POETRYthis political blog will deal with the fallout later. For now we offer a Non-Political Poem for readers who have had their fill of Red/Blue talk. Of course WE can never get enough politics–the stakes are so high– but here goes with the poetry:




I remember love in the summer days of Wolf Trap verdant with Potomac heat             and the Ragtime craze of those mid Seventies and love on a trip on a credit card in Cambridge and Stratford gardens boxwood, black-eyed Susans a few years after

and love in the mushroomy pine straw island in Lake Spednic off New                  Brunswick so the question is how will love look in the silver times, and                        where and your eyes will they reveal it?

Can this lovely world we think we have sustain the creeping of deserts,                         the slash-burning of rain forests confusing toucans and hyacinth macaws                    not to mention Us and the rising seas and boys with smoking guns feral

and on the loose carelessly treated and seeking some testosterone fueled                    revenge near Mogadishu, in Idaho, Damascus, Gaza, San Salvador                                   so many places to kill so many reasons so what will bring it to a stop and

will life on Earth and wherever else survive the coming in 4 billion years collision of Andromeda and the Milky Way you have to think long term sometimes not every problem is a now problem so there may be some comfort in thinking

about disturbances you will not have to witness in every case though                              we seem to need to hold hands and hope for good outcomes hard as                                 they may be to imagine now I’m thinking we could

use less bluster, less torture, less passivity and you my love and all the beloveds can probably agree on more convergence more serious searching for in-commonness under the brief green skies of setting suns.


                                             fls 11/4/18  blogger and occasional poet




Why do so many people in Rural America support Trump when some of his policies have actually harmed them?





Some common sense food for thought here that coastal, urban headed characters like us   ( about how Trump can hold onto even 41% of the American political support base (the worst track record since the 1920s and Gallup’s birth). Blogger, fls      read on!




It pretty much comes down to identity politics. We don’t just vote for politicians who promise us stuff… sometimes we vote for them because of who they are and who they allow us to say we are. In the case of rural voters for Trump, there are large trends that are making rural life in America far less appealing for a lot of older white Americans.

Companies are fleeing, shops are closing, their kids are moving to places with more opportunity. Their values are increasingly shunned as immoral. They feel inferior intellectually and socially. Immigrants, who work harder for less, and don’t necessarily speak English are moving next door. Because of Netflix, movie theaters are closing, because of Amazon… the local shopping mall (that was barely hanging on by a string) is closing. The kids that remain have nothing to do and are getting hooked on opiods. In other words, it is a culture in decline.

Trump comes along and says he’s going to make America Great again for people like you, “Oh no, it’s not your fault… its the Mexicans’ fault.” “Yeah,” he says, “it’s okay to be a little racist. And I gonna yell and scream and get those companies to move back to Iowa (or whatever)…. and I’m going to put conservative supreme court justices on the court that will think the same things are gross that you think are gross.” In other words, Trump is affirming them. “I am going to stick it to those coastal elites who look down on you and your latent racism, your religion and questionable values.”

Largely Trump has held true to that promise. not because he has succeeded at anything. He hasn’t. But no one doubts that most decisions he makes are only designed to help his base or hurt their perceived enemies. He makes these Americans feel smart and put upon and like a cohesive group and that’s worth more to them than any actual policy that might stand a chance of making life better


Tasha Reign, The Porn Star Teaching Frat Boys About Consent

This is for real and certainly picks up where “sex ed” leaves off. The fraternity boys have a lot at stake individually andn this professional is gaining their respect and respect for women from what might have been seen as an unlikely source 5 years ago.– Story brought to Progressive Future  by Associate Editor Alexandra Shiels

Adult actress Tasha Reign is visiting college fraternities around the country to lecture fraternity brothers and pledges about affirmative consent. This is what she’s learned.

Courtesy Tasha Reign

Brett Kavanaugh has ignited a rage in women—and in our country.

Thanks to the courage of women like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who claims the Trump Supreme Court nominee attempted to sexually assault her at a house party when she was 15 years old, and Deborah Ramirez, who alleges that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a party at Yale, we are having a much-needed discussion about evidentiary “proof,” sexual assault, consent and the ideology behind “boys will be boys.” In many ways, Kavanaugh is a reflection of our male-entitlement culture—one that oozes toxic masculinity.

I began guest-lecturing at universities—starting at UCLA, my alma mater—about seven years ago. In the beginning it was nerve racking, and I wasn’t sure the juice was worth the squeeze. I always figured my speeches about the adult industry could be recorded and played in class, but apparently that doesn’t have the same effect on students. I was back on the hallowed grounds of Bruin territory, almost two years ago, when a student came up to me after class. He introduced himself as “Harrison,” and he was very amicable and confident. He looked me dead in the eye and said, “You mentioned that word ‘consent’ a lot. I am in AEPi here on campus, and I was wondering if you could come talk to the new pledges about that word, ‘consent.’ I think they could really benefit.”

At first listen I wasn’t eager to go to a fraternity house alone and talk to a bunch of young boys about consent. I was scared. I had visited my fair share of fraternity houses in college and wasn’t willing to return to that time in my life. I had also cast the same judgment that so many women do on fraternity houses. Stereotypes filled my mind and I was very apprehensive about getting involved. A few days went by and I began to brainstorm. I couldn’t get Harrison’s face out of my mind or the words that he had used. I realized quickly that instead of reading about all these fraternity horror stories I could be part of the solution.

Courtesy Tasha Reign

Part of my apprehension stemmed from resentment I had toward society. Constantly being told by mainstream media outlets and religious extremists that my job as an adult performer somehow encouraged men to make bad choices like murder and gang rape had taken a heavy toll. Then it hit me: whether I like it or not, these men are learning about sex through my videos. My videos are made for media-literate viewers that already know about sex—entertainment for couples, for fun alone, for the man that can’t have sex with women, that is my target audience. However, that is just not the way it is. The rise of free tube sites has both changed the way we consume porn and the audience that consumes it. So I came to the conclusion that it was my civic duty to educate these AEPi members. What else did I have to do on a Wednesday night, anyway?

I wore a green romper from Nasty Gal and a pair of nude heels. I was nervous, not knowing exactly what I was going to say or even how I was going to present this “consent” talk. I rattled my mind for ideas, googled and read a series of sex education articles. After all, my degree was in women’s studies, not sex ed. However, almost a decade as a sex worker had taught me all I needed to know and then some. I had an idea: an anonymous bowl could be passed around. That way, the young pledges could submit their questions without the embarrassment of their brothers, and then I could answer them candidly.

As I pulled up to Frat Row, I had been thinking about how all my girlfriends told me to bring a bodyguard—advice that I’d brushed off. I was also concerned about how if something were to happen, would anyone even believe me? I didn’t know. I just had a gut feeling that AEPi would be warm and welcoming. Upon entering the historic building, I was cheerfully greeted by all the brothers that had already been initiated. I noticed that there was a young woman amongst the men, which made me feel at ease. She was there to help them talk to women; to coach the pledges, too. When I walked upstairs to find the pledges, they were all sat down in chairs in a circle. Each pledge wore white—except one little outlier who forgot. There was a candle lit, kind of like a séance, and I took a seat. I don’t think they’d seen my movies or even been told exactly what was happening. They were on their best behavior.

“Most of the questions that these guys ask are both familiar and shocking.”



Most of the questions that these guys ask are both familiar and shocking. I am incredibly impressed by how many of them are well-versed in California’s affirmative consent law—the conscious agreement to engage in sexual activity throughout the entire encounter. That conscious agreement can be verbal or physical, although I warn them about the latter. In my opinion, using your words is the most effective strategy we have in the bedroom. I reiterate to them how imperative this is. I give anecdotal examples from my past that they can relate to (it’s possible that they have been on the other end of similar events, and this conversation makes it clearer). The next thing I emphasize is that they have such bright futures, and those futures depend on them upholding their reputations and responsibilities as role models; as the prestigious fraternity brothers that they are. They are in a very privileged position, so I like to remind them of that—and how it all can be thrown away. Just look at Brock Turner. He may not be serving any more time in prison but he is serving his own form of societal “time.” People will never forget.

Courtesy Tasha Reign

Then, I lighten the mood and turn the conversation to more sex-based specifics. They have all this energy and emotion that no one has really allowed them to express—or so it seems. Women, in my experience, talk about details; we communicate in ways that men are ashamed of. It’s refreshing to answer their questions about how to perform oral sex on women and how to initiate foreplay without being creepy. They seem to want to learn. Maybe they act differently with a few beers in them, because they really “like beer,” so I make sure to let them know that consent means you or your partner can’t be blacked out, or even drunk. That proves to be the most challenging part of our conversation. There are unfortunately many queries like: “What if the girl makes it up—that I did something to her?” That is when I present them with their fear versus reality: Why on earth would a woman want to deal with the public humiliation that follows? What is her reward? I tell them that the chances of that are so incredibly rare that they needn’t worry.

Why am I doing this? Consent is the most important and serious issue that fraternities face, at parties and behind closed doors. Speaking to these young men on this candid level may help prevent them from making poor choices. I tell them to think of me and this conversation when they’re in positions they see as “gray.” As a feminist, I constantly remind myself that men are a product of their environment and women must help shape that environment. We raise men, mold men, and are a part of Greek life. That is why I was there that night, and that is why I will continue on with this advocacy project that’s still in the early stages of development.

Because we are all in this together.

House Democrat Promises Kavanaugh Investigation if Party Wins Control

There should be plenty of investigative reporting on the Judge in the weeks ahead. Newspaper, magazine: the Woodward/Hersh/Jane Mayer non-governmental sleuths may well be on the prowl. If the Democrats have any cojones (doubtful) there will also be impeachment proceedings against both Trump and Kavanaugh.*

The former has enough impeachable offenses to fill a small phone book. But you only need one. The later is an illustration that a Supreme Court justices can and has been impeached for lying under oath and other misdeeds. I think I am presenting a best case scenario for beginning to right our leaky ship. But “let’s see what happens.” It certainly Is within the realm of possibility if the Democrats get out of their too often “kum-ba-ya” mode.

* Note: It is highly unlikely that the next Senate would convict Trump and fire him–or Kavanaugh, for that matter.   But it would signal to the Republicans that their opponents are capable of playing their/Republican brand of hardball.   Collegiality and reaching across the aisle should be a medium-long term goal of the Democrats .

To deal with a monster like Mitch McConnell, only brass knuckles will do for the next few years. Too bad it has to be that way, but it does. Democrats owe this to underfunded programs for the less advantaged, to the damage done to the EPA and related disasters, to the children of schools (and adult slaughter victims) who are prisoners of the NRA and its bought members of Congress.


Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York, called an F.B.I. investigation into Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh a “whitewash.”CreditCreditZach Gibson for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — House Democrats will open an investigation into accusations of sexual misconduct and perjury against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh if they win control of the House in November, Representative Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat in line to be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said on Friday.

Speaking on the eve of Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote this weekend, Mr. Nadler said that there was evidence that Senate Republicans and the F.B.I. had overseen a “whitewash” investigation of the allegations and that the legitimacy of the Supreme Court was at stake. He sidestepped the issue of impeachment.

“It is not something we are eager to do,” Mr. Nadler said in an interview. “But the Senate having failed to do its proper constitutionally mandated job of advise and consent, we are going to have to do something to provide a check and balance, to protect the rule of law and to protect the legitimacy of one of our most important institutions.”

Mr. Nadler’s comments resembled those of Senate Democrats who pushed aggressively for an F.B.I. investigation into allegations by three women — Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick — that Judge Kavanaugh had engaged in sexual assault or misconduct. Democrats said the resulting investigation fell far short of legitimacy. And they have questioned whether Judge Kavanaugh was truthful in his testimony about a number of issues, including his drinking habits, before the Judiciary Committee.


But unlike Democrats in the upper chamber, who are likely to remain in the minority after November’s elections, Mr. Nadler could soon have subpoena power and a chairman’s gavel, backed by a Democratic majority in the House.

He said that if Democrats took power, he would expect the committee to immediately subpoena records from the White House and the F.B.I., which conducted an abbreviated supplemental background investigation into two of the misconduct claims. That document request would include communications between officials at both entities. The committee would also seek to interview Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers and the dozens of potential witnesses they identified in recent days, most of whom were not contacted by the F.B.I. He said he would also call the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, to testify.

Mr. Nadler said it would probably be difficult to interview Judge Kavanaugh if he was sitting on the Supreme Court.

Dr. Blasey, a research psychologist in Northern California, publicly accused Judge Kavanaugh of trying to rape her when they were teenagers. Ms. Ramirez has said Judge Kavanaugh positioned his genitals in her face at a college party. The F.B.I. spoke to roughly 10 witnesses about the cases, but lawyers for both women said the F.B.I. failed to follow obvious leads.

Mr. Nadler’s comments are likely to be seized on by Republicans, who have accused Democrats of waging a campaign to discredit Judge Kavanaugh at all costs. They argued on Friday that Democrats would never be satisfied with any investigation, and they say that it is the Democrats who are trying to undercut the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.

Senators are expected to hold a final vote on Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination Saturday afternoon, despite entrenched Democratic opposition. Judge Kavanaugh appeared to have the support of every Republican but one, meaning that his confirmation was all but assured.

Mr. Nadler said he was not yet thinking about the possibility of impeaching a Justice Kavanaugh, although the House Judiciary Committee is the congressional body that would initiate such proceedings.

Only one Supreme Court justice, Samuel Chase, has been impeached. The House voted to impeach him in 1804 on counts that he had let his political bias sway his rulings, but he was acquitted of all counts by the Senate.

In the case of Judge Kavanaugh, even if the House did proceed to impeach him, it would take the consent of two-thirds of the Senate to remove him.

Mr. Nadler said he did not know what impact the specter of an investigation would have on November’s election, but he said he felt an obligation to proceed if Democrats take control of the House. He said such an investigation would be part of broader Democratic concerns about attacks on the judicial system and the rule of law by the Trump administration.

“We have to assure the American people either that it was a fair process and that the new justice did not commit perjury, did not do these terrible things, or reveal that we just don’t know because the investigation was a whitewash,” Mr. Nadler said.

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Democrats Need to Support Alexandra Ocasio-Ortiz or Be Quiet While She Leads the Way

Article by Guest Editor Alexandra Shiels


[IMAGE: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez during interview, looking leftward to camera and determined.

“Her policies are so far from the mainstream, her election in November would make it harder for Congress to stop fighting and start fixing problems.”

“Meteors fizz out.”

“If we as a Democratic Party are going to move from a minority at every level that is dedicated to resistance, to a majority that is capable of governing, we have got to move from grievance to optimism…and we’ve got to abandon a politics of anxiety that is characterized by wild-eyed proposals and instead deliver ideas and practical solutions.”


These cutting remarks aimed at Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (quoted from Joe Liberman, Alcee Hastings, and Chris Coons, respectively) aren’t being slung from Republicans, but from her fellow Democrats.

Ocasio-Cortez historic win, combined with her youth and outspokenness should galvanize the Democratic party or at the very least, not be met with this kind of insider sniping.  Ocasio’s bio is the stuff of American dreams. She was born in the Bronx and still lives there in a modest one-bedroom. She comes from a Puerto Rican family who sacrificed everything for their daughter’s education.

And she produced a soulful, viral campaign video which led to her Democratic primary win in New York’s 14th congressional district in June 2018. This win showed us that voters (not just liberal ones) are ready for politicians who don’t just speak in stale talking points who never had to work a job in retail or the service industry (like Ocasio-Cortez). Her working-class background combined with her fear in calling out corporatism is what we need if we want our party to represent (and perceived as) champions of the working class again.

Her platform is in-line with what many of us believed in: single-payer health care, equal rights for women, POC, gay, and trans people, justice system, immigration, and campaign finance reform. She’s even pushing for a New Green Deal to combat climate change.

Ocasio-Ortiz has electrified the Democratic party. Like her or not, she’s pushing out ideas and a platform that mainstream Democrats are too afraid or unwilling to vocal about. By pushing our party out of its complacency, she’s doing her job. If we consider ourselves the party of progress, we must be less resistant to those who challenge us to change.

Trump’s approval rating in the GOP is 89%. I’ve seen many Democrats say that he has high support because the GOP is shrinking. What polls do they use to support their claim?

Carter Moore

Carter Moore, Degree in Political Science, former Congressional aide and Federal employee

The most common one cited (because of its longevity and consistency) is Gallup’s party affiliation survey:

Source: Trump owns a shrinking Republican party (Brookings)

But when you take those self-described Independents’ partisan preferences into account, you don’t see a really major shift.

Related reading: Gabriel Guzman‘s answer to Independents are now the largest political bloc at 44%. How will this affect the short and long term future of the Democratic and Republican parties?

However, what Democrats and political forecasters are really looking at when saying that the Republican Party is “shrinking” are the demographics of the parties’ composition.

The Republican Party has a lock on rural, white-majority working class areas and older voters generally, but the long-term prospects of those electorates aren’t great. America is diversifying, becoming more educated, ever-moving into cities and suburbs, and the older, conservative generations will be replaced by liberal ones.

Now, prognosticators erred in thinking that these forces were going to come together in 2016 (eg, “The Old White Man’s Last Hurrah (TIME, 2016)”); but unless there’s a significant demographic realignment in the parties – and in the Republican Party specifically – they’re not wrong. (They were also caught off-guard by a reversal in minority voter turnout in 2016).

So even if you can kinda-sorta point to long-term measures of voter identification, it’s not really any particular poll that Democrats and others cite to say that the Republican Party is shrinking, but long-term demographic trends on top of their voting behavior.

Another Fox Host rejects the Trump Kool-aid

What’s happening at Fox?– Blogger question– fls

Trump Tweets: they’re good for what Ailes you, right Roger?

First there was Shepard Smith. Then there was Neil Cavuto.  Now there is this …

Fox News Host Says Donald Trump is to Blame for Robert Mueller’s Russia Investigation

by Alexandra Hutzler, Newsweek — 9/1/18


But Fox News host Chris Wallace points out that the recusal of Sessions is not the reason for Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Remember though, that the recusal of Sessions did not lead to the special counselit was the firing of Comey, of James Comey the FBI Director that lead to the appointment of the special counsel,” Wallace said in a segment on Fox News on Friday.

The only person the president can blame for that is himself,” Wallace added.


What in the world is going on over there in Fox-news-land?

A different editorial policy, that they must tell the Truth at least once per day?

A dose of reality, in the form of real world convictions, that has burst the ‘Witch Hunt’ bubble?

Or is it a dawning awakening, that eventually there will be a political world without Trump, and some there may need a bit more than “Trump Cheerleader” on their Resumes?

— — —

Or it could just be that old truism:  Even a broken clock is right — twice a day.

At those rare moments when “alternative facts” and “reality” converge.

Tic Tock, Fox.  Oh wait that’s for Clocks that actually tell the Time …

See this breathtaking photo from earlier today? from Giffords ‘COURAGE TO FIGHT GUN VIOLENCE’

Progressive Future blogger f.l. shiels:

This is from a worthy political action committee who may be over-interpreting, but what the hell. The symbolism here is obvious and quite powerful. The may be legitimate reasons why Justice “hopeful” Kavanaugh refused to shale the hand of a Parkland teen shooting “survivor Parent”, but I sure can see them and will be anxious to see if this makes the mainstream media.



frederick –

See this breathtaking photo from earlier today? It’s the father of a young girl killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida trying to shake Brett Kavanaugh’s hand at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing.

* Photo credit: Andrew Harnik, Associated Press

Sadly, Kavanaugh ignored him, buttoned his suit coat, and was ushered away.

The truth is, Brett Kavanaugh is a Second Amendment radical. He believes that limiting access to the weapon that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida is the same thing as limiting free speech.

We have to stop him. His confirmation threatens strong gun laws already passed in states like Connecticut, and it would threaten any gun safety legislation passed in the future by the next Congress.

Conservative columnist Bret Stephens calls for impeachment—Trump clearly guilty of high crimes

FLS Blogger– This raises an interesting question, even if Trump seems to fit Mark Twain’s famous quip, “The rumors of my demise are greatly exaggerated.” That is this: with the blizzard of corruption, bone-headed comments on social media, an exodus of advisors from his shop, what is it going to take to bring this walking nightmare to an end?,

What would that look like?. I predict it’s going to come, but the tantalizing question is: how–when?

Composite image of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump, and Michael Cohen

After today’s convictions of Manafort and Cohen, Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist for the New York Times, is calling for Donald Trump’s impeachment. Stephens says, via Twitter, that Trump is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Bret Stephens


I’ve been skeptical about the wisdom and merit of impeachment. Cohen’s guilty plea changes that. The president is clearly guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. He should resign his office or be impeached and removed from office.

Reuters Top News


UPDATE: Government’s charges against Cohen contain ‘no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president’ – Trump attorney Giuliani https://reut.rs/2wfbt55 

If Trump’s lost a self-described conservative who’s “skeptical” of impeachment, like Stephens, you know the convictions of Manafort and Cohen are the real deal.

Republican silence after these verdicts is proof enough of their complicity. It’s likely that many conservatives, like Stephens, are going to switch here at the end and declare themselves defenders of our democracy now. Ha! Some Republicans will try to revise their history defending this White House, because of the mid-term elections.

Never forget Republicans were and are complicit in enabling Donald Trump.