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Arrogant Ignorance: Welcome to Donald Trump’s America

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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 –  actually summary executions of unarmed Black men by law enforcement in extremely questionable circumstances – 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 – 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, and 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 – read: Republican – 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. 

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 – 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 “ideal” 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.

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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. 

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 – 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. 

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. 

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 – 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:

“Just mulling over the events tonight, there’s one obvious stand-out. I didn’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 – its descent into literally mindless appeals to tribalism and fear and hatred – 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 “shameless” 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 what’s left of conservatism be carried out to sea.”

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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: “I’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 polarized 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.

 

Image by Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr and a CC license 

 

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THIS IS WHAT FASCISM LOOKS LIKE

‘Greatly Representative of Our Nation’: Trump Says the RNC Will ‘Probably’ Use White House for His Convention Speech

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday confirmed that the RNC is considering holding a portion of its August convention on the White House grounds, an unprecedented break with acceptable norms and ethics.

Calling the White House “greatly representative of our nation,” Trump says he will “probably” accept the GOP nomination from the South Lawn and deliver his acceptance speech there.

“I’ll probably do mine live from the White House,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends,” NBC News reports. He claimed one of the reasons to do it at the White House is to save the taxpayers money.

“It would be the easiest from the standpoint of security,” he said. “It’s a very expensive operation militarily, and law enforcement-wise the Secret Service is fantastic. But, you know, it’s a big deal, and we’re thinking about doing it from the White House because there’s no movement, it’s easy and I think it’s a beautiful setting.”

Trump’s speech is scheduled for Thursday, August 27, just three weeks from tomorrow.

Experts say anyone in the administration participating, aside from Trump and the Vice President, would be in violation of the Hatch Act.

Here’s the president discussing his convention plans:

 

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SACRIFICING AMERICA'S CHILDREN

Trump Delivers Dangerously False Medical Claim: Children Are ‘Virtually Immune’ From Coronavirus, Which Is ‘Going Away’

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President Donald Trump is making dangerously false medical claims once again, this time to advance his agenda of forcing the nation’s schools to re-open despite the coronavirus pandemic, which is growing worse in many parts of the country.

On “Fox & Friends” Wednesday morning Trump said that children are “virtually immune” from contracting the coronavirus, which is false.

“It doesn’t have an impact on them,” Trump told the Fox News morning team. “And I’ve watched some doctors say they’re ‘totally immune,’ I don’t know I hate to use the word ‘totally,’ the news will say, ‘Oh, he made the word totally and he shouldn’t have used that word.’ But the fact is they are virtually immune from this problem, and we have to open our schools.”

While children may contract the virus at lower rates, there has not been sufficient testing to prove that.

In fact, a devastating CDC analysis reported by The Washington Post just last week found “260 children and staffers — more than three-quarters of the 344 tested — contracted the virus less than a week after spending time together in close quarters. The children had a median age of 12. The camp had required all 597 campers and staff members to provide documentation that they had tested negative for the virus before coming. Staff were required to wear masks, but children were not.”

That “report suggests that children of all ages are susceptible to coronavirus infection and may also spread it to others — a finding likely to intensify an already fraught discussion about the risks of sending children back to school this fall.”

But President Trump says “the schools should open. This thing’s going way. it will go away like things go away, and my view is schools should reopen.”

Watch:

 

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THIS IS WHAT FASCISM LOOKS LIKE

Trump May Deliver Convention Speech and Accept GOP Nomination From the South Lawn of the White House

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President Donald Trump may make yet another move to obliterate longstanding norms and the separation of politics from matters of state by accepting the GOP nomination for president and delivering his convention speech, all televised across the nation, live, from the vaunted South Lawn of the White House.

“Republican National Convention planners are considering the White House South Lawn,” The Washington Post reports.

It is yet another unprecedented move, one that fits in well with Trump’s usurpation of the power and trappings of the Oval Office for personal and political gain, and his equating of the Office of the Presidency with himself.

“Every White House staff member who participates in this violates the Hatch Act,” law professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter says.

The Hatch Act “does not apply to ‘rooms in the White House or in the residence of the Vice President, which are part of the residence area or which are not regularly used solely in the discharge of official duties,'” the Post notes.

The New York Times reported Monday the interior of the White House is also being considered by the RNC.

 

 

 

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