Sunday, February 11, 2024

Age is more than just a number for one candidate but not the other.

 


Joe Biden is old, and he looks and acts his age.  There is no getting around that fact. Americans believe it, and so, I am sure, does his handlers. He jumbles his words at times, and his memory is not what it should be. Donald trump is also old. And contrary to what MAGA world believes (and his gold mirror tells him) he looks and acts his age as well. Maybe even more so than Joe Biden. But, the American media being what it is, a narrative must be spun, and that narrative is that Joe Biden is the older, less capable, and more senile of the two men. 

The thing is, though, no matter how old and senile Joe Biden is, we know that his head and heart is in the right place when it comes to what's best for America. We can look back on the past three years of his administration and marvel at their accomplishments. Bringing us out of the dark chapter of our history known as the time of COVID-19, could not have been easy.  And now, looks at us, we are almost back to "normal".  Almost.

The other guy, on the other hand, does not have his heart in the right place. He does not care about what's best for America. He only cares about himself. He is a declared authoritarian and fascist who will govern like one, and he has vowed to get revenge on his perceived enemies.  The presidency is a get out of jail free card for him, and he will do whatever it takes to get it. The scary thing is, with the help and complicity of the corporate American media machine, he is well on his way to getting his wish. The old guy who has done a masterful public relations job of not seeming to be old, might very well beat the old guy who is not quite as adept and not making public perception his reality. 

Joe Biden held a  press conference this past week where he angrily denounced the latest Special Counsel report which exonerated him but added some Comeyesque editorializing for cheap political points. During that press conference he made a mistake by mixing up the presidents of Mexico and Egypt. It was a never ending story in both right and left wing media for days. (CNN might be still running it as their lead story as I type this.) The other guy mumbles and bumbles his way through endless seemingly adderall induced speeches, and I don't think that they are mentioned even once in the main stream media.  

Sadly, this is the new normal for the American press: They are riding the horse that makes them the most money.  In this case that horse is the one with the jockey wearing the bright red MAGA silks.    


 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Caption this.

 

 

Name the title of this movie. 

And please don't give me pejorative remarks or inflammatory words like, See Tim Jig, or Uncle Tom's Candidate. 

Let's be respectful.....    

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Nikki and the S word.


It's easy to come up with the answers to certain historical questions in life. Who was the first president of the United States? What is the name of the country that attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor? What was the date of the terrorist attack on the United States orchestrated by Osama bin Laden?  If you guessed George Washington, Japan, and September 11, 2001, move to the head of the class. (If you guessed John Hanson for the first question you're just a history snob, and you probably have better things to do than read this post.)  And of course there is this gimmie: What was the cause of the Civil War between the states? These would all be easy questions for any typical school aged child in the United States. If you are running for president of the United States, and you are the former governor of a Southern state and high ranking government official, you shouldn't have to even think about it. But that's what Nikki Haley did when she  attempted to answer this question asked by a gentleman she considered a "democrat" plant.  

Nikki went all pretzel with her attempt to answer the question because she did not want to offend republican voters. Particularly those MAGA loyalist who she is still trying to court. In the world of half of republican voters, and most MAGA loyalists, the Civil War was more about good Americans just wanting to hold on to their property without the government telling them what to do, than it was about enslaving and cruelly treating  fellow human beings. This part of American history has been completely whitewashed by the American right, and Nikki Haley knows this. So rather than show some courage and speak the truth about the real reason for the Civil War (or as they call it in the South: 'The War of Northern Aggression') Nikki chose to dodge and obfuscate. It was painful to watch this Indian American daughter of immigrants, as she tried not to offend republican voters, explaining away the Civil War as some government overreach gone bad. 

Nikki Haley might or might not win the republican nomination to be president. Right now it's not looking good for her, but things could change. The thing is, she was gaining momentum. She did it by being a typical double-speaking politician who tried to be all things to all people. Shifting positions and giving nuanced takes to not get locked into a box that she couldn't talk her way out of later on. 

It's been working for her so far, and even her slavery misstep might not hurt her in the long run. I just wonder how she lives with herself.   

"The first thing I should have said was slavery," Haley said on "Cavuto Live" Saturday. "I completely agree with that. When you grow up in the South, slavery is a given. Like when you think of the Civil War, you know it was about slavery. That's never been in question."

Sure Nikki. Until the next time you're in front of a right-wing crowd.  If only you had the moral clarity to speak the truth. That would have been so refreshing.   


Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Season's greetings.


Happy holidays to you and your families, field hands! 

Let's enjoy these freedoms while we can. With the 2024 elections looming, and a strong possibility that the Scrooge might be our leader, we don't know how much longer we will be able to enjoy these freedoms. 

Peace on earth and goodwill to all. 

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Five-alarm warning.


 I'm getting tired of sounding the alarm.  Mr. Trump told America in no uncertain terms, that if he is reelected he will be a dictator from "day one".  And still, incredibly,  there are folks out there who don't believe that he poses a serious threat to this country and everything we stand for. (I see you Chris Cuomo and Mitt Romney.)  Just imagine, almost fifty percent of the people who will vote will no doubt vote for this guy, and there is a really good chance that he could win. His surrogates are already plotting how to get revenge on his perceived enemies, and those enemies include members of the press.  Yikes!

I am going to post an excellent article I read recently about this very subject, it was written by Marc Elias writing for Democracy Docket.  After you read it I would love to hear your thoughts. 

Here goes: 

"Donald Trump is plotting to overthrow American democracy. It is not a secret, and he is not subtle. The only question is whether enough people will care enough to stop it.

Trump is not hiding his intentions for a second term. Echoing Hitler’s rise to power, he has called his political enemies “vermin” and promised his supporters that, if elected, he would be their “retribution.”

Trump’s enablers have outlined a plan for him to replace tens of thousands of career civil servants with MAGA loyalists and to take personal control of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute his political rivals. He is almost certain to use an old law — the Insurrection Act — to convert the military into his personal domestic police force.

Since his power comes from a bottomless capacity to lie, he has contempt for the free press, which he calls the “enemy of the people.” He recently suggested that the government should censor or shut down media platforms he dislikes.

His most brazen attacks on democracy manifested in the aftermath of 2020. Since his loss to President Joe Biden, Trump has advocated for discarding lawful ballots, tampering with election certification and throwing out entire states’ results. 

He supports voter intimidation and voter suppression, often with a racist dimension. Recently, he unveiled a new “guard the vote” strategy, urging his supporters to monitor the vote-counting process in blue cities like Atlanta, Detroit and Philadelphia. If Trump regains power, these abuses would just be the beginning.

Though state laws generally govern elections, Trump would assuredly use the federal government to seize voting machines and ballots. Anyone who thinks that a re-elected President Trump would not insist on controlling ballot counting and certification has simply not been paying attention.

Trump’s attack on the legal system would not be confined to spurious criminal prosecutions of others. He would also use it to personally benefit himself and his most violent supporters. 

He would almost certainly pardon all the Jan. 6 insurrectionists. Worse, he would abuse his office to block his own criminal prosecutions. 

Regardless of the law, he would immediately take steps to fire all the prosecutors in the two federal cases against him. Who would dare stop him? The DOJ and the military would become a weapon to end all four criminal cases in which he is a defendant, while initiating retaliatory criminal investigations against others

If all of this sounds terrifying, it is. If this sounds unrealistic, then you have learned little from history of how democracies are replaced by despotic regimes. Hitler did not come to power in a coup, but rather from democratic elections. The same is true with many of the authoritarians today.

Even if you doubt that this is correct, it is not a risk worth taking.

Blaise Pascal, the 17th century mathematician, is responsible for the foundation of modern risk theory. In his famous “wager” he argues that even non believers should live a life as if God exists. If God does not exist, the downside of living a pious life is relatively small; but, if God does exist, the consequences of living a lavish life are infinitely bad. The lesson: measuring risk requires one to consider not only the likelihood that an event will occur but also the consequences if it does.

Trump will do anything to win in 2024 and the Republican Party will aid and abet him at every turn.

You may believe that the likelihood of Trump destroying democracy is low. You may think he will lose the election, or that our system of checks and balances will hold him back.

But what if you are wrong? " {More here} 

Maybe things aren't so bad after all. I am not alone in sounding the alarm. Hopefully a lot more people will hear it. 


 




Friday, November 10, 2023

Poll position.


Democrats are freaking out over some recent polls showing Joe Biden losing to the former guy in five of six key swing states, and being down four points to him in total overall vote count. I have one word for you: Relax. This is the American press pushing for a close race so that they can improve their ratings around election season. Note how much you have been hearing about these polls of late? That is not by accident. They have an agenda. I don't know one old black person who has ever been called by a pollster. Still, having said that, there are some issues with Uncle Joe and how his presidency is going.  First and foremost, they have a messaging problem.  Biden's administration has been doing some really good things, and they have put the country back on the right track after the train wreck we experienced during the four years that the racist game show host was in charge. 

There are other issues to be sure. The age thing is real. Although I will note for the record that the former guy is just a few years younger, and his cognitive skills, based on some of his recent speeches, are even worse.    But perception is reality, and the perception is that Biden is too old. Personally, I would prefer if some of these old politicians would get off the stage and give the younger folks a shot to run things. But for now, for better or for worse, it looks like we are stuck with Biden.  

Biden and his people also have an enthusiasm problem when it comes to black folks. He better hope we don't stay home this coming election, or he will be toast. Regardless of who his opponent will be.  Having said that, don't believe the polls that say that the racist game show host has twenty two percent of the black vote. That will never happen. Never!  Black folks know the true nature of folks like the former president.  And no matter how hard his people try to make us believe that he is some kind of black savior,  he will never have our trust or our support. There is just too much history there. 

So buckle up people. We are a year away from America picking a new president. Expect all kinds of craziness from here on out. The man leading the republican field may be in jail, and the democratic candidate might decide that the grind is too much and decide to ride off into the sunset and cool his heels on a Delaware beach for the rest of his life.  

This should be fun. 

To all you Veterans out there, than thank you for your service! 

 



Thursday, October 12, 2023

Trying times.


 Thomas Paine said it best: "These are the times that try men's souls" . What is happening now in the Middle East is a culmination of decades of hatred, fury, and a complicated geo-political tug of war that has no end in sight.  Hamas, with their brutal and savage attack on innocent Israelis citizens, have unleashed the anger of the world community, and endangered the lives of innocent Palestinians living in Gaza as well.

 Surely they had to have known that the Israeli government would retaliate. And now, because of the response from the state of Israel, the city of Gaza, and innocents living there, are going to be living in hell for the foreseeable future. Two million people living on  a strip of land of about 145 miles, and they have no way out.  

We have all seen the horrific images of the attacks of innocent Israeli citizens, and we are left to wonder, what could cause this type of hatred towards a fellow human being?  What level of religious zealotry would cause one to act with such depravity towards babies women and children? 

This is why I fear so much for this country. I see a lot of parallels between the hatred manifested by some in this country towards others. The same religious zealotry aimed at an easily persuaded population. The same fervor to coalesce around like-minded people who are consumed by their hatred towards others who don't share their values. 

Last night the leading presidential candidate from one of America's two major political parties, made fun of the middle name of a former president, in order to draw a racist response from his followers. A few days ago, right after the attacks in Israel, he danced off the stage after talking about those attacks. This man could very well be the next president of the United States.  Think about that for a minute..... 

We should all hope for peace in the Middle East, and we should be vigilant about what transpires in this country. I know it seems like we are a million miles away when we watch the horror of what is taking place from our television sets. But look around you. Pay attention to what you are seeing and hearing. If you do,  you are going to realize that it's all a lot closer than you think.  


   

Wednesday, October 04, 2023

Name this movie.

 




Wednesday, September 06, 2023

One of "us".

 




I just saw a report that most republicans believe that the January 6th insurrection was a democratic inside job to make their dear leader, Donald trump, look bad. I mean, seriously? How can we even have  a normal debate with these people?  What would make seemingly normal people show this type of cult like devotion to an obvious charlatan?

I have a theory, and you can stop reading now if the race card offends you. Yes, it's all about race. There is no other explanation for it. Donald trump has brilliantly built himself up as America's first white supremacist president in the modern era, and that is just fine with a certain segment of the white population who believes that their country is being taken away from them, and that those other people are turning it into their country. Donald trump doesn't have to say the quiet part out loud, because most white Americans who live with that fear see a sort of savior in trump. So what if he is a fascist? He is our fascist. He will protect our way of life. He will take us back to the days when our superiority wasn't questioned. In other words, he will make America great again.  

This is why, no matter what, Mr. trump will always have a large segment of the population in his corner. No matter how many crimes he is charged with, no matter how many women he rapes or brags about assaulting, it won't matter. It drives other Americans nuts. Those of us who consider ourselves normal and who want to see the better angels in others want to believe that the people who support him really  believe in their hearts that he is just a guy that means well and his policies will help them in the long run. That is not true. Go back to my second paragraph and read it again. It's an uncomfortable truth, and if we can't come to grips with it the cult of Donald trump will forever have us perplexed.

The British writer, Nate White, penned a brilliant essay about why the Brits don't like Mr. trump. It's worth a read. 

Another essay could be written about why so many Americans like Mr. trump. The answer would be simple: He is one of us.  

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Fear the chair.

 




I will never understand the internet. I don't understand what drives clicks and makes one particular story more popular than the other. This story of the brawl in Montgomery, Alabama has captured the imagination of black America in ways that you can't imagine. There are memes, jokes, and articles, which makes the point.  As black folks, we have rallied around the folding chair, and we are so damn proud of our people for not sitting back and taking it anymore when we see injustice unfolding (pun intended) before our eyes. 

If you have been living in a cave, I will give you a quick synopsis. A black security guard was doing his job and trying to keep a private boat out of the docking area while a commercial ferry was approaching. A  bunch of  boaters (who all happened to be white) jumped the poor guy and all hell broke loose. He was trying to hold his own but the numbers were just to much for him. Then, out of nowhere, a bunch of black strangers decided to jump in and help him. One guy literally swam across the harbor to help. He is now affectionately being called Alabama Aqua Man in black circles.  The fight that followed is all over the internet, and the folding chair has now become a symbol of black resistance.

So let's try to analyze what transpired. I have been trying to figure out if this brawl was purely racial or just some citizens feeling bad for some guy that was getting his ass kicked by a bunch of drunks. But then, I have to ask myself: If the guy getting his ass kicked was white, would all those black strangers have stepped in to help? If there were a bunch of black guys beating a single white security guard, would a bunch of black strangers step in to help the white security guard? Would a bunch of white strangers jump in to help the lone white guy getting his ass kicked?  To the latter question I would say no, to the first question, I would say, yes. But I am not so sure, which is what makes this all kind of fascinating to me. 

A quick personal story. I went to high school in Jamaica. It was a boarding school, and there were kids there from all over the world. I had a close friend, Franz Newman, who I hung out with all the time.  (He is living somewhere in Canada now, and I don't think he would mind me using him for this story.) Franz is Jamaican, and proud of it. But he is from a German settlement in the Southern part of the island, and he had blue eyes and blonde hair. I remember him fighting an African American kid who happened to be from New York, and he (Franz) was getting his ass kicked. Who do you think I jumped in and tried to help? Yep, Franz. Why? Because he was Jamaican, and he was my friend. In that moment, my friendship, and my national and ethnic loyalty, took priority over any racial one that I might have. It's complicated, I know. But that was my experience back then, and I was a product of my environment. 

My guess is that because of the times we are living in, black folks have become hypersensitive to these types of interactions. So now, more than ever, we see everything in the context of race. I am also guessing that those white folks who jumped that poor security guard might not have done it if he was a white guy doing his job. So them, too, have become racialists in their every day interactions. It's where we are now as a country. And I suspect, sadly, that we will be seeing a lot more Montgomery, Alabama type racial brawls in the days to come. 

Thoughts? 

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Jason's Lyrics.

 


I can take or leave country music. Some of  the music is decent, but I can do without some of it as well. My significant other, on the other hand, loves the stuff. She knows all the artists and lyrics, and we fight on long drives about me having to listen to one country and western station after another. 

I bring this up because of the latest controversy involving a country and western star who thought it was cool to write a song about small town "values" by taking on black folks and our struggle here in these divided states of America.

 I'm cool with artistic freedom, and controversial lyrics,  but I am not cool with hypocrisy. Jason Aldean and his people knew exactly what they were doing when they wrote and produced this song.  I could actually live with the song on its own, but when I saw the video that goes with it, I was like...whoa!  Live and in living color from the site of a horrific lynching back in the day, and the imagery of black folks in the most negative light you can imagine.  

My man is trying his best to bring back Sundown towns. And he is promoting violence and intolerance for good measure.    

Here is a take from Candace McDuffie, writing for  the Root: 

"Jason Aldean has done his best to defend the music video for his latest single, “Try That in a Small Town,” which has been the center of controversy for the last 48 hours. On Monday, the decision was made by Country Music Television (CMT) to pull it from the air.

 Many believe it’s because the conservative singer filmed the video in front of a Tennessee courthouse where a Black man was lynched (CMT hasn’t confirmed if this was the reasoning for its removal). More specifically, the setting was Maury County Courthouse in Columbia where in 1927, a white lynch mob hung a young Black man named Henry Choate from a second-story window.

In the “Try That in a Small Town” video, that same courthouse is draped in an American flag while Aldean sings painfully obtuse lyrics in front of it like:

“Sucker punch somebody on a sidewalk/Carjack an old lady at a red light/ Pull a gun on the owner of a liquor store/Ya think it’s cool, well, act a fool if ya like/Cuss out a cop, spit in his face/Stomp on the flag and light it up/ Yeah, ya think you’re tough.”


Aldean didn’t stop there. The courthouse also has clips projected onto it showing numerous protests, including the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations. They are in conjunction with stills and footage of the aforementioned liquor store robberies and carjackings. However, there is significantly more footage of the protests throughout the video. 

By lyrically and visually equating meaningful rallies condemning police brutality to violent crime, Aldean is shamelessly touting how much he—and this country, quite frankly—devalues Black life. However, he took to Twitter on Tuesday to insist that this isn’t the case:

“In the past 24 hours I have been accused of releasing a pro-lynching song (a song that has been out since May) and was subject to the comparison that I (direct quote) was not too pleased with the nationwide BLM protests. These references are not only meritless, but dangerous. There is not a single lyric in the song that references race or points to it- and there isn’t a single video clip that isn’t real news footage -and while I can try and respect others to have their own interpretation of a song with music- this one goes too far....Try That In A Small Town’ for me, refers to the feeling of a community that I had growing up, where we took care of our neighbors, regardless of differences of background or belief.”'

There may be no lyrical reference to race, but knowing that police brutality disproportionately affects Black and brown people and choosing to disparage those protests in the visuals for “Try That in a Small Town” completely contradicts Aldean’s defense." 

 This is the same guy who was playing on stage when a mad man slaughtered a bunch of people in Las Vegas, Nevada. You would think he would know better. 

But hey, these are the times we are living in . Folks on the right will now make him a hero, and he is going to make a lot of money playing to their inner demons. 

All this and the guy isn't even from a small town. He is from Macon, Georgia, and the last time I checked that ain't no small town. My aforementioned wife, on the other hand, is from a small town. Really small. Like one stoplight small, and the people in that little corner of Louisiana are honest and decent, and there are plenty black folks who live there. But this song by Aldean was not meant for them.  

So let's be honest with ourselves, it's not about the size of the town, but rather like minded people coming together to hate in unison.