Point of View Columns

The Republican Party of 2023 – The Misadventure Continues

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The early days of 2023 can give rise to the belief that we are now living in the twilight zone where the year never ends and it is now December 41, 2022. Indeed, the drama and chaos that churned through much of last year continues unabated. Consider some of the following recent events and you can decide for yourself:

Early Days of the Republican Rule of the House of Representatives: If the clown car crash derby which was disguised as the Republican members of Congress selecting Kevin McCarthy as Speaker is indication, there be a malevolent set of initiatives designed to establish a very real and malevolent minority rule in this country.

While the total of Republicans in the House does not represent the majority of Americans, and the Crazy Caucus (Gaetz, Boebert, Jordan, etc.) represent a minority of a minority within the Republican Party, their claim that the American people elected them to change America by dismantling a flawed system (with nothing to replace it) rings false and untrue.

Their diabolical strategy includes a) defunding the Internal Revenue Service b) limiting the work of the House Ethics Committee and c) an impossible commitment to a balanced federal budget even if that results in this country defaulting on the national debt causing the entire world economy to collapse is what is a thinly disguised plan to weaken many of the institutions of this already imperfect country.

 The United States of Gun, Cont’d: Earlier this week in Virginia, a six-year old boy brought a pistol from his home and into his classroom and then shot his teacher. While the teacher does not appear to have suffered a fatal wound, it is only by the grace of God that she is not dead. And this incident reveals the literal daily danger that all Americans face in the United States of Gun due to the insane proliferation of these weapons in every city, town and village.

As has been noted before in Point of View, there are approximately 330 million Americans in this country and over 400 million guns. There are more gun deaths per capita than in any country in the world except Yemen – which happens to be in the midst of a civil war.

Yet there appears to be no end to the acceptance of this carnage and even modest controls on the ownership of these increasingly lethal weapons is not even possible in the face of the phalanx of the National Rifle Association and the lobbyists for gun manufacturers. In effect the NRA and gun manufacturers are holding this country hostage, while killing hostages every day.

A true definition of insanity.

Republican Attendance at the Memorial for Fallen Defenders of the Capitol on 1.6.21 = 1: Sadly, this is not a misprint. On January 6th of this year members of Congress sought to honor the twelve Capitol Police officers who died in defense of the Capitol and all the members of Congress during the insurrectionist riot of January 6th of the year 2021.

Every Democrat and Independent member of the House and Senate stood on the steps of the Capitol who lost their lives due to the machinations of Donald Trump and his allies, some of whom are in Congress at this very moment. Only one (1) Republican had the respect for the dead and could overcome any partisan debate for at least a few minutes of respectful silence.

The absent Republicans showed their disdain for law enforcement and their inhuman insensitivity for the families of these dead officers.

Shame is not a word strong enough to describe their behavior.

The Incredible Shrinking Trump: All reliable reports indicate that Donald Trump is shrinking before our very eyes. He did not even have enough influence to get his own crazies in the Republican Congressional Caucus support his candidate for Speaker until 15 separate votes were taken. And then only after concessions that make McCarthy a virtually toothless temporary Speaker.

One is reminded of Edward G. Robinson’s classic line in the 1930 movie “Little Caesar”, “Mother of God, is this the end of Rico?”

Could be Trump, could be.

Jair Bolsonaro is the Trump of the Tropics: During his presidency of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro was described as the Trump of the Tropics for his strikingly similar tactics of consistent lying, defying the laws and governing traditions of his country and always, always attacking anyone who opposed his.

Following the Trump Playbook, he started to cast doubt on the 2022 presidential election saying that the only way that he could lose would be due to voter fraud engineered by his opponents. Sound familiar?

Bolsonaro did lose. Bolsonaro did claim that there was voter fraud. Bolsonaro did facilitate a grudging transition to his successor Lula da Silva. And Bolsonaro did not attend the inauguration of his successor, instead choosing to vacation in Florida.

Sound familiar?

But then Bolsonaro threw away Trump playbook. He clearly planned an assault on the Capitol in Brasilia intended to bring about the collapse of the new presidential regime. All this while he was 3,795 miles away eating fried chicken (photos confirm this). Allowing Bolsonaro to claim that he was not complicit – although no one believes it. But he did not leave his fingerprints all over the insurrection as did one Donald Trump.

Perhaps Trump should think about following the Bolsonaro Playbooks.

Last Words from Negrodamus: George Santos is actually the love child of the late Greg Allman and Cher, adopted by Nazi sympathizers in Brazil who were disguised as Jews.

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Point of View Columns

Three Days in the Life of America

July 26, 2020

4,178,730 –146, 463 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

 The death of Congressman John Lewis has provided an opportunity to once again fully appreciate the importance and nobility of his life, which was one of protest and advocacy for change and justice literally until the day he died. There have been the expected hypocritical and totally hollow mechanical statements from the like of Trump and Senator Marco Rubio (who couldn’t even tell the difference between Elijah Cummings and John Lewis when he tweeted his faux statement of sympathy).

 

But there have also been eloquent statements from his remaining peers like Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young to name but a few. And certainly many current leaders like Kamala Harris and Marc Morial, again to name but a few, have been delivered statements that meet both the gravity and the glory of the moment.

 

And then there have been some statements by commentators and members of the press to the effect that the leadership of the civil rights movement is dying. And that is an astounding misstatement of fact and history. It is misstatement of history because it perpetuates the absolutely false assumption that the civil rights movement began in the 1950’s until at some point in the latter part of the 1960’s after the passage of the Civil Rights, Voting Rights and Fair Housing Acts.

 

The reality is that the struggle of Black Americans for civil rights and the institutional recognition the humanity of Black people began in 1619 when at least one or more of the first enslaved Africans said no. The struggle for civil rights was manifested in the Underground Railroad and the hundreds of revolts by Black slaves. Pierre Toussaint was a civil rights leader in the New York of the 1700’s as he established his humanity not only by being a successful businessman but also by being a philanthropist.

 

Nate Turner and Gabriel Prosser and Denmark Vesey and so many other leaders of slave revolts were civil rights leaders – as was Harriet Tubman and the other conductors of the Underground Railroad. Black abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, Prince Hall, Sarah Parker Redmond, Henry Highland Garnet and William Still were all civil rights leaders.

 

And when they died the mantle of leadership in the ongoing struggle for civil rights rested on the shoulders of the like Ida B. Wells and Monroe Trotter and W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington and Walter White and Marcus Garvey and Charles Hamilton Houston and Thurgood Marshall and Harry T. Moore.

 

And when they died this country learned the names of Malcolm X and Whitney Young and Roy Wilkins and Martin Luther King and Stokely Carmichael and H. Rap Brown and Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver and Robert Williams as advocates for civil rights.

 

Clearly the list goes on of the men and women of this day who believe in and live for the struggle for racial justice and dignity for Black people. And the fact that many of these names And while it is right and just to mourn the passing of John Lewis and C.T. Vivian, the idea that the leadership and heroes of the Black civil rights movement sounds like the beginning of an excuse for future inaction and a defense of acceptance of the status quo because “our heroes are dying”.

Every man, woman and child is a hero – we are all heroes, if we would only take the time to realize that fact and then act.

 July 27, 2020

4,234,140 –146, 935 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

We begin the day with the breaking news that National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now quarantined at home. The White House immediately reassured America that Trump and Vice President Pence are safe.

Somehow, Americans are supposed to be assured that not only are Trump and Pence safe, but that American children will be safe to go to school next month even though the highest officials in the federal government – who are in the White House on virtually a daily basis and presumably tested regularly – fall to the disease. How many infections and how many deaths will be too many for this White House to backtrack on mandatory school openings? Clearly it is an unknowable and probably unthinkable number.

And then there is this – and if anyone who is a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement thought that white supremacy was just going to go away to the dustbin of history quietly, Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton had this to say:

“We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country.

“As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built, but the union was built in a way, as [Abraham] Lincoln said, to put slavery on the course to its ultimate extinction.”

There is no way to argue with a stone. And there is no way to argue with this kind of stubborn embrace of white supremacy. The real question is how his colleagues in the Senate and the House and the people of this country will respond.

It is safe to say that if a United States Senator were to suggest that slave labor and prison camps were “an understandable choice by Nazi Germany” that there would be a justifiably righteous uproar and outrage. The question will now be one of how America – having embraced the concept of Black Lives Matter by kneeling at a few public events and taking Aunt Jemima off the pancake box and removing a few statues of dead Confederate thugs and offering up ritualized mea culpas regarding slavery and systemic racism and the death of George Floyd – will respond to a new blooming of the rancid flower of racism in the moment.

It’s now pretty safe to agree to take down the Confederate swastika flag. But it is always safe to condemn the past and be silent in the present. What is going to happen to Tom Cotton? Will he be censured on the floor of the Senate? Will editorials flow from media outlets from coast to coast? We know that Trump will do nothing, but what will Joe Biden do? What will the Congressional Black Caucus do? And what about the clergy and elected officials across the country – what do they have to say?

Years ago Jimmy the Greek, a glorified TV bookie spewed some rancid garbage about the inherent inferiority of Black people and he never worked on TV again. Tom Cotton is a United States Senator, one of only one hundred elected officials with awesome responsibility, awesome power and awesome stature. If a glorified bookie can be sanctioned for making racist remarks what should happen to a sitting United States Senator?

We know that Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson will be silent, but there are 49 other governors. We know that Arkansas Senator John Boozman will be silent, but there are 98 other senators.

The American response to Tom Cotton’s outrageous embrace of white supremacy and justifying and legitimizing of slavery is a perfect opportunity to find out if Black Lives Really Matter.

Meanwhile Republicans in the Senate are finalizing their version of a stimulus package which includes virtually no money for states and localities – a position that will virtually guarantee the near collapse state and local governments across the country. Trump has been running ads claiming that Joe Biden supports the defunding of the police. But in reality it will be the Republicans who will literally defund the police in states across the country if the stimulus package does not address the pressing needs of states and localities.

But even the part of the Republican bill that deals with direct aid to American citizens, the proposal is to reduce the $600 per week income supplement to $200 50 million suddenly unemployed Americans have an incentive to go back to work.

This from a group of well fed and financially comfortable and self-righteous satraps who seem to have a good dose of mean flowing through their veins. They are reminiscent of the billionaires who give a quarter to a homeless man on the corner and then feel like they have done a good deed.

 July 28, 2020

4,294,770 –148, 056 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Because constant drama seems to be a hallmark of the Time of Trump while awaiting the appearance of Attorney General (and Trump consigliore) William Barr before the House Judiciary Committee, the chair of the committee, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, was delayed when his car was in an accident. It appears that he was unhurt but the conspiracy theorists on every side of the political spectrum are already in a frenzy.

When William Barr did appear he did not disappoint his Godfather Trump or his fiercest critics who have accused him of being nothing more than Trump’s consigliore and fixer – kind of a Michael Cohen with an Ivy League pedigree. Democrats on the Committee came looking for a fight and Barr certainly accommodated him.

Fresh off his denials of being involved in the multi-year sexual scandal at Ohio State where he was an assistant wrestling coach, Congressman Jim Jordan did his best pit bull imitation in trying to turn the hearing into an Inquisition of……. the Obama administration, of course. Accusing the Obama Justice Department of spying on the Trump campaign only makes sense

if Jim Jordan simply ignores the fact that Trump campaign operatives engaged in conversations with Russian operatives who were being spied on – and that is when they became persons of interest and ultimately some of them became convicted felons as a result. But, to the likes of Jim Jordan, facts have no place in a good Inquisition.

The Republicans began their turn at the hearing by airing what looked like an updated version of the dystopic 70’s movie “Wild in the Streets”. If you believed the GOP production America is in flames and at any moment the peasants will be at the gates with torches and pitchforks. And our only hope is the gestapo tactics of Barr, who is playing Pinocchio to Trump’s Geppeto. And we kept waiting for the Republicans to trot out some Benghazi tapes while they were at it.

The Democrats attacked Barr and there was a lot of thrust and parry. It is fair to say that no one landed a knockout punch, on either side. Although Barr did make a couple of stunning statements including:

  • He was not sure if Trump could or could not change the date of the national election
  • He would not answer what he would do if Trump refused to leave the White House on January 20, 2021
  • He implied that there might be instances where the President accepting election from a power might be permissible.

Any one of those statements would be jaw dropping. But since we are living in the Age of Trump, no one’s jaw dropped even once.

And the day mercifully ended with Trump conducting another press conference where, among other things, he reiterated his support for a Nigerian-American doctor who claims that masks are useless, hydroxychloroquine is a cure for COVID-19 and that some doctors have been working on vaccines involving the DNA of aliens (simply cannot make this stuff up).

Trump went on to complain that Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx were getting higher approval ratings than him. And he mused out loud as to why people don’t like him.

At least he didn’t start sucking his thumb.

But there is always tomorrow.

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