Trump’s hol­low trib­ute to Parks

The Buffalo News - - OPINION - Mi­ami Her­ald Amherst Tax re­form plan em­pow­ers Amer­i­can bul­lies, oli­garchs Buffalo Wil­liamsville North Ton­awanda Ham­burg

Here comes the most mean­ing­less sen­tence you’ll read to­day: Last week, Don­ald Trump paid trib­ute to Rosa Parks.

It’s mean­ing­less be­cause Trump ob­vi­ously has no real idea what Parks did or what it meant. If he did, he could never have cursed Colin Kaeper­nick.

Oh, sure, he can mouth the words, as he did in the slick video posted on­line Satur­day. To the ac­com­pa­ni­ment of swelling mu­sic and his­tor­i­cal im­ages, Trump nar­rated Parks’ fa­mous act of de­fi­ance 62 De­cem­bers ago, her re­fusal to give up her seat on a Mont­gomery, Ala. bus to a white man af­ter the “white” sec­tion be­came full.

Her ar­rest ig­nited the 381-day Mont­gomery Bus Boy­cott, the first act of the civil rights move­ment, and brought to promi­nence a 26-year-old preacher named Martin Luther King Jr. And yes, Trump spoke truly when he lauded Parks for brav­ery and a legacy that in­spires. But given the source, that praise could not have been emp­tier.

You can­not truly un­der­stand Parks’ legacy or ap­pre­ci­ate her brav­ery and still de­clare, as he did in Septem­ber, that NFL own­ers should say “Get that son of a b_h off the field” if a player fol­lows Kaeper­nick’s lead and kneels dur­ing the na­tional an­them. This is not to equate the ath­lete and the seam­stress; her im­pact ob­vi­ously dwarfs his –atleast,thus­far.Bu­ti­tis­tosaythat,in­terms of mo­tive, method and re­ac­tion, there is lit­tle sub­stan­tive dif­fer­ence be­tween the two.

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that it wasn’t just the in­dig­nity of be­ing told to sur­ren­der her seat that made Parks say no that day. Rather, it was also decades of liv­ing with white peo­ple’s abuse, ex­ploita­tion and vi­o­lence un­der a sys­tem that as­sumed, as a mat­ter of pol­icy, that she was filthy, ig­no­rant and un­wor­thy. Which is not fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent from Kaeper­nick’s frus­tra­tion with po­lice bru­tal­ity that kills and wounds African-Amer­i­cans while the courts do noth­ing.

Yes, his protest is of­ten called un­pa­tri­otic and of­fen­sive. The same was said of Parks’ protest. Not in­ci­den­tally, she broke the law; he didn’t. And as Kaeper­nick is called names and threat­ened by out­raged white peo­ple, so was she.

Parks once said she re­fused to stand be­cause she was “tired of tak­ing it.”

Sixty-two years later, we can all eas­ily see the things that fa­tigued her and other black peo­ple back then. And Parks, 12 years dead, is un­threat­en­ing enough to be “hon­ored” by a Don­ald Trump.

Well, this is the same Trump who has led the metaphor­i­cal lynch mob against black ath­letes for do­ing es­sen­tially what Parks and her gen­er­a­tion did.

Mean­time, that foot­ball player Trump loathes risked his liveli­hood be­cause he got tired of “tak­ing” the bru­tal­iza­tion of black peo­ple. He has faced con­dem­na­tion and threat for de­mand­ing that all of us see what some of us refuse to. Like the seam­stress on the bus six decades ago, Colin Kaeper­nick has ig­nited a gen­er­a­tion be­cause he de­cided he lit­er­ally would not stand for it any­more.

He hon­ors Rosa Parks more mean­ing­fully than Don­ald Trump ever could.

Leonard Pitts Af­ter the tax bill, some ideas on pro­mot­ing wel­fare re­form

Now that the “Tax Cut Bill for the Rich” is on its way (thanks Democrats for putting up such a fe­ro­cious fight, you can come out now), I am pleased to hear Paul Ryan de­clare open sea­son on wel­fare re­form.

Wel­fare re­form – where do we start? The pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less.

Let’s start with the big­gest wel­fare scam: the war in Afghanistan. All of the mil­i­tary in­dus­trial com­plex has been gorg­ing them­selves on tax dol­lars for a record 16 straight years now – cor­po­rate wel­fare at its best. De­spite the mas­sive op­po­si­tion from the com­bined Tal­iban air force, Tal­iban navy and Tal­iban ground di­vi­sions, our cor­po­rate wel­fare gang tells us they just might be able to round up this gar­gan­tuan band of desert no­mads if they just had a lit­tle more money. Trans­la­tion: We need a few more years of un­ac­counted, unau­dited cor­po­rate wel­fare.

Maybe next Paul Ryan will go af­ter an­other wel­fare scam: hedge fund man­agers. The new tax cut bill low­ered the cor­po­rate tax rate from 35 per­cent to 20 per­cent, but hedge fund man­agers have been pay­ing 15 per­cent all along. And these are the solid Amer­i­cans who brought you the hous­ing cri­sis back in 2008. In­stead of go­ing to jail they were bailed out, then bonused. Gee, ain’t cor­po­rate wel­fare great?

Prob­a­bly the Trump gang will dub this the “War on Wel­fare,” we’re so good at declar­ing wars. And maybe Paul Ryan, while he’s at it, will re­name the mid­dle class to the “Shut up, who asked you class.” Highly ac­cu­rate I think. Af­ter all, the only choice we’ll have in 2018 is ei­ther: A. Repub­li­can Run­away Cap­i­tal­ism or B. Demo­crat Run­away Cap­i­tal­ism.

And you thought your vote meant some­thing.

Phil Par­shall

With tax re­form, I am fear­ful Congress has moved to so­lid­ify an Amer­ica of pow­er­ful bul­lies and oli­garchs. How is lib­erty to sur­vive? The cur­rent tax leg­is­la­tion was de­vised in se­cret, forced through with­out suf­fi­cient de­lib­er­a­tion, pro­moted on emo­tional fan­tasy and de­cep­tive claims, largely voted on un­read. It rep­re­sents ir­re­spon­si­ble gov­ern­ment on ev­ery level – Repub­li­cans for act­ing like a gang of frus­trated fa­nat­ics; Democrats for stand­ing by; all of us for fail­ing our re­spon­si­bil­i­ties as cit­i­zens to safe­guard our democ­racy, our planet, our chil­dren’s fu­ture.

Thank good­ness, a few brave women are stand­ing up to pow­er­ful men pre­sent­ing their naked­ness. Sex­ual ha­rass­ment is one di­men­sion of the ex­er­cise of pre­sump­tive power. Is this tax bill an­other, tak­ing from the many to give to the rich, con­cen­trat­ing even more power in the hands of the few? Will we re­ally have to sur­vive the next five to 10 years to re­al­ize there’s no trickle in a trickle-down econ­omy?

The goal should be an econ­omy where ev­ery Amer­i­can can make a liv­ing that pro­vides se­cu­rity from hunger, ac­cess to health care and ed­u­ca­tion, op­por­tu­nity for self-ful­fill­ment and com­pas­sion to oth­ers. That’s def­i­nitely not what we’re get­ting.

Su­san Woods like mi­cro­grids and bat­tery stor­age, and in­creased fore­cast­ing of po­ten­tial sun and wind re­sources.

With the changes in how our elec­tric­ity is pro­duced and dis­trib­uted, train­ing needs to be up­dated to sup­ply in­dus­try a work­force ready to meet these changes. Lo­cally, there is siz­able in­vest­ment in re­search at the Univer­sity at Buffalo and Al­fred State to cre­ate ma­te­ri­als and pro­cesses to in­crease ef­fi­ciency of re­new­able en­ergy pro­duc­tion. There is no cur­rent lo­cal coun­ter­part to train work­ers for the changes in the dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem.

Penn State re­cently an­nounced a pro­gram that fits this need. The En­ergy Stor­age and Mi­cro­grid Train­ing and Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion recognizes that the de­sign of mi­cro­grids and en­ergy stor­age tech­nolo­gies that in­cor­po­rate di­rect cur­rent power sources (like wind and so­lar) re­quires a dif­fer­ent skill set than those to de­sign the elec­tric grid (which uses al­ter­nat­ing cur­rent) over 100 years ago.

Vo­ca­tional train­ing is needed for in­stal­la­tion, fab­ri­ca­tion and de­sign of re­new­able sys­tems. So­larCity has started pro­duc­tion and is due to ramp up pro­duc­tion by the end of this year. Once an in­dus­try gains a foothold in an area, oth­ers fol­low as long as there is an avail­able skilled work­force. At this point, there is no vo­ca­tional train­ing pro­gram in the area that spe­cial­izes in re­new­ables.

Dr. Kristina John­son re­cently be­came the 13th chan­cel­lor of the State Univer­sity of New York sys­tem. Com­ing from an in­dus­try back­ground in re­new­able en­ergy, John­son should look to ad­dress­ing these gaps in the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem in sup­port of Gov. An­drew Cuomo’s goal of 50 per­cent re­new­able en­ergy by 2030.

John S. Sza­lasny

Forc­ing Postal Service re­tirees to Medi­care Part B vi­o­lates pact

As a mem­ber of the fed­eral com­mu­nity who served our coun­try for years, I am concerned with an at­tempt to force cur­rent U.S. Postal Service re­tirees onto Medi­care Part B, af­ter they pre­vi­ously de­clined this cov­er­age. While hailed as a way to im­prove USPS’ fi­nances, this is noth­ing more than balancing the books on the backs of se­niors.

Why should re­tirees who spent their ca­reers serv­ing this na­tion be forced to pay an ad­di­tional $134 per month or more for health cov­er­age they pre­vi­ously deemed un­nec­es­sary? Manda­tory Medi­care Part B cov­er­age was never part of the agree­ment made upon em­ploy­ment, and it should not be forced on any postal re­tiree, es­pe­cially retroac­tively.

Congress is cur­rently at­tempt­ing to fix the Postal Service’s prob­lems by shift­ing costs to Medi­care. I urge our leg­is­la­tors to re­ject any yearend deal that in­cludes the cur­rent postal re­form bill, H.R. 756. Re­tired postal work­ers proudly served our com­mu­nity and prom­ises to them should be kept.

Elaine Sat­tel­berg

Out­rage over car­toons in­stead of hu­man suf­fer­ing is ap­palling

It is ap­palling that there are peo­ple more of­fended by car­toons and sym­bol­ism than they are by the ac­tual mis­treat­ment of hu­man be­ings. These are of­ten the same peo­ple who would re­act dif­fer­ently to a sit­u­a­tion if the in­volved per­son(s) was some­one they per­son­ally knew and cared about.

If ei­ther of the pre­ced­ing state­ments ac­cu­rately de­scribes you, please take a mo­ment to look at those words again and de­cide if you want them to be a gen­uine de­scrip­tion of your be­lief sys­tem and your ap­proach to re­spond­ing to events and peo­ple.

Andy Ste­ger

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