Tag Archives: San Francisco

Trump’s Legal Woes Are just Getting Started

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Watching the right wingers rejoicing at Trump’s self-proclamation of exoneration within minutes of special counsel specifically stating he had NOT been exonerated is kinda sad….for them….but not for America. Because the right only hears news from one or two Trump-promoting websites, they are STILL unaware that Robert Mueller sent most of the obstruction cases were sent over to the Southern District, where Trump is legally helpless to manipulate his way out of them, since he has zero legal jurisdiction. Bwahaha! This will be a real shocker, because they don’t see it coming. It was strategic. It went right over their heads.

The closure of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election does NOT mark the end of legal worries for Trump and people close to him. Not by a longshot. Other continuing investigations and litigation are focusing on issues including his businesses and financial dealings, personal conduct, charitable foundation and inaugural committee. This will be that which ends him.

Think about it. Mueller charged 34 people and three companies. Some of those cases resulted in guilty pleas, and one case went to trial, with former Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort convicted of eight criminal counts, including bank fraud and tax fraud. Longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone was indicted in January of this year and pleaded not guilty, but his trial is still pending. There are other cases involving indicted Russians that have not gone to trial. Other prosecutors within the Justice Department will likely take over criminal cases begun by Mueller.

Donald Trump is horrible for America.

Trump will face significant dents in his current jubilation from federal prosecutors in Manhattan, according to the legal experts viewing these cases. His former personal lawyer Michael Cohen said in Feb. 27 congressional testimony that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is examining Trump’s business practices and financial dealings. Cohen already has implicated Trump in campaign finance law violations to which he pleaded guilty in August 2018 as part of the Southern District investigation.

Cohen admitted he violated campaign finance laws by arranging, at Trump’s direction, “hush money” payments shortly before the 2016 presidential election to porn film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy magazine model Karen McDougal to prevent damage to Trump’s candidacy. Both women established that they had sexual relationships with Trump more than a decade ago,during his marriage to Melania, soon after the birth of their son, Baron. (As an aside, I have challenged my social media readers to document even ONE DAY that Trump has EVER dedicated to this child since he was born. ONE SINGLE DAY…..and not one person has been able to do that.)

Prosecutors said the payments constituted ILLEGAL campaign contributions intended to influence the election. Under federal election laws, such donations cannot exceed $2,700 and need to be publicly disclosed. Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, received $130,000. McDougal received $150,000.

The New York District investigation has involved longtime Trump ally David Pecker, publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid newspaper, who admitted to paying McDougal for the rights to her story and then suppressing it to influence the election, an arrangement called “catch and kill.”

Cohen has already said he was in “constant contact” with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, and said other crimes and wrongdoing by Trump are being investigated by them. Trump WILL fall, and the Southern District will take him down, but it will be after this one term. Remember, Cohen said he could not testify about the nature of his last conversation with Trump in early 2018 because it was under investigation by the federal prosecutors in New York. They will get him.

A lawsuit filed by the New York state Attorney General’s Office has already led the corrupt Donald J. Trump Foundation, which was presented as the charitable arm of Trump’s business empire, to agree in December 2018 to dissolve, and the litigation continues.

The state of New York is seeking an order banning Trump and his three eldest children from leadership roles in any other New York charity EVER. The state’s Democratic attorney general accused the foundation of being “engaged in a “shocking pattern of illegality” and “functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests” in violation of federal law.

Charges stemming from this matter state that Trump and his family members used the charity to pay off his legal debts and purchase personal items. The foundation agreed to dissolve and give away all its remaining assets under court supervision, but the Trump’s have not yet faced a court over this illegal activity. Oh, but they will!

Then come the issues surrounding the emoluments. Trump is accused in a lawsuit filed by the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia of violating anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution through his businesses’ dealings with foreign governments. These are very serious charges that Trump has not been able to beat. The Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on March 19 in the Trump administration’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte’s 2018 rulings allowing the case to proceed.

The Constitution’s “emoluments clause” bars U.S. officials from accepting payments from foreign governments and the governments of U.S. states without congressional approval. The lawsuit stated that because Trump did not divest himself of his business empire, spending by foreign governments at the Trump International Hotel in Washington amounts to unconstitutional gifts, or “emoluments,” to the president.

Federal prosecutors in New York are also investigating whether the committee that organized Trump’s inauguration in January 2017 accepted illegal donations from foreigners, misused funds or brokered special access to the administration for donors. The Trump organization seems to have forgotten that Federal election law prohibits foreigners from donating to U.S. political campaigns or inaugural committees, and corruption laws ban donors from making contributions in exchange for political favors.

Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said in December 2018 that the president was not involved in his inaugural committee, and that the $107 million raised by the committee, which was chaired by real estate developer and investor Thomas Barrack, was the largest in history, according to Federal Election Commission filings. However, there is copious evidence implicating Trump that is on its way back to haunt him.

Under the Constitution, the president, vice president and “all civil officers of the United States” can be removed from office by Congress through the impeachment process for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives acts as the accuser – voting on whether to bring specific charges such as obstruction of justice – and the Senate then conducts a trial with House members acting as prosecutors and the individual senators serving as jurors. A simple majority vote is needed in the House to impeach. A two-thirds majority is required in the Senate to convict and remove.

I don’t think Trump will be impeached, because he has so carefully shielded himself, but he WILL face charges after he is voted out of office in the next election. Just you wait.

Oatmeal, anyone? An Evening with Ottmar Liebert

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When my daughter was small, she would refer to Flamenco guitarist, Ottmar Liebert as “Oatmeal”.  “Listening to Oatmeal again, Mom?”  she would ask.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.36.40 AM© Stacy Alexander – 2015

Last night, we were treated to two hours of this graceful guitarist’s skilled execution of some of the most incredible music I have ever heard.  Liebert was joined by bassist, Jon Gagon and percussionist, Chris Steele.  They had definite chemistry, and put on an ideal show in an intimate Portland venue in the Alberta Arts District.

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© Stacy Alexander

Ottmar Liebert is what guitar playing is all about.  He is in tune with his craft to the point that it seemed, at times, that he and the guitar were one instrument.  He was graceful, and seemed comfortable in his own skin, playing, most of the time, barefoot, with his eyes closed, seemingly oblivious to his surroundings, riding the waves of his own creations.   I believe he was playing a small DeVoe guitar, but it didn’t have any markings on it that I could see, so I’m not certain that is what it was.

Since 1986 Liebert has lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1992 he purchased an “alt-ranchette” just outside the city, with an adobe guesthouse he built as a recording studio.  In May 2006 Liebert was ordained as a Zen monk by Dennis Genpo Merzel at the Kanzeon Zen Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He had a very strong presence….one of peace and goodness.  Both John and I sensed this immediately as we watched him.

(I couldn’t get the video of Luna Negra to embed.  This video (above) is an earlier performance.)

I have been unable to find a video of Jon Gagnon, his bassist, but will post one here, if i do later.  He  was simply put, rock solid in every way.  Jon had a huge presence and voice on a 4 string fretless which sang like an baritone opera singer…or, at times, a French horn.  I couldn’t figure out what one of his bass instruments was at all it.  The one shown here was huge, and had a EB-like headstock and a body shape of something like a JP and a morsh.   Its  tone was full of mwah, but soulful and crying. The  fretboard was  coated with something shiny. I’d not seen anything like it before.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.54.47 AMThe drummer, Chris Steele, was not to be believed.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 10.57.15 AMI did find a video of Chris playing, and I encourage you to watch it.  He is truly a unique player, and fantastically talented.

There is a video on YouTube that I couldn’t manage to embed here.  Please look it up.  It is called “Good Drums, Bad Turtleneck” by Chris Steele.  This is the video to watch to really see this man’s talent.  You can find it here:

The Alberta Rose Theater is a sweet little venue….very small and intimate, which was the perfect place to hear a trio such as this.  John and I ate the venue’s delicious  hand pies and sipped Perrier as we basked in the warmth and beauty that these musicians presented to us. We had such a nice evening.   These guys are  true professionals…plain and simple.  They were tight, knew exactly what they were doing, and provided the audience with an amazing show.  ’nuff said.  Well…no….NOT enough said, actually.

As I was sitting there watching these incredible musicians, I though about my dear friend, another musician, and felt so sad that his life has taken the path that it has.  It could have been him up there on that stage last night….but as they say…”When you lie with pigs….”  He has made some not-so-wise choices.   I’ll leave it at that.

Hockney in San Francisco

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A press conference attended by my husband, John, was held today to celebrate the exhibit, David Hockney: A Bigger Exhibition, opening on the 26th and staying up through the 20th of January at the De Young Museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

 

The celebrated British artist  talked about his work and how he has embraced new technology to create much of his work on the iPad these days.

Hockney, one of my idols,  is the most influential and best-known British artist of his generation. More than 300 works are being shown in 18,000 square feet of gallery space, making this the largest exhibition in the history of the museum.

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This exhibition highlights Hockney’s ability to engage with—and gain mastery of—a wide variety of tools and media. Works range from simple pencil drawings on paper, to Bigger Yosemite, five drawings created on the iPad that capture the majesty of the American West. “Like an artist alchemist, in one minute Hockney uses a fancy digital device to make a colorful iPad drawing; in the next he shows us that he is one of our greatest draftsmen by rendering an exactingly detailed charcoal drawing of a forest scene in East Yorkshire,” notes Richard Benefield, deputy director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and organizer of the exhibition.

Hockey is probably best known for this painting, which I’m sure, many of you will recognize:

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When I heard he was going to be there today, I told John that he MUST go.  He agreed, but when he got there, he learned that it was a Press-only event.  Therefore, he promptly told the keepers of the gate that he was reporting for the Arte California blog and they gave him press credentials and let him in!  That’s my man….always thinking ahead.  🙂

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I regret that I could not be there myself, but it was great that John could attend.  He said that he shot about 12 minutes worth of video which I shall upload once he sends it along to me.

This collage was John’s favorite piece in the show”

hockney collage

Thrilling experience for John.  I am so glad he got to go!

Anti-Mass at the deYoung

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at deyoung

Ugh!  Look at my messy hair!  Windy, windy day in San Francisco that day! 

As an artist, part of my job is to observe art by others to learn from, be inspired by and humbled by their work.  I will be documenting much of my recent trip to the de Young Museum in San Francisco over time, but today, I want to focus on this piece by Cornelia Parker.

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Titled, “Anti-Mass”   this sculpture was constructed from the remains of a Southern Black Baptist Church destroyed by arsonists.  I was drop-jawed when I saw it….almost moved to tears.  The pieces appear  to defy gravity, suggesting the temporality of everything physical, even as it captures the spirit of the worshippers.

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In the title,  the word “mass” refers to both the elemental substance of the universe, as well as the Catholic sacramental ritual, uniting science and religion in a metaphoric insistence on the triumph of creativity over violence.  It evokes the lost church and congregation through absence more powerfully than could any figurative image.

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I must have sat on the bench in the middle of the room and stared at it for half an hour.  Rarely am I as deeply affected by a piece of art as suddenly and as deeply as this.  I was very surprised when I saw this artist’s photo, revealing, I suppose, my own (shame-worthy) inner-propensity toward stereotyping.   The name Cornelia Parker, coupled with the subject matter of this piece, brought to mind a fierce black woman artist.  Little did I expect her to look like this:

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Parker studied at the Gloucestershire College of Art and Design (1974–75) and Wolverhampton Polytechnic (1975–78).   She received her MFA from Reading University in 1982 and honorary doctorates from the University of Wolverhampton in 2000, the University of Birmingham (2005) and the University of Gloucestershire (2008).

In 1997, Cornelia Parker was shortlisted for the Turner Prize along with Christine BorlandAngela Bulloch, and Gillian Wearing (who won the prize).   She is married, has one daughter, and lives and works in London.                 I want to make art that has this same kind of impact!

 

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Day # 24 – Stranger

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Photo a Day – JULY

Day # 24 – STRANGER

Stacy Alexander – 2012

I have seen this woman, upon occasion, in San Francisco.  Each time I have seen her, I have had my camera in hand, so this isn’t the only shot  I have of her.  (I carry my camera with me most of the time wherever I go…)   She has always struck me as a walking piece of art.  When she passed in front of this Henry Moore sculpture,  I thought to myself, “Ahh! PERFECT!”   I only wish I’d had my wide angle lens!