Sunday, August 28, 2022

Heroes Are Never Really Gone . . .

. . . They live forever,
as do the ones they inspire
to carry on the fight.

Today is the second anniversary of the death of actor and playwright Chadwick Boseman. Chadwick died of colon cancer on August 28, 2020. He was 43.

Although known and celebrated for several acting roles, Chadwick is undoubtedly best known for playing T’Challa aka Black Panther in the Marvel films Captain America: Civil War (2016), Black Panther (2018), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019). Chadwick also voiced alternate versions of the character of Black Panther in the first season of the animated series What If...? (2021).

The sequel to Black Panther is set to be released on November 11, and is entitled Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. The film focuses on the leaders of Wakanda, who in the wake of King T’Challa’s death, must fight to protect their nation from the invading forces of Namor, aka Sub-Mariner, ruler of Talocan, an ancient civilization of underwater dwelling people connected to the Mayans.

In marking the second anniversary of Chadwick’s death, I share the trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a film that millions around the world are looking forward to seeing, even as we know it will be a very emotional and bittersweet experience without the presence of Chadwick Boseman.

There have been a number of videos made and posted on YouTube that analyze the above official trailer for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. One of the best ones I've come across is the one below by New Rockstars. Just a heads-up: this video is of 20 minutes duration.

Following is how Wikipedia documents the development and making of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

On August 28, 2020, Chadwick Boseman died from colon cancer. [Black Panther director] Ryan Coogler stated that he had been unaware of Boseman’s illness, and had spent the last year “preparing, imagining and writing words for him to say [in the film] that we weren’t destined to see.”

[Producer] Kevin Feige and other executives at Marvel Studios were also unaware of Boseman’s illness. Boseman, who had become thinner from his illness in the weeks prior to his death, had been prepared to begin gaining the weight back in September 2020 ahead of filming the sequel in March 2021.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, industry observers felt Disney could recast the role, but that might generate a “fan outcry” and prompt comparisons between actors. Another suggestion was for Disney to shift their plans and have [T’Challa’s sister] Shuri take on the mantle of the Black Panther, which occurred in the comic books.

In mid-November of 2020, executive producer Victoria Alonso said a digital double of Boseman would not be created for the sequel, and added that Marvel was taking their time to work out what they were going to do next and how. Later in the month, Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, and Angela Bassett were confirmed to be reprising their roles for the sequel as Nakia, M’Baku, and Ramonda, respectively, while Tenoch Huerta was in talks for an antagonist role [that being of Namor].

In December 2020, Feige confirmed that the role of T’Challa would not be recast, and said the sequel would explore the world and characters of the first film as a way to honor the legacy that Boseman helped build. Feige reaffirmed in January 2021 that visual effects would not be used to include Boseman in the film, and said the primary focus of the sequel was always about further exploring the characters and “different subcultures” of Wakanda.

The first footage from the film was shown in a sizzle reel of Disney’s upcoming films during the studio’s presentation at CinemaCon in April 2022. On July 23, 2022, Feige, Coogler, and the cast promoted the film at the San Diego Comic-Con alongside live performances from singer Baaba Maal, tama player Massamba Diop, and the debut of the teaser trailer. The trailer features a cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry” that transitions into Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.”

Both Leah Simpson and Giovana Gelhoren of People called the footage “powerful,” while Sandra Gonzalez of CNN felt the teaser commemorated Boseman’s performance and wrote “amid the grief that permeates the preview, there’s hope, the birth of new life (literally) and a glimpse at the future, with a clawed sneak peek of a new suited hero.”

Writing for IndieWire, Christian Zilko also felt the teaser commemorated Boseman’s performance while also opining that this presented a “daunting" challenge for Marvel Studios for Black Panther’s future, due to Boseman being regarded as "one of the cornerstones of the MCU moving forward” and the studio not recasting his role.

Variety’s Carson Burton and J. Kim Murphy felt the teaser focused on who would “take on the mantle” of Black Panther, noting the presence of a mysterious figure at the end of the trailer.

The teaser trailer received 172 million views in its first 24 hours of release.


I close with a special tribute by ABC News which examines and celebrates Chadwick Boseman’s career, from playing historical figures such as Jackie Robinson, James Brown and Thurgood Marshall, to T’Challa in Black Panther.

This heartfelt special was first aired on September 1, 2020, just days after Chadwick’s death. I share it below in two parts. The first part is 18 minutes in duration, while the second is 12 minutes.

Related Off-site Links:
Six Reasons Chadwick Boseman Will Forever Be Our King – Leslie D. Rose (Blavity, August 26, 2022).
Lupita Nyong’o Pays Tribute to Chadwick Boseman, Marking Two Years Since Beloved Actor Died – Amanda Taylor (People, August 28, 2022).
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever First Trailer Unveils Marvel’s Emotional Return to Wakanda and War With Namor – Carson Burton and J. Kim Murphy (Variety, July 23, 2022).
Who Will Be the New Black Panther in Wakanda Forever? – Chris E. Hayner (, July 28, 2022).

UPDATES: Review: Wakanda Forever Is a Beautiful Expression of Mourning and a Fantasy Epic – Princess Weekes (The Mary Sue, November 8, 2022).
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Is a Thunderous Ode to Love Conquering Death – Toussaint Egan (Polygon, November 8, 2022).
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Does the Near Impossible – David Sims (The Atlantic, November 8, 2022).
Tenoch Huerta, Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Explains Why the Movie Got It Right – Arturo Conde and Candice Williams (NBC News, November 10, 2022).
Wakanda Forever Bids Farewell to T’Challa and Chadwick BosemanAbabeel TV (November 12, 2022).
An Ode to Namor’s Ankle Wings – Brittany Knupper (The Mary Sue, November 13, 2022).
Why Is Marvel Afraid of Namor’s Bulge? – Joshua Rivera (Polygon, November 18, 2022).
Black Panther 2 Star Reacts to Fan Outcry Over “Removed Bulge” – Jordan Hirst (Q News, November 25, 2022).
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Unearthed Deep Colorism Within Latino Communities – Izzie Ramirez (Vox, November 21, 2022).
How Wakanda Forever’s Creators Decided on New Black Panther, and Major Mid-Credits Reveal – Kevin Polowy (Yahoo! Entertainment, November 21, 2022).

For previous Wild Reed posts about Chadwick and his work, written when he was still with us, see:
The Important Cultural Moment That Is Black Panther
Celebrating Black Panther – Then and Now
“Avengers Assemble!”
Jason Johnson on Stan Lee’s Revolutionary Legacy
Another First for Black Panther
“Something Special,” Indeed!
Queer Black Panther

For The Wild Reed’s special series that remembers and celebrates Chadwick since his passing, see:
Remembering Chadwick Boseman
Honoring An Icon
Chadwick Boseman’s Timeless Message to Young Voters: “You Can Turn Our Nation Around”
Chadwick Boseman’s Final Film Role: “A Reed Instrument for Every Painful Emotion”
Celebrating a Special Day
Boseman on Wilson
Chadwick Boseman and That “Heavenly Light”
In This Time Marked By Grief
A Bittersweet Accolade
Chadwick Boseman Receives Posthumous NAACP Image Award
“He Was Just Interested In the Work”
Remembering Chadwick Boseman’s Life of Purpose
The Political Legacy of Chadwick Boseman
Remembering an Actor Who “Changed Everything”
“The Perfect Send-Off”

See also:
A Special Day

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Being the Light

I share today a reflection written by Lana Carolan, one that she recently shared on the Facebook page for the Foundation for Inner Peace. This foundation is dedicated to publishing, distributing and discussing the writings collectively known as A Course in Miracles (ACIM).

I find Lana’s words on the Divine's invitation to all of us to "be the Light, be the Love, be you” to be both beautiful and helpful. They are words that ring true for me. They also align with Lana’s understanding of what it means to live the Course in Miracles. This living, says Lana, is all about “training my mind to begin each and every day with the choice for God.”

Such a choice, Lana says, means “keeping my mind present and mindful of what I am doing here and now, and being fully invested in this present moment. . . . It means bringing God with me in whatever I am doing. For me, that means bringing Love to everything I am doing.”

Beautiful and challenging words, to be sure! Following are Lana’s thoughts on the spiritual truth expressed in A Course in Miracles that “the peace of God is shining in me now.”


Be the Light. Be the Love. Be you. ❤

There is a place within the heart where only Love resides. There is a place within the mind where only Peace exists; there is an ever-present spark of Divine Light that shines eternally. It is a place of Unity and Wholeness, all within the Oneness of Creation. I call it Heaven.

God’s Messengers call us to come Home. Bring all worries and concerns to this spark of Light within our holy mind. Bring anything that would hurt or disrupt our Peace. Bring every "ouch" and every note of discord to our Holy Place where we live and move and have our Being.

We look to the Light within us. Bring all thoughts and feelings that would tempt us to deny our perfection as God Created us. Bring them to the Sacred Love and Healing Light within. Behold, as they are transformed by Love’s healing grace. Watch them as all that is devoid of Peace and Love disappear. We rest there in the arms of our [Beloved] as He embraces us in Infinite Love and everlasting Peace. Here is my home. Now is my Heaven.

Love’s Light is shining within us. It warms a world grown cold with pain and hate. Love just IS. It requires nothing of us but to shine Its Radiant Light on everyone and everything we see. For Love is who we truly are. Be the Light . . . Be YOU.

Lana Carolan
via Foundation for Inner Peace Group
August 18, 2022

The peace of God is shining in me now.

Why wait for Heaven? Those who seek the light are merely covering their eyes. The light is in them now. Enlightenment is but a recognition, not a change at all.

The peace of God is shining in you now, and from your heart extends around the world. It pauses to caress each living thing, and leaves a blessing with it that remains forever and forever. What it gives must be eternal. It removes all thoughts of the ephemeral and valueless. It brings renewal to all tired hearts, and lights all vision as it passes by. All of its gifts are given everyone, and everyone unites in giving thanks to you who give, and you who have received. (ACIM, W-188)

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
I Need Do Nothing . . . I Am Open to the Living Light
The Source Is Within You
A Sacred Pause
Aligning With the Living Light
Mystical Participation
Returning the Mind to God
The Beauty and Challenge of Being Present in the Moment
Cultivating Stillness
Be In My Mind, Beloved One
Your Peace Is With Me, Beloved One
You Are My Goal, Beloved One

Images: Dancer unknown.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Quote of the Day

According to figures released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce, corporate profit margins have soared to their widest margins in seventy years. In 2021, corporations had their best year since 1950. This year, profit margins are still on the rise. While the working class has been struggling to get by – especially during the past two years of an economically catastrophic pandemic – massive corporations have been raking it in.

What these figures from the Commerce Department show is that powerful companies have been able to get away with jacking up prices faster than their costs are rising. As a result, we’ve seen that one of the main drivers of inflation is corporate profits. Corporations get away with price gouging because they face little to no competition. They use the specter of inflation as cover to rip us all off. This has got to end. Congress must step-in and pass a windfall profits tax, establish price controls, and strengthen antitrust enforcement to reduce the pricing power of corporations.

Robert Reich
via Facebook
August 25, 2022

Related Off-site Links:
As Inflation Soared, American Corporations Just Racked Up Their Biggest Profit Margins Since 1950 – Reade Pickert (Fortune, August 25, 2022).
“All of Us Are Paying the Price” as Corporate Profits Surge to Record-High $2 Trillion – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, August 26, 2022).
The March Towards U.S. Fascism Began With the Corporate Hijacking of Democracy – Thom Hartmann (Common Dreams, August 24, 2022).
U.S. Senate Candidate John Fetterman Calls for Prosecution of Corporate Executives “Gouging Consumers” – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, August 22, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
In a Blow to Democracy, U.S. Supreme Court Affirms Corporate Personhood
Moderates, Radicals, and MLK
Marianne Williamson and the Power of Politicized Love
Hope in the Midst of Collapse
Paul Gilding: Quote of the Day – October 13, 2011
Rocking the Cradle of Power
The Neoliberal Economic Doctrine: A View from Australia
A System That’s Not Going to SurviveJohn Pilger on Resisting Empire
John le Carré’s Dark Suspicions
Capitalism on Trial
Where Did All the Money Go?

Saaxiib Qurux Badan

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Summer Vignettes
When Sorrow Comes
Saaxiib Qurux Badan – November 25, 2021
I Need Do Nothing . . . I Am Open to the Living Light
Autumn, Adnan . . . and Art?
Just One Wish
Saaxiib Qurux Badan – June 29, 2021
Blue Yonder
Saaxiib Qurux Badan – June 24, 2021
What We Crave
Saaxiib Qurux Badan – January 30, 2021
November Musings
Saaxiib Qurux Badan – November 18, 2020
Today I Will Be Still
Adnan in Morning Light
It’s You
The Landscape Is a Mirror
Out and About – Spring 2020
Family Time in Guruk . . . and Glimpses of Somaliland
Somalia Bound
Saaxiib Qurux Badan – July 15, 2019
Saaxiib Qurux Badan – July 14, 2019
Adnan . . . Amidst Mississippi Reflections and Forest Green
Adnan . . . with Sunset Reflections and Jet Trail
Saaxiib Qurux Badan – April 16, 2019
In This In-Between Time
Saaxiib Qurux Badan – March 29, 2019

Image: Saaxiib Qurux Badan (“Beautiful Friend”), Minneapolis, MN – Michael J. Bayly (8/25/22).

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Alex Vitale: “There Are Good Reasons to Defund the FBI. They Have Nothing to Do with Trump”

In the wake of the FBI’s court-approved search and seizure operation at former president Donald Trump’s Florida residence, many elected Republican officials and die-hard Trump supporters are calling for the law enforcement agency to be “defunded.”

Wait a minute, I can hear you saying, isn’t the call to “defund the police” a left-wing demand? What’s going on here?

In his recent appearance on Democracy Now!, Alex Vitale, author of The End of Policing, offered invaluable insights, information, and historical perspective in sorting all of this out. Here’s some of what he had to say.

It is a kind of amusing ideological confusion on [Republicans’] part. They’ve rested so much of their platform on a kind of “back the blue” authoritarianism, and to now see that turned around on the FBI is, on the one hand, amusing, but, on the other hand, I think it’s instructive. It tells us a lot about actually what they think the role of law enforcement is. It’s not the neutral, professional enforcement of the law that they often claim; it’s actually a political tool. The difference here is that they think that it’s a political tool that should be used on their behalf, and they’re really upset to see law enforcement being used against so-called God-fearing, patriarchal white nationalists as opposed to using those forces against immigrant communities, communities of color, sex workers and, of course, the political left. And so, it’s a kind of a repeat of January 6th, where we saw “back the blue” flags being used to beat local police.

. . . [I]t is certainly true that the FBI is a political tool. The question is, you know: Whose interest does it really serve? Under Trump and many past presidents, we’ve seen the FBI used as a tool to gin up fear on crime, to demonize political enemies through things like the war on drugs, even the war on terror. And most recently, with the Trump administration, right as he went into election mode, he tried to capitalize on fear of crime by creating Operation Relentless Pursuit, that targeted exclusively Democratic cities for intensive flooding of federal agents, more money for local police, more intensive federal prosecutions of basically street crime, in a way that was designed to try to say, “Look, the problems of urban America are not disinvestment, deindustrialization, racial segregation of housing. No, the problems of urban American, of Democratic cities, is too much crime, and the solution to that is more policing.” And that was a political project. And residents in most of these cities that were targeted immediately organized against this initiative and said what they need is investments in housing, stable employment, high-quality healthcare, not more federal policing.

. . . [The FBI] started as the Bureau of Investigations in the early 20th century, and it was really understood very clearly that this was going to be a political tool for going after communists, anarchists, striking workers, etc. In the 1920s, J. Edgar Hoover takes it over, and in the early 1930s, it becomes renamed as the FBI. And it becomes a massive system of political policing. Files are kept on millions of Americans – religious leaders, political leaders, celebrities, and, of course, labor leaders, leftist organizers, peace activists. And the FBI is the primary tool at the federal level that’s used to suppress left movements, from the Palmer Raids, that attacked opposition to World War I, to attacks on striking workers [and] the labor movement.

By the 1960s, the mission begins to shift as communists and socialist movements have been successfully suppressed in many ways. The new threat, in Hoover’s eyes, becomes the Black liberation movements of the 1960s, beginning really with the Birmingham bus boycotts and continuing on to the Freedom Rides and the lunch counter sit-ins. Long before even the more, let’s say, militant Black Power movement, the FBI is already laser-focused on surveilling and undermining Black liberation movements, dirty tricks like open surveillance of people to intimidate participants, hiring informants, writing fake letters to try to implicate people in marital infidelities, wiretapping phones, false accusations of being police collaborators to try to sow dissension within the movement.

By the 1980s, this focus shifts increasingly to the environmental movement, targeting Earth First and other organizations. And, of course, after 9/11, the focus is on the so-called war on terror. And in order to justify every increasing anti-terror, counterterrorism budgets, they concoct all kinds of ridiculous plots, and then they find often intellectually incapable people to pin these plots on.

. . . So, the FBI has always been a tool of repression of left-wing movements. . . . I think we need to raise up some existing efforts to try to actually rein in the power of the FBI. You’ve got groups like Defending Rights and Dissent, that’s trying to rework the FBI First Amendment Protection Act that John Conyers introduced in the 1980s to restrict the FBI’s political policing powers. I think we need to look at the BREATHE Act, introduced by Ayanna Pressley and others, that would reduce funding for federal law enforcement and shift those resources into positive on-the-ground public safety programs. We need to look at efforts to end the war on drugs by groups like the Drug Policy Alliance. We need to get the FBI and federal law enforcement out of using RICO statutes to go after young people in urban areas. The Decriminalizing Neighborhoods Network is developing campaigns to rethink the use of the RICO Act. So, there really are efforts underway across the country to reduce the power and scope of the FBI in ways that limit their ability to demonize and criminalize those on the left and those who have been left out of the neoliberal consensus.

For Democracy Now!’s full interview with Alex Vitale, click here.

Related Off-site Links:
There Are Good Reasons to Defund the FBI. They Have Nothing to Do With Trump – Alex Vitale (TruthOut, August 10, 2022).
A Former FBI Agent Discusses Threats Against the Agency Since the Search of Trump’s HomePBS Newshour (August 19, 2022).
More Than 300 Classified Documents Have Been Retrieved From Mar-a-Lago – So Far – Chris Walker (TruthOut, August 23, 2022).

UPDATES: Ex-Agent Mike German: FBI Has Long History of Abuse, But Trump Probe Shows Better, “More Effective” Path for AgencyDemocracy Now! (August 29, 2022).
Republicans Notably Silent and Split As Trump Probe Deepens – Associated Press via Snopes (September 1, 2022).
“Where Did the Classified Content Go?” Dozens of Empty Folders Seized From Trump Home – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, September 2, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
William D. Lindsey: Quote of the Day – August 12, 2022
Hamilton Nolan: Quote of the Day – August 12, 2022
“An Abolitionist Demand”: Progressive Perspectives on Transforming Policing in the U.S.
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: Quote of the Day – August 12, 2022
Something to Think About – July 21, 2020

Image: Mike Luckovich.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Summer Vignettes

Late August
By John Bohrn

Let me enjoy
this late-summer day of my heart
while the leaves are still green
and I won’t look so close
as to see that first tint
of pale yellow slowly creep in. . . .

I will cease endless running
and then look to the sky
ask the sun to embrace me
and then hope she won’t tell
of tomorrows less long than today. . . .

Let me spend just this time
in the slow-cooling glow
of warm afternoon light
and I’d think
I will still have the strength
for just one more
last fling of my heart.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
O Breath of Summer
Summer Garden
In Summer Light
Summer Blooms
Summer Boy
A Song of Summer
Say Yes to the Light

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Progressive Perspectives on Liz Cheney

On Tuesday, Rep. Liz Cheney’s lost her primary to a challenger backed by former president Donald Trump. It was not an unexpected outcome.

Cheney has been a vocal critic of Trump ever since the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, an insurrection overseen and encouraged by Trump. In July 2021, Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Cheney to the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack. Two months later, she was made vice chair of the committee. Her involvement in the work of this committee and her consistent denouncement of Trump for his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, ensured criticism and censure from her own party, a party still very much under the spell of Trump. Her defeat in Tuesday’s primary was expected, given that Wyoming is one of the most pro-Trump states in the country.

Since her defeat, various memes, like the one at left, have been circulating on social media platforms. A number of my friends, for instance, have posted this particular one on their Facebook timelines. Yet I can’t help but think that such uncritical lionizing of Liz Cheney is problematic, to say the least. I also sense that it’s typical of MSNBC-loving liberals. Few progressives are joining the chorus.

So what are progressives saying about Liz Cheney? The following excerpts from recently published articles provide some answers as they reflect progressive perspectives. And by this I mean informed points of view that recognize the importance of – and thus advocate for – ever-expanding circles of inclusion, compassion, justice, and civil and human rights.


If not for Donald Trump’s attempt to steal the election, [Liz] Cheney would still be backing him. . . . The reason for her rising star [back in 2016] was straightforward: She was a Bush administration veteran who was willing to go to the mat for Donald Trump. They both had a use for each other. By the start of her second term, she was chair of the House Republican Conference. When Trump ran for re-election she offered her endorsement.

But [yesterday], Cheney’s career in Congress came to an abrupt end, when she lost her Republican primary to conservative challenger Harriet Hageman. The election itself was mostly a formality. After voting to impeach President Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 insurrection and vowing to push back against his “crusade to undermine our democracy,” Cheney was stripped last year of her House leadership position. The Wyoming GOP censured her, and later voted to no longer recognize her as a Republican.

None of this is to erase the work she’s done as a dogged and justifiably incensed leader on the January 6 Committee. She stands almost alone in her caucus, in her decision to not just quietly retire, or gripe anonymously to the press, but to actually fight back and wield the power she has against the threat she’s so clearly recognized. She’ll be fine, of course, both professionally and financially, but if the stand she took cost nothing, well, a lot more people would have taken it. But perhaps her fate might also be a lesson to the aspiring public servants out there – that the movement you cynically stoke might some day come for you, too.

Tim Murphy
Excerpted from “Liz Cheney Was Defeated By the
Extremist Movement She Helped to Empower

Mother Jones
August 16, 2022

While her work on the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol has been exemplary, Cheney’s record is that of an extreme right-wing advocate for positions that have mirrored those of Trump when it comes to attacking immigrants, refugees, Muslims, and Democrats. Before her split with the 45th president, she voted with him 93 percent of the time. And she has an ugly history of exploiting political divisions by promoting Big Lies, as Cheney did when she refused to reject Trump’s vile “birther” lies about former President Barack Obama, and when she claimed that Vice President Kamala Harris “sounds just like Karl Marx.”

John Nichols
Excerpted from “Liz Cheney Is No Abraham Lincoln
The Nation
August 17, 2022

Like her father before her, [Liz] Cheney thrived within and contributed to the very atmosphere that nurtured Trump. When Trump tried to ban Muslims from entering the country, and lied about both the 2016 and 2020 elections, Cheney marched to his beat. If January 6 shocked her conscience, she barely deserves credit for common sense, forget courage.

. . . How did we get to a place where someone like Cheney can receive plaudits from liberals and Never Trumpers alike? To the Never Trumpers, Cheney is an understandably attractive figure; her political martyrdom is proof of the bravery they share. To liberals, her allure is more elusive but seems rooted in nostalgia for a past that never really was. Once upon a time, they tell themselves, the world worked. Progress was slow but assured, and the GOP was a friendly foe with which they could reason. The truth is contained in the career of Liz Cheney. The old world had faults deep in its foundation. Cheney merely pulled the house down with her. What’s left is wreckage and a world to rebuild without her.”

Sarah Jones
Excerpted from “The Culpable Liz Cheney
New York Magazine
August 17, 2022

Liz Cheney’s electoral defeat is not the fall of an American hero. She’s not going anywhere, and she’s no hero. The good she is doing on the January 6 Committee is almost certainly being done for less than admirable purposes. To ignore that fact is to overlook another front in the war on democracy.

Cheney is one face of the creeping totalitarianism that has been eroding American democracy for decades (and it wasn’t in great shape to start). Her bitter feud with Donald Trump is best understood as part of an internal battle currently raging within this country’s anti-democratic forces.

. . . Trump’s brand of fascism is hasty, unruly, and impulsive, a cult of personality that is built around an unstable and vain figure. Cheney represents another branch of American totalitarianism, one built on institutions, elites, and stability. Hers is the slow totalitarianism of internal spying, voter suppression, dark money elections, and dynastic politics.

Cheney’s branch of American totalitarianism helped the military-national security establishment grow in power, forging ever-deepening ties with corporations, educational institutions, religious establishments, and political institutions at all levels – a hybrid form of government, lest we forget, that political scientists call “fascism.”

. . . As is so often the case in history, there are no heroes in the Cheney/Trump conflict. One side is steadily eroding freedom at home while promoting wars abroad. The other side offers rage and chaos. That’s not to say there isn’t a fight underway to build genuine democracy in the United States. There is, and its outcome will shape the future. But if that’s your fight, Liz Cheney is not your ally.

Richard Eskow
Excerpted from “Liz Cheney and Donald Trump:
The Two Faces of American Totalitarianism

Common Dreams
August 19, 2022

Related Off-site Links:
Rep. Liz Cheney Loses GOP Primary to Trump-backed Challenger – Kevin Breuninger (CNBC News, August 17, 2022).
Liz Cheney’s Loss in Wyoming is Trump’s Biggest Primary Victory As He Tries to Purge the Republican Party of His Critics – Oma Seddiq (Business Insider, August 16, 2022).
John Nichols: “Standing Up to Donald Trump in the Republican Party Leads to Your Defeat”Democracy Now! (August 17, 2022).
How Team Trump Systematically Snuffed Out Liz Cheney’s Reign in Congress – Alex Isenstadt (Politico, August 16, 2022).
Cheney Ponders 2024 Bid After Losing Wyoming GOP Primary – Steve Peoples and Mead Gruver (AP News, August 17, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Rep. Liz Cheney: Quote of the Day – June 30, 2022
Mitchell Zimmerman: Quote of the Day – June 23, 2022
Rep. Liz Cheney: Quote of the Day – June 9, 2022
Two Conservative Voices of Integrity
“How Can One Overreact to a Mortal Threat to American Democracy?”
A Deeper Perspective on What’s Really Attacking Democracy
“The Coup Attempt on Jan. 6th Was a Warning for What’s to Come If We Don’t Act”
“My Biggest Worry Is for My Country”
Republicans Pose an “Existential Threat” to American Democracy
The Big Switch
The Republican Party in a Nutshell
Republicans Don’t Care About American Democracy
Heather Cox Richardson on Combating the Republican Party’s “Rigging of the System”
David Remnick: Quote of the Day – February 13, 2021
Dan Rather on America’s “Moment of Reckoning”
Michael Harriot: Quote of the Day – January 6, 2021
Insurrection at the United States Capitol
Progressive Perspectives on the Rise of Donald Trump (2016)

Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Quote of the Day

[Sarah] Palin helped move the Republican party from Country First, the slogan of [her] 2008 [vice presidential] campaign, to America First, a brittle, bitter politics that had little interest in even the appearance of higher callings or self-sacrifice. It’s little wonder that, with her political style ascendant in her party, she would want to re-enter the political arena. The real question now is whether she can capture attention in a party that has not only adopted her style but continued to evolve in an ever-more [extreme] direction.

Nicole Hemmer
Excerpted from “The Mirror-Image Careers of Sarah Palin
and Donald Trump Are On a Collision Course

CNN Opinion
August 18, 2022

Related Off-site Links:
Sarah Palin Advances to November’s General Election for Alaska's House Seat – Henry J. Gomez (NBC News, August 17, 2022).
Lisa Murkowski Advances in Alaska Senate Race, Sarah Palin in House – Becky Bohrer (Associated Press News, August 17, 2022).
Sarah Palin Is Attempting a Comeback in Alaska, But Her Star Has Dimmed at Home – Liz Ruskin (NPR News, April 18, 2022).

UPDATES: Could Sarah Palin Have Cost the GOP a House Seat? – Aaron Blake (The Washington Post, August 19, 2022).
Democrat Defeats Sarah Palin, Flips Congressional Seat to Blue – Becky Bohrer (AP News, August 31, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Sarah Palin’s “Theocratic Fascist" Affiliations”
The Shadow Is Real
Sarah Palin and the Rove-Cheney Cabal
It Won’t Last
“Clichés and Tired Attack Lines”
All Those Community Organizers? Who Needs Them!

Image: Republican U.S. House candidate and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin speaks as former president Donald Trump looks on at a rally last month. Palin was in two elections on Tuesday, August 16. She was one of three candidates in a special election vying to fill the remainder of U.S. Rep. Don Young’s term after he died in March. She was also in the U.S. House primary, seeking a full two-year term. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Dyllón Burnside: “For Me, the Term Queer Just Opens Up Space”

The Wild Reed’s 2022 Queer Appreciation series continues with the music video for the latest release by American actor and singer Dyllón Burnside.

The track is called “Silence,” something that Dyllón is far from embracing when it comes to his identification as queer rather than gay. He said the following, for instance, via Instagram in 2020.

I just want to assert that I identify as queer, not gay. Some might think it's semantics but for me it’s important. ... My experience of my sexuality has been one that is a bit more fluid and a bit more complex than just identifying as gay. I’ve dated women and have had many relationships – romantic and sexual – with women as well as men. But I don’t identify as bisexual. And I think that, the more that we understand sexuality as something that exists on a spectrum and is not so black-and-white, the more we can better understand humanity as a whole. And so, for me, the term queer just opens up space. It opens up space in our language and language is a technology, a technology by which we come to understand the world. And so I think, for me, queerness is about understanding that I exist outside of the sexual binary of just gay or straight.

About his song "Silence," Dyllón recently shared the following with the website That Grape Juice.

Why this song? It’s because I think it’s incredibly relevant to what so many people are facing right now. I didn’t write the song in quarantine, but one might think that I did when you listen to the lyrics. This song was born in December 2019, and I co-wrote it with a producer friend of mine. It started with a session that I had with my therapist, where I was talking to her about my struggles with feeling isolated and lonely. And sort of feeling like I was reaching out to social media and sex and dating apps to sort of fill this void, this silence, if you will, instead of dealing with my own self. I started writing after that session with my therapist, just sort of journaling about it. And when I went into the studio and was talking to my producer friend, I was like, “I want to turn this into a song.”

And so, after speaking with her, I started journaling about what I was feeling, and I realized that it was in those moments when I was just sitting in my apartment and it was hell of quiet. And what I really wanted was someone to help still that silence, with anything. I didn’t necessarily feel like I needed to be in a relationship, I didn’t necessarily really want to hook up with anybody. Really, what I wanted was someone to distract me from being in that moment with myself.

And so, I took those thoughts, that journal entry into the studio with my producer friend Drew Scott. We built the track out and fleshed-out the lyrics of the song and melody, and recorded it in a few hours.

I didn’t know what song was going to be sort of my debut for the world as a solo artist. But it became really clear in April, as I started to feel some of these same things come up for me during quarantine and started to talk to friends and see people posting about it on social media about feeling lonely and isolated. And folks talking about how their relationship to social media had shifted because they’re so isolated. I realized that, wow, this is exactly what I was going through in December, and I think this song could be cathartic for people; be therapeutic, maybe is a better word, for people. And can help them, sort of face some of the things they may be dealing with. And so I decided to release it now.

Tarot: A Compass For Journeying Toward
the Truth of Who We Are and Who We Can Be

Related Off-site Links:
Dyllón Burnside: Up Close and Personal – Adam Feldman (Time Out, July 17, 2018).
All Hail the Beautiful, Black Gay Love on Pose – Eva Reign (Them, July 20, 2018).
Pose Is Actually Changing People’s Lives, and Dyllón Burnside Has Proof – Ryan Roschke (Pop Sugar, July 22, 2018).
Dyllón Burnside on Being Queer: “I Exist Outside of the Sexual Binary of Just Gay or Straight” – Adrianna Freedman (Men's Health, September 17, 2020).
Dyllón Burnside Talks On-Screen Queerness, Pose, and Where True Revolution Begins – DeMicia Inman (Vibe, June 30, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Cassandra Snow on Reclaiming the Word “Queer”
Queer Black Panther
Reclaiming and Re-Queering Pride
Liberating Paris

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