Point of View Columns

The Day That Donald Trump Declared War on America

As the new year began there was the faint flicker of hope that 2021 would be a better year because at least it would not be 2020. But the fact that Trump was still president meant that his capacity for creating chaos would remain.

There are a number of dates in American history that are remembered with dismay and pain.

  • April 15, 1865 – the day that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The first time that an American president had ever been killed while in office.
  • December 7, 1941 – the day that the Empire of Japan attacked the United States without a prior declaration of war. Thousands of Americans died in the attack and America entered World War II.
  • November 22, 1963 – the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated, the first time that an American president had been assassinated since 1901.
  • April 4, 1968 – the day that Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.
  • September 11, 2001 – the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that resulted in the death of over 3,000 Americans
  • January 6, 2021 – the day that Donald Trump declared war on America

That last bullet might sound extreme except that it is true. If any foreign power or individual invited a huge mob of disaffected, well-armed true believers to come to Washington and then incited and invited that mob to attack the United States Capitol it would be considered an act of war. An individual would be charged with capital crimes including sedition, inciting to riot and treason.

Trump took these actions with the clear goal of derailing the certification of the presidential election results so that he, Trump, could remain in power. This is a clear and present case of treason and sedition. These are certainly impeachable offenses with which no American president has ever been charged. But if there were ever a time, now is the time.

An historical note – Andrew Jackson was arguably the most disruptive president in American history pre-Trump. Upon his inauguration he invited hundreds of his drunken supporters into the White House who virtually trashed the place as they celebrated. Very bad taste indeed – but not treasonous.

Now Trump comes along – with a portrait of Andrew Jackson in his office – and directs his supporters to attack the Capitol and the members of Congress to keep himself in office. And they actually go ahead and do it – Trump calls them patriots and beautiful people and as of this writing remains absolutely remorseless. And lack of remorse is just one more indication of how damaged a human being Trump is.

It should also be noted that the Trump mob was virtually all white. This all white mob virtually waltzed passed the Capitol police who were happy to take selfies with these invading rioters. The all white mob terrorized the members of Congress who were forced to cower and hide. The all white mob destroyed property, defaced the Capitol and generally acted like the deranged fools that they clearly are.

And their grievances are hard to discern at first? There were no poor people in the crowd. Most were reasonably well dressed and it is doubtful that there were many homeless or jobless white men and women in the mob. Their grievance was that their sense of White Privilege was being eroded by the progress of Black people, LatinX people, Muslims, LGBTQ communities and any “other” group that offended them.

And then, the DC polic4e allowed this mob to exit with few arrests failing only to give them souvenir gifts commemorating their visit to the nation’s Capitol. Four mobsters died under circumstances that are not yet clear. But there was no wholesale violence or brutality suffered by this all white mob.

Now change the narrative of the past two paragraphs from all white to all Black and think about how different the outcome would have been. After all, peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors have been shot, killed, maimed and arrested en masse without attacking any governmental buildings or committing acts that could be called treasonous or seditious in any way.

Think what the body count would be if thousands of Black Lives Matter protestors had invaded the Capitol and harassed and threatened the members of Congress while trashing and defacing the building in the process. The body count would not be complete as of the writing of this column.

Two things are clear from yesterday’s staged debacle. First, White Privilege is real. The overwhelmingly white men and women who made up the mob felt that they had a right to act in an illegal and violent fashion because they didn’t like the election results. Such is the perspective from the ivory tower of White Privilege. Such behavior would have been suicidal for Black Americans.

Second, Donald J. Trump did indeed promote a civil insurrection against the United States government and should be held accountable. There may be only thirteen days left in his Reign of Terror but his actions on January 6, 2021 should not be without consequence.

He was already going to be ranked as the worst president in the history of the United States. He should now be the first president ever convicted of treason.

After all, Trump did declare war on the America.

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Point of View Columns

In the Spirit of Janus – Looking Forward and Looking Backward

The Romans worshipped the god Janus. A quirky deity who had the uncanny ability to look forward and backwards at the same time – which is where we get the name for the first month of every year.

And it would seem that if there was ever a time to look forward and backwards at the same time it is in the last days of December 2020.

Looking backwards we see a year that is literally crammed with tragedy, the bizarre and the lethal and the stupid.

Looking forwards we see the real possibility that we may end up looking at the days of 2020 as the good old days. And those words make the blood run cold because they could be true.

The human species evolved by having a great capacity to learn, remember and innovate – to create that which had not been seen. That capacity has resulted in wondrous developments, inventions and development of civilizations that could not have been imagined by our ancestors of 50,000 years ago.

As a species we have advanced with the utilization of genius paired with a curious streak of self-destructiveness. There seem to be no limits to our collective ability to create and destroy.

And that pairing has never been more clear than in the United States during this past year.

Systemic racism is an integral part of the American DNA, even before there was a United States of America. This past year put on display the most horrific aspect of that racism with the highly publicized police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and so many more and now, Andre Hill – all unarmed Black people who were executed because they were Black.

There have been protests and riots and more protests and legislative proposals, but all the while it is clear to virtually every Black American that any encounter with a white police officer could result in a fatal outcome. It is sad but true that there will be more such deaths as we witnessed the U.S. Department of Justice refusing to prosecute Cleveland police officers for the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice six years ago. His destiny with death was due to his playing with a toy gun in a playground…..and being Black.

And if it is really necessary to once more examine the seamy underside of American race justice and white privilege we need look no further than the Nashville Christmas bombing. The girlfriend of the (white) suspect called the local police over one year ago to report that he was making bombs in his RV in the backyard. The police called the (white) suspect several times but he did not return the calls. And that was the end of the story until Christmas day 2020.

It is clear to anyone with a pulse that if a fact-challenged call to the police regarding a large drug sale involving Black suspects that warrant or no warrant (or in the case of Breonna Taylor a falsified warrant) that the police would not have been deterred by the fact that their calls had not been returned.

There are too many examples in the past, and sadly in the future, to contemplate. What is known is that people have been known to change. Societies have been known to change. And during 2020 there appeared to be a glimmer of flickering hope that the reality of systemic racism might change.

After all Confederate statues were removed and acknowledgement of racist behavior with a commitment to change emanated from major sports leagues, corporate America and binders full of celebrities. It would seem that that for a brief shining moment that America was taking a page from South Africa which used the vehicle of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to expose and expunge key aspects of the racist past of that country.

And then 73 million overwhelmingly white Americans voted for Donald Trump. He of the “very good people on both sides”.

And now it remains to be seen if this country can actually move forward or remain mired in the past until a demographic tsunami imposes change. We already see the resistance to that impending demographic reality materializing in the form of more and greater voter suppression tactics and we are sure to be witness to this struggle continuing for decades to come.

Nevertheless, one other evolutionary inheritance that we humans possess is hope. It is the articulation of hope, the belief in hope and the actualization of hope that has fueled the advance of the species.

It may be that now, perhaps more than ever, hope will be the saving grace of the species, not only in America but around the world.

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Point of View Columns

Approaching the Finish Line – The Last Week of the Worst Year Ever

December 21, 2020

17,847,629-317,684 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Under the heading of…just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse…. there is now a new strain of the COVID-19 virus spreading throughout the world. It is more infectious than the original and it has already shut down the U.K. There can be no doubt that COVID II is already in the U.S. And there can be no doubt that this country and its people are not ready for the challenge.

Meanwhile, it appears that Trump spent the weekend in lengthy meetings regarding the mechanics by which martial law could be imposed in the swing states in order to reverse the results of the election. Trump is playing with fire and does not have any idea how much damage he is causing by even giving serious thought to such a destructive thought.

Of course, Destructive may actually be Trump’s real middle name.

December 22, 2020

18,057,172-319,826 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

And now, in an amazing illustration of how the madness pandemic has gripped Trump, Rudy Giuliani is tasked with calming down Trump and getting him to back off the martial law ledge on which he is currently standing.

When Giuliani is the wisest person in the room, it is definitely time to find another room.

December 23, 2020

18,237,190-322,849 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

A bizarro take on the 12 days of Christmas carol

2 Mueller defendants

3 Corrupt Congressman and

4 Convicted murderers

Meanwhile federal executions continue at an unprecedented rate.

Meanwhile Trump threatens to derail the not-enough stimulus bill literally putting the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans in jeopardy. Trump’s tantrum is lethal.

December 26, 2020

18,762,383-330,279 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Death and infection statistics continue to skyrocket (is skyrocket even a word?) and there is actually no end in sight to this cataclysmic pandemic.

Americans continue to fly around the nation in the millions infecting and being infected. It may well be that we will look at 2020 as the time before the COVID-19 cataclysm really turned catastrophic in a biblical way.

Meanwhile, as of today, the unemployment for millions of Americans – and their families – expired and Trump continues to refuse to sign the stimulus bill while playing golf in Mar-A-Lago.

Nero fiddling while Rome burns is an image that comes to mind.

December 28, 2020

19,136,587-333,140 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

This is the year that seems like it will never end. It will end – but it is not ending well. The news is just now appearing that last week members of the Columbus, Ohio police department shot and killed Andre Hill – yet another unarmed Black man dying from LWB – Living While Black.

Meanwhile, Trump took a tantrum break and decided to finally sign the Stimulus Bill. This means that millions of Americans who are perched precariously on the precipice of starvation and financial ruination while Trump has been bathing in his own fury and golfing can at least hope with reason that some too little too late relief will be on its way.

Meanwhile the twin Georgia senatorial elections are taking on the appearance of Political Armageddon in America. Over $500 million has been spent on supporting the campaigns of the four candidates. If you live in Georgia, you are thankful for Netflix or Amazon Prime because otherwise you only get to watch campaign commercials for one or more of the Final Four.

Ironically, these elections are that important. If the Democrats sweep the two seats the Biden-Harris administration will have the ability to remake and rebuild the country and its institutions which Trump and his minions have tried mightily to destroy. If the Republicans win only one of the two seats Mitch McConnell will continue to have the title of President Without Portfolio and play obstacle chess with Joe Biden for at least the next two years.

And in what can only be called a Man Bites Dog story, the New York Post, a journalistic lapdog of Trump for years before he even became president, published an editorial telling Trump to accept defeat and move on.

Guess which White House newspaper subscription just got cancelled?

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Point of View Columns

One More Week in the Worst Year Ever

December 15, 2020

16,519,628-300,493 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Today sees Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulating Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States. Over 120 House Republicans continue to refuse to do so.

Today seen Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulating Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States. Over 120 House Republicans continue to refuse to do so.

This political dissonance worries more than a few Americans as to whether a true assault on Democracy is taking place in real time. Katy McAneny, the White House Press Secretary and a fountain of lies made reference to “a transition or a second term” without further explanation, but it doesn’t sound good for so-called democracy.

Leave it to right wing of the right wing thought leader John Bolton to provide some words of comfort, to wit “Trump isn’t smart enough to be a successful authoritarian”, and Bolton knows enough about authoritarianism to know it when he sees it.

Whew!

December 16, 2020

16,725,039-303,867 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Trump is holding up U.S. funding of international vaccine initiatives, keeping to his America First doctrine. As if the COVID-19 virus respects international boundaries.

Meanwhile Congress continues to stumble and fall on the path to providing stimulus money for Americans who have lost their jobs, for Americans who are losing their homes and for Americans who are hungry – right now. Although the senators and representatives will not be fasting in solidarity with the suffering of Americans, and while these members of Congress will not be worrying about where they will sleep tonight and they certainly don’t have to worry about whether or not they are going to get paid – they are moving at a glacial pace that seems horrific under the circumstances.

This is a bipartisan atrocity – Democrats and Republicans should be ashamed.

But, of course, they are not.

December 17, 2020

16,980,842-307,512 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Yesterday almost 4,000 Americans died from the pandemic – in a single day. The daily death toll is staggering almost to the point of anesthetizing the American public. The bright shiny object of an April or May vaccination has distracted the country from the fact that our friends and neighbors and family members and people that we will never know are dying all around us.

December 18, 2020

17,213,887-310,792 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Madness in America. Sadness in America. Disgraced – but pardoned – former general Michael Flynn has gone public with the idea that Trump should declare martial law in the swing states that voted for Biden and redo the elections.

We should be clear – while these are the ravings of a madman (and the creator of the “Lock Her Up” chant in 2016 – he is not standing on a park bench howling at the wind. Flynn was on the NewsMax national television network and millions of Americans are listening and believing.

Flynn would be easy to ignore.

And that makes him even more dangerous.

December 19, 2020

17,466,226-313,669 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

And because the Age of Trump is the gift that just won’t stop giving, Flynn – and others – are calling for Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 in order to force a repeat of the November 3rd election. Presumably the same result would result in yet another forced election until the American people finally figure out that Trump is President for Life.

It is important to note that the Insurrection Act has been invoked to quell the barbarous activity of the Ku Klux Klan in the 19th century, and more recently during urban riots when federal troops were requested by the governor and mayor, not imposed by the president.

And while all this noise would be easy to ignore……we ignore it at our own peril.

When people tell you who they are we should listen.

December 20, 2020

17,722,193-316,932 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

The news of the day that finally, finally, Congress has decided to ease the pain and suffering of the people just enough so that no one can say that Congress did nothing. The Stimulus Bill is certainly too little and it is certainly too late for Americans who have already lost their jobs. It is certainly too little for Americans who have seen the dreams of their own businesses evaporate. It is certainly too late for thousands of Americans who are being evicted daily. And it is most certainly too late for the millions of Americans who are already living with The Beast Called Hunger every single day.

Definitely too little.

Definitely too late.

December 21, 2020

17,847,629-317,684 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Under the heading of…just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse…. there is now a new strain of the COVID-19 virus spreading throughout the world. It is more infectious than the original and it has already shut down the U.K. There can be no doubt that COVID II is already in the U.S. And there can be no doubt that this country and its people are not ready for the challenge.

Meanwhile, it appears that Trump spent the weekend in lengthy meetings regarding the mechanics by which martial law could be imposed in the swing states in order to reverse the results of the election. Trump is playing with fire and does not have any idea how much damage he is causing by even giving serious thought to such a destructive thought.

Of course, Destructive may actually be Trump’s real middle name

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Point of View Columns

Times of Turmoil – Sixty Hours in America

December 9, 2020

15,174,018-286,338 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Last night the Supreme Court decided, in a one-page note, that the Pennsylvania Republicans who were bringing a lawsuit to invalidate the presidential vote in that state. The case was so baseless and without merit that not a single Supreme Court justice, not even the three Trump justices, could find even a sliver of a hint of a whiff of merit to the lawsuit.

True to form, this did not deter Trump in the least. The Man with No Shame simply continues to rant and endanger the lives of election officials across the country, seeming to refuse to accept the reality of his loss. This logical dissonance could have dangerous consequences for the entire country because now, tens of millions of well-armed MAGA nationalists believe literally every word that he says.

Meanwhile Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas, who is currently under indictment for multiple criminal charges which could result in a 99-year sentence (really!!) has brought a lawsuit on behalf of the Lone Star State against Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with the goal of having those states invalidate the presidential election results. And it should be noted that the attorney general from seventeen other states are pursuing the same strategy.

A snowball in Hell stands a better chance than this lawsuit, but perhaps Mr. Paxton is hoping for some pardon largesse from Trump when he finally does waddle out the door of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

We also learned today that the U.S. Attorney in Delaware is investigating Hunter Biden, the oft-cited son of Joe Biden, for charges related to fraudulent dealings in China. The Justice Department held up on the investigation during the campaign so as not to influence voters. And clearly, some genius in the Justice Department thought that in the middle of a truly historically chaotic post-election tsunami, investigating the son of the President-elect would be o.k.

We are witnessing an epic stress test of American democracy and the outcome is far from clear.

Finally, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have certified their 2020 election results and guess what? Joe Biden is still the President elect.

December 10, 2020

15,392,196-289,450 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

The irony is inescapable. On the day after 3,124 Americans died from the pandemic – a sad and tragic record that will sadly and tragically soon be surpassed – 18 Republican Attorneys General from 18 red states brought a lawsuit in the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the presidential election results in four blue states. This lawsuit is without historical or logical or jurisprudential precedent or basis and is clearly born from a feverish desire to serve the transparently fiendish motives of Donald Trump.

It is clear that Trump will do and say anything to try to overthrow the election results. As of today it is unlikely that the election results will be overturned. But it there is a high possibility that the erosion of American democracy may be permanent. Certainly the future will see continued warfare in the electoral sector for the foreseeable future with the battle lines being drawn in red and blue colors.

Clearly nothing good can come from this – red and blue will be the colors of the battle banners and issues such as healthcare, racial justice and economic equity will be casualties left on the battlefield. Nothing but red and blue will matter. And one Donald J. Trump is the author of this madness.

Trump’s personal history shows that virtually everything that he touches has been colored by failure as well as pain and loss for all people and companies and institutions involved – consequences which Trump has largely escaped. And now he is leaving an indelible cloven hoof mark on the United States itself.

December 11, 2020

15,617,921-292,190 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

The numbers at the beginning of each entry rise inexorably. Death and sickness stalks this nation and makes no distinction between red and blue or black and white. And the people of the United States have been anesthetized by the enormity of this epic disaster of a pandemic and so as the insults to the body politic continue the capacity for outrage and protest seems to decrease by the day.

And what is there to protest? Let us count the ways. We can and should begin by watching the intentional incompetence and absolute lack of empathy in its handling of the pandemic. Totally ignoring the daily impact of thousands of American deaths while taking credit for the development of vaccines – i.e. Operation Warp Speed – is like an ambulance driver bragging about how fast he arrived at the hospital while the patient is near death because he chose to drive on unpaved roads the entire way.

What is there to protest? Amazing, the Trump and Congress cannot seem to find a way to provide desperately needed financial relief to tens of millions of Americans and American businesses and American cities. The paralysis of will has now extended to the possibility that the annual National Defense Act budget and the national budget may not be resolved by the end of the day – wreaking even further havoc thought the nation.

What is there to protest? Over 100 Republican members of Congress have given their written support to the Texas + 17 lawsuit that seeks to overturn the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – a brazen attempt to disenfranchise millions of Black voters who put Biden over the top in each of those states. Even though that suit will be burnt to a crisp by the Supreme Court within hours it is shameful to see what tricks Trump has the Republicans doing.

What is there to protest? There had been no federal executions in seventeen years until July of this year when Trump and Barr reactivated the death penalty. A number of executions have taken place under the radar and last night yet another Black prisoner was executed. There have been no federal executions during a presidential transition in over 130 years but Trump and Barr have already given the go ahead for five more executions between now and January 20, 2021. It is interesting to note that four of the five individuals on Death Row are Black.

Trump will continue to wreak his vengeance on anyone and everyone right up to Inauguration Day and in the days and years after.

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Point of View Columns

An Excerpt from An American Journal – Awake in a Dream or Asleep in a Nightmare?

November 29, 2020

13,246,771-266,074 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Over the weekend the Supreme Court ruled that state public officials could not put restrictions on religious gatherings in temples, churches, mosques, etc. as that would be a violation of the First Amendment rights of worshipers. And so we begin to see that the iron hand of the religious right being revealed as Amy Coney Barrett, no longer restrained by confirmation concerns or bad publicity, made it clear that the most right wing interpretation of the Constitution will be the indelible mark that she will make on any case that comes her way.

Every first year law student knows that none of the rights articulated in the Constitution are unlimited. You cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater or threaten the life of the President of the United States to name two pretty basic examples. The idea that public gatherings of any sort – religious or not – cannot be limited by public health officials in the middle of a vicious and totally agnostic pandemic – is offensive in its lack of concern for the safety and well-being of the entire public.

Obviously the restrictions on religious gathering have nothing to do with limiting anyone’s right to worship. But someone’s right to worship does not include the right to infect and kill anyone and everyone else.

Justice Barrett has shown her hand. And it is made of iron.

Her absolutist positions on issues related to religion – like gender equality, abortion and climate change, for example – will soon be on full display.

November 30, 2020

13,385,495-266,887 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Trump continues to rant and rave and rave and rant to whomever will listen, claiming and bellowing that he did not lose the election due to “massive fraud” that literally does not exist. He demanded that Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, a loyal lap dog if there ever was one, invalidate the recent election results, at least the part where he was concerned.

To his credit, Governor Kemp actually understands the importance of taking an oath to support the Constitution of the State of Georgia and its laws. And its laws state that Governor Kemp cannot do what Trump demands. Again, to his credit, Governor Kemp took the unpleasant but correct choice and told the emperor that he was nude.

There are reports from sources in the White House that Trump alternates between ranting and morose brooding, continuing to say, many time to himself, that he won the election. One staffer likened it to watching the Mad King George. So when, exactly, does the 25th Amendment actually get put to use before Trump does a slovenly sloppy version of “Thelma and Louise” and takes the entire country over the cliff of madness?

December 1, 2020

13,546,787-268,103 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

So November blends into December and more Americans are in hospitals than ever before and more Americans are dying by the day. Trump is totally ignoring the tsunami of death and destruction as he continues the madness of election denial. The sad fact that lurks behind everything this man is doing is the fact that over 73 million people voted for him knowing exactly who he is. The path to the self-immolation of a nation could not be clearer.

Of course, ever the hustling con man, Trump has raised over $170 million from MAGA Nation since November 3rd. Presumably donations are supposed to support his doomed legal fight to overturn the election results. But……read the fine print and Trump can use the money to pay campaign staffers, travel for himself and initial funding for his 2024 campaign.

Meanwhile, Trump continues to do everything he can to disrupt and destroy by demanding an acceleration of the release of the vaccines that are going through the final review process. Of course if he gets his way, the man who brought you Trump University will immediately destroy the credibility of the entire vaccination process thereby prolonging the pandemic needlessly.

Members of his legal team are issuing death threats against election officials, many of them Republicans, and it would seem that it is only a matter of time before further tragedy occurs. The mere possibility of this imperils the entire democratic process in a manner that typically proceeds authoritarian rule.

That may seem like an exaggeration. But the thought of 73 million votes for Trump seemed like an exaggeration thirty days ago.

December 2, 2020

13,721,304-270,642 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at t0he beginning of the day)

Yesterday Chief Trump Enabler William Barr, a.k.a. the Attorney General of the United States, stated that the U.S. Department of Justice had found no indications or evidence of any significant fraud in the recent presidential election. This should have put the nail in the coffin of Trump’s fake attacks on the election.

Needless to say, it did not, another Tweet storm ensued and now we have one more day in which 2,000 Americans died from the pandemic while Trump does literally nothing about it.

December 3, 2020

13,925,350-273,847 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a slow motion nightmare from which we cannot awake. The news in one day would be the horror story of the year in what used to be called normal times. Consider:

  • Over 3000 American COVID-19 deaths in one day
  • Former National Security Advisor and recent recipient of a Trump payoff pardon (and author of the “lock her up” chant) Michael Flynn calls for an immediate declaration of martial law and an order for a new election which must warm the hearts of dictators and autocrats all over the world.  
  • Meanwhile Trump ponders whether to fire Barr for finally telling the truth at least one time. One would think that Trump would give him some kind of credit for all the lies that Barr has told on his behalf.
  • What we are seeing is far worse than the scenarios that were imagined just a few months ago – millions of Americans are literally starving – more than 50 million voters believe that the election is a fraud – 73 million Americans voting for Trump in spite of……well, in spite of him being Trump for the past four years – millions of businesses evaporating, taking millions of jobs (and hopes and dreams) with them – clearly too many of us suffered from a failure of imagination

It is worse than it looks and it looks pretty bad

December 4, 2020

14,147,754-276,401 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

In the midst of an epic pandemic with spiraling death tolls and collapsing economic indicators, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris remind us of what sane used to look like during an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN.

Coming on the heels of what was even for Trump an epic 46-minute video rant on Facebook reminds us that Trump was prepared to wreak even further havoc on this country if he was reelected. Further proof can be found in the fact that even as a (soundly) defeated soon to be ex-president, he is looking to bring down the columns of the temple on all of us if given just a little more time.

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Dinkins Deserved Better – Shame on the New York Times

There are few things in life of which you can be sure. One is that what you read below will never appear in the New York Times.

On November 24, 2020, less than 24 hours after former New York City Mayor David Dinkins dies, the Times published an article by someone named Robert McFadden which was somewhere between a faux eulogy and a factually challenged hit job. Typically, when public figures pass away the initial articles gently memorialize the departed individual, Opinions are like navels – everybody has one – and usually the opinion pieces come after a respectful pause – of at least a few days.

The Times sought to recycle half-truths, falsehoods and the opinions of Mr. McFadden which, because the article appeared in the so-called newspaper of record, too many people will take this savaging of Dinkins to be true.

A full refutation of the Times article would give that article too much credit and credence but there are 10 points in this piece that warrant comment.

  1. McFadden states that Dinkins was “turned out by voters after one term….” The reality is that losing by 50,000 votes out of 2 million cast is not being “turned out”. And when the Trojan Horse of the Staten Island Secession Referendum which supercharged the conservative white vote in that borough it is a wonder that Dinkins only lost by 50,000 votes.
  • Ed Koch and Fiorella LaGuardia, imperfect mayors that they were, were certainly more flamboyant than Dinkins. Flamboyance is not a character trait that distinguishes a public servant – keep in mind that Trump is flamboyant. But to suggest that they were “Gullivers bestriding him” is simply unkind and unworthy. And who, exactly are the “many historians and political experts” who expressed this opinion?
  • To describe Dinkins as a caretaker mayor is simply a false and unsustainable narrative which may reflect Mr. McFadden’s opinion. Again, opinions are like navels – everyone has one. But he is not entitled to his own facts. Unless he is simply willing to ignore (a) the Safe Cities Safe Streets program which added tens of thousands of police to the NYPD and began the decline in the crime rate which skyrocketed under that Gulliver named Koch and for which Giuliani later claimed credit (b) a renewed focus on childhood education which the childless Koch never advocated (c) established New York’s first Minority and Women’s Business Program which became the largest such municipally based program in the United States – a program that was working so well that other “Gulliver” Giuliani ended the program within an hour of his taking the oath of office (d) brought the Democratic National Convention to New York at a time when New York needed some positive perspectives on the national stage (e) establishing the Civilian Complaint Review Board over the virulent opposition of too many members of the NYPD, (f) establishing the inclusion of the LGBTQ  community in the administration of the city (g) establishing the National Tennis Center – the home of the U.S. Open – which has brought billions of dollars to New York over the past two decades and (h) in what is a shocking reflection of how skewed the McFadden article is, there was literally no mention of the fact that Dinkins led the city with calm poise in the aftermath of the first World Trade Center bombing in February of 1993, the largest act of domestic terrorism in the city since the Wall Street bombing in 1920. Caretaker indeed.
  • And not to dwell on McFadden’s false and dishonorable narrative, but a “caretaker” does not restore class and dignity to the office of mayor as Dinkins did. And a “caretaker” doesn’t manage the city through a horrific financial crisis and lay the foundation for the economic recovery for which that “Gulliver” Giuliani claimed credit.
  • McFadden refers to the revitalizing of Times Square as a minor accomplishment. The truth, of which he must know, is that by 1990, under the leadership of that other “Gulliver” Ed Koch, Times Square was a neon Sodom and Gomorrah and the Times Square Business Improvement District which was totally supported by Dinkins transformed that area into a global tourist destination – ranking favorably with the Ginza in Tokyo and Trafalgar Square in London.
  • McFadden refers to the “insurmountable legacy of Crown Heights” as being the reason for Dinkins being a one term mayor. The reality is that Dinkins received the same percentage of white votes and Jewish votes in 1993 as he did in 1989 the difference was turnout, and without belaboring the point one can ask why then Governor Mario Cuomo supported such a measure on the ballot when it would clearly not be to the benefit of his fellow Democrat Dinkins.
  • The McFadden article is proof in black and white (no pun intended) that race was always the prism through which Dinkins was viewed by the New York press – the City Hall press corps was virtually all white at the time and seemed to be committed to fully displaying his missteps and downplaying his successes and achievements. If Dinkins walked on water the headline in the New York Times would be “Dinkins Can’t Swim”.
  • Somehow, in his narrative of the Dinkins years Mr. McFadden couldn’t find space to mention how the City Hall police riot at which Giuliani was a keynote speaker inflamed the passions of race in this city. Cars were overturned, bystanders were assaulted and Dinkins was hung in effigy as he was referred to as ‘the washroom attendant” (meant to be a racist insult and in this context sounds a lot like that “caretaker” characterization) by predominantly white police officers, too many of whom were on duty at the time.
  • Finally, McFadden’s gratuitous insult to the Dinkins administration by describing his cabinet as a group of “goads, gadflies and bureaucrats” is one of those alternative reality comments that barely deserves a response. Let it suffice to say that Carl Weisbrod, Kenneth Knuckles, Sally Hernandez Pinero, George Daniels, Betsy Gotbaum and Peter Sherwood – all of whom have gone on to outstanding careers – would find his characterization as shameful and laughable were it not for the intent to further demean a man who was both good and great.

David N. Dinkins was deserving of better. The people who supported him and worked for him deserved better. The people who supported and loved him deserved better. The first Black mayor of the City of New York who served with dignity during some very undignified times deserved better.

The City of New York deserved better.

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Point of View Columns

A Race to the Precipice

This country has now reached that tragic and fearful moment where no sense makes sense. When madness is cloaked in normality there are no more norms, there are no more traditions and most importantly, there are no more laws that need to be observed, much less obeyed.

It has been part of the bedrock of American mythology that the Constitution is a wondrous document created by white slave owners and their enablers. That is certainly an overstatement but the Constitution has served as the governing document for these United States for over two centuries – a Civil War, two World Wars, the Great Depression and the Great Recession.

And then along came Trump.

It should be made clear that Trump is not an evil genius – so comparisons to Hitler, Stalin, etc. are way off base. Trump is the symptom of a malady that has been coursing through the American body politic since the founding of the Republic. A nation which embraced epic genocide and massive land theft in the name of a white EuroAmerican supremacist concept of manifest destiny does not all of a sudden become well.

A country which embraced race based chattel slavery and then countenanced race based discrimination and injustice for centuries does not all of a sudden become well.

A country which to this very day embraces the concept of a second class of citizenship for all women does not all of a sudden become well.

There have been efforts at recovery to be sure. The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution were a good start – of sorts. But all the good will that gave rise to that good start were trampled in the rubble resulting from the deconstruction of Reconstruction.

In the modern era we have seen reparations for Japanese Americans, Supreme Court decisions affirming the basic inhumanity of state-based segregation and the President of the United State proclaiming that “we shall overcome” as he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and then signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

But much in the same way that some therapeutic treatments result in negative side effects, those steps towards something resembling progress revived and restored the malady of racism and supremacy. The therapy of progress created the side effects of a renewed commitment to advancing fake grievances and revived opposition to the notion of liberty and justice for some.

As this nation seemed to progress to some semblance of a better state the side effects festered and grew stronger antibodies to that progress. The Republicans did not help with their dog whistle politics, stirring this toxic brew of racism, sexism and supremacy with calls for “Law and Order” and Willie Horton ads.

Barack Obama became president and the dam broke. The streams and rivers of race hatred and misogyny in this country became a flood – Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, the Tea Party were all further symptoms that the progressive vaccine was not working and the side effects had now become the malady that has been raging through this country.

And then along came Trump. It was more his megalomania that his falsely reputed skills as a marketer which brought him to the fore as the leader of a movement, indeed a crusade, to reclaim America in the cause of white male supremacy. He clearly craves attention like an addict needs his next fix and Trump discovered that he could not only get attention, he could receive adulation for spouting principles that he barely comprehends.

And now, after six years of overdosing on adulation, the favorite drug of megalomaniacs, he simply cannot turn it loose. Unfortunately for the people of America there is no rehab clinic for megalomaniac presidents and as a result Trump gets to play out this insane tragicomic opera of setting the world on fire as he resists losing his drug dealer – the drug dealer being the adoring MAGA hat-wearing citizens of Trump Nation.

And so as far at Trump is concerned, the Constitution is just a piece of parchment. For Trump presidential traditions are incomprehensible and meaningless. And if he sets the world on fire with reckless international actions it matters not to this man.

The question for Republicans and other Trump supporters is this – are antiabortion judges and massive tax cuts for the wealthiest people in the history of the planet worth the systemic dysfunction that Trump has brought about? Are the gutting of environmental protections of the air that we all breathe in the name of even more profit and the stamping out of even the pretensions of racial progress and gender equality worth turning the governmental apparatus of this nation into wreckage, perhaps beyond repair?

No one can truly know how this is going to end.

What we do know is that this madness will not end on January 20, 2021.

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Point of View Columns

Four More Dark Days in America

November 10, 2020

10,110,552-238,251 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Like one of those cataclysmic forest fires that progresses inexorably leaving those in its path frozen with a combination of fear and awe, the Revenge of Trump continues unabated. Even as he continues to accede to the fact that he has lost the election to Biden, making him a “loser” by his own definition, he now endeavors to deconstruct the government.

Having already decimated the leadership of the Defense Department so that the leadership of the Pentagon is composed of men who seem to have sworn an oath of allegiance to Trump. Is this the beginning of some sort of 21st century version of a coup attempt? No one dares to articulate the thought.

Lost in the shuffle is the fact that the future of the Affordable Care Act was argued before the Supreme Court today. Amazingly, in the middle of an epic pandemic the Trump is arguing to strip over 20 million Americans of their current healthcare coverage.

Perhaps more amazingly, it appears that there will be a sufficient number of Supreme Court justices who will vote to keep the Act in existence because of a technicality. Namely, Congress could have abolished the Act if it had chosen to do so and that the Supreme Court was not going to have the blood of 20 million Americans on its hands.

It is rumored that heads will roll at the CIA and FBI and Homeland Security, a kind of ethnic cleansing where the dominant ethnicity is the Trump Tribe. What this means for the country between now and January 20, 2021 is difficult to predict since literally no one has ever seen anything like this in the United States.

To our friends in Zimbabwe this is very familiar.

November 11, 2020

10,258,090-237,655 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

The day begins with the report of another 100,000 pandemic infections. There is no doubt that we will be at 11 million before the end of November and the death count moves inexorably towards a quarter of a million.

Meanwhile at the White House……..Vice President Pence, the head of the COVID-19 Task Force cancelled his Florida vacation because of………….the weather. The pandemic is clearly not his concern.

Meanwhile at the White House …..Trump came out of hiding to show up late at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington Cemetery and then went back into hiding. Not a word about the plague that is ravaging the entire nation. Not a word.

But he did find time to petulantly tweet about the unfairness of the election and to continue to perpetuate non-existent voter fraud tales. And his ransacking of the leadership of the Defense Department has to make everyone wonder if the unseen hands of Steve Bannon or Steven Miller have some kind of bizarre “Night of the Generals” plot.

And if that sounds crazy, because it is.

But that doesn’t mean that in Trump World it can’t be true.

November 12, 2020

10,402,273-241,808 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Trump continues to pull a presidential temper tantrum – certainly the epic presidential temper tantrum in American history. He continues to refuse to allow for Biden to receive presidential briefings and continues his order to the General Services Administration to deny the Biden transition operational funding as required by law. Trump now reminds of the hotel guest that is about to be thrown out and is trashing the room before leaving.

Trump is now following the playbook developed over the years by the likes of Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela and Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia after losing an election. It goes something like this:

  1. Refuse to concede
  2. Accuse anybody and everybody connected with the electoral process of fraud.
  3. Attack the press.
  4. Attack the press.
  5. Vilify all opponents.
  6. Attack the press.
  7. Behave as if he won the election.

Reading and watching the news it would seem that Trump has hit all seven points of the Dictators Playbook. It remains to be seen whether he has the skills to make Number 7 last.

And amazingly, despite the fact that a COVID-19 firestorm is raging throughout all 50 states, the silence from the White House is deafening. And Trump is clearly giving the message to all who didn’t know already – when it comes to welfare of anybody not named Donald Trump – he really doesn’t care.

Meanwhile a true humanitarian disaster now exists in the United States. The Doctors Without Borders physicians, who usually show up in tragic disaster in places like Niger and Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of Congo are now in Michigan. And that is not a misprint – the United States is now in COVID Hell.

And, by the way, as of today more world leaders have congratulated Biden than Republican senators.

No further comment necessary.

November 13, 2020

10,555,435-242,435 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

COVID-19 pandemic hospitalizations are now officially out of control throughout virtually every state. The White House remains eerily silent as if Trump is taking out his tantrum on America by turning his back on the country that has made him The World’s Biggest Loser. And all the while the death toll rises.

And a few drops of water in the Republican desert of servile stupidity – some Republican senators seem to have finally seen the absolute madness of denying Biden presidential security briefings and transition funding and saying so. Trump remains the petulant infant who is going to sit on the ball if he isn’t allowed to play

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Point of View Columns

The Night of the Election, the Morning After and After That

November 4, 2020

9,580,00-234,000 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day

Last night blended into today and now it is literally a blur. In the entire history of the United States the greatest number of Americans voted. And as a result, it has resulted in a merger of madness and purpose and blind ambition – here’s what has happened last night and this morning in real time –

  • 9.15 – Literally could not watch until after 9pm
  • 9.21 – Biden wins Colorado, Trump wins Florida. Biden wins New York, New Jersey and Connecticut – no surprise there. In addition to Florida Trump wins South Dakota and West Virginia……no surprise there either
  • 9.36 – Alternating between packing a Go Bag and looking forward to transition but….it is too early to call. But after all is said and done Jaime Harrison is toast in South Carolina – after all, South Carolina is the home of Fort Sumter – 2 Black senators – no way!
  • 10.01 – Hickenlooper wins in Colorado. Trump still leading in Wisconsin. Trump is slaying Biden in Virginia and when did Pennsylvania became so important?
  • 10.15 – Reminding myself to remember the millions of mail-in ballots and what about those 100 million early votes?
  • 10.40 – Trump still leading in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania – find myself praying for the early/mail in ballots
  • 11.02 – Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania trending towards Trump – this is what the apocalypse looks like in real time without special effects but with t.v. commentary
  • 11.47 – Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse Biden surges in Virginia and in the national vote
  • 11.52 – Biden gets Virginia and is closing fast in Arizona…. keeping hope alive. This is what madness looks like without the special effects
  • 12.13 – Trump picks up Utah and Indiana – Biden gets Minnesota – it’s going to be a bumpy ride
  • 5.45 – Awoke from a dreamless sleep to a waking nightmare. Trump has declared victory even though no one else, including the networks have. Biden has the Electoral College lead – many millions of votes still to be counted
  • 6.35 – The words of the day – Wait and See!

November 7, 2020

Fittingly, the news that all credible news sources and networks declared Joe Biden to be the winner of the 2020 presidential election was announced close to noon. People all over the world – literally – celebrating. Church bells rang in Paris, fireworks in London, and madcrazy celebrations in every major American city, from Atlanta to Los Angeles to New York. The only thing missing was a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square.

In the midst of the jubilation it almost felt wrong to mention that there are over sixty million Americans who, after four years of seeing this man almost every day, think that he should still be president. It is also useful to remember that Democrats have not taken the Senate and have actually lost seats in the House of Representative. The vaunted Blue Wave barely made it to sure.

In what could only be described as True Trump, Trump refused to acknowledge defeat and went golfing – without a mask, of course, And before the day had ended he started spreading and spewing lies and falsehoods regarding nonexistent voter fraud. Clearly he will not go quietly.

And what should be clear is that Trump will no longer be President on January 21st, but he is not going away. Like Jason in the Halloween movies, he is not going away

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