REALITY IS THE STATE OF THINGS AS THEY ACTUALLY EXIST
Recommended Readings for those who seek the truth
*AFRICAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO AMERICAN CULTUREJoseph E. Holloway Ph.D (CLICK)
*white rage" by carol anderson, phd.
*"all the real indians died off" and 20 other myths about native americans by roxanne dunbar-oritiz and dina gilio-whitaker
*they came before columbus the african presence in ancient america by ivan van sertima
*where we invade next(movie) by michael moore
*American Slave Coast - History of the slave-breeding industry by Ned and Constance Sublette
*Ebony and Ivy - Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America's Universities by Craig Steven Wilder
* A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn
*Complicity: How the North Promoted, Prolonged, and Profited from Slavery by Anne Farrow
*America's Original Sin by Jim Wallis
*The Counter Revolution of 1776 by Gerald Horne
*The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kusnick
*White Trash - the 400-year untold history of class in america by nancy isenberg
"INVERTED TOTALITARIANISM." BY SHELDON WOLIN
Thus the elements are in place: a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one part, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers. That scheme is abetted by a sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media; by the integration of universities with their corporate benefactors; by a propaganda machine institutionalized in well-funded think tanks and conservative foundations; by the increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens, and domestic dissidents.
QUESTIONS FROM THE HOOD
have you ever questioned..... ?
*How many lies does ag sessions have to tell before he is forced to resign?
*how many racists are in the house of representatives, how many republicans are there?
*if your history is a lie, what does that say about your integrity?
*how can you own land that was stolen in the first place?
*is there something in trump voters' water that makes them so stupid?
*america is now the laughing stock of the world, does that concern any trump voters?
*doesn't trump realize that all criminals are eventually caught?
*is Melania Trump the first former call girl to be first lady?
*how stupid do you have to be to allow guns in airports? ask the florida legislature.
*how does trump claim to be a supporter of israel while all his advisors are anti-semites?
*what is the difference between using religion to dodge reality or drugs?
*do you know anyone dumber than white voters in america?
*what would be the impact if oil was used only for making gasoline and renewables for electricity only?
*how do you rationalize voting for obama in 2008, 2012, and trump in 2016?
*if you have seen Michael moore's movie "where we invade next", what do you think of america now?
*if you vote for a racist, what does that make you?
*how stupid are to you vote for the re-election of a gop senator?
if we never allowed greedy oil companies to steal others oil, would we have a war on terror?
is being a terrorist the only way not to be killed if you are black?
if you live in an urban city and don't vote, why do you wonder about your lack of equality?
Why are people denied the right to vote in a democracy?
if stupid people are elected to office, what does that say about those who voted for them?
if a racist apologizes for his actions, does that mean he is no longer a racist? Can you think of anyone dumber than a Republican when it comes to governing?
Can you name a corporation in america that pays its fair share of taxes and doesn't rob its customers?
Are there any billionaires who got rich without slave labor?
Which states have the dumbest Voters: kansas, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, or all the South?
Have you ever heard a racist admit to being a racist?
This is some bitter truth
"When white people are hurting economically we’re supposed to feel their pain and “bring the jobs back” to their dying rural towns. But when people of color lack jobs in the cities (in large part because of the decline of manufacturing over 40 plus years, as well as discrimination) we tell them to “move,” to go to school and gain new skills, and we lecture them on pulling themselves up by their bootstraps because the government doesn’t owe them anything. But apparently we DO owe white coal miners and assembly line workers their jobs back because remember, out of work white men are “salt of the earth” while out of work people of color are lazy."
- Tim Wise
THE RUDE PUNDIT
PROUDLY LOWERING THE LEVEL OF POLITICAL DISCOURSE
Fuck You, John McCain
I know there are people who are more responsible than Arizona Senator John McCain for the passage of the motion to proceed to dismantle health care coverage for millions of Americans and give a big ass tax cut to the wealthiest in the country. I know that there is still a long, long way to go before any actual legislation that does all that passes, although it really just seems like a fait accompli at this point. And I know, I know, Christ, fuck, I know that in some cosmic sense it's wrong to attack someone who has an aggressive form of brain cancer and just had a blood clot removed from behind his eyeball, that such suffering ought to be given respect. But fuck all that.
Fuck you, John McCain, you petulant, pissant son of a bitch. Fuck you, fuck your legacy, fuck your pain, fuck your recovery, fuck your family, and fuck, fuck, fuck you. And I feel free to say that because, with his vote today to allow debate on some bullshit new health care plan, he said, "Fuck you" to hundreds of thousands of his state's constituents who will lose Medicaid coverage or be priced out of insurance or be pushed into some worthless policy.
The saddest response to McCain's announcement yesterday that he was returning early to Washington to vote on the motion-to-proceed was the hope that the mythical maverick McCain would show up and, likely having no more elections to run, would do the right thing by voting "No." That McCain never existed, and, except for issues like torture, he has been as loyal a Republican as any flea on the hairs on Mitch McConnell's waxy balls. Of course he was coming back to dick people over. It's what he does. He's a motherfucker, like every other Republican motherfucker. Motherfuckers fuck mothers. How many times do I have to say this? They fuck mothers. It's right there in the word. If they get a chance to fuck a mother, they will fuck that mother because they are motherfuckers. And the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is like a sticky blood orgy of motherfuckery. By the time the process is over, Republicans will fuck every hole and carve some new ones to fuck.
Not only did McCain vote, but then he saw fit to stand there and give a sanctimonious goddamned speech decrying how the Senate has become "more partisan, more tribal." He called for a return to some kind of era of comity, and he blamed both parties for what he sees as a breakdown in "regular order" in the Senate and the ability to work together. And all over the media, people acted like fuckin' Lancelot had just come riding in to save the day when it was really just a filthy one-eyed poodle with a chip on its shoulder and ankles to bite.
Let's contextualize: "Regular order" was stabbed to death by Republicans during the Obama presidency when the Senate GOP decided that every bill would be filibustered when they were in the minority and any idea of the President's would be blocked when they got the majority. John McCain barely squeaked a single fart of protest out from between his saggy ass cheeks. In fact, again, except for torture (sometimes), he went along every single fucked up time that Republicans threw themselves in the way of legislation passed by the House. And then he blew shit up like a common terrorist when Republicans got the Senate back. "Regular order," motherfucker? Suck a pig dick.
Shit, in his little vomit of a speech today, he smirked when he criticized Democrats for not engaging Republicans on the Affordable Care Act: "The Obama administration and congressional Democrats shouldn’t have forced through Congress without any opposition support a social and economic change as massive as Obamacare." Bitch, there were ten months of hearings and 160 Republican amendments got into the bill. So make a dildo out of your complaint about regular order and shove it up your worn out sphincter.
And let's contextualize further: What McCain voted for today was a phantom bill. It was a sham to get something out there so that the amendment process could start on the House bill. It was as far from regular order as having monkeys fuck on the floor of the Senate, although that's a fair analogy for what actually occurred.
The final fucking insult from McCain today was that he once again pretended like he might be a maverick. He said, "Why don’t we try the old way of legislating in the Senate, the way our rules and customs encourage us to act. If this process ends in failure, which seem likely, then let’s return to regular order." If you think that McCain will do anything noble, if you think he will put country over party or compassion over ideology, then you have no idea who John McCain really is: a shitty human being who tricked everyone into thinking he was better than that, a false idol, and a sad, miserable fool who deserves to be pissed on by everyone he passes. He had a chance to be a hero to the vast majority of Americans today, but he didn't care. Not even after receiving the government-paid health care he has gotten his entire life. And he gives a win to Donald Trump, who mocked McCain being a POW during the Vietnam War.
Besides, he gave us Sarah Palin, whose stupidity, vapidity, and cruelty arguably paved over the gravel road and made the ride easier for Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is responsible for his own behavior but his presidency is the fault of the American people
Redemption for this country, for both revanchists and those who chose not to see clearly, lies in resisting Trump
CHAUNCEY DEVEGA - TUESDAY, JUL 25, 2017 02:00 AM PDT
From Salon: In many ways, the presidency of Donald Trump is not new. Shakespeare perfectly understood leaders such as Mr. Trump and described a man of such ilk as:
A mountain of evidence shows that his presidential campaign was aided and abetted by a hostile foreign power who wanted to undermine the country’s electoral system with the goal of installing a leader who they could manipulate in the service of their interests.
Mr. Trump, both during the 2016 presidential campaign and his short time in office, has repeatedly shown a deep disdain for the principles of American democracy such as freedom of the press and the rule of law. Mr. Trump has repeatedly violated centuries of tradition regarding how the American military is to be kept out of domestic politics.
Ultimately, Mr. Trump may possess the coercive power which comes with the presidency, but he lacks both moral authority and respect from the American people (and the world). Mr. Donald Trump is a 71-year-old man.
Despite what his enablers and defenders have argued, Mr. Trump is wholly responsible for his behavior. However, Donald Trump’s calamitous presidency is the fault of the American people.
If the country is to ever be healed, this basic fact must be confronted and resolved.
Tens of millions of white Republican and right-leaning independents voted to put Donald Trump in the White House.
Republican leaders circled the wagons and supported his presidential nomination. They continue to protect Mr. Trump from accountability for his many scandals — and of course traitorous behavior with Russia — after he won the White House.
The Democratic Party’s leaders and consultants who misallocated resources underestimated the threat posed by Mr. Trump and his followers, did not sufficiently mobilize key parts of their base and failed to develop an effective branding and marketing campaign for Hillary Clinton, which allowed Mr. Trump to slip into the White House.
The tens of millions of Americans who stayed home on Election Day and chose to not vote against Donald Trump made this national calamity possible.
Third party as well as Bernie Sanders’ voters who did not rally behind Hillary Clinton helped to elect Mr. Trump.
Is redemption possible?
The Republican Party is a revanchist and destructive force in American society. Mr. Trump is not an aberration or outlier for today’s version of conservatism; he is all of its worst aspects magnified and made fully and nakedly grotesque. The Republican Party in its present form cannot be salvaged as a force for the common good and American democracy.
Republican voters, generally, and Trump’s supporters, specifically, have made a political blood pact with Donald Trump. He is their hero and avatar. His despicable values are their values. Until they actively reject Donald Trump and the Republican Party, these voters cannot be redeemed.
The Democratic Party made many errors in their campaign against Mr. Trump and the Republican Party. To find redemption, the Democratic Party’s leaders must reject the cowardly urge to chase the Republican Party further rightward in order to find “consensus.” They must also accept that weak slogans and childish principles such as “when they go low, we go high” will only lead to further defeat by the Republican Party and its candidates. Most importantly, redemption is possible only when the Democratic Party realizes that victory will come by embracing truly progressive policies, mobilizing their base, improving their messaging and communication style, and not partaking in the fool’s gambit that is chasing down “white working class” voters. And what of those Americans who stayed home, supported third party candidates, or otherwise did not vote against Donald Trump and for Hillary Clinton? Redemption is possible. They can find it by participating in the corporeal politics of protests, marches and strikes. These Americans can also find redemption through voting in support of Democratic and other liberal-progressive candidates as well as working in their neighborhoods and communities to effect positive social and political change. Ultimately, redemption comes through resisting Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s agenda at every opportunity — be it through calling representatives, attending town halls and voting with your pocketbooks and wallets against those businesses and media outlets that support Donald Trump and his family financially.
Politics has few saints and of course many more sinners. But politics remains a space for people to make choices about the good life, justice and the type of country and world they would like to live in. Personal accountability and self-reflection are part of this struggle. Six months into Mr. Trump’s presidency, the American people need to look in the mirror and ask themselves, are they part of the solution? Or are they part of the problem? The United States will succeed or fail based on their answer. Whatever then happens, the fault truly is in our hearts and not in the stars.
If Hell Had a Budget: The GOP Breaks the Ten Commandments
by Richard Eskow | July 25, 2017 - 7:16am
From The Smirking Chimp: A heat wave gripped Washington D.C. last week, its bright sun delineating each building’s sharp corners with Edward Hopper-like clarity. Commuters waited listlessly for trains and buses, fixed in their moments of misery like flies in amber. If the city seemed like Hell, the resemblance was only heightened by the shadowy figures passing by in black chauffeured vehicles, their faces hidden by smoked glass as they glided through the city in air-conditioned comfort.
Some of those vehicles carried the Republican Congressional leaders who were finalizing the House GOP’s 2018 budget, which the House Budget Committee sent to the floor last Wednesday. If hell had a fiscal policy, it would look a lot like that document.
This budget is a wish list for millionaires, billionaires, and corporate special interests. It also breaks most of the Ten Commandments, which is more than a little ironic for the GOP, a party that prides itself on its Christian piety.
This budget is designed to serve the unbridled greed of the ultra-wealthy, offering them even more tax cuts and inflicting suffering on the least of us to do it. They were apparently “coveting” the money that pays for kids’ breakfasts and other meals, since that’s one of the programs that will be cut in order to give billionaires their million-dollar tax cuts.
“Thou shalt not kill”? People will die if this budget is enacted. Medicare significantly reduced the elder mortality rate, which will presumably rise again if these cuts are enacted. Additional deaths will result from the budget’s cuts to Medicaid.
For more direct forms of killing, the House GOP budget calls for $929 billion more in military spending — already higher than it was at the peak of the Cold War — while cutting all non-military spending by $1.3 trillion over the same period.
While the budget sometimes punts the details to specific committees, the result for committees like Ways and Means (which supervises aid to needy children) are a foregone conclusion: to find $52 billion in savings, that committee would need to cut vital, even life-saving programs.
False witness? The budget promises that prosperity will come from its “pro-growth policies,” like “deficit reduction, spending restraint, comprehensive tax reform, welfare reform, Obamacare repeal-and-replace legislation, and regulatory reform.” But economic research and experience shows that such cuts, commonly described as “austerity economics,” have the opposite effect.
False gods? Those growth figures show that this budget worships the graven image of a discredited god: the “free market” idol that has failed, over and over, to deliver the prosperity it promise once the innocent were sacrificed in its name. C’mon, guys: Don’t trickle down on our heads and tell us it’s raining.
“Thou shalt not steal”? There’s no other word for a budget that robs people of their livelihood, of food and medical care, just to lavish more money on those who are already fabulously wealthy.
“Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy?” How many working Americans will be able to take a day off on Saturday or Sunday — among those lucky enough to have any job at all — when this budget ensures that they’ll need to work as many hours as they can just to get by? (That is, if they can get by at all.)
As for taking the Lord’s name in vain: Do these guys do anything else? You don’t have to be a believer to recognize the hypocrisy in a party that wraps itself in the mantle of religion and then defies that religion’s core teachings: care for the poor and the sick, honor the elderly, tell the truth, refrain from killing.
Democrats probably won’t challenge the GOP budget on moral grounds. If they don’t, they’ll be making a mistake. Americans appreciate fairness, and kindness, decency, and loving thy neighbor as thyself. They also tend to reject greed, and lying, and brutality. Democrats shouldn’t shy away from moral language — but they probably will.
To be fair, the House Republican budget doesn’t violate every commandment. There’s no lust or adultery in it; maybe they think those sins are an Executive Branch function. But, all in all, this budget seemed strikingly in sync with the hellish weather gripping Washington as it was introduced.
Nonbelievers may see that as a fitting coincidence. Believers may see something quite different in those brutal temperatures: a taste of what lies in store for the people in those big black cars.
THE RUDE PUNDIT
PROUDLY LOWERING THE LEVEL OF POLITICAL DISCOURSE
Another Big Republican Lie on the ACA: They Can Give You Something Better
We know that Republicans have lied nonstop about the Affordable Care Act ever since it was passed into law by a Democratic-led Congress and signed by the Negro President. We know that Republicans are stuck because Obamacare is mostly based on Massachusetts's Romneycare and both come from plans from the conservative Heritage Foundation. We know that Republicans lied and continue to lie about the effects of the AHCA and then the BCRA, the House and Senate versions of their "repeal and replace" bills. But there is one more thing, one more set of lies, that is responsible for sticking a shiv into the GOP's dream of murdering a bunch of poor people so rich people can be richer.
See, Republicans keep trying to put the blame for the fix they're in on American voters. "We have to keep our promises to the American people," Republicans say. "We won the last three elections by promising to repeal and replace Obamacare," they whine like a dog that caught a cat only to realize it was a fucking mountain lion. Yeah, they're right. Voters did put Republicans in power over the promise of getting rid of the Obamacare horror and torture or whatever drama queen word you wanna use. But, and this is important, they only wanted to get rid of it because Republicans said they'd do better. Or, to put it another way, they lied about what they could do for people if the Affordable Care Act was overturned.
Senator after senator told you how you were enslaved by Obamacare and that the GOP would set you free. John McCain proclaimed, "Families in Arizona and across the country should have the power to make their own medical decisions – not Washington bureaucrats. This bill puts patients and doctors back in charge of their health care by fully repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a free-market approach that strengthens the quality and accessibility of care." John Thune promised, "It’s time to repeal this law and replace it with something that works. And that’s precisely what we’re going to do."
Others got even more explicit. For instance, here's Wyoming Senator John Barrasso (campaign slogan: "If you can't trust a man whose name includes the phrase 'bare ass,' who can you trust?"), from a speech he gave on the floor of the Senate in November, shortly after the election: "First of all, nobody is talking about taking people off of insurance without a replacement plan in place." Except that's exactly what they talked about. While Republicans will constantly mention how President Obama said, "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor" (which, to be fair, was an absurd promise), they simply aren't owning that they got voters all excited about this new fantasy health care plan where they wouldn't lose coverage despite repealing the very law that gave them coverage.
In fact, when you get to what President Donald Trump said, Republicans were promising something amazing. Put aside that Trump repeatedly said he wouldn't cut Medicaid and then, immediately after inauguration, put out a plan to cut Medicaid. Trump and his people consistently promised that Americans would have better health insurance coverage, that all Americans would be covered, and that it would cost them less in premiums and deductibles. He literally said this: "You will end up with great health care for a fraction of the price." And he told Americans that we would have a "beautiful picture" in the future of health care.
Republicans like to say that Democrats promise that they'll give people "free stuff" and that people on government programs like Medicaid are "moochers." But Republicans didn't win on the Obamacare issue because people didn't want free stuff. They didn't win because they said they would take away their health insurnace. They won because they promised people more free stuff and better free stuff.
In other words, they lied. But voters believed them. They wanted to mooch more.
And the vast majority of Americans realize now that it was a lie because the Trumpcare plan that the Senate may vote to move forward tomorrow does none of the things they promised other than get rid of the health insurance they have now or make it worse and more expensive. So, of course, now we get articles like "These Americans Hated the Health Law. Until the Idea of Repeal Sank In." In that New York Times piece, Pennsylvania dumb shits who once thought Obamacare was the worst thing since the theory of evolution say things like "I can’t even remember why I opposed it" and "Everybody needs some sort of health insurance." One stupid fuck went from opposing the law to "Now that you’ve insured an additional 20 million people, you can’t just take the insurance away from these people. It’s just not the right thing to do."
But we knew all along that people liked the Affordable Care Act. They liked the elimination of spending caps and of pre-existing conditions determining premiums. They liked keeping their kids on insurance until age 26. And a shit-ton of people got to live because of the Medicaid expansion. Yeah, the ACA was fine. What they hated was Obamacare, which is exactly what Republicans wanted people to think of for a very simple reason:
Most Republican voters don't hate the ACA. They hate that their white asses were saved by a black man.
They resented the shit out of that fact. It put a lie to all the racism they've clung to for generations. The GOP used that racism for years. Now that the black man is gone, though, they're totally fine with the law and its benefits. They gave Republicans a chance to give them more stuff, but they don't want their stuff taken away. Especially when that "stuff" is the right to live a healthy life.
Be careful this week, dear dumb shits and dearer smart asses. Republicans are going to keep coming after the Affordable Care Act, no matter how many shivs you stick in it. Stay on the phones. Keep the pressure up on the few Republican senators who can make the difference. Don't let the liars win. It's life and death, motherfuckers, life and death.
And once we finally put this beast down, let's turn our attention to single payer.
(Fun extra part of Barrasso's speech: "Democrats promised that they would listen to other people’s ideas, and then they went behind a closed door in an office back there, and they wrote the law ignoring all of the suggestions by Republicans, and without any Republican support at all. We’re not going to make that same mistake. We will be looking for Democrats’ help, we will be looking for Democrats to work with. We will be listening to Democrats’ ideas, and we will be working very hard to win Democrat votes for any new law." Insert your own rolling-with-laughter emoji here.)
Trump's Obama Derangement Syndrome isn't really about Obama
By Denise Oliver Velez Sunday Jul 23, 2017 · 6:01 AM PDT
From Daily Kos: Full-blown Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS), seen in the spew and spittle mouthed by the insecure and egomaniacal occupant of the White House, is not simply a Trumpian affliction. We watched Republicans dig in to subvert and block “the black guy” from the moment he took office. Joe Wilson’s “you lie” hurled at President Obama during a joint session of Congress, ditching decades of decorum, was more than a dog whistle: It was a signal to a significant number of Americans that a black man in the “white” house would not be accepted. That’s ironic given that this nation is now headed to hell in a hand basket, led by the most lying liar in our history.
ODS continued to play out during Obama’s presidential years, culminating in the blocking of Merrick Garland as a Supreme Court nominee. No longer in office, President Obama is now Trump’s excuse for whatever ills he and his crime-klan have brought upon themselves.
But frankly, it has less to do with Barack Obama himself (or his wife) than it does with what I’d call “uppity negro-itis." Had any other black person, male or female, been elected to the most powerful position in the world, their fate would have been the same.
Barack Obama is simply the most visible global symbol of black achievement, and from the point of view of those who hold onto white supremacist thinking, all black achievement must be stifled, smashed, trashed, and vilified.
Don’t buy the “economic anxiety” argument you read about daily in newspapers and hear about from pundits and bloggers. That just masks the deep-rooted fear and loathing of all things black that don’t stay where they are supposed to be.
Trump and others in power know very well how to throw red meat to the salivating masses stewing in racial resentment. Sure, they have black people they embrace—“white seal of approval blacks” who know their place, the Clarence Thomases and Ben Carsons. Those black folks who dare to proudly be who they are become instant targets. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch is a recent example of the “blame-a-black” syndrome which is still being played out for all of us to see. --- Charles Blow pointed out the racial aspects of ODS in this op-ed, which wound up trending on Twitter. In it, he stated: In short,our analysis indicates that Donald Trump successfully leveraged existing resentment towards African Americans in combination with emerging fears of increased racial diversity in America to reshape the presidential electorate,strongly attracting nativists towards Trump and pushing some more affluent and highly educated people with more cosmopolitan views to support Hillary Clinton.Racial identity and attitudes have further displaced class as the central battleground of American politics.” --- Some folks who call themselves “left” are not immune. It’s no coincidence that many of the voices most targeted by the ultra-left on Twitter are black, just as racist attacks on President Obama cropped up on some blogs quite frequently. Ultimately they failed, simply because more progressive/liberal whites aren’t threatened by black equality or superiority. That is actually a good thing—and gives me hope for the future.
A cautionary note: Help stop the crap. As we gather our forces to head into the 2018 midterms and to the 2020 elections, pay attention to the “Obama-ing” of up-and-coming prospective Democratic candidates. Case in point is California Sen. Kamala Harris, who is being smeared by both extremes.
There is a long history of violently repressing any efforts of black citizens garnering wealth or stability. My grandmother would put it simply: “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” Enslaved blacks were portrayed as shiftless and lazy ingrates who responded only to the whip.
W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in “Evolution of the Race Problem”: Before emancipation it was stated and reiterated with bitter emphasis and absolute confidence that a free Negro would prove to be a shiftless scamp, a barbarian and a cannibal reverting to savagery and doomed to death. We forget to-day that from 1830 to 1860 there was not a statement made by the masters of slaves more often reiterated than this, and more dogmatically and absolutely stated. After emancipation, for twenty years and more, so many people looked for the fulfillment of the prophecy that many actually saw it and we heard and kept hearing and now and then still hear that the Negro to-day is worse off than in slavery days.
Slave-owning Christians patted themselves on the back about rescuing blacks from “savagery” in Africa. They then claimed slaves had to be treated as children needing the rod in order not to be spoiled. The plight of free blacks was also perilous. Ira Berlin’s Slaves Without Masters is a history which details this group of over one-quarter million who lived in the South. The perils were there for those in the North as well, demonstrated by events like the white riot referred to as the New York City Draft Riots.
Over the years numerous massacres (often called riots, as shown in the video) would occur, along with lynching and terror. The pogroms that wiped out many a black community, the Dred Scott decision, and the historic 14th amendment which finally made black people “citizens” in 1868 (though we’ve been here since the 1600s) are all a part of what we face today and we still ain’t got reparations.
In these modern times “shiftless and lazy” blacks would be cast as welfare queens and thugs. And despite the incredible weight of oppression on our backs, black Americans would still rise to the heights of acclaim in numerous fields of endeavor including science, the arts, medicine, entertainment, sports, education, and politics.
Aaron showed Mike Capuzzo of Sports Illustrated some examples in 1992, including at least one that exemplified both the racism and threats that Aaron so often encountered: Dear [deleted] Henry, you are [not] going to break his record established by the great Babe Ruth if I can help it.... Whites are far more superior than [deleted].... My gun is watching your every black move. It was arranged for Aaron to have a bodyguard, who did his best to hide especially hateful letters. The Braves did their best to filter out letters with assassination threats, which were sent directly to the FBI.
Daily Kos stories rarely discuss sports, but conversations in Black Kos often point to the racism experienced by world-famous athletes like the Williams sisters. Hatin’ on Venus and Serena has become a sport of its own. Colin Kaepernick is vilified daily for protesting and supporting Black Lives Matter. Even Simone Biles, the world’s top gymnast, has had to face unrelenting racism from certain sectors.
In our homes and at community gatherings, in barber shops and beauty parlors, black folks take great pride in watching another black person deliver what we term a “comeuppance” to the white world that tries daily to knock us down. Whether it’s Joe Louis or Muhammad Ali in the ring, James Baldwin kicking William Buckley's ass in a debate, Barbara Jordan setting the stage to take down Nixon, or the tears streaming down our faces when Barack Obama won a victory against all odds, we will honor the uppity among us.
When used as a racist slur, “uppity” clearly means “Get in your place, stay in your place, know your place—or else.”
I still have ugly memories of having to get off the sidewalk and move into the street when white folks were walking toward me.
I remember being denied the art honors medal for my junior high school graduation, even though I was the only student to have been accepted to New York City’s most prestigious arts high school after auditioning.
For the “presumptuousness” of even going to the audition, I got a juvenile delinquency citation. Black students of merit still face these problems today.
I still chuckle about the people on the internet who, in order to dismiss my opinions, dubbed me “patrician” (read uppity). My response was to wear an “Uppity Negress” tee shirt to Netroots Nation last year. In today’s world of politics and multiple media platforms, one thing has been made perfectly clear to those of us who support them:
Barack Obama is uppity. Michelle Obama is uppity. Eric Holder is uppity. Maxine Waters is uppity. John Lewis is uppity. Loretta Lynch is uppity. Kamala Harris is uppity.
Hell, Frederick Douglass—who the orange know-nothing in the White House thought was still among the living—was uppity.
So it’s not that Trump and company are simply deranged by Barack Hussein Obama. They are actually driven mad and made to froth by black superiority disproving their notions of black inferiority.
Even some “liberal” commentators fall into the type of patronizing and dismissive critiques of prominent black folks that are not applied to white folks of equal stature. But I look forward to supporting a whole new crop of up-and-coming, uppity young black folks, along with other young people of color.
And if I’m lucky, I may live long enough to see another one in the White House.
The Democrats' performance as an opposition party? Pathetic
Steven W Thrasher - Saturday 22 July 2017 06.00 EDT
From The Guardian: Six months into Donald Trump’s term, and Democratic politician’s ability to be an opposition party is, in a word, pathetic.
When the poll came out saying that “Democrats stand for nothing more than opposing” Trump, I thought to myself, ‘If only that were true!’” But they can’t even do that well. When House Democratic Caucus chairman Joe Crowley was asked by the Associated Press just what his party’s core message was, he “hesitated” and then said, “That message is being worked on.”
It was as tone deaf (but honest) an answer as when Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum – as sycophantic a representative of the Democratic party in the punditocracy as there is – wrote about how people would have to be “crazy” not to “have a reflective disgust” of people who are homeless and mentally ill.
Indeed, many of the most powerful Democratic politicians and donors seem to hate the sick and poor almost as much as Trump does. How else to explain why Chuck Democratic Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer and Representative Carolyn Maloney would party in the Hamptons with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway and David Koch while the latter group was attempting to strip healthcare from tens of millions of people?
Now, consider all the ways Democrats told us that we had to support Clinton because Trump was Lucifer/Hitler Incarnate and then – when she lost – have supported Lucifer/Hitler. When the New York Times analysed how senators voted on 22 Trump nominees, “no senators voted ‘no’ on every nominee” – not even among the Democrats. Clinton’s choice for vice-president, Tim Kaine, voted for more than half of Trump’s nominees.
And while Democrats made a lot of noise about Betsy DeVos’s confirmation, Trump’s eventual Education Secretary, they hardly had a moral, intellectual or ideological basis for doing so.
For the past decade, leading Democrats like Obama, Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Senator Cory Booker have trumpeted charter schools (and their disdain for unions, regulation and government enforcement of civil rights protections). They paved the way for the Devos-Trump education nightmare.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York voted against 20 of 22 Trump nominees. But in “progressive” New York State, Gillibrand is joining her fellow senator Chuck Schumer (and 12 other Democratic senators around the country) to support a bipartisan bill that will make the civilized act of protesting against the Israeli occupation of Palestine a felony.
If it passes and Trump signs it, supporting the peaceful Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (or BDS, a movement quite similar to the boycotting of South African apartheid in the 1980s) could result in a million dollar fine and 20 years in prison. New York’s Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo pusheddraconian state level measures regarding protesting Israel last year.
And this brings us to the most dangerous thing Democrats are doing: while some, like Congress members Ted Lieu and Maxine Waters, are at least good at yelling on Twitter about how authoritarian Trump is, too many Democratic lawmakers are actively legislating Trump’s authoritarian takeover.
They’re colluding with Trump to destroy thinking and political expression. If the BDS law passes, it’s would be a Trojan Horse to dismantle the first amendment broadly and to expand the notion of “terrorist” to include peaceful political protesters.
I was appalled (but not surprised) to see so many Democrats sign onto this bill, just as I was appalled to see that in New Jersey Assembly, a bill recently passed 76 to 0 that “mandates that school districts start teaching kids how to talk to law enforcement officers starting in kindergarten” and that children be taught “the role and responsibilities of a law enforcement official in providing for public safety; and an individual’s responsibilities to comply with a directive from a law enforcement official” – as if police violence is children’s fault. Every Democrat supported this outrage.
Both of these bills show us how quickly the Democrats, just like Republicans, are willing to see all of us as threats who need to be more quiet, less politically vocal and more violently policed.
And so, while I’m afraid of the Republicans running amok with access to nuclear weapons and the national budget, I’m also quite frightened by the Democrats’ inability to imagine a better world.
The Washington Post reported this week that 65% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents “say they are likely to vote next year, compared to 57% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents.”
Though Trump is historically unpopular for a president at this moment in his presidency, Hillary Clinton is even more unpopular – and the Democrats, unwilling or unable to move away from the nihilism and bad economics which made her their nominee and which ultimately gave us President Trump – seem unable to make gains even now.
The Republican Party Proves It Loves Power More Than Truth Itself
For the Republican majority, power trumps truth, and they’re all part of the racket. By Adele M. Stan / The American Prospect July 17, 2017, 12:52 PM GMT
From Alternet: To call Donald Trump and his administration corrupt and mendacious is to make the most obvious of statements. Too easy, really. Because if Trump and his boys have tread the path toward treason, so too has the entire Republican Party. It was a busy Tuesday night. As the president’s son and capo bastone Donald Trump Jr. took to the airwaves to defend his meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the presidential campaign on the tantalizing possibility of gleaning opposition research on Hillary Clinton, word broke that the president and his team together crafted a false statement about the nature of that meeting, issued under Junior’s name and delivered to The New York Times. It was later revealed that the Rob Goldstone, the meeting’s broker, made clear in an email to Trump Jr., a prominent surrogate in the Trump campaign, that the oppo at hand was said to come from Russian intelligence services.
The statement-drafting session took place aboard Air Force One, on the president’s return trip from his meeting with world leaders at the G20 summit—one of those horror-comedy developments that have become all too familiar in the Age of Trump, this one evoking the title of the classic film, Snakes on a Plane. “Participants on the plane and back in the United States debated how transparent to be in the statement, according to people familiar with the discussions,” wrote Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman.
That done, the president took to Twitter to announce that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin would collaborate on a cybersecurity initiative—something he said he discussed with Putin during their extended visit on the sidelines of the global gathering. It was a bold move by a U.S. president who likely won his office thanks to the hacking prowess of Kremlin operatives—so audacious, in fact, that Trump had to walk back the proposition the same day.
As day broke on Wednesday, the Senate prepared for a hearing to confirm Trump’s appointment of Christopher Wray to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose former director the president famously canned because he pursued an inquiry into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives too vigorously. The day after his firing of James Comey, Trump gloated about it in an Oval Office meeting with the Russian ambassador and minister of foreign affairs, a meeting at which only Russian media were permitted.
IF MEMBERS OF THE MAJORITY party in the United States Congress possessed an ounce of allegiance to the country whose constitution they’ve sworn to protect and defend, there would be no hearing, at least not now, in the wake of the latest revelations. But the die was cast, one sees now in hindsight, the minute all those righteous Republicans decided not to oppose, in any meaningful way, the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Karoli Kuns reminded us on Twitter, nixed attempts by investigators in September to coax members of Congress to craft a bipartisan report that would alert the American people that the intelligence services of Putin had corrupted the U.S. presidential campaign with a hacking operation designed to damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. If any such report were to be issued, the patriot McConnell threatened to paint it as an attempt by then-President Barack Obama to tilt the election in Clinton’s favor.
In other words, McConnell knew that Putin, the head of state of a foreign adversary, was working to subvert the democratic process. And he was fine with that.
It appears that he still is. From Politico: “The investigation in the Senate's being handled by the Intelligence Committee, and I'm sure they'll get to the bottom of whatever happened,” McConnell told reporters.
Meanwhile, they have a new FBI director to confirm, presumably one the Russia-backed president expects to be more accommodating of misdeeds against the nation by members of his administration and campaign.
THE JUNIOR MESS is a tricky one for Vice President Mike Pence, who arrived at his present position through the persuasive powers of Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign manager who was later dumped from that role when the Times revealed his work on behalf of Ukraine’s kleptocratic, Kremlin-backed former president, Viktor Yanukovych. Together with the president’s son and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Manafort met in Trump Tower with Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer close to the Kremlin who has served as a lobbyist for the lifting of U.S. sanctions on the Russian government. The meeting was framed by the intermediary who arranged it as an offer of opposition research on Hillary Clinton conducted by Russian intelligence operatives. It appears that what was requested in exchange was a lifting of the sanctions imposed on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. In the statement that Trump and his White House team crafted for Trump Jr., the meeting was described as a discussion about clearing the way for adoptions from Russia, which Putin barred after the U.S. imposed its sanctions. In other words, the meeting was likely a temperature-taker on the willingness of the Trump team to lift those sanctions were Trump to win the presidency.
Sanctions, you’ll recall, was also the topic that got former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn in hot water when it was revealed that he had discussed the topic with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition period between administrations.
Revelations of discussions about sanctions with Kislyak also led to Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s ostensible recusal of himself from matters relating to Russian intervention in the election. (I say “ostensible,” because Sessions signed a memo urging the president to fire Comey, the former FBI director.) The administration’s concerns over sanctions continued, days before news broke of Trump Jr.’s curious Trump Tower meeting, as evidenced by a visit to Capitol Hill, reported by CNN’s Jeremy Herb and Deirdre Walsh, by members of the Treasury and State Departments to express concerns over a bill before the Senate that would impose new sanctions on Russia, which the administration wants to reserve the right to loosen.
All that talk about sanctions is likely on the mind of the vice president, who is said to have annoyed his boss by distancing himself from Junior’s hijinks, issuing a statement saying it happened before he was on the ticket. In other words, before Manafort laid the gun and knife on the table before him, pricked his finger, and said, “We are all Family now.”
But it was Pence who led the Trump transition team when concerns were raised about the appointment of Flynn to the role of national security adviser.In November, Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland alerted Pence to problematic business dealings by Flynn with entities linked to the government of Turkey’s authoritarian leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and knew that Flynn had traveled to Moscow in 2015 to celebrate the state-sponsored Russian cable network, RT, where he was seated next to Putin.
Whether Pence knew of Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak regarding those dang sanctions remains a mystery. Both men said Flynn failed to tell Pence that little detail before the vice president went on TV to deny that Trump campaign and transition-team figures had ever met with representatives of Russia. Once both Pence and Flynn agreed to that storyline, Flynn was fired, having served less than a month in the national security post.
During the early days of the administration, Pence was reported to be in frequent touch with Manafort, his champion, the man who managed to elbow out New Jersey Governor Chris Christie from consideration as Trump’s running-mate in favor of Pence. Now, with Pence and Manafort both lawyered up as the Russia investigation proceeds in the hands of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, Pence is likely cut off from his sponsor.
But the life of a made man isn’t an easy one. Omerta, that code of silence, is a tough one to keep when one has ambitions of one’s own. The limits of Pence’s loyalties will be tested—but likely not by his former Republican colleagues in Congress, who have shown little interest in protecting the republic from the racket now run out of the White House, which operates on a model crafted by the dons of organized crime. For the Republican majority, power trumps truth, and they’re all part of the racket.
So This Is What American Greatness Really Looks Like? Another week of new low after new low. If this is what making America great looks like, God help us when it arrives.
Joy-Ann Reid 07.15.17 12:01 AM ET
From Daily Beast: This week, Garry Kasparov, former Russian chess champion and perennial critic of Vladimir Putin, tweeted about what autocrats do when caught: “1: Deny, lie, slander accusers. 2: Say it was a misunderstanding. 3. Boast & say ‘What are you going to do about it?’”
The day after that tweet, Donald Trump stood on a dais in Paris beside the French president and said of his son’s now-confirmed willingness to receive campaign help for his father from Russia: “I think it’s a meeting that most people in politics probably would have taken.”
That would be jaw dropping and bizarre coming from a mob boss at his pretrial hearing, let alone from the president of the United States. But that line is now standard issue among much of Trump’s political party, which has come around to the notion that collusion with a foreign power—even an adversarial one like Russia—is no big deal.
Trump, his family, and his defenders in the once Grand Old Party have mounted various defenses for his campaign’s collusion with Russians and their cutouts to win the 2016 presidential election. They have tried to ignore Russiagate. They have said collusion with Russia never happened. They have blamed Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Loretta Lynch (Trump now says the Russian government lawyer who met with Donald Jr. was only in the country because Lynch let her in. It will surprise no one to discover that’s not true.) And they have landed on the notion that even if collusion did happen, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. Check off all three of the Kasparov boxes.
With Trump’s ascension, the Russification of the Republican Party, which once supported apartheid-era South Africa and continues to back a Cuba embargo, both on the basis of keeping countries out of Russia’s sphere of influence, is complete. Trump, who in the 1980s complained that Ronald Reagan was too tough on the Soviets, and who has used Russians, including reputed mobsters, as everything from bailouts to buyers to brokers for the expansion of his hotel and pageant franchises, has officially brought kakistocracy to Washington. None but the most unmoored to any recognizable morality need apply. He has made fools of his own spokespeople. He has exposed the religious right’s leaders as very much men of this world, with all its hatred and avarice. He has unleashed the forces of white nationalism and even neo-Nazism in our country. And he has revealed an America that is far less than we thought we were eight years ago when the United States became the first former slave republic to make a member of its once entrapped minority population its national leader.
One wonders whether this democracy, as fragile as it has been revealed to be, and whether the presidency as an institution is entirely salvageable, now that Trump has exploded the norms we thought constrained the office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Since becoming president, Trump has flouted the emoluments clause and openly profited from his office, taking payments from all comers, from the State Department to foreign governments at his golf courses, hotels and his private Florida club. He has encouraged his children to treat the White House as a marketing tool for the Trump businesses, and allowed them to commingle their business activities and ongoing involvement in his government. He has turned American foreign policy into a Santa’s workshop for Saudi and Russian interests and goals, from the needless fight with Qatar to pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords to attempting to return the Kremlin’s spy facilities, which the Obama administration seized in retaliation for Russian interference in our election, to giving Russian oligarchs direct financial interest in the Keystone pipeline boondoggle to having his administration lean on House members to soften a Russia sanctions package. (He even briefly floated the outrageous and absurd notion of cybersecurity cooperation with the Kremlin.) He has invited the Russian foreign ministry into the Oval Office out of the eye and earshot of the American media, who now are reduced to audio-only press briefings where they take a back seat to Trump sycophant right-wing blogs, and he has now canoodled with Putin himself, taking the murderous Russian autocrat’s word for it that no election meddling occurred.
Trump has made political thuggery the new American political standard; throwing allies overboard and cuddling up to dictators and autocrats around the world. He has diminished American influence and credibility every day he has been in office.
Meanwhile, he has stripped the presidency of its basic dignity, tweeting his every thought at all hours of the day. He presents America in his world travels as a troglodyte nation, led by an ill-mannered, ill-tempered, praise-needy buffoon—a real life Joffrey Baratheon—who still thinks he’s a television performer, and whose attention to duty lasts only as long as his favorite Fox shows aren’t on.
Domestically, he has thrown the country into chaos, from his Muslim travel bans to his utter incoherence on health care, which he and his party are threatening to strip from up to 23 million people so they can fork over a trillion dollars to America’s own oligarchs. Putin must be positively gleeful at the damage his little ruse—tricking the arrogant ignoramuses of the Trump campaign into believing Russian hackers had the goods on Hillary, and then reeling them in—has wrought.
And so, a political party that long prided itself on a particular kind of patriotism now welcomes foreign interference, so long as it helps them win. A nation that dragged itself, painfully, from slavery to the Voting Rights Act now faces a federal government that is the single biggest threat to the right of all people to vote. A country that stuck out its chest in promoting a particular kind of greatness now wallows in defunding public education, gutting scientific research, and promoting basic ignorance about the planet in the service of bygone industries belching pollution into the air and water, as if American innovation that could create new industries and new jobs for those displaced workers is no longer possible.
Meanwhile, our children are learning that bullies do indeed prosper; that cruelty and narcissism can be a pathway to power, that one of our two major parties believes the poor and struggling do not deserve health care, and that according to the president of the United States, women essentially have no value beyond their looks and dress sizes. One wonders whether the presidency can recover, or whether we’re doomed to live in an endless cycle of lowbrow celebrity autocracy—America remade in the image of Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi.
Already, other entertainers are bellying up to the bar, eager to follow Trump’s grubby example and take their turn at political powerball. We could soon have a national leadership that includes The Rock, Kid Rock, and who knows, maybe Ted Nugent, now that white nationalism and public vulgarity have gone mainstream.
What hope is there for a country that has reduced itself to this? What future? For now, it’s hard to see a particularly bright one. If this is what making America great looks like, God help us when greatness ensues.
On American Revolution
by Paul Street - July 4, 2017
From Counterpunch: My fellow U.S.-Americans, we’ve never had a revolution.
It’s true that slaveowner Thomas Jefferson’s July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence (DOI) articulated the revolutionary notion that the people have the right to dissolve a government that no longer serves their interests. But the “American Revolution” was a national independence movement led by wealthy landowners, slaveowners, and merchants who feared uprisings from below. They wanted more breathing space to develop further systems of racial oppression, territorial conquest, and class rule. For them national independence was required among other things to prevent social revolution. The last thing the nation’s wealth aristo-republican Founders wanted was a world turned upside down.
One of the grievances the signers of the DOI raised against the British king was that “he has excited domestic insurrections amongst us.” Another purported sin of King George was that he “endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” This vicious charge against the Native Americans was a total inversion of reality. It was the Euro-American invaders and settlers, not the Indigenous inhabitants, who practiced genocide.
The U.S. Constitution that the Founders enshrined thirteen years after breaking off from their capitalist parent and mentor England was a shining monument to the privileging of property rights – the rights of the propertied Few – over human rights and democracy. In the Constitutional Convention debates that produced this most un- and anti-democratic charter, the leading Framer and slaveowner James Madison backed an upper U.S. legislative assembly (the Senate) of elite property holders to check a coming “increase of population” certain to “increase the proportion of those who will labour under all the hardships of life, and secretly sigh for a more equal distribution of its blessings.”
Who were “the people” in the early U.S. republic? White male owners of substantive property holdings. This left out: Blacks, most of whom were branded and exploited as chattel slaves; Native Americans, reviled as “savages;” women of all races; much of the white population, which was considered too poor to be trusted with citizenship (though they were welcome to give their lives to fight the British).
American Independence was a calamity for the nation’s Indigenous people. The British had antagonized the North American settlers by setting some limits on the colonists’ territorial expansion. With Independence, the violent white North American predators were released to push First Nations’ people considerably further out from the eastern seaboard than before. It’s not for nothing that the Iroquois gave America’s revered “revolutionary war” genera; and first president the title “Town Destroyer.”
Independence was an atrocity for the Black population as well. Lands stolen from the Native Americans were open for cultivation with slaves. The chances for West Indies-style insurrection faded as new land opened for dispersal of the slave population and for the dilution of the Black-white population ratio with the immigration from Europe. With the rise of cotton and the industrial revolution, the racist torture regime that was U.S. slavery would become the key to the United States’ emergence as a major economic power in the world.
Seventy-six years after the DOI, the great Black abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered perhaps the greatest oration in U.S. history, titled “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July.” By the reckoning of Douglass, himself an escaped slave, the great national holiday was “a day that reveals to [the slave], more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.” Further:
“To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour. (Read more)
The Nation, the Idea and the Will of Good People Tuesday, July 04, 2017 By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed
This is the first July 4 of the Donald Trump era, and I am at a loss. It hasn't been six months since his inaugural carnage, and already I feel like I'm a mile underwater with a boulder tied to both feet. You can't even see the daylight when you're down this deep. The pressure is crushing, and my lungs are screaming for air.
His every spoken word is a punishing humiliation. "I have, seem to get very high ratings," he told the Associated Press not long ago. "It's the highest they've ever had. On any, on air, [CBS 'Face the Nation' host John] Dickerson had 5.2 million people. It's the highest for 'Face the Nation' or as I call it, 'Deface the Nation.' It's the highest for 'Deface the Nation' since the World Trade Center. Since the World Trade Center came down. It's a tremendous advantage." That's one comment. Just one. In it, he brags about getting high ratings as if he were still a reality TV star instead of the president of the United States before going on to say that getting more viewers than the attacks of September 11 did is a "tremendous advantage." In the middle, he coughed up that hairball of a joke about the show's name like a little kid who thinks he just invented something. This kind of thing has been happening every day since he slithered into office, and every time it does, we are all diminished like Donne's promontory.
Trump didn't know about all the tax cuts for rich people in the Senate's latest Affordable Care Act-repeal bill. He believes "internet taxes" exist. He gleefully gives away incredibly sensitive intelligence data to visiting Russian swells while sitting in the Oval Office, and all on camera. He probably couldn't find North Korea on a map. He leers like a lecher at Irish reporters who are just trying to do their job. Visiting dignitaries and world leaders approach him as if he were a bag of live snakes. The man quite literally appears entirely incapable of shame. A slice of the population cheers this on because, as Alfred said of the Joker, some just want to see the world burn. He plays to them like the jolly wrecker he is while his friends in Congress conspire to steal as much as they can scrounge for their wealthy benefactors. Whenever his cratering approval ratings have him down in the dumps, he holds medieval pep rallies and whoops it up with stream-of-consciousness gibberish generously flecked with bile.
Thanks to this small fraction of a man, the caricature of dominant US culture that Hunter S. Thompson produced almost 50 years ago is gaining new relevance every day: "We are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms at all about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable."
Donald Trump is our salesman-in-chief, his absurd comb-over a capstone stacked upon the gruesome dark side of our worst collective attributes: Greed, fear, spite, malice, rage, hate, disdain and cheerfully willful ignorance. This is his core essence, and our cross to bear.
I am at a loss, so I choose to take today and ruminate on some beliefs I have held close and dear for a very long time. Here's what I think; your mileage may vary: The United States is not entirely limited by its history as a settler colony, a dumping ground for England's poor and unwanted or as a society built on slavery. It's also more than a geographic location or a place on a rock in space.
The US is indeed all of these things, but it's also an idea. Some words on old parchment we could choose to live by, created in a time of extreme violence and brutality. The idea began and remains deeply flawed, but it was gifted with the capacity for self-improvement right alongside its capacity for self-destruction. We have seen our fair share of both over the years; for every Dred Scott decision there is a Civil Rights Act, for every Dick Cheney there is an Archibald Cox.
The only thing holding the idea together is the thing that makes it beautiful and so terribly vulnerable: The will of good people to hold to the idea and their desire to let no one be above it or undermine it. If we have that, we can hope for a future that begins to address some of the harms engrained in the founding of the United States. If we lose this idea, we are doomed.
I do not intend to let Donald Trump or anyone else doom that idea, not within reach of my good right arm. It is bigger than he is, bigger than all of us and very much worth fighting for. When I watch my daughter gasp in awe at the bursting colors in the sky tonight, that is what I will be celebrating: A flawed idea with a strong heart, and the will of good people to keep it alive. Happy Fourth of July.
The Hijacked American Presidency
Charles M. Blow JULY 3, 2017
From NY Times: Every now and then we are going to have to do this: Step back from the daily onslaughts of insanity emanating from Donald Trump’s parasitic presidency and remind ourselves of the obscenity of it all, registering its magnitude in its full, devastating truth.
There is something insidious and corrosive about trying to evaluate the severity of every offense, trying to give each an individual grade on the scale of absurdity. Trump himself is the offense. Everything that springs from him, every person who supports him, every staffer who shields him, every legislator who defends him, is an offense. Every partisan who uses him — against all he or she has ever claimed to champion — to advance a political agenda and, in so doing, places party over country, is an offense.
We must remind ourselves that Trump’s very presence in the White House defiles it and the institution of the presidency. Rather than rising to the honor of the office, Trump has lowered the office with his whiny, fragile, vindictive pettiness.
The presidency has been hijacked.
Last week, when Donald Trump attacked two MSNBC hosts, people were aghast. The condemnation came quickly and from all quarters.
But his words shouldn’t have shocked. His tweet was just another pebble on a mountain of vulgarities. This act of coarseness was in fact an act of continuity. Trump was being Trump: the grossest of the gross, a profanity against propriety.
This latest episode is simply part of a body of work demonstrating the man’s utter contempt for decency. We all know what it will add up to: nothing.
Republicans have bound themselves up with Trump. His fate is their fate. They have surrendered any moral authority to which they once laid claim — rightly or not. If Trump goes down, they all do.
It’s all quite odd, this moral impotence, this cowering before the belligerent, would-be king. A madman and his legislative minions are holding America hostage.
There are no new words to express it; there is no new and novel way to catalog it. It is what it is and has been from day one: The most extraordinary and profound electoral mistake America has made in our lifetimes and possibly ever.
We must say without ceasing, and without growing weary by the redundancy, that what we are witnessing is not normal and cannot go unchallenged. We must reaffirm our commitment to resistance. We must always remember that although individual Americans made the choice to vote affirmatively for him or actively withhold their support from his opponent, those decisions were influenced, in ways we cannot calculate, by Russian interference in our election, designed to privilege Trump.
We must remember that we now have a president exerting power to which he may only have access because a foreign power hostile to our interests wanted him installed. We must remember that he has not only praised that foreign power, he has proven mysteriously averse to condemning it or even acknowledging its meddling.
We must remember that there are multiple investigations ongoing about the degree of that interference in our election — including a criminal investigation — and that those investigations are not constrained to collusion and are far from fake news. These investigations are deadly serious, are about protecting the integrity of our elections and the sovereignty of our country and are about a genuine quest for truth and desire for justice.
Every action by this administration is an effort to push forward the appearance of normality, to squelch scrutiny, to diminish the authority and credibility of the ongoing investigations.
Last week, after a growing list of states publicly refused to hand over sensitive voter information to Trump’s ironic and quixotic election integrity commission, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders blasted the pushback as a “political stunt.”
But in fact the commission itself is the political stunt. The committee is searching for an illegal voting problem that doesn’t exist. Trump simply lied when he said that he would have won the popular vote were it not for millions of illegal votes. And then he established this bogus commission — using taxpayer money — to search for a truth that doesn’t exist, to try to prove right a lie that he should never have told.
This commission is classic Trump projection: There is a real problem with the integrity of our last election because the Russians helped power his win, but rather than deal with that very real attack on this country, he is instead tilting at windmills concerning in-person voter fraud.
Last week, CNN reported:
“The Trump administration has taken no public steps to punish Russia for its interference in the 2016 election. Multiple senior administration officials said there are few signs the president is devoting his time or attention to the ongoing election-related cyber threat from Russia.”
Donald Trump is depending on people’s fatigue. He is banking on your becoming overwhelmed by his never-ending antics. He is counting on his capacity to wear down the resistance by sheer force.
We must be adamant that that will never come to pass. Trump is an abomination, and a cancer on the country, and none of us can rest until he is no longer holding the reins of power.
From Rauner to Trump, GOP Practices Politics of Erasure By Tim Libretti on Sat, Jul 1st, 2017 at 6:19 pm
From Politicus USA: The Ancient Greeks, political historians tell us, bequeathed to us our contemporary concept, as well as the practices, of democracy. The truth of this legacy, we need to recognize, is darker than we might realize.
Democracy, as most Americans think about it, I believe it is fair to say, is conceived as a system that allows for the broad participation of the people, as opposed to systems that feature ruling elites who control the operations of the polity without the input of the citizenry.
Let’s remember, though, that the Greeks were slave-owners and maintained their ideal of democracy by excluding slaves as well as resident aliens from inclusion in the ranks of the citizenry. It was a democracy in name only, managing to claim the name only by deciding that those they didn’t see as worthy of participating politically didn’t count as “citizens.”
This fact is worth remembering in light of intensifying erasure of people not just in the Trump administration but in the GOP more broadly, including my home state of Illinois under the authoritarian gridlock-rule of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. By the erasure of people, I mean a politics of erasure achieved through the practice of deciding certain people in the United States just simply don’t count. This underlying value of the practice of this politics of erasure is most evident in Eric Trump’s recent comment that critics of his father President Donald Trump “not even people.”
That this comment was not an off-handed remark idiosyncratic to the POTUS’s son but rather an attitude deeply informing the policies and practices of the Trump administration we can see just by charting a pattern of this administration practicing the politics of erasure since Trump too office.
Similarly, pages devoted to civil rights, climate change and its impact on human life, as well as the Affordable Care Act and the role of the healthcare system in improving human lives were also excised. Apparently, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, people of color and women who have historically required legislation to have their civil rights protected, those who cannot afford healthcare, and those threatened by climate change constitute human lives that simply don’t count in the eyes of this administration.
And in Republican rule overall.
Under the intransigent rule of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner, the state of Illinois has now gone without a budget for two years, for the first time in Illinois history, earning Rauner the criticism not just of democrats but of former Republican Governor Jim Edgar, who blames the governor for not understanding the art of political compromise that defines effective governance and also for bringing the state to the brink of collapse in ways that undermine people’s lives. Crucial state services for the disabled, the poor, the elderly, children, and students have been defunded or underfunded, harming human life. And layoffs at state universities and other agencies are mounting.
Does Rauner’s recipe sound familiar? Indeed, it echoes the policies coming out of Republican rule in Washington, D.C.
People simply don’t count and are being excluded from the ranks of the citizenry both representationally—disappearing from websites–and in material political ways. --- Under Rauner’s rule in Illinois, sometimes the politics of erasure is executed more subtly. Take, for example, the statement from Rauner’s spokesperson Catherine Kelly when Chicago Public Schools CEO blamed the Governor for the lack of funds that would potentially force Chicago Public Schools to end the school early:
“Continuing to blame the Governor, who has been in office two years, for decades of fiscal mismanagement and bad decision-making is getting old. CPS willingly chose to budget for money they had not received and knew was contingent upon real pension reform. The Administration is open to considering this legislation again if the General Assembly passes statewide pension reform.”
Note the language here. The governor’s office makes no mention of any responsibility of the state to make sure the needs of children and of citizens are met. It turns the whole scenario into an ideological battle in which the lives of people are absent.
Let’s assume it’s true that CPS has been mismanaged. Are the children of Illinois then sacrificed to this mismanagement? Or would a responsible governor who has pledged to fix Illinois find a way to take care of the state’s children for the benefit of the state’s future?
The problem is, again, that those constituents you and I might call people, the GOP, federally and at the state level, have decided are “not even people.” Well, welcome to the genocidal behavior of the democracy of the few, sponsored by GOP.
America Is Indefensible: Reflections on Donald Trump and American History
From The Hampton Institute: Here's a thing that no one says:
The world's first concentration camps were built in Africa. Thirty years before the Holocaust, Germany murdered over one hundred thousand Africans in three years in Namibia. From 1904 to 1907, Africans were driven into the desert to die or placed into concentration camps where they were worked and starved to death by the thousands. Today, seventy years after the Holocaust (the capital H one where mostly white people died, not any of the THOUSANDS of lower letter h ones where brown people died), Germany still maintains a colonial presence in Namibia. Indigenous Africans live in poverty and squalor yards away from Nazi war memorials, windmills, and expensive high-rise condos filled with openly racist German investors and 'entrepreneurs.' Today the land where the concentration camps stood is a popular tourist destination for visiting Westerners.
Here's another thing no one says:
Hitler literally came out and said the tactics of extermination the Nazis used during the Holocaust were inspired by American treatment of Natives in the US.
As John Toland writes in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, Adolf Hitler: "Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild west; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America's extermination-by starvation and uneven combat-of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity. He was very interested in the way the Indian population had rapidly declined due to epidemics and starvation when the United States government forced them to live on the reservations. He thought the American government's forced migrations of the Indians over great distances to barren reservation land was a deliberate policy of extermination."
And yet: when the capital-h Holocaust happened, Americans and Europeans (the white ones) reacted in shock. HOW COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED, they said. WHERE DID THIS COME FROM? Africans and Native peoples were not shocked. The colonized people of "the third world" were not shocked. We watched the West go to war with itself over who would have control of the darker nations with weariness and caution. We understood then, as we do now, the true nature of Western so-called civilization. No matter who won, we lost.
America Has Never Been Great
American greatness, upheld by Donald Trump in his much derided but now iconic campaign slogan but also by Hillary Clinton in her many unapologetic exhortations of this country's exceptionalism, has always been fueled by atrocities and by the deaths and dehumanization of hundreds of millions of people all over the world. America's foreign and domestic policy is, and has always been, genocide, theft, torture, slavery, and organized campaigns of sexual abuse and rape that have spanned the entire globe.
Everyone knows about this country's birth in blood - few people will argue about the barbarity that characterized the Euro-American settler conquest of this nation: approximately 110 million Natives and over 30 million Africans raped, sold, enslaved, and murdered so the American empire could be born. But how many people know about the 2 million Filipinos who died in the Philippine-American war? Or the 1.5 million Haitians worked to death on sugar plantations during the American occupation of the island? Or the 3 million Arabs and Muslims dead from American sanctions and interventions in the Middle East? Or the tens of millions of Indigenous people murdered and disappeared in Argentina, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Columbia, Honduras, El Salvador, Chile, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Cuba, equatorial Guinea, and Mexico by dictators, secret police, and cartels installed, funded, and trained by the US government?
Scratch the surface of any part of American history and you will find atrocities barely hidden beneath the myth. It is these atrocities which have made America the most powerful country in the world. The American Empire is an explicitly white nationalist, settler colonial project whose economic foundation is genocide and theft targeting the darker nations and peoples of this planet. There is no you, America, without the death of us. It is only with this context that one can provide a proper analysis of Donald Trump and what he and his so-called movement represent.
Donald Trump as a candidate and Trumpism as a movement do not represent an aberration or departure for American politics. They are the inevitable consequence of American nationalism and the violent expansion of the American Empire.
Every single horrifying thing that Americans quake in fear of Donald Trump bringing to the US, the US has inflicted in their name - often with their enthusiastic support - on people all over the world and within these borders. The difference is that the victims of these accepted American atrocities were African. Arab. Asian. Native. Poor. Brown. Women, queer folks, and children. Within the expansive cloud of hot bullshit known as Western conscience and Western morality and in particular American exceptionalism, those lives do not matter. Those lives are slaughtered so that the last gasp of the American dream may live. The sad fact is that the overwhelming majority of Americans are more or less ok with this reality as long as they don't get it too. The ones who think they have the moral high ground - the 'progressives' - will tsk tsk before ultimately hand waving it all away as a necessary evil.
But the thing about building an entire culture and economic system rooted in the exploitation of huge swaths of life on this planet is that it warps your humanity. It makes monsters. Monsters are real and in this context they are distinctly Euro-American, pink faced, stubby fingered, and they have bad hair. You CAN NOT separate the brutal reality of American domestic and foreign policy from the conditions that gave birth to Trump. You CAN NOT separate Trump the candidate from the history of this country and what it has done. You CAN NOT hope to stop the ideology and consequence that Trump represents by voting in a person who will in every way continue the legacy of brutality, depravity, and pain that turned America into a superpower except this time wearing a three thousand dollar pantsuit and kitten heels. Donald Trump is America, and America is Donald Trump. Americans cannot run from him. They also can't save themselves by voting for the more politically sophisticated lady version of him. By refusing to acknowledge the basic reality of their history, Americans are guaranteeing that another, much worse Trump will come.
So, What Do We Do?
So what do we do? Where do we go? How do we stop the inevitable rise of a new American fascism and how do we survive these times?
Americans must divest from empire. They must refuse to be complicit with atrocities committed in their name. They must reclaim their humanity and understand that their fate is tied to the fate of the rest of life on Earth. Americans must reject the parasitic relationship they have developed with the rest of humanity and they must join the growing revolutionary anti-imperialist movement while organizing to resist the empire's interventions abroad. Americans must struggle in solidarity with the global south and the colonized people of this land to overthrow this empire, destroy capitalism, and with it racism and white supremacy. They must stand on the side of the coming global revolution.
In practice this looks like rigorous study and political education focused on unlearning the indoctrination of American nationalism and learning the true history of the American empire. This looks like a complete rejection of so-called lesser evil politics. This looks like creating and supporting programs of dual power like the AAPRP breakfast program and the School of African Roots here in Portland and MXGM's Cooperation Jackson program in Mississippi. This looks like materially supporting the resistance of colonized people who are rising up all over the world and right here in the US: this means getting the fuck to North Dakota to resist DAPL with the Sioux Nation if you can or sending them money and supplies if you can't. That means moving beyond just saying "Black Lives Matter" to organizing for police and prison abolition, helping your community develop alternatives to keep each other safe, talking to your racist ass relatives, and spreading the word about and supporting the ongoing national prison strike, the largest in American history.
Above all it means understanding that you can't vote your way to liberation and feeling bad isn't enough. Realize that capitalism, imperialism, racism, and fascism are a feedback loop. The bigotry that you allow your state and media manufacture at home, provides justification for American barbarism here and abroad.
Divest from empire and reclaim your humanity.
With Republicans Running the Government Hypocrisy Prevails Over Humanity By Robert Franek on Sun, Jun 18th, 2017 at 8:59 am
From Politicus USA: As the Trump Russia scandal continues to prove, Republicans in Congress seem to have no limits on placing party before country. While the party before country behavior was not new with the Trump Russia scandal, their refusal to take seriously this attack by a foreign adversary on our democratic institutions through the hacking of the 2016 presidential election made clear how firmly engrained the party before country plan is. More it showed that this ideology surpasses all domestic and foreign policy issues facing the country and goes straight to a betrayal at the heart of our democracy.
Yet, this zenith in their evermore remarkable ways to fail to uphold the oath they swore when they took office is not the apotheosis of their patriotic death. The autopsy of the failed patriotism of the Republicans running the government revealed prevalent hypocrisy which prevailed again and again over the humanity of people in this country and around the world.
To fail to recognize the humanity of another person is to deny them their fundamental dignity of personhood. It is to treat people as objects. This is how the death of millions of people though the loss of their health care coverage can be couched in cost savings language. This is how fear denies people their life story and turns individuals into prejudiced stereotypes that can be controlled without regard to the human cost.
It is no surprise that the thirteen Senate Republicans (all of whom are men) lead by Mitch McConnell are drafting their version of the American Health Care Act in secret. Though they routinely decry the lack of transparency and having legislation “shoved down our throats”, this is precisely what the Senate Republicans intend to do with their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).
These Senators know this bill is terrible for everyone but their wealthy benefactors. They know it is a tax plan in disguise. They know tens of millions of people are at risk for losing their health care coverage and therefore their life. They know access and affordability are not the same things. They know that if their plan became public before a vote it would cause another uprising in their districts at town hall meetings which many are already cowardly avoiding.
There is nothing moral or humane to be found this this bill. Nevertheless, they intend to place in the lives of tens of millions of people severe jeopardy, as well as one-sixth of our country’s economy.
While Republican in Congress claim to be doing the will of the people, they continually fail to listen to the people. The only voices that count in their world are the big moneyed interests who fund their campaigns. The Grand Old Party will fall in line at the behest of the Koch brothers but willfully ignore the will of the people who elected them.
While Republicans are running the government, the hypocrisy of their “pro-life” and “all lives matter” slogans and manifestos will continually be exposed for their inhumanity by the people of this country who know better. From health care and immigration policies to budgets and criminal justice reform, Republican lies are being unmasked for their hypocrisy and inhumanity.
A foreign adversary hacked our presidential election in its effort to undermine all western liberal democracies. And while much still needs to be investigated, the threat remains and action needs to be taken to prevent further undermining of our democratic institutions, especially our free and fair election process.
However, long before the Russians interfered in the 2016 presidential election, Republicans were active hacking the humanity of people in this country and around the world their immoral policies laced with sexism and racism and topped off with various forms of xenophobia.
It is incumbent on citizens in every district to elect leaders in every area of government who will recognize the humanity of all our neighbors, especially the vulnerable and oppressed in this country and throughout the world. The people in Georgia’s sixth district have a decisive opportunity to this on Tuesday and begin to pave the way for the 2018 election and a new era of moral leadership.
The Republican Party’s Sickness of the Soul
by Richard Eskow | May 31, 2017 - 6:46am
From The Smirking Chimp: There’s a sickness on the land. You know the facts: Millions of Americans lives in poverty. The number of Americans in the workforce remains low. Wages are stagnating and inequality is growing. “Deaths of despair” from alcoholism, opioid overdose, and suicide are on the rise.
But it’s not just the inequality, or the poverty, or the despair, that wounds us. It’s the fact that so many Republican leaders and voters find ways to justify living with these injustices, and are now making them worse.
There’s no polite way to say it: they suffer from a sickness of the soul.
That kind of talk upsets the delicate feelings of conservatives like Tucker Carlson, who recently complained about
the unreasonableness… (the) assumption — and it’s held by a lot of people I live around — that you’re on God’s side … and by calling them names you’re doing the Lord’s work. I just don’t think that’s admirable, and I’m not impressed by that.
With apologies to Tucker and other conservative snowflakes: When your party is calling for the starvation and mistreatment of large groups of people, it’s reasonable to describe you in less than flattering terms.
Sometimes people look at the cruelties in Republican policies and ask, “How can these people live with themselves?” Here’s how: By telling elaborate lies and fictions so you don’t have to face the cruelty and consequences of your own deeds every time you look in the mirror.
It’s also how you win elections. It’s easier to blame the victims of your policies for their misery than it is to tell voters you just don’t give a damn about them.
To Hell With Kids
If we judge them by their actions, Republicans and their donors don’t give a damn about kids. One in five American children lives in poverty. But House Republicans are now trying to “reform” a free school breakfast program – by reducing the number of children who would get free meals.
Sick kids would suffer under the Trump budget, which slashes $3.4 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) – nearly 20 percent of its funding.
School days at most Oklahoma schools have been cut from five days a week to four, the result of repeated budget cuts by the Republican legislature. The Republican governor called the development “hard for students,” but didn’t ask for a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for education.
In Kansas, where schools were already reeling from years of budget cuts, Republican legislators nevertheless tried to balance the budget this year by cutting $128 million from education. A GOP leader said he “would prefer not to think of it as punishment. I would prefer to think of it as we have a monumental challenge in front of us and that’s what we need to be focused on.”
The “challenge” he had in mind was not the education of Kansas schoolchildren. He’s “focused on” finding a way to balance the budget while preserving huge Republican tax cuts for the rich.
To Hell With the Disabled
They don’t give a damn about the disabled, either.
Applying for Social Security disability benefits is a rigorous process. The waiting period for people seeking a hearing is now nearly a year and a half, thanks to past Republican budget cuts, and more than 1 million people are waiting to have their appeals heard. They include a Missouri woman with debilitating brain tumors who has been waiting for a decision for more than four years. Even the dying are kept waiting – sometimes until it’s too late – like this Chicago woman, whose friends are raising money for her online.
Trump’s budget cuts funds for Social Security disability by $72 billion.
Mulvaney described Social Security disability as “a welfare program for the long-term disabled,” which it’s not. The average Social Security disability recipient paid into the program for 22 years before collecting benefits.
But then, there’s no reason why “welfare” should be a dirty word, since it exists to help people who are in need. To Republicans, however, it is.
To Hell With the Poor
“As ye do to the least of these …?” Republicans definitely don’t give a damn about the poor.
The Trump budget cuts $800 billion out of Medicaid, which provides health care for lower-income Americans. It would charge retailers for taking food stamps, making it harder for poor people to buy food. It would cut food assistance by $191 million over ten years, a move that would literally result in starvation.
Trump’s budget would also eliminate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which would cause some poor people to freeze (and some to die) every winter.
To Hell With the Rest of You, Too
They don’t give a damn about seniors. Republicans have been trying to cut Social Security and eliminate Medicare for years. Trump’s budget cuts to Meals on Wheels would hurt many older Americans. So would his Medicaid cuts, since many seniors rely on Medicaid for board and care.
They don’t give a damn about college kids trying to get ahead in life. Trump’s budget would cut the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which would hurt middle-class and low-income kids who study to become public health doctors, or public interest lawyers, or do other good works.
Trump and his colleagues don’t even give a damn about the rural, middle-American areas that made him president. As Politico reports, “the administration’s proposed federal budget cuts are, in effect, local budget cuts that ignore the economic realities of the communities that voted for Trump. The president’s plan proposes deep reductions to agriculture subsidies and eliminates billions of dollars for housing, transportation, environmental cleanup and job training.”
From the start of life until its end, from one end of the country to another: Republicans don’t give a damn.
A State of Mind?
How do people justify supporting such heartless policies? Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently said this:
I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street, and I guarantee in a little while they’ll be right back up there. “And you take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they’ll work their way right back down to the bottom.
Carson also alluded to what he called a “poverty of spirit.”
If you can convince yourself that the victims of your policies are responsible for their own misfortune, you need not feel guilty about making them suffer even more. You might even be doing them a favor by forcing them to change.
The only problem is, this worldview is fiction. Studies show that childhood poverty can be debilitating, and that generational poverty is extremely difficult to escape. And nearly half of the 45 million Americans who live below the poverty line in the United States are children. But Carson’s deluded worldview probably helps him sleep at night.
For his part, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney thinks people who belong to government programs are committing “theft” and “larceny” against taxpayers — especially the high-income taxpayers who form his natural constituency.
That’s another tactic: accuse your victims. Fraud is rare among Social Security disability claimants, and the program is more likely to underpay claimants than over pay them. But Mulvaney cast the program in a larcenous light. “if you’re on disability insurance and you’re not supposed to be, you’re not truly disabled,” Mulvaney said, “we need you to go back to work.”
Rep. Todd Rokita, who’s leading the GOP charge to cut school breakfasts, also uses the fraud defense. Rokita claims he’s “enhancing program integrity and fighting fraud, waste, and abuse.” When you don’t want to admit you’re depriving needy kids of something they need, it’s easier to accuse those kids of fraud.
Recently a Republican House member, Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska, was unable to respond coherently when asked if “every American is entitled to eat.” Smith stumbled over his words, mumbling about “nutrition” being “very important” before conceding that food is “essential.” But Smith said he was still willing to cut food stamps.
Poverty of Spirit
There is, indeed, a “poverty of spirit” at work here. But it’s not found among poor people, or among the disabled, or in struggling rural and inner-city communities.
The real poverty of spirit lives in the boardrooms and living rooms of Republican-backing CEOs, who reward themselves with record increases in their own compensation while the rest of the country suffers. It lives in the tortured, self-justifying and selfish logic of Ben Carson, Mick Mulvaney, and Adrian Smith. It lives in the sanctimonious sensitivity of Tucker Carlson and in that gelatinous embodiment of orgiastic self-indulgence that is President Donald Trump. And it lives in the political party who gives these spiritually impoverished impulses a home.
A Danger to the World It's Time to Get Rid of Donald Trump Donald Trump has transformed the United States into a laughing stock and he is a danger to the world. He must be removed from the White House before things get even worse.
Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. He does not possess the requisite intellect and does not understand the significance of the office he holds nor the tasks associated with it. He doesn't read. He doesn't bother to peruse important files and intelligence reports and knows little about the issues that he has identified as his priorities. His decisions are capricious and they are delivered in the form of tyrannical decrees.
He is a man free of morals. As has been demonstrated hundreds of times, he is a liar, a racist and a cheat. I feel ashamed to use these words, as sharp and loud as they are. But if they apply to anyone, they apply to Trump. And one of the media's tasks is to continue telling things as they are: Trump has to be removed from the White House. Quickly. He is a danger to the world. Trump is a miserable politician. He fired the FBI director simply because he could. James Comey had gotten under his skin with his investigation into Trump's confidants. Comey had also refused to swear loyalty and fealty to Trump and to abandon the investigation. He had to go.
Witnessing an American Tragedy
Trump is also a miserable boss. His people invent excuses for him and lie on his behalf because they have to, but then Trump wakes up and posts tweets that contradict what they have said. He doesn't care that his spokesman, his secretary of state and his national security adviser had just denied that the president had handed Russia (of all countries) sensitive intelligence gleaned from Israel (of all countries). Trump tweeted: Yes, yes, I did, because I can. I'm president after all.
Nothing is as it should be in this White House. Everyone working there has been compromised multiple times and now they all despise each other - and everyone except for Trump despises Trump. Because of all that, after just 120 days of the Trump administration, we are witness to an American tragedy for which there are five theoretical solutions.
The first is Trump's resignation, which won't happen. The second is that Republicans in the House and Senate support impeachment, which would be justified by the president's proven obstruction of justice, but won't happen because of the Republicans' thirst for power, which they won't willingly give up. The third possible solution is the invocation of the 25th Amendment, which would require the cabinet to declare Trump unfit to discharge the powers of the presidency. That isn't particularly likely either. Fourth: The Democrats get ready to fight and win back majorities in the House and Senate in midterm elections, which are 18 months away, before they then pursue option two, impeachment. Fifth: the international community wakes up and finds a way to circumvent the White House and free itself of its dependence on the U.S. Unlike the preceding four options, the fifth doesn't directly solve the Trump problem, but it is nevertheless necessary - and possible.
No Goals and No Strategy
Not quite two weeks ago, a number of experts and politicians focused on foreign policy met in Washington at the invitation of the Munich Security Conference. It wasn't difficult to sense the atmosphere of chaos and agony that has descended upon the city.
The U.S. elected a laughing stock to the presidency and has now made itself dependent on a joke of a man. The country is, as David Brooks wrote recently in the New York Times, dependent on a child. The Trump administration has no foreign policy because Trump has consistently promised American withdrawal while invoking America's strength. He has promised both no wars and more wars. He makes decisions according to his mood, with no strategic coherence or tactical logic. Moscow and Beijing are laughing at America. Elsewhere, people are worried.
In the Pacific, warships - American and Chinese - circle each other in close proximity. The conflict with North Korea is escalating. Who can be certain that Donald Trump won't risk nuclear war simply to save his own skin? Efforts to stop climate change are in trouble and many expect the U.S. to withdraw from the Paris Agreement because Trump is wary of legally binding measures. Crises, including those in Syria and Libya, are escalating, but no longer being discussed. And who should they be discussed with? Phone calls and emails to the U.S. State Department go unanswered. Nothing is regulated, nothing is stable and the trans-Atlantic relationship hardly exists anymore. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Bundestag Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Norbert Röttgen fly back and forth, but Germany and the U.S. no longer understand each other. Hardly any real communication takes place, there are no joint foreign policy goals and there is no strategy.
In "Game of Thrones," the Mad King was murdered (and the child that later took his place was no better). In real life, an immature boy sits on the throne of the most important country in the world. He could, at any time, issue a catastrophic order that would immediately be carried out. That is why the parents cannot afford to take their eyes off him even for a second. They cannot succumb to exhaustion because he is so taxing. They ultimately have to send him to his room - and return power to the grownups.
Trump has a dangerous disability
By George F. Will
From Washington Post: It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about President Trump’s inability to do either. This seems to be not a mere disinclination but a disability. It is not merely the result of intellectual sloth but of an untrained mind bereft of information and married to stratospheric self-confidence.
In February, acknowledging Black History Month, Trump said that “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice.” Because Trump is syntactically challenged, it was possible and tempting to see this not as a historical howler about a man who died 122 years ago, but as just another of Trump’s verbal fender benders, this one involving verb tenses.
Now, however, he has instructed us that Andrew Jackson was angry about the Civil War that began 16 years after Jackson’s death. Having, let us fancifully imagine, considered and found unconvincing William Seward’s 1858 judgment that the approaching Civil War was “an irrepressible conflict,” Trump says:
“People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out.
Library shelves groan beneath the weight of books asking questions about that war’s origins, so who, one wonders, are these “people” who don’t ask the questions that Trump evidently thinks have occurred to him uniquely? Presumably they are not the astute “lot of,” or at least “some,” people Trump referred to when speaking about his February address to a joint session of Congress: “A lot of people have said that, some people said it was the single best speech ever made in that chamber.” Which demotes Winston Churchill, among many others.
What is most alarming (and mortifying to the University of Pennsylvania, from which he graduated) is not that Trump has entered his eighth decade unscathed by even elementary knowledge about the nation’s history. As this column has said before, the problem isn’t that he does not know this or that, or that he does not know that he does not know this or that. Rather, the dangerous thing is that he does not know what it is to know something.
The United States is rightly worried that a strange and callow leader controls North Korea’s nuclear arsenal. North Korea should reciprocate this worry. Yes, a 70-year-old can be callow if he speaks as sophomorically as Trump did when explaining his solution to Middle Eastern terrorism: “I would bomb the s--- out of them. . . . I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.”
As a candidate, Trump did not know what the nuclear triad is. Asked about it, he said: “We have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ballgame.” Invited to elaborate, he said: “I think — I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.” Someone Trump deemed fit to be a spokesman for him appeared on television to put a tasty dressing on her employer’s word salad: “What good does it do to have a good nuclear triad if you’re afraid to use it?” To which a retired Army colonel appearing on the same program replied with amazed asperity: “The point of the nuclear triad is to be afraid to use the damn thing.”
[Trump has been sued. Here’s why the Justice Department shouldn’t represent him.]
As president-elect, Trump did not know the pedigree and importance of the one-China policy. About such things he can be, if he is willing to be, tutored. It is, however, too late to rectify this defect: He lacks what T.S. Eliot called a sense “not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence.” His fathomless lack of interest in America’s path to the present and his limitless gullibility leave him susceptible to being blown about by gusts of factoids that cling like lint to a disorderly mind.
Americans have placed vast military power at the discretion of this mind, a presidential discretion that is largely immune to restraint by the Madisonian system of institutional checks and balances. So, it is up to the public to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man whose combination of impulsivity and credulity render him uniquely unfit to take the nation into a military conflict.
Reign of Idiots
Posted on Apr 30, 2017
By Chris Hedges
From Truthdig: The idiots take over in the final days of crumbling civilizations. Idiot generals wage endless, unwinnable wars that bankrupt the nation. Idiot economists call for reducing taxes for the rich and cutting social service programs for the poor, and project economic growth on the basis of myth. Idiot industrialists poison the water, the soil and the air, slash jobs and depress wages. Idiot bankers gamble on self-created financial bubbles and impose crippling debt peonage on the citizens. Idiot journalists and public intellectuals pretend despotism is democracy. Idiot intelligence operatives orchestrate the overthrow of foreign governments to create lawless enclaves that give rise to enraged fanatics. Idiot professors, “experts” and “specialists” busy themselves with unintelligible jargon and arcane theory that buttresses the policies of the rulers. Idiot entertainers and producers create lurid spectacles of sex, gore and fantasy.
There is a familiar checklist for extinction. We are ticking off every item on it.
The idiots know only one word—“more.” They are unencumbered by common sense. They hoard wealth and resources until workers cannot make a living and the infrastructure collapses. They live in privileged compounds where they eat chocolate cake and order missile strikes. They see the state as a projection of their vanity. The Roman, Mayan, French, Habsburg, Ottoman, Romanov, Wilhelmine, Pahlavi and Soviet dynasties crumbled because the whims and obsessions of ruling idiots were law.
Donald Trump is the face of our collective idiocy. He is what lies behind the mask of our professed civility and rationality—a sputtering, narcissistic, bloodthirsty megalomaniac. He wields armies and fleets against the wretched of the earth, blithely ignores the catastrophic human misery caused by global warming, pillages on behalf of global oligarchs and at night sits slack-jawed in front of a television set before opening his “beautiful” Twitter account. He is our version of the Roman emperor Nero, who allocated vast state expenditures to attain magical powers, the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang, who funded repeated expeditions to a mythical island of immortals to bring back the potion that would give him eternal life, and a decayed Russian royalty that sat around reading tarot cards and attending séances as their nation was decimated by war and revolution brewed in the streets.
This moment in history marks the end of a long, sad tale of greed and murder by the white races. It is inevitable that for the final show we vomited a grotesque figure like Trump. Europeans and Americans have spent five centuries conquering, plundering, exploiting and polluting the earth in the name of human progress. They used their technological superiority to create the most efficient killing machines on the planet, directed against anyone and anything, especially indigenous cultures, that stood in their way. They stole and hoarded the planet’s wealth and resources. They believed that this orgy of blood and gold would never end, and they still believe it. They do not understand that the dark ethic of ceaseless capitalist and imperialist expansion is dooming the exploiters as well as the exploited. But even as we stand on the cusp of extinction we lack the intelligence and imagination to break free from our evolutionary past. (read more)
The Great White Fantasy Of Donald Trump
From The Establishment: My, my, my, how the Russian chickens do come home to roost on Donald Trump. He began his presidency with a failed fascist takeover, as the protests and federal court rulings put a stop to his very unconstitutional “Muslim ban.” As time went on, his administration corroded from the inside out. Leaks (read: a goddamn flood) have sprung, rogue Twitter accounts have flourished, and sources galore continue to confide about chaos in the White House — all of which adds up to a very loud cry for help. Not to mention the intelligence community’s slow release of report after damning report detailing Trump’s collusion with Russia, #Flynnghazi, the downfall of Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder, and the slow, excruciating, and inevitable failure known as Kellyanne Conway.
Trump, who can hear that crocodile ticking, held a hot mess of a press conference, where he again stood up and lied to millions of American citizens. He crowed about his 306 electoral votes (LIES, he got 304), claiming it was one of the greatest wins in U.S. history (LIES). He claimed that the White house runs like a “well-oiled machine” (LI-I-IES!) and continued his clumsy acrobatics over any questions about Russia. Most peculiarly, he verbally badgered a Black reporter for asking him if he’d include the Congressional Black Caucus in any of his plans to uplift the “urban community.” Then over the weekend, he put on a rally down in Florida, fitting maybe a thousand fans or so into an airplane hangar, where — in front a row of Black folks holding up signs that read BLACKSFORTRUMP2020.COM — he continued on like the charlatan he is. Blah-blah-blah-FAKE NEWS-blah-blah-blah-ME BEST PRESIDENT EVER!-blah-blah, all this with his face somehow oranger and that tiny right hand making the “OK” sign as it bounced to the beat of his voice. Trump may be closer to a nervous breakdown than impeachment.
Either way, it’s time to say goodbye to this administration and hello to a soul-searching mirror, because in the end, it should have never gotten this far. White America must contend with its own racist grief as we watch the collapse of the Great White Fantasy....
...A black man retires from one of the most coveted, most powerful titles in America, and here comes Donald Trump, swooping down from the heavens to Make America Great Again! Only this time, Trump was more than the Great White Hope; he became symbolic of the Great White Fantasy, the pinnacle of the American Dream. The grandson of white immigrants, and supposedly self-made, despite being born into his parent’s wealth. A billionaire (which in the eyes of many automatically makes one intelligent and refined), living in a house of gold located midtown New York. He paraded around, showing off his skinny Slovenian model wife, his almost-maybe-blonde children, and all this bravado. This ball-swinging, fuck-your-feelings shtick where he loudly and repeatedly refused to make space for anyone’s worldview but his own. He basked in his ignorance of race, gender, orientation — of anything that diverged from what he already knew — and used his daughter’s love as a constant shield against criticism. I am not racist, I have [insert-protected-class-here] people in my family!
Trump represented everything that White America yearned for: a restoration of their freedom, a time where “Blacks and Jews” knew their place and you could grab a woman by the pussy and she’d either give you the damn pussy or shrug it off because boys will boys and you’re a hot-blooded American with needs! Trump played to the ego of White America. When he said, “Make America Great Again!” they heard, “this is still your country, and you are still entitled to all its benefits. Not them, but you and only you!” White America lapped it up like mother’s milk.
Perhaps the irony of it all is that no one represented the American Dream more than the Obamas. Both of them are self-made, smart, and charismatic, disgustingly in love with each other and their two perfect children. Both politically moderate, purveyors of ideals — active kids, health care for all — that should appeal across bipartisan lines. But, as much as Obama was the American Dream, he was far from the Great White Fantasy. He is the antithesis of it, the Jack Johnson of it all, and perhaps that in itself disqualifies him in the eyes of White America from ever touching the American Dream. That’s how we all know the deep dirty secret that white folks hate to admit: The “land of opportunity” doesn’t exist, and was never really meant to exist. For Black and Brown people this is the land of fraud. The supposed land of equality yokes our communities into a modern-day feudal system. This is the land of rape and genocide, abuse and murder, and when white folks ask Black and Brown communities to stand for the pledge of allegiance or wave a flag, they are asking us to celebrate our own mangled existence. Imagine having to constantly lather praise and love on your abuser, your rapist, the murderer of your brothers and sisters.
Trump stood for every white-immigrant “bootstraps” anecdote ever used to slap down Black anger or fear. He stood for every “you’re racist for talking about race” and “that’s in the past” rebuttal to every Asian, Latinx, and Native concern. His ascension was supposed to solidify white hold on the U.S.A., but it’s only served to weaken it. His move into power deeply divided the U.S.A., and a house divided against itself will never stand. Trump has been stripped bare and we can see him for what he really is: a pathetic man, entitled, immature, greedy, fragile, a relic who hears that crocodile clock tick-tick-ticking. A mediocre man allowed to make mistakes and be given a first, second, third, fourth, fifth chance to take a breather and try again, instead of landing on the street or in prison. He has accidentally torn down the myth of the sacred white man, whether White America knows it or not. And as women and people of color stand up, front and center to take him down, I can’t help but think: We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams.