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Today our health care system is threatened with a total disaster. Trump is putting pressure on all republicans to repeal the Afforable [Health]Care act. Simply repealing will throw 34 million people off and substitute decent insurance for junk insurance (a pretense of covering what is needed). At the same time voter suppression is working: thousands of people are apparently trying to get their names off the voter rolls lest their private information (about who they voted for among other things) is given to Trump and his agents.

In my district, Don Beyer has introduced legislation, which, were it to pass, would restore the US democracy, specifically proportionate representation for all levels of voting. He is a good man. I come across Trump supporters of course. Most of the time they do not identify themselves. As Naked Capitalism showed and also a story in the Washingto n Post in fact the poor whites did not give Trump his win, it was wealthy whites, older people (what fools those on limited incomes), white people and what's wanted is a white nationalist state for the wealthy to thrive in.  This is understood; it was understood by Romney in his famous taped speech. Trump is performing ethnic cleansing one by one: by deportation, by imprisonment, by suppressing the vote, by allowing cops and other people who need only say they are scared of black people (brown, Muslim) to kill them with impunity. The progressive populist's latest issue puts before us the crazy reality that Dylann Roof who slaughtered 9 elderly black people in a church is not regarded as insane. How is this? why is he not regarded as insane?  Such people do not want anyone voting who is not white.  The story is online: Hal Crowther, a Whiter Shade of Pale

While the relationship of Trump and all his business enterprises and associates (now heads of agencies) might seem a distraction from this (and the attempt at voter suppression, from Trump's not filling jobs across social service agencies, and from his own nomination of 27 of the most reactionary judges we've seen in decades) --

Trump may not be filling hundreds of high and middle level appointments in agencies supposed to do things for the public good (because he wants these parts of the gov't to rot), but as for judges he's appointed 27 judges at mid level positions -- 3X Obama's total, more than double Bush, Reagan's and Clinton combined. They are all horrendous: one man called Kennedy a prostitute for allowing sodomy to no longer be a crime.

NONETHELESS, -- THAT TRUMP ASSERTED HE THOUGHT WE WILL HAVE A VERY GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA -- is also intensely important. It explains how in the early 1990s when no bank would lend Trump or his businesses any money, they stayed afloat. Again why he will not release his tax returns. Why he is now seeking to fire the new investigative attorney, is incensed at Sessions. The Republicans may not impeach him, but the more people who know about why Trump asserted he will have a very good relationship with Russia (and he with Putin) the more likely he can be toppled from power finally.

Thus I bring back into this blog the Dutch documentary which gives the world-wide network background for these people's operations: I bring back the Dutch documentary about Trump's idea we "will have a very good relationship with Russia" (oh his companies have had one with key powerful people there it seems for quite a while) plus the new details that have come out.  It is misguided finally to regard Trump as simply incompetent: he is competent enough for what he needs and ruthless and amoral enough to destroy whatever stands in his way

Here is DemocracyNow.org, the only news organization to report the latest details:

From Transcript one:

But if you want to get at the roots of the collusion, you have to look at where Trump’s links with Russia actually begin. And they don’t begin with Putin. They certainly don’t begin with the 2016 campaign. They begin with long-standing financial linkages that Trump has, going back to the ’90s, even earlier, to Russian oligarchs who have been pouring money into his real estate and into his casino business for quite some time.

AMY GOODMAN: Lay out exactly. And if you can talk about how perhaps this relates to who was in the room with Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump’s oldest son, and Kushner, his son-in-law, as well as Paul Manafort, his campaign manager at the time, when they had this meeting that they’ll all have to be speaking before a Senate committee about next week?

SEVA GUNITSKY: Sure. And I want to say, this is not just small change from Russia, despite what Donald Trump says. This has been hundreds of millions of dollars. Donald Trump’s son, Don Jr., said—almost a decade ago, he said that "Russians make up a disproportionate number of our investors. We have money pouring in from Russia." That’s a direct quote. So, he has been a sort of perfect vehicle for Russian investments.

And if you look at the people who were in the room in that now-infamous meeting last June, then it’s clear that there are many linkages to Russian money. We have people like the business partner of Aras Agalarov, a Russian oligarch that Trump has been doing business with for years. We have people like Natalia Veselnitskaya, who is a lawyer for a company called Prevezon, which was accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars through New York City real estate. So, it’s not a surprise that these names keep coming up, because this is definitely something that has linked Trump to Russia for a long, long time.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And could you talk about, Seva, the 2012 Magnitsky Act and what role it plays here?

SEVA GUNITSKY: Sure. So, the 2012 Magnitsky Act was a result of a Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who was investigating a company in Russia that was linked to some illegal activities by Russian oligarchs. And when he found out what happened, he was put in jail, and he was murdered in jail. So, in 2012, the Obama administration, as a response, put in an act, the Magnitsky Act, that essentially prevented wealthy Russians from doing business in the U.S. And the Russian oligarchs despise this act. They really would like to see it canceled.

And the lawyer who met with Don Jr., Natalia Veselnitskaya, she had been lobbying against the Magnitsky Act for years ....

From Transcript two: Moglivech is a key figure in the Dutch documentary:

You write about a trip that Trump made back in 1987 to Moscow during the Gorbachev years. Why did he make that trip?

CRAIG UNGER: Well, this was his first trip to Russia. And they were—there was sort of a wooing going on in which he was hoping to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. It’s been a dream that’s been resurrected again and again and has never happened. But during that time, he first—for the first time, you see his presidential ambitions surface, immediately when he comes back. And he goes up to New Hampshire afterwards. He’s met a lot of powerful people in Russia. He goes up to New Hampshire as if he’s dipping his toes in the presidential waters for the presidential primary coming up in '88. And he puts out a full-page ad in The New York Times and Washington Post in which he puts forth the same kind of foreign policy stuff he's been saying during the presidential race and since he’s become president, attacking Western Europe, attacking NATO, and, frankly, putting forth a policy that appears to be in Russia’s interest more than ours.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, you point out in the article, as well, that since Trump has been president—so, just in the last six months—about 70 percent of the sales in his buildings have gone to shell companies, where we don’t know—we don’t know the identity.

CRAIG UNGER: Well, exactly. And that’s one question where you have to wonder how much—is this just a free-for-all where he’s laundering massive amounts of Russian money? And it’s the kind of thing that, frankly, as a reporter, that’s where you see your limits. It’s very hard to penetrate shell companies, and you need a subpoena. And I’m hoping that’s a direction special counsel Mueller will go after.

AMY GOODMAN: Now, that’s very interesting, because—especially in light of this New York Times interview done yesterday in the Oval Office, when Trump basically talked about his red line. He’s furious that Jeff Sessions, you know, recused himself, and which led to Robert Mueller being appointed. But his red line is going from Russia to his own finances. But you and our previous guest are linking the two.

CRAIG UNGER: Absolutely. He is effectively saying he wants to obstruct justice. It’s as simple as that. There’s no other interpretation.

AMY GOODMAN: So talk about some other of the people that you write about—for example, Semion Mogilevich and Felix Sater.

CRAIG UNGER: Right. Well, Mogilevich has been probably the most powerful mobster in Russia for more than 30 years. He has his—according to FBI files, he has his fingers in everything from prostitution to drug running to elaborate stock fraud scandals and so forth. But what he is renowned for is money laundering. And he was so successful at it, he was known as the "brainy don," because he has a degree in economics, and he’s come up with some elaborate schemes that seem rather byzantine and complicated, but they’re very, very lucrative ...

I urge anyone who comes to this blog to take the time to watch this material and and/or read all three transcripts. Now if you have time, read this the way this reactionary republican from rural Ohio presents what he is about to do as benign reason and good for all in my comments section.

What I find so important and must be included in this blog how Johnson spins what's happened to present a totally false view. He presents himself as a good man up against power-mad people who are ruining the economy. If you read nothing else, and assumed that the US gov't must be run by good people, have been told businessmen are good people, and read nothing else (say watch Fox News which is a perpetual celebration of Trump as president, as presidential), you might regard the stories of the NYTimes or Post or other mainstream publications as lies, as fake news. And the problem here is compounded because yesterday say neither the Post or the NYTimes told about what has been revealed in detail about how Trump and his agents are all gangsters; the way he stayed afloat after the early 1990s when no bank would fund him was to find funding in the gangster worlds of Russia and elsewhere so I can see that a person in Ohio turning on Amy Goodman would think she's nuts, not just extremist but a crazed liar.

Miss Drake
One day late:


But here I am now.

I am so glad that at long last the phrase "net neutrality" has been dropped as things become so serious. No one before explained that what is in store for us is turning the Internet into a form of cable TV.  Yes.  Let all the space be bought up by companies, and then they switch off everything they own, and then put back only "packages": what they are willing to choose for you to see, hear, and watch, each for a higher sum of money.  No more going where you want, no more writing yourself and reaching potentially millions or at least hundreds, or for most of us our friends, associates, people interested in what we are.

You do know without the free and open internet Obama would never have won. The Republicans in the US would not have this difficult problem of taking health care from millions because forsooth it depends on the very wealthy giving a little bit more taxes each --- cannot have this redistribution of income and opportunity even to keep someone alive and out of bankruptcy.

Make no mistake; this is what the loss of net neutrality means.  The places you are allowed to reach, or maybe post a bit will be heavily censured and big gun of copyright put before you: so you will be stifled of anything you might say or post that you don't have permission to.

And you do know that broadband access does not reach many rural areas as yet; some states (Republican controlled but some democratic ones too) and these new rules would spell the end of any attempt to bring the internet to people outside large cities -- the way Trump wants to defund Amtrak and all trains

This is what's in store except if the huge corporations who think they have a lot of lose win out -- for to no one else does the Trump kleptocracy listen.



We have now seen the supreme court let part of the Muslim ban stand and further corrode the separation of church and state and how peaceful protest in the streets gets you beat up (even if crippled in a wheelchair) and put in jail for months, maybe on a felony so you will never vote again.

Silent violence, that's the way. No one would listen to those of us who talked of the peril to this medium if Trump should be elected.

I repeat if this chairman gets his way the Internet will become another cable TV where we will only be able to access limited channels for huge sums and we will not be able to post ourselves, but the companies will cut off blogs like Naked Capitalism, Truthdig and (above all) DemocracyNow.org.

So many nights and days no one, no one tells the stories that are occurring that Amy Goodman and her group do, no one gets the good people who tell the truth clearly, her links abroad are astonishing. People like this new horror salivate at the thought of cutting her off.

And above all we will no longer be able to blog, post and do what we want.  Uses of copyright, people running ISPs will begin to censure heavily. Back to the 1950s. Think of the enclosure movement. For centuries land held in common and then starting in the later 16th century the wealthy saw a way to make huge sums from sheep, cattle, drain the land for themselves and kicked thousands and thousands off and they ended in these hideous factories

and of cousre it will be so much easier to roll back consumer protections, feeble as they already are:


Miss Drake

Deeply shaming and dangerous

After a video of Trump was posted onto Twitter of him as a TV wrestler body-slamming CNN:

Charles Blow on "the hijacked presidency:" July 2,2107, The New York Times:

"Every now and then we are going to have to do this: Step back from the daily onslaughts of insanity emanating from Donald Trump’s parasitic presidency and remind ourselves of the obscenity of it all, registering its magnitude in its full, devastating truth.

There is something insidious and corrosive about trying to evaluate the severity of every offense, trying to give each an individual grade on the scale of absurdity. Trump himself is the offense. Everything that springs from him, every person who supports him, every staffer who shields him, every legislator who defends him, is an offense. Every partisan who uses him — against all he or she has ever claimed to champion — to advance a political agenda and, in so doing, places party over country, is an offense.

We must remind ourselves that Trump’s very presence in the White House defiles it and the institution of the presidency. Rather than rising to the honor of the office, Trump has lowered the office with his whiny, fragile, vindictive pettiness.

This latest episode is simply part of a body of work demonstrating the man’s utter contempt for decency. We all know what it will add up to: nothing.

Republicans have bound themselves up with Trump. His fate is their fate. They have surrendered any moral authority to which they once laid claim — rightly or not. If Trump goes down, they all do.

It’s all quite odd, this moral impotence, this cowering before the belligerent, would-be king. A madman and his legislative minions are holding America hostage.

There are no new words to express it; there is no new and novel way to catalog it. It is what it is and has been from day one: The most extraordinary and profound electoral mistake America has made in our lifetimes and possibly ever.


We must remember that we now have a president exerting power to which he may only have access because a foreign power hostile to our interests wanted him installed. We must remember that he has not only praised that foreign power, he has proven mysteriously averse to condemning it or even acknowledging its meddling.

We must remember that there are multiple investigations ongoing about the degree of that interference in our election — including a criminal investigation — and that those investigations are not constrained to collusion and are far from fake news. These investigations are deadly serious, are about protecting the integrity of our elections and the sovereignty of our country and are about a genuine quest for truth and desire for justice.

Every action by this administration is an effort to push forward the appearance of normality, to squelch scrutiny, to diminish the authority and credibility of the ongoing investigations.

Last week, after a growing list of states publicly refused to hand over sensitive voter information to Trump’s ironic and quixotic election integrity commission, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders blasted the pushback as a “political stunt.”

But in fact the commission itself is the political stunt. The committee is searching for an illegal voting problem that doesn’t exist. Trump simply lied when he said that he would have won the popular vote were it not for millions of illegal votes. And then he established this bogus commission — using taxpayer money — to search for a truth that doesn’t exist, to try to prove right a lie that he should never have told.

Donald Trump is depending on people’s fatigue. He is banking on your becoming overwhelmed by his never-ending antics. He is counting on his capacity to wear down the resistance by sheer force.

We must be adamant that that will never come to pass. Trump is an abomination, and a cancer on the country, and none of us can rest until he is no longer holding the reins of power."


Hundreds of position in US agencies are going unfilled so that business of gov't cannot go forward. Those that are filled are being coerced into allowing our environment to be polluted again; others are given free rein to kill abroad whoever. The small rot speading is seen in the governor of New Jersey closing all public beaches to New Jersey state residents (how dare they humiliate and try him for closing a bridge some years ago out of spite), and then taking one over for just his family.  Shameless is the word here.  The significance of this matching petty act: Remember about Republicans now: if they can do it, they will, no matter how egregiously false, corrupt, ugly, cruel.

Miss Drake



The win of Republican Handel over Jon Ossoff tonight is significant because she won it by the state machinery repressing and erasing at least 50,000 votes. What is happening is Republicans are simply erasing thousands of votes of black and minority people (in the 6th congressional district of Georgia this means a considerable Korean population) by claiming these people voted in another state -- with no proof, no indictment, no court cases. They are throwing out voter ballots, voter forms signed so the people coming to the polls find they are not registered and cannot vote -- and have no recourse and no explanation. The old 'south" and Jim Crow is back.

Read about it: Greg Palast

The Republican rallies, all white, are shameless violent to any democrat who shows up; to reporters. Even more worrying, is Kris Kobach, the man Trump put at the head of an electoral commission to investigate non-existent fraud is going to use this method nation-wide. The vote in the US is not longer legitimate. Had they not suppressed the vote, Osoff would have won in the first round. The district itself is gerrymandered; at this point it has a large black population and a growing Korean one -- thousands and thousands were ruthlessly disenfranchised during this campaign. there has also been outrageous gerrymandering for a couple of decades by the Republicans. No, they don't play fair nor do they pretend to.  With Sessions at the head of Justice none of this will be protested or come to court. The ACLU has to try.

The Republican thinks they can take over the machinery of gov't and wipe out all progressive gains in the last 100 years this way. In 20 Republican states legislation has been introduced and passed to criminalize all sorts of aspects of public assembly and protest. Tonight Paul Ryan gloated the Republicans will pass their tax bill (to cut a trillion from US citizens' tax dollars and send it to war and the rich) and their gutted health plan (called -- ironically in my view -- the American Health Care plan). He thinks it's all clear sailing now.

Drip by drip; today disabled people protested and in wheelchairs were dragged away, arrested, accused of faking, dragged on the gound by the hair


A friend of mine urged me to read Rebecca Solnit's essay on Donald Trump. While I don't think DT is lonely, and (alas, see above) do not think this regime will crumble, and am not keen on folk myths as explanations (the fisherman and his wife), Solnit's description of Trump's failed business career, his sleazy and cutthroat semi-legal tactics, his rise through TV, is spot on.

But there is a sense that nothing that Solnit says here matters. The links to Hannah Arendt give us long philosophical views of decency, humanity



But they have no effect when it comes to the power that has been put in place.

What we are now seeing the slow gradual erosion of democracy and liberty. I mentioned last night that 20 republican states have begun legislation to criminalize demonstrations -- there will be no recourse to a justice department under Sessions. Harsher yet longer sentence is what he wants. But today on DemocracyNow she had several segments on the terrrozing and deportationt of Pakistanis from Brooklyn; a segman on hateful behavior spreading everywhere against Muslims, non-white people and no recourse.  Trump not appointing anyone for administrative positions destroys gov't by default; no protection, no action on behalf of the public.
It's clear where we are headed -- in fact those you describe are not the majority at all; the majority wanted Clinton; the majority want health care, gun control.

So the reason phone calls to senators and so on don't work is that those getting into power don't in the least care if they represent a majority; they have only to win no matter how from the point of view of democratic ideals illegitimately. It is legal what they are doing.

The FCC make no effort to control news any more. It is like the French ancien regime: those in charge were a minority but they have the power. In this s ense none of what Solnit had to say matters

How to change the situation goes further than getting more people to vote democratic in order to offset voter suppression?  You really need the equivalent of ALEC and you're not going to get it as ALEC is ruthless fascism. The only way fascism has been turned around is terrible war -- and weaponry is horrifying nowdays. We all have but one life.

Miss Drake


I'm about to start watching The Crown, Clare Foy as Elizabeth II when young. Yes I updated my Netflix plan and now not only get DVDs, but movies on demand: streaming. That includes mini-series and movies made for Netflix. Yes I know the most important prime minister was Clement Atlee just before her reign, and he's barely mentioned -- he created the National Health, nationalized industries, poured money (well whatever he had) into socially beneficial programs. The Crown thinks the man who mattered was Churchill.  Its politics (if you could call the references to their power that -- the women are made the "true" powerhouses inside the house), reactionary -- men protect women, people shoot ducks as a last noble moment - -it is humorous, half-comically making fun of many of them; that saves it.  What the film does is show us how important a symbol Queen Elizabeth II has been for a certain strata of the British people since her commendable conduct in World War II.

So I imagined that she at long last used this power where it should count. She does not personally tweet. She held the equivalent of a news conference for a queen, and on the eve of the British election called upon Teresa May and Jeremy Corbyn to pledge not only not to give Trump a state visit, but not have him come at all.  She would have herself to issue the invitation -- or her people, the palace. She would have to welcome him.  He stands for everything that Britain over these past few days has not. The two candidates have fought over how many police are on the streets not the values of justice for all, sanity, decency, respect for all, keeping an open society, all that this man's foul tweets abused. She gives said speech or statement. Very quickly Corbyn comes on to agree referring to her as the people's representative -- or some such phrase. May hesitates. Fatal. Sadiq Khan thanks her.  So May comes out finally to agree.

Trump goes into a series of unhinged tweets that brutally insult the Queen. I do not want to imagine the grossness of what he might say -- vile attacks on her body, her age, raw.

Meanwhile Republicans looking at this health care bill, the tax bill and now this vague infrastructure are beginning to think maybe they are better off with Pence. I realize this is the most problematic part of my fantasy. The rest could conceivably happen. The total lack of any integrity, honesty, responsibility (Trump is edging towards nuclear war, he wants war with Iran, nundreds of people killed across the middle east, is utterly corrupt financially, issuiing waivers so others can, &c&c) does make it improbable they would invoke the 25th amendment. But it is the best and swiftest tool  Grant me my fantasy. They invoke it. The resolution is passed by a sizable majority of the congress.

Trump refuses to leave but he is no longer head of the army -- not by law. And law prevails. The White House is surrounded; he is forced to leave.

Only the Queen of England could have pulled it off.  The Pope could not come near this.

As Princess Elizabeth -- she was also Anne Boleyn, who endured a very different fate.

People will say most US people don't in the least care about Elizabeth II or the royals; Charles III is PBS fare. Fair enough. But if she would only refuse, it might engender such a storm of lunatic misogynist tweets ... Merkel lacks the numinous status.

Consider this  ...

Update:  I wonder what the German newspapers are saying? Trump is fomenting a war with Iran; he thinks he can do it what Bush and Co did to Iraq. And it's working, the coalition he's engendering "against" Qatar is a step (from his dangerous vicious point of view) in the "right direction."  I cringe when I hear Mattis talk of the aim being annihilation when he's told so many civilians are dying and references are made to innocent families. In the Trump world there are no innocent Muslim families. On the campaign trail he explicitly said "we'll go in there and take the oil" of Iran (and terrible man Guiliani endorsed this as, is not this what nations have done for centuries, laughing) and that families of terrorists should be killed. Mean when he intervenes personally raid after raid is "botched:"  how can we tell when these botched? why American military personnel die.

He is though succeeding in formenting this war: read or watch this:



Dear friends,

Here is an crucial interview for you to watch: Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez questioning and talking with Timothy Snyder

Synder presents his material as twelve steps to resist and avoid a slide into totalitarism, but in fact each of the steps is a description of some stage or aspect of the regime we are enduring today. Probably the most important thing he reminded us of is that in history democracies and republics regularly fail and are replaced by authoritarian regimes. Most Americans cannot believe our democracy is not here forever, cannot fail. Not so at all. We have got to have this historical perspective.

The point of using the historical examples is to remind ourselves that democracies and republics usually fail. The expectation should be failure rather than success. The framers, looking at classical examples from Greece and Rome, gave us the institutions that we have. I think our mistake at present is to imagine that the institutions will automatically continue to protect us. My sense is that we’ve seen institutions like our own fail. We’ve—20th century authoritarians have learned that the way to dismantle systems like ours is to go after one institution and then the next, which means that we have to have an active relationship, both to history, so that we can see how failure arises and learn from people who tried to protect institutions, but also an active relationship to our own institutions, that our institutions are only as good as the people who try to serve them.

When we think about globalization today, we imagine that it’s the first globalization, that everything about it is new. And that’s just not the case. The globalization we’re in now is the second one. The first globalization was the late 19th century and the early 20th century, when there was a similar expansion of world trade, export-led growth. And interestingly, there was also a similar rhetoric of optimism, the idea that trade would lead to enlightenment, would lead to liberalism, would lead to peace. That pattern of the late 19th century, we saw it break. We saw the First World War, as you say, the Great Depression, the Second World War. One way to understand all of that is the long failure of the first globalization.


He had twelve points but I want to begin with the one that appertains to Trump's trip abroad: he wants to separate us from Europe, our old allies because they are social democracies. He does not care in the least if he impoverishes the average person in the US by isolating the US. He wants to ally himself and his regime with militarist dictatorships around the world. That is what he was doing. Remember what Reagan said of his regime: watch what we do, not what we say. Trump and Co are immiserating to enrich themselves egregiously on every level, including ruining the environment.

Gonzalez and Synder:

Professor Snyder, about President Trump in Brussels and Sicily, the NATO meeting, the G7 meeting. Trump sparked outrage in Montenegro after he shoved the prime minister of Montenegro out of his way while barreling to the front of the pack at this weekend’s G7 summit. This came after French President—the new president—Emmanuel Macron clenched Trump’s hand until his knuckle turned white, when the two met in Brussels during the NATO summit. Even when Trump attempted to pull away, Macron continued to grip Trump’s hand. He since said the handshake was a moment of truth designed to send a message to Trump, saying, quote, "We must show that we will not make small concessions, even symbolic ones." Can you comment on this and then on your number 18, which is "Be calm when the unthinkable arrives"?

So, Europe—so, Europe is so important for us. Whether you care about trade and American jobs, it’s the biggest market in the history of the world. Whether you’re more—you know, whether you think more about security, it’s—these are America’s long-term partners. It’s the only reliable set of democracies—or the main reliable set of democracies we have. In many ways, Europe is a positive example for us. So, it is tragic that we are cutting ourselves off from that, from that market, from that security, from those sets of values, for no particular reason.

It fits many things. It fits Mr. Trump’s desire for an America which is more isolated and, frankly, poorer. it fits Mr. Bannon’s ideas about the European Union. What it doesn’t fit is, think, anybody’s—anybody’s interests. The Europeans are seeing us—you know, as one of my political scientist friends puts it, we’re no longer in column A, we’re in column B. You know, we are now—you know, we are now one of the powers which is undermining them, perhaps weakening them, setting a bad example.

And the heartening thing is that people like Angela Merkel or Macron notice this and seem to be taking it as a reason to try to recreate Europe, rather than just being distressed about all of this. That’s a positive thing.


Second: what do we do when the unthinkable happens. Do not imagine a Reichstag though that could. Instead when the Internet as we know it disappears and we can no longer readily reach any source of information we want and speak ourselves here.

be calm when the unthinkable arrives, be a patriot, be courageous—they have to do with a particular mechanism where regimes change. The template is the Reichstag fire of 1933. Pretty much, I think it’s fair to say, all modern tyrants know that they need—When something unthinkable happens, despite our fear and grief, what we have to be protesting for is our own rights.

To go through a few of the twelve points, the first is "don't obey in advance," and don't normalize this.

It’s very important in these kinds of historical moments to get out front. The tendency to or the temptation to normalize is very strong. The temptation to wait and to say, "Well, let’s see what he does after the inauguration. Let’s see who his advisers are. Let’s see what the policies are," that temptation generates normalization, which is already happening in the United States. And so, I was trying to get out front and give people very practical day-to-day things that they could do.

Don’t obey in advance," then you can’t follow lessons two to 20, either. Politically, it’s also really important, because the time which matters the most is the beginning, where we are now. Right now we actually have much more power than we think we do. Our actions are magnified outwards now. When protest becomes illegal or dangerous, this is going to change. But right now Americans actually have more power than they think they do.

The reason—one of the reasons you shouldn’t obey in advance is that when you do, you’re actually giving power ideas. They don’t necessarily have plans. They don’t necessarily know what they can do. But when we lean towards what they think they want—and social media is a very good example of this—then we give them ideas. We teach them what they can do. So, in our real lives and in social media, it’s very important not to obey in advance, because, you’re absolutely right, that information is being collected and collated and considered.


Defend institutions:

They will not defend themselves. One institution being used against the people is the prison system.

Well, that’s the second most important lesson. It’s number—it’s number two for a reason. I have in mind, above all, the constitutional institutions. But I also have in mind, later on in the book, other kinds of institutions, like professional or vocational institutions or nongovernmental organizations. And the reason why institutions are so important is that they’re what prevent us from being those atomized individuals who are alone against the overpowering state. That’s a very romantic image, but the isolated individual is always going to lose. We need the constitutional institutions as much as we can get them going. It’s a real problem now, especially with the legislature. We also need the professions, whether it’s law or medicine or civil servants, to act according to rules that are not the same thing as just following orders. And we need to be able to form ourselves up into nongovernmental organizations, because it’s not just that we have freedom of association. It’s that freedom itself requires association. We need association to have our own ideas confirmed, to have our confidence raised, to be in a position to actually act as individuals. Some of that is actually happening, which is a good sign.

the way we are now—and this connects back to your earlier question—the way we are now, we’re bombarded, from the television, from the internet, with whatever tropes and memes are being chosen for us for a given day or for a given hour. And whether we agree or disagree or feel comfortable or uncomfortable, there’s a certain tendency to express ourselves in the terms that come down from above. We get caught up in this daily rush. You see this, for example, in people who think they’re critical of Trump, but use his language. First, they use it as a joke, and then they find that they can’t get—they can’t get themselves out of it.

being kind to language is one of these—is one of these lessons that seems easy. It just means read, think and try to express your views, whether they’re for or against, in your own words, because my very strong sense is that if we have pluralism of expression, we’re going to be fostering pluralism of thought, and that if people can clarify why it is that they’re opposing this or that, they’re going to be more likely to be persuasive. And at a minimum, in the worst case, if you have your own way of expressing yourself, you at least clutter up the daily memes. You at least put a barrier in the way of the daily tropes. You at least form a force field around yourself and maybe the people who are closest to you, where it’s possible to think and have a little peace.

The importance of truth; there is such a thing; there are no alternative facts:

Hold fast to the truth and truth matters.

Since taking office, President Trump has continued to escalate his attack on the media, what he calls the fake news. On Sunday, he once again took to Twitter, after there was a few days of not tweeting, lambasted the, quote, "fabricated lies made up by the #FakeNews media." Trump tweeted, "Whenever you see the words 'sources say' in the fake news media, and they don’t mention names ... it is very possible that those sources don’t exist but are made up by fake news writers. #FakeNews is the enemy!" Meanwhile, The New York Times recently revealed, in a February Oval Office meeting, President Trump asked then-FBI Director James Comey to consider imprisoning journalists who report on leaks of classified information

t the deepest level, I think we should be aware that this is about getting rid of a common sense of truth. Truth is an awkward concept for us these days and should probably be less awkward concept. If we’re going to resist all of this, I think we have to take a stand, even if it feels a little bit naïve, in favor of the facts, because what we know about 20th century regime changes are that they involve, at their base, an assault on everyday factuality. Whether it’s the extreme-right fascist idea that facts aren’t important, only a sense of collectivity, of belonging to the nation, this organic group, is important, or whether it’s the extreme-left Bolshevik idea that the facts of today have to be sacrificed in the name of a vision tomorrow, we know that these forms of radical politics have to begin with undermining a sense of everyday factuality.

In the 21st century, when ideologies no longer propose a future, what you have is a much more direct attack on factuality, where the first step is to say—well, the first step is just to lie all the time, as Mr. Trump did in 2016. The second step, as we’ve seen since late 2016 and into the presidency, is to say, "It’s not me who lies. It’s the press. It’s the journalists." And the final goal is that everyone is so confused that we say, "We don’t really have truth. We just have our own private, clan-like sets of beliefs." And at that point, democracy is not really possible anymore. Opposition is no longer possible, because we don’t know where to begin. We don’t know—we don’t know whom to trust.

So, of course, it’s an atrocity, and it’s a violation of basic American traditions, to attack journalists like that. But I think something—if possible, something deeper is at stake. I think that this is a direct and well-understood attempt to transform the regime, the easiest and cheapest way possible, which is to make us all distrust one another.


How did he win? by lying, he's an effective speaker, by whipping up passionate hate rallies but all this resonated where and because in some areas of this country the inequality is just egregious:

Here is an underlying problem, at least one, in this country, and it goes back to our earlier discussion of globalization. And that is inequality, especially fractal inequality. That is, in particular parts of the country, there’s just—there are unspeakable levels of inequality. And that sets up the possibility for someone like Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump won by promising all kinds of things he can’t deliver. He won by being a good speaker. He won because he had cyberhelp from foreign powers. There are lots of reasons why he won. But one of the reasons why he could win is that he could say to people, "Look, it’s an oligarchy out there. I’m an oligarch, but I’m your oligarch." Of course, that’s not really true. He doesn’t care about Americans. And there were plenty of other oligarchs behind him; they just weren’t Americans. But you can only tell that story in a situation of radical inequality.


Last beware of paramilitaries:

So, one of the ways that not just Hitler but other ideological authoritarians break republics is that they break the monopoly of violence. That is, they—you’re in a—what we think of as a normal system is when there’s law, and then there are certain organs whose job it is to enforce the law, and those are state organs. What you do if you’re Hitler—and other authoritarians have done this, too—is you have your own militia, a paramilitary, which is an organ of violence which is beyond the state. And you use it to change the atmosphere of politics. You use it to intimidate opponents. And then, after you win, you keep it going. That’s the story of the SA and the SA in—the SS and the SA in Nazi Germany.

So, in the current situation, you know, where our society is flooded with guns like none has ever been before and where there are lots of paramilitaries, it’s very important to watch out for the connection of those paramilitaries to politics. So, for example, if an elected representative or an important politician in, let’s say, Oregon says, "We ought to bring in paramilitaries rather than the police, when we have our own demonstrations," that’s something to really watch out for. Likewise, in the firing of Mr. Comey, of which there are so many desperately bad things that it’s easy to overlook some of them, one of the things which was striking in the firing of Mr. Comey by Mr. Trump is that he sent Keith Schiller to do it. Right? So, here you had a confrontation of the man who was the head of Mr. Trump’s security detail—right?—his own paramilitary, going to fire the head of a law enforcement agency. That’s a sign of the way Mr. Trump thinks, and it’s obviously not a very good sign.

Miss Drake

I started to cry as she began to speak; that this is what we could have had; what we should have if the majority of Americans had been permitted to prevail and have a gov't that reflects their values and norms:

I have to admit though the opening and her frame of reference is not mine: I never dreamed big, I did not go to a college where every minute of my existence was plotted out; I did not change my hairstyle even once. And I wonder if she knows that the world is filled with people or women like me for whom this rhetoric does not resonate.

I must not hold this against her as only a woman like this could hope to hold a powerful office and exercise its duties and services in ways that the organization and all the millions in it could hold fast to some decency, which is what happened under Obama (and better than that).

When she was valedictorian and delivered a graduation address: 1969

Miss Drake
These are important to watch and then read the framing commentary: business partners convicted and indicted businessmen, with connections to Russian oligarchs: it all starts in Trump tower:

Framing commentary: much blood and destruction (of workers, of people's houses and lands) on the hands of businessmen; Lev Lievev, one of circles of diamond businessmen with groups of gov't officials; connects back to Kushner this time:

Often crime is caught through the IRS prosecuting tax evasion: returns expose business practices, ties, money. This why Comey's investigation so important and should be carried on; of especial note is Laurence Tribe, much respected constitutional lawyer, writer about law, professor at Harvard, who outines case for impeachment.

At the same time it's no coincidence that Sessions re-starts 'war on drugs" (on black and poor people) re-instituting harsh mandatory long prison sentences where he can. This pleases part of the Trump base not connected to the wealthy. This connects to present US prison system (even with Holder's reforms):

I read a description of a new edition of a rare important diary about slavery in the Carribean at the end of the eighteenth centur in the review of the book. It is as ever horrifying genuinely to imagine what such a life is like and how a whole community of people can do this to another group of people. But another version of this is going on in our midst today and one can see how if people are not absolutely next to it, seeing it daily, then the horror goes on as long as the relatively few individuals empowered to keep the horror up are willing and supported by powerful members of the society.

Then this past Friday I participated in a group activity on behalf of incarcerated young people at the place where I teach. I didn't know what to expect and found that we were given poems written by young men (all black it seems, all in their teens or twenties) where they spoke of their anguish at the conditions they were living in. One young man, aged around 20 has been put in a facility where everyone regardless is put into solitary confinement for 18 months. There was a Frontline program on what the further realities of such a condition (solitary utterly) mean: humiliation upon humiliation and deprivation upon deprivation. Another was in a cell where he had not been given anything to do, and there was not even a clock. He could only tell what time it was by the light in the sky or lack of it. There was others. The US Attorney General is now asking that the harshest sentences for anyone offending in the criminal justice (injustice) system be meted out. One letter was about a young man given the death penalty in his early 20s where leniency was what should have happened. It was a first crime, an attempt to free his mother from abuse where he killed someone in an armed robbery.  I could go on. But in our midst is a population to whom analogous horrors are going on as in this 18th century travel book.

Last this mother's day is also Black Mama's Bail Out day: many black (and some white) poor women are held in jail because they have not the money for the bail, so an organization has worked to fund and produce money to pay this bail so these many women can be released on time for mother's day.

Miss Drake

Gwen John drawing

The poem below is the coda to Elsa Morante's Menzogna e sortilegio -- badly translated in English as House of Liars, a text which omits 200 pages of

the original. There has been an excellent article on Elsa Morante by Jenny Turner in the LRB for 20 April 2017. Turner comes closer to

underestanding and sympathizing with Morante than most though she quotes Pasolini and Parkes who both savage Morante's Historia as a mess when it

is a brilliantly effective l'ecriture femme account of the ravages of WW2 from the perpsective of a powerless working or lower middle class woman

who gives birth to an epileptic child.

Elena Ferrante's work is heavily indebted to Elsa Morante.


For Alvaro the Cat

Your nest is in my arms,

Indolent flame-like spirit, shining one.
High noons and the shadows of night are yours

You change from dove to owl and take your flight
From darkened tombs to the smoky netherworld

When every light is spent, the pupils of your eyes

Shine in the darkness, companion of my sleeplessness

The solemn truce is broken, a thousand torches

Burn briefly in the night, as little tigers
Follow each other in the sweet delirium.

Then your blank lamplike eyes
Are closed in rest, lights which will
be in the morning

The glory of my windowsill, my double flower

Of lovely eyes.

And I was once your equal!

Your equal ... Do you recall that ancient time,
Creature of arrogant sorrow? Under dark leaves
We dwelt together in the shining garden

Among the simple tribes of Paradise.

My fate was exile; but your home is there
How then can you grant me your love
o savage one?

While your peers, the animals of heaven:

Live like the gods at ease, before the dawn

Holding their feasts and wars and heartless chase,
Why do you stay by my side, you who are free,

Deathless and innocent, while in my very breath
Live the three dooms of prison, sin, and death?
Among the moons and suns there, glistening thorns

and fleeting shades,

Leap the immortal young, proud in their strength
In the splendid hurricane of breaking day --
All your gallant brothers with the lovely names:
Atropos, Viola, Passion Flower, Palomba.

Is it for love of me you stay?

No answer? You hide all longed-for secrets

As the Damascene sword conceals its shining blade
In a sheath of velvet, zebra-striped. The secrets of the


Are not for women's ears. Then close your eyes and


Sing me sweet flatteries in your PUTTS and sighs,
Sing praises, make your honey, 0 my bee.

The memory of all my questions fades,

Crows shadowy, and I would rest.

The simple joy of having you for friend

Fills my heart to the brim; my agonies and fancies
Die in your kisses and your sweet laments,

So deeply you console me,

a cat of mine

A very worthwhile book on Cats: Dr Nicholas Dodman's Attitudes, Emotions, and the Psychology of Cats: The cat who cried for help: this is an excellent study in the mode of Oliver Sacks: a cat whose behavior is inconveniencing or troubling its owner is taken to Dodman who diagnoses the ill often mistreated cat and then extrapolates out from there. It will help you understand your cat, treat him or her more humanely, have a good relationship on both sides.  It will also show you how cruel and thoughtless owners are: how they do not see the cat for itself but as an adjunct of their own existence. I do this too, I am as guilty, and like many try to find some compromise between the way I want to spend my minutes, hours, days and what the cat wants as well as what is good for it. The great controversy is whether to let the cat go out. It's too late for mine as they are over 8 and have never been out.  They sit by the window and look longingly and I know were I to leave the door open eventually they would go out. They would probably be quickly killed - run over, starve (as they have never been taught to eat what they hunt). It's too late for them; for others the outdoor life shortens theirs, but I understand from the book that British cats mostly are indoors/outdoors. Sigh. They have as many cars as Americans, as many diseases.

Following Dodman I know Ian cries because he needs more play and I am now playing with him more and he is yet more enjoying life. This book can make for less suffering and loneliness in the world as so many own cats or care for them if only we will listen to, heed Dr Dodman.

Miss Drake

One of the last public statements Michelle Obama made was how we all need hope; on this day when so many deaths (bombs, drones, executions) have been happening everywhere and health care and our US pension system, is threatened, millions of decent good people marched on behalf of the extraordinary good that science has done for life on earth, and demanded that those who exploit and pollute the earth be controlled or prevented,

read Bill McKibben,

Read about the demonstration in DC and satellite events by and for science (remember Trump and his gang do this to make large profits for him and themselves quite literally -- it is impeachable if we had the political power).

I am having a hard time keeping hope alive for myself: I see no change or doable goal that can enable me to build a new life.

Charles Camoin, Interior with a View

by Muriel Rukeyser:

Kathe Kollewitz:


Held between wars

my lifetime

among wars, the big hands of the world of death

my lifetime

listens to yours.

The faces of the sufferers

in the street, in dailiness,

their lives showing

through their bodies

a look as of music

the revolutionary look

that says I am in the world

to change the world

my lifetime

is to love to endure to suffer the music

to set its portrait

up as a sheet of the world

the most moving the most alive

Easter and bone

and Faust walking among flowers of the world

and the child alive within the living woman, music of man

and death holding my lifetime between great hands

the hands of enduring life

that suffers the gifts and madness of full life, on earth, in

our time,

and through my life, through my eyes, through my arms

and hands

may give the face of this music in portrait waiting for

the unknown person

held in the two hands, you.


Women, as gates, saying:

"The process is after all, like music:

like the development of a piece of music.

The fugues come back and

again and again


A theme may seem to have been put aside,

but it keeps returning—

the same thing modulated,

somewhat changed in form.

Usually richer.

And it is very good that this is so."

A woman pouring her opposites.

"After all there are happy things in life too.

Why do you show only the dark side?"

"I could not answer this. But I know--

in the beginning my impulse to know

the working life

had little to do with

pity or sympathy.

I simply felt that the life of the workers was beautiful."

She said, "I am groping in the dark."

She said, "When the door opens, of sensuality,

then you will understand it too. The struggle begins.

Never again to be free of it,

often you will feel it to be your enemy.


I you will almost suffocate,

such joy it brings."

Saying of her husband:

"My wish I is to die after Karl.

I know no person who can love as he can,

with his whole soul.

Often this love has oppressed me;

I wanted to be free.

But often too it has made me I so terribly happy."

She said : "We rowed over to Carrara at dawn,

climbed up to the marble quarries

and rowed back at night. The drops of water

fc!l like glittering stars

from our oars."

She said: "As a matter of fact,

I believe

that bisexuality

is almost a necessary factor

in artistic production; at any rate,

the tinge of masculinity within me

helped me

in my work."

She said : "The only technique I can still manage.

It's hardly a technique at all, lithography.

In it

only the essentials count."

A tight-lipped man in a restaurant last night

saying to me:

"Kollwitz? She's too black-and-white."


Held among wars, watching

all of them

all these people



Looking at

all of them

death, the children

patients in waiting-rooms


the street

the corpse with the baby

floating, on the dark river

A woman seeing

the violent, inexorable

movement of nakedness

and the confession of No

the confession of great weakness, war,

all streaming to one son killed, Peter;

even the son left living; repeated,

the father, the mother; the grandson

another Peter killed in another war; firestorm;

dark, light, as two hands,

this pole and that pole as the gates.

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?

The world would split open ....

4 Song: The Calling-Up

Rumor, stir of ripeness

rising within this girl

sensual blossoming

of meaning, its light and form.

The birth-cry summoning

out of the male, the father

from the warm woman

a mother in response.

The word of death

calls up the fight with stone

wrestle with grief with time

from the material make

an art harder than bronze.

5 Self-Portrait

Month looking directly at you

eyes in their inwardness looking ,

directly at you

ha1f light half darkness

woman, strong, German, young artist

flows into

wide sensual mouth meditating

lookking right at you

eyes shadowed with brave hand

looking deep at you

flows into

wounded brave mouth

grieving and hooded eyes

alive, German, in her first War

flows into

strength of the worn face 2

a skein of lines

broods, flows into

mothers among the war graves

bent over death

facing the father

stubborn upon the field

flows into

the marks of her knowing­_

Nie Wieder Krieg

repeated in the eyes

flows into

"Seedcorn must not be ground"

and the grooved cheek

lips drawn fine

the down-drawn grief

face of our age

flows into

Pieta, mother and

between her knees

life as her son in death

pouring from the sky of

one more war

flows into

face almost obliterated

hand over the mouth forever

hand over one eye now

the other great eye



Not To Be Printed,

Not To Be Said,

Not To Be Thought

I'd rather be Muriel

than be dead and be Ariel.


The German 'Nie wieder Krieg' means 'No More War' (lit. 'never again war'), the slogan of the anti-war marches that are still held here in Aug/Sept (the

beginning of the First World War). Kollwitz produced a famous poster banner with it for the 1924 Youth Day in Leipzig:


'She ends on Michelangelo' s Pieta" and one of Kollwitz's, too:

This is the copy standing on the national monument mourning the victims of war and tyranny in Berlin - here a fuller picture:


Miss Drake

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