A mixed bag

All posts in the A mixed bag category

Watching tv tonight…

Published June 20, 2020 by Nan Mykel

I was surprised to see so many attending the Trump rally in Tulsa waving signs that said “Make America Great Again.” I thought these people were supposed to be for Trump, not against him. Apparently they see a need for a return to greatness after Trump’s current racist anti-democratic reign!

Again?

From Bolton via Mother Jones

Published June 18, 2020 by Nan Mykel

(A recent Senate Intelligence Committee report cited an intelligence intercept of a communication from a Russian cyber-operative who described Election Night this way: “On November 9, 2016, a sleepless night was ahead of us. And when around 8 a.m. the most important result of our work arrived, we uncorked a tiny bottle of champagne…took one gulp each and looked into each other’s eyes … We uttered almost in unison: ‘We made America great.’”)

Dear Republican Senator

Published June 18, 2020 by Nan Mykel

To the point! I’m reblogging.

musingsofanoldfart

As an independent and former Republican (and Democrat) voter, I try to read and watch several validated news sources. They are validated, as they try to get it right and print retractions when they don’t. I also try to use an independent lens to see politicians for their good and bad actions and stances, regardless of party. Am I biased? Of course, we all are. But, my greater bias is favoring the truthtellers as I do not cotton to being obviously lied to by our elected officials.

That is why your support of this reckless president is troubling. It troubles me that he is so cavalier with the truth, that maybe, he does not know when the truth stops and the marketing schtick begins. But, this is not news, as five biographers of the president have noted he has a problem with the truth. And, the Mueller report (which I…

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WRIT SANS MUSE

Published June 18, 2020 by Nan Mykel

Haven’t heard from her in a while.
Corona virus’s got our tongue.
I refer of course to my muse and
me. I put my ear down to the floor.
Writing without her I abhor.
She’s either dead or deep asleep.
Well, I know she likes friends, and
since I’ve been lax with too much
time in quarantine, I go down
the stairs with tea and toast to find
her slumped, her cauldron cold–
dead, or perhaps she’s only old?
Hearing me, she lets out a yell;
which tells me that my muse is well.
She breathes fire and cauldron boils,
paying off her former toils.
The look she gives me is rueful, but
then cackling she rubs her hands
and shoots at me with rubber bands.

BACKSTORY: I labored long over a similar verse but lost it into the computer gizzards. It was lost but the idea kept haunting me, so I decided to publish the above without my muse participating. Perchance another day she’ll help me do better. If I lose this one too, I’ll acquiesce…..

MORE PERSONALS

Published June 16, 2020 by Nan Mykel

Who woulda thought it:

No wonder we say the word more than write it! According to Word of the Day, when I think I’m saying “Rambunctious” I’m really saying “ Rumbustious.” (Means Boisterous or unruly.) –This is an evening of my life post. My daughter points out that rambunctious also exists in the dictionary. Oh well–she beats me at Boggle too.
During my old-folk’s self quarantine, I’ve taken to reading old unread yard sale books on my own bookshelf. Therefore last night I learned the history of smiling from Desmond Morris’ The Naked Ape. It seems a friendly “mutual aid system” was developed by the higher primates (monkeys or apes) to aid mutual grooming. The system involved “a rapid lip-smacking movement, often sticking its tongue out between each smack…The lip-smacking action has evolved as a special ritual out of the repeated particle-tasting movements that take place during a bout of fur cleaning.” (Italics mine)…At this point we engage in grooming talking to maintain social togetherness–“How ya doing…Nice day today.” Just thought you’d like to know…
 
 

POWERFUL REBLOG from DAISY IN THE WILLOWS

Published June 14, 2020 by Nan Mykel
Image: Franceska Woodman

When I think I’ve escaped the past
I know my Ma doesn’t drink alcohol and she Sort of kicked me out without kicking my ass.
My daughter cried
Tatiana didn’t meow
I came back to the place where I thought I would relapse
I went to buy cat food
shop was closed
memories of that drug dealer who shine bright with implanted teeth
£4000 inclusive holiday
I could have gnashed
Instead I congratulated him for his holly wood smile with panache .
Using my money to fulfil another dream — one more ticket off off his bucket list

Its so sad
I’m back in the house
haunted by ghosts of the past.
Mother wouldn’t let me in
steam off on a legal poison
Get Sleep with Prosecco & a gin with a 60 pence glass .

Daughter cried I packed my bags
I saw her cry for our cat
I packed up all my bags
And walked out like an immature twocker
with a dirty rash.
DIDI WANT TO SCORE THE GREATEST OF THE GREATEST OF SNIFF?
Nah, all I wanted was freedom & to sleep without alcohol and illegal grass or bash.

Here I sit in darkness not happy to be back.
I have a packet of lamberts and Prosecco I’m NOT interested in drinking until I’m befokkered.
I want sleep
Forever forgotten all thoughts that made me high
Making drug dealers run for corruption , greed and bite so compared to ash Wednesday like sinners driving by.

My bee she cried for my Tatiana
I left
Guilt came flooding for sleep in a bed
where my inner whore rode the men who treat me like trash
Except my soul mate …

He told me to fuck off and I gladly said
Fuck you
Went to the shop
Closed
no
cat food.
Found spring water tuna-I

Felt Less guilty

felt less crass .

Went against the momma bears rule.
I’m a wild flower with an instinct to rebel from life rules .
THE FALLEN ANGEL WITH INVISIBLE WINGS
If chickens could fly higher I’d fly higher than the dragon from the land of sniff ready to rape
& Chase
fOr an extra taste.

In coma 5 days x another 5
In a coma I remembered the alien abduction
Their torture made me atone to live life differently
I’d even believe in mom’s anointment of Jesus Christ.

Thorns of roses
Thorns of self destruction.
Alone with my cat — my husband won’t come back-
My child is probably still crying.

I’m alone again
I can’t complain
This was my choice.

I want to sleep
Dream of our family home
help those who shouldn’t live a history worse than orphans blurred vision live on the African continent
Not their decision.

I didn’t relapse. I didn’t want to get high. I had a drink because I needed to sleep and I’m on sleeping medication 5 days a week out of 7. I’ve asked my doctor to take me off 15 mg of Nitrazepam that I had been since 2007.

It three weeks since I tried to take my life and nearly succeded , maybe Life is not finished with me yet because my family were told to prepare for my death, brain damage or me being paralysed

PERSONALS

Published June 14, 2020 by Nan Mykel
2020-06-14 00:45:17
NAN MYKEL

I’m trying to write a verse called “Pinching Petunias” but am having trouble because when I go to write I keep hearing the tune of “Waltzing Matilda.”

I still can’t wrap my head around “algorithm” and “meme.”

When did the term “Juneteenth” happen?

One day, if I live long enough, I will regret wasting all this time during self quarantine.

I’m super angry at Trump for wanting our Postal Service to charge us more. Will he privatize it in late September?

Praise the Lord for Obamacare!

In Trump’s next incarnation I hope karma will make him African American.

Where have you seen these: JSONXMLPHPVCFQR. Answer is Gravatar, and I don’t know what they mean. Does anyone?

Election 2020

Published June 14, 2020 by Nan Mykel

If Trump loses in November, he will thrust the US into a legitimacy crisis

Written by Nancy LeTourneau / The Washington Monthly June 12, 20202.7K

One month ago, the polling aggregator at RealClearPolitics showed Joe Biden with a four-point lead over Donald Trump. As of Wednesday, that lead had jumped to eight points. Additionally, Gallup reports that Trump’s approval rating has dropped ten points in the last month. In other words, things aren’t looking very good for the president’s re-election….

Failing to win a second term would brand Trump as a loser, something his narcissistic ego cannot tolerate. Even more importantly, it is very possible that the president could face criminal charges once he is out of office. So he’s picked up the mantra of a rigged election once again.

This time, Trump is signaling that if he loses in November, he will create a crisis of legitimacy when it comes to our electoral process.

“Given that the president has been making unsubstantiated voter fraud comments for years, I expect that these comments will continue,” said Richard Hasen, a professor of election law at the University of California, Irvine. “The comments are very worrisome because they increase the chances that the president’s supporters would not accept the election results as legitimate should he lose in November.” BrianKlaas suggested that we need to be prepared.We don’t know whether Trump will be reelected. But, as we head toward November, you have to ask yourself: If he loses, would it be more surprising if Trump graciously accepts defeat and congratulates his opponent or if he claimed to be the victim of a rigged election and a “deep state” plot? The answer seems clear.

But how do we prepare for something like that? Some of us remember the crisis of legitimacy that happened after the 2000 presidential election. But in the end, Al Gore recognized the danger such a crisis would pose to our democracy and conceded the election to Bush. We can all debate whether or not that was the right call. But we’ll never know what kind of chaos would have been unleashed if he had refused to do so.if-trump-loses-in-november-he-will-thrust-the-u-s-into-a-legitimacy-crisis

Much as we’ve seen over the last few years, the backstop to all of the president’s destruction of norms lands in the lap of the other two branches of government: Congress and the courts. Our founding documents gave us an outline for how Congress can remove a president from office, but they don’t address what the legislative body can do if he refuses to leave. Moreover, time and time again congressional Republicans have refused to stand up to Trump. Would a crisis of legitimacy change that?It is difficult for me to imagine the Supreme Court validating an attempt by Trump to deny the results of an election. But then, I never would have expected it to stop the counting of ballots in Florida in order to hand the election to Bush. So that’s a tough call.

I’d like to believe that American institutions could withstand a test like the one we are very likely to face in about five months. But the Trump era has made me much more cynical than I used to be about that kind of thing. I see a very dark cloud out there on the horizon and the reality is that there’s not much we can do to stop the storm from coming. I honestly don’t think that Trump will win the election. But based on what we know about him, it seems clear that he will not “go gentle into that good night.” The only thing we can do to prepare for something like that is to be honest about what we see coming.

BIDEN’S JOURNEY LEFT: Tomasky via Ravitch

Published June 13, 2020 by Nan Mykel

The following is a partial reblog of a posting by Diane Ravitch, linking with

Michael Tomasky JULY 2, 2020 ISSUE n.y. review of books

Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign on April 8. It’s easy to forget, preoccupied as we all are now with the coronavirus and protests across the nation against police violence, what a precipitous fall this was. For a brief period after his smashing victory in the Nevada caucus on February 22, it was almost universally assumed that he would be the Democratic nominee. “Bernie Twitter” was ecstatic. Folks I know in the moderate wing of the party were beginning to make peace with the idea and preparing to support the independent Vermont senator’s bid for the White House.

Joe Biden
Joe Biden; drawing by Tom Bachtell

Then on February 29, exactly one week after Nevada, Joe Biden crushed Sanders in South Carolina. Three days later, in the March 3 Super Tuesday primaries, Biden won ten out of fourteen contests, many by quite large margins. And that was that. I’ve been writing about Democratic primaries since the 1988 race, and I don’t recall a single one in which the apparent end result flipped so emphatically and suddenly.

It’s hard for any politician to make the mental admissions to oneself required to end a presidential campaign; for a candidate like Sanders, who called for political revolution and seemed to have victory so near that he was surely daydreaming about the list of speakers at his convention, I imagine it was particularly hard. The struggle to accept defeat extends to supporters—perhaps doubly so with some of Sanders’s strongest supporters, who vocally detest the Democratic Party, people who call themselves liberals, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Barack Obama, and basically anyone who isn’t Sanders (or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez).

But even as some of his supporters were digging in their heels, scrambling to knock Biden out, Sanders himself was suing for peace. Faiz Shakir, Sanders’s well-regarded campaign manager, told me that, as the senator ended his campaign, he made clear that cooperation would be the order of the day. “Senator Sanders asked me and [longtime adviser Jeff] Weaver to reach out to our Biden friends and see what would be available if we were to bring these worlds together,” Shakir said.

The friends in question were Ron Klain and Anita Dunn, two establishment Democrats. There are actually two lefts within the Sanders orbit. One I would call the “outside left,” the hard-shell “Bernie-or-bust” contingent referred to above: younger, more New York–centered, strident, and absolutist. The “inside left,” which includes people like Shakir, who has a Washington pedigree—he has worked for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid—sees value in urging the moderate (and elected) figures left. This group does have respect for people like Klain, a frequent and fierce critic of Donald Trump on MSNBC who, as Obama’s Ebola response coordinator, showed the world a few short years ago that the United States of America actually knew how to contain a virus.

In fact, the lines of communication between the campaigns predated Sanders’s dropping out. As the virus descended in the first half of March, the two camps negotiated the mutual canceling of events; they agreed before the last pre-lockdown debate, on March 15, to replace a handshake with an elbow bump. Through late March, as the toll of illness rose, they generally kept each other apprised of their actions. After Sanders withdrew, the discussions between the two turned more toward substance—and the extent to which Biden would be willing to adopt pieces of the Sanders agenda. Thus were formed the six task forces that the Biden campaign unveiled on May 13. These eight-member groups cover the economy, health care, immigration, criminal justice, climate, and education, and each is co-chaired by one Biden supporter and one Sanders supporter.

The left-wing presence on many of them is remarkable. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez co-chairs the climate panel with John Kerry. Representative Pramila Jayapal of Seattle, a major Sanders backer, co-chairs the health care task force with Obama surgeon general Vivek Murthy. The economist Stephanie Kelton, a top Sanders adviser and proponent of Modern Monetary Theory, which holds that the government should pay for major new investments like the Green New Deal by printing more money, is on the economic task force. The task forces, I’m told, have a threefold mission: to publicly recommend the policy positions that Biden should run on, to guide the writing of the party platform, and to inform the transition, should Biden win the election (assuming there is an election, or an uncorrupted one). It stands to reason that some of the members of these task forces might also fill important slots in a Biden administration. READ MORE VIA LINK…

NEW TO ME AND GOOD

Published June 13, 2020 by Nan Mykel

There’s Already an Alternative to Calling the Police – Mother Jones

This piece was originally published in High Country News and appears here as part of our Climate Desk Partnership.

As citizens across the country fill the streets to protest police killings of Black people, the violent response from law enforcement has added urgency to a national conversation about police brutality. Pressure is mounting to reform or abolish police departments. City officials in Western urban centers like Los Angeles are reducing police budgets—LA’s currently totals $1.8 billion—and reinvesting in underfunded social initiatives. The Minneapolis City Council voted in June to disband its police department entirely. As cities look for what’s next, there is already a proven system of de-escalation for the high volume of mental health calls that police respond to, which often end in violence.

Mobile, community-based crisis programs employ first responders that are not police to address disturbances where crimes are not being committed. One of the nation’s longest-running examples is CAHOOTS—Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets—in Eugene, Oregon. CAHOOTS has inspired similar programs in other cities in the region, including the Denver Alliance for Street Health ResponseMobile Assistance Community Responders of Oakland and Portland Street Response in Oregon.

Such programs take police out of the equation when someone is going through a mental health crisis, struggling with substance abuse, or experiencing homelessness. When police show up, situations can escalate, and the use of force can be disproportionate, especially towards Black peoplea 2016 study estimated that 20 percent to 50 percent of fatal encounters with law enforcement involved someone with a mental illness. Advocates say the CAHOOTS model shows those encounters aren’t inevitable: Less than one percent of the calls that CAHOOTS responds to need police assistance. The CAHOOTS system relies on trauma-informed de-escalation and harm reduction, which reduces calls to police, averts harmful arrest-release-repeat cycles, and prevents violent police encounters.

The White Bird Clinic in Eugene started CAHOOTS 31 years ago as an alternative for people who felt alienated or disenfranchised from systems that had failed them, CAHOOTS Operations Coordinator Tim Black said in an interview. “We’re there to listen, we’re there to empathize, and we’re there to really reflect on what they’re going through,” and to discuss ways to access resources to help them. CAHOOTS—a free, 24/7 community service—is funded by the city at a cost of around $2 million, or a little over 1 percent of the Eugene Police Department’s annual budget, though it is currently fundraising to expand and make up for COVID-19-related budget cuts.

Under the model, instead of police, a medic and a mental health worker are dispatched for calls such as welfare checks or potential overdoses. In 2017, such teams answered 17 percent of the Eugene Police Department’s overall call volume. This has saved the city, on average, $8.5 million each year from 2014-2017, according to the White Bird Clinic.“The patient that we’re serving is the expert in their situation. They know that we’re a voluntary resource and that we’re not going to take their rights away just because we’ve shown up on scene.”

Though CAHOOTS uses the police department’s central dispatch, it is distinct from the department. Employees do not carry guns or wear uniforms; instead, they wear casual hoodies and drive vans with a dove painted on the side. CAHOOTS’ methods are designed to prevent escalation, Black said. “If an officer enters that situation with power, with authority, with that uniform and a command presence, that situation is really likely to escalate.”

It’s a false assumption that people experiencing a mental health crisis will respond violently, Black said, and a police response is often unnecessary. CAHOOTS fielded over 24,000 calls last year; less than 1 percent of them needed assistance from police, and no one has ever been seriously injured. “That type of mentality really contributes to the othering that has permitted oppression and marginalization to persist,” Black said. “By and large, folks who are unhoused, who are experiencing behavioral health issues, are much more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.”

CAHOOTS differs from other mental health partnerships with the police in important ways: Staff employ “unconditional positive regard,” a phrase from psychology that means complete support and acceptance for the people they encounter, and the organization is run as a “consensus collective,” rather than a hierarchy. Every employee’s voice carries equal weight.

Each crisis worker completes 500 hours of training in areas including medical care, conflict resolution and crisis counseling. Around 60 percent of CAHOOTS’ patients are homeless, and about 30 percent have severe or persistent mental illness. “The patient that we’re serving is the expert in their situation,” Black said. “They know that we’re a voluntary resource and that we’re not going to take their rights away just because we’ve shown up on scene.”

Dorothy Siemens, an artist who grew up in Eugene and still lives there, said that she, her family and her friends all call CAHOOTS, rather than the police, when they see someone in distress. The option makes her feel like a more responsible community member. When Siemens managed a downtown cafe, she used the service often. “I really don’t have the tools, and I think the police in our community also don’t have the tools” for people in crisis, she said. “There really shouldn’t be one group of people who is expected to cover all of those bases, especially a group a people who are weaponized and militarized. … Their training shows them ‘that’s something I have to respond to with force.’ “

Increasingly, community organizers are reaching out to CAHOOTS, hoping to develop similar programs. Since 2013, the city of Portland, Oregon, just a couple hours north of Eugene, has seen a 60 percent increase of “unwanted person” calls to 911, according to a Willamette Week analysis of Portland Police Bureau data. In 2017, an Oregonian analysis found that 52 percent of arrests involved homeless individuals, even though they comprise less than 3 percent of Portland’s population. 

In 2019, Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Street Roots, a homeless advocacy publication, introduced Portland Street Response, a police alternative based on the CAHOOTS model. The pilot program, which was officially approved and funded by the city last November, focused on a southeast Portland neighborhood where 911 calls were on the rise. The program is now on hold because of the coronavirus, but Hardesty hopes to get on the ground soon. As the city considers cutting its police budget, Hardesty is pushing for $4.8 million to go towards Portland Street Response instead. “We are long overdue for investments in police alternatives, including Portland Street Response,” Hardesty, the first Black woman elected to Portland’s city council, said in a statement to High Country News. “There’s no doubt we need to reimagine what it looks like to get the right responder to the right situation at the right time.”

Nationwide protests have spurred renewed urgency for programs like these, which show a stark contrast to the typical police response. This month, the Coalition for Police Accountability in Oakland presented a final report to the city council to begin its own pilot program, MACRO, this summer. In Denver, in May, Vinnie Cervantes worked as a medic with the Denver Alliance for Street Health Response, which he also directs. It’s part of a mutual aid nexus that emerged during protests in the city over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Cervantes and others treated protesters who were left bleeding and bruised after police fired off tear gas, rubber bullets and flash-bangs and pummeled them with batons. To Cervantes and others, it was yet another example of how quickly police resort to excessive force. “Our community stepped up to collaborate and create a network of support to solve a larger public safety crisis,” Cervantes said. “That’s something we can take beyond protest.”“There’s no doubt we need to reimagine what it looks like to get the right responder to the right situation at the right time.”

Policing and jails account for 30 percent of Denver’s overall budget. The repurposing of those funds would be a huge opportunity for collective efforts like Denver Alliance, which resembles the CAHOOTS model. But no single model will work for every city, said Cervantes. Each program needs to be adaptive and reflect its community; Eugene, after all, is much smaller and has a whiter population than Denver, Oakland or Portland. “It’s really important that it is community-based, by people that look like us and that have our shared experience,” said Cervantes, who is Latino. Otherwise, the program will only replicate the same systemic problems.

In June, Cervantes’ organization helped start a pilot program in partnership with the city of Denver, called Support Team Assisted Response. Cervantes hopes to develop a full-fledged program by 2021. But, for now, on the streets, “we’re literally seeing our own proof of concept of how we can take ownership of crisis ourselves, and have solutions,” he said. “We don’t have to view everyone as a threat.”

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