Category Archives: Commentary

Don’t miss 15th anniversary celebration of Rogue Taiko at Rogue Theater

“Odaiko Sonora celebrates their 15th Anniversary at The Rogue Theatre (300 E. University Blvd. in Tucson) with two concerts, 2:00pm and 7:30pm on October 7.
Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, and will be available from any Odaiko Sonora member, by calling The Rogue Theatre box office (520) 551-2053, or online at www.theroguetheatre.org.”
More info on taiko drumming troupe Odaiko Sonora at www.tucsontaiko.org.

The NFL takes a knee against our white-supremacist-in-chief Donald Trump

No individual has disgraced and diminished the office of the presidency with his puerile conduct more than Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin could not be more pleased with his handiwork and  the damage that Trump is inflicting on the status and moral  leadership of the presidency. Trump is systematically attempting to dismantle the foundational principles, values and mores of American democracy.

Putin pal Donald Trump is no position to question the patriotism of any American.

Over the weekend, Donald Trump turned his plan to divide Americans  on America’s professional sports teams and athletes — in particular, African-American athletes who protest police violence against minorities — something Donald Trump has encouraged, Trump’s speech encouraging police to be ‘rough’, and more recently, to protest Trump’s failure to adequately condemn white supremacist hate speech after Charlottesville.

In this regard, the U.S. Congress unanimously agrees that Trump has failed to adequately condemn white supremacist hate speech. Congress takes Trump to task over his Charlottesville comments.

President Trump is trying to silence athletes who protest police violence in his “law and order,”  i.e. , institutional racism world, and more directly, silence critics of his white supremacy by attempting to reframe their protests as unpatriotic and disrespect for the flag. “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” – Samuel Johnson, 1775.

We have seen this right-wing play before when the Bush-Cheney regime tried to silence the Dixie Chicks for their public criticism of their unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq.  Like the Dixie Chicks, NFL players, coaches and owners were Not Ready to Make Nice on Sunday.

Continue reading

Progressive Democrats Sponsor “UnKoch My Campus” with Prof. David Gibbs

David Gibbs, Professor of History and Government

Alarmed by dark money subverting Arizona’s public education system, the Progressive Democrats of America are sponsoring a special lecture, “UnKoch My Campus” on Thursday, September 28, 2017, 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the Ward 6 City Council Office at 3202 E. First Street, Tucson.

The speaker is David Gibbs, Professor of History and Government at the University of Arizona. He has cited the “extreme danger” that Trump poses in climate change and nuclear war, and has criticized US military interventions in foreign countries.

The Koch Bros’ tentacles are everywhere, including in Tucson at the University of Arizona campus. Their “Freedom Center” at the UofA is a think tank designed to turn students into future lobbyists for the right-wing, anti-education foundation. See the blog post Anti-Public School Lecture Set at Koch-Funded UofA Class in Tucson. The comments on the post are noteworthy also.

The corrosive influence of “dark money” has undermined the democratic institutions of the United States, but not just in our political system. The same wealthy donors and corporations have also been polluting our universities.

Recordings and documents from the Charles Koch Foundation and its network of professors shows how Koch’s academic programming is political rather than educational, “leveraging science and universities” for political gain.

Koch Industries and their network of wealthy donors use an “integrated strategy,” called the Structure of Social Change that uses targeted funding of universities, think tanks, and political groups for the “implementation of policy change.”

Discover this and more at this not-to-be-missed presentation.

 

Ta-Nehisi Coates: Trump is America’s ‘first white president’

Several pundits have theorized that Donald Trump ran for president out of revenge for President Obama deftly mocking him and humiliating him at the White House Correspondents Dinner over “The Donald’s” birtherism conspiracy mongering. “The Donald” does not like to be laughed at, as he has frequently emphasized.

But it goes much deeper than this. Donald Trump wants to negate Barack Obama’s presidency and his legacy as an accident of history, according to Ta-Nehisi Coates in the cover story of The Atlantic. The First White President (excerpt):

His political career began in advocacy of birtherism, that modern recasting of the old American precept that black people are not fit to be citizens of the country they built. But long before birtherism, Trump had made his worldview clear. He fought to keep blacks out of his buildings, according to the U.S. government; called for the death penalty for the eventually exonerated Central Park Five; and railed against “lazy” black employees. “Black guys counting my money! I hate it,” Trump was once quoted as saying. “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” After his cabal of conspiracy theorists forced Barack Obama to present his birth certificate, Trump demanded the president’s college grades (offering $5 million in exchange for them), insisting that Obama was not intelligent enough to have gone to an Ivy League school, and that his acclaimed memoir, Dreams From My Father, had been ghostwritten by a white man, Bill Ayers.

* * *

For Trump, it almost seems that the fact of Obama, the fact of a black president, insulted him personally. The insult intensified when Obama and Seth Meyers publicly humiliated him at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2011. But the bloody heirloom ensures the last laugh. Replacing Obama is not enough—Trump has made the negation of Obama’s legacy the foundation of his own. And this too is whiteness. “Race is an idea, not a fact,” the historian Nell Irvin Painter has written, and essential to the construct of a “white race” is the idea of not being a nigger. Before Barack Obama, niggers could be manufactured out of Sister Souljahs, Willie Hortons, and Dusky Sallys. But Donald Trump arrived in the wake of something more potent—an entire nigger presidency with nigger health care, nigger climate accords, and nigger justice reform, all of which could be targeted for destruction or redemption, thus reifying the idea of being white. Trump truly is something new—the first president whose entire political existence hinges on the fact of a black president. And so it will not suffice to say that Trump is a white man like all the others who rose to become president. He must be called by his rightful honorific—America’s first white president.

You really should read Coates’ entire essay.

Continue reading

An authoritarian vision of ‘law and order’

The Washington Post reports that Trump to restore program sending surplus military weapons to police:

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 4.13.52 PMPresident Donald Trump plans to resume the transfer of surplus weapons, vehicles and other equipment from the nation’s military to its state and local law enforcement agencies, reviving a program that was sharply curtailed by President Barack Obama two years ago. The program launched in 1990 but was greatly limited after public reaction to images of heavily militarized police in the streets of Ferguson, Mo., and other sites of civil unrest.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the move Monday morning at the Fraternal Order of Police convention in Nashville, and said the president would do so by executive order. The police union had lobbied for the restoration of the program, and Trump said he would do so during his campaign.

“The decision to restore the flow of military weaponry to civilian law enforcement was the latest move by the Trump administration both to stake out a hard-line stance on law and order as they view it, and to undo actions by the Obama administration which were unpopular in some quarters of law enforcement.”

Continue reading

The new Whiny Right (Updated)

I posted about this topic last year, The secret to Trump’s success: the GOP is the party of white identity and white grievances.

New York Times columnist Charles Blow now has a must-read column, America’s Whiniest ‘Victim’:

Donald Trump is the reigning king of American victimhood.

He is unceasingly pained, injured, aggrieved.

The primaries were unfair. The debates were unfair. The general election was unfair.

“No politician in history — and I say this with great surety — has been treated worse or more unfairly,” he laments.

People refuse to reach past his flaws — which are legion! — and pat him on the back. People refuse to praise his minimal effort and minimal efficacy. They refuse to ignore that the legend he created about himself is a lie. People’s insistence on truth and honest appraisal is so annoying. It’s all so terribly unfair.

It is in this near perfect state of perpetual aggrievement that Trump gives voice to a faction of America that also feels aggrieved. Trump won because he whines. He whines in a way that makes the weak feel less vulnerable and more vicious. He makes feeling sorry for himself feel like fighting back.

In this way he was a perfect reflection of the new Whiny Right. Trump is its instrument, articulation, embodiment. He’s not so much representative of it but of an idea — the waning power of whiteness, privilege, patriarchy, access, and the cultural and economic surety that accrues to the possessors of such. Trump represents their emerging status of victims-in-their-own-minds.

Continue reading