Point of View Columns

How Putin Got Something Right and Other Thoughts

The past week, like so many weeks these days, has been so full of news stories that trying to keep track of all of them is like drinking from a fire hose. Here a few of the many items that warrant some attention:

How Putin Got Some Things Right

One need not be a mental health specialist to observe that Vladimir Putin is dealing with some kind of mental health abnormality that has been manifested in his taking Russia on a race to the precipice that resembles the end of the motion picture “Thelma and Louise”.

Last week he announced his imaginary annexation of 15% of Ukraine and magically made all the residents citizens of Russia “forever”. He also threatened nuclear war just to make sure the world is paying attention. But somehow all of the press commentary has made no mention of the facts that were hidden in plain view during his rant.

But Putin did get a few things right:

  1. The United States engaged in widespread genocide and land theft against the indigenous people of North America – there simply cannot be any argument that the brutal attempt to exterminate the indigenous people while taking ownership of virtually all of the land on which they lived is simply a matter of fact.
  2. The United States engaged in the enslavement of Black Americans as a matter of law (and the original version of the Constitution) – the truth is the truth.
  3. European powers engaged in the disruption of virtually all of the lives of all of the people of Africa, looting its wealth and subjugating its residents (those were not enslaved) to colonial rule – again, the truth is the truth.
  4. The United Kingdom engaged in plundering the wealth of China and India, colonizing the people of India in the process – again the truth is the truth.

There is no doubt that Putin is a madman, but it is fascinating that nowhere on any of the Western news channels was there any mention of what Putin got right. Perhaps these uncomfortable truths were just……too uncomfortable.

Did the World Just Forget Pakistan

Less than a month ago Pakistan was hit with cataclysmic flooding that left one third of the country underwater, killed well over one thousand people and left much of the infrastructure in shambles.

What made this flood even more tragic is that this flooding was not due to the weather, it was due primarily to glacial melting. As it turns out, Pakistan is one of eight countries that are most susceptible to glacial melting and that melting is absolutely due to global warming. And, the cruel irony is that while Pakistan contributes to no more than 1% of the world’s carbon emissions, carbon ovens like China and the United States and Europe are most responsible for carbon emissions. Yet Pakistan is paying this awful price for the neglect of this climate abuse.

To make matters worse, after the first outpouring of global concern that concern seems to have evanesced. Ukraine remains the headline story and now the goldfish-like attention span of the United States has been diverted to hurricanes lashing and devastating Puerto Rico and Florida.

Meanwhile most of the flooding in Pakistan has not receded. Meanwhile millions of Pakistani citizens are without proper food and shelter. Meanwhile the rest of the so-called developed world feels no responsibility to provide anything but a relatively perfunctory early expression of concern followed by the so-called developed world moving on.

One can only hope that the Pakistani government, the Pakistani people and the Pakistani diaspora would be more strident in making sure that the story of the suffering of this nation does not simply fade away.

After all, a closed mouth does not get fed.

Watching Ron DeSantis as Janus

The Romans had many gods. One of them was Janus – indeed the month of January is named after him as he was the god with two faces, one looking back at the old year and looking forward to the new year. In 2013, after Super Storm Sandy lashed the New York City metropolitan area along with a good portion of the Northeast, then Congressman Ron DeSantis voted against federal aid to New York City. His rationale was that state and local governments should rely on their own resources and not count on federal aid every time and anytime that they need help.

Just last week, nine short years later, Ron DeSantis is the governor of Florida. Of course Florida is suffering from the catastrophic damage from a once in a century Hurricane Ian which has caused billions of dollars of damage to a wide swath of Florida.

And just last week, Governor DeSantis wrote a formal letter to President Joe Biden requesting a massive amount of federal assistance. Joe Biden being Joe Biden did not comment on the irony, but it can be mentioned here.

It appears that Ron DeSantis is channeling his inner Janus. Clearly in politics according to DeSantis, two faces are better than one.

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Point of View Columns

Mississippi Goddamn and the Tarnished Legend of Bret Favre

There is no rational way to begin to write about this story so we can begin with the title. “Mississippi Goddamn” is a song written and performed by Nina Simone at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1964. And if you don’t know who Nina Simone was take a few nanoseconds on Google to find out. You will be glad that you did.

Mississippi has always been a level of Hell for Black people in America. In the 18th and 19th century enslavers would threaten their enslaved men, women and children with the prospect of being sold to a Mississippi enslaver if they were not sufficiently obedient, subservient and servile.

The enslavers in Mississippi took the infernal system of slavery to new depths, literally working enslaved men and women to death – saving the children for a later depth. And that tradition survived the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Going into the 20th century during the so-called Great Migration of Black Americans from the South (Refugees From Terror would be more historically correct), many natives of Mississippi went somewhere and anywhere, as long as it wasn’t Mississippi.

But many Black people did not leave Mississippi and in the face of lynching, discrimination, wholesale demolition of communities and daily indignities – they stayed. They stayed and built communities. They stayed and fought and died for their freedom. Indeed, Medgar Evers was murdered in front of his wife and children for having the temerity to encourage Black people to vote and Emmett Till was mutilated and lynched for having the nerve to (possibly) say anything to a white woman, no matter how innocuous.

Yet they stayed. They fought for the right to vote and the very real risk of their lives. They stayed and elected Black people to the State legislature, to Congress and to the office of Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. And if someone could have told the mother of Emmett Till in 1955, or the widow of Medgar Evers in 1962, that in 2022 the Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi would be a Black man named Chokwe Lumumba they would have smiled through their tears in disbelief.

But despite the fitful and hard won steps for progress in Mississippi, it is still a bus stop to Hell for too many Black people. Black people have the highest rates of infant mortality and the lowest rates of life expectancy in America. By every indicia of quality of life, the Black people in Mississippi are living the life of a very poor person in a so-called Third World country.

Which brings us to the story of Bret Favre, who should have his photograph on a “Wanted” poster all over Mississippi. Bret Favre is a native son of Mississippi, a football star at Southern Mississippi University and a superstar in the National Football League, earning of $140 million in NFL payments alone, along with uncounted millions from endorsements, etc.

Somehow Favre and his confederates, no pun intended, thought that it was a good idea to siphon Mississippi state welfare funds intended to assist the poorest of the poor in that state (who are among the poorest in all of North America), to be used for private initiatives like a volleyball court/stadium at Southern Mississippi University where Favre’s daughter played volleyball.

That Favre and his confederates (still no pun intended) thought that of all the funds that could be siphoned, welfare funds for the poor people of Mississippi (many of whom are Black) would be the best target is a textbook illustration of racism, class privilege and greed in its vilest iteration.

The fact that this cabal may have siphoned off more than $77 million it is pretty clear that more than a volley ball court has been built.

But it has to make one wonder how, in the third decade of the 21st century that robbing the poor to enrich the rich can make sense.1st

Perhaps he has a good answer that will be scrubbed by his lawyers, but never scrubbed clean of the truth.

In the meantime, all that can be said is Mississippi Goddamn!

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Point of View Columns

Not So Late Breaking News – But News Nevertheless

During the past ten days there have been some items in the news which are worthy of comment as well as concern, to wit:

Oklahoma – None so blind as those who refuse to see

Recently the Oklahoma State Legislature determined that no public-school system in the state could have as part of its curriculum any study of American history that might make students feel ashamed of themselves or of America and passed a law to that effect.

It is ironic that Oklahoma is a state totally established on the land that was stolen from the indigenous people who had lived there for many centuries.

It is also ironic that it was in Tulsa, Oklahoma 1921 that white citizens shot, hung, murdered, bombed and burned the very successful Black community in that city. Unknown hundreds of men, women and children were killed and buried in unmarked mass graves and virtually every building in that community was razed to the ground.

So, it should come as no surprise that the Tulsa School Board would approve curricula that included requiring students to learn about that tragedy and savagery that afflicted their city only a short century ago.

And it should come as no surprise that the Oklahoma Board of Education has lowered the accreditation of the Tulsa school system as if by censoring the truth the truth will somehow disappear; that if by closing the eyes of the Black and white children of Oklahoma genocide and murder and lynching will no longer be a part of history.

Indeed, there are none so blind as those that refuse to see.

The Legacy of the British Monarchy

The death of Queen Elizabeth II turned out to be one of those inevitable events that still had the capacity to impact billions around the world. Of course, most of those billions were or are members of the Commonwealth or were colonized by the British, sometimes for centuries.

There is every reason to believe that Queen Elizabeth II was a perfectly gentle soul who performed her service as monarch during a period of seven decades, even as the notion of monarchy has dimmed as anachronism that has outlived its sell by date by a lot.

It does no dishonor to the memory of the queen to point out that the crimes, sins and outrages committed by the British Empire around the world in the name of the monarchy have to be fully acknowledged or even admitted. The death and destruction committed by Empire in the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia is undeniable.

And the rapacious character of the British Empire is also undeniable. The current wealth of Great Britain is due to outright theft, exploitation, slavery and genocide. The historical artifacts looted from civilizations virtually lost to time and depredation are proudly on view in museums in London as trophies of such outright global depredation.

It has been suggested that, with the death of Queen Elizabeth, it may be time to give the monarchy and the myth of the British Empire decent burials with little fanfare.

Then it will be time to discuss reparations, restitution and apology.

Dumb and Dumbest

No more cards and letters please, we have a winner for the Dumb and Dumbest Prize of the year.

It turns out that there are some Mensa dropouts in the Democratic National Committee have aligned with political and nonprofit organizations to donate over $50 million dollars in support of Republican primary candidates who are to the right of Genghis Khan, and some of them actually make Donald Trump seem well, rational.

The strategy that has been revealed is that by helping the most outrageous right-wing Republicans win their primaries, especially for House and Senate seats, will result in candidacies that are too radical for most general election voters thereby virtually guaranteeing Democratic victories (remember that word “virtually”).

Of course, if this strategy had been employed in 2016, millions of Democratic dollars would have gone to Donald Trump thereby derailing the likes of Jeb Bush and Chris Christie. And we now know how that would have turned out.

Why anyone would want to risk millions of dollars that might result in the election of one or more mini-Trumps is simply beyond comprehension.

We can only hope that this is not one time where being too smart turn out to be pretty dumb.

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Point of View Columns

Reflections on Labor Day 2022

In most of the northern hemisphere the beginning of Autumn will take place on September 22, 2022. However, in yet another example of American “exceptionalism”, Labor Day marks the end of summer. And so it seems that this is as good a time as any to reflect on the many twists and turns in Life in America true story in which so many of us are living. These six items are as good as any as providing some real time perspective:

  1. Sometime within the last 48 hours Trump is now claiming that the confidential secret documents were in his Mar a Lago estate/resort because he wanted them for……. his presidential library. There is no elaboration as to whether he said this with a straight face since he is (a) notorious for not reading and (b) no member of his senior staff can seem to recall any particular interest that Trump had for a presidential library and (c) although Trump managed to graduate with a bachelor’s degree having attended two universities to attain this goal, there is literally no record of Trump having written anything of note in his entire professional career that would warrant the need for a Trump presidential library. Of course, this is just another example of Trump throwing stuff against the wall in the hope that something will stick.
  2. Meanwhile, the federal judge in Florida that is dealing with the case pertaining the confidential/secret security documents taken from Mar a Lago by FBI agents has partially granted Trump’s request for a Special Master to determine if any documents personal to Trump should be returned. It should be noted that the judge in this case was appointed to the federal branch by Trump in 2020. And while it should be presumed that federal judges would be fair and impartial, all of the over 200 federal judges appointed by Trump, including the three Supreme Court judges, were vetted and recommended by the proto-conservative Federalist Society. So…. this ruling in Trump’s favor should be no surprise.
  3. Meanwhile, across the pond, the Conservative Party in Great Britain designated Liz Truss as the new Prime Minister, succeeding the very troubled administration of Boris Johnson. In her acceptance speech Ms. Truss praised Boris Johnson for engineering Brexit, the British withdrawal from the European Union. That would be the same Brexit that has had catastrophic consequences for virtually every aspect of British life and the British economy and consigning Great Britain to third tier status among nations for the foreseeable future. Hearing this news one is reminded of the definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
  4. The most recent news from Canada is that two men in Saskatchewan went on a killing spree stabbing ten people to death with no apparent motive. One wonders what the death toll might be if AR-15 rifles were more easily available in Canada. Of course the NRA would argue that if more Canadians were armed with guns these killers would have been foiled even though the real time experience here is America is that this argument is as full of holes as a target on a shooting range.
  5. Meanwhile, a new COVID-19 booster is now available as a protection on the seemingly immortal omicron virus that continues to plague this country. And now the countdown begins for the vaccination deniers to howl about the violation of their right to die while killing others as the reason why they should not be required to get vaccinated. If historians are even around 1000 years ago it will be interesting how they chronicle the way that means of self-destruction like no gun restrictions and protest against vaccines became so popular.
  6. And finally, many Republicans are upset that President Biden referred to MAGA Republicans as “semi-fascist”. These would be the people who either participated or have supported the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol to prevent the legitimate transfer of power to a duly elected president. These would be the same people who believe that modern day fascists such as Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, should be invited to mainstream Republican conferences. Hopefully President Biden will continue to tell the truth.

And now, since it is the end of summer in America, we will need to prepare ourselves for the virtual and actual Winter in America.

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There’s Ukraine and Then There is the Rest of the World

On many occasions the truth is an uncomfortable item – perhaps that is why it called the truth. Nevertheless, there are times when something just has to be said, no matter how obvious the subject, no matter how apparent that truth might be.

Take for example the case of Ukraine versus the rest of the world. This is not meant to suggest an adversarial relationship between Ukraine and the rest of the world, far from it. However, there is a clear and present difference in how the wealthy nations of the West view Ukraine versus the rest of the world.

Ever since the unprovoked and irrational invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the wealthy nations of the world have done so much, and much more, to assist the people of Ukraine and its military, virtually without question and certainly without cause. Billions of dollars in military aid flow into Ukraine on a daily basis, rapidly making Ukraine one of the most well-armed small countries in the world.

Humanitarian aid has also flowed into Ukraine to shield its people from the worst effects of the war. And, of course, millions of refugees from Ukraine have been welcomed with open arms throughout the world, including the normally anti-immigration United States of America.

Meanwhile immigrants from Haiti were whipped and stampeded by the Border Patrol horsemen when they tried to enter America in order to escape the dysfunction of their country, dysfunction for which the United States has less than clean hands over the past century.

Immigrants from Mexico and from all over South America are hunted down in the deserts of Arizona and Texas, most who make it across the border are herded into facilities that have a real correctional feel about them. Not much talk about welcoming the “tired and poor and huddled masses”.

Meanwhile Ukrainian refugees have found few bureaucratic obstacles to immigration or long-term visits to the United States. Certainly, the millions of Ukrainian refugees are comfortably housed and assisted with compassion in European countries that routinely turn refugees from Mali, Burkina Faso and other parts of Africa back into the Mediterranean to die beneath the waves of that ancient sea and lie in the remains of the sunken ships from Carthage, Rome, Greece and Egypt.

Meanwhile, it what has to be a cruel irony, even in these ironic times, Abiy Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and the winner of the 2019 Nobel Prize, has engineered an attack on the Tigray region of his country that has put over six million people in danger of starvation and death within the very near future. Into this looming charnel house of epic disaster very little foreign aid – for food and medicine, not military weapons – has not been available for the people of Tigray.

So, the question has to be asked, does being blond and Christian instead being black or brown or non-Christian make a difference in whether people are deserving of humanitarian aid and assistance?

Sadly, it appears that the answer is all too apparent. The question now is whether the United States and Western countries are finally prepared to accept the humanity of all who may be suffering through no fault of their own.

We can be sure that history and posterity will record the response.

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Point of View Columns

Time Travel into The Future

On many occasions hope has been expressed on these pages that there will even be historians one hundred years from now. Indeed, if this planet is fortunate enough to have the wherewithal to afford the luxury of people who will not have to forage to survive, then hopefully some historical perspective will be possible.

To provide some perspective, 1922 was one hundred years ago, and the changes that have taken place – atomic energy, world war, the dissolution of empires and colonization along with television, radio, jet travel and the assertion of human rights in all of its various iterations – have all been important hallmarks of the past century. We have also seen this planet dance with the twin disasters of climate change and nuclear war and as you read these words literally no one knows how all of this is going to turn out.

So we are left with hope.

Meanwhile, if there is even something called the United States of America that resembles the current nation, it will only be through some combination of the grace of God and dumb luck, with the emphasis on dumb. In real time we have watched forces at work that would, if left unchecked, tear this country into regional, hyper partisan republics that will be the forerunner of something even worse,

And if this seems like a particularly apocalyptic vision, consider the fact that a decade ago it would have been unthinkable that:

  1. A sitting President of the United States would not participate in the peaceful transfer of power at the end of the term of office;
  2. An armed revolt and attack on the Capitol to overturn an election would not be possible because…. well because nothing like had taken place since the Civil War in 1861;
  3. A former President of the United States would not roam through the nation decrying the legitimacy of his successor and have the support of over 60 million well-armed Americans;
  4. While climate change and environmental disaster are painfully apparent, millions of Americans steadfastly cling to the notion that climate change and environmental disaster are a fantasy;
  5. Candidates for national and statewide offices throughout the country would have as their central platform the belief in the illegitimacy of the current national government; and
  6. A hyper partisan Supreme Court would ignore legal protocols and shared concepts of constitutional law to rule in favor of the establishment of a truly authoritarian religious state.

All of these items are part of the current American narrative, and only the most rose-colored belief in the goodness of humanity can sustain a realistic expectation that all of this is going to end well.

That having been said, human history is replete with instances where the right woman or man, the right view of the present and the future, can make inevitable results not so inevitable. And since we know that it is true, it is clearly up to each of us to endeavor to be that right woman or man and avoid the imminent change that is all to near and establish a new reality that will be a wonder to those historians a century from now.

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Brittney Griner and Justice in Russia v. Justice in America

The case of Brittney Griner and Russia is difficult and troubling from any perspective. We can begin with the fact that would seem that there is no system of real justice in Russia if a person – Russian or not – should be sentenced to nine years in a penal colony for mere possession of a miniscule amount of a controlled substance. And all of this must be seen within the context of the global dueling taking place between Russia and the United States and the fact that she is now a pawn in a very real and deadly Game of Thrones.

American news coverage of the Brittney Griner story has been nonstop since February -as it should be. The fact that she is a celebrated athlete has focused more attention on her situation as opposed to the cases of other detained Americans. Nevertheless, no one can honestly criticize the press coverage of the Griner Case.

But there is a lot to be said about the one-sided and myopic commentary from the press and politicians alike with respect to the harsh and unfair Russian criminal justice system as if the American criminal justice system is fair and free from vengeance. Consider a few facts:

  1. It has been noted that 99% of Russian criminal cases end up with a conviction. In the United States 72% of all criminal cases end up with a conviction.
  2. The United States has 4% of the world’s population and 21% of the world’s prison population
  3. The United States has an incarceration rate of 716/100,000 – in Russia, the rate of 476/100,000
  4. And of course, the list goes on and on.

The point is that the America press is acting as if it is shocked by the harshness of the Russian criminal justice system, while by any useful criteria, it is the United States that hold the current world record for harshest criminal justice system.

Perhaps the press can direct some of its dismay and outrage directed at Russia to the daily injustices that take place in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. And while it cannot be expected that every case in every city in every state can be covered as closely as the Brittney Griner case, if not the press who is going to focus attention on the daily injustice embedded and residing in the American system of justice.

So, as we all watch with dismay as the case of Britney Griner goes forward, when it comes to criticizing the justice systems in Russia and around the world, it would be wise to remember America/Americans criticizing the Russian criminal just it is truly a case of the American pot calling the Russian pot black.

We can hope that justice for Britney Griner means a return to the United States. We can agree that the Russian laws and justice system are draconian and unfair.

And we should keep in mind that what Ms. Griner is enduring is what thousands of Black and Latino men, women, boys and girls endure every day. The racial disparity in the American criminal justice system is an institutional disgrace that has its roots in the 1600’s and its most bitter fruit is harvested still in 2022.

Hopefully the hypocrisy of criticizing the Russian criminal justice system while ignoring the fact that the American criminal justice system is actually, by any objective criteria, worse, will end.

Hopefully we can finally see “justice” in the American criminal justice system.

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Pelosi and Taiwan and Poking the Bear and a History Lesson

If there are any historians around 500 years from now, an academic specializing in Ancient American History will be tackling a never solved question – why, in August of 2022, did United States Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi decide that it was a good idea? All writings from the time will yield nothing that seems like a satisfactory answer because it would seem self-evident, viewed through a 500-year lens, that there would seem to be no possible good that could have come from that trip.

Of course, we are in the here and now, and the rationale for the Pelosi in Wonderland Tour has ranged from the Speaker of the House can travel anywhere in the world, whenever she wants to it is critically important that on August2, 2022 the highest ranking American official to visit Taiwan since Newt Gingrich in 1997 just had to be in Taipei.

No matter that the China of 1997 is not the China of 2022.

No matter that Xi Jin Ping has become the very clear leader of a China that is on a path to global importance that has not been seen in centuries.

No matter that the very existence of an independent Taiwan, buttressed by support from Americans and Europeans is a constant reminder of the humiliation visited upon China by Americans and Europeans for several centuries. (more on that in a moment)

What is clear is that somehow, in the middle of a continuing global pandemic, a war in Ukraine that is a few missteps from engulfing a good part of the planet and a global economy that is spinning madly to who knows where, the Pelosi Braintrust (now there is an oxymoron) thought it was a good idea for her to visit Taiwan. And we should keep in mind that the Taiwanese leadership has not stayed in control in Taiwan, less than 80 miles from China by poking the bear unnecessarily. In other words, this visit was engineered by Nancy Pelosi herself and so-called “hawks” in America (“hawks” who never seem to find their way to a battlefield) who thought that it was important to poke the Bear Called China in order to prove American strength and superiority and not the government of Taiwan.

The best way to explain the peril of this particular strategy is for Americans to suspend their knowledge of history and imagine that a few hundred years ago the Chinese Empire, with superior weapons and technology, took over major parts of America. Subjugating Americans, degrading American culture and religion and treating this country (along with the Japanese Empire) imposed a colonial structure on Americans.

Imagine that American churches and cultural buildings were defiled and destroyed. Imagine that American women were treated as whores or servants and that American men were considered to be disposable labor that could be shipped to China to work in mines or infrastructure projects until they died. And imagine that at some point the Chinese left but considered California to be a colonial possession because of its gold and agriculture.

Imagine that after the Civil War the defeated Confederates fled to what is now Florida and declared it an independent state and that China recognized the Republic of Florida as an independent state although the American government had never agreed to such an arrangement.

Now imagine that over a century later America has gained new strength and power. Now America reclaims California because it had always been a part of America until the Chinese came along. Now America resents the Republic of Florida as an insult to its sovereignty and does not accept the Republic as a permanent arrangement, especially since the Chinese continue to assert the independence of the Republic of Florida as a nation worth defending with Chinese blood and treasure.

If you can imagine this historical arrangement and change the time and place and players you can begin to understand that China’s concerns regarding the West are not imaginary. The Chinese suffered degradation and humiliation at the hands of the West for centuries even though the West acts like the past – particularly the uncomfortable truth about the past – is no relevant.

But sometimes it is good to look at the world through the eyes of the person on the other side of the table.

Clearly Speaker Pelosi and her enablers have failed to do that and the world is less safe today because of her thoughtless actions.

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Weekend Fun – A Visit to Dante’s Inferno

It is virtually impossible to find much in the way of fun and humor in these times. Virtually impossible, but not impossible. Indeed, what better way to find fun and humor than to follow Dante’s guide to the 9 levels of Hell.

In keeping with that theme, we can start with each level, I will suggest three candidates for each level and you can add as many names as you like – and if you care to do so please share your selections as a comment.

Each Circle is set forth with the primary sin(s) of the denizens of each Circle. So here we go:

1st Circle – Limbo (the destination of all who are unbaptized and virtuous pagans

  • Since approximately 6.8 billion people on Earth are unbaptized, the 1st Circle will have open seating
  • All NFL linebackers are virtuous pagans (it is part of the job description)
  • All players in the National Hockey League (more virtuous pagans)
  • Your suggestion(s) ______________

     2nd Circle – Lust

  • Hugh Hefner – Hall of Fame
  • Bob Guccione – Hall of Fame
  • Larry Flynt- Hall of Fame
  • Your suggestion(s) ____________

3rd Circle – Gluttony

  • Paul Prudhomme – Not his cooking – it’s the 500 lbs.
  • Haystack Calhoun – Not his wrestling – it’s the 600 lbs.
  • Colonel Sanders – For encouraging around the world
  • Your suggestion(s)_____________

4th Circle – Greed

  • Ivan Boesky – Hall of Fame Wall Street robber baron
  • Elon Musk – Clearly, he will never have enough money
  • Gordon Gekko – Yes, he is a fictional character, so he will be going to a fictional hell
  • Your suggestion(s) _______________

5th Circle – Anger

  • Billy Martin – Seemed like he was always angry as a player and a manager
  • Bobby Knight – Throwing chairs earns him a reserved seat
  • Rand Paul – Seems like he is always angry, even when he isn’t
  • Your suggestions _______________

6th Circle – Heresy

  • Any religious leader who preaches “Prosperity Theology”
  • Joel Osteen – Hall of Fame
  • Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker – They worked hard to earn reserved seating
  • Your suggestions ________________

7th Circle – Violence

  • Hernan Cortes – Ask the Aztecs
  • Josef Stalin – Anyone who kills millions of people gets automatic entry
  • Adolf Hitler – See Josef Stalin
  • Your suggestions ____________

8th Circle – Fraud

  • All robocallers – Especially those who call senior citizens
  • Donald Trump – His ability to defraud in plain view for decades says it all
  • Bernie Madoff – See Donald Trump
  • Your suggestions ______________

9th Circle – Treachery

  • Donald Trump – The only resident of two levels- betraying an entire nation speaks for itself
  • Robert E. Lee -Betraying his oath to the United States and then leading an insurrection against the United States, all in the defense of slavery, earns him a richly deserved space for eternity
  • Richard Nixon – Betraying his oath as President of the United States and never speaking a word of repentance earns his space for eternity
  • Your suggestions _____________________

Of course, there are binders full of names that are highly qualified for a place in the Circles. You can agree, disagree or add additional names.

Enjoy.

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Anatomy of an Insurrection

It is rare that a crime, much less an insurrection, is played out literally in broad daylight. But every day that the January 6th Committee airs another hearing on national television, it is clear that all the talk about peaceful protest and freedom of speech is a torn fig leaf revealing a very real attempt to overthrow the government of the United States while shredding the Constitution in the process.

On July 21, 2022, the Committee aired a prime time “Anatomy of an Insurrection”, here are some of the notes from that broadcast, notes that were written in real time:

  • The broadcast begins at 7:30 p.m. The Chairman of the January 6th Committee convenes via Zoom as he has been diagnosed with COVID (coincidentally the 79-year-old President of the United States is also quarantined, point out once more that a government of humans is, by definition, fragile).
  • It has been 561 days since the insurrection – are the hearings about to reach a climax?
  • It is pointed out by the Committee members that on January 6th there were 187 minutes that made history – Trump’s inaction after inviting and inciting the mob then made no effort to stop the death and destruction that ensued.
  • We are told that there will be new witnesses including some witnesses that will be disguised for their own protection.
  • We learn that there was “some discussion” among Cabinet members about invoking the 25th Amendment, thereby removing Trump from office. But, of course, the Cabinet has largely consisted of Trump enablers and after four years there was no way that they were going to stop now.
  • As the progression of the insurrection is revealed the term “Dante’s Rings of Corruption” has many people googling “Dante’s Inferno”.
  • New witnesses, Sarah Matthews and Matthew Pottinger, both of whom worked in the White House, and both of whom resigned immediately after the insurrection. One has to wonder, what took them so long? Was Trump o.k. until then.
  • It was mentioned that during a presidential debate Trump told the Proud Boys, prime movers on January 6th to “stand back and stand by” – notably not telling these well-armed domestic terrorists to “stand down”.
  • Both Matthews and Pottinger stated that they believed the Trump purposely focused the mob on harming Mike Pence.
  • There was further testimony that Trump was adamant about going to the Capitol during the insurrection and had to be dissuaded, ultimately due to the fact that no one would drive him there.
  • During the 187 minutes Trump did not call the Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security. In other words, he did nothing while death and destruction roamed the halls of the nation’s capital.
  • It appears that Trump was actually o.k. with the notion of hanging Mike Pence and the mob was focused on killing him.
  • The Pence Secret Service detail was sufficiently concerned about the violence that was focused on him that some of the agents were calling their families wishing them goodbye as they felt that a violent death was imminent.
  • Towards the end there was video of Senator and Insurrection Denier Josh Hawley greeting the mob at the Capitol with a raised fist and then……. a few hours later hotfooting it out the Capitol as the mob roamed the halls looking for everyone and anyone. Hawley is clearly an arsonist who doesn’t know that it’s not a good thing to play with fired.
  • The final takeaway is that testimony revealed that Trump actually believed that his “plan” to seize power might actually work.

And, as you are reading this, millions upon millions of Americans want him to be President again.

If you are not worried about the dangerous trajectory of this nation, then you just not paying attention –

….and its time to pay attention.

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