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Member since: Sat Jun 15, 2019, 11:56 PM
Number of posts: 6,738

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Gotta love Betty!


'He stays': Betty White refused to remove Black dancer from her show in 1954

In a time where segregation was at the forefront of American issues, Betty White rejected attempts to keep a Black dancer off her show.

The dancer, Arthur Duncan, was featured on “The Betty White Show” that aired in the 1950s. When she was encouraged to take him off because of the color of his skin, she politely declined.

"I'm sorry, but, you know, he stays," White said, according to a PBS biography.

Posted by Joinfortmill | Sun Jan 2, 2022, 10:18 AM (1 replies)

Trump still says his supporters weren't behind the Jan. 6 attack -- but I was there - Lauren Hodges


"I was standing amid thousands of Trump supporters on the lawn rising up to the Washington Monument," says NPR's Tom Bowman. "Then Trump came on stage to raucous applause."

Bowman was reporting from the "Save America" rally in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. Up until the point when former President Trump began speaking, the rally held a festive air, almost like a football game, he said.

But things were different at the Capitol building, where I was standing with Hannah Allam, NPR's extremism reporter. The far-right group the Proud Boys had just shown up and were organizing a crowd to head for the rally. We had quietly embedded ourselves with them as they began to walk west on Pennsylvania Avenue.

As it was unfolding, we asked one of the rioters, who called himself "Joe from Ohio," what the goal was.

"The people in this house, who stole this election from us, hanging from a gallows out here in this lawn for the whole world to see, so it never happens again," he said. "That's what needs to happen. Four by four by four, hanging from a rope out here for treason."

A makeshift gallows with a noose was actually built on the Capitol grounds that day but was never used.......

Heather Cox Richardson from Letters from an American (A history lesson)

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed his name to the Emancipation Proclamation. “I never in my life felt more certain that I was doing right,” he said, “than I do in signing this paper. If my name goes into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.”

The Emancipation Proclamation provided that as of January 1, all people “held as slaves” anywhere that was still controlled by the Confederate government would be “then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

Historian Richard Hofstadter famously complained that the Emancipation Proclamation had “all the moral grandeur of a bill of lading,” but its legalistic tone reflected the circumstances that made it possible in the first place.

Although Lincoln personally opposed human enslavement, he did not believe the federal government had the power to end it in the states. His goal, and that of the fledgling Republican Party he led, was only to keep it from spreading into the western territories where, they thought, enslaved labor would enable wealthy enslavers to dominate the region quickly, limiting opportunities for poorer white men.

When the war broke out in 1861, the newly elected Lincoln urged southern leaders to reconsider leaving the Union, reassuring them that “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” When Confederates fired on Fort Sumter, the federal fort at the mouth of Charleston Harbor, Lincoln called not for a war on slavery, but for “all loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid [an] effort to maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our National Union.”

From the earliest days of the war, though, Black Americans recognized that the war must address enslavement. Immediately, they began to escape across Union military lines. At first, hoping to appease border state residents, Union officers returned these people to their enslavers. But by the end of May, as it became clear that enslaved people were being pressed into service for the Confederate military, Union officers refused to return them and instead hoped that welcoming them to the Union lines would make them want to work for the U.S.

In August 1861, shortly after the First Battle of Bull Run left the Union army battered and bleeding, Congress passed a law forfeiting the right of any enslaver to a person whom he had consented to be used “in aid of this rebellion, in digging ditches or intrenchments, or in any other way.” When northern Democrats charged that Republicans were subverting the Constitution and planning to emancipate all southern enslaved people, Republicans agreed that Congress had no right to “interfere with slavery in any slaveholding state,” but stood firmly on the war powers the Constitution assigned to Congress to enable it to pass laws that would help the war effort.

As Confederate armies racked up victories, Republicans increasingly emphasized the importance of Black workers to the South’s war effort. “t has long been the boast of the South…that its whole white population could be made available for the war, for the reason that all its industries were carried on by the slaves,” the New York Times wrote. Northerners who before the war had complained that Black workers were inefficient found themselves redefining them. The Chicago Tribune thought Black workers were so productive that “[F]our millions of slaves off-set at least eight millions of Northern whites.”

At the same time, Republicans came to see Black workers as crucially important in the North as well, as they worked in military camps and, later, in cotton fields in areas captured by the U.S. military. While Democrats continued to harp on what they saw as Black people’s inability to support themselves, Republicans countered that “No better class of laborers could be found… in all the population of the United States.”

By July 1862, as Union armies continued to falter, Lincoln decided to issue a document that would free enslaved southerners who remained in areas controlled by the Confederacy. His secretary of state, William Henry Seward, urged him to wait until after a Union victory to make the announcement so it would not look as if it were prompted by desperation.

When U.S. troops halted the advance of Confederate troops into Maryland at the September 17 Battle of Antietam, Lincoln thought it was time. On Monday, September 22, he issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation under the war power of the executive, stating that in 100 days, on January 1, 1863, enslaved persons held in territories still controlled by the Confederacy would be free. He said to a visiting judge: “It is my last trump card…. If that don’t do, we must give up.”

The plan did not sit well with Lincoln’s political opponents, though. In the 1862 midterm election, held a little over a month after the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln and the Republicans got shellacked. They lost more than 25 seats in the House of Representatives and lost control of Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana. Democrats did not win control of Wisconsin and Michigan, but they made impressive gains. Voters were undoubtedly unhappy with the lackluster prosecution of the war and concerned about its mounting costs, but Democrats were not wrong to claim their victory was a repudiation of emancipation.

Lincoln responded by offering to give Democrats what they had asked for. In his message to Congress on December 1, 1862, he called for it to consider amendments to the Constitution that would put off emancipation until January 1, 1900, and pay enslavers for those enslaved people who became free. The ball was in Congress’s court if congressmen wanted to play.

But they really didn’t want to. Northerners recoiled from the plan. One newspaper correspondent noted that compensated emancipation would almost certainly cost more than a billion dollars, and while he seemed willing to stomach that financial hit, others were not. Another correspondent to the New York Times said that enslavers, who were at that very moment attacking the U.S. government, were already making up lists of the value of the people enslaved on their lands to get their U.S. government payouts.

On December 31, 1862, newspapers received word that the president would issue the Emancipation Proclamation he had promised. Black congregations gathered that afternoon and into the night in their churches to pray for the end of enslavement and the realization of the principle of human equality, promised in the Declaration of Independence.

And the following day, after the traditional White House New Year’s Day reception, Lincoln kept his word. Because his justification for the Emancipation Proclamation was to weaken the war effort, the areas affected by the proclamation had to be those still held by the Confederacy, but the larger meaning of the document was clear: the U.S. would no longer defend the racial enslavement that had been part of its birth. Lincoln welcomed Black men into the service of the U.S. Army—traditionally a route to citizenship—and urged Black Americans to “labor faithfully for reasonable wages.”

Lincoln concluded: “pon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”

Posted by Joinfortmill | Sun Jan 2, 2022, 08:58 AM (1 replies)

Thom Hartmann gets to the heart of the matter


When fascism reared its ugly head in Europe and Japan in the 1920s, it signaled a coming war. As a newer and slicker form of that despotism rises here in America, it may well bring the same type of crisis.

We stand on the threshold of momentous change in this nation. While it’s rarely discussed in this frame, the next two elections will almost certainly determine what form of government we’ll have for at least a generation.

Will America become more free and democratic, or will we devolve into a 21st century form of Trumpy fascism?

The Democratic Party is institutionally committed to America finally realizing a republican form of democracy, rejecting gerrymanders and voter suppression while embracing the kind of “maximum participation” ease of voting seen in every other advanced democracy in the world.

Three significant pieces of legislation to reverse the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act and protect the integrity of the vote have passed the House and if Democratic Leadership (looking at you, Biden and Schumer) can get them through the Senate there is a vastly improved chance for the survival of our form of government.

Additionally, most federally elected Democrats support strengthening our democracy by ending the filibuster in the Senate and adding at least Washington, DC as a new state (with high support for Puerto Rico as well).

But do Democrats have the will and power to fight a battle against financially well-armed rightwing billionaires and their predatory and polluting industries?

Not to mention taking on today’s GOP version of Mussolini’s Blackshirts, the volunteer civilian “tough guy” militias that initially roamed around Italy beating up Jews and lefties?......click on link to read more.

From Heather Cox Richardson's daily email. If you haven't heard of her. See link below.

Yesterday, Josh Kovensky at Talking Points Memo reported that the Trump allies who organized the rally at the Ellipse at 9:00 a.m. on January 6 also planned a second rally that day on the steps of the Supreme Court. To get from one to the other, rally-goers would have to walk past the Capitol building down Constitution Avenue, although neither had a permit for a march.

The rally at the Supreme Court fell apart as rally-goers stormed the Capitol.

Trump’s team appeared to be trying to keep pressure on Congress during the counting of the certified electoral votes from the states, perhaps with the intent of slowing down the count enough to throw it into the House of Representatives or to the Supreme Court. In either of those cases, Trump expected to win because in a presidential election that takes place in the House, each state gets one vote, and there were more Republican-dominated states than Democratic-dominated states. Thanks to then–Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) removal of the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments, Trump had been able to put three justices on the Supreme Court, and he had said publicly that he expected they would rule in his favor if the election went in front of the court.

This story is an important backdrop of another story that is getting oxygen: Trump trade advisor Peter Navarro’s claim that he, Trump, and Trump loyalist Steve Bannon had a peaceful plan to overturn the election and that the three of them were “the last three people on God’s good Earth who wanted to see violence erupt on Capitol Hill.”

According to these stories, their plan—which Navarro dubs the Green Bay Sweep—was to get more than 100 senators and representatives to object to the counting of the certified ballots. They hoped this would pressure Vice President Mike Pence to send certified votes back to the six contested states, where Republicans in the state legislatures could send in new counts for Trump. There was, he insists, no plan for violence; indeed, the riot interrupted the plan by making congress members determined to certify the ballots.

Their plan, he writes, was to force journalists to cover the Trump team’s insistence that the election had been characterized by fraud, accusations that had been repeatedly debunked by state election officials and courts of law. The plan “was designed to get us 24 hours of televised hearings…. But we thought we could bypass the corporate media by getting this stuff televised.” Televised hearings in which Trump Republicans lied about election fraud would cement that idea in the public mind.

Maybe. It is notable that the only evidence for this entire story so far is Navarro’s own book, and there’s an awful lot about this that doesn’t add up (not least that if Trump deplored the violence, why did it take him more than three hours to tell his supporters to go home?). What does add up, though, in this version of events is that there is a long-standing feud between Bannon and Trump advisor Roger Stone, who recently blamed Bannon for the violence at the Capitol. This story exonerates Trump and Bannon and throws responsibility for the violence to others, notably Stone.

Although Navarro’s story is iffy, it does identify an important pattern. Since the 1990s, Republicans have used violence and the news coverage it gets to gain through pressure what they could not gain through votes.

Stone engineered a crucial moment for that dynamic when he helped to drive the so-called Brooks Brothers Riot that shut down the recounting of ballots in Miami-Dade County, Florida, during the 2000 election. That recount would decide whether Florida’s electoral votes would go to Democrat Al Gore or Republican George W. Bush. As the recount showed the count swinging to Gore, Republican operatives stormed the station where the recount was taking place, insisting that the Democrats were trying to steal the election.

“The idea we were putting out there was that this was a left-wing power grab by Gore, the same way Fidel Castro did it in Cuba,” Stone later told legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. "We were very explicitly drawing that analogy.” “It had to be a three-legged stool. We had to fight in the courts, in the recount centers and in the streets—in public opinion,” Bush campaign operative Brad Blakeman said.

As the media covered the riot, the canvassing board voted to shut down the recount because of the public perception that the recount was not transparent, and because the interference meant the recount could not be completed before the deadline the court had established. “We scared the crap out of them when we descended on them,” Blakeman later told Michael E. Miller of the Washington Post. The chair of the county’s Democratic Party noted, “Violence, fear and physical intimidation affected the outcome of a lawful elections process.” Blakeman’s response? “We got some blowback afterwards, but so what? We won.”

That Stone and other Republican operatives would have fallen back on a violent mob to slow down an election proceeding twenty years after it had worked so well is not a stretch.

Still, Navarro seems eager to distance himself, Trump, and Bannon from any such plan. That eagerness might reflect a hope of shielding themselves from the idea they were part of a conspiracy to interfere with an official government proceeding. Such interference is a federal offense, thanks to a law passed initially during Reconstruction after the Civil War, when members of the Ku Klux Klan were preventing Black legislators and their white Republican allies from holding office or discharging their official duties once elected.

Prosecutors have charged a number of January 6 defendants with committing such interference, and judges—including judges appointed by Trump—have rejected defendants’ arguments that they were simply exercising their right to free speech when they attacked the Capitol. Investigators are exploring the connections among the rioters before January 6 and on that day itself, establishing that the attack was not a group of individual protesters who randomly attacked at the same time, but rather was coordinated.

The vice-chair of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, Liz Cheney (R-WY), has said that the committee is looking to see if Trump was part of that coordination and seeking to determine: “Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’s official proceedings to count electoral votes?”

Meanwhile, the former president continues to try to hamper that investigation. Today, Trump’s lawyers added a supplemental brief to his executive privilege case before the Supreme Court. The brief claims that since the committee is looking at making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, it is not engaged in the process of writing new legislation, and thus it is exceeding its powers and has no legitimate reason to see the documents Trump is trying to shield.

But also today, a group of former Department of Justice and executive branch lawyers, including ones who worked for presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush, filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging it to deny Trump’s request that the court block the committee’s subpoena for Trump’s records from the National Archives and Records Administration. The brief’s authors established that administrations have often allowed Congress to see executive branch documents during investigations and that there is clearly a need for legislation to make sure another attack on our democratic process never happens again.

The committee must see the materials, they wrote, because “t is difficult to imagine a more compelling interest than the House’s interest in determining what legislation might be necessary to respond to the most significant attack on the Capitol in 200 years and the effort to undermine our basic form of government that that attack represented.”


OMG! This will likely make the Proud Boys throw their fearful leader under the bus.


Trump seems to throw the Proud Boys under the bus for Capitol riots in new legal filing

In his effort to have a lawsuit accusing him of sparking the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol dismissed, former President Donald Trump is arguing he's not responsible for the violent actions his supporters took, Bloomberg reports.

“Speakers at political rallies do not owe a duty of care to members of Congress or Capitol Police Officers not at the rally,” Trump’s lawyer Jesse Binnall said in the Dec. 24 court filing.

Trump's team argued that his words on Jan. 6 were in line with a president’s right to “take advantage of the bully pulpit.”

"The complaint, which also names right-wing groups like the Proud Boys, alleges many of the defendants 'planned, aided, and actively participated in that attack' and that 'all defendants are responsible for it,'" Bloomberg reports.

The long answer to What To Do About Lt. General Michael Flynn. (retired)....


This is a long, but thorough analysis of the legal conundrum of retired Lt. General Michael Flynn.

"While Flynn could certainly be held accountable for some of his actions in a civilian Article III court, the choice of military court venue uniquely addresses the needs of the force to maintain good order and discipline and for leaders’ accountability for violations of uniquely military offenses.

"If there is a decision to pursue a court-martial in this case, it should not be hindered by the false concept that the legal foundations of retiree jurisdiction are unsound. Those legal foundations are still firm. The lack of recent retiree recall cases underscores that in many situations such jurisdiction is unnecessary and should calm fear that this prosecutorial tactic will be wielded haphazardly. Seditious speech calling for the disruption of the nation’s civilian leadership through military force must be taken seriously – that’s why it is a crime under both “regular” federal law and the UCMJ. Such speech from a civilian is deleterious to the national security; however, when the remarks come from a retired general officer they are especially corrosive to that which sustains a credible, effective, and trustworthy fighting force – and to the maintenance of a military subordinate to legitimate civilian political authority regardless of partisanship or policy."

Will Lieutenant General Michael Flynn ever face court martial?

Here's what Glenn Kirshner thinks:

The Obscure Charge Jan. 6 Investigators Are Looking at for Trump


While the DOJ pursues the rioters, the special House Jan. 6 Committee is separately collecting evidence to formulate a picture about how this all came together. And legal scholars say a strategy is taking shape—one that builds a case to criminally charge the former president.

“The DOJ and the committee are building a pyramid of guilt to get to the top. The more people who plead guilty, the more the top of the pyramid begins to take shape,” said Joshua E. Kastenberg, a professor at University of New Mexico’s law school.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), one of the two GOP members on the congressional panel investigating the insurrection, first drew attention to that possibility during a televised hearing last week. That’s when she made an obscure reference to “another key question before this committee: Did Donald Trump, through action or inaction, corruptly seek to obstruct or impede Congress’ official proceeding to count electoral votes?”

On Monday, The New York Times pushed that idea further when it revealed that the House committee investigating the insurrection is considering referring Trump to the Justice Department.

David Schultz, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, said congressional investigators could be building a case that Trump “aided and abetted” the rioters to interrupt the vote count. And Cheney’s statements, combined with the Justice Department’s aggressive use of this federal charge, hint at what might come.

“We are seeing a pattern of establishing an obstruction of justice that takes it up the food chain,” he said.

Top officials feared Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act to prevent the transfer of power


Crisis of Command: The Pentagon, The President, and January 6

Milley, according to multiple reports, “feared it was Trump’s ‘Reichstag moment,’ in which, like Adolf Hitler in 1933, he would manufacture a crisis in order to swoop in and rescue the nation from it.”

Miller does not specify who held the fears that Trump would invoke the Insurrection Act, and he wasn’t asked by Congress. However, it’s now clear that such concerns were shared by General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as former CIA Director and at the time Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Before Nov. 3, Milley and Pompeo confided in one another that they had a persistent worry Trump would try to use the military in an attempt to hold onto power if he lost the election, the Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker reported. “This military’s not going to be used,” Milley assured Pompeo.
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