This the truth of the United States today where a reality star and businessman with highly suspect business practices coupled with a streak of racist behaviors and public pronouncements is able to capture such a large plurality of voters.
The past month or so has been especially bloody between the slaughter of innocents at the Pulse nightclub, the murders â€“Â actually summary executions of unarmed Black men by law enforcement in extremely questionable circumstances â€“Â to the homicides of police officers in Dallas, Texas, and then Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The problem, however, is that these acts of violence very much are the current reflection of reality of life today in the United States.
Contemporary society of the United States is in deep trouble; it is unsafe and discriminatory (read: racist/misogynistic/homophobic/xenophobic.) It is awash in a virtual ocean of guns, most of which have no business being in the hands of civilians or law enforcement alike. The deep divisions that now exist in terms of economic, political, and religious status are propelled by well funded minority “family” or religious groups tied to the American right/conservative-Christian movement, threatening to undo any real form of progress forward for the American way of life, especially on so-called “cultural issues.”
President Barack Obama has attempted to be a voice of reason as he asks Americans to pull together and make an effort to stop the violence, saying that such violence is not the American way nor reflects American values as a nation. The President, and others â€“Â even those in the Republican opposition party, would have you believe that the U.S. is not being torn asunder, that it is not as divided as some pundits and others continue to claim. As he and others bemoan the toxicity of society and of the polarity in the American body politic, there is frequent talk of prayers and of the need to pull together.
The President’s efforts have been met by the right-wing with accusations that his actions and speeches actually foment the violence, andÂ those in opposition blame him personally. Of course in Washington it is a rarely acknowledged open secret that a majority of the President’s right-wing opposition â€“Â read: Republican â€“Â are angry that he is even sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office in the first place. They’d rather he were wearing white gloves, a snazzy formal tux, and was standing next to the desk while serving a white guy seated behind it.
The so-called cultural wars have now turned from rhetorical into actual combat. While there is plenty of blame to be leveled against both left and right of the political spectrum, reality is that the right-wing, supported by radical Christian fundamentalists, have over the past 45 or so years not only accumulated vast political power, but additionally have succeeded in holding the American governmental system at local, state, and federal levels hostage to their narrow vision. This vision, this divisiveness as evidenced by the total lack of legislative work product out of Washington to address the issues that plague everyday Americans, has now completely paralyzed the federal government. For example, regarding the dire issues surrounding gun violence, this powerful minority has succeeded in completely stifling debate, action, accounting, or even the advancement of potential solutions.Â
The unspoken, but acknowledged truth of the origins of that paralysis lies within the deeply seated racism present in modern American society which is promulgated by the peculiarity of the American practice of faiths rooted in Christianity â€“Â but, based on a patriarchal and misogynistic interpretation that leaves no room for diversity. This has been building, an almost lava like flow from a slowing erupting volcano of suspicion, mistrust, and erosion of the white majority population over the past five decades. No longer isolated singular events, instead a series of rapidly re-occurring events in most cases linked to a larger cause gone unchecked: arrogant ignorance.
The Christian right-wing’s taking control at a local level of school boards, governments, and statehouses over the past forty years, along with their marriage to the Republican party, has created a state of erosion of the American educational system. This in turn has created a scenario where ignorance in key critical areas of sciences and civics has primarily contributed to the national state of arrogant ignorance. It has also led to a sense of meaningless hyper partisan religious centric ideology which has devolved governing into a state of inaction and hyper-gridlock.
While the United States may have fought a bloody civil war in the mid-nineteenth century to end slavery, it has never shook off its problem with its embedded racism. These days, fueled by recent acts of terrorism and abetted by that same so-called Christian ideology that literally affirmed biblical approval for slavery over a century ago, has now given arise in a resurgence xenophobia, which previously included Irish, then Chinese, and Italian, now lashes out at Muslims, and others of color in particular who don’t fit the â€œidealâ€ model of what is deemed “American.”
These worst traits have been embodied and personified in the Republican nominee in the presidential race, Donald Trump, whose public statements reflect this sorry state of affairs. From immigrants to women’s rights to Muslims, Trump has unashamedly and unrepentantly bashed them all.
In fact, during a panel interview with commentator Chris Hayes on MSNBC during the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) stated that no culture has done more for civilization than white Christians. An incredulous Broadway playwright and actor, Harvey Fierstein, noted; “I played it back three times to make sure I heard him correctly. And we wonder where our race problems come from?”
Here is the quote from Congressman King:
“This whole white people business though does get a little tired, […] I mean, I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about. Where did any any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”
Should one really wonder why the Knights of the Klu Klux Klan have suddenly reemerged as a factor in politics openly supporting GOP front runner Donald Trump who has yet to seriously condemn their support? This makes statements like King’s rather telling.Â
Of course it is more than just an issue of racism. The right-wing have also demonised women’s choices over their own bodies and reproductive health issues, as well as targeting LGBTQ persons by categorising them as little more than deviant and pedophiles â€“Â sinners who merit only damnation, judgment, and ostracism by the “acceptable proper Christian society” and culture that upholds “true American values.” The right-wing’s open warfare waged on the American transgender community and its allies claims that they are upholding true Christian values, American values, against the “predators” that, supposedly, are the transgender persons.Â
This whites only, Christian only, privileged thinking is further aided by a complacent and sometimes active co-conspirator/partner in the form of the right wing media, particularly Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Corporation.Â
This was best illustrated in a Facebook post written Monday evening by the AFL-CIO’s Pride-At-Work Executive Director, Jerame Davis, discussing coverage of the first day of the 2016 Republican convention on Fox News. Davis writes:
We decided to watch the Republican convention on ‘Faux News’ for a bit, just to get an idea. Here’s what I learned:
- Black Lives Matter is a hate group responsible for racial tensions that have boiled over to attacks on cops.
- They’re also anarchists and militants who blame others for their problems.
- Black folk must be held accountable for every word they utter and a few they didn’t while white folk shouldn’t be judged by one incident.
- Donald Trump will use the power of his office to intimidate, investigate, and and harass anyone associated with Black Lives Matter if he is president.
- All cops are heroes even if the make the occasional tragic mistake.
And this was all in the space of 15 minutes. The unchallenged, overt racism on this network is astounding. They are using the bigger audience of a prime time convention night to smear an entire race of people.
The rest of the evening’s worth of the RNC convention speeches and events quite frankly, Mr. Davis’s Fox News analysis not withstanding â€“Â was a parody of an extremely awful comedy sketch that unfortunately has serious ramifications not just on the American home-front, but globally as well.
Columnist and political pundit Andrew Sullivan summed up Monday evening’s RNC:
â€œJust mulling over the events tonight, thereâ€™s one obvious stand-out. I didnâ€™t hear any specific policy proposals to tackle clearly stated public problems. It is almost as if governing, for the Republican right, is fundamentally about an attitude, rather than about experience or practicality or reasoning. The degeneracy of conservatism â€“ its descent into literally mindless appeals to tribalism and fear and hatred â€“ was on full display. You might also say the same about the religious right, the members of whom have eagerly embraced a racist, a nativist, a believer in war crimes, and a lover of the tyrants that conservatism once defined itself against. Their movement long lost any claim to a serious Christian conscience. But that they would so readily embrace such an unreconstructed pagan is indeed a revelation.
“If you think of the conservative movement as beginning in 1964 and climaxing in the 1990s, then the era we are now in is suffering from a cancer of the mind and the soul. That the GOP has finally found a creature that can personify these urges to purge, a man for whom the word â€œshamelessâ€ could have been invented, a bully and a creep, a liar and cheat, a con man and wannabe tyrant, a dedicated loather of individual liberty, and an opponent of the pricelessly important conventions of liberal democracy is perhaps a fitting end.
“This is the gutter, ladies and gentlemen, and it runs into a sewer. May whatâ€™s left of conservatism be carried out to sea.”
This the truth of the United States today where a reality star and businessman with highly suspect business practices coupled with a streak of racist behaviors and public pronouncements is able to capture such a large plurality of voters. Oh, and his hypocrisy not withstanding, as noted by the former Executive Director of Equality Oklahoma, Scott Hamilton, who wrote: â€œI’m still scratching my head over the fact that Trump entered the RNC stage last night to, ‘We Are the Champions,’ a song written and sung by a gay man. This, on the very day the GOP presented its most anti-LGBT platform ever.”
Is the American nation really this polarizedÂ and toxic? Truthfully? Yes. The problem is that as a whole, it seems that Americans are loathe to confront their demons, especially the grand daddy of them all: religious influence. While the First Amendment grants “freedom of religion,” it also grants freedom FROM religion and the unholy marriage of the Christian right to the American body politic needs to have a divorce.
Americans need to confront the fact that white privilege exists, it is a reality, and it has no place in modern society. Americans need to wrap their arms around the fact that like in the other species that inhabit this planet, there are variants and natural occurrences and that human beings who are LGBTQ are just that; human beings. Americans need to recognise that the United States by no means is the “superior” culture and society in the global community. In fact, theirs is one of many and all contribute to the greater good and enrichment of humanity. Finally, Americans need to reevaluate a political process that allows a person like Donald Trump to even be considered as a viable candidate for the Office of President of the United States.
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Influential Far Right Conservatives Ballistic Over Breyer Retirement: ‘They Must Be Stopped’
As soon as the news broke that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will retire at the end of the current session, right-wing activists began declaring that Breyer had been “bullied” into stepping down and therefore Republicans must do everything they can to block whomever President Joe Biden nominates to fill that seat.
The Left bullied Justice Breyer into retirement and now it will demand a justice who rubber stamps its liberal political agenda. And that’s what the Democrats will give them, because they’re beholden to the dark money supporters who helped elect them.
— Carrie Severino (@JCNSeverino) January 26, 2022
The Left forced Breyer off the Supreme Court and you can be sure they will require Biden to pick an extremist. (Remember, their core goal is to pack the Supreme Court.) Will Republicans play along? pic.twitter.com/b8s2t2kW8Q
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) January 26, 2022
Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America declared that Biden must use the vacancy to unify the nation by appointing to the court a “constitutionalist” (which is conservative code for “right-wing ideologue”).
Justice Bryer’s retirement is not unexpected. This presents @joebiden a great opportunity to be a unifying force for the nation by appointing a Constitutionalist to SCOTUS. @CWforA will be watching. https://t.co/Waw8gcmkb4 @CWforA @YWforA
— Penny Nance (@PYNance) January 26, 2022
Proclaiming that the Senate is the “our last line of defense against radical leftist SCOTUS justices,” Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel used the opportunity to promote his own campaign.
The US Senate is our last line of defense against radical leftist SCOTUS justices.
This isn’t the time to send a squishy establishment RINO to Washington to sit back and sing kumbaya with Democrats and allow Joe Biden to appoint another justice like Kagan or Sotomayor.
— Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio) January 26, 2022
Rep. Lauren Boebert proclaimed that Biden should take a hint from Breyer and “follow him out the door.”
Stephen Breyer is not the retirement we’ve been waiting for.
Biden should follow him out the door.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) January 26, 2022
Right-wing activist Brigitte Gabriel openly asserted that it doesn’t even matter whom Biden nominates, “they must be stopped.”
I don’t trust whoever Joe Biden nominates to replace Stephen Breyer.
They must be stopped.
— Brigitte Gabriel (@ACTBrigitte) January 26, 2022
Right-wing commentator Matt Walsh demanded that the position remain vacant until following the midterm elections in November, insisting that “it would be an assault on our democracy” to confirm any nominee before then.
It would be an assault on our democracy to confirm a Supreme Court pick before the midterm elections. Democrats must let the people have their say.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) January 26, 2022
Taking things a step further, radical Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers called on the U.S. Senate to “filibuster, stall, delay and hold Biden’s Supreme Court pick until 2024.”
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) January 26, 2022
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
Watch: Florida Dems Walk Out After DeSantis’ Surgeon General Refuses to Say if Vaccines Work
Democrats on a Florida state Senate committee walked out of the confirmation hearing of Governor Ron DeSantis’ Surgeon General nominee, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a far right-wing anti-science extremist after he refused to answer if vaccines are safe and effective, and why the Dept. of Health has stopped publicly posting COVID data.
Ladapo, who has been in the position for months, has ties to an infamous conspiracy theorist doctor who talks about alien DNA, demon sperm, and pushes hydroxychloroquine as a COVID cure.
Asked if the COVID vaccines are effective, Ladapo refused to say “yes” or “no.” The Tallahassee Democrat reported Ladapo’s answers were “long-winded, indirect,” and that he “gave murky answers about his criticism of the Biden administration and his ability to work with the federal government, and whether he had a plan for ending the pandemic in Florida.”
“I would say that, that the, the question is a scientific one and it’s one that is answered with data. So, so, the, the question, the question is informed by data on specific outcomes and specific, specific therapies. So that’s a that’s the, that’s the scientific question.”
The Senator, polite but frustrated, pushed back: “Just a yes or no. Do vaccines work? In fighting against COVID-19? Yes or no?”
“Senator,” replied Ladapo, an anti-vaxxer who opposes testing for the deadly coronavirus. “I just, I as a scientist, you know, I I, I am compelled to answer the scientific question, and I’d be happy to answer any specific scientific question that you have related to vaccines and COVID-19.”
So she tried again.
“Scientifically, does the, do the vaccines work against preventing COVID-19? Yes or no?”
“So, yes or no questions are not that easy to find in science,” Ladapo obfuscated. “So, I will I understand I think I have better clarity about your your question at this point. So what I would say is that the most commonly used vaccines in the United States, which would be the the Pfizer product and the product that was was developed by Moderna have been shown to have relatively high effectiveness for the prevention of hospitalization.”
At his confirmation hearing today, Desantis’ Surgeon General nominee Joseph Ladapo is asked a simple question: Are the covid vaccines safe and effective? He refuses to answer the question. pic.twitter.com/8MSmzPui3q
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) January 26, 2022
Later, he was asked why the state has stopped publicly releasing COVID data. He again obfuscated.
At his confirmation hearing today, Desantis’ Surgeon General nominee Joseph Ladapo is asked why FL has stopped reporting covid data on his watch to the Dept. Of Heath dashboard. His answer is the same as all his others: obfuscation. He even implied, falsely, there isn’t enough “data” to publicly report.
At his confirmation hearing today, Desantis’ Surgeon General nominee Joseph Ladapo is asked why FL has stopped reporting covid data on his watch to the Dept. Of Heath dashboard. His answer is the same as all his others: obfuscation. pic.twitter.com/6YUGMuXBDT
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) January 26, 2022
Frustrated, Senate Democrats announced they were walking out.
“We don’t feel that we’re getting any answers.”
After being unable to get any straight answers from Desantis’ Surgeon General nominee, FL Senate Democrats walk out of the hearing. pic.twitter.com/HguEDBaSZC
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) January 26, 2022
SCOTUS Justice Breyer Retiring
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 83, is retiring at the end of the Court’s term. Breyer, nominated by President Bill Clinton in 1994, is one of just three liberals left on the nation’s highest court.
Progressives have been working to convince Breyer to retire while President Joe Biden still has a Democratic majority in the Senate.
NBC News’ Pete Williams broke the news. He notes President Biden committed to nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court.
BREAKING: Justice Stephen Breyer to retire from Supreme Court at end of current term. pic.twitter.com/PGaEeZwxQx
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) January 26, 2022
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