Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bread and circuses

Louisiana’s big media are devoting about as much time and space to the fate of Louisiana State University’s head football coach, Les Miles, as they have to the recent gubernatorial election. Reports on the and New Orleans Advocate websites seem as sharply divided about whether Miles will stay or go or be forced to go as are the commenters after the Tigers’ game today against Texas A&M.

Here is some perspective from someone who when to LSU in the early- to mid-1960s.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Never again?" I am not so sure

It is no doubt irrelevant that I’ve been struggling all day to write this. But write this I must. You see, Donald Trump and the Republican Party have taken an ugly and dangerous turn and in in doing so demands that it and its leaders be called out.

I am always cautious about playing the Nazi card in political discourse. Here’s why: To associate a minor politician and political stupidity with Hitler trivializes the Holocaust. And, oddly, were it not for the Holocaust, I wouldn’t be here. The parts of my family that gave birth to me and my cousins made it out of Europe alive, though not without scars. Other members of the extended family also made it out of Europe — through the smokestacks. While some refugees have said “Never again,” and still believe that, I think my refugee parents thought it could happen again. I have come to understand that those beliefs could informed their decision to suppress their Judaism and raise my brother and me as Christians.

But I am watching Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott and their supporters replicate the behavior in Germany leading up to the Holocaust. Trump, of course, is leading the charge, sounding more like Hitler each passing day.

As the NewYork Times put it, “If it’s a lie too vile to utter aloud, count on Mr. Trump to say it, often.”

Cruz sounds less like Hitler and more like Joseph McCarthy. And Abbott? More like Himmler or Goebbels, only so stupid as to bring more derision to Texas.

Other Republicans and their followers are also echoing Germany in the mid-1930s — standing by and saying nothing. Where are the statements from John Cornyn, Kel Seliger and Four Price and others loudly repudiating the racist comment and outright lies? Yes, lies. They and others should be loudly and clearly repudiate Trump’s labeling, called for a database and the lies about American Muslims cheering as the World Trade Center Towers fell. Or, that he witnessed people falling from the towers during 9-11 from his apartment four miles away. Or, his supporters pummeling a black man at one of his rallies and Trump supporting such criminal behavior.

Demonizing others and turning a presidential primary into a hate-fest doesn’t address the public policy issues of this country. It raises a specter. “Never again?” I am not so sure.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Lightweight Journalism

A couple of weeks ago, a website specializing in covering government, feted the upheaval at Amarillo’s City Hall. The so-called reporter didn’t do any original reporting. He used all secondary sources, including the local propaganda sheet also known as the Amarillo Globe-News.

Of course, in doing so, he perpetuated the local propaganda favoring the Wallace Bajjali-inspire downtown plan, but he also overlooked the entire back story, a legitimate shift in power and direction at Amarillo City Hall. I wrote him the following email: