I’ve not posted much about the shitstorm that is 2020. For that matter, I’ve not posted much about the swamp that is the Trump presidency.
Here it is, short and to the point.
Trump is a criminal, bully and generally of the lowest character possible. I voted against him in 2016 and again in 2020. The Republican Party has shown itself to be criminal and racist, not a surprised. The people that have come out of the cracks in the past 4 years to support Trump… well, that’s another whole discussion involving racism, white supremacy, pent of frustration with the U.S. political system and economy and more. Another time.
The Democratic Party is another sham. Criminal in it’s own ways. Representative not of people but of global capitalism (just as the Republicans are) but with a more reasonable, psuedocompassionate face. But again, the establishment.
The two party system is obviously broken. Politics in the U.S. are broken and toxic. What we have serves corporate interests and it needs a complete re-write in a different, completely rethought and new form.
All that said, social media and Trump have illustrated just how broken, toxic and divided the general culture of the U.S. has devolved into. We’re a long, long, long way from the important solutions to our immediate, mid-term and long-term problems. It’s going to get uglier. There might be others out there framing it all with a more constructive, positive light. It’s a crisis and often the disruption of crisis can also be the groundwork for new solutions and progress. We’ll see. But in the short term, yeah, ugly. Dangerous.
With the exception of about 45% of the US population and current Republican lawmakers, much of the world seems to agree that Trump is a criminal. Republicans in the Senate don’t seem likely to impeach and the leadership has already come out in support of Trump. In short, they’re not doing their jobs. Not surprising. It’s corrupt and broken. Really, it has been for a long time but it’s becoming more obvious. “Democracy” here has never been much more than a veneer. In recent decades that veneer has become increasingly thin.
One of the latest news items seems worth mentioning: More than 700 historians call for Trump to be impeached as key vote looms:
“We are American historians devoted to studying our nation’s past,” began an open letter posted to Medium, “who have concluded that Donald J Trump has violated his oath to ‘faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States’ and to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States’.”
Radiologist Heather Sher, writing for The Atlantic:
In a typical handgun injury that I diagnose almost daily, a bullet leaves a laceration through an organ like the liver. To a radiologist, it appears as a linear, thin, grey bullet track through the organ. There may be bleeding and some bullet fragments.
I was looking at a CT scan of one of the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who had been brought to the trauma center during my call shift. The organ looked like an overripe melon smashed by a sledgehammer, with extensive bleeding. How could a gunshot wound have caused this much damage?
The reaction in the emergency room was the same. One of the trauma surgeons opened a young victim in the operating room, and found only shreds of the organ that had been hit by a bullet from an AR-15, a semi-automatic rifle which delivers a devastatingly lethal, high-velocity bullet to the victim. There was nothing left to repair, and utterly, devastatingly, nothing that could be done to fix the problem. The injury was fatal.
Update: Asha Rangappa:
This is a must-read. It illustrates why the NRA is so reluctant to allow the CDC to research gun violence as a public health issue: The facts would be devastating.
This is craziness.
Ryan Lizza, writing for the New Yorker
Seven days may not be enough time to fully assess any new leader, especially in the case of Trump, whose first week was marked by seeming chaos in his efforts to put together an Administration. But what we’ve learned so far about the least-experienced President-elect in history is as troubling and ominous as his critics have feared. The Greeks have a word for the emerging Trump Administration: kakistocracy. The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as a “government by the least qualified or most unprincipled citizens.” Webster’s is simpler: “government by the worst people.”
Yeah. THIS. THIS.
“Do you not understand that life in this country is inherently different for white people and black people?”
It seems to me that this officer needs to be put on trial for murder. As has been said by many already, the militarized police in the U.S. are out of control. They’ve seemingly forgotten that they work for us, they are public servants. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. The truth lurking at the edge of the room is that they exist to enforce obedience. It is a system of command and control. I wonder, who is the authority in such a system?
Freedom is just a long leash in a country with the highest rate of citizen incarceration in the world.
Fantastic. If you’ve been watching the mess in Ferguson this is worth a watch. John Oliver gets it exactly right.
WOW. Seven states do not allow atheists to hold public office. Yeah, that’s not a joke.
“This prejudice is particularly evident in the political realm, where being open about non-belief is an insuperable barrier to election. Moreover, seven states still ban atheists from holding office — prohibitions that violate the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on religious tests for public office, but remain on the books because no lawmaker wants to be seen supporting their repeal. “
Kaleesha and I were discussing this recent attempt in Missouri to introduce a “right to refuse service” religious freedom bill yesterday and it occurred to me that there might be some merit to the idea. But it would come with a requirement. Allow business owners to discriminate but require a sign in several prominent places that clearly states who they will not serve. Then we, as customers and neighbors, will clearly see who it is in our community we should boycott. I have no interest in doing business with anyone who cannot tolerate (even better, accept and embrace) other humans because of some trait they were born with. It’s past the time we evolve beyond such cultural baggage. Here’s her post about it.