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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.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Illegal vs. impeachable: What’s the difference?

Pete Souza on throwing ‘shade’ at Trump

Why three men spent 36 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were exonerated after evidence proved their innocence in what was real-life episode of The Wire

“It was an episode straight out of The Wire, complete with police corruption, evidence suppression and wrongful imprisonment. Only, this was reality for three men in Baltimore.
For many years, police records containing evidence that cleared three men of murder were sealed off in a white envelope bearing the logo of the police department of Baltimore and the words: “Police Emergency Only: Not to be opened for any reason.”
While serving a life sentence for the killing of 14-year-old DeWitt Duckett in 1983 over his basketball jacket, Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart were exonerated on 25 November upon the belated discovery of exculpatory evidence that proved their innocence.
“I sat on my bunk … and I cried,” Stewart said after being released from prison. “I didn’t know how to stop crying.”
The police records that were eventually made public revealed that the detective on the case, Donald Kincaid, withheld evidence that three of the four witnesses said they knew the murderer to be just one man who is now dead – not the three men who were convicted. It was also revealed that the witnesses, who were all under the age of 17, had failed to identify Chestnut, Stewart or Watkins from photographs.
It was the kind of tale of botched police work and endemic injustice on hard streets that inspired The Wire, the hit HBO crime series based in Baltimore.
And Kincaid even inspired a character in another cop show, Homicide: Life on the Street, where the character Beau Felton was loosely modeled on him.
Chestnut, Watkins and Stewart had each spent 36 years in prison before they were released this week, grinning and being cheered by supporters and loved ones, just months after their cases were suddenly reopened.
“There are elements of The Wire that were real. There were those neighborhoods and individuals that were corrupt in the police department, judiciary and political landscape,” University of Baltimore criminologist Jeffrey Ian Ross said. “The Baltimore police has always had recurrent challenges: dealing with violent crime, homicide, racial insensitivity and low morale,” he added.
Alfred Chestnut hugs his mother after his release in Baltimore. Photograph: Todd Kimmelman/Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project (/AFP via Getty Images
It was while he was languishing in prison that Chestnut watched an item on television about a case of miscarriage of justice and an exoneration in Baltimore.
It then prompted him to visit the prison library to learn about exoneration cases. He was rapidly convinced he had a case and filled out an application to the state’s attorney office, and attached a letter asking for help.
The application and letter landed in the hands of Lauren Lipscomb, assistant state’s attorney for Baltimore, on 16 May 2019. She was shocked as she read the letter and reviewed the newly unsealed police records in the case.
“I handed [the report] to my investigative detective, Brian Ellis, and said: ‘Are you seeing this?’” Lipscomb said.
She continued: “I’m wondering, ‘How did we get from one to three shooters?’ There were leads that explicitly named another shooter.”
Lipscomb said these factors quickly elevated Chestnut’s case from initial review into a full-blown investigation. “We began investigating and we quickly started finding that one thing led to another. Every single person we spoke to – none of them were consistent or supported that these three people were involved in this murder.”
Lipscomb’s actions then led to the Baltimore city state’s attorney, Marilyn Mosby, reopening the case.
Ross acknowledged Baltimore’s blighted criminal justice system.
“I’m not an apologist for police departments, but there’s pressure for closing cases, building careers and looking the other way,” he said, adding: “Withholding evidence is morally and ethically wrong and illegal. People’s lives have been lost. There’s been financial and psychological damage.”
It was on 23 November 1983, the day before Thanksgiving, that Baltimore police took the young witnesses to be interviewed in the homicide department without notifying their parents or guardians.
“They were all brought in as a group on multiple occasions to discuss what their testimony was going to be,” Lipscomb said. “At homicide, all of a sudden there was identification of all three defendants.”
On Thanksgiving Day 1983, all three men were arrested.
The case had been led by Donald Kincaid, who is now shown to have hidden evidence. It’s not entirely clear what motivated him to implicate the three men who ended up getting life sentences. He retired many years ago and denied any improprieties in an interview with the Washington Post.
It wasn’t the first time Kincaid was involved in withholding exculpatory evidence. In 1982in another case he was involved in, key witness statements that proved another man’s innocence were not disclosed. This omission led to the wrongful imprisonment of Wendell Griffin for the murder of James Williams Wise.
Griffin had already served more than 15 years when he finally got access to the police report on his case and realized investigators had evidence all along that could have proven his innocence. Upon being released from custody in 2018, Griffin sued the Baltimore city police department for damages and the case was settled.
After Chestnut, Watkins and Stewart were released this week, Mosby addressed them at a press conference.
“You should never have seen the inside of a jail cell,” Mosby said. “So on behalf of this system and in attempt to right the wrongs of the past, I apologize to you and your family for the pain you and they have had to endure because for this wrongful conviction.”
Watkins said: “We went through hell. It wasn’t easy. But people that loved us are standing here with us.”
When asked if Chestnut, Watkins and Stewart planned on pursuing legal action against the police, attorneys representing Watkins and Chestnut told said: “They are at a stage where they’re looking at all of their options.”
Watkins hinted at the press conference: “This fight isn’t over. My story doesn’t stop here on this corner.”
Although all are now free, Lipscomb expressed regret and sympathy for the closure the victim’s family never received.
“I explained to the victim’s family that a possible outcome would be that the three would in fact be released. I asked if they wanted to meet in person and that was declined,” Lipscomb said. “I’m acutely aware of how much the victim’s family did not want to hear from me.”
Two days ago, the three men spent their first Thanksgiving outside prison in almost four decades.
“This case is a very tough set of circumstances,” Lipscomb said. “There’s just no positive. We got to the bottom of it, but the casualties along the way – it’s not lost on me.”

Friday, November 29, 2019

Chris Cuomo's Giuliani question stumps Trump defender

Chris Cuomo's Giuliani question stumps Trump defender

Opinion | The Horrible History of Thanksgiving - The New York Times

“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth,” 1914, by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe.

"The Horrible History of Thanksgiving

By Charles M. BlowNov. 27, 2019

When I was a child, Thanksgiving was simple. It was about turkey and dressing, love and laughter, a time for the family to gather around a feast and be thankful for the year that had passed and be hopeful for the year to come.

In school, the story we learned was simple, too: Pilgrims and Native Americans came together to give thanks.

We made pictures of the gathering, everyone smiling. We colored turkeys or made them out of construction paper. We sometimes had a mini-feast in class.

I thought it was such a beautiful story: People reaching across race and culture to share with one another, to commune with one another. But that is not the full story of Thanksgiving. Like so much of American history, the story has had its least attractive features winnow away — white people have been centered in the narrative and all atrocity has been politely papered over.

So, let us correct that.

What is widely viewed as the first Thanksgiving was a three-day feast to which the Pilgrims had invited the local Wampanoag people as a celebration of the harvest.

About 90 came, almost twice the number of Pilgrims. This is the first myth: that the first Thanksgiving was dominated by the Pilgrim and not the Native American. The Native Americans even provided the bulk of the food, according to the Manataka American Indian Council.

This is counter to the Pilgrim-centric view so often presented. Indeed, two of the most famous paintings depicting the first Thanksgiving — one by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe and the other by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris — feature the natives in a subservient position, outnumbered and crouching on the ground on the edge of the frame.

The Pilgrims had been desperate and sick and dying but had finally had some luck with crops.

The second myth is that the Wampanoag were feasting with friends. That does not appear to be true.

As Peter C. Mancall, a professor at the University of Southern California, wrote for CNN on Wednesday, Gov. William Bradford would say in his book “Of Plymouth Plantation,” which he began to write in 1630, that the Puritans had arrived in “a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild men.”

Mancall further explained that after the visits to the New World by Samuel de Champlain and Capt. John Smith in the early 1600s, “a terrible illness spread through the region” among the Native Americans. He continued: “Modern scholars have argued that indigenous communities were devastated by leptospirosis, a disease caused by Old World bacteria that had likely reached New England through the feces of rats that arrived on European ships.”

This weakening of the native population by disease from the new arrivals’ ships created an opening for the Pilgrims.

King James’s patent called this spread of disease “a wonderfull Plague” that might help to devastate and depopulate the region. Some friends.

But many of those native people not killed by disease would be killed by direct deed.

As Grace Donnelly wrote in a 2017 piece for Fortune:

The celebration in 1621 did not mark a friendly turning point and did not become an annual event. Relations between the Wampanoag and the settlers deteriorated, leading to the Pequot War. In 1637, in retaliation for the murder of a man the settlers believed the Wampanoags killed, they burned a nearby village, killing as many as 500 men, women, and children. Following the massacre, William Bradford, the Governor of Plymouth, wrote that for “the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”

Just 16 years after the Wampanoag shared that meal, they were massacred.

This was just one of the earliest episodes in which settlers and colonists did something horrible to the natives. There would be other massacres and many wars.

According to, “From the time Europeans arrived on American shores, the frontier — the edge territory between white man’s civilization and the untamed natural world — became a shared space of vast, clashing differences that led the U.S. government to authorize over 1,500 wars, attacks and raids on Indians, the most of any country in the world against its indigenous people.”

And this says nothing of all the treaties brokered and then broken or all the grabbing of land removing populations, including the most famous removal of natives: the Trail of Tears. Beginning in 1831, tens of thousands of Native Americans were forced to relocate from their ancestral lands in the Southeast to lands west of the Mississippi River. Many died along the way.

I spent most of my life believing a gauzy, kindergarten version of Thanksgiving, thinking only of feasts and family, turkey and dressing.

I was blind, willfully ignorant, I suppose, to the bloodier side of the Thanksgiving story, to the more honest side of it.

But I’ve come to believe that is how America would have it if it had its druthers: We would be blissfully blind, living in a soft world bleached of hard truth. I can no longer abide that..

Opinion | The Horrible History of Thanksgiving - The New York Times

Opinion | Donald Trump, Meet Your Precursor - The New York Times

"Donald Trump, Meet Your Precursor

By Manisha SinhaNov. 29, 2019, 6:00 a.m. ET

Last week, in defense of her father, Ivanka Trump tweeted out a quotation she wrongly attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville: “A decline of public morals in the United States will probably be marked by the abuse of the power of impeachment as a means of crushing political adversaries or ejecting them from office.”

The misquotation came from an opinion essay in The Wall Street Journal that has since been corrected. What is fascinating about this incident though, is that the quotation actually comes from an 1889 book, “American Constitutional Law,” that defends Andrew Johnson against his impeachment in 1868. By the time the book was written, emancipation and the attempt to guarantee black rights lay in shambles, and conservatives rallied to the defense of Johnson, one of the most reviled presidents in American history.

Much more than impeachment connects the presidencies of Andrew Johnson and Donald Trump. No one expected either man to enter the White House. Both presidencies began with a whiff of illegitimacy hanging over them: Johnson’s because he became president when Lincoln was assassinated, Mr. Trump’s because he won the Electoral College despite having nearly three million fewer popular votes than his opponent, the largest losing margin of any president who actually won the election. The size of the gap did not bode well for American democracy.

Historical parallelism rarely works in a simplistic manner. But it does work when historians discern broad similarities and patterns that link our present moment to the past. Many fallible men have inhabited the office of the presidency. Only a handful have been so oblivious to the oath they took that they have met the constitutional standard for impeachment.

Agree to disagree, or disagree better? We'll help you understand the sharpest arguments on the most pressing issues of the week, from new and familiar voices.

The first president against whom impeachment proceedings were considered was John Tyler, who like Johnson became president after an untimely death, that of President William Henry Harrison. A proslavery zealot, Tyler has the unique distinction so far of being the only president to commit treason against his country. He voted for Virginia’s secession from the Union.

Unlike Tyler, Johnson refused to go with his state, Tennessee, when it seceded from the Union. For this, he was appointed military governor of Tennessee and then rewarded with the vice-presidential spot on the National Union Party presidential ticket headed by Lincoln in 1864. Johnson came closest to being removed from the presidency when his conviction fell one vote short of the required two-thirds majority needed in the Senate.

If the recent House impeachment hearings have revealed anything, it is that Mr. Trump’s actions clearly meet the criteria laid out in the impeachment clause, “Treason, bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” While Mr. Trump’s criminality is of the same order as Richard Nixon’s, trying to interfere in a presidential election, like Johnson, he exhibits no public or private decorum. Johnson’s and Mr. Trump’s biographies could not be more different but their lack of presidential demeanor was evident from the start. As the historian Eric Foner has put it, “Americans, more often than not, choose mediocre presidents, but require of them a decorum foreign to other aspects of their life.” Johnson, a poor white Southerner, became a slaveholder and successful politician, occupying local, state and national office. Mr. Trump, brought up in the corrupt and highflying world of New York’s real estate business, is an oddly successful political neophyte.

Both Johnson and Mr. Trump amply displayed their unfitness for the presidency before getting the job. Johnson so fortified himself with whiskey on taking his oath of office for the vice presidency that his rambling, drunken speech mortified all who were present. Lincoln, who gave his memorable Second Inaugural Address the same day, noted, “This Johnson is a queer man.” Mr. Trump is a teetotaler but ran a presidential campaign full of grotesque insults, ridicule, lies and vulgarity. His crude and cruel pronouncements after his ascent to the presidency are too many to recount. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, a Trump pick, in his testimony at the impeachment hearings in the House, uses the term “TrumpSpeak”: profanity-laced language that guided a personal political agenda and undermined United States foreign policy and national security. Both Johnson and Mr. Trump, neither blessed with literary or oratorical skills, succeeded two of the most gifted presidential wordsmiths.

But most significantly, both men made an undisguised championship of white supremacy — the lodestar of their presidencies — and played on the politics of racial division. For Johnson, it was his obdurate opposition to Reconstruction, the project to establish an interracial democracy in the United States after the destruction of slavery. He wanted to prevent, as he put it, the “Africanization” of the country. Under the guise of strict constructionism, states' rights and opposition to big government, previously deployed by Southern slaveholders to defend slavery, Johnson vetoed all federal laws intended to protect former slaves from racial terror and the Black Codes passed in the old Confederate states, which reduced African-Americans to a state of semi-servitude. Johnson peddled the racist myth that Southern whites were victimized by black emancipation and citizenship, which became an article of faith among Lost Cause proponents in the postwar South.

It is a myth that Mr. Trump seems to have fully bought into, given his defense of “beautiful” Confederate statues and monuments. Like Johnson, he uses derogatory language for people of color and he has expressed his preference for Nordic immigrants. Mr. Trump’s handpicked man in charge of immigration policy, the brain behind the separation of families in immigration detention camps, is Stephen Miller, who has recently been publicly revealed to be a white nationalist. The abolitionist feminist Frances Ellen Watkins Harper called Johnson an “incarnation of meanness,” words that are still applicable today.

Both Johnson’s and Mr. Trump’s concept of American nationalism is narrow, parochial and authoritarian. Johnson opposed the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, that guarantees equality before the law to all persons and citizenship to all born in the United States. Mr. Trump has threatened both to revoke its constitutional guarantee of national birthright citizenship and have the entire amendment overturned. Johnson’s highhanded actions and disregard of Congress led to Thomas Nast’s famous “King Andy” cartoon in Harper’s Weekly. Today Mr. Trump’s unaccountable style of governing reflects his Attorney General William Barr’s doctrine of unitary executive power, oblivious to the checks and balances and separation of powers in the Constitution.

The American republic was founded on the repudiation of the divine right of kings to rule. That is the reason that the impeachment clause of the Constitution holds elected officials, including the president, accountable for bribery and criminal wrongdoing.

Johnson and Mr. Trump not only managed to diminish their office but also engaged in actions that have dangerous repercussions for American democracy. Their crimes are not just specific impeachable acts but also the systematic undermining of the rule of law, democratic governance, human rights and the national interest. Johnson pardoned nearly all high-ranking Confederates who had taken up arms against the United States government. In one case, he also pardoned a white Virginian who murdered a black man in broad daylight and looked the other way at reports of massacres of freed people and harassment of Southern white unionists. Mr. Trump, against the advice of the Defense Department and the Navy, has just pardoned a Navy SEAL, Edward Gallagher, who violated the military’s rules of conduct. He has even hinted that he wants the disgraced Chief Gallagher at his rallies.

What Mr. Trump and his enablers call the “deep state” is nothing but the rules and norms of democratic government. It has become clear from the testimony of upstanding national security and foreign service officials like Ambassadors Marie Yovanovitch and William R. Taylor, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, Fiona Hill and David Holmes that he undermined the very fabric of the United States government in seeking to profit personally from the conduct of foreign policy, by withholding aid from a democratically elected anti-corruption Ukrainian government unless its officials investigated his domestic political rivals, the Bidens. Over 150 years ago, the testimony before Congress of ordinary patriotic Americans, former slaves, Southern unionists, Northern travelers to the post war South, Union Army officers and federal officials completely discredited Johnson’s racist policies.

Mr. Trump openly invites and, now we know, privately demands foreign interference in our elections, a scenario that the men who founded the American Republic and wrote its Constitution repeatedly warned against. He attacks his opponents and even supporters who do not agree with him on Twitter. Johnson, too, loved to vilify his opponents, like Frederick Douglass and Radical Republican congressmen. Both presidents precipitated a constitutional crisis that could be solved only through an impeachment process. The author Brenda Wineapple has written that Johnson was “the chief architect” of his own impeachment. The same is true of Mr. Trump.

Unlike with Nixon and Mr. Clinton, attempts to impeach Johnson and Mr. Trump preceded the actual impeachment inquiry because both systematically undermined federal laws and democratic institutions the moment they took office. Their personal narcissism and disregard for the principles of democratic governance led to early calls for impeachment. In Johnson’s case, violation of the Tenure of Office Act when he removed Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Edwin Stanton, led to his impeachment. While this law encroached on executive privilege, it was intended to prevent Johnson’s interference in congressional Reconstruction and his increasingly dangerous obstructionism. It was the law of the land when Johnson violated it by firing Stanton. Similarly, while it is certainly a president’s prerogative to appoint and fire American ambassadors, the removal of Ambassador Yovanovitch was the result of a sleazy attempt to pressure Ukraine’s government.

In 1866, a Northern public sickened by Johnson’s antics and vitriolic rhetoric elected a thumping majority of his opponents. In 2018, the country handed a rebuke to Mr. Trump by electing a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, which has now begun impeachment proceedings against him. Trump has handed his own smoking gun to them, his infamous call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine. Johnson removed and belittled Union Army officers. The Purple Heart-wearing Lt. Col. Vindman has been subject to nativist, anti-Semitic slurs and death threats after his moving testimony.

Johnson’s defenders, like Senator William Saulsbury of Delaware, the one man who could drink him under the table, and Senator Garrett Davis of Kentucky, were as oblivious to facts, reason and propriety as their modern counterparts, Senator Lindsey Graham and Representatives Devin Nunes and Jim Jordan. The vote to convict Johnson lost as a handful of moderate Republicans voted to acquit when he promised not to interfere in Reconstruction any longer, though he remained unrepentant, continuing to criticize the attempt to establish black citizenship until the day he died in 1875. But Johnson was damaged goods after impeachment, and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats wanted him anywhere near their presidential tickets in1868.

House Democrats face a different scenario today given a Republican majority in the Senate. The likelihood of convicting Mr. Trump is much lower than it was for Johnson. The Republican Party, no longer the party of Lincoln, refuses to be persuaded, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Like the Republicans in 1868, House Democrats are not waiting for a presidential election to send a rebuke to a president who behaves with impunity against his country, its ideals and interests. The House Judiciary Committee would do well to develop articles of impeachment not just on narrow legalistic grounds but also on the broad ground of violation of the Constitution and the undermining of American democracy.

In drawing up 11 articles of impeachment against Johnson, House Republicans focused narrowly on violation of the Tenure of Office Act in the first nine. But the last two articles accused Johnson of opposing Reconstruction and bringing “disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach,” onto “the Congress of the United States” and for his “intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues, and therein utter loud threats and bitter menaces, as well against Congress as the laws of the United States duly enacted thereby, amid the cries, jeers and laughter of the multitudes then assembled in hearing,” language that could be used verbatim against Mr. Trump. As Representative George Julian pithily put it, Johnson ought to be impeached for “his career of maladministration and crime.”

Some of the most damning testimony against Mr. Trump has come from impressive women like Ambassador Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill. Their 19th-century counterparts were abolitionists like the stalwart Lydia Maria Child, who wrote words as true today as then: “Every true lover of the country must want to creep into a knot hole and hide himself, wherever the name of our president is mentioned.” Johnson and Mr. Trump are both authoritarian demagogues who threatened the world’s longest lasting experiment in democratic republicanism. Democrats must convince the American people not only of Mr. Trump’s specific crimes, but of the very real danger that his continuing presence in office presents to the Republic."

Opinion | Donald Trump, Meet Your Precursor - The New York Times

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Benin President Patrice Talon Orders France Economic Decolonization From...

Trump Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint When He Released Aid to Ukraine - The New York Times

President Trump faced bipartisan pressure from Congress to release military aid to Ukraine.

"WASHINGTON — President Trump had already been briefed on a whistle-blower’s complaint about his dealings with Ukraine when he unfroze military aid for the country in September, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Lawyers from the White House counsel’s office told Mr. Trump in late August about the complaint, explaining that they were trying to determine whether they were legally required to give it to Congress, the people said.
The revelation could shed light on Mr. Trump’s thinking at two critical points under scrutiny by impeachment investigators: his decision in early September to release $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine and his denial to a key ambassador around the same time that there was a “quid pro quo” with Kyiv. Mr. Trump used the phrase before it had entered the public lexicon in the Ukraine affair.
Mr. Trump faced bipartisan pressure from Congress when he released the aid. But the new timing detail shows that he was also aware at the time that the whistle-blower had accused him of wrongdoing in withholding the aid and in his broader campaign to pressure Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to conduct investigations that could benefit Mr. Trump’s re-election chances.
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The complaint from the whistle-blower, a C.I.A. officer who submitted it to the inspector general for the intelligence community in mid-August, put at the center of that pressure campaign a July 25 phone call between the presidents, which came at a time when Mr. Trump had already frozen the aid to the Ukrainian government. Mr. Trump asked that Mr. Zelensky “do us a favor,” then brought up the investigations he sought, alarming White House aides who conveyed their concerns to the whistle-blower.
The White House declined to comment.
The whistle-blower complaint, which would typically be submitted to lawmakers who have oversight of the intelligence agencies, first came to light as the subject of an administration tug of war. In late August, the inspector general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, concluded that the administration needed to send it to Congress.
But the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, and his deputy John A. Eisenberg disagreed. They decided that the administration could withhold from Congress the whistle-blower’s accusations because they were protected by executive privilege. The lawyers told Mr. Trump they planned to ask the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to determine whether they had to disclose the complaint to lawmakers.
A week later, the Office of Legal Counsel concluded that the administration did not have to hand over the complaint.
It is unclear how much detail the lawyers provided Mr. Trump about the complaint. The New York Times reported in September that White House advisers — namely, Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Eisenberg — knew about the whistle-blower complaint in August. But the specifics of when and how Mr. Trump learned of it have not previously been reported.
The whistle-blower, whose identity has not been made public, accused Mr. Trump of abusing his power by inviting a foreign power to interfere on his behalf in the 2020 election. He described the pressure campaign to get Mr. Zelensky to publicly commit to investigations of Democrats that could potentially benefit Mr. Trump and suggested that a temporary hold that the administration had placed on assistance to Ukraine, which is fighting a war against Russian proxy forces, might be related to the effort.
Nov. 25, 2019
The House Judiciary has invited the White House to question witnesses in its first impeachment hearing next week, featuring constitutional scholars testifying on what is impeachable conduct.
Representative Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said that Democrats will deliver a report on President Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine “soon” after lawmakers return from Thanksgiving break, handing off the impeachment inquiry to the Judiciary Committee.
A federal judge ruled that the former White House counsel Don McGahn must testify before impeachment investigators about Mr. Trump’s efforts to obstruct the Mueller investigation. The Justice Department will likely appeal the decision, but it carries broader implications: The White House has blocked witnesses from cooperating in the impeachment inquiry for the same reasons it did Mr. McGahn.
After Mr. Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president on July 25, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, asked officials in the budget office whether there was a legal justification for withholding military aid, according to newly surfaced emails.
A different trove of emails and documents released by the State Department offered new details about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s role in the Ukrainian pressure campaign. He spoke at least twice by telephone with the president’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in March as Mr. Giuliani was urging Ukraine to investigate Mr. Trump’s rivals.
New details also emerged on Tuesday about that decision to freeze the security assistance to Ukraine. An official from the White House budget office, Mark Sandy, testified that on July 12, he received an email from the office of the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, notifying him that Mr. Trump had directed that administration officials freeze Ukraine’s military aid.
Mr. Trump had enthusiastically sought the investigations for much of the summer. But in early September, he told one of his top diplomats — Gordon D. Sondland, the United States ambassador to the European Union, who helped carry out the shadow policy toward Ukraine — that he was not seeking “a quid pro quo” with the Ukrainian government by withholding the aid.
Mr. Sondland said that when he called Mr. Trump to inquire about why the aid had been withheld, an irritated Mr. Trump insisted he was not seeking anything from the Ukrainians. But the president said that he wanted Mr. Zelensky “to do the right thing,” Mr. Sondland testified to Congress last week, suggesting that he was still seeking the investigations into Democrats that could help his political fortunes.
There are discrepancies about whether Mr. Sondland spoke to the president on Sept. 7 or 9. The administration lifted the freeze on aid to Ukraine on Sept. 11, as lawmakers’ demands grew. Two days earlier, three Democratic-led House committees had opened an investigation into Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Only days after the president learned of the whistle-blower complaint, he spoke with Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, about the aid holdup. Mr. Johnson sought permission to tell Mr. Zelensky at an upcoming meeting in Ukraine that Mr. Trump had decided to release the security assistance, according to Mr. Johnson.
Mr. Trump replied that he was not ready, Mr. Johnson said. He said he asked later on the call whether the aid was linked to some action that the president wanted the Ukrainians to take.
“Without hesitation, President Trump immediately denied such an arrangement existed,” Mr. Johnson wrote in a letter this month to House Republicans.
Mr. Trump erupted in anger and began cursing, he wrote.
“‘No way,’” Mr. Trump said, according to Mr. Johnson. “‘I would never do that. Who told you that?’”
The White House has kept a tight hold on details about the actions of Mr. Trump and his senior aides in the Ukraine affair.
The president has refused to let top advisers testify in the impeachment inquiry, leaving a void that Republicans have exploited. They argue that the evidence that Democrats have gathered is insufficient because it contains few firsthand accounts linking the president to wrongdoing.
But Democrats have not only the transcript of Mr. Trump’s July 25 call but also the testimony of Mr. Sondland, who said Mr. Trump directed him and other top administration officials to maintain pressure on Ukraine.
Both Mr. Cipollone and Mr. Eisenberg, who briefed Mr. Trump in late August about the whistle-blower complaint, had been following up on other complaints by administration officials about the Ukraine matter since early July.
Mr. Cipollone had suggested to Mr. Eisenberg in July that he tell Mr. Trump that White House staff members had raised concerns about a shadow Ukraine policy. Mr. Eisenberg, who does not typically brief Mr. Trump, never followed up on the suggestion."

Trump Knew of Whistle-Blower Complaint When He Released Aid to Ukraine - The New York Times

Bloomberg Loves Bush. This is Michael Bloomberg endorsing a war criminal for President.

Pete Buttigieg Responds to Uproar Over Past Comments on Minority Students - The New York Times

Mayor Pete Buttigieg at a campaign event on Tuesday in Denison, Iowa, where he addressed comments he made about students of color in 2011.

"Another conservative Democrat, like Blumenthal (was elected NYC Mayor as a Republican) is completely unacceptable to Black America and as a result cannot have the Democratic nomination for President.

WASHINGTON — Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., whose lack of support among black voters poses an ongoing threat to his presidential candidacy, responded Tuesday to an outcry over eight-year-old comments he made about black students from poor neighborhoods struggling in school because they did not have proper role models.

“Kids need to see evidence that education is going to work for them,” Mr. Buttigieg said during a mayoral candidate forum in 2011, before being elected, a clip of which has circulated widely on Twitter. “There are a lot of kids, especially, the lower-income minority neighborhoods, who literally just haven’t seen it work. There isn’t somebody they know personally who testifies to the value of education.”

After Michael Harriot, a writer for The Root, denounced Mr. Buttigieg’s claim in a scathing essay, Mr. Buttigieg phoned Mr. Harriot on Tuesday to discuss the piece.

“What I said in that comment before I became mayor does not reflect the totality of my understanding then, and certainly now about the obstacles that students of color face in our system today,” Mr. Buttigieg told reporters, speaking in Denison, Iowa. “I want to make sure I communicated that I’m very conscious of the advantages and privileges that I have had, not through any great wealth but certainly through education, through the advantages that come with being white and being male, and that’s part of why I know I’ve got to make myself useful as a candidate and as president.”

In his essay, published Monday evening, Mr. Harriot recalled his own childhood, in which he and other children from the black part of his town had to leap over a ditch to get to school. He argued that Mr. Buttigieg was choosing to ignore the systemic racism that holds children of color back.

“Occasionally someone would invariably fall in the ditch,” he wrote. “It wasn’t because they didn’t see someone cross successfully, it was because the banks of that ditch was slippery and muddy when it rained.”

Mr. Harriot said in a phone interview that during their conversation, he conveyed to Mr. Buttigieg that he was offended the presidential candidate had not demonstrated an understanding that the educational system is stacked against poor students of color. He said he and Mr. Buttigieg had found common ground by the end of their nearly 20-minute chat, a point he reiterated in a follow-up post later on Tuesday.

“I think to call me was brave and it symbolizes that he is willing to engage with people and voters on this issue,” Mr. Harriot said. “I didn’t think that Pete Buttigieg was going to dismiss or ignore black voters. But I think that in an effort to remain moderate, some candidates don’t want to be as confrontational about these necessary issues, because it does ostracize some voters.”

Mr. Buttigieg lags far behind his leading presidential rivals in support and endorsements from black Democrats. A national Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday found Mr. Buttigieg had the support of 4 percent of black voters — a figure that represented an increase from his standing in prior surveys, many of which showed him with 0 percent black support.

Mr. Harriot said he may continue their conversation at a later date.

He said that while he wrote his initial piece in reaction to Mr. Buttigieg’s comments, all of the presidential candidates should be more considerate of the views of black voters.

“The point of the article was not to drag Pete Buttigieg but to explain this to all the candidates,” Mr. Harriot said. “The ignoring and whitewashing of the issues, and trying to remain appealing to moderate voters, does a disservice to the Democratic Party’s core constituency.”

Reid J. Epstein reported from Washington and Sydney Ember reported from Denison, Iowa "

Pete Buttigieg Responds to Uproar Over Past Comments on Minority Students - The New York Times

Trump Doesn’t Care About War Crimes | The Nation


"In mid-November, President Donald Trump pardoned three American servicemen implicated in war crimes: Lt. Clint Lorance, serving a murder sentence for ordering his soldiers to open fire on unarmed Afghan men in 2012; Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, charged with the murder of an unarmed Afghan in 2010; and CPO Edward Gallagher, convicted and demoted for posing with the corpse of an ISIS detainee in Iraq.

Judging from the uproar in much of the US media over the pardons, you’d have thought these were the only three members of the US military to have ever done anything wrong.

The Washington Post, for example, unfurled the headline: “Trump pardons people accused of war crimes because he thinks war should be savage.” The author went on to speculate that the commander in chief “rejects…as a pointless quibble” the combatant-noncombatant distinction that supposedly makes US-waged war civilized, orderly, and non-savage.

Never mind, then, all the civilian noncombatants wiped out on a regular basis by the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, and beyond—without much of a peep from the corporate media about the need for justice and accountability. Think of the recent murder by US drone of at least 30 Afghan pine nut farmers, the US habit of bombing wedding parties, and the joint Amnesty International-Airwars investigation that documented at least 1,600 civilian deaths in four months of US-led coalition airstrikes on the Syrian city of Raqqa in 2017.

Over at Time magazine, US military veteran Elliot Ackerman contends that Trump’s pardons “show…how little he knows about war,” while an NBC News intervention by Jeff McCausland—retired US Army colonel and former dean of the US Army War College—suggests that the president “lacks an in-depth understanding of the military, its culture and its professional ethic.” Both Ackerman and McCausland condemn Trump’s indignant October tweet on behalf of Golsteyn: “We train our boys to be killing machines, then prosecute them when they kill!”

And yet it seems that Trump has in fact better understood—or at least more transparently embraced—the actual function of the US military, compared to all the folks tripping over themselves to swear by the killing machine’s oh-so-noble essence.

Obviously, few people enlist in the military with the explicit goal of committing war crimes—though, as Financial Times reporter Matt Kennard has revealed, the US military has a worrying history of recruiting neo-Nazis to fill out the ranks (an issue the military continues to grapple with). But as Trump’s tweet makes clear, the US military is in the business of creating killing machines, which it then deploys to brutally maintain US hegemony across the globe, “collateral damage” be damned. And with the ouster of Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer on Sunday, the commentariat has whipped up another round of hand-wringing about the tarnishing of our military institutions.

For another example of willful delusion when it comes to US military history, consider a dispatch at The Hill, coauthored by a retired US Army lieutenant general and a former US ambassador at large for War Crimes Issues, who bring up Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Code for Government of Armies in the Field—after which, apparently, US military forces have always “adhered to a strict set of rules and laws that regulate their conduct.” Indeed, servicemen and women “know that it is both wrong and illegal to engage in acts that long have defined other less scrupulous armies—rape, pillage, torture, murder of one’s foes, and intentional attacks upon a civilian population.”

A glance at such events as the Vietnam War, however, indicates that—even a century after Lincoln’s code—“scrupulous” was not really the name of the game. As US journalist and historian Nick Turse notes in his book Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, the “stunning scale of civilian suffering” in the country was “far beyond anything that can be explained as merely the work of some ‘bad apples’” in the US armed forces: “Murder, torture, rape, abuse, forced displacement, home burnings, specious arrests, imprisonment without due process—such occurrences were virtually a daily fact of life.” Furthermore, they were the “inevitable outcome of deliberate policies, dictated at the highest levels of the military.”

In a chapter titled “Where have all the war crimes gone?,” Turse details how American news reports on Vietnam “described thousands of incidents that violated the laws of war, but usually skipped blithely past the implications, neither labeling nor acknowledging the crimes.”

Of course, those who drew attention to US war crimes in Vietnam—like Hugh Thompson, the helicopter pilot who intervened in the notorious My Lai massacre of hundreds of Vietnamese civilians in 1968—were roundly vilified by the military and threatened with prosecution. After all, for propagators of the illusion of a scrupulous army, exposing US crimes can be more criminal than committing them in the first place; just ask Chelsea Manning.

To be sure, the whole “bad apple” argument is helpful in distracting from the possibility that the US war machine is itself putrid to the core—which is presumably part of the reason that so many US military apologists are up in arms over Trump’s decision to pardon Lorance, Golsteyn, and Gallagher. Case in point: An Atlantic article headlined “Trump Sides With War Criminals” insists that the United States possesses a uniquely “principled and disciplined military that operates with clear ethical norms,” and that this has brought numerous advantages such as “allies willing to have American bases on their territory and to participate in the wars we fight.”

Who cares that it’s called empire, not ethics—or that the military’s supreme discipline and goodness is called into question by other Atlantic articles like the one about the 2005 massacre by US Marines of 24 unarmed civilians in Haditha, Iraq. This particular piece bore the headline: “Why We Should Be Glad the Haditha Massacre Marine Got No Jail Time.” So much for not siding with war criminals.

The New York Times, too, has gone into overdrive on the pardons front, with commentators fretting that Trump has “betray[ed] the military” and that the “laws of war are history.” The Times editorial board published a lengthy dispatch alerting its readership to the danger of nationwide “moral injury”—also known dramatically as a “bruise of the soul”—which can happen when US soldiers who have violated the “morally defensible rules” of war are excused or heroicized.

The editorial board concludes that the United States cannot just claim its moral superiority; rather, it must “be morally superior, which means abiding by the rule of law, not some sense of American exceptionalism that presumes that monsters cannot exist in our midst.” It’s anyone’s guess, of course, as to how the newspaper that played a starring role in marching the nation into an illegal war on Iraq—thanks to which countless Iraqis have been killed, maimed, and irradiated—feels qualified to lecture anyone on morals.

Moreover, by implying that the United States is superior as long as a couple of soldiers are punished here and there in a country committed to waging perpetual, devastating war around the world, the Times is in fact endorsing—not challenging—the concept of American exceptionalism. And as the self-righteous ruckus over the Trumpian pardons continues, the attendant whitewashing of empire–itself one big savage crime—is totally unpardonable."

Trump Doesn’t Care About War Crimes | The Nation

World Powers Vowed to Cut Greenhouse Gases. They’re Still Rising Perilously.

Four years after countries struck a landmark deal in Paris to rein in greenhouse gas emissions in an effort to avert the worst effects of global warming, humanity is headed toward those very climate catastrophes, according to a United Nations report issued Tuesday, with Chinaand the United States, the two biggest polluters, having expanded their carbon footprints last year.

“The summary findings are bleak,” the report said, because countries have failed to halt the rise of greenhouse gas emissions even after repeated warnings from scientists. The result, the authors added, is that “deeper and faster cuts are now required.”

Monday, November 25, 2019

Former Navy secretary defends handling of Navy SEAL case

Chairman Schiff On Impeachment Investigation

Nunes REFUSES to answer Fox host's question on HIS involvement in quid quo pro. Lies, lies and more lies. He will not answer.

Judge rules Don McGahn must testify before the House Judiciary Committee

Judge rules Don McGahn must testify before the House Judiciary Committee

Trump Ordered Pentagon Not to Oust Navy SEAL From Elite Unit - The New York Times

Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher was convicted of posing for photographs with the body of a teenage Islamic State captive in American custody.

"WASHINGTON — President Trump ordered the Pentagon not to remove a Navy SEAL at the center of a high-profile war crimes case from the elite commando unit, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said Monday.

Mr. Esper’s confirmation of the order from Mr. Trump is the latest turn in an extraordinary series of events that pitted the president against his senior military leadership over the fate of Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, the SEAL who was convicted of posing for photographs with the body of a teenage Islamic State captive in American custody.

The Navy wanted to oust Chief Gallagher from the commando unit. Instead, it was the Navy secretary, Richard V. Spencer, who was fired on Sunday. Mr. Esper accused Mr. Spencer of not telling him that he was negotiating a separate deal with the White House, which differed from what Mr. Spencer was saying publicly and to senior Defense Department leadership.

On Monday, Mr. Esper indicated that the military would follow Mr. Trump’s wishes.

“I spoke with the president on Sunday,” Mr. Esper told reporters at the Pentagon. “He gave me the order that Eddie Gallagher will retain his Trident pin.” The pin designates membership in the elite unit.

This was the second time Mr. Trump had made known his wishes that Chief Gallagher remain a Navy SEAL — the first was last Thursday, via Twitter. But Navy officials said over the weekend that they did not consider tweets to be orders and announced they were moving ahead with disciplinary hearings that could oust Chief Gallagher from the commando unit.

Those hearings will not be happening now, Defense Department officials indicated.

Following this weekend’s rapid-fire developments in an already complicated story, some Pentagon officials remained torn on Monday deciding whose side of the story to believe, according to a Defense Department official.

Mr. Trump’s intervention into the military justice system and the Defense Department’s maneuvering to avoid confrontation with the White House had some in the building confused as to what actually happened regarding Mr. Spencer’s dismissal, the official added.

Chief Gallagher was accused of shooting civilians, murdering a captive Islamic State fighter with a hunting knife in Iraq and threatening to kill SEALs who reported him, among other misconduct.

His court-martial ended in acquittal on those charges, but he was convicted of one charge of bringing discredit to the armed forces by posing for photos with the teenage captive’s body.

The Navy demoted him, but Mr. Trump earlier this month reversed that demotion, angering Navy officials, including the commander of the SEALs, Rear Admiral Collin Green, and Mr. Spencer, the Navy secretary.

In a letter acknowledging his termination on Sunday, Mr. Spencer said that he regarded good order and discipline throughout the Navy’s ranks to be “deadly serious business.”

“The lives of our sailors, Marines and civilian teammates quite literally depend on the professional execution of our many missions, and they also depend on the ongoing faith and support of the people we serve and the allies we serve alongside,” the letter said.

He added: “Unfortunately, it has become apparent that in this respect, I no longer share the same understanding with the commander in chief who appointed me, in regards to the key principle of good order and discipline. I cannot in good conscience obey an order that I believe violates the sacred oath I took.”

Trump Ordered Pentagon Not to Oust Navy SEAL From Elite Unit - The New York Times

Navy Secretary Spencer forced out after Trump's war crimes intervention ...

US Navy Turns On Donald Trump

Adam Schiff: 'The evidence is already overwhelming' in impeachment inquiry

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Opinion | Venezuela’s Kids Are Dying. Are We Responsible? - The New York Times

Daniela Serrano lost a daughter to malnutrition this year.

Venezuela’s Kids Are Dying. Are We Responsible?

CARACAS, Venezuela — This country is a kleptocracy ruled incompetently by thugs who are turning a prosperous oil-exporting nation into a failed state sliding toward starvation.
So a young mom named Daniela Serrano weeps for her baby girl, Daisha — and I can’t help wondering if American economic sanctions also bear some responsibility.

Serrano, 21, lives in the impoverished, violent slum of La Dolorita, where I met her. The baby was fading from malnutrition in May, so she frantically sought medical help — but three hospitals turned the baby away, saying there were no beds available, no doctors and no supplies.
One emergency room finally found someone to examine the 8-month-old girl — on condition that Serrano supply a blank sheet of paper, because the hospital had no paper of its own on which to record notes. It then discharged Daisha, who died at home that night.

“I realized she was cold and wasn’t breathing,” Serrano told me, tears streaming down her cheeks. “I screamed.” A helpful neighbor called 911, but 11 hours passed before “first responders” showed up. They took Daisha’s corpse away.
The hard question for Americans: Do our sanctions, intended to undermine the regime, actually make it more likely that babies like Daisha die?

President Nicolás Maduro’s brutal socialist government is primarily responsible for the suffering, and there are steps Maduro could take to save children’s lives, if he wanted to. But there is evidence that sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama and President Trump are adding to the economy’s deterioration and the torment of ordinary Venezuelans.

“The Venezuelan economy was a drunk floundering in a choppy ocean, struggling to stay afloat, begging for a life buoy,” Francisco Toro, a Venezuelan journalist, told me. “The Trump administration threw it a hammer instead. A hammer is no help at all. It’s heavy. It might make the drunk sink a bit faster. But you can’t put the hammer at the center of a narrative about why the drunk is drowning.”

Venezuela may now be sliding toward collapse and mass starvation, while fragmenting into local control by various armed groups. Outbreaks of malaria, diphtheria and measles are spreading, and infant mortality appears to have doubled since 2008.
Maduro’s response is unconscionable. He buys the loyalty of military officials with money or resources that could go for medicine, he refuses to accept some foreign aid and he bars entry by important international humanitarian organizations.

The best thing for the Venezuelan people would be a new government. But sanctions have failed to drive Maduro from power, inflicting anguish instead on vulnerable Venezuelans.
Even in the capital, Caracas, the best-off part of the country, the suffering is incalculable. Elsys Silgado, 21, has two small children. Last month, they were both near death: Alaska, 5, from severe malnutrition (she weighed 26 pounds) and Jeiko, 3, from a severe infection and a persistent fever of 104 degrees.
Silgado and her children were turned away from four hospitals because there were no beds available. I wasn’t allowed to visit public hospitals, which are tightly controlled by armed gangs hostile to journalistic inquiry (doctors explored trying to smuggle me in, but it would be very dangerous for them as well). I understand why the authorities don’t want journalists visiting hospitals: Silgado described filthy emergency rooms with no electricity or running water.
“It was raining,” she recalled, “and all I could see was mud everywhere.”
Alaska and Jeiko eventually recovered, but Silgado continues to worry that she may lose Alaska to malnutrition. “I’m afraid she will die,” Silgado told me. “Because I now know that I can’t take her to a hospital. They have nothing.”
Many people in the slums told me they had initially supported Hugo Chávez, who founded this regime, but almost all had turned against Maduro.
“When Chávez died, I cried,” one woman in the San Isidro shantytown told me. “But I would poison Maduro myself.”
Fabiola Ferrero for The New York Times
I sat down with Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader. Guaidó, whose effort to topple Maduro has unfortunately lost momentum, expressed confidence that at some point Venezuelans would manage to overthrow the dictatorship.

When pushed, he acknowledged the possibility that the sanctions may make the humanitarian crisis worse. “It’s a dilemma, for Venezuela and for the world,” he said, but he favors sanctions anyway as one more source of leverage to remove Maduro. “We need to use every pressure tool we can get,” he said.
Maybe that’s right. But my mind keeps returning to the slum dwellers I met.

On the advice of my guide, I had removed my watch and wedding band before entering the slums, for fear of robbery. Then a truly hungry family led me up dubious, broken stairs to a rickety, crowded apartment, and one person rushed out to buy drinks and potato chips to offer me as an honored guest. I felt terrible — and humbled. 

People like this are already suffering from Maduro’s indifference, and a cataclysm may lie ahead. So let’s seek new ways to pressure the kleptocracy without adding to the suffering of ordinary Venezuelans. Maybe an oil-for-food program could help, along with greater efforts to force Maduro to allow more humanitarian aid. As we careen toward a humanitarian catastrophe in our hemisphere, let’s rethink our strategy.

Opinion | Venezuela’s Kids Are Dying. Are We Responsible? - The New York Times

New Documents Show Contact Between Mike Pompeo And Rudy Giuliani On Ukra...

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Opinion | Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Cancellation of Colin Kaepernick - The New York Times

The former N.F.L. quarterback Colin Kaepernick at a workout for talent scouts and the media in Riverdale, Ga., on Nov. 16.

We are being told of the evils of “cancel culture,” a new scourge that enforces purity, banishes dissent and squelches sober and reasoned debate. But cancel culture is not new. A brief accounting of the illustrious and venerable ranks of blocked and dragged Americans encompasses Sarah Good, Elijah Lovejoy, Ida B. Wells, Dalton Trumbo, Paul Robeson and the Dixie Chicks. What was the Compromise of 1877, which ended Reconstruction, but the cancellation of the black South? What were the detention camps during World War II but the racist muting of Japanese-Americans and their basic rights? 
Thus any sober assessment of this history must conclude that the present objections to cancel culture are not so much concerned with the weapon, as the kind of people who now seek to wield it.
Until recently, cancellation flowed exclusively downward, from the powerful to the powerless. But now, in this era of fallen gatekeepers, where anyone with a Twitter handle or Facebook account can be a publisher, banishment has been ostensibly democratized. This development has occasioned much consternation. Scarcely a day goes by without America’s college students being reproached for rejecting poorly rendered sushi or spurning the defenders of statutory rape. 
Speaking as one who has felt the hot wrath of Twitter, I am not without sympathy for the morally panicked who fear that the kids are not all right. But it is good to remember that while every generation believes that it invented sex, every preceding generation forgets that it once believed the same thing.
Besides, all cancellations are not created equal. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Brett Kavanaugh at his Supreme Court confirmation hearings of sexually assault, was inundated with death threats, forced from her home and driven into hiding. Dave Chappelle, accused of transphobia, collected millions from Netflix for a series of stand-up specials and got his feelings hurt.
It would be nice to live in a more forgiving world, one where dissenting from groupthink does not invite exile and people’s occasional lapses are not held up as evidence of who they are. But if we are to construct such a world, we would do well to leave the slight acts of cancellation effected in the quad and cafe, and proceed to more illustrious offices.
The N.F.L. is revered in this country as a paragon of patriotism and chivalry, a sacred trust controlled by some of the wealthiest men and women in America. For the past three years, this sacred trust has executed, with brutal efficiency, the cancellation of Colin Kaepernick. This is curious given the N.F.L.’s moral libertinism; the league has, at various points, been a home for domestic abusers, child abusers and open racists. 

And yet it seems Mr. Kaepernick’s sin — refusing to stand for the national anthem — offends the N.F.L.’s suddenly delicate sensibilities. And while the influence of hashtags should not be underestimated, the N.F.L. has a different power at its fingertips: the power of monopoly. Effectively, Mr. Kaepernick’s cancellation bars him from making a living at a skill he has been honing since childhood.
It is true that he has found gainful employment with Nike. But only so much solace can be taken in this given that Mr. Kaepernick’s opponents occupy not just board rooms and owner’s boxes, but the White House. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these N.F.L. owners, when somebody disrespects our flag to, to say, ‘Get that son of a [expletive] off the field right now,’” President Trump said in 2017. The N.F.L. has since dutifully obeyed.
Perhaps it is shocking for some to see the president of the United States endorse the cancellation of a pro football player, like he endorsed the cancellation of Hillary Clinton (“Lock her up”), and of Ilhan Omar (“Send her back”). But it is precisely this kind of capricious and biased use of institutional power that has birthed the cancel culture practiced by campus protesters and online. But whereas the wrongdoing of elite institutions was once hidden from public view, in the era of Donald Trump it is all there to be seen. 
A sobering process that began with the broadcast beatings of civil rights marchers at Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma in 1965, then accelerated with the recorded police brutality against Rodney King, has achieved its zenith with the social media sharing of the executions of Walter Scott, Laquan McDonald and Daniel Shaver.
Mr. Trump’s boasting of sexual assault proved no barrier to the White House. Roger Ailes’s career as a media exec was but a cover for his true calling, sexual coercion. Bill Cosby, once exalted as America’s dad, was unmasked as a mass rapist.
The new cancel culture is the product of a generation born into a world without obscuring myth, where the great abuses, once only hinted at, suspected or uttered on street corners, are now tweeted out in full color. Nothing is sacred anymore, and, more important, nothing is legitimate — least of all those institutions charged with dispensing justice. And so, justice is seized by the crowd.
This is suboptimal. The choice now would seem to be between building egalitarian institutions capable of withstanding public scrutiny, or further retreat into a dissembling fog. The N.F.L. has chosen the latter option. First there was the notion that Mr. Kaepernick was not good enough to play in the league. When this fiction collapsed under the weight of injury and journeymen pulled off the streets, the N.F.L. conjured up a distraction. Whatever one thinks of Jay-Z’s partnership with the league, what it achieved was the replacement of the name of the N.F.L. commissioner, Roger Goodell, by Jay-Z’s headlines. 
And then last week there was the rushed “tryout,” the details of which are still murky. But what followed was a debate over Mr. Kaepernick’s comportment, attire and what he had to say. The debate helped obscure this central fact — a multibillion-dollar monopoly is, at this very hour, denying a worker the right to ply his trade and lying about doing so.
It has been said that Colin Kaepernick missed an opportunity, that no matter how crooked the bargain, if he were truly serious about getting a job, he would have acceded to the N.F.L.’s demands. But Mr. Kaepernick is not fighting for a job. He is fighting against cancellation. And his struggle is not merely his own — it is the struggle of Major Taylor, Jack Johnson, Craig Hodges and Muhammad Ali.
This isn’t a fight for employment at any cost. It is a fight for a world where we are not shot, or shunned, because the masters of capital, or their agents, do not like our comportment, our attire or what we have to say.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of “Between the World and Me” and, most recently, “The Water Dancer.”e” and, most recently, “The Water Dancer.”

Opinion | Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Cancellation of Colin Kaepernick - The New York Times