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Wake up! The nightmare is about to happen!

Wake up! The nightmare is about to happen!

He will win reelection if he can:

1)  Create chaos in the streets & fear in white Americans:

That ain’t over yet. This is at the heart of his campaign.

He needs looters and the fear of Black people because “it won’t be your White America in 20 years.”

If he can again provoke demonstrations, can use Federal troop, and get looters — imagine October and election day in November if he can get looters!

2)  Eliminate the vote:

Aggressively underfund the Post Office so that the collection of votes can be curtailed for being too late, or lost. The post office is already underfunded. He will succeed in this if he has not already.

3)  Control the media message:

a. Sinclair Broadcasting (which controls the broadcast network for small media TV stations across the country) recently broadcasted that Dr. Fauci created the virus and shipped it to China. It joins Fox and Tucker Carlson (who has the greatest following of any TV host) in broadcasting intentionally false information.

b. Attorney General Barr will soon reveal the results of the third known investigation focused on the opening of an F.B.I. counterintelligence investigation during the 2016 presidential campaign, as well as the debunked theory that the 2016 Trump campaign was bugged.

c. Forget the courts! They will have no force or effect before the election until they can move as fast as Twitter.

4)  Polarize the vote:

Create a caricature of the “smug” and “politically correct” Democrats who remain arrogant, confident, and vocal that he will lose. He needs hate to bring out the vote.

5)  Control and dismiss any feeling we may be losing our place in the free world:

Well, nobody has cared so far that we abandoned our allies:

1) South Korea, Japan and Asia, leaving them to North Korea.

2) The Kurds, surrendering the Middle East to Russia.

3) Europe and NATO (as they abandon us).

He has done that.

Or that our enemies:

1) Make fools of us when they pay a bounty for killing our American soldiers (but if a Black man kneels during our National Anthem in a 1st Amendment Constitutional protest he is chastised for disrespecting our military? Really?).

2) Openly interfere with our elections.

3) Build up missile attack forces that can now hit our country and our allies, because our president has declared that our historic anti- democratic enemies are, in fact, our friends.

He’s done that.

And finally,

6)  Avoid blame or responsibility for COVID-19 (“The China Virus”).

No problem! Say the governors have botched it. He’s done that.

Forget the polls. Why do you want to be wrong again?

Everyone Deserves Their Own Conspiracy Theory… But I’ll Share

Everyone Deserves Their Own Conspiracy Theory… But I’ll Share

So we are a democracy that put a man on the moon but we can’t make voting machines that work?

Our elections are run differently in every state. Recently, Wisconsin voters waited in long lines, absentee ballots went missing in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., and more long lines and confusion plagued Georgia and Nevada.

The political parties could solve this with a simple bipartisan agreement or uniform act, but they seem to thrive on discord.

A few years ago, even our presidential election hung in the balance because of faulty voting and “hanging chads” in Florida.

The founders were pretty much universally in agreement about political parties. Alexander Hamilton called political parties “the most fatal disease” of democratic institutions.

Maybe voting doesn’t matter to the political parties anymore?

Are they more interested in representing themselves?

If you have any doubt, consider gerrymandering.

Gerrymandering does nothing for democracy. It is all about gathering power for one party at the expense of the other. It divides and polarizes us.

What if both parties are like that old joke about lawyers? “If you’ve got one in town she will go broke but if you have two they both get rich.”

The parties are very powerful in our county. They have defined the issues for us, and get funding and perks and benefits for their legislators, such as healthcare and retirement (which is always better than their constituents) and somehow they retire millionaires as “public servants.”

But in exchange for the perks, benefits, and campaign funding, the parties have demanded absolute loyalty to follow their agendas, such as near-unanimous Republican Senate votes on Trump’s impeachment. They have even discouraged open and free public disagreement among their members. Is that good for a democracy?

But it does make sense. Everybody benefits from polarization — except the voters and our democracy.

The polarization is great for advertisers on Fox, MNBC, social media and political fundraising.

Maybe your vote is less important than your political contribution.

Our American genius has always been that we are all very different, but we talk and compromise. That is our genius! Our genius is not factions and polarization.

Madison wrote it is the duty of “well-constructed unions [democratic governments]” to “break apart and control the violence of faction.”

If we really want to call ourselves a democracy, perhaps we should listen to the founders and at least start by protecting our vote.

Our Second Chance?

Our Second Chance?

There have been times when I have pledged to live my words but then have failed miserably with my actions. Occasionally, with the grace of God, sometimes I get a second chance to get it right.

Above all else, the framers of the Constitution feared the power of the king. But they created a democracy that permitted the sovereignty of white people over black.

White supremacy is the cancer cell in our national DNA. White people in America have always been the master race in our white democracy.

Almost every white president since the Civil War has directly or indirectly used racism and a “law & order“ campaign to get elected and looked the other way when violence was used to suppress people of color.

Between 1882 and 1968, whites lynched 3,446 blacks. There is no evidence of the inverse. To the contrary, Black churches that have been bombed have made it an act of Christian faith to invite all races to pray with them in the aftermath.

And I didn’t find any news about black men going to our schoolyards with an AK-47 and killing children either.

So exactly who are we afraid of?

Isn’t it just the same old Civil Rights demonstrations and a President building another “law & order” campaign ? No! Now it is with the backup of military action to suppress those 1st Amendment protests against our historically racist national practices.

No! This is very different! Our nation’s army used to silence our constitutional right to assemble and protest?

Trump and his Attorney General also are preparing to curtail the nonwhite vote in November. There is serious concern that if it is a close vote, and it will be, he will demand endless recounts and not leave office.

If Trump and his followers get another term, Black lives won’t matter and neither will the Constitution.

It is the King’s sovereignty over us all over again. Except this time, we can both liberate ourselves from a king and have a second chance for “liberty and justice for all.”

The question is whether this time white people will stand with all Americans to get it right, or lose our country and our chance again.

It Is Immoral to Misquote Yogi Berra

It Is Immoral to Misquote Yogi Berra

The one thing that I absolutely believe is: it is immoral to misquote Yogi Berra even if you don’t know who he was

Yesterday, in response to the rioting arising from the death of another black man by white police officers, a liberal friend of mine shook his head and said: “It’s just like déjà vu all over again.”

That quote is not applicable to these killings and protests, even though it may bring to light, unintentionally, our national nightmare.

In July of 1967, Cambridge Maryland was burned and Maryland’s Republican governor, Spiro Agnew, got national attention for blaming the demonstrators for burning down their homes, neighborhoods and destroying property. I know something about this because I was a young boy visiting the Eastern Shore that summer. The experience frightened me out of my youth so much so that years later I wrote a play about it.

President Nixon liked Agnew’s toughness. He needed a “law and order” guy to polarize support for his 1968 election. He chose him as his VP to whip up the masses against the “liberals” in order to rally the “silent majority”. It worked. Nixon won a plurality of the popular vote by a narrow margin but won by a large margin in the electoral college.

Sounds familiar… but still no déjà vu.

Maybe this will help:

Yesterday Fox News reported, “… crews on the scene in SoHo reported hundreds of people stealing from luxury stores —including Chanel and Dior — for hours on Sunday night going into the early hours of Monday morning. The looters were seen piling shoplifted merchandise into vehicles while others rode off with the merchandise in black garbage bags balanced on Citi Bikes.”

Many of the African-Americans who had organized the protests in Cambridge repeatedly said the whites lit the black neighborhoods on fire in Cambridge and then refused to put them out since they controlled the fire trucks. The white press never reported that. Nonetheless, the disturbance was defined as the destruction of “property.”

So maybe we have it wrong and it is about “property” and not “lives.”

Let’s refocus and see if we have a way to save human life by protecting property.

America became rich when it helped to rebuild Europe’s economy after WWII. It wasn’t a “giveaway!” Out of the rubble, we built a trading partner and Europe and the United States have prospered for almost 80 years.

So why can’t we create a 15-year state-sponsored municipal bond to rebuild Baltimore city? Not a “giveaway,” but designed to lower the tax burden on the state as re-development occurs? A long-term commitment to rebuild the city would instantly increase the property values, both commercial and residential and bring in national and international investors.

What a perfect time for Maryland’s present Republican governor to make Baltimore into a trading partner with the rest of the state. It certainly will be easier than unifying nation states that have been at endless war for the previous thousand years.

All he has to do is sell it to white Americans. The rebuilding could be entirely about eliminating the cost to the state of “giveaways” to Baltimore city.

It’s not a “giveaway” or, even better, about “Black Lives Matter” — it’s about property! Wow what a great selfish idea!

Hey! Let’s make Maryland great again! Baltimore was once one of America’s three most prosperous cities.

… But it won’t happen, because the rebuilding of post-war Europe had no black countries or black cities and that was our foreign policy, not our domestic policy.

The Constitution, at a minimum, sidestepped slavery or at worst supported it with the Electoral College. And after all slaves were “property.” Maybe racism is in the American DNA.

So in this case, Yogi Berra and my friend were wrong. You can’t have “Déjà vu all over again.” The situation is not repeating because it has never ended.

 
Photo by Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun

History Lesson from an Amnesiac

History Lesson from an Amnesiac

I distinctly remember being taught in high school that what made America great was its big heart and a commitment to democracy and freedom throughout the world. The country of opportunity met you with the words of the Statue of Liberty.

However, with America’s commitment to the IMF and the World Bank after COVID-19 still in question at the White House, I have gone back to when I thought we protected free trade as essential to the spread of democracy and freedom for the world.

Imagine if there had been no Marshall Plan and America had not aggressively led the way to rebuild Europe after the Second World War. That allowed us to create trading partners and free trade and made America and Europe free and able to prosper for the last 80 years.

In college, I was taught that free trade is necessary to build civilization. Free trade is like the blood flow through a healthy body.

I may have gotten it wrong, but I think without free trade there would be no America to “Make Great Again.”

Ten years ago, I visited Syria. The Syria that no longer exists. Entire cities have been wiped out since I was there.

Back then, I fell in love with the beauty of a pre-Roman city of Palmyra and its history.

Northeast of Damascus, it survived because it was at an oasis at the crossroads of trade routes in the desert.

Years ago, it was a burgeoning metropolis of peoples and civilizations. There were times when it was a nation-state and times when it was a city within the ever-changing powers of the region. Its independence depended largely on the prosperity opened to it by free trade.

From the beginning, America has been an oasis of natural resources, protected by our two oceans from the dictators or monarchies of the rest of the world.

As a new nation, I was taught, we became an oasis of constitutional freedom with trade between the states, to became a force in the world. Have our oceans and self-confidence become a curse now? We hear only the voice of the growing isolationism, of “America first.”

Over the last three years, it seems we have not been able to admit or see that we are falling behind and doing everything but making America great again.

I am certain I can still remember when America’s foreign policy was about keeping our oasis safe and the world safe for freedom and democracy.

Anyway, I attach these 10-year-old pictures of Palmyra. You can ride a camel there.

No, Lindsey, You Can’t Do That!

No, Lindsey, You Can’t Do That!

We deserve better than this.

Senator Lindsey Graham just announced that the Senate might change its rules to require Nancy Pelosi to submit the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate so that the Senate can have a trial (and McConnell now claims to have the votes to prohibit testimony and new evidence).

There are two problems with Senator Graham’s analysis.

First, the Constitution won’t allow it. Senator Graham apparently has not read Article 1, Section 2: “The House of Representatives… Shall have the sole power of impeachment.” And Article 1, Section 3: “The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.”

The House is the prosecutor and the Senate is the jury. So, until Nancy Pelosi decides to present the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate, the Senate can’t do anything but wait.

Second, the situation does not allow it. Every day new evidence comes out that has been withheld by the President and should have been part of the impeachment articles.

The House should reopen the impeachment hearings, subpoena the witnesses and documents, hold those that do not comply in contempt, and wait until they comply.

As I have written previously, the Speaker of the House in an impeachment proceeding has a duty to every citizen of the USA to ensure that the constitutional requirements of an impeachment trial will be carried out before she proceeds to the trial in the Senate. She is the lead prosecutor. That is her duty.

It would be a dereliction of that duty, a violation of the Constitution, and an acquiescence to obstruction of justice to proceed with a trial knowing that the defendant is withholding witnesses and documents, and that the jury has predetermined a verdict of acquittal before the trial begins.

She must wait for the federal courts to enforce the Constitution and order the witnesses appear and the documents be produce and are available for consideration at the trial before the Senate. She must not compromise . She must put the spotlight on the head-on collision between fascist partisan politics and the clear violation of our Constitution . The politicians are in control and we deserve better than this.

The senators will take their oath “of objectivity” and for many the hypocrisy quite possibly can’t be stopped. (It might be fun if the prosecution asks Chief Justice Roberts, the judge in this case, for the right to voir dire the jury to determine if there is pre-existing bias, which should require disqualification of senators who have publicly stated that they have made up their minds and are working for the defendant.) No matter what, however, Pelosi must wait for the federal court’s rulings requiring the testimony of witnesses and production of documents.

We can wait. Time is not the enemy of the country in all of this, but it is the enemy of an obstructionist defendant.
President Trump and Senator McConnell will show their hand if they lambast Pelosi for waiting for a court ruling, because they will show that the court and the delay is what they really fear.

They want to force a vote by a biased jury so they can declare victory in the President’s campaign. But if they are forced to wait, and they lose in the courts (as they will) before or even after the election, they will not be able to sweep their obstruction under the rug. It will be a historical record. It will be irrefutable.

Time is not the enemy! Given the time and a chance to talk together, more people will have a chance to understand and get it right. Nixon was elected by every state of the union except Massachusetts. Two years later, he resigned when it became clear he was about to be impeached by a bipartisan vote.

So, in fact, time and the Federal Courts are Pelosi’s ally. The more she waits out the storm and requires that the Constitution be respected, the more President Trump and Senator McConnell will be punished for their stonewalling and other violations when the courts rule against them.

Even though it is presently unsubstantiated, I fear that the President may attempt to use a foreign conflict to unify the country to avoid further focus on the impeachment. If that turns out to be true, that would be both frightening and further grounds for impeachment.

This must not be about election politics. It is about whether we can hold on to our Constitution and who we are as a country.
The question is: Does Pelosi have the guts to withstand the storm and represent all the people of the United States, not just the Democrats?

These are horrible times for all of us. The politicians must not control and divide us. We deserve all the facts and an unbiased jury. We are all Americans and a fair trial is the very heart of what keeps us free.