Log in

I can't resist writing that Trump's latest move in his attempt to wrest the US gov't into an organization he personally rules, together with his continued refusal to release his tax returns, shows extraordinary and ironic gall.  As I've done before, I bring together a few articles I've read on 3 topics for the reader's perusal. In this case two of the essays I summarize and quote from are not on-line but in print newspapers.


He has hired as his campaign manger Kellyanne Conway. We are told she "has been close to Trump for years."  In physical type she resembles his wife, Melania, only with a much much harder face. A resume appears on wikipedia. Reading around, she is closely linked Fox News and affiliates, with Dan Quayle (Bush senior's vice-president), Gingrich, Pence, Cruz; she has been involved with those who have been bitterly pursuing the Clintons for years. She's one of these power-money-high prestige hounds who fancies she knows what women want: women don't want to hear about what's called women's issues, but how they are accomplished, and how to achieve power and influence.

If you can endure the sound, Bloomberg press gives an apt characterization along these lines of the public reasons for the relationship between Trump and this woman and why he chose her: she is said to be an expert on how to appeal to women, and Trump gets along with her, listens to her. A similar line from the New York Times. Another angle is how she began as a lawyer. Not all lawyers chose the profession so as to do honorable work of justice, equity, in law.  The word repeated over and over again, is she's now and has been for years a pollster, paid as a pollster. Her husband is the lawyer. Are pollsters valued because they produce polls which predict the candidate the person who pays them wants?

Think about how it's said Roger Ailes, now accused of continual sexual harassment, raping of his employees is now also said to be next to Trump. Was it Ailes that recommended her? (Or Trump's previous long knowledge .... )

It doesn't take much to find Conway uttering anti-women comments on rape. Her husband was one of those getting up Paula Jones's suit against Bill Clinton. So she does think about women's issues we see.  This woman is a feminist? On what grounds?  what integrity can she present herself with?

She has starved herself at times and is even now unnaturally thin. In some photos her breasts look unusually large for a person of her weight and cragged body type:


Mark A Patterson (Washington Post, A15, Aug 18, 2016) wrote:  Not just presidents and vice-presidents voluntarily, but "dozens of nominees to Cabinet and sub-cabinet level positions in the Treasury Dept, Social Security Admin, Dept of Homeland Security, US Trade, and other agencies and those in gov't, who want security clearances are required to submit their tax returns to the Senate to be reviewed by appropriate committtees.  Senior federal appointments, no exception for those who work for the IRS, nominees are asked detailed questions about current and recent audits. This tax review process for those on the Senate Finance committee can take three years. Interviews of nominees are included. It's often presented as making sure they are not susceptible to blackmail. By his refusal, he reinforces the justifiable suspicion he has not paid any taxes for years. This symbolizes a flagrant disregard for what was once presented as a civic duty of a citizen: "Paying taxes is a fundamental obligation of citizenship, and the public deserves to know whether its [proposd] leader has fulfilled this obligation"


Hal Crowther today first detailed the history we know: Trump was a special protege of Roy Cohen, a cynical and amoral power broker in the 1960s; beyond his fraudulent university, and bankrupting of people in Atlantic City, there have been 3,500 lawsuits, ruined fleeced investors (&c). He then wrote very powerfully: "No responsible grownup anywhere near his right mind would vote to give this evil, infantile, ridiculous man the most powerful job in the world. Conversely any one who would cast such an irresponsible vote is far beyond the reach of reason or persuasion, in any form .... a hustler ... who speaks, acts, and presumably thinks like an emotionally disturbed adolescent .... his ghostwriter (The Art of the Deal) helped him turn his outbursts into sentences [and has now revealed him as a] sociopath. Trump's boorishness and tastelessness, symptoms of a putrefying national culture defy all precedent."  Like others Crowther shows how Trump's success is the natural outcome of the decades long Republican use of race-baiting, contempt for "the elite" (not the rich but those who are educated, those who merit jobs by their skills and talent and knowledge. He suggests Trump is just the most outlandish of a growing group of horrors, some of which we saw on stage on the debates in the Republican primaries.He suggests we are going to see more of such people running for powerful offices even if Trump loses. (Progressive Populist, Sept 1, 2016, pp 1 and 8).

Owell defined double-speak as saying one thing and doing its opposite; Trump has perfected this in reverse: he does things and says the opposite; he smears his rivals by accusing them of what he is and he does.

Miss Drake

Last week there was sudden proliferation of parodies of Trump.  I laughed and laughed at this one which caught perfectly his drivel, meanness of outlook, active malice at the close.

Stopping by the Woods on a snowy evening:

I have a pretty good idea whose woods these are, believe me.
And let me tell you something, my people say he’s a complete nobody.
This guy lives in the village.   So what if he sees me stopping here?
I dare him to sue me!   I dare him!

And by the way, this snow is pathetic.
These are by far, the least downy flakes ever!
I hear they had to import them from Canada.
I don’t know.  Maybe they did.  Maybe they didn’t.  We’re looking into it.

My horse – he’s the most incredible horse, seriously,
I have the greatest, the classiest horses –
My horse doesn’t even know what the hell we’re doing here.
The horses love me though.  They do.

They’re always shaking their bells at me, it’s very loving.
It’s a beautiful thing.

Let me tell you something, these woods are an embarrassment.

They’re not dark.  They’re not deep.  They’re nothing.  They’re for losers.
And I cannot wait to sue this guy.
I cannot wait to sue this guy.

The author is probably Rotting Post (gravator a cat with glasses assiduously reading)

Alas I am still worried this man could win. Richard Cohen began to look at Trump as so much entertainment "Now that it seems that Trump will lose." I'm not so sure.

So I interweave with the humor the dangers he represents beyond not seeing why we (US) should not use a nuclear weapon and not being against their proliferation. Importantly for anyone reading this blog, he would be "in favor of closing the Internet" under certain circumstances, indicated he will do what he can to rewrite libel laws (appoint judges to do this), revoked press credentials of the Washington Post, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Univision, the Daily Beast , the Des Moines Register and Politico. He shows no respect for law, the judiciary, has himself been involved in nearly 2000 law suits, bankrupts people, is under indictment for his fraudulent university, does what he can to pay as little wages as possible, smears judges when they come to a conclusion against his interests. Had a cease and desist order silence the man who wrote The Art of the Deal not to tell that Trump wrote almost none of it.

Here's Marcus Bales:

Cover Letter
I write tremendous poems.
I'm a very good poet.
I write the best poems.

This journal needs great poems,
and I write them.
I went to top poetry schools

with top poetry teachers.
I am a very smart person.
Editors love my poems.
They publish my poems.
A lot.
A few -- just a few --
editors do not publish my poems.
I want to hit them so hard.
I mean right in the face.
Especially the short ones.
And the women.
I guarantee you these poems are terrific.
They will be featured poems.
If they are not
it will just prove
this whole process is rigged.

The Post showed how Trump had been at work to prevent ingress, egress, reporting on the Tower he is building on Pennsylvania Avenue, where the old Post Office once was. He sued DC for "Civil Justice" (he likes to use Orwellian reverse speech, accusing others of what he is -- so Hillary Clinton is a "dangerous liar" when that's him). He didn't win but he'll be back. I remind my readers that he came out for torture, summarily ejects African-Americans from his rallies, called all immigrants criminals, wants to ban all Muslims from coming here and profile those here already, calls Roger Ailes a great guy after a class action lawsuit has been filed against him for decades of sexual harassment of women who work on his station. Trump says women who have abortions without asking permission (of whom? men of course) should be punished.  While campaigning for the nomination, Tump called for protesters to be "roughed up" and "carried out on a stretcher," offered to pay the legal fees of people who assault protesters, deployed expensive private security to intimidate and remove protesters (one of his campaign managers has been assaulting people regularly). Recently he had protest signs outside Trump Tower in NYC destroyed. He screams at Hillary Clinton as untrustworthy, but will not release his own tax returned. Is it he has paid no taxes for years? How rich is he? He makes fun of disabled people, insults families who sons have died in these endless wars.

And one more:

As of this week:  His numbers in the polls are down, and he is beginning to cry that if he doesn't win, the election is certainly rigged. Still he held a rally in Pennsylvania (where there are desperately impoverished places, no jobs, all industry long ago left) and 2000+ people showed up. Have you seen how Bernie Saunders's tweets exposed Trump's economic plan for what it is: an enormous gift to the top 1%. Read them here: Sander eviscerates Trump on trade and taxes:  Trump's own business practices show how he regards working people. As fodder.

I've left out how he suggested that people who are "2nd Amenders" take justice into their own hands, what do they have these guns for? she is going to abolish this amendment. Surely they should act. The clear implication was Kill her. At long last the Secret Service has visited him and threatened him with arrest if he carries on like this.

Miss Drake

"They are surely happy," said the prince, "who have all these

conveniencies, of which I envy none so much as the facility with

which separated friends interchange their thoughts."

---Samuel Johnson, Rasselas

Dear Internet, FB, and all sorts of friends,

Think about all the fun we have with our cats ...

The Internet today (Louis Wain, 1860, in Cat Museum of San Francisco) -- before Trump presidency

A few thoughts on the further debasement of Yahoo services:

As a long time user of Yahoo, nowadays a listmoderator for one active list, Trollope19thCStudies, and one where there are still a few friends who try to find time to read together and post, I'd like to suggest what the latest debasement of Yahoo portends about a Trump presidency.

On both the listservs,Janeites and Inimitable-Boz (which I still post from time to time) and on hundreds of other listservs as of last Wednesday messages are coming in very s-l-o-w-l-y. It can take anywhere from 12 to 48 hours; sometimes they don't show at all. Iindividuals are suddenly having problems staying on Yahoo without resigning up, giving information about oneself (phone numbers for example). On the two sites on facebook supposedly for Yahoo customer care, I've seen hundreds of complaints; on three Yahoo listmanagers listservs the same. On neither is there any direct help or acknowledgement any one read a complaint who could do something about it. This morning for the first time Yahoo put a place for "tickets" to send to them to explain any problems. But I have managed to talk to two Yahoo people on two of the above sites and gotten obfuscating unhelpful replies.

What happened? Verizon has bought Yahoo. Now Verizon has been working elsewhere and in courts to privatize Internet routes so they can have slow and fast lanes. They may have instituted slow lanes for ordinary yahoo users. Early on I liked Yahoo; it had flaws but it did what it said it would: platform for talk, files, albums, archives, places to get help. When they switched to "Neo" then the debasement began. I have made two face book pages for the two listservs that are still alive but I'm not sure how many will come over and also the whole feel of face-book is so different.
As long as Obama is president and his appointees at the FCC and the supreme court divided, the Internet will be classified as a public utility. That is enormously important. Calling it a public utility makes enormous sense for all the people literally around the world using it. I follow future learn courses and it's remarkable how many ways this communication tool is essential for so many. And so many are so poor.

If Trump should win, all this will change. He will appoint millionaires, CEOs, and ruthless pro-industry and corporate people to the FCC and positions of power for communication and public transportation (a wolf watching the chicken coop). P
rivate companies will go after ISPs to close down anything that might interfere with profits. It will mean the end of the Internet as we have known it for these short 20 years or so (PCs spread to ordinary people in 1995). We will all be turned back to isolation. Right now private emails are monitored. Trumps says he will "open up" the libel lies: appoint judges who will work to silence newspapers, silence TV news, silence ordinary critizens by litigation that breaks them financially. Face-book would feel the heat too if Trumpish came into powerful offices..

Liebling said freedom of the press belongs to the person who owns one. Those of us who have been publishing essays, fictions, scholarship, who have been reading other people's essays on what they read, their life-writing, made friends will again find ourselves excluded and disabled. I have now participated in or "taken," "followed" three Future Learn courses from Open University in the UK: they are for. The Anthropology of Social Media; The Power of Social Media; a course in how to read and analyse common usages of word, symbols and behavior on the Net:  all three showed how pervasive the Internet is, how so many people use it daily to contact friends, business associates, do common needed tasks about essentials; also (this counts) a place to get good information, find emotional support, express ourselves, share views. All this will be badly maimed; it might become as limited as it is in China or Russia. Why do we post? we post to live better, more safely, more in a community.

Yes Hillary Clinton might collude with the corporations. She likes private-public partnerships. Such things exclude individual people, but I think her solution will resemble Obama's as he likes private-public partnerships too. She is an organization woman, someone who shares, cooperates, respects the rights of others so I imagine if in her administration there is some pull back from insisting the Internet is a utility and Net neutrality (everyone having access to the same cables at the same speed), it will be contained. More pay walls will probably be the result of pressure on her. I doubt she'd change on copyright issues: these are local problems. She is on record for fostering communications; it's her basic style.  Remember the churchlady who was so active in your community when you were young (read the Garrison Keillor column linked in). Or the woman who headed the Parents-Teachers Association. That's her.

Trump would just wipe us away: he regards all criticism of him as vicious attacks and seeks to retaliate and punish. Remember how he said spontaneously oh yes women getting an abortion without telling the husband should obviously be punished. He would want control and profits for himself and his buddies.

So if you are hesitating over Hillary, remember the Internet as you type out your hesitation to your friend, on a blog, website, twitter or face-book.

Edward Gorey -- large areas of the Internet possibly after Trump

Miss Drake
Powerful preaching from the heart of the Democratic party:

He is himself a disabled man too.

Bloomberg tells hard realities about Trump and tells you why we must vote for Hillary because Trump is a dangerous demagogue. We must unite for the good of our country. This is too important to sit out ....

It is unspeakable how Trump has responded to the Khans' justifed deeply moving questioning of Trump's fitness to be president: he consistently smears the characters of anyone who criticizes him:

Friends, I am disturbed about the democratic convention too. Apart from my distrust that Sanders's policy initiatives will be followed, and Clinton's choice for vice-president (politics as usual there), there was not one feminist speech in this convention. Barber did not mention women as a group.  It's not enough to elect Hillary Clinton, though it will go a long way (we may hope) to helping women and children specfically now that she and not her husband is president.

Sanders in his speech said the election was about a poverty-stricken woman with a small child living on a minimum wage and food stamps whom he met in Ohio. I fear it's not about her.  When she is brought up, she is smeared and lied about with contempt (Reagan's "welfare queen"); it was known when the old welfare laws were erased that most women would not be able to find jobs, not have money to pay for good care for their children. No one protested; some naive women (middle class ones who couldn't imagine what finding a job as a working class woman is like) professed to believe that this would lead to independent lives.  It has led to near homelessness, continual movement, abysmal conditions for children (including living in cars). Even Sanders did not identify her properly. That this comes of being a woman will just not be believed. It was a welfare program for women. Sanders perspective was this one: Where a great proportion of the people are suffered to languish in helpless misery, that country must be ill policed, and wretchedly governed: a decent provision for the poor, is the true test of civilization.   Samuel Johnson

Miss Drake

A third photo of Hillary Clinton

Dear friends and readers,

As promised, each time I see a photo of Hillary Clinton which brings out aspects of her character not sufficiently emphasized, I put the photo on this blog. The first was of her shopping at a Farmer's Market, the second was of her undergoing yet another humiliating gruelling from powerful men intending to destroy her (they failed as they have no evidence for any indictment after 25 years of paying teams of people to scrutinize all files about her everywhere); neither of these were of a beautiful woman with a conventionally uplifting expression on her face:

Four decades of hard work, mostly achievement, often for the vulnerable, passionately on behalf of women and children.

The double standard for race also never ceases to operate: Imagine if Obama or Hllary had put as their chief speakers for endorsement their 5 children from 3 previous marriages, and what was got together for the spouse was plagiarism. Trump has said repeatedly the first thing he'll do is "open up the libel" laws. Not that easy; he's got to appoint or use or bribe judges to silence the newspapers that way. A really insightful article by Jane Mayor on Schwartz's book The Art of the Deal and what Schwartz learnt about Trump is now silenced as Trumps' lawyer has put a cease and desist order on the man. Schwartz won't be able to get a court decision to counter that before the election. If Trump got to be president, he'd ban far more newspapers from his conferences and put the equivalent of a cease and desist order on us all, especially imposing silence on the Internet by any means possible -- national security issue would do. While I'm here, this article details Trump's financial ties to Putin. There is a photo of Putin scowling unconsciously at her; he does not like women to have power either.

Miss Drake

This is my response to the Republican convention and nomination for president of Trump, a dangerous, fraudulent man.

A photo of one corner of the National Mall, July 16th, 2016

How many people know that on Saturday, July 16th beyond the half a million that I was told were showing up that there was mass prayer meeting on the Washington D.C. National Mall? It was not reported in the Washington Post (said to be telling news of the region); I saw it on-line nowhere else. You can find flash-y videos about "Jesus" under "Reset 2016;" you are told you will be able to get rid of your depression; and there are sites describing a full day's events in brief. None of these will appear on your computer until you know the phrase "Reset 2016" which I saw on hundreds of T-shirts in and around the Metro this past Saturday.

One group of people who knew by 9:30 included those who run the Metro. I saw both times I was on the Metro extra trains put on the tracks, labelled "special" where people on them and a voice-over told passengers "this is a blue" or "yellow" or other train headed for say "Huntington" or some other final destination. Without these continuing extra trains, downstairs on the Metro could have gotten dangerous. As it was people collapsed from heat prostration on one of the escalators at the two Smithsonian stations, putting that side of entry out of bounds, and causing a huge slow-moving crowd to form on Independence Avenue.

another part of the Metro from the one I tak where people have to get off, take a shuttle bus and then get back on

At 8:30 am I was on my way to an all day seminar on the Beatles and anticipated delays because I would have to get off the train one stop beyond where I get on (King Street), take a shuttle bus for over 20 minutes, and then get back on the train and find my circuitous way to the Smithsonian stop. But when I got onto the station I was startled to see enormous crowds, people in different groups of colored T-Shirts. All white, many of them having traveled a considerable distance from another state to come here. I asked one woman what this was about and recognized a tone I had heard from students in my last years of teaching.

She said they were "Christians," as if the word were a strange one, the name of a beleaguered sect. I never responded to students who talked this way, "Don't you know Christianity is the religion of a majority of the people in the US?" because I thought it useless. Maybe I should start, but I did not on Saturday. Someone told me they were there to pray for the US and to show what a great and good and beautiful nation we are. It was to go on until 9 in the night. I said in reply, "It's very hot out there."

A woman who began to talk more to me said they had water bottles. We were amid this group of people in the same colored T-shirt, and it was apparent to me, the purpose of her group was to feel good about themselves and the world. They were asserting that any fault or evil was that of someone else than they; they were appealing to God to save the world and themselves. I asked her if she was for a ban on assault weapons and she fell silent. Silent. She asked me, "Are you going?" I said I was going to the Smithsonian, a day on the Beatles music group and music, and some talk ensued which led me to reply "I don't believe in God, don't believe any such supernatural being exists." She smiled that self-satisfied smile I've seen many times before, and began to argue the question, and was astonished (really) at my saying, "None of this exists." Did I not feel a comforting presence or want one when I got up. I said "No." She then fell silent.

Suffice to say I got on my train, went upstairs to take a slow bus to a stop near DC (Pentagon City) and then a yellow train to L'Enfant Plaza, and then a silver to Smithsonian. It was 5 to 10. I was 15 minutes late.

[See my blog on The Beatles: an extraordinary creation/production of transformative music.]

When I came out of the Smithsonian 6 and 1/5 hours or so later, it was about 20 to 5. As I neared the Metro stations I saw the same crowds, the blocked station (escalator out of bounds as one person had collapsed on it), and I (as one person not in a group) managed to dart and move through the crowd to near the escalator and a stairway. I walked down the steep stairways with hundreds of people all in these T-Shirts "Reset 2016."  Now I noticed sayings from the Bible on these.

I had some trouble identifying which train to take and took one in the wrong direction; when I saw I had done that, I got out and retrieved my position, now waiting on the right side for the right train, which took me to L'Enfant Plaza, and from there I went downstairs to the yellow line to Pentagon City, from which I would eventually be able to take a bus. I look old and probably harmless and found an older woman came up to me to ask me directions. She had on one of these T-Shirts. She told me the mass meeting had ended early because too many people were suffering from the heat, and she was on her way home to Alexandria. It emerged this woman lives about 7 minutes away from me by car.

We got into the right train and someone gave up to me a seat reserved for "senior citizens."  (Sometimes I wonder if I look really bad.) For a while no one sat next to me, and then this same woman came over and sat down next to me, much relieved. She was not as old as I but she was clearly sweating, looked weary, and needed to sit. We talked. She lives in a different universe than I do. She said she hardly ever traveled on the Metro. I asked why, and she said, "Isn't it dangerous?" I replied only from the lack of money put into the system which has caused the wires and cable to be rotted and without sufficient protective cover. I said (truly) I had never been in danger from anyone on the Metro. I asked her if she ever went into DC. She said she had no occasion to. This was a rare time for her. I asked her how she had come to know about "Reset 2016." Oh, it had been announced in her church and a group of people from her church had gone. She had been separated from them as they went home by cars. I asked her if she had enjoyed herself. "Oh yes."  I asked her if she thought she had done any good?  She said, "oh yes." My last question was, was she for a ban on assault weapons being sold to civlizians and was glad she said, "yes." immediately. I did not want to risk a larger question, "Was she for gun control?"

From what I saw and heard most of those I saw came from suburbs in states and they were not poor; they were modest home-owners. They carried backpacks and had made their own picnic lunches. They were staying the minimum time in DC and then back to their homes. To me the faces of these people looked curiously blank; perhaps they were inward looks where they showed themselves one another and to the "non-Christian" world maintained a guarded face.

This woman did open her face to me. I asked her "Who was the chief organizer of this mass demonstration?" She seemed puzzled by this question. I repeated it in another form: who paid the money for the people on the mall to have the stands and the equipment they were using to broadcast prayers? (plain words to this effect). She said she didn't know. "Who were the chief speakers?" She said she wasn't sure of their names. I told her I had never heard of this mass demonstration (as I called it, she did not) before I got onto the Metro at 8:30 am. She smiled a smile like the first woman I spoke to then: "yes, the newspapers never report what Christians do," she said. A glint of anger and resentment. I said it was true that newspapers only reported events they thought set up by respectable, important (these need not be respectable) or controlling institutions (to me the NRA, the reactionary rightest groups run by people like the Koch brothers), or if it was sensational.  Rolling Thunder, the annual Vietnam veteran meeting had only begun to be reported a few years ago. I reiterated my question: "I'd like to know who funded this or started it because then we could figure out why it's not reported." She didn't enter into this thought.

I asked her if she read the newspapers or the Internet much? "No." She said something which implied "Newspapers are full of lies." "What news show does she watch" (my question or words to this effect). She said without embarrassment, "Fox news," then, "sometimes CNN."

A bus station in early morning near a Virginia Metro stop

It was soon time for both of us to get off to take the shuttle bus.  A ride, 25 minutes. Then we got back on the train, and sat next to one another again. I in the seniors section and she too. (She was cheating.)  By that time I realized she had one phrase in mind she kept repeating: "The No 7 going to Fairlington." That was the bus she needed to take when we arrived at King Street. She seemed worried and I assured her the bus would be there. She did ask me if I had a car. I said, yes, and I had parked it near the King Street station where 3 hour parking is allowed. It was a 2-3 minute walk and there my car would be. I remind my reader she was about to take a second bus. So I was a privileged person as I had a car to take when I got off; she had to take another bus.

Quite a trip she had taken to get to this national meeting which ended early lest people like her collapse.

These are deluded people if their purpose was to stop the killing in the streets of the US, or the killing of people and destruction and immiseration of groups of people in the Middle East in order for the capitalist order to keep making huge sums on extracing oil, selling weapons, providing an egregiously luxurious lifestyle for the 1% of this earth. I must say their God has at a minimum neglected the Metro, not made sure their tax money is used for their benefit at all. They were stuffed into the extra or special trains put on the system for the day.

I do not know that many of them will vote for Trump; it's startling to think they may as this man is utterly amoral, has lived an utterly areligious life, but they are hardly Hillary Clinton people. I tell this story in order to bring into public discourse on the Internet in my tiny corner of it, to remind readers of the existence of such people. I fear these people will vote for Trump.

This is my contribution or reaction to the Republican National Convention. An event I witnessed from far, wholly unreported in mainstream media.

Miss Drake who boldly goes where no woman before her has gone ...

We must allow for the fact that most people learn wisdom only by personal experience ... it explains their insensibility to the sufferings of others ... There is a good deal of excuse on ethical grounds for this attitude. No one wants to meet Fate head-on  ... inward calling and strength for action are required only in the actual emergency .... (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)


I've just witnessed such horrifying pairs of videos that I must write about an encounter I had with a police officer last week over a traffic violation, one I had years ago again over a traffic violation, and a few other verifying experiences either I or a daughter had.

Here are the videos and story.

This will tell of the video taken by Lavish Reynolds just after her boyfriend was killed and what happened afterwards. Lavish Reynolds feared for her life too.

Alton Sterling

This video shows a group of officers shooting a black man, Alton Sterling, to death as he lays on the ground screaming with fear. It's followed by a news story showing the mother of Sterling's son talking about her husband, her son weeping, followed by the store-owner who took the video.

Philando Castile

The first of my personal stories resembles most others I've had over the years, with a couple of exceptions, which I will tell about, that taken together taught me that in the US (and probably elsewhere) if you are a citizen encountering a police officer, you have to be very careful how you will react because they may act hostilely to you with impunity.  The first occurred recently after guns have become common, but the previous two occurred in the later 1980s and early 1990s before the proliferation of these deadly weapons.

From a few experiences my daughter had and what I've read and been told by friends, I don't call on police even in emergencies unless it's really dire -- someone's life is in direct danger.  For those who have disabled or mentally distressed people in their house, I want to emphasize, from what I've read (numerous articles) and felt I would never call on police if there was someone disabled in the incident lest the disabled person be misunderstood and hurt. Disabled people who are acting unconventionally will be taken in as if they were dangerous criminals or "tasered." How inappropriate this might be as treatment for a disabled person I leave my reader to imagine.

Encounter 1: I was driving up Independence Avenue last Thursday around 11 am, and in a state of nervous stress as it was the first time I'd ever tried to drive myself from Virginia to the Folger Shakespeare Library. I was driving to the Folger because I had bought tickets for my daughter, Izzy, and I to go to a play at the Folger on the Saturday, and felt I needed to practice and to discover if there was parking. I thought I needed to learn how to get us there by car as the Metro was no longer going to be working past July 5th: the blue and yellow lines were not going to go beyond Braddock Road; there would be a shuttle bus to take us to Pentagon City.  We or I alone might want to go to the Folger for plays, concerts, poetry readings over the next years.

I was very unused to driving in DC streets around the area.  I had just managed all the turns in the highways and was coming up the right avenue and coming close to the Folger. My garmin said "turn right" at an insection in front of the Library of Congess, and cars were behind me pressuring me to turn (I thought) as the light was green, and as I began to turn I first saw a car rushing forward and two pedestrians further back. I stepped on the gas to do this quickly but thought I had done a risky thing. Within seconds a police car was after me, stopped me, and a white male police officer came to my car and said, Did I know what I had done wrong? He then said had it not been that the pedestrian had seen me and stepped back, I could have hurt him, smashed him. I believe I apologized profusely, tried to explain, and he listened and took my driver's license, registration and went back to his car. He came to the car again and asked me to explain and I told that I was nervous, the first time driving on that street, that I realized I should not have tried to make that left turn too late, and I was very sorry. He repeated that I had endangered the pedestrian, and went away and then came back again, and said he had checked the least violation and went over the fine and how I had to pay within 30 days or it would be doubled, or I could contest it. I again explained and felt just terrible, so distressed.

Gentle reader, this situation was directly parallel to Sandra Bland. She was ordered to get out of her car, she was berated, she was yanked out of the car, then yanked on the ground by her hair; she was handcuffed, she was thrown into a police car and arrested. None of this happened to me and my traffic violation was much worse. Three days later she was found hanged in her cell.  Verdict: suicide. Now I am wondering if the word LYNCHed should be applied. She must've been very uppity in that jail too. Imagine the scene of her murder.

I got to drive away unhurt, and when I finally got home sent off the $76 and told myself I would not drive in DC unless I had to again.  I threw out a list of things I thought I might have liked to go to for the Fringe Festival but thought I was not up to driving into DC.

I had a bad dream about the police officer that Thursday night and took a stronger sleeping pill. I can still see him looking at me as I type this blog.

On the Saturday I drove Izzy and myself to the play; again at the same street, the garmin said turn right. This time there were no pedestrians and no cars and as I turned I saw one coming along, but Izzy said, look there's a car coming. The implication was hurry, turn. We were okay, but she confirmed that this was a bad place to turn left and left turns should not be allowed. I decided that If I drive again, I'll drive up the street much further and see if I can find another place to make a left. I feel embarrassed that I came near to causing a bad accident and worse because I made this left turn again. I didn't learn from my first experience, it took a second one where I was calmer and could see what was wrong to show me what happens on this corner. I so worried lest I not find a place to turn.  Only on the second time when I was not nervous, when I was calm, did I see coolly I must find another way to get to this library and start to figure out a way to do it.  I comfort myself that nothing fatal or even bad happened to anyone because I lack confidence.

Normally I would not tell this story. I do this tonight to make the point I am persuaded (from previous experiences and what my friends have told me) that this is typical for a white woman, especially older (I am 69) in an encounter with a police officer. Briefly shortly after my husband died, I crashed my car. I passed out for a second and spun round and hit a bas on he side. I was going very slowly and the only person I hurt was me and thing my car.  When a young white male police officer came over, I was crying a lot and my older daughter was there. To make a long story short, the police were very polite and again I was given the least violation. I remember the guy said I reminded him of his grandmother. That's important for why I tell this story.

My point is that white people are treated utterly differently from black people by police officers. Perhaps someone reading this will say, "well, duh?" and "everyone knows that."  Do they? why in case after case, including the recent murder of Freddy Grey whose spinal cord was severed between the time he was taken into custody in a police vehicle and the time he left it, is no police officer indicted? not even for manslaughter?

The reason for this is for most white people most encounters with police officers are utterly different than encounters black people have with police officers. They just do not believe therefore that black people are in any danger from police officers. Many white people also share the racist fears police officers have of black people which the spread of guns (so that officers have to assume that many Americans will have a gun) has made a lethal (to black people) fear.   When they see a horrifying video of a police officer killing a black person, they look for explanations which tell them the black person somehow deserved that. This helps them to feel safe against the police officer.

Why do I not call on police officers in emergencies? I've been told other stories, by white men, of where the police officer was hostile and the man paid a price he felt was unfair in some way -- pricey ticket; by teenagers where it was obvious the officer wanted to ticket the teenager and liked intimidating the teenager -- which worried them; in these cases they were boys and middle eastern. But it's my own experience that I know that warns me. In the later 1980s Jim, my husband, had to take a plain to Cincinnati on a winter evening late at night, deadly cold. I drove him to the airport and coming back on a feeder lane, my car stalled from the cold. Almost immediately I was a bottleneck car on this feeder lane. Within minutes a white woman police officer was there next to me. I got out of my car and explained I didn't know what to do. I didn't carry a phone in those days. She looked at me and I could see didn't like me. She said scornfully, didn't I know how to jump start the car and began to say I should open the front and do this or that. No I didn't know how to do any of that nor have any of the things she said I needed, I said. Well, she said, you're going to have to move it, and stood there. I said I couldn't pick it up and carry it. I could see she was seeing me as this contemptible feminine woman who was unable to cope with a car.

The moment was heated, I saw she had a gun, and felt things escalate, so said I would walk back to the airport and try to get  a tow-truck. She said that would take too long and began again on what I needed to do. I said, why didn't she do it? She looked very mad, but then suddenly a white male police officer was there, and (to my relief) he took this woman away, walked back and said he had a phone he carried (a walkie-talkie sort of thing) and would I call this tow company.  I did, handed him my credit card. He then said I must walk back to the airport where I would find a cab he had called for me. I did so, and there was a cab there. A Muslim man who I still remember began to tell me how "God was looking out for you," and this was to test me, and would turn out beautifully.  He drove me home and politely trusted me to go into the house to get $25 to pay him.  He drove away and then next morning I got a phone call from the tow truck company telling me where the car was -- a service station. I did pay for a ticket this woman police officer had filed. Expensive.

In this second incident something beyond reason occurred between me and this woman and what was bad to my mind was she had a loaded gun. She seemed to me to never come near using it. I don't know how to use a gun and never carry one, and the subject never came up. But I was aware of it.  The vast proliferation of guns that has gone on was since this time. I am convince that it is the proliferation of guns (and the terror of police they will be killed) that intersects with racism to cause these murders of black people.

Maybe my second story is irrelevant but I think not. I've a third story which involved an upper middle class white woman. When my younger daughter, who has been diagnosed as Aspergers Syndrome, took to bicycling in the neighborhood sometime in the early 1990s, she encountered a couple of bullies who sensing she was vulnerable chased after her. These were black children who lived in an areas down the hill from where we live. She was teased and then menaced by them in front of our house, a white area. I would not have know about this but that in the afternoon of that day a black woman police officer came to my door. She told me a white woman neighbor across the streets had reported this "incident; to the police office, and she had come to reassure me the incident was "taken care of." She and a colleague had gone down to where the black children lived and told their parents to keep them away from this neighborhood and not to bully my daughter. Did I want anything else done so we could feel secure? I said, no. She went away.

I felt very odd about this. I was worried for my daughter when I was told, and was very sad that afterwards my daughter stopped bicyle riding. Unfortunately, she was scared away from it even though the police had acted. At the same time, I felt the white neighbor must have a lot of confidence the police would back her up and go and intimidate black and poorer people in another neighborhood on her behalf. I knew she was a lawyer as well as sold real estate. In fact she came over my house the next day in a very satisfied state of mind. I myself would never have called the police for this. This woman lived in a much more expensive house than us, one several times renovated. There were expensive cars in the garage.  She and  her hsuband sent their children to expensive out-of-state colleges.  I tell this story to present a state of mind of an upper middle class white women in the US; how she looked at the police, what she expects from them, and how they behaved at her summons.

Now for my younger daughter's experiences -- all occurred since she was of driving age. Twice while she was still driving, she was pulled over by a police officer and more than scolded, berated for not driving fast enough. Threatened she'd have her license taken away. All in mid-Virginia. She was made so anxious by these menacing experiences, she stopped driving. On a third experience, she was crossing the street, and upset about something, and jaywalked and a car almost ran into her. A police officer came over and he didn't like her lack of affect, not making eye-contact, and inability to explain herself. He actually began to threaten to take her into the police station but that the people driving the car had not driven away, came out of it, and said it was their fault and they would never press charges. They said all should be forgotten. They were an older white couple in a nice car. So the police officer dismissed them all.

Trival stories perhaps but it's this world of whiteness from which people come who will not convict police officers of misbehavior or even killing after a great deal of evidence shows that police are inadequately trained to be protectors and friends of citizen, and that they shoot to kill black people in the streets of the US happen it seems almost daily. The refusal of the media to acknowledge the continual state of risk and fear that guns everywhere causes is part of this insensibility. One result is a majority white population who will not work to control police officers from killing black people.

Jesse Williams's protest speech last week (before this latest killings)

Update: I just heard Obama's speech: despicable he called the snipers in Dallas; yes but are not the police officers who wantonly murdered Castile and Sterling and so many now named and countless others equally despicable. The gang who destroyed Freddie Grey's spinal cord with their bare hands? Black lives don't matter. Various groups of white people have the right to kill black people in the US, and Obama reinforced that this week.

Miss Drake

Woman publicly humiliated once again

Of course this is no news: if a film lacks the ritual humilation of the heroine, that means there is no important woman character. From Austen's Elizabeth Bennet and Emma Woodhouse to Hillary Clinton countless times. How many times must she undergo a gruelling interrogation, expensive, confronted by hostile men, who are all the more grated upon because as the latest humiliator said, there are "no reasonable man" would go to court with this.

I continue to fulfill my promise to present photographs of Hillary Clinton which lead me sympathize with her: I love this photo. her stance is of someone enduring this but her instinctive lines on her face tell us of other painful hard impulses to control.

Hillary Clinton this past Saturday enduring another three hours

Millions spent to find something to blame her for in Benghazi, thousands and thousands over her use of servers, emails, internet correspondences, her very Blackberries have been gathered and rigorously scrutinized. This morning the Washington Post said how "extraordinary" was Corney's behavior for coming out to make a 15 minute speech excoriating her. So too last night Judy Woodruff on PBS.

Usually when there is no case, that's the end of it. The fool Ruth Marcus on the Post's opinion page congratulated him for "clearing the air."  What? He spewed out lines and lines for Republicans and those who cannot stand the thought of a woman in power as ammunition.

Bad judgement I hear that putative husband say.

Will they never tire of this? not until she goes away, broken. She's not.

The photo: she's looking down. For a moment resting her eyes. The cell phone her barrier. It's the ununsual lack of a hair style that touches me. Would that she pulled her hair back like that more often.

Update, 7//2016: It does worry me this morning that Repubilcans will use this to defeat her and put Donald Trump into the presidency. They don't care that he is in fact corrupt, fraudulent, ought to be indicted for his fake university schemes; all they care is do they individually get into office and they put in place problems to further immiserate the vast majority of Americans and enrichen themselves and their friends. Comey is being gruelled today as to why he didn't indict her. The Post today had a column by someone saying Comey's speech was an egregious abuse of power. When you chose not to indict someone you do not come out and excoriate them. He did it because she's a woman: forsooth women are not to be trusted with "serious things of the world." Thank you to Mike Powe for "Hillary's Problem." As I say in one of my replies below, I feel she was also trying to protect her private ilfe (her daughter is part of that).

Miss Drake

Polish cartoon on Brexit:

"Great Britain’s citizens haven’t been losing control over their fate to the EU. They’ve been losing it because their own country’s leaders – as well as those of most other Western democracies – are increasingly in thrall to corporate and financial interests." -- The Progressive

Dear friends and readers,

Although I would have voted for remain, I'm very bothered at how those who voted for leave are being misrepresented in the press and online.  My morning newspaper today, The Washington Post followed what I have now heard on PBS reports and see the recent cover of the New Yoker has endorsed: we see elegantly dressed British businessman with their briefcases each jumping off a cliff.  In the mainstream press, on US TV, and many many blogs, there are but two kinds of British voters who voted to leave the EU. In the mainstream press and blogs on-line the vote to leave is described as of two types: the bigoted, intolerant, wrongly fearful of “the other” or immigrants and libertarians (the reductive joke is they are against stop signs).

Read the history of the EU in Salon first. The EU has moved from its roots in post-WW2 unity to becoming a neoliberal technocracy.

The third point of view is that the “austerity” policies inflicted (the right word) on the people of Europe on behalf of the investment class is what’s responsible for increasing immiseration among a majority of people, and especially in countries like Greece and Spain. Denmark has never been part of the EU; they have their own currency. The Greeks were afraid to Grexit because they now have Euros and their money would become instantly worthless. Arguably had they been wise or strong enough to keep their own currency, they would have voted to get out of this institution punitive on the vast majority of people in southern Europe and working class, rural, and people in older local kinds of jobs elsewhere.  Arguably the Greeks would have been better off if they could have made such a deal; but the EU masters insisted on conditions that would not give them a chance to rebuild their economy.  They must bend to the vulture hedge fund people (and the coup in Brazil is now foisting this on the Brazilian people). It should be recalled that Denmark has never been part of the EU; they kept their own currency and they have set up a deal where in accordance with pre-existing parameters, they go for individual negotiations with the EU. There are many subject populations (in effect) who, if you held a referendum would vote to leave and it's not because all these human beings are stupid racists:

UKIP and the tinier Farage parties have 1% of the vote as of the last election and one MP; there is no equivalent of tea party in the UK as in the US, though there is outright Nazism in these small groups. A vote for Brexit is by no means the same thing as a vote for Trump. The analogy is false.

52% of British people voted to get out. I know a majority in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain; but there were pockets of people in both places who voted to leave, so it was not just English people in the south, London, west country, and the Welsh. I realize a justifiable fear is the next step will be an unravelling of the UK.

It's not clear what will happen in Scotland now.  They do have different interests than England; but they would not want to give up their pound or sovereignty once they get it.  The Remain versus Leave division was a class division.  Upper class university educated young and old people voted to remain; the old working class labor people to get out. Corbyn knew this and that's why he ran a weak campaign.

Here are three cogent arguments for Brexit: the first from a person who used to write from the Guardian (a newspaper now banned by Trump from his forums). the left-liberal and left-radical point of view the comment above comes out of too*

Paul Mason interviewed (he used to be a British TV journalist too, wrote for the Guardian, a newspaper which Trump has now banned from all his forums)


A blog that my husband used to read daily was not shocked at all:


This American on-line journal:


It’s not just a vote of intolerant bigoted people, or people who love jumping off cliffs, and in a way it should not be a shock — though I was shocked and my first blog was for Remain, for safety. The LRB was clever in having an article which showed that local farms were helped by EU regulations, which also protects animals from the worst ravages and torturing cruel conditions inflicted on them by American capitalist farms. So here is a thorough going-frank Intercept which takes what happened into account:


I'm coming to the view that the British people have done a wake-up call to other peoples in other countries. The PM of Greece gave an interview yesterday where he alone approved of the British vote: it gave people a chance to opt out of this neoliberal investor-controlled world,  As I recall the Greek people  were too afraid because their currency is so linked to the EU; so they opted to stay but not to pay; they ended up staying and have been harshly punished to pay the investor class. The British having a stronger economy on their own and having their own currency spoke loud and clear against this new world order. The politicians are the creatures of this new world order: either paid by them and rich therefore (Hillary Clinton) or one of them (Cameron as revealed by the latest Panama papers, Trump a crook hanger-on). This morning the rightist-labor types (Blairites) of the labor party have done a vote of no confidence to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn; he is refusing to resign as it would be a betrayal of the vote of the majority of Labor voters. There may be a new election there. The Labor officials want a new neoliberal like Blair to run their party.

Bernie Sanders said we need a revolution. He didn't want to scare those who are comfortable enough and didn't give details: but he did want to return to Keynesian economics. No one speaks of this: high taxes on the wealthy and corporations, programs for jobs, social services, education, health, in the US the infrastructure (which is crumbling as in DC the Metro). The 1% and the 10% who directly work for and with them will not give up a dime; they want in fact to take back more of the little that was re-distributed and shared in the middle 20th century. Hillary Clinton's new platform makes no mention of a single payer-system for health care; does not appear to know that the Palestinians exist (a hard-line pro-the present Israeli gov't), is again for what's called "free trade." I deplore the barbaric terrorists in the middle east and other countries the US (and UK, though Cameron held back, not because of his conscience) as much as anyone, but I know they behave the way they do as they have been savagely deprived of any means of even nearly a decent life.

The recent LeCarre films, Our Kind of Traitor may be read as for Brexit. I saw it this past Sunday; I want to see it a second time and read more about the book and then will be writing a blog on it (soon).

Damien Lewis as our moral spy (Hector), Ewan Macgregor and Naomi Harris, the two ordinary people brought into the corrupt amoral deeply sexist world of the luxurious conglomerates 1%

It's getting negative reviews because like his A Most Wanted Man (the last film Philip Seymour Hoffman made) it's not understood.

Remember the first thing the leaders of the EU said in response to the Brexit vote was "our first concern is for our investors," and this morning they are looking to make the conditions on the British exist as harsh as possible so as to scare other countries into staying. Would Europe move gradually into another war if there were no EU? How frightened should be be of ourselves? Britain has the fifth strongest economy in the world; they may weather this just fine.

I suspect what will happen is the party elite of both sides of the Parliament house will try to exit as little as possible. No one even mentiones Keynesian economics; before supply-side and monertarism in the 1940s to later 60s there was Keynesian economics: you tax the wealthy, corporations, and unearned income, and you set up programs for jobs, social services, infrastructure, public schools, health care and gradually a majority of people do thrive.

Miss Drake

Friends and readers,

From my patch of ground in the world on the east coast mid-Atlantic state (US)::  I'm a little late on this because I'm only a British subject (when I married Jim I got a card saying I was), so never could vote, and haven't lived there since 1971, but could work, live, use everything about me like everyone else, with all rights; I've visited, spent my life reading British literature and spreading it.  Anglophilic.  So I register a vote here: remain.  I celebrated Scotland remained ("No, thank you") immediately after the election was over (by way of a blog too).

Newsitem (Small).jpg

The last few days have persuaded me. It was a series of articles in the LRB articles that clinched it and who is on the side of leave and who remain:

Jeremy Corbyn: remain

So in my usual way a series of informative, insightful essays:

James Meek: how to grow a weetabix: did you know a huge percentage of English farms are still local, and because of the EU rules animals treated infinitely better across Europe (the US is unspeakable in this regard)

Peter Pomerantsev: European Schools: only recently has someone addressed him as an Englishman

Francis Fitzgibbon: If we leave

From TLS this week:

A symposium beginning with Mary Beard: human relationships

The red bus with the claim that Britain is giving Europe 350 million pounds a day is a lie:

I end on a joke I saw:

A majority of lemmings in favor of jumping off cliff


Then update on Friday, 6/24/2016: Brexit wins. Before we lambast the working class and poorer and rural people, listen to Naked Capitailsm on why the British went Brexit 52 to 48:

"Brexit represents something much bigger than an economic or political crisis. Although UKIP played shamelessly on the anti-immigration fears, many of the Leave campaigners argued for national sovereignity and self-determination. And the Northern areas that came in strongly for Leave have been left behind as London and environs prospered. It is simplistic, although it will nevertheless be a popular stance among the elites, to depict the Leave vote as yet another proof that technocrats should be in charge. In fact, the very reason that so many UK citizens rejected the dire warnings of what was in store for them if they dared press the red Leave button was that those experts devised and implemented the neoliberal policies that have increased inequality, reduced their economic stability and accelerated political and social change.

Brexit is a crippling blow to the neoliberal order of unfettered trade and capital flows, and citizens being reduced to being consumers who have to fend for themselves in markets, and worse, increasingly isolated worker who are at the mercy of capitalists who are ever more determined to reduce labor costs and hoard the benefits of productivity gains for themselves. Whether they recognize it or not, and we’ll find out over the coming months and years how well different Leave voters saw the choice they made, they have chosen a lower standard of living as a price worth paying for a hope of more control over their destinies. Sadly, these voters are likely to realize the first part of that equation rather than the second."

But see Left Unity which deplores the vote: a disastrous outcome. The neoliberal policies of the EU are not going away; they will now be adminstered even more fiercely by local elite.

And this analysis of the Brexit vote is worth reading.


"Great Britain’s citizens haven’t been losing control over their fate to the EU. They’ve been losing it because their own country’s leaders – as well as those of most other Western democracies – are increasingly in thrall to corporate and financial interests."

Miss Drake

Latest Month

August 2016



RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow