The Fortress: Reading The 48 Laws of Power, by Robert Greene

  • Do not build fortresses to protect yourself. Isolation is dangerous.

— Law # 18 of The 48 Laws of Power

 

Message from the National Democratic Redistricting Committee

  • The Supreme Court won’t fix gerrymandering soon, so it’s up to voters.

Charlotte Observer

Half of the officials who will take part in redistricting in 2021 will be elected this year, including governors who will have veto power over rigged maps.

This year, the National Democratic Committee is targeting:

  • 12 states
  • 10 governor’s races
  • 275 state legislative seats

Many of these elections are taking place in districts that are already gerrymandered, so Democrats are facing an uphill battle.

But the electoral fight IS winnable. It happened in Virginia and Wisconsin.

What do we want? We want “to see voters picking their politicians instead of politicians picking their voters.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Maureen Dowd: Ivanka and Vodka, on the Rocks

“Donald Trump is the meanest man I have ever met.”

— former top Trump administration official, quoted by Maureen Dowd

So happy to be reading Maureen Dowd again. It’s been too long. In her piece in the Sunday, 24 June 2018 New York Times, she dissects the First Daughter.

It turns out Ivanka really does just want to please Daddy, which reflects the panic she felt when Trump left Ivanka’s mother for Marla Maples. Ivanka “called him constantly.”

When she became a model, her father “suggested to friends that breast implants might help her along. One friend recalled getting a frantic call from Maryanne Trump, Donald’s sister, urging him to talk Donald out of letting her get plastic surgery that young. It’ll ruin her, she said into the phone. When his friend confronted him about it, he denied that she was getting implants. At the end of the call, he asked, Why not, though?”

The poor girl. The poor, poor girl. She’s mastered the art of being Trump’s daughter so well, and now she’s nothing but a prop. A prop who can’t think on her own.

This prop is having a hard time controlling “the ultimate wild child. An authentic jerk trumps an inauthentic brand ambassador.”

Trump is “the all-consuming maw . . . an infinite pit of need,” according to Emily Fox, author of the just published Born Trump. He’s “a time-sucking vampire who fed off those around him to sustain his own vanity.”

“Nobody,” writes Dowd, “is buying her blond savior routine any more.” Rest assured, however, that she has inherited her father’s “preternatural ability to self-promote.” She can still make money, just not from touting her association with Daddy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Letter to the Editor, New York Times, 24 June 2018

This letter was published weeks before the Trump-Putin Summit. Every word could have been published today.

Wake up, America! Our democratic institutions are under attack — from within.

To the Editor:

Many of us watch these developments in international relations with a mix of sadness, anxiety and extreme anger. It’s almost as if President Trump were saying to us, well, the system that enormously benefited me and my generation for the last 70 years was wonderful, but you don’t need it and can’t have it.

Most infuriating, many of the people now rapidly trying to destroy what took generations to build and maintain won’t be around to see the aftermath. But we will, and so will our children. We need to start voting all these people out in November and begin the hard work of repairing the damage.

D.P.D., Seattle

Stay tuned.

 

Today’s Back Issue of The New Yorker

  • At some point in the next few weeks or so, unless President Donald Trump stages a constitutional crisis — something that, given his habits, can hardly be ruled out — he will almost certainly have to take questions from Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election. — Amy Davidson Sorkin, The Talk of the Town

As if!

Self checks the date on the issue: 5 February 2018

We are still waiting. Either 45 is extremely smart (smarter than anyone thought he was), or his lawyers are extremely good, or we the People are just too stupid. Bottom line: Democrats have been wringing their hands for almost two years now and self has yet to see any results from all this hand-wringing. The wall is still going up and children at the border are still being separated from their parents (17 states, including California, are bringing suit against the federal government to stop this practice. Which will take, like, 84 years: self will be dead, Trump will be dead, everyone currently in government will be dead, THE END).

Outrage is so, so wearing.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Back Issues Reading: The New Yorker, 6 Nov 2017

Since self began her methodical reading of New Yorker back issues, she realizes that the economic and social forces churning through America (like Trump announcing his interest in the Presidency in 2006) should have been sending off alarm flares. But no, we were all too busy watching TV.

The Talk of the Town piece on actor Shia LaBoeuf and his humiliation by a Nazi group made the hair on the back of her neck stand!

From The Mail:

Pence and the Presidency

  • Jane Mayer’s piece on Vice-President Mike Pence revealed his terrifying personal convictions and his connections to right-wing evangelical donors (“The President Pence Delusion,” 23 October). Pence seems to be content to act as President Trump’s puppet . . .  The puppeteer has only to suggest that it’s fine for Pence to perform, and he rises to the occasion, no matter how embarrassing or how costly to this country.

Covering White Supremacy

  • Andrew Marantz handles the presentation of the white supremacist Mike Enoch’s life story tactfully, but I worry that publishing articles like this will only encourage others to follow in Enoch’s destructive footsteps (“The Birth of a White Supremacist,” 16 October)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Courthouse Square, Redwood City, Families Belong Together March

DSCN0306

Rep. Anna Eshoo spoke to a crowd of about 3,000: “I just came from McAllen, Texas, and I can tell you that the children I saw there were NOT a threat to national security.”

DSCN0307DSCN0308

The crowd chanted, “Shame! Shame! Shame!”

See you at the next rally.

Stay tuned.

 

Many Sides

The New Yorker‘s Adam Gopnik on Sarah Huckabee Sanders and who deserves a place at the table:

  • Never before in American politics has there been so plausible a reason for exclusion from the common meal as the act of working for Donald Trump.

@realDonaldTrump:

  • The Red Hen restaurant should focus more on cleaning its filthy canopies, doors and windows (badly needs a paint job) rather than refusing to serve a fine person like Sarah Huckabee Sanders. I always had a rule, if a restaurant is dirty on the outside, it is dirty on the inside!

 

 

So Ironic, on So Many Levels

Self decided to throw out all her New Yorkers that are older than 2017.

She had them as far back as 2011, there were stacks and stacks of them all over the place. Who was she kidding? She’d be dead before she got to read through all the piles.

Now, she pulls out the 3 April 2017 issue and reads a piece written by Andrew Marantz for the Talk of the Town:

  • A few years ago, after he starred in Transformers, the actor Shia LaBeouf seemed poised to become the next Johnny Depp; instead, he started behaving more like the next James Franco.

Despite that opening sentence, the piece is not really about Shia. It’s about 4-chan trolls, the “men whose main goal is to be the chaos they wish to see in the world,” who “turned Pepe the Frog, once a benign cartoon, into a neo-Nazi icon.”

They infiltrated one of Shia’s performance art events. The actor confronted them “and got arrested.” The Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, which was sponsoring the live event, “cancelled the project.”

The actor was undeterred and decided to continue his live stream from another venue, moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The trolls found him.

So Shia LaBeouf was actually one of the first people to tangle with the trolls and he showed plenty of gumption. He moved his project to Greenville, Tennessee. The trolls found him there, too. He moved to Liverpool, England, and the day after he resumed his live streaming project, “British trolls” found him and “the live stream went dark.”

They targeted the actor, and no one stood up for him. Not then. In the end, he simply ran out of energy (or money).

Who would have thought it would be Shia to become an early target. What this piece shows is that, even for someone with gumption and determination and resourcefulness, it is difficult to endure this kind of intense, organized hatred. Self is sure Shia was taken aback. As self was taken aback recently when someone on Facebook posted that the Red Hen owners had been visited by the Secret Service. She went over to yelp and saw that the restaurant’s reviews had been hijacked by hundreds of tweets bearing the Nazi swastika. Using the same tactics they used to call David Hogg, a Parkland school shooting survivor, a Nazi, these trolls were now calling the Red Hen owners Nazis.

And today someone in the GOP had the nerve to put out a hashtag called ‘civility’? Seriously? Our communities are under attack, our kids are under attack, and they want us to be ‘civil’? Trevor Noah was right: the way to deal with a lying, self-proclaimed martyr like Sarah Huckabee Sanders is to present her with an empty plate and say, there’s your order. She’d say, there’s nothing on this plate. The comeback would be to feign total shock and amazement and insist: There is. You’re just too simple to see it.

Because, no joke, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is on tape saying, “Let me try putting it into simple sentences, which is apparently all you can understand.”

A White House spokesperson actually said this to the White House press corps. And, maybe they were too shocked or something, because not one reporter took her to task for this insult. They just let it go.

It would be wonderful if, at the next White House Press Briefing, none of the press showed up. Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be left talking to an empty room. Let’s see what she does then.

She tweeted after she was turned away by the Lexington, VA restaurant, using her official (i.e. White House) twitter account.

There is not one single professional public servant in the current administration. They all assume a personal slight is a matter of national security. Oh please.

Let’s be clear: Sarah Huckabee Sanders earns 165k a year. And she resorts to Twitter knowing full well that trolls will descend and overwhelm the restaurant. She knew it would happen, and she used her official Twitter account. Is this not a horrible, horrible mis-use of public (official) twitter accounts? Yet Huckabee Sanders did it, which shows her vindictiveness and pettiness and meanness.

The President sends out tweets at 3 a.m. and rains insults on everyone. Is this not also a mis-use of a public (official) twitter account? Where is the respect for the office? No, Donald et. al. These accounts are not simply for your personal use. Your tweets may be entertaining but surely the American people have better things to worry about than your feelings of rejection.

Stay tuned.

Quote of the Day: Jay Parini, from the Introduction to the Penguin Classics Edition of TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY, by John Steinbeck

Finished In the Lake of the Woods in the wee hours. Got back past 11 p.m. from the City, resumed reading and just could not put it down until she knew what became of the missing wife.

She then turned to the next book on her reading list, Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck. She’s still on the Introduction, by Jay Parini:

  • East of the Mississippi, the conversations he overheard usually revolved around baseball; west of the Mississippi, the topic was hunting. Even though this was the autumn of an election year — Kennedy versus Nixon — there was no rigorous political debate to be heard anywhere.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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