Saturday, May 26, 2018

"Trump's sustained attacks on American rights" by Joan Biskupic

Trump's sustained attacks on American rights
Analysis by Joan Biskupic, CNN legal analyst & Supreme Court biographer

Updated 2:15 PM ET, Sat May 26, 2018

(CNN)Two years ago Sunday, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump derided US District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, hearing a lawsuit against Trump University, for his "Mexican" heritage and complained of being "railroaded" by the legal system.

It was shocking, Democrats and Republicans alike condemned Trump's racially intemperate criticism of the Indiana-born judge.

Turns out, it was nothing.

Over the past 24 months, Trump has scorned judges, derided the American court system, and trampled on all manner of constitutional principles. Trump has especially ridiculed due process of law, the bedrock against government's arbitrary denial of a person's life, liberty or property.

Critics warn that denunciations that once seemed so aberrational may be seeping into the American psyche and influencing how government operates.

This week, Trump suggested immigrants at the border could be summarily deported without any hearing to determine if they deserved asylum or were US citizens wrongly apprehended. In a Fox News interview that aired on Thursday, Trump flatly deemed the system of immigration judges "corrupt" and said, "Whoever heard of a system where you put people through trials? Where do these judges come from?"

The administrative system, in fact, is part of Trump's executive branch, run by the Justice Department; the attorney general appoints immigration judges.

In the same interview, Trump responded to the NFL policy prohibiting kneeling during the "Star-Spangled Banner," with a message for players who refuse to stand for the anthem: "Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

Such an attitude inflames controversy over league rules for players protesting racial injustice to intimations of government rejection of its citizens - for speaking out.

Due Process. Citizenship. Racial Equality. Trump's targets seem to merit none of these. It is not lost on Trump's detractors that he routinely takes aim at immigrants and racial minorities.

At the same time, the President expresses outrage over what happens to the men of his world.

When his former staff secretary Rob Porter was accused by two ex-wives of domestic violence, Trump emphasized in February to the news media, "He says he's innocent." Then in a tweet, Trump wrote: "Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?"

In April, Trump referred to an FBI raid on the home and office of Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen, executing a court-approved subpoena, as "an attack on our country ... an attack on what we all stand for."

If Trump's norm-shattering derision of the courts and constitutional principles has only accelerated in the past two years, public responses appear more polarized. Opponents are overwhelmingly Democratic. Trump's approval rating among Republicans remains high.

There also may be fatigue. Trump is constant. His questioning Thursday of a legal process for people apprehended at the border drew scant public response.

Long before he was a candidate, Trump was known for complaints about the justice system and incendiary rhetoric. He railed against five black and Latino men accused (and wrongfully convicted) for a 1989 rape of a jogger in New York's Central Park. Trump bought full-page ads in New York newspapers proclaiming, "Bring Back The Death Penalty. Bring Back Our Police." Even after the men were exonerated, he suggested they were guilty.

The difference now, of course, is that he is America's top leader. So last fall, when he tweeted that an Uzbekistan man who was charged with killing eight pedestrians and bikers in New York City "SHOULD GET THE DEATH PENALTY," some law professors and analysts wondered if the President's comments would hurt the government's legal case.

Trump sets a tone for the whole country - a reality that spurred Republican op-ed columnist Michael Gerson, a former aide to President George W. Bush, to pen a scathing assessment earlier this month.

"Whatever else Trumpism may be," Gerson wrote in The Washington Post, "it is the systematic organization of resentment against outgroups. His record is rich in dehumanization. ... This is more than a disturbing pattern; it is an organizing political principle. And it has resulted in a series of radiating consequences."

As one of many examples, Gerson pointed to West Virginia GOP Senate candidate Don Blankenship's statement that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was creating jobs for "China people." (His wife, Elaine Chao, was born in Taiwan.)

"The Trump era is a renaissance of half-witted intolerance," Gerson concluded, urging Republican leaders to challenge Trump. (The President endorsed one of Blankenship's opponents and Blankenship lost the primary.)

If such protests from the right are rare, the left has tried to remain energized.

The stream of Trump rhetoric against due process "is exhausting, yet requires us to remain vigilant," said Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

Gupta said an overriding concern is that dehumanizing language and attacks on minorities influence administration policy "The daily hits to due process are real and it is dangerous for any of us to accept this as normal," she said.

Irrespective of how responses have evolved over the past two years, Trump has not deviated from his personal script.

As he declared in May 2016, when many of his comments were rallying fans and roiling critics, "You think I'm going to change? I'm not changing."

Link to original article
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/26/politics/trump-rights-due-process-curiel/index.html

Friday, May 25, 2018

Currently listening to...

..."Missing" by Everything But The Girl (previously here), a song that makes me nostalgic and heartsick every time I hear it.

Everything But The Girl was how musician Ben Watt and singer Tracey Thorn (previously here, here, and here) styled themselves and I adore them. The group started in the neo-jazz groove of the mid-80s and morphed into a spectacular dance band in the 90s. But it is Thorn's voice that has always been front and center, no matter what the music style. Watt and Thorn wrote some stunning lyrics but I have a soft spot for this particular song for several personal reasons. It came out around the time a very influential and important friend in my life died. After her death I would drive past her house in Berkeley and think, just like the lyrics to this song, "...but you don't live there anymore."

And to make matters worse, there is another layer. I stayed here in California when my parents moved back to the east coast in the late 90s; my mom wrote me regular letters and closed once with a quote from the song: "I miss you like the deserts miss the rain." She and my father passed away a year later.

Yes, missing....as in "yearning for," but also as in "disappeared."



I step off the train
I'm walking down your street again
And past your door, but you don't live there anymore
It's years since you've been there
Now you've disappeared somewhere like outer space
You've found some better place

And I miss you, like the deserts miss the rain
And I miss you, like the deserts miss the rain

Could you be dead?
You always were two steps ahead of everyone
We'd walk behind while you would run
I look up at your house
And I can almost hear you shout down to me
Where I always used to be

And I miss you like the deserts miss the rain
And I miss you like the deserts miss the rain

Back on the train, I ask why did I come again?
Can I confess, I've been hanging round your old address?
And the years have proved
To offer nothing since you've moved
You're long gone, but I can't move on

And I miss you like the deserts miss the rain
And I miss you like the deserts miss the rain
And I miss you

I step off the train
I'm walking down your street again
And past your door, I guess you don't live there anymore
It's years since you've been there
Now you've disappeared somewhere like outer space
You've found some better place

And I miss you
And I miss you
You found some better place

And I miss you like the deserts miss the rain
And I miss you, yeah, like the deserts miss the rain



http://ebtg.com/
http://splash.traceythorn.com/

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Porch Weather 2018

Here in Northern California we are experiencing the winter that won't die...days are still chilly and grey...if the sun does come out and the day warms up, it might get to 65*. But then nights are back to 49*.

*sigh*

I am longing for porch weather!

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

"Darling" by Douglas Dare

I'm a bit blown away by this amazing, one-take live performance of Douglas Dare signing "Darling."



Darling, darling, darling, you look divine
Resting like a bird ready to fly

Twelve flowers surround you, placed on the shelf
Chrysanthemums, roses… did you pick them yourself?

No one does it like you
No one does it like you

Darling, darling, darling, you look sublime
Your eyes, alabaster skin in the fluorescent light

Show us your best side, your make up perfectly applied
We’re all by your bedside, and with such pride

No one does it like you
No one does it like you
No one dies like you
No one dies like you
Darling
No one dies like you

Blackened ____, did you paint them yourself
Crisp hospital bed, did you bleach it yourself

No one does it like you
No one does it like you
No one dies like you
No one dies like you

You will always live on
You will always look young
Darling

You will always live on
You will always look young



http://www.douglasdare.com
http://aforger.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

BEAUTY: Illustration--Owen Gent

Illustrator and artist Owen Gent (previously here) makes lyrical, evocative images for an on-going project:

SAPPHO ]FRAGMENTS
Ongoing personal project, interpreting the remaining written fragments of ancient Greek poet Sappho (c. 630 – c. 570 BC).

Chosen fragments taken from Fragments of Sappho, translated and arranged by Anne Carson


http://www.owengent.com/

Monday, May 21, 2018

"Hank" by James

Celebrated English band James are releasing a new album on August 3, 2018 called "Living In Extraordinary Times" and this track "Hank" is a knock out. It's brash, loud, pounding, urgent, like a heartfelt speech shouted out at a political rally--because that is exactly what it is.

RESIST! THIS IS NOT NORMAL! There ARE Fascists in the White House!!!



This crack head’s tiny fingers
Accusing you of what he’ll do
White fascists in the White House
More beetroot in your Russian stew

Blinds roll down in the ghetto

Power’s out all over town
Jim Crow rules in the crack down
Bend your knee, stand your ground

Our weapon is a stand up

A jester prancing like a fool
In jest digest The Monster
This President’s a dangerous tool

Blinds roll down in the ghetto

Power’s out all over town
Jim Crow rules in the crack down
Bend the knee, stand your ground

Democracy sells easy

NRA high fives
Orlando, Sandy Hook, Columbine

CCTV’s grainy

His rapture's our decline
Hookers, hotel showers, dollar signs

Suppress the vote, electoral lies

Black Lives Matter, shoot on sight
We exist in multiple denials
He just says what they would hide
Rulers rule by divide
Why put your faith in facts when you can lie
Now every possibility exists in everybody’s mind

I'm in the story business

This Tower falls without a sound
Only our carbon footprint
Suggests an empire here unwound

Blinds roll down in the ghetto

Power’s out all over town
Jim Crow rules in the crack down
Bend the knee, stand your ground


https://wearejames.com/

Saturday, May 19, 2018

BEAUTY: Photography AND Hair--Luke Nugent and Lisa Farrall

After seeing "Black Panther," I was smitten with the absolutely gorgeous costume designs and the glorious women warriors of Wakanda. So I was thrilled when I found English photographer Luke Nugent...he photographs the amazing, jaw-dropping work of Award Winning Hair Session Stylist Lisa Farrall who shares the same powerful approach to African style and image as the women--and men--of Wakanda. Just feast your eyes on the gorgeous women and their GORGEOUS hair below!


https://www.lisafarrall.com/
http://lukenugent.co.uk/

Friday, May 18, 2018

Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ and General Store

Located in Japan in Tokushima Prefecture, about two and a half hours outside of the Osaka area, the Rise & Win Brewing Co. BBQ and General Store is a charming site visually as well as intellectually, as recycled materials feature prominently in the design of the structure. Of course the main feature is the double height wall of mismatched windows!

While it is indeed a brewing company (newly appointed brewing director Ryan Jones is American and they boast that he "he studied craft beer making in the real American...immersing himself in making beer until he was stoic"...clearly something got lost in that translation), the general store section, created from discarded wood, offcuts, recycled bricks, and old bottles for a chandelier, is dedicated to an eco-friendly way of selling and purchasing as well. Their website states:

"Old winning department store has been reborn as a general store.
As a proposal for excessive packaging and shopping that does not emit garbage coming from an inappropriate amount, we are doing selling by weight.
Please bring your favorite containers, pack nuts, dried fruits, seasoning such as pasta and rice, as much as you want.
Of course we also sell craft beer. Enjoying shopping leads to zero · waste."


http://www.kamikatz.jp/ja/toppage.html