Point of View Columns

Justice is For Just Us

The Not Guilty verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse case is simply a reiteration of what White Privilege in America is all about. We can begin with the acceptance of the reality that if Mr. Rittenhouse was a 17-year-old Black man, armed with an automatic rifle, shooting and killing people during the melee in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the police would have shot and killed him instead of offering him a water bottle.

If the Black Rittenhouse somehow made it to trial his tearful pleas of self-defense, enhanced by his weeping mother (who continued to peek to make sure that cameras were capturing her tears), they would have fallen on deaf ears and he would be carted off to prison for the rest of his life as you are reading this column.

Yet, the White Rittenhouse is home, safe and sound. The White Rittenhouse is a celebrity in the right wing of the right wing. Indeed, Matt Gaetz, that noted Congressman About Town and Friend of Teenage Girls, has already offered him a job as an intern.  (How apropos)

It is one of those concatenation trick of time and circumstance that the Rittenhouse verdict occurs during the same week that we discover, not to our surprise, that the convicted murderers of Malcolm X didn’t do it. Further, the wrongful convictions were the result of intentional efforts by federal and New York City law enforcement to obscure the identity of the real killers. And now, over a half a century later, we will never know.

Which leads us to question the multiple occurrences of injustice and prestidigitation that have been a hallmark of the Black Experience with American Justice. For example, the murderers of Emmitt Till were never convicted and the white woman who lied in claiming that your Mr. Till had insulted her waited on her deathbed to tell the truth – the young man was innocent.

Or – consider, are we to really believe that James Earl Ray, a two-bit criminal if there was ever was one, shot and killed Martin Luther King and was able to escape and flee to London and then Lisbon with fake passports that would require a level of experience and knowledge that was far beyond the ken of Ray. But, of course, James Earl Ray is dead and the fake story is now the real story.

The point, of course, is that the criminal justice system in America is a stacked deck when it comes to Black Americans. We know that, not only would the hypothetical Black Kyle Rittenhouse have been shot dead in the street, as would have been the hypothetical Black insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol on 1.6.21.

It is true that the killer of George Floyd has been convicted. But the killers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice walk blithely walk the streets and will never spend a nanosecond in prison. And this, of course, is a very incomplete listing of injustices.

All of which is to say that, when it comes to the United States of America, White America is saying that in the United States justice is Just for Us.

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Point of View Columns

What White Privilege Really Looks Like

 It is certainly too bad that too many white Americans, and some Black Americans, do not want the truth of white privilege in this country to be taught in public schools. It is too bad, because with an understanding of white privilege in an historical context, all Americans would be able to understanding the dystopian disconnect that exists between the glorious stated ideals of this country and its dissonant reality. Consider a few examples from recent history:

Exhibit 1

Consider the fact that on January 6, 2021, an overwhelmingly white mob made up of thousands of armed and angry men and women stormed the Capitol with the sole purpose of preventing the lawful election of the President of the United States. An act of subversion and insurrection without precedent.

In the aftermath, only one of the invaders was killed by the beleaguered law enforcement personnel. Most of the participants have never been arrested, much less charged with a crime. Of those who have been charged with a crime, no one has received a sentence in excess of four years, and most of those convicted to date have been sentenced to very light sentences or community service.

At the time and since, many observers have noted that if the insurrectionists, men and women determined to overthrow the Constitution of the United States, had been Black, there would have been Black blood all over the steps of the Capitol and there would have been a shortage of body bags in the District of Columbia. The rationale for that point of view is that in so many of the urban protests and insurrections which have involved the destruction of property, but never the overthrow of the Constitution, Black men and women have been gunned down regardless of the reasons for their protest – like unjustified the murder of Black men and women and children by the police.

Exhibit 2

At the age of seventeen, a young white man by the name of Kyle Rittenhouse drove from his home in Illinois to Kenosha, Wisconsin with an automatic rifle in tow. His stated purpose was to provide medical assistance and security during the protests in Kenosha in the aftermath of the brutal police shooting of James Blake.

Rittenhouse, in full view of law enforcement, killed two of the protestors and seriously injured a third, and walked away. He is now on trial claiming self-defense and there is a very real possibility that he will be acquitted and almost certainly will not be convicted of murder.

Consider the following hypothetical – an armed Black teenager shows up during violent street protests and starts shooting and killing in front of the police. Not only would that teenager be dead, there would be very little public remorse for his demise.

Consider that a young Black boy, Tamir Rice, was 12 years old and playing with a toy gun in a playground in Cleveland, Ohio when he was shot and killed by the police and to this day there has never been a conviction with respect to his murder.

Exhibit 3

Last year three white men saw a Black man jogging through a suburban neighborhood and accosted him and shot and killed because they suspected that he might be responsible for a series of non-violent burglaries in the neighborhood. Ahmad Arbery was unarmed and by all video accounts, only tried to defend himself and escape from armed white strangers in Georgia (Black people in Georgia have a well-founded fear of armed white strangers).

The three murderers are now on trial before a jury of eleven white people and one Black person. Defense counsel has complained about “Black pastors in the courtroom” and it is a safe prediction that this jury will not return with a unanimous verdict to convict.

Consider what the outcome would have been if three Black men had accosted a white jogger and shot him to death without reasonable cause. It is fair to say that, in whatever state, the defendants would be glad to achieve a life sentence plea bargain.

The point of these examples is to provide some context for the notion of white privilege, particularly when seen in juxtaposition to the life and existence of Black Americans in similar situation.

The lofty aspirations in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are admirable and have been emulated in many countries around the world. But is very clear that the United States of America has a long way to go to live up to those aspirations.

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Point of View Columns

Reflections during October 2021

Reflections During October 2021

October 4, 2021

It now appears that Cult of Trump entails a full and complete divorce from reality, no matter that there are billions of witnesses to that reality. Case in point, former Vice President Mike Pence has reduced the 1.6.21 insurrection to “a single bad day”. And he says this even though the insurrectionists announced a very clear intention to hang him.

Perhaps he is hoping that this act of act of abject fealty will put him back in Trump’s good graces.

If not, I am sure that he will still continue on his own personal downward spiral of obsequiousness.

October 5, 2021

Not that it should come as a total surprise, but even though pigs are not soaring through the air in formation, there has been real and actual bipartisan activity in Congress. The reason for this seeming miracle is Facebook, and its continual refusal to embrace any corporate responsibility that does not involve pure profit for Mark Zuckerberg & Co.

Even though it is now absolutely evident that Facebook has facilitated teenage suicides and enhanced the clear and present danger of insurrection in the United States and abroad, Facebook has clearly taken pages out of the Standard Oil playbook – straight out of the 19th century.

But, as John D. Rockefeller & Co. learned, the absolute embrace of power and wealth despite human and institutional costs does have consequences.

Stay tuned for Congressional oversight regarding Facebook and other tech companies in the days and months to come.

October 6, 2021

Yesterday Pope Francis issued a formal apology of the Catholic Church for the over 300,000 instances of the sexual abuse of children by thousands of members of the clergy in France. This savagery took place over a period of 70 years and is probably not the complete number. And we can be sure that the situation in France is not an isolated instance as revelations in Ireland and the United States make very clear.

There are no words to describe the betrayal of trust and faith that these revelations reveal. What is also revealed is how institutionalism and bureaucracy can obscure even the saintliest of intentions.

October 11, 2021

While some people will persist on celebrating this day as Columbus Day, it makes more and more sense to go by the more useful celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day in order to serve as a reminder that this nation is literally built with the combination of stolen land and genocide. Of course there is the expected opposition from those who don’t deny the facts, they just don’t want to be made to feel uncomfortable with the reality of “discovery” and “settlement” which presumably is kinder to the ear than “genocide” and “stolen land”.

There will come a time in American history when the sordid history of its origins can be told honestly and without rancor, but with the understanding that, even now, we all have to do better.

October 14, 2021

As every day goes by, it becomes very clear that the elections of 2022 and 2024 may be the most important elections since 1860. We are now witness to hundreds, indeed thousands of elected officials and political operatives who (a) are denying the validity of the 2020 elections and (b) are taking legislative and administrative steps to insure favorable outcomes even if that means invalidating votes that have been cast legitimately.

There has to be a question as to how did so many (predominantly) white Americans decide that, in the face of a growing non-white national population, the best response is not cooperation and collaboration. Rather the sad course that they have chosen sets the stage for something resembling a civil war as efforts continue to impose minority rule in this nation.

Meanwhile China and Russia watch this passion play and don’t have to raise their hands as this country suffers from self-inflicted wounds that could prove to be mortal.

October 15, 2021

Historians will one day look at the 2020’s and wonder at the extreme separation from reality and even a semblance of fairness that seems to have suddenly gripped virtually half of the American people.

Whether it is the denial of election results or the national campaign to restrict the voting rights and political power of non-white people to the cruel imposition of draconian abortion bans after a half-century of providing women with the right to choose what happens to their bodies – madness and meanness seem to be the themes in which the American people have adopted as the “new normal”

October 21, 2021

It is in the realm of possibility that we will come to understand Senator Joe Manchin’s opposition to dental and vision care for the elderly. There is literally no hope that we will ever understand Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s opposition to even a “one penny” increase in the tax rates for millionaires, billionaires and multi-billion dollar companies.

In the meantime, it appears that President Biden is practicing the art of the possible by supporting a scaled down version of his Build Back Better plan. But it should be clear that even a scaled down version represents a major change in American public policy, moving away from decades of penurious and skimpy social service programs (certainly skimpy when compared to any other industrialized countries).

And that being said, it may be possible to see a further expansion if the Trump-led Republicans don’t trash the entire package a little more than three years from now.

A hell of a thought.

October 23, 2021

Somebody in the Biden Administration seems to think that, even though the administration is already dancing on the razor’s edge of multiple crises, it would be a good idea to indicate that this country is prepared to use military force against China in defense of Taiwan. Aside from the fact that such public provocative language will never cause China to pause, there is no sense that the American people are prepared to support another foreign war – with an incalculable cost of blood and treasure – when the interests of the United States are not directly at risk.

Diplomacy exists as an alternative to war. It is spectacularly useless if it is not employed in a timely fashion.

October 24, 2021

The joke of the day is that Trump is starting his own version of Facebook/Twitter through his personal communications company which is in the process of formation. The joke, of course, is that the list of investors who made money in a Trump venture could fit on the head of a pin – a very small pin. The list of Trump founded companies that have been successful could fit on the back of a cocktail napkin – a very small cocktail napkin.

Yet the investors, reputedly some large ones, along with the denizens of MAGA nation will probably put Trump in a position to partially start the company and pocket much of the invested funds if the past is prologue.

October 28, 2021

As President Biden gets ready to leave for the G-20 conference in Rome later today, it would be wise to remember that each of the other 19 countries have paid family leave for the citizens of their respective country. The United States, ostensibly the wealthiest nation in the history of the planet does not.

Somehow this is the only country where providing basic benefits for its citizens is seen as either some kind of gift for the worthy or a payment that must be earned according to some mysterious formula.

What is most astounding is that people who oppose paid family leave, like Senator Joe Manchin have no shame when it comes to this incredibly low level of meanness and disdain for his fellow citizen.

Shameful is the only word that comes to mind.

October 29, 2021

It is very clear that the Democrats, especially those in Congress, cannot break the circular firing squad habit. We saw it during the 2020 presidential campaign and we are seeing this movie again as they seem determined to find a way not to pass the infrastructure and Build Back Better legislation. On the one hand some so-called moderates (why are conservative Democrats called “moderates” when there is nothing “moderate” about denying hearing aids to the elderly of objecting to paid family leave for people who really need that support, especially in these days and times).

On the other hand, we have the self-proclaimed progressives who seem prepared the object to the good in search of the perfect. Considering the fact that the United States is behind every single industrialized country when it comes to the extent and scope of its social safety net, any advance in these areas will begin to change the conversation regarding care for the American people.

Meanwhile the Republicans must be chortling with glee as they hope and wish that the circular firing squad will result in nothing being done – in which case the results of the 2022 and 2024 elections will be easy to predict.

October 31, 2021

The Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, one Glenn Youngkin, is presenting himself as Republican who is not a Trump Surrogate. This despite the fact that all through the primary contest he refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the election of Joe Biden.

Now that he is on the cusp of victory in his race against Terry McAuliffe, he is finding that the biggest boost for his campaign has been to promise to ban the teaching of critical race theory in Virginia public schools because “it teaches white children to hate themselves”.

A few facts – remember those? – are in order. First, critical race theory is not being taught in Virginia public schools. Second, the corrections made to the narrative of American history is meant to remove all of the negative stereotypes of the past, lies and omissions that have given Black boys and girls little of which to be proud except for the passing mention of George Washington Carver, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Finally, while the reform of the American historical narrative replaces myth with facts, it does reveal much about American history of which no white child or Black child should be proud. Consider – slavery was imbedded in the Constitution in its original iteration. Consider – ten of the first twelve presidents were slave owners. Consider – literally thousands of Black Americans were victims of white domestic terrorism between the end of the Civil War and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – it was known as lynching. Consider – during World War I blood from Black donors and white donors were segregated so that no white soldier would receive Black blood. Consider – during World War II the American military remained steadfast in its racial segregation policies even while fighting an existential war against the Axis powers.

What American, white or Black should be proud of these facts? What American, white or Black should be proud of the genocide and land theft perpetrated upon the indigenous people of this continent?

And why should white children feel that they should hate themselves in learning about the sordid facts of American history. German children are taught about the Holocaust and there are no reports of German children hating themselves. Japanese children are taught about the atrocities committed by the Japanese Imperial Army and there are no reports of German children hating themselves.

But it is clear that Mr. Youngkin has discovered a tune with which he can use his dog whistle. Animosity against Black people has worked for white candidates many times, and it should be no surprise that he would whistle that tune just as voters are going to the polls.

It is shameful what he is doing. But since he is a Republican he is certainly not alone.

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Point of View Columns

The Case for Reparations – Again

There have been news reports to the effect that the Biden administration is moving rapidly to set up a process whereby the immigrant families that were forcibly separated during the Trump administration will be compensated financially for their suffering. And there should be no doubt that there was suffering when children were taken from the arms of their mothers and disappeared into a bureaucratic black hole.

And there should be no doubt that these men, women and children being compensated is an indication of basic humanity, even though compensation will never fully address the pain and suffering that has been, and still is being endured.

It is quite likely that, while there will be some kind of uproar and disapproval from MAGA nation, most Americans will support this initiative as being fair and humane even though they were not personally involved in any aspect of this atrocity. The governmental system is at fault and therefore the American people will pay for these misdeeds.

Which brings to mind that this latter day reparations initiative should be seen as analogous to the reparations that have yet to be paid to Black Americans. Somehow centuries of brutal slavery, dehumanization and outright murder and genocide don’t seem to require any reparations in the view of too many Americans. Somehow the denial of the right to vote, the right to own property and even the right to live does not warrant direct compensation to the descendants of the survivors of this American nightmare.

Some Americans, like Senator Mitch McConnell, will argue that the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments along with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are all the reparations that Black Americans ever deserved. This is an atrocious lie told by an atrocious human being, who knows damn well that the constitutional and legislative items mentioned simply acknowledged rights for Black Americans to which they were always entitled as human beings and as citizens.

There will be many Americans who will say that they never benefited from slavery, domestic terrorism and discrimination that exists to this very day. But there can be no doubt that the Constitution, the laws of this nation and the men and women who are citizens of this nation’s government were not only complicit in this barbarism – the entire system of government and the American way of life created and perpetuated this hell on earth for centuries.

To suggest that reparations are not in order raises the question as to how reparations for Black American people is not appropriate, but it is right and just to support reparations for the immigrant families so recently abused by the United States government to receive monetary reparations?

And why is it right and just for the Japanese Americans who were stripped of their property, businesses and homes and imprisoned during World War II to receive reparation but it is not right to compensate Black Americans who are descendants of men and women who were stripped of their property, businesses, homes and freedom?

Why is it right and just for the state of Israel to receive monetary reparations from Germany for the atrocities visited upon the innocent Jews of Germany and Europe but it is not right and justice to acknowledge the pain and suffering of millions of innocent Black Americans by means of monetary reparations?

It is useless, futile and unintelligent to compare the pain and suffering of one group of human beings to the pain and suffering of another group of human beings. It should be enough to acknowledge that people who have suffered and have endured pain through systemic machinations are entitled to reparations.

Of course, for that to become a reality in American it will first be necessary for the majority of white Americans to fully acknowledge the humanity of Black Americans. Clearly this is a task that has too difficult for too many people for too long.

America has been called the land of hope and promise. Black Americans can only hope that one day America will deliver on the promise of liberty and justice for all by supporting, endorsing and implementing reparations for Black men, women and children.

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Prelude to an Epitaph

As every day goes by, it becomes very clear that the elections of 2022 and 2024 may be the most important elections since 1860. We are now witness to hundreds, indeed thousands of elected officials and political operatives who are (a) denying the validity of the 2020 elections and (b) taking legislative and administrative steps to insure favorable outcomes even if that means invalidating votes that have been cast legitimately.

There have to be questions as to how did so many (predominantly) white Americans decide that, in the face of a growing non-white national population, the best response is not cooperation, inclusion and collaboration. Rather the sad course that they have chosen sets the stage for something resembling a civil war as efforts continue to impose minority rule in this nation.

Meanwhile China and Russia watch this passion play and don’t have to lift a finger as this country suffers from self-inflicted wounds that could prove to be mortal.

At this rate historians will one day look at the 2020’s and wonder at the extreme separation from reality and even a semblance of fairness that seems to have suddenly gripped virtually half of the American population. And they will wonder, as we wonder now, how the hell did this come to pass.

Let there be no doubt that the history and story of America is far from pristine. Whether the subject is stolen land, enslavement and genocide for starters, there are very few examples of shining humanity in the origins of the United States of America.

Nevertheless, in these days at time we now see that whether it is the denial of election results or the national campaign to restrict the voting rights and political power of non-white people to the cruel imposition of draconian abortion bans after a half-century of providing women with the right to choose what happens to their bodies – madness and meanness seem to be the themes in which far too many of the American people have adopted as the “new normal”. And of course, that new normal comes at a cost.

While these United States have never been truly “united”, the ease and frequency of movement between the states has regularly changed the demographics of the various states. At the risk of generalizing, a great deal of that movement has seen Black and Brown and more progressive white people moving to states which were thought of as bastions of white culture and presumed supremacy.

As the literal face of America has changed (consider that 2020 was the first census in American history that saw a decline in the white population in comparison to the non-white population), the reaction of the “original” residents of many of these states has been to redistrict, gerrymander and wrongfully manipulate voting requirements in a blatant effort to retain power.

And that power is meant to prevent the inclusion of Black history in school curricula, the right of women to freely exercise the rights of reproduction, initiatives to engender housing, education and economic diversity. Instead, that power is meant to ensure the supremacy of a shrinking white minority in all phases of life – not only in the states so inclined – but also throughout the entire United States by controlling the U.S. Senate (the 50 Republicans in the Senate represent 38% of the nation’s population) and the Supreme Court.

It stands to reason that those who support seriously more progressive policies across the board will not stand by idly. And, it can only be a matter of time before minority rule becomes untenable and then the United States will not be so united anymore. Either through political arrangement or through more violent measures, it is certain that the majority of Americans are not going to accept minority rule that is so cruel, intrusive and offensive forever.

What happens next may be the subject of the epitaph for the United States – the story of a country with admirable ideals that fell far short of embracing and realizing those ideals.

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Thoughts at the End of September

As the ninth month of the year (also known as the twenty-first month of 2020) comes to an end and 2022 is just over the horizon – some thoughts come to mind as to what is going on in this country and on this planet.

Missing Persons

As you are reading this over 60 young Navajo women are missing. However, given the national obsession with the disappearance and apparent murder of one young white woman, there is no way that the tragedy of the Navajos comes anywhere near the surface of the American consciousness.

It should be possible to care and grieve for Gabby Petito and also care and grieve for the hundreds of Black, LatinX, Asian and Indigenous girls and women who have gone missing and have never been found. It should be possible, but this is the United States of America, and while the echo of Black Lives Matter continues across this land, the truth is that White Lives Matter more.

How else to explain the breathless hour to hour coverage of the Gabby Petito story while the name of even one missing nonwhite woman is unknown to the newspaper editors, television commentators or radio talk show hosts. How else to explain the institutional lack of care and concern if the missing/murdered victim is not white.

A year ago, it seemed that the people of America were finally ready to confront and conquer this country’s original sins of racism and white supremacy. A year later it would seem that it will take more than marches and the chanting of slogans.

As of September 2021 White Lives Matter More – still. After all, it’s the American Way.

Vaccine Hoarding

It is said that during times of crisis that the best and the worst of humanity appears. Certainly, that is true during this pandemic as we have seen bravery and compassion and courage and resilience of virtually superhuman proportions. Of course, we have also seen greed, meanness and brutish ignorance roam the streets as well.

And this can be seen on the international stage as there has been unprecedented cooperation between the industrialized and economically secure countries in promoting the research, production and distribution of vaccines. And yet, only one percent of the people of Africa are vaccinated.

And yet, in America and throughout Europe there is a literal oversupply of vaccines and the question is only how to get unvaccinated citizens vaccinated as well as dealing with the medical luxury of who should receive booster shots first. Meanwhile only one percent of the people of Africa are vaccinated while the so-called developed countries put a few vaccine coins in the poor box, their collective arrogance, selfishness and greed are apparent.

The United States and the European Union may be technologically advanced but when it comes to compassion and simple kindness, they leave a lot to be desired.

Here Comes the Democratic Party Firing Squad – Again

As of January 20, 2021, the Democratic Party “controlled” the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Of course, since we are speaking about the Democratic Party quotes (“”) must be used due the lack of discipline and common cause within that party.

One may or may not be a big fan of the Republicans, but party discipline and focus on core values are very clear and apparent. On January 20, 2017 the Republicans controlled the House, Senate and House of Representatives and they got to work. Hundreds of conservative judges including a stacked conservative majority on the Supreme Court for at least a decade, gutting environmental regulations with a healthy dose of racism for good luck. Republicans are very clear about what they want and how to go about getting it.

Democrats, on the other hand, by being a “big tent” party, has so many implacable competing interests that right now the party resembles a circular firing squad, doing its very best to get absolutely nothing done except create further fissures and divisions in the party and provide the paving stones for the Republican Road to Victory in 2022 – and perhaps 2024 as well.

The number of Democrats who are willing to abandon the good in pursuit of the perfect is appalling – especially when the specter of the next Republican takeover of the federal government is a very real nightmare that could come true. But there are too many Blue Zealots who believe that going down to defeat in a worth cause is better that achieving some goals right now and building on that edifice – an edifice that is right now just some sketches on a blueprint.

And all the Republicans have to do is wait and let the Democrats defeat themselves.

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When Suicide Becomes Homicide

As you are reading this approximately 2,000 American men, women and children are dying from COVID-19 every single day. Well over 85% of these men, women and children who are dying are also unvaccinated. Incredibly, even though the vaccines to protect Americans from the virus have been available for close to ten months, only 52 percent of all Americans are actually vaccinated.

There appears to be no appeal to logic, community responsibility or common sense is having the desired effect of increased rates of vaccinations. While there will be more vaccinations of children under 12 very soon, it would seem that the vaccination rate of Americans 12 years and older is probably not going to rise appreciably. And, to provide some perspective, the United States ranks number 55 among all of the countries in the world when it comes to vaccination rates of its population – behind Andorra and Albania (seriously).

It should be enough to point out that 2,000 largely unvaccinated Americans are dying every day to move people to get vaccinated. Instead, the intransigence and stubbornness of too many people seems to be encased in concrete. The science, the data, the procession of funerals – none of that seems to be able to motivate people to protect themselves and their communities.

What we have seen is too many people speaking about “personal freedom”, as if freedom is something that is absolute and without boundaries and limitations. There is freedom of speech in this country, but a speech threatening the life of the president can result in a prison sentence. There is freedom of religion in this country but practicing human sacrifice will almost certainly result in imprisonment for life.

When it comes to public health, there have been vaccination mandates for smallpox, rubella, whooping cough and polio for decades. And it is not a coincidence that in the United States child mortality rates have declined precipitously for decades.

Yet somehow and some way millions of Americans believe that it is alright to refuse a vaccine that will save their lives and the lives of their neighbors and friends and those that they love. Somehow and some way millions of Americans do not believe in vaccination mandates although mandates to use seatbelts in automobiles and avoid drunk driving are accepted without protest.

Historians will ponder the bizarre insanity exhibited by the opponents of the COVID vaccine – even though many of these opponents recant just before they are put on a ventilator in an ICU. And it is really important to focus on ICU’s in this entire matter.

ICU and hospital beds are filling up all over the country with unvaccinated people who are sick and dying from COVID. It is important to understand that the hospital facilities of the United States are not infinite in their capacity. There is also not an infinite number of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers.

In too many places in this country victims of car accidents, construction accidents or cancer are being denied care, or provided less than full care since there are simply not enough healthcare workers or healthcare facilities to cope with the COVID tsunami and the normal demands for healthcare that are always present.

An awful scenario has already played out in this country – men, women and children who have been the victims of accidents or profound disease have been unable to receive appropriate care in a local ICU because all of the facilities are being employed to address the very real illness of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. In effect, vaccination denial is causing a chain reaction of deaths, not only for the unvaccinated sick individuals but also for individuals who are being denied care only because there are no adequate facilities available.

It has actually been suggested that unvaccinated COVID-19 patients be put in a special category – they will be given care in an ICU only if that does not mean denying care to a vaccinated individual – whether that person is a victim of gunshots, car accident or COVID-19. It is an awful life and death choice for any doctor to make, to be sure.

But it is also time to ensure that the intentionally unvaccinated do not commit homicide while they commit suicide.

Such is the desperate state of affairs in these United States of America.

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When Evil Tells the Truth

Last week the anti-abortion protofascists in Texas executed a tag team collaboration with the anti-abortion protoconservatives on the Supreme Court the net result being the evisceration of the right of women to choose as set forth in Roe V. Wade almost a half century ago. And what is now clear is that we are about to witness an unprecedented effort to reshape the concept of rights – and what is right – throughout these United States.

There has been a lot of handwringing since the Supreme Court enabled the state of Texas to turn abortion into a crime against the state thereby enabling any citizen of the United States to initiate legal action against a woman who seeks to have this procedure and anyone and everyone who might assist or enable her. But it must be said that this outpouring of anguish rings hollow because the protofascists and the protoconservatives have told America what they would do if they ever gained the upper hand in the balance of political power in any state and in this country.

There are so many Exhibits, one could run out of letters of the alphabet. But November of 2016 is as good a place to start as any. That is because in the presidential election campaign one Donald Trump stated quite clearly that if elected he would appoint judges who would outlaw Roe. And that is exactly what he did – not only the unholy trinity of Gorsuch, Cavanagh and Barrett on the Supreme Court – literally hundreds of young protoconservative and protofascist judges who he appointed to federal court positions – for life.

Nevertheless, in 2016 there were many – too many – Democrats and Independents who “didn’t like” Hillary Clinton or thought that she had been unfair to Bernie Sanders and therefore did not vote for Clinton or, even worse, voted for Trump as a protest vote. What did these tens of thousands of voters expect?

There was already an open Supreme Court seat due to the block and tackle work of Mitch McConnell thereby preventing Barack Obama from exercising his duty under the Constitution to fill the vacancy. Did these Never Hillary voters think that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was going to live forever? Or that Anthony Kennedy, at the age of 85 was really going to serve until he was 90 when there might be Democrat in the White House? What did they expect?

And then there is the fact that for more than a half century protoconservatives and protofascists have engaged in prolonged warfare against most of the progressive advances of the 1960’s. The Shelby v. Holder decision in 2013 which gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the result of a 48-year effort by conservatives and racists to do just that.

This was not done in secret. This was not the result of some underground movement. This kind of Evil told the truth. Going back to Barry Goldwater in 1964, the Republican Party embraced – first tentatively, and then completely – the not so subtle racist philosophy that infected every policy in America including housing, criminal justice, education, voting rights and…. abortion.

A while Republicans, particularly the protoconservatives and protofascists voted strategically, Democrats and progressives and liberals were all over the place – helping to electing George H.W. Bush in 1988 despite his over the top racist campaign (please Google Willie Horton). And, Clarence Thomas, one of his appointees was part of the takedown of Roe last week.

And Democrats and progressives and liberals were so unfocused in 2000 that their “dislike” for Al Gore and their suicidal (from a voting perspective) embrace of Ralph Nader allowed George W. Bush to become president and Samuel Alito, his Supreme Court appointee as also part of the Roe takedown.

There is no need to reiterate the lack of focus on the left in 2016 except to mention that evangelicals, who found almost everything about Trump to be offensive – except his promise to end Roe – held their noses and helped elect him. But the “principled” left let apathy and hurt feelings pave the way for Trump.  

And while he was not president at the time of the Roe takedown, this was one promise that he actually kept.

It is beyond time for progressives, liberals, Democrats non-fascists to realize that elections have consequences. And we are living with those consequences, much to our collective regret.

And now it is time to get focused and strategic before Trump is reelected in 2024 and completes the takedown of the entire infrastructure of rights that we have clearly taken for granted.

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Point of View Columns

When Nightmares Become Real

The gubernatorial recall election circus in California is coming to a close. Very shortly (some of) the voters in the Golden State will decide whether Gavin Newsome should remain as governor of the state. If the decision is that he should not continue in office, the second part of the ballot has a couple of dozen Republican candidates from which voters could choose.


In that case the new governor of California will have been elected with far less than half of the votes cast. This is minority rule in living, breathing color and it could happen.


This nightmare scenario could happen because even though a small minority of voters could arrange for a recall, an even smaller minority could elect the next governor. This could take place even though the overwhelming majority of the people of California wouldn’t touch most of the Republican Dirty Dozens with a ten foot pole.


It is more important than ever that the American people realize that we have been living in an approximation of minority rule in this country for decades. Consider that the successful Republican presidential candidates have won the popular vote only once since 1988. Consider that the 50 Republicans in the Senate represent less than 40% of the American population. And it is certainly fair to say that with Republican presidents and senators putting their thumb on the scale of justice, the 6-3 protoconservative majority on the Supreme Court isn’t even close to giving full consideration to the prevailing concerns of the majority of the American people.


This has happened in large part because the protoconservatives – the right wing of the right wing – have had laser like focus on the real levers of power in the American governmental system. The Constitution vests a tremendous amount of power in the states (try taking a brief look at the 10th Amendment when you get a chance). With this bit of knowledge firmly in hand Republicans have managed to gain a stranglehold on the legislative process in over thirty states even though every credible poll indicates that less than 40% of Americans self-identify as Republicans.


Republican legislatures gerrymander districts to reduce the power of voters who don’t share their vision. Further, they redistrict electoral boundaries to literally reduce the number of non-Republicans who can win elections.


This in turn translates into significant power every four years when the rules of the Electoral College require state legislatures to validate the election of the president. And one would be right to be concerned about this particular fact after the refusal of many Republicans to accept the 2020 election results. This could easily result in the overturning of the election results in their favor as a certain ex-president wanted not too long ago.


Minority rule is further enabled by the tendency of moderate and progressive Democrats to look the other way while the Republicans the foundations of democracy. Usually its because too many people “don’t want to be bothered with politics” or seriously believe that there is no difference between Democrats and Republicans.


And when that happens you get California on the precipice of a public policy debacle of epic proportions. Whether it is Kaitlyn Jenner or Larry Elder or The Man With The Bear, if Gavin Newsome is recalled the people of California are in for a rude and cruel awakening. There will be too many people who will find out much too late that they needed “to be bothered with politics”.


The countdown begins.

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Point of View Columns

Failure is an Orphan

It has been said that success has many parents but failure is an orphan, Said another way, it is pretty clear that when things go right everyone is will to take credit. However, when matters go off script, virtually everyone finds that they have the natural ability to moonwalk away from the smoking wreckage.

Historians tell us that the true test of presidencies is during times of stress – Think Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs, or Roosevelt in 1936 when the economy had hardly begun to turn around…and then, of course there was Pearl Harbor. Think Lincoln and the Civil War or Washington in his second term when a lot of Americans weren’t so sanguine about even the concept of a truly United States. All of these presidents have come to be known by historians as having been successful at their job by overcoming what seemed to existential challenges at the time.

And now it is the turn of Joe Biden to demonstrate that he is closer to being a Roosevelt than to a Hoover. The fall of Afghanistan has turned out to be a poorly choreographed catastrophe that didn’t have to be a catastrophe.

Somehow the Taliban was able to conquer and control the entire country of Afghanistan in just few weeks. And now over 15,000 Americans are now trapped, along with over 50,000 Afghans who supported Americans, in what could turn out to be Taliban Hell. We have been witness to Afghans literally holding onto the wings of departing Air Force transport jets and then falling to their deaths from a thousand feet in the air rather than face the certain wrath of the Taliban. The horrors seem to continue unabated.

Afghan women have already been beaten and berated by the Taliban. Afghan girls have been forced into marriage with Taliban fighters-which are actually rapes. And through all of this the United States seems to be helpless and hapless.

And President Biden has to own this. Of that there should be no question.

So the issue is whether the Biden Administration can accept its mistake in planning the American exit from Afghanistan and now do something about it. It is not about damage control – it is now time to find a better way to save the lives of men, women and children as the time bomb left by Trump continues to wreak damage on Afghan men, women and children and the Americans who are still in that country.

To date, and understandably, President Biden has been defensive and steadfast in his belief that this situation could not be avoided. That is a stunning admission by the Commander in Chief of the most advanced military in the history of the planet. And it is not a credible response.

Obviously this disaster could have been avoided with better planning. An honest assessment of the capabilities of the Afghan military and the history of this place called Afghanistan, not based on press releases,

Just because there is a place called “Afghanistan” on the map, that doesn’t mean that most of the people in that part of the world owe their allegiance to the nation before their tribal origins. And when push came to shove, as it did over the past few weeks, the members of the military either went tribal or went missing.

Whatever the reason, whatever the cause, it is now time for the Biden administration to admit parentage of this debacle and then be as smart as the American people expect it to be.

Every problem has a solution. Denying that there is a problem, or that a problem was inevitable is not a solution.

It is now time for Team Biden to find that solution.

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