Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Re: Something is Happening

Optimist.  They'll figure out how to wiggle out of this one too.

On Mon, Jul 16, 2018 at 11:21 PM Juan Matute <juanma2t@gmail.com> wrote:
News flashes are swirling around the GOP finally realizing the mess that Trump has got us in.  Time to work to fixing things.  Need to work wisely for a normalcy.
Hard work got me where I am today. Where am I?

Andy Gordon
Prof. Emeritus
University of Washington

Monday, July 16, 2018

Something is Happening

News flashes are swirling around the GOP finally realizing the mess that Trump has got us in.  Time to work to fixing things.  Need to work wisely for a normalcy.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Something to Know - 14 July

I find it difficult, nay impossible, to leave through the door on my way to LAX and an airplane to Dublin without one last parting shot.   It really is an education watching our Flying Sloth making believe that he is a president.   We are experiencing so many opportunities to learn the definitions of words that we had long left behind as we progressed.   Trump's performance yesterday with his host, the Queen, left me with this impression - OAF, and I don't mean Organization of Asinine Fops:

noun a stupid, uncultured, or clumsy person. ORIGIN early 17th century: variant of obsolete auf, from Old Norse álfr 'elf'. The original meaning was 'elf's child, changeling', later 'idiot child' and 'halfwit', generalized in the current sense.
  1. a stupid, uncultured, or clumsy person.
    synonyms:lout, boor, barbarian, Neanderthal, churl, bumpkin, yokel; More

​Y'all stay calm now....

 "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
- Ralph Nader

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Andy Borowitz

Queen Elizabeth Says Bone Spurs Will Prevent Her from Meeting Trump

Photograph by Mark Runnacles / Getty

LONDON (The Borowitz Report)—Queen Elizabeth II has cancelled a scheduled Friday meeting with Donald J. Trump after complaining of a "flare-up of bone spurs," Buckingham Palace has confirmed.

The announcement took many royal watchers by surprise, because in her sixty-six-year reign the Queen had never before complained of bone spurs.

But, according to the Queen's spokesman, Peter Rhys-Willington, Elizabeth had intentionally kept her chronic bone-spur condition a closely guarded secret until now. "Her Majesty is a very brave woman, and has not wanted to unnecessarily worry her subjects," Rhys-Willington said. "And so, for decades, she has suffered in silence."

The Queen referred to her bone spurs obliquely in an official statement issued on Thursday. "We are sorry to have to cancel the engagement, but we feared that meeting Donald Trump would be most painful," the Queen's statement read.


 "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
- Ralph Nader

Something to Sleep on:

"Everything is horrible—worse than we ever imagined—and there's not a damn thing we can do about any of it. But whatever happens, we can't give in to despair."


 "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
- Ralph Nader

Something to Know - 12 July

Steve Breen for Jul 11, 2018 Comic Strip

Okay, I'm all packed and just about ready to go (flight on Aer Lingus leaves Saturday evening).  So, my sister (Santa cruz News Bureau), sends this off-the-shelf creation that I am too lazy to ignore, and is about the U.K (of which concerns Scotland and part of Ireland).  The American President is an uncouth, uncultured, illiterate, unsophisticated sloth.  All is "uns" explains his affinity with Kim Jong Un.  It will be interesting to pass through the U.K. and NATO countries to assess collateral damage.  Trump is doing a job that the most masterful Russian agent could only dream about.

British Launch Nationwide Assault On Trump And His Ego


The British are laying multiple traps for Trump to guarantee his global humiliation during his scheduled visit later this week.

Considering recent events, it shouldn't come as a great surprise that the British are doing their best to guarantee that Trump is thoroughly humiliated during his scheduled visit this week.

Trap #1: "American Idiot" 

CNN reported on Tuesday that "There's a British campaign to make Green Day's 'American Idiot' the No. 1 song when Trump arrives" on Friday.

For the past couple of weeks, a social media campaign has sought to make Green Day's classic 2004 jam "American Idiot" the No. 1 tune in the UK by the time Trump arrives Friday…. The campaign asks people to download "American Idiot" between Friday, July 6, and Friday, July 13, to push the 14-year-old single to the top of the Official UK Charts. So far the effort appears to be working, with the song checking in at No. 18 on the chart Tuesday.

British media giant, The Independent, elaborated on the effort, reporting:

"American Idiot" was originally written in part about President George W. Bush and features lyrics such as: "Don't wanna be an American idiot/One nation controlled by the media/Information Age of hysteria/It's calling out to idiot America."

It was recently referenced by Sen. Tim Kaine, who suggested that if the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, planned on gifting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a CD of Elton John's song "Rocket Man", Kim should reciprocate with "American Idiot".

TRAP #2: Nationwide Protests

The Independent reported that "In January, Mr Trump reportedly told Theresa May that he would not visit unless she banned protests, which she said would be impossible."

Indeed there are multiple protests scheduled throughout the United Kingdom this week, with The Independent reporting that: "Activist Leo Murray successfully raised the necessary £16,000 to pay for 'Project Trump Baby' – a six metre-high inflatable baby resembling Trump, with unusually small hands and feet, which will be flown over London when the real-life version arrives."

The Guardian added that the "'angry Trump baby' balloon will fly over Westminster from Parliament Square after the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, gave permission for it, before mass marches begin at midday."

The Guardian also reported on other scheduled protests:


  • "Trump is expected to be at the US ambassador's residence in Regent's Park, London, overnight and at 5.30pm on Thursday protesters plan to greet him with a 'wall of sound.' More demonstrations are planned for Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, later in the evening, when Trump and his wife, Melania, will be guests of honour at a dinner for 100 guests."


  • "Women's March London – which brought 100,000 people to the streets of the capital in 2017 – will assemble at 11am outside the BBC offices in Portland Place before leaving at 12.30pmto move along Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus and Whitehall, culminating in a rally at Parliament Square." 'The Women's March is led by women but it is not just about women, we will have every voice in society represented,' said Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, its London co-organiser. 'The Trump-Pence administration has overseen a massive regression in women's rights, and it is not enough to say this is happening somewhere else, this is not our business. We have to stand up.'
  • "A second London demonstration led by Stop Trump – which includes members of the TUC, Stop the War and Friends of the Earth – will also start outside the BBC's headquarters at 2pm, ending at 5pm in Trafalgar Square, where organisers hope 'very large numbers' – in the tens of thousands – will attend."
  • "For the Bring the Noise rally, organisers are encouraging marchers to take 'pots and pans out of the kitchen … and on to the streets, banging to show our disapproval and claiming our political voice in public space.'"

The Guardian concluded their report, noting that: "There will also be demonstrations on Friday evening in Glasgow and on Saturday in Edinburgh at noon."

For anyone planning on being in the U.K. this week, the Evening Standard published an article detailing "where to peacefully protest" Trump's visit.


 "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
- Ralph Nader

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Something to Know - 11 July

Jeff Danziger for Jul 11, 2018 Comic Strip

It is too darned easy and too confusing and disheartening to get into the current topics of conversation regarding the SCOTUS and what the loyal opposition needs to do to overcome.   My main effort will be to maintain a relative calm and disengagement, since I will be leaving for Europe this Saturday for a 38-day vacation, that includes a 2-week tour of Ireland, followed by a 21-day sea cruise from Amsterdam to Norway, to Iceland, to Scotland and back to Amsterdam ....then re-entry to a once-great and and respected nation.  So, I am looking at the big picture from outer-space, and this AXIOS bulletin spells it all out.  So, I would appreciate it if those of you, who have the necessary skills, would clean this all up before I get back.   It's either than or the Rule Of Law that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller is working on that will get the job done.

Axios AM
By Mike Allen ·Jul 11, 2018

Good Wednesday morning. It's 7/11.

Situational awareness: To protect allergic passengers, Southwest Airlines "will stop giving away peanuts on flights next month, ending a tradition that goes back decades" ... Starbucks "will eliminate single-use plastic straws ... by making a strawless lid or alternative-material straw options available" ... "Alamo Drafthouse Leads U.S. Theater Chains in Eliminating Plastic Straws."

 Trump unwinds the 20th century

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios


As President Trump meets other NATO leaders in Brussels today, the backdrop is his role in tearing at the post-World War II order. But Axios future editor Steve LeVine writes that a picture is taking shape of an American future without many of the basic institutions that many consider 20th century advances:

  • Unions: A decimation of the 120-year-old organized labor movement, most recently with last month's Supreme Court rulingweakening the funding of public collective bargaining.
  • International order: Trump is part of a wave of leaders challenging the post-World War II order, established to avoid another world war — NATO, our alliance with Europe, trade deals, the World Trade Organization.
  • Black voting: In 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated a key part of the Voting Rights Act, and last month the court decided that counties can purge voter rolls of people who don't regularly vote.
  • Women's rights ... For now, more fear than reality: A primary conservative goal is the invalidation or weakening of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion.
  • Respect for a free press and its role as a check on power.
  • Racial progress and harmony: The Muslim travel ban and Trump administration's border policies inflame rather than soothe tensions.

The N.Y. Times' Peter Baker quotes Curt Levey, president of the conservative Committee for Justice, as saying the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh will mean "a conservative court, really [for] the first time since the 1930s."

  • Why it matters: One of the main legacies of that court was the dismantlement of key components of the New Deal, which established Social Security and other social programs that are part of the U.S. firmament.

Be smart: Karen Harris, managing director at Bain Macro Trends, tells Axios that the new order will be the U.S., Russia and China — "multiple parallel great powers pushing against each other in the two new borderlands of cyberspace and [actual] space."

  • That, she said, "will lead to a more fragmented geopolitical order and by extension, a more fragmented international trade and finance order."


 "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
- Ralph Nader

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Something to Know - 10 July

Steve Benson for Jul 10, 2018 Comic Strip
The world has good news (Thai soccer team rescue), and lots of crappy news.  I am trying to put the SCOTUS out of my range for a while, and just figure that the hike out of this mess is just going to be a 30-year long challenge.  On a more short-term look, the following story from today's Los Angeles Times is a very sad look into the world that trump may not have created all by himself, but one that he encourages and keeps the flames going.  What is even sadder is that this is one minority taking it out on another.  Hate has no boundaries.  This is cruelty and our 45th president lives to see this happen:​

Authorities search for suspects in brutal beating of 92-year-old man

Man, 92, is badly beaten
Authorities searching for several men and one woman involved in South L.A. attack.
RODOLFO RODRIGUEZ has a broken cheekbone and other injuries after several people assaulted him in Willowbrook on Wednesday, a sheriff's detective says. (KTLA) 
By Brittny Mejia

Authorities are searching for multiple suspects in an attack on a 92-year-old man in South Los Angeles last week.
Rodolfo Rodriguez had gone out for his daily walk in Willowbrook about 7 p.m. Wednesday when he was assaulted, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up by Rodriguez's family. Rodriguez has a broken cheekbone and bruises on his face.

His family told KTLA that a woman confronted Rodriguez after he reportedly bumped into a girl who was with her.
Rodriguez was then struck from behind and "as he fell on the ground, he blacked out," L.A. County Sheriff's Department Det. Matt Luna said.
"The mom pushes him to the floor and grabs the brick and starts beating on him," Rodriguez's grandson, Erik Mendoza, told KTLA. A few men joined in, Mendoza said.
Misbel Borjas, who lives near Rodriguez, was passing by in a car when she saw Rodriguez walking and trying to pass the woman and the girl.
Then, Borjas said, she saw the woman push Rodriguez and start to hit him with a block of cement.
"She was yelling at him, 'Go back to your country,' or 'Go back to Mexico,' " Borjas recalled. "It was racist."

Luna said authorities are still trying to verify what the woman said to Rodriguez.
Borjas was able to snap a photo of the woman, who began to walk away.
Borjas said as she was on the phone with 911, a few men began to assault Rodriguez while he was on the ground.
There were possibly three to four men involved in the attack, Luna said.
"We have a witness that can identify the female, but that's it," Luna said. "We have no leads at this time."

Twitter: @Brittny_Mejia

 "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
- Ralph Nader

Friday, July 6, 2018

Something to Know - 6 July

The Dobson family

"I need somebody to come through here please, ASAP. Now. There's about eight people in a van, and they've been in the store for about an hour. They keep going back and forth to the bathrooms by my back door." That's the 911 call—obtained by WSB-TV Channel 2 Action News—from a Subway employee on a family of 6, Felicia and Othniel Dobson and their four children, ages 8, 12, 13, and 19. The family had stopped at the Subway in Coweta County, Georgia, on their trip back from South Georgia to their home state of North Carolina. They had been attending a grandparent's birthday party for the weekend.

The Dobsons

The employee freaked out because this isn't some Cleaver family reunion! These people have high levels of melanin in their skin!!!!

A Newnan police officer showed up. The Dobsons said the officer apologized and told them the employee had said she was suspicious of the family and that she has been robbed before and thought they would rob her.

Surprisingly never happened here

The Dobson family told the Channel 2 Action news that their 19-year-old is going to college this year, the kids are upstanding young folk, and there had been nothing to indicate there was an issue. Subway headquarters says they are "investigating," and the owner of this particular franchise called the family to apologize and say the woman had been put on  "administrative leave."

I reached out to Felicia Dobson and she sent this statement from the family.

It can be dangerous to make a call to law enforcement  with blatantly false information for people of color. The employee's voice was quivering as she described my family as non-customers, more women than men, and hanging around a back door eventually describing us as being suspicious and possibly going to rob her to an officer. This call came after we purchased several footlong subs and one addition while she took a smoke break outside of the store.  We have no words for her action.  Our kids were stunned to see their parents speaking with an officer following what they thought was a normal dinner followed by using a single stall bathroom one at a time.  Our hope is that this one day stops happening to people in this country.  Discrimination is never ok.  We pray that love will prevail.



 "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
- Ralph Nader

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Something to Know - 4th of July

La Cucaracha for Jul 4, 2018 Comic Strip

The 45th does have an ancestry.  Most former presidents have an interested folk in their history who claim to be close and brag about a famous person or family that "did good".  The Droomps would just as soon you not bring it up.  Even this tiny burg of Kallstadt, Germany near the "Texas of Germany" (Bavaria) would just as soon you talk about something other than you know who.

KALLSTADT, Germany — Herbert Trump did not want to talk about it. Neither did Ilse Trump. Ursula Trump, who runs the Trump bakery in the next village, eventually relented, palms upturned, and sighed: "You can't choose your relatives, can you?"

The relative in question is Donald J. Trump, president of the United States, multimillionaire, the most powerful man on the planet and a seventh cousin of Ursula Trump's husband — though in Kallstadt, a sleepy village nestled in the rolling hills of Germany's southwestern wine country, he is simply "Donald."

That is not least to avoid confusion with the other Trumps (or "Droomps," as the name is pronounced in Palatinate dialect) listed in a phone book for the area: Beate Trump, a podiatrist in another nearby village, for example, or Justin Trump, a teenager whose friends say he sometimes gets teased for his coif of orange-blond hair.

But the Weisenborns and the Geissels and the Benders and the Freunds in Kallstadt are related to Mr. Trump, too. "Practically half the village is," chuckled Kallstadt's mayor, Thomas Jaworek, before quickly adding: "I'm not."

Both of Mr. Trump's paternal grandparents, Friedrich and Elisabeth Trump, were born in Kallstadt, home now to 1,200 inhabitants. Growing up directly opposite each other, they were baptized in the village church and married a few miles down the road before immigrating to the United States.

By all accounts, Mr. Trump shares some key characteristics with his German grandfather, among them an interest in hair: Friedrich worked as a barber in New York before making his fortune running a restaurant and, reportedly, a brothel for gold diggers in the Yukon.

Like his grandson, Friedrich was a teetotaler and avoided his military service. Though rather unlike him, he prided himself in paying taxes on the 80,000 marks he possessed in 1904 — the equivalent of a millionaire today — archival records show.

In Protestant Kallstadt, where volunteers diligently tend communal flower beds and vintners have run a cooperative for 116 years, Friedrich Trump was a popular guy. Contemporaries described him as "polite," a man who "lived quietly and withdrawn" and had an "unblemished way of life."


A copy of an early 1900s photo of President Trump's forebears. From left, Fred, his father; Friedrich, his grandfather; Elizabeth Trump; Elisabeth Christ, his grandmother; and John George Trump.CreditBryan Thomas for The New York Times

Kallstadt's relationship with Donald Trump is more troubled, which may explain why there are no signposts pointing to the ancestral Trump home, a modest property with a sloping roof and a blue gate on one of the main village roads, let alone a plaque.

And even though the local tourism office celebrates the regional delicacy of pig stomach, and the fact that the church organ dates to the days of Johann Sebastian Bach, little, aside from the names on a few graves in the village cemetery, hints at Kallstadt's most famous grandson.

"We don't use the name in any way in touristic marketing," Jörg Dörr in the tourism office explained. "The topic is too controversial."

Keeping a low profile has not kept the tourists or media away, nor the occasional Trump impersonator wandering up and down the street. On the contrary: "I have people peering through my window or knocking on my door all the time, asking 'Where is the Trump house?'" lamented Manuela Müller-Wohler, who runs a nursery in Mr. Trump's grandmother's childhood home.

There are no signposts to the ancestral Trump home, a modest property with a sloping roof and blue gate on one of the main village roads.CreditLena Mucha for The New York Times

Sometimes she is so annoyed that she sends them the wrong way, or to the house of a neighbor she does not much like. The other day she wanted to do her weekly shopping, but her driveway was blocked by a tourist bus.

Her neighbors opposite, who bought Mr. Trump's grandfather's house — and, like Ms. Müller-Wohler, did not know the history before the purchase — are so exasperated that they have tried, and failed, to sell.

Like the man himself, Mr. Trump's ancestral presence is disruptive.

After his election, local hotels received boycott threats and some cancellations from longtime customers. Wine orders were called off. Emails arrived from all corners of Germany, challenging the "Trump village" to take a stance, Mayor Jaworek recalled.

Standing behind the counter of the Trump bakery in nearby Freinsheim, Ursula Trump recounted a phone call she received shortly after Mr. Trump was elected president.

On the line was a woman imploring her to "please call him and tell him not to build a wall" at the Mexican border, Ms. Trump said.

"I had to break it to her," said Ms. Trump, who is 71, nearly the same age as the president, "I don't have his phone number."

When Mr. Trump was inaugurated, she baked spongecakes covered in stars and stripes and edible pictures of him. "It was a joke," she said. But neighbors started boycotting her bakery, and she did not make the cake again.

If Kallstadt's relationship with Mr. Trump is difficult, that appears to go both ways.

"The Germans are bad, very bad," Mr. Trump remarked during a meeting with European Union trade negotiators last year, complaining about Germany's chronic trade surplus with the United States.


A letter from Mr. Trump's grandfather, Friedrich, to the Prince Regent of Bavaria, pleading to be able to resettle in Germany.CreditSpeyer state archive

Mr. Trump even used to deny his German ancestry altogether, claiming that he had Swedish roots. (There is a Karlstad in Sweden.)

"Fake news," commented Roland Paul, a local historian who was one of the first to research Mr. Trump's German family.

Mr. Trump's grandfather left Kallstadt for the United States at age 16 in 1885, and returned in 1902 a rich man, Mr. Paul said. He married the girl next door, and the couple went back to America.

But soon Ms. Trump became homesick and wanted to go back to Germany. They returned, and her husband wrote a series of letters in 1904 and 1905 requesting the right to regain residency. Because he had not performed his military service, the Prince Regent of Bavaria refused.

Mr. Trump donated money for the Kallstadt church.CreditLena Mucha for The New York Times

"We shall be ordered to leave?" Friedrich wrote after being informed that his visa would expire in July 1905. "That is hard, very hard for a family."

For some here, there is paradox in that history.

"The heartlessness of the Bavarian bureaucracy towards Mr. Trump's grandfather is reminiscent of the heartlessness of the president towards illegal immigrants in America," said Walter Rummel, the director of the state archive in nearby Speyer, where the unsuccessful immigration file of Friedrich Trump is kept.

"A loser file," Mr. Rummel said sarcastically.

For the past seven decades, contact with the American Trumps has been sporadic.

The Trump Organization donated $5,000 to help restore the church facade in 2001; Mr. Trump himself signed the check, said the pastor at the church, Oliver Herzog.


Little aside from the names on a few graves in the village cemetery hints at Kallstadt's most famous grandson.CreditLena Mucha for The New York Times

Mr. Trump's grandmother visited in the 1920s, said Mr. Paul, the local historian. The only other American Trump who appears to have come through Kallstadt is John Walter, a first cousin of the president and family historian.

Another Trump relative is Steffen Geissel, who does quality control for local wines. His great-grandmother was a sister of Mr. Trump's grandfather. His grandmother Louise flew to America to attend the 80th birthday of Mr. Trump's father, Fred, when Mr. Geissel was a boy, he said. She brought him back a signed photograph of Mr. Trump.

"Best wishes to Steffen," it reads. All of his cousins got one, too.

Since Mr. Trump's election, Mr. Geissel said, "everyone has been trying to work out how closely related they are to Trump."

This can sometimes lead to curious exchanges. Bernd Weisenborn, whose great-grandmother Barbara was also a sister of Friedrich Trump, was serving a local customer in his restaurant shortly after Mr. Trump quit the Paris climate accord.

"Look what your relative is up to again," the customer said.

"He is your relative, too!" Mr. Weisenborn shot back.

Now Kallstadt is alive with rumors that the president himself may visit.

In January, the mayor met with the United States general consul, who wanted to see the Trump house and, over pig stomach and grape juice, announced that he would send the ambassador to visit next.

And when Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Mr. Trump at the White House in April, she gave him a map of the Palatinate region where Kallstadt is.

All recent American presidents have visited the Ramstein air base, the headquarters for United States troops in Europe, a mere 45-minute drive away, Mayor Jaworek pointed out.

But if the president comes, he might be the only Trump around.

"I think I'm going to go on holiday," Ursula Trump said.


 "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
- Ralph Nader