Month: May 2020

LaBoyteaux 2020–The George Floyd Protests

I put up this web site in the summer of 2017, during the wheat harvest.  I’ve talked about the cruelty of President Trump’s immigration policies and the repeated tragedies of mass shootings.  I’ve talked about racism a few times and called out some of President Trump’s apparently racist statements.  But I never talked about Trevon Martin, Michael Brown, Philando Castile and others.  I never talked about systematic racism or the failures of our justice system regarding people of color.  I failed to do that.

As president, if I could, now, I would go to the site of George Floyd’s death and pray with his family and community.  I would talk about training police to de-escalate situations where there is no imminent harm to others.  I would try to remind a divided nation about the promise of our country, that all men are created equal and endowed with unalienable rights.  I would not be silent, I would do all I could to bring peace and healing.

I will have more to say about the rioting and looting.  For now, the above is enough.

Tuesday morning now after first posting this two days ago.  Living in a rural area, my community has not been caught up in the rioting and looting associated with the protests.  Terrance Floyd quoted this morning saying his brother, “would not want ya’ll to be doing this”, referring to violent protesters.  A simple statement so far beyond the “bitterness, combativeness and self-interest”  of President Trump.

As president I don’t have any problem with non-violent protestors on Pennsylvania Avenue near the White House or Lafayette Park.  To all accounts the protestors swept from these areas yesterday by Federal Police were non-violent.  I don’t need to be talking about vicious dogs, weapons and “dominance”.  Although I am not a formally religious person, stopping to pray in these times is needed and I would ask the protestors to pray with me.  Prayers for George Floyd, prayers for our country, prayers for equality and justice.

(quote–Diana Butler Bass)

I  support the use of local National Guard troops, when requested by local government  to help stabilize these situations while police try to arrest arsonists and looters.  I am opposed to use of the Insurrection Act or the use of active duty military to contain or control protestors and I thank Secretary Esper, General Mattis and others for calling this out..  I commend statements by all past presidents acknowledging systemic racism and calling for change.

“As an Episcopalian, I was mortified by the use of one of my denomination’s churches as a backdrop for President Trump’s call for a military crackdown,” wrote author Diana Butler Bass. “As a Christian, I was shocked when he brandished a book of love to sanction violence against American citizens. As a person of faith, I was offended as he made God as a prop, seeking to further divide the nation into tribes of righteous followers versus heathen protesters. And, as a human being I was appalled to watch Trump — with his history of bigotry and racism — cloak himself in a mantle of faith.”

(quote–Colin Powell

“We have a Constitution. We have to follow that Constitution. And the president’s drifted away from it. I’m so proud of what these generals and admirals have done and others have done.”

“I think he has been not an effective president. He lies all the time. He began lying the day of the inauguration when we got into an argument about the size of the crowd that was there. People are writing books about his favorite thing of lying. And I don’t think that’s in our interest,” Powell said.

(quote–James Mattis

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis writes. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.” He goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis writes. “We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LaBoyteaux 2020–Memorial Day Weekend

How many have given their lives to protect and maintain our country and democracy?  We remember and honor them all today.  “That this nation, under God, may have a new birth of freedom and the government of the people, by the people and for the people will not perish from this earth”  Abraham Lincoln.

This weekend President Trump appeared to order the reopening of churches contrary to Covid-19 restrictions in many states.  It is questionable that he can do so because he had previously ceded these authorities to the states, but that does not prevent political posturing.  A Federal Court in California ruled against a group of churches seeking to resume in person services, finding that the Covid-19 restrictions addressed all large gatherings and did not specifically discriminate against religion.

First I want to give a big shout out and thank you to those ministers and religious leaders who have found ways to conduct services which maintain social distancing.  Whether “on line” services or something as creative as renting the drive-in movies and placing church goers in every other parking place.  We are nearing 100,000 deaths from Covid-19 but for many Americans it seems distant.  If we were talking about something as lethal as the Ebola virus, we probably would not even be having this discussion.

My message to all Americans this weekend is do not let down your guard about Covid-19.  The virus is still out there.  It is still killing people.  It can be transmitted as easily as having a normal conversation with an infected person, even an infected person who is not showing symptoms.  Cases have jumped up again in some locations.  And I ask all Americans, if you are in an establishment that requires masks, take care of yourself and be considerate of others, wear a mask.

Speaking at the Ford plant in Michigan, President Trump declared that he would not shut down the country again even if there is a second wave of Covid-19.  More political posturing.  Again, he ceded that authority to the states, which is probably good since the individual states are very different and not equally impacted by Covid-19.  However his words are about leadership and minimizing the seriousness of this virus, as I mentioned previously, contains a calculus of death.  I urge all Americans to maintain your guard and shelter in place as needed, even as I work to safely reopen business and industry.

In another absurdity, President Trump this week claimed that states sending out absentee ballot applications were breaking the law and inviting massive voter fraud.  Voter fraud is very uncommon and the President, like the Russian bots, is pushing fear and lack of confidence in our election system.  The Republican Party is suing California to prevent voting by mail, Mitch McConnell is blocking vote by mail legislation, some locations are making it more difficult for people to vote in person (less polling places) and the continuing issue of redistricting.  Voter suppression is real and a political strategy.

 

 

 

 

 

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LaBoyteaux 2020–Witches Cauldron

In today’s witches cauldron of Covid-19 and partisan politics my thoughts are also with the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Calvin Monerlyn, the missing children in Idaho and countless other needless tragedies.

No one conspired to bring down the economy and cause massive unemployment but denial and trying to pretend Covid-19 is not still with us is a failure of leadership.  Avoiding more testing, not wearing a mask when others are asked to do so, refusing the reopening recommendations of the Center for Disease Control, firing inspectors generals, telling Dr. Fauci he cannot testify in the House of Representatives, the blame game with China, all a continuing and complete failure of leadership.

The Senate and House of Representatives are exactly the representatives of the people of the United States.  Refusing testimony and withholding information disrespects our nation, our people and is beyond failure of leadership.  President Trump and claimed executive privilege over the entirety of the Mueller Report, so how are we to know about the lies which Michael Flynn admitted.  What happened to John Bolton’s book?

Multiple states are trying to expand vote by mail options so people don’t have to risk Covid-19 by going to crowded polling places.  The Republican Party is spending millions to prevent this while Trump is claiming voter fraud.  We’ve had absentee balloting forever.  There is no widespread fraud, usually single digits if at all.  Voter suppression is part of the Republican strategy, to hell with democracy and encouraging people to vote.  And Mitch still won’t move legislation in the Senate to address foreign meddling in our election, which Trump still claims was a hoax.

There didn’t need to be any collusion, the Russians were doing the job for him anyway.  All he had to do was make nice with Putin.  His campaign staff knew it was happening, knew it might help them, did nothing to stop it while having multiple contacts with the Russians including Michael Flynn and the Russian Ambassador.

 

 

 

 

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LaBoyteaux 2020-Thanks George

Yesterday former President George W. Bush called for a non-partisan response to Coronavirus, I’ve been trying to find the words.

Dr. Brix described the demonstrations at the State Capital in Michigan, with guns and Trump flags, as “devastatingly worrisome”.  It looked like a choreographed campaign rally to me and President Trump cannot or will not stop encouraging them while admitting this morning that Covid-19 deaths could go over 90,000.  Thank you George W for pointing out what presidential leadership should look like in this crisis.

Even if the assistance checks were enough, which they are not, the country cannot continue long with business and industry shut down. We have to find a way to gradually and safely move forward.  However the President cannot restrain himself and keep politics out of it.

This is a very contagious disease.  You can catch it just by talking to someone at a normal distance.  It can be spread by people who have no symptoms themselves.  It is not the flu.  65,000 have died in this country and not all have been old or infirm.  Some shake it off while others become extremely ill or die.

In Trump’s rush to reopen the country, there is a calculus of death, some of us will have to be sacrificed.  If we cannot stop more deaths we can damn well try!  Stop talking at cross purposes.

 

 

 

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