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A/K/A Three Weeks in the White House

Well, we are three weeks or so into the new administration and it seems as if we can measure the chaos or dysfunction in seven day increments.  The first two weeks of February were particularly “busy” for the White House, the Press Secretary, the news reporters, the political analysts and let’s not forget the Facebook posters and the bloggers (lol).

The highlight or rather the LOW point of this first half of the month was probably Mitch McConnell’s authoritative, paternalistic, demeaning dictum citing Rule 19!  “SHE WAS WARNED, SHE WAS GIVEN AN EXPLANATION. NEVERTHELESS, SHE PERSISTED”.  OMG! The very nerve of her!  Well those words will live on in infamy for quite a while.  When spoken, they have a great cadence.  You will be hearing this mantra from feminists, you will see it emblazoned on tee shirts and baseball caps.  The very MINUTE I heard it, I wanted to design a tee shirt for Cafe Press and make a million dollars. 

But that was only one incident in a cacophony of chaos and crisis;  Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch uneasy with Trump’s Tweet calling Judge James Robert a “so-called judge” was quoted saying that the comments were “disheartening” and “demoralizing”.

Then there was the TOTALLY UNFOUNDED and UNTRUE  remarks by Mr. Trump that the media (newspapers and news reporters) do not report terrorist attacks to the public.  Mr. Trump knows better because he is all about ratings and he knows that disruption and disaster are always bigly news and bring bigly ratings.  So why in the world would ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC overlook and omit such a news opportunity?

In an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Trump again defended Vladimir Putin;  O’Reilly said, “He’s a killer though. Putin’s a killer”.  To which Donald Trump replied, “There are a lot of killers,” Trump replied. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”….  After O’Reilly said he did not “know of any government leaders that are killers”, Trump turned to the Iraq war, seeming to equate George W. Bush with Putin, though he did not name the former president.

Who knows what and when?  Yesterday in the late afternoon, Kellyanne Conway appeared on MSNBC and when questioned about Mike Flynn’s position as National Security Advisor, her response was, “Yes, Gen. Flynn does enjoy the full confidence of the president,”.  Within the next hour or so, Sean Spicer, Press Secretary informed the news media that the president was “evaluating the situation”.  And late last evening Mr. Flynn tendered his resignation to the president.  Yet today we have heard that Mike Flynn offered his resignation  because he knew he was a lightening rod and then we heard from Sean Spicer that the president asked for and accepted the Flynn letter of resignation!   So I repeat who knows what and when?

Dinner at Mar-a-Lago with Japan’s Prime Minister turned into yet another bit of drama à la Donald.  Smack dab in the middle of the resort’s public dining room, not only did Mr. Trump take a call on his cell phone, it has also been reported that papers were passed and discussed in plain view of the  dining room’s guests as well as waiters and the piano player.  Oh dear, short memory all around!  Remember it was a waiter who brought Mitt Romney down with recording of his (Romney) offhand remarks about the infamous 40%.  And let’s not forget how horrified every Republican was with the carelessness of Hillary Clinton and her private server.  Note the word private with server and public with the dining room. National security where art thou?

Time for one more faux pas which is my own rather mild term for Kellyanne Conway’s gross error (and in some minds law-breaking ) remark urging the public to “Go buy Ivanka’s clothes”.  And how did Kellyanne get herself into this position?  Her boss tweeted, 

@realDonaldTrump

My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!10:51 AM – 8 Feb 2017   A father defending his daughter is certainly admirable and okay BUT Mr. Trump should NOT have used the White House Twitter account!  Yes he did in addition to a personal tweet.

Stay tuned….

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I’m perversely glad that Donald Trump is president (not mine of course), because he has brought enlightenment and commitment to our household.  My husband is pleased and happy that I am now reading more than the Wednesday Food Section and Sunday Styles in the daily delivery of the New York Times to our apartment.  Maureen Dowd, Nicholas Kristof (well I became a fan of his way back to Darfur), Charles Blow and the letters to the Editor are now part of my morning routine.  And as the day wanes I’m often drawn to my blog so I can spout, pout, complain about Mr. Trump.  I had virtually abandoned my blog over a year ago but this seemingly endless supply of content and the deeply disturbing emotion Trump stirs in me, have breathed new life into Pbenjay’s Blog.

Maureen Dowd wrote about the silver – NO make that the  gold lining one can find in the daily chaos in the Oval Office.  She mentioned how “he has breathed new zest into a wide range of things: feminism, liberalism, student activism, newspapers, cable news, protesters, bartenders, shrinks, Twitter, the A.C.L.U., “S.N.L.”, town halls, George Orwell, Margaret Atwood, Hannah Arendt, Stephen Colbert, Nordstrom, the Federalist Papers, separation of church and state, athletes and coaches taking political stands and Frederick Douglass.”

Every time DT mentions “the “failing” New York Times, the digital subscriptions and the stock price jumps.  Americans are eager for help negotiating the disorienting Trumpeana Oceana Upside Down dimension rife with gas lighting, trolling, leaking lying and conflicts”.

Look what he has done for “Saturday Night Live”!  I haven’t watched that show in years and now the show’s ratings are at 20-year high.  The power of the Tweet is proving to be a boon to “S.N.L..”

Personally I’ve found new words to integrate into my vocabulary and bring new life and meaning to some old ones.  During the very long campaign, I found myself wondering about the stamina of some friends and the temperament of my spouse and co-workers. Up until one of the debates I hadn’t thought of the people I might not be friendly with or didn’t care to associate with as a basket of deplorables.  And how clever to refer to some of those same people as skittles.

I thought the spike in my blog readership was all about me but then I realized how braggadocious I sounded and so let me give credit where credit is due and say “thank you Mr. President” for injecting new life and humor into my writing.  I’ve also become acutely aware of the dangers of cyberwarfare,  wondering just when my blog will be hacked by some  fat 400 lb. guy sitting on his bed somewhere.  Some days I never leave my apartment because you never know when you’re going to be the subject of stop and frisk.  These are dangerous times, you know!

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I know I’m a day late and a dollar short but I just can’t pass up an opportunity to tell it like it is!  Thursdays are great for my Top Ten List and for Throwback Thursdays.  This Thursday is all about mendacity, as Big Daddy would say in Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.  The subtitle of this blog could easily be named Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire!

You can call a rose by any other name and it’s still a rose and that goes for lies also.  Lately lies have been called untruths, alternative facts, and misspoken words.  A lie is a lie is a lie!

 LIE: Feb. 7, 2017: Lied that the murder rate was the highest in 45 years 

FACT: The US murder rate is at close to an all-time low, and law enforcement experts say Trump’s claim is so far away from the facts that it’s ludicrous. Based on FBI statistics, the murder rate was 5.0 homicides per 100,000 people in 2015, down from a peak in 1980 of 10.2 per 100,000 people. The highest number of total homicides was in 1991, when 24,703 were killed. Though several US cities have seen the number of murders rise from 2015 to 2016, the overall number is still dramatically lower than what it was in the 1980s and 1990s.

LIE: Feb. 6, 2017: Claimed that terrorist attacks across Europe are “not even being reported”. Trump says, “the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report” on terrorism: “They have their reasons, and you understand that.”

FACT: The Paris and Nice attacks that Trump mentioned in his speech were extensively covered by every major US media organization. Other attacks that have also received extensive media attention include an attack in Brussels in March 2016, as well as an incident in February 2017 at the Louvre museum in Paris in which a man attempted to use a machete and was shot by a soldier.

LIE:  (Tweet 1+2) Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage,…..
7:16 AM – 30 Jan 2017

Donald J. Trump ✔@realDonaldTrump
protesters and the tears of Senator Schumer. Secretary Kelly said that all is going well with very few problems. MAKE AMERICA SAFE AGAIN!
7:20 AM – 30 Jan 2017

FACT: The mass outrage and confusion at airports from Friday through Sunday was caused by Trump’s executive order itself, which travelers, immigration attorneys, airlines, judges, and custom officials struggled to interpret. Delta’s outage didn’t happen until Sunday night, and no protesters interrupted the arrivals process at airports. 

LIE: Jan. 26, 2017: Lied about Mexico’s president “agreeing to cancel” a meeting

FACT: Hours earlier, Peña Nieto tweeted that he called the White House to cancel the meeting, adding, “I lament and reject the decision of the United States to continue building a wall that for years does not unite us, but divides us.”

LIE: “Look, when President Obama was there two weeks ago making a speech, a very nice speech. Two people were shot and killed during his speech,” Trump told ABC News’ David Muir. “They weren’t shot at the speech. But they were shot in the city of Chicago during his speech.”

FACT:  Chicago Police told BuzzFeed News there were no people killed by gun violence on Jan. 10. A log of shootings in the city also showed there were five non-fatal shootings in the city that day, but none occurred while Obama gave his speech.

LIE: “You have people who are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states,” Trump told ABC’s David Muir. “You have people registered in two states. You have people registered in New York and New Jersey. They vote twice.” He also cited a Pew report as evidence, saying, “Take a look at the Pew reports.”

FACT: There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud. The National Association of Secretaries of State — which has a majority of Republicans — said it is “not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump.” And in a Michigan legal filing by Trump’s lawyers after the election, they wrote, “All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”

LIE:  Trump finished his ABC News interview by pointing to framed photographs hung on a wall. “Here’s a picture of the crowd,” he said. “The audience was the biggest ever. This audience was massive, look how far back it goes.” He then pointed to another panoramic photo, saying the crowd — which he described as “a sea of love” — goes “all the way down.”

FACT: The audience wasn’t “the biggest ever.” As mentioned above, photographs from the inauguration show the crowd did not extend as far back as Trump claims it did.

LIE: The inaugural crowd “looked honestly like a million and a half people” adding that “it went all the way back to the Washington Monument.”

FACT: Aerial photos of the crowd at 11a.m. and 12 p.m. — around the time Trump took the oath of office — show that the crowd witnessing the inauguration did not extend back to the Washington Monument. 

sub-buzz-21848-1485455267-2-copy

Inauguration Day January 20th 2017

LIE: Trump said God favored him during his inaugural address by stopping rain from falling when he spoke. “And then it became really sunny,” he said. 

FACT: In fact, It rained throughout his speech.

LIE:   Feb. 7, 2017  Twitter – The claim: “It is a disgrace that my full Cabinet is still not in place, the longest such delay in the history of our country.”

FACT: Trump does not even come close to the record for the longest delay before having a full cabinet in place. We only have to go back one presidency for proof: Barack Obama didn’t have his final cabinet member confirmed until April 28, 2009, 99 days into his presidency. Trump wasn’t even a full 19 days into his presidency when he posted this tweet.

Unfortunately there are more, many more alternative facts, faleshoods – perhaps another Thursday…

 

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Filipino activists hold banner and placards while marching towards the U.S. embassy during a protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policies, in metro Manila

Fillipino protestors in Manila today

Protesters rally in Paris against US President Donald Trump's immigration order

And in Paris they protest!

Every day is a holiday of OMG with Donald Trump.  He actually tweeted that slur about  FEDERAL JUDGE James Robart! Who is this person? He’s not my president – yes I said it! I have a pin that says it too.  How can he be my so-called president when almost 3 MILLION people voted against him and defeated him in the popular vote.   That must be a real blow to the egomaniac sleeping in the White House, considering he considered himself the populace candidate.  And hasn’t he proven that to be true – lol, lol, his cabinet nominees are mostly Goldman Sachs present and past employees.  Seriously don’t you agree that Goldman Sachs is a company completely aligned and committed to the populace?  Ironic isn’t it that he had so many people believing that it was Hillary who was in bed with Goldman Sachs.  I have to laugh because I said so very often during the campaign that most of which he accused and implied and inferred about Hillary were merely projections of his own thoughts and behavior.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain because I live in Manhattan where Wall Street rules and keeps our City economy robust especially in real estate.  I feel sorry for all those people who live in the middle of the country and somehow really thought he was the candidate for the real people.  History should have informed you better, no Republican president has ever advocated for the blue collar worker, the middle class and the union worker.  

Somebody really has to cancel his Twitter account.  Because every time he tweets, he makes an ass out of himself.  Then again, on the other hand, the pundits, the comedians, the late night talk show hosts and the bloggers (like me) are pretty happy with the constant supply and flow of content.

I’ve spent the day watching protests around the country protesting his ill-thought-out and thinly-veiled Muslim ban.  He can call it whatever he wants, Rudy eagerly took credit for the idea, the plan on how to put such a ban in place and yet make believe it is something else.  Unfortunately for them, we don’t all live in an alternate universe where alternate facts exist.  There are signs  that state NO BAN NO WALL as well as placards protesting practically every one of his so-called Executive Orders.

Demonstrators hold placards during a march against U.S. President Donald Trump in London

Today in London, a city with a large Muslim population.

I have been watching The Crown  lately so I think I’ll close this blog with “GOD SAVE THE UNITED STATES”.

core_breaking_now

San Fransisco speaks out today!

 

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Now here’s some thoughts and words you probably never expected to hear a therapist talk about.  Dr. Barry Lubetkin sounds off on his profession!

 

 

 

Personality and Psychotherapy - John Dollard a...

Personality and Psychotherapy – John Dollard and Neal E. Miller (Photo credit: Gwendal_)

 

” The experience of psychotherapy and mental health counseling is such a potentially life changing period in so many peoples lives that it should require the practitioner to proceed with the highest degree of professionalism , intelligence and creativity. And yet several times each month new patients to my practice complain about past therapists who they feel let them down in one significant way or another. Therapists are imperfect human beings of course,but some of these “errors” seem way beyond the pale.

 

The therapist who insists that you MUST continue with sessions even though you are quite certain you need to take a break.
The therapist who charges you for missed sessions when you are on vacation.
The therapist who never discusses explicitly the goals of therapy.
The therapist who often seems distracted,sleepy or disinterested during your session.
The therapist who gossips about other patients or about the celebrities they have treated.
The therapist who is so stuck on one theoretical orientation,that they won’t study the literature about other approaches which might help you.
The therapist who NEVER gives advice and ALWAYS asks “what do you think”
The therapist who gets defensive when you say you want a second opinion from another therapist.
The therapist who belittles you.

 

The list could be much longer! You have the right as a patient to question your therapists behavior and skills. DONT accept laziness,indifference,or NON constructive criticism. There are many many wonderful,compassionate and skilled therapists out there. Find one and celebrate your own growth!”
You can reach Dr. Lubetkin to obtain more information or to ask a question at: The Institute For Behavior Therapy at IBT104@AOL.com 

 

 

 

 

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Photo by Jason Leonti

Photo by Jason Leonti

Sometimes I am so out of the loop on any new “thing” whether it be the latest fad fashion, TV show, gossip about some celebrity under the age of 30 (can they really be celebrities?) , who is hanging in there on AGT, The X Factor, who’s still in the Big Brother House and who is sent to Redemption Island?  I mean wow there is SO MUCH non-informative information out there and really who cares?  

Well that previous question can pretty much sum up the meaning of MEH!  Currently,  this is a popular term used to describe something  or someone or someplace that you don’t really give a damn about.  The official meaning as given in an online dictionary (really whoever uses the big book anymore), is as follows:  

exclamation:
expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm.
“Meh. I’m not impressed so far”
adjective:
uninspiring; unexceptional.
“a lot of his movies are … meh”

This morning I logged onto Facebook and saw that one of my friends, Grace Gotham, has posted her own personal “Meh” list and I thought what a great idea for a blog post.  Of course I was ashamed to read in her post that the NYT Times magazine has one each week.  As my husband will tell you, I don’t read the Times anymore because I’m too busy playing on my computer!  

Anyway, I thought I would post a blog about my own personal MEH list and ask you dear readers to send in some of your own. Let’s do it.

1.  The World Series (if the Yankees are not playing who cares)

2.  e-cigarettes

3. The Meatball Shop

4. hashtags

5. Donald Trump

6. Justin Beiber

7. Mylie Cyrus (omg, don’t go there)

8. cro-nuts

9. Starbucks Chocolate Chai Latte

10. Naomi Campbell

YOUR TURN !!

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Goodnight is right!!! Oh dear God, hurricane fever has been here for days and NOW, Irene is almost here.

It all started for me on Thursday. Peter arrived late in the afternoon and I was still at the Tea Room finishing up and we decided to go to the store and pick up a few Finley items such as whole milk and orange juice without pulp.  Once I arrived at Wegman’s two things became instantly apparent;  Finley probably wasn’t coming to the Jersey Shore and Hurricane Irene was on her way – have you ever been in a major grocery store and seen all the bread shelves EMPTY?? I mean EMPTY!  We did get milk because after all, milk is PERISHABLE and everyone knows you are supposed to stock up on non-perishable foods.  I think all of Monmouth County is planning on eating Pb & J’s all weekend!!!

And so it began….no news except hurricane news, talk, talk, talk, only about the impending storm and plans A, B, and C formulated in each household.  Who was staying and who was going, that was the really BIG QUESTION.  My thoughts immediately were to stay and I  think at that point I wasn’t really comprehending the breadth and depth of what was to come.  I said, “well the apartment is safe and the cottage is vulnerable, so I need to be here to protect it.”  Peter thought about this and agreed.  We really didn’t think we would be in real danger, just that house might be in some and perhaps if we were here, we could prevent and/or protect.  The thought of being in NYC and watching the happenings and wondering what was happening to my sweet La Vie en Rose was quite disconcerting, so I said, “We’re staying”.  Thursday night seems much like any other night.  Peter even went to get me ice cream.

Friday dawned sunny and bright and the buzz was everywhere.  Some neighbors immediately started hauling in porch furniture and tying down everything else.  Mmmmm should we go after all?  Several conversations later, it was decided that Finley would be better off in NYC with her Daddy and her baby sister.  Chiara HAD to go to the middle of New Jersey to attend a wedding on Saturday;  she is a Bridesmaid.   I thought she would never get off “the Island” which was probably evacuating itself westward to the City.  But she made it, dropped them off and kept on going.  I hope for the bride’s sake some people come to this wedding.

I don’t hold out much hope though because the NEWS which was now broadcasting 24/7 alternated between Governor Christie declaring a State of Emergency on THURSDAY and Mayor Bloomberg saying the City was in the cross hairs of the storm and therefore, the subway and bus systems would be shut down, the news just got more dire by the hour.

By Friday afternoon, Peter and I had packed up the back yard furniture, put away the umbrella, turned the glass top table upside down, removed bird feeders, and with bungee cords anchored the trash cans and some chairs.  I moved the upstairs porch furniture into the guest room making my tiny cottage just that much more smaller.  Things were beginning to feel weird!

Ocean grove, police tape. beach is closed

Beach is CLOSED

Let’s go to the beach!  It was 4:00 the sun was still somewhat high in the sky so we took off to get a good long look-see at our beach not knowing when we would see it next or in what condition it would be.  There was police tape across the  entrances to the beach so we walked a ways to Bradley Beach and got onto the beach there.  We took our chairs and our books and sat down near the water’s edge for about an hour or so enjoying the last of the sunshine, sharing the experience with about 5 other people as far as the eye could see.  The tide was extraordinarily high which was the result of new moon.   Well clearly we were illegal and I heard later on that if you got caught going into the water, you could get a $500 fine.  Of course Peter had to push the envelope a bit and get his bathing suit wet which caused the young ticket taker on the boardwalk to come rushing down to inform us that the “main lifeguard” sent him down to tell us we could NOT be in the water.   Why didn’t someone tell the surfers that?  As we left the beach, two young surfer dudes, boards under arms and a young girl passed us on their way to the shore.  The young girl looked at Peter and shook her head and rolled her eyes.  Governor Christie told everybody to get off the beach in Asbury Park, they had enough tan, now get out!

Governor of New Jersey

Christie says "Get Off The Beach"

 

Ocean Grove, beach is closed

From Here to Asbury Park

Friday night we had dinner out because it would probably be our last good meal once the power went out and surely it will, they say.  And in New York City, Broadway was shut down, the subways system cut back and Battery Park City under mandatory evacuation!  We received numerous calls imploring us to return to NYC and truly we vacillated so many times I couldn’t tell you what the number was, but something has kept us here.  It didn’t help that the beach town north of us and two towns to the south of us were under mandatory evacuation, and the Governor reversed the highways so you could only leave and not come, they even made the tolls free.   There is a bit of foolhardy adventurism at play, the swagger that comes from having toughed it out and not the least, the need to be here to protect the homestead.  At 11:30pm an email alert came through from Neptune Township informing us that Broadway from Ocean to Pilgrim Pathway was under mandatory evacuation: WOW we are two houses in from Pilgrim Pathway.  I sure hope the storm surge knows where it is supposed to stop.  Tomorrow is another day and Irene is expected to hit the Jersey Shore in the early evening. 

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