April 17, 2017

Lest We Forget

I'm not quite sure what prompted this, but who cares? I will never forget that FBI Director James Comey was responsible for Donald Trump, and here's yet another example that illustrates this. It's the basic Pollster chart showing Trump's favorability rating:

After the release of the Comey letter, Trump's favorability shot up six points. It's dipped slightly since then, but only by a few hairs. In over a year of campaigning, only one thing had a serious impact on the presidential race. James Comey.

—Kevin Drum,Mother Jones

April 16, 2017

Syriac ack ack

"The President’s erratic approach to Syria is not a strategy," Senator Elizabeth Warren said.

"Within a week, Trump’s Admin went from asserting they wouldn’t intervene to launching Tomahawk missiles against Assad. That’s erratic."

Elizabeth Warren blasts Trump's erratic handling of Syria, Raw Story

Following the President's unilateral decision to throw $100 million dollars worth of ordnance in the form of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at an airport in Syria, Senator Warren wonders whether any consideration at all of the strategic value of such a stroke was undertaken by the Trump Administration prior to the attack.

Clearly certain tactical considerations were made prior to launch. A decision to alert the Russians, for example, who had troops in the area to be bombed, encouraged them to stay well clear of the target. A courtesy call, as it were.

The Russians alerted the Syrians immediately, of course, so they were able to remove troops and materiel from the scene as well.

The American strike was quite careful to avoid targeting buildings on the airport thought to house chemical weapons recently used by the Syrian regime on its own people.

The Syrian Air Force sent out a sortie from the airfield the very next day to bomb the same place that had been gassed the week before.

That is to say, the attack had, purposely, no tangible goal. It did not seek to achieve the normal military reward of imposing dominance through the organized obliteration of the objective's ability to resist.

It did achieve the destruction of 20% of something, per media reports, with referents made to 20% of the Syrian Air Force, or 20% of one of the wings of the Syrian Air Force, or 20% of the aircraft at the targeted airport, or 20% of the targets of 59 Tomahawk missiles or maybe just 20 planes. Twenty, though.

The strike killed a handful of people, who may or may not have been party to the supposed chemical attack launched from the airport. Regrets have not been forthcoming from the United States.

March 21, 2017

Our Self-Styled Ignorant Man, Currently Recused

Several of the President-Elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?

RESPONSE: No.

The Sessions Sessions

Well, but yes, of course, technically, yes. Then-Senator Sessions was on the Trump Election Committee dime when he met with Russia's ambassador to the United States, someone famously connected to the Russian government, in person at the Republican National Convention, which no one denies was all about the 2016 election, so, well, hmm. A simple "no" in answer to this question is simply untrue. As writing is a calculated act this, a written response to a question written by Senator Leahy, is presumptively a calculated deceit.

Or, perhaps he didn't realize the ambassador was connected to the government. Maybe Jeff Sessions thought the ambassador was like valet parking at the fancy hotels, the doorman out front with the epaulets and gloves, ushering traffic in and out of his country.

Its's hard to adequately express what an ignorant venal fuck Jeff Sessions may be, based on the record, although in his Senate confirmation hearing he had clearly gone to the trouble of memorizing a set of sentences attesting to his complete cluelessness in case after case, which he avowed dozens of times in his testimony. He took an emolument from an institute run by a crazed Islamophobe, Frank Gaffney. When pressed in Senator Leahy's questionnaire to disavow the sort of stuff spewed by Gaffney, such as insisting that Obama is guilty of treason, Sessions relied, "While I do not hold the views that this question attributes to Mr. Gaffney, I have no knowledge of whether he actually said these remarks or in what context."

"I have not and will not associate myself with any racially insensitive or discriminatory remarks made by anyone. I have no knowledge of the information on which CPAC relied in forming their opinion of the gentleman in question."

…I am not aware of facts that would support the assertions made in the above question and an unable to opine on this matter.

—Jeff Sessions responding to a question by Senator Patrick Leahy

The sun rose at 7:08 this morning, Senator Sessions…

…I am not aware of facts that would support the assertions made in the above question and an unable to opine on this matter.

You doubt the sun rose this morning?

I was asleep. Therefore, I am not aware of facts that would support the …

GAAHH!!

March 05, 2017

Today's Weather

A Hailful Afternoon's Worth of Winter Weather,  Santa Cruz, CA, March 5, 2017

March 03, 2017

Annals of Confirmation

e. Several of the President-Elect’s nominees or senior advisers have Russian ties. Have you been in contact with anyone connected to any part of the Russian government about the 2016 election, either before or after election day?

RESPONSE: No.

The Sessions Sessions

Well, but yes, of course, technically, yes. Then-Senator Sessions was on the Trump Election Committee dime when he met with Russia's ambassador to the United States, someone famously connected to the Russian government, in person at the Republican National Convention, which no one denies was all about the 2016 election, so, well, hmm. A simple "no" in answer to this question is simply untrue. As writing is a calculated act this, a written response to a question written by Senator Leahy, is presumptively a calculated deceit.

February 24, 2017

Sometime For Lulz He Reached For The Most Easily Discerned Lie

By the way, you folks are in here, the place is packed. There are lines that go back six blocks, and I tell you that because you won't read about it, okay? But there are lines that go back six blocks. There is such love in this country for everything we stand for.

— Donald Trump, CPAC Convention Speech, February 24, 2017

Gabrielle Bluestone's picture of the lines outside the Convention Center capturing the love in this country for everything he stands for:



Convention Center Entrance, Gaylord National Resort

Maybe it's just the thrill of getting away with one more gratuitously false claim that inclines our President to produce such unforced balderdash on a regular basis. Why else would he be inclined to mention what might or might not be going on outside the Convention Center, aside from the implication that what was going on outside would be suppressed: "I tell you that because you won't read about it, okay?"

Because, quite evidently, it didn't happen, as ascertained and documented photographically. Things that obviously didn't happen are often passed over without comment even in the best of journals, so, no you won't read about it. Okay? Six blocks worth of unecessarily specific exaggeration of the crowd size, though. That's man-bites-truth, and that's pretty printable.

And still,and yet, a significant number of Trumps followers will go away from the incident with the impression that the people who print what we read are holding something back.

Consigliere Steve Bannon named the press the "opposition party" at this same event.

Ex Post Shmooshaugh

Tree-Interrupted GMC Pickup Truck, February 2017

February 22, 2017

Smooshed

Tree vs. Truck, Santa Cruz, CA, February 20, 2017
Just a few houses away from here a 40-or-50-foot eucalyptus, bent by the ferociously windy day, gave, and, leaning, crushed a parked truck's cab, arching over the entire roadway, from front yard where it failed to front fence across the street, blocking the way with a 15 foot wall of foliage.

Eucalyptus Blocks Street, Santa Cruz, CA, February 20, 2017
It's laid there for a couple of days, long enough so that I'm going to have to find out what I need to do to help get it out of the way soon. I've just finished parting out our own leaner, a juniper inclined towards taking out the neighbor's roof, which the tree service left in chunks for me to deal with after they took it down a few weeks back.

I saw the juniper's great bulk listing farther to the west than it had ever done before one day, resting on a spindly gate post that it had never neared in the past. I considered the consequences of not doing anything about it, and eventually realized, late enough that evening that I couldn't actually make an immediate move but must wait until tomorrow to act, that it was essential to cast about for somebody to come by and cut down the poor tree before it found its own ruinous way to the ground. Most of my night's thoughts, substituting for restful sleep, turned toward such eventualities.

In the event the tree service came promptly and executed the task with dispatch. The consequences I'd spent the night rehearsing were averted, or, I should say, displaced a few houses over from the look of things.








February 09, 2017

February 01, 2017

February

But then, while we're at it, Kevin Drum:

… Republicans in Congress are rushing to do a big favor for oil companies that do business in Russia. It all has to do with Section 1504 of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which requires drilling and mining companies to disclose any payments they make to foreign governments. Back in 2010, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson—now our Secretary of State—opposed this provision. Here is Michael Grunwald in Politico:

Tillerson argued that forcing U.S. oil firms to reveal corporate secrets—such as paying foreign governments—would put them at a competitive disadvantage. He also explained that the provision would make it especially difficult for Exxon to do business in Russia, where, as he did not need to explain, the government takes a rather active interest in the oil industry.

Today, seven years later, Republicans confirmed Tillerson as President Trump’s Secretary of State, despite allegations that he’s too cozy with Russia. At the same time, the GOP is preparing to try to kill the disclosure rule created under Section 1504, despite warnings from international aid groups that the move would provide a wink-and-nod blessing to hidden corporate payments to petro-thugs.

This is likely to be the very first bill that Congress sends to Trump's desk: a big wet kiss to oil companies and Vladimir Putin. It's nice to know that we have our priorities straight.

January 14, 2017

A Sunny Day in The Park

January 14 marks the 50th anniversary of the Human Be-In in the Polo Field in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, a few tens of thousands of people from just outside the mainstream of American culture gathering there for an afternoon, taking in the sun, taking in Ginsberg, taking in Timothy Leary (who trademarked "turn on, tune in, drop out," on the occasion), taking in Gary Snyder and Michael McClure and Jerry Rubin, and the Grateful Dead, a big bunch of people having a joyous, peaceful time together, much to their own astonishment and that of the assembled regional, national and international news media, who marked the occasion with contemporary reports suggesting strongly that evidently something or other was going on here.

And indeed something was, a virtual, one-time-only Committee of Correspondence convening on that day to blossom over the next 5 decades into what might best be described as a distinct shared cultural inclination, as variously adopted in all its willing communal looseness now by people around the globe, whose relation to the environment, to militarism, xenophobia, foodstuffs, sexuality, dress, New Agey argle-bargle, and, above all, to the pleasures of really big crowds, loud music and drugs, came together in broad daylight for the first time there at the Be-In. The dance halls in the city had been hopping for the past year, drawing crowds in the hundreds to concerts featuring the first wave of San Francisco rock bands, but this, under pellucid January skies, out in the open, was a revelation. Six months later the Monterey Pops Festival crystalized its international phase.

Only few miles from where I grew up. I took the 28, the bus that passed a block from my house on its way up 19th Avenue to and through the Park, and I got off at Lincoln and wandered down to the Polo Field.

There was a standard in those days, a standard of dress and public composure, or else the hegemonic conformity of the time would have had nothing to refer to, and looking at footage of that day it's clear that most of the attendees still conformed to that set of standards, though lots of the people there, "freaks" they called themselves, were having none of that, dressing instead as pure, enthusiastic provocation.

It was so obvious on inspection that everyone was having fun sharing in an infectious music and drug-induced glee that spread on that sun-dappled day from that core of freaks to baptise the entire crowd in the new thing.

A guy parachuted down and landed just behind the crowd. The Polo Field is big, there was plenty of room for a landing. I hadn't noticed the plane leaving him off overhead or how far he'd glided until I glanced back to stare at all the people (who, in number and kind, were a bit of a revelation to me at the time), only to notice up there coming down from the sky, the parachuting guy. I remember thinking, "Hey, there's something you can't do, just jump out of a plane like that in the middle of the city."

December 22, 2016

Bated Breath

There is a summit meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in the foreseeable future.


December 18, 2016

Morning Comes West

Seabright Beach State Park, Santa Cruz CA,  December 15, 2016

December 13, 2016

Post-Civics 101

Should Trump expect a fee for facilitating, by his nomination of Exxon's Rex Tillerson to be Secretary of State, the Arctic petro deal Russia and Exxon want to make? Just a taste, a little something to wet the beak? Inquiring minds want to know. 5% would be so sweet.

December 12, 2016

The Republican Creed Prayed Out Loud


I have very high hopes that the new administration will lead the nation to greater strength, prosperity and peace.
—Mitt Romney, circa Dec 10, 2016 on Facebook


The tacit conventions on which the understanding of everyday language depends are enormously complicated.


Thanks, Mitt.

December 01, 2016

Wily Blend

Coyote in the pasture, Arana Gulch, November 2016