Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president and immediately insulted and degraded Mexican Americans, Mexican immigrants, Latinos and all Americans of good will and decency. But this is not about Donald Trump. It is about Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and all of the other Teapublican candidates who uttered not one word of protest, revulsion of criticism. Not one word. Nada.
To be clear, The Trump Man was not guilty of simple public indecency or petty political incorrectness. He did not infer, he categorically stated that Mexican immigrants are “bringing in drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” These were words that would make a lot of racists and xenophobes cringe. But not the Teapublican presidential candidates – from them we heard the sounds of silence.
Keep in mind that every single one of them is a child of immigrants – it’s only a question of when. But Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are the sons of immigrants. Jeb Bush is married to a Mexican which means that his children are……….wait for it………….Mexican Americans. Chris Christie is the grandchild of immigrants. And, in any event, all the Teapublican candidates are the descendants of immigrants to this country.
Nevertheless, not one of them was sufficiently aroused or offended by Trump’s remarks to utter one word of criticism. Clearly none of them think about the fact that 250,000 Latinos turn 18 in this country every year and will continue to do so for decades. They obviously don’t realize that the United States has the second largest Spanish speaking population in the world so it is probably not a good idea to call Mexicans “rapists” who “bring in crime” when a presidential election is less than 18 months away.
But it seems that these candidates are afraid of offending the angry white fringe of this country that passes for the “base” of the party. But that base is shrinking, getting older and dying faster than falling leaves in autumn. The future success of either of the major political parties depends to a very real extent on how they fare with Latino voters. While the Democrats have not covered themselves with glory with their immigration policies, at least they don’t call Latinos criminals and rapists. The Teapublicans seem to be comfortable letting the Democrats simply be the lesser of two evils.
We can say that the Teapublicans are not biased when it comes to being biased. After the Charleston Massacre the Teapublican presidential contenders dithered for days as to whether this tragedy was a “hate crime” or “terrorism”. Some had the gall to suggest that Dylan Roof was attacking religion when the historical evidence does not suggest, it screams “terrorism” because white on black terrorism is a sad but very real aspect of the black experience in America.
It is only when the bigotry and callous nature of their falsehoods become too heavy to carry that we started to hear tepid acknowledgement of the horror that took place in Mother Emanuel AME Church. And the hesitation and delay will be remembered by black voters just like the sounds of silence will be remembered by Latino voters.
There are critically important policy issues that need to be discussed and debated. But it is difficult to understand how people are supposed to be interested in the Teapublican positions after they have dismissed the humanity of black voters and silently acquiesced Latino voters being insulted by a wig wearing maniac posing as a presidential candidate.
Black voters matter. Latino voters matter. Indeed this country matters. Perhaps Teapublicans will figure this out in December 2016.
Posted in Point of View Columns | Tagged Carly Fiorina, Charleston, Chris Christie, Donald Trump, Dylan Roof, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Mother Emanuel AME Church, Rand Paul, Teapublicans, Ted Cruz | 2 Comments »
In the aftermath of the Charleston Massacre Governor Nikki Haley has proposed that the Confederate flag will no longer fly over the State House. The governors of Mississippi, Virginia and Tennessee are proposing similar measures and too many Republicans and Democrats are breaking their arms patting themselves on the back for this amazing “progress”.
But the question stands, why has it taken so long for political leadership of this country to understand how deeply and tragically offensive the Confederate flag is for black Americans and all people of good will? And there is also this question – why is any American comfortable flying or wearing the Confederate flag? After all, we see very few Germans wearing swastika bikinis and baseball caps and we see absolutely no Russians parading through Moscow with hammer and sickle banners.
All this talk about “heritage” and honoring sainted and valorous Southern “heroes” must be seen within the context of real and undisputed history. First and foremost, we should be clear that the driving force of the Confederate States of America was the preservation and continuation of slavery – that is, the sale, ownership and uncontrolled and unlimited physical abuse and degradation of black Americans.
This really is not a subject of debate. Here are the words of Alexander Stephens, the vice president of the CSA speaking about the CSA:
“Its foundations are laid; its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.”
This is the “heritage” that the Confederate flag, and any damnable iteration, represents. This is the “noble cause” that the sainted and valorous Southern “heroes” fought and died for. Even a cursory overview of warfare would reveal that there will always be instances of bravery and heroism, no matter how evil and odious the cause. There can be no doubt that there were noble and brave Nazi soldiers during World War II, but Germans honor the war dead in a somber fashion and not in the raucous, outrageous and tone deaf fashion in which the Confederacy is celebrated in this country.
It is simply a damn shame that nine more black people had to die at the hands of a white racist before some people finally realized that the Confederate flag is not simply inappropriate, it is obscene. Flying and wearing the stars and bars insults the memory of every black person who suffered through slavery and every black person who has been oppressed and terrorized and killed with that same damned flag flying.
Look at the photographs of the spit-stained white mobs howling and protesting the integration of a high school in Little Rock, or the University of Mississippi or the University of Alabama and you will see the Confederate flag. Look in the archives and you will see the Confederate flag flying at Ku Klux Klan rallies and at the hundreds of lynching parties that always ended with black bodies hanging from trees like the strange fruit about which Billie Holiday wrote and sung.
There is nothing noble about the Confederacy. There is nothing honorable about the cause for which the Confederate soldiers fought and died. They fought a traitorous and treasonous war in order to perpetuate the enslavement of black Americans. There should be no flags flying, there should be no monuments, there should be no streets and universities and boulevards named after the leaders of this hideous cause.
Germans do not fly the swastika over government buildings. Germans do not name their streets and universities after Nazi leaders. Why should Americans countenance flying the Confederate flag or any other honoring or commemoration of the so-called heroes of the so-called noble cause?
Take Down the Damn Flag.
Posted in Point of View Columns | Tagged Alexander Stephens, Confederate State of America, Nikki Haley | 1 Comment »
Perhaps the Confederate flag in South Carolina will fly at half mast now a damaged excuse for a human being named Dylann Roof killed nine black people in a South Carolina Church. All reports indicate that Roof sought kill black people so this was not a random act of murder – this was an act of terrorism. And this latter day Neanderthal monster reminds us that American terrorism directed against black people is a horrific and very real part of the history of this country.
Consider the irony in the fact that the site of the murders, Emanuel AME Church, was founded by Denmark Vesey who had plotted an extensive slave revolt which failed in 1822. After Denmark Vesey as executed, white South Carolinians burned the Emanuel AME Church to the ground and actually banned all black churches in the state in 1834. The history of Emanuel AME Church is soaked in blood and scarred by the fires of hatred and bigotry.
And the history of Emanuel AME Church is an important reminder as we consider the current atrocity at that church. Terror against black people has been a constant theme in this country starting with the Barbadian Slave Codes which were then exported to the American colonies, beginning with South Carolina.
The Slave Codes were created to impose absolute white domination over black slaves, protect against slave revolts and safeguard the significant financial investment that slaves represented. Under the Slave Codes there were literally no limits to the violence and savagery that could be suffered by black Americans. Indeed, it can be argued that Slave Codes injected the virus of racist violence and terrorism that still runs through the veins of America.
There should be no doubt that the Slave Codes begat Jim Crow which begat wholesale lynching which begat legally sanctioned terrorism to confront the civil rights movement. Lest one think that this virus is confined to the former Confederate States of America it should be clear that New York City and Boston police worked closely with slave catchers and the state of Indiana had the largest Ku Klux Klan membership of any state in the history of this country.
Dylann Roof is a direct descendant of the mobs that confronted the Little Rock Nine in Arkansas and James Meredith at the University of Mississippi as well as Louise Day Hicks who encouraged the attacks on school buses carrying black children in Boston. Dylann Roof is a direct descendant of the Klansmen and the “ordinary citizens” who organized and participated in the lynching of thousands of black men and women in the 19th and 20th centuries. Dylann Roof is a blood relative of the terrorists who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham and he belongs to the same family as the scores of police officers who have shot and killed black men, women and children without cause, simply because they were black men, women and children.
We should all be saddened by the carnage in Charleston. But we should not be shocked. Terrorism directed against black Americans is part of American history.
And we should certainly not be shocked by Dylann Roof’s actions – after all, he is an American. And there can be no cure for the disease of racial terrorism in this country until we are willing to accept that the illness exists. It is the first step to recovery.
Posted in Point of View Columns | Tagged 16th Street Baptist Church, Birmingham, Denmark Vesey, Dylann Roof, Emanuel AME Church, James Meredith, Jim Crow, Ku Klux Klan, Little Rock Nine, Louise Day Hicks, Slave Codes | 3 Comments »
No history of humanity is complete without the history of plagues and epidemics. The Black Plague in Europe killed almost a third of the population. The Flu Epidemic at the end of World War I killed millions worldwide. The AIDS epidemic continues to afflict millions around the world. And then there is the Plague called Trump for which there is no known cure.
Donald Trump, aka “The Donald” and aka “the defendant”, has announced that he will announce on June 16th whether or not he is going to run for President. Clearly, humility, self-assessment and common sense do not exist on the Planet Trump. The fact that the news media from all over the world will flock to what most certainly will be a non-announcement, is a testimony to his undeniable powers for self-promotion as well as the critical damage that the Plague called Trump has visited upon society.
There is no doubt that the presidential election of 2016 will be as important as the 2012 election due to the ever deepening political divide regarding the role of government in the lives of Americans. Given the high stakes that are involved next year, one would hope that there would be higher level of thought and intelligent insight from anyone who would presume to present themselves as a candidate for President of the United States.
There is no dictionary in which you will see a photograph of Donald Trump next to the word “thought” or the word “insight”. However, in some dictionary there is an entire chapter devoted to Donald Trump and the words “braggart”, “birther” and “shameless”.
Donald Trump’s dog whistle racist leadership of the totally bogus “birther” movement should have disqualified him from the public stage for eternity. But of course, that is where the word “shameless” comes in. Along with his fallacious claims that nobody ever saw Barack Obama as a student at Columbia University or at Harvard Law School, Trump has hurled mud packed lies at President Obama – all without consequence.
He continues to sell the Trump “brand” to developers of resorts and condominium projects that, as often as not, become the subject of law suits by disenchanted investors. There are busloads of bondholders and contractors associated with his various hotel and casino projects that will see their next nickel from Trump the day after Hell freezes over.
And then there is Trump University. Trump University is to a university like cotton candy is to cotton. You wouldn’t make a pair of pants out of cotton candy and you certainly don’t want to use what you “learn” at Trump University to earn a living. Yet thousands of otherwise rational men and women have paid thousands of dollars to find out Donald Trump’s secret to wealth and success – and they are still waiting to find out.
Americans have been plagued by Donald Trump for over three decades. And if it is true that the good die young, then we will be seeing Donald Trump for at least another three decades. And even though he doesn’t even have the decency to wear a gossamer fig leaf of respect for the truth to cover the nakedness of his lies and bombast, we are supposed to believe that Donald Trump actually has something of importance or value to say on June 16th.
You can be assured that the Point of View column will henceforth be a No Trump Zone and we can only hope that the rest of America will join in cleansing the national stage of the Plague called Trump.
Posted in Point of View Columns | Tagged Barack Obama, birther, Donald Trump, Trump University | 1 Comment »
Country sayings are interesting and, in many instances, can be true. For example, if you see a turtle on a fence post, you can be pretty sure that it did not get there on its own. Similarly, when we see voting restrictions being imposed all over the country, we can be sure that it is neither a matter of coincidence or serendipity.
Almost immediately upon the election of President Obama in 2009, Teapublicans began a monomaniacal jihad with the sole goal of preventing him from being reelected. This group of supposed patriots hit upon the idea of restricting voting rights and the ethnic cleansing of voter rolls as a way of diminishing the support for Barack Obama in the 2012 election. Historians will view this as strategy that is soaked in brutal irony – the patriotic right wing that claims to revere the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence has sought to deny the right to vote to certain Americans.
It took some time for the Teapublicans to get their act together, but after the Roberts-Alito-Thomas-Scalia Supreme Court cabal eviscerated the 1965 Voting Rights Act in 2013, the path to constitutional villainy became an open highway. Indeed over fifteen states and numerous towns, counties and municipalities have instituted laws, rules and regulations which have as their goal the restriction of voting rights.
Claims that these laws, rules and regulations are intended to prevent voter fraud are simply lies. There are no statistical reports which indicate anything but a miniscule number of voter fraud cases over the past two decades. The fact that the voting rights restrictions have nothing to do with concerns about voter fraud brings us back to the story of the turtle on the fence post.
The effect of the voting rights restrictions has been to reduce the opportunity of blacks, Latinos, the elderly, the very young and the very poor from exercising their franchise as citizens of this country. The individuals in these demographic sectors are not known to be traditional supporters of Teapublican candidates or the Teapublican agenda.
Is this result simply a coincidence? Are voting limitations on the constituencies that elected and reelected Barack Obama just an unintended consequence of the Teapublican initiatives, however fortunate it might be for the right wing of the right wing? Just think about that turtle on the fence post.
The reality is that many of the current riders in the Teapublican Presidential Clown Bus have supported these voter suppression strategies – Chris Christie in New Jersey, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in Florida, Rick Perry and Ted Cruz in Texas are up to their eyeballs in denying constitutional rights to American citizens who don’t figure to support them. They will deny this, of course, but remember that turtle on the fence post.
The Teapublican voter suppression strategy began after Barack Obama was elected. This strategy has never had anything to do with voter fraud. This strategy has always been about reducing the turnout of voters likely to support Barack Obama and Democrats in general. And any Teapublican who is thinking about running for President of the United States will want to stack the deck in their favor by diminishing the turnout of the Obama/Democratic base.
So, as the denials will spew from the likes of Christie/Walker/Bush/Rubio/Perry/Cruz………….just remember that turtle on the fence post.
Posted in Point of View Columns | Tagged Barack Obama, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Voting Rights Act of 1965 | Leave a Comment »
The recent bench verdict acquitting Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo of all charges in the shooting deaths of unarmed Malissa Williams and unarmed Timothy Russell is another stain on the pages of American history and the pretense of equal justice under the law in these United States. And while we collectively stagger in disbelief, we apprehensively await the result of the six month investigation into the shooting of the unarmed twelve year old Tamir Rice by police officer Timothy Loehmann. What is going on in Cleveland? What is going on in America?
The sad story of Cleveland has no real beginning, it is clear that police brutality and racist law enforcement have been such a part of life in that city that it was necessary for the United States Department of Justice to intervene and establish court-enforced protocols on the police department. Given that Cleveland is far from alone among American cities in featuring police brutality and racist law enforcement, one can only imagine how bad it must be in Cleveland for the United States government to come in to protect the basic human rights and civil rights of the black citizens in that city.
Actually, we do not have to wonder, we just have to look at the recent tragic cases in that city to get an idea of what life must be like for a black citizen in Cleveland, Ohio. In the matter of police officer Michael Brelo, he was accused of firing 49 shots into a car in which unarmed and black Malissa Williams and unarmed and black Timothy Russell were sitting. That would be 49 shots out of a total of over 130 shots fired by the Cleveland police.
Officer Brelo at some point stood on the hood of the Williams-Russell car and fired fifteen shots into the windshield. Ms. Williams and Mr. Russell were each shot twenty times. It bears repeating that neither of them was armed. It is also important note that this spasm of police violence began when the Williams-Russell car seems to have backfired while passing a police station. This resulted in a bizarre action-movie drenched car chase.
We begin to understand how this horror could have metastasized into a double murder by cop when we learn that Ms. Williams and Mr. Russell were mentally ill, homeless and drug addicts. Indeed, when the gun smoke cleared a crack pipe was found in the death car.
It would that if you are a black, mentally ill, homeless, unarmed drug addict with a malfunctioning car in the city of Cleveland, you could be committing a capital offense if you drive erratically. And in committing that capital offense, you could be subject to immediate execution without trial.
It is also painfully clear that if you are twelve years old and black and are carrying a toy pellet gun, you can be subject to immediate extermination without question or pause or cause. That is the basic fact pattern in the sad death of Tamir Rice, a black pre-teen fooling around with a pellet gun who was shot dead by Cleveland Police Officer Loehmann who not only did not read Tamir his rights, he did not even give him the opportunity to put down the toy weapon.
It has now taken the Cleveland criminal justice apparatus a half a year to determine whether or not a crime might have been committed in the street slaughter of Tamir Rice. It took Officer Loehmann two seconds to decide that Tamir Rice had to die. Yet it is taking over a half a year to determine if there might be a possibility that shooting a black twelve year old boy with a toy is a crime.
The sad subtext to these tales from the Cleveland crypt is that Officer Loehmann and Officer Brelo are white. We know from the recent indictments in Baltimore that black police officers also engage in racist police practices. And we also know that as far as the victims and their families are concerned, their grief knows no color. And the victims are just as dead.
The Cleveland story is a sad story. The Cleveland story is part of the greater American sad story.
Posted in Point of View Columns | Tagged Cleveland, Malissa Williams, Michael Brelo, Tamir Rice, Timothy Loehmann, Timothy Russell | 1 Comment »
Historians will refer to the 2012 Teapublican presidential primaries as “The Era of the Clown Car”. Given that over twenty aspirants for the Teapublican nomination have already declared, are about to declare or who are running without declaring, the 2016 Teapublican primaries may be titled “The Era of the Clown Bus”. But make no mistake, among this gaggle of serious contenders along with the jesters and pretenders who are just along for the ride, there is a common theme – lies are better than the truth.
Consider for example, the continuous denial of climate change on this planet and the connection between this looming ecological disaster and our contribution to this debacle as consumers and producers. Exactly not one of the men (and one woman) who wishes to be the next President of the United States will confirm their understanding of this well proven fact.
Instead, we hear sound bites that seem to be written for them by the media flacks at Exxon and Koch Industries. With the temperature of the planet rising, with both polar ice caps melting and with thousands of plant and animal species facing extinction as a result, it would seem that denying this reality would be foolish. Yet we have the Teapublicans saying in effect, “don’t believe your lying eyes”.
Even worse, the Teapublican 2016 game plan seems to call for resorting to revisionist history. The real history of American engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan is never going to be kind to the Bush-Cheney cabal that lied to the American people and then employed a botched non-strategy that has served to destabilize an entire region and endanger the world for years to come.
Rather than face facts, or even evade these realities, the Teapublican passengers on the Clown Bus are falling all over themselves to find new and unique and creative ways to blame the Obama Administration. Somehow, we are supposed to believe that the rise of ISIS and the serial explosions of violence and destruction in Libya and Syria and Yemen and Afghanistan and Iraq are the fault of President Obama even though any sober analysis of the historical facts show that the wanton and thoughtless “regime change” in Iraq and the intellectually challenged non-strategy of the U.S. in Afghanistan are the clear starting points for the conflagrations that plague that region now.
But, on the Teapublican Clown Bus, there is no reason to let facts get in the way. And while it is politically cool to blame the incumbent, we must worry that if the passengers on the Clown Bus keep drinking this neocon Kool-Aid there may come a time when “boots on the ground” starts sounding like a good idea and it will be our sons and daughters wearing those endangered boots.
And there’s more. The latest national economic statistics indicate that there has been an unprecedented five years of economic growth in this country –the unemployment rate in this country when Barack Obama was inaugurated as President of the United States was 7.6% and before the country’s economic death spiral reached bottom the jobless rate was 9.5%. The current unemployment rate is 5.4%, the stock indices are at their highest points ever and corporate profits are in dream land.
Yet the passengers on the Teapublican Clown Bus would have us believe that “things have never been worse” and that the economy of this country is weak. One would think the Teapublicans would be a bit thriftier with their predictions and observations after erroneously predicting the demise of the republic with the passage of the Affordable Care Act and after calling in from illogical outer space that the decline and fall of America would occur should President Obama be re-elected.
But there is no room for truth, logic or, it would appear common sense, in the luggage compartment of the Teapublican Clown Bus. Nevertheless, the passengers seem ready to take the American people on a ride to Nowhere.
Posted in Point of View Columns | Tagged Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Bush-Cheney, Exxon, Iraq, Koch Industries, Libya, neocon, Syria, Teapublican Clown Bus, Teapublican Clown Car | Leave a Comment »