Monday, December 31, 2018

Goodbye 2018. It's time to start seriously thinking about Donald Trump's replacement.

On this last day of Trump Year 2, Senator Elizabeth Warren is in the news for formally announcing the formation of her presidential exploratory committee. She won't be the last challenger throwing her (or his) hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination. Earlier this week, the Times ran an article focusing on four U.S. Senators who are likely early candidates: Massachusetts' Warren, New Jersey's Cory Booker, California's Kamala Harris, and New York's Kirsten Gillibrand.

That led me to post this early Twitter poll:

With a new Democratic House of Representatives and the beginning of the 2020 presidential campaign, I hope 2019 gives all of us much more hopeful news about Democrats and much less news about you know who.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Little Known Fact: White Nationalists refer to themselves as "Whiners"

There are too many syllables and letters in "White Nationalism" for most white nationalists to keep track of, so within their pale brotherhood they are fond of calling themselves "Whiners" to identify themselves to fellow white nationalists.

When America's most famous and "Most Fabulous Whiner" was asked by PBS NewsHour White House reporter Yamiche Alcindor today about white nationalism, he interrupted her and "whined" about her "racist" question (even though he never let her complete it).

Attacking an esteemed African-American reporter as a racist was, of course, an open message to his fellow "Whiners" that he was still on their side and working in their interest.

This led me to post another True Blue Liberal Poll on Twitter earlier this afternoon. What percentage of Donald Trump's base is made up of "Whiners"?

Joni Mitchell is 75 today.

Who is the greatest English-language songwriter of the 20th century?
Discuss among yourselves.

"Sitting in a park in Paris, France 
Reading the news and it sure looks bad 
They won't give peace a chance 
That was just a dream some of us had"

I can't express how much I love Joni's words and music and voice.
I hope she's having the happiest of birthdays today.

Friday, September 28, 2018

R.I.P. Marty Balin, January 30, 1942 – September 27, 2018

Paul Kantner and Marty Balin both gone now. I can't imagine how Grace Slick feels tonight.

I remember in Grace's autobiography that she wrote about sleeping with every member of the band except for Marty, but she made love to him every night on stage. That's so obvious in some of these duets. The Slick/Kantner mix has one kind of magic, but the Slick/Balin blend of voices was the early Airplane sound.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Our Empathetic POTUS: Who Says that Donald Trump Can't Feel the Pain of Others?

Many people say that Donald J. Trump is incapable of empathizing with anyone other than Donald J. Trump, but there is one exception, men who are accused of sexual assault or harassment. The case of Brett Kavanaugh is not the first case where he seems capable of truly feeling an accused man's pain.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

The Finest White Whine: The Mission Statement of Donald J. Trump

"I am the most fabulous whiner. I do whine because I want to win, and I'm not happy about not winning, and I am a whiner, and I'm a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win." -- Donald J. Trump on CNN, August 11, 2015 

And just in case you think that this quote is just "Fake News" from CNN, there is video of this ultimate #FineWhiteWhine from the current resident of the White House:

This video also shows how the supremely-unqualified Trump was coddled and given free airtime by CNN and the rest of the news-hungry media in the summer of 2015.

A True Blue Liberal Poll Concerning Credibility

With Bob Woodward's upcoming book, Fear: Trump in the White House, getting the current president's knickers in a twist to the point where he's attacking Woodward's credibility on Twitter, it seemed like a good time for another poll.
This time the results should be obvious and overwhelmingly lopsided (at least until the poll is discovered by Russian bots).

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

How to keep your Trump Anxiety Disorder from becoming Trump Derangement Syndrome

Not only is Trump Anxiety Disorder (TAD) an actual diagnosis from actual therapists, but it's hard to trust anyone who isn't suffering from it; if you don't have at least a touch of TAD, you're not paying attention. Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) may be more of a pejorative diagnosis from Donald Trump's supporters at Fox News and Donald Trump himself, but it's also a real danger. While recognizing the real danger of Trump and Trumpism to the nation and the world, we shouldn't let it dominate our lives. A serious case of TDS would make it hard to appreciate all the non-Trump areas of our world; I can imagine a TDS sufferer getting so bad that doctors would prescribe a radical treatment of pulling all the electronic links and asking him or her to take a retreat to a world of nature hikes and vinyl records and books that were printed before 2016. During Vietnam and Watergate, I was very politically active, going to marches and writing letters to the editor -- maybe a little obsessed at times -- but there was no 24-hour news on television (there was no 24-hour television, period), so I got a natural break from Nixon to read books or listen to records or play guitar. There was literally no news available between the time the TV networks played the national anthem and signed off at midnight until the local newspaper arrived on your doorstep the next morning.
I was recently laid off. For the first time in forty years, I don't have a workplace to go to every day. I was worried about the temptation of daytime cable news and its ability to turn my TAD into a case of incurable TDS (I've seen those people on Twitter who tweet fanatically about every "Morning Joe" guest), so I've taken a few steps. I've lived completely without television for years before, but I didn't take that drastic step this time. I was able (after too much time on the phone with Time Warner Spectrum) to reduce the number of available channels to the lowest number, basically the New York over-the-air channels (if I lived in a place where I could get TV over the air) and C-Span and some shopping channels. No Netflix. No Amazon. No Hulu. No HBO. No ESPN(s). No Fox News (not that I watched anyway). No MSNBC (sorry, Rachel). No CNN. No panels of  "experts" trying to attract eyeballs 24/7/365 with manufactured political conflict. No Corey Lewandowski or Alan Dershowitz or Rudy Giuliani or Kellyanne Conway popping up unexpectedly on my television to cause an outbreak of TDS inflammation. It's not as good as the days when there were only three stations, but I have it close to the point where there's never anything on worth watching. Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I want to get to the point where I'm only tempted to watch PBS NewsHour and nothing else.
In addition to the steps I've taken with my TV, I'm also trying to cut down my time on Twitter, where  reactions to insane @realDonaldTrump tweets seem to hijack all conversations. I don't follow his account, but somehow I never miss a tweet of his as everyone on the left spreads his words. If you are following him on any social media platform, please stop; he assumes all followers (even the obviously fake accounts from Saint Petersburg troll farms) are supporters. You'll hear what he has to say anyway; you can't avoid it.
All that being said about steps to avoid TDS, let's not forget who made up the term. In an article in Salon by Chauncey DeVega two weeks before the inauguration, "You have been warned: 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' will be a cudgel used to silence his critics," the danger was explained succinctly:
The right-wing propagandists who will deploy "Trump Derangement Syndrome" against their enemies have one ultimate goal: to normalize the danger to American democracy represented by Trump and his supporters.

But still, I worry:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

POLL: Which "Witch Hunt" Will Ultimately Nab the Witch?

While Robert Mueller continues to compile Trump-Russia evidence in secret, there were public advances this week in both the Trump sex-scandal coverup and emoluments cases. In addition to proving that Donald Trump was lying (which is never news), the Michael Cohen tape aired on CNN on Tuesday night could be important evidence in proving campaign finance violations in the Playboy Model / National Enquirer case (and today we find out the feds have more than a hundred other tapes related to Trump and Cohen). In emoluments and corruption news, there was an important advance yesterday when a federal judge interpreted the anticorruption clauses of the Constitution in a way that will allow the case against Trump's conflicts of interest to proceed.

Which leads to the True Blue Liberal Poll of the Week asking the infallible collective intelligence of Twitter which "Witch Hunt" will be the one most likely to snare the leader of the coven?

Happy 75th to Mick Jagger

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Happy Birthday to Amelia Earhart...

...born on this date in 1897 (disappeared in July 1937).

A ghost of aviation
She was swallowed by the sky
Or by the sea like me she had a dream to fly
Like Icarus ascending
On beautiful foolish arms
Amelia it was just a false alarm
--Joni Mitchell, 1976

Friday, July 20, 2018

Why type "Donald Trump" when you can simply type "Idiot"?

With shades of "Santorum," savvy internet users now know that if they are looking for images of or webpages about President Donald J. Trump on Google, they can save carpal-tunnel-inducing keystrokes by simply typing i-d-i-o-t. You would think another idiot or two would show up; they do, but you have to scroll down past images of Donald Trump to find them.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Two Active TrueBlueLiberal Twitter Polls need your input.

Who is the better liar, Putin or Trump...
and Two:
Can one maintain civility when addressing Trump about his Washington, D.C., military parade with its authoritarian and un-American (i.e., Trumpian) overtones...

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Yellowbird: Did Joseph Heller Predict President Trump in his Final Novel?

I just started reading Joseph Heller's final novel, Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man, in which Eugene Pota, an older novelist, is looking for an appropriate subject and plot for his next book. I was surprised to see that one of Pota's early attempts is a story prompted by a memory of the song Yellow Bird. In this novel sketch a young boy lets his mother's new canary out of its cage, a mistake that leads to the yellow bird's death and also leads to his first experience with successful lying when he gets his mother's money back at the pet store.

"Years later, he remembered the yellow bird and labeled the experience his first brush with death. Also his first advantageous negotiation. His first constructive deception. It was all so easily fruitful he resolved to try dishonesty again whenever a situation counseled chicanery. Like Tom Sawyer, he was fond of mischievous deceit, and his antics had never, until the present, tumbled him into trouble. Foppishly, he'd felt himself invulnerable. Absurdly, when elected to the presidency of the country, he'd chosen for himself the code name Yellowbird."

I don't know what this fictional lying president looked like, but wouldn't "Yellowbird" be a great code name for a septugenarian president who insists on wearing a baby-chick yellow wing on the top of his head.

"Forty-five years  later, when holed up quaking in the White House as though in an imperiled stronghold, and confronted by the impending ignominious dishonor of impeachment, he recalled this childhood exploit with the canary, and in his next lamebrained and squirming, sorrowful, insincere, apologetic speech he impetuously injected a line of poetry he'd come upon far back in a place he no longer remembered by a poet no longer of importance to him, interpolating, 'I would rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand stars how not to shine...or dance.' That sounded great, he thought, and infused with an ardent surge of confidence, he hastened to venture further into the domain of arts and letters and raced on extemporaneously with a line he associated with Eleanor Roosevelt, that, to wit, it was better to light a candle than curse the darkness. He was pleased with himself after that one too and was basking in his own scholarly sense of himself even before he finished.
"His speechwriters and closest advisors, on the other hand, were aghast. In shocked states of agonized helplessness, they glared at each other with outrage. 'That putz!' grumbled the one from New York City. 'That very dumb putz!' Another, with a polite growl of apology, stepped outside to vomit."
If Twitter had existed in 1999 when Heller's novel was written, I'm sure President Yellowbird would have used it rather than a speaker's podium to embarrass himself. But despite its prophetic qualities, this fictional sketch doesn't become Pota's next novel.
"Who cared? What could it lead to that was worthwhile? Another political farce, another dysfunctional family yarn? Any serious literary work treating those contaminated buffoons in Washington as a herd of contaminated buffoons could no longer be fresh or striking. It would have to be ludicrous and thin, anything but serious, and there had already been too many of those."
Isn't that exactly how a lot of writers are feeling about the "real world" of 2018, with our current president that no serious novelist would ever be able to (or want to) invent?

Thursday, July 05, 2018

70 Years Ago Today, UK citizens got something that US citizens are told is impossible, a National Health Service

How is it possible that a modern National Health Service was achievable 70 years ago in a Great Britain still clearing rubble from World War II and still experiencing food rationing, but is considered impossibly expensive in the world's wealthiest economy, one that hasn't experienced war on its soil since 1865?

The National Health Service began on July 5, 1948.
I'm simply retyping the historic text of the page above in order to make it searchable and readable on all devices:

Your new National Health Service begins on 5th July. What is it? How do you get it?
    It will provide you with all medical, dental, and nursing care. Everyone--rich or poor, man, woman or child--can use it or any part of it. There are no charges, except for a few special items. There are no insurance qualifications. But it is not a " charity ". You are all paying for it, mainly as taxpayers, and it will relieve your money worries in time of illness.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Soundtrack for the Trump Era?

In case you had any doubt about Rage Against the Machine being in the running for the most appropriate soundtrack of the Trump era, look at Giuliani's appearance at the beginning of this 1999 Michael Moore-directed video for "Sleep Now in the Fire," and the bizarre campaign poster that makes a prophetic appearance at the 1'04" mark.

Rage may not be touring or recording now, but we have their songs being given new life by Brass Against the Machine. This version of "Wake Up" was just posted ten days ago.

Friday, April 06, 2018

POLL: Does anything scare Donald Trump more than a White House Correspondents' Dinner?

The White House just announced that Donald Trump is weaseling out of the White House Correspondents Association Dinner again this year. We all know that he's intellectually intimidated by the people in that room, but is there anything that scares him more? (This Twitter poll will be up for a week.)

Monday, March 05, 2018

This Week's @TrueBlueLiberal Poll Is About Trump's Tariff Tantrum and Its Motivation

Friday, February 23, 2018

POLL: Can the Wisdom of Crowds tell us which member of the #TrumpCrimeFamily is going to see the inside of a jail cell first?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

New Poll. Which psychiatric disorder is behind the President's compulsion to build the #GreatWallOfTrump?

Monday, January 01, 2018

The Easiest Possible New Year's Resolution: WWDTD?

WWDTD is, of course, a simple mnemonic for "What Would Donald Trump Do?"

My resolution for 2018 is to remember to ask myself this question, and do the opposite. On the simplest level, asking myself WWDTD will keep me from golfing; praising myself inordinately; whining for an apology every time I feel my name, appearance, or intelligence has been slighted; hanging out in meetings with crowds of sycophants in suits and ties; looking for questionable ways to cheat on my taxes or otherwise gain money for myself and my family through schemes and shortcuts; creating a fraudulent 'university'; making a profit by raising the cost of admission to my annual New Year's Eve party at my own club; belittling people of a race, gender, or nationality that differs from mine; attacking people who express their patriotism differently or worship a different god, or no god; etc.; etc.

But those are all the obvious negatives inspired by the WWDTD resolution strategy. There are positive steps I can take too, by proactively doing the opposite of what DT would do. Last night, for example, rather than hanging out with billionaires in monkey suits and being bored to death at Mar-a-Lago to celebrate New Year's Eve, I watched (at extremely high volume) all four hours of the Grateful Dead's New Year's Eve show at Winterland as 1978 became 1979 while reading the latest issue of The New York Review of Books and drinking ginger tea with turmeric. That's not something DT would do.

I woke up this morning and went directly to a New Year's Day yoga class. That's not something DT would do.

I'm working on turning my vegetarian diet into a vegan diet. That's not something DT would do.

I want to read even more books, and read more widely, than I did in 2017. I stumbled on a couple of things this morning that are geared toward that goal, the Los Angeles Times' "How to read more books in 2018" and the New York Public Library's "Read Harder in 2018! NYPL's Suggestions for Book Riot’s Annual Challenge." Personally, I have found that signing up with Goodreads and taking their Reading Challenge for the past few years has kept me reading more than 40 books a year. That's not something DT would do (I doubt if he has read 40 books in his life).

WWDTD should provide guidance throughout the year. I'm going for a long walk now even though it's 12°F outside. That's not something DT would do.