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Posts Tagged ‘Freedom Caucus’

Begun as the Democratic Select Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus was founded in February of 1971 with twelve members. At the time, it was the only voice of black elected officials with a national platform. The CBC, as it came to be known, was a voice of opposition to the Nixon presidency and supported what became the successful liberation movement in South Africa. Now that the CBC has 49 members, one should expect that it would be a strong in mighty voice in the face of the storm that is the Trump Administration. But that is clearly not the case. The CBC is MIA – Missing in Action.

Over the years, the CBC has spoken out on a number of issues that affected black America. Every American President since 1971 has met with the CBC and on many occasions, listened to the CBC. And, although most CBC members did not initially support the candidacy of the man who became the first black President of the United States, it continued to elicit the perspective that it was important, influential and relevant.

And now, when this unofficial of voice of Black America needs to stand up to President Trump and his minions, the CBC is curiously muted, and many times it seems that it has joined the ranks of the Silent Minority. And this is not a matter of opinion. Recent news proves that this is a fact.

Consider that just three weeks ago, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a CBC member from Florida along with the widow of a slain black serviceman were called a liars by not only the Liar-In-Chief, President Trump, but also by his Chief of Staff, John Kelly. And after it was absolutely proven that Trump and Kelly had lied about Representative Wilson, Mr. Kelly went on to lie about her public record and insulted her in a most base and common manner.

If the CBC took a position on this outrageous incident, if the CBC called out Donald Tinyhands and his minion Kelly, it must have been hidden on the back page of a shopping mall handout. If the CBC took to the steps of the United States Congress to denounce the President for treating Congresswoman Wilson like the field hand he thinks she is, they must have done it in the dead of night when no one was watching. Obviously, the CBC was MIA.

And it gets worse. Earlier this week, Mr. Kelly reiterated his lies about Congresswoman Wilson and virtually pledged never to apologize to her. And then………..Kelly claimed that the Civil War came about because of a failure to compromise. He stated that there were men and women of “good faith on both sides” and that Robert E. Lee, was a heroic figure even though he led a rebellion that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of soldiers who were fighting for the United States of America. And in the face of these horrific and demonic lies and distortion of history the CBC has been silent. Once again the CBC is MIA.

The notion that the enslavement of black Americans could be the subject of compromise is a vile notion. It is the dehumanization of black lives that permits someone like John Kelly to say something like that. To suggest that there are people of “good faith” on the side of slavery is to offer a view of the speaker’s mind that does not believe that black people are as human as white people. And to suggest that Robert E. Lee was a hero is more unpatriotic and insulting to the stated ideals of this country than all of the kneeling NFL players put together.

And yet, the CBC is MIA. And what is so ironic is that when the CBC consisted of only twelve members it was more vocal than now, when the CBC consists of forty nine members. That is more than a tenth of the entire   House of Representatives, almost a third of the Democratic members of Congress and close to double the number of the Freedom Caucus, aka Tea Party. Nevertheless, with that kind of clout, the CBC remains the Silent Minority even as black Americans suffer insults and true degradation by reason of the policies of the Trump Administration.

Why is the CBC not standing on the steps of the U.S. Congress every day denouncing the Trump Administration as it attempts to shred the social safety net? Why is the CBC not speaking out on the floor of Congress at every opportunity, reading into the Congressional Record the litany of terrible deeds that are defining the Trump Administration?

Ironically, the CBC was more vocal about criticizing what President Obama wasn’t doing for the black community than it is in attacking President Trump for what he doing to black people. A most curious double standard indeed.

To put it most simply, why is the CBC MIA silent or muted at just that moment in history when it is needed the most? Unless and until the CBC finds its voice, it will be judged very harshly by history – and that would be a shame.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A former radio talk show host, Vice President Pence believes in the agenda that call for the dismantling of the federal government, the shredding of the social safety net and a return to that mythical time when men were men and women were women. As a Congressman, he led the Tea Party-inspired Freedom Caucus which sees “no” as the only viable political action.

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

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

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

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I recently had the privilege and honor to be the master of ceremonies for the Paralyzed Veterans of America – www.pva.org – 2017 Partners Conference in New York City. I could not help but admire the courage, perseverance and strength of spirit of the men and women who attended – men and women who had overcome heartbreaking bodily damage – and the men, women and children who provide love, support and comfort to paralyzed veterans every day of the month, every month of the year, year after year.

During course of this daylong event, I could not help but reflect on the decidedly mixed history of this country and its veterans. After the successful conclusion of the Revolutionary War America’s first veterans had to threaten the new Congress in making demands for back pay and benefits. The threats were so real that those first members of Congress fled the new capital of Philadelphia in order to escape the wrath of the disgruntled first warriors of the Republic.

Indeed, after World War I, soldiers of the United States Army led by Douglas MacArthur shot and killed veterans who had the temerity to march to Washington, D.C. This took place in 1932 as the United States government turned its back on the men who had fought for this country.

Further reflection focused on the fact that the G.I. Bill and other post World War II benefits were certainly a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, despite all the Fourth of July and Memorial Day and Veterans Day rhetoric that is embedded in American culture, a cabinet level Department of Veterans Affairs was not established until 1989, 213 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

What I learned during the PVA conference is that the convoluted and dysfunctional relationship between America and its veterans, particularly its wounded veterans continues to this day. Nevertheless, from President Trump to each and every Teapublican member of the so-call Freedom Caucus in Congress to all the leaders of the Democratic Party – all are more than willing to put their hands over their heart as the “Star Spangled Banner” is played before a ballgame or convention and then sit down and enjoy the festivities while injustice rains on the heads of the men and women who have suffered and sacrificed for this country.

This is not about policy arguments regarding the righteousness of any war or military action. This is about justice and compassion and true honor being afforded to the men and women who fought and died/survived while most Americans stay at home and channel surf from battle footage to the latest sitcom.

Clearly it is past time to hold the U.S. government and its citizens accountable. How is it possible that citizens elect representatives who propose to cut the funding for the National Institute of Health which is engaged in cutting edge research that will allow some paralyzed veterans to walk again? It is time for accountability.

What right does any member of Congress have to deny paralyzed and wounded veterans benefits that included in vitro fertilization so that they can enjoy the warmth and comfort of children and a family? It is time for accountability.

How can there be six month delays in granting benefits and service at V.A. hospitals when we live in a country where Amazon can deliver damn near anything we need in a day? It is time for accountability.

And what President or Member of Congress can dare speak about any future military action in Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea or anyplace on this planet without first mending promises to too many veterans that have already been broken? It is time for accountability.

It is a true national shame that paralyzed and wounded veterans should suffer in a country that lifetime pensions to one term members of Congress and incredible tax breaks to the incredibly wealthy. It is time for accountability.

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