Friday, January 20, 2017

And so it begins

by Dan Rather
January 20, 2017

And so it begins.
Of the nearly 20 inaugurations I can remember, there has never been one that felt like today. Not even close. Never mind the question of the small size of the crowds, or the boycott by dozens of lawmakers, or even the protest marches slated for tomorrow across the country. Those are plays upon the stage. What is truly unprecedented in my mind is the sheer magnitude of quickening heartbeats in millions of Americans, a majority of our country if the polls are to be believed, that face today buffeted within and without by the simmering ache of dread.
I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course.
I have never seen a transition so divisive with cabinet picks so encumbered by serious questions of qualifications and ethics.
I have never seen the specter of a foreign foe cast such a dark shadow over the workings of our democracy.
I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world.
I have never seen such a tangled web of conflicting interests.
Despite the pageantry of unity on display at the Capitol today, there is a piercing sense that we are entering a chapter in our nation's evolving story unlike one ever yet written. To be sure, there are millions of Donald Trump supporters who are euphoric with their candidate's rise. Other Trump voters have expressed reservations, having preferred his bluster to his rival's perceived shortcomings in the last election, but admitting more and more that they are not sure what kind of man they bestowed the keys to the presidency. The rest of America - the majority of voters - would not be - and indeed is not - hesitant in sharing its conclusions on the character and fitness of Donald Trump for the office he now holds.
The hope one hears from even some of Donald Trump's critics is that this moment might change him. Perhaps, as he stood there on a grey, drab, January day, reciting the solemn oath of office demanded by our Constitution, as he looked out across what Charles Dickens once called the "city of magnificent intentions", he would somehow grasp the importance of what he was undertaking. Perhaps he would understand that he must be the president of all the United States, in action as well as in word. Perhaps, but there has already been so much past that is prologue.
There is usually much fanfare around inaugural addresses. They are also usually forgotten - with some notable exceptions. I think today will be remembered, not so much for the rhetoric or the turns of phrase but for the man who delivered them and the era they usher us forth.
Mr. Trump's delivery was staccato and there was very little eye contact as he seemed to be reading carefully from a teleprompter. His words and tone were angry and defiant. He is still in campaign mode and nary a whiff of a unifying spirit. There was little or nothing of uplift - the rhetoric of Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, or Reagan. We heard a cavalcade of slogans and one liners, of huge promises to "bring back" an America - whatever that really means to many who look at our history and see progress in our current society.
The speech started with a message of an establishment in Washington earning riches on the back of struggling families across the country. It was an odd note, considering the background of many of his cabinet picks. President Trump painted a very dark picture of the current state of our nation, beset by gangs and drugs and violence, regardless of what the data shows. His words swelled with his economic populism and the nationalism of "America first." The applause was sparse, and I imagine many more being turned off, even sickened, rather than inspired by what our new President had to say. President Obama looked on with an opaque poker face. One could only imagine what he was thinking.
It bears remembering that one never can predict the arc of a presidency. It is an office that is far too often shaped by circumstance well beyond its occupant's control. Those challenges, wherever and however they may rise, now will fall on the desk of President Trump. We can only see what will happen. We hope, for the security and sanctity of our Republic, that Mr. Trump will respond to the challenges with circumspection and wisdom. Today's rhetoric was not reassuring.
Our democracy demands debate and dissent - fierce, sustained, and unflinching when necessary. I sense that tide is rising amongst an opposition eager to toss aside passivity for action. We are already seeing a more emboldened Democratic party than I have witnessed in ages. It is being fueled by a fervent energy bubbling from the grassroots up, rather than the top down.
These are the swirling currents about our ship of state. We now have a new and untested captain. His power is immense, but it is not bestowed from a divinity on high. It is derived, as the saying goes, from the consent of the governed. That means President Trump now works for us - all of us. And if he forgets that, it will be our duty to remind him.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


A letter from Ronald Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis today...
"Dear President and Mrs. Obama,
For the past eight years we in this country have watched you inhabit the enormous roles of President and First Lady, giving your positions the respect and humility that such an honor deserves. Elegance can seem like a mild word, until it is snatched away and crudeness, arrogance and immaturity move in to replace it. Then elegance takes on a larger meaning, spilling over into dignity, empathy, respect. Elegance is a state of being that everyone should aspire to, but few possess.
In the face of unbridled racism, which included a concerted effort to de-legitimize you, President Obama, by claiming that you were not born in America, you never descended into pettiness or counter-attacks. As the First Lady would later say, When they went low, you went high. Through the tragedies of mass shootings, you rose to the task of comforting us while allowing us to see the raw emotions of anger and frustration that a civilized country could be awash in guns and unwilling to do anything about it.
It would never have occurred to either of you that mocking or belittling other human beings is acceptable behavior and when a man who wanted to occupy the office you held was heard making a crude and obscene comment about women, you both again rose higher while sharing how deeply shattering such behavior was to you, not only as President and First Lady, but as parents. Elegance is a balancing act between honesty and restraint. between dignity and the hot blood of pure emotion.
You understood the balm of humor and the truth of tears. You were there to encourage us, to inspire us, and to mourn with us. Many of us wonder what is going to happen to America now, when elegance will be replaced by petulance and pettiness. How can America be respected when the man elected to lead America shows only disrespect for its citizens, its press, and the freedoms that have made this country unique?
Hopefully we learned from your example and we can, collectively, decide that dignity, empathy, and respect cannot be banished by one man, or one administration. You were elegant teachers, it’s now our turn to be diligent students. It is not a political statement, but an achingly human one to say that we will miss you."
Patti Davis

Sunday, January 15, 2017

"Playful Gesture", right....

THIS, folks, is life after drumpf's horrific presidential campaign.

‘I no longer have to be politically correct’: GOP politician arrested after grabbing a woman in her genital area

According to the Wesport Daily Voice, Greenwich Representative Town Meeting board member Christopher von Keyserling was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault and was released on $2,500 bond. He’s due to appear in court on January 25.

In December of 2016, Keyserling engaged in a “political argument” with a woman and allegedly declared, “I love this new world. I no longer have to be politically correct.” As the woman turned to walk away, Keyserling reportedly reach from behind and placed his hand between her legs and pinched on or near her genital area.

She told him that if he was “proud of that I can’t help you,” after which he called her a lazy, bloodsucking union employee, the warrant said.

She uttered “(expletive deleted) you” and walked into her office, the warrant said. She said he followed her into the office and said he wanted to talk with her co-worker, the warrant said.

When that co-worker walked in, she said she didn’t have time to speak with him and left the office, the warrant said. The 57-year-old woman decided to leave with her co-worker because she didn’t want to be alone with him, the warrant said.

According to the woman, he said, “It would be your word against mine and nobody will believe you.” She added that he had “an evil look in his eyes.”

Keyserling’s lawyer defended his actions as being a simple “jocular” moment with the woman.
“In almost 30 years of practicing law in this town, I would say Mr. von Keyserling is the one person I would never suspect of having any inappropriate sexual predilections,” lawyer Phil Russell said to the Greenwich Time. “There was a playful gesture, in front of witnesses. It was too trivial to be considered anything of significance. To call it a sexual assault is not based in reality.”

After reviewing a surveillance video of the incident, police determined that its contents were consistent with the woman’s claims.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Joe Biden

THIS Man was President Obama's best friend. He was there thru thick and thin. I'm sure - with his leaning toward fun - helped the 44th President get thru the every day bullshit that was thrown his way. I will ALWAYS be thankful for Joe Biden.

I shared this earlier this year.

Gonna miss you, Uncle Joe!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Julie Newmar

From Julie Newmar's Facebook page.

We know what Mr Obama looks like. This picture shows,
in the face of the child, what he feels like to most of us.
We were secure, trusted, valued by him. We saw him use
his titanic intelligence for our common good. I'll miss him.
I loved the way he bounded up the stairs . . . or down.
He went to the gym every morning.
I loved his simplicity of dress, manner and style. He stayed up nights, deliberating the details of our complicated democracy.
I loved his language . . . clear, without guile, neither biggety nor vainglorious. He was always - on point, authentic.
Like Truman, he came to the White House with consummate Kansan middle class virtues plus an accident of destiny via the dreams of his Kenyan father.
We did markedly well under his leadership.
America was admired anew.
I want to look at the future, but I'm sad.
I feel as if I have lost a beloved parent.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Monday Morning Smile

This has nothing to do with anything.

I already hate 2017, with drumfps ......swearing in.....shudder

Tuesday, January 03, 2017




apparently they changed their mind

By Steve Benen
Last night, House Republicans met behind closed doors and agreed to gut their own ethics rules. The vote, for which there was no roll call, was 119 to 74, and by all accounts, the GOP leadership opposed making the change.

The blowback was as quick as it was intense. Of the 119 members who voted for the ethics overhaul, only a few were willing to publicly defend the change – or even acknowledge having voted for it. Coverage was brutal, members’ phones were reportedly ringing quite a bit this morning, and even Donald Trump, the ethically challenged president-elect, suggested his party’s timing was unwise.

And with this in mind, just a half-day after adopting their own plan, House Republicans reversed course.
Facing fierce criticism from members of both parties – including President-Elect Donald Trump – House Republicans backed down Tuesday from an initial attempt to gut an independent ethics office that investigates House lawmakers and staff accused of misconduct.

The decision to scrap changes to the ethics office came during an emergency GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning.
The agreement to drop the plan was reportedly reached by unanimous consent – which means the 119 House Republicans who voted for this last night, in effect, declared, “Never mind.”

This is a pretty brutal fiasco on literally the first day of the new Republican Congress. Screwing up this badly, in such a high-profile way, takes quite a bit of effort.

There are multiple angles to a story like this one, but here are just a few key elements to keep in mind:

* Shame works. Most of the time, Trump seems immune to shame and public pressure, but this morning is a reminder that congressional Republicans occasionally care about public humiliation. Had there not been a public backlash, there’s little doubt the rules gambit would have been approved by the House GOP majority.

And in the process, an interesting precedent has been set. If there are similar public backlashes when Republicans consider gutting health care plans, eliminating Wall Street safeguards, slashing tax rates on billionaires, or any number of other far-right priorities, just how far will GOP members stick out their necks to pursue unpopular ideas? This debacle over ethics serves as a reminder of what pressure can do.

* It’s not over. Trump’s modest pushback against changing the ethics rules had nothing to do with the substance and everything to do with the timing. Why is that important? Because House Republicans have shelved last night’s plan, but that doesn’t mean GOP members can’t bring back the idea when they think no one’s looking.

* The leadership challenge. House Republican leaders urged their members not to pursue this, but rank-and-file GOP lawmakers did it anyway. For six years, there have been tensions between the Republican leadership and its radicalized members, and those tensions haven’t gone away.

This creates all kinds of challenges, and not just for the Speaker’s office. If you’re Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell, and you want to work out a deal with the House, who do you negotiate with? If Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy aren’t calling the shots in the lower chamber, who is?

* History repeats itself. Twelve years ago, after Republicans won a clean sweep, their first action was to weaken their own congressional ethics rules. Soon after, in the face of public pressure, they reversed course on some measures.

History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.