The Hideous and the Beautiful: A Good News Newsletter on the Two and the Infinite Sides of Humanity

There’s so much in our society and world right now that angers or frightens me, but also so much that is providing optimism, maybe, or at least, reassurance, that what we need or wish for is possible. I’m often tempted lately to write a good news newsletter to cheer up and energize myself and others.

 

First, there is the news that our legal system is greatly damaged but not broken. In 2021 and 2022, the murderers of Ahmaud Arbery were found guilty of murder and hate crimes. The DOJ has also increased its efforts to prosecute hate crimes.

 

Secondly, it has been so jarring and has created such anxiety in so many of us to see DJT’s obvious criminal, unjust, even traitorous actions escape any legal consequences, until, maybe, now. The Jan. 6 Hearings have and will continue to present for all to see (if they’d look) new and old evidence of DJT working to violently overthrow our constitutional democracy. Then there’s the evidence collected at Mar-A-Lago that DJT illegally took government documents, including classified files, with him as he left office. He obstructed investigations into that theft.  And the DOJ has opened investigations into his election interference, and issued over 40 subpoenas to people in DJT’s orbit. He faces a very good chance of a criminal indictment.

 

The GOP cry they must enact controls on voting (i. e. suppress the vote) due to voting fraud, but the evidence shows their claims are disinformation. Such fraud is a GOP created myth.

 

The biggest voting fraud is by DJT followers, some of whom are now being held accountable. For example, GOP officials and lawyers, such as Sidney Powell, have been exposed for breaching and illegally sharing voting information. In Michigan, DJT’s pick for attorney general is being investigated for a conspiracy to get access to voting machines. There is Representative Scott Perry in Pennsylvania and a GOP election official in Troy, New York, named Jason Schofield. According to the DOJ, Schofield “was arraigned on an indictment charging him with unlawfully using the names and dates of birth of voters to fraudulently apply for absentee ballots for elections held in Rensselaer County in 2021.”

 

Then we have criminal investigations against DJT in Georgia, fraud investigations in New York. And the investigation into DJT fraudulently raising money to fight a fraud that never happened, but he spent the money for his own personal uses. Some of these charges could result in jail time and/or disqualification from running for office.

 

Thirdly, with abortion, the GOP have exposed their heartlessness. Having an abortion is an awful choice to make, but it’s a mother’s choice. The GOP are not only trying to rip from women the right to make decisions regarding their own bodies; they’re demonizing mothers who want the right to decide when, how many, or if they have children. They’re trying to ensure women are legally considered second to men.

 

This has frightened and angered so many people. And GOP Senator Lindsey Graham’s call for making abortion illegal nationally just increased that anger. The number of those registering to vote to protect the right to abortion even in red states like Kansas has increased dramatically, and with young people as well as women. The whole election calculus is changing. In many states, the number one concern motivating women and young people to come out and vote is abortion, second only to protecting democracy. This is happening in many other states as well.

 

People are saying, “enough.” …

 

**To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.

GOP Trying to Replace Constitutional Law with Vigilante Injustice

We use the expression break the law to mean violate or disobey the law. But there is also break as in break into tiny, meaningless pieces. (And violate as in abuse or rape.) The Supreme Court is actively involved in breaking the law in this second sense. GOP controlled State Legislatures and Governors are doing this. DJT is and has been breaking the law in both senses for years in his asserting that anything that serves his immediate, short-term self-interest is truth and the law, anything that opposes him is criminal and evil.

 

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner argued recently that the Supreme Court, which used to and is needed to represent stability, fairness, and temperance has now “become headquarters for a majority group of highly partisan, reactionary players who make clear that they are uninhibited by history, precedent, or the will of the majority of the American people.” Their actions are about asserting power, not fostering the rule of constitutional law.

 

In one decision they argued for originalism, for the impossible task of sticking with the founding fathers’ original viewpoints. This view ignores the fact that the founding fathers lived in a very different time, where slavery was legal, women and men who didn’t own land couldn’t vote. Where the weapon of choice on the battlefield was a flintlock musket, there were no computers, and the world wasn’t threatened by a climate emergency. And they were all fathers, men.

 

In another of last week’s rulings, Oklahoma v Castro-Huerta, regarding Indigenous American sovereignty, the Court went against originalism. The ruling asserted a state’s jurisdiction over crimes committed on Tribal Lands. This, as even Justice Gorsuch wrote, violates not only precedent but founding-era understanding of law.

 

In 1832 the court ruled in Worcester v Georgia that the federal government had exclusive power to manage relations with Native nations, not states. Thus, this new court ruling violated its own legal opinions and destabilizes the rule of law and the court’s function of upholding the stability of the law. Instead, it asserts minority rule.

 

A Washington Post article by Colby Itkowitz and Isaac Stanley-Becker revealed the Court has agreed to hear a case involving the “independent legislature theory,” a conservative legal theory that asserts state legislatures should have virtually unchecked power over federal elections. It would erode basic tenets of American democracy including applying the rule of law equally to everyone and basing the ultimate source of all law in the people.

 

“[I]n its most far-reaching interpretation, it could cut governors and state courts out of the decision-making process on election laws while giving state lawmakers free rein to change rules to favor their own party. The impact could extend to presidential elections in 2024 and beyond, …making it easier for a legislature to disregard the will of its state’s citizens.”

 

Texas and other states have joined in this effort to undermine the rule of law. In its 2021 anti-abortion legislation, it created a sort of vigilante justice by deputizing citizens to sue and enforce the law instead of government officials. And it would pay the vigilantes $10,000 for each successful suit. According to a New York Times article by Sabrina Tavernise, whereas if Texas had put enforcement in the hands of state officials, those officials could be sued by abortion advocates aiming to bring their case to court….

 

*To read the whole article, please click on the link to The Good Men Project who first published it.

The Supreme Court Decisions Are the Next Assault in the Continuing War Against Democracy: The Whole Calculus Regarding the Next Election Has Changed

Why were two Supreme Court decisions made public just after the fifth hearing of the Jan. 6 Committee? One decision protected the rights of gun owners to openly carry weapons in public. The other took away a woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

 

Were these decisions made public now to divert the media away from reporting on the Jan. 6 Hearings and the crimes of a former President who tried to make himself a forever President and destroy the constitution? Or to reassure the GOP base that their mission is still proceeding as planned? Or distract from headlines about over 100,000 people being killed by gun violence since DJT ran for President in 2016? Or headlines about racist, hate and lie-fueled assaults on black people and election officials?

 

A blog in the Daily Kos by blogger, political organizer, and author of the book American Taliban, Markos Moulitsas expressed the essence of what I have been feeling and thinking about the Supreme Court decision. It was clearly and unfortunately not just an assault on a woman’s right to abortion and to full healthcare, privacy, and bodily autonomy. And contrary to what 5 Conservative Supreme Court Justices and many media outlets have said, the ruling is not simply about turning the decision about abortion over to the states.

 

It sacrifices women to a political agenda, to a right-wing assault on democracy. This assault is particularly dangerous to women with low incomes and women of color who have less access to contraceptives and good healthcare and can’t afford to go to other states or nations for abortions.

 

The assault advances minority rule in this nation. According to the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans think abortion should be legal in some or all cases, so this decision clearly goes against the will of most Americans. The Supreme Court itself represents rule by the minority. The court was stacked with 3 justices chosen by a President who took office with the approval of only a minority of voters, chosen by an electoral college that advances minority rule, an electoral system gerrymandered to favor one party and regulations passed by many right-wing controlled states to suppress the participation of Democrats and people of color.

 

Even more, as Justice Thomas wrote in his opinion, the decision sets up the reconsideration, meaning reversal, of other Supreme Court due process rulings and precedents, so other rights, like to contraception, interracial and gay marriage, can all be taken away. So, the rights of any group not white, Christian, straight and male could be threatened.

 

We constantly hear about how the midterms mean the end of Democratic control of Congress. But Moulitsas makes clear two crucial points. First, it might be the general trend that the political party in power often loses control of Congress in midterm election, due to the supporters of those in power not turning out to vote in as great numbers as those dissatisfied by being out of power. But this is only a trend.

 

And I am sick of hearing this past trend repeatedly spoken of as future fact. What will happen is what we the people decide will happen. Repeating this prediction of the future as an established fact of the future only serves to further suppress the majority from voting.

 

The GOP, and many media outlets further aim to suppress the Democratic vote by repeating disinformation about President Biden. Considering the divisiveness he is facing, the viciousness of the opposition, many of whose members  actually supported a violent assault on their own government, the pandemic, the war, Biden has done rather well. His administration has been considerably more humane and competent than many past administrations.

 

Secondly, due to this rule by a minority, the Democrats are not in control. We have a Democratic President and a majority in the House. They have a technical majority in the Senate only if we ignore Democrats Joe Manchin’s and Kyrsten Sinema’s constant protections of GOP rule. The Senate is split 50-50 yet Democrats represent 41.5 million more people than the GOP. And clearly the GOP control the Supreme Court. So, Democrats, or democrats, do not control the government despite a clear majority in voting numbers.

 

So, when we talk about voters who are not in power being motivated by the loss of power and/or the actions of the party in power, we need to wake up to the reality. The assault on women, the proclaimed future assault on our rights, the protection of the profits of gun companies over the health and safety of children and all of us and over the stability of our nation⎼ these are clear examples that Democrats are not in power.

 

Yet, democrats can and will (I hope) work to get out the vote. Will vote in large numbers despite their polling places being limited, despite longer lines and possible harassment. We will vote. And we will do all we can to assure a fair counting of those votes. The fact that so many have taken to the streets to peacefully protest the anti-abortion ruling and many called for the impeachment of any Justices who lied to the Senate in their hearings, I hope will not only pressure legislative action to protect abortion but motivate millions to go to the polls in November.

 

Chris Hayes on MSNBC pointed out how rare it is that rights have been taken away from us and how often the Supreme Court in the past has been central to reactionary efforts to deny rights, working to undo what most of the rest of society had done to create a multiracial democracy. A blatant example is the malignant Dred Scott decision, which denied citizenship to a former slave who was residing in a free state and thus supported the enslavement of black people by whites.

 

On this same program with Hayes was NYU Law Professor Melissa Murray and New York Magazine writer Rebecca Traister who made very clear that this ruling is not a one-time assault and not just about abortion. Rebecca Traister said the message that things will be ok is an anesthetizing message. We must take the badness and injustice and yet continue the work. “We must use hope not as a feel- good measure. But to regard it as a tactical necessity and a moral and civic responsibility.” No matter how frightened we have become or how much we worry that our efforts will not bear fruit, we must act. If not for the immediate moment, then to build on each of all our efforts toward a better future.

 

The positive take away from Moulitsas, Hayes, Murray, Traister, and so many others is this: The importance of what we say and do over the next 5 to 6 months, or 2 plus years, is clearly revealed. These decisions by the Supreme Court can, and must, be used to change the whole election calculus and supply further motivation to reverse the old trend of midterm elections. We can and must expand the number of Democrats in Congress. We can and must change how we talk about and work for the future and the next election. If we didn’t have a good chance of succeeding, a good chance of expanding democracy, protecting our rights, creating a more caring community, the GOP wouldn’t be so obvious or desperate in what they do to stop us.

 

We have a one or two or thousand issue election coming up in November. If we value a woman’s right of autonomy over her own body, we must vote for every candidate who supports that right. If we value our right and our children’s right to safety, and to live without fear of gun violence, we must vote for every candidate who supports legal controls on gun ownership. And in practically every case, this means voting for every Democrat. This is not the end of what we want and need, but the beginning of saving our lives and improving the outlook of our future.

 

*This post was syndicated by The Good Men Project.

 

The GOP Would Sacrifice Us on the Altar of their Power and Profit: What if, Instead, We Created a Better World?

What if we, or I, have been looking at this all wrong? I often feel like we’re on the verge of losing almost everything. But what if we’re on the verge of⎼ well, winning. Or maybe not winning but at least making things better? Maybe we must re-think our thinking about  what’s possible.

 

The GOP, and even some Democrats, or the financially well-off financiers of some Democrats, have become totally desperate. The immorality of many GOP, their willingness to sacrifice everything and everyone for their greed and power, has become totally upfront and obvious to anyone not blinded by lies and an unwillingness to question their beliefs or recognize the humanity of those holding views different from their own.

 

Desperation is a sign of weakness, not strength. Unwillingness to change one’s views or listen to others is a weakness, not a strength.

 

On May 30th Sonali Kolhatkar, host and founder of Rising With Sonali, a tv and radio show that airs on Free Speech Radio and Pacifica stations, wrote an article for the Independent Media Institute arguing very cogently that the very rich are making a very dangerous calculation⎼ that it is worth sacrificing millions or even billions of lives in order to preserve corporate and individual profits.

 

She cites a new poll by the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment which found that “there is no longer skepticism among the public that the effects of climate change are real, as 76 percent of respondents—the highest on record since the poll started—’believe there is solid evidence that temperatures on the planet have risen over the last four decades.’”

 

Yet, despite overwhelming support for doing all we can to halt climate change, “corporate profit-based considerations have constantly dictated our energy use and climate policies, [and] we have effectively decided that major sacrifices of lives—most likely poor people of color—will be worth the pain of relying on fossil fuels for energy.”

 

And the same holds true with the pandemic. “Today, even as COVID-19 infection rates are skyrocketing, with cases having risen by 58 percent in the last two weeks alone, mask mandates are being dropped all over the country and COVID-19-related restrictions are ending. This is not because the virus is under control—it is clearly not—but because it’s no longer financially viable for corporate America to sacrifice profits for lives. So, it will sacrifice lives for profit….”

 

Greg Sargent wrote in the Washington Post back in September about how the GOP would exploit the pandemic, sacrifice lives by lying about vaccines, for example, to resurrect their power. Millions of people were tricked, made sick, and many died due to the anti-vaccine propaganda of DJT and the right.

 

*This blog was syndicated by The Good Men Project.

 

If People Only Knew or Felt It in Their Heart

Imagine this. It’s 9:10 pm. You’ve been getting calls. Disturbing, threatening ones. Calling you “dirty… disgusting.” Accusing you of crimes against your nation, against the leader, or ex-President or whatever. Or of being a paid agent. They call the authorities to arrest you. They threaten you and everyone you love. You are Black. Latinx. Jewish. Muslim. Indigenous or Asian American. An immigrant of color. LGBTQIA. A Democrat or democrat. A Republican who has spoken out against DJT. A woman. A scientist or Doctor who speaks about global warming, the efficacy of masks, the threat of COVID, the need for public safety measures. A teacher.

 

Then they show up at your home. Bang on your doors. Try to break in. Crowds of people. At first you don’t know what to do. You might be unsure⎼ if you called the police, who would they support? You or those attacking you? At 10:00 pm, you are too scared to hesitate any longer. You call the police. Your call is recorded. The police are on the way. They help you this time.

 

And later, you must leave your home. You are forced to hide. Your business is shut down. You can’t tell anyone where you are. Your previous life is shattered. No job. No seeing friends or family. Every morning you wake up not knowing if you will have a future or what it will be. Or if someone with a gun or club, hate in their heart or disinformation in their mind, will come after you.

 

Imagine another woman who lived in a city with her husband and two daughters. Soon after her nation was taken over by a dictator, she began to fear for her family. Those in power kept spreading lies about different groups of people, blaming the innocent few for the suffering of many. Calling them hateful names. Taking away their businesses. Forbidding them from using public transportation, sports facilities, watching entertainment, etc. and their children from attending the regular public schools. Where they could go and what they could do was heavily restricted.

 

Then she heard rumors of people being arrested, never to be seen again. No trial. Just vicious accusations. Her sister got a call to report to what was labeled a labor camp. She and her husband were suspicious and feared for their lives. So they went into hiding, in a space behind the business they had owned. Friends secretly supplied them with food. They could never go out, never go near a window. Never see the light of day except through a curtain.

 

The latter story is about Edith Frank, the mother of Anne Frank, whose well-known diary documented the Holocaust in Holland during World War II. Edith and her daughters died in a Nazis concentration camp.

 

The first story took place just recently in the USA….

 

*To read the whole article, please go to The Good Men Project.

From Snow Dancing to Sun Shining: The Day We Saw an Inauguration of Hope

I woke up to snow, huge flakes dancing, not falling, but spinning in the wind. Playful. I haven’t seen the heavens be so playful for years. But here it is, the earth dancing. To see trees and people, snow and wind, different ways of being coming together, dancing together.

And now the sun shines.

A new President was inaugurated today, pledging to speak the truth and act with decency. To recognize the threat of white nationalism instead of hiding it. To advance and protect democracy instead of undermining it. Amanda Gorman spoke. She danced with truth in her words, personal strength and insight. Poetry replacing shouts, incoherence, and lies.

Two moments today when so many of us felt tears break out. May this be a new America. May we win the new Civil War or, as President Biden put it, Uncivil War, even better, may we defeat the impulse to go to war, to go to hate, to go to self-serving greed.

This is our chance. May we take it.

DT, the would-be dictator, the only President in our history who incited an attack on our Congress, our nation, the Congress and nation he swore to protect, the President of hate, lies, and grievance, is now gone from the White House if not from our memory or pain or nation. We must do everything in our power to make sure no one like him is ever given power again. “Never again.” To make sure those guilty of assaulting Congress in an attempt at a coup or to stop Congress from recognizing the will of the people, or who incited and assisted the assault, or worked in Congress itself to destroy democracy- they need to be punished, not out of vengeance but justice.

We need to make sure DT is never allowed to approach a government office again, except for a courtroom. We need to let the whole nation see his crimes.

What a morning and afternoon. We needed this. It’s a lesson and reminder⎼ we must be prepared⎼ to fight, to speak out. To take to the streets not to destroy the power of the people but to secure it. Not to thwart the rule of justice but to make it rule. Not to force a lie on the nation, not to mock truth but proclaim it. Not to kill but heal. That these efforts can and did, for now, succeed. We did succeed.

We need to take a breath. We need to dance. We need to sing.

And then speak out once again, for impeachment in the Senate and for new policies. To quickly have a new cabinet approved. To care for those who are sick and to protect us from becoming sick. To pass new relief legislation. To protect the nation from the violence of internal hate as well as external. To pass new legislation to protect our voting system, right to vote and right to equal justice. To improve our infrastructure. To fully fund an equitable public education system that protects its students and teachers, teaches the history and responsibilities of freedom and democracy, and fosters critical thinking. That makes good health care available to all. And that protects our earth. Our home.

A new day. The inauguration of hope has begun. Let us make it so.

 

 

**Here is a list of those we can call. The first 5 are probable votes for impeachment. The next 6 possibly possible. If you think of anyone else, let us know.

Sasse 202-224-4224

Toomey -202-224-4254

Murkowski 202-224-6665

Romney 202-224-5251

Collins 202-224-2523

 

McConnell 202-224-2541

Grassley 202-224-3744

Lankford 202-224-5754.

Portman 202-224-3353

Capito (202) 224-6472

Thune 202-224-2321

 

This blog post was syndicated by The Good Men Project

Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks Not Only for the Food and the Friendship but the Peaceful Transition of Power

We can celebrate. Yes! Ok, maybe there are restrictions and shadows, big ones at that. But we can do it. Smile. Dance. Step #2 towards a revived future and a revived nation has been taken.

 

Step #1 was the election day⎼ or days. In some states, early voting started a month before November 3rd, and then counting went on, in some places, until this Monday. Actually, there are a few states still counting. And it is clear Biden won, or clear to anyone not wearing DT colored or white (nationalist) colored glasses. Biden won by 5.3 million popular votes and 74 electoral votes, 306 to DT’s 232.

 

Step #2 came 16 days after election day when Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, a DT appointee, declared President-elect Joe Biden the “apparent” President-elect. DT managed to freeze, incite chaos and anxiety, try to blatantly undermine or cancel the election, for almost a month. Then, on November 23rd Murphy contacted the White House and sent a personal letter to Biden. Resources as well as information and access, will now be granted to the President-elect. He can officially start the huge effort to take control of the executive branch of the government and begin planning how to safeguard this nation.

 

An adult with the inclination and ability to care about the well-being of others is now President. We can celebrate. November 23rd should have been declared a holiday. It might be the day that saved our nation from the Civil War that our present and soon-to-be past President drove us toward.

 

Step #3 will be January 6th, when the Electoral College will officially meet and certify the winner of the election. Step #4 will be January 20th, Inauguration Day. Step #5 will be when the tough process of executive actions and legislation to end the pandemic, improve health care and the economic position of millions of Americans, and create democracy is clearly underway.

 

DT was the first shadow on the holiday. COVID-19 is the second. This year, Thanksgiving needs to be masked and social distanced and attendance limited.

 

For 42 of the last 43 years, my wife and I had Thanksgiving with the same group of friends despite living in 3 different areas, all in driving distance of each other. Three of us went to college together, were on the same floor of the same freshman dormitory at the University of Michigan. We became close friends. Two of us shared an apartment for the last 2 years of college. We had almost no classes together, but many discussions, protests, social events. And the friendship has continued after we left Michigan. Others have joined us, most notably and joyfully our wives.

 

I looked forward each year to our time together. Looking forward to Thanksgiving gave me life and breath over many years of working long hours. But this year it can’t happen.

 

Instead, we invited 2 friends, a couple, former co-workers of my wife who live near to us, to join us. Actually, the invite was more synergistic than one couple inviting another. Although it took planning, it also took checking the weather report so it would be warm enough to leave windows open. We had to think about what would be safe. We brought out 2 leaves for our kitchen table to make it so we could sit more than 6 feet apart.

 

So, I wish us all, everyone, a wonderful holiday. I wish us all not only wonderful food but wonderful discussions. For those who can’t do it this year due to the necessary health restrictions or for whatever reason⎼ I wish that our new President, with our help, will not only end the coronavirus pandemic but the pandemic of hate and economic injustice. So we, more of us than ever, can share such a holiday in the future.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to us all. And may the transition of power be even less anxious and more peaceful and constitutional than it’s been.

Being Ready to Stand Up and Speak Out: Vote and Turn the Tide

Last Wednesday, DT issued a sweeping executive order to strip career federal employees of their civil service protections. I didn’t hear about this until Saturday afternoon. Amidst so much news, about the pandemic, polls on the last debate, the GOP disenfranchising voters while abusing their power in the Senate in order to turn a sycophant judge into a justice, and the election⎼ this move by DT went almost unnoticed.

 

I doubt what he did is legal, but that hasn’t stopped him before. What this order does is allow him to dismiss, without any cause or recourse, anyone in the bureaucracy involved in helping make public policy. He is invalidating laws and policies meant to protect these workers and the integrity of government operations and the rule of law and making the federal bureaucracy totally dependent on one man for their job. And their job would no longer be to serve the American people and this nation, but to serve DT. The federal bureaucracy would join the DOJ and the Supreme Court as a division of the DT Empire. We can’t allow this to happen.

 

And this follows years of him firing any head of a government agency, including the FBI, or any Inspector General that could hold him accountable.

 

DT has talked about voting as an “honor,” not a right protected by the constitution. On several occasions, including the first debate with Joe Biden, he speculated he possibly would not honor election results (or repudiate the white supremacists who support him). He earlier threatened to withhold government funding to Democratic states which allow those fearful of getting COVID-19 to request mail-in ballots, and has called for indicting and imprisoning not just Hillary Clinton (“Lock Her Up”) but any political rival, or anyone who protests for justice or against him. This is a president who, at a rally in Wisconsin on Sunday, stood not before the American flag but the “thin blue line” flag that has become a symbol not as much for law enforcement but racism enforcement. So we oppose him.

 

Our legal system has favored the white and rich forever. There was always a “two-tier” system, one law for whites and one for people of color⎼ one for the wealthy, and one for the rest of us. In fact, the legal system might be doing what it was intended to do⎼ protect the position and property of the white and rich.  But there was still a principle of rule by law, not by the whim of people in power. The legal system might have even been improving due to the justice and civil rights movement that began in the mid-1950s, and due to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. But no more. Not since the Supreme Court in 2013 nullified the most important protections in that act; not since the Citizens United decision in 2012 allowed the rich to exert overpowering influence in our elections, and certainly not since DT’s assumption of office.

 

Most of us understand how dangerous the situation is right now. We have seen or heard about other nations where no one but the rich and connected can depend on the government, to get permits, passports⎼ anything. Where paying bribes or depending on the pressure of the influential is commonplace. If DT is allowed to continue as he has, our laws and environmental regulations will be used even more not to serve the community but those in power. This is where we’re headed. The level of corruption in this administration was frightening even before his order to remove civil service protections. He campaigned on draining the swamp, but instead he’s stuffed it so full it’s flooding the nation. So we oppose him….

 

And we must vote. Vote early, if possible. If not, we can vote on the third of November and bring friends, neighbors, and family (in a safe manner) with us. Dress up in Revolutionary War costumes. Make it a neighborhood event. But vote. On Tuesday, the whole political landscape could drastically change. This is our opportunity to turn the tide and stop the devastation wrought by DT….

 

To read the whole post, go to The Good Men Project which also published it.

 

 

Using Humor to Take Down A Wannabee Dictator: The Importance of Joy and Playfulness in Our Lives Today

We hear that Joe Biden is ahead from 3 to 12 points in almost every national poll and we want to jump for joy and act silly. But we know we can’t trust polls. His victory won’t happen unless we make it happen.

 

Other than polls, there is little in the news to bring most of us joy, not after we hear about a plot by white militias to kidnap, maybe murder, Gretchen Whitmer, a sitting Democratic Governor, attack police and incite a civil war.  Not after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg⎼ and instead of passing legislation to help the millions suffering from the pandemic, the GOP in the Senate rush to replace her with a sycophant judge and turn the Supreme Court into an extension of DT’s court. Not after over 219,541 deaths and when 28 states are experiencing a spike or second wave of the coronavirus. And instead of leading the nation in dealing with the pandemic, DT leads the nation in trying to hide and deny it.

 

DT claims to be the “the most perfect person”, “an extremely stable genius” but he is the liar-in-chief, more like a red-faced, malignant ostrich with sticky hands trying to hide his head not in the sand but in a tv set. He has assaulted almost every aspect of this nation, from Social Security, Medicare, the USPS, school children, workers, especially those who are brown and black, the air we breathe and water we drink, our right to protest for justice or to vote.

 

Considering all this, who has the inclination or energy for joy? It would be inconsiderate, or sacrilegious. Fear, depression, anger and outrage seem more appropriate.

 

Or anxiety. I am so anxious about the election I can barely stand it. But we need relief, ways to relax and let our minds clear, and mindfulness and nature walks can only do so much. This is true not only at home, to keep our relationships with family and friends fresh and caring⎼ but also so we aren’t manipulated by DT’s tweets, lies and actions, which are often based on, or are the source for, Russian disinformation. I’m surprised he hasn’t developed a Russian accent. Especially after an unwatchable “debate”, humor can release us from fear and introduce us to compassion. It can help us more clearly perceive our ties to others, our power, and better understand the necessity and the means to act effectively.

 

For the first few years of the DT era, comedians were a prime source of humor and relief. Jimmy Kimmel and other late night comedians helped influence the effective fight against the GOP attack on our health care in 2017 (although there were some who blamed comedians for making the divisiveness in this nation worse. Humor can be used to oversimplify and obscure, as well as to grasp the complex and reveal what is hidden. Intent is important.)

 

In the 9/26 Sunday New York Times, Nicholas Kristof wrote a piece called “To Beat Trump, Mock Him. The lesson from pro—democracy fighters abroad: Humor deflates authoritarian rulers.” Before DT, we in the U. S. didn’t have much experience confronting authoritarian rulers and so are often stumped about what to do to hold DT accountable. The more normal frontal attacks, and revelations of his corruption and malignant actions don’t work as we expect. As Kristof points out, the impeachment hearings seemed to elevate him in the polls….

 

*To read the whole article, please go to the Good Men Project.

Enough Is Enough: To Vote in November, Act Now!

On Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the arrival of the news of emancipation from slavery, rallies were held throughout the U. S.. It was the Friday before the weekend of the Trump rally in Tulsa, at the end of the fourth week of protests over the murder of George Floyd, and a week where 23 states had upward trends in new coronavirus infections (and states like Florida had seen record increases of over 3,000 new cases per day for 4 straight days), when DT took another shot at ending the separation of powers in the U. S. government. And he did it while trying to hide it behind a whirlwind weekend.

 

He fired Geoffrey Berman, the U. S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. This is one of the most powerful independent legal offices in the nation and one that is investigating DT’s associates including his present personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and previously investigated his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. But the fight is not over.

 

He first attempted to do this on Friday, Juneteenth. He had Attorney General Barr falsely announce Mr. Berman had resigned, and that he would install his own candidate, Jay Clayton, the Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman and a friend of his, to the office. But Berman issued his own statement. He denied he had resigned and stated he refused to do so. The President then had to officially step in on Saturday, the 20th. The result of Berman’s defiance and the negotiations which followed was that Barr and DT could not immediately install Clayton to the post, and had to allow Audrey Strauss, Berman’s deputy, to temporarily assume the office and thus continue current investigations⎼ at least until the Senate could approve a permanent successor.

 

This will not be easy for DT to accomplish, as even his supporter, Senator Lindsey Graham, has said that he would not allow the Clayton nomination to move forward without the approval of the 2 Senators from New York, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, who have called on Clayton to drop out of contention for the office.

 

This follows months of DT firing 5 Inspector Generals and pardoning corrupt officials. He has threatened to formally adjourn congress and subvert the constitution.

 

In May, Eric Lutz, in an article in Vanity Fair, speculated that DT might be trying to set the stage to cancel the November election. In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, DT threatened to withhold federal funding from Michigan and Nevada, “lying that the states—each of which is governed by a Democrat — are allowing illegal voting.” He attacked the state of Nevada, “baselessly accusing it of attempting to ‘cheat in elections’.”

 

He claimed voting is an “honor” not a right guaranteed by the constitution and he and his adherents in the Republican party are doing all they can to disenfranchise voters, especially voters of color.

 

The protests in the streets calling for justice for the murder of George Floyd and other African Americans by police are one of the few forces protecting the last remnants of democracy in our nation right now. The protests have spread not only throughout the country but the world. Not only do the protests proclaim Black Lives Matter but the civil rights protections in the constitution matter and must be enforced. Our voices matter. They show politicians and other people with institutional power that the power of the people once released will not be silenced. Enough is enough.

 

And DT is clearly afraid of the protests, as well as polls showing him trailing Joe Biden by a considerable margin. In February, as COVID-19 was just striking the US, before he even became the recognized Democratic candidate, Biden was leading DT by 4.8 points. In June, Biden went ahead by 8 points or more. A June 17 poll by Reuters/Ipsos showed Biden ahead by 13 points. In swing states, Biden is gaining considerably, putting into play states that used to be Red.

 

Even the Tulsa rally this weekend, which DT said would be filled to capacity and was supposed to lift his spirits and campaign, failed to do so. He had to cancel planned outdoor events because the audience for it did not exist. Even inside the arena, a good portion of the seats were empty. The Tulsa Fire Department estimated there were under 6,200 people in the 19,000 capacity arena.

 

Trump blamed the limited attendance on the media and the interference of protestors outside the arena. But the numbers of in-person protestors was relatively small. If anyone had a hand in the smaller numbers, besides DT himself and his declining approval ratings, it was young people. TikTok users and K-pop fans said they registered for potentially hundreds of thousands of free tickets, and then posted they couldn’t go.

 

DT is losing in many areas. Whether he actually tries to cancel or delay the election, pull a surprise coronavirus vaccine out of the air to distract voters from his malignant, corrupt, negligent and racist response to the pandemic, or declare some other kind of “emergency,” it is clear this election is and will continue to be different from any other⎼ more fraught with election interference from Russia or elsewhere, more voters threatened or subject to long lines and other obstructions. We will have to prepare to protect polling places or to go to the streets to protect the election results.

 

And to do that, we must act now. No matter our race, we benefit from joining the Black Lives Matter protests and calling for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others. Right now we must call Congress and demand an investigation into the firing of Geoffrey Berman, universal mail-in ballots, more voting places, extended voting hours. Right now, we must call to protect the USPS. We have the coronavirus pandemic, the hundreds of years old pandemic of racism, and we have DT. All 3 are interconnected and the time to fight them is now.

 

*This post was syndicated by the Good Men Project.