January 31, 2017

OrangeVerse V: The ABC Interview (part 1)

President Trump did his first lame stream media interview with David Muir of ABC News last week, and as was expected, dropped a ton of free verse into my lap. Without further ado, here are some poetic excerpts from that session.


A Big Heart
They shouldn't be
very worried. They are
here illegally. They shouldn't be
very worried. I do have 
a big heart. 

We're going to 
take care of everybody. We're going to
have a very strong border. We're going to
have a very solid border. Where you have
great people that are here
that have done a good job they should be
far less worried.

Will They Be Allowed to Stay?
We're looking at it with great heart. Now
we have criminals that are here.
We have really bad people that are here.
Those people have to be worried cuz they're getting out.
We're gonna 
get 
them
out.
We're gonna
get
them
out
fast.
General Kelly Is.

I Said It
And I said it strongly because
what's going on with voter fraud
is horrible.
That's
 number one.
Number two.
I would've won
the popular vote if
I was campaigning for
the popular vote. I would have
gone to California where I didn't go
at all. I would've gone to New York
where I didn't 
campaign at all.

Winning
I would've gone to
a couple places that 
I didn't go to.
And I would've won that
much easier...
it doesn't make any difference. So I
would've won very
very easily. But
it's a different form
of winning..
So, but...

January 29, 2017

Dictionary Definitions


Alternative facts, we're told by Sean Spicer, are not lies. They're like two different weather forecasts.
The press was trying to make that seem like we were ignoring the facts. You can look at a weather report and one weather report comes out and says it's going to be cloudy, and the next one says there's going to be light rain. No one lied to you, it just means you interpreted the data in a way that you felt got you to a conclusion.
 Uh, Sean, is it warmer in the summer than it is in Virginia?

The Trump Administration, apparently not understanding the difference between facts and conclusions, might want to spend some time with Merriam-Webster, the dictionary with a great sense of timing, and humor.

You see, the MW has been helping people with the definitions of words like fact (shown below) and other trending searches, using its Twitter feed to educate people as Spicer, Conway, other surrogates and yes, even Trump himself, spout their alternative worldview.


In addition to attacking facts, the Trumpeters have kept up their attacks on the media, keeping the narrative that started early in the campaign when someone asked Trump a question he didn't like, or reported facts that Trump didn't like, or doubted an answer that Trump provided, or used unflattering pictures of him.

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, described by the San Antonio Current as Congress' top climate change denier (who's been into "alternative facts" long before they were cool), had this to say on the House floor the other day:
Just think what the media would be saying about President Trump if he were a Democrat. "He has tremendous energy. He campaigned for 18 months, puts in 15-hour days, and has the stamina of a bull elephant, like Teddy Roosevelt He is courageous and fearless. Given the amount of hate directed his way, no doubt he constantly receives death threats, but that doesn't curtail his public appearances or seem to worry him in the least..."
The national liberal media won't print that, or air it, or post it. Better to get your news directly from the president, In fact, it might be the only way to get the unvarnished truth.
OK, forget for a moment the fact that there's a whole lot more to being president than having stamina, even though Trump used that effectively during the primary (remember "Low Energy" Jeb! Bush?) and during the general election with his comments about Hillary Clinton. I don't think we'd have to look all that hard to find examples of effective presidents who did not possess elephantine strength.

The media would be saying about a Democrat who said what Trump says, does what Trump does, exactly what they're saying about Donald Trump. They would call a Democrat on their lies, point by point, just as they're doing with Trump. They would question a Democrat's every move, should a Democrat do the same as Trump is doing. 


But the second part, getting the unvarnished truth, from Donald Trump himself? Seriously? 


I've been plenty critical of the media and how they handled things from the very beginning of Trump's candidacy, but I would never shift my news (and opinion) sources from established media outlets - newspapers, magazines, TV news, public television, (and their online components, some of which are fine and some of which are horrid) and start using the the president or his minions as the source of truth, varnished or otherwise.

Because, Representative Smith, you're talking about the man who suggested this:
I'm going to open up our libel laws so when [journalists] write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money.
You're talking about the man who
  • banned media outlets during his campaign because they were 'mean' to him
  • threatened a libel suit against the NY Times 
  • thinks everything written or posted that is not flattering is fake news a lie, or a personal attack, 
  • lies repeatedly, 
  • appeared with an applauding crowd at his first 'press conference' and who takes a claque with him for other appearances. (And yes, in case you're wondering. claque is trending on MW).  
This is not the man who will provide us the unvarnished truth., unless you were thinking of the second definition, explained by the words crude and unfinished. Maybe that's what you meant?

No, this is the man who will provide us something else entirely. 

We'll get his view, which you might note, is in the bottom 50% of popular words, similar to Trump's approval rating according to Gallup and Quinnipiac polling after his first week in office. Coincidence, I wonder?

We'll get his opinion, his preference, his sentiment, his slant, and all the rest.

But at least for now, I'll look elsewhere for the truth. You can look to Trump for this other thing.






January 28, 2017

Holocaust Remembrance Day in America

Yesterday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the "Greatest President for Jobs That God Ever Created" turned his attention away from #BAHA (Buying American Hiring American) and trying to figure out how to pay for The Wall, and trying to figure out who to pester to come up with bigger numbers on the size of the crowd that watched his inaugural, and set his sights on immigration and refugees.

Yesterday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, President Trump issued an Executive Order called Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States.

Here are a handful of terms of the order; I've not included the ones that are designed for identification purposes, such as biometric exit /entry, modernizing the records and documentation processes and similar sections that specifically address 'security.
In order to protect Americans, the United States must ensure that those admitted to this country do not bear hostile attitudes toward it and its founding principles.  The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the Unites States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including "honor" killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practices religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Whenever did we start presuming that a foreigner would have even read the US Constitution? Did we forget about the Statue of Liberty as the beacon of hope and freedom, the iconic personification of the American Dream? Because I think that's what foreigners are going to point to as their understanding of what we as Americans stand for. They're considerably less likely to pull out a hidden copy of the Constitution. I mean, think about it:
  • How many Americans have seen or read the Constitutions of any other countries, for any reason?
  • How many Americans  have read our own Constitution outside the 27 words included in the only Amendment that matters
  • How many Americans are out there pushing legislation for the codified right to oppress Americans of race, gender and sexual orientation? 
  • How many American religious leaders are out there politicizing (oops, I meant preaching, I meant to say preaching) the fight against gays?  
  • How many Americans are there out there, right now, supporting 'therapies' to un-gay people? 
  • How many American politicians are out there, right now, oppressing Americans by stripping away their access to medical care or to the voting booth?
How long are we going to turn a blind eye to this kind of un-American behavior (often done under the guise of Christian beliefs) committed against our neighbors, friends, and family? Or is that all OK, because it's people who profess to be Christians doing it? Never mind, don't answer me. 

Yesterday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the President of the United States signed an Executive Order formalizing a process which will allow us to prioritize which refugees we allow into the country based on a person's faith, once we resume allowing refugees into the country - that program, USRAP, has been suspended for 120 days as part of this order.  
Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist such prioritization. 
Two refugee children looking for a pathway to freedom, looking to live, and we'll leave the Muslim child behind, perhaps to die, but take the Christian child. I'm just going to leave that one right there.

But wait. There's more.
To temporarily reduce investigative burdens on relevant agencies during the review period described in subsection (a) of this section, to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals, pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 USC 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens from countries referred to in section 217(a)(12) of the INA, 8 USC 1187(a)(12), would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the United States, as immigrants and nonimmigrants, of such persons for 90 days from the date of this order (excluding those foreign nationals traveling on diplomatic visas, North Atlantic Treaty Organization visas, C-2 visas for travel to the United Nations, and G-1, G-2, G-3 and G-4 visas).
In case it's unclear, this means that people who already hold visas or green cards allowing them to be in the United States - people who live here, work here, raise their children here, pay taxes here, participate in our society, maybe save lives as doctors or volunteer as first responders, participate in neighborhood watch groups, and act as damn fine citizens, better than many of our own, will not be allowed to return home - here - if they are from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. 

And let it be noted that, while the Executive Order began with a mention of the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. People from those countries? They're welcomed here. 

Yesterday, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, America did this. And today, the man who signed this Executive Order, is bitching about his coverage in the New York Times. 

January 25, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v76)

How's everyone doing tonight, you all OK? Anyone other than me wondering about stuff, like how to get my arms around what the new Administration and Congress are up to?

Like, where does the $15B or so it will take to build The Wall on our southern border come from, while we're waiting for some point in time, when we convince or coerce Mexico to pay for it somehow? I saw someone in one of the Texas border towns talking to a reporter tonight, he thinks The Wall is dumb but he's more than happy to work on it and make a ton of money while we figure all the back-end payment deals out behind the scenes.

Or, when the country is at almost full employment now, by the most commonly used measure, and at "way more better employment than we've been in many years" by the other number that makes things look worse, where on earth are the people going to come from who will build The Wall? See, we have the massive infrastructure program that's coming and we have the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines coming, and we have The Wall, and we have all of the manufacturing jobs that are coming back... I wonder, who will work on all of this stuff?

Oh wait - maybe I have the answer already. I wonder, will all of the people who are currently employed working on implementing regulations, managing regulations, auditing regulations, trying to find ways to pay for regulations and the like, end up working on The Wall once the Administration removes 75% of our current regulations? I mean that's more than handful of million people right there who are apt to be at risk of losing their jobs once the regs are gone.

Heck, I may be one of them, who knows.  I wonder if I should start getting myself shovel-ready?

And speaking of regulations, here's another thing I wonder about: you'd think that maybe Congress would be thinking about what regulations they want to save, rather than focusing on putting more rules and laws into place, or no?

Seems that's a no. For example, here's a bill passed by the House already that's just chomping at the bit waiting for Senate approval: meet HR 321, the Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Women Act, and which, given my understanding of our need to get rid of unnecessary regulations and to reduce government spending, is totally unnecessary.

What does this bill do? Let's take a look:
Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the (NASA) Administrator shall submit to the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate a plan for how NASA can best facilitate and support both current and retired astronauts, scientists, engineers, and innovators, to engage with K-12 female STEM students and inspire the next generation of women to consider participating in the fields of science, technology engineering, and mathematics and to pursue careers in aerospace. This plan shall -
(1) report on existing activities with current and retired NASA astronauts, scientists, engineers, and innovators; (2) identify how NASA can best leverage existing authorities to facilitate and support current and retired astronaut, scientist, engineer, and innovator participation in NASA outreach efforts: (3) propose and describe a program specific to retired astronauts, scientists, engineers, and innovators; and (4) identify any additional authorities necessary to institute such a program. 
OK - lots of science-ey and astronaut-ey and engineer-ey and innovator-ey stuff in there, and it all sounds good. But what does it really mean?

  • NASA, tell us what you're already doing with current and retired folks to get people interested in aerospace careers; 
  • figure out how you can do more to get current and retired folks to do outreach with school-age females already participating in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, programs in school, and inspire them to think about participating in STEM fields and get involved in aerospace careers. 
  • Document the plan you come up with, and
  • tell us anything else we need to know to help implement a plan. 

You might be thinking, what's making her wonder about this particular bill? Doesn't she think women belong in the STEM or aerospace careers?  Of course I think women with an interest in STEM careers should absolutely be encouraged to participate. A friend's daughter interned with NASA, and now works at the Goddard Space Flight Center, which I think is really cool. And it makes for some really great presents for her little sister, I have to say. 

And, speaking of the Goddard Space Flight Center, according to HR 321, NASA already runs the Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research (SISTER) program there,
designed to increase awareness of, and provide an opportunity for, female middle school students to be exposed to and explore non-traditional career fields with Goddard Space Flight Center women engineers, mathematicians, scientists, technicians, and researchers. 
And then, there's NASA GIRLS and NASA BOYS,
virtual mentoring programs using commercially available video chat programs to pair NASA mentors with young students anywhere in the country. (The programs) give young students the opportunity to interact and learn from real engineers, scientists, and technologists.
And then, there's the Aspire to Inspire (A2I) program, which
engages young girls to present science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career opportunities through the real lives and jobs of early career women at NASA.
All of these programs already in place sound a lot like this bill is telling NASA to do. Which makes me wonder, why do we need HR 321 to tell NASA to come up with stuff like they've already come up with?

In the overall scheme of things, this is not that big a deal - but all of these not-that-big-a-deals add up. And it makes me wonder if our elected officials (who may or may not have benefited from any government-directed mentoring programs before pursuing their chosen career), have any idea what it means to stop passing unnecessary rules and regulations, whether they impact our bloated federal bureaucracy or our businesses, in advance of getting rid of the ones we already have?

And, finally, I wonder how much fun the president will have tweeting at all of these unnecessary rules and regulations passed by his own party if they keep this stuff up. That'll be a hoot, don't you think?

January 24, 2017

Trump in Transition (v13)

President Trump is opening his administration with a flurry of photo op signings of Executive Orders and memorandums, most of which are not surprising based on what he said he was going to do on Day One, a bigly huge list of things that he was going to solve immediately.

While the 'immediately' thing didn't happen with all of them, he's moving a quick clip as long as staffers and advisers are there to keep him on track and get his mind off his losing the popular vote, or having the biggest Republican Electoral College victory since Ronald Reagan, except for the biggest one since Ronald Reagan which belonged to George H.W. Bush (and which dwarfed the Trump win), or the size of his Inaugural crowd which is the biggest one ever, except that it's not, or millions and millions of 'illegals' voting, which to me is not the same as millions and millions of 'illegal votes' but that might just be splitting hairs.

What he did say today, however, when he signed documents to get things moving again on the Keystone XL pipeline and the Dakota Access pipeline, both of which have been on hold and are now "subject to renegotiation by us" whatever that means, is that things are going to be American.  (Um, as an aside, is 'bigly' bigger than 'XL'? Because if yes, then they really should rename the Keystone thing.)

A memo to the Secretary of Commerce requires an approach to using American steel in pipelines, follows:
The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with all relevant executive departments and agencies, shall develop a plan under which all new pipelines, as well as retrofitted, repaired, or expanded pipelines, inside the borders of the United States, including portions of pipelines, use materials and equipment produced in the United States, to the maximum extent possible and to the extent permitted by law. The Secretary shall submit the plan to the President within 180 days of the date of this memorandum. 
Further, it specifically defines what constitutes made-in-America steel.
 "Produced in the United States" shall mean: (i) with regard to iron or steel products, from the initial melting stage through the application of coatings, occurred in the United States. (ii) Steel or iron material or products manufactured abroad from semi-finished steel or iron from the United States are not "produced in the United States for purposes of this memorandum (iii) Steel or iron material products manufactured in the United States from semi-finished steel or iron of foreign origin are not "produced in the United States" for purposes of the memorandum.
I have no concerns with requiring American made steel on projects - great idea! I'm not sure how many companies in the US can meet the requirements in the memo, or if they have the capacity to produce enough steel to meet the demand created by this type of order, which I anticipate will also come into play with Trump's infrastructure plans, for example. I suspect if this is a problem, it's one the e steel industry will relish solving.

Also unknown is if only American steel companies -- not the foreign companies that have American subsidiaries, but truly American-owned companies -- will be allowed to participate on pipeline projects and infrastructure projects.

Similarly, it's unknown how far to take the requirement for "equipment" to be made in the US. Does that mean heavy equipment, such as the cranes used to set pipes into place? Does it include the equipment used to weld the sections together? And does it include everything in between? If not, it should.

And are only American workers going to be allowed to work in the plants that are manufacturing the steel and the "equipment" and are only American workers going to be allowed to work on these projects and all of their related components?

Because that would be really taking #BuyAmericanHireAmerican to the fullest extent, right? American-owned companies hiring American workers to build American products used on American projects built by American workers...

The problem with taking this to its logical end - all American, all the time - is that we have American workers working for foreign-owned companies right here on American soil. And I can't tell yet whether that's OK because those are American jobs, or if it's bad because those are foreign companies that drove American companies out of business, even though they're employing American workers. (And yes, as I write this, I can see one of the cats chasing her tail in the other room.)

Another question I have is whether it would be OK to build shiny new American-owned factories, using American labor and American materials, in right-to-work states where the wages are lower and don't provide "good, solid, middle class wages" or if the factories need to be built in the Rust Belt states where unions come into play and drive up the labor costs and product costs and are to blame (according to some) for the mess in American manufacturing today?

Or would it be un-American to dictate where the factories get built in America, as long as they're built somewhere in America, by Americans, and pay some kind of wages to American workers?

Lord, this is going to be confusing.

January 22, 2017

Size Really Doesn't Matter, Mr. Trump

Dear President Trump,

We know you think size matters, bigly.

We know you have yuge hands, and we know that there's no trouble down there in the nether regions - because you told us so yourself, and you also told us you'd never lie to us, so it must be true.

We know you're a billionaire ten times over, you have the biggest pile of money, because you told us so.

We know that you have yuge ratings, because you told us so, when you tweeted to let us know that the TV show that brought you to prominence got better ratings when you were on it than it does with the new guy.

We know you have a yuge ego, because even though you're the executive producer, you had no qualms about bashing your own product to let us know how much better it was when you were there than it is now that you're President.

We know your movement like nothing anyone in the world has ever seen is yuge, because you told us so, and that anyone or anything that disagrees with you is fake news, because you've let us know repeatedly that all news you don't like or doesn't like you is fake news.

We know the problems of our country are so huge, and so horrid, that only you can fix them, because you told us so, repeatedly.

We know the crowd at your inaugural is the biggest one ever, because you told us so. We know the TV ratings for your inauguration was the biggest one ever, because you told us so.

We know that the whole world is conspiring against you to make it look like everything you think is bigly yuge is not, because you told us so.

We know that everyone who disagrees with you is bigly over-rated, yugely not funny, biglyyugely not as big as you in whatever way they might think they're bigger or you might think they're smaller.

We know that you're not the bigly most unliked president ever inaugurated, because you told us the polls lie, like the election was rigged until you won, and then it was the best biggest most impressive election ever and there was no rigging. We get that, because you said so.

Yes we know all of this because you show and tell us, every day, often many times a day, bigly, and yugely, like David Gest telling us how he was beaten by Liza Minelli over and over and over.

We get it -- size matters to you. Bigly.

But you know what really matters?

You are the freaking President of the United States.  

You are no longer the host of the Celebrity Apprentice. You are no longer the darling of the Access Hollywood Bus. You are no longer the Talk of the Town. You are no longer a great guest on the Howard Stern Show.

It's time to get your big hair and your big hands and your big tie and your big ego and your big ratings and your big popular vote loss and your big electoral college win focused on being the leader of the free world - no matter how many people aren't watching.

Stop worrying about your goddam ratings and who draws bigger crowds.

Get over it, already.

January 21, 2017

#NeverTrump Answers to #TrumpVoter Questions

It's January 21, 2017 and it appears that at least a very vocal, and, it seems, a very large percentage of Trump voters are stuck in a 'sore winners' rut and don't know how to get out of it. Which means I guess it's up to people like me, a #NeverTrump, to try and help them out.

Wish me luck.

Q: Are you lumping all Trump supporters into one bucket with this post?
A: No, I'm not.  As noted in the very first sentence, I reference "a very vocal, and it seems a very large percentage" of Trump voters. Only you can decide whether that includes you.

Q: Right. Just like Hillary Clinton called all of us Trump supporters deplorables. You're all alike.
A: So, she didn't call all of you deplorables. It might make you feel better to think that she did, but she actually said it was half of you. The other half, she said,
are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they're just desperate for change. It doesn't really even matter where it comes from. They don't buy everything he says but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won't wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they're in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well. 
If you consider yourself in the deplorable half, rather than in the desperate-for-change half, that's up to you.

Q: Whatever. Why do you non-Trump people want the President to fail?
A: I can only speak for myself, but while I didn't want him to be President, and I am embarrassed that he is President, I never once said I want him to fail. The truth is, I desperately want him to rise to the occasion.

Q: It sure seems like you want him to fail. You can't stop complaining about him. Why are you Clinton fans such sore losers?
A: Aha! Do you really think everyone who is #NeverTrump is #AlwaysHillary or something? You can't be serious!

Q: Then why do you protest so much? Trump won!
A: That's correct - he did. But I read his policies, his speeches, I watched the debates, I continue to follow him on social media, and based on what he says he stands for, I could not in good conscience support him. I disagree with his vision of and for America; I disagree with him and his positions on many issues that are important to me, and because of his feelings about sexual assault, I could never vote for him for anything. None of which has anything to do with Hillary Clinton.

Q: You liberals are full of it. He didn't say anything more than any other guy says all the time. And where were you when Bill Clinton was messing around with Monica Lewinsky in the White House? And where were you when Hillary Clinton was attacking the women who accused her husband?
A: I can't prove it to you, because we didn't have social media back in the 1990's when Clinton was impeached for his actions, but I can assure you I found his behavior disgusting and beneath the office he held. I cannot speak to why Hillary stayed with him or why she defended him. You'll have to ask her that.

Q: Trump was just talking, he never did anything. And besides, he said that a long time ago.
A: Well, no, if you listen to the tape, Trump didn't say "I wish I could..." do anything I want, including forcibly kissing women and grabbing them by the vagina. He said he DID it. I did not consider Bill Clinton's behavior when assessing Donald Trump's behavior, and I'm not sure why you would want me to - particularly when, as I noted above, Bill Clinton was president in the 1990s and the election was in 2016. Certainly if I should forgive Trump for his behavior in 2005, I cannot be expected to judge Hillary Clinton on what she did, felt, or said a decade earlier, right?

Q: Why are you protesting? Why can't you just accept the fact that you lost?
A: I do accept the fact that, against my best wishes and best judgment, Trump won. However, the America I love fully supports me protesting the government and protesting people who don't agree with me.

Q: Well, what's the point of protesting? It's not going to do any good anyway. Why don't you just get over it?
A: Because I was raised to participate in our political process. That means that I vote. That means I decide what issues are important to me, and I educate myself on the candidates themselves as well as their positions, and make my decision based on that research. It also means that I try and hold my elected officials accountable. That's what I'm supposed to do. You do think it's OK to hold them accountable, right?

Q: I don't understand what you hope to accomplish. You're not going to change anyone's mind.
A: And similarly, I have to wonder what you hope to accomplish by trying to shut me down, and shut me up. How do you benefit by everyone going along with you, and with Trump?

Q: Well, he's only going to be successful if we stop arguing and come together.
A: Actually, he's only going to be successful is his administration does the right thing for America. But if you think the only way he's going to be successful is if we all stop arguing, why don't you stop arguing with me, and instead join me in trying to hold him and the rest of our elected officials accountable to all of us?

Q: I don't have to agree with you - you lost. You should support him. We're all Americans, we need to stick together.
A: Let me ask you this. Say you're a huge SU basketball fan, your whole life you've been an SU hoops fan, way back to when you were a kid. Did you stop being an SU fan when John Thompson declared "Manley Field House is officially closed?" Or did you keep being an SU fan and root even harder for them every time they played, and especially every time they played Georgetown? Pretty sure the answer to that would be you fought harder for your team. So why are you asking me to give up my deeply held beliefs and become a Trump fan?

Q: Well that silly. That's a sports team. We're talking about our country here.
A: Why yes, yes we are. Which is why it's even more confusing that you would want me to set aside things I believe in to support a person I find disgusting, unethical, uninformed, and completely unprepared to lead our country.

Q: Well, you say all of those things about Donald Trump, what about Hillary Clinton? She's a liar, corrupt, she's killed 50 people, her email server was hacked, Benghazi? What about all of that?
A: See, again, I've not mentioned Hillary Clinton as a reason for being #NeverTrump and I've not mentioned her as a reason for my protesting him. It seems the only person mentioning Hillary Clinton or anyone other than Donald Trump is you and others who are complaining about me and others protesting.

Q: Yeah, well, those protesters set fires and broke windows and terrorized people. They need to go to jail. Those are your 'protesters.'
A: Some 200, maybe 220 people were arrested for setting fires and breaking windows and rioting. Which is exactly what should have happened. But they do not represent me, or anyone else I know who marches, protests on social media, or writes their elected officials to protest bills that are proposed, or anything else like that. Why do you put all of us in the same bucket, when you complain so much about us supposedly doing that to you? Remember that whole deplorables thing we talked about...

Q: Well, you didn't disavow them. I don't see you telling everyone you think they were wrong.
A: I'm sorry, but you must not be paying attention; I've said that repeatedly, in public, about what happened yesterday in DC. But can I ask you a question?
  • Did you disavow Donald Trump when he made his comments about Mexican immigrants being rapists, drug dealers and the like? Or about banning all Muslims from entering the country? 
  • Or about the "Mexican" judge who was being unfair to him in the Trump University case?
  • About women, whether he was talking about Rosie O'Donnell or not? 
  • Or when the white supremacists supported him? And the KKK? 
  • Did you disavow his attack on the Khans, the Gold Star family he attacked on Twitter and Fox News - for days? 
  • How about when he called for his follows to boycott Macy's, and when he took credit for the falling fortunes of this American company that employs American workers? 
  • Or when he mocked the disabled reporter, and pretended he didn't even know him?
  • Or, of course, when he made his pussy-grabbing comments?
I never saw you disavow any of that, and as we've discussed, you defended his comments about sexual assault as "nothing more than any other guy says" so you must think all of this stuff is OK.

Q: That's ridiculous. What makes you think I agree with everything he says?
A: Exactly -- so what makes you think I agree with looting and rioting, or why would you think they represent me?

Q: Everyone just chill out. People need to just chill out.
A: You are absolutely right. People need to just chill out. Let me know when you're going to start.

Q: I'm not the one with the problem, I'm not the one protesting the election.
A: Nor am I protesting the election. I'm protesting the policies, statements, ethics and character of the person who won.

Q: Well you need to just get over it.
A: And you need to just get used to it. Because I'm not going to stop.

Q: Yeah, well that's bullshit.
A: Right back atcha.

January 20, 2017

My Middle-Aged White Lady Perspective: Inauguration Day


Today marked the peaceful transition of power from one presidential administration to another.

It did not, however, mark a making of peace in the United States between the fervently Trump and the fervently Clinton, or between the #NeverTrump and the #Setasideyourpersonalbeliefs #forthegoodofthecountry or whatever the opposite of a #NeverTrump would call themselves. And, it appears, it also didn't mark the understanding of the difference between a protester and a rioter, as far as I can tell.

I did not watch the inauguration live - I chose to spend the day doing something enjoyable, rather than to spend it doing something I knew would be a frustrating, depressing exercise (at best). And, I admit, I was deeply fearful of what was going to happen. Not because of the promised protests, but because of comments from Tom Barrack, chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
What we've done instead of trying to surround it with what people consider A-listers is say what we're gonna surround it with is the soft sensuality of the place. So we have all of that, but it's in a much more poetic cadence than having a circus-like celebration that's a coronation, and that's the way this president-elect won.
Um, "the way this president-elect won" was with in an aura of soft sensuality and a poetic cadence?  I mean, I put his words into verse on occasion, but the groper-in-chief-in-waiting and soft sensuality in the same sentence? In the same universe? As I said, I was deeply fearful...

What happened instead? Several hundred thousand people showed up, a reasonable percentage of them participating in peaceful protest; a few dozen instigators performing acts of violence under the cover of the legitimate protests. In all, around 220 people were arrested at the last report I saw; six police officers were reportedly injured, where none should have been.

Our future first lady displayed a perfect blue-collar coat today, and the new president delivered his American Carnage report in, I guess, a poetic cadence. Because carnage, doom and darkness remain this President's current vision of America; that has been constant since the convention in Cleveland.

Here are excerpts of his address to the assembled dignitaries, Americans, and people of the world.
For too long, a small group in our nation's capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation's capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
Remember, this is a message delivered by a billionaire who has his products made outside of the United States, whose daughter's company has her products made outside the United States, and who 'does deals' and develops properties around the world which are ridiculously out of reach for most people who voted for him. But that doesn't matter.
At the center of this movement is a critical conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge, and the crimes and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
This, from the man who hires foreign workers on special visas to make the beds and clean his properties and to make and serve drinks to the wealthy guests who go to them; who perhaps doesn't acknowledge that the country is almost at full employment; who ignores the fact that factories in the Rust Belt were replaced by factories in the Sun Belt paying employees much less than the factories they replaced; who, I think, honestly believes that anyone coming out of public school truly is "deprived of all knowledge" which is why he chose a public education foe to head the Education Department, and a man who, with the help of his multi-millionaire daughter, came up with a child care plan that if implemented the way it was presented, precludes single mothers trapped in poverty from benefiting from his child care tax credit plan.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world. 
But that is the past. And now, we are looking only to the future. 
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in ever hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it's going to be only America first, America first.
Every decision on trade on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.  
This, from the man who brought in billionaire Wall Street executives and billionaire businessmen, who, at the very least, come from the world where moving jobs overseas, or from north to south, or completely getting rid of them, or taking people's homes away is 'just doing business' we're told; some may have participated in these activities. Either way, while the wealth of the middle class has been ripped away, Trump cabinet members have not suffered anything remotely similar, nor has Trump himself, nor have any of his family members.
Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never let you down. 
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will  bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
Winning is not everything. Winning at any cost is not winning. What, even, does this man think winning is?
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America. and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
I'm not sure where the 'registries' fit into that loyalty to each other?

We have seen, over and over during the campaign, how greatly divided we are between 'patriots' who wrap themselves in the flag and claim it as their own, nary a star nor a shred of stripe to share with anyone who is different: poor, or a person of color, or a person of a different religion, or a person of a different sexual or gender identity. A person who thinks differently, has different strongly held beliefs, or a different vision for our country. There is no room at the inn, so far, for anyone who does not agree with the Trumpian mantra of #MakeAmericaFillintheBlankAgain. Instead, there is prejudice in spades.
Together, we will make American strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud again. We will make America safe again. And yes, together we will make America great again.
My middle-aged white lady perspective?  America is about so much more than wealth, and having a giant military, and protectionism, and nativism, and marching in lockstep with each other and with our leaders. We are so much more than that. And I don't think this president has a clue.

This is, in fact, the beginning or introduction of system, policy, or period. But is it the period of a president more blessed with natural gifts than any other before him? A man who will be so busy doing great things that he cannot take time to answer his critics?

He is just a man, this president. Just a man - one who, if he worked for my employer, would have been fired any number of times for his prejudices, his proclamations, his attitude, his whole shtick.

I remain #NeverTrump, and will continue to do so, until I have any sense that he is different from the person he presented to us all those months on the campaign trail, and all the weeks since he won the election.

It is not time for me to abandon my beliefs and join him out of a sense of patriotic duty; the ball is in his court.

January 18, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v75)

I'm so torn. Should I watch the inauguration, or no?

Don't laugh, I'm serious.

I'm as #NeverTrump today as I was in the beginning, from the Escalator Ride last June, throughout the whole insulting, name-calling circular firing squad that was the Republican primaries; through the gloom and doom Republican National Convention, the Democratic National Convention and its sharp contrasts with the Clamor in Cleveland; the presidential debates, the lies, the tweets, the absurdity, the outcome of the election, and the transition.

To watch, or not to watch, I wonder? Normally there wouldn't be a question. But this is not a normal inauguration, on many levels.

This Friday, inauguration day, will mark ten years since my Dad passed.  Regular readers may remember that my Dad was a teacher, an American History teacher. He and I played the current events game my entire life, it seems. I 'voted' with him, in 1968 when I was ten; I marked the multiple choice parts of his tests many times, and read essay submissions, the good ones and the ones laden with opportunities for improvement. And we talked, and we talked and we talked about news and politics and the process of news and the process of politics.

I remember the first inauguration he missed, the first one that I couldn't share with him.
Obama's inauguration, on the second anniversary of your death, was another trigger, as if it being January 20th weren't enough of one. That you missed this was almost unimaginable. The teacher in you, the democrat in you, the grump in you and the comedian in you would have had a blast with this whole campaign. It's kind of like people who died and never saw the Red Sox win the World Series or SU win the NCAA basketball tourney.
And now, as we prepare for the inauguration of Donald Trump, I'm wondering if it would be more respectful to him to watch, to pay attention to the spectacle in DC, or more respectful to something else entirely, something that he would appreciate more.

Would he watch, I wonder?

I don't have any idea what he would have done during this campaign. I've mentioned that a couple of times in these pages, wondering what he would have said about the New York primary, much less about the results of November 8th. Had he still been teaching, I think he would have quit; some family members agree.

Still, I wonder, this Wednesday, what I should do on Friday. I have the day off. I'm prepared (I think) to watch the inauguration, to talk to my Dad throughout the whole thing, to hear his guidance coming through, however that works... but I'm equally prepared, I think, to do something else.

I'm #NeverTrump, but I'm always #myfathersdaughter.

Should I watch, Dad? Would you watch with me? Or should we do something else?

January 16, 2017

Sidebar: Sunday School 1/15/17

In yesterday's Sunday School post, I noted that Reince Priebus made some comments on both Meet the Press and This Week with George Stephanopoulos about Congressman John Lewis. Lewis, you'll recall, announced his personal belief that Donald Trump is not a 'legitimate' president because of the Russian interference and its impact on Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Here's what Priebus said
..John Lewis stood up and said in an interview that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president. It's insanity. And it's wrong. And DNI director Clapper said as much many, many times, that there is no evidence any outcome of the election was changed. 
A couple of things came to mind as I read that comment.  Clapper has been clear that there was Russian interference, but equally clear that there was no foreign tampering with ballots or vote counts, and that it would be very difficult to measure the impact of the interference and the publication of leaked information from Clinton campaign officials on people's votes.

Earlier this month, for example, in response to a question from Arizona Senator John "Loser" McCain, Clapper noted
We had no way of gauging the impact that - certainly the intelligence community cannot gauge the impact - it (Russian cyber activities) had on the choices the electorate made. 
Equally true, though, is that the intelligence report that was delivered first to President Obama and then to Trump, noted the following:
We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia's goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency (emphasis added). We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.
And while Priebus and Kellyanne Conway and others on the Trump Train try and distract from the actual intelligence report, and focus on their mantra that there is no evidence the outcome was changed, Donald Trump the candidate thought the information that resulted from the hacking was very important - dare I say, bigly important.

According to an analysis published by ThinkProgress, in the last month of the campaign,
Trump spoke about the Wikileaks  emails at least 164 times from October 10 to election day, saying the word Wikileaks 124 times. That means, on average, Trump discussed Wikileaks more than five times per day. 
More than five times a day. At least one hundred and sixty four mentions in less than a month. But it had no impact on the election, don't be silly. No influence on anyone's decision, didn't change a thing, nope, not at all. Nothing to see here, folks, step away from the illegitimacy.

Here are excerpts from some of his comments, all made between October 10th and October 15th of last year.

  • Wikileaks is amazing. The stuff that's coming out, it shows she's a real liar.
  • Wikileaks, some new stuff, some brutal stuff. I mean I'd read it to you but to hell with it, trust me it's real bad stuff.
  • No one who supports open borders should be able to run for president because we won’t have a country.... Because in the Wikileaks it was all about open borders.
  • Wikileaks, I love Wikileaks... Let’s see. During a speech crooked Hillary Clinton, oh she’s crooked folks. She’s crooked as a three-dollar bill. Okay here’s one. Just came out. ‘Lock her up’ is right. 
  • It’s just the latest evidence of the hatred that the Clinton campaign really has for everyday Americans and you see, and you see so much from these Wikileaks. 
  • I’ll tell you this Wikileaks stuff is unbelievable. It tells you the inner heart, you gotta read it...
  • And one of the big advantages of me having a rather large microphone, and meaning a lot of people are listening, is that I can talk about Wikileaks...
  • She would be the most dishonest and the most corrupt person ever elected to high office. The Wikileaks emails show the Department of Justice fed information to Clinton...
  • The sad part is we don’t talk about Wikileaks because it’s incredible. But Wikileaks just came out with a lot of new ones...
  •  It also comes at a time as Wikileaks unveils horrible, horrible things about Hillary Clinton...
  • And by the way, Wikileaks came out with lots of really unbelievable things. Just minutes ago. In fact, I almost delayed this speech by about two hours, it’s so interesting. But I decided you’re more important than anybody, okay? It’s all a big, beautiful fraud...

I suppose it's possible that none of this mattered, this leaked information that is believed to have been fed to Wikileaks by the Russians or people associated with them. Julian Assange has denied Russian involvement; naturally, Trump has quoted Assange and Vladimir Putin as reliable deniers, so we have that out there, in contrast to what our own intelligence officials have staid.

Regardless of who fed Wikileaks the info, Trump's repeated references to it indicate he was pretty sure it was helpful, and pretty sure it could help influence how people voted. I believe that's a reasonable outcome, even if not a measurable one.

It doesn't mean that Clinton would have won - but it sure doesn't help Trump's case that the leaks were meaningless and without influence.

January 15, 2017

Sunday School 1/15/17

Just a quick look at a couple of hot topics on the Sunday morning news shows, with visits to only two classrooms this morning.

Reince Priebus was on NBC's Meet the Press and again on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, talking about John Lewis and about Russia.

On MTP, he noted that Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement, was wrong to have said that Donald Trump is not a legitimate president "five days before he puts his hand on the Bible" at his inauguration. Priebus reiterated the latest mantra from the Trump camp.
I also think that the Clinton folks wasted a billion dollars of their donors' money and they've got a lot to answer for.
Yeah, I crack up every time I hear this - Kellyanne Conway has used this line a couple of times. Great line, means nothing, but it's a great line.

Anyway, he agreed that the Russians hacked the DNC but that
...none of this would be happening if Hillary Clinton would have simply not used a personal server in violation of federal law.
Todd completely ignored that comment - Clinton's email server had nothing to do with the Russian hack - and instead asked if that 'excused' a foreign government from trying to interfere in our election. Priebus answered
We've never - of course not. All of it's wrong. China's wrong. Russia's wrong. Iran's wrong. All of these entities are wrong for doing what they've done. But back to John Lewis. For him then to say, which no intelligence official is saying, that Donald Trump was elected illegitimately is irresponsible...
Priebus made similar comments on TWwGS when Stephanopoulos asked if it was harder for Dems to come together even though they lost, after Trump's tweets about Lewis.
..John Lewis stood up and said in an interview that Donald Trump was not a legitimate president. It's insanity. And it's wrong. And DNI director Clapper said as much many, many times, that there is no evidence any outcome of the election was changed. 
Some might disagree with Reince's comments; I'll take a look at that in a sidebar later.

I'll add in one more comment about the Russia stuff and John Lewis, from Helene Cooper who was on the panel on MTP. Cooper, a Pentagon correspondent for the NY Times (a media outlet currently on Trump's 'good list' - emphasis on currently), put things in perspective on a couple of fronts.
There's a way to say, "I disagree with John Lewis," without calling Atlanta a crime-infested hell hole. There's a way to disagree with someone, as you saw Reince Priebus just do, as other people have disagreed with John Lewis,without going on a Twitter tantrum. And that's the sort of thing that you do not expect from a commander-in-chief.
 And I think this goes back to what Jeff  (Goldberg, of The Atlantic) was saying. We're now five days out from Donald Trump taking control of the greatest country on Earth. The idea that the president of the United States is going to be having tantrums on Twitter whenever somebody gets under his skin I think is frightening to a lot of people.
 Hear, hear.

Also on TWwGS, there was a conversation about ethics, or what passes as ethics, and who is or should be looking at ethics, particularly Presidential ethics.

We all know, having been told countless times by the Trump team and by the media, that the 'ethics rules don't apply' to the President, and that any efforts Trump makes to separate himself from his business interests here and abroad are voluntary and from the good of his heart. Because, as he told us at his press rally,
So I could actually run my business, I could actually run my business and run government at the same time.
I don't like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to. I would be the only one to be able to do that. You can't do that in any other capacity. But as president I could run the Trump Organization, great, great company, and I could run the company - the country. I'd do a very good job, but I don't want to do that. 
Anyway. The Office of Government Ethics is not thrilled with Trump's only stepping aside and telling his boys not to talk to him about the business as a conflict-clearing solution.

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz is less concerned with Trump's actions. Trump filed his financial disclosures, as the law requires, and sure, that emoluments clause is in the Constitution, but what the heck, no big deal there, even though several of Chaffetz's peers are concerned and have asked House Speaker Paul Ryan to get some info so they know whether the emoluments clause is being violated, on day one, as they say.
Stephanopoulos: Another possibility, you have oversight of the general services administration, which holds the lease for the Trump Hotel, which of course the president will still own even though it goes into the Trust. And then page 103 of the lease agreement says that no elected official of the government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia shall be admitted to any share of part of this lease or to any benefit that may arise therefrom. So, the agreement seems to preclude ownership by any government official, like the president, doesn't it?
Chaffetz: I did sign a letter with Elijah Cummings a number of weeks ago and asked for a copy of that contract. I don't know that we have received the final copy of that contract.
Stephanopoulos: But is that something you're going to be looking at?
Chaffetz: I started that a few weeks ago. 
So it would seem - and it would seem as well that Chaffetz has no interest in seeing that investigation through to its logical conclusion.

Today's lesson, however, has come to its logical conclusion.

January 12, 2017

OrangeVerse IV: The Press Conference

The President-elect held a press rally yesterday, in a flag-draped room at Trump Tower packed with Trump Organization employees, according to reports, who were there to clap.

Here, in verse, are his own words.

(APPLAUSE)
It's very familiar territory,
news conferences, 
because we used to give
them on an almost daily basis.

I think we
probably maybe won
the nomination
because of news conferences
and it's good to be with you.

A Blot.
I must say that I
want to thank a lot
of the news organizations here
today because they looked at
that nonsense
that was released

by maybe the intelligence agencies?
Who knows, but maybe the intelligence agencies...

OK?
Well, if -
If Putin likes Donald...
I consider that an asset,
not a liability, because
we have a horrible relationship

with Russia.
Russia can help us fight ISIS, 
which, by the way, 
is, number one tricky...

If Putin likes Donald...
guess what folks?
That's called an asset, 
not a liability.

Now, I don't know
that I'm gonna get along
with Vladimir Putin. I hope
I do. But there's a good chance

I won't. And if I don't
do you honestly believe
that Hilary
would be tougher
on Putin
than me?
Does anybody in this room
really believe that?
Give me a break.


January 11, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v74)

I am wondering, this Wednesday, about the meaning of 'patriotism.'

As we get closer and closer to the end of the Obama years and the onset of the Trump years; after a long, emotional campaign; after a sharply divided election resulting in an unequivocal majority win in electoral votes on one side and an equally unequivocal popular vote loss on the other; after a season of protests using the national anthem as a vehicle for free speech, it seems from my social media feeds that many people have had enough.

They don't want to talk about it anymore, they don't want to think about it anymore, and they don't want to hear about it anymore. Period. For some folks, this means very visibly proclaiming their 'independence' from political discourse; for others, it's become a 'patriotism thing.'

I'll paraphrase a whole bunch of posts into one, so you can get a sense of what I've been seeing. The comments below do NOT represent any individual's opinion; rather, it's a string of statements that have appeared on multiple platforms, posted by multiple people, from all across the political spectrum.
You people need to suck it up, you lost, time to get over your bad self and get with the program. I don't like Trump any more than you do. He won. We have to support him for the good of our country. I have always been a patriot. I fly the flag. I love my country. If you don't support our President you are not a patriot. I love my country. You don't. Why do you want him to fail? We have no idea what he's going to do. We need to wait and see but he's making good decisions with his cabinet so we need to give him a chance. No one complained about Obama until he deserved it. I always stand for the National Anthem. We need to pull together for the good of the country. Support the president that's what we're supposed to do. Come together for the good of the country. Be patriotic. I am a patriotic American. It's time to move on. Screw you. All you do is spread lies.You don't know what you're talking about. I respect the President no matter what. I respect the office, not the man. I'm sick and tired of this. I'm done. You're blocked.  
 That's it in a nutshell --  and it's one heck of a nutshell, isn't it?

love for, or devotion to one's country. 

I wonder, is a person who disagrees with what President-elect Trump says he believes in, or with what President Obama says he believed in, less devoted to their country than someone who agrees with Trump or Obama? 

And how is disagreeing with people who disagree with you indicative of not loving your country?

devoted love, support, and defense 
of one's country; national loyalty

Is a person less loyal to their nation, I wonder, for questioning their leaders (or their friends) on, say, equal rights for all people? Climate change? Where the US embassy in Israel should be located? Protecting the right to vote? Whether fracking causes earthquakes in Oklahoma? The value of public education? What marriage needs? Where personal accountability comes into play?

How are those questions ascribed a degree of loyalty that is somehow less than the degree of loyalty ascribed to a person who questions nothing? 

And how does a person declare they are a better patriot than the next guy, anyway? I don't know how that works, I really don't. 

Finally, thinking about the hundreds of comments I've seen from people I know and from people I've seen commenting on various threads since even before the election, I wonder why we don't take a page out of our third president's book:

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics,
 in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.

Me neither. 
~Sue Drummond


January 9, 2017

Quick Takes (v15): Meryl Streep's Golden Speech

OK, friends - what do you think about the Golden Globes political activism?

I didn't watch, I confess. I saw the tweets about Jimmy Fallon's Trump jokes and was not enticed to leave Masterpiece Mystery behind. (If  you're wondering, the tweets were not complimentary and the jokes were horrible, if one believes what she reads. Even solid lefties were unhappy with Fallon's performance - or, they're still miffed by him fluffing Trump's hair.).

What grabbed my attention was Meryl Streep's speech after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. Here's how it went
Thank you, Hollywood foreign press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said. You and all of us in this room, really belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press. But who are we? And, you know, what is Hollywood anyway? It's just a bunch of people from other places.
And she went on to mention some of those places that are associated with several of the nominees, including a birth certificate reference, a tip of the hat to the Birther-in-Chief.
Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts...  An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, passionate work.
Which, of course, offended the MMA 'movement' because what they do is art, they say. And while I'm not a fan of  MMA or similar pursuits, woo am I, or Meryl Streep, to judge?
There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.
Now, on that, I agree with her. I believe he knew exactly what he was doing when he made his mocking gestures. I believe he did know the reporter, who had covered him for several years, even though our next President pretended he had no idea what he had done wrong or why it was horrible. I have yet to be persuaded otherwise.
And this instinct to humiliate, when it's modeled by someone in the public platform by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody's life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
She went on to talk about the responsibilities of the media.
This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists. Because we're going to need them going forward. And they'll need us to safeguard the truth. 
In closing, she quoted a comment Carrie Fisher made one time.
As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.
So: regarding the behavior of the powerful, if it's true that their behavior empowers or invites or incites others to do the same, is it in fact a double standard for Hollywood to put out content that objectifies women, or that is filled with gratuitous language, sex, and violence - and pretend that impressionable minds are not inspired (or worse - justified) to mirror what they see?

And, are you tired of political activism at awards shows, or is it fine? Would your opinion be different if the message were different? Meaning, say you disagree with Streep's politics; would you be appreciative of a conservative actor delivering a pro-Trump speech in the same circumstances, or would that be equally incorrect? Do you think these folks are sincere when they do this, or do you think they're just grabbing attention?

Did you watch, and did you stick with it, or turn it off when things started getting political?

I'm really curious as to what folks are thinking.