Jan. 20, 2017 and After

Julian Hawthorne, my great-grandfather, was a bestseller author, only son of Nathaniel, and a scamp, who spent time in prison for signing on to a stock swindle. He wasn’t near as bad as what we’re facing now, and he was literate.

Friday, January 20, 2017, Noon

In a few minutes

The most unprepared, outrageous clown

Will take the oath of Office

Of President of these

Disunited States.

He’s named billionaires, generals

Corporate leaders, incompetents

To run our Government.

It’s as if the Jester King of misrule

Isn’t ruling for a day, or a year,

But for at least four of them

And intends to bring his

Chaos with him, to the nation

To the whole world,


Yes, just because he can

And because he wants

The whole world

To watch his every move.


Three and a half million

Marchers, led by women

All over the nation

And more abroad

Happily demonstrate against

The hate and lies

Of the incoming Trump regime.

That’s bigger than Obama, or Trump

Bigger than Iraq

A tidal wave of cheerful

Peaceful opposition.

Trump twitters: why didn’t they vote?

Most did.

He lost the popular vote

By nearly three million,

But still, his press spokesman,

Fellow fabulist,

Claimed the biggest audience


For Trump’s Inaugural address.

So much for broadening his appeal.

By fighting the media

Even threatening them,

By preventing Canadian entry

At the border

If they oppose Trump.

He also hints how health care

Will be restricted,

Medicaid to block grants

Prior conditions reinstated

Risk pools promoted

Subsidies cancelled

Medicare eligibility age raised.

No wonder towns and cities

Were jammed with millions protesting

Trump’s ascension!

Millions more are terrified

The Donald will press the button

When a foreign ruler

Squints askance

At our thin-skinned leader.

Raise The Swamp

In our fast Trumpifying world, we may need a lot of protesters to block, or undo the damage Trump and his jolly wrecking crew intend to wreak.

I can write, call, turn out sometimes, canvass, maybe, and to a lesser degree, give money. I hope younger people, with more energy, can do more.

What does the still formative Trump government begin to look like?

His list of appointees and his radical proposals read as if he won by a landslide, yet no President lost more of the popular vote and still won election.

It’s even very possible, from the data so far analyzed, that the voter suppression laws enacted by Republicans in states they controlled, made the difference, although voter turn out was low in any case, possibly because both candidates were unpopular with any but their core supporters.

To look at the potential cabinet is to see, not appointments of someone who wanted to unite the nation he hadn’t really won, but as if he had won the landslide mandate he claims.

Maybe he believes his own lie? That voter fraud accounted for the almost 3 million votes more for Hillary.

Every appointee designee is marked, either as a consistent opponent of the very Department or agency they are supposed to run (into the ground?), or they’re hawkish Generals, or predatory Wall Street billionaires. A good many of them are lobbyists in Washington: so much for “draining the swamp.”

Trump talks of bringing people together, yet he labeled the Democratic members of  the Senate  “clowns,” “lead by head clown Chuck Schumer” in tweets from January 5th, just before the debate on repeal of the ACA began. He then recommended that they work together with Republicans to craft a new, better health care system. After calling them clowns.

Is the man serious?

Up until his briefing on the problem, he maintained that the idea of Russian hacking to influence the election was crazy, or sour grapes. After his intelligence briefing on the hacking, what did he say?

He said, in effect, ‘Well, maybe there’s something to the charges, but so what? Happens all the time, all over.’ Within the next day or two he reverted to claiming it was all just sour grapes.

On Trump’s side of the argument, the US interferes in elections all over the world, has been since the 19th century and Putin believes that Ukraine’s coup was US engineered, so he felt it was legitimate to act accordingly.

He may well have been right about US meddling in Ukraine, unfortunately.

His motivation for the hacking? Revenge, weakening the US, and maybe buying an ally.

Democrats are in the minority in House and Senate, but in the Senate they can mount a filibuster, or stop a vote through cloture, unless it’s a Presidential nominee, or a budget-related bill. So, their power to oppose is limited, but Schumer is now talking as if they’ll be stalwart opposition, delaying confirmations and blocking initiatives. Schumer says they’ll only collaborate if Trump offers positive proposals, like a real infrastructure program spending real money, not tax-breaks encouraging privatization (like building profit-making toll roads, for example and claiming that as infrastructure repair).

Trump seems, diabolically, to appoint people diametrically opposed to everything Democrats and moderates stand for. He just nominated a DAPL supporter (for completing the Dakota Access Pipeline) as the administrator of the Bureau of Indian Affairs! And another to be Energy Secretary.

But tweeting, calling Democrats clowns, is not going to unite people behind Trump. It’s an approach—I can’t call it a strategy—bound to alienate or distance anyone in the targeted group.

What is Trump about?

He seems to think he can function as President based on the personal loyalty of his family, his friends, his supporters and no one else. Anyone who is not loyal—and even some who are, like Chris Christie—are driven beyond his pale.

It’s true that with a Republican House and Senate, and a majority of states (but not a majority of voters), he’s going to get more of a free pass than he deserves.

Already, the GOP Congress is preparing legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And the Senate is preparing to hold hearings for Trump’s nominees, even though they haven’t completed their background checks (in some cases they haven’t even submitted their data). In addition, the House had attempted to eliminate independent ethics investigations for themselves, but the outcry against it was too strong. Trump didn’t say, don’t do it; he said put it off for a better time, wink, wink.

The latter event indicates that public pressure might work, sometimes.

On January 9th, the Senate Democrats staged a sleep-in protest, using all the social media they could, to protest the Republican move to repeal the Affordable Care Act (without any replacement), beginning on the tenth. Senators Warren and Schumer were on PCCC and MoveOn’s call-in to thousands of listeners, reinforcing the idea that we all have to call in and protest, any way we can, and why: repeal of the ACA would grievously hurt millions of people. As Senator Warren declared: repeal is one of the most irresponsible and damaging moves Republicans have ever made, but “if they break it, they’ll have to fix it.”

In other words, Democrats are finally standing up and resisting, resisting the right-wing aggression manifested in this first move in the Senate, and all the extremist nominations they want to ram down Congress’s throat without full  background checks.

What a con job! Trump and the GOP are setting the stage for ripping off the American people. “Drain the swamp!” Trump followers chanted during the campaign. He’s raising up all the swamp monsters and putting them in charge! Further, in any area in which Trump is not particularly interested, like abortion, fire-breathing Republicans just can’t wait to destroy everything Democrats constructed in the last six or seven decades.

Confirm this bunch without completed background checks? McConnell insists they should, a tactic to prevent some of his own party defecting on nominees revealed as compromised. The conflicts of interests Trump’s nominees bring with them may be even as complicated as Trump’s own. I don’t think even Ulysses S. Grant, or Warren G. Harding had as corrupt an administration as this one looks on track to be.

But unlike Grant’s or Harding’s times, now people are already informed and outraged. In addition, many more voted for Trump’s opponent, which tarnishes his legitimacy and Trump isn’t even inaugurated yet.

“May you live in interesting times,” is a French curse. It applies, right now.

Journal Entries On Election Results

Sunday, November 20, 2016

These times: She bought her boyfriend’s son the Christmas presents he wanted for his father: a Trump mug and Hillary toilet paper! Oh, yeah, she voted for Trump. She shrugged. Didn’t know anything about him, except he was for change; she voted for change. She refused to vote for Hillary, even though she wanted a woman President, because “she’s a liar.” It’s likely she voted for Obama eight years ago, for change, if she voted.

She’s a friend’s client. A youngish woman, divorced from a control freak, who persuaded her to have an abortion. She’s a Special Ed teacher who’s been laid off, been able to find only teacher’s aide jobs the last few years. Socially, she’s very liberal. But she’s glad she lives near a mall.

She doesn’t live in a rust belt state, but the rural region she calls home has been depressed for years. She’s one of many: more white women voted for Trump than voted for Hillary. Her local district elected an establishment Republican to Congress from an open seat, not the bright, young progressive (white) woman running against him.

It’s where I live, too.

When I canvassed for Bernie, I encountered Trump pockets even in my liberal town. You could tell they were the Trump kind of people by the proliferation of ATV’s, pickups and huge outdoor gas barbecues.

My local carpenter friend told me he couldn’t talk politics at his gun club; they were all for Trump; he’s afraid Trump will impoverish his clientele (people like me: retired, on fixed incomes) and therefore his own work. He probably voted for Gary Johnson, but he claimed he’d have voted for Bernie, if he’d been the Democratic nominee.

Bernie would not have been elected, since he couldn’t reach minorities: they didn’t understand him; he didn’t get them. His purely economic argument didn’t register with them.

Trump had no program, at least none he campaigned on. He promised,  though, to make their lives better “biglea.”

And now, he proposes to name a racist as his Attorney General, another as his chief strategist in the White House. And his VP is an extreme anti-abortionist, who tried to force his state to require formal cremation or burial for all miscarried or aborted fetuses. His National Security advisor is focused on “radical Islamic Extremists,” and apparently wants to declare war on Islam.

There may have been millions of women and men just like my friend’s client (above), who voted for Trump, because Donald waved his notoriously short fingers and claimed: “I’ll bring your jobs back.” “Only I can fix this.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Next, it looks like he’ll appoint General “Mad Dog” Mattis for Defense. From his bio he sounds like an aggressive cowboy. Look forward to more wars, probably all over the globe.

About his Chief Strategist, Jeff Bannon: as Howard Dean remarked: he’s anti-black, anti-immigrant, anti-Moslem, anti-Semitic and anti-woman. In other words, he’s a Nazi. And yes, Bannon looks forward to making the US as refuge for the European “race,” hopes to mobilize a movement of conservatives and populists. He says it will be exciting, “just like the 1930’s.”

There have been ‘incidents,’ where Trumpists bully people in parks or on streets, like three or more young white guys surrounding an African American and telling him or her to “Go home, where you came from!”

His “alt-right” does look like Nazis, although they call themselves White Nationalists.

I think we’re in deep shit!

The mainstream media seems to act as if there’s nothing really unusual here.

At least the competitors for DNC chair agree: there is something unusual here. We’ve got to stop this crazy man.

And his ‘movement.’

At the moment, we’re supporting protests at Standing Rock, where protesters have been beaten, shot with plastic bullets, tear-gassed, deafened by sound cannons, bludgeoned by water cannons in below freezing temperatures, arrested and put in jail anywhere in the state, after being strip-searched and deprived of all their belongings, including their clothes. Bail is set at $1600 at least.

Protesters (most not from the tribes, now) have to be dedicated, to commit to months, possibly years, in legal  hot water in order to make this point: that water is life; oil is not, the planet doesn’t need more oil pipelines, and First Nation lands should be respected. Instead, the pipeline company surreptitiously bulldozed sacred sites, after a court ordered them to stop construction.

Trump won the election with almost three million fewer votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton, because the swing states, especially, didn’t recover from the Great Recession and Democrats were seen as uninterested in their problems. States, counties, districts that had gone for Obama for two elections, now went for Trump. Voter suppression most likely made the difference, especially in Michigan and Pennsylvania.