Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – April 11, 2014

The Weekend Edition features a good news story that also is a bad news story – all because a young black man applied to eight Ivy League schools and was admitted to all of them. And this week the Teapublicans in the House of Representatives gave every American a reason to vote in November as they passed the draconian Ryan budget – a budget that would ensure pain and displacement for all but the wealthy. And, under the heading of news that should not be news, recent reports indicate that New York City may be one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States.

When Good News is Also Bad News

Kwasi Enin is a high school senior in Long Island, New York who had this bright idea to apply to all eight Ivy League schools. Kwasi is a very accomplished student with high SAT scores, excellent grades and outstanding community and school service participation. Nevertheless in a case of lightning striking eight times Kwasi was admitted to all eight schools.

This is a great story and a wonderful example of the intersection of achievement and opportunity. That is where the story should end. But it doesn’t.

Because Kwasi Enin is African American, haters deluged the internet with denunciation and vitriol. Somehow Kwasi’s admission to all eight of the Ivy League schools was seen by too many as just another example of unqualified black people getting undeserved opportunity at the expense of……………..you guessed it………….qualified white people.

The fact is that by any standard Kwasi Enin is qualified to attend any university in the United States. It is also a fact that college admissions are a subjective process. And it is a fact that white people have not suffered due to the implementation of affirmative action initiative.

And it is a fact that those who choose to hate will hate, regardless of the facts.

The War on America

During this past week the Teapublican Terrorists in the House of Representatives formally declared war on the American people. By passing the so-called Ryan budget, Congress has proposed to abolish Obamacare, obliterating healthcare for the 7 million people who have already signed up for this important coverage.

The Ryan Budget also calls for the virtual shredding of the American social safety net by reducing, eviscerating and amputating programs ranging from Medicare to Social Security to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs.

As things stand today, there is no way that the Ryan Budget will get past the Senate. And if it did, it is guaranteed that President Obama would veto such a budget.

But elections do matter, and if the Teapublicans increase their control of the House and take control of the Senate, they will have the ability to override President Obama’s veto. All of which gives every American to use the only weapon that will work in the Teapublican War Against America – vote!

When Shall We Overcome?

A few recent studies have reported some interesting results. It turns out that New York City has the most racially segregated public school system of any city in the United States. Additionally, racially segregated housing has resulted in racially segregated communities in the most diverse city in the United States.

Ironically, despite the incredible diversity of its population, racial segregation persists and thrives in the Big Apple.

Have a great weekend – stay strong and be great!

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – September 27, 2013

Right now we are watching right wing terrorists hijacking Congress and doing their best “Thelma and Louise” imitation as the federal government hurtles towards yet another fiscal cliff. If you feel like you have seen this movie before – it is because you have. And, not satisfied with simply shutting down the federal government, the radical Teapublicans propose to also shut down the source of basic nutrition for millions of Americans. And finally, it wouldn’t be the New York City mayoral election without something bizarre and Joe Lhota and Adolfo Carrion are searching for Marxists and Leninists in Bill de Blasio’s closet as you read this column. Good luck guys!

Heading to the Cliff – Again

The Teapublican terrorists in Congress seem to wallow in the notion of holding the federal government and the American people as hostages while they demand that the majority of Americans kowtow to their distinctly minority agenda.

Having discovered that they can get the attachment of this country, and indeed the world, by throwing well-timed tantrums, a cabal of Teapublican members of Congress (who only represent about 18% of the American people, by the way) have managed to cause the credit rating of this country to be downgraded in 2011 and bringing about the sequestration debacle in 2013.

Now, in their continuing effort to abolish Obamacare – a law that has been ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court and has been effectively approved by at least 53% of the American voters in 2012 – the Teapublican wing of Al Qaeda is now threatening to first shut down the federal government next week and, if they don’t get their way, they plan to have the United States government default on its trillions of dollars of debt.

And playing the role of Geppetto with these Teapublican puppets are the Koch brothers and other right wing billionaires who plan to profit from the wreckage that their little Pinocchios will bring about.

It is about time to cut the puppet strings.

Let Them Eat………Nothing

If nothing else, the right wing of the right wing in Congress is consistent in its fanatical adoration of meanness. There are very few sane observers of the national landscape who do not recognize that hunger remains a serious problem in this country. Despite the terrible ravages of obesity – many Americans simply don’t have enough to eat in this Land of Plenty.

And it is against this backdrop that the Teapublican Terrorists have decided to demolish the food stamps program in the name of budget austerity. And somehow they have not seen the shameful nature of such a proposal – most recipients of food stamps are children and their mothers and the elderly. The myth of the able bodied man just chomping away on his food stamp funded steak dinner is just that – a myth.

And it appears the notion of compassion for those in need is becoming a myth in the halls of Congress.

Marxism in New York

As the New York City mayoral election moves into the final round, the three major candidates, Bill de Blasio, Joe Lhota and Adolfo Carrion have numerous major issues to address – income disparity, equity in law enforcement and affordable housing are a few of the many concerns. Since Mr. de Blasio is in the lead in all of the polls, it is reasonable that Mr. Lhota and Mr. Carrion have attacked him.

What is incomprehensible is that both Mr. Lhota and Mr. Carrion have spent an inordinate amount of time (that is any time) criticizing Mr. de Blasio because he and his wife went to Cuba for their honeymoon almost 20 years ago. And these Terrible Twins have gone on to express concern that Mr. de Blasio might have socialist or Marxist leanings.

Such a dog of an argument might hunt in Miami but this is New York City. And it is likely that most New Yorkers, if asked about Marx, would say “Groucho?” or “Harpo?” before believing that two mayoral candidates are seriously mentioning Karl in the middle of the campaign.

Have a great weekend – stay strong and be great!

Point of View Columns

Playing With Fire

Ever since the 2010 midterm elections, the governance atmosphere has gone from combative to toxic. Partisan goals such as retaining the White House or defeating the incumbent MuslimAntiChristKenyan Outlier Obama are not historically unique in Washington. However, beginning in 2011 a new wave of Teapublican terrorists have swarmed into the nation’s capital with the stated goal of dismantling the federal government and rolling back the rights and liberties of minorities, women and immigrants – and anyone else that they don’t like.

This notion of Teapublican state sponsored institutional terrorism is a new feature in American politics where a virulent and well-financed faction in Congress has basically held the federal government hostage in the name of its extreme agenda. Not since the dark days in the run up to the Civil War have we seen elected officials in Washington speak so comfortably about dismantling the government and shutting it down.

Most recently, the Teapublican Terrorists have threatened to shut down the entire federal government if the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – is not totally defunded. They are taking this position even though Obamacare was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States – a president who was reelected with Obamacare prominently on his campaign resume.

The Teapublican Terrorists not only seem to be willing to ignore the will of the American people, they are also prepared to ignore the fact that the rightist Supreme Court of the United States, led by its rightwing Chief Justice John Roberts, affirmed the legality and constitutionality of Obamacare. That is not enough for these terrorists who have non-negotiable demands and are willing to kill their hostage if they don’t get their way.

And just because they are carrying a virulent strain of negative obstructionism and institutional sabotage doesn’t mean that they aren’t serious. The Teapublican Terrorists proved this in 2011 when they exacerbated the crisis over the debt ceiling to a point where the United States credit rating was downgraded for the first time in the history of the republic.

Not satisfied with the financial and economic havoc created by this fiasco, the Teapublican Terrorists have determined that the extreme “neutron bomb” of sequestration is actually a viable governance option. And as a result of their concretized and sclerotic intransigence, the federal government is slowly asphyxiating even as you read this column. On the Planet Teapublican this is known as a good thing.

Taking such extreme positions in a governance process that has been relatively successful for over two centuries because of the willingness of stakeholders to compromise and negotiate threatens to overturn the entire process of American governance. The Teapublican Terrorists recognize the fact that the demographics and prevailing social/cultural perspectives of this country are moving in a direction that does not favor them.

Their answer has not been to propose solutions that are better suited to an evolving America. Rather the Teapublican Terrorists are trying to freeze this country in right wing amber. That is why, with gerrymandered Congressional districts virtually insuring a Teapublican majority in the House of Representatives for the next seven years, these Terrorists are trying to roll back voting rights to the time of Reconstruction and to virtually abolish abortion rights and a woman’s right to choose.

That is why the Teapublican Terrorists will never agree to any kind of immigration reform that has a “path to citizenship” because they don’t want twenty-first century immigrants to become citizens. That is because twenty-first century immigrants to America are primarily black and brown and that is not the kind of America that the Teapublican Terrorists want to see.

The Teapublican Terrorists seem to believe that they can continue to dismantle the federal government and that this country will still stand. They seem to believe that they can hold the finances of this country hostage to their ill will and that there will not be long term consequences. They are wrong and they are playing with fire.

It is useful to remember that the history books are full of stories of glorious empires, republics and kingdoms that fell once people believed that the future existence of their nation was inevitable.


Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – June 14, 2013

With over 90,000 people killed during the past two years, Syria is in the news for all the wrong reasons. And now, people who forget the Law of Unintended Consequences want to make things worse. Meanwhile, the Teapublican Klown Show just never takes a day off, especially when it comes to degrading women. And finally, the slow strangulation of this country continues courtesy of your friendly Teapublican terrorists.  

Serious About Syria

The Syrian government may have killed as many as 90,000 of its citizens during the past two years. The current regime is blood soaked and tyrannical and is clearly opposed by a significant portion of the Syrian population. And while there is no doubt that the current regime should be dumped in the trash bin of history, there is a lot of doubt as to what, or who, should replace it.

Given the multiple moving parts in this scenario it seems bizarre that there are calls from Congress for President Obama to “take action” and to support the “freedom fighters”. It is all the more bizarre when we realize that these armchair hawks clearly have no sense of history and indeed may have taken leave of their senses.

The disastrous Vietnam War began with a call for the United States to “take action”. The Korean War begun in the 1950’s has never officially ended and remains an ignition point for wider conflict. Any call for “action” can quickly lead this country to a slippery and bloody slope that resolves nothing and guarantees an unending American death toll.

And just because someone opposes a tyrannical regime does not make them “freedom fighters”. Just ask the 43 American relief workers in Egypt who have been sentenced to decades in prison by the “freedom fighters” who now occupy the seat of power in that country.

And let us not forget that when the United States supported the mujahedeen “freedom fighters” in Afghanistan two decades ago, one of those “freedom fighters” was Osama bin Laden.

Now would be as good a time as any to recall the lessons of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

EWS – Existing While Stupid

Incredibly but inevitably, the Teapublican Klown Kavalcade manages to combine stupidity with misogyny in ways that are both appalling to humanity and incredibly insulting to women. Much of the language employed by these Klowns is so completely crude and ignorant that it must take a certain talent to be that wrong.

The latest Klown Kontest winner is Congressman Trent Franks who just had to say that it is rare that rape results in a pregnancy (!!!!!). This was supposed to be a reason to remove the rape exception to abortion protocols – as in no abortions even in the instance of rape.

Arguing that if only one woman were to be impregnated by a rape it would be one person too many would be a first step into the Bizarro World where Congressman Franks resides. The real point, the only point, is that women should have absolute control over their bodies including decisions regarding pregnancy.

“Actual” rape, “rare” rape – these are all in the vocabulary of the ignorant and should not be part of any rational discourse on the subject.

But we know that Congressman Franks is not the last Klown in the Teapublican Klown Kar. Another one is coming soon.

Slow Dance

The stealth strangulation of the American government continues as the direct result of the sequestration catastrophe that exploded over three months ago. Because the catastrophe was not as immediate as a hurricane or an earthquake there has been a tendency on the part of the Teapublican terrorists and their media enablers to declare that the impact of sequestration has been minimal.

When the furloughing of air traffic controllers precipitated chaos at airports across the country Congress acted to plug that one particular hole in the dike. And again the Teapublican terrorists tried to act as if all was well once the planes were flying again.

But ask the disabled veterans who have to wait at longer and longer lines at VA hospitals if all is well. Or perhaps this new branch of American terrorism should ask the people who are dependent on public housing how they like sequestration now that fewer Section 8 vouchers are available – over 8,000 fewer in New York City alone – over 8000 families in just one city who will have to somehow secure safe and affordable housing with no safety net thanks to the Teapublican terrorists.

There are literally thousands of federal programs that are slowly bleeding to death, serving fewer Americans every day and creating the grotesque scenario of record highs on Wall Street while misery expands on Main Street.

This slow death has many victims and we have the Teapublican terrorists to blame, plain and simple.

Have a great weekend!

Point of View Columns

Time to Handle the Truth

In the aftermath of the Oscar awards, now is as good a time as any to recall great movie classics. In “A Few Good Men”, the Jack Nicholson character, in a climactic moment, states “….you can’t handle the truth!” When it comes to the budget-sequestration calamity in the making, it is time for all of us to handle the truth about this impossibly abominable situation.

By now even minimally aware Americans have dragged themselves from their X-boxes and reality shows long enough to realize that something terribly wrong is going on in Washington. This country has been held hostage by terrorist Teapublicans who have wrapped themselves in a budget/deficit bomb vest. By reason of the strategic position that they hold in only one section of one branch of government, the House Teapublican terrorists believe that they have the ability to impose their will and vision on Congress, the President and the American people. And so far it seems that they are right.

Ever since the Teapublicans came to Washington in 2011 they have used their leverage in constitutionally mandated budget deliberations to threaten to collapse the American government and the American economy. Since many of these American jihadists claim to be avid readers of the Bible, one can only imagine that the story of Samson collapsing the temple in order to defeat his enemies is particularly appealing.

But the arena of public administration is not the appropriate forum for biblical metaphors. In 2011 Teapublican threats and intransigence on the issue of raising the budget ceiling for the federal government resulted in the downgrading of the American credit rating for the first time in history. The collateral damage from this unprecedented self-inflicted wound is incalculable but we can be sure that every man, woman and child in this country has paid a price.

Now, having sipped from the cup of power, the Teapublican terrorists are inebriated and should not be allowed behind the wheel. But there they are, back behind the wheel and driving this country straight into a wall with the funny name – “sequestration”.

For a group of politicians who act as they have personal and exclusive ownership of patriotism, it is amazing that the Teapublican terrorists are willing to risk the collapse of the American economy in order to adhere to their twin obsessions of shrinking government at every turn and never, ever, raising taxes. The damage done to the economy and this country in 2011 has already been recounted. The potential damage from sequestration can only be estimated.

For example, we know that 750,000 civilian defense workers will be furloughed almost immediately. But that does not tell about the employees in the barber shops, convenience stores and supermarkets in the communities where these 750,000 civilian defense workers live. The words “ripple effect” immediately come to mind.

The crippling of the American airline system because of air traffic controllers being furloughed is no small matter. American business depends on the airline system and delays will have a very real consequent effect. The statistics will bear that out as the Teapublican terrorists revel in their ability to destroy, impede and damage.

Osama bin Laden can rest in peace knowing that the Teapublican terrorists are doing more to damage this country than he could have ever imagined. In his most feverish nightmare visions bin Laden could not possibly have seen huge chunks of the American government shut down – by Americans! He certainly could not have imagined domestic terrorists running amok through the halls of Congress as they try to thwart and gut every programmatic initiative that is designed to make life better for the American people.

The truth is that this entire budget-deficit-sequestration turmoil has nothing to do with the budget, the deficit or sequestration. This turmoil is simply the battleground that a cadre of domestic terrorists has chosen in order to promote their vision of dismantling government leaving corporate, financial and industrial interests as the only true sources of power in this country.

The truth is that the greatest enemies of this country are not in Afghanistan, Yemen or Iran. The greatest enemies of this country are in Washington and they go by the name of Teapublican terrorists.