Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.
This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.
What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White
Thursday, February 22, 2018
By DAVID A. HOLLINGERFEB. 21, 2018
"As one of world Christianity’s most admired leaders, the Rev. Billy Graham, who died on Wednesday at 99, had extraordinary opportunities to affect the character of the Christian religion and to pronounce on its implications for personal conduct. He scored at the top of lists of “most respected” Americans decade after decade. He was loved by millions in the United States and abroad.
But the parochial terms on which Mr. Graham preached Christianity render his career largely a story of missed opportunities. He too often stood aloof from or actively discouraged efforts to revise traditional Protestantism to make it more respectful of the world’s racial and cultural diversity and of the findings of modern science and scholarship.
Mr. Graham led his followers to seek comfort in versions of Christianity familiar to his core constituency, the white population of the Southern, formerly slave-holding region of the United States. He offered only weak challenges to the prejudices and injustices largely tolerated by that population.
When he heard President Richard Nixon utter prejudiced remarks about Jews, for example, Mr. Graham could have challenged him. But as audio tape of their private conversation has revealed, he did the opposite, assuring Nixon that the many Jews who befriended him “don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country.”
Many of Mr. Graham’s more theologically liberal contemporaries drew upon the words of Jesus of Nazareth and the Apostle Paul to support legislative and court actions to advance civil rights. But he chose to represent anti-black racism as a sin of the individual human heart rather than a civic evil to be corrected by collective political authority.
To his credit, Mr. Graham made a production of racially integrating his revivals and rallies at a time when many white Southern Protestants found this step provocative. But again and again he failed to contest the prevailing view that religious advocacy for civil rights was “meddling” with politics while acceptance of the inherited structures of inequality in the Jim Crow South was not.
The same pattern emerged in Mr. Graham’s approach to Christian witness in the world beyond the United States. He supported a fundamentalist reading of the Bible in the mission fields of Africa and Asia, while more ecumenical groups like the World Council of Churches promoted less sectarian versions of Christianity and less conversion-centered modes of interaction with the peoples of the globe.
There is no more perfect emblem for Mr. Graham’s global legacy than the 2003 declaration of his son and designated spiritual heir, the Rev. Franklin Graham, that President George W. Bush’s decision to go to war in Iraq presented Christians with a great opportunity to convert the population of Iraq from the “wicked” religion of Islam.
Liberal Protestant and Catholic leaders have long articulated and ably defended many variations on the old faith that accommodate what modern science and scholarship have discovered about our world. But Mr. Graham, who could have done the same, acquiesced in the provincial suspicions of modern intellectual life — suspicions that keep millions of the faithful away from an honest engagement with the Darwinian revolution in natural history and with historical and archaeological findings about the origins of the Bible as a human document. Never was the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr more right than when he warned in 1957 that Mr. Graham promoted childlike religious emotions and obscurantist ideas.
Mr. Niebuhr presents a revealing contrast to Mr. Graham. Mr. Niebuhr was a key leader of the so-called Protestant establishment, the complex of liberal, ecumenical denominations that dominated the public face of Christianity in the United States until the 1970s. Mr. Graham was the most conspicuous leader of the rival, evangelical Protestantism that gradually but decisively seized control of the symbolic capital of Christianity from the Methodists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans and other mainstream groups within the Protestant establishment.
From the 1970s onward the Grahams of American religion triumphed over the Niebuhrs, largely because the evangelicals continued to espouse a cluster of ideas that remained popular with the white public while the liberal, ecumenical leadership abandoned these same ideas as indefensibly racist, sexist, imperialist, chauvinistic, homophobic and anti-intellectual.
Prominent among these ideas was the assertion that the United States was a “Christian nation,” rather than one in which persons of many faiths, and of no faith at all, were civic equals. Another such idea was that claim that the heterosexual, nuclear, patriarchal family was God’s will. Yet another was that faith in Jesus was the only road to salvation.
Mr. Graham had a choice as to where he would urge his followers to come down on these issues. Consistently, he distanced himself from the efforts of ecumenists to revise Christianity in cosmopolitan directions. He encouraged his vast and devoted following to believe that God’s word was unchanging and that liberals were substituting their own ideas for those of a supernatural, unchanging deity revealed in the Bible. He dumbed down his inherited faith instead of helping it to address the challenges of modern times.
The memory of Mr. Graham is rightly honored by those who shared his values and the goals for which he mobilized evangelical Christianity. But the rest of us can surely be forgiven if we remember him differently."
Billy Graham’s Missed Opportunities - The New York Times
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Coming soon: Another showdown over Dreamers in Congress - POLITICO If Schemer had kept the shut down going and Democrats had motivated young Americans like they are now doing for the gun debate DACA would be safe.
"A must-pass, roughly $1.3 trillion spending bill may be the last chance before the midterm elections for the two parties to achieve their top immigration-related priorities: protecting Dreamers from deportation or build President Donald Trump’s border wall. Whether they can succeed after their repeated failures is anyone's guess, but they're expected to try.
One possibility would be a scaled-down compromise that would extend protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants for an additional three years in exchange for three years of wall funding. That would punt the decision on a permanent fix past Trump’s first term as president.
Other potential scenarios are an even shorter fix for the Dreamers, or, given the chamber's track record, no deal at all.
Still, the massive “omnibus” spending package gives both sides a chance to achieve their ends. Democrats and pro-immigration reform Republicans, such as Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) are looking for every possible avenue to shield enrollees in the Deferred Action for Childhood program from removal."
Billy Graham was on the wrong side of history The truth concerning the whitewashing of Billy's Graham's past and opposition to the "Civil Rights Movement". | Matthew Avery Sutton | Opinion | The Guardian
"... In the late 1950s, Graham integrated his revivals and seemed to support the burgeoning civil rights movement. This is the Graham most Americans remember.
But as the movement grew, expanded and became increasingly confrontational, the evangelist’s position changed.
Once leaders like Martin Luther King Jr began practicing civil disobedience and asking for the federal government to guarantee African Americans’ rights, Graham’s support evaporated.
Within days of the publication of King’s famous 1963 Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Graham told reporters that the Baptist minister should “put the brakes on a little bit”.
He criticized civil rights activists for focusing on changing laws rather than hearts.
In 1971, Graham published The Jesus Generation, a book on the coming apocalypse. Looking for signs of Jesus’s second coming had become an obsession of Graham’s, as it was for millions of other evangelicals in the mid-20th century.
In the book Graham praised the wisdom of young people who rejected the federal government as a tool for rectifying injustices.
“These young people don’t put much stock in the old slogans of the New Deal, the Fair Deal, the New Frontier and the Great Society,” he said. “They believe that utopia will arrive only when Jesus returns. Thus these young people are on sound Biblical ground.”
For six decades Graham taught Americans that the federal government could not be an instrument of God to bring about justice, not on race matters and not on other significant issues. Although he believed in racial equality, his theology blinded him to what we now know was the best means for achieving that equality.
More recently, the evangelist denied the threat of global warming as well as federal efforts to stymie it..."
Billy Graham was on the wrong side of history | Matthew Avery Sutton | Opinion | The Guardian
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Monday, February 19, 2018
"One thing that is clear to me following the special counsel’s indictment of 13 Russians and three companies for interfering with our election is that the black vote was specifically under attack, from sources foreign and domestic. And this attack appeared to be particularly focused on young black activist-minded voters passionate about social justice: The “Woke” Vote.
The tragic irony is that these young people, many of whom already felt like the American political system was failing them, were encouraged to lay down one of the most powerful political tools they have, thereby ensuring an amplification of their own oppressions.
The indictment proclaims that the defendants acted as Americans to create social media pages and groups “which addressed divisive U.S. political and social issues.” But that is a phrase so broad and bland as to obscure the piercing truth that the indictment reveals: Referencing actual voter suppression, it says that “in or around the latter half of 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through their personas, began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate.”
Indeed, the indictment includes some examples of that effort to suppress:
“On or about October 16, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the Instagram account ‘Woke Blacks’ to post the following message: ‘Particular hype and hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.’ ” Coincidentally (or not!) this was the exact same tack being taken by the Trump campaign during that time. Just before the election, a senior Trump campaign official told Bloomberg Businessweek, “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” in which Hillary Clinton’s “1996 suggestion that some African-American males are ‘super predators’ is the basis of a below-the-radar effort to discourage infrequent black voters from showing up at the polls — particularly in Florida.” This suppression may well have worked better against black people than other targets.
According to a May Pew Research Center report, “The black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election.” The report said that the number of naturalized citizen voters was up from 2012 and the turnout rate for women was mostly unchanged from 2012.
And while the percentage of eligible millennials who said they voted in the last election rose among every other demographic group, it fell among black millennials.
Trump even had the audacity during one of his thank you rallies to laud his voter suppression efforts and thank black voters for not voting:
“They didn’t come out to vote for Hillary. They didn’t come out. And that was a big — so thank you to the African-American community.”
Now, it can surely be argued that the numbers for women and other minorities might have been even higher had it not been for the suppressive efforts, but at least their turnout numbers didn’t decline. For black people, they did. It is entirely possible that many, if not most of, the black people who decided not to vote in this election would have done so even without Trump and Russian prodding. Also, President Obama wasn’t on the ballot.
Indeed, early in the primaries, Michelle Alexander, author of the acclaimed book “The New Jim Crow” — which has attained near Bible stature among some social justice activists — laid out a strong philosophical argument for “why Hillary Clinton doesn’t deserve the black vote.” It hinged largely on crime and economic policies enacted when Bill Clinton was president, policies Hillary then supported.
Even after Clinton accepted the Democratic nomination, rapper Killer Mike, a prominent Bernie Sanders supporter and surrogate, was still promoting the position that “If you’re voting for Trump or Hillary Clinton, you’re voting for the same thing.”
On Election Day, many young black people held their noses and voted, commenting on social media with the hashtag #IGuessImWithHer. But many simply abstained. Shortly after the election, The Sacramento Bee pointed out that Colin Kaepernick, now lionized as a social justice hero, had never registered to vote in any election. When asked why he didn’t vote in even the recent presidential election, the football player responded:
“I said from the beginning I was against oppression, I was against the system of oppression. I’m not going to show support for that system. And to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.” To the contrary, it has been the triple threats of voting, legislation and court rulings, all set against the backdrop of direct action, that has inched America forward. But it is each American’s right to do with the vote what he or she chooses, including withholding it.
There is no way to know how many black people would have settled on the exact same course of action without the interference. But what we do now know with absolute certainty is that in making their electoral choices, black folks had unwanted hands on their backs, unethical and illegal ones, nudging them toward an apathy built on anger.
What happened in this election wasn’t just a political crime, it was specifically a racialized crime, and the black vote was a central target."
Attacking the ‘Woke’ Black Vote - The New York Times
Sunday, February 18, 2018
By Charles Blow
"Donald Trump has turned the political world upside down, again and again, like a kid flipping a coin. Every day we wake up to either a new scandal or several lingering ones.
It is astounding. It is maddening. It is numbing.
At this moment, he is embroiled in a scandal of a six-figure payment to a porn star who goes by the name Stormy Daniels and who, at one point, gave an interview in which she claimed that the two were engaged in an extramarital sexual affair.
He is also embroiled in a scandal over why a top aide, Rob Porter, accused of physically assaulting his two ex-wives, was allowed to remain on the White House staff even after these allegations had been brought to the attention of the White House by the F.B.I.
Exacerbating this scandal is the fact that the official White House timeline about the events leading to Porter’s resignation turned out to be a lie, according to sworn testimony on Tuesday by the F.B.I. director Christopher Wray. It is also exacerbated by the fact that after Porter resigned, Trump praised him, and initially failed to say anything about domestic violence in general, reserving that condemnation for a week later, when he said, “I’m totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind.”
And of course, there is the omnipresent issue of Russia attacking our elections in 2016 and the investigation into whether anyone in the Trump orbit colluded or cooperated with the Russians, conspired to commit a crime, lied to officers or tried to obstruct justice.
That’s just the big three at the moment. We also mustn’t forget that the president has never released his tax returns, he refused to sever ties with his businesses, and he is burning through our money going to golf courses or his properties with decadent regularity. He also defended Nazis and was disrespectful to the hurricane-ravaged people of Puerto Rico.
And Trump has lied about pretty much everything. As The Washington Post reported in November: “In the past 35 days, Trump has averaged an astonishing nine [false or misleading] claims a day. The total now stands at 1,628 claims in 298 days, or an average of 5.5 claims a day.”
Any of this would have crippled another president, but not Trump. In a perverse way, Trump appears to benefit from the sheer volume of his offenses. They overwhelm many Americans’ ability to process and track, maintain outrage or even fact-check.
This may rightfully be called Trump’s Deluge Doctrine of American Politics, a thing that many of us never properly feared because we never thought it possible. We never thought a man of such moral depravity and such little respect for propriety, protocol and honesty would ever be president.
But the storm is upon us; we are in it.
I must continue to submit that although I disagree vociferously with Trump on policy, my objection here isn’t about policy or partisanship. This is a fight for the soul of the country.
When more than a third of the country — among them many who once considered themselves part of the “moral majority” — stand with a man who is the literal antithesis of all the values they once professed, that is a problem for America. They are no longer interested in the health of the democracy. Their mission and objectives have veered into a dark place where vision is short and risks and dangers are multiple.
I know that it is a fool’s errand to try to convince these people that honesty, valor and character are fundamental requirements of the American presidency, and when they are lost from the office, the country itself is in peril.
As Trump himself said during the campaign, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” The enduring truth of that outrageous claim is a permanent stain that his supporters must carry.
These people are not only hypocrites; they are au pairs to his obscenity.
Who else would they have allowed to get away with paying off a porn star?
Who else would they have allowed to refuse to sufficiently acknowledge that the country had been attacked, with profound consequences and continued threat, by another country?
The director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, said Tuesday at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing:
“There should be no doubt that Russia perceived that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian midterm operations.”
“We need to inform the American public that this is real, that this is going to be happening, and the resilience needed for us to stand up and say we’re not going to allow some Russian to tell us how to vote, how we ought to run our country.”
But Wray testified at the same hearing that he had never been “specifically directed by the president” to prevent Russia from interfering in our elections.
That is a jaw-dropping statement. As the Harvard professor of constitutional law Laurence H. Tribe wrote on Twitter:
“F.B.I. director Wray just testified in the Senate that — despite Russia’s ongoing intrusions into our electoral systems — Potus has never charged the F.B.I. with protecting U.S. elections from Russia! Let that sink in. That’d be like F.D.R. doing nothing in response to Pearl Harbor.”
Let me be clear: Any president who refuses to protect Americans from a foreign threat is himself a domestic threat.
How can any of this be sustained? How can it be rationalized? How can it be tolerated?
America, what is left of it, is slipping away a little bit more every day, with a blessing and a wave from the truculent Trump supporters who simply get giddy whenever liberals lament.
This is the politics of the petty, where people dance and shout as the republic burns.
We patriots and dissidents, we many, we strong, we steadfast, are the last hope the country has of returning to what remains of a pre-Trump America, where porn stars weren’t paid off, accused wife beaters weren’t valorized and our president showed more allegiance to our country than to another."
Scandal-Ridden Scoundrel - The New York Times
The Editorial Board Of The New York Times - "In the decade or so before Donald Trump became president, America’s approach to criminal justice was changing fast — reckoning with decades of destructive and ineffective policies that had ballooned the prison population and destroyed countless lives. Red and blue states were putting in place smart, sensible reforms like reducing harsh sentencing laws, slashing prison populations and crime rates, and providing more resources for the thousands of people who are released every week.
President Obama’s record on the issue was far from perfect, but he and his first attorney general, Eric Holder Jr., took several key steps: weakening racially discriminatory sentencing laws, shortening thousands of absurdly long drug sentences, and pulling back on the prosecution of low-level drug offenders and of federal marijuana offenses in states that have legalized it. This approach reflected state-level efforts and sent a message of encouragement to those still leery of reform.
Within minutes of taking office, Mr. Trump turned back the dial, warning darkly in his Inaugural Address of “American carnage,” of cities and towns gutted by crime — even though crime rates are at their lowest in decades. Things only got worse with the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who, along with Mr. Trump, appears to be stuck in the 1980s, when politicians exploited the public’s fear of rising crime to sell absurdly harsh laws and win themselves re-election. Perhaps that’s why both men seem happy to distort, if not outright lie about, crime statistics that no longer support their narrative.
Last February, Mr. Trump claimed that “the murder rate in our country is the highest it’s been in 47 years.” Wrong: The national rate remains at an all-time low. It’s true that the 10.8 percent increase in murders between 2014 and 2015 was the largest one-year rise in more than four decades, but the total number of murders is still far below what it was in the early 1990s.
For his part, Mr. Sessions has repeatedly hawked a nationwide crime wave that doesn’t exist, and he has called crime spikes in certain areas a “dangerous, permanent trend that places the health and safety of the American people at risk” — despite the lack of any evidence that recent upticks will last. To the contrary, in 2017 the crime rate in the nation’s 30 biggest cities actually went down.
As bad as the dishonesty is the fact that Mr. Trump and Mr. Sessions have managed to engineer their backward worldview largely under the public’s radar, as a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice documents. Last May, Mr. Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to charge as aggressively as possible in every case — reversing a policy of Mr. Holder’s that had eased up on nonviolent drug offenders and others who fill the nation’s federal prisons. In January, Mr. Sessions rescinded another Obama-era policy that discouraged federal marijuana prosecutions in states where its sale and use are legal. (Mr. Sessions has long insisted, contrary to all available evidence, that marijuana is “a dangerous drug” and “only slightly less awful” than heroin.)
These sorts of moves don’t get much attention, but as the report notes, they could end up increasing the federal prison population, which began to fall for the first time in decades under Mr. Obama.
The reversal of sensible criminal justice reform doesn’t stop there. Under Mr. Trump, the Justice Department has pulled back from his predecessor’s investigations of police abuse and misconduct; resumed the use of private, for-profit prisons; and stopped granting commutations to low-level drug offenders who have spent years or decades behind bars.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sessions, who as a senator was one of the most reliable roadblocks to long-overdue federal sentencing reform, is still throwing wrenches into the works as Congress inches toward a bipartisan deal. Mr. Sessions called the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, a sweeping bill that would reduce some mandatory-minimum sentences, and that cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, a “grave error.” That earned him a rebuke from the committee’s chairman, Senator Charles Grassley, who pointed out that the attorney general is tasked with enforcing the laws, not writing them. “If General Sessions wanted to be involved in marking up this legislation, maybe he should have quit his job and run for the Republican Senate seat in Alabama,” Mr. Grassley said.
Mr. Grassley is no one’s idea of a justice reformer, but he supports the bill because, he said, it “strikes the right balance of improving public safety and ensuring fairness in the criminal justice system.”
So what has this administration done right? The list is short and uninspiring. In October, Mr. Trump declared the epidemic of opioid abuse a national emergency, which could be a good step toward addressing it — but he’s since done almost nothing to combat a crisis that killed more than 64,000 Americans in 2016.
In his State of the Union address last month, Mr. Trump promised to “embark on reforming our prisons to help former inmates who have served their time get a second chance.” It’s great if he really means that, but it’s hard to square his assurance with his own attorney general’s opposition to a bill that includes recidivism-reduction programs intended to achieve precisely this goal.
Perhaps the most insidious part of the Trump administration’s approach to criminal justice lies in its efforts to link crime to its broader crackdown on immigration. In a speech last month, Mr. Sessions said undocumented immigrants are far more likely than American citizens to commit crimes, a claim he found in a paper by John Lott, the disreputable economist best known for misusing statistics to suit his own ideological ends. In this case, it appears Mr. Lott misread his own data, which came from Arizona and in fact showed the opposite of what he claimed: Undocumented immigrants commit fewer crimes than citizens, as the vast majority of research on the topic has found.
But no matter; Mr. Trump and Mr. Sessions don’t need facts to run their anti-immigrant agenda, which has already resulted in more than double the number of arrests of immigrants with no criminal convictions as in 2016, as the Brennan Center report noted. Soon after taking office, Mr. Trump issued an executive order cutting off federal funding to so-called sanctuary cities, jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration officials. A federal judge blocked the order in November for violating the Constitution.
The rhetoric from the White House and the Justice Department has emboldened some state and local officials to talk tougher, even if just as ignorantly, about crime. The good news is that it’s not working as well anymore. In Virginia’s race for governor last fall, the Republican candidate, Ed Gillespie, attacked his opponent, Ralph Northam, with ads blaming him for violence by the MS-13 gang.
It was a despicable stunt, its fear mongering recalling the racist but effective Willie Horton ad that George H. W. Bush ran on in his successful 1988 presidential campaign. Thankfully, Virginia’s voters overwhelmingly rejected Mr. Gillespie, another sign that criminal justice reform is an issue with strong support across the political spectrum. In the era of Donald Trump, candidates of both parties should be proud to run as reformers — but particularly Democrats, who can cast the issue not only as a central component of a broader progressive agenda, but as yet another example of just how out of touch with the country Mr. Trump and his administration are."
Saturday, February 17, 2018
Globe columnist asks: 'What the hell happened to John Kelly?' In a special guest Rewrite, Boston Globe columnist Kevin Cullen, who has praised John Kelly, tells Lawrence O'Donnell why he thinks Trump's Chief of Staff should resign. Worst case, Cullen says, is that Kelly was always like this: racist and authoritarian.
Friday, February 16, 2018
" ... The recent firing of NBC’s Asia correspondent Joshua Cooper Ramo for his “insensitive” remarks while commenting on the Olympics serve to remind us not only of the general lack of understanding in the US concerning the current US-North Korea crisis but also highlight the racism and arrogance underlying US attempts to derail the peace process and how the peace process threatens their demonization of North Korea, a demonization essential to the “bloody nose” they so desperately want to inflict.
Ramo portrayed all Koreans―South Koreans, North Koreans, and the diaspora—as lackeys of the Empire of Japan and postwar Japan. He hinted that they were thankful for being colonized and exploited by the Empire of Japan for 35 years, saying that Japan is “a country which occupied Korea from 1910 to 1945. But every Korean will tell you that Japan is a cultural and technological and economic example that has been so important to their own transformation.” Anyone who knows anything about Northeast Asia would squirm in their seat sitting next to Ramo as he touched on the sensitive nerve of international politics in the region and made an outrageous claim.
In fact, Koreans are not thankful for those 35 years of violence, for the suffering that he so blithely erases. ... "
"It had been a week since the road sign had gone up near the entrance of their 116-acre farm in Northern Virginia, and the furious emails, calls and Facebook messages were still pouring in. The responses didn’t surprise the owners of Cox Farms, who had long taken politically charged stands on their land, locally famous for its massive fall festival. In 2015, a Black Lives Matter poster led a local police union to call for a boycott of their hay rides and pumpkin patches, and last year, a pair of signs — “We Love Our Muslim Neighbors” and “Immigrants Make America Great!” — sparked some backlash.
But their latest — “Rise & Resist” — had triggered a particularly angry reaction last week from conservatives who had seen a photo of it online and viewed the slogan as an attack on President Trump. So Aaron Cox-Leow, who runs the operations side of the 46-year-old business in Centreville, started thinking of some new language that everyone could agree on. Almost six months to the day since neo-Nazis and white nationalists marched through Charlottesville with torches, Aaron’s sister had an idea.
“Maybe we should change ‘rise and resist’ to ‘resist white supremacy’...,” Lily Cox-Richard texted her. “That way, if someone takes a picture of one of our signs to post and says they are ‘saddened’ or ‘disappointed,’ they will be explicitly revealing themselves as the racist that they are.”
“Yeah,” Aaron responded, “that sounds good.”
On Friday afternoon, down came “Rise & Resist” and up went “Resist White Supremacy.” About an hour later, a message from a woman named Rebecca, whose Facebook profile was an image that read “TEAM USA,” popped up in Cox Farm’s Facebook Messenger inbox: “Whatever your own personal agendas are none us want to see them on display at a place we once enjoyed going to for tradition. It’s TRULY disappointing.”
The vitriol only intensified in the hours that followed, which baffled Aaron. Who, other than a white supremacist, would be offended by a message condemning white supremacy? She also understood, though, that this is America in 2018, a time of such fierce division that even voicing opposition to the ugliest beliefs could be twisted or taken out of context.
On Saturday — in a Facebook post that has drawn more than 43,000 reactions and nearly 15,000 shares — she addressed the furor.
“Our little roadside signs have power,” Aaron, 36, began, before explaining why they sometimes shared their opinions. “Cox Farms is a small family-owned and family-operated business. The five of us are not just business-owners; we are human beings, members of the community, and concerned citizens of this country. We are also a family, and our shared values and principles are central to our business.”
Aaron’s father and his brother, whom she described as hippies, started Cox Farms on a 40-acre plot near Herndon in 1972. Even in those early days, she heard later, people were sometimes offended by the family’s signs, although those were often just off-color plays on their last name (this story’s author, by the way, is not related to the farmers). Eventually, her dad and mom took over and the business evolved, moved, expanded.
Their first experience with real controversy came in 2000 when conservative activists accused the farm of promoting gay rights because of two rainbow flags that flew over tunnels made of hay. The flags hadn’t been bought for that reason, but Aaron’s parents, Gina and Eric, learned what they symbolized and embraced the idea. Aaron, a lesbian, had come out to them five years before the upheaval.
“At some point it looked like we could be facing a significant impact on our business,” Aaron recalled, but the family didn’t flinch, and instead rallied supporters to their cause.
“It was a record-breaking season,” she said. “By far the best we’d ever had.”
Aaron, whose partner is of mixed race, also didn’t back down after the threat of a boycott three years ago over the Black Lives Matter poster she put in a window of their home, which stands in the middle of the sprawling property.
“We’re not seeking to alienate folks who have different perspectives on tax reform or infrastructure spending,” Aaron said in her recent Facebook post. “But when it comes to speaking out against systems of oppression and injustice, we see it as our moral responsibility to use our position of privilege and power, along with the tools of our trade and the platforms available to us, to engage visibly and actively in the fight for justice. Our roadside sign messages are one small way we do this.”
Her post went viral, spreading rapidly online among both right- and left-leaning groups, who then descended on the farm’s Facebook page to give either one- or five-star reviews that had nothing to do with kettle corn or apple-cider doughnuts.
For Aaron, though, the blowback presented an opportunity. To change people’s minds, even by just a degree or two, required communication that was respectful but honest. And here was a chance to talk to people who disagreed with her — lots of them.
“Resist white supremacy is not an inclusive message,” complained Patty Weston Meizlish, who lives in Louisa, Va. “When you single out a group of people you exclude them. This is a sad message.”
“Yes, generally speaking, we are comfortable excluding white supremacists,” responded Aaron, who studied psychology at Smith College in Massachusetts. “If you know some who would be interested in dialoguing with us, please have them contact us!”
Shannon Lee Sibley, from nearby Ashburn, contended that she also supported fighting hate groups but wouldn’t spend her money at the farm because it would never post a “Blue Lives matter” sign in support of police.
“You’re right, Shannon — we do not support ‘Blue Lives Matter.’ . . . police lives are already and by default valued in our society,” she wrote. “Black lives are not, so we believe that a declaration that Black Lives Matter is necessary and important.”
“So black supremacy is okay then?” asked Lisa Lewis. “This is not a message of love, this is a message out to divide people even more. I would never ever visit your farm because you try to force your views on your customers. That is WRONG no matter what you say.”
“Lisa, when we talk about white supremacy, we’re referring to a systemic racism that is much deeper and more pervasive than any individual or group could be,” Aaron replied. “Black people do not have the institutional power in our society to benefit from so-called ‘black supremacy.’ It just doesn’t work like that.”
Cars pass the sign at the edge of Cox Farms that has generated so much backlash online.Photo by: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post
On Monday, Aaron wrote a follow-up post, thanking the thousands of people who had offered support (and who vastly outnumbered the critics). She dismissed the idea, though, that what the farm had done — making a statement that could potentially harm its business — was in any way “brave.” She pointed instead to dozens of immigrant “dreamers” who had demonstrated against the threat of deportation at the U.S. Capitol; to Chris Newman, who has written about race and the challenges of farming in Virginia as a black man; to Eric Trammel, who as a sophomore at Centreville High School was kicked out of class when he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance as a form of protest.
“We are white people using our privilege and power to say something that should be obvious but clearly still needs to be said,” she wrote, “and there’s nothing brave about that.”
Then Aaron published the post, and as it, too, was shared thousands of times, she returned to the day’s business: planning for spring, when the family farm will launch a new event at the corner market featuring pulled pork, live music and root beer floats
"CNN)The Supreme Court will meet behind closed doors Friday to decide whether to take up a lower court opinion that temporarily blocked President Donald Trump's effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program.
The Justice Department is taking the rare step of asking the Supreme Court to review the opinion -- issued by a San Francisco-based judge -- even before a federal appeals court has had a chance to weigh in. Under normal circumstances, the Supreme Court disfavors parties from bypassing lower court proceedings and asking for direct review."
Wednesday, February 14, 2018
"Hazleton, Pa. — President Trump’s new plan to limit and control what low-income families can eat is short on both compassion and common sense.
The president’s proposed budget that was unveiled this week includes a radical change to the way the food-stamps program, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, works. Now, recipients of SNAP benefits choose produce, meat, fish and other groceries for themselves. Under his proposal many SNAP recipients would have half their monthly benefits replaced by packages of food selected by the government.
According to the Department of Agriculture, this program, called America’s Harvest Box, would involve about 81 percent of all SNAP households. The boxes would consist of “shelf-stable” foods like peanut butter, pasta and canned goods, but the plan is skimpy on other details, such as specifics on how exactly these food packages would be distributed.
As someone who grew up needing food stamps and free school lunches, I cannot understand the logic or lack of empathy behind this plan.
I spent my entire childhood in poverty, reliant on public assistance from the day I was born until my high school graduation and with a few brief sporadic returns after that. Some of my most vivid childhood memories involve accompanying my mother to the store, where she exchanged food stamps for the groceries our family needed. In those days, food stamps came in paper form, so she had to perform a ritual at the checkout counter, tearing each voucher from its booklet.
Douglass, the famous orator and abolitionist who had been recruiting “colored troops” for the Union Army, was incensed that black soldiers captured by Confederate troops had been mutilated, tortured and assassinated in cold blood. Some had been sold into slavery.
Douglass wanted an immediate meeting with President Abraham Lincoln. He was not sure he would get in. There was a throng in front of the White House waiting to see Lincoln. Some of them looked ragged and worn, like they had been waiting for days.
“They were white; and as I was the only dark spot among them,” Douglass said later. “I expected to have to wait at least half a day.”
Douglass sent his card up the line. It took only two minutes for a White House messenger to come out of the White House and summon in “Mr. Douglass!”
The crowd of white people in line murmured.
“I could hear, in the eager multitude outside, as they saw me pressing and elbowing my way through, the remark, ‘Yes, damn it, I knew they would let the n—– through,’” Douglass would later recount to an audience of abolitionists in Philadelphia, according to his book “Frederick Douglass: Selected Speeches and Writings.”
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Frederick Douglass in a photograph published April 26, 1870.
Photo by: George Francis Schreiber / Library of Congress
It was an astonishing moment in the astonishing life of Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, who was born enslaved on Maryland’s Eastern Shore 200 years ago. Although he did not know the exact date of his birth, he would later celebrate it as Feb. 14, 1818 — a bicentennial being marked across the country this week amid black history month. His mother was an enslaved black woman, whom he could barely remember, and his father was a white man — perhaps a slave owner.
Douglass, who bore the scars of brutal lashings, was 20 when he escaped slavery. “It was life and death with me. On the third day of September, 1838, I left my chains, and succeeded in reaching New York without the slightest interruption of any kind,” Douglass wrote in “FREDERICK DOUGLASS’ NARRATIVE — Memoirs of an American Slave, Freedom Fighter & Statesman.”
He changed his name from Bailey to Johnson. After he married Anna Murray, they both changed their last names to Douglass.
Frederick Douglass went on to become one of the most famous men in the country, an abolitionist, a powerful orator, an advocate for women’s rights, a brilliant strategist, a newspaper owner, a friend to John Brown and Harriet Tubman.
[Whether she’s on the $20 bill or not, Harriet Tubman made men pay for underestimating her]
After Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, which included a provision calling for black men to enlist in the U.S. Army, Douglass fervently began recruiting for the Union.
“Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letter, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket,” Douglass wrote, “there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship.”
Two of Douglass’s sons — Charles and Lewis — were among the first black men to enlist. His son Frederick worked to recruit “colored troops” in the Mississippi Valley. Douglass helped recruit at least two regiments — the 54th and 55th — Massachusetts regiments of “colored troops.”
As the war raged, black soldiers imprisoned by Confederate forces were mutilated and assassinated. Some free black men fighting for the Union were captured and sold into slavery.
The silence from the White House infuriated Douglass, who published a letter in his “Douglass Monthly” newspaper criticizing the president.
The letter, which carried a Rochester dateline, was addressed to Maj. George L. Stearns, who helped establish the Emancipation League and recruited the 54th and 55th regiments.
“I owe it to my long-abused people, and especially to those already in the army, to expose their wrongs and plead their cause,” Douglass wrote in “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, Written by Himself.”
Douglass explained he could not in good faith continue to recruit black men, criticizing Lincoln and the War Department for failing to retaliate for “colored” prisoners of war assassinated “in cold blood” by Confederate troops.
“No word was said when free men from Massachusetts were caught and sold into slavery in Texas,” Douglass wrote. “No word is said when brave black men, who according to testimony of both friend and foe, fought like heroes to plant the star-spangled banner on the blazing parapets of Fort Wagner, and in doing so were captured, some mutilated and killed, and others sold into slavery.”
Stearns urged Douglass to travel to Washington to talk directly to Lincoln, a trip still dangerous for a black man.
“I hereby authorize Frederick Douglass,” Stearns wrote, “to go to Washington, D.C. as my Agent to transact business connected with Recruiting Service for United States Colored Volunteers.”
Douglass was unsure how he would be received.
“The distance then between the black man and the white American citizen was immeasurable,” Douglass wrote in “Life and Times.” “I was an ex-slave, identified with a despised race, and yet I was to meet the most exalted person in this great republic.”
It was early morning when Douglass arrived at the B&O station in Washington.
“Yet the city was bustling,” John Stauffer wrote in “Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass.” “He could not help but notice the large numbers of blacks, some already working, a few sleeping in the open air. In a little over a year, over eleven thousand freedmen and women, called ‘contraband of war,’ had flocked on the city, and another three thousand were housed at Alexandria.”
Douglass, dressed in a white stiff collar and black over coat, cut a distinguishing figure in the crowd. On the street, he encountered Samuel C. Pomeroy, a senator from Kansas, who accompanied him to the White House and introduced him to Lincoln.
When Douglass entered the room, he found Lincoln sitting in a low-arm chair, without vanity or “pomp and ceremony.” Lincoln’s feet, Douglass wrote, were extended and the president was surrounded by stacks of documents and “busy” secretaries.
Lincoln appeared tired, but rose and extended his hand. Douglass began to introduce himself. Lincoln stopped him: “I know who you are, Mr. Douglass.”
Douglass wasted no time getting to the point.
“I wished to bring to his attention,” Douglass later wrote, “first, that colored soldiers ought to receive the same wages as those paid to white soldiers. Second, that colored soldiers ought to receive the same protection when taken prisoners, and be exchanged as readily and on the same terms as any other prisoners, and if Jefferson Davis should shoot or hang colored soldiers in cold blood, the United States government should retaliate in kind and degree without delay upon Confederate prisoners in its hands.”
Lincoln’s voice quivered, Douglass later wrote, when he explained his loathing of executions done in retaliation.
“If I could get hold of the men that murdered your troops, murdered our prisoners of war, I would execute them,” Lincoln told Douglass. “But I cannot take men that may not have had anything to do with this murdering of our soldiers and execute them.”
[The truth about Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee: He wasn’t very good at his job]
Lincoln promised to sign any commission recommended by the secretary of war for black soldiers. He did not commit to equal pay.
“Though I was not entirely satisfied with his views,” Douglass wrote later, “I was so well satisfied with the man and with the educating tendency of the conflict that I determined to go on with the recruiting.”
Lincoln extended at least three more White House invitations to Douglass, including to the president’s second inauguration. He listened on March 4, 1865, as Lincoln called slavery “an offense” against God and described “this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came.”
The president concluded: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
After the swearing-in ceremony, Douglass walked to the White House. Douglass recalled the “grand procession of citizens from all parts of the country,” making their way there.
“I had for some time looked upon myself as a man, but now in this multitude of the élite of the land, I felt myself a man among men,” Douglass wrote in “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.”
When he arrived at the door, two police officers stopped him because he was black. The officers “took me rudely by the arm and ordered me to stand back, for their directions were to admit no persons of my color.”
Douglass told the officers they were making a mistake and he had been invited by Lincoln himself.
“If he knew I was at the door, he would desire my admission,” Douglass insisted. The officers escorted Douglass to a “temporary passage for the exit of visitors.”
Douglass refused to leave. “I shall not go out of this building till I see President Lincoln,” he told them.
Just then a man who was passing recognized Douglass, who asked him to relay a message to Lincoln that he was being detained at the door. Not long after that, Douglass was escorted into the East Room.
“Amid a scene of elegance such as in this country I had never before witnessed,” Douglass wrote. “Like a mountain pine high above all others, Mr. Lincoln stood, in his grand simplicity, and homelike beauty. Recognizing me, even before I reached him, he exclaimed, so that all around could hear him, ‘Here comes my friend Douglass.’”
Lincoln took his hand and said, according to Douglass, “I am glad to see you. I saw you in the crowd today, listening to my inaugural address. How did you like it?” “I said, ‘Mr. Lincoln, I must not detain you with my poor opinion, when there are thousands waiting to shake hands with you.’ ”
“No, no,” he said, “you must stop a little, Douglass; there is no man in the country whose opinion I value more than yours. I want to know what you think of it?”
Douglass replied, “Mr. Lincoln, that was a sacred effort.”
Frederick Douglass needed to see Lincoln. Would the president meet with a former slave?
Icebreaker Pt 1 - Secret Homeland Security ICE/HSI Manual for Stripping US Citizenship - UNICORN RIOT
Icebreaker Pt 1 - Secret Homeland Security ICE/HSI Manual for Stripping US Citizenship - UNICORN RIOT