Sunday, January 29, 2017

Another Weekend, Another Protest

Just like my facebook feed,
the lines have blurred between my social life and political point of view.
There are no work meetings, dinner parties, or weekend activities
that do not include political discussion.
It is, in fact, the only topic of conversation.
Everything else seems trivial.
How quickly the singular subject matter in LA shifted from entertainment to government.
Trying to keep up with the news, the ramifications of each EO,
and implementing effective resistance is quite time consuming.
Plans were scrapped today for a drive to a LAX and an afternoon of protesting.
During he first ten minutes at the international terminal, I wept.
"Let them in"
Going to the airport is a haul, yet here I was
with 10,000 Los Angelenos fighting for detained travelers who held visas and green cards, who had been vetted,
but were being denied entry to our country.
Reality hit me hard.
What if this was my family, my grandparents, who abandoned their homeland
for the welcoming arms of the US, only to be slapped in the face after exiting the plane?
Recalling my grandfather's stories, long hours harvesting fertile Sicilian fields to earn enough money to come to America, I wept.
Truthfully, I don't recognize my country.
Of course, I'm for measures which protect us from terrorism,
but let's be clear, this is religious persecution.  
This extreme measure is not about protecting us from terrorists.
All day I kept thinking about Trump and Bannon's end game?
What do they want?
Challenging our judicial branch of government,
Gutting the State Department, 
Demoting the heads of Chief Joints of Staff, and National Security,
all point to a significant restructuring of our government
away from democracy,
and towards an authoritarian model.
I will continue to resist until I recognize my country again.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Religious Persecution

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
 Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
These words, inscribed on The Statue of Liberty, a global symbol welcoming
other nations to our shore, no longer stand true.
What Trump did today is NOT AMERICAN.
He is isolating us, and turning us against the world.
This is not how you fight wars, this is how you create them.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

We March

"The question is not if we will be extremists,
but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or love."

I choose love.
 I choose protecting the rights of those who fall outside the box
of white men in American.
I choose letting women make the the best choice for their lives and their bodies.
I choose protecting our national parks, water supply, and mother earth.
I choose transparency, democracy, and honoring our Constitution.
I choose the truth.
I reject distorted lies, political spin, and obfuscation.
I'm appalled and deeply saddened this technique has innocculated
a large swath of population from identifying the facts.

Marching in DC was one of the most impactful experiences of my life.
I was profoundly moved by the community bond.
Pink pussy hats bobbed on metro platforms,
 and in grocery store isles before congregating on Independence avenue for the march.
A twenty minute metro ride took two hours because that's what happens when a million
people are headed to the same location.
Sometimes you have to go backwards to move forward.
Our journey became part of our march story
as did our slender depends, a suggestion Mad Whip read about in a NY magazine article.
Padlocked porta potties,
Trump's gift to The Women's March,
resulted in painfully long lines.
Depends saved the day.

The pulsing heartbeat of the crowd
kickstarted a feeling deep in my core that had been dormant since November 8th;
 A revolution is brewing.  I feel it vibrating in my bones.
I fear it may not always be peaceful, 
but pretending it's not happening won't stop it.
I choose to participate, to be on the right side of history,

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Palm Springs Internatinal Film Festival

Excellent line up of international films.  
My favorites were two docs:
Eagles of Death Metal, about the local desert band who was performing in Paris 
when a deadly terrorist attack turned the venue into a battlefield,
Obit, about the witty and eloquent staff at the New York Times
whose daily assignments are much more about life than death.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Desert Sky

Weekly Update from Amy Siskind

Week 9: Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.

This was not a good week for our country: this is the longest, and most troubling list. I want to note that the purpose of the authoritarian list is to highlight subtle changes, and so business as usual, as upsetting as it may be — like the GOP’s attempt to repeal the ACA — are not covered. Again, this is a list that is not meant to be partisan, but rather to capture changes in the fabric of our country, so we can refer back, and recall what used to be normal and acceptable.

1. The Office of Government Ethics director publicly lamented, “we seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election.”
2. Three vendors have placed liens on the Trump hotel in DC for unpaid bills of over $5 million, in total.
3. The OGE similarly said they had not completed ethics reviews of Trump’s cabinet nominees. Leader McConnell said the Democrats need to “grow up” on Trump’s desire for speedy confirmations.
4. Sean Hannity endorsed a tweet which said “Make Russia Great Again” with the word, “Amen.” Hannity later deleted his tweet.
5. Meryl Streep used her Golden Globes lifetime of notable work speech to eloquently attack Trump, without mentioning his name.
6. Trump responded via a tweet that Streep is an “over-rated” actress, and denied he had mocked a disabled reporter.
7. Trump took credit for a Fiat Chrysler plant and jobs in MI and OH. Fiat Chrysler responded that Trump had nothing to do with it.
8. Trump appointed Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, to a top WH post, possibly violating the 1967 federal anti-nepotism statute.
9. Trump told the NYT that all the dress shops in DC are sold out for his inauguration. This was a lie.
10. Trump team dismissed the National Nuclear Security Administration and his deputy, responsible for maintaining our nuclear arsenal, as of January 20. Trump also dismissed the commanding general of the DC national guard.
11. Cory Booker became the first US Senator to speak out against a fellow sitting senator at a confirmation hearing (Sessions for AG).
12. CNN reported a bombshell — Intelligence chiefs had briefed Trump that Russia had gathered information to blackmail him (the dossier).
13. Same day, BuzzFeed published contents of the dossier, which apparently had been in the hands of the FBI and some in the media since the summer. Contents include the infamous golden shower.
14. Trump denied having been briefed, and said the contents of the dossier were confirmed by intelligence to be fake. DNI Clapper issued a public statement indicating the dossier’s contents are still being verified (not fake), and media reported that Comey met with Trump one-on-one to review the dossier the prior Friday.
15. Trump held his first press conference since July. Trump packed the room with paid employees, who applauded him, and jeered at reporters.
16. At presser, Trump said he had no plans to release his tax returns, or resolve conflicts of interest, saying, “I have no-conflict situation because I’m president.”
17. Trump bullied reporters at two news outlets, calling them “fake news,” and used other news outlets as evidence.
18. The director of the OGE publicly blasted Trump’s non-plan for dealing with conflicts of interest. Next day, Rep Jason Chaffetz threatened to investigate the OGE.
19. Next day, while meeting with CEO of AT&T at Trump Tower (AT&T needs approval for their merger with Time Warner, parent company of CNN) Trump tweeted CNN is “FAKE NEWS” and tanking.
20. Rep Barbara Lee said she would not attend Trump’s inauguration. During the week, the list grew to 12 members of Congress.
21. Trump encouraged his followers in a tweet to “buy L.L. Bean,” in violation of a WH policy prohibiting the endorsement of products.
22. The Justice Department inspector general opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct by the FBI and Comey, leading up to the election.
23. C-Span’s online broadcast was interrupted by Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT, while Rep Maxine Waters was speaking. Waters has said she will not meet with Trump. The broadcast was also interrupted that morning when a Senator discussed Russian hacking.
24. WAPO reported that Michael Flynn, Trump’s NSA, spoke to Russia’s envoy on Dec 29th, the day Obama announced sanctions on Russia. Trump team initially denied this, then later, said they spoke only once that day. Reuters reports they spoke 5 times that day.
25. Trump continued to deny Russian hacking, and to use quotes around Intelligence in his tweets.
26. Trump appointed Rudy Giuliani to a cybersecurity role — albeit though a private company, despite Giuliana’s lack of experience.
27. Trump appointed a sixth Goldman Sachs (past or present) employees to a major role in his administration.
28. After Congress was briefed by Intelligence chiefs, Rep John Lewis said, “I don’t see Trump as a legitimate president.”
29. Next morning, Trump tweeted a disparaging attack on Lewis, on MLK weekend, saying he was all talk.
30. Democrats in Congress were furious with FBI director Comey’s unwillingness to answer their questions and fully brief them.
31. UK media broke that the former agent who gathered the info in the dossier, had shared his findings with the FBI, starting in the summer, and had become concerned that a cabal within the FBI was compromised and attempting to cover-up information.
32. The Senate announced hearings on possible Russia-Trump ties, and said subpoenas would be issued if necessary.
33. The FEC sent Trump a letter listing 247 pages of illegal contributions to his campaign.
34. In the wake of the Trump dossier becoming public, Russia’s cybersecurity head is out of a job.
35. Human Rights Watch issued its annual report of threats to human rights around the world. For the first time in 27 years, the US is listed as a top threat because of the rise of Trump.
36. A Quinnipiac poll showed Trump’s favorability ratings continuing to slide to historic lows for modern day presidents: only 37% of Americans view Trump favorably.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Shepard Fairey

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


"My fellow Americans,
it has been the honor of my life to serve you.
I won't stop; in fact, I will be right there with you,
as a citizen,
for all my days that remain.
For now, whether you're young or young at heart,
I do have one final ask of you as your president
―the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago.
I am asking you to believe.
Not in my ability to bring about change—but in yours."

Sunday, January 8, 2017


"Take your broken heart, make it into art."
Yep, Carrie Fischer that's what gets me up in the morning.
It's the one thing that gives me solace and drive during these dark political times.
Trump's lies, distortion of the truth, and continual obfuscation
disturbs me on such a deep, personal level.  
The byproduct that is most disturbing,
is the great swath of the nation who applauds his behavior,
and endorses his leadership.
We are in for a long, calamitous four years.
Thank god for people like Meryl Streep, who use their platform to voice the truth,
and call Trump out on his lies and dangerous leadership.

I'm grateful for whatever guided me, so many years ago,
to California and the Hollywood community.
EVERY DAY I encounter and work with smart, empowered, fearless women
who will not tolerate the degradation of our gender,
 and who are in a position to do something about it.


Friday, January 6, 2017


Political conversations, mess from renovation, glorious rain;
these are the constants in my life.
The new year begins, and my concerns for our future deepen.
This feeling of being on high alert is my new normal.

Sunday, January 1, 2017


Life is going to unfold
however it does.
What a relief it would be
to know that whatever
wave comes along,
we can ride it out with grace.
If we really got good at it,
we could be like surfers,
delighting especially at the
most complicated waves.

~ Sylvia Boorstein