The Mueller Report: Game Over: Not So Fast

Mueller Report game over NJ.com

Everything we thought was true, that which we have seen exposed over and over again (in some of our news) turns out to be true. The Mueller Report tells us this. Game Over – I think not. There is little in there that we did not already know. We have a President who will do anything to stay in power, although he was quite surprised when he won it. Was his surprise genuine? I doubt it. This is not a man who cares a hoot about being genuine. He had his guys put the fix in and they are all in jail for it. But he kept this hands clean, no paper trail to him, no tapes, just word-of-mouth. What people say is easily challenged, easily turned into a personal attack, slander, their-word-against-mine. Our laws will never get closer to this guy than what the Mueller Report managed to seek out and tell us. Our President is friends with mobsters and knows better than to leave evidence behind of his misdeeds.

How near crisis are we in America and in the world? How near a critical point in the transformation of our democracy/republic into an authoritarian state? How close to coastal flooding and weather too violent to ignore? How close to the death of our oceans? Whether or not we can afford to take our sweet time and make sure we have the goods on this man while he tramples our laws and our values and our institutions is not a question to be taken lightly. Trump proves through the testimony of his familiars that he would do anything to get his way, anything to protect himself, and anything to get reelected to an office that he disrespects, and does not comprehend or honor.

The Senate will not impeach. We know this. Trumpists around the country believe the new AG when he says that Trump is in the clear. But these are people who have taken us a long way down the road to destruction both at home and abroad, people who only seem to care that the economy seems temporarily improved. When America is finally ruined who will we blame, the people who didn’t see through Trump, or the people who did who did not do enough to stop the desecration of our nation? Will impeachment from only the House of Representatives wake up the bewitched? Impeachment doesn’t mean that a President has to give up his/her office. I don’t know if impeachment will work.

I thought the law was a muscular thing; that there was power and justice in the law. But when it comes to the powerful and the wealthy the law seems quite “dainty”. Lawyers intone on our television sets all day long. One day they find that Trump is despicable and bad for America. But then they equivocate, because we have written America into a corner where a sitting President cannot be indicted. Today the same lawyer who spoke with some passion yesterday now is pontificating about using our powers of reason, and is rationalizing inaction.

If any person without power or wealth in America did the things this President has done or tried to do s/he would be in jail. If we have a Constitution that does not allow us to protect our nation against a scheming President, a President who cares more about what he personally can “win”, not for the nation but for himself, and the adulation of his deluded followers, what loyalty he can command through fear, not through worth; when our Constitution does not protect us from such a person then that document is no longer enough to provide a government that works for we the people.

Our Constitution assumes that we will elect someone with integrity and a broad philosophical view which will keep our nation safe from plunder and dismantlement, or from weakness that allows a foreign power to exploit us. We have let a person with no integrity, no depth of view, a destroyer into our government instead. And now we find ourselves with no way to free ourselves that does not further the destruction of our freedoms and rights and the apparatus that allows us to keep these abstract and hard-won values. If the election doesn’t work, only mass demonstrations and chaos will offer any hope of restoring our nation to the framework provided and maintained by our ancestors. We also cannot stop governing for elections. There is always an election on the horizon.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – NJ.com

Brain Download: Unconstitutional President, Columbine, Notre Dame, and the 2020 Election

notre-dame-rose-windows Newsweek

Brain Download-Unconstitutional President, Columbine, Notre Dame, and the 2020 Election

Trampled Norms

Journalists and authors, both professional and not, have written about the way Trump and the Republicans are crushing the “guardrails” of our documents and our laws (How Democracies Die).  In an article on 4/17/2019 the newest incarnation of these columns raised alarms about these threats to our democracy.

The article discusses the ways Trump and the compliant Republicans have actually crossed red lines, or have shown that they are willing to cross certain red lines, especially when it comes to the laws Trump wants to ignore or overturn in order to stop asylum seekers from entering the US, and his desire to ship migrants off to sanctuary cities, actions that would break current laws. He gets mad and he gets even (if he can) and he does not seem to let a little thing like a law stand in his way. None of us, the article says, are any too happy about the way Republicans are stuffing the courts with uncredentialed judges, either.

David Rothkopf, writing in The Daily Beast today, arrives at the same dilemma we all keep facing. What can we do about it? He also feels that an effective response strategy is more necessary than ever after Trump’s willingness to break laws, which escalated once again last week. He doesn’t offer any suggestions we already haven’t thought of and now that we are in the election cycle we are unlikely to heat up the resistance. But he is right, we should, because 6 more years of Trump and the Republicans will most likely make American democracy have a near-death-experience (or die an authoritarian death).

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-and-co-are-crossing-big-bright-red-linesand-theyre-getting-away-with-it

Columbine Connection

Today – 4/17/2019 is almost exactly a decade (sorry bad math, 2 decades) after the Columbine shooters shocked our nation (4/20/1999) and today an eighteen year old, who had an unhealthy interest in the Columbine shooters and that whole terrible day, a girl who searched the internet about how to buy a gun in Colorado, made authorities nervous enough to shut down schools near Columbine. Not only did she ask about purchasing a gun, she actually went to Colorado and bought one when she arrived from Miami. She was found dead this morning. Possibly when she realized that everyone was looking for her she may have killed herself, thinking that was the only thing she felt she could do.

It seems that authorities are beginning to get ahead of potential shooters by treating tips and internet posts seriously and being proactive. They have been able to stop several shooters lately before the tragic mass shootings they were planning happened. This is a good thing. Although it may not be enough to stop all mass shootings. We didn’t lose any innocent students today but it is still sad to lose another young person to a mental script that doesn’t offer rewards to anyone, especially any of the rewards that s/he thinks such an act will bring. We need to find out why our culture produces so many young people attracted to such appalling violence.

Notre Dame

A friend reminds me that Notre Dame, built in the 12 th century (the 1100’s) was built on the backs of peasants who moved the large stones which were used to construct the great cathedrals. Were they slaves or were they paid? If they were paid, they were most likely not well paid. My friend also reminds me that these cathedrals took decades to build so that parents, and their children, and their children’s children ( and more generations) carried stone to the builders without ever hoping to earn enough for a better life. And these same peasants who performed the most back-breaking labors also knew they would never be allowed to enter the cathedral when it was finished.

Ken Follett in The Pillars of Earth,described (or imagined) the building of one of the great cathedrals in England. If he used more facts than imagination, the building of a cathedral was a huge operation that required many talented builders with a variety of skills. A whole city grew up around the site of a build as there had to be houses for workers, food for workers, drinks and drinking establishments, and eventually even guilds for workers and a town or city government for order. So cathedral building may have offered more advantages than building the pyramids in Egypt seems to have offered.

Still we now have billionaires pitching in to rebuild Notre Dame and we have French people who need to see those billions invested in jobs and better pay for French people. People first, rebuilding second some protestors are saying. This sad loss of a religious and national treasure is teaching us another lesson about what happens when an economy does not equitably distribute money that people need to live. We see that someone can afford to offer their wealth in exchange for their soul when a cathedral is involved, but who seem to misinterpret what their soul really requires. Actually some people have become so rich that they could hedge their bets by doing both.

The 2020 Election -Speaking of Money

The Democrats are happy to have so many candidates running in their primary for the 2020 election. They are also trying to answer charges that Republicans have popularized, arguments which paint Democrats as being more in love with big money than Republicans are. I guess all is fair in love and elections, but we are a capitalist country and Democrats live in the same economy as everyone else. Are we now supposed to have two disparate economies, in addition to two political parties with nothing in common?

We are aware of how the GOP demonizes the Democrats. Why are we having this moment of purity about Wall Street and money? Young people are idealistic and easily persuaded to be critical, and their parents did have their 60’s moment when they learned that economics was not the only basis for a thriving culture. They saw that many cynical leaders thought of war as a way to keep the economy booming, and of course, keep communism from spreading. From what we are seeing of the spread of authoritarianism our leaders were perhaps not totally cynical. And these young people did not come of age in the job market their parents found after they left school.

So we see Democrats trying to promise that they will use only grassroots dollars. This is a political reform that is sorely needed but obviously, at this moment, the opposing party is unlikely to reciprocate. And while Dem leaders may not want to limit the Dem field I am starting to get a bit nervous about how I will offer support to all these primary candidates. My donations are small even when the number of candidates is small. Now I am beginning to worry that I will not be able to be a good Democrat. My pocketbook will not allow it. I suppose I could choose one candidate and concentrate on that one person but there are several people that I like. It seems so overwhelming that sometimes I think about keeping all my dollars for myself. I hope this doesn’t describe too many Democrat supporters and voters. How will Dems successfully compete against Trump with his hands in the deep pockets of the Republican political apparatus?

Photo Credits: From a Google Image Search – Newsweek

 

Stop the Moment: Nationalism v Globalism

stop action man field Art & design gallery

We are in a moment which some of us want to suspend in time. Think about it as a photographic moment, a photo snapped in a moment just before change will most likely happen. Some would like to take that photo of this moment in time, superimpose it on the world and make the world conform to this photo in perpetuity. This has set up the battle between the nationalists and the globalists, between the right and the left.

National v Global Odyssey

That stop-action photo would show, some say, a Eurocentric world dominated by the new kid on the block, a shiny America full of certainty and trim, well-built up-standing men, young and old with very straight teeth. The photo moment would show a world that is Christian, white, and speaks English. Those who wish to suspend time argue that everything of value has come from Europeans,white people, and mostly from white people who speak English.

insect in amber new.harvard.edu

However, it is unrealistic to expect the world to hold still. It never does. Civilizations rise and fall although they may make permanent contributions that continue to live on in our minds and our lives. So perhaps Europeans have fears that their moment is over, that the future will not be “white”, or we will no longer speak English, or be Christians. Perhaps America has these same fears. People believe that by sending everyone back to their country of origin the demise of Eurocentrism can be staved off. We tempt fate by mixing Muslims and Christians, by allowing people to speak foreign languages in English-speaking spaces. We hasten the end of the familiar when we mix cultures and open the door to the undefined, to chance, to an evolution that we can’t pinpoint the end result of.

In Europe it is Arabic immigrants and asylum seekers who threaten to change the face and language of Europe. The romance languages will no longer reign supreme. Latin and Greek roots could be replaced with languages imported from lands that have languished in the backwaters of history either by chance or design, although they were once the centers of thriving human empires. In America the situation is similar, except that the people of South America are Christian and many are white, but most do not speak English and they come from nations that have also lagged behind in terms of economics and what we call progress, although these cultures also had their moments in the sun.

global:national Pinterest

Holding the world still is not easy, nor is it comfortable. In order to make change seem to stop, all kinds of irrational behaviors must become acceptable, all the lessons of centuries must be overturned. Immigration must be prevented. Centuries of mingling cultures and sharing ideas and designs that have enriched life must end. Humanitarian cooperation becomes treason. Fear must be stoked, differences must be emphasized, horrible consequences must be described as imminent realities.

Do I want Sharia law to be the law of the land? Not really. As a woman the thought is quite frightening. But if we are kind to displaced Muslims does that mean our democracy will be forced to adopt Sharia law? Or is that what will happen if we lose the imaginary war against Muslim nations? I know we are at war with terrorists with extreme views, but I did not know that we were at war with all Muslims. If we take them in as a humane gesture will they eventually turn on us and conquer, or will their customs gradually replace ours? We imagine the worst because some bad things have happened. But clearly not all Muslims are terrorists. We know this.

How do we end up in America with Sharia law through our southern border as certain fringe voices contend? Weirdos are certainly having their moment as we attempt to stop the world. On Fox “News” they warn about the imminent dangers of Sharia law as if Americans are being hustled into Islamic courts and stoned and beheaded every day, straight from seemingly normal American neighborhoods.

Why are people like Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro the voices Americans listen to? We never used to listen to these voices. We recognized them as haters. Today I heard Steve Bannon opine that Trump’s election was delivered to us by God. This was not hidden away online in Breitbart News; it was on TV news (and not Fox). Suddenly we love to listen to extreme views. They are being normalized, made more mainstream. The Divine Right of Donald Trump. Really?

plate techtonics You Tube

The death of our humanitarian viewpoints, the fears, the desire to retreat into our comfortable shells, this all has to do with wanting to stop progress, to hold the world steady. We all know the world does not work this way. It rotates, it revolves, it circles the universe in an arm of the Milky Way. It sits on tectonic plates riding on molten lava which means that the surface of our world is never still. Musical tastes change, clothing styles and hair styles change, theories change, and climate is changing. None of it will stay steady until the earth dies, and maybe not even then.

Will trying to stop trends we see occurring change outcomes? Won’t the very act of trying to stop the world from changing bring change? Maybe. Since we can’t experience alternative paths we will never really know if we were able to prevent a negative future, or even a more positive future by trying to engineer the future we want.

stop action fineartamerica.com

Can humans engineer the future or is the future immutably organic? Is there really a cabal of wealthy white men (and perhaps a token woman) who are keeping the world moving on a track of their own design? Can we engineer a halt to the evolution of human culture, to nations and governments, create something like the damage to a vinyl record that made it repeat and repeat, never move on without a nudge? To most of us it seems as if the earth will turn and human history will change whether we will it or not.

And yet we argue that humans have changed climate on our planet. But it also seems clear that we didn’t have to change it very much to have fairly profound effects on our comfort levels. So we can possibly stop human history for a while but the effects of such an attempt are unknowable. Is it possible to send everybody back to the Middle East and put it back together as it once was? Is it possible to make South American countries function better than they are? We’ve tried regime change and it was a disaster. We tried aid and sometimes that helps but not if bad people steal the aid and profit from it. If climate change is indeed changing the ability to farm in the Northern Triangle (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) what can be done about that?

The world will always change whether we like it or not. Engineering the change to keep it peaceful and slow and profitable for all might be possible if we could work together, but stopping change seems like a futile project and just trying to keep the present in place makes it more likely that when change eventually overwhelms our puny attempts to stall it, change may come in a dramatic uncontrollable leap. This argues that nationalism is a futile movement and globalism will most likely prevail despite the fears some express about it.

National v Global Quote Master

Photo Credits: From Google Image Searches – Art and Design Gallery, Odyssey, new.harvard.edu, Cagle.com, You Tube, fineartamerica.com, Quote Master

The News of Our Lives in Headlines

news-on-many-devices Marketing Mag

The headlines on any given day reflect the world’s drift towards authoritarianism, economic slowing, the breakdown of humanitarian norms and of democratic norms, at least in terms of the sad evolutionary trend of world governments and our own American government. There is upheaval in the hive.

Last week The New York Times published an eye-opening in-depth piece on the Rupert Murdoch family of media fame. What happens when the business a man wants to corner is the news business? What if this person has an ideological reason to horde newspapers, magazine, TV stations, radio stations, and corners of the internet? What do we do when this guy is able to use his empire to decide who gets to stay in political office and who doesn’t? This Murdoch family with its home base in Australia, also has enormous influence in Great Britain, Canada, and America (through Donald Trump especially). Rupert Murdoch owns Fox. What happens when this billionaire media grabber gets old and frail and has to decide which of his two sons (his daughters were not in the running) to leave his almost monopoly to? He wants to continue to grow his empire even from the grave. This is a royal tale that harkens back to the succession of kings.

So be sure to check out the Rupert Murdoch story from last week. Great stuff!

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/03/magazine/rupert-murdoch-fox-news-trump.html

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/03/magazine/new-fox-corporation-disney-deal.html

“ Murdoch embodies these same contradictions. He’s an immigrant stoking nationalism, a billionaire championing populism and a father who never saw any reason to keep his family separate from his business, and in fact had deliberately merged the two.”

“Murdoch used the same playbook in the United States. In 1980, he met Roy Cohn — the former adviser to Senator Joseph McCarthy and a Trump mentor — who introduced him to Gov. Ronald Reagan’s inner circle. It was a group that included Roger Stone Jr., another Trump confidant and the head of Reagan’s New York operations, who said in a later interview that he helped Murdoch weaponize his latest tabloid purchase, The New York Post, on Reagan’s behalf in the 1980 election. Reagan’s team credited Murdoch with delivering him the state that year — Murdoch gave Stone an Election Day printing plate from The Post over a celebratory meal at the 21 Club — and his administration subsequently facilitated Murdoch’s entry into the American television market, quickly approving his application for American citizenship so he could buy TV stations too”

It’s a juicy story!

Headlines

Here are a few headlines from today’s news outlets (4.9.2-19):

The Daily Beast

Israeli Prez Rebukes BiBi, Signs Controversial Law in Arabic

Evangelicals Side with Trump Over Jesus on Immigration

Prince William’s Lawyer Tries to Suppress Rumors of Affair

Trump Lets Foster Agency Turn Away Catholics and Jews: in their zeal to stop gay people from adopting kids

Bill Barr: I’m Not Giving Congress Unredacted Mueller Report

Pastor Knocked for Critiquing Women: ‘Find a Good Bra’

NYC Declares Public Health Emergency Over Measles Outbreak

Iranian Lawmaker’s Chant ‘Death to America’ in Parliament

‘Italy’s Trump’ Launches Campaign to Destroy Europe

How Stephen Miller Has More Power Than Ever

New DHS Boss Is the Guy Who Led Family Separations

The New York Times

Mnuchin Says White House and Treasury Discussed Trump Tax Return Request

Barr Tells Congress He Will Deliver Mueller Report within A Week

Trump Says the US is ‘Full’: Much of the Nation Disagrees (Map)

The Trump Organization Facing Questions About its Staff, is Quietly Trying to Remove Undocumented Workers in South Florida

Why Does Trump Want to Debase the Fed?

Who is Left to Say No to Trump?

Netanyahu’s Biggest Enabler in Upending US Policy: Trump

Democrats Electorate on Twitter: Not the Same as Wider Party Base

Two People are Arrested After a University of North Carolina Slave Memorial was Defaced with Racial Slurs and Urine

With ‘Unplanned’ Abortion Opponents Turn Toward Hollywood

Salon

Why the Jewish State Became An Oppressor

Do Democrats Want a Woman in 2020

Experts Warn About the Dangerous New Superbug Candida

Stephen Miller Takes Command: Trump’s shadow chief of state wields his dark magic

Big Telecom companies are Suppressing Fast Internet

There’s An Economic Price for Rose-Tinted Policies in America and Britain

What Should You Expect From Israel’s elections? More Bibi, More or Less

When the GOP uses the Word “bartender” to mock AOC, It Shows its Ugly Classism

William Barr suggests Trump Administration could lose Court Battle Aiming to Overturn Obamacare

The Washington Post

White House Lawyers Consulted Treasury on Trump’s Tax Returns, Mnuchin Says

Barr Says Release of Mueller Report is Likely within a Week

Amazon in Seattle: Economic Godsend or Self-Centered Behemoth

Trump Removes Secret Service Director as Purge of DHS Leaders Widens

Grassley Warns White House not to Oust Any More Top Immigration Officials

NYC Declares Public Health Emergency amid Measles Outbreak and Orders Mandatory Vaccinations

‘Kick Kavanaugh Off Campus’: Student’s Decry George Mason’s Decision to Hire Supreme Court Justice

‘Every race but white will die’: An Oklahoma Woman Went on a Vandalism Spree to Scare Jewish People, Police Say

In a Broadside Against Airbus, US Pursues Tariffs on a Host of Products from Europe

White House Bid to Dispute Climate Change Finds Few Takers in Federal Government

With the Brexit Clock Ticking Down: May Heads to Paris and Berlin to Plead for More Time

Iran’s Leaders Warn US after it Names ‘Revolutionary Guard’ a Terrorist Group

The Issues 2020 Democrats Are Running On According to their Social Media (Graphic)

Republicans to Trump: Your Immigration Shake-Up Makes No Sense

Erdogan’s Party Calls for New Election in Istanbul After Losing Mayor’s Race

The Daily 202: Trump is Teeing Up Stress Tests for Several Institutions from DHS to DOJ and the IRS

You can use a search engine to find any of these articles whose headlines tempt you to read more. Subscribe to newspapers, save real news.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Marketing Mag

Venting and Other Mixed Metaphors

volcano erupting NY Post

Every so often I start to feel like a volcano sitting over roiling hot lava that could go off at any moment and vent smoke and ash everywhere until the pressure inside calms. When Trump’s defiance of traditional America norms reaches a peak ‘you can’t touch this’ moment it is difficult to keep my internal pressure gauge from entering the danger zone. But I am not self-destructive. So, instead I sum it up by saying that it is getting to the point where I don’t know what to say anymore, except to beg the universe to please make it stop. Donald Trump, playboy, real estate developer, TV reality show CEO, has turned into an old man I do not recognize as a fellow America. And yet he is our president, the face our nation shows the world.

Of course the difficulty must lie with me and my mind that can not wrap itself around the things this man does. He grew up in the same country as I did, at almost the exact same time that I did but he does not share one idea about how America should work in common with me. How can that be?

I cannot psychologically grasp how his path could take him to where he is now and yet intellectually I do get it. Lots of powerful people surround themselves with sycophants. They get their egos stroked, they have no opposition to their projects, and no one corrects them even if they begin to go off the rails in terms of strict legality.

Compared to Trump I had nothing all my life. He had plenty and he could go back to his father for more anytime. Yet he is so stingy, so small-minded, so locked in his rich white male privilege that he can say things like “America is full”, “we can’t take any more people”. How did a life full of adventures and possibilities make him so limited in his viewpoints?

When he sees people leaving their homes because they are being threatened by thugs and their economy is in freefall due to factors beyond the people’s control, factors like global market changes and climate changes affecting crops, he doesn’t see people in crisis, he sees animals, criminals, undesirables.

Apparently the people who have the most trouble being compassionate are those who have been the most fortunate. They horde their money and grumble that “these people will not get a dime of it”. Of course they don’t only begrudge people from other nations, they do not plan to share a dime with other Americans either. They argue that if you are unsuccessful it is your fault. Perhaps the decisions he makes are made so cynically, out of greed only, that he imagines everyone has similar motives.

He now refuses to signal his underlings that they need to release the Mueller report. I never really thought he would want to see it released. He was unashamedly open about firing an AG and replacing that AG with one who thinks Presidents have absolute powers.

We the people let this happen because we have left the active resistance movement to a handful of passionate people. But it seems all bets are off right now anyway. Petitions, letters, demonstrations, a media message that counters right wing propaganda – none of it seems to make any difference whatsoever. This could be why we are in election mode so early.

While it is true that this special investigator, Mueller, was appointed and tasked by the Justice Department, there were no qualms about using taxpayer dollars to finance the investigation. Our dollars should buy us access to the findings of this investigation. On my Facebook page when my readers respond to my articles they say, “it’s over, give it up”. But I say “not a chance” even though I doubt we will ever see an unredacted copy of this report we paid for.

It is a fairly long tradition to have access to a president’s tax returns. Democrats have the con in the House of Representatives and so they get to ask to see Trump’s tax returns. This should not involve demonizing the Dems and insulting them and making them sound like they are traitors.

Yes political parties have always done some trash-talking but this goes way deeper than that. Demonizing is the correct term and this tactic is only this effective when you have a media outlet that hammers home every pronouncement a president makes all day, every day to an already brainwashed audience of our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, aunts and uncles.

People who never before cared two cents about what happens in Israel are now telling me that the Democrats are anti-Semitic. And yet I believe it is still true that most Jewish Americans are Democrats. They got this ridiculous lie straight from Trump. They will fight for him on any ground like a mother fights for her children. They do not see through him. How can they not see through him?

This has gone on for two long years. The details of the chaos change but it all has one thing in common. Either Trump wins or the Constitution and our traditions win; both cannot win with this guy. Dems believe that if at least one party sticks to regular order Trump and the Republicans cannot permanently change the way America is governed. They believe that even though everyone is sounding fairly extreme, somehow the center will hold and perhaps move a bit to the left. Meanwhile the courts are being stuffed with very conservative judges.

Trump is a destroyer. He is a rogue driver of a monster truck. He doesn’t mind physical violence but what he likes best is mental abuse, using the simplest language to inflict the greatest damage. He’s very good at it. He obliterates reason, creates a black hole, and fills it with white supremacy and male toxicity. He embraces those who parrot him and vilifies those who oppose him. Honesty and sincerity are for chumps. He does not admire chumps.

We are damned if we frog march him out of the White House without using Constitutional governance and procedures. We are damned if we leave him in place trouncing our documents and showing us over and over that they have no teeth; that we have handed over too much power to our presidents.

I would love to see the IRS hand over Trump’s taxes. I would celebrate if at least our elected representatives in Congress get to see the unredacted Mueller report. I don’t even know what to wish for at the Southern border but I know it isn’t a wall and it isn’t a big fat zero as the number of asylum seekers allowed to live and work in America. My pressure gauge is likely to continue to get a real workout, but the 2020 election could blow it out altogether. Expect really poisonous rhetoric from Trump and the Republicans and an attempt to hold a democratic election from the Dems.

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – New York Post

 

 

White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey – Book

White Rose

White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey starts with a real resistance movement inside Germany, the White Rose Society, and builds a novel around it. We can imagine that there were Germans living in Nazi Germany who did not buy into Hitler’s racism, his use of fear and instant retribution, the way he used his paranoia about what people said and did in privacy to justify invading everyone’s privacy, and setting neighbors to spy on neighbors.

In White Rose, Black Forest we meet a young German woman who was imprisoned for a short time because she had a boyfriend in the White Rose Society, the German resistance group which published underground news sheets called “The White Rose”. Franka Gerber, our young lady, a nurse in Munich, actually helped write that flyer and distribute it but was assumed to have been naively led astray by her boyfriend Hans. After serving time in prison she is now considered an outcast.

Now with all her family dead Franka lives alone in the family’s cabin in the Black Forest. She is devastated by the things that have happened to her family and the rumors of the terrible things happening to the Poles and the Jews. She sees no way forward for herself. She is planning to shoot herself out in the Black Forest with her father’s gun. It is the middle of winter and winter snows are deep on the ground, the cabin in a remote location, the roads closed due to the snow.

Her suicide is interrupted when she stumbles on a Luftwaffe officer attached to a parachute and unconscious, with two broken legs, who despite his extensive training speaks to her in English. This is where the story goes a bit off the rails. Some of the author’s explanations for what Franka does require a bit too much suspension of disbelief. Although the snow is a great device to buy her parachutist, John Lynch aka Werner Graf, time to heal.

What I did find relevant and worthy of attention were Franka’s interactions with her neighbors dished out in flashbacks to her years as a young girl when she joined the Hitler Youth movement, and with her earliest friends and her first boyfriend who shared these experiences with her. She eventually turned against Hitler and the Nazis, but her old beau, Daniel Berkel, became an agent of the Gestapo, became a loyal Nazi, and with promotions and power became quite a menacing figure.

Much is revealed about the role of women under Nazi rule which was defined by Hitler. Women were house frau’s and child bearers and kept an eye on their neighbors and reported their behavior when it seemed suspect. Women, unless single, did not work outside the home. However many German women became very good Nazi citizens and supported the regime in every way. Others obeyed because the penalties for not obeying were very steep, often even life-threatening.

White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey is a very readable story, but not a polished literary novel. We do end up on the edge of our seats, and you might want to see if they are able to escape their very precarious situation.

From Wikipedia – “The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi party regime.”

You can also find me at:

https://thearmchairobserver.com

www.tremr.com as brissioni

Goodreads.com as Nancy Brisson

 

Shine a Light: Is it OK to Sign OK?

Shine a Light Oxford Brookes University

Conspiracy theories and conspiracies come from dark places. Hard to tell if it is best to let them remain in those dark spaces since they seem to keep seeping out into our lives in secret slips or leaks that make them seem tantalizingly real. The human mind loves being privy to gossip, loves to pass on a secret, especially a secret that hides an evil idea behind a veil of exclusivity, a sense of belonging to a private club. However, perhaps it is better to shine a light on the darkest corners of the human soul to make hiding evil impossible.

So I am going to discuss a human activity which looks like it signifies a dark reality. It may be about a private ‘club’ but not one I want to belong to. I am doing this in the interests of shining light on dark spaces. But I am also trying to decide if our President lives in this dark space and likes to signal it surreptitiously to his followers

If you watch Trump speak at a rally you will notice him making a gesture with his thumb and ring finger in a circle, other three fingers upright. We think of this as the sign for OK. That may be true for Trump also. He may just be used to incorporating that OK sign as one of his regular hand gestures. Here is an article with a video of the speech Trump made in March, 2019 at a rally in Michigan. You don’t have to watch the entire thing to see what I am talking about. Make sure to look at around the 41-42 second mark, at 2:51-1, at 3:28, at 4:02-06, at 4:35-36, 4:55-5:00, 5:36-37, 5:50-5:51 and I’m sure it comes up many more time.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/03/28/watch_live_trump_hosts_maga_rally_in_grand_rapids_michigan.html

It turns out that many sources say this OK signal, once so positive is now used by white supremacists as a sort of secret ‘gang’ sign to show the omnipresence of this group in our culture, especially among Trump supporters. Now Trump is an ‘old school’ kind of guy so his use of this sign or gesture could just be a coincidence. Or perhaps white supremacists noticed that Trump used this gesture a lot and decided to copy it. I have no idea if Trump’s use of this sign signals his America First, white power stance, which he telegraphs but likes to deny, or if it is a gesture so ingrained in his repertoire that he cannot break himself of an old habit that is no longer really culturally appropriate for the President of the United States to use.

Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

In 2017, the OK gesture was at the center of an online prank in meme culture related to alt-right and white supremacyoriginating from anonymous message board posts on the website 4chan.[40] The Boston Globe reported that users on 4chan’s “/pol/” (Politically Incorrect) board were instructed in February 2017 to “flood Twitter and other social media websites…claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy,” as part of a campaign dubbed “Operation O-KKK”.[36] The association of the gesture with white supremacy derived from the assertion that the three upheld fingers resemble a ‘W’ and the circle made with the thumb and forefinger resemble the head of a ‘P’, together standing for “white power”.[41] While some members of the alt-right used the symbol after the launch of the 4chan campaign, it remained ambiguous whether or not it was being used to communicate genuine adherence to white supremacy, or with deliberately ironicmotives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OK_gesture

More sources if you are interested:

https://medium.com/s/story/does-the-ok-sign-actually-signify-white-power-or-what-6cf3309df985

https://nypost.com/2019/03/15/suspected-new-zealand-shooter-appears-in-court/

OK-Hand-White-Power-Emojipedia

https://blog.emojipedia.org/no-the-ok-hand-is-not-a-symbol-of-white-power/

 

Is Trump trolling us, is he bonding with his peeps, or is he just an old guy using a symbol that used to have only one connotation? It’s a mystery as so many things are these days.

Photo Credits: From Google Image Searches, Oxford Brookes University, Emojipedia.jpg