Harriet Vane

Enough people refusing to vaccinate so a new surge of hospitalization & death

Heather Cox Richardson's newsletter for July 16th:


Now the unvaccinated are getting seriously ill and dying "like flies". What do you do with a population preferring to sicken and risk die, following leaders who apparently hope by doing so they can unseat the present POTUS (Biden), who with most of the elected members of his party (stopped by arcane senate arrangements meant to keep slavery in place) is doing everything he can to save people and improve their lives.
Beyond trying to create an unstable situation where (do they hope) crazed demonstrations will begin, this refusal to be vaccinated can encourage the development of more dangerous strains of COVID. I have not yet grown used to how the GOP wants people to die and does all it can to kill off people, including possible GOP voters. .
My tentative view: "the thinking" might be that if the virus were really totally gone in effect, Biden would be fully credited and democrats have such landslide in 2024 that all the cheating, gerrymandering, refusal to count votes, refusal to accept an election officially might not counteract the GOP loss unless they were to go the third country or dictatorship route: make no bones about throwing out thousands and thousands of votes. Therefore the GOP needs to keep the pandemic going: making people seriously ill and killing people. So for the GOP the less people vaccinated, the better. They are also refusing to distribute the unemployments checks for $300. Donw south and in the west they make vaccination access hard. In Mississippi four counties have no vaccination site: heavily Black, these people lack cars, free time, and rightly distrust state officials.
During the 1930s the US population did not refuse FDR's New Deal; they did not refuse Social Security. What is wrong with US education at the grade and high school level is a question that come to my mind.

Miss Drake
Harriet Vane

A grave worrying turn: Supreme court approves of all sorts of restrictions on voting rights

From the 2020 Presidential election

As of today all a state needs to do is offer the option of a vote; a state doesn't have to make voting accessible.  14 states now have real restrictions on the right to vote, and several have put in place mechanisms whereby local state officials can throw out votes if they deem them fraudulent or in some way unacceptable. What Trump wanted the state authorities to do illegally, the GOP everywhere is making legal wherever they are in power -- and now the courts they filled with reactionaries are holding this up. Two of the supreme votes today are stolen seats: Merrick Garland should have been in one and Amy Coney Barrett was huddled in just before an election in record time.

Unless the Congress enacts a new Voting Rights Act, one which will pass muster in this court, the GOP is determined to turn our democracy into an autocracy run by wealthy white men. For it is not just objections to people of color or different ethnic origins the GOP aims to repress, it is an important function of our gov't since FDR: to answer citizens' needs by spending all our taxes on infrastructure (schools, roads, commerce, transportation, a myriad of social services, including paid for social security and health care) and cherished and needed elements in our lives.
Do not underestimate the seriousness of this, the gravity of this moment. In the 1890s after the supreme court at the time had again invalidated and the southern states taken as licence the power of the 14th and 15th amendments, said separate but equal is fine, that unleased enormous violence (killing and destruction, period massacres) by one large body of insanely tribal people on another smaller body of people of color and ethnic minorities, and the wealthy corporate parts of the US gov't through prison, those for socialistic ameliorations of capitalism.

A new blog to the 1965 voting rights act:  NPR

Adam Liptak from the New York Times:  challenges to many new measures making it harder to vote may not be successful  This decision will make it harder for the DOJ to win its suit against Georgia.

Ronald Brownstein of the Atlantic say democrats must act in congress to pass new legislation

Here is PBS's useful video discussion moderated by John Yang.

I will add to these essays as I see new insightful ones on the Net.

A voter who needs to have her voted counted ....

Meanwhile Heather Cox Richardson posted a powerful YouTube video on Voting Rights today.  I can't find it on YouTube and can't figure out how to transfer it from Facebook.  When I see it where I can transfer it, I will. But here is her July 1 Newsletter:

My summary:  Says Heather Cox Richardson, "we are reliving the Reconstruction years after the Civil War. For 75 years by a combination of state and private group terror (in the south, Ku Klux Klan, and
today the White Citizens Counsels) and various laws and voting customs stopped just about all Black people in the south and many poorer and older white citizens from voting. The supreme court took the teeth out of Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Act and now has invalidated Section 4.
Unless the Congress enacts a new Voting Rights Act, one which will pass muster in this court, the GOP is determined to turn our democracy into an autocracy run by wealthy white men. For it is not just objections to people of color or different ethnic origins the GOP aims to repress, it is an important function of our gov't since FDR: to answer citizens' needs by spending all our taxes on infrastructure (schools, roads, commerce, transportation, a myriad of social services, including paid for social security and health care) and cherished and needed elements in our lives.

Present litigation map where organizations through laws and courts
are attempting to stop this turning away from democracy and towards
autocracy ... but the courts have been packed with reactionary judges
by the GOP and Trump

Posted by Ellen
Harriet Vane

Illegal activities of Trump gov't - undermining US democracy & years of treaties

Friends and readers,

I gather together a series of stories showing Trump's undermining of our laws and democracy here in the US and abroad, and accompany that with a video of Heather Cox Richardson explaining why he is not arrested:

There's been an accumulation of revelations of what Trump's gov't was doing to undermine and subvert democracy here at home and years of treaties towards allied democracies abroad. So I thought it was time to put some of this here -- to help call attention to it while Biden is trying his best to pass his American jobs and infrastructure bill, one which will were it to be implemented, improve life for millions across the US in all sorts of ways, and lead to thriving of a middle class again, and also abroad to revive our trade, diplomatic and other socially and economically good policies. Much of this comes in the form of summaries of and additional remarks added to Heather Cox Richardson's newsletters, as well as tart qualifications (by me).


Heather Cox Richardson. June 12, 2021. What Trump (and his son) were doing in US foreign policy. There is now solid evidence to show that they were planning to re-align our alliances in the Middle East (what a silly term) so that we would be in an axis (what connotations) with the _central figure) Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia (the monster who had a reporter chopped to death), the (butcher) Netanyahu, and Jared Krushner of the US (a crook). They wanted to "muscle out" the Jordan king (who is now a quiet center of our alliances as he is quietly pro-Palestinian, at least as much as he dares, so a person and country who provide "balance" as it's called). This would destroy the meaning of a treaty hammered out by Clinton in 1994. Krushner told Aaron Miller the past didn't matter. We can do what we please. This resembles Johnson's true attitude to Brexit: the Tories passed some legislation where they openly said they need not honor things they sign with the EU.
Anyway the idea was to stop Jerusalem being a central holy city for 3 religions -- one of the immediate causes of this latest slaughter and destruction in the Gaza strip was a group of fanatic Zionist Jews attacked a Mosque and were protected by police and there was going on an enforced ejection of Palestinians living in Jerusalem.
This blatant immoral ethnic cleansing has by the resumed; it has never stopped. Palestinians have actually to put up with having Jews living on their property or in their houses.
She explains "Critical Race Theory." To be honest, I had no idea what it meant, never heard of it until recently, and this is the first clear account I've come across. It means recognizing that " legal protections for individuals did not, in fact, level the playing field in America."
Well, duh. Not just Black people, but hispanics, LGBT people, women, but the courts acted really biasedly against Blacks. I this past week learned of some Supeme court decisions which deliberately limited the scope of the 14th: it was intended to protect civil and social rights of everyone (original intent) and they scoffed or denied it on the grounds "the Negro" is inferior" so that it is just to deny them equal access to say hotels, transportation, good schools &c. Said this in opinions they wrote. One was 8-1

Heather Cox Richardson, June 10, 2021.  Trump not only had his DOJ investigate reporters, Barr was investigating democratic lawmakers.  This is the action of a police state


Heather Cox Richardson, June 8, 2021  What's happening with our voting rights and with Biden's bill to get the US thriving again, to build roads, infrastructure of all sorts to turn a country with vast groups of people living on the edge of over the edge of poverty into the kind of place where most can be some version of middle class.   Also a place with social ameliorations and helps to make life more comfortable with more opportunities for all -- that's the American Jobs bill.  The GOP there can't bear to make corporations pay a fair share of tax.


Heather Cox Richardson. June 7, 2021 I wish she would stop saying as if it were an explanation of the GOP's determination to restrict voting that all this is weird because these are such popular bills with Republican as well as Democratic voters. Is that all she can come up with? You come to such a conclusion if you think they are a party who want to reflect & please the majority of their constituency instead of people who stand for a dictatorship of a minority of wealthy white men.
Then she tells of three cases of outright corruption between Trump's gov't and corporations paying bribes -- with clear evidence.
What I would like to ask her is, Why is former president Trump not arrested for having tried to overturn the gov't, for having incited an insurrection, and today going round repeating these lies? He is known to have enacted criminal behavior.


And here is her video explaining why Trump has not been arrested because we know now for sure he is guilty of many crimes:

Posted by Ellen
Harriet Vane

President Biden's Speech at Tulsa Oklahoma

Watch and listen to him and heed and follow his advice:

Trump's threats of a "coup in August" to put him back in power is a response to Biden's speech: he is telling all who are for him they will again commit violence to destroy Black lives & prevent a democracy for all from surviving.

Heather Cox Richardson's letter of June 1 begins with a letter from 100 scholars "who study democracy" says " the new election laws in Republican-led states, passed with the justification that they will make elections safer, in fact are turning “several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections.”


Posted by Ellen
Harriet Vane

Israeli gov't now arresting hundreds, continuing occupying power's policies; anti-zionism

Continued arrests in the hundreds:  Human Rights Watch

The Israeli gov't may have bowed to pressure from BIden & US gov't (and world opinon? not likely on that) to stop bombing, slaughtering, maiming, lynching Palestinians, destroying central buildings including many hospitals, killing three important doctors, but they are now carrying on an occupying power's victorious way:  hundreds of arrests, continual harassment:


Another article on this by Jeremy Scahill (he Intercept): Israeli police rounding up, arresting Palestinians protesters:


The life story and death of an not atypical Palestinian young man inside this Israeli hegemony: jailed at 14, dead at 17:


Al-Jazeera building housing different media bombed

Emily Wilder persists in speaking out after she was fired at AP:


How many people did the gov't of Israeli kill during the 11 days? what is to stop them from starting this bombing again: Mosab Abu Toha (The Nation)


Need I add the fearful truth that Netanyahu has consolidated his power once again (forget trial for corruption, narrow actual defeat in elections &c).


Protest March

A separate but important issue: when I've circulated the poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch (an ardent supporter of human rights, a peace activists, and hency Pro-Palestinian as defending their right to exist is seen), I am confronted by the claim anti-semitisn is rising, as if to criticize the state of Israel is to enable anti-semitism.  It is surely not meant to in all the cases I know and to do this is to shut the rights of the Palestinians as people to have a free state, with decent functioning infrastructure, good gov't and thriving life.  To be anti-Zionist is seen as one step away from anti-semitism; it's not.  It's to be anti-nationalism and anti-colonialism, for look at what this seizing of a land and ejecting its people to the surrounding fringe has brought.  Yes there are hate-mongers and Hitlerites but their existence does not mean we should be silent when it comes to the crimes against humanity that Israel gov't has been guilty of.

I don't know quite how I can show that the articles insisting anti-zionism is anti-semitism, especially by the NYTimes are made central to the google search engine --  it's just true :).  The argument that Jews can do what they want to those they are deplacing because of the holocaust or present day anti-semitism in  many states is amoral.  The Palestinian arabs were not responsible for what happened in WW2. For myself theoretically I can understand the Zionist argument; in one half of George Eliot's Daniel Deronda, she has a deeply idealistic and solitary Jewish character who sees the world of of Biblical Study eyes; she argues against cosmopolitanism in her Reflections by Theophrastus on the grounds most people are innately tribal (nationalistic). But must we therefore give up? give in to forces of fear and hatred? because so many follow these.  That's defeatist; she does immolate a number of her heroines as sacrifices to the peace and stability of what is. But staying with what is is to stay (once upon a time) with enslavement), now with racism and colonialism.

Read  Peter Beinhart of The Guardian:


All the peoples on earth? The Kurds don’t have their own state. Neither do the Basques, Catalans, Scots, Kashmiris, Tibetans, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Lombards, Igbo, Oromo, Uyghurs, Tamils and Québécois, nor dozens of other peoples who have created nationalist movements to seek self-determination but failed to achieve it.

It is not bigoted to try to turn a state based on ethnic nationalism into one based on civic nationalism, in which no ethnic group enjoys special privileges.

In the real world, anti-Zionism and antisemitism don’t always go together. It is easy to find antisemitism among people who, far from opposing Zionism, enthusiastically embrace it.

Harriet Vane

What started this present slaughter/destruction of Palestinians: eviction from homes; mosque attack

I've not written for quite some time, and while (I'm relieved to say) what I'm going to present is being presented in parts of the mainstream media; nonetheless, it's not said clearly enough in enough places:   there are not two equal sides and two equal wrongs in this latest  renewal of harsh violence on the Palestinians (they are killed 10 to 1, civilians, women and children as well as armed me):  the Israelis began an immoral and utterly illegal evication from their homes in Jerusalem of groups of Palestinians (a repeat of what we've seen for decades in the west bank) on top of the worst attack on a mosque (Al Aqsa) in Jerusalem by Israelis in decades -- this coincides with a parade that the right-wing religious and national Israelis hold every year, this year timed with Ramadan.

Deep background:

The support for Israel as doing no wrong, having the right "to self-defense" - is ludicrous. It's the Palestinians who are being exterminated. Israel is the initiator most of the time -- kicking Palestinians off their land, embargoing Gaza, militarily terrorizing the people in both the West Bank & Gaza and then every once in a while slaughtering Palestinians.
This time the cause was Israel evicting lots of Palestinians from Jerusalem, and when right-wing fanatic Jews have this rabid parade through Jerusalem, the police found an excuse and attacked a central mosque. This is Trump's legacy; he said Jerusalem can now be the capital so the Israeli gov't with many of its people want to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem. And the supporters are far more than American Jews giving money. Israel voted in this horrific gov't. They behave to the Palestinians like the Nazis did to them short of openly exterminating them in camps.

I've a book in the house with a chapter where it's argued that archeaologically it has been shown that the stories in the Bible have no basis in the place claimed -- the very claim to this territory is not supported by the archeaological evidence. Anyway who can claim a territory 1000s of years later. US whites today do not take Native American claims seriously, nor do Canadians their Native Canadians. It's all trumped up nonsense -- Jews could have returned to Palestine and been part of the state but what they did was make war on the people there, and then ethnically cleanse the place by killing and destroying Palestinians and two wars were successful 1948 and 1967 and Israel has behaved horrifically to the Palestinians ever after.

I'm now preparing a Foremother Poet blog featuring Dahlia Ravikovitch, a native born Israel Jew who was (in effect) pro-Palestinian as she wanted Palestinians to have the same rights as Jews -- she inveighed eloquently and deeply heart-felt all that is done to the Palestinians in Israel.

Forced evacuations in Jerusalem

I was heartened two nights ago to find that on PBS, a segment with John Yang as interviewer made just the above points before going on to treat the situation more neutrally because since Israel has the enormous and is prepared to use it, you must take into consideration their justifications and their obvious real aims.  They are also going to use the situation  (as Hamas and the Arabs naturally fling back these rockets which do little damage in comparison with how they are used as a propaganda against the Palestinians) to again inflict death, pain, destruction on Gaza, which is still under an embargo and is an open air prison.  The shamelessness of the Israelis for not sharing their huge supply of vaccines with these Palestinian people (except those who cross the border, check point into Israel proper0 tells you what the Israeli gov't wishes would happen to them.


Israel police storm Al Aqsa and people inside flee

Then, as Youssef Unayyer writes in The Nation, it is essential to understand how we arrived at this moment:


He begins:

To understand how we’ve arrived at this moment, it is essential to start with the story of Sheikh Jarrah. That small Jerusalem enclave, from which several Palestinian families have been under threat of expulsion, is perhaps, the most immediate proximate cause of this latest crisis. It is also just the latest targeted dispossession of Palestinians by Israel, which has been part of a more than 70–year process.

Since occupying the West Bank in 1967, the Israeli government has pursued various policies aimed at demographically engineering the city of Jerusalem—again, all with an eye toward ensuring its perpetual dominance over the city. Among such policies are the building of illegal settlements around the city to cut it off from the rest of the Palestinian population in the West Bank; the restriction of movement to deny Palestinians access to and within the municipality itself; the revocation of Palestinian residency status, which is tantamount to expulsion; and the demolition of Palestinian homes. The Israelis also expel Palestinians from their homes, as we are witnessing in Sheikh Jarrah, so that they can be handed to Israeli settlers.

I leave my reader to read on at the Nation.


In several day sequence, Amy Goodman in DemocracyNow has been dealing with this for days.   These are series of videos and transcripts:

May 11, 2021

Israel kills dozens in Gaza while imposing "Constant War" on Palestinian residents in Jerusalem:


Reality of Palestinian life under Israeli rule:


"The scene is horrific:"  Gazans trapped as Israel escalates bombing,  killing dozens in the territory:


Palestinians faced brutal attacks inside Israel:


It is a historic uprising against Israel control from the river to the sea:


Gaza from above during a lull

A woman and her children fleeing the scene today


Harriet Vane

4 Films you might have overlooked: the direction 1st America Caucus would take the US towards

Dear friends and readers,

Instead of presenting essays or articles you might have overlooked this blog brings before you four films, three of which  you may be unaware of: The first three reveal where fascism took Europe in the 1930s and 1940s; the fourth shows a woman breaking out of a racist society to achieve literary renown for writing brilliantly about her own Black people. I ccite an essay on one of them, The Spanish Earth, and another of a similar kind made in the later 1930s in my comments.

Such films make vivid visceral real what goals such a Trump and his GOP  profess can lead to, active military fascism: Were the America First Caucus to have its way -- with massive repression of votes, savage policing (such as we are seeing in public today imposed on non-white people). We saw an adumbrated version of this on January 6th.

These goals and the steps the GOP are taking as I type or you read are explained in Heather Cox Richardson's newletters, Letters from an American:
4/16/2021:  A propos of the GOP announced goal & plan to implement a white supremacist corporate-driven dictatorship against the will of the majority of Americans by (among other methods) massive suppression of the vote

4/18/2021:  As the GOP persists in the big lie that Biden did not win the election, and has persuaded a large number of Republican voters to say they believe Biden did not win the election (because they could be lying just as surely as their representatives are), HCR asks, beyond 361 bills around the country to suppress or manipulate the vote, where does the GOP think this is going to end.  what do they and their all white  hateful constituency have in store for the majority of Americans?


4/19.2021  the plague of continual gun violence; to which I'll add the arming of paramilitary people around the US -- part of what made January 6th possible and threatens
us still.  HCR's linking of gun violence in the US -- and the massive distribution of guns of all sorts everywhere -- to racism is persuasive.  Last night I watched a movie hard to watch  -- Mudbound --  the closest or truest depiction of the way racism worked in the South, Jim Crow era, I've ever seen -- as continual bullying, menace and mortal threat. What is policing to Black people today: they are kept in terror; instant obedience demanded and when given, still they can be killed.


A still from The Spanish Earth
The first of four films, about the 1930s Spanish Civil War, made 1937, The Spanish Earth, a documentary available on Amazon Prime
A one hour documentary film showing a real Spanish village trying to fend off the Spanish fascists ultimately led by Franco.  It's very well done and despite the lack of an individual story you get immensely involved.  The peasants are murdered, shot at from the sky, bombed, but manage to fight off the insurgency for the time.  It was liked and watched avidly wherever it was shown but the studios refused mass distribution because it was said to be communistic.  Another similar film, Blockade (not on line) was shown in Europe and reached huge numbers of people at the time (later 1930s).
Second, Memory Keepers, a 20 minute short film (very recent) on vimeo, and Package Tour (1985), a one hour and 10 minute cinema release

Use the film-makers email and the following password:
mollydblank@gmail.com The password is Sighet.
Memory Keepers:  a group  of Jewish people whose relatives perished when most of the Jews who lived in Sighet, Romania were deported, and the majority ruthlessly murdered. Sighet was torn in Northwest Romania who seemed to me ignored but in 1944 the Nazis descended, deported and took them to Auschwitz. Robert Rosbottom's When Paris went Dark (about the occupation of France) records that in 1944 the Nazis saw they were losing, and asked those in charge of the exterminating and enslaving people to give over their trains to carry materiel to help with the war.  Eichmann among other refused. No it was more important to murder as many Jews as possible. Never underestimate the strength of this crazed racism – here in white supremacy groups. Before World War II, the Jewish community of Sighet, Romania, flourished with synagogues and yeshivas, and the city nurtured important Jewish thinkers, including Elie Wiesel . 13 000 men, women and children were deported to Auschwitz. Seventy years later, in May 2014, over 100 descendants of the community gathered in Sighet for the first time. Memory Keepers uses the lens of the gathering to reveal rich stories of past lives and to consider the impact of the past on the present.
It's very moving: the different kinds of people on the bus, what  is their relationship today to this past, to one another, how hard to deal with this kind of memory, one woman at the time a small child who survived

Gyula Gazdag, the director of Package Tour
A Hungarian 1985 documentary, Package Tour. 1985. The story is a group of elderly Jews return to a concentration camp they had been in (this one has a few survivors) or much much more frequently a relative had been in and perished -- they are on a bus.  It combines the actual experience,  with an account of the Nazi philosophy and what the Nazis literally did to kill these people plus peculiar scientific torturing the Nazis indulged in. It's a very controlled film and like Memory Keepers beautiful moving.
Jim knew about it and when it played on Bravo (remember early in the days of cable a few excellent movie channels) and we taped it onto a video cassette, which home made copy I still have up in my attic  The director is Gyula Gazdag - Wikipedia.
Here's the YouTube:

Toni Morrison
The Pieces that I am is probably well known to those who watch PBS and better programs, it's a 2 hour documentary on Toni Morrison, a bit too hagiographic, but nonetheless important and mostly very accurate history of her life, her career, how her books struggled to find acceptance (black men didn't want them either) in the context of the history of her family against a backdrop of Black history in the US. Their content (especially first four) searingly relevant.   It's part of the American Masters series.  You can get it streaming, by DVD, buy it ....  She's just wonderful as a speaker

Harriet Vane

Very sad news: Bob Lapides died Jan 1, 2021: Hail & Farewell

Dear readers,

Here is a brief publication that may indeed be overlooked -- and I hope now will not at least by those who read anything I write in several places.

Kenneth Reeves, group moderator of the Inimitable-Boz [Dickens] group (now at groups.io) contacted me to tell me that Bob died.  I had noticed -- as had some people on had also on Inimitable-Boz and perhaps Trollope&Peers (at groups.io) that Bob had not emailed for some time and about a month and a half ago I emailed him, and he never replied. Now he had periods where he didn't contribute for all sorts of reasons.  But I knew he had been very ill, had had a rough operation of some sort and a hard road to recovery.

The good most recent news is his family, friends, associates  will be publishing (posthumously) the work he had been writing for some years on Dickens's creativity. His book of many documents retelling what happened at Lodz during WW2 will remain an important book as long as there are books:  Lodz Ghetto: Inside a Community Under Seige, compiled and edited by Alan Adelson and Robert Lapides.Penguin 1989. The second half of this blog is on Lodz Ghetto.

Bob was among the ten people who first came onto Trollope-l when Mike Powe opened it in October of 1997, a break away from a Trollope list run on majordomo by Elizabeth Thompson. Two other people of that original ten have died too.  I remember when Jim died, Bob sent me a beautiful poem -- by a famous poet.  So after the obituary sent me by Kenneth (from Bob's college's Human Resources webpage),  I reprint Catullus to his brother.

Robert Lapides, professor emeritus in the English Department, husband of Professor Diane Dowling, died on January 1, 2021. At BMCC for over 40 years, Professor Lapides will be remembered for his passion, his life-long fight for social, economic, and racial justice, and his commitment to building communities where differences can be expressed. Never afraid to speak up or ask questions, he was genuinely interested in his students and colleagues. His intense curiosity about people, places, politics, history, literature, psychology, religion--about what it means to be human--informed all his efforts. He encouraged his students to embrace their humanity, including the parts of themselves they felt they needed to hide, building their courage to write honestly. His legacy can be found in his influence on the many students and colleagues he worked with, the online communities he created, in his faculty magazine Hudson River, and for editing Lodz Ghetto, collected writings left behind by Jews confined to the Lodz Ghetto in WWII. Until the end, he was working on his book about the creative development of Charles Dickens, which will be published posthumously. Condolences to Diane and their children Isaac and Rachel may be sent to ddowling@bmcc.cuny.edu or to 137 W 12th St. New York, NY 10011. Donations may be made to the charity of your choice


Hail and Farewell

By ways remote and distant waters sped,
Brother, to thy sad grave-side am I come,
That I may give the last gifts to the dead,
And vainly parley with thine ashes dumb:
Since she who now bestows and now denies
Hath taken thee, hapless brother, from mine eyes.
But lo! these gifts, the heirlooms of past years,
Are made sad things to grace thy coffin shell,
Take them, all drenchèd with a brother’s tears,
And, brother, for all time, hail and farewell!
--Gaius Valerius Catullus (ca 85-ca 54 B.C.),  translated by Aubrey Beardsley (1872-1898)


I will miss him.   We exchanged countless emails over the years . In the email Kenneth sent me, there is line by Bob noting that he once asked me if it was okay that he had plagiarized a line of mine in one of my blog-reviews, this one on Lillian Nayder, The Other Dickens: A Life of Catherine Hogarth (Cornell University Press: Ithaca, 2011).  He knew I wouldn't mind.  I don't have a picture of him; I met him once in New York City, not  far from where he lived and we had a huge lovely breakfast together.  He was a genial older man in looks.  We talked for a couple of hours. I recall that he told me I should not meet people face-to-face if I wanted to "make some sort of impression" --  I took that to mean I was very different in person for all that people thought I gave myself away (or seemed formidable) in my writing. I am working class in origins, with a New York City accent.  Someone else told me "he should not have said that to you."  I don't know. He was telling what he thought was the truth.  Bob was a compassionate, intelligent, moral and good man. He so admired, nay loved Dickens; his way was to analyse Dickens's writing psychoanalytically.

Harriet Vane

A 1984 GOP telling Orwellian lies all over; we must end the filibuster & pass Voting Rights Acts

Dear Friends and readers.

What needs to be done is first thing to say. Break the filibuster, pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and stop all these measures intended to make it hard to vote.  Then get after the FFC and refuse to give licenses to news shows which are propaganda and repeats these lies that we do not have a legitimate gov't.  Meanwhile try to pass at state level the National Electoral College act which would have the Electoral College votes for each state brought to a central place and counted as a whole.  Then you would always have as a president someone who was  popularly voted in.

I understand Biden has taken an important first step towards helping people to communicate by the post office -- getting and receiving mail has ever been at the heart of democracies. 
Biden has placed three members on the US Postal services board.  From the news headlines online I see that he is reversing Trump's cuts to finances of democratic cities (who often pay much more state taxes to the federal gov't than Republican ones which tend to be smaller or rural).

This is bye-the-bye but is a visual: Biden has also withdrawn the order that federal and municipal buildins should be in classical colonial style (which Trumps identified with autocracy).


Why is this so urgent - it  is urgent. The GOP would like to make the USA a new version of the 1990s white supremacist South Africa with a very few imposing an iro will on a majority of people.

what Heather Cox Richardson has brought together from this past weeks' news.

" ... party leaders appear to be lining up behind Trump and the big lie that Biden stole the election, entrenching them as a hostile opposition rather than giving them any room to work with Democrats to move the country forward. They are devoting their energies for the future primarily to voter suppression. Studies of Republican voters suggest that they continue to support former President Trump and are turning against anyone who accepts Biden’s victory as legitimate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) popularity has dropped 29 points among Kentucky Republicans since he broke with Trump. Republicans appear to be solidifying their identity with the former president, at the state level, at least ..."

On Voter Suppression read Ari Berman:  Republicans are taking voter suppression to new extremes

e.g., According to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice, 253 bills to restrict voting access have been introduced in 43 states already this year. Georgia is ground zero for the GOP’s escalating war on voting, targeting the voting methods that were used most by Democratic voters in 2020 and which contributed to flipping the state blue and electing two Democratic senators.

On Tuesday, Georgia’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan introduced a bill repealing no-excuse absentee voting, which 1.3 million Georgians used in 2020, including 450,000 Republicans


This consolidation around a terrible man who was/is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, and lies show these people wanted to kill off as many Black, minority and poor people as they could. They  don't have an agenda except that gov't should do nothing for its people and there should be few taxes for anyone -- except the middle class and poor.

Do not underestimate what could happen if this GOP could get into power again. In Congress right now they are demonstrating their unwillingness to compromise; their unwillingness to work with another party.  Trump is a base hating man, the last few months he behaved openly as a criminal, taking bribes for pardons, pardoning criminals and anyone who was absolutely loyal to him.  The Lancet itself has said he was responsible for more than half of our death toll -- his policies caused these deaths. This consolidation around a terrible man who was/is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths, and lies show these people wanted to kill off as many Black, minority and poor people as they could. They don't have an agenda except that gov't should do nothing for its people and there should be few taxes for anyone -- except the middle class and poor.

I'm going to go out on a limb here to make my point about these dangerous lies and how we need to act to end them.
If you keep repeating a lie over and over, if those in power and then those writing books and movies repeat it, it becomes thought truth. I know no one or few here will believe that Russia did not intend to take over Poland as a deal with Germany but rather when Germany was about to invade Poland tried to find allies among the capitalist countries and could not, so Stalin signed the pact and himself invaded  Poland to stop Hitler from reaching Russia.  As in the UK, the Russians were not ready for any kind of real war and rushed then to arm. But the other version, has been told so often (to blacken Russia as communists) it's become a kind of truth.   Only if you watch films at the time (especially gov't ones) is the version Russia was protecting itself found.  Here and there in much older texts and sometimes very occasionally in socialist ones.  The most striking persuasive places I've seen the truth that Russia was seeking to protect itself and once the allies got going Stalin joined them -- obviously and took the Russia people into terrific hardship and devastating battles to defeat the fascists.  Hitler's armies when they went into any slav country decimated the people and treated them like subhuman slaves.

Orwell's 1984 is powerful but it is just a fiction.  My above paragraph is true.  This is not the only place where lies have won for a long time. The way the Civil War was taught throughout the US as not being about slavery, about ending slavery but to keep the union together, and for states' rights.  Why was the union ending is the reason:  throughout the south and in the midwest and many northern businesses were  making huge sums based on the brutal enslavement of 4 million people.


The way to counter this is end the filibuster -- a tool left over from states with enslaved people to make the senate a dictator, re-hauled out to allow the South to pass a Jim Crow society repressing a vast minority of their population and now to thwart the popular will in all sorts of issues, including Biden's very popular Rescue package

Again read Cox Richardson

The pandemic has crippled the nation’s economy, and a new The Economist/YouGov poll reveals that 66% of Americans said they support Biden’s $1.9 billion American Rescue Plan; 25% of Americans said they oppose it. This means it is the most popular piece of legislation since the 2007 minimum wage hike. Also popular is the proposed $15 minimum wage hike, which is supported by 56% of Americans and opposed by 38%, making it more popular than anything former president Trump did while in office. More than 150 of the nation’s business leaders are now backing the rescue plan, saying it is necessary for “a strong, durable recovery.” And yet, Republicans are, so far, united against the proposal.

See  my previous blog: Campaign for a National Popular Vote

Democrats and party members are working against the Republicans with now a POTUS at their head.  They have 57 proposals out, he is working to replace all empty judgeships with fair decent and yes (one must) democratic leaning judges.  But it's not enough with the crazed passions and determination of fascism, bigotry (hatred and fear of non-whites and immigrants) and the billions available to corporations who have been growing exponentially since Reagan upended the older fairer (but not truly progressive) tax system.


Harriet Vane

2nd Impeachment: a dangerous man who has committed criminal acts is acquitted

Dear friends and the few readers of this blog,

To me the bad outcome of the trial is Trump got plenty of money for the rest of his life and the ability to run again. Had he been convicted his career in anything legal would be over.  I take him to be  a
criminal: His last acts in the WH -- for some 4 weeks were undisguised criminalities -- taking outright bribes for pardons (many for criminals or people who did some favor for him, or who he thought could
do some favor for him), raking in money from supporters and putting that in his pockets, and then helping to engineer this attack.  I include the photo of someone who gouged out the eye of another person (a police officer), the FBI number to call if you recognize him, and report him to the police.  This man was one of those Trump unleashed on the public 1/6/2021 and would not call any military to stop it.

In this blog I am trying to further disseminate Ralph Nader's conversation with Amy Goodman.


In this conversation with Amy Goodman, Nader  said:

The purpose of this impeachment effort is prophylactic. It is designed not just to hold Trump accountable under the Constitution, but to prevent future wannabe Trumps from behaving in the same way. Therefore the only really result of a guilty verdict would be disqualifying Trump from running for federal office anymore.

While as usual, Heather Cox Richardson told us in her newsletter what we want and need to know about what happened yesterday (I did not know Trump's lawyers had the temerity to repeat his lies about the election and thus lie themselves, nor that they defended previous violent white supremacist riots approved by Trump where people died (Charlottesvillee); to be candid, she lacked the rigorous critique of what has happened over the past few days that Ralph Nader made last night on DemocracyNow.org

Nader predicted the acquittal not on the grounds the GOP could not have been convinced, but on the grounds as in the first trial, Pelosi refused to accuse him fully of all he had done and thus prevented the Democrats and American people from seeing the true case why he should have been removed from office before the pandemic, and why he should not ever be let to run for a office of public trust again. Now he is let loose with $90,000 a year for the rest of hife life, a million dollar travel fund and money for body guards.

A grave act happened today which could lead easily down the road to more riots, more violence, more killing and in the case of elections, no more peaceful acceptance of the democratic majority winner.

Listen to how Nader put it:

She was running the show. And she has two approaches, which she used in the first impeachment. One is she likes to rush the trial. The second is the reason why she likes to rush the trial without witnesses and subpoenas is that she has prejudged the result. She basically says these Republicans are intransigent, they’ll never change their mind, our duty is to impeach in the House and send it over to the Senate. Now that is a prescription for defeat, period. And as a result, the narrow approach of the articles of impeachment keep the Democrats from having a full hand. They have like ten arrows in their quiver and they are using one or two.

Now, what they should do is call witnesses. The witnesses they should call are not surprising: Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, some of the families of the victims, Garrett Miller or others who said they went down to the Congress on orders of their commander-in-chief who spoke to them and John Bolton who said that obstruction of justice was a way of life in the White House. He is the national security advisor before he resigned.

Otherwise, what the Republicans will do is simply say, “This is a video show trial. A lot of the material was taken out of context. And the protagonists were entirely Democratic partisans, members of the House Democratic Party.” If you have witnesses, you have the potential of breakthrough testimony."


Nader felt that her behavior both times was defeatist -- it reminds me of how Obama refused even to consider a single payer system, followed the Republican prescriptions for a controlled capitalist medical world, and what the gov't would do was help people to pay. So it is easy to destroy: you merely defund it. You get rid of the controls. There is no system, and everything is super-expensive, with unexpected terrifying bills. That is part of the reason Americans have died in such huge numbers. Here he is speaking again?

"Mike Pence, for example. Jay Rosen, for example. Brad Raffensperger. They might be required to testify about far deeper crimes than simply a telephone call to the Justice Department by Trump or to the Georgia Secretary of State twisting their elbows to try to change the course or the count of the election.

That is the unfortunate aspect of it, Amy, that they had an opportunity. Because here you have a president who has seized congressional power day after day in four years. He spent money without authorization. He has violated congressional mandates in health, safety and economic regulations. He has defied over 130 subpoenas and dozens of formal demands by congressional committees to testify in terms of his subordinates, cabinet and sub-cabinet levels.

So there are two layers here. His street crime attack on the Congress, that was well argued by the House Democrats. But then there’s the institutional separation of powers attack that was far more fundamental in terms of its long-range impact, in terms of its current impact on hundreds of millions of the American people. That was not part of the Articles of Impeachment. They didn’t go with the full hand. And had they gone with the full hand, they could have shown the intransigent Republicans exactly what price they’re going to pay if they vote to acquit Donald Trump.

This is a trial for the future of our Constitution, for whether we are going have a monarch, for whether we are going to have more of the sordid, cruel, violent type of electoral politics that is going on with voter suppression and voter intimidation"


Here is the kind of thing witnesses could have told us of. This man gouged out someone else's eye (a police officer); if you recognize him, tell the FBI so they can arrest him and put him where he cannot do such horrifying acts/damage to anyone else:

Kevin McCarthy is reported as phoning Trump and pleading with him to stop the violence as Trump had the levers of power to do it immediately; Trump replied that the crowd cared more about who was elected than McCarthy did. Actually there were curse words and McCarthy became livid as he felt the intoxicated anarchy in Trump's tone: "who the fuck do you think you are talking to?"

A bitter blow, I wanted to see Trump effectively defanged, and no longer a threat to all Americans. He still is that.