This is a very IMPORTANT video. i've only watched it once, but I know I will go back to it several times. Jason Stanley is interviewed on MSNBC about his book, HOW FASCISM WORKS. I've ordered the book (you can too, click here), but it's possible this video might be even more useful than the book because the interviewer plays very dumb and asks simple and even stupid questions, which allows Stanley to explain things VERY CLEARLY.
I wish I'd read this a lot earlier. When someone I love was going through a hard time a couple of years ago, I jumped all over her, trying to "fix" her. I was awful. Finally, I asked her for the umpteenth time how she was doing, and she replied, "Actually, the worst thing happening in my life is YOU."
ANYHOW, I do think it's important for us to check in on our friends, especially those who are single, to see how things are going for them. I check in on a few people myself. And I was absolutely delighted when my friend Revital checked in on ME.
Also, the article suggests sending actual snail mail to people you're thinking about. Being a postcard lover myself, I can't recommend that highly enough. In fact, my friend Joan Straumanis, who is homebound recovering from surgery, sent out a general email to thank everyone for their support and SPECIFICALLY named the two people who sent her postcards -- one of which was me. I felt very puffed up about that, I can assure you.
Joan is a good role model for me. She was in the hospital, then in rehab and then she was home. She was very clear about what she needed and DIDN'T need from her friends. She said she did NOT want to be asked how she was feeling or give updates on her medical status. She wanted to hear from other people about THEIR lives.
I find her specificity very refreshing. How often do I actually ask clearly for what I need? Not very. Mostly I expect others to know what to give me because it's so OBVIOUS to me. Or, if I DO ask and then DON'T get what I need in the first or second request --- I give up. I decide to be a fucking martyr and just plunge ahead without the support I long for.
It is clear to me now that, when I phone people to check in on them, I should also ask them to check in on ME once in a while!
Wow. I feel all this shame rising inside me, that I need to actually ASK for what I need.
THANK YOU JOAN, FOR LEADING BY YOUR COURAGEOUS EXAMPLE!
Three: Photos Personal
Here's me with a great big bouquet of new socks that had arrived in the mail! I was so happy. I had found the name of the company on my last remaining pair of thick wool socks. I had searched for the company online, I had ordered two different kinds of thick wool socks. I was somebody who was taking care of business and taking care of herSELF!
Sadly, unlike the original socks, these socks are so tight at the top that they practically caused my feet to atrophy and drop off.
Oh well. There was that moment of great competence, great satisfaction that is captured in this selfie.
In the background is a very large painting that Lieke, my Dutch girlfriend, made for me. When I was living in Holland, she got so tired of my complaining about the lack of sun, that she painted the sun for me. Got my own private sun in my living room.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED.
"Terry, fascism is here. It's not coming. It's not in the future. It is here."
Said to me by my friend Kendall in Portland.
I am very overwhelmed with what is happening all over the country, although strangely not in San Francisco. Of course, first I am stunned by Trump's using the Homeland Security troops against American protesters. Carolyn reminded me that we KNEW this was going to happen eventually, we knew that it was the REAL reason behind the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. That's why we, as in the rational progressives, were against it and against the Patriot Act.
Those words, "homeland," "patriot." So very suspect. So successfully tugging at the lizard part of our brain that wants us to be eternally totally physically safe. Of course sometimes patriotism makes sense, as when your country is invaded and occupied by the army of another country. But that's not what anyone does to US. That's what WE do to other countries.
When you're the richest, the most militarized, most dominant country in the world --- uh uh. "Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels." That's a famous and ominous saying. We've got scoundrels aplenty now.
Okay. Portland. This from the New York Times:
"One protester standing on a city street outside the federal courthouse was shot in the head with a crowd-control munition, leaving a bloody scene and a serious facial injury that required surgery. In another incident, an officer was seen repeatedly using a baton to whack a Navy veteran who said he had come to speak to the agents. Videos taken by members of the public captured camouflaged personnel pulling protesters into unmarked vans."
OK? JUST ONE FOR SURE. I KNOW, I KNOW, IT'S EASY FOR ME
TO TELL PEOPLE TO DO IT BUT IT'S ANOTHER THING TO DO IT.
I PROMISE TO MAKE ONE PHONE CALL AND WRITE ONE EMAIL TODAY.
Kendall said that the protests were dwindling until the Federal troops arrived. Now they're growing. Even so, the whole action is on five blocks downtown, with the rest of the city unaffected.
Maybe the rest of Portland is unaffected. But the outrage has spread to many other cities. I too would be hard-put to continue my sheltering in place if those troops came to San Francisco.
Quite frankly, I am really concerned that those protesters throwing things lighting fires are really playing into Trump's hands, giving him an EXCUSE to send in troops.
In fact, I wonder if there aren't a few (or more than a few) agents provocateurs mixed in there -- that is, right-wing folks who know that when the protesters get rowdy, it greatly serves Trump's right-wing agenda that the country is spiraling toward chaos, and only Trumpian fascism can save the day.
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO NON-VIOLENT PROTEST?
Everyone's worshipping at the feet of John Lewis, who just died. But nobody is seriously considering the possibility of actually doing what he did -- which is to PROTEST NON-VIOLENTLY!
This is a technique of protest that WORKS. For one thing, it separates the great body of protesters, who are in fact non-violent, from those who, whether because of political beliefs or just to have a good time, want to throw firecrackers, bottles, set things on fire, whatever. AND it completely eliminates the possibility of agents provocateurs.
Non-violent protest lifts you to the moral high ground. But it takes organization, training, leadership. These protests are leaderless and spontaneous.
Of course, there IS a playful, self-mocking stream in Portland culture. We're seeing that so clearly here, and how refreshing it is. I do believe the more IMAGINATION we can bring to protest, the better off we are.
First and foremost are the WALL OF MOMS. Their motto is: "All Mothers were Summoned When He Called Out to His Mama":
The intent of the Wall of Moms is to be THE front line, to be the First Recipients of any violence. This is so exciting and is a fulfillment of the ORIGINAL intention of Mothers' Day, which was founded as Mothers' Day for Peace in the 19th Century. I think John Lewis would approve. Go to their website and READ about the initial group of white Moms transforming into a group led by all women of color:
"We are eager to announce that all White group admins have relinquished their roles. Not one of our group admins struggled with this decision, and all have chosen to stay on in powerful roles in service to the group and movement. Our leadership is entirely composed of Black and Indigenous women from most-impacted communities. In this moment, we ask for you to take time to both read this post, consider what skills you have to give, think about how you can participate without seeking rank or power, and welcome our new leadership. We deeply thank you for your service and for your faith in this movement."
And then there's the leaf-blower-toting Dads, who flip the voluminous and incessant clouds teargas back at the DHS invaders. And the chefs with pizza-box shields.
So some very exciting AND IMAGINATIVE things are happening in Portland!
But still, I wish they'd stop destruction of.... oh well. Maybe I'm being too namby-pamby middle-classy. I don't know. But while I'm invigorated by the Moms, the Dads, the Chefs et al., I am also fearful about where this is game of Whack-a-Mole, between the protesters and the Trump goons, is leading.
And now, let's change to a DIFFERENT but perhaps NO CHEERIER subject; Ye Goode Olde Pandemic! Thanks to Pat Hendricks for sending me the latest wisdom from RANDY RAINBOW on this subject. ENJOY.
Bloggelinis, I'm getting more and more overwhelmed with the world. Hard to choose what to write about, what to include in what I write about. I guess I pride myself on having some kind of overview. But I don't now. As an asthmatic old woman, I've chosen to stay safe in my home. But if the goons come to SF... Well.... Well... Would the Wall of Moms accept a childless white crone? Makes me think of that funny postcard, "Oh no! I forgot to get married and have children!" If I did it, (not get married & have children, silly) I'd be a proud brick, that's for sure. Terry
I had taken my link from Fox News. They obviously realized they were giving free publicity to the enemy, and took the speech down. Maybe they actually thought AOC's brilliiant words made her look bad, and that's why they put it up in the first place!!
It reminds me of a coupla years ago when some right-wing creep unearthed an old video that AOC was part of when she was in college, where she's dancing, sometimes wildly, on rooftops, along with other beautiful young people. The creep spread it far and wide in an effort to SHAME her! But it just redounded to her fame.
And here is a link to just Yoho's speech alone. It's absolutely worth listening to, because AOC is responding, not to his initial expletive, but to this speech.
Okay, Bloggelinis, I think I got this right this time. Actually, it's improved over the first blog, with extra links. And thanks to Lady Dear for sending me an early-morning text to alert me to the need to correct my blog. Terry
My email sender is having technical problems and I couldn't upload a photo of the wonderful, courageous, outspoken, and not too bad-looking, Representative of the 14th Congressional District of the United States:
What. A. Woman. You absolutely MUST watch this videoof her entire 10-minute speech in the House of Representatives, in response to an incident where a Republican colleague, Rep. Yoho, called her "a fucking bitch" within hearing of several reporters.
What provoked HER speech was actually not that incident, but HIS speech before the House, where he issued a defiant non-apology for his behavior, claiming that because he has a wife and daughters, he couldn't POSSIBLY have demeaned a woman! She could not BEAR that he was using his own misogynist behavior to declare what a great guy he was.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is articulate. She is politically on point. She is down-to-earth. She talks not just about herself but about the incessant demeaning that all women experience in this patriarchy we suffer under.
Oh, it did this old feminist's heart good to hear her.
AND she is also extraordinarily generous. She actually says in her speech that anyone can make a mistake. But "a decent man" apologizes and tries to undo the harm he has caused to others. She creates a path for hateful jerks to follow back to their humanity. (That is not very well-said, but I'm sure you know what I mean.)
What an open-hearted woman. I cannot wait for her to be President!
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED.
I had no idea that John Lewis, the great black civil rights pioneer who just died, was also a passionate fighter for gay rights, going back to the 90s.
Lewis spoke out against the shameful Defense Of Marriage Act, in 1996. DOMA defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It was overwhelmingly supported by both Republicans and Democrats and President Clinton. The House of Representatives, where Lewis spent his long career, voted 342 yes and 67 no. Lewis was one of only two Georgia legislators to vote against DOMA.
It took courage for Lewis, a black man representing a Southern state, to stand against the homophobia of DOMA. Lewis spoke movingly against this sanctimonious attack on gay rights. Please watch this short video of an excerpt from his speech. It brought me to tears.
This was the time of the military's "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. The gay community had few allies in Washington, even among Democrats. Cathy Woolard, the first openly gay elected official in Georgia, says that Lewis was different.
"We could always count on him to be there without having to ask," she said. "He said things that needed to be said at a time when no one wanted to say them. And he said it with a compassion and an eloquence that made people listen, even if they didn't want to."
Lewis equated the gay rights struggle with the struggle of civil rights for black people, and that divided him from other civil rights leaders, who felt the issues were fundamentally different. In 2004, 76 percent of Georgians voted to amend the state constitution to ban gay marriage. A month after the banning, civil rights leaders organized a march in Atlanta IN SUPPORT of the amendment, AGAINST gay rights.
But Congressman John Lewis never wavered. When Matthew Shephard was murdered in 1998, Lewis spoke at a memorial service for him on the steps of the Capitol.
When 49 gay people were murdered in 2016 at the Pulse Club in Orlando, Florida, Lewis spoke at the memorial (photo right) and participated in a sit-in in Congress to protest the lack of gun-control laws in this country (photo below).
In 2019, Congressman Lewis spoke in support of the Equality Act, which would ban job discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Watch the video.
Atlanta HIV activist Anthony Antoine spoke movingly of how John Lewis' courageous support of gay rights affected him: "Having such a prominent activist leader so supportive of not just my gay life but my Black gay life...mattered so much."
Antoine organized several LGBTQ marches, including one protesting the 2004 anti-gay marriage march. Lewis' early support and continuing presence gave him confidence. Antoine said, "What can't we change? Why wouldn't we be able to have some impact? Because John Lewis was right off to the side...showing us support."
Thank you, John Lewis. Your courage is contagious. Your compassion for me and other LGBTQ people heals me.
All for now, Bloggelinis.
Much love, Terry
Thanks to the Associated Press & the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for helping me write this.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS TO ANYONE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED.
The Mission is downhill from me. I go there to escape the freezing fog that sometimes (but not frequently) engulfs my hill. I go there to find delicious Mexican food. I go there to see the murals that flourish there. They're inspired by the
Mexican heritage of the Chicano/a community of San Francisco.
Long ago, the Mission used to be the lesbian neighborhood, and there were lesbian institutions like Osento Bathhouse, Artemis Cafe, Amelia's bar. More recently, the Lexington, the only dyke bar in SF, could be found there. And now it too is gone. The Mission was a low-rent neighborhood and a center of activism --- perhaps THE center -- in San Francisco.
More recently, it has been ground zero for gentrification by wealthy techies and hipsters: "Two million dollars for a CONDO on 14th and Valencia? Are they out of their minds?!?"
The gentrification seems to have ground to a halt, along with so many other activities because of the pandemic. But I'm happy to say the activist and mural culture is FLOURISHING. The street art in the Mission seems to much more radical that what I've seen in my Noe Valley/Castro haunts.
I somehow didn't walk past many tents on this particular walk, but they are scattered everywhere. Politically and intellectually it is very clear to me that housing is a right, that we used to have enough subsidized housing for poor people before Reagan became President.... oh, wait. I just want to ramble and not rant. Anyhow, somehow this poster broke through my frozen feelings about people without housing. For a few moments, I felt us all in the same tent.
The main themes of the wall art were "Black Lives Matter" & the Pandemic.
Oh yes. I also go to the Mission for the cafes -- so many more than in my own 'hood. One cannot go INTO a cafe at the moment and I'm not sure if this kind of outdoor deliciousness is still legal in SF after Monday's pull-back. And I'm definitely not sure it's wise when I do it. After all, one must at least push down one's mask to insert the food. But I have always loved hanging out "on the little terrace" as they say in Amsterdam even when it's just a piece of sidewalk, and until now the opportunities have been so limited in San Francisco. I hope the outdoor cafe spaces remain forever.
So much sheer beauty on the plywood and blank walls. It lifts my heart.
When I was running for mayor in 2011, part of my platform was starting a San Francisco International Mural Festival. We would celebrate our own heritage and invite artists from other countries to come and paint more murals. We would have a widely publicized contest to find the ugliest building in the city, and then turn it glorious with color. Is there any easier and cheaper way to improve a city than murals? Plus it enables visual artists to pay their rent! I would also have a permanent Mural Repair Squad, to restore murals that had been defaced or were just aging. More money for artists!!
My immediate reaction to the one on the right was, " Some saint's hands praying while in bondage! Strange to find a religious image in the Mission." You know those saints. They were always finding unique ways to suffer. But no. The message is: "Wash your hands!" Very lovely. These are all acts of love, you know? Lots of love in the Mission. Love and anger.
Here we are at Clarion Alley, which is solid murals. So MUCH information in this one.
I know the tradition of Clarion Alley is one mural on top of another. But this one deserves permanence. it's on the level of the great WPA murals of the 30s. "House Keys Not Handcuffs" is a GREAT slogan.
I happen to be very attached to Cherin's Appliances, and I was upset to see it closed. A couple of years ago .... three? five years? who can keep track... I needed to buy new stoves for both my flat and Carolyn's flat. I had an actual antique Wedgewood stove that everyone adored -- except for me, who had to cook on the damn thing. Upstairs was
inhabited by my mother's Gaffers & Sattler. Whoever came to repair it always said, "This is a beauty -- the top of the line in its day." I remember my mother was very proud of it. The end of the top of the line came for both stoves at the same time. Their pilot lights leaked gas, so the ovens were not useable. And the parts don't exist anymore. Neither COMPANY exists anymore.
I went to the appliance departments in big box stores twice. Had to borrow a car to do it. Both times, the young salesman would show me a reasonably priced stove, and then assure me that it was a piece of shit, and then introduce me to a more expensive stove, which wasn't that great either in his opinion, so we went to the next level. This process went on until we got to the fabulously amazing gigantically expensive stove -- and I would leave.
I came to the conclusion that I needed to go to the one appliance store I could walk to with the pups. I walked in, explained my situation to the old man who had been selling appliances for decades, and he said, "This is the stove you want." It looked good, wasn't a gajillion dollars, I bought two. The whole process, including paying, took about 25 minutes. Then Nikki and Loulou and I went to Dolores park and played fetch. Now that's MY idea of a successful shopping trip.
My mother loved to shop. She didn't like so much to spend money. "What do you MEAN, telling me to have the physical therapist visit me TWICE a week? Are you nuts? In the Depression, we made shopping lists on the back of envelopes because we couldn't afford paper!" But she loved to SHOP. At one point, she needed new drapes for the living room. Woven, off-white. For about two years, whenever I visited L.A., we would go drapery shopping. It seemed she intended to examine every off-white woven drapery fabric in the city before she made her decision. I mean, she ENJOYED looking at all that off-white woven fabric!
Back to the Mission Ramble:
These absolutely fabulous pants were hanging on the rack outside. How could I not? He wanted me to try them on. Me: "I don't WANT to try them on. I want to BUY them." I knew they'd be at least a little tight. I didn't want to know how tight. I felt I could lose whatever weight was necessary in order to wear these pants.
This was on the side of a very funky old truck.
I could have looked at this all day. Contact sheets of photographs! Never seen this on a wall.
Essential Workers for President! Yes!
This is about a quarter of the photos I took on the walk. But I am going to end now. That hand is the Mission waving goodby to you.
And now I'm going to ask you Bloggelinis for .....
Lesley, my business manager would very much like to get more people to read this blog. I would too. BaumBlog is this email and also exists online in its entirety at terrybaum.blogspot.com. It doesn't have a lot of subscribers. At one point, I made a half-hearted effort to switch you over to it. But I've decided to continue with the email. But I WOULD greatly appreciate it if you would SUBSCRIBE to BaumBlog on that website. If I have a lot of subscribers, it will make it easier for Lesley to publicize BaumBlog. Lesley says all you have to do is: