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  • The Inauguration of Joe Biden January 21, 2021
    Unity was the byword of President Biden’s Inaugural Address.The speech was an attempt to turn the page. But can this be achieved without, as many in the Democratic coalition believe, a full reckoning with and accountability of how America got to this point of division?Today, we explore the defining messages of the president’s inaugural address. Guests: Astea […] (The New York Times)
  • ‘Restoring the First Brick of Dignity’: Biden Supporters on His Inauguration January 20, 2021
    Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States today. Among Democrats, there is a sense of joy and hope, but also of caution and concern.We speak with a range of Mr. Biden’s supporters, including activists who had originally hoped for a more progressive ticket and longtime fans who embrace his moderation.Guests:Jennifer Medina, a natio […] (The New York Times)
  • 'What Kind of Message Is That?': How Republicans See the Attack on the Capitol January 19, 2021
    Polling in the days since the storming of the Capitol paints a complex picture. While most Americans do not support the riot, a majority of Republicans do not believe that President Trump bears responsibility. And over 70 percent of them say they believe that there was widespread fraud in the election.Before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, we calle […] (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: 'The Valve Turners' January 17, 2021
    Most Americans treat climate change seriously but not literally — they accept the science, worry about forecasts but tell themselves that someone else will get serious about fixing the problem very soon.The Valve Turners, on the other hand, take climate change both very seriously and very literally.In the fall of 2016, the group of five environmental activis […] (The New York Times)
  • ‘Rankly Unfit’: The View From a Republican Who Voted to Impeach January 15, 2021
    This episode contains strong language. Three days after being sworn into Congress, Representative Peter Meijer, Republican of Michigan, was sitting in the gallery of the House of Representatives as pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol.After the siege, Mr. Meijer made his feelings clear: President Trump’s actions proved that he was “rankly unfit.” A week lat […] (The New York Times)
  • Impeached, Again January 14, 2021
    “A clear and present danger.” Those were the words used by Nancy Pelosi to describe President Trump, and the main thrust of the Democrats’ arguments for impeachment on the House floor.While most House Republicans lined up against the move, this impeachment, unlike the last, saw a handful vote in favor.Today, we walk through the events of Wednesday, and the s […] (The New York Times)
  • Is More Violence Coming? January 13, 2021
    After the attack on the Capitol, social media platforms sprang into action, deleting the accounts of agitators.Without a central place to congregate, groups have splintered off into other, darker corners of the internet. That could complicate the efforts of law enforcement to track their plans.We ask whether the crackdown on social media has reduced the risk […] (The New York Times)
  • A Swift Impeachment Plan January 12, 2021
    At the heart of the move to impeach President Trump is a relatively simple accusation: that he incited a violent insurrection against the government of the United States.We look at the efforts to punish the president for the attack on the Capitol and explain what the impeachment process might look like.Guest: Nicholas Fandos, a national reporter for The New […] (The New York Times)
  • A Pandemic Update: The Variant and the Vaccine Rollout January 11, 2021
    As 2020 drew to a close, a concerning development in the pandemic came out of Britain — a new variant of the coronavirus had been discovered that is significantly more transmissible. It has since been discovered in a number of countries, including the United States.The emergence of the new variant has added a new level of urgency to the rollout of vaccines i […] (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: 'A Mother and Daughter at the End' January 10, 2021
    Without many predators or any prey, rhinos flourished for millions of years. Humans put an end to that, as we hunted them down and destroyed their habitat.No rhino, however, is doing worse than the northern white. Just two, Najin and Fatu, both females, remain.In his narrated story, Sam Anderson, a staff writer at The Times Magazine, visits the pair at the O […] (The New York Times)
  • How They Stormed Congress January 8, 2021
    This episode contains strong language. The pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol on Wednesday made their plans in plain sight. They organized on social media platforms and spoke openly of their intentions to occupy the Capitol.But leaders in Washington opted for a modest law enforcement presence. In the aftermath, those security preparations are attracting […] (The New York Times)
  • An Assault on the Capitol January 7, 2021
    This episode contains strong language.It was always going to be a tense day in Washington. In the baseless campaign to challenge Joe Biden’s victory, Wednesday had been framed by President Trump and his allies as the moment for a final stand.But what unfolded was disturbing: A mob, urged on by the president, advanced on the Capitol building as Congress was c […] (The New York Times)
  • A Historic Night in Georgia January 6, 2021
    The long fight for control of the U.S. Senate is drawing to a close in Georgia, and the Democrats appear set to win out — the Rev. Raphael Warnock is the projected winner of his race against Senator Kelly Loeffler, while Jon Ossoff is heavily favored to beat the other incumbent Republican, Senator David Perdue. Today, we look at the results so far from these […] (The New York Times)
  • The Georgia Runoffs, Part 2: ‘I Have Zero Confidence in My Vote’ January 5, 2021
    Since the presidential election was called for Joe Biden, President Trump has relentlessly attacked the integrity of the count in Georgia. He has floated conspiracy theories to explain away his loss and attacked Republican officials.Today, we speak to Republican activists and voters on the ground and consider to what extent, if at all, Mr. Trump’s rhetoric c […] (The New York Times)
  • The Georgia Runoffs, Part 1: ‘We Are Black Diamonds.’ January 4, 2021
    A strong Black turnout will be integral to Democratic success in the U.S. Senate races in Georgia this week.In the first of a two-part examination of election strategies in the Georgia runoffs, we sit down with Stacey Abrams, a Georgia Democrat who has become synonymous with the party’s attempts to win statewide, to talk about her efforts to mobilize Black v […] (The New York Times)
  • Genie Chance and the Great Alaska Earthquake: An Update December 31, 2020
    This week, The Daily is revisiting some of our favorite episodes of the year and checking in on what has happened in the time since they first ran.When Alaska was hit by a devastating earthquake in 1964, it was the voice of Genie Chance — a journalist, wife and mother — that held the state together in the aftermath.In the episode, we heard about sociologists […] (The New York Times)
  • ‘Who Replaces Me?’: An Update December 30, 2020
    This week, The Daily is revisiting some of our favorite episodes of the year and checking in on what has happened in the time since they first ran.Scott Watson — a Black police officer in his hometown, Flint, Mich. — has worked to become a pillar of the community. And he always believed his identity put him in a unique position to discharge his duties.After […] (The New York Times)
  • A New Way to Mourn: An Update December 29, 2020
    This week, The Daily is revisiting some of our favorite episodes from this year and checking in on what has happened since the stories first ran.In our society, the public part of mourning is ritualized by a coming together. What do we do now that the opportunity for collective mourning has been taken away?Earlier this year, we heard the story of Wayne Irwin […] (The New York Times)
  • How a Small Bar Battled to Survive the Coronavirus: An Update December 28, 2020
    This week, The Daily is revisiting some of our favorite episodes of the year and checking in on what has happened in the time since they first ran.When Jack Nicas, a technology reporter for The Times, first moved to California five years ago, he set about finding a local bar of choice. Unpretentious, cheap and relaxed, the Hatch fit the bill.Over six months […] (The New York Times)
  • The Sunday Read: 'Cher Everlasting' December 27, 2020
    The escapism of movies took on a new importance during pandemic isolation. Caity Weaver, the author of this week’s Sunday Read, says that to properly embrace this year’s cinematic achievements, the Academy Awards should not only hand out accolades to new releases, but also to the older films that sustained us through this period.If they did, Caity argues, Ch […] (The New York Times)

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Newes From America on Twitter

  • RT @FBI: Keep the tips coming! The #FBI has arrested multiple people in connection with the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Help… 2 hours ago
  • RT @DrTomFrieden: Yesterday set a somber record for reported US deaths from Covid: 4,367. 2 hours ago
  • RT @kaitlancollins: Biden will keep Wray as FBI director, per @jeffzeleny. 5 hours ago
  • RT @MSNBC: JUST IN: Washington Post reports that Michael Flynn's brother, Gen. Charles Flynn, was on the Pentagon call with Capitol Police… 7 hours ago
  • RT @JonLemire: WASHINGTON (AP) — Biden enters White House as president after military escort, short walk along Pennsylvania Avenue to the m… 22 hours ago
  • RT @mkraju: #BULLETIN: Joe Biden has taken the oath of office. “Congratulations, Mr. President,” Chief Justice John Roberts says 1 day ago
  • RT @mkraju: Kamala Harris has been sworn in by Justice Sotomayor as Vice President of the United States 1 day ago
  • RT @PaulLeeTeeks: Coming January 20th, 2021... or should I say, LEAVING. #TrumpDerangementSyndrome #TrumpIsALaughingStock… 1 day ago
  • RT @cspan: President Trump departs for Florida aboard Air Force One. #Inauguration 1 day ago
  • RT @brianklaas: He's out of the White House. Out of power in 3 hours 45 minutes. 1 day ago
  • RT @kaitlancollins: Trump’s White House departure has been delayed by about half an hour. He’s still expected to speak at Joint Base Andrew… 1 day ago
  • RT @kaitlancollins: No sign of Vice President Pence at the White House this morning. President Trump is scheduled to depart in a few moment… 1 day ago
  • RT @julianzelizer: Inauguration Day. The Trump presidency officially ends. The @JoeBiden presidency officially begins. 1 day ago
  • RT @latimes: San Francisco’s public health department will run out of COVID-19 vaccine Thursday because the city’s allocation dropped subst… 1 day ago
  • RT @BostonGlobe: Mass. will soon open a second large-scale vaccination site at Fenway Park, expected to deliver 1,000 doses per day. https:… 1 day ago
  • RT @NickKristof: Very alarming piece about "militia" members hunting in the Capitol for lawmakers they could "arrest" for "treason," based… 1 day ago
  • RT @FBI: The #FBI needs you to help identify individuals who unlawfully entered the U.S. Capitol and assaulted law enforcement officers on… 1 day ago
  • RT @ewarren: Tonight, we’ll have a chance to come together as a nation and mourn the 400,000 people we’ve lost to this pandemic. I’ll be th… 2 days ago
  • RT @DollyParton: This year my birthday wish is a call for kindness. We can’t just hope for a brighter day, we have to work for a brighter d… 2 days ago
  • RT @FBI: The #FBI is still seeking to identify individuals who instigated violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. We've updated some pos… 2 days ago

Florida Writ Large

Granny for Possum Queen

The Grand Old Party

In the aftermath of the 2020 Presidential Election, I miss Florida’s place in the sun but first, allow me to congratulate our new president, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. Has a ring to it, no? His lovely wife Jill. Splendid. Donald Trump would highlight his son Hunter but I’ll think of Beau. I’ll think of first dog Major. And the new cat! Oh, and he’s 78 fucking years old. At the risk of being canceled due to Ageism, that’s just too damn old to be the President of the United States. I argue that Ronnie Reagan and Donnie Trump prove it: it’s not a job for old people, regardless of the hair dye and the many, many lies. Joe had no choice in the matter, however, practically drafted by the American people to step up and DO SOMETHING about Trump’s insanity, but he did always want to be president. The late Donald Trump, not as in dead, just as in he won’t leave the White House, is as lame as any duck in history but I choose now to ‘turn a corner’ and NOT enumerate his ridiculous to sublime losses and mishaps since Trump woke to the news on November 4th that the election results were not in his favor, they were in his disfavor, in fact, to the tune of SEVEN MILLION votes. 

Tweet©: Americans have disfavored only three incumbent presidents in the last 100 years and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris did it with a higher percentage of the vote than Ronald Reagan in 1980 or Bill Clinton in 1992, with the highest popular vote percentage against an incumbent president (4.4%) since FDR defeated Herbert Hoover in 1932. 

Joe Biden wiped the floor with Donald Trump’s orange hairdo and that’s the greatest thing to happen to me since this stupid, damned-to-hell virus broke out: I will never, ever have to write about Donald J. Trump for the rest of my God-given days. This post, my cheery wintertime repast should’ve been about Demeter, but my boring history lesson has been sullied, yet again, by the Trump dullards yet I will persevere, with mask ON for 100 more days ‘till vaccination, without ever having to write about THE DONALD, Donald J. Trump, Trump Jr. Ivanka Melania Eric Tiffany or any of the Trump Clan ever again. Except Barron. He was fine. All the rest, goodbye and good luck. Trump’s so far gone now that he’s ready for a burp and a nap, but that’s beside the point, the seasons of change are upon us. Trump’s last gambit, a similar play to his many cons before, he takes a triumphant Republican ‘victory,’ breaks it and ruins it with incompetence and indifference and then shoves it back in America’s face and blurts: NICE FUCKIN’ DEMOCRACY! while pocketing millions. As internet phish enthusiasts well understand, it takes a barracuda to keep the catch lively. So EAT IT! 

A student of (recent) history, Donald Trump knows better than most how nimbly George W. Bush and the Republican Party ‘stole’ the 2000 Presidential Election; the hanging chads, the butterflied ballots, the ridiculously overwrought hours of listening to the awful Katherine Harris and the president’s mediocre brother (and son, Jeb!) lay waste to reason by STOPPING THE COUNT, the US Supreme Court then mooting the Florida Supreme Court (unprecedented) giving us George W. Bush’s unassailable shit-kicking mediocrity for eight long years, so we’ve really had a 20-year primer to what we’ve lived with for near on five fucking years now. Oh, and I’m writing no more F-bombs anymore so there you go, I’m feeling better already! This last year has been the worst by far, with each moment growing more stupid and deadly by the day and now down to the hours, minutes and seconds before we awaken from the Trump nightmare.

Trump is now holed-up in the White House, soon to be Mar-a-Lago, running around like the Hamburgerler since he lost the election in embarrassing yet predictable fashion and from his gilded crib he tweets FOUL! Will he ever just leave us alone? Will Lou Dobbs, Maria Bartiromo, Sean Hannity, Ron DeSantis, Ted Fuckin Cruz (sorry) or any other GOPer who supports this travesty ever just leave us all be? Um, no. Update: only 27 Republicans acknowledge Joe Biden as our new president and over 100 seditious losers in the GOP signed a letter attesting to their seditious loserdom. Lest we forget Willie Horton or the Vietnam War hero John O’Neill, the Republicans have mastered the dark arts that Roger Stone has studied since childhood, since well before Donald Segretti lost his law license in California. Keeping up with Republican ‘ne’er-do-wells’ since the Republican from California, (Bill Hader accent here), Richard Nixon’s last foray into blackmail, with Holy Cross’ own Robert Maheu and the (FBI/CIA) entanglement with chief Watergate investor Howard Hughes, (along with ITT and 50 other large American companies), keeping up with GOP professional liars, lunatics and greedy, selfish assholes is damned tiring work. They’ve had had a lot of practice.

Upton Sinclair (1878—1968), acclaimed author of The Jungle in 1914 which exposed the inhuman treatment of meatpacking plant workers in Chicago, won the Pulitzer Prize for his takedown of Hitler in Dragon’s Teeth in 1942, also writing screenplays for the eminent Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, no less, in the humorless ¡Que Viva Mexico! (1930) with Charlie Chaplin, no less, producing the silent film. Sinclair would go on to write and narrate the movie version of The Jungle, which is a now a lost film, he was a left-of-center representation of the American Century, starting out as a wide-eyed Socialist, he was raised in a wealthy yet diminished family from the pre-Civil War South, left scattered across America after the war, his father was an alcoholic liquor salesman and his mother was a teetotaling dowager. After growing up in Baltimore, his family finally settled in New York where he lived on the fringes of society and wrote about it so exceedingly well that he became a legend in his own time. Upton Sinclair died in the revolutionary year of 1968, his New York Times obituary noted that the term ‘muckraker’ was created for him by Teddy Roosevelt, who absolutely despised him. Sinclair moved to Southern California in 1915 and by 1926 he was running as the Socialist candidate for Governor of California, netting more than 60,000 votes in the election. In author Anthony Arthur’s biography Radical Innocent: Upton Sinclair (2005), he was described as such a driving force of history that one could easily mistake his life story for fiction:

He counted dozens of epochal figures as friends or confidants, including Mark Twain, Jack London, Henry Ford, Thomas Mann, H. G. Wells, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Albert Camus, and Carl Jung. In his later years, Sinclair twice reinvented himself, first as the Democratic candidate for governor of California in 1934, and later, in his sixties and seventies, as a historical novelist. In 1943 he won a Pulitzer Prize for Dragon’s Teeth, one of eleven novels featuring super-spy Lanny Budd.

On April 15, 1920 at the Slater and Morrill Shoe Company in Braintree, Massachusetts two security guards, Frederick Parmenter and Alessandro Berardelli unloaded $15,766.51 (them’s pre-Depression dollars) off an armored car just as Nicola Sacco descended upon them and shot them both to death, while taking all the loot. Before OJ and Al Cowlings and the wall-to-wall coverage that came with it, we had Nick Sacco and Bart Vanzetti and the accompanying radio and print drama, a cause célèbre for Socialists, Anarchists and most Italians in America and Europe, for what happened to them revealed the many ways in which American justice usually works: totally unfairly, but better than nothing. In Sinclair’s novel, Boston (1928) he created a fictionalized narrative that closely paralleled the facts of the case and used real names and events to bring the book into the realm of journalism. It would be Sinclair after all, with his expose of ‘Yellow Journalism’ in The Brass Check in 1919, who revealed how the pay-for-play racket worked, like other muckraking leftists he would become weary of the Socialist brand after the rise of Stalin and his Five Year Plan, Sinclair would convert to the Democratic Party for the remainder of his 90 years in 1934 and he would play an important part in the campaign to frame the Sacco and Vanzetti murder case as something more than a robbery gone bad.

He would run for the Governor of California in 1934 as a Democrat, in the original place where the current iteration of the Grand Old Party of Lincoln really started, as true today as in 1849 — and there’s still gold in them thar’ hills: Beverly Hills, that is. Swimmin Pools. Movie stars. And politicians! Both major political parties have bent their knee to the Great California miracle, born in the furthest imagination of America’s Wild West, with Las Vegas in nearby Nevada, Los Angeles (with the Dems stronghold up in San Francisco) with San Diego and Orange County and huge swaths of arid, beautiful land from Michael Landon State Park and Simi Valley northward, Republicans hid away in the Golden State, meeting furtively at the exclusive Bohemian Grove, the super-secret Republican retreat near San Francisco where they have ruled from without for decades, losing all of their power to the California Democrats. Just before California was admitted to the United States, the native people of California, the Californios, elected Pío Pico as the Governor of Mexican California in the 1846 election, the brother of Andrés Pico and the son of the powerful José María Pico (a soldier in the Company of San Diego), four times the Californios rebelled against the whims of Santa Anna from Mexico City, then part of the Spanish Empire, the last revolt against Spain ended in 1844, yet at battles in Los Angeles, San Pascual and Chino Ranch, Californios fought and defeated Anglo forces led by Major John C. Frémont, an adventurer who had shrewdly bought up land after war was declared in 1846 between the US and Mexico. Frémont struck gold and claimed a huge fortune, later he was court-martialed for mutiny for his participation in the famous Bear Flag revolt, but his sentence was commuted (targeted as an anti-abolitionist by the disgraced Stephen Kearny), he was reinstated by President James K. Polk, ready-made for Republican politics. Frémont was California’s first US Senator and chosen to be the first presidential nominee for the brand-new Republican Party in 1856, losing to the former Federalist, the Jacksonian Democrat and inept President James Buchanan, Frémont also served as the Governor of Arizona from 1878 until 1881, however he resigned soon after and he retired from politics and died a destitute loner in New York City in 1890.

The 28th Governor of California and the former Lieutenant Governor (as well as the former State Auditor of Iowa) Frank Finley Merriam moved to the Golden State in 1910 where he flourished with his corn-belt conservatism, his Republican backers then ran the ‘Stop Sinclair’ movement in California to counter Upton Sinclair’s EPIC political movement, among Merriam’s many Republican supporters were the LA Times managing editor Harry Chandler, MGM’s film boss Louis Burton Mayer and newspaper tycoon William R. Hurst. Mayer used his influential Hollywood studio to churn out slick Republican propaganda, producing numerous fake newsreels that played before feature-length films screened in California, one of them portraying crowds of Soviets arriving in San Francisco eager to cast their votes for the former Socialist Sinclair. The Deputy District Attorney of Oakland, California in 1920 was Earl Warren, appointed DA in 1925, he won the election for California Attorney General in 1938, where he then supported and oversaw the internment of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII. He would come to regret the decision and he shifted his stance, becoming a liberal Republican. He was elected Governor of California and would then be appointed by President Eisenhower (who credited Warren for delivering him the Republican nomination) the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court in 1953 and the Warren Court then decided the most influential set of opinions in American history. After Warren moved on to the Supreme Court, his lieutenant Goodwin ‘Goody’ Knight was elected Governor of California in 1954, at Disneyland on opening day on July 17, 1955 (giving a speech after Walt Disney’s famous dedication) and on September, 1961, he announced his bid for a second term as governor, however the moderate Republican dropped out of the race for the nomination, won by the conservative Republican Richard Nixon who was then in turn defeated by liberal Democrat Jerry Brown’s dad, Pat Brown

In the ‘Crime of the (20th) Century,’ dynamite killed 21 newspaper employees and injured 100 more at the LA Times when a time-bomb went off at the fortress-like Los Angeles Times building, set by union agitators, part of an organized campaign of violence that was the largest domestic terror campaign in US history. LA Times publisher Harrison Gray Otis, was an anti-union owner who successfully kept print unions out of his newspaper for over 50 years, until the powerful San Francisco labor unions, fronted by the fearless Iron Workers and the IWW, one of the few strong unions in Los Angeles where they employed an ‘extralegal’ campaign against US business interests, begun in the spring of 1910 when union boss J. J. McNamara sent his younger brother, J. B. to LA on a deadly mission. The younger McNamara was instructed to leave a suitcase full of dynamite in the narrow alleyway between the Times building and the Times annex, then known as ‘Ink Alley,’ he planted the bombs and then left more, all set to detonate at 1 am, while leaving another bomb next to the home of the Times‘ publisher Otis, McNamara then boarded a train to San Francisco and escaped town when the Times building bomb went off at 1:07 a.m. on October 1, 1910. The bombs planted elsewhere failed to explode, giving investigators valuable clues to the guilt of the McNamara brothers, who ended up changing their pleas to guilty after their famed defense attorney Clarence Darrow was caught jury tampering, after which J.B. McNamara testified in court:

On the night of September 30, 1910, at 5:45 p.m., I placed in Ink Alley, a portion of the Times building, a suitcase containing sixteen sticks of 80 per cent dynamite, set to explode at one o’clock the next morning. It was my intention to injure the building and scare the owners. I sincerely regret that these unfortunate men lost their lives.

The Sacco and Vanzetti robbery and the terror bombing campaign preceding it are inextricably linked, with the Wall Street bombing unfolding just after and yet the derelict building stands today, still pockmarked with shrapnel. The Wall Street attack killed more people than the LA Times attack, with brokers, clerks and messengers killed and maimed while going about their business just outside 23 Wall Street, JP Morgan’s famous four story headquarters was designed to support 40 floors above, yet had only four solid floors, built in 1914, the case has never been solved. The Anarchist group the Galleanists were initially identified as suspects in several violent anti-capitalist bombings and assassination attempts, including an attempted mass poisoning, the US government deported Galleani and eight associates on June 24, 1919, just before the wave of attacks. Andrea Salsedo met Luigi Galleani in 1910 and assisted with the creation of the subversive newspaper Cronaca Sovversivand, and Salsedo also wrote a number of articles for the magazine. The Justice Department in New York included Salsedo on a list of anarchists who fled to Mexico in order to avoid military service (he apparently committed suicide by leaping from the quarters of the Department of Justice from the fourteenth floor) and the names also included Nicola Sacco, Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Roberto Elia as well as Galleani. In the murder trial of Sacco and Vanzetti, a Massachusetts jury quickly returned a verdict of guilty on July 14, 1921 and both men were sentenced to death. It would be almost ten years later when the case reached its apotheosis and Sacco and Vanzetti were executed.

On September 12, 1929 Upton Sinclair wrote a letter addressed to his attorney: John Beardsley, Esq., of Los Angeles with the return address, “Upton Sinclair, Long Beach” discovered in 1995 by book nerd Paul Hegness who was searching for literary errata among boxes of dusty records and correspondence, remembering that “I stood there for 15 minutes reading it over and over again,” of the letter because Hegness had found something extraordinary, while reading Sinclair’s words, “I am here trying to make plain my own part in the story.” The story was Sinclair’s novel Boston, Hegness would later donate the letter to Sinclair’s archives at Indiana University, to be filed with other letters tucked away in the Indiana archive that also contains correspondence that Sinclair writes that, “My wife is absolutely certain that if I tell what I believe, I will be called a traitor to the movement and may not live to finish the book,” written to Robert Minor, a confidant at the Socialist Daily Worker in New York in 1927. “Of course,” he added,

… The next big case may be a frame-up, and my telling the truth about the Sacco-Vanzetti case will make things harder for the victims… It is much better copy as a naive defense of Sacco and Vanzetti because this is what all my foreign readers expect, and they are 90% of my public.

Massachusetts and New York were at the center of American power in early America, from 1630-1930, however after the Civil War, especially as the country entered the Great Depression, what began in Boston and New York City moved South toward Florida, then slowly transplanted along with the film industry to the warmer climate of Los Angeles beginning in the 1920s until the transplantation of the minicomputer industry from the Technology Highway in Massachusetts to Silicon Valley near San Francisco in the 1980s.The OJ Simpson Trial, today a media event as analyzed and parsed as Sacco and Vanzetti in the ’20s, the guilt or innocence at the hearts of the matters became less important than the matters themselves. Sacco and Vanzetti were as guilty in Boston as the McNamara brothers were in the Times bombing, following the McNamara brothers guilty pleas in Los Angeles, where Clarence Darrow, the famed attorney of the Scopes Monkey Trial and also in the defense of Leopold and Leob was heavily criticized in the press after the Times Bombing trials because he then lied to raise money for his clients’ defense fund, allowing duped supporters to believe in the McNamara brothers’ innocence, while raising a war chest of $200,000 (them’s pre-Depression dollars) from contributions, largely from rank and file union members. He spent half the money to mount an expensive legal and media campaign while knowing all along that the McNamara brothers were guilty.

At the twilight of the 19th Century, American power was still based in America’s Northeast in Massachusetts and New York, which then sprouted The Republican newspaper in Springfield, MA and The New York Times in New York, the true birthplaces of the Republican Party (more later), just after that Donald Trump’s grandpa ran a fine bordello that catered to the tastes of the gold-digging ‘49ers way up in Alaska, among many adventurous men and women who have ventured to the most Western place in America, (sorry Hawaii) California (Bill Hader accent) under the desert sun was built for fun. With Las Vegas too! The money and the hookers and the insane film and TV deals, it’s in the Hollywood Hills where true political power resides in America today, as Florida fades into the gloaming. Lately, the Democrat and Governor of California Gavin Newsom, after winning his re-election in November, partied maskless at the ultra-exclusive, ridiculously expensive French Laundry (🤮) which reveals why he, among Democrats, was Donald Trump’s English translator for four years while SF’s Nancy Pelosi (mask optional) is the Devil’s spawn in Trumpworld. Nancy is herself a big ego, but she’s a normal, old fashioned whip-snapping representative, a terribly boring person compared to the likes of the untethered, un-American California Representative Devin Nunes or the toxic California Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, or even the big, dumb Arnold Schwarzenegger for that matter, the former celebrity and Governor of California was the last Republican governor before the cast-molded Democrat Gray Davis was recalled in 2004, back to the good ‘ol Dem Jerry Brown, born the son of California Governor Pat Brown, unseated by Ronald Reagan in the year of my birth in 1966, so there you go. 

Florida Man makes the case that the real Republican power base STILL resides firmly in Florida, near Miami, I believe (Jared and Ivanka just bought an island in the Keys I hear) and NOT in arch-nemesis California, (Boston<NY), with dimwitted Marco Rubio, Governor/ass-wipe Ron DeSantis (Desantis recently authorizing a raid at a Covid scientist’s home) and Representative Matt Gaetz (insufferable asshole) representing the very best of the nutcases grown in the Sunshine State, the hallowed ground of many, many crazy people, Trump now OWNS Florida and because of that, they’ll be just like California (Bill Hader accent) — another Democratic stronghold represented with style by former California Senator and new Vice President, Kamala Fuckin’ Harris. Sorry, but that F-Bomb was in a positive, inclusive way. The total popular vote margin of victory in the 2020 United States Presidential Election was SEVEN MILLION VOTES so let me never have to write his fake name ever again. Hallelujah! There is a God!

Merry Christmas everybody!

John Underhill

December 15, 2020

It’s All Greek to Me


The Parthenon

I’ve been putting off writing this post because it’ll be the last one that I’ll throw up before the 2020 Presidential Election and in 2016, just after Trump was nominated, I posted The Most Hated Man in America. This year, I don’t wanna be right again if that means losing you, however I obviously have the gift of prognostication (a noun meaning “the action of foretelling or prophesying future events”) and anyone who doubts that, just read on. I’ve had a few choice words to describe my feelings about Donald J. Trump through the years, yet who am I to question the leadership of this man? What gives me the right to ask if he’s insane or not? I’m just an ordinary citizen of the United States, at least I was the last time I checked but who knows anymore? In the four years since Donald J. Trump has been our duly elected president, I’ve been right about pretty much everything I’ve said about him (actually since 1988 but who’s keeping score?) and if he’s not the most hated man in America by now whom, pray tell, would grab that crown from him?


We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

One of my favorite movies of all time is Jaws (1975) but I can’t name an African-American in the film so that’s messed up, but then Steven Spielberg made The Color Purple (1985) so he’s cool. My other favorite directors are Martin Scorsese and also Woody Allen so if you total up all the African-American characters in their films you end up with ‘Stacks’ in Goodfellas (1990). Too bad about Stacks, he got high and left his prints all over the getaway van. In Goodfellas, ‘Two ni**ers just stole my truck’ was the excuse for the paid-off truck driver as he complains to anyone who will overhear him, “Can you believe that?” he asks incredulously, Charles Stewart-style. There were no black gangs in New York in the 1800s, apparently and Sugar Ray Robinson isn’t even given a line in Scorsese’s masterpiece, Raging Bull, (1980) yet he’s still my favorite director. Scorsese himself plays a racist in his film Taxi Driver where he brags to DeNiro’s Travis Bickle that he’s going to kill his wife because she’s cheating on him with a ‘ni**er.’ Marty, time’s up to make your Black Narcissus.


When America Sneezes, the World Catches a Cold

The Wonderful Effects of the New Inoculation by James Gillray (1802)

Conservative Austrian diplomat Klem von Metternich (1773 – 1859), the architect of the ‘Metternich System’ of détente diplomacy between France and Prussia from 1800-1848, which dominated politics on the Continent and established the pathway to Austria’s independence, for four decades Prince Metternich served as foreign minister from 1809-1848 and also Chancellor from 1821, the father of the empire until the liberal Revolutions of 1848, he maintained Austria as a great power and was Napoleon’s able foil because Metternich was super smart but also extremely cocky, once saying,

There is a wide sweep about my mind. I am always above and beyond the preoccupations of most public men. I can cover a ground much vaster than they can see. I cannot keep myself from saying about twenty times a day: ‘How right I am, and how wrong they are.’


The Tonight Show Starring Donald Trump

Boy, did Trump put on a bad show last night or what? Since my last post, the country has become a poorer, sicker and dumber place than at any time since Donald Trump took office, however a small side benefit to the Coronavirus outbreak is that I’ve had an enormous amount of free time to catch up on old TV shows on YouTube, so lately I’ve been binge watching Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman; Maude; Wolfman Jack’s Midnight Special and especially Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show. I’ve never been so happy to ignore reality because after watching TV or reading Twitter or the local news,  I tend to get selfish, angry and mean and I don’t want that to define who I am during this crisis. It’s terribly frustrating to see our government work like it’s run by an amateur and it highlights just how terrible our president* has become. If Hillary Clinton was elected instead of Donald Trump in 2016 and was the President of the United States right now, (as THREE MILLION more people voted for her than the other guy) I would be preparing to watch the Boston Red Sox play a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, possibly rained out at Fenway but nonetheless, that ain’t happening now. The reality is that our imbecilic president has allowed this awful tragedy to happen to our great country because — at this point — the only logical explanation that I have left is that Donald Trump isn’t just a misogynist (he obviously hates women) but he’s also a psychopath. He hates people. After all, his parents were just awful human beings and I have a first-person account of how Fred Trump was basically a Nazi sympathizer. Being the son or daughter of a Nazi sympathizer and a cold and distant mother would be a challenge for most normal people and Donald Trump is certainly not a normal human being. He’s totally fucking abnormal. Interesting fact: the first toilet paper panic was caused by an offhand joke by Johnny Carson in 1974 when he said there were shortages of everything in California during the Watergate scandal and gas shortage. The joke became a rumor, which became a fact, resulting in a run on toilet paper and also a very funny example of how humans can panic and act irrational, even in the best of times. Here’s a typical zinger from the show:

I hear that whenever someone in the White House tells a lie, Nixon gets a royalty.


Cult of Trump

Now that the United States Senate is finished with impeachment, the Cult of Donald Trump is now armed with the knowledge that ‘The Dear Leader’ is innocent of all charges against him. Before long, things of this nature tend to get out of hand, however all cults are not necessarily a bad thing and many cultists are darn good people. Someone who knows a thing or two about cults, Steven Hassan, is an American mental health counselor who has written extensively on the subject of mind control and how to help people who have been harmed by cults. I suggest the US Congress create a new Committee on Political Cults, similar to the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France following the so-called ‘Order of the Solar Temple’ mass suicides in the 1990s, with Mr. Hassan appointed as it’s first director. His personal experience being a former member of the Unification Church, or the so-called ‘Moonies’ of the 1970s gave him all the experience he needs for the job and Mr. Hassan has become one of the most respected authorities on the subject of cults and mind control in the world. Just last October he published his fourth book, The Cult of Trump: A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind Control where he explains the problem we all face and what we can do about reversing the damage. Most of us think that we are totally above these sorts of shenanigans and know better than the experts, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to fall the victim of a cult leader.


3 Whistleblowers

Photo Illustration: ABC News

Here we are at the end of a decade and sometimes that means the end of an era. The 80’s ended with a thud and we’ll see if the 10’s live to be remembered as the decade in which we all finally lost our minds and with this in mind, let’s now affix our tin foil hats and review some of the many conspiracy theories that have swirled around since I was born. The greatest conspiracy theory of all time, the conspiracy by which all other conspiracies are measured is of course the Kennedy Assassination, our 35th President was murdered on November 22, 1963 by self-avowed Communist and former US Marine, Soviet-defector Lee Harvey Oswald and that case is still open. On New Year’s Day in 1979, the House Subcommittee on Assassinations released it’s shocking findings that, on the basis of the evidence available to the committee at the time, there was a 90% probability that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as the result of a conspiracy. The committee was unable, however, to identify any other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy. The earlier Warren Commission, formed by President Lyndon Johnson just after the trauma of the murder had subsided, had the initial effect of answering some of the most basic questions the American public had about the assassination that unfolded in front of our eyes in Dallas, the Warren report was at first accepted as the most definitive, exhaustive investigation of any crime in history.


A Very Big Thing

Eighty years ago today, the Winter War began, where Joseph Stalin had been granted Finland in a ‘quid-pro-quo’ with Adolph Hitler, prior to the Barbarossa offensive, a dazed and confused Russia (referred to in international circles at the time as the ‘Soviet Union’) were bloodied and basically beaten after just three months of battle, where Russia suffered 134,000 to 138,000 dead or missing with estimates as high as 167,976 by the Russian State Military Archive in this early ‘war’ of WWII and the following Continuation War pushed the numbers far higher for both sides.



(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

Happy Halloween, the one time of the year that adults are allowed to dress up in costumes, get drunk, eat tons of candy — and it’s all for the kids! This year, Halloween is especially scary because today is also the very day that the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump got impeached. It was a rough week for the president*, starting with the humiliating chorus of boos from the ‘swampy’ Washington Nationals fans, who exorcised the latest Curse of the Trumpino with their throaty disapproval of The Donald and the bad vibes that followed him to the ballgame last Sunday night. The week then featured an honest-to God Ken Burns-esque American hero standing up to the White House, testifying to Congress, thus sinking the final nail in the Trump coffin, after Trump World besmirched the character of this American hero, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman.


Kenneth, What is the Frequency?

In a strange incident in 1986, Dan Rather was roughed up by a couple of well-dressed goons as he walked home near the corner of 88th Street and Park in New York, with one of them repeatedly asking, “Kenneth, what is the frequency?” The newsman made news himself because the louts, instead of calling the celebrity CBS reporter by his given name, Dan or even Daniel, referred to him as ‘Kenneth.’ This was just weird enough to make the national news. The brouhaha died down and the incident was quickly forgotten until 1994 when a band by the name of R.E.M. out of Athens, Georgia recorded the hit song, “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?” off their album Monster, which is why anyone remembers the story. The reason Rather came to be asked the strange question by the nutty duo is quite weird and stupid and tragic, and I’ll get into that later in the post, but it’s when we hit the ‘stupidity curve’ as a culture, where schizophrenic news cycles and the weird shit that we see today has hit the fan every day, week and month since.


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