The Watering Hole, Saturday, March 4th, 2017: Look Back and Laugh…and Sigh

We need to take a break from the horror that America has become under a dark, grim authoritarian regime that’s less than two months old, and look back at what – in now-stark contrast – were the halcyon days of Barack Obama, The Laughing President.

President Obama was always at ease with himself, so he was also (almost) always at ease with foreign leaders, celebrities, his fellow Democrats, former Presidents from both sides of the aisle, even the Pope, for heaven’s sake; and even, FFS, the PRESS, that “Enemy of the American People”:

Notice that German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn't mind President Obama touching her.

Notice that German Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn’t mind President Obama touching her.

Jon Steward and President Obama share a pose and a smile

Jon Stewart and President Obama share a pose and a smile

President Obama has a good laugh with David Letterman

President Obama heartily laughing with David Letterman

V.P. Joe Biden and President Obama acting casually.

V.P. Joe Biden and President Obama perform synchronized laughing.

Patently genuine laugh between Hillary Clinton and President Obama

Patently genuine laugh between Hillary Clinton and President Obama

Hillary's losing it, but Obama is happy to provide support

Hillary’s losing it, but Obama provides support

President Obama and former President Bill Clinton having a good time

President Obama and former President Bill Clinton having a good time

"THERE ARE FOUR PRESIDENTS [laughing]!"

“THERE ARE FOUR PRESIDENTS [laughing]!”

The President and The Pope

The President and The Pope

President Barack Obama's mic drop at his final Nerd Prom

President Barack Obama’s mic drop at his final Nerd Prom

But the ease and warmth that he obviously shared with so many others pales in comparison with the almost-visible aura of the unmistakable ease, warmth, humor, respect and love that he shares with his wife Michelle:

Barack and Michelle, side by side, as a loving couple should be...

Barack and Michelle, side by side, as a loving couple should be…

Date night out?

Date night out?

Now THAT'S "Class!"

Now THAT’S “Class!”

I won’t sully this brief remembrance of better times with the name(s) or photo(s) of the current fake occupier of our White House. I hope that, as I did, you couldn’t help but smile in response to President Barack Obama’s infectious grin.

[…sigh…]

This is our Open Thread, a bit late – enjoy!

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The Watering Hole, Wednesday, February 15th, 2017: First Hypocrisy, Now Treachery

It’s been well known for a long time that the GOP is the party of hypocrisy–hence the acronym IOKIYAR. Now, with all of the trump cabal’s innumerable Russian connections, it appears that the GOP is also the party of treachery.

Despite the fact that several U.S. Intelligence agencies have already been investigating key trump personnel, none of the pertinent House and Senate committees want to do a damn thing about it, with the minor exception of Kellyanne Conway’s “free commercial” for Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. No, instead, GOP leaders are either silent on the subject, or say that we should just “move on” now that Flynn has resigned. Apparently they do NOT give a damn that trump knew all about Flynn’s conversations with Russian contacts, in particular the call that Flynn made, on the day that Obama announced sanctions against Russia for interfering with our elections, to let Russia know that president trump would lift those sanctions.

Would ANY Democrat, even one not running for the Presidency, get away with something like this? FFS, the GOP held, what, seven or eight hearings on Benghazi, and went fucking nuts over Hillary Clinton’s emails, none of which in any way, shape or form, endangered the security of the United States. Yet the fact that trump has surrounded himself with people who have, in many cases, had longtime relationships with Russian officials doesn’t seem to worry our ever-so-patriotic Republican majority “leaders.” “Move along, nothing to see here, looky-loos” and “but what about Hillary and her emails” are the typical responses from the GOP.

Well, FUCK YOU, GOP, fuck you hard with something sharp. You are all useless pieces of shit, and I hope that not only does trump go down in flames, I hope he drags you all to hell with him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, just for laughs, here’s an article from the Christian Post that I know you’ll find amusing. I mean, just the title alone is hysterical: “God Delivered US from ‘Spirit of Witchcraft Through Trump”. Here’s an excerpt:

Appearing on “The Jim Bakker Show” on Tuesday, Christian thought leader Lance Wallnau spoke about President Donald Trump’s inauguration and the Women’s March on Washington that followed, saying God used Trump to deliver “the nation from the spirit of witchcraft in the Oval Office.”

“What I believe is happening is there was a deliverance of the nation from the spirit of witchcraft in the Oval Office,” said Wallnau, an evangelical business strategist and leader of the Lance Learning Group consulting firm in Dallas.

“The spirit of witchcraft was in the Oval Office, it was about to intensify to a higher level demon principality, and God came along with a wrecking ball, shocked everyone, the church cried out for mercy and bam—God knocked that spirit out, and what you’re looking at is the manifestation of an enraged demon through the populace,” he added.

“This is biblical,” Wallnau, author of God’s Chaos Candidate, added. “Many of the disruptions we are gonna see are going to be the evidence that we are seeing the awakening already began.”

Wallnau, who holds an M.A. from South Western Theological Seminary in Texas, predicted before the election that Trump was the “prophesied president.” He earlier explained that he came to this conclusion after attending a widely-publicized meeting between Donald Trump and evangelical leaders at the Trump Tower last year.

Giving an address at the 3rd Christian Inaugural Gala hosted by Women for a Great America at the Washington Hilton along with prominent Christian speakers and authors last month, Wallnau claimed that when he returned home to Dallas following the meeting with Trump, the Lord put the biblical passage of Isaiah 45 on his heart and told him that “the 45th president is Isaiah 45.”

[He actually had to use Google to confirm that trump would be the 45th president – and these evangelicals are demanding the right to preach politics from the pulpit?]

This is our Open Thread – have at it!

The Watering Hole; Th/Fr December 1 and 2, 2016; “Thou, Whoever Art Above . . .”

I’ll admit it. I’m DISGUSTED!

I know I’m not alone in this, but I can say with heavy duty authority that in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential (s)election, my disgust has peaked at levels I’ve never known before, levels that, until November 9, I would have never guessed attainable, much less even possible. But it happened. Somehow, the most narcissistic, egomaniacal, misogynistic, xenophobic, bigoted, racist, fascistic and ego-driven presidential candidate in American history has been (s)elected (at least via Electoral College terms), and will become POTUS on January 20, 2017.

My initial reaction was to rant (which I did), then attempt to listen to those voices of ‘moderation,’ those voices that try to convince us “radicals” that hey, this is America where the voice of “the people” — not of the tyrant — is heard, is determinative of the nation’s (and the world’s) future. Those voices of moderation are, of course, nonsensical in that they ignore the obvious consequences that invariably occur when the entire government of a nation is turned over to what is, effectively, a far right wing politic, a Fascist majority. And sadly, that is precisely what ‘we the people’ did on November 8, 2016; we “elected” a Fascist president, and left in place right wing majorities in both the Senate and the House along with a vacancy on the Supreme Court which will now be filled by an extreme right wing appointee, thus granting control  of the entire of our federal government to the American Fascist Movement.

That should be the point that causes any salient mind to rant and rave for hours on end about electoral national destruction, but then again, to the “salient” mind, what would be the point? As Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar noted, “The die is cast.” Besides, it does one no good at all to imagine being down in the pit, surrounded only by idiots, white supremacists, Republicans, Fascists  — assuming there’s a difference. There are, after all, other places — peaceful and quiet places, places brimming with ‘salient’ life forms — places that are far better, that inspire rather than denigrate one’s imagination.

Here’s an example: a six line poem by longtime colleague and friend T.R. Nissle, words which he penned some 40 years ago in response to a few photos I managed to ‘snap’ during my frequent and solitary sojourns “out there” on some then relatively undisturbed corners of the Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona. Six lines with six photos (the top three ‘inspired’ the poem), together offer a refreshing look at the living world — though not expressly through human eyes.

THE PRAYER OF THE CACTUS

ca-1972-cave-creek-wasjh-praying-saguaro

▲Thou, whoever art above, hear me die –▲

ca-1973-white-tanks-old-sentry

▲Hear my silent, lonely prayer –▲

ca-1975-mcdowells-saguaro-backlit-350pxl

▲For tongueless creatures everywhere;▲

003s▲We neither savage, jest, nor boast of soul –▲

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA▲But flower unmaliciously –▲

2004-january-sunrise-ove-salt-river-valley-022f▲Disjoin us from Humanity.▲

Those six photos are of the Sonoran Desert’s most unique life form, the Giant Saguaro Cactus, in various stages of both life and death. Curiously enough, the Saguaro’s longtime scientific name Cereus giganteus (Britton & Rose) was, in recent years, changed to Carnegiea gigantea in honor of renowned wealthy industrialist-become-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who, in his last years prior to his death in 1919, donated (as 2015 share of GDP) some $78.6 Billion (approx. 90% of his accumulated wealth) to charities, foundations, and universities. I suppose it could simply be my naivete, but I seriously doubt that any of today’s billionaires will ever wind up with a signature cactus named after them. Trumpissonia gigantea? Probably not.

The bottom line remains: If humans would take a moment and agree to (1) abolish all war, (2) disallow greed,  hate, and irrational fear, (3) abandon their never-ending savage quest for power, and (4) agree to never again boast of soul — but flower unmaliciously, the world would fast become a livable place for all its creatures, big or small. Including even ourselves.

I remain filled with doubt, however; human history has yet to suggest that humans are uniformly capable of being earth-friendly in any context. More than two centuries ago, for example, William Wordsworth  noted that though . . .

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;–
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.

To which I can only add, in MY voice to all of earth’s creatures everywhere:

Disjoin US from “Humanity.”

2005-mar-brittlebush-encelia-farinosa-022s-sharper

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole; Th/Fr Nov. 17/18 2016; ‘Oh Say — Can You See’?

“Now the face that I see in the mirror,
More and more is a stranger to me;
More and more I can see there’s a danger,
Of becoming what I never thought I’d be – “
(Lyric by John Denver)

******

▼Rising ‘Beaver’ Moon; Nov. 14 2016▼

2016-nov-14-rising-beaver-moon-2504cr

♬  Oh say, can you see, by the moon’s subtle light,

How PROFOUNDLY we’ve failed, since the twilight’s last gleaming . . . ♬

******

“If ever we put any other value above liberty, and above principle, we shall lose both.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower (1960)

League Of The South Hails Trump, Wants ‘No Mercy’ Towards ‘Jews, Minorities And Anti-White Whites’: “You, by God’s grace, may have been given a short reprieve from this scenario. Redeem the time! As for me, I recommend that we get busy with Southern independence. We need our own country, and it must be run by us for our own interests. It must once again be White Man’s Land.”

In Donald Trump’s America, fear, violence and intimidation are taking over college campuses: Vandalism and slurs have surged on college campuses, from “Trump!” graffiti to pushing a Muslim student down a hill

Worst potential Trump pick of all? It might be anti-immigration guru Jeff Sessions as attorney general: The Alabama senator wants to shut down immigration and birthright citizenship — and tells “jokes” about the KKK

From 9/11 to 11/9: Is Donald Trump’s election collateral damage from the War on Terror?: How Trump exploited the War on Terror’s effects on our political culture, economy and national psyche

Why Recent Child Rape Case Against Trump Should Not Be Ignored: Victim Has A Witness (updated): Tiffany Doe herself says that she is in mortal fear of Mr. Trump to this day: “I am coming forward to swear to the truthfulness of the physical and sexual abuse that I personally witnessed of minor females at the hands of Mr. Trump and Mr. Epstein . . . I swear to these facts under the penalty for perjury even though I fully understand that the life of myself and my family is now in grave danger”. (See also: www.huffingtonpost.com/…)

Trump adviser promises a return to `Drill, Baby, Drill’: An adviser to President-elect Donald Trump has now promised that the incoming administration will collect “hundreds of billions of dollars” in revenue by “opening up” federal lands and oceans to oil, gas, and coal development.

NASA: `Planetary warming does not care about the election’: A very warm October ensures 2016 will be the hottest year by far: The only way to stop this vicious cycle of ever-more dangerous threats is through a global effort to slash carbon pollution deeply and rapidly. Tragically, elections can and do affect whether major emitters like the United States will keep trying to solve the problem — or become a major reason we don’t.

“But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy
and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is
a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist
dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the
bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them that
they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism
& exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.”
~Hermann Goering (1893-1946)

Seattle Councilwoman Gets Threats After Call To Shut Down Trump’s Inauguration: ‘I will come and tattoo a swastika on your head and on that bitch’s head.’

Democratic Coalition Files FBI Election Complaint Against Stephen Bannon: Whoopsie! It looks like Brietbart head racist in charge and alt-Right champion may have skirted some pretty serious campaign finance laws while working to elect Cheeto Jesus Trump.

Steve Bannon To Help Trump Bring White Nationalism, Misogyny and Anti-Semitism To The White House

Donald Trump Taps Radical Conspiracy Theorist Frank Gaffney For Transition Team

Trump Reportedly Considering White House Post For Anti-Muslim Activist Who Called Joseph McCarthy ‘Spot On’: Trump is considering naming Center for Security Policy official Clare Lopez to a top national security post in his White House. . . . Responding to protests against Trump’s candidacy that turned violent this summer, Lopez linked the protests to a “witch’s brew” of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Black Lives Matter activists and a “conglomeration of anarchists, communists, socialists, progressivists, leftists of all sorts, Occupy, Bill Ayers types,” all seeking to bring down “the American political system.” She also warned of “a coordinated effort to involve Muslims into the electoral process,” an effort that she said was being “directed by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Jan Brewer: ‘Orchestrated’ Trump protesters are ‘just awful’ — and many owe allegiance to Mexico: “Obviously their allegiance isn’t to the United States, it was to Mexico,” she said, while also calling the protests “orchestrated” and “just awful.” “They’re not entitled to behave like that, I don’t believe. You know, people protest, it’s fine. A lot of them aren’t legal citizens and some of them are and they didn’t even vote and now they’re outraged. They could at least give him a chance.”

What luck for rulers, that men do not think.
~Adolph Hitler

Michele Bachmann: Trump’s Election Was ‘God Answering The Prayers Of His People’: “We saw the Lord answer so specifically that only the hand of God could do that,” she said. “Let’s pray and join and ask the Lord that godly believers would be put in these key sensitive positions. People that the Lord will use for blessing for the United States and for the world. This was the number one story of 2016: God answering the prayers of his people.”

Jim Bakker: Trump’s Election Is ‘The Greatest Miracle I Have Ever Seen’

Kenneth Copeland Now Has A Direct Line To Deliver Messages From God To President Trump: “I am totally convinced that if the Lord were to say something to me … that the president needs to hear,” he said, “I have no doubt that we could do it and do it quickly and have audience to say, ‘Thus saith the Lord’ and he wouldn’t just turn it over to an aide or something and just write it off. He would listen and it would mean something to him.”

Mike Huckabee Tells Far-Right Gathering That Trump Could Be One Of The Greatest Presidents Ever: He said that he trusted Trump to “put good people in the Supreme Court” and “put people in the State Department that might rid Foggy Bottom of the horrible pro-terrorist nonsense that has infiltrated that hideous agency.”

“The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense
founded on the Christian religion.”
~Treaty of Tripoli, signed on June 10, 1797,
by President John Adams.

2016-nov-15-setting-beaver-moon-2506

▲Setting ‘Beaver’ Moon; Nov. 15 2016▲

******

Who are we, really? Do we know?

“Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground
[than the foundation of the Ten Commandments]. It presented
us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased.
We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up
royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of
a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature,
and found them engraved on our hearts.”
~Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Major John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

******

“The office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not
in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”
~Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist #68

******

“The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost
duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It
will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation
has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our
national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.”
~Adolph Hitler; My New World Order, Proclamation to the
German Nation at Berlin, 1 February 1933

******

My response to the election
of Donald J. Trump
and
to the dishonor of ALL who
are responsible for his electoral “victory.”

NONE

None there are so blind as those
Who neither care nor dare to see;
And None there are so dunce as those
Who neither dare nor care to think –

But worse than those who dare not dare
To think, perchance to see,
Are those who never care to care,
But think each lie their leader speaks –

Bespeaks reality.

******

Finally, my interpretation of the rise of the (emerging) Trump Reich:
(to the tune of the Colonel Bogey March)

♬  Donald, has only got one ball
Putin, has two but they are small
Priebus has two, but Jeebus —
Herr Stephen Bannon has no balls at all!  ♬

bannon

******

‘We’ll have to leave it there.’

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Monday, November 7th, 2016: “Trouble sleeping?”

With the most consequential election of my lifetime now just one day away, a scene from Star Trek: Next Generation’s “Best of Both Worlds” Part 1″ keeps returning to my mind. It takes place before the battle with the Borg, as Captain Picard paces through the Enterprise, and finds Guinan alone in Ten-Forward:

Guinan: “Trouble sleeping?”

Capt. Picard: “It’s something of a tradition, Guinan – Captain touring the ship before a battle.”

Guinan: “Hmm. Before a *hopeless* battle, if I remember the tradition correctly.”

Capt. Picard: “Not necessarily. Nelson toured the HMS Victory before Trafalgar.”

Guinan: “Yes, but Nelson never returned from Trafalgar, did he?”

Capt. Picard: “No, but the battle was won.”

Guinan: “Do you expect this battle to be won?”

Capt. Picard: “We may yet prevail. That’s a… a conceit. But… it’s a healthy one. I wonder if the Emperor Honorius watching the Visigoths coming over the seventh hill truly realized that the Roman Empire was about to fall. This is just another page in history, isn’t it? Will this be the end of *our* civilization? Turn the page.”

I wish that I had the calmness, almost equanimity, with which Captain Picard views the possibility of approaching doom and the likely takeover of the United Federation of Planets by a heartless, merciless “race.” I cannot view a similar fate for our country without a feeling of utter dread.

“We may yet prevail” as Picard says, if by “prevail” one means that Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the Presidency. If that happens, in my humble opinion, we the sane will have only one night, possibly, to feel the relief of dodging a bullet. As long-time students of politics and human nature, particularly ‘American’ human nature, we Critters and Zoosters and other reality-based folks are all too well aware that a final election result which denies Donald Trump the Presidency is just the beginning. There inevitably will be a barrage of ‘bullets’, figuratively at best, to continue to dodge. And it may well “be the end of *our* ‘civilization’.”

Guinan offers hope of a sort:

Guinan: “This isn’t the end.”

Capt. Picard: You say that with remarkable assuredness.”

Guinan: “With experience. When the Borg destroyed my world, my people were scattered throughout the universe. We survived – as will humanity survive. As long as there’s a handful of you to keep the spirit alive, you will prevail – even if it takes a millennium.”

And while Guinan could be right, that “[t]his isn’t the end”, I wish that *our* people were able to scatter throughout the universe. “Humanity” may survive, but will it still be recognizable as “human”?

This is our daily Open Thread–talk me down?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, October 29th, 2016: Lighten Up!

Let’s start the weekend with a few lighter political stories that shouldn’t raise anyone’s blood pressure.

President Obama is enjoying himself at the expense of several Republicans in “Barack Obama’s Sweet Revenge Tour” by Tim Murphy of Mother Jones. Here’s an example, regarding the Darrell Issa campaign mailer shown below:

issa_obama-mailerAccording to the Mother Jones article:

“At a fundraiser in La Jolla on Sunday, Obama trashed the California Republican for his mailer. “Issa’s primary contribution to the United States Congress has been to obstruct and to waste taxpayer dollars on trumped-up investigations that have led nowhere,” he said. “This is now a guy who, because poll numbers are bad, has sent out brochures with my picture on them touting his cooperation on issues with me. Now that is the definition of chutzpah.”

Next, The Yale Record has the best non-endorsement-endorsement ever. An excerpt:

“…Because of unambiguous tax law, we do not encourage you to support the most qualified presidential candidate in modern American history…”

The brief piece ends with:

The Yale Record has no opinion whatsoever on Dr. Jill Stein.
—The Editorial Board of The Yale Record

Last, today’s Washington Post has some encouraging news about Trump’s chances in Pennsylvania. Even better, though, the article is accompanied by a photo of Trump talking with Rudy “n.v.9/11” Ghouliani Guiliani – I know, you’re thinking, “why is a photo of two of the most despicable men that NYC ever spawned BETTER than Trump slipping in PA?” – well, you’ll have to see it (it could be worse, at least Rudy’s facing away from the camera, more-or-less.) I commented to Wayne that, knowing Trump, he’d probably try to sue the photographer for taking an unflattering picture when Trump’s combover wasn’t ready for its close-up. Then, of course, Trump would likely accuse Secretary Clinton of hiring the photographer as part of a worldwide conspiracy to expose what lies underneath Trump’s “hair” – and what lies beneath is a large expanse of bare-naked Trump-scalp. “Sad.” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is our daily Open Thread – relax, enjoy the weekend!

The Watering Hole; Friday October 21 2016; “It is not now as it hath been of yore”

There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
the earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.

Those are the opening five lines of the first stanza of William Wordsworth’s classic work of poetic art entitled “ODE ON INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY From Recollections of Early Childhood”  (comp. 1802-1804). What’s long fascinated me is the fact that even though ‘Intimations’ was written more than 200 years ago, its words still describe — with amazing precision — moments of emotional recognition that most any cognitive mind can find itself pondering even today.

In the summer of 2007, for example, we spent pretty much the entire month of July camped in Arizona’s Apache National Forest, on the edge of a forest meadow (Cienega) which was located some 30 miles from the nearest town, some 5-6 miles north of the edge of Arizona’s grand escarpment, the Mogollon Rim (elevation approx. 9000 ft.) and roughly 10-15 miles west of the New Mexico state line. The forest meadow was named Butterfly Cienega, and it lay in a lush and peaceful corner of a forest teaming with life.

The following series of photographs effectively portrays a tiny portion of the experience, and essentially acts as a bridge to another event that was to occur some four years down the road — May, June and July, 2011. The photos are presented in no particular order, but are interspersed with three additional excerpts from Wordsworth’s ‘Intimations’ Ode which together re-tell the story implied in the Ode’s nine-line first stanza, as quoted up top and in the four lines immediately below.  Continue reading