May 31, 2020 Wayne Northey

Cornel West Says ‘Neo-Fascist Gangster’ Trump and Neoliberal Democrats Expose America as ‘Failed Social Experiment’

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WN: Please see in light of the title this outstanding article by Canadian Wade Davis: The Unraveling of America.

One knows a “civilization” is dying when small men cast long shadows.–anonymous American pastor, 2020

1. Introduction to the Post:

This post, updated numerous times, has become a kind of dog’s breakfast. One could spend hours working through all the written, cartoon, and video material. Footnote 7 in particular is full of short videos. . .

Lector caveat–Let the reader beware!

See this powerful interview, with Trump’s niece, Mary, in part about American trauma since its founding in genocide and brutal slavery; and Trump’s desperation:

2. Our Human Condition–The True and False Self:

The chapters unfolding in New Seeds flow from this foundational truth of self-discovery in God. For if our life’s journey is knowing the truth of ourselves in God, then all wars would cease, violence would be banished, the world would be a sacred sphere, broken bones would be healed and hearts mended. If we could discover this great mystery of God in us, we would be truly free, and out of this freedom the seeds of our lives would sprout into a new world of justice and peace. –Ilia Delio

The following reflection by Ilia Delio captures perhaps best the tragedy of Trump, who displays to the world an overweening False Self, rather than what Thomas Merton dubbed humanity’s ideal: a “True Self1:

“You know, with all his talent and the ability to be able to raise money and grow large crowds, the president still lives in an alternate reality,” Robertson said, laying into some of Trump’s most notorious lies, and telling Trump “it’s time to move on.”Televangelist Pat Robertson, 22/12/2020

To lose self means to lay aside those layers of identity which we call false, because they are impermanent. They are false only if we attribute permanence to them or we attach ourselves to them – I’ve got my rights, I’ve got my identity, I’ve got my position, treat me with more respect. That often comes out of the false self, a sense of self we are trying to defend or assert. That is part of our human, psychological development. The ego appears at a very young age, at two years old, and causes the parents tremendous suffering, and joy, until adolescence when it causes more suffering. It has to be tolerated, and it can be tolerated because we can see it as part of an evolutionary emergent process. Where it cannot be tolerated is if this two-year-old ego self is still operating at the age of 70, as it can be, or at any stage in between. Then it is no longer charming. 

So you have to be able to recognise when and in what circumstances it’s our ego or, if you like, our false self. It is only false if we take it to be true, if we are deluded by it or mastered by it. Otherwise it is simply there. It serves a function. The ego serves a function – it’s a vehicle. In Sanskrit the word closely related to ego is ahamkara which comes from two words or two senses, one of which is ‘I am’ aham, and the other is kara which gives us the word ‘carriage’ or ‘car’ or ‘vehicle’. So the ego you could say is the vehicle, the carrier, the platform for delivering the true self until we are ready, until we are more mature. We have to see ourselves as a work of maturation in progress. So the ego has a function. It allows us to differentiate, separate from our parents, from the womb, from our mother’s love, and separates us from the institutions that would otherwise control us and create us as nationalists or bigots or prejudiced people. So the ego allows us to detach from what we have become attached, and in that process we suffer pain. —Finding Oneself by Laurence Freeman OSB

3. Trump, “The Man Card,” White Evangelicals, and Toxic Masculinity:

Please see a new and powerful video highlighted here: Trump Is Playing ‘The Man Card’ According To New Documentary! It tells America’s grim story of the past half century through White Male Identity Politics.

Writer Liz Plank in her fall 2019 book (before the pandemic!), For the Love of Men: From Toxic to a More Mindful Masculinity states baldly:

Although the news often focuses on the threats of terrorism, natural disasters, and nuclear war, there is no greater threat to humankind than our current definitions of masculinity. p. 1

While I cannot make such a statement from my own observation, I can go a long way with the film’s (written and produced by noted social commentator on men’s violence, Jackson Katz) and Plank’s take on this.

We read also in POLITICO Nightly November 19, 2020:

And there’s a bit of a grand-unified theory that explains why 2020 has been so miserable: A particularly noxious strain of masculinity.

Peter Glick, a social psychologist at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, has been watching the way Americans relate to each other for decades, and he’s recently seen an uptick in a very locked-in, confrontational version of American manhood. Trump, especially, embodies it, Glick says. “You can never show a chink in the armor, even if that involves denying reality,” as Glick puts it.

With America confronting a series of challenges — economic dislocation, racial tension, a viral pandemic — this leadership style is both appealing for its strength, and utterly destructive in its effects, from the top down.

Though it’s common to point out that Trump likes to project strength, it’s less common to argue that an extreme concept of masculinity is driving many of the problems we face, and is not just a reaction to them. Most political analysts don’t turn to “masculinity” when they think about how we got here. To Glick, that’s a mistake: To understand the shape of American politics, we need to understand the social psychology behind it.

Kristin Kobes du Mez from an academic viewpoint covers much the same ground in: Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. It is thoroughly researched–and deeply disturbing. I posted a long review of it here.

Please see as well, by Megan Garber: Donald Trump’s Masculinity Is an Empty Spectacle–The president ended his term in office the way he began it: by invoking a perverse vision of manliness. In it we read:

And “patriot or pussy,” with its tragicomic essentialism, now puts that era in stark relief. Trump’s invocations of pussy—the one a boast, the other a threat—make fitting bookends to a presidency shaped by malignant masculinity. With pussy it began; to pussy it has returned.

Trump used his maleness in roughly the same way that he used his whiteness: as permission. And he turned his own entitlements into a gaudy sales pitch.Megan Garber

The Access Hollywood tape, in retrospect, was an omen. The video captured not only Trump’s misogyny, but also the mechanics of his mind: its abiding self-interest, its drive for dominance, its assumption that politics, like life, is little more than a string of arid transactions. The tape’s revelations led directly to the events that followed Trump’s inauguration: the marches, populated by people wearing “pussy hats,” protesting the new president. And it foreshadowed what it would feel like for a country—and a planet—to live at the mercy of one man’s whims. “When you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump informed Billy Bush in the video. “You can do anything.” He turned that brag into a core principle of his political movement.

Trump’s is a Potemkin [ersatz/fake] masculinity. It glorifies dominance, while taking refuge in cowardice. (“I’ll be there with you,” he told the crowd on January 6, encouraging them to march on the Capitol, before returning to the White House to watch television.)–Megan Garber

4. America–Ultimate Evil Empire:

America is no less today the Ultimate Evil Empire it has always been. And Biden has been part and contributor to/of this Grand Evil throughout his political career. As has every president and administration back to its founding. It is what this website is largely taken up with: The Gospel as Counter-Narrative to Empire. Nothing has changed in that regard between yesterday and today. And there is no reason to believe anything will change under Biden. On the contrary . . . Please therefore see An Open Letter to Joe Biden.

Liars impose their desires not just on other people, but on reality itself. The dark delusions failed this time, but just barely.Megan Garber

How can one be so decent domestically while so monstrous in much of the rest of the world? This stark American Foreign Policy Schizophrenia is the most enduring reality of America to the world–since before its founding. The ready answer is of course militarized capitalism, to which America has ever been in thrall.

In this regard, please see: The Election and the Empire. We read:

According to the Pentagon’s Defense Manpower Center, the Pentagon has regular troops in more than 150 countries around the world, with approximately 165,000 of its active-duty personnel permanently assigned outside the United States and its territories. (Defense5Manpower Data Center. August 7, 2020) These numbers do not include those troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, there are around forty thousand special forces troops on classified missions in places kept secret from the people of the United States. Like a young friend of mine recently rotated out of the army told me: that means the United States has forty thousand troops trained to kick ass and kill people doing exactly that with little or no responsibility to the citizens of the countries they are in or to the citizens of the United States. He continued, telling me even good people who don’t like to beat or kill innocent people end up doing exactly that in such circumstances. Other acquaintances either in the military or recently dismissed have discussed their work in African nations setting up drone bases, conducting night time searches of homes where people were sound asleep, and arresting boys as young as ten for being in the “wrong place at the wrong time.”

We all know the capitalists and their governments will do anything to protect capitalism. The only possible restraint on the continuation of the wars mentioned here and any future conflicts is a consistent and vocal antiwar sentiment is organized outside of the two major political parties—both of which are singular in purpose when it comes to the Pentagon and the empire. Building this movement to express it is not only a good idea, it is essential to resolving the multitude of other troubles facing the human race.

My prayer has been for years, Lord have mercy on America (these last five years because of the Ultimate Ugly American Trump); Lord have mercy on the world because of America! Those prayers continue.

5. Interlude–Why So much American Content on the Website:

Some wonder that there is so much American content on this site! While I do regularly go to about a dozen Canadian sites, and some international, I’m signed up for a few dozen U.S. newsletters through which I pick my way on titles/subjects. Some reasons for this focus:

  • America is the ultimate model country in the world (see on this René Girard‘s mimetic theory); meaning it is copied in a phenomenal array of cultural points: everything from politics to medicine to movies to all manner of entertainment to sex to (in the past four years) authoritarianism  . . .
  • The U.S. is also as stated above the ultimate (Evil) Empire in the world, exponentially beyond any competitors in everything weapons of mass destruction production/sales/deployment/development/etc., including a vast array and quantity of biological warfare agents at the ready, and cyber warfare beyond imagining. I could go on and on and on! Much on the website in fact does.
  • So yes, this website is dedicated to “The Gospel as Counter-Narrative to Empire,” about which you may read at length on the HOME page, part way down. As said above, America is exponentially beyond any current competitor (such as China or Russia) an Evil Empire, one that, given its worldwide reach and into cyber space, and in sheer population numbers under its sway, is the Ultimate Evil Empire beyond any preceding it.

Authoritarianism is on the rise worldwide, thanks in no small part to Trump’s administration’s leading the way. There are now more world citizens under authoritarian governments than not.2 Pulitzer Prize-winning American-Polish writer Anne Applebaum published this year Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism treating of this dire turn in world geopolitics.

In the past 20 years, says Applebaum, she’s seen the same development repeat itself in “all three of my countries.” The American-born writer, 55, known for her articles and books on Eastern Europe, has spent years as a journalist in Britain and later in Poland, where she is now a citizen. “A lot of people I know—some of them used to be my friends—have made very different political choices,” Applebaum observes in an interview. Some, like her, have remained committed to liberal democracy with all its messy imperfections [and authoritarianism–see footnote above], while others have veered toward right-wing populism and authoritarianism. They support the Law and Justice party in Poland or cheer on Brexit or Donald Trump. “I thought it was no accident this was happening at the same time in those places, and in other parts of the West, too.” So Applebaum wrote Twilight of Democracy, a book alternately personal and political, which examines the emotional pull of what its subtitle calls The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism.– The real reason authoritarian populism is on the rise: it’s simple, by Maclean’s.

6. Now for Commentary on Article in Post Title:

“I thank God people are in the streets,” said the Harvard philosopher and activist. “Can you imagine this kind of lynching taking place and people are indifferent? People don’t care? People are callous?”
by Jon Queally, staff writer

Published on Saturday, May 30, 2020 by Common Dreams

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.—John Kenneth Galbraith

photo heading the article: abcnews.go.com

You see, the modern U.S. right is committed to the proposition that greed is good, that we’re all better off when individuals engage in the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest. In their vision, unrestricted profit maximization by businesses and unregulated consumer choice is the recipe for a good society.–Paul Krugman in The New York Times.

WN: Dr. Cornel West again tells it powerfully like it is! He in doing so not only calls out Trump for the Republican neo-fascist thug he is, he points to the utter betrayal of the Democratic Party Obama years (and its current rejection of Sanders and his democratic socialism in favour of neoliberal Biden) to check the voracious scourge of neoliberalism. On the contrary: Obama fully embraced Wall Street’s militarized neoliberalism.3 If anything, Obama and all he stood/stands for is worse than Trump, in that he portrayed himself as a reformer, accepted a Nobel Peace Prize for his “anti-nuclear stance” in full-fledged deceit (authorizing for instance at the end of his presidency 1 trillion dollars for upgrading the American nuclear arsenal), and waged endless imperialist wars for the benefit of the 1% corporations4 whom he slavishly served–and now reaps handsomely his ill-gotten rewards.

The manner in which we treat other nations contains many of the same elements as the racism and violence which the demonstrations on our streets are denouncing. The US military has its knee on the throat of the world. We must vanquish this shape-shifting, Orwellian spectre with which our overlords ensnare us, with their lies of “they hate our freedoms”. Defund the Pentagon!–

Ellen Taylor tells it like it is in this dead-on article: The US Military Has Its Knee on the Throat of the World. She writes:

We slander these two nations [China and Russia] in our media, and impose sanctions, challenging them to respond. Trump’s assertion that “we live in a hostile world of evolving threats” neglects to mention that we ourselves provoke those threats.

But the National Defense Strategy demands “full-spectrum dominance.” This requires absolute control, e.g. military superiority on land, at sea, in the air and in outer space. Therefore, in anticipation of a “high-end” war with these “near-peers,” an exciting upgrade of our arsenals will be required.

Please See: 10 Reasons Why Defunding Police Should Lead to Defunding War, by Medea Benjamin,

Please also see: Tomgram: Mandy Smithberger, A Recipe for Disaster; (January 21, 2020); and Tomgram: Mandy Smithberger, Ending the Pentagon’s Pandemic of Spending (September 13, 2020).

The point, instead, is that they’ve sacralized selfishness, hurting their own political prospects by insisting on the right to act selfishly even when it hurts others.

What the coronavirus has revealed is the power of America’s cult of selfishness. And this cult is killing us.–Paul Krugman in The Cult of Selfishness Is Killing America

Please also see: Police, Prisons, and the Pentagon: Defunding America’s Wars at Home and Abroad by William D. Hartung.5

You may see as well my War, Police and Prisons: Cross-Examining State-Sanctioned Violence. Far beyond Eisenhower’s observation about a “Military-Industrial Complex” to beware of, there is a Police-Prisons-Military-Industrial Complex that not only criminally robs the poor–and for instance fully a quarter of Blacks in the U.S. live in poverty–but exports death on a massive scale around the Globe. And we Canadians are in full lockstep with that reality through NATO, weapons components production for mass slaughter on the Planet, and our own Canadian arms sales industry.

I’ve been a journalist for 33 years. I’ve covered Congress. NASA and the military space program. City and county halls. The Florida statehouse. Criminal courts, including armed robbers and serial killers. In all of that time, I have never encountered a public official, a candidate for office, a bureaucrat, a defense lawyer or, frankly, an actual criminal who is as regularly and aggressively dishonest as the current president of the United States. And that includes a dozen years covering the Florida legislature.–S.V. Daté

“The data shows that the Republican party in 2018 was far more illiberal than almost all other governing parties in democracies,” the V-Dem study found. “Only very few governing parties in democracies in this millennium (15%) were considered more illiberal than the Republican party in the US.”

The institute has found the decline in democratic traits has accelerated around the world and that for the first time this century, autocracies are in the majority – holding power in 92 countries, home to 54% of the global population.

According to V-Dem’s benchmark, almost 35% of the world’s population, 2.6 billion people, live in nations that are becoming more autocratic.

Please see too Mark Sumner’s: And we are here as on a darkling plain … where ignorant armies clash by night. It tells of deliberate choices over decades that have moved the Right to a “darkling plain” of endless lies and ignorance.

Please also see Trump Justice Department Killed Police Reform Programs That Could Have Helped Minneapolis. The subtitle says it all: “Instead of helping cities change police practices, the Justice Department is threatening to turn federal resources on protesters.”

Federal Justice Department Thugs all! And this is (The “Great Again”) America: Home of the Free!6

But one must read of course the fine print: for the 1% filthy rich, the 20% white middle class rich, and White America. (See: “We Are the 99 Percent—Except for the Top 20 Percent of Us“.) For that matter except for Privileged Whites Worldwide where everything is White-washed and at our disposal. We such Whites too readily forget or ignore Jesus’ words:

Woe to you, [Highly Privileged Whites], you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew 23:27 and 28)

Trump inverts the Cross (the sheathed sword–that Church Father Tertullian said Jesus told the Church to “put up” forever) into a tool of violent state oppression.

See as well Mark Sumner’s: Is the entire American conservative movement just one big scam? In it we read:

Steve Bannon is a scam artist. Roger Stone is a scam artist. Paul Manafort is a scam artist. Rudy Giuliani is a scam artist. Jerry Falwell, and Kenneth Copeland, and Joel Osteen, and Paula White, and a long list of other televangelists are scam artists. David Clarke is a scam artist. Alex Jones is a scam artist. David Daleiden is a scam artist. James O’Keefe is a scam artist.

A quick glimpse of the boards of any of the organizations involved, or a reference to all the “institutes” and “think tanks” that provide an endless stream of talk show guests, recycled lobbyists, and Republican politicians bouncing around in the safety net shows that the same names come up over and over again. The same right-wing figures constantly vouch for each other’s importance and knowledge. The same right-wing “experts” are dredged up to give opinions on science, when they know nothing about science, or explain health care, when they have no interest in health care, or simply fill the airwaves with confusion when there’s no better strategy.

Put differently (continuing after “Home of the Free” above): The world over, “The Systems” in place have not failed. They were designed under White colonialism precisely to do what the White Police Thugs did to Mr. Floyd: put nonwhites under the knee of endless oppressions to the point of murder if deemed “necessary.” And it has ever been “necessary.”

The bent knee on the neck of the Black Man is the ultimate symbol of White Racist Power. Please see with reference to “ontological whiteness” this very disturbing (for us Whites) interview with philosopher George Yancy:

George Yancy: To Be Black in the US Is to Have a Knee Against Your Neck Each Day

On structural American racism please read a snippet of a great article by Ibram X. Kendi: Is This the Beginning of the End of American Racism?:

On this path, Trump’s denialism has permanently changed the way Americans view themselves. The Trump effect is real, and lasting. The reckoning we have witnessed this spring and summer at public demonstrations transforms into a reckoning in legislatures, C-suites, university-admissions offices.

On this path, the American people demand equitable results, not speeches that make them feel good about themselves and their country. The American people give policy makers an ultimatum: Use your power to radically reduce inequity and injustice, or be voted out.

Please see as well: Trump: Blacks have themselves to blame for inequality, and Jews ‘are only in it for themselves’.

One should also read this article about Mary Trump’s Trump exposé, which title tragically says it all: ‘He Is and Always Will Be a Terrified Little Boy’. As tragically, this defines his supporters too, above all his white evangelical base, lost hopelessly in a destructive clamouring-after-would-be John Wayne masculinity: scared little boys all. See further in The Christian Post this article, August 24, 2020: Most white Christians say killings of black men by police are isolated incidents: poll.7

The Firebug [literally the Fire Devil]: A President sets his country on fire

Please see Der Spiegel‘s dead-on but tragic June 6 cover, and run the cursor over top of image for the translation!

Cornel West is unsparing in his calling out the abysmal failure of neoliberalism. You will find on this website several posts about him by clicking on his name. You will also find several about Barack Obama by clicking on his name. The contrast between West and Obama could not be starker. Hence my Open Letter to Michelle Obama, that my white liberal friends in Canada excoriate–because white liberals in America and the world over are so sucked in and love the First Black Man and Lady in the White House!

We read in this brilliantly incisive piece, “Ajamu Baraka, “Uncle Tom,” and the Pathology of White Liberal Racism“:

[Chris] Cuomo here plays the role of sentinel of the establishment, guarding the gates of discourse, dictating to blacks and whites alike what is or is not appropriate when it comes to critiquing the first black president.

Obama is the right kind of black man, while Baraka is the wrong kind. Obama the liberal is deserving of respect, while Baraka the radical is deserving of scorn. Sorry Ajamu, you’re just not the right kind of black man.

And while black men are murdered seemingly every single day by law enforcement, Obama pens op-ed pieces arguing that “Every day, [police] confront danger so it does not find our families … We recognize it, we respect it, we appreciate it, and we depend on you.” This is the right kind of black man, one who is passive and subservient in the face of ongoing, brutal oppression and violence. Baraka on the other hand, a man who has repeatedly lent his vocal support to the Movement for Black Lives among many other pro-black social movements, is caricatured as a bigot and racist.

Please see also: Cornel West: Black Lives Matter Is an Indictment of Neoliberal Power.

Please see too this powerful piece by : Neoliberalism Doesn’t Care.

The federal government is willing to protect you from mythical hordes of Antifa super soldiers coming to tear down Confederate statues. It will not protect your child from contracting a deadly virus.–Nathalie Baptiste in States Are Begging for Coronavirus Relief. Trump Sent Federal Police Instead.

So yes, my liberal white racists: Barack and Michelle Obama are, have always been, Uncle Toms vis à vis their own fellow Blacks–and any form of democratic socialism. Obama in his political ambitions and service has been a Hollow Man Filled With Ruling Class Ideas. This was the conclusion of the massive biography of him by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and law professor David J. Garrow in writing an incredibly detailed 1078-page (1460 pages with endnotes and index included) biography of Barack Obama from conception through election to the White House: Rising Star: The Making of Barack Obama. In a review by Paul Street we read:

The Obama-King contrast continues into Obama’s post-presidential years. As Garrow showed in Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (William Morrow, 1986), the great Civil Rights leader and democratic socialist Dr. King sternly refused to cash in on his fame. Now that he is out of the White House, Obama, by contrast, is cashing in. He’s raking in millions from the publishing industry and Wall Street and he’s back to his old “hobnobbing” ways with the rich and famous.

The reverend would be [91] years old if he had been blessed with longevity. My guess is that he would be less than pleased at the life and career of the nation’s first technically Black president.

For an extensive bibliography by superb bibliographer (on multiple social issues) Patrick S. O’Donnell, please see: After Slavery & Reconstruction: The Black Struggle in the U.S. for Freedom, Equality, and Self-Realization —A Bibliography.

“I just heard an interview with Sen. Cory Booker where he uses the phrase: “A spiritually combustible moment,” when speaking about the dynamics of the current protests. Is this “the Kairos Moment” that has been used from a theological perspective[and much more–see the Wikipedia article you may click on.]? I.e. the fall of Apartheid and the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. A provocatively powerful phrase. –(my friend) Allen Harder

Then I urge you strongly to listen to Rhodes Scholar Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey deliver the most powerful, gut-wrenching speech I’ve viewed on race in America! As I listened, I kept thinking of a close relative who simply scoffs at this reality! He discounts it all! His response to Senator Booker, were he to give him a half of a minute of air time before pressing the delete button would be: Fake News! It’s all made up! He’d then trot out a whole bunch of selectively misinterpreted statistics about Blacks killing more Blacks than the police do (a pile of s–t!–intentional French–(see also Footnote 7) and completely missing the point: see Fatal Force, The Washington Post’s database on police shootings.

And immensely more tragically I also know this: my close relative is one of untold millions of White Racists around the world who in response inconceivably see no evil, hear no evil, deny any evil done by Whites against non-Whites (or of course that they’re even racist). Yet they live on the same Planet in the same year as I do!!! Now that is unadulterated, pure-and-simple, full-dose EVIL RACISM!

 

According to Judge Vyskocil, no one should believe anything Tucker says about anything.

Fox [News] persuasively argues that given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer “arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism” about the statements he makes. Whether the Court frames Mr. Carlson’s statements as “exaggeration,” “non-literal commentary,” or simply bloviating for his audience, the conclusion remains the same—the statements are not actionable.–“Judge tosses defamation suit . . .

 

 

A close relative loves the kind of sad nonsense spewed by Fox News’ completely (most deliberately) uninformed Tucker Carlson who shows incredible denialism vis à vis white systemic racism while calling for nationwide further systemic oppression of nonwhite “urban terrorists”: “Fox News’ Tucker Carlson goes after Trump and Kushner over protests”. See too: The GOP’s future looks more like Tucker Carlson than Larry Hogan. There is this extreme sickie as well: Tucker Carlson defends actions of teen charged in killings of Kenosha protesters.

John Oliver captures the tragedy who is Tucker Carlson here:

Another response by John Oliver is contained within his show on vaccines (about the 7-minute mark):

Then consider conservative Tom Nichols’ compelling piece: Tom Nichols responds to Bret Stephens with an incredible Twitter thread.–“a fairly thorough dismantling of the ‘both sides’ approach of some in the media”–by teacherken / Daily Kos (07/04/2020. See also this powerfully insightful article: Americans are all living the Republican dream now: Paul Krugman for the NYTimes. in which we read:

In this country, the fight against the virus has been a war against an unyielding, inflexible conservatism–and Republicanism–from the very start. Everything we are seeing and experiencing now—and every failure still to come until the country finally throws the yoke of Republican policy into the dustbin of history– is a product of that conflict.

Trump tries to sue his critics (and reality, at times) into silence. Daily Kos

And if one discounted fully two-thirds of the sources in the following highlighted piece–as I say of the police and guards in Canada from over a 40-year career of working with prisoners and returning citizens–there is far too much that is damning of Trump–and of Canadian/American police and prison guards!

In the above video, Phil Vischer gives us a brief, pointed history lesson on “Race in America”. In conjunction with that, one may see several posts that variously address the centuries-long enormous and tragic racial disparities. Another post to visit is “The Average Black Family Would Need 228 Years to Build the Wealth of a White Family Today“. Please understand what “family wealth” means (To calculate net worth, add up the value of every single one of your assets. Next, subtract the sum of all of your debts.)–then weep. Please also watch William Barber II deliver a powerful sermon June 14, 2020. Just click on footnote here.8

Land of the not-so-free: The Federal Court of Canada ruled July 22 that the country’s Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States is unconstitutional because the harsh consequences of U.S. detention violate the right of asylum seekers to “life, liberty and security of person”.–RYAN HEATH in POLITICO: Global TranslationsAmen!

Far too often, a post like this is dismissed out of hand. Hence the need for prophets like Dr. Barber in the footnote above. Even someone is dismissed as mild-mannered as Sports Commentator Bryant Gumbel, speaking to a lifelong “Black tax” in America:

It’s the added burden that comes with being Black in America. And it’s routinely paid. No matter how much education you have, how much money you make, or how much success you’ve earned.

It’s about the day-in day-out fatigue of having to explain the obvious to the clueless.

It’s about having to overlook blue failings and white failings so that they can be conveniently viewed as black issues. Please see below for the full video commentary.

 

 

 

Now please watch Frederick Douglass’ Descendants Read ‘What To The Slave Is The 4th Of July?’ Wow! After viewing that, then please read Black Lives and the Fourth of July; and An Open Letter to President Trump on Behalf of Social Studies Teachers Everywhere.

SO PLEASE AGAIN WATCH AND LISTEN–REALLY REALLY LISTEN!!!

Freedom in the 21st century is underscored by a median wealth of $142,000 per white family and $11,000 for Black families. These facts accentuate the shortcoming of the historical legacy of Union victory: that the abolition of slavery did not sever white supremacy from the fundamental core of American political economy.– Black Lives and the Fourth. . .

For another riveting voice please see: “Jericho Brown’s 2020 Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry speaks with power and urgency about racism and violence“. Then listen to the CBC interview (June 7, 2020) with him. (It is also clickable on the article page). Powerful! Again, we must REALLY REALLY REALLY listen!!!

An additional note: Today, while worshipping online with Saint Albans Church, Ottawa Canada (which my wife and I find profoundly impactful; having begun tuning in only since the start of the COVID-19 season), on the Day of Pentecost–the third great celebration of the Christian Year–we were powerfully engaged by this following video, Come, Great Spirit! It is purposely set as counterpoint to that raging racism both to the south, and in Canada–as the previous post details. It was produced by: THE WORK OF THE PEOPLE.

 

Trump Foil: ‘Without Empathy, Nothing Works.’ Chef José Andrés Wants to Feed the World Through the PandemicBy Sean Gregory

C.S. Lewis described coming across the work of George MacDonald as “crossing a great frontier”. The discovery–only today–of this amazing body of cinematic work with over a thousand films to the credit of Travis Reed, founder, feels like crossing a great frontier! The tag line is so understated: “FILMS FOR DISCOVERY AND TRANSFORMATION”. Spend time on the website. Read about Travis’ Christian journey that began at a U2 concert . . . You could spend hours there! Wow! And wow again!!! Talk about the Church made up of a “great cloud of witnesses!” Revel in this great resource! Tell me your thoughts!

Now please watch the interview below with Dr. West. You may also get a flavour by reading the excerpt below as well.

Then read the article in America Jesuit Review, “To fight racism, Catholics[/Christians of all stripes] must hunger for justice like we do for the Eucharist. We read:

Catholics cannot be content to stand on the sidelines of this struggle. In the face of racism, Catholics must hunger for justice as we hunger for the Eucharist. The Gospel calls us, as we prepare for Communion, to “go first and be reconciled” (Matthew 5:24) with our sisters and brothers. At this moment, when the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the depth of need for the sacraments and for community, this national outcry should lead Catholics, white Catholics especially, to conversion, repentance and reconciliation.

Amen!

In the end, as the African proverb goes, “The Church is hopeless. The Church is the only hope!” Amen again!

Now please feel Dee Wilson‘s plaintive, haunting even, and beautiful cry, so apt in this kairos moment: The Medicine. We first heard this online worshipping with Saint Albans Church, Ottawa Canada. It was first posted May 26, 2020.

Then please listen to Rose Petals below that video, and linger over the beautiful words in the song, also at the beginning and end . . .

Rose Petals:

For a sampling of more of the music above, please see: Good Shepherd Music Collective. So powerfully moving and worshipful!

excerpt:

When you talk about the masses of black people—the precious poor and working-class black people, brown, red, yellow, whatever color—they’re the ones left out and they feel so thoroughly powerless, helpless, hopeless—then you get rebellion. Dr. Cornel West, Harvard University

Harvard University philosophy professor Dr. Cornell West appeared on CNN Friday night amid nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota and offered a searing indictment not just of white supremacy, the neo-fascism of President Donald Trump, and a criminal justice system that repeatedly brutalizes the poor and people of color—but also of a deep depravity that exists within the neoliberal capitalist system of the 21st Century in the United States that dominates both major political parties.9

As protests raged in Minneapolis, outside Trump’s White House, and U.S. cities nationwide—including Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Cleveland, and Oakland—West told CNN‘s Anderson Cooper in an interview, “I think we are witnessing America as a failed social experiment.”

I began my journalism career covering a civil war in Lebanon. I never thought I’d end my career covering a civil war in America.

We may not be there yet, but if we don’t turn around now, we will surely get where we’re going — which was best described by Senator Jeff Flake on Monday: “Tribalism is ruining us. It is tearing our country apart. It is no way for sane adults to act.”The American Civil War, Part II. (See also: It Could Happen Here and Death of America’s Democracy?)

“What I mean by that,” explained West, “is that the history of black people for over 200 and some years in America has been looking at America’s failure. Its capitalist economy could not generate and deliver in such a way that people could live lives of decency. The nation-state, its criminal justice system, its legal system could not generate protection of rights and liberties. And now our culture, of course is so market-driven—everything for sale, everybody for sale—it can’t deliver the kind of nourishment for soul, for meaning, for purpose.”

Please click on: America: Failed Social Experiment

WN: This is a new video June 23, 2020, and powerful. (See also New Amnesty Map Documents ‘Shocking Extent’ of US Police Violence Against Black Lives Matter Protesters; and DHS compiled ‘intelligence reports’ on journalists who published leaked documents; Cops Have Repeatedly Attacked and Obstructed Street Medics During BLM Rebellion; and Watchdog Calls on Authorities to Drop ‘Absurd’ Charges Against Journalists Covering Black Lives Matter Protests:

 

 

Footnotes
  1. We read from Merton:

    Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. This is the man that I want myself to be but who cannot exist, because God does not know anything about him. . . My false and private self is the one who wants to exist outside the reach of God’s will and God’s love — outside of reality and outside of life. And such a life cannot help but be an illusion. . . . The secret of my identity is hidden in the love and mercy of God. … Therefore I cannot hope to find myself anywhere except in him. . . . Therefore there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him, I will find myself, and if I find my true self I will find him (New Seeds of Contemplation, pp. 34-36).[]

  2. But there is a huge qualifier, as stated by Bevin Chu:

    If more countries move to democracy, then more of the world will live under authoritarian rule.

    Democracy is not an “alternative to authoritarian rule”. Democracy is merely one of many forms of authoritarian rule.

    All democracies are authoritarian. All democracies enforce their will at the point of a gun. Try to opt out and see what “liberal” democratic regimes do to you. They will start with a letter saying you owe them protection money, aka “taxes”. Refuse to pay and eventually they will show up at your door with guns. Resist and they will kidnap and cage you like an animal. Resist with armed force and their costumed thugs will gun you down in a hail of bullets.

    Thomas Sowell, free-market economist, had some choice words for the facile equation of freedom with democracy:

    To include freedom in the… definition of democracy is to define a process not by its actual characteristics… but by its hoped-for results.

    See on this as well William T. Cavanaugh‘s compelling: “A FIRE STRONG ENOUGH TO CONSUME THE HOUSE”: THE WARS OF RELIGION AND THE RISE OF THE STATE.

    There is too Astra Taylor‘s: Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When it’s Gone.[]

  3. See ““Militarized neoliberalism” and the Canadian state in Latin America” for the Canadian version of this. And not only in Latin America–besides our fully being intertwined with the American economy, and therefore their worldwide militarized capitalism.[]
  4. The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman incisively writes inThe Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization:

    “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglass, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.”

    Noted social commentator Arundhati Roy called the above “the most succinct, accurate description of the project of corporate globalization that I have read.” Please see also peace activist/researcher David Swanson‘s “Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): The Terrible Plutocratic Plan“. See too article by John Buell: The Triumph of Monopoly Capitalism is Hurting American Workers’ Life Expectancy.[]

  5. In it we read:

    Shifting Priorities

    Sharp reductions in spending on police, prisons, and the Pentagon could free up hundreds of billions of dollars for programs that might begin to fill the gap in spending on public investments in communities of color and elsewhere.

    Organizations like the Movement for Black Lives and the Poor People’s Campaign are already demanding these kinds of changes. In its moral budget, a comprehensive proposal for redirecting America’s resources toward addressing poverty and away from war, racism, and ecological destruction, the Poor People’s Campaign calls for a $350 billion annual cut in Pentagon spending — almost half of current levels. Likewise, the platform of the Movement for Black Lives suggested a 50% reduction in Pentagon outlays. And a new youth anti-militarist movement, Dissenters, has called for defunding the armed forces as well as the police.[]

  6. In “Defund the Police: America needs to rethink its priorities for the whole criminal-justice system.“, by  Annie Lowrey, we read:

    A thin safety net, an expansive security state: This is the American way. At all levels of government, the country spends roughly double on police, prisons, and courts what it spends on food stamps, welfare, and income supplements. At the federal level, it spends twice as much on the Pentagon as on assistance programs, and eight times as much on defense as on education. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will ultimately cost something like $6 trillion and policing costs $100 billion a year. But proposals to end homelessness ($20 billion a year), create a universal prekindergarten program ($26 billion a year), reduce the racial wealth gap through baby bonds ($60 billion a year), and eliminate poverty among families with children ($70 billion a year) somehow never get financed. All told, taxpayers spend $31,286 a year on each incarcerated person, and $12,201 a year on every primary- and secondary-school student.

    And in conclusion:

    More broadly, the demand to divest from policing doubles as a call to invest in safety, security, and racial justice. This week, cops in riot gear teargassed teenagers, Humvees patrolled near the White House, and military helicopters buzzed protesters. At the same time, health workers fought COVID-19 wearing reused masks. This is not serving. This is not protecting.

    See also: Black Lives Matter Chicago Sues to Prevent Occupation by Trump’s Paramilitaries. With good reason, these “cops” are being compared to Hitler’s Brownshirts. This is now (July 15) turning very scary.

    See further Jonathan Eig‘s: The NBA’s short playoff halt was the sports world’s boldest push for racial justice in decades’[]

  7. Trump supporters have repeatedly told pollsters that they see whites, Christians and men as oppressed and that they are concerned about racism directed at white people. In that context, Trump’s response [that whites are somehow disadvantaged in modern society to the benefit of blacks and Hispanics.] makes sense.–Philip Bump: In a pair of interviews, Trump highlights white victimhood.

    It is a go-to tactic often enough for us Whites to claim victimhood too, often arising from a negative reference to identity politics. My wife and I hear similar claims from men in abusive relationships: “Women are abusive too!” There is a strong conservative aversion to people claiming what theologian Gregory L. Jones says in Western culture is the new cogito: “I am a victim, therefore I am.” There is always some legitimacy to that push-back of course. But to equate harms done to Whites in the U.S. or worldwide with harms done to people of colour is beyond ludicrous. And as we say to the men: “When was the last time you lived in fear of your wife’s abuse?” Sometimes no doubt when a weapon is used . . . The discussion is usually over however once the question is posed.

    As to the treatment of Blacks in America, please read the article I highlight here: The Case for Reparations. If such history does not make the case for you, there is clearly a problem. But not with the storyteller . . . Please see this post of an interview with public intellectual George Yancy in part about Whites as “victims”: George Yancy: To Be Black in the US Is to Have a Knee Against Your Neck Each Day

    The chart above from the Bump article is telling. It is adjusted for population ratio of Whites to Blacks: approximately 5 to 1. (Double click on image if it does not load.)

    I am inserting at this point a fascinating video comparing and contrasting Trump and Biden over the years on race issues. Neither has been consistent; neither has an unblemished record vis à vis race–to say the least! It is well worth watching even for the historical retrospective.

     

     


    The Lincoln Project Mr. President, thank you for showing the American people exactly who and what you are.

    Trump and the GOP are powerfully dissected on this video interview with Rick Wilson, co-founder of the Lincoln Project:

    Now listen to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez respond devastatingly to Rep. Ted Yoho’s verbal abuse towards her in calling her a “fucking bitch“–and more. She does so with quiet regal poise and dignity that puts powerful abusive men, including Trump, on full notice: Not on my watch! Not on my watch!

    Please also see: Ocasio-Cortez dismisses Rep. Yoho’s apology, says his remarks are excuses for confrontation.

    I confess to experiencing schadenfreude at Yoho’s dressing down. Not that I knew anything else about the guy. But I know lots about guys in Canadian/Western culture (and in other cultures) . . .

    My wife has worked for years in an End Abuse Program under Mennonite Central Committee British Columbia. She facilitates groups of women in abusive relationships. And together under the above program we facilitate a 15-week “Home Improvement Group for Men,” to challenge, aid, and give motivation and skills to men to change abusive behaviour patterns. It is all very rewarding work: a genuine privilege.

    We do not do dressings-down in our co-facilitation. But AOC’s words in her American Congress cultural context not only were called for, they were brilliantly incisive and succinct. I can only add: Wow!

    I hit upon a saying that so rings true from our Home Improvement work:

    In many cultures it takes a real man to not act like “a real man” according to those cultures.

    After viewing the video below, please see this piece (no embed code available):

    Connie Schultz: AOC told Yoho, ‘Permission denied’.

    See further this encouraging article: Xian Group Says Ted Yoho Isn’t Acting In Jesus-like Manner and They Want To Talk To Him About It.

    As well there is this very thoughtful reflection: The Poison of Male Incivility, b

    And finally this: Ted Yoho: Christian group obtains resignation over Ocasio-Cortez attack.

    Now the video:

    Robert Reich discusses in the video below why Trump is the “Champion of the Oligarchs,” the Ultimate American Oligarch, appearing to be a “gift” to the working-class, while instead being a Trojan Horse against them, instead continuing the steady advancement of oligarchic power and wealth increasingly concentrated in the hands of a tiny
    . . . oligarch!

    After viewing the video, please look up his new book: The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It. See also Inequality Media with Robert Reich. (By the way, “Gift” in German means “poison”.)

    This next video is powerfully hopefull!

    []

  8. (The article and link are here.) []

  9. Please also see: The ugly numbers are finally in on the 2017 Trump tax rewrite: Radical Republicans ramrodded that law through Congress, and the rich made out like bandits by David Cay Johnston. This is of course neoliberalism taken to the next level called robberbaronism . . .[]

Wayne Northey

Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.

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