Posts Tagged Racism/Bigotry
JOE BIDEN’S BOOK, “PROMISE ME, DAD” IS A TREMENDOUS READ, ESPECIALLY FOR ANYONE GOING THROUGH SERIOUS HEALTH ISSUES THEMSELVES.
As many people know, former Vice President Joe Biden lost his first wife and infant daughter in a traffic auto accident, many years ago, while out Christmas shopping. Their two young sons, Beau and Hunter, ages four snd three survived, but after many weeks in the hospital. Over time, as the two boys became successful, grown men, they were Joe’s closest personal advisors.
Promise Me Dad, a quote from Beau, that after he is gone, Joe would run for President, if at all possible. Biden, in fact, formed a uniquely personal relationship with President Barack Obama, Even more importantly, that Joe Biden promised Beau that he would be OK. Some might see this book about a Vice President; but, it is really a story of a Great American Family!
The thoughts in this book were interspersed as Biden fulfilled his duties as Vice President; however, there were many remembrances, both of Joe’s first tragedy, and having to raise two young boys as a single Congressman; and then, what the growing family went through in trying to save Beau’s life. And throughout it all, the doctors were heroic in doing all they could. Joe Biden supported civil rights, defended the Police, and exhibited respect and empathy to all.
Last Tuesday, Donald and Melania Trump jetted into San Juan, Puerto Rico, supposedly to survey the situation. He held court with Commonwealth, Local and Federal officials, in which he did most of the talking. During the photo-op, he reminded the People of Puerto Rico that they were lucky not to have suffered a Real Hurricane, like Katrina in 2005.
The Federal Government has failed miserably to respond to the needs of the American Citizens who live on Puerto Rico, as well as the US Virgin Islands. But Donald Trump, in his delusion, boasted of what a great job he and his Regime had done.
Then, Trump also suggested that the clean-up—skipping over the immediate need for basic human needs—will cost his budget quite a lot of money. Wouldn’t that be an issue for him to take up with Congress, rather than with people who have nothing—few working ATMs to get cash, nothing available to buy, and no jobs!
Donald and Melania then traveled ten miles from San Juan, to a very upscale, gated community, where there was only negligible damage. If the Trump convoy had only traveled another ten miles, where the average Puerto Ricans live, he would have seen the real horror that is Puerto Rico, and no doubt the Virgin Islands, today!
As U. S. Citizens, the residents of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are free to migrate to the Mainland. Florida has one million Puerto Ricans, only surpassed by New York; however, many of those (up north) had arrived several decades back.
Florida, on the other hand, has become a mecca for Hispanics—predominately in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale—but, 500,000 Puerto Ricans also live along the I-4 Corridor, the East-West highway, connecting Tampa, Orlando and Cape Canaveral.
The major Florida air and seaports each have processing centers, to provide for the basic humanitarian needs for the new arrivals, and to offer a voluntary health screening to determine what, if any, health care needs the incoming Puerto Ricans might need. Consider some of the problems which need to be identified:
1. Besides the voluntary Q & A screenings at arrival points, all health care providers, as well as social service workers and educators are encouraged to identify problems to be referred to doctors or hospitals.
2. In the aftermath of violent storms: bacterial infections; puncture wounds; and diseases spread by mosquitos and animal bites can be harmful, and even contagious.
3. Some chronic conditions, such as flu and scabies, can become chronic conditions when not treated due to a lack of power. They can also spread easily in communal shelters.
4. Herpes B is of particular risk due to the release of a group of captive macaque monkeys in Puerto Rico during the storm, and they could spread the disease through bites and scratches.
With the predominance of senior citizens and children on the island, the usual conditions of dehydration, malnourishment, head wounds, fatigue and depression should also be considered.
Unlike major hurricanes on the Mainland, there are no major highways available to bring supplies and assistance overnight. Also, the San Juan International Airport was not fully operational. With SOUTHCOM, the military command having responsibility for Latin America and the Caribbean located in Miami, just 1,100 miles from Puerto Rico, a military airlift would have been relatively simple.
Over the past several decades, as major corporations had closed their facilities, many of the younger workers had moved to the Mainland. With an inordinately older, non-working population of 3.4 million, just half of what it had been, Puerto Rico no longer needs some of the infrastructure and utility capacity financed by Commonwealth and Utility bonds. The debt service, however, continues to be due and payable!
Last Thursday, Donald Trump’s trip was choreographed, so that he would only see what he wanted to see, speak with whom he wanted to speak, and basically confirm what he already “knew” to be true. Unfortunately, the horrific devastation—both currently and it’s lasting after-effects—were just not on his agenda.
For a more in-depth description of the potential long-lasting effects of Hurricane Maria, on Puerto Rican’s Health, these recent articles–from the Miami Herald, and The New York Times–provide on-site descriptions.
THE OPTIONAL ELIMINATION OF FREE CONTRACEPTIVES IS MORE THAN AN ATTACK ON WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE. IT DIRECTLY EFFECTS THE POOR WOMEN WHO CAN AFFORD IT LEAST!
Contraceptives are used regularly, for Family Planning, by a majority of women in America, as well as most industrialized countries. The multitude of reasons as to why they’re ubiquitous ranges from: unexpected pregnancies; a lack of financial support for another child; rape; incest, etc.
The cost of having regular check-ups for most women would still be covered under their private or employer plans, even if they had to pay extra for the contraceptives. For lower-income women, however, the expense could be burdensome, especially if one of the major reasons for the health care plan was to gain free access to birth control.
Many low-income families rely on Medicaid, a Federal Health Care Plan, which is intended for the lowest income families in America. Besides providing many company plans a reason to revoke free contraceptives, it is almost certain that, once the idea is tested, Medicaid would be next. Let’s consider who requires Medicaid for their Health Care.
Medicaid enrollees are generally among the poorest of our society, those who often lack high school diplomas, and work at minimum-wage Jobs. Black and Hispanic women are disproportionately represented in this group. Additionally, Congress could reduce the payments to health care providers, thus encouraging them to drop out of the program. In fact, OB/GYN’s who accept Medicaid in aTexas, for instance, is already down to 33%.
Some Conservatives ask why poor people have so many babies anyway, suggesting that they just have a few? Besides the natural course of events, anthropologists and biologists have found that early man, since they had shorter lives, tended to have their children early.
Down through the ages, poorer workers, especially those with more physical jobs, lived shorter lives, and they also had their children earlier. And oftentimes, they reared more children due to premature death, and squalid living conditions.
The optional elimination from Health Care Plans is obviously an attack on Women’s Health Care. Ironically, we never seem to hear about a similar elimination of Viagra—the erectile dysfunction cure—for the men! But, while most middle and upper-income women can still make due, it is the poor, and often minority Women who are forced to suffer the most!
REGARDING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM: HOW WOULD A DRAFT-DODGER KNOW WHAT THE MILITARY FIGHTS FOR ON BATTLEFIELDS?
Sporting events pit Americans against one another and, at least at the collegiate and professional levels, can result in serious and debilitating injuries, and sometimes with deadly results. Such games are not played for any other reason than to generate profits for the colleges and universities, as well as the professional team players owners. So, why play the anthem at events, which are more akin to those played centuries ago, back in the Roman Colosseum? My focus here is specific to pro sports.
When I have watched the National Anthem being played on TV, I always sensed that people were standing out of habit, and any sense of genuine interest was more out of endurance, rather than patriotism. As the camera scanned the stands, many of the fans, although standing, were demonstrating their reverence by: wearing their hats; talking; taking selfies; and checking their smartphones, while others saw the opportunity to make a trip to the rest room, or TO make a beer run.
I think that it is quite absurd that our Tweeter-in-Chief has become such a patriot, when he shirked his own duty during the Vietnam Era, when his contemporaries were deployed! Donald had five deferments, and one of those was a mysterious medical one for “bone spurs,” which never hindered his tennis game. Now, how patriotic was that?
Donald Trump is supposedly a businessman. If so, he should realize how moronic it would be for him to expect owners to fire some of today’s best pro players, such as Chris Curry and LeBron James, just because they pissed Trump off!
Firing someone, who has a multi-year contract—upwards of $25 million per annum, plus various incentives—would become immediately due and payable on the firing date. So too might championship and personal accomplishment bonuses, since the players were denied the opportunity to compete for them. That would cause team revenue to plummet!
Trumpet also suggests that fans boycott the games if the players do not comply with his inane ideas. At the price of tickets today, I guarantee that very few fans would boycott the games for a reason that most Americans regard as idiotic. In fact, a growing majority of Americans appear to be embarrassed by Trump, on a daily basis.
Considering the tense situation in North Korea, various on-going wars, and our nation’s failure to have just one diplomatic voice speak for America, doesn’t Donald have more important matters to attend to than whether players stand, kneel, or sit during the National Anthem? Perhaps his motivation lies elsewhere.
Apparently, this Anthem Intrigue is a political move on Donald Trump’s part, in order to stir-up his Base—especially the White Supremacists—and, perhaps, once again distract Americans from the Russia Collusion Investigation. So far, he hasn’t attacked any White athletes, just Black ones.
Consider how many Black men, and a few women, have been suspiciously killed at the hands of police officers, and very rarely were the officers even indicted, let alone tried and convicted. There is no rational reason to question Black athletes’ concern for that form of racism, with he National Anthem reflecting their most public outrage!
At this Sunday’s NFL games, players—both Black and White—from many teams joined the boycott against Trump’s intrusion on their profession. Several other teams remained in the locker room until the Anthem had ended. Also, several of the owners took a knee in solidarity with their teams, as well. It will be interesting to watch whether the players’ action will continue, and if it will spread to other professional sports.
Donald Trump is grasping at bullshit when he suggests that the military, who are deployed into Harm’s Way, are fighting for a flag, which is a mere symbol of what America stood for-pre-Trump! The “grunts,” Army and Marine infantry each fight, first and foremost, to cover each other’s asses. Other than that, all of the rest are mere platitudes, which politicians refer to on holidays. But then how would a Draft-Dodger know?
NOTE: This piece was cross-posted to another site, on which some readers made comments that read more like fairy tales, rather than demonstrate a connection between war and the symbolism of the flag. During my two tours (1967-1968) in South Vietnam, many GI’s had small versions of their respective state flags; but, I never saw even one person who had a U. S. flag.
Danny Westneat is a columnist for the Seattle Times. This column is a wonderfully written story about a husband and wife team–he a Soldier, and she a Riveter (fastening B-29 wings)–who are members of “Our Greatest Generation.” And, as the Matz’ question, with Donald Trump, do we truly have the commitment to insure that the Supremacists, Neo-Nazis and other Hate Groups do not succeed this time? In essence, Silence is NOT golden!
‘Greatest generation’ is fading, but it’s still got choice words for our own
Remember the greatest generation? The ones that beat back the Nazis?
Recently I sat down with two of them, to talk about everyday persistence, about stability, about things that abide.
But we weren’t five minutes in when it veered in the exact opposite direction — to the rise of neo-Nazis in the news today, the demagoguery of a certain president and to an eerily familiar chill.
“I remember back in the ’30s and ’40s, it was like people were hypnotized,” says Wilma Matz, 93. “I worry all the time it might be happening again.”
Numerically speaking, Wilma and Harold Matz are rarer around here than the endangered northern spotted owl.
At 95, Harold is a World War II vet, a medical technician who pulled the maimed off the line of the war’s bloodiest fight, the Battle of the Bulge.
All but 3 percent of his 16 million mates who beat back fascism are gone. The greatest generation has dwindled to just 0.2 percent of the American population.
Even rarer, Wilma was a Rosie the Riveter. She drove fasteners into the wings of B-29 bombers for Boeing in the 1940s, one of 300,000 bandana-wearing women who came out of housewifery to take over the nation’s airplane-factory work. Only about 10,000 Rosies are still alive today.
Then there’s this: As of Wednesday, the couple has been married 75 years. Fewer than 0.1 percent of all marriages in America are so enduring.
“It’s like they hit the trifecta,” says their daughter, Laura Matz.
When I caught up with them in their Normandy Park apartment, though, they couldn’t help contrasting their own stability with the turbulent state of the news today.
Harold was telling how they had to hand-haul thousands of wounded Allied soldiers out of the Battle of the Bulge on the border of Belgium and Germany, when he interrupted himself.
“This president today, if he’d been the president back then, we would have lost the war in the first three months,” he said.
“No steadiness, no resolve,” he said.
Wilma said she’s been appalled that any American leader would wink and nod at Neo-Nazis, considering the lengths her generation went to fight it.
“I don’t know if he really means it — he seems to say whatever pops into his head — but this country sacrificed a great deal back then,” she said. “It feels like that’s been forgotten. It’s hard to describe what it was like. It was all hands on deck.”
When Harold was shipped to Europe in the fall of 1943, she, just 19, immediately signed up to help build bomber parts at a temporary Boeing war factory in Chehalis. At the peak of production, more than 70 percent of the workers there were women. It was her first job.
“I often maintain she did more to beat the Nazis than I did,” laughed Harold, who went on to become a chiropractor in Des Moines after the war.
Recently Tim Egan of The New York Times called these last living fascism fighters, quiet people like Harold and Wilma living out their years in senior homes, our “real American heritage.” As opposed to the statues and symbols people are fighting over today.
His point is that the monument fight is for phony patriots. We have among us a few “living memorials” to the best American story. The one where we were unambiguously on the right side of history.
It turns out it was about living old values. Such as persistence.
Speaking of which: What’s the secret to staying married for an incredible 75 years?
“I like to have someone to sleep next to,” Harold shrugs.
Wilma just rolls her eyes, and smiles. When you’ve beaten the Great Depression and the Nazis and made it three-quarters of a century together, no way a bad joke is going to get between you and the finish line.
Donald Trump has threatened to shut-down the Government, by Vetoing the Debt-Ceiling increase if his Wall is not funded through the FY2018 Federal Budget. Those are two unrelated, idiotic ideas, but in two totally different Bills. Where did Donald study Government: Trump University?
Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell do not want to be blamed for a shut-down since—when their party controls both Houses of Congress, and the White House—they would have no one to blame. And, such shut-downs never accomplish anything! But, let’s consider what the inter-action is between the Budget and the National Debt and whether the Debt Ceiling is even necessary.
The Budget, as passed by Congress, cites how much the Nation is expected to spend, broken-down by Department, throughout the coming fiscal year (starting October 1). The Treasury Department monitors the respective in-flows and out-flows, making adjustments, as required, within existing Law.
Depending upon whether the actual Net Cash Flow is higher or lower than expected, the Treasury will either Pay-Down existing U. S. Treasury securities, if there is a Surplus, or sell more bonds when the Net Cash Flow is in a Deficit. The Debt-Ceiling, established in 1913, is truly an anachronism, and serves mostly as a political football, since Total Spending can be controlled through the Budget Process!
Donald Trump has lately been lashing-out at Senators on both sides, and he has especially been attacking the Intelligence Community. Even his own Republican Party in Congress has passed an Economic Sanctions Bill, in response to Russia’s interference in our Presidential Election.
The vote in both Houses, on the sanctions, would easily overcome a Presidential Veto. Similar Veto-proof legislation has been passed to make it virtually impossible for Trump to fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. And, Senator Charles Grassley has also stated that he would not hold Confirmation Hearings, in the event Trump might need to replace a fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
More recently, Donald Trump has been at odds with a majority of Americans, as he sought to give support to White-Supremacists, Neo-Nazis and other Hate Groups, after a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va.. Surprisingly, each of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—the heads of the four armed services—Tweeted their condemnation of Hatred and Racism. Citizens of most countries tend to support their militaries; because, they are perceived as the apolitical representatives of The People.
Recently, the discussion has shifted from Trump’s ideological viewpoints and disruptive management style, toward his irrational behavior and temperamental mood swings. It has risen to the point that Donald Trump has allegedly asked the Director of National Intelligence and the Director of the NSA to push-back against the FBI, which leads the Russian Collusion Investigation against his campaign. They both refused!
James Clapper, who had served as President Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, and in every administration since Jack Kennedy, has recently come under fire from Donald Trump. Based on watching various speeches, as different as night-from-day, Clapper has questioned whether Trump is fit for the job. Furthermore, Mr. Clapper wonders about the insanity of Trump having access to the Nuclear Codes!
If you read one book this year, let it be “I Was Told to Come Alone,” by Saoud Mekhennet, This book is the culmination of the author’s journey to analyze and answer a question by Maureen Fanning, the widow of a New York City firefighter who had died in the collapse of the World Trade Center, on 9/11. Mrs. Fanning directed the title question toward Saoud who, although German-born, is of Turkish/Moroccan descent.
There are two key factors in Ms. Mekhennet’s background that, perhaps, make her the ideal person to even attempt to understand this multi-facetted dilemma:
- As the child of immigrant “guest workers,” Saoud felt the harsh reality of discrimination, oftentimes not being considered “German, German,” even though she tutored other German students in “German”. Many young Muslims in Europe, who perceive being rejected by society, are prone to radicalization!
- Ms. Mekhennet’s parents were born into different sects within the Sunni/Shia schism; however, she and her family had always lived as secular Muslims. In fact, Saoud only came to realize the problem in her later teens, but without any emotional biases. The religious instability caused by the Schism back home, merely fuels the flow of Muslims to the West, further compounding the growth of Terrorism–especially among the young!
Ms. Mekhennet’s journey took her to various countries within the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and Western Europe, during which, Saoud interviewed a number of al-Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban leaders. Even though those interviews placed her at considerable personal risk, as a journalist, she knew that they were vital to her understanding–and explaining–of both sides of the issue.
A considerable amount of this book is devoted toward Ms. Mekhennet’s attempt to understand how and why young European Muslims have become radicalized, and join the Jihad. Is it a legitimate cause, necessary to save the Islamic way of life, or is it a false reality, based on a hijacked version of Islam–merely replacing one version of beliefs for another?
Throughout the book, Ms. Mekhennet also questions the false assertions behind such ideas as Weapons of Mass Destruction, false intelligence reported by various Western agencies, and the lack of concern for civilian deaths. Basically, if we throw off our parochial views and narrow-mindedness, we might begin to understand that there is plenty of blame, for the entire terrorism issue, to go around.
As somewhat of a summation to her journey, Saoud Mekhennet points out that “…some people in Western countries don’t see the hazards of setting standards for others, as if our way is the right way and the only way. This is the same argument that ISIS makes.”
NOTE: And oh, by the way, toward the very end of her journey, Ms Mekhennet solved one of those pesky questions that was on everyone’s mind, when she unmasked “Jihadi John”, who played a key role in those ISIS videoclips!