Global Disapproval as a Weapon

loudspeakers

August 30, 2016 – Remembering what I said then:

If you can remember back far enough to remember the movie Dangerous Liaisons then I think we could find a way to register our deep, deep disapproval without lobbing bombs at a leader who is just waiting to have us lob bombs at him. (What if all hell breaks loose?) If you remember, in the movie, an aging countess (Glenn Close) had learned to use men as pawns to give to herself the independence and the power to live well without a husband. She had affairs, as many as she wanted and she manipulated the guilt and the fear of exposure the men felt in such a way that when she ended the affair, they found they could not tell. She lived above gossip and although women knew she was not quite the thing, they had no proof and she was accepted by society. Until she fell in love.

She had sent a young man (John Malkovitch) on his way once, but as the film opens we meet a woman who is now showing her age. She is still handsome, but not beautiful. When that young man she fell in love with comes back and implies that he is still interested, she plays her last and most dangerous game, which she loses, rather badly. She still thinks that she has kept her secrets and has enough social cachet to go on. When she appears at the opera and everyone boos her, her reaction is visceral and I’m sure that from that time forward her social isolation is complete.

Maybe we could all; in every city and town all around the world, play, over very large loudspeakers,  at a certain time, like midnight at the Prime Meridian on Monday, a sound track of people booing with all of the loudspeakers pointed in the direction of Syria. I wonder if the sound would carry all the way to Syria. Then everyone in the world could turn his/her back on Assad and send Assad into a social isolation that would put him out of commission for the rest of his life. Now that would be retribution and it would feel really fine. I don’t imagine words or even world-wide condemnation could affect someone like that. You know what; I don’t even think bombs will do it.

More of what I said then:

Obviously we are way past the days when social shunning will put even a dent in the entitled arrogant man with the heart of granite who leads Syria. Here is a man who lives in bubble of comfort and privilege and who will not abdicate power even though his “kingdom” has been reduced to rubble around him and his “subjects” have had to flee or die. Here is a man whose every little hair on his smarmy head is glued in place and whose wardrobe costs more than it would take to feed the starving children in the nation that is unlucky enough to be ruled by this egomaniac. But what will finally oust this guy from his palace? Will we declare war on Assad and let the repercussions in Russia fall where they may? What if this becomes World War III and this time Russia is not on our side? I don’t know anyone who really thinks that we shouldn’t tread carefully, harden our hearts against letting grief and empathy dictate policy.

wedding in Syria big theatlantic.com

If, as I believe is true, no one is sure about how to handle Syria beyond what we are already doing, then our only choices are to continue to give Syrian refugees room to catch their breath and raise their children and to continue the air assault on Syria, the one that is further complicated by the presence of ISIS (and now Russia).

This is the view from the cheap seats.

This article appeared in my blog at http://thebrissioniblog.blogspot.com/ on 8/30/2013. The current post has been edited a bit.

And then this happened this last week of March in 2018:

The United States, in support of the UK, and to register our disapproval of an assassination attempt in Salisbury, England in broad daylight using an outlawed nerve gas, revoked permission for 60 Russians who are in our country ostensibly as diplomats. They were expelled from America and sent back to Russia.

Then this happened:

nations expelling Russian bigmetrocouk

All of these nations followed suit and sent Russian diplomats out of their nations in support of the UK. This gave me goosebumps, brought tears to my eyes – ridiculous perhaps, but it is a perfect example of weaponizing global disapproval and, although Putin does not get goosebumps or tears in his eyes, I hope he felt taken aback just a bit. I knew he would retaliate and of course he did. He closed the American embassy in St. Petersburg and sent our diplomats/intelligence people home.

But I was still touched by this show of solidarity especially given the divisive times we live in, the inexplicable affection the American President Trump has shown for Putin, and the even less comprehensible cold shoulder he has given to many of our allies.

 

 

Elections, not Zuckerberg

zuckerberg-analytica-796x419 TNW big

Mark Zuckerberg seems no better and no worse than any other business owner/billionaire these days. His company makes huge profits and he still needs ever more to satisfy himself and his stockholders. This is our brand of capitalism and Zuckerberg is certainly not any more greedy than anyone else. I am not going back into the now-distant past to talk about whether he became sole owner of Facebook by trickery and theft of intellectual property. That has already been adjudicated and now is a matter for Zuckerberg’s conscience.

There are at least two different points being argued at the same time and they do connect, but they are not the same issue. One argument says here is a company that is owned by one man. It has a huge presence on the internet which gives Mark Zuckerberg a disproportionate influence over internet users. So the argument here is that Zuckerberg’s company needs some regulation.

But that depends on whether we are talking about consumerism or elections. Unlike Cambridge Analytica Mark Zuckerberg, I’m thinking, did not intend to influence a US election any more than he intended to make identity theft a more common type of crime. He did intend to use what all websites use and what Bruce Schneier, writing at cnn.com yesterday morning (March 26, 2018) called “surveillance capitalism.”

Facebook users are not that naïve. We know that, although Facebook has gotten quite picky about what privacy level we want for things we post, they still allow all kinds of other apps and sites to collect our data and that of our friends. How many times have you given up your contacts to gain quick access to a site? The problem is that this allows someone like Cambridge Analytica, an organization that has only a fiduciary relationship with Facebook to mine data that Facebook supposedly protects but actually makes accessible to all who pay to advertise on the platform.

Since our entire culture centers around making money, having money, making more money and stockpiling as much money as you can and since every company has the same goals – profit- it is hard to fault Zuckerberg for being a successful businessman. If no one ever used this data to spy, to meddle in an election(/s), then we would not be having this discussion right now.

We are at a time when meddling in American elections seems to be the project of the moment for way too many people and at least one nation. I am not talking about voter fraud. I do not think we the people are even on the list of election tinkerers. Are both the GOP and the Dems using the internet to feed false information to people who use social media? I don’t think so. Were those who stole data under false pretenses and used it to fix (or try to fix) an election only trying to stop Hillary, or did they only wish to elect Trump – or would they have tried to throw the election to any candidate on the right. It seems that the election of 2016 was very important to an awful lot of people, and that they were are all working for the right.

Regardless of who Cambridge Analytica was working for, or whether or not Putin had people trying to fix the election, or even if Hillary and the Dems were trying to fix the election against Bernie Sanders, clearly we must protect our elections from any kind of meddling. Free and fair elections are the basis of our democracy/republic. Given what we can see about the lack of any reliable privacy on the internet and the modern tendency to push media into our communities that offers partisan propaganda, but likes to pretend that it is offering unbiased facts, obviously, some real effort and study needs to be dedicated to protecting our “free and fair” elections. Since some people feel that all is fair in politics and elections this effort cannot be delayed. We have another election coming up. We have elections all the time.

It is disingenuous to try to make Mark Zuckerberg the scapegoat for what is happening with our elections. Perhaps this is more Conservative razzle-dazzle to distract everyone from noticing that most of the election meddling was done on behalf of the GOP and Donald Trump. Zuckerberg just uses the same “surveillance capitalism” that all sites use on the web (although it is possible he pioneered some of the methodologies currently in use). These tactics are invasive and annoying and they make hacking the web a gamble with a big payoff.

We do need some oversight on the internet or the internet will become so crime-ridden that it will be shunned by people who cannot take risks with their data or their money. And this very model of “surveillance capitalism” is used on all social media but Facebook has the biggest treasure trove of personal information. Can Facebook be fixed? Will we like it to death?

It also feels as if some people are feeling personally vindictive towards Mark Zuckerberg and some professional jealousy may be increasing their desires to force him to answer to Congress and take him down a peg or two. We need to keep our eye on the main focus here and that is to guarantee that our elections are free and fair. If we have to rein in capitalism on the internet, are we willing to do that at a time when our government is busily overturning all the regulations that are now in place? What we need most of all is a new government.

Dems Do So Too Have Substance

american-flag-antiqued big pixabaySo much has been written that is critical of Democrats. Some say they are no different from Republicans, mainly because they also seem fixated on money and war, at least those seem to be the key complaints.

Others complain that the Dems have no substance, that voters do not know what the party stands for. It is true that Dems do not have a web of think tanks and foundations that hold frequent meetings and produce approved lists of talking points. If the Democratic Party starts doing lockstep they will lose their constituents and they will certainly lose me. It would not suit the modus operandi of the party, which believes in inclusion and which wants to be the party of “we the people”. Detractors argue that its power structure is perhaps made up of too many wealthy people who do not favor more progressive goals and who are too moderate for the tastes of many would-be Democrats.

Someone (a friend who scours the internet for memes like the one below) sent this list out on Facebook. I could not find the attribution but it is not mine. However it is a pretty complete and well-designed outline of the policies that Dems find important and serves as an excellent counterpoint to the policies we see being played out on the right. These party goals remind me of why I will be a Democrat as long as the party supports these policies.

  • Raise Incomes and Restore Economic Security for the Middle Class
    o Raising Workers’ Wages
    o Protecting Workers’ Fundamental Rights
    o Supporting Working Families
    o Helping More Workers Share in Near-Record Corporate Profits
    o Expanding Access to Affordable Housing and Homeownership
    o Protecting and Expanding Social Security
    o Ensuring a Secure and Dignified Retirement
    o Revitalizing Our Nation’s Postal Service
  • Create Good-Paying Jobs
    o Building 21st Century Infrastructure
    o Fostering a Manufacturing Renaissance
    o Creating Good-Paying Clean Energy Jobs
    o Pursuing Our Innovation Agenda: Science, Research, Education, and Technology
    o Supporting America’s Small Businesses
    o Creating Jobs for America’s Young People
  • Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality
    o Reining in Wall Street and Fixing our Financial System
    o Promoting Competition by Stopping Corporate Concentration
    o Making the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes
    o Promoting Trade That is Fair and Benefits American Workers
  • Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Opportunities
    o Ending Systemic Racism
    o Closing the Racial Wealth Gap
    o Reforming our Criminal Justice System
    o Fixing our Broken Immigration System
    o Guaranteeing Civil Rights
    o Guaranteeing Women’s Rights
    o Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights
    o Guaranteeing Rights for People with Disabilities
    o Respecting Faith and Service
    o Investing in Rural America
    o Ending Poverty and Investing in Communities Left Behind
    o Building Strong Cities and Metro Areas
    o Promoting Arts and Culture
    o Honoring Indigenous Tribal Nations
    o Fighting for the People of Puerto Rico
    o Honoring the People of the Territories
  • Protect Voting Rights, Fix Our Campaign Finance System, and Restore Our Democracy
    o Protecting Voting Rights
    o Fixing Our Broken Campaign Finance System
    o Appointing Judges
    o Securing Statehood for Washington, DC
    o Strengthening Management of Federal Government
  • Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice
    o Building a Clean Energy Economy
    o Securing Environmental and Climate Justice
    o Protecting Our Public Lands and Waters
  • Provide Quality and Affordable Education
    o Making Debt-Free College a Reality
    o Providing Relief from Crushing Student Debt
    o Supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions
    o Cracking Down on Predatory For-Profit Schools
    o Guaranteeing Universal Preschool and Good Schools for Every Child
  • Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans
    o Securing Universal Health Care
    o Supporting Community Health Centers
    o Reducing Prescription Drug Costs
    o Enabling Cutting-Edge Medical Research
    o Combating Drug and Alcohol Addiction
    o Treating Mental Health
    o Supporting Those Living with Autism and their Families
    o Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice
    o Ensuring Long-Term Care, Services, and Supports
    o Protecting and Promoting Public Health
    o Ending Violence Against Women
    o Preventing Gun Violence
  • Principled Leadership
  • Support Our Troops and Keep Faith with Our Veterans
    o Defense Spending
    o Veterans and Service Members
    o Military Families
    o A Strong Military
  • Confront Global Threats
    o Terrorism
    o Syria
    o Afghanistan
    o Iran
    o North Korea
    o Russia
    o Cybersecurity and Online Privacy
    o Non-Proliferation of Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons
    o Global Climate Leadership
  • Protect Our Values
    o Women and Girls
    o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People
    o Trafficking and Modern Slavery
    o Young People
    o Religious Minorities
    o Refugees
    o Civil Society
    o Anti-Corruption
    o Torture
    o Closing Guantánamo Bay
    o Development Assistance
    o Global Health
    o HIV and AIDS
    o International Labor
    • A Leader in the World
    o Asia-Pacific
    o Middle East
    o Europe
    o Americas
    o Africa
    o Global Economy and Institutions

This list of goals is fairly inclusive and it shows that any Democratic administration would have a lot of offer to we the people. One problem I can see with this is that so many of these areas will be eroded by the Trump administration that it will be difficult to set priorities for what to tackle first. It is a lengthy menu and tough to address even some of the many priorities in a timely fashion. 

Another problem is that this list, while impressive, is too lengthy to serve Dems in an election campaign. It needs to be condensed and redesigned from a long list of bullet points which most voters won’t even bother to read, into a convincing and powerful set of promises that are specific and realistic. We should have a contest, with a great prize, to get some clever Democrat to produce just such a memorable meme.

 

Two Weeks Worth of Excerpts from Bizarro World

I want to share some links to some very interesting articles that I have come across recently which document the Bizarro World we now live in

Bernie Sanders brand of economic populism has great appeal, even across the blue/red divide.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/17/can-the-red-blue-partisan-divide-be-overcome-bernie-sanders-thinks-so/

Women have less protection under the constitution than guns.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/16/mira-sorvino-women-have-less-protection-under-the-constitution-than-gun-owners/

Phase two of tax cuts – GOP now wants Dems to help make the middle class tax cuts permanent before the midterm elections. Do you think Dems should help because this policy would be good for “we the people”? Do you think they should refuse to help with this fix because Republicans are only interested in doing this in order to change the 2018 election?

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/378861-gop-pushes-for-phase-two-of-tax-cuts

Trump is an un-American president. Is lying to an ally like Trudeau of Canada the last straw, is it the huge deficit that will accrue if the new GOP spending bill passes? What will be the last straw?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/18/opinion/trudeau-trump-deficit.html

The alt-right is in disarray but their ideology has moved left into the mainstream Republican policy agenda.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/19/alt-right-is-dying-but-powerful-conservatives-are-mainstreaming-its-ideas/

I don’t find the current incarnation of the GOP very funny but apparently the trending meme about the Meat Loaf dialogue in the Senate suggests that humor is not completely dead.

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/08/569365614/lawmakers-start-quoting-meat-loaf-lyrics-just-because

Both parties have used a strategy that this author calls “constitutional hardball” (I call it sedition) – but the data suggests that this has been practiced more often on the right in asymmetric fashion.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/18/tilting-the-playing-field-how-republican-constitutional-hardball-has-reshaped-politics/

Hillary was right, Trump is backward

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/15/hillary-clinton-was-right-the-parts-of-america-that-support-trump-are-stuck-in-the-past/

Mississippi is trying to pass a new law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. Is this against the letter of Roe v Wade or just the spirit of Roe v Wade and why can’t men leave women’s reproductive rights for women to decide? When men decide what women can and cannot do this smacks of regression and undermines women’s rights in general.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/15/mississippi-moves-toward-15-week-abortion-ban-claiming-it-will-help-women/

Twitter fight on Bernie Sanders reveals an on-going troll operation.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/democratic-bot-network-sally-albright_us_5aa2f548e4b07047bec68023

Koch is sending teachers free lesson plans in social studies. You can just imagine what deficiencies might be contained in this material (a lot of important -isms). And teachers have been using these materials for quite some time.

https://www.theroot.com/millions-of-students-are-quietly-being-taught-the-koch-1823742091

Rising seas threaten Easter Island antiquities

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/14/climate/easter-island-erosion.html

Trump’s war on the press – by Thomas Edsall who always gives lots of backup data.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/15/opinion/trump-press-freedom-fake-news.html

An all-expense paid trip to Europe for a blogger – hurry the deadline is soon.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/dream-job-company-looking-to-hire-people-to-tour-europe-on-all-expenses-paid-trip

An ex-CIA agent opines about Trump’s guilt, danger to democracy, etc.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/12/veteran-cia-agent-on-trump-corruption-like-weve-never-seen-before/

Constitutional Rot

https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/555860/

Did Cambridge Analytica have any effect on the 2016 election? Do they still have the data they “stole” from 50 million Facebook users, data which showed what they like and post  and what their friends also like and post? Obviously people who are selling things that are not products find value in the same algorithms retailers use.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/opinion/facebook-cambridge-analytica.html

Cambridge Analytica also offered to try to use the Russian strategy of “kompramat” to get something to hold over the heads of politicians if that might help Trump.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/us/cambridge-analytica-alexander-nix.html

Trump has staff sign nondisclosure agreements.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/03/18/trump-pushed-white-house-staff-sign-non-disclosure-agreements-report/436778002/

ACLU says NDA’s are unconstitutional.

https://www.salon.com/2018/3/19/aclu-donald-trumps-white-house-non-disclosure-agreements-unconstitutional/

Feel free to read the articles that interest you and to capture the “url” if you wish.

 

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – Book

There are not many family sagas that are non-European but Min Jin Lee has added Pachinko to the genre. Sunja Baek is the Korean woman that we follow to Japan. Hooni and Yongji are her parents, poor Koreans who carve out a viable economic space for themselves in the years just before the Japanese come to occupy the Korean Peninsula (in 1910, prior to Europe’s first world war). Hooni is born with a hair lip and does not expect to marry, but he has strength and personality. Yongji is old enough as a single woman to believe she will never marry. Sunja is their only living daughter. She is no great beauty but she has the allure of youth and she is pursued with some patient skill by Koh Hansu, who only visits Korea, but actually lives in Japan. When she tells him she is pregnant he offers to support her but tells her he cannot marry her.

Sunja and her mother run a boarding house for fishermen which is popular because her mother is a great cook. Izak Baek comes to their boarding house very ill, having just arrived in their village on the ferry. He is a Christian minister, going to Japan to take up a post in his brother’s congregation. He most likely has consumption (TB to us) and is not strong. When he learns of Sunja’s pregnancy he asks her to marry him and come to Japan with him. Sunja is reluctant to go because Koh Hansu lives in the very city where they will go to live but she has few options.

Sunja has a son, named Noah and another son named Mozasu (after Moses). Christians are outlawed in Japan and Koreans are looked upon as dogs so the family lives in what is basically the Korean ghetto. Sunja’s husband Isak is arrested and thrown in jail for preaching Christianity. His health problems make this particularly punitive for him. By the time he gets out of jail he is in very bad shape indeed. According to this author, the Japanese do not feel any foreign people are fine enough to be accepted by the Japanese people. This is the same attitude, seven decades later, that Sunja’s grandson Solomon encounters when he returns from school in America to work in Japan.

Noah, Sunja and Izak’s first child,  is actually the son of Koh Hansu. Hansu climbs the power ladder in Japan, but as a yakuza, so he is considered a criminal type, like a member of a mafia. Noah does not know this man is his father. Noah is very bright and longs to go to college in Japan. Hansu makes sure Noah is able to do as he wishes but there are repercussions and, in a sense, Sunja pays for her sins. The second son meets a Korean mentor who runs several Pachinko parlors. Pachinko is a game similar to pinball but it also involves gambling, so our equivalent of a Pachinko parlor is a casino. Many owners are criminals but Mozasu’s mentor runs his businesses cleanly. Eventually this second son owns three Pachinko parlors of his own and the family no longer has to worry about money.

This book covers the generations of this family growing up in Japan between 1910 and 1989. These Korean people never become Japanese citizens because, in fact, even if an immigrant from Korea does become a naturalized citizen, Koreans must carry passports from South Korea. The family may be fictional but the events they live through are not. This follows the form we are used to in most family sagas.

Sunja lives with Izak’s brother Joseph and his wife and it is the lives of the two couples and their offspring that we follow for seven decades and through two world wars. This novel requires an investment in time but the history covered is new to most of us and interesting because of it.

I listened to this book on Audible as I was able to use a credit to read it in that format without cost. The narrator had a clear voice but she was so sweet she did not always seem appropriate in times when life got bitter for the family. There is also some graphic sex in the last section of the book which seemed odd when read in the same tone as the rest. The sexual scenes were there for a reason but were quite jarring juxtaposed against the rest of the content. Even when Sunja had her illicit relationship with Koh Hansu the encounters were not at all graphic (of course Sunja’s experiences were in 1910 and Hannah’s experiences were in the 1980’s). Still I think if this was used as a book club selection readers would need to be forewarned about what to expect. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is a book that is growing on me now that I have finished reading it. It is vivid enough to be memorable but has a sort of sparseness that makes it better as history than as literature.

Any Trump Wednesday Another Nor’easter

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Washington feels depressingly similar to the nor’easters arriving daily as lake effect on my back doorstep. The stuff piles up day after day burying us in snowy fallout we are quite sick of. It’s not a perfect metaphor because snow is occasionally beautiful. But the only beauty I have seen lately in Washington is those children against school terrorism, sitting silently for 17 minutes with their backs turned to the White House, the symbol of their government.

It’s not a perfect metaphor because the snow will eventually melt, but the heavy burdens of a country that is so wrong; the heavy weight of a nation that has a President who is wrong, will not melt away. It must be chipped away day by day, but it can’t be chipped away because it keeps getting thicker and heavier news cycle after news cycle, and, apparently, we don’t have the right tools for the job.

So on this Wednesday we say goodbye Rex Tillerson. You were a terrible Secretary of State but we will now be stuck with Mike Pompeo who will be an even worse Secretary of State. Our President, who could barely face children whose friends were gunned down in their American school because he is such a coward, tells South Korea that he will meet with Kim Jong-un who is truly quite frightening (he assassinates people). It is, however, highly unlikely that it will be possible to find a spot that is secure enough to suit the President, who talks as if he is brave, but who proves that he is not.

Goodbye Dodd-Frank, hello new financial and/or housing bubble. The banks can get away with anything. Wall Street can cook up new rip offs to tank the economy and line their own pockets. Hello almost new gun control laws, and goodbye to those same laws almost as soon as the grieving parents and children left the building.

Say goodbye to your pension Andrew McCabe, exiting the FBI after 21 years of service. It wasn’t enough to get you to retire early – you need to get shafted for all eternity, because fake Hillary stuff.

Goodbye House investigation into Russian intervention in our election and hello to newly sainted Trump who is not ever guilty of anything. Goodbye Stormy Daniels, even though Trump never signed the non-disclosure documents you may still not be able to disclose any incriminating evidence. You got screwed literally, you will get screwed again figuratively, and now we are getting screwed too because here is another crime that will never unseat a bad President.

Our President makes it look so easy to look very guilty, to actually commit a crime, and yet to walk away from it unscathed because he has learned to play the game so well. He inspires many Americans to try this too. No wonder this nation feels more like scam-merica than ever. Our phones ring all day long but we can’t answer them because we might be scammed. We are afraid that every time we go online we could lose our identity. Computer hacking has gotten to be so common that it may end the Tech Age. We’re afraid that even if our own computer is turned off some bad actor like Experian will fumble and expose our data (or sell it).

Goodbye James Schwab, spokesman for Homeland Security  who took issue with the things Jeff Sessions had to say about Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf – about recent deportation activities in California. He refused to issue false facts and when he could not get a new statement he quit his job. Hello Wall, he wants the transparent one, “We have to be able to see what’s happening on the other side.”

Someone tried to sell a decommissioned helicopter – oops – that was an NCIS rerun.

Goodbye to Sergei Skripal and Yulia, the ex-spy and his daughter killed with a chemical nerve agent in Salisbury, England. Our President was the last to accept that Putin was responsible and to offer lukewarm support for Theresa May.

Hello Conor Lamb, a Democrat in Pennsylvania in a district so gerrymandered to favor the GOP that the courts ordered that it be redrawn. Good for you, and may you be just the beginning of a blue tsunami. (Something positive crept in.)

Hello “Space Force”. I guess we will be weaponizing space before we even are able to go there.

We also learned this week that Trump and his followers may be in a state of “collective narcissism”. Yikes!

This is only one Wednesday in the Trump administration and I’m sure I missed a lot. I want this attack on our democracy to end but it will be some time before I get my wish. In fact the snows of winter will most likely have come and gone many times before our would-be dictator lets go of his hold over us and is finished with turning our lives upside-down. I am wishing for an end to the storms in Washington even more than I am wishing for Spring and I am in despair with waiting. Eight years of Obama was not nearly enough.

Goodbye Stephen Hawking, you deserve peace. You were a gift to all of us and we will remember you.

(I wrote this before I saw the Steven Colbert show last night, but our thoughts were obviously in sync.)