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For water is the basis of life

A merchant's desire is not of glory, but of gain; not of public wealth, but of private emolument; he is therefore rarely to be consulted about war and peace, or any designs of wide extent and distant consequence. -- Samuel Johnson, from Taxation No Tyranny

It is to be feared that the science of over-reaching is too closely-connected with lucrative commerce. There are clases of men who do little less than profess it, and who are scarcefly ashamed, when they are detected in imposture -- again Johnson

Friends and readers,

Ordinary people and the earth itself, its natural resources, have had a victory, which, even if temporary (the Trump administration could reverse), must be celebrated. We have had some progress during the years of the Obama presidency, but much may be overturned as well as the basis of FDR's new deal (social security) and LFJ's life-saving Medicare. I assure whoever reads this I am not into false celebrations.

Cannon Ball, North Dakota -- let's remember it's now very cold in North Dakota

The Standing Rock tribe has won.  The US Army corps of engineers denied an easement that would allow the pipline to cross beneath Lake Oahe, threatening the water supply of the Standing Rock reservation just downstream.  For months of the Standing Rock people, multiple native American tribes, and many other groups, now reinforced by a Veterans' group, put their bodies on the line -- and they have faced attack dogs, pepper spraying, hosing, rubber and real bullets; arrests, warants out for felonies which are a modern way of nullifying our right to assemble and protest peacefully. This kind of courage emerges from desperation and having no other recourse to stop this wholescale violation. A group of US Veterans had just joined them, saying they would encircle the Native Americans to protect them.

The Standing Rock Sioux are determined to prevent 1) the possible and even probably pollution of the Missouri River, central source of water for millions of people; and 2) the destruction of the Standing Rock people's burial sites, which by treaty, is land belonging to them, and part of the religious aspect of their community life. See Amy Goodman's full interview of the people involved yesterday: DemocracyNow.org

As a good friend on a small Yahoo list I moderate (focused on Anthony Trollope and 19th century literature and culture) wrote:

The victory today may be only temporary, but this would not have happened without the courage, determination and solidarity of the various tribes, environment groups, veterans groups, and people like us. That petition we signed was a very small contribution, but it helped build the climate of opposition.

A clear description of what this is about: for now it's halted. I've read the company that has fought so aggressively (gotten on its side major agencies, newspapers) to build this pipeland has said the court's decision does not stop them from going ahead. i've read that Trump has interests in companies that stand to gain profit from this pipeline and will give the "green light" to this and all other pipelines..

The inference: we must fight for say social security and medicare, decent treatment to enable disabled people to live fulfilled independent lives. We can sometimes win.

More widely; the important of keeping up the struggle not to allow wanton polluing of our atmosphere and food (causing cancer pandemonics). Year ago now Izzy and I saw an important film where a private corporation attempted to privatize the water supply in Bolivia and cut off a group of Indians from any water unless they pay for it: Even the Rain. The people's protests managed to stop this wholescale theft of necessity of life but their city is ruined, and we see the cost to individuals is high. Gasland is another movie about this problem of theft of natural resources of the earth people depend upon suddenly privatized and then polluted.

A still from Even the Rain

More recently we've seen how the waters of Flint, Michigan were polluted to "save" tax money. I've been in communities where the local water is not drinkable and people are forced to buy water in great plastic jugs.

More years ago than I like to (or can) remember I read with several classes of students over a few years John McPhee's The Control of Nature: the course was Advanced Composition in the Natural Sciences and Technology and read McPhee's book. It contains a long section on aquifers that large cities depend upon for their water supply, and how easy it is to destroy them. This and other books by McPhee seems apolitical because he concentrates on explaining how natural phenomena in a given region have emerged over centuries, and problems people have today in managing the resources that come with the phenomena. He usually develops a story out of a semi-ironic problem local people are having controlling something that is interfering with their middle class way of life. But the inferences taken away enable a reader to understand what these various struggles with multinational corporations out to be a huge profit for the investors and company members are about.

From the latest edition of McPhee's Pine Barrens: a favorite for me for summer reading with science students.

Miss Drake
Dear readers,

A friend (not me, honest) wrote to a listserv I'm on with him:

At breakfast this morning ... I explained to [my daughter] why Fidel was the most admirable political figure of my lifetime. I spoke of his incorruptibility, what he had brought to Cuba -- universal literacy, advanced and very low cost health care for everyone, low unemployment, proper recognition and compensation for teachers, solidarity with Africa (especially South Africa during apartheid), a refusal to accommodate US imperialism, impressive advances in medical technology and pharmaceuticals (made available at low cost), and so much more.
     I told her that Fidel was widely vilified in the US and among the privileged classes around the world. And that not many Americans admired him as I do. A minute later, our waiter, a young man of college age, said he overheard our conversation and was it true that Fidel had died? I always liked him, he said."

I put this on my blog because I strongly agree and couldn't have said it as well. Another person came onto our listserv to agree. Cuba alone of all the Latin American countries has no drug problem, no ceaseless violence, health care, education and jobs for all.  No one else appeared to have a view.

Fidel Casto interviewed by Robert MacNeil of PBS in the 1980s

I wrote in reply what I remembered most:

Fidel was an extraordinary man and that he made his revolution stick, held out against this horrendous enormous power to the north of him is astonishing. I for one do not know enough about the obvious pact Kennedy must have made with Krushchev after Kennedy brought us to the brink of WW3, nuclear weapons and all. As I think about it, that night comes back so vividly. My father was worried sick because he had received a notice to go somewhere as a "warden," and I remember his appalled horror as elected official after elected official came on TV to support Kennedyin this dire threatening of the whole world because the US would not tolerate a small communist country nearby nor any defensive weaponry: this was after the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs, several other assassination attempts and of meanwhile the US lines the borders of Russia and many other places still with nuckear warheads.

I think of that now when I see all these Republicans and business men from around the world, TV stations falling into place behind Trump. There is noth ing most individuals won't do or support when it comes to facing power and wanting money -- the great god profit is now in place.

So deeply anti-social and inhumane: someone put in charge of the department of education who is a billionaire, has never been in  a public school, is known for wanting to destroy the teachers' union while 9% of all US children go to public school -- for the excellent reason they don't have the money to pay for charter school. Ib ut the first actually willing to go to conflagration or saying they are. A lesson for us all when we think of what's to come once Trump is president. I fear that people put in charge of areas they know little about will provide a spectacle of give-aways (corruption) to corporations, loot the public treasury in effect. How would such people react to any crisis but consult their own narrow interests and ideology.

Kennedy himself may have paid an ultimate price for not really keeping his word and semi-authorizing continual attempts to overturn Cuba's gov't or kill Castro. There are links and unexplained connections between Oswald, Ruby, the Cuban emigres.

Today Castro was hailed and praised by the leaders of social democracy gov'ts in South America.

My friend wrote:

  The repression in Cuba was often ugly, but it was made necessary by how determined the US was to overthrow the revolution, reintroduce deep inequality, undo all the reforms the Cubans achieved, and make Cuba a sad US colony once again.
      Had there been a Cuban-style repression following the US Civil War, those who undid the good intentions of Reconstruction would've been stopped, saving us from the horrors of Jim Crow, continuing racism today, and perhaps those, like Trump, who use racist appeals today.

I replied:

The question arises, Why did Fidel succeed? In France in the 1790s, the terror was the direct result of the invasion of the allied monarchies' armies into France and the counter-revolutions occurring in the countryside, not to omit the return of emigres either to their own areas or to join up with allied armies. (Charlotte Smith damatizes this in her novel The Banished Man). Napoleon's regime was undermined from its groundwork.  Was it the lack of a socialist ideal; the return to militarism, empire, hierarchyl? I know from reading that the killing and suppression of another revolution in France in 1870 and 1871 after that uprising was successful in the sense that huge numbers were slaughtered (figures higher than in 1792-3) and the rebellion put down utterly thoroughly. After the Russian civil war of the 1920s, ruthless repress was the route the communist party took to keep their socialist revolution in place.

Castro brought to the Cuban people services and self-respect they never had before. Good health care, pensions, schools, jobs (however low paid). The embargo was what prevented any growth - as the cold war hurt the Soviet Union and eastern Europe.  Still Castro and his gov't destroyed the colonialist capitalism in the island much hated from the Batista regime. Was Cuba simply small enough too? The people in general loved and revered him: they liked and were comfortable with, felt secure with the egalitarian socialist ideals. As have been many other peoples and groups of voters and nations around the world.

Back to my earlier memory:  When I think about the Cuban missile crisis (that night Kennedy went all out and all those elected officials came on TV to support) I get breathless with terror at what will happen when Trump assumes office. I am totally in agreement with Chomsky about the dangers of this powerful machinery under Trump and the Republicans, feel how wrong people were who didn't vote for Hillary Clinton (didn't vote, choose a third-party candidate). See especially his last sentence

Miss Drake
Friends and readers,

A friend has suggested to me that the ability to make fun of someone in public, to play cat and mouse with them and make them look bad is a trait of dictators. She instanced Nero and Caligula.

So Trump against the Hamilton players: he sets them up by sending his henchman, Pence, to see the show, accompanied by a host of paramilitarized police so that the people on the street will know Pence is there. The police were none too polite; the feel was intimidation around the theater playing the opera out of War and Peace: Pierre and Natasha and the Great comet of 1812. They can't resist making a semi-pleading courteous address to Pence while he stalks out of the audience, back to them. This was the prompt for Trump's tweets accusing them of rudeness, saying how unfair and biased this show is, and of course Saturday Night Live which some years ago made fun of Trump. He never forgets an insult himself and gets back. I'm told this played well with his followers (as they are called). Score 1 for Trump.

Then he exposes the press. He has not had any news conference, and now invites them to come to his lair as long as there are no cameras. They are astonished he spends the time berating and insulting them, refusing to answer questions, shameless. One reporter (off record of course) said "it was fucking outrageous."  Trump ejects them and then tweets about how unfair, biased coverage of him has been. I'm told this too played well with his followers. Score another for Trump.

The New York Times alone held out; Trump at first cancelled a meeting he said he would have with them; when they said, okay, he reversed himself and did meet with them and had to face a few reasonable questions, which in his usual way he deflected.

I'm told he tweeted Teresa May as to who she should appoint ambassador: naturally the lying Farage, just his thing. This was to embarrass her.

When I told another friend of my first friend's insight, she reminded me about the caricatures of Japanese during World War Two when they were interned: they had done nothing wrong, many lives were destroyed, they lost property, jobs, endured lasting stigmas. But oh how funny were these caricatures.

Down south here the reactionary local gov't bodies used to get quite a kick out of naming all black schools (before 1954 when a couple of decades of attempts at de-segregation were imposed, and the worst of these schools closed because they were in such poor repair, such eye-sores) after confederate generals who were particularly sociopathic towards blacks and ex-slaves. A FB friend reported: "
the black school in my little southern town was named after Frederick Douglass. And the Houston ISD just decided to rename a predominantly black middle school that was originally named after that noted Confederate general, Sidney Lanier. The did it on the cheap, renaming it after former mayor Bob Lanier. La plus ca change.  

I remember during the campaign Trump had himself photographed in the cafeteria of Trump tower eating an hispanic dinner: he smirked and tweeted: see how I love hispanics. I saw that as loathesome because of the low salaries of the very employees forced to serve him, but now realize that was not the reaction of his followers. Maybe they found his burlesque parodies of disabled people hilarious. So Hillary Clinton's commercials showing him doing this may also have back-fired.

Sophisticated analyses of satire point out how hatred and the writer's own seething ego are part of what fuels satire -- it claims to be moral and often does use humor to expose the immoral, the cruel, the vain, absurd follies.I like and enjoy satire myself when its aim is ethical not cruel. Did the press deserve that put-down?  They put him in power; CNN and FOX news gave Bernie Sanders 1/16th the coverage of Trump. On Big Tuesday, Sanders's speech was not aired anywhere but on DemocracyNow.org, and he had done pretty well against Clinton. The TV news reported false stories, kept his picture before us; I remember one reporter (from the Washington Post before it was banned) suddenly asking Trump, "Is this what it's going to be whe you are President."  And Trump said "yes," gloatingly.

But what drives the writer to write in this peculiar vein. An enjoyment of ridicule, of cruelty, of scatology frequently. Those of Trump followers not in a position to pull this off may revel in his humor now.  He has this uncanny social cunning (in the 18th century it was called "low cunning"). Is this the sort of thing he did in his ever popular Apprentice show? I had (I now gather) the mistaken impression it was just another "reality" show -- platforms for humiliating who are willing to submit to this for the publicity, money, hope for another "gig." Modern freak shows.

Well now it's the dominant news. I must congratulate his followers for providing such material for us all. So much humor ahead. Am I to give thanks for all this?

It's no use to say we used to root for Tweety as the underdog:

Miss Drake

I did go to the first post-election rally of democrats - for social and economic justice, for good healthcare for all, for equality - just outside a Senate building in a pretty park. It was reported in today's later edition of The Guardian.

It was set up and arranged by at least three unions: Nurses (who endorsed Sanders to the end), ATU (American transit union?), CWU (post office and other communication workers); the pretense was they were there to celebrate the TPP dying and they insisted it was not Trump which killed it but this mass movement of several different groups. The inference or argument from this insisted-upon success was: we can fight back, if we stay together we can win other fights

This was the first rally or public meeting of this kind of thing that I participated in since say 1968 -- when I had left in disgust at the frivolity of the people I was surrounded by.  This group were there for serious reasons and the tone of the crowd was serious at the same time amiable to one another.  There were apparently two Trump supporters in the crowd with these hideous signs: Love Trump's Hate (why do they not say hatred).  But people were magnimous to these silent presences. It was not a march, but gathering around a dias in a park next to a senate office building. There were around 9 (!) speakers before Sanders but it seemed to me there would have been no crowd but for the promise of Sanders and his presence heads the stories about this rally.

I thought at least 1000 people were there, maybe more. We seemed to fill out the small part.  People from the same union with the same t-shirts or some sign; people with children, all races, all types, old, young. I saw one elderly lady with no teeth (I notice that kind of thing nowadays as I wear almost complete dentures). Some were friendly. Everyone close together, no pushing, a sense of cooperation. They chanted back when they were given words to call. For me the only one moving was "Keep hope alive."

It seemed to me the letters TTP ignited no one, even if it was an important moment in preventing so much momentum in the destruction of unions and good jobs for workers.  Some of these 9 were all congratulating one another -- which while to me in somewhat bad taste was understandable. What makes people work on?  As the speeches and small talk around me went on, a few union people -- men, not the women, made genuine contact with the larger crowd by referring to other issues people cared about. For the first time I witnessed how weak an issue for a group is health care. You might say it's a "down" subject. but the last three men talked about what is happening or about to happen in this Trump administration,  a powerful speaker from the CWU, from the AFL/CIO and from an official of the democratic party -- himself a Muslim immigrant with dark skin. They all said all the gains of the last half century and more were at risk, but persisted in this positive: we can fight and we can win. Sanders told the most truth. He did say the democratic party had picked a candidate who was known to be unpopular and would not budge from that. The party has to change. He talked of despair in the US -- and described conditions of misery and said this is why Trump won but Trump will not deliver to these people at all.

I was bothered because little of what was said came near the unfolding horror of Trump's appointments today. So all this was educational for me. My friend who fears intensely losing the health care she has had since Obamacare was dismayed. She persists in calling the democratic headquarters. I was interviewed by the Guardian reporter who wrote the above story but she didn't report my replies. She asked why I was there: I said to help protect social security, medicare, the internet for all. She asked me how I felt when I got up the morning after the election. I said deep distress. She asked why? because I foresee what shreds of democracy are left will be cast aside. She asked me if I thought Sanders might have won. I said I didn't know but that newspapers had colluded in helping Trump to win and marginalizing Sanders. I said I also feared a nuclear war because if Trump didn't start it, others might pitch a first strike out of nervousness if he bullied them

Read Elizabeth Warren's open letter to Trump on his "transition team." Racist goons (one from the Net, the other with Klan ties, four of his children (!). He is thinking of adding Giuiliani as attorney general -- that is a signal that black lives don't matter. For foreign policy he will follow Putin. He will take the US out of all trade agreements, NATO.  He will not have reporters about him but communicate to the American people through lying tweets.  . He will let Ryan shred all social programs and let Mitchell stack the supreme court with reactionaries. He will let lobbyists loose on all things they can feed off of. Among these a lobbyist for Verizon to take a major position in the FCC. Goodbye Net Neutrality the Net as we have known it as a place for ordinary people to communicate with one another.  Is this enough for them: Are the elected officials in congress and the house going to just sit there and let all this happen

It shows how weak is the US gov't that this could have been done decades ago but that in each case we were dependent on the man taking office doing what had been done and continually consulting with others. It appears to me the whole constitution is a bad document -- or any gov't is dependent on who gets into office. It's like some 18th century monarchy where a particularly evil insane person is put in charge. Maybe the end result after the some conflagration -- will be throwing away this document. No one should give a gov't over to one man which is what our 18th century document allows. He could not get away with this in parliamentary gov't. Immediately after Brexit Farage (or whatever is his name) fell; the London mayor is there as crony and patronized by Teresa May. So that's my view -- the whole claptrap needs to be thrown out: not just the electoral college. We were lurching towards this for 40 years and it's here now which is what our 18th century document allows.

I find Obama's normalizing stance mind-boggling. While there I remembered why I suddenly thought to myself this morning why many didn't vote. I caught a moment from Hillary Clinton's latest speech where she seemed to be (as it were) lecturing to some peculiarly tiresome tedious children they must support "our" president. Like Obama, she seems not to be aware that peaceful protest and assembly is as part of a democracy as this electoral college election.  Her tone was one of someone whose patience has been tried. Well all her learning, she is not truly clever. Why didn't she campaign in the middle states? She followed algorithms? no, she stayed away.  She is a version of Lady Russell that's who she is: can take in large issues, come to general understanding, but what takes real subtlety to see she not only lacks but turns away from because it does not suit her

Miss Drake
Clinton won the popular vote by a couple of million; people are saying, arguing Sanders could have won the election, that The democratic party turned their back genuinely popular policies wanted by democratic constituencies.

At any rate, the Republicans and Trump will now do all they can to suppress votes of "minorities," they will deport as many hispanic people as they can, jail as many dissendents and poor and black as they can, be a ruthless bully in the world, cut all social programs possible, privatize wherever posssible. Gerrymander some more. Make it very difficult for democrats to get into office. Stocks are way up (especially private prison companies).  The wealthy and Wall Street are seeing they will be okay and now grow richer and freer to do as they please to make their profits as high as possible. As to military matters, I refer the reader to Trump's promises; he will enlarge Guantanemo, waterboarding is fine, what are nuclear weapons for if not to use, and so on.

The revivifying wine we had on offer much earlier this year and was stopped up must now be poured into the bottle called the democratic party. One by one (each race) fought to be won on real issues concerning ordinary people, and a new direction set forward.

Don't let anyone try to delude or sooth you into thinking what is about to happen will be okay. Chomsky on the most dangerous organization on the earth today. Kerry has presided over a build-up at the Crimea border which ought to worry people. Putin and Trump are just chummying up. Trump has said he wants to register all Muslims (whatever he means by that) in the USA

Rev William Barber of the North Caroline NAACP, leader of each week's Moral Monday:

Sunday evening in a special post-election service entitled "Revival and Resiliency After Rejection."

Speaking to hundreds gathered at the Myers Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., Barber said that the nation "must be honest about the depth of racism and the psychic sickness of our country," and said "it is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than profound anxiety and revulsion."

"This moment in America is ultimately not about Trump and [Hillary] Clinton. But it really is about the rejection of some things much deeper," he said.

Trump's win, he argues, "shows that we have rejected in some ways moral statesmanship for buffoonery and gamesmanship." For some, it also "reveals a rejection of answers to real issues" and a rejection of "some very serious principles." The president-elect, he said, "articulated fears rooted in racism and classism. He offered no answers but merely said, 'You are right to be afraid, very afraid.'"

"To elect a president whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact—to say nothing of simple decency"—shows "that we are rejecting something much deeper, which is why Trump is vulgarity unbounded."

His "election strikes fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and above all the many varieties of 'other' whom he has so deeply insulted. The African American 'other.' The Hispanic 'other.' The female 'other.' The Jewish 'other.' And the Muslim 'other.'"

In January, a "man of integrity" will leave the White House, he said, "and then we will witness the inauguration of a con."

"How sad it is that somewhere around his inauguration, the band will begin to play 'America, America, God shed His grace on thee' and then we will inaugurate a president that does not want to give grace to immigrants—of which he is one, from his family."

"We must challenge this nation until the day comes that we are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all," he concluded

What we must also change:  the damage bloated, greedy, amoral political consultants have wrought on the system.

We had Sanders who "came surprisingly close, and the nature of his unscripted challenge—saying whatever radical thing he wanted, drawing around him a deeply loyal phalanx of individuals concerned about fundamental issues of how we are now to make our living, and unwilling to be put off any longer by the glib reassurances of the establishment ...

and Donald Trump ... —sleeplessly padding the floors of his Tower condo high above the teeming crowds, ensconced alone in the early-morning Mar-a-Lago darkness with just his Twitter account for company" won

Miss Drake



This will be my last blog on the election itself and my last photo of Hillary Clinton.

Waking this morning and again not sleeping until dawn, it came to me not only were the newspapers clueless about the election, they had the wrong party: it was said the Republican party was self-destructing; it appears it's the democratic party which is self-destructed -- the democrats have lost congress, many judges and more to come, many governorships, and then state legislatures. They refuse to offer an alternative vision: Obama sent drones; Trump says he will carpet bomb (kill thousands instead of say 23 at a time). Roosevelt did in 1932 with his New Deal. Now what's left will be destroyed, defunded totally or whatever they have to do.. Yesterday was a case in point: Obama at no point recognized that our democracy includes the right of people to be out there and protest peacefully, only emitting sterm scolding pious precepts about peaceful transitions.  Police were out in the streets, in some cases arresting people. On North Dakota early last week Obama talked as if both sides were equal and had not come to the point of moving that pipeline. Now of course the people's water supply will be very threatened, probably compromised. Democrats offered Republican-policies with amelioration or "lite."

The analogy with the Brits is correct: labor is dying because its leaders will not answer the constituency who clearly want Jeremy Corbyn, but the leaders will not work with a true socialist or old labor type -- it's not old, it's what's wanted. The Democratic party sidelined a man who did in numbers show a good chance to beat Trump: Sanders. There is this poll tonight; I admit it's a counterfactual.  They persisted in insisting on Hillary Clinton who came with much baggage, is weak as a campaigner, does not know how to emotionally connect. They would not give Sanders a chance. Now they are in deeper disarray from which they may not be able to come back as the republicans when they get into power change the rules to keep them out -- as in North Carolina. Harry Reid and Bernie Sanders gave responses which took into account what Trump is prepared to do and how they will vigorously fight

Tonight on PBS both Brooke and Shields refused to recognize reality -- as the pollsters failed to get any grasp on what was happening during the campaign between Trump and Clinton. Brooke went on about how the voters were marginalized, left out people. Some were, but many were not: wealthy, middle class went for Trump. What united them were they were all or almost all white. Shields waxed indignant at those who say racism is central: he wants to know how "we" can work with these people if we demonize them.  Trump supporters demonize swatches of democratic voters. They will not work with you on a "nice" basis at all. PBS is determined to keep to a script which is falsifying in order to normalize the reasons for Trump's election. He has never deigned to be on their show.  He has treated them with utter contempt and they parade his program as if it were reasonable and potentially good.  Moore doesn't, he persists in the fantasy it's about being left out, impoverished

Not one comment on how the Democratic party is dissolving away because its leaders refuse to answer to their constituency. They do have to develop a new party. Trump lost the popular vote but won the electoral college; of course this antiquated patronage system should long ago have been abolished, but it favors the rural areas, hierarchy. But do the democrats even bring this up? So they campaign for one person one vote?

All that is there for the people are mass demonstrations - and these meet riot police, arrests, and worse: tear gas, rubber bullets, pepper-spray. The democratic party is still refusing to move and will continue to dissolve away. A friend thinks a new party will arise from these ashes -- history says no. Yes a British labor party arose but not from such a conflagration as this. In Europe they were crushed when they tried after 1848.

When I opened my Washington Post today I couldn't forget how all i've read in the past months got it all wrong -- especially on black people. They did not come out in the numbers needed for Hillary -- so Trump got 51% of North Carolina. I've talked about how puzzled I was at the assertion she had the blacks (yes the ones on stage) when he and she began mass incarceration, ended welfare, made it possible for banks to do what they wish to people's hard earned houses. For myself I never for a moment forget she supported ending welfare. It just rankles. I was overlooking it and her record as a military hawk (she never mentions the Palestinians embargoed on their prison strip still) as she has far more on her record that is good and I was voting against Trump. Juan Gonzalez does show that the latinoes came out for Clinton 80-90%

Trump says he will put back torture, protect carrying loaded unconcealed gums, will expand Guantanamo,,is  willing to use nuclear weapons and repress the press --- last night Tump said the protests around the US are incited by the media (Obama as I say refused to recognize them in speech). He has now broken with tradition and is not permitting the press to travel with him.

His supporters were all white and older whites came out heavily for him in the white population in the industrial and ex-industrial states came out for him. It's cruel (Trump was cruelty personified in the way he treated disabled people, racist (why promise to rescind every executive order Obama ever signed? Trump threw black people out of his rallies unceremoniously). .

Today the Ku Klux Clan group in North Caroline has announced a large public rally, celebrating the election of Donald Trump:

Seeking power first, not cooperation, overtly Christian (which is not the same as morally Christian), isolation or Nativist (but it does not include Native Americans). Stocks of private prisons have risen quickly; also all those industries serving the Pentagon war machine. The prison sentences fit in here. If you see it, everything falls into place.  Even women voting for him, especially a women who worked as a nude model (and the way to get jobs there is through sex): she stands for being successful through making her body beautiful and selling it

On women's rights and needs: Fan-sided reported this morning that Obama put in place an executive order and passed legislation to protect women's health funding at reasonable costs in Planned Parenthood. But the next day (today) women republicans say this is a hideous corrupt abortion provider (as if that is all they do, it's a small part) and we will defund the whole thing -- she pretended to believe fake videos about them selling fetuses. This is the kind of talk we will have here and the kind of actions done. Many women will not have no where to go for ordinary health but to egregiously expensive doctors as the first thing the republicans will do is repeal ACA (affordable care act, called Obama care). The rhetoric which is reported in most places as real or true (Fan-sided managed a sceptical note) is delusional and filled with hatred. Trump's plan for the next 100 days by the way includes his determination to sue the women who accused him of sexual harrasment, groping or rape. Women in my classes said this loss of Clinton, and the election of Trump who openly boasts of sexual assault and whose wife made her living selling her puts women back 40 years.


All the above said, personally  and as a woman, I would have loved to see Hillary Clinton photographed as a fourth woman in charge --- she worked so hard, she has been so brave.

I end on the statements of two women in power in response to the election of Trump

A friend on the Wwtta listserv I moderated put this on: Merkel’s statement upon Trump’s election; here Theresa May’s more sycophantic one:

Angela Merkel:

“There’s no country we Germans have as close a relationship with as the United States of America. Whoever rules this vast country, with its enormous economic strength, its military potential, its cultural influence, carries a responsibility which is felt all over the world. Americans have decided that the person to carry this responsibility for the next four years is Donald Trump.Germany and America are connected by common values: democracy, freedom, respect for the law and for human dignity irrespective of origin, skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political conviction. On the basis of these values, I offer the future president of America, Donald Trump, a close working relationship. Partnership with the USA remains a basic pillar of German foreign policy in order for us to meet the great challenges of our time: striving for economic and social wellbeing and a forward-looking climate policy, the fight against terrorism, hunger and disease, engagement for peace and freedom, in Germany, Europe and all over the world.”

No congratulations and a pretty open hint that there would little or no cooperation if all those civil rights she mentioned should be undermined as we might well expect them to be, judging by Trump’s policy statements during the campaign.

In contrast, Theresa May:

“I would like to congratulate Donald Trump on being elected the next President of the United States, following a hard-fought campaign. Britain and the United States have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise. We are, and we will remain, close partners on trade, security and defence. I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, building on those ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead.”

May did give an old-fashioned "protectionist" (paternalistic Toryism returns) speech in Parliament not long ago. This ex-home secretar presents herself as concerned for all the people in the UK, responsible for them (is the way the thought was couched)

Not to omit Nicola Sturgeon, Prime Minister of Scotland:

Miss Drake

The morning after

"It's" certainly not over.

Keep in mind that Hillary Clinton did take a majority of the actual votes 54% -- in the wrong places, where they did her not enough good as the US is so gerrymandered and the electoral college a left-over from a racist colonialist republic. Yes the electoral college stands for the continued refusal of the US as a gov't and country really to have a one-person one vote system.

She is a good, gracious, intelligent, well-meaning, experienced statesman, and Kaine is a kind and generous spirited man. A sizable proportion of the US population accounts these qualities unimportant. If you think as I do that Bush was total disaster (it began with his war on Iraq and his putting down the percentage of taxes on the rich), you ain't seen nuthin' yet when it comes to Trump and a Republican dominated congress.

What follows is an elaboration of the above.


We have been, on my small Trollope and his contemporaries reading list on Yahoo, reading Tolstoy's enormous War and Peace, and we are now into this huge conflagration (for its time) that the book has been moving towards: the war of 1812, and specifically the battle of Borodino. Tolstoy keeps asking and offering explanations for why thousands and thousands of men killed one another, forced horrific deaths on one another, destroyed everything in sight as they marched through, food supplies, houses insofar as they could bother. All to no point. To obey one man?  Napoleon. Tolstoy does not believe this.

From Bondarchuk's 1966 film adaptation of War and Peace: the 1812 battlefield (a still)
What to me is important to say about this novel this morning is that we are not surprised by this turn of ev ents in the book. First of all it literally happened, even if many of the specific characters are fictional, and some of the doings of the historical characters fictionalized. Second we say it's utterly believable, probable, consistent with what we all know of human nature that the situation of Czarist Russia and the peoples and armies of its allies, and the people and armies of the country they all first attacked (huge numbers of people under the leadership of not a few) should evolve in just this way.

The polls put me in mind of an incident years ago. A black man ran for Mayor in LA (was it?). A huge majority of those polled showed he was going to win. He lost badly. Conclusion: those asked lied. Polls are like sex surveys -- where most people lie, and are presenting an image of themselves they want the pollster to take away.  We might bring the two polling topics together:  A man who boasts of sexual assault, who when accused of rape replies, look at her, implying no one (man) could possibly want her (sexually) has won the US election.

I thought about the Renaissance playwright Christopher Marlowe's ironic comment in his fiercely anti-semitic play on Barabas:  how Barabas goes about "kicking cripples under wells" and poisoning wells." The last day of the campaign Trump had a man with cerebral palsy physically kicked out of his rally for peaceful protest with a sign.  He then mocked him, and when President Obama in public respected the man's purpose and commiserated with him over his treatment, Trump mocked that. Trump says there is no such thing as global warming and I've not doubt his FBI will ruthlessly do all it can to facilitate the fossil fuel industries fracking wherever they please.

Here is the man's plan rightly described by John Nichols:  a plan to inflict gradual and immediate pain and immiseration on 98% of the US population

The house and senate are now majority republican: they will destroy social security insofar as they can, privatize it so that if you are grandfathered in (as I will be) it will hurt; they have been trying to destroy medicate for years; now they'll do that. Medicare is a kind of National Health for people over 65. It's called a "single payer" system (i.e.,g the gov't through taxes) over here. So that's for them. The republicans will now carry on privatizing schools, no money for public transport (which enables people to get together), they will give fossil fuels a free hand (fracking), carry on mass incarceration, murdering blacks. It's a 40 year set-back for women: a bimbo (sorry for the term) in the white house. The man is gloating tonight as he contemplates how rich he'll leave. He has wanted to repress the press, he mocks and throws out disabled people (he does not understand peaceful protest). He represents the worst in human nature - and he can start nuclear war without consultation: only the army can stop him if they disobey. I omit these horrific continual wars -- drones dropped, hospitals destroyed, barrel bombs (Obama participated in this and Clinton would not reject it -- Sanders did make noises to suggest he might).

We didn't get in our newspapers that he would win -- the newspapers dislike him for good reason and the elite of the wealthy are also very nervous; they preferred Hillary. Why first names? "The Donald" they called it; from TV he got billions of dollars of free publicity because his presence and pictures put up ratings. They helped elect the man who would destroy and repress them. I fear for the Internet for the average person as a place to communicate and find out news and views.

It's continually asserted part of his constituency were the ground down and ignored, and that's true but it was also intense bigotry, and a whole range of US values that are terrible -- for guns, racist, sexist. Lots of middle range white people voted for him. My IT guy who makes 6 figures loves him, inoculated against all criticism. he'd get a gleam in his eye when you said "make America great again." He looks forward to bullying the rest of the world with impunity.  As usual the very people voting for this man (this is true of all republican wins) are those Trump and the republicans will hurt worse. Of course he cannot restart factories; his constituency includes the corporate globalizers.

While in Cornwall I did hear and listen to ordinary British people around me and came to the conclusion the Brexit vote was not a no to neoliberalism but the product of fear and dislike of immigrants. At least that was the way I heard it talked about: in terms of other countries stealing and undermining English jobs and industries.  I heard people talk in a way that suggested they didn't identify with Scots people. I heard someone defend the attacks on Polish people the couple of days after the Brexit vote.  The neoliberal policies of the EU are bad too and as in the US this is part of why a majority voted to leave Europe.

There is no excuse for this choice in the sense that the condition of the average person in the US is the result of similar choices for public officials for decades. Each time starting in the later 1940s the US population was given a choice they regularly chose people who fleeced them and enriched themselves and few groups in society, and went to war to do it, killing, maiming, destroying other people's social revolutions around the world. The average person's immiseration today comes from decades of the same kind of choice they made yesterday. From the formation of a strongly conservative set of courts, privatized prison system, loss of public lawyers and use of plea bargaining with huge sentences as the threat so the person doesn't go to court but to jail for a shorter time (not short).   So now a near majority of US people chose a crook, ignorant, serial liar, rapist, racist who has promised to extend torture, willingness to use nuclear weapons, no sense of anything but narrow national interest as if all peoples are not in the world together, and a TV right-wing radio host with extreme religious views (he is for inflicting conversion therapy on GLBT people) and ceaselessly anti-labor.

 It is an even worse nightmare than the elections of Nixon, Reagan, Bush senior (Reagan 2) and Bush junior. None of them openly professed to ignore law and the constitution. The last day of his campaign Trump had kicked out of a rally physically a man with cerebral palsy who was peacefully protesting with a sign. He then mocked the man. He then mocked Obama for publiclly supporting this man's right to protest the derision he aims at the disabled. The man showed real courage to go to such a rally and act on his own behalf and those of his fellow Americans.

Miss Drake

Two nights from now it won't be over

I'm remembering tonight how Ann Radcliffe said (rightly) after she and her husband had crossed a battlefield where thousands of horrifying deaths had occurred only recently:  it's not true that war ends when a peace or truce is declared. War carries on long after the first overt demands of those who win: lost forever people, maimed bodies, troubled minds, no one forgets the experiences he or she has had.

The last few months it has become probable that US democracy consensus may be falling apart. Trump and his adherents talk of impeaching Clinton. This is the way elections worked in the 17th century: if you won, you put your opponent in jail; if they won, you went to court against the vote and tried to get a court to put you in their place. It may be temporary but now that these right wing fanatics see their power and have gotten away with so much, why not do more?  They have not even questioned Obama's nominee for the supreme court; they got away with it, so now they are saying, they will wait the four years out. why not?

The Bundy family is now threatening to take over another federal place. Meanwhile Obama may say both sides on the Dakota pipeline should exercise restraint, but that's absurd, the Native Americans are demonstrating peacefully; it's the state that is beating, setting dogs on people, pepper spraying them, putting them and journalists in jail.  What that suggests to my mind is the establishment that could stop the Trumpism won't or can't because they are so beholden to what's called the 1%. Right now in south American democracies are being brought down in other ways than the 1980s: the corporations have gotten smarter.
The LRB has several times provided a working explanation for what happened in the last 40 years with this utter turn to the right  Informed essays with documentation (especially about organizations like ALEC): the right found they could get away with defunding all social programs, they could take over the airwaves; they could privatize the prisons; there was no one to stop them. They could undermine public education with ease.  LeCarre's books have as their underlying thesis: see what is happening now that there is no effective force against militaristic capitalism (fascism). He shows us a world where police authorities have no respect for civil or any other political liberty, where gov't organizations support a terrifying arms industry and how individuals within these gov'ts grow super-rich.

A list-friend has written:

Reuters is reporting that a group of FBI agents are hostile to Hillary and are trying to influence the election.
This isn't so different from the Supreme Court handing the 2000 election to George Bush.
It's similar to the Watergate break-in that Nixon ordered, in order to interfere with the 1972 election.
It's similar to the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968, which allowed Nixon to win in 1968.
It's similar to the JFK assassination in 1963, which I think was a right-wing job, as were the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.
Rightwing plutocrats and their henchmen will do what they can to thwart the will of the people -- whenever they can
      The impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998-1999..

To go further back in time, my friend, a series of incidents which perhaps you remember as you are some years older than I -- during a 1948 election didn't Nixon say or have himself photographed finding incriminating papers on his opponent (whose character Nixon destroyed) in a pumpkin. It was an October surprise. As I recall my father said that Nixon said he couldn't say what was in these papers in this pumpkin -- for whatever reason he invented.

The FBI has done nothing about the armed insurrections of the Bundy family and they are going on to yet another site -- they threaten.  The FBI has been trying to destroy BlackLivesMatter as well as active in the despicable things being done by military people in North Dakota over a pipeline which threatens to pollute the water supply of the Native Americans and will destroy their burial grounds.

Another list-friend who at first thought this column from the New York Times was not serious. I was in the UK this summer and did witness the continual excoriation of a decent popularly elected labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, in just about all the newspapers; in ordinary conversation, the vote for Brexit was not against the neoliberal EU organization and banks, but against immigrants, filled with resentment and anger and a desire to shut out all competition and cooperation with people outside English itself (that means Scotland and Ireland), never mind the Continent and beyond.

The worry over the electorate: over the desire to throw a wrench, any wrench into the machinery of gov't: memories of the Brexit vote from the New York Times.

What can one even seasoned girl do?

Hillary when young: she looks sure of herself here

So what I hope for is this: that Clinton wins big and assumes the power of the presidency because the democrats emerge as the majority party in the senate and the house. This will not make the forces for erosion, corrosion go away but it will make it much harder for them to have an effect immediately -- unless of course the Republicans and their adamently prejudiced and bigoted extremists decide to block everything she does -- this will then be an uphill fight.  Can one do anything about the ignorant and maddened constituencies as well as the very wealthy who are willing to support them? Only slowly for some (the impoverished), for others one could try to change FCC rules to declare a show which is not news but lying propaganda, entertainment.

She then has to enact good and decent wide-ranging programs. She has to put up the tax rate of the very rich and make corporations pay -- not just a share, but what they proportionally should, as they make on tax-dollars. Control the banks. Does she have the stomach for this? will she?
She has a good track record for smaller and woman's causes: women's rights, children's rights, workers' rights, taxes, immigration, for gun control, for ending the school to prison pipeline, she believes in global warming. Her hawkishness and pro-Israeli gov't policy is worrying
She does not seem to have the temperament to overturn the last 40 years damage as (like Obama) she has participated in some of it, especially violent colonialism, the beginning of mass incarceration, the destruction of welfare (especially hard on women and children), but her record is one of socially progressive laws and programs within the US. She's got a tin ear but she won't ratchet up hate. She has principles, is an intelligent principled perceptive woman. When confronted with Trump three times, each time she beat back his rhetoric and exposed him as a dangerous dictatorship rapist-male. See Katha Pollit on why one should vote for Hillary Clinton.

I hope she will begin by putting Obama's nominee on the supreme court, not because I'm so desirous of a middle-of-the-road man politically but because Obama nominated him and he should have had his confirmation hearing long ago -- he is apparently a decent and intelligent man.

I will vote for her also because she is a woman. Reread Elaine Showalter's Pilloried Clinton.  Alice Walker is a propos:

""Democratic Womanism"

You ask me why I smile
when you tell me you intend
in the coming national elections
to hold your nose
and vote for the lesser of two evils.
There are more than two evils out there,
is one reason I smile.
Another is that our old buddy Nostradamus
comes to mind, with his fearful
400 year old prophecy: that our world
and theirs too
(our "enemies" – lots of kids included there)
will end (by nuclear nakba or holocaust)
in our lifetime. Which makes the idea of elections
and the billions of dollars wasted on them
somewhat fatuous.
A Southerner of Color,
my people held the vote
very dear
while others, for centuries,
merely appeared to play
with it.
One thing I can assure
you of is this:
I will never betray such pure hearts
by voting for evil
even if it were microscopic
which, as you can see in any newscast
no matter the slant,
it is not.
I want something else;
a different system
One not seen
on this earth
for thousands of years. If ever.
Democratic Womanism.
Notice how this word has "man" right in the middle of it?
That’s one reason I like it. He is right there, front and center. But he is surrounded.
I want to vote and work for a way of life
that honors the feminine;
a way that acknowledges
the theft of the wisdom
female and dark Mother leadership
might have provided our spaceship
all along.
I am not thinking
of a talking head
kind of gal:
happy to be mixing
it up
with the baddest
bad boys
on the planet
her eyes a slit
her mouth a zipper.
No, I am speaking of true
regime change.
Where women rise
to take their place
en masse
at the helm
of earth’s frail and failing ship;
where each thousand years
of our silence
is examined
with regret,
and the cruel manner in which our values
of compassion and kindness
have been ridiculed
and suppressed
brought to bear on the disaster
of the present time.
The past must be examined closely, I believe, before we can leave
it there.
I am thinking of Democratic, and, perhaps
Socialist, Womanism.
For who else knows so deeply
how to share but Mothers
and Grandmothers? Big sisters
and Aunts?
To love
and adore
both female and male?
Not to mention those in between.
To work at keeping
the entire community
fed, educated
and safe?
Democratic womanism,
Democratic Socialist
would have as its icons
such fierce warriors
for good as
Vandana Shiva
Aung San Suu Kyi,
Wangari Maathai
Harriet Tubman
Yoko Ono
Frida Kahlo
Angela Davis
& Barbara Lee:
With new ones always rising, wherever you look.

You are also on this list, but it is so long (Isis would appear midway) that I must stop or be unable to finish the poem! So just know I’ve stood you in a circle that includes Marian Wright Edelman, Amy Goodman, Sojourner Truth, Gloria Steinem and Mary McLeod Bethune. John Brown, Frederick Douglass, John Lennon and Howard Zinn are there. Happy to be surrounded!

There is no system
There is no system
now in place
that can change
the disastrous course
the Earth is on.
Who can doubt this?
The male leaders
of Earth
appear to have abandoned
their very senses
though most appear
to live now
in their heads.
They murder humans and other
forests and rivers and mountains
every day
they are in office
and never seem
to notice it.
They eat and drink devastation.
Women of the world,
Women of the world,
Is this devastation Us?
Would we kill whole continents for oil
(or anything else)
rather than limit
the number of consumer offspring we produce
and learn how to make our own fire?
Democratic Womanism.
Democratic Socialist Womanism.
A system of governance
we can dream and imagine and build together. One that recognizes
at least six thousand years
of brutally enforced complicity
in the assassination
of Mother Earth, but foresees six thousand years
ahead of us when we will not submit.
What will we need? A hundred years
at least to plan: (five hundred will be handed us
when the planet is scared enough)
in which circles of women meet,
organize ourselves, and,
allied with men
brave enough to stand with women,
men brave enough to stand with women,
nurture our planet to a degree of health.
And without apology —-
(impossible to make
a bigger mess than has been made already) -—
devote ourselves, heedless of opposition,
to tirelessly serving and resuscitating Our Mother ship
and with gratitude
for Her care of us
worshipfully commit
rehabilitating it.

To sum up:  Let us put Hillary Clinton into the white house but it's a small move -- without also voting democratic to give her a working majority in the house and senate! So let's do that too -- all liberal democratic people you can see or hope for .

And then we must see her offered solutions, what is her record and then distinguish what can she hope to do quickly and then over 4 years.
Two nights from now it won't be over; it will be beginning again to try to defeat what's being called Trumpism ...
Miss Drake

Elaine Showalter's Pilloried Clinton

The Times Literary Supplement lead article for this week is available to all readers and I hope many women at least read it: Showalter reveals the intense misogyny Hillary Clinton has had to face all her working life and what in the US context an effective courageous mostly progressive woman she has been much of her life.


I would say that we women and I hope some men will and should vote for Clinton because she's a woman progressive, with the accent on woman, the way black Americans and a few white Americans voted for Obama precisely because he is black. I wept when Obama was nominated, was partly for him because he was black and presented this intelligent, compassionate progressive enlightened vision. He was unable to pass most of what he wanted because from the time of holding office the Republican opposition decided no matter what he presented they would thwart him -- because he is black. And like Clinton, he is not as progressive or leftist as Bernie Sanders.

But she is a woman and a well-meaning good one. Showalter's article shows us why we must vote for her because she's a woman.

Another good photo

Miss Drake
The wikileaks file show her to have a flexible mature outlook: she's a heroine:

Keeping up my promise to put good photos of Hillary Clinton on this blog.

NB: I have come to the conclusion that Donald Trump ought to take a strong sleeping pill every night, say around 10 pm.

Miss Drake

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