Category Archives: History

The Civil Rights Legacy: Yesterday and Tomorrow

 

Today is a day to celebrate the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and remember that there is still work to do for our nation’s citizens.

As we remember the life of Martin Luther King today, let us also acknowledge the contributions and, in some cases, the ultimate  sacrifices of the many trailblazers in civil rights for ethnic and religious minorities, women, the disabled, and sexual orientation. Some like Dr. King (Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Cesar Chavez, for example) are well-known. Others like Larry Doby need greater recognition and those who paid the ultimate price like Medgar Evers, James Chaney, Charles Goodman, and Michael Schwerner should never be forgotten.

We should also remember the contributions of bipartisan public servants, who steered this country in a progressive direction towards the much more inclusive culture we have today.

  • It was Harry Truman that integrated the armed forces.
  • It was Hubert Humphrey whose 1948 speech extolling civil rights at the Democratic National Convention started the process of breaking the back of segregationists control of the party.
  • It was the Warren Supreme Court, in the Brown versus the Board of Education decision,  that pronounced “separate but equal” in our public schools an abomination and unconstitutional.
  • It was the Eisenhower and Kennedy Administrations that sent federal troops to the Southern States to enforce that Supreme Court Decision.
  • It was Lyndon Johnson along with Republicans and Democrats that secured the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Act of the 1960s.
  • It was Richard Nixon who subtly integrated school districts through bussing.
  • It was George H.W. Bush that signed the American with Disabilities Act.
  • It was the Obama Administration and the Roberts Supreme Court that advanced the cause of Same-Sex Couples.

While these achievements have made us a better country, there is still much to do. There are still forces of reaction, as evidenced by the current occupant of the White House, one of the Congressional Representatives in Iowa, and a State Representative in Arizona that needs to be condemned and voted out. There are still incidents of racial animosity that need to be chastised and, in some cases, prosecuted.

There is still a need to educate people that diversity is a strength. There are still measures like the Equal Rights Amendment to ratify. Being Americans who have a history of overcoming greater prejudice in the past, this next chapter of progress should be easier to write.




New Progressive Enthusiasm and Energy at Arizona’s State Capital

Democratic Lawmakers rally at the Capital Rose Garden on the first day of the Legislative Session. Photo courtesy of Lynsey Robinson, Second Vice Chair of the Maricopa County Democratic Party.

There is a new Progressive Enthusiasm and Energy at Arizona’s State Capital

It can be seen in the hallways where people crowded the Democratic offices of the House joyfully discussing the legislative prospects for 2019.

It could be seen with the female Democratic legislators wearing white to honor the suffragette movement of 100 years ago.

It could be seen in the early morning rallies with progressive organizations and legislative leaders passionately expressing hope for their ideas and proposals for the New Year.

It could be seen on the House Floor where the parties are at their closest margins since 1966 and some state offices (Education and Secretary of State) were held once again by Democrats.

Democrats, encouraged by the 2018 elections, are ready to shape the legislative agenda and propel the state in a forward direction. Thanks to the gracious invitation of Legislative District 18 (where the author is also a PC) State Representative Mitzi Epstein, this writer was able to witness the events of the day including Governor Ducey’s State of the State Address.

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William P. Barr should not be confirmed by the Senate for Attorney General

William P. Barr, who faces a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing this week, should not be confirmed by the Senate due to his past and present sins against the rule of law and constitutional democracy.

Past Sins

William Barr was previously the Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush when he advocated that the president issue a blanket pardon to everyone charged in the Iran-Contra Affair just as independent prosecutor Lawrence Walsh was focused on obstruction of justice by President Bush himself. Barr thus was an architect of the cover-up of the Iran-Contra Affair in which no one was ever brought to justice for their crimes, establishing the perverse precedent that IOKIYAR. See, Bush Pardons 6 in Iran Affair, Aborting a Weinberger Trial; Prosecutor Assails ‘Cover-Up’ (December 24, 1992):

Six years after the arms-for-hostages scandal began to cast a shadow that would darken two Administrations, President Bush today granted full pardons to six former officials in Ronald Reagan’s Administration, including former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger.

Mr. Weinberger was scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 5 on charges that he lied to Congress about his knowledge of the arms sales to Iran and efforts by other countries to help underwrite the Nicaraguan rebels, a case that was expected to focus on Mr. Weinberger’s private notes that contain references to Mr. Bush’s endorsement of the secret shipments to Iran.

In one remaining facet of the inquiry, the independent prosecutor, Lawrence E. Walsh, plans to review a 1986 campaign diary kept by Mr. Bush. Mr. Walsh has characterized the President’s failure to turn over the diary until now as misconduct.

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A New Years Resolution to turn the East Valley of Maricopa County Blue

2018 Congressional District Five Democratic Party Nominee Joan Greene

Joan Greene, Lynsey Robinson, and other leading Maricopa County and state Democrats want to build on the successes of 2018 and spearhead efforts to turn the East Valley increasingly blue, making it totally Democratic by 2024.

Their goals include:

  • Having clean air to breathe and safe water to drink.
  • Having safe, accountable and technologically modern public traditional and charter schools with qualified instructors dedicated to student academic success, career development, and social development.
  • Providing quality affordable and accessible healthcare for everyone as well as retirement security.
  • Ensuring that people can live on living wages and if necessary “transition to other jobs when technology replaces them.” Instigating a modernized infrastructure and a “Green Deal” for our environment that champions “safety” and clean energy.
  • Electing public servants that support the community, play by the rules, are inclusive, and support solutions that benefit everyone rather than dark money supporters.

What portion of the voting public would not be for that agenda?

Maricopa County Democratic Party Second Vice Chair Lynsey Robinson

Former (and future) Arizona Congressional District Five Candidate Joan Greene and former LD12 State House (and newly elected Maricopa County Democratic Party Second Vice Chair and possible 2020 candidate for the LD 12 State Senate Seat) Lynsey Robinson are confident that the majority of the residents of the East Valley portion of Maricopa County. This area includes most of Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Queen Creek, Higley, and San Tan Valley, which are receptive to these community solution ideas and are poised to turn this part of Arizona bluer. Continue reading

Yes, a sitting president can be indicted for criminal misconduct (Updated)

Lazy media villagers and cable news jockeys — lookin’ at you Chuck Todd –rotely recite that the Office of Legal Counsel has legal memorandums which say that a sitting president cannot be indicted, “so whatcha gonna do” about Donald Trump?

This is an unsettled question of law.  If you actually read the lengthy OLC memos in full, you will find that the OLC first found that a sitting president can be indicted irrespective of any impeachment proceeding by law, but then made a policy argument against the Department of Justice from doing so.

In contrast, independent counsels Leon Jaworski and Kenneth Star both prepared legal memorandums which found that a grand jury could indict a sitting president, and Ken Starr even had an indictment prepared, which he decided not to pursue (see below the fold).

With Republicans in Congress aiding and abetting obstruction of justice by Donald Trump and expressing their willingness to abdicate their constitutionally prescribed duty to permit Trump’s ongoing criminal misconduct to continue unimpaired by Congress, GOP shrugs at Trump’s involvement in Cohen crimes, and ‘I Don’t Care’: GOP Senators Dismiss Allegations Against Trump, effectively rendering the impeachment clause remedy a nullity (i.e., jury nullification), the indictment of Donald Trump by Robert Mueller for his criminal misconduct may be necessary in order to obtain justice.

44 former U.S. Senators are so concerned about Trump’s criminal misconduct and Senate Republicans willingness to abdicate their responsibilities that they are literally pleading with senators to do their constitutionally prescribed duty in an extraordinary letter. We are former senators. The Senate has long stood in defense of democracy — and must again.

Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe was a guest on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell to explain that there is nothing in the Constitution that prevents the indictment of a sitting president. Video Link.

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