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National Politics

Video: Arlington's Terron Sims, Other Iraq War Veterans, Urge Congress to Support Iran Deal

by: lowkell

Tue Aug 25, 2015 at 09:40:57 AM EDT

Excellent ad, very tough but also realistic, which is exactly what our approach towards Iran should be (in their view, the view of many intelligence and military people, a former head of the Mossad, most of our allies, etc.). Great job by Terron Sims of Arlington and his fellow Iraq War veterans on this one. Now, I'm looking at you, Sen. Warner, to announce your support for this historic agreement.

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Video: Conservative Commentator Michael Gerson Compares Trump to UKIP, National Front

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 21, 2015 at 21:04:14 PM EDT

Gerson: "What Trump is appealing to has more of a feel of European right-wing politics, ok, UKIP or the National Front -- highly nationalistic, resentment of foreigners, we've been betrayed by our leaders. There's some deep and disturbing things that are being appealed to here..."

Gerson also predicts that Trump "could damage the Republican Party for decades to come" with his immigrant/Latino bashing. On another note, Gerson rips Trump wannabe Scott Walker as "not thoughtful," "not prepared," and "not playing in the big leagues."

For his part, Mark Shields notes that Trump is appealing to an extremely angry Republican electorate, a "mean-spiritedness in the electorate he's appealing to...anti-immigrant...[a position which is] devastating the Republican Party in the long run."

Finally, Shields raises a great point that's well worth quoting: "What [Bush and Rubio] risk [by not condemning Trump strongly now] is that what Trump is doing and saying becomes so odious and so offensive that it almost will be seen as a moral surrender on your part, ultimately in the general election, that you didn't stand up to him...that's a real risk that anybody runs by not confronting him at this point."

The problem,  of course, is that large swaths of the Republican primary electorate really IS xenophobic, ultra-nationalist, etc., etc. And that's the truly horrifying part of all this...

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RIP Julian Bond; Thank You for Your Courage, Leadership for Justice and Equality

by: lowkell

Sun Aug 16, 2015 at 08:23:32 AM EDT

Statement from the Southern Poverty Law Center sums up my feelings on this great man and this great loss:
We've lost a champion.  

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary civil rights activist Julian Bond, SPLC's first president. He was 75 years old and died last evening, August 15, in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

From his days as the co-founder and communications director of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s to his chairmanship of the NAACP in the 21st century, Julian was a visionary and tireless champion for civil and human rights. He served as the SPLC's president from our founding in 1971 to 1979, and later as a member of its board of directors.

With Julian's passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice. He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all.

Julian is survived by his wife, Pamela Horowitz, a former SPLC staff attorney, and his five children.

Not only has the country lost a hero today, we've lost a great friend.

- Morris Dees, co-founder and chief trial attorney of the Southern Poverty Law Center

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Anti-"Cuckservatives" + Kochservatives = Today's Republican Party?

by: lowkell

Fri Aug 14, 2015 at 10:24:08 AM EDT

From the insurgent outlier party that went off the right-wing extremist deep end a while ago and keeps on going, now comes a disgusting new term that only warped minds could think up:
As Republican presidential candidates offered careful answers to questions about education, immigration and foreign policy at last week's debate, streams of tweets panned their responses as too soft or disingenuous. Senator Marco Rubio is beholden to corporate interests, one said. Former Gov. Jeb Bush is weak on immigration, crowed another. Many of them were adorned with a cryptic hashtag bearing a new word: "cuckservative."

The phrase has caught on among a segment of disaffected Republicans, some of whom hold white nationalist ideologies and who feel many of the party's presidential candidates are not conservative enough. And they are frustrated by the willingness of Republicans in general to compromise on a variety of issues, like spending or the Confederate battle flag, or they accuse them of being beholden to their donors...

...But what does the word actually mean?

Cuckservative is an amalgamation of the word cuckold - the husband of an adulterous woman - and conservative.

The implication is that mainstream Republicans, like jilted husbands, are facing humiliation and have lost sight of their futures.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, called the term the "ultimate insult" that the white nationalist movement can deliver to politicians who they feel have veered too far to the left. "The term, at its core, may be racist," the group said.

So this is seriously demented stuff, no doubt. What's frightening is that the "community of conservatives who think Republicans should be racists" apparently constitute "a relatively sizable number of people" in the Republican base. Here in Virginia, there are numerous examples of these types. For instance, recently Shaun Kenney, the former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia, called for a "long overdue" "Republican civil war" against "rank nativists and racists" in the party. Kenney specifically called out Jeanine Martin, but he could have just as easily mentioned many others, including that party's 2013 gubernatorial nominee, Ken Cuccinelli, who infamously compared "our immigration policy" to breaking up "rat families." Then there's the chair of the RPV, John Whitbeck, who likes telling anti-Semitic "jokes." Since we're close to the 11th anniversary of George Allen's famous "macaca moment," let's not forget him either. Let's also not forget Republican Women of Clifton Make Racist "Joke" About "Barocky Road" Obama or Virginia Beach Republican Committee Chair Forwards Racist Email or...we could go on all day, really, and that's not even counting national Republican racists and xenophobes like Donald Trump, the front runner right now for the party's 2016 presidential nomination, along with his millions of rabid supporters.

So yeah, it's no surprise that the party of the racist "Southern Strategy," of "Willie Horton," of Teabaggers holding virulently racist signs and chanting virulently racist slogans against the nation's first African-American President at their rallies, is filled with racists, nativists, etc.  

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On Iran, Cooch Praises Webb; Leading Scientists, Retired Generals and Most Countries Praise Deal

by: lowkell

Wed Aug 12, 2015 at 11:11:51 AM EDT

Also add in 29 Leading Scientists Back Obama on Iran Nuclear Deal along with P5+1 Nations Press Senate Democrats to Support Iran Deal, and note articles in the Israeli press like Netanyahu Must Stop Silencing Intel Chiefs Who Find Iran Deal Acceptable. On the other side are mostly Republicans, who would oppose Obama if he found a cure for cancer; superhawks, who want to "bomb bomb bomb bomb bomb Iran," and...Jim Webb, for whatever reason. Weird, but the bottom line is this: the thought of being on the same side as Ken Cuccinelli should give anyone the willies, as the guy's an extremist who has been not just wrong but WILDLY wrong on almost every issue since he burst onto the Virginia political scene.

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How to Steal a Democracy

by: Andy Schmookler

Mon Aug 10, 2015 at 15:27:46 PM EDT

Imagine that you are a group of rich and powerful people eager to be still richer and more powerful. But you live in a democratic society that gives each citizen an equal vote and thus sets sets limit on how much power you can amass. So you decide to steal the people's democracy.

How can this be done?

For starters, you would work to prevent the people from working together. As long as they can unite for common purposes, they can prevent you from gaining power over them.

Sowing hatred among them will work well to stop them from coming together. You don't have to reach all the people--half will do. If one half hates and distrusts the other half deeply enough, that will suffice to ensure that the people will be unable to cooperate to achieve goals they have in common.

To sow this enmity, you will need a media system. Through that system, you continually tell the people who listen to you how terrible the others are. They are not your fellow citizens with a somewhat different point of view, you tell them. They are the enemy. They don't love the nation; they have betrayed it. They want to steal your liberties and set up a tyranny over you.

Making one large group of basically decent citizens hate another large group of basically decent citizens requires getting people to believe many false ideas and "facts." That's not difficult in a totalitarian society where the ruling powers can block competing sources of information. But it's a huge challenge in a democratic society where freedoms of speech and press give everyone access to information that can expose your lies.

This challenge can be met, however, by training the audience to listen to no one but you.  

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We Need Our Politics to Be Reasonable

by: aprilmoore

Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 15:41:04 PM EDT

( - promoted by lowkell)

This article ran in the Northern Virginia Daily, one of the two main newspapers serving the 26th senatorial district, where I am running as the Democratic nominee to replace Mark Obenshain in the Virginia State Senate.

I know I'm not the only one unhappy with the state of our politics these days.  Here's the change I'd like to see in how our politics are conducted.

Our founders were men of reason.  And they tried to set up a system of government in which the people would elect representatives who, reasoning together, would achieve the public good.

Wouldn't it be nice if, in our General Assembly, our leaders would engage in reasoned discussion to find those policies that would lead to the best possible Virginia? Wouldn't it be good if we citizens could discuss our public business in the same spirit?

Some recent criticism of me helps show the gulf between how we discuss issues these days and how the men of reason who founded our nation would have wanted us to discuss them.

This criticism took note of my saying we should act responsibly in the face of the challenge of climate change- took note of it, that is, to dismiss it as a "doomsday message."

Nothing reasonable in such dismissal.

Reason tells us that on scientific questions, we should listen to the scientists. The question, "What's happening to earth's climate?" is a scientific question. And 97 percent of the scientists in the field of climate agree there's a problem we urgently need to address.

When the best understanding that humankind has available to it is sending us such a clear warning, it is not a "doomsday message" to say we should heed that warning. It's simply common sense.

In science, 97 percent agreement means the scientists are virtually unanimous. There is no conceivable justification for any politician - or any other layman, for that matter - to pretend to understand a scientific matter better than the scientists. Or to ignore the scientists either.

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Sen. Tim Kaine Announces Support for Iran Nuclear Deal

by: lowkell

Tue Aug 04, 2015 at 12:56:01 PM EDT

Good news from Sen. Kaine's office; now waiting for Sen. Warner.



WASHINGTON, D.C. – In remarks on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations & Armed Services Committees and co-author of the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, announced his support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to peacefully limit Iran’s nuclear program.

In announcing his support, Kaine said: “I conclude that the JCPOA is a dramatic improvement over the status quo in improving global security. The agreement takes a nuclear weapons program that was on the verge of success and disables it for many years through peaceful diplomatic means with sufficient tools for the international community to verify whether Iran is meeting its commitments. In the negotiation, America has honored its best traditions and shown that patient diplomacy can achieve what isolation and hostility cannot.  For this reason, I will support it.”


Kaine’s full remarks are below:  

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Schmookler's New Book Takes Aim at Liberals' "Extraordinary Weakness" in Face of Right-Wing Threat

by: lowkell

Sun Jul 26, 2015 at 11:58:02 AM EDT

Blue Virginia readers are, presumably highly familiar with Andy Schmookler's fundamental thesis about America today: 1) that the "political right - and its political arm, the Republican Party - has become an extraordinarly destructive force in the American body politic"; and 2) that "the political left...and its political arm, the Democratic Party, has shown extraodinary weakness in the face of the threat posed to the nation by that destructive force." Andy has also written extensively on this subject at The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and elsewhere. Now, Andy skillfully pulls it all together into highly readable paperback book form, in What We're Up Against: The Destructive Force at Work in Our World - And How We Can Defeat It. Andy sent me an advance, review copy, which I've just finished reading. Other than strongly recommending that people  read it, here are a few thoughts and questions in no particular order.

*I'm not a huge fan of the word "evil," as I believe it's has far too much baggage - religious, etc. - and can be offputting (although Andy does a strong job or arguing why it's an important and necessary word to use, not in a religious but in a secular context). Personally, perhaps given my background in social psychology and the broader social sciences, I prefer Andy's discussion of the right in America as a force for "brokenness" - dishonesty, environmental destruction, inequality, conflict, hostility to knowledge and empiricism, an increasingly unrestrained corporate takeover of our (soon-to-be-former?) democracy, etc.

*Andy's approach is highly intellectual (he contrasts it with the emotional approach embodied in the book, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which can be argued stirred Northerners to increased anti-slavery activism and even helped trigger the Civil War), although well written and suffused with passionate intensity, yet I do wonder if this book will find an audience in liberal America (I hope it does; it certainly will NOT be read by those on the right). I went back and looked through Andy's postings at The Huffington Post and Daily Kos, in particular, and found very little discussion stimulated. Perhaps even worse, as Andy himself notes in his book, what discussion DID occur wasn't really on point, "almost always ignored the larger assertions within each piece and focused instead on the most immediate and concrete points," simply didn't light the "fire" Andy was aiming to ignite. The questions are: a) why was that; and b) is there any chance of this situation changing? I don't really have the answers to either of those questions.

*Andy certainly takes a shot at what he calls the "abdication of the press," arguing that the media has ignored "one of the biggest stories in American history" - "the rise to power of a force more consistently destructive and dishonest than anything seen before at center state of American politics (except perhaps for the decade leading up to the Civil War)." I wish Andy had delved more into this issue, for instance looking at why the media has abdicated its role, resorting instead to mindless, cowardly, and ultimately flat-out false "both sides" "reporting" - because I think it's extremely important as well as a continuing, serious problem (e.g., just this morning Chuck Todd allowed vicious racist, anti-Semite and homophobe Pat Buchanan on his show --for the "conservative" point of view, presumably? Still, WTF?).

*Instead, Andy spends a great deal of time and effort in this book laying out the concepts of "wholeness," "brokenness," "evil as a force," the Republican Party as a "pure case" of that "evil," the "weakening of the cultural 'immune system' that has allowed evil to advance," the "failure of the rest of the American body respond appropriately," etc.
*While Andy believes to his core that the Republican Party and the "evil force" it represents must be firmly and relentlessly confronted, he argues that he does not - and the rest of us should not - have any "malice" towards the "broken" individuals in that party, but more a feeling of "compassion" towards them, a spirit of "with malice towards none," quoting President Lincoln from his second inaugural address.

*As for America's liberals, the people who Andy aims his book at, I sense a combination of frustration, exasperation and a bit of hope that with the right message, presumably delivered by the right messenger in an effective way, liberal Americans can be roused to action against the "evil force." For now, though, Andy laments that liberal Americans simply are "blind" (willfully or otherwise) to the evil; the problem being, of course, that "can't hit what you can't (or won't) see," as Andy puts it.  

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What's Taking Over America

by: Andy Schmookler

Sat Jul 25, 2015 at 10:38:24 AM EDT

[This is running as an op/ed in newspapers in my part of Virginia.]

We, the people of the United States, are losing control of our destiny to an untrustworthy power.

It stands to reason that if money can buy political power, whoever has the most money will rule. The Supreme Court's Citizens United decision took us a long way down that path.  A recent study confirms that what the people want has almost no effect on political outcomes while moneyed interests have considerable influence.

If America is to be ruled by whoever commands the most money, it will be the corporate system, far more than individual billionaires, that calls the shots. This corporate system does not operate the same as a human being, and it is more than the sum of individual corporations, or even of whole industries.

Each powerful corporation and industry seeks to get government to serve its special interests - as in the subsidies given to oil and coal companies. But the corporate world has substantial common interests. Those who operate the system recognize those common interests and act to serve them.

It is in their interest to have a citizenry that distrusts the one power that might rival the power of the corporate world - the government. And the corporate system has worked to foment such distrust.

The history of how the United States came to have five justices on the Supreme Court hand down a decision like Citizens United - opening the floodgates for the rule of money - shows how the system can work over time to make our government its tool. It takes some doing to get five men onto the Supreme Court willing to say , with a straight face, "We now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

Likewise, it shows the power of the corporate system that today's Democratic president and Republican-controlled Congress are moving toward passing a trade bill that Nobel-laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz calls "a secret corporate takeover." That bill would take powers from our elected government and our legal system and hand them to a corporate-controlled panel. Regulation of economic activity could become so costly to governments at every level that the corporate system would be freed of some basic restraints.

Not just stealing the people's power over our democracy but also stealing power away from the democratic system itself.

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Video: President Obama Says Biggest Frustration Has Been Gun Violence

by: lowkell

Fri Jul 24, 2015 at 12:48:03 PM EDT

Hours after President Obama made these comments to the BBC, there was another mass shooting, this one by a Tea Partier who hated Obama, admired Hitler and wanted women to shut up in church and who Suggested Admiration For White Supremacy. Sensing a pattern here?

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Thoughts on Mike Signer's Superb Book, "Becoming Madison"

by: lowkell

Fri Jul 17, 2015 at 08:11:30 AM EDT

I just finished reading Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father, by author/scholar/politician Mike Signer (former Democratic Lt. Governor candidate; recently elected to the Charlottesville City Council). I've got a few thoughts, but first here's what current U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) and former U.S. Senator Chuck Robb (D-VA) have to say about the book.

Tim Kaine: "James Madison would be called a 'flip-flopper' in today's political climate. Thank God he changed his mind and concluded that adding a Bill of Rights to the Constitution was not just good politics but necessary policy. This is just one of the wonderful aspects of James Madison's life that Michael Signer captures so well in this important biography. Our nation owes huge debts to Madison, and today's civic leaders owe a huge debt to Signer for reminding us why."

Chuck Robb: "One of the great contributions of Michael Signer's Becoming Madison is the relevance of Madison's role in the epochal debates surrounding the birth of our nation to the issues we face today, especially Madison's commitment to attacking ideas rather than individuals. The way Signer captures the palpable tension, vitriol, and passion in Madison's war of words and ideas with Henry is masterful."

Let me just start by admitting that I knew VERY little about James Madison before reading this book, and now that I know a lot more about this truly great man, I'm embarrassed about that. Why? Because, as Mike Signer portrays Madison, this anxiety-ridden-but-briliant man was arguably the most important figure in ensuring that the United States of America as we know it ever came into being in the first place. As one reviewer puts it:

Signer's book is full of exciting revelations, and I think an alternate subtitle could have been: What They Never Taught You In High School History Class. I never knew, for instance, that, in those few short weeks of the Constitutional Convention, Madison changed the course of American history. Had he lost the debates against Henry, it is quite possible that the United States as we know it today would never have come into being, and that I may have been born in a country called Virginia. I never knew that Patrick Henry, that famous firebrand and author of the immortal words "Give me liberty or give me death!" could be petty, self-serving, manipulative, and dangerous for democracy. I never knew of the close friendships between Madison and people like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe. It was fun to get to know the founding fathers through their private correspondence and conversations they held while visiting one another in their homes. Thanks to Signer's book, the Founding Fathers became much more real to me.

I also came away from this book with a much deeper appreciation of just how messy and fragile and beautiful American democracy is. No matter whose side you are on in the Constitutional Convention debates Signer powerfully narrates, you sense that Madison and Henry and their respective supporters were fighting for big and important things. They were fighting for the fate of democracy itself, and they knew it in their bones. How different this is from the petty self-interests, private agendas, finger-pointing, and general vacuity of so much contemporary political debate. The way Signer tells the tale, Madison and the other founding fathers can inspire us in our own time to strive for a higher level of political discourse, and to become our best selves as Americans and as human beings. Therein lies the lasting legacy of James Madison, and of Signer's wonderful book.

I agree with all that, and would just add a few more points that jumped out at me.
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Rep. Don Beyer Applauds President Obama's Iran Deal

by: lowkell

Tue Jul 14, 2015 at 11:39:27 AM EDT

Here's a statement on the Iran deal from Rep. Don Beyer. Also, see the statement from Sen. Tim Kaine on the "flip." Personally, my initial reaction to this deal is that we all need to look at the fine print, but that in general it's the "least bad" option when it comes to Iran, given that the second "least bad" option was basically endless bombing/war/sanctions (the latter would eventually fall apart, as the international coalition would splinter) to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Having said that, of course I don't trust Iran's horrendous, human-rights-abusing, terrorism-sponsoring, expansionistic theocratic dictatorship in any way, but unless anyone has a better idea regarding how to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons, I really don't feel like listening to hysterics from the usual suspects - John McCain, Linsdey Graham, Bibi Netanyahu, etc. I'd also note that the Bush administration completely failed to head off Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapons program in 8 years of their administration, and that yet again a Democratic administration appears to have achieved what a Republican administration couldn't. Shocker, eh? ;)
July 14, 2015 (Washington, DC) - Congressman Don Beyer, former Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, applauded the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action negotiated by the Obama Administration's and the P5+1 Group with Iran over its nuclear program:

"This is an historic accomplishment for President Obama, Secretary Kerry, the American negotiators, and the diplomatic process to prevent Iran's nuclear ambitions," said Rep. Beyer. "I commend our diplomats for skillfully averting a global showdown and blocking Iran's efforts to obtain the bomb."

Today's deal, announced by Secretary Kerry this morning, is in line with the April 2nd framework agreed to in Lausanne and imposes significant obstacles blocking Iran's path to a nuclear weapon in exchange for sanctions relief, dependent on critical nonproliferation commitments.

Beyer continued: "We cannot allow a nuclear Iran and this deal will serve as a lasting deterrent to keep the United States out of another devastating war in the Middle East.  Now I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure this deal goes forward unhindered."

As Ambassador to Switzerland, Rep. Beyer hosted negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 countries and Germany in Switzerland, including the meeting in November 2013 during which the six countries concluded the primary agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA).

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Former Rep. Tom Perriello Appointed Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa

by: lowkell

Mon Jul 06, 2015 at 13:00:55 PM EDT

Congratulations to former Rep. Tom Perriello on his appointment by Secretary of State John Kerry as "Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa." Every time I see Tom get another important job, it reminds me of three things: 1) that he is one of the sharpest people out there; 2) that he was a huge asset to Virginia's 5th CD and to Congress more broadly; and 3) that the voters of Virginia's 5th CD, in their infinite wisdom, made a huge mistake in downgrading from Tom Perriello as their representative to the mindless right-wingnut (Robert Hurt) they've got in there now. Heck, Hurt probably can't even name the U.S. Great Lakes, let alone the countries in the Great Lakes region of Africa (let alone co-author the latest Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review)! Heh. Anyway, congratulations to Tom Perriello, and good luck in your important new job!
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Much More Than Just My Two Cents: Protecting the Vote is at the Heart of Liberty

by: KathyinBlacksburg

Sun Jul 05, 2015 at 17:10:46 PM EDT

"We hold these truths self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

With much to celebrate yesterday, we celebrated our nation's birthday. We wished each other a Happy July 4th. We gathered with families and friends. There is much to celebrate. Our great country continues to move forward celebrating all our nation's people. We are inextricably bound together. Together many of us work to make more perfect this union, as our forbears believed we must.

But today, on July 5th urgent work looms. With the GOP gaming elections in multiple ways, voting has become a cruel joke on too many in the electorate. So far our side has not fully mobilized to confront the decades-long attempt to strip you and me of our vote. This is not imaginary. It happens, as I will illustrate.

I believe that until recently Democrats have been unwilling to talk too loudly about this issue for fear that such talk might inadvertently suppress the vote even more. We know that when Democrats turn out, we win. This can be true even in heavily gerrymandered districts. Thus getting every last legal voter registered and to the polls is vitally important in upsetting the GOP gerrymandered apple cart. But it is not gerrymandering alone which keeps Democrats from voting. It is the entire bundle of tactics and strategies designed to peel away votes, a few votes here, a few there, a thousand here and a thousand there, until finally the cumulative effect is major. Remember all those too-close-to-call elections by margins under 100 votes and going into recounts?

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Dylann Roof and a Culture that Turns the Truth on Its Head

by: Andy Schmookler

Tue Jun 30, 2015 at 09:50:50 AM EDT

"You rape our women," Dylann Roof is reported to have declared just prior to shooting nine black people in a Charleston church. And in that, he showed a mentality that reflects something deep in the culture.

It's not just that the idea of the black rapist has a long and sordid history in the South. And it goes deeper than that the accusation was generally a false one.

More than that, it is a mirror image of the truth. It turns things upside down. Black is white, and white is black.

While the image of the black man raping the white woman has been a powerful and deep part of the Southern political culture, the historical reality of the problem of interracial rape was the negative of that picture: i.e., the white man raping the black woman.

DNA studies have shown that perhaps as many as 35% of African-American men carry a Y chromosome of European origin.  

The meaning of that is unambiguous: in the history of this nation, many black women gave birth to children sired by white men. When the black women are owned by the white men, it is hardly voluntary. It is plain in the history of many Southern plantation families: white masters forced themselves on black women.  

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Video: President Obama Delivers Eulogy at Rev. Pinckney's Funeral

by: lowkell

Fri Jun 26, 2015 at 17:00:00 PM EDT

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When Events Amaze

by: Andy Schmookler

Wed Jun 24, 2015 at 19:59:38 PM EDT

This past week has been one of those special times that prove how unpredictable the flow of events can be. It is an important realization, in our dark era in America, to recognize that our sense of what's possible is likely way too constricted. It tells us that it is never appropriate to yield entirely to despair because we "know" that there's no way things can turn around and get better.

I'm talking about the amazing speed with which, in the past several days, America - most definitely including many leaders on the American right - has been turning away from some of the long-celebrated emblems of the Confederate States of America.

The Confederate Battle Flag is being rejected in some places that have long held out for this supposedly guiltless icon of that American region that was willing to fight a Civil War to defend the rights of white people to own and exploit black people and that, two generations ago, resisted with defiant passion being compelled to abandon the regime of Jim Crow by which the descendants of those black slaves were terrorized and oppressed.

The Republican governor of South Carolina says it's time that the Stars and Bars cease flying over the South Carolina state house. The governor of Tennessee has called for the removal from his state house of a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate general and one of the founders of the Ku Klux Klan.

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Head of Racist "Council Of Conservative Citizens" Gave to Republicans George Allen, Ken Cuccinelli

by: lowkell

Mon Jun 22, 2015 at 12:13:12 PM EDT

Why am I not surprised at any of this?
The leader of a rightwing group that Dylann Roof allegedly credits with helping to radicalise him against black people before the Charleston church massacre has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans such as presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum.

Earl Holt has given $65,000 to Republican campaign funds in recent years while inflammatory remarks - including that black people were "the laziest, stupidest and most criminally-inclined race in the history of the world" - were posted online in his name.

And yes, this racist scumbag has donated to Virginia Republicans. That includes $1,000 to George Allen, who as you will recall was a big fan of the racist "CCC." Also, check out VPAP for Holt's $1,000 contribution to 2013 Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Cuccinelli. Lovely, eh?

By the way, if you have the stomach for it, you can check out the CCC's Statement of Principles here. A few "highlights" include:

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Since the Racist CCC is in the News, Here's a Flashback to George Allen's Ties to That Hate Group

by: lowkell

Sun Jun 21, 2015 at 11:34:59 AM EDT

Given the white supremacist murderer in the news these days, and especially given that his website "reflects the strong influence of a white nationalist group called the Council of Conservative Citizens" (CCC), I thought it would be timely to recall that former U.S. Senator George Allen (R) was also a big fan of the CCC. When this news came out in late August 2006, I wrote about it on Raising Kaine, and the reaction from right wingnuts was...let's just say, not exactly simpatico (let alone condemnatory of Allen's deeply longstanding, deeply-ingrained racism). To the contrary, at least one of these folks ginnned up the faux "outrage" and demanded that I be fired from the Webb for Senate campaign for calling out Allen for being a racist (as it turned out, not only wasn't I fired, but Webb for Senate senior strategist told me I should wear the attacks "as a badge of honor"). We soon learned that Allen's love for the Confederacy, "habitual use of the 'n word," etc. went back many years, as more and more of his former teammates, classmates, etc. began to tell the media. There was also the story about how Allen "stuffed a deer's head into the mailbox of one of the [black families'] homes." Plus, of course, there was the 'macaca' incident you might have heard of, in which Allen angrily used a racial slur on a Webb staffer whose family hailed from India. But racism there, according to Allen's defenders on the right. Just like E.W. Jackson and many others on the (far) right today won't acknowledge racism as the prime motive in the Charleston shootings. Sadly, when it comes to the right wing in this country, the more things change when it comes to America's demographics and race relations, the more they stay the same with many conservatives in this country.

Is anybody out there still seriously arguing that George Allen isn't an outright racist?  Well, read  this, just published by The Nation magazine:

Only a decade ago, as governor of Virginia, Allen personally initiated an association with the Council of Conservative Citizens, the successor organization to the segregationist White Citizens Council and among the largest white supremacist groups.

...After speaking with CCC founder and former White Citizens Council organizer Gordon Lee Baum and two of his cohorts, Allen suggested that they pose for a photograph with then-National Rifle Association spokesman and actor Charlton Heston. The photo appeared in the Summer 1996 issue of the CCC's newsletter, the Citizens Informer.

According to Baum, Allen had not naively stumbled into a chance meeting with unfamiliar people. He knew exactly who and what the CCC was about and, from Baum's point of view, was engaged in a straightforward political transaction. "It helped us as much as it helped him," Baum told me. "We got our bona fides." And so did Allen.

Descended from the White Citizens' Councils...the CCC is designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In its "Statement of Principles," the CCC declares, "We also oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called "affirmative action" and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races."

So how's Allen going to explain THIS one?  What, he thought the "CCC" stood for "Civilian Conservation Corps" or something?  And if you believe THAT one, I've got some good "caca" to sell you.

{UPDATE:  Here are some classic quotes from the CCC...courtesy of Wikipedia.
*"Each of the three major races plays a distinct role in history. . . . The whites were the creators of civilization, the yellows its sustainers and copyists, the blacks its destroyers." (, 12/98)
*Abraham Lincoln was "surely the most evil American in history," and Martin Luther King was a "depraved miscreant.+óGé¼-¥ (, 12/98)
*"The Jews' motto is 'never forget, and never forgive.' One can't agree with the way they've turned spite into welfare billions for themselves, but the 'never forget' part is very sound." (Citizens Informer, Winter/97)
*"The presence {in Congress} of even one white person with our interests foremost in his mind is simply unacceptable to the issues-obsessed conservative race traitors. Texas Governor George Bush and his brother Jeb in Florida have manifested their self-hatred by embracing Hispanics ahead of whites. Somehow we must find a way to relieve whites of their self-hatred." ("Open Letter to White People,+óGé¼-¥, 12/98)}

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