Today In Presidential Farewell Addresses: President Washington

 

(President Washington’s Farewell Address)

An excerpt from President Washington’s Farewell Address:

I have already intimated to you the danger of Parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on Geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, & warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party, generally.

This Spirit, unfortunately, is inseperable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human Mind. It exists under different shapes in all Governments, more or less stifled, controuled, or repressed; but in those of the popular form it is seen in its greatest rankness and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge natural to party dissention, which in different ages & countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders & miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security & repose in the absolute power of an Individual: and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight) the common & continual mischiefs of the spirit of Party are sufficient to make it the interest and the duty of a wise People to discourage and restrain it.

Click on through to read the whole thing.



Late Evening Open Thread: An End of Life Planning Question Not Asked Nearly Enough

In light of yesterday’s post about caregivers, it is important to grapple with the difficult end of life questions. Specifically, how many strippers do you want at your funeral!

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, funeral strippers are not uncommon. In fact, China’s Ministry of Culture has publicly asked that people stop hiring them. As far back as 2006, China Central Television aired an exposé on the practice, which states it has “severely polluted the local cultural life.” Obviously, the performances are intended to attract crowds, which is seen as good fortune for a bumping afterlife. One villager told CCTV, “It’s to give them face,” adding, “Otherwise no one would come.” Wow, burn.



Monday Evening Open Thread: Let It Burn

Things these days ain’t like they used to be! The raw, septic core of Trump’s appeal to his supporters, and of the GOP’s promotion of Trump to those supporters. Jerry Lewis is a Hollywood icon, dammit, but Adam Sandler — for all his vast success — gets mocked as a bottom-feeding perennial middle-schooler!

Which scares the (somewhat) smarter members of the Permanent Republican Party, who are torn between acknowledging that 1962 ain’t coming back, and trying to milk every last drop of bile for those bottom-feeding profits…


Read more



Late Night Social Notes Open Thread: True Glamour

They were among those spotted arriving at the White House for the late-evening event, along with Gloria Estefan, Magic Johnson, Anna Wintour, Bradley Cooper, Harvey Weinstein, Lorne Michaels, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Kelly Rowland, Tracee Ellis Ross, David Letterman, Gloria Estefan, Tyler Perry, Robert De Niro, Jon Hamm, Ken Burns, Stevie Wonder, Al Roker, Chris Rock, and Lena Dunham. Photos of the arrivals were posted on social media by reporters, including CNN’s Betsy Klein, staked out near the White House entrance.

Many of the Obamas’ friends who attended were donors and supporters throughout their White House years and two presidential campaigns.

The event was private, and in the past the Obamas have picked up the tab for such parties…

The presence of so many celebrities may contrast to the turnout for Donald Trump’s inauguration. His team has been trying to line up talent to perform at his inauguration festivities later this month. Performers like Elton John and Garth Brooks have declined.

The party went on until 4 a.m., with chicken and waffles served to the early morning attendees.

Some pictures (from social media) at the link.

As an aspiring agoraphobe, I’d rather eat live fire ants, but it pleases me to know how much not being there — standing no chance of attracting a similarly high-profile lineup, without the use of force — has to chap the Trump Crime Cartel’s tender cavier-moisturised hides.



Today in Stochastic Violence and Terrorism

News started to break yesterday of the horrific kidnapping, brutalization, and torture of a mentally/developmentally disabled Chicago man by four others – one of whom was an acquaintance.

A mentally disabled man attacked and racially taunted on a Facebook Live video was able to leave a West Side apartment after a neighbor complained about the noise and distracted his attackers, authorities said Thursday.

Two of them followed the neighbor downstairs and the 18-year-old victim took the opportunity to leave the building in the 3300 block of West Lexington Street, ending a five-hour ordeal, police said at a news conference.

Officers found the man wandering the streets in the Homan Square neighborhood around 5:15 p.m., police said. “I observed him wearing a tank top, inside-out, backwards, jean shorts and sandals on,” said Officer Michael Donnelly. “He was bloodied, he was battered.

“He was very discombobulated,” he added. “He was injured. He was confused.”

The four perpetrators are facing felony charges, including hate crimes charges:

Four people face felony criminal charges including hate crimes and kidnapping in the brutal beating and torturing of a mentally disabled man that was broadcasted on live on Facebook.

Jordan Hill,18, of Carpentersville; Tesfaye Cooper, 18, of Chicago; Brittany Covington, 18, of Chicago; and Tanishia Covington, 24, of Chicago; face felony criminal charges of aggravated kidnapping, hate crime; aggravated unlawful restraint; aggravated battery deadly weapon; robbery; PSMV and residential burglary.

Chicago police were made aware of the video Tuesday afternoon. The footage shows the suspects kicking, hitting and cutting the hair of the victim while he was gagged. Shouts of “F*** Trump!” and “F*** white people!” can be heard in the background.

At one point, the victim is held at knife point and told to curse President-elect Donald Trump. The group also forces the victim to drink water from a toilet.

The victim was held hostage for at least 24 hours and as long as 48 hours. Police believe the kidnapping took place in an apartment in the 3400 block of West Lexington on the West Side. Chicago police found the victim “in distress” walking along a street, authorities said.

CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi called the footage “reprehensible.”

What has gotten a lot of play, and some of it absolutely falling in line with preconceived notions and prejudices, is that the victim is White and the perpetrators are African American.

I want to make this very, very clear: people, regardless of ethnicity, what we call race in the US, religion, or any other demographic descriptor we can come up, do horrible, terrible things to their fellow humans. And they do it all the time. In this case the victim/perpetrator realities lined up to provide grist for certain people’s mills, but what happened in Chicago is, unfortunately, not restricted to any one particular ethnicity or religious group. It is also unacceptable. And it would be unacceptable if the victim was African American and the perpetrators were white. Or if the victim was LatinX and the perpetrators were Jewish-American. Or if the victim was LGBTQ and the perpetrators were Asian American. Wrong is wrong is wrong regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, sexual orientation, or national origin. There is enough evil in the world without looking to shoehorn it into one’s ideological prejudices to score political points.

It is more important now than ever to remember and take to heart the wisdom of President Washington from his Letter to the Jewish Congregations of Newport, Rhode Island:

It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for, happily, the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

 



Senate Armed Services Committee on Cyber Security Threats/Russian Hacking of the US During the 2016 Election

Sorry for delay on this, but the Senate Armed Services Committee has just concluded its hearing on cyber security threats, including the Russian influence, desinformatziya, and kompromat operations during the 2016 US elections. Here’s the link to C-SPAN’s video where you can watch the whole thing. And here’s a video embed:

And yes, I know this is the Fox News Youtube feed/embeddable feed. It’s the only one I could find.



Wednesday Morning Open Thread

Good for the X Factor star.

A note from commentor O. Felix Culpa:

Speaking of ethics and collective action, the League of Women Voters is supporting a “Call-In Day” to Congress today to challenge Trump’s conflicts of interest:

The League is joining with allied organizations for a Hill Call-In Day urging Congress to address President-elect Trump’s unprecedented and unconstitutional conflicts of interest. The calls will support a forthcoming bill from Senator Elizabeth Warren that will require the President to divest ownership of businesses and disclose all business dealings in order to avoid severe unconstitutional conflicts of interest…

To participate, call the below numbers to connect with your two Senators and your one Representative between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm EST [today], Wednesday, when congressional offices are open. You will be automatically connected to your appropriate congressional offices based on the zip code you provide.

Senate – 1-866-985-2543
House – 1-866-948-8977

Script:
President-elect Trump has conflicts of interest that are unprecedented for an American president. He could violate the Constitution and the law on his first day in office because of prohibited payments to him from his foreign and domestic businesses. Every other President and cabinet official before him has acted to avoid these types of conflicts of interest.

Mr. Trump has not fully disclosed how he will resolve these dangerous conflicts. Americans have been given little more than vague pledges about transferring operations and nothing about transferring ownership. Bi-partisan ethics officials from Republican and Democratic administrations agree this is completely inadequate and does not resolve his dangerous conflicts.

Congress must act to protect the interests of the American people and the integrity of the presidency. President-elect Trump must resolve his conflicts of interest and Congress must require that he disclose his finances and divest his business conflicts.

House call: Ask your Representative to call for a congressional investigation to review Mr. Trump’s business dealings in order to identify and protect against conflicts of interest.

Senate calls: Ask your Senators to call for an investigation to review Mr. Trump’s financial arrangements. Urge Senators to support Senator Warren’s new bill that will require the President-elect to divest ownership and disclose all business dealings in order to avoid serious and unconstitutional conflicts of interest.

***********

Apart from fighting back however we can, what’s on the agenda for the day?