Saturday, August 19, 2017

Stonewall brings down Presbyterians


More evidence that love of the Confederacy was resurrected in the 20th C. to keep African Americans down...

The name of Presbyterian Cemetery in Lexington VA was changed to Stonewall Jackson Cemetery in 1949--report on MSNBC today.... Among other Jim Crow changes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonewall_Jackson_Memorial_Cemetery

Thank you, MSNBC.

Boston Strong and Safe

If Hillary had been elected, Heather would still be alive.


Hallelujah!  Praise to our God, to the state of Massachusetts, to the Boston Police Department, and to all the marchers for the peaceful anti-hate demonstration in Boston today.

Best birthday present ever!  What an uplifting contrast to the sadness that hung over all of us last weekend after the deaths in Charlottesville.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/19/us/boston-free-speech-rally/index.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/08/19/thousands-expected-at-boston-free-speech-rally-and-counter-protest/?utm_term=.8879466dad16

The gun laws in Massachusetts played a part in today's march remaining peaceful.

Thank you to Fox News for highlighting the gun laws in Massachusetts.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/24/gun-rights-activists-sue-over-massachusetts-firearms-laws.html

Susan Bro, Wise Woman


I admire Susan Bro for her courage and even-tempered words to the press this past week--after the murder of her daughter 7 days ago today by a white supremacist.

Initially she was extraordinarily kind to the prez, even saying on Thursday that she would be happy to talk with him but that his staff's calls to her had been during and after her daughter's funeral, while her phone was turned off.

Then later, on Thursday or so, she had time to listen to his press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 15.  

She decided not to speak with him if/when he called again.  She announced that decision on Friday.  All the media wrote pieces on her decision--but I didn't see any stories praising her unhateful words to Trump on Thursday.

Thank you to Vice for this report:

Trump called Heather Heyer’s mother during the funeral

President Donald Trump called Heather Heyer’s mom during Heather’s funeral, televised on a few networks, on Wednesday. She didn’t pick up.
And she won’t if he calls again, she said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Susan Bro said she believes Trump compared her daughter, killed when a car rammed counterprotesters in Charlottesville last Saturday, to the white supremacists who sparked the violence.
Bro had gone easy on Trump earlier in the week. She’d thanked him for “denouncing those who support violence and hatred” on Monday — which the president then bragged about during his off-the-rails “infrastructure” press conference from Trump Tower on Tuesday, when he returned to blaming “both sides” in Charlottesville.
That’s what shifted Bro’s tone.
“I have not, and now I will not,” Bro said when asked whether she would talk to Trump if he called again.
“At first I just missed his calls. The first call it looked like actually came during the funeral,” she said.
“I hadn’t really watched the news until last night,” Bro told “GMA” host Robin Roberts. “I’m not talking to the president now. I’m sorry. After what he said about my child, and it’s not that I saw somebody else’s tweets about him. I saw an actual clip of him at a press conference equating the protesters like Ms. [Heather] Heyer with the KKK and the white supremacists.”
“You can’t wash this one away by shaking my hand and saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ I’m not forgiving for that,” she continued.
“I’m honestly a little embarrassed to say that part of the reason Heather got so much attention is because she’s white, and she stood up for black people. Isn’t that a shame?” she said, according ABC News. “That a white person standing up for a black person caused all this excitement? That should be an everyday thing, that should be a norm.”
You can watch the full interview here:

MORNING EXCLUSIVE: Full interview with Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, victim from the Charlottesville attack: http://gma.yahoo.com 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Go Gary!

Gary Cohn, Goldman Sachs


I never noticed Gary Cohn before today, but now I know he was standing next to Trump during that press conference on Tuesday at Trump Tower.  Reports are that he was angry at Trump excusing white supremacists and neo-Nazis.


I've started reading posts on Twitter since January, now check MSNBC news and Twitter every morning. Because I'm 3 hours later, usually whatever is big that day has already happened.  

Today's big topic on Twitter was that Cohn was considering resigning from White House staff--top news until the van attack in Barcelona came along.

This report by Bob Bryan in Business Insider is one of the sources of the Cohn rumors:


I'm now hoping and praying that Gary Cohn will be the first to resign from the White House staff as I tweet and retweet.

Cohn can choose between being the first to resign from the White House or the last to stand there with his finger in the dike holding up the dt presidency.

In this household we all spend at least 3 hours per day reading news.  

I'm on Twitter while watching MSNBC and reading three morning newspapers: Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal

John's reading Twitter and the newspapers 24/7.  He has 1500 or so Twitter followers, as a retired newspaper editor.  I'm retired too--extra time--following 735 people on Twitter and finding 278 followers.

Our adult daughter holds down a full-time job in addition to checking news media on her cell.  She gets her links primarily from Reddit but also follows TMZ--which gives minute-by-minute news such as this story today:  

http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/17/barcelona-terror-attack-terrorist-israel/http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/17/barcelona-terror-attack-terrorist-israel/

A snapshot of one media-obsessed home in mid-2017--may the reality show in Washington, D.C., end soon so we can get back to normal life.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Black Sun over the USA

Nazi symbol used by far-right

Another horrifying day in this country.

I am paralyzed by constant jolting horrendous news reports of the latest things dt has said, as well as by grief over the murder of Heather Heyer, who is the same age as Ellen.  I feel for her mother.  Roz points out that Heather's chihuahua Violet is now motherless.

I'm finding it hard to concentrate on work at my computer or even paying bills and doing necessary paperwork.

Prospects of more white supremacist rallies in Boston, Seattle, Berkeley are disgusting and scary--will more lives be lost?

I will not go counter-protest anything.  They don't deserve my time.  I will go to impeachment demonstrations, women's rights demonstrations, gay rights demonstrations.

Here's the editorial in the Washington Post for tomorrow:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-nation-can-only-weep/2017/08/15/d9bd9a10-8202-11e7-902a-2a9f2d808496_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.c7c7817d07dd

We weep for our nation.

Southern Poverty Law Center's explanation of the symbol above, in a report on symbols used in Charlottesville and their meaning:

Schwarze Sonne (Black Sun), sometimes called the sonnerad: symbol has become synonymous with myriad far-right groups who traffic in neo-Nazi and/or neo-Volkisch ideologies. The symbol is based on the ancient sun wheel artifacts that were made and used by Norse and Germanic tribes as symbol of their pagan beliefs. Those sun wheels, made centuries upon centuries ago, do not usually resemble the complexity of this particular version. The version above is inlayed into the marble floor of the Castle Wewelsburg, the castle that Himmler made the spiritual and literal home of the SS during the reign of the Third Reich, and has significance within the occult practices of the SS. 

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/08/12/flags-and-other-symbols-used-far-right-groups-charlottesville

Monday, August 14, 2017

Charlottesville: Reflections Continue

In memory of Heather Heyer 1985-2017


The death of Heather Heyer in neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville continues to weigh on my mind and on the country.

Well, dt said something at last, two days late, after tweeting angrily today against Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier the moment he announced his decision to leave the prez's American Manufacturing Council.

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/346457-merck-stock-spike-after-ceo-leaves-trump-council-over-charlottesville

Thanks to my friend Sharon for sending me this quote:

“President Lyndon Baines Johnson once argued, ‘If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket.
Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.’”

Sharon points out that LBJ knew that in supporting civil rights he would lose the South for the Democrats--perhaps forever.  "And yes, he did both," she reminds us.

As a therapist, she then reflects on our apparent common need to find someone to look down upon.

She also sent me this link on the First Amendment protecting hateful speech but not death threats--and further distinctions.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/05/07/no-theres-no-hate-speech-exception-to-the-first-amendment/?utm_term=.5969b100c28e

It's so good to have friends to share our grief and introspection over the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville and elsewhere.

Weights on my soul, my body, my flesh...



 A young white woman, same age as one of my daughters, died on Saturday.

Her crime? Showing up to counter-protest Neo-Nazi demonstrators.

We now know her name was Heather Heyer.

All day on Sunday I felt so weighed down by the death of Heather.  Tears.  I heard her mother and her friends speak.

She gave her life while protesting a white-supremacist demonstration.

I had made peace with Trump a month or so ago, trying not to hate him--just have compassion for him in his ALZ condition.

But now dt's presence in the world feels like a poisonous cloud that can't be lifted.

I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to get through the remaining months or years of a Trump presidency.

In the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:10, Jesus says:
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake,  for theirs is the reign of God."

Surely Heather now reigns in the glory of God's presence--she gave her life for righteousness sake.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Tragedy caused by neo-Nazis

Photo of neo-Nazid, Wikipedia


I turned on the television as usual this morning at 7:30 am.  MSNBC.

Vivid scenes of people fighting on a street under blue sky appeared instead of friendly faces of news anchors.  It turned out to be a "Unite the Right" march in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Police stood by and watched the melee.  Bottles were thrown, people were shoved and pushed down.  Many were wearing helmets and some kind of armor and shields.

On Twitter, many people were complaining about the inactivity of the police.

"If this were black people in Ferguson, the police would have wielded force."

I was caught up in it, tweeting and retweeting.

After two hours the permission to march was revoked.  It was too violent to be allowed to continue.

Many senators and other leaders spoke out on Twitter--but the POTUS was silent.

Then he spoke--a very vague and weak statement that spoke against violence 'on many sides.'

Then came news that a car had driven into the crowd in Charlottesville on purpose.

Then there was more news: a person had been killed.  I cried.  The loss of life was so needless.

I tried to carry on, but my heart was heavy.  This is life in the US, summer 2017.






In Memoriam: Heather Heyer 1985-2017

In memory of Heather Heyer - age 32


Today we know the identity of the young woman killed by the car attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, yesterday.

Her mother has spoken.  

“She always had a very strong sense of right and wrong. She always, even as a child, was very caught up in what she believed to be fair.”

Her friends have spoken:  She had never been to a protest before.  She was afraid of being killed there.  

"I don't want to die," she said.

But she felt she needed to stand up against white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

On NPR I heard these words from  Heather's friend Courtney Commander:  

"She said to us many times, like, I want go so bad, but I just don't want to die. I'm so scared because these people are so serious. And she was the only one that lost her life. I just feel so bad."

http://www.npr.org/2017/08/13/543259457/a-look-into-the-life-of-charlottesville-victim-heather-heyer

Her Facebook page now speaks for her too.  Her last post: "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention."

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/virginia-charlottesville-white-supremacist-heather-heyer-a7891531.html

http://heavy.com/news/2017/08/heather-heyer-victim-who-died-charlottesville-rally-car-crash-photos-age-bio/

She gave her life for righteousness sake--and God's presence beyond earth is hers now (Matthew 5: 10).

Prayer Vigil: Love Transcends Hate



Thank you to Holman United Methodist Church on West Adams near Arlington for hosting this Interfaith Prayer Vigil in Los Angeles in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

http://www.holmanumc.com/event-items/interfaith-prayer-vigil-love-transcends-hate/

I was so discouraged, in paralysis actually, on Sunday until I heard about this service from my friend Alice, who is active in LA Indivisible.  http://www.indivisiblelosangeles.com/  Having a place to go to share grief and be uplifted was so helpful.

The evening began with four women in African dance.  Then there were blessings of "Ah-shee" and "Ah-see-yo"  as names of beloved leaders were called out: Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Nelson Mandela....  Libations of water were poured out as each ancestor was invoked.

We sang "Ain't gonna let nobody turn me 'round...  /Gonna keep on talking, keep on walking, / Gonna march into Freedom Land."

Then prayers and speeches by some 15 pastors, rabbis, and other leaders began.  Each one was dazzling and uplifting, even LA mayor Eric Garcetti.


Speakers honored Heather Heyer and spoke against white supremacy, neo-Nazis, high numbers of minorities held in US prisons, suppression of voter rights, homelessness, and other ills.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
LA Councilman



Resist, Indivisible, and MoveOn were hosted by Holman United Methodist Church

Friday, August 11, 2017

Bad News sneaks in with Good News



Bad news...  and I'm not talking about our president boasting his way into atomic bombing of North Korea.

Anti-woman, anti-gay Christians have sailed into the White House on the coattails of dt.

Here's the Washington Post on Aug. 1:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trumps-cabinet-is-attending-weekly-bible-studies-led-by-a-conservative-pastor_us_5980d63be4b02b36343e8699?utm_campaign=hp_fb_pages&utm_source=main_fb&utm_medium=facebook&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063&section=politics

Thanks to Carol Kuruvilla for investigating and reporting on the sexist & anti-gay aspects on Huffington Post on Aug. 2:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trumps-cabinet-is-attending-weekly-bible-studies-led-by-a-conservative-pastor_us_5980d63be4b02b36343e8699

The pastor who leads these studies, Ralph Drollinger, has reportedly claimed that mothers who work while leaving children at home are sinful and that Catholicism is the “world’s largest false religion.” He’s also a climate-change denier and virulently anti-queer.

His group is Capitol Ministries.  https://capmin.org/

Thank you to Kathy Barbini for telling me about this Bible study.  She's making a documentary on feminist work for equality in Christian churches.  http://www.baptizingfeminism.com/.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Trump the Terrorist

ter·ror·ist
ˈterərəst/
noun
  1. 1.

    a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
    "four commercial aircraft were hijacked by terrorists"

    synonyms:extremistfanatic; 


The words "president trump" are an oxymoron.

Presidents don't heat up the rhetoric with North Korea, threatening a nuclear preemptive strike.

But dt does.

By tossing out words like "fire and fury" and "the likes of which this world has never seen," the prez terrified many and set off a search for whether anyone had given him these words, approved them, or even known how recklessly he would speak.

The answer is in the New York Times today.  Thank you Glenn Thrush and Peter Baker.  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/us/politics/trump-north-korea.html

dt's words on August 8 were "improvised," "offhand."  

They were poorly timed as the world recalls the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and Nagasaki on August 9.  dt made no respectful reference to the more than 200,000 lives lost that August and in the immediate four months afterward.

Other presidents speak about delicate issues from a prepared statement.  He glanced down at what appeared to be talking points on the table before him, but the sheet was about the opiod crisis.

General John F. Kelly, his new chief of staff, is chaperoning dt on his summer vacation in New Jersey but was not able to prevent this mouthing off.

In fact, "Mr. Trump seemed pleased with the uproar caused by his remarks," note Thrush and Baker.

They report that White House sources say the prez "has used the phrase [fire and fury] repeatedly in private to express his anger at North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons."

They note the similarity to young Stephen Miller's "end-of-days" language.  If there was any intended similarity to President Harry S. Truman's statement after dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, it had to come from Miller.  He could have planted the seed in dt's fertile brain.

Truman said then, "If they do not now accept our terms they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth."

Thank you to Newsweek for its full text of Truman's words and comparison to dt's words.
http://www.newsweek.com/trump-north-korea-threat-truman-hiroshima-648304

The president of the United States of America is spreading fear--in fact, terror.

He is a terrorist.  He fits the definition above except for the word "unlawful."  dt uses unwise violence and intimidation, but so far his violence is limited to staged pounding next to a boxing ring.  

May he never unleash nuclear warfare.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nagasaki: 72 years and we're no wiser


August 9 passes quietly, for the 72nd time since 1945.  

The UN adopted a treating banning nuclear weapons on July 7 of this year, 2017, but most Americans (including our presidnet) don't know this.

Professor Masao Tomonaga was a two-year-old 1.7 miles from the point where the five-ton plutonium bomb exploded above Nagasaki.  His mother unearthed herself and him from the rubble of their collapsed home.

Today he travels speaking as an expert on the long-term effects of radiation on the human body and working to ban nuclear weapons.

He explains that the infrared heat rays "instantly carbonized human and animal flesh and vaporized the internal organs of those directly beneath the bomb."

Thank you to Susan Southard for her op-ed piece "Nuclear terror, still a threat after 72 years" in today's Los Angeles Times.  She is also the author of a prize-winning book, Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War.

The rationale used in 1945 and since is "It saved American lives."

Perhaps it did--but it took away Japanese lives.

How can we justify killing 50-80,000 people in Nagasaki and 90-120,000 people in Hiroshima to save an equal or greater number of American lives?

We also killed about 120,000 people by conventional bombing in Tokyo in March, 1945, according to Zachary Keck writing for The Diplomat website.  http://thediplomat.com/2014/08/how-hiroshima-and-nagasaki-saved-millions-of-lives/

He accepts the argument that "millions" of lives were saved, both Japanese and American, by use of the atomic bomb--partly by demonstrating the horror of nuclear war and preventing the use of atomic bombs during the Cold War and up to now.

For statistics, see:

http://www.aasc.ucla.edu/cab/200708230009.html

For an argument that the US was right to use the bombs, see:

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2016/05/19/4465414.htm


Netanyahu going down...

Burning of three witches in 1585 by Johann Jakob Wick

Hallelujah!  Right-wing prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on his way out, thanks to his own corruption.

"Last week, police stated formally for the first time that Netanyahu was suspected of fraud, bribery, and breach of trust," reports the LA Times--and LA-born businessman Ari Harow has turned state's witness against the prime minister.

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-israel-netanyahu-investigation-2017-story.html

In addition to receiving bribes, Netanyahu is accused of making "a deal to cut the circulation potential of Israel Hayom in exchange for more positive coverage in a rival newspaper."

Only totalitarian governments control newspapers.

I'm glad to see Netanyahu go down because he has so flagrantly supported Jewish settlements on the West Bank land taken in the Six-Day War in 1967.

He oppresses Palestinians and blocks attempts to negotiate a two-state solution.

And of course, he has labeled the investigations of his dealings "a witch hunt."

Monkey see, monkey do.

John Winthrop and other Massachusetts Bay Colony leaders should have trademarked the phrase witch hunt.  It's still being used 400 years later. 



Pence? Not to worry...



Thank you, Frank Bruni, for your reassurance today that we don't have to worry about Mike Pence running for president in 2020.

His op-ed column in today's New York Times is titled "Sorry, Mike Pence, You're Doomed."

"He sold his soul" to Trump, Bruni explains, so if Trump is still in office in 2019-2020, Pence can't compete with Trump for the nomination.  

John Kasich can run, Ben Sasse can, Tom Cotton can.  

Even if Pence did run, argues Bruni, he has no credibility.  His "surrender of principles" in support of Trump leaves him powerless as a follow-up alternative to Trump.

Super-Christian Pence doesn't act like a man who is following Jesus.

He trumpets his conservative Christianity and avoids supping alone with any woman other than his wife, then turns around and steadfastly enables an avowed groper with a bulging record of profanely sexual comments.
He publishes a testimonial, “Confessions of a Negative Campaigner,” in which he invokes Jesus while vowing never to repeat such political ugliness in the future, then turns around and collaborates with a politician whose ugliness knows no limit.

He's "a marked man."  

"There's no afterlife in this equation," concludes Bruni.

We may have to endure a year or two of a Pence presidency after Trump resigns or is voted out of office by the Senate, but he would be confined to a limping-along performance hampered by an empowered Congress.

Friday, August 4, 2017

In Memory of Anne Frank.

Anne Frank


August 4 is the date the Nazis found Anne Frank in 1944 and sent her and her family to a concentration camp.

Just one of the terrible anniversaries that come in August.

In 1941 the US refused entrance to Anne and her family.  We must not let that continue to happen.  We must stop sending illegal immigrants back to countries where they will be killed.

But now that 32-yr-old child, Steven Miller, has the nerve to call Emma Lazarus's poem on the Statue of Liberty "meaningless."

https://twitter.com/AnneFrankCenter/status/892835153126543361/photo/1

Steven was a high school classmate of one of my daughters--Santa Monica High School, class of 2003.

May the evil he does return upon him.

This photo of Anne Frank shows her as a confident, valued writer at such a young age.

What would she have written had she grown to adulthood and lived her life?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Work to release the Saudi 14



Fourteen young men are facing execution in Saudi Arabia.  They were sentenced to death in a mass trial conducted in June.

Only the signature of King Salman and the intervention of Amnesty International and other outside forces stand between them and beheading, according to Al-Jazeera.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/07/amnesty-saudi-stop-bloody-execution-spree-170726071519013.html

Their supposed crimes include participating in a protest demonstration and inviting others to attend the protest.

One of them is deaf and blind.  Another was about to board a plane for education in the US when he was arrested.  All were tortured and forced to sign false confessions.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/fourteen-men-imminent-risk-beheading-10864564

Support these young men at this website http://www.reprieve.org/ or at Amnesty International's site: https://www.amnestyusa.org/.

Saudi Arabia has already executed 66 people this year.  We need to work and pray for these young men not to be killed.

Some are asking the US president to intervene, but on his visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this year, he brushed aside issues of human rights there and agreed to sell the Saudi billions of dollars of arms, many of which will be used against Yemen.

"President Trump is being called on to use his newfound relationship with Saudi Arabia to stop the execution-by-beheading of a Saudi student and anti-government protester who was planning to go to college in the U.S. In 2012, 17-year-old Mujtaba al-Sweikat was arrested at an airport just as he was about to board a flight to the U.S. He was on his way to visit Western Michigan University, where he was later accepted."


http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/trump-urged-to-stop-beheading-of-saudi-arabian-student.html

Thanks a bunch, dt.