Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston






Monday, May 29, 2017

Denis Hale Johnson: July 1, 1945 -- May 24, 2017

One of my favorite writers.

Denis Hale Johnson was an American writer best known for his short story collection Jesus' Son and his novel Tree of Smoke, which won the National Book Award for Fiction. He also wrote plays, poetry, journalism, and non-fiction.

“The White Fires of Venus” — Denis Johnson

“The White Fires of Venus” by Denis Johnson
We mourn this senseless planet of regret,
droughts, rust, rain, cadavers
that can’t tell us, but I promise
you one day the white fires
of Venus shall rage: the dead,
feeling that power, shall be lifted, and each
of us will have his resurrected one to tell him,
“Greetings. You will recover
or die. The simple cure
for everything is to destroy
all the stethoscopes that will transmit
silence occasionally. The remedy for loneliness
is in learning to admit
solitude as one admits
the bayonet: gracefully,
now that already
it pierces the heart.
Living one: you move among many
dancers and don’t know which
you are the shadow of;
you want to kiss your own face in the mirror
but do not approach,
knowing you must not touch one
like that. Living
one, while Venus flares
O set the cereal afire,
O the refrigerator harboring things
that live on into death unchanged.”
They know all about us on Andromeda,
they peek at us, they see us
in this world illumined and pasteled
phonily like a bus station,
they are with us when the streets fall down fraught
with laundromats and each of us
closes himself in his small
San Francisco without recourse.
They see you with your face of fingerprints
carrying your instructions in gloved hands
trying to touch things, and know you
for one despairing, trying to touch the curtains,
trying to get your reflection mired in alarm tape
past the window of this then that dark
closed business establishment.
The Andromedans hear your voice like distant amusement park music
converged on by ambulance sirens
and they understand everything.
They’re on your side. They forgive you.
I want to turn for a moment to those my heart loves,
who are as diamonds to the Andromedans,
who shimmer for them, lovely and useless, like diamonds:
namely, those who take their meals at soda fountains,
their expressions lodged among the drugs
and sunglasses, each gazing down too long
into the coffee as though from a ruined balcony.
O Andromedans they don’t know what to do
with themselves and so they sit there
until they go home where they lie down
until they get up, and you beyond the light years know
that if sleeping is dying, then waking
is birth, and a life
is many lives. I love them because they know how
to manipulate change
in the pockets musically, these whose faces the seasons
never give a kiss, these
who are always courteous to the faces
of presumptions, the presuming streets,
the hotels, the presumption of rain in the streets.
I’m telling you it’s cold inside the body that is not the body,
lonesome behind the face
that is certainly not the face
of the person one meant to become.

Memorial Day


Boston Common

Ivanka Trump tweets out suggestion for "celebrating" Memorial Day: 


 Read the answers to her stupid tweet suggestion here.

Friday, May 26, 2017

"A Danger to the World"

I've never seen anything like this in my lifetime.

Europe's largest economy and American ally, Germany:

Donald Trump has transformed the United States into a laughing stock and he is a danger to the world. He must be removed from the White House before things get even worse. © DER SPIEGEL

A DER SPIEGEL Editorial by Klaus Brinkbäumer

Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States.

He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn't read. He doesn't bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees. He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat. I feel ashamed to use these words, as sharp and loud as they are. But if they apply to anyone, they apply to Trump. And one of the media's tasks is to continue telling things as they are:

Trump has to be removed from the White House. Quickly. He is a danger to the world. 

Daily Kos:  They say Trump simply has to be removed and break down how the Americans can and should make it happen. Even they know Republicans are spineless and do not respect the rule of law:

Der Spiegel cont.:

The first is Trump's resignation, which won't happen.

The second is that Republicans in the House and Senate support impeachment, which would be justified by the president's proven obstruction of justice, but won't happen because of the Republicans' thirst for power, which they won't willingly give up.

The third possible solution is the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would require the cabinet to declare Trump unfit to discharge the powers of the presidency. That isn't particularly likely either.

Fourth: The Democrats get ready to fight and win back majorities in the House and Senate in midterm elections, which are 18 months away, before they then pursue option two, impeachment.

Fifth: the international community wakes up and finds a way to circumvent the White House and free itself of its dependence on the U.S. Unlike the preceding four options, the fifth doesn't directly solve the Trump problem, but it is nevertheless necessary - and possible.

"The Conservative Mind Has Become Diseased" - Michael Gerson

The Gooper candidate for US Representative for Montana, Gianforte, who physically assaulted a journalist, has won the election, and Goopers are celebrating the win.

Michael Gerson, former GWB conservative speechwriter, gives us a perfect explanation for why a political party would celebrate the election of a pusillanimous thug -- "the conservative mind has become diseased."

That's as good an observation as there is to explain the bizarre behavior that would turn normally mentally healthy people into cheering mobs when they hear news of a thug's election to the US House of Representatives. 

Conservatives' current enthusiasm for brutish behavior can be directly traced to the reality teevee host who now plays at being POTUS.  While campaigning for the presidency, Comrade Trump whipped his followers into frenzies by telling them that the media are "the enemy of the American people." Comrade Trump's simple-minded followers lapped up his demagoguery and reveled in being degraded by his swinish antics.

The election of Gianforte of Montana is merely the consequence of conservatives' inability to resist something "uniquely horrible" in American politics -- Donald Trump.

Here's Gerson to tell us the sad story of the diseased conservative mind:

“To many observers on the left, the initial embrace of Seth Rich conspiracy theories by conservative media figures was merely a confirmation of the right’s deformed soul. But for those of us who remember that Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity were once relatively mainstream Reaganites, their extended vacation in the fever swamps is even more disturbing. If once you knew better, the indictment is deeper. 

 The cruel exploitation of the memory of Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who was shot dead last summer, was horrifying and clarifying. The Hannity right, without evidence, accused Rich rather than the Russians of leaking damaging DNC emails. In doing so, it has proved its willingness to credit anything — no matter how obviously deceptive or toxic — to defend President Trump and harm his opponents. Even if it means becoming a megaphone for Russian influence. 

 The basic, human questions are simple. How could conservative media figures not have felt — felt in their hearts and bones — the God-awful ickiness of it? How did the genes of generosity and simple humanity get turned off? Is this insensibility the risk of prolonged exposure to our radioactive political culture? If so, all of us should stand back a moment and tend to the health of our revulsion.”

Wilson asks a question. My answer is:  "Yes, today's conservatives are past the rule of law and are nothing more than conscienceless cheering mobs, sick to their core.

6/ Are you so past the rule of law, and lack so much confidence in your ideas that this is where you take political satisfaction?

Thursday, May 25, 2017


The GOP's president, Donald "Russia" Trump doing what he does best: Being a narcissistic jerk.

Watch him shove Montenegro Prime Minister Dusko Markovic aside and push his way into the front row so that the cameras can be on him.

Donnie Russia is an international embarrassment:

 Watch our allies laugh and whisper as Trump reveals he still has no idea how NATO works

Donald Trump's America

Remember this:

Accepting Trump's thuggery leads to this:


From Daily Kos:

The eyewitness accounts of Greg Gianforte’s violent assault of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs continue to paint an increasingly unsettling picture.

From Alicia Acuna, who witnessed the event, along with Fox News field producer Faith Mangan and photographer Keith Railey: During that conversation, another man — who we now know is Ben Jacobs of The Guardian — walked into the room with a voice recorder, put it up to Gianforte's face and began asking if him if he had a response to the newly released Congressional Budget Office report on the American Health Care Act.

Gianforte told him he would get to him later. Jacobs persisted with his question. Gianforte told him to talk to his press guy, Shane Scanlon.

 At that point, Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him.

Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of "I'm sick and tired of this!" Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. He then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.

NY Times: "If convicted, [the candidate] faces up to a $500 fine, or six months in jail, or both."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Tale of Two Presidents

Graydon Carter, Vanity Fair:

 The word “trump” formerly was a verb used in polite bridge and whist circles. Trump, the man, is now up there with Hercules and Sisyphus with his own branded adjective. I’m not completely sure what it stands for. But when it finally settles into the lexicon, I’m certain that it will be a disconcerting combination of petulant, preening, ignorant, shameless, vulgar, paranoid, vainglorious, reckless, imperious, impulsive, unhinged, callous, corrosive, narcissistic, intemperate, juvenile, disloyal, venal, chaotic, squalid—what have I forgotten? Oh, yes!—and just mind-numbingly, epically incompetent.

LikeShow more reactions

Manchester, England

A lot of people are sharing this quote after the heartbreak in Manchester. It's also the 50th anniversary of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. 1/

View image on Twitter
Via Daily Kos

Monday, May 22, 2017

Israelis put out an ad mockingTrump

Just ask his supporters, they'll tell you Trump's respected around the world, more than President Obama was. Except we never saw anything like this mocking Obama:

Israeli ad spoofs Trump after speech

Another Great Moment for America!

The President Just Told a Room Full of Israelis That He "Just Got Back From the Middle East"

Are we tired of so much winning yet?

How unpopular is DJT?

Trump is unpopular. It’s still too early for post-Comey fallout polls, but right now his approval rating is at just under 40 percent. He got 46 percent of the popular vote last November. That means he’s lost 13 percent of his voters. If he gets down to the mid-30s, he will have lost around a quarter of his own voters — who were, remember, a minority to begin with.


[Trump's] latest approval ratings are lower than they have been since the inauguration. 

His disapproval now stands at 56%, per a Reuters poll. 

Remember when Donald Trump said that his presidency would make everyone tired of winning? 

He was right. Even he‘s tired of it, which is saying something. 

His disapproval now stands at 56%, per a Reuters poll.  

The May 14-18 opinion poll found that 38 percent of adults approved of Trump while 56 percent disapproved. 

The remaining 6 percent had “mixed feelings.”

Republican Party unfavorability rate is near 60%. 

Higher unfavorability than the Democrats.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday Night Funnies


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Night Funnies

And now for something completely different:

Trump Tells Russians Firing "Nut Job" Comey Took Pressure Off Russian Probe

Trump invited Russians into the Oval Office, gave them classified intel, and then trashed the head of the FBI -- all while only Russian media were allowed in the Oval Office and American media were not. 

A transcript of the meeting recorded the following statement from trump:

"I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job," Trump said, according to the Times. "I faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."                                                                                                               

On the same day that this traitorous behavior by trump was exposed, Americans learned that a White House official is "a person of interest" in a "criminal investigation."

Contributing — again — to our ever-growing national consensus on presidential moronity is none other than that model of right-winging extremism, Erick Erickson. As he observes this morning in the Washington Post: "The sad reality is that the greatest defense of the president available at this point is one his team could never give on the record: He is an idiot who does not know any better." 

 And there you have it — utter agreement, total harmony, a seamless consensus between a right-wing extremist and a democratic socialist who recently wrote: "[Trump's] quite efficacious and very believable defense in the face of impeachment and removal could be that he's a dolt, a walking incapability, a take-pity-on-me idiot of Rabelaisian proportions." 

 I have always admired and held philosophical allegiance to the now-antiquated reserve of the historiographical school of American consensus: that we as a nation are defined more by what we agree on than what we dispute. And nothing could be more agreeable, in both senses of the word, than that the moronically reckless Donald Trump is uniting us, as a people, in vigorous opposition.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Russia Probe is "now a criminal investigation'

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham said the Russia probe [is] ‘now a criminal investigation’

And that caps off Trump's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week.

Off goes the BLOTUS to his first foreign country visit and gawd only knows how many embarrassments he'll bring down upon himself and our country. Trump's grasp of domestic policy is tenuous, at best, and his foreign policy understanding is non-existent. 

From what I've read about the upcoming trip, Trump is not enthused about leaving the comfort of his cocoon of sycophants and lackeys. 

Meanwhile, this is the cover of Time Magazine, and it says volumes about how the Trump regime is perceived here and around the world:

This Vox article explains how the Trumpistas are dealing with the Trump-Russia scandals and the possible obstruction of justice in Trump's firing of the FBI Director Comey:

“I just choose to not listen”: why Trump supporters are tuning out the scandalsMotivated ignorance, explained.

“I tuned it out,” Michele Velardi, a 44-year-old in Staten Island, told the AP of the recent news. “I didn’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to feel that he’s not doing what he said, so I just choose to not listen.” 

 This line is extremely revealing. It shows a psychological tendency we’re all susceptible to. That tendency is called “motivated ignorance,” and it’s an extremely powerful force in American politics. It’s also one of the keys to understanding why political discourse can be so irrational. 

 Politics is about establishing a shared sense of reality with like-minded people. It’s not about facts. Here’s a simple truth: We find inconvenient political facts to be genuinely unpleasant. Psychologists theorize that’s because our partisan identities get mixed up with our personal identities — which would mean that an attack on our strongly held beliefs is an attack on the self.

A brief visit around the internet and right wing blogs confirms that many Trumpistas are pretending this is a "nothingburger," or that the Trump-Russia-Comey scandals are made up by a cabal of Clinton, Obama, and Soros agents. I guess when you pin you hopes and dreams on a con man, and then you get conned, the best way to protect your sanity is to ignore it all.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Robert Mueller Named Special Counsel in Trump-Russian Scandal

This is a good thing. Robert Mueller III, is respected by both Democrats and Republicans. This will lend credibility to the investigation into Trump and his Russian connections.

In less than 200 days in office, Trump is embroiled in an investigation into his young administration. Many of us predicted that because of his incompetence and horrible temperament, Trump would bring down some sort of catastrophe upon his presidency. I thought it would be in the form of a new war. Instead, it will be an investigation into allegations of obstruction of justice and his Russian connections. Let the investigations begin.

I hate to say "I told you so," but I told you so.

Trump is a disaster.

Special Counsel named to head Russia investigation; White House caught by surprise

The Justice Department on Wednesday named a special counsel, former FBI Director Robert Mueller III, to take over the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion between Russian agents and associates of President Trump. The move heightened the legal and political stakes for the president and his young administration. It came after days of allegations against Trump raised new questions about whether administration officials could oversee a probe which has the president at its center.

A scandal-plagued White House is unraveling Republican unity in Congress

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Trump Disaster

Trump Reportedly Asked James Comey To Stop Michael Flynn Investigation 

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go,” the president reportedly told the FBI director in February.

This Isn’t Smoke. It’s Fire. 

We talk a lot about smoke and fire. But this isn’t smoke. This is the fire. It’s not clear to me what more we need to know. The only question is whether we decide to put it out or just let it keep burning. As I said above, I bet we’re going to let it burn for quite a while longer. 

 President Trump fired the FBI Director – by his own account because he was upset about the investigation into his and his associates ties to Russia. We now learn he straight out asked the FBI Director to end the investigation into Michael Flynn three months ago. 

Last week he decided in the spur of the moment to share highly classified information with the Russian Foreign Minister. Each of these revelations are startling, shocking, albeit at this point simply not that surprising. There are all sorts of safeguards and norms we have created to prevent or limit a President’s ability to transform the law into an instrument of his or her own personal prerogative, his or her own weapon. It is actually better to say that we have set up all sorts of metaphoric fences around such an act or transformation to prevent someone in authority from even getting close to doing something like this – there are policies, taboos, norms, all there to keep a President or other executives from getting close.


“I hope you can let this go,” the president said, according to the memo, parts of which were read to The Times by an associate of Mr. Comey’s. 

Mr. Trump fired the F.B.I. director last week. The White House denied the memo’s version of events.

"The White House," meaning Donald J. Trump, has no credibility.   He's a liar.  He's not to be believed.

“The people are the only censors of their governors; and even their errors will tend to keep these to the true principles of their institution. To punish these errors too severely would be to suppress the only safeguard of the public liberty. The way to prevent these irregular interpositions of the people is to give them full information of their affairs thro’ the channel of the public papers, & to contrive that those papers should penetrate the whole mass of the people. The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive these papers & be capable of reading them.” –Thomas Jefferson

Monday, May 15, 2017


UPDATE: Trump admitted this AM that he shared highly classified intel with the Russians while they were Trump's guests in the Oval Office. The Russians interfered with America's presidential election that delivered the White House to Russian admirer, Donald J. Trump.

Trump bragged to the Russians in the Oval Office:  "I get great intel."  Then shared classified information with a country that is hostile to the United States. 

When trump was campaigning for the presidency he regularly told his rallies that Hillary Clinton was not qualified to be president because she allowed classified information to be sent out on her unsecured emails. 

Trump willingly gave classified information that could jeopardize our allies to the Russians. 

David Brooks, NYTimes:

From all we know so far, Trump didn’t do it because he is a Russian agent, or for any malevolent intent. He did it because he is sloppy, because he lacks all impulse control, and above all because he is a 7-year-old boy desperate for the approval of those he admires. 

 The Russian leak story reveals one other thing, the dangerousness of a hollow man. But Trump’s statements don’t necessarily come from anywhere, lead anywhere or have a permanent reality beyond his wish to be liked at any given instant.  
We’ve got this perverse situation in which the vast analytic powers of the entire world are being spent trying to understand a guy whose thoughts are often just six fireflies beeping randomly in a jar.

PM Carpenter:

"Impeach and remove this idiot. Period.

Unfuckingbelievable. President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

On second thought, it's not at all unfuckingbelievable. It is, rather, classic Trump. Impeach him for criminality, or incompetence, or stupidity.

Who cares?

Just get that dumb son of a bitch out of the White House.

He is America's greatest danger. Of that, perhaps this will convince even some of the nitwitted Trumpeteers.

The Washington Post's blockbuster story is a long one. But its moral is short.

Again: That dumb son of a bitch needs to be booted from the White House.

Update: Moments ago I flipped to Fox News, as I am wont to do in such astonishing times. And there sat Laura Ingraham, slamming Republican Sen. Bob Corker for having slammed Trump for revealing highly classified material to the Russians. That's how deep the sickness goes. One only hopes that it is deeper than it is wide. My guess, it is."

H.R. McMaster Denies A Story The Washington Post Did Not Report 

General McMaster gave a strong, carefully worded statement. But it denied allegations which were not made.