Posts from Carl Davidson

Mueller Hearing Not Enough for Impeachment

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

It will take more than the Mueller Hearing to Impeach Trump.

That’s my conclusion from watching the Mueller hearing and the ensuing commentary. I'm one who believes that when it comes to high crimes and misdemeanors, Trump is guilty as sin. But that's because I've not only read “The Report,” I've also dug into a lot more, beyond the parameters imposed on the Special Prosecutor and his team. Trump, for example, has been laundering billons for Russian oligarchs for decades, ever since his Atlantic City casinos went bust. But these kinds of facts, along with Trump’s tax returns, are supposed to be out of bounds.

Likewise. Mueller placed himself in a self-constricted box ahead of time, saying his testimony would be limited by the “four corners” of the report. This left his GOP inquisitors free to rant and rave unchallenged except defensively. Mueller had restrictions; they didn't.

There's one way it could be overcome. It just requires every adult citizen to read the 448-page Mueller Report for themselves. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. One reason among many is that Trump's button-pushing daily spectacles put up a smokescreen. He wants us to ignore the crisis caused by his tariffs or embrace his policy of cruelty toward people at our borders seeking safety and work.

Trump's latest bizarre assertion, that Article Two of the Constitution means he “can do whatever I want,” is reason enough for an impeachment hearing. Article Two does the exact opposite, defining any number of things a U.S. president cannot do. This is the voice of a tyrannical autocrat, and dealing with it put us in a situation that is not going to end well. We are in uncharted territory where normal gets redefined every day.

Probably a third of the country would like to see Trump impeached. The NAACP national convention a few days ago called for it unanimously. Another third want to see him re-elected no matter what he says or does, some because they give his racism a pass and cling to his promises; others because they have been enclosed in Trump's fascistic, anti-Constitutional bubble. This means the battles continue to get him out, by an election or impeachment, whichever comes first. But this is not a spectator sport. If you're not already engaged, the time to start is now.

 

What Marco Rubio Gets Completely Wrong

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

In defending Donald Trump against the critique of nationalism offered by French President Emmanuel Macron, the Florida Senator came up with this in the Nov. 14 Wall Street Journal:

“What makes America exceptional is that our values are built into our national identity. While we have never been completely true to our founding ideas, for more than two centuries each generation has fought and succeeded to move us closer to them.”

Our values are indeed built into our national identity, but Rubio refuses to look at the whole panorama, especially the dominant and the prolonged. And he soft-pedals the problematic. He adds:

“Americans are the children of pilgrims, immigrants, and slaves. It is in our DNA to confront great challenges and achieve great things against great odds. Patriotism is the love of this national inheritance—not just the freedom and equality that our inheritance makes possible.”

This is a story we like to tell ourselves and our children. We like to put it in speeches on the 4th, and on Veterans and Memorial Day. It’s supposed to make us proud and bring us together.

But I think we do better with the sterner stuff: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Take “children of pilgrims,” a fancy term for early settlers in New England. I’m one. My 10th GGrandfather, Francis Goole, served as an officer in Miles Standish’s militia. The ‘pilgrims’ were seeking ‘religious freedom’ to set up tyrannical little theocracies that the English and Dutch were sick of back home, then seizing lands of the Wessagusset tribes here. Next they stole their corn, murdered their leaders, and drove them away. They also waged war on the Peuqots, capturing some 700 of them, and sold them to captains of slave ships headed for the West Indians. This same story can be repeated perhaps a thousand times, over 200 years, all the way to California.

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Why Are We Blind to a Signal of Distress?

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

In the view of many NFL fans upset with some players, the Flag represents the country and the sacrifices made for it. The Athemn does the same (although it’s good we’ve come to skip the next verse favoring slave catching). 

But what is country? In most of the world, it’s blood and soil, kith and kin. Not so here. We’re a bit different, and given our diverse roots, we have no common kith and kin, and the ‘blood and soil’ part only applies to the Native peoples who arrived here about 20,000 years before us. 

What makes us E Pluribus, Unum, ‘out of many, one,’ is a Creed. The Creed is fairly solid but a bit vague a times, and it’s meaning shifts. It has two documents. One is the Declaration, mostly an assertion of natural law. The other is the Constitution, a setting down of positive law, but one that gets changed with new Amendments. 

We could, I suppose, add the Pledge we said at school, written by a socialist to bring us together after the Civil War. (But that 'liberty and justice for all’ part? Who is 'All?’ ) And we could add Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, that defined us as a single nation, THE United States, not THESE United States, as was the earlier usage. More could be added, but I think these would be acceptable to all save for the Native Peoples, especially since Lincoln sent troops to wipe them out after Lee’s surrender.

Or so people say when these icons of the Creed come up. What I’ve found troublesome since Trump, is how often both he and some of his partisans take stands that oppose our Creed. I’ve had several people tell me immigrants have no rights, only citizens have rights. That is quite un-American in one sense because our Creed holds that rights are universal. We have them because we’re human. No government gives them to us, although governments may defend them or try to take them away at times. 

Some will say I’m wrong, that the 'original intent’ was that no Black (or Native or female) person had any rights a white man was bound to respect. But for the 14th Amendment, they might have a case. Still, it gets very dicey. Some today might argue that NFL players had no rights we were bound to respect, and like Dred Scott, their ability to say for themselves what they mean by their actions doesn’t count. Like Scott, their testimony is barred. 'Shut up and play!’ 

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There Has to be More to It than Guns

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

I’m for stricter gun regulations. I’m also a 2nd Amendment guy on the left. I worry about the armed militias of the right, and how to defend innocent life. 

But this picture shows we have a far deeper problem. My guess is it has to do with a dying culture of empire, slavery and conquest. 

In polarized end times, when no force has a firm grip, Gramsci warned us that morbid symptoms appear. Today teenagers whose narrow lifeworld is a school and video game screens, within which they suffer from a toxic masculinity, would be an example. After Columbine, it’s what a Chicago psychologist, Carl Bell,  dubbed the ‘white male entitlement disorder.’  The old supremacies are crumbling, but new relationships of solidarity, mutual aid and respect have yet to take deep root.

My gang in a working-class Western PA high school back in the late 1950s wore long black trench coats, mainly in the colder months. We were alienated from the dominant culture. We imagined ourselves in those days as some combination of 'Cools’–cool jazz fans, cool pool players like Cool Hand Luke, cool lovers like Bogie and Bacall, cool like the Pachuco Zoot Suiters. 

We had fights, but none all that serious. Mostly over our budding mental patriarchy concerning girls, (who 'belonged’ to whom). As to weapons, our dream was to get our hands on a real switchblade.  But no luck. They were illegal in our state. (Regulations do work at times) We didn’t think about guns, even though many of us had them as hunting gear at home. To me, guns seemed a cheap unfair advantage. Real men fought it out with their hands.

We made fun of other cliques. But I don’t think we ever denied their humanity. Even in our alienation, we had conscience. And if not family, we had older men around us–steelworkers, WW2 and Korea vets, skilled mechanics–that set a moral boundary of existential responsibility that we might challenge (some boundaries weren’t so moral, i.e., the color line), but we still knew when to stop. We hadn’t given up on ourselves for the sake of some warped internal rage for revenge.

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Analysis of the Trump Meltdown

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

Hillary Clinton cleaned Donald Trump’s clock Monday night, at least in terms of rational debate. But politics is also about the irrational, so the Democrats and their tactical allies still need to double down on their efforts in the next six weeks.

First, Trump doesn’t seem to know that assertions are no substitute for arguments. He can carry on about how he’ll ‘bring jobs back’ all he wants, but he never says how. HRC presented a package essentially for a high tech manufacturing, green New Deal industrial policy (borrowed from Sanders and Stein, to be fair) that actually would make sense. The closest Trump comes is to hint at tariffs, which would raise consumer prices at the cost for those jobs.

But here’s the rub. Take the birther stuff. No rational person believes that Obama’s mother, while taking a flight to Kenya to have her baby, also rigged the Honolulu hospital and newspaper records back then to show he was born there so that one day he might be POTUS.

So what do all those who support Trump’s claim really mean? It is simply that Obama is an African American, and as such, it was bad politics that he broke the color line to the Oval Office. This can be said in private, but not in public, at least most times. The  birther movement, fueled by Trump for years, was meant to ‘correct’ it by de-legitimizing Obama's election or, at least, by compelling Obama to display deference to the alpha white male.

And that is exactly what Trump did last night with his bombast about how it was HE that compelled Obama to show his papers.

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United States vs. Red States

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

United States vs. Red States

President Barack Obama's 8th and final State of the Union message accomplished two tasks. First, he revisited and reaffirmed the original political vision that got him elected and re-elected. Second, he painted in broad strokes the outline of a political platform that would attempt to block the rise of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or anyone expressing that form of virulent rightwing populism and warmongering.

On the first task, Obama updated the scope and content of his original political niche, a variant of neoKeynesian economics with a green, high tech twist, while, internationally, representing a globalist multipolarism within the bounds of Empire. Obama's legacy, of course, is that he was unable to accomplish much of what he believed in or wanted. He was blocked by two factors.

One was his own flawed assumption that his opposition was rational and open to compromise, a view that he has yet to completely discard. The other was the hijacking of the House of Representatives by the so-called 'Freedom Caucus,' a cabal of far right Republicans dead set on opposing anything, positive or negative, simply because Obama favored it, and combined this with a racist view of Obama as an alien Marxist-Muslim usurper.

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Two Cents on the GOP “Debates”

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

Philosophy, story-telling and the politics of irrationalism—those are the three interesting features that stood out in the Nov. 10 GOP presidential debate in Milwaukee.

The eight candidates, in the course of free-for-all argument, fell out into three clusters—front runners Donald Trump and Ben Carson as the rightwing populists, a second string of Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz as the Neocon hawks, and the third tier of Jeb Bush, Rand Paul and John Kasich as an odd lot of more traditional Republicans from an earlier age.

I wouldn’t pick out any clear winners or losers in this round. Everyone more or less managed to maintain their current status in the pecking orders set up by the pollsters. There were no knockout blows or major failures, at least in their own terms. Nor was there any sustained revolt against the moderators.

But one early comment by Rubio got my juices flowing. Speaking about vocational education, he said that welders make more money than philosophers, and thus we need more welders. Of course, with my degree in philosophy and my certifications as a computer hardware tech, if not as a welder, I have some skin in this matter. First, the country already has far more welders than philosophers, with the latter hardly being able to maintain small niches in the universities. Shrink them any more, and you’ll have to go abroad to study the subject. Second, every job I’ve ever had has been enhanced by the critical thinking skills I gained as a philosophy student.

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What Makes ‘The Donald’ Special and Dangerous

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

Donald Trump is a unique guy in many ways—goofy hair, a four-time boom-and-bust devotee of our bankruptcy laws, and a multi-billionaire able to run for president on his own bank account.

My Dad, rest his soul, used to have a kind word for candidates like this. In his day, it was a Rockefeller. ‘At least you know he can’t be bought. He’s the one that does the buying.’

But here’s one item that takes the cake. If you visit Trump’s presidential-run web site, at least today, at donaldjtrump.com, you may notice something interesting.

There’s no ‘issues’ tab to click.

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Bernie Sanders Lights a Fire under Pennsylvania Democrats at Keystone Progress’s Annual Summit in Harrisburg

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

Bernie Sanders Lights a Fire under Pennsylvania Democrats at Keystone Progress’s Annual Summit in Harrisburg

If the vote were taken for the Democratic presidential candidate at the Harrisburg Hilton on Saturday, Feb. 7, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont, would likely have won by a landslide.

That was the spirit in the hotel ballroom as Sanders addressed the 800 people gathered for the PA Progressive Summit. The annual meeting, sponsored by Keystone Progress, brought together progressive activists—community and trade union organizers, women’s and civil rights groups, hopeful candidates and door knockers – all of whom make up the democratic wing of the Democratic Party – from all across the Keystone State.

“I’m going to try something a little different this morning,” said Sanders to start things rolling, “I’m going to tell you the truth.” He got a wave of laughter and cheers from people who often got something else from politicians.

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The Divisive Meme of the Middle Class

Carl Davidson

Carl Davidson Author and Writer, Beaver County Blue

The Divisive Meme of the Middle Class

I hate the middle class. Not the people who think that’s what they are, of course, but the term itself, and all of the elastic meanings one can give it.

Growing up in blue collar Western Pennsylvania as young greasers back in the late 1950s, we thought we were middle class, as opposed to the blacks or the ‘white trash’ poor hidden in the rural hollows. We actually weren’t, but we didn’t know it.

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Union Matters

California Protects Precariat Workers

From the AFL-CIO

In a historic win for California’s workers, the California Legislature approved a bill Sept. 13 that makes the misclassification of employees as independent contractors more difficult.

Sponsored by the California Labor Federation, Assembly Bill 5 codifies and expands on a 2018 California Supreme Court decision.

The bill also will help curb the rampant exploitation of workers by unscrupulous employers and give California’s working people the basic rights and protections we all deserve. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign the bill into law.

 “The time is up for unscrupulous employers who claim their workers are ‘independent’ in order to cut corners on costs,”  California Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez said about A.B. 5

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Thank a Union

Thank a Union