Nel's New Day

August 28, 2020

DDT’s ‘America’ on Anniversary of ‘I Have a Dream’ Speech

[Correction from August 27, 2020, post on Nel New Day: DDT [Dictator Donald Trump] did keep his promise to cut down on immigration across the southern border, but he did not mention the process would include abusing and molesting children, sexually assaulting women, separating families, and depriving immigrants of decent healthcare, food, and shelter.] Also, DDT wanted to “maim” and “shoot” immigrants seeking asylum on the southern border. 

Last Tuesday on the second RNC night, a 17-year-old from Antioch (IL) shot three protesters in Kenosha (WI), killing two of them. Two days earlier, police shot unarmed Jacob Blake in the back seven times in front of his three of his small children on the birthday of the oldest. Paralyzed from the waist down, Blake was handcuffed to his hospital bed until a public outcry. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who spoke to Blake’s father, said:

“His first question after he woke up was, ‘Daddy, why did they shoot me so many times?’ He wept to his father. He has restraints on even though he can’t move his legs.”

Police claim, without witnesses or evidence, they shot Blake because he put them in a headlock and refused to drop a knife he was carrying. Police had no body cameras.

Classmates remember the teenage killer as being short-tempered and easily offended, focused on loving guns, cops, DDT, and “triggering the libs.” They joked about his being a future mass shooter, and one of them said, “I personally believe he went to Wisconsin with the intent to kill.” When the teen joined militia members in Kenosha, the city police thanked him for being there and gave him a bottle of water although he was breaking the 8:00 pm curfew. An hour later, he shot a protester in the head and tried to run away. After he tripped and fell, he opened fire on two protesters chasing him, killing one and injuring the other. Police drove by him as he tried to surrender. The police chief justified law enforcement action by claiming tunnel vision in “high-stress” situations. (A video trail of the police ignoring the teenager killing people.) 

A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice, “Hidden in Plain Sight,” shows how white supremacist groups or violent far-right militias  infiltrated law enforcement agencies in at least ten states, including my home state of Oregon. In Kenosha, the ACLU has called for the resignations of Police Chief Daniel Miskinis, who blamed protesters for being shot and killed and Kenosha Sheriff David Beth who said Black shoplifters are “a cancer to our society” and “have to be warehoused.” Read the Brennan report here. 

Twitter forced conservative pundit Ann Coulter to delete her tweet calling on the teenager to be her “president.” It followed another tweet recommending the teen be a “bodyguard.” Fox’s Tucker Carlson suggested the teen’s actions were noble. The killer’s first murder was of another White man carrying a skateboard.

A judge is permitting the white teenager, witnessed in killing two people and injuring a third, to stay in Illinois until a September 25 hearing. The purpose of the delay, according to the judge, is for the killer to put together a legal team. The personal lawyer for Fox network’s Sean Hannity, L. Lin Wood, announced he is raising money and coordinating legal representation for the vigilante murderer. A QAnon member, Wood also represented the case against the media by Kentucky teenager, Nick Sandmann, after he was accused to blocking an Indigenous activist at the Lincoln Memorial last year. Sandmann was a speaker for DDT at this week’s GOP convention.

A journalist for Mother Jones described the difference in treatment for Jacob Blake, a Black, and the teenager, a White:

“Jacob Blake was shot several times in the back while walking away from police officers. Kyle Rittenhouse made it all the way home before being arrested. Law and order is only for certain people.”

Conservatives complain about the violence of leftist activists, but radical right counterprotesters are causing violence in cities and towns across the U.S. At a Democratic rally for candidate Hank Gilbert in Tyler (TX) on July 26, Paul Benson tried to protect the speakers from DDT-supporters with military-style rifles who charged into the town of 100,000 population. The rally was intended to oppose deploying federal agents to U.S. cities and register new Democratic voters in conservative east Texas 100 miles southeast of Dallas. Hundreds the radical right pushed and shoved people. A man punched voter deputy registrar Nancy Nichols in the chest, three others held her husband against a war memorial, and Gilbert’s top aid was injured. The thugs blew air horns over the candidate’s speech, shouted and jeered, and pulled the plug on his sound system. Others surrounded the square in military-style defensive formation.

A Tyler councilman connected to Texas Freedom Fighters and Oath Keepers came with an AR-15 and a .45-caliber pistol. He had at least six more guns in his logging truck parked nearby and wants to keep the liberals from unfairly stealing the election from DDT. Police said they held back from the town square because they didn’t want to “escalate the situation.” Supposedly, they moved in after the radical right started the violence. They did file assault charges against three people, including a local businessman. Nichols said she plans to continue appearing at events to register people but said:

“If I see the presence of these goons, I will immediately call the police, the constables, the sheriff, the county judge and anyone else I can think of to make sure there is protection there for everyone.”

In a disturbance at Weatherford (TX) 160 miles west of Tyler, heavily armed counterprotesters, including far-right Texas-based group members, clashed over removing a Confederate statue from the Parker County Courthouse. Tony Crawford, a leader of the Parker County Progressives, talked to the police about having protection, but law enforcement never appeared, despite calls for help, when social media brought busloads from Dallas and Fort Worth, heavily armed, spitting on the rally, throwing water bottles at them, and chasing demonstrators back to their vehicles. The police chief of Weatherford, population 31,000, said city and county law enforcement agencies lacked the ability to police the event.

A week later, hundreds of motorists, many with DDT and Confederate flags, police were called to break up a gathering when hundreds of motorists, many flying Trump and Confederate flags, descended on an historical Black church in Dallas displaying a two-story Black Lives Matter sign.

People marching from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. for the anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington were subjected to slurs, arrests, and gunfire.  On August 28, 57 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the Lincoln Memorial. Last Monday night, the first night of the GOP convention, one of the marchers was shot in the face and side with bird shot in Schellsburg (PA) while the group rested near a salvage yard on U.S. 30, known as Lincoln Highway. The business owner said the marchers refused to leave the parking lot, but the leader said they “never even had a conversation” with him or the shooter. Two marchers were arrested in Indiana, accused of blocking traffic. 

Take America Back Texas, a new group surging to over 10,000 members in less than three months, orchestrates attacks on rallies such as those in Tyler and Weatherford. PR director Wendi Rees, a conservative, White suburban mother in Tyler, repeated the GOP mantra about losing “constitutional rights” although she mentioned only First and Second Amendments.

In the Tyler debacle, other radical right groups joined Take America Back Texas, including Rep. Louie Gohmert’s (R-TX) supporters, members of Texas militia groups, and the white-supremacist Aryan Brotherhood. People who attended compared the event to public lynchings in the square persisting into the 1900s. A Black retired Army nurse who served in Iraq said seeing the people with “lots and lots of weapons” was “devastating.”

White vigilantes and radical-right thugs have shown up to inject violence into Black Lives Matter protests at least 497 times in the three months since George Floyd was killed, according to data collected by Alexander Reid Ross, a doctoral fellow at the Center for Analysis of the Radical Right. Vigilante crimes include driving cars into demonstrators 38 times and firing guns at protesters nine times. Three people died from their wounds. In at least two events, law enforcement approved or supported the vigilantes. A sheriff’s deputy wore a “III Percenters” militia patch while policing a protest, and Portland (OR) police stood and watched the neo-fascist gang the Proud Boys attack peaceful protesters in the street. While the police arrested 22 protesters, they didn’t bother the Proud Boys leader who had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.  

Never mentioning the violence of the radical right, speakers at the GOP convention dwelt on a view of the dark, violent world under Joe Biden. DDT’s approval of the radical right is creating this dark violence during personal crime-ridden administration. 

Today, thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. at the Lincoln Memorial on the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington to protest the inequalities within the “justice” system. Unlike the RNC, the Black Lives Matter event required temperature checks, masks, and social distancing.

U.S. daily COVID-19 cases are rising—49,601 in the last 24 hours bringing the total to 6,096,235. Deaths remain above 1,000—1,105 with the total at 185,901. Iowa saw a record surge of almost 80 percent positivity rate with 2,579 positive cases from 3,247 tests. 

August 28, 2013

Where Is the ‘Dream’?

Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech at the March on Washington. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act passed the year after King’s speech and followed that with the Voting Rights Act. The United States, however, has failed to address the March’s goals for economic opportunity and equality, ten demands in civil rights legislation, public school desegregation, voting rights, job training, and an increased minimum wage.

  • Congressional comprehensive and effective civil rights legislation without compromise or filibuster-to guarantee all Americans access to all public accommodations, decent housing, adequate and integrated education, and the right to vote.
  • Withholding of federal funds from all programs in which discrimination exists.
  • Desegregation of all school districts in 1963.
  • Enforcement of the fourteenth Amendment, reducing Congressional representation of states where citizens are disfranchised.
  • A new Executive Order banning discrimination in all housing supported by federal funds.
  • Authority for the Attorney General to institute injunctive suits when any constitutional right is violated.
  • A massive federal program to train and place all unemployed workers–Negro and white–on meaningful and dignified jobs at decent wages.
  • A national minimum wage act that· will give all Americans a decent standard of living.
  • A broadened Fair Labor Standards Act to include all areas of employment which are presently excluded.
  • A federal Fair Employment Practices Act barring discrimination by federal, state, and municipal governments, and by employers, contractors, employment agencies, and trade unions.

During the 15 years after the 1963 March on Washington, conditions for blacks in the United States vastly improved, and legislation benefitted other groups—women, poor whites, other communities of color, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. Poverty rates dropped along with improvement in education, employment, and democratic participation. Congress and the president worked together to solve national problems.

Yet in two cases during the 1970s, the Supreme Court limited mandatory school-desegregation plans and declared that education is not a fundamental right. After that SCOTUS put limits on the ability of school districts to voluntarily create integration plans. Other decisions have put barriers in the way of people to take violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to court.

Ronald Reagan’s election as president in 1980 saw the growth of the Heritage Foundation, created after Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-AZ) lost the 1964 election to Lyndon B. Johnson, and Reagan moved Goldwater’s supporters into federal agencies and onto federal benches. The Federalist Society grew, creating a network of conservative lawyers who provided legal arguments to defeat social justice. Conservative media outlets like Fox News began to use their falsehoods to influence less knowledgeable people.

Fox contributor Laura Ingraham displayed a prime example of conservative media when she culminated her hateful responses to the anniversary of the March on Washington with a clip of the speech given 50 years ago by civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis (R-GA) and interrupted the speech with the sound of a gunshot and then long silence.  Following a commercial break, conservative columnist Pat Buchanan claimed that Lewis, Rev. Al Sharpton and other speakers at Saturday’s event were “part of a great racket.” He said, “What will these folks do, quite frankly, if they had to get up and admit we’ve got more opportunities than any large group of black folks anywhere on Earth today and our community is not making the most of it?”

Fifty years later, partisan divides gridlock the federal government, the GOP is setting back efforts to help the poor, unemployment and the need for jobs are elevated, and union-busting has caused loss of income for everyone except the U.S. elite.

Fifty years later people still carry signs asking for “Voting Rights,” “Jobs for All,” and “Decent Housing.” People still protest the vigilante killing of an unarmed black teenager in the South and his killer’s acquittal. People still denounce racial profiling in the country’s largest city.

Voting: Seven Southern states passed or implemented voter suppression laws in the two months since the Supreme Court gutted the 1965 Voting Rights Act. This decision followed a general election in which blacks waited twice as long to vote, on average, as whites. One in 13 blacks (2.2 million people) cannot vote because of felon disenfranchisement laws—four times higher than the rest of the population.

Jobs: Although the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission began functioning two years after the March, employers still prefer white workers, according to Algernon Austin, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy. The unemployment rate for blacks (12.6 percent) is almost twice as that for whites (6.6 percent), about the same ratio as in 1963. The average household income for blacks ($32,068) is far below that of white families ($54,620) and declined by 15 percent from 2000 to 2010.

Job Training: The $38.6 billion in 2013 dollars budgeted in 1978 shrank to $8 billion in 2013 dollars by 2007. Congress consistently fails to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, the nation’s largest job-training program, for the past 15 years. Legislation also excludes important methods to improve services such as developing skilled workers through education and training.

School Desegregation:  Because of housing patterns, schools are segregated at the same rates as the late 1960s, according to Andrew Rotherham, co-founder of the education think tank Bellwether Education Partners. Three-fourths of all black students attend schools that are majority nonwhite.

Minimum Wage:  The value of the current minimum wage is below that in 1964, yet conservatives ridicule fast-food workers who have joined to fight for decent wages. At the time of the 1963 March, the minimum wage of $1.25 was equivalent to $9.25 today–$2 higher than the current minimum of $7.25. March organizers demanded $2 per hour, in today’s dollars more than $14.80, but by the time the minimum was raised to that level 11 years after the March, inflation had eaten up any advantage. ALEC, the corporate-controlled organization that hands out bills to GOP legislators, opposes any increase in minimum wages, calls for a full repeal of minimum wages, and works to prevent local efforts to enact living wage requirements. Meanwhile, fast-food and other low-wage workers are striking against low pay in Chicago, New York City, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Seattle, Los Angeles, Raleigh, Atlanta, Houston, and Oakland.

Justice: While conservatives fight to load the bench with judges opposed to equal rights, the number of judicial vacancies has grown to emergency levels. There are not enough judges to hear cases on the country’s dockets.

Racism: Although all restaurants must now serve blacks, a group of 25 blacks were told to leave the Wild Wing Café in South Carolina after peacefully waiting for two hours to be seated. One white patron felt “threatened. This is just one of millions of racist acts in the U.S.

At last weekend’s rally at the Lincoln Memorial, the main themes were the same as 50 years ago—voter suppression, “stand your ground” laws, stop-and-frisk, and the question of jobs and union-busting. Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of the slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers, talked about the “stand your ground” laws. She said, “We can think of ‘standing your ground’ in the negative. But I ask you today to flip that coin. Stand your ground in terms of fighting for justice and equality!”  One poster showed a picture of Rosa Parks who stood her ground by refusing to give up her seat on a bus.

Before he was killed in on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., had these comments about the Republican party. The GOP hasn’t changed since that time.

The 1964 Republican National Convention: “The Republican Party geared its appeal and program to racism, reaction, and extremism.”

Sen. Barry Goldwater (GOP 1964 presidential candidate):  “While not himself a racist, Mr. Goldwater articulated a philosophy which gave aid and comfort to the racist. His candidacy and philosophy would serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes would stand.”

Ronald Reagan: “When a Hollywood performer, lacking distinction even as an actor can become a leading war hawk candidate for the Presidency, only the irrationalities induced by a war psychosis can explain such a melancholy turn of events.”

The March on Washington was about jobs and freedom, and Congress is avoiding any discussion about both. The country needs to fight back against those who refuse to recognize the importance of economic equality and who define freedom as “freedom to oppress others.”

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