Archive for Civil Rights

Trump’s Cleverness Ruse

Pro Tip: If you are about to say or write something oh so clever, don’t. Delete or erase or forget it. Everyone else will see through it and no one will think you are at all clever.

Alas, POTUS Donald Trump seems too dull-witted to understand his limits. We saw that from the moment he began campaigning. It plunged to a new nadir in the past several days after the Charlottesville white-supremacy riot and murder.

For three days, he alternately whined and brayed. What he did not say until forced to today was what even the bigots in white hoods or red caps spoke freely about to all who’d listen — those dressed up to role play neo-Nazi or camo-soldier were there to insult and physically assault blacks, Jews, Muslims and others.

Instead, he fell back on his weasel words, saying “all sides: and from “many sides” were to blame. How the white-supremacy rioters had any equivalence in the counter protester group befuddled all except for Donny-jo. The bigots with brass knuckles, helmets, cudgels and pepper spray were not the same as protesters chanting for them to stop the hate.

Americans as well as the whole world was watching. What they saw was an indisputable riot by hatemongers, hatemongers who had come padded and armed for violence.

Let us note that miraculously none of those wearing side arms or long guns in this open-carry state murdered anyone by bullet. The irony here is that many protesters would have had clear self-defense arguments had they been armed and protected themselves. Small favors here.

So the candidate who boasted repeatedly that he had “the best words” again does not. He thought his false equivalence of blaming the victims as well as the attackers would fly. He’d say he condemned violence…while continuing to pander to his far-right supporters.

That was not lost on racist supporters like David Duke and the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer. Several expressed delight that he did not call them out.

So this President believes he is just so clever that he can pull out a word trick here and there, and all will be overwhelmed by his cleverness. The public and press are overwhelmed, but by his cowardice and amorality.

Again, if you think you’re being clever, you almost certainly are not. That goes all the way to the Oval Office.

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Trump, Kellyanne, Steve — F the First Amendment

This old journalist is weary and wary of the Trump administration whining about and now threatening the press. I do believe though that he and his minions are far overplaying their hands, apparently believing their own hype and tripe that the public hates the media.

Consider advisers Steve Bannon and Kelleyanne Conway constant drumbeats of a corrupt and dishonest media. Just now, listen to them saying reporters and commentators need to shut up and listen instead of reporting and commentating, click here for words from one one of these horses.

Throughout the campaign and now into his Presidency, Trump played mommy’s boy again and again with how the press is so unfair and so dishonest and so corrupt…when they dared to quote him accurate or point out that he meant with his own words. To use one of his favorite tweet terms, that is SAD.

It’s no surprise, he is known for the Pee-wee Herman thing, as in I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. In campaign and now POTUS modes, he slandered everyone with nonsensical slurs. It was Corrupt Hillary when he has long been the business type who faced and faces corruption charges, quite a few of which he’s settled (without admitting blame, just paying the fines and such). He calls reporters and news outlets dishonest when he has a huge catalog of Pinocchio and False findings from nonpartisan fact checkers.

Sorry, Donny poo. It’s not the media who are unfair and dishonest.

I do fear he and his closest will continue to try to curtail the First Amendment. He neither respects nor understands our Constitution. Conway has already been calling for journalists who criticize him to be fired.

Here’s where his dirty little inner circle is miscalculating. Prior restraint and illegal punishment of reporters has been an anathema to American democracy. It appears as though Trump and his crowd believe they have so poisoned the public against the press that they can circumvent or override our Bill of Rights. I hope they continue to try. The smack down will be very loud.

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Stump Trump the Way He Understands

The inevitable came quickly for our still surprised and unprepared POTUS. A firm thump to his thick skull came when his arbitrary and unconstitutional immigrant ban orders got an equally sudden block by Fed judge.

That was more than just the lives of the stranded salvaged, it is sure portent. Trump is so puerile and emotional, he is bound to continue to thrust out arbitrary and ill-conceived edicts. Some are bound to run afoul of those checks and balances so popular in the civics classes we all used to take. Overreaching will mean legal hand slaps and even legislative handcuffs for the most egregious.

This doesn’t so much play to Trump’s weaknesses as it does move the political game to a field he knows well. He has lived his entire career for legal actions and gambits.

Knowing he faces certain losses here and there won’t make him more cautious or wiser. In fact, in his bizarro world, he’ll frame each loss as a win and smirk his way to his next blunder.

The hustler who blithely claims he doesn’t lose lawsuits and doesn’t settle them does both. He simply denies that or even more irrationally claims he came out on top of the situation.

Our task will be to rise above the deceit. Do not get into a spitting contest with a liar. Let him orally reframe his losses as wins. Ho hum.

Let us anticipate four years of cockups, some of which will lead to corrective legal or legislative actions. Let us anticipate a torrent of quibbles and outright lies to follow. That torrent will not cleanse the mind or eye of even the most casual observer. Let us expect Trump to continue to expose himself as incompetent and impulsive, in another words, a loser.

 

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Mass Murder Tipping Points

About a third the way in, a caller interrupted my gun portion of the rant. He was a a registered firearms dealer, and coincidentally Black. He opposes any additional gun laws or regulations. He was of the it’s-not-the-specific-gun side. We each got out our views. I’m glad he called.

Otherwise, I asked whether the Dallas deaths of five police officers by sniper would be a tipping point. Sandy Hook, to many of our surprise, was not. Will Dallas be? Will the many deaths of young Black men this year and last be?

I hold that we need both legal and cultural shifts. Obviously to me the cultural part is much harder. Take policing. Cops are no better than other professionals at prosecuting or judging their peers’ actions. No matter how plain the audio, video and witness testimony, cops almost invariably skate away from what the rest of the world sees as murder.

Likewise, with guns, they should be tools not toys. No what politicians now term common-sense restrictions should be a problem, but they are. Will the assassination of five officers in Dallas be a tipping point for legislation?

 

icon for podpress  Tipping Points [31:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Finding a new Nino, SCOTUS replacement

That suddenly vacated Supreme Court seat could sit for 11 to 13 months before the next President touches the Bible.

The real subject before us is how to bring the SCOTUS up to its 9 justices. However, let us not fall prey to the urge to overly praise Antonin Scalia. Everyone from President Obama to plain old lawyers have tried to outdo each other calling him brilliant and a towering figure.

In reality, he was petty and puerile. His deeply held and often emotionally based dicta on the law and Constitution were skewed by politics and worse. He strongly and anachronistically voted for states-rights interpretations of law from marriage to equal opportunity in education to women’s rights.

Let us not confuse cleverness with brilliance. He was quick to insult without intellect. Disdaining a group such as homosexuals is no excuse for harming them. He clearly did not believe in the editing adage that if you have fallen in love with a phrase, cut it out of the text.

Dems need only 4 Senate seats to take control again. Here’s betting that if GOP Senators refuse to have hearings or vote on a SCOTUS nominee, that could make the difference in the 24 races the GOP faces in the Senate in November. If they have any wit and sense of self-preservation, they’ll deal on one of the tepid centrists Obama would surely nominate.

icon for podpress  SCOTUS Replacement [22:49m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Sasquatch SCOTUS Podcast

Even without Thursday’s looming health-care reform ruling, the SCOTUS strutted its stuff this week. We dealt with forbidding life without parole for teens, Arizona’s immigrant laws, and dismissing Montana’s version of limiting Citizens-United style campaign spending.

All threads led to November. We discussed what it might mean for Republicans and Romney in particular trying to walk back anti-Latino/anti-immigrant screeds, whether Dems and Obama can rally those groups, women, young voters and more in the face of slow economic recovery and more. Listen i as we try to put current and pending Supreme Court rulings in a progressive context.

icon for podpress  Sasquatch SCOTUS [30:03m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Liberties Lost Podcast

It was a short, weird show today. Mike held forth on his Baby Boomer upbringing, in relation to expectations of American liberties. He contrasted that with what we are seeing at the airports, from Congress, in Gitmo and more.

Unfortunately, BlogTalkRadio misbehaved. Ryan could not connect to talk.

It was short and only suited to those who like 15-minute rants.

icon for podpress  That Freedom Thing [18:10m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Provost on Turning Down the Referendum Heat

A subject close to my heart, ballot initiatives, is the subject of next week’s show. MA Rep. Denise Provost joins us to talk about her effort to bring some sanity to plebiscites to amend the commonwealth constitution or repeal laws.

Her tack is pretty simple. Her bill H1830 would more than double the signatures required to advance an initiative toward the ballot — from 3% of the votes cast for governor in the last biennial election to 7%. For something as important as changing the constitution or repealing a law, that seems reasonable enough.

Special interests though, particularly some who would happily take away rights from other citizens are incensed. The quick and easy rousing of passions seems to suit them.

In one of my blogs, I’ve referred to such plebiscites as the flamethrower of populism. I look forward to hearing Rep. Provost describe her take on the process and how and why she would refine it.

If you can listen live, catch her Tuesday, March 27th at 2:30 PM Eastern here. Afterward, you can listen on demand at that URL, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

If you want to prepare, you can browse the MA Constitution’s Article XLVIII. It sets out the current rules and process.

~Mike

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Buehrens on Equality Outlook Podcast

Long-term marriage equality warrior Rev. John Buehrens does not see smooth seas for that struggle, but to torture the nautical image, he is sure the ship will arrive…and sooner that many think. He’s served nine years on the board of Freedom to Marry and joined us today.

Listen in as he talks about the five states in play this year, with legislative votes or referenda in the works. Two are defensive actions.

He speaks of the trends favoring per-state and nationwide equality. That will of course include removing the Defense of Marriage Act. He also foresees the 14th Amendment (equal protection) coming into play as more courts base decisions using it.

He paints a picture of 10 states with equal marriage and 10 more with all-but-marriage legalization. He figures that will be the tipping point. Coupled with the slight and growing national support for equality, he sees that math as undeniable.

He discusses the big parties as well. He would be very surprised if the Dems did not include an equality plank in this year’s platform, even it it phrased in mild terms. For the Republicans, despite the current POTUS candidate rhetoric, he finds many GOP pols and legislators far from monolithic in opposing marriage equality.

Listen in as he touches on state-by-state and national trends and expectations.

icon for podpress  Buehrens [41:28m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Double Up Week with SSM and MA Sen. Hopeful

Compassion and ambition, humanity and candidacy up this week.

Monday, Rev. John Buehrens joins us at 2:00 to reflect and project on same-sex marriage by state and the nation. He has been on the board of Freedom to Marry for 9 years.

Tuesday, Mara Dolan, almost certainly with joy and eagerness about her announced candidacy for the MA Senate comes on the show. Dem activist, cable show host, and attorney, she was on recently to praise the Emerge Massachusetts program to train and encourage women to run for office. And now…

Obviously, these are two very different shows, but each guest as a progressive activist. Both shows will stream live and then be available on demand at their streaming URLs, back here at Left Ahead or on our iTunes page.

Monday, March 12th, catch Rev. Buehrens live at 2:00 PM Eastern here if you can.

Tuesday, March 13th, you can listen live to Dolan at 2:30 PM Eastern here.

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