These days, it's either Bad or Beautiful.
The Bad is the Trump Administration.
Today, the director of the FBI, with the head of National Security Agency at his side, called the president a liar and said that his campaign was under investigation for collusion with the Russians in winning the election. We all sort of knew this, but it was absolutely stunning to see and hear. Today was the first step toward impeachment, whenever it happens.
(Here's a good timeline on the Trump-Russia story -- http://billmoyers.com/story/the-trump-resistance-plan-a-timeline-russia-and-president-trump/)
But while Trump is in office, bad things are occuring. The dismantling and neutering of the State Department, for instance. Rex Tillerson's "fatigue" made him cut short some scheduled meetings in Korea. (Can you imagine if Hillary had been too fatigued for anything?) Tillerson's people denied the "fatigue" meme, so maybe if they had allowed any press coverage of the trip, we all would have known the truth. Meanwhile, Trump continues to offend our allies, lying about non-existent British spying and not shaking hands with Angela Merkel.
Trump's proposed budget is a travesty: short-sighted and mean-spirited, which is why it may appeal to hardcore Republicans, raised on hate-radio. Anything that offends the Left -- like the cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- must be good.
Here are some of Trump's funding cuts:
28.7% cut for the Department of State
13.2% cut for the Department of Housing and Urban Development
12.7% cut for the Department of Transportation
16.2% cut for the Department of Health and Human Services
13.5% cut in the Department of Education
31.4% cut in the Environmental Protection Agency
Trump's budget totally eliminates 62 programs, most of them involved in environmental protection and helping the poor and disadvantaged:
The Water and Wastewater loan and grant program ... McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program ... Economic Development Administration ... Minority Business Development Agency ... Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program ...21st Century Community Learning Centers program ... Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program ... Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program ... Teacher Quality Partnership Impact Aid ... Support Payments for Federal Property ... International Education programs ... Advanced Research Projects, Agency-Energy ... Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program ... Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program ... Weatherization Assistance Program ... State Energy Program ... Health professions and nursing training programs ... Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program ... Community Services Block Grants ... Section 4 Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing program ... Abandoned Mine Land grants ... National Heritage Areas ... National Wildlife Refuge fund ... State Criminal Alien Assistance Program ... Senior Community Service Employment Program ... Occupational Safety and Health Administration training grants ... The Global Climate Change Initiative including the Clean Technology Fund ... Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund ... The East-West Center ... The Essential Air Service ... Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants ... Community Development Financial Institutions grants ... Great Lakes Restoration Initiative ... the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Initiative ... Fifty other EPA programs including Energy Star, Targeted Airshed Grants, the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program, and infrastructure assistance to Alaska Native Villages and the Mexico border ... National Aeronautics and Space Administration Office of Education ... African Development Foundation ... Appalachian Regional Commission ... Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board ... Corporation for National and Community Service ... Corporation for Public Broadcasting ...Delta Regional Authority ... Denali Commission ... Institute of Museum and Library Services ... Inter-American Foundation ... U.S. Trade and Development Agency ... Legal Services Corp. ... National Endowment for the Arts ... National Endowment for the Humanities ... Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp. ... Northern Border Regional Commission ... Overseas Private Investment Corp. ... U.S. Institute of Peace ... U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness ... Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
These cuts will, in some way, affect every American.
At the same time, Trump increases the Defense Department budget by more than $52 billion dollars – even though we spend as much on defense as the next seven largest military spending nations combined.
Trump's selection of Neil Gorsuch is a time-bomb. I don't trust him, no matter what he says during his confirmation hearing.
He's going to be bad on LGBT rights, workers' rights, and women's rights.
And I never liked his mother who was a disgraced proto-Sarah Palin in the Reagan administration. I think her son is out for revenge.
And I could go on. I haven't even mentioned Steve Bannon.
But against all this darkness --
The Beautiful is coming from everywhere else.
There was an overflow crowd at my local Democratic club meeting over the weekend. The enthusiasm level was palpable. Activism on the Left is growing at an astounding rate. There are now more than 1,700 INDIVISIBLE groups working around the country. They are going to "Tea Party" vulnerable Republican Congressmen in the 2018 elections, in order to take back the House.
Besides the small acts of resistance that are going on every day, there are two big protest marches in the near future:
April 15 – Trump Tax March – to demand the release of Trump's tax returns
April 22 – March for Science – in Washington, D.C. and 300 other cities
Both of these marches will be exciting and energizing for the anti-Trump majority in the USA.
There are new ways to fight Trump springing up all over:
GRAB YOUR WALLET – Find companies that do business with Trump – and BOYCOTT THEM!
SLEEPING GIANTS -- a Twitter account designed to discourage advertisers from advertising on Breitbart
How Sleeping Giants' tactics work
You can subscribe to RESISTABLE – a newletter of Trump protests – find out what's going on in your area
Meetup, which for many years allowed only non-partisan groups, now has more than 1,000 #resist groups.
Swingleft.com is very active. The number of vulnerable Republican congressman is growing every day. With every bad move by Trump and his administration, more Republican congressmen are becoming good targets for defeat. Swingleft's target number has grown steadily. They now estimate that as many as 80 Republican congressmen can be beaten in 2018.
NOVEMBER 6, 2018 – REMEMBER THAT DATE!!
And the Personal Beautiful --
To counteract all the negativity in our collective public life, we should all take action to encourage and preserve the good and the beautiful in our private lives.
To that end, the TG and I made good on a promise we made to ourselves long ago to see the famous blooming of spring wildflowers in the California desert.
We've been living in southern California for almost thirty years now, but we've never found time to actually make the trip until this year. Part of it was the weight of the overdue promise, and part of it was the once-in-a-generation "super-bloom" that's occurred this year due to the record rainfall this past winter.
Our closest wildflower destination was the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in San Diego County, ninety miles inland, about a three-hour drive to the southeast for us. Since last July 1, the start of so-called "rain year," Anza-Borrego has gotten 7 inches of rain – well over the yearly average of 5 inches – and there are still three months left. In the desert, that's a major soaking.
The crowds at the prime wildflower viewing spots in the Anza-Borrego have been crowded. "It's like the 405 on weekends!" people say, which is the ultimate in SoCal traffic jam horror stories.
The TG and I were there during the week, and we got out early in the morning. By mid-morning, the good spots near where we stayed in Borrego Springs – Henderson Canyon and Coyote Canyon and the Galleta Meadows – were all filling up.
I took my good Canon SLR camera and my long lens, and I clicked myself crazy. We also enjoyed the famous outdoor sculptures of Ricardo Breceda.
But it gets really hot in the desert really early, and we were gone before heatstroke took hold and before the LA rush hour slowed us down.
Mission accomplished, wildflowers seen. Check that one off the Bucket List.
(Of course, we have wildflowers all over southern California. In our backyards, along the roads, wherever you look. They are just in a higher concentration in Anza-Borrego.)
The wildflower report from the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park
And also "BEAUTIFUL" –
The upcoming performance of TALES OF HOFFMANN at the LA Opera this Saturday night with Vittorio Grigolo and Diana Damrau. Big time opera stars return to the Dorothy Chandler!!
Diana Damrau as Antonia in TALES OF HOFFMANN – Munich 2011
Driving with the top down on my convertible and smelling the first fragrant clouds of blooming boxwood that will fill southern California nights all spring.
Eating an apple in the park with my grandson Calder.