You are browsing the archive for 2020 September 29.

Avatar of admin

by admin

The 1868 Louisiana Massacre That Reversed Reconstruction-Era Gains

September 29, 2020 in History

By Farrell Evans

The Opelousas Massacre terrorized African American voters and stopped local Black political progress in its tracks.

‘THIS IS A WHITE MAN’S GOVERNMENT… We regard the Reconstruction Acts (so called) of Congress as usurpations, and unconstitutional, revolutionary, and void. —Democratic Platform.’ Cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper’s Weekly, September 1868.

In September 1868, a dispute over a column published in an Opelousas, Louisiana partisan newspaper provoked one of the bloodiest incidents of racial violence in the Reconstruction era. The attackers’ goal: to reverse dramatic political gains made by Black citizens after the Civil War, intimidate them from exercising their newly found rights and restore the racial hierarchy of the slavery era.

The Opelousas massacre remains one of the harshest examples of African American voter suppression in U.S. history, with estimates of the dead ranging from several dozen to several hundred. Occurring in the run-up to the 1868 presidential election, which pitted conservative Democrat Horatio Seymour against Republican war hero Ulysses S. Grant, the killings also underlined the importance of partisan media in shaping the postwar political discourse.

Throughout American history, political parties have used partisan newspapers to influence the electorate, starting with the Federalist party’s Gazette of the United States, founded in 1789. (Motto: “He that is not for us, is against us.”) After the upheaval of the Civil War, newspapers became a hotly contested space for Democrats and Republicans to communicate their competing visions for the political, economic and social futures of some 4 million formerly enslaved people. While Republicans used their newspapers to advocate expanding Black people’s rights and privileges, Democratic papers aligned with the slogan of their party’s presidential nominee Seymour: “This is a White Man’s Government,” one that hoped to keep Black Americans in perpetual bondage—or at least perpetual servitude.

In Opelousas, the seat of Louisiana’s St. Landry parish, The St. Landry Progress served as the official organ of the local Republican Party—one of 73 Republican papers in the state. And in fall 1868, a strongly worded editorial, penned by a precocious young editor, ignited a firestorm.

READ MORE: How Power Grabs in the South Erased Reforms After Reconstruction

In the South, Postwar Politics Hinged on Rights for the Formerly Enslaved

Illustration from the late 1860s depicting freedmen voting in New Orleans.

That year hadn’t been good for Louisiana Democrats. The state’s white planter class, beset by labor shortages and repeated …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Joni Ernst is struggling in Iowa’s Senate race — and Trump is a ‘huge part of her problem’: journalist

September 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

When Sen. Joni Ernst was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014, the Iowa Republican defeated her Democratic opponent, Bruce Braley, by 9%. But six years later, polls are showing a much tighter U.S. Senate race in Iowa — where a recent Des Moines Register poll found her trailing Democrat Theresa Greenfield by 3%. And Iowa-based journalist Art Cullen, in an op-ed published this week in the Washington Post, argues that President Donald Trump is largely to blame.

“Greenfield, the daughter of a crop-duster, has raised more money than Ernst; she is wearing well, attracting 10% of voters who supported Trump four years ago,” explains Cullen, author of the 2020 book “Storm Lake: Change, Resilience and Hope in America’s Heartland” and editor of the Storm Lake Times in Northwest Iowa. “Not long ago, 60% of Iowans approved of Ernst’s performance. Now, the same percentage disapproves. They tell the Iowa poll that Ernst has not done enough for Iowa — a criticism that felled past senators such as Dick Clark, John Culver and Roger Jepsen before her.”

Cullen argues that Ernst has become too pro-Trump for her own good.

“Trump is a huge part of Ernst’s problem,” Cullen writes. “She stood by him when he started trade wars with our biggest ag export customers: China, Mexico and Canada. Then, Trump toyed with the ethanol industry for three years while prices plummeted. And the pandemic is out of control in Iowa while Congress dithers over aid.”

Politically, Iowa is best described as a GOP-friendly swing state, while Wyoming and Idaho are deep red. President Barack Obama won Iowa’s electoral votes in 2008 and 2012, but Democrat Hillary Clinton lost to Trump in Iowa in 2016 — and now, polls are showing that former Vice President Joe Biden is quite competitive with Trump in Iowa. Some polls have shown Biden with a slight lead in Iowa; others have shown Trump with a slight lead in Iowa. Like Pennsylvania, Florida and Arizona, Iowa is one of the swing states that reporters will be paying very close attention to on Election Day.

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, according to Cullen, has made things more difficult for Ernst because it reminds Iowa voters how Trumpian she has become.

“Ernst had no choice but to stand with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for a vote before January, lame …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Mike Flynn’s lawyer just admitted to a federal judge she’s discussed his case with Trump

September 29, 2020 in Blogs

By The New Civil Rights Movement

The attorney for disgraced former Trump national security adviser and convicted felon Mike Flynn has just admitted to a federal judge she has been talking with President Donald Trump about her client’s case – and that she personally asked the president to not pardon Flynn.

Sydney Powell, a former federal prosecutor turned conspiracy theorist, QAnon-signaler, and pro-MAGA anti-”deep state” personality, was asked by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, if she’s been in contact with Trump.

Politico’s Kyle Cheney provides the back-and-forth:

Powell actually tries to invoke executive privilege – to which she has no right since she does not work for the administration.

And then, this bombshell:

Former federal prosecutor, now an NBC and MSNBC legal analyst Glenn Kirschner sugggests things got a little wild in the courtroom:

At issue: Flynn and the DOJ are trying to have the case dismissed – after Flynn pleaded guilty, twice, before the judge. Attorney General Bill Barr has been accused of working to protect Trump’s allies.

…read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

War hero turned troll: Man who raised millions for border wall uses social media to attack his detractors

September 29, 2020 in Blogs

By The Texas Tribune

Sept. 29, 2020

Veteran, war hero, defendant, troll: Man who raised millions for border wall uses social media to attack his detractors” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

This article is co-published with ProPublica, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up for ProPublica’s Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox as soon as they are published.

Also, sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

War hero. Veterans advocate. Family man.

It was an image years in the making. Brian Kolfage had lost three limbs in an Iraq bomb blast in 2004, making him the most badly wounded airman to survive the war. He had become a motivational speaker, was the subject of sympathetic news profiles and was even a guest at former President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address in 2012.

More recently, 38-year-old Kolfage had positioned himself as a border security visionary after raising $25 million to construct privately funded fences in an effort to help President Donald Trump keep undocumented immigrants from crossing the southern border.

On social media and in the lucrative industry of online news sites dedicated to far-right politics, there’s a very different Kolfage, though. One who, over the last decade, has sharpened a strategy of retribution and retaliation against his online critics, asking his legion of followers to “expose” perceived enemies and “make (them) famous,” according to numerous interviews, hundreds of screenshots of since-deleted social media posts and court records from two defamation lawsuits to which he was a party.

Kolfage’s actions online have spawned an informal support group of individuals who have felt his wrath, including fellow veterans and progressives, as well as some of Kolfage’s former conservative allies. His social media activity has forced him to formally apologize to a perceived online critic as part of a court settlement and prompted a judge to issue a warning following his recent indictment on fraud charges.

Facebook has barred Kolfage from its platform for his online behavior, which includes creating multiple fake accounts and linking to “ad farms,” a company spokeswoman said, adding that his actions violated “our rules against …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Mitch McConnell doesn't want to debate a woman if a woman is moderating that debate

September 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Walter Einenkel

Sen. Mitch McConnell enjoys power. He enjoys money and power, and those seem to be the only motivating factors in his life. He does not care that he’s a hypocrite. He does not care that people can see that he is a hypocrite. McConnell’s entire existence is an exercise in cynicism.

McConnell’s Kentucky Senate seat will be decided this November. Running against him is Marine veteran Amy McGrath. Being the incumbent who is hell-bent on stacking the Supreme Court with ultra-conservative Inquisition types, McConnell has been leery of debating McGrath in public because … well, he’s got a lot to lose. The Herald-Leader reports that any chance of getting McConnell to engage in a debate with his Democratic challenger seems to be contingent on one very McConnell thing: whether or not the debate moderator is a woman.

McConnell has hemmed and hawed over debating McGrath for weeks. He has agreed to two debates, both with male-only moderators, after McGrath agreed to three. McConnell and McGrath have only agreed tentatively to a debate on Gray TV, but according to the McGrath campaign, while the original Gray TV debate was supposed to be hosted by WAVE’s Shannon Cogan and WKYT’s Bill Bryant, only Bryant is still moderating. According to the debate organizer, the only reason Cogan is no longer slated to moderate is “because both campaigns had mentioned Bryant as a potential moderator.”

But the McGrath campaign says that the loss of a female co-host of the Gray TV debate seems to have magically coincided with the station negotiating with McConnell’s campaign.

McGrath challenged McConnell to three debates in August, including the KET Kentucky Tonight Forum on Oct. 26. KET announced it would be extending invitations to the qualifying candidates: McGrath, McConnell and Barron. McConnell has not accepted the invitation to that debate, which is hosted by Renee Shaw.

The McGrath campaign points out that McConnell has not appeared in a debate with a female moderator in 25 years. The McConnell campaign countered by saying that McGrath had been pushing to have Libertarian Brad Barron included on the debate stage (something McConnell adamantly pushed back against), and Barron is a man. It’s a classic McConnell apples and oranges argument that sadly seems to play well with his base.

McConnell has a sizable lead in most polls. He has very little interest in …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

Postal Service patriots help lead the resistance

September 29, 2020 in Blogs

By Daily Kos

When Postmaster General Louis DeJoy came on the job this summer and ordered that postal carriers break their single most critical directive enshrined in their unofficial motto—”Every piece, every day”—the resistance took shape. Mechanics slow-walked removal of sorting machines. Supervisors made surreptitious trips to deliver mail left behind in distribution centers. Carriers made sure prescription and checks and bills weren’t left behind. They used every available excuse for a late return to their buildings to cover for spending disallowed overtime to make sure their rounds were completed.

The Washington Post talked to a more than a dozen postal workers and union leaders from around the country about their quiet campaign to subvert DeJoy, and their awareness of exactly what was happening to them. “I can’t see any postal worker not bending those rules” from DeJoy, one worker in Philadelphia told the Post. They could see what was happening, knowing that DeJoy was a Trump fundraiser. A worker in Michigan watched as public mailboxes were removed mostly from racially diverse working-class neighborhoods. That, said the postal worker—who is Black—reinforces a message: “It’s kind of like everything else. It wasn’t built for us.” The same worker said that the common knowledge that DeJoy was a Trump donor and fundraiser made it feel as though the Postal Service had become an organ of the Republican Party. “Taken together, Trump’s repeated attacks on mail-in voting, his connection with DeJoy, and DeJoy’s operational changes look too conspicuous to be coincidental, the carrier said.”

The Pennsylvania worker reiterated that, and added that the June primary there—in the pandemic—gave a frightening window into this fall. The worker said that “we had a lot of issues. There were people at the plant that weren’t coming in or were sick. We were seeing delays with that. So now we’re looking at this [general election] and going, ‘Oh, jeez, this is not going to be good.’ The stakes definitely feel higher, especially given what this election really means.” What it really means could be the very survival of the Postal Service, along with everything else good.

The mechanic in New York who copped to slowing down the demolition of sorting machines told the Post: “It’s disheartening to hear from my boss that he wants me to do something that could very potentially cripple the system.” He added: “It’s disheartening to hear that people think we’re going …read more


Avatar of admin

by admin

How St. Augustine Became the First European Settlement in America

September 29, 2020 in History

By Patrick J. Kiger

St. Augustine, Florida was settled by Spanish explorers long before Jamestown and the Plymouth Colony.

Even before, an account of the expedition by Menéndez’s brother-in-law, Gonzalo Solís de Merás.

“He went up to the fort, by ship, where he discovered that the French had a very large fleet,” Arbesú explains. “So he retreated to a place that he had discovered the week before and had called St. Augustine, and waited for the French to attack.”

Menéndez and his men were badly outnumbered and pretty much defenseless. But then nature dealt Menéndez a lucky break.

“The French fleet appears and is prepared to crush the Spaniards, when at that exact moment, a large storm or hurricane blows the French fleet to the south and sinks them, saving the Spaniards from disaster,” Arbesú explains.

Instead of being slaughtered, “all that Pedro Menéndez had to do in the next couple of days was to walk up to Fort Caroline, which now had very few soldiers inside, and conquer it without even shedding a drop of Spaniards’ blood,” says. Arbesú.

“It appears the enemy did not perceive their approach until the very moment of the attack, as it was very early in the morning and had rained in torrents,” Francisco López de Mendoza Grajales, the expedition’s chaplain, later wrote. “The greater part of the soldiers of the fort were still in bed. Some arose in their shirts, and others, quite naked, begged for quarters, but, in spite of that, more than one hundred and forty were killed.”

The chaplain praised Menéndez for “the ardent desire which he has to serve our Lord in destroying the Lutheran heretics, the enemies of our holy Catholic religion.”

Matanzas Inlet Named for Slaughter

Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, 1519 – 1574.

When Menéndez got back to his encampment at St. Augustine, local Indians told him about seeing white men walking on the beach south of St. Augustine. “Pedro Menéndez realizes that these are the Frenchmen who had been blown away in the storm,” Arbesú explains.

Menéndez rushed to the location and found some shipwreck survivors, who had lost their weapons and food in the storm, according to an National Park Service account. Mendoza, the chaplain, asked for permission to offer the Frenchman a chance to survive if they converted to Catholicism. Sixteen of them accepted, and the other 111 were killed.

Two weeks later, French commander Jean Ribault and his surviving men …read more