Freedom Summer (a revisit to unrestricting the right to vote)

The following post was written seven years ago, but it is even more critical to revisit these issues in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling to preserve the right for Arizona to introduce more restrictions on the right to vote. Sadly, this is part of an organized effort in other states to do the same. Our history has been one of extending the right to vote to more groups of people – non-land owners, former slaves, women, African-Americans who were severly restricted as per below, etc.

Fifty years ago this summer, over 700 students from across the country, joined in the Civil Rights battle in Mississippi, where African-Americans had been demonstratively and, at times, violently denied their basic civil rights, especially the right to vote. These students joined together with the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee (SNNC) under the guidance of Bob Moses, who had been slowly organizing SNNC since 1960. These students, were predominantly white, but included all races and ethnic groups.

The fact that many were white helped bring further attention to the ongoing tragedy going on Mississippi, perpetuated by those in power as the young students lived within the African-American community, taught through Freedom Schools young students about African-American history, literature and rights, items that had been absent from their curriculum. The Freedom Summer project can be viewed up close with an excellent documentary being shown on the PBS American Experience. A link is provided below.* I would encourage you to watch the two-hour film as it can tell a story that requires footages of violence, overt racism, and brave people who spoke up, like Moses, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rita Schwerner and countless others.

Hamer is the face of the effort as evidenced by her speaking passionately in front of the 1964 Democratic Convention committee about how she was arrested, beaten, and tormented when she and others tried to register vote. Schwerner is the widow of one the three Civil Rights workers, Michael Schwerner, who along with James Chaney and Andrew Goodman, were abducted and killed by the KKK who came to abet the efforts of those in power in Mississippi. The widow rightfully pointed out the fact that two of the abducted (at the time) were white, was the only reason people in America started paying attention. She noted it is a shame that many African-Americans had died or were injured merely trying to exercise their right as citizens. Before the 1965 Voting Rights Act, less than 7% of African-Americans in Mississippi were allowed to register due to ostracization, intimidation, and complex constitutional literacy tests.

Since I cannot begin to do justice to this subject, I encourage you to watch the documentary. It will make you ashamed that this could happen in America, while at the same time making you applaud the magnificent courage of all involved, especially those African-Americans who had lived and would continue to live in this Apartheid like state once the freedom summer students went home. Yet, it took the deaths of these three young folks to galvanize and empower people.

It also took the organization of a more representative Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party of whites and blacks that went to the national convention to unseat the representatives sent by the state party, who were all white. Since morality was on their side, they almost succeeded, but they ran into the politics of Lyndon B. Johnson, who used his power to squelch the effort for a greater good – he could not help in matters if he did not get elected and he saw this as a means to interfere with that mission, no matter how noble the cause. LBJ accomplished great things for African-Americans, but politics is an ugly thing to watch up close and he looks manipulative in the process.

While their efforts fell short at the convention, their efforts were huge contributors to the passage of the Voting Rights Act the next year. But, one of the young folks who went to the Freedom Schools and is now a PhD., noted that learning about their African-American culture and civil rights that had been denied them, may have been the greatest achievement. I applaud their efforts and bravery. We still have a way to go and are seeing some battles having to be refought with several states passing restrictive Voter ID Laws. Three states have had their new laws ruled unconstitutional, while others are in court now. Yet, just because our President is multi-racial does not mean we are there yet. So, let’s keep in mind the battles these brave folks fought and not let their civil rights be stepped on again, no matter how cleverly masked those efforts.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/freedomsummer/

Michigan Republican State Senator calls out what he found

In an article called “The Senator Who Decided to Tell the Truth” by Tim Alberta of The Atlantic, a farmer named Ed McBroom is highlighted because of his extensive work on an election review for the state of Michigan. This livestock breeder is also a state Senator. Here are a few paragraphs that capture the essence of the article, which can be read in its entirety with the link below.

“A few days earlier, McBroom, a Republican state senator who chairs the Oversight Committee, had released a report detailing his eight-month-long investigation into the legitimacy of the 2020 election. The stakes could hardly have been higher. Against a backdrop of confusion and suspicion and frightening civic friction—with Trump claiming he’d been cheated out of victory, and anecdotes about fraud coursing through every corner of the state—McBroom had led an exhaustive probe of Michigan’s electoral integrity. His committee interviewed scores of witnesses, subpoenaed and reviewed thousands of pages of documents, dissected the procedural mechanics of Michigan’s highly decentralized elections system, and scrutinized the most trafficked claims about corruption at the state’s ballot box in November. McBroom’s conclusion hit Lansing like a meteor: It was all a bunch of nonsense.

‘Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan,’ McBroom wrote in the report. ‘There is no evidence presented at this time to prove either significant acts of fraud or that an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters.

For good measure, McBroom added: ‘The Committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain.'”

The response from the former president is to call out the commission as part of a cover-up. Did I mention this was yet one more of many dozens of Republican election officials, judges and legislators who have confirmed there was no widespread election fraud in any state. It should be noted that the former president’s Attorney General, William Barr, told Trump in a group meeting that his claims of election fraud have “always been bull**it.” This got Barr fired from his position, just as Chris Crebs, the cybersecurity election official, was for saying this was the most secure election in history.

Call me crazy, but one would think that even his most ardent followers would catch on that the former president, who has a well documented history of untruthfulness from multiple sources and former colleagues, has been lying about the election fraud. The fact he is lying is not a surprise, but what bothers me most is his enablers who rationalize and support this lie. I am bemused that Senator Ted Cruz referred to critics of the GOP as “gaslighting” people. Really? Cruz is accusing others of doing something he is doing to whitewash the bad history of the former president.

The Senator Who Decided to Tell the Truth (msn.com)

Unaccountability

Parents have tended to emphasize to our children that they need to be accountable for their actions. When I see a child or adult accept accountability, it impresses me, probably because it should be more commonplace than it is. “It is my fault, I messed up, and I will take care of it,” are words that need to be said more often.

Sadly, one of the worst examples of the lack of accountability is the former president. He has long avoided accountability which has contributed to his blaming others or avoiding blame for his mistakes. This is a key reason he remains an “enfant terrible” even into his 70s and is well known for his deceitful bent.

The latest example is the sycophants in Congress who are rationalizing his autocratic-like spying on people he perceives as his enemies – Democrats and the mainstream media. This is on top of only seventeen Republicans who voted to impeach or convict him for his role in the insurrection on the Capitol. Plus, there are way too many elected Republicans who continue to support his bogus claims of widespread election fraud.

To be frank, the spineless sycophants unnerve me the most, as they pretend to like the former president, so as not to anger him or his vindictive extreme base, yet they know what he is like and speak of it privately. They privately worry what they will have to defend next. And, next up may be things beyond their control, as he faces more than several civil and criminal court cases.

So, moms and dads, please tell your children not to emulate the former president. When you ask what would Jesus do (WWJD), the answer will not come from a list of things the former president does, unless he slipped up and did the right thing by accident.

Bits and Pieces

A British rock and roll band from the 1960s called The Dave Clark Five had several hit songs, one of which was “Bits and Pieces.” While the song, written by Dave Clark and Mike Smith, was about a break-up, I found its lyrics apply nicely to the MAGA fans that are still lamenting the loss of the former president. First, the lyrics (note the parenthetical is the chorus):

“Since you left me and you said goodbye (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

All I do is sit and cry (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

You went away and left me misery (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

And that’s the way it’ll always be (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

You said you loved me and you’d always be mine (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

We’d be together ’til the end of time (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

Now you say it was just a game (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

But all you’re doin’ is leavin’ me pain Time goes by and goes so slow (oh, yeah)

It just doesn’t seem true Only just a few days ago You said you’d love me, never make me blue (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

Now you’ve gone and I’m all alone (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

And you’re still way up there on your throne (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

Nothin’ seems to ever go right (I’m in pieces, bits and pieces)

‘Cause night is day and day is night”

Two lines stand out. The first references “Now you say it was just a game.” The second references “And you’re still way up there on your throne.”

What the followers fail to realize is this is just a game to the former president. He does not realize or care about the impact his deceitful behavior and words have on his followers. Some people who funded his extremely unsuccessful election fraud litigation cases want their money back. And, many of those who traveled to Washington and stormed the Capitol building at his direction are facing charges. The latest shoe to drop is he may have ordered spying on political opponents by the DOJ.

As for the throne thing, that feeds right into his false bravado. How his followers could be duped into thinking he was a common man is maybe one of the greatest con jobs ever. Of course, when we look at one of my favorite quotes from his attorney and fixer Michael Cohen, he said “Donald Trump is a racist, he is a con artist and he is a cheat” under oath. Each of these attributes suggested by Cohen ring true.

As of this writing, the former president is facing more than a 1/2 dozen civil lawsuits and three criminal ones, not counting the aforementioned spying accusation. While the Republican legislators are still trying to put the Pandora back in the box worrying about the next shoe to drop, I do know the leaders of the G7 are welcoming the US return to normalcy in dealing with them. Biden is not perfect, but he is a breath of fresh air compared to his predecessor.

The Dave Clark Five – Bits & Pieces – Top Of The Pops (1964) – Bing video

The lies are like a loose string in a woven fabric

“Always tell the truth as you don’t have to remember as much,” said a voicemail greeting from an old friend. His greeting spoke volumes to me when I first heard it. He would alter his greeting at work on a daily basis offering adages or life lessons and this remains my favorite lesson of his.

To me, it is an important lesson as when people do not tell the truth, not only do they have to remember more stories, the lies are like loose strings in a woven fabric. They will eventually begin to unravel. This is especially true when people in leadership positions lie. Their lies are so visible, others have to adjoin their lies with the so-called leader’s. That leaves greater exposure as there are now more strings to unravel.

It truly saddens me how the truth has become more of a commodity these days. Politicians feel they can get away with exaggerations or even bald-faced lies. The know pseudo-news outlets that support their tribe or party will cover for them. To be frank, when someone knowingly covers for a lie, that is also lying.

All politicians lie, but by far the worst of the lot is the former president. But, that is truly not news, as an attorney who worked for him for years before he was elected said the former president “lies every day, even about things of no consequence.” Similar quotes can be found by more than a few people who worked for him over the years and in the White House.

Yet, too many believe this person. He did not win the election – he lost. It was not stolen from him – he lost. He lost because he got seven million fewer votes. He has been unable to prove election fraud losing well over sixty court cases, while winning one. That is a pretty miserable investment of money to pay attorneys for so little return. Some funders actually want their money back as they felt the former president cheated them by insinuating there was fraud.

Yet, these lies led to people dying on January 6 when he invited, incited and pointed protestors at the Capitol. Lies about the seriousness of COVID-19 led to more than deaths than needed and some people still believe it was all exaggerated or a hoax because of such. And, those folks who are still covering for those lies – such as in Texas where it was recently ruled illegal to use the Vaccine passports, reveal a how screwed up this former president has made things.

The truth matters. People rely on politicians to tell them the truth. We need to believe them, but when a president, governor or senator lies, it devalues our country. Being a sycophant to an untruthful person does not bode well for one’s reputation. And, these sycophants know they are lying, which bothers me as much as the lying itself.

May 35 and December 37 – two fictitious dates for real events

Friday in China was the anniversary of a horrible event when the Chinese government forcibly put down a protest in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Seeing a young man stare down a tank in the square is the most memorable occurrence. But, China has done its best to erase this event from their history arresting some protestors in Hong Kong two days ago who tried to honor the memory of those who died that day..

I have written before about May 35 which is a real reference to an imaginary date. Per the attached article in the New York Times, it is a reference to what happened in Tiananmen Square in China on June 4, 1989, which has been expunged from Chinese history, including internet search references to that date. So, to make sure the Chinese kids remember this protest which was brutally squashed by the Chinese army, historians established a May 35 web link.*

In America, the Republican Party is doing its best to erase further discussion of the insurrection incited by the former president on January 6. In their minds, we cannot have people thinking the former president’s lies about election fraud, his invitation of zealous members of his base to Washington, and his winding them up and pointing them at the Capitol building had any thing to do with people storming the Capitol.

So, to make sure we don’t forger this heinous day in our country, nor the former president’s role and continuing untruthfulness about election fraud, maybe we should start calling it December 37 like the enterprising Chinese people did to avoid the memory being erased.

People died at these events. We owe it to them to remember who caused them. We cannot do anything about China’s delete key, but we can remind folks here that January 6 would not have happened if the former president did not have such a fragile ego and could not accept the fact he lost the election. Or, as his niece said in November, her Uncle cannot handle failure, so he will burn it all down to avoid losing the election.

May 35 and December 37. Bad days in China and the US People in leadership need to be held accountable. Especially when they play an active role in causing these bad days.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/opinion/global/24iht-june24-ihtmag-hua-28.html?_r=0eal

Tiananmen Square incident | Summary, Details, & Facts | Britannica

Note on essential commission on January 6 insurrection

I posted the following on several Republican Senator websites, as well as that of my GOP Congressman. Please feel free to use and adapt.

As a former Republican and now independent voter, the fall of my former party is concerning as well as embarrassing. To long tout being a party of law and order and now support a lawless insurrection that not only threatened you and your staff’s lives, but ended up killing five people and contributing to the deaths of two more, is beyond me.

We have a former president who continues to be untruthful about wide-spread election fraud, a stance he planned several months before the election and was highly predictable. What I did not anticipate is how much support he has received from his sycophants who won’t tell him the truth. I also did not anticipate how miserably his legal attempts would fail, going down as one of the worst investments of money winning only one small court case, while losing well over 60.

But, what bothers me even more is the former president set the stage with his lies for the insurrection, invited the more zealous members of his base to DC and then pointed them at the Capitol building. If they had found the white haired Vice President, he may have been another victim, as this former president painted a target on his back.

To be frank, this former president must be held accountable regardless of his party. We cannot have a coup attempt on one branch by another. Full stop. Please support the investigation into this atrocious event in our country’s history. We owe it to those who died, plus we citizens who crave good governance.

Letter sent by departing Republican voter to LA Times

The following letter was sent into the LA Times Thursday morning. It speaks volumes and needs no explanation.

“I am a senior citizen who has been a registered Republican as long as I can remember. I am not usually a letter writer, but I felt it important to tell you why I withdrew today from the Republican Party.

“The Republican Party used to be a party of principles and reason. But over the last several years it has supported or winked at lie after lie, including: the birther lie, the ‘very fine people on both sides’ lie, the COVID is a hoax lie, the election was stolen lie, and the insurrection was a peaceful protest lie.

“Now, the party ousts from its House leadership a person who tells the truth. Others in party leadership have become cult leaders, promoting lies for money and power, sucking up to a minority of conspiracy theorists. Our democracy is being destroyed.

“I can no longer be part of a political party that has at its foundation a platform of lies. No other issue really matters. I will never vote for any Republican until the madness is exorcised from the party.”

Purging Liz Cheney will purge some GOP voters along as well

It has long been observed by Thomas Wells, an attorney who worked with the former president before he was elected, if you are on Donald Trump’s good side, do not get used to it, as you won’t be there for long. You will not jump high enough or genuflect lowly enough to remain in favor. Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney long sided with the former president in supporting his actions. Yet, she has the temerity to challenge his lies with respect to the election and call him out for inciting an insurrection against the Capitol.

Yet, the impetus to remove Cheney from her number three position in the Republican caucus, may cause the loss of Republican voters. These voters see Cheney as something the former president and his sycophants are not – a truth teller.

In a Newsweek opinion article called “If Republicans Purge Liz Cheney, They’re Purging Many of Us Voters Along With Her” by Jonathan Frank, he predicts the firing of Cheney will be harmful to the party. Here a re few paragraphs:

Republican House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy said “‘I’ve had it… I’ve lost confidence.’ …McCarthy saved these words for Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a dutiful, third-term Congresswoman and mother of five who, as Chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, is the lone female in House Republican leadership.

Cheney is a stalwart conservative who voted with President Trump 93 percent of the time, earns an A+ rating from the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, and is ranked by GovTrack as “most politically right” compared to other members of House Republican leadership. But McCarthy and a chorus of House Republican cannot be bothered with such facts.

Cheney committed the cardinal sin of holding President Trump accountable for the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, a position that McCarthy briefly held himself, before changing course in fearful obedience to the former President.

In January, Cheney joined nine other House Republicans in voting to impeach Trump for his role in the January 6th attack, a move she called a ‘vote of conscience.’ Lest voters think this move reveals Cheney as some sort of secret moderate, her record shows she has continued to vote with House Republicans 95 percent of the time this year.

Still, some House Republicans remain set on purging the lawmaker from her leadership post in the middle of the year, even as they rail against ‘the extreme left’s cancel culture’ and stress ‘party unity’ without the slightest hint of self-awareness. Punchbowl News rightly describes it as ‘unlike anything in modern House GOP internal politics.’

Their preferred pick to succeed Cheney: Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), a Congresswoman whose recent unyielding devotion to Trump belies a spotty conservative record.

Stefanik earns a failing 43 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union and a similarly lackluster 48 percent lifetime score from Heritage Action for America, compared to Cheney’s scores of 78 and 80 percent respectively. Stefanik also voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Trump’s signature legislative accomplishment, while Cheney helped secure its passage.

But Stefanik redeemed herself with Trump in late 2019 when she helped lead the former President’s defense in his first impeachment trial. Trump tweeted approvingly that ‘a new Republican star is born.’ With that, the Harvard grad and former George W. Bush administration aide’s transition from pragmatic Republican institutionalist to populist MAGA adherent was complete.

A Republican Party that does not have room for a principled conservative like Liz Cheney does not have room for many of us. In scheming to overthrow her, House Republicans are sending a clear message that support for the former President’s policies is not enough. Meeting the new and ever-changing definition of a true Republican requires one to accept and parrot Trump’s every claim, the truth and the rule of law notwithstanding.”

Or, as conservative pundit David Brooks said on PBS Newshour Friday night, “To be a Republican leader means you have to lie.”

If Republicans Purge Liz Cheney, They’re Purging Many of Us Voters Along With Her | Opinion (msn.com)

The Big Lie has been Altered in Orwellian Fashion

This piece of news gave me a chuckle, but made me sad as it is an attempt to take advantage of the gullibility of followers. For those of who still pay attention to the machinations of the most recent former president, apparently, he does not care for the term “The Big Lie” to define his planned and staged deceitful efforts to call the outcome of the 2020 election into question.

In my view, the reason is it aptly describes his attempts to convey this message of election fraud are untruthful. This is evidenced by his inability to prove in court or get even Republican election officials to say what he wants them to say. My favorite pushback came from his own Attorney General William Barr, who told him in a group meeting that “his claims of election fraud are b*lls**t.” This of course got the AG forced out in a few days.

Now, with an Orwellian flair from the novel “1984,” the former president has repurposed the term “The Big Lie” to mean the election was stolen, not that he is trying to steal it. So, the former president has, in fact, stolen the counterpoint slogan for his own purpose. So, when his followers here the term “The Big Lie,” they will be confused or think the person is siding with the former president’s untruthful ploy.

I used “1984” as a key point of the novel is disinformation. As an example, there are three world powers, with the country the protagonist supports allying with one of the other two against the third. Midway through the book, the alliance shifts, so that enemy is now allied with his country against the former ally. The totalitarian government uses disinformation to convey that this was happening all along and there was no change.

Think of that when you see what the former president just did. He does not like the term “The Big Lie” being pointed at him, so he appropriates the term in an attempt to tell his followers The Big Lie is the election was not stolen. The Big Lie is too on point as the former president is following his modus operandi of deceitful behavior. So, it must be dealt with.

In a nutshell, this is why the former president does not warrant a lot of trust. He has not earned it. So, I will side with AG Barr on this one.