The Bad News Round-Up, Number One

For the past year, this has been my profile picture on facebook.  I put it up on inauguration day 2017 in protest of yet another sham election/ shameful election.  I’ll change it today.

This is a classic “found image.”  I’ve ran across it in various places.  If anyone knows its history, I’d be interested.   I found it in an old college newspaper, circa 1960’s.  He’ll make his debut here as the mascot of figurehead for the forum on bad news.

I predicted that this would be a banner year for bad news, and so it is.  Some of it (such as the record high temperatures)  cannot really be blamed on 45 (aka DT).  Yet much of it is directly tied to his presidency, both its successes and too its bumbling failures.

I wonder whether or not forces who despise the American government, tried to put in a  mole in order to help destroy that government?  If anyone looks past politics and is totally honest, I think they’ll judge this man as the worst, or nearly the worst president in American history.  We’ll see what the body count is and how many lives are damaged and destroyed by the foolish actions of 45 and his enablers and cohorts.  One Year Down/ One Year to Go?  We’ll see.

There’s a serious delay factor.  This means that a lot of the things that 45 is taking credit for were the results of hard work by previous administrations.  Likewise, many of the things that they’re doing now will not cause disasters until years after they have left office.

In ways, this post is a  means of preliminary research for a larger project.  There’s been plenty of bad news in the last year, that’s for sure.  There’s been some good news too.  We need to take this as seriously as we can.  Be aware and connect with each other.  Resist!

At some point this year, I’ll sort through all the recent bad news and try to sort out what is directly tied to the current administration and what would have happened anyway. It’ll be a challenge to sort it out.

Round One:

The Washington Post:


Men Everywhere: Behave Yourselves!


In late 2017, there’s been a wave of women calling out men for harassing them or attacking them.  This started in early October.  One can only hope that this is a permanent thing.  I don’t want it to ever end.

Men have to take full responsibility for their own actions.  There’s no excuse to touch a woman without her consent.  Things far worse than a mere touch can make you lose your job or even end up in prison.

That’s as it should be.  A lot of guys think they have carte blanche to do whatever they like to whoever they like with full authority and no consequences.

This year, a lot of powerful and famous men have had to face to consequences.  There’s one obvious example of someone who’s behaved like that and brags about getting away clean.  Yet someday, he may have to pay the piper as well.

It’s like the fallacy that racism is a black problem, not a white problem.  A lot of people think that bad behavior by men is a woman’s problem not a man’s problem.  Yet it’s a problem for both sexes.  It’s a human problem.

We need to have all men, or as many men as possible man up.  Not to man up in some macho, sexist or aggressive way but to try to become a real man.  That means to treat all women that you encounter with the same respect you’d have for your mother, sister, sweetheart or wife.

This means that not only do the men at the top need to be held accountable.  So do the men at the bottom, the men in the middle and everywhere in between.  Rich or poor or middle class, we need to be aware of what’s alright or acceptable and what’s just plain wrong. This is also true not only in the West or in the United States.  All male human beings, all over the world need to treat women fairly.

The feminists have been saying this for years and they’re absolutely right.

The 2017 list so far:



Enough is Enough!

Next month, this space will have a post about the remarkable series of recent events.  These have involved powerful men, abusing their power.

Sexual harassment is always wrong.  Men have gotten away with it for far too long.  We need to fight against this for all women, on all levels of society.

Sexual harassment is sometimes man on man but usually, it’s men against women.  Enough is enough.

Stop This Car, I’m Getting Out!

By Sam Cobean

Increasingly, I have a strong sense that we’re headed, willy-nilly toward some sort of great calamity or disaster.  Likely, it will be a series a disasters.  Some will take place soon.  Others are being set up, being made ready.

Seeds are being planted for dangerous and invasive species of plants.  I don’t think that they’re nurturing them along so much as throwing them down here and that, and hoping that maybe some of them will grow.

It’s like being out on a lake where there’s thin ice.  Some people are jumping up and down on it.  They’re even pouring out tea kettles full boiling water onto the ice.

Some of us have had this happen to them, I know I have:

You’re a passenger in a car and the driver’s speeding and driving recklessly.  He may be drunk or high as well.  It’s  scary.  You feel like you’re likely to crash and you pray or cross your fingers.  When this had happened to  me, I managed to be let out of the car before it stopped.  But this!

It’s the same sort of feeling every day.  Is there anything that we can do to prevent the crash?  There might be a literal financial crash.  Who knows?

All best to us all.  The world’s always a dangerous, confusing and sometimes frightening place.  Let’s hope that most of us can avoid most of this.  Be aware, take care and protest.

PS Awareness, vigilance, hard work, networking and protest are the “caution tape of reality.”  These are dangerous times.  If you don’t believe that now, you will believe it someday.

“Frontline” on PBS


I don’t usually watch the news on television.  I try to piece things together online and by listening to the radio.  I read some paper editions, including The Nation, the New York Times and the New Yorker.  In all of these, I read critically, taking little at face value.  One has to learn to read between the lines and to piece things together, like a jigsaw puzzle.  These days, it’s more confusing than ever.  Many of us want to listen up and to make some attempt to figure out what’s going on.

Frontline seems to be stepping up and doing a good job.  Part One of the study of Vladimir Putin, The Putin Files was well made and informative.  Part two, Putin’s Revenge airs this week.  Why does Putin consider the United States to be an enemy?  This explores that question and others.

It’s usually on Tuesdays, yet lately, it’s been running on Wednesdays.  I think this is because  Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s The Vietnam War series has been playing on Tuesdays.

On October 11th I watched two Frontline episodes, the one on North Korea and one on the fight against nature, against the environment.  That is, North Korea’s Deadly Dictator and War on the EPA.  The double whammy left me reeling.  Does anybody else think that we’re in trouble yet?

John le Carré on NPR’s “Fresh Air”

John le Carré

The following is from a recent interview of author John le Carré with Terry Gross on NPR’s Fresh Air program.  I’ve never read much of his work, but I found these comments to be of interest:

“Let’s look first of all at the operation influence, if you like, and how that’s exerted.  What we suspect the Russians are doing, not only in the United States but they did in Britain for the referendum, maybe in Britain for the elections.  They certainly interfered in Macron’s election in France.

So who are these forces? (and) what is really spooky I think and profoundly disturbing is they come from the West as well as the East. That there are oligarchs in the West who are so far to the right that they make a kind of natural cause with those on the other side of the world.

Both of them have in common a great contempt for the ordinary conduct of democracy. They want to diminish it.  They see it as their  enemy.  They see, they’ve made a dirty word of  liberalism, one of the most inviting words in politics.  And so they’re closing in on the same target from different points of view.  That’s the first thing.”

He also had a little more to say about this campaign to “undermine the decent processes of democracy.”

Links to this interview and to other related interviews with John le Carré are found below, in the following web links:

Master spy novelist John le Carré has thoughts on how Trump might fall

The Fifth Avenue Crowd

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? It’s, like, incredible.”

The 45th U.S. President, before he was elected

January 2016 in Sioux Center, Iowa

Right from the get-go the man seemed to gain followers by insisting that he’s above the law, untouchable.  Many of them agree him on this point.

I don’t know what percentage of his crowd what be with him 100% if he did something obviously horrible and disastrous

I don’t know what percentage of his devotees and followers think that he’s incapable of lying and that if he does, it doesn’t matter.

The man may think he’s king or something better than a king.  It’s not true.

To believe in the patently and obviously false, doesn’t make it any truer. You can be skeptical without being delusional.

The rule of law will not be denied.  The truth, the absolute merciless truth will rear its beautiful head and sing.


January 2016:

August 2017:

“Well, this is what I call the Fifth Avenue crowd. These are the guys that he was referring to when he said he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and his real supporters would stick with him. There is a portion of the electorate, probably roughly around 20, 25 percent that will be with him no matter what. And that’s the portion of the electorate that he’s playing to right now.”  Republican strategist Michael Steel


Our current president recently attacked two fellow Republicans without naming them.  By refusing to name him here (except in web links) am I lowering myself to his level??