (capital R because it refers to a form of government, not the current rump of the GOP) feeling throughout the house: the will of the people is sovereign and all is, therefore, right with the world.
"Just like here" we said, taking a sip of wine in unison.
"The people are always right" we said.
But then we remembered: 74 million Americans voted for dum dum donnie; they also voted for Ol' Mitch and the Boys.
And they can't get enough of the Rabbit Lady, Super skier and Bret the Beer Drinker.
And they would rather die of covid 19 than to submit to that ultimate symbol of suppression, wearing a protective face covering.
And mass carnage in the next school massacre will be chalked up to individual freedom.
And many believe that the Cosmos is 4000 years old.
And that we are under attack from pizza eating pedophiles.
There must be a third way.
Wednesday, November 25, 2020
Most Americans don't know, or don't care that the fact they have had a relatively peaceful 75 or so years - except for optional and stupid wars - is because of what Wilson thought up, Roosevelt brought into being, Truman implemented and Eisenhower refined and made permanent: Pax Americana; every president subsequent to Eisenhower kept the Pax alive and well; then dum dum donnie came along; and, as was the case with Humpty Dumpty, we probably can't put the Pax back together again.
Pretty much like the British Empire, the sun has set upon America and it aint coming up again.
Leadership matters; having none for four years is a good way of learning the truth of that statement.
In the case of world affairs, I think that lack of leadership, in the country which until 2016 was the leader of the world, has probably been fatal.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Monday, November 23, 2020
We took a ferry to the US yesterday so we could go to Costco for sustenance and Best Buy for an iPhone battery.
While we were getting into our car in the Costco parking lot a guy with the max sized pickup allowed in Costco parking lots made a fast paced sortie through the lot with twin "MAGA: Stop The Steal" flags waving frantically in the rainy wind.
We went over and knocked on his window.
He rolled the window down.
We said, "pardon us, sir, seeing you makes us need to ask: 'is there an asshole farm somewhere close?'"
He shot us in the face.
Washington is open carry, so we were clearly in the wrong.
The hospital says we will probably recover.
This is rue de Bievre.
It connects Quais de la Tournelle with Marché Maubert.
That's where Fromagerie Laurent Dubois has a store; so I have walked that route many times; Laurent Dubois has the best fromage blanc that I have been able to find.
Sunday, November 15, 2020
We have been binge watching a lot of DVDs and streaming scams since March 2020 descended upon us.
We finally got around to Game of Thrones a few weeks back.
Tonight we watched the last episode: Season 8, Episode Last.
I was really satisfied with how it turned out.
But I have never read the books.
I have heard that the last season or two of the HBO series outran the book - Martin hadn't written an end yet.
I guess that pissed off a lot of Martin fans.
I guess that being pissed of by the Game of Thrones' divergence from Martin's books is sort of like donnie-lost-the-election denial: it's great stuff for Facebook hate groups.
Seasons one through five, as I understand it, were based entirely on George R. Martin's books.
He even wrote some of the screenplays.
Season Six and Seven, as I understand it, didn't have any books as reference; those books haven't been written yet; maybe now they never will be; and the book fans were up in arms and the episodes were thought to be substandard - or some such.
I thought that the Martin-based first five seasons episodes were fun, violent, pornographic - both sexually and and corporally - and just on the keep-watching side of saying "this is bullshit" and moving on to looking for You-Tubes of Seth Meyers..
Season six, and into season seven, things got vapid and stupid, just as the Martin fans seemed to be saying; but by then we were too curious about what was going to happen to quit watching;
Somewhere into season seven the writing - non-Martin original stuff - became sublime.
And, from my point of view, so it remained through and including the last episode that we watched this evening.
Something sophisticated and wonderful had outrun the supply lines: Martin had been improved on, or maybe, bested, by good, creative, informed writing - at least from my point of view.
Seeing that happen has been really fun.
I read a short article in The Washington Post this morning that makes a nice companion to the post I put up yesterday The Dead Man Voting Myth.
Here is a selection of that article from The Post:
By David Fahrenthold, Emma Brown, Hannah Knowles
President Trump lost his reelection bid at the ballot box. But he said he could win it back in court.
In five key states, Trump and his allies filed lawsuits that — according to Trump — would reveal widespread electoral fraud, undo President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, and give Trump another four years. “Biden did not win, he lost by a lot!” Trump tweeted.
It’s not going well.
Rather than revealing widespread — or even isolated — fraud, the effort by Trump’s legal team has so far done the opposite: It’s affirmed the integrity of the election that Trump lost. Nearly every GOP challenge has been tossed out. Not a single vote has been overturned.
“The Trump legal team does not seem to have identified any kind of global litigation strategy that has any prospect of changing the outcome of the election, and all of the court filings to date underscore that — as do all of the court rulings that have been issued to date,” said Robert Kelner, a Republican lawyer who chairs the election and political law practice group at Covington & Burling, an international law firm based in Washington.
Part of the problem is that Trump’s approach has been backward: Declare crimes first, then look for proof afterward.
Again and again, the president or his allies said they’d found evidence that would stun the public and swing the election.
But, when Trump and his team revealed that evidence, it often was far less than they had promised. A “dead” voter turned out to be alive. “Thousands” of problematic ballots turned out to be one. Election-changing problems turned out to involve a few dozen, or a few hundred, ballots.
Some moments veered into the absurd, as the president’s lawyers tried — and failed — to use Trump’s reality-bending logic on baffled, unbending judges.
“Are your observers in the counting room?” Judge Paul Diamond asked Trump’s lawyers in Pennsylvania at one point, in a case where Trump was seeking to stop the vote count in Philadelphia.
In that case, Trump’s suit depended on the answer being “no.” The logic for stopping the vote count was that GOP observers were not being allowed to watch it.
But the actual answer was “yes.” The observers were there.
So Trump’s lawyer tried an answer that wasn’t yes or no.
“There’s a nonzero number of people in the room,” he responded.
That did not work.
Lawyers from two major firms have now backed out of helping Trump’s efforts. Inside the White House, some officials have grown pessimistic about this legal effort, according to people who have spoken to them.
The problem with this amusing little revelation of donnie's incompetence-driven fantasies of fraud and deep state conspiracy is that most of us, those who voted for Joe, read it, chuckle and move on with our lives, having had, yet again, the wisdom of our recent voting choice affirmed; but there are literally THOUSANDS of "Million Man MAGAS" out there oiling their AK 47s for imminent action.
It doesn't take a lot of conspiracy-driven high capacity 223 caliber magazines to wreak havock in a democracy, especially one that is clearly on the down side of waning.
Saturday, November 14, 2020
I really don't know what I am talking about here, so I am making some broad assumptions that I can't prove.
They are based on some things I know about data bases however.
They are also based on some things I know about voting by mail - I live in Washington; along with Oregon, vote by mail has been our only way to vote for years.
First let's talk data bases.
When I worked for IBM back when computers cost at a minimum hundreds of thousands of dollars each, and printers and stuff like that even upped the price tag, I worked for the part of IBM that was charged with finding new customers.
The cornerstone component of that effort was a data base of business names sorted by SIC code and with various other useful demography.
That data base was always an IBM proprietary thing, but it was based on data that could be bought and re-bought over time from organizations like D&B.
We took what we got from one and smashed it together with what we bought from another.
Once smashed together we had something that began to be IBM only.
It was only as accurate as the accuracy of the last update from the providing organizations.
To assure currency we always bought their periodic updates.
There were a lot of new IBMers in those days - trainees - and one of their early assignments was always to wrestle with the accuracy and currency of that vital IBM new business tool.
We used that data base for a lot of things; every territory manager had his or her version; when we had Branch Office wide prospecting days we always used that tool for making all the phone calls involved in prospecting days.
There were always a lot of dead people in those lists; business owners had a nasty habit of not being immortal, and no matter how hard D&B and the rest - and our trainees - tried to keep the list accurately current, people who were in the data base died.
I think it likely that County Government's Voters Files are equally subject to voters dying.
Given the truth of that it is hard to deny the shrill shrieks of donnie and his morons that there are dead people on the voter lists; the problem is that they add a bogus "therefore", that being that the dead people on those lists are voting.
There seems to be no proof of that history to date, but lack of facts is just grist for donnie's mill of lies.
So my first assumption is that donnie and the morons take an unavoidable fact and turn it into a totally fictitious trumpian alternate fact.
My second assumption is that if a dead person votes, he or she probably isn't dead, and that such a vote is therefore valid.
I base that assumption on my experience with Washington's voting system.
Ballots are only sent to validly registered voters.
I am a validly registered voter.
If I were dead and if the normal flow of that information had not been reflected in the county's voter list I guess it is possible that a ballot might be mailed to my address; that is analogous to IBM calling dead people on prospecting day; its just hard keeping up with real time currency the flow of dead people entering any list.
But there is a reason that voters sign ballots in Washington State.
I guess that reason is that signature is still unique and its exact duplicate dies with the person who has used it through life.
It's even used on checks.
I am not aware of an epidemic of check forgery being rampant in the land.
There probably is a reason for that; but that is an assumption.
So far all the spaghetti that donnie has been throwing against the wall continues to slide down into a nasty inedible pile on the floor: judges keep saying donnie's legal challenges read like scripts from the theatre of the absurd.
But one high level nasty possibility keeps floating above the fray: the republican legislatures in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan can remove the electors that are directed by the results of the recent election and replace them with electors instructed to vote for donnie.
That's 46 electoral votes.
That's giving the election to donnie.
That is overturning what the VOTERS decided.
The only problem appears to be that for this election cycle, the year 2020, those republicans really can't change the law that says the electors WILL vote for whomever won the election in the states considering this nullification of the people's will; that law was signed into existence prior to 3 November 2020 in the states with republicans considering intervention and it can't be retroactively abrogated in those states; that is the thinking; I guess we will see.
So, in the best of worlds a few states won't be able to say that the PEOPLE have no right to vote for the President of the United States.
It's amazing in donnieWorld how little it takes to make a good day.
But even that paltry good day would be an ephemeral and transient phenomenon: those same legislatures actually can change the law for 2024, saying that the legislature will direct the electors how to vote, non respective to whatever the voters decide; I assume Ohio, just to be safe would pass the same law.
That's 64 electoral votes when Ohio is included.
So I guess I see why donnie thinks he has a chance in 2024.
And I guess I see what Ol' Mitch and the boys will be doing to any attempt by the Biden administration to improve the lot of everyday Americans: "lex nihil".
The only thing I guess I don't see, is why would we even have an election in 2024?
If my logic and facts here are valid, and if the question derivative of them is equally valid, it is obvious that the United States really has become a tin pot dictatorship on a smooth glidepath to 2024.
My Lupin plants in Seattle capture crystal rain drops.
I started walking at river level on the Seine instead of up on street level in 2014 or so. It was a completely new world that I didn't know existed until I walked down my first stairway. One of the differences was how many swans there are.
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
My son and I have had a couple back and forth emails about my son's interest in Chef Jacques.
Most recently he said:
"First time I became aware of him was probably 15 years ago on a daytime talk show where he grabbed a bunch of veggies that were on the edge and a leftover chicken breast and made a quick soup. That’s also when I leaned about using the leaves on celery.
His wife of 54 or so years eat together every night with a bottle of wine or two."
The nightly "dinner with a bottle of wine or two" just set me off.
Here is an email that became a blog post:
I was honest a few years back - or made a best estimate at describing my daily alcohol intake for my PCP at the time, and said that I drink a bottle of wine a day.
Tuesday, November 10, 2020
So Lying Billy, AKA Fat Billy, AKA The Hand of the donnie is going to investigate the recent Presidential election.
That was the election in which a record 147 million or so voters turned out and a record 51% or so of those voters voted for Joe Biden.
That was the election in which Joe Biden had some squeakers in some states, and blew it out in a lot of them: he averaged around 60% of the vote on the Pacific coast and 55% or so in New York and New England; on the other hand he only won by 48,280 votes in the arch swing state, Pennsylvania.
Also on the other hand, he only won Arizona by 15,510 and Georgia by 12,000.
Since those are republican states, I guess any win by a Democrat is constitutionally illegal.
12,000 vote plurality in Georgia?
In Japan there would be republicans getting out their ceremonial swords.
But lying is easier and more fun than committing an honorable suicide.
And this is the post reality era, so normal things can't be seen normally.
Take Nevada, for instance: Billy is going to investigate the 3000 votes that came from voters who don't live in Nevada (Joe won Nevada by 35,360).
Actually those votes have already been investigated: they are military voters voting by mail and non-resident college students who are allowed by Nevada law to vote in Nevada.
But if you "frame" the uncontested facts (in a post facts era) you can get the slathering multitudes into the streets brandishing hamburger guns and shrieking about George Soros.
And that is the nature of the post democracy world of Fat Billy.
The obvious lies and frames notwithstanding, what might Fat Billy's investigation unearth?
Of course, no one can know, Billy's creativity at lying being legendary, but one can hark back to his other history-altering intervention for guidance.
Remember the Mueller Report?
That was the promulgation of an extensive investigation into the nature of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The report found extensive instances of meetings and coordination between trump's minions and various elements of the Russian propaganda apparatus.
Having documented all of that, the report said that proving that the extensive number and depth of those ongoing contacts amounted to conspiracy was legally too difficult to recommend.
So the report documented it and said it couldn't recommend prosecution.
The report also documented in detail 10 instances of actions by trump that were probably obstruction of justice.
In a previous world to donnieland obstruction of justice was a serious crime; multiple documented instances of it would have brought down a presidency.
But the Mueller report said that although there were ten clear instances of high crimes on the part of the president of the United States, justice department protocols precluded prosecution.
So the report said that donnie probably conspired with the Russians (Manafort gave Kilimnik in depth trump campaign data analysis; the Russians already had the voter analysis that resulted from Cambridge Analytica - which was a template for how one would suppress the black vote in America; trump subsequently won the 2016 election by winning the electoral votes of Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio by 70,000 votes, driven by the fact that black people stayed at home rather than voting in those states).
A few days before making the report public, Fat Billie held a press conference in which he said that the report completely exonerated donnie.
That was such an appalling lie I was really surprised when nobody contested it - even Mueller.
But I guess nobody, even Mueller, read the report.
If one applies the spread between the truth and the facts that that little factoid illustrates, the upcoming justice department version of the 2020 election should be entertaining.
Monday, November 9, 2020
In a post I published earlier today, among the many entertaining office-exiting gambits that I imagined donnie to be contemplating was a little nuclear attack somewhere.
Here is an excerpt from The New York Times in its coverage of the firing of Mark Esper.
"Mr. Esper’s departure means that Mr. Miller would — if he lasts — see out the end of the Trump administration at the Pentagon. While Mr. Trump has over two months left in office, it could still be a significant time, as Defense Department officials have privately expressed worries that the president might initiate operations, whether overt or secret, again Iran or other adversaries in his waning days in office.
"Friends and colleagues praised Mr. Miller’s Army Special Forces background and counterterrorism credentials but expressed surprise that he had been elevated to such a senior position, even in a temporary capacity. And while he is not considered an ideologue, Mr. Miller does not have the stature to push back on any extreme positions that Mr. Trump might advocate in his final weeks in office, colleagues said.
"A move like this probably sends a chill through the senior ranks of the military,” Nicholas J. Rasmussen, a former top counterterrorism official in the Bush and Obama administrations, said in an email. “Not because of anything about Chris Miller personally, though it’s a highly unconventional choice, to be sure. But simply because a move like this contributes to a sense of instability and unstable decision-making at exactly the time when you want to avoid sending that kind of message around the world."
I'd rather not be right.
I lived for a couple months once in a fourth floor apartment on Quais au Fleurs on Ile de la Cité.
Having twenty four hour access to the Seine was an experience I would not trade for anything.
I never closed the casement windows so she was with me in the apartment at all hours.
Sometimes at dawn the magic was almost painful.
With America without a government for 71 days, if I were Putin, I would allege severe human rights violations against the Russian speaking populations of each of the Baltic States.
Then I would send a lot of little green men into all of them and have them declare Russian speaking republics.
Then I would start recruiting someone in the republican party to be my candidate for 2024.
Tom Cotton comes to mind.
Most republicans apparently support overturning the recent election.
donnie, of course is flinging his copious bulk hither and yon while screaming intermittent allusions to all the extant conspiracies that he imagines into his hallucinations.
Between conspiracies and pouty faced trips to the golf course he is in the process of launching a campaign of mayhem.
Firings; pardons; overturns.
Maybe even a discontinuance of Social Security.
Maybe even Medicare.
The GI Bill looks vulnerable.
A nuclear attack on somebody would be good.
The sky is now the limit; what donnie and Ol' Mitch didn't get done they are gonna do.
So there won't be much left when donnie and his republican co-conspirators are finished.
We made it, barely, through four years with a country still standing.
But the focal intensity of the about-to-be exit de donnie is going to stress test what we have left.
De Tocqueville was amazed that America was proving that people could govern themselves without a king.
We are on the cusp of finding out whether a people can govern themselves without a government.
We're gonna find out, I guess.
Seventy one and counting.
Saturday, November 7, 2020
I was In College the day John Kennedy was shot.
I hadn't forgotten that misery the night Barack Obama was elected President.
It was right there on the tip of my soul.
By human standards a pretty vast time gulf has spanned those days - and today.
But the feeling of intense "I am an American, and that means something special" has just jumped back into my heart this morning; I have felt it many times in the last four years, but never as on the day we lost the real hope of our future or on the day when it appeared that that hope had been given back.
In the last four years it has always been the feeling of "I am an American and that means something special, but everything that has contributed to that specialness is being dismantled".
Today I am on an island in the Salish Sea.
There are no crowds.
But a lot of horns have honked here.
We have elected one of the most eminently qualified, decent, caring men in our history to the Presidency.
His Vice President is our future; she can pick up any fallen banners that might occur and lead us forward; if history is kind to us, without fallen banners, she will do so in her time.
So what's not to like about Darkness Abatement Day: 7 November 2020?
I wrote Screen Saver as if the last half of the Twentieth Century were flashing by like pictures on a computer screen at rest.
My hope was, that when complete, a non linear view of that history would be lodged in the reader's mind as a - perhaps - useful reference point.
This morning I would like to offer an excerpt from Screen Saver: some image flashes that I had hoped would be a reference in some - I had imagined - distant future.
This morning that imagined future has come into focus.
"Taking what might have been an action of some significance, but as things were to turn out, apparently wasn’t, the first person I sought out was Barbara. We went into the Park Blocks, out of the buildings, into the open air and walked, hand in hand. Everybody was out there. There was some kind of device or there were multiple devices that were filling the air with updates on the president’s condition. We had stopped where a group had gathered, among them my fraternity brother Tom. The words “John F. Kennedy is dead” insinuated themselves into the air like a malevolent spirit. Barb dropped to her knees on the grass. We all stood, or knelt – there were others on their knees – frozen and looking like the statues of the victims of the Irish potato famine that I would see many years later in Christchurch. It seemed as if the world was in the process of fading to black. I had looked at Tom and said, “thank God Lyndon Johnson is Vice President”. Tom nodded his agreement.
"Many years later another event occurred that had somehow seemed to be inextricably intertwined with John Kennedy. Mysti and I had gone around the corner to the Olympia Pizza Restaurant early so we could get back by seven and watch the election returns as the polls began to close from the middle of the country westward. We knew that the east would be closed by then and we knew that any bad news would begin to show itself - if there were going to be any - among those eastern results; but we had felt that there was still going be a story unfolding from St Louis west.
"After returning from Pizza it looked as if no bad news had cropped up yet, but it was still anyone’s election. But good things kept happening and more states were turning blue than were turning red. There came a point where the electoral count was not 270 blue but it was close. I had looked at the map to try to get some kind of idea what might be going to happen. The entire pacific coast had no color yet. The obvious suddenly flooded upon me in a form that can only be described as joy. “He’s got it,” I said to Mysti.
"A few minutes later the West Coast turned blue and the City of Seattle erupted. Everywhere people poured into the streets. We were on Capitol Hill. As we entered the courtyard we encountered people we barely knew or didn’t know at all. We all hugged one another and made loud joyful sounds. People were streaming into the streets and up to Fifteenth. The rest of the night was a massive party of people in and out of the bars and coffee shops to the street and back again. Cars full of joyfully shouting people with the windows down paraded up and down. I had never thought that the magic of having a leader that stirred a feeling of pride and joy at being an American would ever be given back to us; but it appeared on that night as if it had happened."
Friday, November 6, 2020
On October 8, 2020 reports surfaced the Nancy Pelosi and the House were taking preliminary steps toward invocation of the 25th Amendment.
That turns out to have been pretty near perfect timing.
Now that donnie, with last night's white house irrational indiscretion, has provided archival evidence of insanity it seems that, once the vote count has been settled in the next few days, we ought to move on removing him from office.
He is clearly insane.
This election should have refreshed all American's belief in our system and the devotion and integrity of our fellow citizens in making that system work.
What could have been a national disaster on the level of Florida 2000 has been a smooth and surprisingly rapid vote count.
Mail in voting has been proven to be bullet proof under the most hostile sort of unfriendly fire.
Apparently even the long lines were in may cases banished to last term's election.
And, where the lines persisted, our fellow citizen's stood and took it and voted.
All of that is a win for all of us.
As the will of the people inexorably moves toward promulgation, and as that will increasingly appears to be that the people have chosen Joe Biden as President, donnie is in the election war room moving red states real and red states imagined around on his softly illuminated electoral map table - each state is translucent and has a red diode in it; the diode can be activated from a remote control for which only donnie knows the access code - as he moves one around he clicks the remote and the newly moved state turns red; a digital display on the wall cycles: "525".
"Why doesn't Fox call the election?" He shrieks.
A nubile young blonde woman wearing a small gold crucufix reaches into a massive container of Kentucky Fried Chicken and shoves a drumstick into donnie's mouth.
"There, there, Mr. President".
A massive bone crunching mastication ensues.
So we are down to this.
donnie may lose, but he continues throwing legal spaghetti against the wall and it all keeps sliding down into a nasty mess on the floor.
So what is left?
His campaign advisor recently gave us insight.
"His campaign’s legal adviser on Thursday even pointed to the fact that Trump had appointed three Supreme Court justices while urging them to “step in and do something” — as if they owed Trump favorable legal decisions."
That from The Washington Post.
Welcome to Belarus.