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Year of the Plague – 23 – “Trump Is Flailing Like An Overturned Turtle? “A Tipping Point?”

June 8, 2020

Denverites – thousands of them demonstrating against the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and for radical social change in America. (Photo Credit – Ben Harnke)

There is a story about an Arab general more than a millennium ago who died just prior to battle against a foe. Fearing that word of his death might discourage the troops, his adjutants put make up on the corpse, tied him to a board behind his back, flung him on his horse, kicked the horse into the midst of the battle. The enemy was defeated.

Joe Biden isn’t dead yet, only close.

But the Biden bid to defeat Trump has the momentum of a dead dodo bird. Despite Trump’s colossal political errors, domestically and in foreign policy, and growing splits among his Republican constituency, it’s not at all clear that Biden and the Dems have victory in November in the bag. Far from it.

All this in spite of Donald Trump’s increasing horrific record both as a president and a human being. 

Encouraged by none other than the president of the United States, a police force everywhere in the country gone wild – an orgy of police violence, killings – amidst a COVID-19 virus untamed and still poorly understood….
A president who has actually encouraged right-wing racists and vigilantism while labeling left-wing antifascist movements “terrorist” …
The crudest most vicious president in modern times encouraging right wing fanatics and Christian fundamentalist wackos to savage the population…
A president who suggested that Americans swallow Lysol to address COVID-19 in a country where some were foolish enough to take his advice – and paid the ultimate price…

And yet the demonstrations – multi-racial, multi-class led in large measure by the country’s youth, fighting for a decent future for themselves and their children – get larger and larger. Often police repression snuffs out dissent, but then a socio-political boiling point is reached where repression only makes dissent that much more pronounced, more radical, more determined – and its politics, as diverse as they are, more humane.

And now all over the country, in the midst of police tear gas and rubber bullets targeting protesters eyes and crotches, we are seeing a wave of social reform the likes of which the country has not seen for half a century. Half a century of right-wing think tanks and scenarios to undo the uprisings of the late 1960s and early 1970s collapsing before our eyes. Confederate monuments torn down in southern states; KKK and other racist flags, emblems declared illegal in the US military. Police departments (Minneapolis) being dissolved, others coming under increasing restrictions, whites of all classes and parts of the country demonstrating against the country’s deep and long-standing racist practices with signs of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter; A Denver federal judge in a legal decision calling police violence against peaceful demonstrators “disgusting; If not for fake progressive, Senator Rand Paul, Congress would be passing the first anti-lynching law in U.S. history.”

And all over America state and city legislatures enacting laws to limit police violence. (1)

Here in Colorado, Democrats have introduced “The Colorado Police Reform Bill” stripping the police in the state from immunity from prosecution for rape, murder and committing other crimes. As noted in The Center Square Colorado, “The legislation would require law enforcement departments to fire police officers who plead guilty to or are convicted of unlawfully using force. Officers who fail to intervene when excessive force occurs would also be fired, according to the bill. It would also bar the use of qualified immunity for a legal defense, which has been used to shield law enforcement officers from costly liability lawsuits.”

Getting such legislation introduced a month ago, even with a Democratic dominated state senate, would have been unthinkable.

Have we reached that point, the tipping point?

Jennifer Senior writing in a NY TimesOpinion” piece today thinks we have. “”Trump is flailing like an overturned turtle,” she writes descriptively. I agree.

I have been thinking that  that the level of polarization and tension can not last much longer and that something has to give – either the great social movement or Trump.

Until these last few days my take has been that Trump would decimate Biden – the bottom of the political barrel – in this upcoming election, a situation the responsibility for I place at the feet of the Democratic Party leadership. How could they have chosen such a bland, empty old guard candidate… in many ways literally handing the election to Trump, the logic being here “anyone but Bernie Sanders” (my respect for whom has plummeted since he walked away from the presidential contest, deflating the social movement he had spearheaded).

The strategy of the Democratic Leadership Council – the Clintons et al, and the insurance, real estate, energy and financial elements that run the show behind the scenes – has been to closet Biden as much as possible because every time he opens his mouth he reveals the degree to which he is a national embarrassment – and to let Trump dig his own political grave.

Still a risky strategy with such a weak candidate as Biden confronting Trump. Maybe it will work.

So now Trump has shot himself in the foot twice..first his miserable, embarrassing, utterly cruel and self serving handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. And now his brutal overreaction to the national protests mourning the barbaric – but all too common police murder of George Floyd. In the first case under-reaction and failure to mobilize the state to address the issue – in the second over reaction to a degree that would be comical if not for the human suffering it has cost. In both cases a degree of incompetence, brutally and utter contempt for the common good, and a laughing stock internationally.

Now major splits are emerging in the Republican camp.

Romney marches with Black Lives Matter. How touching! General James Mattis – the butcher of Fallujah who spoke about how he enjoyed killing people, especially if the are Iraqi – has come out openly against Bunker Boy as have a number of other generals, who having no qualms of killing people abroad are squeamish of doing likewise to their fellow citizens state side – at least for now.

In criticizing Trump the general who was careful to leave hardly a building standing in Fallujah, argued that citizens’ rights ” to peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” have been trampled and that Trump has divided the nation and should be held accountable. Mattis spoke of the Trump stewardship of the nation as “three years without mature leadership.”

__________________________________

1.  For those who think that demonstrating is useless – here is a partial list of what one week of demonstrating has accomplished to reverse Trump’s racist policies and counter police racism in general.

List was provided by Masters’ of International Studies – D.U. Korbel – recovering COVID-19 person, about to have her second child, Nico Judd, and the list is already outdated, ie. there have been more reforms. It is, without a doubt, the mass demonstrations which have, despite all odds, resulted in these reforms…

What’s already been won in just over a week!

A RUNNING CROWDSOURCED LIST OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS OR PROGRESS BY 2020 UPRISING SINCE MURDER OF GEORGE FLOYD (5/25):

5/26 – 4 officers fired for murdering George Floyd – Minneapolis, MN
5/28 – Univ of Minn cancels contract with police – Minneapolis, MN
5/28 – 3rd Precinct Police station neutralized by protestors – Minneapolis, MN
5/28 – ATU Local 1005 refuses to bring police officers to the protests, or transport arrested protesters, Minneapolis, MN
5/29 – Activists commandeer hotel to provide shelter to homeless – Minneapolis, MN
5/29 – Officer Chauvin who killed George Floyd arrested – Minneapolis, MN
5/29 – Louisville Mayor suspends “no-knock” warrants in response to police’s 3/12 #BreonnaTaylor killing and subsequent protests – Louisville, KY
5/30 – US Embassies across Africa condemn police murder of George Floyd – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo
5/30 – MN AG Ellison takes over prosecution of the murdering officer (and possibly the other officers) – Minneapolis, MN
5/30 – TWU Local 100 Bus Operators refuses to transport arrested protestors – NYC, NY
5/31 – 2 abusive officers fired for pulling a couple out of car and tasing them – Atlanta, GA
6/1 – Minneapolis public schools end contract with police – Minneapolis, MN
6/1 – Confederate Monument removed – Birmingham, AL
6/1 – CA Prosecutors launch campaign to stop DA’s from accepting police union money – CA
6/1 – Tulsa Mayor Bynum agrees to not renew Live PD contract – Tulsa, OK
6/1 – Louisville police chief fired after shooting of #DavidMcatee at BBQ joint – Louisville, KY
6/1 – Confederate statue ordered to be removed – Bentonville, AR
6/1 – Dems and Reps begin push to shut down a Pentagon program that transfers military weaponry to local law enforcement departments – Nationwide
6/2 – Minnesota AFL-CIO calls for the resignation of Bob Kroll, the president of the Minneapolis police union – Minneapolis, MN
6/2 – ATU Local 85 announces refusal to transport police officers or arrested protesters – Pittsburgh, PA
6/2 – Racist Ex-Mayor Rizzo statue removed – Philadelphia, PA
6/2 – 6 abusive officers charged for violence against residents and protestors – Atlanta, GA
6/2 – Confederate soldier statue removed – Alexandria, VA
6/2 – Robert Lee statue removed – Fort Myers, FL
6/2 – Civil Rights investigation of Minneapolis Police Dept launched – Minneapolis, MN
6/2 – Resolution to prevent law enforcement from hiring officers with history of misconduct announced by San Fran DA Boudin and Supervisor Walton – San Francisco, CA
6/2 – Survey indicating 64% of polled sympathetic to protests, and 47% disapprove of police handling + 54% think burning down of precinct fully or partially justified
6/2 – NJ AG announces policing reforms
6/2 – Minneapolis City Council members publicly call for disbanding the police and replace with community-oriented, nonviolent public safety and outreach capacity – Minneapolis, MN
6/3 – 1 officer fired for tweets promoting violence against protestors – Denver, CO
6/3 – Minneapolis Institute of Art, First Avenue, Walker Art Center end use of MPD for events – Minneapolis, MN
6/3 – Officer Chauvin charges upgraded to 2nd Murder, and remaining 3 officers also charged and taken into custody – Minneapolis, MN
6/3 – VA Governor announces removal of Robert E Lee statue – Richmond, VA
6/3 – Richmond VA Mayor Stoney announces RPD reform measures: establish “Marcus” alert for folks experiencing mental health crises, establish independent Citizen Review Board, an ordinance to remove Confederate monuments, and implement racial equity study
6/3 – County commissioners deny proposal for $23 million expansion of Fulton County jail – Atlanta, GA
6/3 – Minneapolis Parks and Recreation cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Dept – Minneapolis, MN
6/3 – US Army tells soldiers to disobey any orders to attack peaceful protestors – Nationwide
6/3 – LA Announces $100-150 million cut from LAPD budget, Reinvested into communities, moratorium on gang database, sharper discipline against abusive cops, in effect immediately – Los Angeles, CA
6/3 – Seattle changes mind and withdraws request to end federal oversight/consent decree of police department – Seattle, WA
6/4 – #BreonnaTaylor case reopened? – Louisville, KY
6/4 – Portland schools superintendent ‘discontinues’ presence of armed police officers in schools – Portland, OR
6/4 – MBTA (Metro Boston) board orders that buses won’t transport police to protests, or protesters to police – Boston, MA
6/4 – King County Labor Federation issue ultimatum to police unions, to admit to and address racism in Seattle PD, or be removed – Seattle, WA
Ongoing – ##? of police vehicles neutralized
Ongoing – ########? people politicized
Ongoing – ########? relationships of solidarity and mutual support formed
(Please suggest any addition updates in above format, and with links if possible)
#UprisingsAreLabor
#MassesMakeHistory
#DefundPolice

One Comment leave one →
  1. Gene Fitzpatrick permalink
    June 8, 2020 4:00 pm

    Chomsky says the Republican Party is “the most dangerous organization in history”. But the second most dangerous, I aver, is the DNC with its criminally noxious foisting of the utterly vacuous Biden on a nation in peril. That Tom Perez and his band of malignant thugs are about to subject the country and the planet to unfathomable harm in the form of four more years of Trump is beyond criminal, beyond forgiving. The tragedy is all the more shameful and vexing when one appreciates that the country has a plethora of wise, aware, highly intelligent, articulate and ethically sound individuals who can in the current political and social milieu handily trounce Trump and restore some element of probity.
    .

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