Point of View Columns

Impeach Donald Trump – Or – Be Careful What You Ask For

These days it seems that President Trump is close to being permanently adhered to the tar baby called Russia/Collusion/Obstruction of Justice. If a tenth of the allegations that have been leveled against Donald Tinyhands and his henchmen and henchwomen had been cast against the Obama Administration, President Obama would have become an ex-president in the blink of an eye. And yet, Donald Trump appears to be on a bizarre trajectory that will lead to his appearance on the presidential inaugural platform on January 20, 2020.

One need not be a supporter of President Trump to realize that the giant bicameral lapdog that is the Republican Congress would sooner bathe with piranhas than lead any attempt to impeach him. There is already enough stench, stain and suspicion attached to the Trump presidency that there would seem to be no shortage of realists who see that Trump permanently damaging the United States of America is not a good thing. But there will be few martyrs to the cause of justice to be found in the Teapublican cloak room in Congress.

So it would seem that we are to be witness to Donald Tinyhands lurching from one crisis to another, gratuitously insulting over half the planet with his every word and deed. But it is possible to conjure up a scenario where Donald Trump leaves the White House before he has completed his term as the self-styled Disrupter in Chief.

Perhaps President Trump will grow tired of being body slammed in the public arena by the likes of the James Comey – Robert Mueller tag team and simply quit. Perhaps Jared Kutsher will testify against Ivanka and Donald Trump precipitating a must see t.v. family feud. Or perhaps Mike Flynn will be offered a plea deal and send Kelly Ann Conway and Sean Spicer to jail, setting off a chain reaction of betrayals that results in Donald Tinyhands returning to his eponymous tower.

None of these scenarios are even remotely plausible but they are the main feature in the fevered dreams of the American Resistance that foresees the downfall of the Trump presidency. And while there would be some visceral pleasure enjoyed by the witnesses to the downfall of Donald Trump, it would be wise to heed the old adage about watching what you wish for.

Because as bad a Donald Trump has been, Vice President Mike Pence is worse. Even the greatest admirers and sycophants surrounding President Trump will admit that he lacks the discipline to maintain proper focus. Mike Pence has that discipline and that focus.

A former radio talk show host, Vice President Pence believes in the agenda that calls for the dismantling of the federal government, the shredding of the social safety net and a return to that mythical time when men were men and women behaved themselves without complaint. As a Congressman, he led the Tea Party-inspired Freedom Caucus which sees “no” as the only viable political action.

Mike Pence would never degrade women with his words like Donald Trump, but he would not hesitate to degrade Planned Parenthood and substitute his judgment for that of a woman when it comes to matters involving her body. Mike Pence would not spend his time tweeting, he would be focused day and night to dismantle anything in the federal government that he could not simply eliminate. Civil rights, LGBTQI rights and women’s rights would become a relic, found only in the most discrete hiding places.

With his passing knowledge of the judiciary, Mike Spence looks like Oliver Wendell Holmes in comparison to Donald Tinyhands. And President Pence would make the Supreme Court a permanent jurisprudential bastion for the right wing of the right wing rather than shoving the Prime Minister of Montenegro out the way and picking fights with the press.

In many ways, as bad as President Trump has been, his successor could be so much worse. So when it comes to impeaching President Trump it might be good to remember to be careful what you ask for.

Point of View Columns

100 Days of Trump – or – 1362 Days to Go

The designation of the first hundred days of an American presidency as being of singular importance began with the inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. Since then, the first one hundred days have been seen as a window on the extent to which the new president is on a path to success, mediocrity or failure. Using that basic set of demarcations, it is time to seriously take stock of the Trump administration to date.

One thing that any president has needed to do is to staff an administration. Aside from the Reagan cabinet in 1981, President Trump is presiding over the largest congregation of white men as senior cabinet officials in almost four decades. But aside from giving the cabinet a retro-ivory glow, he has not done much.

Consider that, after one hundred days Barack Obama had appointed 69 officials, George W. Bush had brought 35 people on board, Bill Clinton had appointed 49 men and women and George Herbert Walker Bush had appointed 50. As this is being read, President Trump has appointed on 26, outdueling George W. Bush in a race to the bottom of the presidential mediocre barrel.

It should be clear that there are 1028 positions requiring Presidential appointment and Donald Trump has only nominated 37 individuals for those positions. Indeed, President Trump has publicly stated he may not fill many of these vacancies because he does not see the need to have that many people staffing the government of a country with a multitrillion dollar economy and interests literally all over the planet.

In actuality it may be that Donald Trump simply does not want to go through the trouble of actually working like a real executive instead of a reality-show imposter and that it is easier to just keep kicking the can down the road. After all, he has freely admitted that he thought that the job of President of the United States was “easy” and amazingly, it has turned out to be harder than he thought.

Whatever the case, the desultory approach to executive staffing by the Trump Administration may turn out to be the first halting baby steps down the road of inevitable mediocrity (see George W. Bush) or epic and historic failure (see Warren G. Harding). And of course, the true tragedy would be the demolition of the hopes and dreams of the American people, hopes and dreams that he has pretended to cherish, not realizing that even his most ardent supporters want something more than a speech and a slogan.

The First Hundred Days of Trump has given the nation a collective case of whiplash as the Administration has lurched from one firestorm – failed immigration reform measure – to another maelstrom – picking petty fights with the leaders of Australia, Mexico and Germany for starters.

And all the while the sickly sweet stench of Trump-Russian involvement never leaves the room – and continues to linger as a ticking time bomb for President Trump. He may just find out that there is a limit to how far his lies may take him.

The blatant hypocrisy of the Teapublicans in Congress has also been revealed for all to see. There has to be universal agreement that if President Hillary Clinton had appointed Chelsea Clinton to do anything in an official governmental role, the Teapublican hounds would be baying for immediate impeachment.

But when President Trump appoint his oldest daughter Ivanka Trump to be some kind of aide without portfolio, representing the United States around the world while her personal brand of clothing and accessories gets a billion dollars’ worth of exposure, those same Teapublican hounds are as quiet as the lap dogs that you see carried around in the designer purses of celebrity models and movie stars.

What is clear and certainly more important than the Marxist (as in Marx Brothers) antics of the Trump administration, is the clear intent of this president to try to erase every bit of evidence that Barack Obama was President of the United States.

Most presidents during their first one hundred days have sought to establish their own vision for the country and then have tried to transform that vision into reality. Donald Trump has spent the most time issuing a raft of executive orders designed to erase the Obama legacy in areas ranging from protection of the environment to the rights of women.

Interestingly, what President Trump will learn over time is that Barack Obama’s place in history is engraved in the granite of time. And at some point he might try to focus on coming up with a coherent vision for this country that would actually make things better in this country for someone other than himself.

Point of View Columns

Canadian Sunrise – The Saga of Ted Cruz

Much has been written about the immutable Law of Unintended Consequences. Prodigious effort can result in unexpected results, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. As the 2016 campaign season goes into full swing it is clear that a leading Teapublican prince and heir apparent to the Crown of Reagan, is being caught up in birther blight, a political tar baby that the right wing of the right wing used in a vain attempt to discredit Barack Obama. But look who is getting discredited now.

When trying to understanding Teapublican strategies it is useful to check your logic and common sense at the door. Once down their rabbit hole, it is easier to understand how otherwise intelligent men and women seriously believed that if the issue of his birthplace and citizenship could be incessantly challenged in an off the wall fact free fashion, Barack Obama could be driven from office.

The inevitable outcome of this farcical impossible dream never was a problem for Teapublicans. After all, over 40% of them still believe that President Obama is a Muslim and over 25% are certain that he is the anti-Christ. The politics of character demolition have become an art form of the right wing of the right wing.

The problem for Teapublicans is that once these bizarre tactics are put into play they can be used by anybody against anybody. And so, the Grand Birther of All Time, the serially discredited Donald Trump is now playing the birther card against the Teapublican golden boy, Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz managed to get elected as Texas State Attorney General and United States Senator in the state of Texas without the bona fides of his citizenship ever being called into question. Presumably it was not too hard to find out that Senator Cruz was born in Canada and that while his father was not a U.S. citizen, his mother (who was born in Delaware) certainly was a “natural born citizen”.

But now, residents of the right wing of the right wing who delighted in the almost daily citizenship hoots and birther catcalls directed against Barack Obama find themselves on the receiving end of these salvos, courtesy of the one and only Donald Trump. Supporters of President Obama probably have to restrain themselves from savoring the irony of a Teapublican candidate trying to prove that he is indeed a citizen and eligible to be President of the United States even though he was born in Canada – because his mother was a natural born American citizen.

The irony is all the more delicious since the birther narrative directed against President Obama did not call into question the citizenship of his mother (who was a natural born citizen and a native of Kansas). Instead the attack was based upon the contention that he wasn’t born in Hawaii but instead was born in Kenya, Indonesia or Mars.

But following the Cruz Birther Defense, where Barack Obama was born should never have been an issue as long as his mother, Ann Dunham Obama was born in Kansas. But, of course, neither Ted Cruz nor any of his defender/supporters ever raised this defense of President Obama and true to form, Donald Trump never even thought about Mrs. Obama being a “natural born citizen”.

So now we are witness to more confusion and controversy on the right wing of the right wing, much of it instigated by Donald Trump. Donald Trump’s goal has always been to distract and confuse his opposition while he sucks the media oxygen out of the Teapublican room. His rivals are left gasping for attention while the serious issues of the day are reduced to slogans, mottos, logos and catch phrases, without a serious policy or plan in sight.

Ted Cruz has said that he never had a Canadian passport. However, after he gets fully Trumped by Trump he may want to retreat north of the border to watch a few Canadian sunsets. His U.S. passport should still be valid when he returns, even if he never manages to become President of the United States.

Point of View Columns

Fast Backward

When Barack Obama was inaugurated as the first American president of African descent in the history of the United States, many observers proclaimed the beginning of something called a “post-racial America”. By now, in the midst of seven years of Teapublican dog whistle symphonies that have aroused the most malignant racist demons of this country, very few are making that claim. However, in 2009 few would have thought that an Obama presidency would mark a regression in racial attitudes in White America. But that is exactly what has happened.

A facile explanation of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s racist screed in the recent Fisher case would be that he was just channeling his inner Angry White Man. But Justice Scalia simply said what too many people actually think – black people are inherently inferior to white people.

In that regard Justice Scalia was consistent with his ideological ancestors on the Supreme Court who ruled in the infamous Dred Scott decision in 1857 that “a black man has no rights which a white man need respect”. The majority opinion in spectacular and outrageous judicial endorsement of white supremacy was written by Scalia’s fellow Harvard Law School alumnus, Roger B. Taney.

And Scalia’s opinion was also fully consistent with the Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court decision in 1896 which upheld the constitutionality of state laws mandates racial separation in all public facilities. This endorsement of Jim Crow institutionalized and guaranteed the suffering and degradation of black Americans deep into the 20th century.

And now, in the second decade of the 21st century, we are forced to witness the regurgitation of debunked and abandoned concepts of white supremacy and black inferiority by no less than a Supreme Court Justice of the United States of America. By using the selective argument that less prepared black students underperform at predominantly white universities and colleges, he conveniently neglects to note that this is also true for less prepared white students and the affirmative action process has also enabled absolutely prepared black students to evenly compete at these institutions.

A bit of history is useful here. The National Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students – NSSFNS – was founded in 1955 in an effort to provide admissions opportunity for qualified black students who were traditionally barred from most predominantly white colleges and universities in America. There are exceptions that can be cited prove the rule, but there are too many pathetic examples of one or two black students in classes of 1000+ white students in the 1950’s and 1960’s to avoid the unfortunate conclusion that there was an unspoken policy in American higher education that black Americans simply would not be admitted regardless of their qualifications.

By 1970 NSSFNS had identified thousands of young black men and women who were qualified to compete with young white men and women at colleges and universities throughout the country, including the vaunted Ivy League schools, those last bastions of presumed white intellectual superiority. The results provided evidence that intellectual superiority was never a matter of racial capabilities. And the sky did not fall. The laws of gravity were not repealed.

The only slightly recognized efforts of NSSFNS that provided the opportunity for change  as well as the basis for further initiatives that opened college doors that had been welded shut when black Americans applied. These initiatives included affirmative action programs that recognized the subjectivity of college admissions and the importance of diversity on the college campus.

The reality is the rationale for affirmative action programs is no different than the justification for admitting veterans, star athletes or sons and daughters of alumni. However, to the extent that affirmative action programs provided opportunities for black Americans, there has been and continues to be simmering outrage in the national white community. And Justice Scalia gave voice to that outrageous outrage while sitting on the bench of the highest court in the land.

It is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, that vile and hateful words are cloaked in the black robes of a Supreme Court justice. It is also clear that the tools of racism and injustice will not be easily pried from the grip of those who stand in the way of justice.

Point of View Columns

The United States of Gun – Part II

It is said that history repeats itself. It is an overused phrase that sadly applies to these United States and its love-death relationship with guns. The following words were written exactly two years ago in September 2013:

“The Teapublicans and the right wing of the right wing are adamant in their defense of what they contend is their constitutional right to own an unlimited number of guns. And on the Planet Teapublican that right even extends to what are in essence hand held weapons of mass destruction.

Even the most common sense proposed limitations, such as background checks for mental illness and criminal records are met with outrage and implacable opposition. The fact that gun massacres with multiple deaths upon multiple casualties have become a part of the American way of life is met with a call for more guns in the hands of more Americans.

What is peculiar about this adamant and absolute Teapublican defense of the right to bear arms is that it does not extend to the right to vote. The same right wing avatars that are incapable of compromising on any limits, controls or oversight regarding the right to possess firearms have no problem with the multiple barriers to voting that are being erected across this country. In fact, the same Teapublican legislatures that trample even modest gun control proposals into dusty fragments are the same legislatures that are passing voter suppression laws the likes of which have not been seen since the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

In North Carolina, for example, new voter suppression laws have been passed with the express purpose of making it more difficult for minorities, the elderly and the young to vote. The fact that representatives of these demographics are not part of the Teapublican base of support is not coincidental.

And so, we are now witness to the irony that it is easier for a black man in North Carolina to own a gun than it is for him to vote. Somehow the predominantly white Teapublicans in North Carolina and elsewhere fear black people who vote more than they fear black people who own guns.

The naked illogic of this situation should be obvious as the exercise of the right to vote is far more important to the preservation of democracy and democratic institutions than individual gun ownership. Unless you believe that there are federal black helicopters about to lift off and come and take you away, voting presents a far more effective and rational way to establish and promote policies.

Say what you will about the Teapublicans, but they have managed to turn selective hypocrisy into an art form. Somehow, in this house of malevolent mirrors, the right to bear arms is an absolute right that should not be subject to any limitation whatsoever.

However, even though the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that a woman has a constitutional right to choose an abortion, the Teapublicans in many states have taken so many steps to limit that right to choose that this right is rendered virtually meaningless.

While the right to own guns, rifles, shotguns and assault weapons is inviolate on the Planet Teapublican – the right to vote of minorities, the elderly and anyone who is not a reliable supporter of the Teapublican Commandments can be modified and limited to make their right to vote virtually meaningless.

Indeed, to an observer from another country, it would seem that the only right that is absolute in the Teapublican Constitution is the right to own a gun. And it may be only a matter of time before this country is properly renamed ‘The United States of Gun’.”

As we prepare to watch another set of somber official mourners march to the gravesides in Oregon this time, we know for certainty that this will not be the last time that mass murder stains the pages of another day in this country’s history.

We can only hope against hope that, amidst the gunfire and the relentless hail of bullets, at some point sanity and self-preservation will inform the national discourse on the subject of guns.

Clearly we have yet to reach that point. And while we wait the body count continues to rise.

Point of View Columns

Be the Light Not the Darkness

It is a certainty that Barack Obama did not run for president so that he could be the first one to cut the food stamps program, a program whose recipients are mainly mothers, children and the elderly. It is also a certainty that his supporters never envisioned him presiding over a federal government that often seems to only care about shredding, carving and eviscerating America’s social safety net. To counter this Season of Mean, President Obama has stated that he will take executive action wherever possible to stem this terrible tide and it is time for us to do the same.

The SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), also known as the food stamp program, was devised to assist people who were on the wrong side of the poverty line. That there should be anyone in danger of starving in the wealthiest nation in the history of the planet is a disgrace. That the United States Congress could be bullied and browbeaten by Teapublican domestic terrorists and thugs wearing the gossamer disguise of fiscal conservatism is also a disgrace. But somehow, reducing the food stamp program by $8 billion over the next ten years seems better than reducing it by $40 billion over the same period of time – once more proving that the Teapublican terrorist tactics seem to be working.

The federal unemployment insurance program for the long term unemployed has literally helped people keep their homes, their hopes and their dignity. Once again the Teapublican thugs and domestic terrorists have seen fit to dismiss the very real human misery that they have caused. And in an obscene demonstration of Orwellian illogic they have claimed that unemployment insurance actually prevents people from seeking employment.

In the face of this windstorm of misery President Obama announced that he will be utilizing executive orders wherever and whenever possible to offset the domestic terrorism emanating from the right wing of the right wing. But it is a certainty that President Obama recognizes that this will not be enough.

And that is why it is important that the supporters of a progressive vision in this country expand the battlefield from the political charnel house that is the Congress to every state, city, community and neighborhood. That is why it is important that every person who believes that compassion is a virtue and that humanity is not a sign of weakness take it upon themselves to bring light where others would impose darkness.

It will remain important to change the political dynamic in Washington and in state houses and cities across the country. But the systemic change brought about by the right wing of the right wing took decades of dedicated and consistent effort. Countering that change will not take place overnight or by magical incantations.

But while that change is being confronted, countered and reversed there are children who are hungry, families that are homeless and men, women and children who are hopeless. And it is not enough to identify the Teapublicans who are their tormentors. It is time to be the light.

There are countless ways to bring gentle into the public dialogue. There are an infinite number of ways that we can demonstrate kindness – hiring an extra worker, volunteering at a school, giving food to a pantry or friendship to someone who believes that they are friendless.

What is most important is that those who truly believe in a progressive vision take the time to be the light. And in this time when the forces of darkness are real and strong, it has never been more important to be the light.

Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – November 30, 2012

Tomorrow is the first day of the last month of the year and what a year it has been! In the “fiscal cliff” negotiations President Obama served notice to the Teapublicans that he really did win on November 6th. We also have to wonder what was on the menu for that private White House lunch featuring President Obama and Mitt Romney as the only diners. And finally the Teapublicans seem obsessed with destroying Susan Rice – and it seems that now the really dirty work has started.

President Obama Puts the Man in Mandate

Earlier this week President Obama made a move that will only serve to make the denizens of Angrywhitemenistan crazier than they already are. He sent Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to Capitol Hill to meet with the Teapublican leadership to inform them of the Obama Administration’s “fiscal cliff proposal”

Some of the key elements – a $1.6 trillion tax increase which encompasses a rise in tax rates for every wealthy American, a five year multibillion dollar stimulus package that will focus on the infrastructure and job development and an end to the annual carnival of the Teapublican Congress tying up America by threatening not to raise the national debt ceiling.

There is a lot more in the Obama proposal and what is clear is that as an opening gambit the president is playing offense and drawing a line in the sand that is a lot closer to the hopes and aspirations of most Americans.

Needless to say John Boehner’s spray tan could not hide the sick pallor that surfaced on his face when he realized that President Obama realizes that he is the man with the mandate.

Dining with Mitt

During his victory speech on November 6th, President Obama promised to meet with the defeated Mitt Romney in the near future. Being a man of his word Mr. Romney was the only guest at a private White House luncheon with President Obama.

One can only wonder what was on the menu. A platter of sour grapes and baked filet of crow seems about right. Perhaps there was some alphabet vegetable soup so that Mr. Romney could just eat his own words and finish by swallowing his pride..

It is also possible that President Obama gave Mitt Romney a doggie bag so that his do would have something to eat while riding on the roof of the car on the way home.

The Passion of Susan Rice – cont’d

There is virtually no way that the Teapublicans can maintain their slippery grip on reality unless and until they decide that trying to destroy the career and reputation of Ambassador Susan Rice is a fool’s errand. But too date there are more fools lining up, including Maine Senator Susan Collins.

Senator Collins has now joined the Let’s Lynch Rice Mob by claiming that she could “never” support Ambassador Rice for the position of Secretary of State because she appeared on Sunday morning news shows. And, in a display of cunning and a revelation of possible motives, Senator Collins stated that she would be able to support Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State.

That slick dagger throw then opened up another spigot of stupidity as progressive commentators started to play right into the Teapublican hands by assuming that Ambassador Rice’s yet to be announced nomination for Secretary of State could be stopped by the Teapublicans. And that’s we started to hear the names of John Kerry and Al Gore as possible alternatives to succeed Hillary Clinton.

This is so shameful on so many counts – Ambassador Rice is a highly qualified and globally respected foreign policy professional who would be an immediate asset as Secretary of State. For any Democrats or progressives to kowtow to the Teapublicans and starting suggesting alternative candidates at State would only encourage right wing bloodlust.

Her most vocal Teapublican opponents supported the nomination of Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State even after it was known that she had fumbled her 9/11 intelligence role, had lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and misled the American people regarding the non-existent connection between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda. Hypocritical is the mildest world to describe their position.

We can only encourage Ambassador Rice to stay strong and hope that President Obama will continue to support and defend her —- and nominate her to succeed Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

Have a great weekend!

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!

Point of View Columns

Are Women Missing in Action?

It is time to stop thinking that the spectacle of the Teapublican Party lurching ever farther to the right is a momentary phase that will soon be corrected by more moderate factions within that party and within this country. And while the cold blue flame of hatred for the very existence of Barack Obama in the White House may have fueled the initial conflagration, the fire has spread through a forest of policy issues, incinerating everything in sight. For an example we need look no further than the undeclared war on women that is now in full view.

During the past year we have witnessed the right wing of the right wing make the eradication of Planned Parenthood an article of faith during the Teapublican presidential campaign. That would be the same Planned Parenthood that provides millions of women with affordable health care that would otherwise simply not receive. While less than 5% of Planned Parenthood’s services have anything to do with the termination of pregnancies, the holy warriors of the right are demanding the death of this provider of vital services for women and girls – without any thought of accommodation or compromise.

Numerous local and state legislatures have engaged in the hideous charade of protecting the rights of the accused while redefining and restructuring the definition of rape. The results of this gerrymandering of the borders of sexual conduct will only make it more difficult for female victims of sexual abuse and rape to obtain justice. And the clear result (and the intent of the proponents of these changes) is that even more women will remain in the silent shadows of shame and fear knowing that Teapublican justice for women in just a hologram and not really there.

We have seen Saint Santorum and his fake apostles rail against contraception because it enables people to “engage in sexual behavior that they shouldn’t be doing”. It would be bad enough if this latter day Savonarola was content with controlling the sex lives of men and women. What is clear from his comments and those of his believers is that women should accept pregnancy that is the result of rape as a “gift from God” and that abolishing contraception will return women to their rightful childbearing, obedient and disenfranchised status.

As you are reading this the Teapublican majority in the United State House of Representatives blocked the attempt to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. This Act has been deemed responsible for reducing domestic violence rates by 58% since it was initially passed (with almost unanimous bipartisan support) in 1994 (how times have changed). That there could be any political philosophy that argues against preventing rape and violence against women is obscene. That the sewage-filled mainstream of American politics can seriously discuss denying health care to women and referring to pregnancies that are the result of rape as “gifts from God” is blasphemous and monstrous.

There is one thing missing from this sad and dismal landscape. Where are the female warriors who are leading the hand to hand battle to wrest the self-righteous standard from the clutches of the self-appointed wardens of women?

Where is the Queen Boudicca or Golda Meir or Harriet Tubman or Benazir Bhutto?
It is difficult for me to imagine Margaret Thatcher or Carrie Nation or Mary McLeod Bethune standing by in muted protest while the rights of women were being sacked and pillaged in broad daylight. Perhaps the successful struggles for the rights of women have left the movement tired and satisfied. Perhaps there has been a feeling that rights, once obtained, could never be taken back.

Frederick Douglass correctly stated that power concedes nothing without demand. The companion thought is that rights are never retained without power. And certainly, the history of humanity shows that the rights of women have never been freely accepted or granted. And so, the Teapublican assault on women should not have been a surprise.

Nevertheless, the “muted protest” of women is puzzling in the extreme. The Teapublican agenda regarding women is clear in its steel-toed strategy, kicking women back into line and into the 19th century. Misogynist and sexist thoughts that could not be openly spoken in the public arena a few years ago are now part of the public policy debate.

On this Planet Earth nothing is promised, nothing is guaranteed and nothing is forever. Women and men who believe that the rights of women are firmly embedded in the rights of all humanity need to wake up as the Teapublican fires threaten to burn down the forest of rights that it has taken so long to establish and preserve.

Remember November 6th!