Thursday, September 17, 2020
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Drawing Circles - many of them, 170,000 of them, in fact, to try to understand what a number that big actually is. Calming, but with intent. There's a beauty in both the practice and the result, if drawn with focus and purpose. In John Green's podcast, The Anthropocene Reviewed, Episode # 24 he reviews The Works of Art of Agnes Martin and Hiroyuki Doi - she of the color fields and geometric grids and he of the many many circles. And then this response, which loops into the act of drawing, an attempt to understand the magnitude of a number like 170,000 -- which by now has reached 180,000 and for sure, will eclipse 200,000. That is, the number of folks in the US who have died from this pandemic. Each circle is a life, encircled by family, friends, work, projects, art.
Woke to weird tangerine skies, a thick layer of smoke held in place by fog above it and no wind to speak of. Not so hot today, but oppressive in spirit. Small flecks of grey-white ash drift down to sprinkle the tomato plants, coat the tables, obscure the views of hillsides and mountain. Thick enough on the cars to write "VOTE" on them, leaving fingertips black.
Meanwhile, others are fleeing their burning houses.
Monday, September 14, 2020
Petaluma Postcard Pod and Petaluma Arts Center teamed up to send postcards to voters in Florida and Kansas with a Labor Day Postcard (Socially Distanced) Picnic. Great success, even under pink-tinted skies and high heat. Over 1,000 PAC postcards sent out to voters --whoooiee, mamas!
|A Trio of Postcard Pod Wranglers: Nancy, Alice and Sue.|
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Thinking of these past six months, of 2020 in general.
I'm not able to concentrate, my attention is as scattered as spilled rice; I'm as jumpy as a cat on a hot tin roof. If it's not the specter of COVID-19, its the wildfires and the acres and acres of smoke that lid the sky, or the extreme heat that keeps us behind windows and doors. It's the wobbly state of our Democracy; it's the sense that danger lurks everywhere, seen or unseen. And yet the tomatoes ripen, the sunflowers burst open in praise of the sun, the little birds bathe in the water dishes with abandon and pleasure.
Perhaps this discordance is the hardest to bear.
Stories from The Atlantic, "Trump: Americans Who Died at War are Losers and Suckers" by Jeffrey Goldsmith, on Sept 3, 2020
and the follow up Everyone knows its True by Robert Frum from Sept 7, 2020.
Pretty damning -- and depressing-- if you ask me.
Direct URLs if links above are broken.
And this list of over 50 points and items, stolen from a Facebook post, shared by a friend.
As Frum states in his article, very few people from the military are defending him and even fewer people talk about any instances of kindness or campassion.
Why are troops turning away from Trump?........
• In May 2020, the White House ended National Guard deployments one day before they could claim benefits
• The Trump admin seized 5 million masks intended for VA hospitals. Kushner distributes these masks to private entities for a fee, who then sells the masks to the government. ( I think that is technically called graft)
• Trump fired the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after he warned superiors that COVID19 was spreading among his crew. The virus subsequently spread amongst the crew.
• After Iran's retaliatory strike, 109 US troops suffered brain injuries. Trump dismissed these as "headaches"
• On July 20, 2017, in room 2E924 of the Pentagon, Trump told a room full of Generals, "You’re a bunch of dopes and babies"
• Pardoned multiple war criminals, which stomped on long standing military values, discipline, and command. Trump has no military experience (May&Nov, 2019)
• Trump mocked Lt. Col. Vindman for his rank and uniform. He threatened said purple heart officer, resulting in the Army providing him protection
• Trump’s Chief of Staff worked—in secret—to deny comprehensive health coverage to Vietnam Vets who suffered from Agent Orange.
• There is a facility in Tijuana for US veterans that Trump deported. Wounded war vet, Sen Duckworth (D) marked Veterans Day 2019 by visiting this facility
• Russia took control of the main U.S. military facility in Syria abandoned on Trump’s orders. Russia now owns the airstrip we built
• On Oct 7, 2019, Trump abruptly withdrew support from America's allies in Syria after a phone call with Turkey's president (Erdogan). Turkey subsequently bombed US Special Forces.
• Trump sent thousands of American troops to defend the oil assets of the country that perpetrated 9/11
• In Sept 2019, he made an Air Force cargo crew, flying from the U.S. to Kuwait stop in Scotland (where there's no U.S. base) to refuel at a commercial airport (where it costs more), so they could stay overnight at a Trump property (which isn't close to the airport). Trump’s golf courses are losing money, so he's forcing the military to pay for 5-star nights there.
• In Sept, 2019, Pentagon pulled funds for military schools, military housing funds, and daycare to pay for Trump's border wall.
• In Aug, 2019, emails revealed that three of Trump's Mar-a-Lago pals, who are now running Veterans Affairs, are rampant with meddling. "They had no experience in veterans affairs (none of them even served in the military) nor underwent any kind of approval process to serve as de facto managers. Yet, with Trump’s approval, they directed actions and criticized operations without any oversight. They wasted valuable staff time in hundreds of pages of communications and meetings, emails show. Emails reveal disdainful attitudes within the department to the trio’s meddling."
• Veterans graves will be "dug up" for the border wall, after Trump instructed aides to seize private property. Trump told officials he would pardon them if they break the law by illegally seizing property
• Children of deployed US troops are no longer guaranteed citizenship. This includes US troops posted abroad for years at a time (August 28, 2019)
• On Aug 2, 2019, Trump requisitioned military retirement funds towards border wall
• On July 31, 2019, Trump ordered the Navy rescind medals to prosecutors who were prosecuted war criminals
• Trump denied a U.S. Marine of 6 years entry into the United States for his citizenship interview (Reported July 17, 2019)
• Trump made the U.S. Navy Blue Angels violate ethics rules by having them fly at his July 4th political campaign event (July 4, 2019)
• Trump demanded US military chiefs stand next to him at 4th of July parade (reported July 2, 2019)
• In June, 2019, Trump sent troops to the border to paint the fence for a better "aesthetic appearance"
• Trump used his D-Day interview at a cemetery commemorating fallen US soldiers to attack a Vietnam veteran (June 6, 2019)
• Trump started his D-Day commemoration speech by attacking a private citizen (Bette Midler, of all people) (reported on June 4th, 2019)
• Trump made his 2nd wife, Marla Maples, sign a prenup that would have cut off all child support if Tiffany joined the military (reported June 4th, 2019)
• On May 27, 2019, Trump turned away US military from his Memorial Day speech because they were from the destroyer USS John S. McCain
• Trump ordered the USS John McCain out of sight during his visit to Japan (May 15, 2019). The ship's name was subsequently covered. (May 27, 2019)
• Trump purged 200,000 vets' healthcare applications (due to known administrative errors within VA’s enrollment system) (reported on May 13, 2019)
• Trump deported a spouse of fallen Army soldier killed in Afghanistan, leaving their daughter parentless (April 16, 2019)
• On March 20, 2019, Trump complained that a deceased war hero didn't thank him for his funeral
• Between 12/22/2018, and 1/25/2019, Trump refused to sign his party's funding bill, which shut down the government, forcing the Coast Guard to go without pay, which made service members rely on food pantries. However, his appointees got a $10,000 pay raise
• He banned service members from serving based on gender identity (1/22/2019)
• He denied female troops access to birth control to limit sexual activity (on-going. Published Jan 18, 2019)
• He tried to deport a marine vet who is a U.S.-born citizen (Jan 16, 2019)
• When a man was caught swindling veterans pensions for high-interest “cash advances," Trump's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined him $1 (Jan 26, 2019)
• He called a retired general a 'dog' with a 'big, dumb mouth' (Jan 1, 2019)
• He increased privatization of the VA, leading to longer waits and higher taxpayer cost (2018)
• He finally visited troops 2 years after taking office, but only after 154 vacation days at his properties (Dec 26, 2018)
• He revealed a covert Seal Team 5 deployment, including names and faces, on Twitter during his visit to Iraq (Dec 26, 2018)
• Trump lied to deployed troops that he gave them a 10% raise (12/26/2018). He tried giving the military a raise that was lower than the standard living adjustment. Congress told him that idea wasn't going to work. Then after giving them the raise that Congress made him, he lied about it pretending that it was larger than Obama's. It wasn't.
• He fired service members living with HIV just before the 2018 holidays
• He tried to slash disability and unemployment benefits for Veterans to $0, and eliminate the unemployability extrascheduler rating (Dec 17, 2018)
• He called troops on Thanksgiving and told them he's most thankful for himself (Thanksgiving, 2018)
• He urged Florida to not count deployed military votes (Nov 12, 2018)
• He canceled an Arlington Cemetery visit on Veterans Day due to light rain (Nov 12, 2018)
• While in Europe commemorating the end of WWI, he didn't attend the ceremony at a US cemetery due to the rain -- other world leaders went anyway (Nov 10, 2018)
• He used troops as a political prop by sending them on a phantom mission to the border and made them miss Thanksgiving with their families (Oct-Dec, 2018)
• He stopped using troops as a political prop immediately after the election. However, the troops remained in muddy camps on the border (Nov 7, 2018)
• Trump changed the GI Bill through his Forever GI Act, causing the VA to miss veteran benefits, including housing allowances. This caused many vets to run out of food and rent. (reported October 7, 2018)
• Trump doubled the rejection rate for veterans requesting family deportation protections (July 5, 2018)
• Trump deported active-duty spouses (11,800 military families face this problem as of April 2018)
• He forgot a fallen soldier's name (below) during a call to his pregnant widow, then attacked her the next day (Oct 23-24, 2017)
• He sent commandos into an ambush due to a lack of intel, and sends contractors to pick them up, resulting in a commando being left behind, tortured, and executed. (Trump approved the mission because Bannon told him Obama didn't have the guts to do it) (Oct 4, 2017)
• He blocked a veteran group on Twitter (June 2017)
• He ordered the discharge of active-duty immigrant troops with good records (2017-present)
• He deported veterans (2017-present)
• He said he knows more about ISIS than American generals (Oct 2016)
• On Oct 3, 2016, Trump said vets get PTSD because they aren't strong (note: yes, he said it's 'because they aren't strong.' He didn't say it's 'because they're weak.' This distinction is important because of Snopes)
• Trump accepted a Purple Heart from a fan at one of his rallies and said: “I always wanted to get the Purple Heart. This was much easier.” (Aug 2, 2016)
• Trump attacks Gold Star families: Myeshia Johnson (gold star widow), Khan family (gold star parents) etc. (2016-present)
• Trump sent funds raised from a Jan 2016 veterans benefit to the Donald J Trump Foundation instead of veterans charities (the foundation has since been ordered shut because of fraud) (Jan, 2016)
• Trump said he has "more training militarily than a lot of the guys that go into the military" because he went to a military-style academy (2015 biography)
• Trump said he doesn't consider POWs heroes because they were caught. He said he prefers people who were not caught (July 18, 2015)
• Trump said having unprotected sex was his own personal Vietnam (1998)
• For a decade, Trump sought to kick veterans off of Fifth Avenue because he found them unsightly nuisances outside of Trump Tower. 1991
• Trump dodged the draft 5 times by having a doctor diagnose him with bone spurs.
• No Trump in America has ever served in the military; this spans 5 generations, and every branch of the family tree. In fact, the reason his grandfather immigrated to America was to avoid military service.
Monday, September 7, 2020
Took a very informal survey of a small group of buddies about how we're getting through this. Here's what we're watching and listening to:
TV -- to watch; shows, comedies, stand-up comedy. In the interest of keeping this list tangle-free, I'll let you folks do the googling to find them.
- TV show, comedy, drama, Sam Fox, a single-mom with three kids in LA.
- Sebastian Mancuso — stand-up comedian
- stand-up comedian
- Mrs Maisel
- TV show about a comedian. Exuberant, set in the 50s and early 60s. Great cast, fast pace, dancing galore, keep an eye peeled for Suzie..
- Hannah Gadsby
- stand-up comedian
- Tig Natarao -both her standup comedy shows, but especially
One Mississippi, her 2-season show.
- Vera -- British Detective show at its best!
- Endeavor - prequel to Inspector Morse. So watchable!
California City - Podcast from LA List.
- Very Presidential by Ashley Flowers
- Ologies by Alie Ward \
- Fearology, Part 1 and 2 -- highly recommended
- Crime Junkies
- Invisibilia - early seasons are the best.
- The Moth
- This American
- Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me
- Room Twenty Cold
- Everything is Fine
- Rumble Strip - (Vermont)
Ideas — CBC Radio Show
(anything from the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, right?)