Will America Go Forward or Backward?

Thom plus logo On the same day Donald Trump announced that on Juneteenth he's going to go to Tulsa, Oklahoma, the home of one of America's most brutal and deadly riots where white people burned, looted and murdered African Americans in an iconic, historic and prosperous black community, to give a speech written by Stephen Miller, Trump supporters wearing Klan robes and hoods showed up in Nevada.

At the same time the leaders of every branch of our military are reaching out to service members to condemn racism and planning to remove the names of Confederate traitor generals from their military bases, Donald Trump tweets his absolute opposition to their move and his support for this racist symbology.

Donald Trump's openly racist posture represents an increasingly small slice of white America, although the power of America's white oligarchs remains largely unchallenged and, in fact, grows every day as their wealth increases, regardless of what happens to the rest of us.

Killing racism is damn hard, because of the benefits that racism provides to people at the top of the power structures of every institution in America.

But racial equality, like gender equality, must be achieved in this country for us to truly claim ownership of the egalitarian ideals to which we have given lip service since the founding of the republic.

America's most well integrated institution, the military, is today pushing back on Trump's racism. Cities across America are rejecting racist policing. And media is finally discussing these issues in the larger context of economic and political power.

America is at a crossroads. Will we choose the path that Donald Trump, Steven Miller and the Boogaloo Bois have put before us? Or will we choose to be open, inclusive, and a nation where every life is respected?

-Thom

Comments

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 6 days ago
#1

Street protests, of course, are a vitally important exercise of citizens' First Amendment rights insofar as focusing attention on the key issues and to excite the masses. But the most powerful form of protest is to vote. That's when the spade in the hole makes the flush, but if you don't play it, ya got nothin. And that's why Trump and his Republican supplicants are desperately focused on suppressing the vote. That's the only card they have left to play this late in the game.

The Iowa primary totally freaked them because it worked out so well for We the People. Republican strategists know there's not enough time left, even less when factoring in early mail-in voting by a significant percentage of the population, to do their usual Russian-assisted social media disinformation campaign to dissuade voters from participating in the "beating heart of democracy." The idea is not so much to get Republicans to vote as it is to disillusion Democrats.

Unfortunately for the bad guys, outside events are surpassing their ability to spin them in their favor, especially when those dire circumstances are chiefly caused by the fool at the top of their ticket. If we would have free and fair elections, the Republican Party, and everyone else, knows they don't stand a chance. But since Trump's lizard brain only thinks of his own survival, there will come a day when even he must look beyond utter political defeat and contemplate what comes next.

If someone doesn't pardon him, he's likely to finally face the justice he well deserves (fulfilling his destiny as a "Law and Order" president), which means he stands a real chance of going to prison like his former thugs. (Oh please, God!) Therefore, what would be his best option to survive a post-presidency?

If he actually heeds the advice of his lawyers and more sober advisors, then that would be to pull a Nixon, resign, and get Pense to pardon him. Biden has laid down a marker saying that he wouldn't. (He better not, gawddammit!) Nixon was already in his second term, so he immediately resigned when it became apparent that he would lose a Senate impeachment trial; and on cue, Ford pardoned him. (Gawddamn him for that!) Nixon then went on to live out his life as a free man, whom many even considered an elder statesman for his work with China. (Yeah right; look at what that did to America's manufacturing base!)

The non-strategists among us might say that Trump would never resign before the election because of his big fat ego, and they would be right. But, pray tell, why would he not resign once he already lost the election so that Pence can sell out the American people yet again and pardon his big fat ass in the two and a half months left of their lame-duck administration? After all, Pence completely blew his political career anyway, what little he might have saved, by being the ultimate yes-man for the worst (fake) president in history.

So, wouldn't that be Trump's best option for at least avoiding his federal felonies, notwithstanding the many state charges, for which he can't be pardoned?

Anyhow, I see that bet and raise 20 bucks.

Legend 14 weeks 6 days ago
#2

What? The Covid-19 is not magically disappearing? Arizona is the new hot spot. I guess that shoots down the theory that it will die in the blazing heat of Summer. Looking at the world numbers, it is not going away. An Trump is going back to huge rallies. This will be an interesting election. We will probably be close to 300000 deaths by November 3rd. So much death could be avoided by wearing masks. I stopped going to Home Depot months ago when the retired CEO and major stock owner donated 70 million to Trump campaign. Yesterday, I had to call the Lowes Manager and complain that employees were not wearing masks and most customers were. Costco requires that all customers and employees wear masks. Support Costco.

Tom VB's picture
Tom VB 14 weeks 6 days ago
#3

Trump is the antithesis of the ideal leader in Covey's seminal work "7 Habts of Highly Effective People."

7 Habits of Highly Effective People (and 7 Responses from a Highly Ineffective President)

1) Be Proactive.
Trump: "No. Wait and we'll see what happens."
2) Begin with the End in Mind.
Trump: "No. Trust my beautiful brain working on the fly and everything will turn out bigly."
3) Put First Things First.
Trump: "Yes. ME first. Always."
4) Think Win-Win.
Trump: "No. Think zero sum game and incessantly attack any perceived threat to my ego."
5) Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.
Trump: "Why listen to you? I understand your truth better than you do. It's whatever I say it is - believe me."
6) Synergize.
Trump: "No. Only I can fix it."
7) Sharpen the Saw.
Trump: "Yes... Fast food, stimulants, Twitter, and cable TV to be your best self."

arky12's picture
arky12 14 weeks 6 days ago
#4

SUPREME COURT and Federal Judges

Article III, Sect. 1 of the US Constitution states:

“The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

Sec 2. “the supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”

There is nowhere within Article III that grants Federal judges or justices a lifetime position, nor the ability to create law, nor strike down duly enacted Federal laws. There are remedies for the court’s current arrogance which the Congress continues to allow. 1. Currently, they require only a simple majority in their decisions, but that can be altered by Congress to a super majority to strike down any duly enacted Federal law or they could ban the court from doing anything other than make a recommendation with regards to certain language within the law. 2. The number of seats on the court can be changed to 11 since it’s historically been changed over the course of our history. 3. Lifetime positions can be eliminated or subject to periodic review at which time they could be allowed to stay in their position, be moved elsewhere or discharged. 4. Congress can add language to legislation, and this has been done on occasion, “not subject to judicial review”.

5. Grant Congress the right to reverse the Court's decisions with a super majority of both House and Senate when it's proven harmful to the Constitution and/or democracy.

These are a few suggestions for reigning in the power of the supreme court, which is apparently necessary given the disastrous decisions based on the makeup of the court over the course of our 240 year history and how it’s impacted this nation. Especially given the disaster resulting from the 1976 Buckley case declaring money as protected under 1st Amendment free speech for individuals. 1978 First National Bank that expanded that 1st Amendment protection to business declaring their political ads, candidate contributions, etc. to be “free speech” That began the era of the legal buying of political favors and politicians and ending the representation of the constituents in the 1980’s and forward. Then came the 2010 Citizen’s United decision that declare corporations as persons protected under the 14th Amendment which was intended for the freeing of human slaves, not artificial corporations, yet the Court managed to stretch our imaginations with that one. And the rest is the history of massive corruption of our political system and the destruction of democracy.

TomMemphis's picture
TomMemphis 14 weeks 6 days ago
#5

This Sunday is Flag Day. Something that bothers me has been when protesters a few years ago in Ferguson & a few weeks ago in Atlanta burned the American Flag. This is offensive to people who have served and who believe in American ideals. And it is not smart. The American flag should be the symbol of progressives... it is the symbol of all the ideals we hold dear and we should not be letting Republicans take that from us. Progressive protestors should march with the American Flag at their head and it should be our symbol, not theirs. If you want to burn a symbol that represents what protestors are fighting against now, then protestors should burn the Confedeate flag. The real enemies to American ideals will reveal themselves then, because only racists would defend such a symbol. They have been hiding under a claim of southern heritage long enough. An open wound can not heal until it has been cleaned. Let them have their symbol and we claim the one that morally and patriotically belongs to us.

A. A.'s picture
A. A. 14 weeks 6 days ago
#6

I have an issue but don't know where to post it.

Liberals: PLEASE! Stop promoting, encouraging, supporting "statehood" for PR. Earlier today a caller to the program did just that. Thom's comment was ambiguous at best.

Why you shouldn't encourage "statehood" for PR?

1. It would mean the destruction of a nationality.

2. It would translate into a form of cultural genocide by assimilation.

3. It would further erode the sense of community, initiative & creativity by feeding Puerto Rican dependence & the myth of US superiority.

I understand you liberals. Some of you perhaps act in this case out of the goodnesses of your heart & a feeling of "white man's burden."
However, to promote the destruction of a nation so that you can add the votes of a poor minority (democratic senators & members of the House of Representatives) is not freaking right!

Puerto Rico must join the constellation of independent & progressive nations of the world.

Stop being so darn patronizing.

avn013's picture
avn013 14 weeks 6 days ago
#7

@thom i fully agree and hope (as you seem to do also) that "... we choose to be open, inclusive, and a nation where every life is respected"Or will we choose to be open, inclusive, and a nation where every life is respected

All inclusive, includes the orange ""menace" and its followers, and respect for all life includes a fair and quick trial for all prosecuted, indicted, impeached etc.

@deepspace !!!! Excellent.

Impeachment has already been pardonned by congress. Mistake? Yes, according to many. Fact? yes. Possible reparation: vote in congress better senators (woefull attempt to plaguarize you).

What will Pence exactly pardon? The orange thingy and some of its derivatives have benefited unfairly in many instances against many citizens, communities, even some companies. I just hope that several citizens (especially New Yorkers) will have the time, stamina, and resources to pursue them, in the context of a fair (but not necessarily quick) trial.

I could not open the link for the bet. At any rate, i stopped betting money a long time ago. Too "capitalistic" and "abstract" I'd rather bet something that grows in my garden, a meal that i will cook etc. Pity, since, i think that he will go for the full four years, and may even get the second term. Statistically, he has a 50:50 chance agains Biden. Biden may increase his chances, by proving beyond any doubt / guaranteeing that the agenda of Sanders, Andrew Young is unequivocally included, supported and pursued by him if he is eventually elected. If not enough people "protest" (= vote) (plaguarizing again), then perhaps USA needs a second term, hoping that it will be the lowest point, where either we get stuck or start ascending (once more)

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 5 days ago
#8
whatabout's picture
whatabout 14 weeks 5 days ago
#9

Thom, ask yourself; has there ever been any situation with any possible racial cast to it, in the last 20 years, in which mainstream journalism has actually urged calm and carried out a dispassionate examination of the facts before leveling the most incendiary charges? Has there ever been an interracial altercation in which the media did not deliberately seek to exacerbate racial and ethnic tensions and pit Americans against each other? The answer is no.

From the editing of George Zimmerman’s call with the police in the Trayvon case to the false “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” narrative in Ferguson, Missouri, to treating as legitimate Stacey Abrams’ claims of losing her election to “disenfranchisement”, the media takes every opportunity to drive a wedge between the races.

I used to wince whenever I heard Trump call the media the “enemy of the people.” Now, I believe he undersold the situation.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 5 days ago
#10

"If you find yourself engaging with people who are citing conspiracy theories, avoid getting in a line-by-line argument with people over a narrative's plausibility. Even getting into a fight over whether Floyd's murder was "staged" is giving in to the desire to distract from the real issues.

Instead, the better approach is to go meta. Treat it as self-evident that the conspiracy theories are false (as they often are), and instead focus on calling out conspiracy theorists for repeating baseless claims in the service of a racist agenda." -- Amanda Marcotte

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 5 days ago
#11

"George Floyd is not alone. 'I can’t breathe' uttered by dozens in fatal police holds across U.S."

...

"USA TODAY examined 32 fatal police encounters since 2010 in which victims said they couldn’t breathe while being restrained. The incidents, which were identified by combing through court cases and media reports, are by no means a complete account.

"At least 134 people have died in police custody from “asphyxia/restraint” in the past decade alone, even though many apparently did not — or could not — express difficulty breathing, according to a review of Fatal Encounters, a searchable database of people who died while interacting with police.

"That list, too, is likely an undercount. The 2013 passage of the Death in Custody Reporting Act requires the federal government to track fatal detentions, arrests and incarcerations. But it has not yet been implemented. Separately, the FBI in 2019 began collecting use-of-force data from the nation’s 18,000 police agencies, but it has yet to publish any data, and less than half of agencies have participated in the voluntary program, the FBI said.

...

"Dyksma was white. But in three-fourths of the 32 incidents USA TODAY analyzed, the victim was a Black male. Many were stopped for minor infractions, or because they fit the description of a suspect, or because they were acting erratically due to drugs or mental illness. Sometimes, the victims requested police assistance themselves.

"FEW REPERCUSSIONS

"In virtually every case, the officers involved faced little repercussion outside being placed on temporary administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Just five cases resulted in demotion or firing, although some agencies do not release that information, so the count could be higher. Five cases also led to criminal charges for the officers involved, but those charges were later dropped in all but two cases."

Read more...

avn013's picture
avn013 14 weeks 4 days ago
#12

@deepspace

a) Thanks for the " Fatal Encounters" link. I will be surpised if there is a similar link in other countries, including Europe. But the very existence of this database shows a nation willing to look at its mistakes and crimes and slowly to properly address them.

b) Thanks also for the Bill Maher clip ("The Republican Guard...". Times have changed considerably. There was a time (previous millennium) that i was getting my news from newspapers (originally B&W). Nowadays, i get the news and the socio-political analysis from people like Bill Maher, John Oliver, Trevor Noah etc. It faster, more informative, to the point and more educational. I get jokes (often in the form of BS) from "foxNEWS" etc. O tempora o mores

c) still can't see your bet. Fromo the little i understand, the problem is on my side. The internet provide in the country i am living cannot make the connection due to some i 403 error. Presumably the governmet is looking after me, and especially my health. Who knows what i may see in that site! ( 403. That’s an error.Your client does not have permission to get URL /proxy/-Aojj64fp37ycJ5l_Vw_CTEYZ2BDTLkJ3PL-CCC5-8R-o6oxe610MqZzHq7lcGiIMByY8-zWXv_OWeYSwZpuHAKyW3jmxLwPD0Y8oQiO7ROpw7BtXiqnOIDtcIvZJpk from this server.
Forbidden That’s all we know.)

Legend 14 weeks 4 days ago
#13

The Floyd case was clearly murder by Cop. The Atlanta case I have questions on. We cannot allow Drunk Drivers to wrestle with 2 policemen, take away a stun gun, run, turn around and aim the stun gun at a persuing cop. How does the cop know what is being aimed at him? Is it his partners gun? Should he not be running in pursuit. How good is your vision and thinking while chasing someone on foot? It would not have happened without the wrestling and running.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 4 days ago
#14

@avn013: Haha... an iffy gif. Your computer and internet are okay. Both versions of the link failed on my end too. They stayed up for a while and then were delegated to the trashbin of 403 errors. It probably has to do with proprietary issues. That one was just a quickie where John Malkovich splashed the pot (against etiquette) in "Rounders." Here's another short clip of the game... Capitalism at its finest. };--))

@Legend: Yeah, that particular police shooting, as they all do, definitely needs a full investigation before people automatically assume that the officer did not act out of fear for his life (the go-to excuse) or for innocent bystanders if any. It's not looking good though since they had already patted down Rayshard Brooks (the father of four children) and knew he didn't have a lethal weapon, at least at the time of the pat-down. He was also shot twice in the back.

In these fraught times of heightened awareness, the BLM protests should not be weakened by possibly erroneous charges where every incident is interpreted in the same killer-cop rubric. Hopefully, the DA will get to the truth of it sooner rather than later.

Here's some of the video evidence thus far leading up to it, which unfortunately doesn't capture the actual moment when he fired his gun: (The second link's video of interest is second from the bottom of the article.)

Here and here...

Legend 14 weeks 4 days ago
#15

Try this one. The one thing that does bother me in the video is the number of white cops compared to black cops or any other minority. Would 2 black cops in the arrest made a difference? GA is 31% black and 60% white. I do not think the Solution is DWI offenders wrestling with cops and running away with a taser and then aiming at the officer in pursuit. What "Go ahead and tase me"? I have worked in the South. That is why I do not live there.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 4 days ago
#16

It almost looks like the officer was actually hit with the taser, as he slumps near the car, evidently after he had fired his own weapon, which does complicate the situation. The perpetrator certainly should not have reacted the way he did, but why not just let him run away since they had strong evidence he wasn't carrying a lethal weapon? In this day and age with everyone's identity on record one way or another (and they had his car), it shouldn't be that hard to track him down later, possibly when he sobered up and could think more rationally. I mean, is it worth a life just to get into a scuffle with police over a DUI?

Legend 14 weeks 3 days ago
#17

Where do they draw the line. Running away with an officers Taser? After wrestling 2 cops? What is being taught is that resisting arrest is better than being arrested. Is being stupid a justifiable reason to get away? Should you not assume that you may get shot when aiming a taser at a cop with a gun? Do you not stop a criminal with a weapon? If you just let him go what other harm might he do? That and a million other thoughts has to go through that cops mind in a flash of a second. Then he was immediately fired.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 3 days ago
#18

Running away from a cop should not be a death sentence in America, especially when the officers had already established beforehand and admitted later that Rayshard Brooks did not have a lethal weapon and therefore posed no threat to anyone. So far, that's what the key evidence also shows.

As far as the officer's train of thought, his kneejerk reaction indicates a lack of training. The number one rule in the Army when you are patrolling civilian streets is not to fire unless fired upon. And even then, one must be as absolutely sure as humanly possible. Sure, adrenalin always runs high, but that's why repeated, even obsessive, training is required, which is designed to kick-in automatically under stress. Shooting first and asking questions later is a huge red flag that a person is not psychologically cut out to be a combat soldier, let alone a civilian peace officer.

Life should always be considered more important than minor infractions of the law. European countries, such as Scotland, train extensively how to de-escalate a situation before it might turn violent. Many of the more civilized countries don't even allow their officers to carry weapons during the course of their normal duties, require a higher-education degree that focuses on social interaction, pay high salaries so that policing is a life-long respected profession to be nurtured, screen applicants for extremist views that would bias their judgment, and have unarmed social workers respond to non-criminal situations rather than have armed thugs busting down doors.

America has a huge problem with all of the above. Amy Goodman reported out a really good segment this morning.

Legend 14 weeks 3 days ago
#19

In my opinion there is a huge difference betwwen the cases. Floyd was handcuffed behind his back. Not much you can do. This guy had resisted then wrestled with 2 cops, overcoming them and taking ones weapon. Then aiming the weapon at the cop. He wrote his death sentence. Floyd was murdered by Cop. In England and Scotland the average person does not have access to assault rifles and semi auto hand guns. This country has allowed anyone to become armed with weapons of mass destruction. I reject comparing policing in America to policing in an unarmed country. WE (really the Republican Party) have allowed this.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 3 days ago
#20

Yes, that's right. America is unique among nations in the supposedly "civilized" world because of our truly insane gun laws, institutionalized racism, lack of adequate safety nets, piss-poor education for the unwashed masses, discriminatory housing, healthcare for profit, and unregulated capitalistic greed, etc., etc.

Really, more than anything else though (besides our empirical armies occupying most of the "free" world), our police brutality problem goes to the heart of a national attitudinal problem, which has created an extreme culture of violence. It's part of the whole package of the John Wayne type of thinking -- a mass delusion that we are most proud of (not me).

I don't think we can ever fully resolve police brutality until we address all of the rest of our horrid systemic issues. But at least we could start by getting weapons off our civilian streets, including the weapons of war to which civilian police departments have become addicted. De-escalation must start somewhere.

This is a good discussion.

Legend 14 weeks 3 days ago
#21

Police are heavily armed because the public is heavily armed. Goes hand in hand. There is a Cabela's about 15 miles from me (where I live that is close) that is like a ghost town except the gun department. There is always a line and many clerks. The West lives on. With concealed carry the police never know what they are facing. The cop that killed Philando Castille must of been paranoid of facing a potential gun. Looks like murder to me. It certainly is not like Atlanta. The Officer got off. Guns were deemed essential during the pandemic so gun shops and ranges stayed open. Republican response to murder is always thoughts and prayers. Wonder what the founding fathers would think of what goes on today.

deepspace's picture
deepspace 14 weeks 3 days ago
#22

I hear ya. Likewise, guns are the oxygen in this neck of the woods. We should all support the good cops --- the vast majority -- who must go out in the world daily and face this insanity to protect and serve us, hoping to return home in the evening to be with their families. It is to their benefit, as well as to everyone else's, that we reform our gun laws.

My thoughts and prayers are that Republicans and their fat daddy get creamed, never to rise again. Greg Palast and Chauncey Devega, regrettably, think that all the many ways they're cheating (past, present, and future) will be wildly successful this fall. Guess we better pray harder to whatever god turns our crank. Cerberus, the three-headed dog guarding the Gates of Hell -- Trump, the Republican Party, and their fallen angels on Wall Street -- may just "win" the day again. The horror...

Can Trump get away with normalizing a coup?

Thom plus logo One of the big lessons that Donald Trump has learned through his years at the center of the New York tabloid media is that he can normalize just about anything.

When he was getting bad press because he was having an affair on his first wife, for example, he called newspapers pretending to be his own assistant to say that Marla Maples was astonished with "the best sex ever." It changed the entire newspaper narrative, and Trump proved to himself one more time that he can normalize just about anything.
From Screwed:
"If we are going to live in a Democracy, we need to have a healthy middle class. Thom Hartmann shows us how the ‘cons’ have wronged this country, and tells us what needs to be done to reclaim what it is to be American."
Eric Utne, Founder, Utne magazine
From Screwed:
"Once again, Thom Hartmann hits the bull’s eye with a much needed exposé of the so-called ‘free market.’ Anyone concerned about the future of our nation needs to read Screwed now."
Michael Toms, Founding President, New Dimensions World Broadcasting Network and author of A Time For Choices: Deep Dialogues for Deep Democracy
From Screwed:
"I think many of us recognize that for all but the wealthiest, life in America is getting increasingly hard. Screwed explores why, showing how this is no accidental process, but rather the product of conscious political choices, choices we can change with enough courage and commitment. Like all of Thom’s great work, it helps show us the way forward."
Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen and The Impossible Will Take a Little While