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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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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Point of View Columns

Approaching the Finish Line – The Last Week of the Worst Year Ever

December 21, 2020

17,847,629-317,684 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Under the heading of…just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse…. there is now a new strain of the COVID-19 virus spreading throughout the world. It is more infectious than the original and it has already shut down the U.K. There can be no doubt that COVID II is already in the U.S. And there can be no doubt that this country and its people are not ready for the challenge.

Meanwhile, it appears that Trump spent the weekend in lengthy meetings regarding the mechanics by which martial law could be imposed in the swing states in order to reverse the results of the election. Trump is playing with fire and does not have any idea how much damage he is causing by even giving serious thought to such a destructive thought.

Of course, Destructive may actually be Trump’s real middle name.

December 22, 2020

18,057,172-319,826 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

And now, in an amazing illustration of how the madness pandemic has gripped Trump, Rudy Giuliani is tasked with calming down Trump and getting him to back off the martial law ledge on which he is currently standing.

When Giuliani is the wisest person in the room, it is definitely time to find another room.

December 23, 2020

18,237,190-322,849 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

A bizarro take on the 12 days of Christmas carol

2 Mueller defendants

3 Corrupt Congressman and

4 Convicted murderers

Meanwhile federal executions continue at an unprecedented rate.

Meanwhile Trump threatens to derail the not-enough stimulus bill literally putting the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans in jeopardy. Trump’s tantrum is lethal.

December 26, 2020

18,762,383-330,279 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

Death and infection statistics continue to skyrocket (is skyrocket even a word?) and there is actually no end in sight to this cataclysmic pandemic.

Americans continue to fly around the nation in the millions infecting and being infected. It may well be that we will look at 2020 as the time before the COVID-19 cataclysm really turned catastrophic in a biblical way.

Meanwhile, as of today, the unemployment for millions of Americans – and their families – expired and Trump continues to refuse to sign the stimulus bill while playing golf in Mar-A-Lago.

Nero fiddling while Rome burns is an image that comes to mind.

December 28, 2020

19,136,587-333,140 (number of confirmed COVID-19 cases – the number of dead Americans at the beginning of the day)

This is the year that seems like it will never end. It will end – but it is not ending well. The news is just now appearing that last week members of the Columbus, Ohio police department shot and killed Andre Hill – yet another unarmed Black man dying from LWB – Living While Black.

Meanwhile, Trump took a tantrum break and decided to finally sign the Stimulus Bill. This means that millions of Americans who are perched precariously on the precipice of starvation and financial ruination while Trump has been bathing in his own fury and golfing can at least hope with reason that some too little too late relief will be on its way.

Meanwhile the twin Georgia senatorial elections are taking on the appearance of Political Armageddon in America. Over $500 million has been spent on supporting the campaigns of the four candidates. If you live in Georgia, you are thankful for Netflix or Amazon Prime because otherwise you only get to watch campaign commercials for one or more of the Final Four.

Ironically, these elections are that important. If the Democrats sweep the two seats the Biden-Harris administration will have the ability to remake and rebuild the country and its institutions which Trump and his minions have tried mightily to destroy. If the Republicans win only one of the two seats Mitch McConnell will continue to have the title of President Without Portfolio and play obstacle chess with Joe Biden for at least the next two years.

And in what can only be called a Man Bites Dog story, the New York Post, a journalistic lapdog of Trump for years before he even became president, published an editorial telling Trump to accept defeat and move on.

Guess which White House newspaper subscription just got cancelled?

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