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Donald Trump Believes In Equal Opportunity For All…The Crooks.

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              I was born in 1944 and until 1956 lived in Washington, D.C.  My grammar school, like all public schools in D.C., was segregated until 1954, following the Brown vs. Board of Education decision. Since the D.C. schools were on Federal property, they had to integrate right away. And once the schools started to integrate, ditto the neighborhoods as well. We lived in what had been an all-White neighborhood in Northwest, it became at least 50% Black almost immediately.

              I really didn’t notice any difference and to this day I don’t register skin color when I meet or talk to someone other than Leonard Mermelstein, who happens to be one of my cats. People are people, it doesn’t matter whether they are White, Black, Brown, straight, gay, LGBTQ or whatever they happen to be. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter who moves into my neighborhood as long as I can drive down to the corner and pick up the takeout from the Chinese. I must say that last night’s spareribs tasted wonderful for lunch today.

              Back to the 1950’s, okay? One of our new neighbors in D.C. was a Black guy who worked downtown in the USPS headquarters building in the Federal Triangle. He had some kind of management position and his son was a student at my public school.

              Many years later, I happened by chance to read his obituary in The (failing) New York Times. When he retired from the USPS, he was the highest-ranking Black official in the organization, having worked his way up from being a letter-carrier in his native city of Richmond, VA. But the reason he got an obit in The New York Times was because during World War II he was the only Black who commanded a warship.

              His command was a 60-man submarine tender that was in numerous Pacific battle zones during World War II. He mustered out of the service in 1945, returned to his native Richmond and got a job delivering the mail. A naval commander delivering the mail.

              This man worked his way up to the top managerial ranks in not one organization, but two. And he did it at a time when Blacks were rarely found at even the lowest ranks of any government organization, never mind an organization as lily-White as the U.S. Navy.

              I thought about this man several times over the last couple of days and my thoughts went like this: How many other men and women could have made the contributions to our country that this man made, had they been given half the chance? When we talk about discrimination, we usually focus on how racism and sexism robs the victims from their just rewards. But the real victims of racial and gender hatred are all of us because we don’t reap the benefits of what people who have been discriminated against might have otherwise achieved.

              It’s all fine and well that my man Barack got up there and talked eloquently and forcefully about preserving American ‘ideals.’ Maybe that’s his agenda, but I’m not going to vote for Joe and Kammie because I want to ‘save Democracy’ or some other high-sounding woof-woof like that.

              I’m going to vote blue because I want everyone to have an opportunity to make a contribution to this civic enterprise known as the United States. And if we have learned one thing from watching Trump since 2016, it’s that the only people getting an equal opportunity with him are crooks like Paul Manafort and Steve Bannon, who use their access to Trump to enrich themselves at the taxpayer’s expense. Which is what the polite term ‘money laundering’ really means.

              I’ll have more to say about Steve Bannon and those pre-election polls next week.

              Right now, please wear a mask at all times, keep your kids out of the classroom and stay safe.

The ‘Gun Rights’ Movement Is Ready To Save America From The ‘Deep State.’

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Once the MAGA movement started showing up at rallies with AR rifles in full view, I knew it was only a matter of time until the alt-right/white media blowhards would jump on the bandwagon and begin pushing a hyped-up version of not just using guns for self-defense, but using guns to protect America from a counter-coup led by the ‘deep state.’ And this message finally appeared full-flower last week on (what else?) the Youtube channel owned by Alex Jones, with an hour-long rant, complete with shooting guns at a Texas indoor range.

jones             What makes this video appealing to the loony set is that it also features none other than Roger Stone, who is introduced as the ‘former head of the Trump campaign,’ although Alex forgot to mention that Stone was not only never the head of Trump’s operation, but was pushed onto the sidelines after he began taking credit for his alleged connection to Julian Assange when Wikileaks started dumping the emails that upended Hillary’s campaign.  Stone got his start as a dirt-digger under Nixon and is probably more responsible for the intertwining of Republican political messaging and conspiracy theories than anyone else.  Which gave him impeccable credentials to serve as a handmaiden for the Trump campaign where racism and nationalism have come home to roost.

The video starts off with Stone delivering a monolog about the worst, largest criminal-conspiracy of all time, namely the Clinton-Hillary uranium deal, and how it’s being covered xup by the ‘deep state.’ At some point Stone then says that he has taken up shooting both to protect himself and the Constitution, Jones chimes in about how Stone has been going to the range frequently to practice his shooting skills, and of course everyone knows that Jones is a long-time and frequent user of guns, right?

Now the action shifts to the range itself with Jones first shooting a 10mm, short-barreled carbine, which he claims to own but doesn’t even know where the safety is located on the gun and tells a range instructor to ‘come on over and show me how this works real quick.’ Stone is even less-informed, picking up a semi-auto Uzi pistol with his finger clearly on the trigger even though the gun isn’t pointed downrange, and as the range officer politely tells him to remove his finer from the trigger, a voice which sounds suspiciously like Alex Jones tells Stone that he’s about to shoot a ‘full-auto’ gun.

Neither Jones nor Stone have any real experience shooting guns at all. But that hardly prevents them from using a shooting motif, particularly one in which the picture of a person is then shot full of holes with a live gun. And if memory serves me correctly, the first politician to stoop to the lowest possible level and run a political ad which pandered to the dumbest of the dumb was a Democrat named Rob Quist who unsuccessfully ran in Montana for the Congressional seat previously held by Ryan Zinke. So before my friends in the gun violence prevention (GVP) community wring their hands in despair as Alex Jones and Roger Stone practice for the upcoming resurrection in an Austin shooting range, let’s just remember that when it comes to promoting themselves, those two jerks didn’t exactly invent the idea of building an identity by shooting off guns.

Talking about building an identity, the latest and even more stupid announcement about the politics of gun ownership comes from another egregious self-promoter, Steve Bannon, who says he’s creating a new movement which will be a ‘revolutionary force’ in American politics, growing out of a coalition of religious reactionaries, pro-life activists, union members (as if there are any union members left) and – who else? – the 2nd-Amendment gang.

What’s behind this overblown, delusional rhetoric is one, simple fact: two media companies known as Infowars and Breitbart, both vying for the same buck.  And now that gun nuts have stopped buying guns, all that spare cash which used to go to support gun ‘rights’ is up for grabs.

 

Move Over Bannon – The NRA Is Now Leading The Alt-Right.

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Sooner or later the NRA was going to forget its traditional role as an organization devoted to gun training, gun safety and sportsmanship and turn itself into an organization that represents the lunatic fringe.  Not only does the NRA want to be part and parcel of the loonies, according to our friends in The Trace, America’s ‘oldest civil rights organization’ wants to play a leadership role. And their campaign is being kicked off tomorrow with a speech that will be delivered by Wayne-o at the real inauguration of the 45th President, which is the annual CPAC meeting being held just across the Potomac from Washington, D.C.

bannon            How the wheels of fame and fortune doth turn.  I remember it was just a few years ago that the CPAC headliner was Sarah Palin – what happened to her?  And while Dana Loesch is on the program, how come there’s no space for Ann Coulter, perhaps because she tweeted  a defense of Milo Yiannopolous whose former Breitbart boss will, of course, spend his appearance burnishing his national security credentials before his boss takes the stage?

I’m not sure if this year’s CPAC meeting is the first time that Wayne-o has appeared at the event, but it certainly marks a decision by the NRA leadership to throw all their energies into a full-fledged effort to move to the forefront of the conservative tide.  Because it’s one thing to dump some cash into the willing laps of pro-gun legislators or lobby for less gun regulations at the federal level or within individual states.  The NRA’s been doing those things for nearly fifty years, but the organization never before presented itself as a self-appointed leader of the lunatic fringe.

And let’s be honest folks about who Trump really represents.  Because the fact is that he won the election because he pulled one-half of one percent more votes in MI, WI and PA than she did and, by the way, Jill Stein outpolled Ms. Clinton by almost two to one in those three states. So Trump can lie from here to high heaven about those ‘millions’ of illegal votes that she got, but the bottom line is that a combination of the worst-managed Presidential campaign of all time (thank you Bill Clinton for waiting until after the votes were counted to say that Mook should have been fired) and the statistical vagaries of the Electoral College allows Trump-o to pander to the lunatic fringe to his heart’s content.

But how come he’s being joined in the decision to institutionalize his hateful and wacko rhetoric by the NRA?  Okay, the gun guys want a national, concealed-carry law, they want to prevent extended background checks, they want more guns and less gun laws as the order of the day. But what does that have to do with the issue of immigration? What does that have to do whether a transgender kid goes into this bathroom or that? Wayne-o claims that his CPAC speech will be an effort to lead the forces that are conspiring to sabotage Donald Trump.

Let me tell you what’s really going to sabotage Trump and it ain’t all these evil forces against which we can protect ourselves by carrying guns.  What’s going to sabotage Trump are the 30 million people who may find themselves without health coverage or the 150 million middle-class Americans who will discover that Trump’s ‘fantastic’ tax plan won’t help them one bit.

There’s a Republican Congressman in Texas, Louis Gohmert, who just cancelled his Town Hall meeting because he was afraid that someone might show up and start banging the way that Jared Loughner shot Gabby Giffords and 17 other folks with, of course, a legally-purchased gun. Gohmert’s rated an ‘A’ legislator by the NRA which means that he supports their nonsense about how everyone should walk around armed. But the real reason Gohmert cancelled is because he knows that representing the loonies won’t replace the ACA. And by the way, Wayne-o, appealing to the loonies won’t sell any more guns -they have as many as they need.

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