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Dear Friends,

It's time for me to start sending important articles about Democratic candidates who might just make life better for you and me and most Americans: He and Schumer presented a bill to raise the minimum wage to $15. Such raises do not help teenagers but the average American.


Sanders's rebuttal of Trump:

 Stacey Abrams, who today should be governor of Georgia if voter suppression, throwing out ballots and fierce gerrymandering had not squeeked in the Republican, but it was filled with schmaltz and I just couldn't listen

Finally, Alexandria Osacio-Cortez explains why the people in congress can get away with having no need to answer to their constituents' true needs: they are put there by big money, it is perfectly legal to pay off anyone who would expose your foul conduct over taking these kinds of bribes: the trouble with this is she stays on the surface, but I suppose it can appeal because it does not get at the deep false ideas Americans walk around with:

At the core, the same people reappear: watch and listen to Allan Nairns on DemocracyNow.Org


Trump is getting out of Afghanistan because there's no more money to be made -- he would attack Iran if the other European countries would agree. He is trying to threaten the EU if they don't put sanctions on Iran. I had thought maybe he had little real stomach for war, but I find no, he was just waiting and will replicate the horrors (true horrors) of Reagan's period. Note only Sanders has protested. The NYTime and WashPost are gung ho. Imperialist capitalism is not to be questioned -- even by most democrats when  it's abroad.

Elliot Abrams -- prepared to do anything; he belongs in front of a Nurembourg tribunal and should be locked up ....

This piece also shows we are living in frightening times as the U.S. increasingly becomes a pariah nation: https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/02/trumps-brilliant-strategy-to-dismember-u-s-dollar-hegemony.html

Our ruling oligarchs are for this current regime. The wealthy are for Brexit, remember

But here is hope for exposure about who killed Martin Luther King, enabled the killing of Robert Kennedy: just about every powerful black man in the US is killed in his mid-30s just as he is making connections outside the US, rising to offices:


I did watch Stone's JFK this winter.
Wikipedia gives a good general summary of the literal events (not so easy to pick up) and links to further explanation:

It's readily available to be streamed.
Why it's not so OT is watching it I became aware -- or think as others have -- that if an assassination of a president happened today you would never get a majority of Americans to seem to believe it was one man (at most two -- accounting for continual assertions about shots from the infamous grassy knoll) or two -- both fanatic or lunatic. The eternal problem with the scenario that Ruby the next day got through all police and killed Oswald. The explanation at the time: police incompetent, a personal feud, another lunatic.
It is worth watching some of it -- it is 3 and 45 minutes long. I didn't see it all, skipped some. For the atmosphere of paranoia that it captures over and over as each person is identified, researched, hounded, and made to quiver and offer some hinting revelations. The accumulation into Garrison (Kevin Costner?) attacked, how, the use of Sutherland as a Mr X (deep throat transformed into Wise Advisor) and the trial where Clay (Tommy Lee JOnes) is acquitted after an hour.
I couldn't figure out quite what Stone or the book adapted thought -- the evidence all contradictory and half-given but what came across powerfully was there is something here going unexplained that connects to US military, foreign policy and social life. It made me feel fear -- that underneath a pretense of law and sane ideologies something very different is happening.
Nothing to do with much focused and absurd after 55 years but how is it that so quickly this complete portrait of Oswald presented in the most damning light is produced. There was no internet. Why was there no cover whatsover for the cavalcade -- it's repeated over and over that there was cover provided for most such events. Unexplained stuff -- all bringing us back to the Bay of Pigs where Kennedy refused to provide air cover, his taking responsibility (how far from the cruel moron in the presidency today).
Too much idealization of Kennedy in the film - he was an imperial hawk and almost got us into a nuclear war -- it was Krushchev who stepped back.
Hardly any women -- just the loving wife of Garrison (who later divorced him) and one woman at the opening thrown on the road saying how Kennedy was to be killed and then for

Miss Drake

Venezuelans supported their elected gov't


Trump & co are returning to Reagan's 1980s and the FBI and CIA's 1970s where regularly elected gov'ts of a social democratic persuasion were violently overthrown and ferocious military dictatorships put in their place, imprisonment and slaughter for opponents (the leader of the social democrats, e.g., Allende in Chile) and corporations move in to make huge profits off the natural resources of the country, which should belong to and make life decent for its people.

Update: Venezuela is holding firm as yet because the "troika of tyranny" running the US gov't and military just now has not been able to get all its allies on board and has not outright attacked with a military assault. It is said Putin is against this and this it is which holds Trump back -- Trump is apparently an agent or instrument of Putin in a number of areas (e.g., Syria).

Venezuela defends itself

Below is an explanation of what's been happening

This week: a coup going on in Venezuela, egregious shameless lies (the Washington Post now colluding in this): it's as if Pelosi were to say the election of Trump is illegitimate, go out in a square and declare herself president (Maduros is the genuinely elected president, the right boycotted but they are a minority), have the European NATO and other countries back, while an embargo and sanctions were placed on the US to prevent them from getting billions of their profits (Citgo _is not allowed_ to send its profits to Venezuela)! Venezuela is rich in oil, gas and gold.

Little information is found anywhere because a rare person reporting the full story with the Venezuelan people's true side accounted is Amy Goodman and her crew at DemocracyNow.org: you can watch these YouTube videos or read the transcripts:




The Nation has also run some columns explaining what's happening:

It's very hard for Maduros and his group to keep the nation on the side of democracy when they are so punished for this: to produce an effectie counter-punch

Call it what it is: a coup

Common Dreams

Trump & his capitalist allies are simply recognizing a man who is not elected as president but is important in the assembly; Maduros has demanded that all US diplomats and people get out in 72 hours.

Maduro sworn in by Venezuelan supreme court

This kind of flagrant colonialism was central to the British empire, which Trollope supported so the story is not out of sight OT on my Trollope&Peers listserv; on WomenWriters we have ended up reading the imperialist Gertrude Bell's travel book, The Desert and the Sown.
For those interested TLS has a longish review article on British behavior in China (opium wars anyone). Luckily this article is deemed important enough not to be put behind the pay wall: Gavin Jacobson on Stephen Piatt's Imperial Twilight: opium wars and the end of China's last golden age:

Miss Drake

I've thought of another version of Niemoller's famous verses:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

These seem more narrowly a propos to Trump and his regime's gov't shutdown: The whole passage from John Donner's Sermons upon emergent occasions.

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Each week I have an important article to share well here is this week's: from the New York Times:
don't stop reading until you get to the article's end -- by Russ Buettner and Maggie Hagerman:

Mr. Trump recently retweeted an article, attributed to an anonymous senior official in his administration, arguing that 80 percent of federal workers do “nothing of external value” and that “furloughed employees should find other work, never return and not be paid.”
“If you don’t care what the collateral damage you create is, then you have a potential advantage,” he [Art of the Deal ghosts writer] said. “He used a hammer, deceit, relentlessness and an absence of conscience as a formula for getting what he wanted.”

I have been told that no one is thinking of the 800,000 plus federal workers originally furloughed without pay or forced to work without pay, to which more agencies and groups of federal employees have since been added, some without pay, or groups favored by Trump with pay. When so many millions are involved one way or another, can this be really true? I read this morning that gov't websites are going down all over the US, one by one, and many still there are no longer covered by security arrangements. By  the time of 2020 say a democrat gets in, the gov't will be in shambles -- considering all the unfilled appts. This opening of some, of paying only some that you open (quite inconsistently is the word "essential" defined) is the worst sort of bookkeeping; now while the analogy of individual finances doesn't work for gov't the idea of a general budget I think does -- at least you should know what's happening. Does anyone?

Who will be able to put Humpty Dumpty back together again? is this the republican hope that no one will, and it will take another 200 years to get back to where we were when Obama's term ended?

I feel astonished that a pair of men (Trump and McConnell) can hold back millions of dollars from millions of people -- how can this be? It seems to me for the first time all the history I've read over the years about absolute monarchs and tyrants had passed me over and I am grasping how and what this means for the first time. I wish I had remained ignorant. I'm sort of ashamed to think I didn't apply to myself and this US gov't what happened to the Chilean people after Allende was murdered: only a few people really commandeered the slaughter and destruction of tens of thousands of lives. Now I do. It's like the first time I read Fanny Kemble's concluding two chapters on her life on a plantation in South Carolina (1839-40) where her husband treated slaves horrifically brutally: until then I had never considered what such men could and would do to enslaved women.

If Pelosi caves to Trump, he will have nullified the election; if a primary goal is to shrink the gov't, a secondary one is to reinforce a semi-dictatorship, the Republicans, their donors, the base (working class white supremacists evangelicals) have been aiming at since the 1970s. Through persistent egregious gerrymandering, now through voter suppression, a huge swathe of the US is represented by a powerful reactionary minority who have taken control and mean to keep power. If in a state a democratic governor wins, the republicans pass laws to strip him or her of power (Kansas, Kentucky and other places). They pass laws saying you cannot take these cases to court (North Carolina). So now the democrats took the house and the republicans have devised a ploy where they are rendering them powerless -- just throw a wrench in the whole works; if the democrats want to pull the wrench, they have to give up the power of the purse. Congress has already given up the power of deciding whether and how to go to war.

So Trump offers a false new alternative Saturday after the marches -- or during. The same 5.7 billion for a wall, now a promise not to bother DACA people for 3 years. What are his promises worth. What's needed is a path to citizenship.

There were Women's Marches around the world on SaturdayBerlin, London, New York, DC. Europe.

Miss Drake
Actually what this "shutdown" is, is a refusal to pay over 800,000 federal workers; millions of contractors; latest developments: somehow Trump has the power to unfurlough some workers and of these to choose to pay some and not to pay the others ....

Today Barbara Ehrenreich and  Gary Stevenson called for TSA workers to walk off the job in protest of the gov't shutdown. If they walked off within hours, McConnell and Trump would stop this trick of attempting to shrink the gov't: they are humiliating now millions of workers (including all the contractors); it's a contradiction to say Trump is doing this for national security when the very people not paid and forced to go to work are the people responsible for our bodily, food and other security; it's in violation of the 13th amendment which says there is to be no involuntary servitude (for no pay):


Watch and listen to hear about all the "blue flue" -- people staying home and now beginning to seek other employment, people without sufficient food, no money for rent or various payments. Goodman goes back to when Reagan fired all 11,000 air traffic controllers and thus sent a devastating blow to unions.

Read the Op-Ed in the New York Times:


The question is what comes next. With no end in sight for the shutdown, should the T.S.A. workers continue this passive-aggressive form of protest? Or is there something more they can do, something that would turn their plight into a stand not just against the shutdown but also against the arbitrary and insulting way American workers are so often treated in general?

T. S.A. workers should use last year’s teachers’ strikes as a model. They were called not by the leadership of the teachers’ unions but by the rank and file. It was a new kind of labor activism, starting at the bottom and depending heavily on community support. By sticking together and creating their own communication system, the teachers succeeded in sending a powerful message of solidarity and strength.

A strike by T.S.A. agents, as federal workers, would be illegal, as was the wave of public-sector strikes in the 1960s and ’70s. But this time is different, said Michael M. Oswalt, an associate professor of law at Northern Illinois University College of Law, who studies federal labor relations. “A strike over involuntary work would raise not just novel legal issues but important and unprecedented questions about the value of public service and middle-class employment in our country,” he said.

The moral foundation for a strike is unquestionably firm. The federal government has broken its contract with its employees — locking some of them out of their workplaces and expecting others to work for the mere promise of eventual pay. An even more profound principle is also at stake, namely the ban on slavery and involuntary servitude embodied in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

A demonstration two days ago

Further from transcript of Ehrenreich and Goodman's conversation:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Wednesday for President Trump to cancel his State of the Union address later this month, arguing the government shutdown has left the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security starved for funds and unprepared to simultaneously protect all three branches of government.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Security Administration has become a flashpoint for growing outrage over the mistreatment of federal workers due to the shutdown. In Florida, the Tampa airport has set up a food bank for unpaid TSA workers. In Phoenix, Arizona, a food bank served nearly 300 TSA employees from a mobile pantry. TSA workers rallied in airports in Sacramento, California, and Baltimore, Maryland, Wednesday, warning that the shutdown is threatening aviation security. Hundreds more around the country have been calling in sick, with the agency reporting more than 6 percent unscheduled absences in what some are calling a “blue flu” protest ...

My biggest response to that is to go from 20—I mean, excuse me, from 1981 to 2018, when we saw a wave of strikes around the country, teachers’ strikes. And as I mentioned, those were, in most cases, illegal strikes. And people did it anyway. And that inspired, or helped inspire, other forms of labor militancy. You know, when people see that someone stands up to gross injustice and insulting behavior, then that person is empowered to stand up, too.

AMY GOODMAN: So, at the very top of your New York Times op-ed, you write, “Last week, in a meeting with Democratic leaders, President Trump called the government shutdown a 'strike.'” He called the government shutdown the strike. Can you explain this?

BARBARA EHRENREICH: Oh, God, no, I can’t explain that. But, you know, it was like some desperate effort to shift the blame. You know, he’s always blaming the Democrats for the shutdown, and here he made a stupid bid to blame the workers themselves for the shutdown.

So, you know, I’m saying: Why not just call it a strike? You’re not being paid anyway. And maybe you will come out of this with greater power over the conditions of your work.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to the Dallas airport, to the federal workers protesting outside Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. This is Sarah Fry speaking to CBS.

SARAH FRY: That it’s your neighbors. Your neighbors are the ones having this anxiety, having this stress. … We just bought a new house in June, and I’ve been aggressively paying down my student loans. And I expected to have a paycheck. I planned on working all through the holidays. And it’s really tough, and it’s really stressful.

If Pelosi caves to Trump, he will have nullified the election; if a primary goal is to shrink the gov't, a secondary one is to reinforce a semi-dictatorship, the Republicans, their donors, the base (working class white supremacists evangelicals) have been aiming at since the 1970s. Through persistent egregious gerrymandering, now through voter suppression, a huge swathe of the US is represented by a powerful reactionary minority who have taken control and mean to keep power. If in a state a democratic governor wins, the republicans pass laws to strip him or her of power (Kansas, Kentucky and other places).  They pass laws saying you cannot take these cases to court (North Carolina). So now the democrats took the house and the republicans have devised a ploy where they are rendering them powerless -- just throw a wrench in the whole works; if the democrats want to pull the wrench, they have to give up the power of the purse. Congress has already given up the power of deciding whether and how to go to war.

Miss Drake

So, last night Trump gave a speech adamently refusing to sign a bill to open the gov't. He wants a huge ineffective wall across the southern borders of the US; he talks of a humanitarian crises he causes and his solution is more detention camps.  He ignored the people who are now being required to work for no money and the people who have been furloughed with no money. Over 800,000, plus contractors, cleaning people, food staff. They don't matter nor does it matter that down the read millions will lose social security and all sorts of necessary monies to carry on with their lives. Down the road much chaos and loss and grief for millions of people in the US. These are the 47% of Americans whom Romney on that infamous tape (caught talking to wealthy donors in a super-expensive restaurant in front of a waiter who had a cell phone) wanted to "drop from all handouts" of whatever type.

Representative Pelosi and Senator Schumer replied that Trump is making this crisis, that they have a bill that was unanimously approved by the senate in December and agreed to by a majority of the house which has good effective way to achieve border security, which they offer to negotiate faithfully separately and I believe them; that there is no excuse for hurting millions of US people to get his way on an ineffective wall; we can secure the border in real effective ways. We don't have to arrest women and children, separate families, and put asylum seekers in prison. They demand that he end this shutdown now: This site has the full speeches plus the texts:


Sanders gave the best cogent speech: Trump has manufactured this crisis, his arguments for a wall (many many billions if he did build it) are all based on lies. His demands for working people who provide our security at airports, on the coast, our taxes, our basic services either to work without pay or stay home are unconscionable. Sanders describes the real crises going on in the US and what we need action to cope with.

The networks refused in 2014 to allow Obama to address the immigration crises to which he offered fundamental long-term solutions, some of which he passed by executive order, and which had begun to work. He has wanted to explain to the US people why he was signing these executive orders and what was happening in congress::


What to do? Trump's is an open attack on the American people he thinks didn't vote for him and assumes his various constituencies don't care about or fear and resent. Is there anyone who doesn't doubt that this was thought up shortly before December 17th and consolidated by the Republicans and their donors over the last week of December.

The only thing we have left is massive non-violent non-cooperation and voting - which power is being badly weakened though the first bill the democrats passed was a new civil rights bill and actions to shore up and protect our present voting rights: there would be three more democratic governors, more democratic representatives and the majority of people could make inroads on the senate which now represents a minority of US people:


One response by people faced with an analogous situation who have a working democracy:  Tthe French this past year have been faced with an analogous situation: working and middle class people's taxes going way up, their jobs cut, their pensions, all the things they have worked all their lives for, what they are supported by threatened: so there have been massive demonstrations with everyone wearing yellow jackets. Luckily they had a symbol to hand in a safety vest required on French cars: They began November 17th. There was much violence:

But Macron gave in to some of their demands not to attack them directly in the way he was doing.

Form history: the General Strike in 1926. It was called by the leaders of several unions -- miners -- and for the same kinds of economic reasons: at the time the UK had become a constitutional monarchy with a parliament and law courts:
It was an important failure; in 1929 the first labor party ever was voted in. It was the first time that the laboring people of the UK showed who they are, that there were massive numbers of suh people who had needs and rights.
Trump also talked about 2020; his interest is in keeping himself president as long as he can because he faces prosecutions from criminal behavior once he is out of office; he uses his office to make money and enjoys power and attention.  He will not sign any bill that does not give him 7 billion for a wall and McConnell has thus far refused to disobey him; it is reported because he faces an election, he fears he would lose because it is said a sizable and vocal minority of of republicans in Kentucky support Trump whatever he does; he has told thousands of lies, & spreads fear and hatred to do this.

As Schumer said, the symbol of the US should be the Stature of Liberty not a massive cement wall.
If US people follow what the French did, or if we could have a general strike, if there were massive non-violent non-cooperation in demonstrations and behavior, that could bring an end to this impasse. The question is, how will it form? who will organize and who will have the prestige and authority to keep them going. Make no mistake, Trump and his regime would call out violent groups of armed men -- he has the control of legal violence through his various militaries and they will obey him -- and there could be violent, tear-gassing mass arrests, massive.

Read Nichols, Mystal (let's look at who has been fighting this man and who supporting him) and McCalvey especially: the power of a strike:


People do have to fight back with all that's left to us: demonstration, assembly, the vote. I am not politically active or knowing but I will go to any demonstration near me.

This is a right-wing coup to further destroy parts of the gov't, of agencies which help people, and to put 7 billion in a semi-dictator's hands in order to build a white male supremacy.

We are filled with fear and anxiety this morning -- engendered by this POTUS. It is important to remember that in 2014 Obama wanted to address the nation with comprehensive immigration legislation and the stations refused to give him public time on the grounds this was a political speech. Trump's speech itself is a reason to impeach him, his refusal to sign on December 17, 2018:


Miss Drake
Friends and readers,

The other day I became aware that there is no legally required protocol that federal office holders at the highest would have to follow were Trump to be impeached and convicted.  Nixon, said a writer for Truthdig, upon being impeached, resigned and went away quietly. What if Trump didn't pack his bags? how could he be forced to leave? Never mind arrest.

The answers from 18th century scholars were disturbingly vague:  "Problems with removing a convicted president would most likely arise in a situation where the military was strongly supportive of the convicted president.  My sense is that the current U.S. president would not be strongly supported by the military in such a situation."

I repeated my question: "Once convicted, who would be empowered to arrest Trump? Who would do the arrest? I conceive if a congress convicted him, then they would ignore any legislation he sent over, and many judges say his executive orders have no efficacy. But how remove him from the white house?
Say the conviction was a narrow majority, and he ignored it, I like to think he could not run for president again and win a republican convention as a convicted impeached president even if he tried. I don't know
Who could order the arrest? or who would? and who do it?

Someone did write: "The Vice President would assume the powers of the Presidency and have control of the justice department.  Presumably that new President would wield the power and execute the laws (as fitting the executive branch), including forcibly removing a by-then private citizen using the secret service or any other apparatus."

But then he cited the worrying example of Andrew Jackson. In 1835 Jackson refused to implement a decision by the Supreme court where they said he hadn't the right to remove Indians from reservations just like this. He continued to enact his policy though it's said that the Supreme court's decision stands a precedent. Nonetheless, this precedent has been ignored when it was inconvenient. Recently Native Americans were not able to protect their water rights in an encounter with a corporation.

What this ensuing dialogue showed was that if this vice-president become president did not try to remove Trump from the white house, there would be nothing anyone could do to empower someone else. If they went to the court and got a judgment on their own side, it seems if the military did not want to implement it, Trump could stay president. Congress could of course ignore him or anything he sends to the them; judges could do. But a couple of scholars said if the Republicans wanted to, they could hold a convention and re-elect him.

Trump cabinet meeting

So we glimpse the immediate emergence of a semi-dictatorship again.

Today Trump threatened to keep the gov't shut down for month and maybe years.  He may have threatened to build his wall by declaring a national emergency. It is obvious he is unprepared to use his own money and wants to use billions of dollars paid by American taxpayers. He hates the federal gov't and its workforce and doesn't care if the parks are rotting, all "inessential agencies" are closed and no one paid. He thinks it's fine to demand 400,000 people work without pay indefinitely.  The Atlantic took his possible threat to use the powers of a president to declare a state of national emergency sufficiently seriously to write an article explaining what these are:


If all obeyed and no one protested -- because say he uses the military to arrest all protesters - he has enormous powers.

A light joke: I was thinking maybe he should prefer a national roof. Aligning my arguments with his tweets: this would employ many people. The materials could be taken out of the US ground or made by Americans (so he seems to think). It would prevent heavy rains -- which he denies exist but he is aware of this as he has bothered to deny these. With proper drainage, it could prevent floods. If people who lived in areas afflicted by fire, would just rake up their leaves and throw them away properly, it could eliminate fires. There could be doors and locks too -- to prevent all non-white people declared not citizens from ingress and egress.

If he declares a state of national emergency instead of wall perhaps it would be better to build a National Roof.


I haven't been able to throw off the dread. Yesterday the threat was to close down the gov't for months, maybe for years. The answer I had from C18-l over whether once (were this possibly done and I begin to think it will never be with this group of republicans) Trump were impeached and convicted, has driven to think we are in the edge of an open dictatorship:  Trump can only be forced out (no, not protocol) unless the person put in his place ordered a military group to remove him and the military group obeyed. Pence will never do this unless other republicans he thinks are on his side (whatever that is) say he should; even then he is a coward. Peloski would but she's not next and no military body in this country as led by Trump's picks will obey her. If the democrats cave, he will have succeeded in nullifying the election. I don't know if I have enough money to live for the rest of my life without my pension and social security each month
But what can we -- you or I literally do? -- the solution is a massive non-violent non-cooperative strike. Everyone stop until such time as a real continuing budget is voted in. If Trump declares a national emergency and directs those providing the Internet to shut it off, they have to disobey too. Nothing short of this extreme kind of Ghandi measure will do, and if it did succeed, once it did, those engineering it would be arrested and put away for life -- or killed.

Make no mistake about this, folks, Trumps' reneging on the deal to sign the budget agreement shortly before Christmas is an intuitive scheme for firing 400,000 people and getting 400,000 more to work for nothing in the hope someday they may get paid. The "smoking gun:" his stealth executive order to freeze all federal workers salaries -- to balance the budget. In the interest of "fiscal responsibility." It would be hilarious were he not not (in effect) a semi-dictator.

Do not forget all cleaning people, food staff and many IT people are contractors dependent on these "inessential" agencies. The only glitch in the machinery is the Homeland Security is not funded. Remember how this [unspeakable name] ridiculed the woman running it; but ICE people are paid through this. Don't count on the shutdown of the Justice department, for that too is partial. Cunningly, he grasped that the congress's attempt to make these shutdowns less painful was an open for him to seize upon

You heard it here: the partial shutdown is a scheme for eliminating the salaries for one-quarter of the federal workforce.

How does he do it? It's the instincts of a con-man who seizes opportunity after opportunity. He cares nothing for law - he hates law. I think we need to rid our minds of previous horror fascists (say like Hitler) and realize this one works very differently.

The blight: It is galling to hear this woman talk about how she is bound to follow "the will of the people," i.e.g, the ridiculous referendum which said to a questions, shall we leave the EU? yes or no. The UK parliament is utterly gerrymandered and even so to stay in power this woman requires neanderthal Northern Irish.

On Brexit, the Guardian:


All worthwhile reading.

I am even more tired of being told or hearing the semi-justification for whatever Trump wants this week -- now us to pay billions for an idiotic wall -- is that he promised his "base" this. Therefore it's understandable, okay. What if he had promised his base to shoot to kill the next 10 non-white people he sees upon elected, would that be okay? Since when is a promise to a constituency to get them to vote for you a vow you must obey? Then I'm told or it's said "he's stubborn" What! the gov't left to rot, a quarter of all federal workers without pay they need, people driven like cattle to a border in order for them to catch one another's sickness, children dying in detention camps .... He promised this to a base and was elected so it's fine ...

From what I read this morning Trump is all set to destroy another 800,000 lives -- that's the quarter of the federal workforce now "shut down. He rejoices in firing 1/4th of the federal work force. After all Erdogan fired, imprisoned and murdered far more. And remember there are all the contracted people, from cleaning and food staff to IT people. What fun. Beats The Apprentice which gave the bankrupt washed up criminal type his new lease on predation. Then he could fire only one at a time.

A good article in the New Yorker

The pest:

Miss Drake


I've been discouraged, tired, trying so hard to work on two different projects and keep up with friends on listservs, amid my need and pleasure in going to the Christmas OLLI parties, luncheons and the like, I'd given over trying to find a story that's important but might be overlooked. But I did find this the other day and tonight have the time to contextualize and explain further: this is about how badly autistic -- or mentally disabled in some way people are treated by the British health care system. Are you surprised? you should not be.

This particular story is about how nearly impossible it is to get the present institutions to take a disabled person whose behavior has become too difficult for their family or friends to handle into health-care for the period they need professionals to calm them down, or attend to some pressing need that would overwhelm an ordinary person trying to live his or her life (going to work, say, or attending to her or other people's needs) -- unless you let that institution take the person permanently.


Especially important are the young years of disabled people -- to give them the right support and good education between the years age 2 to 18; they need to be put into schools and spend time with people who behave in common ways and learn to live among them and gain skills to support themselves with dignity in lives that can interest them.

The real question is why this obdurate refusal to then let the person go home when they no longer need this help? I assume it's convenience and the work needs of the people in the institutions. What they care about is their salary and they want a stable population. why do they treat people so badly -- drug them into oblivion and don't give them adequate training or help to get out? They are not funded to do this. Employers don't want such people; they want to hire someone at the lowest wage possible to do a repeating job that will make money (profit for them). They want that person to be no bother to them beyond doing the job with a smile on their face and leave -- they don't want to recognize any other human obligation and want to be master of the interview. Society as a whole refuses to truly help these people or their families enable the person so live a better semi-independent ilfe.

The real give away is the advice to the people who leave the person in such a place _not to visit_ because it will upset the disabled person. That's because they want to leave the place and with good reason. Let that be the warning signal: when you are told not to visit that person you know they are in for a bad time, they are going to be forced to live an utterly controlled life which suits their masters.

From what I gather there is a similar gap in the French health care system. There I have read and met enough people to know that the problem at heart is people in society don't want to support the disabled, don't want to face up to how they have disabilities too and but for some luck could be in the same place. They want to see the disabled person as wholly non-functioning; It's easier; it separates them from the disabled, is less a threat to them.

Note that the writer of the article makes no attempt to explain why the institutions behave this way? I suspect it's because if you do, you are attacked. You don't understand you will be told. Ultimately the charge is you are sentimental. I am not sentimental and know how hard it is to cope with a strongly disabled person or someone with extreme needs.

Then look at the cruelty and indifference with which the person is treated. The treatment guarantees in effect the person will never leave the institution. Why is no money or not enough spent to enable them to leave, or train them on how to cope? If society wanted to do that they would. They don't. So left in the place, the people paid there behave the way they do to to serve their own needs. Thsi way they have a stable population which guarantees their income and is easy to deal with.

If you have had periods of disabled emotional inability or have a friend or relative have extreme behaviors, you know how they will be destroyed as an individual if you put them in such a place and I expect have done this only because there is no other option given you. I'd rather be dead than in such a place. I know my daughter given the right kindness, patience, understanding, and then gradual schooling over many years now lives a contented life with me and I helped similarly by my now deceased husband live a similar one. Are we not valuable as human beings? and we give back. She is appreciated by the hard long work she does at her library. Today I went to one of the parties I've talked of and was thanked by so many; I help give their lives meaning and enjoyment -- is this -- reading good books -- not worth something?

I know of so many cases where the person was saved because the relatives or friends were able to spend the money and gain the services to help the person when they were young. I know of equal cases where the person was thrown away and is now a "burden" on society and abused and used for those working in these institutions so they can get their salary. I feel strongly about this because I have many autistic traits and would have ended up destroyed were it not for my husband. He has left me enough money to survive comfortably until I die.

I finished my non-paying jobs for this term. Gratingly to me for a second time I got no money at the end. The money that the people put together in one place was used to buy me a gift certificate for $100 for whatever I wanted to buy at Politics and Prose. I was told I was not given money because the people wanted me not to "fritter" away the present. If I need toothpaste and it is good for me not to have to take out cash that often, who's business is that. I think the people are embarrassed to give me money. They think they are helping the store -- but the present is to me. Update: I did today manage to buy three junk books of sci fi fantasy, one book on how to do a barbecue with super-fancy machinery and gourmet recipes, all for under $100 with swift delivery and wrapping. So I guess they did me a favor these people. Now I feel I should thank them for sparing me -- I had gone to a cement-and-mortar bookstore and found they didn't have the "right" ones my daughter wanted, had trouble parking without being towed (and just for 1 hour) and saw what these dreadful books are. Yes I was spared.

I also got an expensive action figure, a compliment because it's a statue of Ruth Bader Ginsburg -- but Izzy and I could use the money. Last term I got an expensive orchid.

The doll is of someone who has spent much of her life trying to help others, to expand humanity and empathy as a principle. I am pleased and proud the case connected me with such a doll. I love the doll's expression of semi-grief in her eyes. Her hands are out as she wishes to put principles and laws in place for the sake of all others.

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February 2019



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