I publish an "Editorial and Opinion Blog", Editorial and Opinion. My News Blog is @ News . I have a Jazz Blog @ Jazz and a Technology Blog @ Technology. My domain is Armwood.Com @ Armwood.Com.
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.
Friday, February 28, 2020
Thursday, February 27, 2020
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Monday, February 24, 2020
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Bloomberg Acts Clueless When Questioned About Central Park 5. Black people remember what he and his buddy Donald Trump said about these innocent young men. Bloomberg is a liar who opposed the settlement for those young men. They didn't get their settlement until Bloomberg was out of office. He is lying.
Trump Grants Clemency to Blagojevich, Milken and Kerik - The New York Times
"The president also pardoned or commuted the sentences of eight others on Tuesday, including Edward DeBartolo, a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers.
Trump Grants Clemency to Blagojevich, Milken and Kerik - The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Trump, citing what he said was advice from friends and business associates, granted clemency on Tuesday to a who’s who of white-collar criminals from politics, sports and business who were convicted on charges involving fraud, corruption and lies — including the financier Michael R. Milken.
The president pardoned Mr. Milken, the so-called junk bond king of the 1980s, as well as the former New York City police commissioner Bernard B. Kerik and Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., a former owner of the San Francisco 49ers. He also commuted the sentence of Rod R. Blagojevich, a former Democratic governor of Illinois.
Their political and finance schemes made them household names, and three received prison terms while Mr. DeBartolo paid a $1 million fine.
Mr. Trump also pardoned David Safavian, the top federal procurement official under President George W. Bush, who had been sentenced in 2009 to a year in prison for lying about his ties to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff and obstructing the sprawling investigation into Mr. Abramoff’s efforts to win federal business. The president also granted clemency to six other people.
Mr. Trump has repeatedly stated his commitment to a criminal justice overhaul and addressing the excessive sentences given to minorities. At the urging of Kim Kardashian West in 2018, he pardoned Alice Marie Johnson, a 63-year-old African-American woman serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug conviction. Ms. Johnson was the centerpiece of a TV ad the Trump campaign ran this month during the Super Bowl.
But the president’s announcements on Tuesday were mostly aimed at wiping clean the slates of rich, powerful and well-connected white men. And they came after years of sophisticated public relations campaigns aimed at persuading Mr. Trump to exercise the authority given to him under the Constitution.
Patti Blagojevich, the wife of the former Illinois governor, frequently appeared on Fox News calling for Mr. Trump to commute her husband’s sentence. Mr. Kerik, a regular on Fox News, appeared on the network as recently as Monday night. Mr. Milken has sought to rebrand himself as a philanthropist in recent years as allies campaigned on his behalf for a pardon.
In conversations with his advisers, Mr. Trump has also raised the prospect of commuting the sentence of Roger J. Stone Jr., his longtime adviser, who was convicted in November of seven felony charges, including tampering with a witness and lying under oath in order to obstruct a congressional inquiry into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
Asked about a pardon for Mr. Stone on Tuesday, Mr. Trump insisted that “I haven’t given it any thought.”
Democrats pounced on the president’s announcements.
“Today, Trump granted clemency to tax cheats, Wall Street crooks, billionaires and corrupt government officials,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, independent of Vermont, the leading Democratic candidate for president. “Meanwhile, thousands of poor and working-class kids sit in jail for nonviolent drug convictions. This is what a broken and racist criminal justice system looks like.”
Representative Bill Pascrell Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, said in a statement that the president abused the pardon power by using it to reward friends and repair the reputations of felons who do not deserve it.
“The pardoning of these disgraced figures should be treated as another national scandal by a lawless executive,” he said.
But Mr. Trump defended his grants of clemency on Tuesday.
He was particularly critical of the 14-year prison sentence for Mr. Blagojevich, who was convicted of trying when he was governor of Illinois to essentially sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he became president. Mr. Blagojevich also once appeared on the reality TV series “The Celebrity Apprentice,” which Mr. Trump hosted.
“That was a tremendously powerful, ridiculous sentence, in my opinion,” Mr. Trump said after announcing that Mr. Blagojevich would go free after serving eight years. The president alleged that the former governor was a victim of the same forces that investigated him for years, citing James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, and Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago who prosecuted Mr. Blagojevich.
“It was a prosecution by the same people — Comey, Fitzpatrick, the same group,” Mr. Trump told reporters, misstating Mr. Fitzgerald’s name.
Mr. Trump gave no indication that he relied on the usual vetting process that guides presidents making use of their constitutional authority to wipe away criminal convictions or commute prison sentences.
Traditionally, the Justice Department’s pardons office would make recommendations about pardons and commutations to the deputy attorney general, who would weigh in and then pass the department’s final determinations to the White House. Instead, Mr. Trump told reporters that he followed “recommendations” in making his decisions.
Those recommendations, according to a White House statement, came from the president’s longtime friends, business executives, celebrities, campaign donors, sports figures and political allies.
In pardoning Mr. Kerik, who pleaded guilty to tax fraud and lying to the government, Mr. Trump said he heard from more than a dozen people, including Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York mayor and Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer; Geraldo Rivera, a Fox TV personality; and Eddie Gallagher, a former Navy SEAL and accused war criminal whose demotion was overturned by Mr. Trump last year.
Mr. Kerik had a pardon application pending and Mr. Blagojevich had a commutation application pending, but a source close to the pardons office did not believe that the pardon attorney had given either of those applications full-throated support.
Mr. Milken, whose dealings contributed to the collapse of the savings-and-loan industry, fought for decades to reverse his conviction for securities fraud. Richard LeFrak, a billionaire real estate magnate and longtime friend; Sheldon G. Adelson, a prominent Republican donor; and Nelson Peltz, a billionaire investor who hosted a $10 million fund-raiser for the president’s 2020 campaign on Saturday, were among those who suggested that Mr. Trump pardon him.
Mr. Milken did not have a pardon or commutation application pending at the Justice Department’s pardons office, meaning that the president made that decision entirely without official Justice Department input. Two previous applications had been denied and closed.
The football greats Jerry Rice and Joe Montana — as well as the singer-songwriter Paul Anka — urged the president to pardon Mr. DeBartolo, who pleaded guilty in 1998to concealing an extortion attempt. Mr. DeBartolo avoided prison but was fined $1 million and was suspended for a year by the N.F.L. He later handed over the 49ers to his sister Denise DeBartolo York.
“You have to see the recommendations,” Mr. Trump said on Tuesday before boarding Air Force One for a four-day trip to the West Coast, where he was scheduled to hold three campaign rallies. “I rely on recommendations.”
Previous presidents have often waited until the final moments of their presidencies to wield the pardon power on behalf of their friends. President Bill Clinton pardoned Marc Rich, a hedge fund manager and financier who was convicted of tax evasion and other crimes, on Jan. 20, 2001, Mr. Clinton’s last day in office.
Others, including Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama, largely reserved their clemency authority for people convicted of nonviolent, low-level drug crimes and other offenses who were identified as part of a rigorous process run by a team of Justice Department lawyers.
Mr. Trump, however, has shrugged off those traditions and the controversy that sometimes comes with the use of the pardon power. He issued a “full and unconditional pardon” to Joe Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff and immigration hard-liner convicted of contempt of court, in August 2017.
Less than a year later, he did the same for I. Lewis Libby Jr., a former aide to Mr. Bush who was convicted of obstructing justice and perjury.
In addition to helping erase the convictions of the well connected and powerful, Mr. Trump also pardoned on Tuesday a tech executive who pleaded guilty to conspiracy, the owner of a construction company who underpaid his taxes and a woman convicted of stealing cars. The president also commuted the sentences of a woman convicted of drug distribution, another woman who was part of a marijuana smuggling ring and a minority-owner of a health care company who was sentenced to 35 years for a scheme to defraud the government.
Their relative anonymity was a sharp contrast to the prominence of the four men highlighted by the president.
Mr. Milken, who was credited in the 1980s with using junk bonds to finance big debt-laden corporate buyouts, pleaded guilty to securities reporting violations and tax offenses, and the Securities and Exchange Commission banned him for life. The investigation came to highlight that decade’s corporate excesses on Wall Street.
In the years since his conviction, Mr. Milken has emerged as a major cancer philanthropist and is the founder of the Milken Institute, a nonpartisan think tank that holds a popular conference in Los Angeles that convenes the world’s most powerful people in government, industry and finance.
Mr. Kerik, a police detective, served as Mr. Giuliani’s bodyguard and chauffeur during the 1993 mayoral race and later served in a series of high-ranking positions in New York City’s Department of Correction. Eventually, Mr. Giuliani named Mr. Kerik correction commissioner in 1997 and police commissioner in 2000.
In 2004, Mr. Kerik’s bid to become homeland security secretary in the Bush cabinet collapsed amid scandals. In June 2006, he pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in the Bronx to two misdemeanors tied to renovations done on his apartment. Four years later, Mr. Kerik pleaded guilty to tax fraud and making false statements.
Mr. DeBartolo presided over the golden era of the 49ers when the team won five Super Bowl championships under the coach Bill Walsh, with legendary players like Mr. Montana, Steve Young, Ronnie Lott and Mr. Rice. Mr. DeBartolo was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016 despite his conviction.
But in the late 1990s, Mr. DeBartolo was an investor in the Hollywood Casino Corp., a Dallas company seeking permission for a riverboat casino in Louisiana. On March 12, 1997, he met Edwin W. Edwards, the influential former governor of Louisiana, for lunch in California and handed over $400,000 that Mr. Edwards had demanded for his help in securing a license. The next day, the Gaming Board granted it. A month later, federal agents raided Mr. Edwards’s house and office, seizing the $400,000.
“Why do it? It actually was just plain stupidity, and I should have just walked away from it,” Mr. DeBartolo told NFL Films for a biographical documentary in 2012. “I was as much to blame because I was old enough to know better and too stupid to do anything about it.”
Trump Grants Clemency to Blagojevich, Milken and Kerik - The New York Times
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Bloomberg Misleads on Stop-And-Frisk - FactCheck.org
It amazes me that people can live in America and not have any familiarity with major news stories. As my paternal grandmother, born in the 1880s always said; "some of us are not ready yet." Sadly it remains true.
""Democratic presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg misleadingly stated that he “cut” the police practice of stop-and-frisk — a policy that he “inherited” — by “95%” by the time he left office as mayor of New York. There were nearly twice as many stops in his last year as mayor compared with the year before he took office.
It’s true that the number of recorded stops declined steadily over the last two years of Bloomberg’s 12 years in office. But Bloomberg’s statistic ignores the dramatic rise in such stops in earlier years under his watch. He also fails to mention that the decline in later years came amid public backlash about the policy and mounting pressure from a class-action lawsuit.
In Bloomberg’s first 10 years in office, the number of stop-and-frisk actions increased nearly 600% from what he “inherited,” reaching a peak of nearly 686,000 stops in 2011. There were about 192,000 documented stops in 2013.
Bloomberg gets to his figure of a 95% cut by cherry-picking the quarterly high point of 203,500 stops in the first quarter of 2012 and comparing that with the 12,485 stops in the last quarter of 2013 — a decline that would not have been possible without the numbers ballooning earlier in Bloomberg’s tenure.
Bloomberg continued to defend the stop-and-frisk practice throughout his term as mayor — and after — maintaining that the policy led to a decrease in crime, a justification he now acknowledges was wrong.
Days before announcing his candidacy for president in November, Bloomberg said that he “should have acted sooner, and acted faster to cut the stops,” and he apologized for not doing that.
Aspen Institute Speech
The issue of Bloomberg’s controversial use of stop-and-frisk as mayor of New York resurfaced in the national media after journalist Benjamin Dixon posted an audio clip of Bloomberg defending the stop-and-frisk policy during an address in 2015 at the Aspen Institute. Bloomberg contended the policy was responsible for lower murder rates. (Bloomberg now acknowledges that “crime continued to come down as we reduced stops.”)
Bloomberg, Feb. 5, 2015: Ninety-five percent of murders, murderers and murder victims, fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city (inaudible). And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed. … You want to spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets. Put those cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods. So, one of the unintended consequences is people say, “Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.” Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. … And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them. And then they start, “Oh, I don’t want to get caught,” so they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home.
(The audio posted by Dixon edited out some of Bloomberg’s comments. You can hear full Bloomberg’s answer here.)
Trump, who has a long history of supporting stop-and-frisk policies, tweeted (and then deleted) a link to Dixon’s tweet, along with his own commentary, “WOW, BLOOMBERG IS A TOTAL RACIST!”
Responding to Trump’s tweet, Bloomberg issued a statement saying, in part, “I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk, and as part of our effort to stop gun violence it was overused. By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner. I regret that and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities.”
The Rise and Fall of Stops
It’s true, as Bloomberg said, that he inherited the controversial stop-and-frisk policy, a get-tough-on-crime tactic of stopping people for suspicious activity that was begun under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. According to data revealed by the state attorney general’s office as part of an investigation into the city’s policy, there were a little fewer than 100,000 recorded stops in 2001, the year before Bloomberg took office.
In the ensuing years under Bloomberg, the number of reported stops increased dramatically year after year, peaking at nearly 686,000 in 2011, based on New York Police Department quarterly reports compiled by the ACLU of New York. From then on, the number of recorded stops began a steady decline. There were nearly 192,000 stops in 2013, Bloomberg’s final year as mayor. But even in that year, the data show steady declines in each quarter.
As we explained, Bloomberg is using quarterly numbers, comparing the first quarter of 2012 with the fourth quarter of 2013, which shows a 94% decrease.
Under Bloomberg’s successor, Bill di Blasio — who ran for mayor on a platform opposing the stop-and-frisk policy — the number of such stops continued to decline dramatically, to nearly 46,000 in di Blasio’s first year in office in 2014 and about 11,000 in 2018.
Bloomberg has attributed the decline that started in 2012 to better training, although he consistently defended the stop-and-frisk program at the time and insisted it reduced violent crime. A day after a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit brought by people who had been stopped, the police department in May 2012 announced new training and supervision designed to address concerns about racial profiling in the application of stop-and-frisk.
The decline also came amid growing public outrage about the stop-and-frisk program. In April 2013, a survey conducted by Quinnipiac University found 51% of New York City voters disapproved of the stop-and-frisk policy and two-thirds supported a plan to create an inspector general to monitor the police department, a proposal that Bloomberg opposed.
Perhaps the biggest blow to the stop-and-frisk program came on Aug. 12, 2013, when U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that the city police department violated the U.S. Constitution in the way that it carried out its stop-and-frisk program, calling it “a form of racial profiling” of young black and Hispanic men. In her opinion, Scheindlin wrote that she was “not ordering an end to the practice of stop and frisk” and that the practice could continue if the city complied with court-ordered remedies to make sure that the program did not violate the Constitution.
The police union and Bloomberg aggressively opposed the lawsuit. In a press conference on the day of the ruling, Bloomberg called the “stop-question-frisk” policy “a vital deterrent” and credited the policy with playing an important part in helping to make New York City “the safest big city in America,” and for leading to “fewer guns, fewer shootings and fewer homicides.” Bloomberg attacked the judge as biased and vowed to appeal her ruling. (Di Blasio later declined to pursue the appeal.)
Less than two weeks later, New York’s City Council passed two bills designed to provide oversight of the police department’s stop-and-frisk policy — one to create an independent inspector general to monitor the police department and another to make it easier for people to sue the police department over racial profiling. Bloomberg vetoed both bills, but the council overrode those vetoes.
Did the Policy Work?
Even after he left office, Bloomberg continued to defend the stop-and-frisk policy. As recently as January 2019, Bloomberg insisted the policy had led to a decline in the city’s murder rate, though the number of murders continued to dip even as the stop-and-frisk policy was phased out.
In a fact-check article about whether stop-and-frisk reduced crime in New York City, John MacDonald, a professor of criminology and sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote that academic research concluded “NYPD’s deployment of extra police to high crime neighborhoods contributed far more to the crime reduction than the use of stop, question, and frisk.”
“The additional use of stop, question, and frisk made almost no difference,” MacDonald wrote. “The stops only had a detectable impact on crime when the stops were based on probable cause, and these kinds of stops were very rare.”
In a speech on Nov. 17, just days before announcing his candidacy, Bloomberg acknowledged that “far too many innocent people were being stopped,” that it eroded trust from the black and Latino communities and that “crime did not go back up” when the policy was scaled. He concluded, “We could and should have acted sooner, and acted faster to cut the stops. I wish we had. And I’m sorry that we didn’t.”
Bloomberg, Nov. 17: Over time, I’ve come to understand something that I long struggled to admit to myself. I got something important wrong. I got something important really wrong. I didn’t understand that back then the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities. I was totally focused on saving lives, but as we know, good intentions aren’t good enough. Now, hindsight is 20/20, but as crime continued to come down as we reduced stops, and has continued to come down during the next administration, to his credit, I now see that we could and should have acted sooner, and acted faster to cut the stops. I wish we had. And I’m sorry that we didn’t.
Bloomberg said that “in 2012, in my third term, we began putting more safeguards in place. And we began scaling back the numbers of stops.” The numbers corroborate that, but Darius Charney, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the class-action case about the stop-and-frisk policy, said it is more likely the decline in documented stops came because of a shift in the public tide against the policy and the fact that it was facing legal challenge in the courts and push-back from the City Council.
Bloomberg may portray the change as coming as a result of realizing the error of his ways, Charney said, but that “doesn’t seem consistent with the way he was behaving publicly.” Bloomberg, he noted, was “aggressive and defiant” in defending the policy. He fought the class-action lawsuit and sought to appeal the ruling. He vetoed City Council efforts to rein in the program. And he made numerous statements in support of stop-and-frisk.
No matter the reason for the decline in stops, though, Bloomberg’s explanation that he “inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk” and “cut it back by 95%,” may leave the mistaken impression that he cut the program by that amount from what he inherited. In fact, the practice greatly expanded under his watch — and with his encouragement — and then contracted from that height during his last two years in office.
In addition to Trump’s since-deleted tweet forwarding the audio clip and branding Bloomberg a “racist,” Trump also retweeted a post from Van Jones, a CNN commentator and former adviser to President Barack Obama, saying on CNN, “I think Bloomberg has a problem because of what he did. You know, stop-and-frisk … it was a horror show to be black or Latino in New York City for years, because you were constantly being stopped and harassed by the police whether you were doing anything wrong or not. And Bloomberg defended it until 20 minutes ago.”
Readers can make of Bloomberg’s comments what they will, but Trump has also long expressed support for stop-and-frisk policies. As recently as Oct. 8, 2018, Trump recommended that Chicago “strongly consider stop-and-frisk. It works and it was meant for problems like Chicago. It was meant for it.”
In a radio interview with Geraldo Rivera on Feb. 13 (starting around the 22:10 mark), Trump drew a distinction between the way the policy was applied by Giuliani and Bloomberg. According to Trump, Giuliani used the practice “sparingly,” “gingerly” and “really brilliantly.” Bloomberg, he said, “came in and he multiplied it times 10.”
“If you were a black person walking down the street, you were going to be stopped and frisked under Bloomberg,” Trump said. “And that’s why they had a revolution in New York, because of what he did.”
“He took Rudy’s stop and frisk, which was done very gingerly, very smartly, you know, a very smart job, and he made it so vicious and so violent,” Trump said. “And honestly, if you were a black person, you’d be stopped two, three times a day.”
But when Bloomberg was in office, Trump’s tweets about stop-and-frisk don’t reflect reservations about how the mayor was applying the policy. In July and August 2013, around the time of the class-action lawsuit ruling, Trump tweeted repeatedly in support of the policy and the way it was being applied, and he warned that ending the policy would be a “disaster” and that crime would rise.
During the first presidential debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton in September 2016, Trump praised stop-and-frisk. He also criticized the judge and her ruling in the New York City case, and he criticized di Blasio for not moving forward with an appeal.
Trump credited the policy — which he said was begun by Giuliani and “continued on by Mayor Bloomberg” — for bringing New York’s crime rate “way down.”
When Clinton noted that crime, including murder, continued to drop, even as di Blasio phased out stop-and-frisk, Trump said Clinton was “wrong.” At the time, we wrote that both were right, because murders went down in di Blasio’s first year in office, but then ticked back up in 2015. In the ensuing two years, however, the number of murders again dropped. The number of murders in New York City in 2017, 2018 and 2019 were all lower than the best year under Bloomberg, and well below the numbers under Giuliani."
Bloomberg Misleads on Stop-And-Frisk - FactCheck.org
Monday, February 17, 2020
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Opinion | The Equality That Wasn’t Enough - The New York Times
Please read this. Most Americans have little knowledge of American history. It is not sadly,taught in most schools, either in the North or the South.
"Shortly after acquitting President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, Senate Republicans moved to confirm two nominees for the federal judiciary. The first, 38-year-old Andrew Brasher, was elevated from a Federal District Court in Alabama to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. The second, Cory Wilson, is a 49-year-old state appellate judge in Mississippi. He’s being considered for a federal district judgeship in the state.
Like all Trump nominees, they are conservatives. But they stand out for their hostility to voting rights. In 2013, Brasher filed a brief in support of Shelby County, Ala., in Shelby County v. Holder. Congress, he wrote, did not have the power to reimpose the “burden” of federal election supervision, as it did in its 2006 reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. “It is not a necessary and appropriate exercise of federal power under the different conditions present today,” he added. The Supreme Court agreed, ending federal “pre-clearance” for new voting laws in several states and allowing new forms of voter suppression.
Wilson also took a dim view of election oversight in his state, calling instead for strict regulations on voting. The federal government, he wrote in a 2013 op-ed, “might spend less time chasing agendas that aren’t there and more time investigating the voter fraud and other irregularities.”
There’s an irony to the fact that it was these two nominees who were on the docket. This month is the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. The last of the three Reconstruction amendments, it gave black men the right to vote. It sparked a revolution and a backlash, as racist white politicians used loopholes in the amendment (as well as outright violence) to undermine and eliminate black political power in the 1870s and ’80s. By the end of the 19th century, the 15th Amendment was a dead letter throughout the South.
But it didn’t have to be. There was an alternative vision that would have created a far more expansive right to suffrage — an alternative that almost became law. Yes, there would still have been a backlash. And yes, none of the debated visions gave suffrage to women. But they still created a broader right to vote, which, because of its scope, would have been a more secure right to vote. The 15th Amendment, in short, could have been much more than it was.
The version we have says that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” and that “the Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
This was close to the original language, introduced by Representative George S. Boutwell of Massachusetts, a Radical Republican and staunch proponent of civil rights for black Americans. But other Radicals thought the federal government could go further than enfranchising black men. Just a few weeks after Boutwell introduced his resolution, Representative Samuel Shellabarger offered an alternative, which went beyond race-based discrimination to essentially guarantee the franchise to all men:
No State shall make or enforce any law which shall deny or abridge to any male citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one years or over, and who is of sound mind, an equal vote at all elections in the State in which he shall have such actual residence as shall be prescribed by law, except to such as have engaged or may hereafter engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, and to such as shall be duly convicted of treason, felony, or other infamous crime.
This is still a negative conception of rights — restrictions on what the state can do versus entitlements for the people themselves. And yet, as the historian Alexander Keyssar notes in “The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States,” Shellabarger’s amendment would essentially have ended “property, tax, nativity and literacy requirements” in addition to racial discrimination. This was the whole point. As Shellabarger noted, the Boutwell proposal still “leaves to the States the power to make discriminations as to who shall vote,” which could be turned against the formerly enslaved. “The body of this race, made ignorant and destitute by our wrong, may substantially all be now excluded from the elective franchise under a qualification of intelligence or property,” he continued. “Let it remain possible, under our amendment, to still disfranchise the body of the colored race in the late rebel States and I tell you it will be done.”
Shellabarger’s plea fell on deaf ears. Most Republicans favored black male suffrage, but still wanted restrictions on other groups, including European immigrants and Chinese laborers. A sweeping amendment for the “elective franchise” would have opened the door to a truly universal suffrage. It was too much. The House killed his amendment in favor of Boutwell’s.
Debate continued in the Senate, where Republicans split along the same lines. Senator William Stewart, a conservative Republican from Nevada, introduced a narrow amendment similar to Boutwell’s and urged immediate adoption. “This question can never rest until it is firmly disposed of,” he said. “It must be done. It is the only measure that will really abolish slavery. It is the only guarantee against peon laws and against oppression.”
On the other end was Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts (later vice president under Ulysses S. Grant), who, like Shellabarger, thought there was more to do than simply end racial restrictions. “Let us give to all citizens equal rights, and then protect everybody in the United States in the exercise of those rights,” Wilson said. “When we attain that position we shall have carried out logically the ideas that lie at the foundation of our institutions; we shall be in harmony with our professions; we shall have acted like a truly republican and Christian people.” Until we do that, he continued, “We are in a false position, an illogical position — a position that cannot be defended.”
To that end, Wilson’s amendment specified, “There shall be no discrimination in any State among the citizens of the United States in the exercise of the elective franchise in any election therein, or in the qualifications of office in any State, on account of race, color, nativity, property, education, or religious belief.” He, like virtually every other Radical Republican, allowed for discrimination by age and gender. But this amendment, unlike the alternative, would create a broad right to vote and hold office. It would also be inclusive of everyone who might come to the United States.
“I am in favor of the proposition of the senator from Massachusetts because it invites into our country everybody,” Senator Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania said, “the Negro, the Irishman, the German, the Frenchman, the Scotchman, the Englishman, and the Chinaman. I will welcome every man, whatever may be the country from which he comes, who by his industry can add to our national wealth.”
Wilson faced opposition. Democrats opposed any federal regulation of voting, while moderate and conservative Republicans still wanted restrictions on immigrants as well as literacy and property requirements. He prevailed, however, and the Senate approved his more sweeping amendment in revised form.
The House was less kind. It rejected the Senate resolution, beginning a tortured back-and-forth between the two chambers as they tried to accommodate each other. Eventually, congressional leadership appointed a conference committee to hash out the differences. The committee, which included Boutwell and Stewart, produced an amendment almost identical to their original proposals. Wilson and his allies were outraged. But time was running short — this was a lame duck session, scheduled to end the next month. The Radicals backed down and, on Feb. 26, 1869, Congress passed the conference report. The 15th Amendment was ready for ratification. A year later, it was on the books.
This was a narrow right to suffrage. Even still, as the historian Eric Foner argues in “The Second Founding: How the Civil War and Reconstruction Remade the Constitution,” it was a “radical change in the political system.” It affirmed that black American men were now “equal members of the body politic” and opened the door to truly universal suffrage.
Unfortunately, that would have to wait. It’s not just that the 15th Amendment neglected women — setting off a schism in the women’s rights movement, between those who supported the amendment and those who didn’t — but that by rejecting the broad language favored by the more radical of the Republicans, Congress allowed restrictions based on property, literacy and native birth. And just as Shellabarger predicted, white Southerners rejected black enfranchisement at their first opportunity.
Through terror and violence, former Confederates toppled Reconstruction governments. With power in hand, they resurrected white supremacy and suppressed black voting. The Supreme Court could have been an obstacle to these efforts to reimpose the conditions of slavery. But it took a narrow view of the Reconstruction amendments, including the 15th. It allowed the white South to build impossibly high barriers to black voting, using the exact tools anticipated by proponents of a more extensive right to vote.
In 1890, Congress attempted to pass a law for federal supervision of congressional elections. However, Foner notes, “it fell victim to Republican infighting and a southern filibuster in the Senate.” As the new century dawned, voting rights for most African-Americans were dead, killed by white hostility in the South and white indifference in the North.
But this wasn’t inevitable. The Wilson amendment nearly became the 15th Amendment, and in that world, there might have been more energy for black rights — for voting rights writ large — in the face of Southern intransigence. Americans would not have had to wait until the 1960s to fully exercise their right to the franchise. We would still have anti-voting reactionaries, but they would have had to work harder to make their ideas a reality.
There’s a chance I’m thinking too small. An America that guarantees the right to vote and hold office for blacks and immigrants in 1870 develops very differently from the one that doesn’t. Women’s suffrage might have come quicker. The idea of using government to ameliorate economic divides might have caught on earlier — the inequality of the Gilded Age might have been tamed before it ran out of control.
“No matter how unpopular it is, no matter what it costs, no matter whether it brings victory or defeat, it is our duty to hope on and struggle on and work on until we make the humblest citizen of the United States the peer and the equal in rights and privileges of every other citizen of the United States,” Wilson declared in defense of his amendment. There’s always reaction — and there will always be backlash. But imagine if 150 years ago we had taken a longer step toward universal suffrage. It might have put us closer to, as Wilson put it, “the complete triumph of equality and justice” — or at least a lot closer than we are now."
Opinion | The Equality That Wasn’t Enough - The New York Times
Judge Rejects New York’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy- The New York Times
A federal judge ruled on Monday that the stop-and-frisk tactics of the New York Police Department violated the constitutional rights of minorities in the city, repudiating a major element in the Bloomberg administration’s crime-fighting legacy.
The use of police stops has been widely cited by city officials as a linchpin of New York’s success story in seeing murders and major crimes fall to historic lows. The police say the practice has saved the lives of thousands of young black and Hispanic men by removing thousands of guns from the streets.
But the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, found that the Police Department resorted to a “policy of indirect racial profiling” as it increased the number of stops in minority communities. That has led to officers’ routinely stopping “blacks and Hispanics who would not have been stopped if they were white.”
The judge called for a federal monitor to oversee broad reforms, including the use of body-worn cameras for some patrol officers, though she was “not ordering an end to the practice of stop-and-frisk.”
In her 195-page decision, Judge Scheindlin concluded that the stops, which soared in number over the last decade as crime continued to decline, demonstrated a widespread disregard for the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government, as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg angrily accused the judge of deliberately denying the city “a fair trial” and said the city would file an appeal.
Striking a defiant tone, Mr. Bloomberg said, “You’re not going to see any change in tactics overnight.” He said he hoped the appeal process would allow the current stop-and-frisk practices to continue through the end of his administration because “I wouldn’t want to be responsible for a lot of people dying.”
The judge found that for much of the last decade, patrol officers had stopped innocent people without any objective reason to suspect them of wrongdoing. But her criticism went beyond the conduct of police officers.
“I also conclude that the city’s highest officials have turned a blind eye to the evidence that officers are conducting stops in a racially discriminatory manner,” she wrote, citing statements that Mr. Bloomberg and the police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, have made in defending the policy.
Judge Scheindlin ordered a number of remedies, including a pilot program in which officers in at least five precincts across the city will wear cameras on their bodies to record street encounters. She also ordered a “joint remedial process” — in essence, a series of community meetings — to solicit public comments on how to reform the department’s tactics.
The judge named Peter L. Zimroth, a partner in Arnold & Porter L.L.P., and a former corporation counsel and prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office, to monitor the Police Department’s compliance with the United States Constitution. The installation of a monitor will leave the department under a degree of judicial control that is certain to shape the policing strategies under the next mayor.
Judge Scheindlin’s decision grapples with the legacy of Terry v. Ohio, a 1968 ruling by the Supreme Court, which held that stopping and frisking was constitutionally permissible under certain conditions. But she said that changes to the way the New York Police Department employed the practice were needed to ensure that the street stops were carried out in a manner that “protects the rights and liberties of all New Yorkers, while still providing much needed police protection.”
The judge found that the New York police were too quick to deem suspicious behavior that was perfectly innocent, in effect watering down the legal standard required for a stop.
“Blacks are likely targeted for stops based on a lesser degree of objectively founded suspicion than whites,” she wrote.
She noted that officers routinely stopped people partly on the basis of “furtive movements,” a category that officers have testified might encompass any of the following: being fidgety, changing directions, walking in a certain way, grabbing at a pocket or looking over one’s shoulder.
“If officers believe that the behavior described above constitutes furtive movement that justifies a stop, then it is no surprise that stops so rarely produce evidence of criminal activity,” Judge Scheindlin wrote.
She found that in their zeal to identify concealed weapons, officers sometimes stopped people on the grounds that the officer observed a bulge in the person’s pocket; often it turned out that the bulge was caused not by a gun but by a wallet.
“The outline of a commonly carried object such as a wallet or cellphone does not justify a stop or frisk, nor does feeling such an object during a frisk justify a search,” she ruled.
She emphasized what she called the “human toll of unconstitutional stops,” noting that some of the plaintiffs testified that their encounters with the police left them feeling that they did not belong in certain areas of the city. She characterized each stop as “a demeaning and humiliating experience.”
“No one should live in fear of being stopped whenever he leaves his home to go about the activities of daily life,” she wrote.
One of the plaintiffs in the case, Lalit Clarkson, 31, a union organizer, said after the ruling that “the stop-and-frisk policy criminalizes a whole race and community of people, just for going to work, going to get some food, going on a train to go downtown.”
The decision, he said, represents the legal system’s validation of what the black community has known for a long time: that the stop-and-frisk tactics rely on racial profiling.
“What we know, in our community, to be the truth, has never before gone through a massive legal process” and been “shown, point by point, step by step” to be true, he said.
The judge’s ruling, in Floyd v. City of New York, a 2008 class-action lawsuit that represents the broadest legal challenge to the department’s practices, follows a two-month nonjury trial in Federal District Court in Manhattan earlier this year. Her decision cites testimony of about a dozen black or biracial men and one woman who described being stopped, as well as the conclusions of statistical experts who studied police paperwork describing some 4.43 million stops between 2004 and the middle of 2012.
But the stops were not the end of the problem, Judge Scheindlin found. After officers stopped people, they often conducted frisks for weapons, or searched the subjects’ pockets for contraband, like drugs, without any legal grounds for doing so. Also, she found that during police stops, blacks and Hispanics “were more likely to be subjected to the use of force than whites, despite the fact that whites are more likely to be found with weapons or contraband.”
About 83 percent of the stops between 2004 and 2012 involved blacks and Hispanics, even though those two demographics make up just slightly more than 50 percent of the city’s residents. Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Kelly have explained that disparity by saying it mirrored the disproportionate percentage of crimes committed by young minority men. But Judge Scheindlin dismissed the Police Department’s rationale.
“This might be a valid comparison if the people stopped were criminals,” she wrote, explaining that there was significant evidence that the people being stopped were not criminals. “To the contrary, nearly 90 percent of the people stopped are released without the officer finding any basis for a summons or arrest.”
Rather, Judge Scheindlin found, the stops overwhelmingly involved minority men because police commanders had come to see them as “the right people” to stop.
“It is impermissible to subject all members of a racially defined group to heightened police enforcement because some members of that group are criminals,” she wrote.
Mr. Bloomberg pledged that lawyers for the city, in appealing to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, would argue that the judge was biased against the police. As evidence, he cited the fact that the judge, who has overseen numerous stop-and-frisk cases over the last decade, had encouraged the plaintiffs to steer the Floyd case into her courtroom by marking it as related to an earlier case she had overseen.
The mayor said the judge did “not understand how policing works” and had misinterpreted what the Constitution allowed. "
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020
Thursday, February 13, 2020
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Mike Bloomberg panders to win black vote - New York Daily News. Bloomberg is a racist liar.
"Mike Bloomberg is pandering.
Everybody knows Mike Bloomberg is pandering. Even Mike Bloomberg knows that everybody knows that Mike Bloomberg is pandering. Yet he panders anyway. Why?
Because he’s the Pander Man.
He was pandering last year when he stood in the pulpit of a Brooklyn church and said “I’m sorry” for a racially offensive and unconstitutional policy of stopping and frisking black and brown men in every borough when he was mayor of New York.
He was pandering two weeks ago when he opened a campaign satellite office in the heart of Harlem where his own police officers routinely harassed people of color because his misguided policy told them to.
He was pandering a few days ago when he met with Stacey Abrams, who almost became the nation’s first black woman governor, in Georgia to discuss voting rights, years after he manipulated himself into a third term as mayor.
And he’s pandering now.
After stopping and frisking the black community for more than a decade, Bloomberg suddenly loves black men more than Kim Kardashian.
This summer he will be at your family reunion and every black family reunion in America. He is bringing the potato salad and it will be the best thing you ever tasted.
Mike Bloomberg is Jerry Maguire. He is on the phone behind his desk and he is shouting at the top of his lungs: “I love black people!”
Why? Because the road to the Democratic nomination for president goes through America’s black community, and every Democrat running for the White House knows it.
But no one in the race, no one, is trying harder to win — or buy — the black vote than Mike Bloomberg.
And sadly he has been able to get away with the shameless pandering because black people are on board with his end goal, which is to remove Donald Trump from the White House.
In other words, keep your eyes on the prize.
And to be honest, I was no more interested in what Bloomberg had to say about black people than I was about Bill Cosby on the subject. But I listened anyway, and I like some of what I heard.
“You don’t reverse hundreds of years of theft and exploitation only with modern-day attempts to legislate equal rights, especially when those rights are routinely undermined by racism and inequalities that still exist,” Bloomberg said Sunday during a major speech on race relations and black empowerment ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.
“The 14th Amendment that gave citizenship to black Americans and overturned the Dred Scott decision was a historic milestone for America, but it was also a dead letter for many of the very people it was meant to protect and empower.”
Bloomberg delivered the speech in Tulsa, Okla., where, in 1921, America witnessed the deadliest and most destructive act of racial violence in U.S. history. During the riot that broke out, white mobs destroyed a thriving black Tulsa business district, killing between 100 and 300 people.
Bloomberg, a billionaire many times over, admits that he took advantage of opportunities that have been denied to black people “for hundreds of years.”
To help make amends, the candidate is proposing a $70 billion investment in the country’s “100 most disadvantaged neighborhoods,” along with steps to create 1 million new black homeowners and 100,000 new black-owned businesses.
“I believe that this is a country where anything is possible,” Bloomberg said. “And I believe that we have the power to build a future where color and capital are no longer related.”
Bloomberg, 77, may have just changed the game, even if he is late to the party. He is still the Pander Man, but at least he is pandering with ideas and money."
Mike Bloomberg panders to win black vote - New York Daily News
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