Saturday, June 30, 2018

Jukebox Saturday Night for June 30th, 2018: The Darin, The Doctor, and The Dancer Edition

First up, something old school and nice …

"Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin from his album That's All (1959)

This is one of Bobby Darin's signature songs. Darin's album That's All also included his other signature song: "Mack the Knife," itself from the 1928 German music drama Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera).

I featured Bobby Darin in this Jukebox Saturday Night edition just about 5 years ago in which he performs "Skylark" -- yet another great song.

As for "Beyond the Sea," I featured this lovely song just over a year ago in this edition of Jukebox Saturday Night -- except it was a much more recent version by crooner Bobby Caldwell.

"Beyond the Sea" is a 1945 contemporary pop romantic love song by Jack Lawrence, with music taken from the song "La Mer" by Charles Trenet. Trenet had composed "La Mer" (which means "the Sea") with French lyrics.

It had some differences to the English-language version that Lawrence later wrote.

Trenet's French version was a homage and ode to the changing moods of the sea, while Lawrence, by just adding one word "Beyond" to the title, gave him the start whereby he made the song into a love song.


Next up, we'll continue the mellow but upbeat pace …

"The Doctor" by Fattburger from this jazz group's Good News album (1987)

This song was re-released on the group's 1992 album The Best of Fattburger. The group's website is here. It includes a link to the current quintet's discography.


And we'll end with something energetic and Saturday night upbeat …

"Rhythm is a Dancer" by Snap! from this German Eurodance group's album The Madman's Return (1992)

The female dancer in this video is past group member Thea Austin.

Here is a different video version featuring an array of young people having fun dancing to this song in at least a half dozen different, interesting and/or photogenic settings …


OK, that's all for now. Please see my previous entry for a general posting and update.


Saturday Evening Post for June 30th, 2018: High Heat, Humidity, and Anthony Kennedy Ethics In TrumpWorld -OR- GOP Dystopia, 2nd Summer

**This entry was posted June 30th, 2018.**

Flowers against the evening sky, Mary Livingston Ripley Gardens, Washington, D.C., 7:46 p.m. June 26, 2018.

I was walking home from this evening. No, I don't know what sort they are. But the plant from which they grew was very impressive -- reminding me of something from an old Star Trek: TOS series ready to shoot out some crazy pollen or gas.


Saturday night.

OK, so this part of my Saturday night entries has become standardized … I'm back from the gym and in for the night doing my usual Saturday routine nighttime -- blogging, making dinner, and laundry while watching MeTV's Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night lineup and its subsequent Red-Eye Sci-Fi Sunday into the wee hours.

The episode of Wonder Woman was Judgement from Outer Space: Part 2."

The Svengoolie-hosted monster movie is the bizarre 1960 horror movie The Leech Woman

Seeing a young and pretty Kim Hamilton in the movie puts the Sanford & Son episode "The Older Woman" in an interesting light. Of note, Hamilton was partnered with and later married to Werner Klemperer of Hogan's Heroes fame.

After two 30-min episodes of Batman, the Star Trek: TOS episode at 11 p.m. is "Plato's Stepchildren." The Battlestar Galactica episode at 12 a.m. is "Take the Celestra."

The rest of the lineup is Kolchak the Nightstalker (Firefall"); Lost in Space ("War of the Robots"); Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ("The Saboteur"); and Land of the Giants ("The Mechanical Man") ending at 5 a.m.

I'm making dinner -- pork chops, steamed broccoli, and jasmine rice -- and having some Seltzer water, iced team, and one of those Victory Golden Monkey beers I like (and purchased at the nearby Yes! organic market).

A lawn statue of some sort in the Downing and Vaux Condos complex, Georgetown, Washington, D.C., 3:22 p.m. June 17, 2018.


It's an unpleasantly warm and humid night following a hot, humid, and mostly sunny day. At the 11 p.m. hour, it is 80F at KDCA with a 71F dew point. Dew points -- as is their summertime wont in this part of the world -- are creeping up.

NWS weather advisories for the U.S. (without legend), updated 0242UTC July 1, 2018.

The heat advisories are coral-hued and excessive heat warnings are medium violet red-hued. There is also an excessive heat watch is denoted by a maroon color (although I don't really see any on this map).


Much of the eastern third of the United States is in the grip of a summer heatwave with the NWS having issued heat advisories and excessive heat warnings for large swathes of this part of the country.

NWS weather advisories for the U.S. (without legend), updated 1611UTC June 29, 2018.


Highs today were 91F at KDCA, 94F at KBWI, and 92F at KIAD. For its part, KDMH reached 97F. Tomorrow and Monday are forecasted to be near 100F and humid, so quite disgusting.

On Monday, heat indices could reach 110F -- the Sterling LWX CWA's in my view excessively high criteria for an excessive heat warning. (To be clear, other NWS forecast offices have noticeably lower thresholds for this product.)

As for Sterling, it goes out of its way to not issue excessive heat warnings and, when it oh-so-reluctantly does, it quickly cancels them. It's like a weird badge of honor or something.

There also isn't much chance for thunderstorms until later in the upcoming week.

Changing topics …

I had an opportunity, as it were, to go to tonight's Town closing party. A person who shall not be named here (since he did it to be nice) gave me a "TOWN Closing Weekend Line Pass" that would allow me and one guest "priority entry" to the place (over at 8th and U NW, so easily walkable for me), but still having to pay a cover.

I rather doubt it -- I'm in for the night.

For starters, Town was never a place I much frequented. It was always a shadow of what Nation had been (and, earlier, Tracks).

Yeah, these are the people around whom I want to spend my Saturday night / wee hours Sunday morning. Source here.


Secondly, I'm too damn old to gallivant around on an uncomfortably warm and humid night in throngs of people trying to get into a place where I wouldn't talk to anyone and instead get ignored and otherwise treated shittily (is that a word??).

Another view of aforementioned flowers, Mary Livingston Ripley Gardens, Washington, D.C., 
7:45 p.m. June 26, 2018.


While I don't want to make this entry all politically charged, I would like to follow-up my previous entry by calling attention to this New York Times piece that explains the cozy connection between Trump and retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy: It turns out that Kennedy's son, Justin, was head of Deutsche Bank's global real estate capital markets.

The Trump-Putin money laundering web in Tinker Toy connection chart form.


Deutsche Bank is a key financial institution through which a large amount of that Russian oligarch money was laundered as part of Trump's Putin-funded sprawling, multifaceted criminal enterprise. As Charlie Pierce noted, this explains Kennedy's Citizens United reasoning.

I just want to say a few words on the much-vaunted "moderate/centrist/swing vote" Anthony Kennedy.

In the end, even though he gave us the Obergefell v. Hodges decision, he also gave us Bush v. Gore, the highly destructive Citizens United, and a recent raft of (as Charlie Pierce correctly called it) odious 5-4 decisions including upholding the Vulgar Talking Yam's Muslim ban from seven countries and the usual anti-labor, anti-choice, anti-everything rulings.

Keep in mind that Anthony Kennedy expressly went out of his way to retire so that Trump could appoint and the amoral Mitch McConnell monsters confirm some new horrible piece of shit who will be on the High Court for the next half century.

And Senate Dems -- rather than just refusing to show up for this dirty charade -- will OF COURSE be there to "honor the process" and make "a stern and powerful speech" that achieves the usual garbage: Nothing.

Once this new Federal Society bot and the rest of the "Scalia 5" faction on the court -- they will forever be the "Scalia 5" even though Scalia is dead, dead, dead -- have overturned Roe v. Wade, the decision will go back to every fundie whack-job, ignorant, deeply corrupt state legislature to legislate complex medical decisions.

Yeah, that should work great. But it won't be my problem. It will be the problem of all those women (and their daughters) living in those Red States, many of whom PROUDLY vote for the GOP/Trump.

Expect the entire framework of civil, environmental, and regulatory state laws to be destroyed -- in order to achieve some fucked up dystopian ideal of the Federal Society and their libertarian ilk: an 1820s Mississippi slave plantation world.

It boggles the mind to think: Had Thurgood Marshall timed his retirement announcement a little better, we would never have had Clarence Thomas -- and the whole history of the United States since 2000 would be radically different.

However, God -- or whatever underlying depravity guides this reality -- ALWAYS works to ensure that the worst occurs (while still continuing the whole spectacle).

Of all people, it was Frank Bruni -- a New York Times columnist I dislike and strenuously avoid reading because I think his writings are a waste of precious op-ed page space -- who summed it up best in this column:
The Cosmic Joke of Donald Trump's Power.

Pearls Before Swine, June 28, 2018


In conclusion, Anthony Kennedy was nothing more than a Trump-enabling rightwing Republican political operative masquerading as a wise Supreme Court Justice who in his gilded retirement leaves the country a lot worse off than he found it. But what else would you expect from the GOP?

Of note, there were protests around the country -- including here in D.C. -- against Trump's war on immigrants in the form of the human catastrophe embodied in the failed "zero tolerance" policy that resulted in the forcible separation of 2,000+ minors -- in some cases, 2 and 3 year old children -- from their parents.

Not to worry, though, because Fred Hiatt and his Washington Consensus are there to remind us that we all need to be "civil" and "not shrill" when it comes to kissing the ass of this morally diseased and ethically plagued Trump kakistocracy. Anyway, the GOP just laughs at all these protests.

I should wrap up this entry.

View from my apartment, Washington, D.C., 12:26 p.m. June 29, 2018.


For tomorrow -- given how disgustingly hot and humid it will be -- I should do like I did last Sunday and go over to Georgetown and stop at that dark and air-conditioned bar Sovereign. I had gone to Martin's Tavern, and then went to Sovereign, where -- unexpectedly -- Tim and I met in the darkened, candle-lit downstairs bar/restaurant.



OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will be late Monday or early Tuesday. Jukebox Saturday Night entry to follow momentarily (as I have it already prepared) …


Thursday, June 28, 2018

It's Time to Admit It: In Our Current, Counter-Majoritarian US Political Configuration, the GOP Has Successfully Completely and Permanently Obliterated Wussy Dems -OR- Supreme Corpse

Lake Chelan, Washington State

The images in this entry are of various U.S. lakes that came from a photo-montage of "the 20 most beautiful lakes in the U.S." I'm not posting any image captions. If you are interested in the pics, just click on / download them.


So let's talk about this garbage for a bit (and not in a good way) …

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (R - Miserable) decided to retire just in time for the GOP Trump Cult in the Senate under Elaine Chao, She-Male Husband of Majority Leader Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell (R - Whore), to ram through ANOTHER fucking Federal Society-bot that will be on the court for another half-to-full century.

And there isn't a goddamn thing the useless, worthless Dems can do -- except, I suppose, simply refuse to show up to the Senate, or if they do, start a fucking brawl, but they're fair too wussified to do anything Fred Hiatt judges to be "uncivil."

I agree with Chris Matthews, but I have no idea the solution other than to detonate the system that the GOP has perverted into shit. It's an existential crisis in which the country itself (no matter the eventual outcome) very likely won't survive in its current form.

Naturally, we start this kabuki theatre, the worthless, useless "Schumer Dems" are "appealing to reason" to Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell to follow his own "McConnell Rule" that McConnell (R - 60-Pounds of Jowls and Elaine "Cocaine" Chao) pulled out of his posterior in blocking "No Drama" Obama's pick.

What a bunch of shit.

Rather, a first start is to fully acknowledge the immutable fact that the fucking GOP has "WON" when it comes to the federal judiciary -- they've completely and totally taken it over and fucking gotten EVERYTHING they want.

The GOP has completely, totally, and in the current political "counter-majoritarian" configuration of this country, permanently won. And I refer not just Roe v. Wade -- which is history. You can go screw your right to an abortion.

These "Bernie or Bust" gamer animals can go to hell. Fuck them. They ruined self-righteously everything in 2016 and they are no better today. As for these Red Staters, they can blimp out in their fundamentalist trailer parks until Trump figures out a way to gas them all for profit.

My point is that any effort to "turn to" the fucking judiciary -- itself little more than a Federalist Society whorehouse/crack-house/trap-house -- is doomed to TOTAL FAILURE. (This means don't even bother to fight the fact that the Vulgar Talking Yam that Putin got elected is engaging in massive state-sponsored kidnapping of migrant children. That's just another fucking 5-4 abomination -- and soon to be 6-3, and then 7-2, and finally, 8-1, 9-0 -- waiting to happen.)

Expect Senate Dems to show up and make "a powerful speech" while soiling themselves on the "august Senate floor" -- even while collapsing before the GOP. But even the "powerful speech" will "set off alarms" for Fred Hiatt and "stop cold" Ruth "Mother" Marcus for the "incivility" of it.

Failure. Failure. Failure. Failure. Until the End of Time. (In the current political configuration, that is.)

My point is, there is NOTHING the Dems can do. They have LOST. And we need to be acknowledge the fact that over the next 10 to 20 years, the judicial branch of the United States of GOP'ica have total and complete "counter-majoritarian" power in ALL THREE branches of the federal government.

We have to start a LOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNGGGG game the way the now-fully-cultic GOP did starting back in the 1970s -- or, far more likely, failing that (since history moves much faster today), just breaking up this country into different autonomous regions.

In the meantime, expect this diseased branch of government to undertake a blitzkrieg against the entire apparatus of not just the Obama years, but earlier, the entire 20th Century, in order to usher in its true goal: Dark Money oligarchy, slavery, and (to the extent it increases both of the previous) genocide. That Trump is the cultic instrument by which so many of those who vote Republican will make it happen -- well, that's just a sort of darkly humorous twist to it.

Oh, and planetary ecocide -- all while butt-munching about "wise use" or whatever garbage it's called today. That goes without saying.

As far as I'm concerned, there can be another civil war, or at least break up the fucking country -- if the alternative is this dystopian oligarchical and fundamentalist theocratic nightmare all while being Fred Hiatt "civil" and not "shrill."

Thanks, God. You're such a Good God. So worth it. Love Ya.

The other deeply offensive "news" this week is that these vicious jackasses decided to troll everyone on this planet by asserting that there is most likely no intelligent life elsewhere in the Galaxy -- or even the Observable Universe. But let's save that ignorant bullshit for another entry.

OK, that's all for now and good frickin' night, too.

Maybe I'll never update this goddamn blog again. I'm fed up with it, goddammit.


Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell's She-Male Spouse SWINGS Into Action -OR- Tranny Pit Bulls Meet "Shrill Incivility" in Drooly-Jowly TrumpWorld

Elaine "McGiant Tranny Balls" Chao screams back at protestors in Georgetown on Tuesday evening (June 26, 2018) while her jowly husband -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McFucking-Douche Bag McConnell -- scurries into a waiting enormous SUV.

Full clip here.

Oh, dear, Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell had to have his pit bull aggressive, transsexual she-male spouse -- Elaine "DOT" Chao -- "defend" him while he scurried into a car, pulling his fucking 60 pounds of human slob fat jowls across the pavement of that fancy Georgetown establishment.

Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell's "civil … non-shrill" jowls … Fred Hiatt is VERY impressed.


As for Mitch "The Bitch" McConnell, he was busy drooling over the crooked Supreme Court he got installed to continue the "Scalia 5" reign of horror. But at least he was doing it in a "civil" manner. That's all that matters -- and, therefore, Fred Hiatt, Ruth Marcus, and rest of the WaHoPo Editorial Board and its "Gang of 500" won't SOIL themselves.


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Always Civil. Never Shrill: Fred Hiatt's Fan Dance Through the Brutal Cruelty of TrumpWorld

View in the alley behind my building, Washington, D.C., 1:34 p.m. June 24, 2018.

This alley connects the 1500 block of V and U Streets NW and runs between New Hampshire Ave and 15th St NW. It's fine except for the fucking pizza delivery place drivers who borderline-recklessly zip in and out of there.

Anyway, the weather was quite nice yesterday -- temps. 82F to 84F and dew points around 62F -- and the fact that it has been relatively wet lately makes the summer green vibrancy all the nicer.


I wanted to post an entry last night but just sort of ran out of energy after work and the gym.

It was a politically-themed entry focused on what Charlie Pierce epically mocked in a piece yesterday (and that I would like to repost in full), namely, the Beltway political mandarin class getting their panties in the usual bunch over the "Question of Civility" -- because decent citizens are letting Trump's kakistocracy know how they feel through words and peaceful actions.

Early afternoon sun-lit alley between U and V Streets NW, Washington, D.C., 1:34 p.m. June 25, 2018.


Sub-headline: We got here around the time Newt Gingrich called for more civil discourse.

In addition to the Pierce piece, Ryan Cooper of The Week had this one: In Defense of Incivility.

The Beatific Vision: Fred Hiatt, Human Embodiment of The Washington Consensus.


Pierce's piece is directed at long-time Washington Post editorial page editor, Fred Hiatt.

It was Fred Hiatt (plus Ruth Marcus) who took up challenge of coming down with The Gang of 500's Official Position on the Question of Civility: "Let the Trump team eat in peace." It goes without saying that Fred Hiatt and the rest of the Post editorial board live in a weird ethereal dream world -- as suggested by the ~ 6,000 comments.

As context, this outbreak of "lefty incivility" was triggered by the forcible separation of 2,500+ immigrant children from their parents and warehousing them in de facto concentration camps (possibly never to be reunited with their mothers and fathers).

The resulting Beltway "fan dance" (as Pierce called it) refers to the recent dinnertime heckling of that horrid DHS Secretary She-Dragon Kirstjen Nielsen (R - ICE'd) and Trump's twisted cockroach, Stephen Miller, plus the episode involving Trump's world-class lying mouthpiece, Sarah Sanders, being politely asked by the owner to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va.

It should be pointed out that the "Shape of Earth: Views Differ" objective mainstream media only expect Democrats to be "civil" whereas the Right is permitted to shoot up places at will while endlessly howling about their victimization, all while cultically following a sociopathic vulgar huckster.

Oh, and of course, any criticism of Trump or his cultish followers results in that GOP Base (TM) being "energized" for the next election.

My own view is that you can take the Post editorial board (Hiatt, Diehl, Marcus, Lane, etc.) out of the Georgetown dinner party, but you can never take the Georgetown dinner party sensibility out of the Post editorial board. In their world, the absolute worst thing a person can be is "Shrill."

Maybe Fred Hiatt & Co. can find their civility and lack of shrillness next to Saddam's WMDs (and the hundreds of thousands of needlessly dead bodies and millions of broken people).

Fred Hiatt. Always civil. And Never Shrill. For all your Washington Consensus needs.

Nice summer early afternoon, 1500 block V Street NW, Washington, D.C., 1:35 p.m. June 25, 2018.


OK, that's all for now. I'm unsure if I'm going to the gym a second night in a row. I probably should. As I said, I'll try to post an entry tonight featuring Pierce's piece. I'd also like to mention my unexpected Sunday with Tim in Georgetown, which ended up being quite nice. For once, I had a non-shitty Sunday.

That never happens.


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Jukebox Saturday Night for June 23rd, 2018: The Love Supreme and California Dream(in) the 5th Dimension -OR- Up, Up and Away 1960s Edition

For this edition of Jukebox Saturday Night, let's pay a visit to the 1960s…

First up, one of Coltrane's greats …

"A Love Supreme, Part 1: Acknowledgement" by John Coltrane from the album A Love Supreme (1964)


"California Dreamin" by The Mamas and the Papas from their debut album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears (1966)

"California Dreamin'" is a song written by John Phillips and Michelle Phillips and was first recorded by Barry McGuire. However, the best-known version is by the Mamas & the Papas, who sang backup on the original version and released as a single in 1965. The song is No. 89 in Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The lyrics of the song express the narrator's longing for the warmth of Los Angeles during a cold winter in New York City.


Next up, something fun …

"Up, Up and Away" from the album of same name by The 5th Dimension (1967)

Yes, that's Marilyn McCoo. I remember Ms. McCoo from her days hosting Solid Gold.

A canonical example of sunshine pop, themed around images of hot air ballooning, it cleaned up at the 10th Annual Grammy Awards in 1968, winning for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals, Best Performance by a Vocal Group, Best Performance by a Chorus and Best Contemporary Song. The instrumental backing was performed by members of the Wrecking Crew, including guitarist Al Casey and drummer Hal Blaine.


Speaking of the 5th Dimension, the group had the #1 hit song -- as measured on the Bill Top 100 Chart -- the week I was born*. It was, ironically enough, this one …

"Wedding Bell Blues" by The 5th Dimension from the group's album The Age of Aquarius (1969)

What a great "video" accompanying this. I love it.

*As reckoned for the week of 11/22/1969 (Saturday) to 11/28/1969 (Friday). My birthdate was 11/26/1969 (Wednesday).

OK, that's all for now. Please see my previous entry for a new post.


Saturday Evening Post for June 23rd, 2018: Reposting in Full Jonathan Chait and Charlie Pierce Pieces on the Reasons for and Results of Trump's Immigrant Humanitarian Disaster

**This entry was posted June 23rd, 2018.**

Beata Mejia-Mejia is reunited with her seven year old son, Darwin, at BWI Airport, Friday morning, June 22, 2018.

As this CBS story explains, Ms. Mejia-Mejia had been separated from him for a month by the United States Government after she arrived at the U.S. border. This followed her 2,300-mile, three-week journey including by foot from Guatemala, seeking asylum from violence and domestic abuse. She was detained after they crossed into the U.S. near San Luis, Arizona, and said she had no idea where her son was for more than a month.

Her reunion with her son at BWI Airport.

She has an attorney who is suing agencies of the U.S. Government. Furthermore, ten states are suing the Justice Department for this hateful Trump horror show, itself based upon racist hate and a barbaric worldview that is the antithesis to everything for which the U.S., a nation of immigrants, is supposed to stand.


Saturday night.

It's a warm and humid night. At 11 p.m., it is 75F with a 70F dew point at KDCA. There have been some scattered showers and thunderstorms around the area on an otherwise warm and very humid early summer day.

Apartment view, 16th and U Streets and New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 8:01 p.m., June 23, 2018.


As is my custom, I'm back from the gym and in for the night doing my usual Saturday routine nighttime -- blogging, making dinner, and laundry while watching MeTV's Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night lineup and its subsequent Red-Eye Sci-Fi Sunday into the wee hours.

The episode of Wonder Woman was Judgement from Outer Space: Part 1." It's a weird episode. This is from the first season of the series when it was set during World War II rather than in the then-present-day 1970s.

The Svengoolie-hosted monster movie is the bizarre and creepy 1964 thriller The Night Walker. I didn't realize Barbara Stanwyck was in this sort of psychological thriller film.

After two 30-min episodes of Batman, the Star Trek: TOS episode at 11 p.m. is "The Thoian Web." The Battlestar Galactica episode at 12 a.m. is "Experiment in Terra."

The rest of the lineup is Kolchak the Nightstalker ("Werewolf"); Lost in Space ("Ghost in Space"); Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea ("The Human Computer"); and Land of the Giants ("The Case") ending at 5 a.m.

While I may very well be up until the end of Land of the Giants, I'm supposed to meet Lynda tomorrow at 11:30 a.m., so I might not get a lot of sleep.

Of course, I more or less slept until 3:30 p.m. today and then went to the gym, where I skipped the jog part but had a decent weightlifting workout and concluding swim.


For this entry, I am reposting in full two pieces from yesterday (Friday) -- one by Jonathan Chait and the other by Charlie Pierce -- on the barbaric Trump immigration family separation (i.e., state-sponsored kidnapping of young children), the failure of that abhorrent effort (I won't dignify it with the term "policy"), and

As reposted here, the pieces do not have other embedded URLs.

The images in the Chait article are taken from this article (link embedded):

This abandoned island was once a brutal prison — and the photos of it will haunt you.

This refers to the set of prisons that made up on the former notorious penal colony on two of the three islands -- Île du Diable (Devil's Island) and Île Saint-Joseph -- that make up the Salvation's Islands of French Guinea (the third island being Île Royale).

The Genesis of Trump's Family-Separation Policy
By Jonathan Chait
Source here.

When Donald Trump first proposed to ban all Muslim immigrants from the United States two and a half years and a thousand Trump controversies ago, the Republican front-runner was asked if he would have supported the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

"I would have had to be there at the time to tell you, to give you a proper answer," he equivocated, before proceeding to express his general sympathy for the concept. "It's a tough thing. It's tough,” he said. "But you know, war is tough. And winning is tough. We don't win anymore. We don't win wars anymore. We don't win wars anymore. We're not a strong country anymore."

One of the things this comment revealed was Trump's odd belief that the internment of loyal Japanese-Americans had somehow helped win the war, rather than divert human and material resources from the war effort in service to a cruel, racialized panic, as historians generally believe. More was at work here than simple confusion.

This historical digression proved to be a prophetic guide to an as-yet-unimaginable future Trump presidency. It displayed one of Trump's foundational values: his contempt for human and legal rights, especially those of racial minorities, and his atavistic fixation with toughness as both the source of the country’s (imagined) historical decline and the key to its restoration.

The Trump presidency is a surreal experience in part because it is so difficult to discern the reliability of the president’s rhetoric as a guide to action. The family-separation crisis is an important moment in Trump’s presidency because it collapses the chasm between word and deed. The brutal vision of the American state Trump has been painting for three years has finally materialized before our eyes.

The family-separation policy is the physical incarnation of Trump's answer to the question of whether he would have relocated Japanese-Americans. Here were weeping migrant children, pulled from their parents and held in cages. The federal government was repurposing new holding facilities especially for children.

The bureaucratic chaos and confusion were part of the punishment. One public defender described a judge incredulous that the parents whose children had been torn from their arms were given no information as to where they had been taken. ("If someone at the jail takes your wallet, they give you a receipt. They take your kids, and you get nothing? Not even a slip of paper?")

The weaponized disarray of government officials at ground level seemed to follow the pattern of fog emanating from Washington. The Trump administration was perhaps employing a brilliant disinformation campaign; more likely, this was a hopelessly chaotic attempt to obfuscate its own policy.

Trump blamed the separation of parents from children on unnamed laws passed by Democrats. "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period," tweeted Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who told reporters that she considered the suggestion that her department was using family separation as a deterrent against illegal immigration "offensive." It was an insultingly obvious lie. When Trump took office, children were not being separated from their parents. Now they were. No law had been passed in the meantime. The Democrats, being shut out of power, didn't even have the opportunity to pass a law.

The month before, though, Nielsen's predecessor, John Kelly, the current White House chief of staff, had defended family separation in precisely those terms. Asked about sending children of migrants to juvenile shelters, Kelly replied, "A big name of the game is deterrence." The reporter stated, "Family separation stands as a pretty tough deterrent."

Kelly replied, "It could be a tough deterrent -- would be a tough deterrent. A much faster turnaround on asylum seekers." Asked if it was "cruel or heartless," Kelly casually explained, "The children will be taken care of -- put into foster care or whatever. But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States, and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long."

Kelly's comments help explain why the administration imposed such a horrific policy in the first place. The Trump immigration agenda has failed utterly by not only the standards of human decency but by its own metrics. Border crossings, which had fallen in early 2017, were back up. There is no prospect of getting Mexico to pay for the wall -- Trump couldn't even get the U.S. Congress to pay for all of it. In May, the president subjected Nielsen to a 30-minute tirade, questioning her toughness and demanding a crackdown. The administration began pulling children away from parents because it could think of no other way to satisfy Trump's demands.

It turned out that even Trump himself found the images of terrified children too uncomfortable, or at least inconvenient, to tolerate. In this instance, Trump's couch-potato management style instigated a rare positive course correction. "The president watches more cable news than most Americans," a source told Axios. "So he experienced an overdose of the outrage and the media frenzy." Trump announced that the policy, which his administration had insisted never existed, would be reversed.

The “reversal” was carried out with the same deft touch as the original policy, with confusion and disarray left in its wake. Even after Trump's decision, children who had been forcibly "unaccompanied" were showing up at New York airports escorted by Homeland Security agents, and no officials seemed to know what would become of the 2,300 children already separated from their parents.

Interviews with various Trump supporters reflected the confusion over the intentions of Trump's policy. The stalwarts insisted that the refugees had brought it on themselves by taking their children across the border or that the entire episode had been fabricated by the Fake News media.Yet the crisis flowed naturally and perhaps inevitably from the language of dehumanization Trump deploys as a matter of course.

The song "The Snake," which Trump has recited repeatedly at rallies, is his favorite immigration metaphor. He enjoys calling MS-13 "animals" while conflating the violent gang with the people fleeing it. Democrats, he insists via tweet, "want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13."

It is possible to dismiss this kind of rhetoric, which historically tends to precede state-sponsored terror, as mere pandering. But there is no political rationale that could explain Trump’s decades-long habit of praising the repressive governing style of the world’s dictators. He recently enthused that Kim Jong Un "took over" and "ran it tough," using his preferred description of the brutal but necessary measures hard men must take. Citing the public demonstrations of devotion North Koreans must make toward their leaders upon pain of arrest, Trump cooed, "His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor."

Appearing a few days later on Fox News, Trump was still marveling at the toughness of his North Korean counterpart. "He's the head of the country, and I mean he's the strong head. He speaks and his people sit up in attention," he said, gesturing at the White House behind him. "I want my people to do the same." That would seem to explain why the entire administration cooperated with a policy many of them appeared to regard as immoral. Trump is selecting for and insisting upon obsequiousness and mindless devotion in his staff. Even if it requires the violation of basic human decency, they are prepared to follow orders.

*This article appears in the June 25, 2018, issue of New York Magazine.


Next up, is a must-read Charlie Pierce piece. I've broken up the text with some political cartoons -- including an excellent one by David Horsey of the Seattle Times and number of great ones by Drew Sheneman of Tribune Content Agency. There are also pictures from the border region this past week and a protest outside Customs and Border Patrol.

This Nation Is Beginning to Realize the Full Extent of What It Did to Itself in November 2016

The country's head is clearing. The spell of the reality show presidency* is wearing off.

By Charles P. Pierce
June 22, 2018
Source here.

Optimism may be illusory, but it's all we have at this point, so, when it stirs, anywhere, it's worthy of nurture and support. Over the past week, ever since the administration*’s crimes against humanity along the southern border were revealed, there became an edge to the political opposition that has not been there through all the marches and the rhetoric that have attended this government since the president* was inaugurated.

Up until now, all of the #Resistance has contained a barely acknowledged undercurrent of futility. It was not that the opposition was empty. It was that it generally broke like a wave on a seawall when it collided with the immutable fact that the president*'s party controlled every lever of political power at the federal level, as well as a great number of them out in the states, too.

The week just passed has changed the calculations. The images from the border, and the White House's fatheaded trolling of the situation, seems to have shaken up everyone in Washington to the point at which alliances are more fluid than they have been since January of 2017. There seems little doubt that the Republicans in the House of Representatives are riven with ideological chaos, struck numb by the basic conundrum of modern conservatism: When your whole political identity is defined by the proposition that government is not the solution, but, rather, the problem, you don't know how to operate it when fortune and gerrymandering hand you the wheel.

You can fake it pretty convincingly, doing the bidding of your donor class and knuckling the powerless and making a nice living for yourself, as long as events pursue a fairly predictable course for which there are familiar precedents in your experience. You can even see the setbacks coming from around the corner. Even your defeats are predictable and, thus, explainable -- or, at least, spinnable. Can't repeal Obamacare? RINOs like John McCain!

The problem arises when something unpredictable happens, and the government you control has to be fast on its feet, and you don't know how that really works. A hurricane and a flood drowns New Orleans, and the luxury horse-show official you put in charge of the country's emergency management system—because who cares, right? -- finds that he's really not up to the job.

Or, suddenly, you find that, no matter how hot the emotions run at your rallies or how brightly your favorite TV network polishes your apple, or how hard you pitch the snake oil that got you elected, the country will not stand for being complicit in the kidnapping and caging of children. The pictures begin to pile up. The mirror in which the country prefers to see itself cracks into a million sharp shards that begin to cut your political life away.

You can feel the difference in the air. The members of the governing party, uneasy about the prospects for this year’s midterms anyway, are fairly trembling at the moment, seeing in their mind's eyes a hundred 30-second spots of weeping toddlers behind chain-link walls. The president* has gone completely incoherent, standing firm until he doesn't, looking for help in the Congress that he'll never get, and reversing himself so swiftly on his one signature issue that he's probably screwed himself up to the ankles in the floor of the Oval Office. By Friday afternoon, he was back on the electric Twitter machine, yapping about the Democrats and "their phony stories of sadness and grief." And a hundred Republican candidates dive back behind the couch.

The country's head is clearing. The country's vision is coming back into focus and it can see for the first time the length and breadth of the damage it has done to itself. The country is hearing the voices that the cacophony of fear and anger had drowned out for almost three years. The spell, such as it was, and in most places, may be wearing off at last. The hallucinatory effect of a reality-show presidency* is dispersing like a foul, smoky mist over a muddy battlefield.

The migrant crisis is going to go down through history as one of the most destructive series of own-goals in the history of American politics. The establishment of the “zero-tolerance” policy made the child-nabbing inevitable. The president*'s own rhetoric -- indeed, the raison d'etre of his entire campaign -- trapped him into at first defending the indefensible and then abandoning what was perhaps the only consistent policy idea he ever had—outside of enriching himself and his family, that is.

Then the cameras began to roll, and the nation’s gorge began to rise, and the president* couldn't stand the pressure that was mounting around him. Of course, because he knows nothing about anything, including how to actually be president*, he bungled even his own abject surrender. He's spent the days since signing his executive order railing against what he felt compelled to do and arguing against himself and losing anyway.

That's the optimism, and it may, in fact, be illusory, but the power balance in our politics seemed to shift this week. Terrible policies are still coming from the various agencies. Scott Pruitt remains a grifter of nearly inhuman proportions, and a vandal besides. Neil Gorsuch continues to prove himself to be the reliable conservative hack for whom the Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat.

But the crisis at the border is a leg-hold trap for all of them. There's no way for them to keep faith with themselves and get out from under the humanitarian disaster they concocted. One day, maybe, brave Guatemalan mothers and their very brave children may be said to have saved the American Republic from slow-motion and giddy suicide. Some even may be our fellow citizens by then, and we should remember to thank them.

Meanwhile, the New York Times YET AGAIN is treating us to these goddamn type of political stories about how Trump worshipers in the cult that is the GOP are doubling, tripling, and quadrupling down on their love for their sociopathic, syphilitically-mad, huckster savior and how that will, of course, help the GOP maintain one-party rule.

Frig, frig, frig with these hardcore Trump voters. I'm fed up with them and detest everything they stand for. They and what they represent -- and who represents them -- cause nothing but trouble. I simply don't want to be in the same country as them.

While this historically shameful humanitarian crisis was going on, thanks to Trump's barbarism, the fucking House Republicans did the only thing they can do: Hold another fucking hearing on Hillary's emails. (Honestly, I don't know why Dems even bother showing up to these.) Beyond that, the GOP is a zombie party.

Sure, it'll keep winning elections thanks to gerrymandering and the 40 percent of the country that is sick like it, but it's a dead party incapable of governing.

Sidewalk, 1500 block V Street NW, rainy day, 11:46 a.m., June 22, 2018


OK, that's all for now. Jukebox Saturday Night entry to follow shortly. My next planned entry will be late Monday or Tuesday.