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What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

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.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Opinion | Surviving a Criminal Presidency - The New York Times

"No one is above the law in America.

Charles Blow Opinion Columnist

President Donald Trump arrives at Kansas City, Mo., on Friday to deliver remarks at the 2018 Project Safe Neighborhoods National Conference.

Photo by: Sarah Silbiger/The New York Times

It is very possible that the president of the United States is a criminal. And it is very possible that his criminality aided and abetted his assumption of the position. Let that sink in. It is a profound revelation.

Last week, prosecutors made clear in a sentencing memo for Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, that Trump himself had directed Cohen to break campaign finance laws.

Stop there.

Yes, there is still information dribbling out about Trump’s efforts to build a tower in Moscow during the election and about his campaign’s ties with Russians during the campaign. Yes, there is the question of obstruction of justice, which I believe has already been proven by Trump’s own actions in public. Yes, there are all the people in Trump’s circle who have been charged with or have admitted to lying about any number of things, including their contacts with Russians.

But beyond all that, we now have an actual, and one assumes provable, crime. A federal crime. And the president is its architect.

Trump likes to say on the issue of immigration that if we don’t have a border, we don’t have a country. I say that if we don’t have justice, we also don’t have a country.

America is a country of laws, and if we are to believe that, and not allow that to become a perversion, no man or woman can be above the law.

As Thomas Paine wrote in his 1776 pamphlet “Common Sense”:

“In America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”

And yet, Trump, his team and to some degree his supporters in Congress seem to view Trump as very much above the law — or at least some laws. The defense is bizarre: Since he is the president, there are laws he isn’t obliged to obey. In other words, it is permissible for him to break some laws, but not others.

Last year, one of the president’s lawyers went even further, claiming that the “president cannot obstruct justice because he is the chief law enforcement officer under [the Constitution’s Article II] and has every right to express his view of any case.”

This all holds the potential to further make a mockery of a system of justice that already privileges power.

America’s jails are already filled to the brim with people who have been charged with a crime but not yet convicted of one. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, “70 percent of people in local jails are not convicted of any crime.” Their primary infraction is that they are poor and powerless. The justice system doesn’t coddle them; it crushes them.

And yet, people keep making excuses for Trump: “We haven’t yet seen evidence of collusion.” “Yes, he lies, but that’s mostly rhetoric.” “So what; he paid off a porn star to spare his family shame.”

No, no, no.

According to prosecutors, Trump directed Cohen to commit a felony. Then he lied about it and either allowed or instructed others to lie about it on his behalf. He misled the American people through a conspiracy of lies, and he did so to help attain, and then maintain, his presidency.

As The New York Times pointed out on Saturday, prosecutors have “effectively accused the president of defrauding voters, questioning the legitimacy of his victory.”

There simply must be consequences for such a brazen act of lawlessness.

Now, I am under no illusion that Trump will be indicted as a sitting president or that any efforts to impeach him will prove successful.

But at some point his term will end, and at that point the statute of limitations may not have expired. As The Times put it, “The prosecutors in New York have examined the statute of limitations on the campaign finance violations and believe charges could be brought against Mr. Trump if he is not re-elected, according to a person briefed on the matter.”

As New York magazine put it in a headline, “Trump 2020 Shaping Up to Be a Campaign to Stay Out of Prison.”

The statute of limitations for campaign finance violations is five years. Re-election may well be Trump’s only hope of evading justice.

But that also gives voters enormous power in 2020. They won’t just be selecting the next president and determining the direction of the country. They may also be deciding whether or not a president will be tried, convicted and imprisoned for the first time in the country’s history.

This is a weighty responsibility, but it is a necessary one. We have to prove that our institutions are more important than our ideologies, that the dream, the whisper, the precious possibility of America cannot be trampled by the corrupt and the fraudulent, the venal and the lecherous.

America has to prove that it can indeed survive a criminal presidency."

Opinion | Surviving a Criminal Presidency - The New York Times

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Courts likely to strike down Republican lame-duck power grabs, experts say, After Democrats won governor’s races in Wisconsin and Michigan, GOP-controlled legislatures have tried to limit executive power | US news | The Guardian

Tony Evers won the recent governor’s race in Wisconsin but Republican legislators are attempting to curb his powers before he takes office.

Courts likely to strike down Republican lame-duck power grabs, experts say | US news | The Guardian

It’s not just the number of Trump-Russia contacts. It’s the timing. - The Washington Post

It’s not just the number of Trump-Russia contacts. It’s the timing. - The Washington Post

Trump Prepares to Unveil a Vast Reworking of Clean Water Protections - The New York Times

"WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is expected on Tuesday to unveil a plan that would weaken federal clean water rules designed to protect millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams nationwide from pesticide runoff and other pollutants.

Environmentalists say the proposal represents a historic assault on wetlands regulation at a moment when Mr. Trump has repeatedly voiced a commitment to “crystal-clean water.” The proposed new rule would chip away at safeguards put in place a quarter century ago, during the administration of President George H.W. Bush, who implemented a policy designed to ensure that no wetlands lost federal protection.

“They’re definitely rolling things back to the pre-George H.W. Bush era,” said Blan Holman, who works on water regulations with the Southern Environmental Law Center. Wetlands play key roles in filtering surface water and protecting against floods, while also providing wildlife habitat.

President Trump, who made a pledge of weakening a 2015 Obama-era rule one of his central campaign pledges, is expected to tout his plan as ending a federal land grab that impinged on the rights of farmers, rural landowners and real estate developers to use their property as they see fit."

Trump Prepares to Unveil a Vast Reworking of Clean Water Protections - The New York Times

Opinion | The Presidency or Prison - The New York Times

"Donald Trump — or, as he’s known to federal prosecutors, Individual-1 — might well be a criminal. That’s no longer just my opinion, or that of Democratic activists. It is the finding of Trump’s own Justice Department.

On Friday, federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York filed a sentencing memorandum for Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, who is definitely a criminal. The prosecutors argued that, in arranging payoffs to two women who said they’d had affairs with Trump, Cohen broke campaign finance laws, and in the process “deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

The filing emphasized the way Cohen’s actions subverted democracy. “While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows,” prosecutors wrote. And he didn’t act alone, but “in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1.” In other words, lawyers from the Justice Department have concluded that Trump may have committed a felony that went to the heart of the process that put him in office.

[Listen to “The Argument” podcast every Thursday morning, with Ross Douthat, Michelle Goldberg and David Leonhardt.]

Trump’s potential criminality in this case, which raises questions about his legitimacy as president, creates a dilemma for Democrats. Assuming prosecutors are right about Trump’s conduct, it certainly seems impeachable; a situation in which a candidate cheats his way into the presidency is one the founders foresaw when they were designing the impeachment process. As George Mason argued at the Constitutional Convention, “Shall the man who has practiced corruption, and by that means procured his appointment in the first instance, be suffered to escape punishment by repeating his guilt?”

But in our current moment, removing the president through impeachment is essentially impossible, given that at least 20 Senate Republicans would have to join Democrats. Representative Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat who will soon lead the House Judiciary Committee, told me he wouldn’t consider impeachment proceedings without at least some Republican support. There is certainly no appetite among congressional Democrats to pursue impeachment over a campaign finance case, particularly while the special counsel investigation into Russian collusion chugs on."

Opinion | The Presidency or Prison - The New York Times

Monday, December 10, 2018

The LSAT is going digital exclusively on Microsoft Surface Go tablets - The Verge

"Whether you’re applying to law school, are a lawyer, or just have a great love for the show Suits, it might interest you to know that the LSAT is going digital next year and the chosen tablets are Microsoft’s Surface Go.

The organization behind the LSAT, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), says it went through hundreds of tablets to choose the winner. Some well known devices just didn’t have enough going for them. Apple’s iPads were too pricey and their proprietary ecosystem made it difficult to modify, while cheaper Chromebooks were not of high enough quality.
“You just can’t have a test that is this important and end up with something that isn’t really reliable. If somebody takes the test, and the device fails on them, that’s additional stress coupled with the stress of test day,” says Troy Lowry, LSAC’s senior vice president of technology products and chief information officer. The move has curiously turned the LSAC into a group of Surface Go fans. Lowry says, “I get made fun of for it, but I love the kickstand that lets you put it in all different positions.”
The move away from pen and paper test-taking (although some test takers in 2019 will still have the option) means that LSAT administrators have to be re-trained on how to give the exam, and there are other changes to infrastructure that are sure to cost money. Neither the LSAC nor Microsoft would disclose how much money went toward the transition.
When asked whether going digital meant the $190 application fee for the LSAT would be lowered or perhaps increase due to the cost of the tablets, LSAC also didn’t have a definite answer. “We evaluate the fees annually, because we’re working to help candidates be able to apply and not be pushed out due to raised fees,” says Kellye Testy, the president and CEO of LSAC. “The cost is still in flux because we’re reevaluating the number of students applying to law school every year.”
The LSAT is going digital exclusively on Microsoft Surface Go tablets - The Verge

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Carl Bernstein: This could make the world tremble

Nadler: Trump payments likely impeachable

School Segregation in 2018

Prosecutors’ Narrative Is Clear: Trump Defrauded Voters. But What Does It Mean? - The New York Times

"WASHINGTON — The latest revelations by prosecutors investigating President Trump and his team draw a portrait of a candidate who personally directed an illegal scheme to manipulate the 2016 election and whose advisers had more contact with Russia than Mr. Trump has ever acknowledged.

In the narrative that the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, and New York prosecutors are building, Mr. Trump continued to secretly seek to do business in Russia deep into his presidential campaign even as Russian agents made more efforts to influence him. At the same time, in this account he ordered hush payments to two women to suppress stories of impropriety in violation of campaign finance law.

The prosecutors made clear in a sentencing memo filed on Friday that they viewed efforts by Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, to squelch the stories as nothing less than a perversion of a democratic election — and by extension they effectively accused the president of defrauding voters, questioning the legitimacy of his victory.

On Saturday, Mr. Trump dismissed the filings, and his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, minimized the importance of any potential campaign finance violations. Democrats, however, said they could lead to impeachment.

In the memo in the case of Mr. Cohen, prosecutors from the Southern District of New York depicted Mr. Trump, identified only as “Individual-1,” as an accomplice in the hush payments. While Mr. Trump was not charged, the reference echoed Watergate, when President Richard M. Nixon was named an unindicted co-conspirator by a grand jury investigating the cover-up of the break-in at the Democratic headquarters.

“While many Americans who desired a particular outcome to the election knocked on doors, toiled at phone banks or found any number of other legal ways to make their voices heard, Cohen sought to influence the election from the shadows,” the prosecutors wrote.

“He did so by orchestrating secret and illegal payments to silence two women who otherwise would have made public their alleged extramarital affairs with Individual-1,” they continued. “In the process, Cohen deceived the voting public by hiding alleged facts that he believed would have had a substantial effect on the election.”

The exposure on campaign finance laws poses a challenge to Mr. Trump’s legal team, which before now has focused mainly on rebutting allegations of collusion and obstruction while trying to call into question Mr. Mueller’s credibility.

“Until now, you had two different charges, allegations, whatever you want to call them,” Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, the incoming Democratic chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in an interview on Saturday. “One was collusion with the Russians. One was obstruction of justice and all that entails. And now you have a third — that the president was at the center of a massive fraud against the American people.”

The episode recalled a criminal case brought against former Senator John Edwards, Democrat of North Carolina, who while running for president in 2008 sought to cover up an extramarital affair that resulted in pregnancy. He was charged with violating campaign finance laws stemming from money used to hide his pregnant lover, but a trial ended in 2012 with an acquittal on one charge and a mistrial on five others.

Mr. Giuliani pointed to that outcome on Saturday to argue that the president should not be similarly charged.

“The President is not implicated in campaign finance violations because based on Edwards case and others the payments are not campaign contributions,” Mr. Giuliani wrote on Twitter. “No responsible prosecutor would premise a criminal case on a questionable interpretation of the law.”

But Mr. Cohen has pleaded guilty under that interpretation of the law, and even if Mr. Trump cannot be charged while in office, the House could still investigate or even seek to impeach him. The framers of the Constitution specifically envisioned impeachment as a remedy for removing a president who obtained office through corrupt means, and legal scholars have long concluded that the threshold of “high crimes and misdemeanors” does not necessarily require a statutory crime.

If the campaign finance case as laid out by prosecutors is true, Mr. Nadler said, Mr. Trump would be likely to meet the criteria for an impeachable offense, and he said he would instruct his committee to investigate when he takes over in January.

But he added that did not necessarily mean that the committee should vote to impeach Mr. Trump. “Is it serious enough to justify impeachment?” he asked. “That is another question.”

The strategy of Mr. Trump’s lawyers has been predicated on the assurance by senior Justice Department officials that if Mr. Mueller found evidence that the president broke the law, he would not be indicted while in office. But the hush money investigation is being led by a separate office of prosecutors in New York, and far less time has been spent publicly or privately trying to protect Mr. Trump from that inquiry.

And while the prevailing view at the Justice Department is that a sitting president cannot be indicted, that does not mean a president cannot be charged after leaving office. The prosecutors in New York have examined the statute of limitations on the campaign finance violations and believe charges could be brought against Mr. Trump if he is not re-elected, according to a person briefed on the matter.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers view that as unlikely if it is based solely on the current charges.

At the White House on Friday evening, staff members gathered for a holiday dinner with Mr. Trump and the first lady as if nothing were wrong. Mr. Trump’s advisers have told him that the latest filings do not present a danger to him legally, although they cautioned him that the political risks were hard to calculate, according to people familiar with the discussions.

One adviser said the president’s team had concluded that Mr. Trump was not likely to face a threat from prosecution in the New York case because if Mr. Cohen had more to deliver, then prosecutors would not be bringing him to court for sentencing in the coming week or requesting substantial prison time. Another adviser said that the Cohen threat appeared to be over.

For public consumption, at least, Mr. Trump and his Republican allies chose to focus on the Russia matter on Saturday, arguing again that no wrongdoing had been proved.

“On the Mueller situation, we’re very happy with what we are reading because there was no collusion whatsoever,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “The last thing I want is help from Russia on a campaign. You should ask Hillary Clinton about Russia.”

American intelligence agencies have said the Russians were in fact trying to aid Mr. Trump’s candidacy.

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who will be the top Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the new Congress, which begins next month, said he saw no reason conservatives should walk away from Mr. Trump given his record of policy achievements and questions about the impartiality of the president’s investigators.

“I always come back to the facts,” he said in an interview. “To date, not one bit of evidence of any type of coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election.”

If prosecutors have conclusive evidence of conspiracy, they have not shown their hand. But the filings in recent days made clear that while Mr. Trump repeatedly insisted he had no business dealings in Russia, it was not without trying.

Mr. Trump’s business was pursuing a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow until June 2016, while Mr. Trump was locking up the Republican nomination and long after Mr. Cohen had previously said the project was dropped.

At the same time, Mr. Cohen, starting in November 2015, was in contact with a well-connected Russian who proposed “synergy on a government level” with the Trump campaign and proposed a meeting between Mr. Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia. The Russian said such a meeting could grease the way for the tower, telling Mr. Cohen that there was “no bigger warranty in any project than consent” by Mr. Putin.

In his own court memo, Mr. Mueller said that Mr. Cohen’s false account that the deal had collapsed in January 2016 was designed “in hopes of limiting the investigations into possible Russian influence on the 2016 U.S. presidential election — an issue of heightened national interest.”

The president’s lawyers have been deeply concerned that Mr. Trump could be portrayed as an unindicted co-conspirator in court documents. As he was preparing to submit written responses to questions from Mr. Mueller last month, Mr. Trump’s lawyers learned about language the special counsel wanted to include in a plea agreement with a conservative conspiracy theorist, who was under investigation for his links to WikiLeaks, which released Democratic emails that intelligence agencies said were stolen by Russian agents.

The document said that the conspiracy theorist, Jerome Corsi, understood that one of Mr. Trump’s associates, Roger J. Stone Jr., was “in regular contact with senior members of the Trump campaign, including with then-candidate Donald J. Trump,” when Mr. Stone asked Mr. Corsi to find out from the head of WikiLeaks what he had in store for the Clinton campaign.

Mr. Trump’s lawyers feared that Mr. Mueller was trying to cast Mr. Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator. Mr. Trump’s lawyers held off sending the answers and demanded a meeting with Justice Department officials and Mr. Mueller’s team, according to one person close to the president.

In a meeting at the Justice Department that was presided over by the principal associate deputy attorney general, Ed O’Callaghan, Mr. Trump’s lawyers — including Mr. Giuliani and Jay Sekulow — expressed concern to Mr. Mueller’s team. It was unclear what Mr. Mueller’s team said in response, but shortly thereafter Mr. Trump sent in his answers.

Mr. Corsi has declined to accept a plea deal and has not been charged with a crime.

Although Mr. Trump asserted on Saturday that he was “happy” with the latest filings, others did not agree. The Cohen information alone “puts impeachment on the table, and I can’t help but think that that is what this is barreling toward,” said Rob Stutzman, a California-based Republican strategist who has been critical of Mr. Trump. “Any other presidency at this point would have been done when their own Department of Justice filed something like that.”

But while the House can impeach a president on a majority vote, conviction in the Senate requires a two-thirds vote, meaning that unless at least 20 Republican senators abandon Mr. Trump, he is safe from removal. Despite the losses in the House last month, Republicans, if anything, have moved closer to the president.

While liberals are pressing Democrats to move on impeachment, party leaders remain wary, fearing a backlash. Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee, said the standard set during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for lying under oath certainly puts Mr. Trump “in impeachment territory” because of the campaign finance issue.

“On the other hand,” he added, “in the compendium of Donald Trump’s offenses against the rule of law and the Constitution, this may not be in the top five.”

Prosecutors’ Narrative Is Clear: Trump Defrauded Voters. But What Does It Mean? - The New York Times

Undocumented staff claim Trump golf club hired them

Monday, December 03, 2018

America Media Stop Lying. George Bush Opposed Civil Rights His Whole Career

I can't watch TV news. It is disgusting to see these reporters lie about George HW Bush who openly and repeatedly opposed racial integration from the 1964 Civil Rights Acts which ended legal segregation in accommodations in America, the 1990 Civil Rights Act and aid for people with aids. This was a low down evil man. We always hear that we should not talk badly about the dead. OK, George HW Bush is dead, good.

George Bush Sr. on Civil Rights

President of the U.S., 1989-1993; Former Republican Rep. (TX)


1998: gay status of personal aide "doesn't matter to us"

For the first 4 years after leaving the White House, my father's personal aide, Michael Dannenhauer, went just about everywhere with Dad. They had developed a very close relationship, but all that time Michael also lived with a deeply held fear. "All those years I always wondered if the president assumed I was gay," Michael said. "In 1998, in the back of my mind I wondered if he would want me to be his chief of staff if he knew I was gay."
Michael confided in Jean Becker, Dad's chief of staff who was taking time off to help Dad write "All the Best." In December 1998, Michael was in Dad's office. "Now, don't be mad at Jean," Dad started the conversation. "Don't be mad at Jean, because I asked her. I asked her if you are gay."
Caught totally off guard, Michael sat down and was unable to look at Dad. "I want you to know I don't care," Dad continued. "Barbara and I love you. You are a part of our family, and it doesn't matter to us that you're gay. I am not embarrassed of you and never will be."
Source: My Father, My President, by Doro Koch Bush, p.467-468 , Oct 6, 2006

1980: Supported Equal Rights Amendment, but not as V.P.

[In the 1980 GOP primary], the press forced George to clarify his positions, most of which contrasted sharply with Ronald Reagan's. Bush said he favored an Equal Rights Amendment, and he opposed an amendment that would overturn Roe v. Wade and ban abortion. He also opposed licensing and registering firearms.
[After his nomination as Reagan's V.P.], George berated the press for asking about his past differences with Reagan. "I'm not going to be nickeled and dimed to death about that sort of thing," he said heatedly. To underscore the point, he dropped his support of the Equal Rights Amendment, vehemently changed his position on abortion, modified his stance on school busing, and proclaimed himself in favor of school prayer, all of which proved he was a man witth he sould of a Vice President.
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.366&373 , Sep 20, 2004

1964: Advocated states' rights over Civil Rights Act

When Pres. Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, George wrapped himself in the mantle of states' rights, which was conservative code for no federal intervention on racial matters. "The new civil rights act was passed to protect 14% of the people," George said. "I'm also worried about the other 86%."
To some, Bush's opposition to the civil rights bill put him in league with segregationists. Like them, George would "hate to see" the Constitution "trampled on in the process of trying to solve Civil Rights problems."
He later expressed regret at running so far to the right in 1964, yet he ran against civil rights again in 1966, and when he did vote for open housing in 1968, he seemed to do so in spite of himself--because black GIs expected it, not because it was the right thing to do.
He wrote in 1968, "I'll vote for the bill on final passage--have political misgivings--also constitutional--it won't solve much. But in my heart I know you're right on the symbolism of open housing."
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.214-7 & 242 , Sep 14, 2004

1990: Signed Americans with Disabilities Act

Dr. John Walker, the brother of George's mother, Dorothy, had joined Memorial Sloan-Kettering in 1952 as a clinical assistant in surgery. He was struck with polio in 1950 and lost most of the use of his limbs, eventually becoming bound to a wheelchair.
In addition to his own handicap, Dr. Walker had 2 daughters born with Down Syndrome. His most important influence on George was giving him sensitivity to the needs of the disabled that he might not otherwise have developed. For most of his life George remained insensitive to the imperative of racial justice and had a consistently less than admirable record on civil rights. He did, however, become a champion for the disabled. His admiration for his uncle, who had been crippled at the height of his career, led George to his finest hour as President: on July 26, 1990, he signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, only 3 weeks before his Uncle John, then 81, died of complications from an aneurysm.
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.129-130 , Sep 14, 2004

1959 home carried a restrictive racial covenant

Moving from Midland to Houston in the summer of 1959 required logistical planning by the Bushes because they were transporting a business, building a house, and expecting a baby.
The Bushes' new home at 5525 Briar Drive in the Broad Oaks housing development of Houston was built to their specifications on 1.2 acres and, although legally unenforceable, carried a restrictive racial covenant that stated: "No part of the property in the said Addition shall ever be sold, leased, or rented to, or occupied by any person other than of the Caucasian race, except in the servants' quarters."
These restrictive covenants, attached to both the properties that the Bushes bought and sold between 1955 and 1966, were common in Texas, although ruled illegal by the US Supreme Court in 1948. As late as 1986, the Justice Department had to force the county clerk in Houston to include a disclaimer on every certified real-estate record that such racial covenants were "invalid and unenforceable under Federal Law."
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.193 , Sep 14, 2004

1963: Civil Rights Bill violates constitutional rights

In June 1963, the President sent to Congress the most far-reaching civil rights bill in the country's history. To demonstrate a mandate for the legislation, Martin Luther King led 250,000 people to Washington that summer with the incandescent rhetoric of his "I Have a Dream" speech.
Campaigning in Texas, George Bush ignored King and vigorously opposed Pres. Kennedy and his civil rights bill at every turn. "I am against the Civil Rights bill on the grounds that it transcends civil rights and violates the constitutional rights of all the people," Bush said. "Job opportunity, education and fair play will help alleviate inequities. Sweeping federal legislation will fail. I am opposed to the public accommodation section. I still favor the problem being handled by moral persuasion at the local level."
Determined to campaign in each of Texas's 247 counties, George inveighed against the civil rights bill at every stop. "I think most Texans share my opposition to this legislation," Bush said.
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.211 , Sep 14, 2004

1983: Debated Geraldine Ferraro; "We kicked a little ass"

Geraldine Ferraro, a former congresswoman from NYC, had been chosen as the first woman to run for national office on a major-party ticket. Her selection by Walter Mondale as his running mate had galvanized many women. [There was] enormous pressure on Ferraro, who had to surmount the bigotry and sexism her candidacy unleashed, particularly among men in the media.
The night of the VP debate, Oct. 11, 1983, Ferraro presented herself as informed and lucid. When attacked, she kept her temper but responded firmly, even sardonically. At one point during the debate Ferraro chided Bush for lecturing her. "Let me just say, .that I almost resent, Vice President Bush, your patronizing attitude that you have to teach me about foreign policy."
The day after the debate the Vice President referred to the previous evening's debate: "I tried to kick a little ass." Hours later his staff showed up on the press plane wearing buttons that said, "We kicked a little ass."
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.388-390 , Sep 14, 2004

No professional women on Bush staff, nor in Bush family

The day after the [1983 VP debate with Geraldine Ferraro] the Vice President referred to the previous evening: "I tried to kick a little ass." Hours later his staff showed up on the press plane wearing buttons that said, "We kicked a little ass."
The Bushes didn't understand how offensive it was to women. "When the debate was over, the women in the press corps stood up and cheered Ferraro," recalled Jeb Bush. Female journalists resented Bush's chauvinistic treatment of Ferraro, which showed them something they had not seen before: his discomfort in accepting women as peers. They started to notice that there were no professional women on Bush's staff who held positions comparable to the men. "All the women were either secretaries or gofer," recalled one woman journalist.
Women reporters also observed there were no women in the Bush family who pursued a career or even held a professional job. As Barbara Bush told reporters: "We're all very happy being kept by our husbands."
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.389-391 , Sep 14, 2004

1990: vetoed Civil Rights Act & voter registration bill

Ralph Neas, the executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, felt the sting of Bush's retaliation after the President vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1990, which was intended to prohibit discrimination in employment. "I was very critical of the President for that veto and for calling the bill a quota bill simply to pander to the right wing," said Neas. "I said he was acting beneath the dignity of his office."
Despite Bush's rhetoric about voter outreach, he had vetoed passage of a voter-registration program that could have added millions of minority voters to the election rolls, and now he had vetoed a civil rights act passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress. "The White House is declaring open war on civil rights," said Neas.
The President became so angry at Neas that he momentarily forgot his name and startled reporters by blasting him as "that.that white guy who attacked me on this quota bill." Neas was barred from all future bill signings.
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.478-479 , Sep 14, 2004

Signed 1991 Voting Rights Act after 1990 veto

The president had already vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1990, claiming it was a "quota bill." Determined not to veto any more civil rights legislation, the President directed his White House counsel to work with the Senate and House Democrats to reach a bipartisan agreement on the 1991 Civil Rights Act.
After a bitter and anguished struggle, a compromise was finally reached, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was sent to the President's desk for his signature. On the eve of the bill signing, Boyden Gray again emerged as the hangman. He circulated a presidential order to all federal agencies directing them to comply with provisions that would end a quarter century's worth of affirmative action and hiring guidelines benefiting women and minorities.
The President signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991 on November 21, 1991, in a Rose Garden ceremony that was overshadowed by the intent of Boyden Gray's presidential directive.
Source: The Family, by Kitty Kelley, p.515-517 , Sep 14, 2004

Legislation is not enough to eliminate discrimination

If we seek--and I believe that every one of us does--to build a new era of harmony and shared purpose, we must make it possible for all Americans to scale the ladder of opportunity. If we seek to ease racial tensions in America, civil rights legislation is, by itself, not enough. The elimination of discrimination in the workplace is a vital element of the American Dream, but it is simply not enough.
(Remarks on signing the Civil Rights Act of 1991, Rose Garden.)
Source: Heartbeat, by Jim McGrath, p.171-172 , Nov 21, 1991

Civil Rights Act: ban discrimination without quotas

I wrote this note to Senator Jack Danforth, when we could not agree on a civil rights bill.
Dear Jack,
...Needless to say we don’t feel we are “turning back the clock on civil rights.” Indeed I have stated that I want to sign a civil rights bill. I’ve also said that it is important that we get a bill, and rather than haggle over what some have called tiny differences, why not take a gigantic step forward by going with a bill where we have total agreement, leaving a handful of the knotty unresolved questions to later on.
Isn’t it more important to take a 90% step forward than to take no step at all? Anyway, let’s keep plugging away not letting the extremes on either side of this debate carry the day.
I signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991 on November 21. It did not include quotas. It did promote the goals of ridding the workplace of discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, and disability.
Source: Letter from George Bush in All The Best, p.531-532 , Aug 6, 1991

ADA is first declaration of equality for disabled people

Author's note: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 President Bush would later call "really the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality" for disabled people.
"Together we must remove the physical barriers we have created and the social barriers we have accepted. For ours will never be a truly prosperous nation until all within it prosper."
(Remarks on signing the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, White House South Lawn.)
Source: Heartbeat, by Jim McGrath, p. 95-96 , Jul 26, 1990

Avoiding censorship more important than defunding NEA

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) were under fire for underwriting an art exhibit that featured a controversial painting of Jesus.
Diary entry March 28th:
Take the NEA for example. When I see Jesus Christ shooting up heroin or floating on a bottle of urine, I figure that there ought not to be one dime of federal funds going into this. And then you think of the alternative that comes to mind-federal censorship-and you worry, “Where will this lead?”
Source: All the Best, p. 466: Diary entry and later notes , Mar 28, 1990

Called for Constitutional Amendment against flag burning

Much to my disappointment, the Supreme Court had just ruled 5-4 that the Constitution did not protect the flag from being burned. Justice Scalia was in the majority opinion. His wife feared I might be holding it against him, which of course I did not. However, I did immediately call for a constitutional amendment banning flag burning.
Source: Letter from George Bush in All The Best, p.432 , Jun 28, 1989

Supports school prayer, like Pledge of Allegiance

I think you’re wrong on prayer in schools. It is not just ideologues who want the voluntary prayer in school. Believe me, it is much deeper that that. And then there’s the Pledge of Allegiance. It feels good to go to some Rotary meetings in Iowa and say the Pledge-it really does-especially that part “one nation under God.” It’s all winners and no losers. I have a funny feeling it keeps us a little more together. Is it okay to say the Pledge in schools but not to have voluntary prayers?
Until the Religious Right got involved because of their concerns on drugs, decline in family, shifting views on homosexuals or divorce, no one gave much of a damn. We might not have agreed with the more liberal activists when they were up in arms, but we said okay, let them do their thing.

Allegations of G.O.P. Election Fraud Shake North Carolina’s Ninth District | The New Yorker

Allegations of G.O.P. Election Fraud Shake North Carolina’s Ninth District | The New Yorker

Will Anger About Voter Suppression Drive Turnout in the Georgia Runoff for Secretary of State? | The New Yorker

"During the high-profile race for governor of Georgia—which the Republican Brian Kemp won, beating the Democrat Stacey Abrams by around fifty-five thousand votes—another political office came under an unusual amount of scrutiny: secretary of state. That was Kemp’s job, until shortly after he declared victory in the governor’s race, when he stepped down from the position. In Georgia, the secretary of state is responsible for overseeing elections, and Kemp provoked outrage with his refusal to resign from the post while running for another office. He was also accused of suppressing the vote, by purging the rolls of more than three hundred thousand voters, and of undermining confidence in the result by allowing the use of a “dated, vulnerable voting system that provides no independent paper audit trail,” as a civil lawsuit filed in September, and naming Kemp as a defendant, put it. When Kemp finally stepped down after the election, the state’s outgoing governor, the Republican Nathan Deal, appointed an interim secretary of state, Robyn Crittenden; she is also a defendant in a lawsuit, filed last Friday, that seeks a new election for lieutenant governor on account of a “large number of missing votes and other significant election irregularities.”

As it happens, that election, in November, did not decide upon Kemp’s replacement: the race for the next secretary of state, between the Democrat John Barrow and the Republican Brad Raffensperger, a state representative, went to a runoff, because Raffensperger, who earned less than one percentage point more of the vote than Barrow, did not reach the fifty-per-cent-plus-one-vote threshold required to settle elections in Georgia. On Tuesday, when the runoff election will be held, the many people who were furious about the way Kemp fulfilled his duties have the chance to pick someone who might perform the task better. The question, though, is how many of them will show up.

“I think people aren’t as much interested in this race,” Adrian Durden, a fifty-nine-year-old electrician who is currently unemployed and who has voted for both Democrats and Republicans in the past, told me. Durden, who is African American, lives in southeast Atlanta. “I don’t even know the people who are running,” he said. Turnout for the runoff is unlikely to resemble the historic levels seen in the governor’s race, in which nearly four million Georgians voted. An organizer for the New Georgia Project, a voter-mobilization group that Abrams once directed, told the Washington Post that she had to let go of her canvassers in suburban Atlanta because she did not have enough funding. At a planned televised debate recently, Raffensperger was a no-show—the Republican attended a fundraiser in rural Georgia instead—leaving Barrow “debating against an empty podium,” as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution put it.

Still, Durden said, he would be voting—“straight Democrat.” He added, “I just want to vote against the party in office now. It wasn’t a fair election.” Seni Alabi-Isama, a forty-year-old restaurateur in Statesboro, in the middle of the state, agreed. “It’s clear that something needs to be done with how voting is handled in Georgia,” he said. Alabi-Isama, who is also African-American, said he, too, planned to vote for Barrow, though he didn’t express unchecked enthusiasm for the candidate. “Barrow might not yield the result we want,” he said. “But it’s the only option we have to vote against the party that sustains the current system.”

Barrow, who is white, strikes a decidedly moderate tone—for one thing, he, like Raffensperger, and in contrast to Stacey Abrams, is in favor of current voter-identification laws. He has largely staked his chances on pushing for a transition to paper ballots, which many deem a safer as well as cheaper alternative to the machines that Georgia currently uses. Raffensperger, meanwhile, has defended the use of electronic voting machines as well as Kemp’s culling of voter rolls.

Marilyn Marks is the executive director of the Coalition for Good Governance, a nonpartisan nonprofit which filed Friday’s lawsuit against Georgia’s interim secretary of state. “Barrow is clearly committed to the universal recommendation of cybersecurity and computer-science experts,” she told me over e-mail, citing his support for “hand-marked paper ballots, counted by machines and audited for accuracy.” Raffensperger, on the other hand, “has fallen for the vendor-promoted next generation of un-auditable high-risk touchscreen voting machines that turn votes into barcodes, with little improvement over the current machines that plague Georgia’s elections,” she wrote.

On Saturday afternoon, on a conference call with journalists, Abrams talked up Barrow, too, as well as the Democrat in a runoff for Georgia’s next public service commissioner. Of Barrow, she said, “He understands that rampant voter suppression on Election Day and during early vote disincentivized voters.” Abrams mentioned issues that her new political-action group, Fair Fight Action, seeks to address with a federal lawsuit alleging gross mismanagement of the recent election, including long lines, registration-database issues and missing absentee ballots disproportionately affecting the poor and minorities. “While we’ve been able to use the court systems to force some of these changes, we need a leader who will do these voluntarily,” she said.

Everlean Burston, a fifty-nine-year-old house cleaner in Decatur, Georgia, near Atlanta, voted for Abrams last month, in what she called the second most disappointing election of her life after the 2016 election. She told me that a lot of people weren’t able to vote—especially in black neighborhoods like the one she grew up in—“because of the lack of machines and messed-up machines.” She went on, “I’m frustrated about what happened. It’s like a cycle. A never-ending cycle, a merry-go-round. It keeps spinning, but there’s no results for the people who are really, really in trouble.” She sighed. She’ll be voting on Tuesday, she said. “I’ll vote Democrat. Something has got to be better than what it is now.”

Will Anger About Voter Suppression Drive Turnout in the Georgia Runoff for Secretary of State? | The New Yorker

Portrait of a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe. As the UN sits down for its annual climate conference this week, many experts believe we have passed the point of no return.

Portrait of a planet on the verge of climate catastrophe

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Opinion | America Didn’t Always Lock Up Immigrants - The New York Times


"Last Sunday, as Border Patrol agents were tear-gassing Central American asylum seekers, including parents with their toddlers, more than 40,000 other migrants were being held in detention facilities across the United States.

Like the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy enacted earlier this year, which separated children from their parents while in detention, the tear-gassing of Central Americans immediately gripped the nation’s attention and was decried by many as inhumane. There was almost no mention of the fact that if these migrants did ever manage to cross the border and apply for asylum, many of them would end up in some form of detention or other.

But detaining migrants was not always seen as normal. On the contrary, immigration detention has a short-lived and complicated history.

The United States first imposed immigration detention in the late 19th century. But by the early 1950s, detaining migrants no longer seemed necessary. European and Asian migration had fallen drastically as a result of the Immigration Act of 1924 and the Great Depression. In 1954, officials from the Immigration and Naturalization Service concluded that a vast majority of migrants could be released on conditional “parole,” while their cases were being reviewed. Detention was reserved for migrants who were deemed likely to abscond or who posed a threat to national security or public safety. By January 1955, only four people in immigration custody were seeking entry into the country.
Reflecting on this change, in 1958 the Supreme Court, in Leng May Ma v. Barber, held that “physical detention of aliens is now the exception, not the rule,” pointing out that “certainly this policy reflects the humane qualities of an enlightened civilization.”

How did we move so far away from the notion that detention — and not just family separation and tear-gassing — is inhumane? How did holding more than 40,000 migrants behind bars come to be seen as normal?

The answer lies with the migration of Cubans and Haitians in the 1980s. The change was prompted by the Mariel Boatlift, when approximately 125,000 Cubans fled for the United States in a highly politicized migration that garnered national and international media attention and inspired fear among many Americans. The unfolding of these events can be seen in the stories of individuals like Alberto Herrera, who shared his experiences with Mark Hamm, a professor of criminology at Indiana State. During the 1980s, Americans came to see Mr. Herrera and hundreds of other Cuban exiles as such a dangerous threat that they once again turned to detention as an acceptable way to manage immigration.

Born in Havana in 1952, Mr. Herrera was the eldest of seven children. Like many an elder sibling, he felt responsible for his family’s well-being. But life in Cuba was hard and he was regularly unemployed. His family often went hungry. At the age of 18, he decided to do something about it: He walked into a government grocery store in Havana, hid two pounds of goat cheese under his jacket and fled. He did not get far. He was arrested and imprisoned for seven years. When he was released, he was even less prepared to find a job than he had been before spending time in prison. On Sept. 21, 1979, less than five months after his release, Mr. Herrera was sentenced to 13 years for stealing two pairs of pants.

But on June 24, 1980, Mr. Herrera’s luck seemed to change. That day, a guard came to his cell and told him that he was going to be placed on a boat headed to the United States. Mr. Herrera didn’t know it, but two months earlier, Fidel Castro’s government had announced that anyone who desired to leave Cuba could depart from the port of Mariel. In response, thousands of Cuban émigrés who were living in Florida set out in shrimpers, yachts and sailboats to pick up their relatives. When the émigrés arrived at the port of Mariel, however, the Cuban government informed them that if they wanted to take their relatives to the United States, they also had to transport anyone else the government wanted them to take. On some of those boats, government officials forcibly placed mentally ill individuals and prison inmates, including Mr. Herrera.
As he sailed across the Florida straits, Mr. Herrera heard other passengers talking about Disneyland and expensive cars. He pictured himself holding a job and finally being free.

When Mr. Herrera’s boat anchored in Florida, however, his dreams of freedom sank. News had spread swiftly that Mr. Castro’s government had sent criminals and mentally ill people among the arriving exiles. Although very few of the exiles had committed crimes, much less serious ones, fear of this wave of immigrants became widespread. This fear, fueled by rising crime rates in Miami and other communities where the Cuban exiles settled, led many Americans to demand the detention of the new arrivals.

Upon questioning Mr. Herrera, American officials determined that he had been in prison in Cuba and sent him, along with the other exiles suspected of having committed crimes, to the Federal Correctional Institution at Talladega, Ala.

Thousands of other Cuban exiles, who officials believed not to be criminals, were placed in military bases around the country. There, the exiles waited to be sponsored by someone (or some institution) who agreed to take care of them until they could settle on their own.

As the months went by, most exiles left the military bases, but those who had no family members or acquaintances in the United States often had difficulty finding sponsors. This placed them in an impossible situation. Without sponsorship, the only way they could leave the camps was by leaving the United States. But government officials could not deport them because the Castro government refused to take them back.

These exiles, many of whom were labeled “antisocial” but not accused of having committed any crime, were to remain in cages in the United States on an indefinite basis, with no prospects of being set free. Americans had come to fear these exiles so much that few of them protested their imprisonment and only a small number of legal workers tried to help them. The practice of detention was seen as necessary and normal.

By 1982, about 400 Mariel Cubans who still had not been sponsored were sent to prison, primarily to the maximum-security penitentiary in Atlanta. These exiles, it seemed, no longer belonged in a refugee resettlement camp, which was intended as an interim location to await sponsorship. Now they belonged in a prison.
Those sent to the Atlanta penitentiary joined the ranks of Cubans from the Mariel Boatlift who had broken the law in the United States (sometimes by committing misdemeanors) and those who were believed to have committed serious crimes in Cuba.

They also encountered Alberto Herrera. When he had arrived at Talladega, Mr. Herrera was told that his release depended on good behavior, but even though he had an exemplary record, he was never released because he had no sponsor. Instead, on Feb. 14, 1981, he was sent to the Atlanta prison.
An encampment for Haitian refugees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 1994.David Scull/The New York Times

An encampment for Haitian refugees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in 1994.David Scull/The New York Times
Government officials were determined not to allow another Mariel Boatlift. They drafted contingency plans demanding the establishment of “suitable facilities to hold 10,000 to 20,000” migrants, so that if another large migrant group arrived, they would be prepared. They also conceived of detention as a way to deter migrants — particularly Haitians, who had been fleeing their country since 1971 — from setting sail to the United States. Up to that point, immigration officials still tended to follow the policy of releasing Haitians on parole pending a hearing and status determination, although they also intermittently detained arriving Haitian migrants. By 1981, immigration officials were detaining all Haitians who arrived without offering them the possibility of parole.

A year later, the I.N.S. formalized the practice of blanket detention with very limited parole and extended it to all migrants. This rule reversed the policy, which the Supreme Court had hailed in 1958, that had allowed most migrants to be released while their cases were determined.

Instead came the race to build a massive detention infrastructure, driven in large part by for-profit companies, like Corrections Corporation of America. As Mark Dow, author of “American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons,” notes, the first facility opened by the Corrections Corporation held immigrant detainees. Immigration detention came to be part and parcel of the growing incarceration trend of the 1980s.

It is because of this history that we now imprison undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. In 2016, the government detained nearly 360,000 people in a vast network of over 200 detention facilities, consisting of county jails and privately run prisons. In 2017, the cost of this colossal detention system was $2.6 billion.
Examining the practice of immigration detention today, as Central Americans are fleeing their home countries for the United States, demonstrates that the failure of our asylum system extends far beyond the instances in which migrants are tear-gassed and children are separated from their parents. The system itself is designed to treat migrants and asylum seekers like felons to be placed behind bars.

But it does not have to be like this. The history of immigration detention shows us that a more cost-effective and humane way of dealing with migrants and asylum seekers is possible. After all, in the years between 1954 and 1980, we already had just such a system in place.

Ana Raquel Minian (@AnaRMinian) is a professor of history at Stanford and the author of “Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration.”

Opinion | America Didn’t Always Lock Up Immigrants - The New York Times:

The Integration of the NYC Schools, A Personal Narrative, Part I

Lifting Russian sanctions key to Trump deal exposed by Cohen

Lifting Russian sanctions key to Trump deal exposed by Cohen

Lawyer For Donald Trump Jr. Is Confident His Client Won’t Be Indicted | ...

Don Lemon: Trump seems rattled by Cohen's reveal

Saturday, December 01, 2018

A supporter of racism and segregation. The Nation; When the Subject Is Civil Rights, There Are Two George Bushes - The New York Times

Image result for George Bush

"But as a candidate for the Senate from Texas in 1964, Mr. Bush came out against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark law that ended segregated lunch counters, restrooms, movie theaters and other public accommodations, and made employment discrimination illegal. In the campaign, Mr. Bush said the law was "politically inspired and is bad legislation in that it transcends the Constitution." He was essentially following the lead of his party's Presidential candidate, Barry Goldwater, who had denounced the bill. Hopes and Regrets."

The Nation; When the Subject Is Civil Rights, There Are Two George Bushes - The New York Times


"As the American myth machine begins let's look at the truth. HW Bush was anti-Black, period.

"By Ann Devroy October 23, 1990

President Bush yesterday vetoed the Civil Rights Act of 1990, prompting the sharpest criticism he has endured from women, unions, blacks and other minorities since taking office.

In a three-page veto message to Congress, Bush said that "despite the use of the term 'civil rights,' " the legislation "actually employs a maze of highly legalistic language to introduce the destructive force of quotas" in the workplace.

The dispute has centered largely on the defenses available in the legislation to employers sued for so-called "unintentional" discrimination. The White House has charged that the provisions in the bill were so burdensome to employers that they would create "powerful incentives" for them to "adopt hiring and promotion quotas" to avoid lawsuits, as the president said yesterday in his veto message.

Proponents of the bill contend that it essentially would have restored the law of employment discrimination that had been in force for nearly two decades, prior to six recent Supreme Court rulings that made it more difficult for minorities and women to win discrimination suits. They strongly dispute the contention that the new law would result in quotas.

Equal opportunity, Bush said, is "thwarted," not served, by quotas, and "the very commitment to justice and equality that is offered as the reason why this bill should be signed requires me to veto it."

The Senate has scheduled for today a vote on overriding Bush's veto. But White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater as well as civil rights groups agreed they lack the two-thirds majority needed to override. The Senate vote for passage was 62 to 34; the House vote was 273 to 154.

Bush, who enjoyed a cordial relationship with civil rights leaders even in the bitter years of the Reagan administration, found himself yesterday being described as Reagan in disguise.

"The rhetoric may be gentler and kinder, but the policies of George Bush are no less dangerous and regressive than those of Ronald Reagan and Ed Meese," said Ralph Neas, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Arthur Kropp of People for the American Way accused Bush of trying to "out-Reagan Reagan." John Sturdivant, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, accused Bush of "political rhetoric designed to please Jesse Helms, David Duke and their followers in the ultra-right-wing of the Republican Party."

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said Bush's veto demonstrates "that he is more interested in appeasing extremists in his party than in providing simple justice" for working Americans."


When I think of George HW Bush,I think of this racist campaign had made on his behalf which he refused to condemn. Trump is not alone. Willie Horton 1988 Attack Ad

Friday, November 30, 2018

Lies, lies and more lies: This is not how innocent people act - The Washington Post

"Imagine for a moment that President Trump is right when he claims there is, in fact, no Russia scandal — because the entire thing is a hoax, a fraud, a witch hunt — and that neither he nor any of his family members, employees, or associates did anything wrong.

If that were the case, how would they all have conducted themselves as this controversy has gone on?
There’s one thing we should all be able to agree on: If they were all innocent, they would be telling the truth about what they did and didn’t do. That’s because the truth would exonerate them. What has happened, instead, is that one person after another, from the president on down, has lied about their actions, their contacts with Russia and the decisions they made.
In short, they’re acting like the guiltiest bunch of people since Richard M. Nixon’s Committee to Reelect the President."
Lies, lies and more lies: This is not how innocent people act - The Washington Post

President Donald Trump Thinking Of Damage Control Instead Of The G20 | V...

Toobin: First day I thought Trump may not finish term

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cindy Hyde-Smith and the True Winner in Mississippi’s Senate Race | The New Yorker

"By 11:50 Eastern Time on Tuesday night, as the results rolled in from laggard precincts, it was clear that Cindy Hyde-Smith had defeated Mike Espy in the U.S. Senate race in Mississippi, but in a larger sense it was history that prevailed. That history—a notably unsightly one for which people ought to be ashamed but which some prefer to burnish into a facsimile of glory—has everything to do with why an inflammatory white Republican in Mississippi never really faced a serious political threat from a black establishment Democrat in the runoff election for the Senate seat.

A series of outrageous statements, regardless of whether they were calculated or clueless, was not sufficient to alienate enough white Republicans from Hyde-Smith. She blithely stated that she would be willing to sit in the front row of a public hanging, in a state whose history is marred by the spectacle murders of black people at the hands of racist white mobs. She “joked” that she was in favor of making it more difficult for certain people to vote in the state where, in 1966, the N.A.A.C.P. activist Vernon Dahmer was killed—his home was firebombed—for the crime of registering black people to vote. Earlier, she had praised Beauvoir, the home of Jefferson Davis, as “Mississippi history at its best!” (It was also reported last week that she had graduated from a “segregation academy,” created to sidestep the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision, and sent her daughter to a school that had had the same origins.)

Given that Hyde-Smith couldn’t breach the fifty-per-cent mark in the general election, on November 6th—triggering the runoff between Hyde-Smith and Espy, the top two vote-getters—those blemishes led many people to ponder the possibilities of an upset. Some Mississippi Republicans worried that there might be a replay of the Doug Jones upset in Alabama’s Senate race, last year, which is part of why they asked Donald Trump to appear at two separate rallies for her on the day before the runoff election. But the fear wasn’t justified. Hyde-Smith and her Republican opponent accounted for fifty-eight per cent of the votes on November 6th. Barring a significant reason for Republicans to have stayed at home on Tuesday or, almost inconceivably, to have voted for a black Democrat, there was not a strong likelihood that an upset was in the offing. It’s worth recalling that Roy Moore was both unpopular with the Republican establishment and a national laughingstock for weeks leading up to the Alabama election last year. His scandals, particularly the allegations of improper behavior with underage girls (which he denied), emerged during the most intense stretch of the #MeToo moment and disturbed Americans across political lines. None of that applied to Cindy Hyde-Smith.

Espy employed a strategy that had been effective in other states with significant black populations: running up sizable margins with African-American voters, particularly urban ones, while peeling off a large-enough minority of white voters to secure victory. (It was used, for example, in Douglas Wilder’s successful 1989 gubernatorial bid in Virginia.) The strategy is not that different from the one that many white Democrats follow in statewide and national races, but the operative question for black candidates has been the extent to which they can appeal to white electorates. A handful of black Democrats won election in majority-white House districts during the midterms, but the strategy of winning super-majorities of the black vote combined with a sliver of the white electorate has remained the default for black candidates in statewide races. That’s why the gubernatorial defeats of Andrew Gillum, in Florida, and of Stacey Abrams, in Georgia, are so significant. Each was attempting to win over a large-enough share of white voters in highly polarized times and against opponents who played to racial resentments. Espy faced a particularly difficult situation. The population of Mississippi is thirty-eight-per-cent African-American, the highest percentage of any state in the Union, but racially polarized voting there meant it would be difficult to pull in enough white votes to win.

There are other implications. Early on in this exasperating moment that we call the Trump era, it was possible to take dull comfort in the fact that Trump’s ability to violate the norms of American politics appeared to be unique. In a Trumpian display during the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial race, the Republican nominee, Ed Gillespie, crusaded against “illegal immigrants” and defended the state’s Confederate monuments even after white supremacists rampaged in Charlottesville, in the name of preserving a statue of Robert E. Lee. (One of their number is now on trial, accused of driving his car into a crowd of counter-demonstrators and killing a thirty-two-year-old woman, Heather Heyer. He pleaded not guilty.) Gillespie lost to the Democrat, Ralph Northam.

Roy Moore cast himself in the mold of Trump during his doomed bid for a U.S. Senate seat. The lesson appeared to be that the precise formula of malignant charisma, bigotry, divisiveness, and misogyny that Trump used to great effect was not replicable. But the wisdom of that thinking has been called into question by some of the midterm results. Hyde-Smith’s victory means that, this month, three Southern white Republicans used cavalierly racist rhetoric in successful attempts to defeat three black Democrats in statewide races. In Florida, Ron DeSantis warned Floridians not to “monkey this up” by electing his rival. In Georgia, Brian Kemp billed himself as a Trump-like conservative who drove a large pickup truck so as to have room for the “criminal illegals” he might round up as he went about his day.

The pre-Trump Republican Party certainly relied on the support of whites who held racially bigoted views, but it struggled for plausible deniability in such matters. With Trump, the racism is out in the open, and so, in some cases, is the willingness of the electorate to tolerate it. The Mississippi race reinforced something that has been impossible to avoid but difficult to accept: Trump’s imprimatur actually helped some Republicans win elections. Nina Simone titled her racial-justice protest song “Mississippi Goddam.” The shame isn’t just that the song remains resonant fifty-four years after it was released but that, looking at the landscape of 2018, there are still so many other places she could sing about."

Cindy Hyde-Smith and the True Winner in Mississippi’s Senate Race | The New Yorker