NO ESCAPE AND NOWHERE TO RUN – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Escape

A lot of my post this morning are quotes from “The Washington Post.”

Why, you might ask, since I’m a born and bred New Yorker living in New England and Boston for more than 30 years, would I read “The Post” rather than “The NY Times” or “Boston Globe”? Because both of these two papers — run by the same company, by the way — charge nearly $30/month for an online edition. In other words, $60/month if in my madness, I subscribed to both.

I like the Times and the Globe. I would prefer to read local news and not just national news. But their prices make that impossible. If the Times/Globe organization wants to get a bump upward in their readership, they should reconsider their pricing. Even if they were delivering the paper to my door (physically, the actual newspaper), I still could not afford those prices.

The “Squad” in U.S. Congress on television yesterday evening

I understand that it’s hard times for the press these days, but raising prices so that the very people who might actually read them can’t do it is stupid in every possible way. If you drive away your only readership, you are driving yourselves out of business as so many others already have done.

I pay $10/month for “The Washington Post” and anyone can get a trial of their paper for a month for $1. They also have “cheat sheet” online papers that come out many times a day to update you on issues that are actively progressing, as well as summaries of current issues on any number of subjects from sports to politics to humor.

I would quote other newspapers too, but anything worth reading is a “pay to read”paper. I’m out of money.

It is ironic that “The Boston Herald,” which was Boston’s “other” newspaper — the right-leaning one — was bought up by the Trumpist Sinclair Group and now, you can get whatever crap they print for free. They aren’t worrying about circulation. They own more than half the papers and TV stations in the country and can (and do) say whatever they feel like saying. It doesn’t need to have even a scrap of truth in it. They say march and anyone who wants to keep his or her job, marches.

Back to the subject of escape.

As the holder of two legal passports, one from Israel and the other (obviously) U.S.A., I always had the thought in my mind that if things turned pear-shaped in this country, I had someplace to go. It never crossed my mind that both countries would go fruity together. I cannot tell you how sad this makes me. Israel has always been a country with a lively internal war going on inside it, but it was a war of words, thoughts, and ideas.

Since I left and came home in late 1987, Israel changed. The children who grew following the 1967 and 1973 wars are more hawkish than were their parents. More hard-nosed “hold the liners” and less inclined to reason and discussion.

Photo: Washington Post

I saw this beginning to happen when I was there. I saw the country taking a sharp right turn. Arabs blame Israelis for this, but they can also blame themselves. Whenever Israel tried to find any road to peace, Arab “neighbors” shattered it with bombs.

Why? I don’t think most Arab-Israelis want a war any more than most Americans want a war … but the driving force for war is never a nation’s citizens, but its politicians and generals. War makes those people powerful and rich. If it kills off the population? So? They are not in the rank and file these days and probably their children are not, either.

If the Arabs ever wanted peace — something I often question — they had many opportunities make a deal to forget everyone’s past and start from NOW. Build peace on today. Build peace on what we need to move ahead into a better future and LET THE PAST GO. I know it’s not easy, but that’s what has to happen and if no one can do it, there will never be peace in this or any future generation.

Which brings me back to the good old U.S.A.

Did I always know this was a deeply flawed country that liked pretending our past didn’t count and we are/were/will be a nation of equals? Sure I knew that. Did I believe we could turn around and become the people we fought against or think we could stir up the type of hatred which brought on the Civil War — in 2019?

No, really, I didn’t believe it. I knew it wasn’t impossible because I read history. I know nothing is impossible. I just thought it very unlikely. And yet, here we are, at the front door, fingers on the doorbell of hatred and despair.


From this morning’s “Washington Post,” a few thoughts to ponder. If we can’t escape — almost none of us can because we have nowhere to go or where we could go doesn’t want us and maybe, we don’t want them, either.

1) Trump’s rhetoric is creating a more dangerous climate and corroding the public discourse.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) asked the Capitol Police last night to provide extra protection for the four lawmakers, citing a growing threat profile, per Fox News.

There are also longer-term impacts to consider. For better or worse, the president is a role model. Modeling bad behavior sends signals to young people just as much as good behavior.

Conservative columnist George Will argues that this is why Trump is worse than Richard Nixon. “I believe that what this president has done to our culture, to our civic discourse, you cannot unring those bells and you cannot unsay what he has said, and you cannot change that he has now in a very short time made it seem normal for schoolboy taunts and obvious lies to be spun out in a constant stream,” the consistent Trump critic said on a New York Times Book Review podcast last week. “This will do more lasting damage than Richard Nixon’s surreptitious burglaries did.”

2) Trump’s “go back” rhetoric is consistent not only with his own long history of attacks on people he perceives as the other but also the nation’s oscillating attitudes toward immigration throughout its history.

Marc Fisher traces the etymology: “The Know-Nothings wanted German and Irish immigrants to get out because they were allegedly subversive and diseased people who were stealing American jobs. White preachers and politicians of the 1820s urged freed blacks to move to West Africa, supposedly for their own good. From that drive to encourage blacks to go back where they came from to waves of nativist attacks on Catholics, Jews, Asians and Hispanics in nearly every generation that followed, ‘go home’ rhetoric is as American as immigration itself. ( … )

“There is hardly any ethnic or racial group in the country that hasn’t been told to go back where they came from. In collections of voices from the Japanese American internment camps of the World War II era, in diaries of the earliest Italian and Irish immigrants, in Jewish novels and memoirs from the turn of the 20th century, the slur is a mainstay. … From Calvin Coolidge’s warnings in the 1920s that the country was becoming ‘a dumping ground’ and that ‘America must remain American’ to the ‘America: Love it or leave it’ rhetoric that surrounded Richard Nixon’s presidency, the nation’s leaders have struggled for two centuries with a central ambivalence about its core identity as a magnet for immigrants.”

Conservative lawyer George Conway, the husband of counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, explains in an op-ed for The Post why this episode caused him to conclude that Trump is a racist – after years of giving him the benefit of the doubt. ( … )

3) White identity politics is driving Trump as 2020 approaches, and the Republican Party that he’s remaking in his image. Trump is making clear that his reelection campaign will feature the same explosive mix of white grievance and anti-immigrant nativism that helped elect him.

Michael Scherer explains: “Trump’s combustible formula of white identity politics has already reshaped the Republican Party, sidelining, silencing or converting nearly anyone who dares to challenge the racial insensitivity of his utterances. It also has pushed Democratic presidential candidates sharply to the left on issues such as immigration and civil rights, as they respond to the liberal backlash against him. Unknown is whether the president is now on the verge of more permanently reshaping the nation’s political balance — at least until long-term demographic changes take hold to make nonwhite residents a majority of the country around 2050. ( … )

4) “Trump is proposing a giant swap: Republicans can no longer count on suburban women and we will continue to lose college-educated men and women.

“While increasingly picking up working white Americans without college degrees,” said Ari Fleischer, who was a White House press secretary for President George W. Bush and who has spoken with Trump campaign advisers about their strategy for increasing turnout. “Nobody knows who will come out ahead in the swap,” he told Scherer. “That’s what the campaign will tell us.”


There is no escape for me or at least none I’m likely to take … and probably none for you. The younger people who will still be alive in 30 years? This is your fight. This is your world war. Your final battle to live in a decent nation.

If you have a conscience and you vote for it this coming election in 2020, we may survive this crisis. Maybe. If you don’t vote. If you shrug your collective shoulders and mutter “This has nothing to do with me,” you will ultimately discover that it has everything to do with you and worse, it has, even more, to do with the children who are yet unborn.

This is not a battle for today. It’s a battle to have a future worth living — for any of us still alive and for our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Will the nations of the world utimately “come around”? Assuming, of course, Planet Earth doesn’t decide it no longer wants human beings living on it? Sure it will.

But historically, that could easily take a few hundred or a thousand years. If you’d like to see this country remain a place we and our descendants can live in safety and hope, do something positive. Vote. Talk to your official representatives. Clean up the garbage along the rivers and roads. Fight for clean air and water.

Decide what you want and stop brooding about how the world isn’t what you expected. The world was never what anyone expected.

BEING AGAINST FORCED BUSING DOESN’T MEAN YOU OPPOSE INTEGRATION – Garry Armstrong

I was in the middle of what I honestly call the Boston busing fiasco. On center stage, it played as a racial divide between Boston’s white and minority communities. It played well in the media – especially national and international media where they didn’t understand the local sentiments. The local news stations did a little better — when they tried.

Boston was sarcastically labeled as “The Athens Of America” in this period.

Boston busing – Opposing busing didn’t mean you opposed integration – Boston Globe

The key which I discovered by listening to students and parents – white and minority — was lack of quality education. Busing poor, low-income kids -Black and White – didn’t solve the problem of inferior education. Old, outdated textbooks. Antiquated curriculums. Teachers disenchanted by the lack of respect in pay and regard. Oversized classrooms where teaching was a mission impossible.

Time and again, I heard the same complaints from communities that reportedly were “racially divided” by Federally-mandated busing.

Students were transported from substandard schools in one community to substandard schools in another community. Few bothered to mention this. Most said it was a racial divide which was a cheap way to deflect the ball dropped by courts, legislators and local politicians who saw this as a way to build their constituencies by playing the race card instead of dealing with the fundamental issue: the lack of quality education in Boston’s low-income communities.

After I heard the anger over lack of quality education which was repeated over and over by white and Black families, I went with that as the core of my reports.

Truth be told though, I usually led stories with the standard visual images of angry crowds shouting racial epithets, school buses being stoned, and students threatened. Those images were overemphasized and inaccurately interpreted by national and international journalists and commentators.

I often tried to explain things to the network reporters, but they blew me off, labeling me as a local unable to see the big picture. It was exactly the opposite. They didn’t see the picture and they weren’t looking for it, either.

Many local politicians and community leaders – who really knew better — preyed on their constituents for votes instead of trying to calm the firestorm which often turned violent. We in the local media played the violence up, too because it brought in big ratings and that’s what our bosses wanted. If you wanted your job, there was no escaping the error.

Real efforts to explain the education issues were left to minority affairs shows which aired while most people slept.

Although I was proud of my body of work and earned an Emmy for coverage of that era, it was a bittersweet honor. Had I been able to cover it honestly, it would have been a different story.

There’s certainly no excuse – 50 years later – for Presidential hopefuls to use busing as a political tool. Again, they are ignoring the real issue of that volatile period in the name of getting some votes from people who weren’t here and don’t understand what really happened.

Shame on all of them!

You might find reading today’s Boston Globe’s article:
OPPOSING FORCED BUSING DOESN’T MEAN YOU OPPOSE INTEGRATION by Kevin Cullen -July 1, 2019

REALITY CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE! GIVE IT A TRY! – Marilyn Armstrong

I got to thinking about what my world would look like if I (personally) got rid of everyone who isn’t white enough for this current America. I would have to remove my husband — and all my friends. And my entire family. After which I’d have to go, too. I may be white, but Jewish isn’t really white.

realitychangedmylife

Not merely is this a bad idea, it is impossible. People love to talk about this country as if we are (kind of) akin to Germany, and SCROTUS is (kind of) a version of Hitler. Except … in Germany, the different people were a relatively small number in a country where most people were the same. It was a homogeneous country. Which made it easy to pick out the ones who were different.

That was true all over Europe. It was easy to figure out who were the “different” ones. In most European countries, it’s still true.

Germany in the 1920s and 1930s was nothing like this country.

SCROTUS isn’t Hitler.
The United States isn’t Germany.

same-but-different

The number of not-white people in this country is larger than the number of whites. Yes, you heard me correctly. If you are one of the people who believe that facts mean anything, take a look at the numbers.

This is just the beginning. Not only do we have a lot of non-white citizens from everywhere in the world, but people marry each other. They will continue to marry, have children and eventually, the current madness will vanish and never come back.

None of this means anything. It’s nonsense. Utter crap.
The world is full of hate but in the end, haters are losers. 

Eventually, we will all be some shade of slightly off-white, medium tan, or terribly freckled. We aren’t getting rid of most of our population. Really.

SCRAMBLING FOR PRESIDENT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Scramble

I really hate it when everyone starts to yell at each other. It’s like a big family squabble on Thanksgiving — the kind you see in the movies about what’s wrong with the holiday — and I can’t hear a thing. Maybe there was a time when I could pick individual statements from a mad clatter of voices, but if there was such a time (and I’m not sure there ever was), it has long since passed.

Overall, having spent two days watching both debates, I have reached a number of conclusions.

The first one is that this was an awful presentation, poorly thought out. It allowed almost no one to say anything clearly without interruption and was often a literal scrambling of candidates to get a word in edgewise or any other way.

Also, those who show the least likelihood of becoming a viable candidate (and you know who you are) should run for a different office. Senate, if possible because as much as we need a new President, we desperately need at the very least an evenly divided Senate. If your state has no available senate seat, how about Governor, or Mayor of the largest city that needs a mayor?

These are important offices too. They have a lot of clout. We can only have one president, but if the candidates spread out and get elected to the Senate, Congress, Governorship, Mayors races, we will have power in many different places and that would be a good thing.

Democratic debate – the second night

I was surprised at the intelligence of most of the candidates. To be fair, Trump has set the bar so low, it isn’t hard to step over it.

I love Elizabeth Warren, but I loved her before she took the stage. She is our Senator and I’m proud at how well she stands up for us. That Trump is always trying to cut her down to size is as far as I’m concerned, in her favor. If he weren’t pissed off, I’d have to assume she lacked sufficient status to earn his wrath.

First debate night

It is a sad commentary, isn’t it? We take the negative comments of our so-called president as compliments and relish them. If he hasn’t made up a fake name for you, you don’t really count.

Julian Castro surprised me. He was intelligent, clear, and collected. He was a good speaker — especially given the clawing and scratching the format required of all the candidates.

Beto O’Rourke seemed lost. On Colbert, Chris Christie commented (I hate agreeing with him) that he was like the kid who didn’t do his homework and hoped the teacher wouldn’t call on him. Oops. While he wasn’t a total embarrassment, he didn’t shine.

I understand that this was basically a 4-hour “say hi to the audience and say a few words” introduction, but it wasn’t well done. Aside from the multiple technical gaffs (shame on you, NBC), four hours was not enough time to even properly introduce each candidate. Not even enough time for each of them to have five minutes to speak on his or her own behalf — UNINTERRUPTED.

Returning now to Kamala Harris and Joe Biden. Okay, so she was the second little black kid to be bused in California. What Biden never got to say, but which is the truth — and Garry has a couple of Emmys for covering this event in Boston — busing didn’t work. However well-intentioned it was, it did not succeed for black or white students.

Biden was against it and he was RIGHT. She got picked as one of the first children in that fight, but it was a bad fight. It was a losing fight for everyone. He never got to explain his opposition and she was busy being an effective prosecutor.

Do we need another prosecutor running the country? She might make a good U.S. Attorney General, but president? It’s not just about getting your best and most memorable jab in. That’s what we currently have. We need something better, more thoughtful, reasoned, and less single-issued.

What impressed me? That for the most part, everyone agreed on most of what I think are the important issues. From health care to treating immigrants like human beings to making sure that “regular people” can earn enough money working one job to support themselves and their family. There was minimal disagreement on the basics. I thought it was a pity we couldn’t run a bunch of them as a group.

Democratic presidential candidates from left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney participate in a Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Personally, I agree a combination of private and public health care works well in many countries. Once health insurers are required to compete with a vital public sector, it’s amazing how effective they can be and how quickly their attitudes change.

About half the “nominees” need to find other places to run for office. Of the remaining half, we need sensible debates where people can say something. Asking any candidate for office to sum up anything in a one or two-word answer is ridiculous. It was stupid from the get-go. The debates suffered and we (the audience) suffered.

The moderators kept promising they would get back to individuals, but they never did. These should have been spread out over at least four night, not two. It was unfair to everyone, especially me.

And for heaven’s sake, whoever does the next debates, get your best technical people on the job. Our college radio station did better work than NBC!

THE BOTTOM LINE – Marilyn Armstrong

The battle over immigration is going all over the world. It is uglier and crueler here than elsewhere but make no mistake. European countries are turning away immigrants as energetically as we are — just without the cages for children. Their reasons are the same. There are so many immigrants and they need so much help, no country wants to be responsible for their welfare. Or pay their tab.

Is the U.S. being especially cruel and lacking in compassion? Yes, but I’m not sure how much worse we are than any other country doing the same thing. It’s just they aren’t jailing children.

There are a lot of countries at war, in the process of “ethnically cleansing” their population, or rife with drug cartels slaughtering whoever they feel like slaughtering. It’s going on in all continents throughout the world.

We may well be a particularly disgusting example of refugee rejection, but we are hardly alone. Until the international community gets together and fixes the problems that are driving people out of their native lands seeking refuge anywhere, no matter how improbable the likelihood of their succeeding, it will never end. Are we, as a nation, being less compassionate and meaner-spirited than other nations?

Refugees no one wants

Probably. I am pretty sure we are the only country jailing children.

It’s a matter of degree. Moreover, we seem to be the only place in the western hemisphere to which the refugees are headed. Where is Canada? Where are the other countries in South America? Where are the Europeans, Asians, and everyone else? Are they opening their borders?

I know we have a hateful, bigoted president who should never have been elected and I’m proud to say I didn’t vote for him, would never vote for him or anyone like him. But this current frenzy didn’t start because Trump is the president. It has been building for years and no one has had any idea how to fix it.

The bottom line is making the countries from which all these people are fleeing habitable and safe for them. Until we can make that happen, the problem will persist without remission. Maybe our next president won’t jail children, but he won’t be inviting the refugees into this country either.

The triangle of desperation

Obama deported many immigrants. Millions of them. He was just a nicer guy than Donzo. But he didn’t want them either. No one at the helm of this country — or any country — will allow millions of destitute refugees into their country.

They may be nicer about how they say no, but they will say no.

THE LAST DICTATOR – WHEN CHARLIE CHAPLIN TOOK A STAND – Marilyn Armstrong

The Final Speech from The Great Dictator

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone – if possible – Jew, Gentile – black man – white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world, there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost …

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men – cries out for universal brotherhood – for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women, and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St. Luke it is written: “The Kingdom of God is within man.” Not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you!

You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Final speech from The Great Dictator Copyright © Roy Export S.A.S. All rights reserved.


The Great Dictator was Chaplin’s first film with dialogue. Chaplin plays both a little Jewish barber, living in the ghetto, and Hynkel, the dictator ruler of Tomainia. In his autobiography, Chaplin quotes himself as having said: “One doesn’t have to be a Jew to be anti-Nazi. All one has to be is a normal decent human being.”

For RDP-Sunday-HELP

The Big Lies: Trump Unable to Stop Coal Industry Death Spiral – THE SHINBONE STAR – A Reblog

I keep hearing how Trump has accomplished so much. What, exactly, has he accomplished other than giving rich people more money which many of them didn’t need or even want?


 

THE SHINBONE STAR

EDITOR’S NOTE: Wise newspapermen and newspaperwomen always leave themselves an out, and so it was with us when we announced our summer vacation. We said we might be back sooner than our announced return of July 4 if events warranted, and so it has come to pass that (at least) one of our scribes has gotten a bellyful of Trump and decided he just had to write about it. And so The Shinbone Star is back, if a bit irregularly at first. It may still take awhile before this old engine is cranking, but here we go!

* * *

During the run-up to the 2020 presidential sweepstakes The Shinbone Star will highlight Big Lies uttered and promoted by the current occupant of the White House that hurt the working men and women of America. Today we tackle Donald’s boastful lies that he was going to put the country’s…

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