"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Monday, February 19, 2018

Sunday Salon, a day late

Weather: It snowed yesterday and it is still blanketing the ground since the temperatures are hovering below freezing. The photo is of our chain-bell down spout. The water in it froze overnight. Lovely, don't you think?

Politics: In light of the the thirteen indictments that were handed down to Russians/Russian companies and the school shooting in Florida that killed 17 people, this blog post will be dedicated to politics. We can no longer ignore what is going on. I urge you to click on the hyperlinks. Read up on these topics, and take action.
  • For months Trump has been saying the "Russian thing" is a hoax and has been unwilling to condemn the Russians for meddling in our elections and attempts to aid his campaign. With the 13 indictments issued by Bob Mueller's team on Friday Trump's hoax rationale has fallen apart. (13 Russians Indicted-NYT) Of course, this has not kept Trump from tweeting that he is completely innocent. He, however, has not said anything bad about the Russians in defense of the country. (Trump lashes out at Mueller-Politico) This has led Jonathan Chait writing for the New York Magazine to conclude there is a high possibility that this means that Trump is being blackmailed by Russia. (Blackmail-New York Mag.) It certainly does seem like a possibility since he is and has been so hesitate to say anything bad about Russia, but horrible things about just about everyone he disagrees with, even in his own administration.
  • There is a must-read article by Thomas Friedman in the New York Time yesterday titled "Whatever Trump is hiding is hurting us all." Friedman also believes that Trump is being blackmailed by Putin or he is completely unfit to be President. He compares the way that Trump is behaving to Bush after 9/11. What if Bush had said that the event was "No big deal. I'm going golfing. It must be the Democrats fault"? He concluded his article with this alarming note:
"This is code red. The biggest threat to the integrity of our democracy today is in the Oval Office" (NYT).
  • H.R. McMaster, Trumps National Security Advisor, said the 13 indictments provided incontrovertible proof that Russia meddled in our elections. (McMaster- CNN) Naturally Trump takes to twitter to lash out at McMaster for this statement. (Trump lashes out- Newsweek.) It is as if Trump has no ability to talk to his own advisers in person. He has to air all his laundry in public. 
  • Trump may not be willing to stand up to Russia but he sure doesn't seem to have any problems standing up the the FBI or the media/free press. When an FBI agent texted a message to a friend which was negative about Trump, Trump called his actions treasonous. (FBI-Washington Examiner) Treasonous? Really? If someone disagrees with him he thinks that person should be put to death? Does he even know the legal definition of treason?
  • About the press/media Trump loves to call everything that is negative about him as "fake news" but everything from the FOX channel as the god-given truth. Sometimes it feels like the only thing that is standing between us and Trump as dictator is the free press. As soon as people stop believing in the free and impartial press they become susceptible to power plays by despicable leaders. This is so frightening to me. (Trump finds freedom of speech disgusting- ACLU)
  • As an example of how despicable folks at the White House are right now, an official said that the mass shooting in Florida provided a reprieve from their scandals. Oh please. Can things be any worse? (Washington Post.)
  • Political scientists recently took their presidential survey and the results were announced this week. Trump is at the bottom of the survey, from last to 5th to last place, depending on the political party which the respondent identifies. He is down there with Buchanan whose actions led to The Civil War, and Warren G. Harding who had the Tea Pot Dome scandal. (How does Trump compare- NYT) The reasons they cited for his bad ranking: an his "ignominious debut". He picks fights with everyone, is completely focused on himself, not the good of the country, against freedom of the press, defaming his own security services like the FBI and CIA, while refusing to stand up to Russia, picking fights with the likes of the dictator of North Korea which could lead to nuclear war.
  • Trump seems unwilling to even try to do anything to bring the country together. When he goes out to make a speech, they end up being like campaign rallies, where he still vilifies Hillary and Obama. In December, thirteen months after he won the election, supporters chant "Lock Her Up" at a Trump rally. (Trump rally- The Hill.) As if Hillary is the enemy and that is the biggest problem we have in this country right now. What Trump found so troubling about Clinton was her email server, yet his own daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law were at fault for the same security violation they accused Clinton of. The hypocrisy is huge in my mind. (Jared and Ivanka Trump email scandal-Independent)
Guns. I am so upset about what happened in Florida this past week. Another shooter kills seventeen people at a high school with an assault rifle.
  • NRA and GOP claim that we remove the rights of people if we restrict their ability to buy assault rifles.  Bernie Sanders says that AR-15s are not designed for hunting animals. They are designed to hunt humans. (Bernie Sanders- Huffington Post.)
  • After the shooting, students from Parkland, Florida were interviewed on Fox News. Within minutes of their interview the Fox News commentator invited criticism of the students by putting conservative Rush Limbaugh on to dismiss their plans and to condemn them for their "political agenda." The students want action so that the tragedy they lived through won't happen again and Limbaugh is calling them out for being political. Limbaugh told Chris Wallace that "marches were not going to solve anything." Nothing like throwing cold water in the faces of students deep in grief and demanding action from legislators. (Immediately after interview-AOL)
  • "Thoughts and prayers." We need more action than just thoughts and prayers to fix our gun problem in this country.
I don’t want your condolences you..., my friends and teachers were shot. Multiple of my fellow classmates are dead. Do something instead of sending prayers. Prayers won’t fix this. But gun control will prevent it from happening again.  https://t.co/UZPgcPoPUX— sarah (@chaddiedabaddie) February 14, 2018
    Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News
Hypocrites and Evangelicals: A large percentage of evangelical Christians voted for Trump. They were willing to overlook his womanizing, his crass language, his sexual abuse, his lies, his bullying, and vote for him because he said he was against abortion. As a Christian myself, I do not understand the thinking behind this type of voter.
  • Francis Fitzgerald, who wrote a book called White Evangelicals, said they voted for Trump because: 
“The simplest explanation was that those evangelicals who voted for Trump had affinities with the Tea Party,” she writes. They seemed to care more about shrinking the government, creating jobs, and deporting illegal immigrants than about enforcing Christian morals.  (The Atlantic)
  • I'd say that the white evangelicals have lost their moral authority. A vote for a man like Trump can't be a moral vote. Right after the election my aunt, who falls into this category, told my sister that God wanted Trump to be our president because she prayed about it. To this I call Bu##s^*t. If she had prayed the same prayer and Trump lost she wouldn't have said that God wanted Hillary to be president. I love my aunt but that is a very hypocritical position.
  • Right before the election one of my high school friends shared a inflammatory article about Hillary on his Facebook page. I checked the link and also checked it against Snopes. The
    article was not true. I commented about this, sharing the link to Snopes. He replied back that he didn't believe in Snopes. He was willing to believe nonsense about Hillary but not the truth. We now know that the vast number of these types of articles were created by Russians intending to drive the vote to Trump and cause strife between American citizens. (Facebook Trolls-Washington Post).  I have thought of this friend often since news of the 13 indictments hit this week. I wonder if he has thought back on our interaction of a year before realizing that he was a victim of those Russian trollers?
  • And what, please tell me, is the relationship with Evangelical Christians and guns? Why do Christians not support gun control? In my mind Christ stands for love and peace, not more guns.
Other topics of grave concern:
  • Nuclear War. This past fall I attended a program where Daniel Ellsberg, author of the Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner and famous for the Pentagon Papers, was the speaker. I left the lecture terrified. Trump and Kim of North Korea are both so unstable. Trump taunting with, "My button is bigger than your button." Not good. Nuclear war would likely mean the end of mankind. Read more, "Don't Wait Until the Bombs are Falling" (Time). 
  • What happens to DACA recipients next? Why did Trump remove protection for the Dreamers? Why won't Ryan and Mitchell allow for votes on saving DACA? Over 72% of people support it. Doesn't it seems like the GOP are just mean-spirited people?
Book: What Happened by Hillary Clinton (click the hyperlink for my review). Here are a few of my takeaways:
  • Clinton not only had to fight against Trump and the Republican party but also interference by the Russians and the FBI. She also had to fight against the way people view powerful women. The more powerful that a woman is, the less people like her, while the opposite is true of men.
  • When you hear someone say, even today, that Hillary should just go away now that she lost, remind yourself that no one says the same thing about Romney or McCain. They also lost.
  • Hillary was prepared to win. Trump was completely unprepared to win. She already had a list of over 200 people that needed security clearance ready to go before the election. Over 100 of Trump's people still do not have clearance over a year after the election. Even his son-in-law Jared. Sigh.
  • I was inspired to action by reading the book and I highly recommend it. This blog post is part of my determination to speak up and to be vigilant. 
Thank you for putting up with me, on my birthday, as I vent and rant. I am seriously very concerned about my country. Very. Concerned.


  1. Thanks for being brave enough to discuss and cite with accurate sources the political issues challenging the very fabric of democracy.

  2. It is terrifying indeed. I can't believe he can stay in office after all the scandals, but the "fake news" manipulation has swayed so many people. I find that disheartening for the future, when truth and facts are whatever they want them to be. Very cold here, especially after Los Angeles!

    1. I know what you mean. It is mind-boggling that anyone still supports him.

  3. Great post! If only more people would wake up to the hypocrisy and danger from Trump and his cohorts!

  4. Right on! And today the asses in the Florida legislature voted no on DISCUSSING banning AR-15s. It is a sad, sad time in our country. I'm quite beside myself. The hope I see is in the Parkland students who are brave, articulate, and on fire!

    1. I saw on the news tonight that the students inundated Tallahassee today. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the kids make a difference.

  5. I keep typing too fast and accidentally erasing my comment! Third time is a charm...

    I really appreciate this post. I've found it hard to feel motivated to blog about books in the past six-eight months, and it's at least partly because there is so much seriously wrong in our country right now that it just feels frivolous. "Let them read books!" instead of eating cake.

    I can't believe that someone doesn't "believe in" Snopes, but then again, I can believe it. I was honestly just confused the first time I encountered a "birther" online. I assumed the kid was just ignorant enough to not realize Hawaii is a state. But then I realized there was this whole weird conspiracy group. And then we elected someone who believes that, or at least pretends to.

    Like the previous poster, I think it's the young people who will have the energy and passion to help us correct our course. Here's hoping.

    1. Thanks for sharing Wendy. I, too, have been very distracted these days and have really fallen off my reviews, though I have kept up with my reading. I find that reading nonfiction is easier for me than fiction right now. I can go into my brain as I am learning something new. Fiction, on the other hand, just seems like a waste of time.

      Hillary calls us to do something. Pick a project or cause and support them wholeheartedly. Make a difference near your home. Work for fairer elections. Elect women.

      Thanks for commenting on my blog.

  6. Well said. Thank you. I have been quiet because I live in an area where having a solid education, reading, thoughtful commentary, and respect for others are considered secondary to ridiculing your opponents and using incendiary language. After this election, I realized that I must not be quiet any more.


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