Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year (from Tennyson & Harrison)

In Memoriam [CVI. Ring out, wild bells]

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

And George Harrison's 1974 variation on Tennyson's original:

Happy 2018 to all my fellow true blue liberalites.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas.

But I have a Christmas query:

I have nothing to add to the "War On Christmas" question that I didn't already say when this blog was brand new in December 2004: "Put the X back in Xmas."

Monday, November 27, 2017

Another TBL Poll : Who will be Trump's most effective deconstructionist?

Here's another poll that I see as a possible 50/50 toss-up.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Two Gettysburg Addresses

Today is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Gettysburg Address, but we shouldn't let that overshadow our current White House resident's Gettysburg Address on October 22, 2016. Only a candidate at the time, Donald Trump promised a major address about his first hundred days as president at the site of Lincoln's immortal speech. The speech quickly devolved into a typical airing of grievances about the media, lies about the Clinton campaign, and gloating about his crowd sizes, but included one key specific threat that he never followed up on (and never will). With news of his history of sexual assaults and the Access Hollywood tape (below) dominating the news, candidate Trump made this promise:
"Every woman lied when they came forward to hurt my campaign. Total fabrication. The events never happened. Never. All of these liars will be sued after the election is over."
Even Donald Trump must remember what happened when Bill Clinton was forced to lie under oath about his sexual past; Donald Trump will never want to face any of his many accusers in a court room.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A True Blue Liberal POTUS & SCOTUS Poll

Here's a poll that will be up on the @TrueBlueLiberal Twitter page this week about President Trump and two of his favorite judges:

Thursday, November 02, 2017

The "Best" Trump Poll

Here's a week-long Twitter poll about Donald Trump's "best" words and "best" people that doesn't seem to have an obvious answer.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Another TBL Poll: How Will #MAGA Kill You?

Or will it be a climate-change-induced weather catastrophe? Or black lung from all those new coal-fired power plants? Or getting hit by a Nazi-driven car because you had the temerity to engage in a peaceful protest? Or...?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Happy 100th to Thelonious Monk!

Although we're the ones who get the gifts...

One of the (many) crimes of the Trump era is that the steady stream of idiocies coming through the media from the media manipulator in D.C. today almost made me miss the fact that Thelonious Monk was born on October 10, 1917. There's more of what Makes America Great in any single note from Monk's fingers than in all the words ever tweeted by you know who.

Happy Birthday Mr. Monk.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

POLL: Sex, Lies, and Videotape

It's been too long since the last @TrueBlueLiberal Twitter poll, so here's one that will run for the next week. Again, I hope this doesn't have an obvious answer.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

The Dear Leader's Face!

After Dear Leader's promise to #MAGA is completed, maybe we can all get great jobs creating coins and medals and murals and posters and paintings and flags featuring Dear Leader's face and name!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

POLL: The "Death Tax" or Deaths In Texas

Yesterday afternoon, while victims of Hurricane Harvey were still dying and being rescued by helicopters and boats in Texas, President Trump spoke in Missouri about the more pressing issue (for him) of tax reform.
This leads to a new Twitter poll.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Another Twitter Poll: Who Will Trump Pardon First?

Will Donald Trump's first pardon go to the racist sheriff from Arizona? Or one of the people connected to the Trump/Russia scandal?  Or maybe he'll just try to save his namesake from RICO charges connected to "normal business practices"?

Twitter polls only allow four names, so if you have a name other than Arpaio, Manafort, Flynn, or Junior in mind, please put it in the comments.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

America's Worst Painting

No, America's worst painting is not from "The Painter of Light," but from Sean Hannity's favorite painter, Jon McNaughton.

It's turning out to be right-wing art history week. A few days ago we heard commentary on statues from the Tweeter-in-Chief. Today Fox News' Dumbest Anchor® tweeted the video above with the comment "Amazing video and Art! Love this." As an investor and collector of McNaughton's work, he's only coincidentally trying to increase the value of his own collection, but as an art expert I'd also like to ask Sean if the black snake being crushed under Donald Trump's heel represents who we think it represents (Hint: not Satan). If there's any doubt that the black snake is Barack Obama, all one has to do is to look at the artist's earlier "Forgotten Man" masterpiece in which President Obama is standing in the same spot with the Constitution under his foot while getting dirty looks from all the earlier white presidents as the forgotten man hangs his head sitting on his bench. Now, in the glorious Trump years, the forgotten one is off his bench and planting a tree of hope, and Barack Obama is being trampled underfoot.

Heavy-handed symbolism in representative art is always ugly, but heavy-handed racist symbolism gives this waste of canvas the prize for America's Worst Painting.

New True Blue Liberal Twitter Poll : The Two Donald Trumps

Last night Donald Trump tortured the ears and patience of America's prime-time television audience as he struggled to fluently read a script about Afghanistan from a Teleprompter at Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia. Tonight he'll be appearing and throwing red meat to his red-capped faithful at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona. This raises an obvious question without (for me) an obvious answer about the two Donalds.

Please vote.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Donald Trump, Art Lover

Defender-of-Nazis Donald J. Trump took to Twitter this morning to defend Confederate statues again, typing a string of tweets with an unexpected and completely out-of-character lesson in art history and the appreciation of beauty.
August 17, 2017
June 6, 1980
The first time that Donald Trump's name was linked to beautiful statuary in the news was back on June 6, 1980 when an article about Bonwit Teller on the first page of The New York Times ran with the headline, "Developer Scraps Bonwit Sculptures." Trump's name itself didn't appear until the sixth paragraph about the landmark Fifth Avenue department store that was being razed to make room for a "$100 million 62-story bronze-colored glass tower of apartments, offices, and stores" that we now know by its shorthand name, Trump Tower. Trump had promised the Metropolitan Museum of Art that he would donate two 15-foot-tall Art Deco bas-relief panels by Rene Paul Chambellan if the cost of removing them was not "prohibitive." In the next paragraph, Trump's fictional "vice president of the Trump Organization John Baron" explained, in a voice that sounded very much like Donald Trump's, "the merit of these stones was not great enough to justify the effort to save them." Even though the Met was anxious to add these pieces to their collection and the appraiser consulted by the Times valued them at "several hundred thousand dollars," the unnamed three independent appraisers that "John Baron" cited had valued them at "worth less than $9,000 in resale value" and not worth his estimated $32,000 cost of removal. So the Trump Organization removed the sculptures with jackhammers instead. The Met was interested in acquiring the decorative metal grillwork above the main entrance as well; Trump sold it for its scrap value.

Would Donald Trump or his spokesman "John Baron" have taken more care if the sculptures depicted Robert E. Lee or Nathan Bedford Forrest in "beautiful" equestrian poses?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Americans Should Never Forget this Moment with Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell

I just heard that President Trump gave an interview to Pat Robertson today that will be broadcast tomorrow on Robertson's main vehicle for extracting money from the gullible, The 700 Club on his Christian Broadcasting Network. It's bad enough that CBN deals in so much fake news and mythological mumbo-jumbo that it makes Fox News look almost credible by comparison (almost). The president can easily be criticized for seeking yet another safe interviewer deep within the right-wing media bubble, but the president should also be condemned for lending respectability to this founding mullah of the American Taliban. The other religious extremist nut in this one-minute video from September 13, 2001 is the late Jerry Falwell, the founder of every Republican presidential candidate's obligatory campaign stop, Liberty University, where Trump felt safe enough to return and give a heckle-free commencement address earlier this year.

Neither Falwell nor Robertson (or CBN or Liberty U) should ever appear in the news without the following video from two days after 9/11 immediately coming to every American's mind. This dangerous type of thought should never be mainstreamed (but it will have an even stronger proponent in the White House if Trump is kicked to the curb in favor of religious extremist VP Mike Pence).

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Saturday, July 01, 2017

A Poll About @realDonaldTrump's Tweets Without an Obvious Answer

Trump's tweets from July 1, 2016 at 10:10 AM EDT.

This morning, for the third morning in a row, the official presidential statements in tweet form from the account of @realDonaldTrump have been used to attack "Crazy Joe Scarborough" and "dumb as a rock Mika" Brzezinski; he also threw in shots at NBC, Comcast, and CNN. Over ten percent of his tweets since becoming president have been targeting journalists, aimed at the "failing New York Times" and "Amazon Washington Post" as well as CBS and ABC. They are all, in his opinion, "Fake News," and his supporters are buying it. Only Fox News, Breitbart, Infowars, and The National Enquirer escape the wrath of his little twitterfingers.

So here's the question. With more news breaking every day about the pre-election collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to affect the November results, isn't it in his interest to do everything he can to discredit the messengers who are reporting #TrumpRussia breakthroughs every day?

Saturday Evening Update:
The Tweeter In Chief ended this day the same way he started it, while also adding the phrase "Modern Day Presidential" to the language.
Trump's Tweets from 7/1/2017 captured at 8:30PM EDT.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Be Sure to Vote in the TBL Independence-Day-Weekend Poll

[Almost] Back to Business As Usual in the GOP/Fox Universe

After yesterday's Twitter misstep by the current resident of the White House, he was attacked from both sides of the aisle for reverting to his true bullying misogynistic personality (with a healthy dollop of his professionally-unexamined female blood obsession). Among the Republicans who attacked the anti-Mika Brzezinski tweets was Ben Sasse of Nebraska who responded, "Please just stop. This isn't normal and it's beneath the dignity of your office."

This morning Senator Sasse was on Donald Trump's favorite show Fox and Friends and called for a change in strategy to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:

A few minutes later, the president (whose own understanding of the mechanics of drafting and passing laws is less than rudimentary) tweeted this:
Looking at the time stamps on those tweets, it looks as though the official presidential statement in tweet form might have come before the Fox broadcast, but a CNN reporter retweeted by Sasse confirms the original sequence:
The sequence, however, is actually immaterial. The real point is that the GOP White House, the GOP Senate, and the GOP television network are all getting back on the same page and are rededicating themselves to working hard to achieve job one, removing health insurance from the poor and middle class in order to give large tax cuts to the very rich. Hooray! The world is back to normal!


HOLD THE PRESSES! While I was writing this, it seems that a certain television addict in the White House switched the channel from Fox News to MSNBC, and got his tweeting back on track.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Michelle Obama already delivered the best response to Trump's misogyny.

So, this morning the following misogynistic blast of twitterrhea oozed through the tiny digits of the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Screen captured on June 29, 2017 at 9:02 AM EDT, because I thought the writer would immediately delete or alter it. I gave him too much credit; it's still up in this form at 2:45 PM.

There have been a number of responses around the web (many of them from my own twitterfingers), but the more I think about it, the more it seems that the best response already came from Michelle Obama a few weeks before the election, on October 13, 2016, in Manchester, New Hampshire. I posted this video on that date, but this great speech needs to be seen again:

The fact is that in this election, we have a candidate for president of the United States who, over the course of his lifetime and the course of this campaign has said things about women that are so shocking, so demeaning, I simply will not repeat anything here today. And last week we saw this candidate actually bragging about sexually assaulting women. And I can’t believe that I’m saying that. A candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women and I have to tell you that I can’t stop thinking about this. It has shaken me to my core in a way that I couldn’t have predicted. So while I’d love nothing more than to pretend like this isn’t happening and come out here and do my normal campaign speech, it would be dishonest and disingenuous for me to move on to the next thing like this was all just a bad dream. This is not something we can ignore. It’s not something we can sweep under the rug as just another disturbing footnote in a sad election season. Because this was not just a lewd conversation. This wasn’t locker room banter. This was a powerful individual speaking freely and openly about sexually predatory behavior. And actually bragging about kissing and groping women, using language so obscene that many of us are worried about our children hearing it when we turn on the TV. And to make matters worse, it now seems very clear this isn’t an isolated incident. It’s one of countless examples of how he has treated women his whole life. I have to tell you that I listened to all this. And I feel it so personally. And I’m sure that many of you do too. Particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman. It is cruel. It's frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How the GOP TrumpCare Bill Would Affect Me

There's nothing dramatic to my story, but since the Republican attempt to "repeal & replace" the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will affect every American if it passes, we should probably all share our stories.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm not quite as lucky as those the GOP health care bills are written for, those who earn over $250,000 a year who will get tax cuts if the Senate version of "WealthCare" passes. But still, I'm one of the lucky ones. I've never been seriously sick as an adult and I have consistently had health insurance from an employer since 1978. I'm less than four years away from becoming eligible for Medicare, but I may not make it that far in an industry and a corporation that are both undergoing regular job reductions. I've also thought about retiring voluntarily before my 65th birthday, but the only thing that keeps me from doing so is health insurance. Even though I have been a very light user of my health insurance (I've made it through the past forty years with one broken arm, a few stitches, and two 'annual' physicals), I don't feel I could let myself go uninsured. I wouldn't like paying for a private health plan under the ACA to close the gap before Medicare, but I could afford to do so. If I lose my job and the Senate version of TrumpCare (the Orwellian-sounding "Better Care Reconciliation Act") passes, my annual premium would rise from $6,800/year under the ACA to over $20,000/year to give tax breaks to millionaires. At that price, I probably would go without insurance until Medicare kicks in and hope for my health luck to hold out (even though I know that I'd have the first serious illness of my life as soon as I became uninsured). That, in a nutshell, is my undramatic story.

But this isn't a collection of individual stories; it's a national tragedy. Unfortunately, for many Americans it's a devastating story of life and death. For many others its a harrowing matter of personal bankruptcy caused by a single unforeseen accident or illness (an exceptionally American problem). For others, it's a common American story of feeling chained for life to a boring corporate job one hates when one would rather be taking a chance being a writer or artist or freelance plumber or food-truck entrepreneur, all because of our health insurance trap. Why can't the party that claims to love FREEDOM! more than any other value see that a modern (c.1948) government-run single-payer health plan would free companies large and small from acting as insurance agents and free the rest of us from our greatest financial uncertainty and from our dead-end bullshit jobs, freeing us to be more fully ourselves and worrying less about piling up money for that inevitable rainy day? I would have gladly gotten out of the way and given my desk to a young go-getter by now if we had a National Health Service, but US corporations are full of burnt-out pieces of dead wood hanging on for our Aetna or Cigna cards, hoping we never have to use them.

Even though Mitch McConnell had a setback today, keep contacting your Senators and Representatives and tell YOUR story, which is probably more compelling than mine. Let them know that Obamacare isn't perfect but it has insured millions more and greatly reduced medical bankruptcies; TrumpCare in both its House and Senate versions would increase the number of uninsured, increase the number of medical bankruptcies, reinstate lifetime coverage caps, etc. We should always be moving toward universal coverage, not further away.

Monday, June 12, 2017

All Praise to Dear Leader Kim Il Trump From His Inner Circle of Ass-Licking Yes Men and Yes Women! #MAGA! #MAGA!

For a man who claimed that he never would have demanded a pledge of loyalty from his fired FBI chief James Comey, this Cabinet meeting today seems to demonstrate the opposite, namely that nothing is more important to him than public pledges of fealty from his sycophantic underlings.

This has to be seen to be believed:

Only one question remains after watching this, so I posted a quick one-day poll on Twitter to determine the answer:
Senator Schumer's short parody shows how ridiculous this would look if an actual politician... an actual human being... did it:

Friday, June 09, 2017

A 'Total and Complete Vindication!' Poll

While yesterday's James Comey Senate testimony branding the current occupant of the White House a liar was seen by most as a bad day for Donald Trump, at least one person on Twitter took a contrarian view when he awoke at five this morning ... after almost two full days of social-media silence.

Which leads to this morning's @TrueBlueLiberal Twitter Poll question:

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Poll: Which of Trump's co-conspirators will go on the lam first?

Here's a new Twitter poll that I'll leave up for a full week. Who knows how these names will be affected by the #TrumpRussia news, rumors, and leaks in the next seven days.
Unfortunately, Twitter only allows four options in these polls; if you want to add Jared Kushner or another name, you'll need to do so in a response to the tweet.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

It's not #TrumpRussia collusion; it's simply another in a long (and increasingly improbable) string of coincidences.

At 6:04 this morning, the current resident of the White House woke up obsessing about the #TrumpRussia developments that are quickly becoming his Watergate (or at least his Iran-Contra) scandal.
This afternoon a complementary message from the other half of the #TrumpRussia dyad echoed the president's early-morning toilet tweet.
At least Putin and Trump know how to keep their story and their messaging language coordinated.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Deplorable Sibling Rivalry Poll

Here's a poll that could go either way, so there's no reason for Trumpkins on Twitter to try to hijack it for their own ends. After seeing a story earlier today about Betsy DeVos's gleeful endorsement of states' rights to discriminate against children, I thought about her and her brother, Blackwater founder Erik Prince, and which one is more, for lack of a better word, deplorable.

First I asked a rhetorical question on Twitter:
But then I decided to throw the question out to the Twitterverse for a final determination. As I said, I wouldn't be surprised to see this go either way.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Happy Birthday Bob!

Bob Dylan turns 76 today.

And you still don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Presidential Commencement Speech Worth Watching

As I type this, the 45th president of the United States is getting ready to give a commencement speech at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (established 1971), though he would have preferred to have given this address at Trump University if fraud charges hadn't brought it down.

As an antidote, here is the 44th president of the United States giving the address to Rutgers University's (established 1766) graduating seniors almost exactly one year ago, on May 15, 2016.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?"

The headline about the new Quinnipiac Poll that was released yesterday was about the percentages of Americans who support (36%) or don't support (58%) Donald Trump. However, scrolling down below the demographic percentage breakdowns (which were all moving dramatically out of the president's favor even before his firing of James Comey), reveals this gem of a question that appeals more to those of us who love language more than numbers: "What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?"

The only thing that surprises me is that 'asshole' only came in at eleventh place, but otherwise this is a list that you could hand to any American and they would know exactly who were describing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

This could be the most effective healthcare speech in the current Trumpcare 2.0 debate

Normally I'm not a fan of the American television and celebrity culture that has given us our current resident of the White House, but maybe that culture is also the best weapon to help bring him down too, or at least help neutralize his power to take away health insurance from those who finally gained it under President Obama.

Although if I ever watched late night television, it might be hard to decide between Kimmel and Colbert.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Some of my favorite signs from Saturday's Climate March in D.C.

Continuing a tradition that began here at after the January 21st Women's March, here are a few of my favorite signs from the April 29th People's Climate March in D.C., for those of you who were in a different place in the long line of march ... or who avoided the 92°F temperatures and stayed at home ... or were marching in another city.

Waiting for the March to Begin.

One of many "There is no Planet B" signs.

Parachutes waiting to be deployed.

"Make Siberia Hot Again" (his Russian-accented pro-Trump spiel was  even
better than his sign and his uniform).

"Resist Hell & High Water"

"It's The Planet, Stupid!" and "There Is No Climate Change On This Flat Earth"

"Justice is what love looks like in public. -- Cornell West"

"Homeless. Thanks Trump."

"can't wait under 3 years & 265 days"
"Don't Trump On Me"

"Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Children? Stop Global Warming!"

"91° April 'Sad'!"
"Greenhouse gasbag"

"Sick & tired of greedy assholes destroying my home"

"Who Knew? (Everyone but you, Idiot!)"

"Enough Hot Air From Washington. Climate Change Is Real!"

Globe hats.

"Paid Protesters" as far as the eye could see up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Lorax giving the finger and "I can't take this heat -- or another 100 days of this asshole!"

Trumpty Dumpty[?], a JFK quote, and "Ivanka Lives Here Too"

"Mother Earth Says: Keep Your Hands Off My Body!"
"I can't believe I'm protesting for reality!"

Puppets of Trump and a corporate lobbyist passing by the National Archives building.

"He Has A Small Mind Too!"
"Welcome to Mar-A-Lagone!" (with Trump's D.C. Hotel tower in the background)

Giant inflatable cow promoting veganism as it passes Trump's D.C. Hotel.

"Animal Agriculture Must End For Our Kids' Sake"
Birds taking flight at the corner of 14th and Pennsylvania.
"Lancaster Against Pipelines" and their quilt.
"Don't Worry
Jared Took
Earth Science
He's Got This"

Stilt walker turning from 15th St NW back onto Pennsylvania Avenue.
"The Only Toxic Waste We Should Be Dumping is Donald Trump"

Looking on the positive side of climate change, "At Least Mar-A-Lago Will Be Underwater!"
Red flags in front of the White House.
"Stop destroying our planet, it's where I keep all my stuff!"
"Keep the Earth Clean, it's not Uranus."
This guy.
Puppet and flags.
"people thinking the earth was flat never made it less round"
"3% of scientists say this march isn't happening"

Trees marching past the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

I was obviously only able to see a small percentage of the signs and marchers on Saturday; I hope some of the many other people with cameras are posting photos and videos too.