Point of View Columns

Another Five Days in the Life of America

February 27, 2021

28,552,577-511,983 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

As the pandemic continues to continue its deadly path across the country there continues to be a debate regarding the Biden-Harris stimulus bill. And the question stands…what is there to debate?

The local economies across this country have been eviscerated by the pandemic and the countermeasures. More families are in jeopardy of hunger – hunger in the richest country in the world – since the Great Depression. Without federal aid, in massive amounts, a recovery from the pandemic won’t mean much when all that is left is shards and ashes of what was the United States.

And yet there is a debate.

And the debate appears to be centered on opposition which has articulated that the proposed bill might be too much help.

And what would be the problem with too much? Would that be a worst consequence than too little?

Or is the answer obvious?

February 28, 2021

28,554,724-511,998 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

45 appeared at CPAC and failed to surprise – failure being no stranger to all things 45. He continued to lie about losing the election – he won. He continued to lie about voter fraud – there was plenty of voter fraud. He continued the lie that he was denied the presidency by the perfidy of Republicans who he named like some kind of political death warrant – not even close to being true.

He wallowed in lies and the adoring crowd loved it. Amazingly CPAC adherents rolled out a golden statue of 45 before which at least one MAGA citizen kneeled and prayed – presumably.

It was interesting to hear 45 bellow out his enemies list of Republicans who either voted for his impeachment or did not sufficiently oppose it. It will be interesting to find out how many members of that hit list decide to wear that designation as a badge of honor.

If there was any doubt that the Republican Party was now the Tpublican Party and that it would stay that way for the foreseeable future. The fact that under the banner of 45, the Republican Party has lost the vote for the presidency twice, the vote for the majority of House of Representatives twice and lost the Senate once – seems to be irrelevant to the Cult of 45.

Meanwhile, being the venal, vile and predatory creature that he is, 45 did remind the adoring crowd to send money to his fund and not the Republican Party.

Ironically, after 74 years, 45 may have finally found a way to not lose money in a venture.

March 1, 2021

28,605,937-513,093 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

We now see the absurd theater of well-fed and well-paid and well-housed and secure senators debating – debating!!!! – as to whether or not to vote for a stimulus bill that will help hundreds of millions of Americans who are in need.

What is there to debate?

The House and the Senate have 13 days to put a bill on President Biden’s desk before current benefits run out. The fact that not one Republican voted for the stimulus bill in the House and that at this moment not one Republican is slated to support the bill, should please the ghosts of Marie Antoinette and Ayn Rand, but in their vision it is o.k. for Americans to be starving and homeless…. literally.

We already have seen Medicines Sans Frontieres – Doctors Without Borders – being deployed to the richest country in the history of planet instead of Niger and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where an Ebola outbreak has blossomed.

And that is where the United States is as part of the Legacy of 45 – one more mismanaged and disadvantaged nation that is a global charity case.

Yet the debate continues.

March 2, 2021

28,664,604-514,660 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

We begin to realize that we have been sliding into an abyss of anesthetized sensibilities when the news that only 1500 Americans dies yesterday is good news. A healthy dose of Wake Me Up is to realize that on March 2, 2020 such a statistic would have been a cause for justifiable mass panic.

And it is that desensitized state that may be more dangerous than the COVID-19 virus itself as we see states like Massachusetts and Florida, to name a few, opening bars and restaurants to something like full capacity even though we know, we really know, that bars and restaurants are like recreation centers for the virus.

But, since only 1500 Americans are dying daily, it is time to go back to normal. Never realizing that whatever becomes normal will never be like it was on March 2, 2020.

Meanwhile, the news from yesterday is that 45 and his wife were vaccinated for the virus in January while they were still living in the White House. Also, while 45 was either ignoring or minimizing the pandemic. Also, while thousands of Americans were dying every day. Also, while his adherents, apostles and followers refused vaccinations because they thought that is what the Dear Leader wanted.

Clearly 45 is a natural born leader of lemmings.

Meanwhile, Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI appeared before a Senate Committee and testified to two very important facts:

  1. There was no Antifa participation in the 1.6.21 insurrection at the Capitol. Not very little. Not minimal. None.
  2. There was no voter fraud in the 2020 national election. None.

Keep in mind that Mr. Wray was appointed by 45. And keep in mind that Mr. Wray had sworn to tell the truth.

And of course, the truth is something with which 45 and his lap dogs like Cruz, Hawley and McCarthy have only a nodding acquaintance.

Indeed, this country is dancing on the razor’s edge.

March 3, 2021

28,719,654-516,616 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

And it turns out that since November 3rd of last year 43 states have been considering and getting ready to pass over 250 proposed laws that have voter suppression as their goal. Clearly the Republican strategy is that if they cannot win the support of the majority of voters they will shrink the majority and seek to continue as a ruling minority party.

This news comes as the Supreme Court considers a case that would virtually obliterate the tattered remains of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And it would be good to remember two things – first, the Voting Rights Act was the culmination of decades of effort by Black Americans and many others of good will. The Voting Rights Act was meant to finally institutionalize the rights and citizenship and humanity of Black Americans in a way that the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution had not been able to accomplish.

Ever since 1965 white right wing legal terrorists have sought to dismantle this iconic legislation and 48 years later they won a major victory with the Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision which gutted the Voting Rights Act. And now, a rock solid 6-3 conservative majority Supreme Court is deciding whether or not to give the Voting Rights Act its last rites.

But the 43 legislatures across the country are not waiting – indeed they are moving at warp speed to further entrench white minority rule in America.

Congress has yet to consider the John Lewis Voting Rights Act which would resurrect its 1965 antecedent. Someone better tell the Democrats in Congress and the Biden-Harris administration that time is not on their side.

And finally, Congress will be closed on March 4th due to credible fears that the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and other white supremacists are planning to attack the Capitol as 45 returns to claim his rightful place as president.

This is a waking nightmare for America.

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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

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

It’s All Fun and Games Until It’s Not

One can imagine that there are significant numbers of Donald Trump worshipers who took great pleasure in watching him dismantle the norms of propriety along with the protocols of American government from the moment that he took the oath of office. His refusal to be guided by common sense or good advice must have been refreshing to those who felt stifled by the so-called Deep State.

Trump’s adoration of Vladimir Putin might have given some members of the Trump Base pause. But like their leader, they like strong leaders who don’t respect convention.

The false equivalency between neo-Nazi nationalists and civil rights advocates was clearly not a problem and even Trump’s servile posture at the altar of the National Rifle Association was o.k. Even as the American body count from mass shootings and random gun killings continued to mount, the Trump Nation was clearly willing to Stand by Their Man.

Insulting foreign leaders and entire countries was just Trump being Strong. And besides, these leaders and countries were FOREIGN and not American and therefore not worthy of even basic respect.

Railing against black Americans, Latino Americans, Mexicans and “others” was not only not a problem for Trumpistas, it was what they wanted, indeed needed. Validation that the American that was going to Great Again was also going to be White Again washed away any and all missteps, misspeaks and misdeeds when it came to Donald J. Trump.

Indeed it was all fun and games until Trump found a toy that should have been put in a shoe box in the back of a top shelf of a closet, the way dangerous items are kept hidden from children. Because when Trump discovered that he could engage in trade wars with the world without the consent or approval of Congress, the Supreme Court or any other aspect of government, he found his ultimate toy.

Trump found that he could threaten allies and enemies at will, with his tariff pen in hand he could roil the financial markets of the planet and be assured that everyone would care about what he might do next. Indeed, tariffs turned out the be the ultimate toy for a bully like Trump in that he discovered he could threaten without fear of any serious harm – at least that’s what he thought.

And then Harley-Davidson decided to build its next plant abroad in the wake of yet another tariff tsunami. Other U.S. companies reduced or shut down operations, and the entire auto industry and its millions of direct and indirect employees tried to tell Trump that he was playing with their livelihoods.

And then the bully decided it was time to punch up in class and go after China. The thing is that not being a student of history, or anything else for that matter, Trump did not realize that China would be more than sensitive to being bullied by foreign powers, the era of European-American neo-colonialism in the 19th century not being that far away. And so when Trump punched, China punched back. And then Trump nation got punched in the nose.

Farmers, manufacturers who literally earned a living selling to China found themselves on the outside looking in. Trump has been providing bailouts to some farmers, but those “farmers” are typically corporate behemoths and the MAGA hat-wearing tractor drivers are weeping in their beer.

What is tragic about all of this is that the carnage that will soon hit American consumers in a very real way could have been easily predicted and just as easily avoided. Trump minions keep saying that the harm to the American public will be “minimal”, but when people are already earning “minimal” paychecks, even “minimal” harm will hurt.

It remains to be seen whether Trump nation will turn on its hero because of the pain of the tariff wars. Keep in mind that racism, stupidity, coarseness, ignorance, misogyny and lies have not moved the needle. But economic pain has a way of drawing attention and the weeks and months to come we will learn whether Trump has overplayed his hand —–again.

 

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