Standing Up To Tyrants

In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, there is an article by Trudy Rubin about protests in an eastern Russian city, against the arrest and detention of a popular governor; the official’s “crime” was to defeat a candidate favored by Putin. In spite of the growing dictator ship that Putin is imposing-which trump is trying to emulate-people in that region are on the streets protesting against the Putin regime, and people in the rest of Russia-in spite of Putin’s control over the media-are hearing about it. ( https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/khabarovsk-putin-trump-protests-nato-kremlin-20200728.html)

If the people of Russia can stand up to Putin, we in the US of A-allegedly the “Land Of The Free and The Home Of The Brave-” can certainly stand up to Putin’s pet boy that lurks in the White House bunker. Taking to the streets and standing up to a regime that wants to be more repressive-THAT is the American way. Who knows? When-not if, WHEN-we remove trump from his hole in Pennsylvania Avenue, and we eliminate his foul stench from our government, that will be a signal to other countries with authoritarian regimes-I’m thinking of Russia, Hungary, Brazil, and Turkey-to take to the streets and stand up for their OWN freedoms. Come on, Americans, we can DO this!

Fascism USA

We’ve seen the videos out of Portland-“agents,” really thugs, wearing military fatigues and tactical gear, hitting peaceful protesters with batons and pepper spray, at war with their fellow Americans. The protesters have, for the most part, not provoked or started any of the violence, but the “agents” have torn into them with brute force. This is from a regime that has no other defense-no popular base of support, no accomplishments, no way to sustain itself except brute terror, hoping the opposition is beaten into submission; it’s their only argument.

Fortunately, the protests, instead of declining, have been expending; they have included mothers, fathers, and military veterans who recognize donald trump-I won’t treat him with ANY respect, he is NOT worthy of it-as their REAL enemy, and the enemy of the American people.

Be warned, Americans, that which Jack London called “The Iron Heel” will come stomping into your city, like Philadelphia; and when it does, don’t hesitate to make like John Lewis, and make some “good trouble” for freedom-our forebears, and our children, are worthy of it.

Torah Portion Devarim

Last Shabbat we studied the Torah portion Devarim, Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22. This is Moses’ final address to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land. Moses recounts all the events the Israelites went through since leaving Egypt, and they have acquired a history by this time. Moses recounts how he personally could not make rulings over the needs of the people, so he appointed judges from each of the tribes to decide on the minor issues they deal with. Moses also recalls the spies who surveyed the Land and came back with their report, and the people were too terrified to enter, fearing the people they would encounter, having no faith the God would aid them; therefore, they would not set foot in the land, but their children would, having not experienced slavery and the slave mentality. Moses also recalls the battles with the kingdoms that they tried to negotiate a passage through, but the kings refused them. It’s as if Mosess and the Israelites are at a point where they can assess their progress as a people.

The Haftorah is Isaiah 1:1-27.  Isaiah preaches the prophecies of God to the people of Judah; the people have forgotten God and turned from Him, and God has thus punished them for it. God is not pleased with rote mechanical ritual, such as the burning of incense and animal sacrifice; God desires that the people live and act righteously and justly with one another-to act for justice, and to defend the rights of widows and orphans. Redemption is possible if the people return to God. So many people confuse ritual with faith, not caring about others, as God would want us to do.  

adventure asia beautiful bird s eye view
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

Birthday Resolutions

My birthday is coming up-another new year for me on the planet-and so I practice my tradition of my birthday resolutions:

I will continue to conduct myself with self-love, self esteem,and self-respect, thinking positively about myself and my life, and of my abilities.

I will continue to be faithful to Jewish practice, religion, culture, and tradition.

I will continue the art, craft, and business of writing, attending writing gatherings (when they resume), submitting my writing for publication, etc.

I will continue to take part in acting and other artistic endeavors.

I will continue to seek out and utilize all forms of education-libraries, classes, readings, galleries, museums, etc.

white and blue floral table lamp
Photo by fotografierende on Pexels.com

The Mason Moment with John Oliver Mason, July 26, 2020

I speak about the need to band together in the face of the COVID and the trump regime; the danger from the federal “agents” grabbing peaceful protesters, and copycat militias following suit; the possibility of a second civil war; and the need to get out and vote November 3.

The Mason Missile, July 24, 2020

Greetings, Americans!

It’s official-the United States of America is a pariah state, “thanks” to the Coronavirus and trump’s negligence. The states of the European Union have announced a list of nations whose citizens are welcome to enter the block-and ours is NOT one of them. (https://www.dw.com/en/eu-agrees-to-reopen-borders-to-14-countries-extends-travel-ban-for-us-tourists/a-53986435?maca=en-newsletter_en_bulletin-2097-xml-newsletter&r=77175521877467155&lid=1528755&pm_ln=36039 ) I can’t say I blame them, though; after much suffering and labor, they have managed to diminish the number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities to rock-bottom, whereas, under the leader-shit of the tangerine tumor, new highs in infections and deaths are being set. 

I lament, is there NO way to eliminate him from office NOW? Pence would be no improvement, since he bootlicks trump as every opportunity. Trump has also been calling for schools to reopen in the fall, no matter that the COVID is still lurking around in the atmosphere, and trump’s disciples keep talking about how young kids can’t get the virus, but the virus is an equal-opportunity killer.

I also lament the police state tactics that federal agents have been using in Portland, Oregon. (https://www.opb.org/news/article/federal-law-enforcement-unmarked-vehicles-portland-protesters/) (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/17/us/portland-protests.html) (https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/oregon-expanding-criminal-probe-of-unmarked-federal-troops-88038469617?cid=eml_mra_20200721) This, from the party of “small government” and “get the government off your backs!” This is the culmination of what the Republicans have long advocated, since at least the New Deal: return the government to the enforcers of plutocratic power, and prevent it from being utilized on behalf of working and low-income people.  

These agents have been recruited from such agencies as the US Marshall’s Service, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Bureau of Prisons; they have been wearing military gear (like they’re at war with-US? Their fellow Americans?), grabbed peaceful protestors, and anyone else they thought “looked funny,” hauled them into unmarked cars-their “due process,” the kind of stuff your recall from Chile under Pinochet. trump has also prepared to send these agents to other cities in the nation-Chicago, New York, AND Philadelphia-“all run by liberal Democrats-” without any input by the municipal governments, calling the cities “stupidly run.” (https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/criminal-justice/ct-chicago-police-dhs-deployment-20200720-dftu5ychwbcxtg4ltarh5qnwma-story.html) Yes, a dictatorship CAN happen HERE, in the “land of the free,” and we must NEVER allow it!  

At this time, we remember and work and example of Congressman John Lewis-a leader of the Civil Rights struggle of the Sixties, who organized sit-ins at segregated lunch counters, who was the youngest speaker at the March On Washington For Jobs and Freedom in 1963, and who led the March on Selma in 1965 for voting rights-and, as the state troopers and other police assaulted the marchers, one trooper cracked Lewis’ skull; but through the sacrifice of Lewis and other brave activists, Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act. Lewis risked his life to make sure ALL Americans have the right to vote, to elect their public officials who run our society. Let the history of the Civil Rights movement, and the lives of its brave freedom fighters, guide us as we struggle against trump and his minions.

This is the basis of the long-time Republican-conservative disparagement of utilizing the government to redress grievances; the same people who have been long oppressed finally asserting and attaining their rights. Can we do any less than what Lewis and his cohorts did? We, regular working and low-income Americans can indeed band together and improve our communities-and in this situations, save our country.

On the same day Lewis died, so did another titan of the Civil Rights struggle, the Reverend CT Vivian (https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/17/us/ct-vivian-death/index.html). Both Lewis and Vivian emphasized the right to vote as the height of a people’s empowerment, and they both advocated for non-violent resistance to oppression. But alas, trump and his disciples are happy to apply violence against their enemies; you’ll recall trump cheering as his fans at his rallies beat up protestors-“Knock the crap out of them, will yuh?”-and promising to pay their legal bills for beating them up. The brute force applied by the federal agents is one more example of the disregard trump and his minions have for the rights of working people, low-income people, and minorities, or anyone who stands against him and for their rights.

With the police-state tactics emanating from the regime, and rightist thugs carrying assault rifles to terrorize legislators (and just while going to the grocery store to pick up a gallon of milk) is treated like free speech, the idea of progressives and leftists carrying guns and learning, how to use them,  is inevitable-you can only push a person SO far. (https://www.salon.com/2017/09/03/6-gun-groups-that-arent-for-white-right-wingers_partner/)

(https://philadelphiapartisan.com/2017/08/12/armed-and-revolutionary/)

(https://harpers.org/archive/2020/04/good-guys-with-guns-socialist-gun-club/)

One is the John Brown Gun Club (affiliated with Redneck Revolt), mainly comprised of white leftists, and modeled on the Young Patriots, a radical group allied with the Black Panther Party. (https://www.redneckrevolt.org/) There is also the Pink Pistols, for LGBTQ Gun owners. (http://www.pinkpistols.org/). There is also the National African American Gun Association (https://naaga.co/), the Liberal Gun Club (https://theliberalgunclub.com/) the Huey P. Newton Gun Club ( https://hueypnewtongunclub.org/), and the Socialist Rifle Association. (https://socialistra.org/).

I would never condemn a person for doing what it takes to protect their lives and the lives of their loved ones. We are up against people who have no respect for the rights and lives of working-class people, low-income people, or people of color-the same types of people John Lewis, CT Vivian, and the other Civil Rights activists stood up against, and finally defeated, through their bravery and collective effort.  

But an even mightier weapon for us Americans it our vote-it’s our first line of defense against tyranny, and let’s never allow anyone to take it from us. Let us band together like the Civil rights heroes to fight this dime-store despot wannabe contaminating the White House-we’re in this together.

Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together, and America will be free! Bye!

A Word About The Fourth

Independence Day is a couple of days away, and-how can we celebrate? Our “President” is an ignorant, selfish moron, a fool who, out of his vanity and his need for money and more money, betrays American soldiers so he can attain the help from a foreign adversary to try to win reelection. Due to his willful ignorance, he allowed the coronavirus to spread so fast, so that the economy is broken down, and about 130,00 have died. Through all this, he spreads misinformation about the COVID, such as how ingesting bleach and household cleanser can kill it-if not you along the way-and “it’s going to disappear.” Through all this, people have become ill and some of them have died, who did not have to-people we love.

On to p of this, we once again confront the racism embedded in our country’s history and psyche, with the police-related incidents of racism discrimination-the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others-and how our own military has been set upon peaceful protesters, so he can stand in front of a church holding a book he knows nothing about.

Along with this is the ongoing discussions about the Confederate monuments throughout the nation, set up not right after the Civil War, but during the establishment of Jim Crow segregation and during the rise of the Civil Rights movement, to remind African-American who was in charge-they weren’t so much works of art as propaganda tools. Our alleged “President” takes the side of Confederate traitors, in the discussion of the monuments and the naming of military bases, showing his own blatant racism.

But-the true American spirit shows in the protests over police abuse of minorities, the honoring of Confederate traitors, and the need for better leadership and real protection from the corona-virus. Throughout the nation, young activists have been elected to state and local offices, overturning longstanding office holders. People have also responded to the COVID by joining in food drives to make sure people who can’t leave their homes are fed.