Don’t ask why I read this Appendix

After a long sermon, in Appendix II, about the importance of recognizing that all morality flows from biblical sources, the now defunct 1776 Commission offers Appendix III: Created Equal or Identity Politics? a solid John Birch Society analysis of what makes these despicable freaks demanding equality so goddamned repulsive and deserving of our scorn:

In recent times, however, a new creed has arisen challenging the original one enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. This new creed, loosely defined as identity politics, has three key features.

First, the creed of identity politics defines and divides Americans in terms of collective social identities. According to this new creed, our racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as individuals equally endowed with fundamental rights.


Second, the creed of identity politics ranks these different racial and social groups in terms of privilege and power, with disproportionate moral worth allotted to each. It divides Americans into two groups: oppressors and victims. The more a group is considered oppressed, the more its members have a moral claim upon the rest of society. As for their supposed oppressors, they must atone and even be punished in perpetuity for their sins and those of their ancestors.

Third, the creed of identity politics teaches that America itself is to blame for oppression. America’s
“electric cord” is not the creed of liberty and equality that connects citizens today to each other and to every generation of Americans past, present, and future. Rather, America’s “electric cord” is a heritage of oppression that the majority racial group inflicts upon minority groups, and identity politics is about assigning and absolving guilt for that oppression.

According to this new creed, Americans are not a people defined by their dedication to human equality, but a people defined by their perpetuation of racial and sexual oppression

You can, of course, put it much more simply and without the fancy, pejorative “ideological” label (or without hammering the word “creed” over and over, telltale tic, that). If it is self-evident that we are all created equal, if the Constitution has been amended to ensure the rights of citizenship to all former slaves and their issue, then equality among citizens is a goal as American as apple pie and belief in Jesus Christ Himself. It follows that people who are not treated equally even now are entitled to equality under law. So sorry if it makes you pompous oppressor fucks feel perpetually angry and guilty!

Again, this hits me personally, from a lifetime of experience with people who insisted they loved me and claimed the right to angrily define me as they saw fit. If you have the good fortune to stand calmly beside their deathbed you might hear a last minute admission that they were wrong to call you a vicious, unfair, irrationally hurtful fuck. You may hear, as I did from my father, that the long war had not been your fault but their’s, though they uncompromisingly blamed you for all of it.

The 1776 Report was a long exercise in identity politics, from the lofty perspective of the noble knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Pelf

The principles of equality and consent mean that all are equal before the law. No one is above the law, and no one is privileged to ignore the law, just as no one is outside the law in terms of its protection.

from The 1776 Report

I glanced over former president Trump’s last minute, first and final 1776 Report, by the now-defunct Presidential Advisory 1776 Commission. The Advisory 1776 Commission, which had so much to teach us, has gone the way of Trump’s short-lived Presidential Voter Integrity Commission, alas. The report has all the earmarks of a hastily produced term paper by a know-it-all junior high school genius, submitted seconds before the teacher’s tyrannical deadline for failing the course. The timing was also perfect, released as it was on Martin Luther King Day. I looked at it so you don’t have to, but here is some of the essence.

First, as to proofreading and Freudian slips:

The advantages of union are detailed in the first fourteen papers of The Federalist (a series of essays written to urge the Constitution’s adoption), and boil down to preventing and deterring foreign adventurism in North America, avoiding conflicts between threats, achieving economies of scale, and best utilizing the diverse resources of the continent.

avoiding conflicts between threats, ya’ll.

Most importantly, I learned a great new word, “pelf” [1], a word that describes the bulk, perhaps the entirety, of the former president’s undisclosed very, very huge fortune. Stephen Miller (or somebody doing an uncanny imitation of the hateful little puke) left no stone unturned in digging up inspirational, high-minded quotes for why we must have patriotic education that instills pride, instead of lingering on painful aspects of our common history, things that divide us and make us weak and unfree. Here’s the “pelf” quote, from FDR:

The Nazi juggernaut quickly conquered much of Europe. The rule of the Axis Powers “is not a government based upon the consent of the governed,”said President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “It is not a union of ordinary, self-respecting men and women to protect themselves and their freedom and their dignity from oppression. It is an unholy alliance of power and pelf to dominate and enslave the human race.”

In straightening out the misconceptions, apparently harbored by millions of us, about our values and history, the report enumerates our most important constitutional rights. Miller cites the three most important, freedom of religion, number one, obviously, something else, and this, possibly most important of all:

Finally, the right to keep and bear arms is required by the fundamental natural right to life: no man may justly be denied the means of his own defense. The political significance of this right is hardly less important. An armed people is a people capable of defending their liberty no less than their lives and is the last, desperate check against the worst tyranny.

Laying out our most important challenges:

At the same time, it is important to note that by design there is room in the Constitution for significant change and reform. Indeed, great reforms—like abolition [2], women’s suffrage, anti-Communism, the Civil Rights Movement [3], and the Pro-Life Movement—have often come forward that improve our dedication to the principles of the Declaration of Independence under the Constitution.

We’ll leave aside whether anti-Communism or the Pro-Life Movement are reforms, great or otherwise (were we once Communist before we wised up and reformed our great nation?) but let’s go right on to the fundamental, foundational false belief of that challenge to democracy, up there with Communism and Fascism — Progressivism. Progressives operate by a false theory of “group rights,” an idea, we learn, actually, factually, historically, undeniably, based directly on slavery advocate John C. Calhoun’s cray-cray “principled” defense of slavery, as you shall learn:

Progressives believed there were only group rights that are constantly redefined and change with the times. Indeed, society has the power and obligation not only to define and grant new rights, but also to take old rights away as the country develops.

Based on this false understanding of rights, the Progressives designed a new system of government. Instead of securing fundamental rights grounded in nature, government—operating under a new theory of the “living” Constitution—should constantly evolve to secure evolving rights.

Here is where the false (not mistaken, incorrect, or controversial, mind you– FALSE) Progressive idea of “group rights,” ironically embraced by many descendants of former slaves, comes from. This is a hilarious irony so few appreciate as we continue to snarl at each other instead of working together to make America great again:

And yet over the course of the first half of the 19th century, a growing number of Americans increasingly denied the truth at the heart of the founding. Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina famously rejected the Declaration’s principle of equality as “the most dangerous of all political error” and a “self-evident lie.” He never doubted that the founders meant what they said.

To this rejection, Calhoun added a new theory in which rights inhere not in every individual by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” but in groups or races according to historical evolution. This new theory was developed to protect slavery—Calhoun claimed it was a “positive good”—and specifically to prevent lawful majorities from stopping the spread of slavery into federal territories where it did not yet exist.

Miller (I assume this bigoted, limited, blowhard, Trump’s “Minister of Hate”, wrote and had the first and final edits on the Commission’s educational, inspirational text) gives us the prescription going forward for how we must educate our youth:

States and school districts should reject any curriculum that promotes one-sided partisan opinions, activist propaganda, or factional ideologies that demean America’s heritage, dishonor our heroes, or deny our principles. Any time teachers or administrators promote political agendas in the classroom, they abuse their platform and dishonor every family who trusts them with their children’s education and moral development.

Miller’s solution is a SCHOLARSHIP OF FREEDOM, the antithesis of what is taught at American universities (with few exceptions):

Universities in the United States are often today hotbeds of anti-Americanism, libel, and censorship that combine to generate in students and in the broader culture at the very least disdain and at worst outright hatred for this country. [4]

Of course, the most important thing is REVERENCE FOR THE LAW (the report was clearly already at the printer when the President’s Advisory Committee watched the president and his son whip up an angry lawless mob, urging them to give strength to patriots trying to overturn an election he insisted was stolen)

The principles of equality and consent mean that all are equal before the law. No one is above the law, and no one is privileged to ignore the law, just as no one is outside the law in terms of its protection.

In his Lyceum Address, a young Abraham Lincoln warned of two results of a growing disregard for the rule of law. The first is mob rule: “whenever the vicious portion of [our] population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision stores, throw printing-presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure and with impunity, depend upon it, this government cannot last.”


But Lincoln also warned of those of great ambition who thirst for distinction and, although “he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm, yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set
boldly to the task of pulling down.”


Whether of the Left or of the Right, both mob rule and tyrannical rule violate the rule of law because both are rule by the base passions rather than the better angels of our nature. Both equally threaten our constitutional order.

Then the loyal, shameless Miller picks up his trowel

When crimes go unpunished or when good men do nothing, the lawless in spirit will become lawless in practice, leading to violence and demagoguery.

Patriotic education must have at its center a respect for the rule of law, including the Declaration and the Constitution, so that we have what John Adams called “a government of laws, and not of men.”

As for “SLAVERY”, no worries, we weren’t doing anything everyone else wasn’t doing, PLUS:

Thomas Jefferson also held slaves, and yet included in his original draft of the Declaration a strong condemnation of slavery, which was removed at the insistence of certain slaveholding delegates. Inscribed in marble at his memorial in Washington, D.C. is Jefferson’s foreboding reference to the injustice of slavery: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that
God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”


James Madison saw to it at the Constitutional Convention that, even when the Constitution
compromised with slavery, it never used the word “slave” to do so. No mere semantics, he insisted that it was “wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men.”

Which is why, the historical reason, boys and girls, we have THE n-word today. Forget about those other thousands of words you can look up that start with N — you know the word we’re talking about. Don’t say it, and everything will be cool. Unity and healing, y’all.

By the way, typical of “group rights” group-think, President Biden (got to wish him luck) immediately disbanded the 1776 Commission by executive order.

[1]

pelf/pelf/nounARCHAIC

  1. money, especially when gained in a dishonest or dishonorable way.”damnation dog thee and thy wretched pelf!”

[2] on American slavery and abolition:

The most common charge levelled [sic] against the founders, and hence against our country itself, is that they were hypocrites who didn’t believe in their stated principles, and therefore the country they built rests on a lie. This charge is untrue, and has done enormous damage, especially in recent years, with a devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric. 

Many Americans labor under the illusion that slavery was somehow a uniquely American evil. It is essential to insist at the outset that the institution be seen in a much broader perspective. It is very hard for people brought up in the comforts of modern America, in a time in which the idea that all human beings have inviolable rights and inherent dignity is almost taken for granted, to imagine the cruelties and enormities that were endemic in earlier times. But the unfortunate fact is that the institution of slavery has been more the rule than the exception throughout human history.

…The foundation of our Republic planted the seeds of the death of slavery in America. The Declaration’s
unqualified proclamation of human equality flatly contradicted the existence of human bondage and, along
with the Constitution’s compromises understood in light of that proposition, set the stage for abolition.
Indeed, the movement to abolish slavery that first began in the United States led the way in bringing about the end of legal slavery.

This conflict was resolved, but at a cost of more than 600,000 lives. Constitutional amendments were passed to abolish slavery, grant equal protection under the law, and guarantee the right to vote regardless of race. Yet the damage done by the denial of core American principles and by the attempted substitution of a theory of group rights in their place proved widespread and long-lasting. These, indeed, are the direct ancestors of some of the destructive theories that today divide our people and tear at the fabric of our country. 

[3] The, like, totally unfair tyranny of “Civil Rights”

The Civil Rights Movement was almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the founders. The ideas that drove this change had been growing in America for decades, and they distorted many areas of policy in the half century that followed. Among the distortions was the abandonment of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in favor of “group rights” not unlike those advanced by Calhoun and his followers. The justification for reversing the promise of color-blind civil rights was that past discrimination requires present effort, or affirmative action in the form of preferential treatment, to overcome long-accrued inequalities. Those forms of preferential treatment built up in our system over time, first in administrative rulings, then executive orders, later in congressionally passed law, and finally were sanctified by the Supreme Court. 

[4] This includes restoring patriotic education that teaches the truth about America. That doesn’t mean ignoring the faults in our past, but rather viewing our history clearly and wholly, with reverence and love. We must also prioritize personal responsibility and fulfilling the duties we have toward one another as citizens. Above all, we must stand up to the petty tyrants in every sphere who demand that we speak only of America’s sins while denying her greatness. At home, in school, at the workplace, and in the world, it is the people—and only the people—who have the power to stand up for America and defend our way of life.

It’s Morning in America

As Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and their famous client Ronald Reagan used to say while campaigning against Jimmy Carter, only with a real feeling of optimism this time for most of us. Any president with ordinary human emotions is preferable to one filled only with grievance and grandiosity, and a childish railing against how unfairly life has treated him, even while insisting he’s the greatest man ever. A president with ordinary human feelings is especially needed during our multi-pronged national emergency.

Michelle Goldberg, NY Times opinion columnist, mentioned the obvious in a chat with Ari Melber the other day. If Trump had been impeached and removed from office a year ago, the first time it was done, countless American lives would have been saved.

Invoking the Defense Production Act (as Biden plans to do, starting today) would have provided all Americans with personal protective gear, can now likely be invoked to increase production of the vaccine and so on. If Trump had just worn a fucking mask instead of weaponizing reasonable medical advice during a deadly pandemic, and told the 75,000,000 who’d go on to vote for him to put masks on for all of our sakes, it would have made a huge difference, many thousands of lives would have been saved.

Imagine: if there had been a fair trial at Trump’s first impeachment, and Senators had voted based on the sworn testimony of the witnesses and the weight of the evidence (witnesses and evidence both were banned from the “trial” by impartial jury foreman Mitch McConnell, who vowed from the start to work closely with Trump’s defense team to dismiss the political stunt ASAP), Trump would have been removed at the very dawn of the pandemic. Mike Pence, although shameless and spineless, would have been empowered (by his wife Karen) to oversee a reasonable reaction to the wild spread of an incurable, sometimes deadly disease. Countless Americans, dead of COVID-19, would still be alive today.

It is no consolation to the families who lost loved ones that poster boy for deranged indifference DOnald Trump is going out in a shit storm (of his own creation, of course).  There is a report that Secret Service said Trump left a large turd unflushed in one of the presidential toilet bowls when he vacated the White House for the last time early today. If true, not surprising in the least, it is in Trump’s nature to constantly double down, it’s literally all he knows how to do. Leaving a last bit of his DNA at the crime scene is something he couldn’t help but do.

There is a deeply troubling, self-obsessed personality type — they are never wrong, they are never satisfied, they crave more and more, can never sit back and enjoy their achievements in peace. This personality set-up compels rage-driven men like Roy Cohn, proud dirty trickster Roger Stone, Donald and Don Jr., to keep fighting, keep aggressively and senselessly upping the ante, indignantly defending their corruption, the pugnacious, in-your-face transgression of all rules and laws, until everything goes operatically wrong at the very end and they lose everything.

Think of Cohn at the end, disbarred, under criminal indictment, a promiscuous, self-hating homophobic gay man dying alone of AIDS he insisted was cancer. Think of the once wildly successful conquerer, Mr. Hitler, raving in his bunker, sending starving young German boys out to the barricades with rifles to fight the Red Army, the Americans, the allies pouring into Berlin from every direction, ranting that Germany betrayed him and deserves to get destroyed.    

I’m looking forward to seeing the come-uppance of some of the callous criminals who profited during the Trump regime. Their many crimes must not be left on a page turned in the name of moving on. I find it impossible to imagine that there will not be a long moment of national reckoning for many of these creatures (though it looks like Louis DeJoy is likely to skate for his smugly defended attempts to restrict mail-in voting to steal the election for his friend).

It was a nice touch that Trump pardoned Bannon at the very last minute.   Perfect, really, pardoning the guy who ripped off Trump’s own most loyal suckers to make himself richer, Trump has done no less.   Sloppy Steve crawled back into Trump’s good, gullible graces just in time for a pardon, after ingratiating himself by being a violent insurrection consultant during the execution of the Capitol siege.

Now Bannon, and any of the other pardon recipients, can be forced to testify about certain things, under oath, with no ability to invoke a 5th Amendment right to remain silent, since, after their pardon, they can’t incriminate himself as to what they were pardoned for– which they are also deemed guilty of, according to Glenn Kirschner and a hundred year-old Supreme Court precedent).

A better world starts today, and not a moment too soon!    

I loved the wry ending of Heather Cox Richardson’s post tonight, which begins with the well-documented illegal help provided to the Trump campaign from Vladimir Putin, and how Trump’s presidency was one long dance away from the obvious fact, verified by Democrats and Republicans alike, that Trump openly (and secretly) welcomed Putin’s help and kissed up to the Russian strongman for his entire presidency. Here’s how Heather ends her excellent summary of the Trump regime:

Joining Romney in calling for new sanctions against Russia were a range of senators from both parties.

The act is called the “Holding Russia Accountable for Malign Activities Act.”

Why Martin Luther King, Jr. had to die

It’s worth remembering, the day after most of the nation recalled, and many celebrated, the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., that although his courageous advocacy led to changes in the laws of this great nation, his moral message did not touch many.

Yesterday, on Martin Luther King Day, Trump’s administration, in one of its final official acts (outside of executing a record-shattering number of federal prisoners), put out a 41 page book report called The 1776 Report. Written as a refutation to the “liberal” narrative (see the NY Times 1619 Project, for example) that we long tolerated a brutal and dehumanizing form of race-based slavery and have a lot of racial healing to do in this deeply racist nation, the 1776 Report purportedly refutes the idea that there is any institutional racism in this great and idealistic nation. Written in the incomparable prose of angry anti-immigration troll Stephen Miller, it has already been characterized by historians as of a piece with the rest of the deep thinking young fascist’s pronouncements and policies, informed by his masters’ uninformed views of history, race and genetics.

I’m not interested, at the moment, in how debunkable this provocatively released (had to be on MLK Day, y’all) report is, how many historians have already come forward to attack it as the amateur ahistorical attempt to rewrite history that it is. I am thinking about the difference between truth-telling and endlessly repeating lies in the service of what is blandly called “ideology”.

The word ideology gives a veneer of respectability to otherwise disprovable, often ridiculous “theories” that underly “ideology”, ideas that are not actually worthy of serious discussion (“Trickle down economics,” “Birtherism” “child-blood-drinking pedophile elites running the opposition to Trump” etc.) appear serious. “White Supremacy” is an ideology, as is “fascism” as is “Movement Conservatism” as is belief in “the Unitary Executive”. All serve a view of the world, based on protecting certain minority interests, always at the expense of the interests of vast populations. Each “ideology” extolls one group while vilifying and marginalizing a much larger group.

Martin Luther King pushed for social change using nonviolent mass protest based on Gandhi’s satyagraha [1] “holding firmly to truth” or “truth force”. The principle is based in ahimsa, non-harm, which requires a person to hold firm in her quest for justice, to be direct in expressing opposition to injustice, but not to use violence, in fact, to be willing to suffer injury yourself, to bring about the desired change. Satyagraha works, when it does, by awakening the sleeping conscience of society to oppose immoral harms it tolerates.

King and his colleagues brought white racist willingness to inflict every brutality on Americans who sought to simply have the same rights as everyone else to TV screens across the world. When masses saw vicious dogs loosed on peaceful protesters, bloody beatings, high pressure firehoses used to push terrified protesters against walls and shop windows, millions were sickened. Moral pressure increased to change some of the worst of the in-your-face unfairness of “Separate but Equal”. Legislation was eventually passed, after the assassination of JFK who came fully aboard the anti-racism train late in his presidency, protecting Voting Rights, fair housing rights and other rights long denied the descendants of former slaves.

JFK had a tricky relationship with MLK, and initially kept his distance from him, in part because J. Edgar Hoover, unprincipled anti-Communist crusader and longtime FBI director, wrote a secret memo to the Attorney General (JFK’s brother) alleging that MLK was a communist sympathizer. The allegations were false — the ‘information’ it was based on was laughably thin, one adviser of King’s had once been a member of the party, but had renounced his membership years earlier (leaving aside Americans’ right to membership in any political party we choose) — but Hoover stood by the truthfulness of the memo smearing King as “red” and refused to divulge sources, citing top secrecy that even the president and Attorney General were not cleared to have access to [2]. The more things change…

King came to see that racism, poverty and militarism were inseparable parts of the same implacable monster of injustice. Integrating public accommodations across the country was a small step forward that didn’t address the underlying causes of great human misery in the wealthiest country in history. The reason we have racism in America is closely related to the reasons we have massive wealth inequality and widespread poverty in the land of abundance. It doesn’t take a communist sympathizer to grasp this. Militarism, using overwhelming deadly force to “pacify” and to “solve problems”, is the irresistible force that allows injustice to persist, as the military leeches hundreds of billions of dollars needed to mount a serious program to alleviate poverty. The problem is not “white” vs. “black”, the problem is a society that allows vast inequality and massive poverty, supported by “ideology” (like a belief in white superiority) and deploys overwhelming deadly violence against those who express any problem with the arrangement.

A year to the day from King’s Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam speech in NYC, coincidentally we are told, a lone gunman silenced King’s voice with a gunshot to the throat (actually, the sniper’s bullet hit him in the cheek [3]). Listening to King’s Vietnam speech you hear simple truth spoken, truth which has been confirmed by history, truth even more undeniably true when seen against our wars in Iraq, Panama, Afghanistan, death by drone, all the proxy wars, like the brutal, current American-backed Saudi war in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East.

The plain truth of the speech, and our government’s perpetuation of the same brutality over and over since VIetnam, makes King sound like a prophet. The speech also marked King as a dangerous “trouble maker”. Major media (the NY Times and Washington Post among them, of course) attacked him as straying from his lane, destroying his credibility, his legacy. He was marginalized after that speech, monetary support for his cause withered as a result of the widespread media criticism, yet he persisted. He was organizing a biracial Poor People’s Campaign when he was murdered by yer proverbial lone gunman.

Here is some of what he said in the speech that marked him as a man worthy of silencing. See if you can find fault in it. I can’t, particularly in light of the countless equally “controversial” uses of overwhelming American military force, often on the shakiest of grounds, since.

At this point, I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called “enemy,” I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else, for it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after the short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long, they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America, who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote: “Each day the war goes on, the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism,” unquote.

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war and set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

Part of our ongoing — part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under the new regime, which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country, if necessary.

Meanwhile — meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task: While we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment, we must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.

These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

the rest of the speech is here

[1]

Satyagraha, or holding firmly to truth, or truth force, is a particular form of nonviolent resistance or civil resistance. Someone who practices satyagraha is a satyagrahi. The term satyagraha was coined and developed by Mahatma Gandhi. Wikipedia

[2]

This was discussed at length in the excellent Kennedy and King, the President, the Pastor and the Battle of Civil Rights, by Steven Levingston. The book is a fascinating, detailed, suspenseful account of the dramatic push and pull during that struggle for human rights. I highly recommend it, particularly in the audiobook version, which is read by a very talented reader.

[3]

The bullet entered through King’s right cheek, breaking his jaw and several vertebrae as it traveled down his spinal cord, severing his jugular vein and major arteries in the process, before lodging in his shoulder.

source

Democracy requires a Free Press

Every tyrant in history hates the open reporting of ongoing events and, if they’re smart, is diligent in rooting it out. What the public doesn’t know can’t hurt a dictator. Secrecy is often necessary to implement policies people would hate if they knew about them. Public disclosure of unpopular government measures, by journalists providing details without favorable spin, can provoke popular outrage, make things dicey for despots. As Trump admitted to Lesley Stahl on CBS in a sit-down after he was elected in 2016, the reason he constantly attacks the media is to sow doubt about its credibility and motives. I am not a member of the media, but by typing the previous sentence I am a TDS-sufferer [1] citing “fake news”. Play him the tape if you want, Trump will still insist he never said that, he’s being quoted out context, everyone hates him, since he was a baby, constant attacks, it’s all bullshit. Fake news!

The Washington Post published the full transcript of Trump’s perfectly appropriate address to the diehard pro-Trump crowd he called for January 6, 2021. In it he continues to insist, contrary to the evidence, that he won the recent election “in a landslide.” Then he does what angry people often do, he dismisses the thing that infuriated him by calling it bullshit. Parse this section for what he is actually referring to (the “bullshit” of course, is the continued counting of votes after 10 pm election night, but “bullshit” serves his purposes much better and is an unchallengeable emotional assertion):

That election, our election was over at 10 in the evening. We’re leading Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia. By hundreds of thousands of votes, and then late in the evening or early in the morning, boom. These explosions of bullshit, and all of the sudden — (APPLAUSE) — all of a sudden, it started to happen.

CROWD: Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

source

Now listen to this report, January 6: Inside the Capitol Siege, by journalists who were on the ground, at the speech. They report a festive, tailgate party before a football game atmosphere at the start of Trump’s Stop the Steal rally. Everyone is relaxed, enthusiastic and having fun, then things take a turn toward the deadly serious. The entire episode, reported on National Public Radio, is worth hearing, for context of how the riot started. Compare the experience of reading the lines above to the feeling of hearing the same lines, live, as they happened.

This kind of reporting is exactly why the angry crowd Trump sent down to the Capitol started things off by smashing up the cameras and recording equipment of journalists actively documenting events. No evidence, no crime.

Imagine how much better things would be, in terms of angry mass protests against deadly racism sanctioned by American government authorities, if the cops had simply taken away the high school girl’s phone after she filmed the entire 8:46 of George Floyd’s slow murder. As well as the phones of anyone filming the confiscation of her phone, of course. It may have not been legal, strictly speaking, but if we lived in a police state, a state of absolute “law and order”, nobody would be the wiser. Even here, lawsuits would have to be brought against the police to get the phones back, which would take time, and any settlement paid on behalf of the police would be kept secret. At least George Floyd’s gruesome death video would not have gone viral immediately.

Journalists not only write the first draft of history, they are participants in history. So is any citizen who does a little research (never easier to do than in 2021), compares sources, weighs veracity, reports honestly on what she finds. Citizen journalists, not a bad thing for the bulk of any democracy to be.

The RADICAL Left storms Capitol to hang Pence

The GOP, after failing to overturn certified election results, is now the party of healing and calming things down, blaming angry Democrats for once again stirring the shit pot by dwelling on an unfortunate invasion of the Capitol nobody saw coming. The title above comes from the equally compelling initial response of official Republicans — that the mob in Trump merch that laid siege to the Capitol was actually, probably, a bunch of radical Antifa and Black Lives Matter terrorists (in white face, presumably) looking to make innocent Trump supporters look bad. You had Trump loyalist Matt Gaetz, from the floor of Congress, indignantly stating this self-evident truth:

I know Matt would appreciate the rugged, masculine frame I put his fighting words in. Matt, I must add, seems to be a total douchebag, although very entitled and coming by it honestly. One can’t help but applaud the sophistication of his defiant “I Know You Are But What am I?”. Far more violence by the LEFT than by his people, you dig, not just a little, but worse by a mile, by far more than a mile.

And, although all FBI threat assessments in recent years (and, notably, there was no threat assessment issued prior to the Trump rage riot of January 6) and leading up to a locked down inauguration, support the opposite of this claim, there is no other reason to doubt Mr. Gaetz’s veracity. As Alan Dershowitz dementedly pointed out defending Trump in his first impeachment “trial”: if he truly believed he wasn’t lying, or if he lied for what he truly believed were the best interests of the country, then he wasn’t lying.

Also, of course, since Reagan ended the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 [1], there is no penalty in American politics for telling massive, easily disprovable lies, which can now be broadcast to the nation with no consequences for the untruthful (you can always later retract any reports based on lies, reported in error, that could make you liable for a crime). As the president knows very well, unless you lie under oath, and they have the balls to indict you, and they can prove you had the intent to commit perjury (rather than simply, say, a ratlike survival instinct), there is no harm and no foul for public lying. They let you do it, when you’re a star.

Virtually all kills in political street confrontations in the USA have been racked up by white male killers from the extreme right, lately Trump’s army — but, it may be equally true that this is false, no? It is considered gauche and provocative to call attention to the sickening fact that angry, armed white men railing in the name of some kind of liberty have killed virtually everybody who was killed by domestic terrorists in the U.S., whether you call these goon squads “right wing militias”, “patriotic white supremacists”, “lynch mobs”, “gunmen” or aspiring “death squads”.

But, of course, that kind of opinion is in the eye of the beholder, really. No facts can be cited, since no records of such violence are kept, or even reported in our newspapers or on TV. When you have an armed mob of angry white men descending on the statehouse in Michigan, pursuant to an angry presidential tweet urging them to rise up and fight the tyranny of a Democrat [sic] governor who is stealing their right to infect whoever the hell they want, and members of said armed mob are later arrested for a conspiracy to kidnap, try and execute the governor, you can say this:

The purpose of these kind of idiotic statements is to nullify any reasonable reliance on inconvenient fact, to destroy critical thinking and make everything subject to “skepticism”. The DOJ at the time of the arrest of these terrorists in Michigan was run by supreme Trump loyalist Bill Barr (a disappointment to the boss when he arbitrarily would not cross certain legal lines for fear of prosecution by a future DOJ). The current FBI director was appointed by Trump, after one who wouldn’t play ball was fired for not dropping an investigation into Trump’s friend, who later pled guilty to a felony and had to be pardoned. These Trump appointees, Barr and FBI director Christopher Wray, had evidence that armed thugs in Michigan had been actively planning the kidnapping, “trial” and public execution of a sitting U.S. governor. The FBI arrested these men, they have been charged with serious crimes and will stand trial in an actual court.

Of course, we’ll have to see if this is a problem. Kraken-releasing Flynn attorney Sidney Powell may have an argument that it’s no problem at all. “Sidney said to me, before Rudy fired her, and many times since — and I’m not paying that Italian shyster for the shit legal service he claims to have provided me and is now trying to gouge me for — Sidney said ‘this is maybe no problem at all, sir’. They all call me ‘sir’, I don’t know why, I tell them to call me Fuckface like my closest friends do, but, you know, I have the best people, the best people…”

We’ll have to see if there’s a problem.

Meanwhile, it is quite possible, according to the Sedition Caucus that attempted to overturn certified election results in several states, that, just days before Trump leaves office, dangerous and insane RADICAL DEMOCRAT hoards finally went mad and set off to lynch the Vice President, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and others. We’ll have to see if this is true. We’ll have to see if there’s maybe a problem. You never know until you see, and sometimes, when you see, you still don’t know. We’ll have to see, you know?

earlier incarnation of “Trump”

[1] Heather Cox Richardson:

The roots of modern right-wing extremism lie in the post-World War II reaction to FDR’s New Deal and the Republican embrace of it under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Opponents of an active government insisted that it undermined American liberty by redistributing tax dollars from hardworking white men to those eager for a handout—usually Black men, in their telling. Modern government, they insisted, was bringing socialism to America. They set out to combat it, trying to slash the government back to the form it took in the 1920s.

Their job got easier after 1987, when the Fairness Doctrine ended. That Federal Communications Commission policy had required public media channels to base their stories on fact and to present both sides of a question. When it was gone, talk radio took off, hosted by radio jocks like Rush Limbaugh who contrasted their ideal country with what they saw as the socialism around them: a world in which hardworking white men who took care of their wives and children were hemmed in by government that was taxing them to give benefits to lazy people of color and “Feminazis.” These “Liberals” were undermining the country and the family, aided and abetted by lawmakers building a big government that sucked tax dollars.

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