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The parasitic oligarchy

Why the wealthy don't care in the least if our parks, our TV channels, our schools, our colleges, all that we turn to for simply daily joys, our transportation facilities are stripped and shut down.


Trump proposes to hand out a box of pre-chosen stuff for starving and near and homeless people across the US.

Miss Drake

The answer is the police. Not mythical gangs, rampaging immigrants, black people. No the police, and this is due to the ubiquity of guns in our society and police training and methods.

I was driving in my PriusC yesterday and didn't see a stop sign and went through at a corner. As a result I had an encounter with a police officer, around age 35.  The encounter was tellng and a little scary.

I realized what seemed to be a car was following me: the man put his lights on, and I realized it was a cop car, but I was not sure he was followng me and didn't stop immediately -- I did slow down and then turned into where there was a space for me to stop the car. A parking lot. Then I stopped and was getting out of my car to talk and he got hysterical, screaming at me to get back in my car. Suddenly he was giving these frantic orders with menace in his voice: i.e., if you don't park precisely there, it will go badly with you. Rough talk about how dare I not stop immediately.

WEll, I did get back in the car. He is screaming at me why did I get out of the car? I look at him, startled, and said "because I wanted to know what this was about."  I wanted to know if you were stopping me and why. I did ask and he shouted something about going through a stop sign. Now by the car he demands my license and papers (had I not had these I would have been in trouble), takes them away to his car. Then the usual time goes by -- I've gotten tickets before -- and he comes back, but this time, if not courteous (he was not quite courteous at any time), at least not behaving like someone on an edge,half hysterical. He says to me, "Why didn't you stop?" and I said I hadn't been sure he was following me and then "I didn't want to block traffic." He repeats like some robot: "It's the law you must stop immediately.'   (That is, I am not allowed to think for myself? what a stupid law.) I said, no I didn't realize that and I repeated, we were in traffic and it would delay the other people. It's the law he repeats intensely. (How dare I think for myself? not instantly obey him?)

Then he gives something away: he says, "until I read I couldn't know anything about you."  Wait a minute I thought: read? he didn't know anything about me?  The same thing happened when I totaled my car in December 2013, and less so when I got a ticket for a wrong turn last summer in DC. The second time in DC the cop was at first completely disrespectful and acting like some angered tyrant, and he looks into his computers, sees collected information about me, which clears him from fear of me. Then he comes back and is not decent, but not dangerous. What could they read there? I'm old, have no criminal records. But what else? from where? And when they have a black person, do they read something? What? what effect does it have?  When I totaled my car, I just sat on the ground and cried and ignored the cop, and Laura and Izzy were there, and after a while, the cop took my license and went away and came back, and then he said I was just like his grandmother. I'll bet I'm not.

When the cop in 2013 had said I reminded him of his grandmother, that shows he was identifying by race. It was not just that document in the computer, but my age, race, gender: I'm now 71 and look it, white and female. My guess is he was half-hysterical becuase I was not quite cooperating like some automaton and yet because of my age, gender, race, he could see I am harmless. Was looking at him as if he were a mad man. Which he is partly.

As a side issue here, I do think it is a violation of our privacy that police officers can look up huge amounts of information about us within seconds.

To return to yesterday's incident: after saying that he couldn't know who I am, he added suddenly, "think of it from my point of view. When  you step out of the car, I cannot know what you have in mind." I looked at him and maybe shook my head -- because he is behaving abnormally.  He is trained to suspect me first and attack. That is he automatically assumes I'm hostile or malevolent or malicious -- or I have a loaded gun. I didn't say that to him but it's obvious that is how he was regarding me: a potential even probable enemy.

I didn't say anything though, and he calmed down further, became yet a little more reasonable and explained where the stop sign was. He gave me a paper for ticket and explained he had ticked off that I need not go to court as long as I paid the fine.  My sense was he expected me to thank him then. Well, I didn't. Nor did I say I had been in the wrong, which I had been. He didn't deserve I should say that and wouldn't have taken it as other than me kowtowing to him. It cost me $94.

I was listening to Boswell's Life of Johnson read aloud by Bernard Mayes, was tired from trying to do this paper. It was a small corner with no traffic until the next block. I later saw him having stopped another car. He was out looking for people. In effect on the prowl.  I wouldn't want to be a black person around those blocks during any time he's about.

He is dangerous because 1) he has been trained to regard car drivers and pedestrians as potential enemies, ready to attack him. He has been told he can be belligerent and bully people. He does not regard me as innocent, as someone he is there to serve. He does not regard me as his equal with equal rights.  2) there is no gun control in our society, and worse some states allow concealed weapons. A central reason for this wrong-headed training is the ubiquity of guns. Guns kill. He is afraid I have a gun -- and am willing to shoot him!

What needs to be done is 1) gun control, all gun owners must have licenses which really inspect them; no concealed weapons and no military style repeating guns. 2) complete change in the way police are trained and taught to regard people they meet and are supposed to serve.

What needs to be stopped?  They should not break into people's houses without a court search warrant. Too many times I've read of police breaking into someone's house and shooting a disabled person who is there, killing the person sometimes. Last year a police man either killed or permanently crippled a disabled person basically for walking in the streets while autistic.

A friend said to me when I told of this incident yesterday that in Germany in the 1930s the propaganda said good Germans were at risk from Jews; no, everyone was at risk from brown shirts.

Miss Drake

My usual round up of important articles in the past week or so:

To begin with, I regret to say a black man who remains nameless in most mainstream places -- whom the police refuse to tell the name of -- has been murdered in the streets of South Carolina. Shot dead. They got him in the knee first.  Since this is so common now, what purports this sentence? He was a central leader Black Lives Matter who tried to stay out of the radar to lay low. Hah!


Read on a bit, and you begin to get a name: it seems he is best known for when he grabbed a confederate flag in a crowd while Bree Newsome was skimmying up a flagpole in South Carolina to take one down. B'Haha is his last name. This public act (caught on a camera) is what he was best known for.

Dead in their thirties, shot, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Mahammed X, now even nameless. The way to stop a movement is murder anyone who might be effectively leading it.

An officer, named, Michael Slager, is to be arraigned.

If you look here you find out, it's important because it's being reported in many minor papers:


Keep going and after a while you get his name:

Muhiyyidin Moye aka Muhiyyidin D'baha was killed at around 1 a.m. on February 6 after being shot while riding his bicycle, his niece, Camille Weaver, and then his photo; and I found a couple of decent ones on AP press

You see you don't have to worry about women, they never get into important power. The real reason Barack Obama won and then Donald Trump was they were running against a woman. We can shimmy up trees and take down flags, go bike-riding.  What does it matter what we do? Emma Goldman thought even the vote didn't matter.

I agree we are no longer safe in US streets, but not from immigrants or African-Americans or hispanic or Muslim people: we are not safe from and because of police behavior and policies.


Oh and how far have black people gotten in good jobs, good education, opportunities for fulfilling since the death Martin Luther King. Why, the numbers have hardly budged at all: " Black Americans Mostly Left Behind since Martin Luther King's Death" by Sharon Ausin, in The Conversation for February 7, 2018.


Typical black neighborhood street circa 1968

The air (radio, TV, Internet I don't visit) is filled with a perspective which is pernicious: the whole basic standpoint has become anti-immigrants, and the democrats speaking speak feebly and talk of disagreeing here "a bit" and there." If they are permitted to go, you find they disagree everywhere and strongly, but that is now how these voices of reason -- they have children who emigrated, workers should be given legal work permits, people are vetted and so on. But a turn has made to put anything but a white supremacist state on the weak defensive.

It's not individual choices either; it's the result of decades of explicit US policy. Read this review in the NYRB of an important book: The Color of Law by Jason DeParle of Richard Rothenstein's book, The Color of Law: when gov't drew the color lines:

Here the DeParle's opening:

In 2007 a sharply divided Supreme Court struck down plans to integrate the Seattle and Louisville public schools. Both districts faced the geographic dilemma that confounds most American cities: their neighborhoods were highly segregated by race and therefore so were many of their schools. To compensate, each district occasionally considered a student’s race in making school assignments. Seattle, for instance, used race as a tie-breaking factor in filling some oversubscribed high schools. Across the country, hundreds of districts had similar plans.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the court’s liberal wing in the case, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, argued that the modest use of race served essential educational and democratic goals and kept faith with the Court’s “finest hour,” its rejection of segregation a half-century earlier in Brown v.Board of Education. But Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., representing a conservative plurality, called any weighing of race unconstitutional. “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race,” he wrote. Crucial to his reasoning was the assertion that segregation in Seattle and Louisville was de facto, not de jure—a product of private choices, not state action. Since the state didn’t cause segregation, the state didn’t have to fix it—and couldn’t fix it by sorting students by race.
Richard Rothstein, an education analyst at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, thinks John Roberts is a bad historian. The Color of Law, his powerful history of governmental efforts to impose housing segregation, was written in part as a retort. “Residential segregation was created by state action,” he writes, not merely by amorphous “societal” influences. While private discrimination also deserves some share of the blame, Rothstein shows that “racially explicit policies of federal, state, and local governments…segregated every metropolitan area in the United States.” Government agencies used public housing to clear mixed neighborhoods and create segregated ones. Governments built highways as buffers to keep the races apart. They used federal mortgage insurance to usher in an era of suburbanization on the condition that developers keep blacks out. From New Dealers to county sheriffs, government agencies at every level helped impose segregation—not de facto but de jure.
Rothstein calls his story a “forgotten history,” not a hidden one. Indeed, part of the book’s shock is just how explicit the government’s racial engineering often was ... (you have to pay to read the rest)

Dream again:

Better Homes, Better Gardens 1995 by Kerry James Marshall, exhibited in Seattle Art Show, 2018

Do you want to know who makes up M-13, how did it form, how come you've never heard of it before. The last first: anyone who thinks Trump an utter moron, think again: he or his people found this group as they made a perfect scapegoat for this SOTU and he wove into that speech 13 mentions, 15 minutes on them alone. They grew out of the death squads killing people and destroying the country of El Salvador (from which many immigrants fled at the time and try to today) by the US of A:



By the way on hospitals:  medical treatment in the US:  As I wrote, they got Muhiyyidin D'baha in the knee -- a delicate place -- and when he got to the hospital, while there died,

Me I hate hospitals. Never go there -- was dragged in my life there and in the US volunarily went the three times I let myself get pregnant. Well I was young. In the UK in 1967 when I was having a nervous breakdown all the UK young adults around me were astonished when I said it was perfectly okay in the US to sit and cry for hours, say in school infirmary, as long as you were out of sight. Why? it cost money to go hospital. Once I tried to kill myself (age 15), neither parent called a psychiatrist.  Are you kidding?

Every time I've gone I'm hit with bills even though I'm a Kaiser Patient.  After Jim died I was pursued by a debt collector for a company where I should not have had to pay that bill. Jim told me they would bill us and that was why he tried not to do the procedure or get a real paper from Kaiser that we were not responsible. Before he died, he told me to pay it. He didn't know I'd have to pay it twice before they left me alone.

Miss Drake

ON the recent contretemps, aka federal gov't shutdown:  There are those who can still joke:

Oh bother, said Pooh.

But at this latest punitive farce, when hundreds of thousands of people were about to held hostage (see E.J. Dionne's "Lessons from the Catch-22 Shutdown," The Washington Post, January 25, 2018) indefinitely because a deadly obstinate moron never changes vile bigotry once it enters his brain, Empson's lines kept coming back into my mind until I found the whole poem. Nothing less would do:

Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
It is not the effort nor the failure tires.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is not your system or clear sight that mills
Down small to the consequence a life requires;
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.

They'll bleed [their] dog dry [yet greed says "More!"]
For ["illegal"] dog blood [you see] they don't want.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

It is the [prison] tombs and the slag hills
Usurp the soil, and not the soil retires.
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.

Not to have fire is to be a skin that shrills.
The complete fire is death. [Thugs  and [ICE] makes
The waste remain, the waste remain and kill.

It is the [future] you have lost, the ills
[You are enduring now,] at which the heart expires.
Slowly the poison the whole blood stream fills.
The waste remains, the waste remains and kills.

As one of the thousands of hostages whose bimonthly income was directly threatened ... what mean fun games Trump and his associates know how to play.

Miss Drake

NB:  Changes to make the poem more to the point are in brackets       
It is immensely important to keep Martin Luther King's words and life career before us today. What the man did, what he attempted, what successes he had.  Honor him and all he stood for. Listen up.

Then do something: if it is only writing a blog, wearing a button, carrying a sign, going to a food pantry to help out (there is one forming on the other side of my city as a way of remembering overtly Martin Luther King. We must "keep hope alive!"

I am glad to be able to say there was a march in Falls Church today and the congressional representative I voted for was there: Don Beyer. For racial unity, sponsored by  the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation for a 2nd year.

I end on a link to the essay by Wm Barber published just today in the Nation. He carries on King's work.


So  first, here is one of Dr King's last famous speeches, a time to break the silence: Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.

King is calling for fighting people who take your jobs from you, to go to court, to demonstrate, to boycott all those who take from you that you need for a minimally decent life. He is holding the people in power to the laws of the constitution which give all people the right to protest, to strike. He outlines practical things for us to do. Put pressure where it hurts.

Listen to King: violence is non-existence for us; we are men and women, and what we are seeking is to live good lives

There is another just as important, more detailed, given at Riverside Church. You can read the whole text here.

He was murdered because he might have gotten into power, actually won some state-wide public office and then (who knows? Obama did it) some federal  power, even president. And he had begun to make serious speeches decrying not only the domestic policies and racism of the US at the time but the horrendous foreign policy decisions, of which the Vietnam slaughters were the contemporary manifestations.

Today I know people who becoming literally ill; over the last week have spoken to friends and read emails where the Trump regime policies and what Trump does and says literally sickening our population ...

These past two weeks of tweets and this latest moronic stupidity went beyond what should be endured. Photos of Trump looking so stupid, smug face, closed eyes, arms akimbo, tight across his chest, calling lands around the earth with black populations as shitholes.

Details: I know or know of a number of sick people, people on drugs of all sorts, drinking opioids, in hospitals. I know of many people with no jobs, or any decent-paying or at all self-respecting jobs at all, tiny sums and insecure; where once they would have had a good job, they are not treated well. Retiring from agencies where they cannot bear to see what's not being done: say not stopping debt collectors from hounding students. The POTUS is a symbolic figure as well as a powerful man. Just about all US agencies are dying and no jobs are being created at all, and the privatization already done by shutting down and selling out gov't work, which started with Bush I and was accelerated in Bush II, has been devastating. People who work in these agencies left to rot are retiring, finding another place, demoralized.  Hospitals all for profit, doctors pushing drugs. Schools privatizing; enormous debts for many for school or health care. No affordable housing so tent cities, people doubling up in small spaces. And the air waves filled with poisonous toxic comments. The #Metoo campaign for women makes no in-roads on the mass of women's employment: a vaunting sexual predator in charge. Nuclear war a possibility!

We won't get bored by Trump unless we ignore the results. Most of the park service in the federal office actually resigned yesterday. The head of the department of interior is holding a shameless fire auction and selling off vast lands belonging to the taxpayer -- bribes happening too. In the central cafeteria of the federal building a huge target called Big Buck Hunter complete with plastic rifles. It's not for entertainment: it's an egregious assault on the values of the place meant to warn and intimidate; it's an insult to all working there. Elizabeth Kolbert's "Slash and Burn,"
As Elizabeth Kolbert we can change the tax laws back but once these lands are ruined, it will take decades to bring them back .Acquifers (she does not say this) never come back.

Trump would like to bring people to the US from Norway because just about everyone is white; why aren't they brought in?

Norway is a country with  good and secure jobs for all, with pensions, single-payer health system for all, it has short prison sentences for most disobedience to laws, it has no capital punishment, no guns in circulation, a place which refused to turn to hate when a crazed hateful Nazi type murdered a large group of people he was rightly treated as a madman. No prison for debt. It doesn't have cops loaded with fierce military weapons, killing with impunity. No deeply injust justice system with huge numbers of people put into solitary confinement and then deprived of their right to vote when they get out Norway has a single-payer health system, pensions that are paid for and then delivered to people for lifelong work, good public schools, well-funded, university education

Haiti is destroyed, El Salvador a place of mad murders and drugs because the US gov't 30 years ago destroyed their social democracies by killing leaders, destroying all that could built such a system. He is deeply poisoning the US in everyway as his presence also stimulates the worst people to become violent, hateful and his judges will say that intolerance is tolerance and so on. The jailing of black people in the way done is a return to slavery. On this buy or rent James Baldwin's I am not your Negro to hear more about KIng, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers (head of the NAACP, also assassinated by his mid-thirties. My hard-working African-American friends look distressed and have tears in their eyes when they open up to talk for real.

Numbers to keep in mind: 3/4s of Puerto Rico is still without power; nothing, nothing whatever is being done to help them after having been devastated by corporations. 39% of the US population has consistently voted liberal democratic since the end of WW2; that Hilary Clinton won the popular vote.


It'll help to have democrats in charge of the senate and congress but not until he is ejected from office can any health return. He must be got rid of first. The democrats must Impeach him upon winning the congress sufficiently.

For myself I subscribe to the New York Times, Washington Post, The Nation, New Yorker, am a member of the Guardian, support ACLU, the Southern Poverty law center, Planned Parenthood, Doctors w/o Borders, member of PBS, upport Amy Goodman, WAMU radio, and buy what limited meat we eat from free range farms. Boycott where I can. I'd join a union if there was one in Virginia for university people, I'd strike; I'll vote against all right to work, spread of guns laws, for tax redistribution, against all wars. Go to lawyers when you are cheated if you can find one you can afford. That is his message. Don't take the punishment hopelessly. Join with others.

Again listen and think:

Going back in time, at Pacifica Radio, was found a tape of a speech given by King on December 7, 1964, in London, just before Dr King was awarded the Nobel Prize: it centers on the history of segregation and punitive exclusion in the US and the recent progress made after Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act that summer.

From Dan Cantor of the Working Families party:

"The first is Dr. King's astounding closing speech at the end of the March from Montgomery to Selma. He is clear-eyed about "the brutality of the dying order" that is trying to block the freedom struggle, but always hopeful about the possibility of victory. You'll hear King's voice in your head as you read. The history lesson King gives us about the southern "Bourbons" suggests that Americans of an earlier time knew their history better than we do, and it's important that we learn it too.

The second is an article just published in The Nation magazine by Rev. William Barber. He connects the dots as no one else can, and I urge you to learn about the Poor People's Campaign that he has launched. I had the chance to meet Rev. Barber when he spoke at a WFP celebration in Washington a few years ago, and he is a visionary and a strategist with few peers.

That's it. Here's to the struggle ahead, and to the memory of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. "

Let us never forget him. Imagine if he had become president of the US.

Miss Drake

Randall Enos -- Bleeding the Patient: what  the Republican rump and their Trump man have visited on us this year


I have decided to carry on for another year as long as Net Neutrality allows, to single out informative useful writing on the Net accompanied by pictures and YouTube Videos, with recommendations of books or films.  For this first week of the year, you can quickly take in the damage Trump and his regime have managed to inflict on a majority of people living in the US,and how by their recent "tax" bill they have set the stage to do much more harm: read the whole of James Mann's essay, "Damage Bigly," in the New York Review of Books, 65:1 (January 18, 2017), pp 4-8.

What is to be done: there's E.J. Dionne Jr writes in the New York Times today. We must win elections across the US for democrats and then they must unite to impeach Donald Trump: there is much accumulated lawless treasonable (underming the US democracy or Republic)  behavior not just to charge but demonstrable in court. I will add after that do something for real to reform and fill our institutions and support groups helping people in all sorts of ways economically, politically socially. The states should assert their rights over the federal impositions and displacements: not just sanctuary cities but states' rights and laws to stop the federal gov't from fleecing people and ruining education.  But first clear the deck of this sinister powerful presence, & the internet of these malevolent ignorant tweets.

This week I have a film also to recommend, worth the seeing but with a different kind of qualification than I usually offer. If it's a case of seeing the film in an AMC theater, I suggest you forego ithe  film, until it turns up in another theater or you can buy it as a DVD or see it online. Why? AMC now owns and/or controls some huge proportion of all movie-houses in the US; I went to an AMC twice recently, once this summer and now again yesterday and vow never to go again. If you don't pay your taxes because you don't want your percentage of the US income used for foul and wrong purposes, you can go to jail; you don't have to pay this ruthless monopoly.

The film was The Post directed by Stephen Spielberg (one of the producers too), written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, featuring the box office star Meryl Streep. It's an overt defense of newspapers against the Trumpian regime though the lens of the Pentagon Papers and Nixon's attempt to silence the New York Times and Washington Post by the courts.  Nixon failed but remember today the courts are filled with reactionary conservatives now okaying Trump's agenda. It's a nuanced film and we see how news is done -- except of course it is ratcheted up to be suspenseful . That's the Stephen Spielberg product. I've seen hardly any of his films but I've been doing things more popular since Jim died (sometimes reminding myself he was correct to not go). News is contacts, it is snooping, it is intrusion. One reality the film brought home is most of the people on the Post were upper or middle class, living in nice houses, and the top echelon very fancy houses with elegant dining out and super-fancy bars. Women with gorgeous clothes.

Dan Ellsberg is a character in it, for that alone, the reminder of who he is and what he did and is continuing to do, matters. My second recommended essay is also in the New York Review of Books. My only caveat is the title, "The Nuclear Worrier," because it trivializes the content and implies that nuclear war is not in the offing, only something to be anxious about. That is not what Thomas Powers's review has to say: Ellsberg has written a new book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Ellsberg demonstrates that nuclear war has been an option on the table from Eisenhower's time, that the elites of the US have been willing and wanting to drop bombs on millions of civilians in their plans at least since the 1950s, and the Cuban Crisis is not the only time the powerful agents came close. What I like is how it de-mythologizes Eisenhower who is often portrayed as a liberal Republican: it was under his administration the Rosenbergs were murdered, he led Brinkmanship, destroyed social democracies as often as Reagon and most recently Bush -- and under Obama the Latin and South American coups.

If you prefer a video, here is Ellsberg interviewed by Amy Goodman: the context is the new Trump threat against millions of people in North Korea without any true concern over retaliation.

On The Post I leave reviewing it to the paid reviewers as I'm sure it will be covered over and over. It is unusually nuanced for Spielberg; it is based on demonstrably accurate portrayals of what happened over the Pentagon papers. Perhaps the woman script writer kept nuance to the fore; she certainly did Graham's taking a position on her own as part of the film's trajectory: she is now the responsible person for decisions.  The owner.  There is the usual Spielberg upbeat ending, but one can readily see the striking parallels to today without a supreme court in place to defend the newspapers (the courts have been approving Trump's bans and extradiction -- exile and deportation, imprisonment for immigrants).

Streep as Graham: I suggest Streep is also dressed and made up to remind us of Hillary Clinton (who won the popular vote let us never forget)

Nonetheless, I regret having gone to see the film as I regretted this past summer having gone to see Dunkirk and recently the hero-worshipping incorrect The Darkest Hour. I recall to my reader John Berger's Ways of Seeing where he argues that the context in which we see a work of art gives it its meaning far more than the actual content, or just as much. I've summarized Berger here too with respect to how we understand animals and thus treat them.
I regret going to the Darkest Hour because it is a kind of vote on behalf of the false portraits of Churchill which turns him into a Trump type (half insane, will not listen to anyone, is all for violence, a bully) and presents the whole incident from a fascistic heroic tough-man perspective (worshipping wife, nubile pretty secretary, militarism manipulated the solution); but for The Darkest Hour I did not go to an AMC theater where I did for Dunkirk. I agree it's sometimes hard to avoid them. But don't do it. Don't give them any money.

The context for the AMC theater is the hideous ruthless theater itself and its trailer and "feed" system.  AMC theaters are now like airports; the last thing consulted is the comfort or convenience of the customer. You must buy an assigned seat -- apparently they are preparing to charge differently for different seats. You are forced onto a long line unless you use a kiosk where you must give information about yourself and use a credit card. It is an ugly place, very noisy, the awful neon lights everywhere, continual drum-beat type music, in some theaters kept lower but not the one at Tysons Corner. Huge ads everywhere. In the theater you are subject to a very loud feed of continual commercials and trailers for films which take the most violent moments and assault you with these.

Then these trailers:  cries of terrorism and characters in extremis are shot close up by a camera and machine guns. Bombs continually blowing up. This is alternated with shots of women stars dressed very sexily and in one a male voice demanded she take off her clothes and lie back on the bed No, it was not a parody of Handmaid's Tale.
There is a continual AMC feed that goes on constantly in a voice over between these trailers and "your feature." So the trailers and feed are entertainment?  What?  I once left after I endured such an assault in Lynchburg -- apparently these feeds and tens of trailers have been done for over 10 years down south and in the western US.  Each movie trailer face-paced violence, filled by huge guns murdering people, perverse images of people looking freakish or like monsters. Stories about terrorism (one was about how Israel is deeply threatened). Not a soul including me left. But looking around I saw people who were not bothered at all. It took 20 minutes for me to calm down as The Post used some of the same assulative film techniques at its opening.

It does not matter what the content of The Post is, it cannot compete with this context. It blends into it. Afterwards in that mall was anonymous awfulness. Place crowded with people milling about with nothing to do, on the move for the next buy, My daughter, Izzy had gotten one of these gift cards (I throw them out), so we had go to Barnes & Noble. She was made herself so nervous by the place and said the books were not organized for her to find anything.

Then parking. A madhouse of a garage not set up for any kind of speed to get out.  An hour and one half to get out of that garage. I lost it. A friend of mine with us began to be worried when I told one woman coming over to me to complain I was not moving ahead so she could park. "There is a car in the way, lady" says I patiently; but when she persisted in rattling my door to make me open the window, i I cry out "fuck you!" --- thne my friend worries if the woman has a gun.  My friend is now scared in public. I was struck (I''m not making this up) by how the guards let lines of cars in 3 at a time and lines out 1 after 3.  We were not to get out. My friend and Izzy actually saw people parking who had been pressured into determining to eat there. "Didn't I want to do that?" ask my friend and Izzy.  "NO." The food in these restaurants is usually utter junk at high prices. The one thing I wanted was to get away from there.

No movie could be worth this. No movie can make a statement about civility, freedom of anything in these circumstances.  Are you kidding? Don't fund this monopoly.

Even catastrophically, this mall represents public life in the US today. This is the public space the ordinary citizen can afford to go to outside their own narrow circles. There are other options: museums are community space and my next Sylvia II blog will be on these..

My last URLs: I sorrow for the loss of Al Franken from the congress. A very decent man if you have listened to any of his speeches and especially his last. I once saw him playing Pip's father in a play adaptation of Great Expectations (at the Folger many years ago). His behavior in comparison to Trump is like someone pulling pony tails. A real loss because he could have won. He has the appeal of Biden.

The essay I want to end is from the New York Times, this Sunday about the pervasive sexual harrasments and threats at
women in the workplace.  Everywhere in working class and lower middle environments, women are subject to harassment and how ugly it is in the blue collar jobs. Read Susan Chira: Dead Mice, Stolen Tool and Lewd Remarks: Coping with Harassment (NYTimes December 31, 2017, p 12). Forcing Franken to resign doesn't help these women; it makes it harder for them as they have one less person on their side in congress.  Women quit such jobs. Their safety is sometimes threatened-- left high up on scaffold with no way to get down.  This is presented as humor by men who do it. Anyone who thinks human nature's emotions lead to compassion better think again when they regard what is the source of much human laughter. There has been to my knowledge no step taken by unions in response publicly to help their female membership; it is still step-by-step incremental and not much happening to change the sexist and punitive atmosphere. Chira records none at any rate. Mann (by the way) nowhere mentions the misogyny, sexual predation, intense sexism of Trump's regime -- Ryan tells women why not have more children. Right. Rack up debts too. Peonage. Ryan'd love that.

When and where do Democrats as a group inveigh against what the Republicans are doing structurally; against the military machine, the wars, where is there a movement to organize and fight for women workers o workers' rights? They do nothing while the powerful Republican donors have carried on for 50 years.

Here I would say we need massive funds going into public education, a true integration of all races into a public sytem, and way the gov't funds college education, academic and scientific as well as business for everyone who wants to go ending debt-free. Then minority people can learn the middle class ways of negotiation and self-presentation.  The state of education, the core of where the problem to reform starts is another whole blog and I'll tackle that this year too -- with essays, comments, pictures, films, videos once again.

That's the outlook for the year 2018 from my first blog for the year. From Alexandria Va where all the men, women and children and non-human animals and plants need to stand together against the destruction of our lives through a military increasingly court-supported tyranny.

Ray Gun, "Don't tread on me ... " Political cartoon

Miss Drake
I don't which is more important: the tax scam, Trump "mulling" over plans to create a new private CIA and army to do his bidding or the open contempt for democracy seen in forbidding the use of seven words in all official documents. Already no one can say aloud "climate change" in various departments lest they lose their job. Here's  a definition of the Trumpian lie: one so blatant, so transparent, so egregious checkably untrue, that its utterance is an exercipe of (sinister) power:  Martha Gesslen shows how the practice is spreading to Republicans.

I'll begin with the mulling of plans to once create a private army with CIA like agents; it's been reported in the Progressive Populist, the Intercept,Buzzfeed. I say again because this happened before: in Reagan's administration to destroy social democratic movements (Nicaragua for example) in Central America. Congress at the time objected to Oliver North's scheme to sell weapons to the gov't of Iran at the time to pay the Contra army. North has turned up again; a man pardoned by GWBush so the special prosecutor at the time could not proceed with his case; once again Erik Prince is active (founder of Blackwater). I find it chilling to learn that Prince and North are after the Arab people involved so long ago in the hijacking of Achille Lauro (where a Jewish hostage was killed).

The worry of course is this congress might not mind. I'll go the startling next as it shows the open contempt for freedom of speech.
Is there another modern state on earth calling itself a democracy where words are forbidden. I'm particularly struck by vulnerable and entitlement. There are no such things. No one is vulnerable. The state does not exist. You are not entitled to anything no matter what taxes or votes you have earned or recorded. Vulnerability is not permitted. Instead of science- and evidence-based gobbledy-gok. Has anyone got a passage from 1984 with a parallel set of texts handy?


Trump has won and everybody but the 1% in personal wealth and corporations in this tax scam His crowning achievement for the year of destruction of the US democracy and all social services (public education, housing) and decency (ICE just snatches people): the Triumph of the Oligarchs, Robert Reich calls it.  No more mortgage deduction over $750,000 so the middle class can't own property and have security (has anyone looked at the price of a house), no tax waivers for graduate education (grants for undergraduate educaton, Pell Grants, went long ago) fiddled with and made hard to get; no individual mandate, hollowing out of all funds, no deductions for egregious medical expenses (so you put into debt) -- so much for ACA and/or Obamacare. That makes us all subject to the banks.

The thing to remember is Republicans don't want a state except to make war to profit their private property,to expand that private property, and make more profit. So if no other legislation has passed that's fine with them. They are working on the next step which is to stop us voting.  It sickens me when I read of the two latest democrats who won (Doug Jones in Alabama and Ralph Northam in Virginia) talking about taking a bi-partisan approach.  That means they will cave to republicans the Obama did, Clinton befoe him. Susan Collins retires having shown her true colors: she pretends to believe in the future bills will be introduced to shore up ACA.

Until the Democrats make up their minds to stand for their constituences, this widening deepening rot will continue.

Miss Drake

Net Neutrality


Do you enjoy reading what I find to share here; communicating with me? I sure find communicating with you useful.

We only have 10 days to fight the FCC & the repeal of
#NetNeutrality! Thanks to John Oliver there's a SUPER easy way to do this
Do you enjoy Netflix? If net neutrality goes away, our Internet bills go up and we give power to companies like Comcast and Spectrum to choose for you what sites you must visit.

Here's what you can do - takes less than a minute.
1. Go to gofccyourself.com
(the shortcut John Oliver made to the hard-to-find FCC comment page)
2. Click on the 17-108 link (Restoring Internet Freedom)
2. Click on "+ express"
3. Be sure to hit "ENTER" (or tab) after you put in your name & info so it registers. (I used my SPAM email)
4. In the comment section write, "I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs."
5. Click "Continue to Review"
6. Review and then Click submit
- Make sure you hit submit at the end!
**share this** (COPY AND PASTE)

Miss Drake

In this time of the destruction of our democracy as key institutions are run by people hostile to them or hundreds of posts in them allowed to go with no one in them, our right to vote attacked so that a minority of wealthy people can deny us our right to spend our taxes on ourselves for needed social services, education, individual futures, people who demonstrate thrown into jail as felons, the prison system itself used to incarcerate, silence, black and poor people, the military an instrument against us, nuclear war threatened, it might seem the pervasive sexual harassmet of women everywhere in our culture is secondary. Not to women. One of the things I have been taught in the last weeks is that my idea I have been super-sensitive, unusual somehow when I so disliked and feared the abrasive humiliating experiences I had between ages 12/13 and 15 is not so. My feelings among women are commonplace. They just didn't tell. So for me personally some good has come out of the continual evidence pouring from so many professions places ages. I know I'm not alone.

Between the ages of 12/13 and 15 I was stigmatized and harassed to the point that I stopped going out and went into a reclusive existence. I didn't kill myself (almost did) but moved to protect myself in every way I could. I also  became anorexic at age 16 and weighed 79 pounds until I was about 21 -- this from family pressure; see Maria Selvini Palazzoli's Self-Starvation: from Individual to Family, on the treatment of anorexia nervosa. There are many books by women, from Slut to Fraternity Rape so you would think I would know I was not alone but individual woman really telling their cases has been rare. For my part, it took me a long time to come out of that experience and I have never altogether. It altered my life because ruined my teenage years and altered my personality. I know of women who left a profession for which they were gifted (acting) rather than endure rapes in order to get a job during an "interview."

So I care.

The problem is that I am not sure that when this phase of "shouting" or "calling out" and litigation is over, there will be any change in the day-to-day behavior of many heterosexual men towards women (and homosexual men towards other homosexual men), especially when one is in a powerful position. Only if structures, rules like those unions and court decisions and laws can effect are created, with proportionate punishments that appear to all just, to have equity, set in place, will any change come. That would have to be supported by a change in ideals and norms from macho male aggressive behavior, attitudes of possession, competition, using others to build male egos, and images as powerful controllers of families they support, to treating women as equal human beings first, as people who should not be judged adversely if they chose not to marry, have children for whatever reasons or circumstances. Many of these instances of males now accused or exposed were men who had powerful positions in areas women wanted promotion, jobs, equally fulfilling work. Women are stigmatized by their very bodies the way African-American people are the color of their skin. Further, what is happening is that people are not differentiating a man who has spent a lifetime as a sexual predator (Roy Moore) from single or a few incidents of bad behavior encouraged by the culture (Garrison Keillor, Al Francken) and a whole life time of service to others ignored. I also wonder if the same powerful people destroying the gov't are successfully going after liberal men. The irony is that the left cares far more about women's liberty and integrity than the right which claims to be more moral because they are religious. I see also women who see a main chance for revenge no matter who or what this is hurting. I'd like to see a few convictions in cases of egregious rapist behavior, marital violence: e.g., Cosby; Trump is president though he boasts of making women accept his physical demands on their bodies, and we see litigates to silence women he has been grossly violent to. Instead I'm seeing decent men hurt worse than the hypocritical predator. While I agree with Chris Hedges that this public movement is about more than male sexuality as it's practised by many in our society, but rather the whole corporate culture entwined with this, and I understand the full truth of what Laura Kipnis writes, "Kick against the Pricks," in the NYRB (December 2 issue), a review of Gretchen Carlson's Be Fierce:

After news of the lawsuit broke, thousands of women in every sort of occupation—waitresses, Wall Street bankers, oil rig operators—wrote to Carlson about their own experiences, and most of her book is devoted to their stories. None of the news is good. Harassment of every sort is rampant in every industry, ranging from explicit quid pro quos to nonstop entreaties for dates or sex, to egregious sexual hazing of women in nontraditionally female occupations like cop or soldier. The less job security you have, the worse it is; fast food workers are especially vulnerable.

What happens to women who try to resist or report harassment is also uniformly bad, Carlson reports. Human Resources offices are unresponsive (there to protect the company only); harassers who respond to complaints with defenses such as “You think I’d hit that?” (Trump’s defense too) are believed over accusers. Women who come forward are likely to be passed over for promotions and good assignments, or find their jobs mysteriously eliminated. On rare occasions when a boss-harasser is actually fired, the woman who brought him down often gets treated like a leper by his allies. The majority of those who report harassment end up in different jobs, which makes it understandable that, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 70 percent of women who are harassed don’t report it. The Bureau of Justice Statistics keeps a separate category for workplace rapes and sexual assaults, which number upward of 43,000 a year, but Carlson notes that “women’s advocates say that this number vastly underrepresents such crimes.” Then there are the psychological effects Carlson catalogs: depression, sleep disorders, lost self-esteem, even suicide attempts.

I also agree with Katha Pollitt's assessment in her most recent essay in the Nation: "Will we Believe her now? These individual accusations and lawsuits will not bring change without structural, legal contracts in place, a way to sue and win and a deep change in norms not happening.

Now on 12/8/17 as I feared, it is turning into an excuse to take liberal democrats down, including long-time decent and effective men. Al Franken hit the dust yesterday. I did not foresee this: the alt-right is now using this for further anti-feminism: see there is a witch-hunt going on among Democrats fueled by these witch-women.
All that said, it has at least come out -- due to Judy Woodruff who sometimes comes up to Amy Goodman's standard -- how factory workers, waitresses, all sort of low status vulnerable women are routinely harassed and raped too. That was what my story from my father In the comments) is about.

Here is the Woodruff segment from PBS reports. Note that the two officials include a woman from a union, and what she says is women need union organizing for and by them, and they have worked to set up rules to protect women but they don't function because the social and sexual mores are so anti-feminist:'

Alas, the result of this two pronged political and cultural time may be a further destruction of progressive liberal institutions and the people who have built them with women treated worse than ever because as circumstances stand now they need as much as minorities, the poor, and their children the socially just world that is was fragilely in place for a few decades and is now being torn apart openly and ruthlessly. I know for me access to a voice, to a flow of information, to friends the open internet provided has given me what career fulfillment I have known because after my experience of sexual harassment self-protection became a key element in my choices of social behavior.  I see no permanent change for women in the works at all. Read the New York Times and you'll see for many men the solution is to re-exclude women. So for me and vulnerable women and men too (for men are also the targets of bodily harassment, especially gay and transvestite and bisexual men) the coming privatization and exploitation for profit of the internet plus the coming cutting of medicare and social security and the results of this deficit a probable new recession at least a triple whammy.

I end on behalf of all those women harassed, humiliated, soul-destroyed, and raped too, not because they were seeking power, hanging around men of power, in an interview for a good or any job, but just because they were women, vulnerable, walking, shopping, in this case in the train:

-- JC Reilly

in public places.
On a northbound MART A train,
where I lean on a pole by the door,
a man's hand slips around me
and cups my breast-
testing its fullness a moment, his finger
teasing for my nipple's response.
Rigid, a gasp like winter in my throat,
I shrink from him-but there is no space
to step away in the crowded car,
and I cannot make myself smaller­
The train slows, enters Five Points.
What if I get off at the stop, just to breathe?
What if he-follows-me?
The voices of a thousand women caution:
Stay here. Stay visible. Stay safe-as you can.
The doors close. The train pulls away,
picks up speed, and he is too close,
like sulphur and sweat. I tell myself
Maybe it was an accident­
Maybe he didn't know what he was doing­
Maybe-maybe-I imagined it-

He mumbles, Fuck you fat bitch
And scuttles off at Lindbergh. The doors close
The voices of a thousand women well up,

 -- From Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse, edd. Grace Bauer and Julie Kane.

Miss Drake

The idea is to make it like cable TV; you won't be able to reach what your provider does not want to offer; you will to pay to reach different places; there will be fast and slow lanes, obstacles put in your way; eventually (the aim) is to turn you back into a passive recipient and cut you off from others and the flow of information, insight and companionship I for one have had since 1996.  Here are some explanations:


My ISP is Comcast.  I know they would never support many of the sites I visit regularly: Truthdig, DemocracyNow,org, Naked Capitalism ... these are just the start of what will be hard to reach and find. And a cost structure will be put in place to be prohibitive of much. At the other end, will even Wikepedia be regarded as harmless: after all here is someone who wants to offer something for free, for the social good, is this not socialism? in movies of the 1950s, words like "cooperation" were deleted as anti-competition.

There is little coverage in TV and the main media outlets. They are salivating to be in control of what we see and hear and turn us into passive recipients once again.

Miss Drake

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