On September 15, 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed by white supremacist terrorists. Four black girls, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robinson and Carol Denise McNair were killed that day more than 50 years ago. The bombing was a testament to the vile oppression of white racism taken to extreme and violent levels.
Fast forward to June 17, 2015. A young white male gunman named Dylan Roof opens fire in the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Nine people were killed, most of them women, all of them black. Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lee Lance, Dewayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson and South Carolina senator Clementa C. Pinckney were all tragically murdered.
Between these two events, and many others that have occurred in and around the timeline, it’s clear as day that racism, when taken to the limit, can and will produce tragic consequences.
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The U.S. is offering new details about its plan to ease the Syrian refugee crisis by significantly increasing the number of worldwide refugees it will take in over the next two years.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the U.S. will accept 85,000 refugees from around the world next year, up from 70,000, and the number will rise to 100,000 in 2017.
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From The Iowa Statesman:
Republican presidential candidate former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee threw in a couple of attacks on President Obama over the weekend. First, he released a statement critical of the president’s nomination of the first openly gay head of a U.S. military branch, then he responded to the president’s decision to invite LGBTQ “rights” and pro-abortion activists to the White House reception to honor Pope Francis later this week.
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From The Hill:
The pope has become a political football.
Republicans want to use Pope Francis’s visit to Congress this week — the first ever by a pontiff — to highlight their opposition to abortion rights.
Democrats, meanwhile, hope the pope will lend new momentum to their efforts to address climate change, reform immigration law and win public approval for a nuclear deal with Iran.
Papal experts say Francis’s address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday is unlikely to fit wholesale into either party’s agenda, though they expect it to be more of a headache for Republicans
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From The Des Moines Register:
It would be unconstitutional to disqualify a Muslim from the presidency because of religion, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Sunday.
“You know, the Constitution specifies there shall be no religious test for public office and I am a constitutionalist,” the Texas senator said during the taping of “Iowa Press” at Iowa Public Television.
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As the bright 14 year-old Ahmed Mohamed learned in Texas, “Inventing while Muslim” can get you interrogated, arrested, and taken to a detention center for a mug shot and fingerprinting. The “not racist” and “not paranoid” Texas bigots show us how well FOX and the GOP have conditioned fearful Americans with their nativist indoctrination.
Twit of the Tundra Sarah Palin blamed the kid, of course. "Right. That's a clock, and I'm the Queen of England."
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From The Moderate Voice:
Last night , Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, attacking Planned Parenthood and almost in tears, described a video she saw of “a fully formed fetus on the table, it’s heart beating, it’s legs kicking while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.”
She “dared” Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch those tapes.
Today, the Wall Street Journal — not a liberal rag — claims:
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From Jon Perr at PERRspectives:
Some things never change. With some constants in life, like the invariable force of gravity or the sun rising in the east, that persistence is good news. (Imagine your morning coffee without them.) The bad news is that some myths, no matter how dangerous or thoroughly debunked, never seem to die.
This week, the greatest Republican zombie lie of them all--that tax cuts virtually pay for themselves--was once again exhumed for the American people.
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From Tommy Christopher at Mediaite:
In the least-surprising twist since Peter denied Jesus a third time (who saw that coming?), Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is under fire because of something racist. This time, the media is going after Donald Trump for failing to correct a guy at a New Hampshire town hall meeting when the guy said President Obama is a Muslim and “not even an American.”
Disturbingly little attention is being paid to the questioner’s actual question, which was how do we “get rid of” the Muslim “problem” in this country, which Trump said he’d look into:
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From Ted McLaughlin at jobsanger:
The federal government's fiscal year ends on September 30th. That means Congress has two weeks to pass a new budget, or the government will once again be shut down. And right now, it is looking like a shutdown is likely to happen. Both Boehner and McConnell, the GOP leaders of the House and Senate, have said they don't want another shutdown. They know that the GOP was mainly blamed for the last one.
But they have right-wing extremists in their party who disagree.
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From Michael John Scott at MadMikesAmerica:
Theo Bronkhorst, the man known as Cecil the Lion’s tracker, was recently arrested for allegedly smuggling sable antelope into South Africa. Bronkhurst’s lawyer managed to get the charges dropped, but the founder of Bushman Safaris still faces charges related to Cecil the Lion’s death, and it’s possible Bronkhurt will be served different charges over this new incident.
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Green Eagle expresses a bit of skepticism about press coverage of the election, debate, and policy.
Republicans are forever coming up with new schemes to replace Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid with vouchers. They have lost out, so far, when it is inevitably pointed out that these ideas are barely disguised plans to eliminate the programs. Libertarian Michael A. LaFerrara at Principled Perspectives reacts to yet another voucher program. He points out the danger of watering down conservative principles with voucher programs. Instead, he suggests conservatives should advocate for purity and simply abolish such government sponsored retirement and medical programs.
Last Of The Millenniums anticipates conservative religious differences with a pope who does not worship wealth, xenophobia, or climate denial.
- Dog Bless Us One And All really, truly hates this cell phone service provider.
Mike Huckabee is right that the Dred Scott decision was a moral and legal monstrosity. He is only wrong about some details: for instance gay rights, American history, the law, the courts, and every President since Thomas Jefferson.
John Myste argues that a blastocyst is no more human than a clipped fingernail. Anti-abortion activists must either find some other distinction or they must surrender any honest support for their own arguments.
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Actually something almost identical happened 2 years ago in Florida.
From VAV News:
Ahmed Mohamed doesn't need high school to work on his science projects -- he can do that at Space Camp.
The 14-year-old Muslim boy was handcuffed and suspended Monday after teachers at MacArthur High School in Irving, Texas, thought the homemade clock he brought to school was a hoax bomb.
"I built the clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her, she thought it was a threat to her," Ahmed said Wednesday. "It was really sad that she took the wrong impression from it and I got arrested for it later that day."
Since then, President Barack Obama, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and thousands of supporters have jumped to Ahmed's aid. And now, he may receive a scholarship to attend U.S. Space Camp in Alabama, where he'll join other would-be astronauts, engineers and technologists for some hands-on space training.
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From the National Review:
Moments ago in Rochester, N.H., where Donald Trump is holding a campaign rally, an unnamed man asked the Republican front-runner what we’re going to do about Muslims in America — like Obama.
Donald Trump did not offer a correction, saying instead, “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things.”
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From the Associated Press:
MUNICH (AP) — Embracing its role as a defender of those in need, Germany welcomed at least 10,000 more asylum seekers into the country Saturday. As officials worked to give all a firm roof over their weary heads, a packed stadium cheered some of the littlest newcomers, who walked in hand-in-hand with top soccer players.
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From The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — One of the longest economic expansions in American history remains so fragile that the Federal Reserve said on Thursday it would postpone any retreat from its stimulus campaign.
Janet L. Yellen, the Fed’s chairwoman, described the decision as a close call and said the central bank still expected to raise interest rates later this year.
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How shall we regard the law?
Well, you obey it if it’s right.
- Mike Huckabee, interviewed on ABC
by George Stephanopoulis, September 6, 2015
Defiance against the Supreme Court is not a new theme. It was not even a new idea during segregation-now-segregation-tomorrow-segregation-forever days. Make no mistake. "Impeach Earl Warren" did not originate with Miranda warnings. It started with Brown vs the Board of Education.
So I go back to my question. Is slavery the law of the land? Should it have been the law of the land because Dred Scott said so? Was that a correct decision? Should the courts have been irrevocably followed on that?
- Mike Huckabee, September 6, 2015
As Mike Huckabee points out by inference, anti-Court sentiment was not always the province of racial conservatives.
When life-long slave Dred Scott sued for his freedom in 1846, he had the facts on his side. Those facts favored him even in slaveholding days. His owner was a military officer. The officer was transferred from Missouri, in which slavery was the law, to Illinois, which was a free state. He took Dred Scott with him. They were in Illinois for a year. Then they went to Wisconsin for three years. Wisconsin was a free territory.
Missouri courts had long ruled that slaves could no longer be owned if they and their owners moved into free territory, even for a short while. The precedent in Missouri was well known. "Once free, always free." The case went back and forth on technicalities. He was a slave, then he was free, then the case went to the Supreme Court.
In 1857, the Supreme Court swept all the technical arguments aside. The overriding fact, said the court, was that Dred Scott was black. The was the beginning and the end of it. Any person descended from Africans could not be a US citizen, and could not be a party to a lawsuit. The rest should not even be considered.
Then the court added what in those days became the most controversial part of the published opinion. The Missouri Compromise, the act of Congress that had avoided civil war, should never have been passed.
It is the opinion of the court that the Act of Congress which prohibited a citizen from holding and owning property of this kind in the territory of the United States north of the line therein mentioned is not warranted by the Constitution and is therefore void.
- Chief Justice Roger B. Taney,
speaking for the Supreme Court, March 6, 1857
Before long, Dred Scott's owners freed him anyway.
But conservatives of the day were overjoyed that the court had declared free territories to be slave territories. Property rights, including the right to own slaves, could not be infringed by Congress.
Liberal Republicans were faced with a dilemma. Everyone knew that rulings by the Supreme Court were the law of the land. To hold to anything else was considered extremist. And the court had said that prohibiting slavery in any territory was not warranted by the Constitution.
But the Supreme Court had given liberals a way out. The actual decision was that black people could not file suit in federal court, and that their lack of standing meant that all other factors were without meaning. Anything stated by the court after that was just something additional for the sake of clarity.
So the opinion about free territories being slave territories was not really a ruling. It was just an extra-legal opinion, an aside without any legal weight. It was an effort to persuade, not to rule.
The legal term for that sort of side opinion was Obiter Dictum, Latin for "by the way." The by-the-way opinion should not be considered law. It was a non-legal opinion. As in everybody has an opinion.
Not only that, it was a wrong non-legal, by-the-way, Obiter Dictum opinion. And when the right case came before the court, the Justices would have a chance to issue a real opinion on an actual case. That legal opinion, whatever it turned out to be, would then become the law of the land.
It seems clear in retrospect that the court had ruled wrongly, even under the laws of slavery, and might have eventually reversed itself. As it turned out, the 14th Amendment, and subsequent amendments to the Constitution were enough to overrule the Supreme Court.
Mike Huckabee is correct in pointing out that the Supreme Court had issued a monstrously evil ruling. He goes further, suggesting that Abraham Lincoln had resisted the law. On the Dred Scott decision, he raises an interesting question.
Should Lincoln have been put in jail?
Because he ignored it.
- Mike Huckabee
Lincoln was accused by political opponents of even more than ignoring the decision. He was accused of resisting the authority of the court to interpret the Constitution, something that Lincoln denied.
We think its decisions on Constitutional questions, when fully settled, should control, not only the particular cases decided, but the general policy of the country, subject to be disturbed only by amendments of the Constitution as provided in that instrument itself. More than this would be revolution.
- Abraham Lincoln, June 26, 1857
"More than this would be revolution." Some abolitionists were scornful of Lincoln for embracing the authority of the court. Wendell Phillips later referred to Abraham Lincoln as a huckster, "a first-rate second-rate man."
Lincoln did make clear his hope and his faith that the law would eventually be interpreted differently, that the undisputed authority of the court would be used in a different direction than the Obiter Dictum opinion that had been offered as an aside. In fact, one day the court might even overturn the overarching ruling itself, the legal opinion that black people had no standing in any federal court.
But we think the Dred Scott decision is erroneous. We know the court that made it, has often over-ruled its own decisions, and we shall do what we can to have it to over-rule this. We offer no resistance to it.
- Abraham Lincoln
Mr. Huckabee's emotional strength comes from a moral certitude that served abolitionists well, and was applied in other circumstances by a minority of citizens, a minority that was later recognized as right.
His moral certitude does not rely on historical accuracy.
We had so many different presidents, including Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln -- there were other founders like Hamilton, Adams -- who made it very clear that the courts can't make a law.
Well no, actually.
Marbury v Madison established the precedent just 13 years after the Constitution itself became law. The Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what the Constitution, and what all US laws, mean.
Abraham Lincoln said it explicitly. Every President before Lincoln, going back to Jefferson, and every President since Lincoln, has recognized that authority.
When it comes to the right of gay people to enjoy the same equality as do you and I, to enjoy the same equality as does Mr. Huckabee, he might want to re-consider the morality of his increasingly lonely stand.
It is a stand that Lincoln never shared.
From The Washington Post:
Republican congressional leaders, hoping to avert another government shutdown in two weeks, have embarked on a series of maneuvers in hopes of quelling the conservative anger in their party that is threatening to blow up plans to keep the government funded and functioning.
But the efforts to channel the conservatives’ fury over Planned Parenthood away from the government funding debate appear unlikely to succeed
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