Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Let America Vote

“All types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent negroes from becoming registered voters. The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition.” - Martin Luther King, Jr. in the historic “Give Us the Ballot” speech delivered on May 17, 1957 ​— 60 years ago today.

Decades later, we're still working to remove barriers to the ballot box. The poll taxes and literacy tests of Dr. King's time are today's voter ID and obscure domicile requirements.

The tactics may be different, but the goal is the same: So some politicians can keep their jobs and power by way of disenfranchising voters. 

Listening to Dr. King's "Give Us the Ballot" speech reminds us that we must be vigilant, vocal and organize to protect voting rights for all Americans.

Let America Vote

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Thursday, May 4, 2017

President Donald Trump succeeds in trashing civil rights ~ @RevJJackson

President Donald Trump succeeds in trashing civil rights
May 3, 2017

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, arrives to speak during a school choice event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Wednesday. | Evan Vucci/AP

The reviews of Donald Trump’s first 100 days have generally focused on his failures, flip-flops and follies. We’ve heard a lot about what he’s failed to achieve, but far too little about what he is intent on doing.
Trump’s time in office so far has been a systematic and vicious assault on civil rights. The progress that was won with struggle, sacrifice and legislation is being subverted by ink and administrative actions and deregulation. Trump is intent on rolling back the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, and in his first 100 days the damage has already begun.
He appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a judge with a record of rulings undermining the rights of workers, women, LGBTQ community, and protections of the environment and democracy.
Gorsuch, selected from a list provided by the far-right Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation, is so extreme that he was confirmed only after Republicans overturned the Senate’s long-established rules to get him confirmed with a mere majority. Gorsuch’s accession to the court now reconstitutes a five-person activist right-wing majority that will continue to undermine voting rights, worker rights and civil rights.
Trump appointed Jefferson Beauregard Sessions as his attorney general, a man who derides the Voting Rights Act as “intrusive” and celebrates the Shelby decision that undermined it. Sessions reversed the Justice Department’s position on Texas’ racially discriminatory voter ID law. He has reversed the commitment to phase out private for-profit prisons, and has moved to abandon vital police accountability measures that had bipartisan support. He’s threatening sanctuary cities while gearing up for mass deportations that would break up families and separate mothers from children.
Trump issued his Muslim travel ban, an executive order barring citizens of selected Muslim-majority nations from visiting the United States, although federal courts blocked it as an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom. Trump’s toxic rhetoric has been followed by an increase in hate crimes across the country.
To head the Department of Education, Trump appointed billionaire Betsy DeVos, who for years has devoted herself to undermining public schools and who defends deep cuts in everything from support for schools in poor neighborhoods to Pell grants that help the children of working families afford college.
Trump has given his economic policy over to former Goldman Sachs bankers, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House Economic Council head Gary Cohn, and they have rolled out plans to give the very rich deep tax cuts that they will use to justify slashing programs vital to working people, including Medicaid, education and even Meals On Wheels.
Trump has stacked his cabinet with committed opponents of the missions of the very departments they head: Scott Pruitt at EPA, Ben Carson at Housing and Urban Development, Rick Perry at Energy, Alex Acosta at Labor.
Trump has signed 13 resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act overturning Obama-era regulations, including the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order that required federal contractors to pay their workers a living wage and to obey workplace safety regulations.
Trump continues to assert the lie that there was mass voting fraud in 2016, setting the stage for more efforts to restrict voting, particularly for people of color and the young.
This list could go on — and, as Trump has said, 100 days is only the beginning.
We have big challenges in this country. We have to make this economy work for working people. We have to rescue the democracy from the corruptions of big money. We have to address catastrophic climate change before it is too late. We have to stop fighting endless wars abroad and begin rebuilding at home. We have to make it easier, not harder for people to register and vote. In each of these areas and more, Trump is headed the wrong way.
Yes, some of his efforts have failed, but he is already doing damage to the common good.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Bernie: I am going back on the road

Friends of Bernie Sanders

With Trump's election, we live in a pivotal moment in American history. This country will either move in the direction of an authoritarian government where the rich get richer and everyone else gets poorer, or we will successfully fight back and build a strong grassroots movement to create a government which represents all of us, not just Donald Trump and others in the billionaire class.
That's the struggle we now face. No one can sit on the sidelines. Not now. The only way we win is when we stand together and fight back. I need your help to do that.
The bad news is that Trump's agenda – huge tax breaks for billionaires, enormous increases in military spending, massive cuts in health care and programs that protect the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor, horrific attacks on environmental protection and scapegoating the immigrant community – constitutes the most reactionary set of policies in the modern history of our country.
The good news is that the resistance to this extremist Trump/Republican agenda is growing rapidly. We saw that as millions participated in the Women's March in January. We saw that as hundreds of thousands attended rallies and town meetings in February and March to successfully defeat the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and throw 24 million Americans off of their health insurance. We are seeing that now as people across the country are mobilizing for Green Day events to take on the fossil fuel industry, combat climate change and transform our energy system to energy efficiency and sustainable energy.
When we launched our presidential campaign two years ago, I told you that victory would require the active participation of millions of Americans in every community across the country. That it would require nothing short of a political revolution to combat the demoralization so many feel about the political process. That's what I believed then. That's what I believe now. And that's what I am attempting to do.
During the last several months I have visited a number of states where Donald Trump won. My message: working people must not support a president and a party beholden to powerful special interests and the top 1 percent. We cannot support a party which wants to divide us up by race, gender, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.
I was in Wisconsin where progressives are determined to overcome the Trump victory in that state and elect candidates who, in 2018, will stand with working people and not the 1 percent. I was in Kansas where, in one of the most conservative states in the country, over 5,000 people attended a progressive rally in Topeka. I was in Mississippi, a state today heavily dominated by the Republican Party, where brave workers in the auto industry are fighting for a union. I was in West Virginia, where Trump won a landslide victory, but where many people are beginning to rethink the wisdom of that decision.
And next week I am going back on the road, visiting areas of the country often ignored by Democrats. I will be in Maine, Kentucky, Florida, Nevada, Nebraska, Utah and Arizona. I will be talking about the grotesque level of income and wealth inequality that we face and the need for the rich to start paying their fair share of taxes. I will discuss the Medicare-for-all, single-payer legislation that I will soon be introducing. I will urge people to join the Fight for $15 minimum wage struggle to make sure all Americans enjoy a living wage. I will ask people across the country to help us create millions of jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure. I will explain the need to aggressively move forward for comprehensive immigration reform and why we must immediately fix our broken criminal justice system.
But I can’t do it alone.
Please attend the rallies in your area. Please work with me to revitalize American democracy and advance the political revolution.
Like I said from the beginning, our political revolution was never about one candidate. It was about creating a mass movement for real change in this country. That's the struggle we began. That's the struggle we'll continue. No turning back now.
In solidarity,
Bernie Sanders

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