Sunday, July 30, 2017

Album Dissection: The Royal Scam

A few weeks ago I went to see a jam band called Kung Fu. I didn't know much about this band, the only reason I went is because they were playing an entire set of Steely Dan music. Their original music was pretty good but I really enjoyed myself when they came out for the second set of the Dan. Check them out:



Steely Dan has been credited (or blamed or chastised) for creating the fusion jazz sound. This is not entirely accurate. They only have one album heavily infused by jazz, Aja, their sixth and most popular. Most of their work is pure rock and roll. Like many bands, Steely Dan met in college. The two main guys, Walter Becker and Donald Fagen met at Bard College in New York State in 1968 in a cafe called The Red Balloon. They formed many bands together. Believe it or not, one of the bands feature the comedian Chevy Chase on drums. After graduating they moved to Brooklyn and started working in the music industry writing songs and music for low budget films and even some big stars like Barbra Streisand. ABC records didn't know what to do with them because they kept coming up with music that was too complex for anything they had, so they urged them to form a band. They got the name Steely Dan from William S. Burroughs novel The Naked Lunch. In the novel, a Steely Dan III from Yokohama is a strap-on dildo. They have had many musicians matriculating in and out of the band but mostly it has been these two guys.

The Royal Scam, their fourth album, is my favorite of theirs and when I ranked my favorite 100 albums (see list below), it came up as #47. It is the most guitar heavy of their albums and a concept album. You don't hear the term concept album very much anymore because people buy individual songs now and it is usually only older people like me that are buying entire albums. The Royal Scam could easily be called "the American dream and other really big lies." It is scattered with songs about immigrants, oddballs and people down on their luck getting screwed-over and turning to the underworld for survival. The album cover features a man in a suit sleeping uncomfortably on what appears to be a radiator or a bench possibly in a bus station; he is dreaming about skyscrapers turning into beasts. If I remember correctly the album back cover had a close-up on the hole in his shoe. No doubt, the album cover is allusion to the theme of the album.

Side One: 

"Kid Charlemagne" is the opening track and it is loosely based on the rise and fall of San Francisco chemist Owlsey Stanley who was the LSD supplier to Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters. The first stanza is about Stanley on top of the world due to his skill of making pure acid:

       "Just by chance you crossed
              the diamond with the pearl
        You turned it on the world
        That's when you turned the world around
        Did you feel like Jesus?"

The second stanza is about his fame and his link to the Merry Pranksters: "Everyone stopped to stare at your technicolor motor home / Every A-Frame had your number on the wall." By stanza three, the party is over: "Son you were mistaken. You are obsolete" and by the fourth stanza they are running from the law worrying if there is enough gas in the car.  All of this is surrounded by one of the best guitar jams in rock history with guest fusion jazz guitarist Larry Carlton getting props from Rolling Stone magazine. The song makes their 100 best guitar rock songs list coming in at #80.

"The Caves of Altimira" is the only positive song on the album about a boy discovering the famous Caves of Altimira in northern Spain. He sees the cave painting by candlelight and their simplicity and beauty open the world up for him.
      "Before the fall when they wrote it on the wall
       When there wasn't even any Hollywood
       They heard the call
       And they wrote it on the wall
       For you and me, we understood"
He is in the dark being save by the prehistoric picture of a sun. Quite poetic.

"Don't Take Me Alive" is a sharp contrast to the previous song. It is about a guy name Mad Dog who is held up, surrounded by cops and he has a case of dynamite. We don't know how he got there but we know that he crossed his father, a bookkeeper, back in Oregon.
                "Where no sun is shining
                  No red light are flashing
                  Here in this darkness
                  I know what I've done
                  I know all at once who I am"
Unlike the boy in the cave, it is darkness that allows him to discover himself, all too late I am afraid.

"Sign in Stranger" is a science fiction rock and roll song; no wait, it is a song about a gangster ...um, okay, maybe it's both. As a kid, Donald Fagen wrote sci-fi so the first stanza is a throw back to those days. It about a planet named Mizar Five where people have to "shout to stay alive."  This is a planet of gangsters and they have the ability to give you a new identity. Admittedly, I have no idea what is going in this song, but I love the piano jam. 

"The Fez" is a short sweet song about a guy and his condom. "Ain't never going to do it without the fez on .... Please understand/I want to be your holy man." That is most of the lyrics right there. It is just a fun song. The fez in this case is not a Moroccan hat, but a condom. 

Side 2:
"Green Earrings," like "The Fez" is a vague song without a lot of lyrics. The narrator recalls a woman and her green earrings. He likes the earrings more than her, so he steals them. All he remembers about her is "the look in her eyes" but he doesn't mind. He's an egomaniac. In the Kung Fu youtube clip above, they perform both of these songs segued into each other. On a CD they actually play back to back, but on an album, the medium I grew up with, you'd have to get up and flip sides in between songs.  These songs sound great together. They are the lightness of a fairly dark album.

"The Haitian Divorce" is about a couple named Babs and Clean Willy. "Babs and Clean Willy were in love they say/So in love the preacher's face turned red." They get married then they fight and end up in Haiti for a quick divorce. After the divorce Babs drowns her sorrows at a bar and ends up having a one night stand with a Haitian. She gets back together with Clean Willy in the states and have a baby. Surprise! The baby isn't his ... "Who's this kinky so-and-so?"

"Everything You Did" is about an argument between a couple. The narrator's partner has hidden something from him and now he wants to know. He caught her with a lover. "Where did the bastard run" is the first line in the song, but he wants to know everything. He wants to know in detail really, he is a voyeur not a jealous lover. That is what he's angry about, she is hiding the sordid detrails from him.

"The Royal Scam" is the magnum opus of the album and the title track. This is very common in rock albums of this era, like Bruce's "Jungle Land" on Born to Run, The Eagles' "Last Resort" on Hotel California or Billy Joel's "Captain Jack" on Piano Man. They are the last song on the album; they are longer songs, usually one of the best songs on the album and quite serious ... and definitely not a hit song. Scam is about some Puerto Rican immigrants coming to New York City with starry eyes only to be greeted with a harsh reality and getting swallowed up by organized crime. The middle verse might be one of the most poignant and beautiful verse written in rock and roll:

     "They are hounded down
       To the bottom of a bad town
       Amidst the ruins.
       Where they learn to fear
       An angry race of fallen kings
       Their dark companions
       While their memory of
        Their southern sky was clouded by
        A savage winter
        Every patron saint
        Hung on the wall, shared the room
        With twenty sinners"

However awful his experience in America, the third stanza tells how the narrator of the song tells a different story in his letters home. The first and the last sentence of the song are the same forming a circle "They wandered in from the city of Saint John without a dime."  The cycle continues. The myth of America is a lie but it is a hopeful lie that we need. Immigrants continue to come with hope and are eaten up by the city.

All the songs on this album stand alone as great songs, but like most of the great rock albums of the 1970's, you really should listen to them in order. It is like a great movie, you could probably watch the scenes out of order if you knew it well enough, but why would you do that? These songs were put in this order for a reason. Collectively, it is not a story but a tone. It is full of darkness, but it gives you great release via guitar and piano by master musicians.

Here is the list of my top 100 albums:

My 100 Favorite Albums:
#1 Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd
#2 Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan
#3 The Wall by Pink Floyd
#4 Captain Fantastic and Brown Dirt Cowboy by Elton John
#5 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band by The Beatles
#6 Ziggy Stardust and the Spider's from Mars by David Bowie
#7 The Poet Game by Greg Brown
#8 Summer's Teeth by Wilco
#9 The Native Americans by Robbie Robertson
#10 Home by Spearhead
#11 Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan
#12 Yoshimi and the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips
#13 Harvest Moon by Neil Young
#14 Odelay by Beck
#15 Hunky Dory by David Bowie
#16 Desire by Bob Dylan
#17 Zepplin II by Led Zepplin
#18 LA Woman by the Doors
#19 Mermaid Avenue by Billy Bragg and Wilco
#20 Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young
#21 The Final Cut by Pink Floyd
#22 I'm Your Man by Leonard Cohen
#23 Who's Next by The Who
#24 New York by Lou Reed
#25 Days of Future Past by Moody Blues
#26 Rain Dogs by Tom Waits
#27 The Low Spark of High Heels Boys by Traffic
#28 The Soft Parade by the Doors
#29 Aqualung by Jethro Tull
#30 Moving Pictures by Rush
#31 Terrapin Station by The Grateful Dead
#32 The Night Fly by Donald Fagen
#33 Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen
#34 Station to Station by David Bowie
#35 Beggar's Banquet by The Rolling Stones
#36 Breakfast in America by Supertramp
#37 Oh Mercy by Bob Dylan
#38 Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen
#39 Everybody Knows This is Nowhere by Neil Young
#40 Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco
#41 Cure for Pain by Morphine
#42 I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got by Sinead O'Connor
#43 Rift by Phish
#44 déjà vu by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
#45 Prolonging the Magic by Cake
#46 Become You by The Indigo Grils
#47 The Royal Scam by Steely Dan
#48 Animals by Pink Floyd
#49 Abbey Road by The Beatles
#50 Aja by Steely Dan
#51 I'm the Man by Joe Jackson
#52 Blonde on Blonde by Bob Dylan
#53 Comfort Eagle by Cake
#54 Diamond Dogs by David Bowie
#55 Greetings from Asbury Park by Bruce Springsteen
#56 Stop Making Sense by The Talking Heads
#57 Gimme Fiction by Spoon
#58 Bachelor #2 by Aimee Mann
#59 Titanic by Jim's Big Ego
#60 Pale Sun Crescent Moon by Cowboy Junkies
#61 Document by REM
#62 US3 by US3
#63 Making Movies by Dire Straits
#64 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John
#65 Red Dirt Girl by Emmy Lou Harris
#66 Tea for the Tillerman by Cat Stevens
#67 American Idiot by Green Day
#68 August and Everything After by the Counting Crows
#69 52nd Street by Billy Joel
#70 Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell
#71 Meddle by Pink Floyd
#72 War by U2
#73 Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen
#74 Tumbleweed Connection by Elton John
#75 Train Home by Chris Smither
#76 Secret Samadhi by Live
#77 Graceland by Paul Simon
#78 Drag Queens and Limousines by Mary Gauthier
#79 Drum Hat Buddha by Dave Carter and Tracey Grammar
#80 Turnstyles by Billy Joel
#81 Not for Kids Only by Jerry Garcia
#82 Work by Dan Bern
#83 Modern Times by Bob Dylan
#84 Songs from the Wood by Jethro Tull
#85 Play by Moby
#86 Obscured by Clouds by Pink Floyd
#87 Naturally by JJ Cale
#88 John Barley Corn Must Die by Traffic
#89 Shakedown Street the Grateful Dead
#90 Tenacious D by Tenacious D
#91 Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd
#92 Elton John by Elton John
#93 At Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash
#94 The Innocent, The Wild and the E Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen
#95 Night and Day by Joe Jackson
#96 The Crane Wife by The Decemberists
#97 Fragile by YES
#98 Hotel California by The Eagles
#99 Ten by Pearl Jam
#100 After the Gold Rush by Neil Young

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Term Limits Equals Voter Suppression

Daily, on social media, I see things that just really make me scratch my head. Obvious things may come to mind like breatharians (people who believe that they can survive without food) or the Flat Earth Society (that's right, people you believe the Earth is flat), but I am not talking about those things. I expect the crazy in an unfiltered medium where anyone can get on-line, chat and hook-up with someone who is equally crazy. No, I am talking about bad ideas, specifically, term limits.

Term limits, to put it lightly, is a very bad idea that has legs. The idea of limiting the terms of members of Congress became very popular during the 1990's when incumbents were reelected at a rate of 100%. Term limits is when you put a limit to the amount of years or terms a political office holder can hold that office. They are usually passed when a group of people, either from one part of the country or in a particular party, don't like the choices that the other side is making, so they try to limit the amount of time their elected officials can hold office. US Presidents serving two terms was only a tradition for over a century set in place by our first president, George Washington. President Grant, our 18th President, was the first to break tradition and actually try to run for a third term, but he lost the nomination of his party to James Garfield. It wasn't until President Franklin Roosevelt, our 32nd President, was inaugurated for a third and a fourth term that anyone officially broke this tradition. He died during his fourth term so we don't know if he ever would have attempted to run for more. During his fourth term, his opponent in his last election, Thomas Dewey, proposed an Amendment to the Constitution to limit the terms of the presidency. Since both houses of Congress was controlled by the Republicans, it was passed and completely ratified by 1951. It took a total of seven years for the 22nd Amendment to be passed.

Since then many Presidents have had to stepped down after two terms. Among them were Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, W. Bush and Obama. Truman was grandfathered in so the law didn't apply to him but he decided not to run for a third term on his own.  Supporters of term limits would argue, aren't you glad that the law prevented Reagan or W. from run for a third term. I say, no, I am glad they didn't get a third term, but I think it should be the voters or the candidate to decide this, not the law. I also think that having Obama as President for a third term would be much better than having Trump as President. I find it frustrating that I didn't get a chance to vote for him again. Since I have already stated, in prior blog entries, that I'd support Zippy the Pinhead over Donald Trump, so this is probably obvious. Any of our prior Presidents having a third term would be better than Trump serving even one term. Maybe even W. At least we'd be getting someone with some experience. I digress.

The idea of Congressional term limits angers me in particular. As a Vermonter, I am very much over-represented in Congress. I have two great Senators in Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders and my Congressman, Peter Welch, is proving to be very effective. Why should I lose them? Because someone in Indiana or Florida thinks they are dead weight? Isn't that for the voters of Vermont to decide? If they weren't doing a good job, we'd vote for another candidate. That's called a Representative Democracy. Term limits is the antithesis to Democracy. You don't like some Congressman in another state ... tough! Adults deal with these things.

Every time I see someone stumping for Congressional term limits, it is never their own representation that they are complaining about, but someone else's. It is someone in Rhode Island complaining about a Georgia or Texan representative or it is someone in South Carolina complaining about New York and California. Never their own. We have a process to get rid of dead weight and under performing politicians ...again, it is called an election.

Lets apply this logic to other occupations, lets try brain surgeons. After eights years of you developing your skills as a surgeon ... sorry, you can't be a brain surgeon anymore. After twenty years or so, our society would have no skilled brain surgeons. Bad analogy? Bad example? A politician is not as skill an occupation as a brain surgeon? Sure, but it is still a very skilled occupation. If you think Congress is dysfunctional now, imagine if it were filled with freshman Congressmen. Imagine a legislative body with no institutional memory.

In one of Vonnegut's novels, I believe it was Slapstick, he came up with a solution to our democratic woes. Our leaders were chosen at random, in a lottery, to ensure that no one who wanted the job would get it, because anyone who wanted it was surely insane therefore unqualified. It is an absurd idea in an absurdist work, but it always made me think ... hmm. Surely any random person would be a better selection than Trump. Right? Maybe so. But would they be better Senators than Bernie Sanders or Patrick Leahy, I think not. Surely, our election process has produced more good statesmen than bad. The bad just get more press. Until the Vonnegut method takes hold, keep your term limits off of my candidates and stop trying to suppress my vote.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Authoritarian Creep - Trump Log #33

I have spent my life in awe at how many stupid people I meet ... people with little or no media skepticism, with no ability to communicate and seemingly no desire or ability to change. I am not talking about the mentally disabled, but functioning adults in our society. Not to sound too arrogant, but we all have met people who have very strange, paranoid and ill-informed ideas. Trump's election just shows that we have reached a critical mass. They have reached an unmanageable number and they have organized. They can be easily manipulated into organizing and voting against their own interests. It is only so long a culture can go around celebrating ignorance before it will end up with a snake oil salesman as its leader.

The scariest thing about living under an authoritarian is how normal it all starts becoming. What we were outraged by a month ago becomes old hat today. "What did he do now," is a daily mantra. Yesterday's outrage is today's yawn because we have a new outrage that will soon be tired. This is why it is important to remind ourselves everyday of the predicament that we are in.

Trump log:
6/21/17 - Trump wants to cut housing subsides for the poor with one exception, the subsidies that he personally makes millions off of. (Source: Washington Post)

6/22/17 - Trump appoints a wedding planner, Lynne Patton, to be in charge of the arm of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that oversees New York and New Jersey. Like his Secretary of HUD, she has zero experience with housing, but she did plan his son's wedding. Again, he clearly values loyalty over everything else including ability, experience and qualifications. (Source: CNN)

6/23/17 - Not only is the Trump administration having a difficult time finding talent, but the talent that the Federal Government already has, some that has spilled over from multiple administrations, are bowing out. Expect more incompetence to creep on by. (Source: Washington Post)

6/24/17 - Several positions on the EPA's Board of Scientific Counselors are expiring. Trump's EPA director plans to fill them with industry representative from the oil, coal and gas. Stop it! It isn't opposite day anymore. (Source: Slate)

6/25/17 - The President called my Senator, Bernie Sanders, "crazy" on Twitter. Now it is getting personal. (Source: Washington Post)

6/26/17 - Now that I am moderately successful, I travel to Europe every few years. By the conversations I've had with the locals, I could tell America was losing popularity during the W. Bush years but seemed to have been perking back up during the Obama years. It seems we're heading back down in again in the world's opinion. Time to pull out my Canadian flag patch for my backpack again. (Source: Washington Post)

6/27/17 - The Senate's version of Trumpcare has been released this week and it is just as bad as the House version. The non-partisan Congressional Business Office (CBO) has reported that 22 million Americans will lose their insurance by 2026.  The estimated amount of deaths by loss of insurance per year is in the 10 thousands, mostly the elderly, poor and disabled. Maybe this is the Republican's cure for global warming ... to depopulate the planet! (Source: Chicago Tribune)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017
Issue #31 - posted June 13, 2017
Issue #32 - posted June 20, 2017






Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Greatest American Rock Band

Who is the greatest rock band in the history of rock n' roll? Such names as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin come to mind. The amazing thing about this list is that these bands, and a ton others, are all British. It is very impressive how much a small island nation, approximately the size of New England (smaller actually), has put out so much great music. If not more than the United States, then certainly more influential. But I am talking about American rock music today.

Who is the greatest American rock band?  Before you answer this, you have to first ask: What is an American rock band? David Byrne was born in Scotland but moved to the US when he was 8. He met the rest of The Talking Heads in Providence while attending Rhode Island School of Design. The rest of the band is from the US. Is this an American band.? I say yes. Their main guy is an American regardless of the Scottish roots and they got their start playing in New England and New York bars. Definitely, an American band. Carlos Santana was born in Mexico and moved to the US when he was a teenager, like The Talking Heads, the rest of Santana is from America. Even though they are considered Latin Rock, they are still an American rock band.

Who is not an American rock band? The Jimi Hendrix Experience is fronted by the Seattle born master of the electric guitar Jimi Hendrix but two other guys, of this foursome, are British. So I have to say no. Some might say that The Band is an American band. Four out of five of their original members are Canadian and one American but most of the replacement members have been Americans. My ruling would be no on this one as well.  These are arbitrary rules, established only for the sake of argument. Without a doubt, the greatest rock band from Australia is AC/DC and only one member was actually born in Australia so these rules are not set in stone.

I created this survey in Survey Monkey. It is one question. I suggest you take it before you read the rest of this. It just basically asks "Who is the Greatest American Rock Band?"  I posted it to one of my Facebook groups earlier this week, I monitored discussion and had to add a lot of bands that I hadn't originally included. At this point, over 90 people have answered it so far. To my surprise, Pearl Jam is winning with a slight edge over The Grateful Dead. Van Halen, Metallica and Lynyrd Skynyrd are not that far behind. I excluded a few bands that I can't stand like Journey, Mötley Crüe and Night Ranger ... because hey, it is my survey and I said so. Hopefully, no one will miss them.

What is great when it comes to a band? When I voted I considered longevity, song writing, influence, orchestration, broad appeal and live performance.  With these categories, I can understand why someone would vote for The Grateful Dead. They've played together for several decades, they have some great song writers, their live performance is something that everyone should see at least once in their life and they have influenced hundreds, if not thousands, of bands. But they do not have broad appeal. It seems that rock fans either love them or hate them. They also have wide ranging styles sometimes jazzy, sometimes country and sometimes psychedelic. I find this to be a good thing, but many fans don't. Sometimes when you mention that you love The Dead, you get laughed at and derided. Sometimes you hear jokes about drugs. This is sad, but this made me consider other bands when I voted.

You get similar reactions if you said The Talking Heads ("too new wave") or Metallica ("too heavy metal") or The Beach Boys ("too poppy"). Most bands are in their silos with few having universal appeal.

I expected more people to vote for The Eagles, but I understand why they aren't winning. Their music didn't age well. They are a great band that were quite versatile especially after Joe Walsh joined the band. But some of their catalog sounds trite. Perhaps they were over played. They have only gotten five votes. Not even half of Pearl Jam's eleven.

I voted for The E Street Band. Perhaps I'm being influenced by listening to Bruce's "Darkness on the Edge of Town" CD all week, but this band has everything. They have one of the greatest song writers in American history in Bruce Springsteen who is also a great guitarist and performer. You couldn't see a better live performance. They've been together for decades and have influenced a generation of performers and are still relevant, putting out socially relevant music that still rocks. If I were at a party with a bunch of strangers and I were asked who my favorite band was, and I said "Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band," no one would grunt. They have almost universal respect. That is what makes them the greatest American rock band.

I have to start thinking about Canada now.




Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Clicks Keep Coming - Trump log #32

The clicks keep coming. When I starting pushing out these Trump logs every Tuesday, since the election in November, I assumed it would settle down at some point. This is not so. They keep coming and coming ... Everyday I just read my papers and my Facebook feed, then have to pick which one to include.

The US has initiated impeachment proceedings three times in the past: Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Nixon. We currently have more evidence and justification to impeach now than any of those. Also, the crimes that were possibly committed are higher ... certainly higher than lying about a blow job.

Trump log:
6/14/17 - Trump's Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, wants to prosecute providers of medical marijuana. Even though many states have made it legal, it is still a federal law. Most AGs ignore these type of situations. This is not normal. (Source: Washington Post)

6/15/17 - Special counsel Mueller is now investigating Trump in his connection to coordinated efforts between his campaign and the Kremlin into meddling with the 2016 election. (Source: Washington Post)

6/16/17 - Have you been excited as I have been about Cuba opening up?  This also can be added to the list of shit that Trump is ruining. (Source: New York Times)

6/17/18 - The President has a cabinet meeting televised and they each take turns jerking his chain. Thanks to Youtube, we have video of this high level circle jerk. (Source: Youtube --- see below)

6/18/17 - The new world order, the one with Trump as president, is one without America. (Source: New York Times)

6/19/17 - There has been a dramatic increase in the number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria since Trump has been president. (Source: New York Times)

6/20/17 - Experienced Republicans are not applying for jobs in the White House for fear that it would damage their long term career trajectory.  So our president with no government experience is and will be surrounded by not the best and brightest. (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017
Issue #31 - posted June 13, 2017


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Republican Party is a Hate Group - Trump log #31

In the two years prior to the 2016 election, Donald Trump retweeted white supremacists approximately 75 times. Now that he is President, he has a white supremacist, Michael Bannon, as a top adviser. Why this doesn't disqualify him from being supported by any non-racist, I don't know. For me, if you retweet such crap once, you can chalk it up to an accident and claim you didn't know the source. But if you do this 75 time, lets face it, you are a white supremacist. Yes, I do go even further here ... if you support a white supremacist as US President, possibly the most powerful role on the planet, then yes, I think you are a white supremacist. If you support Trump, isn't it time you have face it and admitted it about yourself?

My wife tells me often that not all Republicans are bad. My response to her is usually the same, "if they weren't so bad, then they would have left this disgusting party by now." The GOP "health" plan is really a tax cut plan for the most wealth among us. It is an attack on the poor. Some elderly people will have an 800% increase in their premiums while the 1% wealthiest among us will get cuts in their taxes. Many poor people will die while the wealthiest of the wealthy will get a boost to their revenue which most of them won't even notice. Pretty disgusting! If that is not hate, then I don't know what you want to call it.

Republican hypocrisy is astounding. They cling to the flag and Constitution and yet, when it comes to following the Constitution, they seem to ignore it ... like when President Obama nominated Judge Garlard and they didn't even have hearings. Their most disgusting attack on democracy is their efforts to prevent blacks and the poor from voting. Whether it is gerrymandering districts, passing laws to prevent the poor from voting or outright attacks on the Voting Rights Act of 1965, they have made it clear ... they are the party, of not just the wealthy, but the party of the white and wealthy. Voting fraud isn't a problem, not even close. The Republican party is the problem!

The clicks keep coming ...

Trump Log:
6/7/17 - Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, was asked by Trump to intervene in the FBI's investigation of Michael Flynn. This is interference at a much higher level than previously reported. (Source: Washington Post)

6/8/17 - Did you watch it? It was appointment watching for any political junkie. James Comey, ex-FBI director, testifies that President Trump obstructed justice. (Source: Washington Post)

6/9/17 - Trump's infrastructure plans are a joke. He had a press conference, but he had nothing real to sign, no law, no executive order. As we expect, it is a bunch of lies and handouts to the wealthy. (Source: New York Times)

6/10/17 - Trump, via Twitter, is calling Comey a liar. His lawyer is also calling him a liar. Lying in testimony to Congress is a series offense. If Trump believed this, then why wouldn't he be pressing charges?  The ball is in your court Mr. President! (Source: Slate)

6/11/17 - How did the Republicans become the only political party anywhere to deny climate change? It is simple, they have been bought by the Koch brothers and Trump is simply along for the ride. (Source: New Yorker)

6/12/17 - The Attorney Generals of DC and Maryland are suing President Trump in federal court over the abuse of the emoluments clause. (Source: Washington Post)

6/13/17 - Trump's FDA plans to delay the implementation of Michelle Obama's sugar-added labeling regulation, possibly indefinitely. (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Life Under an Autocrat - Trump #30

Life under an autocrat is exhausting. You cannot get away from him, almost every conversation is about him. If it doesn't start that way, it slowly becomes about him. You cannot get away from him. "Did you hear what he did today?" "Oh shit, what?" He is in the air we breathe, making us choke. Not sure how much more I can take!

Two countries on the planet didn't sign the Paris Agreement, Nicaragua and Syria. Nicaragua didn't sign it because the agreement wasn't strong enough. Syria didn't sign it because they are amidst a civil war and have other problems. As Trump pulls out of the agreement, it is clear that he does not see the world as a global collaborative, but as a group of separate entities fighting for resources. This is an idea that died in 1945. In the wake of World War II, we saw the error of our ways and came together as a planet. However imperfect, it has worked for the most part. Now we finally have the answer to the question that we've been asking Trump supporters for the last two year, "When was America great?" When America was alone.

Trump Log:
5/31/2017 - As part of the sanctions against Russia for their hacking during the 2016 election, President Obama ejected them from diplomatic compounds in New York City and the Maryland shore. Trump tells his buddies to come on back. (Source: Washington Post)

6/1/2017 - Trump has issued 17 ethics pledge waivers in a little over 100 days of being in office. Obama issued 17 in the eight years he was in office. (Source: Washington Post)

6/2/2017 - As expected, Trump announced that the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement. (Source: New York Times)

6/3/2017 - Trump has ordered aides not to respond to Democrats requesting information in regards to White House oversight. (Source: Politico)

6/4/2017 - Hurricane season is fast approaching and still we have no director of FEMA or NOAA. (Source: Tampa Bay Times)

6/5/2017 - Trump's tweets after the London Bridge terrorist attack are a national embarrassment. (Source: New York Times)

6/6/2017 - Changes made by the Trump administration to the federal government's contraception mandate could leave hundreds of thousands of women without contraception. (Source: New York Times)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017