Occam’s Boo*straps.

On the way to and then on the way from Texas to see incarcerated brown children separated from their parents, the current moneyed-yet-somehow-classless FLOTUS wore a $39 drab olive jacket with the bold statement “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” printed on the back. Pictures abound.

Classless, not clueless. She knew what she was doing. A bone thrown to the pack of press from the throne of Gaslighting Incorporated, and from my bleacher seat, the media pack cleared the bench to run out on the field and break the same photo, the same story.¹ Theories offered, explanations grow and abound, that gaslight is lit!

And the Trump Administration Regime tweeted:

“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of  Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!”

21 June 2018 4:51 PM. Tweet. @realDonaldTrump

Really? Hmmm … I don’t think so.

My theory? Occam’s boo*straps (TM).²


Occam’s razor is “the problem-solving principle that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the answer that makes the fewest assumptions.” (Source: Wikipedia)

And the theories put forth — she’s trolling Trump, she’s trolling Zara and exploitation of children with child labor, she’s trolling the media — all these theories rely on the assumption that she’s silent and sends us brainy messages and maybe down deep she has a heart. Afterall, she doesn’t talk much and when she does, it doesn’t seem to be her own words.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

Or maybe when she speaks, she doesn’t use her own words² and speaks English phonetically like Bela Lugosi in his early days? Ah! But I digress with another crazy theory.

“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” is a colloquialism³ that can be used to justify an individual’s success or failure. Bold American individualism. You really need to help yourself.

And so, Melania, First Lady OTUS, hoisted herself up from Slovenian roots by Occam’s boo*straps. (Note, although photographic evidence suggests she flung aside the boo*straps on occasion to hoist herself even further, the phrase still stands.) She is symmetric and attractive, she modeled, she had magnetic qualities which attracted a wealthy man, she had his child, she is beyond comfortable in the tacky lap of orange luxury. The cost of her Occam’s boo*straps is that luxury, her comfort is paramount.

And Occam’s razor? Melania Trump wore that jacket coming and going in comfort because Melania Trump is a racist. Whether she was racist before, we don’t know. Let’s stick to now. Let’s stick to simple. Assume there is no there, there. Melania Trump has doubled-down on all things Trump.

And that includes white supremacy.


FOOTNOTES:

If Melania leaves Donald and becomes a strong voice for something other than her continued comfort in silence, I will be quite happy to be proven wrong. Until then …

¹ Packs of dogs, clear the bench baseball, gaslighting. Love me mixed metaphor writ large.

² Occam’s boo*straps. * == b. Occam’s boobstraps, irreverant and derogatory fer sure. Bra straps would have definitely been more appropriate, but I would have lost the poetry suggested by the ‘oo‘ in boot and boob.

Also, Occam’s boo*straps is a phrase mash used for the purpose of making a point in this blog post. It is not a commentary or judgment on paid sex work and paid sex workers.

³ “not her own words” — Melania Trump has “borrowed” Michelle Obama’s words liberally and unabashedly. And more than once.

A Nother Sundry Assortment

Well, here I am on a third sundry tear, (pronounced TARE to the background music of rainfall tears … ):

A Huge, Gargantuan, Bigly Sigh of Relief

19 June 2018, or Juneteenth,  the United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo could be heard stating with no irony that “The Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy, with many of the world’s worst human-rights abuses going ignored and some of the world’s most serious offenders sitting on the council itself.”

And so a righteous walk out on a modicum of symbolic participation on a committee for human rights writ large on the international community.

And the United Nations sighed in collective relief that they didn’t have to kick us out show us the door.

Womp womp.

(My bold.)

Major International Agreements

Under the current administration Trump Regime, the US continues to take itself out of major international agreements, (the Paris Agreement, the Iran nuclear deal, et al ad nauseum).

We’re not leaders.

We’re retreaters.

Speaking of retreat, which Trump golf course is the Prescedense on today?

Fake News

Thursday, 21 June 2018, I was dismayed to read that the Prescedense drew a crowd of 9000 to the AMSOIL Arena in Duluth, MN. Rangers. Minnesota Iron Rangers. In the state of my birth, Minnesotans chanted “lock her up” and “build the wall” like it was 2016 all over again in the very same venue where Frood and her esteemed colleagues collected their diplomas 6 weeks ago. Ugh.

Turns out many Rangers do not trust the photographic evidence they’ve seen of families separated at the southern border. They do not trust the news. They would rather believe a bloviated Teflon Cheeto who states with impunity that Hillary Rodham Clinton, a private citizen now, should be locked up for “crimes she committed, which were numerous.” Numerous despite the cursory Google evidence that there were no, zero (0), zip, nada indictments brought against HRC. While on the taxpayer dime, the GOP insisted that in the haystack was a needle and in 6 YEARS — Benghazi, 4 yrs and e-mails, 2 yrs — no needles were found by the GOP.


The Prescedense is practiced at the art of showmanship. A cult of personality. The music of lies sung to the melody of truth. Have you ever found yourself singing along to a catchy tune only to realize that the lyrics are “off”? And by “off,” I mean reprehensible?

“Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

Political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”

George Orwell

(My bold.)

Ah! There it is. Pure wind and sheer cloudy vagueness. Flatulence sung from the mouth of the Prescedense repeated often and with confidence, repeated by Fox (pronounced faux) News, repeated yet again by the Prescedense and it starts to sound … like … truth? I get it. I’m all in. I want to sing along to Fake News too! Pretend news and I have cites:

June 22, 2018, 2:02 PM Trump defends border wall 

In Duluth, MN, 10 miles from the Mexican border¹, Prescedense Trump stated with great bluster that “we’re going to keep families together and the border is going to be just as tough as it’s been.”²

This announcement came after a large wall sprang up overnight along the US-Canadian border 163 miles to the north of Duluth separating several thousand US refugee families seeking asylum at the border. Presumably ordered, designed, and built covertly by the Trudeau Dynasty to keep US immigrants out, several theories have been posited that the US actually built the wall to keep US refugees citizens IN.

It could happen.

Wallstreet Walgreens Drugstore

19 June 2018 General Electric was removed as a contributing element in the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index and replaced by … Walgreens.

A multinational conglomerate in the Dow-Jones Industrial reduced to … drugs.

Say ‘hello’ to the future and pass the tequila.

Doors.

A mental health break comes in the form of a campaign commercial with a strong statement from a fearless girl grown into a fierce woman — Air Force combat veteran MJ Hegar and her relationship with doors. Do not slam a door in her face and tell her she can’t. MJ Hegar is an undercover superhero Democrat running for Congress in heavily read red Texas District 31.

Powerful. I am going to follow this campaign.


¹ Duluth, by Gore Vidal, 1983. If memory serves, in the opening scene in the book, Beryl and a friend die in her car of carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust fumes. The car she’s driving is stuck in a snowbank and they are overcome by car exhaust. True story that happened 10 miles from the Mexican border. A fiction novel, a novel fiction. Ah! news that’s fit to print.

² Colvin, Jill and Jonathan Lemire. “Trump defends his hard-line immigration policies to cheers.” Chicago Tribune.com, Chicago Tribune, 21 June 2018.

A Sorted Sordid Sundry Assortment

As I prepare to click ‘Publish,’ I note that this is two (2) Sundry Assortments in a row.

Oh well.

I. Practice makes perfect.

I imagine this is the mise-en-scene as Ann practices piano. The satisfaction of action — keys hammering, notes hit, melody gone awry or even missing — writ large on a small stuffed figure made in the image of the Prescedense.

img_5916

Nice work, Ann. Keep up the practice.

And big data evidence would suggest that inclusion of an image in a blog post jacks the number of page hits. So there’s that. Shameless pandering to image clicks. Where is as is.

II. Check your Sanders.

Whilst surfing the news late last week, I watched as White House practiced liar Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders conducted a press briefing in which Brian Karem questioned her empathy for children yanked from their parents or her lack thereof.

Then I tripped across a Twitter thread critical of an article which shed light on Sanders late arrival to the realization that the criminal justice system and incarceration rates are racist.  Whoa! Is Sarah Huckabee Sanders experiencing a moment of “woke”? Nope. The individual in question was Bernie, not Sarah.

A tale of two Sanders.

One needs to sit down and shut up.

And the other one needs to …

Sit down and shut up.¹

III. Think of the children.

In the conversation between Sarah Kendzior and Bonnie North at Boswell Books on Thursday, June 7, Sarah made mention of the Stoneman Douglas students forced into activism and the national spotlight not by choice but by circumstance.

And as I watch David Hogg’s Twitter feed,  he is a fan of space. He has interests which do not involve firearms. He chose MSD high school for specific classes offered whose focus is a different kind of shooting (television production).

He did not choose gun control activism. He did not choose to be the spokesperson to push for sane gun policy and laws. He did not choose March for Our Lives.

It chose him.

Childhood lost.

IV. Think of the children.

During discussion of the book Evicted by Matthew Desmond last week, an overarching idea was that as a society we should be concerned about the lives of children raised in poverty. Regardless of poor decisions or life choices made by parents, children should be given a chance — food, clothing, shelter, education.

Children watch. Children listen. Children learn.

And what we are teaching them as a society is …

Childhood lost. We send the message that we’re okay with that.

Also of note, grow up and you’re still on your own as an adult too …

V. Think of the children.

This interview with a Japanese internment camp prisoner on the separation of children from their parents seeking asylum considers the long-term effects incarceration has on children.

And Japanese internment after WWI is part of USA history. 

And Japanese Americans weren’t the first. We’ve been here before.

Ugh.

We can do better.

VI. Sordid.

The Obama and George W. Bush “administrations were morally and pragmatically opposed to separating immigrant children from their families, even if some adult immigrants were clearly taking advantage of that compassion.”

Compassion. Are we ultimately afraid that someone might take advantage of our compassion? Are we afraid to be played? To allow a stranger, a foreigner to have a shot at a life lived … with us? With the full benefits of citizenship?

Well, if the current stance and objections to immigration and asylum continue, we won’t  need to worry about being all that. Walls will be needed to keep us …

IN.

VII. Lies. Sordid Lies.

From Bill Kristol (I love quoting an ‘R’ when it is agreeable to my POV):

Trump: The Democrats made us do it.

Stephen Miller: It’s our policy to do it.

Sec. Nielsen: We’re not doing it.

17 Jun 2018 6:13 PM. Tweet.

And lies. The GOP controls three branches of government. The separation of children from their parents is not the fault of the Democrats.

This is the Trump Administration’s Regime’s POLICY.

VIII. Sordid mouthwash.

Sordid (adjective): involving ignoble actions and motives; arousing moral distaste and contempt.

And so as Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III quotes from the Bible to justify the separation of children from their parents, I find that I want to wash his mouth out with a big chewy bar of Ivory soap — figuratively.

And yes, literally.

Do it for the children. Do it for childhood lost. Do it to reinforce separation of church and state. It is hard to watch these people² commit crimes against humanity by quoting a religious text and not want harm to come visit them. Covering your dirty and squalid actions with Bible verses really tests my sunny disposition, Jeff.

Mental health. I need a Jeff Sessions troll doll to keep my mini-Teflon Cheeto company (thanks, Ann).

Don’t want to see it, but I hope that’s a fully loaded bowl.

img_5917


  • ¹ Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat.
  • Bernie Sanders’ rhetoric and need for national attention continue to divide the Democratic Party at a time when division is death at the polls.
  • Bernie Sanders has too much chronological wealth and experience to run for President in 2020. Grow up and back somebody else in 2020, Bernie.

² “These people.” Yes, it’s a pejorative sideways reference. Always was. Still is.

Puerto Rico

Low hum hmmmm. Thinking of Puerto Rico as Hurricane season rolls around. Again.


Aquí vive una escritora! Here lives a writer. When Ann, my friend retrieved this decorative tile from the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico for me as a gift a couple of years ago, it became my inspiration for the pseudonym ‘Viva Escritora’! Live writer. A verb! Pronounced either live or live. Remain alive or make one’s home in a particular place.¹

And so Viva I am!

CC398510-0A51-47D4-8093-393736050D1D

And then Project Runway featured a home tour in Puerto Rico pre-hurricane Maria with Margarita Alvares. A colorful mosquito-free paradise. Project Runway in Puerto Rico, PR in PR, it was gorgeous. (I wanted to celebrate the beauty and embed a video or link here, but the PR video with the mini-tour of PR remains Google elusive. Find Old San Juan at 20:16 if you have time, full episode: Season 16, Episode 13.)

And now a Harvard report estimates the actual death toll in Puerto Rico is 4,645 deaths due to Hurricane Maria and it’s wake. Not ~70. I guess the paper towels didn’t go far enough.

Remain alive or make one’s home in a particular place.¹

Live or live.


Although my politics and opinions drift center-left, I appreciate this center-right perspective on Puerto Rico from Jennifer Rubin because she acknowledges “If we had a responsible Congress that took oversight seriously there would be a top-to-bottom review of the response.” My bold. And oversight and grading the response is a start, Ms. Rubin, but it appears you’re concerned about rigorous oversight of deaths rather than preservation of life (remaining alive) or restoration efforts (make one’s “home”). But hey! it’s a start. You kinda, almost … have a heart … drag the GOP a*s*es … well, again, good job. It’s a start.

Puerto Rico’s debt is approximately $123B ($74B + $49B pension). Or, about 8.2% of the increase in the national debt this year ( $1.3X10¹² USD). Perhaps with all those fancy zeroes and debt added in scientific notation, the US government could find a way to … restructure Puerto Rico’s debt? refinance the debt? stop punishing Puerto Rico? I mean, cryin’ out loud, Puerto Rico literally translates to ‘Rich Port.’ For the three (3) branches of government the GOP controls, and the focus on the almighty dollar, it’s probably worth $omething $ub$tantial.

Hello? Jeff Bezos? Rich Rico? They could still use some help. Puerto Rico? Fixer upper? Flip as the 51st state?


¹ Definitions of ‘live’ from the Googles.

For future reference: Wiki List of Hurricanes that have affected Puerto Rico.

Everybody Lies!*

Much has been made of Prescedense Trump’s propensity, proclivity* to state “demonstrable falsehoods” or flat-out lie.

We, the disillusioned, search for the reason the 2016 election swung the way it did to a non-truther. And further, we look for a reason that 30-some-percent of the populace still supports the deranged lying cantaloupe.* We blame Russians that ran interference on multiple fronts —  meetings with campaign representatives, FaceBook advertising, the NRA, et al ad nauseum— all the way to boots-on-the-ground-US-citizens who turned up for events.¹

And soul-searching continues. In previous posts, I’ve blamed the 2016 election results on the misogyny of women in my demographic. Or my favorite and always front-runner, the GOP and Reince Priebus who really kicked things off by playing along with the ruse that the Teflon Cheeto was qualified to run for office, any office, even POTUS.

But recent evidence offered up in a Cheeto Tweet from the “nation’s most prestigious unit of public housing”² –“The Failing @nytimes quotes “a senior White House official” who doesn’t exist, as saying “even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.” WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.”

And then The New York Times followed up with information that the “phony source” was a “senior White House official.”³

The source was not phony. The source was a White House official at a press briefing.

Prescedense Cheeto lied! And he knows that. And we know that.

And his minions are polished at the lie — Kellyanne, Sarah, et al. And we know that, too.

Politicians lie. All the time. Examples exist on both sides – Democrats and Republicans*.

And therein lies truth.

Everybody lies.

And I’m reminded of “Love the Way You Lie,” the Eminem (featuring Rihanna) anthem to the complexity of abusive relationships:

“Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn
But that’s alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that’s alright
Because I love
The way you lie
I love the way you lie.”

-Eminem

-Skylar Grey

The Trump Regime: Love the Way You Lie — abusiveness writ large on the all of us. We burn. We cry. We hurt. We were sucked into and are stuck in this moment with an abusive Prescedense.

And his support? I contend that they love the way he lies. They’ve been lied to over and over, and now? They prefer bald, orange comb-over straight up lies to deceit dressed up as truth. After all, packaged and polished, lies are lies are lies.

Ugh. I stop now.


Below this line: thought and prayers comments, resources, and links I viewed while writing this post.

*BookEverybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are, by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. I’m currently reading this page-turner on analysis and interpretation of the voluminous amounts of data we’re willing to share anonymously-but-not with the faceless internet. Frood — not her real name, and friends are Big Data enthusiasts. Graduates even. <smile>

* Propensity and proclivity imply tendencies and choice and I’m convinced that The Donald’s lying is embedded in his DNA. But then we’re back full circle to everyone has DNA and everyone lies.

*No fault of cantaloupes.

¹ Read Baratunde conclusions and full break-down of Mueller’s indictment here.

² Description of the White House from The New Hampshire Gazette. I’ve tripped across this verbiage in their paper more than once. A note, however. Early news reports today indicate that Melanie Melania Trump is moving back to the Trump Tower in New York City.  We could make the argument that perhaps the Trump Tower is the most prestigious unit of public housing.

³ My mind boggles that NYTimes continues to give quarter white-washing uncontested ink to a congenitally disposed liar: “It is not clear whether the president was simply unaware of the actions of his own senior staff or if he knowingly ignored the truth.” He lies. He’s a liar. How do you know? His lips were moving. His fingers were twitching Tweeting. This isn’t that hard.

* For consideration: a list of truths the Republicans have been wrong about from Soapboxie, Jeff61b  published May 5, 2018.

* How to Break the Cycle of Verbal and Emotional Abuse, by Beth Cone Kramer. IMO, although written for personal relationships, it would help if the media would recognize the abuse of power for what it is and if they would change their response. They are legitimizing illegal behavior.

Know s*it Sherlock! The 3.5 % solution!

For love of wordplay, the phrase “no s*it¹ Sherlock” recently resolved itself into “know s*it Sherlock.” Know s*it.  ‘Know’ the homonym of ‘no’ turns the snarky phrase “no s*it Sherlock” into a cheer for furthering one’s education — “know s*it Sherlock.” Know, know, know!

Sherlock Holmes required a 7% solution.

And as an information junkie, I am happy to report that 3.5% of a solution is required to shake this current s*itstorm of an administration apart.  From my new favorite periodical — The New Hampshire Gazette A Non-Fiction Newspaper, Grab Me, I’m Free! Vol. CCLXII, No. 16, April 27, 2018, page 2:

“If enough people stand up to the status quo, eventually it will cave.

“The question is, how many people would that take? According to researchers Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan, not as many as one might think.

“They found that ‘no campaigns failed once they’d achieved the active and sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population — and lots of them succeeded with far less than that.’ “²

Whoa! What!? If we throw the 3.5% solution at the 2016 election turnout, an additional 4.8M resisters need to participate and march their feet to the polls to effect change.  And though we may not participate for the same reasons —  a metaphorical herd of cats — pick your protest issue(s), make your voice heard, and at election time, make your vote count for change you believe in. Shoot, if you look at the number of votes Jill Stein and Gary Johnson peeled off in 2016, we’re there!

And like it or not, I offer the contemporary Tea Party as a recent example of effective civil resistance. The Tea Party formed in January 2009 after the election of President Obama. Although never a formal political third-party, the Tea Party organized, endorsed, and elected Senators and Representatives that formed a coalition within the current GOP.  And while verifying this assertion, I tripped across this nice essay obituary for the Tea Party by Matt Kibbe, one of the original Tea Party organizers.

The rise and fall of the Tea Party happened within a decade more or less. Horrified as we were, they affected real political change.  And treated us with Ted Cruz. And now their adjunct-cum-Emporer Prescedense Trump. And the damage done by the Trump Prescedensey internationally just this week and the week’s not even over, will persist longer than a decade.

Participate. Encourage others. The 3.5% solution is within our reach.

Know shit hope, Sherlock.


¹ s*it: I recently blogged that s*it looks French and sounds French if pronounced ess-EEE.

² Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephan authored the book Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict, Columbia University Press, December 2012.

³ The following are links to lists of issues and a gentle reminder, issues persist regardless of administration:

Pick one or two issues from the lists. Get involved. Be involved. Stay involved. And above all, be kind.

 

 

 

 

 

The comfort of old media!

Well, maybe it is not the comfort of old media — see also this post on the New Hampshire Gazette —  but the remembrance of uncomfortable history, the recollection of past events and the effort required to preserve fight for democracy, struggle a more perfect union. Administrations lurch along the long arc of the moral universe in its bend towards justice. And it seems to me we’re on our way to peak lurch, but I digress.

The New Hampshire Gazette, (Vol. CCLXII, No. 15, April 13, 2018) reminds us that Viet Nam Veterans had to stand-down the United States Supreme Court some 47 years ago! There was no comfort. It was complicated. Enlisted troops sent to disrupt the protests were contemporaries of the protestors. It was dirty. And the war didn’t end until 1975.

But Viet Nam veterans struggled the union.

Keyboard warrior-ing away in the comfort of Frood’s¹ living room, I’m reminded by a print newspaper that I have been complacent in the belief that the long arc of the moral universe would bend without any action required on my part. But Black Lives Matter marches, the Women’s March on Washington, the March For Our Lives , voting rights, women’s rights, and all the rest — it’s nice to be complicitly lulled into complacency — are reminders that freedom is protected, guarded, and earned by feet in the street and it ain’t easy. It is not comfortable. It is not without risk to livelihood, life and limb in the pursuit of liberty. 

Struggling a more perfect union is work. It has been since 1776.  

Buckle up.


And the print media dramatically reminds us that Wolf the Quarrelsome had a style that our current politicians, try as they might to disembowel us, can only aspire to mimic through enactment of policy, laws, and entanglements.

Keep trying, Ted!


And over the weekend at the annual White House Correspondents annual roast, comedian Michelle Wolf the Quarrelsome disemboweled reminded us that the media — the barking dogs in a race to see who can bark loudest but not longest or rightest — are in on the current ugly lurch.

“You helped create this monster, and now you’re profiting off him.”

Michelle Wolf, April 28, 2018 WHCA dinner

And then to prove that’s how they make their money her point, the media-internet-immediate-Twitter-verse went wild. Apologies ensued from the media to paid pathological liars who pretty as they are or aren’t, lie. Liars in a room full of media barking dogs who can’t take the time to lather find the truth, rinse stick to it, and repeat.

Flint, Michigan is still without drinking water.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Puerto Rico is still without power.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I eagerly await the next issue of the New Hampshire Gazette.


¹ Still not her real name, but it’s growing on me.