The Fall of the House of trump

After being evicted-finally! – out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, donald trump is still trying to act like he’s still President, or still relevant. He has opened an “Office Of the Former President,” that would “be responsible for managing President Trump’s correspondence, public statements, appearances, and official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump Administration through advocacy, organizing, and public activism”; he has also floated the idea of forming his own political party, called “Patriot party” that would have no platform or agenda, other than worshiping trump. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-office-idUSKBN29V07C) (https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-wouldn-t-really-create-new-patriot-party-would-he-n1255690?icid=recommended)

Trump has been descending to the status of an unperson after his election. His accounts on Facebook, his precious Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube has been shut down; banks that have freely lent him money-Deutsche Bank, Signature, and two in Florida have cut him off; Banks United, a Florida bank that has held two money-market accounts, has closed these accounts. (https://meaww.com/several-banks-distance-themselves-from-donald-trump-allegations-of-inciting-violence-capitol-eric?fbclid=IwAR3wFzYhofsA6_nd-2eFnFXGxAAzKisREQ46KjWc-QUjsa9anfc-nhmfYfs)

The name of trump has become toxic in real estate; the Trump SoHo, a combination hotel and condominium complex, has been renamed The Dominick. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dominick) The PGA refuses to hold tournaments on his golf course in Bedminster. (https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/10/business/pga-championship-trump-golf-course/index.html) Without the immunity of his former office, trump faces legal problems from the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, from the City of New York, and the State of New York. (https://www.npr.org/2020/11/20/937044524/once-out-of-office-trump-faces-significant-legal-peril) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTNQUOOznGg)

Now, trump faces impeachment for a second time, and we must stay on top of the senators for them to convict him. Racism and religious bigotry have existed in this country, but trump, by his rhetoric and his campaigns, have made it safe for racists and haters to emerge and act out, through violence, their hates. trump and his enablers MUST be held accountable for their crimes.

rear view of a silhouette man in window
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The Mason Missile, January 21, 2021

Greetings, Americans!

The moment we’ve waited for has come-Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. is now the 46th President of the United States. Kamala Devi Harris is the first female, the first African-American, and the first Asian-descended Vice-President of the United States. We have hope once more for America.

I was appalled, disgusted, angry, over the raid of trump worshipers stampeding into the Capitol building as the members of both Houses were voting to formally confirm Joseph Biden and Kamal Harris as, respectively, President and Vice-President of the United States.

For weeks ever since he DID INDEED lose the election, trump and his minions, in Congress, in state legislatures, and in the right-wing media apparatus (Newsmax and One America), kept harping on the “rigged election” myth. (Doesn’t the party in power have the power to rig the system? Anyway…) Giuliani and the trump legal team kept going to the federal courts to somehow overturn the election results, complaining about the voting machines and blaming China for trump’s loss, as if the 81 million votes for Biden had nothing to do with it.

From the election to today, gangs of pro-trump mobs, some of them armed with assault rifles, have tried and nearly succeeded in raiding locations where votes were being tallied. The Oregon state capitol building in Salem was attacked by such a mob-there are pictures of a pro-trump legislator opening a back door for them to enter.

The mob that stampeded through the Capitol in Washington on January 6-I’m not trying to be nice about it here-threatened to kill Speaker Nancy Pelosi and hang Vice-President Mike Pence, over the count of the Electoral College vote; a crew of Senate clerks, God bless them, carried with them the leather box the Electoral College votes were stored with them to the secure location-true heroes in this tragedy. The mob urinated and defecated on the floor of the Capitol, and one genius stole a podium with the Speaker’s seal on it, smiling like he won a prize.

One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick of South River New Jersey, was beaten to death by the mob-the same “Back the Blue” crowd who wanted the protests against police violence in minority communities repressed; this crew was dong the rioting, and they didn’t want “law and order” applied to them. Sicknick, may your memory be a blessing. (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/01/12/brian-sicknick-new-jersey-hometown-us-capitol-police-officer/6647020002/) Ashlii Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, was deeply involved in the “stop the steal” movement and the QAnon cult; she was in on the raid, trying to break down the doors into the Capitol, before she was shot fatally. (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/09/ashli-babbitt-capitol-mob-trump-qanon-conspiracy-theory)

Another hero in this episode is Eugene Goodman, an African-American Capitol Police officer who, when facing a herd of trump rioters, pushed one of them and they chased him, luring them away from the hall leading to the Senate chambers, saving their lives. He has since been appointed to the position of Deputy Sergeant-At-Arms for the Senate, and had the honor of escorting Kamala Harris during the inauguration. Bravo, Goodman! (https://www.newsweek.com/eugene-goodman-hailed-former-airborne-corps-1561455)

The raid was a serious threat to our democracy, an attempt to stop the peaceful, lawful transfer of power from one party to another in this country, which has been the admiration of the world; the loss of life was real and tragic, yet so many of them acted like it was some big party. I saw the clip of Elizabeth, from Knoxville Tennessee, walked away crying “I got maced!”, and her reason for being there was, “We’re storming the Capitol! It’s a revolution!” (https://www.wbir.com/article/news/twitter-reacts-to-elizabeth-from-knoxville-who-says-she-got-inside-capitol-in-viral-video/51-cda4bc47-66a2-4559-8caf-0dd872fb1c27) She was just so shocked-shocked I tell you! that the Capitol Police did their job-protect themselves and the building, and the people in it; she thought it was, like I said, some big party, not thinking of the consequences to themselves or to the nation.

We have to comment on the security preparations prior the rally and raid; there is no doubt that if this mob was comprised of people of color, the response from the police and security forces would have been violent, as with the police assaults on the Black Lives mater protests throughout the country last year. But these were white people, and the response initially was pretty mild; there was the shot of the police opening the gates to allow the mob through, and of one Capitol cop taking a selfie with them. And, instead of herding the rioters into the patty wagons and into the lockup, they just let them walk out, like they were tourists at closing time. The rioters had a great time in all this, posting themselves all over social media with their antics. 

But the consequences were real, as real as the injuries and deaths at that time. Several of the people in the mob were identified, and have since lost their jobs and were arrested. In the lead-up to the rally and raid, the participants communicated their positions all over Parler and Gab, social media sites favored by the farthermost right-wing. For its role in the raid, Parler was removed from the web-hosting systems of Amazon, Google, and Apple (https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/09/tech/parler-suspended-apple-app-store/index.html)- but not before Parler’s data, including the locations of the Capitol raiders, was “scraped” out of the site, (https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2021/01/12/cybersecurity-202-parler-scrape-puts-some-capitol-rioters-legal-jeopardy/, https://techbeacon.com/security/scraped-parler-data-reveals-countless-capitol-perps) , thus providing a goldmine of information to law-enforcement agencies to track them down.

And trump himself? He spoke at the Save America” rally prior to the riot, still denying to the crowd and himself that he lost, with the slogan “Stop The Steal,” complaining about “weak Republicans” (the ones who kept telling his Biden won, and there was still no voter fraud) and threatening to “primary” them in two years; demanding that Vice-President Mike Pence “come through for us” and invalidate the Electoral vote count (he has no such authority,   https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/trump-insists-that-pence-can-decertify-results); cursing his favorite scapegoat, the news media, “the enemy of the people”; saying “We’re gonna walk down to the capitol” (he didn’t join them; we watched the whole disaster on TV) and adding, “You’ll never take back your country with weakness, you have to show strength.” (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/watch-live-trump-speaks-as-congress-prepares-to-certify-electoral-college-votes-for-biden) After the rampage he instigated, trump nicely tells the crowd, after repeating the “stolen election” myth, “But you have to go home now. We have to have peace, we have to have law and order” (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-06/trump-says-stay-peaceful-after-urging-supporters-to-protest), denying any responsibility for the disaster.

Trump had his enablers, such as Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who kept perpetrating the “voter fraud” story and demanded an investigation to unfounded and unspecified instances of such fraud, and scapegoating Facebook and Twitter. (https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-joe-biden-donald-trump-michael-brown-josh-hawley-8d868c985792e932f9bc527ec2f2ab30)

Another lackey is Ted Cruz of Texas-you remember, trump insulted Cruz’s wife’s looks, and slandered his father as an accomplice the JFK assassination; he also joined Hawley in the chorus of lies and willful misinformation. (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/cruz-leads-11-gop-senators-challenging-biden-win-over-trump) There are demands that these two, along with House Republicans who pushed this fraud, thus undermining confidence in the electoral system and encouraging the raging mob that could have killed them and their colleagues, to resign, and I’m for this.

Now, the trump rioters are being identified, thanks to their social media postings showing them having fun trying to wreck the democratic process; and Biden and Harris are now sworn in to their offices. Now, Republicans, including such trump enablers as Congress-mess Jim Jordan of Ohio, have been pleading for all of us to forget the raid, with its deaths and damage, forget the lies and slanders leading up to the raid, and put it aside for the sake of national unity, and not impeach trump. (https://www.rawstory.com/jim-jordan-impeachment/). The tough-on-crime, law-and-order party can be pretty flexible when people in their administration’s get into legal trouble. Not at all! True healing can’t happen if the perpetrators of these crimes are running loose, getting ready for another assault on our democracy (such as it is).

Conservatives and Republicans have always felt themselves privileged to get away with any crime against democracy, from Gerald Ford pardoning Richard Nixon after Watergate, through George Bush the First pardoning the masterminds of the Iran-Contra affair, to the Bundy family raiding federal facilities, to the “militias” raiding state capitols in attempts to stop the count of Electoral College ballots. The end of this nonsense starts NOW.

We, the American people, have made the democratic system work in this country; and so people who have been on the margins of our society-African-Americans, Native-Americans, women, LGBTQ people-and taking their place in the political process. Real and serious issues can now be addressed; but we must keep on Biden, Harris, and their team to make the change we need, for the good of the people. We have shown we can do it, and we’ll keep on doing it.

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

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A Weekend for Freedom

This Shabbat, we are studying the Torah portion Vaera, Exodus 6:2-9:35. Moses, channeling God’s power, tells Pharaoh to free the Israelite people, placing upon the Egyptians the plagues of Blood, frogs, locusts, hail, and boils. Each time, Pharaoh tells Moses he would give in and allow the Hebrews to leave, but after the plague abates, he gets tough again and refuses to free the people.  Despots are like that, they give in to save their positions, then reassert themselves when it’s safe and attack the opposition. That is why we who work for freedom cannot trust our rulers; we must constantly assert ourselves against them, and eventually they give in and give up.

This is also the weekend commemorating the birth of another great freedom fighter, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. Part of the celebration is to take part in some community service work-distribute food to people with food insecurity, cleaning the neighborhood, holding clothing drives, donate blood, etc. This is our part in moving the world forward a little bit, to join in with others for the good of the community. Let’s all year look for some community service to take part in.

Also, we’ll have a brand new President, as the old one has been a disaster for our country, allowing the twin plagues of COVID and fascism-with its accompanying violence and racism-to run rampant throughout the country, putting all of us in fear for our lives, when a President must protect us from these ills. Let us, each in our capacities, as individuals and as part of a community, do our bit to tear these diseases out of our nation, root and branch.  

crowd of protesters holding signs
Photo by Life Matters on Pexels.com

Trump’s Riot

I saw the images of the riots at the Capitol in DC, of trumpist thugs and bullies-call them what they are, terrorists!-stampeding the Capitol building, OUR Capitol building, supposedly the citadel of democracy in this country, and I was sick to my stomach. A herd of animals posing as human, terrorizing elected representatives conducting the people’s business, is NOT democracy.

For WHAT noble cause? A “president” who encourages the worst elements of our nation to show themselves-racists, fascists, religious extremists using their warped idea of “Christianity” as a reason to hate, as a weapon to beat down marginalized people?

What if these maniacs were people of color, or Muslim? Every federal agency that carries a gun would be on top of them. These goons, such as the Proud Boys, have a history of violence and racism, and trump has attracted the most militantly racist elements to his banner, people who have raided state capitols at the start of the COVID crisis. Again, the bias in favor of white and politically conservative people shows itself.

I remember the time republicans were the “law and order” party, the “strong on defense” party, around the time of Richard “I’m not a crook” Nixon. Now they ignore the law and property when it suits their purposes, and they expect to get away with it, and, alas, in the past they have.

Are we supposed to be afraid of them? They know they lost, they know they’re in the minority, but they demand everyone else kowtow to them, to do as THEY say, no matter what the rest of us think. That has been the conservative privilege for so long; they may loe the election, but we should do as they say.

I urge all of us to stand fast and be strong and brave, and to be together for each other as we fight for our rights. Let us never be frightened in to speaking out our beliefs. The trumpist thugs are on the losing side of history, and we’ll make them lose more and more.

America will be free!

people standing near monument with placards
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Republicans’ Feelings are Hurt

As I write, Congress will hold the votes of the Electoral College and formally ratify their votes for Joe Biden, the NEXT President of the United States. trump’s congressional enablers have put out the idea that the votes cast in the 2020 election-particularly the votes for Biden, in Pennsylvania, Michigan Wisconsin and Arizona-are somehow illegitimate or fraudulent or from dead people or what-have-you.

Leading the charge in the senate is Josh Hawley of Missouri, who, along with Ted Cruz of Texas, has complained that the votes of the 74 million people who (why?) voted from trump “are not going to be told their voices don’t matter,” ignoring the fact that 81 million voters voted for Biden. (https://www.vox.com/2021/1/2/22210509/ted-cruz-11-gop-senators-electoral-college-votes)

Along these lines, Cruz-still going to bat for the “man” who slandered his father and insulted the looks of his wife (what kind of man does that?) complained abut progressives and regular Americans protesting these Republican efforts to deny the legitimacy of trump’s defeat, and of the legitimacy of the election system, which has encouraged the most violent elements of the far-right such as the Proud Boys, saying “we need to tone down the rhetoric.” (https://www.rawstory.com/ted-cruz-electoral-college/) It’s as if peaceful protestors exercising their First Amendment rights are the ones causing the violence around trump’s defeat; he’s not paying attention to the threats against election workers during the election and after when they counted the votes; or the assault-rifle wielding mobs trying to raid the Oregon state capitol; or the Proud Boys riot in Washington, when they burned a “Black Lives Matter” sign from a venerable AME church and attacked people.

If this an act to play to the trump base, to gain the trumpist vote for a future run for President? Whenever the Republicans win, we’re told to be quiet and put up with it, and they rub our faces in their victory, enjoying our misery; but when we win, we’re supposed to be considerate of their feelings and not upset them, and they’re still right no matter if they lose or win, acting as if they’re still in charge, and a progressive or Democratic winner is a usurper, and the Republicans are the rightful heirs to the throne.

The Republican Party, and its conservative-rightist infestation, care nothing about democracy or anyone else’s rights but their own. They’re fighting tooth and nail for their right to discriminate against any manner of marginalized groups, workers, and women; and for billion-dollar conglomerates to to whatever it wants to the environment, their workers, and their communities without consequence, and to pay as little taxes as possible, preferably zero, and also get a tax rebate. THAT is their idea of “freedom” and “liberty.”

We will NOT allow these thugs and bullies to terrorize us, by thought, word, or physical force; we WILL stand up for our rights and a progressive agenda, for the good of all Americans.

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WHAT “Law and Order?”

All through the ‘Seventies, the Republican Party touted itself as THE party of “law and order” against “urban crime” and the “war on drugs;” and the Democrats, not wanting to appear “soft” and “weak”-a form of weakness in and of itself-went along with this scenario. For this, the Republicans, and their “Liberal” Democratic enablers rubber-stamping it, have gone about wearing-down the civil liberties of Americans; in the meantime, Republican administrations engaged in all kinds of violations to carry out their policies, such as Nixon urging the South Vietnamese regime to back out of peace talks that would have cut short our nation’s involvement in that horrible war, so he could squeak by in the presidential elections in 1968; and in 1980, when Republican operatives urged the theocratic regime in Iran to back out of negotiation with the Carter administration over freeing the hostages in the embassy; and again in 1986-87, during the Iran-Contra scandal, where Oliver North conducted a supply system for the Nicaraguan contras, in violation of federal law. (Of course, being conservatives and Republicans, they were never prosecuted; they almost always get the kids gloves and leniency-how’s THAT for “law and order?”)

Now, later this week, the Congress will ratify the votes of the Electoral College to certify Joe Biden as President of the United States. In the Senate and House, there will be futile resolutions denying the reality and legitimacy of the votes for Biden from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona-states Biden won, but conservatives and Republicans anymore care nothing about anyone else’s rights but their OWN right to repress and oppress their perceived enemies. On the streets of DC, there will be the rightist-racist thug elements, such as the “Proud Boys,” threatening violence to stop the vote count. (Let’s call them terrorists, as they are-they’re not just “irate citizens lobbying their elected representatives,” they’re bullies and thugs, and whenever they get violent, as during the early stages of the COVID crisis and the Electoral College votes in state capitols, they get warnings from the nice state troopers.)

Our “president” is leading the charge on this; having long called for beating up protestors; using OUR military to attack peaceful demonstrators so he can stand in from of a church he’s never darkened, holding a bible he doesn’t read; and spreading lies and conspiracies about the voting system-the SAME voting system that elected trump’s congressional bootlickers.

Let’s not be fooled anymore by the “law and order” talk; we MUST stand up for our rights and freedoms against those who would take them from us, for the sake of powerful people who care nothing about working people, low-income people, marginalized groups, and even their own enforcers. We’ve done this MANY times in our history, and we can and will do it again.

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