a culture that inspires people to believe all sorts of nonsense that makes them rash, violent, and vengeful is an inferior one, not only in the domain of facts but in the moral domain as well. insofar as religion promotes ignorance and superstition, it makes people more evil than they would be otherwise. the belief in demons, witches, and wizards is an integral part of christianity that explains why that religion has inspired the zealously devout to behave so badly.
by shadia b. dury, free inquiry
Mark Twain: If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
*TRUMP AND THE GOP ARE NOT DISCUSSING WHETHER TO LET OBAMACARE DIE. THEY ARE PLOTTING TO KILL IT(ARTICLE BELOW)
*HIGHTOWER: DOES ANYONE REALLY THINK CORPORATE PROFITEERS ARE GOING TO EDUCATE OUR CHILDREN WELL?(ARTICLE BELOW)
*AMERICA IS ON PAUSE AMERICAN GREATNESS IS ON A BREAK FOR AT LEAST 4 YEARS. EVERY DAY DONALD TRUMP IS IN OFFICE, IT SLIPS FURTHER AWAY (ARTICLE BELOW)
*Exclusive Interview: Mumia Abu-Jamal Speaks About Black Lives Matter and Police Violence (ARTICLE BELOW)
*OPINION: IT’S TIME FOR GOP TO SAVE ITSELF AND AMERICA FROM NIGHTMARE OF TRUMP PRESIDENCY (ARTICLE BELOW)
*HOW AMERICA’S LACK OF HISTORICAL KNOWLEDGE IS AIDING TO ITS DECLINE(ARTICLE BELOW)
*WHAT DO THE RUSSIANS 'HAVE' ON THE TRUMP FAMILY? FEAR(ARTICLE BELOW)
*THE SIMPLE FACT IS: THEY REALLY JUST DON'T CARE ABOUT US(ARTICLE BELOW)
*WHEN REPUBLICANS "WIN," THE REST OF US LOSE(article below)
**LESS THAN SIX MONTHS INTO TRUMP’S PRESIDENCY — IT’S CLEAR THAT OUR CHIEF EXECUTIVE IS UNFIT FOR OFFICE(ARTICLE BELOW)
*COARD: SHOULD BLACKS CELEBRATE JULY 4TH?(ARTICLE BELOW)
*THE SOURING OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM (ARTICLE BELOW)
*WE ARE STILL NOT FREE: WHY I CAN’T CELEBRATE THE FOURTH OF JULY (ARTICLE BELOW)
*MY EXCELLENT INDEPENDENCE DAY RANT, 2017(article below)
*MORAL DEPRAVITY OF REPUBLICANS SINKS TO NEW LOW IN FEUD OVER FOOD STAMP CUTS (excerpt below)
**AMERICA NEEDS SERVICE WORKERS — AND THEY NEED HEALTH CARE(article below)
*NO, THE REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE BILL ISN’T DEAD — AND IT AMOUNTS TO A CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY - CHAUNCEY DEVEGA(article below)
*TRUMP, REPUBLICANS SEEK TO EUTHANIZE 80 MILLION YOUNG AND OLD AMERICANS: DEMOCRATS WILL BE ACCESSORIES TO THE CRIME(article below)
*COARD: 25 REASONS WHY I HATE AMERICA(article below)
*WHAT THEY WANT TO HIDE TELLS YOU WHO THEY ARE (article below)
*DEAR REPUBLICAN: HERE IS THAT APOLOGY YOU KEEP ASKING FOR(ARTICLE BELOW)
*WHAT BENEVOLENT AMERICAN ELITE? (ARTICLE BELOW)
NoShit...it's that Simple.
From Demo. Underground: It really is NOT complicated... The Big Con and the oligarchs are gaslighting healthcare.
I am not intimating that brain surgery is simple or any other medical procedure for that matter, but the administration of how we receive those services has been simplified in virtually every other developed country on earth...WHY NOT IN THE UNITED STATES? .WHY NOT IN THE UNITED STATES? .WHY NOT IN THE UNITED STATES? .WHY NOT IN THE UNITED STATES? .WHY NOT IN THE UNITED STATES? .WHY NOT IN THE UNITED STATES? .WHY NOT IN THE UNITED STATES?
Politics is now a form of warfare creating and producing an expanding geography of combat zones that hold entire cities, such as Ferguson, Missouri, hostage to forms of extortion, violence lock downs and domestic terrorism -- something I have demonstrated in detail in my book America at War with Itself. These are cities where most of those targeted are Black. Within these zones of racial violence, Black people are often terrified by the presence of the police and subject to endless forms of domestic terrorism. Hannah Arendt once wrote that terror was the essence of totalitarianism. She was right and we are witnessing the dystopian visions of the new authoritarians who now trade in terror, fear, hatred, demonization, violence and racism. Trump and his neo-Nazi bulldogs are no longer on the fringe of political life and they have no interests in instilling values that will make America great. On the contrary, they are deeply concerned with creating expanding constellations of force and fear, while inculcating convictions that will destroy the ability to form critical capacities and modes of civic courage that offer a glimmer of resistance and justice.
White Supremacy and Sanctioned Violence in the Age of Donald Trump 27 July 2016 By Henry A. Giroux, Truthout
One of the things that is bothering me and bothered me about the Brexit debate, and is bothering me a huge about the Trump debate, is that there is zero elite reckoning with their own responsibility in creating the situation that led to both Brexit and Trump and then the broader collapse of elite authority. The reason why Brexit resonated and Trump resonated isn’t that people are too stupid to understand the arguments. The reason they resonated is that people have been so fucked by the prevailing order in such deep and fundamental and enduring ways that they can't imagine that anything is worse than preservation of the status quo. You have this huge portion of the populace in both the U.K. and the U.S. that is so angry and so helpless that they view exploding things without any idea of what the resulting debris is going to be to be preferable to having things continue, and the people they view as having done this to them to continue in power. That is a really serious and dangerous and not completely invalid perception that a lot of people who spend their days scorning Trump and his supporters or Brexit played a great deal in creating.
Glenn Greenwald Explains What Out-of-Touch Media Doesn't Get About Trump, Russia, and US Electorate
Trump and the GOP Are Not Discussing Whether to Let Obamacare Die. They Are Plotting to Kill It Monday, July 24, 2017 By Dean Baker, Truthout | Op-Ed
After their efforts to approve a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went down to defeat (again), the Republicans came up with a new strategy on health care. As Donald Trump put it, they are going to "let Obamacare fail."
The idea appears to let the health care exchanges, which are the centerpiece of the ACA, fall apart as more insurers leave. Then, when there are few exchanges operating with any substantial level of competition, Trump and the Republicans will sail in with some version of the plans that have collapsed in the last five months. They will now have the compelling argument that their replacement plan is better than nothing, since there will be little or nothing left of the health care exchanges.
While it is possible that this strategy could work, there is a really important point that often gets left out of the picture: the exchanges are not dying. In fact, according to experts who study this issue and aren't on Donald Trump's payroll, the exchanges are actually doing quite well.
The assessment of the Congressional Budget Office, the Kaiser Family Foundationand others is that the health care exchanges had largely stabilized and insurers were now able operate profitably. In other words, the people who don't have something to gain by lying about the health of Obamacare say that the program is actually working. Predictably the people who do get paid by the White House, pronounce such assessments as "fake news."
The basic point is a simple one. Contrary to the claims of Trump and congressional Republicans, the exchanges are not in a death spiral, enrollments are increasing. That is the wrong direction for the Obamacare critics' story.
Of course many people have heard about all of the counties with little or no competition in their exchanges. More than 1,300 counties only have a single insurer in their exchanges and some don't have any.
That is indeed bad news, but the lack of competition in the exchanges is overwhelming a problem for people who live in states controlled by Republicans. While more than 20 percent of the people who live in states with Republican governors only have one insurer in their exchange, this is the case for less than 2 percent of the people who live in states with Democratic governors. (This figure excludes North Carolina, where a Democratic governor just took over in January.)
Many states with Republican governors did not expand Medicaid. This expansion helped the exchanges since it pulled out many of the less healthy people from the patient pools in the exchange. These governors also were not aggressive in promoting the exchanges. As a result fewer healthy people signed up for insurance, making the exchange population less healthy than in states controlled by Democrats trying to make the ACA work.
The result is that Republicans can now happily boast about their success in undermining the insurance market in much of the country. Trump is apparently prepared to build on this success and see if he can undermine the exchanges even in the states controlled by Democrats. And, he does have tools to do it. The first tool is the reimbursements the government makes to insurers for covering out-of-pocket costs for low income people. If insurers did not cover these expenses, insurance would be unaffordable for many low income people. And, the insurers won't cover the costs if the government is not picking up the tab.
Even more importantly, Trump could refuse to enforce the individual mandate. This is an essential part of the system, since insurers are prohibited from discriminating against people based on their health. As a result, a healthy person could decide to go years without insurance and only start paying premiums if they develop a serious illness. In this situation the insurance pool ends up being less healthy and more costly for insurers.
This is a sure path to a death spiral. In this scenario, insurers raise rates because of their less healthy pool. The higher rates discourage healthier people from getting insurance, further worsening the health of the average insure. This cycle will continue until the pool only includes the least healthy and most expensive patients.
Through these and other mechanisms President Trump certainly is capable of killing Obamacare. But let's not play games here, Trump is not talking about letting the patient die. He is talking about murder. Trump and the Republicans are not discussing whether they should let Obamacare die. They are plotting to kill it.
Hightower: Does Anyone Really Think Corporate Profiteers Are Going to Educate Our Children Well?
How Betsy DeVos, the Koch Brojers, and Donald Trump are selling our schools to the highest bidder. By Jim Hightower / AlterNet
Where are Charlie and Dave, Mrs. Koch's two mischievous boys?While the Koch brothers have stayed out of the national limelight since the White House was acquired by Trump and Company, that doesn't mean the two right-wing billionaire brats are any less active in trying to supplant American democracy with their little laissez-fairyland plutocracy. In fact, in late June, you could've found them in one of their favorite hideaways with about 400 other uber-wealthy rascals, plotting some political hijinks for next year's elections.
This is the Koch Boys Billionaire Club, which meets annually at some luxury resort to schmooze, strategize, hear a select group of GOP elected officials kiss up to them -- then throw money into a big pot to finance the Koch's planned takeover of America. It costs $100,000 per person just to attend the three-day Koch Fest, but participants are also expected to give generously to the brothers' goal of dumping $400 million into buying the 2018 elections.
This year, the group gathered in Colorado Springs at the ultra-lux Broadmoor Hotel and resort, owned by the brothers' billionaire pal and right-wing co-conspirator, Philip Anschutz. Among the recent political triumphs that these elites celebrated in the Broadmoor's posh ballroom was the defeat this year of the Colorado tax hike to fix the states crumbling roads. After all, who needs adequate roads when you can arrive in private jets? This attitude of the Koch's privileged cohorts explains why the public is shut out of these candid sessions. A staffer for the Koch confab hailed such no-tax, no-roads policies as a "renaissance of freedom." For the privileged, that is -- freedom to prosper at the expense of everyone else.
This self-absorbed cabal of spoiled plutocratic brats intends to abandon our nation's core democratic principle of "We're all in this together." If they kill that uniting concept, they kill America itself. Their agenda includes killing such working class needs as minimum wage and Social Security and privatizing everything from health care to public education.
For example, Betsy DeVos and her hubby are part of the Koch brother's coterie. They are lucky enough to have inherited a big chunk of the multibillion-dollar fortune that Daddy DeVos amassed through his shady Amway corporation. But what they've done with their Amway inheritance is certainly not the American Way.
The DeVos's are pushing plutocratic policies that reject our country's one-for-all, all-for-one egalitarianism. In particular, Betsey DeVos has spent years and millions of dollars spreading the right-wing's ideological nonsense that public education should be completely privatized. She advocates turning our tax dollars over to for-profit outfits -- even to private schools that exclude people of color, the poor and the disabled, as well as to profiteering schools known to cheat students and taxpayers.
Bizarrely, Donald Trump chose this vehement opponent of public-education-for-all to head-up the agency in charge of -- guess what -- public education. Rather than working to help improve our public schools, the Trump-DeVos duo wants to take $20 billion from them and give it to corporate chains.
To see the "efficiency" of this scheme, look to Arizona, where state Senate president Steve Yarborough pushed a private school fund into law. One of the corporatized schools, called Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization, has taken more than $73 million from Arizona taxpayers, paying its executive director $125,000. His name is Steve Yarborough. ACSTO also pays millions of dollars to another for-profit corporation named HY Processing to handle administrative chores. The "Y" in HY stands for Yarborough. And ACSTO pays rent to its landlord.
As Wall Street banksters, drug company gougers, airline fee fixers and so many others have taught us over and over, most corporate executives are paid big bucks to take every shortcut, cheat and lie to squeeze out another dime in profits. Why would we entrust our schoolchildren to them?
America is on pause
American greatness is on a break for at least 4 years. Every day Donald Trump is in office, it slips further away
D. WATKINS - SUNDAY, JUL 16, 2017 08:00 AM PDT
From Salon: Donald Trump supporters made their big cultural statement in 2016 by electing to the presidency a white-collar executive who’s never seen a day of hard work yet presents himself as the champion of blue-collar people. Now, as a result, America is on pause.
We have now been under the rule of Donald Trump for more than 170 days and nothing of substance has happened — other than multiple attempts to undo everything that had been accomplished by the previous administration, like Barack Obama’s special immigration program for foreign entrepreneurs, providing heating aid for some of our most vulnerable citizens, the defrosting of relations with Cuba and, of course, the GOP’s constant obsession — Obamacare. Anything Obama touched in his eight years in office, from Planned Parenthood to climate change, has to go, apparently. What’s worse, many of these Obama undos are being underreported overall, because Trump’s crass tweets and his campaign’s collection of Russia scandals makes for better TV.
I don’t think it’s entirely about Trump being anti-Obama, either. Rather, many of the policy efforts made by the previous White House enhanced the lives of poor white people and non-white people, and they cost rich people money they probably don’t even really need. And now we have to sit back and wait for four more years — in a realistic best-case scenario — to accomplish anything progressive on the federal level. That’s four more years of big talk, mean tweets, golf trips and fresh scandals.
It’s amazing to remember that before Jan. 20 we were talking about things that mattered, like the environment, ending the war on drugs, and prison reform. Opportunity creation was a daily topic, and now it doesn’t even come up. It’s difficult to focus on the issues in our country because we also have worry about the other countries we’re pissing off, in addition to being led by a president who appears only to be interested in helping his friends stay rich.
So as we wait for the rest of this nothingness of a presidency to expire, I’d like the hardcore Trump supporters to consider a few things.
For starters, if you’re rich and don’t care about anything but money, Donald Trump is your guy. You clearly made the right choice for yourself. But if you are poor, then it’s time to wake up.
I don’t understand broke Republicans; you will never ever advance up the economic ladder under a person like Donald Trump. If you don’t make at least $150,000 as a single person, own your own home and a pool, and vacation twice a year, then you probably shouldn’t be a Republican. So far, this president has done nothing to change your financial situation, and he won’t. You have a better chance of getting milk out of a man’s nipple. Capitalism isn’t about pulling up hard-working white people and helping them get rich. Capitalism isn’t about social mobility or rewarding people fairly for their labor. It’s about exploiting hard-working white people, hard-working African-Americans, hard-working Mexicans, and any other hardworking person in order to make more money for those who already have it.
Trump was the best entertainer on the campaign trail with his cute Make America Great Again hats and silly little speeches, but nothing’s funny now. The bottom 75 percent of the country is losing, and we won’t see anything even close to a win over the next few years.
America is on pause for us, as it will be for a while. So let’s use our time wisely. Collectively, I hope we all take this time to understand what’s really going on in our country and how we are suffering, and focus on the ways that we can improve together. Then I hope that we can take those lessons and learn to vote based on our shared best interests, rather than on divisive politics and a need to make a cultural statement. Only the top 1 percent can afford to benefit from those.
Exclusive Interview: Mumia Abu-Jamal Speaks About Black Lives Matter and Police Violence Sunday, July 16, 2017 By Tasasha Henderson, Truthout | Interview
...Abu-Jamal spoke with Truthout about some of the issues he engages with in Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?, including police violence and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Tasasha Henderson: You talk about several cases of police violence that did not make national and international news: Carl Hardiman in Chicago, Shep McDaniel in New York City. And in your essays written in the early part of 2014, you convey a feeling that you had a sense that something big was coming -- that there would be an incident of police violence that would set off a powder keg. Did you have a sense or a feeling that there would be an incident, like what eventually did happen to Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, that would lead to the beginnings of a mass resistance?
Mumia Abu-Jamal: I did have an inkling, say, a feeling. I've seen this before, when the frequency and intensity of attacks on Black life was so naked, so ugly, so offensive, that resistance became imperative. Our people have an almost ungodly patience; but when the flames ignite, it can be a formidable social force. Indeed, that is the essence of Black history in the American settler-state. I think Mike Brown's community was one such instance. And when I saw five young brothers tell a reporter: "My name is Mike Brown," "My name is Mike Brown," it was a historic echo from the "Spartacus" era, when slaves of Rome rose and rebelled against the Empire, and identified with each other.
In your essay "Hate Crimes," you question what types of violence are considered hate crimes, and the fact that police violence against Black and Brown people is never considered a hate crime. With the introduction and/or passage of Blue Lives Matter laws across the country, making the assault or killing of police a "hate crime," how do you view legislative attempts to reduce police violence through such policies as body cameras or increased training of police officers? As we see with hate crime statutes, what was supposed to protect vulnerable people has been turned against us.
As the Black Movement, now exemplified by Black Lives Matter, has taken a hashtag and exploded beyond its banks, so too must the people seize the slogans tossed out by their class enemies, and lob it back, as in "Blue Lives Are the Only Lives That Matter!," dig? For words are weapons, and when the state, the empire tries to bullshit people with their white supremacist stuff … turn it around. Utilize the truth to open eyes and minds about the intrinsic nature of the state.
For example, we know, for sure, that cops croak hundreds of people every year, often with impunity. Why not ask, "How many cops are on death row?" If not, why not? My purpose here is hardly to endorse the obscenity of death row, but [if] all lives are equal, and the site of a courtroom is the place where people are treated fairly and equitably, well, why not? Or is death row only for "other" people? Dig?
My point is that the state will always utilize its "law" as a tool of repression -- that's the essential nature of the state; but movements must create and expand the space to raise contradictions. Body cameras? Training? BS. Nonsense. Done. It is a bourgeois mirage. In 1978, when [three] cops beat Delbert Africa senseless, breaking his jaw, it was recorded on video. When it came to trial, the trial judge, Stanley Kubacki, dismissed the all-white jury, and threw out the charges, saying the (armed) cops had reason to fear (unarmed) Delbert, because he was so muscular!
We must understand that the state is a hate crime against the poor, the oppressed, Black folks, and Latinas, etc.
In your essay, "Where is the Outrage?" you write, "the unity of the people is the greatest weapon against the silence, fear, and oppression imposed by the system. Our unity -- as communities, networks, and movements -- is so important. Therefore, our unity is attacked." We are seeing different communities and organizations unify, whether it is the Black Lives Matter network, Fight for $15, immigrant rights, etc. How can coalitions sustain themselves and how can communities remain unified in the midst of state repression?
Movements emerge out of necessity, out of the felt sense that they no longer have anything to lose; out of certainty that the state has failed them yesterday, is failing them today, and will fail them tomorrow (to paraphrase MOVE's John Africa). The state isn't the solution, it's the problem. It is this sense, shared by increasingly large parts of the population, that fuels movements, and builds rebellious, and then revolutionary consciousness. As capitalism -- and its concomitant rise of the crony-capitalist-gangster-state -- fails, people begin to see commonalities across our false border, and begin to march toward each other, and not against each other.
Remember, capitalism needs racism, and utilizes it to create false consciousness in millions of white poor and working people who live in the illusion that they have something in common with Trumpites. Unity can't be presumed, or wished to come into being. When people work together and fight together, they build the practice of unity.
In your essay, "We Must Fight for More," you write, "history lives to give us options for the future." What options do you think history has given for the Black Lives Matter movement? What does history have to teach movement leaders and participants today?
Malcolm [X] used to say, "Of all our studies, history best rewards our research." He learned this from Elijah Muhammad, his teacher. Malcolm repeated this lesson because he knew, in his own life experience, how history transformed him from a prisoner (known and despised as "Satan") to becoming one of the most respected ministers of the nation, and one of Black America's most beloved leaders. History offers an endless font of human experience that people, communities and movements can draw from to move forward into the future. History, because it is rich in examples of people's love of freedom, is a powerful source for the present and the future!
Why do you think the white supremacist governments in the West (like New Mexico, etc.) fought so hard to outlaw Chicano history? Why do you think today's public schools skimp so much on Black history? They know that Black history is explosive! And history ain't about what happened years ago, or yesterday. It explains why today is the way it is; and gives ideas about how to transform tomorrows. --- As we continue in the uncertain future of a Donald Trump presidency, what guidance do you have for young people who are involved in the Black Lives Matter movement and other movements, as they continue to resist, build and organize?
Look, we can look at Trump as the Great Boogeyman, or we can soberly examine the roles of Clinton and Obama, where the former perfected the machinery of mass incarceration, and the latter tinkered with it, just as he all but ignored the greatest loss of Black wealth (i.e. criminal mortgage thefts of Black homes) since Reconstruction. We must develop a deeper, refined analysis that gives us all a clear vision of the inherent repression of the state against Black life, a historical continuum that shows no sign of abatement. Or we can play "Republicans bad/Democrats good" like children looking for shadow plays. The system is bad; we need deep reconstruction to make new ways of living, growing and becoming possible.
Opinion: It’s Time For GOP To Save Itself and America From Nightmare of Trump Presidency By Demetrius Harris on Sat, Jul 15th, 2017 at 7:02 pm
From Politicus USA: The Republican Party owes a debt to the public which it serves, however, nothing is owed to the Republican president who has proven that he is intent on serving only himself and his financial interests.
The latest revelation of an attempt of collusion with Russia, fostered by Donald Trump Jr is not the reason the GOP should pull the plug on POTUS; it’s merely the latest. The administration is wracked by incompetence, lack of original thought, racist agendas, dishonesty and yes possible treason. Legislatively, Donald Trump has no agenda or strategy of his own to speak of. His course of action is dictated by what Barack Obama achieved before him. Advised by admitted White Nationalist, Steve Bannon, who shutters at the thought of a diverse America, Trump is led by and governs through bigotry and divisiveness.
Systematically Donald Trump has gone down a list, torn from the pages of Presidential Policy for Dummies and enacted reversals of Barack Obama executive decisions. Trump pulled America from the Paris Climate Change Agreement at the behest of voluminous scientific evidence that he undoubtedly has minimal understanding of. This decision alone may endanger the survival chances of not only America but planet Earth as a whole.
Trump has also reversed Obama era policies involving the EPA, drinking water, fuel emissions, fracking, planned parenthood, internet privacy, personal investments and national landmark protections. Trump has stripped industries of regulatory rules paving the way for industrial disaster to affect the environment and public at large. Another head scratching decision has seen POTUS abolish the right of the public to sue big business CEO’s for any form of company malfeasance including harming the environment, sexual harassment, gender and racial discrimination. These decisions enrich and protect Trump and his elite friends, who he’s placed in key positions in Washington after promising to “clean the swamp” of cronyism. This is another straight forward instance of shameless dishonesty.
Healthcare continues to be a hot button issue which is driven not by an achievable goal of medical care for everyone but rather as another way to erase the legacy of Obama.
What legislation has the brilliant mind of Donald J Trump produced? Banning Muslims from entering the country and re-dedicating America to the coal industry. Clean and beautiful coal.
Donald Trump’s stupidity knows no boundaries and has no cure. His neophyte status as a politician propelled him to surround himself with an administration and staff that couldn’t handle running a lemonade stand let alone a country. Take a moment and consider this. At the recent G20 Summit, Donald Trump was forced to reside at the Senate guesthouse in Hamburg, when his clueless staff bungled his hotel reservations. That’s not a misprint or fake news. The staff appointed to the President of the United States were too incompetent to secure hotel reservations! It’s also not the first time. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson faced the same conundrum on an earlier trip overseas. How can you possibly place any faith or trust in an administration that can’t handle the menial task of hotel reservations?
Through the torturous tenure of the failing president, Republicans have defended the indefensible and turned a blind eye and an open pocket in respect to his blatant malevolent profiteering. The GOP has repeatedly squashed Democrats request for Trump’s taxes, that will undoubtedly connect the dots and lead investigators to where the bodies are buried figuratively and quite possibly, literally.
The GOP can no longer hold the party line or appear as if they are complicit in the daily revelations of possible treason charges leveled against Donald Trump and his crooked cohorts. Republicans cannot afford to stand idly by as Trump takes an entire political party and the country down with him. The Clinton and Obama blame game inspired by a pathological liar and propelled by State TV Fox News can’t be a part of Republican strategy. It’s time for Senate and Congress to take a page right out of the flawed Trump playbook.
Members of the GOP must look at what are obvious felonious infractions by Trump, his family and staff and do what POTUS has talked about but clearly hasn’t done. Republicans must put America first and swiftly put an end to a political nightmare the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
How America’s Lack of Historical Knowledge is Aiding to Its Decline By D. Amari Jackson - July 14, 2017
From Atlanta Black Star: A popular maxim attributed to 18th-century statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke warns, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” It is an adage both empirical and intuitive, one justified as much by cyclical wars and the rise and fall of civilizations as by our own human tendencies as “creatures of habit.” Though acknowledging history as a naturally repetitive process, the saying instills hope for the alteration of human events, if not their wholesale disruption,through an increased knowledge of the past and the valuable lessons it has to offer.
Given America’s current turmoil, some feel such a critical study of history is an effective way to both navigate and forge the road ahead. “If the United States were to come to grips with the true nature of its history, it might curb the alienation and disillusionment that is now ricocheting through the Black community in particular and through fair-minded communities in general,” says Gerald Horne, the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston. Horne is author of over 30 books, including the upcoming “Facing the Rising Sun: African Americans, Japan and the Rise of Afro-Asian Solidarity.”
Keep in mind, Horne says, America began as a slaveholder’s republic under the cause of “white supremacy. But under unrelenting pressure from below by Africans, and from the international community, the United States had to retreat reluctantly and agonizingly from that national credo and its slaveholding status.” Then, continues Horne, “it invented this national myth that the constitution, which was designed to entrench slavery and white supremacy forevermore, was somehow flexible enough to encompass the rest of us. This, apparently, is not the case as the exoneration of police officers who kill us on a regular basis tends to show,” as it produces a disconnect between the official stated policy of nondiscrimination and “what’s actually happening to Black people in the streets.”
Consistently, the disconnect between America’s citizens and its history is just as large. Several surveys conducted over the past decade by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) depict a citizenry largely unaware of its eventful past. A 2012 ACTA survey found that less than 20 percent of college graduates could identify the effect of the Emancipation Proclamation. A 2015 survey revealed more than one-third could not place the Civil War within the correct 20-year time frame.
Such widespread historical ignorance is problematic for a nation currently grappling with deeply entrenched issues of economics, power and race. Or as iconic African-American historian John Hope Franklin once put it, “If the house is to be set in order, one cannot begin with the present, he must begin with the past.”
The redemptive qualities of historical knowledge are well established. Just as a toddler reaches toward a hot stove and learns not to do it again, adults, groups and societies also learn valuable and painful lessons that improve their paths forward. Two of the 20th century’s most impactful Black leaders, Marcus Garvey and Martin Luther King Jr., relied heavily upon their historical knowledge in forging social movements that affected the course of American history. The civil rights and Black Power movements of the same century were steeped in the events and lessons of previous generations as well.
However, suggests Horne, this valuable learning process is commonly undermined by the false historical narratives countries adopt to advance a profit-driven, nationalistic or patriotic agenda. Prior to the American Revolution, he explains, certain actions by the British crown served as a threat to colonial land speculators like George Washington making a killing both literally and financially by violently taking the land of Native Americans and profiting from the free labor of enslaved Africans. “In 1763, London issued a royal proclamation which sought to restrain the ability of settlers in North America to continue moving west, dispossessing Native Americans and taking their land so land speculators could profit,” Horne says. “Rather than accede to that decision— and also to the decision of 1772 where London had abolished slavery and there was a fear that decision would cross the Atlantic — you had the slaveholders rebel.”
Though that’s what actually happened, continues Horne, “instead, we are given this fairy tale about liberty and freedom” and, increasingly, “people are not accepting this fairy tale because in their daily lives they wonder why and how Black people are still being mistreated, still disproportionately on death row, still disproportionately incarcerated, and why Black preschoolers are disproportionately disciplined. And it has everything to do with the founding of this country and the fact that Black people in particular did not seek freedom fighting alongside their slave masters, they sought freedom fighting against their slave masters.”
Ultimately, inaccurate or propaganda-driven historical narratives build mistrust among the very citizens a country then demands allegiance, unity or service from in times of crisis. Horne believes it is a losing formula for any nation attempting to steady its course and chart a smoother, more constructive path forward.
“With a true and accurate portrayal of what actually has happened in North America, not only the mass enslavement of Africans but the massive dispossession of Native Americans, there might be a populous much more willing to sacrifice and fight for this country,” Horne contends.
As it is, he adds, “Why should people sacrifice and fight for a country that’s lying to them on a regular basis?”
What Do the Russians 'Have' on the Trump Family? Fear.
Some thoughts on Junior's changing story
By Charles P. Pierce Jul 10, 2017
From Esquire: So, Donald Trump The Second now has his ass in a crack because he went out after something that hundreds of elite political journalists have sought since at least 1991—some dirt on the Clintons. The difference, of course, is that many of the latter took meetings with every poolroom liar and state house grifter in the state of Arkansas. According to the remarkable one-two thrown by The New York Timesover the weekend, Junior went spelunking for slime in an incredible universe of murderous gangsters, which shares a very big chunk of the Russian government's Venn diagram with the political elite of that country. Forgive my cynicism, but Junior would have been better off hanging out at the Mena Airport, or maybe tossing back a few at Parker Dozhier's fish camp. Safer, too. Per the NYT:
Trump Jr. added that the lawyer then changed subjects and began discussing a separate issue: the adoption of Russian children and a US law known as the Magnitsky Act, which allows the US to withhold visas and freeze the assets of Russians thought to have violated human rights.
Veselnitskaya founded a group purporting to seek the removal of Moscow's ban on the adoption of Russian children by US citizens, which it put in place in retaliation for the Magnitsky Act; she has also sought to repeal that law.
Let us pause for a moment and consider the Magnitsky Act. Sergei Magnitsky was an auditor from a Russian law firm who uncovered the biggest case of tax fraud in the history of Russian kleptocratic corruption, which is something. In response, Magnitsky was arrested and put on trial for tax evasion in front of a bunch of crooks in lovely kangaroo suits. He died in prison of untreated medical problems and (probably) from being beaten to death by the good people from the Interior Ministry. In 2012, the Congress passed a law that froze the assets and effectively rendered non-persons 18 Russian officials who were tied in some way to the persecution and murder of Sergei Magnitsky. This got up the nose of Vladimir Putin, who responded by suspending the adoption of Russian children by American families. He also launched a PR blitz headed by a well-connected hack lawyer named Natalia Veselnitskaya. Which is where Junior comes in.
Veselnitskaya was the person with whom Junior—along with Paul Manafort and the inevitable Jared Kushner—took the meeting. Let's let Junior's most recent explanation speak for itself, because it's just the funniest thing ever.
In a statement on Sunday, Donald Trump Jr. said he had met with the Russian lawyer at the request of an acquaintance. "After pleasantries were exchanged," he said, "the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information." He said she then turned the conversation to adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act, an American law that blacklists suspected Russian human rights abusers. The law so enraged President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia that he retaliated by halting American adoptions of Russian children. "It became clear to me that this was the true agenda all along and that the claims of potentially helpful information were a pretext for the meeting," Mr. Trump said.
This, then, is Junior's official explanation: I thought we were colluding to ratfck the Democratic candidate, and the presidential election in general, but then she started talking about getting the mobsters' money back. Bitch set me up.
This is not an argument I would bring to court.
Right now, there are more Russians involved in this story than there are in War and Peace. Many of them have the power to cloud men's minds; how else to explain the fact that both Kushner and Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III both forgot to mention to the responsible vetting agencies meetings with various Russians. At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the statue in the Lincoln Memorial was wearing a fur hat some morning very soon. At this point, I wouldn't be shocked if the R in Rhode Island suddenly turned backwards.
To get the full picture, the redoubtable Booman suggests that we examine the criminal complaint that Preet Bharara filed against one Denis Katsyv, another one of Veselnitskaya's clients, and the alleged mastermind of the massive fraud that got Sergei Magnitsky killed. He's right. The breadth and depth of the corruption is almost impossible to believe. There's identity theft … of corporations. (I guess they really are people, too.) There's the entire world as their laundromat, including "Manhattan real estate." Russian security forces raided corporate offices and then used what they took to set up front companies to clean the cash. Essentially, they looted this hedge fund of about $230 million. Magnitsky looked into it. He got busted by the same people he was investigating, and it got him killed. Of course, Bharara got fired, and the case was quietly settled for $6 million and no admission of guilt by anybody.
What I believe I see here is an incredibly corrupt American family doing business with criminal gangs that are way, way out of their league, and that are in league with the institutions of government, and the formidable security apparatus, of an authoritarian state. Talk about punching out of your weight class. This isn't cheating some poor subcontractor. These people throw you out windows. And the Trumps have being doing business in this financial abattoir for years. This doesn't make them sharp. This makes them compliant minnows in a shark tank.
Not to borrow trouble, but what if these guys decide that the president's son—or, god forbid, the president himself—have become as inconvenient as Sergei Magnitsky was. For months now, people have been asking what the Russians "have" on Donald Trump. Maybe it's just fear. If it's not, it ought to be.
The simple fact is: they really just don't care about us
By Frank Vyan Walton Saturday Jul 08, 2017 · 1:00 PM PDT
From Daily Kos: There really is a marked difference in the amount of empathy, basic human kindness, and decency emanating from certain people in this nation. They really have decided that some of their fellow Americans are their enemy, and consequently treat them accordingly. If you’re on one side of the line, then any negative action toward you is taken seriously and the hounds leap up to bark at how “unfair” and “cruel” it all is. But if you’re on the other side, then no amount of cruelty or vicious behavior will ever be noticed or acknowledged.
This is a problem that goes far beyond the words or actions of Donald J. Trump.
It’s a poison inside the soul of our nation and it needs to be seriously and deeply cleansed. Unfortunately, if you bother to point out that this problem even exists, you’ve just placed yourself on the wrong side of the empathy deficit line.
This week we’ve had quite a few vivid examples of this, starting with the doctored WWE video that Trump tweeted showing himself body slamming and beating up a helpless CNN. Speaking from Poland, Trump said that when CNN complains that this video encourages violence against journalists, it just means that they “took it too seriously.”Read More
When Republicans "Win," the Rest of Us Lose Saturday, July 08, 2017 By Jill Richardson, OtherWords | Op-Ed
From Truthout: Can we stop pretending that leading Republicans care about anything beyond winning and power? To be sure, there are some in the party who are guided by conservative "principles." House Speaker Paul Ryan said he's been "dreaming" of gutting Medicaid -- the program that provides health care to the poorest Americans -- since his college days.
No doubt that goal came from some ideological notion of cutting government programs in order to lower taxes on the wealthiest Americans, presumably because the poor are "lazy" or "undeserving." Trump, for his part, just wants to win. Remember how he promised we'd all be "tired of winning" if he became president?
He didn't mean we'd "win" by having the best, most comprehensive health care system in the world. Or the best education system in the world. (If he cared one bit about education, he would've picked a secretary of education who had any qualifications to hold that job at all. But he didn't.) Trump isn't interested in policy. Trump is interested in Trump.
At every step, his record proves he doesn't know or care much about the particulars of any health care bill Republicans in Congress write. He cares simply about getting it passed. He just wants to declare a "win" by repealing Obamacare. He wants to make the Democrats "lose."
If 22 million Americans lose their health care in the process, as the Congressional Budget Office predicts, so what? If people with cancer literally die when their health insurance is yanked out from under them, so what?
Case in point: After the House passed its version of the health care bill, Trump held an event in the Rose Garden for it. Normally such a ceremony is reserved for when a president signs a bill.
In this case, the Senate hadn't even considered it yet. Trump just wanted the optics of having a win. Remember, this is the very same bill he later called "mean."
Trump gets a high from holding rallies where he speaks off the cuff to crowds that cheer and chant his name. It makes him feel loved and important. Plus, he doesn't have to prepare that much, always a plus. Yet he's never learned that much about policy. He just promises that everything he does will be "tremendous" without giving any details, because he doesn't have any. If he gets a big cheer for something, like building a border wall, he'll keep it in his repertoire and ham it up even more.
No wonder he came to believe that solving the most difficult problems on earth -- North Korea, health care, terrorism -- would be easy.
There are two problems with Trump's win-at-all-cost ideology.
One is a practical problem for Republicans. Congressional Republicans have enough principles (if you count cutting programs for the poor as a principle) that it's near impossible to pass a health care bill that unites all of them.
The bigger problem is for Americans. We don't win when Republicans or Donald Trump crush the Democrats for the sake of looking like winners. We win when our leaders carefully analyze the nation's problems and craft legislation that solves them.
Republicans don't want to lose face by keeping Obamacare, or even by reforming its shortcomings, after promising to repeal it for years. Even though their proposals to replace it are unpopular and awful, they're willing to push them through out of fear their base -- or their donors -- will turn on them.
Republicans in Congress would rather millions of Americans lose health insurance than risk losing their own jobs. Apparently that's what "winning" looks like to them.
Americans won't win unless their leaders' goal is to help the American people instead of only helping themselves. Otherwise, Trump's right: I am tired of winning.
Less than six months into Trump’s presidency — it’s clear that our chief executive is unfit for office
Michael Winship, Moyers & Company 07 JUL 2017 AT 13:21 ET
From Raw Story: A tune was running through my head all this past Fourth of July weekend, and it wasn’t “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy.” No, the earworm that afflicted me was the opening number from the 1980 musical Barnum, a Broadway extravaganza that glorified the master showman and consummate humbug P.T. Barnum, born July 5, 1810. --- Donald Trump is the con man huckster of all time, and in his sway are the many descendants of those suckers who back in the day provided a steady livelihood for good old P.T.
There are huge differences, of course, the biggest being that in the musical at least, Barnum is portrayed as a lovable, charming rascal. And he’s not a bully, unlike the current ringmaster of our national Big Top.
But the similarities are there for sure — each man endeavoring to create sideshows that fool both the public and the media with clever tricks that distract the eye. Barnum did it for fun and profit; Trump out of malice, a desperate need for attention and most important to the country, the desire to divert attention from the fact that in less than six months his administration has flamed out in many spectacular ways, while at the same time effectively wrought havoc with representative democracy and government.
Subverting rules and regulations, upending international agreements and offending other countries while backslapping right-wing nationalists, sending the justice system hurtling back toward the 19th century, enabling the very rich (including himself) to get much, much richer and the poor to fall through the safety net (the Trumpcare debacle) — what we’ve seen in such a short time is a brutish, conscious effort to subvert the inalienable rights both guaranteed and implied by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
That Trump so often chooses to do his dirty work via Twitter of all things, bastardizing policy, trivializing and reducing the most important issues to 140 characters while hurling the grossest and most peculiar insults at those who dare call foul is somehow emblematic of his already sordid and petty tenure.
(By the way, if you would seek the latest instance of projection coupled with a stunning lack of self-awareness, I give you the president’s recent tweet attacking North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s latest missile test with the query, “Does this guy have anything better to do with his life?” Try multitasking, Mr. President: Look in the mirror as your thumbs fly across the keyboard, and ask yourself the same question.)
But it is not just by his tweets that you shall know him. David Rothkopf, a visiting professor at Columbia and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, recently moderated a panel at the Aspen Ideas Festival and wound up suggesting, in his words, “that it may be that Trump’s fitness to serve as president is our nation’s core national security issue.”
In The Washington Post, citing Trump’s lack of impulse control, flip-flopping, reluctance to fill key positions (fewer appointments so far than his four predecessors) and “his resistance to doing the work needed to be president,” Rothkopf writes:
“The United States has had a wide variety of presidents; we have as often been victimized by their errors of judgment as we have benefited from their leadership. But the stark reality is that objective analysis reveals that we have never before seen a president so unfit for office. Even President Richard Nixon at his moments of darkest paranoia was a professional public servant who understood the office and the stakes associated with it. One might, on this Independence Day week, have to go back to King George III to find a head of state who so threatened America. But there is no precedent for one whose character is so obviously ill-suited to the presidency.”
Last week, at Washington Monthly’s Political Animal blog, Martin Longman noted that the consequences of Trump’s ineptitude already are beginning to pile up:
“Trump will lash out in ever more confusing and bizarre ways,” Longan predicts. “And then the indictments and plea deals will start to flow in from Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s shop. By Thanksgiving, if not before, the nation will be confronted with the urgent need to remove Trump from power and I suspect there will be more consensus about it by then than most people can imagine right now.”
Back when P.T Barnum displayed his many wonders to the millions who visited his American Museum in New York City — everything and everyone from tiny General Tom Thumb to the bogus Fiji Mermaid (a monkey’s head and torso stitched to the tail of a fish) — he noticed that many ticket holders, each of whom had paid a quarter apiece, were spending far too much time loitering and gawking at the exhibits. So he had signs posted that read, “This way to the egress.” Thinking they were going to see yet another of Barnum’s curiosities, sightseers followed the signs and were startled to find themselves out on the street.
It seems clear, Donald Trump, even this early in your presidency, that it’s time for you to follow P.T. Barnum’s instructions and make your way to the egress. Whether you will or not is uncertain. Will this Congress ever see fit to begin impeachment proceedings or will your vice president and cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment or will we have to wait to see if the electorate tosses you out in 2020?
The need transcends party, yet partisan dysfunction may prevent the proper course being taken immediately, but leave you must. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Coard: Should Blacks Celebrate July 4th? Michael Coard Jul 1, 2017
From Philly Tribune: Simply stated, the answer is “No!” And the following explains why.
The Declaration of Independence asserts, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Despite that, slavery was legal in the 13 colonies, which means 20 percent of the population was held in brutal bondage without liberty or happiness or a real life.
Of the 56 white male property owners who signed that Declaration, 27 were slave-holders, slave-shippers, and/or slave-investors.
Thomas Jefferson- who was the primary drafter of the Declaration of Independence- enslaved 175 Black women, men, and children in 1776 and 267 by 1822. Also, he was a racist pedophile who began raping Sally Hemings when she was 14-years-old. And he impregnated her seven times.
In addition to that, as Governor of Virginia in 1779, he signed a bill to encourage enlistment in the American Revolutionary War by compensating white men by giving them a “healthy sound Negro.”
In his 1785 book entitled Notes on the State of Virginia, he wrote about “the preference of the ‘oran-outan’ (meaning an ape-like creature) for ... Black women over those of ... (its) own species.” He added that Blacks “are inferior to the whites ...” and have “a very strong and disagreeable odor.”
There was language in an early version of the Declaration of Independence that condemned the King of England for kidnapping Africans and shipping them from the Motherland to Europe. That language properly described slavery as “execrable commerce.” However, the men who participated in the drafting of that document realized that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. So those racist hypocrites deleted it.
The battle cry of the signatories to the Declaration of Independence was “Taxation without representation.” They contended that Britain’s requirement that they pay taxes without having any elected representation in the British Parliament would reduce them to the status of “slaves.” They contended this while enslaving human beings themselves. If that’s not the height of historical hypocrisy, nothing is.
America’s history books still fail to mention that Crispus Attucks- the first to die in the so-called Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, an event that began the violence that would lead to the Revolutionary War- happened to be in that city on that date because he was with a group of laborers on the waterfront. And that was because he was a professional seaman who had been on various ships for 20 years after having courageously escaped slavery. His courage stemmed from what he had learned from his African father and Natick “Indian” mother. But none of that is taught in this country’s schools.
Neither is the fact that 5,000 brave Black men were instrumental in leading America to victory over Britain by 1783. Why aren’t their names and biographies widely publicized?
Maybe it’s because General George Washington initially barred free and enslaved Blacks from serving. But he changed his mind when the British began kicking his butt. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Maybe it’s also because, after Blacks helped win the war for America, many of them were thrown back into American slavery. Incredible!
By the way, July 4th isn’t really Independence Day. July 2nd is. The Second Continental Congress met in Philly on July 1st and then on July 2nd approved a resolution declaring independence. The only thing that happened on July 4th was the approval of an edited version of the Declaration.
In regard to that July 2nd date, John Adams- a drafter, delegate, and Founding Father- wrote to his wife Abigail on that same day, “I am apt to believe that July 2nd, 1776 will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.”
In 1777, Congress, for the first time ever, considered memorializing that historically pivotal July 2nd date. But there was a problem: Congress considered it two days late, which is why July 4th became the officially recognized date.
Incidentally, most of the delegates didn’t sign the Declaration until August 2nd when John Hancock prominently “graffitied” his name on it. And it wasn’t until November 19 that the final delegate signed it.
Apart from that, there’s a strong argument that even the year 1776 is incorrect since the Revolutionary War officially began on April 19, 1775.
Parenthetically, I should mention that some of the signers weren’t even American. Eight were foreigners from Britain, i.e., the country of the enemy. I wonder if today’s anti-immigrant right-wingers in the U.S. know that. On second thought, I don’t wonder.
Most of what Americans think they know about July 4th and the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War is a lie. For example, Paul Revere never completed his “The Redcoats are coming! The Redcoats are coming!” midnight warning ride. He was captured by the British.
And seamstress Betsy Ross didn’t sew the flag in 1776 (or any other time) after supposedly having met General George Washington. She had absolutely nothing to do with it. Her grandson William Canby completely made up the story nearly a hundred years later in 1870 when he presented false affidavits from family members to the Pennsylvania Historical Society in Philadelphia.
The Souring of American Exceptionalism
Commitment to liberalism once distinguished the United States—now, it’s the disdain of American elites for the troubles of their fellow citizens that sets the nation apart.
David Frum Jul 3, 2017
From The Atlantic: Tomorrow, the Fourth of July, Americans will celebrate their independence, the birth of a free nation. Leading the celebrations will be a president mysteriously dependent on a foreign power—a president who lavishly praises dictators and publicly despises the institutions of freedom, not only the free press but also an independent judiciary and other constitutional restraints on his will.
This is a Fourth tinged with sad ironies. Can we put the occasion to any good use? Near the end of a much more terrible national ordeal, Abraham Lincoln urged Americans: "Let us, therefore, study the incidents of this, as philosophy to learn wisdom from.” Good advice. We should try.
A traditional theme of the rhetoric of the Fourth is the celebration of “American exceptionalism.” That phrase has acquired a boastful overtone, which is why President Obama famously handled it so diffidently. "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
“American exceptionalism" began its career, however, not as a boast, but as a question.
“Why is there no socialism in the United States?” asked a Marxist German in 1906. According to Marxist ideology, the United States—as the most highly developed capitalist nation—should have led the way toward proletarian class-consciousness. When that did not happen, Marxists squirmed to explain the deficiency away. Non-Marxists took up the inquiry after World War II. With a Labor government nationalizing railways and steelworks in Britain—Germany shattered by Nazism—and communism holding Russia, China, and half of Europe in its grip, the United States stood out as a lonely beacon of liberalism. Again America seemed a special case that needed explaining. This time the explanations came from fellow-liberals who admired the American exception, which is how the phrase acquired its secondary and more positive meaning.
Over the next decades, however, as both democracy and market economics became accepted facts across the developed world, the question changed form. Even pre-Trump, it was hard to argue that the United States was a consistently more liberal society than Germany or Britain, let alone Denmark or Canada. In some ways, yes: Free speech is more protected in the United States than other places. In some ways, no: The right to vote is better protected almost everywhere else in the democratic world than in the United States.
But most of the compliments Americans paid themselves half a century ago ring hollow in the 21st century. In 2010, as a rising star in the Tea Party movement, Marco Rubio delivered the keynote address at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. He told his own inspiring personal story and credited it to the unique opportunities of the United States. "The result is an America where—which is the only place in the world where it doesn't matter who your parents were or where you came from. You can be anything you are willing to work hard to be. The result is the only economy in the world where poor people with a better idea and a strong work ethic can compete and succeed against rich people in the marketplace and competition.” None of that is true, and in important ways it is the opposite of the truth. Who your parents were and where you came from matters probably more in the United States than in most other advanced economies, at least if statistics on upward mobility are to be believed.
America’s uniqueness, even pre-Trump, was expressed as much through negative indicators than positive. It is more violent than other comparable societies, both one-on-one and in the gun massacres to which the country has become so habituated. It has worse health outcomes than comparably wealthy countries, and some of them most important of them are deteriorating further even as they improve almost everywhere else. America’s average levels of academic achievement lag those of other advanced countries. Fewer Americans vote—and in no other democracy does organized money count for so much in political life. A century ago, H.L. Mencken observed the American “national genius for corruption,” and (again pre-Trump) Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index ranks the U.S. in 18th place, behind Hong Kong, Belgium, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany—never mind first-place finishers Denmark and New Zealand.
As I said: pre-Trump. Now the United States has elected a president who seems much more aligned with—and comfortable in the company of—the rulers of Turkey, Hungary, Uzbekistan, and the Philippines than his counterparts in other highly developed countries.
That result forces a reshaping of the question of American exceptionalism.
“Why was the United States vulnerable to such a person when other democracies have done so much better?” Part of the answer is a technical one: The Electoral College, designed to protect the country from demagogues, instead elected one. But then we have to ask: How did Trump even get so far that the Electoral College entered into the matter one way or another?
Thinking about that question forces an encounter with American exceptionalism in its most somber form. If, as I believe, Donald Trump arose because of the disregard of the American political and economic elite for the troubles of so many of their fellow-citizens, it has to be asked again: How could the leaders of a democratic country imagine they could get away with such disregard?
Nor has that elite learned its lessons. Look at the progress of the Republican health-care bill through the House and Senate. The authors of the bill are acutely aware of how despised it is, how much more despised it will be once it goes into effect: That’s precisely why they have broken through all normal legislative processes, why they do not hold hearings, why they conceal its elements, why they outright lie about its effect. Even so, only fewer than one in five Americans support what they wish to do. Rather than make any attempt to build consensus—never mind to make adjustments that could gain broader consent—a small leadership group is pushing through. Some of those leaders are dogmatically sure that they are correct, no matter what anybody else thinks. Others are heedless of consequences for anyone but their supporters and donors. Still others feel cynically certain that if they can prevail now against the numbers, they can use the inertia of the American system to prevent the large majority who opposed them from reversing their actions. Only in America, as the saying goes. This Fourth of July, however, it is harder to say with pride.
We are still not free: Why I can’t celebrate the Fourth of July How can we celebrate Independence Day in good conscience with so many disenfranchised citizens?
From Salon: As many gear up to celebrate Independence Day, I think it’s only right to take a step back recognize our citizens who still aren’t free. We all know that thousands of enslaved Africans were held hostage in America while the colonists fought for their own freedom from Great Britain. Many of those slaves strapped up and battled the Brits, too, with the hope of being freed after the war, and it didn’t happen. Andrew Jackson even promised freedom to the brave Africans who protected Louisiana — that didn’t happen, either.
It would take another 80 years for Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to still not deliver complete freedom to enslaved Africans — at least not the same type of freedom white people in the country enjoyed and continue to enjoy. It’s now been 154 since Emancipation, and 234 years since the American Revolution, and all Americans still aren’t free.
Only some Americans experience fair treatment from our justice system, unlimited employment opportunity, and guaranteed social mobility. That is not a free country, and therefore we don’t deserve to celebrate freedom. Philando Castile was executed over a broken taillight. What laws did Tamir Rice and Rekia Boyd, who were killed by Americans who weren’t held accountable, break? Maybe the same crime as Trayvon Martin and Ramarley Graham, whose killers are also free?
I know Sandra Bland’s death was sparked by a failure to signal a turn while driving, and Eric Garner was killed over selling loose cigarettes by Daniel Pantaleo, who still enjoys all of the American freedoms and opportunities he can stand. Walter Scott, a veteran, died over a brake light. Freddie Gray died for running from police officers who represent a department with a dense history of misconduct.
America is a place where a citizen like Samuel DuBose can be killed by a cop over a missing license plate. What capital offense did Oscar Grant commit? The list goes on and on. The bulk of, if not all of, the officers and self-appointed vigilante neighborhood watchmen involved in these killings are free. Knowing this makes it impossible for me to celebrate independence and freedom.
Disconnected readers will respond with pedestrian rebuttals like “if you don’t like it, go back to Africa!” Contrary to what they may believe, I’m from America; I can’t just “go back” to Africa. So I’ll respond with my favorite James Baldwin quote instead: “I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
Exposing and attacking our country’s flaws is how we truly heal. We don’t let broken arms hang limp in the United States, we cast them. I’d argue that people who are OK with the way things are are the ones who don’t truly love this country or value independence. I won’t be celebrating the Fourth of July until everyone can play, but I’m not surprised by the all of the people who will. After all, it’s 2017 and we still acknowledge Columbus Day.
My Excellent Independence Day Rant, 2017 by Manuel Garcia Jr. / July 2nd, 2017
From Dissident Voice: Bigotry lets stupid people feel powerful. They are bigots because they are greedy, and they are greedy because they are fearful. They are fearful because they are hollow, and desperate for their materialism and worship of power to fill the void of their lack of character, to mask their internal weakness with an illusion of external power. In American politics: bigotry is allowed to shape the arguments, and money is allowed to control the voting. Hillary Clinton had the most well-deserved electoral defeat in American history; Donald Trump, the most undeserved win. It’s not Trump’s fault, the preference for TV over books inoculates ignorance and bigotry against learning and knowledge.
The corporate-owned politicians lie because lying is the sound of theft. They are the agents of those who think: “The purpose of life is to enrich yourself without being impeded by the needs of others.” The news media propaganda industry is rich people paying rich people to tell middle class people to blame poor people, who middle class people are joining. The lie being pushed is that fulfillment is to be had in a system of economic apartheid without economic security and without personal freedom.
Suffer we must, for billionaires’ money lust depends on it. For consolation we can have: clueless comforting happy talk, or searing bitter bigotry, unless we choose better.
In systems of patronage capitalism it is necessary to sell out your integrity and moral character in order to advance a financially rewarded career. You have to go along to get along. It’s like the perpetuating of physical-sexual abuse through the generations: as a child (or young worker starting out) you are abused by your seniors who demand you loyally cover their asses and slavishly submit to their demands – you cannot be impeded by moral principles or self-respect; as a rising star you find even bigger abusive tyrants to follow while recruiting your own ass-kissing minions to expand your power base; and finally as (and if) a successful pharaonic mega-abuser yourself you get to beat up multitudes, remotely, by using your army of slave-drivers and aspiring tyrants. The seed of all this is weak character, the lack of courage and/or strength to maintain personal integrity regardless of the costs in terms of comfort, money, social position, recognition, and acceptance by the herd.
Q: “Why spend $600B a year on a military to protect us if you Trumpsters and Corp-pols are willing to let us die of treatable diseases and ailments?”
A: You miss the point. The purpose of the US military is to protect Big Capital (corporate assets and operations, and plutocrats’ take), not the public. Also, the economic policy of the U.S. (i.e., the corporate-owned government and economy) is militarism: the big insiders’ war machine/finance capital profit cycle. “The people” are just an excess labor mass from which to extract wealth, and on which to dump the toxic wastes and financial costs (“socialized losses”) of exploiting and privatizing the commons. The graveyards of our war dead are garbage dumps for capitalist expansion. The U.S. is neither united nor a nation, it is a colony. “We the people” are expendable commodities steadily being programmed for slavery. The American Dream: commercializing life and death, and cornering the market.
America has a capitalist system whose foreign policy is imperialism, domestic policy is colonialism, economic policy is militarism, and management policy is patronism.
Moral Depravity of Republicans Sinks to New Low in Feud Over Food Stamp Cuts By Robert Franek on Sun, Jul 2nd, 2017 at 9:12 am
From Politicus USA: ...It was not surprising to learn that according to The Huffington Post House Republicans are in a feud over how much to cut funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Notice that it is not whether or not to make cuts, but how much should be cut. This essential assistance program for millions of people across the country to be able to feed themselves and their families always comes under endless scrutiny though it is only a tiny fraction of the overall discretionary spending within the farm bill and in the overall federal budget.
Cutting waste, fraud, and abuse is the story often used to justify such cruel cuts that take food out of the mouths of innocent children. People need to work.The government is not a charity. These too are chanted in the halls of power and in homes across the country with little understanding of the entrapment of poverty, the structural obstacles that need to be overcome, and how having a job is not the sole solution to financial freedom, especially when the minimum wage is a starvation wage and not a living wage.
The efficiency excuse is even harder to swallow when one discovers that it is not for lack of money that these cruel cuts are said to be necessary. Rather Republicans believe that children need to go hungry so that they can give another tax break to the wealthiest people in the country and continually increase defense spending.
Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) told HuffPost:
“Over the years, SNAP has essentially been an ATM machine for Republicans so they can pay for increases in defense spending and tax cuts.”
Strange that it is never the other way around. Strange that defense spending is not cut just a little or a tax break for the wealthy forfeited so that one of the governments biggest and most successful safety net programs may be strengthened and not strangled.
Yet, Republicans continue to tout the benefit of giving tax cuts to the rich because the increased wealth at the top will somehow magically trickle down to everyone below. Here’s a reality check. One does not need to be Robert Reich or Paul Krugman to know that trickle-down economics is a failed experiment and an utter lie.
Whether through so called “health care” legislation or budgetary plans, Republicans in Congress never fail to find a way to transfer wealth from the people who have the least to the people who have the most. I am not sure how anyone with common sense and a moral compass can see how making cuts to a social safety net program that enables children to have food on the table constitutes having “family values”. Sean Colarossi summed up the feud over food stamps this way:
“How many Americans should be unable to feed their families just so taxes can be lowered for the wealthy? That’s essentially the question they’re asking themselves now.”
The Bible is full of feeding stories from the miraculous manna Israel received in their wilderness journey to the flour and oil that provided for Elijah, the widow at Zarephath, and her family in the midst of a drought. Jesus too is constantly feeding people and banqueting with the rich and poor alike. Read the Gospel of Luke. Jesus is often stirring up trouble by who he is feeding and with whom he chooses to have banquet meals.
One feeding story appears in all four Gospels. In Matthew’s version, it begins with the disciples wanting Jesus to send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages to buy food for themselves for they are in a deserted place and the hour is now late. But Jesus tells his disciples the crowds need not go away, you give them something to eat. The astonished disciples wonder how that is going to be done when all they have are five loaves of bread and two fish. Over five thousand were fed that evening the story concludes and twelve baskets of leftovers were gathered.
This story of the feeding of the multitudes comes to mind when I think of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program because like those few loaves and fish this slice of the federal budget is comparably small. Its section on a pie chart is barely visible. Yet the return on investment of these dollars that help feed children and families across the country is immeasurable. The return of dollars invested in this safety net program is like that of the loaves Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and gives to feed the people. There is more at the end of the meal than the beginning. So also with these dollars that enable parents to provide food for their children so they do not have hunger pains in school enabling them to focus and learn without the distraction of a hungry aching stomach.
Who knows what anxieties are relieved in parents who know they have this money to stretch their food budget a little farther and what children are able to achieve having had the basic wonder of a decent meal? More these dollars are immediately invested in local economies across the country and not put away in investment accounts. Thus, these dollars are an immediate and regular stimulus in the economy.
This week as we celebrate our country’s founding and independence let us also remember our deepest shared moral values that unite us across every division. Let us see the humanity and dignity in our hungry neighbors who need the help of our social safety nets. Let us remember that one of the most patriotic things we can do is to care for the hungry through the budgetary process. The allocation of financial resources is a moral exercise and budgets are moral documents that reflect our values.
America Needs Service Workers — And They Need Health Care Universal health care costs money. Going without costs more.
By Jill Richardson - June 28, 2017
From Other Words: Our country is founded on a myth that anyone can succeed so long as they work hard.
That’s the story of Alexander Hamilton that has swept Broadway: how a “bastard orphan” can become “a hero and a scholar.” According to the lyrics he did it by working harder, being smarter, and being a self-starter.
If that’s all you need to do to succeed, then it’s your own fault if you’re poor.
And White House spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway has no sympathy for you. If you’re sad the Republican health care bill is going to take away your Medicaid, she says — and it will — you can go get a job. Because your poverty is your own fault.
To quote Ernest Hemingway, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
The reality isn’t as nice. We don’t live in a society where anyone can get ahead just by working hard. It might feel that way if you grew up middle class, but that’s not the reality millions of Americans live in.
Sociological research confirms this unpleasant truth again and again.
As for the people on Medicaid who should just “get a job,” odds are they already have a job. Maybe two jobs.
We as a society want people working in restaurants, cleaning our hotel rooms, checking us out and stocking shelves at stores, and doing any number of low-skilled, generally low-wage jobs. Some people even oppose giving those workers a raise because it would either cut into corporate profits or raise prices.
Well, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t benefit from low-wage labor while simultaneously blaming low-wage workers for their own poverty.
And if you’re truly callous enough not to care if the working poor have access to affordable health care, consider how their plight affects you.
Suppose for a moment that 22 million Americans lose their health care, which is what the Congressional Budget Office predicts if the Senate passes the Republican health care bill. What happens?
Those 22 million people no longer go for preventative check ups. They don’t treat medical problems when they occur, before the problems get worse. They wait until they have no choice, and they go to the emergency room.
If they cannot pay the bills accrued at the emergency room, the hospital eats the cost. But hospitals must balance their budgets somehow, so they raise prices for everyone else.
If you’re insured, then you’re not paying the hospital directly, so the higher prices go to your insurance company. And they pass it on to you in the form of higher premiums.
Thus, if you aren’t moved by the human suffering caused by depriving the working poor of health care, perhaps you’ll be moved by your own pocketbook.
Unless emergency rooms start declining treatment to anyone who can’t pay, turning cancer patients and gunshot victims onto the streets to die, somebody is going to pay for the care of the uninsured.
The question is whether they’ll be able to go for preventative check-ups and treat problems early, or whether they ‘ll go to the emergency room after they can no longer avoid it.
For those who rely on Obamacare for their insurance — myself included — the prospects of losing their health care is terrifying. I have several friends with cancer who are literally afraid they will die if the repeal bill passes. And that’s not hyperbole. It’s time we stopped telling ourselves that anyone who’s struggling only has themselves to blame. And as the wealthiest nation on earth, it’s a travesty that we aren’t willing to help them.
No, the Republican health care bill isn’t dead — and it amounts to a crime against humanity
Some version of this bill will likely still pass — and it's a vicious attack on the poor, children and the elderly
CHAUNCEY DEVEGA - THURSDAY, JUN 29, 2017 02:00 AM PDT
From Salon: The Republican “health care” bill will not come to the Senate floor this week. But this is clearly only a temporary respite, and progressives should not declare victory. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he may introduce a new version of the bill as soon as Friday, with the stated goal of a Senate vote right after the Fourth of July recess. In any possible version that the Republican majority can pass, this bill is a crime against humanity that will intentionally kill tens of thousands of Americans each year and cause “great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health” for many tens of millions more.
This bill will dramatically increase human misery. It will literally cause pain and suffering for millions of Americans.
As I have previously argued, the Republican Party’s ultimate goal is to rid our society of the “useless eaters.” These “reforms” serve to illustrate the fact that today’s Republican Party is essentially sociopathic and terrorizes the American people.
In total, the Republican Party’s “health care” bill could more correctly labeled as a “death care” bill. To claim it has anything to do with ensuring Americans’ health is an act of Orwellian Newspeak that would make Joseph Goebbels proud. The American Medical Association has even gone so far as to declare that the Senate Republican version of the bill violates a basic principle of the healing profession: Medicine has long operated under the precept of “Primum non nocere,” or “First, do no harm.”
The Republican Party has long claimed to embody “family values” and to represent “Judeo-Christian civilization.” But its health care proposals offer a profound insight into the conservative movement’s deranged and perverse version of Christianity. Here, the Jesus Christ that today’s Republicans so publicly embrace is not a person who believed in taking care of the poor and the weakest among us, but rather one who loved the plutocrats above all others. Satan smiles at the Republican health care bill; Jesus weeps. Quite predictably, the Republican Party’s various proposals to overturn the Affordable Care Act are among the most unpopular pieces of legislation in modern American history. Traditional political logic dictates that to pass such laws would be an act of political suicide.
This assumption is incorrect. The Republican health care bill is an act of cruel political genius that could potentially guarantee the GOP’s continued power many years into the future.
To be more specific, it will have a disproportionately negative impact on people of color, the poor, the working class and women — groups that are likely to support the Democratic Party.
What about Donald Trump’s supposed “white working class” voters? Won’t they be hurt by the Republican plan to destroy the Affordable Care Act? Will they rebel against the Republican Party as a result?
The Republican Party is the country’s largest white identity organization. As such, Donald Trump’s appeal is based on white racial tribalism and authoritarianism. Public opinion and other research has repeatedly shown that it was the politics of white grievance mongering and white victimology that enabled Trump to win the White House. In all likelihood, these feelings will override any “rational” calculation by Republican voters about public policy and the harm done to them by their party’s wholesale destruction of our health care system.
Trump, Republicans Seek to Euthanize 80 Million Young and Old Americans: Democrats will be Accessories to the Crime
by John Stanton | June 27, 2017 - 6:10am
From The Smirking Chimp: ....Who, exactly, are the people that the Republicans in the US Congress represent? Or, should we ask, do they have the best interests of their local constituents in mind?
If constituent’s means insurance companies, donors and the financial fascist gods they worship, then they are wonderful representatives. They are doing what their masters seek and that is the elimination of 80 million non-economically productive old, disabled and young Americans who rely on Medicaid.
Eating Their Own
It is difficult to comprehend why Republican voters are so inclined to watch as their fellow citizens are likely to be cut off from the lifeline that is Medicaid. It is more appalling, I suppose, to see the Democrats and their constituents standing by, not fighting the Trump-Republican madness, offering no plan and playing it safe in hopes of winning congressional seats in the 2018 elections. In fact, they seem willing to sacrifice those 80 million Americans just to retain their house and senate seats.
If Americans who identify as Republicans--and by their silence Democrats--are willing to kill off, or cause the suffering of so many of their fellow citizens, what does that say about the state of the United States? We are told repeatedly that the economic recovery is on track, unemployment is down, and the stock market is soaring to historical heights. But you would not think that after visiting many of America’s cities, rural areas and many small communities. And now comes word from America’s economic and political overlords that there are not enough qualified employees in America to fill positions that are available. Who is to blame for that? Why, of course, the “little people”, not the financial and ideological savages who are ripping apart the country.
To force the minions to become qualified, Republicans and Democrats seek to privatize the entire US education system ensuring that corporate teachers will train “we the people” to become qualified for this and that job. But that will create two societies in the United States: One in which 30 percent of Americans fill all the “good” jobs and are gated off in their own communities protected by private security companies. The other 70 percent will include homeless tribes, squatters, the unemployed, the sick, the non-productive, and those 80 million Americans dumped off Medicaid. But, hey! For an $800 billion tax cut for the wealthy--thanks to crippling Medicaid--what is a few million unproductive lives?
If euthanasia became acceptable across the land, Trump and his Republican moneychangers would pass legislation containing standards staying alive on productivity, health, and taxable income. The Democrats would shrug their shoulders.
Thanks a Lot!
The fact is that the American people are the nation’s most important infrastructure. But with each passing day, they are being subjected to death on the installment plan. It took a few decades for the financial cannibals to eat the social programs of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. President Jimmy Carter kicked it off with a focus on urban areas.
“In 1978, Jimmy Carter released the United States’ first comprehensive national urban policy, A New Partnership to Conserve America’s Communities. With its emphasis on voluntarism, decentralization, and public–private partnerships, the national urban policy accelerated the devolution of social policy begun under the Nixon Administration and laid the foundation for Reagan’s retrenchment. Looking beyond the urban policy deliberations to the activities of two other Carter initiatives, the National Commission on Neighborhoods and the White Conference on Balanced Growth and National Economic Development, demonstrates that state and local officials and neighborhood advocates were complicit in establishing and legitimating urban policies predicated on privatization and devolution.”
Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barak Obama took the baton from Carter and continued the destruction of American society. Trump has eagerly grabbed that baton. Now, the country is more notably vicious, partisan, politically paralyzed, at war, confused and, in some segments of the population, afraid. (As an aside, I was walking past an Indian family seated on benches in a park. There were five of them with two being teenagers. I overheard one of the adults and the two teenagers talking about being deported. “Where would we go,” one teenager asked. Another said, “You are from here, they won’t deport you.” Thanks be to President Donald J. Trump!)
On June 26, the US Supreme Court weighed in on Trump’s travel ban. The Court ruled that, absent a foreign national’s demonstrated connection to someone in the United States (family, employer, etc.), the person would not be allowed into the country. The Supreme Court will hear the case in October 2017. It is anyone’s guess what the court will ultimately rule.
Fight them There to Protect the Dystopia Here
Pentagon officials are fond of saying that the world is the most volatile that they’ve seen in their careers. Indeed it is, and they need look no further than their own homeland. A good comparison for the internal political, social and cultural dynamic of the United States homeland is the melting and crumbling ice sheets in West Antarctica. Scientists say there are “natural” processes at work on the ice sheets. Can we say that “natural” historical processes at work that are fracturing the American Republic? Is Trump the political version of Climate Change?
Trump and the Republicans—and their partners in crime the Democrats—are accelerating the crackup of the American Republic. Trump’s people are unrepentant liars, no more so than Trump himself. Disaster follows in Trump’s wake. The Boeing plant that Trump visited is dumping 200 workers. Saudi Arabia, with Trump’s support, seeks to turn Qatar into a Saudi protectorate. The Saudi’s, Egypt and the UAE have in place an economic embargo of Qatar underway that Trump supports. The Middle East and Persian Gulf countries seem to be headed for more violence, if that is possible. And now, the US is engaging in combat action against Syrian government forces that are supported by Russian and Iranian military forces. But all’s well at Trump’s properties.
That’s All Folks!
Blood is flowing from the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. Lingchi, or death by 1,000 cuts, is the Republican’s preferred method for turning the American Republic into a corporate and security state while culling the non-productive human herd in America.
We were all taught as young kids that it was better to fight the bad guys over “there” instead of “here”. But what if “here” turns into a dystopian republic as portrayed in the novels We, Brave New World, and 1984? What if we are, God forbid, headed towards a version of Syria and Iraq?
So many years have passed since George W. Bush was president. I thought that was a dangerous time, and it was. But Trump and the Republicans—and their woeful Democratic “opponents”—have taken wickedness to a new levels of savageness. Civil rights enforcement are in jeopardy with Jeff Sessions as attorney general. The butchers in the Office of Management and Budget and Treasury could care less about 70 percent of the country’s populace. The Trump administration is nearly lily white in a land filled with Black, Brown and Hispanic, and LGBTQ populations.
The only cabinet member worth respecting is Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. He allowed open celebrations in the Pentagon for Black, Brown, Hispanic, LGBTQ and First Peoples.
Many say after an article like this, well, that’s nice, but what is your solution? The answer to that is in an article I wrote on July 25, 2005. I think it still applies 12 years later. Civil justice groups need to build seamless cross-cultural and political networks in communities around the land. If no new political party can be created, then the Democrats must be retrained to represent the people.
Maybe it would help if people stopped looking down into their mobile devices and take a look at the world around them.
Coard: 25 Reasons Why I Hate America Michael Coard
From Philly Tribune: “I don’t want you to get ‘shooted.’”
That’s what a four-year-old Black child on July 6, 2016 at 9:20 p.m. told her handcuffed mother- the courageous and composed Diamond Reynolds- while they were seated in the rear of a patrol car after a Minnesota police officer had fired seven shots into a vehicle wherein Philando Castile was the driver as the three of them were on a summertime family outing. Despite Castile’s total compliance with the law and with the cop’s orders, the cop killed him anyway. And he did it with that child in Castile’s back seat. In fact, one of his seven fired bullets passed through the driver’s seat and nearly hit the child, coming just a few inches from where she was seated. Stop and think about that for a minute.
Because The Philadelphia Tribune is a reputable and respected newspaper, I’m not going to say what I’m thinking. If I did, it would demean this dignified and historic Black publication by being full of unrestrained profanity. Not only did the cop kill an innocent Black man with an innocent Black woman present- but more important- he did it with a defenseless children present. Once again, stop and think about that for a minute.
After Castile was victimized by that cop’s inhuman and murderous callousness, he was killed a second time- with his family being traumatized a second time- when a jury of ten racist whites and two traitorous Blacks on June 16 incredibly and outrageously acquitted the cop of all charges, which included one count of manslaughter and two counts of intentionally discharging a firearm that endangers safety.
James Baldwin once said, “To be Black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” I am Black and I am conscious. That’s why I’m enraged. And that rage has caused me to justifiably hate America. Although I have literally hundreds of reasons for hating this country, I’ll list just 25 right now:
1. The killing of Castile, the endangerment of his family, and the verdict of the jury 2. The 571 persons killed by police in 2017 so far (with many more to come within the next six months), the 1,161 in 2016, the 1,216 in 2015, and the several thousands of others during the past ten years and earlier 3. The invasion by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and the resulting genocide- including the Trail of Tears from 1830 through 1839- of more than 100 million Red men, women, and children through the early 1900s 4. Slavery from 1619-1865 5. The 27 slave-holding/slave-shipping/slave-investing Founding Fathers among the 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 6. July Fourth from 1776-1865 7. The Naturalization Act of 1790 that restricted immigration to “white persons” and excluded people of color 8. The pro-slavery Star-Spangled Banner written in 1814 by slaveholder Francis Scott Key and adopted as the national anthem in 1931 9. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that “Blacks have no rights that whites are bound to respect” in the 1857 Dred Scott case 10. The clause in the 13th Amendment of 1865 that legalized the unjust imprisonment of formerly enslaved Blacks and also led to today’s mass incarceration 11. The Black Codes, sharecropping, and convict leasing, all beginning in 1865 12. The Jim Crow era from 1877-1954 (and later) 13. The 4,743 documented lynchings from 1882-1968 and many more that remain undocumented 14. The fact that more Blacks are being killed each week by police (about 2.0) than were lynched each week by mobs (about 1.25) from 1882-1890 15. The U.S. government’s redlining from 1934-1962 when it authorized $120 billion in federal home loans exclusively to whites in order to create good neighborhoods for them, while creating ghettos for Blacks 16. And the substandard education resulting from the aforementioned redlining since property taxes fund local schools 17. And the high unemployment resulting from the aforesaid substandard education since bad schools result in rejected job applications 18. The internment of nearly 130,000 Japanese Americans in ten concentration camps from 1942-1946 19. California’s Mulford Act of 1967 that was designed to ban the Black Panthers from publicly carrying arms to defend themselves and their communities 20. Stop & Frisk 21. Hurricane Katrina and defective levees in New Orleans resulting in nearly 2,000 deaths in 2005 22. The ongoing Flint, Michigan poison water crisis since 2014 23. This racist, sexist, misogynistic, classist, Islamophobic, and homophobic country’s election of a racist, sexist, misogynistic, classist, Islamophobic, and homophobic fake president in 2016 24. This country’s warmongering for 224 years since it was founded 241 years ago in 1776, which equals 93 percent of its existence up to and including 2017 25. Still no reparations as of 2017
I know that many racist whites will say, “America- love it or leave it.” In response, I’ll say, “I will leave it. But first, pay Black folks the $59.2 trillion you owe us for the forced labor of our enslaved ancestors. Second, return the 2.3 billion acres of land you stole from the indigenous people. And three, go back to Europe since you were never invited here anyway.” For the 25 reasons I listed, as well as many more, I hate America. But I love that little four-year-old Black girl. And I will fight- by any means necessary- to make sure that she and all Black children (as well as Black adults) “don’t get ‘shooted’” by racist cops who are acquitted by racist juries and protected by racist judges in this racist country. Stay tuned.
Dear Republican: Here is That Apology You Keep Asking For
From Demo. Underground: To those Republicans demanding an apology after the senseless and horrifying shooting in Virginia, here you go:
1. I'm sorry that your mindless support of the NRA and its goal to put a gun in the hands of every American has, no pun intended, backfired. I'm sorry that someone exercised their "second amendment remedies" against you, which must come as a surprise given your advocacy that it be used exclusively against Democrats and progressives. I'm sorry that because of you, a person with a history of domestic violence and/or mental illness is not restricted from owning a gun.
2. I'm sorry that your callous disrespect for the last duly elected President, who won both the popular and electoral votes, has been turned against your man. That, while still far short of screaming "you lie" at a Presidential address before a joint session of Congress, you feel as though your man is on the receiving end of scorn and ridicule. That you denigrated the office of the President, forgetting that at some point you might occupy said office. The proverbial chickens have come home to roost.
3. I'm sorry that you have been so successful in destroying public trust in the government and its relevance in the lives of ordinary Americans that people feel like violence is the only way to have their voice heard.
4. I'm sorry that you have supported a man that pressed hard for a healthcare plan that is, in his own words, "mean" and "hurtful," and which will deny healthcare to millions of hard-working Americans.
5. I'm sorry that you turned a blind eye, knowing all that you knew, to the fact that you were consciously electing a perjurer, thief, compulsive liar, and an admitted sexual abuser. A failed businessman who has sold you the most vile jar of "nothing" imaginable.
6. I'm sorry that you have reset your moral compass to align with a man who has no moral fiber in his being. Who has demonstrated that he has no commitment to the institution of marriage, which you superficially value so much you would deny its benefit to people whose lifestyle brings you discomfort. 7. I'm sorry your party did not have the political backbone to stand up to a self-serving narcissist whose primary goal is clearly to benefit himself and his family, at the expense of the American people.
So there is your apology. Choke on it.
Mr Fish Toon - The Hole Truth
What Benevolent American Elite?
by Paul Street
From Counterpunch: ...Third, it’s not clear that the ruling class I posited three paragraphs above exists anymore if it ever really did. A “business elite” that truly cared about the United States of America and its future would never have let the nation become mired in many years of mindless ideological debate promoted by religious and social conservatives over things like creationism versus evolution. It would not have allowed U.S high school math and science capabilities fall through the floor. It would not have let the nation’s public investment in social and technical infrastructure decline to the current breaking points.
It would not have permitted religious fundamentalists to mount serious political challenges to stem cell research. It would not have let Big Oil wage a disastrous propaganda war on climate science. It would not have let the county be plagued by endemic illiteracy and innumeracy. It would not have permitted levels of historical ignorance so extreme that most Americans can no longer tell you who fought on what side during World War II or when or why the American Civil War was fought. It would not have allowed millions to become addicted to violent video games and attached to terrible pre-fascist television spectacles like “The Jerry Springer Show,” Maury Povich (the inner-city-shaming paternity test king), and pussy-grabber Donald’s “The Apprentice.” It would not permit elections to fall to the level of beer and car commercials and, come to think of it, the Springer Show.
It would not have permitted the nation to become saturated with assault weapons even as it throws millions out of work and shreds mental health care services. It would not permit the nation’s waterways to become hopelessly polluted with industrial and agricultural run-off. It would not make health care unavailable and un-affordable to millions of its citizens. It would not have let the so-called land of liberty become history’s greatest monument to mass incarceration and home to a giant, still burgeoning militarized police state. It would not have presided over the destruction of basic living and working standards for millions upon millions of ordinary Americans as wealth and power concentrated upward to the absurd point where the top tenth of the upper U.S. 1 Percent owns more wealth than the nation’s bottom 90 percent.
It would not let the “world’s richest country” rank absurdly low in basic measures of social and physical health, including life expectancy, infant mortality, drug addiction, violence, suicide, inequality, social mobility, and poverty. It would not have let the nation’s political and policy systems be turned into an openly plutocratic oligarchy transparently beyond the influence of citizens (regardless of which party or party configurations holds nominal power). It not have turned the Democratic Party into a pathetic junior partner in the full Wall Street-led corporate takeover of politics and policy.
As Noam Chomsky told Occupy Boston five and a half years ago, the financial elite atop the corporate sector and the political system has been de-developing and dismantling the United States since the 1970s. The harsh reality in the neoliberal era is that the economic elite that rules America is global and transnational and feels much more in common with fellow opulent masters of capital in other nations than it does with ordinary folks in “the homeland.” It is all too willing to let much of the ever more poisoned and used-up national territory that is the United States sink in the mire.
What people don't like is black people protesting against racism
at some point people should be honest and admit what they don't like is black people protesting against oppression and racism, and quit pretending that what they are sincerely against are the tactics used. Kaepernick used the quietest protest ever and people are flipping out, and BLM uses loud protests and people flip out. It's not the tactics that people are against, it's the goddamn message.
People should quit lying to themselves and to others.
Rmuse: ...The idea, or hope, that Republicans are in danger of being voted out of office because they vote contrary to the will of the people is misplaced at best and more likely the result of severe memory failure. Don’t believe it? Just consider how successful Republicans have been at gaining seats in Congress and state legislatures in spite of legislating in direct opposition to the majority of voters’ wishes...
...Look, if American voters had an ounce of intelligence, or regard for their own and the nation’s best interests, maybe Democrats would be justified in believing Republicans are making tragic career-ending moves. But recent history reveals that not only are voters not intelligent, Republicans are not in jeopardy of being swept out of Washington en masse or in significant enough numbers to change Washington’s dysfunction because they went against the will of the people. If anything, the recent past reveals that Republicans win when they go against the wishes of the people and there are a couple of reasons why, reasons Democrats seem incapable of grasping.
For one thing, the average voter does not follow politics enough to know it is one party blocking everything the majority of voters support. Paul Ryan didn’t have to declare the House was in recess to force a media blackout of the Democrats’ sit-in: most Americans never watch C-Span or follow the actions in Congress anyway. The other specific reason Republicans continue to succeed is because the average voter only hears what Republicans want and has trained them to hear...
...Until the American people are adequately informed, registered to vote and listen critically to what both Democrats and Republicans are saying, the sad fact is that nothing is ever going to change. Oh, people definitely feel emboldened when they see their heroes in Congress make an effort according to the majority’s demands, but that feeling never translates into votes in November. If the slaughter of 20 little children didn’t sway Republicans to support sane gun safety laws, nothing will. That includes protests by Democrats in the House and bereaved Americans sick of mass shootings raging on social media. Because when November rolls around they will have been sufficiently terrified into voting for Republicans again because besides being frightened senseless they are just plain stupid.
Race is a Political Project: Reflections on Why Your Black Friend (Or Candidate) Is Irrelevant
Racism—even on the personal level to say nothing of the institutional—never required whites to hate black people, let alone all black people. It never required a totalizing and unanimous antipathy towards persons of color. No doubt there were white folks during the days of enslavement who were genuinely fond of those whom they held in bondage (the latter were helping to make the former wealthier, after all, by doing all the hard work), and yet, said affections hardly altered the fact that by enslaving black bodies they were, by definition, engaged in an act of white supremacy. Their every comfort was derived from racism, every aspect of their being was bound up with the racist subordination of those deemed the “other.” The white slaveowner’s very existence as such was racist to the core.
by Tim Wise
The story of the land you and I call America is more complicated than your high school history books probably suggested.
Conquest, mixing of the races, genocide, independence movements, separatist movements within those independence movements, annexations, boundaries that were drawn and redrawn – it’s enough to make your head spin.
Which is why we must approach these issues with nuance and with a clear grasp of history.
But telling a Mexican-American that they are “diluting” American culture in Texas, for example, and telling them to “go back to Mexico” is ignorant of this history.
Because in that case, and I really hate to break this to you… you’re the one who showed up and diluted the culture.