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Friday wrapup: insurrection, Pence’s weird take on women, and capital punishment


This story got some media play yesterday: Trump’s threat that the angry white supremacist males with guns, who worship him and will obey his orders, will rise up and assault or kill Democrats

if the current investigations continue—which, by the way, they will, in the House of Representatives and in various Districts of the U.S. Justice Department.

That’s a huge, ugly threat, but it’s not one anyone should take seriously. Trump is insinuating that his hold on cops, soldiers and rightwing “bikers” is so strong that all he has to do is give them the green light, and they’ll form themselves into battalions and march into San Francisco, West Hollywood, midtown Manhattan, Oakland, wherever, and do what Hitler’s brownshirts did in the early 1930s: beat the shit out of liberals.

I’m not worried and neither should anyone else be. It’s just more Trumpian bluster, to reassure the most deplorable elements in his base that he’s still with them. They’d better not show up in Oakland. Our cops and our people will rise up and tear them to pieces. But that was only one of the weird stories yesterday that shows what psychopathic reactions the Trump regime has stoked in America. Another was this one about Vice President Pence refusing to take private one-on-one meetings with females, due to some strange twist in his Christian philosophy.

My Senator, Kamala Harris, in an interview rightfully called Pence out. I think that’s ridiculous — the idea that you would deny a professional woman the opportunity to have a meeting with the vice president of the United States is outrageous.” Kamala was being, well, Senatorial in her politeness. I am not so tactful. Pence is a lunatic. He believes in the literal interpretation of the Bible, with all its death sentences for dishonoring the Sabbath and “if a man shall lie with a man” etc. etc. There are only a few groups that are afraid to let men mingle with women privately: the Taliban, extreme Orthodox Jews of the type that rule Israel, and the kind of evangelical Christians whom Pence symbolizes. Pence’s excuse—that he wants to be above suspicion and not get accused of rape or flirtation—is insane, and proves his utter unfitness to hold any sort of high office. He is literally crazy.

Well, there’s your modern Republican Party: a bunch of white guys with guns running around waiting for the President of the United States to give them the order to start killing Democrats, queers, Muslims, Black activists, reporters and anyone else they deem “the enemy,” and a Vice President subscribing to a medieval view of sexuality by which women are seductive temptresses and men, horny devils that they are, cannot be allowed to be alone with them.

Finally, I want to comment on California Governor Gavin Newsom effectively ending the death sentence as long as he’s Governor of California.

I’m a supporter of the death penalty. Tit for tat: some crimes are so awful that the only fair way of punishing the criminal is death. But I have long recognized it’s a complicated issue, with pros and cons on both sides; and I’ve always been willing to change my mind. Gov. Newsom’s action strongly appeals to me. He hit the “pause” button; now, with the issue of capital punishment temporarily off the table, we can have a little breathing room to reconsider the issue. The Governor is taking a terrible beating for what he did: Republicans, predictably, are bashing him for being “pro-crime,” while even some Democrats are annoyed that Newsom seems to have flip-flopped on the issue. And particularly those Democrats in swing districts (which California still has a few of) now worry that their re-election chances have been diminished.

I don’t think so. The death penalty isn’t issue #1 for anyone in California. I think most fair-minded people are willing to give Newsom the benefit of the doubt. He’s still in his honeymoon phase, and is trying things out that he’s thought about for many years. Ultimately, I don’t believe the death penalty is a deterrent. I’ve never heard anyone testify that they would have killed someone, except that the death penalty made them not do it. That’s stupid. And finally, I like the idea of a society that isn’t addicted to vengeance. We can put the bad guys behind bars for the rest of their lives. In a way, that’s even worse punishment than a quick, easy death by injection.

  1. Bob Rossi says:

    “The death penalty isn’t issue #1 for anyone in California. ”

    I think that the number of people in the entire US for whom that’s issue #1 could probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.

  2. Agree. But that won’t stop republicans from using it as a divisive wedge issue, as they do so often.

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