Winter Solstice Reads: The Cold Moon and the New Light

Yule and Solstice Greetings Sky Dancers!

Today we have the longest night, the Ursid Meteor Showers. and a Full Moon for Saturday.  Yes, Saturday is the full moon. It wasn’t yesterday but don’t tell that to the lunatic in the Oval Office.  Tomorrow is the new light. I think that’s an important symbol for those of us that are overwhelmed with the Chaos Demon dwelling in the White House.

So what’s going on with this full moon?

Our last full moon of the year will come less than a day after the solstice. Again, for those of you who love precision, it will occur on Saturday, December 22, at 17:49 Universal Time (that’s 12:49 p.m. ET), EarthSky says.

However, when you’re looking out into a clear sky on Friday night, the moon will appear full to you — and could be so bright that people with pretty good eyesight could read by it.

Over many centuries, this moon has been called several names: Cold Moon, Cold Full Moon, Long Night Moon (by some Native American tribes) or the Moon Before Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon lunar calendar).

If you’re wondering how special this Cold Moon is so close to the solstice, it will be 2029 before it happens again. So it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime event, but still, you don’t see this too often.

Now what about that meteor shower?

The annual Ursids meteor shower is expected to peak a day or two after the solstice. You might be able to see up to 10 “shooting stars” per hour depending on your location.

The website In the Sky has a great feature that helps you figure out where to watch and how many meteors you might see. For instance, people in South Florida might expect just three per hour while people in Juneau, Alaska, might expect seven per hour.

One caveat: That Cold Moon will be so bright that it could outshine some of the meteors as they streak in, making them harder to spot.

And then there’s the lunatic in the Oval Office who is ensuring the end of the year is utter chaos. From Sarah Grillo at Axios: “Pre-Christmas Trump: Rebuked, rampaging”.

The last member of an informal alliance of top Trump officials with enough swat or stature to stand up to President Trump — the Committee to Save America, as we called these officials 16 months ago — resigned in epic fashion.

The bottom line: Unlike most others, who pretended to leave on fine terms, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis bailed with a sharp, specific, stinging rebuke of Trump and his America-first worldview.

  • Mattis wrote: “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held.”
  • And the general drops the mic: “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my positions.”
  • Back when Trump first took office, he had bragged: “[M]y generals … are going to keep us so safe … If I’m doing a movie, I pick you, General Mattis.”

It was a historic letter and a historic moment capping a historic day, one you could easily see filling a full chapter of future books on the Trump presidency. The wheels felt like they were coming off the White House before Mattis quit.

  • The spiral began Wednesday when Trump saw conservative media turn on him when he appeared to be caving on funding for the border wall in order to avoid a government shutdown.
  • Trump then announced he was keeping a different campaign promise: withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria. And yesterday, word leaked that he had ordered a drawdown from Afghanistan.
  • “[T]he president was super pissed and [conservatives] have him all whipped up … [H]e is seething at the media reports of him retreating,” a Republican lobbyist emailed.
  • An outside adviser added: “What triggered Trump on Syria was giving up on the wall.”
  • By midday, the wall was back and Trump was telling congressional leaders he was prepared to allow a partial government shutdown.

The backdrop … Spooked by Trump’s actions and statements, Wall Street is on track for its worst year in a decade — since the financial crisis of 2008.

Scoop: As a sign of the mood inside, officials at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue tell us that Trump is complaining about his incoming chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, in conversations inside the West Wing and with Capitol Hill.

  • Trump asked one trusted adviser: “Did you know [Mulvaney] called me ‘a terrible human being’” back during the campaign?
  • We’re told that Trump was furious when the slight surfaced in a two-year-old video right after he promoted Mulvaney. (A spokeswoman says that was before Mulvaney met Trump.)

An outside adviser to Trump told me as the president’s “landmark day of chaos” unspooled: “He is straddling the political precipice.”

  • Why it matters: Mattis was the last to go — after outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly, former-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and economic adviser Gary Cohn — of the officials sometimes called the “axis of adults.”
  • As captured by cable news … MSNBC: “TRUMP CHAOS” … CNN: “DEFENSE SECRETARY QUITS … AS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN LOOMS AND FINANCIAL MARKETS TANK” … Fox News: “SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN.”

Reality check: Trump was never going to adopt the establishment consensus that a strong U.S. military presence would be required for the foreseeable future in Afghanistan and Syria. Trump has never felt that.

It’s really difficult to document all the shit hitting the fan today.  The withdrawals from both Syria and Afghanistan are getting press play.  The equity markets are nosediving again. Then, there’s the entire debacle about keeping the government open and paying people that do things like stand watch on battle fields, process social security checks, and take eager tourists through national parks and historic sites.

Aren’t we all getting tired of budget brinkmanship?  Last night, the House sent forward the budget with KKKremlin Caligula’s $5 million wall craziness.  Many voted for it just to spite Pelosi.  Paul Ryan cannot get out of town quick enough for me.  He’s a blob with no spine, no guts, and no brains.  The Senate has the blob ball today.

GOP Hardliners are okay with a shut down.  What about the rest of the country?

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows picked up the phone early Thursday morning and dialed up a frustrated Donald Trump for yet another pep talk.

The president was agitated over suggestions in the conservative media that he was caving on his border wall campaign promise. He had just taken to Twitter to downplay the importance of securing new wall funding before Christmas and suggested he’d fight for the wall next Congress — GOP leadership’s preferred strategy to avoid a shutdown.

But Meadows, who is close with the president and was recently in the running to be his next chief of staff, urged Trump to make a stand now before Democrats took the House in January — just as he had the night before and multiple times earlier in the week. Stick to your guns, the North Carolina Republican told the president, according to a source familiar with the conversation. We conservatives will have your back. And now is the last best chance to fight.

Never mind that half the Senate had left town for the holidays having voice-voted passage of a temporary funding bill without wall money, all while Democrats sang Christmas carols on the floor. And never mind that House GOP leaders were already twisting arms in their caucus to support a proposal they thought the White House wanted.

Not four hours later, the president hauled Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other GOP leaders to the West Wing and instructed them to change course. And they did.

“I’m OK with a shutdown,” Trump told the group, according to two sources in the room.

The hard-liners had defeated leadership once again, and Washington was barreling into another crisis of its own making with no endgame in sight.

All of this has the markets dropping like it’s 1929 and the US government is disrupted. This is likely Bannon’s wetdream come true.  From the big guns and WAPO:

President Trump began Thursday under siege, listening to howls of indignation from conservatives over his border wall and thrusting the government toward a shutdown. He ended it by announcing the exit of the man U.S. allies see as the last guardrail against the president’s erratic behavior: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose resignation letter was a scathing rebuke of Trump’s worldview.

At perhaps the most fragile moment of his presidency — and vulnerable to convulsions on the political right — Trump single-handedly propelled the U.S. government into crisis and sent markets tumbling with his gambits this week to salvage signature campaign promises.

The president’s decisions and conduct have led to a fracturing of Trump’s coalition. Hawks condemned his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Conservatives called him a “gutless president” and questioned whether he would ever build a wall. Political friends began privately questioning whether Trump needed to be reined in.

fter campaigning on shrinking America’s footprint in overseas wars, Trump abruptly declared Wednesday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, a move Mattis and other advisers counseled against. And officials said Thursday that Trump is preparing to send thousands of troops home from Afghanistan, as well.

The president also issued an ultimatum to Congress to fund construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, a move poised to result in a government shutdown just before Christmas. Trump and his aides had signaled tacit support for a short-term spending compromise that would avert the shutdown, but the president abruptly changed course after absorbing a deluge of criticism from some of his most high-profile loyalists.

Leon Panetta, who served as defense secretary, CIA director and White House chief of staff for Democratic presidents, said, “We’re in a constant state of chaos right now in this country.” He added, “While it may satisfy [Trump’s] need for attention, it’s raising hell with the country.”

Putin must love these Trumpertantrums.  He already got a big gift with the Syria surrender.  All the ” adults in the room” have left the building.  The guardrails are gone.  What’s left?  None of the folks left are likely to do the 25th Amendment. This is getting stomach wrenching and this AP article describes the vestiges of those media memes.

Mattis will be the last to go, and his abrupt resignation Thursday marks the end of the “contain and control” phase of Trump’s administration — one where generals, business leaders and establishment Republicans struggled to guide the president and curb his most disruptive impulses. They were branded in Washington as the “troika of sanity,” the “axis of adults” and the “committee to save America.”

But as Trump careens toward his third year in office, their efforts are in tatters and most are out of a job.

The early consequences of the new era were already apparent at year’s end, with Trump on the verge of a government shutdown over the advice of GOP leaders and ordering the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria over Mattis’ objections. A similar pull-back in Afghanistan appeared to be in the works. The financial markets, spooked by uncertainty from a nearly yearlong trade war, tanked.

“We are headed toward a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted after Mattis’ resignation.

The shrinking circle around Trump is now increasingly dominated by a small cadre of longtime Trump loyalists and family members, ex-Fox News talent and former GOP lawmakers who were backbenchers on Capitol Hill before being elevated by the president. Attracting top flight talent will only get more difficult as more investigations envelop the White House once Democrats take over the House in January.

To some of Trump’s most ardent supporters, the exodus leaves the president with a team that is more in line with his hardline campaign promises. They viewed some of his early advisers as obstacles to enacting the unabashed nationalist agenda they believe Trump had been elected to implement.

These are really trying days but the new light is coming. Maybe that will be in an Omen. I mean this has always been the ancient symbolism of winter.  It’s long, dark, and cold wait but with some good food, friends, and fun then we can wait it out.  That’s always my question these days thought.  How long can we wait this out because things are getting super crazy out there.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  Have a warm and snug longest night!!!

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19 Comments on “Winter Solstice Reads: The Cold Moon and the New Light”

  1. dakinikat says:

  2. dakinikat says:

  3. dakinikat says:

  4. Enheduanna says:

    Happy Solstice everyone….it’s too rainy here to see the moon I’m afraid.

    I’ve been avoiding cable news as part of my self-care regimen, but last night I thought I’d check in with Maddow to see what whiny-baby antics Dump was up to. Wowzer, Mattis’ epic resignation actually made me kind of like the guy (for a minute).

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s raining here too and it’s going to continue into tomorrow. I wish I could see the moon. Maybe tomorrow night.

  5. bostonboomer says:

  6. bostonboomer says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      I guess Mattis figured it’s pointless to stay on – that Dump is just that completely out of control. Otherwise, I’d question why he would quit at such a crucial time.

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. bostonboomer says: