"In all things, it is better to hope than to despair." -- Goethe
It's all about Trump now. Nothing else matters.
Are all our personal concerns now insignificant as our Republic starts to crumble as we move into the second week of the Trump administration?
The bad news – bad decisions, bad actions, bad appointees, bad statements – fly at you from all directions.
Where to start?
Perhaps the most momentous – at least as I write this – is that "The Department of Homeland Security will continue to enforce all of President Trump's Executive Orders" (according to their press release of January 29) in defiance of the stay of Trump's Muslim Ban that was ordered by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly of the Eastern District of New York.
And Acting Attorney General Sally Yates just got fired for refusing to defend Trump's order. And the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was replaced, too.
So we have full-fledged constitutional confrontations in just the second week of the Trump administration.
Or we can point to the downgrading of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence within the National Security Council in favor of neo-Nazi-loving.anti-Semitic/lie-promoting/amateur Steve Bannon.
How about the multiple disaster that is Trump's ban on Muslims? OK, I know it's only from seven countries – it's not all Muslims. Nonetheless, the execution of the ban was so sudden, so reckless, so heartless, so chaotic that I thought that I was back in the Bush adminstration. But this was even worse. The Trumpies didn't even tell their stooges in Congress. Nor, apparently, did they consult with the Departments of Justice, Defense, Homeland Security, etc.
They clearly don't know what they are doing. It's the President as CEO, spewing out orders with no thought to their implementation or effect.
And what Trump is proposing to do or has put into action are just plain wrong.
In just the first week, Trump said he would --
-- cut funding for the DOJ's Violence Against Women programs
-- cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts
-- cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities
-- cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
-- cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency
-- cut funding for the Economic Development Administration
-- cut funding for the International Trade Administration
-- cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership
-- cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
-- cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation
-- cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ
-- cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ
-- cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation
-- cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
-- cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability
-- cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
-- cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
Trump ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
He ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after re-Tweeting factual, side-by-side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
He repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted "illegally" thus costing him the popular vote.
He "honored" the Holocaust without mentioning the Jews.
He brought a group of 40 supporters to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech in front of a memorial wall to dead heroes that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
He reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
He blundered his way through his Mexican Wall promise, resulting in the cancelation of a meeting by the president of Mexico and the admission that the wall will be paid for by American taxpayers.
He ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state legislature considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
The USDA was also ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. From now on, all communication with the press will have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
He ordered the EPA to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
But there is hope. Here is an e-mail from an EPA staffer:
~ Spread the word: from an EPA staffer:~
"So I work at the EPA and yeah it's as bad as you are hearing:
The entire agency is under lockdown, the website, Facebook, Twitter, you name it is static and can't be updated. All reports, findings, permits and studies are frozen and not to be released. No presentations or meetings with outside groups are to be scheduled.
Any press contacting us are to be directed to the press office which is also silenced and will give no response.
All grants and contracts are frozen from the contractors working on superfund sites to grad school students working on their thesis.
We are still doing our work, writing reports, doing cancer modeling for pesticides hoping that this is temporary and we will be able to serve the public soon. But many of us are worried about an ideologically-fueled purging and if you use any federal data I advise you gather what you can now.
We have been told the website is being reworked to reflect the new administration's policy.
Feel free to copy and paste, you all pay for the government and you should know what's going on. I am posting this as a fellow citizen and not in any sort of official capacity."
If you share, please do so with copy and paste. It will reach more people that way.
And so the unraveling of our government begins.
We are going to need loyal and brave government workers, on the inside, to save our government from Trump's advancing tyranny.
And it looks like a petition is coming out of the rank-and-file State Department workers, objecting to Trump's Muslim ban.
But what do We The People do?
Join an organization, a protest march, or call somebody. RESIST. READ. What Trump is doing isn't normal America.
If you are in a Republican district or state, call your representative and say that Trump's actions are dangerous, un-American, and plain wrong.
I live in a Democratic district in a Democratic state, so I've chosen to call Susan Collins of Maine and appeal to her patriotism ... through phone messages. I haven't gotten through to a live aide, but I will.
Meanwhile, I suggest that people call any of these Republican senators:
Rob Portman of Ohio -- 202-224-3353
Dean Heller of Nevada -- 202-224-6244
Lindsey ("Aunt Pitti-pat") Graham of South Carolina -- (202) 224-5972
Bob Corker of Tennessee -- 202-224-3344
Dan Newhouse of Washington -- (202) 225-5816
Susan Collins of Maine -- (202) 224-2523
Or e-mail Lisa Murkowski of Alaska -- https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/contact
Adopt one of these senators and call his or her office – constantly – asking that they resist Trump and his regime.
The future of our government might depend on the brave actions of a few Republican senators.
Keep up donations to organzations that fight Trump.
It was the ACLU that was first into court, challenging Trump's unconstitutional Muslim ban.
Isn't that what we're supposed to do?
Then why does it feel irrelevant, petty, even vulgar to say what a great weekend I had?
While the earth is shaking under us, does it matter that I saw great tennis and great opera – two of my favorite things?
In tough times, I, like anyone, need the comfort of family, the arts, and healthy distractions like sports, in order to keep moving forward.
I Tivoed the Federer-Nadal final of the Australian Open which came on at midnight, LA Time, and we watched it all the next morning. It was the classic we wanted, with the ending we wanted.
Federer-Nadal – Australian Open 2017 -- highlights
Federer- Nadal 26-shot rally in the 5th Set
Federer-Nadal – 10 Great Rallies Between 2 Legends
And the night before, the TG conquered the Ghost of Whooping Cough Past, and we saw a wonderful production of Mozart's THE ABDUCTION FROM THE SERAGLIO at the LA Opera, sensitively conducted by James Conlon and well-sung by the cast. I know this opera really well, and it was beyond pleasurable to hear the Master served so well by Conlon and his group of artists in this clever production set on the Orient Express.
Fritz Wunderlich as Belmonte – live from 1966 – months before his tragic death
Natalie Dessay – Martern Aller Arten – live from 2000 – Mozart's most difficult soprano aria
The Finale (the Vaudeville) and Turkish Music – five minutes of Mozart's Genius – shot on location at Topkapi
And I played with my grandson The Golden Boy. Mostly gardening, reading, and eating.
And it was so beautiful today – mid-70s – that I had to take the top down on my convertible on my errands to Pasadena, past the clear, beautiful San Gabriel Mountains.
It all feels wrong.
Trump is going to crash and burn. The only question is: will he take the whole country with him? the whole world?
Let it just be the Republican Party, and permit the rest of us – the real, common-sense majority – pick up the pieces and restore sanity in our crazy, fragile country.
RON BURGUNDY – THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY
CROWDED HOUSE – DON'T DREAM IT'S OVER – live from the Sydney Opera House -- 2006