Biden Better Defund the Capitol Police + Do a Mulvaney, Now Please

Boy, was I not thinking.  I turned on the mainstream television news yesterday.  It was hard not to.  The images.*

I don’t know the details yet (the Capitol police are taking their time), but listening to them explain, I have to wonder, “Where were you?”  Then, after 6 PM, how did they clear the Capitol so fast? It’s collusion, of course.  Selfies between the police and the Trump mob say it all. 

Defund the Capitol Police, Biden, for sure. If you can’t protect the Capitol, where you served most of your career, who are you?

By evening, when ABC and CBS were calling the pro-authoritarian, racist, misogynist white supremacists “anarchists” — anarchists,of all things — I went to sleep in defeat.  Being a PwD will sadly do that.

Still, I am a mother, and a teacher of graduate students. I’ve spent my entire career in the only public university that is truly public — CUNY.  This means we teach the very best.  As a result, I’ve had a running argumentative discourse with my sons and with more than one fantastic seminar I taught several times called Contemporary American Political Thought. “Contemporary” means alive.**  And this semester I’m teaching a hybrid version of it under a new name — Women of Color Impacting Politics.

I call it WIP for short, since women of color are included in the larger category of women, and it’s only women of color (which I like to think of as women and) or politicians who have at least two identities that put targets on their backs, like AOC and the rest of the Squad. 

WIP differs from my other seminar, Power, Resistance, Identities and Social Movements (PRISM)***. None of that came to pass after Occupy Wall Street, so I retooled it, though not until I first went out to the more radical campuses led by sociologists to hear what the 18-year-olds had to say about the political time we all occupy — and not before I finally got to team teach with DP David Waldstreicher, a scholar not only of history but of American Studies too boot.

What’s the difference between the two?  The latter seminar looks at social movements, whereas the former spends more time on the only political thought exported to Europe, as well as other nations that are active, such as Greece and a few more. More importantly, though, it shows the way for all those with energy to run for office — the flag wavers.  

There are a tiny few in American politics, such as AOC, who, along with the aspirational Green New Deal and the Squad, are not leading the way, they are flagging it.  Their teeny-tiny foothold in federal government has its consequences.  They constitute the hopeful 1 percenters in this country.  Sure, they can’t pass legislation, let alone a policy like the Green New Deal. That’s not why they’re there. They’re doing flag duty.

As that 1 percent in the House of Representatives, they are flagging the way to the fortress of American political representation — Congress.  Not the Senate, but the House of Representatives, through which — if the corporate capitalist Democrats and Republicans had not been Tweedledee and Tweedledum for so many decades, with the highlight expressed in the 1924 GOP and Democratic platforms that included the KKK, delaying the New Deal for sure, but only by four years — we would have had a different country, a different New Deal.

Now is the moment of truth.  The mob descended. And they took selfies with the Capitol police. What more indictment do we need than that? Biden, better defund the Capitol Police.

You can’t blame Trump for lighting the match, or can you? Well, if you do, quit.  And quit today. Don’t delay.  Stop being complicit in the GOP executive-branch machine.

Trump did not do this alone. I can’t hear that explanation one more time without demanding that all conservatives go back to class — civics, that is.  It’s absurd when the executive branch has more than 4,000 partisan positions alone that have to be vetted and go before the Senate.  Come on. That logic defies credibility in a country of almost 400 million.  We have institutions, national ones at that, that deserve better protection from the police.

*Cleveland Lovett, one of my very best undergraduates that Bard College enticed away from the CUNY Bac program, is playing outside Hannah Arendt’s house.  He understands not only Arendt’s The Human Condition but the triangulation of discrimination, public health, and jazz (or music in general) in New York.  Plus the flood of memories from running errands from hall to hall in the Capitol for two summers and as many months from my junior year until I went off to college.  (Then of course I selected a college with “men” in the title as a youthful rebellion against my mom, who insisted that I come back to California — and could apply and go anywhere except her alma mater, Berkeley, or the university that harmed one of her most beloved cousins, Stanford.). If I was going into politics, where better than into the belly of the beast?  She raised me as a fierce feminist, more by her doings than by her sayings, to be sure.    

**This led to my second solo book series, called Heretical Thought.  Here the bottom line is if you don’t have a fatwa or aren’t in danger of being burned at the stake — or, like me, don’t like to open hate mail or have groups like the Weasel Zippers after you, going so far as to send people to the 92nd Street Y when my Obama book came out — then your ideas are not seismic enough. Gerry Martini was one of the most insightful members of this seminar, as I recall.#

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These posts reflect my original interest in American politics, history and political theory broadly cast. I’m interested in exploring the nexus between American Political Development (APD) and American Political Thought (APT) as well as American Studies and Africana Studies or all regional “studies,” including working with Gajo Petrovic a leader in Praxis published in the former Yugoslavia.

This was the reason I stayed in politics for my Ph.D. rather than leaving for law school, history, sociology or business school as faculty kept trying to convince me to do in undergraduate and graduate school after spending a gap year reading Heidegger’s Being and Time with University of Zagreb philosophy professor Gajo Petrovic, who spent time at IAS and working with the author of the former Yugoslavian Constitution, the one that stuck — written in the 1970s.  The latter scholar attended the Sorbonne in the 1930s and ended his career as the Dean of the best law school in Belgrade.  In the 1980s the Fulbright funded his scholarship on Jefferson at Claremont Graduate School.  I worked with him for my B.A. thesis on Marx, existentialism, phenomenology and Yugoslavian self-management supervised by Claremont Men’s College’s public law professor Winston Fisk.

Waiting for the 5:30 AM news to drop

I realize that A.O.C. tells it like it is. And putting it in a perverse way, we can ask if Trump’s 750 dollars he surrenders on federal court taxes or the I.R.S. will be the last straw? I dunno.

image of old building on american banknote
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

I did get one of my friends to laugh when I suggested we all pitch in — a 10-person pod — and pay his taxes this year. Think about it, wouldn’t that be fun?

Another way to look at it is that for all the white supremacy that is being mentioned and discussed, in the end, Trump has not passed any anti-Civil Rights legislation. To be sure, he has destroyed the lives of so many children and their parents who cross borders. But he has passed no legislation other than tax reform.

Yet do “the people” care? Trump will most likely prevail with getting his Supreme Court nominee on the bench. This is another nail in the coffin of a country that has lacked a national agenda, not just national leaders who reflect what most people want.

At the beginning of the millennium, the Rehnquist Court rolled back the extent of federal authority with little notice. The Court limited the central government’s reach, giving more rights to people wanting guns but not helping those PwD (read: people with disabilities) and women who need protection from violence.

Putting her on the bench will have a long-lasting effect, long past my years. But as A.O.C. just said, maybe we “deserve to decline.”

As one vote of 435, she has little power other than as a national spokesperson. She unpacks issues like intersectionality very well and has enraged the “progressive” Democrats as much as or more than Republicans. A.O.C. is closing the age gap.

So it seems to me that Separation of Powers no longer works. There are not three equal branches sharing powers. Nor is there one branch, like a unitary executive that can get much done. What we can see looking at the 20th and 21st centuries is that the U.S. government functions well only if a President is a national representative and does not rig the Supreme Court.

This joining of the Presidency and the Judiciary is toxic. The President should lead Congress or defer to Congress without the Judiciary striking down legislation on issues like gun control, violence against women, and protection of persons with disabilities.#

Bound West Three Years Ago

Eugenics 101 more than a centennial earlier, now that we’ve Eugenics.2.o under Anti-Presidency President Trump. Visiting Yellowstone brought back all the memories about how many presidents, let alone social movement leaders from Teddy Roosevelt to Oliver Wendall Holmes (Buck v. Bell, “Three generations of imbeciles is enough” in 1927 and Margaret Sanger of Planned Parent (sterilize the poor immigrants) to Charlotte Perkins Gilman short story – Yellow Wall Paper pitting progressive to radical white women against women of all colors.

Buying and reading “Alice Roosevelt Longgworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker” by Stacy Cordery got me thinking about how her bitterness was reserved not for eugenics but her father on a personal level. Surprise, surprise TR and his New Nationalism were reminiscent of the Anti-Presidency President Trump. Trump’s new nationalism is a bit scarier. While his neglect of Alice reveals his sexism, misogyny and “tough” love which is really code for hating all those who are weak – and not privileged (i.e. SLAMs, SCAMs and SLIMs) Indeed Mary Trump gives evidence of her Uncle Donald’s perversity since in the way he treated his mom, who broke bones all the times, spent alot of it in a hospital bed in their house and in hospitals shows where all his ugly neos and isms come from. Teddy, at least, got his own body in shape. Is this better, I wonder?

#portlandprotest quick observations morning after (an august August)

While the city on the Columbia River is still sleeping, check out #portlandprotest photos from last night in July 31 to August 1, 2020 morning.
Quick Observations: Maybe Trump could learn a thing or two from the mail in Oregon (ballot-box mail). The name Pioneer Court sounds odd, but that’s if you’re coming from Manhattan. Oregon had an overtly racist state Constitution that was never tested in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Also, so what if the mayor got hit with a bit of pepper spray or tear gas? City Hall is literally across the street and one park away from the three federal buildings. So basically it means Mayor Ted Wheeler went outside City Hall. Wish I knew that before heading West.
#portlandprotest The Apple and Louis Vuitton luggage stores seem to want to have it all, upset about the loss of their goods but now letting #portlandprotest decorate their empty store fronts. Is this so Apple left-libertarians like Tim Cook or the late Steve Jobs couldn’t relate, or since they can’t relate?
I remember reading that in 2000 Matt Bai shows that they spent virtually nothing on lobbying and now 2020 they spend more than oil and gas lobbyists. Where is Christopher Buckley when you need him to update his movie?