The End of Summer, and Other Things

Aug. 24th, 2017 05:05 am
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Posted by John Scalzi

Here’s a picture of Athena on the last day of summer. The next day (today, as I’m writing this after midnight) we bundle her and much of her belongings into the minivan and head down to Oxford, Ohio, where Athena begins her time at Miami University. We’ll drop her off, help her get situated, and then drive away, to come home to a house that for the first time ever will not have her in it on a regular basis. It’s a good and expected and desired thing to have her start this part of her life. But it will be different. If there was any doubt that our daughter is no longer a child (even when she remains our child), coming home to a house without her will be the closing argument on that.

It’s nothing new in the annals of history, mind you. Children leave home all the time. But it’s new to us. And that’s the thing. We’ll be fine, and Athena will only be an hour (and a text or a tweet or phone call) away. But it will still be different without her. A little bit of each of our hearts goes with her when she goes.

That’s all I want to say about it right now. Except to reiterate again how much I love my daughter, and how proud I am of her for who she’s become and excited for who she has yet to become in these next few years. What a wonderful time for her, and for us. Still, I hope you’ll understand if I’m a little out of it the next several days. It’ll just be me, missing my kid.


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Steven Mulroy | (The Conversation) | – –

President Donald Trump may pardon Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who illegally used racial profiling to enforce immigration laws.

It’s true, Trump has the legal power to pardon pretty much anyone. But pardoning Arpaio could send the message that state and local officials can aggressively enforce federal immigration law, even if it risks racial profiling and violating the due process rights of citizens and noncitizens.

Legal limits on immigration enforcement

At a July 22 rally in Phoenix, the president hinted he was considering a pardon for Joe Arpaio, former sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. Arpaio has long been known for his harsh practices like requiring inmates to work on chain gangs and live in outdoor tent cities in the scorching Arizona heat. He prioritized immigration enforcement at the expense of crimes like sexual assault.

In 2011, a federal court found that Arpaio’s sheriff’s department unconstitutionally racially profiled Latinos. The court additionally noted that state and county officials had no authority to enforce federal immigration law without authorization from the federal government. Arpaio had no such authorization.

As a former federal prosecutor and Justice Department civil rights lawyer, I know that state and local cooperation can be helpful in enforcing federal law. But as I teach my constitutional law students, when it comes to immigration, federal law usually preempts state law. State overenforcement of immigration law can actually interfere with federal policy. So, state officials should enforce federal immigration law only where the federal government asks them to.

More fundamentally, no federal or state official can legally target people for immigration-related stops and questioning just because they look Latino. And as the Supreme Court has stated, even noncitizens have the right to due process and to be free from racial discrimination, as long as they are present in the U.S.

Arpaio’s detentions and questioning thus broke the law by violating individuals’ due process and Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The court ordered Arpaio and his office to stop using race as a factor in its enforcement decisions. His deputies could detain individuals based on probable cause that they had violated some state law, but not merely because they suspected them of being in the U.S. illegally.

Consequences of a pardon

In July, another federal judge convicted Arpaio of criminal contempt for intentionally violating the first court’s prior orders. His sentencing hearing is set for this October.

It is unusual for a president to pardon someone before he or she is sentenced. Doing so would suggest that Trump felt Arpaio has done nothing wrong.

This could encourage like-minded state and local officials to racially profile Latinos, too. More broadly, it could encourage state and local officers to aggressively enforce federal immigration law. Many experts and law enforcement officials criticize such state and local enforcement, saying it erodes trust with immigrant communities, making them too fearful to report local crimes and cooperate with police.

Even if Arpaio were pardoned, it would not mean a complete clean slate for him. The pardon would not erase a separate court ruling from 2016 that found him in civil contempt of court. Civil contempt is a noncriminal finding, which could require remedial measures like court-ordered reforms, reporting requirements and the like. These would not fall under the reach of the president’s pardon power.

The ConversationNor would a pardon mean that he or his department would be allowed to return to their unconstitutional practices. Arpaio himself is now out of office, having lost his most recent election. And the Maricopa County Sheriff Department is still under a court order to refrain from racial profiling and other illegal immigration enforcement efforts. But the pardon could embolden immigration hawks and infuriate Trump’s opponents – which, in the end, might very well be the intention.

Steven Mulroy, Law Professor in Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Election Law, University of Memphis

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

ABC15 Arizona: “President Trump expected to pardon Sheriff Joe Arpaio”

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By Erdağ Göknar | (Los Angeles Review of Books) | – –

COULD A CONTEMPORARY STORY of love and vengeance set in Turkey have its roots in ancient myths of patricide and filicide? This is what Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk convincingly contends in his 10th and latest novel, The Red-Haired Woman. The two dominant and competing myths come from ancient Greece and Persia (Greece and Iran today are Turkey’s Western and Eastern neighbors): the Oedipal myth from Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, where son unknowingly kills father, and the legend of Rostam and Sohrab from Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh, where father unknowingly kills son. The myths can be read as generational allegories about tradition and modernity, the East/West conflict, Islam and secularism, and even socialism and capitalism. This is what Pamuk intends as he skillfully intermingles textual traditions and historical time periods, establishing the trademark intertextuality and intertemporality of his fiction. But The Red-Haired Woman, though it engages father-and-son conflict, is, importantly, a woman’s story.

Pamuk has previously alluded to both myths in his fiction, which represent tropes of East/West encounter. The Shahnameh story first appears in Pamuk’s Ottoman historical novel My Name Is Red (Knopf, 2001) as one of the canonical eastern tales that miniaturists depicted, particularly the moment of father Rostam’s realization that he’s killed his son Sohrab. This account is cleverly contrasted with that of Oedipus. The final scene in My Name Is Red, for example, depicts the portrait of a mother (the savvy woman Shekure) nursing the child (the author-figure Orhan) as a kind of iconic union. In Pamuk’s world, Oedipus-like characters struggle against “fathers” of tradition, defeating them and often creating a work of literature in the process. The ghost of the traditional (Ottoman-Islamic) father, however, is always near, haunting the secular modern son and protagonist.

Pamuk’s political novel about the contemporary conflict between Islamism and secularism, Snow (Knopf, 2004), picks up on the theme of filicide. The Islamic extremist Blue recounts the Rostam story as a parable to Ka, the secular, modern intellectual:

“[T]his thousand-year-old story [of Sohrab and Rostam] comes from Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh. […] Once upon a time, millions of people knew it by heart — from Tabriz to Istanbul, from Bosnia to Trabzon — and when they recalled this story, they found the meaning in their lives. The story spoke to them in just the same way that Oedipus’ murder of his father or Macbeth’s obsession with power and death speak to people throughout the Western world. […]”

“Let me guess what you’re thinking,” said Blue. “Is this story so beautiful that a man could kill for it? That’s what you’re thinking, isn’t it?”

“I don’t know,” said Ka.

“Then think about it,” said Blue, and he left the room.

In this exchange, an association is made between an Islamist worldview and the Rostam story; meanwhile, Western-style modernity is linked to the Oedipus myth. Each story stands in for conflicting political imaginaries. Blue is later assassinated by operatives of the secular Turkish deep state. In vengeance, Ka is killed by Islamist supporters of Blue. Both myths maintain political force in the novel. In an act of recuperation, however, the author “Orhan” is able to sustain an optimistic hybrid of secularism and moderate Islamism within the space of the novel.

The productive tension between these two foundational civilizational myths has informed Pamuk’s novels for some time. In my analysis of Pamuk’s fiction, Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy, I use the shorthand din (religious tradition) and devlet (secular state) to represent the two conflicting yet mutually sustaining politics. Pamuk relies on the myths of Rostam and of Oedipus to provide cultural maps for two positions of political power. The conflict between these distinct cultural formations of Islamic tradition and secular modernity leads to an unlikely outcome: the production of a contemporary, global novel.

The Red-Haired Woman is structured in three parts. Each part corresponds in turn to one of the main characters of a symbolic Turkish Oedipal complex: the Islamic father (Mahmut/Part One), the secular son (Cem/Part Two), and the feminist woman (Gülcihan/Part Three). In this way, Pamuk qualifies the clichéd Islam versus secularism binary by giving narrative voice to the silenced woman/mother.

Part One recounts the month-long experience of adolescent protagonist Cem in 1985 while he works as a well-digger’s apprentice in the town of Öngören (“Foreseeing”). Turkey has just experienced a major military coup in 1980. In the background, a military base reminds the reader of the ongoing threat of intervention. The master well-digger, the devout Mahmut, becomes something of a surrogate father to Cem, and he recounts Koranic parables to him in the evenings.

Meanwhile, after watching the titular red-haired actress (Gülcihan) perform scenes from legend, Cem meets and has a tryst with her. The gender norms of 1980s Turkey are set up as follows:

In those years, if an attractive woman in her thirties who was made-up and wearing a pretty navy blue skirt (even if for the sake of theater) were to say to a man at ten thirty at night, “Let’s walk down the street some more,” for most men, unfortunately, this could mean only one thing.

The red-haired woman is a libertine member of a left-leaning, traveling theater troupe, and Cem loses his virginity to her. (A similar leftist theater troupe appears in Pamuk’s novel Snow, and is responsible for initiating a coup attempt.) Later, we also learn that she has already had an affair with Cem’s absent father, evoking another Oedipal triangle. When Cem accidentally drops a bucket down the 20-yard-deep well at the bottom of which Master Mahmut is working, he flees assuming the worst — that he has killed him. Meanwhile, the well (symbol of the womb), takes on a further metaphorical significance, suggesting the archeological metaphor that Freud relied on in explaining his model of the psyche. The red-haired woman becomes the object of guilt-ridden Cem’s intellectual fixations for the remainder of his life.

Part Two follows Cem, who first aspires to be a writer, in Istanbul from 1986 to the mid-2000s. He becomes a geological engineer and contractor as well as a successful, secular purveyor of modernity. In an otherwise faithful translation by Ekin Oklap, the narrative flags here due to summary description. Cem and his wife Ayşe are unable to have children, as a result of an unnamed condition she has. Both husband and wife are uncannily interested in the Eastern and Western myths of Rostam/Sohrab and Oedipus. To the degree that they name their joint construction company Sohrab, the Shahnameh hero who is fated to be killed by his father. Ironically, Sohrab is given a kind of eternal life as a corporation in the neoliberal era of conservative Islamist politics.

Word reaches Cem that he has a son by the revolutionary red-haired actress. The company prepares to buy property in Öngören. This gives Cem a chance to see the red-haired woman again, and his son, Enver, for the first time. Relying on a technique of genre-switching, the novel assumes the tone of a film noir script in this section. In a climactic and melodramatic scene, father and son grapple with each other at the mouth of the symbolic “well” the father had labored over 30 years prior.

Gülcihan, the red-haired woman, narrates Part Three. Her concluding narration echoes the way she would finish theatrical reenactments in her youth with monologues. Ostensibly, this is a novel that explores father/son themes, but Pamuk insightfully ends by including what’s missing from both Eastern and Western accounts — a woman’s voice. Switching to the triangulating narrative voice of Gülcihan allows Pamuk to sustain both foundational myths at the same time. In the end, Pamuk’s revision gives authority (and authorial voice) to the woman, who usurps the place of the father. Enver (the son) has been arrested for patricide pending trial. Gülcihan encourages him to pen the novel we are reading as a testimony to his innocence (the account of a novel being written is a hallmark metafictional device of Pamuk’s novels). While the case waits to be heard, it is revealed that mother and son stand to inherit two-thirds stake in the company Sohrab.

Readers will inevitably ponder what kind of female agency is being depicted in The Red-Haired Woman. Gülcihan exists first as an object of adolescent desire and then as a grieving or conniving mother. Her depictions on stage are of wives and mothers, whether of Oedipus’ mother Jocasta, of Rostam’s wife Tahmineh, or of a generic Turkish housewife. Granted, the novel evokes an iconic red-haired woman as an elemental force, and this reviewer was reminded of the famous lines by Sylvia Plath: “Out of the ash / I rise with my red hair / And I eat men like air.” Perhaps Pamuk’s red-haired woman aspires to this mythic, elemental force of feminism. But Gülcihan is nonetheless limited to the personas of paramour and devoted mother. We learn of the detail that her hair is dyed, not natural, as if she both lacks and appropriates the authenticity of a female archetype. As with Freud’s model of the family romance, there is no independent place for femininity in this story unless it is related to masculinity. Though the men, including Cem’s father, Master Mahmut, and Cem himself are all fated to die, the two main female characters (Ayşe and Gülcihan) stand to inherit ownership of Sohrab, the company, through bonds of marriage and motherhood, respectively. Thus The Red-Haired Woman depicts a conditional enfranchisement, one that also reflects the plight of women in Turkey.

As in My Name Is Red and Snow, the Oedipal fantasy takes precedence in The Red-Haired Woman. The Oedipal myth can also be read metaphorically as a historical narrative of revolutionary Turkish secular modernity, or Kemalism, in which the younger generation sweeps away the old. By extension, the myth also evokes the psychological and historical dialectics of Freud and Marx, of progressive change through the usurpation of the power of the “father.” This is, among other things, a plot predicated on science, secularism, and positivism. In the novel, scientific DNA testing establishes the patrimony of the child and secular law allows a disenfranchised woman and her son to become part of a new socio-economic order. At the novel’s close, the son, Enver, actually does become an author, something that his father had aspired to. As such, Enver identifies with the same-sex parent, perhaps bringing resolution to the Oedipal complex through a process of writing that exonerates and redeems him.

The Red-Haired Woman reveals itself to be both a dramatization and a disruption of Oedipal patriarchy in a world where patrimony passes from father to son. Women do exercise agency, but relationally, through their husbands or sons. The Turkish state gave women rights in the 1920s and ’30s, but these top-down reforms were not the result of demands originating within society. The Turkish ideal of the modern woman represented a small cosmopolitan elite, and state feminism focused on expanding women’s public roles. It is in some respects the first wave of Turkish feminism in the republican era and an important stage in establishing individual feminist rights for women in Turkey. This history is recapitulated in the gendered perspective that Pamuk writes into the well-worn myths of East and West.

Like Pamuk’s previous novel A Strangeness in My Mind, The Red-Haired Woman is also one of class inversion, ending with the final enfranchisement of marginalized characters — an optimistic, even idealistic, story of the rising tide of modernity lifting all boats. We learn, for example, that Master Mahmut (who survived the accident) buys property, which he sells at a profit. For the Oedipal myth, as commentators have written, also bears the logic of capitalism. And Turkey’s Oedipal complex is bound up in the trials and tribulations of capitalist and neoliberal modernization in a country divided between secularism and Islamism. On one hand, The Red-Haired Woman is a novel that celebrates characters who are Oedipalized into the modern neoliberal order. On the other hand, while that celebration exposes familial violence, it conceals a concomitant history of state violence that maintains the patriarchal order. As modern Turkish history reveals, the political father — whether the erstwhile secular founder Atatürk or the current Islamist President Erdoğan — rules like Rostam rather than Oedipus. The success of this novel, subtly staged, is that it allows us to consider how these ideologies might coexist.

¤

Erdağ Göknar directs the Duke University Middle East Studies Center and is the award-winning translator of Pamuk’s novel My Name Is Red (Knopf) as well as the author of Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy: The Politics of the Turkish Novel (Routledge). His most recent publication is a collection of poetry, Nomadologies (Turtle Point).

Reprinted with author’s permission from the Los Angeles Review of Books

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

John Hope Franklin Center at Duke University: A Strangeness in My Mind with Orhan Pamuk

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By Reese Erlich | ( 48Hills | – –

What will 4,000 more US troops do that 100,000 troops couldn’t do before?

On my first reporting trip to Afghanistan, I was surprised to find that so many people supported the US invasion. They loved President George Bush because he got rid of the hated Taliban regime. But when I asked what should the US do now, most answered “go home.” That was in January 2002, just three months after the US invasion.

Almost 16 years later, the US remains in Afghanistan and President Donald Trump just announced plans to send yet more troops to what I consider a losing occupation. The war has resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths, killed more than 2,400 US soldiers, and will cost an estimated $2 trillion, including veterans’ benefits.

Trump plans to send 4,000 more troops to bolster the corrupt regime installed by the US in the first place. Matthew Hoh, a former State Department official in Afghanistan, told me Trump used fear mongering about terrorist attacks to justify the escalation.

“How is keeping tens of thousands of US troops in Afghanistan going to stop someone from driving a van at people in Barcelona?” he asked.

The anti-war movement in the US sharply criticized the escalation and called for withdrawal of US and all foreign troops.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the women led peace group Code Pink, told me she thinks that Trump plans a permanent occupation of Afghanistan.

“Sending more soldiers in an unwinnable war is just not right,” she told me. “Pouring more resources into the black hole of Afghan corruption is not right.”

But what would happen if all foreign troops actually pulled out?

That question troubled Santwana Dasgupta, who led a NGO helping women in Afghanistan.

“These groups like Code Pink call for immediate withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan,” she said. “But what about the US responsibility for developing Afghanistan?”

She argued that immediate withdrawal of troops would lead to a collapse of the Afghan government and triumph of the Taliban, setting back whatever progress had been made by Afghan women. Instead, she said, the peace movement should demand a genuine development strategy, a focus on improving the lives of civilians, and maintaining enough US troops to train the Afghan military and police.

That conversation took place in 2009. I disagreed with her views at the time because the US was never interested in Afghan women. It funded development programs only insofar as they helped bolster support for the military occupation. As for training the Afghan Army to win the war, in 2010 the Obama administration stationed 100,000 troops to Afghanistan but was unable to defeat the Taliban.

Even with the addition of Trump’s 4,000 troops, the US will have about 12,500 soldiers in country. Exactly what will they accomplish where 100,000 failed?

Code Pink’s Benjamin agreed the US has an obligation to help rebuild Afghanistan.

“The US government should commit money for reparations and development,” she said. “The US should spend money on the real needs of Afghan people and not blowing them up.”

“As a feminist I hate to say it,” she continued, “but we have to negotiate with Taliban. That’s the only way the war will end.

They are Afghans and we are not. It’s critical to have a political settlement now that there’s ISIS in Afghanistan.”

The Bush administration waged war on Afghanistan under false pretenses, and the lying continued through Republican and Democratic administrations.

The US officially invaded Afghanistan in retaliation for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The Taliban had allowed Al Qaeda to operate in its territory, but the Afghan government was unaware of the 9/11 plans.

“No Afghans were involved in 9/11,” noted former State Department official Hoh. “The attacks were planed outside of Afghanistan. And the Taliban had no connections to the post 9/11 attacks such as those in London and Madrid.”

The US had long wanted to build a natural gas pipeline through Afghanistan. In 2010 the Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a deal to participate in a $7.6 billion, 1000-mile pipeline that would go from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and into Pakistan, bypassing Iran, the US enemy du jour in the region.

The pipeline never got built, however, due to war and instability.

The main US interest in Afghanistan remains geopolitical. The US helped create the Mujahedeen insurgency against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. Today Afghanistan remains an important crossroads affecting Pakistan, India, Russia and China.

And that helps explain why Trump shifted from his neo-isolationist positions calling for an end to the war to his latest, neo-conservative interventionist policies.

The tip off came when Trump appointed three pro-interventionist generals to top defense and security positions within his administration.

Secretary of Defense James Maddis and Chief of Staff John Kelly are former Marine Corps generals. National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster was, until a few months ago, a Lt. General in the US Army.

Their political views stand in stark opposition to Trump’s supposed opposition to interventionist wars.

“They understand America to be an empire,” Hoh said. “It’s a matter of guarding the empire. They see themselves as legionnaires.”

“The way to maintain the empire is to control the borderlands,” he continued. “They just use brutal force to keep the borderlands under control.”

Ancient Rome’s rulers secured their base at home by controlling the outer reaches of the Empire in what is modern day Germany and Britain. Until they didn’t.

Every empire eventually collapses, although I doubt Rome’s leaders saw it coming until the very end. Trump doesn’t see it coming either.

The lack of political support and the outrageous costs mitigate against permanent militarily occupation of countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria.

But small scale troop escalations can’t win the war either.

“It means continual war,” said Hoh, “and it won’t be successful.”

Oakland-based journalist Reese Erlich has been a foreign correspondent for more than 40 years. Follow him on Twitter @ReeseErlich, on Facebook Reese Erlich Foreign Correspondent and visit his home page The Official Website of Reese Erlich

Reprinted with author’s permission from 48Hills

—-

Related video added by Juan Cole:

Democracy Now! “Debate: As Trump Prolongs War in Afghanistan, Should U.S. Pull Out Troops Immediately?”

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TeleSur | – –

Women’s rights activists view the ruling as a step toward granting Muslim women greater equality and justice.

India’s Supreme Court has ruled unconstitutional a Muslim practice that reportedly allows men to “instantly divorce” their wives, a move some claim is a landmark victory for Muslim women to get greater equality.

The practice, known as “triple talaq,” allows Muslim men to divorce their wives by simply uttering the Arabic word “talaq,” or divorce, three times. It doesn’t need to be consecutive, but at any time, and by any medium, including telephone calls, text messages or social media posts.

Muslim women say they have been left destitute by husbands divorcing them through triple talaq, including by Skype and WhatsApp.

Under the ruling, the government will need to frame new divorce legislation, which would replace the abolished practice, within six months.

The ruling was delivered by a panel of five male judges from different faiths: Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Three of the five ruled that the practice was unconstitutional, overruling the senior-most judge in India, the chief justice.

“Finally, I feel free today,” Shayara Bano, who was divorced through triple talaq and was among the women who brought the case, told Reuters after the ruling.

“I have the order that will liberate many Muslim women.”

More than 20 Muslim countries, including neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, have banned the practice. But in India, triple talaq has continued with the protection of laws that allow Muslim, Christian and Hindu communities to follow religious law in family matters and disputes.

Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are Sunnis governed by Muslim Personal Law. While most Hindu personal laws have been overhauled and codified over the years, Muslim laws have been left to religious authorities and left largely untouched.

India’s Muslim Law Board had told the court that while they considered the practice wrong, they opposed any court intervention and asked that the matter be left to the community to tackle. But several progressive Muslim activists decried the law board’s position.

“This is the demand of ordinary Muslim women for over 70 years and it’s time for this country to hear their voices,” activist Feroze Mithiborwala told NDTV.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also offered his support to end the practice, calling the law “derogatory” and “discriminatory” against women.

On Tuesday, Modi took to Twitter to praise the judgment as “historic.”

“It grants equality to Muslim women and is a powerful measure for women empowerment,” he said.

The ruling could spur Modi’s party to push again for its long-held desire for a uniform civil code, which would end the application of religious laws to civil issues.

“The Supreme Court has a right to interfere in the personal space and they have done so,” said Maneka Gandhi, minister for women and child development.

However, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said it would contest the court’s decision.

“The fact that only three of the five judges have deemed the practice illegal shows that there was no clear decision,” member Maqsood Hasani Nadvi said.

Via TeleSur

——

Related video added by Juan Cole:

EuroNews: “India’s supreme court rules Muslim practice of instant divorce is unconstitutional”

important trivialities

Aug. 23rd, 2017 05:39 pm
fufaraw: (Default)
[personal profile] fufaraw
Part of my deal with aspbergers, or the shallow end of autism, is a random, unpredictable but gimlet-eyed hyperfocus on details. I usually try to rein it in, but about some things I don't even try. Thank goodness OH is very aware of this trait, and indulges me for the most part.

In excavating the books and dvds, we found our collection of antique jail keys and the skeleton keys from the old house, plus a clock key and a couple of other keys of forgotten origin. Also found is the escutcheon and key windchime, bought and never hung. The fancy escutcheon, and the fancy key that serves as windcatcher, are fake old brass. The chimes are bright shiny silver, trimmed with crystal and pearl beads. The old keys will be mounted on a board, horizontally, two cuphooks per key (so they can be removed for closer inspection), and the board hung on the side of the tall bookcase in the living room. The windchime will hang from the ceiling, directly above the keys display. 

The keys, for the most part, are real old brass, and iron. I wanted them mounted against a background with a light texture, rather than a flat color. I decided to use the giftwrap I used to paper the back of the curio cabinet, across the doorway, directly opposite from where the board will hang. The paper has bright shiny silver dots, on a pearly finished background. I liked the idea of continuing the textured background from one place to the other in the room, and then realized, the bright shiny chimes and the pearl beads match the paper!

OH just grinned and shook his head while I hopped about, cheeping, "Look, look! I didn't even plan it and they match! Nobody but me will ever notice, but look! They match, they match, they match! Eeee!"

He loves me in spite of myself.
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"Embers?" Seriously, Mr. Remnick? 

by tristero



David Remnick, editor-in-chief of the New Yorker this week (which, incidentally, has an awesome cover):
For half a century, in fact, the leaders of the G.O.P. have fanned the lingering embers of racial resentment in the United States.

As lovely a phrase as "lingering embers" is, it's complete and total nonsense.

Although Clinton won the popular vote 48%-46%, nearly 63 million Americans voted for a presidential candidate that made his sympathies with white supremacists crystal clear.

My suspicion is that very few people of color would describe 46% popular support for Donald Trump as evidence that the American racial fire was ever reduced to "lingering embers."




Question of the Day

Aug. 23rd, 2017 06:00 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

Suggested by Shaker Drazil: "Would you prefer to live with pets or without? Cats, dogs, or...?"

I think we all know my answer to that one, lol.

The Wednesday Blogaround

Aug. 23rd, 2017 05:30 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

This blogaround brought to you by a gold crown.

Recommended Reading:

Bellamy Shoffner: [Content Note: Discussion of police brutality; racism; gun violence] Why I Didn't Call the Cops When I Saw a Teen with a Gun

Rhett Jones: [CN: Violence; death; descriptionso of violence] Torso Identified as Missing Journalist Who Was Allegedly Killed by Submarine Designer

Aya: [CN: Racism; appropriation] On Being the Black friend

Charline Jao: State Department Science Envoy Resigns with Letter That Spells "IMPEACH"

Michael Fitzgerald: Katie Sowers Just Came Out and Is the First Openly Gay NFL Coach

Sameer Rao: [video content] Issa Rae, Maxine Waters, Solange Pay Tribute to Greatness of Black Women at "Black Girls Rock!"

[CN: White supremacy; eliminationism; racist violence; death.] The following is not a blog post; it's a long-form piece by Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, but it is a must read. Settle in and take the time to read the whole thing. The last few paragraphs in particular are breathtaking.


Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

QOTW: Mitch McConnell

Aug. 23rd, 2017 03:30 pm
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QOTW: Mitch McConnell

by digby



Ya feel me?
“The quickest way for him to get impeached is for Trump to knock off Jeff Flake and Dean Heller and be faced with a Democrat-led Senate,” said Billy Piper, a lobbyist and former McConnell chief of staff.

Yes, I know the words didn't come out of the mouth of Mitch McConnell, but he said them nonetheless.

.

Back to School

Aug. 23rd, 2017 04:30 pm
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Posted by Melissa McEwan

A number of Shakers are heading back to school this week (I won't name any names on the main page without permission, but please feel welcome to raise your hands in comments, if you like!), some of whom are starting new programs; some of whom are returning to school after a long absence; some of whom are just heading back after summer break; and some of whom are starting not as students but instructors.

I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of you well. Hope the year is good for you. For those of you who have been anxious about heading (back) to school, I hope your anxiety subsides quickly as you get into your routine.

Please feel free to use this thread to talk about all Back to School related subjects. Parents who are seeing kids off to school for the first time, or to a new school; teachers who are excited to go back or dreading going back; students at any level of their education... Have at it in comments!
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An adorable headline from an earlier time

by digby


So sweet. Yes, there are laws against cabinet officials doing political work but those don't apply to the Trump administration.

Ethics, norms and laws are no longer operative. They will remain on the shelf until the next Democrat enters the White House when Republicans will suddenly rediscover them and will hold hearings and investigations into the smallest hint that the president or anyone he or she has ever known might have violated something, anything. They will not have even the slightest bit of shame or embarrassment about it, even though Democrats will scream "what about Trump!" until they are hoarse.

Indeed, they will smirk and shrug their shoulders and laugh behind their hands at the stupid people who will help them uphold the rule of law when it suits them and stand by impotently when they use any means necessary to maintain power. They play an entirely different game.

Anyway, that headline is adorable. But completely irrelevant. We have a president who is currently making cold hard cash from businesses from which he refused to divest. He makes personal appearances at his properties on the week-ends where people pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for the privilege.


.

Discussion Thread: Self-Care

Aug. 23rd, 2017 02:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

What are you doing to do to take care of yourself today, or in the near future, as soon as you can?

If you are someone who has a hard time engaging in self-care, or figuring out easy, fast, and/or inexpensive ways to treat yourself, and you would like to solicit suggestions, please feel welcome. And, as always, no one should offer advice unless it is solicited.

[syndicated profile] ianwelsh_feed

Posted by Ian Welsh

Jane Jacobs came to prominence with the publication of the “Death and Life of Great American Cities”, which examined what made cities succeed and fail in such minute detail as how pedestrians walk on sidewalks and what makes parks safe.  It’s a brilliant book, and reshaped urban planning, but I’ve always found her economic duology, “The Economy of Cities” and this book more useful to my interests.

“Cities and the Wealth of Nations” was published in 1984, and starts with the observation, and case, that the economy of much of the world seemed to have gone off track in a semi-permanent fashion: something had changed from the post-WWII economy, something which downshifted the economy.

When I first read this book, around 1990, I didn’t think much of that, but I now know it’s true: between 1968 and 1980 a vast variety of economic and social metrics all shifted to new tracks; bad tracks.  From inequality to wage growth to productivity to growth in the third world, it all went bad.

Jacobs thinks that the way we analyze economies is wrong from the bottom up. Nations, to Jacobs, make no sense as economic units. Canada and Singapore and Britain have almost nothing in common except the fact that they are sovereign units.

To Jacobs, as one would expect, cities are the fundamental economic unit. It is in cities that new work; new industries, are created. It is cities which generate economic forces, forces which affect non-city regions unevenly.

When you lump cities together with non city regions, economics gets ugly.  Part of this is feedback: because cities are the fundamental economic units, when they grow they should receive the feedback of imported items growing cheaper; and when they are stagnant or shrinking, imported items should become more expensive.

Put simply, cities should have their own currencies, but don’t. They are lumped together with other cities and with non city regions, and the import/export effects of those regions swamp what each city needs.

In sovereign areas with multiple economically active cities, this tends to crush all cities but one: you can see this most clearly in England, which used to have many economically active cities and which as of Jacobs writing was down to two: Birmingham and London.

London, basically, drove the value of the pound, which was inappropriate to the needs of other cities and strangled them, turning them economically inert: cities only in the sense of population, but not economically viable cities where large amounts of new work is still generated.

Large hinterland regions do the same thing: if you have a lot of agriculture or a lot of mineral resources or anything else from your hinterlands, the exchange rate will tend to be propped higher than the city(s) need, again strangling growth.

Workarounds on this are always inefficient. You can do what America did in the 19th century and have tariffs, but that hurts agricultural and resource regions: they simply aren’t receiving what they should from their labour, and the multiple cities problem is still in play.

So, ideally, cities should have their own currencies, and so should non city regions, so that everyone is getting the feedback they require (and steps must also be taken so that currency rates are driven almost entirely by export/import, and not by speculation or by central bank/government manipulation.)

This is hard to do in the real world, for obvious reasons, but I agree with Jacobs that it is what we should find a way to do.

Jacobs also spend a lot of time detailing how cities influence non-city regions: almost always in ways that deform the non city regions, and often harmfully.

The first of these are supply regions, which produce something cities want. In the modern era, the foremost of these might be Saudi Arabia: rich, because it has oil, but with almost nothing else, and doomed to poverty once oil is no longer important.  Economically productive cities want the oil, and want nothing else Saudi Arabia produces and when those cities stop wanting that oil (or enough of it), doom will fall. (Jacob uses the example of Uruguay, which was once very prosperous, but never had economically active cities.)

The second are regions workers abandon: where everyone leaves to go to cities, because there is no work in the region. Examples are distressingly common, and all the screams in America about immigrants are essentially about such regions in Mexico and further south: places where people can’t make a living, and have to leave.

A variation on this is clearances. New technology displaces workers out of regions. The classic case was peasants forced off their land in Britain, so landowners could enclose the land and grow crops or tend sheep for more money. But this happens all the time in the third world, where subsistence workers are forced off the land for plantations, and is a regular occurance today in China, so that suburbs or mines or whatnot can be built.

The next type is capital for regions without cities. Jacobs uses the example of the Volta dam in Ghana. A huge hydroelectric power supply, and no real value to it, because there is no industry to take advantage, while the dam itself destroys local agriculture, hunting and fishing.  Large amounts of money also often go into picturesque regions used for vacations, driving out most of the people who were there before the money arrived, and distorting their economy.

Then there are places that were once cities; economically productive, which lose that. Jacobs gives ancient Egypt as an example: the heart of a technologically sophisticated civilization, eventually reduced to mostly subsistence agriculture and no longer one of the beating hearts of the ancient world. A better example, I think, is Europe in the Dark Ages. When the Arabs cut off trade, Europe swiftly became a backwater hole, losing almost all of its advanced cities and spending centuries sinking into poverty before it started growing and advancing again the Middle Ages.

Economically active cities, in short, are powerful, and they often do nasty things to regions that are not cities. Even when what they do seems good, as with demand for oil, or Uruguay’s produce and minerals, it is a gift that can leave at any time.

Jacobs points out one other thing of note: which is that backwards cities are best off trading with each other, rather than with the most advanced cities. This was, by the way, more the pattern in the post-war period before neo-liberalism, and in that period growth was faster. The argument is simple enough: advanced cities often don’t need the goods produced by backwards cities; other backwards cities do.

Overall this is an important book. One of the most important I ever read. The point about broken feedback and economic units not making sense is absolutely fundamental and explains a simple fact: city states which can manage to survive the political-military environment, almost always do very well.  The ideal economic circumstance is a world of city states, but we don’t have that for military political reasons (they can’t defend themselves).

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t figure out a way to get the results of city states while allowing for defense.

To me, then, a must-read book, and perhaps Jacobs most important.


The results of the work I do, like this article, are free, but food isn’t, so if you value my work, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

"A total eclipse of the facts"

Aug. 23rd, 2017 12:30 pm
[syndicated profile] digby_feed
"A total eclipse of the facts"

by digby




Trump attacked the media more viciously at his Phoenix rally than I've ever seen him do it before and that's saying something. I watched on CNN because they were carrying the live feed and I had to write about it for Salon and happened to be on it when Don Lemon of CNN had this to say as it ended:
"Well, what do you say to that? I'm just going to speak from the heart here.

What we witnessed is a total eclipse of the facts. Someone who came out on stage and lied directly to the American people and left things out that he said in an attempt to rewrite history, especially when it comes to Charlottesville.

He's unhinged, It's embarrassing and I don't mean for us, the media because he went after us, but for the country. This is who we elected President of the United States.

A man who is so petty that he has to go after people he deems to be his enemy, like an imaginary friend of a 6-year-old.

His speech was without thought, without reason, devoid of facts, devoid of wisdom. There was no gravitas.

He was like a child blaming a sibling on something else. He did it. I didn't do it.

And certainly opened up the race wound from Charlottesville.

A man clearly wounded by the rational people abandoning him in droves, meaning the business people and the people in Washington now questioning his fitness for office and whether he is stable.

A man backed into a corner it seems, by circumstances beyond his control and his understanding. That's the truth.

If you watch that speech as an American, you had to be thinking what in the world is going on? This is the person we elected as President of the United States? This petty, this small, a person who who's supposed to pull the country together? Certainly didn't happen there."

That's about right.

Daily Dose of Cute

Aug. 23rd, 2017 01:30 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

image of Matilda the Fuzzy Sealpoint Cat lying beside me on the couch, reaching her paws out toward me
FUZZY LITTLE CUDDLE MONSTER! ♥

Matilda was lying next to me just purring away, reaching her paws out beneath the pillow to find my leg and knead and knead and knead, while I rubbed her head and belleh (except for a wee break to snap this photo, natch).

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

stolen from the LJ flist

Aug. 23rd, 2017 10:48 am
fufaraw: (Default)
[personal profile] fufaraw

Five things in my handbag
1. notebook
2. keys
3. moss agate pendulum/worry stone
4. clip on shades/glasses
5. tiny zip bag with nippers, clippers, tweezers, sewing kit, magnet & more

Five things in my bedroom
1. tarot collection
2. pen and ink collections.
3. giftwrapping, fabric and paper craft, and office supplies
4. years' worth of filled journals
5. out of season house flags, wind socks, and door decorations

Five things I've always wanted to do (and haven't yet done)
1. spend time around stables, maybe learn to ride
2. rescue and train a dog
3. visit Provence and Tuscany
4. visit England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales
5. visit Canada--from Vancouver to PEI and Halifax

Five things I've always wanted to be
1. a reliable ear and shoulder for friends and family
2. financially comfortable
3. comfortable with myself
4. healthy and athletic
5. a little more outgoing

Five things that make me happy
1. a scenic drive on a sunny--or even an overcast day, with OH
2. deep and ranging conversation with friends
3. soaking in a silent moment of beauty
4. writing something I recognize is well done
5. solitary time without guilt

Five things I'm currently into
1. new bookshelves and discovering book friends I've not seen for a while
2. stepping up exercize from couch potato level
3. Shadowhunters, esp. Malec
4. improving my diet, by deliberate degrees
5. re-evaluating and making changes (life, home, etc,)

Five things on my to do list
1. finish (as if) sorting and shelving books
2. finish sorting and shelving DVDs/CDs
3. drag *everything* out of the walk-in, sort, cull, reorg, donate, or list on ebay
4. sort tarot--find boxes and rebox culls
5. list culled tarot on ebay

We Resist: Day 216

Aug. 23rd, 2017 12:15 pm
[syndicated profile] shakesville_feed

Posted by Melissa McEwan

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Here are some things in the news today:

Earlier today by me: Trump Doubles Down in Phoenix and Deplorable Dispatches.

[Content Note: Video may autoplay at link] Kellie Hwang and Garrett Mitchell at AZ Central: Fake News? Trump Supporters Circulate Photo of Phoenix Rally Crowds...But it's Not. "Social media is a glorious place. You see something, it looks cool, and so you retweet it. And sometimes that gets you into trouble. Such was the case Tuesday night, when Tennessee Republicans and other supporters of [Donald] Trump started sharing an image of what was purportedly a massive crowd gathered in the streets of Phoenix ahead of his speech. Only problem? The photo is actually an aerial shot from the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers parade. And frankly, anyone who is at all familiar with Phoenix should have known better. It's a desert, people."

LOLOLOLOLOL! The fake news is coming from inside the house!

Indeed, despite the caterwauling about the haters and losers of the fake news media concealing Trump's massive support in Phoenix, the crowd was startlingly sparse.


And as Jenna Johnson reports at the Washington Post: As Trump Ranted and Rambled in Phoenix, His Crowd Slowly Thinned.
Trump spent the first three minutes of his speech — which would drag on for 75 minutes — marveling at his crowd size, claiming that "there aren't too many people outside protesting," predicting that the media would not broadcast shots of his "rather incredible" crowd and reminiscing about how he was "center stage, almost from day one, in the debates."

...But as the night dragged on, many in the crowd lost interest in what the president was saying.

Hundreds left early, while others plopped down on the ground, scrolled through their social media feeds or started up a conversation with their neighbors. After waiting for hours in 107-degree heat to get into the rally hall — where their water bottles were confiscated by security — people were tired and dehydrated and the president just wasn't keeping their attention.
Come for the racism; stay for the fact that it feels safer to face shouting anti-racist protesters in a group if you leave all together.

One person who did love Trump's speech last night? Steve Bannon. Obvs.


And one person who, like all other people with a modicum of sense and decency, really didn't care for the speech is former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Rachel Chason at the Washington Post: James Clapper Questions Trump's Fitness, Worries About His Access to Nuclear Codes. (Someone at the Washington Post is killing it with their headline game!) Clapper questioned Trump's "fitness for office following his freewheeling speech in Phoenix on Tuesday night, which Clapper labeled 'downright scary and disturbing.' 'I really question his ability to be — his fitness to be — in this office,' Clapper told CNN's Don Lemon early Wednesday morning. 'I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it — maybe he is looking for a way out.'"

I don't think he's looking for a way out — he's far too egomaniacal and loath to admit failure for that — but I sure hope someone is fixing to give him a way out all the same. And soon.

* * *

Eric Levitz at New York Magazine: GOP Mulls Paying for Tax Cuts Through Shameless Lying. "Permanent tax cuts are probably still out of the GOP's reach, regardless of their budgetary gimmickry. But if the Trump administration is to pass any major legislation, it will need to follow the lead of these House Republicans, and concentrate on their party's strengths: Passing tax reforms that disadvantage powerful interest groups isn't one of them; drafting fraudulent budgets is." Seethe.

Jessica Mason Pieklo at Rewire: Lawsuit: Trump's Election Commission Is Hiding Public Information. "Trump in May signed an executive order creating the 'Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity,' led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kris Kobach... The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School and the Protect Democracy Project filed a lawsuit Monday in federal court in New York to compel the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the Office of Management and Budget to answer requests and disclose public information related to the commission. ...'This administration has a troubling pattern of keeping public information from the public—a pattern that is continuing with this commission,' Wendy Weiser, director of the Brennan Center's Democracy Program, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. 'The government's obligation to share this information is especially important when there are so many reasons to be skeptical of this commission.'"


Uhhh.

[CN: White supremacy; anti-Black racism; Nazism] Jay Dow at Kirstin Cole at PIX11: Nazi Propaganda and Jim Crow Graffiti on Building Terrifies Sunnyside Neighbors. "Residents say they will rally Wednesday because they are fearful and intimidated by Nazi propaganda, Jim Crow-era images, and a condo board president allegedly donning a [Donald] Trump mask. Elevator surveillance video allegedly shows Neil Milano, wearing a mask of the president, plastering the door with Trump stickers in a would be attempt to 'menace' his neighbors in Sunnyside at a building on 39th Place. ...Milano is the condo board president of a building around the corner, where he's put up other references to [Donald] Trump, and a lot more. From provocative Jim Crow-era images, to banners of Adolf Hitler, all framed around what Milano's lawyer calls a historical display." Fucking hell.

Haroon Siddique and Oliver Laughland at the Guardian: Charlottesville: United Nations Warns U.S. over 'Alarming' Racism. "A UN committee charged with tackling racism has issued an 'early warning' over conditions in the US and urged the Trump administration to 'unequivocally and unconditionally' reject discrimination. The warning specifically refers to events last week in Charlottesville, Virginia, where civil rights activist Heather Heyer was killed when a car rammed into a group of people protesting against a white nationalist rally. Such statements are usually issued by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) over fears of ethnic or religious conflict. In the past decade, the only other countries issued with an early warning were Burundi, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kyrgyzstan, and Nigeria." Welp.

Kenrya Rankin at Colorlines: A Rabbi Asked Paul Ryan If He Supports Censuring Trump for His Comments on Charlottesville. Here's What He Said. "[D]uring a town hall in Racine, Wisconsin, Rabbi Dena Feingold asked House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) what 'concrete steps' he would take to hold the president accountable 'when his words and executive actions either implicitly or explicitly condone — if not champion — racism and xenophobia. For example, will you support the resolution for censure?' Ryan's response: 'I will not support that; I think that will be so counterproductive. If we descend this issue into some partisan hack fest, into some bickering against each other and demean it down into some kind of political food fight, what good does that do to unify this country? We want to unify this country against this kind of hatred and this kind of bigotry.'" Asshole.

[CN: Sexual assault] Elizabeth McLaughlin at ABC News: Fort Benning Drill Sergeants Suspended Pending Sexual Assault Investigation. "The Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, along with the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, were investigating a recent charge of sexual assault by a female trainee against a drill sergeant when [additional allegations of sexual misconduct between trainees and drill sergeants] were discovered, the center said in a press release Wednesday. Now, the drill sergeants under review have been suspended pending the expanded investigation. The Army said they will have no contact with trainees while the investigation is carried out."

Sexual assault in the U.S. military has long been a problem in desperate need of meaningful attention. Advocates were just beginning to finally make some headway when the nation decided to elect a confessed sexual abuser as Commander-in-Chief. So here we are.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

Voices of the cult

Aug. 23rd, 2017 11:00 am
[syndicated profile] digby_feed
Voices of the cult

by digby





The Guardian talked to some of the people at the Trump rally. Here are some of their comments:
  • Trump is breath of fresh air. He’s totally not a political person. He’s a businessman: he’s anti-left, he’s anti-PC, he’s anti-stupid. He just wants to go in and make the best deal for Americans that he can. 
  • Of course he’s not racist. That’s a label people want to put on someone when they don’t agree how to solve a problem. You don’t see the issue, so you attack. That’s the way the left has operated in our country very effectively. 
  • Both sides were wrong in Charlottesville. Everyone has a right to peacefully protest under the first amendment but this was a form of domestic terrorism: the left started it and the white supremacists helped it explode. Trump was trying to say Nazism and Marxism are on the same spectrum: they want to control how you think, how you live. 
  • Middle America, the middle class, the blue-collar workers, the small-business owners like hearing from our president, but the media in our country is leftist. They can’t get the real story. The media has lost all integrity: they’re a disgrace. They’ve sold their souls for political gain. People want a president who is not politically correct, who will say it like it is and will not do it because he wants to get elected. 
  • He’s trying. Politicians are getting in the way, and sometimes his mouth gets in the way. When you put in someone who’s not a polished politician, that’s what you get. He tells it like a normal person, not someone raised to be politically correct 100% of the time. 
  • Social media is the way of the future. It should be used. I don’t think he’s always thinking right when he does it. But he’s not a politician, so I forgive it. I approve of the fact he’s willing to take on social media. 
  • I voted for him because he was the best candidate running. I agreed with him on border protection and didn’t want someone being investigated by the FBI sitting in our president’s seat. He’s doing pretty good so far. Healthcare is Congress’s fault mainly, because they can’t decide what they want and need to figure it out. 
  • I don’t think he’s a racist. I think if they’re calling him a racist, they may be racist 
  • I’m pleased so far except for Congress. He’s tried as hard as he can. He never stops working. He cares about the country and the people. We have too many Never Trump Republicans. John McCain really messed it up on healthcare. They weren’t voting to pass the bill, they were just going to take it away and look at it. I think McCain should be a Democrat and Jeff Flake isn’t strong on immigration. 
  • I watched Charlottesville from the beginning to the end and there was violence on both sides. Neither retreated. The extreme left and the extreme right, they punched each other out. When Trump made statements about it, he told the truth on everything. 
  • You go back and look over the years and Trump is not a racist. Last week, Sean Hannity pulled videos of him denouncing the KKK and neo-Nazis. He used to get awards from some of the black organisations because he would go in and help them. When the left can’t win in debate, the only thing they can say is, “You’re a racist.” Sometimes it’s an excuse. 
  • Is Trump racist? Hell, no. The stuff about Charlottesville is bullshit and I agree 100% with what he said. There are haters on both sides. The KKK had the legal right to express their opposition and they got a permit and everything would have been fine except that counter-protesters came with baseball bats and rocks. It’s not the KKK that started it. If they’d just let them kick around in the streets, that would have been it. Paid protesters started it and the media does not want that narrative to be told. 
  • I voted for him because it was an obvious choice. Hillary Clinton had decades of foul play and illegal acts, and she was attached to Bill Clinton, who had decades of foul play and illegal acts. I’ve got nothing good to say about either of them. 
  • The American people are sick and tired of a namby-pamby politician who is politically correct. Want a businessman who can make decisions. Best leave if it hurts your feelings. I want Trump to continue to call it like it is. I would vote for him if he quit the Republicans and started his own party. 
  • I think Trump is doing as well as he possibly can considering all the foot-dragging and whining and non-belief in his election, with the media doing all it can to delegitimise him. The stock market has confidence in him and unemployment has plummeted 
  • I agree with him about a border wall. Immigration needs to be under control. We have to know and approve who’s going in and who’s coming out. If you have no border, you have no country. We don’t have a problem with Canada. 
  • I want [Arizona senators] Jeff Flake and John McCain gone as soon as we have the next vote. Both are anti-Trump and are trying to sabotage Trump at all costs. I’ve been disappointed with McCain for decades. I admire his military service but being a good soldier does not make you a good politician. This vote on healthcare was just a slap in the face to Trump. 
  • The media has been distorting the truth for decades. They’re so leftwing. If you said the glass was half full, they’d call you a Nazi and say it’s half empty. Now they don’t make sense any more and CNN is fake news. This Russia thing is made up: they don’t have a shred of evidence after a year. 
  • Do you have any doubt there’s blame on both sides in Charlottesville? When you have half the country calling everyone racist, when everyone in the Democratic party is racist, I don’t know what you expect. If you have an agenda when you put words in people’s mouths, people aren’t happy. If Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama had said the same things that Trump did, it would have been wonderful. 
  • Given the situation he is dealing with, anybody is better than Obama or Clinton. If you don’t like the way Trump is acting, you always have the option to leave the country. A lot of people promised to and none of them did, which is too bad. 
  • The media are very biased. I have never met an honest journalist in my life. Your profession is more for ratings than reporting. You can’t turn on the news without things being slanted one way or another. Let people make their own decision. 
  • The Democrats are going to continue to protest and in the process they’re going to tear this nation apart. The protesters against Trump are haters. I fought for free speech all my life and they don’t believe in free speech. 
  • Trump is absolutely not a racist. I tend to agree with what he said about Charlottesville. If you look at any situation there’s usually three sides: yours, mine and the truth. It’s not just one side doing something. Everybody has a right to their opinion. It’s freedom of speech. If I recall correctly, one side has a permit to be there legally while the other tore a statue down illegally. 
  • There needs to be some type of barrier put up between us and Mexico. There’s got to be some kind of regulation to stop people coming into America illegally. There have always been walls throughout history. If you can do it the right way, I’m all for that.. 
  • You’ve got to give him a chance. It’s a learning job and you’ve got to take things as they come. I like a man who has the ability to speak his mind. We’ve all been in the position of working in a company where we wish we could speak our mind without worrying about the consequences. He can speak his mind without worrying about scaring somebody or worrying about offending somebody. 
  • I voted for him because I was tired of politicians. He spoke to me on a personal level, not a political level. Considering some of the things he’s got in front of him, I think he’s done quite well. He hasn’t had the support of the Republican party to do the things he wants but he’s made a huge difference to the economy in particular. 
  • In true Trump style, he spoke what he felt about Charlottesville. It might not be the political thing to say, but he was correct. I don’t believe he’s racist. 
  • Nobody knows what he is going to do, like the North Koreans, which is a good thing. We’ve been predictable for too long. 
  • He’s got a point about the media. It’s hard as a consumer to find an outlet that tells you the basic facts. They should be giving us the facts so a human being with a little bit of brains can make their own minds up. 
  • I voted for him because of diversity. He actually practices diversity unlike liberals, who don’t practice diversity. Obama had this whole country thinking about skin colour. Trump doesn’t look at skin colour. He doesn’t label anyone who’s non-white a minority, just people. Skin colour is colour, not culture. His cabinet is nothing to do with skin colour: they’re right for the job. 
  • Antifa is the KKK, just without the history 
  • Both sides in Charlottesville are bad. He’s absolutely right. The Antifa [anti-fascist groups] are the equivalent of the KKK and both were responsible. Antifa is the KKK, just without the history. The Confederate flag is not racist: only 5% of slave owners had the Confederate flag; the US flag is more racist. Do you think I’d be that stupid to vote for an actual racist to be in office?
Those last few are the words of a young Trump voter whose mother is Japanese Amrican and father is African American.

*sigh*

The one who said this is a young white woman:
I didn’t want someone being investigated by the FBI sitting in our president’s seat. 
Well that certainly worked out.

And then there's this guy:


They have just as many excuses as their Dear Leader for why he is such a failure. He can do no wrong in their eyes.

.




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