Contact Me By Email

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, July 17, 2019

Are you OK with a racist president, Republicans?

"By the Editorial Board July 15, 2019 10:14 AM,

On July 15, 2019, President Donald Trump defended his tweet calling on four Democratic congresswomen of color, who are American citizens and three of which were born in the U.S., to go back to their "broken and crime infested" countries. By

We’re not big believers in public officials being responsible for all the bad things other public officials say or do. It’s become a too-common political weapon to ask lawmakers to condemn members of their own party, even for behavior that’s not representative of anything more than one person’s poor decision. But sometimes that behavior is so troubling that our leaders need to stand up and say something.

So it was Sunday when President Donald Trump tweeted a bigoted attack on four Democratic Congresswomen of color, telling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” This despite three of the four women being born in the United States, and the other, Omar, being a U.S. citizen.

“Go back where you came from” is among the worst of racist tropes. It divides us by ethnicity and skin color. It says that even if someone is a citizen or legal immigrant, they are not part of the rest of us. That runs contrary to who we should be as Americans, and if Donald Trump didn’t know it when he typed the words, he surely did later when people responded with appropriate outrage. But the same president who referred to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries” and said African visitors would never “go back to their huts” once again doubled down on his racism.

It’s dangerous, destructive behavior, and at the least every Republican lawmaker in Congress should declare as much about their president’s outburst. That includes North Carolina’s most senior leaders, Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis. We know this isn’t easy politically, especially for Tillis, who is running for reelection and faces a Republican primary challenger in a race to see who can embrace the president more fully. Tillis, of course, has a history of comically wavering on Trump — standing up then backing down on issues that include the Mueller investigation and the president’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.

North Carolina’s lawmakers, however, are far from the only Republicans to struggle with Trump’s troubling tendencies. A handful have dared to step forward and criticize the president, only to equivocate when everyone else takes a step back. Most have instead decided that any criticism of Trump — be it for policy or problematic behavior — is not worth the heat that follows.

The result is that the Republican Party is firmly Donald Trump’s party now. It’s the party where insults and other ugliness are just being “rough around the edges.” It’s the party where locking legal migrants in crowded, unhealthy cages is acceptable immigration policy. It’s the party where it’s OK to say racist things so long as the next jobs report is encouraging.

If you don’t believe it, listen to the meekness today from Republicans, including those who represent our state. Instead of standing up for who we should be, they’re bowing to the worst of who we are."

Are you OK with a racist president, Republicans?

Congresswomen Issue Scathing Rebuke To ‘Blatantly Racist’ Trump Attack |...

Opinion | Why Hasn’t the Officer Who Killed Eric Garner Been Fired Yet?

"Reason enough to hate America. America is a racist nation. There is no justice for people of color and after 400 years it is obvious there never will be in this evil land. This happened less than five miles from where I grew up.

"By The Editorial Board
On Tuesday, just one day before the statute of limitations would have run out, the Justice Department said it wouldn’t bring federal civil rights charges against the New York City police officer who put Eric Garner in a chokehold that caused a fatal asthma attack in 2014 as Mr. Garner cried, “I can’t breathe.”
A state grand jury declined to indict that officer, Daniel Pantaleo, five years ago, and as departmental disciplinary action has been delayed, he not only remains on modified duty but also received an increase in overtime pay. So far, nobody has been held accountable for Mr. Garner’s death.
After meeting with federal prosecutors, the Garner family stood outside a courthouse in Lower Manhattan, convulsing with pain.
“Y’all watched him kill my father,” Mr. Garner’s daughter Emerald Garner shouted as she stood before the cameras, her voice heavy with anger. “Fire him.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Police Department delayed disciplinary action against Officer Pantaleo because the Justice Department asked them to wait while it considered whether to prosecute him. On Tuesday, the mayor said waiting so long for the Justice Department to bring charges was a mistake.
The Police Department finally began a disciplinary hearing in May, after the Civilian Complaint Review Board brought charges. An administrative judge has yet to decide whether Officer Pantaleo is guilty of departmental charges that he recklessly used a chokehold, in violation of departmental policy, and intentionally restricted Mr. Garner’s breathing.
Standing in the hot sun outside City Hall on Tuesday, Mr. Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, implored Mr. de Blasio to fire Officer Pantaleo.
“Do your job,” she said. “Come forward and show yourself as the mayor you were elected to be.” As she spoke, Mr. de Blasio, who won election largely because of support from black New Yorkers while promising to hold the police accountable, was at Gracie Mansion, miles away.
City law seems to preclude the city from firing Officer Pantaleo until the conclusion of the hearing.
Given the facts of the case, it’s hard to see his continued employment by the Police Department as anything but an insult to the people of New York.
Mr. Garner, who was unarmed and supposedly selling loose cigarettes, which is illegal, died because Officer Pantaleo used a chokehold. The Police Department banned the use of chokeholds in 1993 amid a rise in deaths linked to the maneuver.
In searing testimony at the departmental trial this year, the medical examiner said the chokehold triggered an asthma attack that led to Mr. Garner’s death, which he ruled a homicide.
A police internal affairs investigator also testified that he recommended disciplinary charges against Officer Pantaleo in 2015. None came until last year.
While the judge will decide if Officer Pantaleo’s actions violated departmental rules, they clearly violated good sense and demonstrated the kind of overly aggressive policing that has led to many controversial deaths. He chose to escalate an encounter, involving several officers, with an unarmed man over a minor violation, then used a dangerous and banned maneuver. Video of the episode, viewed by millions, shows the officer with his arm across Mr. Garner’s throat.
Even before Mr. Garner’s death, the Civilian Complaint Review Board had substantiated four allegations of abuse against him in previous cases.
Why should an officer like Officer Pantaleo remain on the force, diminishing the trust of New Yorkers?
The Justice Department’s delay is inexcusable.
The city’s deference to federal prosecutors, and lack of urgency, are offensive.
That Officer Pantaleo could remain on the force, after everything, seems unimaginable.
Mr. Garner’s family and supporters held a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday condemning the Justice Department’s decision not to file civil rights charges in his death.Bryan Anselm for The New York Times"

Opinion | Why Hasn’t the Officer Who Killed Eric Garner Been Fired Yet?

House Condemns Trump’s Attack on Four Congresswomen as Racist - The New York Times

Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday before a vote condemning President Trump’s tweets.

House Condemns Trump’s Attack on Four Congresswomen as Racist - The New York Times

Chris Cuomo ENDED Trump's CAREER in CONTEMPT after House Votes to Condem...

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Pelosi Tests Progressives' Patience

Kamala Harris ‘Drops The Mic’ On Trump: He Needs To Go Back To Where He ...

Barr: No Federal Charges for NYC Cop in Death of Eric Garner | Time. America has not changed. I am so sick of the false narrative. The only thing that changes is the interest of those in control of the economy. American racism is permanent and only a fool would deny it.

Federal Charges for NYC Cop in Death of Eric Garner | Time

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Hears From Mom Whose Daughter Died in ICE Custo...

Chris Cuomo BLASTING Lindsey Graham after He Gives Unhinged Defense of T...

Torture At The Border

Torture At The Border!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Opinion | Trump’s America Is a ‘White Man’s Country’

"By Jamelle Bouie July 15, 2019

"His racist idea of citizenship is an old one, brought back from the margins of American politics.

If Donald Trump has a theory of anything, it is a theory of American citizenship. It’s simple. If you are white, then regardless of origin, you have a legitimate claim to American citizenship and everything that comes with it. If you are not, then you don’t.

Trump never quite put this theory in writing. But it guides his behavior all the same. That’s the reason he embraced and promoted the deranged conspiracy theory about President Barack Obama’s birthplace — a black president, in Trump’s mind, must be illegitimate somehow. And it’s the reason, as president, he wants fewer immigrants from “shithole” countries and more from northern European nations like Norway. It’s less a practical alternative — there aren’t many Norwegian immigrants to the United States — than it is an expression of his racism.

Trump’s theory of citizenship helps explain some of his unusual behavior, like when he praised a largely foreign-born but nearly all-white hockey team for being “incredible patriots.” And it drove his most recent outburst, a racist attack on four Democratic congresswomen of color, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all),” Trump said on Twitter. “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”

Trump continued with a pointed reference to their dispute with the House Democratic leadership. “These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

Three of the four congresswomen were born in the United States. One came to the country as a child. They are all American citizens. There is no place to “go back” to. But Trump does not see it this way. He sees four women of color — unworthy of any respect, dignity or fair consideration. It does not matter to him that they are the elected representatives of millions of Americans. He sees nonwhites and he just knows they don’t belong.

It’s tempting in this situation to just condemn Trump and leave it there. But that’s a mistake. With this latest tirade, Trump hasn’t only indulged his racism, he has also usefully — if unintentionally — stripped some racial euphemism from the public discourse. His attacks on the congresswomen stem from the same source as his failed attempt to place a citizenship question on the census.

Ludicrously, the Trump administration told the Supreme Court that this information was needed to better enforce the Voting Rights Act. But the true aim, as the files of the man who devised the strategy proved, was a drive to preserve a majority-white electorate by giving state Republican lawmakers the tools and the data they need to gerrymander out noncitizens and nonwhites out of fair representation and fair apportionment. The underlying theory is the same in both cases. If you’re white, you are entitled to full political equality. If you’re not, you aren’t.

Much of Trump’s agenda rests on this idea that the boundaries of rights and citizenship are conterminous with race. Those within Trump’s boundaries enjoy the fruits of American freedom, while those outside them face the full force of American repression. White European immigrants like the first lady, Melania Trump, are welcomed; dark-skinned migrants from Latin America are put into cages and camps.

It is important to say that none of this is new to American life. Americans as early as the founding generation believed whiteness was a prerequisite for the exercise of republican virtue. Before the Civil War, there was a decades-long movement to send free and freed blacks back to Africa based on the theory that black people were unfit for and incompatible with democratic life. America’s most restrictive immigration laws were rooted in the idea this was, as the popular 19th-century phrase had it, a “white man’s country,” inherently threatened by the presence of nonwhites and non-Anglo-Saxons, not to mention women.

Trump, in other words, isn’t an innovator. His theory of citizenship is an old one, brought back from the margins of American politics and expressed in his crude, demagogic style. And it has found a comfortable place in a Republican Party that elevates its narrow, shrinking base as the only authentic America and would rather restrict the electorate than persuade new voters.

With that said, what’s more striking than the president’s blood-and-soil racism is how Democratic Party elites — or at least one group of them — are playing with similar assumptions. No, they haven’t held out the white working property owner as the only citizen of value, but they’re obsessed with winning that voter to their side — convinced that this group is the path to victory. It helps explain the current feud between Pelosi and the four congresswomen, with House Democratic leaders attacking progressives on behalf of moderates in the caucus — some of which represent districts Trump won in 2016, but most of whom represent districts that gave Democrats the majority last November.

Indeed, it is instructive — and frankly disturbing — that top Democrats leaked a poll to Axios showing broad dissatisfaction with Representatives Ocasio-Cortez and Omar. Not from the entire public or Democratic voters, but from “1,003 likely general-election voters who are white and have two years or less of college education.”

Donald Trump wants to make the United States a white country, where the possibility of full citizenship is tied to race. Most Republicans are either silent or supportive. The Democratic Party has the opportunity to oppose this vision with all the moral force that comes with representing a diverse, multiracial coalition. But even as they condemn the president — “I reject @realDonaldTrump’s xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation,” Speaker Pelosi said on Twitter — there are still too few Democrats who are up for the challenge and too many who would rather go after those who embody that other America."

Opinion | Trump’s America Is a ‘White Man’s Country’

Ocasio-Cortez's fiery response on where she 'comes from'

Opinion | Please, Pelosi, Fight Trump, Not the Squad

"For the last couple of weeks, the House Democratic leadership has been locked in an escalating battle with four left-wing freshmen congresswomen known as “the squad”: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

It started with a dispute over funding for detention facilities at the border, with the squad voting against any new allocations for locking up migrants. There were ugly fights on Twitter, with Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff comparing Democrats who voted for one funding bill to segregationist Dixiecrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi belittled the squad to my colleague Maureen Dowd, saying that despite “their public whatever and their Twitter world,” they’re only four people without a following in Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez accused Pelosi of bullying women of color. A senior House Democratic aide gave an anonymous quote to The Hill ripping Ocasio-Cortez as a “puppet” of “elitist white liberals” who is “only a woman of color when it’s convenient.” It’s been a mess.

Donald Trump may have momentarily smoothed over these divisions this weekend, uniting Democrats in condemnation of his racist Twitter rant against the squad. But the fissures remain, and Pelosi needs to heal them, because this fight is alienating and demoralizing people whom the Democratic Party needs.

On Saturday morning, Pressley, Tlaib, Omar and their fellow freshman congresswoman Deb Haaland spoke on a panel at Netroots Nation, an annual conference for progressives, which this year was held in Philadelphia and drew around 4,000 people. Aimee Allison, the founder of She the People, an organization devoted to mobilizing women of color, moderated.

“For millions of us, these women of color in Congress represent generations of blood, sweat and tears, of struggle for us to have representation,” Allison said in her introduction, to cheers from the audience. “They represent the best of American democracy, and yet if you’ve read the news, they’ve faced attacks all year from the right wing and from Democratic Party leadership.” At this, there were scattered boos and hisses.

When I spoke to Allison later, she argued that by slamming the squad, Democratic leaders were dampening the enthusiasm of the women of color who were working their hearts out organizing in swing states. “The way that Nancy Pelosi’s words have landed, it’s caused anger, frustration, hurt, and I believe it is damaging to the coalition we have to build in order to win the White House,” she said.

Of course, there are plenty of people who believe it’s the squad itself that threatens Democratic hopes. The rift over the foursome is part of a bigger battle over how to take on Trump. Some on the left think that Democrats can imitate Trump’s base-first strategy, winning by inspiring new and infrequent voters with an uncompromising message. Others, usually farther to the right, point out that there are simply fewer self-described liberals than self-described conservatives in this country, particularly in the states that, however unfairly, decide Electoral College victory. That means Democrats need to appeal to a putative center, even at the cost of marginalizing the left.

Pelosi appears to endorse the centrist approach, and when it comes to vote-counting in the House, it makes sense. Ocasio-Cortez’s district will be Democratic no matter what; victories in purple districts gave Democrats their majority. Nevertheless, it’s a mistake to act as if only moderate swing voters hold the key to defeating Trump.

After all, if African-American turnout in 2016 had matched 2012’s, Hillary Clinton would most likely be in the White House. The number of votes cast for the left-wing spoiler Jill Stein exceeded Trump’s margin of victory in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Nine percent of people who voted for Barack Obama in 2012 voted for Trump four years later, but 7 percent of 2012 Obama voters didn’t vote at all.

You can rail at the apathy and nihilistic demands for purity of people who hate Trump’s politics but didn’t vote for Clinton — I certainly have. But it is simply a fact that leftists, as well as the generally disaffected, need to be courted just as moderates do.

The advantage of winning over swing voters is that they essentially count twice, giving a vote to Democrats and taking one from Republicans. But the advantage of mobilizing new and infrequent voters is that it can be done with less danger of depressing the voters you already have.

These approaches aren’t mutually exclusive; Democrats probably need to balance them. But Pelosi shouldn’t be triangulating against the party’s impassioned young idealists to cultivate voters who are susceptible to right-wing demagogy. Rather than making Democrats seem more centrist, publicizing her contempt for the squad makes the party look weak and riven, and Trump, with his predator’s nose for vulnerability, has charged in to exploit the resulting discord.

Part of me understands the frustration of Democrats who find the squad maddening. Leftist criticism can be uniquely grating to liberals, especially the kind that treats disagreements over strategy as differences of morality. And some of the newcomers’ rhetoric has been stupid and irresponsible. Still, it’s Pelosi’s responsibility — not that of four insurgents who’ve been in Congress for only six months — to bring the party she leads together. She came to power with a promise to go after Trump, not the left. Maybe if she fulfilled it, Democrats would direct their rage at the president instead of at one another."

Opinion | Please, Pelosi, Fight Trump, Not the Squad

WATCH LIVE: Rep. Omar, Tlaib, Pressley and Ocasio-Cortez respond to Trum...

Pressley urges people 'to not take the bait' on Trump's tweets

Pressley urges people 'to not take the bait' on Trump's tweets

Full 'Squad' press conference in response to Trump’s attacks

Full 'Squad' press conference in response to Trump’s attacks

July political cartoons from the USA TODAY network

Slide 1 of 31: Asheville Citizen-Times

July political cartoons from the USA TODAY network

Lindsey Graham: “I Don’t Care” if Migrants “Stay in These Facilities for 400 Days”

In this handout photo provided by the Office of Inspector General, overcrowding of families is observed by OIG at the U.S. Border Patrol McAllen Station Centralized Processing Center on June 11, 2019 in McAllen, Texas.

Lindsey Graham: “I Don’t Care” if Migrants “Stay in These Facilities for 400 Days”

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Opinion | What Is Nancy Pelosi Thinking?

"And can “woke capitalism” be trusted?

June 10, 2019

Is consumer activism an effective political strategy? Has corporate America become a force for social liberalism? This week on “The Argument,” the columnists talk “woke capitalism.” Ross Douthat thinks the burgeoning phenomenon reflects a shift in how companies view consumers — not as middle-class boomers but as younger and more socially liberal Americans. Michelle Goldberg argues that progressive appeals to corporate wokeness reflect liberal voters’ economic and cultural clout in an era of minority political rule. And David Leonhardt believes the contradictions of woke capitalism — big companies touting their pro-L.G.B.T. policies while donating to anti-L.G.B.T. politicians, for instance — are telling.

Then, the columnists discuss the tensions roiling Democrats in the House of Representatives. By lobbing criticism at progressive members of the caucus, just what is Speaker Nancy Pelosi playing at?

And finally, Michelle recommends a time-warping TV show that forecasts our darkling future.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, spoke to reporters on Capitol Hill last month.Tom Brenner for The New York Times"

Opinion | What Is Nancy Pelosi Thinking?

Tensions Between Pelosi and Progressive Democrats of ‘the Squad’ Burst Into Flame - The New York Times

“They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of a group of freshman Democrats that have challenged her.Tom Brenner for The New York Times

“They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of a group of freshman Democrats that have challenged her.
“They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of a group of freshman Democrats that have challenged her.Tom Brenner for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they have no following in Congress. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York shot back that she and three of her fellow liberal freshmen, darlings of the left known collectively as “the squad,” are wielding the real power in the party.

Six months into the new House Democratic majority, long-simmering tensions between the speaker and the squad — Representatives Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — have boiled over in the most public of ways, setting off a flurry of criticism of Ms. Pelosi among liberal activists and reinvigorating a debate within the party about how best to stand up to President Trump.

The fire was lit by a $4.6 billion border aid package passed by Congress that the quartet argued had empowered Mr. Trump’s immigration crackdown. But the forest already was a tinder box, dried by the monthslong debate over impeachment, earlier dust-ups with Ms. Omar and Ms. Tlaib and over Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, and looming debates over a $15-an-hour minimum wage bill and funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The squabble is all the more notable because it pits Ms. Pelosi, the liberal San Francisco congresswoman who is the most powerful elected woman in American history, against a group of progressive Democratic women of color who have broken barriers of their own as part of the most diverse class ever to serve in the House.

“This is an inevitable tension between a few progressives with one priority, which is their ideology, and a speaker with many priorities, including preserving the majority in the House, electing a Democratic president against Trump, and responding to the consensus of her caucus,” said Steve Israel, a Democrat and former representative of New York. “To the extent that it distracts from Donald Trump and becomes a circular firing squad among Democrats, it can be lethal.”

Others see an old guard defending itself against powerful young voices demanding change.

“Those freshman members are breaking through, and they’re building a movement, and the more power that movement gains, the more persuasive they will be to Pelosi,” said Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for Senator Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton.

The contretemps began when Maureen Dowd, the New York Times columnist, asked Ms. Pelosi about the squad’s fury over the border aid package. The speaker noted that the group had failed to persuade any other Democrats to join them last month in voting against the House’s version of the bill, which placed restrictions on how the administration could spend the money and demanded standards of care at migrant detention centers.

“All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world,” Ms. Pelosi told Ms. Dowd in an interview published over the weekend by The Times. “But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people, and that’s how many votes they got.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, the Queens congresswoman who upset a 20-year Democratic incumbent in a primary and who has carved out a reputation as an outspoken and social-media-savvy firebrand in the halls of Congress, responded tartly in a string of Twitter posts — a public show of defiance to the leader of her party 50 years her senior.

“That public ‘whatever’ is called public sentiment,” she wrote to her more than 4.7 million followers in a message that was recirculated more than 10,000 times and “liked” by more than 65,000 accounts. “And wielding the power to shift it is how we actually achieve meaningful change in this country.”

Ms. Omar chimed in with a tweet of solidarity. “Patetico!” she wrote on her personal Twitter account, with more than one million followers. “You know they’re just salty about WHO is wielding the power to shift ‘public sentiment’ these days, sis. Sorry not sorry.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, went much further, arguing in a series of tweets that his boss and her first-term colleagues were better at leading than Ms. Pelosi was, that Democratic leaders were not willing to fight for their principles, and that the speaker had failed to deliver any Democratic victories while shrinking from impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump.

“Pelosi claims we can’t focus on impeachment because it’s a distraction from kitchen table issues,” Mr. Chakrabarti wrote. “But I’d challenge you to find voters that can name a single thing House Democrats have done for their kitchen table this year. What is this legislative mastermind doing?”

From left, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, all Democrats, as well as Ilhan Omar, are the four members of “the squad.”T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

From left, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, all Democrats, as well as Ilhan Omar, are the four members of “the squad.”
From left, Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, all Democrats, as well as Ilhan Omar, are the four members of “the squad.”T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times
The back and forth has less to do with ideological differences between Ms. Pelosi and the young crop of progressives than their divergent styles and agendas.

Ms. Pelosi, whose legislative triumphs include muscling the Affordable Care Act through the House in 2010, has focused on using the House Democrats’ power to challenge Mr. Trump by advancing legislation that appeals to the broadest possible swath of Democrats, including the more than two dozen moderate lawmakers elected in districts carried by the president in 2016. She has kept the fractious caucus united on measures addressing health care, gun safety, election reforms and immigration, even as divisions persist over whether to impeach Mr. Trump, a step she has so far refused to endorse.

“Look, we wouldn’t have an A.C.A., we wouldn’t have all of the progressive policies that we have if it weren’t for her, and she has molded a caucus that, especially in these last several months, made unbelievable strides in terms of public policy,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro, Democrat of Connecticut, a close ally of the speaker. “We have these young women who have new and great energy and ideas, and I welcome all of that, but the idea that there is some outcry against the speaker of the House? They speak for themselves, but the caucus is squarely behind Nancy Pelosi.”

The speaker is also giving voice to an undercurrent of resentment among Democratic lawmakers toward Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and her group, whom they see as using their megaphones to sow intraparty divisions and burnish their own brands without achieving any results for Democrats. On Tuesday, some senior Democrats were working behind the scenes to try to smooth over those raw feelings, according to one lawmaker involved in the effort, recognizing that Ms. Pelosi’s dismissive comments about the squad’s political celebrity could do lasting damage.

But Ms. Pelosi insists she was not trying to take anything away from the group.

“It wasn’t dismissive; it was a statement of fact,” Ms. Pelosi told a reporter in San Francisco on Monday, saying while most House Democrats had “voted to protect the children” by supporting the House’s humanitarian aid bill, the squad had chosen not to. “They were four who argued against the bill, and they were the only four who voted against the bill. All I said was nobody followed their lead.”

“They have a following in the public,” Ms. Pelosi added. “I’m just talking about in the Congress.”

The foursome has helped to redefine their party’s message, pushing multi-trillion-dollar ideas like the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, and tuition-free college that have drawn broad rhetorical support, including from Democratic presidential candidates. But they have yet to translate their vision into concrete legislative achievement.

The squad and its allies argue that they are tapping into the real energy in the Democratic base with their uncompromising and unapologetic stances.

“Representing the movement that actually helped to put everyone in Congress into office and give Pelosi her gavel is a critical role, and they’ve been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of what is possible in Congress,” said Leah Greenberg, the executive director of Indivisible, a progressive advocacy group.

Liberal activists tried to use the speaker’s comments to stoke outrage — and to raise money to mount primaries against incumbent Democrats they deem insufficiently liberal.

“AOC and The Squad have changed the entire national debate,” said an email rehashing the spat from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which offered a colorful “I STAND WITH AOC” sticker to anyone who donated to their work “electing more AOC’s to Congress.”

Mr. Fallon, now the executive director of the grass-roots progressive group Demand Justice, said Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated a unique ability to grab the public spotlight for liberal candidates and causes, as she did last week when she visited a migrant detention center in Texas. But Ms. Pelosi has an entirely different mandate, he argued, one that her recent comments may have been designed to subtly convey.

“I think more than anything it’s a challenge to this ascending wing of the party, that if they actually want to move beyond being the protest wing and have leadership follow their strategy, that they need to grow their base of support and leave her with no option,” he said.

On Tuesday, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said she was baffled by Ms. Pelosi’s decision to take issue with her and her three young colleagues, adding that the speaker had repeatedly singled them out for criticism.

“I would understand why you’d want to put an arm’s distance between more progressive members of the caucus and more moderate members of the caucus — I think that’s fine — but it’s explicitly the four of us,” she said.

“I was elected here to do a job,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez added. “But I also respect the fact that she has to do hers.”

Tensions Between Pelosi and Progressive Democrats of ‘the Squad’ Burst Into Flame - The New York Times

Trump issues executive order to collect citizenship data

AOC calls for dismantling Homeland Security. Will other Democrats follow? John Armwood Just now · YouTube · AOC calls out Pelosi for her calling out of four freshmen congresswomen of color. Watch this video, especially if you think Pelosi is on the side of people of color.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein Embodies Elite Impunity

"The sheer scale of the crimes Jeffrey Epstein has allegedly committed staggers the imagination. Yet Epstein, who was arrested in New York on Sunday on charges of sexual trafficking of minors, was not an individual miscreant, a lone Humbert Humbert who transgressed against widely shared social norms. As someone who has enjoyed the friendship of the rich and powerful all his adult life, Epstein is emblematic of a much wider problem: a system of elite impunity that extends to even the worst crimes.

The Miami Herald reports that in 2005 when police in Palm Beach, Florida, first started interviewing Michelle Licata, a teen who said she’d been sexually abused by the multimillionaire hedge fund investor, they designated her “Jane Doe” to protect her identity since she was then a minor. The newspaper added, “There would be many Jane Does to follow: Jane Doe No. 3, Jane Doe No. 4, Jane Does 5, 6, 7, 8—and as the years went by—Jane Does 102 and 103.”

Behind the protective anonymity of the Jane Doe appellation, each of those girls had a real name, a family, and a story. In the totality of their testimonies, the girls offered strikingly consistent accounts about being lured while they were underage into Epstein’s mansion with the promise of easy money for giving a massage. After the massage, many of these girls claimed, they were sexually assaulted.

Despite these often horrifying accounts, Epstein was given a sweetheart deal in 2008 by federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta, who now serves as secretary of labor in the Trump administration. Under the non-prosecution agreement reached by Acosta and Epstein’s high-powered attorneys (a team that included Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr), the FBI probe into Epstein was effectively closed, and Epstein received a 13-month sentence, served in the Palm Beach County Jail, where he stayed in a private wing. During this jail sentence, he received a permit to go to his office for up to 12 hours a day.

Few convicted sex offenders enjoy such a cushy confinement. In fact, the Palm Beach sheriff’s department has rules that forbid granting sex offenders the privileges Epstein received.

After serving the sentence, Epstein continued to benefit from the solicitude of the criminal justice system. In New York State in 2011, the office of District Attorney Cy Vance tried to downgrade Epstein from being a Level 3 sex offender (the highest risk) to a Level 1. Shooting down this motion, New York State Supreme Court Judge Ruth Pickholz said, “I have to tell you, I’m a little overwhelmed because I have never seen a prosecutor’s office do anything like this. I have done so many [sex offender registration hearings] much less troubling than this one where the [prosecutor] would never make a downward argument like this.’’

Acosta is a Republican, Vance a Democrat. The Epstein scandal is a bipartisan affair, one that implicates both political parties. Like many of the wealthy, Epstein sought out political friends who were both Republicans and Democrats. Bill Clinton flew on Epstein’s private jet on at least four occasions, but says he knew nothing of Epstein’s crimes. “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years,” Donald Trump told New York magazine in 2002. “Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

Current Issue

But the fact that leading figures in the American duopoly palled around with Epstein doesn’t mean that the scandal has no political salience. Quite the reverse; it shows that plutocratic corruption infects the entire system.

As Time magazine editor Anand Giridharadas notes, “Everything that made Epstein’s life possible remains in place after his arrest: the Caribbean tax havens, the hidden real-estate deals, the buying of politicians, the nonprofits that sell reputational glow, the editors who cover for people of their class. Epstein isn’t a self-contained tumor. He is a biopsy of an entire system.”

The strength of this system is on display as the six Senate Democrats who voted to confirm Acosta as labor secretary continue to stick with their man, despite Epstein’s arrest and the damning reporting of the Miami Herald. Indeed, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez claimed he didn’t even know there was any issue involving Acosta’s making a plea deal with Epstein—despite the fact the matter was brought up in the confirmation hearings. Menendez told Politico that he didn’t “have any thoughts about it.”

Menendez and the other Democrats who support Acosta style themselves as moderates. Yet are we really to believe that there is a constituency of middle-of-the-road voters who are eager to keep a labor secretary who went easy on a wealthy sexual predator? As so often, what is called centrism is really just a mask for plutocracy and elite self-protection.

The politics of the Epstein case cut across party lines, but they open up an opportunity for a genuine populist critique. It’s easy to imagine a candidate untarnished by ties to Epstein—perhaps Elizabeth Warren, perhaps Bernie Sanders—holding up the sex offender as an example of a rigged system where the wealthy are unconstrained by law.

Such a gambit could be risky, since it would mean picking a fight with those Democrats who were part of Epstein’s circle. It would mean going after Bill Clinton for his sometimes sleazy associations and Cy Vance for his habit of avoiding prosecuting the wealthy (a kindness that Vance also extended to Harvey Weinstein and the Trump family). And it would mean lambasting Senate Democrats who continue to provide cover for Acosta.

This sort of intramural fight would make many enemies within the Democratic Party. But for any populist revolution to succeed, it has to combat the enablers of plutocracy whatever their partisan affiliation. The Epstein case offers a golden opportunity for any candidate who wants to take on that fight."

Jeffrey Epstein Embodies Elite Impunity

Migrant Children Describe Sex Assault, Retaliation By Border Agents | Ra...

Monday, July 08, 2019

Chris Cuomo SHOCKED By Bill Maher Drops A BIGB00M To END Trump's Career

James Monroe Enslaved Hundreds. Their Descendants Still Live Next Door. - The New York Times

"CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — So many Monroes in rural Albemarle County remember the moment they asked a parent or grandparent if they were somehow connected to the nation’s fifth president, James Monroe.

The telltale entrance sign to Monroe’s plantation estate, now a museum, had been a fixture of their childhoods, part of the landscape on the route back and forth between Charlottesville and the small, predominantly African-American community they called Monroetown.

Ada Monroe Saylor, 79, was riding in her father’s green Chevrolet on the way to the grocery store in the early 1950s when he confirmed her suspicions.

Sign Up for On Politics With Lisa Lerer

A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know.

George Monroe Jr., a cousin of Ms. Saylor’s, spent much of his childhood at the homestead built by his great-great grandfather, Edward Monroe, known as Ned, whose parents were believed to be enslaved by the president and were among the first known to carry his name. For slaves whose African heritage had long been stolen or lost, this was not uncommon.

Mr. Monroe, 45, was about 8 years old when he posed the question to his father, after driving by the plantation, known as Highland.

“I had been seeing that entrance sign all my life,” Mr. Monroe said. “We were riding, and I asked my dad if we were the same Monroes, and he said yes, but he wouldn’t say much more. We didn’t talk about it.

“It was just understood that we were connected to the president, not by blood but by slavery.”

For seven generations, members of the Monroetown descendant community have lived less than 10 miles away from Highland, yet until three years ago there had never been a conversation between them and the museum. Now, they are working together to change the way slavery is presented at the former presidential plantation.

George Monroe Jr. grew up in a homestead built by his great-great-grandfather, Ned Monroe.
Ada Monroe Saylor is one of the eldest Monroetown descendants.
The president lived at Highland from 1799 to 1823. The property, which he purchased in 1793, was his family home while he served as a governor of Virginia and president. It is now owned by his alma mater, William & Mary.

As president, Monroe supported abolition, but he enslaved up to 250 people in his lifetime. Daily tours and the Highland website note the contradiction.

Visitors are now told about the nearby descendant community. They are also told about two enslaved men by name — Peter Mallory and George — who built Monroe’s guesthouse. A space under the porch of the guesthouse is being refashioned to reflect its former use as slave quarters. Biographies of the enslaved will soon be presented, and William & Mary will begin recording the oral histories of the descendants.

A more layered and complete narrative about the lives of the men, women and children enslaved by Monroe was built upon one family’s quest to trace its roots, the discoveries made by two independent researchers and the museum’s desire to accurately reflect the role slavery played on the plantation of a founding father. The intersection of those related paths, unfolding as part of a larger cultural reckoning, is an American story.

When George Monroe Jr. eventually made his way to Highland in 2016, he came searching for clues as to “who I come from and what makes me, me.” Entering the visitor center, he wanted to know more about his family. Highland wanted to know more about him.

‘We are all Monroes!’

Highland rises against the Southwest Mountains. It was once a 3,500-acre estate, filled with grain crops. Now it is a tourist attraction, about two miles from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

After emancipation, some of the enslaved carried the Monroe name and settled nearby, informally calling their new free community Monroetown. This is where the Monroe descendants’ first chapter begins. The family estimates that fewer than 100 Monroes still live in that area.

On a summer Sunday afternoon in 2017, Martin Violette, a part-time researcher and guide at Highland, went to Middle Oak Baptist, a tiny white church in Monroetown. Mr. Violette — and Miranda Burnett, also a Highland guide — had set out on their own to find out what happened to the enslaved men, women and children sold by Monroe to a Florida plantation owner nearly 200 years ago.

What Mr. Violette found instead: an entire community of Monroe descendants right on Highland’s doorstep.

In the parking lot of Middle Oak Baptist after a service, Mr. Violette approached a group of African-American women, all in their 70s, members who had worshiped in the church since they were children. He inquired about Monroes.

“You have come to the right place,” one of the women exclaimed. “We are all Monroes!”

It turned out that more than half of the church members were part of a large Monroe family tracing back to Highland.

Rocks mark the location of the original house foundation at Highland.
A reenactment of slave quarters at Highland.
For seven generations, the Monroetown descendant community has lived less than 10 miles from Highland.
As president, Monroe supported abolition, but enslaved up to 250 people in his lifetime.
“Up until that point, we had no idea this community was right here,” said Sara Bon-Harper, Highland’s executive director. “It’s a very big thing for an institution like ours to forge these relationships absolutely from scratch, and we had this responsibility to get it right.

“But the question is, what is right?” she added. “Having this connection with the descendant community is the spark for us to tell a more inclusive, authentic history.”

By the time Mr. Violette found his way to Middle Oak, following clues left behind by Monroe’s records, Mr. Monroe had already visited Highland. He and a cousin, Francis Scott, the family historian, were already chasing their history back to the plantation and learning more about the connections between the president and their community, but no formal conversations had been initiated with the museum.

“We are talking about the pain of slavery and the ties that bind and the start of our story in America,” said Jennifer Saylor Stacy, 56, Ms. Saylor’s daughter and a lifelong member of Middle Oak. “We want to know more about our ancestors and help to give them back a sense of humanity.”

A small group of Monroe descendants gathered at Highland in March 2018 to begin the first of several discussions on how best to incorporate its family history. The meetings have also become a space to talk about the legacy of slavery, racial inequities and reparations, now a part of the national dialogue.

“It’s hard to put into words what it feels like to grow up this close to the plantation where your roots are,” Ms. Saylor said. “Once I knew we came from there, I often wondered what became of our people.”

Separated by centuries and hundreds of miles

Last year, Brent Leggs, executive director of the African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund, an initiative led by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and a group of historians, preservationists, descendants and site directors, gathered for the first National Summit on Teaching Slavery at James Madison’s Montpelier to talk about engaging descendant communities. Both George Monroe Jr. and Ms. Bon-Harper attended. That same year, Monticello opened its first exhibition of the living quarters of Sally Hemings.

“Most of the narrative about the black experience is about a painful past, but we have an opportunity today to uncover the hidden stories of activism and resistance and black agency rooted in slavery,” Mr. Leggs said. “This is about expanding beyond the typical stories of brutality and injustice to stories of black life and black love and how our community overcame the most difficult chapter in American history.”

At Highland, visitors learn about Monroe’s vision for a federal government and his opposition to European colonialism in the Americas, known as the Monroe Doctrine. In 1828, Monroe sold up to two dozen enslaved people for $5,000 to Joseph Mills White, the owner of Casa Bianca, a cane and cotton plantation just outside Monticello, Fla., to pay off mounting debt after his presidency.
Mr. Violette, a ninth-generation Virginian and Ms. Burnett, a reference librarian, started their research of the sale by asking basic questions: How many of the enslaved were sold? Did they leave Florida after emancipation? Then, after visiting Middle Oak, they wondered: Could they be related by blood to the Monroe descendants in Virginia?

The researchers pored over archival records documenting shipping manifests, property inventories, bills of sale, death certificates. In a letter to James Madison, Monroe said he had arranged to have the enslaved taken in families. At least three couples — Dudley and Eve, Toby and Betsy, Jim and Calypso — along with their children, were sent to Florida, yanking apart the larger Highland enslaved community.

“The more we were able to find, the more we knew how important it was to try to help reunite these two communities,” Mr. Violette said.

Fifteen months after Mr. Violette visited Middle Oak, he and Ms. Burnett visited another small church, this time in Florida. It was founded, in part, by children once enslaved at Highland. The researchers met about a dozen people in Monticello, including a woman whose grandfather was a descendant of Dudley and Eve, one on the enslaved couples sold to Florida, and the first direct link between the two descendant communities in Florida and Virginia.

Ms. Burnett cried as she described piecing together the life of Garrett Sanders, a son of Toby and Betsy, who was about 18 when he was sold with his parents and sent to Casa Bianca. After emancipation, he appeared in the 1870 census with his occupation listed as a blacksmith. He registered to vote in 1867, and cast a ballot in the 1876 presidential election.

“It means he made it. He made it to freedom,” Ms. Burnett said. “It is an incredible discovery to find the evidence that an enslaved person was finally able to live free.”

The Middle Oak Baptist Church.
A list of enslaved people from Casa Bianca, a cane and cotton plantation just outside Monticello, Fla.

Ms. Burnett and Mr. Violette hope to identify more Highland descendants in both states, and this August, the two communities — connected by slavery but separated by centuries and hundreds of miles — could be brought together for the first time.

Once Ms. Burnett and Mr. Violette shared what they had learned in Florida with those in Virginia, Waltine Eubanks, a Monroe descendant in Virginia, suggested inviting the Florida descendants to attend the annual Monroe homegoing celebration in Virginia next month.

“I want the treasure hunt to go on so that we find even more connections between these two communities,” Ms. Eubanks said. “We have the same roots, and we might even have the same bloodline. We might be cousins.”
James Monroe Enslaved Hundreds. Their Descendants Still Live Next Door. - The New York Times