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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The Rise of the Black Obama Bashers

When Barack Obama was elected President of the United States this country was losing over 800,000 jobs per month. During the seven years of the Obama administration over 14 million jobs have been created. Employment opportunities have appeared in a range of industries and in the process a new and unique set of jobs have become available, jobs that are almost exclusively reserved for black intellectuals, black academics and black commentators. The job title – Black Obama Bashers.

It should be noted that there are jobs available for White Obama Bashers, but they are not as plentiful and certainly not as lucrative. White Obama Bashers fall into the “dog bites man” category, to use a phrase employed by journalists. A significant portion of white Americans believe that President Obama is (a) the anti-Christ, (b) a Muslim terrorist, (c) a Kenyan version of the Manchurian Candidate, or all of the above. For many white Americans, hating Barack Obama is as American as apple pie. As a result, White Obama Bashers are simply not news.

But Black Obama Bashers are the quintessential “man bites dog” story. Over 90% of black Americans voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. As the first black President of the United States, Barack Obama is virtually revered in the national black community, if only for this singular and heretofore seemingly impossible achievement.

Further, as president, Barack Obama and his family have carried themselves with polish, class and dignity. There has never been a hint of a whiff of a scent of scandal in the Obama narrative. As president Barack Obama has obliterated prevailing stereotypes and stubborn prejudices regarding black people. And as president he has personally opened an entire universe of aspiration for young black boys and girls and young black men and women who now understand in real time that “hope” and “change” can be more than just slogans, they can be a way of life.

In this landscape, the Black Obama Bashers or BOBs have had to find a way to sell books, demand five and six figure speaking fees and maintain their presence on television and radio so that they can sell those books and get those lucrative speaking gigs. And so the BOBs have settled on a successful formula, if success is to be judged by how much attention they get and how much money they make.

It is not particularly useful to name this murder of BOBs, this will only give them more attention, but they know who they are, and we know who they are. And they gain attention by calling the first black President of the United States a “lap dog” or a “nigger” (as in “nigger please”) or someone does not love black people as much as we love him. Others have accused Barack Obama of pimping black people and who is afraid of white people and therefore refuses to confront the issues of race and racism in America.

We read and hear bizarre and contorted logic disguised as serious commentary when Barack Obama is deemed not sufficiently black because neither of his parents (or their forebears) experienced American slavery. Presumably we are to assume that these blacker than thou BOBs grew up listening to the rattle of grandma’s shackles and learned field songs at the knee of Uncle Mose.

Claiming that criticizing Barack Obama is right and just and necessary is a gossamer thin shield for the true motives of the BOBs. President Obama and every president should be scrutinized and criticized. But it is hard to remember the times that the BOBs aimed their rhetorical poisoned arrows at George W. Bush or Bill Clinton. Indeed, one will be hard pressed to find BOBs spending much of their time attacking the Teapublicans, Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell or any of the countless domestic terrorists who actually pose a real danger to the national black community.

The BOBs know on which side their croissants are buttered and as they barely conceal their own envy at the fact that a black man has done something that they will never do, they totally ignore the potential damage that their moneymaking scheme can cause.
BOBs have eschewed the path of legitimate and useful critique and have chosen to put a shirt and tie on the “dozens”. But while they spew vitriol and nonsense at Barack Obama, they run the very real danger of demeaning and tarnishing the legacy of this man’s real achievement the consequence of which could be leaving black Americans with the bitter taste of disappointment and dismay.

And meanwhile, the BOBs will settle into a first class seat as they jet off to their next speaking engagement or TV appearance. And one wonders, what will happen to the BOBs in February of 2017 when they will no longer have any dogs to bite. That is when they will lose the jobs that they have created for themselves and then they will truly miss Barack Obama.

And that’s just sad.

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The Birth of Trumpageddon

Historians will undoubtedly look at the 2016 presidential campaign as being unique. The looming and tantalizing presence of Trumpageddon will virtually overshadow everything, much the same way as Donald Trump himself sucks up the media oxygen every day of this very bizarre year. But the most astute historians will go back a half century earlier to discover the roots of Trumpageddon, roots that have nothing to do with Donald J. Trump and have everything to do with the intentional reinvention of the Republican Party in 1964.

Prior to 1964 the national Republican party was indisputably more progressive when it came to civil rights for black Americans. After all, the Democratic Party was deeply rooted in the South, roots that went back as far as the end of Reconstruction and the federal occupation of the formerly treasonous Confederacy in 1876.

After all, the Republican Party came into being with the abolition of slavery being a principal plank in its national political platform in 1860. Abraham Lincoln, the author of the Emancipation Proclamation was a Republican. And when the seething South was liberated from federal occupation in 1876, due in large part to the tricknology of Rutherford B. Hayes who swapped the freedom, civil rights and physical safety of Southern black people in exchange for the presidency, southerners embraced the Democratic Party as their own.

The Democratic Party in the South was the party of Jim Crow and lynching. Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican president, invited the first black American to dine at the White House. Woodrow Wilson, a Democratic president, hosted the premier of “Birth of a Nation” in the White House.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democratic president, never supported anti-lynching legislation for fear of alienating his Southern party members. And it was Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican president, who sent federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision that racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

Prior to his untimely death, Democratic President John F. Kennedy was nowhere near a staunch supporter of the Civil Rights Act that was passed posthumously. And in 1960, Richard Nixon, his Republican opponent in that presidential election, had virtually the same amount of support in the national black community as did Kennedy.

As late as 1964, the Democratic Party was the home of  blood-soaked and hate drenched racist villains such as Thurmond and Stennis and Faubus and Wallace and Bilbo. And in 1964 every state that had been a part of the Confederate States of America was firmly on the Democratic side of the national political register.

And then the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed with the urging of Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, followed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And as if by magic, during the following decade, the Republican Party was ascendant in the South, vacuuming up all the disenchanted white Southerners, supposedly in the name of conservatism and state’s rights, but in reality the transition was fueled by the deep and abiding resentment that black Americans were afforded some measure of citizenship and recognition of their humanity by the Damned Democrats.

Should there any be any doubt regarding the linkage of race and the Republican ascendancy, it should be remembered that Ronald Reagan, the patron saint of Republican conservatism, launched his national presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, less than twenty years after three civil rights workers were lynched within miles of the podium on which he stood. And when Reagan proclaimed that “government was the enemy”, he was referring to that same federal government that was often the only source of protection for black Americans seeking asylum and vindication in their own country. That dog whistle blew loud enough for white ears in the South and throughout the nation.

It should, therefore, be no surprise that the modern Republican Party, reborn in radical response to the advancement of racial civil rights progress would be the home of the impending Trumpageddon. It certainly should be no surprise that the political party that turned a blind eye to the clearly racist and racial efforts to delegitimize the first African American presidency would serve as the incubator for those would seek to delegitimize the entire apparatus of the federal government.

Republican leaders like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell who refused to extinguish the dark magical thinking that claimed that Barack Obama is a Muslim, or “hates America” or is not even a citizen, cannot be surprised that a master manipulator like Donald Trump could harness this malevolent harvest and turn it into a movement. And now, for good historical reason, Trumpageddon is upon us.

The Republicans are reaping what they have sown, and that harvest is being served to America.

 

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The Teapublican Road to Perdition

Since January 20, 2009, the Teapublicans in Congress and throughout this country have pursued a constant and consistent strategy of endeavoring to delegitimize the presidency of Barack Obama. It is the stuff of legend, but it is undeniably true that on the evening of Inauguration Day Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman John Boehner and other leading Republicans (that had yet to evolve into Teapublicans) met and decided on a strategy that could be summarized as “Just Say No to Obama”. And they have spent the better part of seven years doing just that – and only that.

It is nothing short of remarkable, indeed it is miraculous that the Obama Administration has been able to achieve anything, much less the historic accomplishments that will be remembered long after names like McConnell and Boehner are mere footnotes written in italics in the narrative of American history. Salvation of the automobile industry, a Stimulus Program that helped to rescue the American economy, record job growth, record corporate profits, institutional change in the financial services industry; historic appointments to the Supreme Court and this country’s first national healthcare system are part of the real “change” that Senator Obama promised during his first campaign for president.

The Republican/Teapublican response has been, channeling their inner Nancy Reagan, to just say “no”. And that nihilist response has gone so far as to justify shutting down the government of the United States and coming close to seriously damaging the international credit of this country by taking all of us to the brink of default.

And it should be clear that a great deal of the Teapublican opposition to Barack Obama is not based on some great philosophical divide. President Obama was twice elected President of the United States by margins that dwarf the victory margins of George W. Bush or John F. Kennedy. Obamacare is largely based upon a healthcare plan devised by a Republican think tank. The bailout of the financial industry began with legislation passed during the presidency of George W. Bush.

Nevertheless, there has been a concerted effort to delegitimize the presidency of Barack Obama. Whether it has been calling him a liar during his speech to Congress (that would be Congressman Joe Wilson, another living breathing footnote to a footnote) or refusing invitations to attend state dinners at the White House, many Teapublicans have refused to accept the reality of an Obama presidency. The question is why?

The answer is a matter of race.

Consider that opposition to the Obama Administration’s support of a nuclear energy limitation agreement with Iran was legitimate. But the unprecedented act of 47 United States Senators sending a letter to Iran’s Ayatollah cannot be explained by a simple matter of policy differences. Those 47 senators simply cannot bring themselves to truly accept the Obama presidency. The question is why?

The answer is a matter of race.

Although Barack Obama’s mother was born in Kansas and there has always been a Hawaiian birth certificate to further confirm his citizenship, the “birther” controversy has surrounding the 44th president has never died. Although Bernie Sanders father was born in Poland, Donald Trump’s mother was born in Scotland and the fathers of Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were born in Cuba, no one has ever uttered a word about the birth certificates of these men. The question is why?

The answer is a matter of race.

And now, with the death of Antonin Scalia we hear the Teapublicans claim that President Obama should not be able to even nominate a replacement on the Supreme Court because……………it appears the rationale is that seven years of Barack Obama as president is enough. The call for “letting the people decide” on the choice of the next Supreme Court justice is a straw man, the people never have decided who should sit on the Court.

The people have always decided on who nominates Supreme Court justices, and right now that person is Barack Obama. Sixty five million American citizens elected Barack Obama to a four year term, not a three year term. Why would the Teapublicans seek to nullify sixty five million votes?

The answer is a matter of race.

The danger in the Teapublican strategy, in addition to the corrosive effect of racist behavior, is that in trying to delegitimize the Obama presidency they will delegitimize the presidency itself. Barack Obama’s legacy will be secured in history. The damage that the Teapublicans are doing to the institution of the presidency may turn out to be irreparable. It is very difficult to unbreak an egg.

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Weekend Edition – October 4, 2013

While one person’s terrorist is another person’s patriot, in these United States it is hard to argue that the Teapublicans in Congress are not home grown terrorist as they revel in the damage that that they are inflicting on the American people. Meanwhile, the musty, funky smell of racism is attached to the mindless opposition of the Teapublican terrorists, reminiscent of a terrible time in this country’s history. And finally, ever wonder what would happen if the Teapublicans were black? History tells us what did actually happen.

Tea for Terror

The Teapublican terrorists in Congress are very clear that they are prepared to wreak damage on this country if they don’t get their way. This is not the way of the “loyal opposition” or the conflict resolution process envisioned by the Constitution. This is anarchy pure and simple.

It is true that “terrorist” is a subjective term. George Washington, Menachem Begin, Yasser Arafat, Jefferson Davis and William Tecumseh Sherman were all considered “terrorists” by the other side. By that standard, today’s congressional Teapublicans are certainly terrorists.

Even during their most virulent and repulsive iterations, racist Dixiecrats like George Wallace, Strom Thurmond and John Stennis never even hinted at collapsing the governmental infrastructure of this country as they sought to defend the hellish segregationist culture that they espoused. To their credit, they regrouped and reconfigured as Republicans and have indeed been able to roll back some key elements of the civil right movement that they opposed.

Today’s Teapublicans are not concerned with process or protocol. Their one basic demand is my way or the hostage gets it…and in this case the hostage is the United States government. It is certainly not the American way. It certainly is the way of terrorists.

The Return of the Nigger Breakers

In all discussions about the mindless opposition to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act, there is an almost universal reluctance to confront the fact that there is a deep and undeniable racist element to the hard core Teapublican attacks on President Obama. Barack Obama’s presidency has been essentially moderate and middle of the road, much to the chagrin of some of his supporters who are truly on the left. Nevertheless this centrist president has been attacked as if he were getting his directions from Moscow, Beijing or Nairobi or wherever.

During the terrible hell that was slavery in the United States, plantations would employ specialists who had the ability to “break” recalcitrant or resistant slaves. They would either “tame” the oppositional slave or kill him/her. They were known as “nigger breakers”.

Similarly, the Teapublicans wish to “break” Barack Obama. Indeed, Senator Mitch McConnell was quoted in 2009 as saying that he would “break this boy” referring to the President of the United States.

And the Teapublicans have taken up the task of delegitimizing President Obama – through the “birther” nonsense to “Fast and Furious” to “Benghazi” to calling him a liar during his address to Congress to the multiple attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act – it is all about the Teapublicans seeking to “break” the first black President of the United States.

If the Teapublicans Were Black…..

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if the Teapublicans were black? You need not wonder. In the 1960’s there was an organization called the Black Panther Party. The Black Panthers advocated that black Americans exercise their Second Amendment Rights. The Black Panthers argued that government should be limited in its presence in the lives of black Americans.

What happened? Many Black Panthers were shot down in the streets. Many Black Panthers were arrested, tried and convicted for conspiring against the government of the United States. Forty years later many Black Panthers are still in prison.

Clearly there is a difference between White Tea and Black Tea.

Have a great weekend – stay strong and be great!

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Stop in the Name of No

Ever since Barack Obama became president the loyal opposition hasn’t been very loyal. The Teapublicans have turned governmental dysfunction into an art form and every American from the right wing of the right wing of the Tea Party movement to the Occupy Movement on the other end of the spectrum is paying the price.

It is no longer arguable that the founding principles of the current Tea Party movement are rooted in the mind bending impact that grew with the reality of a black President of the United States actually being President of the United States. To be sure, the movement to lessen the size of government predates the candidacy and presidency of Barack Obama. To be just as sure, the fire, brimstone and sheer rage directed at the federal government can be directly traced to January 19, 2009, when Barack Obama took the oath of office.

We know by admission that the leadership of the Republican (soon to be Teapublican) Party met in Washington on the evening of January 19, 2009 to develop a strategy that would ensure the failure of the Obama Administration. In many circles developing a strategy like this would be considered treasonous plotting.

In any event, as the Republicans morphed into Teapublicans the mood in some parts of the country turned uglier and uglier as the presidency of the KenyanMuslimFascistCommunistTerroristAntiChrist Named Obama continued. Shamefully, the presumably reasonable leadership of the Teapublicans Formerly Known as Republicans stayed silent as racist rage masqueraded as serious policy concerns.

The result of this political voyage through the sewer of resentment and pure hate was the 2010 midterm elections which resulted in a literal a mob of Tea Party nihilists storming into Washington with the twin goals of defeating President Barack Obama and dismantling the federal government. And while this mob, which recalls lily white mobs of another day, was unable to defeat Barack Obama it has done a damn good job of trying to dismantle the federal government.

At a time when this country desperately needs leaders to display leadership, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has proudly employed the filibuster tactic 420 times in efforts to thwart the rational function of the Obama presidency and the federal government in general. His epic use of filibusters in order to make sure that the federal government does not function has had an especially hard impact on all aspects of this country – from its diminished credit rating to the diminished respect that the American people have for government.

Not to be outdone, House Speaker John Boehner has led the Teapublican kamikazes in repeated efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act of 2010 knowing that the bill will not be repealed and without offering anything like a rational legislative alternative. Speaker Boehner and his fellow Teapublican Terrorists simply want their limited constituency to know that they voted against Obamacare – now 39 times and counting. The fact that their votes have nothing to do with governance and that in no way have they helped a single American gain better health care options and alternatives is of no importance in their alternate universe.

We have become so anesthetized to the appalling antics of the Teapublican Terrorists that we sit by with only muted protest as infrastructure crumbles, government workers are furloughed, Head Start programs evaporate, food stamps wither and veterans wait in interminable lines in in neglected VA hospitals. There seems to be no bottom to the Teapublican well of bile and rage and nihilism. And in the process the entire American public, including Teapublicans suffer.

Opposition is a natural and normal part of democracy. Simply put obstructionism and nihilism is not. This is a lesson that the Teapublicans have yet to learn.

But the rest of us are learning this lesson in real time.

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Weekend Edition – July 19, 2013

The aftermath of the wrongheaded and racially stained verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman leaves black parents in a real quandary – what survival lessons should be taught? Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has fashioned himself as some kind of avatar of Washington gridlock, and he is proud of it. And finally, the City of Detroit has filed for bankruptcy. This is a sad story that may also be a precursor of things to come.

What is the Lesson Plan?

In her first interview since the Zimmerman trial, Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin offered a heartbreaking observation – one shared by black parents across this country. She said that she had “no clue” what to tell her surviving son regarding the best course of action to take to stay in alive in circumstances similar to the one that cost Trayvon Martin his life.

Clearly walking down the street in a lawful fashion is not enough to insure that a young black man will come home alive. Just a clearly, taking notice, much less offense, to being followed by a suspicious or “creepy” white man could be a fatal decision.

In the event that her surviving son is confronted by a white man with no apparent or stated affiliation with law enforcement, he is supposed to………….what? Assume that all white men are well-intentioned and submit to detention and questioning? Should he run for his life? Should he resist as most young white men are taught to do?

It is a shame that there are no useful answers to these questions. And it is shameful that the Zimmerman case will not be the last of its kind in these United States.

The Champion of Dysfunction

When he first took his oath of office as a United States Senator Mitch McConnell swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. A thorough search of the Constitution will not reveal a provision that gives anyone the right to impair and impede the orderly function of the federal government for purely partisan reasons.

Yet, as Minority Leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell has instigated over FOUR HUNDRED FILIBUSTERS in order to impair and impeded the operations of the federal government. Everything from legislation to routine presidential appointments are held up, sometimes for years, at McConnell’s behest, serving his goal of crippling the Obama Administration and diminishing its legacy.

When Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 19, 2009, he swore that he would do everything in his power to make sure that President Obama was a one term president. We all know how that turned out.

Now, McConnell’s goal is loftier – the systematic destruction of the federal government by employing strategies of delay, obstruction and more delay.

Mitch McConnell is a political terrorist who wears a filibuster vest instead of a bomb vest.  

As Detroit Goes So Goes…….?

In the 1950’s Detroit was one of the largest cities in the United States with a population of 1.8 million people. Today Detroit has a population of 700,000 people and has filed for bankruptcy.

There are a lot of reasons for this disastrous decline of what was once one of this country’s greatest cities – governmental mismanagement, relocation of core businesses (including the automobile industry), the flight of the middle class (black and white) and seemingly no sustainable vision for the future.

The structural dysfunction of the city’s finances occasioned by pension costs cannot be ignored as well. Many cities, counties and states will be watching the outcome of the Detroit scenario as the mayors, managers and governors know that they could be next.

Have a great weekend and stay strong!

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Romney-Ryan – You Lie!

The key take away from the smoldering stench of the recently deceased Republican convention is that the Romney-Ryan team believes that there are enough people who hate the Kenyan, Muslim anti-Christ currently occupying the White House that they are willing to believe any and every lie that can be told about President Obama. That can be the only logical explanation for adopted a scorched earth policy when it comes to telling the truth about just about everything.

Mercifully Hurricane Isaac shortened the Teapublican Klown Karnival otherwise fact checkers would have been beaten into exhausted submission. When compiling a list of outright, baseless lies, one can start anywhere, so why not with the Pious Paul Ryan who seems to be giving Saint Santorum a run for his money when it comes to retiring the title for sanctimonious self-righteousness.

Paul Ryan, in doleful and lugubrious tones, criticized the Obama Administration auto industry bailout by pointing out that it did not save all the automobile manufacturing plants in the United States. And then he told this sad tale of how the GM plant in Jaynesville, in his home state of Wisconsin had to close because of the ineffectiveness of this feckless bailout program.

There is just one problem with this tearjerker of a story. The referenced GM plant closed in 2008, BEFORE BARACK OBAMA BECAME PRESIDENT. And just in case you thought that Mr. Ryan was an impaired graduate of one of the top party schools in America (Miami of Ohio), it was Congressman Ryan who sent a letter to the Jaynesville workers advising them of the plant closing.

Not to be outdone, Mitt Romney has repeatedly criticized Barack Obama for not having signed a single trade agreement during his administration as president. There is just one problem with this insightful critique. BARACK OBAMA HAS SIGNED THREE TRADE AGREEMENTS DURING HIS TENURE AS PRESIDENT.

The Romney-Ryan team has tried to fan the flames of social discord in this country by opposing same sex marriage and further contending that President Obama seeks to impose same sex marriage laws on all Americans. There is just one problem with this piece of despicable rabble rousing. BARACK OBAMA, WHILE ENDORSING SAME SEX MARRIAGE, HAS SUPPORTED LETTING STATES PLAY THE HISTORICAL ROLE OF SETTING MARRIAGE RULES – THE REPUBLICANS SUPPORT A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THAT WILL TAKE THAT ROLE AWAY FROM THE STATES.

In one of the more embarrassing public spectacles seen on national television since the last time Donald Trump said anything, Clint Eastwood shambled and rambled through his dialogue with an empty chair named Obama, claiming that he did not keep his promise to close the terrorist prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. This bit of zany analysis was endorsed by Mitt Romney who thought that Eastwood was “great”. Just one thing – GUANTANAMO BAY HAS NOT BEEN CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE OPPOSITION OF DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN MEMBERS OF CONGRESS WHEN IT’S CLOSING WAS PROPOSED BY PRESIDENT OBAMA.

The list of lies is endless and shameless. There is the purported “theft” of $786 billion from Medicare that actually represents savings that will ensue from the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare that used to be known as Romneycare. We have been told that the credit rating of the United States was lowered because of the Obama Administration policies when the rating agencies clearly stated that the rating was lowered because of the irresponsible actions of the Republican-led Congress in nearly causing a default by the federal government.

Perhaps the biggest lie of all was Mitt Romney claiming in Tampa that he wanted Barack Obama to succeed. This is most interesting, since no one has recorded a single utterance from Mr. Romney when Rush Limbaugh infamously stated that he wanted newly-inaugurated Barack Obama to fail or when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell darkly muttered that the number one goal of Republicans in Congress was to insure that Barack Obama was a one term president. AND MITT ROMNEY HAS CONVENIENTLY “DISREMEMBERED” THAT PAUL RYAN WAS PART OF A GROUP OF REPUBLICANS WHO MET ON THE NIGHT OF BARACK OBAMA’S ADMINISTRATION TO PLOT AND PLAN HIS DEFEAT IN 2012.

Respect for the truth has not been a part of the Teapublican way of doing things. Respect for President Obama is absolutely non-existent. And, in a very real way, it is sad that in perpetrating bald-face lie after transparent lie, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and their Teapublican cohorts have no respect for the American people…….and, by the way, what about those tax returns Mr. Romney?

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Point of View Columns

The Post Racial Fairy Tale

The election of Barack Obama as president in 2008 was a global feel good moment. Americans savored the notion of a young, energetic and brilliant new president. The sickness of war and the souring economy had this country yearning for the change that Obama promised. And the world looked on with wonder that a nation with a history that has been stained with the impossible atrocities of racism since its birth could elect a black man to lead it. It was at that moment that the narrative of the post racial fairy tale began to be told – and sold.

White Americans held up the election of Barack Obama as proof that America had “moved on” and that race was no longer a factor in political discourse. Even black Americans got caught up in the moment as President Obama’s inauguration was touted as the fulfillment of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream – even though towards the end of his life Dr. King’s rhetoric was decidedly anti-establishment.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, upon Barack Obama taking office, his opponents could let slip the racist dogs of war all the while claiming that the president was “fair game”. Rush Limbaugh bellowed that he wanted President Obama to “fail” while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell muttered hours after the oath of office was administered that his only goal was to insure that Barack Obama would be a one term president. Although such post-inaugural invective was unprecedented we were assured that there was nothing racial going on…just “fair game”.

And then, like mushrooms popping up in the slime of the forest, the Tea Party appeared. And so did effigies of Barack Obama being burned. And so did posters of Barack Obama depicted as a deranged black Joker and a witch doctor (complete with a bone through his nose). Republicans, Tea Party zealots and Teapublicans assured us that there was nothing racial going on….just “fair game”.

History can be a trickster. We can remember where we were on 9/11 but we forget that the Teapublican Party apparatus dedicated itself to complete and unalterable opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act proposed by President Obama, even though it would address the urgent health care needs of over 40 million Americans and the ongoing health care needs of over 300 million Americans. They opposed the Act even though its key elements were taken from the health care initiative proposed by the everlasting conservative (and Republican) Hoover Institute. Once again, we were assured that we were now living in a post racial America and the entire furor was just politics as usual.

President Obama was called a liar while giving an address to the United States Congress (by a United States Congressman!!!!) and we were told that in post racial America it was politics as usual. Sarah Palin winked at supporters who shouted “Kill him” referring to President Obama and we were told that it was just part of the post racial political scrum.

Throughout his presidency Barack Obama has been subject to the shameful “birther” attacks. Unprecedented in American presidential history, idiots from Rush Limbaugh to Donald Trump has sucked up news time and air space questioning the authenticity of President Obama’s citizenship. Once again, we were assured that there was nothing racist going on, just legitimate inquiry, or “fair game”.

Finally, and hopefully not too late, the cover of the racists and the bigots and the prejudiced miscreants has been blown. Over a dozen states have instituted laws that, while touted as being written to address non-existent voter fraud, are intended to suppress voter turnout among black Americans.

This is a throwback to the days of the Klan which had as its twin guiding lights the preservation of the sanctity of white women and the prevention of blacks from attaining any political power. Voter suppression was the key weapon of Klan because it recognized that voting black Americans were dangerous.

In this allegedly post-racial America, voter suppression has replaced Willie Horton ads and hysterical calls to action. In 2000 the Republican Party literally stole the presidential election and ushered in the Bush-Cheney flirtation with national and global disaster. As has been written before, rather than try to steal another election in November, the Teapublicans have decided to steal the election in August.

Mitt Romney goes to England and takes his foot out of his mouth long enough to sputter some inane comments about Anglo Saxon heritage and how the first black president of the United States doesn’t appreciate that heritage. One of Mr. Romney’s surrogates suggests that the first black president of the United States needs to learn how to be an American.

There is nothing post racial about all of this. If it quacks like a duck it is a duck. And this duck is a racist duck.

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Point of View Columns

Unintelligent Design

On January 20, 2009, Senator Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader of the United States Senate and at that time the presumptive leader of the Republican Party stated that the number one goal of his party was to make certain that Barack Obama was a one-term president. Notice that he did not mention improving the lives of the American people or repairing an economy wrecked by eight years of Bush Administration wrongheaded policies. Insuring the defeat of Barack Obama was and still is the only goal of the Republican Party, even if it comes at the expense of the American people and the future of this country.

This country began with partisan politics always being a key element in the governmental process. It was not always polite; sometimes it was ugly and at one point partisanship even led to a civil war. Nevertheless, partisanship somehow made way for the transcontinental railroad, the industrial revolution and the progress of the United States to the status of a world power.

Since the election of Barack Obama, partisanship has taken a malevolent turn that is simply unprecedented in the history of this country. The 2009 stimulus bill was the last major bipartisan initiative that had as its goal improving the economy and providing jobs in the public and private sectors. Since then Republicans, now carrying the Teapublican banner have objected to and obstructed almost every legislative proposal that might address the lingering effects of the mismanagement of the national economy by the Bush Administration.

It is not news that the party that does not occupy the White House will regularly oppose the proposals of the president. What is unprecedented is that the Teapublicans have opposed all Obama Administration proposals in a time of grave crisis without offering serious alternative solutions.

For example, the so-called Ryan Budget Plan would eviscerate most federal programs while hollowing out the public sector at the state and local levels. This sham of a plan would also shred a social services safety net that has built up over the course of a century. The Ryan Budget Plan is not a serious alternative solution as it will never garner bipartisan support and could only be put into action if the Teapublicans assume the majority in both houses and the White House and then bludgeon the country into submission.

Employing this scorched earth legislative strategy, the Teapublicans are more than willing to engage in distortion and misrepresentation when it serves their purposes. For example, the bailout of the automobile industry clearly saved a major American industry from certain demise. Just as clearly, at least one million private sector jobs related to this industry were also saved.

The Teapublicans act as if the benefits of the automobile industry bailout are unimportant. In the alternative they will claim that the bailout was unnecessary and that market forces would have created a solution if they were allowed to prevail. Of course the shuttered steel and textile plants and the generally atrophied industrial sector of this country speak to the reality of market forces when they are allowed to prevail with no oversight.

Meanwhile, it what can only be described as a vicious strategic ploy, the Teapublicans have reduced revenues to state and local governments by reducing federal spending. The result has been firing of hundreds of thousands of public employees resulting in higher unemployment rates, stagnating economic conditions and reduced government services for the American people.

The general malaise of the American economy has been placed at the doorstep of President Obama as if the Teapublican DNA is not part of its parentage. Every negative occurrence in the economy has been blamed on the Obama policies even if the true causative factors were born in Teapublican back rooms.

Interestingly, when the economy shows signs of improvement President Obama has been termed irrelevant by the opposition party. On the Planet Teapublican, only blame can belong to Barack Obama.

And in the process millions of Americans remain out of work, millions of students have their financial ability to attend school jeopardized and the young and the old and the sick and the needy find themselves standing on shaky ground as they await the next Teapublican aftershock.

Planning to wreck the economy in order to defeat a president is wrong. It is shameful. And the reckless Teapublican strategy that is wrecking lives and destroying businesses has to be revealed for all to see.

Remember November 6th!

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