You are browsing the archive for 2021 February 08.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Why Frederick Douglass Wanted Black Men to Fight in the Civil War

February 8, 2021 in History

By Farrell Evans

He believed that, as soldiers, men of color could gain self-respect, self-defense skills and an undeniable justification for the rights of citizenship.

During the Civil War, Frederick Douglass used his stature as the most prominent African American social reformer, orator, writer and abolitionist to recruit men of his race to volunteer for the Union army. In his “Men of Color to Arms! Now or Never!” broadside, Douglass called on formerly enslaved men to “rise up in the dignity of our manhood, and show by our own right arms that we are worthy to be freemen.”

Douglass, who had risen to international fame after the 1845 publication of his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, saw the Civil War as the “golden moment” for African American men to join all races of men to “assert their claim to freedom and manly character.” By defending their country, Douglass believed, his brethren could “claim America as his country—and have that claim respected.” As uniformed soldiers, Black men could shed the image of the powerless enslaved person and assert the rights of male citizenship that came with patriotic service.

READ MORE: What Frederick Douglass Revealed—and Omitted—in His Famous Autobiographies

Douglass Stood Up to His Oppressor; It Became a Turning Point

Douglass’ recruitment strategy was an outgrowth of his own experiences as a formerly enslaved person who had endured daily assaults on his manhood. In his autobiographies, he is preoccupied with this theme, writing about his youth of “hardship, whipping and nakedness.”

When he was a 16-year-old toiling on a Maryland tobacco field, Douglass wrote, a particularly vicious overseer named Edward Covey had “succeeded in breaking me. I was broken in body, soul and spirit.” But as Covey was attempting to abuse him yet again, Douglass recounted, he snapped, engaging in a knock-down, drag-out fight that lasted nearly two hours—and resulted in Covey never laying a finger on him again. That act of resistance, and the victory achieved, “revived within me a sense of my manhood and inspired me with a determination to be free.” It took four years before Douglas would legally be free, but beating Covey had made him, in essence, a free man. “My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed,“ Douglass wrote, “however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact.” For …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

The bizarro world where Republicans live

February 8, 2021 in Blogs

By John Stoehr

No serious person thinks the United States Senate is going to convict Donald Trump for inciting an insurrection against the United States. Forty-five Republicans have already said they do not believe prosecuting a former president is constitutional. They will likely unite in denying the chamber the two-thirds vote needed to convict him.

Forty-five Republicans will likely maintain that argument, though a constitutional scholar with impeccable conservative bona fides said it’s nonsense. “Given that the Constitution permits the Senate to impose the penalty of permanent disqualification only on former officeholders, it defies logic to suggest that the Senate is prohibited from trying and convicting former officeholders,” wrote attorney Charles J. Cooper.

They pledge allegiance not to America but to its moral perversion, a bizarro world in which very powerful people at the top of society can insist something is true with it’s not.

Cooper isn’t alone. That doesn’t matter, and that’s what I want to talk about today. What does it mean when very powerful people at the top of society insist something is true when it’s not? In the case of Trump’s Senate trial, it will mean the Republicans won’t have the burden of listening to, or thinking about, the evidence against him. It will mean there’s something to the allegation that the Republican Party is cracking up.

But these answers do not address the question squarely. What does it mean when very powerful people at the top of society insist something is true when it’s not? It means they can do anything as a direct result of being very powerful people at the top of society. They can deny the truth. They can, moreover, create their own (a story in which they are the heroes and everyone else is the enemy, a story in which the Democrats are seeking revenge instead of constitutional accountability). The House Democrats can’t prove to these Senate Republicans that Trump told seditionaries to sack and loot the United States Capitol. What they can do, however, is suggest something clearly to everyone else—that the power to deny the truth, and create your own, is barbarous.

In a previous edition of the Editorial Board, I said Trump’s second impeachment trial is not meaningless, foremost because it will force the Republicans to declare their true loyalties. In defending Trump, they are declaring loyalty not to America as it …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

This professor was cited by Trump's impeachment team — he says 'they misrepresent what I wrote quite badly'

February 8, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

In a legal brief submitted this week, one of the sources cited by former President Donald Trump’s impeachment lawyers is a 2001 article by Brian C. Kalt, a University of Michigan law professor. Attorneys Bruce Castor, David Schoen and Michael T. van der Veen use Kalt’s article to argue against Trump’s second impeachment — and according to a Twitter thread by Kalt, they have taken his arguments out of context “badly.”

Kalt’s 2001 article dealt with late impeachment. Trump, following the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building, was impeached late in his presidency for incitement to insurrection — too late, according to his impeachment lawyers. But Kalt, noting that the brief “cites my 2001 article on late impeachment a lot,” explains, “The article favored late impeachability, but it set out all the evidence I found on both sides — lots for them to use. But in several places, they misrepresent what I wrote quite badly.”

Kalt, in his 2001 article, never reached the conclusion that a late impeachment was unconstitutional. But Castor, Schoen and van der Veen, according to Kalt, strongly suggest he did argue for this conclusion.

One of the “problematic” things about the brief, Kalt tweets, is that Trump’s attorneys “suggest that I was endorsing an argument when what I actually did was note that argument — and reject it.” And according to Kalt, the brief contains “multiple examples of such flat-out misrepresentations.”

For instance, at one point in the brief, Trump’s lawyers write:

The only purpose of impeachment is to remove the President, Vice-President, and civil officers from office. When a President is no longer in office, the objective of an impeachment ceases.

The second of these sentences has a footnote, citing the paper by Kalt. But as Kalt pointed out on Twitter, in the very argument Trump’s lawyers cited, he actually argued that their view of the Constitution has “deep flaws.” He argued that in other cases analogous to impeachment, it makes sense to conclude that punishments and trials can be undertaken for former officeholders. He said that the argument Trump’s lawyers make would be plausible if “removal [from office] were the only possible judgment in impeachment cases.” Kalt added: “But removal is not the only possible judgment mentioned in the case text; disqualification is possible too.”

In other words, because the Constitution allows for an impeachment conviction to bar a president from seeking office …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Here's the Democrats' best response to Republicans who say it's 'too late' for Trump's conviction

February 8, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

GOP senators opposed to former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial have been arguing that he was impeached too late in his presidency and that it is unconstitutional to have an impeachment trial after a president has left office. But a new ad from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee tears apart that argument briefly and succinctly.

The ad shows Rep. Jamie Raskin, the lead impeachment manager, responding to a reporter who asked him, “Why even go through with the Senate trial?”

The Maryland Democrat responds: “I don’t think anybody would seriously argue that we should establish a precedent where every president, on the way out the door, has two weeks or three weeks or four weeks to try to incite an armed insurrection against the union — and if it succeeds, he becomes a dictator. And if it fails, he’s not subject to impeachment or conviction because we just want to let bygones be bygones.”

During the ad, text appears on the screen warning, “Acquittal means outgoing presidents can be LAWLESS” while Raskin is heard saying, “This was the most serious presidential crime in the history of the United States of America.”

Trump’s second impeachment trial is set to get underway this week. Following the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol Building — where far-right extremists were hoping to prevent Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory — the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives indicted Trump for incitement to insurrection, making him the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Ex-Republican explains she now believes her former party is filled with 'enemies of democracy'

February 8, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

In 2020, conservative columnist Mona Charen did something that would have shocked her readers back in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s: she voted for a Democratic presidential nominee. Charen is among the veteran conservatives who — like Washington Post columnists George Will and Max Boot, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and The Bulwark’s Bill Kristol — was a blistering critic of Donald Trump’s presidency. And in an op-ed published by Haaretz on February 8, the former Nancy Reagan speechwriter lays out some of the reasons why she is glad to see President Joe Biden in the White House and considers pro-Trump Republicans enemies of democracy.

“Like progressives, conservatives believe in reform, but are more likely to stress gradualism, small-scale experimentation and prudence,” Charen, now 63, explains in her op-ed. “From the very outset of his run for the presidency, Donald Trump smashed those understandings of what conservatism was. His lies alone were enough to signal his unfitness. Flagrant lying is a key feature of authoritarianism.”

Charen, contrary to what many Trumpistas claim, hasn’t turned into a liberal or a progressive — her views are still decidedly right-wing. But Charen views Trumpism as a radical departure from the Reagan conservatism she embraced during the 1980s and 1990s. And although Charen has some policy differences with Biden, she applauds him for believing in the rule of law.

The word “conservative,” Charen laments, has come to be “associated with White/Christian identity movements, hostility to immigrants, a personality cult, and openness to conspiracies.”

“Since the attempted coup of January 6, many conservatives, along with high percentages of Republicans, have shown themselves to be enemies of the American constitutional order,” Charen warns. “In opposing Trump and working for a Biden victory, many of us in the Never Trump camp have been happy to make alliances with progressives and others who are committed to decency and the rule of law.”

A wide range of Trump critics supported Biden in 2020, from right-wing conservatives like Cindy McCain (widow of the late GOP Sen. John McCain), former Sen. Jeff Flake, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to centrist Blue Dog Democrats to progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Columnist warns Democrats of a big misstep in their impeachment strategy

February 8, 2021 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

The New York Times has reported that according to its sources, the Democratic managers of former President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial are reluctant to criticize GOP lawmakers who promoted his debunked claims of widespread election fraud — and that they want to point the finger at Trump alone. But liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent, in a column published this week, attacks such a strategy as flawed and problematic.

“Insulating the GOP from its extensive entanglement in Trump’s effort to subvert our democracy — at exactly the moment when Congress is focusing maximum public attention on it — would seem like a missed opportunity,” Sargent argues. “Remember, while Trump will be tried for ‘incitement of insurrection,’ the case against him is much broader.”

Sargent emphasizes that Trump was not alone in making the bogus claim that widespread voter fraud robbed him of a victory in the 2020 presidential election — plenty of Republicans in Congress made that claim with him.

Democratic impeachment managers, according to Sargent, are making a mistake if they give the impression that Trump is uniquely radical within the GOP when in fact, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri joined the former president in trying to overthrow the 2020 election results.

Trump’s GOP allies in Congress, Sargent writes, “are deeply implicated in” his wrongdoing.

“The Democrats’ fear appears to be that if the full GOP is implicated, that makes conviction less likely,” Sargent explains. “To be fair, there are genuine complexities here: Trump is the one on trial, and drawing out the GOP’s role might be challenging — though hardly undoable — in a trial context.”

Sargent continues: “If anything, Democrats need to make it as politically uncomfortable for Republicans as possible to acquit — and to extract a political price for it among the suburban moderates whom the GOP continues to alienate with its ongoing QAnon-ification. It’s hard to see how insulating the GOP from Trump’s effort to overturn U.S. democracy helps accomplish that.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Cesar Chavez

February 8, 2021 in History

By History.com Editors

The Mexican-American labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez dedicated his life’s work to what he called la causa (the cause): the struggle of farm workers in the United States to improve their working and living conditions through organizing and negotiating contracts with their employers.

Committed to the tactics of nonviolent resistance practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association (later the United Farm Workers of America) and won important victories to raise pay and improve working conditions for farm workers in the late 1960s and 1970s.

Early Life and Work as a Community Organizer

Cesar Estrada Chavez was born in Yuma, Arizona on March 31, 1927. In the late 1930s, after losing their homestead to foreclosure, he and his family joined more than 300,000 people who moved to California during the Great Depression and became migrant farm workers.

Chavez dropped out of school after eighth grade and began working in the fields full time. In 1946, he joined the U.S. Navy, serving for two years in a segregated unit. After his service was over, he returned to farmwork and married Helen Fabela, with whom he would eventually have eight children (and 31 grandchildren).

In 1952, Chavez was working at a lumberyard in San Jose when he became a grassroots organizer for the Community Service Organization (CSO), a Latino civil rights group. Over the next decade, he worked to register new voters and fight racial and economic discrimination, and rose to become the CSO’s national director. Chavez resigned from the CSO in 1962, after other members refused to support his efforts to form a labor union for farm workers. That same year, he used his life savings to found the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) in Delano, California.

Founding of National Farm Workers Association and the 1965 Grape Strike

Chavez knew firsthand the struggles of the nation’s poorest and most powerless workers, who labored to put food on the nation’s tables while often going hungry themselves. Not covered by minimum wage laws, many made as little as 40 cents an hour, and did not qualify for unemployment insurance. Previous attempts to unionize farm workers had failed, as California’s powerful agricultural industry fought back with all the weight of their money and political power.

Chavez was inspired by the nonviolent civil disobedience pioneered by Gandhi in India, …read more

Source: HISTORY

Avatar of admin

by admin

What Will Biden Do if China Makes a “Limited” Military Move against Taiwan?

February 8, 2021 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

One of the biggest early surprises about the Biden administration’s foreign policy is the extent and intensity of its diplomatic support for Taiwan. An especially stunning gesture took place even before Biden took office when he extended an invitation to Taiwan’s Economic and Cultural Representative in the United States to attend the presidential inauguration. It was the first time that Taipei’s diplomat had been given that opportunity since the United States switched official diplomatic relations to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1979. Even Donald Trump, who significantly increased Washington’s backing for Taiwan in multiple ways, did not display such ostentatious disdain for Beijing’s position.

,

Since the inauguration, administration officials have issued several statements emphasizing Washington’s “rock‐​solid” commitment to Taiwan. Those expressions of support also entail tangible military moves. When Chinese military aircraft again penetrated Taiwan’s self‐​proclaimed air defense identification zone over the Taiwan Strait, Washington not only expressed sharp criticism, it dispatched an aircraft carrier battle group to the South China Sea as a display of U.S. military power. That deployment occurred barely a week after Biden took office.

,

,

Given those actions, it …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Biden Administration Ends US Involvement in War Against Yemen

February 8, 2021 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced what is likely to be just the first reversal of many Trump administration policies, in this case Washington’s slavish subservience to the Saudi royal family. Indeed, Blinken’s immediate predecessor, Mike Pompeo, ended his disreputable tenure with a final, and highly dishonest, gift to Riyadh: designating Saudi Arabia’s Yemeni opponents as “terrorists.”

,

The label was meant to further impede the operation of Yemen’s government, dominated by a religious and political faction known as Ansar Allah or the Houthis. They had committed no terrorist acts, nor even provided money and personnel for terrorist attacks, as had the Saudis for 9/11. However, for years the legal designation has been applied for political purposes, as in this case.

Humanitarian groups warned Pompeo that the legal ramifications of the declaration would make it impossible for them to work, but that mattered little to him. After all, he spent his entire time as secretary helping the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia commit multiple war crimes and create a humanitarian disaster in Yemen. Indeed, Pompeo’s posture in office was a permanent genuflect toward Riyadh and the palace of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince. For unknown, and perhaps unknowable, reasons – cynics suggested hope for future investment opportunities – the Trump administration’s policy simply was Saudi Arabia uber alles.

The Biden administration’s good news goes further, however.

The Obama and Trump administrations made Americans active accomplices to Saudi (and Emirati) war crimes by supporting the aggressive war against Yemen. That nation, one of the poorest on earth, had been racked by internal conflict for most of its relatively short life. (In fact, there were two Yemens to start, but that is another story.) The Houthis fought the central government for years. Arab Spring protests resulted in the ouster of Yemen’s long‐​serving president in 2012, but he soon joined with the Houthis and together they defenestrated his successor. At which point the KSA and United Arab Emirates joined in a “coalition,” aided by mercenary states paid to join the conflict (for instance, Sudan) to …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Hong Kong Can’t Be Saved. Hong Kongers Can.

February 8, 2021 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Freedom in Hong Kong continues to die a painful death, strangled by the application of last year’s national security law. Chief Executive Carrie Lam, Beijing’s factotum, recently expressed her hope that the Biden administration would give the territory “a fair hearing.” Alas, its loss of autonomy is too obvious to disguise or wish away. Although the special administrative region will continue to enjoy an extra portion of economic freedom, it will otherwise operate much like any other Chinese city. And there is little that the United States can do to reverse the process.

,

What to do? The people of Hong Kong understandably do not want to be ruled by a distant totalitarian state that suppresses freedom of information and expression. But they should not put their hopes in Washington. In 2019, some protesters displayed American flags, which had the same effect on Chinese President Xi Jinping as waving a red cape does on a bull. That was reason enough for Beijing to crack down, attempting to foreclose U.S. intervention in the territory’s affairs.

Nevertheless, democracy activist Nathan Law, who fled to the United Kingdom and was later indicted for his activities there, tweeted: “Statements of concern and condemnation are not enough — and trade or investment agreements with autocracies are even worse.” He urged the European Union to kill the recently negotiated investment treaty and the United States to “continue to consolidate the transatlantic cooperation to combat China’s authoritarian expansion.” He concluded with a call for “the world to stand up and defend our shared universal values with them, not with feeble words but with real actions, shoulder to shoulder.”

American writer Patricia Pan Connor made a similar pitch in the Washington Examiner: She hoped the United States could convince Europe not to ratify the investment accord. “The U.S., Europe, and other democratic countries account for over half of the world’s GDP. Acting in unison, they can curb China’s human rights violations and protect the precious civil liberties of a democratic people.”

…read more

Source: OP-EDS