Game on, eh?
I watched bits and pieces of the Women's March in DC on C-Span's livestream yesterday -- as it wasn't being covered live on any of the local broadcast stations. Odd I thought, but there you are. There were a lot of people there, obviously, but it was impossible to tell from the camera angle how many. Then I found a long-shot from the Washington Monument, and it was clear the crowd was huge, but still hard to tell how huge. Bigger, obviously, than the inaugural, but the people were arranged differently, facing away from the Capitol rather than towards it, and many, many more were in the streets beside the Mall than was the case during the inauguration.
A lot of people, yes, and they were certainly in a good mood, enjoying most of the speakers and entertainers -- it was certainly an energetic line up -- and even more important, enjoying one another's company. This was like a community get-together on a massive scale. They couldn't march -- there were too many people, and they'd already filled up a good deal of the march route -- so they had a rally instead, and it was good.
While the local stations didn't cover it live, they also didn't cover Trump's rambling, incoherent and self-referential remarks at the CIA live, and they didn't cover Sean Spicer's little tirade at the White House press corps live either.
So I'm still doing catch up on what was going on yesterday, the first full day in office for the new boss. Or whatever he is.
Not sure at this point just how "in charge" he is. But we'll know soon enough.
The masses of people in the streets yesterday, in DC and all over the country, was astonishing. In my condition, I can't do these things any more, and it kind of drives me nuts. I don't want to be sitting at home with oxygen tanks and tubes and doG knows what-all, remembering to take my meds and trying to remember which ones I forgot this time, yadda yadda. But that's the reality I live with, and it means no more marching in protest or hanging out much with various opponents of the status quo...
I have to get news as it comes and I can find it, and the news is often shaped and shaded for a particular purpose in support of a particular agenda. Treading carefully and critically is necessary.
As I cruised around the Internet for news on the marches, my astonishment at the outpouring of community feeling, good fellowship and determined opposition to Trump and all his cronies and minions all over the country and the world only grew. I had no idea -- I don't think anybody did -- that the Women's Marches would be so well-attended.
750,000 in Los Angeles??? Is that even conceivable? Estimates now range to 650,000 in DC. 100,000 in Denver. 120,000 in Seattle. 10,000 or 20,000 in Albuquerque --- Albuquerque!! 20,000 in Sacramento. 100,000 in Boston. 400,000 to 500,000 in NYC.
And it goes on and on and on, In many places, the largest demonstrations ever seen. Unprecedented. And everywhere, consistent reports of good feeling, community, and determined opposition to Trump and all his bullshit.
I've noted some of the critics of yesterday's demonstrations have taken the tack that the women were incoherent, had no specific goals or items they were protesting, their rage was impotent, their presence in the streets irrelevant. Yadda yadda, the usual anti-protest garbage.
But here's the deal, during this nascent popular uprising -- that's what it is -- the White House and the would be God-Emperor were trying to take control of the narrative, to dominate the coverage, and to make all this Female Business go away.
As I say, neither their efforts nor the marches themselves were covered live on my teevee, and I didn't see that much of what was going on elsewhere when I checked the Internet. But when I did see things...
Trump went to the CIA and yapped for too long about himself, whined about the coverage of the inauguration and denounced the "lies" about attendance. What? WTF, dude. Get over it. Put on your big boy pants and suck it up. Nope. Not him. Whine, whine, whine, whine. Nonstop. That's his style. It's an identity thing. But showing it off at the CIA headquarters may not have been wise. Or maybe it was just what they needed to see to convince them -- if they had any doubt -- that this man cannot be allowed to be "in charge" of anything but a pedal car.
The infantile nature he displayed at the CIA would have been shocking if we hadn't seen it many times before. What was new was his open display of childish tantrum throwing at the headquarters of one of the agencies he's been insulting and denigrating. Yet his audience seemed to love it.
That gave me the sense that the ruling clique's factional contest is more complicated than I thought. These were supposed to be rank-and-file CIA workers in attendance at the Trump appearance yesterday. I don't know if they were or not. But if they were, their reaction was a sign that the agency is split -- as is most of the permanent government -- over whether Mr. Trump is to be obeyed or thwarted. That may be the reason he has not been thwarted... yet. Perhaps it's why there has been no intervention of consequence, despite the many opportunities presented.
If there is such a split in the agencies, then it's likely the split runs throughout the permanent government, and a resolution may not be possible. I will keep that in mind as things devolve.
Later in the day, Sean Spicer, the Presidential Spokesmouth, made remarks at the White House regarding the issues brought up at the CIA by the President. The important issues. Ie: crowd size at the inauguration vs the Women's March, and whether or not a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. was removed from the Oval Office as reported in Time magazine.
He yelled, he threatened, he blustered, he read from a prepared text and stumbled all over his words. He took no questions. The press corps was dumbfounded.
Spicer lied on behalf of his boss. He declared war on the media. Again.
What to do about it?
The problem here is that the Media -- as in the big ticket propaganda organs -- has a shitty reputation in part because it is so unreliable and so focused on info-tainment. Many of us simply ignore it or pick and choose very carefully what to watch and listen to and critically assess what to believe.
We won't have cable teevee in our house, in part to make sure that cable "news" never darkens our viewscreens.
To the extent we watch any news on the teevee, it's mostly Amy Goodman -- who I frequently criticize -- and PBS NewsHour, which I also criticize. Network news is rarely seen or heard here.
So when Spicer or Trump criticize the media, they will get little argument from me -- except when they demand, as Spicer did, and Trump has often done, that the media report the lies of the regime as Truth.
The correct answer is No.
But that's hard for the media to do. The threat is that if they don't fall in line, they will be shut out of access, and Trump will go around them, which I guess gives them major heartburn.
So what do they do? They don't know. Not yet. Some are standing up to the abuse, but others are yielding in order to maintain their access to the King. It's a mish-mash.
In the meantime, what these mooks in office are saying is... crazy. Not just crazy but dangerous. Divisive. Destructive.
Personally, I'd rather not see it reported as anything but lies, division, and danger.
But that's not up to me.
Meanwhile I'd like to see the spirit of resistance that was shown in the marches and rallies yesterday be sustained, and I'm not sure at this point it will be (of course, since I can't be there, I don't know what's going on internally.) The massive attendance is probably not repeatable, but it doesn't need to be. What's needed is sustained and focused opposition, and that's very hard to accomplish in this society.
Stranger things have happened. Stay tuned.