Recently, we have studied to Torah portion Ki-Tissa, Exodus 30:11-34:35. This is the portion where the Israelites, upset that Moses had not come down from Mt. Sinai, and with the agreement of Aaron, gave up their gold objects to construct a calf of gold for them to worship. Moses sees them and, furious, throws the tablets of the Law down at them , orders them to grind up the calf and put it in the water, and drink it as punishment.
Now we have donald trump; at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC),, a gold-ish statue of trump, made in Mexico and of Fiberglass, was trundled onto the lobby, and the attendees adored it, with a picture of one man bowing down to it like it was an idol.
This comes from evangelical Christian political movement, supposedly a religion banning the worship of a graven image. But it latched onto donald trump as their candidate, so that legislation hostile to LGBTQ people, people of color, and immigrants could be enacted. this is the false god they now worship; and just as the Israelites threw their gold away to construct the original Golden Calf, the followers of the multi-million-collar evangelists donate their money, even their entire fortunes, to the false messiahs on TV, hoping for something better to come to their lives.
These religious charlatans are perfect allies for donald trump, who made his fortune selling false hopes with his “university;” who kept talking about himself as a business whiz, after the bankruptcies of his casinos, and whose fathers money bailed him out; and whose other business ventures-trump Steaks, trump Shuttle Airline, trump World magazine, trump Vodka, trump Steaks, etc.-were one failure after the next.
This is the false god that the conservative movement, the evangelical Christian movement, and the Republican Party bow down to. Just as the Israelites were punished for their sin of worshiping the Golden Calf, so will these movements face disaster, and a well-deserved one at that.
The presidential “debate” this past Tuesday shows once again the kind of bullying rich brat donald trump remains, and the kind of dictator he aspires to be, along with Putin and Kim Jong Un. He constantly interrupted Biden an Chris Wallace, like it was his manorial right as one of the socio-economic elite. Biden, a way more mainstream politician with experience in debating, had to finally bark, “Will you shut up, man?”, realizing trump wont’ follow any rules, either of democracy or common decency.
Wallace asked trump if he would condemn the white supremacist-neo-fascist elements that have rallied to his campaign; trump kept talking about alleged left-wing violence and said (talking like the ignorant bully-boss he is) “Gimme a name.” Biden mentioned the proud Boys, a notorious neo-Nazi gang of thugs ( https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2020/09/25/moment-proud-boys-have-been-waiting). trump said to them, “stand back and stand down,” telling them to get ready for action.
This is no longer politics as usual; to remain in the White House, trump will utilize every lever of state power, and his hold on his cult followers, encouraging terrorism against his opponents, breaking every law and allowing Russian intelligence agencies to spread misinformation over social media, so that we don’t know who or what to believe. this is the kind of “man” we have as our “president.”
No more of this! No more being pushed around! The civics lessons of junior high no longer apply! We’re NOT giving up, we WILL vote, we WILL take to the courts AND the streets, we WILL save our democracy! Are you ready, Americans?
Let us pay our respects to the life and work of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Justice of the US Supreme Court, who was a pioneer in women’s involvement in the legal professions and a champion of women’s and LGBTQ rights through the laws, having personally faced sexism as she studies law through the period prior to the second wave of feminism.
trump showed his face at the memorial service for Ginsberg (why?) but but then he heard the chants, “Vote him out! Vote him out!”, and he scuttled back inside. More and more, he has to face the fact that, aside from his zealous followers that he in reality despises-and who he tolerates if he wants an adoring crowd-so many people are rising up against trump, and are ready to go to the voting booths and the streets to pry him out of power, and are not impressed by his playing dictator, nor his claim that he won’t accept the election results if they don’t suit him.
That has been a major Republican project, to load the federal courts with judges who oppose the rights of women, minorities, and workers, and who would repress their efforts to use the government apparatus to advance their rights, making the government solely the instrument of plutocratic power-just think of the Koch brothers. More corporate power mean workers would be at the “mercy” of their corporate masters over working conditions, moving plants out of the country, and employment (or the lack thereof); the environment would be further devastated by pollution, forest fires, and disease; and CEO salaries and bonuses would soar for no good reason while workers wouldn’t event scrape by.
No matter what goes down in the Supreme Court or Congress, we MUST vote on November 3; and also get out on the streets and let them know that we WON’T tolerate our rights being stolen from us. Ruth Bader Ginsberg would want it that way.
Greetings, and L’Shana Tova, a sweet and happy and prosperous new year to all of you fine Americans. We are in the midst of the High Holy Days, Rosh haShona and Yom Kippur.
What a test our nation is going through! Can we remove this plague of a President who has undermined our nation’s economy, security, and honor, using the democratic process? Can we elect a person who is essentially decent to office, who knows and respects the Constitution and the people of this nation? I believe w can do it, but we must stay together and strong, and not let any thugs that trump has intimidate us, either with fist, guns, or lawsuits.
We see now how trump, the commander-in-chief, thinks of those in military service, in the Atlantic Monthly article, calling them “suckers” and “losers.” (https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2020/09/trump-americans-who-died-at-war-are-losers-and-suckers/615997/) This, from a “man” who talks all bad-ass against peaceful demonstrators and his opponents for his fans (who are just as ignorant and bullying as he is), but utilized his father’s connections to evade the draft for Viet Nam, one of them for the “bone spurs” of legend-while lower-income kids went to die in a useless, tragic war.
ON September 8, the New York Times had an article about the incompetence of the trump campaign‘s financing system. (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/07/us/politics/trump-election-campaign-fundraising.html) trump had a campaign bank account of $1.1 billion late last year, and that gave him a bid advantage over the potential Democratic candidate; but by July, over $800 million has been spent, much of it on fundraising under the then-campaign manager Brad Parscale; campaign ads during the Super Bowl, amounting to $11 million; trump’s legal expenses; and lobbyists. The trump campaign has been a nice cash cow for Parscale and others to tap into, and now the campaign has to watch its spending, just as election day gets closer. (It’s November 3, remember that.)
Now we have the book by Bob Woodward, of Watergate fame, Rage (https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/17/politics/bob-woodward-donald-trump-new-book/index.html), written after Woodward taped interviews of trump from December through July. trump, according to Woodward, knew the danger posed by the Coronavirus, but refused to treat it like the emergency it is, and choosing to keep saying it’s no big deal, just the regular flu you get event winter, and claiming he “didn’t want to cause a panic.” Panic for whom? The stock market, which is the only part of the “economy” that matters to him, the only thing doing well under his watch?
trump claimed he wanted to be like Churchill during World War II, but a real leader, like Churchill or FDR, would have told the public the facts-that we’re up against a killer disease, and it’s going to be rough for a while, but if we all pull together, show some discipline in wearing masks and social distancing for a while, we can beat this thing. But NOOO, he chose to keep holding his big rallies, while his fans refuse to wear masks and rub up against each other; he also ridiculed mask-wearing, like it was unmanly, denying the virus was serious, and talking about ingesting cleaning fluids into the body. So, due to his inaction and incompetence, over six million Americans have been infected by the COVID-19, and now over 200,000 died, who did not have to die.
We also honor the memory and work of US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg; may her memory be a blessing and an inspiration for those who want to use the law for the rights of all Americans, particularly women and LGBTQs.
BUT-Ginsberg’s body was still warm when Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader (and apparently High Overlord) of the Senate decides to want to push through a nomination for her replacement ton the Court, a few weeks before the election. Those of us with historical memory remember ow McConnell, in 2016, would not allow a vote on a replacement for Antonin Scalia, saying, in all piety, that the newly-elected President must make the appointment.
The public has come out against the game-playing McConnell and the Senate Republicans on the appointment of Ginsberg’s replacement, saying the nomination must take place after the election. Already the party is losing popularity, and McConnell himself is facing a strong reelection opponent in Amy McGrath, and former Marine fighter-pilot. Doesn’t he know the trouble the party is in? Is he so disconnected from the reality all of us Americans face day by day-a pandemic killing our loved ones; jobs lost due to shutdowns, and people facing eviction and hunger; and racial division, stoked by the tangerine tumor in the White House, who actually believes that the raving racist mobs at his a=rallies are the true American people.
Americans, this is not our government-not our Senate, not our President. We deserve better than this mess. And, if his former attorney Michael Cohen can be believed, he won’t leave quietly, but he’ll hang on to power by force if necessary. The civics lesson days of American politics are over; we can no longer bargain with the Republican Party like they’re a responsible political player you can deal with over cocktails and at the golf course after hours. They have become the host of the viruses of racism, theocracy, and plutocracy in this country. As the kids of today have done, we must take to the streets and show our numbers, to come together in solidarity, as we also have during the pandemic, i=n seeing how everyone is doing, in delivering food packages, and in other ways. That is how we’ll beat the twin viruses of COVID and trump.
Stay safe, stay strong, and stay together! America will be free! Bye!
We are currently in the Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the birthday of the world. In this time, we look back at our lives in the past year, and see where we did right, where we could have done better, and find where we can improve as humans. It’s an empowering thing to be able to move away from the errors and mistakes of the past and prepare for a better future. This is, in Hebrew, called T’shuvah, “turning around,” turning from your negative past and moving to a better future.
It’s true with individuals, and it’s true with nations, such as the United States of America. we must continue to move ourselves away from the sin of racism and racial discrimination that has undermined this country’s claim to be the beacon of freedom, democracy and justice. Too many people act as if to criticize the racism in our country is to attack America itself, as if our country is nothing BUT racism. Recently, out alleged “president” has called for a commission, called the “1776 commission,” to oppose the teaching of the racial problems in this country, such as the legacy of slavery and the history of Jim Crow against African-Americans, and to propagate America as nothing but the “sweet land of liberty,” not at all dealing with the discrimination against African-Americans, later Irish immigrants, and people from other lands hoping to find a decent life in America. (https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/516941-trump-announces-commission-to-further-patriotic-education)
This is not ow you deal with racial problems in this country, by denying them. A true T’shuvah for America would be to admit the racism and xenophobia in our country-so eagerly promoted by the strange person in the White House- and to move to live up to the words of the Declaration of Independence about equality and democracy. we need leaders, coming out of the grassroots-our fellow workers, friends, and neighbors-who can do this, and we can do it.
trump and his minions have declared war on the United States Postal Service (USPS)- a popular agency of the government they’re supposed to be running. This is part of the effort to prevent mail-in ballots from going through the mails, so people can vote without having to risk contracting the Coronavirus; they have done such things as take away sorting machines and mail boxes in several states that war important in the Presidential election.
Leading this trumpist effort is Louis DeJoy, a longtime republican door, trump’s Postmaster General, and investor in several private delivery firms that would profit from the destruction of the USPS, an institution specifically mandated in the Constitution, Article One Section Eight, under the duties of Congress, “To establish Post Offices and post Roads”.
The postal system is OURS, it belongs to all the American people; yet for a long time, Republicans has floated the idea of privatizing the postal system, for no purpose but “the free market,” in and of itself. The postal system, along with delivering mail-in ballots, also delivers our newspapers and magazines, and our medicines, and our Social Security checks. Business would grind to a halt without the mails delivering products, which is a dangerous thought during the economic crisis due to the pandemic due to donnie’s incompetence. The Postal Service is also great at hiring military veterans.
We must stand up for OUR postal service. we must contact our members of Congress and urge them to vote for the HEROS Act, the Coronavirus relief bill-it has $25 billion allocated for USPS, along with the funding for state and local governments and the $600.00 a week stimulus for unemployed workers. Plus we must support the workers of the Postal service-members of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) ( https://apwu.org/) , our fellow workers and Americans. Please do what you can to support them.
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!
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.
On May 3, we have commemorated World Press Freedom Day, a day where we honor the importance of a fair and free news media as an asset to democracy, holding governments and other powerful institutions accountable to the public. The news media has been vilified by authoritarian regimes as their enemy, and rightly so; despotism thrives best out of the public’s scrutiny. An engaged voting public needs to know what THE HELL its government, corporations, and powerful individuals and up to.
THIS is why trump has howled about the news media as “the enemy of the people-” a cry common among authoritarian regimes. (The enemy of HIS people, HIS lackeys, HIS deluded thugs, not the rest of the American people.) He wants to be free to gouge the American taxpayer of as much money as he can-him and his brood of vipers, like Don jr., Eric, Jared, and Ivanka-since he can’t make his money any other way, in spite of the business-whiz myth he developed about himself. The regular commercial media, independent presses, have been great at showing his for the fraud, racist, bully, tax-cheater, misogynist, and ignoramus he is. (And the same goes for his family, pence, and his ministers, as well as the evangelical cheerleaders who foist him upon their disciples while they con more money from their pockets.)
The COVID-19 crisis has, through the medium of the news media, exposed trump as he and his gang are. Let’s continue to di the work of resisting them, staring with educating yourself on the issues with the help of a free, fair, not-to-be-intimidated news media. The workers in the media deserve it, and so do WE the American people.