Category Archives: Black & White & Other Colors

Democracy In Peril: Progressive Billionaires to the Rescue?? (Well, Maybe . . .)

“Money,” truthfully spake the legendary California pol Jesse Unruh, “is the mother’s milk of politics.”

And if money, rather than love, is All You Need (as spake, or crooned, the legendary Beatles), Democrats & their worried (“terrified” is more accurate) and beleaguered progressives ought to be breathing easier today, despite the fate of Roe.

The morning papers bring news that, busting through the encircling hordes of vote suppressors, election stealers and insurrectionists, the cavalry is coming. They’ve been sent by a pentagon of the biggest Dem billionaire campaign donors, and bear saddlebags stuffed with cash (and bitcoin?) to help the Dems fend off the MAGA assault:

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, one of the nation’s top political donors, gathered more than a dozen billionaires or their representatives over Zoom Friday to sound an alarm about the coming elections.


“MAGA leaders intend to use 2022 midterm wins to install Trump in 2024 regardless of the vote,” read a slide of the PowerPoint Hoffman presented to the group, which was obtained by The Washington Post.


He was pitching some of the nation’s wealthiest people on a doomsday idea that has become a growing obsession among the liberal donor community. Another slide, titled “How MAGA midterms can install Trump,” laid out a step-by-step hypothetical scenario: Republicans win statewide offices in key battleground states in 2022 and then change state laws in 2023 to give legislatures control over presidential electors. After the next presidential election, they declare votes from urban centers “tainted” and overrule the popular vote by sending their own slate of electors to Washington.



The goal [here] . . . was to raise tens of millions of dollars for groups that the PowerPoint described as being able to increase Democratic turnout, persuade swing voters to vote Democratic and “dissuade” Republican voters from going to the polls.


You get the idea. The plot to use 2022 as the stepping stone to a Trump or successor MAGA coronation will be familiar to most of us who can read, listen, or remember their nightmares. I for one am not a doubter.  The MAGA-orange drive is as real as Covid; and stopping it, if that can be done, will cost beaucoup bucks.

However. Continue reading Democracy In Peril: Progressive Billionaires to the Rescue?? (Well, Maybe . . .)

Juneteenth Feature: Rep. Bennie Thompson, “An Avid Hunter,” Closes In On The Biggest Target of All

NOTE: the Jan. 6 committee has announced two more dates and times for hearings:

> Tuesday, June 21: 10 a.m. Pacific

> Thursday, June 23: noon Pacific

Now York Times: ‘He Took Jan. 6 Personally’

Representative Bennie G. Thompson, chairman of the committee investigating the attack on the Capitol, has spent his career fighting to protect the right to vote.

Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi has spent nearly 30 years on Capitol Hill, but his leadership of the Jan. 6 committee represents his most significant turn in the national spotlight. Credit…CreditAndré Chung for The New York Times

BOLTON, Miss.— It was here, in this majority-Black town of 441 people, that Representative Bennie G. Thompson attended a segregated junior high school. It was where his father spent a lifetime working as a mechanic and paying taxes, but never enjoying the right to vote. And it was where the future congressman, in the early 1970s, campaigned for mayor while packing a gun, after receiving threats from white people loath to give up their political power.

So it came as little surprise, to those who know Mr. Thompson well, that he was quick to mention Bolton, Miss., after gaveling to order the first hearing of the committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“I’m from a part of the country where people justify the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan and lynching,” said Mr. Thompson, the committee chair. “I’m reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try and justify the actions of the insurrectionists on Jan. 6, 2021.”

A Long, Satisfying Read: DuBois’s “Black Reconstruction”

 

The Nation: Abolition Democracy
W.E.B. Du Bois and the making of Black Reconstruction.
By Gerald Horne – MAY 3, 2022

W. E. B. Fubois

By the time his magnum opus, Black Reconstruction, was published in 1935, W.E.B. Du Bois was already a rara avis—a prominent Black activist-intellectual in the midst of Jim Crow. Dapper and diminutive, and nattily clad in suit and tie, he was renowned throughout the country.

The first African American to earn a Harvard doctorate, Du Bois cofounded the NAACP in 1909 and thereafter helped organize a pan-African movement that bedeviled European colonizers. But what distinguished his close study of slavery and Reconstruction (and does so even today) was its Marxism. Continue reading A Long, Satisfying Read: DuBois’s “Black Reconstruction”

Reading “On Tyranny,” and Getting Ready

I picked up Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny the other day. I had read excerpts from it; this time it was cover to cover.

It’s concise; reading only took a little over an hour. But it was more than worth it.

In fact, I’d say it was necessary for me.

I needed to read it because I’m persuaded that local and state governance in much of the United States is approaching, or even sliding off the cliff into an abyss of authoritarianism. Our runaway Supreme Court appears ready to give the whole country a major shove, starting with reproductive rights and following up with blows to many other of our remaining liberties. Continue reading Reading “On Tyranny,” and Getting Ready

Quote of the Weekend: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries vs. Clarence Thomas

Democrat Hakeem Jeffries calls out Clarence Thomas

David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement — May 12, 2022

Democratic House Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) delivered an impassioned speech Wednesday, telling Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas he should “have a conversation” with his spouse.

The far-right activist and lobbyist Ginni Thomas reportedly had a months-long text conversation with then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, vehemently urging him to have the 2020 presidential election overturned.

Last Friday Justice Thomas complained in a speech to a group of judges and attorneys from the 11th Circuit, “We can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want.” He was referring to the majority of Americans who want the Court to uphold the 49-year-old decision in Roe v. Wade, supporting a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.

“If Justice Thomas really wants to deal with bullying in America, or this problem of people supposedly unwilling to accept outcomes that they don’t like, I’ve got some advice for Justice Thomas: start in your own home, have a conversation with Ginni Thomas,” Congressman Jeffries said.

“She refused to accept the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. Why? Because she didn’t like the outcome,” Jeffries reminded the House. “So instead, she tried to steal the election, overthrow the United States government, and install a tyrant. That’s bullying. That’s being unwilling to accept an outcome because you don’t like the results, because the former twice impeached so-called President of the United States of America lost legitimately to Joe Biden.”

“How did she respond? Instead, she said, the Bidens should face a military tribunal in Guantanamo Bay, on trumped-up charges of sedition. You’ve got to be kidding me.”

 

When news broke in March of the text exchanges between Thomas and Meadows, Slate’s legal expert Mark Joseph Stern, said: “Ginni Thomas urged Mark Meadows to overturn the 2020 election by any means necessary—while her husband was ruling on cases attempting to overturn the election.”

Congressman Jeffries, considered by many to be Democrats’ next Speaker of the House after Nancy Pelosi, was far from done with the Supreme Court Justice.

“And lastly, let me ask this question of brother Thomas:

Why are you such a hater?

Hate on civil rights.

Hate on women’s rights.

Hate on reproductive rights.

Hate on voting rights.

Hate on marital rights.

Hate on equal protection under the law.

Hate on liberty and justice for all.

Hate on free and fair elections.

Why are you such a hater?”

“And you think you can get away with it – escape public scrutiny. Because you think that shamelessness is your superpower? Here’s a newsflash from the House Judiciary Committee,” he said while being interrupted. “Truth pressed to the ground will rise again. And truth will be your kryptonite.”

A video version of Jeffries’ speech is here.

 

 

The Perfect Democratic 2022 Attack Speech: A Review

Everybody on the pro-democracy side seems to be in orbit over the searingly eloquent takedown by Michigan state senator Mallory McMorrow, which melted the MAGA stickers off bumpers for half a mile around the Michigan state capitol.

And rightly so. It has garnered millions of views, and deserves to be watched half a dozen times by any Democrat who wonders how to improve their side’s morale and prospects for the November midterms. (We can watch it again here).

Right now, though, I want to take a few minutes to highlight some things McMorrow did not say, along with underlining some of what she did.

Mallory McMorrow, Michigan state senator

Note  she tore the hide off her antagonist’s slanderous fund appeal (which called her a pro-pedophile groomer and more. Yet McMrrow’s reply used almost none of the jargon that clutters up so many DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) “trainings” and “anti-racism” diatribes. (Word to the wise.)

The speech also differed from the standard fare in that McMorrow’s aim was true: she wasn’t guilt-tripping that mythical group, “white people,” and skipped the cliche of “white supremacy.” She went directly after those, like Theis, who peddle hate and marginalization. Continue reading The Perfect Democratic 2022 Attack Speech: A Review

Pauli Murray! Pauli Murray!

I’m lucky enough to live just a few blocks from Pauli Murray’s modest childhood home, which is now a National Historic site.  Pauli Murray was distinguished in so many ways that it’s difficult for any concise document to do her justice. Here are a few important items the ACLU letter below left out:
Pauli Murray, from a wall mural in Durham NC.
> Murray survived years of grinding poverty while excelling in school and college.
> Murray was not only a brilliant legal theorist, but also a feisty activist, arrested more than once for pioneering civil rights protests.
> Murray “invented” what some now call “intersectionality” decades before it was popularized, based on her own plentiful experience of oppression based on her gender, race, and class. She called it, tellingly,  “Jane Crow.”
> Amidst a life if personal & social turmoil, Murray was a person of deep faith. In fact, late in life she became the first Black female priest in the U. S. Episcopal church. She celebrated this by conducting her first official service in a “historic” North Carolina chapel where many of her enslaved ancestors had been taken.
> After her death in 1985, the Episcopal church declared Murray a saint in 2012.
Ria Tabacco Mar , Director, Women’s Rights Project
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March 10, 2022

Continue reading Pauli Murray! Pauli Murray!

The Impending, Ominous Return of “States Rights”

 

Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is rapidly emerging as one of the more acute and important members of the rising generation of New York Times columnists.  His career has followed a different track than previous generations of Timesmen, among whom almost all roads to the paper led through  Harvard Yard.

Instead, after the University of Virginia, Bouie blogged his way into and through The Nation, The American Prospect, The Daily Beast, and Slate. And after a stint in Washington, he left the Beltway to make a home back in Charlottesville. There he caught the last stand of one of the larger statues of Robert E. Lee, and its removal from a downtown park. It was a dramatic departure, but the resistance to it, as Bouie makes clear, is far from over.

The view of America he shares from this perch next door to his alma mater and well inside the not-quite-but-pretty-Deep South is repeatedly trenchant and revealing and feels prescient.

In the excerpts here he combines alarm and historical depth to sum up the arc of my public life, and the gloomy prospects that beset its denouement, building from  a question provoked by an unguarded moment when a reactionary Senator spilled the beans about the American right’s larger agenda:

How Are We Still Debating Interracial Marriage in 2022?

Continue reading The Impending, Ominous Return of “States Rights”

The Invasion of Ukraine is Also a Religious Crusade

“The conflict in Ukraine is all about religion and what kind of Orthodoxy will shape Eastern Europe and other Orthodox communities around the world (especially in Africa). Religion. 

This is a crusade, recapturing the Holy Land of Russian Orthodoxy, and defeating the Westernized (and decadent) heretics who do not bend the knee to Moscow’s spiritual authority.

If you don’t get that, you don’t get it.

Diana Butler Bass

That’s Diana Butler Bass. She’s a distinguished scholar and analyst of religion, and a modern progressive Christian — raised Methodist, slid through a fundamentalist phase, snagged a church history PhD at Duke,  and is now a sort-of Episcopalian. Continue reading The Invasion of Ukraine is Also a Religious Crusade

King Day Special! “Eating Dr. King’s Dinner” – Told LIVE

This weekend, Chuck Fager told the true story of Eating Dr. King’s Dinner, by  Zoom at the  historic Fairfield Friends Meeting in Camby, Indiana, near Indianapolis.

The invitation came from Fairfield’s well-known pastor (and best-selling author) Phil Gulley.

You can now watch Chuck telling this story (34 minutes), right now, at this free link.

(You don’t need to register, and we won’t collect your data.) Continue reading King Day Special! “Eating Dr. King’s Dinner” – Told LIVE