Point of View Columns

A Half A Million Dead Americans

February 22, 2021

28,222,180-501,091 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

When death and devastation becomes ordinary we come closer to an unthinkable abyss of not caring anymore – not caring about anyone or anything – except ourselves. The pandemic itself is certainly devastating – the thought of a half a million dead Americans was inconceivable a year ago. Now we hope that the number does not become one million.

Perhaps one of the worst of 45’s many sins and crimes and depredations was the degrading of human life by ignoring the pandemic, by pretending that it would just go away and finally, as he left Walter Reed Hospital telling Americans to simply not let the pandemic “dominate your life”.

He somehow made it ok to either ignore the deaths all around us or to not care. And by ignoring and not caring what happens to each of our neighbors and friends and family and people that we will never know. How else to explain the politicization of a damn mask? How or why did taking globally accepted steps to protect others and ourselves become an attack on some American concept of freedom.

Freedom which, by the way, is regularly denied to many Black Americans, many indigenous people, many LatinX people, many Asian people and many women of any and all identities. Yet this worship of some ephemeral freedom was enough to let others die, and even allowed dying pandemic patients to deny that the pandemic even existed.

Half a million dead Americans – there are 500,000 people in Atlanta, Sacramento among other American cities (imagine them being devastated) and we sit and wonder how this could have happened. And yet, we are still startled to learn that literally, the worse may be yet to come because the seeds of not caring have been planted too deep and the bitter fruit that will be harvested will be appalling.

Half a million dead Americans.

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Point of View Columns

Impeachment Week in America – Again

February 9, 2021

27,097,885-465,083 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

The second impeachment trial of 45 began today. The first day is when the House impeachment managers and the attorneys for 45 making their initial presentations. The House managers’ presentation was professional and excellent. It was not intended to try to change the minds of Republicans who have taken a blood oath to worship at the altar of 45, till death do they part.

Team 45’s presentation immediately cleared up the question of how was it possible that in their initial brief they misspelled “United States” (seriously?). To call the two attorneys incompetent would be a compliment. They were so bad that it is reported that 45 was screaming at the television as the lawyerly version of Laurel and Hardy stumbled and bumbled and rambled and brayed until they totally exhausted all possibility of facts or competence.

Luckily for 45 the threat of his vengeance has intimidated virtually all fifty of the Republican men and women in the Senate that it is likely that no more than a few of them will dare to find out if the emperor really has no clothes and that his bark is far worse than his bite. But they just won’t take that chance.

Tomorrow the trial begins in earnest. And while the outcome may not be in question it is still important that the crimes of 45 are put on the record for all time. The notion that this impeachment trial postpones reconciliation and healing is a naked and mythical right wing lie. The right wing of the right wing is only interested in supremacy – not healing – and we can be sure that even during this trial and in all the days afterwards the Republican-led legislatures in over thirty states are in the process of advocating further voter suppression measures so that white minority rule in America can become a reality.

Right out of the pages of the playbook of apartheid-era South Africa.

Land of the Free and Home of the Brave indeed.

February 10, 2021

27,193,586-468,217 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Even though 45 is in a time out in his Mar a Lago playpen, he is still a continuing part of the national story. Amazingly, but not surprisingly, he is the first president to be impeached twice – and within one year. The blood runs cold at the thought that of what havoc he could have visited upon this planet if he was re-elected. After all, look at all the havoc and turmoil that he has left in his wake like a giant leaking oil tanker.

Meanwhile, the House impeachment managers were surgically magnificent in laying out the case against 45. Not surprisingly, his own words were used to nail his impeachment coffin shut. The man just can never shut up and so there were videotapes and audio tapes galore where he convicted himself with his own loose lips.

Not satisfied with just skewering 45, the impeachment managers barbequed him to well done by provided multiple videos of the actual insurrection attack on the Capitol. Even a month removed, the heat and fury and pure savagery of the 45-inspired mob was a sight to behold and fearsome even in retrospect.

There can simply be no doubt that Mitt Romney and Chuck Schumer, caught on video running like Olympic springers, believed that their lives were literally in danger. The insurrection mobsters spoke on video about putting a bullet into Nancy Pelosi’s head. And these mobsters actually brought a gallows – complete with a homemade noose (who actually knows how to make a noose in the 20th century anyway?) – as they shouted “Hang Mike Pence”. There is no doubt that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Maxine Waters would have been torn to pieces.

Clearly the members of the House and Senate barely escaped with their lives. And yet, the Republican bootlickers will still vote to exonerate 45. They are more afraid of the Wrath of 45 than the cloak of shame that they will have to wear all of their lives and in history.

And proving that when the going gets bizarre, the bizarre turn pro (with apologies to Hunter Thompson), QAnon sites are announcing that March 4th is the new date when 45 will return to Washington, DC to take control of the government. All true believers are being told to be ready for yet another Storm.

And we should believe that they believe.

February 11, 2021

27,288,100-471,764 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

As the impeachment trial of 45 continues, it is important to remember that Americans are dying every day even as this orchestrated debacle of a spectacle continues. The Biden-Harris administration has brought a belief in science, a belief in transparency and a belief in honesty to the pandemic battle. This is such a difference from the administration of 45 that we have to believe that these changes alone give all of us a better chance to come out of this alive even though there is so much human wreckage across the land.

The House impeachment managers continue to be excellent. Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett has been especially impressive. A former prosecutor from the Bronx, she was relentless and artfully articulate in presenting the facts, all the facts and nothing but the facts. And though she could take no joy in hammering more nails into the impeachment coffin of 45, she completed her task with the professionalism that the moment demanded.

In the various commentaries across the air waves three items stood out:

  1. There is serious talk about a true schism in the Republican party. It seems that hundreds/thousands of pre-45 Republicans are discussing the idea of establishing a third party – a Conservative party – to counter the 45 pandemic that has afflicted so much of the traditional Republican party. It will be interesting to see if these “original” Republicans have the staying power to actually pull this off – there is no doubt that they could raise the money.
  2. One of the more interesting aspects of the 45-inspired insurrection were the real time quotes from people who were in the middle of the melee. They were there. One Black Capitol Hill police officer said that he could not recall being called “nigger” so many times in the course of just one day. That tells us a lot about the DNA of the 45 mobsters. It is important to remember that these mobsters were about as patriotic and the Ku Klux Klan or Jefferson Davis or 45.
  3. One commentator quoted Voltaire as saying that once you can get the people to believe absurdity, they can be persuaded to commit atrocities. Words to remember during these times of turmoil.

February 12, 2021

27,507,111-477,239 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

It would be a real insult to the memory of comedy teams like Laurel and Hardy, Amos and Andy and the Smothers Brothers to call the 45’s defense team a comedy team. The word “pathetic” comes to mind, however.

What is clear is lawyers Bruce Castor and David Schoen are the best that 45 could get. And while the prestige of representing a former President of the United States would be a great way to attract new clients, the stink and the stench of being in the proximity of 45 is not a great way to retain existing clients much less attract new ones. And so, the Castor-Schoen Show will be on daytime cable news for most of this day.

Although they have been allotted 16 hours, 8 today and 8 tomorrow, the Lawyers Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight have stated that they only need 3 hours today and none tomorrow. And that may be the best way to minimize further embarrassment and professional shame.

And the reality is that since the Republicans have already shed even a pretense of being willing to withhold judgement until all arguments have been presented, all that Castor and Schoen can do is lose votes for acquittal. The Republicans in the Senate are so afraid of the Wrath of 45 that it appears that no more than 6 out of 50 will vote to convict.

Meanwhile Nikki Haley – former governor of South Carolina and former appointee of 45 to the post of U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations – seems to have “discovered” that 45 is not good for the country and that “it was wrong to follow him”. One has to wonder at what moment did this revelation occur?

Because just three weeks ago Ambassador Haley was railing against the impeachment of 45, stating that Congress should “leave him alone”. But now, the presumed 2024 presidential candidate must sense that 45’s blood is in the water.

Opportunism is part of the training program for any political candidate. But since Nikki Haley has seen and hear and worked for 45 over the past five years, one has to wonder at what point did she finally, finally, decide that “it was wrong to follow him”. Nikki Haley should start getting prepared for that question within minutes of her announcing her presidential candidacy.

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