Point of View Columns

A View on Some of the Last Days Before the Election

October 26, 2020

8,636,169-225,230 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Sometimes it just becomes impossible to watch the Trump Train Wreck. Today Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court concluded. There wasn’t even a fig leaf of propriety or recognition of the fact that this is simply a naked power grab by Senators who represent a minority of the American population to ensure that the Supreme Court will have a right wing of a right wing perspective for at least a decade.

And in a satanic bit of irony, Clarence Thomas, arguably the most rigidly conservative justice on the Supreme Court, administered the oath to now Justice Barrett. It would appear that Chief Justice John Roberts had a conflict (of conscience) in his schedule.

The fact that the Republican majority in the Senate represents only a minority of the American population and that Trump was elected without winning the popular vote are red alert warnings that minority rule is now a reality. Even though a majority of Americans pay a majority of the taxes and create and manage a majority of the economy, this overwhelmingly white right wing minority has managed to maneuver the system of government to its advantage.

What we now know is that even if the Democrats win the Senate and the presidency and hold on to the House, there are a number of right wing pillars built in to the American government that will require the Democrats to make some hard decisions. In other words, Democrats will need to adopt the bare knuckles approach to governance that has been the Republican strategy for decades.

Clearly bringing a bouquet of constitutional propriety flowers to a gunfight has an inevitable and sadly predictable result.

October 27, 2020

8,704,606-225,735 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

 There is no way to explain or expect the outrages that spew almost hourly from the House of Trump. A video has appeared of the First Son-in-Law (and Son of a Convicted Criminal) saying in effect that there are Black men and women who just don’t want to be successful in spite of all the wonderful things that Trump has done for the Black community.

One would hope that a man who was born with a platinum spoon in his mouth and has never had to work for a living would be more generous in his comments about anybody who is struggling to earn a living and make a life in these days and times. But for a privileged, coddled, swaddled and entitled talentless white inheritor like Jared Kushner to suggest that some Black people are not in his economic stratosphere because they just don’t want to be successful is not only stupid – it is shameful and racist.

Kushner’s comment harkens back to the days of Zip Coon, Stagger Lee, Sambo and all of the caricatures of lazy, shiftless, watermelon eating lazy Black man (or woman). Who knew that an intellectually incurious son of fortune would be able to unearth such unfortunate memes?

Team Trump never ceases to surprise and shock and…. disgust.

Meanwhile, providing further proof that Black Lives Really Don’t Matter, last night several Philadelphia police officers shot a 27-year-old Black man to death in a volley of at least a dozen shots. The young man was wielding a knife but had not harmed anyone and did not appear to present a clear and present danger to the police officers. But a seemingly angry Black man with a weapon was clearly a lethal threat per se to these white police officers – so that young Black man had to die.

The more things change the more things simply do not.

It has been good to see Barack Obama barbecuing Trump at every rally these days. He brings to mind that White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011 when he virtually stripped Trump naked, leaving him shamed and humiliated. Indeed, that may be the animus for Trump deciding to run for president and seeking to erase Obama from history. Hell hath no fury like a shamed megalomaniac.

Obama almost certainly struck a Trump nerve when he said that Trump was jealous of COVID-19 because it was getting more media attention than him Of course, sometimes the truth is said in jest.

And sometimes the truth is just the truth.

October 28, 2020

8,836,861-227,409 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

And this is the day that that White House Office of Science, Health and Technology lists ending the COVID-19 pandemic as an accomplishment of the Trump administration.

And this is the day after 985 Americans died from COVID-19 with every indication that there will be many more thousands of American deaths in the days and weeks to come.

And this is the day that CNN national polls indicate that Biden has a 12-point lead over Trump. Which immediately sends Democrats into a 2016 déjà vu panic attack. There are too many nightmarish memories about unopened bottles of champagne and lost opportunities.

What we know now is that a decade of economic expansion in America has been eradicated. And we know now that millions of Americans have lost their jobs – perhaps forever – and hundreds of thousands American small businesses have simply evaporated, taking their jobs with them. And we know now that giant corporations in the airline, hotel, leisure and entertainment industries are standing at the precipice and leaning the wrong way.

And all of this has happened with Trump being president for a little less than four years. The blood runs cold at the thought of what havoc he could wreak during another four years as president.

October 29, 2020

8,859,300-227,701 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

In what may be a sure sign that the apocalypse is imminent, today television ads promoted the Joel Osteen Inspiration Cube for $39.99. It just may be that the end is near and Reverend Osteen sees this as an opportunity to cash in on the misery, dysfunction, confusion and fear that spreads across the land.

In a way, one has to give Joel Osteen for seeing a market opportunity and then seizing it. On the other hand, it is more than sad that this rank commercialization of the spirit is considered right and righteous.

These are, in the words of Roberta Flack, trying times.

And now, we are officially in the final days of what seems like the longest presidential campaign ever. It also feels like the most important presidential election ever – at some point in the future historians may argue if that is in fact true -but right now we know that it is true.

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Point of View Columns

Another Four Days in the Life of America

September 19, 2020

6,727,889–198,612 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans the beginning of the day)

The day begins with the realization that last night’s news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg was actually a nightmare come true. While at the same time it was an answer to the prayers of Trump (if he ever actually prays) and the right wing of the right wing (some of whom seem to be praying all of the time for all the wrong reasons).

Of course in February 2016, after the death of Antonin Scalia, Barack Obama was not able to have Merrick Garland, his nominee for the Supreme Court vacancy, even considered by the Republican led Senate. Mitch McConnell, Lindsay Graham and Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and others pontificated why a president in the last year of his term could not and should not be permitted to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Of course there are no constitutional conditions upon which Mitch and Lindsay and Ted and Marco could stand, but these Republicans never let reason or the Constitution get in the away of their stark naked ideological agenda. And so the Merrick Garland nomination never saw the light of day.

But just a few hours after Ruth Bader Ginsburg breathed her last, Trump has been tweeting that the still warm seat on the Supreme Court should be filled immediately. And Mitch and Lindsay and Ted and Marco have experienced collective amnesia and are now bellowing at the top of their lives that with a little over forty days before the election that the Court vacancy should be filled immediately.

Hypocrisy is not the province of the Republicans of course, but they are turning into a venal art form which will require the Democrats to sort out some strategies that might have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago. Here are a few bright ideas:

  • Hold up the nomination process by any means necessary
  • Convene multiple Senate subcommittees to conduct multiple and lengthy investigations of the nominee
  • Begin litigation to stop the nomination process setting forth every imaginable legal basis which will have to be litigated
  • If the nominee is seated and Democrats control the House, Senate and presidency, to commence plans to expand the Supreme Court by at least 2-3 seats and fill those seats immediately

September 20, 2020

6,808,400–199,300 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans the beginning of the day)

The inexorable horror of the COVID arithmetic continues and by the end of this day over 200,000 American men, women and children will have died. Although these deaths are now clearly due to the malignant negligence and malfeasance of Team Trump, yesterday at another rally Trump basked in the adoration of the maskless lemmings who make up Trump Nation. One can imagine that within the twisted Trump brain trust the calculation is that these rally attendees probably won’t get sick and die until after November 3rd when it really won’t matter.

And the seismic shock of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg has now been absorbed and the reality is that this nation is no longer slip sliding towards a dystopian and authoritarian regime. It is clear that the Republicans will ram through the nomination and confirmation of a Trump nominee by November 3rd.

Which means that in the probable event of a contested election there will be a 6-3 conservative majority on the Supreme Court ready to confirm Trump’s almost certainly illegal reelection much in the way that Antonin Scalia and his cohorts purloined the 2000 election and illegally gave the presidency to George W. Bush.

Assuming that the Democrats in Congress and in the streets cannot stop this tidal wave of proto-conservative rampage, we will see a roll back of civil rights for Black Americans in the name of the personal freedom of white Americans. We will see the roll back of women’s reproductive rights in the name of the sanctity of life. We will see the gates that protect the environment torn down in the name of free enterprise. Affirmative action will be vaporized in the name of meritocracy. And that’s just for starters.

That is probably an optimistic view of the bottomless pit that awaits the majority of Americans in a country that has been hijacked by a very determined minority of white supremacists and authoritarian devotees.

We should be very afraid.

September 21, 2020

6,811,694–199,512 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans the beginning of the day)

The day begins with the growing realization that the fevered dreams of proto-conservatives are now destined to come true. It appears that Trump will be selecting Amy Coney Barrett, a Circuit Court Judge from the Midwest who has been described as “guaranteed” to overturn Roe V. Wade and the Affordable Care Act.

And as you are reading this there are no signs that the Democrats have any real strategy or plan to stop this deconstruction of the social infrastructure of this country from happening, which begs the question, what have the Democrats been waiting for?

Clearly, there has been a very real possibility that Justice Ginsburg might not survive until the deposing of Trump and the installation of a human as president. Yet the Democrats seem to have been caught off-guard again with no real response except Nancy Pelosi referring to some arrows in her magical quiver and Chuck Schumer huffing and puffing that everything is on the table if the Democrats take the Senate.

And meanwhile Mitch McConnell and Trump keep moving in lock step to reverse over a half century of progress on everything from abortion rights to civil rights to the environment to penal reform to……. you get the idea. And there appears to be no real response. Gloom and doom may be the appropriate mood even if Joe Biden wins the presidency.

And, as the U.S. lurches to the insanely grim figure of 200,000 COVID-19 American deaths by tomorrow. When asked about his performance, Trump graded himself as A+. It actually makes sense, after all, this is the man who brought us Trump steaks and Trump University and a lifetime of failures at virtually everything that he has attempted. Everything that is, except his very real ability to hoodwink and bamboozle a large segment of the American population, and befuddle his opponents at every turn.

Trump has actually found the one thing at which he can be successful.

It is called carnage.

September 22, 2020

6,858,130–199,890 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans the beginning of the day)

The day begins with the Trump administration declaring New York City an anarchist jurisdiction, a term that has literally never been used in the history of the city. It is not clear what happens next, but it is important to remember that these kinds of steps are typically a precursor to more autocratic measures. And it is important to realize that Trump reelected will be Trump unrestrained and no one really knows how bad things can get.

Meanwhile Trump and McConnell are hell bent on nominating and confirming Amy Coney Barrett as the new right wing incarnation of Queen Boudica, who led the ill-fated revolt of the Britons against the Roman Empire. Except, in this case she will soon be a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States for 20-30 years. And once she has fastened her seat belt the Affordable Care Act, Roe v. Wade, civil rights, gay marriage and the environment will be on the chopping block. Dystopia is now.

And, to complete the day, September 22, 2020 will be remembered as the day when the American COVID-19 death toll surpassed 200,000. What we know is that most of these men, women and children did not have to die but for the criminally psychotic negligence of Trump and his minions.

True to form, Trump has said that he gives himself an A+ grade for his handling of the pandemic. Of course, it bears repeating that this is the man who gave the world Trump University, one of the great scams of the early 21st century and this is the man who literally has busloads and trainloads of bondholders and contractors who Trump has cheated.

Somehow Trump thinks that his self-aggrandizing marketing shtick that created “The Donald” persona will allow him to fan dance his way past his complicity in this mass murder of Americans.

Time will tell if he can pull off one last con.

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