Credit Illustration by Matt Chase.
Credit Illustration by Matt Chase.
“One spring morning, a fisherman finds a beautiful robe hung on a pine branch at Miho-no-Matsubara…” – Thus starts the story of one of the most popular Noh plays, Hagoromo, the Feather Robe. But obviously the fisherman can’t keep the robe because it belongs to the celestial maiden depicted in this scroll. She performs a dance which describes the Palace of the Moon, and praises the beauty of Miho-no-Matsubara – The Miho Pine Grove – in spring. In the end she disappears in the haze, beyond the peak of Mount Fuji.
But what makes this scroll outstanding as a piece of art is something completely different. It is the mounting! – The illusion of a mounting. A complete trompe-l’oeuil. All you see is painted on one piece of fabric.
Ota Chou (1896-1958)
The president isn’t the type to think he can walk on water, but he is the type to hope that millions of evangelicals keep falling for his shtick.
While talking to reporters on the White House lawn Wednesday about his plans for prosecuting a trade war with China, the president of the United States looked up briefly toward the heavens.
“I am the chosen one,” Donald Trump allowed.
Others had given the president gentle nudges toward divinity even before that. Wayne Allyn Root, a conservative extremist, conspiracy theorist and self-described “capitalist evangelist” who believes Jesus was the “CEO of the Christian religion,” described Trump the day before as the “second coming of God.” Trump gratefully tweeted Root’s blessings on Wednesday morning, several hours before his White House epiphany.
Yes, of course you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president, commander-in-chief and the man who swore on Inauguration Day to “preserve, protect and defend” the country. When it follows a crazy, distracting public flirtation with a Greenland buyout and a dizzying flip-flop on gun control, it can convince people that your underlying behavior has moved beyond the routinely nutty and delinquent into something more profoundly ruptured.
Trump, however, has been self-absorbed, self-deluded and wildly self-aggrandizing for decades. New Yorkers who had ringside seats to much of this know how much of a sociopath he can be when he wants his way (a useful case study is his failed effort to develop Manhattan’s West Side Yards years ago). They’re now watching the rest of the country and the world acquaint themselves with a Trump whom many either didn’t understand or willfully overlooked prior to his ascent to the White House.
The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.
Mitch McConnell is putting the integrity and security of our democracy in jeopardy.
We now know that Russia targeted election systems in ALL 50 states in 2016  — and that without serious improvements to our election security measures, we can expect an even more sophisticated, far-reaching attack in 2020.
But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to take action. He has blocked bipartisan, commonsense reform at every turn — and now, he’s stonewalling crucial funding that would help states protect their election infrastructure.
Republicans and Democrats alike are calling on YOUR senators to push past McConnell’s blockade. Will you call them at 1-833-413-5906 to join this outcry?
Here’s an idea of what to say: My name is [NAME], and I’m calling from [TOWN]. The Senate must make sure our elections are protected from hackers, foreign or domestic — and approve election security funding for states and municipalities.
Securing our elections from foreign attacks is NOT a partisan issue. Senators from both sides of the aisle should be able to agree that the American voters — not Russian hackers — should decide who wins our elections.
Because if we can’t trust that our elections are secure and their results are accurate, then we don’t have a representative democracy anymore. That’s why a conservative-led group is now turning up the pressure on the Senate  — and why we need you to call your senators today.
Your senators need to take a stand — and make sure states have the funding they need to secure our elections. Call them at 1-833-413-5906 NOW.
Providing ample funding for paper ballots, new and secure voting machines, and post-election audits could make all the difference in 2020. Please urge your senators to do the right thing — and make sure our elections are safe and accurate.
Thanks for all you do,
Karen Hobert Flynn, President
and the team at Common Cause