PANDEMIC RELIEF

The President-elect’s economic recovery advisor believes $2,000 checks will screw up the entire economy — and he’s not so sure you should get $600 checks either.

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Larry Summers at the 2017 World Economic Forum (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Every once in a while, I’m in the middle of writing my next piece or working on the book I’m allegedly writing when something out of left field stops me cold.

If that ‘something’ is wrong enough, I put aside whatever I’m working on and start rage-writing — very similar to rage-tweeting, it just takes longer. For the last four years, the ‘something out of left field’ that usually gets me going is something President Trump or one of his GOP sycophants said on television.

The last time this phenomenon happened was when Larry Kudlow, the National Economic Council director, said he didn’t think systemic racism was an actual thing. Ironically, Kudlow failed to recognize that a person with his absence of qualifications could never reach his current position without systemic racism. …


THIS IS AMERICA

Why doesn’t our mythology of exceptionalism apply to law enforcement?

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Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

I’m always surprised by the number of people that don’t realize how much of America’s origin story is a set of mythological tales.

It may surprise you to learn just how many people believe the Founding Fathers sincerely believed all men were created equal (they did not), or that George Washington chopped down a cherry tree (he didn’t), or that Abe Lincoln was a benevolent emancipator (he was not) rather than a believer in white male supremacy less concerned with freeing enslaved Africans than maintaining the nascent Union.

When I worked on Wall Street, I told a white colleague that I attended a segregated elementary school growing up in the Deep South. I could almost hear the gears in their brain grind to a halt in disbelief. …


POLITICS

To protect businesses, Mitch McConnell is willing to let America’s economy go over the edge

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Photo: Getty Images

For the last several months, Congress — especially the US Senate — has behaved like a person who, upon seeing their home ablaze, decides to watch the conflagration for a while, to see how bad it gets. Rather than contacting the fire department, they watch the fire grow larger, hoping the fire will go out on its own.

I’m referring, of course, to Washington’s COVID-19 negotiations or, more accurately, the lack of them. The last six months have been like watching a masterclass in governmental ineptitude. To say people are suffering is an understatement.

We’re headed for an economic cliff

By month’s end, millions will see their unemployment benefits end. Additionally, eviction moratoriums will expire by month’s end. …


POLITICS

Trump’s attempts to overturn his election loss are part wrestling grift, part coup attempt

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Donald Trump celebrates his victory over WWE mastermind Vince McMahon at the main event of 2007’s WrestleMania 23, “Hair vs. Hair.” (Leon Halip / WireImage)

In the late 60s, our family lived with my grandparents for a time. I was in elementary school; the youngest of my three younger brothers was practically a newborn. As if the four of us weren’t enough occupants for their small home, my grandmother’s cousin came to visit during the summer.

Cousin Ola was a cheerful, gray-haired lady, slightly younger than my grandmother— and she was crazy about wrestling. One weekend, she insisted we watch Championship Wrestling, a regional forerunner to Vince MacMahon’s WWE. …


THIS IS AMERICA

The ‘Democrats are Socialists’ trope has been a GOP talking point for decades. But who’s really more extreme?

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Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march across the Hawthorne Bridge during an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

During an appearance on This Week with George Stephanopoulos last weekend, Jason Miller, Trump campaign advisor, deadbeat dad, and all-around sleazy guy, made this comment:

“President Trump will be ahead on election night, probably getting 280 electoral somewhere in that range, and then they’re going to try to steal it back after the election.”

Why a veteran journalist like Stephanopoulos failed to push back on the ‘Democrats will try to steal back the election’ talking point is a mystery. We’ve known for months Trump wants to invalidate as many legitimate votes — in the right localities — as possible. …


What Donald Trump awakened will take more than an election victory to overcome

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Photo: Nick Fewings

No matter how many times I watch the sci-fi thriller Alien, the film’s final scene always makes my toes curl, just as it did years ago when I first saw the movie in a theater. My apologies in advance for the spoilers. The ending goes something like this:

After an acid-blooded creature stalks and kills the other crew members of the Nostromo, a commercial space exploration ship, Ripley, the film’s heroine, deploys the ship’s auto-destruct sequence. She is the only person left aboard the massive ship in the far reaches of space.

She plans to activate the Nostromo’s self-destruct mechanism to destroy the creature on board when the vessel explodes in outer space. As Ripley races to board the small shuttle docked on the ship, a computerized voice counts down the time remaining to detonation. …


POLITICS

The GOP is about to realize their dream of dismantling fifty years of progressive policy. And they want you to know it.

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PHOTO: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call via AP Images

In our household, a kind of gallows humor has emerged. I suppose it’s our laugh-to-keep-from-crying method of coping with the daily grind of the last four years.

For example, whenever a media pundit seems surprised by the President’s disregard for a norm or an obscure law, one of us (usually one of our teenagers) pipes in with the punchline of this stickman cartoon:


ELECTION 2020

In its first few days, October has already given us a month's worth of surprises.

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Photo by Carol Lee on Unsplash

As it relates to politics, the term ‘October surprise’ was coined in the 1980s by William Casey, campaign manager for Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential campaign (Casey would later become director of the CIA). In years past, the term signified a single event the flips the momentum, particularly during the month before a presidential election.

But if we’ve learned anything from the Trump era (and 2020), it is that the old rules no longer apply. The month’s barely started, and it already feels as though we’ve had a month’s worth of surprises in October’s first few days.

The White House is a COVID-19 hotspot

Late Friday, we learned the President of the United States has COVID-19, as does the First Lady, the President’s counselor Hope Hicks, his advisor Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager Bill Stepien, Reverend John I. Jenkins, the President of the University of Notre Dame, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, former New Jersey governor Chris Christie, and at least three journalists. …


POLITICS

After being bullied by Republicans for years, it’s high time Democrats fight back.

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Photo by Claire Anderson on Unsplash

When I was in the 7th grade, my family moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The first person that befriended me was Jimmy, an older kid that lived across the street from my house. We hit it off immediately. Jimmy introduced me to the other kids in the neighborhood. He picked me to be on his team for sandlot baseball games. His charm won my parents over.

But it only took me a few weeks to realize something about Jimmy: he was an enormous bully. If his team lost a baseball game, he started a fight. When we played pickup basketball games, he’d always cheat. …


INEQUALITY

As the saying goes: if you’re wondering who the sucker is, it’s you.

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Photo by Toni Reed on Unsplash

In 1956, Elvis Presley released a tune entitled Hound Dog, one of his most famous songs. The song was one of the first to sell 3 million copies and even made it into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Elvis Presley wasn’t the first singer to record Hound Dog. That honor goes to Willie Mae’ Big Mama’ Thornton, a Black singer who recorded the same song three years before Elvis. Her version went to #1 on the R&B charts and sold 500,000 copies. It was her biggest hit. She made a royalty of $500. …

About

Marlon Weems

Storyteller. Subscribe to my weekly-ish newsletter: https://thejourneyman.substack.com

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