Saturday, November 18, 2017

Donald Trump's Morning Tweet: Still Obsessed With Clinton. By Geniusofdespair

Yesterday I was at Flannigans, and Fox News was on a silent TV. All I saw was photo after photo of Hillary Clinton, about 20. Odd. Today Donald Trump tweets:

My focus is on ROY MOORE the sexual predator of young teenage girls Donald. I don't think of any of the prior administrations or candidates. Focus on Roy Moore. Get with the present and get out of the past.

Annie Proulx speech at the National Book Award ceremony ... by gimleteye

The least suspenseful part of the National Book Award ceremony can be the most fun: the speech given by each year’s winner of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Winners of that lifetime-achievement prize tend to be over 80, and to expound passionately on the general theme of “kids today.” In 2013 E.L. Doctorow seemed to argue that technology would eat our brains; the following year Ursula Le Guin called the assembled book publishers “commodity profiteers.” (No one is really sure what Gore Vidal said in 2009.) Last night, 2017 winner Annie Proulx gave one of the best speeches in recent memory, maybe because her conclusion was so gleefully ironic, and her gloom so well grounded in a year that truly does, on so many levels, suck. Here it is in full:

Although this award is for lifetime achievement, I didn’t start writing until I was 58, so if you’ve been thinking about it and putting it off, well…

I thank the National Book Award Foundation, the committees, and the judges for this medal. I was surprised when I learned of it and I’m grateful and honored to receive it and to be here tonight, and I thank my editor Nan Graham, for it is her medal too.

We don’t live in the best of all possible worlds. This is a Kafkaesque time. The television sparkles with images of despicable political louts and sexual harassment reports. We cannot look away from the pictures of furious elements, hurricanes and fires, from the repetitive crowd murders by gunmen burning with rage. We are made more anxious by flickering threats of nuclear war. We observe social media’s manipulation of a credulous population, a population dividing into bitter tribal cultures. We are living through a massive shift from representative democracy to something called viral direct democracy, now cascading over us in a garbage-laden tsunami of raw data. Everything is situational, seesawing between gut-response “likes” or vicious confrontations. For some this is a heady time of brilliant technological innovation that is bringing us into an exciting new world. For others it is the opening of a savagely difficult book without a happy ending.

To me the most distressing circumstance of the new order is the accelerating destruction of the natural world and the dreadful belief that only the human species has the inalienable right to life and God-given permission to take anything it wants from nature, whether mountaintops, wetlands or oil. The ferocious business of stripping the earth of its flora and fauna, of drowning the land in pesticides again may have brought us to a place where no technology can save us. I personally have found an amelioration in becoming involved in citizen science projects. This is something everyone can do. Every state has marvelous projects of all kinds, from working with fish, with plants, with landscapes, with shore erosions, with water situations.

Yet somehow the old discredited values and longings persist. We still have tender feelings for such outmoded notions as truth, respect for others, personal honor, justice, equitable sharing. We still hope for a happy ending. We still believe that we can save ourselves and our damaged earth—an indescribably difficult task as we discover that the web of life is far more mysteriously complex than we thought and subtly entangled with factors that we cannot even recognize. But we keep on trying, because there’s nothing else to do.

The happy ending still beckons, and it is in hope of grasping it that we go on. The poet Wisława Szymborska caught the writer’s dilemma of choosing between hard realities and the longing for the happy ending. She called it “consolation.” Darwin: They say he read novels to relax, but only certain kinds—nothing that ended unhappily. If he happened on something like that, enraged, he flung the book into the fire. True or not, I’m ready to believe it. Scanning in his mind so many times and places, he’s had enough with dying species, the triumphs of the strong over the weak, the endless struggle to survive, all doomed sooner or later. He’d earned the right to happy ending, at least in fiction, with its micro-scales.

Hence the indispensable silver lining, the lovers reunited, the families reconciled, the doubts dispelled, fidelity rewarded, fortunes regained, treasures uncovered, stiff-necked neighbors mending their ways, good names restored, greed daunted, old maids married off to worthy parsons, troublemakers banished to other hemispheres, forgers of documents tossed down the stairs, seducers scurried to the altar, orphans sheltered, widows comforted, pride humbled, wounds healed, prodigal sons summoned home, cups of sorrow tossed into the ocean, hankies drenched with tears of reconciliation, general merriment and celebration, and the dog Fido, gone astray in the first chapter, turns up barking gladly in the last. Thank you.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Democrats: STAY ON MESSAGE For God's Sake! By Geniusofdespair

When we stay on message, we communicate exactly what we want our audience to know. We create harmony between our words, visuals and actions and we deliver a clear, powerful and irresistible call to action.
Ask any Republican any question, and they will answer: Crooked Hillary, Fake News, or Make America Great Again. They won't even talk about Moore they will throw Bill Clinton at you. To the Republicans: If you don't talk about it, it just doesn't exist for them.

Ask a Democrat any question and they will answer differently. They have no coherent message. This is all Democrats should be saying this week:

1. The Proposed tax reform is for the super rich and Corporations not people.
2. Health Care reform cuts pre-existing conditions and will cost the regular folks more.
3. Roy Moore is a serial sex predator of young teenage girls. A disgrace.

Is that so hard? Can you not stick to those 3 points for one friggin' week? Instead you trash your own Senator, the most effective we have, in the name of self righteousness..."We don't want to be like them" you say.

The Republicans will blast our Senator if you don't foolishly do it for them. Let them do it, not you dummies.

Learn Republican speak or you are just going to keep losing our country's riches, environment and well-being... and perhaps even the planet.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

ME TOO: It was a prominent Miami Attorney. By Geniusofdespair

This is my second ME TOO post. Every woman has a lot of them.

I remember the experience as if it were yesterday..."me too."

It was a very windy day in the 1970's when Bennett Brummer was known for his Halloween Parties. A lot of Public Defenders were meeting on a big sailboat, owned by one, out near Elliot Key. The small boat I came in, with two friends, was pounding horribly the whole way there. I could not remember the two guys if I fell over them today.

My back took a beating as it wasn't a boat you could stand on. When my two friends were leaving, it was dark and they were very drunk. I was pretty drunk/sick too but I decided that going back to Coconut Grove with two drunk guys driving a very small boat, in the dark, in even rougher seas was dangerous. I decided to stay on the sailboat and wait till morning.

I was sitting on the deck alone feeling really awful, it must have been about 3 AM. A friend of the Public Defender I was dating came on deck. I thought he would ask, "Are you okay?" "Can I help?" Instead he said "Can I masturbate in front of you?" I looked out to sea and said "I don't care what you do." But I did care, it is just what I said because I just couldn't believe what he was about to do and I just wanted him to leave. I turned to stone, I didn't look, I didn't listen. I was like a block of ice. He did his business and went back below without a word. At first light a small boat with two women in it passed by. I flagged them down. I asked them to take me to the dock at Elliot Key.

From the dock someone from the park gave me a ride back to Dinner Key.

The masturbater is a prominent attorney here in Miami. I recently told a judge I know this story when she said she knew him.

I don't remember anyone else on the sailboat except this prominent Miami Attorney. If he ran for anything I would probably call him and come out.  But otherwise, it will remain etched in my mind as one of the worst memories of my life. I can't cruise now because I feel trapped, like I felt that day.

So: Me too.

How the USA has been played for a fool by Russia, thanks to Trump ... by gimleteye

There is only one explanation for treasonous behavior in the White House: extortion and blackmail. Donald Trump is running American prestige and authority off the rails because the Steele dossier in 80% correct. What we already know about the interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia is enough to level impeachment charges in the House of Representatives. Republicans should be ashamed to the extent hypocrisy is dragging us all down into the Trump rabbit hole. For historical context, the recent segment on Rachel Maddow is indispensable.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

What I didn't say ... by gimleteye

Sunday by the Biscayne Bay Nature Center, a small crowd gathered to remember the life of Juanita Greene, a former newspaper reporter for the Miami Herald and, after she retired, a leader of a small local environmental group, Friends of the Everglades. It was unseasonably warm, as we are getting used to.

In the patio area, groups clustered around cement tables and curved benches shaded overhead from the sun and heat. The average age, seventy.

At the high end, Lloyd Miller and his wife, Dottie. Lloyd is 96. Still sharp and remembers the days he, Juanita and a brave band fought against industrial development and a port terminal in the middle of what they helped create: a national monument then a national park in Biscayne Bay. At the youthful range, Juanita's granddaughter who is now an environmental consultant.

In the mid 00's, Juanita recruited me to the board Friends, founded by Marjory Stoneman Douglas during the battle to stop a major commercial airport from being built in the middle of the Everglades. By the time I joined the board, I had already spent fifteen years as an activist and writer for the environment; for Florida Bay and the Everglades.

I took my speaking task on Sunday as a matter of recounting some of Juanita's accomplishments. For example, a federal Clean Water Act lawsuit she helped to shepherd into the courts resulted in a major victory in 2010, a ruling by Judge Alan S. Gold who sharply rebuked the EPA and State of Florida for failing its obligations to protect the Everglades. A few years later, Gold's judgment triggered a commitment by the state of Florida to spend nearly $900 million to reverse Big Sugar's pollution of the Everglades.

I noted that Florida Governor Rick Scott made this announcement as though it was his achievement and not a major loss in federal court. I explained the state of Florida -- during the Jeb Bush years -- had to be dragged kicking to court to do what it had promised in an even earlier federal state settlement, adjudicated by Judge William Hoeveler in the 1990's. I also pointed out that Gov. Scott never acknowledged either Friends of the Everglades or the co-plaintiff, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians who brought the case, nor had his omission been acknowledged by the press.

One by one, retired Miami Herald employees also took turns eulogizing their late colleague. Each brought to the microphone a wistfulness of a disappeared newsroom, of a shared community that joyed in capturing the facts of life in the Miami melting pot every day.

Martha Musgrove spoke. She is a former associate editor of the newspaper and during her career at the Herald as sharp an observer on the editorial page of the Everglades morass as ever graced the reading public.

Here is what I didn't say and would like to say now.

30, 40, 50 years ago, the Miami Herald was not a friend of the Everglades or the environment.

There was never a golden age when it came to telling the facts about special interests -- whether defined as Big Development, bankers, or Big Sugar -- who turned Florida's natural heritage into sacrifice zones for their profits.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas was the daughter of a Miami newspaper publisher and a reporter herself in the early part of the 20th century whose conversion to advocacy to the Everglades was not only heart-felt but also a mea culpa for the profits wrung from advertisers that kept a version of reality in front of daily subscribers.

In the 1970's, Juanita Greene struggled from inside the newsroom to get the Knight brothers, John and James, to put column inches on Biscayne Bay in front of readers. They were indifferent as their advertisers went about the job of building condos on the shoreline and carving "affordable" housing into new suburbs and out of Everglades wetlands. Same, for their successors: no one got a performance bonus or a pension for saving the environment.

Juanita Greene loved the Everglades and she knew very well that the decline of America's most unique wetlands ecosystem was a reflection of the corrosive effects of greed, money and power here, in Tallahassee, and in Washington DC. She also knew the Miami Herald had done a poor job explaining the high stakes or diving into the toxic culture that allowed blind eyes to be turned to the destruction of the Everglades. She became an activist, proudly, in a town whose newspaper never valued or promoted activism because it ran against commercial interests and the public good as defined by the Chamber of Commerce or Big Sugar in the shadows.

But running down the media or the Miami Herald is not the point I want to make. I have another point to make: about the public mistrust of the media as fomented by the radical right.

The digital age and internet-based sources of "news" wreaked havoc on journalism in general and print newspapers in particular. The threats to fact and truth are mainly through disinformation tactics embraced by the radical right. The very people, led by President Trump, who decry "FAKE NEWS" are the ones hell-bent on tearing down the laws and institutions that protect our democracy.

Juanita Greene was representative of the small band who gathered last Sunday -- environmentalists, former newspaper reporters and editors, fishermen, scientists, friends and family -- who struggled to get fact of Everglades decline out of government agencies and into the hands of elected officials or the courts because laws were being violated and unenforced. Newspapers like the Miami Herald -- and certainly not television -- were part and parcel of the problem, but pale in comparison to today's conflagration.

Today, the United States is literally the only non-signer of a global agreement to fight climate change. Governor Rick Scott, a climate change denier. Senator Marco Rubio, a climate change denier. We have actors who have so hammered the idea that government is "the problem", we are all shrouded in darkness. Malignant media empires like Rupert Murdoch's Fox News are mightily profiting from discord, fear and division. And on the internet, readers are herded and silo'd by hostile foreign powers without any kind of balance or reckoning and supported by corporations using first amendment rights as their fig leaf.

Defenders of the environment see these mechanics clearly because the polluters have the upper hand in steering democracy toward their toxic goal: to make as much money as fast as they can before sea levels rise. In the Trump administration, a combination of unqualified judicial appointments to the federal bench and agency disintegration, like that of the EPA under administrator Scott Pruitt, are doing vast damage to the intent of environmental protection.

Juanita Greene fought to get her reports of Biscayne Bay -- a jewel -- into the pages of the Miami Herald and it wasn't enough. She faced the bad news and still picked up the pen and sword, every day. We need more soldiers like Juanita, and that is a fact.

The Case for Buying the Everglades Agricultural Area by Juanita Greene, 1999 by Alan Farago on Scribd

I Tried Marijuana on my shoulder in Denver. By Geniusofdespair

I don't know how medical it was since I didn't have a prescription and it did have THC in it but I bought a sample size of Apothecanna Extra Strength Sachet Creme for $4. I bought it at a Recreational emporium called Euflora. Colorado is a State where both recreational and medical marijuana are legal. The tax was 89 cent on $4. A lot of tax in my view.

Anyway, I bought it for my shoulder and upper back. It was enough for one dose. I was in a lot of pain and it did help. Maybe it was the placebo effect. According to the store expert, medical marijuana needs the THC to activate the CBD. So there was THC in the cream. But I believe there are two different tracks. The recreation stores don't carry medicinal for the most part, and as I said the medicinal needs a prescription. What I bought I think is Marijuana's version of arthritis cream, everything recreational has THC in it. What the ad says for Apothecanna Extra Strength:

Double strength moisturizing body cream with anti-inflammatory plant extracts. Cooling and invigorating, perfect for use on sore muscles, swollen joints and distressed skin. Use with full body massage or apply directly where it hurts.

I don't know that I would use it for a full body massage. How "distressed" could my skin get?

Monday, November 13, 2017

We know A LOT about treasonous behavior interfering in 2016 election ... by gimleteye

The evidence is incontrovertible that treasonous behaviors interfered in the outcome of the 2016 election, with the most recent story involving the Mercer-funded Cambridge Analytica reaching to Wikileaks for data on the Democrats the same week that Cambridge was hired by the Trump campaign.

Steve Bannon was formerly on the board of directors of Cambridge Analytica.

The question most lay readers ask, is "how do we know?" We know, because social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter keep massive backups of data that can be retroactively searched for data "fingerprints" tying individual posting, memes, or tweets to specific users in specific locations.

Here is an article tying together Russian interference in the BREXIT vote -- in which a slim majority of British voters elected to leave the European Union -- and the 2016 presidential election.

With the Trump victory of a margin of less than 100,000 votes in three states, it is probable that social media outreach played an outsized role in the outcome.

US intel agencies unanimously agree that Russia / Putin infiltrated the 2016 races, a fact that Trump denies because if he admitted it -- and evidence proves that his campaign colluded with Russia intel in the development of messaging and outreach through social media databases -- he would in effect be admitting to treason.

All the evidence points in that direction, yet the GOP is silent. Read more, here.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sunday reading: this is no ordinary clusterfuck ... by gimleteye

Data Firm’s WikiLeaks Outreach Came as It Joined Trump Campaign : Wall Street Journal

Trump judge nominee, 36, who has never tried a case, wins approval of Senate panel : LA Times

Additions to Our Trump-Russia Timelines, Keep up with the latest entries on our timelines tracking Trump and his inner circle's involvement with Russia : Bill Moyers

Week 52: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember : Amy Siskind

Trump Is Rapidly Reshaping the Judiciary. Here’s How : NY Times

And they see tremendous opportunity in the fact that Mr. Trump is the first Republican president whose nominees can be confirmed by simple-majority votes, especially since he is likely to fill an unusually large number of vacancies. Mr. Trump started with 21 open appellate seats because after Republicans gained control of the Senate in 2015, they essentially shut down the confirmation process. Six additional appellate judgeships have opened since his inauguration, and nearly half of the 150 active appeals court judges are eligible to take senior status — semiretirement that permits a successor’s appointment — or will soon reach that age, according to Russell Wheeler, a Brookings Institution scholar.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

You either believe there is a role for government protecting the public good, or, you don't :... by gimleteye

An outstanding and sobering view of Houston's difficulties coping with three years in a row of 500 year floods. The New York Times report might have been exactly of Miami-Dade had Hurricane Irma or Maria delivered a direct blow.

For years, the local authorities turned a blind eye to runaway development.
The story of Harvey, Houston and the city’s difficult path forward is a quintessentially American tale. Time and again, America has bent the land to its will, imposing the doctrine of Manifest Destiny on nature’s most daunting obstacles.
Unfortunately, nature always gets the last word. Houston’s growth contributed to the misery Harvey unleashed. The very forces that pushed the city forward are threatening its way of life.

How many times do we have to say it? Probably until the King tides come up, then don't go back down. Then, the politicians who encouraged development in flood plains, in the historic Everglades, and at the mangrove shoreline will all disappear. They will be forgotten as other emergencies rise to the surface and other leaders are summoned to the stage.