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COMMENTARY: Was Trump’s ‘Last Stand’ in El Paso Foreshadowing of 2020 Game Plan?

WASHINGTON INFORMER — President Donald Trump leaked word of a late-night tentative agreement on border security.

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By D. Kevin McNeir

Once again, with the showmanship of a veteran ringmaster, President Donald Trump leaked word of a late-night tentative agreement on border security being reached by a 17-member, bipartisan committee Monday — while keeping oddsmakers scrambling as to whether he’ll say, “Deal” or “No Deal.”

But with only days remaining before a Feb. 15 deadline, many Americans, still reeling from the impact of an historic 35-day shutdown, fear that the president will open the floodgates to more unchartered waters and a second partial federal government shutdown.

Nonplussed by deadlines and drama, Trump seemed to have other things on his mind, hinting that he “may” sign off on the latest offer despite being “displeased” — before quickly transforming the “support the wall hoedown” in El Paso Monday evening into a carefully-crafted campaign rally for 2020 bragging rights.

“Just so you know; we’re building the wall anyway,” Trump said, then further promoting his unique blend of hyperbole to which America and the world have grown so accustomed over the course of his two years in office.

“Only 6,500 people are allowed in this arena but thanks to the fire department, we’ve got around 8,000 in here — thousands more are watching outside on closed circuit TVs,” he said.

Terms and Conditions

The terms of the agreement, according to key lawmakers, include $1.37 billion which would pay for 55 miles of new border fencing in the form of steel slats but not a solid wall — far less than the $5.7 billion Trump has sought for more than 200 miles of walls. Democrats compromised by removing their demand for a new cap on immigrants detained in the U.S.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) described the deal as “good news,” adding that it “provides new funds for miles of new border barriers.” He promised to review the finer points of the bill with hopes that the Senate will vote for its approval “in short order.”

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) remained adamant when asked what he believes the president should do.

“These months of shutdown politics must come to an end,” he said.

According to Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), who flew back with the president to the White House following the rally in El Paso, Trump was “reviewing his options” with one possibility still being for the president to transfer money from other programs in order to fund the building for a more expansive wall along the southern border.

Closer to home here in the greater Washington Area, William C. Smith, Jr., a state senator from Montgomery County, also an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve who received orders from the Pentagon to deploy to Afghanistan and must report for duty March 29 (10 days before the last day of the General Assembly on April 8), says he’s kept in touch with Reps. Anthony Brown and Jamie Raskin who represent Maryland in Congress and how Marylanders might suffer, again.

“Maryland is particularly impacted by a shutdown like this because we have a little over 200,000 federal workers. The folks that are non-essential don’t go to work and you have the essential employees who are working for free, essentially. It’s a tremendous impact. There’s also ancillary impact with the local economy. It would be a terrible thing if they can’t get this together and come up with a deal. We will see,” Smith said.

Both the House and Senate must now approve the pending legislation and secure Trump’s signature to avoid the shutdown.

Pitch for Wall Morphs into Old-Fashioned Hoedown

With the sudden turn-of-events, whether by coincidence, providence or the result of chicanery committed at the highest level, Trump aptly abandoned his original script, a plea for the funding of his “wall,” instead touting victories secured under his watch, proposing what he deems to be a “mainstream, nonpartisan agenda” and calling the role of his hard-and-fast “American values, traditions and beliefs which unite us all.”

The throng of staunch supporters who stood for well over two hours — a crowd mostly comprised of white Americans and American families — men, women and children — repeatedly applauded Trump’s boasts, beliefs and promises.

Trump referred to his comments made during the recent State of the Union address during which he says he asked both Democrats and Republicans to “choose greatness.”

“We now have the hottest economy on Earth. We’ve invested $700 billion into the military that was in real trouble, we’re more powerful than we’ve ever been and we’re caring for our warriors. America is winning again,” he said, before citing a list of the many demographics of Americans he’s “proud to be fighting for” — a list that either by error or design, did not include the country’s LGBTQ [sexual orientation] citizens.

“Ours is a mainstream, commonsense agenda that’s good for the American people and moves us in the direction that Americans want to go. We support the dignity of work, the sanctity of life and we encourage faith and family over government bureaucracy. Most of all, we continue to guarantee religious freedom, freedom of speech, the right to bear and keep arms and uncompromised respect for the American flag,” he said.

As the rally drew to a close, Trump shared comments about his mission, perhaps echoing the words White House Press Secretary recently made while on a Christian radio show during which she referred to the president’s election victory being due to the “will of God.”

“Like you [Texans] have done throughout this state’s history, today, we’ve made our stand,” he said. “We’ve come together, millions and millions of people, in numbers never witnessed in history. We’ve come for safety, sovereignty and the sacred rights given to us by the hand of Almighty God.”

“We will make America wealthy, strong, safe and great again.”

Counter-Protest Efforts Fizzle

Trump gave short-shrift to a demonstration numbering hundreds of counterprotesters organized by Women’s March El Paso — a one-mile march past the president’s rally that also took place on Monday night. Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) walked in solidarity, joining scores of civic and human rights organizations determined to counter Trump’s “lies and false narrative about the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Trump said in his recent State of the Union address that El Paso’s border walls helped it become one of the nation’s safest cities. O’Rourke and local leaders dispute Trump’s “facts,” calling them both inaccurate and irrelevant.

Protestors walked through El Paso just before Trump took the stage, chanting “build bridges, not walls” while marching along the border fence that separates the city from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Others hoisted signs that challenged Trump on his notions of immigration including “Trump made America hate again.”

“El Paso is safe not because of walls but in spite of walls,” O’Rourke said during the counter-protest rally.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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Activism

Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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Bay Area

Grieving & Growing: A Healing Garden in West Oakland Is Helping Bereaved Loved Ones Glow Again

As a natural order of the human condition, we cannot escape death. Akin to life and living, death and dying are a part of our journey as spiritual beings having a human experience here on Earth. One thing we know for certain is that we will all lose someone we love or someone who loves us. And, yet still, as natural as death is, the pain and sorrow we endure when losing loved ones is beyond compare and often ridden with heaviness, regret, despair, confusion, guilt, and self-blame.

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Courtesy of Chanae Pickett
Courtesy of Chanae Pickett

By Chanae Pickett

As a natural order of the human condition, we cannot escape death.

Akin to life and living, death and dying are a part of our journey as spiritual beings having a human experience here on Earth. One thing we know for certain is that we will all lose someone we love or someone who loves us. And, yet still, as natural as death is, the pain and sorrow we endure when losing loved ones is beyond compare and often ridden with heaviness, regret, despair, confusion, guilt, and self-blame.

And when our loved ones are taken from us before their predestined time as a result of excessive use of police force, gun violence, homicide, suicide, among other unanticipated traumatic encounters, our shock, bereavement, and grief reactions become compounded, exacerbated and challenging to weather.

Is it possible to heal from the suffering that comes with grief and loss, which often feels endless, cyclical, and labyrinthine? Is there a way out? A way through grief?

While serving as a Psychiatric and Psychological Care Specialist in the United States Air Force, I evaluated, counseled, and intervened with patients at the Travis Air Force Base who were deemed a danger to themselves and others. These experiences profoundly shaped my understanding of mental health.

Despite my background as a Mental Health Technician, the sudden loss of my younger brother to suicide following our father’s unjustified killing by police while unarmed with his hands up in a church parking lot left me with feelings of professional failure and personal shame. These tragedies forced me to reevaluate my priorities, leading me to focus more on making a genuine difference in grief processing, community building, and communal healing.

Driven by my brother Immanuel aka Apollo’s artistic legacy, ancestral guidance, and our shared grief, my family and I founded the Long Live Love Foundation in West Oakland’s “Ghost Town” on June 13, 2020, to honor our dearly departed.

For, the love we hold for our ancestors lives long and for all time. Using my brother’s music and message of love as guiding principles, our missions are to offer a safe supportive communal healing space for those coping with loss and to empower survivors through indigenous, holistic and alternative restorative tribal ministry practices and vital resources.

One of our cornerstone projects is our Long Live Love Healing Garden. A sanctuary for healing, this serene space hosts wellness weekends, drum circles, yoga, and various events, offering solace and respite for those navigating grief and celebrating life.

This year I’ll be the Master of Ceremonies for our much-anticipated 5th Annual Apollo Carter Legacy Weekend on June 8th and 9th in which performers and artists from all walks of life unite for a celebratory weekend overflowing with music, poetry, spoken word, song, dance, and other performing arts. Our Open Mic Stage is a magnet for talented artists eager to express themselves, their hearts, and their spirits, beckoning them to dazzle the community with their unique gifts.

RonKat Spearman of Parliament Funkadelic will be blessing our stage on Sunday, June 9th, as well as other local bands. We’ll be spreading the joy further by gifting the community with fresh, organic fruits and vegetables courtesy of Oasis Community Farm. It’s a celebration of talent, community, and wholesome goodness! To buy a ticket, sign up to perform, donate, join us in our mission, and learn more about our work and how you can support our cause, visit us at longlivelovefoundation.com.

About the Author

Chanae Pickett is co-founder of the Long Live Love Foundation in West Oakland.

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Commentary

Opinion: Will Verdicts Help Black Voters See the Truth?

The news of Trump’s historic 34 guilty verdicts are about a week old. Has it sunk in that the man who insists on being the Republican nominee for president is the former president known officially as CFDT34? If the name sounds like a dangerous radioactive isotope, it is — to our democracy.

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CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should adopt. It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt.
CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should adopt. It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt.

By Emil Guillermo

The news of Trump’s historic 34 guilty verdicts are about a week old.

Has it sunk in that the man who insists on being the Republican nominee for president is the former president known officially as CFDT34?  If the name sounds like a dangerous radioactive isotope, it is — to our democracy.

CFDT34 is my coinage of a new acronym that we all should adopt. It’s shorthand for “Convicted Felon Donald Trump,” with 34 being the number of criminal counts of guilt.

We need to say CFDT34 aloud as a constant reminder. Too many Americans are in denial. Or just lying.

Especially, CFDT34 himself.

Trump insists it’s all a “fascist” witch hunt, but the verdicts were based on an avalanche of evidence. The defense failed to refute the statements of the National Enquirer’s David Pecker who admitted his role in the Trump campaign to catch, then kill, stories that threatened Trump’s candidacy.

The defense didn’t even attempt to explain Hope Hicks, an ally who delivered the damning testimony that Trump knew about the arrangement to pay off Daniels. Hicks was in tears telling the truth. The defense never countered.

And then there were the checks and invoices and ledger entries, that spelled out the whole scheme. The payments were lies, called “lawyer fees” but they really were reimbursements to attorney Michael Cohen who had used his own money to pay off Daniels.

Minor stuff? Not when done with the intent to violate election law. The payoff was intended to influence the election and it became an illegal campaign contribution as well.

And the hero is New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg, the African American man who led the prosecution. Bragg got justice for all voters denied the truth in 2016.

Contrast Bragg with Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla). the key African Americans lying for CFDT34.

Scott and Donalds lack the courage to honor the rule of law. Rigged case, they say.  Never should have been prosecuted. Where was the crime?

All of it baloney.

Prior to the historic verdicts, there was some historic polling.

Black voters were seen as abandoning Democrats, with Biden scoring just 70% of the vote. Four years ago, Biden was at 81%.

CNN called the pre-verdict polling the best results for the GOP among Black voters since Nixon.

The age breakdown is more telling. Black voters aged 50 and up were about 85% for Biden. Those who recalled civil rights battles were holding steady for Democrats.

Among Black voters under age 50, a new divide was revealed.  A reported average of polls showed young Blacks were 27% for Trump, with Biden at 64%.

Nearly a third of young Blacks were for Trump prior to the verdicts. But what would young Blacks think now? Would they back a person like Trump, a man who comes with racist baggage like the Central Park 5 saga, and is now a convicted felon?

I haven’t seen new data yet. But with Biden and Harris stepping up their attention on the Black community, talking about economics and pocketbook issues, I’d expect a turnaround when young Blacks hear the lies and the overall hypocrisy among the GOP.

About the Author

Emil Guillermo, an award-winning journalist, and commentator has covered race and politics in Hawaii, California, and Washington, DC. He has worked in newspapers, TV and on radio was host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

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