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July 19, 20217:29 AM ET


Gloria Richardson, then the head of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee, pushes a National Guardsman’s bayonet aside as she moves among a crowd of African Americans to convince them to disperse in Cambridge, Md., in 1963. Richardson, whose determination not to back down while protesting racial inequality, died Thursday in New York, according to her family. She was 99.


ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Gloria Richardson, an influential yet largely unsung civil rights pioneer whose determination not to back down while protesting racial inequality was captured in a photograph as she pushed away the bayonet of a National Guardsman, has died. She was 99.

Tya Young, her granddaughter, said Richardson died in her sleep Thursday in New York City and had not been ill. Young said while her grandmother was at the forefront of the civil rights movement, she didn’t seek praise or recognition.

“She did it because it needed to be done, and she was born a leader,” Young said.

Richardson was the first woman to lead a prolonged grassroots civil rights movement outside the Deep South. In 1962, she helped organized and led the Cambridge Movement on Maryland’s Eastern Shore with sit-ins to desegregate restaurants, bowling alleys and movie theaters in protests that marked an early part of the Black Power movement.

“I say that the Cambridge Movement was the soil in which Richardson planted a seed of Black power and nurtured its growth,” said Joseph R. Fitzgerald, who wrote a 2018 biography on Richardson titled “The Struggle is Eternal: Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation.”

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Richardson became the leader of demonstrations over bread and butter economic issues like jobs, health care access and sufficient housing.

“Everything that the Black Lives Matter movement is working at right now is a continuation of what the Cambridge Movement was doing,” Fitzgerald said.

In pursuit of these goals, Richardson advocated for the right of Black people to defend themselves when attacked.

“Richardson always supported the use of nonviolent direct action during protests, but once the protests were over and if Black people were attacked by whites she fully supported their right to defend themselves,” Fitzgerald said.

Masked National Guardsman with their bayonets held at the ready surround the jeep of Brig. Gen. George Gelson, head of the guard unit, as Stanley Branche, chairman of the Committee for Freedom Now, left, and Gloria Richardson, second from left, stands beside him in Cambridge, Md., in 1964.

William Smith/AP

She began fighting for civil rights as a student

Richardson was born in Baltimore and later lived in Cambridge in Maryland’s Dorchester County — the same county where Harriet Tubman was born. She entered Howard University when she was 16. During her years in Washington, she began to protest segregation at a drug store.

In 1962, Richardson attended the meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Atlanta and later joined the board.

In the summer of 1963, after peaceful sit-ins turned violent in Cambridge, Gov. J. Millard Tawes declared martial law. When Cambridge Mayor Calvin Mowbray asked Richardson to halt the demonstrations in exchange for an end to the arrests of Black protesters, Richardson declined to do so. On June 11, rioting by white supremacists erupted and Tawes called in the National Guard.

While the city was still under National Guard presence, Richardson met with U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy to negotiate what became informally known as the “Treaty of Cambridge.” It ordered equal access to public accommodations in Cambridge in return for a one-year moratorium on demonstrations.

Richardson was a signatory to the treaty, but she had never agreed to end the demonstrations. It was only the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that began to resolve issues at the local level.

She was one of the nation’s leading female civil rights’ activists and inspired younger activists who went on to protest racial inequality in the late 1960s and into the 1970s.

Her role as a leader in the movement didn’t last long

Richardson was on the stage at the pivotal March on Washington in 1963 as one of six women listed as “fighters for freedom” on the program. However, she was only allowed to say “hello” before the microphone was taken.

The male-centric Black Power movement and the fact that Richardson’s leadership in Cambridge lasted about three years may have obscured how influential she was, but Fitzgerald said she was well-known in Black America.

“She was only active for approximately three years, but during that time she was literally front and center in a high-stakes Black liberation campaign, and she’s being threatened,” Fitzgerald said. “She’s got white supremacist terrorists threatening her, calling her house, threatening her with her life.”

Richardson resigned from Cambridge, Maryland, Nonviolent Action Committee in the summer of 1964. Divorced from her first husband, she married photographer Frank Dandridge and moved to New York where she worked a variety of jobs, including the National Council for Negro Women.

She is survived by her daughters, Donna Orange and Tamara Richardson, and granddaughters Young and Michelle Price.


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Heather Digby Parton  5 hrs ago

What the far-right’s charge to remove Pelosi could mean for Kevin McCarthyHasbro whistleblower suspended for revealing company’s critical race…

Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell are posing for a picture: Donald Trump; Kevin McCarthy; Marjorie Taylor-Greene; Mitch McConnell© Provided by Salon Donald Trump; Kevin McCarthy; Marjorie Taylor-Greene; Mitch McConnell

Donald Trump, Kevin McCarthy, Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Mitch McConnell Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images

Ronald Reagan, the most beloved president of the modern Republican Party (before Donald J. Trump, anyway) had a very famous saying:

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help. “

It was a clever comment that the leaders of the conservative movement never took seriously, of course. The Republicans were always big boosters of first responders, cops and the military who are generally the ones who literally say “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” But the anti-government sentiment worked well for the wealthy benefactors who paid these politicians handsomely to keep their taxes low and regulations scarce.

They also used that message to persuade voters that the government was trying to oppress them with everything from creeping communism to affirmative action and women’s rights. In other words, everything these people already hated was blamed on Big Government by the very people who ran it. The subtext of much of this was race, of course, as the cynical conservatives managed to convince people that the government was doling out handouts to the “undeserving” (and I think you know who they were talking about) in the form of welfare, while the hard-working Real Americans were paying the freight and getting the shaft.

Over time they were able to demagogue the issue so thoroughly that average Republicans routinely voted against their own interests out of a reflexive hostility to anything the government tried to do (other than wage war, which they loved.) When the financial crisis hit in 2007 and the government was required to intervene or risk the whole economic system going into free fall, it was clear just how successful they had been.

Almost immediately, a rebellion against the government helping “irresponsible” homeowners became the rallying cry of the anti-government right and the Tea Party was born. The GOP knew that government intervention was necessary but they made sure that the banks and the wealthy were taken care of while forcing everything else to be done on the cheap. The result was a very slow recovery and long-term damage to the average American household, which worked out well for them politically and further discredited government in the minds of many Americans.

The Obamacare wars flowed naturally from that, with half the country hysterical at the idea the government was going to choose their doctors and decide who lives or dies. Their fears were stoked by right-wing politicians who suspected that the program might work and restore people’s faith in the government to deliver needed benefits. Then where would they be?

There were dozens of conspiracy theories floating around from “death panels” to implanted microchips, to a giant government database that was going to house every personal piece of health information on every American. All of this inane resistance was fueled by the right’s decades-long anti-government propaganda campaign.

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Fast forward to 2020 and the first global pandemic in a hundred years with an incompetent narcissist in charge. Between his ineptitude and self-serving desire to pretend that the crisis didn’t exist and the years of mistrust in the government, the U.S. ended up with an epic disaster and half the population refusing to acknowledge it existed. Today, we’re facing a situation in which tens of millions of people are refusing vaccines because they believe in daft conspiracy theories or are convinced the government is lying to them even in the face of over 600,000 deaths.

Throughout all this, most Republican officials have either been actively hostile to medical experts and their advice or they have been strangely passive, simply shrugging their shoulders as if this is just a normal part of life and everyone just needs to buck up. They refused to wear masks and social distance, they’ve egged on protesters and encouraged the right-wing media, which has been feeding snake oil, lies and conspiracy theories to their voters since the pandemic began.

Fox News has been particularly egregious in its objectively pro-COVID propaganda. Their headliners Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity have all taken slightly different approaches. Carlson has gone with his patented dark conspiracy-mongering, playing off of the right’s new “Deep State” narrative to suggest that the government is forcing people to take vaccines against their will and that the shots are killing people. Ingraham has been an inveterate pusher of quacks and bogus cures while blaming it all on immigrants as usual while Hannity has been playing both sides, telling people to take the virus seriously in one breath and skepticism in the other. (One suspects this relates to his close relationship with Donald Trump, who similarly twists himself into a pretzel on this subject, wanting credit for the vaccines but being unable to buck the conspiracy addled anti-vax sentiment of his followers.)

Most of the rest of the right-wing media have followed the same trends — at least until this week.

Suddenly, we have been seeing members of Fox News breaking with their stars and making heartfelt PSA’s exhorting people to get the vaccines, something we’ve never seen before: Watch the latest video at Newsmax CEO, and friend of Trump, Chris Ruddy wrote a glowing op-ed complimenting President Biden on his vaccine program. One of the House leaders, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La, a vaccine holdout, very ostentatiously got vaccinated and told anyone who’d listen that they should do it as well. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis actually went out and urged his constituents to get vaccinated now that his state is being overrun with COVID. Again.

The question on everyone’s mind is, “What happened?”

Obviously, it’s tied to the new surge of cases as the highly transmissible Delta variant runs through the population of unvaccinated people who are, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, heavily tilted toward Republicans. As of the end of last month, 86% of Democrats had at least one shot compared to 52% of Republicans. And it’s not getting any better.

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Have they seen polling indicating that they are losing ground with their own voters over their lack on engagement? Are they suddenly worried that their base is going to die and leave them short of needed votes? It’s hard to say. But I think MSNBC’s Chris Hayes was on to something when he suggested that they had thought they could stick with the base and its anti-vax, anti-Big Government attitude about this (continuing to reap the rewards that brings to them politically) and let Joe Biden’s administration do the heavy lifting of getting their states vaccinated — at which point they would swoop in and say what a terrible job he did. (This works for them every time a GOP administration leaves the country in shambles and the Democrats have to clean up their mess.)

The problem is that the virus is spreading, restrictions have been lifted and the Republican base is refusing to save itself. The anti-government chickens have finally come home to roost — and they’re killing Republicans. 



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July 21, 2021

Heather Cox Richardson

The story that grabbed headlines today was that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rejected two of the five people House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) chose to put on the House select committee to investigate the January 6 insurrection. McCarthy immediately withdrew all of the five people he had appointed, accusing the Speaker of partisanship. But let’s call this like it is. The Republicans killed a bill to create a bipartisan select committee to investigate the insurrection. Then, when Pelosi set up a select committee instead on the exact same terms that Republicans had used to set up one of their many Benghazi committees, McCarthy tried to sabotage the process by naming as three of his five picks men who bought into former president Trump’s Big Lie and challenged the votes on the night of January 6. One of those men, Jim Jordan (R-OH), is known for disrupting hearings; another, Jim Banks (R-IN), after being selected to sit on the committee, said that Pelosi “created this committee solely to malign conservatives and to justify the Left’s authoritarian agenda.” Banks has repeatedly tried to blame Pelosi for the response of the Capitol Police on January 6, when, in fact, it is overseen by a three-person Capitol Police Board. It is likely that McCarthy chose Jordan precisely to push Pelosi into rejecting him: McCarthy did not make Jordan the ranking member on the committee despite his seniority. Pelosi refused to accept Jordan and Banks but did accept Troy Nehls (R-TX), who also voted to challenge the results of the 2020 election. Nonetheless, McCarthy made a show of pulling all his appointees from the committee, saying “this panel has lost all legitimacy and credibility and shows the Speaker is more interested in playing politics than seeking the truth.” But, of course, one of Pelosi’s own picks is Republican Liz Cheney (R-WY), who voted with Trump 92.9% of the time, but who recognizes the insurrection as one of the most dangerous threats to our democracy in our history. She responded today to McCarthy, her party’s leader, supporting Pelosi’s decision and telling reporters that the Speaker had “objected to two members and the rhetoric around this from the minority leader and from those two members has been disgraceful. This must be an investigation that is focused on facts, and the idea that any of this has become politicized is really unworthy of the office that we all hold and unworthy of our republic.” Cheney said she is “absolutely confident that we will have a nonpartisan investigation. “On January 13, of course, McCarthy said: “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters. He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding. These facts require immediate action by [Trump] to accept his share of responsibility.” Now, six months later, Republicans have lined up behind the former president and are seeking to sabotage the investigation into the January 6 insurrection, clearly unhappy about what that investigation will reveal. In the Senate, a vote to advance the $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill failed today, but 11 Republicans eager to make the deal work delivered a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) indicating their intention to vote for such a bill once it is hammered out. Schumer has promised to bring the procedural process up again if it has the votes to pass. If Republicans refuse to join the measure, Democrats can simply fold it into the larger bill they’re hoping to pass through reconciliation without the Republican votes necessary to break a filibuster. McConnell has taken a stand against the Democrats’ infrastructure plans. In a speech on July 6, he focused on the larger package, saying: “The era of bipartisanship on this stuff is over….This is not going to be done on a bipartisan basis. This is going to be a hell of a fight over what this country ought to look like in the future and it’s going to unfold here in the next few weeks. I don’t think we’ve had a bigger difference of opinion between the two parties.” But many Republicans recognize that the infrastructure package is popular, and they would like to have their names on it rather than giving another win to the Democrats. Schumer has given them more time but has made it clear he will not let them run out the clock. Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told reporters today that no Republican senators will vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling when a deal cut two years ago to suspend the ceiling ends on July 31. McConnell wants to see spending cuts to bring down the deficit. (It is worth noting that the Republicans just demanded that funding to beef up the IRS to catch tax cheaters be stripped from the new infrastructure bill, although the commissioner of the IRS, Charles Rettig, estimates we lose $1 trillion a year in unpaid taxes.) During the Trump administration, Congress voted at least three times to raise the debt ceiling. Under Trump, the nation added $7.8 trillion to the national debt, about $23,500 for every person in the country. The bulk of this debt came before the coronavirus pandemic. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts, which chopped the federal tax rate from 35% to 21%, hurt revenues at the same time that administration spending increased dramatically. And then the pandemic hit. Under Trump, the deficit rose 5.2%. The only presidents to raise it faster in their terms were George W. Bush, under whom the deficit rose 11.7% as he cut taxes and started two wars, and Abraham Lincoln, under whom it rose 9.4% as he paid for the Civil War. The Democrats are treating McConnell’s threat to shut down the government as political posturing. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “We expect Congress to act in a timely manner to raise or suspend the debt ceiling, as they did three times on a broad bipartisan basis during the last administration,” and Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted: “We are not going to have a ‘big fight’ over the debt ceiling. We are just going to handle our business like grownups.” Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) added: “We don’t bargain over the debt ceiling. We just do our jobs. And if you choose not to do your job, then you answer for the consequences. “The takeaway from today is that McConnell and McCarthy seem to have lost control of their caucus, while the Republicans’ posturing is increasingly out of step with the national mood. Pelosi called McCarthy’s bluff, Schumer warned his Republican colleagues that he will not let them sabotage Democratic priorities by running out the clock, and Democratic lawmakers are taking advantage of the erratic behavior of Republican lawmakers to suggest that they, the Democrats, are currently the only adults in the room.—-

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If Bitch McConnell and his minions have their way we will be back to pre civil war era voting restrictions for all non white voters. MA

July 17, 2021Heather Cox Richardson

A year ago tonight, Georgia Representative John Lewis passed away from pancreatic cancer at 80 years old. As a young adult, Lewis was a “troublemaker,” breaking the laws of his state: the laws upholding racial segregation. He organized voting registration drives and in 1960 was one of the thirteen original Freedom Riders, white and Black students traveling together from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans to challenge segregation. “It was very violent. I thought I was going to die. I was left lying at the Greyhound bus station in Montgomery unconscious,” Lewis later recalled.An adherent of the philosophy of nonviolence, Lewis was beaten by mobs and arrested 24 times. As chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC—pronounced “snick”), he helped to organize the 1963 March on Washington where the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., told more than 200,000 people gathered at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial that he had a dream. Just 23 years old, Lewis spoke at the march. Two years later, as Lewis and 600 marchers hoping to register African American voters in Alabama stopped to pray at the end of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, mounted police troopers charged the marchers, beating them with clubs and bullwhips. They fractured Lewis’s skull.To observers in 1965 reading the newspapers, Lewis was simply one of the lawbreaking protesters who were disrupting the “peace” of the South. But what seemed to be fruitless and dangerous protests were, in fact, changing minds. Shortly after the attack in Selma, President Lyndon Baines Johnson honored those changing ideas when he went on TV to support the marchers and call for Congress to pass a national voting rights bill. On August 6, 1965, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act authorizing federal supervision of voter registration in districts where African Americans were historically underrepresented.When Congress passed the Voting Rights Act, just 6.7 percent of Black voters in Mississippi were registered to vote. Two years later, almost 60% of them were. In 1986, those new Black voters helped to elect Lewis to Congress. He held the seat until he died, winning reelection 16 times.Now, just a year after Representative Lewis’s death, the voting rights for which he fought are under greater threat than they have been since 1965. After the 2013 Shelby County v. Holder decision of the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act by taking away Department of Justice supervision of election changes in states with a history of racial discrimination, Republican-dominated state legislatures began to enact measures that would cut down on minority voting.At Representative Lewis’s funeral, former President Barack Obama called for renewing the Voting Rights Act. “You want to honor John?” he said. “Let’s honor him by revitalizing the law that he was willing to die for.” Instead, after the 2020 election, Republican-dominated legislatures ramped up their effort to skew the vote in their favor by limiting access to the ballot. As of mid-June 2021, 17 states had passed 28 laws making it harder to vote, while more bills continue to move forward.Then, on July 1, by a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court handed down Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, saying that the state of Arizona did not violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act when it passed laws that limited ballot delivery to voters, family members, or caregivers, or when it required election officials to throw out ballots that voters had cast in the wrong precincts by accident.The fact that voting restrictions affect racial or ethnic groups differently does not make them illegal, Justice Samuel Alito wrote. “The mere fact that there is some disparity in impact does not necessarily mean that a system is not equally open or that it does not give everyone an equal opportunity to vote.”Justice Elena Kagan wrote a blistering dissent, in which Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor joined. “If a single statute represents the best of America, it is the Voting Rights Act,” Kagan wrote, “It marries two great ideals: democracy and racial equality. And it dedicates our country to carrying them out.” She explained, “The Voting Rights Act is ambitious, in both goal and scope. When President Lyndon Johnson sent the bill to Congress, ten days after John Lewis led marchers across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, he explained that it was “carefully drafted to meet its objective—the end of discrimination in voting in America.” It gave every citizen “the right to an equal opportunity to vote.”“Much of the Voting Rights Act’s success lay in its capacity to meet ever-new forms of discrimination,” Kagan wrote. Those interested in suppressing the vote have always offered “a non-racial rationalization” even for laws that were purposefully discriminatory. Poll taxes, elaborate registration regulations, and early poll closings were all designed to limit who could vote but were defended as ways to prevent fraud and corruption, even when there was no evidence that fraud or corruption was a problem. Kagan noted that the Arizona law permitting the state to throw out ballots cast in the wrong precinct invalidated twice as many ballots cast by Indigenous Americans, Black Americans, and Hispanic Americans as by whites.“The majority’s opinion mostly inhabits a law-free zone,” she wrote.Congress has been slow to protect voting rights. Although it renewed the Voting Rights Act by an overwhelming majority in 2006, that impulse has disappeared. In March 2021, the House of Representatives passed the For the People Act on which Representative Lewis had worked, a sweeping measure that protects the right to vote, removes dark money from politics, and ends partisan gerrymandering. Republicans in the Senate killed the bill, and Democrats were unwilling to break the filibuster to pass it alone.An attempt simply to restore the provision of the Voting Rights Act gutted in 2013 has not yet been introduced, although it has been named: the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Only one Republican, Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski, has signed on to the bill.  Yesterday, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH), was arrested with eight other protesters in the Hart Senate Office Building for demanding legislation to protect voting rights.After her arrest, Beatty tweeted: “You can arrest me. You can’t stop me. You can’t silence me.”Last June, Representative Lewis told Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart that he was “inspired” by last summer’s peaceful protests in America and around the world against police violence. “It was so moving and so gratifying to see people from all over America and all over the world saying through their action, ‘I can do something. I can say something,’” Lewis told Capehart. “And they said something by marching and by speaking up and speaking out.”Capehart asked Lewis “what he would say to people who feel as though they have already been giving it their all but nothing seems to change.” Lewis answered: “You must be able and prepared to give until you cannot give any more. We must use our time and our space on this little planet that we call Earth to make a lasting contribution, to leave it a little better than we found it, and now that need is greater than ever before.”“Do not get lost in a sea of despair,” Lewis tweeted almost exactly a year before his death. “Do not become bitter or hostile. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble. We will find a way to make a way out of no way.”—-

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The Nazi Party, officially the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, was a far-right political party in Germany active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of Nazism. Its precursor, the German Workers’ Party, existed from 1919 to 1920. Wikipedia.

The party of TOTUS is considered a Nationalist or Populist movement which each by definition is not inclusive of ALL citizens of the country. The definition of Nazi party above is merely to explain its definition. TOTUS has been called a populist meaning he resonated with many people not so much for a well-defined message but more of an assailing raging rhetoric that evinced cheers and agreement over perceived injustices by the then current government and previous ones. The underlying message for TOTUS was his perceived personal value in spite of his dearth of knowledge of administration. His rise was presaged by the outrageous actions and statements of former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin who campaigned in the same style with the same un substantiated statements and bravado that earned the cheers and support of many of the same people who eventually lined up behind TOTUS. In essence Sarah Palin cracked the “Populist” door open and TOTUS kicked it wide open! TOTUS took the worst of his own personal (fallacious) beliefs mainstream creating a more divided country not unlike the immediate post-civil war era.  And the pre-World War II German Republic (as constructed by Hitler). The worst of it is the support (overt and covert) by members of congress for their own ends, not for the country and people they swore an oath to protect and support. With the current GOP having a thin edge (not a majority) in the Congress we are in for another year of unsubstantiated claims that play into the beliefs and fears of TOTUS’ supporters whose support they need to remain in office. It is unfortunate that these base supporters are literally “cutting off their noses to spite their faces” by continuing to follow the political demagogues (aka Congress) who will all retire better than 5 to 6 of the average American families who follow and support them. The past has and always will dictate the present and possibly the future if we as voters do not watch our elected leaders closely. Those we have elected are not our friends , they are OUR Employees!


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July 9, 2021

Apparently the Current Congress is regressing to 1868. MA

Heather Cox Richardson

Jul 10                                     

[It appears this did not go out last night. My apologies.]

On July 9, 1868, Americans changed the U.S. Constitution for the fourteenth time, adapting our foundational document to construct a new nation without systematic Black enslavement.

In 1865, the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution had prohibited slavery on the basis of race, but it did not prevent the establishment of a system in which Black Americans continued to be unequal. Backed by President Andrew Johnson, who had taken over the presidency after an actor had murdered President Abraham Lincoln, white southern Democrats had done their best to push their Black neighbors back into subservience. So long as southern states had abolished enslavement, repudiated Confederate debts, and nullified the ordinances of secession, Johnson was happy to readmit them to full standing in the Union, still led by the very men who had organized the Confederacy and made war on the United States.

Northern Republican lawmakers refused. There was no way they were going to rebuild southern society on the same blueprint as existed before the Civil War, especially since the upcoming 1870 census would count Black Americans as whole persons for the first time in the nation’s history, giving southern states more power in Congress and the Electoral College after the war than they had had before it. Having just fought a war to destroy the South’s ideology, they were not going to let it regrow in peacetime.

Congress rejected Johnson’s plan for Reconstruction.

But then congressmen had to come up with their own plan. After months of hearings and debate, they proposed amending the Constitution to settle the outstanding questions of the war. Chief among these was how to protect the rights of Black Americans in states where they could neither vote nor testify in court or sit on a jury to protect their own interests.

Congress’s solution was the Fourteenth Amendment.

It took on the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision declaring that Black men “are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word ‘citizens’ in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens.”

The Fourteenth Amendment provides that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

The amendment also addressed the Dred Scott decision in another profound way. In 1857, southerners and Democrats who were adamantly opposed to federal power controlled the Supreme Court. They backed states’ rights. So the Dred Scott decision did more than read Black Americans out of our history; it dramatically circumscribed Congress’s power.

The Dred Scott decision declared that democracy was created at the state level, by those people in a state who were allowed to vote. In 1857, this meant white men, almost exclusively. If those people voted to do something widely unpopular—like adopting human enslavement, for example—they had the right to do so and Congress could not stop them. People like Abraham Lincoln pointed out that such domination by states would eventually mean that an unpopular minority could take over the national government, forcing their ideas on everyone else, but defenders of states’ rights stood firm.

And so, the Fourteenth Amendment gave the federal government the power to protect individuals even if their state legislatures had passed discriminatory laws. “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” it said. And then it went on to say that “Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

The principles behind the Fourteenth Amendment were behind the 1870 creation of the Department of Justice, whose first job was to bring down the Ku Klux Klan terrorists in the South.

Those same principles took on profound national significance in the post–World War II era, when the Supreme Court began to use the equal protection clause and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment aggressively to apply the protections in the Bill of Rights to the states. The civil rights decisions of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, including the Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing segregation in public schools, and the Loving v Virginia decision permitting interracial marriage, come from this doctrine. Under it, the federal government took up the mantle of protecting the rights of individual Americans in the states from the whims of state legislatures.

Opponents of these new civil rights protections quickly began to object that such decisions were “legislating from the bench,” rather than permitting state legislatures to make their own laws. These opponents began to call for “originalism,” the idea that the Constitution should be interpreted only as the Framers had intended when they wrote it, an argument that focused on the creation of law at the state level. Famously, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork, an originalist who had called for the rollback of the Supreme Court’s civil rights decisions, for a seat on that court.

Reacting to that nomination, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) recognized the importance of the Fourteenth Amendment to equality: “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, Blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy….”

It’s a funny thing to write about the Fourteenth Amendment in the twenty-first century. I am a scholar of Reconstruction, and for me the Fourteenth Amendment conjures up images of late-1860s Washington, D.C., a place still plagued by malaria carried on mosquitoes from the Washington City Canal, where generals and congressmen worried about how to protect the Black men who had died in extraordinary numbers to defend the government while an accidental president pardoned Confederate generals and plotted to destroy the national system Abraham Lincoln had created.

It should feel very distant. And yet, while a bipartisan group of senators rejected Bork’s nomination in 1987, in 2021 the Supreme Court is dominated by originalists, and the principles of the Fourteenth Amendment seem terribly current.


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Chris Britt Comic Strip for July 09, 2021
jester trump

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June 28, 2021 Heather Cox Richardson

Jun 29This evening, President Joe Biden published an op-ed in Yahoo News about the infrastructure bill now moving forward on its way to Congress. He called the measure “a once-in-a-generation investment to modernize our infrastructure” and claimed it would “create millions of good-paying jobs and position America to compete with the world and win the 21st century.”The measure will provide money to repair roads and bridges, replace the lead pipes that still provide water to as many as 10 million households and 400,000 schools and daycares, modernize our electric grid, replace gas-powered buses with electric ones, and cap wells leaking methane that have been abandoned by their owners in the private sector to be cleaned up by the government. It will invest in railroads, airports, and other public transportation; protect coastlines and forests from extreme weather events; and deliver high-speed internet to rural communities.    “This deal is the largest long-term investment in our infrastructure in nearly a century,” Biden wrote. “It is a signal to ourselves, and to the world, that American democracy can work and deliver for the people.”Biden is making a big pitch for this infrastructure project in part because we need it, of course, and because it is popular, but also because it signals a return to the sort of government both Democrats and Republicans embraced between 1945 and 1980. In that period after World War II, most Americans believed that the government had a role to play in regulating business, providing a basic social safety net, investing in infrastructure, and promoting civil rights. This shared understanding was known as the “liberal consensus.”With the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency in 1980, the Republican Party rejected that vision of the government, arguing that, as Reagan said, “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” But while Reagan limited that statement with the words “in this present crisis,” Republican leaders since the 1980s have worked to destroy the liberal consensus and take us back to the world of the 1920s, a world in which business leaders also ran the government. For the very reason that Biden is determined to put through this massive investment in infrastructure, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would like to kill it. Until recently, he has presided over the Senate with the declared plan to kill Democratic bills. He opposes the liberal consensus, wanting to get rid of taxes and stop the government from intervening in the economy. But today’s Republican lawmakers are in an awkward place: by large margins, Americans like the idea of investing in infrastructure.So the Republicans have engaged in a careful dance over this new measure. Biden wants to demonstrate to the country both that democracy can deliver for its people and that the two parties in Congress do not have to be adversarial. He wanted bipartisan support for this infrastructure plan. A group of Democrats and Republicans negotiated the measure that is now being prepared to move forward. Last week, five Republican negotiators backed the outline for the measure. They, of course, would like to be able to tell their constituents that they voted for what is a very popular measure, rather than try to claim credit for it after voting no, as they did with the American Rescue Plan.Negotiators were always clear that the Democrats would plan to pass a much larger bill under what is known as a “budget reconciliation” bill in addition to the infrastructure plan. Financial measures under reconciliation cannot be killed by filibuster in the Senate, meaning that if the Democrats can stand together, they can pass whatever they wish financially under reconciliation. Democrats planned to put into a second bill the infrastructure measures Republicans disliked: funding to combat climate change, for example, and to promote clean energy, and to invest in human infrastructure: childcare and paid leave, free pre-kindergarten and community college, and tax cuts for working families with children. Crucially, that bigger measure, known as the American Families Plan, will also start to dismantle the 2017 Republican tax cuts, which cut the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. Biden wants to return the corporate tax rate to 28%, still lower than it was before 2017, but higher than it is now. To keep more progressive Democrats on board with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Democrats need to move it forward in tandem with the larger, more comprehensive American Families Plan. This has been clear from the start. After announcing the bipartisan deal, Biden reiterated that he would not sign one without the other.And yet, although he himself acknowledged the Democratic tandem plan on June 15, McConnell pretended outrage over the linkage of the two bills. McConnell and some of his colleagues complained to reporters that Biden was threatening to veto the bipartisan bill unless Congress passed the American Families Plan too. It appears McConnell had hoped that the bipartisan plan would peel centrist Democrats off from the larger American Families Plan, thus stopping the Democrats’ resurrection of the larger idea of the liberal consensus and keeping corporate taxes low. Killing that larger plan might well keep progressive Democrats from voting for the bipartisan bill, too, thus destroying both of Biden’s key measures. If he can drive a wedge through the Democrats, he can make sure that none of their legislation passes.Over the weekend, Biden issued a statement saying that he was not threatening to veto a bill he had just worked for weeks to put together, but was supporting the bipartisan bill while also intending to pass the American Families Plan. McConnell then issued a statement essentially claiming victory and demanding control over the Democrats’ handling of the measures, saying “The President has appropriately delinked a potential bipartisan infrastructure bill from the massive, unrelated tax-and-spend plans that Democrats want to pursue on a partisan basis.” He went on to demand that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) agree to send the smaller, bipartisan bill forward without linking it to “trillions of dollars for unrelated tax hikes, wasteful spending, and Green New Deal socialism.” McConnell is trying to turn the tide against these measures by calling the process unfair, which might give Republicans an excuse to vote no even on a bill as popular as the bipartisan bill is. Complaining about process is, of course, how he prevented the Senate from convicting former president Trump of inciting the January 6 insurrection, and how he stopped the establishment of a bipartisan, independent committee to investigate that insurrection.  But McConnell no longer controls Congress. House Speaker Pelosi says she will not schedule the bipartisan bill until the American Families Plan passes. Pelosi also announced today that the House is preparing legislation to establish a select committee to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol. She had to do so, she noted, because “Senate Republicans did Mitch McConnell a ‘personal favor’ rather than their patriotic duty and voted against the bipartisan commission negotiated by Democrats and Republicans.  But Democrats are determined to find the truth.”The draft of the bill provides for the committee to have 13 members. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), himself likely to be called as a witness before the committee, will be able to “consult” with the Speaker on five of the members, but the final makeup of the committee will be up to the Speaker. This language echoes that of the select committee that investigated the Benghazi attack, and should prevent McCarthy from sabotaging the committee with far-right lawmakers eager to disrupt the proceedings rather than learn what happened. Instead, we can expect to see on the committee Republicans who voted to establish the independent, bipartisan commission that McConnell and Republican senators killed.Biden’s op-ed made it clear that he intends to rebuild the country: “I have always believed that there is nothing our nation can’t do when we decide to do it together,” he wrote. “Last week, we began to write a new chapter in that story.”

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Clay Bennett Comic Strip for June 29, 2021

Could also be : “the McConnell Organization”, The “graham Organization” or perhaps “the GOP Organization”.



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Loser Detector - Dilbert by Scott Adams
Dilbert Classics Comic Strip for June 27, 2021

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