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Friday, February 15, 2019

The "Ramblin' Rose" Garden Show: theatre of the bizarre. Feb 15 2019 edition

MORE EVENTS are STILL being ADDED in the Guide's Feb 14 edition's latest annotated calendar of events (with descriptions and useful info), for even more concerts, festivals, and other things to do, UNTIL WE PUBLISH A NEW EVENTS EDITION. It's at:

THIS is a special edition about things that happened Friday morning, and what they mean, going forward.

THIS EDITION achieves a landmark, as edition number 1,800 since the Guide moved to Blogspot.


The "Ramblin' Rose" Garden National Emergency Drumbeat Solo

by Lawrence Wines & Franz Romans Countrymen

Never having started any report the way this one does, it just seems necessary to do so, to convey what's really going on.

A journalism faux pas is called "burying the lead." Assuming you have your facts straight, you should -- right away -- provide your readers / listeners / viewers the essence of what things are about. If you ruminate, or explore the roadside weeds, you risk losing people and you diminish the impact of the main point.

Magazine style is different. There, you can lay things out in a sequential progression and arrive at what happened. It's more like the art of verbal storytelling, or a documentary movie, or a book that enables you to see how things got to where they ended-up. That might sound like wonky stuff. Unless it's done for a reason.

We have a convergence of reasons here. Not just a crossroads but a multilevel interchange of reasons. The Guide focuses on music, so let's start unscrewing the inscrutable there.

We'll spare you the analogies to PINK FLOYD and THE WALL. It's already been done, ad infinitum. We'll go with what is newly relevant today.

In 1962, the # 22 song in the charts was RAMBLIN' ROSE recorded by NAT KING COLE, written by NOEL & JOEL SHERMAN. (Music vid:

A different song with nearly the same title  -- RAMBLING ROSE -- charted 14 years earlier, reaching # 23 in 1948. It was sung by PERRY COMO, and written by JOSEPH McCARTHY JR. and JOSEPH BURKE. (Music vid:

No, the lyric writer JOSEPH McCARTHY JR. 
was not the political demagogue Joe McCarthy who happened to have the same name -- though with THE Roy Cohn back in the picture of late, it is necessary to answer the question before it's asked.

The all-but-forgotten, double-entendre-laden song name, RAMBLIN' ROSE / RAMBLING ROSE -- two different hits with 'purt near the same title -- is suddenly back this morning. Back at least enough to invoke that title.

Because it's # 1 in another chart -- the one called "the past-repeats-itself / sociopolitical / sociopathological / pop-culture chart" -- as:

The "Ramblin' Rose Garden" speech by the Commander-in-Tweet.

The Atlantic promptly characterized things as, "Trump’s Bizarre, Rambling Announcement of a National Emergency -- The circus in the Rose Garden threatened to distract from what the president actually did on Friday." You can read their take at:

No doubt the full 50 minutes of the speech will be used in university classrooms. Not so much in public speaking or poli sci classes, but in those dealing with psychiatry. Seriously.

Seeing it wasn't exactly the flea-on-a-hot-griddle / dancing politician thing (like the Virginia governor who "wasn't sure it was him" in black face with the guy in the Klan costume).

Not like that at all. Because the self-assuredness of the Ramblin' Rose Garden performance is so blatant. All the more remarkable being dependent as it is on factual justification weaved on the spot, out of thin air. The emperor has no clothes, but he isn't scampering to tell us to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. (The curtain can't be a curtain or a screen or a fence because it's going to be a big, beautiful wall. But that's a summation that could apply to previous performances. Let's get back to what makes today so remarkable.)

There is emphatic espousal in perfectly spaced crescendoes of assertions, spaced by anecdotal excursions into things that distract, obfuscate, and endear him to his low-information base. You've never seen this before -- because neither has anybody else. Certainly not the people who research or compile the facts that supposedly comprise the statistics he alludes to, and that he occasionally claims to specifically cite.

An infinite spectrum of analysts and journalists and assorted pundits all vie to convey what that means, but only to the extent that they (and we), and those they/we read, can understand it ourselves. (And you still need to factor-in the agenda of corporate media that routinely filters and contextualizes everything they present.)

You can, and should, watch the whole Ramblin' Rose Garden speech yourself. Do that at the CSPAN site, where there are no edits or commentary:

Going in this morning, the press had been told that the president, speaking in the White House Rose Garden, would do two things:

One: sign the spending "CR" that was negotiated as a compromise deal by a tense and intense joint committee of Congress, and passed by the full Congress, which has all the spending authority; and,

Two: issue a Declaration of National Emergency as his premise to raid other funds appropriated for other purposes, and usurp that money to build his border wall.

Whatever questions, rancor, outrage, sectors of agreement, legions of opposition, and court filings to challenge Constitutionality all that will bring -- it seemed that plenty was about to happen, based solely on addressing just those two points.

Then Mr. Trump began speaking. About China trade talks. About North Korea. About his man-love with dictators being fabulous and the greatest and stupendous. He delivered one of his famously fact-free off-the-cuff dissertations about fentanyl, and that slid into an endorsement of China's beautiful death penalty for drugs. He went into getting sued, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Mitch McConnell. President Obama was deemed deficient for something-or-other.

It looked like he had the wrong script, that maybe he'd brought one for a chicken-and-peas Repubican fund-raiser.

He went on and on -- without mentioning, for a very long time, that he would sign the Congressional compromise legislation that would avert another government shutdown.

Moreover, if the purpose of his speech was to declare a National Emergency, he sure was spending an inordinate amount of time ... straining himself into contortions to pat himself on the back. We were subjected to his narcissism, for a contrived catalog of things he claimed to have accomplished that we all owe him for.

Remember the point about "burying the lead"-? This isn't an ordinary example. This media appearance in the frozen Rose Garden was called as THE event to declare a National Emergency. Eventually, that declaration did turn-up in there, someplace. Eventually. Way down the speechifying hierarchy. Hardly a single peck in the pecking order.

National Emergency? All that disrelated content established a crazy-quilt context of conditions that seemed to lack gravitas. Certainly, the gravitas one would expect for anything on par with billions in assistance for our fellow Americans after fire, flood, earthquake, hurricane, tornado swarm, plague, meteor shower, asteroid impact, release of chemical poisons, or, say -- climate catastrophe.

Before long, we began to think how some people like cashews. Some people like pistachios. Some like almonds, and some like macadamias. If you like all of them, it could be said that you like mixed nuts. And in his free-range pecking at everything that blew through the barnyard, the most charitable thing that could be said about Mr. Trump's soup-to-nuts remarks would be, well, to stick with the nuts analogy.

Was his performance designed to numb everyone into not really being able to listen, or was it as gestaltic as it seemed? Both, in effect, but the latter in intent, if one can discern conscious intent.

It appeared to us as stream-of-consciousness stuff from somebody accustomed to using bloviation to stay in the conversation where a lack of knowledge and preparation do not enable meaningful participation in a true dialog.

And yeah, that run-on sentence helps convey the essence, just as the wandering through ancient music charts does.

Perhaps you could already see what we're doing here: characterizing by engaging you in a participatory example.

When we do it, it's hopefully educational, fun, an outlet for angst, and ultimately harmless.

But when the most powerful man in the world does it, as he did with today's "Ramblin' Rose Garden" spectacle? Then it requires any tool that can be wielded to call it to universal attention. Calling it out on social media; memes; placards; cartoonists; the bullhorn; and centrally, in more newspapers and web columns and reports than you've ever needed to read before. It certainly requires the pen. Hopefully not the sword.

Our editor, while employed by other publications, has had White House press credentials issued by a previous administration. He's been present when a president has given important remarks and made extemporaneous remarks, when answers to questions have subtly laid groundwork for major actions to come -- and when a Chief Executive wished he could take back some quip or some factual inaccuracy that his staff would scramble to correct or re-invent.

His take on this is clear.

Let's allow others who witnessed the "Ramblin' Rose Garden" remarks to jump in.

Former Republican congressman Charlie Dent said, "The president is incapable of articulating a plan to demonstrate operational control."

Copy that quote for future use.

Dent quickly enumerated the military budgets that Mr. Trump indicated he would raid to get his wall funds. They include $3.6 billion diverted from approved military construction projects that now will lose their funding. Dent said the military's missions would be compromised without that money, as things like hangars for brand-new F-35 fighters won't be built.

On CNN, host Kate Bolduan remarked, "This is a crisis in search of an emergency."

Dent corrected her, calling it a created, but now real, emergency because of the way Mr. Trump is mishandling it.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D, NY) said, "No National Emergency over prescription drug prices? No National Emergency that we have bridges that are falling apart and there's no money for infrastructure?"

Curiously, Republican rabid hound Ann Coulter proclaimed this is "100% on Trump!" as she expressed her criticism, "The only National Emergency is that our president is an idiot."

California's recently elected Governor Gavin Newsom called the wall "Unnecessary," and "A vanity project," in the course of saying California will go to court to stop the illegal diversion of funds that would build it.

David Gergen, former senior staffer to presidents of both parties, had lengthy observations.

He said, "This president presented a phoney crisis and he backed it up with phoney facts."

Gergen, who is an historian, continued, "When the founders put together the Constitution, it was largely with a view to constrain presidential power." He referenced the Revolution and said, "We didn't want a George the Third."

Gergen continued, "In our politics... you do not make your case with Congress, fail, then... exercise presidential authority to do it anyway, and use phoney facts to back it up."

Congressional Democratic Party leaders quickly vowed to contest this Declaration of National Emergency at all levels, including the courts.

Notably, those Dems made their case, stuck to facts, then left the stage. Not that they aren't quite capable of contorting both feet into their mouths, but today, all the craziness was in the Rose Garden.

The Dems did show they understand what all good songwriters know: when it's really important, say only what needs to be said, then git -- plumb off the stage.

Supreme Court, here we come. Hopefully for no more Bush v. Gore disgraces.

One line deserves adding late, on President's Day Monday. Jeremy Bash, one of 40 former top US intelligence officials to sign a statement calling the Declaration of National Emergency a misuse of authority, said:

"Humpty-Trumpty fell off his wall... and all the king's horses and all the king's men..."



"National Emergencies" aren't what you think, and mainstream media isn't doing much of a job to explain what they are supposed to be under the law that allows them to be declared.

For example, they are not at all related to Disaster Declarations.

And NOT ONE OF THEM, before today, involved any serious money being spent from the federal treasury -- diverted or otherwise.

For example, when Mr. Trump declared the opioid crisis a national health emergency in 2017, he did not invoke the section of the law that would have given it actual status as a NATIONAL EMERGENCY.

"National Emergency Declarations" are specified in 50 U.S. Code § 1621.

The full legal text is actually quite brief. Here's the whole thing:

"U.S. Code Title 50. WAR AND NATIONAL DEFENSE Chapter 34. NATIONAL EMERGENCIES Subchapter II. DECLARATIONS OF FUTURE NATIONAL EMERGENCIES Section 1621. Declaration of national emergency by President; publication in Federal Register; effect on other laws; superseding legislation

"(a)  With respect to Acts of Congress authorizing the exercise, during the period of a national emergency, of any special or extraordinary power, the President is authorized to declare such national emergency. Such proclamation shall immediately be transmitted to the Congress and published in the Federal Register.

"(b)  Any provisions of law conferring powers and authorities to be exercised during a national emergency shall be effective and remain in effect (1) only when the President (in accordance with subsection (a) of this section), specifically declares a national emergency, and (2) only in accordance with this chapter. No law enacted after September 14, 1976, shall supersede this subchapter unless it does so in specific terms, referring to this subchapter, and declaring that the new law supersedes the provisions of this subchapter.

"(Pub. L. 94–412, title II, § 201, Sept. 14, 1976, 90 Stat. 1255.)"


According to the Federal Register, a total of 58 National Emergencies have been declared since the "National Emergency Act of 1976" was signed into law by President Gerald Ford.

As of January 10th this year, 31 of them -- having been annually renewed -- are still in effect, as listed in the Federal Register. Most have held that status for years or even decades.

ABC News compiled the most recent list (2019) of all 31 declarations,  with short descriptions, in effect before today. Their list includes the presidents who declared these still ongoing national emergencies:

Not exactly any legal authority in there for autocratic usurpation of government funds, or any precedent, either -- for ANY of what the world saw today.



ARTICLE I defines the powers and responsibilities of the Congress. Article I is much lengthier than Article II, which establishes the power of the President, or Article III, which establishes the powers of the Supreme Court.

Four sections of Article I work together to clearly require passage by the Congress before any measure can enable funding of anything not already approved by Congress:

Article I, Section 1 (entire section):

"All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."

(Thus, the President has no powers to dictate law.)

Article I, Section 7, 1st clause:

"All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."

(The Congress, not the President, determines how -- and if -- federal money is spent, on anything.)

Article I, Section 8, 1st clause:

"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"

(The Congress, not the President, has the authority to pay debts, and much more.)

Article I, Section 8, final clause:

"To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof."

(The Congress, and no other part of government, has sole responsibility for executing its powers, including the power of the purse.)

Article I, Section 9 (entire section):

"No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time."

(This is the absolute reiteration and confirmation: NO ONE can take federal money for ANY purpose without a legal act of Congress to authorize it, specifying the expenditure. And CONGRESS is responsible for enforcing that.)

Read all of Article I at:

ARTICLE II defines the powers and responsibilities of the PRESIDENT and EXECUTIVE BRANCH. It is very specific,  quite brief, and it gives NO authority for deciding to divert any expenditure of public monies. Read the complete section at:

ARTICLE III defines the powers of the Judicial Branch and Supreme Court. It is very specific,  quite brief, and it gives NO authority for allowing diversion or authorization of any expenditure of public monies not specifically approved by Congress. Read the complete section at:

It's appropriate to quote President GERALD FORD, in his first address to the nation after becoming president upon the resignation of RICHARD NIXON.

President Ford said: "Our Constitution works. Ours is a government of laws, and not of men."


*** On Sunday, Feb 17, we added a single-item as a LATE ADDITION, up-top, where it stayed until late in the day on Mon, Feb 18. It's obsolete now, so we moved it here in its entirety to preserve the full content of this edition. Here's that late-added item:

Mon, Feb 18, PRESIDENTS DAY Holiday:
*  The respected non-partisan nonprofit organization "PUBLIC CITIZEN" is teaming-up with dozens of allies to sponsor protests on "PRESIDENTS DAY" Monday.
*  Rallies will take place in more than 200 cities across the country from Homer, Alaska, to Naples, Florida.
*  You can join a demonstration near you, Mon, Feb 18, to protest the Trumpertantrum power grab.
*  Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, says, "Trump's power grab is a full-fledged attack on our democracy. If his actions go unchallenged, it will open the door to almost limitless abuses of presidential and military power, including far-reaching clampdowns on civil liberties and civil rights."
*  Public Citizen has filed a lawsuit to stop the illegal wall.
*  Weissman continues, "...if enough people show their outrage, no matter what the courts and Congress do, Trump will know that he can't simply get away with crying 'emergency' to grab power."
*  Well, Mr. Weissman, here at the Guide, we doubt that much of anything could impart the idea to the individual in question that there's anything he can't get away with. But this isn't about him. It's about the CONSTITUTION.


That's all for this edition.
Stay tuneful!


We'll be back again soon with music news and more "News of the Non-Trumpcentric Universe." (c)



Boilerplate? Where's the main pressure gauge? And the firebox?

What "boilerplate"? Who came up with that goofy term for the basic essential informational stuff...


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♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS – and views of interest to artists everywhere – more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music. That includes both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
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