January 26th, 2019 - by admin

– 2019-01-26 22:38:48

January 22, 2019
Smithereens: Reflections on Bits & Pieces
By Gar Smith / The Berkeley Daily Planet
A few weeks ago, on January 11, Donald Trump flummoxed the press when he responded to questions about his controversial border-barrier/wall/fence by grouching: “[The Democrats] can name it whatever they [want]. Name it Peaches!”
Peaches!? Where did that come from? I wondered how he came up with such an odd nickname for his precious wall. Best guess: The name popped out because he has the word “impeachment” on his mind.
“I Have a Bomb Today”
Northrop Grumman wins the prize for Worst Martin Luther King. Jr. Day Commemoration. The powerful weapons mega-corp—which profits massively from the sale of military goods—posted a note on Twitter featuring a photo of the MLK statue erected along the Potomac River. The bomb-maker appended this quote from MLK: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others.”
In Northrop Grumman’s case (and Donald Trump’s vernacular), the most likely answer is: “Bombing the shit out of them.”
A more appropriate quote would have been Dr King’s condemnation of the US as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world”—an achievement that could not have been accomplished without the services of Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and General Dynamics.
Trump Loves Despots But He Must Hate Monarchs
Massive decline in number of monarch butterflies could be a sign of an approaching “co-extinction” catastrophe.
In a 2017 study, scientists estimated that the monarch butterfly population in western North America had a 72 percent chance of becoming near extinct in 20 years. Last year saw an estimated 86 percent decline from 2017, part of a calamitous 97 percent decline in the total population since the 1980s. Now, Donald Trump wants to make it worse for these embattled insects.
A desperate petition launched by 314 Action warns: “Trump to Trample Butterflies with Bigly Border Wall.” Turns out Trump’s blight-on-the-landscape would not only be costly and ineffective, it also would require the gutting of 28 critical environmental laws and necessitate the bulldozing of the “most diverse butterfly sanctuary” in the United States.
Time to go to bat for the butterflies. Write a letter, make phone calls and plant lots of milkweed in your garden. (We did and, sure enough, the Monarchs settled in.)
#MeToo Hits the Comics
Who’s missing from this list: Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, R. Kelley?
How about the Fusco Brothers—Rolf, Lance, Al, and Lars.
The frisky Fuscos are cartoon characters who appear daily in the SF Chronicle. GoComics.com describes them as amusing siblings who “startle and delight readers with their off-the-wall antics and verbal acrobatics.”
Don’t know about “startling.” J.C. Duffy’s long-running strip relies heavily on shallow gags and recurring riffs. One inescapable meme features the line: “Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.” The other endlessly recycled cliché features one of the Fuscos staring at a female character and aggressively flirting: “Your lips say ‘no’ but your eyes….”

Innocent fun? You be the judge. Here are some recent offerings:
December 12, 2018: Lance Fusco treats his girl friend, Gloria, to a birthday cake and says, “Make a wish and blow in my ear.” When Gloria asks, “What about the candles?” Lars replies: “Let the candles get their own women.”
January 5, 2019: Lars Fusco tells a young woman: “The ladies tell me I speak with a silver tongue. Is it beginning to get to you?”
January 7, 2019: Rolf Fusco approaches a woman studying a menu in a café and says: “Hi, I’m Rolf and I’ll be your waiter this evening. All we need to do now is relocate to my house.”
January 14, 2019: Al Fusco is in a restaurant. The waitress asks: “Were you undressing me with your eyes just now?” Al replies: “No, I was picturing an open-faced sandwich….”
January 16, 2019: Rolf leans in close to a female cartoon character and declares: “Of course, you can’t really get to know someone completely until you walk a mile in their shoes, but I believe you can get to know them well enough by walking to the bathroom in their bedroom slippers.”
And how’s this for “verbal acrobatics”? In a December 23, 2018 strip, Rolf’s dinner date thanks him for not trying to “play footsie like you did on our last date.” Rolf replies: “I believe in respecting a date’s wishes, Sally. Just for the record, however, I’d like you to know that I don’t play footsie for lascivious reasons. I just enjoy playing innocent games at dinner. For instance, right now I’m solving a Rubic’s cube with my buttocks.”
And what do the targeted women have to say in response to these sexually charged micro-aggressions? Not much. In most cases, the woman’s only response is a helpless, mute stare while exclamation points and question marks pop up in the air over her head.
Looks to me like a Chronic case of clueless, sexist misogyny.
Rudy Giuliani Was Right: “Truth Isn’t True”
Trump insider, Nixon acolyte and self-described “dirty trickster” Roger Stone has mis-invoked (is that a word?) the Ninth Commandment. Stone, now facing jail for a number of political indiscretions, has vowed not to “bear false witness” against Donald Trump (aka “Individual 1”). But, hold on, Roger: telling lies about Donald Trump is not the issue. The question is: are you willing to tell the truth?
And then there’s Trump enabler Paul Manafort, who faces a 7-10-year sentence for lying to the FBI (to wit: “intentionally providing false information”). Manafort’s future, however, may be salvaged by a bit of lawyerly ingenuity. Here’s the argument: while Manafort is “hypothetically” guilty of “breaching” his plea deal by fibbing to prosecutors, the fact is that people oft-times unintentionally utter statements that are contradictory or are remembered differently at a later date. Thus, the legal argument goes, Manafort may escape the full hammer of the law because he lied in “good faith.”
Trump Relates
During a presidential shout-fest early in his self-imposed government shutdown, the press asked the Reprimander-in-chief if he had any concerns for the workers stripped of their paychecks. “Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing,” Trump declared (without a shred of evidence, as per usual). As to the plight of the individual works, Trump replied: “I can relate. And I’m sure that the people that are on the receiving end will make adjustments. They always do.”
The Shutdown Lowdown
Donald’s Trumpestuous shutdown of a good portion of the government exposed a lot of raw truths. Who knew that so many of the 800,000 government workers were being paid so poorly that they were living “paycheck to paycheck”? If the US economy is booming as loudly as Trump believes, shouldn’t federal workers be receiving wages that allow them to accrue savings—at least enough extra dollars to put aside for health emergencies, food, retirement—or the next Trump-ordered shutdown?
The word “furlough” doesn’t cover workers who are expected to continue working without receiving paychecks. I believe the correct economic term for that situation is . . . “slavery.” Forcing workers to labor without pay is not “shutting down the government,” it’s stiffing the working class.
The next time Trump dares to impose a “shutdown,” federal workers can put a quick end to it by announcing their own shutdown—in the form of a nationwide strike that will bring business as usual (including air travel) to a grounding halt.
In the recent shutdown, the revolt of the air traffic controllers union and TSA agents (who signaled they were sick of Trump’s antics by calling in sick) marked the impending collapse of air travel in the US. This clearly played a major role in Trump’s capitulation.
So if Trump can’t rely on another shutdown, his only recourse is to declare a “national emergency.” That act of tyranny, however, would be challenged in the courts. In the meantime, Michael Moore has suggested that the best way to respond to the mere attempt to declare a national emergency would be for millions of Americans to show up in Washington and build a “Human Wall” around the White House.
We have a challenge. America’s unquestioned Pro-NATO mindset is more deeply embedded than I would have thought. Two recent examples:
(1) Congress voted to pass a “NATO Support Act” that requires the US to remain committed to NATO. 208 Democrats in the new “Blue Wave” House voted for the US to remain wedded to NATO and its global mission. 54 Democrats abstained from voting—including Barbara Lee, who stood alone in voting against granting George W. Bush the power to start the never-ending “Global War on Terror.”
(2) In his January 15 Late Show monologue, Stephen Colbert openly praised NATO.
In a segment called “TrumpNATO,” Colbert characterized Trump’s call to leave NATO as an act of treason:
“Destroying NATO has been a long-term goal of Russia…. The gift of the century for Putin.” Also on Putin’s gift-wish-list, according to Colbert: “… Western Ukraine.”
Colbert went on: “The idea of leaving NATO is so crazy that when Trump first brought it up, senior administration officials were ‘unsure that he was serious,’ Yes, maybe Trump is a traitor undermining democracy’….”
Undermining NATO is undermining democracy?
No-to-NATO Note
A near-weeklong series of pro-peace events—including music, speeches, art, marches, and nonviolent protests—is set to greet NATO on its 70 anniversary in Washington DC. The events climax on April 4. More info at: https://worldbeyondwar.org/notonato/
Protect the Violence Against Women Act
Since 1994, the VAWA has offered protection against the threat of domestic violence while providing services to women injured and traumatized by spousal abuse. The act traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support because it provided funding to operate shelters and agencies to protect the rights—and lives—of victims. The VAWA was credited with reducing acts of domestic violence by 67%.
But when the GOP gained control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they refused to reauthorize the act. Now, the new “Blue Wave” that hit the House in January is prepared to hold the Senate Republicans and their House colleagues to account. You can help apply some heat by signing this petition, calling for the VAWA to be reauthorized and fully funded.
A Leafly Lefty Flick to Flack
Mark Kitchell, the award-winning director of Berkeley in the Sixties, has been hard at work on a new film and now he needs a hand to wrap it up
According to Kitchell, his new opus, Evolution of Organic, “brings us the story of organic agriculture, told by those who built the movement. A motley crew of back-to-the-landers, spiritual seekers and farmers’ sons and daughters reject chemical farming and set out to explore organic alternatives.”
Thanks to this small band of dirt-loving rebels, organic food has become mainstream and continues to expand the practice of sustainable agriculture.
Narrated by Oscar-winning actor Frances McDormand, the nearly completed version of Evolution of Organic has been shown at more than 100 screenings. And now, Kitchell says, “we’re down to the last stage of this campaign—buying the rights to five songs”—a list that includes classic pieces by the Grateful Dead, Country Joe & the Fish and Bruce Springsteen. Here’s a trailer:

Loren Ipsum Meaning Whatsum?
Art directors and magazine editors know it well: a familiar line of Latin that’s used as a placeholder in page design. As authored by Cicero, it runs as follows:
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut efficitur congue ultricies. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique
Lorem ipsum is derived from the Latin “dolorem ipsum,” which means “pain itself.” And the rest of Cicero’s intentionally garbled stretch of gibberish certainly is a pain, grammatically.
What does it mean? Well, here are some epic fails from two established online translators. (Note: Just attempting to translate the first line: Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit).
Google Translate:
Planning to become a classroom. Nutrition residents soccer sad
As it evolved across the glass. Beating dwell the sicknesses the sad
Got some time on your hands? See what your favorite translation app comes up with.