Nel's New Day

November 29, 2019

The Completion of Thanksgiving

For several weeks, the media has obsessed about Thanksgiving dinner—specifically how to get along with people gathering around the groaning board. Culture since the election of Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has made this an all-consuming issue.

With his typical cruelty, DDT’s son Donald Trump Jr has this recommendation: “trigger a liberal” at Thankgiving dinner with the goal of encouraging fights among families at the family gathering. He tweeted, “Trigger a liberal thanksgiving” and offered an autographed copy of his book for winners who send him photos or videos of “something/someone triggered maybe with my book.” Jr is listed as author of Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us:

“This is the book that the leftist elites don’t want you to read — Donald Trump, Jr., exposes all the tricks that the left uses to smear conservatives and push them out of the public square, from…”

Triggered became a best seller after the RNC and the Trump Organizations spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase copies of the book that promotes lies through conspiracy theories and encourages Jr’s social media followers to engage in bad behavior. Conservatives, however, may be more “triggered” by a discussion of the facts and their lack of defense for their beloved leader.

On Thanksgiving Day, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) unexpectedly visited troops in Afghanistan after pardoning three war criminals who were blamed of their crimes by their Navy Seal colleagues. Once again DDT created chaos by announcing peace talks with the Taliban, after dumping the idea just two months ago after a period of negotiations, and demanding a cease-fire that negotiators had already rejected and that the U.S. has no leverage to enact. DDT claimed that the Taliban wants a ceasefire, but he also claimed that Turkey wouldn’t kill the Kurds. The Taliban negotiating team was surprised at DDT’s statements. A member said, “Our positions remain the same.” With DDT removing troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. has even less leverage than earlier.

Since he was inaugurated almost three years ago, DDT had previously made no trips to Afghanistan and only one to a war zone, a secretive trip to Iraq almost a year ago. That time, plane spotters saw Air Force One crossing Britain; this time, he took a military plane with only five people, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY). DDT ate with Barrasso and a commander based at Bagram.

DDT demonstrated his obsession with impeachment during the traditional ceremony of pardoning a turkey. The two fowl, Bread and Butter, will not reside on a table but instead safely live out their natural lives because of the selection. DDT’s statement:

“Thankfully, Bread and Butter have been specially raised by the Jacksons to remain calm under any condition, which will be very important because they’ve already received subpoenas to appear in Adam Schiff’s basement on Thursday. It seems the Democrats are accusing me of being too soft on turkey, but Bread and Butter — I should note that, unlike previous witnesses, you and I have actually met.”

DDT added that the news media would find the pardon “very popular” because “turkeys are closely related to vultures.”

Although both turkeys were saved, only Butter received a “pardon.” One joke was that Butter received the pardon because Bread got more votes.

Although the DDT base may have found humor in the comments about impeachment, satirist Andy Borowitz gave another perspective about the pardon in his humor column, “Trump Refuses to Pardon White House Turkey After Accusing It of Working for Soros”:

“In a startling break with Thanksgiving tradition, Donald J. Trump refused to pardon the White House turkey after claiming that it was working as a secret operative of the billionaire George Soros.

“A group of fourth graders from Bethesda, Maryland, who had gathered on the White House lawn for the annual turkey-pardoning ceremony appeared unprepared for the anti-Soros outburst that Trump unleashed on the Thanksgiving bird.

“’That turkey was sent by Soros to spy on me,’ Trump said, angrily turning on the fowl. ‘A lot of people are saying this.’

“While the oblivious turkey pecked desultorily at the ground, an increasingly enraged Trump spewed a stream of conspiracy theories linking the feathered animal to global élites, election fraud in Florida, and Jim Acosta.

“Trump attempted to lead the fourth-grade class in a chant of ‘Lock It Up,’ apparently directed at the Thanksgiving delicacy, but the students slowly backed away from him in silence.

“Tracy Klugian, one of the children who witnessed Trump’s meltdown, said that he found it ‘sad.’

“’I get that he’s upset about Mueller and the midterms, but he shouldn’t take it out on a turkey,’ he said.”

Background on the turkey pardon: residents of the White House typically ate the donated turkeys until 1989 with the exception of Abraham Lincoln giving the turkey in 1863 to his son Tad and President Kennedy’s refusal to eat the turkey in 1961. Richard Nixon freed the turkey but gave no pardon. George H.W. Bush began the official presidential turkey pardon tradition. The pardon got attention in 2007 when the turkey found back during the ceremony of H.W.’s son, W.

As my vegetarian friend said, maybe next year’s turkey could be named “Tofu.”

And now the conservative Christians can launch into their mythical persecution and their fantasy of the “war on Christmas.” If you get together with conservatives at the winter holiday dinner, here are some talking points. Just change the title.

November 24, 2018

DDT: Week 96 – New ‘Normal’ for Thanksgiving

Filed under: Donald Trump — trp2011 @ 9:03 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Between tweets and personal appearances, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) spent much of his “working” time early Thanksgiving week trying to deflect attention about real issues.

  • Issue: Investigating acting AG Matthew Whitaker; response, reference to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), new Intelligence Committee chairman, as “little Adam Schitt” while DDT’s wife continues her program against cyber bullying.
  • Issue: Concerns from retired Adm. Bill McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, about DDT’s attack on the free press; response, false claim that McRaven is a “Hillary Clinton fan” and didn’t capture Osama bin Ladin in a timely fashion.
  • Issue: The deadliest fire in California history; response, lies about “gross mismanagement of the forests” because they didn’t rake the forest as Finland does. (Fact: Finland has an early warning system, aerial surveillance system, and an extensive network of forest roads; the country also pays local aviation clubs to fly over the most threatened areas of forest so that fires will be found before they go out of control. California is also much warmer and drier than Finland and has vegetation much likelier to catch on fire. During his visit to Paradise, DDT also called the town “Pleasure”—twice.) Next DDT lie: fire mitigation raises 2019 budget by $500,000. Didn’t happen and none of his officials or members of Congress know anything about this.
  • Issue: climate change; response, “I want great climate.”
  • Issue: GOP midterm election losses; response, after claiming that the election was a referendum on him, “I didn’t run. I wasn’t running. My name wasn’t on the ballot.”
  • Issue: Not going to Arlington on Veterans Day; response, “I was extremely busy on calls for the country…. I should have and I did last year.” (DDT had nothing on his schedule, he sent a large number of tweets accusing Florida of rigging the election and Democrats for dropping the stock market, and he was in Asia on Veterans Day 2017.)

Maybe Saudi’s Crown Prince did torture and dismember a U.S. journalist in its Turkish embassy, DDT said, but he’s not going to do anything about the murder. Saudi Arabia is a “great spectacular ally,” according to DDT, meaning that they give DDT lots of money for his personal use and nothing will change in the U.S.-Saudi relationship. DDT also lied about Saudi Arabia investing $450 billion dollars in the U.S. economy, about Saudi’s war in Yemen in response to Iranian intervention, about hundreds of thousands of jobs, and about right-wing smear that the murdered Jamal Khashoggi was a “member of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Facts: Only $14.5 billion in military purchases have been confirmed, and the number of jobs is under 17,500 for a full $110 billion in sales possible. Khashoggi was not part of the Muslim brotherhood. The end of the statement was DDT’s support for a foreign murdering dictator over his own nation’s intelligence that concluded Mohammed bin Salam ordered Khashoggi’s dismemberment and assassination. “It’s a shame, but it is what it is,” DDT said on his way to Mar-a-Lago today.

DDT’s message: He’ll overlook murder if somebody pays him.

DDT continued last Sunday with his long list of lies in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox: his White House runs “like a well-oiled machine”; he “did well in France”; he didn’t know the deputy national security advisor who Melania Trump fired but “she was with me for a long time”; he didn’t know that his new acting AG Matthew Whitaker had any “views on the Mueller investigation” but Whitaker was right in “no collusion”; he won’t meet Robert Mueller as promised and he won’t give written answers about obstruction of justice as promised; he’s not responsible for Democrats elected to the House but did cause Republican elections to the Senate; and he has an “A+” for his presidential ranking.

DDT also said he refuses to hear the Jamal Khashoggi tape while he was tortured and dismembered because it’s a “suffering” tape.

Thanksgiving messages from DDT:

Criticism of a court ruling: “Justice Roberts can say what he wants, but the 9th Circuit is a complete & total disaster.” (Followed by his holiday greetings to the armed forces: “We get a lot of bad court decisions from the Ninth Circuit.”)

Khashoggi’s murder: “It’s a mean & nasty world out there, the Middle East in particular.” (Followed in person by “Maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place.”)

Four minutes later: “HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!”

DDT’s fury with the 9th Circuit Court came from Judge Jon S.Tigar, not a member of the 9th Circuit Court, who temporarily blocked DDT’s plan to keep asylum seekers out of the United States. Tigar wrote, “Whatever the scope of the President’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.” DDT accused Tigar of being an “Obama” judge although he’s kept silent about his own appointments who ruled twice against him in the last week.

DDT’s failure in this attempt follows others when court injunctions blocked his executive orders for punishment of “sanctuary cities,” denial of DACA protections to Dreamers, and “zero tolerance” separating migrant parents and their children. Other DDT losses include the Keystone XL Pipeline, press access to the White House, and the Emoluments Clause.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (D-IA), 85, may be developing memory loss. In response to Chief Justice John Roberts’ rebuke of DDT for denouncing the 9th Circuit Court, Grassley said that he doesn’t remember Roberts’ criticizing President Obama for his statement that the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United would open the floodgates of wealthy and foreign interests through donations. Roberts praised the “independent judiciary, but President Obama was right in his statements. Roberts did express “concern” for the former’s president’s comments. DDT snapped back at Roberts to claim that there are “Obama” judges; he’s ignoring the recent “Trump justice” who stated a partisan position under oath in a hearing.

DDT displayed more anger at the courts on Friday when a justice from the New York Supreme Court denied his request to dismiss the lawsuit against himself and the Trump Foundation alleging that the so-called charitable foundation violated both state and federal laws for “more than a decade.” The suit claims illegal actions such as improper political activity, “self-dealing transactions,” and refusal to “implement even elementary corporate formalities required by law.”  Justice Saliann Scarpulla rejected the arguments that “a sitting president may not be sued” and that the state court lacks jurisdiction over the president in this case. Her decision means that the case can proceed and may help other cases against DDT in New York and other states, including a defamation case from Summer Zervos.

DDT proved that he controls the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA). The featured speaker for its annual dinner on 4/27/19 is Ron Chernow, biographer of founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. Gone are the comedians: DDT didn’t like them. The question is whether anyone else can crack jokes. Another question is how the press will continue to cave. Having gotten rid of the featured comedian at the dinner, DDT said that he might go to the dinner this year, but someone should tell him that the planned speaker called him a “demagogue.”

DDT made $4.2 million for his private businesses from GOP campaign events.

Next week, business as usual. DDT offered to keep the government from shutting down if Congress gives him a wall. Then he went golfing.

DDT kept the Senate in the recent midterm elections, but a conservative publication predicts a substantially slowing economy in the next two years. Goldman Sachs projected the GDP down to 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2019.

After avoiding service members for 96 weeks, DDT might want to pay them a little visit. His support has fallen in the past two years over two points to under 44 percent while those disapproving of him have gone from 37 percent to over 43 percent. Female service members have a 28 percent approval rating of DDT while males have 47 percent.

This past week, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a safety alert about dangerous E. coli bacteria in romaine lettuce, calling on grocery stores to remove all the produce and restaurants to discard it. Earlier this year, five people died in 210 cases in 36 states.

Thanksgiving is a time to say what you are thankful for, and I always say, “My friends.” Most commanders in chief praise service members in harm’s way; DDT said, “I made a tremendous difference in our country.” In a Coast Guard station, he posed for pictures and told officials that he would give them $100 if they could break par at his golf course. It’s the new normal.

November 28, 2013

Traditions for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day can be a time of traditions. Each year, for example, friends visit and celebrate their partnership anniversary with us. We talked about anniversaries last evening. I commented that even though my partner and I married at the beginning of October this year that I’ll always think of my anniversary as the day that my partner and I selected 44 years ago to celebrate.

Traditions also change. For many Thanksgiving days, the four of us listened to Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” starting exactly at noon on our public radio station. If you haven’t heard it, I heartily recommend the experience. This year, however, the programming changed, eliminating the airing of the performance. We briefly mourned. Eating, parades, football, and shopping are other Thanksgiving traditions that have changed over the years.

Some of the history:

Much as people like to think that Pilgrims held the “first” Thanksgiving, its tradition began before that event. The Thanksgiving feast is a harvest festival; thus other cultures celebrated this season, sometimes with thankful offerings to gods. Some claim that the first feast in North America between foreigners—like the Pilgrims—and natives was in 1541 when Francisco de Coronado and his expedition broke bread with the natives at Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas panhandle. Other historians prefer the one in Florida with French Huguenots celebrating on June 30th of 1564 or the one celebrated by the Spanish on September 8, 1565. There were also ones at the Jamestown colony in 1609 and Roanoke in 1586, and Ponce de Leon had one near St. Petersburg (FL) in 1513.

The Plymouth feast took three days. Both Pilgrims and American Indians contributed, but turkey wasn’t served. Colonist Edward Winslow reported that “wild fowl” was on the menu, which could have been duck or geese. The celebrants did eat venison, shellfish, and lobster as well as nuts, wheat flour, pumpkins, squashes, carrots, and peas. Images of clothing provided to school children are also wrong. Because buckles were too expensive, Pilgrims’ clothing used buttons and laces for fastening. The misunderstanding came from nineteenth-century illustrators who used clothing popular among fashionable Englishmen in the 1600s.

Although conservatives like to think that the founding fathers made Thanksgiving a national holiday—and George Washington wanted it to be so—Thomas Jefferson thought the idea was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. The official proclamation of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November didn’t occur until 1863, after 40 years of Sarah Josepha Hale’s letter-campaign to five presidents. Southern states, which had already seceded from the Union, opposed the holiday because they thought it was a “New England” holiday. Even 150 years ago, conservatives fought the government on the simplest concepts. No nationwide Thanksgiving date existed until the 1870s.

In 1939, President F.D. Roosevelt proclaimed that the day for Thanksgiving would be changed to the fourth Thursday in November to help the economy by lengthening the Christmas shopping season. Republicans opposed the change and called it Democrat Thanksgiving or “Franksgiving.” They celebrated their own Republican Thanksgiving the next Thursday. Two years later, Congress confirmed Roosevelt’s day by passing a law which Roosevelt signed.

“Black Friday” started over 50 years ago in Philadelphia. The term was named after the mass of shoppers that came to the malls causing heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and the name stuck. After retailers failed to change the nickname, they defined the term as the day of the year that puts retailers into the “black.” That might be true for smaller retailers, but large retail chains like Wal-Mart start with a positive net income on January 1. Black Friday shopping is known for attracting aggressive crowds and annual reports of assaults, shootings, and throngs of people trampling on other shoppers in an attempt to get the best deal before supplies run out.

The day after Thanksgiving is also the biggest day for bar and liquor sales. Some people guess that it’s caused by the long holiday weekend and being around family.

Conservatives might also be distressed by the origination of the word “turkey,” corrupted from the Hebrew tukki. Columbus’ Jewish interpreter, Luis de Torres, called the wild birds tukki because they looked like peacocks to him. Other linguists think that turkey originated from tuka, the Tamil word for peacock.

Every year, since Abraham Lincoln, the president has pardoned two turkeys for Thanksgiving. (This year’s winner is Popcorn, with Caramel the runner-up. Both turkeys will live.) The tradition began accidentally when Lincoln informally pardoned his son Tad’s pet, Jack the Turkey. Pardoning occurred sporadically until 1947 when Harry Truman made it official. For a while, the pardoned turkeys retired to Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch (CA); the location moved in 2010 to George Washington’s Mount Vernon.

Last year, about 254 million turkeys were raised the U.S. A myth surrounding them is that the tryptophan in the meat makes people sleepy. It’s not really enough to make any different. Scientists guess that it’s alcohol, or excessive food, or just relaxing with good company.

Yale and Princeton started the football tradition when they played their first game in 1876. The NFL joined in 1934 when the Detroit Lions played the Chicago Bears. Detroit has played every year since then except during World War II. The Dallas Cowboys added another game in 1966. This year, the Lions play the Green Bay Packers while the Cowboys play the Raiders. A third game is the Jacksonville Jaguars facing the Baltimore Ravens. High school games are called “Turkey Bowls.”

Macy’s first Thanksgiving Day parade in 1924, called “The Christmas Parade,” used live animals from the Central Park Zoo and was billed as “The Christmas Parade.” Three years later, Goodyear added a giant balloon of Felix the Cat. For the next six years, balloons just floated off into the sky at the end of the parade, and Macy’s gave everyone who found a deflated balloon $100. Snoopy, who joined the parade in 1968 and showed up another six times, has the record for the most appearances. In 1946, the parade route moved to its current starting point at 77th and Central Park West, and in 1947, it was first nationally televised. Macy’s thought about cancelling the parade 50 years after the Kennedy assassination, but then decided to continue the tradition. About 3.5 million watch the parade on New York streets with another 50 million seeing it on television.

Native Hawaiians celebrate Makahiki, their own “Thanksgiving” festival, dedicated to the agriculture and fertility god, Lono. Starting in late October, the Hawaiians suspended all war for four months as they feasted, played games, danced, and generally made merry with Lono was in charge. They carried a tiki of Lono, trimmed with ferns and feathers, around each island to mark the start of the makahiki season. When Ku took over again at the end of the lunar calendar of January, they set adrift a canoe with offerings to Lono.

Since 1975, following the 17-month occupation of Alcatraz Island by the American Indian Movement in 1969, the International Indian Treaty Council has an annual “Unthanksgiving Day.” A sunrise ceremony commemorates the struggles of the indigenous native people.

If you enjoy Thanksgiving, thank your progressive presidents and lawmakers who overcame conservative opposition to bring this holiday to the people in the United States. And if you like shopping, be careful that some desperate person doesn’t accidentally kill you tomorrow.

Thanks to T. Steelman for some of the above information and a list of sources:

  • A Taste of Thanksgiving: Curious Facts About America’s Holiday by Christopher Forest
  • Ancient Ways: Reclaiming Pagan Traditions by Pauline Campanelli and Dan Campanelli
  • Hawaiian Mythology by Martha Warren Beckwith

November 22, 2012

My Thanks for 2012

Thanksgiving is a time that I express gratitude for the people around me, family and friends, who enrich my life. One special joy is the couple who comes from the city to celebrate their anniversary with us. Because the country and our state don’t have marriage equality, they, like us, are not legally married, but we still have our traditions. This year, as several times in the past, another friend came with her pies, and a local friend dropped by after her dinner with other friends.

This year, however, my gratitude goes far beyond my immediate family. The recent election, in which the majority of people voted for the president, Senate members, and House members, has given hope for the betterment of the United States. Because of gerrymandering in the “red states,” the House still has a majority of Republicans, but I take comfort in knowing that more people in the country voted for progressives than regressives.

Thanks to this recent vote, the country will not rush off to start wars the way it might have if  Mitt Romney’s hawkish advisers got their way. The military will not be forced to take an extra $2 trillion that they believe they don’t need. Dick Cheney won’t be back.

For another four years the Supreme Court is safely split between conservatives and liberals with one moderate (in the past a conservative) making most of the decisions. The Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land, and abortion will stay legal although conservatives will do everything they can to prevent it. Women will be able to get free contraception for their personal family planning.

Money won’t be taken from the poor and middle class to go to the wealthy, and the safety net will remain for people who don’t have the advantages that the rest of us do. The Dream Act stays in place; young people who were brought here illegally as children will not be forced into deportation.

LGBT rights will move forward instead of backward, possibly even evolving into marriage equality. The Departments of Energy and Education and Housing and all the others that conservatives wanted to eliminate will remain.

Unions can keep struggling on, and religion won’t overtake the country in the next four years. During that time, the demonization of teachers and other government workers may be reversed.

The Tea Party is weaker than ever. Their determination to dig themselves deeper into their holes may result in a cave-in of hate. This year’s election proved that money does not buy everything. Eighty percent of super PAC money went to conservative candidates, but most of those supported by the conservative PACs lost. People like Joe Walsh and Allen West will not be on Capitol Hill in January.

I’m grateful that there is one house in the United States that Romney cannot buy.

Grover Norquist, who blackmailed almost all Republican Congresspeople into signing a pledge of no new taxes under any circumstances, is losing his clout. A dozen newly elected House Republicans refused to sign the anti-tax pledge during their campaigns, and another handful of returning Republicans have disavowed their allegiance to the written commitment. In addition Democrats picked up eight seats. Fewer than the 218 members needed for a majority vote are now Grover followers. The Senate has the same non-Grover majority with only 39 pledge signers. In the 112th Congress, the House had 238 Grover followers and the Senate had 41.

I am grateful for all the people willing to stand in line, sometimes up to eight hours and sometimes in freezing temperatures, who refuse to be told that they can’t vote. And I appreciate the people who found open polls despite the conservatives’ misinformation about where and when voters could cast their ballots.

Equal marriage rights made huge gains in the country during the past year with the first popular vote in favor of same-sex marriage in not just one but three states. The one-year study on the effects of gays and lesbians openly serving in the military was very positive, showing no difficulties. I give thanks to people willing to vote for LGBT people and issue, to recognize these as part of the community at large.

Voters alsorejected anti-woman candidates such as Todd Akins (“legitimate rape”) and Richard Mourdock (“gift of rape”) and racist candidates such as Scott Brown who tried to destroy his opponent, Elizabeth Warren, by painting her as a liar about her Native American heritage, meanwhile ridiculing it.

I am grateful to the man who was elected president and his courage in the face of racist lies and threats. In the end, he won—and decisively–over the man who sneered at 47 percent of the people in the United States–the poor and disadvantaged–not only before the election but also after it. Because of the 53 percent of the people in the country who voted for Barack Obama, we will not spend four years with a president who started as a bully in his prep school and continued the practice during much of his life.

This year, perhaps more than any other, the choice was truly one of vision. The country is at a turning point: it can go forward or self-destruct. Thanks to all the people who understood this and voted, we can now move forward.

Today is Thanksgiving Day 2012. Tomorrow, November 23, is Native American Heritage Day, designated by President Obama in 2009 “to honor the contributions, achievements, sacrifices, and cultural and historical legacy of the original inhabitants of what is now the United States and their descendants: the American Indian and Alaska Native people.” I am grateful to the indigenous peoples of the United States who helped the immigrants four centuries ago to survive. The Presidential Proclamation identifies the entire month of November as a time to celebrate and honor Native Americans while never forgetting that there are “parts of our shared history that have been marred by violence and tragic mistreatment” and that “for centuries, Native Americans faced cruelty, injustice, and broken promises.”

“Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others that have been tried.” – Winston Churchill


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