“(Kafka’s) world knows no physical or moral order…We, the readers, are reliving our bad dreams…punishment is over all the characters, but the crime remains mysteriously hidden…” - William Hubben
“The specter of color is apparent even when it goes unmentioned, and it is all too often the unseen force that influences public policy as well as private relationships. There is nothing more remarkable than the ingenuity that the various demarcations of the color line reflect. If only the same creative energy could be used to eradicate the color line; then its days would indeed be numbered.” - John Hope Franklin, The Color Line, Legacy for the Twenty-First Century, 1993
“In matters of race, I would probably fit the classic definition of a white liberal. I am an integrationist. Remember those? I believe in the positive value of people of different colors having a lot to do with one another.” – James Carville, We’re Right, They’re Wrong: A Handbook for Spirited Progressives, 1996
“It is not patriotic to dodge the draft and to mock war heroes and their families…It is not patriotic to avoid paying taxes, especially when American working families do pay. It is not patriotic to ask those working, taxpaying American families to finance one’s own presidential campaign, and then to spend their contributions in one’s own companies. It is not patriotic to admire foreign dictators. It is not patriotic to cite Russian propaganda at rallies…The point is not that Russia and America must be enemies. The point is that patriotism requires serving your own country.” – Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny, #19
“…surely, in our country, under our Constitution, it is a fundamental error to suppose that any crisis or emergency can justify any form of oppression.” - Wendell Berry, In the Presence of Fear, #XVII
“Collectively, we (Americans) will be less secure (due to the Covid-19 pandemic), and our values may change because of this. Or perhaps this will correct arrogant overconfidence.” – Edward Lotterman, Bismarck Tribune, September 13, 2020
“A major revolution to be won in the immediate future is the dissipation of man’s illusion that his own welfare can be separate from that of all others.” - Saul Alinsky
“Tell me what company you keep, and I will tell you what you are.” - Cervantes
President Donald Trump’s cowardice has many supporters, some from madness, many from cupidity, many more from either misogyny or racism – white racism. Though untutored, except in ways of the crooked, Trump, with the help of evil and adept enablers like Roger Stone, Rush Limbaugh, Paul Manafort, Roger Ailes, and Vladimir Putin, has proven clever in transferring the weaknesses of his own sorry soul into those of otherwise decent Americans; thereby transporting a “gutter elite” into the highest reaches of power in American government.
While misogyny has been an equal opportunity employer in all areas of the world throughout history, America’s darkest transgression, its “original sin,” as currently described, has finally begun to be acknowledged by “Caucasian Americans,” as slavery and racism based on “white over black, and peoples of color.” Without this months long confession of sins since the murder of George Floyd, and concrete steps to do something about them by a critical mass of white Americans, any electoral victory over Donald Trump, Senator “Moscow Mitch” McConnell (R-KY), and a morally bankrupt Republican Party on November 3rd will ring hollow, and not be built to last. If white America can’t love citizens of color back, in return for ages of devotion as plaintively pled by LA Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, our “democracy” might not be worth saving.
The America which defeated Hitlerian and Japanese Imperialism and genocide in 1945, practiced social and economic Apartheid. The America which “won the Cold War” in 1989, still practiced it, in spite of advances of the Civil Rights movement in the post World War II world. Wolves of Wall Street will bear the least of the cost of adjustment, of course, but many of their children’s and grandchildren’s generations now march in streets around the country, demanding that Black Lives Matter(!) and fan out into voting precincts to thwart electronic assaults on our ballot boxes by autocratic malefactors, domestic and foreign. In order to begin saving ourselves from past, present, and future collective greed, and, along the way, rescue our Constitution from would be dictators, we have begun the saving of our collective souls from collective responsibility for the past and present of slavery, segregation and Apartheid. There have been many signs that it is happening, but to figure out just what “it” is, I needed to consult with my KGB animal analysts.
High Plains Reader: Dear friends. Many pundits seem worried. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, some Wall Street power brokers tried to hire a retired Marine General, Smedley Butler, to overthrow FDR’s New Deal and install a dictatorship. General Butler told them, in effect, “to shove it.” Is that about to happen with Donald Trump if he tries to use military or para-military in any manner, upon losing re-election on or about November 3rd?
Putin: First things first. Trump hasn’t lost yet. He is merely trailing in the polls. Tell the pundits what James Carville said to nervous Democrats: either “get some diapers, or get busy.”
Folks who are used to getting things done, like sports billionaires and their hired millionaires in the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL, are running a “get out the vote” campaign on steroids.
Rasputin: Meanwhile, Republican politicians in the Midwest push a proposal to pressure Big Ten Universities to play football with unpaid athletes, amidst a pandemic and a depression.
Chicago Dog: Even dimwit Trump knows Americans are as addicted to Fall football as they’ve been addicted to racism. What he might not realize is that risk management by the NBA and NFL (rapid testing, etc.) for their professional product has been demanded by Big 10 officials, like the U. of Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez, as the price for playing football in October. Surprise!
Mr. Swamp Fox: Big time college sports have been the “indentured servitude” highway for the very millionaire African American ballplayers who staged a successful (albeit short) sit down strike and forced their billionaire owners to do the right thing. Just like a Spike Lee movie.
Madame Inspector Chen: “Risk management” is another term for America’s experiment in democracy. You have traditionally valued freedom over security more than most societies, but that ethos is sorely tested by spiritual crises of a reckoning with racism amidst a pandemic and attendant economic distress. There is plenty to worry about, even without panicky pundits.
Lena: Pundits are in the business of telling others what to worry about. The best do it with facts at hand: from scientists, seasoned professionals and dedicated public servants; the worst use fake facts, Soviet style, to exploit inner fears and outer prejudices of their naïve targets. Americans don’t have enough real worries, I suppose - like dealing with Trump’s disastrous response to Covid-19, on top of every other domestic and foreign policy issue his Presidency has botched.
Señor Perro: When it comes to doing something about worries that pundits actually share with ordinary Americans; unless they are investigative reporters, or humbled by earlier political work, they come up short. James Carville would tell them to shut up and vote! Once, not twice.
HPR: But Trump is already behaving as if he knows he is a loser, and he has all those powers.
Chicago Dog: Real power is more subtle than a simple minded criminal approach like Trump’s can fathom, or even a supple criminal minded approach like Attorney General William Barr’s.
Prudence Possum: Pundits give “Benito” Bill Barr, credit for “saving” the President, but Trump’s Badass Barracuda Barrister knows that he can’t save “Citizen” Trump from deep doo doo, if they can’t steal the election, which he doubts can be done. He tried to explain these facts of life to fatuous Tea Party anarchist, now Trump’s Chief of Staff, Mindless Mark Meadows.
B-6th Power: Johnny Cochran got a black guy off in white America for “murdering” 2 people. The guy looked guilty, but had sense not to admit it. How do I get a racist like Trump off for negligent homicide of hundreds of thousands of American people, when he admits the crime?
Mindless Meadows: Relax! Media think you’ll be the right hand of Emperor Trump, after you figure out how to keep him in the White House. You finessed the Mueller Report, Trump’s latest sexual assault case, and braked Michael Flynn’s conviction for lying to the FBI. And look at your “October Surprise” of casting shade on Joe Biden and the Democrats in the upcoming Durham Report on legitimate FBI investigations into “Trump’s treason” with Vlad Putin!
B-6th Power: That’s just abusing people in the judicial system who are playing by the rules as to what the judiciary can and cannot do. Politics isn’t that easy to control, especially when your opposition is wide-awake, and your client is a freaking idiot who won’t keep his mouth shut. If Trump’s Republican National Committee can’t find enough thugs as “poll watchers,” or Vlad Putin can’t figure out a way to switch every vote in battleground State election precincts from Democrat to Republican, we are doomed. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin aren’t Belarus or Crimea.
Mindless Meadows: Do you mean that most media pundits other than Rush Limbaugh, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, are being more successful in scaring America about Trump, than we have been in scaring them about Antifa?
B-6th Power: I’m seeing a ray of light appear in your dim mind, Mark. Americans should be frightened of Trump. I am, for God’s sake! His stupidity is world class, and he IS, as Joe Biden says, a Climate Arsonist! How many more matches do we want this child to play with?
Mindless Meadows: But I always thought that the goal of Republican legislatures, corporations, Wall Street, and other beneficiaries of an unaudited Pentagon budget, was to make sure that Americans voted for the stupidest to be President.
B-6th Power: Normally, yes, as (Halliburton Chief and former VP) Dick Cheney could have told you. But this always meant morons who could be controlled, like (former Presidents) Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Trump is a sociopathic moron, beyond his own control, much less anybody else’s. Pundit shills for runaway military industrial complex costs, like George Will, are already giving advice to Joe Biden as presumptive next President, on how to get into the next “stupid war,” -- the only intelligent statement Trump has ever made. I’m sure it was an accident. Warmonger pundits like Will conveniently forget to inform their readers that the U.S. already fought a shooting war with China to a draw, from 1950-1953, misnamed the Korean War.
Mark Meadows: I guess that means we do have a problem, if you don’t have any answers, Bill.
B-6th Power: You bet I don’t. I’m just trying to impress the D.C. Swamp, while I figure out a way to save my law license, and keep Trump sedated under the illusions we have sold the rest of the country for the past 40 years. Integrity has never been an issue for Republicans like us, Mark.
HPR: Wow! I see why real swamp creatures like yourself, Prudence, aren’t impressed by Barr.
Prudence Possum: Actually, from a lawyer’s point of view, Bill Barr’s 2020 act is pretty slick. In 2016, only the Russians could prove how stupid, as well as insane, Trump actually was, and, for Russia’s purposes, this was just fine. Vlad Putin’s oligarchy could only stave off ruin in their neck of the woods, with relative ruin for democracies that Trump could wreak in the West.
Putin: Bill Barr thought he was inheriting the usual Republican Party playbook of the “Illusion Trifecta,” which had worked so well since the Joe McCarthy/Cold War days, to frighten and divide Americans into voting away New Deal and Great Society advances to their social and economic progress. Instead, he inherited an idiot who could defeat his every move, no matter how clever. Shakespeare or Chekov would have enjoyed scripting this tragi-comic tragedy.
HPR: What do you mean by “Illusion Trifecta?”
Torquemada: Dostoevsky’s Miracle, Mystery, and Authority: how an amoral leadership deceives the “led” by offering them: Miracle - cheap goods and lower taxes at the cost of jobs shipped abroad and lower real wages; Mystery – “Voo Doo Economics” by which the rich turn the middle class into poor, and rob them all; Authority – Fear of people of color, by which white Americans are persuaded to give up freedoms of thought and action in return for a false sense of security that is utterly powerless in the face of real crises, like pandemics and climate change.
HPR: Oh my! So what is to be done?
Lena: Managing Trump is Bill Barr’s problem. How well he does, we’ll know by next January. Getting rid of Trump democratically is your problem. If you have enough faith in your hearts that people of color are as deserving of fairness as white people, you will have enough faith in democracy to make the electoral process work in November, and make transition work in January, no matter how many malefactors in Trump’s service get in the way.
Chicago Dog: I was impressed last Thursday night (9/10/20) at the opening of the NFL football season when the National Anthem was preceded by a 1921 hymn by James Weldon Johnson (words) and J. Rosamond Johnson (music); often referred to as “The Negro National Anthem:”
Lift every voice and sing till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of liberty.
Let our rejoicing rise high as the listening skies; Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us; Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us; Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on, till victory is won.
HPR: Such faith of black Americans in the “better angels of our nature,” in face of Jim Crow lynchings of 100 years ago that still occur in 2020; joined by surging, emerging white support of all ages, despite racist boos in Kansas City, has been rewarded by a Democratic Party ticket this year that includes a black woman. Wild horses, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, polling place shenanigans; hurricane season, climate change driven wind and fire amidst a pandemic; still may not be able to deny a blue tsunami that threatens to engulf Republicans on November 3rd.
Mr. Swamp Fox: You may be right. Agatha Alligator tracked down a political poem floating in her swamp, reflecting on guardrails within middle and lower levels of the federal government and all levels of State and Local governments around the nation that are still holding fast.
Regular Order To Rebuke an Irregular President……………………………………..………Headless Horseman
A rational belief is not required,
Since David Hume – we’ve known, such is not so.
Just faith in democratic rule, we know
Is all we need to change the Guard we’ve hired.
The lies set forth to thwart a people’s will
Are new, yet old, when stripped of modern voice.
They only seek to drown a voter’s choice;
Determined to undo a tyrant’s skill.
The fear of those who differ does not win,
When tolerance is backed by ballots cast;
One person and one vote; the totals read.
Machine or paper; in the local bin
And counted by one’s neighbors to the last;
Undaunted, and rejecting cynics’ creed.
June 18th 2022
June 5th 2022
June 3rd 2022
May 28th 2022
May 20th 2022
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